Monday, June 29, 2009

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake

I made this cake for Erica's birthday. Paige really wanted me to make a chocolate cake, but I wasn't in the mood for chocolate. So lemon it was.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 cup sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in lemon peel. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; invert onto wire rack. Cool 10 minutes longer. Place rack on waxed paper. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over the warm cake. Cool completely before serving. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Banana Nut Pancakes

Last Monday one of our neighbors held a neighborhood family home evening with a banana theme. All of the activities centered around bananas. She gave us a booklet of banana recipes after the activity. This pancake recipe is based off of a recipe in the booklet. I did add my own touches, though (buttermilk, nuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla). These pancakes are not very thick, but if you use really ripe bananas they have an incredible flavor! We served them with extra walnuts on top and coconut syrup.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mash the bananas and set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the egg. Mix in the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Gently fold in walnuts. Lightly grease griddle and heat over medium high heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook until both sides are golden brown. Serve hot with butter, nuts, and/or your favorite syrup.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whipping Cream

Did you know you can buy whipping cream on sale and freeze the cream in the cartons? It works beautifully! Just make sure to thaw completely to use. Oone time I sat out a carton while we attended church, and it was perfectly thawed by the time we got home. It whipped into cream almost instantly!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Crispy Potato Bacon Wraps

Bart made this for dinner tonight. It was a fun and delicious way to use some of the frozen O’Brien hash browns we bought from the swim team fundraiser. Even if we didn’t have a freezer-full of hash browns, it would be worth it to get some to make these wraps!

3 cups frozen, diced hash browns (we used O’Brien style hash browns)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
16 ounces sour cream, divided
1 cup cooked bacon pieces
1/3 cup chopped green onions
Salt and pepper, to taste
14 flour tortillas (amount needed will depend on size of tortilla—we used burrito size and only needed 7 tortillas)
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare hash browns according to package directions. In a bowl, stir together cooked potatoes, cheese, 1 cup of sour cream, bacon, onions, salt and pepper. Warm the tortillas, then spoon equal amounts of the mixture in the center of each. Roll tortillas burrito-style, brush with melted butter and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut diagonally into halves. Serve with remaining sour cream.

Blueberry Pie

Bart requested a blueberry pie for his father’s day treat. This is our favorite recipe to use for blueberry pie—it is simple to make and it consistently works. I have always used fresh fruit, but the recipe states that you can use frozen blueberries—just measure the blueberries while frozen, but let them thaw before filling the pie. If you fill the pie with frozen berries, the fruit might not cook through and you might end up with undissolved thickener.

Pie dough for one two-crust pie (I prefer the Lion House pie dough recipe)

Blueberry Filling
3 pints fresh blueberries (6 cups or 30 ounces), rinsed and picked over
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 small lemon , zested to yield 1 teaspoon zest and juiced to yield 2 teaspoons juice (I use the entire zest and juice from one lemon)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
pinch ground nutmeg
3–4 Tablespoons Instant Clear-Jel OR potato starch OR quick-cooking tapioca (I use 4 tablespoons of Instant Clear-Jel)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into small pieces

1. Prepare pie dough as directed in recipe. Divide into two balls, flatten balls somewhat into thick disk shapes, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. To prepare filling, mix together sugar, Instant Clear-Jel, allspice, and nutmeg. Add blueberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice and fold together with a spatula. Let fruit mixture stand for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll one dough disk into 12-inch circle. Fit dough into 9-inch Pyrex pie pan, leaving dough that overhands the lip in place.
4. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into pie shell. Scatter butter pieces over fruit. Refrigerate until ready to top with remaining dough.
5. Roll remaining dough disk on lightly floured surface into 10-inch circle. Lay over fruit. Trim top and bottom dough edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute dough in your own fashion, or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits at right angles on dough top to allow steam to escape. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
6. Place pie on baking sheet; reduce oven heat to 425°F and bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the pie and reduce the oven temperature to 375°F, continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
7. Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool to almost room temperature so juices have time to thicken, from 1 to 2 hours.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pumpkin Castle Cake

This cake is currently Bart's signature dessert--he can whip it together in no time at all, and it always turns out incredibly moist and delicious! At the end of the school year, we suddenly realized that Alyssa needed to bring something to "auction" off the next day. It was late at night, and we still had a lot to do before going to bed/work. Bart quickly put this cake together. The next morning, I put it on a cake circle, sprinkled the cake with powdered sugar (since the cake wouldn't be refrigerated we didn't use the cream cheese glaze), and boxed it up in a cake box which I tied with a beautiful wide ribbon and attached a picture of the cake to the outside of the box. Alyssa's teacher offered a million dollars for the cake before the auction. But since she wasn't allowed to purchase it, the girl who did buy it shared it with her class and we heard feedback that everyone really liked it.

