Wednesday, May 16, 2012

pei wei's crab wontons {winner!}

Pei Wei's Crab Wontons from Lauren:

1 can (6-7 oz) white crab meat
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
2-3 sliced green onions
1/2 T garlic powder
Splash of soy sauce
Wonton wrappers
Cooking oil

Mix the first five ingredients into a paste. Spoon mixture into wonton wrappers and fold corners into center. If they aren't sticking together, wet your finger tips and press seam together. (Too much water will mess it up, so you just want wet fingertips, not entire splashes of water). Fry the wontons in one inch of hot oil until browned. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour dipping sauce.

panera's stove top mac and cheese.

Panera's Stove Top Mac and Cheese from Jenni:

16 oz. pipette pasta or other small pasta shapes
4 T unsalted butter
1/3 cup flour (Use less flour and more cream)
2 1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, or half and half
4 oz white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces (Didn't even use this because the kind I bought tasted gross)
8 oz extra sharp white Vermont, cheddar, shredded
2 tsp - 1 T Dijon mustard (adjust according to your tastes)
1 tsp Kosher salt (I added a lot more salt and pepper to taste)
1/4 tsp hot sauce (like Frank's)

In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly.

Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.

Remove sauce pan from heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce.

Return to the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve hot in bowls with spoons.

pei wei's vietnamese salad rolls.

Pei Wei's Vietnamese Salad Rolls from Michelle:

I don't have measurements for any of this. I just eyeballed it. Think of it like a salad with the cabbage as the main ingredient and everything else as the mix-ins.

Rice Wrappers, King Soopers - Asian Aisle (also known as spring roll skins)
Green Leaf Lettuce (or Bib Lettuce)
Napa Cabbage, shredded
Green Onions, chopped
Mint, chopped
Carrots, cut into about 1" matchsticks
Chicken, diced (I used about 6 chicken tenders that had been drizzled with soy sauce, honey, garlic powder and red pepper flakes and then cooked through)
*Pei Wei's have rice noodles in them. I didn't like the consistency when I tried to prepare them, so I leave them out.

Lime Vinaigrette
2 T lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 1/2 tsp water
1 T sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 T oil
Combine everything but oil in a small jar and shake until sugar and salt are dissolved. Then add oil and shake well.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 T brown sugar
4 T peanut butter
1 tsp chipotle Tabasco
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sweet chili sauce (Asian aisle)
1 tsp lime vinaigrette

Mix all salad ingredients except lettuce. Dip rice wrapper in warm water until soft (about 1 minute). Place wrapper on plate. Stack 2 pieces of lettuce in the center. Cover with a large handful of the salad mixture. Drizzle with lime vinaigrette. Then fold the two sides in and roll (like a burrito). Repeat until desired amount of rolls are made. Do not let rolls touch each other, they will stick. Dip in Peanut Sauce and/or Sweet Chili Sauce.

ruth's chris sweet potato casserole.

Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole from Heidi:

For the crust:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1/3 stick butter melted

For the Sweet Potato mixture:
3 cups smashed sweet potatoes (peeled, boiled and mashed)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick butter, (1/2 cup), melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl in the order listed.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.

maggiano's salad.

photo credit

Maggiano's Salad from Jocelyn:

Romaine lettuce
1-2 tomatoes
3 green onions
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup blue cheese

1/8 cup dry mustard
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/8 cup crushed garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
salt to taste

Assemble and dress to your liking.

Friday, May 11, 2012

applebees blondie brownie sundae.

Applebees Blondie Brownie Sundae from Brittany:

1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate (or white chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Add baking powder, baking soda and salt to the already sifted flour. Then sift dry ingredients again. Add chopped nuts and mix well. Set aside.

Add brown sugar to melted butter and mix well. Then add egg and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, until mixed well. Stir in white chocolate chips. Spread out dough in a 9-inch pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Use a toothpick or for to test. Serve warm with ice cream and Sauce.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 T real maple syrup

Combine, microwave for 30 seconds just before serving.

johnny carino's bowtie festival pasta.

Johnny Carino's Bowtie Festival Pasta from Randi:

1 oz. melted butter
1 tsp chopped fresh garlic
1/8 cup diced red onion
1/8 cup cooked bacon
1/4 cup diced roma tomatoes
3 oz sliced cooked chicken
1 oz. heavy (whipping) cream
3 oz. alfredo sauce (recipe follows)
1/8 cup asiago cheese
1/2 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic salt
10 oz. pre-cooked bowtie pasta

1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 T black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk

In a heated saute pan combine butter, garlic, onions, bacon, tomatoes, chicken and spice mixture.

