Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday Dinner: {Rustic Roasted Chicken 'n Veggies}


I titled this post "Sunday Dinner," because this is one of those recipes that are rich, and hearty, and beautiful enough to be the centerpiece of your Sunday table.  I'm not sure about you, but even though I like to make a nice meal every night of the week, I want Sunday dinner to be extra special.  I want to break out the good china (well, if I had any...unfortunately, I got married at 20, an age where I found the idea of "nice china" to be ridiculous.  Consequently, I have none!),  and set the the table, serving food in beautiful dishes right there in the center of my table, rather than ladling food at the stove and carrying it over.  I want to make a meal that looks like it could be on the cover of a magazine, and that is even more delicious, and comforting than it looks.  This recipe fits the bill in all of those categories.  The beautiful colors of all the vegetables, and the glaze on the chicken paint a homey, gorgeous picture worthy of any magazine cover.  And, unlike many of those cover recipes, this one is easy peasy to whip up.

Don't let the title of this post box you in though, you don't have to reserve this deliciousness for Sunday night.  You can make it early in the week to cure that pesky case of the Mondays, or mid-week to help you through hump day, or Friday night, for a date with your sweetheart (on a boat, in a train...).  This is a great recipe for any night of the week.  The prep time is probably about 20-30 minutes, between chopping the vegetables, making the glaze, and the broth, and then an hour of cooking time.  So, any night you have an hour and a half to devote to dinner is a worthwhile night for this recipe!

I hope all of you facebook fans took my preparatory advice, and purchased the ingredients listed during your weekly grocery run.  Because once you see the photos of this amazing chicken, you're going to want to make it right now.  Even though it's only Tuesday!  Be sure to follow the link at the bottom of this post to the original recipe, as well, because the photos on that site are MUCH more beautiful and inviting than mine!  My kitchen suffers from TERRIBLE lighting, and my photography suffers from my lack of time to practice and learn.  Kay's suffers from no such thing.  Her photography is as great as her food!

A few notes about this recipe, first, the original recipe is slightly different than the one I've listed.  I omitted several ingredients from the original that I didn't have, and added a couple that I love.  For example, the original recipe called for 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and 1/2 cup of white wine.  I didn't have any white wine on hand, and in Utah, that means driving 20 minutes to the liquor store, which isn't open on Sundays anyway.  So, I used all chicken broth, and the result was still amazingly delicious.  Next time I make it, I'll try it with the white wine, and then post an update to let you know the difference.  Also, the recipe called for lots of fresh sage, which I couldn't find anywhere.  Seriously, I checked 4 grocery stores for it, and came up empty handed.  I think I added a little bit of dried sage to the glaze to make up for it, but I'm not 100% sure.  Either way, sage is a really mild flavor, and you're not going to miss it if you don't have it.  I also chose to use 2 bell peppers, because I really wanted the extra punch of color from the red and the yellow peppers in there.  I have to admit, I was nervous that the bell peppers would overrun the other flavors in this recipe, especially because I don't love bell peppers.  But, they really just provided a nice background, and deeper flavor than carrots and potatoes alone.  I really loved it.  I also chose to add rosemary to the glaze mixture because it is absolutely my favorite herb.  I love the way thyme and rosemary taste together.

Take your vegetables, and adjust the measurements based on your own tastes.  For example, I used less carrots, and more potatoes, because I really LOVE potatoes.  A lot.  I also used a lot more garlic than the original recipe calls for because The Husband and I are garlic fiends.

Really, I just can't impress upon you enough that you MUST make this chicken.  It is THAT GOOD. Notice there's an " 'n " in there.  Based on past recipes, you KNOW that means it's good.

Hallelujahs:Amazingly delicious, beautiful, vibrant, just plain PERFECT.
Hellfires:Chopping the veggies does take a few minutes, but it's totally worth it!

{Rustic Roasted Chicken 'n Veggies}

Cut-Up Fryer Chicken
1-3 lbs of small potatoes
4 big shallots
5-8 garlic cloves
1-2 bell peppers
½ lb bacon
1 cup chicken broth (or ½ cup chicken broth and ½ cup wine)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 tsp Paprika
¼- ½  tsp dried thyme
¼- ½ tsp dried rosemary
ground pepper

