Monday, October 30, 2006

Queso Dip

This is one of our all time favorite appetizers. You can make it with real cheese or processed american cheese. The results will be different depending on which cheese you choose. Cheddar provides exceptional depth of flavor but the dip is a little bit grainy (you can toss the shredded cheese with a couple tablespoons of flour to minimize the graininess). Velveeta is super easy but it lacks some of the character and sharpness you get with the cheddar.
1 pound cheese
1 can cream of chicken or celery soup
1 large can chopped green chiles
1 fresh ripe tomato or 1 15 oz can of Rotel (Diced tomatoes with chiles)
If you're in a hurry microwave all the ingredients in a casserole dish for about 8 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes. If you're not in a hurry, and want an easy way to serve the dip, place the ingredients in a crock pot about 2 hours before you want to serve it. Set the crock pot on warm once everything has melted and keep the lid on as much as possible in order to avoid a skin forming over the cheese. We plug the crockpot in and place it on one of the end tables next to the couch when we have company. Serve with tortilla chips. Leftovers are great incorporated into chicken enchiladas or on tacos.

Mandarin Orange Cake

Yet another recipe from Genaura. I think I'll make this for Chris's birthday at home.
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
2 eggs
mandarin orange juice + water to = 1 1/3 cups
Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into a prepared 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Frost with:
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped or 9 oz. cool whip
1 small package instant pudding
15 oz crushed pineapple

Black Bottom Cupcakes

This is another recipe from Genaura. It's great for a chocolate fix!
1 oz cream cheese
1 egg 1
1/3 Cups sugar
pinch of salt
6 oz chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1 Tbsp vinegar
Blend cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar and salt until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and set aside. In mixing bowl sift together dry ingredients and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir in liquid ingredients. Mix until smooth. Fill paper cups 1/3 full with batter. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with sugar and chopped almonds if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Easy Easy Biscuit Mix Cookies

I've made mine with banana creme pudding but you could use any flavor.

Banana Creme Cookies

1 1/2 c biscuit mix
1/2 c milk
1/4 c sugar
1 pkg banana creme instant pudding mix
1 egg
about 1/2 bag candy kisses

Combine all ingredients except kisses. Beat well until mixed. Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Put 1 unwrapped kiss in center of each cookie. Bake 8-10 minutes in 400 degree oven until slightly brown. Makes about 3 dozen.

***Janet thought butterscotch pudding with peanuts would be good.

Super Good Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Cherry Rhubarb Upside down Cake

1 cake mix
5 cups cut rhubarb, about 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups mini marshmallows
3 oz box jello (we use cherry)

Place rhubarb in bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle sugar over rhubarb. Cover with marshmallows. Sprinkle with the jello powder.

Mix up your cake mix according to box directions. Pour batter over the ingredients allready in the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. The top will turn a deep brown early but don't take it out.

When done let set 5-10 minutes, than turn out onto a platter if desired. We don't turn it out, instead we just serve it out if the glass pan and turn each piece as it's put onto the plate.

If you use a metal pan you have to turn it out!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Easiest Chicken Enchilads EVER!

I got this one from my cousin. I make it for new moms and get rave reviews.

2-4 large boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can of refried beans (regular size)
grated cheese
flour tortillas
1 large can of enchilada sauce (red or green)
hot sauce (if desired)
Optional toppings: tomatoes, olives, green onions, sour cream

Boil chicken until fully cooked. Let cool. Shred chicken in bowl and mix in refried beans and some cheese (however much you want of each), just make sure the chicken is coated with the beans. Add hot sauce if desired. Spoon into tortilla and wrap up like a burrito. Place in a 9x13 pan. Cover with enchilada sauce. (make sure all tortillas are covered or they come out crusty).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. The last 15 minutes of cooking, add the toppings of your choice, except sour cream wait until the end for that. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Decadently Easy Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. (You can use the broiler, but be super careful not to burn it, and if you have a low setting use it. If it does burn you can actually scrape if off after it cools and start over.) Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bagel Breakfast Sandwiches

Today my husband wasn't feeling well so I let him pick what was for dinner and this is what he picked. We don't have these very often, and I know it sounds more like a breakfast thing, but at our house most breakfast foods (pancakes, omelets etc) actually get fixed for dinner way more often than for breakfast.

Bagel, cut in half and toasted.

Place cooked bacon slices on one side and cheese on the other.

Whisk and egg on a bowl and pour into a heated skillet. I let it run and cook it flat like the beginning of an omelet. When fully cooked I fold it in 1/4s with a spatula, than place on top of the bacon. Topping with cheese and bagel top.

