"I'm not a glutton - I'm an explorer of food."
- Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chocolate Kiss Cookies

1 C. white sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. Jif creamy peanut butter
1 C. butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 C. flour

Mix sugars, butter and peanut butter. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add dry ingredients, then roll into balls. (Add enough flour so the dough doesn't stick to your hands when you roll them.) Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes or until they start to crack on top. Push an unwrapped Hershey's chocolate kiss (or star) firmly in the middle and bake one minute more. Makes 6 dozen.

NOTE: Sometimes I use a mixture of half butter/half Crisco instead of using all butter. Push the chocolate firmly into the baked cooked - not all the way through, but not just resting on top either. If it's not in far enough, they fall out easily when cooled. And I suppose if they're pushed in too far, the chocolate will come out the bottom.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Single Serving Hot Cider

Don't be thinking I'm going to take you step-by-step through the whole laborious process of making apple cider, because I'm not. I would never dream of doing that myself, although it would be fascinating to watch. LOL This is my version of a quick and easy recipe for just one mug of steaming appley/orangey/spicey goodness.

Start with your favorite mug and fill it 2/3 full of apple cider. Fill it the rest of the way with orange juice. Add one cinnamon stick, 3 whole cloves, and a few teaspoons of brown sugar. Heat in the microwave, then stir to combine everything good. Discard the cloves, but leave the cinnamon stick in - the flavor comes out more and more the longer it steeps. You can actually rinse it off and keep it for your next cup or two, or five. =)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkin Muffins

I got this recipe a few years ago from a cousin who's made health and fitness her life's work. They really are a delicious and moist muffin, and chock-full of big, beautiful walnuts! I keep them in my freezer during the fall months for a quick and healthy pick-me-up during the day.

1 1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. olive oil
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin
1/2 C. water
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. white flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 C. walnuts

Mix ingredients in order given and bake in greased tins at 400° for 15-17 minutes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fruit Salad

1 can Wilderness peach pie filling
1 can Dole pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can Dole mandarin oranges, drained
1 pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed
2-3 sliced bananas

Combine all ingredients, adding bananas just before serving.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bread Machine Swedish Rye Bread

When I married a Swede, family dinners couldn't be considered "official" unless there were a few choice food items: pickled herring, Swedish meatballs, and Swedish Rye bread. This recipe came from Gary's grandma, who I never had the privilege of knowing - she's been gone for many years. The first time I made her recipe, I had one huge sticky mess on my hands. It was awful! When I got my bread machine, I was determined to scale the recipe down enough to make it work. After tweaking it a few times, this is what I ended up with. Some like it best fresh out of the oven with butter, but some like it best the next day, toasted. If you try this, tell me what YOU prefer!

1 C. + 2 Tbsp. warm water
1 1/2 tsp. oil
3 Tbsp. white sugar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Grandma's molasses
1/2 C. rye flour
3 C. bread flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine pan in order and use dough setting. When the cycle is finished, remove and form into a loaf, placing in a greased 9"x5"x3" pan. Let rise, then bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Brush top with butter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Crock Pot Beef

Here's a yummy recipe that involves a big beef roast, a crock pot, and very little work on your part! And believe me - it makes the BEST gravy!! So, yeah, you really need to make mashed potatoes with it. OK, so maybe it involves a tiny bit of work. =)

1 3-5# beef roast
1 packet Au Jus mix
1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
1 can beef broth
1 soup can water

Place roast in crock pot. Combine packaged mixes with liquids, pour over top, and cook on low 8 hours.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Skillet Lasagna

1# hamburger
Salt & Pepper
8 oz. Barilla mafalda pasta (mini lasagna)
26 oz. Prego Traditional spaghetti sauce
1 ¾ C. water
6 oz. cottage cheese
4 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
¼ C. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
2 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Brown hamburger, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in large skillet; drain. Add raw pasta, Prego and water; mix well. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir frequently. Combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan and parsley; spoon evenly over pasta mixture and sprinkle with Mozzarella. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and everything is heated through. Remove from heat, uncover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So-Good Cider

1 gallon apple cider
1/4 C. brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. whole allspice
1 6-oz. can orange juice

Pour cider into a 25-cup percolator. Put the rest in filtered basket and perk.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Curly Macaroni Salad

16 oz. Barilla rotini pasta
2 C. Miracle Whip
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 C. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 carrots, shredded
2 green peppers, chopped

