Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mango Bars

If you like lemon bars then you'll love this tropical alternative. Made with mango and topped with coconut this bar has a great blend of flavors. Enjoy!

Mango Bars

1/2 cup macadamia nuts
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1 medium mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 cup flaked coconut

Place nuts in a food processor; cover and process until finely chopped. Add 2 cups flour, confectioners' sugar and salt; cover and process until blended. Add butter; pulse just until mixture is crumbly. Press into an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a clean food processor, combine mango and orange marmalade; cover and process until smooth. Add sugar and remaining flour; process until combined. Add eggs and lemon peel; process just until combined. Pour over crust and sprinkle with coconut. Bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars and serve, refrigerating leftovers.

Originally Dished in the April/May 2011 Taste of Home magazine.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Turkey Mini Meatloaves

My sister-in-law has a great meal tradition of cooking with beans or lentils twice a week. I love this idea of meatless meals more often. Not only is it less expensive but it's healthier. This recipe unfortunately isn't meatless but the addition of kidney beans stretched the meal allowing for more leftovers and better health.  I love to cook a large amount of beans and freeze them in individual ziploc bags. This is how I had the idea to pull out these kidney beans and add them to our average-joe barbecue meatloaf meal. What I really like about using ground turkey instead of ground beef (besides the flavor) is the amount of moisture the meat retains. Even with the loaves cooked individually they each retained a great amount of moisture.

Ground Turkey Mini-Meat Loaves
an original recipe by Jayne at The Dish List

1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup bell peppers
1 garlic clove
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Saute the bell peppers and diced onion in the olive oil until onions become translucent.  Add the garlic to the onion mixture the last minute. Remove from pan and place in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Spray a mini loaf baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and fill each mini-loaf with the ground turkey mixture until it is rounded on top. (The meat will cook and shrink.) Bake 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Breakfast with Coconut Manna & Superfruit Juice

As a child I grew up with a father who loved to cook breakfast. My dad makes the most fabulous waffles topped with fresh strawberries that he would usually buy after making a special trip early in the morning to a nearby strawberry farm. These gourmet waffles or strawberry shortcake meals were usually Saturday morning breakfasts and the rest of the week included a warm bowl of oatmeal.  My dad instilled a love of warm home-cooked breakfasts in me and I'm hoping to do the same with my kids.

We like to include cooked cereal in our weekly meal plans but it can get a little boring. I was excited to receive some Coconut Manna from Swanson Vitamins and thought it was the perfect addition to our morning hot cereals. This creamy organic coconut delivers fiber, protein and nourishing fats as well as great taste.  There are lots of other uses for liquid coconut like desserts, dressings and sauces. Plus, anything named "manna" has got to be good. Right?
Another morning routine we're trying is Maqui SuperFruit Antioxidant Juice.  Maqui has been enhanced with acai, pomegranate, blueberry and raspberry juices. According to Swanson's website, "the exceptional free radical fighting properties associated with maqui can be attributed to stores of naturally-occurring anthocyanins - a powerful class of antioxidants that have been shown highly effective in quenching free radicals." My girls love fruit smoothies even if they're green from the addition of spinach. To make them a little more healthy I'm adding a few tablespoons of Maqui. Doesn't it feel great starting your morning with healthy food?

*Other bloggers can receive products from Swanson to review by contacting

I was not compensated for this post although I did receive product samples to facilitate my review.  Any and all opinions are my own.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Best Homemade Granola Ever!

Rolled oats are a great way to start your morning. I'm okay with eating oatmeal and grew up with a dad who LOVES it and cooked it often. (Best oatmeal combo in my opinion includes coconut flakes and dried pineapple tidbits. No added sweeteners needed.) My kids are also pretty good at eating their morning oatmeal including little Miss. Picky-pants who ate her bowl with dried blueberries this morning. I'm not complaining 'cause we all know the healthy value of eating our oats but oatmeal can get a little boring. To add variety to our oat breakfasts I've also made many a granola recipe. Granola is great as cereal, over yogurt, by the handful, etc. I like granola but I've never been one to desperately want a bowl of it or eat it by the handful as a snack until I made this recipe. Oh. my. goodness. This granola is A-mazing! I especially love the large coconut curls that toast as you bake the oats. Mmmm. I think these coconut chips are the secret recipe that makes the granola so delicious.  Our gallon ziplock bag of this granola was gone in 3 days. Even the painters who were here the morning I baked this cinnamon treat were asking what it was because the smell was so heavenly.

The best part of this granola recipe is that ANYONE can make it. Really. Making granola is the easiest thing since boiling water. It's healthy, easy to make and delicious. What more can you ask for?

