Friday, January 15, 2010


*Thanks, Em!  I've been looking for a waffle recipe made with egg whites.  These were tasty--the kids ate the first half dozen without butter or syrup (I did add blueberries and raspberries to the batter).  If only I had a larger waffle iron that wasn't so hard to clean, I'd saw goodbye to Eggo's and make this more of a regular at my home.

3 ½ cup of flour
6 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs yolks beaten
3 ½ cup milk
1 cup oil
4 stiffly beaten egg whites

Mix together everything except egg whites.  Mix well.  Fold in egg whites and bake.

Crock Pot Lime Chicken and Rice

Pour a can of chicken broth in the crock-pot. Finely cop 2 cloves of garlic. Squeeze 2 small limes or 1 large lime (appx 1/4 cup) of juice into broth. Add 2 to 4 tbsp of butter and about 1/4 tsp ground thyme. Put in 3 to 4 pieces of chicken. I turn the temp to high for the first hour, then low the rest of the time. Let cook for 8 to 10 hours. The last 15 minutes add 1 cup instant white rice. ( I usually wind up adding appx another half cup).
I always make some corn and mix it together when I serve it. Something about the corn really brings out and compliments the lime.

*Instead of adding instant rice, I just added some leftover rice I had cooked already.  Black beans just seemed to go with this meal as well as a little cilantro.  Jeff and the kids mixed the chicken, rice, beans, and corn together and ate it over chips with a little sour cream.  The next day I had leftovers on a tortilla.

As a side note, I got to use one of my favorite kitchen gadgets for this recipe: the garlic press.  If you love cooking with garlic, this is a must!  I use it weekly!  Though I still get some garlic smell on my fingers (from peeling the garlic), the press saves me from having to finely chop it.  Let me know what gadgets you can't live without--or if you have a secret for getting onion/garlic smell off your fingers!

(Old) Cragio’s Breadsticks

Jacob says, "This makes the picture look better!"
These were huge!  The kids and I had them for lunch (the spaghetti sauce has to count as a veggie, right?)  2 1/2 breadsticks fed us all (1 mom, a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 17 month old).  The breadsticks made me reminisce about the good 'ol college days with my sister Amber--you know the days when I spent about $25/week on groceries and then considered it really splurging to spend $5 to get a box of breadsticks from Craigo's to share.  Yum!

3 cups of flour
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
2 ½ cups HOT water

Mix dry ingredients, then add water. Kneed with 1 ½ to 2 ¼ cups of flour. Let rise.

Roll out into a rectangle. Put butter, garlic salt, all season salt, and cheese. Twist and bake at 400* for 20 minutes.

*I may have needed to clarified this recipe with Emily, but here's how I made this delicious find.  I put all the dry ingredients in my Kitchen Aid then added the water.  After kneading with my dough hook, it was very wet so instead of adding 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 cups of flour; I think I ended up adding just over 3 cups of flour.  I kneaded it with the dough hook for approximately 10 minutes in all and let rise until it doubled (1 1/2 hours).  Then I punched down the down and rolled it out (using more flour).  I divided the dough into 9 sections and with my hands rolled them out to about 18 inches.  I then braided each piece on top of itself and let them rise in the pan for 45 min.  Looking back, I probably didn't need to add as much flour.  Next, I spread about 1/4 cup of butter on the bread sticks and sprinkled lightly with garlic salt.  Baked them for 12 minutes, removed, added about 1 1/2 cups pizza/mozzarella shredded cheese and sprinkled parmesan cheese, and cooked 8 minutes more. 

**A late note:  After making these a couple of times, I have a few pointers.  Made as directed above, the breadsticks look just like Crago's, but I've had trouble with them being a little on the doughy side in the middle.  I suggested using a large cookie sheet (they will still raise and touch each other) and divide into at least 12 breadsticks.  We love these!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Amber's Chocolate Chip Cookies

  2 c shortning  (I use 1 c butter-flavored shortning/shortning sticks and 1 c margarine)
  1 1/2 c brown sugar
  1 1/2 c white sugar

  4 eggs
  2 t vanilla

Then add:
  2 t baking soda
  2 t salt
  5 1/2 c flour (I usually only need 5 c)
  1 bag chocolate chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-11 minutes.

Makes 6 dozen.

*This time around I didn't have a full bag of chocolate chips, so I put the 3/4s bag I had in the mix and added some Hersey Symphony bar.  Yum!  Also, to keep the cookies from going flat, I recommend that you keep the dough cold before cooking.  I usually put it in the freezer between batches--and this recipe makes a lot of batches!

As a side note, I am a huge believer in parchment paper.  I use it whenever I cook cookies, cake, or bread and skip the spray.

