Friday, December 31, 2010

Avocado Salsa


16 oz. frozen corn
1 large can sliced olives
1 red bell pepper- diced
1 small purple onion- diced
3-5 cloves garlic
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 large avocados- diced

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and allow to sit for at least 1 hour prior to serving. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Amish Breakfast Casserole

In my opinion you can never have too many breakfast casserole recipes. They are great for entertaining, holidays or just everyday. Here is another yummy one!


1 lb. breakfast meat (diced ham, bacon or sausage)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 c. frozen shredded hash browns, thawed 
6 eggs. lightly beaten
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/4 c. shredded swiss cheese
1 1/2 c. cottage cheese (small curd)

In large skillet cook meat and onion until meat is cooked through (or bacon crispy) and onion is soft. If using ham just cook the onion alone and add the ham with all other ingredients. In large bowl combine all other ingredients. Add meat and onions and pour all ingredients into lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's cooking?

I just finished my holiday baking yesterday and wish I could've posted these recipes and pictures sooner. I enjoy baking and how it makes my house smell so yummy and I enjoy sharing something I made myself with loved ones. NEXT, I try to get them out of my house ASAP, so I don't eat them all!!! I've posted most of the recipes here (and the others, I will soon):

Toffee

Merry Christmas! Thanks for following us here as we cook, bake, entertain, experiment and share our "keepers" with you! I've truly enjoyed checking back often to see what new recipes and pictures my sisters have posted as I try to keep it interesting in my kitchen. May your homes be filled with family, laughter, good food and memories this holiday season...

Love,
Alli

Lemon Poppy Seed Thumbprint Cookies

I love anything with lemon & poppy seeds! These can be made with either jam or lemon curd. Both are delicious!

          1/2 cup butter, softened
          1 cup powdered sugar
          1/2 cup canola oil
          1 egg
          1 tsp. vanilla
          2 1/3 cups flour
          1/2 tsp. salt
          2 Tbs. poppy seeds
          1 tsp. grated lemon peel
          Lemon juice (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
          1/2 cup bottled lemon curd or raspberry or cherry jam*

Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Beat in the oil, egg, vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour and mix well. Beat in poppy seeds and lemon peel. Add lemon juice 1 Tablespoon at a time until dough is the right consistency. Dough should be pliable and smooth.

Shape into 1" balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a clean finger or thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. *If using jam, spoon 1/4 tsp. of jam into each cookie. (If using lemon curd, wait to add until cookies and cooked and cooled.) Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until not quite brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

*If using lemon curd, spoon 1/4 tsp. into the center of each cookie when completely cool.  Sprinkle cooled cookies with powdered sugar, if desired. Makes 50-60 cookies.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Rods

Here's another fun goodie to make for neighbors and friends for the holidays... or just because! 

          1-2 bags pretzel rods
          1 (24 oz.) package chocolate (or white) almond bark
                (Can substitute 1 bag of white or milk chocolate chips, melted with 2 Tbs. vegetable shortening or oil)

Optional caramel layer:
          1 bag Kraft caramels, unwrapped and melted

Optional toppings:
          Candy Canes, crushed
          Coconut
          Nuts, chopped
          Mini M & Ms
          Oreos or graham crackers, crushed
          Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips, chopped
          Sprinkles or non-pareils

Drizzles:
          Chocolate (chips, mixed with a little shortening or oil, almond bark or baking discs for melting)

Lay out parchment paper on the counter or a cookie sheet. If doing a caramel layer, melt the caramel at short intervals (30-40 seconds) and stir in between heating until smooth. Pour melted caramel into a tall glass and dip pretzel rods, leaving a few inches of pretzel at the bottom. Hold upside-down over the glass until caramel stops dripping and wipe any drips on the cup. Set on parchment paper until set.

Next, melt chocolate at short intervals (30-40 seconds) and stir in between heating until smooth. Be careful not to overheat chocolate, or it will clump and burn. Pour melted chocolate into a tall glass and dip pretzel rods, holding upside-down until excess chocolate has stopped dripping.

Immediately roll in any toppings and set on parchment paper to set. After the chocolate layer is set, dip a fork into warm melted chocolate and drizzle the pretzels, if desired. Let pretzels sit until completely set. These can be wrapped up in gift bags, placed in a fun vase or tin or served on a plate!

Peanut Butter Squares

I remember loving these at my Aunt Susie's house when we were little.  My kids love them just as much today! Recipe from Susan Groesbeck.

