Thursday, December 24, 2009

12th Recipe of Christmas - Stuffed Bread

This recipe is a my take of an appetizer that a favorite local restaurant serves. It's really filling so we'll often order this and just a salad. I've taken to making this at home quite often when I need some sort of a sandwich to go with soup, salad, etc. and have made it for our Christmas Eve celebration for the last few years.

Stuffed Bread
1 loaf of Italian Bread (if you can't make a crusty outside, fluffy inside loaf of Italian at home then please use store bought as a heavy bread will not work well for this.)
6 slices of hot ham/capicola
8 slices of salami
5 slices of provolone
3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup pasta/pizza sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
banana pepper rings
olive oil
dried oregano and basil
grated Parmesan
Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally as if to make one big sandwich. Place halves on cookie sheet open face up. Brush the open faces with olive oil and crushed garlic. Put in the oven on 375* for 5-7 minutes or until the top starts to get a little firm as if you're making garlic bread. Remove from oven.
Carefully layer the cheese, meat and peppers on the bottom half. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and dried seasonings and drizzle with olive oil. Take the top half and spread it with the pizza sauce. Place the top half on the bottom half and smush it down some so it flattens. Wrap the whole thing carefully but tightly in foil so it stays slightly flattened. Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Carefully unwrap it and slice it like a loaf of bread, about 1 1/2- 2 inches thick slices. Each slice should look like a mini sandwich with a top and bottom piece and fillings.
When we eat this at the restaurant I like to dip it in my leftover ranch dressing but of course I wouldn't advice doing that at home because.. well because I'm a much healthier eater than that. Seriously. Hey what are you laughing at?
This recipe can also be made with black olives, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, etc. I've tried it in various ways but this seems to be everyone's favorite.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

11th Recipe of Christmas - Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties

1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 bag of confectionary sugar
1 tspn peppermint oil (NOT extract)
Dark Chocolate chips or discs

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and peppermint oil until well blended, it will look a little crumbly like a pie crust dough. Roll into small balls and flatten out. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

In a double boiler or the microwave melt the chocolate. Dip each patty in chocolate and then transfer to wax paper. Let cool and then refrigerate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

10th recipe of Christmas - Mice

Every year I make a selection of candy to give away as gifts and the last few years I've included Christmas Mice. here is the recipe for them, I hope you try them because they turn out simply adorable.

Christmas Mice

Maraschino Cherries w/stems (each mouse requires one cherry)
Hershey Kisses (each mouse requires one kiss)
Almond slices (not slivers, each mouse requires 2 slices)
Semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate discs
Tube of decorating gel in desired eye color

Drain the marashino cherries and discard any without stems. Dry on paper towel. Remove the foil from as many Hershey Kisses as you have cherries. Sort through a bag of sliced almonds and select two well formed slices for each cherry. Melt chocolate chips/discs in double boiler. Cover cookie sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper. Dip cherry in melted chocolate, covering it fully including the stem. As you pull the cherry out of the chocolate place a hershey's kiss on the bottom and place cherry and kiss together on their side on the waxed paper. Before the chocolate on the cherry cools, stick two almond slices between kiss and cherry for ears. When cooled dot eyes on the kiss with the decorating gel.

Aren't they cute? I love my little mice. In fact they're the only kind of mice I like, lol! And they're fun to bite the heads off of. They look cute scattered around a plate of goodies or a cheese platter.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 recipes of Christmas, Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers

2 cans of pillsbury crescent rolls
1 8oz package of softened cream cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup of real bacon bits
1 8oz package of shredded cheese (I prefer Monty Jack or a Monty Jack mix but Mozzarella works too)
3-6 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 375*

Mix the softened cream cheese with the garlic, bacon, and shredded cheese. Take one of the crescent roll triangles and put a dollop of filling in the middle of it. Put a few chunks of jalapeno on top of the filling. Wrap the edges of the triangle up around the filling, bundling it together and pinching the dough so that it seals. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with all the rest of the triangles until you have 16 wrapped poppers.

Bake at 375* for 8-12 minutes or until golden.

If you like hot peppers you may want to put more chunks of jalapeno... it all depends upon your preference.

These make a great appetizer for a smaller get-together. For a bigger crowd you can spread the filling out on top of the crust like a pizza, which is THIS version here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bread Pudding With Cranberries

Well.... It's not Figgy pudding like the Christmas Song says ...( Okay.. I must admit I have never had or know anyone who has ever had Figgy pudding either.) but I bet it's just as good. I decided to throw some dried craisins (cranberries) in my bread pudding one day awhile back and I simply loved it that way. The sweet and tangy flavors blend ever so nicely. I am not a huge fan of regular raisins but my family is so I sometimes double the recipe in an oblong baking dish and make it half cranberries on one side and half raisins on the other just to humor everyone. This is great for a brunch on Christmas Day.

Prepare 3 cups(4 slices) dried bread cubes by baking them in a 300 degree oven about 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Put the next ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well;

4 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla

Place bread cubes in an 8 X 1 + 1/2 in. casserole .
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins).
Pour the egg mixture over bread and fruit.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool slightly before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

While visions of Cinnamon Hard Candy danced in our heads....

This is the very recipe I used to make candy with in my high school homemaking class many years ago. (Thank you Mrs. Arnault for inspiring me to cook !:) It became a tradition when Traci was old enough to take it to her school class room holiday party all wrapped up in tiny little cellophane bundles and tied up with ribbon! I'm so glad she got to grow up in a safer time when home made snacks were still allowed on party days. This is like eating a cinnamon apple at the fair without the apple.

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oil of cinnamon
1/4 tsp red food coloring
Combine the first four ingredients in a large pan and cook stirring
constantly until it reaches a boil on medium heat.

Reduce heat and cook till it reaches the hard crack stage or
310 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Stir in the oil of cinnamon and the red food coloring and
pour immediately into an oiled 8in. square pan.

Cool just until it will hold an imprint
from a knife when you cut into small little squares.

Cut cross ways 8 rows one way and then cross ways 8 rows the other.

Keep going over the imprints this way till they are set.

Remove the candy from the pan and lightly tap the back

with a butter knife to seperate each candy piece.

Makes about 64 pieces.

Package up with cellophane wrap and tie with a bow. Candy must be kept away from moisture, but can be successfully stored in an air tight container for weeks.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And on the 6 recipe day it's.... Caramels

These make the best gifts because they are so darn yummy !! I love to have one with a cup of coffee. They are like the soft rolled caramels you can get at that famous restaurant/store with the rocking chairs on the porch :) Yep that's the one !


1 vanilla bean
2 cups heavy cream( 1 pint)
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter cut up
1/2 tsp salt

Line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper.

Split the vanilla bean down the middle
length wise and remove the seeds with a sharp knife.

Add the seeds and cream in a 1+ 1/2 qt. pan.

Heat to scald cream . Turn off the heat but
leave it set on the burner to stay warm.

In a heavy 4 to 5 qt. pan
stir corn syrup and sugar thoroughly
over low heat until dissolved .

Turn heat to medium and gently boil until it
reaches 305 degrees(hard cracked stage) on a candy
thermometer about 9 to 11 mins.

Add the butter and salt stirring constantly.

Pour the warm vanilla cream in slowly in a stream while
still keeping candy at a boil

Mixture will become very bubbly and foam up so be careful.

Lower heat to medium and gently boil again until the
thermometer registers about 245 degrees stirring
occasionally to prevent it from scorching. I do
a soft ball in cold water too till it's a solid soft ball
 stage because I like them soft.

Takes about 15 minutes.

Turn off heat and set it aside for a couple minutes.

Pour ,( scraping the pan) into the parchment lined pan.

Cool 6 hours.

Invert onto a clean cutting board and either wrap
entire chunk up tightly in foil and cut some off as
needed or cut in short strips and place on small
cut rectangle pieces of parchment paper twisted
at the ends and rolled on the counter to make them rounded
like tootsie rolls. It's less sticky wrapped.

I like to do them about 4 inches long. But they can be cubed too.

They will stick together if you don't wrap each single one.

