Friday, July 23, 2010

Stew and Biscuits and Cookies OH MY

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Tonight I decided to go all out and make every aspect of dinner from scratch...let me just say...I'm exhausted and have a whole new respect for people like my sister who have 2 kids and still manage to put a home-cooked meal on the table every night and have the energy left to actually enjoy eating it! I have no idea how you people do it.

Tonight's dinner included a savory pork stew, cheddar biscuits and chocolate cannoli creme cookies. I had never made biscuits of any kind before and was really excited to give it a try.

Savory Pork Stew

- 1 lb. red potatoes (cut into 2" chunks)
- 3 carrots (cut into 2" chunks)
- 2 stalks of celery (cut into 2" chunks)
- 3 gloves of garlic (smashed and roughly chopped)
- 1" piece of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 lbs. pork sirloin chops (cubed like stew meat)
- 1 tsp. rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic and ginger in a slow cooker. Toss in half the flour and season liberally with salt and pepper, then scatter the bay leaves over the vegetables.

2. Place the pork in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the rest of the flour, salt and pepper, rosemary and allspice until well coated. Then layer on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.

3. Cover the pork with the tomatoes, add 2 cups of water then cover and cook on "high" for 6-7 hours. When ready to serve, discard the bay leaves and serve in bowls.

This next recipe is for "Almost Famous Cheddar Biscuits" featured in Food Network Magazine as a rip-off recipe of Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits and I have to say it was right on! And incredibly easy...can't wait to make these again - they were a big hit with the family!

Almost-Famous Cheddar Biscuits


- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. vegetable shortening (room temp)
- 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 1/4 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cups whole milk

Garlic Butter:
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic (smashed and roughly chopped)
- 1 tsp. chopped parsley (fresh or dried)

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray (or use a silicone mat - that's what I did).

2. Make the biscuits: Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together until just combined. Then add the shortening. Once combined, add the butter and mix on low until it is in pea-sized pieces. Then add the cheese, mixing gently. Once the mix comes together add the milk until just moistened and forms a shaggy dough.

3. Turn out the dough onto a clean and lightly floured surface, gently kneading until it just comes together. I hardly had to knead at all - you don't want to "overknead", as this will make your biscuits tough!

4. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet in about 1/4 cup portions, keeping the dough loose - about 2" apart. Bake until golden on top - about 12-15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the garlic butter. Melt the butter with the garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. when completely melted, remove from heat and stir in parsley. Brush the biscuits with the butter and serve warm.

The last recipe is for Chocolate Cannoli Sandwich Cookies. I adapted the original recipe and omitted the nuts coating the outside of the cookies - but they still were a big hit! The original recipe called for marscapone cheese in the filling, but as much as I love my family and making desserts I wasn't about to pay $6 for a tiny tub of cheese to make one dessert!


- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temp.
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. whole milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream (whipped until soft peaks form)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla

1. Make the cookies - beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until creamy, then beat in the milk and vanilla until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda together before slowly adding them into the butter mixture and beating until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

2. Scoop the dough onto a sheet of wax paper and shape into a 2" log. Then wrap it in wax paper and refrigerate at least 2 hours. My sister-in-law decided she was going to eat the whole thing raw!

3. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Slice the dough into 1/3 inch rounds with a sharp knife. My "log" wasn't completely round (flat on the bottom), so I wrapped wax paper around the bottom of a drinking glass and pressed the cookies into rounds before placing on the baking sheet. These cookies don't spread when they bake, so you can place them fairly close together.

4. Bake them for 10 minutes and let them cool slightly before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Then make the filling...combine cream cheese and sugar until well mixed, then add in the vanilla. Beat until completely combined and creamy.

5. Then fold in the whipped cream and gently combine until mixture is smooth and creamy. Layer about a 1/2 inch of filling between two cookies to "sandwich" them and place them covered in the fridge until ready to eat.

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