-Begin by chopping your vegetables.  I used red potatoes this time, but whatever you have on hand will work for this.  Red and Yellow are my favorites for roasting, though, because they hold up better to long cooking times, and don’t waste away to nothing.
Photobucket-If you can’t find Shallots anywhere, just chop an onion into large wedges.  It will work the same way!
-Place your chopped vegetables in the bottom of your roasting pan.  In my case, I had to use two 13 x 9” pans, because my large roaster is destroyed and rusted.  Time for a visit to Williams-Sonoma!
-Place your chicken on top of your vegetables, and make your glaze.
-In a small bowl, mix olive oil, seasoned salt, paprika, thyme, rosemary, and pepper.  It should be a deep red color in the bowl.  If you have any other favorite spices, feel free to add them here.  I think I may have added a tiny bit of dried sage when I made this, but I can’t be sure. 
Photobucket-Place your chicken on top of your vegetables in the roasting pan.
-Use a basting brush (or a spoon, or even your fingers if you don’t have one!), and paint the chicken pieces with the glaze.  It will turn them this beautiful bright orange color.
-Place your garlic cloves (still in the skins) all around the pan. Snuggle 'em there with all the other veggies. When everything's done cooking, you can squeeze them out of the skins, and spread them over the chicken, for an amazing roasted garlic flavor!-Now, chop up your bacon into small pieces.  Roughly the same size, or smaller as the pieces for the green beans ‘n bacon recipe.
-Fry up your bacon until you get a nice crisp to it, and some brown deliciousness in the bottom of the pan.
-Deglaze your bacon pan (WITHOUT throwing out the grease!) with the chicken broth, or a mixture of chicken broth and white wine.
-Allow this broth/wine/bacon mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, uncovered, reducing it down and getting a deep color out of it.
-Pour the bacon/broth mixture around your roasting pan.  Be sure to pour over the vegetables, not the chicken, or you’ll wash off all of that beautiful orange glaze.
Photobucket-Cover your pans with tin-foil, tenting it to prevent the skin of the chicken from touching the foil.  If you miss this step, the skin will get stuck to the tin foil, and all that goodness will rip right off!
-Bake for about 30 minutes, at 400*.
-After 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven, and baste the chicken and veggies with the juice in the bottom of the pan.  
Photobucket-Replace tin foil, and bake for another 15 minutes.
-Remove from the oven, and baste again.
-This time, place the chicken back in the oven UNCOVERED for 15 minutes, so that the skin on your chicken will get a little crispy.
Photobucket-Remove from the oven, and ENJOY!

Original Recipe can be found at: Kayotic Kitchen

Sunday, January 16, 2011

{Herb-Roasted Potato Wedges}


Before I even start, let me just go ahead and apologize for the terrible photography.  Ashlyn is teething right now, and is currently testing the limits of my multi-tasking abilities, as well as the strength of each and every muscle in my arms.  Oh, and let's not forget my nerves!  Anyway, it was a chaotic night, and the photography suffered.  But, don't let the terrible photography keep you from trying this recipe.  It's easy, delicious, and a much healthier alternative to french fries.  I serve them with chicken, burgers, steak, and sometimes I serve them all by themselves!  I'm giving you the recipe that I use when making these, but feel free to play around, and get creative.  If you have a favorite herb, or seasoning mix, throw it on those babies!

This is another recipe brought to me (and to you!) via my amazing little brother.  He makes these with olive oil coating the bottom of the pan instead of melted butter.  I'm sure this is a much healthier option than the 1-2 sticks of melted butter I prefer.  But, I just prefer the flavor of melted butter to that of olive oil...and I've come to love the extra 'junk in my trunk,' because of it.  So you decide what you prefer, and what you can live with, and go from there!  These can be prepared either in a roasting pan, or a cookie tray with a 1/2-1" lip.

Hallelujahs:Easy, delicious, healthier than french fries
Hellfires:Although they are incredibly easy to make, they do take almost an hour to bake.

{Herb-Roasted Potato Wedges
4-5 large baking potatoes
1-2 sticks melted butter (or you could use olive oil to coat the bottom of your pan)
Your favorite herbs (I use S/P, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning, and Rosemary)
-Preheat oven to 400*
-Clean your potatoes well, scrubbing the dirt off.
-Cut them in half length-wise.
-Cut each half into fourths, on an angle in order to get the wedge shape.
-Pour your melted butter into your cookie tray or roasting pan.
-Place potatoes on pan, and sprinkle with the herbs
Photobucket-Flip wedges over, and sprinkle the other side with herbs
-Roast for 30 minutes.
-Remove from oven and flip wedges over.
Photobucket-Roast another 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender on the inside, and slightly crispy on the outside.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

{Homemade Beef and Veggie Soup}


Printer-Friendly Recipe

Here is a rarity for me; a recipe that's as healthy as it is delicious!  No frying, no oil, and hold onto your horses for this one...NO BUTTER!  But, don't let what's missing fool you, because this recipe is even more delicious than it is healthy.