          1 cup peanut butter
          1/2 cup honey
          1 cup powdered milk
          4 cups Rice Krispies

Mix peanut butter, honey and powdered milk together in a large bowl. Add Rice Krispies a cup at a time until you well-mixed and press into a lightly greased 8 x 8" pan. Chill and cut into squares.

Easy Pretzel Turtles


This year, I found this super easy recipe that I think will be a new tradition for our holiday baking! My daughter loved making them and we all love eating them. They are so easy and delicious and with chocolate drizzled on top, they look elegant. 

1 bag Rolo candies, unwrapped (about 50)
Mini pretzel squares or traditional mini pretzels (about 50)
Pecan halves (about 50)

Optional: White chocolate chips or White chocolate/ Candy Cane candy disc melts

Preheat oven to 300 F°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pretzels in a single layer on the cookie sheet and top each pretzel with a Rolo. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and press a pecan half onto each melted Rolo-covered pretzel.

If desired, melt about 1/2 cup of white chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave, heating and stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. Pour into a small plastic bag and cut off a small bit of one corner. Squeeze the bag of chocolate as you drizzle over the pretzels to make small parallel lines on top. Let candies sit on the counter for about an hour or refrigerate for about 25 minutes to set the chocolate. Store in an airtight container or place in mini baking cups to serve. Makes about 50 Pretzel Turtles.

    Herbed Cheese Pasta with Spinach & Chicken

    My Mother-in-Law gave me this recipe a few years ago. I hadn't made it in a while and when I made this for dinner this week, my son exclaimed, "This is my favorite food ever!" Recipe from Linda Elggren. 

              1/2 cup onion, chopped
              2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
              1/2 cup chicken broth
              1 (6.5 oz.) container light garlic & herbs spreadable cheese (such as Alouette)
              1 (6 oz.) package fresh baby spinach, stems removed
              3 cups hot cooked cavatappi or campanelle pasta (8 oz. uncooked)
              1 cup tomato, diced
              1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
              1/4 tsp. salt
              Fresh grated parmesan cheese

    Sauté onion in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray. Cook for 4 minutes, or just until tender. Add shredded chicken; sauté 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; add cheese, stirring until smooth. Add spinach and cook for 4 minutes, or until spinach just begins to wilt. Add pasta, tomato, pepper and salt; toss well. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

    Nutrition info: (per 2 cup serving) 388 calories, 11 g. fat, 48 g. carbohydrates, 6.8 g. fiber

    Mexi-Puff

    This reminds me of Chile Relleno. It would make a great brunch or a fun dinner! Recipe from Keeping Up Cookbook...

               12 eggs
               1/2 tsp. salt
               1/2 cup flour
               1 tsp. baking powder
               2 cups cottage cheese
               1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
               1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
               1/4 cup butter, melted (I omit and don't notice the difference)
               1 (4 oz.) can green chilies, drained

    Optional toppings:
               sliced avocados, salsa, sliced black olives & sour cream

    Preheat oven to 350° F. Whisk together eggs, then add remaining ingredients (except toppings). Pour into a greased 9 x 13" baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Serve warm with desired toppings. Serves 6.

    Smothered Chicken

    This is an fast and easy dinner that tastes like you slaved over it!   
    Recipe from my friend Kim Garner.       

              1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per person
              Barbecue sauce
    Optional toppings:
              Bacon, cooked and crumbled
              Green onions, sliced
              Sliced mushrooms, fresh or canned
              Shredded cheese

    Preheat oven to 350° F. Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased baking dish. Spread barbecue sauce over each chicken breast, then flip over with a fork and spread barbecue sauce on the other side. Sprinkle bacon, green onions and/or mushrooms over the chicken breasts. Bake for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.

    Sweet & Sour Sloppy Joes

    This is one of my daughter's favorite comfort foods! I hope you enjoy it too...

              1 pound ground beef
              1/2 cup onion, chopped
              1/2 cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted
              1/2 cup ketchup
              3 Tbs. grape jelly
              1 Tb. brown sugar
              1 Tb. apple cider vinegar
              1 Tb. mustard
              1/2 tsp. salt
              1/2 tsp. celery seed
              6 hamburger buns

    In a large skilled, cook beef & onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the remaining ingredients (except hamburger buns, of course). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns. Serves 6.

