Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Creamy Coconut Pie

Erica celebrated another birthday and requested this for her birthday treat.  Logan was very happy with her selection.  I actually forgot to put in the almond extract this time.  It still tastes fine, but we like it better with the extract.  I've also doubled the recipe and put it in a 13 x 9" pan with crumbs just on the bottom.  (You don't need a full double recipe of the crust for this.)

1 package (3 oz) cream cheese
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/3 cups coconut
3 1/2 cups whipped topping, thawed (I use one 8 oz container)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 Graham Cracker Crust

Homemade Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

To make the crust:  Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Add the melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are moist with the butter.  Press onto bottom and sides of the pie plate.  If desired, bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  (I don't usually bake my crust.) This makes enough for a 9: or 10" pie crust.  For this coconut pie, I use a 10" pie plate.

To make the filling:  I like to put the coconut in the food processor and chop it up a little finer than how it comes in the package.  Set the coconut aside for a later step.  Beat cream cheese in a mixer bowl until softened; beat in sugar.  Gradually add milk and beat until smooth.  (With my lovely beaters this loves to splatter everywhere.  I often cover up my bowl and beaters with a dish towel to contain the splatters.)  Fold in coconut, whipped topping and extract.  Spoon into crust.  Freeze until firm.  Let stand a room temperature to soften before serving.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Slow Cooker Shredded Italian Beef

from Mom:  "When Sharon Johnson came to visit a few weeks ago, she mentioned a shredded beef dish that was served at a funeral she had gone to.  I looked and looked for one and could not find one without a tomato sauce base, like BBQ.  Then I did a search for "shredded beef + Italian Salad dressing."  It showed up as "Shredded Italian Beef."  I called her and told her what was in it and she said it sounded just like the one she had tasted.  We tried it tonight, June 14, 2017, and it was really delicious.  She said the people had also added sour cream to it, but we just used provolone cheese as we didn't have sour cream."

3 cups beef broth (I used water and low sodium “better than bouillon”-- 3 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion salt (I used thin sliced onions instead of the onion salt)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 (.7 oz) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1 (2 ½ to 3 pound) boneless chuck roast or boneless cross rib roast
Provolone cheese (or you could use sour cream or other cheeses)
Dinner rolls (I like the whole wheat dinner rolls at Winco)

     Combine broth and seasonings and dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil. 
Place roast in slow cooker, pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.  Cover and cook on LOW for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4-5 hours (until the meat is really tender and falls apart).
     When very tender, remove the bay leaf.  Remove from the slow cooker and shred meat with a fork and place back into the broth.  Serve on buns.
TIP:  I prepare this the day before I want it.  I cook and shred and beef and place into a bowl and cover and put in the refrigerator.  I pour the broth into a bowl and cover and refrigerate.  The next day, I remove the fat from the broth.  Place the broth in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan.  Heat to boiling.  Make a “slurry” of a few tablespoons of cornstarch and cold water, and gradually add to the broth until it is slightly thickened.  Add the shredded beef into the broth and simmer on low for an hour to blend all the flavors.
     To serve:  Cut the dinner rolls in half, place them on a broiler pan.  Place the shredded beef on one half and place slice of cheese on the top.  Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the other half of the bun is browned.  Serve with a tossed salad or coleslaw.

This is delicious!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I haven't made this in years but it was definitely time for a comeback! It's from my Betty Crocker's Cookbook, New and Revised Edition (1982).

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (8 1/4 ounces) sliced pineapple, drained
7 maraschino cherries, if desired
6 pecan halves, if desired
Dinette Cake Batter (see recipe below)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat butter in round layer pan or square pan (9") in oven until the butter is melted.  Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter.  Fill the bottom of the pan with pineapple slices in any decorative way you want.  Place cherries in center of pineapple slices; arrange pecans around the pineapple.

Prepare Dinette Cake Batter and pour over fruit in pan.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Invert onto heatproof plate.  Let pan remain a few minutes.  Lift pan.  Your pineapple cake is now upside-down and a thing of beauty!  Serve cake warm.  Makes 9 servings.

