Pork Quesadillas

I usually just use leftover tenderloin from this recipe, and have "grilled" them on the stove top with success.

1 large garlic clove, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for grates
1 pork tenderloin (3/4 to 1 pound)
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 (10-inch or burrito-size) flour tortillas
4 tablespoons spicy brown mustard, plus more for serving
6 ounces thinly sliced baked ham
3 to 4 dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise
8 ounces provolone or Swiss cheese, coarsely shredded (about 2 cups)

On a work surface, sprinkle garlic with salt. Using the flat side of a chef's knife, draw the blade across the garlic mixture, repeating until a paste forms. In a small bowl, combine with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the oil. Rub all over pork.

Heat grill to high; oil grates. Place pork on hottest part of grill; cover. Cook, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 155 degrees. 10 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes; thinly slice across the grain.

Meanwhile, place onion slices on cooler part of grill; cover. Cook, turning once, until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce grill to medium-low.

Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on each tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Dividing evenly, layer half of each tortilla with ham, pork, onion, pickles, and cheese. Fold tortillas; press to close.

Lightly oil grates. Place quesadillas on grill; cover. Cook, turning once, until browned in spots and cheese has melted, about 4 minutes. Cut into wedges; serve immediately.

Skillet Pork Tenderloin

I usually don't make pork tenderloin any other way now. :)

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb.)
1 peeled garlic clove (I usually just throw in a Tbl. of minced garlic)
paprika
2 Tbl. butter
1 c. sliced, fresh mushrooms
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. marjoram (I use Herbes de Provence or oregano)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbl. flour
3/4 c. cold water

Rub pork on all sides with garlic and sprinkle with paprika. In a large
skillet, brown pork in butter. Add the mushrooms, lemon juice, marjoram,
salt, and pepper. Turn meat to coast with seasonings. Cover and simmer
25-30 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove meat and keep warm. In a
small bowl, combine flour and water until smooth; stir in pan juices.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice pork
and serve with gravy over rice or egg noodles (or mashed potatoes!).

Easy Fried Chicken

Living in the South, naturally I needed to learn how to make good fried chicken. This is our family’s favorite version. Everyone loves this and it is quick and easy. I don’t even feel too guilty about it if I use Canola or olive oil. It is skinless so that’s another bonus.

Cooking oil (peanut oil is great if it’s available. I usually just use olive or Canola oil)
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces
Flour
Milk (buttermilk is also good)
Salt and Pepper
Poultry seasoning and paprika to taste (optional)

Fill skillet about 1/3 full of oil and heat while you prepare the chicken. Wash chicken and pat dry. Cut into small pieces. Roll in flour (if you use poultry seasoning and paprika add it directly to the flour before dredging), dip in milk and then roll in flour again. Place in hot oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Make sure the skillet is completely full of chicken and then cover the skillet. Cook for 10 minutes. When the chicken is golden brown turn it over and salt and pepper the second side. Fry until golden brown.

Shish Kebobs

This is another one of those dishes that I associate with summertime. I have many fond memories of helping my mom put the ingredients on the skewers and then watching my dad stand at the grill to cook these.

Small pieces of chicken, beef or other meat*
Any or all of the following:
cherry tomatoes
pineapple chunks
button mushrooms
chunks of green, red or yellow pepper
pearl onions (blanched about 4 minutes)—or slices of cut up onion
yellow squash (1/2 inch thick pieces)
zucchini (1/2 inch thick pieces)
baby carrots (blanched 5 minutes)
any other vegetable of your choosing—eggplant might be good

Soak bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour. Load skewers with pieces of meat and vegetable, alternating. Brush with your favorite sauce and grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until squash is tender. Serve over rice. Sometimes I marinate the meat several hours ahead of time. We often just used Italian dressing as a marinade. Teriyaki sauce is also a good marinade.

*This can easily be left off to create a vegetarian option.

Pork Chops

No fancy name for this. I often enjoy my pork chops simply fried but this recipe is good if you feel like mixing things up a bit.

