Sunday, December 30, 2012

Molten Chocolate Cake

2 1 oz chocolate squares (semi-sweet)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3 T flour

Preheat oven to 425.
Spray 2 custard cups with cooking spray.
Melt chocolate squares with butter in the microwave in 15-30 second increments, stirring between each until melted.
Add powdered sugar then mix in egg and egg yolk.
Add flour.
Pour into cups.
Bake for 14 minutes.
Let sit 3-5 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge, turn upside down into another bowl and serve with whipped cream (you can also serve it with ice cream, but I  like whipped cream better! It complements the taste of the cake rather than overpowering it.).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet Chili

I can count on one hand the foods I don't like.  I pretty much like everything.  But ever since an unfortunate upchuck incident in the cafeteria when I was in the 2nd grade, I have declared chili to be on my "really don't like it" list.  We recently attended a potluck supper where some wonderful lady brought a crockpot of chili.  I politely took a small spoonful.  When I tasted it, I was surprised and delighted.  It was a sweet chili.  So I came home and googled "sweet chili" and found several versions. I combined a couple of them, trying to duplicate the one I tasted and have come up with a really good recipe for Sweet Chili.  

Sweet Chili
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 (15 oz.) cans kidney or small red beans, drained
2 (6oz) cans tomato paste
2 (10 3/4 oz) cans Campbell's condensed tomato soup
4 tsp. chili powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
water as needed
In a big soup pot, brown the ground beef with the onion and peppers.  Add the other ingredients and cook on low until hot and bubbly- at least an hour.  Or you can cook the meat and vegetables in a skillet and put all in the crockpot for several hours.  

One of the recipes suggested that her children loved this served over macaroni.  So we tried it with some of the leftovers.  It was good.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cottage Cheese Butter Horn Rolls

I went to a bread making class by JaDene Denniston and learned this amazing recipe. You can use this recipe as is or you can put stuff in it. My personal favorite is to make them into orange rolls.

1 pint cottage cheese, warmed
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups flour (no more than 4)

1. Mix the warm water and yeast in your BOSCH and let sit to proof a few minutes.
2. In blender, combine cottage cheese, eggs, salt, soda, and sugar until smooth.
3. Pour into large mixing bowl (or BOSCH if using that).
4. Add flour and knead gently but thoroughly.
5. Let rise 45 minutes to an hour, and fold down.
6. Divide dough into two portions.
7. Roll one half of the dough 1/4" thick into a 12" circle.
8. Spread with soft butter. Cut into 12 pie shapes pieces.
9. Beginning at the rounded edge, roll up. Place on lightly greased pan, point underneath.
10. Let rise for one hour. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Now to make them into the delicious orange rolls.

Orange Sugar Mix
1 cup sugar
Orange peel from an orange (zest just the orange part, not the white stuff that's bitter tasting)
1 tsp orange extract or 1/4 tsp orange oil
1/4 cup soft butter (I actually had this w/o the butter and they were divine. Not sure I'll ever put the butter in.)
Mix this together and spread on the 12"circle after the first part of step 8, before you cut it into 12 pieces.
This sugar mix is enough for all of the divided dough, so spread half of it on the first 12" round, saving the rest for the other batch.
Orange Glaze
2 TBSP orange juice
1 tsp grated orange peel (again, no white stuff, just the true orange part)
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix together and drizzle over top of the baked rolls. Enjoy!

What's For Dinner?

We attended a funeral out of town, so I'm a little late getting my meals planned and my list of meals posted this month.  December is always a busy month, so I try to plan easy meals.  I notice there are lots of soups of sandwiches!  That's good because they are my favorite meals.  Here's what's for dinner at our house this month:
  Bahn Mi Sandwiches
Chicken Stir Fry over Rice
Christmas Eve Chicken ala King
Chicken in Lime Butter Sauce/ Mashed Potatoes
Curried Chicken Salad on Croissants ( I have to make this every couple of months.  We love it.)
Kristen's Wisconsin Cheese and Potato Soup
Dr. Booth's Baked Eggs
Chicken Quesadilla's with Ken's Guacamole
French Dip Sandwiches
Crockpot Swiss Cheese Chicken
Ham and Broccoli Roll ups
Winter Salad with Chicken
Corn Chowder in bread bowls (I know we just had this last month- but it is REALLY good!)