    Chile Casserole

    I was pulling all my recipes for this week and thought that I should post some of our Christmas favorites for those of you who are looking for holiday cooking ideas. I don't have pictures yet, but I will post them later this week.

    Christmas breakfast at my parents house always consisted of steak and eggs courtesy of my cute Dad. In my husband's family, they always woke up Christmas morning to this yummy casserole and a plate of hot Sticky Buns.

    12 eggs
    1 pint sour cream
    1 tsp. salt
    18 oz. chopped green chiles
    1 lb. shredded Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese

    Wisk eggs together in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until evenly combined. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until middle is fully set. Serve with fresh salsa.

    Cranberry Salsa


    *From Cammie Ward (via Katie Howard)

    My cute friend Katie brought this dip to Book Group last week and I absolutely had to have the recipe! If you are looking for a yummy appetizer to bring to a holiday party, this is it.

    1-12 oz. package fresh cranberries
    3/4 c. sugar
    1 jalepeno pepper- seeded
    2 green onions
    1-2 Tbs. fresh cilantro
    1/4 tsp. cumin

    Combine all ingredients in the food processor and mix until finely chopped. Pour over an 8 oz. block of cream cheese and serve with your favorite crackers. DE-LISH!

    Sunshine Carrots


    I am making these for Christmas Eve dinner, but they are fabulous anytime!

    1- 32 oz. package baby carrots
    2 Tbs. sugar
    2 tsp. cornstarch
    1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup cold Orange Juice
    4 Tbs. butter

    Steam carrots until tender, drain, and pour into a casserole dish. In a small sauce pan combine sugar, cornstarch, ginger, salt, and OJ. Wisk mixture until all the lumps have disappeared and then bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add butter . Stir until butter is melted and then pour over carrots. Enjoy!

    Classic Cheese Fondue (aka Stinky Cheese Fondue)


    Our family has a traditional fondue dinner on Christmas Eve and this cheese is always a hit. The cheese is a bit potent, but it tastes divine.

    8 oz. Emmentaler cheese
    8 oz. Gruyere cheese
    3 Tbs. flour
    1 clove garlic
    1 1/2 cups dry white wine (I use cooking wine)
    1 Tbs. lemon juice
    pepper and nutmeg to taste
    2 loaves crusty Italian or French bread- cubed

    Shred cheeses and combine in a large mixing bowl. Dredge with flour. Rub inside of cooking pot with cut garlic clove and then discard the garlic. Pour wine into the pot and cook over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Add lemon juice. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until cheese is melted and mixture has the consistency of a creamy sauce. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste. Increase heat and allow mixture to boil briefly. Remove from heat and serve immediately with cubes of bread for dipping.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Bacon Wrapped Smokies

    I made these for a party last weekend and they were a hit! My husband liked them so much he has requested I make them for another party we have this week. 


    Ingredients:
    1 lb. sliced bacon 
    1 (14 oz.) package beef cocktail wieners
    1 c. brown sugar 

    Directions: 
           Cut bacon slices into thirds and wrap around wieners securing with a toothpick (or put them on a long skewer). Place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-60 minutes, until sugar is bubbly. To serve, place wieners in a crock pot on the low setting. 

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Red Velvet Cupcakes

    This recipe is (apparently) from NYC's famous Magnolia Bakery. Even if this recipe isn't the actual one they use they are scrumptious!


    Ingredients:
    3 1/3 c. flour (not self-rising)
      3/4 c. (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
       2 1/4 c. sugar
      3 large eggs, at room temperature
      6 Tbs. red food coloring
      3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
      1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
      1 1/2 tsp salt
      1 1/2 c. buttermilk
      1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar 
      1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

      *makes 36 cupcakes 

      Directions:

      • In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
      • In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
      • In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
      • In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
      • pour the batter into lined muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick  inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
      Frosting: 
      1 lb. (two 8 oz. packages) cream cheese. softened
      6 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
      1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
      5 c. confectioners powdered sugar

      Directions: Using electric mixer cream together butter and cream cheese til fluffy (about 5 minutes) add vanilla, beat well. Add powdered sugar 1 c. at a time until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate frosting for 2-3 hours (no longer) to thicken before putting on cupcakes



      Friday, December 17, 2010

      Thin Mint Crackers

      *Adapted from allrecipes.com c/o Michella Koryta

      These taste very similar to the Girl Scout thin mint cookies & are less fattening.

