Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mince Pies

Pastry Recipe taken from Joy of Baking

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces

1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water

Mincemeat (I usually buy Crosse and Blackwell's brand, which they have at Safeway before the holidays).

In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the pastry in half, flatten each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

Have ready one - 24 or two - 12 mini muffin pan(s). After the dough has chilled sufficiently, take one of the disks of pastry and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the pastry dough until about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 24 rounds that are slightly bigger than the muffin tins. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Gently place the rounds into the muffin tins. Place about a teaspoon of mincemeat into each tin and set aside while you make the pastry stars.

Roll out the second disk of pastry and cut out 24 stars and gently place the stars on top of the mincemeat. If desired, brush the tops of the stars with a little egg wash (one large egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in a 400 degrees F (205 degree C) oven for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the pastry has lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar (icing/powdered) before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. These tarts freeze very well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Éclair Dessert

It is better to make this dessert the day before. I wish I had a picture of it but I always forget.

3 cups of milk
2 packages of vanilla pudding mix (4 serving size)
12 oz cool whip
Graham crackers
Chocolate icing

Put 3 cups of milk in large bowl
Add 2 packages of pudding mix
Mix with a whisk for 2 min and then stir in 12 oz cool whip

To assemble
Line the bottom of the dish with graham cracker squares
Pour ½ of the filling over the crackers
Add another layer of crackers
Pour rest of filling over crackers
Top with last layer

Melt chocolate and pour on top of crackers

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Fudge!!!!

Because you can never have too much sugar!! (I have no idea why the picture is sideways!)

pumpkin Fudge
1 cup half and half cream
3 cups sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup pumpkin or sweet potato puree
dash salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
4 tbsp butter (use butter - much tastier than margarine)
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cream, sugar, corn syrup, pumpkin and salt in a large pan. Cook over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly. When mixture comes to a full boil, reduce heat and simmer until mixture comes to the softball stage (235 degrees F). I find an accurate candy thermometer indispensible for this as the temperatures are really important in having htis turn out well. Remove from heat. Beat in cinnamon, allspice, butter and vanilla. Cool to 110 degrees F (leave your thermometer in the mix to monitor when the temp hits 110, then beat until thick and mixture looses its gloss. I find it easiet to use my kitchen aid mixer to beat the mixture - saves the arm for knitting and spinning! Spoon into a buttered dish. Let cool, slice; cut slices into cubes and EAT!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!!!

Because of the cream cheese in the filling, I assembled all the left-overs and wrapped them in plastic wrap so I could refrigerate them. I think they are going to be super messy, but awesome!

I got this recipe (see below) from the Better Homes and Gardens site. I made the following adjustments: 1/3 less fat cream cheese for filling, used a carrot cake mix, did not let the cakes sit out for 24 hours (like I could wait that long!)

They are SO GOOD! If I could change anything, I would have the filling be a little stiffer because they are a bit messy!! I'm not sure what would be the easiest way to make it stiffer??

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package 2-layer-size spice cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 recipe Marshmallow-Spice Filling (see recipe below)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil (grease foil, if using). In a large mixing bowl beat pumpkin and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add cake mix, eggs, and milk; beat on low speed until combined, and then on medium speed for 1 minute.

2. By the heaping tablespoon, drop mounds of batter 3 inches apart on cookie sheet; keep remaining batter chilled. Bake 15 minutes or until set and lightly browned around edges. Carefully remove from parchment or foil; cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, lining cooled cookie sheets each time with new parchment or foil. If desired, place cookies in a covered storage container with waxed paper between layers to prevent sticking. Store cookies at room temperature for 24 hours. Prepare Marshmallow-Spice Filling up to 2 hours before serving. Spread about 2-1/2 tablespoons filling on flat side of one cookie; top with a second cookie. Repeat. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 hours. Makes 15 whoopies.

Marshmallow-Spice Filling: Up to 2 hours before serving, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter and one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 of a 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until well combined.