This makes a large 2 lb. batch of caramels .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sour Cream Pumpkin Coffee Cake

And recipe number 5 is........... a yummy coffee cake my dear Sister-In-Law gave me the recipe for years ago when she found it on the label of "Libby's can pumpkin . This is done in layers but it's a fabulous dessert for you pumpkin fans !

Butter a 9 by 13 pan.

For batter, cream in mixing bowl:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add and beat well;
3 eggs

Combine well in another bowl:
2 cups flour
1 tsp .baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture

alternating with;

1 cup sour cream

Set this batter aside.

Combine filling seperately;

1 + 3/4 solid pack pumpkin (16 0z can)
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Prepare and crumble well the streusel topping;

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter,chopped
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

To assemble the coffee cake spoon half of the batter

in the bottom of the pan evenly.

Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter.

Next spread the pumpkin mixture over the streusel topping.

Carefully spread the remaining half of

the batter over the pumpkin mixture.

Sprinkle with remaining half of streusel topping.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.

Test with tooth pick to see if it comes out clean.

Makes 12 servings

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And now onto number four of our Christmas recipes...

So now I ask you my friends , what holiday would be complete without a fruity punch ? I used to get a drink like this at a popular seafood place and decided to recreate it at home one day . It's so simple and light and also can be doubled for a large party. Cheers !!!

1 large bottle cranberry juice
1 2 liter bottle sprite
a large carton orange juice
1 small container orange sherbet
Ice cubes

Pour equal amounts of cranberry juice and orange juice into
a punch bowl or 2 glass pitchers.

Add half the sprite for carbonation and fizz and
a large scoop of the sherbet
just before you're ready to serve .

Pour drink over ice in glasses.

Friday, December 4, 2009

And the celebration continues.....

Banana Split Cake

This is our family's favorite version of yummy banana split cake. Again there are different recipes floating around but we love this one. I think you will too. Enjoy !!

Mix well;

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
4 Tbls. sugar

Press in the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan.

Beat together filling with a mixer;

1 8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 stick melted butter
2 cups confectionery sugar

Spread this filling over the crumb crust.

Slice 4 banana's and place evenly over filling.

Drain and pour 1 large can of crushed pineapple in its own juice

evenly over the banana's.

Cover with cool whip.

Decorate with split maraschino

cherries that are dried on paper towel.

Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Chill for at least 5 hours

Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired when you serve it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Continued........

Holiday greetings to all of you !!!! Just wanted to remind you to browse through our other posts because we have so many recipes on here that can be used for the holidays such as dips, fudge, potato recipes, breads, and salads to name a few that we also serve on special occasions. Thanks for stopping by and God Bless !

Creamy Crab Stuffed Garlic Shrimp

On the second day of Christmas you get............. a seafood dish !!!! Yum !
If you're having a small dinner party around holiday time with some folks who enjoy seafood you just have to try this recipe I created ! And I promise, this one is not like other seafood stuffing you have had it in the past. I split the shrimp basically like you would a lobster tail.Be sure and warn your guests that they are still in the shell. :) Serve these and it's bound to be one of the most memorable Christmas meal for years to come !

Ingredients you will need:

1 dozen jumbo uncooked shrimp still in the shell
2 Tbls. fresh minced garlic
1 8oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tsp. white cooking wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small can fancy jumbo lump crab meat,drained
salt and pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 lemon , cut in half
1/4 cup melted butter

De vein shrimp leaving the shell intact.
Rinse under cold water.
Slice part way down through the back
of shrimp and spread them
open a bit but don't break them apart.
Place in a covered baking dish and sprinkle with the minced
garlic .
Chill to marinate for several hours.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare your filling by mixing the cream cheese , Parmesan,
cooking wine, garlic powder, crumbs, a quick
squeeze of the lemon and a dash of
pepper and salt together in a medium bowl.

Gently stir in the lump crab.

Divide filling evenly and fill each shrimp.

Squeeze lemon juice over the top of the shrimp.

Drizzle melted butter over the stuffed shrimp.

Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 20 minutes.

Turn your oven up to broil and broil until the
top of the stuffing is lightly
brown a few minutes.

Watch these closely.

Let set for 3 minutes and serve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cranberry Holiday Jello

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
A layered jello creation!!!!

And then I saw a little man eyeing my jello creation!!! (Can you blame him though? It does look wonderful...)

Okay for the first recipe we post I picked one that both looks and tastes wonderful and can be used for any special occasion. I found this in a 1982 Kraft cookbook and I continue to make it today. The wine is my first choice and in the original recipe but if children are eating I make it with juice. This layered fruit salad looks so pretty in a fancy glass bowl garnished with a curly endive lettuce leaf.

Happy Holidays to all of you !

Ingredients you will need for the first layer are as follows;

1 - 3 oz. box raspberry jello
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup ice cold water
1/4 cup chilled port wine or cranberry juice
1 cup chilled whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup chilled peeled chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Dissolve the jello well in boiling water in a medium size bowl.

Add cold water and wine or juice.

Chill till partially set.

Stir the fruit and nuts in well and pour into the bottom of

a 2 + 1/2 qt. glass bowl and refrigerate again.

Ingredients for middle layer;

1 - 3 oz. box lemon jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup heavy cream, whipped until thick

Dissolve jello in hot water and cool. When it's completely cool
add it to the whipped cream
and fold it gently in.

Pour this mixture over top of the first layer and chill.

Ingredients for last layer are as follows;

2 - 3 oz. boxes raspberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup ice cold water
1/2 cup port wine or cranberry juice

Dissolve jello well in hot water.

Add cold water and juice or wine and chill till
partially set.

Pour this layer on top of the lemon layer.

Chill completely overnight.

Garnish if desired before serving.

Serves 10 to 12 but may be doubled in larger bowl.

Monday, November 23, 2009

12 recipes of Christmas!

Ok... so I know that Christmas isn't really here yet. But as of Friday the Christmas season will have officially arrived in my book, so you'll have to bear with me.

The next 12 recipes that we post are going to be some of our holiday season favorites. If you've ever celebrated Christmas with us, chances are you've had some of these recipes so this might be a walk down memory lane for you. If you haven't.. well you'll be with us in spirit if you try some of these.

Oh, and before you get your hopes up.. no my mama will NOT be sharing her award winning Christmas Cookie recipe!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I can't believe I'm posting this recipe. It's just that awesome. It's like giving every woman in blogworld the key to my husband's heart. I'm not exaggerating. Be appreciative ladies, because I wouldn't share this recipe with just anyone. Wait. I guess that's exactly what I'm about to do...

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

1 8oz block of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 c. mayo
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tspn garlic salt
1 c. chopped fresh spinach

Stir together all ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Spread the mixture in a pie plate. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 375* 20-25 minutes or until golden. Eat with tortilla chips.

Try not to eat the whole dip yourself. Seriously. It's that good.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

This is my version of a famous restaurant soup I love. If your not as big a fan of spinach as I you could cut it in half but it needs some for flavor. I simply serve mine with some warm bread and make a meal but you could use it as a first course to your meal if your entertaining. It's so........ good ! All I can say is " try it you'll like it!"

Simmer for 45 minutes in a large pan ;

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 cups water
2 Tbls. instant chicken broth

In the meantime in a medium pan add;
1 stick butter
2 stalks finely chopped celery
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 + 1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
Cook on low heat until vegetables are soft stirring often.

1 cup chopped fresh spinach and cook till wilted.

Stir in;
1/3 cup flour
Cook stirring for about 3 minutes until flour is blended with butter.
Stir in;
2 cups milk
Cook on low heat stirring constantly until it bubbles and thickens .
1 Tbls. dry minced onion
1 pinch of italian seasonings
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Set this aside .

Remove chicken from broth and set aside to cool.
Mix the remaining broth from the chicken(around 4 cups)
and thickened vegetables together in the pan.
1 16 oz. pkg. gnocchi ( potato dumplings )
cooked chicken breasts, (cubed)

Cook the soup for about 10 minutes on low heat until
gnocchi are tender stirring often.

Thin with some water if necessary and serve.

