Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

1 1/4 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 c flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 c shredded zucchini
2 bars (8 0z.) milk chocolate baking bar, broken into 1/4″ pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 9″x5″ pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla extract until blended.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually, stirring until moistened.
6. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate pieces.
7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
8. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
9. Cool the bread in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
10. To store, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze.

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Pecan and Caramel Chocolate Clusters

(Yield: 24 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 c pecan halves
1 c sugar
1 c dark corn syrup
1 c butter
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 bars (6 oz.) milk chocolate baking bars, melted

Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
2. Cut the pecans in half lengthwise and arrange to form small circles (about 1 1/2″ in diameter).
3. Cook the sugar, dark corn syrup, butter and 1/2 c of cream in a saucepan.
4. Stir occasionally over low heat, until the sugar has dissolved.
5. Increase heat to medium and stir continuously until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
6. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining cream.
7. Heat again and stir continuously until the temperature reaches 245 degrees F.
8. Pour the caramel mixture into a 9″ pan lined with foil and let it cool approximately 2 minutes.
9. Spoon caramel mixture over each pecan circle.
10. Melt chocolate according to melting instructions.
11. Spread melted chocolate over each cluster.
12. Chill 10 minutes, then let stand at room temperature until the chocolate is firm.
13. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Creamy Milk Chocolate Truffles

Yield: 30 truffles

Ingredients:
2 bars (8 oz.) milk chocolate baking bars, chopped
1/3 c + 2 TBS heavy whipping cream
1/2 TBS unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces

Coating:
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa or 3/4 c finely chopped almonds or pecans

Directions:
1. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.
2. Add butter and stir until melted.
3. Add chocolate to saucepan.
4. Stir until completely melted and smooth.
5. Remove from heat and pour the chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl.
6. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours.
7. Roll mixture into 1″ balls. Roll each ball in coating.

Chocolate Melting Instructions

Note: Melt chocolate carefully. Overheating or addition of moisture may cause chocolate to thicken.

Double Boiler Method: Break chocolate into small pieces and place in top pan of double boiler over hot, but not boiling water (you may also use a glass or metal mixing bowl on top of saucepan 1/2 full with water). Allow chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally.

Direct Heat Method: This method may be used if chocolate is to be added to a batter (do not use for dipping or molding). Use very low, even heat. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from heat when small lumps remain and stir to complete melting.

Microwave Method: Using microwave safe container, place chocolate in microwave oven at medium power (50%) for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and stir. If not melted, return to microwave and repeat heating step, stirring every 30 seconds, as scorching can occur. When small lumps remain, remove and continue to stir to complete melting.

Chicken Hekka

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c soy sauce
3/4 c mirin (japanese sweet wine)
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
3 carrots, julienned
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 (14 oz.) can shredded bamboo, drained
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 c trimmed and coarsely chopped watercress
1 (8 oz.) package rice noodles, soaked and cut into 2″ pieces

Directions:
1. Cut chicken meat into bit size pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, and mirin wine. Mix well, and set aside.
2. In a skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Squeeze juice from grated ginger into wok, add grated ginger, and stir fry until brown. Discard ginger fibers. Increase heat to high, and stir in chicken. Season with soy sauce mixture, and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. One at a time, add the carrots, onions, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and watercress. Stir after each addition. Add rice noodles; cook, stirring, for about 3 more minutes, or until done.

Light Alfredo

Ingredients:
1/4 onion, chopped
1/4 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 c skim milk
1/4 c chicken broth
2 1/4 tsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 TBS grated parmesan cheese
1/4 lb fettuccini
2 lb broccoli

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute until golden brown.
2. In a small saucepan, stir together milk, chicken broth, flour, salt, and pepper over low heat until smooth and thick. Stir into onion mixture. Continue to cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick. Stir in parmesan cheese.
3. Meanwhile, boil broccoli in boiling water. After several minutes, add pasta.
4. Drain the pasta and broccoli, and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with sauce. Serve.

Day Before Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
2 1/4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 tsp chopped onion
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp butter

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.
2. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl, and mash until smooth. Mix in the cream cheese, sour cream, diced onions, salt, pepper, and butter. Cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
4. Spread potato mixture into the prepared baking dish, and bake in the preheated oven about 30 minutes.