Friday, December 7, 2012

Easy and Beautiful Christmas treat

Yesterday, I was in a rush and trying to come up with a quick yet beautiful "back up" treat for an event I went to. I thought brownies would be good, but wanted it to look great. I made brownies from a mix in a 13x9 pan (I've vowed not to do this often, but have a couple of boxes on hand) and 4 c. of cream cheese frosting (my favorite is in the Betty Crocker Cookbook, pg. 88). Then I asked for design help from my most artistic child. I had just gone grocery shopping and purchased all sorts of candies for a homemade gingerbread house. After looking through a wide assortment (not usually available in our home), we came up with something simple and (dare I say) elegant. See photo.
The Boston Baked beans look exactly like raspberries and hold up so much better. The brownish looking leaves are honey roasted sunflower seeds.  Have a wonderful and stress free Christmas season!
For more recipes, check out the breakfast casseroles, Christmas treats (posted March 2012) and sauces for homemade fun. Some are simple and some are time consuming - whatever fits your schedule and talent level.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Welcome new viewers

Welcome to all the new viewers that may be looking at my blog. Just a quick tip. If you haven't been to a blog before and are looking for something specific, there is a site only search engine. Just type in a word that matches the post or recipe you're looking for in the top left box. You'll get there a lot faster than scrolling through things. Enjoy!

Recently,  I showed a bunch or varieties for the Easy Fantasy Fudge and got a whole new group of people addicted to my unique version of Special K bars. A couple of other favorites of mine are the Easy Rolls (the first time it rises, it does so in your fridge overnight) and my Quick Cinnamon Rolls (1 hr start to eating).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Breakfast Casseroles

Every once in awhile, I have guests overnight and it's nice to have an easy hot breakfast that's done ahead of time to quickly cook and serve the next day. These are some options for that or for your own family - it they eat a lot. Not as good as leftovers, though.

Sausage and Egg Casserole


Ingredients:
• 1 pound mild bulk sausage, browned, drained
• 6 eggs
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 6 slices bread, crusts removed, toasted
• 2 cups milk
• 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Preparation: Cut each slice of toast into 4 pieces. Beat eggs, milk, and seasonings together. In buttered casserole, layer half the toast, half of the sausage, and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Pour half of the egg mixture over the layer. Repeat for second layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake, covered, at 325° for 45 to 60 minutes, or until puffed up. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 3 to 4. http://southernfood.about.com/od/breakfastcasserolerecipes/r/bl90911r.htm


Breakfast Casserole With Sausage, Eggs, and Biscuits


(Cheese choice determines flavor – cheddar or Mexican blend)

Ingredients:
• 8 frozen or refrigerated biscuits, baked according to package directions
• 1 pound sausage
• 1 can (4 ounces) chopped mild green chile
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
• 2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese blend, such as Cheddar Jack or a similar combination
• 8 large eggs
• 2 cups milk

Preparation: Heat oven to 350°. Butter a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish. Heat Split the biscuits and line the baking dish with the biscuit halves, cut side up. Brown sausage in a large skillet with onions, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. Add the chile peppers and seasonings. Sprinkle the sausage mixture evenly over the biscuit layer. Top with the cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk with salt and pepper. Pour over the cheese layer. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until set. A knife should come out clean when inserted in the center. Serve with sliced tomatoes or fresh salsa on the side. Serves 6 to 8.


Easy Microwave Breakfast Casserole

You can prepare this the night before, refrigerate for the night, then pop it in the microwave in the morning.

Ingredients:
• 1 slice bread, cubed
• 1 egg, beaten
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 1/4 cup cooked diced ham
• 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
• 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• dash pepper

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a 6-inch microwave-safe serving bowl. Blend well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then poke a few small perforations in the top to vent. Cook on MEDIUM HIGH, or 80% power, for 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes. Halfway through cooking time, turn dish a half-turn. Let stand, covered, for 30 seconds to finish cooking. Serve with fresh fruit or fruit juice. You can prepare this the night before, refrigerate for the night, then pop it in the microwave in the morning. Cook for a little longer if it has been refrigerated. Makes 1 serving.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Pesto

Here's the long awaited Pesto recipe. I made some today.
And no, you can't have any. Make you own. ;)

Approximately 2 cups fresh basil leaves (or 1 c. parsley, 1 c. oregano)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 cloves garlic crushed (or 1 T garlic pwd)

Process washed, fresh leaves with one of the following methods-
1: a food processor or
2: crush them with a mortar and pestle or
3: blend on a coarse setting of your blender  
Do one of the above until leaves are fairly smooth.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Other variations-
A- Include 1-2 Tablespoon of pine nuts or walnuts
B- Follow recipe above but use 1/2 of oil and ten mash several T each of butter and cream cheese.

