Constant Growing Amazement Cooks!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mexican Wedding Cookies

A month or so ago, we were invited to dinner  at someone's house.  Finally last week I took them a thank-you- chips and homemade salsa and a Mud Pie spoon.  The other day, Barb, returned my bowl (it was not to be returned) filled with Mexican Wedding Cookies!  We keep thanking back and forth.  Now I have to think of something to put back in the bowl to thank her!!!!

I had forgotten how much I like these cookies!

Mexican Wedding Cookies

1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4-1/2 cup extra powdered sugar for rolling cookies

Directions: (Preheat oven to 350 degrees)
Cream butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla together until fluffy.  Add the flour slowly and when all combined add the finely chopped pecans.  Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and bake for 12-14 minutes until the bottoms are lightly golden brown.  Cool on a rack for several minutes and then roll the cooked cookies into the extra 1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie Comfort

I have been obsessed with these:
  While I was down and out with my broken back, I watched a heck of a lot of cooking shows- one  host was making apple slab pie with a cutout crust.  I LOVED it and have been dreaming of cutouts.  I decided  they would be perfect for a chicken pot pie...and they were!

I didn't have potatoes today (I used them all yesterday making pomme frites with andoulouse dipping sauce) but filled the pie with frozen corn, peas and carrots and also broccoli and cauliflower.  My hubby, of course, immediately suspicious, picked out all the cauliflower (I've tried to pass them off as potatoes before...) and I also used rotisserie chicken.

Chicken Pot Pie Comfort


  • 2 cups diced peeled potatoes (not this time!) 
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 bag frozen broccoli and cauliflower
  • 1/2 bag frozen corn                          
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion or leeks 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. basil                          
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3-4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 (14.1 ounces) refrigerated pie pastry

I sautéed sliced leeks (because I had them and was trying to use them up) in a cube of butter until they were nice and caramelized.  To that I added the flour, thyme and basil, s and p.  I then added the milk and chicken broth, and added the frozen vegetable that I pre-cooked in the microwave (and drained.)  Normally I would use potatoes but I love it either way.  I cut some pre-made crust the same size as the bottom of my dish- filled it up with the chicken and veggies and then went topping crazy with the cutouts.  So much fun!  I brushed the leaves with beaten egg before baking it all at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. 

Chicken, Leek and Brie Pie

I've been wanting to play a little with puff pastry...and found this recipe that I had tabbed on Pinterest.  I used diced rotisserie chicken and it worked.  However, I think the recipe lacked a little surprise....and I've decided that next time I'll add some diced tart apples to the chicken mixture or some apple butter. Or cranberries.  It was fun to make and would be a good appetizer or to accompany fall soup.

Chicken, Leek and Brie Pie

2 large square sheets puff pastry
  • 1 oz (25g) butter
  • 1 leek thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 14 oz (400g) skinless chicken breast diced into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 3.5 oz (100g) brie thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped (I used dry)
  • 1 free-range egg lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • Instructions
    1. Thaw pastry on bench and heat oven to 390 (200C) and line a cookie tray with parchment paper.
    2. In a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and cook down the garlic and leek for around 8 minutes until soft. Add chicken and cook through.
    3. Add the wine and stock to the saucepan and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Season with salty and pepper.
    4. In a small bowl mix together the cornflour and water to create a paste. Add this to the chicken mixture along with the chopped parsley. Mix through and remove from heat.
    5. Take the first sheet of the puff pastry and place on a cutting board. Leaving a 1 ½ inch boarder around all sides make about 8 evenly spaced slits along the width of the pastry sheet.
    6. Place the second sheet on the cookie tray and spoon the chicken mixture into the center. Spread the mixture out, leaving a 1 ½ inch boarder. Place the slices of brie on top. With a pastry brush (or your finger), brush some of the beaten egg around this boarder. Place the first sheet on top of the second, press down the boarder with your fingers and brush the egg over the top of the pie. Sprinkle parsley on top.
    7. Cook for around 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

    recipe by:

    Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach and Bacon Chicken

      I'm thinking about this dish for our next Bon Appetit dinner.  I really liked it- I especially loved the creamed spinach.  I confess I did forget the half and half at the store- so I substituted some chicken stock and about 2 oz. of cream cheese.  It worked! 

      Sun-dried Tomato, Spinach and Bacon Chicken

    • 4 small chicken breasts or 2 large chicken breasts, halved
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • Italian Dressing mix (half the packet)

    • Creamed spinach
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2/3 cup half and half
    • 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Other ingredients
    • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil, chopped into smaller bites
    • 4 slices bacon, cooked
    • 4 slices of pepper jack cheese (Monterey cheese with jalapenos)

