Friday, December 28, 2007

Cleaning Out the Pantry

I was cleaning out the pantry in anticipation of the new year and better eating with the holiday behind me. I kind of threw these little tarts together.

APPLE/CRANBERRY TARTS

I had some frozen tart shells in the freezer and I took them out and baked them for just a few minutes at 375 -- about 5 minutes -- not quite done. In a saucepan I took 1 apple that I peeled and cut into small pieces. I added about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Craisins, 2 tablespoons butter, about 1/2 cup of apple juice, and about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. I added about 1/4 cup of chopped pecans and heck I even through in a little bit of coconut. I simmered that on the stove top until the apples were just tender. I put the mixture into the partially cooked tart shells and then baked them another 5 minutes or so until golden brown. That helped with a little bit of getting the pantry back in order.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

I always make a breakfast casserole on Christmas Eve so that it can be popped in the oven on Christmas morning while opening presents. I usually make one that you use bread in, but this year tried a new one that uses frozen hashbrowns, I think we like it better than the bread one.

CHRISTMAS CASSEROLE

8 frozen hashbrown patties (or you could use a package of shredded ones I think)
1 pound bulk sausage
2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the sausage until it crumbles. Drain and set aside. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam and lay the 8 frozen hashbrown patties down. Sprinkle with 2 cups cheddar cheese. Add the crumbled sausage. In a bowl whisk eggs with milk, add salt and pepper. Pour over sausage. Cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning bake the casserole covered for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Cut into squares.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thank You Emiline!

So, you might notice a different title on my blog today. Thanks to the talents of Emiline at Sugar Plum who designed the title. I've been wanting to change the title and mentioned it to Em and she was so kind to design a few (look for a change once in a while). Thank Em!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lemon Cake

My mom used to make a lemon pound cake with pecans in it during the holidays. I loved the texture of that cake. A friend of mine brought some lemons to work the other day that her uncle had grown in his back yard. I've never seen such juicy lemons. I had a lemon cake recipe in my files so I used up the lemon juice with that. It's not the same texture as the pound cake but 3/4 cup butter as opposed to a whole pound is probably better in some way.

LEMON NUT CAKE
3/4 cup softened butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Icing:
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 tablespoon lemon rind
1 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice

Cream butter, gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Combine evaporated milk and lemon juice. Alternately add dry ingredients and evaporated milk mixture to butter mixture, beat until smooth. Stir in nuts and rind. Spoon into lightly buttered 10-inch bundt pan. Bake in slow oven, 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely. Drizzle with icing and sprinkle with nuts and lemon rind.
Icing: Stir powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over cake, sprinkle nuts and rind. I did not ice the cake, I just sprinkled powdered sugar. The icing really makes it though.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chicken Salad Puffs

One of the girls in the office has been asking for these. I made some pate choux and filled with chicken salad. The first batch of these did not turn out and I only had 2 chicken breasts for the salad, so it made a small batch. They were good though!

PATE CHOUX
1 cup water
1 stick butter cut into pieces
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon flour
4 eggs

Combine the water, butter and salt in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts and the water boils. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once. With a wooden spoon, beat until a thick mixture forms. The mixture will pull away from the pan. Cool slightly. Stir over low heat until the mixture pulls away from the pan. Cool slightly. Add eggs one at a time until blended well into flour mixture -- this can be a workout for your arms! I've never used a mixer at this point, but I guess you could. After all eggs are incorporated. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 375 for 15 minutes. Fill with mixture of your choice -- either savory or sweet. I just filled these with my basic chicken salad recipe. I've made them filled with pudding and drizzled with chocolate, even a no bake cheesecake filling is good.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snickerdoodles

I ran out of time this weekend. I had planned to make a more elaborate cookie that I found from a cookie exchange. But with time short, I just decided to make a classic cookie that is easy to do. They were well received at work today, so I guess it was a good choice.

SNICKERDOODLES

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together. Add to creamed mixture until mixed well. In a small bowl stir together the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, then roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar. Place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are lightly brown. Remove from sheets to cool on wire racks.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Best Ever Almond Toffee

Last month Anna over at Cookie Madness posted about making this toffee. I've always been intimidated by making candy but was inspired by Anna who I think is just amazing. Even with our humidity it turned out exactly as she describes in her post. This is great stuff. Here is a link to the recipe Best Ever Almond Toffee .

