Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quick Yeast Rolls

I've tried 3 different kinds of quick yeast rolls this month and these get my vote for the best! They take about an hour and a half from start to finish. This recipe only makes 8 rolls, but it would be simple to double. My kids love these for lunch sandwiches! Recipe from

2 Tbs. shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
3 Tbs. white sugar
1 cup hot water
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp.)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Grease 8 muffin cups and set aside.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, mix the shortening, sugar and hot water. (I heat for about 35-40 seconds in the microwave). Add yeast to the liquid, mix thoroughly and let stand for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Pour liquid into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the beaten egg, salt and flour. Mix until dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Dough should still be slightly sticky.
  4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and scrape the dough into the bowl. Cover and let sit for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch dough down and divide the dough into 8 balls and place in greased muffin cups. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. 
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake rolls for 8-10 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a roll comes out clean. 
Makes 8 rolls.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Split Pea and Ham Soup

My kids call this "UGLY SOUP," but we all like it:) It's a great way to finish a ham roast.

1 1/2 pounds ham bone with meat
2 quarts (8 cups) water
2 cups dried split peas
1 large onion, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 pinch dried marjoram
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced (optional)

In a large stockpot, add ham bone to 2 quarts water, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Pour resulting broth through a strainer and return the liquid to the stockpot. Place ham bone on a cutting board, dice ham and return meat to the broth. Discard the bone.

Add the dried split peas to the broth and heat to a gentle boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover and soak for 1 hour.

After an hour, add remaining ingredients (onion, salt, pepper, marjoram, celery, carrots and potatoes). Cook slowly, uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Serves 8-10.

I love this soup with Quick Yeast Rolls...

Malted Milk Cookies

When I need a chocolate fix, these unique cookies do the trick every time!

2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup instant Malted Milk powder
1 1/2 cup malted milk balls, such as Whoppers, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt unsweetened chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and heat for 30 seconds more, or until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.

Cream together butter, sugars and baking soda. Beat in the melted chocolate, eggs and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl to mix completely. Add the malted milk powder and flour gradually, beating slowly. Stir in the malted milk balls.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons (or use cookie scoop) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. *These cookies are best a bit undercooked and left to cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes before cooling on a rack. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Grandma Whitmores Country Pork Ribs

These sweet and tangy ribs are one of my mother-in-laws specialties and are probably my husbands very favorite childhood meal. The sauce is divine and the long cooking time leads to "fall-off-the-bone" tender meat. I like using country style ribs because there is more meat and they are a little easier for the kids to eat. I also used this same sauce and put it over a pork roast in the crock-pot and then shredded the meat for pulled pork sandwiches...YUM! Either way, I am sure that these will be a crowd pleaser.

3-4 lbs. country style pork ribs
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar

Dredge ribs in flour and place in a large roasting pan. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat just until boiling. Pour sauce over the ribs and cover with a lid or foil. Bake at 325 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pineapple Ice Box Cake

So easy. So delicious.

1 package yellow cake mix
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 carton Cool whip or 1-2 pints whipped cream

Bake cake according to package directions, using a 9x13 pan. After removing the cake from the oven, immediately poke the cake all over with a fork. Pour condensed milk over the cake and spread evenly. Allow to absorbed for 3-5 minutes and then pour pineapple and juice over the cake and spread out to cover completely. Allow the cake to cool and then refrigerate until chilled completely, approximately 2-3 hours. Whip up the cream and sweeten to taste with a little powdered sugar. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

Are you inundated with hard-boiled eggs after the Easter weekend? We are swimming in them at my house and I have been trying to come up with ways to use them for good. We had egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and ate eggs straight out of the shell for an afternoon snack. Tonight for dinner we are having this yummy casserole. The recipe comes from my fabulous mother-in-law and is one of my kids' favorites. Hope you enjoy!

2 cups chicken- cooked and cubed
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
2 Tbs. dried minced onion
3 cups cooked rice (about 1 cup uncooked)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup mayo
1 cup slivered almonds
6 hard-boiled eggs- chopped
2 cups diced celery
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup Rice Crispies cereal (or corn flakes)
2 Tbs. butter

Combine all ingredients except cereal and butter in a large mixing bowl and stir gently until just combined. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and smooth out using the back of a spoon. Crush up the cereal and combine with melted better. Top the casserole with crushed cereal mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Candy Bar Bunnies

I made these wrapped candy bars for the kids in my Primary class for Easter Sunday. I'm sure they'll arrive at church all hopped up on candy already, but I thought these were really cute. Idea from Martha Stewart's website...
You'll need:
  • Full-size candy bar(s)
  • 8 1/2 x 11" white paper
  • Clear tape, scissors
  • Acrylic paint or ink pads
  • Permanent black marker
Cut paper in half to make a 8 1/2 x 5 1/2" sheet. Wrap the candy bar like a present using clear tape. Cut out bunny ears out of white paper and tape to the back of the wrapped candy bar. Press your pinky finger into a little acrylic paint or an ink pad and make circular eyes and nose on the front of the wrapped candy bar. Let the paint or ink dry completely, then draw on pupils, mouth and whiskers to complete the bunny face! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Better than sex cake"

Is it or isn't it... I will let you decide :)
1 pkg. Devil's food or German Chocolate cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 oz. caramel topping
1 8 oz. container whipped topping
Heath toffee bits or crushed Heath bar

Bake cake according to package directions. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake. Pour the condensed milk and caramel over the top of cake. Allow cake to cool completely then top with whipped topping and Heath bits. I like to refrigerate the cake a couple hours before serving but you can eat it right away too. 