      Ingredients
      1/2 box Ritz crackers
      1 lb. bittersweet or milk chocolate (I use milk chocolate chips)
      1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

      Directions
      Melt chocolate in the microwave in a medium size bowl.  Stir in peppermint extract.  Dip crackers into melted chocolate until coated. (I use chopsticks if available to dip crackers).  Remove dipped crackers & place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.  Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, you may want to stick your cookie sheet in the freezer first so that the bottoms of the dipped crackers don't melt.  (You will still want to use wax paper with a cold tray).  When your sheet is full, place in fridge.  These are best kept in the fridge or a cool place until served.  Look good served in candy cups.  You can also top with sprinkles to add variety.

      Three-Bean Christmas Chili (low-fat)

      *Betty Crocker c/o Sydney Pryor

      Ingredients
      1 lb. ground beef, cooked & drained (can make without for vegetarian option)
      1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, undrained
      1 can (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained
      1 can (15 oz. garbanzo beans, drained
      1 can (15 oz.) butter beans, drained
      1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
      3 small red, orange or yellow bell peppers, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (I use all three colors of pepper)
      1 Anaheim or jalapeno chili, seeded & chopped
      1-2 Tbsp. chili powder
      2 tsp. ground cumin
      1/4 tsp. black pepper
      1/2 c. sour cream
      3 Tbsp. salsa

      Instructions
      Pour can of tomatoes into  large pot; break up tomatoes with a spoon.  Stir in remaining ingredients except sour cream & salsa.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until bell peppers are tender.

      Sour Cream Topping
      In a small bowl, hand mix sour cream and salsa.
      Serve chili with sour cream mixture.

      Thursday, December 16, 2010

      Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars




      2 cups finely crushed Gingersnaps (I like "Anna's Ginger Thins)
      1/4 c. butter, melted
      1/3 c. canned pumpkin
      1 Tbs. flour
      1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
      3-8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
      1 c. sugar
      1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
      3 eggs

      Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan and set aside. For the crust, combine gingersnaps and butter in a small bowl. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes and then allow to cool.

      For pumpkin batter, in a medium bowl stir together pumpkin, flour, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

      For cream cheese batter, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer (I used my KitchenAid) on medium to high speed until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. Add eggs and mix on low speed just until combined. Stir 1/3 of the cream cheese batter into the pumpkin batter and stir until smooth. Pour remaining batter over the crust and spread evenly. Place large spoonfuls of the pumpkin batter randomly over the cream cheese batter. Using the tip of a table knife, gently swirl the two batters together.

      Bake for 25-30 minutes at 325 degrees or until the center in just set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 4-24 hours before cutting into squares for serving.

      *Recipe from "Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies." And a big thank you to Betsy for the giving me that fabulous cookbook for my birthday last year! You know me well.

      Egg Nog Cupcakes


      Yummy! My cute friend Michelle Moench Bagley passed this recipe on to me and they are a new favorite. Cute and delicious, these cupcakes would make a great holiday gift for neighbors, teachers, and friends.

      1 box Pound Cake mix
      2 eggs
      1 1/4 c. eggnog
      1/2 tsp. vanilla
      1/4 tsp. nutmeg

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with paper liners. Combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Pour into muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes. (Makes 18-24 cupcakes depending on how you fill them). Remove from oven and allow to cool before frosting.

      Frosting
      1/2 cup butter
      8 oz. cream cheese
      16 oz. powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
      1/4 c. egg nog

      *This made enough frosting for 2-3 batches of cupcakes

      Tuesday, December 14, 2010

      Chocolate Rolo Cookies


      Ingredients:
      2 1/2 c. flour
      3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
      1 tsp. baking soda
      1 c. brown sugar
      1 c. sugar
      1 c. butter
      2 eggs
      2 tsp. vanilla extract
      4 dozen rolos
      2 Tbs. sugar (for rolling cookies in)

      Directions:
      In large bowl combine flour, cocoa and soda. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla then add dry mixture and blend well. Using your hands shape dough into small balls. Press Rolo candy into the center of the ball and cover with dough. Roll cookies in sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (I never go more then 8 but it depends on your oven) Cool on wire rack.

      Asparagus

      *from Lisa Miles Willmore

      Asparagus
      sea salt

      Juice
      3 Tbsp butter
      1 Tbsp water
      1 Tbsp soy sauce
      1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

      *Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
      Snap asparagus & sprinkle with sea salt.
      Bake on greased cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes.
      (You can also steam asparagus if you prefer).

