Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Cake

I found this recipe in a cookbook given to me by my great-aunt Ann as a wedding gift. It is the cookbook put together by her church, and it has so many wonderful recipes!

I made this for a Christmas party this week, and it was amazing! I used a bundt pan instead of a 9x13 pan.

Don't forget to visit Carol for more Saturday Stirrings recipes.


Chocolate Cherry Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
3 eggs

1 c. sugar
5 T. margarine
1/3 c. milk
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla

Mix cake mix, cherry pie filling, and eggs in a large bowl. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For Fudge Icing: combine sugar, margarine and milk in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add semisweet chocolate chips and vanilla. Mix well and pour over cake.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Russian Tea Cakes

This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas cookies! It's not Christmas without Russian Tea Cakes. You might know this cookie by another name, but this is the recipe that our family has always used from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Don't forget to check out more Saturday Stirrings recipes here.
And check out my Christmas cookie collection here.


Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.
5. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

This is the second installment of my Christmas cookie posts for December. Click here for all of my Christmas cookie recipes.

I remember my mom making a small crisp coconut oatmeal cookie when I was growing up. This recipe is close to hers, and we modified the baking (see NOTES below) to make a crisper cookie. This recipe is on Recipezaar.

Thanks to Lisa and Lana for hosting Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays! Check them out for more great recipes and kitchen ideas.


Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cream together; butter and brown sugar.
3. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and rolled oats.
4. Stir in coconut, eggs, vanilla and nuts.
5. Either drop by teaspoonfull or roll into little ping pong-sized balls (for a more uniform/cute look) and place on greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.

NOTES: I wanted a smaller, crisper cookie. So I divided the dough, formed each half into a log on wax paper, then wrapped the wax paper around the dough, and froze the logs for 1 hour. Then, I sliced the frozen dough into smaller cookies.

Also, I used both metal cookie sheets and a stoneware bar pan for baking. The cookies released much easier from the metal pans.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rum-Pum-Pum Thumbprints

I will be posting a lot of Christmas cookies this month; this is the first installment! I have so many great memories of baking Christmas cookies with my family. Every Sunday in December would be time for baking. Mom would have Dad stir while he was in front of the TV watching football. She would add ingredients and tell him to stir.

I love this variation of a thumbprint cookie. The rum extract and nutmeg are a great combination. Make sure your dough is not sticky before putting it in the refrigerator. They'll be hard to roll and will spread out too much.

Don't forget to check out more Saturday Stirring recipes over at Carol's blog. And don't forget to come back all month long for great cookie recipes!


Rum-Pum-Pum Thumbprint Cookies

Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
food color, if desired

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons rum extract; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Stir in flour and nutmeg; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.

2. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With thumb, make imprint in center of each cookie.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for 11 to 14 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool one minute; remove from cookie sheet.

4. In a small bowl, blend all frosting ingredients until smooth, adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Spoon or pipe about 1/2 teaspoon frosting into center of each cookie.

Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Tip: If any thumb indentations fill in during baking, indent them again immediately upon removing the cookies from the oven.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cranberry Relish

I do not like cranberry in a can,
I do not like it in a sauce,
I do not like it from a pot.
I do not like it in jello,
I do not like it formed in cello.

Sorry for that poor attempt at Suessian rhyme. The point is: I do not like my Thanksgiving cranberries cooked or in jello. I like it RAW! I know, I'm strange. But I love my Cranberry Relish!



Cranberry Relish


1 bag fresh cranberries
1/2 fresh orange, with rind and membranes removed
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 chopped walnuts (optional)

Place first three ingredients in your food processor. Pulse until combined. Place mixture in a bowl. Fold in walnuts. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

It's that easy, folks!

For more great recipes, click on over to Saturday Stirrings at I Throw Like a Girl. Carol also has a giveaway along with today's Saturday Stirrings. So get over there TODAY to see how you can enter to win a gift package from Progresso Soup!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Planning

It's time to start making lists and checking them twice. No, not for Christmas. Not yet. Lists for Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, maybe because the main attraction of the day is food (and football!). This list is a work in progress, but I need to start writing things down so that I can remember what needs done!



Menu:

Deep fried turkey
Pork BBQ
Twice baked potatoes (my MIL is making these)
Stuffing
Cranberry Relish
Broccoli casserole
Succotash
Dinner rolls
Pumpkin pie
Pecan pie (?)


We'll have at least 8 adults for dinner. But we always add people at the last minute. We extend invitations to any of our friends who may not have family nearby with whom to spend the day. We've had up to 22 adults some years.


What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Granola

I found this on Baking Bites and I think that I'll try this soon. I love all things pumpkin-y at this time of year. I will be making this in my crockpot, following the directions for my regular granola.

UPDATED TO ADD: This is scrumptious! I couldn't find puffed rice cereal, so I used whole grain oat cereal, and added a cup of coconut for extra texture. In the crockpot, make sure you vent the lid and stir often so as to prevent burning.

For more recipes, visit Carol, our host for Saturday Stirrings.


Pumpkin Spice Granola


3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
pinch ground cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup plain applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
up to 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
up to 1 cup dried fruit


nut suggestions: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seedsdried fruit suggestions: cranberries, raisins

Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.


In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together spices, salt, sugar, applesauce (do not use chunky applesauce), pumpkin puree, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk until very smooth.


Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or large spoon until mixture is evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula.


Sprinkle the nuts onto the granola, then bake everything for additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.


Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack. Break granola up as desired and store in an airtight container. Add dried fruit before serving.

Makes about 8 servings, more depending on add-ins.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Crockpot Apple Oatmeal


I was craving this over the weekend. I love the smell of oatmeal and apples - I always chose the apple cinnamon instant oatmeal as a kid.

One variation that I like instead of the walnuts and raisins is pecans and dried cranberries. I'm sure you could also add a diced banana and it would taste pretty good!

I'm sharing this recipe for my wonderful friend Kaylea. And for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. Because Kaylea requested it, and it is very tempting to my tummy!


Crockpot Apple Oatmeal
(adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Diabetic Cookbook)

2 cups fat-free milk
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs butter or margarine
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more!)
1 cup dry old-fashioned oats
1 large baking apple, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1-2 Tbs brown sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1. Mix together all ingredients in greased slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 5 hours.
3. Serve with milk or ice cream.

Makes 4 servings. Ideal slow cooker size - 3 quart.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa

Something simple and easy. Anyone can make this, even if you feel baking impaired!

For more great recipes, visit Carol for Saturday Stirrings.



CUPPA, CUPPA, CUPPA!
From "Steel Magnolias"

That’s a cuppa sugar, a cuppa flour and a cuppa fruit cocktail
with the juice. Mix it together and bake at 350 degrees until
gold and bubbly!

This is something that's easy.....very delicious with ice cream!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Salmon Cheese Casserole

Sometimes you have cans of things in your pantry, and you just don't know what to do with it. When I was growing up, my mom made salmon patties out of the canned salmon, so that's what I always made. And they are pretty good. But sometimes you need to shake it up a bit.

This tastes almost exactly like those salmon patties, except this recipe calls for cheese. I like cheese. So I double the amount called for. You decide whether you want to do that or not. Also, I left out the mushrooms. Mushrooms don't like me.