Coconut Mahi Mahi

All you landlubbers... We're havin' fish tonight! Recipe adapted from Fish Ex...

Hot cooked Orzo pasta or rice
4 Mahi Mahi fillets
1 (14 oz.) can light coconut milk (reserve 2 Tbs. for rice or pasta)
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbs. butter, melted
1 Tbs. flour
1 tomato, diced
salt, to taste
black or cayenne pepper, to taste
1/3 cup flaked coconut
  1. Cook Orzo pasta or rice according to package directions. Reserve 2 Tbs. coconut milk to stir into the rice or pasta and stir in after it is cooked and drained.
  2. Meanwhile, add remaining coconut milk to a deep sauté pan. Add onions and bell pepper and bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently. Add mahi mahi fillets and poach fish until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side. Fish should be firm and should flake easily with a fork. Remove fish and place on a serving dish.
  3. Keep the coconut milk simmering over medium heat. Mix melted butter with flour and add to the coconut milk, stirring immediately with a whisk to prevent lumps.
  4. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and flaked coconut and top with the fish fillets. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Serve fish fillets over hot pasta or rice and spoon coconut sauce over the top. Serves 4.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Candy Topiary Craft!

I made these fun Spring Candy Topiaries this week at a monthly craft group I attend. I was so happy with them, I thought I'd share them with you! They are made with food, after all, so I guess they're appropriate for our recipe blog:)
Idea from Crafty Sisters...
Materials needed:
  • Pots (can use terra cotta (painted or plain), painted ceramic, tin buckets, mason jars, etc...)
  • Floral foam
  • Ribbon
  • Homemade flower (optional)
  • 3 to 5" styrofoam ball(s)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Foam brush
  • Wooden dowel(s)*
  • Several bags of jellybeans**
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Moss
  1. (Optional): Paint styrofoam ball(s) a color that matches one of your jellybeans. I painted my white styrofoam pink.
  2. While your paint is drying, cut floral foam to fit snugly into your pot(s). Stuff the empty space with some paper. (pictured above, left).
  3. If desired, wrap a ribbon around your pot(s) and secure the ends with a little hot glue. I also added a homemade flower. There are so many fun ways to make flowers! See HEREHERE, HERE and HERE for tutorials.
  4. *Cut wooden dowels, if necessary. (I bought a long one that was a half inch in diameter and used garden shears to cut mine.) I would suggest a thick dowel to support the weight of your candy topiary. They do get heavy! 
  5. Wrap wooden dowels with ribbon: Start with a little dab of hot glue and wrap the ribbon on the diagonal all the way down until the dowel is covered. Secure end with some hot glue. Set aside.
  6. When your paint is dry on your styrofoam ball(s), set them on a towel or washcloth for a workspace, so they don't roll away. With your dowel, carefully poke a hole into your styrofoam ball(s), a few inches in, then remove the dowel.  Beginning around the hole, make a small line of hot glue, then press the jellybeans slightly into your styrofoam ball. Be careful not to squish the jellybeans!
  7. When your styrofoam ball(s) are completely covered with candy, squirt some hot glue into the hole you made with the dowel, then push the dowel in. Carefully push the other end of the dowel into your floral foam in your pot(s). Cover the top of your pot(s) with moss and you're done!
**My 4" styrofoam ball took 1 1/2 bags of jellybeans and my 5" ball took a little more than 2 bags of jellybeans! I promise I didn't eat that many:)

Marinated Tri-Tip Steak

This recipe is similar to my Mom's Flank Steak Marinade, but with a little kick from garlic, green onions and lemon pepper. Marinating the meat makes a juicy, flavorful steak...

1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbs. brown sugar
3 Tbs. soy sauce
3 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 1/2 pounds beef loin tri-tip steak

Mix all ingredients except for beef in a large Ziploc bag. Add tri-tip steak and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 2 days. Remove steak from marinade and grill over medium-high heat.

18 Minute Chocolate Cake

This is another recipe I have, written in my 5th grade handwriting, that I copied from my Mom's recipe file. I love it because it's fast, almost as easy as a boxed chocolate cake, but so much tastier!