Mrs. Chiu’s Spicy Pumpkin Cake
from King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet Autumn 2006

Cake batter:
3 cups (12 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ½ ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 scant cup (8 ounces) canned pumpkin
2/3 cup (4-5/8 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted or pushed through strainer
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease and lightly flour a nonstick 10-inch tube or Bundt pan; set aside.

To make the cake batter: In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, pumpkin, oil, and vinegar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until the flour is well incorporated (about 2 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Do not overbeat. The batter should look thick and creamy. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate, remove the pan, and cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze: Place the cream cheese in a medium bowl, and heat it briefly in the microwave (1 minute is plenty, if cold from the refrigerator) to soften it until it’s almost runny. Stir until the cheese is smooth, with no lumps. Stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth; add the milk to thin to a glaze consistency. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake. Refrigerate the cake, uncovered, for 3 hours, until the glaze is set. Store covered after slicing in the refrigerator. Yield: 1 cake, 16 slices.

Squeeze Fudge

Just after school got out for the summer, our ward’s primary held a quarterly activity about building eternal families. It was one of the most successful primary activities I have been involved with. The kids were divided into 4 groups and rotated between activity stations. At my station, “Building in Progress,” the kids put together a family home evening lesson. This is the treat that was included in the lesson. It actually makes a quite tasty fudge. We refrigerated the fudge from the first 2 groups so the kids could taste it at the end of the activity. They all seemed to enjoy it. The fudge is very sweet, so a small piece is satisfying. Joshua did a great job presenting the family home evening lesson to us at home. You can find the complete plans for the family home evening at: The fudge is a fun family activity—we all took turns kneading it throughout the lesson.

1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup cocoa
dash of salt
Walnuts, optional (I recommend toasting them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 - 12 minutes or until they smell toasted. I used a couple goods-sized handfuls because we like our fudge with a lot of nuts)

Combine ingredients in a gallon size ziplock bag, release all the air, seal, and squeeze! Knead to a smooth consistency. Mix in nuts if desired. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, and spread fudge into prepared pan. Chill until firm (overnight works best). Enjoy!

As family members are each taking turns kneading the fudge, discuss how many hands make for lighter work. Sometimes hard "lumps" need the extra attention. It is important that everyone participates and contributes.


In an effort to inspire me to make homemade bagels, Bart recently bought some fun flavors of cream cheese: Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil, Spinach and Artichoke, and Chive and Onion. His idea worked—I made bagels the other morning. But because I was in a hurry, I made the dough in the food processor (the first time I have tried that method for bagel dough). It shaved several minutes of time off the preparation of the dough, and the bagels turned out just as good. It’s a method I plan to use again. Just in case you’re curious, I have an 11-cup food processor, and the dough fit just fine. To make the dough in the food processor, add all the flour and the salt to the food processor bowl with the dough blade inserted. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together the water, malt powder, and yeast and let sit until mixture is bubbly. With the food processor running on dough speed, add the liquid mixture slowly until all the liquid is incorporated. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water or flour to adjust dough if necessary. Knead for 1 minute. Remove dough from food processor and knead lightly to shape into a ball, then put it in a large bowl to allow it to rise.

