Beef and Sausage WonTon Cups

“Blaise the Baker” is COOKING! Ha! 😉

Today’s recipe is inspired by a dear friend and family member. Her name is Paula and she’s a sweetheart. I won’t use her last name because I don’t have her permission! Ha! Plus, I will respect her privacy. But…those in my family reading this – will know who I’m talking about.

I’ve always loved wonton cups and I find these simply incredible! They don’t need much improvement, but I changed them a little to suit my tastes – which you can do as well! That is the beauty of this recipe…it’s not only delicious, easy and simple…it’s also very versatile!

Won Ton's Blog

Beef and Sausage WonTon Cups

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound “hot” sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/3 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 16oz package WonTon wrappers (larger 3 1/2 inch squares)

You can locally find the WonTon wrappers in your local produce department.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the ground beef and hot sausage. After fully browned, drain the fat.

Spray muffin tins lightly with cooking spray.

Line muffin tin (little or larger size tins will both work – just adjust the cooking time depending on the size. This recipe was used with the “larger” – regular size muffin tins) with the WonTon wrappers. Be sure to only use ONE wrapper – they are thin and sometimes tricky to work with. Just lay the wrapper over the tin and push it gently into the muffin tin creating a “flute” around the edge.

Place into the 350 degree preheated oven for 6 minutes to bake the shells.

Combine the cooked ground beef and sausage mixture with the cheese, Ranch dressing, and chopped green pepper.

After the shells have baked 6 minutes, remove from oven and spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture into each cup.

Return to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Ina’s Salted Caramel Brownies

I’ve been tinkering with my OWN version of this recipe for awhile now. I am still not 100% comfortable in sharing mine since it’s not “perfect” yet…so in the meantime, I’m sharing Ina’s recipe. Her recipe is foolproof and delicious! I think the caramel is a little sweet (which I’m adjusting in mine) as well as too strong a coffee flavor – but other than that – perfect. After several attempts at changing this myself – I’m wondering if it might be to perfect to improve upon! Ha!

The only thing you MIGHT want to adjust would be the amount of coffee the recipe calls for. Once I have “perfected” the recipe, I’ll post it and update you all… 😉

The picture below is one of my attempts where I baked the caramel IN WITH the brownies, instead of pouring a caramel sauce over the top when they’re done. Still not sure which I prefer the best…

Salted Caramel Brownies Blog

Salted Caramel Brownies

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces plus 6 ounces Hershey’s semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules, such as Nescafe
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce, such as Fran’s
2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 12 x 1 1/2-inch baking pan.

Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature (see note below).

In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!

As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it’s pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.

Note: You’ll want to find true caramel sauce rather than dulce de leche, which has a lot of milk or cream added. Also – it is very important to allow the batter to cool before adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.

Enjoy!

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Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

I know this is technically a “baking” blog but, I have received about a dozen (or more) requests for a recipe for “boiled eggs”. So…here is what works for me EVERY single time – and it couldn’t be easier…

Boiled Egg Blog

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Place desired amount of eggs in a pot and fill with COLD water. Fill with enough water to cover the eggs by about 1/2 inch. Make sure there is a little “room” for the eggs to breath – in other words…don’t stuff the pot FULL with eggs…make sure they can “move” around a little. I find that a medium size pot will hold about 8 eggs.

Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner on HIGH and wait for the eggs to boil.

Once the eggs start to boil, let them boil for about 30 seconds.

Place on a tight fitting lid and remove the eggs from the heat.

Let them sit for 14 minutes exactly.

Remove the lid and run the eggs under COLD water for about a minute.

When you’re ready to peel them – find the “bottom” of the egg and gently tap the end, peeling away the shell while running the egg under a cold stream of water. The cold running water will help “lift” the shell from the egg.

Use as desired.

My favorite way of eating these are just simply cutting them in half and sprinkling with sea salt and freshly ground black cracked pepper. My 2nd favorite way of using these would be in making my “Mustard and Mayo Peppered Egg Salad”…but that’s for another blog post! Ha! 😉

Enjoy!

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Whipped Cream and Lemon Cookies

When I was a little boy I remember my Mom making “Chocolate Whipped Cream Cookies” and they were always one of my favorites! They’re light, airy and so delicious. Years later, I was taught the recipe and have been making different versions of them ever since. You can use ANY (and I mean ANY) cake mix to make these! You will not believe how simple these are to whip up.

I will flag up now and warn you…they are MESSY! BUT…well worth the mess!

