Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lets Make Whoopie!

Okay, okay. I'm not talking about that kind of whoopie, I'm talking about the fattening, addictive and delicious treat whoopie pies. Whoopie pies has been around longer than I can remember and I've been around for quite some time now.
Here I'm giving you four of my favorite recipes, that I've been using for many yeas now. Hope you all will enjoy them as much as I have.

Easy Whoopie Pie

I’ve seen these pop up everywhere….and couldn’t wait to try them.  But it’s a weeknight, and I don’t have the time to make Red Velvet Whoopie Pies completely from scratch.  Some people call it cheating…but I call it being smart….I doctored a red velvet cake mix…so sue meHere’s the recipe :
1 box of red velvet cake mix (eggs, water, & oil according to the box directions)
½ c. flour
½ c. butter (soften)
4 oz. Cream Cheese (soften)
7 oz. Marshmallow Cream

Preheat the oven to 375.
Either grease or line your cookie sheet with a silpat (I used a silpat – less clean up – it’s a weeknight after all)
Add a ½ cup of sifted flour to the cake mix and prepare the cake according to the box directions
Pour batter into a gallon ziplock bag.  (To make this easier – put the ziplock bag into a large cup so that the bag has support as you fill it)
Seal the bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.  Squeeze the batter (about 1″ and 1.5″ apart) onto the cookie sheet.  The blobs are suppose to look like a Hershey’s Kiss.  Although none of mine did – that’s probably why mine are on the flatter side…oh well.  Next time, I think I will add more flour for a less running consistency.
Bake for 6-8 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.  (I baked mine for about 7 minutes)
Prepare the Whoopie Pie filling:  Cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Add the marshmallow cream and mix.  Refrigerate the filling for about 30 minutes before spreading on whoopie pies.

Keep in airtight container in the fridge. Take out about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!

Peppermint Whoopie Pies

2 c. flour
½ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 stick) butter, softened and divided
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 ea. Egg
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided
½ tsp. peppermint extract
1 c. buttermilk
1 (7.5-oz.) jar marshmallow fluff
1 ¼ c. powdered sugar
1 c. (50 ea. peppermint discs) crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, cream ½ cup butter and brown sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, 1 tsp. vanilla and peppermint extracts; mix well. Slowly add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Cover dough and chill at least 30 minutes.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheet, placing cookies 2" apart. Bake cookies 9 to 12 minutes, or until firm. Cool cookies on pan 3 to 5 minutes or until set, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
For filling, in large bowl, cream together ½ cup softened butter, fluff, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar slowly; mix well. Spread flat side of half the cookies with heaping tbsp. of filling; top with second cookie to create sandwich.
Roll edges in crushed peppermint candies; chill cookies to set filling.
Store unfilled cookies and filling in airtight containers in refrigerator for up to 1 week, and filled cookies for up to 3 days. Bring cookies to room temperature before serving.

Chef’s Notes: A Delicious Dish - A candy dish of cookies is a clever way to make someone’s day. After you’ve arranged cookies in the dish, wrap it in cellophane and tie it with a bow for a gift that looks as good as it tastes.

Pink Velvet Whoopie Pies

I wanted to show my support for the fight against Breast Cancer, by making something pink. Now I know, that all my friends told me, that I was obsessed with red velvet. But I wanted to make whoopie pies!
I was surprised that I couldn't find a recipe for these on the Internet. Whoopie pies are everywhere, and especially the red velvet variety. Pink whoopie pies are just a small stretch away.
I went through many batches of cookies in my search for the best shade of pink. The quantity of cocoa powder greatly affected the color. After varying degrees of pink, ranging from dark fuschia (with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder) to a shade I refer to as "ballet" pink (with ½ teaspoon of cocoa powder), I decided to omit the cocoa powder completely. That, along with about 10 drops of red food coloring, yielded a bright, cheery pink.

2 ¼ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, at room temperature
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8-10 drops red food coloring
¾ c. buttermilk, at room temperature
Marshmallow Filling (recipe below)

Heat oven to 350. Lightly spray two large cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the egg, oil, and sugar with a hand mixer. Beat in the vanilla and red food coloring. Using a spatula, stir in (by hand) the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Drop by spoonfuls (I used a mini ice-cream scoop), onto prepared cookie sheets. They will spread, so leave a lot of space between scoops. Bake until the tops spring back lightly, about 8-15 minutes, depending on their size. Remove to wire racks to cool. Spread marshmallow filling onto the bottom of one cookie, and top with another to make a sandwich.

