Thursday, December 18, 2008

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

I got this recipe from Kraft. We sprinkled more brown sugar on top.

2 large sweet potatoes
2 oz cream cheese
2 T. milk
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and bake facedown on a foil-lined pan for 30-35 minutes at 425. Scoop out centers leaving a 1/4 inch shell. Add cream cheese, milk, sugar and cinnamon to potatoes. Mash until blended. Spoon potato mixture back into shells; top with nuts. Bake 8 minutes or until heated through and nuts are toasted.

Swedish Pepparkokar

This recipe is from my grandmother, Lorna Call. My mom made this every year along with sugar cookies. We decorated them with frosting a lot of the time, but traditionally, they have a blanched almond in the center.

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 T. molasses
2 t. baking soda
1 T. warm water
3 c. sifted flour
2 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves

Cream the butter and add the sugar gradually creaming continually. Beat in the egg and molasses and add the soda dissolved in warm water. Fold in sifted dry ingredients, mix well. Chill for several hours. Roll and cut out. Place a piece of blanched almond in the center of each and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 400 for 6-8 minutes or until done. Yields 4 dozen medium cookies.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hope, Peace, and Dipped Oreos

We made dipped Oreos to give to our neighbors as gifts this year. I just melted candy chips in the double boiler and dipped the Oreos in. I used a bamboo skewer to hold the Oreos and a spatula to cover them with the melted candy. This worked well for the mint chips I used, but the white chocolate was very thick and much more difficult to work with. As a result, they aren't as pretty.

I figured the cost of this project out to be 16.66 cents per Oreo. 2 12 ounce bags of chips covered 1 package of (45) Oreos. John and Maggie decorated the bags, which we already had.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Substitute for Pumpkin Pie Spice

I don't have any Pumpkin Pie Spice. I never use Pumpkin Pie Spice. I never make Pumpkin Pie. I don't like Pumpkin Pie. I don't like pie.
I needed Pumpkin Pie Spice today and I found this great recipe for it. I needed 1 1/4 t. (I was 2/3-ing a recipe) and it made the calculation for me. Awesome! If you ever need Pumpkin Pie Spice, check out this site.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Everyday Cassoulet

No wine. No oven. No duck. This easy cassoulet is something a little different and only took 20 minutes to make.

1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb. sausage cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 can great northern beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic
1 T. brown sugar
4 green onions, sliced

Brown chicken in skillet. Add sausage, beans, tomatoes and brown sugar. Cook 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Top with green onions. Serve with french bread.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Roll

Yes, more pumpkin. We love to make pumpkin things in the fall. Last night I asked John what he wanted for a treat and he said "pumpkin roll". An hour later we were eating it. I used the first recipe that came up when I googled "pumpkin roll" and it was easy and delicious. I'll definitely be making it again... this week.

For cake, mix together:
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking power
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/4 t. salt
Beat together:
3 large eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin

Stir in flour mixture. Spread cake batter on a jelly roll pan greased, covered in waxed paper, and greased and floured. Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel sprinkled with 1/4 c. powdered sugar. Peel off waxed paper and roll cake up with towel. Set on cooling rack to cool.

Update: I have tried just rolling the warm roll in the waxed paper, unrolling to add filling, then rolling and peeling.  It worked fine.

For filling, beat until smooth:
1 package light cream cheese
4 T. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Unroll cake and spread with cream cheese mixture. Roll cake up. Recipe said to wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour, but ate it warm immediately.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

This is a special fall breakfast at our house. We call them muffins so we can feed them to our nieces and nephews for breakfast, but secretly they’re cupcakes ;)

spice cake mix
15 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. water
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 t. milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix cake mix, pumpkin, eggs and water and beat thoroughly. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes – until toothpick comes out clean.
While the muffins are cooking, beat cream cheese with 1 t. milk and add powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth enough to spread easily. Frost muffins and eat warm.
Makes about 28-30.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chicken Satay Stirfry with Orange Rice

I've made this Rachael Ray knockoff a few times and it's delicious. (Original recipe here) It isn't really a 30-minute meal though. I used brown rice, ground ginger, and much less chicken.