I used a lemon cake mix because I’ve been on a “lemon kick” lately, but I have tried chocolate, Devil’s Food (what my Mom always used), red velvet, orange, pineapple, and strawberry. ALL have turned out delicious.

Whipped Cream and Lemon Cookies Blog

Whipped Cream and Lemon Cookies

1 (8oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 eggs
1 box of lemon cake mix (you can substitute a variety of flavors here)
1/2 tablespoon pure lemon extract (can substitute flavoring depending on cake flavor)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Wait to preheat your oven. First you want to combine the container of whipped topping with the 2 eggs. Stir until both are well mixed. After they are well mixed, add the 1/2 tablespoon pure lemon extract. Stir together.

Depending on what type of cake mix you are using – you may substitute the lemon flavoring for vanilla, almond, orange, etc. Just be sure that the flavoring you are using will enhance the flavor of cake mix you are using.

After the whipped cream, eggs, and extract are all combined – add the cake mix. Stir until all combined – this should take just a couple of minutes.

Once everything is combined – put dough in refrigerator for about an hour. This will help the dough “firm up” and not be quite as sticky when you start working with it later on.

While you are waiting on the dough to chill, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. (Possibly 3 cookie sheets depending on the size you are using.)

Get a small bowl ready by adding the 1/2 cup powdered sugar to the bowl. Also lay out a spoon and a fork. I will get to the details as to why a spoon and a fork later…

Close to the hour mark, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and drop by teaspoon size amounts into the bowl of powdered sugar. Here is where the spoon and fork come in… Take the spoon and roll the dough around in the powdered sugar. With the fork, lift the ball out of the sugar and onto the parchment lined baking sheets. I find using a fork helps “shake off” some of the powdered sugar.

Once you’ve done this and the cookie sheet is full – place in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Bake only one sheet at a time. Once baked, remove from oven and let them cool on their sheets.

Store in airtight containers for about 2 days. I actually prefer to put these in the refrigerator. I like the cookies when they are cold and chewy. Just a preference…

Enjoy!

Lemon Cookie Bite Blog

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FUDGE! (Favorite Chocolate Fudge and Favorite Peanut Butter Fudge)

I ventured into the world of fudge making today – and have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit! What else is there to do on a cold and snowy afternoon!?

I have loved fudge from the very minute my Grandma Barbra had me try my first piece. There is just something about the texture, the taste, and the feeling of it in my mouth. A candy…yet smooth and a little thicker than frosting. And I have always preferred chocolate fudge over peanut butter. Although – layering them and combining them isn’t bad either! Ha!

Today, I stumbled across a recipe that made the most delicious chocolate fudge I have ever tasted! The basis of the recipe comes from Paula Deen’s friend Martha Foose. I changed a few things and OH MY! It turned out amazing! I highly recommend you try it! It’s so easy and delicious!

I am also including my favorite recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge! There are TWO ingredients! It doesn’t get anymore simple (or delicious) than THAT! Yes…this is a “DOUBLE recipe blog post”! Ha!

Chocolate Fudge Blog

Fabulous (favorite) Chocolate Fudge

8 oz. Unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 (1 pound) boxes of confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
8 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes. (This will really depend on the strength of your microwave.) Stir until smooth, but be careful not to burn the chocolate!

Pour the melted chocolate into another large bowl. This will help the chocolate cool down so that you can add the eggs later without having chocolate scrambled eggs – which wouldn’t be a BAD thing…but NOT for this recipe! Ha!

Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to the melted chocolate and butter. Stir until incorporated and then add the 2 large beaten eggs.

Next, add both boxes of the confectioners’ sugar. Stir and stir and stir (this might take awhile) until all the confectioners’ sugar is fully incorporated.

Pour the fully combined mixture into a buttered loaf pan and let set for about an hour.

Cut and serve directly from the loaf pan. The first piece is always the hardest to get out…so after that initial piece, the others will come out fine.

Store in a plastic sealed bag or tightly wrapped with plastic wrap.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Fudge Blog

Favorite Peanut Butter Fudge

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 bags of “Reese” brand peanut butter chips

Combine both in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for about 2 minutes. (This will really depend on the strength of your microwave.) Stir until smooth. Immediately pour into a buttered 9×9 pan.

Let set for about an hour before cutting.

Store in a plastic sealed bag or tightly wrapped with plastic wrap.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: Add about 2 tablespoons of butter to the chip and sweetened condensed milk mixture for even BETTER tasting fudge! Gives it a better flavor, and adds to the creaminess…

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