      Meanwhile, brown 3 Tbsp butter in a small pan, remove from heat.
      Add water, soy sauce, & balsamic vinegar.

      Combine in a bowl & serve.

      Sunday, December 12, 2010

      Artichoke Dip


      Always a crowd pleaser...

      Ingredients: 
      1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained & coarsely chopped
      1 c. mayonnaise
      1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (or parmesan, romano & asiago blend)
      1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
      1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic salt

      Directions: 
      Combine all ingredients in baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm with tortillas chips or bread slices.

      Nana's Caramels

                This is my Nana Jackson's recipe. We make them every Christmas. We've given them as neighbor gifts, sent them to missionaries and enjoyed eating the edges when we wrap them. These are one of my favorite Christmas traditions....

                1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
                3 cups regular whipping cream (NOT Heavy whipping cream)
                2 cups white sugar
                2 cups white corn syrup
                pinch of salt

                2 tsp. vanilla

      Mix sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream together in a double boiler, placed over a pan of about 2-3 inches of boiling water. Prepare a 10 x 13" glass pan by greasing the bottom and sides with about 1 Tablespoon of softened butter. Set aside.  

      In a large heavy pot, stir together sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook on medium heat until boiling. Add 1/2 cup of the cream mixture to the syrup mixture and stir well. Continue adding 1/2 cups of cream every 3-5 minutes, stirring often. This process will take about 30-40 minutes. Caramels will begin to deepen in color and thicken in consistency. When all the cream has been added, measure caramel temperature with a candy thermometer and cook until caramels reach 232*** (SEE NOTE BELOW) degrees (but not to soft ball stage). To check, you can take the caramels off the heat and drop a ball of caramel into a cup of cool water to check consistency. If it's still too sticky and soft, continue cooking a little longer, but be careful not to go past the soft ball stage, or caramels will be hard. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour into buttered pan, but don't scrape the edges of the pan too much. Scrape the caramel that sticks to the sides of the pan with a spatula into a small bowl, because this tends to be harder than the rest of the caramel. (This is great to give the kids spoonfuls, when cooled:-). Let caramels set for 10-12 hours, then cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper. Makes about 100.  

      ***We've lived at sea level and I had to cook them to 250° there. Now we're at 5200 feet and I only need to cook them to 230°. If, for some reason, your set caramels still seem too soft, you can put them back into a pan and re-heat them to a little higher temperature.  I've only had to do this once, but it works:-)

      Thursday, December 9, 2010

      Wassail

      This hot spiced cider makes the house smell delicious!

                3/4 cup sugar
                2 cups water
                5 whole cloves
                4 allspice berries
                1 cinnamon stick
                2 cups orange juice
                1 cup lemon juice (Minute Maid frozen from concentrate, if possible)
                1 quart apple juice or cider

      Combine water and sugar and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Cover and allow to stand in a warm place for 1 hour. Strain into a large stockpot. Add juices and bring quickly to a boil. Serve hot (Can serve from Crockpot on warm setting). Makes 8 cups.

      Mint Brownies

      Note: I like these best with a thinner layer of brownies and a generous layer of mint frosting and chocolate glaze, so I usually use a boxed 9 x 13" brownie recipe or Kitchen Port Brownies and bake them in two 8 x 8" pans. One pan for you and one for some friends! Serves 24.

      MINT FROSTING:
                  6 Tbs. butter, softened, but not melted
                  3-4 Tbs. evaporated milk
                  3 cups powdered sugar
                  3/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
                  A few drops of green food coloring (or red)

      If necessary, use a metal spatula to remove any uneven edges of the brownie. This creates a smooth, flat layer for the frosting. Mix Mint Frosting ingredients until creamy and spread on cooled brownies. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or stick in the freezer until Chocolate Glaze is ready).

      CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
                6 Tbs. butter
                1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
                1 tsp. vanilla

      Combine butter and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler and melt over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour gently over mint frosting and tip pan to completely coat the top. Refrigerate until set and cut into squares.

      OPTIONAL: Sprinkle crushed candy canes or Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips on top while chocolate glaze is still warm. 

      Turkey Chili with Corn Pancakes

      This is my adaption of a Rachel Ray recipe from several years ago. The Corn Pancakes are amazing and would be good with most chili or hearty soup.

