Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Caramel (or Peppermint) Thumbprint Cookies

  • 66 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates filled with Caramel
  • 1 family size (13x9-in. pan) original supreme brownie mix with HERSHEY'S Syrup Pouch
  • 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup ground pecans (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons milk


1. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

2. Beat brownie mix, pouch of syrup, cocoa, eggs, oil and water in medium bowl until well blended. Cover; refrigerate about 1 hour or until thoroughly chilled (dough will still be sticky).

3. Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 48 1-inch balls. (Return dough to refrigerator if necessary or drop by rounded teaspoons onto wax paper-lined trays and refrigerate about 10 minutes.) Roll balls in pecans, if desired. Place on prepared cookie sheet; press thumb gently in center of each cookie. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

4. Place 18 caramel filled chocolates and milk in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolates are melted and smooth when stirred. Spoon slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon caramel filling in each indentation. Lightly press chocolate in center of each cookie. 48 cookies.

I wanted to use the seasonal white chocolate peppermint/candy cane kisses. So, I modified the recipe by using those instead of the caramel, and leaving off the crushed nuts. I do have to warn you that the batter is extremely sticky! However, the cookies are really good and the chocolate/peppermint combo is tasty!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (smooth is what we used, but I am pretty sure they use chunky at the bakery)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (for sprinkling) sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crissscross pattern (I used the back of a palette knife to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anita's Peanut Butter Brownies

Heaven in a pan!

1/2 c peanut butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 baking powder
1/2 t vanilla
6 T butter
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 c flour
1/4 t salt
6 oz peanut butter chips

1 c powdered sugar
2 T peanut butter
Enough milk to make a medium-thick icing (3-4 T)

Cream the peanut butter, sugars, butter and eggs well. Add vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and chips. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 350 for 30-40 min. Cool and glaze.

Elvis Cake

If you like bananas, you'll like this cake!

1 white cake mix
2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
6oz chocolate chips

Mix cake according to package directions, adding bananas and chips. Pour into a 9x13 pan (greased according to box directions). Sprinkle with streusel (see below), and bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes.


1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c peanut butter
Mix these until crumbly, and spread over cake.

Anita's Apple Bread

1/2 c sour cream
2 c sugar
3/4 c oil
3 eggs
1 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla
1 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
2 c shredded apples
3 c AP flour
1 t baking soda

Topping: 2T butter, melted; 1/2 c sugar, 1 t cinnamon, 1/4t nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix sour cream, sugar, oil, eggs, spices and apples. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and the baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir only until moist. Divide evenly between the two pans.

Pour butter over batter in pans, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with sugar mixture.

Bake 50-60min or until a tester inserted in middle comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

5 1/2 c mashed potatos (can use real or instant)
1/2 c milk
1 8oz pkg cream cheese (can use lite)
1 c sour cream (can use lite)
2 t parsley flakes
1 t garlic salt
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c cooked/crumbled bacon

Beat the first 7 ingredients until smooth. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If you like your bacon extra crispy, wait and sprinkle it on the last 5-10min of baking.

Amazing Cornmeal Muffins

1 3/4 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease 12 muffin pans.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix only until moistened. Pour into prepared muffin cups. Bake 15min or until done.

Martha's Vegetable Beef Soup

In honor of my mother, who tweaked this recipe for several years. We served this at my house on Christmas night when I was growing up. Great served with cornbread!

1lb ground beef
1 10oz package frozen mixed vegetables
1 can beef broth (can use low sodium)
1 14oz can stewed tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/4 c dry onion soup mix
1 T sugar

Brown the beef in a pot (sometimes I add minced garlic and onion) until brown. Drain off excess fat. Add all other ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20-30 more minutes (or longer if you have the time).

The longer it cooks and sits together the better it is. It freezes really well too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Homemade Breadsticks

So easy. This recipe is awesome, and it makes restaurant-quality breadsticks that are a great addition to any meal. Try them... you'll be hooked!

Blondies with Chocolate Chips & Walnuts

Courtesy of Martha Stewart, these are so easy, and so good. Wow. They are a new favorite quick big-hit dessert.

Powerball Cookies

Yummy little kid-friendly treats, from Wondertime.

Deep Dish Pizza Crust

Great, great recipe. Brian LOVED it.

