Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ginger Bread

This is a great tasting recipe. Follow it to the 'T' if you like hard ginger bread. For softer ginger bread bake it for less time.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ½ - 5 cups flour

Cream 1 cup butter and one cup sugar;
set aside. Heat the molasses and vinegar
to a boil; cool. Combine with the butter
and sugar. Mix in remaining ingredients.
Roll out. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nuts & Chews Chocolates

I found this recipe in Taste of Home magazine and after I dipped it in dark chocolate it reminded me of See's Candies Nuts & Chews - which is a good thing in my book. I made quite a few changes with regards to the nuts I used - and I also added the chocolate part (not sure why it was ever omitted)

** Recipe called for walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts) **

  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 2 cups cashew pieces
  • 2 cups walnut pieces (raw, because that's what I had)
  • 2 cups almonds (raw, because that's what I had)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • Chocolate for dipping (I used dark chocolate)
Place the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 4-8 minutes or until toasted and golden brown, stirring once. Cool on a wire rack. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, grease the foil with butter and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cream and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in toasted nuts. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 238 (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until creamy and thickened. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool. Cover, refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Using foil, lift candy out of pan, discard foil. Cut candy into squares. Dip bottom half into chocolate. Set on wax paper to cool. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

January's Tortilla Soup

This is probably my family's all-time favorite soup!

Bake in a 350 degree oven about 30 mins. or boil in 4 qts. water with salt, pepper, and 2 bay leaves, 4 chicken breasts or use about 2 cups cooked chicken, cool and dice or shred

3 - 4 quarts water
8-10 chicken bouillon cubes
4 cups carrots peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
10-12 stalks celery, cleaned, and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 large or two medium onions, diced in large pieces
1 bunch cilantro, (leaves only is best) cleaned and chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 to 2 T. cumin (or more if you love it like I do)
salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste

While chicken cooks, in a large pot boil water and add bouillon cubes and carrots and cook 5-8 minutes then add celery and onions and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add seasonings and 1/2 the cilantro and cook for 5 minutes more. Check for flavor, add chicken, heat through and serve.

Garnish with any or all of the following:

fried tortilla strips (or tortilla chips if you prefer)
grated cheese
diced tomatoes
diced avocado
sliced green onions
or your favorite salsa if you're in a hurry!

La Madeleine's Tomato Basil Soup

This was in the Fort-Worth Star Telegram several years ago. Yummy!

4 cups (8-10) tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
OR 4 cups canned whole tomtoes, crushed (can't you use diced?)
4 cups tomato or V-8 juice OR part juice and part vegetable or chicken stock
12-14 washed fresh basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb. butter (it says to use unsalted but you have salted butter so just add less salt to taste!)
salt to taste
1/4 t. cracked black pepper

Combine tomatoes, juice or juice/stock in saucepan. Simmer 20 minutes. In blender or food processor, puree mixture with basil leaves added in small batches. Return to saucepan. Over low heat, stir in cream and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite bread.

As is, 248 calories per cup--83% of calories are from fat! You could substitute 1/2 and 1/2 or even milk for the cream but it won't taste as rich!

Orange Cranberry Bread

Melissa gave me this recipe as a gift in about 3rd grade. It had a cover the shape of a loaf of bread and she had colored in cranberries all over it. It was so cute and the recipe so good! I love it toasted for breakfast!

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 t. grated fresh orange peel
1 1/2 Craisins or 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (very tart!)
3/4 cup orange juice

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Mix just until moist. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Great for gift giving at Thanksgiving or Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tortilla Soup

This is a recipe from my Mom and it's SO good! Make sure you have the avocado, cilantro and tomato - because that's what makes it GOOD! The soup alone isn't anything special - but when you add the toppings - YUMMY!

Cook together in oil for 2-3 minutes:
½ c. green onions
2 t. garlic

Add to below mixture:
3 c. cooked rice
1 ½ c. chicken – cut up
1 can chopped green chilies
6 c. chicken broth

Cook for 10 minutes.

Serve with lime juice, salt n pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, avocados and tortilla chips.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cream of Tomato Soup

1/4 cup olive oil (I use about half that)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely sliced (I leave this out as I don't typically have celery and don't want to buy a huge bunch for one rib)
2 28oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
1 T sugar
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 T dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (I use about 1/3 this amount)
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in large stock pot and add onions, garlic and celery. Cover and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook another 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and cook 5 minutes. Add broth and seasonings and cook 10 minutes. Puree soup in a blender or with a hand held submersible blender. (If you use a blender, only fill it about half-way. The hot liquid will expand and explode out the top if the blender is too full.) Add cream and heat through. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle

This is a recipe from Cooking Light. A bit labor intensive, but well worth the effort!!!

1 7 oz can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (found in the Mexican foods section)
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 medium red potatoes (approx 12 oz)
1 (15.5 oz) can white or golden hominy, rinsed & drained (found in the Mexican foods section)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup chopped seeded roma tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
8 lime wedges

Remove 1 chile and 1 tsp adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Finely chop chile, set chile and sauce aside separately.

Heat oil in a large stock pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Add chopped chile, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through the garlic), cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, bring to a boil. Add chicken, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and cool slightly. Shred chicken with 2 forks, cover and keep warm.

Remove pan from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Place one-third of broth mixture in a blender, process until smooth. Pour pureed broth mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure in two more batches with remaining broth mixture. Return pureed broth mixture to pan. Stir in potatoes and hominy, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in chicken and cream, simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in reserved adobo sauce, tomato, cilantro and salt. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 8 (1 1/3 cup servings)

Best Part: Only 246 Calories!!!

I've also put chopped avocados, mini tortilla strips and pepper jack cheese on the table if people want "add-ins".

Friday, December 7, 2007

Brownie (Batter)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 T cocoa (January only uses 4)
1 t salt
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 t vanilla

Mix everything together on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into a 9x13" greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (That's assuming it makes it to the pan. This is so good as batter, Strattons have been know to make just brownie batter for dessert. It does make delicious brownies as well.)

For mint brownies: Make frosting, but use mint flavoring instead of almond flavoring. Color it green (great for St. Patrick's Day) if you want. Spread over cooled brownies. In a sealed Ziploc baggie, melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Cut off a very small corner of the baggie, squeeze chocolate over the mint frosting. For a fun, festive Christmas brownie, use peppermint flavoring, color the frosting pink and sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.

For cream cheese brownies: Frost brownies with cream cheese frosting. Drizzle chocolate over in the same fashion as above. You can color the frosting pink and it make a delicious Valentine's Day treat.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hello Kitty Cookies (Oatmeal Cookies)

My sister-in-law called me yesterday to get my recipe for "Hello Kitty" cookies. A couple of years ago, my niece and nephew came to my house to make cookies. We made Hello Kitty and Spiderman cookies. They are oatmeal cookies with craisins and white chocolate chips (Hello Kitty) or chocolate chips (Spiderman). I just made a batch of oatmeal cookies, divided the dough in half and gave each of them their own bowl to stir in the extras. They thought it was great, and obviously my niece still remembers the fun we had. So, here's to helping you become the favorite aunt or the best mom on the block.

1 cup butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oats
your favorite mix-ins: craisins, white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, dries blueberries, raisins, nuts. Any combination totalling 1 1/2 to 2 cups (depending on how much stuff you like)

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add soda, salt and flour. Stir in oats. Add whatever mix-ins you want, or just make plain oatmeal. Give them a fun name kids will love, based on your chosen mix-ins! Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Let us know what fun names you come up with for your cookies!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chicken Piccata

This is from the Barefoot Contessa, with a few modifications . . . I served it with the Lemon Linguine.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 extra large egg
1/2 Tbsp water
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 Tbsp butter, divided
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), save the lemons after juicing.
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used white grape juice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pound each breast to 1/4 inch thickness. Season lightly with salt & pepper.

