Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts

8/24/12

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake and Giveaway Winner!






I still remember the first time I ate an ice cream cake. I was 16 and it came from Baskin and Robbins in my (then) little hometown of Bremerton, WA. My friend Lance worked at B&R on Wheaton Way.  I loved going in and chatting with him and eating a scoop of Fudge Brownie (dark chocolate with brownie chunks) on a sugar cone. One day, I had a slice of an ice cream cake.
Oh.
My.
Finding two of my favorite treats in one dessert- cake and  ice cream, topped with frosting, this was love.
Several years later, when I had kids, I started making ice cream cakes for them. It was way less expensive than buying a birthday cake and always tasted better. Ice cream cake was (and continues to be) a big hit with kids and adults alike. It's simple and one of those treats you'll get requests for over and over again.
This is my new favorite cake recipe to use when making an ice cream cake. So simple to make, you only need one bowl. It's adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe found here.  I modified it to bake up at our mountain altitude, and added sour cream for an extra moist cake.  Love the texture. It's dense enough to support the ice cream and frosting, and still fairly light, like a cake should be. I used Tillamook's "Udderly Chocolate" ice cream for the filling. YUM.

Are you still reading? Do you want to know who the winner is for our "blogiversary" giveaway? Me too. Okay, here goes.

Winner of 10 gift certificates for Tillamook yogurt; 3 gift certificates for Tillamook ice cream; the Tillamook Cheese Cookbook; and the Vintage Cakes Cookbook by Julie Richardson is...

Comment #9, Mandy B who said:
"My favorite cake is my mom's birthday cake - white or yellow cake with her special birthday cake frosting!"


Thanks everyone for playing and for all of your kind comments about this blog and sharing your fave cakes.  Now here's the recipe. Give it a try, let me know what you think...



Step-by-step assembly for your viewing pleasure :)


After you have made and completely cooled the cake, place it on a plate, or  a 10 inch cake pan lined with wax paper. Scoop the ice cream onto the cake. I use a large spoon, because I don't want the ice cream to come out in large rounded scoops. Start covering the first layer with ice cream.



FYI- this is Tillamook's "Udderly Chocolate" a mixture of milk chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate flakes.  Cover the entire top of the first layer with ice cream.


After you have covered the first layer with ice cream, top it with the second cake layer. Place another piece of parchment or wax paper on top of the cakes and press down to bring the sides of the cake together.



Finished product:
Wowie.






Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe


3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ice cream, 1.75 quart container of chocolate (I used Tillamook)
Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Place rack in center of oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2-9 inch round cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on medium speed, stir in eggs, buttermilk, warm water, sour cream, oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely. I place the layers on a cooling rack in the fridge to cool them quickly.


Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Cream butter, powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Mix in milk and vanilla, add salt. Beat until smooth add a little more milk if needed.


Assembly, three basic steps:

1. When cakes are cooled completely, place one of the cakes on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. I like to place the cake in a 10 inch Spring form pan or 10 inch cake pan, but a plate will work as well. Scoop the ice cream onto the cake. I use about 3/4 of the container. Try to make an even layer of the ice cream, then place the second layer of cake on top of the ice cream. Using another piece of parchment or wax paper, Press down on the top layer of cake. Don't worry the cake will not be ruined, press down evenly, so the ice cream will be compacted and the layers meet up more closely on the sides. Don't cry if part of the cake sticks to the paper, just scrape it off an eat it as an appetizer.
* see additional note below about pressing down on cake.

2. Place the cake in the freezer for at least two hours.

3. When ice cream cake has been frozen for at least two hours, remove from freezer and place on serving plate. Frost top and sides of cake. Place back in freezer and let sit for at least another hour.
If preparing ahead and cake is frozen for several hours, remove about 30 minutes before serving to allow for easier cutting.

