Thursday, December 16, 2010

Praline Crumb Caramel Cheesecake Bars

I made these for the first time just recently and love-love them. I am a huge fan of cheesecake so anything that makes it easy to do is a-okay with me! You can find the toffee bits in the baking section of most grocery stores.

1 pouch (1 lbs 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
1/2 c. cold butter or margarine
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. toffee bits

2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. caramel topping
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Heat oven to 350. Line a 9X13 inch baking pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. In a medium bowl cut butter into the cookie mix, until it resembles coarse meal. Reserve 1 1/2 c. for the topping. Press remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese, sugar, flour 1/4 c. of the caramel, vanilla and egg with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooked crust. Sprinkle with remaining cookie mixture, pecans and toffee bits. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, lift foil out of the pan, cut cheesecake into squares and drizzle with remaining 1/4 c. caramel.

Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple Crisp

This is my mother-in-law's recipe and it is delicious. Just the right balance of salty and sweet. The topping even stays crunchy on the leftovers when reheated in the microwave. Serving it with vanilla ice cream makes it near perfection.

4 c. sliced green apples
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. water
3/4 c. sifted flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter

Butter a 10X6X2 baking dish. Combine the apples, cinnamon, and water. In a small bowl, combine water, flour, and salt. Crumble in the butter to resemble coarse bread crumbs. Spread over the top of the apples. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 40 minutes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheddar Cheese Soup with Zucchini, Broccoli, and Carrots

This was so simple to make and delicious. I used the frozen, shredded zucchini that we had leftover from our summer garden.

2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium zucchini, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated (I chopped mince since I like the texture of onion)
1/2 onion, grated
1 head broccoli, chopped into mini florets
3 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

In large saucepot, melt butter. Add garlic, zucchini, carrots and onion. Saute until veggies are tender. Stir in broccoli and broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender. Meanwhile, in another large pot, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in milk until smooth. Simmer until thickened. Whisk in cheddar cheese. Incorporate vegetable mixture into cheese sauce, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Blackberry, Lemon and Gingersnap Cheesecake Pudding

I made this for a baby shower and it was very pretty and very tasty. I loved the gingersnap crumbs, they gave it an unexpected spice that was fun because it was different from the usual graham cracker style crust in a lot of recipes. I used frozen berries since it wasn't berry season when I made it, and it turned out just fine. I also added a little bit of sugar to the whipping cream.

Lemon Curd
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. finely grated lemon peel
1 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks

Blackberry Compote
2 c. fresh blackberries (about 12 ounces)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel

4 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 16)
1 1/2 c. chilled heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. mascarpone cheese
pinch of salt

Lemon Curd:
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, cream and pinch of salt. Add eggs and egg yolks whisk to blend. Cook over medium-low heat until thick enough for mixture to leave path on the back of a spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, 6 to 7 minutes (do not boil). Strain into medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly atop lemon curd. Chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

Blackberry Compote:
Toss all ingredients in medium bowl to coat, lightly crushing some of the berries to release juices. Cover and chill until sugar dissolves and juices form, about 3 hours. Keep chilled.

Place cookies in large resealable plastic bag. Crush with mallet or rolling pin until largest pieces are about 1/2 inch. Using electric mixer, beat cream, mascarpone, and pinch of salt in large bowl just until peaks form. Arrange six 8-ounce parfait glasses or compote cups on work surface. Spoon 4 to 5 berries and some juices in bowl into each cup. Cover and chill remaining berries in bowl for serving. Spoon 1/4 c. mascarpone whipped cream over berries in each cup, spreading in even layers. Add generous 1 Tbsp. crush gingersnaps over. Repeat layering 1 more time with mascarpone whipped cream, lemon curd, and crushed gingersnaps. Top with remaining cream. Cover; chill desserts at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Uncover desserts. Spoon remaining berry mixture over and serve.

6 servings

Monday, September 6, 2010

Toffee Apple French Toast

This was very, very good. The only change I would make to the original recipe next time would be to soak the bread overnight in the egg/milk mixture then when I’m ready to put it in the oven I would assemble it. When I made it, the bread didn’t look like there was enough of it, so I added more, then I ended up needing to add more egg/milk so it turned out slightly different than it was probably intended. Plus the bread on the top ended up being almost crouton-like, delicious, but still crouton-y. One of my concerns was that it would turn out too soggy, but I used day-old sourdough bread and it turned out very tasty. The knife that was supposed to test clean never did after about 45 minutes at 350° then another 10 at 400° so I just called it done and it was cooked through. The cream cheese mixture is very rich and buttery and using tart apples (I ended up using 3 instead of the 2 called for and sliced them instead of chopping them) makes this a perfect breakfast recipe.

8 c. cubed French bread (1 inch cubes)
2 medium tart apples, peeled and chopped
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¾ c. packed brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
1 ¾ c. milk, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
½ c. English toffee bits or almond brickle chips
5 eggs

1. Place half of the bread cubes in a greased 13X9 inch baking dish; top with apples. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugars, ¼ c. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla until smooth; stir in toffee bits. Spread over apples. Top with remaining bread cubes. In another mixing bowl, beat the eggs and remaining milk and vanilla; pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 8 servings

Cinnamon Roll Cherry Cobbler

I made this for the first time last night and it was good. I used cherry pie filling since I had it on hand and just stirred the red-hots into it, it turned out just fine. The cinnamon rolls are not a yeast dough cinnamon roll, they end up being more like a cinnamon pastry roll but they are very good. Our lemon glaze was pretty runny so it didn't look as appetizing drizzled over it and I'm not sure what it added to it, if anything. But I will keep this one around.

1 can (14 ½ oz) pitted tart cherries
½ c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ c. water
3 Tbsp. red-hot candies

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ c. milk
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ c. confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Drain cherries, reserving juice; set cherries aside. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water and reserved juice until smooth. Stir in red-hots. Bring to boil, stirring constantly; cook 1-2 minutes longer or until thick and bubbly and red-hots are melted. Stir in cherries; heat through. Transfer to a greased 8” square baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the flour, 3 Tbsp. brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Combine egg and milk; stir into crumb mixture just until blended. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3-4 times. Roll into a 14” X 10” rectangle. Spread with butter; sprinkle with pecans. Combine cinnamon and remaining brown sugar; sprinkle over top.
Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with short side. Cut into eight slices; place cut side down over cherry pie filling. Bake at 400˚ for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over cobbler.

Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chocolate Turtle Cake

This cake is pretty messy to cut, but worth the effort
1 German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 can Sweetened condensed milk
1 cube butter
1 pkg. caramels (about 30)
1/2 c. chopped pecans
6 oz. chocolate chips
Prepare cake batter according to package directions.
Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared 9X13" baking pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the condensed milk, cubber and caramels in a medium saucepan over medium heat until caramels and butter are melted and texture is smooth. After cake is out of the oven, pour caramel mixture over the top, sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips. Pour remaining batter over the cake, spreading evenly. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes at 350.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Peach Cobbler

I found this recipe online and it was gone from the house in less than 24 hours. The topping turned out crispy and delicious. The only beef (and it's a very small beef) I have with this recipe is that it says to cut the butter into the flour mixture, which to me is very time-consuming and frustrating. The point of cutting butter in to something is to create a more pastry-type dough and since you pour boiling water into the dough, it melts the butter, and thus, creates more of a biscuit than a pastry. The biscuit is a tastey one, so my beef is just a tiny little one. If you get frustrated with cutting butter in, like I do, I would just mix the butter in, instead.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, it's tastey!

8 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch

1 c. flour
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
6 Tbsp. butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 c. boiling water

3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. In a small bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 c. white sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pout into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 c. white sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
4. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over the top. Sprinkle entire cobbler with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden: about 30 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chocolate Frosting

Thank you Taisey for this recipe. It is honestly the best chocolate frosting recipe I've ever had!

1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dark corn syrup
16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Place the cream and syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and pour the cream mixture into the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Let cool and then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat for about 4 minutes, until fluffy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Press: 2 c. crushed pretzels
3 Tbsp. sugar
½ c. melted butter
In a 9” X 13” pan. Bake at 400˚ for 8 – 10 minutes.