In the wintertime (actually anytime!), I could eat soup for every meal.  In fact, if my husband loved soup as much as I do, I probably would eat it for every meal.  But, he doesn't share my insane love for soup.  Oh, he'll eat a bowl, and agree that it's tasty, but he won't go back for seconds, and he won't be requesting it again tomorrow.  However, he LOVES this soup.  The nice thing about this soup is that you can add whatever veggies you want to the recipe I'm giving you.  You'll just decrease the amount of potatoes or meat to make room for your favorite veggies.  Since I'm a bit of a veggie snob, I only use celery, carrots, and potatoes as my veggies, but my Mom often adds green beans and corn.  Play around with it, add what you love!

There are two "surprise" ingredients in here.  The first is the Mrs. Knorr's Veggie Dip Mix pictured below.
 It is a really quick and easy way to add a lot of complementary flavors in one shot.  Look for it at the grocery store.  Sometmes it's in the aisle over by the bouillon cubes, and other times, it's by the other broths.  The other "surprising" ingredient is the teriyaki sauce for browning your meat.  Don't be freaked out by this.  I promise your soup isn't going to taste like chinese food.  It's just going to add a depth of flavor to your soup, that makes it much richer than any other broth-based soup you've had.  Be careful with it though.  It's VERY salty when it cooks down, and if you add too much of it, you're going to have a very salty soup.  I usually add enough teriyaki sauce to my skillet to coat the bottom of the pan.  As it's cooking, and the beef gives off it's own juices, this tends to multiply.  Don't worry.  Just let it cook, and then as the browning nears its end, skim off (I use a baster for this) most of the extra juice into a cup or bowl.  Leave about 2-4 tablespoons in there, and then let it caramelize just a titch bit.  Then, if you feel like you need a little bit more in the broth to add flavor, you can add it back in from what you reserved.  This is a trial and error type thing.  Don't be afraid of messing up.  If you get to the end, and you've added too much and are left with a very salty soup, add some water.  The next time you make it, you'll add less, and won't have to play with it!  I also want to experiment with using red wine to brown the beef, and when I do, I'll let you know how it turns out!

The other important note here is about the potatoes.  You can use any of your favorite potatoes in this soup.  I almost always use the Yukon Gold potatoes in it, because they hold up really nicely to the boiling, and don't fall apart as they sit overnight.  Because this soup tastes even BETTER the next day!  But, plain old russet potatoes work too!  The thing to remember, is to add MORE potatoes than you think you need.  As they cook down, and especially as you reheat the soup, they are going to kind of shrink, and I almost always end up with too much broth, and not enough potatoes!  If this happens, you can always boil some more potatoes in it the next day, but that's just too much work for me!

This is  one of those "Low and Slow" recipes.  You could cook this much faster, at a higher temperature, but it's just not going to taste as good.  So, hold your horses, and be patient!  I'm going to give you the ingredient measurements for the pot I made this week.  It was HUGE.  It could have easily fed 6 people 2 servings.  If you don't want a pot that big, just adjust your measurements accordingly; less broth, less potatoes, less meat, etc.

Hallelujahs:Delicious, deep flavor, easy!
Hellfires:It does take a long time to cook

3 boxes of Beef Broth
1 box of Beef Stock
Celery (to taste, I used 3 stalks)
1 bag of mini carrots
2 lbs beef stew meat
(1) 5 lb bag of potatoes (I like Yukon Gold)
1 bag Mrs. Knorr’s Vegetable Dip Mix
Teriyaki Sauce (2-4 tablespoons-ish)
Montreal Steak Seasoning (this is optional, you could just do salt/pepper for your beef)