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winning Cookies


My little community had its Hometown Christmas this past weekend. I entered these cookies in the dropped cookie category and won first place! It is the first time I've ever entered a baking contest and I was pleasantly surprised. I got a framed certificate for my winning. I'll hang it in my kitchen. One of my friends entered in the rolled cookie category and won for that and also best of show since she decorated them. Way to go for her! I had to enter 4 cookies on a plain white plate for the judging and then the rest of the cookies went on the cake wheel for a prize.

COCONUT OATMEAL COOKIES WITH PECANS/WHITE CHOCOLATE/CRANBERRIES

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs slightly beaten
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup oats (old-fashioned, not quick cooking)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup Craisins (optional)

Mix shortening, sugars, vanilla, and eggs until smooth. Mix flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt together. Add to wet mixture. Stir in pecans, white chocolate chips, and Craisins.

Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 3-4 dozen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fantasy Fudge

When I was a girl my Daddy used to make this fudge every Christmas. He would cut it into pieces and layer it with waxed paper and put it in a special dish. When asked the recipe he always said it was a closely guarded secret. (Of course the recipe was on the back of the marshmallow cream jar). Sadly he passed away when I was 16. In going through his wallet, tucked away inside was the typewritten recipe for this fudge. Several years ago they changed the recipe a bit, and even though the recipe is right there on the jar, I always pull out Daddy's recipe to use and keep the tradition of making this each year.

FANTASY FUDGE

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine butter, sugar, and milk in a heavy 2-1/2 quart pan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling for 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate, marshmallow cream, and vanilla. Stir quickly to melt chocolate. Pour into a buttered 9 x 13 pan. Cut into 1 inch squares.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Banana Bread

When I was a young bride, my then husband was in the Air Force. I met another young bride and we shared recipes and learned to cook new things together. I still have the recipe card with her recipe for this banana bread. We had a breakfast meeting at work and I took this in. This makes two large loaves and I took the other to a friend to take home to her husband who is a 'keeper' too.

THE BEST BANANA BREAD EVER
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas (I used 4)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped nuts (I used toasted pecans)
Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add bananas. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add dry ingredients alternating with sour cream. Fold in nuts. Pour into two large loaf pans that have been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Check middle with a knife to make sure it is done.

Sausage Cheese Balls

I also took something savory to the meeting.
I'm sure everyone has made these at one time or another.
Easy for sure.

SAUSAGE CHEESE BALLS
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 pound Jimmy Dean bulk sausage (or any kind you like)
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Mix all ingredients by hand. It will take some time to get this all incorporated. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Spray a baking pan with Pam. Place balls onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until light brown. These can be frozen ahead of time and baked later, but will take a little extra time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me (Early)

I took advantage of the weekend sales to get a new stove. My old stove was 28 years old and had served me well. It still looked almost new as I had taken very good care of it, but the oven was starting to have holes in it and not being a reliable temperature. So now I have a new one to do my Christmas baking. Nothing fancy schmancy about it, it doesn't do any amazing tricks (that's my part with good recipes!).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Cheesecake

We had a wonderful feast on Thanksgiving at my son and daughter-in-law's home. In addition to taking cornbread dressing and broccoli casserole, I made this pumpkin cheesecake. I saw Paula make this on her show and decided it was worth trying and as with all her recipes it is a keeper. There were no cracks in this cheesecake. It is very creamy.

PAULA DEEN'S PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust:
1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick melted butter
(I also added about 1/4 cup of ground pecans)

In a medium bowl combine crumbs, sugar, cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press into a 9 inch springform pan that has been sprayed with Pam and press into bottom and up the sides. Set aside.

Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not the pie filling)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
(I just used 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar, and the spice. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined. Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Slide a knife around the edges and remove springform. Serve with whipped cream.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Treasure Cookies

I also made these cookies for the bake sale. As usual, my photographic skills are severely lacking. These cookies remind me of Magic Cookie Bars but rolled into a cookie.