Yummy-looking healthy cookies

From 101Cookbooks.com...

Apples, Apples & More Apples!

All in your slow cooker...
Apple butter
Apple dumplings
Apple oatmeal

Crockpot Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes & Coconut Rice

If you like curry, you'll probably like this!

Crunchy Chicken a la Darby

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded/chopped
Coarse garlic salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cans low fat or healthy choice cream of chicken soup
1/2 of an 8oz container of fat free sour cream
3/4 cup cooked rice
40 Ritz crackers
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4c melted butter or margarine

Bake the chicken breasts for 35 min at 350 degrees, after sprinkling both sides with coarse garlic salt and cracked black pepper. Make the rice on the stove per box directions.

Shred the chicken and combine it with all other ingredients except the last 3. Pour into an 8x8 dish. Crush the crackers, sprinkle with the garlic powder and mix in the melted butter. Pour that on top of the chicken mixture. Baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Cornbread and Pumpkin Chili

Great idea for fall comfort food here...

Mini Pies

Great recipes for cute little pies here and here...

Oatmeal Waffles

1 egg
1 1/2 c oats
3/4 c milk
4 T butter, melted and cooled
1 t baking powder
1 T brown sugar
Mix together dry ingredients. Combine egg, milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. Cook a little longer for extra crispness. Makes about 6 thick waffles. When I double, I use equal oats and flour.

All American Waffles

2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 c milk, stirred into eggs
1/4 c veg oil, stirred into eggs & milk
1 3/4 c flour
2 T sugar
4 t baking powder
1 t salt

Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Stir just until lumps disappear. Bake in waffle maker. Makes about 6 waffles. (I double the recipe and use half white whole wheat, and just 4 t baking powder to have a good stash for future breakfasts)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Best Basic Vanilla Ice Cream Base

We've been experimenting with all different ice cream base recipes & so far for texture, consistency, taste, and ability to stay fresh in the freezer, but certainly NOT calories!, the cooked egg recipes are superior. I did find an easier one in that you toss everything in the saucepan & heat to 160 degrees instead of tempering and doing alot of other steps. This Taste of Home recipe was the perfect base for Kristine's Strawberry Pretzel Dessert ice cream she posted!

Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups half-and-half cream
2-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions: In a heavy saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches at least 160°. Remove from the heat; cool quickly by setting pan in ice and stirring the mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight or freeze immediately. When ready to freeze, pour custard and vanilla into the cylinder of an ice cream freezer. Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Yield: about 1-1/2 quarts.

Health Nut Blueberry Muffins

You can never go wrong at AllRecipes.com! These muffins were really tasty & surprisingly I had everything I needed to make them in the pantry. I think they do need super sweet blueberries though, as the base itself isn't super sweet. We made 'em and froze 'em right away & they were perfect warmed up!

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 banana, mashed
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, quick-cooking oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Eggplant Parmesan Light

This was posted in What's Cooking a few months ago. I decided to try it today, and we loved it. I used leftover meat sauce instead of half the marinara, to use it up. Other than that, I don't think I changed anything else.

Cook It: Eggplant Parmesan Light

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

2 eggplants (about 2 pounds total)

3 large egg whites

3 tablespoons water

1 cup plain fine dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided (1 ounce)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce

1/3 cup slivered fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil two large baking sheets and a 7-by-11-inch baking dish. Set aside.

Slice the eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. There is no need to peel them. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk the egg whites and water until frothy. Set aside.

In a shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

One at a time, dip the eggplant slices into the egg-white mixture, then coat both sides with the breadcrumbs. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and very tender when pierced with a knife.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the marinara, basil and red pepper flakes. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

When the eggplant slices are done, arrange half of them over the sauce, overlapping them slightly. Spoon 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the eggplant, then top with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.

Arrange the remaining eggplant slices on top, pressing them down into an even layer. Top with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is browned, 25 to 30 minutes.