Options for use:
Put the puree in a bowl and cover with film of olive oil to dip bread in.
Serve pesto on ravioli or tortellini.
Serve with 1/2 Alfredo, 1/2 pesto on fettuccine
Toss into a salad (1 tsp mixed with your favorite vinaigrette)
Float on top of minestrone soup

Good appetizer: Place 1 tsp on 1/2 of ripe tomato with Parmesan cheese.
Place under broiler for a moment.

Note: Pesto keeps for months in the freezer, though fresh is best.

No Canadian Account

After further research, I'm not getting a Canadian Bank account, although I don't necessarily think it's a bad idea. Just not right for me right now.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Canadian Bank Account?

I am starting to look into opening a Canadian Bank Account because of reports I've heard that it may be more stable than the dollar in the next 5 years. Does anyone have any advice or experience in doing this?

I have looked at a few things on-line, including:

http://www.dailyfx.com/forex/fundamental/forecast/weekly/cad/2010-02-20-0422-Canadian_Dollar_Benefits_from_its.html

and a chat board offered the name of a good no cost bank - President's Choice Financial.
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President's_Choice_Financial  and http://www.pcfinancial.ca/

I'll be calling them soon to get more info on how a US Citizen can bank with them along with getting good advice from some professionals before making a final decision.

Let me know if you want me to share what I learn.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

From Garden to Table

As we plan our summer gardens, we always seem to either not have enough time, space or help. Okay - I have enough of them but I'd rather be doing something else during the critical times to get things done.
This year, I got some help from my neighbor and master veggie gardener, E.S. She came over and I showed her my space, asked what would work well in the hot summer I think we'll be having and we brainstormed until I got a great plan under my belt. Tomorrow, I'm planting corn and zucchini and watermelon. I'll add to my small crops of lettuce, beets, spinach and the one surviving carrot. There's a row with all four of them in it that I planted the day before a rainstorm. Not surprisingly, the largest seeds survived the best. My peas are a little more than ankle high and I have great hopes for them. Now to weed the strawberry patch and thin the pears and peaches. So much to do....
When we plan our gardens, it's good to get as many of those in the house willing and able invovled. Also, I find it helpful to have the rows far enough apart that my garden rake and hoe weed for me (18" to 2 ft). Getting on my hands and knees to weed is not my idea of fun. Planning for the harvest to happen when we're in town is sometimes a challenge too. So this year I'm trying the staggered planting that so many have told me about. And I've added a mulch pile to dump everything (that doesn't have dairy or meat in it). Add the grass clippings and leaves and it's not bad for a start.
When I look for seeds, I avoid the hybrid varieties. That way if I'm ambitious at the end of the season and want to store seeds for next summer, I have seeds that will grow.
Good luck to everyone in their plans, execution and harvests.

Summer Slaws & Salads

I found a couple of good ones that I tried last summer - including the
Summer Apple Slaw and the Orange-Cabbage Slaw. Both are found on www.recipezaar.com

I found a couple in the Good Housekeeping Magazine (June 2012 issue) as well.
So far I've tried a crock pot & broiler variation of the Smoky Chicken & Pepper Salad
and hope to try the Cajun Cobb Salad soon.

Homemade Green Juice

1/4 bag fresh spinach
1- 16 oz peaches with juice
1 banana (or fruit)
1 T honey
Blend and enjoy.

from C.M.

Rosemary Chicken Delight

(aka what to do with leftover chicken, gravy, baked potatoes & veggies) -
original recipe (5/17/12)

2 c. chicken broth
3/4 c cooked shredded chicken
1 c chicken gravy
Put these in crock pot on Low for 30 min - 1 hour while you chop veggies and microwave potatoes (if you don't have any baked yet). Micro washed & pricked potatoes on high form 4 minutes each (a total of 3-4 should be enough). Chop 1/4 c to 1/2 c of at least 3 kinds of veggies - your family's favorite. Could include cabbage, green onions, sweet peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms. Chop mostly baked potatoes into cubes and add all to crock pot (veggies & potatoes). Remove 1/2 c. hot broth and add 2 T cornstarch to it. Mix well, then add 2 tsp ground pepper and 1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 T fresh, washed and crushed rosemary). Add to crock pot along with another 1 c. of milk. Cook on Low for another 30 min. Stir every 10 min. until served. Should thicken 20 min. after cornstarch is added. If too thick for your tastes, add more milk or broth (be sure it's hot first).