And, I didn't have any bread crumbs. I used a combination of crushed Fiber One cereal and crushed crackers. And I didn't feel like mincing an onion, so I used onion powder.

So what I'm saying is, do what works for you. This will still turn out great! Remember, salmon is a great way to get your Omega-3 fatty acids!

Don't forget to visit Lisa for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!



Salmon Cheese Casserole


14 3/4 oz can salmon, canned without salt, but with liquid
4 oz can mushrooms, drained
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp minced onion


1. Flake fish in bowl, removing any bones. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into lightly greased slow cooker. (I used my 4 qt. crock pot.)

2. Cover. Cook on low 3-4 hours.


I served this with brown rice and steamed vegetables. Now, go make some salmon and help your heart!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crockpot Applesauce


Is there anything better than the fragrance of apples on a crisp, fall day? Nothing says fall more to me than all things apple. I remember over-doing it many times with the fresh apple cider when I was a kid.

When my mom made applesauce, I remember her cooking it on the stovetop, then using a food mill to puree the apples into a creamy sauce. These days, I prefer a chunky applesauce. And I leave the peel on. But feel free to peel your apples if you prefer.

Also, my mom never added cinnamon when cooking the apples. But I love cinnamon, and I was feeling like a rebel so I added it. YUM!

This is more of a tutorial (sans pictures - sorry!) than a recipe. I use my 6-qt slow cooker for this.

Cut up enough apples to fill your slow cooker about 2/3 full. Depends on the size of your apples how many this will be. I try to use a variety of apples. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will cook down.

As you are cutting the apples, toss them with a bit of lemon juice, up to 1 Tbs. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup water. Sprinkle about 3 Tbs brown sugar over the apples. Then add 1-2 tsp cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract. If you are really daring, also add a dash of ground cloves.

Stir all around so the apples are coated. Cook on High for 3-4 hours, stirring once every hour. The apples on the bottom will cook faster, so stirring will ensure more even cooking.

Once the apples have reached a desired consistency, turn slow cooker off. Use an immersion blender (a boat motor as Emeril calls it) to puree apples to desired chunkiness. Or use the back of a slotted spoon if your immersion blender starts making weird noises or konks out altogether. (Guess what's on my Christmas list.)

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Easy-peasy, lemon squeezie. Yummy applesauce goodness from my kitchen to yours!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sloppy Joes


I have never attempted making my own sloppy joe mix before. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good this tasted! Good is an understatement - this was fabulous!!! This is adapted from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook.

Instead of serving this on buns, I made sloppy joe pockets. I made pizza dough in my bread machine using the dough cycle. (I use this recipe from The Natural Mommy.) When I took it out of the machine, I kneaded it for a few minutes then divided it into 8 (mostly) equal parts.

Once I had each dough glob worked into a circle, I piled on the sloppy joe mix, piled it with shredded cheddar cheese, then folded the dough over and pinched the edges to seal. I baked them at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. Fantastic!!

For more tempting recipes and kitchen tips, click over to visit the home of Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.



Sloppy Joes


1 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup sweet potato puree (you can use baby food as a shortcut)
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup squash puree or pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs worchestshire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper


1. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil to skillet. Once the oil is heated, add onion, celery, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent.

2. Add ground turkey to skillet. Break apart and brown until all pink has disappeared.

3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pasta e Fagioli al Forno

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that I tried recently. It takes just like the Pasta e Fagioli soup at Olive Garden. I was pleasantly surprised! (EDITED TO ADD: This tastes like the Olive Garden soup, but is actually a casserole!)

This recipe is not really labor-intensive, but does involve 3 pots/pans on the stovetop. A little juggling ability is needed. That's my only criticism of this dish. But the taste is worth it, if you can keep up with it all!

For more great recipes and kitchen tips, visit the home of Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.



Pasta e Fagioli al Forno
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2008


Salt
1 pound penne rigate or whole-wheat penne
1/4 pound pancetta, 3 to 4 slices thick cut like bacon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf Freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans "Roman" beans, such as Goya brand or, cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Nutmeg, to taste
1 1/2 cups grated Romano


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, cook pasta to just shy of al dente.

Chop pancetta into 1/4-inch dice.

While pasta cooks, heat a skillet with olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add pancetta, cook 2 to 3 minutes then add celery, carrot, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf to the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add beans and heat them through. Stir in 1/2 cup wine, simmer 30 seconds more and turn off heat.

Remove bay leaf.

While vegetables cook, place a small sauce pot over medium heat, add butter, melt butter then whisk in flour and cook 1 minute then whisk in milk. Season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and reduce 4 to 5 minutes, stir in half the grated cheese, turn off heat and adjust seasoning.
While sauce cooks, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat broiler to high.

Drain pasta and return to the pot, toss with white bean mixture and sauce, stir to coat, transfer to a casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and place in oven to brown, 5 minutes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Homemade Graham Crackers

I tried this recipe this week, and these do taste like honey graham crackers! You definitely need to roll the dough very thin. If it's too think, the edges will burn before the center is done. Trust me on this, okay?

These are very good, and I'll make them again. Next time, I'll probably add the cinnamon/sugar before baking.

For more recipes, visit Carol who hosts Saturday Stirrings.


Homemade Graham Crackers


1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp honey, warmed
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water



Preheat oven to 300 degrees. combine shortening with sugar, honey (warmed for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave), and vanilla in a large bowl. blend with an electric mixer until smooth. combine flours, salt, baking powder,and baking soda in another large bowl, and then add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and blend well with an electric mixer. Slowly add the water to the mixture while beating. you may have to mix by hand until the mixture forms a large ball of dough.


Divide the dough in thirds and roll 1/3 out in the shape of a rectangle that is at least 1/16 inch thick on wax paper. This dough should be paper thin! It will double when cooked to the desired 1/8-inch thickness. use a knife to trim the dough so that it has straight edges in the shape of a rectangle slightly smaller than the size of the baking sheet you are using. Grease the baking sheet with a light coating of shortening. Turn the dough over onto the baking sheet,and carefully peel away the wax paper.


Use a knife to score the dough in 5x 2 3/8-inch rectangles. Use a toothpick to poke holes that are 1/4-inchapart across the entire surface of the dough. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes oruntil the dough begins to turn light brown around the edges. be sure to turn the baking sheet around about halfway through the cooking time. Cool the graham cracker sheets before breaking them apart along the scoredlines. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.


Makes 44 crackers.


Tidbits.... if you would like to clone the cinnamon variety of graham crackers, simply combine 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl. before you put the graham cracker dough in the oven, sprinkle a light coating of this cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top surface of the dough. Shake the baking sheet around gently to evenly distribute the cinnamon/sugar and bake as instructed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Easy Wheat Bread

I've been experimenting with a new bread recipe. This is a slightly sweet, healthy half-whole-wheat bread for the bread machine. I love the Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread, but the recipe is too big for my bread machine pan. And when I experimented to reduce the ingredients, it was a horrible disaster!

This one is great and is about $1.00 a loaf.

For more Random Recipes, don't forget to visit Pam at Random Thoughts!




Yield: 1 loaf


Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2-3 tablespoons ground flax meal
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast


Place ingredients in bread pan according to manufacturers' instructions. I use the whole wheat cycle.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spaghetti Sauce

This is my simple and easy homemade spaghetti sauce. If I have access to fresh tomatoes for a good price, I'll use them in addition to the canned tomatoes.


