Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Samuel Called By God Craft

This was a craft my elementary-aged Sunday School class had fun with when we did the story of Samuel. All you need is foil, mini-marshmallows (we used multicolored) and a mini-gingerbread boy or other human-shaped cookies (we used Keebler elves).  On a piece of foil, line up the marshmallows in a rectangle pattern (we did 6 rows of 4; adjust depending on the size of your cookie.)  Place on cookie sheet and heat in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 minutes; watch carefully so they don't brown.  Marshmallows will puff up and stick together, creating a patchwork quilt-like effect.  Cool, and you have an edible "bed" for Samuel to sleep in and hear the voice of God. After they act out the story, they can eat the bed and cookie for a snack.

Monday, December 8, 2008

English Christmas Crackers

I've always wanted to try these, so I made some for my Cadette Girl Scout troop for our last meeting before Christmas break. I found them not hard to make at all; following the directions here, I assembled and filled five in less than an hour. The only supplies I bought online were the cracker snaps, which were reasonably priced and arrived promptly. I got cheap shiny paper and curling ribbon from the Dollar Tree and recycled toliet paper rolls for the tubes. My Scouts got their Cadet Challenge pin and a patch for our holiday service project, along with a mini-Sharpie marker, a Bonne Belle Lip Smacker, a traditional bad joke (I found lots online, most clean enough to use!) and some candy. I have extra supplies and some candy and Dollar Store trinkets for them to make their own to give to family and friends. I don't know yet how well the things actually "crack" but they certainly look festive. I could imagine throwing a big dinner party and having one at every place setting. If the Scouts have as much fun making them as I did, it will be a good meeting.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Squash Casserole

The same prep school dietician who supplied the wonderful Turkey Divan used this recipe for squash. For you, Pop-tart.
  • 1 pound squash
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pimento
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
Cook, drain and mash squash, add rest of ingredients. Mix bread crumbs and butter for topping, sprinkle over all. Cook in casserole dish for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lemon Poppyseed Slice and Bake Cookies

Slice and bake cookies are the way to go for cookie exchanges, when you want a lot, quickly. These are great.
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar.  Mix in eggs, lemon juice, lemon rind and poppy seeds. Mix flour, soda and salt, add and mix until dough forms. Divide into three parts and roll into 15 inch logs on wax paper. Wrap and chill overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice logs into 1/2 inch slices, place on cookie sheet at bake 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

These can be made as chocolate-and-vanilla or chocolate-and-mint, your choice!
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 square unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)
  • Green food coloring (optional)
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in milk, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and stir into dough. Divide in half. Add melted chocolate to half; if desired, add peppermint extract and green food coloring to other half. Roll on waxed paper into two large rectangles, stack chocolate dough on the other half. Roll up jellyroll style, wrap and chill several hours. Slice into 1/4 inch slices and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies

A favorite for Christmas cookie exchanges.
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring
Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and peppermint extract. Combine dry ingredients and mix in until blended.  Divide dough in half and tint half red.
Roll out on wax paper in two large rectangles, stack white dough on top of red. Roll up jellyroll style, wrap in waxed paper and chill overnight. Cut log into 1/4 inch slices, place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with red sugar or crushed candy cane pieces, if desired. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bitter Chocolate Cookies

I love to bake cookies, especially around the holidays, but plain sugar cookies get old quick. These chocolate ones are great.
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar, beat in salt, egg and vanilla. Melt chocolate and blend in.  Stir in flour. Chill dough, then roll on floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness thencut with cookie cutters.  Bake at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bird's nest in our Christmas Tree!