Variation: For a casserole, use only 1 c. broth, and no extra milk after the first 3/4 c. Also, do not add any potatoes; instead serve over baked potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easy Rolls - jpg

Here is a copy of the roll recipe with some added notes. I hope you can read it.

Chocolate Ganache

My aunts made this dessert about a year ago for a family gathering and I loved it. I pulled it out to try for the first time as a wonderful treat for a book club I recently hosted in my home.

"Ganache is a French term referring to a smooth mixture of chopped chocolate and heavy cream." (Definition and further info go to www.joyofbaking.com/ganache.html ).

Here it is...
Just like the cinnamon rolls, it's wonderfully easy and amazingly delicious.

Chocolate Ganache
1 chocolate cake mix prepared according to instructions and baked in 13x9 pan.

Ganache- 1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream, 1/2 c butter, 2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

When cake is 1/2 done baking, start the ganache. Bring cream and butter to a boil on the stove (med size saucepan). Let cool slightly and add choc. chips which will melt as you mix them in.

Take cake out of the oven when it's done and immediately cut the hot cake into 2" squares. Place into your mixer or a large bowl and mix (or use hand mixer to mix) until the cake is crumbly. Add 1 3/4 c. ganache mix into the cake crumbles and mix this thoroughly.

Press into a 9" spring form pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Level tops and place pan in freezer for 45 min. Take cake out of freezer and frost with the rest of the ganache.

Store in fridge until served.
Serves 12-18 (slice thinner than cheesecake).
Rich and wonderful but not too sweet.

opt. - add whipped cream and a raspberry on top of each piece for extra elegance.

Amazingly Easy Cinnamon Rolls

This is the recipe for an AMAZINGLY easy batch of cinnamon rolls.
I just got word that a newly married lady tried these out and had success the first time (it was her first batch of 'yeast' bread too).

You really can make great cinnamon rolls - just try.

If this method of going back and forth between ingredients and instructions confuses you, print it out and highlight the ingredients. Then you'll know what to gather to start with for the project.

Fast Cinnamon Rolls

2 pkgs (or 2T) yeast
1/4 c. water (slightly warmer than lukewarm; comfortably warm enough to wash your hands in)
1 T sugar (brown or white, doesn't matter)
1- Mix above well in a large bowl or 4 c pyrex (it needs room to grow)

1 1/2 c. buttermilk (add 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk)
2- Warm in microwave until at room temperature.

1/2 c oil (or applesauce for a lighter recipe)
3- Mix milk (#2) with oil and yeast (#1) all in the yeast container.

4 1/2 c flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 T sugar (brown or white), opt. 1/2 tsp ginger-
4- Combine all of these dry ingredients in a larger bowl (8 c.) and add the wet mixture (#1,2,3) to it. Blend well with wooden spoon until everything is combined.

5- Place about 1 c of flour on your clean counter (keep one more cup nearby if needed) and knead the dough for 5 minutes.

To do this you push your two palms down in the center of the dough and push away from your body. Then grab what you pushed away and pull it back to the middle. Turn the dough ball 90 degrees and repeat. Keep going for 5 minutes.

If you feel the dough is a little sticky, but not sticking to your hands, it's perfect. If it's sticking to the counter or your hands, add more flour and continue.

6- Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Wow! In 30-35 minutes you've got dough! Look how easy that was.

Now for the even more fun part.....

7- While the dough rests, turn on the oven to 375 F, spray a jelly roll or 9x13 pan, and get the filling ingredients ready.

Filling:
1/2 c soft marg or butter
1-2 T cinnamon
1 c brown sugar

More filling options:
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 c chopped nuts
1 c plump raisins

Here we go.....
8- Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of flour onto same area where you kneaded the dough. It should be in a rectangular shape - about 18x12 inches (Do not measure it, I didn't). Place the dough ball in the center and roll it out. Push in the middle of the dough ball and out away from your body again. Instead of rotating the dough like you did to knead it, move the rolling pin around into different angles pushing down and flattening the dough as you go. Add more flour on the bottom of the flattening shape only if you can't move it around without it sticking to the counter. If you're feeling confident, flip it over and sprinkle flour on any sticky spots. Keep going until you have a mostly rectangle shape (No one is going to know if it's not exact) that is mostly even in height; about 1 inch thick.