1 lb ground turkey
1-28 oz can of diced tomatoes (or 2-14 oz cans)
1 small can of tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
3/4 c. pureed squash, sweet potato, or carrot*
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 Tbs Italian seasoning



1. Brown ground turkey in a large stock pot with a little bit of olive oil


2. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.


3. Allow to simmer, covered, for one hour. Stir occassionally.



This can also be done in the crockpot. Cook on low for up to 6 hours.



* Hint you can use pureed baby food as a shortcut!


For more recipes and kitchen tips, visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed with Grace.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shrimp Creole Crockpot

And so continues my love affair with the crock pot. This was our dinner last night, and it was another winner. I served it with cheesy grits. You could serve this with rice as well.

Fore more Saturday Stirrings, please visit Carol at I Throw Like a Girl.



SHRIMP CREOLE CROCKPOT
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 drops Tabasco (opt.)
1 pound shrimp - deveined & shelled

Combine all ingredients except shrimp. Cook 3 to 4 hours on high or 6
to 8 hours on low.

Add shrimp last hour of cooking. Serve over hot rice. Chicken or
crawfish may be substituted for shrimp.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Crockpot Spanish Rice

Oh.My.Word. This was good eats! Hubby loved it. I loved it. Even Ladybug loved it, if that could be determined from the large amounts that she ate at supper, and as leftovers.


I cooked mine on high for 6 hours and it came out just right. The rice and all the vegetables were mushy, just the way we like them!






Crockpot Spanish Rice


1-2 lbs lean ground beef, browned and drained (I used ground turkey)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce (I used my homemade sauce)
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked


1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.


2. Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 6 hours.


For more Saturday Stirrings recipes, please visit Carol at I Throw Like a Girl.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Snack Mix




This is a simple snack mix that is easily adaptable to whatever your family likes. I got the idea from our chidren's minister at church. It's great for munching at home or on the road!



Ingredients:

1 box Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1 bag pretzels
1 large bag regular M&Ms
1 regular box Cheerios
1 small back chocolate covered raisins


Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a large tub. Enjoy!


Other ideas for mix-ins: goldfish crackers, teddy grahams, peanuts. It's up to your imagination and taste!



Visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for more great recipes and kitchen tips!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Crockpot Pollo Loco (Crazy Chicken)

One of my favorite local Mexican restaurants serves Pollo Loco, Crazy Chicken. I decide to try to recreate it in my crockpot. It was a huge success!

The usual vegetables are: onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli. But I used whatever I had in the freezer, which was green beans and broccoli. You can also use fresh veggies. It's a great dish to use up odds and ends.

Don't forget to check out more Saturday Stirrings recipes at I Throw Like a Girl.



Crockpot Pollo Loco

chicken for 4-6 servings (I used chicken legs that were on sale)
1 jar of salsa
vegetables of your choice, or whatever you have on hand

1. Place chicken in crockpot. Cover with salsa. If your vegetables are fresh, layer them over the salsa.

2. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or high 6 hours. If you cook on low, the flavors will come together more.

3. At one hour before serving time, turn crockpot to high. If using frozen vegetables, add them at this time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grilled Pizza Wraps



This meal is courtesy of a weekly sale and a little ingenuity! Wraps were on sale. I wanted pizza (I LOVE pizza, even craved it during my first pregnancy). And I love using my grill pan.

This meal is very flexible as to the ingredients. Use what you like and what you have on hand. I made extra wraps so all I had to do was reheat them for lunch the next day. Yum!!!


Ingredients:
wraps, any flavor (I used Italian)
your favorite pizza sauce (I use Ragu)
mozzarella cheese
your favorite pizza toppings (I used ground beef and sauteed peppers and onions)

Directions:
Heat grill pan to medium high. If you don't have a grill pan or panini press, you can use a skillet weighted with a soup can to press the wrap.

Spread a tablespoon or so of sauce on each wrap. Sprinkle with cheese. Then add toppings. Don't overfill!

Roll wrap carefully and place on grill pan with seam side down. Squash with top thingy that goes with your grill pan (sorry for getting all technical on you!). Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until you have beautiful looking grill marks!



Don't forget to visit Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesday recipes and kitchen tips.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chicken Panzanella

I made this dish this past weekend when my in-laws came over. This is an Italian dish; panzanella is a bread-salad. This was absolutely delicious! I doubled the dressing mixture because I added extra bread and a fresh zucchini. There was nothing left - we all had seconds!


Chicken Panzanella

1 c chicken stock
1/2 lb boned chicken breast

2 T lemon juice
1 t olive oil
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 clove of garlic, minced

Pumpernickel cubes (about 4 slices worth, left out on countertop to dry)
1-1/2 c tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3/4 c celery, chopped
1/2 c purple onion, diced

In a skillet, simmer the chicken in the stock until it is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Cut the chicken into pieces and reserve the liquid: chill both while you do the rest.

In a large serving bowl, mix together the lemon juice through the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients, one at a time, and toss each.

When ready to serve, toss in the chilled chicken pieces, and drizzle the mixture with the reserved liquid.


And don't forget to check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for more great recipes and kitchen tips!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Andes Creme de Menthe Chunk Cookies


Is anyone else a huge fan of Andes Creme de Menthe candies? I remember that these were my Aunt Mary Jo's favorite, and that we would get them at restaurants after dinner when we were with her. She passed away when I was twelve, so memories like that are special.

Aunt Mary Jo was the sister next in line after my mom, third daughter of my grandma, to whom this site is dedicated.

My mom found this recipe on a bag of Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips and made them last year. She saved the bag for me so I could have the recipe too. So here it is, straight off the bag...


Andes Creme de Menthe Chunk Cookies

1/2 c salted butter, softened
3/4 c dark brown sugar
1/2 c white granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 pkg (10 oz) Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
2 2/3 c sifted all-purpose flour


Blend butter, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and eggs until mixed. Stir in Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips and then flour.

Chill approximately one hour in refrigerator. Measure out approximately 1 oz of dough. Form ball and slightly flatten. Raise oven rack one level above middle and bake on non-stick baking pans.

Bake at 350 F for approximately 8-10 minutes. Cool on pans for two minutes before removing.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


Don't forget to visit Pam's blog for more Random Recipes!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pizza Pockets

I was preparing this post and stumbled across this same idea, except to use homemade roll dough (mixed and kneaded in the bread machine). Since my bread machine is getting a workout these days, I am going to try that idea next week instead of the store-bought biscuits. You could also use ground beef/turkey and mix up the flavors - sloppy joe, Italian, etc.

Don't forget to visit Carol for more Saturday Stirrings recipes.



Pizza Pockets

Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes
Yield: 10 pizza pockets



14 oz jar prepared pizza sauce
1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup 2% shredded 3-cheese mix
1/4 cup finely chopped pepperoni
2 cans (7.5 oz each) refrigerated biscuits
1 egg, slightly beaten with 1 tsp water



1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine 1/2 cup pizza sauce, broccoli, cheese, and pepperoni, if using, in a medium bowl.

3. Flatten each biscuit into a 3-inch circle, and top half of each with a heaping tablespoon of broccoli mixture. Fold empty side over the mixture. Press the edges with a fork to seal.

