12 February 2010

Valentines Day, Mardi Gras: 7 Yummy Snack Recipes

From Denny: During any holiday we can get rushed and need recipes that are easy to do and soul satisfying, especially during winter holidays like Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras season. What I like about these recipes is that you could plate them as small meals when you are on the go or as appetizers for a large gathering.

Carol Poche and her husband Gerry owned and managed Mamacita’s Restaurant and Cantina for 16 years, closing in 2001. Carol is now a real estate agent, mailing out her newly tested recipes every month to friends and business associates. She was featured in our local newspaper food section this week at 2theadvocate.com.

The Advocate archives the recipes and food articles within a week and they are no longer available unless purchased. So, I try to park the best ones over here on this blog. It's still a delight to visit their food section as many times it's a wonderful selection, everything from busy moms on the go, kid friendly recipes and lots of comfort food and slow cooker recipes.

There are three savory recipes from Carol and four chocolate recipes from cake to fudge to enjoy during the holidays.

Recipes Featured:

Artichoke Cheesecake
Braised Sirloin Tips
Corn and Crab Bisque
Starlight Double-Delight Cake
Hershey's Mocha Glazed Brownie Cups
Chocolate Sweetheart Cakes for Two
Here's my Heart Fudge

Photos from 2theadvocate.com and Hersheys.com.

Artichoke Cheesecake

From: Carol Poché

Makes: 20 squares


1/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
2 tbls. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 cup feta, crumbled
3 large eggs
1 (8-oz.) carton sour cream
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3/4 cup chopped red pepper
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. dried basil


1. Generously grease a (9x11-inch) baking dish.
2. Mix bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and Parmesan. Coat bottom of pan with mixture.
3. Process cream cheese in food processor until smooth. Add feta, eggs, and sour cream. Process until smooth.
4. Add chopped artichoke hearts, peppers, onions, garlic, tarragon and basil. Stir well and pour into pan.
5. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely, then chill for 2 hours. Slice and serve.

Braised Sirloin Tips

Carol Poché, adapted from a recipe from her mother, the late Hazel Walters

Serves: 6 to 8


1 lb. fresh mushrooms (my mother used canned)
1/4 cup butter, divided
Meat tenderizer
1 tbl. vegetable oil
1 (3-lb.) sirloin tip, cut in 1-inch cubes (my mother used stew meat)
3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup beef broth, divided
3/4 cup red wine
2 tbls. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (my mother used garlic powder)
1 onion, chopped
2 tbls. cornstarch
1/2 (10-1/2-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup (my mother used the whole can)
Salt, to taste


1. Sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter and spoon into a (3-quart) ungreased casserole. Season meat with meat tenderizer.
2. Add remaining butter and oil to skillet. Add meat and just brown. Do not cook completely. Spoon over mushrooms.
3. Combine 3/4 cup broth, wine, soy sauce, garlic and onions. Add to skillet, scraping bottom often.
4. Blend cornstarch with remaining 1/3 cup of broth and stir into wine mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thick. Spoon over meat, stirring to blend.
5. Cover and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour.
6. Add mushroom soup and season with salt, if needed. Serve over noodles or rice.

Corn and Crab Bisque

Carol Poché

Serves: about 8. This is a family favorite requested each Thanksgiving and Christmas!


1 stick butter
2 tbls. flour
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 lb. white crabmeat (I use lump)
1 qt. whole milk
1 (15-oz.) can cream-style corn (white or golden)
1 (15-oz.) can white corn
1 (10-1/2–oz.) can cream of potato soup
1/2 tsp. Accent
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Pinch mace
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Tony Chachere’s Original Seasoning, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped green onions


1. Melt butter. Add flour and blend thoroughly. Add onions and cook slowly for 10 minutes until onions soften.
2. Add crabmeat, milk, corn, soup, Accent, Worcestershire, mace and Tabasco. Cook slowly for 15-20 minutes.
3. Add Tony’s. Just before serving, garnish with cheese, parsley and green onions.