When onions begin to turn translucent, add heavy cream and Asiago cheese.

Once cheese and cream have reduced by half, add Alfredo sauce and bow tie pasta. Toss until well combined and remove from fire. Allow to cool for a few minutes so the cheese and sauce thicken.

Alfredo Sauce:
Saute heavy cream, milk and black pepper to a consistent boil. Remove cream mixture from heat and fold in parmesan cheese. Store completed sauce in refrigerator until use.

fog city diner potatoes gratin.

Fog City Diner Potatoes Gratin from Shalee:

2-3 large russet potatoes
1/4 cup grated asiago cheese (parmesan is good too)
1 cup cream
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 dish. Peel and slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick (it is important that they are cut thin). Rinse in cold water and dry. For each layer, use 1/3 potatoes and lay them out slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with 1/3 cheese and just enough cream to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

jack in the box oreo shake.

Jack in the Box Oreo Shake from Beckie:

3 cups vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cup milk (may want to use a little less)
8 oreo cookies

Combine ice cream and milk in blender and mix on low speed until smooth. Stir shake with a spoon to mix, if needed.

Break Oreo cookies while adding them to blender. Mix on low speed for 5-10 seconds or until cookies are mostly pureed into the shake but a few larger pieces remain. Top with whipped cream.

Makes 2 12-oz shakes


houstons spring vegetable and goat cheese dip.

Houston's Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Dip from Melanie:

1 cup 3/4 inch pieces asparagus
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only)
2 T all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated mild white cheddar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 14 ounce can chopped artichoke hearts in water, drained
1/4 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
2 T chopped fresh chives
2 T chopped fresh mint
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 450 F. Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; let cool.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, unit soft, about 10 minutes. Whisk in flour; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened; remove from heat. Add cheddar; whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold in asparagus (reserve tips), artichoke hearts, peas, chives, mint, flat-leaf parsley, zest and 2 oz. crumbled fresh goat cheese.

Transfer mixture to a 4-5 cup baking dish; arrange asparagus tips on top and dot with another 2 oz. goat cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 15-20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

margaux's curried chicken sandwich {winner!}

Margaux's Curried Chicken Sandwich from Heidi:
Celebrity: Oprah

Makes 6 servings

20 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1/2 lemon
3 lbs medium chicken tenders
1/2 cup plus 2 T spicy brown mustard
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/8 tsp salt
Butter for spreading
1 loaf challah or other rich egg bread, cut into 12 thick slices
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 bag (about 5 ounces) mesclun salad greens
Red grapes and assorted berries for garnish

In a large saucepan over high heat, add peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves, lemon and 14 cups water; cover and bring to a boil. Add chicken and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through; drain. Once cool, quarter each tender crosswise.

In a large bowl, combine mustard, honey, curry powder, lemon pepper and salt; stir in chicken. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.

Butter both sides of bread slices. In a heated nonstick skillet over medium-high flame, cook bread in batches 3 to 5 minutes or until browned, turning once.

Combine carrots and almonds with chicken mixture. Divide chicken curry among 6 bread slices. Top with tomatoes, mesclun and remaining bread slices. Serve with fruit.

lentil soup.

Lentil Soup from Shauna:
Celebrity: Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith Show

1 lb smoked sausage
1 lb lentils
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/8 tsp garlic salt
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
8 cups water
1 (20 ounce) can tomatoes

In a large stock pot, combine all of the ingredients except the tomatoes.

Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes

Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.

roasted purple potatoes.

Roasted Purple Potatoes from Randi:
Celebrity: Catniss Everdeen

2 lb medium purple potatoes (or medium red potatoes), cut into wedges
3 T olive oil
2 T chopped fresh garlic
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, toss potato wedges with oil, garlic and rosemary. On a nonstick baking sheet, bake wedges until crispy brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan; season with salt and pepper; serve warm.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

lemon zest pasta.

