Monday, July 23, 2012

4 Cheese Stuffed Shells

I love Italian food, so when I was assigned the blog, Cookin' with Moxie, for this months Secret Recipe Club, I was thrilled. Cookin' with Moxie is a wonderful blog written by Jamie, whose blog is stuffed as full as these pasta shells of delicious sounding and beautiful looking foods. What to make was a difficult decision, but I finally decided on Jamie's 4 Cheese Stuffed Shells. They were so delicious, and cheesy and just yum!!
4 Cheese Stuffed Shells
1 pound Jumbo Pasta Shells
30 oz. Ricotta Cheese
2 1/2 cups Mozzarella, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Provolone Cheese
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Egg
2 tablespoon minced, flat leaf Parsley
2 tablespoon chopped, fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 cups Marinara Sauce, preferably homemade

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta.
Cook the shells until soft but not cooked through
(about 1/2 the cooking time on the box)
Drain pasta and set aside until the filling is ready.
Place the ricotta in a bowl.
Add 1 cup of the mozzarella and the Parmesan.
Add the provolone.
Mix together.
Add the garlic powder, egg, parsley, basil, salt and
pepper. Mix thoroughly.
In a 13X9 casserole dish, pour in half of your
marinara sauce. 
Fill your partially baked shells with the cheese filling.
Place the shells in your dish on top of the marinara.
The shells should be open side up.
(I used a smaller dish)
Place the rest of your marinara on top of the shells.
Top the marinara with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese.
Garnish with minced basil and parsley, if desired.
Cover your dish with foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Uncover and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes,
or until the sauce starts to bubble.
Serve immediately.

Thanks for joining me today!
Stop by and see what all my fellow Secret Recipe Club members made:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mini Chocolate Strawberry Pie and The Last Day of Our Giveaway!

It's the last day to enter our giveaway, and to celebrate~we made pie! Chocolate Strawberry Pie to be  exact! These pies are the perfect make ahead mini dessert for parties, family dinners, or backyard get togethers. They actually taste best if made ahead of time and then refrigerated until you are ready to eat them. They are easy to put together with filo dough crust, chocolate pastry cream and fresh strawberries!
Chocolate Strawberry Pie
(makes 16 pies)
 1 roll (1/2 box) Filo Dough
1/2 stick melted Butter
1 1/4 cups whole Milk
2 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate
3 Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons+2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1 teaspoon Vanilla
approx 12-15 Fresh Strawberries
Whipped Cream (I used canned)
Filo is easy to work with as long as you keep it covered
at all times. It does not like air! Open your roll of filo,
set it next to your work area, and place a piece of saran wrap over the 
filo sheets. I used 5 sheets to make 4 crust cups.
 Take one filo sheet and place it on a cutting board or 
other work surface. Using a pastry brush, and starting at the 
edge, going toward the center, brush your melted butter over the filo.
When you are done, take another piece of filo from your stack,
 and place it over your buttered piece. Brush this piece just like you 
did the first one. Continue doing this until all 5 pieces are brushed with butter.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cut out 4" circle of the filo. I apologize for no pics.
I used a 4" lid and cut around it with a paring knife.
Place the filo dough into a regular size muffin tin.
It is not necessary to spray or grease the tin.
You will only get about 4 circles out of every 5 pieces.
To get sixteen pieces, do this a total of 4 times.
Bake your filo for 8-9 minutes.
Let cool and remove from pan.
In a saucepan, warm the milk on low heat. In a separate
bowl, while the milk is warming, mix together the egg yolks,
sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. Once the  milk
is steaming, add the semisweet chocolate to the steaming milk.
Whisk until it is fully incorporated.
Add half of the chocolate milk to the egg mix. This is 
called tempering the eggs. 
 Once you add the milk, 
whisk the egg mix constantly. You are getting the eggs
used to the heat of the milk without cooking them.
Add the milk and egg mix back into the pan 
with the rest of the milk. Keep stirring.
Heat the milk and egg mix for 1-2 minutes until the 
custard reaches 170 degrees and becomes very thick.
Remove from heat, and add vanilla.
Chill before filling crust cups.
To fill the crust, slice a strawberry into 1/4's and place 
1 piece into the bottom. Cover with chocolate pastry cream.
If you are preparing a lot of these and want to have
as much done as you can ahead of time stop here.
Do the rest right before serving.
Fill the top of the chocolate with whipped cream.
Top the whipped cream with a strawberry, sliced
lengthwise, or a whole strawberry is you have 
one that is small and not so heavy that it falls
down into the whipped cream. 
Thanks for joining me today!

This is the last day to enter our giveaway.
The giveaway closes at 11:59pm PST tonight.