Recipes to Try (I'll post them if they're good):
Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak
Baked Ziti
Cauliflower Soup/ Homemade Rolls
Patty's Reuben Sandwiches

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Copycat Mimi's Cafe Corn Chowder

New favorite soup recipe!  We just tried this Corn Chowder and it was really, really good.  Evidence: I caught my husband scraping out the soup pot before he washed it.  He didn't want to waste a smidge.  I served it in hard french rolls.  Either serve it in rolls or bread bowls, or serve hard french rolls or bread on the side.   Yummy!
Copycat Mimi's Cafe Corn Chowder
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, diced
Several stalks celery, diced (do some celery greens, too)  (about 1 cup)
2 -3 cups water
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used part frozen and 1 can corn)
1 can creamed corn
2 T. sugar
2 tsps. salt
Pepper to taste
3 T. flour
1 1/2 cups milk and 1 1/2 cups cream OR 3 cups half and half
Dash of Tabasco
In a large soup pot, melt the butter.  Add the onion and celery and cook until soft.  Whisk in the flour and stir and cook for a few minutes on med. heat.  Add the water, potatoes, corn, creamed corn, sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir and let simmer until potatoes are barely tender.  Add the half and half and simmer until soup is thicker and creamy.  Add a dash of Tabasco and more salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve in a bread bowl.

I've had Mimi's Corn Chowder.  This is better.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Creamed Tuna on Toast

Looking for an easy pre- Thanksgiving dinner?  How about some good, old-fashioned comfort food?    This recipe- straight from the 1950's is what many of us grew up eating.  It is still delicious and comforting and very easy to make.  You actually can make it with canned chicken or even leftover chicken or turkey as well.  But there is a rule you must know.  You ALWAYS serve it with petite peas.  ALWAYS.  It's especially delicious on buttered and toasted homemade bread or- shown here- on Costco's torta bread, toasted and generously buttered.   Hmmmm!  Just thinking about it is comforting.

Creamed Tuna on Toast
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan.  Blend in 1/4 cup flour, salt, and pepper.  Add 2 cup milk all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles.  Add 2 cans well rinsed and drained tuna.  Serve over buttered toast.  Always serve with young peas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Perfect Apple Pie

Thinking of making apple pie for Thanksgiving?  This recipe is delicious.  I've made it for years and years and years.   This is my husband's all-time favorite dessert.  I serve it with vanilla ice cream and my  Buttery Caramel Sauce on the top.  It's over the top yummy, and because you use the microwave to partially cook it, it is really fast.
Perfect Apple Pie
Pastry for 2-crust pie
6 large granny smith apples
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 T. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp . nutmeg
2-3 T. butter

Heat oven to 425
 Double Pie Crust (I make pie crust once a year at Thanksgiving time, and freeze these pie crust rolls.  It is so convenient and is really, really good crust.)
Roll out a crust and arrange it in the bottom of a non-metal pie plate (ceramic or glass)
Peel, core, and slice the apples (or get your husband to do it- that's what I do!)  Put in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix well until the apples start to get juicy.  Dump the mixture into the pie crust.  Dot the butter all over the top of the filling. (Just cut little dots of the butter and put them evenly all over the filling.) Adjust the top crust(in which you've cut some holes for ventilation)  over the filling and cut and crimp edges.  Sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar.  Bake on high power in the microwave for 8 minutes.  Then, with hot pads, place on a baking sheet and bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes to brown.  Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream, and Buttery Caramel Sauce, if desired

