Friday, March 22, 2013

Mini Tartlets

 photo 5E002740-E570-4F75-83E5-32E997F009C7-560-0000006AC91A9397_zpsd3cacc48.jpgFor a light and attractive dessert serve family or guests an assortment of mini tarts. Sometimes after a large meal, just a little sweet something satisfies a sweet tooth.  

Tartlet tins come in a variety of shapes, and sometimes you can find vintage tins in thrift stores, as I did. Sites like Amazon carry them, too.  You could also use a mini muffin tin.

Bring your creativity to possible fillings. I simply use jams, jellies, or pudding, however here's other suggestions:

   Melted white or dark chocolate, Nutella, lemon curd, canned pie filling, fresh sliced fruit, or peanut butter.

Tartlets could also be used to hold ingredients for appetizers at a buffet table.

Baked tartlets can be stacked and frozen in plastic containers, which makes them handy for a quick dessert or snack.

Mini Tartlets (Makes 24)
For the dough:
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick
1 cup of flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Stir in flour until blended and a soft dough forms. Chill at least 1 hour. 

 photo 0F4E86BD-E1B1-4663-92D2-8ED9DCC8D987-560-0000006E79502C78_zpsc10a613e.jpgShape dough into 24 one-inch balls and press into ungreased 1-1/2 inch mini-muffin cups or tartlet tins to make a shallow shell. 

Use thumb and index finger to press ball evenly in and around tins. Prick the bottom with a tooth pick or fork. Place tins on a sheet pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is light brown. 

Take out and remove tarts to cool on a wire rack, then fill with a few teaspoons of your favorite filling/s.

Estimated cost for dough: $1.24 or less; .05 cents a tart or less.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Banana Dessert Sauce

 photo D23DA3EB-712C-405D-9C10-7D8DBB109DEF-560-00000073250BB271_zps82d6b0d0.jpgMy great aunt Mildred served this banana treat whenever I stayed for a weekend visit with my cousin back in the 1950s. The taste is similar to a butterscotch or caramel sauce, but has its own unique  flavor. 

We also use it on ice cream, or drizzled over pound cake or other fruit. I guarantee kids will love it!  Mine did.

One banana sliced into dessert cups serves two, so once the sauce is made and stored in the refrigerator,  it's handy for a quick dessert topping.

Banana Dessert Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 Tabs. vinegar
1 egg
3 Tabs. water
2 sliced bananas
chopped peanuts

 photo 0F4E91CB-F600-420D-982A-FC0199001209-139-0000000548D00A13_zps599c2594.jpg

In a bowl, mix and blend sugar, egg, vinegar and water.  Bring mixture to a slow boil in a saucepan, stirring constantly to blend as it bubbles up.

Banana Sauce photo 9275E7CB-B3B1-4515-AC7D-C09998C3F2E8-560-00000072AFBFD4C6_zps7dca08af.jpgDo not burn. Remove from heat and cool. Drizzle a few spoonfuls over slice bananas, then sprinkle the top with chopped peanuts and a little more sauce. Makes about a cup.

Store extra in a jar in the refrigerator. Serves 4 or more.

Estimated cost: .50 cents or less for a cup of sauce.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Italian Stuffed Onions

Stuffed Onion photo D8FADE8E-6D7D-426E-A6E5-B96200C4CE50-3599-000005E8988EAC6D_zps9aa16137.jpg
Stuffed onions offer a flavorful side dish with any meat entree.  A variety of stuffing can be used, with a little imagination! 

Make them like stuffed green peppers with ground beef, tomatoes, rice and cheese, poultry stuffing mix, or other combinations of minced veggies, meat, and cheese.  

I like them stuffed with an onion, cheese, and a green pepper mixture with Italian herb flavors.

They're tasty by themselves, but if serving with a meat dish in which you make gravy, drizzle them with gravy at serving time   

One onion with a salad could serve as a meal by itself; or if halved at serving time, provide two ample side dish servings.

Stuffed Onion photo 6C2B26B8-9F00-41DE-97CC-20A542248720-3599-000005DE67F386FE_zps022f71b9.jpgItalian Stuffed Onions
4 large sweet onions, Vidalia or Spanish
1/4 cup butter
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, or cheese of choice
1/3 cup Italian  bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. mixed Italian dry herbs
2 Tabs. of olive oil
Stuffed Onion photo B84ED85F-55B3-4583-9D49-212799CE33E3-3599-000005DE7BF35973_zps6cbb0ec4.jpgsalt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Trim top and bottom of onions, about a half inch so onions rest flat.  Peel and core center with a small paring knife removing about 1/3 of inner onion. Save core for stuffing.  

Boil onions in water until tender but not mushy (about 10-15 minutes) or microwave about 4-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

Saute diced onion cores, green pepper and garlic in butter, until soft then cool. Mix with cheese, seasoning and bread crumbs, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Use mixture to fill onion cavity and to cover tops.
Stuffed Onion photo A6AA3DCF-F92A-4215-A8CF-FAD33F708EAE-3599-000005E87FAF8EBC_zps9e511c5f.jpg
Set in an oven proof dish. Sprinkle tops with additional breadcrumbs, cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 oven for 20-30 minutes or until tops are browned.  

Depending on size of onions, one large onion may be cut in half to serve two.  Drizzle with sauce or gravy if you've made it with your main meat entree. Serves 4 to 8, depending on size of onions.

Estimated cost: $2.40 or less; .60 a serving or less.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Orange and Onion Salad

Orange Salad photo 7243A698-4B5C-4016-A8A9-30DA909CC8A8-560-0000005B53662629_zps9df9c756.jpgThis offers a fast, easy, and attractive salad.  It was first served to me at a dinner party decades ago.  Over the years I've often served it for family or guests.

 It makes a colorful presentation with a delightful combination of flavors. Who'd ever think onions and oranges would go together?

We eat salad every night with our meals, so I'm always trying to offer a variety during the week.  It can be assembled on individual plates or layered in a large bowl to pass around.

I've also made a large bowl for potluck luncheons and picnics. One medium to large orange serves two people, but if your oranges are small, allow one per person.

The recipe offers flexibility, if you want to add more or less onion or Craisins. Most of the time I "eyeball" all ingredients."  Measurements listed below don't have to be exact.

Orange Salad photo B1648BFF-73C5-4703-B2E8-81A915408BFC-560-0000005B3B46D24D_zpsccbb1e72.jpg
Orange and Onion Salad
2 medium to large size oranges peeled and sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
layer of spring mix lettuce or torn Romaine lettuce, or baby spinach leafs
1/2 cup Craisins (optional)
1/3 cup Italian dressing

Arrange lettuce in bottom of a large bowl. Peel oranges and slice into about 1/4-inch rounds and layer in bowl.  Add thinly sliced onions, sprinkle in Craisins, then drizzle with Italian dressing, gently tossing to coat all ingredients.

Or for individual salad plates, arrange lettuce on plates, then add orange and onion slices and top with Craisins. Drizzle with Italian dressing. Serves 4.

Estimated cost:  $1.20 or less; .30 cents a serving or less.