Breakfast Cassorole Crock Pot

16 oz frozen hashbrowns
1/2lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Place a layer of frozen hash browns on the bottom of the crock pot, followed by a layer of bacon, then onions, bell pepper and cheese.
2. Repeat the layering process two more times, ending with a layer of cheese.
3. Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together.
4. Pour over the crock pot mixture.
5. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

*Before layering, I sprayed the bottom of the crock pot with cooking spray.  For the bacon, I used precooked crumbled bacon from Cosco (what a find--it comes in bags that last for months--I don't know what the means for perservatives, but it sure makes cooking with bacon easier and my house didn't smell like bacon!).  I'm going to check my crock pot, but I thought this was done after 3 1/2 hours on low.  I really liked this meal (it was so easy) and Ivan gobbled it up.  Jeff gave it a 3 1/2 stars, but he perfers breakfast casserole without onions and green peppers.  Even though it wasn't the huge hit I was hoping for, it was good and very easy to make.

*Here are 2 sites that will help you check your crock pot:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oven Baked Potato Wedges

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour
Yields: 5 servings
2 teaspoons olive oil
5 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet with the olive oil.
2. Brush potato wedges with butter, and roll in bread crumbs. Place wedges on prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn wedges; cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender.

*I didn't have any seasoned bread crumbs, so I used plain and added a bit of oregano, basil, garlic salt and pepper to the mix.  Also, 1/4 c of butter would have been plenty.  Jeff, Ivan and I liked these, but Jacob and Ellen didn't really eat them.

Here's another way to make potato wedges:

Alternative seasoning:
2 T olive oil
2 T Dijon-style mustard
1 t dried rosemary (be sure to rub the dried seasoning in your hand before adding to release its flavor!)
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t black pepper

Place olive oil in large bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Add potato wedges to mix and toss gently to coat.  Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees, turning occasionally.

*Both versions were good.  This was the first time I peeled the pototes and I like them with or without peels.  I think the second alternative would be even better with red potatoes.

Caesar Chicken Wraps

*Pictured with Oven Baked Potato Wedges
1 Pkg (7.5oz) complete Caesar salad mix
1 c chopped cooked chicken
4 garden vegetable or plain flour tortillas
2 T shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Crush croutons from salad mix, set aside. In large bowl combine remaining Caesar salad mix ingredients and chicken; mix well.

2. Spoon salad mixture evenly onto tortillas; spread to within 1 inch of edges. Sprinkle each with shredded cheese and crushed croutons. Roll up each tortilla.

*This was better than I thought it would be, but I deviated from the recipe a bit.  Instead of a salad mix, I used about 6 cups torn up romaine lettuce, about 1/3 cup Ceasar dressing, and some seasoned croutons.  I cooked 3-4 breasts of frozen chicken in the crock pot on high for a couple of hours (with nothing added--this makes a great, easy way to cook chicken for lots of recipes).  When the chicken was done, I lightly shredded it, mixed it with the dressing and let lit cool in the fridge.  Then I added the lettuce to the chicken mixture and followed the rest of the steps.  As a side note, the croutons were good, but they could be optional.  A great idea for a girls lunch, but my whole family enjoyed them.

Janelle’s BBQ Spareribs

3 lbs spareribs—browned and place in baking dish

In a pan, mix the following and then pour over the meat:
1 T cornstarch
½ t celery salt
2 t dry mustard
1 t paprika
1 T dry onion (chopped)
2 T brown sugar
2 T vinegar
4 T lemon juice
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 c water
1/8 t cayenne pepper

Bake at 350 for 1 ½-2 hours.

*I subsituted regular mustard for the dry mustard and left out the cayenne pepper, but added a few red pepper flakes.  Delicious.  I have used the crock pot to cook these as well.  Both are great, but I prefer the oven.  These were so good and tender--the meat just falls off the bone.  Jeff did say that he likes a mesquite sauce more than the tomatoe sauce, but that didn't stop him from eating almost the entire pan!

I recommend browning the rack together or divided in 2 parts (to fit the pan).  I've tried it with the ribs cut into sections and when browned together, they ribs turned out moister.

Zesty Fruit Salad

Makes 4 servings
1 apple
1 orange
1 banana
1 8-oz "key lime" nonfat yogurt

Cut fruit into bite-size pieces.  Add yogurt.  Stir.

*When two of your children's favorite food is yogurt and fruit is a love for all of them, you just can't go wrong with this little ditty.  Jacob raved about this--but truly is was just a simple way of eating fruit.  It made him feel good that he could follow the recipe to make it all by himself (with a little help  when it came to the sharp knife).

A Chicken Salad Twist

From my own creation (hence, feel free to add/improve to your liking!)

2-3 chicken breasts
1 pkg rotini pasta, cooked to pkg directions & return to pot
approximately 1 t garlic salt taste
approximately 1 t basil
approximately 1/2 t oregano
14.5 oz diced canned tomatoes (mostly drained)
2 T basil pesto sauce
dash + of balsamic vinegar
1/2 c grated Parmesean cheese

1.  Place chicken in crock pot and cook throughly, remove from pot, lightly cube/shred.  Add spices.
2.  Add tomatoes, pesto sauce, & chicken mixture to pasta.
3.  Place on serving dishes and add cheese and vinegar to liking.

Very easy, kid friendly recipe.  Jeff even liked it (very good considering it has canned tomatoes).  The next day I tried some with a few gorgonzola cheese crumbles--feta would have been better, but it definately added a different zing (definately an optional ingredient).  Serve with garlic bread.