9- Spread the soft butter all over, then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top of that.

Add whatever other fillings you'd like.

10- Roll this amazing piece of artwork (okay mine isn't, but yours probably is) so that it looks like a long even snake. Tuck and turn up and down the roll as you go slowly towards the back of the counter (away from you). When you get to the end, pinch the dough into the roll a bit and lay that part on the bottom of the roll. Smash and pull the middle towards the ends, encouraging an evenly tall roll.

You are less than 20 minutes from eating this masterpiece!

11- Cut the roll into 15-20 pieces and place them evenly spaced on your pan (with the swirly part on facing up and down). Pop them in the oven and bake at 375 for 15-17 minutes.



By the third time I did this, I could make it in one hour or less. Now as a tradition, every General Conference weekend, I make this wonderful breakfast and we enjoy a favorite at least twice a year. What will your new tradition be?

And you said you couldn't do a 'yeast' bread? Ha- you proved yourself wrong. ;)

opt.: when they come out, put one or two on each person's plate and drop a T of white frosting (Store bought, homemade, whatever) on each and let your family spread with delight.

12- Enjoy this marvelous demonstration that something amazingly fantastic and satisfying doesn't have to take a lot of skill or time!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Irish recipes - including candy

While it's still March, I thought I'd put my Irish info down. I did a fun presentation on Ireland a year ago and this is the food portion of it.....The first recipe (gems) were the best candy, I thought.

“The art of having fun with music, food and family all together or ‘craic’ (pronounced crack) as the Irish all it, is embodied here by these ideals”. (quote from a website for a restaurant named MacCool’s).

Recipes: http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,boxty,FF.html for boxty – Irish potato cakes or pancakes
.

Irish (Potato) Gems (from http://www.justapinch.com/recipe/irish-gems-by-judy-few-nanajc2004 )
Ingredients
3/4 c mashed potatoes
1 bx powdered sugar
4 c coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 6-oz pkg chocolate chips
1/2 oz paraffin

Directions: Blend together mashed potatoes and sugar. Add coconut, vanilla and salt.
Drop from tsp onto wax paper or greased cookie sheet. Shape into peaks. Let stand uncovered 30 minutes.
Melt in saucepan over very low heat, chocolate chips and paraffin. 4
Using a teaspoon, pour chocolate mixture over peaks of candy. Cool.
Makes approximately 4 dozen.
Note: I usually add about 2 cups of chopped pecans.
Note: If you shape the mixture around an almond and dip the ball in the chocolate you have a mini faux Almond Joy!

Potato Candy:
Ingredients
1 large potato
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 5 cups confectioners' sugar
5 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Instructions
Peel the potato and boil it in water until soft. In a mixing bowl, mash the cooked potato with the salt and butter. Then -- this is key -- let it cool completely, or else it will melt the sugar when you add it.
Mix in the vanilla extract and 4 cups of sugar. At this point, the mixture should be stiff. If it isn't, add more sugar.
Sprinkle half of the coconut onto a waxed-paper-covered surface and turn the potato mixture onto it. Roll the batter until all of the coconut has been mixed in, then shape teaspoonfuls into small balls.
Roll the balls individually in the remaining coconut. Chill the finished candies until you're ready to serve them. Makes about 4 dozen

Corned Beef (from website above)
Ingredients
4 pounds corned beef brisket
1 cup brown sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness®)
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Rinse the beef completely and pat dry.
2. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom. Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.
3. Cover, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Footnotes Editor's Note: During the last hour, you may put vegetables in the roasting pan as well. Try a wedge of cabbage, new potatoes, onion, carrots, etc. You may need to add a little more beer with your vegetables.

Guava Chiffon Cake - the hardest, most delicious dessert I've made

If you've ever had DeeLite Bakery's Guava Chiffon Cake (only found in Hawaii) - this is a very close second. It takes a very long time, but for me it was worth it.

Guava Chiffon Cake by Chef Don SprinkleYield: 2 – 9” rounds (Variations- any concentrate can be used instead of Guava).

Cake Ingredients:
2 c sugar, 3 c cake flour, 1 tsp salt, ¾ tsp baking powder.
1 c. vegetable oil, 5 large whole eggs, ½ c. guava juice concentrate,
1 tsp vanilla, ½ tsp red food coloring.
16 large egg whites, 1 ¼ c. sugar, pinch of cream of tartar.

