Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Dinner

Ever wondered how to get dinner on the table in less than an hour after church? I just love how today's dinner turned out, thanks to the indoor cast iron pot we got for Christmas!

Roasted Turkey Breast
1 bone-in turkey breast
1 T. chicken base
1-2 T. Montreal steak seasoning

Rinse turkey, inside and out. Place in cast iron pot. Rub with chicken base. Sprinkle with seasoning. Cover with lid. Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Home-Style Scalloped Potatoes (from Dinner on a Dime, p. 182)
The secret to the success of this recipe is plenty of sauce!
1/3 cup chopped onion
5 T. butter
5 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
5 cups milk
6 cups thinly sliced potatoes (we used 4 good-size potatoes)

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Place half of potatoes in a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Pour half of sauce over potatoes. Repeat layers. Bake, covered, at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Frosty Lemon-Raspberry Dessert (adapted from Dinner on a Dime, p. 230)
Tart and creamy! A simple and easy version of Frosty Strawberry Squares!
2 cups raspberry puree
1 can (12 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 T. sugar
5 T. melted butter

Mix puree, lemonade, and ice cream in a large bowl (we used a potato masher to make sure it was well-mixed). In a medium-size bowl, mix crumbs, sugar and butter. Press crumbs (reserve 1/4 cup) into 9x13 pan. Pour ice cream mixture on top of crumbs. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sausage Rice Casserole

I tried this recipe from Taste of Home's Dinner on a Dime, page 154. The person submitting the recipe said, "I fiddled around with this dish, trying to adjust it to my family's tastes. When my pickiest child cleaned her plate, I knew I'd found the exact right flavor combination."

2 packages (7.2 ounces each) rice pilaf
2 pounds bulk pork sausage (I used 1 1/2 pounds and it was enough for us)
6 celery ribs, chopped (I only used 3)
4 medium carrots, sliced (I didn't add this at all)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Prepare rice mixes according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage, celery and carrots over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain on 3 paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the sausage mixture, rice, soups, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. Transfer to two gareased 11x7x2-inch baking dishes.

Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed.

Yield: 2 casseroles (6-8 servings each)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Best Beef Stew

A recent post on “My Kitchen Café” was a sample menu planner in calendar format. In the past I have tried similar menu planning techniques, but usually I just jot the plans down on scratch paper. This time, I completed my menu plans on the template provided by “My Kitchen Café”; then I printed it off on the computer. There is something about a typed menu plan that just seems so much more official. So far, I have stuck with my plans (3 days in a row)! Considering how much I change my mind, that is actually quite good for me. Several of the menus I have planned are aimed at using up some of the beef I have in the freezer. This is one such recipe.

It has been a while since we have had beef stew—and this recipe is a keeper! Some of the ingredients may seem a little odd for stew, but believe me—the stew is amazingly “beefy” with a rich, velvety broth. Before Christmas, I wouldn’t have been able to make this recipe due to lack of proper equipment. But now, thanks to the indoor cast-iron Dutch oven Mom and Dad gave us, I was able to make this. I completed the recipe through step 5 in the morning to help make supper meal preparation a breeze.

2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
4 anchovy fillets , finely minced (about 2 teaspoons) (trust me—these are great in this)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 boneless beef chuck-eye roast (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 ounces salt pork, rinsed of excess salt
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin (about 1 packet)
1/2 cup water
1 cup frozen peas , thawed
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine garlic and anchovies in small bowl; press with back of fork to form paste. Stir in tomato paste and set mixture aside.
2. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Do not season. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke or fond begins to burn. Transfer beef to large plate. Repeat with remaining beef and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, leaving second batch of meat in pot after browning.
3. Reduce heat to medium and return first batch of beef to pot. Add onion and carrots to Dutch oven and stir to combine with beef. Cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds.
4. Slowly add beef broth, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Increase heat to high and allow broth to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, and salt pork. Bring to simmer, cover, transfer to oven, and cook for 1-1/2 hours.
5. Remove pot from oven; remove and discard bay leaves and salt pork. Stir in potatoes, cover, return to oven, and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 45 minutes.
6. Using large spoon, skim any excess fat from surface of stew. Stir in pearl onions; cook over medium heat until potatoes and onions are cooked through and meat offers little resistance when poked with fork (meat should not be falling apart), about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
7. Increase heat to high, stir in softened gelatin mixture and peas; simmer until gelatin is fully dissolved and stew is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Noodle Rice Pilaf

I found this in Taste of Home's Dinner on a Dime, page 191. It tastes just like Rice-a-Roni and is a lot less expensive. I used "fideo cortado (fino)" for the fine egg noodles.