1 1/2 c. brown rice
3 c. water
zest of 1 orange
Stir Fry:
2 T. oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 c. shredded carrots
6 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 c. snow peas
Satay Sauce:
4 T. peanut butter
3 T. soy
3 T. honey
1/2 t. ginger
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 orange, juiced
2 T. chopped peanuts
2 T. chopped cilantro
Cook rice in water with orange zest. Geat oil in skillet over high heat. Add chicken, garlic and onion, stir fry until chicken is nearly cooked. Add remaining veggies and stir fry 5 minutes. Heat all ingredients for sauce over low heat, stirring. Transper stir fry to platter and pour sauce evenly. Sprinkle with garnish and serve over rice.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pear-Walnut Muffins

1 c. flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/8 t. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 t. vanilla
1 pear finely chopped
3 T. finely chopped walnuts
2 T. brown sugar

Stir together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In a bowl beat egg; stir in oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Add all at once to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in pear.

Lightly grease twelve muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; fill two-thirds full. For topping, combine walnuts and the 2 tablespoons brown sugar; sprinkle onto batter in cups. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Eclair Cake

The. Most. Delicious. Dessert. Ever. I got this recipe from a roommate my freshman year of college and have probably made it 50 times. Don't be afraid of the "from scratch" crust, this is easy to make and worth every minute.

1 stick margarine
1 c. water
1/2 t. salt
1 c. flour
4 eggs

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 small packages french vanilla pudding
3 c. milk

1 container whipped topping
chocolate syrup (see recipe below)

In a medium saucepan, bring water, margarine and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in flour. Add eggs, beating between each. Spread batter on a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Prick bubbles with a fork every 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese with pudding and milk. Lumps will remain. Spread filling over cooled crust. Spread whipped topping on filling. Drizzle with chocolate syrup just before serving.

Chocolate Syrup
Eclair cake is the only thing I use chocolate syrup for, so I make my own. It's quick and easy.
1/3 c. cocoa
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
Boil for 2-5 minutes

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quick Chocolate Pudding

This recipe is from More-With-Less, a Mennonite Cookbook. If you are a chocolate pudding lover, you've got to try this. It is so fast and easy and it's much more delicious and cheaper than store-bought pudding mixes (even store brand).

2 T. cornstarch
2 T. cocoa powder
1/3 c. sugar
2 cups cold milk
1 t. vanilla

Combine first three ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk in cold milk. Cook, stirring, over low heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

I use skim milk to make this and it isn't as thick as you're used to. The deliciousness makes up for this fact, but if you want your pudding thicker you can:
  • Use milk with more fat in it.
  • Wait for it to cool before eating it.
  • Stir in the optional 1/4 c. peanut butter. It's good with the peanut butter, but I prefer it without.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cheesy Chicken and Pasta Skillet

I was inspired by my Kraft Food & Family magazine I got yesterday, and immediately tried a recipe from it for dinner. It was so fast and easy to make, and all three of us loved it. Here it is with my changes (more veggies, less meat).

2 c. uncooked whole wheat pasta
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 c. salsa
1 1/2 c. sliced bell peppers
1 can corn
1 c. shredded cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook chicken for 2 minutes in skillet. Add salsa, peppers and corn to skillet. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Mix and sprinkle with cheese. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 minute to melt cheese.

Aunt Pat's Peach Jam

John likes Aunt Pat's jam, because it is blended and not chunky at all. Here's her recipe - makes 6 half pints.

4 cups chopped peaches, blend in blender until smoothie consistency
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 package pectin
Cook until boiling hard, stirring constantly.

6 cups sugar
Add all at once and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Layered Caribbean Chicken Salad

I made this salad to show off my new trifle bowl from Pampered Chef. I got the recipe from Betty Crocker, but made a few changes. This salad is full of John's favorite ingredients and he loves it.

1 container piƱa colada yogurt
1 1/2 to 2 T. lime juice
1 t. Caribbean jerk seasoning

3 c. spinach leaves
2 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 1/2 c.diced mango
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions (8 medium)
1/2 c. cashews

1. In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients until well blended.
2. In 3- or 4-quart clear glass serving bowl, layer salad ingredients in order listed, except cashews. Spoon dressing evenly over salad; sprinkle cashews over top.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Zucchini Casserole

I got this recipe (and the zucchini!) from my mother-in-law. It is full of processed, packaged food and is quite fattening, but oh-so-good. I use reduced-fat soup and sour cream. Also, the original recipe called for 1 cube of butter to be melted and mixed with the stuffing mix. I found that completely unecessary and substituted water for half the butter. It turned out great and next time I will try using 1 c. water instead of any butter.

1/4 c. chopped onion (optional)
6 c. sliced zucchini
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. shredded cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 package stuffing mix
4 T. melted butter
1/2 c. water

Boil onion and zucchini in water for 5 minutes. Drain. Combine cheese, soup, sour cream and add the drained zucchini and onion. Melt butter, combine with stuffing. Divide stuffing in half.