Icing Ingredients: 1 qt whipping cream,
1c guava concentrate

Guava Glaze Ingredients: 1 c guava concentrate, 1 T cornstarch, 2 T water

*1* Separate the 16 eggs placing the egg whites in a very large mixing bowl you can whip them in later (My Kitchen Aid 5 Qt was barely big enough).

*2* Make the guava glaze (see directions below) and place it in the fridge for later.
Guava Glaze – Mix cornstarch with water until dissolved. Bring guava juice to a quick boil and add cornstarch mixture. Stir. Simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and chill well before using.

*3* Make the cake (see below).
Cake - Mix the first four (dry) ingredients for the cake. Set aside. Blend oil, 5 eggs, guava juice concentrate, vanilla and food coloring in a large bowl. Add 1st mix of dry ingredients and blend well 5 min. on med. speed). Take your very large mixing bowl with the egg whites and whip until triple in volume. Slowly add 1 ¼ c. sugar and cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks form. Fold first mixture into egg white mixture and mix until smooth. Pour batter into two 9” round cake pans (filled to top) and bake at 350 F 18-20 min or until done.
[Note: this is very deceiving – I checked the cake at 20 min and it was not done. I looked at some notes at the end of the recipe and found this: “Oven temperature is critical, one effort with this recipe had the oven 50* hotter than the dial indicates and the insides were raw after an extended cooking time. The best test was with a 300* (dial set at 350) oven and the cake cooked for 33 min.”
My experience was this – cook for 20 min at 350 and then turn the oven down to 300. Check after 7 min, then another 5 min. Using a wooden skewer was the best way to check for doneness].

Remove from oven and immediately turn over pans onto cooling racks. Cool with pan in place.

*4* Cool the cake down (best overnight in fridge, but can be done in the freezer until firm).

*5* Make the icing (see below).

Icing – Whip cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Fold in guava juice concentrate and blend well. Use to fill and ice cake.

*6* Put it all together- placing the guava glaze in the center like a little pond.

(found on-line in 2001 by me on a page that I can no longer find - Maui Community College’s Food Service Program’s recipes).

Most requested desserts and holiday treats

These are the most requested desserts and Holiday treats. Enjoy!

Easy Fantasy Fudge (makes 6 lbs)
1 1/2 c. marg. (3 sticks)
6 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. evaporated milk
2 pkg. (12 oz each) semi sweet chips* (3 c.)
1 jar (13 oz) Marshmallow creme +
2 c. chopped nuts
2 tsp vanilla

* variations- milk chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter chips, mini snickers
+ I double the recipe and substitute the 13 oz for 2-7 oz jars in each batch
Mix marg., sugar, milk in heavy 5 qt. saucepan. Bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 min. over medium or, if you really want to use a candy thermometer, until 234 F (soft ball); stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased pans. Either use 3- 9 x 9 or 2- 13 x 9 pans. Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares. Makes 6 lbs.

Special K Bars (my tweak on Grandma’s special treat)
1 c. lite Karo Syrup & 1 c. white sugar
Put in med. Saucepan on med heat until it just boils. Take off heat.
Add: 1 1/3 c. peanut butter (any variety) 1 tsp vanilla
Put peanut butter mixture in large bowl with:
7-8 c. flake cereal (Special K or Cornflakes are good)
Mix until evenly coated. Meanwhile, melt ½ pkg chocolate chips and ½ pkg (6 oz each) of peanut butter chips. Put ½ of cereal mixture in rectangle pan. Pour and spread melted chips on top. Add remaining cereal and press down. Cut into small pieces. Put in fridge until hardened (45 min).
Variety: Add raisins or chunky peanut butter. Use butterscotch chips instead of p.b. chips.


Cream Cheese Mints (from my grandmother, LAF)
3 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 tsp. flavoring (lemon, almond, peppermint, orange, cinnamon)
3 c. sifted pwd. sugar
few drops of food coloring
granulated sugar
waxed paper

In a small mixing bowl stir together softened cream cheese and flavoring. Gradually add pwd. sugar. Stir until mixture is smooth (knead in the last of the sugar with your hands). Add food coloring. Knead until evenly distributed. Form into 3/4" balls. Roll in sugar and place on waxed paper. Flatten each ball with tines of fork or bottom of glass or use molds. If using molds, sprinkle them with sugar and place 1 tsp at a time in mold. Cover with paper towels and dry overnight at room temperature. Store in tightly covered container in fridge or freezer. Lasts up to 1 month in freezer. Makes 48-60.