Boil rotini until done but still a little firm, not limp. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, whisk together Miracle Whip, milk and vinegar; add remaining ingredients and refrigerate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Leah's Ham Salad

1# ham
½ C. cheddar cheese
3 hard-boiled eggs
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. sweet relish
½ C. Miracle Whip
½ C. Kraft Sandwich Spread

Place ham and cheddar cheese in a food processor and grind REALLY fine; add to large bowl. Process eggs, but leave chunky. Combine with remaining ingredients and chill.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Creamy Chicken Salad

I got this recipe from my Mom several years ago, who (I think) found it in a magazine somewhere, although I'm not totally sure of the details. She fixed it for all of us while we were there visiting, and I was wondering if my kids would like it, with the nuts and all. But they simply picked them out and totally chowed down on the rest of it! I have made this salad so many times during the summer months, primarily because it's easy, it's scrumptious, and my kids absolutely love it!

1 C. Miracle Whip
1 C. Cool Whip
2 C. chicken, cooked and shredded (or canned)
1 C. pasta rings or shells, cooked and cooled
1 C. red grapes (halved if large)
1 lg. can mandarin oranges, drained
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 C. slivered almonds, optional

Combine Miracle Whip with Cool Whip; toss with remaining ingredients and chill.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rhubarb Cherry Jam

Besides being delicious, I love the fact that you don't have to "can" this recipe - you can just refrigerate or freeze it. It doesn't last long in our house though, due to the fact that we put it on bread, toast, pancakes, waffles, and ice cream! The kids have such an affectionate nickname for it - Blood Clots and Veins. It's because of the chunks of cherry, the stringy rhubarb, and the deep red color. And I'm sure that makes you REALLY want to try it now, right? =) You should.

5 C. rhubarb
3 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
1 can Wilderness cherry pie filling
2 sm. pkgs. cherry Jell-O

Boil rhubarb, sugar and water for 10 minutes. Add pie filling and boil 5 minutes more. Stir in Jell-O, pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.

NOTE: One recipe makes about 3 pints. I refrigerate mine in glass canning jars. I have also substituted the cherry pie filling and Jell-O with strawberry, which was yummy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Homemade Pancakes

I came up with this recipe years ago, after my pancakes kept turning out different each and every time! I wanted consistency, and something home-made that my family would love. This recipe got me both.

1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 C. flour
2 eggs
1/4 C. oil
2 1/2 C. milk

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl; mix wet ingredients in a small bowl. Add wet to dry and whisk until fairly smooth. Cook on greased skillet. Makes 24 (1/4 C.) pancakes.

NOTE: Sometimes I use half regular flour and half whole wheat flour, just for a change. I'd never use more wheat flour than that, or else they'd notice. To make chocolate chip pancakes, sprinkle a few mini-chocolate chips on the top right after you flip them. These go good with a dollop of whipped cream!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Pear Lime Salad

A pretty green salad to add to your spring and summer company menu!

2 small pkgs. lime Jell-O
2 C. hot water
1 C. cold water
1 lg. can pears, drained (reserve syrup)
8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
12 oz. Cool Whip

In large serving bowl, dissolve Jell-O in hot water. Add cold water and all the pear syrup you drained off. Puree pears and softened cream cheese in a blender. You may need to add a little of the Jell-O liquid if it's too thick. When it's all nice and smooth with no lumps of cream cheese, add it to your serving bowl with the Jell-O liquid. Stir well to incorporate, then refrigerate. When it's slightly thickened, whisk in Cool Whip. Again, make sure it's nice and smooth with no lumps of Cool Whip. Chill several hours.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/3 C. Jif creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. milk
3 C. powdered sugar

Cream together peanut butter and butter; add remaining ingredients and beat well.

Fluffy White Frosting

1 egg white
3/4 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. boiling water

Combine all ingredients and beat on high for 10 minutes. Cover mixer with a towel first. Goes good on both angel food and chocolate cake!