Lemon Zest Pasta from Jenni:
Celebrity: Oprah

1 pound spaghetti
1 1/2 cups basil leaves
1 tsp lemon thyme leaves
1 T oregano leaves
2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
2 T butter spread (like Bestlife Buttery Spread)
1/2 tsp truffle salt (or kosher salt)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Blend the herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor. When pasta is al dente, drain and toss with herb mixture, butter spread, truffle salt, and black pepper. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and lemon zest.

strawberry cake.

Strawberry Cake from Jocelyn:
Celebrity: Paula Deen

1 box white cake mix
1 (3 ounce) box strawberry flavored instant gelatin
1 (15 ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
1/2 tsp strawberry extract
7 cups confectioners' sugar
Freshly sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 2 (9 inch) round cake pans.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting:

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract.

Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.


Brownies from Jenn:
Celebrity: Katharine Hepburn

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour an 8 inch square baking pan. 

Melt the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Next, stir in the vanilla extract and eggs. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and chopped nuts (if using).

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These freeze very well.

Makes 16 brownies.

hot corn dip.

Hot Corn Dip from Tamara:
Celebrity: Trisha Yearwood

2 - 11 ounce cans Mexican corn, drained
2 - 4 1/2 ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Corn chips or Crackers for dipping

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. In a medium bowl, mix corn, chiles, cheeses and mayonnaise until fully combined. Spread the mixture in the prepared casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges. Serve the dip warm from the oven with corn chips.

jam cookies.

Jam Cookies from Lauren:
Celebrity: Meryl Streep

1 1/2 cup butter (3 sticks), softened
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup almonds, finely ground
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
Jam or preserves for filling (optional)

In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, cream butter, honey, and vanilla. Add almonds and flours, and mix until well blended. Divide dough into 4 pieces; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On lightly floured waxed paper, roll 1 piece of dough 1/8 inch thick. With 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into hearts; transfer to cookie sheet. Wrap and refrigerate trimmings. If filling cookies with jam, make a shallow thumbprint in center of each cookie, then spoon a dab of jam into each thumbprint.

Bake cookies 12 to 14 minutes or until browned at edges. Let cookies remain on cookie sheet 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

*I added two teaspoons of water with the wet ingredients and an extra 1/4 cup flour for a high altitude adjustment

**I also added 1/4 tsp almond extract with the wet ingredients

bacon wrapped thingies.

Bacon Wrapped Thingies from Michelle:
Celebrity: Ree Drummond (the pioneer woman)

20 whole Fresh Jalapeños, 2-3 inches in size
2 cubes cream cheese, softened
1 bound thin (regular) bacon sliced into thirds

If you have them, slip on some latex gloves for the pepper prep. Cut jalapeños in half, length-wise. WIth a spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane (the source of the heat; leave a little if you like things HOT). Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeño half. Wrap jalapeño with bacon pieces (1/3 slice). Secure by sticking toothpick through the middle.

Bake on a pan with a rack in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. If after 2o minutes the bacon doesn't look brown enough, just turn on the broiler for a couple minutes to finish it off. These are the best when the jalapeño still has a bit of bite to it.

robert redford pudding dessert.

Robert Redford pudding dessert from Brittany:
slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

I've loved this pudding dessert for a long time, when I saw Mel had taken it to the next level, I knew it was meant to be. No more boxed pudding and cool whip for me. It's a little piece of heaven on a plate... in my opinion :)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup four
1 cup finely chopped or blended pecans (or walnuts but I prefer pecans)
You can double this if you really like the crust

Cream Cheese Layer:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 cups heavy whipping cream + 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Pudding Layer:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt, whisking lightly. Whisk in the milk and cream to the sugar until it is smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking or stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is at a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and large bubbles pop at the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Transfer pudding to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin starting to from. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 3 days

Reserved whipped cream and chocolate curls for garnish.


For the crust, preheat oven to 350. Place flour in a medium bowl and cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped nuts. Press into a 9x13 pan and bake 8-10 minutes until set. Allow to cool before proceeding.

For the cream cheese layer, combine the heavy whipping cream and 1/4 cup powdered sugar and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. In another large bowl, whip together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in about 3/4 of the sweetened whip cream and mix until blended, taking care to mix gently so as not to deflate the whipped cream. Set aside both cream cheese mixture and the remaining sweeter whipped cream.

To assemble, spread the whipped cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top the cream cheese layer with the chocolate pudding, spreading all the way to the edges of the pan. Top with the remaining sweetened whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into slices and top with chocolate shavings.