Dinette Cake Batter

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or 1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients in large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, for 30 seconds.  Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally as needed, for 3 minutes.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Creamy White Chili

I found this recipe on  It was simple to make and really tasty! It really hit the spot on a cold wintry day.

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon canola oil (I used olive oil)
2 cans (15-1/2 ounce each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounce) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Optional Toppings:
Tortilla chips
Corn tortillas, torn up
Grated cheese
Green onions, chopped
Jalapeno pepper, sliced and seeded

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, saute the chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink.  Add the beans, broth, chilies and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and heavy cream.  Spoon into bowls.  If desired, top with any of the optional toppings.

YIELD: 7 servings

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pizza Pasta Bake

It's General Conference weekend, and that means being spiritually fed AND physically fed with yummy food. Here's one dish we enjoyed between Saturday's sessions.

Pizza Pasta Bake
(based on One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake from
Serves 8

16 oz. mild Italian sausage (we used Tennessee Pride)
1 cup mini pepperoni, divided
1 quart tomatoes (blended), or tomato sauce
3 cups water
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
16 oz. rotini or penne pasta
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. dried parsley

Preheat oven to broil. In a large skillet or pot, brown sausage and separate into small crumbles. Drain excess fat. Stir in 1/2 cup pepperoni until heated through, about 1 minute.

Stir in blended tomatoes or tomato sauce, oregano, basil, garlic, pasta, and water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; cover. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through.

Remove from heat. Pour mixture into glass 13x9 pan. Top with mozzarella cheese, remaining 1/2 cup pepperoni, and parsley. Place into oven and broil until cheese is melted and golden brown.

Serve immediately with tossed green salad and garlic toast.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Tater tots for breakfast? Yes, please! We first made this casserole in a 12" Dutch oven while camping and fell in love with it. We've since made it at home in a 13x9 pan with similarly delicious results.

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
1 T. butter
32 oz. seasoned tater tots (we used Western Family)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. ground sausage, browned and drained
8 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in 13x9 pan in oven and promptly remove pan from oven.

Mix tater tots, cheese, and sausage together in a bowl, and then place mixture into 13x9 pan.

Mix eggs and milk and pour over tater tot mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes, uncovered.

Optional: serve as breakfast burritos in tortillas with salsa, sour cream, etc.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Bryant and Katelyn's Luncheon

August 18 was a very special day for our family. Bryant was sealed to Katelyn for time and all eternity! The sealing was done in the Provo City Center Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Afterwards, we held a luncheon and enjoyed dancing and visiting at The Startup Building at 111 W 600 S in Provo.

Here are the recipes for the food we served:

Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Cocktail Croissants
2 cups finely chopped chicken
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise (no substitutes)
2 T. sour cream
1 T. chicken broth
1 T. lemon juice

Four rotisserie chickens were enough for 100 people. Cocktail croissants were purchased at Sam's Club.

Italian Pesto Pasta Salad
1 lb. pasta (I used spiral pasta from Winco's bulk section)
1 cup pesto (I used Sam's Club brand)
1 cup Italian dressing (I used Olive Garden)
cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
sliced olives
feta cheese

Cook pasta; rinse with cold water. Add pesto and dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, stir in desired amounts of tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. The original recipe called for shredded rotisserie chicken, grapes, and chopped, fresh spinach. Since we were serving chicken salad sandwiches, I didn't want this to be a main dish salad, which is why we decided to add tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. We served approximately 100 people with 5 pounds of pasta, 1 large package of cherry tomatoes, 1 large package of feta cheese, and 1/2 large (#10) can of sliced olives (all from Sam's Club).

Nuts About Berries Salad (copycat from Zupa's Cafe)
3 large bags chopped romaine
1 large container spinach
4 lbs. strawberries
1 1/2 lbs. raspberries
1 1/2 lbs. blueberries
1 1/2 lbs. blackberries

Wash greens and fruit. Place romaine and spinach in a very large bowl. Pour Poppyseed Vinaigrette over greens and toss to coat. Carefully mix in berries. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar toasted pecans. This is enough to serve approximately 100 people.