Serves 4 to 6 people

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Christmas-y Cranberry filled cookie

My mother (AKA Granny, AKA Karen, AKA my fellow blogger) has found a blog that she enjoys immensely. It's called Mennonite Girls Can Cook and she has directed me there several times, but I'm a busy sort and I don't always follow her around blogworld because let's face it I just don't have time what with scheduling my own personal blog posts and trying to keep up with real life too.

Well recently she gave me a few cookies to try. They were a soft lemon cookie, filled with a cranberry concoction and frosted with an almond frosting and sprinkled with coconut. They were out of this world.

So of course... I asked where she found the recipe.

And of course... she answered "Mennonite Girls Can Cook".

And of course... I gave her that dumb deer in headlights look, to which she answered "I gave you the blog address ages ago." Yeah. Because I pay attention to things like that, lol!

Keep in mind that I'm snapping pictures of cookies at this point, in all different lighting and from all different angles because I love my new camera.

And then proceeds a conversation about how I think we should link to the recipe on our blog.. but since she's new to blogworld she was hesitant because, of course she didn't realize that it was proper blog etiquette to do so as long as you give credit to the author and ask permission to link.

Which leads me to... the link for Christmas Cranberry Filled Cookies. Visit the Mennonite Girls who can not only cook, but apparently cook REALLY WELL. And they post some delicious looking recipes so don't plan on just stopping by for one cookie. You'll probably want to stay for dinner.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chicken Roast

I found this recipe years ago in a cookbook I had borrowed from our local library. This meal was actually coined as "The Amish Wedding Dish" in the book and it caught my attention. I had to cut it down because it was a huge recipe.

1 whole chicken
2 qts. bread crumbs
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 beaten eggs
2/3 tsp. parsley flakes
2 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp celery salt
1/3 tsp garlic salt
1/3 tsp paprika
1/3 tsp pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning

Cook chicken in large pot of water until tender about an hour.
Remove chicken from the pan and cool slightly.
Make sure you save broth.
Debone and remove skin leaving in big pieces.
Put chicken in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Brown bread crumbs in butter stirring constantly.
Combine these with all other ingredients.
Add enough of the broth in to make a very moist stuffing.
Pour stuffing over top of chicken meat in the roaster
and drizzle with some melted butter.
Bake 1 hour + 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden browned .
Serve with chicken gravy .

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fancy Brussel Sprouts

Okay since I enjoy brussel sprouts I'm posting this recipe. Traci actually grew some in her garden that were so sweet and tender awhile ago and shared them. They are so good for you ! I do however promise not to be offended if your not a fan of these little baby cabbages but only if you will forgive me for not liking eggplant! ( I just can not acquire a taste for eggplant. ) Not even fried and smothered with cheese and sauce. :)

1+ 1/2 lb. brussel sprouts
1 packet chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 bottle real bacon bits
1/2 cup real coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese (or glass jar variety)
sprinkle of salt and pepper

Boil brussel sprouts in water and chicken broth until fork tender.

Drain brussel sprouts and melt the butter over them.

Stir in the bacon bits and Parmesan cheese.

Add salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Easy Taco Salad with Melted Cheese

We are having a great time spreading ourselves about the Internet world and we hope you are trying some of our tried and true recipes ! Stop by and let us know how we are doing sometime .

Our oldest grandson always requested my taco salad for parties growing up so I thought maybe I would post how I make my version. I have never liked a taco salad with cold shredded cheese in it so I don't use it. And I like to have mine with ranch made from the Hidden Valley package because it's so much better than bottled. But from there the choice is yours on what you prefer to put on. Make only what you know will get eaten right away though because the chips will get soggy. You can cut this recipe in half for a meal and make two large individual salads bowls if you desire to. And I'm thinking taco salad about covers all your basic food groups. lol It's yummy !!!!!

What you will need:

1 + 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 pkg.s taco seasoning mix
1+ 1/2 cups water
1/2 head shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes , chopped
1 diced onion
2 small cans sliced black olives
taco sauce , or salsa
sour cream
jalapeno peppers ( if desired )
1 large jar of Cheez Whiz (processed cheese)
1/2 cup milk
tortilla chips
ranch dressing
avocado chunks (if desired)

Brown the ground beef and add water and taco mixes. Cook stirring occasionally
about 10 minutes.
Melt the cheese and milk together in microwave or small pan.
Just before serving assemble the salad.
Spread some chips out on the bottom of a large platter .
Top the chips with the warm taco meat.
Drizzle a large spoon of the melted cheese over the meat and chips.
Sprinkle the onions on top and cover with shredded lettuce .
Spread tomatoes over top of the lettuce.
Sprinkle the black olives on.
Pour the melted warm cheese all over the top of the salad.
Serve with the remaining ingredients.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Creamy Hashbrown Potatoes

This recipe is for you Becca as promised !!!! I must give credit where credit is due so thanks go out to my niece Lisa H. for passing this one on a few years ago. She has the same appreciation for recipe sharing that I do so I know she won't mind a bit. This makes a nice dish to pass at parties.

Creamy Hash Brown Potatoes

1 2lb. package frozen hash browns
2 cups cubed American cheese (Velveeta )
2 cups sour cream
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 lb crumbled bacon
1 lg. chopped onion
salt and pepper

Place the potatoes in 5 Qt. crock pot Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour over and mix well. Cook on low 4 to 5 hours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Make it From Scratch Carnival

This week's Make it From Scratch Carnival was hosted by Rina the Mama Bear over at Gotta Little Space to Fill. Although I would advise stopping by her blog to get the full list of entries, I wanted to post a quick sample of some favorites here too.

These Lemon Meringue Cupcakes look soooooo good. Like seriously deliciously good.

They are just so cute aren't they? They are the creation of Liss, of Frills in The Hills. I think that they are delightful little cupcakes and I'm thinking that the men in my family would love them. (We have a few lemon fans among us)

Another post that intrigued me was a Blue Hubbard Squash Casserole recipe, posted at Local Nourishment. After working in the produce department of our local Wegmans for many years, I developed a taste for many fruits and vegetables that I wouldn't normally have tried. (I couldn't very well have given away samples of dishes without TRYING them could I???) Hubbard Squash never made it onto my list of "I've had that" vegetables. In fact recently I walked by one and thought that I'd like to give it a try but it's a very intimidating squash, quite large in stature and I would need a recipe to venture into it. Well, now I have one and I'll probably give it a try. Plus Hubby will like it because there's mozzarella cheese in it. (Get it, Hubby will like the Hubbard squash??? I crack myself up!)

One of the things that I've tried to establish at our house is a Mexican food night. I've tried to include on Mexican recipe each week and thus far it's worked well. We like Mexican food and it's not hard to make healthy versions of such things. Obviously the post for Homemade Refried Beans at Prosper & Be in Health stood out to me immediately as being helpful. And of course this post for Homemade Enchilada Sauce from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker was of interest to me also.

These are just a few of the posts, and as always there were non-food posts that were awesome also, so be sure to stop over and check out the whole carnival!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Potato Soup with Ground Beef

This is the recipe for Potato Soup my Mother always made for us and it uses ground beef instead of ham . It's simplicity at it's best. It's so good with crusty buttered bread for dipping . In fact I'm thinking I need to make this soon now that fall is upon us. If your cooking for one or two I am sure you could cut this recipe in half. I personally think soup is better the next day after the flavors blend in the refrigerator . Thanks for stopping by our blog and "Happy Fall Ya'll !!!!"

2 stalks, chopped, celery
2 medium onions, chopped
1 + 1/2 lb.s ground beef
6 large potatoes, cubed
8 cups water
salt and pepper

Brown ground beef in 6 qt. pan over medium heat leaving it chunky. Drain grease off the beef and add in the celery, water, onions, and salt and pepper and simmer about a half hour over low heat.

Meanwhile cube potatoes and add to soup. Bring it back to a simmer and cook another half hour or until potatoes are tender and season again with salt.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tossed Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

This is our delicious go to salad for any occasion when we want only to serve one dressing . I never fail to get asked for the recipe whenever I take it anywhere. Just make the dressing ahead and keep it chilled until you dress and serve your salad. Add whatever you like to the salad . I sometimes will throw in pecans or croutons or top it with a sliced piece of chicken as a meal if I'm in the mood. If you want to keep the dressing on hand or are making it for a big party just double the recipe and shake before you pour . It's a sweet and sour dressing that seems to please every one's palate.

