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Recipe: Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts

Recipe: Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts

Ingredients

Pastry Dough
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup ice water
Strawberry Filling
1 lb fresh strawberries, stems removed and quartered
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pinch Kosher salt
For Assembly
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp strawberry filling for each pop tart
Vanilla Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
34 tbsp milk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
food coloring and sprinkles if desired

Directions

Pastry Dough

Place the flour salt and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and water. Pulse until just combined. At this point you should be able to pinch the dough together with your fingers. If it’s too crumbly add the tiniest bits of ice water until the dough just sticks together. Transfer the dough to a large, clean work area. Divide dough into two portions and press into flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to two days.

Strawberry Filling

In a medium saucepan combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon until the strawberries start to sizzle. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook and mix for 10-15 minutes, until the berries release their juices and become saucy. Transfer the strawberries to a heat proof container and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, place in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the Pop Tarts

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Remove the dough one disk at a time from the fridge. Remove the plastic wrap and let the dough sit out a few minutes on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, trim the dough to 4 X 2 1/2 inch rectangles. Save any scraps and continue to roll until you don’t have enough dough left to continue. Do the same process with the second disk. You should end up with 22 rectangles.

Make the egg wash: whisk together the egg with the milk and salt.

Spread one tablespoon of the strawberry filling onto the center of eleven rectangles. Brush some egg wash on the edges of the dough. Place the other eleven pieces of dough over the ones with the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal the tarts. Using a paring knife, cut three small slits or “X’s” in the top of each pop tart. This will ensure that the pop tarts don’t explode while baking. Place the filled pop tarts onto the baking sheets with and inch in between each tart.

Brush the egg wash on the tops of each pop tart. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Frosting the Pop Tarts

While the pop tarts are cooling make the frosting. Whisk together the powdered sugar with milk and vanilla. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Drizzle the frosting over the pop tarts and add sprinkles while the frosting is still runny. Let the frosting set for a few minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Enjoy within 3 days.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Snow Queen Cocktail

Recipe: Snow Queen Cocktail

Ingredients

3 fl oz white chocolate liqueur
2 fl oz vodka
1 fl oz peppermint schnapps, plus extra for rim of glass
2 tbsp heavy cream
cup white, red or green sanding sugar for rim

Directions

Using some peppermint schnapps, wet the rim of a martini or coupe glass. Dip in sanding sugar until rim is coated.

In a cocktail shaker, combine white chocolate liqueur with vodka, schnapps and heavy cream.

Fill shaker with ice and shake well.

Strain mixture into the prepared glass and serve.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: The Best Red Enchilada Sauce

Recipe: The Best Red Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients

2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp red chili powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
a few pinches ground red pepper to taste if you want this spicy

Directions

Be sure to have all of the ingredients measured out and near the stove. This sauce comes together very quickly.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together for a few seconds. Whisk in the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Whisk in the tomato paste. The mixture will darken a bit, cook a minute until fragrant.

Gradually add in the stock, whisking the entire time. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the sauce to a boil and then to a simmer. Mix in the vinegar. Cook 5-7 minutes. Whisk often to remove lumps and to make a smooth sauce. Sauce will appear thin at first and will thicken as it cooks. Add ground red pepper now to taste if you want a spicy sauce. Test the thickness with a spoon. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Transfer the sauce to a heat proof container to cool or use immediately for enchiladas. Enchilada sauce can be refrigerated and used within 5 days or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

¾ fl oz whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups mixed chocolate, peanut butter & white chocolate chips

Directions

Brown Butter

Bring the butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Swirl the pan a few times. The butter will bubble then foam. Once the foam subsides, swirl the pan and you will see brown flecks. The butter will have a nutty, toasty aroma. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a heat proof container. Let cool to room temperature.

Make the Cookie Dough

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cooled brown butter on medium speed with the granulated and brown sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. Beat on medium high speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as needed.

Add the flour mixture to mixer bowl, beat on low until combined. Mix in the oats. Mix in the chocolate chip medley.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface covered in plastic wrap. Divide the dough into two portions and pat them into disks. Wrap each separately in the plastic wrap. Cool the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes up to 4 days. This dough will become very firm if chilled over 1 hour. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before using it.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit with the racks in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Place 2 tablespoon portions of dough 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top.

Let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to cooling racks.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Recipe: Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Ingredients

1 lb linguine, cooked to package directions
1 lb large shrimp, cleaned, peeled (leaving tails) and slightly butterflied
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ cup dry white wine
¼ fl oz olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch red pepper (or more to taste)
a few pinches salt and pepper
3 tbsp unsalted , divided

Directions

Clean and peel the shrimp. Make the marinade. Combine the onion, garlic, olive oil, wine, lemon juice, parsley and seasonings in a large bowl. Place the shrimp in the bowl and marinate for 20-30 minutes.