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This is so delicious and so easy, easy, easy! 
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
10-12 slices thick sliced bacon
2 cups cream
Salt and Pepper  and garlic salt to taste
2 eggs
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cut the bacon into chunks and put into a large skillet.  Fry over med heat until done to your liking.  Drain off fat.  While the bacon is cooking, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water.  Cook until el dente.  Drain.
When the bacon is cooked, drain and add the 2 cups of cream.  Cook on low until cream is thicker.  Whisk together the eggs and cheese and set aside.
Put the cooked, drained spaghetti in the cream/ bacon mixture and blend.  Add the egg/ cheese mixture and cook until blended well.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to Prepare Butternut Squash

I LOVE winter squash.   This is my favorite way to prepare it.  It's a little hard to get it open, but otherwise, it's pretty easy, and SO delicious.
1. Heat oven to 350
2.Using a large knife, cut the squash in half length-wise.   Spoon out the seeds.
3.  Fill the seed hole that you've created with butter (a big hunk) and brown sugar.  Fill 'er up!
4. Generously salt and pepper the cut surfaces.
5.  In a baking dish, put about an inch of water.  Place the squash in cut side up.
6. Wrap tightly with foil.

7. Bake until soft- usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the squash.
8.  If you have time, let cool.  If not, try not to burn yourself.  First, spoon out the yummy brown sugar mixture into your serving bowl.  Then spoon the squash into the same bowl, scraping it from the skin.  Mash together.  Serve and enjoy!

This same method works great with acorn or banana squash as well.  Cut the banana squash in slabs.  The banana squash won't have a hole for the butter and brown sugar, but you can just put it all over the top.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monster Cookies

If you follow "The Pioneer Woman" you may have seen this recipe recently. I decided to give them a try, mostly because I wanted to have an excuse to buy M & M's. And because I had some Rice Krispies that I needed to use up.   I liked them.  My husband did not.  I  pretty much know that if something has bacon in it (these do NOT), my husband will like it.  If something has oatmeal in it (these DO), my husband will not like it.  But he says the reason he didn't like them is because they are too salty.  I totally agree.  If you like that salty sweet taste, then you'll like them, otherwise, lower the amount of salt.  I think I'll cut the salt in half when I make them again.

Monster Cookies
1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsps. salt (I say 1 tsp. salt!)
1 1/2 cups oats (quick or regular)
1/2 cup M & M's
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Peanut butter chips (I didn't have them, so I didn't put them in)
I added some white chocolate chips and about 1/2 cup toffee bits
2 1/4 cup Rice Krispies ( I didn't have that much, so added less.  It was fine)

Heat oven to 375.
Cream the butter with the sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs, beating well after each.  Add the vanilla and beat well.
Combine the flour, salt, soda , and baking powder.  Add to the mixing bowl and blend well. Then turn off the mixer and add whatever ingredients you like.  the amounts are just suggestions.   Mix in.  Then add the Rice Krispies and blend until just combined- don't overmix.
Scoop  big cookies onto a sprayed cookie sheet- or lined with a silpat.  Bake until golden brown- but not overbaked.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers

Our garden has produced LOTS of green peppers this year.  I have many quart bags of diced peppers in my freezer.  This was our picking last week.  So I tried a new recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers.  They were really good. The stuffing was good, but the topping really made them delicious.  My homegrown peppers were smaller, so I used more than the four called for in the recipe.  I just filled up the pan- and still had stuffing leftover.  I froze the leftover stuffing to use in burritos later.

Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers
4 large Green Peppers, cut in half the long way, seeded

1 cup dry rice, cooked  (about 2 cups cooked)
olive oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin and divided whites and greens
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup frozen corn, or 1 can, drained
1/2 can black beans, drained
1 small can diced green chilis
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
cayenne pepper (pinch to more, according to taste) or Tabasco sauce
1 cup Jack or Mexican cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
Juice from a Lime ( about 3 T.)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Heat the oven to 350.  Cook the rice.   In a large skillet, drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onion whites with the hamburger.  Add the seasonings, and cook a minute more.  Stir in the rice, corn, beans, green chilis, salsa, and 1/2 of the cheese.  Mix well.

