Tag Archives: desserts

Hot Weather Desserts

School has started, the weather is still warm, and kids are coming home hot and hungry. It is nice to have delicious, “cool” (as in refreshing AND neat) hot weather desserts for dinner that will satisfy kids of all ages.

These recipes are sure to become family favorites that will be requested time and time again. The best part is that you will love them, as well, because they are fairly easy to make.

Fresh Fruit Pizza

This dish will please everyone in your household, plus friends – and, it is an good way to get the kids (and dad) to eat more fruit. It is great for dessert or a snack.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough mix
  • 1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 cups assorted fruits, sliced (strawberries, bananas, oranges, blueberries, etc.)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the Crust

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees Celsius).
  2. Roll cookie dough into a ball and place in the center of a round pizza pan.
  3. Spread dough evenly over the pan, into a 12 inch circle.
  4. Bake ~ 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool

Prepare the Topping and Assemble

  1. Wash, dry and slice the fruit.
  2. Gently blend together in a bowl (do not stir, will make it too juicy) – set aside.
  3. Whip the softened cream cheese and sugar together with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
  4. Spread cream cheese over the cooled cookie crust
  5. Mix the sugar and cream cheese together and spread over the cooled cookie crust.
  6. Top with the fruit and then sprinkle the lemon juice over the fruit (to keep it from turning brown). Cover lightly with Saran Wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. Slice into 12 pizza wedges and serve.
  8. Refrigerate any leftovers.

NOTE: This snack does contain sugar in the cookie crust and a little in the cream cheese, but overall, it is fairly healthy and a whole lot better than straight cookies. If you are so inclined, I would recommend you make your own *sugar cookie dough (see below) so you know exactly what is in it – and there will be no unhealthy additives.

This is a tasty treat to serve at a birthday party. Kids and adults love it!

*Sugar Cookies

This is my adaptation from a standard Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie recipe that I found when my children were very young (years ago).

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 dash salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Beat softened butter and shortening with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds.
  3. Add ½ the flour, the egg, sugar, milk, baking powder and soda, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Beat until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add remaining flour and continue stirring until completely mixed.
  6. Cover and chill for at least three hours.
  7. Roll out one-half the dough into a 12” round approximately 1/8” thick and place on the pizza pan. (You can either make two pizza rounds, or use the remaining dough to make regular sugar cookies – see note below.)
  8. Bake pizza round 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and well set.
  9. Leave on the pizza pan and cool on a wire rack.

To make cookies of remaining dough, roll dough into one-inch balls, roll in sugar. Place on greased baking sheet; flatten with a glass and bake 10-12 minutes or until set at 350° F. Remove from cookie sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.

Hot Weather Berry Dessert

This is easy to make and yummy to eat. Your family, friends, and guest will be wowed with this delicious, summery treat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • (OR) 3 cups blackberries, blueberries or raspberries (or a mix)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

  • Hull and rinse strawberries (or berries of your choice).
  • Set aside a few berries for garnish, if desired.
  • Place berries in medium-sized bowl.
  • Sprinkle with lemon juice; then, gently toss with sugar.
  • Let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Put berry mixture in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth – set aside.
  • (For a chunkier blend, use a large fork to mash them a bit.)
  • Beat the cream until soft peaks form.
  • Gently fold in berry mixture into cream until evenly distributed.
  • Spoon into serving dishes.
  • Top with reserved berries for garnish.
  • Serve immediately or keep chilled up to 1 hour.

Cool, fruity and delicious; a perfect treat all summer long.

Berry Shake

Image by MSPhotographic
Image by MSPhotographic

A hot weather treat everyone will enjoy. It is quick and easy to make.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups ice
  • 1 cup milk (more as needed to reach desired thickness)
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3-4 tablespoons local honey
  • 2 cups of your favorite berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc.- or a mix)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fill the blender ¾ full of ice cubes, crush slightly
  2. Add additional ingredients.
  3. Blend until smooth.

Use your imagination when thinking of cool, hot-weather desserts and treats to help your family stay cool. Enjoy the wonderful yumminess of summer fruit and veggies. Nothing is better for you or tastier than nature’s own goodness!


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Delicious Puddings for Valentines Day

Valentine Puddings for Your Sweetheart

Image by LenM
Image by LenM

Valentine’s Day is only a few days away. I know, I know…. my focus is primarily on healthy foods, but there are a few occasions when sweets are appropriate – and Valentine’s Day is one.  Make your Valentine dinner especially romantic with a delicious homemade Valentine’s Day Pudding.

To make it easy for you, I have collected six yummy recipes. Choose one, or make several and have a pudding feast.