1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups (19 ounces) high-gluten flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) lukewarm water

Water Bath:
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or brown sugar

Mix the dough ingredients to make a very stiff dough. (I mix together half the flour with other dry ingredients, then add all the water and beat at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Then gradually add remaining flour and knead by mixer on low speed for 7 minutes.) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until noticeably puffy, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Divide the risen dough into 8 balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Heat the water, sugar, and malt powder to a gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Poke a 2-inch-wide hole through each ball; the entire bagel will be about 4 inches across. (Or roll each ball into a rope, overlap ends by about 1-inch, then roll out overlapped area to smooth bagel shape.) Place bagels on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and let rest for 10 minutes. (I place bagels on a Silpat-lined baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.)
Gently lower the bagels, 3 or 4 at a time, into the simmering water. Simmer for 2 minutes, gently flip them over, and simmer 1 minute more. (I prefer to simmer them for only 30 seconds—lower bagels into water upside down (top side on bottom), simmer 30 seconds, flip then remove and place on wire rack to drain, then put back on Silpat with cornmeal removed.)
Place bagels on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with seeds if desired. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I bake for 15 to 20 minutes), or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.

Yield: 8 bagels.

Pina Colada Waffles

Coconut milk is becoming one of my favorite ingredients to use in baking. We had a lot of fresh pineapple that needed to be used, and I thought it would be fun to serve it over a tropical waffle. I was planning on inventing my own recipe, but then I remembered this one. Joshua helped me make these, and we had a lot of fun working together. We served these with pineapple heated up in a butter-rum sauce. But I think they would be even better with coconut syrup (the recipe is on The Sister’s Café blog). This recipe for waffles is from Alton Brown’s cookbook “I’m Just Here for More Food.”

2 cups (9 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour (Note: Alton uses a different weight for flour—I measured the flour by weight rather than cups.)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups (16 ounces) coconut milk (at room temperature)
3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) sugar
½ cup (2 ¾ ounces) drained crushed pineapple

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large mixing bowl. In small mixing bowl, mix together eggs, butter, coconut milk, sugar and crushed pineapple. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Set the batter aside to rest for 5 minutes (or refrigerate it for up to an hour). Ladle batter onto waffle iron using a muffin scoop and spread the batter lightly with the back of the scoop. Close waffle iron and bake until the waffle is golden and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200°F. oven until ready to serve.

Coconut Syrup
(from The Sister's Cafe)
7-8 T. butter
¾ c. buttermilk
1 c. sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp coconut extract

Place butter, buttermilk and sugar in a pot. Then turn stove on medium and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil one minute. Remove from heat and add soda and flavoring. It will bubble up; just continue to stir and give it a few minutes for the 'fizz' to reduce before serving.

Chocolate Muffins

Have you noticed yet how much my family and I love muffins? I’m trying to get some of our favorite muffin recipes entered here, so here is our current favorite chocolate muffin recipe. We like to bake these in different types of pans—a shortcake pan makes yummy raspberry or strawberry chocolate shortcakes and a donut pan makes an incredible baked chocolate donut (especially when glazed with chocolate glaze and topped with colorful sprinkles). I had trouble taking a picture that shows just how yummy these are, so I guess you’ll just have to try them to find out for yourself.

2 cups (8 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (3 ¼ ounces) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups (9 ½ ounces) sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
1 to 1-¼ cups (I use 9 ounces) buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray muffin tin with Baker’s Joy and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add chocolate chips to dry mixture. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Using a muffin scoop, fill muffin cups. The cups should be full.

Place muffins in the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until muffins are done. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Remove from pan within 5 minutes.

Makes 12 standard muffins.

Raspberry-Banana Salad

I absolutely love it when my kids go through my cookbooks and choose recipes they would like to try. Joshua chose several recipes recently, and all of the ones he chose turned out great! He even helped me make most of them. This is one of the salads he recently chose. He helped me make it while Alyssa did the dishes.

2 cups water
1 (6-ounce) package raspberry Jell-O
1 (12-ounce) package individually frozen raspberries
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
4 bananas

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan or in microwave. Place Jell-O powder in a large bowl. Add boiling water to Jell-O and stir until Jell-O has dissolved. Add frozen raspberries to Jell-O. Stir until thick and syrupy, refrigerating if necessary. Stir in crushed pineapple. Dice bananas and add. Pour into a 9x13-inch dish. Let set overnight, if possible, or for several hours. Makes about 12 servings.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Buttermilk Pancakes

This is a really good basic buttermilk pancake recipe. The pancakes turn out nice and fluffy. This recipe is from the July/August 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated. The pancakes can be cooked on an electric griddle. Set the griddle temperature to 350 degrees and cook as directed.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 - 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set inside baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; place in oven (I skipped this step and we just served the pancakes as they were done). Whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and melted butter. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with few streaks of flour). Do not overmix. Allow batter to sit 10 minutes before cooking.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides of pan. Using ¼ cup measure (I used a muffin scoop), portion batter into pan in 4 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately, or transfer to wire rack in preheated oven. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as necessary.

