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.