4. Place pizza pockets on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush each with egg mixture, and pierce a small hole in the top of each. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden. Serve with remaining pizza sauce.



Per serving: 139 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 527 mg sodium, 24 mg cholesterol
(as seen in Parenting magazine, September 2007)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Four Foods on Friday - Baking

Thanks to Val for hosting this fun meme every week! Here are this week’s four questions. This week they’re about baking.

#1. When you need to serve desserts, do you buy them or make them? Because I have such a sweet tooth, I prefer to make my own desserts. I will buy cookies occasionally in I'm in a time crunch.


#2. When baking do you use butter, margarine or something else? I try to use what the recipe calls for. I like to use butter for the rich taste, but margarine gives a crispier texture.


#3. What meats or veggies do you cook in the oven? I love to roast veggies in the oven; I've even roasted spaghetti squash (one of my faves!). We eat a lot of baked chicken too.


#4. Share a recipe for anything that is cooked in an oven. This muffin recipe makes A LOT. I usually make 3 dozen regular size muffins and 4-5 dozen mini muffins with one batch. And I love all the variations. These are the carrot/raisin muffins.




Master Muffin Recipe - from my friends at The Duckabush Blog

INGREDIENTS
* 5 cups flour (use up to two cups whole wheat, crushed cereal, or packed rolled oats if desired)
*2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar (experiment with the amount - can also vary types of sugar used)
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 Tbs.(3 tsp) baking powder
* 2 cups buttermilk (you can use part yogurt for the milk)
* 1 c. oil or melted butter (or substitute 1/2 cup apple sauce for half the oil)
* 3 eggs


DIRECTIONS
Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to blend. Place wet ingredients (oil, eggs, milk) in blender and blend well.

Make a well in dry ingredients in bowl, add wet mix from blender and pour into well. Stir gently to mix, add fruit and fold and stir in. Do not beat, batter should be a bit lumpy. Over stirring muffins makes them tough.


This will make 24 to 30 muffins depending on size of pans. Grease muffin pans or use muffin liners fill almost to the top and sprinkle with any of the following: sugar, cinn. sugar, chopped nuts and sugar, coconut, rolled oats and sugar etc.


Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min. Cool on racks. Freeze these in Ziplocs for quick breakfasts or easy snacks.



The wonderful thing about this Master Mix recipe is it comes with an amazing list of add in possibilities. Here are the muffin variations:


Apple cinnamon: Use 3 - 4 apples (just peel and cut in chunks and throw in blender with wet ingredients, don’t over process, or chop by hand), 2 tsp cinn. and 1 cup chopped pecans.


Apple raisin - same as above but add 1 cup raisins (plump first by covering with liquid and nuking for a couple minutes. Kathy likes to use part rolled oats with the apple muffins and sprinkle the tops with a little oatmeal and sugar. )


Carrot raisin - same as above but use 5 or 6 carrots chopped in blender with wet ingredients instead of apple. Add 1 cup chopped nuts if desired.

Carrot raisin pineapple - Same as above but add one large can crushed pineapple and reduce milk to 1 1/2 cups.

Strawberry - cut up 3 cups strawberries and mix in Strawberry/White Chocolate, same as above, but add 1 cup white choc pieces


Strawberry pecan - same but add 1 cup chopped pecans


Tollhouse - add 2 cup choc chips (1 12 oz bag), 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans, use brown sugar and add 2 tsp vanilla.


Banana - Reduce milk to 1 cup - add 5 or 6 bananas to blender - add 2 tsp vanilla and 1 cup nuts

Banana/Strawberry 1- Same as above but fold into batter, 2 cups cut up strawberries.


Banana/Strawberry 2 - Add 1 cup strawberries to the blender with 4 or 5 bananas. Stir 2 cups of cut up strawberries into batter.


Banana/Strawberry 3 - Follow either banana or banana strawberry 1, but add 1 pkg strawberry jello to wet ingredients.


Banana Choc chip - same as above but add 2 cups mini chips and 1 cup nuts if desired.


Blueberry /Orange - Peel the orange skin off one orange in very thin pieces using a potato peeler and put in the blender with the other wet ingredients. Remove the white peel remaining on the orange and cut orange into 4 or 5 chunks. Pick out the seeds and put the chunks in the blender. add the remaining wet ingredients reducing milk to 1 3/4 cups, if you are using regular milk do not add lemon juice. Blend well. Proceed as directed stirring in 2 1/2 to 3 cups blueberries.


Cranberry Orange - Same as above (no blueberries) except add 1 1/2 dried cranberries (plumped in microwave by covering with liquid and nuking for a couple minutes). Can also add 1 cup chopped nuts


Orange Pineapple - Same as above (no blueberries) but add 1 large can of crushed pineapple and reduce milk to 1 1/2 cups.


Hawaiian - Same as above but add 1 cup coconut - sprinkle tops with a little coconut.


Peanut Butter and Jelly - This is for the kids, into blender container put milk, 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky, you can add extra chopped peanuts if you like) and only 1/3 cup oil. Use 4 eggs and mix as usual. Fill muffin tins 1/2 full and put 1 tsp jam or jelly in center of each cup. Fill with batter almost to top and bake as usual. Chopped peanuts sprinkled on top is a nice touch.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

I have been making our bread for the last month or so. And I've been looking for good bread machine recipes. I haven't tried this yet, but will later this week. Here is my standard wheat bread recipe. (Can't remember where I found this recipe, so I don't know who to give credit to.)

If this tempts your tummy, head on over for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.


Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread


Add the ingredients as they are printed into the bread machine pan.


1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups water (add more if dough is too dry in 1 tbs increments)
3 TBS butter
1/3 cup honey
2 TSP salt
1 1/2 cups white bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 TSP active dry yeast



Place all the ingredients in the pan, using the least amount of liquid and adding more if needed, as seen below. Select Medium Crust and press start.


Observe the dough as it kneads. After 5 to 10 minutes, if it appears dry or stiff, or if the machine sounds like it's straining to knead it, add more liquid 1 TBS at a time until dough forms a smooth, soft, pliable ball that is slightly tacky to the touch.


After the baking cycle ends, remove bread from pan, place on cooling rack, and allow to cool 1 hour before slicing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Are you being over-run with zucchini? Here's another idea of a yummy dish. I found this on Dawn's Daily Life.

Don't forget to check out I Throw Like a Girl for more Saturday Stirrings recipes.



Zucchini Pizza Casserole

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) Italian Style tomato sauce
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Place zucchini in strainer; sprinkle with salt. Let drain for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cheddar and 1/2 mozzarella cheese. Press into a greased 9x13x2 inch baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over baked zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses and green pepper. Bake for 20 more minutes.
Makes 6-8 servings

Friday, July 18, 2008

Four Foods on Friday - The Sniff Test

Time for FFOF hosted by Fun, Crafts, and Recipes. Today's theme is all about your sniffer!


#1. Fruits and veggies. Do you prefer them peeled or not? I prefer them unpeeled, because the peels have tons of great nutrients and fiber. We all need our fiber, don't we?

#2. What’s your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable smell? My favorite fresh fruit smell is peaches! And they're in season now! (Fresh strawberries are a very close second.)