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup uncooked fine egg noodles or vermicelli
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I sprinkled in dried parsley)
In a large saucepan, cook and stir the rice and noodles in butter for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until broth is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in parsley. Yield: 4 servings.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BLT Pasta

Here's what we had for dinner tonight. It was fast to make and very delicious!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
12 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound orecchiette (or other small pasta)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bread and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.

2. Cook bacon in empty skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Cook onion in bacon fat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in tomatoes, baby spinach, Parmesan, bacon, onion mixture, and 1 cup reserved pasta water (adding additional water as needed). Season with salt and pepper and top with croutons. Serve.

Recipe from Cook's Country (February 2010)

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Bart has always liked bread pudding, but I have never found the idea of it too appetizing. I finally decided to make some. I thought making a chocolate variation would increase the chances of me liking it. My strategy worked! We all really liked this variation on bread pudding. We served it for breakfast. It was quick to make, used up some bread that needed used, and tasted delicious.

4 cups dried white bread cubes (6 to 7 slices) *(To prepare bread cubes, cut bread into ½-inch cubes, spread on a baking sheet, and bake in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool.)
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups chocolate milk
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 1-1/2-quart casserole; set aside. In a large bowl combine bread cubes and chocolate chips.

In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Stir into bread mixture. Pour into the prepared casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 55 minutes or until puffed and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool slightly. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Canadian Honey Drops

I won a blue ribbon at the fair for these delicious cookies when I was in 4-H. I hadn't made them for years so I called Mom for the recipe. They are still yummy!

1 cup soft shortening (I used 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup butter)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Mix the shortening, butter, brown sugar and eggs thoroughly. Stir in the honey and vanilla. Sift together the flour and soda and stir in. Chill until firm, several hours or overnight (I didn't chill it.) Roll into balls the size of larger walnuts. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost no imprint remains when lightly touched with a finger.

Hazlenut Chip Scones

The first time I made these was about 6 years ago for a sledding party in our backyard. I made them again last night for dinner and we had them with fresh fruit. Yummy, Yummy!

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup cold butter (no substitutes)
1 egg, separated
1 1/2 cups refrigerated hazelnut nondairy creamer or half-and-half cream
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Additional sugar

Spiced Butter:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. In a bowl, whisk egg yolk and creamer; add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in the chocolate chips. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Divide dough in half. Pat each portion into a 7" circle; cut into 8 wedges. Separate wedges and place on greased baking sheets.

Beat egg white; brush over dough. Sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the spiced butter ingredients; beat until smooth. Serve with warm scones. Yield: 16 scones.

Homemade Pudding

I found these recipes on a food storage blog and had to try it! We made the dark chocolate pudding (although I used only 1/2 cup cocoa for a more milk chocolate flavor). The pudding was creamy and delicious and looked great in my new trifle dessert cups. I didn't have any evaporated milk, so I just added an extra 6 T. of powdered milk and increased the water. I haven't tried the French Vanilla or Butterscotch puddings, yet, but I plan to make them soon! (The picture, however, is from the food storage blog. I guess I could have taken a picture of a spoon in an empty dessert cup. . . the pudding was so good it was gone before I thought about taking a picture!)