Molasses Sugar Cookies
3/4 c. marg. (step 1- melt and let cool)
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. dark molasses
1 egg (step 2- add all these 3 to marg. and beat well)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
Sift these dry ingredients and then all to above mixture. Chill for at lest 1 hour. Form 1" balls, roll in sugar, and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes. Will still be soft. They harden a bit as they cool.
Variations- substitute olive oil for melted marg. and increase flour to 2 1/3 c. I also like to change around the flour, adding some wheat flour or oat flour in place of part of the white flour. I always keep at least 1/2 of it white.

Almond Triangles (a great cookbook find by me)
Line 15x10 pan with foil (shiny side up).
1) Beat 2 c. butter & ½ c. granulated sugar until creamy.
Add ½ tsp. salt, ¾ tsp. almond extract; then beat in 1 egg.
Add 2 ¼ c. flour. Mix then pat into pan (spreading up the sides). Refrigerate until cool (12-15 min). Prick with fork, then bake 10 min. at 375° F.
2) Meanwhile (while dough is in fridge), Take a 4-5 qt heavy saucepan and add 2 c. butter, 1/3 c. honey, 1 c. brown sugar, ¼ c. granulated sugar. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until boiling. Once it boils, let it boil for an additional 3 minutes, without stirring. Take off the heat and add ¼ c. heavy whipping cream and 1 lb (5 ¼ c.) sliced almonds.
3) Place on dough hot out of the oven and bake an additional 15 min. at 375° F. It should be bubbling evenly when you take it out.
4) Cool and then cut into 2” squares and then again into triangles.
Note: Step 1 takes about 15 min. before you start on step 2. I usually preheat the oven at the same time I put the pan on for #2. That way, your dough comes hot out of the oven at the right time. Makes 80.

Butter Toffee (from my mother-in-law)
6 small Hershey bars (or 15 miniatures)
1 c. finely chopped nuts
1 lb. marg.
1/3 c. water
2 c. sugar
Cook and stir only last three ingredients every minute until when tested in cold water it makes a good hard ball (260 on a candy therm.- takes about 22 minutes on medium heat). Pour into a 13 x 9 pan. Use 6 small Hershey bars and put on top of hot candy mixture. Spread evenly with a spatula. Candy will melt as you go. Pour (or sprinkle) nuts over top of chocolate. Let cool. Break into pieces.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Two More Reicpes - this time from N.S.

We had our Crock Pot Cooking Lesson today. Here is a couple of recipes from one participant - N.S. Thanks for the recipe donation!
Note: this is not my post 3 of 3. I will do the last three recipes I promised soon.

Crock Pot Lasagna

1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
29 oz Tomato Sauce
6 oz Tomato Paste
16 oz Cottage Cheese
Salt & Oregano (to taste)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Shredded Mozzarella
16 oz Lasagna Noodles

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in fry pan. Drain fat.

Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, and oregano.
Cook until meat sauce is warm.

Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the crock pot.
Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with layer of the cheeses.
Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheeses until all are used up.

Add 1/2 cup of water around the outside edge of the lasagna.
Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours.

Serves 6.


Pork Barbacoa

4 lbs Pork Roast (Boneless)
5 8 ounce cans Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
4 cups Dr. Pepper
3 tsp Garlic Powder
4 tsp Cumin
3 tsp Molasses
Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Lettuce
Sour Cream



Mix garlic powder, cumin, molasses, tomato sauce, brown sugar, and Dr. Pepper in a large bowl.
Pour mixture over pork roast and cook in crock pot on low 6 - 7 hours.
Shred meat, return to crock pot and cook 1 hour in the sauce on low.
Keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve in tortillas.
Garnish with shredded cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.


NOTE: This recipe made a lot of sauce. I used a little more than half to cook the pork roast which was between 4 and 5 pounds. Since pork roasts are pretty fatty, I dumped the sauce it cooked in, and put in the remaining sauce once the meat was shredded. My boys loved it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crock Pot Recipes - 2nd group of three; all Chicken

Three Easy Chicken recipes-----
The first recipe came in a booklet with my original crock pot. One of the reasons I like it is the absence of pineapple juice. One thing that bugs me is when recipes are called "Hawaiian" or "Tropical" when there's pineapple juice added to a very non-traditional dish that no one eats in the islands. You may wonder why OJ doesn't bother me. For some reason it doesn't.
The next one is written in my book by hand and I have no idea where I got it; probably on-line. The last is from the same book I listed in the first post.