Put half of the stuffing on bottom of casserole dish. Put zicchini mixture on top. Put the other half of stuffing on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Richardson Peach Cobbler

I regret to inform you that these beautiful cobblers were not made with Richardson peaches. The peaches they were made from did have one thing in common with Richardson peaches though - they were free.
My neighbor gave me a big bowl of peaches (and some grapes!), so I decided to make a cobbler tonight. No sooner had I finished peeling and slicing them, but she knocked on my door. When I told her I was making cobbler, she insisted I didn't have enough peaches and had me take another giant bowl full. So even though I tripled my recipe (and took the bigger pan next door), I still have a bowl full of peaches.
This recipes makes one 9x9 pan of cobbler, or double it for 9x13.

Biscuit topper: Sift together
1 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt.

Cut in 1/4 c. butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine 1/4 c. milk and 1 slightly beaten egg. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just to moisten. Set aside. Prepare filling. Pour filling into baking dish. Immediately spoon on biscuit topper in 6 mounds. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream. Make 6 servings.

Peach Filling: Combine in saucepan:
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. ground mace
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. water

Cook and stir till thickened. Add:
4 cups sliced peaches
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. butter

Cook till peaches are hot, about 5 minutes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tortilla Cigars

I originally got this recipe from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I don't have a problem getting my family to eat healthy food, but I was curious about the book and it had some yummy looking recipes that just happened to have some extra vitamins.

I altered this quite a bit to fit what I had on hand - very typical of me. I change recipes to make them easier, cheaper, and faster to make with what I have. The original recipe called for cubed chicken or turkey, yellow squash and carrot puree and bigger tortillas. I used leftover pot roast and leftover homemade butternut squash puree (ie. baby food). I also tried using whole wheat tortillas and corn tortillas, and both were equally delicious.

1 c. shredded beef
1/2 c. shredded cheese
1/2 c. squash puree
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 t. garlic salt
whole wheat or corn tortillas

Stir together ingredients. If using corn tortillas, roll with 2 Tablespoons of filling inside. If using flour tortillas, cut in half and place one half on work surface with straight edge facing you. Spread two tablespoons of the filling along the straight edge. Starting at the edge, roll the tortilla into a cigar shape, completely enclosing the filling. Place seam-side down on baking sheet and bake at 340 until tortillas begin to brown.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Indian Butter Chicken (Chickan Makhani)

1 T. oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
2 T. butter
2 t. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. garam masala
1 t. grated ginger
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1 c. whole milk
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
black pepper

Saute shallot and onion in oil. Stir in butter, lemon juice, garlic, and spices, cook 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in milk and yogurt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

1 T. oil
1 lb boneless chicken, bite-sized pieces
3 potatoes, diced
1 t. garam masala
dash cayenne pepper
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 c. water

Heat oil in skillet. Cook potatoes in oil, evenly browning. Remove potatoes and add to sauce. Add chicken to oil and cook about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, season chicken. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce and simmer until liquid is reduced and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.

Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into sauce. Cook or 5-10 minutes until thickened. Serve over rice.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


At John's request, I made hummus for the Pampered Chef party I had last night. I used this recipe (from Allrecipes) because I couldn't find tahini at my grocery store. I will admit that I haven't tried a lot of different hummus, but I thought this was pretty yummy. If you have a food processor, this sure is an easy appetizer to make. I served it with carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and two kinds of crackers.
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
2 ounces fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
In a blender or food processor, combine garbanzo beans, jalapeno, cumin, lemon juice, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the reserved bean liquid. Blend until smooth.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

BBQ Chicken Pizza/Pizza Dough

Deliciousness in a pan: if you love BBQ chicken pizza and have a working oven, then nothing should be stopping you from making this at home. It is so easy and so good. I'm even including my no-fail pizza dough recipe in case you go all out on the from-scratch-ness.

2 T. olive oil
1/2 pound chicken
2/3 c. barbecue sauce
1 recipe pizza dough (or frozen, or premade)
3/4 c. shredded Gouda (I left this out and used 2 c. mozzarella instead)
1 c. shredded mozzarella
3/4 c. shredded parmesan
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. When chicken is cool enough to handle, dice chicken to yield a little over 1 cup. In a small bowl, toss chicken with 2 T. barbecue sauce. Set aside.