Dark Chocolate Pudding
1 egg
2/3 c. cocoa powder
3 T. cornstarch
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/3 c. warm water
4 T. powdered milk
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla

In a small bowl, beat egg and set aside. Combine cocoa, powdered milk, and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Whisk 1 c. evaporated milk into cocoa mixture until completely smooth. In a large saucepan, combine remaining milk, sugar, water, and salt. Mix well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, whisking constantly. REmove pan from heat. Whisk cocoa mixture into hot milk mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove pan from heat. Gradually whisk 1 c. of hot cocoa mixture into the egg. Pour mixture back into pan. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Do not boil. Remove pan from heat. Add vanilla; blend well. Pour mousse into serving dishes. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

French Vanilla Pudding
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 T. flour
2 T. cornstarch
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/3 c. water
4 T. powdered milk
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a saucepan. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and water. Over medium heat, bring to boil, stirring constantly. Let boil one minute. Beat egg yolk in a small bowl and stir in a small amount of hot mixture. Pour into pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool, stirring often. Serve warm or chilled.

Butterscotch Pudding
1/2 c. butter
4 T. cornstarch
1 c. brown sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 c. water
3 T. powdered milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 t. vanilla

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir together , dry milk, and sugar. Stir in water and evaporated milk. Whisk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Beat egg yolks slightly and add a little hot mixture stirring until blended. Add to saucepan and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm or chilled.

*In all of the above recipes 1 c. of warm water and 3 T. dry powdered milk was substituted for the 1 c. of milk the recipe originally called for. This is a GREAT trick to using up your powdered milk. With the sugar and vanilla in the pudding you can't tell you used powdered milk. It makes for inexpensive AND delicious pudding! Also, the egg is used for thickening and for creaminess, but it can be optional. The chocolate pudding we made thickened up great without the egg. By the way, powdered eggs wouldn't work in these recipes. So if you're in a pinch and don't have the eggs, just leave them out.

Valentine Treats

Have you ever been to Bakerella's website? Be forewarned, it's not for anyone on a diet! This weekend, I had fun making cheesecake balls (using a Sam's Club cheesecake), cake balls (using Valerie's red velvet cake from this blog), and peanut butter balls (using the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup recipe we've always used). I used the chocolate a'peels from Gygi's for dipping. I like the a'peels because you don't have to worry about tempering the chocolate. I dipped the cheesecake and peanut butter balls in milk chocolate; the red velvet got dipped in white vanilla chocolate and then sprinkled with red and pink miniature heart sprinkles. Sorry, I don't have any pictures. We ate a lot and then shared a lot, and now they're all gone! They're pretty rich, and one or two is plenty for a serving!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Golden Chocolate Cake

This moist cake is chock full of fun ingredients like chocolate candy bars, pecans and coconut. It is from We were fortunate enough to have some while we were visiting Mom and Dad--it is delicious! Thanks, Mom!

1 package (18 1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
3 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each), chopped (I used 4.65 ounces of milk chocolate chips)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
Confectioners' sugar, optional

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and water; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in candy bars, chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut.

Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Chill before slicing. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

Yield: 12-16 servings.

Classic Carrot Cake with Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

Janeil's search for the "perfect" carrot cake left us craving carrot cake. So I tried one of her winning recipes. I made the recipe just as it is printed--including the frosting. The cake has a great balance of sugar and spice. The frosting has a pleasant "tang" to it from the cream cheese and a subtle sweetness from the white chocolate. It makes exactly enough for frosting the cake. If you want to decorate the cake, you'll need to make another type of frosting for piping borders (or use fondant/white chocolate clay like I did). I prefer to make carrot cakes a day or two before you plan to serve them--the extra time allows the flavors to blend. This cake is great served cold or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: Rose’s Heavenly Cakes

2 2/3 cups (10 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ cups (10 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
½ cup minus 2 teaspoons (3 ½ ounces) light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 ¼ cups (9 ½ ounces) canola or safflower oil, at room temperature
4 large eggs (7 ounces), at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups (1 pound) coarsely shredded carrots, firmly packed (I finely shredded them, but measured them by weight not volume)
1 cup (5 ounces) raisins, tossed with 2 teaspoons flour (optional--I used the raisins, but didn't toss them with the flour)

Prepare two 9x2-inch round cake pans by coating bottoms with shortening, top with parchment rounds, then coat with baking spray with flour. Encircle outside of pans with cake strips.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon. Sift the flour mixture unto a large piece of parchment (or use a food processor on pulse to sift and lighten the flour mixture).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute, or until well blended. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed for about 20 seconds, just until incorporated. Add the carrots and half the raisins, if using, and beat for another 12 seconds. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces evenly with a small offset spatula. Each will be just under half full (28 ounces/800 grams). If using them, scatter the remaining raisins evenly on top of the batter in each pan. Use the back of a fork to push them gently into the batter.