Tips:
-Don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you. It's basically cake, ice cream and frosting. Best to start this recipe the day before serving. You can make the cakes, and place in the freezer or fridge for easy handling. Make sure to freeze on a  flat surface.
-I have used lots of different recipes over the years. Boxed, home made, they all work well with ice cream cakes. But home made is always best :)
-You may use any flavor of ice cream. I thought when I picked up this flavor it was plain chocolate. While I loved the flavor and taste of "Udderly Chocolate", I prefer a solid color for the ice cream layer. I just like the way it looks as opposed to the mixed brown and white of this particular carton of ice cream.
-*Pressing down on the second layer of cake: This step is important if you want to be able to frost the sides of the cake and avoid huge gaps between the cakes. Press down evenly. It may be helpful to press down using a cookie sheet to get an even surface.
-This cake keeps well in the freezer for about 2 weeks if covered tightly with plastic wrap.


3/29/11

Thin Mint Mud Pie with Homemade Hot Fudge





Do you love Thin Mints?  If so, you'll love this dessert.  Mud pie is a favorite dessert at our home, especially for birthdays.  If you want to make a dessert to WOW the crowd, without much fuss, this is it.
Best ice cream dessert. Ever.




Oh P.S.  I thought you might like to see a pic of Juliette 'Daisy" Gordon Low, the woman who founded the GSA, then called "Girl Guides of America" in 1912. That's her, in the middle.  So cute. I want that hat.




Thin Mint Mud Pie with Homemade Hot Fudge
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 package Oreo Cookies, crushed
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 quart Dryers Limited Edition Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream
hot fudge
whipped cream, optional

Sheri's Hot Fudge
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
4 oz semi sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons vanilla, or other flavoring


For Mud Pie:
Mix the cookie crumbs and the melted butter in a blender or large bowl.  Press the cookie crumb mixture into a 9 or 10 inch lightly greased spring form pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides. Take the ice cream out of the container with a large spoon.  Place the ice cream over the cookie crust until all of the ice cream is in the spring form pan.  Smooth out with a knife that has been dipped in water.
Spread the cooled, prepared hot fudge sauce over the mud pie, and freeze for at least two, preferably four or more hours.  When ready to serve, remove the sides of the spring form pan.  If desired, top with fresh whipped cream.

For Hot Fudge:
best if made earlier in the day or day ahead if using on mud pie
Place whipping cream, sugar and chocolate together over low heat in heavy pan, until chocolate melts.  Increase heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes.  
Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Let cool, and use to top ice cream, mud pie, etc. Keep refrigerated.

Tips:
-You may use any combo of ice cream with this recipe. We love Pralines and Cream, Mint, Choc Chip...
-If you want to use the fudge while it is warm, make the hot fudge and prepare the mud pie with only the crust and ice cream. Let the pie set up in the freezer for two or more hours.  Top with hot fudge after slicing and plating the dessert.
-If you don't have a spring form pan, a pie plate or a 9x9 baking pan will work.

8/21/10

Fresh Blackberry Ice Cream





If your name is Melanie Evans- and your SUMMER BDAY is Monday the 23rd, don't read this post.

Summer is almost over! Actually, after Sunday, it's over. Because, you see, in my mind, summer is over when school begins (how many commas can I use and misuse use in this sentence??). School starts MONDAY. Therefore, on Monday summer is gone.
Over.
Finito.
Anyway. Where did the three months go??
Here's what I have been doing since August 3...



Meet Jack. Jackie. Mr. J. Little J. Puppy. Peppito. Pupparoni.





Not a lot of time lately for cooking or blogging. I did manage to throw together some ice cream a week ago. It was yummy. Used Ben and Jerry's Sweet Cream Base #1, which Ben & Jerry recommend as a base for fruit. I always double this when making in my White Mountain Ice Cream Maker. Yes, blackberries are still on. I ate an entire delish-sweet pint purchased at the B-town Farmers Market this week. Yum. Hurry.
Don't look Melanie Meg- Summer is almost over...




