Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Friday, April 18, 2014

Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs

Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs

If you are planning on coloring eggs for Easter, why not cook a few extra and make deviled eggs. Quick and easy to prepare, deviled eggs are a delightful addition to any springtime menu.

While there are many ways to prepare them, this recipe makes good use of Ranch salad dressing. By combining the dressing with the yolk mixture, it’s easy to add zesty flavor to these classic snacks.

The recipe may easily be doubled for a crowd, and the deviled eggs may be prepared up to 12 hours in advance. For the ultimate in ease, place halves of eggs in a pretty dish likes this Anchor Hocking Deviled Egg Tray and either spoon or pipe egg yolk mixture into halves. Loosely cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Sprinkle with extra bacon bits and garnish with sliced fresh chives just before serving.

Whether they are for an Easter celebration or any occasion, this recipe makes it easy to add a tasty twist to a time-honored favorite. From my family to yours, Happy Easter.

(For a fun Easter treat both children and adults will enjoy, try the recipe for Spring Nests.)

BACON RANCH DEVILED EGGS

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
2 1/2 tablespoons regular or light mayonnaise
2 1/2 tablespoons regular or light Ranch salad dressing
2 tablespoons real bacon bits, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced fresh chives (optional)
Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks from whites. Place yolks in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, dressing, 2 tablespoons bacon bits, salt, and pepper. Mix well; spoon or pipe mixture into halves of eggs. Sprinkle with bacon bits and garnish with chives, if desired. Makes 12 deviled eggs.

Thanks to Anchor Hocking for providing serveware

Spring Nests: Recipe for the Season

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Nests

Spring Nests

Celebrate spring and the joy of Easter by making edible nests that are just right at this time of year. Ideal for folks who like the taste of sweet and salty treats, these yummy nests are easy to make and can be filled with a variety of assorted candy.

From jelly beans to robin eggs, little ones will have fun decorating with their choice of colorful candies. They can make them for loved ones to share on Easter Sunday, or they can be a fabulous finale to any springtime dinner.

Whatever the occasion, these crowd-pleasing goodies will make celebrating the beauty of the season even sweeter.

SPRING NESTS

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
4 cups pretzel sticks, broken
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 teaspoon water
3 to 4 drops green food color
Assorted candy
Lightly coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add marshmallows and white chocolate. Cook over medium-low heat until marshmallows and white chocolate are melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add pretzel sticks; stir until completely coated. Cool 3 minutes. Coat hands with cooking spray; press mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared cups. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine coconut, water, and food color; toss to combine. Remove nests from cups; fill with tinted coconut and assorted candy. Makes 12 spring nests.

Easy Yellow Cupcakes

Easy Yellow Cupcakes

Easy Yellow Cupcakes

A package of store-bought cake mix, pudding mix and a few other ingredients is all it takes to create moist and flavorful cupcakes filled with homespun goodness. And it’s just as simple to transform Easy Yellow Cupcakes into fun Easter Cupcakes by simply embellishing with candy sprinkles and/or edible decorations.

Ideal for little hands to help prepare, these whimsical treats are perfect for nibbling at this time of year. Whether they’re for a school party, Easter celebration, or any get-together, these crowd-pleasing cupcakes always are welcome.

From my family to yours, Happy Easter.

EASY YELLOW CUPCAKES

1 (4-serving size) package instant vanilla pudding and pie filling mix
1 (16.5-ounce) package yellow cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
4 eggs
1 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Candy sprinkles and/or edible decorations (optional)
Easy Vanilla Frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Reserve 2 tablespoons pudding mix for frosting (see below). In a large bowl, combine the remaining pudding mix, cake mix, eggs, water, oil, and vanilla. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes. Divide into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with Easy Vanilla Frosting; garnish with candy sprinkles and/or edible decorations, if desired. Makes 24 cupcakes.

EASY VANILLA FROSTING

2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding and pie filling mix
1/2 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
1 (8-ounce) carton regular or light frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 to 8 drops yellow food color (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix and heavy cream. Whisk until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in whipped topping, vanilla, and food color, if desired.

