It’s true – the kitchen is the heart of the home. Ever notice how people always gather there? Whether baking treats, making dinner or spending time with family and friends, the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Since my day job is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens, you can bet I love to stir things up. This column lets me pass along to you some of my best recipes, tips and baking secrets.
Everybody’s a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right? This year, join in the fun of celebrating all things Irish with these simple ideas:
• For the table, have the kids make some shamrock napkin rings and Irish flag placemats out of construction paper. Sprinkle some green confetti on the table and use a potted shamrock plant as a centerpiece.
• Have a traditional Irish dinner with Irish Stew and Soda Bread, a Shepherd’s Pie or, of course, Corned Beef and Cabbage.
• For dessert try this festive “Lucky You” Mint Pie. The creamy combination of mint and chocolate is so good that it’s bound to become the newest tradition around your St. Patrick’s Day table.
• Write out some traditional Irish blessings on slips of paper and tuck them into treat bags of mini shamrock cookies to send home with your guests. Here’s one that I like:
May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.
For more ways to cook up some Irish fun, visit www.VeryBestBaking.com.
“Lucky You” Mint Pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Makes 8 servings
1 cup (6 ounces) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
1 can (12 fluid ounces) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 prepared 9-inch (6 ounces) chocolate crumb crust
1 pkg. (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 to 4 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
Additional Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
fresh mint sprigs (optional)
MICROWAVE 1 cup morsels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 45 seconds; stir until smooth. Stir in butter; pour into crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until cool to the touch.
MEANWHILE, BEAT remaining evaporated milk, pudding mix, water, peppermint extract and 3 drops food coloring in medium bowl until combined. Gently stir in 2 cups whipped topping and additional drop of food coloring, if desired. Spoon over chocolate layer.
REFRIGERATE for 2 hours or until set. Sprinkle with additional morsels. Spoon remaining whipped topping in center of pie. Garnish with fresh mint.
Nutrition Information per serving: 400 calories; 180 calories from fat; 21g total fat; 13g saturated fat; 1.5g trans fat; 20mg cholesterol; 280mg sodium; 50g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 36g sugars; 5g protein; 0% DV vitamin A; 0% DV vitamin C; 10% DV calcium; 6% DV iron
Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.