CHOCOLATE CHIP TREASURE COOKIES

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter, softened
1-1/2 cups coconut
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, flour & baking powder. In large mixer bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk & butter until smooth. Add graham cracker crumb mixture; mix well. Stir in coconut, chocolate chips & pecans. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 3 dozen.

Bake Sale

Our local Chamber of Commerce had a bake sale to support their scholarship program. I made a few things to donate. I made one of those pumpkin dump cakes in addition to some cookies and a pie. I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but here is the picture from Nestle's.

TOLL HOUSE PIE

1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (I just used a frozen one)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (6 oz.) Nestle's Toll House Semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell. Bake for 55-60 minutes. If you think the crust is getting to brown you can put foil on the edges.

Catching Up

It's been a while since I posted but I've made a few things over the past few weeks. I didn't get a picture of this, but I'm sure many have made this recipe.

My son's birthday was last weekend, on the 17th. This dessert is what he requests for his 'birthday cake'. It is a layered pudding dessert that I'm sure everyone has made in one form or another. It's a great pot luck dessert and is always very good. I have a friend who uses a brownie mix for the base instead of the pecan crust and that is also very good.

CHOCOLATE DELIGHT

For the crust:
1 cup flour
1 stick butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Melt butter, stir in flour and pecans. Pat into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees until very lightly browned. Watch closely as this can burn pretty quick. Cool crust completely.

Next layer:
1 8 oz. package cream cheese softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8 oz. carton Cool Whip thawed

With a mixer blend softened cream cheese with powdered sugar, stir in Cool Whip. Spread onto cooled crust.

Next layer:
1 large package Jello instant pudding made according to package directions. You can use any flavor you like. I have made this with lemon, banana, chocolate, coconut, butterscotch. They are all good. Spread over cream cheese layer.

Next layer:
1 8 oz. Cool Whip thawed.

Spread this over pudding. If using chocolate you can sprinkle shaved chocolate or more pecans on top. If using banana you can add some dried banana chips. If using coconut, try sprinkling some toasted coconut on top. Just use your imagination.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Parking Lot Cookies

Our Customer Relations Committee at work is having a Cookie Fest/Bake Sale. I love having a reason to bake so I offered to make a recipe to donate. I decided to pick a recipe from the links below that are being circulated around via e-mail and being posted to blogs. Not sure why this cookie is called 'Parking Lot Cookie' though. It's a very crisp cookie, probably from the oatmeal and Rice Krispies.
PARKING LOT COOKIES
1 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup pecans (I toasted mine)
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix shortening with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix all the dry ingredients together and toss them into the wet mixture. Drop by scoops or tablespoon onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes until light brown. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Better 'n Punkin Pie

This recipe makes the rounds every holiday season. It goes by many names -- Pumpkin Crunch, Pumpkin Crisp, Pumpkin Dump Cake. This took the place of pumpkin pie on my holiday menu ever since the first time I made it. Have a safe Halloween!

BETTER 'N PUNKIN PIE

1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter melted

Mix pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla until blended together. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Mix pecans with dry cake mix. Pour dry mix over pumpkin mixture. Pour melted butter evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Can serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Cookies Cookies Cookies

Someone sent me this really neat e-mail today that has links to cookie recipes. Just click on the name of the cookie and the recipe is there. Good to keep handy.

