Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Candy Buttons!

Do you remember candy buttons? When I was a little girl, I just loved them! Did you? I made some sweet pink and red ones for Valentine's Day. You can tuck a couple in a little paper pouch for the perfect Valentine's Day treat for your special someone!
 Candy Buttons!
1 1/2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
1 Egg White
Red Food Coloring-liquid
White Paper cut into 2"x5 1/2" strips
Beat sugar and egg white until thick and smooth. 
This should take about 5 minutes.
Divide the icing into 2 bowls.
Drop one drop of red food coloring into a bowl.
Stir until icing is pink.
Drop 3 red drops into the other bowl.
Stir until it is completely red.
Cover up the pink icing so it doesn't dry out.
Use a pastry bag with a #2 tip, and fill the bag with the red color.
Pipe the icing onto the strips of paper in little dots.
Make rows so they look like the original candy buttons.
When the red icing is almost gone,
add the pink to the pastry bag, and continue piping your dots.
The color will flow from red to pink as you pipe.
Let the dots harden over night at room temperature.
A cute, simple, festive Valentine's Treat!

Thanks for joining The Freshman Cook today!

We are sharing our Candy Buttons at the following party:
In and Out of The Kitchen

Drop by and party with us!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chocolate Heart Lollipops!

It's almost Valentine's Day, and I thought I would show you one of the little last minute gifts I made. I think it incorporates all of the Valentine's Day necessities~heart shaped, chocolate, sweet, and cute!

 Chocolate Valentine Lollipops
Good Quality Chocolate
Lollipop Sticks(1 for each sucker)
White Almond Bark
Heart Shaped Lollipop Mold
This is the lollipop mold I used.
I think I bought it at Michael's for about $2.
Melt your chocolate in a double boiler, and then
spoon it into the mold. It is not necessary to spray
your mold before putting the chocolate in.
 They will come out easily. After you have filled the 
heart, give the entire mold a tiny shake. Not a lot. Just
a little, and the chocolate will become smooth.
 Set the mold in the freezer for a few minutes.
 It will become solid  quickly.
Pop the chocolate lollipop out of the mold.
 Melt the almond bark according to directions.
Color a little of the white with pink color, 
and a little of it with red. Place the pink color in a pasty bag, 
and using a #2 tip, place a design on your chocolate lollipop.
Once the pink is dry, place the red in the same bag,
and pipe your design. Let dry.
Your lollipop is done!
There you have it!
Super simple and so sweet!

Thanks for joining The Freshman Cook today!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine Love and Lots of Goodies!

I love Valentine's Day! Last year I posted the 14 Days of Valentines Day, and I had a blast making all the special treats. This year I am busy preparing for a big move. Mr. Freshman Cook and I are moving back to North Carolina, and I can hardly contain my excitement!! Sure, there is a lot of work involved, and it's really cutting into my blogging time :), but I am thrilled! I have several new recipes that I know you will like, and I will be posting those in the next few days.  In the mean time, I put together this collage of some past Valentine goodies. I hope you like them!

Starting on the top right pictures, going clockwise:

Valentine Cheesecake


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Super Bowl Fun!-Chili and Queso Dip!

I think just about everyone knows that it is the last few days before the Super Bowl. I am not a huge football fan myself, but I do love all the festivities and of course, all the food and the creativity that goes in every dish. I mean, that part is fun!!! This Chili Queso Dip is definitely a fun dip to serve and easy to make. It's fun because it's always a winner, and it's easy because you can serve 2 party foods from 1 recipe. You start by making up a big batch of homemade chili. There's your first party food. Then take some of the chili to make your dip. Now you have something for everyone!

Chili Queso Dip
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 ounce Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 medium Onion
16 ounces Tomato Sauce
6 ounces Tomato Paste
16 ounces Water
16 ounces Chili Beans
1 tablespoon Hot Sauce
Low Carb Flour Tortillas
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 pound Cacique Queso 
Brown your beef over medium heat, drain the grease,
and add your chili powder and garlic powder.
Chop and add your onions.
Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water.
Drain and rinse beans, and add to chili.
Add your hot sauce. Mix together and let simmer for 1 hour.
Cut your flour tortillas. I cut them by cutting the tortilla into quarters.
I cut each tortilla  into thirds. You end up with 12 pieces per tortilla.
In a small bowl, mix together the vegetable oil and the garlic powder.
Place the tortilla pieces into the bowl and
 coat them with the oil and garlic powder.
Lay the tortilla pieces out on a baking sheet.
I covered my sheet with parchment paper,
but spraying it with pan spray will work also.
You are just trying to eliminate any sticking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
Then let cool on a rack.
Take 2 cups of chili from your pot, and place in a smaller pot.
Cut your cheese in to small pieces,
and add it to the small pot of chili.
Stir occasionally. The cheese will melt into the chili.
I thought this chili dip would be perfect for a bread bowl,
and I saw these cute, ready to cut bowls at the grocery.
Fill the bowl with chili dip, top with cheese, and party!

Thanks for joining The Freshman Cook today!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Super Bowl Party~Southwestern Egg Rolls!

