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If You Are Able to See This…You Need to Make Changes

We are no longer located at this website URL.  Please visit us here and update your bookmark to penniesonaplatter.com.  Thank you!

If you are able to read this post, it means you are not subscribed to the correct Pennies on a Platter URL. As of July 22, you will no longer be notified of the latest posts on Pennies on a Platter, unless you go (right now) to my updated blog and re-subscribe. I’m happy to have you as a loyal reader and do not want to lose you, so please, go now and click on the “Subscribe RSS” tab or scroll down to the “Subscribe by Email” field. And, more importantly, update your bookmark from https://penniesonaplatter.wordpress.com to just http://penniesonaplatter.com.

Thank you!!


Beef Braised in Red Wine

Beef Braised in Red WineWhen I saw this recipe posted on Beantown Baker, I immediately bookmarked it for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, Judah was very sick that day and didn’t let me accomplish one thing in the kitchen, so we had romantic take-out instead. 🙂 But, I was able to make it the day after so all was well. And, very well indeed because this dish is super delicious! Really, the photo definitely does not do it justice. (I have a very hard time taking photos of meat!)

I neglected to notice that the recipe called for more than one bottle of wine. There was no way I was running back out, but luckily for me I also didn’t buy as much meat, either. So, one bottle worked perfectly for my 2.3 lb roast. Instead of six servings, it made four, which is a much better portion for the two of us.

While the meat was roasting, I was in much anticipation just from the aroma it was leaving in our house. At my first bite, the meat was bursting with cinnamon flavor, yet not so powerful that it was a turn-off. Ben declared this as one of his favorite meals.

I didn’t have fresh rosemary on hand, and just ended up using some dried Italian seasoning instead.  It worked perfectly.  Plus, the bottle of wine I used was the cheap “two-buck Chuck” Merlot from Trader Joe’s.  (I love that it really is only $2.00 now that we live in California.  It was $3.00 in Illinois.)  Honestly, you don’t need to use anything more expensive.  Save your money.  We loved it!

Beef Braised in Red Wine

Printable Recipe

Yield:  4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (2.5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, rinsed and patted dry
black pepper
3 ounces pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 medium carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bottle (3 1/2 cups) dry red wine (e.g., Cabernet, Merlot, etc.)
2 cups chicken stock
2 springs rosemary (or 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning)
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

Rub salt and pepper into both sides of the meat.  Using a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sear the meat in Dutch oven on all sides for 2-3 minutes each.  Remove from the pot and set aside.

To the fat in the pan, add the pancetta and saute until browned, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the onions, carrots, celery and pinch of salt.  Saute until caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Return the beef to the pan and pour in the wine and chicken stock.  Add the bay leaves, rosemary (or Italian seasoning) along with the cinnamon stick.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover tightly and transfer the pot to the oven.

Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, turning roast every 30 minutes, until meat is fully tender and is starting to fall apart at the touch of a fork.  Transfer the meat to a heat-proof serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, remove the rosemary, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick and place the pot over high heat.  Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.  Ladle about 1/2 cup of the sauce into a small bowl and mix with the cornstarch until fully incorporated.  Slowly stir the 1/2 cup sauce and cornstarch mixture back into the pot.  Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thickened.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Uncover the meat and cut against the grain into thin slices.  Pour the thickened sauce over the meat on the platter and serve.

Source: Beantown Baker, originally from Emeril

Let’s Get Real…and a Giveaway! – CLOSED

Simply French Bread CutI have been asked many times by my peers, “How do you do it?”   I’ll say, “do what?”  Then, they will follow up with some sort of “How do you have time to make dinner every night for your family?”  Or, if someone invites us over for dinner, they will make sure to add some disclosure about their cooking not being completely homemade and therefore is not “Pennies on a Platter” standard.   I think this is all flattering and such, but let’s set the record straight:

I do not cook dinner every night (nor will I ever!) and there is no such level of cooking as “Pennies on a Platter” standard.

Gasp!  <Pause>

So this leads me to today’s giveaway.  When I was contacted by Pillsbury to review their new Simply… line and then host a giveaway for their products, I jumped at the chance.  Why?  Because I love Pillsbury products <gasp, again!> and use them often <gasp, gasp….breathe!>.  🙂Simply French Bread

After thinking about it, I can see why my friends and family think I might make everything from scratch.  These are the majority of the recipes that I post on the blog.  It’s just that there’s not really much to a post on how I bake my Pillsbury biscuits, for instance.  You feeling me?

Wednesday I posted this recipe in which I use the Pillsbury crescent rolls.  It’s one of our regular meals.  Today, I’m giving you the chance to win a Pillsbury prize package.  Pillsbury recently introduced two new products called Simply…Buttermilk Biscuits and Simply…Rustic French Bread.  This is the information they gave me before I decided to try them out:

They really are the perfect solution for home cooks who are busier than ever, but still want to nurture those they love with something home-baked that they can feel good about serving. What’s great is that they are made with wholesome ingredients, including flour, buttermilk and sugar. They also contain zero grams of trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial colors or flavors.