On a floured surface roll out dough and place on a greased sheet pan. Shape to fill the sheet pan. Spread remaining barbecue sauce evenly over pizza dough. Sprinkle Gouda, mozzarella, Parmesan, onions and chicken over top. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese bubbles. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and cut into pieces.

I call this no-fail pizza dough because I've messed it up in countless ways and it still remains delicious. I've overcooked it, undercooked it, used bad yeast, you name it. Delicious. I think it's the garlic. Another great thing about this recipe is that you don't have to rise the dough if you are in a hurry. Just roll it on the pan and bake.

1 c. warm water
1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
2 T. oil
3 c. flour
2 t. crushed garlic
1 t. basil (I omit this for the BBQ chicken pizza)
1 t. salt

Dissolve yeast in a bowl with warm water. Add sugar, salt and oil and spices as desired. Mix well. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth.

Rising (optional): Place in greased bowl. Turn dough over to grease top; cover and let rise until double.

Divide dough in half for two medium pizzas, or roll out entire dough for 9x13 pan 1/4-1/2 in. thick. Cover with pizza sauce. Ad your choice of cheese and toppings. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Golden Graham S'mores

One of John's cousins made this for our Independence Day party and we all gave it lavish attention (before devouring it, of course). We have a Malt-o-Meal bag of this cereal, so I tried it out for our Sunday dessert. Yum.

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1 Tbsp butter or margarine

1 (5.75 oz.) pkg milk chocolate chips

½ tsp. vanilla

4 cups Golden Grahams cereal

1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

Butter 9” X 9” X 2” pan. Heat corn syrup & butter to boiling in 3 quart saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips & vanilla. Stir until chocolate is melted. Fold in cereal gradually until covered. Fold in marshmallows. Turn cereal mixture into pan & press with buttered back of spoon. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour. Cut into bars.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spicy Oven Fried Potatoes

I'm not sure where this recipe came from, but it was in my "recipes to try" section when I was looking for a side dish last night. I've never broiled potatoes before, but between that and making wedges rather than cubes, it came together a lot quicker than my usual potatoes.'
3 medium potatoes
2 T. margarine (I used olive oil)
1/2 t. dried basil or oregano
1/4 t. garlic salt
1/4 t. paprika
1/8 t. pepper
Preheat broiler. Scrub potatoes and cut into slices or wedges. Melt margarine. Place margarine and spices in large bowl or resealable bag. Place potatoes in single layer on cookie sheet. Broil potatoes about 5-10 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Coconut French Toast

I first saw this when several friends ordered it at a cafe in Costa Mesa. When I told John about it he insisted I try it, so I first made it for Valentine's Day a few years ago. It's now a standard favorite of ours. French toast, coconut, mango and raspberries.... four of John's favorite foods. What's not to love?
4 eggs
1/3 c. milk
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. sugar
4 pieces of bread
1/2 c. flaked coconut

Soak bread in mixture for 1 minute each side. Coat both sides in coconut. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 475° for 5 minutes each side.

Serve with diced mango, raspberries and whipped topping.

Calypso Beans N Rice

I got this recipe from some frugal cookbook which calculates the cost per serving for each recipe (this was supposedly .42.) It was cheap to make with ingredients I nearly always have on hand. This can easily be made vegetarian. Maggie loves this too (I think she has a thing for curry). Very yummy and easy to make. Not a lot of hands on effort, but it does take a while for the rice to cook.
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil1 onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup brown rice
2 cans chicken broth
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine the first three ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While the beans are marinating, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. add onion and garlic and saute until onion is soft. Add rice and stir. Add broth, water, curry powder and cayenne pepper and blend well. Bring everything to a boil stirring well. Reduct heat to medium and simmer until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes (REAL LIFE: this took almost an hour). Salt and pepper to taste and serve in bowls.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

2 c. plain yogurt
1 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk
2 T. lemon juice
1 lemon zest
16 graham crackers broken in half
Shredded coconut (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and freeze for 1 – 1 ½ hours until the mixture starts to thicken.
Scoop out and press about ¼ c. of the semifrozen yogurt mixture between two graham cracker squares. Wrap each in waxed paper and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.
If using coconut, put some on a plate and dip all four edges of the sandwich to coat.

So, these were incredibly delicious and easy to make. I got tired of making sandwiches halfway through and we ate the rest of the frozen yogurt from the bowl. Also, I used lime instead of lemon because I had some leftover from the Caribbean Chicken Salad. So it tasted like key lime pie. This recipe is from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, but there is nothing weird hidden in it.

John: What is this green stuff? Broccoli?
Susie: Yeah, it's from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. (It was actually lime zest.)