Once again, I have tried all of these and my family likes them.

AND - All of these are fairly easy.

Chicken with Tropical BBQ sauce
1/4 c. molasses
2 T cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
1/8 - 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
2 T orange juice
3 whole bone in chicken breasts, halved
Combine all but chicken in a 2 c. glass measuring cup. Arrange rinsed and dried (w/ paper towel) chicken in crock pot. Brush sauce over chicken. Flip and repeat. Cover and cook on Low 7-9 hours or High 3-4 hours.
Sauce is also excellent over ribs or chops.

Whole Chicken Crock Pot Recipe (p. 194)
1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried (w/ paper towel)
4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion pwd
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic pwd
1/4 c. minced dried onions

You can substitute the whole chicken with a crock pot full of chicken drumsticks (w/ bones of course). Rub spices on chicken. Place onion on bottom. Place chicken on top. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom (p. 178)
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
12 oz jar mushroom gravy
1 c milk
8 oz pkg cream cheese, cubed (not fat free)
4 1/2 oz can chopped green chilies (opt.)
1 pkg dry Italian salad dressing
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on Low 6 hours. Serve over noodles or rice.

My variation-
Use 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 pkgs Country Gravy mixed with water (as pkg directs) but not cooked
1 tsp each- garlic, pepper, oregano
16 oz Ricotta (do not substitute cottage cheese)
1/3 c. Italian dressing (already mixed)
Combine all ingredients. Cook on High for 3 hours.

Crock Pot Favorites - 1st three

I'll be doing a small cooking class soon, so I thought I'd post some of my favorite slow cooking recipes on here for class members. I have made all of these recipes myself.

Great tip: I find if the meat is already to go (either cooked and frozen or in the fridge) it's a lot easier to throw together. When my week is really busy, I look at my menus for the week and cook my meats for them on the weekend. Then I freeze the items that are for meals three days + out. The rest are fine in the fridge. Saves a lot of dishes and at least 15 min per meal; even when I'm not using my crock pot.

The first three are: Sloppy Joes, Fajitas, and Scandanavian Beans. They are listed from easiest to most difficult. All of these come from my cookbook- Fix It and Forget It by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. I strongly suggest you get a copy of it.

I have tweaked one a bit. If I put optional that means it's in the original recipe but when I make it I don't do it. One more note- I always use apple cider vinegar. In my world, the white stuff is really meant for cleaning- not eating.

Nan's Sloppy Joes (p. 132) - I'm cooking this tonight for us
1 lb cooked ground beef
1 onion chopped (or 2T dried)
3/4 c. ketchup
1-2T chili sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T prepared mustard
1 T vinegar
1 T sugar
6-8 buns
Once your ground beef (and fresh onion if used) is browned and drained, combine all ingredients into crock pot. Cover and cook on Low 4-5 hrs or High for 2-2.5 hrs. Serve on buns.

Fajitas (variation on Mexican Pot Roast found on p. 102)
2 lb. Fajita beef meat strips (replaces 3 lbs beef brisket in recipe)
2 T oil
1/2 c. slivered almonds (opt.)
1 1/2 c. salsa
2 T vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each: cinnamon, thyme, oregano
1/8 tsp each: ground cloves, pepper
1/2-3/4 c water as needed

12-15 flour tortillas
Other additions as desired to make the fajitas

Brown beef in pan with oil. combine remaining ingredients in slow cooker. Add cooked beef. Cover. Cook on High for 2 hrs. Then switch to Low for another 1 hour. Serves 10.
Fills 12-15 tortillas.