This recipe for Southwestern Egg Rolls (just like Chili's) is the perfect appetizer for your Super Bowl Party! I rolled some of the spicy goodness in flour tortillas and some in egg rolls wrappers. Then I baked them instead of putting them in the fryer. They are better for you, taste great, and they don't require you to stand by the fryer while everyone else is watching the game! Just pop them in the oven as you need them, and 7 minutes later, they are done!! Simple and scrumptious!

Southwestern Egg Rolls
(adapted from Most Wanted Recipes)

1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 boneless, skinless Chicken Breast
2 tablespoons Green Onion, minced
2 tablespoons Red Bell Pepper, minced
1/3 cup frozen Corn Kernels
1/4 cup Black Beans, cooked
2 tablespoons Lettuce, chopped
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
Pinch of Salt
3/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
5-8" Low Carb Flour Tortillas
Egg Roll Wrappers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook your chicken in a pan sprayed with cooking oil.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Once cool, dice the chicken, and set aside.
Heat your pan with the veggie oil over medium heat.
Stir in your green onion and peppers.
I just love those colors!!!
Cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
I had to switch pans here. :) Sorry, but my small
pan just wouldn't hold all of these ingredients.
I placed the cooked peppers and onion in to this pan,
then added the diced chicken.
Then add in the corn, black beans, lettuce,parsley,
cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until tender.
Remove from the hear, and stir in the Monterey Jack cheese
so that it melts.
When wrapping your mix in the tortillas, place the mix in the middle
of the tortilla.....
fold in the sides.....
and roll the tortilla tightly.
When wrapping your mix in egg roll wrappers, place the mix
diagonal between 2 opposite sides of the wrap.
Brush the edges with water.
Fold the 2 opposite sides in and roll the egg roll tight.
Using a pastry brush, spread a small amount of melted butter
over the egg rolls rolled in the egg roll wrappers.
It will help them brown a bit. It is not necessary for the
tortillas. Place the egg rolls on a baking sheet
and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.


I took these egg rolls to a party, and they were a hit!
They were served with duck sauce and avocado ranch dip.

Thanks for joining me today!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mini Cheeseball Bites!

Today is the Secret Recipe Club reveal! This month I was given the blog, The Avid Appetite, written by Rachel. This blog is amazing and wonderful! Rachel's blog is full of incredible recipes. She has them all neatly indexed, and they are so easy to find. She has everything from appetizers to breakfast to meats to desserts, and more. Even her desserts are categorized! Thank you Rachel, for making it so easy to browse your blog. The problem is, you made it hard for me to decide what to make! Everything looked great! I finally decided on Cheeseball Bites, and I am so glad I did! They were perfect for a football party we were invited to, and everyone loved them!!
Mini Cheeseball Bites!
There were 2 kinds of cheeseballs in Rachel's recipe.
They were both so easy to make, which make them perfect for
a party, and they both had just a few ingredients, which made them 
fantastic for entertaining!
Feta Cheeseball Bites
4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
3 oz Feta Cheese Crumbles
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Cloves, minced
Black Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Mixed Nuts, finely diced

Cheddar Cheeseball Bites
4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, fine shred
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
Black Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Mixed Nuts, finely diced

For either recipe, beat the cream cheese until soft.
Add the second cheese and mix together. 
Add in the spices and beat until mixed well.
Place each cheese mix in plastic wrap
and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the cheese into 1 tablespoon sized balls
and roll them in walnuts.
Serve with crackers!

I made some minor changes in Rachel's recipe because
I wanted to use what I already had in my kitchen. 
Stop by and see her original recipe for a lower fat version!

Best wishes to Rachel! She and her husband Shaun are 
expecting their first baby any day now!
How exciting!

Thanks for joining me today!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Banana Nana Cheesecake!

It is Improv Cooking Challenge day and January's two ingredients are banana and nutmeg! Aren't those great ingredients? So many recipes and ideas came to mind, that, as usual, I had a hard time deciding what to make. I decided on this creamy Banana Cheesecake! I crunched up some left over sugar cones for the crust, added nutmeg to the batter, and made the cheesecakes in mini pans. I think they turned out fantastic!

 Banana Nana Cheesecake
10 Sugar Cones
4 tablespoons Butter, melted

3- 8 ounce Cream Cheese, softened
2/3 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
3 Eggs
3/4 cup Mashed Banana (about 2)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
sliced Banana

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the sugar cones in the food processor, and pulse
until finely crushed. Place the crumbs in a bowl, add your melted
butter and mix together. Press the mix into a 10" springform pan
or 6 small pans. Refrigerate.
Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until creamy.
Add your sugar and cornstarch and blend with cream cheese.
Add your eggs and mix them in.
Mix in your bananas, heavy cream, and vanilla.
Incorporate your nutmeg into the mix.
Place your pans on a baking sheet.
Pour your batter into your pans.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 
200 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes for the small pans
and 1 hour and 15 minutes for the large pan. The cheesecakes
are done when the when the center is almost set.
Loosen the edges around the cheesecakes, 
and set them on a cooling rack. Once they are completely 
cooled, remove the sides.
Refrigerate for 6 hours. Before serving, let the cheesecake stand 
at room temp for 15 minutes. During that standing time,
whip your whipping cream with a mixer on high speed. 
Add your sugar and whip until stiff peaks appear.
Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and banana.

Thanks for joining me today!

Here is where we are partying:
What's in your Kitchen Wednesday? 
Don't forget to check out what everyone else cooked up today!