Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Foolproof Pie Crust

This is one of my Grandma's recipes. She made a lot of pies - like, a lot. She'd make 5 or 6 at a time and freeze some of them for later. My favorite was her pecan pie, but really, they're all pretty darn good. This is one of my favorite pie crusts to make because it holds up well.

Foolproof Pie Crust

4 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 Tb. sugar
1 3/4 c. shortening
1/2 c. water
1 egg
1 Tb. white vinegar

Stir together flour, salt, sugar, and shortening in mixing bowl. Beat together water, egg, and vinegar. Then mix into dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Shape into 5 parts. Roll and shape into pie pans. 

Makes 5 single crust pies or 2 double crust pies + 1 single crust. Freezes well.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hershey's Disappearing Chocolate Cake

I know, you already have a lot of recipes for chocolate cake. Why keep another one? Because it's good, that's why! And because sometime you have the ingredients for one, sometimes for another, and maybe you want a certain texture. I'd call this a basic chocolate cake, not especially dense, not especially light, and well suited for cupcakes, layer cakes, or sheet cakes.


1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 c. cocoa
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. milk

Cream butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla until fluffy; blend in eggs. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add alternately with milk to batter. Blend well. Pour into two greased and floured 9" pans. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and cool completely before frosting. For cupcakes, cook about 25 minutes. Yum all around.

Back with some Indian Food - Tandoori Chicken

Hello again! I'm back at last with a couple of yummy recipes. Here's one for Tandoori-Style Chicken. Surprisingly, my kids ALL liked this one. It helped that it smells AMAZING while it's cooking. It's spicy, but not too hot. If you want it hotter, add more cayenne. No pictures, sadly, but maybe next time.

Oh, and wear an apron. This stuff stains.

TANDOORI STYLE CHICKEN with freezer meal options

1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 Tb. lemon juice
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

(double these ingredients for a freezer meal)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 lb.

In small bowl combine all  marinade ingredients. Cut each chicken breast into strips and add to marinade. I like to use a Ziploc bag - then you can throw the whole thing away when you're done.

(For freezer options, throw the whole thing in the freezer at this point along with 1 1/4 c. rice in a separate bag.)

Refrigerate overnight.

At this point, you can cook the chicken on the grill or on the broiler. Brush with marinade while cooking and cook until no longer pink. Yum.

For freezer chicken, you can add the whole bag to the crock pot and then add the rice within 1 hour before serving. Cook on low until rice is done.

All yummy and serves 4 or 5.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Product Review: Christmas Mint Lollipops

Some of you know that I work holidays at See's Candies. It's the perfect job. I'm around chocolate all day, I get to work with customers, and I get paid. If only books were involved somehow, I would never leave. That and my feet get tired.

Anyway, this year See's has a new product that I am loving. It's the Christmas Mint Lollipop. It is super good. I think it's like buttercream frosting with a little mint added. One customer said it was like the mints you get at weddings. I took some samples home and my kids loved it.

If you want to try it, you'd better hurry. This lollipop is only available during Christmas, and I'm sure it will sell out. One nice thing they're doing this year, you can buy this lolly and the cinnamon one singly now instead of having to buy them in a pack of eight. One lollipop is 70 cents.

You can also get the cranberry orange truffle, the pecan pie truffle, and the eggnog truffle singly. But I don't like any of them! Still, if you want to try them, they are also in limited supply, so better hurry.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Product Review: Barefoot Contessa Blondies

My mom picked up this mix at a kitchen store in Salt Lake recently for our family. We couldn't wait to try them. It comes in a box, with pouches for the mix and one for the chocolate chunks. Just add a stick of butter, an egg, and the optional walnuts. (We left those out.) Then all we had to do was bake and wait.

Super yum! Worth every minute. I will add that they are pricey. Mom got them on sale, but they normally sell around $10 for a 9" pan of brownies. We wound up with 6. Cheaper than 6 bakery brownies, but by no means cheap. So for taste, 4.5 stars, but for value, more like 2 stars. But then, I'm pretty frugal with shopping. I'd say pick it up if they're on sale or save for a special treat.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Diamond Cookie Pie

Happy Thanksgiving! I made this pie for the holiday this year and it was a big hit. Easy to make and yummy.

Diamond Cookie Pie

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flour
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. nuts - the recipe called for walnuts, but we used pecans
1 9-inch uncooked pie shell

In large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend in flour. Stir chocolate chips and nuts. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 325 for 50 to 55 minutes or until top is golden brown or pick inserted into center comes out clean. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not Very Good Garlic Soup

I generally put recipes I enjoyed in here, but I decided to share one I *didn't* like. After all, you readers (all 5 of you! JK, mostly) might like to know about my flops too. So here's one that failed to live up to my expectations and why.

Roasted Garlic Soup

This one comes from Mark Bittman's huge cookbook, How to Cook Everything. I'm on a mostly soft food diet right now, so soup is my mainstay. But not this one.