Fresh Blackberry Ice Cream
Ben and Jerry's Sweet cream base #1


2 large eggs, as fresh as possible
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup milk, preferably whole

For fruit mix in:
1 pint fresh blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon


Prepare fruit for mix in:
Pour 3/4 cup sugar over washed fruit. add juice from 1/2 lemon. Set in refrigerator for 1-2 hours, mix about every 1/2 hour.

Prepare sweet cream base:
Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Whisk 3/4 cup sugar a little at a time, then continue to whisk until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.
Freeze the ice cream as directed according to machine directions. When the ice cream is set, drain the fruit mixture and add to the cream base. Serve immediately if you like soft set ice cream, or place canister in freezer for at least 2 hours for hard set.

Tips:
-Ben and Jerry's directions instruct you to add the drained off juice from the fruit to the cream base, then stir the fruit in by hand. I've tried adding the drained off sugary juice to the cream base and like the finished product better without the juice.
-This recipe works well with raspberries too.

7/31/09

Oreo Andes Mint Ice Cream





Mint. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Mint brownies, ice cream, cookies, candies, all of those desserts served at church functions with crushed peppermint, or pink peppermint ice cream ICK (at holiday time)...never a temptation. My mom didn't like mint, so she never served it. I could go my whole life without mint, without a second thought.Until a couple of years ago. I tasted a really yummy scoop of mint ice cream, and for some unknown reason, it triggered an intense (about once a year) craving for chocolate and mint. Uh Huh. Thin Mints. You know- Girl Scout cookies. Why would anyone love or crave those waxy, thin, chocolate covered cookies?? I have no idea....A few weeks ago, I handed some friends my trusty Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert book.
"Choose a flavor", I said.
"Really, you want Oreo MINT?"
OK. How bad could it be, I mean, it had cookies in it.



It was yummy. Creamy. A little minty. Chocolaty. Oreos are probably my favorite store bought cookie of all time. Oh my word. This flavor is beyond delish. I thought adding Andes Mints put this recipe over the top. You are going to love/hate it.






Oreo Andes Mint Ice Cream

1 cup coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
1/2 cup Andes chocolate mints, chopped (optional)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons mint extract ( I used 1 1/2)

Place cookies in bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy 1-2 minutes. Whisk in sugar a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Add the peppermint extract and blend again.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following manufacturer's directions.
After the ice cream stiffens (about 2 minutes before it is done), add the chopped cookies and mints (if using), then continue freezing until the ice cream is ready. Makes generous 1 quart.

Tips:
-With regard to the amount of extract- My friend Leeanne says " In the world of extract, a little goes a long way." Profound. Especially with mint.
-Best to wait and add the cookies right before serving.

6/26/09

Triple Chocolate Brownie Sundaes






Twenty seven years ago today, Grant and I were married. Seven years of school, 8 addresses, 18 cars, 4 kids, 1 dog and a few fish later, here we are. Living the dream.We were so, so young when we got married. I was 19, two years out of high school, Grant was 22. We loved each other, and didn't know a whole lot about life or how to make a marriage work. Wasn't being in love enough? Why did everyone say marriage was SO HARD? We decided to take a chance, say a lot of prayers and be committed to our little family. We learned a lot about giving more than we took from each other, about forgiving and being kind. We learned from mistakes and treated each other the way we wanted to be treated. We learned about laughing at ourselves and each other. A lot of blessings and a little luck. We learned how to say sorry, and mean it. A great man, Neal Maxwell gave us some advice that has proven to be golden. He said "you have entered into marriage with your eyes wide open, now close them a bit to each others imperfections. "


Like the white tux and shoes? So 80's.