Get out a 13 x9 pan or similar baking dish.  Put about a cup of water in the bottom.  Fill each green pepper half with the stuffing mixture and place in the pan.   Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and top with the other 1/2 of the grated cheese.  Put back in the oven until cheese is bubbly and melted and the peppers are el dente.
Whisk together the topping ingredients.  When you take the peppers out of the oven, put some of the topping on each pepper, then garnish with the greens of the green onions.  Serve with salsa, if desired.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's For Dinner?

It's time for November's meal plan.  There's a couple of the meals that I didn't make in October that are now planned for November. That happens every month.  
1. Ham and Cheese Roll ups
2. French Dip Sandwiches/ Green Salad
3. Beef Spread Sandwiches
4. Tacos
5. Oh, Baby Sandwiches, Chips and Ken's guacamole
6.  Mad Hatter Meatballs/ Rice/ Carrots
7.  Orzo Veggie Pasta
8. Smothered Chicken, Rice, and Bean Burritos
9. Thanksgiving Dinner
10. Creamy Turkey Noodle Soup
11. Turkey Pot Pie (Michelle's recipe)

New recipes to try (I'll post them if they're good)
12. Sweet Chili/ Corn Muffins
13. Mimi Cafe's Corn Chowder in bread bowls
14. Slow Cooker Orange Chicken/ Rice

Banana Cream Pie
Salted Caramel Butter Bars
Thanksgiving Pies

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Honey-Mustard Curry Chicken

I just tried this recipe and we loved it.  It is easy to make.  I served it with loaded baked potatoes, but I think it would be delicious sliced and served on a bed of rice with the sauce ladeled over the top.  That's how I'm going to try it next time.  I think I'll double the sauce, though, so there's plenty to flavor the rice.
 In a gallon zip lock bag, mix the following:
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 T. curry powder (curry powders vary in their "hotness."  I used a red curry powder, and it was the perfect "hotness" for us.)
4 T. soy sauce

Zip close the bag and knead and mix the ingredients together.  Open the bag and add:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix the marinade so it covers the chicken.  Put in the fridge overnight or at least for several hours.

When ready to bake, pour the bag contents into a 9x9 baking dish.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 350 for about an hour.  Take off the foil and baste chicken.  Bake uncovered for a few more minutes.

Serve with the sauce.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Soup

It's amazing how a smell can evoke memories and emotions.  I made this Halloween Soup yesterday, and the smell of it cooking brought back those wonderful days of costumes and excitement and fun.  Our traditions for years and years is to eat this healthy soup before trick or treating.  I made it early this year, but believe me, there will be plenty to eat the leftovers on Halloween.  Soup is always best leftover anyway.  I purposely made it yesterday, cooled it in the fridge overnight to be ready to eat after church today.  Something about cooling it down and reheating it makes the flavors blend.  It was so delicious.

Halloween Soup
1 lb. lean ground beef, browned
Seasoning Salt and/ or Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery with leaves, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 quart water, boiling with 
4-6 tsp. better than boullion in it.  
1 tsp. or so each of basil, thyme, Mrs. Dash 
Dash or Dashes of Tabasco sauce (makes it so much better!)
2 T. sugar
1 bay leaf, opt.  
Other veggies as desired: yellow squash, canned green beans, corn
Pearl Barley, 1/3 -1/2 cup

Brown the beef in a skillet with steak seasoning and season salt.  Put in a crock pot..  Boil the water in the microwave and add the boullion and stir and add to the soup.  Add the other ingredients except the zucchini, squash, beans, corn, cabbage, and barley. 

 Cook on high for several hours, then add the rest of  the veggies.  Cook for another couple of hours, then add the barley.  Cook until the barley is just done.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Recipes for this dessert are all over the place.  I was going to try a new one, but decided, since I only make this every few years, I really want to make my tried and true recipe.  I did make one addition from one of those other recipes.  I think it's a secret ingredient.  I really liked the addition, but we'll get to that in a minute.  I still remember the first time I tasted this dessert at a church dinner.  I thought it was so delicious and begged the recipe.  I still love it, especially served with whipped cream on top.  I think it's the perfect fall dessert!