And, that’s exactly how I felt about the biscuits and French bread when I tried them.  Although in the past few years I’ve learned to make numerous bread recipes from scratch, I’m never embarrassed to prepare refrigerated doughs when I just don’t have the time to wait for the yeast to do it’s thing and then bake the loaf for an hour.   Being highly involved in our church and community, time is limited and this probably holds true for many.  I actually encourage you to stock up on some Pillsbury products and see what you can create!  It beats spending the money to eat out, right?

Photo supplied by Pillsbury

This prize package includes a bread basket, bread board, artisan honey and a spreader, along with coupons to try their new Simply… products.  To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment of your favorite Pillsbury product.  If you don’t have one, then please tell me which product you would like to try.  And, if you are not familiar with their line, then head on over to their website to see what they have to offer. If you browse around a little, you’ll find some easy and delicious recipes!

The giveaway is limited to domestic US residents only, one entry per person. Those who do not follow the terms will not be considered.  Comments will close on Sunday, February 20 at 8 PM PST and I’ll announce the winner next week.  Although the giveaway is sponsored by Pillsbury, the opinions shared in this post are mine.

Good luck!

Creamy Chicken Pockets

Creamy Chicken Pockets2

I dug this one out of my recipe posts from 2008 because it is a meal we enjoy often and really needs to be brought back to your attention. With the blog aged over 4 years now, there are many recipes lost in the archives that I’d love to re-photograph (is that a word?) and rewrite. It would take forever to do so, but I’m placing the ones we absolutely love in the forefront. I’ll start with this Creamy Chicken Pockets recipe.

Chicken Pockets3

Once in a while I’ll have some boneless chicken breasts in the fridge that need to be used up quickly before going bad the next day.  This typically happens when I veer away from my meal plan and end up not using everything from my grocery list.  (Doesn’t happen often, no worries.)  If chicken is one of the items, then I will roast it in the oven and shred it or cube it for another use.  More than likely, I will save it either for my Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos or these Creamy Chicken Pockets, both of which are favorites in this house.

If you already have the chicken cooked and prepared, this is a great weeknight meal.  Just toss it in the skillet with the garlic and onions for a few minutes and you’re ready to quickly whip up the filling.  Even if you have to cook the chicken yet, it is still pretty fast to put together.  Trust me, this is the main reason we have it so often.  🙂

Creamy Chicken Pockets

Printable Recipe

Yield:  8 pockets, 3-4 servings

2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 small chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, optional

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the chicken with the onions and garlic.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and 1 tablespoon melted butter until smooth.  Stir in the cooked chicken, onions and garlic.  Add the salts, pepper and milk.  Mix well.

Separate the crescent roll dough into the eight triangles.  Dollop a tablespoon of filling into the center of each triangle and fold the corners up to seal.  Press and seal firmly.  Place on ungreased baking sheet or stone and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.  Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with the bread crumbs (optional).

Bake for 11 – 13 minutes, or until golden brown.

Recipe Note:  To heat up leftovers, bake in a preheated 350˚F oven for 10 minutes.

Source:  Adapted from AllRecipes

Box of Chocolates Cupcakes

Box of Chocolates CupcakesValentine’s Day is finally here.  What are your plans for tonight?  We’re having dinner in and then heading to the local frozen yogurt shop for their buy one get one free deal.  Yep, I said it.  I’m not making our dessert tonight despite all of the Valentine dessert recipes I’ve been posting!  Tonight, I’m getting treated!  🙂

Box of Chocolates Cupcakes2Today, I’m giving our friends this box of chocolates, which are actually cupcakes.  I bookmarked this a few years ago in my Hello! Cupcake book and never had the chance to make them.  This year, it was a must.  It’s an absolutely adorable idea and super easy despite what it may seem.  Just make a batch of your favorite chocolate cupcakes in miniature cupcake pans (even a box mix will do) and then frost them with chocolate icing.  Decorate as you prefer, then place them in a heart shaped box.  The Hello! Cupcake book suggests using chocolate jimmies, red and white jimmies, marshmallows cut in half then dipped in melted frosting, Valentine’s candy corn, red Dots, Valentine’s M&M’s and other Valentine’s candies.

Hope you have a fantastic Valentine’s evening!

White Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cheesecake

White Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cheesecake
I have to apologize (or do I?) for all of the sweets I’ve been posting lately.  When Valentine’s Day approaches each year, I find myself leaning towards desserts more than anything else.  You now know the way to MY heart!