1 washed head of lettuce, shredded
1 bag of colorful baby lettuce greens
1 container of grape tomatoes
1 cubed chunk of monterrey jack or provolone cheese
1 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)


Mix in your processor or blender until sugar dissolves:
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp . garlic powder
2 tsp.s poppy seeds

Gradually pour in:

1 cup canola oil while processing until it's thickened and pour into a salad cruet
or shaker container. Chill.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Split Pea Soup

I enjoy a rib sticking soup as a meal in the cooler weather so I throw this soup together and make a muffin or homemade bread to go with it. But " To puree or not to puree, that is the question ? ..... I don't puree my soup although the recipe says to but if you prefer it that way instead just remove the hock and process the soup. Then add the ham off the hock and some heavy cream if you like it to the soup afterwards.

1 8 oz cup dry split peas , rinsed and sorted
1 small meaty ham hock
8 cups water
4 tbls. butter
1 med. chopped onion
2 potatoes ,peeled and cubed
2 stalks chopped celery
salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Place the peas in the water with the ham hock and simmer 2 hours on low heat stirring occasionally. In a small pan heat the butter and cook all the vegetables until slightly tender. Add those to peas and cook til beans are tender about an hour. Add salt and pepper. Remove the bone to cool and take meat off it. (puree the soup if desired at this point) Add ham meat to the soup along with the heavy cream and serve. Serves 6 to 8 people

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes with Kielbasa

I like to change things up a bit sometimes so I make my scalloped potatoes with kielbasa sausage on occasion . It's quite tasty. Just peel, rinse, dry and slice as many potatoes to the size casserole dish or pan you need. Of course if your making a huge pan add extra butter too. Be sure you make them in a deep enough pan to they won't bubble over in your oven.

You will need:

amount you desire of thinly sliced potatoes ( peeled )
1 pkg lean kielbasa or turkey kielbasa, slice as much as you feel you need
1 large onion , sliced
1 stick butter , cubed
1 tbls. flour
salt and pepper
Whole Milk to cover entire casserole.

Butter your dish and alternate layers starting with potatoes, then onion, more potatoes, kielbasa, flour sprinkled over , and cubed butter spread around. End with a last layer of potatoes with more kielbasa on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper . Pour milk over them to completely cover and bake about 2 hours or more for larger pan until potatoes are very tender in a 350 degree oven. ( Smaller casserole might get done sooner).

Remove from oven and let stand to cool and thicken up a bit about 15 minutes before you serve them.

And here's a hint. If you have never tried throwing a dab of butter in a fry pan and frying leftover scalloped potatoes until browned on both sides you should try it ! It's yummy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spring Garden Dip

If you're searching for a different dip recipe try this one. My sister gave me this recipe which goes well with fresh vegetables .

1/4 cup green onions
1/4 cup cucumber
1/4 cup radishes
1/4 cup green pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt (add more if you think you need it)

Grind all the vegetables up in blender or processor and drain well in small strainer or on a paper towel. They should resemble a course relish. In the mean time mix the sour cream , sugar, salt and mayo together in a container. Add the drained vegetables and mix. Chill to blend flavors. Serve with raw vegetables of your choice.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Carrot Raisin Muffins

I have to give credit to our daughter in law for this muffin recipe she gave me several years ago. What could be better than a warm buttered muffin with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast ? Great way to start off your day in my opinion ! I like to double this recipe and share them with others. A good tip if you want nice rounded muffins is not to over beat them after you add wet ingredients or they will rise to a point. Hope you like them too.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp.s baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 8 oz. can un-drained crushed pineapple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix all the dry ingredients together in mixing bowl. Stir in the carrots , nuts, and raisins . Combine pineapple and juice, eggs, butter and vanilla in small bowl. Stir this into dry ingredients just until blended. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cabbage Soup

A neighbor gave me this recipe over 30 years ago and it's my husband favorite soup. There are several versions of this so called "Diet Soup" floating around but this is the one I use. We love to add lots of pepper to ours for spicy flavor !

3 thinly sliced carrots
3 thinly sliced stalks of celery
2 medium onions , diced
1 medium head cabbage, shredded
1 large can tomatoes, mashed
6 packets of instant beef broth
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
8 cups water

Pour tomatoes in 6 qt. saucepan and mash them up.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 2 hours or until tender.
Add salt and pepper and serve.

This soup is only 45 calories a cup for those who prefer to use it as a diet soup.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Artichoke Chicken Pasta

This is one of those meals that developed when I went to the cupboard and put everything I found in a pasta dish. It worked so well together that my husband has since requested this same combination.. which I admit was a struggle to recreate, but I eventually got it right again.

The ingredients are:

Farfalle (bow tie) pasta

Cooked boneless chicken breast, chunked

one can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped.

a cup of chopped fresh spinach

one clove of garlic, minced

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup of feta cheese

grated Parmesan cheese


Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box. While that's cooking saute the chicken, garlic and spinach in the butter until the spinach wilts. Add the chopped artichokes and cook through until it's all heated thoroughly.

Stir in the feta cheese and blend through, just to warm it. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken mixture. Stir it through, and top it with parmesan, salt, pepper, and chopped chives.

And it's ready to eat. It's a really easy pasta that tastes great and goes great with a salad, like my mom's garlic salad.
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Applesauce Drop Cookies

This is one of those cookie recipe from the old cook book I spoke about in a prior post. I made this cookie a lot when my daughter was growing up because they were a great afternoon snack. We were always on the go to picnics and week-end get-a-ways and they traveled so well and could be eaten on the run. And the fact that they are lower in fat because of the applesauce and that they have no eggs is an added bonus. I used to double the batch and keep them in a closed container.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 +1/2 cups sweetened applesauce
2 tsp. baking soda
2 +1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat shortening and sugar in bowl. Stir in the applesauce. Add the remaining ingredients and drop by heaping teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake slowly for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Fudge is my husband's favorite food group ! Well...... Okay it's not really classified as such but it would be if he had his way. And he likes both chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge so I began combining the two 36 years ago. I like this recipe because it's basically fail - proof every time .

4 Tbls. Cocoa
3 cups sugar
1 cup milk
3 Tbls. corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 tsps pure vanilla
1/3 cup peanut butter (2 Tbls. of butter can be substituted for this)

Combine cocoa , sugar , milk, corn syrup , and salt in a heavy 6 qt. pan. Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook to the soft boil stage ( until it forms a soft ball in cold water ) or about 236 degrees on a candy thermometer .

Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla by hand. Pour into a buttered pan and cool completely.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Buffalo Tater Skins

Don't these look delicious? I mean, mouth watering delicious? Our friend Rachel made these and posted about them on her blog. Being the nice friend that she is, she let me repost the recipe here. If you want to see all the pictures, then click the link and go read her original post..

As posted by Rachel:

For those of you who know of my addiction to practically anything with red hot sauce and blue cheese, I introduce to you another successful recipe including those two ingredients. When we went out to eat at Spragues, I got, as my main dish, a plate of buffalo potato skins. Now I know that that is a very healthy meal (introduce sarcasm at this point) but hey! they looked good! But of course, the fact of the matter is, anything good that I eat out is something I will try to replicate at home. So on with the experiment...
After checking the internet for ways to make potato skins,I settled on a method that didn't involvefrying in three cups of oil...

Start by baking the potatoes in the oven til tender.

Then when they have sufficiently cooled so that you cancut them in half and scoop out some of the insides,without burning yourself, do so...I scooped out enough potato to leave arounda quarter inch or so inside.That makes it so you're not eating justthe skin but some potato with it too.

Cut into wedges...I got about three wedges per half of potato...And then throw them back in the oven.I had mine set at 400 degrees.That will crunch them up for you.If you have a broiler handy, that would probablywork even better because it would crunch them up more.As it is, mine were ok, but I think the broiler wouldwork better.