Mix together: 1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
¾ c. sugar
1 (8 oz) carton cool whip
Spread on cooled crust.

Mix together: 6 oz. pkg. strawberry Jell-o
2 c. boiling water
20 oz frozen strawberries
Spread on top of cool whip mixture (off the back of a spoon to prevent creating cavities in cool whip). Refrigerate overnight.

Cinnamon Jell-O Salad

When I first read the ingredients for this I thought, 'No way is this going to be good'. But it works! When adding the jell-o layer on top of the cream cheese mixture, pour it from the bowl onto a spoon so that the splash is dissipated by the spoon and thus doesn't create a hole in the cream cheese mixture.

1 c. boiling water
2/3 c. red hot cinnamon candies
1 (6 oz) pkg. lemon Jell-O
1 ½ c. applesauce
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
½ c. chopped celery
½ c. chopped nuts
½ c. mayonnaise
½ c. sour cream

1. Pour hot water over candies and dissolve. Add Jell-O and stir until dissolved. Add applesauce. Pour half of mixture into an 8” square pan and set until firm. Spread creamed cheese mixture over top and add remaining red mixture. Chill until firm.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Onion Rings

These are very easy. They don’t have a crumb coating, which I enjoy. The process of letting the batter get sticky on the onions is the key to a light and crisp breading.

2 or 3 large yellow onions, sliced into ¾” separated rings
1 quart buttermilk
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
Shortening for frying

1. Soak the onions in the buttermilk for about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and seasoned salt. Dip the onions in the flour and set aside on a sheet of waxed paper to allow the batter to get sticky, so the flour is no longer dry looking.
2. Heat the oil to 325°. Fry the onions for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. After removing from oil, drain them on a brown paper bag and immediately salt them as desired. Keep warm in the oven while frying remaining onions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chili Colorado

Despite the name chili, this isn’t your run of the mill beans and meat stew-type substance. It is a great burrito/enchilada filling, or can be eaten over cooked rice. The meat ends up super tender from being in the slow-cooker for so long.

2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into bit sized pieces
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3 (4 oz. each) cans diced green chilies
¼ c. crumbled cooked bacon
1 c. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Mexican seasoning
½ tsp. chili powder
½ c. beef stock

1. In a medium sized frying pan heat oil over medium-high heat and brown the stew meat on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
2. In a 4-quart slow cooker layer the onions, bacon and green chilies. Add stew meat.
3. Mix together the tomato paste, Mexican seasoning, chili powder and beef stock; pour over stew meat. Cook on high 4-6 hours.


These are time consuming to make, so I suggest making them ahead on a day when you have the extra time, layering them with wax paper between each crepe and freezing until you’re ready to eat them (up to 1 month). The filling options are enormous, and it’s fun to make up your own flavor combinations. My favorite is with fruit salsa, orange fruit dip, and Nutella; it’s completely amazing!

Basic Sweet

½ c. flour
½ c. milk
¼ c. lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 ½ Tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
2. Pour the batter into a pitcher or other container with a pouring lip. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 2 days. (This allows the flour to thoroughly absorb the liquid and gives the gluten in the flour a chance to relax).
3. Place a nonstick or seasoned crêpe pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little butter.
4. Stir the batter and pour about 2 Tbsp. into the pan, lifting the pan off the heat and tilting and rotating it so that the batter forms an even, very thin layer. Cook until the top is set and the underside is golden. Turn the crêpe over, using a spatula or your fingers (fingers work best here) and cook until the second side is lightly browned. Remove the crêpe to a piece of wax paper. Continue cooking the rest of the crêpes, buttering the pan and stirring the batter before starting each one. Stack the finished crêpes between sheets of wax paper.

Basic Savory

Prepare Basic Sweet Crêpes, above, omitting the sugar and increasing the salt to ½ tsp.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Zucchini Cupcakes

A good use for leftover zucchini if you do not want bread. And the caramel frosting is to die for.

3 eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar
½ c. canola oil
½ c. orange juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2 ½ c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ c. shredded zucchini

Caramel Frosting:
1 c. packaged brown sugar
½ c. butter
¼ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ to 2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and extract. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini.
2. Fill paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
3. For frosting, combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
4. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes.

Yield: 1 ½ to 2 dozen cupcakes

Yummy Lemonade Chicken

Super Yummy! Nice and lip-smackingly-tart. My father-in-law says it’s as good as PF Chang’s Lemon Chicken.


This recipe was given to me by Jackie for our dinner exchange group.

1 1/2 c. lemonade concentrate
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or ten chicken tenders
½ c. flour with lemon pepper to taste
¼ c. canola oil

1. Mix all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
2. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, cook in oil. Pour sauce over chicken, simmer until warm. Serve over cooked rice.

White Chocolate and Lemon Cheesecake

This is one of the first cheesecakes I ever made successfully. It makes a lot of filling, so use the biggest springform pan that you have.

1 ½ c. chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
5 Tbsp. butter, melted

8 oz. white chocolate
2 lbs. cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
½ c. heavy cream
1 ½ c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon juice
½ tsp. lemon extract

1. Heat oven to 350°. Combine cookie crumbs and butter, press into lightly buttered 10” spring-form pan, set aside.
2. Melt the white chocolate with the cream until smooth, let cool.
3. Beat cream cheese with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cooled white chocolate mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Beat in lemon juice, zest and extract. Pour into crust
4. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Warm Apple Almond Pastry

1 c. sliced almonds, divided
½ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
½ tsp. almond extract
1 pkg (17.3 ounce) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
2 red baking apples such as Jonathan
¼ c. apricot jam, warmed
Powdered sugar (optional)
Vanilla ice cream or thawed frozen whipped topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Chop ¾ c. of the almonds. In a medium bowl, combine almonds, granulated sugar, flour, whole egg, egg yolk and almond extract; mix well and set aside. Unfold one pastry sheet onto lightly flour baking sheet. Roll to 10 ½ inch square. (Corners of pastry will touch edge of baking stone.) Prick pastry several times with a fork.
2. Spread almond mixture evenly over pastry to within 1 inch of edge. Cut apples lengthwise in half; remove stems and seeds. Slice apple halves crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices. Arrange slices in an overlapping pattern over filling.
3. Using a pizza cutter, cut remaining pastry into nine 1-inch wide strips. Moisten outer edges of dough on baking sheet with water. Arrange five of the strips diagonally over apples, twisting dough and pressing edges to seal; trim off any extra dough. Arrange and press remaining four strips of dough around edges of pastry, forming an even border
4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Cool at least 10 minutes. Spread warm jam over apples and pastry. Toast remaining almonds and coarsely chop; sprinkle over pastry. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired; cut pastry into squares. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

Yield: 12 servings

Travelling Fondue

A legend in my family.

1 loaf sour dough bread
Sliced Monterey Jack & Swiss cheeses
2 c. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. beaumonde seasoning
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1. Slice sour dough bread criss-crossing cuts, but not through the bottom of the loaf.
2. Cut cheese into approximately 1” fingers, stuff cheeses into bread between cuts.
3. Mix butter, seasoning, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Pour over top of bread.
4. Wrap the loaf in foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Pull apart to eat.

Toffee Butter Crunch

This is one of my must haves for my Christmas goodie plate, but I wouldn’t say no to it anytime of the year. It’s much easier to make than I anticipated it being. Be sure you have a candy thermometer, or this won’t work. Don’t try to make this on a humid day, or even a cooler day when it has rained or snowed, the moisture in the air will make it unsuccessful.

½ c. coarsely chopped almonds or pecans, toasted
1 c. butter (salted)
1 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. light-colored corn syrup
¾ c. semisweet chocolate pieces
½ c. finely chopped almonds or pecans, toasted

1. Line a 13X9X2 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Sprinkle the ½ c. coarsely chopped nuts in pan. Set pan aside.
2. Butter sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan (you can use the butter that sticks to the wrapper for this purpose). In saucepan melt butter. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat till mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium, continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, till thermometer registers 290°, soft-crack stage (about 15 minutes). Watch carefully after 280° to prevent scorching. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Pour candy into the prepared pan.
3. Let candy stand about 5 minutes or till firm; sprinkle with chocolate. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When chocolate has softened, spread over candy. Sprinkle with the ½ c. finely chopped nuts. Chill at room temperature till firm. When candy is firm, use foil to lift out of pan; break into pieces. Store tightly covered.
Yield: about 1 ½ pounds (48 servings)

Three Cheese Rigatoni

A bit like macaroni and cheese with vegetables hidden in it, for those of you who have kids who refuse their veggies.

