Monday, March 18, 2013

Lemon Bar Trifle (Taste of Home)

I got this recipe several years ago from a Taste of Home Magazine.  It's not complicated, it just requires some time and attention.  The nice thing about it is you make everything ahead of time and then assemble at the last minute.  It's easy to assemble.  It's elegant.  And it's very rich and yummy!  Everyone raves when I make it.  I made it recently for my mom's retirement party and I had several people come up to me telling me it was delicious.  My mom also received compliments on it.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups cold water
3 egg yolks, beaten
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel (I never put this In)

In a small bowl, combine flour and pecans; stir in butter. Press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Crumble the baked pecan mixture; set aside 1/2 cup for topping.

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and flour. Stir in water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Put back on the heat and bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the lemon juice, butter and lemon peel.

Transfer to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Cover surface with waxed paper; refrigerate until chilled.

Just before serving, in a 3-qt. trifle bowl, layer 1 cup each pecan mixture, lemon mixture and cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with reserved pecan mixture. Refrigerate leftovers.

This isn't very good leftover (the crust gets soggy). So only assemble what you plan to use.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Homemade Doughnuts

Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts
I have tried doughnuts before but they were cake doughnuts and not very good.  I gave up for a few years but have always wanted to try yeast doughnuts.  I was encouraged after successfully making beignets so I decided to try a Southern Living doughnut recipe that I (of course!) modified. 

They are not hard but plan on them taking about 2 hours to make.  This is a once-in-awhile weekend treat at our house.

1 package rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105-115 degrees)
¾ cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons shortening
¾ teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Canola Oil

Sprinkle the yeast into large mixing bowl.  Add the warm water and whisk until smooth.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add the warm milk, sugar, shortening, salt and egg.  Whisk well.  Add 1 ½ cups flour and whisk vigorously (you can mix with mixer but it’s not necessary) until smooth.  Stir in the rest of the flour.  The dough will be sticky.  Cover the bowl and allow to rise until doubled (a cold oven with the light on is perfect for this), about 1 hour.

Remove dough from bowl onto floured surface.  Knead a few times.  Roll to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with doughnut cutter (or round cutter and the large end of a decorating tip to make hole).  Place on lightly floured tray and place in the oven with the light on.  Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

About 20 minutes into the second rising, place enough oil in a large pan to measure 2-3 inches deep.  Heat the oil to 350 degrees (I use medium on my stove).  You want to only cook each side about 1 minute so adjust the heat accordingly.  You do not want to overcook them so be careful.  It’s amazing how quickly they cook!

Drain the doughnuts on a wire rack over a cookie sheet.  Dip them into the glaze while still warm.  I usually make the glaze during the first rising and just set aside.  Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
Milk (1-3 tablespoons)
Combine ingredients.  Add more powdered sugar if it’s too thin.

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
Milk (1-3 tablespoons)
Combine ingredients.  Add more powdered sugar if it’s too thin.

Cut out and rising.

These are ready to come out!  You don't want them darker than this.

Plain glazed doughnuts--forgive the color, I got heavy-
handed with the Mexican vanilla and it made the glaze dark.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Yard Toy from 2 Pallets

My husband wanted to make the girls a yard toy that he could pick up and move when mowing or just to move it to another part of the yard.  He discovered that a local business had pallets for free so he picked some up and made this yard toy!  The girls love it!
One of two hinges, looking down from the top.

Looking up from underneath.

He added a chain so it wouldn't slide out from under the kids.

The finished product!  He hand sanded the edges a bit so hopefully they don't get splinters.

Cabbage Casserole

Before Baking
After Baking

This is probably one of the most unique things I’ve made. Austin told me about this casserole he had years ago at a family member’s house. I gave it a try and he said it was a keeper recipe with a couple of changes (included). I baked this in a normal 9x13 but Austin said to double the amount of cabbage and I don’t think my pan will be deep enough for all of that. So, if you do use a full head of cabbage, be sure to put it in a deeper or larger pan.

1 head cabbage, roughly chopped (I did half head but it wasn’t enough)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound hamburger meat, cooked, drained, fixed with taco seasoning
1 packet taco seasoning plus water needed for directions on package
1 pound Polk’s sausage (or preferred smoked sausage), cut into 3-inch logs, split down middle
1 pound carrots, peeled (you can leave them whole or chop them)
½ stick butter (the original recipe called for 1 full stick but it was too much)

Spray a deep dish 9x13 or larger pan with non-stick cooking spray. Layer the items in the pan in order as they appear in the recipe. Dot the butter on top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for about 1 ½ hours or until carrots are tender.

This can also be done on the grill but I honestly wouldn’t know how to tell you to do it!