Pumpkin Muffins

I got this recipe from Erika on Os. As she suggested, I did half of the batter in muffin cups, and the second half in a baking pan as a small cake. I poured out the muffins first, then added chocolate chips to the rest and baked that as a small cake. And, since I can never leave well enough alone (most of the time because I don't have the foresight to gather all the ingredients before starting), I made some changes. I only had whole cloves and no nutmeg, so I omitted both. I used 2 3/4cups white and 1/4 cups brown sugar, and I upped the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons as well as adding 1/2 teaspoon allspice. My hubby, who hates pumpkin in dessert, really liked this.

spiced pumpkin bread

Bon Appétit | November 1995

Vern Bertagna: West Frankfort, Illinois

Serve one of these loaves the day you make them. Wrap the other in foil and freeze up to one month so that you'll have it on hand for unexpected company.

Servings: Makes 2 loaves.

subscribe to Bon Appétit


3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired. Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


This was really good. I added half a bunch of parsley, minced, and two potatoes and three carrots, peeled and chopped. We had it with vermicelli rice.

Adapted from Gourmet, December 1994

This tastes so much better the next day.

Goulash can be made into either a soup or stew, and the latter can be spooned over egg noodles or potatoes

Servings: Makes about 16 cups, serving 12

3 pounds boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons paprika (preferably Hungarian sweet*)
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds (I didn't have caraway, so I used a mixture of fennel, dill,and cumin seeds)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup tomato paste
5 cups beef broth
1 to 5 cups water or beer (use the former to make a stew, the latter to make a soup) (I used water)
1 teaspoon salt
2 red bell peppers, chopped fine

In kettle brown chuck in small batches over high heat, transferring it as browned with slotted spoon to bowl.

Reduce heat to moderate and add oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, and flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and tomato paste and cook, whisking, 1 minute. (Mixture will be very thick.) Stir in broth, water, salt, bell peppers,and chuck and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer soup, covered, stirring occasionally, 60 to 75 minutes.

Season soup with salt and pepper. Soup may be made 3 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, before chilling, covered. Reheat soup, thinning with water if desired.

Mexican Polenta casserole

I tried this tonight, but added a can of chopped tomatoes, as suggested by the poster of the recipe (melissatn). We really liked it. I used plain polenta.:


* 1 pound ground beef
* 1 packet taco seasoning
* Frieda’s Green Chile & Cilantro Polenta (or plain polenta if desired)
* Pictsweet Authentic Mexican Corn & Black Beans (or similar fresh or frozen veggies)
* 1 can of black beans (approx 14 oz)
* 1 small can tomato paste (approx 6 oz)
* 1 bag of shredded Mexican cheese (approx 2 cups)


1. Grease the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan. Slice polenta and place it in a layer in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 375 degrees while preparing ground beef mixture.
2. Prepare ground beef according to instructions on taco seasoning packet.
3. Add canned black beans (drained), tomato paste, and frozen veggies to skillet. Mix well and simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Take polenta out of oven, add beef mixture and top w/ mexican cheese.
5. Cook until cheese is golden brown and forms crust…about 25 minutes.

The only thing I’d change is adding more tomatoes…there weren’t enough in the frozen veggies. But I REALLY love tomatoes, so that’s just a personal preference. Obviously, not everyone will be able to find those specific products, so improvise as necessary.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

These are very, very yummy. Big hit around here.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

From: Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
(Clarkson Potter; October 2002; ISBN:060961066X; HC)
Cookbook Heaven @ Recipelink.com

There were days at Barefoot Contessa in Westhampton Beach when we would bake 2,000 muffins on a Saturday morning and they would all be gone by 9:30 A.M. As bakers came out of the kitchen with more muffins, people would try to grab them off the trays. I guess there's not much that's as appealing as a freshly baked muffin!

Makes 16 muffins

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 extra -large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
  3. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

The bakers at Barefoot Contessa use an ice-cream scoop to measure the batter so that every muffin comes out the same size.

Greasing the tops of the pans makes it easier to take the muffins out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Honey Oat Bread

  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 c. white bread flour (I used equal parts bread flour and white whole wheat.)
  • 1/2 c. raw oatmeal
  • 2 t. yeast
Made in the breadmaker on "white" setting and "light" crust.
Thoughts - VERY tasty. Cuts well, nice flavor, not too wheaty. Crust was perfect. **** (4 out of 5, though I'm not sure exactly what makes 5 stars... this was pretty darn good.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Delicious Versatile Scones Recipe

These were also in the BG, but I had to repost here. They are that good. I divided the dough in two and mixed coconut in half and chocolate chips in the other.