      TURKEY CHILI:
      Cook for 6 minutes, breaking up the meat:
                1 pound ground turkey or chicken
      Add & cook for 5 minutes:
                2 garlic cloves, chopped
                3 celery ribs, chopped
                1 medium onion, chopped
                2 carrots, chopped
                1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I omit)
      Add and concentrate the flavor by cooking over medium heat for 2-3 minutes:
                6 oz. chicken broth
      Stir in, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes:
                1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
                1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, well drained 

      CORN PANCAKES:
                2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix (or 2 cups cornbread mix)
                2 eggs
                2/3 cup milk

      Mix well with a whisk. Batter should be slightly thin. Add another Tablespoon of milk, if needed. Pour pancakes by 1/4 cup onto hot, well-oiled griddle or non-stick skillet (about 300°) and cook until bubbles form at the edges. Flip and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Serve Chili with hot Corn Pancakes on top. Chili and Corn Pancakes serve 6.

      Mom's Jambalaya

                 When I was younger, I remember coming home to the amazing smell of my Mom's Jambalaya cooking on the stove. You can find Tony's Creole Seasoning at most grocery stores and I love it sprinkled on vegetables too. Yum!

      Cook until soft in a large stockpot:
                 1 roll fully cooked lean turkey sausage or kielbasa, cut into small discs
                 1 large onion, diced
                 1 green bell pepper, diced
                 4 stalks celery, diced
      Add to stockpot. Cover, simmer and stir occasionally for 30 minutes, or until rice is soft and water absorbed:
                 2 cups uncooked long-gain rice
                 1 (16 oz.) can stewed or diced tomatoes, undrained
                 4 cups chicken broth or stock
                 Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning, to taste
                 Salt & pepper, to taste

      Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

      This is our sister Andrea's version of the recipe from Favorites. I added the hominy and love it. Natalie posted her version of the recipe tonight too, so you better believe it's a keeper! This recipe serves 12, but it's easy to halve for 6 servings...

                2 (12 oz.) cans chunk chicken, packed in water (Costco)
                1 large onion, finely chopped
                2 tsp. garlic, chopped
                4 chicken bullion cubes (or 4 tsp. chicken bullion granules)
                1 1/2 cups hot water
                1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
                4 cups half-and-half (we use 2 c. regular and 2 c. fat free)
                4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
                2 (14 oz.) cans cream-style corn
                1 (16 oz.) can golden hominy, drained (optional, but delicious)
                1 (7 oz.) can diced green chilies, drained
                1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce, optional (to taste)
                2 (14 oz.) cans petite peeled & diced tomatoes, drained

      In a large pot, add chicken with the water it is packed in. Use a wire whisk to separate chunks. Chop onion and add to pot with garlic, hot water, chicken bullion and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add half-and-half, cheese, corn, hominy, chilies and hot sauce. Cook over medium heat while stirring until cheese has melted. Stir in chopped tomatoes and serve. Fresh cilantro & Fritos are a great garnish, if desired.

      Poppyseed Cake

      1 pkg. yellow or white cake mix
      1 small box instant lemon pudding
      4 eggs
      1/2 c. oil
      1 1/2 c. water
      2 Tbs. poppy seeds

      Blend together all ingredients for at least 3 minutes. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove from pan and top with glaze...

      Glaze: 
      4 oz. softened cream cheese
      1 c. powdered sugar
      1/4 c. melted butter
      1/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract

      ***This cake is also good without the glaze just sprinkle with powdered sugar

      Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

      I know we have already posted a few corn chowder recipes but this is not your typical corn chowder. It is a definite favorite at our house! 

      *adapted from Favorites

      Ingredients:
      1 1/2 lbs. chicken, cooked and cut in small pieces
      1/2 c. chopped onion
      2 Tbs. butter
      1-2 cloves garlic, minced
      1 tsp. cumin
      1 c. hot water
      2 chicken bouillon cubes
      2 c. half & half (can use 1 c. fat free to save calories)
      2 cups shredded Monterey & Colby Jack cheese 
      1 (15 oz) can creamed corn
      1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
      1 (4 oz) can green chilies 
      1/4-1/2 tsp. hot sauce (we like Chalula)  
      fresh cilantro for garnish, if desired


      Directions: 
      In large pot saute chicken, onion and garlic in butter until onion is soft. Dissolve bouillon cubes in 1 c. hot water. Add to pot along with cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add half&half, cheese, corn, chilies and hot sauce. Cook while stirring over low heat until the cheese is melted. Stir in tomatoes and serve. Top with cilantro, if desired.

