Pork Loin

Many moons ago my grandpa decided that he had seen enough turkey by the time Christmas rolled around. Thus began the tradition to eat pork on Christmas day. That tradition has carried on.
This year I found this simple, and very tasty recipe. My family loved it, and I loved how easy it was. It was very moist and flavorful.
I found the recipe on allrecipes.com. It has received 4 1/2 stars.

Original Recipe Yield 10 servings
Ingredients
1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I only had spicy mustard- it was great!)
1 tablespoon honey
3 sprigs fresh rosemary ( I used dried rosemary)
Directions
1.Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown roast on all sides in oil. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Combine the applesauce, mustard and honey; spread over roast. Top with rosemary. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 1-3/4 to 2-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Crockpot Fajitas

2 lb. chuck roast
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
juice of two limes (I use bottled with no issues)

Combine everything in a crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours. Shred meat and serve with taco fixings. You can adjust the quantity of seasoning if you have a bigger/smaller roast.

Sprinkle Bars

Melt 1 stick of butter in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle 1 1/2 c. of graham cracker crumbs over bottom of pan.

Sprinkle in order over crumbs:

1 c. walnuts (or pecans), chopped
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. coconut

Pour 1 can condensed milk over everything. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Note: Last year my brother made the "mistake" of combining the butter and graham crackers in a bowl and then pressing into the bottom of the pan. I actually liked it better that way!

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

Cookies:

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbl. (1 stick) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate-Cherry Topping:

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
2 (12 oz.) jars maraschino cherries, drained and stemmed, 2 Tbl. juice reserved


Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until dough forms, about 1 minute.

Heat chocolate and milk in saucepan over low heat until chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes (mixture should have the consistency of mayonnaise). Off heat, stir in reserved cherry juice. Cover and keep warm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Using thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Place 1 cherry in center of each cookie, then top with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of warm chocolate mixture (you want it to cover the cherry, but not necessarily running off of the cookie onto the sheet). Bake until cookies are just set, 10-12 minutes.

Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
3 Tbl. milk
1 Tbl. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peanut butter, shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until well blended. Add egg, beat just until blended. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, and remove to foil to cool completely.

Variations: These are the cookies I use for Peanut Blossoms and Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints. Add an additional 1/4 c. flour to original recipe, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. For Peanut Butter Blossoms, immediately press an unwrapped Hershey's kiss upon removal from the oven. For Thumbprints, remove from oven and make indentations in the center with the handle of a wooden spoon. Heat 1/2 c. raspberry jam in a small saucepan, stirring until "loose," about 30 seconds. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. into each indentation.

Melt in Your Mouth Sugar Cookies

This is the dough that I use with my cookie press...

1 c. margarine or butter, softened
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
1 c. sifted confectioner's sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Heat oven to 350. Combine butter, oil, and sugars; beat well on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar; add to creamed mixture. Put into cookie press. Bake 8-10 minutes until set and *slightly* brown around edges.

Russian Tea Cakes

Love these!

1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts or pecans)
1/4 tsp. salt
confectioner's sugar

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together.  Blend flour and salt in separate bowl and add to butter mixture.  Mix thoroughly and stir in nuts.  Roll into 1-inch balls and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Right out of the oven, roll in confectioner's sugar.  Allow to cool and roll in sugar again.











































































































































































Veggie Lasagna

I LOVE, love, love vegetables. I have always loved veggie lasagna. I have been in search for a great veggie lasagna recipe for some time. I found a few that I thought were pretty good, and decided that I would just mix and match my favorite parts. My family was very happy with the results, and so was I.

2 jars of spaghetti sauce **
1 box of lasagna noodles, prepared (I am a purist. Those oven ready noodles are mushy!!)
8 ounces of room temperature cream cheese (I use neufchatel cheese, it's lighter)
1 egg plant, drained, and cut in to bite sized pieces
1 small yellow squash, cut in to bite sized pieces
1 small zucchini, cut in to bite sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
Italian seasonings to taste
1 to 2 TBSP olive oil
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella

-A few hours before you begin, slice an eggplant and let it drain, cut side down, on a paper towel. This will take the bitterness out of it.-
Combine the spaghetti sauce and the cream cheese together until it is smooth and set aside.
Saute olive oil and diced onions until the onions start to get translucent. Add zucchini and squash and saute until they become tender. When those are tender, add your bite sized pieces of eggplant. Add garlic and Italian seasonings to taste to your veggie mixture. Set aside.
Combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and one egg in a bowl.
Now it's time to begin building your lasagna! Liberally spray a 9 x 13 pan with non stick spray. Evenly spread 1 cup of sauce over the bottom of the pan. Put down a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread ALL of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top that with half of the veggie mixture. Lay down another layer of noodles. Top with the second half of veggie mixture and half of the remaining sauce. Add your last layer of noodles and top with the rest of the sauce.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes covered. Remove foil and top lasagna with mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly.
Remove from oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Yes- it is involved, but it is very worth it. The is full of veggie servings and the eggplant adds a fantastic flavor to the 4 cheese pasta dish!
** If you just can't do meatless (dad!), here is a tip; When I make spaghetti sauce I make a HUGE pot of it and split it up for future meals. That sauce has meat in it. I use that for the lasagna. TASTY!

Sweet Potato Crunch

I wanted to post this recipe before Thanksgiving, but I couldn't find it! My mother in law called my sister in law and we were able to get it on our table. It's a little late for that now, but these are still fabulous. They were the thing I kept going back to for more!

3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 stick butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup corn flakes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cook and mash the potatoes. Add 1/2 stick of butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and orange peel.
(The potatoes can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.)
Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, cornflakes, and pecans, and remaining butter.

Before serving, heat the potatoes. They can be heated in a microwave for 20 minutes on 50% power if desired or heated at 350 in the oven.
Add topping and bake for an additional 20 minutes at 375.

These would be great with any holiday dinner, or just you, a spoon, and a couch, while watching a movie. HA!

Buckeyes


In Ohio these little gems are lovingly referred to as Buckeyes because of the similarities in appearance to the nut of the Ohio state tree which shares their name. I like to think of them as the creamier, tastier cousin to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

1 pound butter, softened
2 pounds peanut butter
About 2 1/2 to 3 pounds powdered sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
12 ounces milk chocolate chips
2 ounces paraffin (I just left this out and it was fine--you can also use dipping chocolate instead of the chocolate chips if you prefer)

Mix first 3 ingredients together and form into 1 inch balls. Let harden a bit in the fridge or freezer. When you are ready to dip the peanut butter balls, remove from freezer. Melt the chocolate chips and paraffin together in a double boiler or the microwave. With a toothpick, dip peanut butter balls in chocolate to coat, leaving about a dime sized spot on top exposed like a Buckeye. Let harden on waxed paper. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Cinnamon Rolls

I have very happy memories of my mom making these on Christmas morning. Sometimes if I'm feeling too harried on Christmas morning I'll save the task for New Year's Day. I can't think of a better way to start off the new year!