4 lean pork chops
2 tablespoons flour, optional
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (this helps keep the butter from burning)
2 to 6 tablespoons good vinegar (raspberry, wine, apple cider, etc.), optional
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Coat pork chops with flour, if desired (I usually skip this step but it does help when thickening the sauce at the end). In a skillet, brown chops in butter and oil, turning once. Remove chops and add vinegar, if desired, and broth. Stir over low heat until well combined. Return chops to pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes on each side. Remove pork. Raise heat and boil until amount of liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Add cream, stir until thick. Pour over chops to serve.

Alternate Barbeque Sauce

Sometimes I make this sauce for the ribs instead. This one is really good on the pork ribs.

3/4 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup mayonaise (not salad dressing)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Whisk together until smooth. Brush on meats. Turn frequently during last 20 minutes of cooking.

Barbequed Spareribs

This is one of my favorite summer main dishes. Add a little corn on the cob and some watermelon on the side and it is the epitome of good summer eating.
3 lbs baby back ribs
1/2 cup commercial barbeque sauce
1/4 cup pancake syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Two hours before serving, place ribs on top rack of broiler pan. Put water in broiler pan to depth of 1 inch. Cover ribs with foil. Bake at 350 degrees fro 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Mix barbeque sauce, syrup and sugar together. Brush on ribs. Grill over hot coals about 5 minutes on each side or until sauce is bubbly and browned. If you don’t want to grill, you can discard the water in the bottom of the pan and continue baking for 30 additional minutes basting several times with remaining sauce.

Chicken Mexican Casserole

Here is another easy recipe. It is one of my favorite things to eat! I know I have shared it with you ladies before.

2 to 3 breasts of chicken, cooked and shredded
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans diced green chilies
1 can of evaporated milk (I sub regular milk a lot)
1 to 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
10-15 corn tortillas cut in to strips

Combine soup, chilies, and milk in a bowl.

Spread about 1/3 of soup mix in the bottom of a 9x13 pan (that has been sprayed with non-stick spray).
Top with a layer of tortilla strips. Top with 1/3 of shredded chicken. Sprinkle lightly with some of the cheese.
Repeat two more times.

I usually put the majority of the cheese on the top of the casserole.

Bake in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
I serve this with a dollop of sour cream, spanish rice, and beans.

Lemon Sugar

This is such a tasty, simple recipe;  I have used it to sprinkle over sugar cookies, but tend to make it almost exclusively to stir into chamomile tea! 

3 lemons
2 c. sugar

Using a citrus zester, remove the zest from all of the lemons.  Roughly chop zest;  transfer to the bowl of a food processor (or blender) fitted with the blade attachment.  Add 1 c. sugar to the zest in the food processor.  Pulse until the zest has been finely ground, about 3 minutes.  Transfer the ground mixture to a medium-sized bowl.  Add the remaining cup of sugar, and toss until evenly mixed.  Spread the lemon sugar on a baking sheet, and let sit at room temperature until dry, about 1 hour.  Store the sugar in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 1 month.

Jumbo Molasses Cookies

I love these cookies so much;  both my mom and grandma always referred to them as "Joe Froggers."  The original recipe here makes 3 1/2 dozen ENORMOUS cookies, but I found out the hard way that the full recipe will NOT fit in a standard KitchenAid mixer!  So, that having been said, I usually halve/half the recipe, make normal-sized cookies, reduce the baking time to 9-11 minutes, and end up with about 4 dozen.  Enjoy!

3 c. butter-flavored shortening (I just use regular Crisco)
4 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
4 eggs
8 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbl. plus 2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
Additional sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar.  Add molasses and eggs;  mix well.  Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and ginger;  gradually add to creamed mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Shape 1/4 cupfuls of dough into balls;  roll in sugar.  Place four cookies on a greased baking sheet at a time.*  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until edges are set.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

*Does anyone grease baking sheets anymore?  I have a couple of non-stick ones, and on my half-sheet pans I either use parchment paper or my Silpat mats, so I never follow this direction in a recipe.  Am I alone?