Delicious Versatile Scones Recipe


* 1 cup sour cream (preferably low-fat)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup white sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup butter - very cold
* 1 egg
* 1 cup desired mix-ins
* (blueberries with lemon zest, dried cranberries and orange zest,
* dried currants, chocolate chips, etc)


1. In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda, and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
4. Cut in the butter.
5. Stir the sour cream mixture and egg into the flour mixture until just moistened.
6. Add desired mix-ins
7. (At this point you can split the dough in half or thirds for more variations)
8. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly.
9. Roll or pat dough into a 3/4 inch thick round.
10. Cut into 12 wedges, or cut with small biscuit cutter.
11. Place scones 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
12. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

I ran out of time to make these from "scratch," and found this recipe on the web. Quite tasty! It makes 34-36 cookies.

1 (19.5 to 19.8 ounce) package brownie mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

1 cup chopped nuts, any variety, sprinkled on top of cookies before baking (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking-spray.

In a large mixing bowl combine brownie mix, oil, and eggs with wooden spoon until just blended and all dry ingredients are moistened; stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Bake 11—14 minutes until cracked in appearance and just barely set at center when lightly touched. Cool 1 minute on sheets. Transfer to wire racks with spatula and cool completely.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
1 T butter, in "pats"

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Pour in beer, stir until a stiff batter is formed. It may be necessary to mix dough with your hands. Scrape dough into prepared loaf pan. Place butter pats on top of dough before putting pan in oven.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Best Basic Homemade Pancake Mix

I had some buttermilk on hand, so I found this recipe online. It made wonderfully fluffy pancakes. It was good alone or would be a perfect base recipe for any additions! You'll want to double this one. Oh, and I added a tsp of Watkins DS Vanilla (Yum!)
"It only takes a few minutes longer to make from scratch pancakes, and they're so much better than box mix versions. You can even mix these up the night before. Very easy! You can use regular milk, but the buttermilk makes the pancakes lighter and fluffier."

Buttermilk Pancakes
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup plain flour
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Beat the egg and then add the buttermilk and soda. Stir in flour, sugar, oil, baking powder and salt. Stir until blended. Try to get any lumps out but don't overdo it on the stirring. Heat a griddle or frying pan with a little oil or butter. You want medium heat and for the oil/butter to be hot but not burned. Dip out enough batter to make pancakes about 3 to 4 inches around. You can, of course, make big ones or little silver dollar sized. When the edges "set" and have bubbles, flip the pancakes. As you're cooking, you'll probably need to add a little more oil or butter as you go. Just add small amounts as needed. You can keep a plate warm in the oven and complete the whole batch. This recipe makes 8 to 10 medium pancakes."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Double Chip Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c butter, softened
1/4 c shortening
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1/4 t salt
1 2/3 c (an 11oz pkg) of peanut butter and milk chocolate chips
2 c (1pgk) semi-sweet chips
1/2 c uncooked regular oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional - sometimes I just do a whole cup of the oats)

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs and 1 t vanilla, beating until blended.

Combine flour, soda and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chips, oats and nuts.

Drop by tablespoons onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-15min or until golden around edges. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 c plus 2 T all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c peanut butter
1 12oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips

Beat butter, sugars, and peanut butter at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended. Combine flour, soda and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in morsels. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-14min or until done. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chocolate Chip Supreme Cookies

1/2 c shortening
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar (if you only had light brown, that would be ok but not as good)
3/4 c white sugar
1 large eggs
1 (3.4oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
1 T vanilla extract
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t salt
2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c chopped pecans (optional)
1 c uncooked quick cooking oats

Beat shortening and butter at medium speed w/electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, blending well. Add eggs, beating until blended. Add pudding mix and vanilla; beat until blended.

Combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in chips, pecans and oats.

Shape dough into 1-1.5inch balls; place on lightly greased cookie sheet and press to 1-inch thickness.

Bake at 375 for 10-12min. Remove cookies to cool on wire racks.

Makes 3-5 dozen cookies.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jewel's Amazing Beef

This one sounds kind of weird but it's *so* good.

Amazing Beef (I know, stupid name, but it really is amazing! )

1 pot roast (2 to 3 pounds)
1 jar pepperonicini
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped

dump the jar of peppers and liquid over the pot roast in the slow cooker, add garlic, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

So easy and so good!