Mix flour, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate beat the egg and 1//2 Tbsp water together. Place bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip breasts in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.

Heat 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Place them on a cookie sheet and let them bake for 5-10 minutes until you get the sauce made!

Wipe out the saute pan. Melt 1 Tbsp butter and then add lemon juice, wine, reserved lemon rinds, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced by half. Discard lemon rinds. Spoon sauce over breasts.

Lemon Linguine

This is a really fresh tasting change for linguine. I think it would also be good over angel hair. I served this with Chicken Piccata.

1 8 oz pkg linguine
1/4 cup finely minced shallots (or onions)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 8 oz carton sour cream (I used light sour cream and it was just great)
4 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, divided
1 Tbsp milk
1 3/4 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 medium lemon)
1 whole lemon, zested
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley (flat leaf)
2 Tbsp freshly chopped chives

Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain & keep warm.

In a skilled cook shallots & garlic in butter until tender. Stir in sour cream, half Parmesan, milk, lemon-pepper, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over linguine. Toss and add parsley, chives and remaining Parmesan. This recipe comes mostly courtesy of Paula Deen

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Grandma Weld's Cookies

I'm not a fan of butter cookies, so these weren't my favorite... but I'd imagine if you like butter cookies you'll love these!!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then beat in flour, almond extract to taste, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Heat oven to 300. Shape 1/2 tablespoon amounts of dough into 1 1/2 -inch-long "fingers" and place them on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time in middle of oven for 20 to 25 minutes, watching carefully and breaking open a couple of cookies to check for doneness. The cookies should be firm to the touch and cooked through, but not brown; the bottoms should only be golden. Cook cookies on racks and store them in an an airtight container, where they will keep for 2 weeks but will vanish long before that!

from Wonder time magazine; December/January 2008

MaGiC Pretzels

1 cup corn or canola oil {The 2 times I've made them I've used only 3/4 and then down to 1/2 cup and they still taste YUMMY - cut down the unhealthy any way I can!}
1 envelope (1 ounce) dried ranch salad-dressing mix
1/2 of a 1 ounce envelope dried garlic-flavored salad dressing mix {I couldn't find any so I just used some garlic powder and garlic & herb seasoning}
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 pound hard sourdough "beer" pretzels, broken into pieces

Put oil, salad-dressing mixes, lemon-pepper seasoning, and dill into a gallon size ziplock bag, seal it, then sake hard to mix {Ava loved doing this!}. Add pretzels and toss until they're completely coat. Allow the pretzels to "marinate" for at least 1 hour, giving them a shake whenever you think of it.

Heat oven to 300. Spread pretzels and their flavorings on a large, rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil and baked, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes.

Let pretzels cool completely, while stirring often. Store them in an airtight container (they'll keep for 4 to 6 weeks).

From Wonder time December/January 2008 magazine

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Balsamic Pork & Tomato

4-6 thick cut pork chops (I buy the fat Costco ones)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup stock (beef or chicken)
1 beef bouillon cube1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup (or more) balsamic vinegar
2 crushed cloves of garlic

Throw it all in the crock pot and cook on low for 7 hours... all depending on how tender you want it. Another way to do it is substitute beef onion dry soup mix for the bouillon and onion-- you still need the stock.I always shred the pork a little & serve it over rice since it is very saucy.

From my friend Amy Pearson

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tortellini Soup

I found this in the blogosphere. I altered it a bit and made it for the first time this week. It's simple and tasty -- a perfect fall meal! It's even filling enough to eat without sides.

15 oz. fresh tortellini
32 oz. chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb. reduced-fat ground sausage
1 tsp. basil
1 pkg chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated
14 oz. can tomato sauce

Brown the sausage and garlic in a small skillet. Drain fat and dump into large soup pot. Add chicken broth, stewed tomatoes and basil. When the soup is boiling, add tomato sauce and tortellini and cook for 10 minutes. Add spinach and parmesan cheese and simmer for another 10 minutes. Done!

French Silk Pie

This is from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. It's the best french silk recipe I've found, and I absolutely love it!

Shortbread Crust:
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 cups finely crushed Pecan Sandies (about 18 cookies)

Mix butter and sugar. Add crushed cookies and toss to mix well. Spread into 9-inch pie plate, pressing onto bottom and up sides. Bake in 375 oven for 5 minutes, until edge is slightly brown. Cool on wire rack before filling. {I usually end up sticking mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes.}

Pie Filling:
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup chocolate pieces - 6 oz. {I use Hershey milk chocolate chips}
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 beaten egg yolks
3 T. whipping cream

In a heavy medium saucepan combine the 1 cup whipping cream, the chocolate pieces, butter, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Gradually stir half of the hot chocolate mixture into beaten egg yolks. Return egg mixture to chocolate mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and begins to bubble (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in the 3 tablespoons whipping cream. Place the saucepan in a bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture stiffens and becomes hard to stir (about 20 minutes). Transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Beat cooled chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Spread filling into cooled shortbread crust. Cover and refrigerate for 5 to 24 hours. Serve topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.


Using basic roll dough, roll very thin and cut into 2.5" triangles. Fry in skillet filled with 1/2 cup hot oil, turning once. Serve immediately.

Cinnamon Rolls

Use 1/2 recipe basic roll dough and roll 1/4" thick. Spread all over with softened butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture consisting of 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar and 4 T. cinnamon. Roll up and cut into 1/2" thick slices with serrated knife. Let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes. Can drizzle with water/powdered sugar glaze.


This is a Stratton family Conference tradition. Love, love, love!

Use 1/2 recipe of basic roll dough, roll into 1" diameter balls. Dip in melted butter. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place in bundt pan, 2 layers deep. Let rise 1 hr. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes.

Basic Roll Recipe

3/4 c. warm water
2 T. yeast (2 pkgs)
1/2 tsp sugar

Stir until dissolved and let rise in small bowl

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
1 c. water

Mix in large bowl

3 eggs

Beat and add to above mixture. Add yeast mixture to large bowl.

2 tsp salt
7 cups flour

Mix all together for 7 minutes in bread mixer at high speed. Let rise 1 hour; punch down. Cover and refrigerate overnight. {Does not have to be refrigerated but is best that way.}

Divide dough into 2 equal parts. Roll out each part into a circle. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 16 equal pieces. Roll up from larger end to shorter end. Place in pan seam side down. Let rise 3 hours, until double in size. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Brush with butter.

{I also like to only raise/cook half the batch and put the other half straight into the freezer on the baking sheet for 4 hours. When frozen, take rolls and put into ziploc bag in the freezer. Voila! Homemade Rhodes rolls}

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Caramel Apple Pie

2 pie crusts for a 9" or 10" pie

6 cups apples (Jonathan or Granny Smith)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
4 T heavy cream
4 T butter

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup flour
3 T sugar
1 T butter
2 toffee bars (Skor or Heath)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put bottom crust in pie plate.

Peel and slice apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples. Turn into pie shell.

Streusel Topping:
Combine the flour and sugar. Mix in butter with fork until coarse crumbs. Stir in the crushed toffee bars. Sprinkle over pie. Add top crust. Seal, flute edge and vent top. (I'll also take left over pie crust dough and cut out small leaves or apples to decorate the top. This makes it a little fancier if you're trying to impress your guests!) Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar (I use cinnamon sugar). Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Caramel Apple Crisp

Apple Filling:
5 large Granny Smith Apples (Braeburn also work great)
peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I just use my food processor to slice them up)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup quick oats
1 cup butter, softened

Caramel Sauce:
1 (14 oz) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1 5 oz can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apples with sugar flour cinnamon, lemon juice and water. Spread evenly into a 9 x 13 pan. In another bowl mix together the crumble topping ingredients (flour, brown sugar, oats and butter). In a heavy sauce pan over low heat melt the caramels with the evaporated milk. Heat, stirring frequently until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Drizzle 3/4 of caramel mixture over the apples, spoon crumble on top and then drizzle the remaining caramel over the crumble. Bake for 45 minutes or until apple mixture bubbles and topping turns golden brown.