-First, get your broth into a large stock pot.
-Add your Mrs. Knorr’s mix.  I don’t use the whole packet.  I use about ⅔ of it.
Photobucket-Chop and add your celery.  I chop mine really large because while I love the flavor it imparts, I don’t want to bite into it.  I want it to be easy to avoid!
Photobucket-Add your carrots.
-Turn your burner onto low/medium.
-Now, add your stew meat to a frying pan.  
-Add enough teriyaki sauce to coat the bottom of the pan, and then add a sprinkle of Montreal Steak Seasoning, or Salt/Pepper if you prefer.  BE CAREFUL with the salt/seasoning.  Just a hint!
Photobucket-Begin browning your meat, covered, on medium.
-As the meat begins to cook, remove the lid, and remove any excess juices to a bowl.  You want about 2-4 tablespoons in there.
-Once the meat has caramelized a little bit, pour it all into your stock pot.
Photobucket-You’re going to have all kinds of delicious caramelized goodness in that frying pan.  Do NOT throw it away! 
-Add a ladle-full of your broth, stir it around, and dump it all back into the stock pot.
Photobucket-If you think your broth needs a little more depth, go ahead and add some of the reserved meat juices, but be careful about adding too much or it will be too salty!
Photobucket-Now, cover your pot, turn your burner down to low (about a 3 out of 10), and go relax.  Read a magazine, take a bath, clean your house, paint your nails, just chill out for at least an hour and a half or two hours.  You want this soup to be DELICIOUS!
-This is what your broth will look like after about 2 hours. See how much deeper it looks?
-Once your broth has gently simmered for an hour and a half or two hours, check your carrots.  If they are just about tender, go ahead and begin peeling, and chopping your potatoes.  Add them to the soup, and turn it up slightly, to about a 4 or 5 out of 10.  
Photobucket-Simmer uncovered until your potatoes are fork tender.
-Serve in a large bowl, with some delicious, crusty bread to dip into it.  And then eat it again for lunch.  And a snack.  And dinner the next day!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Clever Casserole: {Lemon Pepper Chicken & Rice}


Printer-Friendly Recipe

Clever Casseroles: more alliteration!  I know, the cheesiness abounds, but there's something I love about so many letters rolling off the tongue so easily.  This is another UN-recipe; a recipe so simple and so delicious, I'm almost embarrassed to admit I didn't come up with it myself.  This is another from the great mind of my sister-in-law, Sarah, who also brought us the delicious alfredo sauce recipe.

This is one of the easiest weeknight meals you will ever cook.  There are only 4 ingredients (5 if you count the water), and they all come together so quickly, and simply that you will be amazed.  I'm not usually a lover of rice, but this rice cooks in the sauce, and it all comes together like a gravy.  It's delicious.  So, even if you're not a rice lover, give this a try anyway!  You could probably try it with Orzo pasta, too.  I haven't attempted it yet, but I will in the future, and I'll update you when I do!

Hallelujahs:Simple, Easy, Few Ingredient, Delicious

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 8-10 boneless skinless chicken breast tenders as I've used here)
2 cups of white rice
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
2 cans of water
Lemon Pepper Seasoning to sprinkle over the top

-Preheat oven to 400*
-In a bowl, whisk together the two cans of cream of chicken soup, and two cans of water.
-Add your rice to a roasting/brownie pan
-Pour the soup and water mixture over the rice
-Nestle your chicken amongst the rice and sauce
-Grab your Lemon-Pepper Seasoning
-Sprinkle the Lemon-Pepper seasoning evenly over the top of the dish
-Cover with tin-foil
-Bake, covered for 30 minutes.  Then, remove the tin-foil and stir the chicken and rice.
-Replace the tin-foil, and bake another 30 minutes or so, until the rice is fluffy, and soft.
-That's it!  Now serve with some bread, and enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Tip for Tuesday: {Menu Planning}

In honor of my love for alliteration, and for my resolution to renew my love for menu planning, I'm sharing an incredible kitchen tip with you this Tuesday afternoon!

Is saving money on your list of resolutions for the New Year?  I'm willing to bet that it's near the top for many of us this year.  I'm also willing to be that I'm not the only one who would rather have a root canal than sit down and clip coupons, or type up a strict budget.  All that extra thinking about money just makes me want to throw my hands up and QUIT!  How about a money saving tip that won't have you running for the dentist's office, begging him to give you a root canal, sans novacaine?

The absolute easiest way I've found to save money (a significant amount of money, too, not just pennies) is by planning a weekly (or bi-weekly) menu.  When we were first married, like most newlyweds, we were living on a shoestring budget.  But, like most young, 20-somethings, we also liked food.  A lot.  I noticed that our grocery bills were eating up more of our monthly budget than any other item on the list.  And yet, it didn't seem like we had that much food at all.  In fact, we were spending almost as much on eating out as we were on groceries. 

In an effort to control our ever-inflating costs, and to decrease the amount of take-out we were grabbing, I decided to make a list of all the meals I wanted to cook for 1 week straight.  I thought that if I had the meals planned out, and ingredients purchased in advance, we'd be less likely to splurge on pizza or Chinese simply because we couldn't think of anything for dinner.  What I found was that this 20 minutes of planning at the beginning of the week not only slowed down our consumption of take-out (and was no doubt singlehandedly responsible for profit losses at every fast food join in a 5 mile radius), but it decreased our grocery bills by almost half.  Yes, half, as in 50%.

