Sunday, November 30, 2008

Southwestern Turkey Soup

Southwestern Turkey Soup

3-4 c. chicken broth
2 c. chopped cooked turkey
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. sage
1-3 cloves garlic, depending on taste
1 c. medium shell pasta or macaroni

Combine broth and turkey, carrot, celery, beans, and pasta. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until carrots are cooked. Add seasonings and black pepper. Serves 4-6.

Chocolate Mousse Pie


Chocolate Mousse Pie

Chocolate Crust (bought or homemade, recipe follows)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. whipping cream

Beat cream cheese and cocoa together in large mixing bowl until fluffy and well blended. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla. Blend well. Set aside. Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold cream into chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared crust; chill until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Makes 1 pie.

Chocolate Crust

1 1/2 c. chocolate cookie crumbs (I used chocolate graham crackers from Albertson's)
1/3 c. melted butter
3 Tb. sugar (if you use the graham crackers, do not add sugar; they have sugar on the outside)

Combine ingredients together. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes; cool.

This is a very rich pie with only a little sweetness. Great for dark chocolate lovers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tallarini

From my Aunt Viola

Tallarini

1 lb. ground beef
7 oz. can corn
4 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 c. water
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
16 oz. noodles
1/2 c. sliced olives
Cheddar Cheese

Brown meat with onion and pepper. Add corn, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper. Mix in noodles and olives. Pour onto greased casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake at 45 at 350 degrees until heated through and cheese is melted.

Taco Soup

From my neighbor, Nadine

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 pkg. taco seasoning
8 oz. can tomato sauce
16 oz. can stewed tomatoes
15 oz. can corn, drained
15 oz. can kidney or black beans, rinsed
2 c. grated cheese
Hot sauce

Cook ground beef and onion together in large stock pot until browned. Add seasoning and stir until well blended. Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, corn, and beans. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Stir occasionally. Taste and season with hot sauce. Spoon into bowls and top with cheese. Serve with corn chips. 

True Love Coffee Cake

From the book "101 More Things to do with a Cake Mix."

True Love Coffee Cake

1 c. milk
1 envelope or 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 yellow or white cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. applesauce

Preheat oven to 350. Warm milk in microwave for 35-45 seconds. Mix yeast with warm milk. Stir in cake mix. Mix in eggs, oil, and applesauce. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan and set aside.

For topping, combine 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. flour, and 1/4 c. butter, softened. Mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake 25-35 minutes. Serve warm.

German Sweet Chocolate Pie

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought I would share this pie recipe. I love a good chocolate pie. (All right, I love chocolate everything.)

German Sweet Chocolate Pie

4 oz. bar German Sweet Chocolate
1/4 c. butter
1 2/3 c. evaporated milk (14 oz.)
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tb. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 unbaked deep dish pie crust or 2 8" pie crusts
1 1/3 c. coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until blended. Remove from heat and gradually blend in milk. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt thoroughly. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually blend in chocolate mixture. Pour into pie shell. Combine coconut and pecans and sprinkle over filling. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Filling will be soft, but will set during cooking. Cool at least 4 hours before cutting.

Lemon Chess Pie

This recipe comes from my mom, as does the German Chocolate Pie above. Chess Pie is a traditional Southern favorite, and I love this version.

Evelyn's Lemon Chess Pie

2 c. sugar
1 Tb. flour
1 Tb. cornmeal
2-4 Tb. lemon peel
4 eggs
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. lemon juice

Whisk together sugar, flour, and cornmeal in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Beat with mixer until smooth. Pour filling into unbaked 9" pie shell and bake 35 to 40 minutes at 350 or until the top is a golden brown.

Tip: for best results, use freshly grated lemon peel and fresh squeezed lemon juice. You'll need about 2 for enough juice.

Rocky Road Candy

My grandma made this every Christmas, so I thought I'd include it here.

Rocky Road Candy

12 oz. chocolate chips
2 Tb. butter
14 oz. can Eagle Brand
Melt in a double boiler over hot water until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.

Combine:
10 oz. mini marshmallows
2 c. nuts - pecans are what Grandma used
Fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour onto wax paper lined 13 x 9 pan. Cool 2 hours. Turn pan over and peel wax paper off candy. Cut into squares and serve.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lime Cheesecake

Made for Christmas one year. Tart, creamy, and delicious.

Lime Cheesecake

1 Tb. crushed graham crackers
3/4 c. crushed graham crackers
4 Tb. flour
1 Tb. sugar
3 Tb. butter or margarine, melted
3 8-oz. pkgs. light cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
8 oz. light sour cream
1/4 c. flour
3 eggs
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. lime peel
1/4 c. lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla
10 drops green food coloring
1/2 c. light cream cheese

Spray 9 inch springform pan with nonstick coating. Sprinkle sides of pan with 1 Tb. crushed graham crackers. Set pan aside. For crust, stir together 3/4 c. crushed graham crackers, 4 tsp. flour, 1 Tb. sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

In large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and 3/4 c. sugar. Beat until smooth. Add 8 oz. sour cream, 1/4 c. flour, eggs, milk, lime peel, lime juice, vanilla, and food coloring. Beat at low until just combined. Pour filling onto baked crust. Place pan in a shallow baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Remove from oven. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cover and chill cheesecake for 4 to 24 hours. Just before serving, top with 1/2 c. sour cream. Makes 12 servings.

Santa Grahams

These were in a cookbook and they looked so cute, I had to make them! Will helped and they turned out just like the picture.

Santa Grahams

16 oz. can white frosting (I like the whipped frosting)
Red food coloring
6 whole graham crackers
1 c. mini marshmallows
6 small red gumdrops, cut in half or 12 red M&Ms
24 mini chocolate chips or cinnamon cookies
(you'll probably need extra candies and marshmallows for testing)

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place 1/4 c. frosting in small bowl and add food coloring to tint red, about 1/4 tsp. Blend well. Place 1 c. frosting in another bowl and add 1 drop red food coloring to tint pale pink. Blend well.

Break each large graham cracker into 2 squares, making 12 squares. For each cookie, frost 1 corner red for Santa's hat. Place marshmallow on corner for pom-pom.