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

OK, these are really yummy -- but they are a heart attack waiting to happen! One serving is approximately 970 calories with 77 grams of fat. So, this is a maybe once a year recipe!

1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs (I used bone-in)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup beef broth
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 Tbsp catsup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag. Shake to coat. Brown ribs in butter in a large skillet. When browned, place ribs in a slow cooker. In the same skillet, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring. Pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low 9-11 hours. Approximately 1-2 hours prior to serving, drizzle your favorite BBQ sauce over the top!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cranberry Fluff

This is a Thanksgiving tradition started by Michelle. CJ requested that I post it, so here it is:

2 cups raw cranberries, ground (Mix with ½ cup sugar and chill overnight)
2 cups diced apples
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Add ingredients to cranberries; fold in whipped cream.


1 cup butter (NOT MARGARINE!)
2 ¼ cups brown sugar
Dash salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 15-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in heavy 3 quart saucepan. Add sugar and salt; stir thoroughly. Stir in corn syrup; mix well. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat to firm ball stage (275* F.), 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into buttered 9x9x2-inch pan. Cool and cut into squares.

I do not use a thermometer to watch the temperature; I find it cumbersome and my caramels turn out too hard. Instead I have a bowl of ice water on the stove and after about 10 minutes of stirring/cooking I spoon caramel into the bowl. It will set up quickly. If I like the consistency I know it is done.

Orson Gygi has great chocolate, called Peter's Superlative Chocolate, that I use to dip the caramel in. The chocolate is a bit softer and more tempermental but has a GREAT flavor and I get rave reviews.

Ritzy Chicken

Combine the following ingredients and marinate chicken overnight:
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
5 chicken breasts

½ cup crushed Ritz crackers
½ cup butter
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Roll chicken in Ritz crackers and place in 9x13 pan. Pour half melted butter over chicken. Bake 350* for 45 minutes. Pour remainder of butter and poppy seeds over chicken. Bake 15 more minutes.

Sunday Roast Beef (beef or pork roast)

Place Roast in Crockpot with:

¼ cup butter or margarine
Dash garlic salt
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
1½ pounds of meat
¼ cup white grape juice or pear juice

Cook for at least 5 hours (or until tender)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Peanut Butter Candy

Peanut Butter Candy

1 c. light Karo
1 c. peanut butter
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 1/4 c. powdered milk

Put in a bowl. Mix all together. Roll into 1" balls.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aunt Marilyn's Popcorn

This is the greatest caramel popcorn ever! We love it as is or you can bake it to make it crunchy. You could add nuts or raisins or m & ms but we love it plain and eat it quickly!

Make 2-3 batches air popped or regular (not microwave) popcorn and pick out and discard the unpopped kernels as opposed to saving them and pouring the syrup over them. Put in a mixing bowl large enough to stir the popcorn with the syrup on it. Set aside and
make syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo
1/2 cup water

Boil in a large skillet or large heavy saucepan over high heat stirring often (that is so you watch it as it goes quickly when it starts to turn color and can scorch easily) until it begins to turn yellow. Turn off heat and add

1 cube butter (butter is the best)
1 t. baking soda
1t. salt

Remove from heat and stir carefully together to incorporate butter into syrup and pour over popcorn in bow. Stir to coat all the popcorn and pour out onto waxed paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and mold or spread out to cool. Or, put on sprayed jelly roll pans and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Annette's Jello Popcorn Balls

1 - 6 oz. box Jello (not sugar-free) , any flavor
2 cups sugar
1 cup Karo
1 t. vanilla

Bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over 2 batches popcorn free of old maids. Stir together and mold into balls or blobs and put on waxed paper sprayed with Pam. (Remove from waxed paper before eating.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chicken Breasts Parmesan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
3/4 c. plain yogurt
2 T. lemon juice
3/4 c. bread crumbs
3/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 t. seasoning salt

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse chicken and dry with paper towel. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg. Mix in the yogurt and juice. In another shallow pan, mix the bread crumbs, cheese and seasoning. Dip the chicken in yogurt mixture and then crumbs. Place slightly apart on cookie sheet covered with foil. Bake for 35 minutes.

Crustless Spinach Quiche

9 oz pkg. frozen chopped spinach, squeezed to drain
2 T. flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. mayo
1 c. sliced mushrooms
5 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled (or 2 T. bacon bits)
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated swiss cheese
1/2c sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9" pie pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, toss spinach and flour until well mixed, set aside. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and mayo. Stir in mushrooms, cheeses, spinach mixture, onions and bacon. Pour into pan, back for 1 hour. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chicken Fajita Pizza

I use Mandy's Quick Pizza Dough Recipe.... see below.

3 cups all-purpose flour *
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup warm water

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Spread out on a large pizza pan. Top as desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

* I substituted one cup of whole wheat flour for one cup of white. Yummy!

  • Toppings: Pizza sauce, grilled chicken (seasoned with fajita spices), sliced red and green bell pepper, onions and roma tomatoes. Top with some mozzarella cheese. SO GOOD!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Banana Bread

This is a Martha Stewart recipe and one of my favs.

1 3/4 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. mashed bananas (about 3 small bananas)
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 T milk
2 eggs
1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Combine all dry ingredients. Stir in butter, milk and eggs. Add banana and mix until just blended. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.

I use the mini loaf pans when I make this (they make great sized give-aways). This will fill about 3 mini loaf pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pumpkin Pie Cake

This is the perfect cross between a yummy pumpkin pie and a yummy yellow cake. My friend Carrie made this for me just last week, and I've already made it once - going on twice. It's SO yummy! And until I can get her to join the recipe blog, I'll be posting for her.

1 package yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup out for topping)
1 egg
1 stick butter or margarine, melted

After reserving out 1 cup of the cake mix, combine remaining cake mix with egg and melted butter. Press into a 9 x 13 pan.

1 ½ c. pumpkin (unseasoned, solid pack)
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ginger
1—12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 eggs

Mix together well and pour over crust.

1 c. reserved cake mix
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 T. butter
Chopped nuts (optional)

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in margarine. Crumble over the filling.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour (good served warm OR cold!)

Southwestern Monte Cristos

A Rachael Ray from her 365:No Repeats Cookbook.

8 slices white sandwich bread
½ c. hot pepper jell or chili sauce, tomatillo or tomato salsa, or taco sauce – whatever you have on hand
8 slices honey-baked ham
8 slices Pepper Jack cheese
8 slices of smoked turkey
2 eggs, beaten
A splash of milk
1 T. unsalted butter

  1. Spread the bread with a light layer of pepper jelly (or whatever you have), then build sandwiches using 2 slices each of ham, cheese, and turkey per sandwich. Beat the eggs with the milk and the remaining 2 teaspoons of hot sauce and season the mixture with a little salt.
  2. Heat a griddle pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet. Dip each sandwich in the egg coating and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side to melt the cheese and warm the meats through.
  3. Cut them corner to corner and serve alongside the stoup for dipping and munching.

Can serve with Black Bean Stoup.

Black Bean Stoup

A Rachael Ray Recipe (from her365: No Repeats Cookbook) that I LOVE and could eat once a week at least! So much flavor for black beans!