A break from the usual recipes. I wanted to share the pictures of the robin's nest that we found in the Christmas tree we purchased this year

Natural decorations are awesome!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

A great use for old or bruised apples.
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1-2 cups diced apples
Combine all dry ingredients. Mix egg, oil and milk, beat lightly. Add to dry ingredients all at once, along with apples. Stir just until moistened. Spoon into 12 paper-lined muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saucy Sausage Casserole

Wonderful for a brunch or a holiday breakfast.
  • 6 oz. box long grain and wild rice
  • 1 lb. pork sausage
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 oz. can sliced mushroom
  • 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 oz. sliced almonds, toasted
Cook rice according to package. Brown beef and sausage with onion. Mix rice rice and meat mixture with everything except almonds. Spoon casserole into dish, sprinkle with toasted almonds and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Citrus Punch

I first made this 12 years ago for a wedding shower/brunch. Very tasty and can be mixed with champagne for great mimosas.
  • 12 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 12 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 12 oz. frozen limeade concentrate
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • enough water to make one gallon total
  • 1 bottle club soda
Mix all concentrates with pineapple juice. Add water to make one gallon, stir. Add a splash of club soda before serving.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Key Lime Cake

I love icebox pies, and this cake has a delicious filling just like one. Southern Living has from scratch recipes to go with it but I've always just used a mix: the filling is what's important.
  • 1 box white cake mix, plus eggs, oil, etc. according to directions
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, or 2 eggs plus 3 yolks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-2 drops each of yellow and green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup lime juice*
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime rind*
Prepare cake mix according to package, expect bake in two 13" x 9" pans for about 15 minutes or until cake tests done. Cut each layer in half down middle to get 4 nearly square halves. Cool cake layers and set aside.
Dissolve corn starch in cold milk in saucepan. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk, eggs, lime juice and food coloring. Cook to boiling over medium heat, whisking continuously. Boil one minute, remove from heat and stir in lime rind and butter until butter melts. Fill sink half full with ice water, put pan in until mixture is chilled.  Stir occasionally. Filling should be very thick, almost like frosting.
Top first layer with 1/3 of filling, place next layer on top.  Continue until you have four layers cake and 3 of filling, Wrap in plastic and chill several hours or overnight before frosting. Cake may be frozen at this step and frosted up to a month later.
*to make orange or lemon instead, substitute equal parts lemon juice or orange juice concentrate and lemon or orange rind.  Adjust food coloring appropriately.
Frost with appropriate buttercream frosting or the cream cheese frosting from my carrot cake recipe.
Buttercream frosting
  • 1 stick butter
  • 16 oz powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons appropriate citrus fruit rind
Beat butter until fluffy, add one cup powdered sugar and blend. Mix in milk and rind. Gradually beat in remaining sugar until you have a fluffy icing. Add rind and stir. Frost all sides and top of cake.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin dip

A delicious recipe I got from my mom, who got it from my aunt, who got it from a good friend. Serve with sliced apples or ginger snaps.
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add pumpkin and beat until smooth. Beat in spices and orange extract. Chill several hours before serving. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Popcorn brittle

I recently enjoyed this in a Seattle restaurant and decided to try it myself.  After a little experimenting with a couple of recipes, here's what I have.
  • 1/3 cup popcorn
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pop corn in olive oil. Process in food processer until coarse but not finely ground. set aside.  Mix water, sugar and corn syrup in saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils.  Leave undisturbed on burner until candy thermometer registers 270 degrees.  Mix in butter and molasses, cook to 290 degrees. Mix salt, soda and vanilla, stir carefully into carmel mixture.  Remove from heat and quickly spread on cookie sheet lined with greased foil. Cool thoroughly and break into chunks

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Great fun and good gifts to pet owners.  Suitable for human consumption if you have strong teeth!
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups bulgar wheat
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cup canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup bacon grease
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Mix all dry ingredients. Dissolve yeast in water.  Warm chicken broth and bacon grease until fully liquid.  Beat egg with milk.  Stir all liquids together, then add to flour mixture, mixing with hands until coarse dough forms.  Roll dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inches, then cut with shaped cookie cutters.  Bake at 300 degrees for 45-60 minutes, depending on thickness, then turn off oven and let biscuits harden several hours or overnight.  Makes 50-100 biscuits, depending on size.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Buttermilk pound cake

My 12-year old recently had to prepare a family meal for a school assignment.  She chose this for dessert and it was wonderful!
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Beat butter and shortening until creamy and soft, then gradually beat in sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Mix soda into buttermilk, add to batter alternating with flour and salt.  Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lime Pepper Chicken