3 c. uncooked rigatoni pasta (9 oz.)
2 medium stalks celery, sliced
1 small carrot, shredded
1 container (8 oz) sour cream with chives dip
1 c. shredded Colby cheese
1 c. shredded brick or Monterey Jack cheese
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
½ c. milk
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
¼ c. Italian style bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1. Heat oven to 375°. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Return to saucepan.
2. Stir remaining ingredients except bread crumbs and butter into pasta. In ungreased casserole, spread pasta mixture. In small bowl, mix bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle around edge of casserole.
3. Bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Yield: 6 servings

Teriyaki Marinade

This is a really good marinade for most meats, or you can follow the instructions to thicken it into a sauce (I serve it with pulled pork over rice, so delicious).

2/3 c. soy sauce
2/3 c. water
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 Tbsp. ginger, minced
3 to 4 green onions, chopped

1. Mix all ingredients; taste. Add more of any ingredient if desired. Marinate up to 3 pounds of meat. Marinate chicken 3 to 4 hours, beef 3 to 4 hours, or fish ½ hour. Garnish with slices of red and green bell pepper and more chopped green onions.

To thicken for sauce: Heat ingredients of marinade and 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water.

Taco Pizza

Inspired by a pizza restaurant in Carson City, I made this recipe up off the top of my head. I’m not a bean eater, so when making this for only my family I omit the beans, it’s still delicious. Fresh and Easy has a very good and inexpensive refrigerated pizza dough, or you can use a frozen bread dough.

1 lbs. frozen or refrigerated pizza dough, prepared according to package directions
8 oz. Mexican blend shredded cheese
1 lbs. ground beef
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
¼ c. water
¼ c. salsa
½ medium onion, chopped
1 fourteen-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomato
Sliced black olives
Sour Cream

1. Preheat oven according to the pizza dough package directions. If directed, spray pizza pan with cooking spray and roll pizza dough to a 14 inch circle.
2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef; drain. Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix, stir in water and let simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Top pizza dough with ground beef; top with beans, salsa, and chopped onions. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake according to package directions.
4. Cool 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings.

Sweet and Sour Tomato Salad

When I found this recipe I was looking for a marinated cucumber salad and stumbled across this very delicious variation.
This makes a lot of dressing, try using half the dressing for one salad and save the rest of the dressing for later use, it will keep for a long time in the refrigerator.

7 tomatoes
1 small yellow onion
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
½ c. white sugar
¼ balsamic vinegar
¼ distilled white vinegar
½ c. vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Thinly sliced the tomatoes. Cut the onion in half through root end, then thinly slice into half-circles.
2. In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, onion, sugar, vinegars, oil, salt and pepper. You may adjust the amounts of vinegar and sugar according to your taste.
3. Serve at room temperature.

Super Good Brownies

The name says it all

1 c. shortening
6 Tbsp. butter
¾ c. cocoa
3 c. sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
6 eggs
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 7/8 c. flour
½ c. pecan halves
6 oz. chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350°. Melt butter and shortening in a large bowl. Mix in cocoa, sugar and vanilla.
2. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in baking powder, salt and flour. Spread mix into a greased 13X9 inch baking pan. Press pecan halves on top. Then sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.
3. Cook for 35 minutes in lower half of the oven.

4 Tbsp. butter
6 Tbsp. cocoa
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Melt butter in a medium bowl. Mix in cocoa and powdered sugar. Add vanilla and mix. Add cream little by little until frosting is smooth and creamy. Coat brownies when cooled.

Stuffed Chicken Parmigana

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
1 (10 oz) package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and pressed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8 oz) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
½ c. Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Slit open on the side for stuffing; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, garlic, eggs, and ¾ c. of the cheese. Mix well and stuff each breast with ¼ of the mixture; secure with toothpicks and dip in 1 beaten egg. Dredge in the Italian style bread crumbs.
3. Place on aluminum baking racks on top of cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased 9X13 inch baking dish, pour spaghetti sauce over chicken, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven for an additional 20 minutes of cooking or until the chicken is cooked through.

Stawberry Shortcakes

Sure you could just make the biscuits with a mix, or just use a boxed cake recipe… But this recipe has something extra special about the biscuits, I can’t put my finger on it. They’re very good fresh and warm.

4 pints strawberries
4 – 6 Tbsp. sugar (for the berries)
4 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. baking powder
7 Tbsp. sugar (for the biscuits)
5 oz. cold butter (unsalted)
7 oz. buttermilk
7 oz. heavy cream
Flour for dusting the work surface
1 beaten egg – for brushing the tops of the biscuits
Sugar to sprinkle on the bop before baking

1. For the berries: Wash and cut 4 pints of strawberries. Cut large berries into quarters, small berries in half. In a very large bowl, toss the cut berries with a generous dusting of sugar (about 1 to 1 ½ Tbsp. per pint).
2. To prepare biscuits: Preheat the oven to 400°.
3. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into pea-sized cubes. Blend at medium speed until the butter is incorporated and the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add buttermilk and the cream. Blend until a soft dough forms.
4. Turn the dough onto a flour dusted surface and knead twelve times. Pat the dough down and flatten it to about 1” thick – you don’t need a rolling pin. Cut with a sharp cutter (about 2 to 2 ½ inch diameter circle).
5. Place the cut biscuits on an ungreased baking pan. Allow plenty of room between each biscuit, about 4 to a row. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the beaten egg, coating well. Generously sprinkle the egg-coated tops of the biscuits with sugar.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Let the biscuits cool slightly then pry them open very carefully with your hands. Place large spoonfuls (about 1/3 c. and 4 Tbsp. of the juice) onto the bottom of the biscuits. Place the top over the berries. Top with a healthy spoonful of whipped cream.

Spaghetti Squash

I like to use spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti noodles occasionally. The sauce doesn’t stick to it as well as it does pasta noodles, but I find it especially tasty with a lighter tomato based sauce, and the squash ‘noodles’ have a fun almost crunchy texture.
After the squash has cooked it’s fun to pull the squash apart, kids especially love doing this, you’ll see when you try it.

1 medium spaghetti squash (2 ½ to 3 lbs)
Any type of tomato based pasta sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise; scoop out the seeds. Place squash, cut sides down in a large baking dish. Using a fork, prick the skin all over. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
2. To serve, remove the squash pulp from shell by using a fork to ‘comb’ the squash away from the skin. Spoon sauce over squash. If desired, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

Soft Italian Breadsticks

Not Pretty, but Delicious

I have yet to master the process of making these look pretty, but they still are tastey. They are really yummy dipped in Alfredo Sauce.

1 c. water
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ tsp. salt
3 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 ¼ tsp. (1 packet) active dry yeast

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt

1. In bread machine pan, place the first eight ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes; add 1 to 2 Tbsp. or water or flour if needed).
2. When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly flour surface; divide in half. Cut each portion into 12 pieces; roll each into a 4” to 6” rope. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
3. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately brush with butter; sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Serve warm.

Yield: 2 dozen

Slow Cooker Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Cooking in the slow cooker is my favorite lazy day meal plan, so to have a dessert come out of it is even better.
This cake ends up being a lot like a molten chocolate cake. Eating it all without leaving leftovers is ideal since they don’t stay as delicious as the original. Ice cream goes perfectly with this.

1 c. flour
½ c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ c. milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
½ c. chopped nuts
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. cocoa powder
1 ½ c. hot water

1. Spray slow cooker with baking spray. In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk, oil and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the nuts. Spread in the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Mix brown sugar and ¼ c. cocoa powder, stir in the hot water. Pour over the batter in slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on high setting 2 to 2 ½ hours or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
4. Turn off the slow cooker and let the cake stand, uncovered, 30-40 minutes before serving.