Friday, April 4, 2008

True Lemon samples!

True Lemon is giving away samples of their innovative new product here. Man, I love a nice light lemon flavor in my water! And it's nice to see that they are more-or-less natural! Can't wait to try it!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread

I've never made this one from start to finish in the bread machine. Usually, I use the dough-only cycle. Its easy to vary the taste of this bread by changing the kind of fat/oil you use. Using olive oil (which is what I usually do) gives a more savory flavor that is especially good toasted with butter or peanut butter. Using butter, canola oil or crisco create a different texture and taste. You can also vary the sugar by using either regular sugar or honey. If you use honey, cut out some of the other liquid.

2 1/2 t Instant yeast, or 1 packet of active dry yeast dissolved in 2 T water
1 1/3 c water
1/2 c oil (vegetable, butter, olive, crisco)
1/3 c sugar (or honey or molasses or maple syrup)
2 c white whole wheat flour
1.5 c bread flour
1/4 c nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 t salt

If you choose to do this in the dough-only cycle, when the cycle completes remove it from the pan and place it on an oiled surface. Shape into an 8-inch log. Place into an 8.5x4.5" pan, cover and allow to rise an hour or until it is 1inch over the top of the pan. Bake at 350 for 20min, then tent with foil. Bake another 20min. Remove from pan to cool.

Buttermilk Bread for the bread machine

For a 2lb loaf

1 1/3 c buttermilk
1/3 c water
1 T butter or cooking oil
4 c bread flour
3 T toasted wheat germ
4 t sugar
1 t salt
1 1/4 t yeast

Use "basic" or "white" bread cycle

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eggplant Curry

Eggplant Curry

Prep time: 45 minutes (start rice when you begin)
2-3 T butter and/or peanut oil (I used canola, though)
1 T mustard seeds
2 T sesame seeds (didn’t have any, so left them out)
2 t cumin seeds
1 ½ cups chopped onions
1 ½-2 t salt
2 t turmeric
¼ t cayenne, possibly more, depending on tolerance/preference
2 medium eggplants (7-8” long, 4’ diam at roundest point), cut into 1” cubes
Water, as needed
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
Optional: 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, minced(didn’t have any, so I had to do without)

1- Heat butter or oil over medium heat in a very large, deep skillet or dutch oven. Add seads, and sauté till they begin to pop, about 5 minutes.

2- Add onion, salt, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, or till onion is translucent.

3- Add eggplant . Cook, stirring from the bottom regularly, for 15-20 minutes, until the eggplant is soft. You might add a little water if mixture is too dry. Cover the pan between stirrings.

4- Steam the peas till they are just tender and bright green. Serve the curry over rice, topped with peas and freshly minced cilantro.

6-8 servings

Monday, February 25, 2008

Southern Living Chicken Cobbler Casserole

Edited to add: this was DELICIOUS!!! Up there with the SL Chicken Spinach Pasta bake;) Served over Angel Hair. It was like a Chicken Stroganoff-like dish. The topping was scrumptious-feel free to add more on top! I added my notes below...
Chicken Cobbler Casserole

Prep: 10 min., Cook: 25 min., Bake: 15 min.

6 tablespoons melted butter, divided

4 cups cubed sourdough rolls

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I used 1 1/2 tsp. dried)

2 medium-size sweet onions, sliced (I used one small)

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup white wine or buttermilk (I did the 1 cup of wine, but it was too wine-y even after cooking down. I added in 1/2 cup sour cream to temper it a bit-YUM)

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup drained and chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers (I used 1 can drained, diced tomatoes)

2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper to taste

Toss 4 tablespoons melted butter with next 3 ingredients; set aside. Sauté onions in remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Add mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in wine/milk and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until bubbly. Season & adjust sauce to taste. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish; top evenly with bread mixture. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: Makes 4 servings Southern Living, JANUARY 2006
**Kristine, my saucy-lovin friend, you may want to increase the sauce ingredients a bit. It coated everything nicely, but there wasn't much extra...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Easy Shepherd's Pie

from KraftFoods.com
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cups hot mashed potatoes
  • 4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 cup beef gravy

PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Brown meat in large skillet. Meanwhile, mix potatoes, cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and the garlic until well blended.