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings Per Recipe 15 whoopies
  • Calories 379,
  • Total Fat (g) 19,
  • Saturated Fat (g) 11,
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g) 6,
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1,
  • Cholesterol (mg) 75,
  • Sodium (mg) 387,
  • Carbohydrate (g) 49,
  • Total Sugar (g) 33,
  • Fiber (g) 1,
  • Protein (g) 3,
  • Vitamin A (DV%) 0,
  • Vitamin C (DV%) 1,
  • Calcium (DV%) 10,
  • Iron (DV%) 6,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dirt Cake with Worms

We had a small Halloween party with Rodney's family. My mother-in-law and I put it all together. One of the desserts I made was a dirt cake with worms (I doubled it) . It was so delicious! Here's the recipe (with my changes):

Dirt Cake with Worms

  • 2 boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 1/2 cups of milk (for thicker pudding use less milk)
  • 2 tubs of Cool Whip (I used 1 big one)
  • 1 package of oreos
  • 1 package of gummy worms (one of the $1 ones at Wal-Mart will be plenty!)

Mix pudding with milk for 2 minutes (I made my pudding ahead of time and let it chill for about 2 hours)
Mix 1/3 of cool whip with pudding
Crush Oreos in food processor (or in a zipper baggie like I did)
Layer pudding, cool whip, and cookies. Add gummy worms on top to finish. I put about 5 gummy worms in each layer between the cool whip and the cookies for some extra wormies.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grandma's Meatloaf

I know that everyone says that their mom's meatloaf is the best....but I swear mine is! I really don't like meatloaf when it's got that ketchupy sauce on top of it, and this one doesn't have it. It's super easy to make, and it tastes really, really good.

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 stack of Club crackers, crushed (I put them on tin foil, then roll a glass over them)
1 can vegetarian vegetable soup
2 eggs
onion salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 325. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray. Put all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together well (it's easiest just to use your hands). Put mixture in prepared loaf pan and cover with tin foil. Bake at 325 for two hours, then remove the foil. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the top is well-browned. Slice and serve!

**I also always serve baked potatoes with this. Just wash one potato per person, wrap in tin foil, and poke with a fork. Put them directly on the rack with the meatloaf, and take them out when the meatloaf is completely finished.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pork Chops with mushrooms

This is a recipe I made up one night just because it was what I had on hand at the moment. It has become a favorite in my household.

4 porkchops
1 lb mushrooms
1 onion
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (sometimes I use 2 cans just depending on the size of my pork chops)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. (sometimes I use garlic salt in replace for the regular salt)

2. brown pork chops on both sides I use a griddle for this. In the meantime chop mushrooms and onions in bite size pieces.

3. After meat has browned add mushrooms, onions, and cream of mushroom soup. cover and let simmer together on low. the longer it simmers the more tender the pork chops become.

it is a easy and simple recipe that tastes wonderful!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Devils on Horseback

Taken from

Makes 24

  • 24 large dates, pitted
  • 12 slices bacon, halved crosswise
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Stilton cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water; let soak 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack; set aside.
  2. Halve dates lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick.
  3. Place dates on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Brie en Croute

Taken from

  • 1/2 package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves or raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberry, softened*
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 (13.2 ounce) round Brie cheese
  • 1 (26 ounce) package Pepperidge Farm® Entertaining Cracker Quartet Collection
  1. Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix egg and water.
  2. Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14 inch square. Cut off corners to make a circle. Spread preserves to within 1 inch of pastry edge. Sprinkle cranberries and almonds over preserves. Top with cheese. Brush edge of circle with egg mixture. Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides to 2 inch from edge of cheese. Fold these two sides onto the round. Press edges to seal. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Decorate top with pastry scraps if desired. Brush with egg mixture.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Let stand 1 hour. Serve with crackers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

This is actually the recipe that came with my Crockpot, but I've tweaked it a little.

