June 30, 2012

Repurposed Recipes

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I love to repurpose recipes.  Chili turns into taco salad;

Margaret's Morsels | Crock-Pot Chili

Nutter Butter cookies become ghosts in October

Margaret's Morsels | Halloween Ghost Cookies

and snowmen in December;

Margaret's Morsels | No Bake Snowman Cookies

Ritz crackers and peanut butter dipped in chocolate coating and decorated for Christmas

Margaret's Morsels | Chocolate Covered Ritz Cracker Cookies

get a makeover for patriotic holidays.

Margaret's Morsels | Chocolate Covered Ritz Cracker Cookies

Instead of dipping the crackers in chocolate coating, I dip them in vanilla coating instead.  The white color makes the perfect background for red, white and blue sprinkles.  If you prefer, Oreos can be substituted for the Ritz crackers and peanut butter.  Click here to find step by step directions for making these tasty treats.

© Margaret's Morsels

June 22, 2012

A Sizzling Summer Side

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Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

Parts of the country are already in the throes of a heat wave and it's only the third day of summer!  When it's sizzling outside, beat the heat and serve food that can be eaten cold.

Coleslaw, better known as slaw, is a great warm weather side.  It's delicious served with a variety of meat, doesn't require any cooking, can be made ahead of time and, best of all, it's cold.

In its most basic form, slaw is nothing more than shredded cabbage mixed with a dressing.  Most versions call for additional ingredients such as vegetables and seasonings.  Some versions even include apples and pineapple.

Although the ingredients run the gamut, the dressing falls into two distinct categories:  vinegar or creamy.  The former is made with vinegar and other seasonings while the latter is made with dairy products such as milk or sour cream.

My mother's slaw recipe used equal parts of vinegar and mayonnaise.  It was creamy, but with the flavor of vinegar.  My husband didn't care for the vinegar taste so I found another recipe that we all love.

The original recipe called for a head of grated cabbage.  I used to grate the cabbage, but wised up a few years ago and started buying a package of angel hair coleslaw mix instead.  If you use a mix that doesn't contain carrots and you'd like them in the slaw, finely grate a medium carrot or several baby carrots and add to the mixture.

The dressing for this slaw definitely falls into the creamy category.  It doesn't use one dairy product, but two:  milk and buttermilk.  The dairy products are whisked together with sugar, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, white vinegar and lemon juice.  Normally, I'm a fan of apple cider vinegar, but this is one time I use white vinegar.  Apple cider vinegar would make the dressing too strong.

Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

The cabbage is added and the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

The slaw needs to be made and refrigerated at least two hours before serving.  I think it's best made a day ahead of time.  This gives the slaw time to get cold plus it allows the flavors to blend.

My mother always served slaw with pot roast, but I like to serve it with baked salmon patties or meat loaf.  I still have to heat up the kitchen, but at least there's one less dish to cook.

Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

4 to 6 Servings

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 (10 oz.) pkg. angel hair coleslaw mix or 1 head cabbage, finely grated
1 medium carrot or several baby carrots, finely grated (if desired) 

Whisk the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl.  Stir in the cabbage and carrots, mixing well.  Cover and refrigerate.  This is best made one day ahead of time.

© Margaret's Morsels 

June 16, 2012

Doughnuts for Dad

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Margaret's Morsels | Baked Mini Doughnuts

Last year, I posted a muffin recipe for Mother's Day.  Father's Day is Sunday so I thought I'd stick with alliteration and post a doughnut recipe for dad.  The recipe is easy -- you don't even need an electric mixer -- and chances are you have the ingredients on hand.  Unlike the muffin recipe, the doughnuts don't start with a cake mix, but like the muffins they're baked in the oven.  If you don't have a mini doughnut pan, bake them as mini muffins, but keep in mind the quantity and baking time may differ.   

Baking is a science which is why recipes for baked goods need to be made as directed.  That said, there is a little leeway in this recipe.  The recipe is flavored with cinnamon, but you change the spice to suit your taste.  My family loves cinnamon so I increased the amount to one teaspoon.  If you're using another spice, you might need to reduce the amount so it won't be too overpowering.  

You may not be able to alter the recipe, but you have choices when it comes to the topping.  You can leave the doughnuts plain or brush the tops with a powdered sugar glaze.  If you use a glaze, you also have the option of decorating the top with sprinkles.