  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Mix juice and oil with spices, marinate chicken several hours or overnight.  Grill over gas or hot coals.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Creamy Key Lime Pie

It's turning out to be Pie Month in the Kitchen. I made this for a dinner we're hosting tomorrow night.
  • Graham cracker crust (homemade or purchased)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs yolks (save white for meringue, if desired)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup key lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
Meringue: (optional)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • Beat cream cheese with electric mixture until fluffy. Over double boiler, cook egg yolks, milk and lime juice for 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gradually beat into cream cheese, until smooth. No need for further cooking if you are skipping meringue; just chill overnight. If you want meringue, beat egg whites until foamy, add starch and cream of tartar, then gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks form. Top pie, swirl, then bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until browned. Chill pie several hours or overnight.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Italian chicken and broccoli impossible pie

    Makes an extra-large casserole: halve the recipe for a family-sized pie.
    • 1 1/2 cut nonfat cottage cheese
    • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
    • 3 cups cooked cubed chicken
    • 2 cups cooked chopped broccoli
    • 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 2 teaspoons oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
    • 2 teaspoons parsley 
    • 16 oz can tomato paste
    • 2 cups skim milk
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 1/3 cup Bisquick
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

    • Grease casserole dish. Put cottage cheese on bottom, top with Parmesan, then broccoli. Blend spices with tomato paste, add to chicken and stir to coat. Mix milk, eggs, Bisquick and pepper; beat with wire whisk. Pour over chicken.  Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown and crust is firm. Serves 12-16.

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Peach Pie

    My daughter came home with a bag full of fresh peaches from a day camp field trip to Chiles Peach Orchard. Way too many for the family to eat, so naturally, I made a pie.
    • 6 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced.
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • double recipe pie crust
    Line pie pan with crust. Mix peaches, sugar, flour and nutmeg and let sit for 30 minutes or so, until it gets syrupy. Cook to boiling over medium heat, then lower to low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla and butter. Pour peaches into crust. Slice second crust into strips and top lattice style. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 and bake another 20-30 minutes, until crust browns.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Zucchini Bread

    A recipe from my daughter's Sunday school teacher.  My daughter loved this and it was the first indication I had that she would eat zucchini. This, plus the zucchini parmesan muffins below were two ways I partially disposed of Zucchini-Zilla.
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups shredded zucchini
    • 1/2 cup oil
    Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Make a well in the center. Combine eggs, sugar, zucchini, and oil, mix thoroughly. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir all just until moistened. pour into two greased loaf pans, bake 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Let sit overnight.

    Zucchini Parmesan Muffins

    A friend from church gave me a huge zucchini from her garden. This is one of the uses I put it to.
    • 2 eggs
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 2/3 cup oil
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 2 cups shredded zucchini
    • 2 tablespoons ground fresh basil
    • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    Grease 24 muffin tins.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Beat eggs, then stir in oil and milk.  Mix all dry ingredients, then add gradually to egg mixture, mixing until almost smooth.  Fold in zucchini and basil. Fill muffin tins half full, top with a pinch of cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Cheeseburger Pie

    Supposedly, this was a popular dish for teenagers in the 1960's, before pizza replaced it as a favorite party food.  Can anyone maybe 15 years or so older than me confirm this?  I made it for a church supper tonight; kids didn't care for it much but it was a big hit with the over-fifty set.
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Bisquick
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 1/2 large onion, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 sliced tomatoes
    • 1 cup cottage cheese
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar
    Mix 1 cup Bisquick with 1/4 cup water to make soft dough.  Line pie pan with rolled biscuit dough.  Brown ground beef with onion, season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Sprinkle beef with remaining 2 tablespoons Bisquick, stir until thick. Put meat mixture in pir crust. Beat eggs and mix with cottage cheese, pour on top of beef.  Top with sliced tomato, sprinkle cheese over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Saucy Chicken Casserole