Pumpkin Pie Cake
1 large can pumpkin
4 eggs
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
 (or substitute a heaping  1 T. of pumpkin pie spice for the above three ingredients)
pinch of salt
1  1/2 cups sugar

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg

In your mixer, beat together the pumpkin, eggs, milk, sugar, salt and spices.  Beat well.  Pour into a sprayed 13 x 9 pan.
Mix together the cake mix, butter and egg.  Crumble over the pumpkin mixture in the pan.  Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.  Easy as pie!!!  Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Now for that secret ingredient:  Before baking, sprinkle about 1/2 cup English Toffee bits.  They melt as it bakes and make a delicious, crunchiness to the topping.  If you don't have them, it will still be yummy, but I really liked it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

I got this recipe on Jamie Cooks it Up.  It's easy and yummy.  It makes a big full pan of food, so half it if you don't need that much.  Rice doesn't usually freeze very well.  Okay, I'm going to be honest.  It was good, but I really didn't think the Rice a roni added a thing.  It was supposed to be wild rice, but it just seemed like white rice to me.  I think next time I make it, I'll just use 2 cups of white rice(total), and add 2 T. of better than bouillon and some parsley.  It would cheaper.   But the Rice a Roni is more convenient.  So you choose.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice
1 cup white rice
2 boxes Long Grain and Wild Rice  Rice a Roni  OR 1 more cup white rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
2 cups boiling water 
Packets from the Rice a Roni OR 2 T. better than bouillon and a sprinkle of parsley)
2 cups grated cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 T. butter
3-4 chicken breasts, cut up

Spray well a 13x9 pan.  Put the rices in the pan (rice a roni and the white rice)  Add the onion, soups, and milk.  Mix well.  Boil water in the microwave and put in the seasoning packets from the rice a roni and the butter.  Pour mixture over the rice.  Add the 1 1/2 cups of cheese, salt, and pepper.  Mix it all up together.  Put in the chicken(uncooked) and combine.  Sprinkle  the remaining cheese over the top and cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 400 for an hour.  Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gooey Goldies

These are also known as Lemon Brownies, but since they're not brown, I changed it to "Goldies".  They are VERY gooey and sticky and yummy.  If they were brownies, you would say they are very fudgy.  But since they're lemon, you say they're gooey.

Gooey Goldies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
10 T. butter, melted and somewhat cooled
3 large eggs
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. packed lemon zest

Heat the oven to 350.  Spray a 13 x 9 pan.

In a microwave safe bowl or large glass measuring cup, melt the butter.  When sort of cooled, add the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, zest, and eggs.  Whisk together.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter mixture and mix well.  Spread in the prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden.  A toothpick in the center should come out mostly clean.

Let the bars cool slightly.  Then Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar, 3 T. lemon juice, 1 tsp. lemon zest, chopped fine.  Whisk together and pour over the Goldies.  Cool and cut into bars.

Recipe Source:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheddar Bacon Dip or Loaded Baked Potatoes

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  It said it's AKA Crack.  Pretty funny. It makes a great appetizer dip or game day snack.   We enjoyed it as a dip, but LOVED it as a topping for Loaded Baked Potatoes.

Cheddar Bacon Dip or Loaded Baked Potatoes
16 oz. sour cream
1 packet Ranch Dressing mix
Bacon crumbles(fry your own, or use the kind that comes in a bag), about 1/2 cup (more or less to taste)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together.  Refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend.  Serve with chips, veggies, or top baked potatoes.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Pasta Factory's Copycat Alfredo Sauce, Pasta, Topped with Seasoned Chicken Breast, Italian Vegetables, and Sauteed Mushrooms

Our favorite restaurant is a local one called the Pasta Factory.  They have a "Build Your Own" menu. My husband's favorite is Angel Hair pasta with Alfredo sauce, Italian Vegetables and Seasoned Chicken Breast.  I tried to recreate that for him.  I was highly complimented when he said mine was even better than Pasta Factory's. For the Alfredo Sauce,  I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest.  I changed it slightly.  It is not low calorie or low fat.  Eat salads for the week before and the week after you make this!