When they're almost done baking,slather them with a melted butter/hot saucecombo and sprinkle with cheese.The cheese part is optional since you're gonna dunkthem in blue cheese anyway if you like it.But the restaurant had cheese sprinkled on theirsso I'm just takin' the idea and going with it.
All in all, I'd say they turned out pretty good! There weren't many left and they really aren't that hard to make. I took the potatoes that I scooped out of the inside and made mashed potato rolls with them for our hamburgers. So if you're creative, you won't waste any of the potato. That was one of my main concerns is that I'd make them but waste some part of the potato because you only use mainly the skins.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Truffle Berry Brownies

Personally I don't understand what all the fuss is about over chocolate but..... I know people who would seriously beg to differ with me on this including my daughter so I thought I better please the masses and post the best chocolate brownie I have ever made. I've seen people do strange things when it comes to these brownies like counting and announcing how many someone else eats(now that's just not right is it?), to sneaking and hoarding them away somewhere for later like squirrels.:) They say chocolate does that to you. lol I have been asked to make this one often too . I took a recipe that called for a box mix I found years ago and changed it up to suit me because I'm not too fond of the mixes and it seems silly not to throw them together from scratch since they're so easy to make and taste so much better. And when you throw cream cheese and raspberry over top it gets even better. Got to try them if your a chocoholic ! I have broken down the ingredients by each layer so be sure and scroll down through all layers first before you make them.

To make the brownies you will need:

4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1+1/2 sticks butter
1/3 cup milk
3 beaten eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1+1/2 cups flour
2 tbls. strong black coffee

Melt the chocolate squares and butter in a large bowl in the microwave about 2 minutes or until butter is melted stirring in between. Remove the bowl and stir the chocolate until melted. Add sugar ,coffee, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in the flour and pour into a greased parchment or greased foil lined 9 x 13 pan making sure to hang it over the ends a little to make it easier to peel the paper away afterwards. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. Lift out the whole thing from the pan by the paper before they are cut and peel the parchment or foil away completely from underneath the brownies. Set them back in pan.

Truffle Layer

1 cup melted semi-sweet chips chocolate chips
1 8oz. softened Phila. cream cheese
1/3 cup red raspberry preserves
1/4 cup confectionery sugar
1 tsp. strong black coffee
Beat the cream cheese,coffee and raspberry preserves together till smooth. Beat the melted chocolate in next. Add the sugar in and beat until fluffy. Spread this layer over top of the cooled brownies.

Melt 1/4 cup semi sweet chips
1 tsp Crisco
Melt chips and Crisco together and thinly drizzle this over the top of the truffle layer.
Chill the brownies for 4 hours or more.

Remove at serving time and cut them small. Place them on an attractive serving plate to impress everyone. Sit back and wait for the smiles !

Friday, September 11, 2009

Low Fat Pasta Salad

I decided I had better post a healthier recipe lest you think we don't have any ! :) We really don't eat that unhealthy for the most part. My cooking is a mix of everything and we are all big tossed salad eaters because we love most vegetables too. Also we do try to cut the fat down in our regular meals when we can and most of the time we choose to make desserts for activities so we can share them. This pasta salad is loaded with fresh veggies and uses Good Seasons salad dressing mix packets for the dressing but without oil. I usually use a whole wheat pasta, mini farfelle or tri-colored spirals but any fancy shaped pasta will work. Any low fat cheese can be substituted too. By cutting it into tiny bites you get flavor with every bite but are eating less calories and fat. Same with the olives. Add what you like to make it your own creation! With the protein that comes from the beans, pepperoni , and low fat cheese it's got most of your food groups covered so it's actually a meal in itself. Plus it's a large batch so you will have leftovers too !

Prepare the dressing and chill it.

Mix really well:
2 cups of cold water
2 packages of Good Seasoning dressing mix , Italian and-or cheese garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbls paprika
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar(more if you desire it)
1 tsp salt

Cook 1/2 box of pasta of your choice according to directions. Drain and rinse well.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients and put them in a large covered container with the pasta:

3 thinly sliced green onions
1/2 sliced , seedless cucumber
1/2 green pepper, slivered in thin short strips
1 cup rinsed , canned Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped broccoli
1 small can, sliced , drained black olives
1/2 container grape tomatoes, rinsed
1/2 chunk low fat Monterrey jack or pepper jack cheese cut into tiny chunks
1 package turkey pepperoni slices , low fat ham chunks or pepperoni crumbles , whatever you prefer

Pour the dressing over salad and stir it through. You can add more seasonings or vinegar to it if you think it needs it now. Refrigerate for several hours. Stir again before serving.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Make It From Scratch 9/08/09

This week's Make It From Scratch Carnival is hosted by Rina the Mama Bear at Gotta Little Space to fill. Our post this week was the blackberry pie , which by the way makes my mouth water just looking at it. My mama makes the best pie. Anyhoo, the other posts shared at the carnival this week were great too.

I was intrigued by Mr. Salsa's blog. The post that he shared was Red Hot Salsa and it sounded good, but I wandered through a couple of his other salsa's too while I was there and they all sounded good to me.

There was a great Quick Homemade Breadstick recipe posted by the Homemaker Helper this week. It's definitely quicker than other breadstick recipes I've tried. And they look delicious too...

I am thinking of trying these for my Prayer and Praise night snack, along with some dipping sauce. There's nothing like a bunch of garlic-breathed people making a joyful noise.

There are a bunch of other great recipes too, so be sure to stop by that link and check them out!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Easy Carrot Cake

I know there are lots of fancier carrot cake recipes out there but when any of the gals in the family have the desire to make one, this is the recipe we use. I found this in a weekly recipe insert in our local paper one day. I can't recall her name but the woman who shared this recipe said she had worked for a college I think and they made these cakes in huge sheets to serve to the students so I knew I had to give it a try ! And I'm so glad I did. And thankful to her for sharing. It was the cake my daughter wanted for her bridal shower party and it was the cake we served at her son's first birthday party. And every time we make it we get wonderful remarks like "It's the best cake I ever had!" or something to that effect. There is something better about this frosting than most cream cheese frosting too but I don't quite really know what unless it's the amount of butter.

The 2 most important things to remember if you make this is; 1. You really need to chill the cake several hours after you frost it to firm up the cream cheese and butter in the frosting and 2. Is that you of course have to share it with your friends !!!! lol

Mix in a large bowl:

3 cups shredded carrots(I like to use my food processor for this job, it's speedier)
1+1/2 cups canola oil
2 cups sugar
4 beaten eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. b. soda
1/2 cup raisins and or 1/2 cup chopped walnuts if desired can be added although the recipe doesn't actually call for them if you chose to.

Blend well and pour into a greased 9x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely to frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz. softened Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 stick softened butter
2 tsps. vanilla
3/4 cup confectionery sugar

Beat this on high speed till sugar is dissolved well. Frost cake and add any decorations. Chill several hours before serving.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Why I like booze...

..Did I get your attention? Ha! I thought so! This post is.. well, it's food-related. And it's about Vodka. And Beer. But mostly vodka.

What's hilarious is that somewhere out in blogworld there is a reader saying "I thought Traci was a Christian blogger!!" Well, I can assure you that while my days of drinking for recreation have basically fallen by the wayside, I am not afraid to use alcohol for food purposes. (Especially in methods that allow the alcohol to mostly cook itself off)

So this post is dedicated to how handy it has been for me to have vodka in my cupboard. It all started back at Christmas. I wanted to make some homemade gifts for people and I scoured my favorite blogs and sites for ideas. I stumbled upon Suzanne's recipe for homemade vanilla extract and it was obvious. I was going to make real vanilla extract. So off to the store I went. The liquor store that is. And home I came with a big bottle of vodka. (not the expensive brand either, because I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much.) **Disclaimer that to be perfectly honest I sent Michael to the liquor store..** Then on grocery night I splurged and bought vanilla beans from Wegmans. (I've since decided to order them from an online supplier)

I'm not going to reiterate the recipe here because that would be redundant. You can go visit The Farmhouse Table at Chickens in the Road to read it for yourselves. But just know that it's uber easy and the bottles make a good gift along with a jumbo muffin tin and some other baking gadgets. (Well at least I thought it was a good gift, but then again I was the giver)

Fast forward to this week. I'm STILL making my own vanilla extract. Did you know that the imitation vanilla is somehow made from waste product of paper mills? Is there anything more revolting than this idea? Here is my delicious cookie but it's made from the leftover gook that comes from processing paper. Yuck. Might as well be back in kindergarten eating paste. Not that I ever did that. Seriously, I didn't.