It turns out, that just randomly picking up items you think you'll need as you wander up and down the vast aisles (especially while hungry!) is not only inefficient, but EXPENSIVE!  I was picking up tons of items I didn't need, and forgetting many that I did, which would lead to extra trips back to the store throughout the week.  And, really, who goes into the store for one thing, and comes out with only that one item?  Not me.  I went in for eggs, and came out with $50 worth of stuff we might need, or that just plain looked good.  I was buying items I already had, because I hadn't taken the time to inventory my cupboards, or the recipes I would be cooking.  Cutting out these extra trips cut down our grocery bills, our take-out bills, and reduced the amount of food we were throwing away each week.

So, I'm going to walk you through the process, so that you, too, can see some extra money in the bank each week.  Though, I take no responsibility for the failure of any nearby restaurants when you see how successful this method is!

How to Save Money by Planning Your Meals!

First, go through your recipes, cookbooks, favorite food blogs, and any other source you might use to think of the recipes you'd like to make this week.  I usually do this on a bi-weekly basis, so I only have to do this step once every 2 weeks.

Then, make a list of those recipes, and the ingredients that you need for each of them.  

Go into your kitchen, and take stock of what you have, crossing out any ingredients you already have at home, so you won't buy them again at the store.

Add to your list any extras you might need: garbage bags, ziplocs, shampoo, specific snacks, etc.  You want EVERYTHING on your list.  Go through the rest of your house if you have to, the more accurate your list is, the less likely you are to need to make that dreaded second trip, where your one bottle of toothpaste will run you $50 in junk!

Head to the store, and STICK TO YOUR LIST.  Avoid the temptation of picking up things that aren't on the list because you "might need them later."  In my experience, this leads to pantries packed full of items that will never see the light of day.

Once you are home, post your list of dinners on the fridge, so you can refer to it when the terror-inducing "what am I going to cook tonight?" moment hits.  Some people get fancy and list ahead of time exactly what night they are making which dinner.  But, that's too scary for me.  I need a little wiggle room.  What if I don't want chicken on the 13th?  What if I want beef?  If I want beef, I'm going to have beef, dangit!  I just post the list, with no dates, and make whatever sounds good to me that night.  Having my choices narrowed down to 7 (or 14 if you do bi-weekly lists) makes all the difference in the world.

Now, do NOT go back to the store until your list of dinners is done.  If you run out of something, put it on a whiteboard, and get it on your next trip.  Unless it's something you absolutely HAVE to have.  The only thing I will go back to the store for is milk, for the kids.  Everything else waits until my next designated shopping day.  This way, I avoid all those extra trips, and costly extra junk that finds its way into my cart during each trip.

It looks like a lot of work written down here like this, but it's really not!  It also makes your trip to the store MUCH faster.  Instead of wandering the aisles, like a lost puppy, thinking about what you might need to pick up, you can walk confidently, and briskly into each one, picking up only what's on your list.  And if you choose to keep this little morsel to yourself, and take the extra time to hit Starbucks for a quiet cup of coffee or piece of coffee cake in peace, who am I to tell your husband on you?

In keeping honest with you guys, I do need to admit that I usually leave 1-2 nights per week open for leftovers, or dinners out.  What?  I said this saved me money, not that I'm perfect, or that I can resist the perfection that is someone waiting on ME for a change every once in a while.

So, to get you started on this Tuesday's Tip, here is my meal plan for this week.  I'll post the recipes as I make them!

{Godbold Family Meal Plan for December 28-January 11}

Chicken 'n Dumplins
Ranch Pork Chops and Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin
Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes
Rigatoni and Homemade Meatballs
Homemade Beef and Vegetable Soup
Super Simple Chicken Soft Tacos
Sarah's Lemon Pepper Chicken and Rice
Potato Cheddar Soup
PW Pot Roast
PW's Penne a la Betsy (with chicken instead of shrimp)
Steak and Potato Wedges

So, there you have it!  Feel free to take some of these recipes, and use them to create your own weekly meal plan.  Then, sit back and watch your grocery bills shrink!  Think of all the fun responsible things you can do with the money you save!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

{Family Christmas Dinner}: Menu

Each year I host our extended family's Christmas dinner at my house. It's a little bit of a tight squeeze to fit 30 people in our little home, but I really LOVE doing it. I get to show off my decorations, make a bunch of delicious food, and enjoy the company of the best family in the world! I really did luck out in the in-law department.