Bake the cakes for 45 to 55 minutes (I recommend checking them at 35 minutes), or until a wire cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers. The cakes should just start to shrink from the sides of the pans.

Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert the cakes onto wire racks that have been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cakes so that the tops are up. Cool completely.

Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

Makes 2 ¾ cups (23.6 ounces/670 grams)

9 ounces white chocolate containing cocoa butter, chopped
12 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool (about 65°F)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool (65°F)
1 ½ tablespoons (0.7 ounce/21 grams) crème fraîche or sour cream

Heat the chocolate until almost completely melted. Use a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a silicone spatula every 15 seconds (or use the top of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water, stirring often—do not let the bottom of the container touch the water).

Remove the white chocolate from the heat and, with the silicone spatula, stir until fully melted. Allow it to cool until it is no longer warm to the touch is still fluid.

In a food processor, process the cream cheese, butter, and crème fraîche for a few seconds until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the cooled melted white chocolate and pulse it in a few times until it is smoothly incorporated.

Highlights for Success:

• Use white chocolate containing cocoa butter, such as Green & Black’s with vanilla seeds or Valrhona.
• The frosting becomes more firm in the refrigerator.
• For a whiter frosting without the subtle flavor of the white chocolate, you can replace the white chocolate with 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.

To assemble the cake:

Spread a little frosting on a 9-inch cardboard round or a serving plate. Set one cake layer on top. If using the plate, slip a few strips of wax paper or parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean. Spread the top of the layer with about ¾ cup of the frosting, stopping almost to the edges. The weight of the upper layer will push the frosting out a little. Set the second layer on top. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. If using the paper strips, slowly slide them out from under the cake.

To decorate, with a silicone spatula, make swirls on the top or, if desired, garnish the top with 1 cup (3.5 ounces) toasted walnut halves, coarsely broken. (I pressed chopped walnut pieces onto the side of the cake, then decorated the cake with a top and bottom border.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

Here's an idea of what to make for a quick dinner. It tastes so refreshing! We all worked together while making it--the best way to make dinner!

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro, chopped (to taste)
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3/4 cup halved seedless red grapes
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (we used rotisserie chicken)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Butter lettuce leaves, for serving (if you can't find it, iceberg lettuce leaves should work)

In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, curry, honey, and lemon juice. Stir in the scallions, celery, and grapes until combined. Add the cooked chicken meat and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve heaping portions of the salad in butter lettuce leaves (kind of messy, but definitely yummy).

Blueberry and Pineapple Cornbread

This recipe makes more of a "Southern-style" cornbread--more dense and less sweet and cakey than the Northern version. It was different from the cornbread we usually make, and we all really enjoyed it. The dried fruit adds wonderful sweetness.

1 1/2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 chopped dried pineapple rings
1 cup dried blueberries

Butter an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish and line with parchment paper.

Combine cornmeal, flower, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and butter.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in pineapple and blueberries.

Pour batter into the prepared dish and bake at 425 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool, then slice into squares.

Caramel Popcorn

I know you probably all have a similar recipe, but it's a classic!

1 pound brown sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 cube butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Popped popcorn

Bring brown sugar, karo syrup and butter to a boil. Add the sweetened condensed milk and cook for 2 more minutes. Take off the heat and add vanilla. Pour over popcorn and enjoy!!!

Hot Pizza Subs

We had this sandwich for dinner tonight and it was a winner with everyone. Of course I only put the peppers on the "grown up" half of it. Also I would probably bake it without the top on for the majority of the the time and then put the top bread on just for a couple of times to warm it. Ours turned way too dark on top so I sliced off all the top burnt part for us and it was still delicious.