      ***looks like great minds think alike because Alli and I both posted this today :) My version is a little different than the one she posted so we will leave them both on. Try one way, or try them both (either way it is yummy!!!) 

      Wednesday, December 8, 2010

      Sausage Breakfast Casserole

      This is such a classic casserole that my Mom made for us. We love it for breakfast, brunch or even for dinner! 



      Ingredients:
      8-10 slices of bread- crust removed & broken into pieces
      2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
      1-1 1/2 lb. sausage (cooked & drained)
      4 eggs
      2 1/2 c. milk
      3/4 tsp. dry mustard 

      Sauce: 
      1 can cream of mushroom soup
      1/2 c. milk 



      Directions: Place bread pieces in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with cheese and sausage. In separate bowl combine eggs, milk and dry mustard; pour over bread and sausage. Cover and let set overnight in the fridge. Top with sauce right before baking at 300 degrees F. for 1 1/2 hours. 

      Monday, December 6, 2010

      White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

      If you couldn't tell already, we had a family gathering this past weekend (baby blessing)... hence all the treat recipes.  But hey, 'tis the season for treats right? These scones are delish and so pretty too... great for entertaining!
      *from Wendy Mears 


      1 3/4 c. flour
      2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt (opt)
      2 tbsp. sugar

      Mix above 4 ingredients and cut in 8 tbsp. of butter

      Add:

      1/2 c. craisins
      1/2 c. white choc. chips

      Add:
      2/3 c. buttermilk

      Mix into a ball.  Press out to 3/8 - 1/2 " thick. Cut into 8 pie shapes with pizza cutter. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.
      Glaze: 

      1 c. powder sugar
      1 tbsp. milk
      1/2 tsp almond extract
      Drizzle across cooled scone (can top with sliced almonds if you like)

      Sunday, December 5, 2010

      Sticky Buns


      These are a Whitmore family favorite! We make them for breakfast on Christmas morning and on Conference Sunday (and any other time that we can find an excuse!) Yummy...

      20 Rhodes white rolls
      cinnamon
      1 small package Cook-and-Serve butterscotch pudding (do not use instant!)
      1/4 to 1/2 c. diced nuts
      1/2 c. brown sugar
      6 Tbs. melted butter

      Grease and flour a bundt pan and arrange frozen rolls evenly in the bottom. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Sprinkle pudding mix and nuts evenly over the top. Crumble on the brown sugar and pour the butter over. Cover TIGHTLY with tin foil and allow to raise overnight. In the morning, uncover and bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then invert onto a large plate or serving platter. Enjoy!

      Dark Chocolate Raspberry (or Cherry) Brownies


      *from Cooking Light...therefore not quite as bad for you as most brownies. Plus they are yummy!  


      Ingredients: 
      3/4 c. flour
      1 c. sugar
      3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
      1 tsp. baking powder
      3/4 tsp. salt
      1/3 c. raspberry or cherry preserves (I use a little more)
      1/3 c. water
      5 Tbs. butter
      1 large egg. lightly beaten
      1 egg white
      1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use mini)
      powdered sugar and/or berries for topping

      Directions:
           Whisk together all dry ingredients in large bowl. Meanwhile combine butter, berry preserves and water in small sauce pan and bring to a boil; combine with dry ingredients. Add eggs and stir until smooth. Pour batter into prepared 9x9 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Top with powdered sugar and berries if you want.

      Tip: When making brownies (or any baked good)  line your baking pan with tinfoil coated with cooking spray. Then when the brownies have cooled you can easily lift them out of the pan and cut on a cutting board.

      Thursday, December 2, 2010

      Mom's Minestrone Soup

      This soup is delicious and guilt free! The recipe makes a lot so you can freeze some for later or share with your neighbors.  
      1-2 lbs ground beef or turkey, browned 
      1 onion, chopped
      1 quart stewed tomatoes (I cut them into smaller pieces) 
      2 c. chopped cabbage 
      2 carrots, diced
      2 stalks celery, diced
      1 can kidney beans 
      1 can garbanzo beans (neither drained) 
      1-2 c. corn 
      zuchinni (optional)
      4 c. water
      1/2 c. red wine vinegar
      2 tsp. beef boullion (2 cubes)
      1/3 c. barley
      1/2 tsp. of the following...salt, basil, oregano, & marjoram 

      Combine all ingredients in large pot. Simmer for an hour or until veggies are slightly tender. Top with parmesan cheese (a must) 

      Banana Muffins


      These muffins are frequently requested at my house and make a fabulous after school snack.