Aunt Jean's Cranberry Chicken

My great-aunt Jean, Grandma Canfield's sister, has made this chicken recipe for years. It's the ace in the hole she pulls out whenever she needs to entertain but just doesn't want to spend the time making something difficult. The appeal to this dish is tri-fold. First, it requires minimal preparation. Second, it dirties very few dishes. Third, it's delicious and so simple that you're never suprised by varied outcomes. It will always taste and look lovely.
6 chicken breast halves (you can pound them flat and roll them into little square bundles if you're so inclined)
2 Tbsp butter
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1-2 boxes Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix
chicken broth
Place the rice and seasoning mix in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Arrange the chicken on top of the rice. Melt the butter and mix it with the worchestershire sauce and cranberry sauce. Pour the sauce mixture over the top of the chicken (I also add a can of chicken broth/box of rice to the pan before before pouring the cranberry sauce on top). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-60 minutes until the chicken is done (time will depend on how big the breasts are and whether or not you flattened them).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pumpkin Pie variation

My family has a slight variation on pumpkin pie that is a huge hit.

In your basic pie recipes, both for fresh or canned, replace the evaporated milk with egg nog when it's available! It just add that little extra something.

Did You Know You Can Make Pumpkin Pie Out Of Real Pumpkins?

My husband is a pumpkin pie connoisseur. He loves the slimey pastey things. Though I am far from picky, I detest pumpkin pie. However, I have now discovered that a pie made from fresh pumpkin is tolerable to my palate and superb to the rest of my family. I have tried this recipe twice. Once with a regular old pumpkin out of my garden and once with a sweet pumpkin I purchased at the grocery store for $1.09. Both resulted in rave reviews. So, if you like pumpkin pie and have never made it out of a real pumpkin, here is the technique.

And it only takes about 60-90 minutes or so start to finish.

Preheat your oven to 425.

First, cut the pumpkin in half lenthgthwise. Pull off the stem and scrape out the seeds and as much of the stringy stuff as you can get out (an icecream scoop works nicely).

Next, cut the halves into quarters or so and microwave them, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, on high power or until nice and smooshy.

Then, scrape the meat off the rind (those big spoons work nice, the kind you don't use for cereal, I think they are soup spoons, but I don't use them for that either). You will need about 3 cups of pumpkin goo and a pretty small pumpkin does it surprisingly well.

Get out your handy dandy blender or food processor (or a hand mixer if your patient). In it dump:

3 cups freshly cooked pumpkin goop
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1.5 cans (12 oz size) evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt

Mix well until smooth. Place pie crust on oven rack and pour pie filling into pie crust (I make the pie crust while the pumpkin is in the microwave, multi-tasking). My husband like it nice and thick, so I fill it up to about a quarter inch from the top. CAREFULLY push the oven rack in - it sloshes. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 250 and bake for another 20-30 minutes (the recipe I went off of said 45-60, but that was too long) - insert a butter knife; if it's done it should come out clean.

I got this recipe off and they had lots of pictures and great instructions. And, my husband said my pie was a 9 out of 10 and he can't give out a 10 until he is dead, thereby having tasted all the pumpkin pie he will taste and able to judge which was the best.

It was fun to make - my four year old got to see the plant life cycle from seed to pie. Worth the effort.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tonight's dinner!!!

It's been a long time since I've made this but I had to get a new bottle of paprika and it reminded me of this recipe.

Chicken Paprikash

2-2 1/2 pounds skinless chicken
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 to 4 teaspoons paprika
1 cup chicken broth
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot egg noodles or rice

In a skillet cook chicken in oil until slightly browned, turning to brown evenly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.

Add onions and paprika to skillet, cooking till onion is tender. Add chicken turning pieces to coat with paprika mixture. Add Broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or till chicken is no longer pink.

Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm. Add water if necessary to juice to get about 1 1/2 cups. Stir flour into sour cream, gradually add to juice mixture in skillet. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.

Spoon sauce over chicken and noodles or rice.

Question for Janet

Janet what was your recipe for the cranberry chicken that you used to make in the dorms?

Dave's Favorite Acorn Squash

Dave's not terribly fond of squash but even he gets excited when we make this acorn squash. The recipe is deceptively simple, but many of the best things in life are the simple ones. I find it much easier to cook acorn squash this way than to try and cut the skin off while it's still raw.
Acorn squash, cut in half
1-2 Tbsp butter/half
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar/half
Arrange the acorn squash in a pan with the cut sides up. If the halves rock or are unsteady cut a small slice off the bottom to help them balance. Generously salt each half of the squash (about as much salt as you'd use on a raw potato of equal size). Place a pat of butter in each half. Sprinkle the brown sugar into the middle of the squash (don't place on top edge because it will burn away from the butter).Cook these in the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes - 1 hour. They are also good in the microwave.Place a few tablespoons water in the bottom of the pan and then microwave for about 10-15 minutes or until the squash is soft. Serve the squash intact and then use your fork to pull the meat down into the syrup at the base.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