Frost rest of the cookie with pink frosting. Use chocolate chips for eyes and gumdrops for nose. Then use mini marshmallows around 2 sides of graham cracker for beard. Place on cookie sheet and let stand a few minutes until frosting is set.
(picture coming soon)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not sure if these are as popular in the rest of the country, but in Utah, they are a regular fall favorite, as well as one of Sarah's very favorite cookies. They puff up when cooked and are more like a little cake than cookies.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. chocolate chips

In large mixer bowl, combine butter and brown sugar. Add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Beat well. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, soda, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients slowly and beat well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 36-40 cookies.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Devil's Food Cake

Sarah made this one recently from scratch. It turned out great! She's definitely got my baking genes.

Devil's Food Cake

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. boiling water

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Add  boiling water; beat until smooth.

Pour into greased and floured 13 x 9 pan or two 9 inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes (slightly less time for rounds) or until tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before frosting. Enjoy!

And a couple of tips:

Need buttermilk for a recipe, but don't have any? Make your own sour milk. For each cup of buttermilk, substitute by adding 1 Tb. vinegar to regular milk. Let mixture set for about 5 minutes before adding to recipe.

Let your cake cool too long in the pan? If you cake cools to room temperature in the pan, you're likely to wind up with half the cake staying in the pan when you try to get it out. Simply stick the cake back in the oven for another 5 minutes, then remove from the pan. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rocky Road Brownies

I made these for Randy's birthday one year and took them to work. Just like that, I became a legend - the one who made the brownies.

Rocky Road Brownies

Base:
1/2 c. butter
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 c. chopped nuts - pecans are best

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened - reserve 2 oz. for frosting
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tb. flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/4 c. chopped nuts
1 c. chocolate chips

Frosting:
2 c. mini marshmallows
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 oz. reserved cream cheese
3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 13x9 pan. In large saucepan, melt 1/2 c. butter and 1 oz. chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Add 1 c. flour and remaining base ingredients; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.

In small bowl, combine all filling ingredients except nuts and chocolate chips. Beat 1 minute until smooth and fluffy; stir in nuts. Spread over base; sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 35 minutes or until done. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows on top. Return to oven and bake another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan over low heat, combine 1/2 c. butter, milk, 1 oz. chocolate, and reserved cream cheese; stir until well blended. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Immediately pour frosting over marshmallows and lightly swirl with knife to marble. Refrigerate until firm; cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mock Roca

Another one from Aunt Elaine that I tried for the first time last year. It was a big hit.

Mock Roca

Line 15 x 10 x 1 pan (jelly roll pan) with foil. Place graham crackers on the bottom. Heat oven to 350. 

Boil together:

1/2 c. sugar
1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
(or both butter)

Bring to a full boil and cook for 3 minutes. Pour mixture over graham crackers. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool and break into pieces. This is NOT low fat.

Orange Balls

These are great for a fast candy/cookie that requires no cooking.

Orange Balls

6 oz. crushed vanilla wafers
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 c. orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 lb. powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Roll into 1 inch balls. Roll in coconut or ground pecans.

Pineapple Pork Chops

Pineapple Pork Chops

3 c. soft bread crumbs (5 slices bread)
8 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice, drained (reserve juice)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 Tb. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground sage
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
6 pork chops

Combine bread crumbs, pineapple, celery, onion, oil, salt, sage, and cinnamon in large bowl. Mix well. Place pork chops in 13 x 9 pan. Drizzle 2 Tb. pineapple juice over meat; season with salt and pepper. Spoon bread mixture over meat. Bake uncovered at 350 for 50 minutes, or until tender. Serves 6.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Corn Flake Cookies

Corn Flake Cookies

A Christmas favorite at our house. This one is also courtesy of JoLynn, a former neighbor.

Bring to a boil, then remove from heat:

2 c. white Karo
1 c. sugar

Then add 2 c. chunky peanut butter to make a syrup. Add about 8 c. corn flakes. When flakes are covered, pour mixture onto cookie sheet with sides. Cool, then cut into squares.

White Almond Fudge

Another recipe from Aunt Elaine. This is a great fudge for beginning cooks because you don't have to heat it at all.

White Almond Fudge

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring
1/2 c. chopped almonds
1/8 tsp. salt

Beat cream cheese until smooth and soft. Slowly add sugar. Beat until smooth. Add flavoring, almonds, and salt. Press mixture into buttered 8 inch square pan. Chill until firm.

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

This recipe is from my Great-Aunt Elaine.  I have a little book with all her candy recipes in it, and they are all winners.

1 c. sugar
2 Tb. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 ts. vanilla
1/2 lb. peanut butter
1 c. marshmallows
pinch salt

Cook sugar, butter, salt, and milk to soft ball stage. (234-238 degrees - higher at high altitudes) Add marshmallows and peanut butter just before removing from heat. DO NOT STIR. Cool to room temperature. Add vanilla. Beat until mixtures is creamy, thick, and will hold its shape when dropped from a spoon. Pour into well buttered shallow pan.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Triple Treat Walnut Bars

Triple Treat Walnut Bars

1/2 c. butter
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. toasted wheat germ
1 c. chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. instant nonfat dry milk
1/4 ts. salt
1/4 ts. cinnamon
1/4 ts. mace
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Cream butter, cheese, and sugar in a bowl until light. Add 1 c. flour and wheat germ and mix until smooth. Turn into greased 9 x 13 pan; spread evenly. Bake at 375 for 15 to 18 minutes, until edges are very light brown and top is firm. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand about 5 minutes, until chocolate softens, then spread over crust. Combine eggs and honey; beat until well blended. Add 1/3 c. flour, dry milk, salt, spices, and walnuts; mix well. Spoon over chocolate. Return to oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Cook in pan, then cut into bars. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Curried Chicken Strips

Curried Chicken Strips

1 lb. chicken breasts
2 Tb. oil
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion, diced
2 ts. curry powder
3/4 ts. salt
1 c. evaporated milk

Cut chicken breasts into strips. In large skillet, cook pepper and onion in hot oil, stirring often. Stir in curry powder and salt; cook 1 minute. Add chicken to skillet. Over high heat, cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium; stir in cream; cook until mixture thickens slightly. Serves 4. Serve with rice.

Tortilla Pizza

Tortilla Pizza

1/2 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 ts. chili powder
1/2 c. taco sauce
1/8 ts. cumin
4 tortillas
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips

Cook ground beef and onion until meat is browed. Stir in spices; cook 1 minute more. Add taco sauce and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Place tortillas on large cookie sheet. Stir half of cheese into ground beef. Top tortillas with ground beef mixture, pepper strips, and remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Serves 4.

