Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bean Soup

2 c. dried beans
1 1/2 quarts water
1 ham bone or 1 1/2 lbs. ham butt
1 large onion, chopped
1 c chopped celery and leaves
15 oz. can tomato sauce*
1 tsp. salt**
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic

Combine beans and water in a large kettle; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 2 hours. Simmer beans without draining until tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if necessary.

In the meantime simmer ham in water to cover. Skim fat from broth and add beans. Stir in remaining ingredients; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

* The original recipe calls for 4 cups of canned tomatoes, which I'm sure is delicious, but there are people around here who don't like any detectable tomatoes in their food.
**NEVER add any salt to a ham dish until it's almost done. Some hams are very salty and adding more just adds to the problem.

CROCK POT VERSION: Soak the beans in water the day before. Also, boil the ham bone and cut up all meat and vegetables the day before. Dump everything into the crockpot (draining the beans first) in the morning and cook on low all day. Perfect! Even Nick says this is a favorite soup.

INSTANT POT VERSION: Not surprisingly, this also worked in my instant pot.  I started with raw beans and cooked it all for 40 minutes.  The beans weren't done, so I did another 20 and it was great.  If I divided the time like this again, the last 20 minutes would be a good time to add the potatoes.  What I'll probably do though is just remember to soak the beans overnight and just pressure cook for the original 40 minutes with everything.

SOURCE: This recipe is one of my favorites from a 1959 (1972) Farm Journal's Country Cookbook.  My copy no longer has a decent binding and is in several pieces, so I'm glad to store the favorites here.  I'll probably skip the Onion Pie and Jellied Beef Mold though.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crab Cakes

Adapted from this source
8 ounces lump crab meat
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs
3 T mayonnaise
1 T brown or dijon mustard
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups soft bread crumbs (about 3 slices)
1 T Creole seasoning (see note)
2 T butter


Saute onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic until tender. Whisk egg in bowl; add mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole seasoning. Combine with sauteed vegetables and bread crumbs, mixing well. Add the crab meat and form into loose patties; place on waxed paper-lined plate. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm. Heat butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Gently place crab cakes in skillet and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 4 to 5 minutes longer, until cooked through. Serve with a remoulade sauce or tartar sauce. Makes approximately 6 large cakes.

Notes: I used two salmon fillets instead of the crab meat. I would imagine that tuna or white fish would also be good.
I approximated the Creole seasoning found here (paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, oregano, thyme).


Adapted from this recipe.

1/2 stick butter
1 10oz package frozen spinach
1 scant cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 (14- by 9-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Thaw spinach by placing in a skillet over low heat, separating as it thaws. Cook for a minute or two more to remove excess water. Remove from heat and cool. Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Melt butter, then cool.

Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel.

Take 1 phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a short side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack in half lengthwise.

Put a scant tablespoon of filling near 1 corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.

Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Note: Pastry triangles can be formed, but not baked, 3 days ahead. Arrange in 1 layer in heavy-dty sealed plastic bags, then freeze. Bake frozen pastries(do not thaw) in same manner as above.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cornbread Dressing


Makes 16 to 18 servings

1 cup butter or margarine, divided
3 cups white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
7 large eggs, divided
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups soft breadcrumbs
2 medium onions, diced (2 cups)
1 large bunch celery, diced (3 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh sage (or 1 T. dried)
6 (10 1/2-ounce) cans condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1 tablespoon pepper

Place 1/2 cup butter in a 13- x 9-inch pan; heat in oven at 425° for 4 minutes. Combine cornmeal and next 5 ingredients; whisk in 3 eggs and buttermilk. Pour hot butter into batter, stirring until blended. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Crumble cornbread into a large bowl; stir in breadcrumbs, and set aside.

Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onions and celery, and saute until tender. Stir in sage, and saute 1 more minute.

Stir vegetables, remaining 4 eggs, chicken broth, and pepper into cornbread mixture; pour evenly into 1 lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish and 1 lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes: I used leftover cornbread to replace the cornbread in the recipe. 1/3 batch fills a 9.5" pie plate.

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce


4 cups cranberries
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 3 ingredients in 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until cranberries are tender and sugar is dissolved, stirring once, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and stir in bourbon. Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead.) Transfer to bowl and serve.

Yield: 3 cups

Friday, November 7, 2008

What's Shakin', Home Fries?

5-6 medium round red potatoes
2-3 tbsp olive oil
seasonings (see below)
Wash the potatoes and slice each into 8 wedges. Place in a large bowl. Sprinkle oil and seasonings; toss to coat (It helps to add 1/2 of the oil and spices at a time). Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet with one of the cut sides down. Bake 30-35 minutes at 375º, turning midway through.
Seasonings: For this batch, I used seasoned salt, along with some cumin, paprika, cracked pepper, and a dash of cayenne to give them more "seasoned" and less "salt." Other combinations that might be good would be sea salt and ground pepper or rosemary, or maybe some curry, turmeric, nutmeg and ginger; onion and garlic powder could be good with a sour cream-based dipping sauce...
NOTE: To reheat leftovers, I sauteed them in just a dash of oil, rather than microwaving, to avoid sogginess.

Fish in Coconut Sauce

1 tbsp oil
2 onions, sliced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
4 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1 tsp curry
3 cups coconut milk
2lb white fish (we used turbot)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottom sauce pan. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden. Stir in the cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, cloves, and cardamoms and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, or until the spices give off their aroma. Add the curry and coconut milk, then stir well and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, debone fish if necessary and cut each fillet in half along the center, then slice in half horizontally. Roll up each piece of fish as tightly as possible and secure with a toothpick.

Gently add the fish rolls to the coconut sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Serve over rice.

NOTES: I really enjoyed this; it was very mild-flavored and not fishy tasting at all. Don't defrost the fish in the microwave; it will cook partially and be too flaky to roll up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

D'Amico & Sons Turkey with Dried Cherries Pasta Salad

1 pound rotini
1 1/2-2 cups cooked, diced turkey breast
1 c dried cherries
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 diced celery stalks
1 c whole toasted almonds

Poppy-seed dressing:
1/4 c powdered sugar
2 tbls. champagne vinegar
2 c real mayonnaise
2 tbls. poppy seeds
2 tbls. cold water
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

To make salad:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Chill. Combine with turkey, cherries, onion, celery, and almonds.

To make dressing: Combine powdered sugar and vinegar. Add mayo, water, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add to pasta and toss to combine.

Servings: 6-8 (I'd say more. It was a pretty big salad with a full pound of pasta.)

SOURCE: I got this from Val Hix who got it from the Pioneer Press.

NOTES: I've eaten this recipe almost as written and it was excellent! I did make a few changes when I made it yesterday though:
  • I used a 12.5 ounce can of chicken instead of the turkey
  • I used 1/2 mayo and 1/2 miracle whip for the dressing. In addition, I didn't have champagne vinegar so I used balsamic vinegar instead. Val made it with a raspberry blush vinegar and it worked well.
  • I don't think whole almonds would be pleasant to bite into in a salad, so I would recommend slivered. Actually, I used pecans instead of the almonds and it was very good.
  • I didn't have more than 1/4 c dried cherries so I filled in with craisins. It was great!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Emily's Improvised Chow Mein

2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
1 large carrot, sliced
1 can water chestnuts, drained (reserve liquid)
1 handful snow pea pods
1/2 can bean sprouts, drained (reserve liquid)
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
dash red pepper
2 heaping tsp corn starch
soy sauce
white pepper

Heat 2 tbsp oil and spices on high heat until sizzling. Add chicken and stir fry until just browned, sprinkling with soy sauce. Add vegetables and stir fry until crisp tender and chicken is fully cooked. Meanwhile, combine 1 tbsp. soy sauce and enough liquid (reserved from canned vegetables, chicken broth, or water) to make one cup with corn starch to make sauce. When chicken mixture is cooked, add sauce and lower heat to simmer until thickened. Add salt, white pepper and soy sauce to taste. Serve over chow mein noodles.

Serves 3-4.

Notes: This was enough sauce, but you might want to increase the liquid if you like it to really soak into the noodles.

Pork Cantonese

2 lbs. Boneless lean pork, cut in 1” pieces
2 tbsp. salad oil
1 (14 oz.) pineapple chunks
1 (4 oz.) canned mushrooms
1/3 c molasses
¼ c vinegar
2 green peppers, cut in strips
green onions, cut into 1” pieces
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water.

Brown pork on all sides in hot oil in skillet.
Drain pineapple and mushrooms, reserving liquids. Combine liquids and add enough water to make 2 c. Add liquid to pork; cover and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.
Stir in molasses and vinegar until blended. Add pineapple, mushrooms, green peppers and onions; cover and cook 10 minutes. (Vegetables retain a little crispness.)
Blend together cornstarch and water. Stir into hot mixture and cook until slightly thickened. Serve over hot rice. Makes 8 servings.

NOTE: I made this with chicken and it was excellent! Just skip the simmer step.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Greek Pizza

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 10 oz. packages frozen spinach(or less), thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
20 sheets fillo dough
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups (1 pound) mozzarella cheese, grated
3 medium tomatoes, sliced thin

2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup bread crumbs

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add spinach and sauté until all excess moisture has evaporated. Add basil, oregano, lemon juice and pepper. Mix well. Cool slightly.

Prepare fillo pizza crust:

Use 10 sheets of fillo dough, brushing each with melted butter, margarine, oil or vegetable spray. Use 1/4 cup butter. Repeat this step. Place length of fillo across width of greased 15” x 10” x 1” cookie sheet or baking pan. Overlap each set of 10 buttered fillo sheets 5 inches at center. Roll overlapping fillo onto itself on cookie sheet to form “pizza crust.” Brush top layer with melted butter or olive oil.

Spread spinach mixture on prepared fillo sheets. Top spinach with 1/2 of mozzarella. Dredge tomatoes in bread crumbs and arrange on top of mozzarella. Top with remaining mozzarella and feta cheese.

Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Serves 12


NOTE: This serves nicely. To make appetizers, simply arrange the tomatoes closer (so there's one in the center of each piece) and cut smaller. Diamond shaped would be nice.

Holly's Pierogi


3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream, buttermilk, or plain yogurt
1 cup water (more if required)
butter or oil
salt and pepper

Combine flour, half of the water, eggs, and the sour cream, buttermilk or yogurt in a large bowl. Stir vigorously to incorporate the eggs.

Slowly stir in the remaining water until a dough begins to form. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently, lifting dough to stretch.

Continue lifting and stretching the dough until the dough is smooth and somewhat sticky inside, about 3 minutes or so. Do not overwork the dough - if it begins to become elastic, allow it to rest 5-10 minutes under an overturned bowl before working with it again.

When the dough has been kneaded enough, place in a storage bag in the refrigerator to rest 20 minutes, or leave on the counter under an overturned bowl 30 minutes, to allow any gluten which may have developed to rest.

While the dough is resting, you can prepare the filling.


3 medium or 2 very large waxy potatoes (baking)
3 T unsalted butter
1-2 T light olive oil (or schmaltz)
1 large onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 small leek, finely minced (optional)
2 T Parmesan or white cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the potatoes in their jackets, in a covered heavy pot with barely enough water to cover them in slightly salted water (add about 2 tsp salt to the water). Simmer over low heat until potatoes are fork tender, then remove from heat. (If you can judge when they'll be done, remove from heat 10 minutes in advance and just allow to steam in the pot with the heat turned off).

Allow the potatoes to cool sufficiently to handle, and rub off the skins with a clean towel. Drain the pot you cooked them in, and return the potatoes to the pot and shake them around a bit to dry them.

Put the potatoes through a sieve or a potato ricer if you have one, otherwise, use a masher. Set them aside.

In a skillet, combine butter and oil or schmaltz over medium heat to melt. Saute the garlic, onion, and leek, if you have one, for a few minutes until they begin to take on a translucent color.

Stir in the cabbage, turn the heat to high for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, reduce heat and allow cabbage to begin to brown, 6-8 minutes. Then add the potatoes, cheese, and season to taste. Remove from heat and go on to work with the dough again as the filling cools.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and form it into balls 1 1/2 to 2" in diameter. Roll each out with a rolling pin into a 3-3 1/2" round approximately 1/8 inch in thickness. Cover the ones you've made with a damp paper towel as you work. If you prefer, you can use a KitchenAid pasta roller attachment (or other pasta machine) to roll out the dough circles. Be sure to flour both sides lightly first.

Hold the dough in one hand, and place a round ball of filling or spoonful into the center. Fold in half to enclose the filling, and pinch the edges securely together. Don't allow filling to touch the edges to avoid an imperfect seal. Be sure there are no openings along the edges, or the filling will boil out.

Boil a large pot of salted water as you continue to fill the remaining pierogi until all the ingredients run out. As you work, place a sheet of waxed paper dusted lightly with flour or corn meal over and between the pierogi layers until ready to boil.

Cooking: Gently lower pierogi into rapidly boiling water 3-5 at a time and cook for a few minutes until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue til all are cooked. Serve fresh with melted butter, or saute in butter until lightly brown on outside.

An alternative to cooking these in water is to boil them in the broth remaining from a boiled ham, or in chicken broth.

NOTE: If your pierogi are too doughy, you either rolled the dough circles so they were not thin enough, or if their thickness was correct, they may not have been evenly rolled or cooked sufficiently. The first attempt is not always perfect, but if you note where you could have done better, your next batch will be much improved!

Other notes: It's lots easier if you have someone working with you and if you have a pierogi maker. (I got a cheap plastic one somewhere that works just fine.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Broccoli Apple Salad

A ingredients and motivation deprived version of this.

broccoli florets (and chopped stalks if you like)
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
2 small crisp apples, cut into bit-sized pieces (if you aren't going to use the apples immediately, let them sit in a bowl of water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or almonds
1/3 cup green onions

Stir together the green onions, a splash of olive oil and big pinch of salt in a large skillet over low heat. Stir every few minutes, browning slowly. Let them get dark brown (but not burn). Remove from skillet and onto a paper towel to cool in a single layer where they will crisp up a bit.

Make the dressing by sprinkling the salt over the clove of garlic. Smash the clove and chop, turning it into a paste. In a small bowl whisk the garlic paste with the peanut butter, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Add the hot water and whisk until light and creamy.
Chop broccoli and apples into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl gently toss the broccoli, apples, most of the scallions and nuts with a generous drizzle of the dressing. Garnish with the rest of the shallots and chives if you like.

Notes: Could use a little tweaking, but it was an interesting combination of flavors. The original dressing called for almond butter, which would probably be better. The dressing was asthetically challenged, but looked okay once it was tossed in. The crispy green onions were a yummy garnish.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Emily & Brian's Wedding Cake

Also known as the Luv Cake

SERVES 40 -50

2 (18 ounce) boxes white cake mix (Betty Crocker or Pillsbury)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 2/3 cups water
1 c lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons real vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract (Watkins brand was outstanding!)
2 cups sour cream
6 whole eggs
1 tbls lemon zest

  1. Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour into greased and floured cake pans, filling each pan a little over half full.
  4. Lightly tap cake pans on counter to bring air bubbles to top.
  5. Bake in preheated 325° F oven until cake tests done.
  6. Baking time varies according to the size and depth of pans being used.
In 2" deep pans, this recipe makes:
One 14" round and one 6" round
or One 16" round
or One 12" round and one 10" round
or One 12 X 18" sheet cake
or One 12" round and one 8" round and one 6" round
or Two 9" squares.
or 5 dozen cupcakes.

Half the recipe makes:
Two 7" rounds
or Two 6" rounds and 6 cupcakes.

Source: Recipezaar

Their Notes: I made my daughter's wedding cake using this recipe. It turned out fantastic. The texture is just perfect for a wedding cake -- not too fluffy so it breaks from the weight, but also not overly dense. The flavor, texture and moistness were just right. I made two batches of the batter for a three-tiered wedding cake using 14", 10" and 6" pans that were 3-inches deep. I had enough extra batter for a 9" layer (not a deep pan).

My Notes: I made these cakes several weeks ahead of time, wrapped each individually, and froze them until we traveled to South Bend. The cakes were very stable and easy to decorate and VERY moist and delicious when Holly's friends ate leftovers up to a week after the wedding! I put poppy seeds in some of the layers. I used Dickinson's lemon curd for filling between the layers. Delicious! Check the original recipe (White Almond Sour Cream Wedding Cake Recipe) for flavor variations.

Chunky Potato Soup

3 medium red potatoes
2 c water
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbls butter
3 tbls flour
crushed red pepper flakes
3 c milk
1/2 tsp sugar
1 c shredded cheddar
1 c cooked ham

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Bring water to a boil in large saucepan. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Drain reserving 1 cup liquid (add water to make 1 cup if necessary).

Cook onion in melted butter, stirring frequently. Cook until it's translucent and tender, but not brown. Add flour to saucepan, season with peppers and cook 3-4 minutes.

Mix with potatoes, water, milk and sugar. Stir well and add cheese and ham. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

NOTES: We all liked this a lot. I added more potatoes than called for and t made enough for 5 generous servings. I used a 3 ounce package of Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits instead of the ham (it was plenty and added a great flavor and texture).

SOURCE: The original recipe came from some freebie recipe card I got in the mail.

Too bad - I forgot to take a picture and it was soon gone!
This is not my soup, but thanks to Pfaltzgraff for the picture.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Banana Cream Cheesecake

1 pkg. white cake mix, divided
4 eggs, divided
3 tbsp. oil
2/3 c packed brown sugar, divided
2 bananas, sliced
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c cool whip

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Reserve 1 cup dry cake mix. Mix remaining cake mix with 1 egg, oil, and 1/3 c brown sugar with mixer. (Mixture will be crumbly.) Press onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Top with bananas.

Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar with mixer. Add reserved cake mix, remaining eggs, and lemon juice; beat one minute. Blend in milk. (Batter will be thin.) Pour into crust.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: Kraft foods freebie magazine

Notes: Good flavor - especially the cream cheese/banana filling. The crust is pretty firm, so be sure you keep it thin and don't let the edges and corners get too thick. I think the crust was a little sweet and would possibly try it without the extra sugar next time. Of course, I don't like sweet stuff in general, so I may be oversensitive.
This would be good to try with a graham cracker crust (but you'd need to work out the 1 c of cake mix in the batter issue).

Serve it with coffee! (Really)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Balkan Meatballs

1 egg
¼ c milk
⅓ c crushed seasoned croutons
¾ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground allspice
1 pound lean ground beef
½ pound ground turkey
⅔ c finely chopped onion

3 tbls. marg
⅜ c flour
3 c milk

In medium-sized bowl, beat egg with milk. Mix in the croutons, salt, sugar and spices. Add meat and onion and mix thoroughly. Shape meatballs about the size of walnuts and brown in skillet. Make the white sauce. Add meatballs to the sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over wide egg noodles. Makes 4 servings.

Balkan Meatballs ( alternate recipe)

3 tbls. marg.
⅜ c flour
3 c milk
¼ tsp. each of ginger, nutmeg, allspice
salt and pepper to taste

2 pounds frozen meatballs

Make a white sauce of the sauce ingredients. Stir in meatballs and cook in a crockpot on high for 1 ½ - 2 hours.

Serve over noodles.

Notes: I served this recipe at Emily’s graduation party (without noodles) and it was a big hit!
Source: Adapted from a recipe from Once A Month Cooking

International Cafe

1 c instant coffee creamer
1 c instant hot chocolate mix
2/3 c instant coffee crystals
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix together. I don't have a note about how much to mix with water. If anyone tries this, email me your suggestion and I'll update.

Source: Michael Latawiec (2002 craft sale)

Instant Hot Cocoa

10 2/3 c powdered milk
1 pound Nestles Quik (about 3 cups)
6 ounces powdered coffee creamer
1 c powdered sugar

Mix it all together and store in a container with a tight lid.

Mix about 1/3 cup to each cup of hot water.

Source: Grandma Donna

Old Fashioned Hot Cocoa

3 tbls. cocoa
8 tbls. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Stir in one cup of water and four cups of milk. Heat to desired temperature, but avoid boiling.

Notes: They don't put this recipe on the cocoa cans anymore, so I'm glad I wrote it down.
This classic is the best option for a rich cup of cocoa!
Easily halved or doubled.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Of course fluff is more of an art than a science, but here's one version for posterity:

2 (8 oz.) tubs of cool whip
2 small packets orange jello
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
mandarin oranges, drained (we used 2 cans totaling about 20 ounces)
1 bag of mini marshmallows

Mix it all together and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving so the jello has time to dissolve.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bisquick Chicken Strips

This recipe used to be on the Bisquick box, but they stopped printing it, so I was able to google it and find this yummy recipe again. I like this one because it's easy, tasty, and uses on-hand ingredients.
It can get a little messy between the chicken cutting, raw-egg dipping, and coating, so sometimes it's easier to work with a partner. Overall, though, it's pretty quick to make and you could make and store the coating ahead of time. Enjoy!

2/3 cup Original Bisquick® mix

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt or Garlic salt (a little more never hurts...)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

DIRECTIONS Heat oven to 450ºF. Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. Mix Bisquick mix, cheese, salt and paprika in 1-gallon resealable plastic food-storage bag. Dip half the chicken strips into egg; place in bag of Bisquick mixture. Seal bag; shake to coat. Place chicken on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle butter over chicken. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, turning after 6 minutes with tongs, until no longer pink in center.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Perfect Boiled Eggs

Place eggs in a single layer (preferably) in a saucepan and cover with cold water, about one inch above eggs. Cover and heat to boiling. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 15 minutes. Drain and immediately place eggs in cold water to stop cooking.

This carefully timed method will prevent overcooking and those green colored yolks.

Grandma's Brown Bread

2 pkg. dry yeast
¾ c lukewarm water
1 tsp. plus 1 cup sugar, divided
4 cups water, divided
½ c shortening
1 ½ tbsp. salt
½ dark molasses
1 cup rye flour
2 cups graham flour (whole wheat)
7-8 cups all-purpose flour

Mix yeast, lukewarm water and 1 tsp. sugar. Heat 2 cups water to boiling and pour over 1 cup sugar, shortening, salt and molasses in mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve shortening. Add remaining 2 cups water to mixing bowl, and cool to lukewarm.
When shortening mixture is lukewarm, add dissolved yeast and stir in rye and graham flours. Add all-purpose flour, beginning with 7 cups and adding just enough to allow for easy handling while kneading. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Knead for 8-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in greased bowl, rolling it over to grease the other side. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow the dough to rise until double in volume (1 ½ - 2 hours).
Punch dough down and knead briefly. Divide dough into 4 parts, shape and place in greased loaf pans.
Let rise until double in size, or until a depression remains if touched lightly with finger. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cook on wire racks.

Yield: 4 large loaves (You should be able to half this recipe pretty easily.)
Source: I have no idea whose grandma is referenced in the name. I'm pretty sure I got the recipe from a newspaper article years ago.
Notes: This bread is fabulous and turns out well every time.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 medium head cauliflower, cut in little flowerets
1/4 c butter
1/2 c chopped onion
2 tbls flour
2 c chicken broth
2 c light cream (or milk)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp salt (if necessary - see note)
1 c grated cheddar

Cook cauliflower in boiling water; drain, reserving 1 c liquid.

Melt butter. Add onion and cook until soft. Blend in flour; add broth, and cook, whisking constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Add cauliflower water, cream (milk), Worcestershire sauce and salt. Add cauliflower and heat to scalding. Stir in cheese.

Yield: 2 quarts
Source: Original recipe was from 1972 Farm Journal Cookbook
Notes: Velveeta is a good melty substitute for the cheddar but omit the salt if you use it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pizza Dough

1 pkg. Quick rise yeast
1 ½ c warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 ½ tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 ¾ cups flour (use white flour or a combination of white and whole-wheat)

We like to make this recipe by simply mixing all ingredients in our food processor, beginning with yeast, water and sugar, waiting for 1 minute and then adding the rest of the ingredients. Add enough flour so the dough is not sticky.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in remaining ingredients; beat vigorously. Knead for 1-2 minutes.

Prepare 2 pizza pans by spraying them with Pam. Divide dough into 2 balls and place one in the center of each pan. Cover and let them rise for 10-15 minutes. Gently spread dough to cover the pan with a slightly raised edge to hold sauce and other ingredients on as they bake. Top with pizza sauce and ingredients of your choice. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

Notes: For thicker crusts, you can let your assembled pizzas rest for 30 mins. before baking.

You can bake this recipe for 10-15 minutes (till firm but not browned), cool and freeze them for use later. Having these available in the freezer is nice for a quick, delicious meal. They take only a little more time than commercial frozen pizza and taste much better!

Update: The best thing I've done for my breadmaking skills recently is purchased a killer Kitchenaid Mixer (the food-service version with all metal gears). It kneads the dough effortlessly and perfectly every time, even containing the mess to one bowl. Highly recommended!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hippie Mom's Granola

(from Slashfood)

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup peanuts or toasted almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ (optional)
scant 1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried fruit (e.g. dried apricots, craisins, dried apple)

Mix the nuts and grains in a large bowl. Measure oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around before pouring into bowl. Then measure out the honey in the same cup. (The oil will help the honey exit the cup.) Toss everything together until evenly coated and then pour out into a large roasting pan or a cookie sheet with a lip.
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until everything is an even golden brown.
When it is finished cooking, return the baked granola to the mixing bowl, add the raisins and fruit and stir to combine. Stir gently several times as it cools (every 10 mins or so), so that it doesn't clump together too much. Enjoy!

My Taco Hotdish

Brown 1 lb. hamburger with a chopped onion.
Drain and add:
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
½ cup water

Simmer about 10 minutes and add:
1 15 oz. can of refried beans
8 ozs. tomato sauce,
1 ½ cups of cooked rice (white or brown).
Mix and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Layer in a casserole dish:
1 ½ cups of crushed tortilla chips,
Hamburger mixture
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed chips
sliced black olives
¾ cup cheddar

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes till warm.
Top with lettuce, tomato, picante sauce, sour cream.

Notes: If you use Doritos, you may want to decrease the spices a little.
It's best the first day because the chips get pretty soggy as leftovers.
Would also work with shredded chicken or beef.

Source: Not exactly rocket science, but I made it up myself.

Yield: About 8 servings. (should be pretty easy to decrease)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Magic Bars (it's true!)

1 brownie mix
1/2 c melted margarine
2 eggs
1 can sweetened cond. milk
6-8 oz. choc. chips (I used peanut butter-chocolate swirl chips and it was awesome)
2 tbls. marg

Blend first three ingredients, and pour 2/3 of it into a prepared cake pan. Mix S.C. Milk with chocolate chips and 2 tbls. marg. Melt and pour over the brownie batter. Spoon remaining batter over all and add nuts if you like. Bake at 325 for 20-25 mins.

Jewel Bars

1 cake mix
1/2 c melted margarine
2 eggs
1 sweetened cond. milk (no size indicated)
6-8 ox. choc. chips
2 tbls. marg

Blend first three ingredients, and pour 2/3 of it into a prepared cake pan. Mix with chocolate chips and 2 tbls. marg. Melt and pour over the cake batter. Spoon remaining batter pver all and add nuts if you like. Bake at 325 for 20-25 mins.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Turkey Soup

1 leftover turkey carcass
5 qts. water

3 c cubed turkey
1 large onion
2 carrots, sliced
1 c chopped celery
10 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach
3/4 c fresh or frozen peas
3/4 c uncooked rice
4 chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp dried marjoram
3/4 dried thyme

Place the turkey carcass and water into a soup kettle. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove carcass and discard. (Make sure there are no stray bones in the broth.) Skim fat if necessary (but probably won't be with turkey). Stock may be frozen for up to 6 months.

Add vegetables, rice, bouillon and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until everything is tender. Add turkey cubes to heat up in the last 10 minutes or so.

Yield: Lots

Original Source: Taste of Home Cooking

Notes: I used some wild rice from the freezer instead of what was called for here; it was very good. Also, the vegetables you use are all pretty optional - these are good choices. The spinach made it a lot like Italian Wedding Soup without the meatballs. The bouillon called for in this recipe was just a good amount of salt. Also, I added my leftover turkey gravy from the day before to this recipe. Very good!

Grandpa would call this Turkey Carcass Soup (and as you may know, he would consider it a capital waste to throw away a perfectly good turkey carcass without making soup of it).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

2 c flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1 ½ c sour cream
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour 2 (8 inch) round cake pans. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Add the vanilla and almond extract. On low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture and sour cream, in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

½ c brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
¼ c flaked coconut
1/3 c sliced almonds
Mix the ingredient. Pour half the batter into each pan, then sprinkle the streusel mixture on top. Cover with remaining batter. Bake at 350 º for 30-35 minutes.

¼ c powdered sugar
¼ tsp. almond extract
2-3 tsp. milk
Mix ingredients; drizzle over baked coffee cakes.

Shrimp Dimp

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c sour cream
8 oz. shrimp
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
½ c diced celery
2 oz. jar diced pimento
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp. diced onion
1 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce

Beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover, refrigerate 2 hours to blend flavors. Serve with crackers.

NOTE: This may taste more bland at first, but tends to get spicier as the Tabasco blends in. Don’t add too much or it will be really spicy the next day.

Steel Cut Oatmeal for the Crockpot

1 cup steel cut oats (DO NOT substitute old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats)
4 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, prunes, apricots, dates) (optional)
Serve with
milk, sugar, cinnamon, or maple sugar (to taste)
1.Place all ingredients in a 2 quart slow cooker.
2.Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours.
3.It might form a "crust" around the outside. Just scrape it down with a spoon and stir it in.

MY NOTES: I added a cubed apple and reduced the water to 4¼ cups. It was pretty runny after 8 hours. I did like the raisins I added, though.
I’d try the following changes: use only dried fruit, add 1 tsp. cinnamon, keep cook time closer to 6 hours, if possible.
I got the steel cut oats in the health food section of Cub, but you can also get them at a Whole Foods store.

This was nice to wake up to and was really healthy and hardy.


Molly Koop's Scones

Bet you never thought I'd be endorsing a scone recipe, did you? Well, this one is very good when served fresh from the oven, and even pretty good when cold. (Not that there will be any leftovers...)

It came as a gift - a jar of dry ingredients and a recipe card with instructions to complete it.

Scone Mix (these are the ingredients that were in your jar)
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

The recipe card (in a very girly font with a teapot clip on it) said this:

1 Jar Scone Mix
1 Bag Chocolate Chunks or Cinnamon Chips
1 Stick Butter cut into pieces
1 ¼ Cup Milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In mixer with paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) mix dry ingredients. With mixer running, add butter and mix until coarse and sandy. You should be able to see small lumps of butter. Add milk and mix until almost combined. Add chips and mix just to distribute them evenly through the dough. DO NOT OVERMIX. There may still be some flour not mixed in at the bottom of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto lightly-floured surface. Knead dough ten times to bring it together and smooth it out. Using floured rolling pin, roll out dough to thickness of one inch. Using biscuit cutter or two-inch cup, cut out circles. Using a spatula, transfer scones to ungreased baking sheet. Knead scraps together just until combined, then roll again and continue cutting out circles until dough is used. Bake until light golden brown, about fifteen minutes.

Variation: Use dried fruit or other baking chips for a different flavor scone.

Notes: I HIGHLY recommend the cinnamon chip option.

Egg Brunch

4 cups croutons
1 8 oz. pkg. cheddar
4 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. pepper
10 slices of fried, chopped bacon OR 1 lb. browned breakfast sausage

Spread the croutons in the bottom of a greased 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Blend the eggs, milk, salt, onion powder, mustard and pepper. Pour over the bread/cheese mixture. Top with meat. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 325 º for 40-50 minutes.

From the Schoenstatt 1996 cookbook.

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

1/3 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
3 tbls flour
1 tbls cinnamon

1 ¼ c sugar
1/3 cup cooking oil
2 large eggs
3 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ c buttermilk
1 tbls vanilla

•In small bowl, combine topping ingredients.
•Coat a 12-cup bundt or tube pan with cooking spray, sprinkle 1/3 c topping mixture.
•Preheat oven to 350º.
•In large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.
•In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir until well mixed. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
•Set aside 2 cups batter. Pour remaining batter into prepared pan.
•Sprinkle remaining walnut mixture over batter. Pour reserved batter over walnut mixture.
•Bake 45-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of coffee cake comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack before removing coffee cake from pan.

Source: I think one of you made this as a 4-H project, right?

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

1 c butter or marg., softened
2 ¾ c sugar (divided)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
Cream butter and 2 c sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and then eggs, one at a time, until mixed well.

3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp salt

Combine all dry ingredients and add to butter mixture alternately with: 2 cups sour cream. Spoon 1/3 batter into greased 10” tube or bundt pan.

2 tbls cinnamon and remaining ¾ c sugar. Sprinkle 1/3 of it over batter. Repeat two times with remaining batter and cinnamon/sugar.

Bake at 350º for 70 minutes. Cool 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Source: Donna Webster

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

1 c butter or marg., softened
2 ¾ c sugar (divided)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
Cream butter and 2 c sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and then eggs, one at a time, until mixed well.

3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp salt

Combine all dry ingredients and add to butter mixture alternately with: 2 cups sour cream. Spoon 1/3 batter into greased 10” tube or bundt pan.

2 tbls cinnamon and remaining ¾ c sugar. Sprinkle 1/3 of it over batter. Repeat two times with remaining batter and cinnamon/sugar.

Bake at 350º for 70 minutes. Cool 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Source: Donna Webster

Breakfast Pizza

2 (8 oz.) pkg. Crescent refrigerator rolls
1 lb. Pork sausage or bacon (fried and crumbled)
2 c. potato shreds (fresh or frozen and defrosted)
10 eggs
½ c milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
chopped onions and green peppers (opt.)

Arrange crescent rolls on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Brown sausage or bacon and spread over dough. Top with potatoes, onions and peppers. Combine eggs with milk and pour over top. Garnish with cheese. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Fettuccine Alfredo Wannabe

1/2 lb. fettuccine, uncooked
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 1/4 c chicken broth
3 tbsp flour
4 oz cream cheese (or Neufchatel)
3 tbsp grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook 5-7 mins or until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet. Mix broth and flour in a pan; heat until boiling and add the cream cheese and 2 tblsp of Parmesan, garlic, pepper, and basil. Whisk constantly until it thickens, and the cream cheese is thoroughly mixed in. Stir in chicken. Drain pasta and mix with sauce/chicken. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

Yield: 4 generous servings
Source for original recipe: Kraft Food & Family, fall 2008
Notes: While not exactly Fettuccine Alfredo, it's not lasgana made with Velveeta either. We liked it! I used chunks of leftover turkey breast and it was really quick and easy to make.

*I put about 1/4 c cold broth into a jar with the flour and shook all the lumps out before mixing with the rest of the broth.

Apple Muffins

1 egg
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ vegetable oil
1 cup grated apples
1½ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sugar

Beat egg. Stir in milk, oil, apple, and cinnamon. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moist. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full, sprinkle with nut crunch topping, bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.

Nut Crunch Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup walnuts
1 tablespoon melted butter
Mix ingredients together.

Apple Pancakes

2 c flour
5 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. milk
1/3 c. oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. chopped, unpeeled apples

Mix all ingredients. Cook on a griddle.
These pancakes are very good when served with warm, spiced applesauce for a topping. To spice the applesauce, simply add cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cincinnati-Style Chili

1 quart water
2 pounds ground chuck, crumbled
2 medium onions, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed (use garlic press) or minced
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
10 peppercorns, ground
8 whole allspice, ground (3/4 tsp)
8 whole cloves, ground (1/2 tsp)
1 large bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated

Bring water to boil in a 4-6 quart pot. Add the ground chuck (do not brown first). Stir until separated and reduce heat to simmer. Add onions, garlic, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix well. Add peppercorns, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and grated unsweetened chocolate. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 2 1/2 hours cooking time in all. Cool uncovered and refrigerate overnight.

Skim all or most of the fat and discard. Discard bay leaf. Reheat and serve over hot spaghetti, cooked al dente.

Optional toppings:
Finely-grated Cheddar cheese, chopped onion, red kidney beans. Serve oyster crackers and red pepper sauce on the side.

Cooks Illustrated's Best Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups sour cream (10 ounces)
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl until combined. Whisk egg in second medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 2 or 3 steps, whisking to combine after each addition. Add sour cream in 2 steps, whisking just to combine.

3. Add frozen berries to dry ingredients and gently toss to combine. Add sour cream mixture and fold with rubber spatula until batter comes together and berries are evenly distributed, 25 to 30 seconds (small spots of flour may remain and batter will be thick). Do not overmix.

4. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to drop batter into greased muffin tin. Bake until light golden brown and toothpick or skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time. Invert muffins onto wire rack, stand muffins upright, and cool 5 minutes. Serve as is or dip in melted butter and then cinnamon-sugar.

Notes: Super moist, even after several days!

Special K Bars

1 c sugar
1 c Karo syrup
4 tbls butter
1 1/2 c peanut butter (creamy is best)
6 c Special K cereal
1 c chocolate chips
1 c butterscotch chips

Boil the first three ingredients for one minute; add the peanut butter and stir until creamy and well mixed. Pour over the cereal and mix thoroughly. Spread into a 9X13 pan for thick bars or a cookie sheet (with sides) for thinner bars. Melt the chips together and spread over the smooth cereal mixture. Cool and cut.

Source: Mrs. Sivula

Notes: Using the store-brand equivalent cereal is fine. In fact, I prefer it because it's lots cheaper and we get to make fun of the silly name.
I butter the back of a spoon and use it to firmly press the mixture into the pan.
I also sprayed the pan with non-stick spray.
These bars mail very well and stay fresh a long time. (perfect for mailing)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cheesy Chicken and Salsa Skillet

2 c uncooked penne
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 c chunky salsa
1 c frozen corn, thawed
1 green pepper, cut into thing strips
1 c shredded cheddar

Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, cook chicken for 2 minutes in a little oil. Stir in salsa, corn, and peppers. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta, and stir into chicken mixture. Move to a serving dish, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Yield: 4 generous servings

Source: Kraft Food and Family Magazine

Notes: This was good and super easy to make.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Beef Barley Stew

1 1/2 lbs. lean beef stew meat, cubed
1 chopped onion
3 cans beef broth (14.5 oz each) OR the equivalent of reconstituted beef soup base or bouillon
1 c medium pearl barley
1 tsp thyme, dried
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp crushed rosemary, dried
1/4 tsp pepper
4 carrots, sliced

Brown meat and onion; add the broth, barley and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour or until meat is tender and barley is fully cooked.

Add carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Yield: 8 generous servings

Source: Taste of Home Cookbook

Notes: I added some celery also. You may need to add additional water if the barley absorbs too much liquid. The seasonings all add important elements to this soup, but measure carefully.

Fresh Salsa

4 c cubed tomatoes
2 c green, yellow, red, purple sweet peppers
1 c hot peppers
3/4 c onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 c cilantro (or to taste)
1/2 lime (squeeze the fresh juice in)
1 1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Dice or cube the vegetables; mix together for a few hours before serving.

Source: Some guy Dad works with.

Yield: It makes a lot. Reduce recipe unless you're bringing it to a picnic or some other group event.

Notes: Instead of cutting the hot pepper, I buy a small can (maybe 4 ounce) of already-chopped jalapenos and just dump them in. A full cup would be too spicy for us.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened - see note
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 c (12 oz. package) chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add baking soda, and salt, then flour, and finally chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (or a size 60 food service scoop) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool slightly then remove to a wire rack.

Yield: about 6 dozen

Notes: I think one stick of margarine and one stick of butter is the ideal mix for texture and flavor. Mix the flour in on low speed!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

2 (1/4 ounce) packages of dry yeast
1/3 c warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 c warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1/2 c sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/4 tsp salt
5.5-6 cups flour

2-1/2 c raisins
1 c water
1/3 c apple juice or cider
1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and 2 c flour. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Knead for 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

In a large saucepan, bring the filling ingredients (NOT the egg) to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 15-20 minutes until almost all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Punch dough down; knead for about a minute on a lightly floured surface. Divide in half, and roll each half into a 12X8 inch rectangle. Brush with egg, spread with half the filling to within 1/2 inch of edges.

Roll up, starting with a short side; pinch to seal. Place seam side down in a greased bread pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Cover loosely with foil if it seems to be browning too quickly. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 2 loaves

Note: Using 1/2 golden raisins would also be nice, if you have them. This bread has a VERY nice texture.

Source for unedited recipe: Taste of Home Baking

Banana Chip Muffins

1 egg
1/3 c vegetable oil
3/4 c sugar
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed (abt. 1 1/3 cups)
2 c flour
1/2 c oats
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c mini chocolate chips

Beat egg, oil and sugar until smooth. Stir in bananas. Combine flour, oats, baking sods, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the wet ingredients just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes (toothpick test). Cool in the pan for 5 mins. before removing to a cooling rack.

Yield: 1 dozen regular sized or 40+ mini muffins
Source for original version: Taste of Home Baking
Note: I made these in the mini muffin pan and they were great.

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2/3 c buttermilk (or 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice and enough milk to make 2/3 c)
2 tbls butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond or lemon extract
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 c sliced almonds
2 tbls. brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and soda. In a separate bowl, mix egg, milk, butter, and extracts until blended. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened; think mixing muffins. Stir in 2/3 c blueberries.
Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Top with remaining berries. Combine the almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (toothpick test).

Notes: Do not thaw frozen blueberries before using. Other nuts can be substituted, but almonds are the best. Also, 1 cup of blueberries really is enough.

Source for the unedited version: Taste of Home Baking

Monkey Bread

4 tubes of refrigerated biscuits (the 7 ½ oz. ones)
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. brown sugar
¾ C. butter

First you cut each biscuit into quarters. Place them in a baggie (a few quarters at a time)with your cinnamon/sugar mix and shake. Only do a few pieces at a time because otherwise you will end up with a great big clump of dough. You want your individual pieces to be well coated.

Melt the brown sugar and butter in a pan but do not boil it! It will get all separated and gross. Pour it over your biscuits, which have been placed in a well-greased Bundt pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

NOTES: This is very good served warm, and not as great once it cools. (Definitely go with the warm option.) Also, 4 tubes of biscuits makes a bundt pan full - definitely at least 8 servings.

Source: Margaret of Minnesota

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Caribbean Black Beans

This was one of my 4-H recipes from this year. It was pretty good, but, since most of you didn't get to try it, I thought I'd post the recipe. Warning: It does have a little bit of a kick.

2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups hot cooked rice

In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook ingredients except rice and beans in oil about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper is tender-crisp. Stir in beans. Cook about 5 minutes, or until hot. Serve with rice.

Yield: 5 servings

Source: Betty Crocker Cookbook

Here's good instructions on cutting your papaya.

Also, I figured out that the white-ish layer between the fruit and the peel on the papaya is really bitter, so make sure you cut that off.

This is a blue ribbon recipe, so you know it's good....Or that I'm really good at BSing the judge....Which is more likely?..... ;-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas

1 3/4 c water
1 tsp salt, divided
1 c brown rice

1 (15 oz) can black beans
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper

1 med. tomato, diced
1/2 c ripe olives, chopped
1/2 c salsa
12 6-inch tortillas (corn or flour)
2 c shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterrey Jack)

Enchilada sauce
More salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for topping

Bring water and 1/2 tsp salt to boil in small saucepan. Add rice. Return to boil. Lower heat; cover and simmer 35 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand covered for 20 minutes. Stir black beans, liquid and all, into rice.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet. Add onion, green pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder, remaining salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add the onion mixture to the beans and rice along with tomato, olives, and salsa. Place about 1/2 cup of this into each tortilla and sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of cheese. Roll and place seam side down in a prepared baking dish. Spread enchilada sauce on the top and sprinkle with cheese. Cover loosely with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.

Serves 8

Apple Glazed Pork Chops

1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
2 lbs. pork chops (4)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 c apple juice
2 tart apples peeled and sliced (or more - see note)
1/2 c raisins (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine the first 4 ingredients. Coat pork with flour mixture and brown in brown in butter. Stir the 2 tablespoons of flour and brown sugar into drippings to make a thick paste. Gradually add apple juice, cooking and stirring until thickened. Place pork chops in a 2 quart casserole. Arrange apple slices and raisins over pork chops; cover with apple juice mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and bake at 350 º for 1 hour.

Note: You can use more apples and serve the sauce and apples with rice.
Serves 4

Holly's Alfredo Pizza Sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 ½ tablespoons flour

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

¾ cup milk

2 cloves garlic

¾ tsp. dried basil

Melt margarine in saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually whisk in milk. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese.

This sauce makes enough for one large pizza.

Topping suggestions:

Shrimp, green onions, chicken/pesto, red peppers, black olives, fresh mushrooms,Mozzarella.

Bake pizza at 425º for about 14 minutes or until crust/cheese is starting to brown.

This pizza was made with leftover chicken mixed with two cubes (ice cube tray size) of pesto, this sauce, black olives, green onions, Parmesan and mozzarella. Very nice!