2 or 3 potatoes, sliced (or diced or cubed or whatever)
2 or 3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 beef roast
1/2 cup beef broth (or water)
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
2 or 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Put potatoes, carrots, and onion in bottom of the crock pot. Add beef roast (fat side up, if there is one). Pour in beef broth or water. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste (I just eyeball this). Add Worcestershire sauce (again, use what makes you happy...I put in about 3 "dashes"). Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 c. onion chopped
1/2 c. green pepper chopped
2 tbsp. butter
2 c. cooked chicken
1 4oz can green chili peppers
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. coriander
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. monterey jack cheese, shredded
12 - 6" tortillas

Cook onion and green peppper in 2 tbsp butter until tender.

Combine in bowl with chicken & chili peppers

For sauce
melt 3 tbsp butter and stir in flour, coriander, and salt.
Add broth and stir until thick and bubbly.
Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer.
Remove from heat and add sour cream & 1/2 cup cheese.

Stir 1/2 c. sauce into chicken mixutre.

Dip each tortilla into remaining sauce to soften.

Fill each of the tortillas with 1/2 c. chicken mixture.

Roll up and arrange in baking dish.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350* for 25 minutes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa

My mom and I are obsessed with restaurant salsa and can't stand the jarred stuff, so many years ago, we set out to re-creat it.
**all measurements are approximate because i don't measure. start with this, then taste, and add more garlic powder and salt accordingly**
1 large can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced jalepenos (w/ seeds... that's where the spice comes from)
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
Drain tomato juice into a bowl. Reserve 2-3 tomatoes and pour the rest into food processor. Process tomatoes to desired consistency (chunky or soupy) then add to juice. Put the reserved tomatoes into food processor and add jalepenos. Process until "pulverized" and add to the rest of the tomatoes. Add garlic powder and salt, and stir. Add more garlic powder and salt until the taste is of your liking.

Mexican Layer Casserole

Mexican Layer Casserole

1 lb lean ground beef
2 cans fat free refried beans
16 oz fat free sour cream
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1 package taco seasoning
1 large onion
1 package flour tortillas OR crumbled tortilla chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook beef and onion until beef is cooked and onion is translucent. Add taco seasoning, and cook according to instructions on package. Set aside.

In large casserole dish, lightly coat bottom of dish with salsa, and add a layer of tortillas or tortilla chips. Then layer with half of the beef mixture, 1 can refried beans, half of the sour cream, 1 cup cheddar, and some salsa. Repeat, with first layer being chips or tortillas.

Top with another layer of chips or tortillas, and add another light layer of salsa, and top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice
A great "stick to your ribs" kind of meal

8 oz. angel hair pasta – uncooked, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 ½ cups rice – uncooked
5 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes
1 pound chopped chicken (or 1 large can of chicken)
1 can condensed soup (chicken, mushroom, celery, etc)

Coat medium saucepan over medium heat with EVOO, and sauté uncooked rice and pasta, stirring when needed, until pasta is light brown. Dissolve bullion cubes in water and add to rice. Be careful of the steam! Bring to a boil and add chicken and can of soup – do not stir! Reduce heat to medium/low heat, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, or until rice is done. Add more water if needed to continue cooking. Stir to combine and serve!

Chicken Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup
Yummy on a cold day, or when someone at home is sick
4 - 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup finely chopped shallots or green onion
4 cups water
2½ cups chicken broth
½ cup finely diced celery
1¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. thyme
pinch black pepper
3 oz. medium egg noodles, uncooked (can use whole wheat egg noodles)

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.
Return to a boil and add noodles and cook for required time.
Garnish as desired.

Chicken Lasagna

Chicken Lasagna
This is a delicious spin on lasagna, and best of all, it's healthy!
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (6-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup fat free sour cream
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (whole wheat or white)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup to 1 cup chopped pecans
In large bowl, stir together chicken, cream of mushroom, spinach, cheddar cheese, mushrooms (optional), pepper, and sour cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange 3 cooked noodles in a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top with half of chicken mixture then repeat layers with remaining noodles and chicken mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pecans. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.
**To make ahead of time: Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking; proceed as directed.