Back on track. I don't know if I'll ever not make my own vanilla extract again. The real extract in the store is really expensive, just as expensive if not more than the ingredients for the homemade stuff. And just knowing that I made it myself so I know exactly what's in it is wonderful in itself. In fact, I planted anise in my herb garden this year and I've been wondering if I could make anise extract. I should google it.

Another adventure with alcohol has been with my barbecue sauce recipe. I make a barbecue pulled pork that my husband goes wild for. And it calls for a bottle of beer. I have to say that I've tried to substitute other things to try and get the same flavor but I haven't found anything yet. (Mostly because I know how much people love the sauce but some are.. hesitant to accept the alcoholic ingredient, although it's boiled down mostly in the sauce.) All I know is the sauce is outstanding. (I'll be posting that recipe at some point in the future I'm sure.)

And then back to the vodka. Also from Suzanne at Chickens in the Road I've learned how to make my own Kahlua, which is a coffee liqueur. It's so easy. And although I don't have the want/need for a big jar of Kahlua in my house at all times, when I came across a Kahlua Brownie recipe that called for either the real Kahlua or coffee extract.. well I knew EXACTLY how to make them. I just could make a mini batch of Suzanne's Kahlua. And I know from experience that if something calls for a liqueur or an extract it's not always wise to substitute something else.. say perhaps some strong coffee instead. It may have a similar flavor but it can affect the consistency of the batter and the finished product may end up mush.

This may have been a random post, but it was indeed food related and since my mom has been posting recipes fast as fast can be.. well I felt like I should chime in with SOMETHING. So what better to post than the fun I've been having lately with alcohol.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blackberry Pie

This recipe comes from an old cook booklet called "Pies Men Like" that I obtained a few years back through Ebay. I have always been intrigued with old fashioned cooking and it was a great price so I bid and won it. It says copyright 1953 and has an assortment of 20 pies along with hints and tips on pie making. I know many of you like to use butter in your crusts but I prefer to use Crisco myself. I just like the taste and texture better. I have tried all different recipes too in the past but I always revert back to this basic one. I was lucky enough to be blessed with enough blackberries yesterday from our daughter-In-law to make my husband his favorite pie. (She spoils him too.) :) I talk to a lot of young women out and about and there are so many who have never attempted to make pie it makes me sad. Because ................ As you can see girls by the name of this cook booklet, MEN LIKE PIES !!!!

Oh and by the way,if any of you ever have the opportunity to buy a large cloth board set called " No Mess Dough Disc " I recommend that you do. It saves on your clean up time. The covers can be washed over and over and the plastic board doubles as a serving platter if you want to use it that way. I have had mine for several years now and it's so handy for pies, cut out cookies, breads etc. Best of baking wishes to you all!

Double Crust Pastry

2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

2/3 cup Crisco(divided)

6 tbls. ice cold water

Sift 2 cups of flour in a small bowl and add salt. Add 1/3 cup Crisco and cut this in using a pastry cutter till it becomes a fine meal. Next add the other 1/3 cup Crisco and cut this in until about the size of small peas. This will help to achieve a flaky crust. Spoon in the cold water slowly while stirring with a fork.

Shape the dough into a smooth ball with your hands and divide again into 2 balls and chill in a bowl until you prepare filling for your pie .

Blackberry Filling

1 qt. fresh blackberries(sorted ,washed and well drained)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbls. quick cooking tapioca or 2 tblsp. flour ( I use tapioca)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tbls. butter (to dot the filling with.)

Gently mix the berries with all the ingredients except butter and let set for 15 minutes to soften the tapioca.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out your bottom crust on a lightly floured board to generously fit an eight inch pie pan and gently fold into quarters. Unwrap and place evenly over the pie plate leaving it overhang. Roll out the top crust large enough to overlap also. Again folding it in quarters. Set it aside .

Pour the filling in the bottom crust and dot in several spots with the butter. Center your quartered crust in the middle of filling to make sure it covers completely when you unfold it.

Pinch the two crusts together and trim both evenly all the way around with scissors or knife. Next fold both crusts under and flute the edges. Make several slits in top crusts and bake on a piece of foil for 15 minutes at 400. Turn oven back to 350and bake another 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly in the middle . Cool completely so tapioca sets up. Cover and refrigerate. (If you can keep it in the house long enough) :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Easy Peach Cobbler

I'm not sure where this recipe hails from but it's the best peach cobbler I have ever made. Until I found this one I was not a big fan of peach cobbler. It's true comfort food. The butter gives this a slightly crispy edge and great flavor. Follow the directions exactly like it says. It's great served warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

1/2 cup salted butter
1 16 oz. can sliced peaches in syrup(not lite)
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsps. b.powder
1/4 cup sugar to sprinkle on top

Set oven to 400 degrees. Heat the can of peaches and syrup to a boil in a small pan. Turn off heat. Melt the butter in a 2 qt. baking dish in the oven while you mix the batter. In a medium size bowl mix the sugar, salt, b. powder, and flour together. Stir in the milk and pour this batter into the butter in the baking dish and gently spread this without stirring. Pour the hot peaches and syrup evenly over the batter and do not stir. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over this. Bake cobbler for 20 to 30 minutes. Cool 15 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Broccoli Salad

Okay I know not everyone enjoys broccoli but if you do, this salad is very good. I like mine the consistency of a fine coleslaw while others prefer to leave it chunky. I do switch this up at times and use half cauliflower - half broccoli too.

2 bunches of broccoli
1 cup raisins
1/2 jar real bacon bits
1 small onion
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbls. cider vinegar
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Dash salt
Dash pepper

Cut the onion in half and put it in the food processor. Cut the ends off the broccoli stems and add broccoli in and process until it's all finely chopped like coleslaw.

In a covered dish add the broccoli to the rest of the ingredients and blend well . Chill for several hours or overnight.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Make it From Scratch Carnival Sept 1

Good Morning to you, and Happy September! I don't have any school age kids but I know that September represents a busy time for many.. I hope that you'll take a moment to explore this week's Make It From Scratch Blog carnival, hosted by Simply Forties. There are some really great posts this week, including my Best Ever Peanut Butter Fudge.

There are so many great posts in this week's carnival that I'm not even sure which ones to highlight. I'll just pick a few.. but be sure to click over to the carnival to see them all, because I'm only highlighting the food-related posts and there are some great crafts too.

I don't know if anyone else has had them but Dunkin Donuts sells a lemonade coolatta that is oh-so-good but probably oh-so-not-good for me. I'm sure it's loaded with sugar. Well Funny about Money posted a recipe for her Fizzie Lemonade, which sounds very refreshing and easy to make at home. I think I'm going to try it because I imagine I could make a whole batch for the same cost as one of those DD drinks.

Rina the Mama Bear is always a favorite of mine and this week she submitted an Applesauce Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream on one of her blogs, Gotta Little Space.

It looks delicious, doesn't it? I'll definitely be trying this one, it's right up my alley. It just sounds like such a comfort food. And I bet my dad will love it.

And the third post that I'll mention is one for Creamed Corn and Basil Baked Pudding, shared by LJM's kitchen. I love corn pudding and I'm intrigued by the addition of Basil in the recipe, especially because I feel like I've not been getting the best use out of my herb garden this year. This recipe is a unique way to use Basil, that's for sure. I think I'll try it!

Those are just three of the interesting posts on Make it From Scratch this week. Be sure to swing by HERE to see the rest!