Sarah's Guitar Cake


Sarah's Guitar Cake

This year for her birthday, Sarah wanted a yellow cake made from scratch, decorated to look like a guitar. There's the picture above. I just used the recipe from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook and then made buttercream frosting. I kept about 1/4 of the frosting and added 1 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate to the frosting. The cake was baked in a 9 x 13 pan. Then I trimmed off a 4 inch strip for the neck of the guitar and freehanded the body of the guitar. I actually made a pattern out of wax paper, but I had to sort of guess. I think it turned out pretty well! The strings on the guitar are red lace licorice and the rest of the decorations are Starburst candies. I stuck them in the microwave for 10 seconds then shaped them into the way I wanted them. Add 14 candles, and that's all! Happy birthday!

Peanut Blossoms


My mom used to make this cookie when I was little. Still yummy!

Peanut Blossoms


1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 ts. baking soda
1/2 ts. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 Tb. milk
1 ts. vanilla
1 egg
Sugar
about 48 candy kisses, unwrapped (maybe a few extra, just to test)

Heat oven to 375. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, shortening, milk, vanilla, and egg. Mix until stiff dough forms. Shape into 1" balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately top each cookie with a candy kiss, pressing down firmly. Carefully remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fruit Pizza


I made this for my sister's birthday last week. Everyone loves it and it's super easy.

Fruit Pizza

Crust: Refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a pizza pan. Roll out cookie dough to large circle, or (depending on the dough) place cookie pieces around the pan in a circle. Roll out until there are no seams, making one big circle. Cook about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Sauce: Combine 8 oz. lite or regular cream cheese. Whipped cream cheese works even better. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 c. powdered sugar. This time I also added 1 container of yogurt to make it sweeter and creamier without adding fat.

Topping: Fresh or canned fruit. This time I used pears, blueberries, bananas, and grapes. I loved it with kiwis and strawberries. Use your favorite fruit.

Glaze: Warm 1/3 c. apricot, plum, or peach jam with 1 Tb. water. Brush glaze on top of fruit to prevent browning.

Serves about 8-10. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pizza, Pizza!

Pizza, along with chocolate, is one of the major food groups at our house. We have pizza at least once a week. Sometimes we do that $5 deal from Little Caesar's, but it's usually homemade. Here are our three favorite recipes.

Cindy's Pizza

My favorite recipe is from the Make A Mix cookbook. It involves making Hot Roll Mix and then using that plus yeast and some water to make a dough. Then I roll that out and let it set about 10 minutes before topping.

Randy's Pizza

I'd love to give you his recipe, but I can't, because he makes it up every time. He makes it so often that he can tell from looking at the dough what it needs. He likes to make individual pizza and calzones.

Sarah's Pizza

Sarah uses the Jiffy Pizza Crust mix. This one is great. It costs about 50 cents and makes one small pizza crust.

Toppings

We all like cheese and sauce, but the kids only like a little sauce and lots of cheese. I am the other other way round. The kids also like pepperoni. Will likes black olives and peppers and onions. Ellen likes Hawaiian pizza. Randy and I like veggies and artichoke hearts. We also like taco pizza, make with taco sauce, ground beef, cheddar, olives, tomatoes and lettuce.

Overall, one of our very favorite meals and one of only a few that everyone likes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Golden Layer Cake

Very easy and yummy, but it doesn't keep well.

Golden Layer Cake

1 pkg. frozen pound cake, thawed
1/3 c. juice and 1/2 tsp. almond extract 
20 oz. can crushed pineapple
8 oz. carton Cool Whip, thawed
3 oz. pkg. vanilla pudding
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Cut cake lengthwise in thirds. Drizzle with juice. Combine pineapple, Cool Whip, and pudding in medium bowl until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread one third filling over bottom layer of cake. Top with second layer. Repeat layering, ending with pudding. Sprinkle with almonds. Serves 10. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tangy Tortellini Salad

This makes a tasty and refreshing pasta salad that is not your ordinary pasta salad.

Tangy Tortellini Salad

8 oz. can tomato sauce 
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano
7 oz. pkg. tortellini, cooked, rinsed and drained
1 c. julienne cut salami or ham
1 c. julienne cut red bell pepper
2 oz. can sliced olives
1/4 c. chopped red onion
Lettuce leaves

In medium bowl, whisk together tomato sauce, oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use. In large bowl; combine tortellini, salami or ham, peppers, olives, and onions. Arrange on lettuce leaves. Whisk dressing again; pour over pasta mixture.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oatmeal Cake


This one was given to me by my Great Aunt Goldie Drorbaugh. 

Oatmeal Cake

Pour 1 1/4 c. boiling water over 1 c. oats and 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter. Let stand 20 minutes. Beat 1 c. brown sugar, 1 c. white sugar with 2 eggs. Sift 1 1/4 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and add to sugar/egg mixture. Mix this with oat mixture and add 1 tsp. vanilla. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. 

Topping:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. coconut
1/4 c. cream (or evaporated milk)
1 c. nuts
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix these together and put on cake. Return cake to oven for 5 minutes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pistachio Salad

Some friends gave me this recipe when Randy and I got married. It's pretty tasty!

Pistachio Salad (from Tonya Williams)

20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 small pkg. instant pistachio pudding
12 oz. pkg. Cool Whip
1 c. mini marshmallows

Mix together pineapple and pudding. Fold in Cool Whip and marshmallows.

Dee's Tuna Macaroni Salad


This was a recipe from a family friend I got years ago.

Dee's Tuna Macaroni Salad

8 oz. shell macaroni, cooked and drained
1 c. celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 c. green pepper, chopped fine
9 oz. can tuna, drained well
3/4 c. mayonnaise
4 oz. jar pimientos, chopped and drained
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. sweet pickles, chopped fine
1 c. green peas, cooked and drained
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, cubed
salt and pepper

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream if desired, and chopped pickles. Toss remaining ingredients with dressing and serve.

White Chicken Chili

One of my favorite meals for cold, blustery weather. We usually serve it with cornbread

White Chicken Chili

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 Tb. olive oil
4 oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
3 Tb. flour
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans Great Northern beans
1 can chicken broth, low sodium
1 1/2 c. finely chopped cooked chicken
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In large skillet, cook onion until transparent. Add chilies, flour, and cumin; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken; cook until heated through. Garnish with cheese.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Buttermilk Chocolate Bread

Buttermilk Chocolate Bread

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. chopped pecans or other nuts, toasted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of loaf pan. In large bowl, combine sugar and margarine; blend well. Add eggs; beat well. Stir in buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased pan. Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator. Makes 1 loaf. Good with chocolate chips sprinkled on top before baking.