Pumpkin Muffins

We had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge that needed to be used, so this morning I made these pumpkin muffins. Bart states they are "the best pumpkin muffins ever!" The recipe is from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking.

2 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (9 1/2 ounces) canned pumpkin
3/4 cup (3 ounces) chopped nuts
3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (I used chocolate chips, of course)

Preheat the oven to 375. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl.

Cream together the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl (I used my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer) until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until evenly moistened. Stir in the nuts and raisins, cranberries or chips.

Scoop batter into muffin cups sprayed with Baker's Joy. Each muffin cup will be very full. Bake until muffins are done--about 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for up to 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the pan.

Makes 12 muffins.

Chicken and Waffles

Alyssa wanted to help cook dinner the other night. She chose this recipe--and it was a lot of fun to prepare it together. Alyssa made the waffles (see my recipe posted previously) while I prepared the chicken. We worked together on the gravy. I thought it seemed a little strange to serve maple syrup on the waffle before adding the chicken and gravy, but it was really good that way--the sweet and spicy combination was very yummy. Also, the hot sauce just adds a gentle kick to the chicken, so don't be afraid to use it.

Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
¼ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Sauce)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 chicken tenders (about 1 pound)—I used 2 chicken breasts cut into thin strips
¾ cup instant flour (such as Wondra)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 scallions, sliced, plus more for garnish
1 ½ cups chicken broth
Buttermilk or Belgian-style waffles (your favorite recipe or use frozen)
Maple syrup, for serving

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Whisk the hot sauce and egg in a medium bowl; toss the chicken in the mixture to coat.

Combine the flour, poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Set aside 3 tablespoons seasoned flour in a separate bowl; dredge the chicken in the remaining seasoned flour until coated, shaking off any excess.

Place the chicken in the hot oil and fry until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning once. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly; discard the oil.

Melt the butter in the same skillet and whisk in the reserved seasoned flour until smooth. Whisk in the scallions, then slowly pour in the broth. Bring to a simmer, whisking until the gravy is smooth. Meanwhile, toast the waffles.

Place a waffle on each plate and drizzle with maple syrup. Top with chicken and gravy and garnish with scallions.

Buttermilk Pecan Waffles

I love buttermilk waffles. This is the buttermilk waffle recipe I tend to make most often. The chopped pecans add a really fun crunch to each waffle—so I encourage you to use them!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter
3 tablespoons chopped pecans (if desired)

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until light. Add buttermilk; mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in butter. Pour batter onto preheated waffle iron. Sprinkle with a few pecans if desired. Bake until waffles are golden brown.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simple Popsicles

These are yummy and quick to put together. Paige had a lot of fun making these yesterday. The hard part is waiting for them to freeze, but today the kids got to pick their flavor and get their picture taken. We made grape, orange, and cherry. You can use any combination of gelatin and Kool-aid that strikes your fancy. Of course, my kids all chose grape for the picture. I used my popsicle molds, little dixie cups, and an ice cube tray to make all three flavors of popsicles.

1 cup sugar
1 package (3 oz) cherry gelatin
1 package (.13 oz) unsweetened cherry soft drink mix (Kool-aid)
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water
10 disposable plastic cups (5 oz)
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
10 popsicle sticks

In a bowl, combine sugar, gelatin and soft drink mix in boiling water until dissolved. Add cold water. Pour into cups. Cover each with foil; insert sticks through foil (foil will kind of hold sticks upright). Place in a 13x9" pan; freeze. To serve, remove foil and plastic cups. Yield: 10 servings.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Easy Cheese Puff Bake

Another Yancey classic! This was so good for dinner tonight. I never put the sausage in with the eggs because Kaysen prefers his sausage separate. It's really good either way!