Garla’s Fluffy Toast (twist on French toast)

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 ½ t. baking powder
2 eggs
½ t. salt

Mix and make like French toast. Add cinnamon to liking.

*We added about 2 t cinnamon.  Jacob loved these and I thought they weren't bad.  I good substitution for French Toast if you are running low on eggs.  Blending all the flour in takes a fine touch.  This recipe made 11 French toast, so if you are like my family, you will probably need to double it.  We made it with Cinnamon Suryp.

Cinnamon Syrup

1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Mix corn syrup, sugar, water, and cinnamon in med size pan. Bring to a boil over med. Heat stirring constantly. Continue for 2 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk.

*Jacob said, "I like this syrup more than any other syrup I've tasted in my life, make it every time."  For me, it was good, definately sweet, but didn't convince me that I need to stop buy store syrup.  Just a little hint of cinnamon.  3 1/2 Stars.  We made this with Garla's Fluffy Toast.   We halved this recipe and it made approximately 2 cups of syrup, plenty for a meal and more to save.

Just Plain Fries

Thanks to a hand-me-down from Grandma Lillie The Shrimp (a little deep fryer), we can make our own fries.  Just peel potatoes, fry in the hot shortning for 5-6 minutes and add salt.  I perfer the baked kind, but every once in a while, I make them like this for Jeff.  They taste great, it's just the clean up and extra calories I like less.

Fluffy Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup margarine, melted (can use shortening)

1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the egg, milk and shortening; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Pour batter by 1/4 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes; cook until the second side is golden brown.
*In the winter time, we like to make snowman pancakes using frozen blueberry's for the snowman's buttons, eyes, and nose. Jacob loves them! We even experimented with reindeer pancakes and shark pancakes, it was lots of fun. We found this recipe a couple of years ago and have it at least 2-3 times a month (or more). Once you have them, you can never go back to a mix.

Rice--how to cook

I bought a very large bag of rice, but it didn't come with directions on how to cook it.  This is what works best for me:
1.  Put cold water and rice at a 2:1 ratio in pot. 
2.  Add salt and butter to liking. 
3.  Bring to a soft boil until craters form (see picture).  Then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. 
4.  Fluff with fork.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crock Pot Cheesecake

Recipe from


- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 T brown sugar
- 3 T melted butter

- 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature (I nuked mine for 30 seconds to get it soft)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature (I put the eggs in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 t good vanilla
- 1 T flour

Find a heat-resistant dish that will fit into your crockpot for the cheesecake. I have an oval crockpot and so I used a loaf pan. However, not all of the cheesecake mixture fit into the pan because I didn’t want it to be too thick. You are going to create a bain marie, or water bath in the bottom of your crock pot.

In a plastic zipper bag, beat the crackers into crumbs with a rolling pin or crush them in a food processor. Put a cup of the crumbs into a medium bowl, and add melted butter and brown sugar. Stir until it's wet and crumby. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the dish you are going to use.

In a separate bowl, cream the cheese, sugar, eggs, flour, cream, and vanilla with a hand-mixer. Unless you have one of those fancy Kitchen Aids. Then use that. Pour the cheese mixture on top of the crust. Lick the bowl.

Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of your crock pot. Lower the dish inside, being careful to not slosh water into your cheesecake.

Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours. The cheesecake is done when the edges are no longer shiny (like how it looks when you first pour the mixture in). My cheesecake wasn't perfectly set in the middle, but I unplugged the crock anyhow.

I cooked it for exactly 2 hours. Let the cheesecake sit in the cooling crock pot, with the lid on, for an hour. Then remove and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 -3 hours before cutting and serving.

Spicy Beef Roast

3 lb round tip roast
1 Tbs. cracked black peppercorns
2 tsp. dry mustard
3 cloves garlic or ½ tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
¼ C. soy sauce

Rub the cracked pepper, dry mustard and garlic into the roast. Place roast in crock pot and with a knife, make several shallow slits in the top of the roast. In a small bowl combine vinegar, W. sauce, soy sauce. Pour over roast. Cook on low 8 – 10 hours, high 4 -5 hours.

Crock Pot 101, Tips from WX 14th Ward

General Cooking Tips

• Only fill the crock pot one half to two thirds full. The foods will not cook properly if the appliance is filled to the brim. If the food and liquid level is lower, the foods will cook too quickly.

• Foods cooked on the bottom of the slow cooker cook faster and will be moister because they are immersed in the simmering liquid.

• Remove skin from poultry, and trim excess fat from meats. Fatty foods will cook too quickly.

• You can thicken the juices and concentrate flavors by removing the lid and cooking on HIGH for the last half hour of cooking time.

• Most meats require 8 hours of cooking on LOW. Use cheaper cuts of meat - not only do you save money, but these meats work better in the slow cooker. Cheaper cuts of meat have less fat, which makes them more suited to crock pot cooking. Moist, long cooking times result in very tender meats.

• Follow the layering instructions carefully. Vegetables do not cook as quickly as meat, so they should be placed in the bottom of the appliance.