Meatball Mix

This is from the Make a Mix Cookbook and it's been a popular recipe at my house. Ellen loves these meatballs; in fact, she prefers them to 'store bought' ones.

Meatball Mix

4 lbs. lean ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. dry bread crumbs
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 Tb. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Shape mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Bake in a mini muffin pan for best result, or place on an ungreased baking sheet with an edge and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. If using a baking sheet, turn once during cooking.

Remove immediately and drain on paper towels. When cooled, put 20 meatballs each into 4 freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top. Seal and label. Freeze. Use within 3-4 months. Makes about 80 meatballs.

I separated out 1/4 of the mix for Asian meatballs and added 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Then I added 1 1/2 to 2 tsp. Italian seasoning to the rest and made Italian meatballs. These are great added to spaghetti sauce for meatballs and spaghetti or for meatballs sandwiches. The spicy ones are great for sweet and sour meatballs. Enjoy!

Pickled Peaches

Randy and I love pickled peaches and everyone I tell about them comments on how unusual it sounds. So I thought I'd share the recipe.

Pickled Peaches

8 lbs. peaches, washed, peeled, halved, and pitted
6 c. sugar
4 sticks cinnamon
2 Tb. whole cloves
1" piece fresh ginger
1 quart white vinegar

Treat peaches with Fruit Fresh or similar product to prevent darkening. Dissolve sugar in vinegar in large sauce pot and heat to boiling. Boil 5 minutes. Add spices tied in a cheesecloth bag. Drop peach halves into boiling syrup and cook until they can be pierced by a fork, but not until mushy. Remove from heat and allow peaches to set in pickling liquid overnight to plump. (When liquid is cool, place in refrigerator) Bring liquid back to a boil. Pack peaches into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air  bubbles. Adjust caps. Process 20-30 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes about 3 quarts or 6 pints.

If you are new to canning, here's the way I do it. I wash all my jars in the dishwasher, examine them for cracks, and then fill with very hot tap water until I want them later. Then I fill my canner with hot water and bring to a boil. Since this is so big, it takes a long time to boil. Then I get whatever I'm canning ready. While this is heating up, I get out my rings and my jar lids, my ladle, my canning tongs, and my canning funnel. Those should be clean also, and never reuse your jar lids. They will only seal once. 

Once all my stuff is ready (and yes, this takes up practically every burner on my stove and most of my counter space), I am all set. Grab your jar, pour out the hot water, and put your canning funnel inside. Use your ladle to fill up the jar. Have a towel ready to hold on to the jar because it will be much too hot to touch. Once your jar is full, put the lid and then ring on and tighten. Use the tongs to put your jar into the boiling water bath. Then grab the next jar. Keep going until every jar is full or until you run out of stuff to put in them. If you have one that is only half way full, either find a smaller jar or fill it up but don't bother to put it in the canner. It will not seal unless almost full. Just put a lid on the half full jar, let it cool, and go ahead and enjoy it now. 

After adding all your stuff to the boiling water bath, check to make sure all jars are covered by at least 1/2 inch of water. If not, add more water and return to a boil. Then boil or 'process' jars for at least 20 minutes. Here in Utah, you need to let things process a little longer because of the altitude. Once your time is up, remove your jars, using the canning tongs, and cover and let sit out of drafts until completely cool, sometimes overnight. Check all your jars to make sure they've sealed. You may hear them 'pop' when the seal sets. Check for seal by pushing the top of each jar. If it moves at all, it didn't seal and should be eaten or refrigerated right away. You could also freeze it and use within 3 months. If the seal is good, you can store it and use it when you're ready.

I hope this is useful! It sounds like a whole lot of work, and the first couple of times you try it, it is a lot of work. But once you've done it a few times, it gets easier and you don't have to check your directions every time. If you don't have all the supplies you need, ask around with family, neighbors, etc. Check yard sales and the clearance section at the end of summer. A resource you should absolutely have is the Ball Blue Book. It sells at Walmart and it has step by step directions for canning, complete with illustrations and recipes. It costs under $10 and it's worth every penny. Good luck and happy canning!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

No Bake Cookies

This recipe is courtesy of a friend, JoLynn, who lived in my neighborhood and made these every Christmas. When she moved away, we got her recipe out of the ward cookbook and tried them ourselves. Now we make them every Christmas and I think of her and hope she is doing well.

No Bake Cookies

Bring the following ingredients to a boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat:

2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. water

Add 1/2 c. peanut butter, 3 c. oats, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix well. Drop from spoon onto waxed paper and let set.

Chicken Caruso

This is an easy recipe that I tried out when we were first married. It's stuck as a favorite.

Chicken Caruso

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into strips
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 Tb. butter or olive oil
2 c. sliced celery
15 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3 c. hot cooked rice

Season chicken with garlic, salt, and pepper. Saute in butter or oil 2 minutes. Add celery; cook until crisp. Stir in spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sherilyns' White Bread

Very tasty and easy. I'm making this for dinner tonight!

Sherilyn's White Bread

1 Tb. yeast
1/4 c. warm water
2 c. hot water
1 Tb. butter or oil
2 tsp. salt
5 3/4 c. to 6 1/4 c. flour (if you use some wheat flour, use a little less - don't use all whole wheat flour)

Soften the yeast in 1/4 c. warm water. Combine 2 c. hot water, sugar, butter, salt and 2 c. flour. Add yeast. Add more flour until it gets too stiff for mixer. Then add enough extra flour until you have a good stiff dough. Let rise until double. Put into 2 greased loaf pans. Let rise again. Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 350. Makes 2 loaves.

How to dress up your bread loaves:

For a shiny finish, brush with 1 egg white beaten with 1 Tb. water. Sprinkle with seeds or coarse ground salt. Brush loaves with coating after forming loaves into pans, but before it rises.

For a soft finish, baste loaves with melted butter mixed with 1 Tb. milk before final rise. Slash with a sharp knife before basting for the 'split loaf' look. Brush again with butter about 10 minutes before removing from oven.

For a more golden brown loaf, brush with beaten egg yolks before final rise.