2 cakes yeast (Do they even make cakes of yeast any more? I just use 2 packets or the equivalent thereof).
1 Tablespoon sugar
Warm water to dissolve yeast
1/2 cup Mazola or Wesson oil (I just use Canola or whatever I have)
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cups flour, sifted

Softened butter
Brown sugar
Cinnamon
Chopped pecans (optional)
Raisins (optional)

Crumble yeast in a cup. Add tablespoon of sugar, Barely cover yeast and sugar with warm water. Scald milk (I just do this in the microwave for a few minutes until a skin forms--very easy). Add oil and sugar. Place into mixing bowl. Add eggs and salt. Mix until smooth; add 2 cups flour. Add yeast mixture. Beat 4-5 minutes on medium speed. Add 2 more cups flour. Knead into mixture with dough hook. Put entire mixture into a large greased bowl. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Divide in half. Roll dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle (about 12 inches long). Spread with 1 stick of softened butter, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll from long side of rectangle into a roll. Mark rolls and cut with thread. Repeat process with other half of dough. Let rise on greased cookie sheets until doubled. Bake at 375 to 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Yield: 24 rolls.

My mom would usually make these with chopped nuts and occasionally with raisins. Both are tasty additions.

Brown Paper Bag Pecan Brittle

Here's a fancier, yummier version of Peanut Brittle. This is probably my favorite homemade Christmas candy. It's amazing that something so simple can taste so heavenly. I usually keep a brown lunch bag right there as I'm making it to compare the color.

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1/8 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
 

Line a cookie sheet with greased foil. Spread pecans on top. Mix sugar and butter in a large pan. Using a long handled wooden spoon, heat and stir constantly until the mixture turns exactly the color of  a brown paper bag. Pour over pecans. Cool. Break into pieces. 
*This can be made with other nuts as well--almonds are good, but pecans are my favorite.

Chinese New Year Cookies

I am pretty sure these are only called Chinese New Year Cookies because of the chow mein noodles, but they are fun and tasty!

1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (12 oz.) pkg. butterscotch chips
5 oz. chow mein noodles
1 small can salted peanuts

Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in a double boiler.  Add noodles and nuts a little bit at a time, coating thoroughly.  Drop spoonfuls on wax paper and chill.  Makes about 3-4 dozen.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

This doesn't make a lot of cookies, but that's probably a good thing -- they are addictive!

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oats
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.  Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.

To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.

Veggie Pizza

One of my favorite recipes from my Pampered Chef days...

1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 tsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of a variety of fresh vegetables: zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, green or red peppers, green onions, seeded tomatoes, seeded cucumbers, etc.
1 oz. (1/4 cup) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Spread crescent roll dough onto a baking stone or cookie sheet and pinch seams together.  Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Blend cream cheese, mayonnaise, dill weed, salt and pepper. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of cooled crust. Coarsely chop or crinkle cut chosen vegetables.Sprinkle layer of each vegetable over pizza. Top with grated cheese. Refrigerate before serving.

Chicken Divan

4-6 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 lb. broccoli, lightly steamed
1 can cream of celery or cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. bread crumbs
cooked rice or egg noodles

In a greased 9x13 pan, layer broccoli and chicken.  Mix together soup and milk and pour over chicken and broccoli.  Sprinkle cheese on top of soup mixture, and cover with bread crumbs.  Bake covered at 375 for 25 minutes or until bubbly.  Uncover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve over rice or egg noodles

Macaroni and Cheese

This was a staple in our house growing up, usually a once or twice a month treat on Saturday nights (with fried chicken and tossed salad), and it definitely found its way to our table every holiday.  I don't usually measure the ingredients when I make this, so you may want to adjust this to taste.

1 lb. box elbow macaroni
8 oz. Velveeta
4 oz. cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded
2 oz. pecorino romano
1/2 c. margarine or butter
1 c. milk
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste

Cook macaroni to a bit less than al dente (you don't want it to overcook in the oven).  Drain and return to pot.  Add butter, milk, and cheeses, and cook over low heat until combined.  Add seasonings to taste.  Transfer to an oven-safe dish coated with cooking spray and bake, covered, at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Escalloped Potatoes/Funeral Potatoes

Some people substitute peeled and diced potatoes for the frozen hash browns, but I'm too lazy for that...

1 (32 oz.) package frozen hash brown potatoes (I usually take mine out of the freezer a bit)
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 c. chopped onions
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. corn flakes, crushed
3 Tbl. melted butter

Mix first 8 ingredients together and spread in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle corn flakes over the top, and then drizzle with butter.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Pretzel Salad

I love this salad, but am the only one in my family who will eat it, so I tend to make it fairly infrequently.  The combination of the sweet and salty is so good!

2 c. pretzels, crushed
4 Tbl. sugar
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 (12 oz.) container of Cool Whip
1 (6 oz.) pkg. strawberry jello
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries

Mix pretzels, 4 Tbl. sugar, and butter in a 9x13 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes.  Cool.  Mix cream cheese, 1 c. sugar and Cool Whip together and spread on top of crust. Refrigerate. Dissolve jello in 2 c. boiling water.  Add strawberries and chill until almost congealed.  Spread on top of cream cheese mixture.  Continue to chill until set.

Paula Deen's Taco Salad

A bit of a twist on "traditional" taco salad;  I will sometimes add a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) and a can of corn (drained and rinsed).

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, diced or shredded
1 large onion, chopped (I use thinly sliced red onion)
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped (I use a combo of iceberg and romaine)
1 lb. ground beef, browned, crumbled, and drained (I usually season it with a taco seasoning packet)
1 16 oz. bottle of Catalina salad dressing
1 bag of Doritos, crushed
Taco sauce/salsa/sour cream

Combine the tomatoes, cheese, onion, lettuce, and ground beef in a large bowl.  Add the entire bottle of salad dressing and mix well.  Just before serving, add the Doritos, tossing to combine with the other ingredients.  Top each serving with taco sauce or salsa and sour cream.

My Mom's Mexican Rice

This is one of the 3 things I knew how to make when I got married. Thank goodness my husband likes it. :)

3 Chicken Bullion Cubes
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 can of petite diced tomatoes with green chilies (optional)
Water
1 to 2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
Diced or Dried Onion to taste
3 cups of white rice
About 1 TBSP Cumin
1 to 2 TBSP of Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Oregano

In a LARGE measuring bowl, let chicken bullion cubes soak in about 1 cup of hot water until they are soft then mix. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and water until you have 5 cups of liquid.
In a large skillet sautee' olive oil, garlic, and onion. When the oil is sufficiently hot add the 3 cups of white rice. On medium heat stir rice and oil until most of the rice has turned white, rather than translucent.
Add your 5 cups of liquid and stir until it starts to boil.
Cover and turn the heat down to a medium low. Let it simmer for about 40 minutes. Do not remove the lid or your rice will stay crunchy.
After 40 minutes, remove cover and fluff with a fork.

Marshmallow Fondant


This recipe has become part of my arms, so I am sitting here think, thinking, about how I actually do it... Hmm...