We were blessed to be great friends first, have the same core values, and learned to make compromises. I've learned that it is really important to be at a game about 1- 2 hours before tip off, kick off, or the first pitch. Not important to me, but to Grant. Bow hunting is a big deal in our house. August is not a good month to vacation. That's the bow hunt opener. Washing the hunting clothing in solutions of baking soda and special wood scented drying sheets (aka "scent elimination"- bow hunter lingo), doe in heat spray, also important. Gluing carpet pieces on the bottoms of shoes, so the animals won't hear you when you are stalking them, important. Grant knows eating out entails driving around for about an hour before we decide where to eat, then waiting in the car for me, while I go check out the scene inside the restaurant, then being willing to get up and leave if the menu doesn't look good, or if I get a bad feeling once we're seated. Not a bad feeling like a spiritually bad feeling - a foodie bad feeling. Tromping around at Christmas tree farms, or tree lots for a long time before choosing a tree is also a big deal. Pulling out several trees and examining before purchasing, standing next to certain trees in 15 degree weather to stake out a claim is also necessary while I check the lot or farm "one more time", for the 10th time. Planning vaca's around where we will eat, yes, a necessity. So, we both have our little (or big) idiosyncrasies. We both love what Gordon B. Hinkley said about marriage:

"True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious
concern for the well-being of one's companion."

What to give to the guy who has everything for your 27th anniversary? How to adequately express love to the one who loves you and all of your warts (figuratively). Uhhh. This is a G rated blog...The G rated answer is - Cooking! Yes. Grant LOVES ice cream. He loves hot fudge on ice cream. So I made a batch of my favorite brownies ( I had to have something I loved too) and some home made hot fudge. It's a Ben and Jerry's recipe. The best hot fudge sauce I have ever made. I know you are thinking, you made brownies for Grant because you love them? Yes, but here's the unselfish part (remember, the "anxious concern for his well-being"). I bought chocolate - Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream for this dish. If it was just up to me, it would have been a little vanilla ice cream, with a big brownie and a little hot fudge. But Grant loves all chocolate. If you have a chocolate lover in your home, they'll love this. Thanks Grantly, for being you, and for loving me. Happy Anniversary.



Ben and Jerry's Hot Fudge Sauce
Ben and Jerry's cookbook

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream

Melt the chocolate and butter stirring frequently in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Add the cocoa and whisk until dissolved.
Using a large spoon, gradually stir in the sugar. The mixture will have the consistency of wet sand. Cook, stirring occasionally over simmering water for about 20 minutes. Check the water level in the double boiler if necessary, replenish if needed.
Gradually stir in the milk and cream and keep stirring until completely blended. Use whisk to get any lumps out. Continue cooking over low heat for about 1 hour. The fudge is ready when completely smooth and all of the sugar is dissolved. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.






Cook's Illustrated Classic Brownies

1 cup (4 oz) pecans or walnuts chopped
1 ¼ cup cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
5 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped *(their recipe calls for 6 oz)
12 Tablespoons butter
2 ¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Line the inside of a 9x13 pan with foil. Push in to corners and up sides of pan, fold any excess over the outside of pan. Spray with Pam.
If using nuts, spread on baking sheet and bake 5-8 minutes.
Whisk to combine flour, salt and baking powder in bowl.
Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl, or in double boiler. I use my gas range on the lowest setting. Remove from heat when butter and chocolate are melted. Gradually whisk in sugar. Let cool a bit. Add eggs, one at a time. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions. Fold in. Make sure not to over mix.
Transfer mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle nuts on top. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. 25-35 minutes. When cooled, lift brownies out of pan by foil. Flatten out overhang foil and cut.


Tips:
-Cooks magazine did a whole write up on making the perfect brownie in March/ April 2004. They analyzed everything that goes in to making the perfect brownie-from the type of flour (cake flour yields a softer texture), to the baking of the nuts, and placing them on top, instead of inside the batter, to insure the nuts were still crunchy, and not soggy. This is one of my all time favorite brownie recipes.


6/1/09

Creamy Banana Berry Ice Cream












June 1st. The month when SUMMER begins! Did you know today is National Barefoot Day? I'm going to honor it by going barefoot and enjoying a bowl of this yummy ice cream we made over the weekend. I first tasted this when my sis in law, Diane made it for us in her hand crank ice cream maker. Why would anyone purposely buy a hand crank model over a standard electric model? Diane, a total yellow (party) personality, as opposed to my red (as a mom) personality, thought it would be fun to have the kids take turns cranking and taking part in making the ice cream. Well, that lasted for about 2-3 minutes tops, then they found more important things to do, like PLAY. Even though we had 10 kids between us, we would get about 12 minutes of total hand crank time out of the kiddos. A few years later, Mother's Day rolled around and I scored on a lovely Cold Mountain electric ice cream maker. Now, the machine does the work. It's tart, sweet, fruity, rich, creamy. So easy. So yummy.
It's like tasting summer.