Marshmallow Filling

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 c. marshmallow fluff (about ½ of a 7.5 oz jar)
½ tsp. vanilla

Beat ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

It is believed that the first Whoopie Pie was made in the 1920s. The state of Maine likes to claim the fame of inventing it. However, residents of Pennsylvania say the first Whoopie Pie originated there. There are also those who give the Amish credit for making the original Whoopie Pie. Some believe it was the Amish who traveled to Maine and actually introduced this cake-like dessert. Regardless of the true origination, the delicious taste is almost always agreed upon.
Half cake, half cookie, these soft, moist and spicy Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are filled with cream cheese icing or vanilla Whoopie Pie filling. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas wouldn't be the same without easy holiday recipes like Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
So without further adieu… here are mine!

½ c. butter, melted
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin puree
¼ c. lowfat yogurt
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. all spice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1 2/3 c. flour

Preheat the oven to 350.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add pumpkin puree, yogurt, spices, and vanilla; whisking thoroughly after each addition. Add the baking powder, the baking soda and salt and whisk together.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
Using an small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. With the back of a spoon, smooth out the tops of the batter balls in a circular motion. Bake 10 minutes, rotating pan after 7 minutes. They should be springy to the touch. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

8 oz. Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese (See Chef’s note below)
½ c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese on high until light and fluffy. One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar. Incorporate well after each addition.
Mix in the vanilla and spice. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix on high 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
To Assemble:
Fill a piping bag with the filling and attach a large round tip to the bag. Pipe a thick layer of filling onto the flat side of one cake. Place another cake on on top, flat side to the filling, and gently press down until the filling reaches the sides.

Chef’s note: If you cannot find Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese, you can make your own by mixing together ½ teaspoon of pumpkin spice to every 8 ounces of cream cheese.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Please, Your Assistance Is In Great Need!

I'm asking all my readers to please read the story below and then go to the link provided at the bottom of this page. This subject holds close and dear to my heart and I would like to see this become a successful story, instead of a heartbreaking story.


When I found out I was going to be a father, I knew my duties and responsibilities started right then and there. I finished my high school classes and graduated early. I knew a college education would have to be put on hold so I entered the work force full time. I was excited and proud to become a new dad. Four years ago on August 10th, 2011, a sweet and innocent baby boy named Tanner was born into this world.  Every single day since has been a fight to keep my son in my life.

My name is Danny Taylor and I have been fighting for four years to get full physical custody of my son. I have joint legal custody of Tanner, but only 49% physical custody. Lately it has been 0% because the mother of my son has been denying me visitation. Why? I wish I knew.

Let me give you a brief background. The mother of my child is a very immature and irresponsible girl. She did not earn her high school diploma or GED and she cannot keep a stable job. She has moved over 7 times with my son in the last 2 years; 3 times in just this year alone. She moves from friend to friend, couch to couch. My son has never had his own room since living with his mom. She does not properly care for my son. When I do see him, he comes to me dirty with very long fingernails and toenails. I am the one who always gives him a haircut when it’s time. She even sends him to me in clothes that don’t properly fit, undies that are too tight and two sizes too small, and shoes that pinch his toes. I also worry about the health and diet of my son. I know she feeds him greasy, processed, and unhealthy food, which causes him to be constantly constipated. Her poor attitude, inappropriate language, and pure laziness are starting to show through my son and I need to put a stop to this by taking my son out of a horrific environment.

When Tanner comes to stay with my girlfriend and I, we are always excited for a jam-packed weekend of fun. Tanner has his own room with a full size bed, a closet full of clothes and shoes that FIT him, and his own bathroom! Tanner loves to sit down and read books with us, practice his ABCs and numbers on his chalkboard easel, and of course, have Nerf gun wars. We love to sing and dance, play games, and color. When the sun is shining we go to the park, pool, or we spend the day at the zoo. We also always make sure Tanner gets to visit the many people who love him.

I truly believe that it’s in Tanner’s best interest to live with me. And the only way for this to happen is for me to hire an experienced and determined attorney to help. Even though I work full time as a car salesman, pay child support, rent and bills, I know I can’t afford an attorney on my own. My girlfriend and I are constantly taking money from our paychecks and setting it aside. We are asking our family, friends, and anyone else who hears our story to keep Tanner in your thoughts and prayers. We know money doesn’t grow on trees and appreciate any amount that is donated to our cause.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story.