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 dried bay leaf
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 celery ribs with greens, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
3 - 15 oz. cans black beans
2 T. ground cumin
1 ½ t. ground coriander.
Salt and black pepper
2 to 3 T. hot sauce
1 qt. chicken or vegetable stock or broth (I use less because I like it a little thicker)
1 – 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
½ c. sour cream
2 to 3 scallions, chopped (I omit these, and it tastes just as good… not a big onions fan!)

  1. Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO to the hot pot, then add the bay leaf , jalapeños, garlic, celery, and onions. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the bell peppers and continue to cook.

  2. Drain 2 cans of beans and add them. With the remaining can, pour the juice and half the beans into the pot. Use a fork to mash up the beans remaining in the can. Stir the mashed beans into the pot and season with the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot sauce.

  3. Add the stock and tomatoes to the stoup and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.

  4. Ladle up the black bean stoup and top with sour cream and scallions.

Can serve with Southwestern Monte Cristos or with Pancheri Cornbread (shown w/ the pic)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Request: Tres Leches

Does anyone have a recipe for tres leches? I'd like to try making one and would rather try a recipe from one of you, instead of one from allrecipes or Food Network.

Angel Chicken

Another Michelle original.

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup butter
1 .7-oz pkg italian salad dressing mix
1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 of an 8-oz tub cream cheese with chives and onion

Place chicken in a 3 1/2 or 4 quart crock pot. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the dry italian dressing mix. Stir in mushroom soup, white wine and cream cheese until combined. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. {You can also just cook it in a Pyrex pan at 350 for about 25 minutes, until chicken juices run clear.} Serve chicken and sauce over hot cooked pasta.

Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 oz. carrot baby food
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed pinapple (drained)

Mix all the above ingredients together. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 in a non-stick sprayed 9x13 baking dish.

Top with cream cheese frosting (to follow) and garnish with crushed walnuts if desired (I don't).

Note: The first time I made this the store didn't have enough carrot baby food. So I used half carrot and half sweet potato. It turned out so well that that's how I make it every time. Also, I usually take the cake straight from the oven to the freezer. Seems to make it even more moist - if that's possible.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanillia
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bread Bowls

I found this on and altered it just a little. I never realized how surprisingly easy it is to make bread bowls!

2 packages (.25 ounces each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk (110 to 115 F)
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add shortening, sugar, eggs, salt, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. (Note: this dough will be really soft.) Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 6-8 minutes, or use the hook attachment on your stand mixer at low speed for 4-5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and turn onto a floured surface. Divide into desired number of pieces (8 small bowls, 6 medium, or 4 large). Shape each piece into a ball. Grease two baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place four balls 3 in. apart on each prepared pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Cut a thin slice off the top of bread. Hollow out bottom, leaving 1/4" to 1/2" shell. If desired, bake shells for an additional 5-10 minutes to remove some moisture and make bowls slightly stiff.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Roasted Baby Carrots

These are too yummy and just perfect for fall.

Note: "Baby Carrots" do not mean the little carrot nubs that I give to my kids for a snack. These are the baby carrots that are 5-6 inches long and most of the time still have the greens attached. I picked mine up at the farmer's market!

1 1/2 lbs of 5 inch long baby carrots, carefully washed,
greens cropped to 1 inch above top of carrot
1 red onion, peeled, cut into 8 wedges
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary, or 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Gently toss together the carrots, red onion, rosemary to coat with the olive oil. Lay out on a rimmed baking pan. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

2 Roast for 30 to 40 minutes on middle rack or bottom rack, until well browned.

Serves 4.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

All the grocery stores here in Provo (maybe all Utah) make these in their bakeries. They are good but these are even better!

1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
Nuts (optional)

Dissolve baking soda in milk; set aside. In large bowl add pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg; stir. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda mixture. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Spoon in balls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 10-12 minutes or until done.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin Muffins

This recipe makes a ton, you can freeze them and they make a great fast snack later.

I even like to think they are relatively healthy since they use applesauce instead of oil. To make them even healthier you can substitute 1/2 banana per 1 egg.

3 1/2 C flour 4 eggs
2 tsp salt 2/3 C water
2 tsp nutmeg 1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
2 tsp cinnamon 1 C applesauce
2 tsp baking soda Chocolate chips (opt)
2 1/2 C sugar

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients and slowly add to dry mixture. Mix until just combined- don't over mix. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350. For normal size muffines, bake 18-20 minutes. For mini muffins, bake 10-12 minutes.
Makes about 100 mini muffins or 3 dozen regular size.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Barley Soup

I must have been smoking something when I originally posted this in February. I had it written down somewhere else and made it from the posted recipe last night for the first time and it was WRONG. It still turned out okay, but not nearly as good as it should. My apologies to anyone who made the old recipe! Without further ado, here is the REAL barley soup recipe!


8 cups water
½ cup barley
½ tsp salt
2 bay leaves
8 tsp beef boullion
Bring to boil for 30 minutes

1 onion, chopped
1 lb. carrots chopped
Cook 5 minutes

2/3 head of celery
1 can stewed tomatoes, pulsed
{if you want to make this non-vegetarian, you can brown 1 lb. sausage, drain and add here}
Cook 10 minutes

Serve with cheese (I like grated parmesan, Matt likes cojack) and rolls.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bran Muffins

Mix together and set aside:
2 cups boiling water
4 cups bran cereal (can be All Bran, Bran buds, Bran Flakes, Raisin Bran)
1 pound dates pitted and chopped (optional, but add a great flavor)

Sift together in separate bowl:
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
5 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
5 tsp. baking soda

Add into dry ingredients bowl:
1 cup salad oil
1 quart buttermilk

MIX EVERYTHING TOGETHER NOW, and then add 2 more cups of bran flakes.

Bake 400* F for 15-20 minutes. Yields 72 muffins. The great thing about this recipe is that the batter can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 weeks, so not all the muffins have to be made at once. You can make them at your leisure - or craving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Help! I need a "spooktacular" appetizer!

Any ideas for a killer appetizer for an Adult Halloween Party this Saturday! Keep in mind, the hostess is an amazing cook -- I'm going to have to come up with something amazing even to be worthy of bringing it into her kitchen! Thanks for your help!

Munster Mushroom Chicken

This is a recipe I got from Mandy in college who got from her mom... but I've never seen it on paper. It's one of my family favorites - so I thought I'd pass it along so ya'll all can enjoy! (Strattons, lemme know if I missed a step... this is how I do it...)

Chicken breasts
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (if you have more, that's even better!)
A slice of Munster cheese for each chicken breast
Chicken broth

Cut the chicken breasts in half, place sliced mushrooms in the inside, put "lid" back on, then top again with sliced mushrooms. Place in glass dish with 1/2 in. of chicken broth on the bottom. Bake til juices run clear. When the chicken is cooked, place a slice of Munster cheese on top and back in the oven to melt. If you love mushrooms, you'll LOVE this!! I serve with mashed potatoes, and put some of the broth in the potatoes before I mash them. YUM!

Monday, October 22, 2007

One Pot Taco Soup

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 15 oz. can pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz. can red beans
  • 1 large can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 med-large minced onion
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1-2 tablespoons cumin
  • Salt & pepper

Brown ground beef in a large stock pot. Add minced onion and garlic. Then add all the beans (juice and all), along with the tomatoes. Stir in the cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on stove until warmed through. Serve with corn chips, a glob of sour cream, and some chopped fresh cilantro. I really like the cumin flavor, but add as much or as little of that as you like.

I sometimes do this in the crock pot as well. This is my "You've got to be kidding? Your parents, your 9 siblings and their families are coming for dinner, and they'll be here any minute???!!!" recipe. I buy all the bean varieties I can find on sale - usually during case lot sales. Everything is always on hand to put together a fool-proof dinner.