Crockpot Roast 4 Ways

Rub 3 lb. boneless beef bottom round roast with 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper.  Choose sauce and mix ingredients in a bowl.  Pour 1/2 of the sauce into the crockpot, add roast, top with remaining sauce.  Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Italian:
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
3/4 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. chopped carrot
1/3 c. water
3 Tbl. tomato paste
2 tsp. minced garlice
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Chinese:
1 c. stir fry sauce (I use soy sauce)
1/4 c. orange juice
Chopped white part of 4 scallions
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic

Mexican:
2 c. salsa
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/2 c. water
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

Swedish:
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope beefy mushroom onion soup mix
1 tsp. dried dillweed

No Bake Cookies

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
3 1/2 Tbl. cocoa
1/2 c. peanut butter
3 c. quick oatmeal
1 Tbl. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts (I usually leave these out)

Boil sugar, milk, butter & cocoa for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter.  Add oatmeal, vanilla, and nuts.  Stir until blended, then drop on waxed paper and let set.

Sweetheart Bakery Cake

At one time, there was a shop in Rochester called the Sweetheart Bakery.  They made a cake very similar to this one, and it was delicious!

1 yellow cake mix
1 box instant French vanilla pudding
1 1/4 c. milk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
small can of crushed pineapple, well drained (I actually end up using a bit more than this)
12 oz. tub of Cool Whip
chopped walnuts
Maraschino cherries

Bake cake according to package directions in a greased jelly roll pan/cookie sheet with an edge.  Beat together pudding, milk, and cream cheese;  spread on cooled cake.  Distribute pineapple evenly over the top and frost with Cool Whip.  Sprinkle walnuts and halved Maraschino cherries over the top.

Chicken Pot Pie

This makes enough for two pies.  After assembling, you can cover and freeze up to 3 months.  Most of the time, I freeze the filling separately in a ziploc bag and assemble the pie when I'm ready to bake it.  This is also really good poured into a 9x13 dish and topped with biscuits.

2 c. diced, peeled potatoes
1 3/4 c. sliced carrots
2/3  c. chopped onion
1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. flour
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. pepper
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. milk
4 c. cubed, cooked chicken
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen corn
Pastry for two double-crust pies

Place potatoes and carrots in a saucepan;  cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat;  cover and simmer 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain and set aside.  In a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender.  Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, and pepper until blended.  Gradually stir in broth and milk.  Bring to a boil;  cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Add the chicken, peas, corn, potatoes, and carrots;  remove from heat.

Line two 9-inch pie plates with bottom pastry;  fill shells with chicken mixture.  Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies, place over filling, trim, seal, and flute edges.  Cut slits in crust for venting.  Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.  Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

To use frozen potpie:  Shield frozen pie crust edges with foil;  place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 425 for 30 minutes .  Reduce heat to 350, bake 70-80 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown.

Rempel Family Meatloaf

Not sure who the Rempels are, but this is the best meatloaf I have ever had.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I usually use the "Meatloaf Mix" that Wegmans makes -- a mixture of ground beef, veal, and pork)
1/2 cup crushed buttery round crackers
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons steak sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the ground beef, crushed crackers, Cheddar cheese, and onion soup mix in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk the eggs, ketchup, and steak sauce in a separate bowl until smooth. Mix the eggs into the meat until evenly combined, if the mixture seems too dry, add a little water. Press into a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven until the meatloaf is no longer pink in the center, 45 to 60 minutes.

Candied Chicken Breasts


I usually find that it doesn't take a full hour in my oven -- usually about 45 minutes or so. Serve over white/brown rice.
10 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 cups dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
10 pineapple rings (most times I skip this ingredient)
Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. In a shallow dish or bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, flour, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat; dredge chicken in bread crumb mixture and brown in skillet, about 3 to 4 minutes each side. Layer chicken in 2 lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dishes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the brown sugar, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and water. Bring to a boil, and pour over chicken. Cover baking dishes with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Top each piece with a pineapple ring, and serve.







Margherita Pizza

This is my favorite pizza and always a hit at parties!