This is how it looks after hard packing or freezing it overnight...




Creamy Banana Berry Ice Cream

3 ripe bananas
Juice of 3 lemons
Juice of 3 oranges
6 cups fresh strawberries or raspberries, cleaned and hulled
3 cups of sugar
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
Ice
Rock Salt

Place first 5 ingredients in bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade ( or use blender and blend bananas and orange juice, then sugar, strawberries and lemon juice, then combine). If using raspberries, leave whole do not process. Add cream slowly, then add milk. Pour entire mixture into a 6 quart ice cream maker and freeze according to freezer instructions.
makes 1 gallon.


Tips:
-Don't over process the fruit, it's nice to have chunks of fruit in the finished product.
-This recipe is really simple to prepare. Total prep time, about 10 minutes.
-You can make the ice cream ahead of time, then pack it into a container and freeze if you like hard pack ice cream.
-It all depends on the day, but yesterday, it only took 15 minutes for this to set up. I have made ice cream where the freeze time has been 45 minutes...I think it all depends on the weather outside if you are making it outdoors, the temperature of the ingredients, and the type of ice cream.

5/6/09

Mother's Day is Sunday- Pacific Rim Glazed Flank Steak






Hello out there...Note to all Fathers.
Did you remember that Mother's Day is THIS SUNDAY. Oh, how I love Mother's Day. No, really I do. My Favorite Mothers Day story: Grant took Corrine about 7, and Brookie 1 yr old shopping to get a Mo Day gift. When they came home, Corrine was dying to tell me what they bought, but determined to keep a secret.
Me: "How was the shopping trip?"
Corrine: "Fine. But, I can't tell you what we bought"
Me: (in a nonchalant way) "That's ok, I already know what it is"
Corrine: "YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DRESS???"
Me: silence
ANYWAY. On to the recipe. Here is an easyeasyeasy, but delish menu for all of you who want to make Mother's Day- a lovely day for Mother.
Unacceptable excuses for not making your wife dinner on MD: (skip over this part if you are tired of my sarcastic remarks)
#1 This one's a classic - "She's not my Mother". Pay attention- She's the mother of your children.
#2 favorite lame excuse -"I don't cook". My husband, who is officially the most challenged cook in marriage history, makes me breakfast every year. So, snap out of it.
Did I already say I love Mother's Day??
OK, sooo I picked this steak, because it's a little out of the ordinary - Mommy dearest will love it, and it's grilled, so Dad can do what he does best. Hey, in our house, it's either the microwave or the BBQ grill for Grant. A microwaved Mothers Day dinner... I'll pass. Here is how it's done: Copy and paste these recipes onto your WP program ( I highlighted all of the ingredients you will need in PURPLE), hit print and get yourself into the car no later than Saturday morning. Do not wait until Saturday night, when you will find malls and grocery stores packed with men and children who have that crazed look in their eyes similar to a cat that was just given it's first bath. You know the look - if you are ever out on the night before Mothers Day, or on Feb 13th, about 8PM, same look. That - "I don't care what is costs, I need to find a gift, NOW". Save yourself the stress, and go out Saturday morning with the grocery/gift list in hand. You can do this. What better way to show your wife appreciation for all she does for you and your children?
Remember, Food=love.