1 unsliced loaf (1 pound) Italian bread
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
4 slices fully cooked ham
10 slices salami
30 slices pepperoni
4 slices each cheddar, mozzarella and American cheese

Slice the bread in half horizontally. Spread the bottom half with pizza sauce; sprinkle iwth Italian seasoning. Top with green pepper, ham, salami, pepperoni and cheese; replace bread top. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Friday, January 15, 2010

White Chicken Chili

This is a very fast-to-make chili that we all really enjoy.

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 ½ cups chicken broth (divided)
• 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 cups diced cooked rotisserie chicken
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• ¼ - ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Cook for a few seconds.
2. Stir in 2 cups of the chicken broth and green chiles. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in separate container or blender, blend together 1 cup of the beans with ½ cup broth until smooth (I use an immersion blender). Stir whole and blended beans into the broth, add chicken, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add ¼ cup cilantro. Season as necessary with salt and pepper.
4. Garnish with remaining cilantro, green onions and shredded cheese.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Millionaire Rotisserie Chicken Salad

We made this for dinner tonight, and we all loved it! Alyssa went back for seconds and Joshua went back for thirds (and that's even on a night we had a dessert, too)! Using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken makes this meal super quick to prepare. The home-cooked sauce adds a ton of incredible flavor.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
One 2-inch piece ginger, grated
2 large cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (we used 1/4 teaspoon)
Grated peel and juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
3 tablespoons honey
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat thinly sliced
1 small or 1/2 large head napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)

1.In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the lime peel and lime juice, then whisk in the tamari and honey to combine. Turn off the heat.

2.In a large bowl, toss the chicken and cabbage with the sauce to combine well.

Recipe Source: Rachael Ray

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Tender and unique!

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.

2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.

3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be somewhat cookiebatter-ish, so it’s best to spread it out with a greased spatula or your hands -- I just spray a spatula with cooking spray). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon, in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Green Chicken Enchiladas and Homemade Refried Beans

This was our dinner tonight. It was very easy to put together, and it is very yummy. These refried beans are our favorite way to make refried beans--just make sure you plan ahead since they are made in the slow-cooker. Save the leftover broth from the beans--it makes a great base for soup the next day.

Green Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 4 to 6
You can use shredded mild cheddar cheese in place of the Mexican blend.

2 (10-ounce) cans green enchilada sauce
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
Salt and pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Puree enchilada sauce and 1 cup cilantro in blender. Combine 1 cup enchilada sauce mixture, chicken, and 1½ cups cheese in large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Wrap tortillas in clean kitchen towel and microwave until pliable, 30 to 90 seconds. Top each tortilla with ¼ cup chicken mixture and roll tightly. Arrange, seam-side down, in prepared baking dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray, then top with additional 1 cup enchilada sauce mixture and remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve, passing remaining sauce at table.

Refried Beans Without the Refry

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
9 cups chicken broth (or beef broth)

1.Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the broth and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

2.Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

In case you haven't noticed, I love peanut butter! I thought these bars cookies were delicious. Make sure you have a glass of milk handy!

Makes about 3 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups strawberry jam, or other flavor (I used blackberry)
2/3 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

1.Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment, and coat inside of pan with flour; set aside. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

2.Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add to bowl of mixer on low speed; combine. Add vanilla. Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan; spread evenly with offset spatula. Using offset spatula, spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture. Dollop remaining third of peanut-butter mixture on top of jam. Sprinkle with peanuts.

3.Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Cover top with a loose tent of aluminum foil if top is browning too quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; cut into about thirty-six 1 1/2-by-2-inch pieces.

White Bread 101 (for Soup-in-a-Loaf)

One of my favorite meals is soup-in-a-loaf. A thick, creamy soup works best. The Chicken Wild Rice Soup from this blog works great! I tripled the yeast bread recipe and made 11 small loaves.