• Don't lift the lid to stir, especially if you are cooking on the low setting. Each time you lift the lid, enough heat will escape that the cooking time should be extended by 20 – 30 minutes. To check progress without lifting the lid, spin the cover until the condensation falls off. Then it's easy to see inside.

• Avoid placing the hot crock insert directly onto a very cold surface, such as your granite counter, or into the sink with cold water. The shock could make it crack.

Food Specific Cooking Tips

• For best results, ground meats must be cooked in a skillet before cooking in the crock pot.

• Seafood should be added during the last hour of cooking time, or it will overcook and have a rubbery texture.

• Large pieces of meat can be browned before cooking in the crock pot, but this step isn't necessary. Browning adds color and helps in flavor development.

• Cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce tend to become bitter if cooked for long periods of time. Use small amounts and add toward the end of the cooking time.

• Add tender vegetables like tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini during the last 45 minutes of cooking time so they don't overcook.

• Dairy products should be added during the last 30 minutes of cooking time, unless the recipes states otherwise.

• Liquids do not boil away in the crock pot, so if you are making a recipe that wasn't specifically developed for the crock pot, reduce the liquid by 1/3 to 1/2 unless you are cooking rice or making soup.

• Stir in spices for the last hour of cooking. They will lose flavor if cooked with the rest of the ingredients for the long cooking period.

Food Safety Tips

• 140 degrees F is the temperature the food needs to reach as quickly as possible. If you are at home during the cooking times, test the food temperature after four hours of cooking on LOW - the temp should be at least 140 degrees. If it isn't, there's a problem with your crock pot and you should get a new one.

• Some of the newer crock pots seem to cook at a hotter temperature, probably because manufacturers are concerned about food safety. You can check the temperature of your crock pot this way:

1. Place 2 quarts of water in your crock pot

2. Cover and heat on low for 8 hours

3. Lift the lid and immediately check the water temperature with an accurate thermometer. The temperature of the water should be 185 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is higher foods may overcook and you should reduce the overall cooking time. If the temperature is lower your foods will probably not reach a safe temperature quickly enough, and the crock pot should be discarded.

• For food safety reasons, it's a good idea to cook on HIGH for the first hour to quickly bring the temperature up to 140 degrees. Then turn the dial to LOW and finish cooking.

• The LOW setting is about 200 degrees, and the HIGH setting is about 300 degrees. Note that both of these temps are well above the minimum safe temperature of 140 degrees.

• Experts recommend you do not put frozen foods in the crock pot. All foods should be defrosted before cooking so the food temperature can reach 140 degrees as soon as possible. However, since none of my family members are in a high-risk group, I often cook frozen foods in the crock pot. The informed choice is up to you.

• One hour on HIGH is equal to two hours on LOW.

• Remove cooked food from the crock pot or liner before you refrigerate the cooked food. Because the liner is made of such thick material, the food won't cool down quickly enough to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Did you know. . .

• Studies have shown that the low, constant heat crock pots cook by may help prevent disease! Some compounds called "advanced glycation end products" are formed when sugars, fats, and proteins are heated at high temperatures, as when food is grilled, broiled, or microwaved. These AGE's irritate cells and may be a factor in the formation of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Since slow cookers only heat between 200 and 300 degrees, fewer of these compounds form in crock pot cooked meals, so slow-cooked meals are healthier.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in thin strips
4 tsp. cajun seasoning
4 tbls. butter or margarine
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
8 oz. pkg. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 16 oz package linguine, cooked and drained
Grated, fresh parmesan cheese
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 C. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Place chicken and cajun seasoning in a resealable plastic bag; toss or shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until almost tender. Add peppers, mushrooms and onion; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat. Add cream and seasonings; heat through. Add linguine and toss; heat through. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Quick & Easy Shrimp Primavera

Prep time 20 min
Total time 20 min
Makes 4 servings, 2 cups each

2 cups rotini pasta, uncooked
1/2 cup KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Dressing
1 lb. uncooked deveined peeled shrimp
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 cup matchlike carrot sticks
1 cup sugar snap peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. lemon zest

COOK pasta as directed on package.
MEANWHILE, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add shrimp, vegetables and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 4 min. or until shrimp turn pink and vegetables are crisp-tender.

DRAIN pasta. Add to shrimp mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and lemon zest.

Recipe from Kraft Foods

Cheesy Football

Prep time 15 min
Total time 3 hr 15 min
Makes 3-1/2 cups spread or 30 servings, about 2 Tbsp. spread and 5 crackers each.

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans
2 Tbsp. pimiento strips (optional)
RITZ Crackers


BEAT first 5 ingredients with mixer until blended. Stir in onions. Refrigerate several hours.

FORM into football shape; coat with nuts.

ADD pimientos for the lacing. Serve with crackers.

From Kraft Foods.

5-Layer Mexican Dip

1 can (15-1/2 oz.) refried black beans
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1 tomato, chopped

MIX beans, chili powder and cumin; spread onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate.

TOP with layers of remaining ingredients.

REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Raspberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad


2 C. mashed pretzels
2 T. sugar
½ C. melted butter

Press into 9x13 pan.  Cook 400 for 5 min. Cool.

Spread on Crust:
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 C. powdered sugar
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz. Cool Whip

Dissolve large Rasp. Jell-o in 2 C. boiling water add 2 cups cold water—can add pkg frozen raspberries in place of 1 cup of water; when mixture is syrupy, pour over cream cheese.

30 Minute Almond Chicken

Prep: 5 min
Total: 30 min

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 c Zesty Italian dressing
1 c chicken broth
2 c green beans, trimmed & halved
1 c minute rice, uncooked
1/4 c sliced almonds

Toss chicken w/ dressing in resealable plastic bag.  Cook on medium-high heat for 4 min on each side or until brown.

Stir in broth; bring to boil.  Cover.  Simmer 10 min.  Add beans; cook 5 min or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken from skillet.  Add rice and almonds.  Remove from heat; cover.  Let stand 5 min.  Serve chicken over rice mixture.

Makes 4 servings.

*This was pretty easy--I loved the green beans and almonds.  I actually used leftover cooked rice and it turned out just fine.  Next time, I think I'll try it with chicken breasts to get the better-for-you taste.

Mixed Fruit Smoothie

1 c fresh/frozen unsweetened fruit (strawberries, bananas, peaches, oranges, etc.)
1/2 c low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 c 100% fruit juice

If you use fresh fruit, wash, peel, seed, and freeze the fruit.
Place all in blender and blend until smooth.

If we get out the blender, it's going to be good!  We just can't help adding a scoop of ice cream to it though!

Hot Chocolate

1 can evaporated milk
4 cups water
6 T sugar
6 t cocoa (plus a little more)
1 t vanilla
1 pinch of salt

Can add 1/4-1/2 more milk
Bring to a soft boil, put a lid on and turn on low.

Emeril's Easy 5 Ingredient Grilled Chicken

From the Kitchen of Emeril Lagasse

Servings: 4
Difficulty: Moderate
Cook Time: 30-60 min
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup soy sauce, plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 bay leaves
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/4 cup honey
Olive oil, for brushing
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Combine 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce, garlic and bay leaves in a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat them evenly. Seal the bag and marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat a grill to medium.
Combine 1 cup of the remaining vinegar, the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and the honey in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and is reduced by half, 11 to 13 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Remove the chicken from the bag (discard the marinade), and pat it dry with paper towels. Brush the chicken with olive oil and season it with the salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning frequently, until it is just cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone) registers 165°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, drizzle the vinegar-soy sauce over it and serve.

Pork Chops for the Slow Cooker


6 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

1.Place pork chops in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork chops.

2.Cook on Low setting for 6 hours, until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

*I browned the pork chops first in flour and garlic salt and doubled the sauce.  Not bad.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Strawberry-Banana Yogurt Smoothie

3 c fresh strawberries or individually frozen strawberries, slightly thawed
3 medium ripe bananas, cut up
1 ½ c milk
3 containers (8oz each) low-fat strawberry yogurt

1. In blender container, place 1 ½ c strawberries, half of the banana pieces, ¾ c milk and 1 ½ containers of yogurt. Cover; blend at medium speed 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth.

2. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Easy Italian Spiced Pork

1 pkg Italian dressing mix (0.6 oz)
¼ c balsamic vinegar
½ t Italian seasoning
¼ t crushed red pepper
1 T olive oil
4 boneless pork loin chops, ¾ inch thick (1 lb each)

1. In small bowl, beat dressing mix, vinegar, Italian seasoning and red pepper with wire whish until mix is dissolved. Beat in oil until well blended.

2. In shallow glass baking dish, arrange pork chops in single layer. Spread oil mixture over both sides of pork. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes to marinate.

3. Meanwhile, heat gas or charcoal grill.

4. When grill is heated, remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Place pork on gas grill over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with paprika. Cook uncovered 4 minutes. Turn pork; sprinkle with paprika. Cook uncovered 3 to 6 minutes longer or until pork is slightly pink in center and thermometer inserted in center of pork reads 160 degrees.

Savory Turkey Breast

1 bone-in turkey breast (6 lbs)
½ c chopped onion
½ c chopped celery
1 bay leaf
1 t salt
½ t coarsely ground pepper
1 t chicken-flavor instant bouillon
½ c water

1. Remove gravy packet or extra parts from turkey breast. Place onion celery and bay leaf in cavity of turkey. Place turkey in slow cooker. Sprinkle salt and pepper over turkey.

2. Combine bouillon and water; stir until dissolved. Pour over turkey.

3. Cover; cook on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf before serving.

Pepperoni ‘n Cheese Crescents

1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
24 slices pepperoni (about 5 oz)
½ c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c tomato pasta sauce or pizza sauce

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Separate the dough into 8 triangles, stretching each triangle slightly.

3. Put 3 pepperoni slices lengthwise down the center of each triangle, overlapping slightly. Put about 1 tablespoon of cheese on the top of each triangle.