4 Tb. olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tb. ground cumin or paprika or 1 tsp. chili powder (I used cumin)
4 thick slices French or Italian bread
4 c. chicken or beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Place olive oil in large, deep saucepan and turn heat to medium. Add the garlic cloves and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until they are golden brown.

OK, here's my first mistake. I don't keep garlic handy all the time. I buy the prechopped stuff in a jar. The actual cloves tend to sit around too much and when I want them they are all shriveled. Plus, this way, I don't have to chop and I can use the liquid to punch up the flavor when I don't want actual garlic. So that messed things up a little. But not enough!

Remove the garlic cloves and set them aside; turn the heat to medium low. Add the bread and brown on both sides for a total of 5 minutes. Pour the stock into saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper and let flavors mingle for a few minutes over low heat. Chop the garlic coarsely and return to pot. Place one piece of bread in each of four bowls. Ladle soup on top and serve.

So here's what happened. I didn't have actual garlic, so I used the prechopped stuff. I got that simmered a little and then added the cumin. Then I got a little distracted. So the cumin was too brown and left black flakes in the broth.

All that was my fault. But the real issue was that it was boring. I mean, I strained the soup and it was looking okay. But it didn't TASTE good. And so what's the point? I ate it anyway, spooning up little bites of bread, but I won't make it again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plum Coffeecake

My friend Jodi gave me a big bag of plums from her trees. I finally got around to trying something with them, and this is what I made. I wish I had a picture, but the plums were amazing. Not much to look at on the outside, but wow, deep red rich color inside. Just gorgeous.

Plum Coffeecake

Crumb Topping
8 medium sized plums, but I needed about 20 small ones
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. lemon peel
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
heavy cream, optional

Prepare Crumb Topping and set aside. Slice plums if large or halve them if small; set aside. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour 13x9 pan. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add flour, baking powder, salt, lemon peel, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Spread batter evenly in pan; top with plumbs. Pinch small pieces of crumb topping and sprinkle on top of plums. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until top is golden and cake tests done. Serve warm with cream.

Crumb Topping:
In small saucepan, melt 1/2 c. butter. Remove from heat and add 1 c. flour, 1/4 c. sugar, and 1 Tb. grated lemon peel to form a soft dough. Can use 2/3 c. flour and 3 Tb. oats instead.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mandarin Orange Cake

I made this for book club last night, and I thought it turned out really well. It's from an old ward cookbook and comes courtesy of Lacy and her mom Linda.

Mandarin Orange Cake

1 vanilla or white cake mix
3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
11 oz. can mandarin oranges with juice

Combine ingredients and mix according to cake mix directions. Pour into greased 9X13 pan and bake until done. Cool thoroughly and top with pineapple topping.

Pineapple topping:

1 9oz. carton Cool Whip, thawed
1 3oz. box vanilla instant pudding (I substituted banana cream, and it was yummy)
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, slightly drained

Combine pudding mix, pineapple, and just a little juice. Fold in thawed Cool Whip. Spread on top of cake and store in refrigerator over night.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Anise Cookies

My daughter Ellen and I love these cookies, but Sarah hates them. It all depends on whether you like the idea of licorice-flavored cookies.

Anise Cookies

1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. anise seeds
1/2 c. shortening or margarine
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients. In large bowl, cream shortening and add sugar, egg, and vanilla. Gradually blend in dry ingredients. Roll by tablespoons into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Indian Dessert

This weekend Randy and I went out to the Bombay House in Provo for a yummy meal. I got the Chicken Briyani and Randy got the Baygan Bharta, which is a roasted eggplant dish. Plus their fabulous bread. For dessert, Randy got the Kheer, which is a rice pudding, and I got Gulab Jamun. It was so delicious that I came home and googled the recipe. This is the link I found: http://www.ivcooking.com/p269_18.php It has step by step directions for making your own. I can't wait to try it. The dish at the restaurant had a coconut syrup, rather than a spiced one, but I love cardamom and I'm sure this one is great too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Review: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

I had heard a lot about this cookbook. Apparently, the author is known for a food column by the name, The Minimalist, because he goes for simple, easy recipes with few ingredients. So I got this one from the library to see what I thought.

At first, I was most impressed by the size. It's huge! But don't be fooled by the title. It won't really tell you how to cook everything. It does, however, teach basic cooking principles which would help you create your own recipes or analyze someone else's.

But after trying several recipes from the book, I am not sure it's worth it. The first one I tried, Kale and Potato Soup, was good, but not great. I put that down to the fact that I used canned broth instead of homemade. The next one, Easy Tomato Sauce, was too bland. It was easy, but it wasn't as good as the stuff from a jar. I also made the Bruschetta, and that was good. Then I tried the Bitter Chocolate Sorbet. It sounded so easy - just cocoa powder, sugar, and water. Well, it tasted and smelled great, but it melted right away and the texture was a little odd. It wasn't worth it, I thought. Tonight is the final test - I'm making Chicken Teriyaki with chicken tenderloins. It sure smells good.

Bottom line: borrow this one before you buy it. Some people will love it, but I think I already have cookbooks just as good as this one.