May the good Lord Bless you all. 

A simple donation of $1 would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Simple and Delicious Southwestern Dish

This recipe should come with a warning, it should read as " CAUTION! THIS DISH CAN LEAD TO ADDICTION AND/OR WEIGHT GAIN IN GREAT PROPORTIONS!"
If you're looking for a delicious and simple southwestern dinner, then look no more! This dish is a surefire hit with your family and friends.
The first time I made this, I thought why hasn't this ever been served in restaurants? This was sooo mind boggling delicious, that I was hoping the guests didn't want seconds! I definitely wanted to pig out right then and there.

Tamale Peppers

4 medium green or red bell peppers
1 c. diced fresh tomatoes
1 c. no-salt-added cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
¾ c. gluten-free salsa
1 c. shredded reduced-fat Cheddar, divided
¼ c. cornmeal
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350. Cut tops off bell peppers and remove seeds. Set aside. In a large bowl combine tomatoes, beans, corn, salsa, ¾ cup of the cheese, cornmeal, green onions, cilantro and ¼ cup water. Spoon mixture evenly into bell peppers; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the cheese. Place stuffed peppers in an 8x8 inch baking pan. Add ½ inch water to pan. Bake, uncovered, 50 minutes or until peppers are tender and filling is heated through. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

After School Snack!

Looking for a quick snack or dinner idea that kids will love? This kid friendly food snack makes a warm, hot serving of pizza possible in less than five minutes. No need to turn on your oven or call the delivery guy. With a few simple ingredients, you can make Waffle Pizza tonight!

Here’s what you’ll need: a can of biscuits, pizza sauce, cheese, mini pepperoni, and a waffle iron. Make sure to use pizza sauce or sundried tomato sauce, as spaghetti sauce is too thin and will seep out the edges as your pizza cooks.

Stuffed Pizza Waffles

Now let’s get started:
Take a piece of precut biscuit dough and stretch it out into a 4-5 inch diameter circle. Place on a heated waffle iron, and top with a small amount of pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Don’t overload your dough with ingredients or you’ll end up with a sloppy mess!
Place another piece of stretched dough on top of your first piece, sealing the edges with your fingers. Close the top on your waffle iron and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
Remove the pizza from your waffle iron and slice into four wedges. Its time to call in the troops and let ’em get their waffle on! If your kids love this recipe, they’ll think these yummy pizzas are “sooo totally awesome!”

Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Baby and I Are Sharing The Passion For Cheesecake!

We love dessert, and, honestly, who doesn’t? The balance of sweet and soft on the tongue. The rich explosion of flavors. The cleansing of the palette. When it’s right, it’s enough to make you go crazy! Together, we whipped up this lemon cheesecake mousse and treated our mouths to an array of sensations. It’s sweet, smooth, delicate and light, but big in flavor and completely satisfying. If you’re looking for a great light dessert to dazzle your senses, then you might want to give this cheesecake mousse recipe a try.
This simple gluten free dessert is perfect for a small family. Not only is it rich in healthy fats but also uses no refined sugars. Feel free to double the recipe and bake it in a larger pan for a larger group. Janis and I don’t like having a lot of sweets hanging around the house so this was the perfect size for us. This dessert serves 4-6 depending on the size of the pieces.
You’ll need to make the yogurt cheese a day ahead of time, so keep that in mind. This recipe will not work if the yogurt you buy has gelatin. This is a great exercise in making your way through your grocery aisle to find a yogurt with the 3 basic ingredients, milk and maybe cream and active bacterial culture. This might be harder than you think. Greek yogurt makes lovely yogurt cheese. Remember to choose one with plenty of healthy milk fat, 5 % or higher. I love this exercise simply because it’s a big eye opener as to how much junk producers have decided to add to yogurt in order to cut corners and make cheaper products with reduced health benefits for the consumer. Today yogurt, tomorrow maybe we can tackle the dreaded cereal aisle, the worst offender of all!

