Showing posts from August, 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.


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

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, …

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 sauce1 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.

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.
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 …

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 don…

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.

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!


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


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.

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 …

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!

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.

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


frozen taquitos, any kind
1 can enchilada sauce

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 …

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.


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, pecan…

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 ca…