DRAIN meat. Return to skillet; stir in vegetables and gravy. Spoon into 9-inch square baking dish; cover with potato mixture and remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.

**Save 70 calories, 9 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat per serving by preparing with extra lean ground beef, PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cream Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese and KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese.

Tortellini Soup

* 1 package tortellini (I used Buitoni whole wheat cheese, found in the refrigerated section)
* 1 jar spaghetti sauce
* 1 box chicken broth
* 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
* 1 can creamed corn
* 1 T dried minced onion (you could also use half an onion, sauteed in olive oil)
* 1/2 tsp garlic salt
* 1 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Salute Seasoning (or any good seasoning blend)

Toss it all in the pot, bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes, simmer for 20 minutes to an hour. Serve topped with parmesan cheese and a good chunk of bread, preferably
Tastefully Simple Bountiful Beer Bread. Enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Meat Loaf in Progress

Here's the hodge podge recipe, still to be perfected!!

2 lbs of ground meatloaf mix (usually beef, pork, veal)
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced or processed
2 tsp minced garlic
2 slices of fresh bread, processed to crumbs
2 egg whites
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
various shakes of onion powder, garlic powder, beef roast seasoning
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar

Sautee onion, carrot & garlic until softened about 5 minutes. Combine all ingredients in large bowl, taking care not to over knead the meat, as this will lead to a tougher loaf. Line a broiler pan or cooling rack with aluminum foil & poke drain holes in it. Set this in a larger pan.* Free form loaf & place atop foil. Combine ketchup and brown sugar (reserve half) and brush on top of loaf. Can re-baste half way thru cooking. Insert a meat thermometer in center. Start out baking at 425 for 15 minutes to sear, retain moisture & form crust, then switch to a 350 degree oven until thermometer reads 160 degrees (about 45 min to 1 hr+). Take meatloaf out to rest & tent with foil. Ideally an hour, but at least 20 minutes. Brush with more ketchup & serve. Makes good leftover sandwiches too.

*I've also heard of placing it on a few slices of bread to absorb the fat.

Broccoli Casserole

...or another way for Kristine to use up her 9 cans of Cream of Mushroom soup!

2 cups herb seasoned croutons or stuffing, slightly crushed
3 Tbl butter, melted
2 10 oz. packages of frozen chopped broccoli (could always sub fresh)
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese or Velveeta
1 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup

Toss croutons & butter and set aside. Place broccoli, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, separating pieces with a fork. Remove from heat, drain well and set aside.

Place cheese in saucepan with soup. Cook over medium heat until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Stir in broccoli. Pour into greased, shallow 1.5 quart baking dish. Sprinkle crouton mixture around edge of dish. Bake in 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and hot.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pizza Quiche

I got this out of a Southern Living cookbook close to 20 years ago. I have modified it to make it a tad bit healthier. And I know it sounds like a weird combo of things, but honestly this is one of our favorite meals around here!

½ lb hot or mild Italian sausage (I use turkey Italian sausage)

Pastry for double crust 9” pie, divided (I use the Pillsbury refrigerated ones)

1 c ricotta or cream style cottage cheese (I part skim ricotta)

3 eggs (you could use egg substitute; I usually do 2 eggs and 1/4 c egg substitute)

1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1 3oz pkg sliced pepperoni, chopped (you could do turkey pepperoni)

1/3 c grated parmesan cheese

2 T milk

Commercial pizza sauce

  • I have left out the pepperoni and used about 1/3 of a 10oz pkg of frozen chopped spinach, too. I know other people who have put in mushrooms or other veggies.
  • I have taken about 1/3 of a bag of fresh baby spinach and layered it on the bottom of the quiche, after I prebake the crust. This is my favorite modification.

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in medium skillet until brown. Stir to crumble, drain, set aside.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with ½ of pastry. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temp to 350.

Combine eggs and ricotta cheese and mix well. Add other cheeses, meats, and veggies if using. Spoon into partially baked pie shell. Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Arrange on top of the filling. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Brush with milk. Cook an additional 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve with warmed pizza sauce

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chocolate Brownie Hearts from King Arthur Flour

(original recipe found here)

Let’s get to the heart of the matter here—the chocolate heart, that is! Use a cookie cutter to cut baked brownies into heart shapes, top with chocolate ganache, and you’ve got a Valentine’s or other special-occasion dessert worth swooning over!