    I made this for the first time last night and the family loved it.  Great flavor. Next time I'm going to try reduced fat soup and milk for the sauce and see if I can cut some calories. The sauce makes a great gravy:  serve with rice or biscuits.
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 large vidalia onion, chopped
    • 1 can green peas
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    Heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in casserole dish.  Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Bake chicken uncovered 20 minutes, then turn pieces and bake for 15 minutes more.  Remove from oven, reduce heat to 350.  Top chicken with chopped onions and peas.  Combine soup, milk, salt and pepper, pour over chicken.  Cover and return for oven for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Kahlua Sauce

    Baking a lot of key lime pies left me with a lot of egg whites leftover, so I made this. Low calorie but wonderfully flavorful. (133 calories with less than a gram of fat per serving!)

    9 egg whites
    3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 1/8 cup sugar
    4.5 tablespoons cocoa
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    3/8 cup sugar
    1.5 teaspoons cornstarch
    1.5 cups skim milk
    1 egg, beaten
    3 tablespoons Kahlua (or other liqueur of your choice)

    Sift together flour, cocoa, 3/8 cup sugar and cinnamon, set aside. Beat egg whites with electric mixer until foamy, add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, beating continuously until stiff peaks form. Fold in dry ingredients and mix completely. Pour into ungreased tube pan. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Invert and cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from pan.

    For sauce, dissolve 3/8 cup sugar and cornstarch in cold milk; whisk in egg. Cook to boiling over low heat, stirring continuously. Boil one minute ,then remove from heat and whisk in Kahlua. Serve cake slices with a tablespoon of sauce and sliced berries, if desired. Makes 15 1 inch pieces. Serves 15.

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    Low Calorie Buffalo Chicken

    Another adaptation from Sparkpeople. 177 calories and 7 grams of fat.
    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
    • 1 6 oz. container nonfat yogurt
    • 2 packs Shake 'n Bake
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1/2 cup hot sauce
    Marinate chicken pieces in yogurt in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Cover with Shake 'n Bake and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and bake for 10-15 more. While chicken is cooking, microwave butter and hot sauce together until butter is melted; stir. Pour a small amount of sauce in serving dish; place chicken pieces on top. Drizzle with the reset of the hot sauce until each piece is covered. Serve with reduced-fat ranch dressing, if desired.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Thai Turkey Salad

    A low-calorie recipe, adapted from Sparkpeople. I tried it today and predict it will become a post-Thanksgiving specialty. Less than 200 calories per serving. Increase the ginger and hot sauce if you like it spicier.
    • 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1.5 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/8 teaspoon
    • 1 pound cooked turkey, chopped
    • 1/2 red pepper
    • 2 green onions
    • 1 large celery stalk
    • 1 package salad greens
    Combine dressing ingredients until well blended. Warm in microwave 1-2 minutes, stir and cool. Chop pepper, onions and celery in food processor. Mix with turkey, poor dressing over all and stir to coat. Chill. Serve 1/2 cup over a bed of salad greens. Makes 8 servings.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Key Lime Pie

    • 1 ready-made graham cracker crust
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/2 cup lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate eggs, save 3 whites for meringue. Beat egg yolks into sweetened condensed milk, add lime juice and mix thoroughly. Beat one egg white until stiff, fold into milk mixture. Pour into pie crust. Beat remaining egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy; add corn starch. Gradually add sugar to egg whites while beating, until stiff peaks form. Top pie with meringue; bake for 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Shepherd's Pie

    Another good all-in-one meal.
    • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 cups mixed vegetables
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 cup beef broth
    • 6 servings mashed potatoes (instant or scratch)
    Melt butter in skillet, saute onion until tender. Add beef and cook until brown.  Mix in broth, Worcestershire sauce and vegetables, heat until bubbly. Put in casserole and top with mashed potatoes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are brown.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Dutch Meat Loaf

    I don't make meatloaf that often, but when I do, this is usually the one I make.
    • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • 8 oz can tomato sauce (divided)
    • 1 chopped onion
    • 1 chopped bell pepper
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • Remaining tomato sauce
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons yellow or brown mustard
    • 1 tablespoon vinegar
    Combine meat, bread crumbs, half the tomato sauce, egg, oinion, bell pepper, salt and pepper; mix with hands and shape into loaf. Place in shallow baking dish. Combine sauce ingredients, whisk and pour over loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Cream cheese spritz cookies