While the shrimp is marinating. Cook pasta to package directions. Toss with olive oil.

Preheat the flat top grill or skillet on medium high. Melt 1 tbsp of the butter on the grill then place the shrimp and marinade on top. Cook for 2 minutes then flip the shrimp and cook for another minute or until cooked through. Toss with the rest of the butter.

Serve on top of the linguine. Top with more parsley.

~ Marla Meridith

Chili Cheese Oven Fries

Chili Cheese Oven Fries

Ingredients

Oven French Fries
1 ½ lbs Russet potatoes
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Chili
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 green bell pepper finely chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup crushed tomatoes
½ cup water
Toppings
1 tomato seeded and diced
Shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese
green onions chopped
sour cream
Anything else you may want such as sliced Jalapeno, salsa, pico de gallo, avocado, guacamole, olives, lettuce, etc.

Directions

Oven Fries

Clean and pat dry the potatoes. Do not remove the skin.

Slice into desired thickness.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with the rack on the lower level.

In a large bowl toss the potatoes with the oil, salt and pepper and any other toppings you like.

Place on the baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 25-35 minutes tossing the fries in the middle of baking time.

Chili

While the fries are baking prepare the chili. Cook the meat in a 12 inch cast iron skillet until browned, breaking up the meat up as it cooks. Remove the meat from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Discard oil.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a the same skillet, no need to wash it. Saute the onion for 5-6 minutes until softened and fragrant.

Add the bell pepper and cook a few more minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and then to a simmer for 20 minutes or until chili thickens.

Plate the fries in a bake safe casserole dish or single serving dishes. Top with chili and handfuls of cheese. Bake for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with various toppings.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Make the holidays extra special with this delicious Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe.

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
9 ounces (2 2/3 cups) fresh cranberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
FOR THE BATTER:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
—topping
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.
Prepare the topping: Put butter and brown sugar in a 9-inch round cake pan, place the oven. As the sugar dissolves, stir once so the mixture spreads evenly over the pan. When the sugar starts to bubble and caramelize, remove pan from the oven and allow to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the cranberries and orange juice. Toss to coat berries well. Spread the berries evenly in the pan. Drizzle with any juice remaining in bowl. Set pan aside, and prepare the cake batter.
Prepare the batter: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and beat in egg yolks one at a time, scraping bowl once or twice. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, ending with dry ingredients. Set batter aside.
Using electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with cream of tartar until whites are stiff enough to hold a slight peak.
Fold whites into batter 1/3 at a time. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and spread it evenly over cranberries. Bake until top is browned and cake pulls away slightly from edges of pan, 30-35 minutes (add 5-10 minutes if you live at high altitude). Test for doneness with a wooden skewer, cake is ready when it comes out virtually crumb free.
Let cake cool for 15 minutes before turning onto a serving plate. Top with the candied ginger. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired.

This recipe is a slight variation of Alice Waters’s Cranberry Upside-Down Cake.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Sparkling Pear Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients

Directions

~ Marla Meridith

Cran Raspberry Mimosas

Ingredients

Directions

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Greek Salad with Salmon and Creamy Feta Dressing

Ingredients

Directions

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Americana No-Bake Cheesecake

I love to make special desserts for the holidays, especially for July 4th. This Americana No-Bake Cheesecake will impress all your guests and it’s super easy to make ahead of time.

Ingredients

‘–for the crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 full sheets) you can also us ginger snaps or chocolate wafers
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted, unsalted butter
baking spray
for the filling
1 1/4 cups cold heavy whipping cream
3 (8 ounce) blocks full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
for the topping
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries

Directions

Prepare the crust: Pulse the graham crackers (or your preferred cookies) in a food processor until you have a consistent crumb. Pulse in the sugar and butter until well combined. Spray a 9″ or 10″ springform pan with baking spray. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan, using your palms to make sure it’s firmly packed. Refrigerate while you are making the filling, 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the filling: Whip the cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until you have stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and place in the fridge.

In the same bowl, you don’t have to rinse it, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scraping down the sides of the bowl with a soft rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, beat in the confectioners sugar, sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla bean paste until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Be sure that there are no lumps of cream cheese in the mixture.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream being sure not to over mix, you don’t want to cream to deflate.

Scoop the cheesecake mixture over the crust. Smooth out the top with an offset spatula. Decorate with the berries.

Refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours up to two days. Serve cold.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Greek Barley Salad

Ingredients

Directions

~ Marla Meridith