Herbed Salmon Cakes

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Friday, March 27, 2014

Herbed Salmon Cakes

Looking for easy and elegant appetizers for springtime celebrations? Then these flavorful hors d’oeuvres are for you.

Quick to prepare, these yummy starters make good use of canned salmon. And while they are a tasty prelude to dinner, the mixture can be shaped into four bigger patties and placed on buns for mouthwatering sandwiches that are perfect during the Lenten season.

Whichever way you choose to savor them, these flavorful cakes make it easy to get hooked on canned salmon. Happy Spring!

HERBED SALMON CAKES

1 egg
2 tablespoons regular or light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon heavy (or whipping) cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (14.75-ounce) can salmon, drained, flaked, and skin and bones removed
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges (optional)
Lemon Herb Sauce (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine egg, mayonnaise, heavy cream, lemon juice, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add salmon and bread crumbs; mix well. Shape into eight patties. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet until hot; add patties. Cook over medium heat until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Squeeze lemon wedges over patties and/or serve with Lemon Herb Sauce, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

LEMON HERB SAUCE

1/4 cup regular or light mayonnaise
1/4 cup regular or light sour cream
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Dash salt
Dash pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 4 servings.

St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Tuesday, March 11, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

Quick to prepare and ideal for a crowd, the following recipe for St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes are perfect for any St. Paddy’s Day celebration.

Simply combine packaged cake mix and pudding mix along with a few other on-hand ingredients, and a homespun cupcakes can be ready for the oven in a matter of minutes. And just like magic, the frosting can be whipped up in short order, too. Add a few drops of green food color to both the cake and the frosting for a batch of cupcakes as pretty as the Irish countryside.

And when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, be certain to wear your lucky shamrock. After all, this is a day when all are Irish. Erin-go-bragh!

St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes 

1 (16.5 ounce) package plain white or yellow cake mix
1 (4-serving size) package instant pistachio pudding and pie filling mix
4 eggs
1 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 to 4 drops green food color (optional)
Whipped Cream Frosting
Green candy sprinkles (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and food color, if desired. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes. Divide into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with Whipped Cream Frosting; garnish with candy sprinkles, if desired. Makes 24 cupcakes.

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

1/4 cup instant pistachio pudding mix (from a 4-serving size package)
1 pint heavy (or whipping) cream
3 to 4 drops green food color (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix and heavy cream. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until slightly thickened. Add food color, if desired. Continue beating until thickened and peaks form.

Here are more St. Patrick’s Day recipes

Irish Shortbread

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Friday, March 7, 2014

Irish Shortbread

Irish Shortbread

Irish shortbread is a mouthwatering example of simplicity at its finest. In the traditional style of the foods from Ireland, this recipe calls for minimal ingredients but turns out cookies that are full of flavor.

Since few ingredients are necessary when making shortbread, it’s important to use top-notch ingredients for optimal taste. Irish butter is the best choice and good quality brown sugar also is preferred.

Whether you enjoy them on St. Patrick’s Day or any time throughout the year, these tasty tidbits are filled with an authentic taste of the Emerald Isle.

IRISH SHORTBREAD

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) Irish butter (such as Kerrygold), softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Green sugar crystals (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt; knead lightly until blended. Divide dough into six (3 1/2 to 4-inch) mini fluted tart pans; press into bottoms and up the sides of pans. (You also can pat or roll dough into a round about 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured surface; cut into shapes as desired.) Pierce with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with green sugar crystals, if desired. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately cut each pan of shortbread into 4 wedges. Cool completely in pans. Makes 24 cookies.

Wagon Wheel Pasta Dinner

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Friday, February 28, 2014

Wagon Wheel Pasta Dinner

Wagon Wheel Pasta Dinner

Finding recipes that appeal to children and adults can sometimes be challenging. Equally important to time-crunched cooks is preparing tasty recipes that don’t require a lot of steps or a lot of ingredients.