San Francisco Melts

These are a Mel original. She used to make them often when I would invade her house for Sunday dinner. I made them for the first time last night and they're as good as I remember!

grilled onions (cook until they are golden and begin to caramelize)
slicedturkey, I prefer deli turkey sliced thin, not shaved
swiss cheese, sliced thin
cheddar cheese, sliced thin
sourdough bread

For each sandwich, butter one side of two slices sourdough bread (like you're making a grilled cheese sandwich). Place buttered side down on a hot skillet (the easiest is an electric one). Put swiss cheese on one side and cheddar cheese on the other. As the cheese begins to melt, pile one side with as much turkey as you want. When the cheese is melted and bread is toasted golden, remove to a plate. Add onions, lettuce and tomatoes on top of turkey, top with the other half of sourdough bread. Cut in half and serve.

This is a meal in itself, but is also delicious as half a sandwich and soup. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sugar Cookie Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup water

In a saucepan melt over low heat. Once sugar and water have formed a nice glaze, add 1 Tbsp corn syrup and 3/4 tsp flavoring (almond extract is our favorite) and desired coloring. I will usually just dip the top of the cookie into the glaze then place it on waxed paper to set-up. This gives the cookies a really nice, smooth look. Then, if I am feeling ambitious I'll make a contrasting color to drizzle over the top!

Super Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

These are PERFECT for cut-out holiday cookies. In fact, we just finished some ghosts and pumpkins!

2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp soda
6 cups flour

Cream first six ingredients, add soda and flour. Chill before rolling out. Cut and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should be taken out just prior to them starting to brown! You can frost with butter cream frosting, but our favorite is a cookie glaze. Recipe to follow!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall Cleaning

Hello, all! Thank you to everyone who posts their amazing recipes! I know I love having a resource to consult when I'm making my menus every week! I'm going to do a little house cleaning and delete the 'chefs' that don't add recipes to the blog. Don't worry, it's nothing personal - you'll still be able to access the blog and keep up with the new finds. If you haven't posted before, now's a good time. If I take you off and you want to post something, just let me know and I'll re-add you.

Zucchini Brownies

These are the BEST brownies and the zucchini makes them so moist. Happy Eating!!!

Combine mixing well:

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. salad oil
1/4 c. water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp soda
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. cocoa

Then add:
2 c grated zucchini
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes on a backing sheet or in muffin tins

Frosting (I always double the frosting but these measurements are for a single batch)
1/2 c. butter
6 tsp. cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
A pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. milk

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Bread

I am a lover of good pumpkin bread... and this... so far... is the best I've tasted and made. It's got a real yummy spice taste to it.

Sift together:
3½ cups flour
1½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda

Beat together:
3 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
2 cups pumpkin (sm can)
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger

Mix with dry ingredients and blend well. Bake in greased & floured loaf pans at 350° for 1 hour.

(When I do the small loaf pans, I decrease the oven temp to 335° and only bake for about 30-40 minutes. One batch will make 16 small loaves.)

Green Rice

Lots of Veggies and Really Yummy!

1/4 cup oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups uncooked rice
2/3 cups chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped green onions (about one bunch)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cups chicken broth
1/8 - 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients in 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Fluff with a fork prior to serving!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Parmesan Chicken

When Matt requested parmesan chicken, I looked on and found this one. I made it Friday and it was really easy and really good.

2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 T. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 egg
1 1/2 tsp melted butter

Flatten chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil and melted butter. In another bowl, beat the egg. Dip chicken into egg, then coat with crumb mixture. Place in glass baking dish sprayed with Pam. Cook at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve with whole wheat pasta and marinara sauce. **This recipe is for two people, so adjust for your family!**

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hearty Vegetarian Chili

I found this recipe in a magazine and made a few little alterations to better suit our tastes. It really is fabulous -- and if you don't tell people it's meatless, I doubt they'd notice!

1 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium zucchini, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
1-2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

In a large heavy pot, saute onion, green pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in zucchini and carrots; add cornmeal, chili powder, paprika, sugar, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes.

Top with sour cream, chopped green onions, and chopped fresh cilantro.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Homemade Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans
5 T. tahini
½ t. sea salt
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 ½ to 2 lemons)
2-3 cloves garlic
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup water (more or less to achieve desired consistency)

Blend in a blender
Makes 2 ½ to 3 cups.
Store in fridge.

I love to use this on sandwiches instead of mayo/mustard. Spread it on toasted bread and top with tomatoes, sprouts, turkey and spinach. Yummy!

From Feeding the Whole Family

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

A Rachael Ray that is aimed to please. I LOVE tomatoes... and this roasted grape tomato flavor is the best!!

1 pound pasta cavatappi or orecchiette
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, grated
A few drizzles of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Freshly ground black pepper
20 leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat oven 425°F.

Place a large pot filled with water over high heat and bring up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once boiling, add some salt and the pasta, and cook until al dente according to package directions. Reserve about a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.

While the water is coming up to a boil to cook the pasta, place the tomatoes on a cookie and grate the garlic over them.

Drizzle with some EVOO and season with some salt and pepper. Transfer cookie sheet to the oven and roast tomatoes for 8-10 minutes or until the tomatoes start to burst. Remove from the oven, discard the garlic cloves and transfer roasted tomatoes to a large serving bowl. Add the reserved pasta water and, with a potato masher or a fork, lightly smash the tomatoes. This is a great job for a K.H. (kid helper)!

Add basil, drained pasta and Parmigiano cheese and toss to coat.

Toss to combine, taste and re-season with some salt and pepper then serve.

I served with grilled chicken with some EVOO and Durkee brand Grill Creations Italian Herb Seasoning on it. Yum!

Pesto Beef with Grape Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

This dish makes a beautiful presentation that will "wow" your family and friends (Mandy, did it accomplish that?) Plus, it's easy! (this is what the cookbook said, not my verbiage but still thought I'd add it for some humor)

1 T. olive oil
2 t. dried minced onion
1/2 c. prepared pesto sauce
1/2 t. black pepper
2 lbs. round steak, cut into six pieces
2 pints grape tomatoes (about 4 1/2 c.)
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, drained, sliced, and brought to room temperature by serving time

  1. Grease the slow cooker crock pot with olive oil (leave excess in the crock). Add the onion, pesto, and pepper to the crock, and stir to combine.
  2. Add the steak to the crock and turn the pieces with tongs to coat with the pesto mixture; add the tomatoes.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
  4. To serve, use clean tongs to place steak in individual bowls. Top each serving with slice of mozzarella, and some of the tomato mixture.

I served with brown rice and added more of the juices over the rice and put the beef on top the rice.

Recipe says it can also be used with chicken instead of beef.

the everyday low-carb slow cooker cookbook

Chocolate Pound Cake with Berries

2 sticks butter or margarine

1/2 c. shortening
1 T. vanilla
3 c. sugar
5 eggs
3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. cocoa
1 c. milk

Cream margarine and shortening. Add vanilla, sugar and eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients and add to above mixture alternating with milk. Bake in bundt (or is it just bunt?) pan at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

I top with fresh or thawed frozen strawberries and raspberries and whipped cream.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Baked Ziti

1 lb. ziti, cooked al dente
1 lb. Italian sausage or hamburger (I use turkey sausage)
2 jars spaghetti sauce (you can make your own, but this makes it really quick)
1 lb. ricotta cheese
6 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 T parsley flakes
1 lb. shredded mozzarella

Brown meat, drain fat. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan and parsley. In a greased large casserole or 9x13" pan, pour a small amount of sauce to cover the bottom. Layer half the noodles and half the ricotta mixture. Cover completely with sauce. Spread about half the mozzarella cheese over. Layer remaining noodles, ricotta and sauce. Cover completely with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and just begins to brown.

This also freezes well. Do not put on last layer of cheese before freezing. Take straight from the freezer and bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Add top layer of mozzarella during final 20 minutes of baking.