Recipe doubles easily!

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Cracker Candy

Cracker Candy
Delicious dessert!
2 sleeves Psaltine crackers (salted is best, unsalted tastes fine too)
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place aluminum foil on bottom of a cookie sheet and grease foil. Line bottom of cookie sheet with saltine crackers. In saucepan over medium/low heat, melt 2 sticks butter and stir in the brown sugar. Stir constantly and bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes, still stirring constantly. Pour over crackers evenly. Bake for 4 minutes. Sprinkle 2 cups chocolate chips on top and allow them to begin to melt, then spread with knife. Place in freezer until set. Break up into pieces and serve cold or frozen. If served room temperature, they are still delicious, just slightly sticky.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip
This is always a big hit at parties, tailgates, etc. It can be left out for long periods of time, served warm or room temperature.

4 - 5 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
16 oz cream cheese (fat free works fine)
12 oz texas pete hot sauce
16 oz ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over medium heat, melt cream cheese with ranch dressing. Mix chicken with with hot sauce (if you like spicy, use the whole jar, if not, use 1/2 the jar. you can taste it and add more) and combine with cream cheese/ranch mix. Pour into 13x9 inch pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oreo Cupcakes

I thought it would be easier to provide the link. These look very good.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mom's Potato 'Rancheros'

My mom used to make these for me on special occasions! They are really nothing more than glorified twice baked potatoes, but so yummy! I am guessing on measurements, because the recipe is in my head! Enjoy!

4 large baking potatoes
1/2 lb bacon
6 green onions
1 stick butter (margarine will kill this recipe!)
sour cream
garlic salt
1 8 ounce package mushrooms (sliced)
grated cheese of your liking (my fave is colby/jack)

Wash potatoes and prick holes with fork. Slather with a little cooking oil and then sprinkle with course salt. Put in 400 degree oven on directly center rack (no foil). Cook until just tender (about an hour).

Slice bacon into little pieces and fry until crisp. Drain on paper towells and set aside. Cut green onions, set aside. Sautee mushrooms after cutting bigger slices into smaller pieces in 1/2 stick of butter, seasoning with garlic salt/pepper while cooking. They should be tender and somewhat caramelized. Set aside.

When potatoes are done, allow to cool so your don't cook your fingers =). Cut each in half, and scoop the meat out of the skins into a bowl. DON'T THROW THE SKINS AWAY!!! Add the other 1/2 stick of butter and a spoonful sour cream and mash potatoes with a potato masher so they have a little texture. Season with garlic salt/pepper to taste. Once mixed, add the bacon, mushrooms and onion and mix lightly with a fork (you can add the grated cheese here if you would like). Once it is all combined, put the good stuff back in the potato shells and line them up on a cookie sheet. Add a pat of butter to the top of each potato (you can add the cheese here if you didn't put it in the mix). Put back in a 350 degree oven until butter has melted and the tops have begun to lightly brown.

Easy and delicious!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Crockpot Veggie Soup

This is from my friend Marissa

1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion-diced
2 cans hearty vegetable soup (Campbell’s chunky savory veg soup)
1 can diced toms
1 can lima beans
1 can niblet corn
1 can diced toms with green chilies

Brown beef with onions
Combine all ingredients in crock-pot and cook on high for 3 hours (I cook mine on low for 6-8 hours).

Southwestern Surprise

Taken from the Hungry Girl Cookbook

Southwestern Surprise

4 oz cooked extra lean ground beef, drained
1-16 oz package sweet corn kernels
2-15 oz cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-14.5 oz cans no-salt added diced tomatoes
1-14.5 oz can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 envelope ranch dip/dressing mix
¼ cup minced onions
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the toms and corn in a large pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow soup to sit for at least 5 minutes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oreo Cookies

Taken from

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar*
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.

2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.