You will need;

1 bag of 16 ounce mini marshmallows (Most bags come in the 10.5 ounce size, so make sure you are using 16 ounces.)
3 1/2 TBSP water
1/2 TBSP glycerin (You can get this in the wilton isle of your craft store. If you don't have access to it, use an extra 1/2 TBSP of water)
1 TBSP butter flavoring
2 lbs of 10x powdered sugar
shortening

GENEROUSLY grease a microwave safe bowl with vegetable shortening. Add your marshmallows, water, glucose, and butter flavoring.

Microwave for 1 minute. Using a greased spoon, stir the marshmallow mixture.
Microwave an additional 30 seconds. Stir again. You will continue to microwave in 30 second increments until it is completely smooth.
(It never takes me more than 2 minutes, total.)

If you are planning on coloring the entire batch of fondant, now is the time to add your coloring. Mix until even.

Here are you two options for mixing in the powdered sugar;

Option #1 Kitchen Aid mixer (preferred)

Generously grease your kitchen aid bowl and kneading hook. Pour marshmallow mixture in to the bowl and slowly add your 2 lbs of powdered sugar.
It will start to pull away from the bowl, but it will still be REALLY sticky when you are done.
Place the warm fondant on a large piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Cover completely in a tight ball shape. Put covered fondant inside a ziploc bag. Let sit for at least 8 hours. It will be soft and pliable when you are ready to use it.

Option #2 Hand kneading

Slowly mix in your 2 pounds of powdered sugar. You will need to knead in the sugar like you are kneading bread. (It is helpful to lightly cover your hands with shortening.)
It will still be REALLY sticky when you are done.
Place the warm fondant on a large piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover completely in a tight ball shape.
Put covered fondant inside a ziploc bag. Let sit for at least 8 hours. It will be soft and pliable when you are ready to use it.

Fondant can be used to cover cakes or to mold in to fun shapes and dry. It's great!

Gingerbread

Not to be confused with the cookie variety. This recipe from Lion House Recipes is another fall/winter favorite at our place. It is wonderful served warm out of the oven with freshly sliced bananas and real whipped cream. It's also good cold--if it lasts that long.

1/2  cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 cup very hot water

Cream sugar and butter well. Add egg and molasses. Beat well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture (I usually just stir them together with a fork). Add hot water and beat until smooth (batter will be very thin). Pour into a well-greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven  for about 40 minutes or until cake tests done.

Gingerbread Men

These are a fun holiday tradition that I grew up with. I remember having all the neighbors over to decorate gingerbread men one year when I was a kid. The decorating is just about as fun as eating them.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup light molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vinegar
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

Cream shortening and sugar together. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar. Stir or sift dry ingredients together. Add 1/3  at a time to creamed mixture, beating until smooth. Chill dough overnight. Roll  in 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters dipped in flour. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are brown. remove to racks and cool before frosting and decorating.

*To make Valentine Bears, cut with a bear shaped cookie cutter; roll a small ball of dough scrapsand place on bear's face for a muzzle. Use small raisins or currents for eyes (just above muzzle) and nose (in center of muzzle). Place a heart-shaped red hot candy on chest are for heart. Bake as above.

Butternut Squash Soup

Had this last night at a Relief Society meeting/homemaking/HFPE/enrichment and it was amazing.  I didn't add the sour cream or croutons and it was still SO delicious!

1 butternut squash
1 small onion
2-3 carrots
32 oz. chicken stock
1 tsp. garlic
sour cream/croutons

Cut the squash lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Roast in oven cut side down about an hour, or until very tender, at 375. In a pot add chopped onion, carrots, and garlic. Cover with broth and simmer until tender. When the squash is done, let it cool a bit then scrape it out of the skin and add to the veggies in the pot. Add remaining stock and simmer. Using a measuring cup, add to blender and blend until smooth. Serve hot.  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and croutons.

Cauliflower Soup

When Che's aunt dropped off a head of cauliflower bigger than my 2-year-old's head, I knew that I was going to need to do more with it than steam it and serve it with dinner for the next week.  I made this for lunch yesterday and it was fantastic.  My adjustments are in parenthesis. Check out The Pioneer Woman Cooks! for a bunch of great recipes!

1 stick butter
½ onion, diced (I used a whole onion)
1 carrot, diced (I used 2)
1 rib of celery, diced (I used 2)
1 whole (to 2 whole) cauliflower heads (roughly chopped)
2 Tbl. fresh or dried parsley (chopped)
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or stock (I only used one quart)
6 Tbl. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole milk (used 1%)
1 c. half-and-half (didn't have it, so I didn't use it)
2-4 tsp.salt, to taste
1 c. (heaping) sour cream, room temperature (I just added a Tbl. to the individual bowls)

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.
Serve immediately.

Russian "Tea"

We used to have this (and even passed it off as wassail a couple of times) growing up, and the original recipe included instant tea.  I have since excluded that ingredient and find it to be just as tasty!

2 c. Tang, undiluted (dry)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 pkg. Kool-aid lemonade

Place ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended (alternatively, you can place in a glass jar with a screw top and shake until blended).  To serve, mix 2 tsp. of the mix with 1 c. of boiling water.

Brining the Turkey

I had brined turkey for the first time at my mom's house when we had our early Thanksgiving dinner. It was fabulous. Best turkey I have ever eaten! It is not a hard process and totally worth it!
Here are the instructions;

Ingredients
1 gallon hot water
1 pound kosher salt
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 pound honey
1 (7-pound) bag of ice
1 (15 to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey
Directions
Combine the hot water and the salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid.. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil.

My mom cooked the turkey in an oven bag after brining it. That part is up to you. My grandparents stopped by unexpectedly and our turkey ended up over cooking a bit. I was afraid it was going to be dry. I couldn't tell at all!! I will definitely be doing our turkey this way.

Sausage Bread

This makes a yummy "light" meal;  I will usually make it on a Saturday or Sunday night during the holidays and serve it with a salad. I've also divided the dough in half to make two smaller loaves for appetizers.  It tastes delicious both warm and at room temperature.

1 lb. ground Italian sausage (or cut links out of their casing)
1 lb. pizza dough
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 c. flavored bread crumbs
1 tsp. garlic salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. parsley
Butter/olive oil
Oregano
Pizza/marinara sauce

Fry sausage, drain, and cool.  Add eggs, bread crumbs, garlic salt, and parsley.  Add cheese to mixture.  Roll dough into a rectangle and sprinkle filling over top.  Roll up from the short end, pinching ends and tucking underneath.  Make 2 or 3 slits on top of the bread, rub with butter or olive oil, and sprinkle with oregano.  Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and then cut into slices.  Serve with pizza/marinara sauce

Potato Latkes

I am not Jewish, but grew up with friends and family who were.  Even if I'm not actually celebrating Hanukkah, I usually end up making these sometime during the holiday season.  My favorite way to eat them is with sour cream, but I have also had them with apple or pear sauce.  They are really filling, so again, served with a salad, it makes a "simple" meal.

2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, peeled (I sometimes add a bit more)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbl. flour
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil

Grate potatoes and onions by hand or food processor.  Remove excess liquid by placing in a clean kitchen towel and squeezing over the sink.  In a large bowl, combine potatoes with eggs, flour, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.  Heat about a quarter inch of oil in a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.  Drop in potato mixture by heaping tablespoon for each pancake.  Fry until crisp and golden brown on both sides.  Drain latkes on paper towels.  Makes about 20 small or 12 medium-sized latkes. 

