Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Classic & Easy Tuna Melt

I had this for lunch today and it was so good. I thought tuna melts were only for the oven. This way is so much easier.

Classic Tuna Melt

1 (6.4 oz.) pouch StarKist® Chunk Light or Albacore in water
2 tbsp. chopped onion
8 slices bread, toasted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tbsp. chopped celery
4 slices cheese

In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, onion, and celery; mix well. Top 4 of the bread slices each with 1 slice of cheese. Spread tuna mixture over cheese slices and top with remaining bread slices. Spread each sandwich with additional mayonnaise; place in skillet. Cook on medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.

Tip: carrot and cucumber may be substituted for onion and celery.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cocoa Blocks

I made this recipe last night for a couple of my hot chocolate loving friends. Of course I had to test it out first. The hot chocolate was great, although for just one or two cups I'll make the Williams-Sonoma Hot Chocolate. This recipe makes a lot of blocks and I don't think I'd eat/drink them all up quickly enough.

Cocoa Blocks
from King Arthur Flour

½ cup heavy cream
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
4 (1 oz) blocks unsweetened baking chocolate
wooden sticks

Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; allow it to gently melt. After about 10 minutes, return the chocolate mixture to low heat to completely melt the chocolate. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny. Add a few drops of flavoring oil if you like; hazelnut, coffee, or vanilla are popular flavors. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan; shake the pan gently to level. Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Set aside overnight to slowly set up. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out onto a clean cutting surface. Slice into 1 ¼" cubes. Heat a knife in hot water and wipe dry before each cut, for smoothest cuts. Stick a wooden stick into the center of each block. Roll in cocoa or crushed peppermint candy, if desired. Wrap in waxed paper, parchment, or plastic wrap to store. These store at room temperature 3-4 days, in the fridge about 10 days, in the freezer up to 30 days.

Yield: about 3 dozen blocks. (I only got 16 blocks, but I did cut off the edges so that it would look prettier)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Hot Chocolate

No more Starbucks hot chocolate for me, this recipe is the best!

Best Hot Chocolate
recipe from Williams-Sonoma

4 cups whole milk
6 oz Williams Sonoma Hot Chocolate
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2-4 TBSP granulated sugar (we only used 1 TBSP and it was plenty sweet!)

Pour the milk into heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium-high heat, and heat to just below boiling. Whisk in chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon and continue to shisk until milk is frothy and chocolate is incorporated. Whisk in sugar to taste.

Spam Musubi

This one of my boys favorite foods from Hawaii!

Spam Musubi
recipe from
Food Network

5 cups cooked sushi rice, room temperature
5 sheets nori, cut in half lengthwise
1 (12 oz.) can Spam
6 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp sugar
Furikake, to taste (optional, I leave it out)

Cut Spam into 10 slices. Fry until slightly crispy. Remove and drain on plate lined with paper towels. In another pan, combine soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low. Add Spam slices, coating them in the mixture. When mixture has thickened, remove Spam from pan.

Lay a sheet of nori lengthwise on a clean surface. Moisten lower half of musubi maker (see Note), and place on lower third of nori. Fill musubi maker with rice and press flat until the rice is 3/4-inch high. Sprinkle rice with furikake. Top with slice of Spam. Remove musubi maker and keep in a bowl of warm water to keep it clean and moist.

Starting at the end towards you, fold nori over Spam and rice stack, and keep rolling until completely wrapped in the nori. Slightly dampen the end of the nori to seal it. Repeat with the other nine Spam slices, making sure to rinse off musubi maker after each use to prevent it from getting too sticky.

Note: You can also use an empty Spam can that has been opened on both sides for the musubi mold, using your hands (or a piece of Spam) to press down on the rice.

There's a picture tutorial here, but the recipe I used is the one above.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Best Cocktail Sauce

We ran out of cocktail sauce, so I searched the internet for a substitute. I had no idea making coctail sauce was so easy, and I had all the ingredients on hand. No more store bought for us! Jeff like this recipe better than bottled cocktail sauce.

Basic Cocktail Sauce

6 TBSP tomato ketchup
2 TBSP horseradish
4 TBSP lemon juice
celery salt to taste
tabasco sauce (we left this out)

Shake all ingredients until well mixed. Add celery salt and tabasco sauce to your taste. Chill & Serve

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Nutcracker

During Christmas time we always had a bowl of nuts setting out on our table. I have fond memories of cracking and eating nuts with my family.