As I prepared this evening's dinner I was, once again, amazed at the versatility of mushroom soup (which we buy by the case). Today I am cooking in the crock pot (imagine that) but this also works well in a covered skillet if you brown your chops first and then cook for another 45 minutes with the rest of the ingredients, until they're nicely done and not a food poisoning danger any longer (check your thermometer if you're uncertain)
Pork Chops (we like 1" thick, center cut chops)
Cream of mushroom soup (I use 1 can for every 4 pork chops)
Onion, sliced (as much as you like)
Worchestershire Sauce (a few splashes)
Sour cream - 2 Tbsp or so (optional, add at the end)
Layer the ingredients in the crock pot in the order listed. Turn it on and wait 4-6 hours. If you would like your gravy a little bit more rich add the sour cream - we usually don't. I serve this dish with skillet potatoes. Cut the potatoes in half and score them diagonally both directions across the cut surfaces (make a grid). melt about 1/2 stick of butter in your skillet and cook with the lid closed about 30 minutes or until done. Turn the potatoes half way through cooking. Do not layer the potato halves. Works best with small potatoes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Great Baked French Toast

Crème Brulee French Toast
Works really well for Christmas morning!

1 1/2 C. HALF x HALF


Melt the butter and add the sugar and corn syrup. Stirring constantly. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with the mixture. Cut the French bread in 2 "slices and place in the pan.

Mix the eggs, half x half and vanilla with a little salt. Pour this over the top of the bread and refrigerate overnight. Bake for 1 hour in a 350 oven.

Janet I found the carrot recipe!!!

Glazed Carrots

1 lb baby carrots
3 tbls butter
2 1/2 tbls brown sugar
1 tbls dijon mustard

Microwave carrots till crisp tender about 6-8 minutes. I have also done this recipe with cooked frozen carrots.

In a skillet melt butter- stir in brown sugar and mustard to make a smooth sauce, Add carrots and toss. Cook one more minute.

Wild Rice Casserole

You can tell I'm thinking of the holidays. My family tends to make this on semi special occassions, not because it's difficult, but because it can be hard to find wild rice sometimes, so we hoarde our stashes sent from Minnesota.

1 cup chedder grated
1 cup chopped ripe olives
1 cup diced or stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup wild rice, washed and soaked
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup hot water
salt and pepper

Saute mushrooms. Drain water from rice. Mix all ingredients in an ungreased casserole dish, saving a little cheese to garnish the top later. Stir in hot water to keep moist.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Hot Artichoke Dip (soooo good)

This is a great dip if your having company.

1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup minced parsly
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
dash of salt and pepper
3/4 cup mayo or miracle whip
1 cup parmessan

preheat oven to 375 degrees ( we have done this in a little dip crockpot, but you have to watch that is doesn't dry out)

Chop artichokes semi-finely. Mix artichokes and remaining ingredients, except paprika. Spread in a baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Serve with sliced bread of crackers.

One of my Favorite Cookies

These are wonderful delicate and flakey little cookies that look really cute if you use cookie stamps.

1 c powdered sugar
1 c white sugar
1 c butter
1 c vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl cream these ingredients.

2 eggs - beat into sugar mixture

4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp vanilla

Add to bowl and mix well.

Roll dough into small balls, and place on cookie sheet. Flatten with a sugared glass bottom of cookie stamp.

Bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes, until golden.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thanks for the baked potato soup recipe

It was really yummy!!! First time my hubby liked potato soup:)

Taco Chicken Soup (Crockpot style)

One can each of the following:
red kidney beans
garbanzo beans
black beans
pinto beans
(or mix and match your favs of course)

2 lg cans diced, stewed tomatoes
1 pkg taco seasoning (or if you're like me and you don't buy taco seasoning, see recipe below)
1 pkg dry ranch seasoning mix
Approx. 4 cut-up chicken breasts (either raw or cooked. I never do 4 I do 2 and I never pre-cook either).

Toss it all in the crockpot and cook all day till you're ready to eat!

Taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili pdr
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp cayenne (i never have this, it's fine without)
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp minced garlic

Pumpkin Cookies

It's that time of year!:)

1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 lg eggs
1 C mashed pumpkin (a plentiful cup:)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
1 Tbsp baking pdr
1 1/2 C walnuts AND/OR CHOCOLATE CHIPS (hint, hint, nudge)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Beat first 3 ingredients. Add vanilla and stir in pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add. Bake in greased pan at 375 for 12-14 min.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Easy, Wonderful Frosting

After taking a cake decorating project in 4-H and getting to eat all my frosting mistakes I've developed an aversion to buttercream frosting. It's ok in small quantities but certainly not anything that I really crave anymore. This frosting is one I really like to pair with white cake and fresh berries, but it's just generally good (although high in fat) and we love it on everything we've ever tried it on (including waffles).
1 pint whipping cream
1 small package instant pudding (usually vanilla or cheesecake flavor, lemon's good too)
Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in instant pudding mix. If the whipped cream is too stiff when you add the pudding your frosting will be a little bit lumpy but still good. If the cream's not quite stiff enough let the frosting sit for a few minutes after you add the mix and you'll have really thick, rich pudding.
I've been wanting to try making a chocolate cake with chocolate pudding frosting and topped with cherry pie filling. For Sam's birthday I make white cake and use cheesecake pudding mix; and top the cake with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Jake's birthday cupcakes were strawberry ice cream cone cupcakes with vanilla whipped cream frosting, sprinkles and maraschino cherries.

Great Grandmother Canfield's Kolache

When my mother was a young girl she worked hard to get a written recipe for these kolache. Her grandmother prepared them for special occasions and they are a family favorite. However, like many very old recipes there was nothing written down and the instructions were along the lines of, "add flour until the dough looks like this," "at this point the dough should feel like this," "the prunes should be just this consistency..." So Mom watched and tried to estimate measurements. Then she went home and got her mother to help her experiment until they made Kolache like her grandmother's and had measured quantities and more specific directions. These are a traditional Bohemian treat that has been passed down in our family for generations. Some Americanized versions call for an apricot or cherry topping, but we stick with the traditional prune filling. Many thanks to Mom and Grandma for documenting this lovely roll recipe. The recipe can be halved if you want to make the dough in your bread machine (but the texture is finer if you make it by hand).
3/4 Cup shortening
1 Cup boiling water
1 tsp salt
1/2 Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Cup cold water
2 packages yeast
6 Cups flour
Mix shortening with salt and boiling water. Let cool. Add sugar, eggs, and cold water (which has been standing for 5 minutes with the yeast and 1tsp sugar dissolving). Add flour. Mix. Let rise in a greased bowl until double in size. Punch down. Turn out onto floured board and let rest 10 minutes. Roll 1/4" thick. Cut with a 2" biscuit cutter (we use a greased drinking glass).
While the dough is rising make the filling.
3/4 pound prunes (cover with water and cook until tender, then chop or grind- reserve liquid to thin filling). Add spices to chopped fruit. Use enough reserved liquid to make a spreadable filling.
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves or allspice
1 Cup sugar
Put the dough circles on a greased pan about 1" apart to rise. Press lightly leaving a small ridge around the edge. Spread with filling. Sprinkle with fresh bread crumbs and dot with butter. Let rise until double. Bake in a 350 degree oven until brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Genaura's Apple Crumble

This is the most amazingly easy and delicious apple recipe I've ever tried. My family is addicted to pie but they have a hard time deciding between apple pie and apple crumble. We grow our own Lodi apples and prepare them for pies by peeling, slicing, and seasoning them(we use flour, sugar, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and salt). Then we line pie plates with two long strips of foil and pour enough apples into each plate to make a generous pie. Fold the foil over the top of the apples, freeze the "pies", dump the frozen goodies into a gallon freezer bag and then when you need a wonderful desert fast, dump the frozen glob into a prepared piecrust or a casserole dish and make crumble or crisp. For this crumble I place the frozen apples into the skillet that came with my cookware set (I think it's 12"). I double the crumble ingredients when making crumble with one of our prepared pies.
4 Cups sliced, peeled apples
1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp water
Cook in saucepan until apples soften and sauce begins to thicken (I've never actually done this because I always use our prepared pies from the freezer).
1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 Cup butter, melted
Toss the crumble ingredients together until mixed. Cover the apples with crumble topping and cook until lightly browned (about an hour if you're using frozen apples, I'm sure it will be considerably shorter with fresh, cooked apples... I neglected to write that part of the recipe down). I cook this in a 350 degree oven.

Never Fail Piecrust

This recipe came from my college roomate Genaura Lee. We had an agreement, I would cook and she would clean. She didn't really think she liked cooking but she did come to school with a recipe box full of tried and true recipes from her mother. I thought my piecrust was great, she very nicely asked me to try her mother's recipe. I never again used the recipe from my family. This pastry is rich and flaky (very flaky). It is so forgiving that I've even rolled the dough twice (think dropping rolled piecrust on counter and tearing it apart, then re-rolling) and had it turn out. The original recipe says it makes 4 9" crusts but we really like crust so I get 2 10" crusts and a nice sized cinnamon sugar scrap crust out of this recipe. Dave's very fond of thick edges on the crusts so when I trim the pastry after placing it in the pie plate I leave about a 1" overhang and then turn it under the rest of the dough. This also makes it easier to pinch the crust and make a pretty edge. I also find it easiest to roll the dough between two silicone baking sheets with just a sprinkling of flour. The dough peels right off and you don't have an excess of flour making the pastry tough or dusty.
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 Cups Shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 Tbsp vinegar
4 Tbsp cold water
Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter or two knives until coarse crumbs are formed. Combine egg with water and vinegar, drizzle over the flour mixture. Mix lightly until flour is all moistened and holds together in a ball. If too soft to roll, cover and chill for a short while.


