Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cheddar Ham Soup

My 8 year old son had to plan and prepare a meal for his Boy Scout requirements and he chose this soup to make tonight. I was proud of him for doing it all (except for chopping the onions!) It's a substantial soup that's perfect for a cold day. Recipe from Taste of Home magazine.

2 cups diced peeled potatoes
2 cups water
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, water, carrot and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir into undrained potato mixture. Add ham and peas, if desired; heat through. Yield: 5-7 servings.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cinnamon Batter-Dipped French Toast

This recipe comes from my friend Tisha, who has some amazing recipes on her blog. This recipe is like a mix between pancakes and French Toast!

2 cups Bisquick (biscuit mix)
1 1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
12 slices bread

Heat griddle or skillet. Spray with cooking spray. Stir Bisquick, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and eggs until blended. Dip bread in batter and drain excess batter into the bowl. Place on hot griddle. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with syrup and whipped cream, if desired. 

Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these muffins! They are whole wheat, but do not have yeast, so they are quick and easy to make. They are perfect to dip in a soup or stew or are delicious with butter and honey or jam. Recipe makes 16 muffins, but I got 21.* Recipe originally from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, adapted by Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
4 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons butter, melted, or olive oil
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
3 tablespoons sesame seeds for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease 16* standard muffin cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping during baking.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the egg yolks, butter, buttermilk, and sour cream until blended. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Don’t overmix! The batter will be slightly lumpy.

In a clean bowl, using a mixer with spotlessly clean beaters on medium speed, beat the egg whites just until they form soft peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until blended, again, taking care not to overmix because that will result in tough, dry muffins.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup nearly level with the rim of the cup. Sprinkle the muffins with the sesame seeds. Bake the muffins until they are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and serve warm or at room temperature with butter and/or jam, if desired.

French Beef Stew

Rejoice! It's almost Fall and with cooler weather, I want to make soup and homemade breads. This hearty stew has a little kick to it that we really liked. Pictured with Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins.  Recipe adapted from

1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Combine meat and flour in a large plastic food storage bag and toss to coat evenly. In a 6 quart saucepan brown meat in hot vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add diced tomatoes, beef broth, carrots, potatoes and thyme. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover; and simmer for 60-90 minutes, or until beef is tender. Blend in mustard and serve. Serves 8.

Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

I LOVE anything with lemon and poppy seeds, so this recipe was an immediate "keeper" when I made these this week. My kids loved getting these in their lunches and they stayed soft for days. I doubled the recipe and it made 4 dozen cookies.* Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk**
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and poppy seeds. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Mix well.

Drop the dough by small tablespoonfuls onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are set. The cookies should be puffy and fairly light in color when they are finished baking. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet. Move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. 
*Makes about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

**Okay, if you're like me, you don't usually have 1/4 cup of buttermilk in your fridge. Try substituting 1/4 cup milk with 1/2 tsp. lemon juice added. It thickens up just like buttermilk and adds a little extra lemon flavor:)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monkey Bread

A delicious and beautiful variation on your typical dinner rolls, Monkey Bread can function as a side and a centerpiece!  Recipe from our mother, Nancy!

1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar

Combine and let stand for 5 minutes.

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Combine in a large bowl, then beat for 5 minutes.  Add yeast mixture, then add 3 more cups of flour.  Let rise and punch down twice.  

Melt 1/3 cup butter in bundt pan.  Roll out dough and cut into circles.  Dip each circle in the melted butter, then stack them on their sides around entire pan.  Let the dough rise to top of the pan, then bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes.  Invert onto serving plate and serve immediately.  We love this with homemade jam!  

Waffle Brownies

This creative take on brownies is one of the Fredrick family staples.  Deborah is un-officially assigned to make these fast-disappearing favorites for every family function!  Recipe from Barbara Fredrick.