Bruschetta and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I got this from the Kraft Food & Family magazine. It was super easy.

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/4 cups KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 lb.)
1/3 cup KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing {I just used the Sun Dried Tomato dressing I already had}

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine tomatoes with their liquid, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the basil and dry stuffing mix; stir just until moistened.

PLACE 2 chicken breast halves in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound chicken

with side of heavy can, rolling pin or meat mallet until chicken is 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken breast halves, adding 2 at a time to bag. Place chicken, top-sides down, on large cutting board; spread evenly with stuffing mixture. Starting at one of the narrow ends, tightly roll up chicken. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle evenly with dressing.

BAKE 40 min. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake an additional 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170°F) and cheese is melted.

**My changes: Since there are only two of us, I just made two chicken breasts and cooked the rest of the stuffing in a Pyrex dish as a side. I think the next time I make it, I will cut up the chicken and make it like a casserole instead of rolling the chicken. It will cook faster and last better as leftovers!**

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mini BBQ Meatloaf

This is one of my attempts to find quick, relatively cheap meals. We both liked this one.

1lb ground beef
1 pkg(6 oz.) stuffing mix
1 cup water
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375. Mix meat, stuffing mix, 1 cup water and garlic powder until well blended. Press into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Make an indentation in the center of each with spoon. 2. Spoon BBQ sauce into center of each meatloaf. 3. Bake 30 min. or until meatloaves are cooked through. Top with cheese; continue baking 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

Makes 6 servings.

**I think next time I make this, I'm just going to mix the BBQ sauce into the meat mixture at the beginning instead of spooning it on top.**

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Creamy Garlic Penne

1 (13 1/2 ounce) can of skim evaporated milk
1 1/3 cups skim milk
3 tablespoons flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon powder {I just used chicken}
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper {I left this out}
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
3 cups penne pasta (10 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated light Parmesan cheese
chopped fresh parsley

Whisk both milks into flour in large non-stick frying pan until smooth. Add garlic and bouillon powder. Heat and stir on medium-low until boiling and thickened. Keep warm on low, stirring occasionally.

Sauté chicken in olive oil in non-stick frying pan for 5 minutes until slightly browned. Sprinkle with cayenne and pepper. Add tomato. Toss well until hot. Add to milk mixture. Stir. Keep warm.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until just tender. Drain.

Turn pasta into serving dish. Pour sauce over top. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cottage Fried Potatoes

This is a side I make quite often it is a great alternative to mashed potatoes all the time!
And super easy and quick to make. If you like onions you'll like this!

3 TB marge or butter
3 medium potatoes thinly sliced ( the thinner the faster it cooks)\
1 small onion sliced and seperated into rings
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup parmeasean cheese
1/8 tsp pepper

Melt butter in skillet, layer potatoes into skillet sprinkle with garlic p0wder, alt and pepper cook covered till potatoes are tender and browned. about 8 minutes. Flip over potatoes, brown the other side, add onion rings and cover for another 5 minutes. Uncover and add paremesan cheese. Cook til potatoes and onions are tender and browned.

Ranch Bacon Potatoes

Mandy- Here's another side dish! Its really yummy! Don't feel bad, I rarely make side dishes to go with my entree. I feel like superwoman if I manage to do both!

8 red potatoes sliced or cut into chunks
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 onion chopped
1 c grated cheddar cheese ( or more, lots of cheese is always better!)
2 Tb sour cream
2 Tb ranch dressing
3/4 cup mayo
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender. Fry bacon and break into pieces. In dish combine sour cream, mayo, ranch, onion and cheese. Stir in potatoes and bacon pieces. Top with more grated cheese. Cook in oven at 350 for 15- 20 minutes, to heat through.

Company Carrots

Well Mandy- better late than never! Here is a side dish recipie for you, you have probably had it before at Thanksgiving or somthing! I know your sister love it.

2 1/2 lb baby carrots
1/4 liquid from carrots
1/2 c mayo
1 TB horseradish
1 Tb minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c cracker crumbs
3 TB marge melted

Cook carrots, save liquid. In a bowl combine liquid, mayo. horseradish, parsley, salt and pepper,
add carrots and coat well. Mix marge with cracker crumbs and spread over the top of carrots. Cook at 375 until crumbs brown and it is heated through. about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Minestrone Soup

1 lb sausage browned and drained
1 quart of water
2 chopped onions
2 large carrots sliced
2 large celery stocks chopped
1 28 ounce can tomatoes pureed
2 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce
2 cups of beef bouillon (2 cups of water to 4 beef bouillon cubes)
1 TBSP parsley flakes
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp oregano
Garlic salt to taste
1 can garbanzo beans
½ head of cabbage

Optional: 1 cup uncooked macaroni noodles. I personally don't like adding the noodles because they get soggy - and I'm not a fan of the added noodles because the taste is fine without them.

Simmer 3 hours

Creamy Parmesan Fondue

1 ½ cups milk
2 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp parsley flakes
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated

With an electric mixer, mix milk and cream cheese until well blended. Pour into saucepan and heat slowly. Add garlic salt and parsley. Slowly add parmesan and mozzarella cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour into fondue pot. Serve with bread cubes and chopped vegetables. (We also BBQ meats and dip those into the fondue).

Beef and Bean Chimichangas

1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
2 cups taco sauce {I improvised with tomato sauce and 4 T. of taco seasoning}
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
8 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1 (16 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
shredded lettuce
1 tomato, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease, and add the onion, bell pepper, and corn. Cook for about 5 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the taco sauce, and season with chili powder, garlic salt and cumin, stirring until blended.

Cook until heated through, then remove from heat, and set aside.

Open the can of beans, and spread a thin layer of beans onto each of the tortillas. Spoon the beef mixture down the center, and then top with as much shredded cheese as you like. Roll up the tortillas, and place them seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Brush the tortillas with melted butter.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Serve with lettuce and tomato.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Microwaved Apple Betty

4 med. apples, pealed & sliced
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. flour
1/2 t. cinnamon
3 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 1/2 T. butter
Arrange apple slices in 8x8 or large pie plate. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over apples. Dot w/ butter and sprinkle w/ lemon juice. Sprinkle topping over top...

1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. oatmeal
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. finely chopped nuts (though, I of course, omitted the nuts)

Melt butter and add brown sugar. Stir in flour, oatmeal, salt and nuts. Pat in place over apples. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes turning twice (unless you got a "turn table" in your microwave).

Let stand 15 minutes and serve w/ ice cream.

Oven-Roasted Spicy Potatoes

A classic Rachael Ray, good and easy!
Yields: 6 servings

5 pounds red potatoes
A palmful garlic powder
A palmful of onion powder
A palmful of dried parsley
A palmful of dried rosemary
A palmful of dried thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), to coat the potatoes
Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cut potatoes in one inch cubes and place them on a large baking sheet or roasting pan. Add all of the spices to a small bowl and mix to create a seasoning mixture (keep the leftovers in a well-sealed container for a later use).

Coat the potatoes with EVOO then sprinkle with the spice mixture. Toss the potatoes so the EVOO and spices are distributed evenly. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Garden Risotto

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uncooked and cut into bite size pieces
3 T. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 can chicken broth
1 3/4 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a sauce pan saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil and brown the chicken along with it. Add chicken broth, uncooked pasta and broccoli. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Stir occasionally so the orzo pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pan. This only takes a few minutes. Stir in the corn, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

{This took more chicken broth and more time than the recipe called for, although I could have just messed something up. It was really tasty, though! It would also work great as a side dish.}

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

This is another Giada. Love her!