Southern Pecan Pie

This pie has always been my favorite. It's kind of fun to have friends around here with pecan trees in their yards that share with us. It's not as much fun to have to shell them ourselves. ;) Since David is allergic we have also made this pie substituting almonds for the pecans. We even made it with pistachios once. That was interesting. It was actually pretty good but definitely unusual. My favorite version is the old standard with pecans though.

3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 cup pecan halves
3 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine eggs and corn syrup, mix well.Add sugar and mix thoroughly.Stir in salt and vanilla. Let stand about 5 minutes.Meanwhile spread pecans evenly on bottom of pie shell.Stir melted butter into syrup. Pour over pecans. Be sure all the pecans rise to the top.Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until center is firm.

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

My mom always made this at Thanksgiving and Christmas growing up and I can't eat any other kind(well I can, but I choose not to) ;) I love this warm, so I make it about 20 minutes before eating, but it can be made ahead and eaten cold or reheated. It is also so good the day after the big feast with some leftover turkey on a roll.

1 lb fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar




Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.Bring to a boil, cover, then turn to medium heat. Continue cooking until all the berries pop, stirring ocassionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until cold, or serve warm.

Green Beans with Almonds

An elegant and easy side dish that goes together in minutes. Mom always made this at Thanksgiving. It's nice with a big meal when the oven and stove are already being used.

1/4 cup slivered almond
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 ounce) package frozen green beans

Place almonds and butter in a 1-quart casserole.Microwave uncovered on full power, stirring every minute, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.Remove almonds from dish with a slotted spoon.Place salt and beans into same dish. Cover tightly and microwave on full power for 3 minutes; stir.Cover and microwave until tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer.Stir in almonds. YUM.

Grandma Hall's Simple Bread Stuffing

This is the stuffing recipe that my Great Grandma Hall used and it is still our family's favorite. It makes enough for a 12-pound turkey. Make sure and adjust it to the weight of your bird.

3/4 cup onion, minced
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped, with leaves
1 cup butter
9 cups bread, soft, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sage leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute onion and celery in butter until tender.Stir in about 1/3 of the bread cubes. Turn into a deep bowl and add remaining ingredients. Toss well.Stuff turkey just before roasting. You can mix this together the night before and refrigerate until you are ready to stuff your bird on Thanksgiving day. You can also bake it in a casserole dish if you don't like in-the-bird stuffing.

Grandma Nolan's Weenie Sauce

A Christmas Eve tradition...

1 c. currant jelly
1/3 c. yellow mustard
Mini hotdogs

Combine jelly and mustard in a saucepan over medium heat. Add mini hotdogs and continue cooking on low until heated through.

Egg Rolls

A friend's mom would give a huge pan of these to us each holiday season. I haven't made them in awhile because they are a bit labor intensive, but they are so worth it!

1/2 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 c. cabbage, finely chopped
1 mushroom, chopped
1/3 c. bamboo shoots, chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
4 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
egg roll skins
oil/shortening

Stir fry pork in skillet until cooked through. Drain, and remove from skillet, reserving fat. With 2 Tbl. reserved fat, stir fry cabbage, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and onion. Mix soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, and sugar; pour over vegetable mixture. Stir fry for one minute and let cool. Mix pork and vegetables together. Place 1/4 c. of meat mixture in the center of an egg roll skin. Fold one corner over filling; overlap the two opposite corners. Moisten the fourth with water; fold to make into a roll. Heat oil (1 inch high) in a skillet until bubbles appear. Fry one to three egg rolls at a time until golden brown, turning once. Fry about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with sweet-and-sour sauce, soy sauce, or hot mustard.

Hot Cocoa Mix

3 c. nonfat dry milk
2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1 2/ c. white chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground. Store in airtight container for up to three months. To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 c. of mix into 1 c. of hot milk.

Chocolate Mousse Pie (Sugar Free Option)

This is another simple recipe! I made this the other night for my family using the sugar free option, so that my dad could enjoy it with us. It was the perfect treat to compliment our card game. :)

1 package instant chocolate pudding (Use the sugar free box if you would like for this to be a sugar free dessert)
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of milk
1 baked 9 inch pie crust

Whip together the heavy whipping cream and the box of instant pudding until it starts to become thick. Whip in the 1/2 cup of milk.
Spoon the chocolate mousse in to the pie crust and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate if you will not be eating it right away.

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie

We had an early Thanksgiving feast yesterday. My dad is headed to Kuwait and we wanted to celebrate with him. My mom made this fabulous pumpkin pie. (Recipe found on allrecipes.com)
No one throw anything at me, but pumpkin pie is not a favorite of mine. This pie was so tasty and my brother had no idea he was eating sugar free pie!

1-9 inch pie crust (We used THIS fantastic pie crust recipe.)
1 egg
2/3 cup of Splenda (the kind that measures cup for cup as sugar)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a medium bowl whisk together egg, sugar substitute, and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. Add pumpkin and milk to egg mixture, and stir until smooth. Pour mixture into pie shell.
3.Place pie on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until set in center. (Knife comes out clean)

This is a great choice for those diabetic family members, or just those watching their sugar intake.

Pineapple Cranberry Jell-o Salad

This recipe combines Jell-o (which you must always have with a holiday dinner!) and cranberry sauce (again, a required side) and is so good!

1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) or 1 pkg. (8-serving size) raspberry jell-o
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 medium apple, cored, chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Drain pineapple, reserving liquid. Add enough cold water to reserved liquid to measure 2 cups; pour into medium saucepan. Bring to boil; remove from heat. Add dry gelatin mix; stir at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce; stir until well blended. (Note: Due to the presence of whole berries in the cranberry sauce, the gelatin mixture will not be smooth.) Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until thickened. (Spoon drawn through leaves a definite impression.)

Stir in pineapple, apple and walnuts until well blended. Spoon into 6-cup mold sprayed with cooking spray.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold onto serving plate. Store leftover gelatin in refrigerator.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Ahhhhh, Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of all. I love planning/cooking/eating -- every aspect of Thanksgiving dinner (except cleanup). This recipe became a lifesaver for me, because before I found it, I usually ended up with some gross, lumpy, tasteless mess that could never pass for gravy! This makes perfect gravy every time, and you don't have to mess with pan drippings on the big day.

4 turkey wings (about 3 to 4 lb)
2 medium onions, cut up
1 cup water
8 cups chicken broth
1 chopped carrot
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 400°F. You’ll need a large roasting pan, a 5- to 6-qt pot and a 3-qt saucepan.

Put wings in a single layer in pan; scatter onions on top. Roast 1 1/4 hours or until wings are browned.

Put wings and onions in pot. Add water to roasting pan; stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom. Add to pot. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), the carrots and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.

Remove wings. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use.

Strain broth into saucepan; skim fat off broth.

Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until well blended and smooth.

Bring broth in saucepan to a gentle boil. Whisk in flour mixture; boil 5 minutes to thicken gravy. Stir in butter and pepper.

Plan ahead: Freeze up to 1 month. When thawed, purée in blender, then reheat.