1-2-3 Cookies 7 Layer Cookies Allie Nelson's Famous Snickerdoodle Cookies Almond Crescent Shortbread Amish Sugar Cookies Andies Candies Cookies Angel Crisps Angenets Applesauce Cookies Apricot Fold-Overs Aunt Edy's Molasses Crinkles Auntie Linda's Ginger Gems Bakeless Dream Cookies Banana Drop Cookies Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World Biscotti Biscotti Blueberry Cookies Boiled Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies Bronwnies Brown Sugar Shortbread Brownie Cookies Brownie Delight Brownies Buccaneer Snowballs Buried Cherry Cookies Butter Cookies Butter Nut Balls Butterballs Butterscotch Haystacks C.O.P. Cookies Candy Cane Cookies Candy Cookies Caramel Shortbread Cheesecake Brownies Cherry Buns Cherry Crowns Cherry Winks Chewies Chewy Noels Chinese Chews/Haystacks Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Chocolate Chip Cookies Chocolate Chip Meltaways Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies Chocolate Christmas Trees Chocolate Cream Cheese Squares Chocolate Crinkles Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (no bake) Chocolate Snowball Cookies Chocolate Streusel Bars Chocolate Sundae Cookies Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars Choco-Scotch Crunchies Choose A Cookie Dough Recipe Christmas Crackers Christmas Crunch Bars Christmas Ginger Snaps Christmas Macaroons Christmas Mice Cookies Christmas Shaped Cookies Church Window Cookies Coconut Cookies Congo Squares Cookie in a Jar Corn Flakes Cookies Cornflake Christmas Wreaths Cowboy Cookies (oatmeal) Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Filling Crème De Menthe Chocolate Squares Crème Wafers Crescent Cookies Crispy Crunchies Date Nut Balls Date-nut Pinwheel Cookies Diabetic Peanut Butter Cookies Disgustingly Rich Brownies Doodles Double chocolate chip cookies Double-Chocolate Crinkles Eatmore Cookies Eggnog Cookies Elizabeth's Sugar Cookies Elves Quick Fudge Brownies Emily Dickinson's Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Emily's Best Brownies Famous Oatmeal Cookies Firemen Cookies Fluffy Shortbread Cookies Forgotten Cookies Frosted Peanut Butter Brownies Fruit Cake Cookies Fruitcake Squares Fry Pan Cookies Gems Ginger Cookies Ginger Crinkles Gingerbread Baby Gingerbread Cookies with Butter Cream Icing Gingerbread Men Gingerbread Men Ginny's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Glory's Golden Graham Squares Glory's Sugar Cookies Gramma Chapman's chocolate coconut drops Grandma Elsie's Zimt (cinnamon) Cookies Grandma J's Butter Cookies Grandma Olson's Parkay Cookies Great Grandmothers Sugar Cookies Gum Drop Cookies Gumdrop Gems Haystack Cookies Ho-Ho Bars Holiday Cereal Snaps Holiday Chocolate Butter Cookies Holiday Raisin Walnut Bars Holly Cookies Hungarian Cookies (Little Nut Rolls) Ice Box Cookies Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies Italian Cookies Jacob's Peppermint Snowballs Jam Bars Jessica's Famous Brownies Jessie's Chocolate Chip Cookies Jubilee Jumbles Juliet's Peanut Butter Blossoms Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies Kentucky Colonels Kiefle (cream cheese cookies with jam filling) Kifflings Kiss Cookies Lacy Swedish Almond Wafers Lemon Angel Bar Cookies Lemon Bars Lemon Cake Cookies Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies Lemon Squares Linzer Tarts Log Cabin Cookies Luscious Lemon Squares M&M Cookies Magic Cookie Bars Melt in Your Mouth Cutout Sugar Cookies Melting Shortbread Meme's Cream Cheese Cookies Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies Mincemeat Cookies Mincemeat Goodies Molasses Cookies Molasses Forest Cookies Molasses Sugar Cookies Mom Mom's Crescent Cookies Mom-Mom's Ginger Cookies Mom's Nutmeg Sugar Cookies Mom's Old Fashion "Puffy" Sugar Cookies Monster Cookies Moravian Christmas Cookies Nana's Famous Soft Southern Cookies Nitey Nite Cookies No Bake Chocolate Cookies No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No-Bake Cookies Norwegian Sugar Cookies Nut Balls Oatmeal Bars Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies Oatmeal Coconut Crisps Oatmeal Cookies Oatmeal Scotchies Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies Ooey Gooey Caramel Chocolate Dunk Ooey Gooey Squares Orange Slice Cookies Parking Lot Cookies Peanut Blossoms Peanut Butter Bars Peanut Butter Blossoms Peanut Butter Cereal Cookies Peanut Butter Chewies Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut butter fingers Peanut Butter Reindeer Peanut Butter Surprises Peanut Marshmallow Cookies Pecan Puff Cookies Peppermint Snowballs Peppernuts Persimmon Cookies Persimmon Cookies Petey's Yummy Spicy Almond Thins Pfeffernuesse Pffefferneuse Cookies Pineapple Filled Cookies Pizzelles Potato Chip Cookies Potato Flake Cookies Praline Cookies Praline Strips Pterodactyl Nests Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Chip Cookies Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Pumpkin Cookies Queen Biscuits Quick Cookies Raised Sugar Cookies Raisin Filled Oatmeal Bars Raspberry Meringue Bars Really Peanutty Butter Cookies Reese`s Brownies Reese's Peanut Butter Bars Rich Flavor Christmas Cookies Rich Lemon Bars Ricotta Cheese Cookies Royal Almond Christmas Bars Rudolph Cinnamon Cookies Russian Tea Cookies Russian Teacakes Samantha & Kelsey's Chocolate Chip Cookies Sand Art Brownies Santa Claus Cookie Pops Santa Claus Cookies Santa's Butterscotch Melts Santa's Shorts Santa's Special Squares Scotch Cakes Scotch Shortbread Scotcharoos Scotcheroos Seven Layer Cookies Short Bread Cookies Shortbread Skor Squares Snicker Doodle Cookies Snickerdoodles Snickerdoodles Snow Balls Sour Cream Apple Squares Sour Cream Christmas Cookies Special K Cookies Spice Cookies Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Spritz Cookies Stained Glass Window Cookies Stir & Drop Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Swedish Pepparkakor (Pepper Cake) Cookies Swedish Sugar Cookies Sweet Marie's Swiss Treats Taralle (Italian Cookies) Tea Time Tassies Texas Brownies The Best Shortbread in The World Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint Cookies Toffee Squares Traditional Christmas Sugar Cookies Traditional Gingerbread Men Cookies Triple-Chocolate Chip Cookies Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Vanilla Waffer Balls Walnut Butter Cookies Walnut Crumb Bars White Chip Chocolate Cookies Wild Oatmeal Cookies Will's Famous Apple Jack Cookies Yummy Yummy Peanut Butter Blossoms