You can enter by leaving me a comment telling me what your favorite mini dessert is.  
You can  go back to the post for the last week and enter on those days by leaving a comment on that page. For 2 extra entries, like us on our fan page on facebook, and follow us here at The Freshman Cook. 
 The winner will be announced tomorrow. Good Luck!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait

Today our dessert is one that combines two favorites~chocolate and peanut butter! This parfait is one of the recipes from the cookbook , "Just Mini Desserts" that we are giving away along with the 25 Piece "Just Desserts" Parfait Set. There are only about 27 hours left to enter the giveaway. You can enter by leaving me a comment telling me what your favorite mini dessert is. You can enter everyday until Sunday, July 15. You can also go back to the post for the last week and enter on those days by leaving a comment on that page. For 2 extra entries, like us on our fan page on facebook, and follow us here at The Freshman Cook. The contest ends on Sunday at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be announced on Monday! Good Luck!!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait
1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafers
4 tablespoon Butter, melted
1 tablespoon Honey
8 0z Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
3 tablespoon Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
8 oz. Whipping Cream
1/2 cup mini Reese Cups
Crush your chocolate wafers by putting them in a
 plastic ziplock bag, and rolling over the cookies with
a rolling pin.
In a bowl, mix your crushed wafers, melted butter and honey.
Fill each of your shooter glasses with a heaping teaspoon
of the mixture, about 1/2 " high, and packed
down slightly.
Chop up the mini reese cups into 4 pieces. 
Place 6 cut pieces in each glass, on top of the wafer.
Combine the whipping cream with 1 spoonful of sugar...
and beat into your whipped cream. Set aside for a moment.
Combine the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth.
Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until well blended.
If it is too thick, add some milk to make it creamy.
Fold in the whipped cream with the peanut butter.
Add the peanut butter mix to the top of the chopped reeses.
Garnish with 6 chopped pieces of reeses.
 Refrigerate until serving.

Thanks for joining me today!

Don't forget about entering our giveaway!
We are quickly coming up on the last 24 hours.

Stop by tomorrow for our last mini dessert of the giveaway!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Mousse

We are continuing "Mini Week" here at The Freshman Cook and today we are making Orange Creamsicle Mousse! There are two really good things about this recipe. First, any type of mousse really lends itself well to being a mini dessert. The consistency of the mousse is perfect for spooning into layers, so it looks beautiful through a glass. Second; to me creamsicle just screams "SUMMER", and what could be better than that.

Today's recipe is loosely taken from our giveaway cookbook, "Just Mini Desserts". I say loosely because the recipe I used, is designed to be given your own interpretation. It is on page 38 of the book, and it is a great recipe! I see a lot of experimentation in the future!
 Orange Creamsicle Mousse
{Makes 12  2-3 oz. desserts}

1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted Butter
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 8 oz. softened Cream Cheese
8 oz Whipping Cream
1-2  tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
3 tablespoon Orange Zest
1 tablespoon Orange Juice
1 drop Americolor Orange
I always have graham crackers, but never just the crumbs,
so I make my own. Just place about 5 graham crackers
in a zip lock bag. Start rolling over the graham crackers with
a rolling pin. Go over them a few times, so they are 
finely crushed. I always seem to make too many, so I just save the
leftover in the same bag.
Make your whipped cream by adding the 1-2 tablespoons
of sugar to the heavy whipping cream and mixing on high
until stiff peaks appear. Set aside about 1/3 cup to 
 to put on the finished mousse.
Mix the melted butter and the 1 tablespoon of sugar
with your graham cracker crumbs.
Place the graham cracker mix in your mini glasses.
I placed it an angle, just to create a different look,
but you could also level it across.
Set aside about 2-3 tablespoons of the graham
cracker crumbs to use as garnish later.
In your mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese
and the vanilla until fluffy.
Fold in the whipping cream.
Divide the mix in half by putting 1/2 of it in another bowl.
Add the orange zest and orange juice to the half in the
mixing bowl. Mix well. 
Add the drop of Americolor Orange. 
Mix until blended. 
Put come of the orange mousse on top of the
graham cracker in your glasses.
Place a layer of white mousse on top, 
and then finish with another layer of orange.
Use a pastry bag to top off each glass with 
some of the whipped cream you set aside earlier.
Sprinkle the tops of the whipped cream with the
graham cracker crumbs you set aside earlier. 
Refrigerate until serving.

Thank you for joining us today!

Come back tomorrow as we make another dessert
as part of our "Mini Week of Desserts"!

Don't forget about our giveaway for the Libbey "Just Desserts" 
25 piece Parfait Set and the "Just Mini Desserts" cookbook!
You can enter every day by simply leaving a comment
telling me what your favorite mini dessert is.
Leave one every day of this giveaway if you want.
  To get 2 extra entries, like our fan page on Facebook,
and follow us here at The Freshman Cook.
The giveaway ends Sunday, July 15 at 11:59 pm PST.
We will draw and announce a winner on Monday, July 16.!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mini Sugar Cookies and a Giveaway!

Today for Cookie Journey Thursday, I made some simple, pretty mini sugar cookies shaped like a flower. I thought they fit in perfectly with our "Mini Week" of desserts.
To make these cookies I used a Wilton #2 tip 
and the following colors:
Americolor Super Red, Turquoise, and Leaf Green
and Wilton Violet.
To get the different shades of the same color, I just
used fewer drops when mixing the color.
Outline your flower cookie and then...
fill in with the same color.
Let dry.
Place a white dot in the center of each cookie
with a Wilton tip #4.
Enjoy !
Simple and sweet and mini!
(and you can eat more than one because they're small)

Thanks for joining
The Freshman Cook 
today for Day 4 for our
"Mini Week of Desserts".

Don't forget to enter our giveaway of a Libbey 25 piece "Just Desserts"
 Parfait Set and a "Just Mini Desserts" cookbook. 
Just leave a comment about what
your favorite mini dessert is. You can leave one everyday this week~one
a day. To receive 2 extra entries, follow us here at The Freshman Cook,
and like our facebook page. 
The giveaway ends Sunday 7/15/12 at 11:59 pm PST