8 eggs
¾ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups cottage cheese
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (12 oz.)
½ cup butter, melted
12-16 oz. Jimmy Dean Sausage, browned, optional

Beat the eggs until foamy. Blend in the flour and baking powder. Stir in the cottage cheese and shredded cheese. Stir in the melted butter and the cooked sausage, if desired. Pour into a 12x8” or 9x9” baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes until browned on top. Cut in squares and serve while hot. Makes 6-8 servings. We like to serve this with cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit for Christmas or New Year’s breakfast, but it’s delicious any time of the year!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad

Maybe I should call this "Roasted Pork Pasta Salad" since we used leftover roasted pork instead of the grilled chicken. This makes a great main-dish pasta salad (although it could be served as a side-dish). It also makes a huge batch, so it would work well for a potluck.

1 pound corkscrew pasta
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups shredded grilled chicken
1/2 cup canned black beans , drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper , chopped
1 yellow bell pepper , chopped
1 onion, red (small) , minced
1 jalapeno chile , seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 cup recipe White BBQ Sauce (see related recipe)
Ground black pepper

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until nearly tender, about 8 minutes. Add corn and cook 1 minute more. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and corn. Transfer pasta and corn to large bowl and refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 30 minutes.

2. Stir in chicken, beans, bell peppers, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and sauce. Add reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is loose. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 days. Check consistency and seasonings before serving.)

White BBQ Sauce

3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate sauce in airtight container for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bean 'n' Burger Pockets

This is from an old Taste of Home magazine. I was trying to plan some meals and decided to try a new recipe. Logan first turned his nose up at the idea of trying it. Paige actually tried it willingly (which helped Logan try it). And then she ended up eating 3/4 of a pita (I gave it to her 1/4 at a time). Logan liked it as well and said it was "hundreds and hundreds yummy." Bryn even said it tasted good. I need to make more pitas so we can have the leftovers today for supper. I realized that Bryce purchased a 15.25 oz can of navy beans, so I mixed up those beans with my own canned pints of kidney beans and great northern whites. Then I divided that mixture in half and froze half for later and used the other half in the recipe. I guess you could also just double the recipe and freeze the meat mixture so it's ready to go on another day. I also pureed my tomatoes and didn't have garlic, so I used garlic powder. I also didn't have any onions and savory so I just left them out. It was still a very yummy recipe.

1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon each dried thyme, savory, margoram, oregano, and parsley flakes
1 can (8.75 oz) navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8.75 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8.75 oz) lima beans, rinsed and drained
5 pita breads, halved
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional

In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, brown beef; drain. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, brown sugar and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans; heat through. Spoon about 1/2 cup into each pita half. Top with cheese if desired. Yield: 5 servings.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Orange Drop Doughnuts

Years ago Bart and I decided to celebrate “Kid’s Day.” I guess we must have felt it was unfair that he and I each got to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day in addition to a birthday. So we decided that it was only fair that we would also celebrate a “Kid’s Day.” The year after we started this, we found out that there actually is a Kid’s Day—I think it’s the first Sunday in August. But since we started this holiday ourselves for our family, we decided to change the date to a Saturday in early summer. That way, our kids can enjoy their gifts during the summer. To begin our celebration of Kid’s Day this year, we started out with a yummy breakfast of Orange Drop Doughnuts. Since these are cake doughnuts (rather than yeast), they are very fast to make. Don’t skip the orange peel—it is what adds the incredible orange flavor. You’ll need 2 to 3 oranges to get the zest and juice needed.

This recipe is from Cook’s Country.

Orange-Sugar Coating
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Vegetable oil (for deep frying)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
½ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. For the coating: Pulse sugar and zest in food processor until blended, about 5 pulses. Transfer to medium bowl. (If making by hand, toss zest and sugar in medium bowl using fork until evenly blended.)
2. For the doughnuts: Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in 4-quart saucepan until temperature reaches 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, and orange zest in large bowl. Whisk in orange juice, then butter, until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until evenly moistened.
3. Using two dinner teaspoons, carefully drop heaping spoonfuls of batter into hot oil. (You should be able to fit about 6 spoonfuls in pan at one time. Do not overcrowd.) Fry, maintaining temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, until doughnuts are crisp and deeply browned on all sides, 3 to 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to plate lined with paper towels. Drain for 5 minutes. Add doughnuts to bowl with orange sugar and toss until well coated. Place on serving plate and repeat with remaining batter, regulating oil temperature as necessary. Doughnuts are best served warm (although we enjoyed the leftovers cold as well).