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Black Bean Burritos

1 can black beans drained
¾ can corn drained
1 small zucchini chopped
3 roma tomatoes chopped
1 stalk green onions chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
juice from 3 limes
salt to taste

Marinate together for a few hours. Place a large spoonful of veggies (Drain out the juice - I use a slated spoon) on tortilla and top w/ mozzerela cheese. Close with toothpick. BBQ or grill under the broiler until lightly browned.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 C. Bisquick
2/3 C. milk
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix Bisquick, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cooking sheet. Bake 8- 10 min until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic powder. Brush mixture over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

{UPDATE: I mix the garlic powder (or minced garlic) in with the dough and then spray some I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray on top. So tasty!}

Banana Cream Pie

This is an Ellie Krieger recipe... so it's probably the healthiest banana cream pie you can get while still tasting GOOD!

Cooking spray
12 graham cracker squares (6 full sheets)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water
1/3 cup, plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sliced banana (3 medium bananas)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a food processor, process graham crackers until finely ground. Add butter and 1 tablespoon of water, and process until the crumb clumps together. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pie plate and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then let cool.

In the meantime, make the filling. Put the gelatin in a small bowl; add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/3 cup of sugar and the flour. In a medium bowl lightly beat the milk and eggs together. Add the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk so the flour and sugar dissolve. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes, until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract and gelatin. Set aside to cool slightly.

Arrange the sliced bananas on the graham cracker crust and pour the pudding on top. Place in the refrigerator until the pudding has set, about 3 hours.

Whip the cream with an electric beater. When it is about halfway done, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, then continue whipping until fully whipped. Put the whipped cream in a plastic bag, concentrating it in 1 corner of the bag. Snip that corner off the bag and squeeze the whipped cream out of the bag in a decorative pattern around the pie.

Nutrition Information per Serving Calories: 215
Total Fat: 8 grams
Saturated Fat: 4 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 32 grams

Fiber: 1.5

Servings: 8

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Frozen Fruit Cocktail

15 medium peaches sliced
1 lb seedless red grapes (I like to add more)
20 oz crushed pineapple
juice from 2 lemons
juice from 3 oranges
2 c sugar
Mix together until sugar is dissolved and freeze. (It's also very yummy fresh!!!)

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp celery salt
2 lbs tilapia fillets

Set oven to broil. Grease the broiler pan, then line with foil and grease the foil. Mix together parmesan, butter, mayo, lemon juice and garlic. Add all the remaining seasonings, mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the broiler pan. Broil a few inches from heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn the fish over and broil approx 2 more minutes. Remove from oven and cover with parmesan mixture on the top side. Return to oven and broil for approx 2 more minutes or until the toppying is browned and the fish flakes easily. Yummy, yummy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Veggie Sides

**** I found this in the drafts and decided to just publish it for Megan, who is in Europe for the next month ****

This is sort of a side dish... One of my favorite ways to eat squash in the summer is just by cutting it in lengthwise strips, tossing on some Lowry's seasoned salt, and throwing it on the George Foreman grill. Tasty! Also, grilling asparagus that's been buttered, salted, and peppered is yummy too!

Now for the best that Mandy may have mentioned in a previous post:

3 c. frozen california veggie mix
3/4 c. cottage cheese
1/4 c. medium cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese to taste

Basically, defrost the veggies in the microwave, then add the cheeses in the order listed. Microwave on high for three minutes and voila! You have yummy cheesy goodness. It sounds weird with the cottage cheese, I know. But trust me, it's not weird.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Impossible Apple Pie

Don't worry, the only impossible thing about this is it's impossible to mess up.

3-4 apples peeled and diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c melted butter or margarine
1 c sugar
1 beaten egg
1 c flour

Fill bottom of 9 inch pie plate w/ apples. Sprinkle w/ cinnamon and sugars. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over top. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve warm w/ vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Magic Peach Cobbler

A favorite for this time of the year!

1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2-3 peaches
1 cup sugar

Melt cube of butter in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and milk in a bowl. Pour over melted butter. Slice peaches on top of batter. Spread remaining sugar on top. (I don't actually use a whole cup, just enough to cover the tops of the peaches!) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Yum Yum Yum!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Classic Manicotti with Marinara Sauce

Here's a recipe that I patched together using recipes from Giada De Laurentis, Mario Borgatti and the back of the Bertolli box -- it turned out great!!! Enjoy!

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion coarsely chopped
1 pound ground Italian sausage (if you don't like sausage that well, use ground beef or a half pound ground beef and half pound sausage)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
12 (8 oz package) manicotti
15 oz whole milk ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
3 cups marinara sauce (recipe to follow -- or just use a jar of Prego)
2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brown sausage and onion in a skillet over medium heat with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Cook until onions are translucent and meat is browned. Remove from heat and cool.

Brush 1 Tablespoon olive oil over a large cookie sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite (4-6 minutes). Using a slotted spoon remove the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Combine the ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan and parsley. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste and mix, stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture. Make sure the meat mixture is cool, or it makes for difficult transfer to the manicotti tubes!

Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 9 x 13 pan. Spoon half of the marinara over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the meat/cheese mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the top. ** Stuffing the manicotti can be a real pain, but I found that if I put all the filling in a gallon Ziploc bag and then cut off one of the bottom corners, I could shoot it right in, it made it a lot easier!

Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese, then the remaining Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot the entire dish with the putter pieces. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until heated through. Let manicotti sit for 5 minutes and then serve.

Marinara Sauce

1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 quarts canned tomatoes, mostly drained (or 2-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes)
10 basil leaves (fresh is best)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
** You can add other spices that meet your individual tastes, but this gives you a good base to begin with.

Saute the garlic with the oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients, then raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer for 30+ minutes or until it is reduced to the consistency you prefer. The sauce can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer. Yields 5 cups.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kristin's Canned Garden Salsa

9 cups tomatoes (peeled & chopped)
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
3/4 cup 5% acidic white vinegar
3 Tablespoons canning salt
2 cups celery
2 cups onions
2 large red bell peppers
2 large green bell peppers
12-20 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
1-2 cups chopped jalepenos
Cilantro to taste

Throw all the ingredients into a large stock pot. (I always make sure that the tomatoes are on the bottom along with the other fresh items and the paste, salt & vinegar on the top so they don't scorch on the bottom of the stock pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Put in canning jars with lids. Hot water bath for 30 minutes (water to be boiling the entire time). Makes 5-6 quarts or 10-12 pints.

**Don't adjust the measurements on anything but the garlic and jalepenos -- this recipe the way it is has been checked out by the County Extension Office and has been considered safe for canning.

Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze

These can also be made with fresh raspberries for a fun, fresh taste!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 cup fresh (or frozen, but fresh is best) blueberries
Muffin Topping
Muffin Glaze

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir until well blended. Make a well in center of dry mix. Place egg, butter & milk in center and stir until all dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in lemon zest & blueberries. Fill 12 muffin cups, sprinkle with muffing topping. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Top with lemon glaze while still warm.

Muffin Topping
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Combine and sprinkle over muffins,

Muffin Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Mix together, drizzle over muffins after baking.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Texas Caviar

A friend brought this over for Zak's baby blessing and it was Scrumptious! Perfect for a get together, BBQ or potluck!!

2 cans black beans rinsed & drained
16 oz fresh salsa
2 cans shoe peg corn, drained
2 cans Rotelle tomatoes (it's a tomato/jalapeno mix)
2 bunches of cilantro (to taste)
green onions
Juice of 2 limes

Mix together & enjoy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Grilled Chile-Lime Chicken

2 teaspoons grated lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small jalapeño chile, seeded, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. To make marinade, in shallow glass or plastic dish, or resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix all ingredients except chicken.

2. Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Add chicken to marinade; turn to coat. Cover dish or seal bag; refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no longer than 24 hours.

3. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Cover and grill chicken over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).