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Best Ever Peanut Butter Fudge

Last weeke we went to our County Fair as part of my birthday celebration. I love the fair, I might as well be party carnie. I have to admit that my favorite part is the fair food. Candy apples, fried dough, curly fries... the list goes on. I think "Fair Season" might be one of my favorites.
There is always a candy booth set up with taffy, fudge, etc. and when I walked by I noticed how expensive it was! I don't know if anyone has tried to buy fudge at a candy shop lately, but it's very very expensive. I've seen it at $15lb for pity's sake! Which is why for the Make it From Scratch Carnival I'm submitting this recipe for homemade peanut butter fudge. It's better than any store bought fudge you could ever find, and much more affordable.
It's easy too, so for those of you who are nervous about candy making, just follow the directions and you'll be fine. I use a candy thermometer just because I like things black/white.. I don't like to have to drop little balls in water to test them. But you could do that if you like.
Peanut Butter Fudge
1 tspn cornstarch
1 Tbsp water
1/2 bag of brown sugar (the 2lb size)
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbls vanilla extract
8 oz smooth peanut butter. (I eyeball it and just use roughly half of my 18oz jar)
Butter an 8x8" pan. Mix cornstarch and water and set aside. Dissolve sugars with milk and butter in a heavy saucepan with a candy thermometer in it. Heat until thermometer reaches the softball stage or 234 degrees. Stir in cornstarch mixture and remove from heat. It will appear lumpy. Blend in vanilla and peanut butter, stirring carefully until it melts and is evenly combined. Pour into the buttered pan and let cool.
That's it! After it's cool you can cut it into bite size squares and package them up prettily. Then you can give someone the gift of sugar shock because the recipe makes 2 pounds so there's enough to share. Or you can just keep it all at your house and eat it all. I'm not judging you.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Found A Treasure

I hope you don't mind if in between recipes I throw in a little story I'd like to share about a cookbook I found as a young bride which is special to me. Since the time I was young and had my first recipe card box I have collected interesting cookbooks as a lot of women do.

One day many years ago an older friend of my Mother's happened to be having a yard sale so I went. There laying on the table was an old worn out thick paper parchment recipe booklet bound together with string. A good old fashioned cookbook indeed ! I couldn't contain my excitement at such a find so I grabbed it up and as I opened it I could see it was comprised of many many recipes that a lot of woman had contributed to long ago. Of course we all know they are the best !

As I was thumbing through it she walked over and explained to me that it was her very first cookbook when she was a newlywed long ago. She has since passed on but if I had to take a guess I would say that cookbook would be at least 65 to 70 years old.

It called for a pinch of this and a dash of that in many of the recipes but I was thrilled to get it and over the years many of the cookie recipes have become my favorite ones. One recipe described the molasses cookies as the kind like the bakery makes with the crackly tops.

The fried cake(donuts) recipe became a favorite for our family tradition every fall . We head to the cider mill for a couple fresh jugs of cider to go with them.

Needless to say it had become really brittle over the years though I kept it in a freezer bag to protect it so a couple of years ago as a birthday surprise my dear daughter Traci asked me if she could borrow it if she promised to take care of it and then she took it to the local printer's and had it copied for me page by brittle page so should the book fall apart I will have those recipes. She's so thoughtful and...... she cooks ! I am truly, truly blessed !!!!

Anyway I may just post a recipe or two from that book in the future so stay tuned...... lots more recipes to come and thanks for stopping by.

Karen's Pineapple Weiners

This is another one of those recipes I came up with myself years ago and it was a keeper. They are very popular with the children who over the years have asked for them at their birthday gatherings. The good thing about this recipe is that there really isn't any measuring involved except eye-balling the Karo syrup. It makes a great potluck or party dish. You may want to double or triple it for a large group.

1 large can chunk pineapple in it's own juice, drained and juice reserved
1 pkg.lil wieners (I prefer beef)
1 green pepper, sliced in 1/4 inch rings and then halved to make strips
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1/2 bottle Light Karo Syrup

Drain the pineapple chunks well pressing down on them to remove excess juice in a small strainer over top of a 3 qt. saucepan. Chill the pineapple chunks until your ready for them. Pour Karo syrup in with juice and simmer this stirring occasionally until it cooks down to a thick syrup on low heat about 30 to 45 minutes watching it carefully so it doesn't boil over or overcook. It will become like a sweet and sour glaze. This step can actually be done a day ahead to save time if you prefer and then stored in the refrigerator.

Throw the pineapple chunks and water chestnuts in the syrup and simmer about 10 minutes to reduce syrup down again. In the mean time heat the wieners and green pepper slices through in a frying pan over low heat stirring constantly to remove any liquid from them both.

Add wieners and g. peppers slices to the pineapple syrup mixture and cook for about 20 minutes until thickened and mixture coats wieners. These can be thrown into a small crock pot for transporting.

Oh and we have actually had this as a meal served over some salted rice. These will usually go on sale around holiday time so I stock up on them then.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Bread

I stumbled across this recipe 25 years ago in a cook book that featured recipes from country inns all across the USA and I was blown away with this moist pumpkin bread when I made it. If you like pumpkin and you like quick breads you're going to love this bread. It makes a wonderful holiday gift and it's great for Thanksgiving Day dinner. Makes 2 loaves.

4 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 16.oz can pumpkin
3/4 cup water
4 cups flour
2 tsps. baking soda
1+1/2 tsps.salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg

Beat eggs till fluffy. Gradually beat sugar in. Blend in oil, pumpkin, and water. Combine dry ingredients and blend into the pumpkin mixture with the mixer. Pour into 2 greased 9 x 5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick or tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans. Cool completely before cutting. Great served with whipped cream cheese.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting

Here's what you will need to make these yummy rolls. I like to use a clean piece of white thread to cut through them. Slide the thread underneath them and pull the thread upwards and cross it over pulling tight. The criss crossing cuts them more gently.

1 egg (room temperature )
warm water (to make 1+1/2 cups)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1+ 1/2 tsp salt
4 +1/2 cups flour (more for rolling out)
2 tsp.s active dry yeast


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbls. cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp milk
2 tbls. butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectionary sugar

Put the egg in a 2 cup measuring glass and fill this with enough warm water added to equal 1+1/2 cups. Pour into a large bowl and add lemon juice, oil, sugar, salt and yeast. Stir in 2 cups of the flour and beat with the mixer. Stir in the rest of the flour and turn out on a floured board to knead dough till it becomes smooth about 10 minutes.

Place back in the bowl and cover with towel. Set in a warm place and let rise till doubled about an hour. Punch dough down and roll out to 12 by 16 inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread softened butter on the dough. Mix the cinnamon, sugar, walnuts and raisins and sprinkle this over the butter. Roll up jelly roll style and cut into 24 rolls, 1 inch in size.

Place in a large buttered pan and cover again. Raise about 30 minutes until doubled again. Bake till lightly brown in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Make the frosting by melting the 2 tbls. butter, in a med pan. Add 1/4 cup b.sugar to this and heat. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp milk. Remove from heat and add confectionary sugar and beat with the mixer until smooth. Let cool to thicken a bit and frost buns. If mixture thickens too much when cooled stir in another drop of milk to get the right consistency.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Make It From Scratch Carnival!

The Make It From Scratch Blog Carnival is being hosted by It's Frugal Being Green this week, and the cooks of Granny's Kitchen submitted the recipe for Chicken Salad Puffs from this post.
There were all sorts of good submissions this week. Look at this pizza crust:

It's a Summer Squash Pizza Crust that was submitted by The Daily Diner, which sounds so interesting and healthy, and yummy too. I think it would be a great way to use up extra zucchini.
Another interesting post was from The Lobster Queen. She gave this recipe for Lobster soup, using the shells to make a broth. We love lobster around here, although we don't usually splurge and buy it.. this might be a good way to make a more expensive item stretch for us.
These are just a few of my favorites so please check out the carnival, there are a lot of recipes shared this week, along with some crafts and other things.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zucchini Au Gratin

I once had a squash dish like this many years ago at a wedding reception and it was very good so I happened to ask the server what was in it.:) Then like a mad scientist I went to work trying to make it like they did. If your fond of squash it's a great way to use up your zucchini that is so plentiful this time of year.
You will need:

4 medium peeled, sliced, zucchini
1 qt.half and half
8.oz cube sharp cheese,shredded
2 cups cheese flavored croutons
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp.Paprika

Place zucchini in a casserole dish. Salt and pepper the squash. Sprinkle the cheese over top. Pour the half and half over top of the cheese. Sprinkle the croutons around on top and then finish it off by sprinkling paprika over the croutons and bake 45 to 50 minutes until tender and the center is hot. Remove from oven and let set 10 minutes. The croutons help to soak up any excess juice from squash but you also can remove it with a turkey baster like I do or a spoon if necessary.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Easy Crockpot Potatoes

Our family are potato lover's for sure. Any way you slice, bake, fry, or mash them ! And what could make them better but some cheese? So I thought I would post a very simple recipe using a box of potatoes au gratin that I came up with one day while having a family cookout to cut corners and not use my oven. Hope you like them as well as we do.