White Bread 101
Makes 1 large loaf or 3-4 small loaves

3 cups (12 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1 ¼ ounces) sugar
2 - 4 tablespoons (1-2 ounces) butter, softened
¼ cup (1 ½ ounces) nonfat dry milk
¼ cup (1 ½ ounces) potato flour OR 1/3 cup (3/4 ounce) potato flakes
1 1/8 cups (9 ounces) lukewarm water

Mix together half the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, dry milk, and potato flakes. Add butter and water. Mix well (for about 2 minutes). Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. You should not need all the flour. At this point, the dough will have barely come together and be extremely rough-looking. You can give the dough a twenty minute rest (called the autolyse) to allow the flour to absorb the liquid fully, making it easier to knead and less likely that you’ll add too much flour during kneading. This step isn’t crucial, and can be skipped if you’re in a hurry. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth and supple. Be careful not to add too much flour during kneading—the more flour you add the heavier and drier your final loaf will be. The dough will become more and more elastic as you develop the gluten, until eventually it should feel soft but springy. Take a break at about the five-minute mark; giving the dough a five-minute rest at this point allows the gluten to relax, making the kneading a lot easier. Put the kneaded dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise, at warm room temperature, until it’s puffy and almost doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and squeeze it gently to deflate it. Remember to treat your dough gently—rough treatment toughens the gluten and makes it harder to shape. Shape the dough into an 8-inch log or divide into smaller pieces if making smaller loaves. I used 8-ounces of dough for most of my small pans. My pans that are slightly smaller only required 6-ounces of dough. Shape each portion of dough into a log (roll out and shape as for a full-size loaf). Transfer the log to a lightly greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with greased plastic wrap and allow the bread to rise till the outer edge has just barely risen over the rim of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the pan and bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil for the final 10 to 15 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly (my small loaves only bake about 20 minutes). Remove the bread from the oven, take it out of the pan, and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. After 15 minutes brush it with melted butter if desired; this will give it a soft crust (I don't do this step).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Alyssa made these chocolate chip cookies. We liked the large size, delicious flavor, and chewy texture.

One key to success is to remove the cookies from the oven before they look completely baked and let them finish baking on the hot baking sheets for 10 minutes. This helps the cookies to set without overbaking and ruining that marvelous chewiness.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chips until incorporated.

Working with two tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about two inches apart. Alternately, use a large cookie scoop to portion the cookie dough.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 20 minutes (depending on size of cookies), rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Light, Crisp Waffles

These waffles smell and taste divine! They inspired Alyssa so much she took at least 20 pictures of them. Make sure you set your waffle iron temperature high enough to get the waffles crisp. These are the lightest waffles I have ever tasted. The recipe is easy to double (or even triple). Don’t stack the waffles to make sure they don’t turn moist and limp. I served the waffles with homemade strawberry syrup. I made the syrup by combining about 1 cup strawberry puree, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 cup maple syrup in a small saucepan. I brought the syrup to a boil, then simmered it until the waffles were done.

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup milk
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Syrup (for serving)

Heat oven to 200°F. Mix flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Put buttermilk, milk and vegetable oil in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, mix in yolk, and set aside.

Beat egg white almost to soft peaks. Sprinkle in sugar and continue to beat until whites are firm and glossy. Beat in vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until just mixed. Add egg white to batter in dollops and fold in with a spatula until just incorporated.

Add batter to hot waffle iron and cook until crisp and nutty brown. Set waffle on oven rack for at least 5 minutes and up to 20 minutes to keep it warm and crisp. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with syrup.

• For whole grain waffles, add ¼ cup wheat germ to dry ingredients.

• For chocolate chip waffles, stir ½ cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips (or ½ cup mini chocolate chips) into batter before folding in egg white.

• For cornmeal waffles, reduce flour to ½ cup and add ½ cup cornmeal.

• For cranberry-orange waffles, stir in 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest and ½ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries into batter before folding in egg white.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Angel Biscuits

Teresa shared this recipe in our newsletter 3 years ago. Bryn loves them, but I get side-tracked with old newsletters when I go looking for the recipe. We think they taste a lot like KFC biscuits. I also forget how to make them, so Teresa, please edit this post with your suggestions: e.g. how many biscuits do you usually make with one recipe, do you do this in a mixer or by hand, is it a pretty soft dough, do you have the biscuits touching it other in the pan, is the buttermilk cold or warm when you add it to the flour mixture, do you quadruple the yeast when you quadruple the recipe, what level of sugar do you like.