Seriously Tasty Breadsticks

I have been searching for a yummy breadstick recipe for a very long time.  I wanted something comparable to Olive Garden fare, but every recipe I came across required frozen bread dough, and they never turned out to be exactly what I wanted.  Well, I have finally found one that meets my criteria -- soft, chewy, garlicky, delicious.  This site has a bunch of terrific recipes, and this one is no exception!  They recommend using it for pizza dough as well, but I wasn't terribly fond of it (I tried it a couple of weeks ago before making the breadsticks).  The original recipe has you making 12 breadsticks, but they do come out very large, so unless you are serving it with soup (where you would want a nice chunk of bread to go with it), I would recommend stretching it to 16 or 18 breadsticks.  Enjoy!

1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 1/2 c. flour


In a large bowl (the bowl of your mixer, if you have one), combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly. 

Add salt and stir. Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well. Gradually add more flour (usually between 3-4 cups, depending on your elevation and your humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it barely sticks to your finger.

 Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Remove from bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.

Roll out each piece of dough into a snake and then drape over your forefinger and twist the dough. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 11 pieces of dough. Try to space them evenly, but it's okay if they're close; pulling apart hot bread is one of life's greatest pleasures!

Cover pan and allow dough to rise for another 30 minutes. When there's about 15 minutes to go, preheat your oven to 425. When done rising, bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Rub some butter on top of the breadsticks (just put a ziploc bag on your hand, grab some softened butter, and have at it) and sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning or the powdery Parmesan cheese in a can and garlic salt. Or you could sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.

Pumpkin Roll

Another delicious pumpkin recipe!

Cake:

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin


Filling:

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (to sift on finished dessert)


FOR CAKE:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

FOR FILLING:

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.



Apple Crunch Cakelets (Muffins)

My sister shared this recipe with me a few years ago and it is a family favorite. Delicious, easy and versatile! These come together really quickly.  They are great hot out of the oven with a little butter or cold the next day for a snack. (My eight year old told me he wished he could have them for a snack every day.) I have also made these with pumpkin. Just use an equivalent amount of pumpkin in place of the grated apple and substitute a little pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon. Try some other variations as well--banana, blueberry, mashed sweet potato or whatever strikes your fancy.                                             

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup apple (peeled and grated)

Cream shortening and sugar until well blended. Add egg. Beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients with milk and stir just until blended. Stir in apples. Drop in 12 greased muffin tins (or 24 greased mini muffin tins). Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes (10-15 minutes for the mini muffins).

Pumpkin Dip

2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened

1 15oz can pumpkin

1 to 2 cups powdered sugar, to taste

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Stir softened cream cheese in a mixer. Add pumpkin and spices. Fold in sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Chill before serving. Serve with ginger snaps, vanilla wafers or graham crackers!

Coke Chicken

This has a surprisingly great taste and is very easy. It turns in to a BBQ tasting sauce.

Around 6 boneless chicken breasts (I cut them in half)
1 can of caffeine free coke (It is 1 1/2 cups of the soda. I use diet)
1 cup of ketchup

I like to double the sauce because I don't think it makes enough.

Place chicken breasts in to a skillet. Pour the coke over that. Add one cup of ketchup. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. Let it simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. (15 if you double the recipe.)Stir occasionally.

I serve this over rice or mashed potatoes.

Crockpot Chickenetti

This recipe comes from Sister Mayes in the Rochester 3rd Branch cookbook. We tried it out and it was a hit with the boys so I thought I'd go ahead and post it for anyone not blessed with one of Tiffany’s-young-women’s-project-cookbooks. I wondered if the spaghetti noodles would get too overcooked in the crock pot for three hours but they were fine. If you like your pasta more al dente you could always just stir in the noodles at the end.

1 cup chicken broth
16 oz. package spaghetti, cooked
4-6 cups cubed and cooked chicken, or turkey breast
1-10.75 oz. can cream of mushroom or celery soup (I used the celery)
1 cup water
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped (I omitted this)
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion chopped fine
1/2 pound white or yellow American cheese (I just used Colby—that’s what I had and it was great. Sister Mayes has a note that she uses Velveeta)

Put chicken broth, spaghetti and meat into a large slow cooker. In a  large bowl, combine soup and water until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients and pour all into slow cooker.Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours (I did mine for 3 hours and the celery was still just a bit crunchy).
Options:
  • #1--for a creamier dish  add one can of cream of chicken soup as well (I used this option).
  • #2—Add a 4.5 oz. can chopped green chilies for more zest.
I served this with a green salad and homemade rolls. Easy and tasty.

Simple Apple Pie

This simple recipe for apple pie is my family's favorite. We steer clear of cinnamon and other spices and just revel in the pure apple-y deliciousness.

6 to 8 large Golden Delicious apples*, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
6 to 8 tablespoons of butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup white sugar (I used a heaping half cup plus just a little more)

Prepare crust for 9-inch 2 crust pie. Layer sliced apples in bottom crust dotting each layer with some of the butter and sprinkling with some of the sugar as you go. Prepare your top crust (make sure to cut a vent for steam). Trim, seal and flute the pie. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 12-13 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 25-40 minutes longer until the crust is golden brown and the apples are done. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.
It is also good served cold out of the fridge the next morning for breakfast. :D

*Most people usually use Granny Smith apples for pie but with this recipe Golden Delicious are the best. Other apples will work in a pinch but Golden Delicious are my favorite.

Tomato Soup

It is a cold, fall evening and my family requested tomato soup! I found this recipe on allrecipes. Good stuff! Perfect for a cold fall evening. This was served with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on sourdough. YUM!

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (I had diced, I just blended them smooth)
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
18 fresh basil leaves, minced (I couldn't find any at the store!?! Used the dried stuff...)
garlic to taste
dried onion to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream (I used 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup milk)
6 TBSP butter or
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer. Add basil, garlic, onion and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted.

Honey Butter

Yesterday morning my family enjoyed hot scones and honey butter while watching General Conference.
These "scones" are not the typical english, cake like, scones. We fried wheat bread dough. They are absolutely perfect with this honey butter recipe on top;

1/2 cup of softened butter
1 1/2 to 2 TBSP of honey
1/2 cup of marshmallow fluff or marshmallow creme

Mix together well. So easy, and SO very tasty. This is fantastic on pancakes, cornbread, a spoon, or whatever. ;)

Chicken and Rice Casserole

A Paula Deen recipe;  Sally Johnson brought me a version of this when Sam was born and I think I ate it for three days straight! :)

2 (14 1/2-ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 medium onion, diced and sauteed
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 (4-ounce) can pimentos, drained (I usually leave these out)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (6-ounce) box long-grain and wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Cheese Ball

Delicious served with crackers or veggies!

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/8 c. butter, softened
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion salt
1/4 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Blend cream cheese and butter together.  Add cheese and seasonings.  Form into a ball or log and roll in nuts. 

Note:  To shape it without making a huge mess, refrigerate for 15 minutes or so, then place on a piece of plastic wrap, using that to form your cheese ball.

Black Bean Soup

This is soooooooo tasty and sooooooooo simple!