#3. What’s the worst food smell you’ve ever smelled? It would have to be a dish that I smelled while in Japan in 1993. I was a short-term missionary, didn't speak much Japanese, and a lot of people I met were very eager to share their favorite dishes with me. I liked a lot of the things I ate, but a few did make me a little green.

#4. Share the recipe for the dish that you love to smell cooking in your oven. Since I have such a sweet tooth, and I love cookies, I'll share my snickerdoodle recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Coating
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions
1.Mix the cinnamon with the sugar in a bowl and set aside.
2.Mix the margarine, sugar and eggs.
3.Add the dry ingredients and form small balls.
4.Roll the balls in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
5.Place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart (they spread as they bake).
6.Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 F.
7.Remove from the tray immediately.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Crockpot Mac-n-Cheese

Stephanie, the Crockpot Lady, had this posted on her blog. You do read her blog, don't you?

The original recipe called for 2 eggs, which I used the first time I made this recipe. It definitely makes it more souffle-like. This week, I only used one egg. It is definitely creamier. So use 1 or 2 eggs, whichever you prefer! It was yummy to me both ways!

You can customize your cheese blend as well. I have used all cheddar, or a combination of cheddar and velveeta. You could also try cheddar and gouda or something fancy like that. In my opinion, you definitely need to have cheddar as part of the equation. Experiment! Have fun!

For more Saturday Stirrings recipes, visit Carol at I Throw Like a Girl!


Crockpot Mac-n-Cheese

--1/2 pound macaroni or hearty pasta
--4 cups of milk
--1 egg
--4 cups cheese
--1/2 t kosher salt
--1/2 t black pepper
--1 T dried mustard



The Directions. Spray crock well with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, whip egg and milk together. Stir in spices. Add cheese and noodles, and stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into the crockpot.It will be very liquidy.Cover and cook on low for 2-5 hours, or on high for 1-3. The cooking time will vary depending on what size crockpot you are using, and how quickly it heats and cooks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Crockpot Chicken n Dumplins


Well, that's how I say it! I have to admit that last week was the first time I had tried to make chicken n dumplins all by myself. This is more of a southern dish, so I didn't have this growing up. I've always enjoyed chicken n dumplins when someone else made it.

I found this VERY easy crockpot version of chicken n dumplins, and Hubby RAVED! He has requested that I make this OFTEN! So I think that qualifies it for "Family Favorite" status.

Don't forget to check out Pam's Random Thoughts for more Random Recipes!




Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Put frozen chicken breasts into crock pot.
Add 2 cans of chicken broth. (I did add a bay leaf and some Lawry's Seasoning Salt as well.)
Cover and simmer on low for 8 hrs or high for 6 hrs.

Twenty minutes before dinnertime, turn crockpot to high and mix 2 cups Bisquick mix and 2/3 cup milk. Drop by small spoonfuls into broth. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. (I took the lid off for a few minutes before serving.)

The dumplings are doughy and squishy, which is just the way that Hubby likes it! Serve with a salad or other veggie.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Four Foods on Friday

I've missed a few weeks of FFOF, but I wanted to jump back in. This is a fun meme - thanks to Val at Fun, Crafts, and Recipes for hosting!


#1. Name your biggest cooking influence. Definitely my mom! And thru her, my grandma who was a farm wife with a very simple approach to cooking.

#2. What is your ultimate comfort food? My mom's potato dumplings. There isn't a recipe that she follows - it's in her head. And every time I try to write it down from memory, I leave something out. If I try to make dumplings myself, I inevitably have to call her ask for help!

It's similar to this recipe that I found on Yahoo Answers: (We leave out the nutmeg, then finish them by sauteing with butter and onions and melting American Cheese on top. Also, we don't work the dough, we just drop them by spoonfuls into boiling water.)
900 g (2 lb) potatoes
300 g (10 1/2 oz) white flour
1 egg
Salt
A pinch of nutmeg

Cook the potatoes in plenty of salted water or steam them; peel and press them through a sieve while still hot (or you could use a mouli legumes).Mix them with the flour, the egg, a pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg on a lightly floured work surface. Work the dough at length.If there is too much flour in the dough, the dumplings will be hard. If you put too much potato, they will disintegrate in the saucepan. The doses in this recipe are indicative, seeing that the balance depends on the "flouriness" of the potatoes, their absorbency capacity and the quality of the flour used.Let the dough rest for a quarter of an hour. Then roll it into long fingers and divide them into cylinders about an inch long.Dust lightly with flour and, with your thumb, press them gently, one by one, along the back of a grater or a fork.Arrange them on lightly floured dishes without putting one on another one.Cook in plenty of salted boiling water. They are cooked as soon as they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon.Dress them at once as you wish.

#3. Name one must have tool that you think every kitchen should have. A crockpot. They're not just for keeping your food warm! Yes, you can COOK food in your crockpot!

#4. Share a time saving tip. Because I have a 13 month old woddler (baby-toddler) and the fact that I love to bake cookies, I often make bar cookies. It saves on the time of scooping the dough onto the cookie sheet and shuffling multiple cookie sheets in and out of the oven. I love making oatmeal bar cookies - almost like a chewy granola bar!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

I have found a great recipe for making whole wheat bread in my bread machine! I looked in a lot of recipe books, and lots of different websites, so this recipe is a combination of what I've read.

Don't forget to check out other great recipes at the new home of Saturday Stirrings at I Throw Like a Girl.



Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 T vegetable oil
2 T sugar
1 t salt
1 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 packet of rapid rise yeast (or 1 t)

Directions:
Place all ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the the manufacturer. Select Whole Wheat cycle and Regular bake time; press start.

After 5 minutes, check how the dough is kneading. It may need either 1 T of flour or 1 T of water, depending on the consistency.

Once the bread is done, allow it time to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Homemade Ketchup




Sorry I'm late posting my Random Recipe today. This sort of fits with the Fourth of July side dish theme. Everybody (except me) loves ketchup with their grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, right? Melanie had a blog post questioning whether ketchup could be considered a vegetable. With this recipe, it can!



Homemade Ketchup
from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld


1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/4 water
2 Tbs apple-cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp chili powder, or to taste


1. Stir all the ingredients together in a big saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced by about half, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool before serving.

2. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze in 1/4 cup amounts in zipper-lock bag for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I saw this recipe at Genesis of a Cook and wanted to try it. I love to bake, but we are trying to stay away from lots of extra sugar and white flour. So a recipe with bananas and rolled oats sounds healthier to me.

I did have to make a few adjustments to the original recipe that I read. I don't know if it was an altitude difference, but with only 1 1/4 cups of flour the cookies flatten out way too much. So I added about another 1/2 cup of flour and they looked better. This made about 3 dozen cookies for me.

These are not overly sweet and I think they would make a great afternoon snack (or bedtime snack!).

1 3/4 cups flour (I used 1/4 cup of wheat flour, and 1 1/2 cups of white flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
2 bananas, ripe

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together, set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until smoothly blended. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.

3. Slowly add the flour mixture with the butter mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Stir in the oatmeal. Use a large spoon to mix in the ripe bananas and mash, mixing just until they are evenly distributed.

4. Drop by tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are lightly browned and the tops look dry, about 18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken

I "borrowed" this recipe from the Crockpot Lady, but changed a few things for our family. That's one of my favorite things about cooking - you don't always have to precisely follow a recipe. Just use it for inspiration.

Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken

8 frozen chicken breast tenderloins or 4 frozen chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup (or you can use cream of mushroom or cream of celery)
1 can of water (measured in soup can)
1 packet of Italian dressing seasoning
1 8 oz package cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
1 package frozen broccoli

Put first four ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, use two forks to shred chicken. Then stir in frozen broccoli and block of cream cheese and cook on high for remaing 30 minutes. Serve over rice or pasta.

** This turned out fabulous! A bit like broccoli and chicken alfredo. I served this over whole wheat pasta.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Taco Junk


Since it's been hotter than blazes this week, I am transitioning to my "summer cooking mode." Which means crockpot meals and anything that doesn't require the oven.

I think I found this recipe in an e-mail, but I can't remember, so I don't know who to give credit to. This is a fabulous recipe! We used mild salsa, but you can kick it up and use medium or hot, depending on your preference. And we don't eat beans in this house, so I subsitituted extra firm cubed tofu instead of the beans. The tofu takes on the flavor of whatever it's with, so it makes a great addition to a lot of dishes. Also, we used ground turkey instead of ground beef.

For more recipes, don't forget to check out Saturday Stirrings at It Coulda' Been Worse.



Taco Junk


1 lb . ground beef cooked and drained
1 can corn
1 can tomatoes
1 can pinto beans
1 pkg. dry ranch style dressing mix
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
2 cups salsa

Put all the ingredients in crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours. Serve over brown rice. Garnish with shredded cheese or sour cream.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Frozen Fruit Smoothies


Today's Random Recipes theme is drinks, milkshakes, etc, etc. This is my all-time favorite way to make smoothies. And it's so simple!

Ready?

Take about a cup of frozen berries or other frozen fruit. Place in the blender or a cup large enough for an immersion blender to reach the bottom. Pour in about a cup of skim milk. Blend. No ice. The frozen fruit is enough to make the smoothie thick and creamy! Add a little sugar or Splenda to sweeten, if necessary. The only fruit that needs sweetener is peaches.

If you want to use fresh fruit, then you will need to use ice cubes.

Enjoy!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Strawberry Pizza

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Bake: about 10 minutes
Yield: 24 cookies



1 package ready-to-bake sugar cookies
1/4 cup strawberry jelly
12 Tbs light strawberry cream cheese
6 large strawberries, chopped


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies as directed and let cool for at least 10 minutes.


2. While cookies are baking, heat jelly in a small pot over low heat until liquefied, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.


3. Spread each cookie with 1/2 Tbs cream cheese, and top with chopped strawberries. Brush melted jelly on top. (Garnish with a mint sprig, if you'd like.)


Per serving: 144 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated), 155 mg sodium, 13 mg cholesterol

(As seen in Parenting magazine, September 2007)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Chicken Salad with Pistachios

Today's Random Recipe calls for picnic food to get us ready for the Memorial Day weekend. This is my mother in law's chicken salad recipe, and we usually have this at most of our summer get-togethers.

Most of the time we grill out at their house, so refrigeration isn't an issue. If you're taking this to a picnic, make sure that you have adequate space in your cooler. Or you could make sandwiches ahead to save on space.


Chicken Salad with Pistachios

8 ounces light sour cream
1 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
4 cups already roasted and sliced chicken (we use rotisserie chicken)
1 bunch scallions (enough for 1 cup chopped)
2 ribs celery (for about 1 cup chopped)
1 cup already shelled pistachios, unsalted
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish, well drained
1/2 tsp black pepper, more or less to taste
salt to taste

In a 2 quart or larger bowl, mix together the sour cream and mayonnaise. Chop the chicken into chunks, if necessary, and add to the mayonnaise mixture. Stir until the meat is well coated.

Rinse the scallions and slice them, using all of the whites and enough of the tender green tops to make 1 cup. Sprinkle them over the chicken as you chop. Cut the celery into bite-sized pieces and add them to the salad. Add the nuts, sweet pickle relish and black pepper. Stir to mix well. Add salt and additional black pepper to taste, if necessary.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Four Foods on Friday - White

This week's theme for FFOF is "white." This requires a bit more creativity, I think! Thanks to Val at Fun, Crafts, and Recipes for hosting this fun meme!

#1. What’s your favorite white beverage? If you don’t have one, what’s your favorite beverage with something white in it? ~ I've mentioned this drink before, Pink Chocolate. It's white hot chocolate with raspberry flavoring. The white chocolate is a smoother, less bitter, drink than regular hot chocolate. (I get it at my local espresso kiosk, but I'm sure you could special order it at your favorite place!)

#2. What’s your favorite white gravy, sauce, condiment, dressing or topping? ~ I am not very fond of most condiments, but I do love to have mozzarella cheese as a topping on a lot of foods that I eat!

#3. What’s your favorite white item from the refrigerated section? ~ Dannon Fit 'n Lively Vanilla Yogurt - with my homemade granola and some dried cranberries - YUM!

#4. Share a recipe for something white. ~ I LOVE white pizza! It was a favorite treat when I was growing up. Not many places made this, and I'm so glad to have a recipe for it.


White and Green Pizza

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes
Yeild: 4 servings

5 oz fresh (or frozen, defrosted) baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs water
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 mini-pizza crusts (such as Boboli) (5 oz each)
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella
2 Tbs grated parmesan
1 Tbs olive oil

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, put spinach in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Season to taste, and sprinkle with water. Cover with plastic wrap, and pierce to vent. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Drain well.

2. Mix ricotta and garlic powder in a small bowl. Place the pizza crusts on an ungreased baking sheet, and spread half the ricotta mixture on each one. Top each pizza with cooked spinach, mozarella, and parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cool slightly and cut each pizza in half to serve.

Per serving: 352 calories, 13 g fat (4 g saturated), 637 mg sodium, 24 mg cholesterol
(as seen in Parenting magazine, September 2007)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Four Foods on Friday - Chocolate

Four Foods on Friday is hosted by Val at Fun, Crafts, and Recipes. This week's theme for FFoF is “chocolate”. Mmmm. I LOVE chocolate!

#1. What’s your favorite beverage containing chocolate or chocolate flavoring? ~ Pink Chocolate, it's a white hot chocolate with raspberry flavored syrup. Yumm-eee.

#2. What’s your favorite chocolate bar? OR Share a pic of your favorite candy, chocolate or otherwise. ~ I love any dark chocolate candy bar. One of my current faves is Snickers Dark Chocolate.

#3. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten that had chocolate in it? ~ Chocolate covered jalepeno. Not a favorite of mine, but it was definitely interesting!

#4. Share a recipe using chocolate.

Yum Yum Brownie Muffins, from Hungry Girl

(1 Muffin, or 3 minis - 181 calories, 3.5g fat, 37g carbs, 2g, fiber, 2g protein - 4 WW points)
This super-simple 2-ingredient recipe is a Weight Watchers Fave! This is seriously good too! (You can do this with any cake mix too.)

1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 can solid pack pumpkin (15 oz.)