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

Kind of a high-maintenance recipe, but worth the work, beats store bought roast chicken, any day!
This requires a roasting pan with a wire rack, or a large baking pan with a wire cooling rack that will fit comfortably in the pan.

1 whole chicken (4 to 7 lbs.)
2 to 3 Tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. mined fresh rosemary or thyme of ¾ tsp. dried, crumbled
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (optional, but highly recommended)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. salt
5 medium baking potatoes, cut into ¾ inch cubes
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Remove the neck and giblets from, then rinse the chicken, pat dry.
2. Generously rub the body and neck cavities and sprinkle with salt. Set a v-rack or flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan. Place chicken on the rack and brush with 2 to 3 Tbsp. melted butter.
3. Mix the rosemary or thyme, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and ½ tsp. salt. Gently separate the skin from the body of the chicken with the tips of your fingers and rub the meat with the herb mixture.
4. Position the chicken on its side, that is, with a leg facing up. If you are using a flat rack, you may need to prop the chicken up with balls of aluminum foil to keep from topping over. Roast for 25 minutes for the first 4 lbs, plus 3 minutes for each additional pound.
5. Remove the rack from the roasting pan and spread the potatoes and butternut squash over the bottom of the pan; return rack to pan, setting over the vegetables. Insert a wooden spoon or large metal spoon into the body cavity or grasp the chicken at both ends, with your hands protected with paper towels. Turn chicken over on its other side, again propping with foil balls if necessary. Roast again for 25 minutes for the first 4 lbs, plus 3 minutes for each additional pound.
6. Turn chicken, breast side up, stir the vegetables, and roast 15 to 30 minutes more. The chicken is done when the thickest part of the thigh exudes clear juices when pricked deeply with a fork and registers 170° to 175° on an instant read thermometer (if you prefer very well done chicken thermometer should read 180°). If vegetables are not tender when the chicken is done, remove the chicken from the roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil and set aside to rest before carving. Stir the vegetables, and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until tender.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

1 1/3 c. flour
½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
¾ c. sugar, divided
¾ c. cold butter or margarine
1 c. quick cooking oats, uncooked
½ c. chopped pecans
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13X9 inch pan with foil. Grease the foil.
2. Mix flour, brown sugar and ¼ c. of the granulated sugar in medium bowl; cut in the butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and pecans. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.
3. Beat cream cheese, remaining ½ c. sugar, eggs, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
4. Bake 25 minutes. Lift from pan using foil handles; cool completely. Cut into 24 bars.

Yield: 24 servings

Pulled Pork

Pork is my go-to meat, I love it in all it’s varieties.
A very versatile recipe.
I buy the pork shoulder at Costco, it comes two shoulders per pack, I freeze one and use the other for this recipe (be sure to trim as much of the fat off as possible). After I shred the meat, I use as much as I need for dinner that night, then divide the rest up into meal sized bags then put them in the freezer, I can pull them out and use them for a quick dinner. I love serving this pork over rice with teriyaki glaze over the top, with pineapple and peas on the side it makes a great dinner. Or if you are in a pinch, use the meat for barbeque pulled pork sandwiches: mix the cooked meat with enough barbecue sauce to coat then serve on hamburger buns. It’s very good.

1 six pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 medium onion very finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, mined
3 Tbsp. Montreal Seasoning blend

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Place meat in a roasting bag, rub one side of the meat with half of the minced garlic. Sprinkle with seasoning blend and chopped onion. Turn roast over and treat in the same manner. Seal bag and puncture 4 to 5 times with knife. Transfer to a roasting pan or large baking pan.
3. Bake for 30 minutes at 450°. After time is up, drop the heat to 300°; roast the meat for 5 to 6 more hours. Remove from oven and shred meat using 2 forks.

Portobello Mushrooms with Teriyaki Marinade

When I was in my ‘less meat’ eating stage we had this for dinner. It was a good substitute for meat.

1 lbs. fresh Portobello mushrooms
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. ground ginger
2 c. shredded Chinese cabbage
2 Tbsp. sliced green onions
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro

1. Cut off the mushroom stems even with the caps. Discard stems. Place mushrooms in a large plastic bag set in a bowl. For the teriyaki marinade, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard and ginger. Pour teriyaki marinade over mushrooms; close bag. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning the bad several times.
2. Place mushrooms and marinade in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or till mushrooms are just tender. Uncover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes more or till most of the liquid has evaporated; cool slightly. Cut mushrooms into ¼ inch thick slices.
3. To serve, place mushroom slices atop cabbage. Drizzle with any remaining cooking liquid. Sprinkle with green onion and cilantro.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Plantation Pecan Pie

The whole time I’m eating this, I’m thinking to myself ‘This is so good!’ Every bite I amaze myself with how good this is.
A tip for being able to get all of the corn syrup out of the measuring cup: break the eggs into the measuring cup first, pour the eggs into the mixing bowl, then measure the corn syrup, the eggs make the sides of the cup ‘non-stick’.

3 eggs
½ c. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 c. dark corn or cane syrup
¼ c. butter or margarine, melted
1 ½ c. pecan halves

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in syrup, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Stir in pecans. Pour into crust.
3. Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted about 1 ½” from the edge comes out clean.

Pita Bread

I keep the dough semi-thick, steamed the baked pita’s in a towel for approximately 2 hours, they turned out very, very good, not flat like store bought pita’s, but acceptable. I love using these for BLT’s.

1 1/8 c. warm water
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 ½ tsp. white sure
1 ½ tsp. yeast

1. Place all ingredients in bread pan of your bread machine, select dough setting and start. When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly flour surface. Gently roll and stretch dough into a 12 inch rope. With a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball. With rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6 to 7 inch circle. Set aside on a lightly floured countertop. Cover with a towel, let pitas rise about 30 minutes until slightly puffy.
2. Preheat oven to 500°. Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire rack. Place cake rack directly on oven rack. Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown. Remove from oven and immediately pace pitas in a sealed brown bag or cover them with a damp kitchen towel until soft.
3. Once pitas have softened, either cut in half or split top edge for half or whole pitas. They can be store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.

Philly Cheese Steak Crescent Pizza

My expectations weren’t high when we tried this for the first time, but it was ‘try-something-new-for-dinner-night’ at our house, and this is what we tried. I liked it enough to keep the recipe around.

1 (8 oz.) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
8 oz. thinly sliced cooked roast beef (from deli)
1 Tbsp. purchased Italian salad dressing
4 to 6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. coarsely chopped or thinly sliced green bell pepper
1 c. coarsely chopped or thinly sliced onion
½ tsp. beef flavor instant bouillon

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Unroll dough in ungreased 13 X 9 inch pan. Press over bottom and ½ inch up the sides. Firmly press perforations to seal. Wrap beef tightly in foil. Place both crescent dough and beef in oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is light golden brown.
2. Arrange warm beef over partially baked crust. Brush with salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven; bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of crust are golden brown and cheese is melted.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot. Add bell pepper, onions and bouillon; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender; stirring frequently. Spoon cooked vegetables over melted cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I like to eat these especially when they’re warm and the chocolate kiss is gooey-melty, so sometimes I’ll put them in the microwave for a few seconds if they’ve come to room temperature.

½ c. peanut butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. shortening
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¾ c. flour
¼ c. granulated sugar
Milk chocolate kisses or stars

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Add the ½ c. granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat till combined, scraping the sides of bowl. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in the remaining flour.
2. Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll the balls in the ¼ c. sugar. Place 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or till edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie’s center. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
Yield: about 54 cookies

Peanut Butter Balls

These are hands-down the #1 thing I get the most praise for when I make them at Christmas time. It doesn’t hurt that they are super simple and one of my favorite too. When we lived in AZ our neighbor would do just about anything for these and would sneak them off the plate to hide them from his wife, so he could have them all for himself.