Melt 1/2 cup (1 cube) margarine.
Add 7 tablespoons cocoa.
Add 4 beaten eggs.
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Combine:  1 1/2 cups sugar
                  2 cups flour
                  1/2 tsp salt
Add to chocolate mixture.  Drop by spoonfuls on hot waffle iron, cooking four at a time, for approximately 1 minute.

Let cool, then frost with buttercream frosting.  

**Optional:  Add 1 tsp of peppermint flavoring to the frosting for a minty-fresh treat!


Truly, they melt in your mouth!  (May have something to do with the full POUND of butter in the recipe!)  I was reminded just how sinfully-good these little lovelies are when I made them for a neighborhood Walk-n-Talk last night.  Recipe from my dear friend Ali Fillmore Black, originally her mother Pam Fillmore's creation!

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 pound butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups corn starch
2 cups flour

Mix together with a wooden spoon.  Roll into small balls (they are rich!) and place on un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Makes 6-7 dozen cookies.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese (can use light)
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp vanilla

Cream together and swirl onto cooled cookies.  Indulge and enjoy!

Wookiee Cookies

My son had a fever yesterday, so my husband stayed home from church with him. When we walked in the door after church, I was greeted by the smell of hot cookies! My husband and son made these delicious cookies with a very funny name... "Wookiee" cookies. Apparently, they found the recipe online from the "The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes." I'm serious... I can't make this stuff up! Anyway, they are delicious. Cinnamon and both semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips help make this cookie unique...

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

1. Preheat the oven to 375ยบ
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Put the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in another mixing bowl. Blend until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Drop cookie dough 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

"Cowboy" Custard

I made this tonight and thought of my sweet Nana. This is her recipe and my Mom made it for us when we were little. It's a baked custard and I like it hot or cold. My Mom always sprinkled it with nutmeg, but I suppose you could use cinnamon instead. Serves 5-6.

3 slightly beaten eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups scalded milk, cooled
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Nutmeg or cinnamon
  1. Scald milk and let cool. (I put mine in the microwave for about 2 minutes.) 
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Fill a 9 x 13" pan with about an inch and a half of water and set it in the oven.
  3. Combine eggs, sugar and salt. Slowly stir in cooled milk and lemon and vanilla extracts. 
  4. Pour into a casserole dish and set in a pan of hot water. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon, if desired. Bake in a "slow oven" (325 degrees F.) for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Best if cooled for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Patriotic Bundt Cake

    I saw this crafty red-white-and-blue bundt cake idea on Pinterest this past summer, and had to give it a try!  Really quite simple and it was an absolute hit at our 4th of July BBQ.  Our fun-filled summer left very little time for blogging, so I thought the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the WTC and Pentagon would be a fitting time to remember the stars and stripes!  

    **Begin with any white cake recipe, prepared as directed, separated into three bowls.  Add red and blue food coloring as desired to two of the bowls, leaving the remaining batter white.  Grease and flour your bundt pan well, then add alternating globs of each different colored batter.  Do not swirl or mix, as this will make your cake pink, dark pink and purple instead of red, white and blue!  Bake as directed.

    Repeat the same food-coloring process with three bowls of your favorite buttercream frosting, but add a teaspoon of milk to each to thin the frosting to drizzle-consistency.  Use the grooves of your bundt cake to alternate each color and cover entire cake with patriotic yumminess.  God bless the USA! 

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Peanut Butter Cookies

    Cream together:
    1/2 c. butter
    1/2 c. peanut butter
    1/2 c. sugar
    1/2 c. brown sugar

    1 egg
    1 1/4 c. flour
    3/4 tsp. soda
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp vanilla

    Roll balls into sugar and press with fork.
    Bake at 375 for 10 min.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Gardener's Pie

    We've had a few cold and rainy days and it's made me hungry for some warm comfort food. I found this amazing recipe at Ezra Pound Cake that smelled delicious and tasted even better! I wish the pictures did it justice... It is SO good!