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Low-Fat Banana Bread

We have been on a wellness kick at work lately. I looked around for a low-fat banana bread recipe to make and came across several that had the same basic recipe. The use of applesauce helps to make a good substitute for butter or oil. This makes a nice big loaf and is really moist inside.

LOW-FAT BANANA BREAD

2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar (I used 1/3 white and 1/3 packed brown)
3 medium-sized very ripe bananas smashed (the riper the better)
1/4 cup applesauce (I used cinnamon flavored)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk (I just used plain skim with no problem)
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted pecans

With a mixer blend eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add bananas, applesauce, oil, vanilla, milk. Stir until blended. Mix dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Add pecans. Pour into a 9 inch loaf pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes until done. Turn onto rack to cool.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Peanut Butter Cookies (Kinda Sorta)

I'm not a big fan of chocolate chip cookies (I know, a character flaw I'm sure). I do make a pretty good chocolate chip cookie though. I like to use the same dough and add peanut butter chips to them to make a nice peanut butter cookie. I mixed up my usual cookie dough and went to the pantry and grabbed the bag of what I thought was peanut butter chips and they were mini Reeses Pieces instead. They were in fall colors (though fall has still not even begun to reach us here). They were well received at the office. This recipe makes a BUNCH of cookies.

PEANUT BUTTER CHIP COOKIES

1-2/3 cups shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag Reeses Peanut Butter Chips (any chips at this point will work in this recipe)

Blend shortening with sugars. Add eggs one at a time blending well. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl mix flour with soda and salt. Mix into wet mixture. Add Reeses Pieces and mix. Scoop dough onto baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Oh Fall, Wherefore Art Thou Fall?

So, the calendar says it is Fall. Somehow it has forgotten to 'fall by' in Texas. We are still experiencing 90+ degree weather. It should be time for pumpkins, apples, cranberries and all things Fall, but we are still in barbecue and hotdog season. I know there are people who travel south to enjoy warm temperatures, but I would seriously consider traveling north to participate in a 'weather exchange' program. I love cold weather. So in spite of the air conditioner being on 24/7 I pulled out this Fall recipe for today.