Poppyseed Vinaigrette
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried mustard
1 tsp. minced dried onion
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 T. poppyseeds

Mix all ingredients except oil and poppyseeds in blender. Once sugar is dissolved, slowly add in oil while blender is running to emulsify the mixture. Add poppyseeds and mix for just a second until the poppyseeds are incorporated throughout the vinaigrette. A double recipe is plenty for the above amount of salad.

Cinnamon-Sugar Toasted Pecans
1 bag pecans (from Sam's or Costco)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Chop pecans in food processor, not too finely. Pour pecans in a very large skillet. Mix sugar and cinnamon, and pour mixture over pecans in skillet. Toast and carmelize pecans over medium-high heat, stirring continually until sugar sticks to and coats pecans. Pour pecans onto parchment paper to cool. 1 bag of pecans is enough for 150-200 people.

Fresh Fruit to serve 100
2 watermelons
3 cantaloupe
3 pineapple
5 lbs. grapes

Gourmet Bakery Brownies - Gardner Style

Brownie Batter
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups (8 oz) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (14 oz) sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup and 1 tablespoon (3.3 oz) cake flour
¾ cup and 2 tablespoons (2.8 oz) Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder Use a good brand--it is important. I usually use either Callebaut Royal Dutch cocoa or Cacao Barry Extra Brute.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a 9x13-inch baking pan by lining with heavy-duty aluminum foil--leaving edges of aluminum foil hanging over to help lift brownies from pan when they are done.  Spray foil with Baker’s Joy baking spray or lightly grease the foil in the pan.

Cut the butter sticks into 1-inch slices.  In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter pieces over the lowest setting; add the bittersweet chocolate.  Stir with a small whisk until combined and the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the burner while proceeding with the recipe.

Using a large whisk, lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Place the sugar and salt in a separate small mixing bowl, then whisk into the eggs just until incorporated.  Briefly whisk the melted chocolate mixture, then gradually whisk into the egg mixture until just combined.  Briefly whisk in the vanilla.

Place the flour and cocoa powder in the small mixing bowl; whisk together to combine.  Sift through a medium strainer directly onto the batter; stir in with a silicone spatula until just combined.  Add optional fold-ins if desired and fold in gently.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a small offset spatula.  Bake for 26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then refrigerate the pan for 7 to 8 hours, or overnight.

To remove brownies from pan, grasp the edges of the parchment paper and lift out the entire block.  Place on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to cut into 2-inch squares.  Refrigerated in an airtight container, brownies will keep for up to 3 days.

For Mint Brownies, fold into brownie batter before baking - 2 cups (12 oz) mint baking chips. Spread cooled brownies with Fluffy Mint Frosting and Chocolate Glaze as directed below. Garnish warm glaze with 1 tablespoon white chocolate Callebaut Crispearls and 1 tablespoon Valhrona Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearls.

For Peanut Buttercream Brownies, fold into brownie batter before baking - 1 (8 oz) bag unwrapped Reese’s Minis peanut butter cups. Spread cooled brownies with Peanut Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Glaze as directed below. Then drizzle with Peanut Butter Drizzle while glaze is still warm.

For Coo Coo for Coconut Brownies, fold into brownie batter before baking - ½ cup (1.4 oz) unsweetened organic shredded or flaked coconut, toasted. To toast the unsweetened shredded coconut, adjust an oven rack to the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350°F.  Spread out the coconut evenly on a quarter-sheet pan. Bake for 4 minutes until the coconut is very lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack. Spread cooled brownies with Marshmallow Topping and sprinkle with ½ cup (2 oz) shredded sweetened coconut, toasted following same toasting directions as coconut added to the brownie batter.

For Cookie Dough Brownies, spread cooled brownies with Cookie Dough Topping and Chocolate Glaze as directed below.