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
butter, melted

Dissolve the yeast in warm water, set aside. Mix the dry ingredients in the order given. Cut the shortening in as you would usually do for pie dough. Stir in the buttermilk and the yeast mixture. Blend thoroughly and the dough is ready to refrigerate or roll into biscuits.

When you are ready to make biscuits turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead lightly as for regular biscuits. Roll out 1/2" to 3/4" and cut as you would for regular biscuits, placing in a greased pan. DO NOT overwork the dough.

Form biscuits (6 giant or 8 regular) and let rise in pan until very fluffy (30-60 minutes) Before baking, brush tops with lots of melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Teresa's Notes from the newsletter: These turn out great but DO NOT over knead. If the dough is cold you will need to let it sit a little longer to rise. I 4x the recipe because I buy buttermilk in a quart container. After cooking the biscuits, I let them cool then freeze them in ziploc containers. They re-heat great in the microwave for a nice, hot (and quick) addition to breakfast.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pancake or Waffle Mix

I've spoiled my family! They won't eat any of the store-purchased pancake mixes! Here is our favorite mix recipe to keep on hand so everyone can make their own breakfast.

Favorite Pancake or Waffle Mix
16 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking powder
2 T. salt
2 1/2 cups regular nonfat dry milk
1 cup dried whole eggs

Mix ingredients together and store in air tight container. To make pancakes or waffles, mix:

Pancakes or Waffles
1 cup pancake mix
7/8 cup water
1 T. oil

Do no over-mix. It will be lumpy, and a little runny. Let sit for 5 minutes or so while the griddle or iron heats up; it will thicken up and become less lumpy.

To make Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes or Waffles, add 1/4 cup cocoa mix (such as Stephen's or Honeyville's) and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. You may have to add a little extra water. Bryant made up this recipe one day during Christmas break while Jesse and I were out shopping! I haven't tried it myself, because it was all gone when I got home. But Bryant vouches for it's chocolately goodness! I love serving these with whipped cream and fruit, especially strawberries or raspberries!

Almost Hamburger Helper

I love keeping this mix on hand to make a quick dinner for my family. Jaret's favorite is the skillet lasagna!

Almost Hamburger Helper Dry Mix
(Makes enough for 6 recipes)
2 cups regular nonfat dry milk
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup beef bouillon powder (like Western Family's powdery granules)
2 T. dried onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. black pepper
2 T. dried parsley
1 T. garlic powder

Mix the ingredients together and store in an air tight container. Use mix as a base for the following dinners. Each of the following recipes serves 6.

Chili Mac: combine all ingredients and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until macaroni is cooked
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups macaroni noodles (uncooked)
2 cans, 8 oz. each, tomato sauce
1 T. chili powder
1/2 cup Almost Hamburger Helper dry mix

Stroganoff: combine all ingredients except sour cream; simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until noodles are tender; stir in sour cream and serve
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
3 cups water
1/2 cup Almost Hamburger Helper dry mix
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream

Skillet Lasagna: combine all ingredients except cheeses; simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until noodles are cooked; stir in parmesan; top with mozzarella; turn off heat and cover until cheese melts
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 cup Almost Hamburger Helper dry mix
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups water
2 cans, 8 oz. each, tomato sauce
2 cups bow-tie or penne rigate pasta
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is listed as one of the top 50 recipes from Food Network last year. We made it for our New Year's dinner (along with Teresa's Pizza Factory breadsticks). It was an incredibly delicious meal! We really like the kalamata olives in the sauce--they add a lot of flavor. You might want to make the sauce ahead of time to speed the meal preparation.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
Pinch sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, water drained
Freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound spaghetti pasta , cooked al dente

Coat a sauté pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the olives and some hand-torn basil. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Get the ingredients together for the chicken so you have a little assembly line. Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound the chicken breasts with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/2-inch thick. Put the flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Put the bread crumbs on a plate, season with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame in a large oven-proof skillet. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.