Caramel Frosting

1/2 C. butter
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. milk
2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Boil butter and brown sugar over Medium heat for 2 minutes. Add milk and boil 2 more minutes. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth and slightly thickened.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Chocolate Cake

I know it seems weird to share a recipe for chocolate cake. Why? Well, for one, it seems like a pretty basic, simple item to make. I mean, what good homemaker wouldn't know how to make one? And second, I'm pretty sure that if people don't already have a favorite recipe, they certainly have a favorite brand of box mix. But you really need to try this one. I can't explain why it's so good - it just is! Sweet and moist, too! Several years ago I switched from metal baking pans and dishes to glass, and man - was I ever surprised at the results - especially in my cakes! When I grease the glass 9x13 pan and bake cakes at 325°, they rise so high and level, with no more hills or valleys down the center. Check it out and see if you notice a difference!

3 C. flour
2 C. sugar
6 Tbsp. cocoa
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 C. oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. cold water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl. Add wet to dry; whisk well. Pour into a greased 9x13 glass pan and bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Raspberry Cordial

I've made this recipe several times over the years as a special treat for my girls - especially when we've got 'Anne of Green Gables' on the brain. We haven't had a marathon movie-watching day that featured Anne in awhile, but after browsing my recipes and finding this one, I think it's time. Drink up!

1# raspberries, frozen
1 1/4 C. sugar
4 C. boiling water
2 lemons

In saucepan, add sugar to frozen raspberries and cook for 20-25 minutes, until sugar has dissolved. Pour through fine strainer, mashing with a spoon thoroughly, then discarding pulp and seeds. Add the strained juice of two lemons and stir. Add boiling water, let cool, and refrigerate.

NOTE: I always use bottled lemon juice because I never have fresh on hand.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Caramel Bars

I got this recipe from my cousin, a long LONG time ago, and have been making them for years! These bars are super sweet, so be sure and cut 'em small.

1 14-oz. bag Kraft caramels
5 oz. evaporated milk
1 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. oatmeal
1 C. + 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. butter, soft
1 1/2 C. Nestle mini-chocolate chips

Melt caramels and milk over low heat; set aside. Mix and blend flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, soda, salt and butter. Pat 3/4 of this crumb mixture into a 9x13 glass pan and bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle immediately with chocolate chips. Pour caramel mixture on top and spread to the edges with a knife. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture and bake 25 minutes more.

NOTE:If you like nuts, then add some chopped pecans after the final crumb topping. Yummo!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Salsa Chicken

1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 C. salsa
4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Combine brown sugar, honey and salsa in a small bowl. Pour over chicken and bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Rhubarb Pie with Crumb Crust

I absolutely LOVE this pie!! It's got a yummy, sweet, crumb crust you sprinkle on the top, and you can even cheat and buy a refrigerated store-bought crust for the bottom! =) I'm tellin' ya - it's delish!!

1 9" pie shell (poked and pre-baked at 450° for 5 min.)
1 1/2 C. rhubarb, cut into 1/4" slices
1 1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. flour
Dash salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. butter

Combine rhubarb, sugar, flour and salt and let sit (about 15 minutes) while you pre-bake your crust. Beat eggs with vanilla in a small bowl, then stir into rhubarb mixture. Pour into crust. Mix flour and sugar; cut in butter and sprinkle over pie. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then at 350° for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Store in the refrigerator if you have any left.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Swedish Almond Brownies

1/2 C. Crisco
1 C. butter, softened
3 C. sugar
6 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 C. flour
1 Tbsp. almond extract

Cream together Crisco, butter and sugar. Add eggs, lightly mixing after each. Add remaining ingredients and bake in greased jellyroll pan (15.5” x 10.5”) at 325° for 40 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar when cool.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Easy Quiche

Need to use up some of that leftover Easter ham? This is a great dish to help you do just that! And depending on what time your family likes to eat breakfast, it can be eaten morning, noon, or night! I fixed it for lunch today!

1/2 C. Bisquick
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 eggs
1 1/2 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 C. cooked breakfast meat
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Blend all but meat and cheese in blender. Pour into greased pie plate. Sprinkle meat and cheese over the top and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes, or until set.

I can't possibly describe how this happens, but as it bakes, it forms both a bottom and a top crust. The bottom is a very thin, moist crust, and the top is all flaky and buttery. Delicious with diced ham, crumbled bacon or browned sausage.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Bagel Bites

This recipe came from a friend when she and her family still lived around here. She cooked a wonderful dinner for our homeschool group, and she used these little dealies as croutons for her salad. When I made them the first time, the kids and I started munching on them before dinner was ready and they never had a fighting chance at making it to the table (the croutons, not the kids). Since then I've never even attempted to fix them as croutons - they've become a favorite snack of ours!