Preheat your small crock pot on high. Add a box of potatoes au gratin and add the amount of hot water, milk and butter and cheese packet as directed on the box of potatoes. Set crock pot to low setting.

1/2 cup sour cream
1 small minced onion
1/2 jar real bacon bits
1 cup of any cheddar cheese, Velveeta, or Cheez Whiz , whatever you prefer to use.
1/2 cup hot water

Stir this together and cook about 3 hours on low stirring a couple times untill tender.
Recipe can be doubled for a larger group .

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Childhood Memories With Creamed Macaroni

I believe cooking was in my blood from a very young age. I didn't have the opportunity many young ladies from large families have to learn along side their Moms or older siblings in the kitchen because my Mom just felt like it was easier to just do the cooking herself. Although we all had chores to do such as mopping and the dreaded dishes,(which one time my sister tossed out the back window to get out of doing) the cooking was her job.

She had lost her own Mom as a very young child and was raised by her Dad who was away working on the railroad a lot and so she never learned by a Mother's example either. She did the very best she could to see we had hot meals and at times she struggled to just get food on the table for her eight children . And I'm sure stretching a dollar wasn't always easy either.

I recall a screened in porch with my imagination running wild going through an entire calendar simply picking out all the holidays that you could plan a party around and making menu's and themes to go along with each one when I could barely spell. Of course there were never any of those parties but I sure had fun planning'

It was kind of a challenge in our house to see who could make cocoa fudge turn out amongst my brothers and sisters. Needless to say there were many pans of fudge eaten with a spoon !

But with just one cook book in the house, one burnt hand later I had made my first batch of Rock Candy from sugar ! It was the start of a love for cooking for me which lasted all through my school years with home economics being my favorite subject. I still have some of those recipes from thirty something years ago.

Growing up in a large family was great but times were tough because my Dad worked construction but had to go on unemployment in the winter. She somehow made meals out of the simplest things. Which leads me to the next recipe I am posting. Although it 's not exactly the healthiest recipe I have yet to find any kids that won't eat it. Try it out on a blustery cold day but don't skimp on the butter or salt and pepper or it won't taste like it should.

We loved this growing up and when my older brother left home would still request this for his birthday which we found so humorous. Now I make it for my grandchildren once in awhile too.

When I think back now to the foods we were brought up on I know we were actually eating foods that were so good for us but at the time we didn't quite appreciate the things like beans or rice.

Creamed Macaroni

Cook 1/2 lb. elbow macaroni according to the package and drain well.
Put back in the pan and cover with milk. Add a whole stick (yes a whole stick) of butter.
Add lots of salt and lots of pepper and heat until it's hot but do not boil ! Ladle into bowls and add more salt if it needs it. If your cooking a larger batch you will of course need more of everything.
Hope you at least try it once. And thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me.

Cheddar Vegetable Soup

This is for all you soup lovers ! If you like most vegetables I think you're really going to enjoy this soup. The distinctive garlic flavor sets this soup apart from most other cheese soups . Because it's on the hearty side I like to serve it along side a salad with rolls or muffins. I hope you give this one a try !

2 very thinly sliced carrots
2 very thinly sliced stalks celery
1 small finely chopped onion
1 small clove minced garlic
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups strong chicken broth
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup half & half
1+1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp orange cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt

Melt the butter in a 6 qt. saucepan and add carrots and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes on medium heat stirring constantly. Add the remaining vegetables and cook another 5 minutes again stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat stirring for 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken broth. Add salt and pepper and simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender about 20 minutes stirring frequently. Add milk, half & half, and cheese and reheat just until it's hot. Serve. Makes 6 servings

Monday, August 17, 2009

Strawberry Jello Salad

This is definitely not your boring old jello. I served this one holiday and my step son said jokingly that when he died he wanted to be buried in it. That was too funny.
And my husband always says "Don't waste my jello on non-believers !" lol This is a great summer time dessert but can be made any time of year. It can be made with sugar free jello and also fat free sour cream if you are watching your calories. And you only put a small amount of Cool Whip and nuts on it so it's fairly lower in fat. Hope you enjoy it.

2 Lg. boxes strawberry Jello
1 Lg. Can chilled crushed pineapple in juice , with juice drained and reserved
1 Qt. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 8 oz. Cool Whip,any type
1 8oz. sour cream,any type
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups boiling water

Dissolve Jello completely in a saucepan on the stove in 2 cups boiling water. Press as much juice out of the pineapple as you can and refrigerate the pineapple. Add the drained Pineapple juice to the jello. Pour into a trifle bowl or oblong dish and cool to room temperature. Stir in the crushed pineapple and sliced strawberries and chill till it starts to thicken a bit. Press the fruit through to the bottom to distribute it evenly through out the jello. Smooth the top and chill 1 hour. Next spread a thin layer of sour cream over it. Then follow that with a thin layer of cool whip. Sprinkle the nuts over top and chill overnight. Garnish with a strawberry if desired.

Chicken Salad Filled Puffs

Fancy a mini chicken salad sandwich anyone? Picture these served with a large glass of ice cold lemonade and a fruit platter on a very hot day. Sounds very refreshing. If you're pressed for time you may purchase your chicken salad ready made from a deli and add a few halved grapes or other ingredients to it as long as you use it within a day. Do not make the chicken salad longer than a day before you intend to use it.

Start with the cream puffs which by the way, may be made the day before for your convenience.

Cream Puffs
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the following in a 3 qt. saucepan to a rolling boil:
*1 cup water
*1/2 cup butter
*Stir in;
*1 cup flour

Stir vigorously over low heat till mixture forms a ball about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Beat in:
4 eggs all at once and continue to beat till smooth and glossy.

Drop mixture by teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and dry. Cool on wire rack. Store them in a covered container until your ready to make the mini filled puffs.

Chicken Salad Filling

*2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
*2 stalks finely minced celery
*1/2 cup green grapes, halved on a paper towel if desired
*1/2 cup mayonaise
*1 tsp lemon juice
*1 tbs. finely minced onion
*salt to taste
*pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and chill right away until you put the mini puffs together.

Cream Puff Assembly
Cut off tops of the mini puffs and fill with a rounded teaspoon of chicken salad. Replace tops and cover with plastic wrap to refrigerate until serving time. Best if assembled as close to serving time as possible. They look great on an elegant platter.

Makes about 40 puffs

These are a great option for bridal showers, luncheons, dish-to-pass events, holidays... any time really.


Pillow Dogs

This recipe speaks for itself . I prefer to use the all beef wieners when it's possible. They are great for parties or sleepovers.

1 can refrigerated Grand Biscuits
1 pkg. lil wieners
1 pkg. shredded Cheddar Cheese
Squeeze Mustard

Brown wieners slightly. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide each biscuit into 6 wedges. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Flatten and shape each piece into a small rectangle shape to make as many pillows as there are wieners. Dip and press each one into the cheddar cheese. Next take your finger and press down through the middle and push a wiener on top of the cheese in the indent. Bake theses until they are browned about 15 to 20 minutes. Watch them closely so they do not get over baked. Repeat with the remaining pillow dogs.
These will puff up when they bake to look like the wiener is cradled in a pillow.
Next take the mustard and do a squiggle design down the wiener and serve.
Makes Approximately 48