4. Roll up each of the triangles, starting with the shortest side and rolling to the opposite point. Put the rolls point side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake the rolls at 375 for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Meanwhile, pour the tomato pasta sauce into a small saucepan (1 quart). Heat over medium-low heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.

7. Serve the crescents with the pasta sauce for dipping.

Pork Chop Dinner with Bacon and Cider Gravy

4 oz uncooked extra-wide egg noodles (2 ½ c)
2 c frozen cut green beans
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
4 boneless pork loin chops (4 oz each)
¼ c chopped onion
1 c apple cider or juice
1 t honey mustard
¼ t salt
¼ t dried thyme leaves
1/8 t pepper
1 T water
1 T cornstarch

1. Cook noodles to desired doneness as directed on pkg, adding green beans during last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain; cover to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp. With slotted spoon removed bacon from skillet; drain on paper towels. Drain and discard all drippings from skillet.

3. Place pork chops in skillet near center. Sprinkle onion around pork chops. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until pork chops are golden brown, turning once. In small bowl, combine cider, mustard, salt, thyme and pepper; mix well. Pour over chops. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in center.

4. Arrange noodles and green beans on serving platter. Place pork chops on top of noodle mixture; cover to keep warm.

5. In small bowl, combine water and cornstarch; blend until smooth. Add to juices in skillet; mix well. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until bubbly and thickened; boil 1 minute. (If desired, gravy can be strained).

6. To serve, pour gravy over pork chops and noodles. Sprinkle with bacon.

Autumn Pork Roast Dinner

1 rolled boneless pork loin roast (1 ¾ to 2 lb)
¼ t salt
1/8 t pepper
3 large dark-orange sweet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced, separate into rings
¾ t dried thyme leaves
1 quart apple juice (4 c)

1. Sprinkle pork roast with salt and pepper; place in slow cooker. Place sliced sweet potatoes around and on top of pork. Top with onion. Sprinkle with thyme. Pour apple juice over onion.

2. Cover; cook on low for at least 8 hours.

One-Pot Turkey Dinner

3 medium dark-orange sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 bone-in turkey thighs (about 2 ¼ lb) skin removed
1 jar (12 oz) turkey gravy
2 T all-purpose flour
1 t dried parsley flakes
½ t dried rosemary leaves crushed
1/8 t pepper
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen cut green beans
1. Place sweet potatoes in slow cooker. Top with turkey thighs. In small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except beans; mix until smooth. Pour over turkey.

2. Cover; cook on High for 1 hour. Reduce heat to Low; cook 5 hours.

3. One to 2 hours before serving; stir beans into turkey mixture. Cover; cook on Low for additional 1 to 2 hours.

4. With slotted spoon, removed turkey and vegetables from slow cooker; place on serving platter. Remove turkey meat from bones and cut into pieces; discard bones. Stir sauce. Serve turkey and vegetables with sauce.

Summer Pork Kabobs

4 boneless pork loin chops, 3/4inch thick (1 lb)
½ t seasoned salt or dried pork seasoning
2 small zucchini, cut into 12 (1-inch) pieces
8 medium mushrooms
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 12 pieces
½ c apricot preserves
1 T cider vinegar

1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Sprinkle pork chops with seasoned salt; cut each hop into 4 pieces. Alternately thread pieces equally onto each of the 4 (12 to 14 inch) metal skewers. In small bowl, mix preserves and vinegar.

2. When grill is heated, place kabobs on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill over medium coals. Brush kabobs with preserves mixture; cover grill. Cook 5 to 7 minutes. Turn kabobs; brush with preserves mixture. Cook covered 5 to 7 minutes longer or until pork is no longer pink in center.

Early-Morning Granola

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
3 c uncooked regular oats
1 c wheat germ
½ c chopped pecans
½ c sliced almonds
1/3 c sunflower seeds
½ t ground cinnamon
¼ c honey
¼ c maple syrup
2 T brown sugar
2 T vegetable oil
1 c raisins
½ c chopped dried apricots
½ c chopped dried apples
Yogurt (optional)

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stirring well.

2. Cook honey and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in oat mixture.

3. Spread mixture in a light greased aluminum foil-lined 15x10 inch jelly-roll pan.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden, stirring every 5 minutes. Invert onto wax paper; let cool 30 minutes. Stir in dried fruits. Serve with yogurt, if desired. Makes 6 cups.

Herb-Topped Pasta Bake

For a delicious and healthful alternate topping, process 3 whole wheat bead slices in a food processor until slices are finely ground. Toss together breadcrumbs and 1 T butter, melted. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over prepared macaroni before baking.

12 oz package of VELVEETA Shells and Cheese Dinner
½ c half-and half
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
¼ t onion powder
4 white bead slices
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c butter, melted
1 T dried parsley

1. Cook shells and cheese dinner according to basic package directions.

2. Stir half-and-half, ½ c shredded cheese, and onion powder into shell macaroni mixture. Pour pasta mixture into an 8 inch square baking dish.

3. Removed crusts from bread with a serrated knife. Process bread slices in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Toss together breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter, and parsley.