Makes 24 to 30 doughnuts.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Banana Bundt Cake

Okay, I'm posting a recipe that I still haven't tasted. But I have heard that it is good. This cake won the Best of Show award for cakes at the Eastern Idaho State Fair a few years ago. For the fair, I put chocolate ganache on top. Recently, I made this cake for Bart to bring to work for a potluck. He states the cake was very yummy!

3 cups (1 lb. 5 oz.) granulated sugar
1 cup (6 ½ oz.) shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 ½ cups (20 oz.) mashed very ripe bananas (5 medium bananas)
4 cups (16 oz.) cake flour (or use 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour—I usually use the cake flour)
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 oz.) buttermilk
1 cup (4 oz.) chopped nuts, if desired
Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease bottom and side of 12-cup bundt cake pan with shortening; lightly flour (or spray with Baker’s Joy instead of using shortening and flour).

In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugar, scraping down the sides and across the bottom of the bowl at least once. Beat in vanilla.

On the lowest speed, blend in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just to blend. Add mashed bananas, mixing just to blend.

In a medium mixing bowl (or food processor), mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well-mixed.

On the lowest speed, blend over half of the flour mixture into the batter. Continue on lowest speed and blend in half of the buttermilk. Continue adding the remainder of the flour until all is incorporated. Blend in the remaining buttermilk. Stir in nuts. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (or glaze with chocolate ganache for extra yummy flavor). Makes 16 to 24 servings.

Crunchy Snickerdoodle French Toast

Do you remember how I always wanted the very crispiest waffle when we had waffles for breakfast? I haven’t really changed that much—I still love things with a crispy and crunchy texture. Like granola. Or nuts. Or crispy, crunchy French toast. We had this French toast for breakfast today. It has quite a crunchy texture, with a delicious cinnamon flavor. I have been planning on trying this recipe for a long time, but I never seem to remember to plan ahead. So today I finally decided to go ahead and make it, even though I didn’t have the time to freeze it for the full 1 to 2 hours or overnight. I just stuck the pan in the freezer for about a half hour or so while the oven preheated. It worked out great. If you don’t have time for the full freeze, just check them a little early. This recipe is from Land O’ Lakes.

1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) half-and-half (you can use fat free half & half if desired)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, crushed (substitute any cinnamon-flavored cereal or plain-flake cereal)
12 (3/4-inch thick) slices French bread (I used 6 slices of Bart’s homemade white bread that he just made yesterday)
Butter and maple syrup, if desired

Grease a cookie sheet. Combine half & half, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a shallow bowl, mix well. (Note: I used a food processor to crush the cereal. After pouring the crushed ceral into a shallow bowl, I mixed together the half & half, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in the food processor then transferred it to another shallow bowl.)

Place crushed cereal in another shallow bowl. Dip bread slices in egg mixture then into cereal crumbs. Place into prepared pan. Cover; freeze until firm (1 to 2 hours or overnight).

Heat oven to 425°F. Bake uncovered, turning once, for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with butter and maple syrup, if desired.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Banana Bars

We had a bunch of bananas recently that were VERY ripe and needed to be used. You probably already have multiple recipes for banana bars—but we thought these bars were especially delicious! The recipe just makes a 13 x 9-inch pan (less than my other recipes), but handy for when you don’t need to make a huge batch. The bars are not very tall, so a 1-inch high pan will be plenty high. These bars are very moist, and the cream cheese frosting is the perfect topping.

1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 medium)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides (or spray with Baker’s Joy) of 13 x 9-inch pan. In large bowl, mix sugar, bananas, oil and eggs with spoon (or use standing mixer). In separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients, then add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix together. Spread in pan.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Frost with cream cheese frosting. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

In medium bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Gradually beat in powdered sugar with spoon, scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth and spreadable.