1 pizza crust
1 large can of petite diced tomatoes, well drained.
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil, or during the winter I use the dried herb.
1 to 2 cups of mozzarella

Top pizza crust with diced tomatoes
Evenly sprinkle with chopped basil
Top with mozzarella.
Bake until crust and cheese have browned. YUM!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This is nice for a different twist on pizza. I thought it would be a little spicy for my kids, but they love it.

1 pizza crust
About half of a bottle of bleu cheese dressing
2 cans of chicken breasts
About half to one full bottle of Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce (depending on how spicy you want it.)
1 to 2 cups of mozzarella cheese

Top pizza crust with bleu cheese dressing and spread evenly. You want a nice, thick coating.
In a separate bowl, liberally coat chicken with red hot buffalo wing sauce. Place chicken on top of the dressing.
Top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake until hot and cheese has browned. Very easy and very tasty!

"Hot, Old Style" Sandwich

A friend of mine orders these at her local burger joint. She told us how to make them and they are now a family favorite. Great for football games or parties. Sean lovingly refers to them as the "Hot, Old Lady Sandwich".

1 loaf of french bread cut in half the long way.
The bread is spread on each side with garlic butter & toasted.
After that it's spread with ranch dressing on each side & layered with pepperoni , canadian bacon, mozarella & cheddar cheese then toasted again so the cheese melts.

Top with shredded lettuce and tomatoes.

We usually cut these in to 3 or 4 inch sandwiches. You can get 3 or 4 out of a loaf.

Grandma Nolan's Butterscotch Buns


There aren't exact measurements for this recipes, but they are SO good!

1 pkg. (3 dozen) Rhodes frozen rolls
Brown sugar
Butter

Butter a half sheet pan and sprinkle with brown sugar (approx. 1 - 1 1/2 cups). Dot the sugar with small pats of butter (I usually end up using a whole stick). Place frozen rolls on top, allowing a bit of space to rise. Allow them to triple in size; from frozen, it will take about 3 hours or so.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately flip onto another cookie sheet or platter. Scrape any remaining "butterscotch" off of the pan and cover any thin spots while they are still hot.

Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake

I'm not usually a cheesecake fan, but I could eat multiple slices
of this in one sitting.



2 c. vanilla wafer crumbs
6 tbsp. butter, melted
14 oz. caramels
1 c. chopped pecans
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Mix vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter, press into
bottom of 8 inch springform pan. In saucepan, melt caramels
with milk over low heat. Pour over crust. Top with pecans.

Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well after each addition.
Blend in melted chocolate. Pour over pecans. Bake at 350
degrees for 40 minutes. Loosen rim of pan. Let it cool
completely before removing rim.

Focaccia Bread

I end up making this bread at least once a week to go with our pasta; if you have any left over, it makes a great savory sandwich!

2 cups warm water
2 tsp. active dry Yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
extra-virgin olive oil (I usually use what I have on hand -- canola or vegetable)
2 stalks fresh rosemary (I use herbes de provence or none at all)
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste
parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

In a large mixing bowl, mix yeast into warm water, then mix in flour and salt. Blend with a spoon just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover, allowing the dough to rise, for approximately one hour and 15 minutes. Try not to jiggle the bowl excessively.

Brush a baking pan liberally with olive oil. Pour the dough onto the pan, then gently brush the surface of the bread with olive oil. With your fingers, pull small holes throughout the dough.

Strip some rosemary by simply sliding your hand down the herb in the opposite direction. Chop the rosemary to a coarse consistency and sprinkle over dough along with salt, pepper, and cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

2 - 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles
2 packets of taco seasoning

Spray crockpot with cooking spray and put chicken in. Mix tomatoes and seasoning and pour over the top. The original recipe calls for frozen chicken, and to cook for 6-8 hours on low. I use fresh/thawed chicken and cook on low for about 4 - 4 1/2 hours. When the chicken is done, shred and serve on tortillas with cheese and sour cream.

Beef Stew

1 lb. stew beef
1 can cream of potato soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 c. water
Handful of baby carrots

Toss everything into crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. Most of the time I double this recipe (except for the soup mix) and serve over noodles or rice. If I am going to serve it as a stew, I'll throw in some quartered new potatoes and a bit more water.