Ladle the tomato-olive sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil. Bake the Chicken Parmesan for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot with spaghetti.

Fruit Swirl Coffee Cake

Bart received this recipe from a coworker after she brought some in for a potluck. He made it for us just the other day. He said it was very easy to make, and we all loved how delicious it was!

1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup shortening
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 can cherry pie filling, or other flavor of your choice (Bart used blackberry)
Glaze (below)

Blend sugar, butter, shortening, baking powder, vanilla, almond extract, and eggs on low speed, then beat 3 minutes on high speed. Stir in flour. Spread two-thirds of batter in a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan. Spread pie filling over batter. Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls on top of pie filling. Bake 25 to 35 minutes at 350°F. (until top is browned). While warm, drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: Mix 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until desired consistency is reached and mixture is smooth.

Chicken Noodle Bake

I made a special anniversary lunch for Mom and Dad last week. Mom requested a creamy chicken noodle casserole, so I found this recipe. This is easy to make, and it really is very yummy.

1 2/3 cups uncooked egg noodles
3 tablespoons butter
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (16 ounce) can diced carrots, drained (I used fresh diced carrots, that I heated in the microwave rather than canned)
1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken or turkey meat (rotisserie or roasted chicken is great in this recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (I used Ritz cracker crumbs instead)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles in boiling water for about 8 minutes, or until done. Drain.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
3. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook celery and onion in butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in soup, milk, and cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the noodles, cheese sauce mixture, carrots, mushrooms, chicken, and salt and pepper. Spread mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumbs.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until hot.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Key Lime White Chocolate Pie

Our dessert for last night's dinner was this recipe that has an interesting history. Quite a few years ago I was looking through an old Taste of Home magazine when I noticed someone had written in asking for a recipe with this title. I thought it sounded great, so I mustered the courage to write a letter and ask if she had gotten any good recipes from her request. This is what she sent back. So, courtesy of Deborah Sanders of Camilla, Georgia via June Caouette of Glastonbury, Connecticut I now share the recipe with you. The first time I made it I didn’t get the chocolate mixed in well enough before it started to harden in the cold ingredients. So we came across a few chunks of chocolate, which weren’t terrible, but ideally I think it is supposed to be totally smooth. This time I made sure the ingredients were close to the same temperature (room temperature). Bryce poured in the chocolate while I manned the beaters. It turned out very smooth, with no chocolate chunks.

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 (6 oz) pkg. white baking chocolate or white chocolate morsels, melted
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup Key Lime Juice
2 cups whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 oz) graham cracker pie crust (I made one from scratch and actually used my 9.5" pie pan.)

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until blended. Pour in chocolate while beating the cream cheese mixture. Beat in the sour cream and lime juice, blending well. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon mixture into pie crust and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

Sister Povey's Cheese Ball

Happy New Year, everyone!!! I thought I'd try to be the first post of the new year. We had a finger food, appetizer meal last night. Paige requested this cheese ball recipe because I usually serve it as more of a cheese spread without the nuts. This year I couldn't find the Roka Bleu Cheese, so I had to do a substitution. I also realized in the middle of the night that I had forgotten the Worcestershire Sauce. The cheese ball still tasted yummy.

12 oz. cream cheese
1 5-oz. jar Kraft Roka Bleu Cheese (I used a scant 1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbled and smashed with fork to make it as fine as possible)
2 5-oz. jars Kraft Old English Cheese
2 Tbsp. dry minced onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. dry parsley
chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix together the first three ingredients with beaters until they are well blended. Add the next three ingredients. Cover and chill overnight. Shape into balls and roll into chopped nuts. (This isn't always the easiest thing to do, so one possibility, if you are giving this as a gift for the holiday season, is to spoon it into a cute little bowl and sprinkle nuts on top and place it on a plate with crackers surrounding the bowl. We did this a few years ago and everyone was so happy to get something that wasn't sweet.)