Starlight Double-Delight Cake

Mrs. Samuel P. Weston


Makes 1 (9-inch) layer cake. Recipe by Mrs. Samuel P. Weston, of La Jolla, Calif., is from “Pillsbury’s Best 1,000 Recipes Best of the Bake-Off Collection.” The recipe was the grand prize winner in the Third Grand National Bake-Off, 1951. A bit of mint flavor is carried into this beautifully moist, fine chocolate cake from the frosting mixture. There are those recipes that stand the test of time - like the chocolate chip cookie recipe!

For Chocolate Frosting:

2 (3-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. mint flavoring
6 cups (1-1/2 lbs.) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 cup hot water
4 (1-oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

For Chocolate Cake:

2-1/4 cups sifted Pillsbury’s Best All Purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups Chocolate Frosting
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk


1. To make frosting, cream 6 ounces cream cheese with 1/2 cup shortening, vanilla and mint flavoring; blend well.

2. Add sifted confectioners’ sugar alternately with hot water to cream cheese mixture. Blend in melted unsweetened chocolate.

3. To make cake, sift together all-purpose flour, soda and salt. Set aside.

4. Combine 1/4 cup shortening and 2 cups of Chocolate Frosting; cream well. Blend in eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with milk. Blend well after each addition.

6. Turn into two (9-inch) round layer cake pans, well on the bottoms. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool; frost with remaining Chocolate Frosting (thin with a few drops cream if necessary.

Note: If using self-rising flour, omit soda and salt.

Hershey's Mocha Glazed Brownie Cups

Makes: 24 brownie cups


1/4 c. butter or margarine
2 egg whites or 1/3 c. liquid eggs
1 egg
3/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. flour
1/3 c. Hershey's cocoa
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt



Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line small muffin cups (1 3/4" diameter) with paper bake cups or spray with oil.

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat; cool slightly.

Beat egg whites and egg in a small bowl on medium speed of mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar until slightly thickened and light in color. Stir together cocoa, sugar, salt and baking powder gradually adding to egg mixture, beating until blended. Gradually add melted butter, beating just til blended. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Prepare Mocha Glaze; drizzle over tops of brownie cups. Let stand until glaze is set. Store, covered, at room temperature.

Mocha Glaze


1/4 c. powdered sugar
3/4 t. Hershey's cocoa
1/4 t. powdered instant coffee
2 t. hot water
1/4 t. vanilla extract


Stir together powdered sugar and cocoa in small bowl. Dissolve instant coffee in water; gradually add to sugar mixture, stirring until well blended. Stir in vanilla.

70 calories each with 2.5 g of fat.

Chocolate Sweetheart Cakes for Two

Hershey's Cocoa

Prep Time: 17 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Skill Level: Beginner


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 8-inch square baking pan.

2. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat with whisk or spoon until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Transfer to cutting board. Using 3-1/4 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut cake into 4 hearts. Spread CHOCOLATE FROSTING on top of two hearts; place remaining two hearts on top. 2 small cakes.


1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon HERSHEY'S Cocoa
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place butter in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 20 seconds or until butter is melted. Stir together powdered sugar and cocoa; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating with spoon or whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. About 1/3 cup frosting.

Here's my Heart Fudge

Skill Level:


2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Premier White Chips, divided
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-1/2 cups sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1-1/2 cups (12-oz. can) evaporated milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup candied red cherries, quartered
Few drops red food color(optional)


1. Line 13x9x2-inch pan with foil.

2. Place 1 cup white chips and almond extract in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together cocoa, 1/4 cup melted butter and vanilla extract until mixture is smooth; add remaining 1 cup white chips (chips do not need to melt).

3. Combine sugar, marshmallow creme, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup butter in heavy 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil (bubbles can't be stirred down); continue boiling and stirring 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately add half of hot mixture to bowl with white chips only. Pour remainder into cocoa mixture; stir to blend.

4. Beat white chip mixture until chips are completely melted; stir in cherries. Add red food color, if desired. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Beat cocoa mixture until chips are melted and mixture thickens slightly. Spread evenly over top of white chip layer.

5. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Remove from pan; peel off foil. Cut with heart-shaped cookie cutters or cut into squares. Cover; store in refrigerator. About 8 dozen squares.

NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe.

*** THANKS for visiting, come back often, feel welcome to leave comments, a big shout out to awesome current subscribers, have a fabulous holiday and festival season - and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain