July 31, 2008

Awesome Shrimp!

Here's what we're making tonight for dinner - something I've talked about before and posted versions of - but it's sooo good!

Start with;

red and green peppers and 1 1/2 onions cut into large chunks and add them to two pounds of raw, cleaned shrimp.

Amounts. Oh, I know you want amounts. But what I want you to do is to have 'fun' with cooking and not treat it like a science experiment. Don't be scared of your food. Add and delete according to your taste and common sense. So I'll put an approximate amount behind, but really... have fun with it!


Olive Oil - about 1/3 cup
Lime Juice - about 1/2 cup
Cayenne Pepper - 1 t (although I used 1 T because I like it spicy)
fresh minced garlic - about 3 t to start
oregano - 1 t dried
a little cumin if you want - 1/8 t

Mix, chill and marinate for 1-2 hours. Thread vegetables and shrimp on separate skewers as the vegetables will need about 3-4 minutes per side longer than the shrimp. Cook the shrimp last as it will only need about 3 minutes per side over medium high heat. The shrimp is done when it turns white/pink and has little grill lines on it. The veggies will have a golden brown edge to them and be crisp-tender.

This recipe just craves to be 'messed' with. Sometimes I use lemon juice instead of lime, sometimes I've mixed in a little Tequila. Either way it's a recipe that is good enough for a prize.
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Chicken Bacon and Ranch Wraps

This is a photo of a wrap I was making for my oldest daughter to take to work with her for dinner one evening. The colors were so vibrant I just had to snap a picture to share with my readers. Doesn't it look delicious?

Our family loves wraps. They are so versatile. This particular wrap was using marinated, grilled chicken strips but the frugal housewife in me needs to remind you that if you have a hot charcoal grill and you are done cooking your dinner but the charcoals still have a lot of cook life left in them, throw some chicken breasts on the grill while you eat your dinner. When you are done eating grab them off the grill, wrap and freeze or wrap to use the next day if you want to refrigerate them. Even if they are not done! The idea is that you partially cooked them and got the grilled flavor into them. Now you can use them by finishing cooking in the microwave for a minute or two (if needed) and then slice and cool. Wha-la! Easy grilled chicken strips.

Chicken Ranch Wrap

Grilled or leftover chicken, cooked and diced or strips
1 wrap; flour tortilla or flavored tortilla wraps or flat breads
cheddar cheese - shredded fine
1 green onion, diced
ranch dressing
bacon, cooked and crumbled or *real* bacon pieces like Hormel brand

Add amount of dressing, cheese, etc. according to your personal taste. Roll up and tightly wrap with saran or plastic wrap and chill. If you have a chance, make these at least 6 hours ahead of time to let the flavors mingle and also help it to stay together better, but they can be eaten immediately.Print Friendly and PDF

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

I'm an 'early bird' and often wake at 4:00 or 4:30 wishing I could go back to sleep but my brain turns on 100 mph and I find myself antsy and ready to start the day. Because of this I'm often enjoying coffee in the kitchen with the patio door open before the sun rises... and it's also because of this I can already tell the mornings are a tiny bit cooler and that Fall won't be too many weeks away for those of us in the heartland.

With that in mind I came across this recipe this morning and decided to post it. It's for chicken and dumplings - but for busy Moms like me, it's made in the crock pot. Even better? No flour or mixing dumplings required. It's made with flour tortillas. Yes, you can do something with them besides soft tacos and quesadillas! LOL.

Here is another reason I'm happy to add it to your collection; it's cheap. Affordable. Frugal. And with the price of gas and groceries you'll be looking for more of these recipes!

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

4 bone-in chicken breasts
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup water
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small rib celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
12 large flour tortillas

Combine all ingredients in crockpot, except tortillas. Cook on low 8 hours. Turn the crockpot to high and take out chicken and remove the skin and bones (you can use boneless to cut out this step but it won't have the good flavor that cooking with the bones has... your choice.) Return the diced, cooked and cleaned chicken to the pot and add the flour tortillas cut into 2X1" strips. Place strips into broth and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.Print Friendly and PDF

Sherbet Macaroons - the Surprise Cookie

I've had fun bringing my readers a lot of quick, easy cookies that start with a cake mix and we've done everything from lemon to caramel to chocolate and more but wait! I have another! This one is from Pillsbury and is actually more of a macaroon... but starts with a cake mix! I have a surprise though... ice cream. Well, sherbet actually but really, who would have thought that mixing ice cream and a dry cake mix would give you the base for a quick, easy and delicious cookie!?

Sherbet Macaroons

1 pint orange sherbet
1 package white cake mix
2 tablespoons almond extract
14 ounces (6 cups) flaked coconut

Let the ice cream soften just a bit and then blend with the mixer to continue until smooth. Add cake mix and extract. Blend just till thoroughly combined. Stir in coconut. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes. Cool 1 minute before removing. If you find you like these try them with raspberry or lime sherbet next!Print Friendly and PDF

July 30, 2008

Crab Cakes

Our family loves seafood. We don't get fresh seafood often as we live quite far from any ocean but luckily our grocery stores and Costco stock many choices and we enjoy seafood in some way, shape or form about twice a week.

One of our favorites are crab cakes. I think if we lived more near the coast where perhaps seafood was a little more affordable, we would make these once a week. Well, not necessarily this particular recipe every single time (you guys I know I love to mix it up and play with recipes and rarely make the exact, precise thing twice...) but using this as your guide add/delete as you see fit (within reason!) and enjoy crab cakes tonight.

Crab Cakes

4 slices bread food processed into crumbs
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 egg
2 T shallots
2 T parsley (dried)
2 T lemon juice
1 t yellow mustard
1 pound crab meat (real, not imitation!)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 can baby shrimp
Saltine crackers - about a handful, smashed fine
*optional: diced green peppers, red peppers, a jalapeno pepper, a bit of diced onion instead of shallots

Mix. Use the saltine cracker crumbs as your final 'binder' if the mixture is too moist to hold a shape. You do not want to add to much so it's dry and crumbly, but you want it to be moist yet thick enough to make a walnut sized 'ball' in your hand.

Flatten a bit and place on parchment or oiled baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm. (I usually speed this up by placing it in the freezer or if I'm really in a hurry I skip this part and am just really, really careful flipping them). Cook in a pan on the stove over medium heat in a bit of oil until golden brown, flipping just once.

Serve with a delicious sauce of your choice or with lemon slices on the side to squeeze over it!Print Friendly and PDF

July 28, 2008

Salted Nut Chews (Bars)

These are a staple for many (many!) families during the holiday season... mine included. I have two different recipes that I use for these, one making the crust out of flour, sugar, etc. and the other cheating by using a store bought cake mix.

I tried to find my photo of the bars but a quick glance through my files, I didn't spy it. No matter. This picture I took of all the holiday treats on the counter shows them right next to the basket of Christmas ornaments.

The reason I want to post this recipe though is that I hope no one is going to wait until next Christmas to make them. They are an excellent bar to make for a summer day! Go ahead, celebrate Christmas in July!

Salted Peanut Bars

½ cup butter, melted
1 white or yellow cake mix
1 beaten egg
10 ounces peanut butter chips
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Stir butter into cake mix. Stir in egg; dough will be stiff. Press into 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with peanut butter chips and peanuts. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Sprinkle with marshmallows. Return to oven; bake 5 minutes more until marshmallows are puffed and just starting to brown. Cool 1 hour. Spray knife with Pam to cut 32 bars.Print Friendly and PDF

July 26, 2008

You All Know What Saturday Night Is... Pizza Night!

It was a crazy day of running errands! I left the house this morning at 9:30 and didn't return home until 5 stores later, somewhere around 3:00. I had just enough time to put away groceries from both Costco and the grocery store when my 15 year old son called to see if I could take him and 2 friends to the mall - right back in the suburb where I just came from! LOL. On the way there my oldest daughter called me on the cellphone to ask me what I was making for dinner. Ummm.. nothing! Ha.

I told her to get some pizza dough started and I'd finish when I got home. So tonight we had 3 kinds; Pepperoni, Pepperoni and Green Olive and... BBQ Chicken Pizza, which I posted the recipe for about 1 1/2 years ago (May of 2007 I believe) so I'm just going to give you the link.

It's best if you have a little bit of smoked cheese - either mozzarella or Gouda and some regular mozzarella as well. If you don't have any smoked on hand it's still good... but it's not the same.Print Friendly and PDF

Curry Chicken with Wild Rice

Yesterday I was reading a novel set in South Africa, in which the lead character sat down to a bowl of mutton curry. For the next hour all I could think about was curry. I was craving it - which is weird because I never cook with curry and I certainly didn't have any mutton on hand.

I finally went to the kitchen and checked the cupboard, happily finding a brand new container of curry. My body also craved long grain wild rice. Not white or brown rice, but the nutty flavor and crunch of wild rice. Lucky for me we had some of that as well.

I didn't have a recipe in mind so I made this one up. I looked at three different recipes and just rather took a little of this and a little of that. What I ended up with reminded me of a spicy Chinese dish actually once the rice was mixed in - and the fact that I cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Here is basically what I did - have fun with it and change it as you wish.

Curry Chicken with Wild Rice

1 lb. chicken - cooked and diced (I used precooked chicken appetizers that I quartered)
4 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/4 c chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped sliced celery
2 whole tomatoes, chopped with juice
2 t curry powder
2 t chili powder
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t dried leaf thyme, crumbled
salt and pepper

1 c long-grain rice (I used organic wild rice because I had it on hand you can use white or brown!) - cook per directions (usually 1 cup rice, 2 cups water and simmer 30 minutes).

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet; add the bell pepper, garlic, onions, celery, tomatoes, and seasonings. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Mix in the chicken. Spoon the rice over the chicken mixture. Garnish with slivered almonds if desired.

The vegetables, right after adding the curry

I was craving long grain wild rice
but you can serve with brown or white

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July 25, 2008

Garden Pasta Salad

We only have a month of summer left and what goes better with a warm summer evening than a cold, fresh salad? Preferably with produce from your garden, but if you have to buy the peppers and carrots and onions, so be it! It's still going to be refreshing and delicious.

Garden Pasta Salad

1 box (16 oz) pasta (rotini or bow tie are pretty)
1 small onion - sliced thin
1/2 red bell pepper - diced
1/2 green bell pepper - diced
2 celery hearts - diced
1 whole carrot - julienned
1 whole cucumber - sliced or diced - leave the dark green skin on
1 cup grape tomatoes
8 oz Italian dressing of your choice

Cook pasta just to al dente so it still has a bite to it and is not mushy. Add the rest of the ingredients, chill.Print Friendly and PDF

July 24, 2008

Because I've brought you almost every other flavor of cake mix cookies, it's only natural when I saw this one that I add it to the collection. I've not made this one, as my family isn't a big 'butterscotch' family but I knew some of my readers would love it.

Cake Mix Cookies - Butterscotch

1 Jiffy cake mix package of yellow cake mix
2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup butter or margarine -- melted
1 egg
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

In a mixing bowl, beat everything but the butterscotch chips. Stir the chips in. Drop by tablespoonfuls full on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375' for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.Print Friendly and PDF

July 23, 2008

A New Spin on Cheesy Potatoes - Amazing!

*updated July 30th*

Necessity is the mother of invention and that is true in the kitchen as well! Our household is on the tail end of a tough month when an expected bonus didn't materialize on the last check and we've had emergency bills come up such as an unexpected car repair and mouth surgery! Payday isn't until Friday and I'm getting creative with the meals. Ok... I do that anyway... hee hee.

Tonight for dinner I wanted to have grilled catfish or grilled shrimp but since we have no charcoal and we got rid of our gas grill and haven't bought a new one yet, I'm out of luck in the grilling department. Instead we are having a NON-grilled dinner and for the side dish, I wanted to make cheesy potatoes.

One small problem. We are out of most of the ingredients for it.

Has that ever slowed me down? No!

So even though we had no cheese, no sour cream and little butter to spare, I used what we had and in the end, came up with a recipe that is so delicious my family has insisted I make it again... and again.

Hash Brown Casserole (another version of Cheesy Potatoes)

32 oz. hash brown potatoes
2 c heavy cream (less in the crockpot - full 2 cups in the oven)
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste (about a teaspoon)
1/2 - 1 t onion powder
1 1/2 c cooked, diced ham* (leftovers)
(*Optional! With it in this can be a main dish, leave it out and you have a great side dish)

Mix well in an extra large bowl and either bake in a well greased 9X13" pan in the oven at 375 for approximately 1 hour or you can put it in the crock pot (which is what I did) and cooked on high for 3 hours, the last hour with the lid cracked to allow it to thicken up.

*I made these again last night and found the heavy cream I was saving to make them had gone sour. Instead I grabbed a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk and used that in its place. Three hours in the crock pot as last time and they were good to go! Delicious.Print Friendly and PDF

Cake Mix Cookies Continued.... with Caramel this time!

Since we're on a 'cake mix cookie' kick here, let's go a step farther and try caramel! This one is similar to a cookie recipe that Moms and Grandma's have been making for years using Rolo Caramel Candies only this one cheats (a little bit) and uses a cake mix as the base. Quick and easy but oh so tasty!

When you get the dough formed around the candy center you can dip the tops into crushed nuts or you can also wait until they are cooled and top them with a little swirl of frosting.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

1 devil's food cake mix
1 egg
1/4 c water
3 T vegetable oil
38 Rolo (caramel) candies

In a bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, water and oil; mix well. Either use your hands and a spoon to make cookies into round balls or use a cookie dough scoop. Press a candy into each; reshape balls around the candy in the center. Place on ungreased baking sheets lined with parchment paper if you have it. Bake at 350' for 8-10 minutes or until tops are cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.Print Friendly and PDF

Another Cake Mix Cookie Recipe!

You guys know how I love 'quick and easy' recipes - because as a Mom of three extremely busy kids and a house full of 'extra' teens here at any time, cookies go quickly and I always try to have something on hand for the kids. When it comes to cookies made with cake mixes, I've raved about them in the past as they are the closest thing to the 'copy cat' cookies everyone raves about at the local grocery store or Walmart. I think they definitely have a 'store bought' flavor as compared to completely homemade, but it's not a bad taste! As a matter of fact they are down right yummy! This is perhaps why we've already made the chocolate, white and lemon versions and today I'm going to bring you the peanut butter version! LOL.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 c water
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter chips or chocolate chips (or a little of both!)

In a large bowl blend the cake mix, peanut butter, water and eggs. If you use a KitchenAid mixer, use the paddle attachment on the lowest speed. Otherwise, stir by hand. Stir in pb or chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes (give or take a minute) depending on if you like them chewy or crisp. Remove, cool for 1-2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then remove to cool completely.Print Friendly and PDF

Blueberry Muffins with Sour Cream

I love a good muffin. I tend to like bakery muffins more than homemade as I think the taste, texture and size of a good bakery muffin usually beats out the homemade version any old day. I've tried to reproduce my favorite muffins at home and thus, have collected quite a number of recipes.

To make it similar to the texture (I like my muffins heavy and moist) of the ones I love, I find that blueberry muffins with sour cream in the mixture as well as double the amount of eggs typically used, seems to be a little secret. So this recipe uses 4 eggs and sour cream... and it's delicious when made in extra large muffin tins, just like the bakeries use.

Blueberry Muffins

4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
4 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
2 c (16 ounces) sour cream
2 c fresh or frozen blueberries

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until pale. Gradually add sugar. Continue beating while you slowly pour in the oil. Add the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and add alternately with the sour cream. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes for regular sized muffin tins and 25 for larger or until the center tests done.Print Friendly and PDF

July 22, 2008

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Using a White Cake Mix

About 7 years ago I was visiting my parents and since there isn't a whole lot to do at their house I'm known for raiding their books and magazines and reading everything I can get my hands on. During this visit my Mom had been doing some cleaning in their basement storage closet and pulled out a pile of old Country Woman magazines from the early 90's (I think they were... if I remember correctly). I devoured them! They were full of recipes and articles and photos and I was madly scribbling down recipes on scratch paper to take home.

I think she finally felt bad for me and my pile of scratch papers because she told me to just take a small pile of them with me. I did, and I found some family-friendly recipes that were by real people, for real families, with real ingredients that almost anyone has in their home. I love those kinds of recipes!

This recipe is one for cinnamon rolls, which I already make using a homemade bread recipe, but this one calls for a small package of a white cake mix. A 9 oz. size, which I think sounds like the Jiffy Cake size if I'm not mistaken. I don't usually keep those on hand, but I believe they are only about a dollar at the store, so I'm going to post this recipe for future reference.

I think the cake mix in this recipe is what will give it a 'store bought' or 'bakery bought' flavor - if you know the taste I'm talking about.

Cinnamon Rolls

4 - 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 package (9 ounces) white cake mix
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) quick-rise yeast
1 t salt
2 c warm water (120° to 130°)
2 T butter
1/2 c sugar
3 t cinnamon

Combine 3 cups of the flour with the dry cake mix, yeast, salt and warm water; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth (about 7 minutes). Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 9X18". Spread the dough with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the long end. Slice the roll into 1-in. circles; place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 15 minutes. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes. Frost with a simple powdered sugar icing if desired.Print Friendly and PDF

July 21, 2008

Peanut Butter Patties

My mother didn't like baking and hated making cookies, but at the holidays would sometimes make candies. One of those was homemade caramel and the second, peanut butter balls. As a small child I liked the peanut butter balls but by the time I was in high school the overwhelming sweetness of the large, thick balls was almost too rich for me.

As it is, I was craving peanut butter fudge and the Christmas Peanut Butter Balls came to mind. I decided to make them into patties instead, and also to use a different recipe than my mothers as I think her's was just a little too sweet.

This one is a very thin patty (I had a Girl Scout Cookie in mind when I decided to make these into a thin patty) and here how they turned out.

Peanut Butter Patties

1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/4 c real butter, room temperature
3/4 - 1 t vanilla extract
2 c powdered sugar
1 c semisweet chocolate chips mixed with 1 c milk chocolate chips
1 T shortening

Line a square baking pan with foil (I used a 10 inch square for thin patties, use 8 or 9 inch for a little thicker). Lightly spray with a Pam style cooking spray. Mix the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment if you have one. Pat the mixture flat in the pan. Chill or freeze until firm. Remove from pan by lifting the foil out of the pan and laying the bars on the counter.

Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave or over low heat on the stove until smooth, stirring regularly. Dip the squares, one at a time into the chocolate. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Refrigerate until firm.

Because I really hate dipping candies and doing
chocolate coated 'anything' (I don't have the patience)
I always end up finding a way to cheat on recipes and
this one is no different. After dipping half of the patties
I poured chocolate over the rest, smoothed it, chilled it until
set, then flipped it over and poured chocolate on the other side.
After chilling again I cut them with a decorative slicer
and there ya go... another version of the same patty.

Print Friendly and PDF

July 20, 2008

Sometimes I hear or see a new food (to me) or one that perhaps I knew by another name... either way I get intrigued and look it up online and in my cookbooks and get an urge to make it.

This is one of those times. I had forgotten about my interest in this one until I was looking through some of my photo files and I had saved this one (from????) because it was so... odd! It's called Sfogliatelle and although I see it and think 'seashells' and 'seafood' it ends up it's a sweet filled dessert pastry.

My first stop was to look it up at Wikipedia and then to track down a recipe! I found so many recipes online for it that I can't believe it's flown under my radar for so long! Well, no longer. Without adieu I give you;


1 c water
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1 pinch salt
1/2 c confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 c semolina
1 1/4 c flour
6 oz. butter
2 oz. sugna, strutto or lard (Umm, try shortening if you can't find these)
1 pinch cinnamon
3 oz. candied orange peel, diced
1 egg yolk

Bring the water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and pour in the semolina, stirring so as not to form lumps. Cook, stirring for about 8 mins., stirring constantly. Let cool.

Make a mound with the flour and use your fingers to make a hole in the center. Put in the well, half of the butter, a pinch of salt and as much water as necessary to knead the dough to a smooth and elastic consistency. Wrap the dough in a towel and let rest for an hour.

Mix the ricotta with the semolina, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and the candied orange peel. Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin to obtain a very large rectangle, 1/16-in. thick and about 2 feet (24 inches) across and 18 inches in height. Cut the pastry vertically into 4 strips and place one on top of the other, brushing each one with melted butter. Let rest for half an hour, and then roll up the stack of dough.

Slice the roll into 10 equal pieces with a very sharp, floured knife. Place the pieces on the pastry board and roll them gently with the rolling pin, first vertically, in an upward direction, and then in a downwards direction, to give them an oval shape.

Turn the ovals over, place a bit of ricotta filling in the middle of each one, brush the edges with egg yolk, then fold the dough over and press to seal. Brush the sfogliatelle with melted shortening and place on parchment paper greased with butter. Bake at 425ºF for 20 minutes, and remove from the oven. Brush with melted butter again, lower the temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and serve.

Photo: found thru a search enginePrint Friendly and PDF

It's a Grandma Recipe! Cauliflower Pea Salad

As a child I shied away from sweets and candy and turned up my nose at chocolate, but boy did I love my vegetables! I still do!

This one is one you will find versions of literally all over and in many forms. It's in almost any church or school or fundraising cookbook... and for good reason! It's delicious. It's just like one of the cold summer salads your Grandma and Mom make and now you can too!

Cauliflower Pea Salad

1 head cauliflower
1 bag frozen peas, thawed
1 red onion diced
1 each red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved (save juice)
1/2 pound bacon crisp and crumbled (reserve some for garnish)
8 oz cheese, grated (cheddar or pepper jack) (reserve some for garnish)
1 dry packet ranch dressing mix (3 T)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk

Break the cauliflower in bite sized pieces, add finely diced peppers, pea's, tomatoes and onion, bacon. Sprinkle top with reserved bacon and cheese. Mix the sour cream, mayo and mix with the ranch dressing. Add to the salad. Gently stir in the cheese. Top with sprinkled reserved bacon crumbles and a bit of cheese. Chill and serve.Print Friendly and PDF

July 17, 2008

Salmon Loaf with Photos

A month or two (?) ago I posted the recipe for a wonderful and simple (really!) Salmon Loaf that was so good that we ate it up before I could get a picture of it. LOL. I had used leftover grilled salmon and it was simply... amazing. Well, I made it again last night and I did have to use canned salmon since we didn't have any leftovers but I got pictures this time!

Canned salmon is pretty affordable, you should be able to get it for about a dollar a can on sale. You'll want to remove most of the skin, not because you have to, but because it just looks nicer when the loaf is a pretty, appetizing color (and because, well, I personally think it's gross to eat it... LOL). Remember; the bones are not only good but good for you and are completely edible. However; if you do have a chance to use some leftover salmon from grill from a day or two earlier please do as the flavor is amazing.

Salmon Loaf

1/4 c fresh chopped/minced onion
1 t dried dillweed
1 T butter
1 slightly beaten egg
1/4 - 1/3 c milk or cream
1 c soft bread crumbs
Leftover salmon to equal about 2 cups
*can use 2 cans of salmon

In a microwaveable bowl place the onion, dill and pepper with the pat of butter. Microwave about 2-3 minutes until the onion is tender. Combine the egg, bread crumbs, milk and butter/onion mixture. Add the salmon, breaking it apart as you add it. Mix with your hands for best blending. Shape into a loaf and place in a bread loaf pan (6X3") that has been greased or sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Broil for a few minutes to crisp up the top if you prefer a slight crust on your salmon loaf.

Top with a white sauce to which you've added a peas and/or some cheese.

Simple White Sauce

2 T butter
1 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t white pepper
1/8 t paprika
3/4 c milk
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c frozen pea's - thawed

Microwave the butter until melted; add the flour and seasonings, then the milk and lemon juice. Microwave 4-5 minutes, stirring after each minute. Add 1/2 cup peas. Stir and serve over salmon.Print Friendly and PDF

July 16, 2008

Raspberry Iced Tea

It's in the 90's and the sun is shining. You want a cool drink but you want something 'different'. Not water. No, not Kool-Aid or juice. Not even lemonade. I've got it! Raspberry Iced Tea!

While digging through some of my old cooking magazines I came across this one from T*ste of H*me and my mouth just watered! It uses fresh raspberries... which I saw are on sale this week at my local grocery! Add it to your collection for sure.

Raspberry Iced Tea using Fresh Berries

8 1/4 c water
3 1/2 - 4 cups fresh raspberries
2/3 c sugar or Splenda
5 tea bags

In a large saucepan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the sugar or Splenda until it dissolves. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Steep for about 6 minutes and remove the tea bags. Add another 4 cups water to the mixture.

In another pan mix the raspberries with 1/4 c water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered for about 2-3 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth to discard the pulp and seeds. Add the raspberry juice to the tea mixture. Chill and serve over ice.

Doesn't this sound excellent!?Print Friendly and PDF

July 15, 2008

Ricotta Cheese and Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

Last night my 17 year old daughter and her boyfriend celebrated their 10th Anniversary. He's made dinner for her twice in the past, so this time she decided to make dinner for him. She spent the morning looking over menu ideas and decided on Chicken and Ricotta Stuffed shells, broccoli, a 7 layer salad and a European Truffle layered dessert.

She went to the grocery store and did her shopping for the ingredients we didn't have and she set to work making the entire meal, then set the table with a table cloth, china, water goblets and wine glasses (for the sparkling grape juice she bought) and finished it all with a basket of my homemade bread and candles in the center. It was beautiful and smelled so heavenly when she was cooking it all!

So in honor of my daughter not only making stuffed shells from scratch but improvising (like I always hope my blog readers will do!!!) She didn't use a recipe... she simply read a few recipes and got a list of ingredients she would use and then she added spinach to the mixture and had fun with it. I give you....

Cheese and Chicken Stuffed Pasta

Large pasta shells, cooked just al dente and drained
cottage cheese
parmesan cheese
feta cheese
frozen, thawed and drained spinach
olive oil
Italian seasoning mix
minced fresh garlic
finely diced onion
cooked, diced chicken breasts (she used grilled - it was delicious!)
spaghetti sauce
*You could even add a little bit of diced red or green peppers and diced mushrooms if you like them!

Line the shells in a baking dish you've poured some spaghetti sauce in. Saute fresh minced garlic and diced onion in a little olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. A teaspoon or a tablespoon of each... it depends on how much you like garlic and onions and how many pasta shells you are making! Add the chicken (amount up to you... up to a pound but you want the cheese to be the star of the show), then the spinach. When it's warmed through and the flavors are mixed place it in a bowl and mix in amounts of each of the cheeses you want to use as well as a little Italian seasoning herbs (about 1-2 teaspoons).

One container of ricotta or cottage cheese is an excellent 'start' followed by a mixture of amounts of the other cheeses you have on hand. Use about 1/4 cup of each or perhaps 1/2 c of something such as mozzarella. Remember; have fun with it, be creative and don't be scared of not measuring in a recipe like this.

Place a heaping scoop of cheese and chicken mixture in each shell, placed side by side in the pan. Cover with your favorite spaghetti sauce, a lot if you are like my husband or a little if you are like me and like the taste of the cheese and pasta with just a touch of sauce. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle the tops with Parmesan cheese and finish cooking for another 5 minutes or so.

Serve!Print Friendly and PDF

July 14, 2008

Ranch Potato Salad

My parents bought a large amount of baby red potatoes and gave us a box of them. It just so happened that I was looking through some old recipes of mine in one of my very first recipe 'boxes' and found one I had cut from a product label or magazine. It was simple enough and used foods we loved so I decided to try it; Ranch Potato Salad.

In the end it was good.... but missing something. I'm not sure what that 'something' is so I added a little more bacon and some black pepper, which helped; but last night before bed I snitched one more bite of it from the refrigerator I decided that I think this could (would?) be better hot. For the cold salad I think it needs some texture and about 1/4 c fine diced celery would help. I personally think as a hot side dish to a meal it would be tasty. So - hot or cold - you decide.

Ranch Potato Salad

2 lb. baby red potatoes, boiled until just tender
1 c prepared Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1/2 c diced green onions
1/4 cooked, crumbled bacon
black pepper
*maybe some fine diced celery

Dice the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Toss with the dressing and onions, season with a little black pepper. Top with a garnish of bacon, chives and dust with paprika.Print Friendly and PDF

July 13, 2008

Rainbow Gelatin Squares (Jello, Royal, whatever the brand)

For years I received the Taste of Home cooking magazine and absolutely loved them so I of course kept them! This morning I had the urge to go through old issues and found this one in a 2002 issue. At the time my kiddos would have been 12, 10 and 6 so it's no wonder I had this one marked with a sticky post it sticking out of the top of the magazine! LOL.

What I like about this is the ability to change the colors of the jello. Rainbow works great - but if you do only red, white and blue it makes a great patriotic dessert. Change the colors to blue and white or pink and white for baby showers, or even the colors of a summertime wedding for a bridal shower. Of course you can also make it in whatever colored gelatin you have in your cupboard for a nice every day dessert. It's time consuming so make sure you do this when you will be home all afternoon or evening.

Rainbow Gelatin Cubes

4 pkg. (3 oz size each) assorted gelatin
6 envelopes unflavored gelatin
5 3/4 c boiling water (total, divided not at once)
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c cold water

In a bowl, combine 1 package of the gelatin with one envelope of unflavored gelatin. Stir in 1 cup boiling water until it's dissolved. Pour into a 9X13" pan sprayed with Pam or similar spray. Refrigerate until it's almost set (about 20-25 minutes average).

In a bowl combine the condensed milk and 1 c boiling water.

In another bowl sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin over 1/4 c cold water. Let stand for 1 minute to soften and then add 3/4 c boiling water. Add this to the condensed milk mixture.

Pour 1 cup of the creamy condensed milk mixture over the gelatin layer in the pan.

Refrigerate until firm (another 25 minutes).

Repeat the first step of adding 1 package gelatin with 1 envelop unflavored and 1 c boiling water and pour over the layer. Chill.

Another creamy condensed layer.

Another gelatin layer.

Another creamy layer.

Another gelatin layer.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour when you are completely done before slicing into 1 inch cubes.Print Friendly and PDF

July 12, 2008

Black Bean Soup

My husband grew up in a Midwestern family that didn't stray too far into 'new' foods. He remembers a lot of chicken, casseroles and pasta dishes. Although I was raised in the Midwest as well, my family tried a few more 'new' foods than his did, partly because we traveled around the United States more and my parents were a generation younger than his are. In the end it's because of my love of cooking and trying new world and regional foods that he learned to eat everything from onions and peppers to black beans and brussels sprouts. LOL.

My husband now loves black beans. When I saw this recipe a couple months ago I quickly copied it down to my collection as I knew it was exactly what he would love this Fall when our leaves turn golden and the weather turns brisk. Can't wait to make it!

Black Bean Soup
This one comes from Real Simple

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups fresh salsa
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 16-ounce can refried black beans
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan or large pot over medium heat. Add the salsa and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the refried beans, black beans, and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Top with some of the remaining salsa and the sour cream and cilantro (if using).Print Friendly and PDF

Cappucciono Royals Cookies

When it comes to my interests I love cooking and baking second to reading. I love to read. I have a book with me at all times... no, really. I even bring a novel to my sons football games and track meets, to mention always having one when traveling. I have to read every. single. night. before bed. It's how I wind down and get to sleep.

So... my love of baking and reading go hand in hand and this recipe comes from both. While I don't really love 'culinary mystery' novels, I do love new recipes. This recipe is from The Key Lime Murder Mystery by Joanne Fluke - worth reading if you like that sort of book, but worth reading for new recipes if you love cooking and baking. I've added this one to my collection but haven't made them yet as they take a whole pound of butter and I'm just not ready to invest that much butter until after the next grocery shopping trip! LOL.

Cappuccino Royals

2 c butter
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons brandy or rum extract
3 cups white (granulated)
3 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups milk chocolate chips
5 1/2 - 6 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. rack in the middle position. Melt the butter either in a pan or microwave. In a large bowl, mix in the instant coffee powder, vanilla and rum or brandy extract. Stir it until the coffee powder has dissolved, and add the sugar, beaten eggs, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well. Stir in the milk chocolate chips. Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Mix until the flour is thoroughly incorporated.

Form walnut-sized dough balls with your hands and roll them in a small bowl with granulated sugar. Place the dough balls on greased cookie sheets, and flatten the dough balls with the back of a metal spatula, or the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 9 to 11 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to complete cooling.Print Friendly and PDF

July 11, 2008

Serving Whole Chicken Tonight? Save the Carcass

There is one thing that I know a lot of modern households have taken to purchasing but I never have and never will. That is... chicken broth.

There is nothing store bought that can compare to the taste of homemade broth and it's so easy! Any time we have a whole chicken for dinner I make sure to save the carcass and put it into a pan of water to simmer.

After a couple hours of a slow simmer I remove the chicken bones to throw away and I chill the broth so any fat rises to the surface and can easily be pulled right off and thrown away. The resulting chicken broth is then put into a freezer safe container and popped into the deep freeze to be brought out for gravies, soups and other yummy dishes that call for a base of chicken broth.

It's easy... and it's a way to save money on your grocery bill. Gotta love that!Print Friendly and PDF


The latest 'make your own' lunch, snack or dinner in our household for my 12 year old is a good old fashioned quesadilla.

While we have made these for almost 20 years, we regularly took the short cut and simply microwaved them. My 12 year old and her friend started to fry them in the pan on the stove and... she was hooked. Given the chance over the past two weeks this is her preferred meal of choice.


2 flour tortillas
cheese of choice; cheddar, mozzarella, colby, habenaro, etc.
green onions
sour cream

Heat a skillet with a bit of butter/oil and lay one tortilla in the pan. Top with your cheese of choice and add onions if you prefer. You can also add diced cooked chicken or shredded cooked beef, peppers, etc. Top with a second flour tortilla. Cook as if making a grilled cheese - when the bottom is golden brown, flip carefully and quickly to the other side. Slice like a pizza into triangles. Serve with a side of salsa and sour cream.Print Friendly and PDF

July 10, 2008

Summer Garden Pasta Salad

I'm really excited to find this recipe in my files because right now in my garden I'm growing cucumbers, green beans, peppers and tomatoes (half the ingredients!) we also always have turkey and ham on hand as well as cheese. The herbs and spices are basically just making an italian vinaigrette to toss it with. Yum!

Summer Garden Pasta Salad

1 box ziti pasta
4 oz. fresh or frozen green beans - 1 inch pieces
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/2 c each - cubed ham, and turkey
1/2 c diced Cheddar cheese
1/2 c black olives, sliced

1/2 c. olive or canola oil
7 T red wine vinegar
2 T chopped parsley
1 t dry mustard
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t paprika
1 clove garlic, minced

Cook pasta and green beans just until tenter. Mix cucumber, ham, turkey, cheese and black olives. Mix oil, vinegar, parsley, dry mustard, sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic. Toss and refrigerate until serving.Print Friendly and PDF

Peach and Mango Salsa

Last weekend we were invited to the house of my daughters boyfriend to spend the Fourth of July holiday with his family. Although we didn't have to bring anything I obviously wanted to so I whipped up a couple dishes of homemade salsas and brought those along with a big bag of chips and an assortment of non-alcoholic drinks like flavored waters, green tea and a few energy drinks for the kids.

The salsas I decided to make were based on whatever foods I had on hand - so I ended up making one traditional tomato based and another that was fruity based. Using the 2 peaches I had here in the house and then the mangoes I had previously diced and froze I had a delicious salsa that was raved about by their entire family.

Regular readers, you know I don't always measure things... I just throw them together at will, which is what I did here but I'll try to recreate it for you. Remember my rule though - have fun and change amounts based on your families likes and dislikes. Add more of something and less of something else if you choose! That's how new recipes are made!

Peach Mango Salsa

2 ripe peaches, peeled and diced
1-2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 sweet onion (vidalia, washington, etc.) diced
1 T dried cilantro or parsley
1 T olive (olive, vegetable, canola)
juice of 1 lime
1 t salt
2 T diced green chilies (the mild kind you buy in a can)
1 jalapeno, diced incredibly tiny

Mix and chill 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips or with cinnamon pita chips or even won ton chips.Print Friendly and PDF

July 09, 2008

Homemade Pretzels

Fresh pretzels baking in the oven

Talking about bagels this morning reminded me that I haven't made homemade pretzels in awhile and my youngest daughter absolutely loves them! She would buy them at the mall daily if I let her... and of course, if we lived so close to the mall that she could walk there herself, since she IS only 12 years old.

Either way; the pretzels are made.

Homemade Pretzels

12 oz. warm water
1 1/4 t dry yeast
2 T brown sugar
1 1/8 t salt
1 c bread flour
3 c flour

2 c warm water
2 T baking soda
Coarse salt

Put water in a KitchenAid style mixer bowl and sprinkle yeast over to dissolve. Add sugar, salt and stir in flour. Knead until smooth (can do by hand but so easy with a dough hook!). Let rise 1/2 hour or so. Mix 2 cups water with baking soda. After dough has doubled, pinch off pieces about the size of a walnut and roll into a long rope. Shape into a pretzel shape. Dip in soda solution and place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Allow pretzels to rise again. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes until golden. Use your favorite topping just like they do at the mall!

Roll in to a long rope

Shape into a pretzel shape

Dip and bake
Print Friendly and PDF

Homemade Bagels

It's been awhile since I've made homemade bagels. I'm sitting here trying to think of when I last made them but it's been a few years as I simply got in the habit of buying them after we moved here and I was working in the office and admittedly, cooking and baking lost its joy during that time. I've been craving homemade bagels again and I'm trying to remember if this particular version out of my old 1990's recipe box is the one I used to use!? I don't remember! LOL. I think it is. It's worth trying though - so give it a go.

Homemade bagels

4 T oil
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 c hot water
2 pkg. dry yeast
1 egg
3 3/4 c flour

Mix the oil, sugar and salt5 with the hot water. When it cool s to lukewarm, add the yeast to dissolve. Beat the egg until frothy. Add it to the liquid. Mix in the flour. Knead the dough and shape into doughnuts and then cover and let rise on a floured board. When the bagels begin to swell, drop them one at a time into briskly boiling water and cook until they raise to the top and are light. Place on baking sheets and bake in a 400 degree oven about 15 minutes until crisp and golden. This will make about 30 small bagels.Print Friendly and PDF

July 07, 2008

Chicken, Ranch and Bacon Wrap

This weekend I took my youngest daughter on a picnic to a nature preserve near us that has 365 acres of pure woods, ponds and prairie land. I packed a picnic lunch with Chicken, Bacon, Ranch wraps, crackers with a parmesan garlic dip, a couple Fourth of July Cookies and a couple bottled waters. The wraps were very, very good and oh so quick and simple to make with things I had on hand in the refrigerator! I've mentioned a couple times in the past that I've found so many uses for the Costco "grilled chicken strips" that I purchased. They are precooked chicken strips and I bought them because they were just as affordable as if I had grilled the chicken myself. When it's a good buy for a great tasting food, sometimes store bought is ok!

Chicken, Ranch and Bacon Wraps

1 flat bread wrap (I used a whole grain wrap, pictured above)
1/3 c grilled, or precooked chicken in strips or diced
ranch dressing
bacon - cooked and crumbled or real bacon bits by Hormel
onions (yellow, white or green - I used green, pictured above)
shredded cheddar cheese

Roll the wrap up and either enjoy immediately, or what I prefer; to wrap the entire sandwich tightly in saran wrap and chill for at least an hour (or even a day!) to let the flavors meld but also to help the wrap stay together beautifully. Great for packing for a lunch the next day!!Print Friendly and PDF

Chocolate Mint Cookies (Easy! Starts with a cake mix!)

Here's a little twist on the cake mix cookies I've raved about over the past year. I've posted recipes for everything from sugar cookies to chocolate cookies to lemon cookies, but todays twist adds a little mint to the chocolate.

Chocolate Mint Cookies

1 pkg. Devils Food Cake mix
1/3 c canola oil
2 eggs
3/4 c chocolate covered mint candies or tiny mint baking chips (like; Andes Mints)

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. In large bowl, mix cake mix, oil and eggs. Stir in coarsely chopped mint candies or mini mint chips. Drop by tablespoons on the baking sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes. Cool and store in airtight container.Print Friendly and PDF

July 06, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from a Cake Mix

I make a mean chocolate chip cookie... it's so good that must people swear I bought them from a top notch bakery and I'm trying to pass them off as my own. (The recipe is here on the site... it's not secret!) Still, I keep my eyes open for other recipes and this one sounded interesting! I've never made it but wanted to add it to my collection. If you make this before I do, drop me an email and I'll add your comments to the bottom of the recipe.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (from a cake mix)

1 package Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake Mix
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup chocolate chips

Grease cookies sheets. Combine cake mix, peanut butter, butter and eggs in large bowl. Mix at low speed with electric mixer until blended Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoon fulls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 9 to 11 minutes at 375 until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Remove to cooling racks.Print Friendly and PDF

Dicing Green Onions

Sometimes when I'm preparing a food I grab the camera and take a picture 'just in case' I need to use it or want to use it for a future post. Today I noticed I had a few searches come to my site for my posts on how to chop celery and how to cut artichokes so my photo of dicing green onions might be helpful to a few people as well.

I clean my green onions well under running water and then pat them dry with a paper towel. I trim off the tips of the green where they are damaged, dry or wilted and then trim off the roots from the bottom of the bulb.

Lay the onions side by side and slice each onion lengthwise into two or three pieces, then I slice across the entire row, over and over from the bulb to the green tips. You are left with uniform sized diced green onions!

Print Friendly and PDF

Sweeter Tartar Sauce

"Summertime... and the living is easy... fish are jumping... and the cotton is high....." Hopefully most of you will recognize those ever-popular lyrics (and uh, don't hate me for getting it stuck in your head, cuz it's in mine too so we're in this together!) but summertime is a great time to enjoy seafood! Fish on the grill is amazing - whether it's salmon or catfish, cod or mahi mahi....

Many people like their fish with tartar sauce and boy do I have a vast collection of tartar sauces! This one uses Miracle Whip and powdered sugar, which I find interesting but an excellent idea to use the confectioner's sugar to give the sauce a smooth texture and not gritty like most sugars. I've not made this one because with the amount of sugar in it, it seems very sweet to me and I like my tartar sauce more more well, tart! LOL. But if you like a sweet sauce this one might be for you.

1/3 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
2/3 cup Sour cream
1/4 cup powdered Sugar
3 t sweet white onion, chopped fine
2 t sweet pickle relish from jar with the relish juice
3 t carrot, chopped fine
1/4 t salt

Chop the onion in fine (in a processor works great) and set aside. Chop carrot in food processor, and add to onion. Mix in remaining ingredients and stir by hand to blend thoroughly. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.Print Friendly and PDF

July 05, 2008

Broccoli Bites

This week while I was grocery shopping I was walking past the frozen food aisle and although I typically walk quickly down that portion of the store (since I rarely buy prepared foods) a sale on 'broccoli bites' caught my attention. I love little 'vegetable bites' but don't make them often because I don't care to fry things too often nor do I like the smell of grease in my house (LOL... it's true, I admit!). So I bought two packages of the frozen bites already prepared and will enjoy them immensely I'm sure.

On the other hand, I do prefer the taste of homemade and you probably do too. So if you don't mind your kitchen smelling like hot grease for an evening, here you go. Homemade Broccoli Bites.

Broccoli Bites

3 eggs
3/4 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 c shredded Colby cheese
1 (16 oz.) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, and thoroughly drained
3 T crumbled bacon pieces
1 T diced yellow onion
1 T flour
Italian bread crumbs as needed

Drain thawed broccoli thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl with a whisk until well blended. Add the spinach, cheese, broccoli, bacon, onion and flour. Stir together with a spatula until thoroughly combined.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Heat 3-4 cups oil in a fryer or deep pan for frying at 350º.

Place the bread crumbs into a pie tin or shallow container. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the broccoli mixture into the bread crumbs. Form each portion into a ball and coat it well. Place broccoli bites into the frying pan with space inbetween each so they don't touch. Fry for one minute, remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve.Print Friendly and PDF

Ho Ho Dessert

Yesterday I was going through my recipes when I spied a recipe from 1991 for a Twinkie Dessert. Layers of Twinkies and whipped cream, I only made it once, in June of 1991 when we were having company. Although it was good, we never buy Twinkies so I never made it again, although the recipe sits in my files and makes me smile when I see it. This recipe is similar in that it uses store bought desserts to make a dish. This time it's "Ho Ho's" or "Swiss Cake Rolls" if you buy the Little Debbie version.

This one is from Taste of Home magazine - which I was a subscriber of for... years and years!

Ho Ho or Swiss Rolls Dessert

1 package (13 ounces) Swiss cake rolls
2-3/4 cups cold milk
2 packages (3.9 ounces each) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
2 cups whipped topping

Cut each cake roll into eight slices; set aside any chocolate coating that falls apart or 'off' from rolls for garnish. Line a 9-in. springform pan with cake slices, completely covering the bottom and sides.
In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Pour over cake. Spread with whipped topping; sprinkle with any reserved chocolate coating. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Yield: 12 servings.

*I just checked ToH to see if they still have this recipe and found it online plus an image! The image is from them.Print Friendly and PDF

Three Meat Meatballs in Plum Sauce

Although I don't typically add veal to my meatloaf or meatballs I've heard a mixture of three meats is the 'secret' to such recipes. I don't mainly because I never buy veal and never have it on hand when I decide, once a year or so, to make a meatloaf or once every 'couple' years to do meatballs. So if you don't have veal on hand, just use double the beef in this recipe.

3 Meat Meatballs in Plum Sauce

1/2 cup milk
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1/2 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup plum jam
1/2 cup chili sauce

In a large bowl, pour milk over bread crumbs to moisten and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the egg, Worcestershire sauce, onion, salt, pepper and cloves. Add the beef, pork and veal and mix well (mixture will be soft). Shape into 1-in. balls. In a large skillet, brown meatballs in oil in batches. Drain on paper towels. Place in a greased pan or baking dish.

In a bowl, dissolve bouillon in water. Stir flour into oil; add the bouillon mixture, jam and chili sauce. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Pour over meatballs. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes until the meat is done.Print Friendly and PDF

July 04, 2008

Interesting 2 Ingredient Recipe to Add to my Collection; Ice Cream Bread

While I'm pretty sure this recipe came from a message board online, I can't be sure because I found it scribbled down in pen on a piece of scratch paper in a 'work' folder next to me. It was only 2 ingredients and is... well, intriguing! I haven't made this one yet but I thought it would be perfect to add today since many people will be buying ice cream for their family get-togethers today and you will probably have leftover ice cream. Ok... maybe you gobble it all up - I don't eat much of it so I know in our household we'd have it left. LOL. I do have self rising flour on hand and I think we have some chocolate frozen yogurt in the freezer. Hmmmm.

Ice Cream Bread

2 c ice cream, any flavor, softened
1-1/2 c self-rising flour

Stir ice cream and flour together just until moist (like you do muffin batter). Spoon into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until done.Print Friendly and PDF

July 03, 2008

Photos of the Fourth of July (4th of July) Cookies

The Tri-Colored Cookies I told you about in the post below are done. I thought I'd take a few pictures of each of the steps so you can see how quick and easy they are to make!

Tri-Color Cookies
(Refrigerator Cookies)

1/2 c. butter or shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. double-acting
baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Measure sifted dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Divide dough into 3 chunks. For the Fourth of July; Color 1 chunk red, another chunk blue. For Christmas use red and green. Easter could be yellow and light green, etc. Mix food coloring thoroughly into dough. Stick all 3 chunks together and make 1 big ball. Roll the ball between your hands until it makes a long sausage, 7 1/2-inches long and 2-inches around. Wrap the roll of dough in waxed paper, foil or plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice dough about 1/4-inch thick. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes.

Split the dough into thirds and color two of them
with food color. I used blue and red of course for the holiday.

Form a log, wrap and chill for 24 hours or if you are impatient
like I am, I foze mine for about an hour or so.

Slice into 1/4" slices

All laid out on the cookie sheets
and ready to go into the oven!

A light sprinkle of sugar......

Baked for about 8-9 minutes and there you go!

Print Friendly and PDF

July 02, 2008

Red White and Blue Jello Dessert

America, get ready! Friday is the celebration of our nation's Independence and more than likely you'll be celebrating with family get-togethers, friends, picnics and potlucks and then heading off to your favorite spot to watch fireworks. There are so many 'red white and blue' themed recipes that I thought I would focus on some of them this week to help you get ideas to make for this weekend. Here is one that uses fruit, jello and whipped cream... always a hit!

Red, White and Blue Jello

2 (3 oz.) pkg. blackberry Jell-O
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 (3 oz.) pkg. lemon Jell-O
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 (6 oz.) Cool Whip
2 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry Jell-O
1 box frozen strawberries

Make blackberry Jell-O with 3 cups water instead of 4; stir in pie filling. Pour in a deep, rectangular pan; cool until firmly set.

Add 1 cup boiling water to lemon Jell-O; beat this into the cream cheese. Cool this mixture to room temperature; then fold in Cool Whip. Pour this mixture on top of blackberry Jell-O layer; cool until firmly set.

Make strawberry Jell-O with 3 cups water instead of 4; stir in frozen strawberries. Cool until room temperature; then pour this mixture on top of cream cheese layer; cool until firmly set. Cut into squares to serve.Print Friendly and PDF

Tri-Color Cookies - Fourth of July, Christmas, Easter - colored stripes to match the holiday!

I'm still in that 'cookie baking' mood I told you about yesterday! Ha. And today looks like it might end up to be rainy or at least cloudy and overcast so perhaps I'll stay in and bake. My oldest daughter is requesting peanut butter cookies. My son insists something 'chocolate' is mandatory. Me? I'm thinking about a 3 color cookie to start (red and blue for Independence Day this Friday) and also some chocolate covered cake balls.

Tri-Color Cookies
(Refrigerator Cookies)

1/2 c. butter or shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. double-acting
baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Measure sifted dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Divide dough into 3 chunks. For the Fourth of July; Color 1 chunk red, another chunk blue. For Christmas use red and green. Easter could be yellow and light green, etc. Mix food coloring thoroughly into dough. Stick all 3 chunks together and make 1 big ball. Roll the ball between your hands until it makes a long sausage, 7 1/2-inches long and 2-inches around. Wrap the roll of dough in waxed paper, foil or plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice dough about 1/4-inch thick. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes.

Related products available through Amazon;
Wilton White Sparkling Sugar, Net Wt. 8 oz.
Adams Extract 4 Food Colors ~ Food Coloring ~ Green, Blue, Yellow & Red
 Americolor Powder Food Color, 3gm, Red

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July 01, 2008

Almond Biscuits (Cookies)

I am in such a cookie making mood today! I have no idea why but last night I had to force myself to go upstairs to bed and NOT make cookies at 10:30 at night. LOL.

This afternoon I'm surrounded by ideas and haven't a clue which one I want to make but I know I don't want to make 'bars' - only cookies, which of course are called 'biscuits' in Europe. And why is that important enough to mention here? Because my dears, I'm currently surrounded by a bunch of yummy European recipes... all of which look amazing but I think (???) this one might win out;

Almond Biscuits

75 g butter
25 g icing sugar
75 g flour
15 g flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 400 F (gas mark 6) - Line baking tray with parchment paper. Cream butter and icing sugar until fluffy and pale. Fold in the flour with a metal spoon. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm nozzle. Pipe 7 cm lengths and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake until pale golden brown and dust with more icing sugar.

Yes... I have to convert all the grams to ounces and then to cup portions... but they sound so heavenly right now I just might have to do that. It's a short recipe, t'won't be hard!Print Friendly and PDF

Cheesy Artichoke Spread for French Bread or Baguettes

Last night around 9:00 pm I got the munchies. I opened the refrigerator and mentally turned down everything in it from fruit to cheese, from leftover ranch pasta salad and green beans...

I opened the pantry. Not cereal. Not a Nutri-grain bar. No nuts, tortilla chips or granola bars. Yuck, yuck and yuck.

I opened the baking cupboard. Hershey's chocolate bars, marshmallows and graham crackers... nope. M&M's for baking? Huh-uh. Yuck. A dry white cake mix would be yummy (yes I really do love to snake on white cake mix) but nope - we don't have any.

Then I spied it; artichokes! And more than anything... I had to have artichokes. I emptied a can of artichoke hearts into a bowl, added a heavy dose of homemade Italian dressing and then diced half a red pepper into it. YUM! I would have loved to make a real antipasto salad out of it, but again, it was 9:00 at night and I had the munchies. This would do.

When it comes to bell peppers, artichokes, gouda cheese, tomatoes and garlic... I'm game. Anytime. I will also always choose these foods over sweets or fruit or chocolate... (obviously since I bypassed all of the above last night!) LOL.

So this dip is sounding MIGHTY GOOD right now - at 9:00 in the morning. And yes, I regularly do eat leftover dips and garlic breads for breakfast if and when I have it. LOL.

Cheesy Artichoke Spread for French Bread or Baguettes

3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup smoked Gouda cheese, softened 1/2 tsp. basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced and seeded
1 small red onion, diced
3 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf good french bread or baguette

Process first four ingredients in food processor to thoroughly blend cheeses with seasonings. Add next four ingredients and pulse 2 to 3 times. Serve with sliced or broken off bread or baguettes.Print Friendly and PDF