Copycat The Pasta Factory Alfredo Sauce

1 1/2 cups butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup flour
1 cup cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
More milk as needed

In a very large saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese.  Cream cheese doesn't melt very well, but keep trying to blend the two.  When mostly blended, add the flour and cream.   Blend as well as you can, then add 2 cups milk.  Now it should blend together.   When smooth, add the cheese and more milk( 1-2 cups) to make a nice, thick Alfredo sauce.   Serve over pasta of choice.  This makes a lot.

One of the charms of The Pasta Factory is getting to choose your toppings.  Shown here:  Fettucine Alfredo with Seasoned Chicken Breast, Sauteed Mushrooms and Italian Vegetables.  You can top it with whatever you'd like, or eat it just plain.

Seasoned Chicken Breast
Cut up two chicken breasts.  Season with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Mix the seasonings all over the chicken with your hands.  Saute the chicken in olive oil until done.   It will just take a few minutes.   Transfer to a heated plate.

Italian Vegetables
Cut up zuchinni, yellow summer squash, and onions.  Sprinkle well with garlic salt and pepper.  Saute in olive oil until soft.

Sauteed Mushrooms
Cut up mushrooms, season with garlic salt and saute in olive oil.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brown Sugar Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

These soft, moist, yummy cookies make the perfect fall treat. 

Brown Sugar Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream

Blend the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs, beating well between and after.  Add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  Turn off the mixer and add the dry ingredients.  Mix slowly, adding the sour cream and blend well.  Drop teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet or silpat.  The dough is very sticky.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Cool and frost with the browned butter frosting.

Browned Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
Milk as needed

Put the butter in a saucepan.  Over medium heat, melt then cook until the butter starts to turn brown.  It will smell nutty and yummy.   Reomove from the heat and add the powdered sugar and enough milk or cream to make a nice spreading consistency.  Frost the cookies.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brie Cheese and Apple Appetizer

I succumbed. I go to Sam's Club firm in my resolution to just get the basics and get out. However, I don't mind testing a few of their samples along the way. That is where my resolution wavered. Last Wednesday they were serving Brie Cheese on their delicious dinner rolls. Heaven! As I savored in pure delight, memories of the first time I had Brie Cheese came flooding back. 3 summers ago we moved to Wisconsin for my husband's internship. In an effort to make the most of our 3 month adventure in America's Dairyland, we decided to try a new cheese each week. It took a few weeks, and some miserable cheese taste testing (see picture below), for us to learn that there are some cheeses you really shouldn't just cut off the block and eat straight.
One of those is Brie cheese. After posting our disgust on our family blog, kind friends and family members shared their favorite ways to eat Brie in an effort to convince us to give it another chance. We bravely accepted their advice and attempted the following recipe from my Aunt Joan. I l.o.v.e.d. it. The purchased cheese disappeared quickly. I smiled at the memory and tried to walk away. It didn't work. I came back. I mean, really, I had a whole bag full of fresh, hand-picked apples sitting in my fridge that needed eating. I needed Brie cheese to accompany them, right? Ten dollars later, I walked out of Sam's with a bag of 36 fresh rolls, a 16 oz. circle of Brie Cheese, and a smile on my face. My whole family has been enjoying this little piece of heaven ever since.

ABCD Appetizer: Apple and Brie Cheese Delight
Apples (The original recipe called for Granny Smith. This year I have been using Cortland and they are great too!)
Brie Cheese
French Bread (or any other white bread of choice)

It's simple really. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the bread. Spread on the Brie Cheese (I spread it rind and all because I can't bear the thought of wasting any of the the delicious cheese. Sometimes I pick off the rind after it has been baked and the cheese has melted off). Place on baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes, until the bread is slightly crispy and the cheese has melted. Top with thinly sliced apples. Enjoy warm.

