Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pecan Tassies

This is my grandmother's recipe for Pecan Tassies, but I found some filling variations that I think I'll try this year. (I noticed that the variations call for different baking temps. I will probably stick with 325, as I don't want the crust to burn.) (Click here for more Virtual Cookie Exchange recipes!)

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour

1 egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Blend cream cheese and butter, add flour.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Divide dough in 24 balls and press in mini muffin pans.
(Note: Do not use dark coated pans.)

Combine egg, brown sugar, vanilla and nuts.
Fill cups 3/4 full.
Bake ate 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown.
Cool 5 minutes and remove from pans.

Pumpkin Ginger Filling

3/4 cup firmly pkd brown sugar
1/2 cup whole canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
3 tablespoons half-and-half (can use low fat)
1 teaspoon grated gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar, pkd
1 tablespoon butter, softened

In medium bowl, combine all filling ingredients; blend well.
Spoon scant tbls filling into each crust lined cup.
In small bowl, combine all topping ingredients; mix until crumbly. Carefully sprinkle 1 tsp topping over each filled cup.
Bake at 350* for 18-22 minutes or until puffed and tip of knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Immediately run flat sided knife around edges of cookies.
Cool cookies in pan 5 minutes. Carefully remove cookies from muffin cups, place on wire racks to cool.
Cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled.
If topped with small dab of whipped cream or cool whip, these tassies are spectacular of dessert buffet.

Pecan/Cranberry Filling

1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup finely chopped cranberries
3 tablespoons chopped pecans

For filling: Beat egg, sugar, vanilla til smooth.
Stir in nuts and cranberries.
Spoon filling into cups.
Bake 325 for 30-35 minutes until brown.
Cool on wire racks.
Remove by running a knife around the edges.

Apricot/Pecan Filling

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dried apricot halves, diced (about 4 oz)
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Combine brown sugar, egg, 1 tbsp buter, vanilla and salt in a bowl until smooth. Stir in apricots and nuts.
Preheat oven to 325°F Shape dough into 2 dozen 1 inch balls and place in paper lined or greased miniture muffin tins. Press dough on bottom and up sides of each cup. Fill each with 1 tsp apricot-pecan filling. Bake 25 minutes or until golden and filling sets. Cool and remove from cups. Cookies can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen up to 6 weeks.

Chocolate/Pecan Filling

2/3 cup pecans, chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 ounce square semisweet chocolate, melted, cooled
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Divide 1/3 cup of the nuts evenly in pie crust-lined muffin cups. In small bowl, beat brown sugar, chocolate, butter, vanilla, and egg only until smooth (do not overbeat; mixture should not be bubbly).
Spoon teaspoonful of filling over nuts in each cup.
Sprinkle with remaining nuts.
Bake at 375°F for 18-22 minutes or until filling is set and crust is light golden brown.
Cool 1 minute; remove from pans.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Smashing Sweet Potatoes

4 large sweet potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 stick butter
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T orange juice
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t salt

1. Scrub sweet potatoes. Cut sweet potatoes into large cubes leaving skins intact.
2. Place on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
3. Roast in a 375 oven for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
4. Mash sweet potatoes in large bowl with remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Crock Pot Lasagna

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 large onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tsp pre-purchased garlic)
1 lb jar tomato spaghetti sauce - choose your favorite flavor
12 oz no boil lasagna noodles
1lb mozzarella cheese - grated/shredded
1lb ricotta cheese
2 oz parmesan cheese - grated/shredded
¼ cup milk
1 egg - lightly beaten
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

1. Fry the beef, onion and garlic in a frying pan, using a tiny amount of oil.
2. Fry until slightly browned. And pour off any excess oil. Add tomato sauce and heat through.
3. Meanwhile, gently combine the ricotta, milk and egg.
4. Then mix in the mozzarella and parmesan. Retaining about 1 tbls of parmesan for later.
5. Now we are ready to construct it in the crock pot. We found there was no need to grease the pot, but if you must - do it now.
6. Using a large serving spoon or ladle, place about ¼ of the meat mixture in the crock pot - spread evenly.
7. Top this with a layer of lasagna noodles, cut to size.
8. Top this with 1/3 of the cheese sauce.
9. Repeat steps 6, 7 and 8 once more. You should now have cheese sauce on top.
10. Now repeat step 6, then 7 and 6 again.
11. Top with remaining cheese sauce.
12. Sprinkle the retained parmesan on top.
13. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Serves 4-6 While not critical the layers should be - meat, pasta, cheese, meat, pasta, cheese, meat, pasta, meat, cheese.