1 cup (8 ounces, 2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 1/4 cups (3 3/4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
1 teaspoon espresso powder

To drizzle with ganache:
2/3 cup (4 ounces) chocolate chips
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup

To coat with ganache:
1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips
3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan. Line with parchment, and grease the parchment. While this step isn’t strictly necessary, it makes getting the brownies out of the pan a whole lot easier.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth; then add the flour, chips, and espresso powder, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies in a preheated 350°F oven for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center (barely). Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes before turning them out of the pan. Loosen the edges; use a spatula or turner to loosen the bottom as much as possible; then flip the pan over onto another sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Peel the parchment off the bottom of the brownies. Let them cool completely.

Use a 2" heart cutter to cut 3 dozen hearts out of the brownies. (Or use a smaller or larger cutter to cut more or fewer hearts.) Place the hearts on a rack set over a piece of parchment or waxed paper.

Decide whether you want to drizzle the hearts with ganache, or coat them completely. You’ll make the lesser amount of ganache for drizzling, the greater amount for glazing.

Combine the chips, cream, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat until the cream is very hot. Stir the mixture until the chips melt, then drizzle over the brownie hearts, or spread to cover completely.
Yield: 3 dozen 2" hearts.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Some Slow-cooker recipes

Here's a link to a month's worth of them...

Sesame Chicken

It's not gourmet, but it is very fast and easy and so yummy

Sesame Chicken Recipe #44321
This recipe really satisfies my craving for Chinese food. I serve it over rice and steamed vegetables on the side. I usually double the sauce to make it especially decadent.
by Jenny White
6 servings
21 min 5 min prep

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Cut chicken breast into 1 inch strips.
Heat a large non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with Pam, over medium-high heat.
Cook chicken strips for about 6 minutes until no longer pink.
Mix together honey, soy sauce, water, corn starch, ginger and red pepper flakes.
Whisk until no corn starch lumps appear.
Pour sauce mixture into skillet with chicken.
Cook until sauce thickens slightly.
You can add more water if sauce is too thick.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken starts to soak up the sauce.

Easy Meatballs

Easy Meatballs

From Linda Larsen,Your Guide to Busy Cooks.Stay up to date!
This simple recipe can be flavored any way you like, or just make it plain.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

PREPARATION:Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine egg, water, bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper and combine. Add ground beef, broken into chunks, and mush with your hands to combine. Form into meatballs about 1" in diameter and place on a broiler pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are no longer pink in center. Cool and freeze, or use in your favorite meatball recipe



Serves: 3

So yummy and sweet ... you don't even need syrup!

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 banana, mashed
1-1/4 cups soy milk
1 tbsp sweetener
sliced fresh fruit (garnish)

1. In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together.

2. In a small bowl, mash the banana with a fork and add 1/4 cup of
the milk, mixing together until there are no lumps. Add the banana,
sweetener, and remaining soy milk to the dry mix and stir together
until "just mixed."

3. Portion out about 3/4 to 1 cup of batter onto a hot non-stick pan
or a lightly oiled frying pan and cover with a lid. Let sit on medium
heat until the center starts to bubble and become sturdy. Flip
pancake over and cook other side until golden brown. Repeat process
until all the batter is gone.

4. Garnish with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

Reprinted with permission from HOW IT ALL VEGAN! by Tanya Barnard and
Sarah Kramer (www.GoVegan.net), Arsenal Pulp Press.

Calories: 247
Fat: 2.6 g
Carbohydrates: 48.4 g
Protein: 9.3 g

Caramel popcorn

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in a very large bowl
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
3. Place in 2 large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Inside Out Ravioli

Inside Out Ravioli

Very good. Moh took some leftovers to work once, and his coworkers wouldn't let him eat it in peace. Sometimes I add ground beef to the sauce, sometimes not.

Inside Out Ravioli

1 10 oz. pkg frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 lb. bowtie noodles, cooked and drained
3 T. oil
2 c. sharp shredded cheddar
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
2 eggs
garlic salt to taste
64 oz. red meat sauce

Combine all ingredients except red sauce in a large
bowl. Put 2 c. of red sauce in the bottom of two greased
deep baking dishes. Add half of the pasta mixture on
top. Pour another 2 c. of red sauce on the top of the
mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and place in a
375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes or until
bubbly. This dish also freezes well.