Enjoy warm from the oven with butter and jam or save and eat later. (We always eat one loaf right out of the oven and save the other one for later.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ocean Birthday Cake


I thought it was time to add another cake picture. This one was for Ellen's 9th birthday (you can sort of count the candles on the cake). I made a 9 x 13 cake and frosted it with blue frosting. Then I made sugar cookies with some fish, shell, starfish and crab cookie cutters and decorated them. Then I added the cookies to the cake, swirling the frosting up around them. I used gel frosting to make seaweed and Swedish fish candies to make it more fun. It turned out really well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shortbread

I love this recipe! It makes a very rich, buttery cookie that's absolutely yummy. To get the great flavor, you must use real butter. There are so few ingredients that the butter flavor is necessary to make the cookie work. Traditional shortbread is baked as a circle and cut into rounds, but you can use any shape. I like squares, since they are easy to cut out.

Shortbread

2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 c. butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Stir together flour, salt, and baking powder, set aside. In large bowl cream butter; gradually add sugar. Stir in flour mixture. On lightly floured surface roll to 1/4" thickness. Cut into shapes. Place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Makes about 30 cookies.

Chicken L'Orange

Chicken L'Orange

4 chicken breasts
6 oz. can orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 Tb. brown sugar
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. raisins
4 green onions, sliced
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained

Place chicken in baking dish. Mix sugar, ginger, salt, raisins, and juice concentrate. Spread sauce over chicken as a glaze. cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Add oranges. Bake uncovered 15 minutes more or until chicken is fork tender. Serves 4. Tastes great with rice.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tips on Chocolate


I got this great book from the library called, "The Clever Cook's Kitchen Handbook." I have decided it's one for my wish list. I keep seeing things on here I want to share. It seems like every page has some great hint on it I've never heard before. It also has over 900 recipes. But since the title of this blog if "Chocolate and Other Food Groups" it seems only right to share a few hints on working with this most basic of all food groups.

1. So what is the difference between semisweet and bittersweet chocolate? Not much. Different companies will market theirs as semisweet, and yet it will taste more bitter than one called bittersweet. The real difference is the the amount of sugar each contains. Semisweet, bittersweet, or dark, it all has lots of intense cocoa flavor with no milk added.

2. What's the best way to melt chocolate? I like the double boiler methods for large amounts and the microwave for small amounts. To use a double boiler, you put a small amount of water in the bottom of a double boiler and put your chocolate in the pan on top. I actually got the top half of my double boiler at the thrift store. It fits right onto another pan I already had. If you don't have a double boiler, you can use a heatproof or stainless steel bowl into a saucepan of simmering water. Whatever you do, make sure the water doesn't get into the chocolate.

If that sounds risky, you can also use the microwave. Chop your chocolate (or use chocolate chips) into small pieces and put them in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium power, starting with 30 seconds at a time. Stir after every 30 seconds. It takes about 1 minute per 2 ounces of chocolate to melt, but it will depend on your microwave. As soon as it gets liquidy and almost all of the chocolate has melted, remove it from the microwave and stir until all the chocolate has melted and it becomes nice and smooth.

3. What if I did get water in my chocolate? Just a little water will turn your nice, liquid, smooth chocolate into a stiff hard mess that no one will want to eat. But don't panic. Add 1 1/2 Tb. shortening or oil to the mixture for every 4 ounces of chocolate. (That would make 4 1/2 Tb. for a whole bag of chocolate chips.) Then reheat in the microwave. Again, check every 30 seconds and stir. Soon it will be nice and smooth again.

4. What is that white stuff that gets on my chocolate after it's been in the cupboard for a long time? Should I throw it out? That white stuff is called bloom, and although it looks ugly, it does not affect the taste of the chocolate or whether you can use it. Save that chocolate for melting or go ahead and stick it in cookies. Once it's heated it will lose the white stuff.

5. Oops! I burned my chocolate. What do I do? You have 2 choices. Start over is the best one. But if you don't have enough chocolate to start over, you can try this trick. Dissolve 1 tsp. cocoa powder and 1 tsp. sugar in 1/4 c. hot water. Stir that into 4 ounces burnt chocolate. Adjust amounts according to how much chocolate you have - one bag of chocolate chips is 12 ounces, so triple the amounts above. Stir until blended.

6. How do I replace chocolate with cocoa powder? Use 3 Tb. cocoa powder for every 1 ounce chocolate, plus add 1 Tb. butter, shortening, or vegetable oil.

Hope these tricks are useful! Now I'm off to see what kind of chocolate I have in the house. I think there are some Mint 3 Musketeers left in my room.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spongebob Squarepants and Pineapple Cake


Will is a fan of Spongebob and for his 8th birthday, he wanted a pineapple cake. This is probably not the best pineapple cake ever, but it was simple and he liked it. Here's how I did it.

Equipment:

2 oval cake pans
cake rack, criss cross style
chocolate frosting
Spongebob figure
sign
green construction paper or foam sheets
sprinkles
candles

First, mix your cake, any flavor or recipe, and cook in oval cake pans. Be sure to grease and flour your cake pans. Cool cake in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out of pans to cool completely. Assemble your other equipment. When cakes are cooled, frost with chocolate frosting. As you can tell from the picture, I didn't quite have enough to get the edges nice and smooth. Arrange one layer on serving platter, frost top, then top with second layer and frost. Let cake set about 10 minutes, then use the cake rack to gently imprint a criss cross pattern on top of the cake. This will create the pineapple effect. Then decorate with Spongebob, sprinkles, candles, sign (it reads Bikini Bottom with an arrow). Cut long wide leaves from construction paper and slip underneath the cake or in between layers. Write name on it and you're all done!

This is not the best looking cake I've ever made, but I'm pretty happy with it. When he asked for a pineapple cake, I was stumped for a while. But it worked out better than I thought.

Caramel Corn


This recipe is from Carrie, a former neighbor who made it for Christmas. It's easy and at my house, it's gone in no time.

Caramel Corn

8 c. popped popcorn (about 1/3 c. unpopped)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. margarine
3 Tb. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Remove all kernels from popped corn. Butter sides of a medium saucepan. In saucepan, combine brown sugar, margarine, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat to boiling. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla; pour over popcorn. Stir gently to coat.

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

1 c. BBQ sauce
1 c. honey
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. chicken

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on high for about 30 minutes, turn heat to low and cook for another 3 to 4 hours.

