Monday, February 8, 2010

In the mood for an eclair?

Sometimes I'm in the mood to make dessert from scratch. Sometimes I'm not. This "quick eclair" recipe, which I got from my sister-in-law, is for those days when you want to use store-bought ingredients and still end up looking like you tried. We thought it tasted great; my kids especially loved it. Just make sure you plan ahead for the refrigeration time. I halved the recipe, but the full recipe is included below.


2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
3 c. milk
1 8-ounce container Cool Whip
1 box graham crackers
1 tub chocolate frosting*

Mix pudding and milk until thickened. Fold in Cool Whip. In 9x13 pan, layer graham crackers, then half of pudding mixture, then graham crackers, then other half of pudding mixture, then graham crackers. Heat frosting until softened and kind of pourable, but not melted. Spread over top graham cracker layer. Refrigerate several hours (I did six hours) or overnight.

*I used extra frosting, because I'm a chocoholic.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sugar and spice and everything nice

Sweet potatoes with apples and cinnamon make a wonderful side dish. They are easy and delicious. I have used all different kinds of apples with great success. Of course, the dish seemed especially wonderful in the fall, with apples from our own trees.


2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 apple

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Place in 9x13 pan and toss with butter. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over all, then toss again to coat. Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes. Core apple -- don't peel -- and cut into chunks. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and add apple chunks, stirring together. Cover again, then bake everything 10 minutes* more.

*That's for an apple that is cold from refrigeration. If yours is room temperature, you should probably cook it a couple of minutes less, so it won't get mushy. You want it to be tender-crisp. Keep in mind, the sweet potatoes need 30 minutes altogether.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fat-free dessert

If you are counting calories, these chocolate meringue bites might be the dessert for you. It's kind of a melt-in-your-mouth cookie -- very light but still chewy. They are semi-sweet, so a nice dusting of powdered sugar was a must for me. I got the recipe from a health magazine. The cookies are low in carbs and have zero fat, zero cholesterol and only 25 calories each. The magazine boasts, "In fact, you could eat ten of them and still not equal the calories in one piece of chocolate cake!" I thought the cookies were yummy, but I'm gluttonous when it comes to chocolate, so I need a nice helping of fat in order to be completely satisfied. So sad.


1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. sugar, divided
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. mint extract (optional)
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, sift together cocoa, salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar. (I didn't sift.) In larger bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form. Fold in cocoa mixture and extracts.

Drop by teaspoonful about 1 inch apart onto foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Cool completely before peeling off foil.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Perfect Parmesan

My neighbor introduced me to these yummy and easy Parmesan potatoes. I love the crispy, golden Parmesan after it's baked. I'll admit I scraped the crumbs off the pan and ate them.


5 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced (maybe a quarter-inch?)
1/4 c. melted butter
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Powdered Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and toss with butter. Spread potatoes out evenly, then sprinkle generously with spices and Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over and sprinkle again. Bake 15 minutes more. I don't recommend lining your pan with foil, because the potatoes will stick to it, making them difficult to turn.