Cranberry Coconut Granola
an original recipe by Jayne at The Dish List

8 cups rolled oats
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups coconut
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large 11x14 rectangular pan with cooking spray. Mix together oats, pecans, coconut, cranberries, nutmeg and cinnamon. Measure the oil, honey and brown sugar in a microwavable dish or saucepan. Microwave (or cook on the stovetop) until melted. Add the vanilla and pour over the oat mixture. Spread mixture evenly in pan and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Be sure to store in an airtight container.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

Baking the perfect cupcake is harder than it sounds. First, the cake consistency needs to be moist and light and packed with flavor. Second, I love a little surprise in the middle of the cake whether it's cream, jelly, chocolate, etc. Third, good frosting is a must. This chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed cupcake recipe meets all these criteria. The cake batter made from scratch is delicious and I love biting into it and getting the surprise of uncooked (eggless) cookie dough in the middle.

One trick I read that helps cupcakes retain their moisture is to immediately remove the cake from the pan after baking and placing it in a sealed container to let them steam while cooling. I tried this on half of my cupcakes and it really does create a much moister cake. The only problem I found was that the liners began to sweat themselves off the cakes. Some cakes didn't lose their liners possibly because the batter was filled all the way to the rim of the paper. I tried removing the cakes before they completely cooled and this seemed to somewhat help prevent the loss of paper. Next time I think I'll try another trick of using a large ice cream scoop to make your cupcakes more uniform in size and hopefully tall enough to avoid losing their paper.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

• 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
• 4 large eggs
• 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 1 cup milk
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 cup chocolate chips

• Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
• Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula and mix by hand.
• Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
• 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• ¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

•To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
• To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture. You can be generous with the cookie dough mixture.

For the frosting:
• 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
• ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
• 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ¾ tsp. salt
• 3 tbsp. milk
• 2½ tsp. vanilla extract

• To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in the confectioners sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.
• Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips and topping with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration.
(*My Notes: This makes a lot of frosting but if you're using a pastry bag you'll need all of it.)

Decoration Ideas:
• Tiny chocolate chip cookies
• Mini chocolate chips
• Chocolate shavings

Who Dished it first? Fox News

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

Cream pies are my go-to favorite. At Thanksgiving I skip the traditional pumpkin and pecan and head straight to the creamies. Banana cream was a previous favorite but this sweet pie is puttin' up a fight for #1 in my book.  The cream has a great pudding consistency but what really sets this apart from other coconut creams is the meringue. Most coconut creams are topped with a whipped cream topping but this meringue is light and toasty like a marshmallow. I also love that the egg yolks used in the cream leave egg whites to be used and the meringue takes care of that. (I hate leftover egg yolks or whites.)

Coconut Cream Pie

1 blind-baked 9-inch pastry shell
2 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for egg whites
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups toasted coconut
1 Tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a saucepan, whisk the 2 cups of the milk and 3/4 cup sugar together. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks together. Temper the hot milk into the egg yolks. Whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk mixture. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk, making a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the hot milk mixture. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the filling is thick, about 4 to 6 minutes. Fold in the vanilla, coconut, and butter. Mix well. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and cool the pie completely. Using an electric mixer with a whip attachment, whip the egg white to soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and whip the egg white to stiff peaks. Spread the egg whites over the top of the pie. Place the pie in the oven for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.
Recipe courtesy of Emeril on the Food Network.

Hawaiian Pineapple Relish

We're settled in our new house and enjoying the back yard already. Saturday we had some friends over for a cookout as a farewell to a good "bro" (brother) of ours. (Malosi and the rest of the Te'o family: you'll be missed! Enjoy playing for the "Cougs" in Provo!) In order to jazz up our hot dog meal plan I made this pineapple relish. FYI: our Hawai'ian friend told us that a true Hawai'ian doesn't eat a dog with a bun. He then proceeded to inform me that he could eat the entire bowl of relish if I let him. A cook always loves that kind of compliment. The picture isn't fantabulous because it was served on a paper plate and photographed with an iPhone but my daughter picked this bright pink bloom that I think sets off the colors of the pineapple relish nicely.

Pineapple Relish

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced sweet onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups finely diced fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil onion and green pepper. Saute until the vegetables are soft. Add the pineapple, the salt and the pepper. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, until the liquid reduces, about 30 minutes.
Deglaze the saucepan with the vinegar and add the lime zest, mustard and garlic. Cook uncovered over low heat until the liquid is reduced again, about 20 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl, let cool then refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. Aloha!
Adapted from the Food Network
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