4. Sprinkle shell macaroni with remaining ½ cup cheese and breadcrumb mixture.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until pasta mixture is thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler

1 ¼ c sugar
1 c self-rising flour
1 c milk
½ c butter, melted
2 c frozen blackberries

1. Whisk together 1 c sugar, flour, and milk just until blended; whish in melted butter. Pour batter into a lightly greased 12 x 8-inch baking dish; sprinkle blackberries and remaining ¼ c sugar evenly over batter.
2. Bake cobbler at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown and bubbly.

Makes 6 servings.

Special Deviled Eggs

To hard-cook eggs, place in a pot and cover with cold water. Boil for 1 minute; removed from heat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
5 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
½ c finely shredded Swiss cheese
¼ c plus 1 T mayonnaise
2 ½ T cider vinegar
2 t sugar
2 t honey mustard
1 ½ t freshly ground pepper
¼ t salt
Finely chopped green onions or chives (optional)

1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise; carefully remove yolks, and place in a bowl. Set egg whites aside.
2. Mash yolks until smooth. Add bacon and next 7 ingredients; stir until blended.
3. Spoon yolk mixture evenly into egg whites. Sprinkle with green onions, if desired.


2 qt water (or milk)
½ c uncooked long-grain white rice
2 Mexican cinnamon sticks (or substitute regular cinnamon sticks)
1 c sugar

1. Bring 2 qt water, rice, and cinnamon sticks to a boil over medium heat; cook 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Let cool to room temperature. Remove cinnamon sticks.
2. Puree rice mixture, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture into a pitcher; stir in sugar and enough water to equal 2 qt. Cover and chill; serve over ice.

Strawberry Lemonade

Make strawberry lemonade slush by freezing lemonade in ice cube trays and then processing frozen cubes in a blender.

12 oz lemonade (or limeade) concentrate thawed
16 oz fresh strawberries, hulled
¼ c powdered sugar
Ice cubes

1. Prepare lemonade according to pkg directions
2. Process strawberries and powdered sugar in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides; stir into lemonade. Serve over ice. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Makes 8 cups.

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

10 oz package baby spinach
1 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
2 oranges, peeled, sectioned, and cut into bite-size pieces
½ c chopped pecans, toasted
½ c jicama peeled and cut into small pieces
1/3 c Poppy Seed Dressing
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowel; toss with 1/3 c Poppy Seed Dressing just before serving.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Poppy Seed Dressing
½ c safflower oil
1/3 c honey
5 T red raspberry vinegar
2 T poppy seeds
1 T minced onion
1 T mustard
¼ t salt
1/8 t white pepper

1. Whisk together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Makes about 1 cup.

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Salad

1 lb fresh asparagus
1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1/8 t salt
3 oz pkg goat cheese, crumbled
¼ c pine nuts, toasted
Basil Vinaigrette
1. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus.
2. Cook in boiling salted water to cover 3 minutes or until crisp-tinder; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking; drain.
3. Arrange lettuce on a serving platter. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Top lettuce with asparagus, goat cheese, tomatoes, and pine nuts. Drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette before serving.

Makes 4 servings.
Basil Vinaigrette:
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 t sugar
½ t salt
½ t freshly ground pepper
½ c olive oil
1. Whish together first 5 ingredients. Gradually whisk in oil, blending well.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

¼ red onion, thinly sliced
2 (6 oz) bags baby spinach
16 oz container strawberries, quartered
4 oz pkg grumbled blue cheese or goat cheese*
½ c sliced almonds, toasted or pecans*
Bottled red wine vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette*
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toss together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Play Dough/Fun Dough

Play Dough
by Emily
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
1 Tbsp Cream of tarter
1 cup of water
1 Tbsp oil
8-9 drops of food coloring

Mix flour, salt, and cream of tarter. Boil water, oil and food coloring. Pour over flour mixture. Knead.  Store in Ziploc bags.

Fun Dough
Prep 20 min

½ to ¾ c warm water, divided
1 t white vinegar
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c salt
Food coloring paste

1. Stir together ½ c warm water and 1 t vinegar

2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowel. Slowly stir in water mixture with a wooden spoon until a stiff dough forms, adding up to ¼ c more water, if necessary. Knead until smooth and workable. Divide dough into portions, and add desired amount of food coloring paste. Shape dough portions into blocks. Store in refrigerator in a sip-top plastic bag.

Makes about 2 ½ c nonedible dough.


1 ½ cups milk
1 cup flour
2 eggs
3 T melted butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 t vanilla
Mix in a blender and pour a couple of tablespoons of batter into a greased skillet and cook.

*This is a slightly adapted version of crepes from my sister Emily.  Lovely.


3 c. light brown sugar

1 c. Karo syrup
1 can Eagle brand sweet condensed milk
3 cubes butter

On med heat slow boil for 20 minutes, until it forms a soft ball stage. Then pour into a buttered 9 x13 pan. Let set up, cut into small rectangles and wrap in waxed paper.