I think it would be fun if we had a weekly or bi-weekly challenge to encourage us to try unfamiliar foods. I don't know if we should vote on a particular ingredient or cuisine we'd like to try (think eggplant or asian cooking) or if it should be a more general challenge just to try something new and then report on your results. This could be our opportunity to experiment and justify it to our husbands as being a challenge (they understand dares). Make up your own recipes, find something new to try online, or ask a friend for a tried and true recipe they make. What do you guys think? Is this something you would be interested in?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hey My Awesome Contributors

I am compiling all our recipes into Word so as to format them into a cook book more easily (a project I should have started 2 months ago). Can I just make a couple of requests ... please post recipes as posts, not as a comment, feel free to do more than one recipe per post, but keep them up as posts even if they are in response to a recipe request. Also, if after you post, you realize you missed an ingredient or a step or have some alternate serving suggestions or anything that would contribute to the recipe, please take a second to go back to your post and edit it. I'm going to change the archive to weekly instead of monthly and copy the recipes over to the word program once a week and uniformly format them. I have already copied over all the recipes so far and gone through the comments for alternate serving suggestions, etc. So just take these suggestions from now on.

Also, as far as formatting and cookbook stuff goes ... what's your favorite organizational method? By main ingredient, by type of dish (main, side, dessert), random, other? Oh, and try to give your recipes a sassy descriptive yummy name - even if you just call it hamburger and rice-a-roni, adjectives do wonders for me when I'm looking for a recipe. I'll make Super Amazing Chocolate Chips Cookies way sooner than just chocolate chip cookies. And I love the story behind the recipe stuff we get occasionally, makes things more personal. And how concerned are you about being credited for the specific recipes you submit? Is it okay if all contributor names are on the cover and title page, but not on each specific recipe .. or maybe I want to give credit where it belongs so that the story behind the recipes make more sense .. not sure, what do you think?

Anyway, keep up the good work! Feel free to post your less than gourmet, every day meals, too, the fast and easy things you have found to fix. And if you find or hear or try something new that is fabu, make a post.

Finally - how many recipes should a cook book have, do you think? I'm sure the more the better (as long as it's not a bunch of repeats with slight variations, those bug me) but should we work hard and try to get enough to put a book together by Christmas (like a spiral bound kinkos special for friends and family) or be more relaxed and let it be until there are enough?

Did I ever tell you I was a control FREAK about projects? You shoulda seen me in my psych project groups and as primary pres. Yeah, unassuming little brandy .. perfectionist CONTROL FREAK! Forgive me my neurosis!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pizza dough

I used to run a pizza place back when I could handle a 9am to 3am shift. Those were the days. Sometimes think I could do it again. Then I wake up screaming. But I really really love pizza. Cheese pizza. And pepperoni anchovy. And taco. And just about anything. But a good pizza needs a good crust. So here are the best two I have found (I like 'em bready and not greasy).

Basic White Pizza Dough
(I'm quite lazy so I make the bread machine do all my mixing and kneading, you can do it the old fashioned way if you'd like, I will not support you in that choice, however!)

1 C warm water
2 T olive oil
1 t salt
2 t sugar
2 C flour
1 T yeast

If you do this in the bread maker, put it in in that order, put in on the dough mode and let her go. If you do it oldschool dissolve yeast, water and sugar until foamy (5-10 minutes). Gradually add flour and salt to yeast mixture. Knead 5-10 minutes. Cover bowl and let rise until double (45-1 hour).

Now, either method - Split in half, roll each out and put in greased pan. You can bake it now at 475 for 5-8 minutes for a crispier crust. Add the toppings and bake 8-12 minutes (melty cheese, nice and brown crust).

Whole Wheat (and delicious) Pizza Dough

1 1/2 C warm water
2 T sugar
1 T yeast
1 1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil
3 C bread flour
1 C whole wheat flour

same as above.

BBQ chicken pizza - Use leftover chicken and KC Masterpiece for the sauce, onions, olives, etc.

Taco Pizza - Use taco season ground beef, salsa for sauce, olives, onions. After cooked, top with shredded lettuce and tomatoes - serve with sour cream or ranch.

I just use a can of hunts pasta sauce for regular pizza sauce (my favorite is garden style, 3 cheese is good too).

Both these doughs also work great for breadsticks and cheese bread. Butter 'em up before and after cooking, bake with some garlic and Parmesan, crushed red peppers (if your brave). For dessert sticks, butter before and after then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on afterwards, dip in cream cheese frosting, mmm.

Now I have revealed my pizza secrets.

Brandy's favorite cookie recipes

These are two freaking awesome cookie bar recipes. I used to be all about the 50/50 chance that my cookies would work or would spread into a mass of grossness. NOW I just make one of these bar recipes and we eat like kings ... big, fat kings.

Little t mean teaspoon. A big T would mean tablespoon, I got lazy when typing this and thought perhaps I should clarify, just in case.

Super Amazing Peanut Butter Cookie Bars From Heaven

2 C flour
2 C oats
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 t soda
1 t salt
1 C butter (soft)
2/3 C peanut butter
2 eggs
1 bag chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate bestest)

Cream together butter and sugars. Mix in peanut butter. Blend in eggs. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt, soda). Beat dry stuff into creamy stuff. Press into pan (2-9X13s or 1 big old cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 (toothpick test). Melt chocolate chips (you can use 3 cups chips or 2 cups chips and 2/3 cup peanut butter (I use the peanut butter)) and frost the cookies with melted chocolate happiness. Refridgerate for a while to solidify things faster.

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (aka Kristi's To Die For Cookie Bars)

2 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 C dark brown sugar (or regular brown)
1 C butter (soft)
1 large egg
2 t vanilla
1 C chopped nuts (almonds are the best, toast them a bit in the oven first)
1 1/2 C chocolate chips (I once went with half white half semi-sweet)

Combine flour and soda, set aside. Cream together sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla until light and smooth. Add flour, nuts, and chocolate chips, do not over mix. Kristi puts it in an 8X8 which make very thick bars, I prefer a 9X13, and I bet a cookie sheet would work too. Bake at 300 for 35-45 in the 8X8, 25-30 in the 9X13 and I haven't tried a cookie sheet, so guess. Use the tooth pick test and you want it to be a little doughy in the middle, but not too much and not too dry.

Banana Snack Cake

Janet said that I needed to post this recipe, which I love to make when I need a sweet fix but want something at least a little better for you!

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk ( my family actually uses 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar)
1 cup bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour (I have also used 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup wheat flour)
1 cups oats
1 1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan. In a large bowl, combine margarine, sugar and eggs; mix well. Stir in buttermilk, bananas and vanilla; blend thoroughly. Stir in flour, oats, soda and salt; mix well. Stir in chips and nuts.

Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Zuppa Toscana Soup

This recipe is an Olive Garden Clone, that's wonderful. The only other note is that this recipe only makes three servings so you'll probably want to increase it.

1/2 pound hot italian sausage (2 large links)(I have used ground)
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon bacon bits
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium russet potato
2 cups kale

Saute the sausage until fully cooked.

Combine th echicken broth, milk, onion, bacon bits, salt and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat.

Quarter the potato lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Add to saucepan. When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat an d simmer for 30 minutes.

Cut the sausage at an angle into slaces. Add the sausage to the pan. Simmer for 1 hour, or until potato slices soften.

Add the kale to the soup and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 or until potatoes are soft.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I haven't posted for awhile, so I thought I better come up with somethin' good! Okay, here it is...probably the best recipe I have!


Pastry Dough (see recipe below0
10 strips bacon crisped (altho I often just use ham, like the lunchmeat kind cuz I'm lazy)
1 1/4 C Cheese (whatever you like. Swiss, Guyere, Cheddar, whatever)
5 Eggs
1 C whipping Cream or Half and Half (I think I've used all milk when out of cream)
1/2 C Milk
1/4 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 of a small Onion (optional)
1/2 C Broccoli finely chopped (optional)

Roll out pastry dough and fit to 10 in. quiche pan. Pinch tears together with a sprinkle of water.
Scatter bacon, cheese, other desired ingredients into the shell.
Beat eggs, cream, milk, salt, pepper just until blended.
Place on lowest oven rack (or the crust will burn, don't ask how I know;).
Bake at 350 for 1 hr.
Quiche is slightly puffed and appears set when shaken.
Let stand 10 min. before cutting or cool adn serve at room temp.
Can be refrig for 2 days and served cold.
8-10 course servings or 6 main dish.

Pastry Dough
1 1/2 C Flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C + 2 Tbsp Butter
1 egg

Cut butter into flour until it resembles fine crumbs. Add egg and stir with fork until dough holds together. Shape into a ball. Can be refrigerated 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using. Makes 1 1/2 cups (about enough for one quiche, I think).