Directions:Mix the two ingredients together. Don't add anything else that may be mentioned on the box, such as eggs, oil, or water. The mixture will be very thick and you will be tempted to add in other things to make the batter smoother. DO NOT DO THIS AS IT WILL RUIN EVERYTHING! Place batter into muffin tins (or mini muffin tins) lined with paper, or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular or 36 mini muffins

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Favorite Pasta Salad

The theme for Random Recipes today is "lunch." This was tough for me, because my lunch is usually a grilled cheese sandwich or left-overs. But as the weather warms, my thoughts turn to summer foods, and this is one of my favorite summertime meals. You can do all the prep in the morning and have this for lunch or supper, or both! This recipe makes a lot!

If you need a great low-fat panini recipe, click here for a turkey reuben.

Also, go check out Random Thoughts today for more great Random Recipes!



My Favorite Pasta Salad

Ingredients
8 ounces wagon wheel macaroni or tri-colored corkscrew macaroni or desired pasta
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium yellow squash, halved, sliced lengthwise (and/or zucchini)
10 ounces frozen peas, thawed or 1 1/2 cups fresh peas, cooked and cooled
6 ounces black olive, pitted, drained (we're not olive fans, so we usually leave these out)
4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, cubed
1 cup unblanched whole almonds, toasted
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, snipped or oregano or basil or dill
8 ounces Italian salad dressing

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Rinse with cool water and drain thoroughly.
3. Cool pasta to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl combine pasta, sweet red pepper, yellow squash or zucchini, peas, olives, cheese, almonds, green onions and herb.
4. Add dressing to pasta mixture. Toss gently to mix.
5. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Four Foods on Friday

This is my first time participating in Four Foods on Friday, hosted by Fun, Crafts, and Recipes. This week's theme is chicken.

#1. How do you make chicken salad? ~ I take the easy route. I use canned chicken, drained and shredded. Maybe add diced celery or onion if I have it. I also like dried cranberries in my chicken salad, but Hubby says that fruit and meat don't belong together in the same dish. For the dressing, I use equal parts mayo and ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

#2. Fast food chicken. What fast food restaurant makes the best chicken? I love Chik-Fil-A chicken. I usually get either the Chik-Fil-A sandwich or their chicken strips.

#3. What’s your favorite way to eat chicken? I think stir fried is my favorite way to eat chicken. We eat a lot of chicken, so that's a hard one to say for sure.

#4. Share a recipe using chicken or take a picture of a chicken dish.

Grand Strand Chicken Bog
(Found in the Vertical File of Chapin Library, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)

Chicken Bog is a traditional low country dish. It always makes an appearance at church suppers and other gatherings of large groups. Every one has a different version, but this is the way I like it.

2 1/2 lb. chicken pieces
1 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 lb. smoked sausage
1 tsp. black pepper
2 c. long grain rice

Boil chicken and onions in 4 c. water until tender. Debone chicken. Slice sausage in 1/2" pieces, add sausage, pepper and rice to chicken. Simmer until all broth is absorbed and rice is cooked. Serves 8.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chicken and Asparagus Casserole

I saw this over at BooMama's, and it sounds good! Except for the mushrooms. I'll be leaving those out.


Chicken and Asparagus Casserole

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter (you can use a little less if you’d like. I say go big or go home.)(that's BooMama's opinion)
1 (8 ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Accent
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento, drained
6 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
2 (15 ounce) cans green asparagus spears
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350.

In a skillet, saute’ onion butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients except chicken, asparagus and almonds.

In a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish, layer half of chicken, 1 can asparagus and half of sauce. Repeat layers, ending with sauce. Top with almonds.

Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. Do not add liquid, even if it looks dry. Freezes well.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ladybug Cake


I'm starting to gather ideas for Ladybug's first birthday cake. Found this on Betty Crocker.


Ladybug Cake

Delight your little ones with this cute-as-a-bug cake. All you need are cake, frosting and a few cookies and candies.

Prep Time:35 min
Start to Finish:2 hr 15 min
Makes:8 servings

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow or white cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
2 chocolate wafer cookies
1 large red gumdrop
Red and black shoestring licorice
Red sugar
Large black gumdrops

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease or spray bottoms only of 1 1/2-quart round casserole or heatproof bowl and bottom only of 8x4-inch loaf pan.
2.Make cake batter as directed on cake mix box. Pour half of the batter into casserole; pour remaining batter into loaf pan.
3.Bake 38 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of casserole and loaf pan to loosen cakes; remove from casserole and pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Wrap and freeze loaf cake for another use.
4.Place cake, rounded side up, on serving plate. Frost with frosting. Make face on side of cake, using cookies for eyes, red gumdrop slice for nose, red shoestring licorice for mouth and black shoestring licorice for eyebrows and antennae. Sprinkle red sugar over cake to within 2 inches from curved edge of face. Place black gumdrop slices on cake for spots. Store loosely covered.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude directions on cake mix box for making batter.

Nutrition Information
1 Serving: Calories 610 (Calories from Fat 230); Total Fat 25g (Saturated Fat 7g, Trans Fat 4g); Cholesterol 80mg; Sodium 510mg; Total Carbohydrate 91g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 60g); Protein 4g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 10%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 1 Starch; 5 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 5 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 6 *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Granola Bars


I saw this recipe yesterday on Overwhelmed with Joy! I definitely want to try this, so I am copying this for my own archives. This is from the Food Network.

I love having snack bars for when we have to grab something quick on our way out of the house. Can't wait to try this! And I think my homemade Crockpot Granola will work great in this recipe!

For more Saturday Stirrings recipes, click on over to It Coulda Been Worse.



Granola Bars

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 cups low-fat granola mix (not cereal)
1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Combine brown sugar, honey, vanilla and butter in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat; simmer 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Cool.

Meanwhile, combine granola, coconut, raisins, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and almonds in a large bowl.

Stir brown sugar mixture into granola mixture. Spread in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan. Press remaining chocolate chips into top. Refrigerate 2 hours or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vegetable Pizza


Today's theme for Random Recipes hosted by Pam at Random Thoughts is appetizer and/or drink recipes.

When we get together with Hubby's family, which is sometimes once a month, we have started sharing appetizers and finger foods instead of a full meal. There is a lot of variety, and I don't feel like I overeat when it's just finger foods. (Maybe I'm fooling myself?)

This is one of my favorite appetizers. I love making this for large groups, like a Super Bowl Party or New Year's Eve get-together.



Vegetable Pizza

PREP TIME 30 Min
READY IN 1 Hr
INGREDIENTS
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Roll out the crescent roll dough onto a 9x13 inch baking sheet, and pinch together edges to form the pizza crust.
Bake crust for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Once finished cooking, remove crust from oven and let cool 15 minutes without removing it from the baking sheet.
In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and dry Ranch dressing. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange broccoli, tomato, green bell pepper, cauliflower, shredded carrots, and Cheddar cheese over the cream cheese layer. Chill for one hour, slice and serve.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Campbell's Chessy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Campbell's® Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole
From: Campbell's Kitchen
Prep: 5 minutesBake: 50 minutes
Stand: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:
Stir the soup, water, rice, onion powder, black pepper and vegetables in an 11 x 8-inch (2-quart) shallow baking dish.
Top with the chicken. Season the chicken as desired. Cover.
Bake at 375°F. for 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Top with cheese. Let casserole stand for 10 minutes. Stir rice before serving.