Margaret's Morsels | Baked Mini Doughnuts

Other possibilities include dusting the tops with powdered sugar or, what I use, a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Margaret's Morsels | Baked Mini Doughnuts

Whichever topping you choose, make sure to have it ready before you start baking the doughnuts.

Once the ingredients are combined, spoon the batter into a disposable pastry bag.  Snip off a corner of the bag and pipe the batter into a greased mini doughnut pan, filling each cavity 2/3 full.

Margaret's Morsels | Baked Mini Doughnuts

The doughnuts only take about 5 minutes to bake.  Don't rely on the color to tell when the doughnuts are done; the tops don't get very brown.  The doughnuts are done when they start pulling away from the sides of the pan and the tops spring back when touched.  If you're not sure, insert a toothpick into a doughnut.  If the toothpick comes out clean, the doughnuts are done.

Margaret's Morsels | Baked Mini Doughnuts

Remove the doughnuts from the pan and add the desired topping.  Put the doughnuts top side up on a wire rack to cool completely.  Be sure to grease the pan before baking the next batch of doughnuts.

In addition to gifts of tools, gadgets or gizmos, give dad a gift from the kitchen.  If you use the doughnut recipe, but bake them as muffins, think of them as muffins for your man.  If your man prefers "dude food," fix him a grilled steak instead.  They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but it's also a good way to show him how much you care.   

Baked Mini Doughnuts
42 Servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (for topping)
cinnamon sugar (for topping)

Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.  Combine 2 tablespoons melted margarine with milk, sugar and egg; beat with a whisk until smooth.  Add mixture to flour mixture and stir until well blended. Spoon or pipe the dough into greased mini doughnut pans, filling each cavity 2/3 full.  Bake at 375° for 5 minutes.  Remove doughnuts from pan and brush with 1/4 cup melted margarine.  Coat the tops of the doughnuts with cinnamon sugar.  Put doughnuts top side up on a cooling rack and cool completely.

© Margaret's Morsels

June 12, 2012

National Peanut Butter Cookie Day

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Margaret's Morsels | Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Today is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day.  In case you missed it, here's the blog I posted last year with an award winning peanut butter cookie recipe.

© Margaret's Morsels

June 7, 2012

A Recipe in Persistence

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Margaret's Morsels | Chicken Alfredo

Every recipe I post is a tried and true family favorite, affectionately known in our house as a "keeper."  Some keepers I've been making for years while others are new additions.  A few became keepers without any changes, deletions or additions, but most recipes require some tweaking. No keeper underwent more tweaking than the recipe I'm sharing today.

My son loves chicken alfredo and, although I've made it for years, he never liked my version.  A few years ago, I found a recipe for chicken alfredo that sounded so good, I went to the grocery and bought the ingredients so I could cook it that night.

I had to tweak the recipe before I even went to the grocery.  The original version called for broccoli, a vegetable my son will not eat.  I omitted the broccoli and prepared the rest of the recipe as directed.  It was good, but it needed more tweaking.  Two years and half a dozen versions later, I ended up with a recipe my family deemed a keeper.

In addition to omitting broccoli, I changed the chicken from boiled -- too bland -- to rotisserie; added salt and pepper; reduced the amount of milk; changed the assembly and cooking directions.  Two of the biggest changes -- using ziti instead of egg noodles and the addition of Mozzarella cheese -- were suggested by my son.

While the ziti is cooking, combine cream of chicken soup with milk, cubed rotisserie chicken, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and Mozzarella cheese.  

Margaret's Morsels | Chicken Alfredo

Drain the ziti and add it to the soup mixture; stir well to combine the ingredients.

Margaret's Morsels | Chicken Alfredo

Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish and bake until hot and bubbly.

Margaret's Morsels | Chicken Alfredo

Since I don't add broccoli to the mixture, I steam fresh broccoli to serve either on the side

Margaret's Morsels | Chicken Alfredo

or on top of a serving.

Margaret's Morsels | Chicken Alfredo

Normally, I wouldn't be so persistent with a recipe, but I knew I could turn this tasty dish from good into a keeper.  Thank goodness most recipes don't require this much tweaking!  

Chicken Alfredo
4 Servings

1/2 (8 oz.) pkg. ziti
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Mozzarella cheese

Cook ziti according to package directions; drain.  Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine soup, milk, chicken, Parmesan, salt, pepper and Mozzarella. Add ziti; stir to combine ingredients.  Pour mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole dish.  Bake at 400° for 30 to 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.

© Margaret's Morsels