CRANBERRY APPLE NUT BREAD

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup shredded peeled apple (about 1 medium)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in apple, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in toasted nuts and cranberries. Pour batter into pan (it is very thick). In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over batter in pan. Bake 45 to 55 minutes.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Coconut Crispies

Time to take a treat to work tomorrow. I had coconut left over from the carrot cake, so this seemed a good recipe to put that to use.

COCONUT CRISPIES

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flaked coconut
Additional sugar for sprinkling

Cream butter lightly and then add sugar, cream again, add egg and vanilla and cream again. Add flour, soda, and salt. Add coconut and mix well. Use a cookie scoop or roll into balls about walnut size. Roll in sugar and flatten down with your fingertips, or you can use the bottom of a glass. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 until light brown. Remove to a rack to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chicken and Dumplings

Dumplings are usually a cold weather food, but I am seriously wondering if we will ever see cool weather again. I have a friend whose husband likes these very much so I made up a batch this weekend to take over for them to enjoy.

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
1 whole chicken cut into pieces or 4 large chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can chicken broth
1 carrot shredded (I do not use carrots)
1 medium onion chopped
2 ribs celery chopped fine

Place chicken in a large pot, add vegetables if using, season to taste. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken. Cool enough to handle. Remove fat and bones from chicken and cut into pieces. Add back to broth and add one can of chicken broth. Simmer while making the dumplings.

DUMPLINGS:
3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 egg

Mix milk, egg, and cooled melted butter. Stir dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir until dough forms a ball. Chill 15 minutes. Roll out dumplings onto a well-floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into squares. Toss dumplings together with flour from cutting surface. Drop dumplings one by one into broth that is at a rolling boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes on low heat until dumplings are tender.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tropical Carrot Cake

Another birthday at the office today. Little did I know when I was looking through recipes and found this Tropical Carrot Cake that the tropical would be so appropriate. While I was preparing this cake there were weather announcements talking about Tropical Storm Humberto threatening the Texas coast. I went to bed and woke up to stories of HURRICANE Humberto stirring up a mess more east of us. We were spared this time, but we still have 6 more weeks of hurricane season to worry through. Kind of scary to think this can come up during the night while one is asleep.

TROPICAL CARROT CAKE
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups finely shredded carrots
1 cup raisins (optional - I did not use)
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut

Frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter softened
4 to 4-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat ggs, oil, and buttermilk. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in vanilla, carrots, raisins, pineapple, pecans, and coconut. Mix well. Pour into 3 greased and floured 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool. Combine frosting ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Frost cake layers and entire cake. Sprinkle some pecans on top.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rooty-Tooty -- Fresh and Fruity















I took a vacation last week and went to Canada. I have friends who live in New Westminster, B.C. which is near Vancouver. My friends took me to an area called the Okanagan which is apparently notable for its abundance of fruit. There are lots and lots of fruit stands along the way. We stopped at this one and it was decorated so nice. If you look in the trees behind the cars you can see some orange gourds in the trees. My friend's husband pointed them out to me and said 'see how they grow them in the trees?' I have to admit to being gullible for just a minute until I realized they are just hanging in the trees for decoration. The drive was absolutely beautiful. I loved seeing the lakes and mountains and feeling some COOL temperatures.

Another birthday at work today and so I decided to make a fruit salad. I took an angel food cake also with some Cool Whip.

FRUIT SALAD

Fruit glaze:

3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice (drained from an 8 ounce can of pineapple tidbits)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch

Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil until thickened. Cool and pour over fruit of your choice and chill. For this bowl I used grapes, nectarines, strawberries, pineapple tidbits, apple. and banana.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuna Does Vegas

For my birthday I went to the Grand Opera House in Galveston to see 'Tuna Does Vegas'. This is the fourth in a series of plays that Joe Sears and Jaston Williams play a variety of characters - both male and female. It is based in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas. The characters in these plays are so darn funny. I believe they are taking this play to the Golden Nugget in Vegas next. Very enjoyable. So, in keeping with the theme -- here is my recipe for tuna salad.