2 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 (16 oz.) cans of black beans
1/2 lb. ham, cubed
1 tsp. cumin
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
Cooked rice, red onion, and sour cream for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot, adding onion and cooking for 10 minutes.  Add beans, ham, cumin, and tomatoes.  Cook for another 20-30 minutes, allowing flavors to combine (I usually let it simmer for up to an hour).  Serve over hot rice and garnish with onion and sour cream.

Grandma Ople's Apple Pie

Ok, no one answered fast enough for me, so I found this recipe. It was really good. I will share.

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 tart apples - peeled,cored,sliced, and tossed in 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon


DIRECTIONS
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

Applesauce

Before living in NY I did not know what good applesauce really was. My mom opened up a jar that she bought from a store and dumped it over our pork chops. Occasionally she would put a little Mott's package in our lunches.
My mother in law taught me how simple and wonderful homemade applesauce really is.
Right now I have hot applesauce on my stove. My house smells heavenly and the taste is even better.

I cut up about 9 to 10 apples. (If you want a side dish for dinner, than just do 4 or 5!)
I used two varieties of apples. Cortland and McIntosh. One is a little more tart and one is a sweeter variety. Use what you have. Try a "U-Pick" farm!
Peel (if you want to, my mother in law didn't always do that!) and core the apples. It will go faster if you do cut them in to smaller pieces, but as long as they are cored, throw them in whole!
Place in a pot on the stove with just a little bit of water to start the steam. I used 1/2 cup of water for 10 apples.
Add cinnamon to taste. Add half brown sugar, half white sugar until you have obtained the desired sweetness. Go easy, let the flavor of the apples come through.
Let them simmer on the stove until the apples turn themselves in to a sauce. Stir it occasionally.
This is great as a side dish, heaped on top of hot waffles, or just a snack.
MMMmmmm. Ya gotta love fall!

Salmon Cakes

Here is the surprise of the century- my family LOVED these. Another hit from Melissa D'Arabian. My kids won't usually eat stuff like this, but it looked easy enough and not expensive, so I decided to try it out. Even Jeff, who's personal mantra is "Fish are friends, not food", said they were "SO GOOD!". Shocking.
I used the smaller cans of Wild Salmon, because they were labeled boneless and skinless. I really didn't want to have to pick through the other stuff and pull bones out. Eeeww. I just stuck my potato in the microwave for 8 minutes with a cup of water in there. Faster. I topped off the cakes with some lemon juice.
I served these with orzo and a veggie. A meal for under $10.

2 strips bacon, cooked until crispy, crumbled, bacon fat reserved
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 egg
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon, zested
1 (14-ounce) can wild salmon, checked for large bones
1 baked or boiled russet potato, peeled, and fluffed with a fork
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Directions
Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Cool the onions for a bit.

Mix the bacon, onion, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the salmon and potato, mixing gently after each addition. Form the mixture into 12 small patties. In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper, to taste. Coat the patties in the bread crumb topping. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, and cook the salmon cakes in batches until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add more oil, as necessary. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.

Yummy Orzo!

This is another Melissa D'arabian dish! I am so in love with her show. My family ate it up very quickly.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
3/4 cup orzo
1/2 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
Salt
Directions
In a medium saucepan, add the stock, water, pepper flakes, and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo, lower the heat, and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in lemon zest and thyme leaves. Season with salt, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl.

Best Banana Bread

I love banana bread. I found this recipe about 6 years ago. I can eat a whole loaf of this stuff all on my own. If I make it early enough in the day my husband doesn't even know it ever existed. ;)

3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed nuts (optional)
5 very ripe bananas
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla, sour cream, lemon, juice, oil, cinnamon, nuts, and bananas. Add dry ingredients.

Pour batter in to 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

This is a sinful banana bread!

Enchilada Sauce

I wanted to make Amy’s Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup but I didn’t have any enchilada sauce so I made my own using this recipe I found as a basis and altering it just a little to make it work for me. The way it is written below seemed to be the perfect amount for the soup. Very easy—maybe not as easy as opening a can, but much more flavorful than the canned kind in my opinion. It smelled wonderful as I was cooking it as well.  It is pretty mild but you could spice it up by adding some cayenne pepper, jalapeños or hot sauce according to your personal preference.

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2  tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken broth, divided

Mix spices and olive oil in saucepan over medium heat until fragrant and starting to brown. Slowly add tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. Cook and stir. Put the flour and the remaining half cup chicken broth into a sealable container (tupperware, etc.) and shake vigorously to combine. Slowly stir flour-broth mixture into the rest of the sauce and stir until sauce comes to a boil. (This method helps me to avoid lumps.) Boil and stir one minute.  Use as a red sauce over enchiladas, chicken, beef, etc.

I’m thinking it wouldn’t be too hard to make a large batch of this and bottle it. I read that it doesn’t freeze well though.

Chicken Catch-A-Tory Ravioli Stew

A Rachael Ray favorite from a few years ago -- seriously delicious.


3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp. rosemary or Herbs de Provence
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 (15 oz.) can stewed tomatoes with peppers, onions, and celery
2 roasted red peppers from a jar, drained and chopped
1 c. tomato sauce
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 c. chicken broth
3/4 - 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. fresh ravioli, any flavor (I use frozen -- either cheese or Italian sausage)

Add olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms to soup pot/Dutch oven, and saute over low heat, seasoning with rosemary, salt and pepper while cooking. Add tomatoes, red peppers, tomato sauce, spinach and chicken broth to pot. Bring to a boil. Add chicken. When soup returns to a boil and chicken has cooked through (about 10 minutes), add ravioli, cooking until done. Serve with Romano (or parmesan, if you haven't come to the realization that Romano is better :) cheese sprinkled/shredded over the top and crusty bread.

Anne’s Pumpkin Squares


This recipe comes from my sister, Anne (thus the name). They’re a great fall treat for Family Home Evening or pretty much anytime. I plan to make them this week. If I pretend it’s autumn here maybe I can fool myself into believing it despite the still-summer-hot weather. Look for a picture—coming soon.

Bottom
1 package yellow cake mix (set aside 1 cup)
1 egg
½ cup butter, melted
Grease bottom of a 9x13 pan. Combine cake mix, egg and butter and press into pan. This will be the crust.

Filling
1 small can pumpkin (15 ounce)
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
Blend well. Pour over crust layer.

Top

1 cup cake mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
Blend together until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool. Top with whipped cream.

Twisted Mac and Cheese

Here’s a twist on a recipe that you may want to avoid. FYI, bacon grease is not a suitable substitute for margarine or butter.

1 box macaroni and cheese dinner

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup bacon grease

Prepare macaroni according to package directions substituting bacon grease for the margarine called for. Don’t bother eating. Dump directly into the garbage.

Yes, it is as yucky as it sounds, but I had to post it so that hopefully everyone can have a good laugh. My sister and I were talking on the phone a few days ago and the memory of David making this for me when I was pregnant came back to me. I guess I had blocked it out up to that point. I think the conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, didn’t Dave make me something with bacon grease when I was pregnant?

My sister: Yes! He did. What was that? I think it was macaroni and cheese but you were out of butter so he used bacon grease.