Pizza Dough

 
Hands down, my favorite crust.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups bread flour (I usually use all-purpose)
 
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes. 
 
Stir the olive oil, whole wheat flour, salt and 4 cups of the bread flour into the yeast mixture. Mix in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume; about 1 hour. 
 
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form into rounds. Cover the rounds and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
 
 Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into the desired shape, cover it with your favorite toppings and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the crust and cheese are golden brown.

Sticky Chicken


I have been mocked before for the time and effort that goes into this dish, but I swear, it is the best chicken you will ever eat. :) I've even made it in the crockpot, and while the skin doesn't get nice and crispy like in the oven, it is still delicious! You can also season them, and then stick them in the freezer to cook at another time.

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper (I usually omit this and use a bit more black pepper)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 onions, quartered
2 (4 pound) whole chickens

In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees. Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.

White Velvet Cutouts

My absolute favorite "sugar" cookie!

1 cup butter
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
 
Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla. Stir in the flour. Gather the dough into a ball and chill overnight (I usually just let it chill until stiff -- an hour or two). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured board, roll dough out to a thickness of 3/16 inch. Cut into desired shapes and place onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool. Leave the cookies plain or decorate with your favorite icing.




Taco Seasoning

For when I run out of the little packets!

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine, and store in an airtight container.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Dinner Rolls



My mom made these rolls for every holiday and almost every Sunday dinner I can remember. She got the recipe from a lady named Beverly Nye that she knew when they lived in Ohio. This recipe is in her cookbook, “A Family Raised on Sunshine.”
These are fairly easy--no kneading involved, and always delicious. I usually double the recipe so everyone can have at least two. I’m not averse to having a few leftovers for sandwiches or midnight snacks either.
1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 dash salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add 1 tablespoon sugar and baking powder. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile scald milk. Add margarine, 1/3 cup sugar and salt. Cool a little and then add eggs. (I do this step in my 4 c glass measure in the microwave.).
Combine all with flour. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (The dough will more than double in bulk, so make sure your container is big enough. If it looks like it might outgrow its bowl, you can always punch it down once or twice without any ill effects.).
Two hours before serving, divide dough into thirds and roll out into large circles about 9 inches in diameter on a floured surface. The dough will be sticky, but don't worry. It will quickly come together and handle beautifully with a few sprinklings of flour (not too much). Cut into 8 wedges and make crescent rolls by starting at the wide end and rolling up. Place on greased pans to rise, covered with clean towels.
Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen rolls.
(Mom always rubbed the hot rolls with a stick of butter when they came out of the oven. They truly live up to their name.)

Candied Sweet Potatoes (or Yams)

This is my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. They always receive rave reviews. Really, how can you go wrong with butter, cream and brown sugar?

2 lbs sweet potatoes or yams (about 6 medium)

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

3 tablespoons light cream or evaporated milk (I’ve also used half and half or heavy cream—just what I had on hand and they turned out fine)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Boil sweet potatoes or yams until just tender (I stick a bamboo skewer in them to make sure they are done all the way through). Peel and cut length-wise into 1/2 inch slices. In a medium skillet combine sugar, butter, cream and salt; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly. Add sweet potatoes; stir gently until glazed and thoroughly heated (sometimes if I am feeling particularly decadent I will double the sauce and pour the extra over the dish of sweet potatoes before serving). Fabulous!

Garden Minestrone


This is another great way to use those veggies from your garden!

INGREDIENTS:
garlic,
1 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
2 cans chicken broth or 1 lrg can
2 cups water
1 LARGE can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 cans white beans
1/2 bag frozen green beans
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed (I chop mine)
1-2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I just used dried)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (I just used dried
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup seashell pasta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping


Chop onion, carrots, and celery. Add to a LARGE pot with chicken stock, garlic, spices, and water. Let that come to a boil.
Add diced tomatoes and remaining veggies.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Garden Pasta

I used ingredients from my garden for this dish. You can throw in anything you want!