Scandinavian Bean (p. 206) - freezes well;
great way to use up remaining Easter ham.
1 lb dried pinto beans
6 cups water
12 oz bacon or 1 ham hock
1 onion, chopped (or 2 T dried)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I keep mine in the freezer, peel what I need and then use a cheese grater when it's still frozen - much cleaner)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. molasses
Tabasco to taste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Soak beans in water in soup pot for 8 hours. Drain water and replace with fresh. (if needed: three remedies for avoiding unwanted side affects while eating beans- add peeled and sliced apple or carrot or 1/2 tsp ginger). Bring beans (and either of first two items above, if added) to a boil and cook 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until soft. Drain, reserving liquid. Combine all ingredients (including ginger if wanted) in slow cooker, using just enough boiled bean liquid to cover everything. Cook on low 5-6 hours. If using ham hock, debone, cut ham into bite sized pieces and mix into beans.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Salt Lake area Food Coop

It didn't take them long..there's a new Food Coop replacing the one that just closed. I haven't ordered from them yet, since it just barely started, but I'll let you know how they compare to the Crossroads Community Coop I've done for years. Go to www.thecommunitycoop.org for more info. It looks like this one has the same headquarters and pick ups can be twice a month. The first pick-up is scheduled for March 17th.

Great Yahoo Financially Fit Article - Avoiding Costly Home Repairs

Check out this great article on avoiding costly home repairs... http://financiallyfit.yahoo.com/finance/article-113696-11424-2-how-to-avoid-costly-home-repairs

For a quick overview they cover these major check-ups..
1- Inspect Your Foundation
2- Routinely Unclog Your Gutters
3- Look For Exterior Leaks
4- Inspect Your Roof
5- Change Heating or Furnace Filters
6- Replace Hoses in Laundry Room
7- Remove Build-Up in Your Water Heater

Hope this helps someone out there. Otherwise, it's a great reminder for me to look at later.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

PBS recently compared healthy and unhealthy fruits and veggies to buy. Go to http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/the-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-of-produce/616/ to see the details. How does this have to do with frugality? Produce as many on the dirty list as you can that your family eats - using no or little pesticides, then bottle them or freeze them and you've got your organic version. Good luck. Never too early to start thinking about that Spring garden. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Food Co-op

I'm sad to say I had to take the link to the Crossroads Urban Center Food Co-op off of my site. This is their last month. It's not financially sustainable; which is sad. Very sad. Thank you Food Co-op for many months of fun produce I may not have tried on my own; great local honey and wonderful Nutty Guys samplers. Our home will miss you.

Homemade Cake Mixes - good for dry mix on top too

I did some research to make cake mixes from scratch and got these two. You can do all the dry ingredients ahead of time and then mix them up - just like store bought- later.

Chocolate:

From http://www.choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com/making-your-own-cake-mix/
Making Your Own Cake Mix
I never buy commercial cake mixes, but I do make my own cake mixes because they’re great for those times when I’m really in a hurry, need something for snacks or dessert, and have little time for baking. The from scratch cake mix I like best of all is for an easy but delicious chocolate cake. I double the recipe and make up several bags of this mix at a time. It’s as simple as measuring the dry ingredients — 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 8 tablespoons of cocoa, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, and 2 teaspoons of salt — into plastic bags. To make the cake mix into cake, add 2 cups of cold water, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 3/4 cup of oil, and stir just enough so the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed… and that’s it!
Each bag of this cake mix makes two dozen cupcakes or two eight inch square cakes. I hope you will try this, because although this recipe is simple, the cake is wonderful. It is everyone’s favorite chocolate cake here!
I like to heat-seal or vacuum-seal the bags because then they can be stored flat and don’t take up much space in the cupboard, but of course you could also use Ziploc bags or bags with twist ties. I put a label on each bag listing the wet ingredients to be added and the amounts.


From http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/homemade-yellow-cake-mix/

Yellow:

How to make Homemade Yellow Cake Mix:(This is the standard size mix for recipes calling for an 18.25 ounce mix.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and non-fat dry milk. Store in an airtight container or baggie. Keeps well in the pantry for months!

To replace in recipes calling for a standard-size 18.25 ounce store-bought yellow cake mix:
Use in any recipe calling for a yellow cake mix as a base (add 1 teaspoon vanilla to the recipe along with the cake mix as the recipe will assume vanilla was included in the store-bought mix).
Or to make a basic yellow cake, use the following instructions.

Cake mix directions:.
1 recipe Homemade Yellow Cake Mix
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs

Place Homemade Yellow Cake Mix in a bowl. Add water, vanilla, butter, and eggs. Combine with an electric mixer then beat two more minutes. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 350-degrees, using these baking times (watch carefully as your oven may vary–test for doneness using a toothpick):
8″ or 9″ cake rounds — 20-25 minutes
13 x 9 pan — 35-40 minutes
cupcakes — 12-15 minutes
tube/bundt pan — 45-50 minutes
Don’t over bake! You’ll dry out your cake.

Enjoy! No preservatives and additives and coloring included.

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