Indian-Style Flatbread (Naan)

I recently made an Indian/Nepalese dinner for one of Bart's coworkers, Nirmala, and her son. Nirmala is from Nepal, and she helped Alyssa put together her display for the 6th grade international fair. We invited her and her son to dinner to thank her for all the help she gave. I was a little nervous about attempting to serve "authentic" Nepalese food to someone who is from Nepal. To my relief, Nirmala and her son both seemed to absolutely love this meal. In fact, Nirmala even asked for the recipes. She has a friend who has been trying to cook Nepalese without success, and she wants to give these recipes to her friend. This is the recipe I used for Naan. The other items I made were: Chicken Tikka Masala, Potato-Filled Samosas, Cilantro Chutney, Indian-Spiced Rice Pilaf with Dates and Parsley, and Kulfi (saffron-pistachio ice cream).

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated.

Makes eight 6- to 7-inch breads.

2 ½ cups (13 ¾ ounces) bread flour, plus extra as needed
¼ cup (1 3/8 ounces) whole wheat flour, sifted before measuring to remove coarse flakes of bran
1 package (about 2 ¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Table Salt
1 cup water, room temperature
¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for bowl
3 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Combine flours, yeast, sugar, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt in bowl of stand mixer and mix with paddle attachment on low speed until blended, about 15 seconds. Add water, yogurt, and olive oil andmix on low speed until shaggy dough forms, about 30 seconds.
2. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough on medium speed until smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes, adding additional bread flour in 1-tablespoon increments, allowing 20 seconds between each addition, as needed for dough to clear sides of bowl but stick to very bottom of it. Transfer dough to clean work surface and knead lightly by hand for 1 minute. (Alternately, you can make the dough in a food processor following standard mixing instructions.)
3. Shape dough into ball, transfer to lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in draft-free spot until dough has doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (At this point, dough can be lightly punched down, wrapped tightly in plastic, and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
4. Turn dough out onto clean work surface, cut into 8 equal portions, and roll each into ball. Set balls aside on counter (or baking sheet), cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest 10 minutes.
5. Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, lay on lightly floured work surface and roll into 6-inch circle using rolling pin (if dough is sticky, sprinkle very lightly with flour). If using sesame seeds, brush tops of dough rounds lightly with water, sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon seeds, and gently roll over with rolling pin once or twice so seeds adhere to dough. Set rounds aside on floured counter (or floured baking sheet) and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
6. Heat heavy 12-inch skillet (cast iron works particularly well) over medium-high heat until hot, about 45 minutes. (If using lighter pan, heat 2 to 3 minutes.) Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, lift dough, gently stretch about 1 inch larger, and lay it in skillet. Cook until small bubbles appear on surface of dough, about 30 seconds. Flip bread and cook until bottom is speckled deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip bread over again and cook until bottom is speckled deep golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more.
7. Transfer bread to wire rack, brush lightly with butter, sprinkle with salt, and let cool for about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough rounds. Wrap dough loosely in clean kitchen towel and serve immediately.

Mushroom Gnocchi with Bacon & Shiitake Sauce

While reading my cookbooks and cooking magazines, I have come across several recipes that call for gnocchi. However, I have never been able to find gnocchi in the store. When I was shopping at Target a while ago, I finally came across some gnocchi. It was in the regular pasta aisle in vacuum-sealed packages. I got 4 packages—2 regular and 2 mushroom. The first recipe I tried was fine, but it wasn’t really spectacular. This recipe, however, was spectacular. I served it as a side dish, and we all loved it. The recipe is from the package of Archer Farms Mushroom Gnocchi.

1 package (17.6 ounces) mushroom gnocchi
4 slices bacon, cut into pieces
1/3 cup chopped onion
5 ounces sliced shiitake or regular mushrooms (I used regular)
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup heavy cream (I just eyed it—I probably used a little less than 1 cup)
Salt and pepper

Cook gnocchi according to package directions; drain.

Cook bacon in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft (I added some salt to the onions while they cooked). Add mushrooms and thyme; cook until mushrooms are soft. (I added pepper while the mushrooms cooked.)

Add cream; bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in gnocchi; salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oatmeal-Rhubarb Crunch

My neighbor gave me some rhubarb, so I made some rhubarb crisp. I know we all have this recipe, but it better go down on the blog. I guess I was feeling nostalgic. Also since I just picked my strawberries, I did about half strawberries, half rhubarb. YUM-O!!

1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of the mixture into a greased 9 inch pan to form a crust. Cover with rhubarb (and strawberries). In a saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Cook until thick. Pour over rhubarb. Top with remaining crumbs and bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Serve warm plain or topped in ice cream!