Cheesecake for a Group

1 White cake mix
2 8 oz. cream cheese
4 Cups powder sugar
1 pound whipped cream
2 cans strawberry pie filling
Make cake mix according to direction on box. Bake ½ mixture in each 9 x 13 pan for 20 min. at 350. Can make cake regular and ½ the other ingredients. Whip until fluffy cream cheese and powder sugar. Then sir in whipped cream.

Spread over cake and add fruit topping. Refrigerate.

Oreo Freeze Dessert

1 pkg oreos, chopped

½ gallon vanilla ice cream
Caramel dessert topping
small tub cool whip

Put ½ of the crushed oreos on the bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Layer ice cream, caramel, cool whip over the oreos. Top with remaining oreos. Freeze. (Takes 2-3 hours to freeze completely).

Easy Fruit Crisp Dump Cake

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling (or whatever flavor)

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 pkg yellow cake mix
½ cup margarine, melted
Heat oven to 350. Spread pie filling and pineapple in ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Stir together cake mix (dry) and margarine in large bowl until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over fruit. Bake 35-40 minutes or until light brown. Serve warm or cool.

Carmel Brownies

1 box German Chocolate cake mix

50 kraft caramels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
6 oz. chocolate chips

Combine caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Cook over low heat and melt. Grease 9 x 13 pan. In large bowl, combine cake mix, butter and evaporated milk. Mix well.

Press ½ of dough into pan. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked crust. Then spread melted caramel mixture over chips. Crumble rest of dough over the top. Bake for another 15-18 minutes. Cool, cut, and eat.

Cherry Macaroons

1- 1 1/3 cup shortening
1- 1 ½ cup sugar
2- 2 eggs
2- 1 ½ tsp almond extract
3- 3 ½ cup flour
3- 2 tsp baking powder
3- 2 tsp soda
3- 1 tsp salt
4- 1 ½ cup coconut
4- 1 cup maraschino cherries

Mix in number order. Batter will be stiff. Drop by spoon full on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes until brown.

Cornflake Cookies

1 cup sugar

1 cup white corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Corn Flakes or Rice Crispies

Mix sugar, syrup, and vanilla over medium heat. Stir Constantly. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Pour over cereal and place in greased 9x13 pan. Break apart after set.

Muddy Buddies

9 C. Rice or Corn Cereal

1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
½ C. creamy peanut butter
¼ C. butter or margarine
1 tea. Vanilla
1 ½ C. powdered sugar

Measure cereal into large bowl; set aside. Microwave chocolate chips, Skippy peanut butter and butter in 1 quart microwavable bowl uncovered on High 1 min. Stir in Vanilla. Pour in Chocolate mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon food-storage bag; add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

German Chocolate Bars

2/3 C. margarine, butter softened

1 pkg German Chocolate cake mix
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tube creamy coconut pecan ready-to-use spread frosting
¼ C. milk

Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease rectangular pan. 13x9x2. Cut margarine into cake mix in medium bowl, using a pastry blender or fork. Press half o f the mixture (2 ½ cups) in bottom of pan. Bake 10 min. Sprinkle chocolate chips frosting layer over baked layer, drop frosting by Tbspfuls over chocolate chips. Stir milk in remaining cake mixture. Drop by tspfuls onto. Bake 25-30 min. or until cake portion is slightly dry to touch; cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Cut into 8 by 6 rows.

Harvest Soup

By Emily and Anne Evans

This is a soup that we made up one day and it turned out pretty good. But of course we didn’t measure anything.

3 celery sticks with leaves
3 peeled carrots
1 cup barley (cooked according to bag)
1 garlic cloves
A couple of potatoes
8 oz beef stake (we use the cheep kind which was good) cut into cubes when slightly frozen
Brown gravy mix (we have a big bottle from sam’s club, but could use a package)

I have a pot in the back with oil in it and a skillet with oil in it. I cut the onion and garlic up. Put a little in each pot and skillet. Cut up celery and carrots and cook in pot. Also be cooking barley right now.

Brown cut steak in skillet. Peel potatoes and cut them up. Put into the back pot with water. Then put the barley and steak into pot. Mix in gravy to thicken soup. I of course added too much and used V-8 to thin soup. Season to your liken.

Enchilada Casserole

1 cam enchilada sauce

1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can water
1 lb. ground beef
1 large chopped onion
½ tsp. salt
1 can chopped olives
½ to ¾ c. grated cheese
12 corn tortillas

Heat together meant, onion, and salt. Brown and drain. Add ½ C. heated sauce. Mix enchilada sauce, tomato sauce and water. Add green chilies and cheese to meat mixture. Grease casserole dish. Dip each tortilla in sauce to soften. Place layer of tortillas, layer of meat, layer of cheese, and repeat until all used. Top with rest of sauce and cheese. Heat 25 minutes at 350.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

2 bags frozen Broccolli

2 pkgs. Cheddar Broccoli flavored Rice
1 1/2 cans cheddar broccoli soup
1 lb. chicken

Steam broccoli, pour in cheddar broccoli soup. Cook rice and pour in broccoli. Put uncooked chicken in casserole dish and pour broccoli/rice over chicken. Bake @ 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes and voila! Delicious, and easy!