HONEY PUDDING

Ingredients

  • ½ cup honey
  • 6 ounces bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 whole lemon rind (grated)
  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)

Directions

    1. Separate the eggs.
    2. Place the egg whites in a small bowl and set aside.
    3. Place all ingredients except butter and egg whites in a mixing bowl.
    4. Whip until thoroughly mixed.
    5. Stir in the softened butter.
    6. Beat the egg whites until frothy.
    7. Gently blend egg whites into the mixture.
    8. Pour a little honey in the bottom of the pudding mold.
    9. Gently transfer the pudding into the mold (should be no more than ¾ full).
    10. Cover and seal with a piece of foil.
    11. Using a large lidded saucepan, bring water to a boil and carefully set pudding dish in the pan.
    12. Cover and steam it for about 2 hours, check occasionally to make sure it does not boil dry.
    13. For more detailed directions, go to: How to Steam a Pudding

BAKED CHOCOLATE MERINGUE PUDDING

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, separated (set whites aside for meringue)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter (not margarine)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Mix together: sugar, cocoa, flour and salt in a medium saucepan, stir until well blended.
  3. Separate the eggs, reserving whites for meringue.
  4. Whisk egg yolks into the milk in a separate bowl.
  5. Add milk and egg mixture to dry ingredients and whisk to blend until smooth.
  6. Place saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously as mixture thickens.
  8. When mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, remove from heat.
  9. Add vanilla and butter – stir to blend.
  10. Pour into casserole (or soufflé) dish.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes – or until pudding is set.
  12. During last few minutes of baking, make the meringue.
  13. Remove pudding from the oven and increase temperature to 400° F.
  14. Top with meringue (directions below).

Meringue Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites (from above)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Directions

  1. Stir cream of tartar into the sugar – set aside
  2. Place egg whites in mixing bowl.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  4. Using medium speed, add one spoonful of sugar at a time to the beaten egg whites.
  5. Increase mixture speed to high and continue to beat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Spread meringue carefully over the top of the pudding.
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven (400° F) for ten minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.
  8. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4 – 6

JELLY PUDDING

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fine stale English biscuit or bread crumbs
  • 1 cup rich milk (add a little half-and-half to make it richer)
  • 5 eggs (separated) and both beaten very lightly
  • ½ teaspoon soda stirred in small amount of boiling water
  • 1 cup sweet jelly, jam or marmalade.

Directions

  1. Scald the milk and pour over the crumbs
  2. Beat until cool.
  3. Stir in the beaten yolks – then, add the whites.
  4. Stir in the soda/water mixture.
  5. Fill large pudding cups half full with the batter.
  6. Bake in a quick oven (375° – 4.00°) for 30 minutes.
  7. When done, turn out quickly and carefully.
  8. With a sharp knife make an incision in the side of each pudding.
  9. Pull each one partly open, and put a liberal spoonful of the conserve inside.
  10. Close the opening by pinching the edges with your fingers.
  11. Eat warm with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

APPLE CUSTARD PUDDING

Ingredients

  • 1 quart apples (pared and quartered)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 whole lemon rind (grated and juiced)
  • 2 cups fine bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs (well-beaten)
  • Hard Sauce (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Generously butter a pudding baking dish.
  3. Place apples and water in a large heavy saucepan.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until soft.
  5. Remove from heat and add sugar, butter and the grated rind and lemon juice.
  6. Stir in the bread crumbs and flour.
  7. Stir in the two well-beaten eggs.
  8. Scoop batter into the buttered baking dish,
  9. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven.
  10. Serve with sugar and heavy cream or hard sauce.

CHEESE PUDDING

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3½ cups bread crumbs
  • ½ pound cheese, grated
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs, well beaten

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Place milk and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat until butter is melted.
  3. Place bread crumbs and grated cheese in large bowl
  4. Pour milk/butter mixture over breads crumbs and cheese – soak for twenty minutes
  5. Add the well-beaten eggs and a pinch of salt – stir until well mixed.
  6. Pour the mixture into a well-buttered dish.
  7. Bake up to 40 Minutes – until set.

DATE PUDDING

Ingredients

  • 1½  cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Chop the dates and the nuts.
  4. Place both in large mixing bowl.
  5. Stir in the sugar and mix well.
  6. In a separate bowl, whip together the egg, milk and vanilla.
  7. Add to the date/nut mixture.
  8. Stir in the dry ingredients
  9. Pour batter into a generously-buttered 2-quart baking dish.
  10. Dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter.
  11. Bake in pre-heated oven for ~30 minutes, until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or hard sauce.