I’m guessing there are many of you who would like to save your pennies by cooking dinner at home instead of emptying your pockets to one of those packaged Valentine’s “deals” that restaurants seem to hype up.  And, since Valentine’s falls on a weekday this year, you more than likely will lean to something quick.  So, why not plan ahead and make a dessert this weekend that will be ready for you right after that romantic dinner you whipped up?  This cheesecake can be made up to four days ahead of time.  Just store it in your fridge and pop it out about an hour before serving (if you like cheesecake at room temperature) or just a few minutes before serving (if you prefer it cold, like me).

The springform pans I used were clearance items I picked up last year at Target.  They are miniature heart shaped springform pans by Wilton.  Even though these are only 4-inch pans, and the original recipe is for an 8-inch circular springform, I decided to make the whole recipe and filled a few silicone pans I had with the extra cheesecake to freeze for later.  The recipe below reflects the original 8-inch sized cheesecake, with notes added on baking for the 4-inch heart shaped pans.

Another change I made was using regular sour cream instead of the reduced-fat that it called for.  Not that I was opposed to using reduced-fat, I just had regular on hand and didn’t want to run to the store again.  It turned out just fine!

The raspberry sauce is not pictured above, except for the marbled hearts incorporated into the cheesecake filling.  To create these hearts, use the same method I showed you for the sugar cookies the other day.  Just use the raspberry sauce to create circle drops around the border of the cheesecake, then run a toothpick through them to create the hearts.  Simple as that!

White Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cheesecake

Printable Recipe

For the Raspberry Sauce:
1 (12 oz) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 1 Tablespoon water

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar, or less to taste
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
3 (8 oz) packages 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream (reduced-fat is fine)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz white baking chocolate, melted according to package directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Spray an 8×3-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

For the Sauce:
Set a fine strainer over a small saucepan.  Press the raspberries through with a rubber spatula.  Discard the pulp and seeds, then stir in the sugar.  Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, then stir in the cornstarch mixture.  Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened.  Set aside and let cool for later use.

For the Crust:
In a small bowl, mix together the graham crackers and sugar.  Pour in the butter and stir until equally moistened.  Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and press up sides about 2 inches (does not need to be even).  Set aside.

For the Filling:
Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, cream together the cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl on medium speed.  Scrape down the sides and mix until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until blended.  Mix in the sour cream and vanilla until incorporated, then add in the white chocolate.  Mix until blended.  Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Decorate with the raspberry sauce:  Starting 1 inch from the edge of the pan, drop 12 evenly spaced 1/2-inch round puddles of sauce in a circle on the cheesecake filling.  Run a toothpick through the circles to create marbled hearts.  Make a second and third circle of hearts, going the opposite direction, if desired.  Store the sauce in the fridge in an airtight container to serve later with the baked cheesecake.

Bake the cake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 250˚F. Bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake barely jiggles when shaken.  Turn off the oven (leave oven door closed) and cool cake inside the oven for 1 hour.  Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Remove both cake and sauce from fridge one hour before serving, if you prefer the cheesecake at room temperature.  Otherwise, remove the cheesecake just before serving.  Run a knife around the edges, if necessary, and remove the sides of the pan.  Serve each piece drizzled with the raspberry sauce.

This can be made up to 4 days ahead.

Note:  If using the 4-inch springform pans, bake only 20-30 minutes at 350˚F and 45 minutes to 1 hour at 250˚F.

Source: Adapted from Woman’s Day

Strawberry Valentine Cupcakes

Valentine Strawberry CupcakesThese strawberry cupcakes are not new to Pennies on a Platter.  In fact, they are probably the favorite cupcake in our household.  I first made them a few years ago for Ben’s graduation party where they were a huge hit.  Since then, they have made an appearance in my oven quite a few times.  This week was no exception.  After making the heart shaped cookies (see previous post), I couldn’t resist but to also make miniature hearts to adorn the top of our favorite cupcakes.

I brought these to our neighbor’s Superbowl party.  Since the Bears fell short in making it to the big game, and I could care less about either team, I decided I wasn’t in the mood to bring something with a football theme.  I was over that.  Instead, it was more fun to bring a little girlyness (I make up words all the time) to the party and speed up the arrival of Valentine’s Day.

Valentines Strawberry Cupcakes2Everyone seemed to really enjoy the cupcakes.  There was so much yummy food at the party, that I really forgot about pitying myself regarding the Bears and instead enjoyed chomping on whatever I could fit in my stomach!  🙂  Plus, did you see that adorable Darth Vader commercial?  That cute little kid made the Superbowl for me.

Click the links below for the recipes.  The frosting is a little more pink than what shows in the photos above.  I added more powdered sugar to thicken it up this time in order to hold the cookie toppers, causing the pink color to fade.  You can also add food coloring to achieve your desired level of pink.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
Sugar Cookie Hearts