This recipe is super easy and very good.

Ground Beef Kebobs

I made these when were first married. Randy and I loved them.

1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 Tb. chopped fresh mint
Salt
1 green onion
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine yogurt, 1 tsp. mint, 1/8 tsp. salt and set aside for sauce. Mince onion, combine with remaining mint, ground beef, 1 tsp. salt, and spices. Shape ground beef mixture into 16 meatballs and string them onto skewers. Broil or grill meatballs, turning once, until browned, about 5 minutes. Serve with yogurt sauce. Serves 4 as main dish or 8 as appetizer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Berry Smooth Cheesecake

This is a different type of cheesecake using unflavored gelatin to create a silkier, smoother texture with a very fine crumb. This cheesecake is not baked, but the crust is cooked until firm.

Berry Smooth Cheesecake

1 c. graham cracker crumbs
3 Tb. sugar
3 Tb. butter, melted

Combine crumbs, sugar, and butter; press onto bottom of 9" springform pan. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes; cool.

Cheesecake:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (like Knox)
1/4 c. cold water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
Dash salt
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen strawberries or raspberries, thawed
Milk
1 c. whipping cream, whipped

Soften gelatin in cold water, then stir over low heat until dissolved. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt until well blended. Drain strawberries, reserving liquid. Add enough milk to liquid to equal 1 cup. Gradually add milk mixture and gelatin to cream cheese, mixing well. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in whipped cream and strawberries; pour filling over crust. Chill until firm. Serves 12.

Raspberry-Layered White Chocolate Brownies

Time for more chocolate!

Raspberry-Layered White Chocolate Brownies

Brownies:
1 pkg. brownie mix
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
3/4 c. raspberry preserves or jam

White Chocolate Buttercream

1 (6 oz) white baking bar or 1 c. vanilla milk chips
3/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350. Grease 13 x 9 pan. In large bowl, combine brownie ingredients except jam. Beat until well combined. Spread into greased pan and bake for 33 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake! Cook just until set. Cool brownies 10 minutes; spread with jam. Cool completely.

In small saucepan over low heat, melt baking bar, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool 30 minutes. In small bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Slowly add melted chocolate and beat until well combined. Carefully spread over jam. Store brownies in refrigerator. Allow to stand at room temperature 5 - 10 minutes before serving. Makes about 36 bars.

Creamy Citrus Cake

I made this for Easter this year and tinkered around with the ingredients. It turned out super yummy, but I don't have a picture. I need to do better about taking pictures of my recipes.

Creamy Citrus Cake

1 c. boiling water
1 4 oz. box gelatin, orange or lemon
1 box white cake mix
3/4 c. thawed orange juice concentrate
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. water
4 egg whites (or 2 whole eggs)
1 container (12 oz) whipped frosting
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed

Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom only of 13 x 9 pan. In small bowl, combine boiling water and gelatin and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

In large bowl, combine cake mix, 1/4 c. gelatin mixture, 1/4 c. orange juice concentrate, oil, water,  and egg white at low for about 30 seconds. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Reserve remaining juice concentrate and gelatin.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Poke warm cake every inch or so with a fork. Reserve 1 Tb. gelatin mixture and set aside. Combine remaining gelatin and juice concentrate. Pour slowly over cake and let cake cool completely, about 1 hour.

In medium bowl, combine frosting and Cool Whip. Frost cake. Microwave remaining 1 Tb. gelatin until liquid, about 10 seconds. Using very small spoon, place drops of gelatin on top of frosting and then swirl with a toothpick. Store this cake in the refrigerator. 

This was a big hit at Easter, very moist and delicious, and easy to make.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Black Forest Cheesecake Delight

Here's a tip for slicing cheesecake. Use a length of dental floss to cut through the cake. You can also use a long knife. Dip it into hot water for a few seconds, then cut straight down.

Black Forest Cheesecake

1 c. chocolate water crumbs (crushed Oreos work here)
3 Tb. melted butter

2 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese (16 oz. total), softened
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. chocolate chips, melted or 6 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
1/4 tsp. almond extract

21 oz. can cherry pie filling
Cool Whip or sweetened whipped cream

Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9" springform pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Combine cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Blend in melted chocolate and extract. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of the pan, but cool completely before removing rim of pan. Chill. Just before serving top with cherry pie filling and whipped cream.

Tip: So how do you know when your cheesecake is done? There are several ways to check. One is to insert a knife in the center. If just a few crumbs cling to the knife, then it is done. This is fine if you are going to top the cake with sour cream or something else, but if you want the top to be nice and even, you may not want to use this method. Another way is to jiggle the pan. The very center should still be a little jiggly, about the size of a quarter. If the jiggly area is larger than that, it needs to cook a few minutes longer. 

Fruit Pizza

There are several variations on this, but this is the one we served at various family parties over the years. I think this is the one we had at my wedding shower.

Fruit Pizza

20 oz. pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
assorted fruit--strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, bananas, peaches are all good. 
1/2 c. orange marmalade or apricot preserves
2 Tb. water

Spread cookie dough onto pizza pan. Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla; mix well. Spread over crust. Arrange fruit over cream cheese later. Combine marmalade and water, and apply glaze over the fruit. Chill and serve.

Cream Cheese Fudge

This is not classic fudge, but it's an extremely easy and delicious candy that even beginners can make.

Cream Cheese Fudge

4 c. sifted powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash salt
1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sugar, mixing well. Add remaining ingredients. spread into buttered 8" square pan. Chill several hours before cutting. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1 3/4 lbs. fudge.

Marble Squares

Marble Squares

1/2 c. margarine or butter
3/4 c. water
1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sour cream

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. chocolate chips

Combine margarine, water, and chocolate in large saucepan, bring to boil, and remove from heat. Stir in flour, sugar, soda and salt. Add eggs and sour cream; mix well. Pour into greased and floured 15 x 10 jelly roll pan.

Combine cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add egg. Spoon over chocolate batter. Cut through several times with a knife to marble the batter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes about 2 dozen squares.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Editorial Changes

Just wanted to point out a few new features on here. I added a cooking term at the bottom hosted by the Culinary Institute of America, known to foodies as the CIA. Let me know what you think. I also added a link list on the sidebar so you can search for recipes by topic, like chicken or Christmas. Right now that's listed by number of entries, but I could do it alphabetically. Let me know which one you would like better. I hope you enjoy these new changes. I'd love some feedback!