½ c. peanut butter
3 Tbsp. butter
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
8 ounces chocolate-flavored candy coating

1. In a mixing bowl stir together peanut butter and butter. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring till combined. Shape into 1 inch balls; place on waxed paper. Let stand till dry [about 20 minutes (I’ve found that they never truly dry, I just let them sit for the heck of it)].
2. Melt candy coating. Cool slightly. Dip balls, one at a time, into coating. Let excess coating drip off peanut butter balls. Place on waxed paper; let stand till coating is firm. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.
Yield: about 30 pieces

Peach Cobbler

4 c. fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced
½ c. butter
1 c. white sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ c. milk
2 Tbsp. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter or margarine; put it in the bottom of a large casserole or 9X13 inch baking pan.
2. Slice peaches, and add enough sugar to sweeten. Place in casserole dish.
3. In mixing bowl, combine the 1 c. sugar, salt, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, and milk. Spoon batter over the peaches.
4. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is browned.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon French Toast

This makes a lot of French Toast, it would be perfect for a get together, or if you just want to make it for your family, halve the recipe and bake it in an 8” square pan.

¾ c. butter, melted
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 (21 oz) cans apple pie filling
20 slices white bread
6 eggs
1 ½ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ c. maple syrup

1. Grease a 9X13 inch baking pan. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
2. Spread the sugar mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the apple pie filling evenly over the sugar mixture. Layer the bread slices on top of the filling, pressing down as you go. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and vanilla. Slowly pour this mixture over the bread, making sure that it is completely absorbed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
3. In the morning, preheat oven to 350°.
4. Place covered pan into the oven and back for 60 to 75 minutes. When done, remove from oven and turn on broiler. Remove foil and drizzle maple syrup on top of the egg topping; broil for 2 minutes, or until syrup begins to caramelize. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, and then cut into squares. Invert the pan onto a serving tray or baking sheet so the apple filling is on top. Serve hot.

Yield: 15 servings

Montreal Steak Marinade

This is my favorite way to prepare steak

½ c. olive oil
¼ c. soy sauce
2 tsp. Montreal Steak seasoning blend
2 lbs. steak

1. Place all marinade ingredients in a resealable plastic bag and squish around to combine.
2. Pierce the steak several times with a fork and put in the bag with the marinade. Marinate for at least 20 minutes or overnight.
3. Grill steak to desired doneness.

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder


1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ c. chopped onion
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 c. hot water
½ to 1 tsp. ground cumin
2 c. half and half cream
2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (16 oz.) cream style corn
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies, undrained
¼ to 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 medium tomato, chopped
Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

1. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
2. In Dutch oven, brown chicken, onion and garlic in butter until chicken is no longer pink.
3. Dissolve bouillon in hot water. Add to pan along with cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add cream, cheese, corn, chilies and hot pepper sauce. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in tomato. Serve immediately; garnish with cilantro if desired.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Meatball Love

I got this recipe from my good friend, Courtney. She didn’t know the name of it, so Adam named it ‘Meatball Love’.

2 (8 oz. each) cans Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls
16 (1 ½ inch) frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs (about ½ lbs) thawed, halved
1 c. tomato basil spaghetti sauce
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Separate dough into 8 rectangles; place on sprayed cookie sheets. Firmly press perforations to seal.
2. Place 4 meatball hales lengthwise down center of each rectangle. Top each with 2 Tbsp. spaghetti sauce and 2 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese.
3. With scissors or sharp knife, make cuts 1” apart on each side of filling. Alternately cross strips over filling. Brush dough with beaten egg. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 8 sandwiches

Lemon Cream Cheese Pie

This is a copy-cat version of a popular pie restaurants lemon cream cheese pie.

1 ¼ c. graham cracker crumbs
¼ c. butter, melted and slightly cooled
4 Tbsp. sugar

1. Combine crumbs, sugar and margarine; press onto bottom of 9” pie plate. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

12 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/3 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. cold water
1/3 c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. Knox gelatin

1. Combine cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and salt in a medium sized saucepan and cook on a very low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil lightly.
2. Mix gelatin with water and dissolve. When dissolved add to mixture along with the vanilla; stir well.
3. Cook until mixture reaches a light boil and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and cool.
4. When it’s luke warm, layer cream cheese on crust and refrigerate until cooled.

1 ½ c. water
½ c. fresh lemon juice
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp. butter

1. Place water, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt and lemon peel in saucepan, whisk until mixture comes to a boil at medium heat. Cook 2 minutes until thickened. Pour half of hot mixture into the beaten eggs, slowly, and stir constantly.
2. When the mixture is completely blended, pour egg mixture in to the hot pudding, stir and cook until the pudding reaches boiling stage. Stir and let boil slowly for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla; stir and set aside until cooled off.
3. When lemon mixture has reached room temperature, gently smooth it over the cream cheese mixture and chill for several hours before serving. (Covering with plastic wrap pressed against the pudding will keep it from forming a yucky skin over the top.)

Lime Cheesecake

I like lime the way some people like breathing. This cheesecake is very pretty when you garnish with the lime slices, plus it tastes great.

1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs
¼ c. butter or margarine
1 c. light or regular sour cream
3 large eggs
¼ c. lime juice
Sour Cream-Lime Topping
About 1 c. sugar
2 (8 oz pkg. each) Neufchatel light or regular cream cheese
1 Tbsp. grated lime peel
2 Tbsp. flour
Thin lime slices

1. Mix crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter. Press over bottom of and ½ inch up the sides of a spring-from pan. Bake at 350° until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
2. Beat cheese, sour cream, egg, remaining sugar, peel, juice and flour until smooth. Pour into cooled crust.
3. Bake at 350° until center jiggles only slightly when pan is gently shaken, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely.
4. Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to the next day. Top with Sour-Cream Lime topping, and garnish with lime slices.

Sour Cream-Lime Topping: Mix 1 c. light or regular sour cream and 2 tsp. each sugar and lime juice.

Yield: 3 ½ dozen cookies.

Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies

You can buy citric acid crystals at a cake decorating store, they add a nice pucker effect.
If you want to make a chocolate chip version, use 1 bage of mini-chocolate chips, omit the lemon oil, replace it with almond extract and omit the poppy seeds and citric acid crystals.

2 ½ c. butter, softened
2 ¼ c. powdered sugar
2 ½ Tbsp. lemon oil
4 c. flour
9 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
Several Tbsp. poppy seeds
Coarse grain sugar
Citric acid crystals

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine butter, powdered sugar, lemon oil and poppy seeds. Beat at medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl often, till creamy. Reduce speed to low, add flour, cornstarch and salt. Beat until well mixed. Pat dough into an ungreased 15X10X1 inch jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with coarse grain sugar and citric acid crystals.
2. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Immediately cut into squares, rectangles or triangles. Remove from pan when cooled.

Lemon Curd

You could use lime juice as well, with equally delicious results.
I’ve tried this with salted butter; it doesn’t turn out as well as with unsalted.

I love lemon zest in recipes, since it would get stuck in the strainer when I pass the curd through, I only add half during the cooking process, strain as directed then stir in the remaining zest while the curd is cooling, making sure my beloved zest is available with every bite.  The trick is to cook it to just before it becomes the consistnecy of pudding: not too thin, not too thick, this took about 10 minutes on my mid-priced electric range.

½ c. unsalted butter
½ c. fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
¾ c. sugar
3 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest  (I usually add more, but this is what the recipe calls for)
6 large egg yolks

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over med-low heat. Remove the pan and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. Temper in the egg yolks by first ladling a small amount of the hot liquid into the egg yolks and mixing well. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the sugar mixture until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly until it thickens and leaves a path on the back of a wooden spoon when you drag your finger through it. DO NOT BOIL. Immediately, pour curd through a strainer into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.
2. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap placed directly on top of the curd (to keep it from forming a skin) until ready to serve. Keeps for a month in the fridge and for about 3 months in the freezer.

I've also made mini fruit pizza's:  A rolled sugar cookie, a layer of sweetened cream cheese, a slathering of curd (lime or lemon) and 3 raspberries -- so yummy.

Lemon Bundt Cake

This recipe was given to me at my bridal shower and it is always a huge hit when I make it. The best part of it is the part that has been sitting in the lemon glaze on the bottom of the storage dish, be generous when making the glaze. Sometimes after I slice a piece I’ll take some of the glaze and spread it on the piece like butter, it’s so good. I never give this recipe out, I like to be treated like royalty when I make this for people, so I’m selfish with this recipe.