Fluffy Mint Frosting
8 tablespoons (3.2 oz) white all-vegetable shortening (Hi-Ratio shortening is recommended and what I use)
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow crème
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or more to taste)
1 ¼ cups (5 oz) confectioners’ sugar
1 drop green food coloring (optional)

Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat together the shortening and butter on medium speed until well combined and completely smooth.  Add the marshmallow crème, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract to the mixing bowl and beat on medium-low speed until well combined.  Add the confectioners’ sugar to the mixer bowl.  Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high, beat until the mixture is fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add a drop of green food coloring if desired.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again briefly.  Dollop the frosting over the brownie slab and spread evenly with a small offset spatula.  Place the slab in the refrigerator while preparing the glaze.

Peanut Buttercream Frosting
½ cup (4.5 oz) creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (8 oz) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the peanut butter, butter, and salt in a small mixing bowl.  Using a hand mixer, beat together until the mixture is perfectly smooth.  Add the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl along with the milk and vanilla; beat until well blended and fluffy.  Dollop the frosting over the brownie slab, then spread evenly with a small offset spatula.  Refrigerate the brownie slab while preparing the chocolate glaze.

Peanut Butter Drizzle
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/3 cup (2 oz) peanut butter-flavored baking chips, such as Reese’s

To make the peanut butter drizzle, place the oil and peanut butter chips in a 1-cup microwave-safe measuring cup.  Microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes, then stir with a small silicone spatula until the chips are melted and completely smooth.  Pour the mixture in a thin stream randomly over the warm chocolate glaze.  If desired, use a skewer, toothpick, or small knife to marble the drizzle with the chocolate glaze.  Refrigerate the slab until the peanut buttercream frosting and glaze are quite firm, at least 2 hours.

Chocolate Glaze for Mint Brownies and Peanut Butter Brownies
6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup (6 oz) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Slice the butter into ½-inch slices.  Place the butter slices and corn syrup in a small saucepan and melt over the lowest setting.  Meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup.  Microwave the chocolate on high power for 90 seconds, whisk with a small whisk, then microwave for an additional 15 seconds.  Whisk again.  Pour the melted butter mixture into the melted chocolate and whisk gently until combined and completely smooth.  Pour the glaze over the fluffy mint frosting and spread evenly with a small offset spatula to completely cover the frosting.  Refrigerate the slab until the frosting is firm, at least 2 hours.  Makes 12 large squares, 24 smaller bars, or sixty 1 1/8-inch pieces.

Coconut Marshmallow Topping
1 cup cold water (divided)
3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups (14 oz) sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (9 oz) light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

To make the coconut marshmallow layer, place ½ cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water; set aside.  Sift (or strain) the sugar into a 1 ½- to 2-quart heavy saucepan.  Add the salt, corn syrup, and the remaining ½ cup of water.  Place over moderately low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved, about 7 minutes.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.  Lower the heat slightly, cover the pan, and boil for 2 minutes to allow any sugar crystals on the sides of the saucepan to dissolve.  Remove the pan lid and increase the heat to medium-high.  Insert a candy thermometer into the mixture and let the syrup boil without stirring until the temperature reaches 240°F.

With the mixer on low speed, pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture.  After all the syrup has been added, gradually increase the speed to high and beat for 12 minutes.  The sugar mixture is very hot--increase the mixer speed gradually so the syrup does not splash up out of the bowl.  Reduce the speed to low and add the extract.  Increase the speed to high and beat an additional 4 minutes, until the mixture is lukewarm and the consistency of whipped marshmallow.  Use a pastry scraper to dollop the slightly warm and thick marshmallow over the top of the brownie slap; quickly smooth the top with a small offset spatula.  Sprinkle the top of the marshmallow with the toasted sweetened coconut.  Refrigerate the pan for 7 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Cookie Dough Topping
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons (2 oz) milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (6-3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) mini semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in milk and vanilla.  Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Gently spread dough onto cooled brownies, smoothing the top into an even layer.  Refrigerate while you prepare the glaze.

Glaze for Cookie Dough Brownies
7 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Gently melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over cookie dough, carefully spreading into a thin, even layer.  Return pan to refrigerator and chill until set, about 30 minutes.