What's For Dinner?

Half the battle in cooking is the planning.  I like to plan dinners a month in advance.  Because there are just two of us, we have lots of leftover nights, but here's what I've planned for dinners in October:
1. Meatloaf, Loaded Baked Potatoes
4. Sauteed Vegetable Tuscan Orzo - if you haven't tried this, you should.  It is yummy.  Add some garlic and/ or garlic salt.
6.  Halloween Soup with pumpkin bread - our traditional Halloween night dinner
7. Kay's Conglomerate Burgers

New Recipes to try (I'll post them if they're good)
9. Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers
10.  Honey Mustard Chicken
11. Pasta Factory Angel Hair Alfredo with Seasoned Chicken Breast, garlic mushrooms, and Italian Vegetables
12. Potato Bacon Soup
13.  Spaghetti Carbonara
14. Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Meals if needed:
15. Creamed Tuna over buttered Toast, peas
16. Cherry Pancakes/ Bacon
17. Beef Spread Sandwiches

Desserts and Treats:
Pumpkin Pie Cake

Cheddar Bacon Dip

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nathan's Apple Crumble

This is my grandson, Nathan.  Nathan loves to cook.  While visiting me one day, he was playing on and found a recipe for apple crumble.  He was so excited to make it.  There wasn't time that day.  When he returned to our house a week later, the first thing he said was, "Can we make the apple crumble?"  He and his mom( Kirsten)  made it and it was delicious.  It's easy enough for a kid to make, but surprisingly good!

We didn't have any vanilla ice cream, but a little chocolate in the ice cream never hurts anything, right?
Apple Crumble
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
12/ cup butter
4 cups sliced apples (about 7 apples)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350.  Cut the apples into small pieces.  Put the lemon juice on them and put them in a 9x9 baking dish that has been sprayed.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, oats, and brown sugar.  Melt the butter and pour it over the oat mixtures.  Mix well and pour over the apples.  Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve topped with ice cream.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lemon (or Lime) Italian Marinade for Grilling

Here's one of those recipes you won't even have to print because it's so simple.  It's a delicious marinade for grilling chicken.
4-6 chicken breasts
1 bottle Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
1/4- 1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice

Mix together the dressing and lemon juice and pour over the chicken in a zipper plastic bag.  Marinade in the fridge for several hours. Grill, brushing the marinade on the chicken.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making ice cream in a can

1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups crushed ice
4 tablespoons salt
2 quart size Zip-loc bags
1 gallon size Zip-loc freezer bag
a hand towel or gloves to keep fingers from freezing as well!

OR instead of the bags I used a small peanut butter jar and an economy size can (for those of you with cannery food storage, use one of those silver cans).

The recipe is for one serving. If you're using the jar and can method you can double or triple the amount of milk, vanilla, and sugar.

Put milk, vanilla, and sugar in the container and seal with the lid. Get out your big can and put some crushed ice and salt down in the bottom. Then put the sealed jar in and pack ice and salt around the sides and on top. Put the lid on the big can. Then take it outside and roll it around on the driveway to your heart's content. If you double the recipe it takes 10-15 minutes of rolling around before it's ready.
The kids had a blast rolling the can around; I think they even enjoyed the rolling more than the eating. You do need to eat it fast because it melts quickly.

Mmmm! It's pretty cold.

Flavor ideas: Add some mint extract instead of vanilla, but only use about 1/8 tsp or a few drops. We also put in some mini chocolate chips that were yummy. You could crush up some Oreos for some cookies'n'cream.
I got this recipe from

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marinated Grilled Summer Squash and Zucchini

We have an abundance of zucchini and summer squash in our garden most years, so we're always on the lookout for new ways to prepare it.  My husband read about this marinade for grilling in a travel magazine and gave it a try.  It was really delicious . . . and easy!