Pasta e Fagioli

This is a favorite soup at our house. It's fast and tastes just like the soup at Olive Garden!

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 12-ounce can V-8 juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditali pasta

1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pot Roast Ideas

Hi, sorry I haven't added anything but I've been quilting and sewing, which at my house means I don't really cook. So I decided I owed my family a good meal.

My Aunt gave me these variations for roast, the first is how I do it, but I'll also list her other ideas. I love these recipes since I can just stick the roast in the oven frozen.

Version 1

1 frozen roast (either pork or beef work)
1 quartered onion
1 can soda (I have even used sprite and root beer on pork roasts)
Seasonings to taste (bayleaf, pepper, etc)

Bake st 350 degrees for 4 hours. I add potatoes and carrots for the last 40-30 minutes.

Version 2 (makes it's own gravy)

1 frozen pot roast
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
1-2 cans cream soup (depends on the size of your roast)

Bake at 350 degrees for 4 hours

Version 3 (makes it's own gravy also)

1 frozen pot roast
1 package lipton onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
can of soda

Bake at 350 degrees for 4 hours

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Chicken Salad

For lunch today we used last night's leftover roasted chicken and made chicken salad. I love to experiment and when I like the end result I try to write down what went into the mix. Usually I jot notes in my cookbook binder, but today I thought I'd try using our blog instead. Sorry the amounts are so general but I usually just add however much looks good at the time.
1/2 roasted chicken (I sprinkled it with Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash prior to roasting)
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 chopped red pepper
1 small apple, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
chopped pecans
Mix the ingredients in any order you wish. Toss with mayonaise. Sprinkle salt and sage in to suit your individual taste. Garnish with lettuce and extra apple slices. I think grapes would be good in here too, but we're out!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Horse Club Casserole

This is our favorite casserole. Grandma Canfield came up with it when she needed something to take to a potluck at one of Mom's horse club meetings when Mom was in high school.
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can corn
1/2 bottle chile sauce
1/2 package crinkly egg noodles, cooked (about 3 cups prepared...give or take a cup)
Saute onions and peppers. Brown the beef. Add corn, chili sauce and noodles. Pour into casserole dish and top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Seasoned Bread

This is one of my favorite bread side dishes. It's perfect with spaghetti but we also eat it by itself for a snack sometimes.
1 loaf french bread
1/4 Cup Butter
Johnny's Salad Elegance
Parmesan Cheese
Soften the butter and sprinkle a generous amount of Salad Elegance and cheese into the spread. It should make a nice thick paste. Spread slices of bread with the spread and reassemble the loaf on a piece of foil. Spread remaining paste over the top of the loaf (make more if you need to) and close the loaf in the foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Open the foil and continue baking 5 more minutes until the top is crisp and the loaf is warm throughout. Sometimes I make it without the cheese.

Sam's Salmon

We make this for Sam's birthday every year. It's so easy we also make it whenever we crave fish and don't have much time to make dinner. Even counting thawing the fish we can make dinner in half an hour. I really like the flash frozen fillets you can buy at Costco. That way you have individual servings and can keep the fish on hand all the time.
Salmon fillets (or steaks)
Johnny's Salad Elegance Seasoning
Lemon Pepper
Place a pat of butter on each fillet. Sprinkle liberally with Salad Elegance and lemon pepper. I make a tray out of foil with turned up sides to hold the extra butter when we grill the fish. This also keeps the salmon from sticking to the grill. Dave soaks wood chips while I'm thawing the fish and puts them on the grill. We mostly close the vents on the grill so that the fish cooks slowly and gets a wonderful smoky flavor. It's done when the fish flakes. I also make this in the oven when I'm too lazy to grill. It doesn't get the smoked flavor but is still exceptional. I place the fish in a casserole dish and bake it at about 375 degrees.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brandy's caramel Popcorn

I'm sure you think caramel popcorn is caramel popcorn, but here is my recipe and I love it and it's gooey and delicious and I think I will make some as soon as I finish my post (when I'm excited my sentences tend to run-on):

2 Cups Brown Sugar
2/3 Cups Maple Syrup (the same stuff you pour on pancakes)
1/2 Cup butter (I prefer butter over margarine, but either works)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups popcorn kernels

Pop the popcorn (I use the glorious air popper or just do 2-3 bags microwave). Bring the sugar, butter and syrup to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, add the soda and stir until nice and foamy. Pour over popcorn, mix, and enjoy.

Ranch CHEESY Chicken by request

This one's a little tricky cuz I lost the recipe and I never measure anything anways, so the GOOD NEWS is that you too can save those measuring cups (less to wash, right!) and you really can't go wrong with this one anyway.