    I'm not a huge fan of pressed cookies in general, but these are good.  Not overly sweet, very nice for a tea or other elegant occasion.
    • 1 cup softened butter or margarine
    • 8 oz softened cream cheese
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • dash of salt
    • 2 cups flour
    • decorating sugar or sprinkles
    Cream butter and cream cheese; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Stir in vanilla, then add salt and flour and mix until soft dough forms.  Chill.  Pack into cookie press and make cookies in desired shaped.  Sprinkle with colored sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes; watch carefully to prevent over-browning. 

    Sunday, April 6, 2008

    Sunday School Baptism Craft

    I've done this craft twice with Sunday School classes and it's been a big hit both times.  Today, my preschoolers made them as part of their lesson about Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch, but
    it's adaptable for any baptism story (Lydia, John the Baptist, etc.) Or, draw a whale instead for the story of Jonah.  Older siblings of the preschoolers (up to high school age) were spied playing with the bottles after church.

    This is a variation of the Cartesian diver.  For each craft you need:
    • 1 ketchup packet
    • 1 clear 16-20 oz. plastic bottle
    • Sharpie markers, or other waterproof brand
    • Masking tape (optional)
    1. You'll need to pre-screen your ketchup packets to find ones that are suitable.  I've had good luck with Heinz brands from Burger King and Chick-Fil-A. Drop them in a big bowl of water.  You want ones that float vertically while almost completely submerged.  Packets that sink to the bottom or that float horizontally in the top will not work.
    2. Have the kids draw a picture of the person being baptized on the white side of the packet.  Be careful using permanent markers with kids and be warned that they have a tendency to smear on the slick packet.  For younger kids, it may be better for the teacher to pre-draw the picture.  Be sure the image is dry before proceeding.
    3. Fill the bottle with water and gently push the ketchup packet in.  Fill with water to the top and screw the lid on tightly.  Securing the cap with making tape will discourage young hands from removing it.
    4. Squeeze the bottle gently and the ketchup packet sinks to the bottom. Release, and it rises again.  Great fun!

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    Chicken Pot Pie

    An easy, make-ahead, all-in-one supper. I use ready-made crusts.
    • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken (I poach a couple of boneless chicken breasts, then saute with the onions and garlic, but any will do.)
    • 1 cup sliced carrots
    • 2 cups green peas
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
    • 1/2 cup diced onion
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 2 tablespoons corn starch
    • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • double pastry pie crust, deep dish
    Cook peas and carrots until tender. Melt butter in skillet, saute onions and garlic until tender. Stir corn starch into milk until smooth, cook over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat, mix in thyme, salt and pepper In mixing bowl, combine chicken, peas, carrots, onions and milk mixture. Pour into pie crust, top with other crust and seal. Cut four slits in top crust. Bake on cokie sheet for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Mimi's Holy Bread

    For full effect, go here to see illustrations of how to put this together.  A great loaf for people who don't thing they have time to make bread.  I envision stuffing this full of savory meats and cheeses and taking it the next time I take a meal to a family with a new baby.
    • 3 1/4 cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 packet rapid rise yeast
    • 1 tablespoon melted butter
    • 1 cup warm water
    Mix 2 1/4 cups flour and next three ingredients, add butter and warm water and work into soft dough.  Add more flour (enough to keep it from getting sticky) and knead for 4 minutes.  Sprinkle more of flour on surface and roll into 13 by 9 inch rectangle.  Don't worry if you don't use all the flour.