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
    2. Butter the bottom of the baking dish. Season chicken breasts from both sides with the Italian salad dressing mix. Place the chicken breasts, flat side down, into the greased baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 F.
    3. In the mean time, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add spinach and cook for only 1 or 2 minutes until it is heated through and starts to wilt. Remove from heat. Add minced garlic and half and half. Bring to boil. Add shredded mozzarella cheese and keep stirring, on high heat, until mozzarella cheese starts to melt - about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to simmer and keep stirring until you have a nice, smooth creamed spinach - about 30 seconds or 1 more minutes. The creamed spinach should be pretty thick in texture, not watery. If watery, bring to boil again and cook off extra liquid, constantly stirring. Season with salt. Remove from heat.
    4. Remove the baking pan with chicken breasts from the oven (you baked them for 15-20 minutes). Top each chicken breast with creamed spinach, sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil and chopped into smaller bites), chopped cooked bacon, and broken slices of pepper jack cheese. Bake in the oven, uncovered for 15-20 more minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through, no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016

    Blueberry Almond Shortbread Tart

    Okay!  Winner winner chicken dinner!!!!  This dessert is fabulous!  Friend and neighbor Cari (the consummate baker!) made this tart for a get together last night.  Died and gone to heaven.  Or as hubby said - his favorites are anything lemon or banana or coconut (all of which she made last night as well)- and this dessert even topped them!

    It is a little time consuming but so worth the effort.  You need a spring form pan and a food processor makes it a lot easier.

    I served it with a coconut gelato and a bit of blueberry sauce for garnish.

    Blueberry Almond Shortbread Tart

    Shortbread Tart Dough

    1 recipe below

    Almond Filling

    1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    1 egg
    1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
    1 Tbsp. vanilla
    3 cups fresh blueberries

    Crumb Topping

    3/4 cup cold butter
    3/4 cup all purpose flour
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 cup sliced almonds

    Preheat oven to 350

    Prepare one recipe of Shortbread Tart Dough.  Gently press it evenly into a 1/4 thick shell on the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of a 10-inch spring form cake pan.  Line a small tart tin with the remaining dough.  Wrap the small tart shell in plastic and freeze to use at another time.  Place the unbaked shell onto a sheet pan and set aside.

    Almond Filling

    Finely grind the almonds with the sugar in a food processor.  Add the butter, eggs, flour and vanilla and process briefly again to mix well.  Spread the almond filling into the prepared crust.  Top the almond filling with the blueberries.

    To Prepare the Crumb Topping

    Cut the cold butter into small pieces and place into aa food processor.  Add the flour, brown sugar and the cinnamon.  Process briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the almonds and process briefly again.  Be sure not to over process.  The mixture should remain crumbly.  Pile the streusel toppings onto the top of the tart.

    To Bake

    Bake the tart on he sheet pan or baking sheet in the fuly preheated oven for about 1 hour or until the tart crust starts to turn golden and the filling is set around the edges.  A knife inserted into the center should come out clean.  Remove from the sheet pan and cool to warm before removing from the pan for serving.

    Marilyn's notes:  My tart pans are 8"- and I found there was enough filling to do two tarts albeit one a little less full than the other.  Tons of the streusel topping left over- would be perfect for a cobbler for another time.  I used one grocery box of blueberries for my two smaller tarts.

    Rainbow Slaw

    Oh so marvelous Rainbow Slaw-  made by Valene for our own Bon Appetit dinner.  I LOVED IT!  The dressing isn't heavy and it is such a nice change from regular slaw!


    Servings: Makes about 8 cups
    • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
    • 1 small green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
    • 1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
    • 2 medium carrots, peeled, grated
    • 1 small yam (red-skinned sweet potato), peeled, grated
    • 1 large unpeeled Fuji apple, cored, grated
    • 1 large unpeeled Golden Delicious apple, cored, grated
    • 1 medium-size green pepper, cored, seeded, thinly sliced
    • 3 green onions, finely chopped
    • Paprika



    • Whisk mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and maple syrup in small bowl. Place green cabbage and next 7 in very large bowl. Pour dressing over; toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Chill.
    • Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

    Char-Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Three-Herb Chimichurri


    Spice Rub

    • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder or ancho chile powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Chimichurri sauce

    • 3/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2 medium shallots, peeled, quartered
    • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
    • 3 cups (packed) stemmed fresh parsley
    • 2 cups (packed) stemmed fresh cilantro
    • 1 cup (packed) stemmed fresh mint

    Beef tenderloin

    • 1 3 1/2-pound beef tenderloin
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil


    Spice rub

    • Combine all ingredients in small bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

    Chimichurri sauce

    • Combine first 8 ingredients in blender; blend until almost smooth. Add 1/4 of parsley, 1/4 of cilantro, and 1/4 of mint; blend until incorporated. Add remaining herbs in 3 more additions, pureeing until almost smooth after each addition. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover; chill.

    Beef tenderloin

    • Let beef stand at room temperature 1 hour.
    • Prepare barbecue (high heat). Pat beef dry with paper towels; brush with oil. Sprinkle all over with spice rub, using all of mixture (coating will be thick). Place beef on grill; sear 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium-high. Grill uncovered until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of beef registers 130°F for medium-rare, moving beef to cooler part of grill as needed to prevent burning, and turning occasionally, about 40 minutes. Transfer to platter; cover loosely with foil and let rest 15 minutes. Thinly slice beef crosswise. Serve with chimichurri sauce.