Me: Oh. Yeah. I remember now. It was awful. I had morning sickness and just the smell was nauseating. I think I took one bite and was like “sorry, but I cannot eat this.”

My sister: Poor David. He just likes to experiment a little too much when he’s cooking.

At this point in the conversations we were both laughing so hard we could hardly talk.

I need to clarify a couple of points here. First, I love bacon. I think it is beyond delicious, but bacon grease belongs in collard greens or a wilted spinach salad—not macaroni and cheese. Second, David is a great baker—his desserts are usually fantastic. A lot of times the things he cooks are good too but occasionally he doesn’t do so well. If you need more examples I will be happy to share the stories about the curdled egg casserole and his recipe for baked rabbit at some point in the future.

Creamy Potato Soup

3 c. peeled and cubed potatoes
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped carrots
2 c. chicken broth or stock (if using stock, decrease salt by 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch ground black pepper
3 tsp. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar or American cheese
1 c. chopped ham or cooked/drained ground beef

Add first 8 ingredients to a medium-sized stock pot and simmer until vegetables are tender.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and milk;  add to pot and heat until thickened.  Stir in cheese and ham/beef until heated through and cheese is melted.

Note:  I usually double this recipe.

Pumpkin Bread

Apples, pumpkins, blue skies, changing leaves -- I LOVE autumn!  I tend to cook/bake seasonally, so when September 1st rolled around, I had to pull out this recipe.  I no longer have the original recipe that says what size pans/how many to use, but from what I remember I usually end up making 3 or 4 mini loaves and a dozen muffins.

3 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbl. cinnamon
4 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 c. oil
3/4 c. water
Chocolate chips (optional)

Stir flour, baking soda, salt , cinnamon and sugar together. Add oil, eggs, water and pumpkin. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pans for 5-10 minutes and then remove and place on cooling rack.  This tastes even better the next day for breakfast. Or lunch.  Or dinner.  Or snacktime...:)

Connie Smith’s Peanut Butter Pie

peanut butter pie Here’s a fun twist on your typical boring (albeit yummy) cream pie. In high school, my best friend’s mom and my mom started a catering business called “Simple Beginnings & Elegant Endings”. They specialized in appetizers and desserts. While I am not sure whether this was on their menu or not, I do know that it was a favorite with Connie’s own boys and has been a hit with everyone in my family as well. Enjoy it with a cold glass of milk.

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 cups milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
9-inch baked pastry shell
whipped topping

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar until crumbly; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, granulated sugar and salt. Stir in the egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and comes to boil; boil for 1 minute them remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the cream filling and set aside to cool. Spread 2/3 cup of the peanut butter crumbs in the baked and cooled pie shell covering the bottom and sides of the shell. Pour the cream filling over the crumbs and chill thoroughly. Spread on the whipped topping and sprinkle with the remaining peanut butter crumbs. Refrigerate until serving. Yields one pie.

Nate with pb pieI doubled the recipe to make two pies. The leftovers kept well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Florentine Shells

18 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 container part skim ricotta cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded mozzarella
3/4 cup half and half, divided
1/4 cup parmesan
1 garlic clove
dried basil
oregano
salt
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta shells according to package directions; drain.

Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, 1 1/2 cups of mozarella, 1/4 cup half and half, and parmesan. Add seasoning and garlic, mix well.

Mix spaghetti sauce and remaining half and half. Spread half of sauce over the bottom of the pan. Fill the pan with shells filled with cheese mixture. Cover with the rest of the sauce.

Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Manicotti Primavera

I love this stuff. It is a lot like the stuffed shells.

8 uncooked manicotti
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
2 medium carrots, shredded (1 cup)
1 medium zuchini, shredded (1 cup)
olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 1/2 tsps italian seasoning
salt
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 container ricotta cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9x13 with non-stick spray. Cook manicotti according to package directions. Rinse with cold water.

Sautee vegetables with oil, garlic, and salt to taste. Cook until heated through.
Combine parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta with vegetables.

Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Fill manicotti shells with cheese mixture. Place shells over sauce. Cover with remaining sauce.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Yields 4 servings

Grandma Tomazin's Peanut Butter Cups

This brings memories of a Saturday morning in the spring in my tiny kitchen. I don't know how many chocolate covered peanut butter eggs we made that day, but I know we ate them for at least a couple of weeks.
They are the best PB cups ever!

2 cups Graham Crackers- crushed
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
4 cups powdered sugar
3 sticks of margarine

mix together

Melt dipping chocolate and brush in to your candy mold. Fill in with peanut butter mixture, top with chocolate to seal it all off.

Ahhhh! Memories!

Cranberry Chicken

I love, love, love the combination of sweet and sour!  This is such a simple recipe, and it tastes amazing -- I serve it with white rice and a vegetable.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually cut it up into chunks rather than leave it whole)
1 can of cranberry sauce (whole berry or not -- whichever you prefer)
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1/2 c. French dressing
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Arrange chicken in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and bake at 325 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until chicken is cooked through.

This can be frozen, uncooked, for up to 3 months.

Lemon Icebox Pie

icebox pieDavid was asking me about this traditional Southern pie so we had to give it a go. It was cool, creamy and refreshing. Garnish with a slice of lemon before serving if you want to be fancy or just enjoy it straight out of the fridge topped with whipped cream and with a tall glass of ice cold milk. It is essential that you pronounce the “pie” more like “paah” for an authentic Southern dining experience. (This particular version comes from Emeril Lagasse).

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 prepared graham cracker crust

Combine the cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Pour into the pie crust. Refrigerate overnight before enjoying.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

Mix all together and press firmly into a 9 inch pie plate. No need to bake.

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookie


Can someone please try these for me? My neighbor gave me this recipe and told me that they are fantastic. It has been three weeks since I have had any sugar and I would really like to not fall off the wagon. I don't think I could be strong with these!

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
6 ounces chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugars, peanut butter, vanilla and egg until creamy. Add dry ingredients, then chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded TBSP about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes. After cooking 1 minute, remove and put unto a wire rack.

If you don't like these, feel free to tell me. :) The recipe isn't mine. They do sound fantastic!

Cheese Stuffed Peaches with Caramel Sauce

This was my absolute favorite dessert as a kid.

1 quart home canned peach halves
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Drain peach halves. Mix cream cheese until softened and form into about 10 balls. Roll balls in chopped pecans and place in the hollows of the peach halves. Chill. When ready to serve, cover with warm caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat to jelly stage (200 degrees). Remove from heat. Add margarine and vanilla.

This is fantastic on ice cream as well. I could sit and eat the whole jar with a spoon.

*We made these with almonds since David is allergic to pecans. I just toasted them for a couple of minutes in the microwave (stirring after a minute then checking every 30 seconds) before chopping them.

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Simply divine.

2 cups peaches, peeled and chopped
1 cup sugar
1 pint half and half
1 pint whipping cream

Combine all and freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Spoon ice cream into containers and let ripen in the freezer for a couple of hours or enjoy immediately.

The finer you chop your peaches the more the flavor will be spread throughout the ice cream. I have put everything in the blender before but it’s also fun to have the little chunks of chopped peach throughout.