Cindy

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sundance Eggs

Sundance Eggs

2 flour torillas, taco size
4 eggs
1 ts. water
1/8 ts. salt
2 ts. butter
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 Tb. green chilies, chopped and drained
1/2 c. cheese
2 Tb. taco sauce or salsa
2 Tb. sour cream, optional

Heat oven to 350. Wrap tortillas in foil; bake about 5 minutes or until warm and soft. In medium bowl, combine eggs, water and salt; beat well. Melt butter in medium skillet and add eggs. Cook until eggs are almost set. Remove from heat.

Place warm tortillas on large ungreased cookie sheet. Top each tortilla with 1/2 of the eggs, onions, tomato, chilies, and cheese. Bake at 350 or until cheese is melted. Top each with taco sauce and sour cream. Serves 2.

Grilled Cranberry Mustard Chicken


Grilled Cranberry Mustard Chicken

Cranberry Mustard Sauce

1/2 c. cranberry sauce
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1 Tb. sugar
2 ts. cider vinegar

Chicken

4 chicken breasts, skinless

Heat grill. In medium bowl combine sauce ingredients; blend well and set aside.

In medium glass dish, arrange chicken breasts with thickest portions on outside edge of dish. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on high for 5- 6 minutes or until chicken is almost done. Drain.

Immediately place chicken on medium hot grill; brush with sauce. Cook 10-15 minutes or until chicken is done. Brush frequently with sauce. Turn once; cook until done. Heat remaining sauce to boiling and serve on the side. Serves 4.

You can also prepare this chicken in the broiler.

Quick Salsa Chicken with Seasoned Breadsticks

Quick Salsa Chicken

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
2 ts. taco seasoning mix
1/2 c. salsa
1/2 c. shredded cheese
1 Tb. sour cream, optional

Heat oven (or toaster oven) to 375. Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning mix. Place in 8" baking dish. Pour salsa over chicken. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with cheese and bake another 3 to 5 minutes. Top with sour cream. Serves 2.

Seasoned Breadsticks

1 7 oz. can refrigerated breadsticks
3/4 ts. taco seasoning

Arrange breadsticks on cooking sheet. Sprinkle with seasoning mix. Bake as directed on package, or cook with chicken is cooking. Makes 5 breadsticks.

Raspberry Cream Tarts

Raspberry Cream Tarts

1 6 oz. container raspberry yogurt
1 4 oz. container vanilla pudding
2-3 drops red food coloring, optional
1/2 c. fresh raspberries
3 individual graham cracker pie shells

In small bowl, combine yogurt, pudding and food color; blend well. Fold in raspberries. Spoon mixture into pie shells. Garnish with whipped cream or Cool Whip, more raspberries, or chocolate syrup. Makes 3 servings.

Harvest Dinner Omelet

Today's recipes are a few for smaller crowds of 2 to 3 people. We used these when we were first married or only had Baby Ellen. Good for lunch too.

Harvest Dinner Omelet

4 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/8 ts. salt
1 Tb. butter
1/2 c. chopped zucchini or mushrooms
1/3 c. chopped tomato or ham
1 Tb. chopped onion
1/2 c. shredded cheese

Combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper; beat well. Melt margarine in large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour egg mixture into skillet; reduce heat to low. Cook, gently lifting edges so uncooked portion flows underneath, until eggs are set but top is moist. Sprinkle other ingredients over eggs. With spatula, loosen edge of omelet and fold in half; transfer to serving platter. 2 to 3 servings.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 ts. maraschino cherry liquid
1/2 ts. almond extract
3 or 4 drops red food color
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 ts. salt
1/2 c. maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
About 48 chocolate kisses, unwrapped (better make it extra, so you can test a few)

Heat oven to 350. In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, cherry liquid, extract and food color; blend well. Add flour and salt; mix well. Stir in cherries. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown. Immediately top each cookie with a candy kiss, pressing down firmly. Remove from cookie sheets and let cool before touching or chocolate will smear.

These are our cookies for Santa every year. I thought I had a picture to share, but I can't find one. If I find one later, I will add it. If you have had peanut blossoms, these are very similar. Everyone in my family loves these and Santa is lucky to get 2 or 3 cookies. Have your helpers unwrap the kisses while the cookies are in the oven. They might need to test a few too, but save enough for the cookies.

Cranberry Cardamom Cake

Cranberry Cardamom Cake

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 ts. ground cardamom
1 1/2 ts. baking powder
1/2 ts. baking soda
1 c. milk
3/4 c. butter, melted
3 eggs
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour bundt cake pan. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in large bowl. Add milk, butter, and eggs; beat at medium 2 minutes. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into pan. Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

This cake has a unique and delicious flavor. Randy loves this one. It keeps well, if you have enough to keep!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Orange Pecan Balls


Orange Pecan Balls

1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 ts. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 ts. grated orange peel
1/4 ts. salt
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 ts. shortening

Heat oven to 400. Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, pecans, orange peel, and salt. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes or until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

Place chocolate and shortening in small microwavable bowl. Microwave just until chocolate melts, stirring often. Drizzle on cookies. (You could also roll cookies in powdered sugar instead)

Holiday Bars

We used to make these every Christmas, but they stopped making one of the main ingredients - white chocolate frosting from Betty Crocker. They were super, super yummy. I'm giving you our new version, but it's not really as good as the original.

Holiday Bars

1 pkg. white cake mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 egg
1 tub frosting

Heat oven to 350. Beat cake mix, butter, and egg in a bowl until stiff dough forms. Press into ungreased 15x10x1 pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until set. Spread frosting over hot baked layer. Bake 5 minutes longer. Cut into bars and serve.

What makes these fun is that you can vary the flavor. We like to use lemon cake mix, lemon frosting, and crushed lemon drops on top. Sprinkle the lemon drops on before returning to the oven. You can also use white cake mix, cream cheese frosting and crushed peppermints. Or you can top with sprinkles or colored sugar when it is done baking.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oyster Cracker Snacker

Randy loves this one.

Oyster Cracker Snacker

1 11 oz. pkg. oyster crackers
1/3 c. oil
1/2 ts. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tb. grated Parmesan cheese
1 ts. Italian seasoning
1/4 ts. garlic powder

Heat oven to 325°. Place oyster crackers in single layer on ungreased cooking sheet. In small bowl, combine other ingredients. Pour over crackers; toss to coat. Bake at 325° for 10-15 minutes, stirring once. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, if desired. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. Makes 6 cups.