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Serves 4 – can easily be cut in half for two servings.

ENJOY! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Christmas Fruit Mince Pies – Recipe of the Day

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Slice of Christmas Mince Pie
Image by yphoto

Christmas Fruit Mince Pies are a wonderful off-season dessert with a delightfully tasty combination of apples, peaches, pears, cranberries and mincemeat.  Everyone loves this pie – even the mincemeat nay-sayers.  It is heavenly when served warm with rich vanilla ice cream.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 recipe double pie crust or a 15 oz package refrigerated prepared pie crust
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 1 can (8 oz) sliced freestone peaches in heavy syrup
  • 1 can (8 oz) pear halves in heavy syrup
  • 1 can (8 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup ready-to-use mincemeat
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk for brushing top crust
  • 2 teaspoons sugar to sprinkle the top crust

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the Fruit

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Make the pie crust and fit the 1st crust into a 9” pie plate, preferably glass.  Leave a 1”overhang.
  3. Peel, core, and chop the apples.
  4. Drain peaches and pears and chop coarsely.
  5. Place the chopped fruit, cranberry sauce, mincemeat, and butter in a large bowl – stir to mix.
  6. Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
  7. Pour the dry ingredients over the fruit mixture and blend thoroughly.
  8. Spoon filling into the pie crust.
  9. Roll out the remaining dough into a 12” round.
  10. Cut into ¾” wide strips for a lattice top.
  11. Place half of strips over top of the filling; do not seal ends.
  12. Fold every other strip back halfway from center.
  13. Place center cross strip on pie and replace folded part of strips.
  14. Fold back alternate strips and place second cross strip in place.
  15. Repeat to weave lattice.
  16. Trim strips even with edge of pie plate.
  17. Turn overhang up over ends of strips; pinch to seal; make decorative edge with your fingers.
  18. Using a pastry brush, brush the lattice top and edge of the pie with milk. Sprinkle lattice with sugar.
  19. Bake pie 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.
  20. After 25 minutes of baking, cover the pie loosely with foil to prevent over browning.
  21. Place on wire rack to cool.



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Berry Cherry Pie for the Holidays – Recipe of the Day

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Berry Cherry Pie for the Holidays
Almost Ready for the Oven – Image by Paul

Berry Cherry Pie is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas – a holiday treat that is likely to become a family tradition. 

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe your favorite pie crust for double crust pie or use a 15 oz. packaged refrigerated pie crusts
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 can tart cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position.
  2. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  3. Make the pie crust for a double crust pie, roll out the first crust (a little more than half the dough) and fit into a 9” pie plate (preferably glass).  Save the remainder of the dough (covered) for the top of the pie.
  4. Drain juices from thawed strawberries and cherries and reserve for later.
  5. Place the sugar, tapioca, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan – whisk to blend and stir in the reserved juices.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and clear ~ 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add strawberries, cherries and lemon juice – stir to blend.
  8. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell and dot with butter.
  9. Top with second crust – seal and flute the edges with your fingers or a fork.
  10. Cut decorative slits in the top layer.
  11. Bake 35 to 40 minutes – until filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
  12. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. Serve a la mode with vanilla ice cream.

 



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Blueberry Nectarine Pie – Recipe of the Day

Blueberry Nectarine Pie
Image by Mary E

Blueberry Nectarine Pie has a luscious sweet fruit filling made with juicy, antioxidant-rich blueberries and fresh nectarines. It is so rich and tasty that it is sure to become a family favorite.

INGREDIENTS

  • Crust for a double-crust pie – use your favorite recipe or a 15 oz packaged refrigerated pie crust.
  • 3½ pounds fresh nectarines
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground
  • 2 tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar for top of crust

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position.
  2. Heat oven to 450° F.
  3. Make your crust and place the first crust in a 9” pie plate (preferably glass) or prepare and use the packaged crust.
  4. Peel, pit, and slice the nectarines in ½” thick slices (handle gently to avoid bruising).
  5. Place the nectarines in a large bowl and gently toss with the blueberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  6. Set aside for 15 minutes – then, drain all juices.
  7. Pour fruit into the pie shell and spread evenly.
  8. Top with the second crust – seal and flute the edges.
  9. Cut a few decorative slits in the top of the crust.
  10. Whip the egg with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the top with the egg wash (reserve remainder for second brushing).
  11. Reduce heat to 425° F. and bake ~25 minutes – then, remove from oven – brush with remaining egg wash and sprinkle top with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  12.  Return to the oven and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and center is bubbling ~ 5 – 10 minutes more.
  13. Place on wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.



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