Pizza Crust

I love the garlic herb version, have yet to try the whole wheat one, but that's next

Pizza Crust

Master Pizza Dough
Makes 1 (14-inch) thick-crust pizza or 2 (12-inch) thin-crust pizzas.

3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130oF)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt. Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.

Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s).** Sprinkle with cornmeal. Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). Top pizza as desired. (see Pizza Toppings tip below)

Bake at 400oF for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. Baking time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings.

*To use FLEISCHMANN'S Active Dry Yeast: Use 1 package Active Dry Yeast, 1 cup warm water (100 to 110oF), and flour, salt, and oil listed above. Place 1/4 cup of the warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, salt, oil, and 2 cups all-purpose flour; stir well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough.

Knead as directed. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 to 60 minutes. Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Shape, top, and bake as desired.

**Master Pizza Dough fits the following pans:
- 1 (15 x 10-inch) baking pan
- 1 (13 x 9-inch) baking pan
- 1 (14-inch) or 2 (9-inch) deep-dish pan(s)
- For individual pizzas, shape dough into 6 or 8 (7-inch) rounds and place on 2 greased baking sheets.

GARLIC AND HERB PIZZA DOUGH: Add 2 teaspoons SPICE ISLANDS Sweet Basil, Oregano (leaves), or Rosemary and 1 clove finely minced garlic along with dry ingredients.

CORNMEAL PIZZA DOUGH: Replace 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with cornmeal.

WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH: Replace 1 cup all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

Nutrition Information
Per Serving for master pizza dough and garlic and herb pizza dough, without toppings (1/12 of recipe): calories 153; total fat 3 g; saturated fat 0 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 148 mg; total carbohydrate 27 g; dietary fiber 1 g; protein 4 g.

For cornmeal pizza dough, without toppings (1/12 of recipe): calories 152; total fat 3 g; saturated fat 0 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 150 mg; total carbohydrate 26 g; dietary fiber 1 g; protein 4 g.

Betty Crocker's Classic cookbook Lasagna

This is my signature dish. I always come back to this lasagna recipe. I scanned it out of my cookbook last night to post, so I thought I would share it on our blog.

I only use beef, though.

Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

(I've noted the modifications I've made)
**This is the cake we use for all birthdays! It is extremely easy, and so much better than a box mix! **

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY®'S Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I use fat free half and half - don't use fat free milk!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (plus, I add 1 t chocolate extract)
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. (Cake may be left in rectangular pan, if desired.)

**A big thing to know about baking chocolate cake (or brownies or cookies) is that you want to take it out of the oven *just* when its done. Usually, this is when you are able to smell the chocolate in the kitchen. I usually set the timer for a few minutes less than the recipe calls for, and check it at that point. This way, you don't run the risk of overcooking, and having it be dry. **

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

I used whatever frozen vegetables were on hand....peas & carrots, mixed , corn, etc. I also put pine nuts instead of the cashews, because that is what I had.

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

1 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup thawed frozen vegetables
1/4 cup cashews lightly fried
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1. rinse and soak rice for 30 minutes
2. heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the cumin seeds for 2 minutes. Add bay leaves, cardamom, and cloves, and saute for another 2 minutes.
3. Add onion and cook till softened and lightely browned
4. Drain rice and tothe pan together with the vegetables and cashews. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
5. Add 2 cups water, ground cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, till all water is absorbed. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes before serving.

Piquant French Dip

(from Fix It and Forget It)

3lb chuck roast
2 c water
1/2 c soy sauce
1 t dried rosemary
1 t dried thyme
1 t garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3-4 whole peppercorns
French rolls

Place roast in slow cooker. Add water, soy sauce and seasonings. Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or until beef is tender. Remove beef from broth and shred with fork (I cover it foil on a plate). Strain broth and skim the fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping. Serve beef on rolls. The leftover broth is also good to freeze for a soup base later.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Barefoot Contessa's Mexican Chicken Soup

The corn tortillas melt into the soup. Yum.

(serves 6 to 8)

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

To serve
Sliced avocado
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using.

Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup.

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.