      1 c. sugar
      1/2 c. applesauce (I use one of the individual cups that I buy for the kids lunches)
      2 eggs
      3 ripe bananas- mashed
      1 c. flour
      1 c. wheat flour
      1 tsp. baking soda
      1/2 tsp. salt

      Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray bottoms of two muffin tins. (Do not use paper liners!) Cream together sugar and applesauce. Add eggs and mashed bananas and beat well. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes 18 to 24 muffins.

      *adapted from "Favorites"

      Wednesday, November 24, 2010

      Cranberry Sauce



      This is simple and delicious. Much better than canned!

      Directions:
      Bring 1 c. water and 1 c. sugar to a boil in saucepan, add 3 c. cranberries and bring to boil again. reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Dish into small serving bowls and leave out at room temperature until set. Refrigerate until serving.  (optional, add 1 tsp. grated orange peel...yummy)

      Tuesday, November 23, 2010

      Mom's Chocolate Cream Pie

      We love this pie.... It is always the first to get eaten at our parties.

      Pie crust (can use for any flavor pie)
      4 c. flour
      1 Tbs. sugar
      2 tsp. salt
      1 3/4 c. Crisco

      Combine and beat for 2 minutes with wire wisk on mixer.

      In seperate bowl beat together...
      1/2 c. cold water
      1 egg
      1 Tbs. vinegar

      Mix with flour mixture and let sit 15 minutes before rolling out. Roll out and form to greased pie dish. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, cool completely, then fill with desired filling.

      Chocolate Cream filling:
      1 small package chocolate pudding (we use sugar free and it tastes great)
      2 cups milk
      1 carton cool whip
       top with whipped cream

      Simple as that... Enjoy  :)

      Mom's Yams & Apples


      (sorry about the bad phone pic but that's all I had)

      Boil 4-5 peeled yams for 20 minutes. Cool, then slice. Peel 4-5 apples and slice. In a buttered casserole dish alternate starting with apples and ending with yams (or just mix together). Meanwhile make sauce...


      Sauce:
      2 c. water
      3-4 Tbs. corn starch
      1 c. sugar
      1 stick butter
      1 tsp. salt

       Cook sauce over medium heat until thick and clear. Pour over yams and apples and bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

      Monday, November 22, 2010

      Cranberry Fluff

      This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes! 




      Ingredients:
      1 lb. cranberries
      1 pt. whipping cream
      1 c. sugar
      2 (20 oz.) cans crushed pineapple, drained
      1 pkg. mini marshmallows 

      Directions: 
      place cranberries in blender or food processor  until chopped. Pour on 1 heaping cup of suger and refrigerate at least 2 hours... whip 1 pt. whipping cream. Fold in pineapple, marshmallows and cranberry mixture. Refrigerate overnight. 

      Broccoli Parmesan


      This is a favorite Thanksgiving side with the Whitmores.

      About 1 pound broccoli florets
      1/4 c. chopped onion
      2 Tbs. butter
      1 can Cream of Chicken soup
      2/3 c. milk
      1/3 c. grated parmesan

      Steam broccoli and then spread evenly in a casserole dish. Saute onion in butter in a small sauce pan. Add remaining ingredients and heat just until warm. Pour over broccoli and then bake for 10-15 min at 350 degrees or until sauce in bubbly and browned.

      Green Bean Casserole

      With Thanksgiving coming up this week we thought we would post a few of our favorite turkey day recipes (we are celebrating early so we will try to post our favorites before Thursday). This is a traditional green bean casserole recipe but I add some diced roasted red peppers which I think gives it a great flavor (and makes it more colorful too)  


      1 can (10 3/4 oz) C Cream of Mushroom Soup 
      1/2 cup milk
      1 teaspoon soy sauce
      dash ground black pepper
      4 cups cooked cut green beans (canned or fresh) 
      1/4 c. chopped red pepper 
      1 1/3 cups French's French Fried Onions

      In small pan saute red pepper pieces in a little olive oil (app. 1 tsp) until slightly tender. Combine soup. soy sauce, pepper, beans, red peppers, and 2/3 c. of the onions in a 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining onions and bake for 5 minutes or until onions are slightly brown. 

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