Try It Alfredo: Use 1/4 cup grated Parmesan for Cheddar cheese. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese with soup. Use broccoli flowerets for vegetables. Top chicken with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Trim It Down: Use Campbell's® 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup instead of regular soup and use low fat cheese instead of regular cheese.

Mexican: In place of onion powder and pepper use 1 teaspoon chili powder. Substitute Mexican cheese blend for Cheddar.

Italian: In place of onion powder and pepper use 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed. Substitute 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan for Cheddar.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Veggie Patties


I haven't tried this one yet, but I hope to soon! This sounds like a good way to sneak veggies onto someone's plate, whether it be a picky toddler, veggie-despising spouse, or yourself!

And check out out other Saturday Stirrings participants at It Coulda' Been Worse.




VEGGIE PATTIES
Can be served as a side or a main dish. Make a large batch and freeze for future meals.

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 potato, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 sweet potato, grated
1 zucchini, grated
1/4 cup broccoli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour (can use wheat)
Salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Grate the potato, carrot, sweet potato and zucchini.

Place in a bowl with broccoli and mix well.

Squeeze out as much liquid as possible by taking a handful of the veggie mix and squeezing it over sink.

Add flour, salt & pepper and garlic powder to the squeezed vegetables. Mix well.

Set pan on medium heat and add olive oil.

With hands, make patties about the 2 to 3 inches in diameter and add to pan.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side until patties are crisp and golden brown.
Serve warm.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Egg and Sausage Muffins


For those parents out there, how do get your kiddos involved with kitchen duty? Our little isn't old enough to be put to work yet, but I am storing up lots of ideas. One of my favorite parenting resources is Parenting. Their recipes include hints on how the kiddos can be involved.

Don't forget to check out other Saturday Stirrings recipes at It Coulda' Been Worse.

UPDATE: I add cooked spinach to each muffin cup before adding the egg mixture. A yummy and healthy addition!


Egg and Sausage Muffins
By Rosemary Black, Parenting


Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Bake time: 12 to 15 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings


Cooking spray
1⁄2 of a 12-oz package of bulk turkey or pork sausage meat, thawed
8 eggs
1⁄4 cup low-fat milk
1⁄4 tsp salt, or to taste
Pinch of black pepper
6 English muffins
2 tomatoes


1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large skillet, brown the sausage until it's crispy, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cool slightly, and crumble into small chunks.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Add salt and pepper, and stir in crumbled sausage.

4. Ladle mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until set. Let cool, then loosen gently and remove to a plate.

5. Split and toast the English muffins. Cut tomatoes into about 12 thin slices. Place a slice on each toasted muffin half, and top with an egg-sausage muffin. Serve hot, 2 per person.


How kids can help: Crack and beat the eggs; measure ingredients


Per Serving: 308 calories, 13 g fat (3 g saturated), 710 mg sodium, 300 mg cholesterol

Friday, April 11, 2008

Philly Cheesesteak Crockpot Lasagna


I have two really great crockpot lasagna recipes. "Regular" lasagna and chicken & veggie lasagna. After enjoying these two creations several times, Hubby suggested that I develop a Philly Cheesesteak Lasagna recipe as well. So Hubby is the inspiration, and I gave the perspiration. Actually, it wasn't too difficult. I used a large soup pot to cook the steak ums in so that I would only have one extra pot to wash.

This my very own creation - enjoy!

Also, don't forget to check out Pam's blog for more Random Recipes!



Philly Cheesesteak Crockpot Lasagna

Ingredients:
1 pkg oven ready (no boil) lasagna noodles
8 steak ums (1/2 pkg)
1 large white onion, sliced
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
2 cans Cheddar cheese soup
3 soup cans milk (I use skim)
1 1/2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
1. Cook steak ums one at a time in a large soup pot. Reserve steak ums on a plate until all are finished.
2. Add a little bit of olive oil to the pot and saute onions and peppers. When they are soft, add steak ums.
3. Pour Cheddar cheese soup and milk into the pot and stir to combine. Heat through, add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Assemble layers in your crockpot. I was able to make 4 layers in my 6 qt crock. Use a one cup measure or ladle to spoon a small amount of "sauce" into bottom of crock. Then add a layer of noodles, breaking noodles to fit as needed. Add a layer of sauce with meat, peppers, and onions, then a layer of shredded cheese. Continue layering, with the last layer being shredded cheese.
5. Set crockpot to low and cook for 6-8 hours. Check noodles for doneness.

This made 8 servings for us and we are a family of big eaters. I debuted this recipe for my mom, my in-laws, and Hubby, and they all loved it.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Coffee Cake

This is the BEST coffee cake EVER! I used the butter recipe yellow cake mix. I could have eaten the whole thing! Fortunately, I wrapped up half of it to put in the freezer.

For more Saturday Stirrings recipes, visit It Coulda' Been Worse. DeeDee is taking the day off due to bad mock-amole. DeeDee, I'm so sorry that the "best" Mexican restaurant in your area is Chili's. We've got some serious good Mexican eateries here, if you're in the mood for a road trip!




1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (plus ingredients on back of box)
2 Sticks cold salted butter
2 1/4 Cups flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 ¾ Cups sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
Powdered sugar (for dusting)


PREHEAT oven to 350.

PREPARE cake mixe in large bowl according to directions on box. Spray 9X13 pan with non-stick spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until center is just barely set.

WHILE cakes are baking, prepare crumb topping. In large bowl of electric mixer combine, butter, flour, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla until all crumbly.

IMMEDIATELY after cake is removed from oven, break crumb topping into marble size pieces with fingers, sprinkling over top. Put back in oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes (topping will begin to look a little less wet/raw). Let cool fully then dust with powdered sugar, using a sieve.

CUT into squares and serve.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oatmeal Applesauce Bars


I think my last several posts for Saturday Stirrings have been oatmeal related. I guess I'm thinking about extra fiber lately! This is an adaptation of your standard oatmeal raisin cookie.


Visit DeeDee at It Coulda' Been Worse for more Saturday Stirrings recipes. Thanks for visiting!




Oatmeal Applesauce Bars


2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup stick butter or margarine
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3 cups quick cooking or old fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup raisins, chopped nuts, or semisweet chocolate chip, if desired

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients except oats, flour, and raisins in a large bowl. Stir in oats, flour, and raisins.

3. Spread dough into 9x9 ungreased squared pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until light brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2 inch squares. Makes about 16 squares.

Kolacky - Nut Rolls

We make this for Easter, and the fillings can vary. Below is the nut filling, but you can also use poppy seed pastry filling, raspberry or apricot dessert filling. This is my great aunt's recipe (grandma's twin).

Dough:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 packets of yeast
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup margarine
4 cups flour
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar

Filling:
4 1/2 cups walnuts
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
1 Tbs evaporated milk
3 Tbs honey

1. Mix warm water, yeast, and sugar and let stand.
2. Blend margarine and flour as for pie dough.
3. Warm the milk, yolks, salt, and sugar, then add yeast mixture and combine with flour.
4. Cover and let rise double.
5. Punch down, divide into 4 pieces.
6. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece. Spread filling, the form into roll. Put on greased cookie sheet.
7. Oil rolls before covering to rise.
8. Let rise double, bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
9. For filling, mix dry ingredients. Add combined milk and honey to dry mix. Mix thoroughly and scatter over dough.

Makes 4 rolls.