Reuben Braids and Irish Cream Coffee

ReubenBraidCutReubenAlthough it’s rare that I post recipes, I tried two St. Patrick’s Day recipes yesterday with my youngest daughter and decided to share them! Both recipes are from Taste of Home, but I altered both, which is noted below. Click on the titles to be linked to the original recipes (and if you would like to see more professional photos!).

This was the very first time I’ve ever purchased corned beef! Both recipes are quick and very easy! Even those who don’t like corned beef (there are a few in my house) may find the Reuben tasty!

Homemade Irish Cream CoffeeIrishCream

Ingredients
12 oz. (1 can) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup 2% milk (I used 1%)
¼ cup sugar (I used a few packs of Splenda)
2 T. chocolate syrup (I eliminated this)
1 T. instant coffee crystals
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 3)
¼ almond extract (I eliminated this)
Need ½ cup brewed coffee for each cup of Irish Cream

Directions
In a blender, combine the first eight ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.
For each serving, place coffee in a mug. Stir in 1/3 cup Irish cream. Heat mixture in a microwave if desired.
Yield: 3-1/3 cups.

Our own addition – we topped the drinks with whipped cream and green sugar!

Reuben Braids

Ingredients
6 oz. (1 cup) cooked corned beef brisket (I purchased ½ lb. thin sliced corned beef)
1 ½ cups (6 oz.) shredded swiss cheese (I made one braid with cheese & one without-both great!)
¾ cup drained and dried sauerkraut
1 small onion, chopped finely
3 T. Thousand Island dressing
1 T. dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dill weed (I used 1 & ½ t.)
2 packages (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white beaten
Sesame seeds

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Unroll one tube of crescent dough onto an ungreased baking sheet; seal seams and perforations.

Spread half of corned beef filling down center of rectangle. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips to within 1 in. of filling. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling; seal ends. Repeat with remaining crescent dough and filling. Brush egg white over braids; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. (Mine were golden brown within 20 minutes, so keep an eye on them.) Cool on wire racks for 5 minutes before cutting into slices. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2 loaves (8 servings each).

Enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

How to cut dough to form braid.

How to cut dough to form braid.

 

Autumn Apple Brownies

I hope your family is enjoying the spectacular skies and colorful leaves of this autumn season. I recall seeing the first bright red leaves appear in late August, and now, those same trees have many empty branches.

While pumpkins are everywhere, I’m still holding on to apple season! This is a very simple, quick brownie recipe that can be prepared in 15 minutes, with a bake time around 30 minutes. The bonus is that there is no need to use beaters! I’m all about quick clean up!

Ingredients:

    1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

    ½ cup melted butter

    1 egg

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    1 cup flour

    1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder

    ½ cup toffee chips (I use Heath)

    1 ½ cups peeled and diced apples of your choice     

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º.  Stir together brown sugar, butter, egg and vanilla.  Add flour and baking powder, mixing ingredients well. Stir in apples and toffee chips.  Spread batter into a greased and floured 8×8 inch pan.

Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Completely cool before cutting.

Tips: *Substitute chopped nuts for the Heath toffee bits, if desired. *Double recipe for a 13×9 pan.

Ghost Meringues

Happy Tuesday! Life has been beyond what most people call “busy” for my family lately. Endless sports, pre-game dinners, a string of family birthdays, homecoming events, working part time (while job hunting), and daily happenings have left no room for my favorite activity: writing. 😦 I’ve missed posting about all the mind-boggling feelings that accompany my teens driving, first dates, and oh, the drama friendships… so much has occurred in the first month of the school year, my head is spinning and I want off the ride! Somehow sharing on this small blog space makes me feel better. I hope to post again sometime soon.

In the meantime, here is an early idea for a Halloween treat. I make a similar meringue for Christmas that my family devours in a day (although it’s a bit different and perhaps I’ll post it over the holidays), but this one is straight from Food Network, courtesy of Sandra Lee.

Ghastly Meringues

3 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Beat in the sugar; increase the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 8 to 10 swirls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until dry, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on 50 percent power until melted, about 1 minute, stirring halfway. Transfer the melted chocolate to a zip-top bag and snip a corner. Pipe the chocolate on the meringues to look like eyes.

Only makes 8-10, so double the recipe if you need more. Reviews for this recipe found HERE.

Homemade Pancakes

PancakesThis is my go-to recipe when my kids have friends sleep over, and I’ve made these pancakes on several school mornings as well! I also use store-bought box mix, but when I serve these homemade pancakes, my family always knows instantly! They love them!

I make this recipe the night before and simply give the mixture a stir the next morning before cooking. This recipe keeps nicely in a sealed-tight container for a few days, if you want to double the ingredients for more than one batch.

My kids tend to make these “breakfast” pancakes more like “dessert” with all the chocolate chips they add, but they are still optional! I have also added a teaspoon of vanilla on occasion, just for something different.

Homemade Pancakes

2 cups flour

¼ cup sugar

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup melted butter

Mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mix eggs, buttermilk and butter together. Whisk in all other ingredients. Mix can be slightly lumpy.  Add a little more buttermilk or flour to reach desired pancake consistency/fluffiness for your family’s preference. Cook on griddle with non-stick spray and enjoy!Minichips

Frosted Apple Squares

Our family had a great time going for our annual apple picking adventure last weekend! Now, I have a counter full of apples to peel and make into yummy treats!  (And, we still have plenty for the school lunches as well!)

This recipe is very similar to an apple pie recipe, but made into soft bars. They are not firm like a cookie-bar, and best eaten with a fork. While I prefer less icing (a light drizzle), my kids prefer to frost them like cake!

Any square or rectangular pan of your choice (I wouldn’t recommend using a pan larger than a 15×10 or the dough will be too thin.) The measured amount of the ingredients works best in a 10×10. All ingredient amounts can be easily altered to accommodate your desired size pan.

Photo: start cooking.com

Photo: start cooking.com

14 oz. (9” pie size) box of two rolls of refrigerated, ready-made pie crust dough

7 medium-sized apples, peeled and sliced

¾ cup sugar (I’ve used a full cup when making a larger sized pan)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)

3-4 Tablespoons milk

Flour for rolling dough

1 egg

Foil

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Beat egg in a small bowl. This will be used to brush along the top of your dough.

Sprinkle flour onto counter. Roll one dough roll out into the shape of a rectangle/square. Be careful not to make the dough too thin. Spread rolled dough into the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides. Using a fork, poke a few holes into the bottom of the dough.  Lay sliced apples in the pan. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over the top.  Roll second dough out and carefully place it on top of the apple mixture. Pinch edges with fingers and trim if necessary. Poke a few holes on the top with a sharp knife.

Brush egg lightly over the top of the dough.  Cover edges with foil (just as you would with a pie) so they don’t burn. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake another 10 minutes, or until light brown. For the 15” pan, you may need to bake a total of 40 minutes, for a 10×10 or even an 8×8, start checking it at 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.

Mix powdered sugar with milk until you have a very thick white frosting. Add more or less milk and sugar until your desired consistency is met. Drizzle or frost when pan is completely cool (I put pan in the refrigerator or freezer for easier cutting). Cut into squares and store in refrigerator.