Here are a couple of photos from Christmas dinners over the past couple of years:




I thought I'd take a minute to share our menu for this year's feast with you guys! After the festivities are done, I promise to post the best recipes here for you all to use! Also, today was our sisters' pie day, which will have its own post this week, along with LOTS of great recipes to share! Kelley's Kitchen Revival is alive and well!!

2010 Godbold Family Christmas Dinner Menu


Deviled Eggs
Vegetable Tray

Main Dishes:

Roasted Turkey
Smoked Brisket


Sage Sausage Stuffing (or Dressing, if you prefer!)
Parmesan Creamed Spinach
Soul Sweet 'Taters
Golden Corral Dinner Rolls


Chocolate Pudding Pie
Banana Cream Pie
French Silk Pie
Peach Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Cranberry Pudding

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cookie Craze Day 4: {Pecan Tarts}

Before I get to the good stuff, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for your patience! I know I didn't get to post nearly as much as I wanted in November, but an interesting tidbit you might not know about me is that I am a serious procrastinator. I made the (poor) choice to leave my online classes for the end of the semester. Basically, I spent 2.5 weeks in Ohio, enjoying my family and friends, and doing absolutely NO schoolwork. So, I pretty much crammed an entire semester worth of work into 5 days...Needless to say, Shelby hasn't seen much action! But, now, it's all behind me, and I can get back to what I do best.


Do you see those babies up there? Those are the Holy Grail of cooking in my world. They are my Mom's recipe books, and have been a part of my cooking life for as long as I can remember. In fact, the white one, with the linoleum cover is even older than I am! My Mom made it for a home economics project when she was in 7th grade!!! That would be 1970, my friends! It's lasted this long because there are some really great little diddies inside, including these fabulous pecan tarts I'm about to feature today. My nephew, Josh, who is currently spending 2 years in Guatemala serving a mission for the LDS church, absolutely LOVES these cookies, and tells me they taste like mini pecan pies! They are always a hit at all family parties, and I promise you won't be disappointed if you make them!

Hallelujahs:Delicious, A LOT less work than an actual pecan pie
Hellfires:They do make a nice mess of your kitchen!

Pecan Tarts

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
6 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 cups flour

2 eggs
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
2 tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

-Combine butter and cream cheese until evenly incorporated, and fluffy.
-Add flour and mix.
-Now the original recipe calls for this little number to be chilled for an hour before rolling, but I'm NEVER patient enough for that. To remedy it, I use COLD butter and cream cheese from the outset. If your dough is too sticky to roll, pop it in the freezer (covered) for 15 minutes and come back to it.
-Roll the dough into 1/2-1 inch balls, and place into tart pan. My little man LOVES to roll dough of any sort!
-Next, you're going to press the balls into crust shapes. At home, I have a pampered chef tart shaper that I use (it was like $2) and it makes this process go SUPER fast, but my Mom's house is LOW TECH, and she prefers her thumbs!
-Now, make the filling.
-First, you're going to chop your nuts. These should not be as fine as the consistency for the Russian Teacakes posted a few weeks ago. You want them a little bit chunkier.
-Again, at home, I'd use my magic bullet, but since my Mom prefers the LOW TECH route, we used this, which I'm pretty sure was manufactured in the 1940's!:
-Here's a close up of the pecans, so you can get a feel for the consistency:
-Combine brown sugar, melted butter eggs and vanilla. Then, add nuts. In following the low tech theme, do this by hand.
-Now, you're going to fill the tart crusts you made earlier, you want to fill them a little less than 2/3 full. If you over fill them, they will pop when you bake them.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350*. Remove when the crusts are just barely golden brown.
-I know that's a large gap in terms of baking times, but it seems like it's different everytime I make them. So, keep an eye on them. Pull them out when the crusts are barely golden.
-Here is a close up of the bottom of the crust so you can see it. It will still be soft, but will set as it cools.
-Let them cool, and dust them with powdered sugar. If you overfilled, or if for some other mysterious reason the tops broke open, don't worry. Just top them with a pecan half or hershey's kiss, and add more powdered sugar. No one will ever be the wiser.
-Also, if you happen to have extra crust dough, I like to let Landon roll them out, add brown sugar and cinnamon, along with some Christmas sprinkles, roll 'em up, slice 'em, and bake 'em. It makes him SUPER happy to help!