Spaghetti Pie

This is one of Sean's comfort foods. A.k.a. NOT low fat. His mom makes this for a lot of family functions.

This recipe makes a 9 x 13 pan. It's a lot of food and very tasty!

16 ounces of spaghetti- cooked in salted water and drained
6 TBSP of melted butter
1 cup of Parmesan
6 beaten eggs
1 small container of cottage cheese
1 lb of ground beef, browned (Sadie likes spaghetti and meatball pie, so I cut about 10-12 frozen meatballs in half and use those)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 cup of shredded mozzarella

Mix the spaghetti noodles, butter, parmesan cheese, and eggs. Spread evenly over the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. This will be the "crust" of your pie. Cover the crust with cottage cheese. Top the cheese with your ground beef or meatballs. Cover evenly with spaghetti sauce.

Bake uncovered at 350 for about 35 to 40 minutes, or hot and bubbly. Top with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted. I like to put it under the broiler and let it brown a bit.

Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving so it can set up.

French Toast Bundt

In my mind, this is a fancier, tastier version of Monkey Bread. :)

12 Rhodes dinner rolls, thawed but still cold
2 eggs
1/3 c. liquid hazelnut coffee creamer
1/4 c. maple/pancake syrup
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger

Additional syrup and powdered sugar

Cut rolls in fourths.  Mix other ingredients in a bowl.  Dip rolls in mixture and place in bundt pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Pour remaining mixture over rolls.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until rolls reach the top of the pan.

Remove wrap and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Invert onto a serving platter.  Slice and serve with syrup and powdered sugar.

Asian Beef and Noodles

This recipe is from a weight watchers cookbook. The recipe only yields two- 1 cup- servings, so you will need to change it accordingly. :)

1 (8-ounce) rib-eye steak
1 tsp dark sesame oil, divided
1 cup sliced green onion
2 cups packaged cabbage and carrot coleslaw
2 packages beef flavored ramen noodle
1 1/2 cups water
1 TBSP soy sauce

Trim fat from steak and cut diagonally across grain in to thin slices. Heat 1/2 tsp sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add steak and green onions. stir fry 1 minute. Remove from skillet and keep warm.
Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add slaw, stir fry for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Remove noodles from packages. Reserve one seasoning packet for another use. Add water and remaining seasoning packet to skillet and bring to a boil. Break noodles in half; add noodles to water mixture. Cook noodles 2 minutes or until most of liquid has been absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in steak mixture and, slaw, soy sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.

Fresh Peach Pie

This is my favorite summer pie. Actually it's right up there with my all time favorites.

Baked pie shell
1 cup fresh peaches, sliced
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups cold water
1/3 cup white corn syrup
1 3-ounce package peach gelatin
Red and yellow food coloring, optional

Wash and peel peaches* and slice. Combine remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until mixture is smooth and thick, stirring constantly. Cool a little. Place fresh peaches in bottom of baked pie shell. Pour cooked mixture on top. Refrigerate. Top with whipped cream.

You can also make fresh strawberry pie the same way by substituting strawberries for the peaches and strawberry gelatin for the peach gelatin.

*I peel the peaches by putting each one into boiling water for about 30 seconds and then running it under cold water. The peels slip right off that way.

Peach Crunch

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law. It’s a Dunn family favorite!

2 quarts sliced peaces with out juice (you could also use fresh sliced and sugared peaches)
2 teaspoons tapioca
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter or salad oil
cinnamon

Grease a 9x13 baking dish or 2 8x8 baking dishes. Put peaches in dish and sprinkle with the tapioca. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the eggs and stir with a fork until combined. Sprinkle mixture over peaches in the dish. Drizzle butter or oil over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

Non-traditional "Quiche"


Another egg and cheese recipe for you, Jill! :) This is actually two recipes in one, so choose to use either all the ingredients outside of parenthesis, or all the ingredients inside the parenthesis. Confused yet? :)

1 box chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni, prepared according to directions
To this add a handful of cheddar (mozzarella) cheese, and press into a 9" pie plate.

On top of the "crust," layer the following:
10 oz. cooked broccoli (spinach, thawed and drained)
2 c. cooked chicken (1 lb. of bacon, fried, drained, and crumbled)
Handful of cheddar (mozzarella)

Beat together:
3 oz. milk
3 eggs

Pour over ingredients in crust and top with seasoned breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375.

I usually make the broccoli/chicken/cheddar version, and have included the original variations, but I think I would probably swap swiss for the mozzarella if making the spinach/bacon version. Just a personal preference!

Traditional Quiche Lorraine

1 pie crust
8 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and fried until crisp
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 c. whole milk (I use whatever I have on hand, usually 1%)
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
4 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
Pinch of nutmeg (I usually omit this)

Heat the oven to 375.  Follow the directions for partially baking the pie shell until light golden brown.  Remove from oven, but do not turn off the oven.

Whisk all ingredients except bacon and cheese together in a medium bowl.  Spread the cheese and bacon evenly over the bottom of the warm pie shell and set the shell on the oven rack.  Pour custard mixture into the pie shell (it should come to about 1/2 inch below the rim of the crust).  Bake until light golden brown, a knife blade inserted about 1 inch from the edge comes out clean, and the center feels set but soft like gelatin, 32-35 minutes (I usually err on the side of caution and bake it for a few minutes longer than this).  Transfer the quiche to a rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note:  I cannot emphasize enough the need to make sure you take the time to let this cool.  I prefer my quiche at room temperature anyway, and it makes it so much neater to slice.  Also, if my family is not going to be eating this, I will add baby spinach and fresh sliced mushrooms. :)

Melissa D'Arabian Pie Crust

Pie Crust:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients.

Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

Potato Bacon Torte

I made this last night for dinner. I saw Melissa D'Arabian make this on her new show on Food Network. My kids liked it, and Bethanie doesn't like potatoes. I will post her FABULOUS pie crust recipe separately.
I did use whole milk instead of cream, because I had some and it sounded a TINY bit better for us. I didn't have Gruyere cheese, so I just put what I had with it. I also added a few slices on onion. YUM!

Ingredients
4 strips bacon
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Pie Crusts, recipe follows
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plate and set aside. Crumble the bacon when cool to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the thyme and cream over low heat to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and then finely slice the potatoes. Working in circles, arrange the potato slices in the pie crust, stopping to season each layer with salt, pepper, and about 1/4 of the crumbled bacon. Continue layering until the pie pan is nearly full. Top with an even layer of the cheese and gently pour cream around and over the entire pie, allowing it to seep down between the potato slices. (You may not use all the cream.)

Roll out the remaining disk of refrigerated dough. Cover the pie with the dough and crimp the edges closed. Brush the top and edges of the crust with egg wash. Make a few slits in the center of the top crust, for the steam to escape, and put the pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake the torte until the crust is browned and crispy and the potatoes are cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes. If the crust edges get too brown, cover them with some strips of aluminum foil. Remove the pie from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.


This served our family with a few sides for dinner. I think next time I might just make a second pie, because people would have eaten more if we had it! This would be great for a lunch with friends.