    1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (or Russet), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1/4 cup half-and-half
    4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) butter
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1 large egg yolk

    2 Tbs. canola oil
    1 cup onion, chopped
    1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
    2 carrots, finely chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
    2 Tbs. tomato paste*
    1 cup vegetable broth*
    2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped*
    1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped*
    1 (14 oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
    1/2 cup fresh or frozen shelled green peas
    1. For the Mashed Potatoes: Place the diced potatoes in a medium saucepan, and cover with salted cold water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and return them, off the heat, to the saucepan. Warm the half-and-half and butter in the microwave for 35 seconds. Mash the potatoes. Add the half-and-half and butter mixture, salt, and pepper, and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the egg yolk. Set aside.
    2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray an 11-by-7-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
    3. For the Filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in the flour, and keep cooking for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, vegetable broth, rosemary and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the kidney beans, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the corn and peas. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly in prepared casserole dish.
    4. Top with mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up, and smooth with a rubber spatula.
    5. Put the baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
    * Original recipe called for only 2 teaspoons tomato paste and I increase it to 2 Tablespoons. I used chicken broth in place of the vegetable broth. You can substitute 1 Tbs. dried rosemary and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme for the fresh herbs, if needed.

    Crispy Tilapia in Tomato-Cream Sauce

    I found this recipe over at eatingwelllivingthin, which is a fabulous website, by the way! In my quest to feed my family more seafood, I was happy to find another recipe they all raved about...

    1 1/3 cups spaghetti sauce
    1 garlic clove, minced
    3 tablespoons half & half
    Four 4-5 ounce Tilapia fillets
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
    1 egg, beaten
    1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
    1 teaspoon salt-free Italian Seasoning (I used regular Italian seasoning)
    Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    In a medium sauce pan, over medium-low heat, bring the sauce and garlic to a simmer. Use a lid to prevent splattering. Stirring occasionally, allow to cook until reduced by half. The sauce will become dark red and thick. Stir in the cream and heat through. Keep warm.

    Rinse and dry the tilapia fillets and set aside.

    In three pie plates or shallow dishes, place the flour, salt and pepper in one, the beaten egg in another, and the crumbs mixed with the seasoning in the third. Coat each fillet with the flour mixture, dip in egg until covered, and then press on the crumbs.

    Heat a frying pan on medium to medium-high heat until very hot. Add a little olive oil and fry the fish for 3-4 minutes on each side until crispy-golden and fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove to a platter and spoon the sauce over. Garnish with Parmesan. *I served mine over hot Orzo pasta. Makes 4 servings.

    Per Serving: Calories 300; Protein 25 g; Fat 4 g; 20 g; Fiber 3 g; Sugar 2 g; Sodium 664 mg

    Slow-Cooker Root Beer BBQ Beef Sandwiches

    This is an easy and flavorful way to cook barbecue beef sandwiches with a fun secret ingredient (Root Beer!) It is best cooked on low, so plan on throwing this in the slow-cooker right after breakfast and your house will smell amazing by dinner! This recipe makes enough for more than 2 dinners for my family of 5, so I freeze half for later. Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker...

    1 boneless beef rump roast (about 4 pounds)
    2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
    1 cup root beer
    dash of salt and pepper
    16 hamburger buns

    Place beef in a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker. Line first with a Reynold's Slow Cooker liner for easy clean up. Mix 1 1/2 cups of barbecue sauce and the root beer in a small mixing bowl and pour over beef. Cover. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. (Can cook on high for 5-6 hours)

    About 20 minutes before serving, remove beef from slow-cooker; place in a large bowl. Pour juices into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until juices are thickened and reduced to about 3 cups. Meanwhile, shred beef with 2 forks; return to slow cooker.

    Stir remaining 1/2 cup barbecue sauce into reduced juices in saucepan; pour over shredded beef in slow cooker. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Spoon about 1/2 cup shredded beef into each bun.
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