Chicken Breasts (I do boneless, skinless, and I usually do 4 at a time)
Egg Whites
Dry Ranch Dressing packet (I usually use half, so I can use it twice)
*Shredded Cheddar
Saltines, smashed into pieces

Butter casserole dish (I use the square glass kind for this) and preheat oven to 375-ish, I think (don't loose confidence in me now, though, I promise it's worth the experimentation!) Beat egg whites slightly. First dip chicken in egg whites, then sprinkle with Ranch dressing, cover in *shredded cheese, and dip into cracker crumbs and place in dish. Do this for each piece of chicken of course and then bake until it's done:)

*Whoa! I just read over this recipe and realized I forgot to put cheese in it!!! Oh, dear:O)
****I've also discovered that this method of coating is excellent for an Italian Chicken dish. I use the beaten egg whites, then I dip the chicken in Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I just buy these) and then I pan sear (put them in hot oil) to seal in the chicken juices while pre-heating the oven to 375. Then I bake them until they are done all the way through. At the last minute, I pour on a little marinara sauce (again, I just buy this) and a slice of MOZARELLA--yum! And just bake until the cheese is melty.

Monday, October 02, 2006

For Janet

A little different baked chicken.

I don't remember the amounts so it's just what you like.

Mix Miracle Whip (can use mayo), parmesan cheese and whatever seasonings you like. I use paprika, pepper and Mrs.Dash.

In the last 15 minutes of baking spread this mixture over chicken breasts or thighs, it makes a really nice and zesty crust.

More Casseroles

Here's two of my family's favorite casseroles

Chicken Enchilada Hotdish

3 cups chicken/turkey cooked and cut-up
1-2 T margarine
1 large onion, sliced
2 cans cream of chicken soup (or) homemade white sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chedder cheese, grated
1 can green chiles
Seasonings to taste - chili powder, garlic, cayenne pepper
Tortilla chips

Saute meat and onions in margarine. Add remaining ingredients (except tortilla chips)

Place a layer of tortilla chips in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour warm meat mixture over chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes

Broccoli and Chicken Casserole

Cook and drain broccoli, arrange in a buttered 9x13 pan

Layer 3 cups cooked chicken/turkey (great after Thanksgiving) on top.

In a saucepan mix 2 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 1/2 cups grated cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted. Pour over broccoli and meat.

In a skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in 1 1/4 cups bread cubes. Saute till browned. Pour on top of cheese mixture.

Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Caramel Corn

This is our favorite fall treat! It's extra special when you take the easy way out and use microwave popcorn (movie theater butter is good). People always ask for this recipe whenever anyone makes it and it's so easy it's amazing!
8 quarts popped corn or 4-5 bags microwave popcorn, popped
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Cup Margarine
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla
Mix the sugar, margarine, corn syrup and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda. Stir gently until well mixed, then pour over popcorn in large roaster. Bake 1 hour at 250 degrees. Stir every 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Casseroles Anyone?

Here are my favorite 2 casserole recipes! I'd love you hear your favorites too!

Chicken Curry Casserole

3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
4 C cooked rice
1 package of broccoli or fresh cut
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 cancream of chicken soup
1 C mayonnaise (i think i actually skimp a little here cuz i don't love mayonnaise)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp curry (or the more the better at our house:)
Cheddar Cheese (again, the more the better:)

Mix soups with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry. Add chicken to mixture to coat. In casserole dish layer half of the rice rice, half of the broccoli, then half of the soup mixture. Then make a second layer and shred cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 350 until warm all the way and it's good and bubbily. Not sure how long....probably 30 minutes-ish?

Arianne's Cheddar Chicken Casserole

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 C macaroni, cooked (I think i end up with 2-3 C cooked, I never measure:)
1/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3/4 C crushed cheez-its (optional, but yummy)

In a pan layer the macaroni, then spread grated cheese, then chicken, mix soup with 3/4ths of a can water and pour over the top. Top with crackers adn bake uncovered 350 for 30 min.

Janet's Easy Red Beans & Rice

Just a warning, Janet showed me how to make this in college and neither of us have written directions so this is a very loose recipe.

My version:

Easy Red Beans and Rice

1 polska kielbasa sausage sliced (Janet also uses ground beef)
1 can individual can of v-8 (can also use stewed tomatoes with juice)
1 can pinquitos, drained (little beans sort of like kidney beans but with additional seasoning)
1/2 cup water (only if using minute rice)
1 1/2 cups Minute Rice (or cooked regular rice)
Chili Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
dash of Tabasco

In a skillet or saucepan (with a cover) brown meat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Add spices to your taste. Let simmer covered till most of juice is absorbed. I simmer it for about 10 - 15 minutes, but I'm also high altitude.