Mix together equal parts of lemon juice OR balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Add crushed or minced garlic, garlic salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Cut squash the long way.   Put vegetables in bag (you can see we added mushrooms, too).  Marinade for a few hours.  Grill.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kristen's Marshmallow Caramel Corn

This recipe comes from Kristen, but since I made it recently and have the pictures, I'll post it.  It is the perfect treat for family movie night or game day and is quick and easy to make. . . .and oh, so, yummy!
2 bags microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed
1 cup real butter
1 cup brown sugar
30 large marshmallows
 Place popcorn(Kristen taught me to put the popcorn from the microwave bags by handfuls instead of just dumping it in- so you don't get those teeth-breaking unpopped kernals in your bowl) in a large bowl. Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan on the stove.  Stir constantly while it melts.  Let boil 1 minute (not longer). Remove from heat and add marshmallows and stir and stir  until marshmallows are melted and all is well blended. Pour over popcorn and stir until popcorn is coated evenly.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crockpot Sloppy Joes

Years ago, a group of us were talking about the best gifts we'd ever received.  I was surprised when one of my friends said that one of the best gifts she'd ever received was a sloppy joe dinner.  She'd just had her 5th baby and was exhausted.  She came home one day to find on her porch a quart bottle of sloppy joe, a package of buns, a bag of chips, a ziplock bag full of carrot and celery sticks, a bottle of ranch dressing and a plate of brownies.  She nearly cried with relief at having a great meal all ready that the kids would eat!
So through the years since then, I've copied that idea and made that meal for families welcoming  a new baby.   I put a quart of the mixture in a quart jar for them, freeze another quart jar (for a busy day)  and we eat the rest.  I've made this recipe many times for large family gatherings, too, as it makes a large amount.   For really large crowds, double it and do it in a roaster oven.  It's so yummy after cooking all day.  This recipe makes about three quarts of sloppy joe mix.

Sloppy Joes
3- 3 1/2 lbs. very lean hamburger
2 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (opt.)
1 -2 T. Montreal Steak Seasoning (or you can just use salt and pepper)
3 cans diced or crushed tomatoes (or a mixture is nice)
1 bottle barbecue sauce, your favorite brand  (I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/3 cup brown sugar (maybe more)
2 tsps. worcestershire sauce
a splash of Tabasco Sauce (optional and to taste)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Sprinkle the meat with the steak seasoning and work it in with your hands.  In a large skillet, cook the hamburger with the onion.  Drain if needed.  Add the other ingredients.  Put into a Crock pot and cook on low for several hours until sloppy joe consistency.  Taste and add more sugar if needed and more  salt and pepper, if needed.   Serve over toasted buns with dill pickle and sliced tomato on top.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sugar Cookie Bars with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Love sugar cookies, but don't make them often because it's so much work to roll and cut them?  This is the answer- sugar cookies in a bar.  These are really yummy.  I got the cookie recipe from Pinterest, but made up my own  cream cheese lime frosting.

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a large, sided cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.  
In the stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together the soft butter, cream cheese and the butter.  When fluffy, add the egg and vanilla.  Stop the mixer and add the flour, soda, and baking powder.  Turn on mixer slowly and blend well.  
Turn the dough into your prepared pan and press it evenly into the pan.  The dough is very soft and sticky.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the outside edges are browning.   Cool completely and frost.

You can frost these with a vanilla buttercream frosting, but I had some limes to use, so made up this lime cream cheese frosting.  It was delicious.

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
Lime juice- probably about 1/4-1/3 cup
Powdered Sugar
1 tiny drop green food coloring (opt.)
Beat the butter and cream cheese together.  Add juice and powdered sugar until the frosting is spreading consistency.

This makes a lot of frosting.  If you like thick frosting, make the whole recipe, but if you prefer less frosting, half this recipe would be great.  In preparing for our upcoming reunion, I doubled the cookie bar recipe and made this frosting recipe and it covered both pans of cookies just fine.