Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

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Did You Miss the Pillsbury Bake-Off Winner? Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters Won $1 Million

December 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters/ photo courtesy Pillsbury

Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters/ photo courtesy Pillsbury

The 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off, reformatted from decades of traditions to allow America at large to judge the winner, announced the million-dollar winner Dec. 3. The contest, held in Nashville this year, culminated with the four finalists chosen at the event, and the $1 million winner announced on TV’s The Chew.

Beth Royals of Virginia won for her Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters. Officials says its sweet, salty and crunchy profile made it a taste favorite with the Ameircan public, who voted online to choose the winner. It beat out Cuban-style sandwich pockets, Creamy corn-filled sweet peppers and Chocolate doughnut poppers – the other finalists in the four main categories.

This year’s contest restricted cooks to seven ingredients or fewer, chosen from a list of product brands that fall under the Pillsbury family, such as Jif peanut butter or Crisco shortening or Green Giant vegetables.

The candy is made with vanilla baking chips, peanut butter, peanuts, toffee bits and baked pie crust dough. It’s done in the microwave; and testers say it’s smart to know your microwave wattage before cooking. Overcooking the vanilla baking chips results in a liquid goo that doesn’t set up properly.

Here’s the recipe, including tester’s notes.

Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters

  • 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
  • 1 12-ounce bag white vanilla baking chips (2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco Baking Sticks vegetable shortening – butter flavor
  • 1 tablespoon Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup salted cocktail peanuts
  • 2/3 cup toffee bits

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with waxed paper and set aside.

Unroll pie crust on work surface. With a pizza cutter or knife, cut into 16 rows by 16 rows to make small squares. (They will not be uniform in size at edges of dough.) Arrange the pieces in a single layer on a large ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove squares from pan to a cooking rack and cool completely – 5 minutes.

In a large microwaveable glass bowl, microwave the baking chips, shortening and peanut butter on High power for 1 minute to 90 seconds, stirring once at around 30 seconds, until mixture can be stirred smooth. The chips will not all lose their shape as they melt – do not go by appearance alone. (Start at lowest time needed – do not overcook.)

Add pie crust squares, peanuts and tofee bits; stir gently until evenly coated.

Immediately drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the waxed paper-lined sheets. Note: If mixture becomes too thick, microwave on High for 15 seconds and stir again.

Refrigerate 15 minutes or until candies are set. Store in airtight container – these will last 2 weeks. Can also be frozen.

Makes approximately 30 candies.

For past Bake-Off winners, go to Pillsbury.com/recipes/bake-off to get the recipes.

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→ No CommentsTags: Holiday cooking · Recipes: What's Cooking!

Thanksgiving Dinner – Plan It Out to Pull It Off

November 21st, 2014 · 1 Comment

kid-tday-letter

 

Here’s a 3-year-old’s idea of how easy Thanksgiving dinner is. If only!

Actually, the dinner isn’t that hard. If you break it down into the individual dishes, it’s really quite easy, once you know How to Cook A Turkey.  There are enough recipes around the web that teach you how to make every part of the meal succssfully.

But it’s all that planning and timing. There be the dragons of Thanksgiving dinners everywhere.

Just consider: You’re doing what hotel banquet chefs (PLURAL) do every day, but without all the help! It’s a heroic thing to make this dinner with maybe only one helper – let alone do it by yourself. And guess what – most pro cooks get into trouble and have looked like this at one time:

 

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Things go smoothly at first, then the clock seems to do this:

clock

Slow down and don’t panic

No worries! I’ve got you covered – here’s my pretty much fail-proof planner.

It covers everything from tablecloths, to how much to cook, to when to put the rolls in the oven. I can’t help you with dear evil Aunt Rose, who insists on smiling as she asks why you’re not married – especially since “even Charles Manson is!”

Print this out!

Click on the link below and print out my master plan tonight – hoping it’s Friday before Thanksgiving as I write it, you have most of a week to get going.

Sit down with your recipe box and a glass of wine. Get a pen and paper and get to work. The planning you do now will make you feel like this, the day of:

arthur_wide-08cbafcbc2d0257f734ebec140e0f3c657263a66-s4-c85

CHEERS!

GO HERE for the Thanksgiving Day Planner!

 

 

 

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→ 1 CommentTags: Holiday cooking

Freebies for Halloween – and Free Rides From AAA for Those Who Imbibe

October 31st, 2014 · No Comments

141031_EM_HalloweenDeals

 

Boo! or Trick or Treat! – those phrases can get you free foods and dog treats or other goodies at participating national chains.

One of our favorites is at PDQ – arrive in costume and kids will eat free – plus, you get buy-one get-one-free on ANY order. PDQ, where they make your salads and chicken fresh to order, is one of the better “fast” food spots around. (Local PDQ outlets are at Palm Beach Lakes just west of I-95, and in Wellington, on  S.R. 7 south of the mall).

Here are a bunch of others. Leave comments if you know of even more.

  •  Baja Fresh: Buy an adult entree and kids in costume eat free with this coupon:

kidsmeal coupon-bajafsh

  • Chipotle: Wear a costume, and after 5 p.m., a burrito and other meals are only is only $3. (Benefits Chipotle Cultivate Foundation to promote sustainable foods.)
  • Petco: Get a pound of free dog treats from the Treat Bar through today with a $10 purchase and their “unleashed” coupon from their website.

 

  • Krispy Kreme: Show up in costume and choose a free doughnut, including the special edition Ghostbusters doughnuts.
  • Sbarro: Kids in costume get a free slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza.
  • IHOP: Kids can create their own “scary face” pancake for free.
  • Wendy’s: Buy a Halloween Frosty coupon book for $1 and get coupons for free Frostys. (Benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
  • Sonic: Corn dogs are 50 cents on Halloween.
  • Arby’s: Say “trick or treat” when you order, and they’ll add bacon to your order (even milkshakes.)
  • Jamba Juice: Free smoothies for kids, 2-7 p.m.
  • Olive Garden: Free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree and a coupon from their website.
  • Carraba’s Italian Grill: Free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree.
  • Starbucks: After 2 p.m., get a “Franken Frappucino” or other grande Frappucino for only $3.

FOR THE ADULTS:

It’s the scariest thing about Halloween – people who drink and drive. Don’t do it! Call AAA for them or for you – they’ll get you home safe. Or if you’re my friend, call me – no questions asked. I’ll come for you.

  • AAA Holiday Safe Ride Program: You do NOT have to be a member of AAA to get a free ride or tow all weekend from AAA. They’ve teamed up with Anheuser-Busch to keep impaired drivers off the roads. Don’t drink and drive! Put it in your phone right now! 855-286-9246 (855-2-TOW-2-GO).

ONE TO MAKE THESE FOR THE KIDS!

jellyworms

Use a dark red gelatin or green for green worms – and put them in a bowl of “dirt” – crushed chocolate creme cookies. Ewww!

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→ No CommentsTags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News · Today in the World of Food · What's Happening Here