1. Mix together in a large bowl:
     2 cups flour
     2 cups sugar
     4 Tbs. cocoa powder
     1 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 tsp salt
2. Mix together, then add to dry ingredients:
     1/2 cup butter, melted
     1/2 cup vegetable oil
     1 cup water
3. Beat in:
     1/2 cup buttermilk (I use almost 1/2 cup milk + 1 tsp. white vinegar)
     2 eggs
     1 tsp. vanilla

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13" cake pan (or jelly roll pan or 24 cupcake tins). Bake at 400° F. for 18 minutes, or until middle is set. Cupcakes take only about 12-14 minutes. Cool completely on a baking rack, then frost with chocolate frosting:

     3 Tbs. cocoa powder
     1/4 cup butter, softened
     2 cups powdered sugar
     1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the first 4 ingredients with an electric mixer. Add milk a little at a time until the right consistency is achieved. Spread on cooled cake.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lemony Chicken and Orzo

I was digging through my recipe box and looking for some dinner time inspiration when I discovered this recipe. I originally cut it out of a Family Circle magazine but made some significant changes and remembered that we really liked it. We had it for dinner last night and it was a hit. The best part is that I had everything to make it in my kitchen already, and you cook the whole meal in the same pot. Love that!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
3 Tbs. sour cream
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups orzo

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine chicken broth and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chicken and then cover and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from the pot and set aside.

Return the pot to the stove and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and wisk in the honey and sour cream and then add the water. Bring to a boil and then add orzo pasta. Cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir chicken back into the pot and serve immediately.

**For a healthy splash of color, buy some fresh green beans and cut into 1 inch pieces. Add to the pot for the last 4 minutes that the pasta is cooking. Yum!

Monday, April 4, 2011

All Things Strawberry

I don't know about other parts of the world, but where I live, the strawberries right now are huge, beautiful, and relatively inexpensive. We have been eating them in salads, sliced on top of waffles for breakfast, and straight out of the fridge for snacks. So tonight for family night we fixed strawberries in two of my favorite ways.... Chocolate dipped and slathered in brown sugar. These are two very easy and heavenly recipes that I hope you will enjoy!

Perfect Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

1 pint strawberries
6 oz. milk chocolate chips
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs. shortening

Wash strawberries and lay out on a towel to dry. They need to be fully dried before you dip them or the chocolate won't stick. Combine chocolate chips and shortening in a small bowl and microwave in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between each one. Hold strawberries by the stem and dip into the chocolate, swirling to cover all sides and then lay out on a piece of wax paper to dry. Allow to sit for about 1 hour before serving.

Sweet and Savory Strawberries

strawberries- washed and dried
sour cream
brown sugar

I love to serve this for an appetizer or side dish. Just a small bowl with sour cream and another with brown sugar. Your guests can roll their strawberries in the cream and then in the sugar. It sounds like a strange combination, but it is amazing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's "Hamburger Cookies"

 Happy April Fool's Day! Practically every days feels like April Fool's at my home because my husband is such a joker. Let's just say that I've had cold water poured on me while I was showering several times! After school today the kids and I made these cute "Hamburger Cookies" that are actually sweet treats. You may not really fool anyone, but we think they are cute and funny and they taste good! Recipe from

24 vanilla wafer cookies
12 small peppermint patties
4-6 drops green food coloring
12 medium green gumdrops, sliced* 
2 Tbs. sesame seeds
4 small rolls of apricot fruit roll-ups -OR- 12 red Dots candies (optional)**
1/2 cup flaked coconut
  1. Place the coconut and food coloring in a small bowl with a lid (I used plastic wrap over a small bowl). Shake until all the coconut is covered. Set aside.
  2. Place 12 vanilla wafers flat side up on a plate. Unwrap 12 peppermint patties and place them on top of the wafers.
  3. Unwrap the fruit roll-ups (optional) and cut into squares. Place on top of all of the patties to look like cheese. Place the sliced gumdrops, sticky side up, on top of that (or spread a little frosting). Add the coconut.
  4. Place the other half of the wafers on top of the coconut. With a small pastry or paint brush, paint a VERY small amount of water on the tops of the cookies. Finally, shake or sprinkle a small amount of sesame seeds over the wafers.
NOTE: *I omitted the green gumdrops and used vanilla frosting instead (3 Tbs. softened butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, a little vanilla and milk) to help the coconut stick.
**I also added a small dot of frosting on the bottom of the peppermint patty to help it stick together. Instead of the fruit roll-up, I used red Dots candy to make tomatoes. I cut each Dot into 3 slices with a serrated knife and placed 3 "tomatoes" on each.

Sunshine Shrimp Stir Fry

I am pleased to say that when I placed my kids' plates on the table last night that all 3 of them said, "Yea, shrimp!" My Dad will be proud!
Recipe and photo by Alli...

1 (8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits or chunks, in juice
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 head fresh broccoli florets (about 2 cups)
1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, diced
1 pound shrimp, cooked and deveined, tails removed
Reserved pineapple juice
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
lemon pepper, to taste
Hot steamed rice or orzo pasta
  1. Drain pineapple and reserve the juice. Set aside.
  2. Add diced onions and peppers to a large deep sauté pan or wok coated with non-stick cooking spray. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until slightly soft. 
  3. Add fresh broccoli and diced water chestnuts. Cook and stir for a few minutes, then add shrimp and pineapple.
  4. Mix reserved pineapple juice and orange juice in a small bowl or cup. Add cornstarch and salt to juice and mix until smooth. Pour over stir fry. Cook until sauce thickens, then season with lemon pepper, to taste.
  5. Serve hot over steamed rice or orzo pasta.
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