1/2 stick butter
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 pkg. onion bagels
3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

In large frying pan, melt butter with garlic salt over medium heat. Cut semi-split bagels, while whole, into eighths, then break apart. Toss into butter and stir frequently over medium heat until lightly toasted. When browned, sprinkle in Parmesan cheese. Eat while still warm.

NOTE: If you have a big enough pan, this recipe can be doubled easily. And devoured instantly.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Banana Muffins

This recipe came from Giada De Laurentiis over at the Food Network. I made it for the very first time a few weeks ago, and the muffins were absolutely scrumptious! With all the trouble I seem to have making banana bread (bottom gets too dark, top splits, middle is gooey), I decided to pitch all those recipes and keep this one! It's really that good!

3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 C. sugar
1 C. oil
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4 bananas, coarsely mashed

Blend dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in bananas. Add dry ingredients, stirring until blended. Pour into 12 jumbo-sized muffin tins (spray the paper liners) and bake at 325° for 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

NOTE: The original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg, but 1/8 tsp. was enough for me. It also calls for mascarpone cream cheese frosting which, I think, would be overkill. The muffins are simple and deliciously sweet, all by themselves!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wild Rice Soup

I really don't know where this recipe came from, but I have a feeling that it's from the internet somewhere, with my own touches here and there. The combination of textures is wonderful, and goes down easy during the cold winter months!

6 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
3 C. chicken broth
2 C. Half and Half
1 C. shredded turkey or chicken, cooked
1/2 C. celery, thinly sliced
1/2 C. carrots, thinly sliced or grated
1 1/2 C. cooked wild rice (1/2 C. raw)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In medium saucepan, melt butter; whisk in flour and cook over medium heat for two minutes. Whisk in one cup chicken broth, then Half and Half. Bring to a very slow boil and cook a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the remaining ingredients; simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: Thin with milk or chicken broth if soup is too thick for you. I have substituted milk (from whole down to skim) for the Half & Half. Turns out fine, but the rich consistency isn't there. You can also add toasted slivered almonds to the pot at the end, or to your own bowl.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hot Fudge Sauce

I got this recipe from my Mom, who got it from one of her sisters years ago. It's one that keeps a long time in the frig (I keep it in a canning jar), and that won't boil over when you reheat it. I use it for ice cream topping, and in place of store-bought fudge topping in frozen dessert recipes. One spoonful cold, right from the jar, also satisfies my chocolate cravings. Enjoy!

1 C. Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
2 C. powdered sugar
12 oz. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt chocolate chips with butter over medium-low heat; whisk in powdered sugar and milk. Bring to a slow boil, then simmer slowly for 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

NOTE: If you feel adventurous, you could try replacing the chocolate chips with butterscotch or caramel chips, if you like those flavors. I have not personally tried this, but would love to hear back from any of you if you do!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pasta Fagioli

This recipe makes a really BIG pot of soup, and tastes like it came straight from Olive Garden. Try it and see!

1# hamburger
28 oz. diced tomatoes
36 oz. spaghetti sauce
5 C. water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
16 oz. kidney beans
16 oz. northern beans
2 C. julienned carrots
1 C. diced celery
1 C. ditalini pasta (or rings)

Brown hamburger and onion; drain. Stir in tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, water and spices. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add beans and vegetables and cook 15-20 minutes. Stir in uncooked pasta, cover and simmer until pasta is done, stirring occasionally. Serves 8-12.

NOTE: I run the tomatoes through the food processor because my kids don't go for "chunky". They also don't go for white beans, so those are processed, too. Creating two whole cups of julienned carrots makes too much work for me, so I just grate them. Grating is also good because then the carrots are too small to be picked out by fussy eaters, but they still get the nourishment from them! Good luck with this! Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A&W Coney Dogs

I got this recipe from my friend, who got it from her mom, who got it from her cousin, who worked at an A and W Restaurant in ICan'tSay, USA. It is authentic!

3 pounds hamburger
1/2 C. diced onion
3 Wyler's beef bouillon cubes
2 C. water
1 C. ketchup
6 oz. tomato paste
1 pkg. Lipton onion soup mix
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
Tobasco sauce (optional

Brown hamburger and onion; drain. Dissolve bouillon cubes in water and add to hamburger along with remaining ingredients. Simmer (covered) on Low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. Add hotdogs to the pot the last hour and serve on buns.