    You are now ready to add fillings.  According to Mimi, a wide variety are possible, both sweet and savory.  Some recommendations:
    • 3 tablespoons softened butter plus cinnamon sugar
    • pesto, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomato
    • sausage and provolone
    • pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese
    • pesto and mozzarella
    For spreadable fillings (butter, sugar, pesto etc, spread over entire surface of dough. Make cuts across both long edge of dough, 1/3 the way across.  Pile any chunkier fillings (meat, cheese) down the center, uncut strip.  Bring opposite strips together across dough, pressing so that fillings are wrapped in dough and top has a braided appearance.  Look at Mimi's pictures to see how it's done. Brush top with melted butter or olive oil.
    Let rise on cookie sheet set above casserole dish of hot water 15-20 minutes.  Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

    Friday, March 7, 2008

    Hoppin' John

    I made this on New Years, and liked it so much that I repeated it, en masse, for a recent church supper. Very filling and great for a damp, chilly day.
    • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
    • 8 cups water
    • 2 packets Goya seasoning
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
    • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 1/2 pound diced ham, or sausage, cooked
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or more, to taste)
    • 3 cups long grain rice
    • Tabasco sauce
    Soak beans overnight and rinse, Combine beans with water, bring to a boil. Add spices, onion, pepper, bacon, meat salt and pepper. Cover and simmer several hours, until beans are tender but not mushy. Add more water, as needed, to keep bean mixture soup-like. Prepare rice according to directions. Serve beans in bowl, over rice, adding hot sauce as desired.

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    Black-eyed Susans

    A great pressed cookie! Beautiful when flower or star-shaped, though I recently used heart-shaped cookies and chocolates for Valentine's Day.
    • 1 stick butter
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons warm water
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup peanut butter
    • 1 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 50-60 Hershey's kisses
    Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg, then water and vanilla. Beat in peanut butter. Combine dry ingredients, then stir into batter. Using star- or flower-shaped disc, press cookies ont baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and immediately press unwrapped chocolate into center. Cool thoroughly.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2008

    Cranberry Fudge Cake

    Want to make something delicious out of that 85% of a can of cranberry sauce left over after the holiday meal? Try this cake; it's wonderful!
    • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
    • 1 cup cranberry sauce (whole berry or jellied)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    Melt chocolates and butter together in microwave, beat with wire whisk until smooth. Beat in sugar and cranberry sauce, followed by eggs and vanilla. Mix flour and baking powder, stir into batter. Bake in greased and floured springform pan at 325 for 40 minutes. Chill.

    • 1/4 cup whipping cream
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/4 cup jellied cranberry sauce
    Melt chocolate chips with cream in microwave, whisk in cranberry sauce. Remove side of cake pan and pour glaze over all, allowing some to drip down sides. Refrigerate to harden glaze.

    Saturday, February 2, 2008

    Chocolate Cut-out Cookies

    An easy dough to work with that keeps it shape when baking. I just made a bunch of squirrel-shaped ones (the squirrel is our school mascot) for a Valentine's bake sale.
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup cocoa
    Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients, add gradually to butter mixture. Divide dough into two balls and chill 30 minutes.
    Working with half of dough at a time, roll to 1/8 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets and sprinkle if desired. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Dewey Apple Dessert

    Easy, unusual and delicious!
    • 2 cans crescent rolls
    • 2 apples, cut into eighths
    • 1 stick butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 12 oz Mountain Dew
    Wrap each apple section in a cresent roll, arrange in casserole dish. Melt butter, add sugar and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew over all. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

    Friday, January 4, 2008

    Carrot Cake

    This is my favorite carrot cake recipe. I like that it's made in a tube pan: no fussing with layers. If you're going to do a carrot cake from scratch, you might as well spring for homemade icing, too. I made this for my husband's birthday cake this year.
    • 1 1/2 cups oil
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots
    • 1 cup nuts (optional)
    Combine first three ingredients. Mix dry ingredients together, add to sugar mixture. Fold in nuts, if desired. Pour into greased and floured tube pan, bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Remove from pan and cool before frosting.

    Cream cheese frosting
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 1 stick butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1-2 tablespoons milk
    Soften cream cheese and butter, beat until creamy.  Add vanilla.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar.  Add as much of the milk as needed, until frosting is desired consistency. Note: this makes a bit more frosting than needed for the cake.  About enough for a pan of brownies.