3 oz. pkg. lemon Jell-O
1 c. hot water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 pkg. yellow cake mix (you could also use lemon cake mix)
4 whole eggs
¾ c. oil

1. Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside to cool.
2. Mix together cake mix, oil & cooled lemon mixture. Beat at low speed 1 minute. Add eggs one at a time. Beat for another 3 minutes at medium speed.
3. Pour into well greased and floured bundt cake pan.
4. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Invert onto plate. Punch holes in cake with a fork. Spread glaze over cake.

Glaze: Combine lemon juice & rind of 2 lemons and 2 c. of powdered sugar, whisk well.

Lemon & Dill New Potatoes

I love, love, love the lemon potatoes at a Greek restaurant in Arizona. While I haven’t been able to duplicate their recipe, this one is close, and satisfyingly good.

1 ½ lbs. red potatoes
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp + 1tsp. snipped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. snipped fresh chives
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

1. Cut potatoes so they are all equal size. Place them in a saucepan and cover with water; boil for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
2. Mix all other ingredients together and stir in to cooked potatoes.

Yield: 4 servings

Kielbasa with Pasta

1 lbs. smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage
½ c. chopped green pepper
¼ c. chopped onion
½ tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cans (14 ½ oz. each) diced tomatoes
1 pkg. (9 oz.) refrigerated angel hair pasta
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. butter melted

1. In a large skillet, sauté the kielbasa, green pepper, onion and garlic in oil until sausage is lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Stir in parmesan cheese and butter. Serve with kielbasa mixture.

Yield: 4 servings

Karen's Spinach and Artichoke Dip

A friend of mine brought this to a potluck, I loved it so I wrote down the directions on a sticky note, so the measurements are not exact, just do what you think sounds right. It’s really good.

1 box frozen spinach, cooked and drained
2 cans unmarinated artichoke hearts, chopped
½ c. mayonnaise
½ c. sour cream
1 c. parmesan cheese
1 c. shredded pepper jack cheese

1. Heat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients except the pepper jack cheese. Spread in a greased pie plate, sprinkle with the pepper jack cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

Buttery Pan Rolls

I do not remember where I got this recipe but I sure am grateful that I have it. It’s a very easy pan roll recipe that turns out great every time. Any bread that doesn’t require a ton of kneading is O-K with me!

2 pkg. (2 ¼ tsp. ea.) dry yeast
½ c. warm water
4 ½ c. unsifted flour
¼ c. sugar
10 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled, divided
1 egg
1 c. warm milk
1 ½ tsp. salt

1. In large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand till bubbly (15 minutes). In bowl of mixer, stir together 2 c. flour, sugar and salt. Add 6 Tbsp. butter, egg yeast mixture and milk. Beat 5 minutes to blend. Add 2 ½ c. flour. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled (45 minutes).
2. Pour half of remaining butter in 9X13 inch baking pan to coat bottom. Punch down dough and divide into 15 balls. Place in pan to rise. Drizzle with remaining butter. Cover lightly and let rise in warm place until doubled (30 minutes). Bake at 425° for 12 to 17 minutes until lightly browned.

Jerk Chicken Nachos

6 cups tortilla chips
3 c. diced or shredded cooked chicken
2 c. (8 oz) shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
2 Tbsp. Jamaican jerk rub, divided
1 small yellow or red bell pepper or combination of the two
1 lime
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp. sour cream and 1 tsp. additional Jamaican Jerk rub (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange tortilla chips in a slightly overlapping layer on baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, cheese and 1 Tbsp. of the rub; mix gently. Sprinkle chicken mixture evenly over tortilla chips. Bake 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted; remove from oven.
3. Meanwhile, dice bell pepper. Cut and juice lime into a small mixing bowl; add bell pepper and remaining rub and mix well.
4. Spoon bell pepper mixture over nachos; sprinkle evenly with cilantro. If desired, combine sour cream and additional rub in resealable plastic bag; trim corner to allow sour cream to flow through. Pipe sour cream mixture over nachos. Garnish with lime slices, if desired.

Yield: 12 servings

Jam Thumbprints

I sometimes use the back of a spoon to re-do the thumb indentation right after they come out of the oven.

2/3 c. butter or margarine
½ c. sugar
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated (slightly beat the whites)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. flour
1 c. finely chopped walnuts
1/3 to ½ c. fruit preserves or jam of your choice (I especially like raspberry or apricot)

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a cookie sheet; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Cover; chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
2. Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll balls in egg whites, then in walnuts. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each ball. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Just before serving, fill centers with jam or preserves.
Yield: about 42 cookies

Hot Pastrami Sandwich

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, it can be a messy sandwich to eat, but is worth it.

1 lbs. sliced pastrami
½ lbs. deli roast beef
¼ lbs. baby Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1 large purple onion, sliced
¾ c. red wine vinegar
1 ½ c. sugar
1 green bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 loaf French bread (or you can use 6 single serving hoagie type rolls)
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. mustard
Parmesan Cheese

1. Place the onion and bell pepper into a medium bowl. Mix with the vinegar and half of the sugar. When it starts to thicken add the rest of the sugar. Let stand in refrigerator until caramelized.
2. Slice the bread in half lengthwise, on one half of the bread butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
3. Heat the meat in the microwave and place on the opposite half of the bread. Top with Swiss cheese and onions/peppers. Broil both halves until cheese melts and butter side is toasted. Spread with mayonnaise and mustard. Put the halves together and slice to serve.

Homemade Energy Bars

Easy to make and less expensive than commercial energy bars, these cost only 25 cents per bar, or $4 for the entire recipe

½ c. salted dry-roasted peanuts
½ c. raisins, craisins or other dried fruit
½ c. roasted sunflower seed kernels
2 c. raw oatmeal, quick or old fashioned oats
2 c. toasted rice cereal, such as rice crispies
½ c. peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
½ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a large bowl, mix together the peanuts, raisins, sunflower seed kernels, oatmeal and toasted rice cereal. Set aside.
2. In a medium microwaveable bowl, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and stir until blended.
3. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until coated.
4. Spoon into an oiled 9X13 inch pan. Press down firmly. (It helps to coat your fingers with cooking spray).
5. Let stand for an hour to harden, then cut into 16 bars.

Yield: 16 servings

Hawaiian Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Something about the nutmeg in the meatballs makes these extra interesting.

1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. salt
½ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 ¼ c. pineapple juice
1/3 c. water
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 c. pineapple chunks
1 onion, minced
2 green pepper, chopped
4 Tbsp. cornstarch, separated
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. vinegar

1. Heat oven to 375°. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix together the beef, eggs, 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, onion, black pepper, nutmeg, salt and garlic. Form into 1” balls. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until completely cooked.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan add remaining cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar, water and brown sugar to pineapple juice. Cook until thickened; stir constantly.
4. Add meatballs, fruit and peppers. Cook 5 minutes or until fruit is well heated. Serve over cooked rice.

Harvest Chicken Salad

2 oranges
½ c. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. stone-ground mustard
¼ tsp. each salt and pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1 small garlic clove, pressed


1 pkg (6 oz) fresh baby spinach leaves
2 c. diced roasted chicken
1 c. diced celery
2 medium red delicious apples
½ c. chopped red onion
¾ c. sweetened dried cranberries
½ c. toasted pecan halves (optional)
Orange segments and Whole Grain Croutons (recipe follows)

1. For dressing, zest orange to measure 2 tsp. zest, juice oranges to measure ½ c. juice. Combine orange zest, mayonnaise, mustards, sugar, salt, pepper and garlic, whisk until smooth. While continuously whisking, add orange juice in a thin steady stream; set dressing aside.
2. For salad, place spinach in bottom of large serving bowl. Cut apples into small wedges. Layer chicken, celery, apples, onion, cranberries and pecans, if desired, over spinach. To serve, drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Top with orange segments and Whole Grain Croutons, if desired. Serve immediately

Yield: 12 servings

Whole Grain Croutons

4 slices whole grain sandwich bread
2 Tbsp. (1/2 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut crusts off bread, discard crusts; cut bread into ½ inch cubes. Toss bread cubes with butter to coat; add cheese and toss until well combined. Spread bread cubes in an even layer over baking sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Hamburger Boat

Adam named this dish.

½ lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
1 can Grands! Buttermilk biscuits
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. water
1 Tbsp. sesame seed
1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce
4 oz. (1 cup) crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped ripe olives
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
Dash salt
Dash pepper
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded pizza cheese blend or mozzarella cheese

1. Heat oven to 375°. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently; drain.
2. Meanwhile, separate dough into 8 biscuits. Place 2 ½ inches apart on sprayed cookie sheet. With bottom of flat 2” diameter glass or with fingers, press out each biscuit to for 3 1/3 inch round with ¼ inch rim around outside edge. In small bowl, combine egg yolk and water; blend well. Brush over tops and sides of biscuits. Sprinkle each with sesame seeds.
3. Add all remaining ingredients except pizza cheese blend to ground beef; cook about 1 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Spoon about ¼ c. ground beef mixture into indentation of each biscuit. Sprinkle with pizza cheese blend.
5. Bake for 12-17 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Carefully remove from cookie sheet.

Yield: 8 pizzas

Guacamole Salad

Any excuse to eat an avocado is a good one! The varying textures covers up the problematic (for me) beans, it truly is delicious. This can be served over lettuce, with chips, or on it’s own.
If, after you dice the avocados, you return the pit to the container along with them until it’s time to use, it will keep the avocado from turning brown from oxidation.
This recipe was given to me by Taisey at Gourmet Group

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seed and ½ inch diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ c. small diced red onion
2 Tbsp. minced jalapeño peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
½ tsp. freshly grated lime zest
¼ c. good olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and ½ inch diced

1. Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeño peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.
2. Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings

Ginger Snaps

These actually end up pretty soft and chewy
I’ve never tried making them with butter since the original recipe stated margarine I stick to that since I’m afraid the outcome would be less than satisfactory.
1 c. sugar
¾ c. margarine
1 egg
¼ c. molasses
2 c. flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger

1. Mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight. Roll into large marble sized balls, and roll in white sugar.
2. Bake at 350° for 11-15 minutes. Do not overbake or they will end up too dry.

German Chocolate Cake

My friend made me this for my birthday; it’s as good as a boxed mixed.

1 ½ c. all purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 4-ounce package sweet baking chocolate
¾ c. shortening
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ c. buttermilk or sour milk
1 recipe coconut-pecan frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour two 8X1 ½ inch or 9X1 ½ inch round baking pans or grease one 13X9X2 inch baking pan; set aside. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In a saucepan, combine the chocolate and ½ c. water. Cook and stir over low heat till melted; cool.
3. In large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Add sugar, beat till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed till combined. Beat on medium speed 1 minute. Stir in chocolate mixture. Add dry mixture and buttermilk alternately to beaten mixture; beat on low speed after each addition till combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s).
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes or till a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks. (If using layer cakes, remove from pan after ten minutes, and cool completely). Spread with coconut pecan frosting over tops of cake, stacking round layers.
Yield: 12 servings

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

If you combine this with my recipe for Fruit Dip – Look out – you may end up eating the entire recipe in one sitting, it is SO good! We served it with crepes one night and it went of smashingly. You could really use any variety of berries if raspberries are too expensive.

2 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 oz. raspberries
1 lbs. strawberries
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. fruit preserves, any flavor

10 ten-inch flour tortillas
Butter flavored cooking spray
2 c. cinnamon sugar

1. Wash, hull and slice the strawberries; rinse the raspberries gently. Toss all the fruit together, sprinkle with both sugars; mix well. Gently fold in the fruit preserves, being sure to not damage the raspberries. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°.
3. Cut the tortillas into wedges (using a pizza cutter makes this very easy). Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Place in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Cool for 15 minutes before serving with the fruit salsa. Store crisps in a resealable plastic bag.

Fruit Dip

This is orangey-fruity-heavenly-fluff

6 oz. frozen orange juice
½ c. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
12 oz. cool whip, defrosted

1. Combine all ingredients but the whipped topping in a saucepan. Cook to thicken.
2. Allow to cool completely then fold in the cool whip.
3. Serve with your choice of fruit, it is especially good with strawberries.

Fantastic Artichoke Dip

As the name implies, this really is fantastic—not for one who is watching their calories, but oh, so worth every single one you put in your mouth.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 onion, finely minced
2 jars artichoke hearts.

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Drain artichokes well and tear them apart with your fingers.
2. Combine all other ingredients and mash (a potato masher works perfectly).
3. Bake in an uncovered dish for approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly.
4. Serve hot with toasted baguette slices, pita chips, or Triscuit crackers. Yum!

Easy Oreo Truffles

If you can find mint flavored Oreo’s try using them in this recipe, it would be out of control good.

1 pkg. (1 lbs 2 oz) chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 oz each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

1. Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls; about 1” in diameter.
2. Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
3. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered in refrigerator.

Yield: 3 ½ dozen or 42 servings 1 truffle each

Diane's Yummy Apple Dip

Easy, Easy, Easy

1 c. butterscotch chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1. Place all ingredients in microwave save dish.
2. Microwave for thirty seconds, stir.
3. Repeat step two until desired consistency is reached.

Crunchy Garlic Chicken

I’ve found that by placing a metal cooling rack over my baking sheet, then putting the chicken on the baking rack helps the chicken get crispy all the way around, instead of being crispy on top and soggy on the bottom, just be sure the spray the cooling rack with non-stick spray.
This recipe was given to me by Karmen through a recipe swap at church.

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. chopped chives
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 c. crushed corn flakes cereal
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley (chopped)
½ tsp. paprika
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1. Heat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet (or use metal rack as suggested above), set aside.
2. Mix 2 Tbsp. butter, milk, chives, salt and garlic powder. In a separate container, mix crushed cereal, parsley, and paprika.
3. Dip chicken into milk mixture, then coat lightly and evenly with cereal mixture. Place on pan. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. butter. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Yield: 6 servings

Crispy Potato Cubes

1/3 c. flour
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried marjoram
1/8 tsp. pepper
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
¼ c. butter, melted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf

1. Preheat oven to 450°
2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt, thyme, marjoram and pepper. Add potatoes; seal bag and shake to coat. Pour butter into a 13X9 inch baking dish; stir in the garlic. Add potatoes and bay leaf.
3. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until potatoes are lightly browned and tender. Discard bay leaf.

Yield: 4 servings

Crescent Rolls

This makes a lot of rolls; I prefer to halve the recipe when I’m making it for my family, because there are so many.
This dough is VERY sticky, closer to cookie dough than a traditional bread dough. I thought for sure I hadn’t made the recipe correctly the first time I did it, but it was just fine. Do not be tempted to add more flour or they will not be as soft as they should be.

1 ½ c. warm milk
2 c. softened margarine, divided
1 c. sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
6 eggs
8 c. flour
2 Tbsp. yeast + 2 tsp. sugar (mix in ½ c. warm water)

1. Using 1 c. of the softened margarine, blend all ingredients except yeast mixture in a mixer. Add yeast mixture and blend. Store in a very large Tupperware bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
2. In the morning, stir down. Divide dough into 4 sections for very large rolls (I divide mine into 6 sections for dinner sized rolls). Roll one section at a time into a 12-14 inch circle on a well floured surface. Spread with additional softened margarine.
3. Cut into 8 pie shapes (I use a pizza cutter). Roll crescents from the large end to the small end, leaving a ¼ to ½ inch tail. Curve the roll into a crescent and place on a greased heavy cookie sheet or shallow baking pan.
4. Cover with a lightweight flour sack towel. Let rise 4-5 hours or until doubled. It takes a long time since the dough was cold.
5. Bake at 350 for 7-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not overcook.
6. If you are transporting these, do not stack them, they are very light and fragile.

Yield: 32 very large rolls or 48 dinner rolls

Cream Cheese Frosting

Use this one for Best Carrot Cake Ever and Ultimate Sugar Cookies

½ c. butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

Yield: 2 cups

Cranberry Relish

1 lbs. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 10 oz. jar orange marmalade
1 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Pour cranberries in oven safe dish, pour sugar over top, mix together. Bake at 350° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
2. Remove and cool slightly. Stir in marmalade and nuts. Refrigerate until cold.