Lemon Cheesecake Mousse with a Honey Crumble

For the crust
2/3 c. quick oats
1/3 c. rice flour
1/3 c. cane sugar
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the first 3 ingredients together. Add the melted butter and mix well. Line a 3×6 loaf pan with parchment paper (if using a small 6 inch spring form pan skip this step). Take 2/3 cup of the mixture and pat it down to make a firm uniform layer at the bottom of the pan. Take the remaining coconut/nut mixture and mix in 1 tablespoon of honey. Place the honey crumble mixture in a separate pie plate. This will be the crumble topping. Place both pans in the center of the oven. Bake the crust for 12 minutes and the crumble topping for 7-8 minutes. Watch the crumble topping closely, the honey causes it to brown very quickly. Once the crumble is done, remove the crumble from the pan to prevent it from browning anymore and place it in a bowl or plate to cool.  Once the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before adding the Lemon Cheesecake Mousse filling. Lower the oven temperature to 325.

For the filling
1 ½ c. yogurt cheese (you’ll need 750g container of plain full fat yogurt)
1/3 c. honey
2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon rind
1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp. Vanilla

Using a mixer or beaters, mix the honey and yogurt cheese together over medium speed until well combined. Add one egg at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until combined. Pour the mixture over the crust. Fill a larger baking dish with 1 inch of hot water. Place the cheesecake in the water bath and bake for 1 hour at 325. Turn the oven off and leave the dessert to continue cooking slowly for 1 more hour. Remove the cake from the water bath and refrigerate for 4 hours to set.

Lift the cake from the pan using the over hanging parchment paper. Break up any large pieces of the honey crumble with a fork. Top the cake with the honey crumble mixture and serve in slices.

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Pie For All Ages

“I don’t think a really good pie can be made without a dozen or so children peeking over your shoulder as you stoop to look in at it every little while.” — John Gould

Pie is one of those things that almost requires a family to enjoy it.  For me, the word pie conjures up images of family and memories of my childhood and family get togethers.  When I think of pie, I think of my mom’s amazing flaky pie crusts.
I decided to combine the two thoughts and made a banana cream pie with a twist.
I made an almond crust, then added a thin layer of dark chocolate (if that doesn’t scream love, I don’t know what does!), a single layer of fresh sliced bananas, and then a sweetened condensed milk custard.  I decorated the pie with simple whipped cream rosettes and dark chocolate shavings.  This is a nearly no-bake pie.  The only time you have to turn on the oven is to bake the crust for 12 to 14 minutes.  The almond, chocolate, banana, and custard flavors were fabulous together.  The banana wasn’t overwhelming, allowing the flavors from the almond crust, chocolate layer, and custard to come through.  I also thought that the bit of crunch that the almond crust added was a nice addition to the pie—better than the traditional banana cream pie which tends not to have as much variation in texture.

Fudge and Banana Custard Pie

For the almond crust:
2/3 c. flour
½ c. sugar
½ c. ground almonds
6 tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 c. powdered milk

For the sweetened condensed milk custard:
1 2/3 c. water
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3 large egg yolks, beaten
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

For the chocolate layer:
2/3 c. (4 ½ oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter
1 ½ medium bananas, sliced (you can use more bananas if you like a stronger banana flavor)

Whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings, to garnish

Make the almond crust: Preheat oven to 350. 
In a small mixer bowl, beat flour, sugar, almonds, butter and powdered milk until a soft crumbly dough forms. Press the dough into 9 inch pie pan.  Bake 12-14 minutes until puffed. Cool completely.
Make the sweetened condensed milk custard: Put the water into a heavy saucepan.  Add the cornstarch and stir until it has completely dissolved.  Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and is bubbly.  Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract.  Stir until everything is mixed together and set aside to cool slightly.
Make the chocolate layer: In a small saucepan, heat the chocolate chips and butter together over low heat until melted, stirring constantly until the chocolate is shiny and smooth (it will be thick.)
Assemble the pie: Spread the hot chocolate layer over the bottom of the cooled almond crust.  Arrange the banana slices on top of the chocolate.  Pour the custard over the bananas.  Cover the pie and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or until set.  Decorate the pie with whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings.  Refrigerate the leftovers.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Latest Book Project!

Although this isn't cooking related, I just wanted to share the news. I have just recently completed and published a new book.
It is based on a true event, that occurred back in the early 1980s here in Nebraska! It reeks with conspiracy, but whats really intriguing is the fact that the key perpetrators are still roaming free!
You can go to the link below and download your copy now...........