1 cup of chopped cilantro
2 fresh rosemary leaves
1 small can of diced tomatoes, drained, or 10 ounces of chopped fresh tomatoes
1 yellow squashed diced
1 zucchini diced
1 bunch of green onion
1 can of mushrooms
1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken broth
garlic, salt, and pepper to taste

Bring above ingredients to a simmer until the veggies are tender.

Add one can of drained and rinsed white beans.

In a separate pot, boil one package of bow tie pasta

When pasta is done, drain and add to veggie mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese.

(When my mom tried this, she added some chicken. I like it vegetarian style.)

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 lrg can chicken broth
1 family sized can of Chicken and Rice Soup
1-2 cans of chicken
1 lrg can of red enchilada sauce
1 can of black beans or red kidney beans (optional- sometimes I add for fiber and protein)

Combine all above ingredients and heat completely. I use a crock pot a lot.

Cut about 10-15 corn tortillas in to strips and bake at 400 for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until crisp.

Ladle soup in to a bowl and top with tortilla strips, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.
VERY YUMMY!

One Bowl Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

This is one of my "go-to" desserts when I need something quick, tasty, and easy!

2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract (I've used vanilla, too)
1 can cherry pie filling
1 boxed chocolate cake mix

Beat eggs and add extract and pie filling.  Stir in cake mix (batter will be very thick).  Spread into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 26-32 minutes.  Cool and frost (I use this recipe).

Simple Crusty Bread


This is a dough you can make and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. It's so nice to have freshly baked bread without all the hassle! Keep in mind though, that because of the long rise time, and the fact that you can keep it for so long, it does tend to be a bit more "sourdoughy." The recipe makes approximately three 1 1/2 lb. loaves.

1 1/2 Tbl. yeast
1 1/2 Tbl. coarse salt (I used a scant Tbl. of table salt)
3 c. lukewarm water
6 1/2 c. flour
Cornmeal (optional, if you don't use it, make sure you grease your sheet/stone/loaf pan)

Mix yeast and salt into the water in a large bowl or plastic container. Stir in the flour, mixing until there are no dry patches; the dough will be loose. Cover, but not airtight. Let the dough rise at room temperature 2 to 5 hours (I let it go for the full 5 hours).
Bake immediately, if desired, or refrigerate, loosely covered for up to 2 weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on the dough; cut off a grapefruit sized piece. Turn dough in floured hands to lightly stretch the surface until smooth and round on top and lumpy on the bottom. Heat oven to 450. Place dough on pan that has been greased or sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise for 40-60 minutes. Place a broiler pan on the bottom of oven. Dust loaf with flour, slash top in a cross with a serrated knife. Pour 1 cup of water into the broiler pan; close oven door quickly to trap steam. Bake until well-browned, about 30 minutes; cool before cutting (yeah, like that would ever happen in my house :).

You could probably also shape these into individual rolls, but I would still bake them on a cookie sheet/stone because they are so nice and crusty!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies


3/4 c. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. whole wheat flour, sifted
1 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars;  mix in vanilla and eggs.  Combine flours, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually blend flour mixture into butter mixture.  Fold in chocolate chips and drop onto a cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before placing on a cooling rack.

Helpful hint:  If you line your countertop with aluminum foil and place your cookies there to cool, the moisture that is trapped will help keep a cookie like this moist and chewy!

Tortellini Sausage Bake

Okay, so I didn't really bake this, but I couldn't come up with a catchier name!

1 lb. of Italian sausage
1 pkg. (16 oz.) cheese tortellini (I used frozen)
1 head of broccoli (more or less, according to your tastes)
3 Tbsp. salted butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. milk
Salt, pepper, parmesan to taste

Pan fry or grill your sausage, boil your tortellini, and steam broccoli -- set aside.  In a large skillet, melt butter, then add flour, salt, and pepper (you are making a basic roux), stirring for a minute or two to keep it from tasting "floury."  Whisk in chicken broth and milk, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken.  Combine with sliced sausage, pasta, and broccoli, serve with grated parmesan (or my personal preference, Pecorino Romano).

I modified this recipe from one I found here.  It was delicious, but definitely a bit on the heavier side, and did not reheat well.