Cheesy Salsa Dip

Cheesy Salsa Dip

1 c. salsa, any kind
4 oz. light cream cheese
4 oz. (1 c.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tb. sliced green onions

In medium glass bowl, combine salsa and cheeses. Microwave on high for 2-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted, stirring twice during cooking. Sprinkle with onions. Serve immediately.

French Chicken


French Chicken

frozen chicken breasts
1/3-1/2 c. dijon or honey mustard
1-3 Tb. water

Put all ingredients in a crock pot and cook until done. The longer it cooks, the more tender the chicken gets and the mellower the mustard flavor becomes.

I called it French Chicken because my kids hate mustard, but once it's been cooking for several hours, they couldn't really taste it. They just thought it was good.

Easy Enchiladas

Quick and Easy Enchiladas

Ingredients:

frozen taquitos, any kind
1 can enchilada sauce
cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Take one 11x7" pan. If you don't have this size, you can use a 9x9" pan or a 13x9" pan, but the 11x7" works best. Pour in half of the enchilada sauce. Red sauce tastes great with beef taquitos, while I like green sauce with chicken. Then top with the taquitos until you fill up your pan. If you use a large pan, you'll need 2 cans of sauce. Top with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover with foil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes. You can top with sour cream, sliced olives, diced tomatoes, and sliced green onions at this point. Or you can just dish it up. Serves my whole family of 5 because some of us are PICKY EATERS! Will probably serve 3-4 adults.

Boiled Potatoes


Boiled Potatoes

Yes, this is really a recipe for boiled potatoes. My family all laughed at me, but I said not everyone knows how to boil potatoes. So here it goes.

Start with at least one potato per person. If you want to have extra for leftovers, make it at least two per person, and if Ellen is eating with you, even that is no guarantee you'll have any left.

Peel potatoes (get the kids to help) and cut into about 1 inch cubes. Put in a pan and cover with enough water to cover, add a little salt, and turn on high. Cook until boiling. Then turn it down and let it cook for about 20-30 minutes. Test for doneness by poking with a fork. Your potato should be firm, not mushy, not hard. You can always taste it to check.

Your potatoes are done! Drain the potatoes (save the liquid - I'll tell you why next time) and serve.

If you can boil potatoes, you can also make potato salad and mashed potatoes from scratch.

Potato Salad

I don't like the German kind, with vinegar. I like the kind with mayonnaise. (Actually, I use Miracle Whip, but use what you like.) So if you're making potato salad, you should probably cut them into smaller chunks. They will not need to cook as long. When your potatoes are done (make SURE they don't get mushy), drain them and rinse them in cold water. You can even boil them in a wire basket until done and then remove the basket and immediately plunge it into ice water. That will speed up the whole thing.

Once your potatoes are rinsed and cooled, add mayonnaise, a little mustard (if you like it - 1 or 2 Tb. is plenty), diced pimientos, chopped boiled eggs, chopped pickles, and a little dill. You can also add sliced olives, bacon bits, whatever. Serve like this or sprinkle a little paprika on top. Refrigerate as soon as you're done.

Mashed Potatoes

For this, you need to boil at least two potatoes per person. People always eat more mashed potatoes than boiled potatoes. Prepare the same way as boiled potatoes. Then drain, but don't bother to rinse. Add some butter (2-3 Tb. to start with) to the pan you cooked the potatoes in, then return potatoes. Mash them up as much as you like (Mine are always lumpy, but we like them like that. If you don't, then use a hand mixer). Add some milk to get the consistency you like. Evaporated milk is really good, even half and half, if you don't mind the fat. But regular or soy milk is fine. Just don't use vanilla soy milk. Then put them in the bowl to serve. You can top with grated cheese or gravy if you like, but we just want more butter, salt, and pepper.


Okay, so that may be the most basic recipe I ever post, but I still think someone might find it helpful. When I started out as a cook, I had to figure all this out for myself. Now you can see how easy it is to make real potatoes from scratch, no box or instant potato flakes needed. Potatoes from scratch are cheaper to make, more nutritious, and taste better. Enjoy!

Texas Sheet Cake



Texas Sheet Cake
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 ts. salt
2 sticks butter
1 c. water
3 Tb. cocoa
2 eggs, beaten
1 ts. soda
1/2 c. buttermilk (or use 1 1/2 Tb. vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 c, let sit for 5 minutes before adding to recipe)
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In a saucepan, heat butter, water and cocoa to boiling. Pour over dry ingredients. In another bowl combine eggs, soda, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to batter and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured jelly roll pan (15x10x1 - must have an edge). Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Start the icing the last 10 minutes while cake is baking.

Icing:

1 stick butter
3 Tb. cocoa
1/2 c. milk
about 2 c. powdered sugar (the recipe calls for "1 box confectioners' sugar", so I always have to guess)
1 ts. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Mix butter, cocoa, and milk in saucepan. (I always reuse the saucepan I used for the cake.) Heat just until butter melts. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, pecans, and vanilla. Mix well. AS SOON AS THE CAKE COMES OUT OF THE OVEN frost with icing. This will cause the icing to soak into the cake, creating a fudge-like cake that's almost like a candy.

This cake tastes best warm, but is still yummy at room temperature. You can serve it with good vanilla ice cream to make it even better. It is BY FAR my favorite chocolate cake. Ever.

Taco Chicken Fingers

I planned to make this for a party once but got my words tangled up. Since then it's become known at Tacken Chico Fingers. But you can call it:

Taco Chicken Fingers

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
3 Tb. milk
1 Tb. taco seasoning
1 bag (9 oz.) tortilla chips


Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease baking sheet. Cut each chicken breast into 1/2 inch strips. In a large shallow bowl combine mayonnaise, milk, and taco seasoning until blended and smooth. Place tortilla chips in a ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs. Dip chicken first into mayonnaise mix, then into the bag. Shake bag until the chicken is well coated. Then place on baking sheet. Chill for 20 minutes. Then bake until browned and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Can serve with salsa or guacamole.

This makes a great appetizer, but when I make it, everyone except Will gobbles it down. It says on the recipe that it serves 10, but we can only get 4 servings out of it. You can also vary the recipe by using cheese crackers or even cornflakes instead of the chips and Italian seasoning instead of the taco seasoning, but we like the Mexican flavor best.