Mothers Day Menu 2009:

Pacific Rim Glazed Flank Steak
Grilled vegetables
Rice
Spinach Salad with strawberries
Good quality ice cream
with home made hot fudge sauce




Pacific Rim Glazed Flank Steak

1 beef flank steak (about 2 lbs)
1 cup prepared Teriyaki sauce ( I use 1 cup soy and 1/3 cup sugar)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH rosemary
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated ginger

In medium shallow dish, combine marinade ingredients, whisk until blended. Remove 3/4 cup for basting. With a sharp knife, lightly score both sides of meat in a criss cross pattern. Place steak in remaining marinade in dish or gallon size Ziploc turning to coat. Cover and marinade in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Remove steak and discard marinade in dish. Place steak on barbecue grill over medium heat, Grill uncovered, for about 17-21 minutes for medium rare to medium, basting occasionally with reserved 3/4 cup marinade and turning steak once.

Place remaining basting marinade in small saucepan. Bring to boil on stove. Meanwhile, carve steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices; arranging on a platter. Spoon hot marinade over steak, garnish with orange slices and rosemary sprigs. 6 servings.

note:
-If the fresh ginger and garlic are too complicated, you may substitute bottled ginger and garlic in the produce section. Rosemary (fresh herb section) is available in the produce section too. If you don't want to buy fresh, use dried Rosemary. That will work. It won't be AS good, but it will work.
-If you are a Costco person, they sell very good Flank Steaks in a two pack. You can freeze the second one for Fathers Day. ha.



Grilled Vegetables

Assorted vegetables MOM likes:
Asparagus, beans, carrots, peppers yellow and red,
onions, mushrooms
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

This is easy: Cut some veg's like asparagus, carrots (not the minis), and some onions, mushrooms up. Uh- you washed them right? Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Grill the vegetables, turn and remove from BBQ. If you have a fresh lemon, squeeze it over the top of the vegs when they are almost done. Don't over cook, they should still be a little firm to the tooth. It takes about 10 minutes, tops with the heat on medium to low heat. Grill the vegetables before the meat if your grill is on the small side. It's OK if they are done before the meat. They don't have to be hot. After you grill the vegetables, take out a nice platter and arrange them on the platter. Cover with foil until everything is ready to serve. Vegetable shrink up a bit after cooking, so make a little more than you think you will need, you know Mom will eat the leftovers.

Rice

2 cups rice
water
butter or oil
salt

If you have a rice cooker use it. If not, a plain pot will do. Just place about 2 cups of rice in a pot, and about 4 cups of liquid. Water will work, or if you like put some chicken stock in. I like plain rice with this dish. Salt and a little butter, maybe a tablespoon. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes, stir, add a little more liquid if you need, and continue to cook until all liquid is absorbed, and rice is done. You can also do this ahead of time, early in the day, and just serve it at room temp. You can use short or long grain rice, or brown rice.

Spinach Salad

1 bag pre washed spinach ( I like baby spinach)
2 oranges or 2 cans mandarin orange segments
1/2 cup Craisins
3/4 cup pecans or almonds, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
grated cheese, Swiss, or Parmesan, crumbled blue cheese
bottled salad dressing - raspberry vinaigrette dressing or poppy seed

Pour the spinach into a bowl. If using fresh oranges, peel the orange, and cut the orange into slices. Remove any seeds. Or if using mandarins, drain, and place in bowl. Add Craisins. Grate 1/2 cup cheese, and toss together. Store in refrig until serving.
In a small Teflon pan, heat the nuts over medium heat and sprinkle with sugar. Stir just until sugar melts and coats the nuts. Remove from heat, and pour onto a piece of foil until cooled. Break apart nuts. I like to toss the salad with dressing and nuts just before serving. Use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup dressing.


Ice cream and Homemade Hot Fudge

Ice Cream
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
2 1 oz squares unsweetened or semi sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter

Combine milk and chocolate cook over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture thickens. About 5 -10 minutes. Add vanilla and butter, cook just until butter melts. Serve hot, or make ahead and store in refrigerator. Heat before serving. Make about 2 cups.

Buy some good quality ice cream - Haagen Daz or Ben and Jerry's. Western Family is for the kids. Or if you live near Nielsens, buy some frozen Custard.

Oh- Don't forget to do the dishes. :)