Ideal for folks-on-the-go, this family-pleasing recipe makes it easy to get out of the kitchen quick. A hearty one-skillet meal, it can be prepared in a snap. And it makes delicious use of fun-shaped wagon wheel pasta. Of course, you can use any similar sized pasta in place of wagon wheel, if desired.

Serve on attractive white plates like these Chef’s Table Soft Square Salad Plates from Oneida along with a tossed salad and fresh rolls, and savor a meal everyone will enjoy. Saving time in the kitchen couldn’t be easier.

WAGON WHEEL PASTA DINNER

1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups regular or reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
8 ounces dried wagon wheel pasta
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded regular or reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a 12-inch skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain fat. Stir in chicken broth, tomato sauce, and onion powder. Bring to a boil. Stir in wagon wheel pasta. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until macaroni is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in cheese. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand five minutes before serving; season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Clementine Tea Bread

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Friday, February 21, 2014

Clementine Tea Bread

Clementine Tea Bread

If you love clementines as much as I do, then you’ll delight in this zesty recipe. Moist, tender, and full of scrumptious flavor, this seasonal bread pairs perfectly with a cup of hot tea.

Clementines are only available for a limited time, so get them now while you can. Bursting with sweet, juicy goodness, they make the perfect snack. Easy to peel, these yummy little gems can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. You also can substitute oranges in place of clementines, if desired.

Since the season for clementines is fleeting, it’s a good idea to double the recipe and bake two loaves of bread. Savor one now and stash the other in the freezer to enjoy at a later time. This is a great way to extend the taste of these refreshing citrus fruits – my darling, clementines.

CLEMENTINE TEA BREAD

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons finely grated clementine zest
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
3 tablespoons clementine juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8×4-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and butter. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in clementine zest and poppy seeds. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack set over foil. Cool 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, combine clementine juice and the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH just until sugar has dissolved, about 10 seconds. Stir well. Poke a long skewer into the top of bread at about 1-inch intervals; brush clementine-sugar mixture over bread. Cool completely. Makes 1 medium loaf.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie Hearts

As seen on WKTV NEWSChannel 2 Friday, February 14, 2014

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie Hearts

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie Hearts

If your busy schedule has left you little time for planning a special treat for your sweetheart, you still can make a decadent dessert your valentine will love. Perfect for those who are short on time, these homemade confections will go straight to your loved one’s heart.

By embellishing packaged brownie mix with cream cheese, red food color, and a few pantry staples, it’s easy to whip up a moist and colorful chocolate treat swirled with the yummy taste of cheesecake. To make them extra special, set on decorative doilies and arrange on pretty platters like these Anchor Hocking Isabella Platters.

So go ahead and give it a whirl. After all, rich confections made fresh from your kitchen will guarantee you a sweet place in your valentine’s heart forever. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love chocolate? Here are a few more recipes with the decadent taste of chocolate: Molten Chocolate Cakes, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Hot Cocoa, and Mini Brownie Trifles

RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIE HEARTS

1 (18- to -21 ounce) package fudge brownie mix
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red food color
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 eggs
1 (8-ounce) package regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (3-ounce) package regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 egg white
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, letting ends extend beyond edges on 2 sides. Coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, cocoa powder, vegetable oil, coffee, 1 1/2 tablespoons food color, vinegar, and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixed; spread in prepared pan.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheeses, egg white, and confectioners’ sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Remove 1/2 of the batter to a small bowl; stir the remaining 1 teaspoon food color into this batter. Drop plain batter by tablespoons randomly onto brownie batter. Drop red batter in the same manner. Using a butter knife, swirl through the batters to create a marbled effect. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove brownies by lifting foil ends; place on a cutting board. Remove foil; use a cookie cutter to cut heart shapes. Makes 16 large heart-shaped brownies.

This recipe and a recipe for Filet Mignon with Mushroom Sauce can be found here.

Thanks to Anchor Hocking for providing serveware