Cranberry Orange Ricotta Cheese Brownies

These are my very favorite thing that I make for my Christmas goody plate.

1 c. ricotta cheese
6 Tbsp. whole-berry cranberry sauce
¼ c. sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ to ½ tsp. grated orange peel

½ c. butter or margarine, melted
¾ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
2 eggs
¾ c. flour
½ c. cocoa
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease 9” square baking pan. For filling, in small bowl beat ricotta cheese, cranberry sauce, sugar, egg and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in orange peel.
2. For brownie: in small bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, orange extract and vanilla; add eggs, beat well. Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, mixing thoroughly.
3. Spread half of the chocolate batter in prepared pan. Spread cheese mixture over top. Drop remaining chocolate batter by ½ tablespoonfuls onto cheese mixture.
4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Cut into squares. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Yield: 16 squares

Cranberry Orange Dream

This could almost be a dessert, but I used it as a side dish instead of a Jell-O dish at Thanksgiving.

1 ½ c. boiling water
1 pkg. (8 serving size) or 2 pkg. (4 serving size) cranberry flavored Jell-O
1 can (16 oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 ½ c. cold water
1 can (11 oz or 15.5 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained
1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs
½ c. sugar, divided
½ c. butter or margarine, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tubs (8 oz each) whipped topping, thawed, divided

1. Stir boiling water into gelatin in large bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce; stir until melted. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate about 1 ¼ hours or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Gently stir in mandarin oranges.
2. Meanwhile, stir crumbs, ¼ c. sugar and butter in 13X9 inch baking pan. Press firmly onto bottom. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Beat cream cheese and remaining ¼ c. sugar in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Gently stir in 1 tub of the whipped topping. Spread evenly over crust; cover with gelatin mixture (If you pour the mixture from the bowl off the back of a spoon it will spread the gelatin without breaking up the cream cheese mixture so it won’t make a big mess). Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Garnish with remaining tub of whipped topping just before serving.

Yield: 16 servings

Corn Chowder

2 c. cubed peeled potatoes
½ c. chopped onion
½ c. finely chopped celery
1 (8 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. salt
2 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

1. Combine potatoes, onion and celery in a large saucepan. Add just enough water to cover vegetable and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Return to saucepan. Partially mash the potatoes with a fork. Add cream corn, whole kernel corn to the potato mixture.
2. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add evaporated milk; mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add cayenne pepper and salt to mixture. Ladle chowder into soup bowls and top with crumbled bacon.

Coconut Shrimp

Almost as good as you’ll find in a restaurant

Dipping Sauce:
½ c. orange marmalade
4 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Peanut oil for frying
½ c. flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. water
2 c. shredded sweetened coconut
½ c. bread crumbs
1 lbs. medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. For dipping sauce: Add all dipping sauce ingredients to a pot on a low temperature. Heat for 10 minutes, making sure you stir ingredients every few minutes.
2. In a large pot, heat 2 inch of the peanut oil to 325°.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the water and whisk until smooth. Let the batter stand for 15 minutes.
4. In a wide, shallow bowl, toss the coconut and bread crumbs together.
5. Put the shrimp into the batter. Remove the shrimp, 1 at a time, and dredge in the coconut mixture, pressing to help the coconut adhere. Fry the shrimp in batches in the hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes or until brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Serve the shrimp with the dipping sauce.

Chocolate Ice Cream

This could quite possibly be the best chocolate ice cream you will ever make, I promise. I borrowed my friend’s ice cream maker and this was so good that I’m contemplating buying my own ice cream maker.

2 c. heavy cream
3 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. whole milk
¾ c. sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla extract

1. Warm 1 c. of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 c. cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickened and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, and then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into the machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

Chocolate Chips, Oats 'N Caramel Cookie Squares

Be prepared for goodness, it is especially good warm.
If you’re cheap like me, you won’t buy the prepared cookie dough; you’d just make a batch of cookie dough and use part of it for this.

1 (18oz) refrigerate cookie dough
1 c. quick cooking rolled oats
Dash of salt, if desired
5 Tbsp. flour
2/3 c. caramel ice cream topping
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ c. chopped walnuts
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add oats and salt; mix well. Reserve ½ c. cookie dough mixture. Press remaining mixture into the bottom of ungreased 9” square pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookie dough puffs and appears dry.
2. Meanwhile in small bowl, combine flour, caramel topping and vanilla; blend well.
3. Remove crust from oven. Sprinkle walnuts and chocolate chips evenly over partially baked crust. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture. Crumble reserved ½ c. cookie dough mixture over caramel.
4. Return to oven; bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Cool 1 ½ hours or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.

Choco Caramel Delights

½ c. butter or margarine, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 egg, separated
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. finely chopped pecans
Caramel Filling
½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening

1. In a small mixing bow beat butter, sugar, egg yolk, milk and vanilla until creamy.
2. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; blend into butter mixture. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.
3. Heat oven to 350°. Beat egg white slightly. Shape dough into 1” balls. Dip each ball into egg white; roll in pecans to coat. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
4. Press thumb gently in center of each ball. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Press center of each cookie with thumb to make indentation.
5. Immediately spoon about ½ tsp. Caramel Filling in center of each cookie. Carefully remove to cookie sheet; cool on wire rack.
6. In small bowl place chips and shortening. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until softened; stir. Allow to stand several minutes to finish melting; stir until smooth. Place wax paper under wire rack with cookies. Drizzle chocolate mixture over top of cookies.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Chinese Cabbage Salad

1 large Napa cabbage
2 pkgs. Top Ramen Noodles, broken up
½ c. margarine
5 green onions
½ c. sesame seeds
1 small pkg. sliced almonds

1 c. oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 c. sugar
½ c. vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the cabbage and onion the night before serving, if desired. Refrigerate.
2. Next day: brown noodles and sesame seeds in margarine. When almost brown, add almonds.
3. Drain on a paper towel. Mix with cabbage mix. Toss with dressing just before serving.
4. For Dressing: combine all dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid. Shake until mixed well.

Chicken-Sausage Gumbo

This makes a lot of gumbo. It’s not at all spicy, you could bump up the heat if you wanted by sprinkling in some red pepper flakes. Replacing the chicken with cooked shrimp would be a good change if you like seafood.

½ lbs. smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch thick slices
1 to 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
5 Tbsp. flour
1 c. coarsely chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
2 c. chicken broth
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 to 2 tsp. Creole seasoning
4 c. chopped cooked chicken
Hot cooked rice

1. Cook sausage over high heat in large pot, five minutes, stirring often. Remove sausage with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
2. Add enough oil to dripping to pot to equal 3 Tbsp, and whisk in flour; cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes.
3. Add onion and next 3 ingredients; cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in brother, tomatoes, and seasoning. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add sausage and chicken; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
5. Serve over rice.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Chicken Potpies

Pastry for double-crust pie
1 10-ounce package frozen peas and carrots
½ c. chopped onion (1 medium)
½ c. chopped fresh mushrooms
¼ c. margarine or butter
1/3 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried sage, marjoram, or thyme, crushed
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 c. chicken broth
¼ c. milk
3 c. cubed cooked chicken or turkey
¼ c. fresh snipped parsley
¼ c. diced pimiento

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Prepare pastry for double-crust pie; set aside. Cook peas and carrots according to package directions; drain.
2. In a saucepan cook onion and mushrooms in margarine or butter till tender. Stir in flour, salt, sage, marjoram or thyme, and pepper. Add chicken broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Stir in drained peas and carrots, chicken or turkey, parsley and pimiento; cook till bubbly.
3. Pour mixture into six 10 ounce casseroles. (Or, use a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.)
4. Roll pastry into a 15X10 inch rectangle. Cut into six 5 inch circle and place atop to 10 ounce casseroles. (Or, roll pastry into a 13X9 inch rectangle. Place over the rectangular baking dish.) Flute edges of pastry and cut slits in the top for steam to escape. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or till pastry is golden brown.
Yield: 6 servings