~Betty Crocker

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sweet Potato Mashed

I got this recipe from my Runner's World magazine. Who know a running magazine could have such delicious recipes. This is fantastic!

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Place sweet potatoes in a large sauce pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until tender. Combine milk, ginger and nutmeg in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Drain the potatoes, return to the pan, add the milk mixture and beat with a potato masher or handheld mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 5 servings (or two for really hungry athletes if this is your "main course")
Calories: 200 Fat: less than 1g Protein: 2g Carbs: 45g

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Parmesan-Dijon Chicken

3/4 c. dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c. canola oil or butter, melted (I use EVOO)
2 T. Dijon mustard
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 pounds)

1. Heat oven to 375. Grease bottom and sides of rectangular pan, 13x9x2 in., with shortening(i use Pam).

2. Mix bread crumbs and cheese in large resealable plastic food-storage bag. Mix oil and mustard in shallow dish. Dip chicken into oil mixture, then shake in bag to coat with crumb mixture. Place in pan.

3. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Betty Crocker's
Diabetes Cookbook

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Super easy!

1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 bag chocolate chips
4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

Mix together butter, graham cracker crumbs, poswered sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter. Press into an ungreased 10"x15" cookie or jelly roll pan. Melt chocolate chips with 4 tablespoons peanut butter; mix until smooth and completely incorporated. Spread chocolate over peanut butter mixture and chill at least 1 hour before cutting into bars.

*You can use either chunky or smooth PB for the PB mixture, but smooth has a better texture. I don't recommend chunky for the topping. Also, you can leave the PB out of the melted chocolate, but using it makes the chocolate less brittle when it's cooled, so it cuts into bars more easily.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Maple Syrup

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
1 teaspoon maple syrup flavoring

Mix white and brown sugar together with corn syrup and water. Nearly bring to a boil, constantly stir. Remove from stove. With spoon remove white froth, discard. Pour in syrup container.

This is soooo good! You'll never want to buy syrup from the store again!

Cream of Cheesy Vegetable Soup

Shred 2 ½ cups cheddar cheese
Boil each separately:
2 ½ cups diced carrots
7 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced broccoli flowerets
Cook until tender.
2 Tablespoons margarine
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup onion

In a big pt melt 6 Tablespoons margarine. Add ½ cup flour and cook. Add 4 cups hot water. Cook until thick and boiling. Add 3 cups milk or half & half. Stir in celery and onion mixture and the cooked veggies. Add 2 Tablespoons chicken boullion. Salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese. Don’t boil. Top with bacon bits and shredded cheese.

Swiss Chicken

12-16 chicken tenders
1 pound shredded Swiss cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 ½ cups milk (or a little more than that won’t hurt)

Place chicken in greased 9x13 casserole dish. Cover with all cheese. Pour mixture of soup and milk over top. Take 1/3 package of Pepperidge Farm Herb Season crumbs and sprinkle on top. Sprinkle ¼ cube melted butter over top. Bake at 325* for 2 hours.

Serve with baked potatoes, sour cream, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls…

This is a Sunday dinner favorite. It is very easy and tastes like you've slaved for hours.

EASY Beef Stroganoff

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can French onion soup
Cubed beef (stew meat)

Place in greased casserole dish and add ½ can of water and stir. Bake 350* for 5 hours. OR use a crock pot on high all day, stirring occasionally.

Stir in small carton of sour cream ½ hour before serving. Fresh sliced mushrooms may be added at this time.

This can be served over rice or noodles. Steamed veggies also go well with this meal.

Dinner Rolls

¼ cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
¾ cup lukewarm milk (scald and cool)
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
¼ cup olive oil
3 ½ to 3 ¾ flour

In bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, sugar, salt, egg, olive oil, and half the flour to yeast. Mix with spoon until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to handle easily. Turn onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth (5 min.) Round up in greased bowl, bring greased side up. Cover with cloth. Let rise in warm place (85*) until double, about 1 ½ hour. Punch down; let rise again until almost double, about 30 minutes.

Roll dough about ¼ inches thick into a 12 inch circle. Spread with soft butter. Cut into 16 pie-shaped pieces. Beginning at rounded edge, roll up. Place on pan, point underneath.

Let rise until light, 15 to 20 minutes. Heat oven to 400*. Bake 12 to 15 minutes on lightly greased pan or baking sheet. Serve piping hot.

Chocolate Fondue

9 ounces milk chocolate, chopped*
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup cream
1 TBSP apple juice
4 ounes large marshmallows (use it from a jar)

Combine chocolate, milk, cream, apple juice over double broiler. Stir until melted. Stir in marshmallows. Serve.

We like to serve with bananas, fresh pineapple, strawberries, angel food cake, or warmed almonds,

*I use Peter's Superlative Chocolate from Orson Gygi's. It comes in a 10 lb. brick and costs just over $30.00, but lasts a while.

Lemon Pudding Cake

This recipe is from the Moosewood Restaurant---one of my absolute favorite vegetarian restaurants---from their low fat cookbook. This is one of those magic recipes that separates in the oven into a fluffy cake layer with a tart lemony pudding layer beneath.

1/2 c unbleached white flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 1/4 c sugar (or more to taste)
1 1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 t freshly grated lemon peel (opt)
4 egg whites
pinch of salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare 6 8-ounce ramekins with light coating of cooking spray or oil. Place cups in 2-inch deep baking pan. Begin to heat kettle of water to boil.
  • In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, 3/4 c. sugar.
  • Stir in buttermilk, lemon juice, beaten egg yolks, and grated lemon peel.
  • With electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until stiff. Beat in 1/2 c. sugar. Fold egg whites into batter.
  • Spoon batter into cups. Pour boiling water into pan until water reaches 1/2 up sides of cups.
  • Bake 50 to 55 minutes until puffy and golden.

Black Bean Mole and Coconut Couscous

In response to Megan's request for vegetarian recipes: This is super easy---I am a little embarrassed to cook it for guests because it is so easy---but I really like it.

1 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 cup coconut, toasted
1/2 t cinnamon

1 T olive oil
2 t minced garlic
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16 oz) jar mild homestyle salsa or chunky-style salsa
1 1/2 t unsweetened cocoa
1 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t cinnamon

  • Cook couscous as directed on package. Stir in toasted coconut and 1/2 t. cinnamon. Cover to keep warm.
  • Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add garlic; cook and stir one minute. Stir in all remaining mole ingredients. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.
  • To serve, fluff couscous with fork. Spoon onto serving platter. Spoon mole over couscous. Top with colby/mont jack cheese, sour cream, green onions, tomato.

Jewish Apple Cake

I have been meaning to write this recipe out for Mel for the last six months (sorry!). It is one of my absolute favorite cakes. Cheers.

4 or 5 apples, cut in 1/4" slices
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
4 eggs
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
5 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of salad oil
1/4 cup orange juice

Combine apples, 5 T of sugar, and cinnamon. Beat together eggs and 2 cups sugar. Add dry ingredients, salad oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour 1/2 of batter into greased and floured tube pan. Stand up apples in the batter. Pour remaining sugar and cinnamon over apples. Pour rest of batter over top. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Marshmallow Brownies

I took thisfor dessert fro Sunday dinner, everyone asked for the recipie to be posted, so here it is!

Cream together
1 c softened butter
2 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa
add 4 eggs one at a time
then add 1 1/4 c flour
2 tsp vanilla

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cook at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from oven cover top with a layer of mini marshmallows, put in oven under broiler watch till marshmallows turn light brown and remove from oven. Let cool.

1/4 c butter softened
1/3 c cocoa
1/3 c evaporated milk
1 2/3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all together shouldn't be too thick since you will need to pour ( spread) over the marshmallows.
Can refrigerate to help cool and set up frosting.