TUNA SALAD

2 small packages water packed Star-Kist tuna (I like the pouches as you don't have to mess with draining them).
3 hard boiled eggs chopped
3 green onions chopped with tops
About 10 green Spanish olives chopped
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Enough mayonnaise to bind together.
Mix all ingredients together. Chill for about half an hour. Serve on nice bread with chips and cold iced tea.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Little Debbie Who?


I started making these little pies as they reminded me of the Little Debbie individual pies you can buy. I started making them as a Thanksgiving or Christmas treat because each person could have their own pie without having to mess with cutting individual slices. It's the only way I do pecan pie now. I just use the Classic Karo Syrup Pecan Pie recipe. Easy as pie......:o)

PECAN PIE
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans chopped
2 packages Dutch Ann tart shells

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat eggs slightly with fork in a bowl. Add sugar, Karo syrup, butter and vanilla; stir until blended. Place tarts on a cookie sheet. Fill each tart with about 1 heaping tablespoon of pecans. Pour batter into each one until just to the top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mushroom Fettuccine

I was hungry for Fettuccine Alfredo, but since that is usually like 'heart attack on a plate' I looked in my files for a lighter recipe and found this in my to-try file.

MUSHROOM FETTUCCINE

10 ounces uncooked fettuccine noodles
4 tablespoons butter (could use light)
1/3 cup flour
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup shallots or green onions, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups milk (I used skim - you could use anything from skim to heavy cream here)
1/2 cup white wine (I used fat-free chicken broth)
2 tablespoons parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare fettuccine according to package directions. Drain and rinse with warm water and keep warm. In a fry pan, melt butter over medium heat, stir in flour until crumbly. Add shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until mixture is browned, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Gradually add milk and broth (or wine). Stir continuously until mixture is smooth and comes to a boil. Stir for one minute. Add parsley. Toss with fettuccine. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nanaimo Bars

I'm going to be visiting friends in New Westminster British Columbia at the end of this month. In looking around at recipes I came across a recipe for Nanaimo Bars, named after a city on Vancouver Island. Evidently about 35 years ago a Nanaimo housewife entered a cooking contest with this recipe and instead of naming the bars after herself or some other catchy name, she named them Nanaimo Bars.

I've never been to Nanaimo, but I can attest to the fact that I think British Columbia is a beautiful place. Coming from a small town in South Texas I was in awe of the surroundings and have been fortunate to visit there several times. My friends have been very patient with me over the years when I ask them dumb questions such as 'Do you have American television?' What can I say -- at the time it was ANOTHER COUNTRY to me, so I thought it a valid question -- LOL. Anyway, these bars are really easy to put together. They are very rich. I don't know what makes them 'Canadian' other than a Canadian woman created the recipe and they are named after a place in Canada, but no matter what -- they are good.

NANAIMO BARS

For the crust:

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used almonds)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix ingredients together and pat in a greased 7 x 11 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cool completely before adding filling.

For the filling:

1 stick butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

Cream the butter by hand in a medium bowl and add in 1 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla. In a separate small bowl, stir the milk and pudding mix together, then add to the butter mixture. Add in the remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread over the cooled crust and refrigerate until cold.

For the icing:

6 ounces chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter

Melt the chocolate and butter in microwave until smooth. Spread over cold filling. Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blondes Have More Fun........

Well, I really wouldn't know that as I have never been blonde. Most blonde brownies are made with chocolate chips. I don't care for chocolate (I know -- freaky huh?). These are not for me, but I had no chocolate chips in the pantry so just added extra pecans.

BLONDE BROWNIES

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients together. Add oil, add eggs, add vanilla. Stir until blended well. Add chocolate chips and pecans. Bake in a 7 x 11 pan at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Joyfully Almond Brownies

It's been a while since I baked something to take to the office. I took a basic one-bowl brownie recipe and added some coconut and almonds to come up with this. These were so easy.

JOYFULLY ALMOND BROWNIES

1 cup butter
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 pan. In a microwave or in a saucepan melt the butter and chocolate. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla and stir well. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well mixed. Add almonds and coconut. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. When cooled cut into squares.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fruit Smoothie

Too hot to cook. Not worth heating up the kitchen for one person and no special occasions, so this is my addition for this week. This is kind of a thrown together recipe. I usually use whatever fruit and yogurt I have on hand and put my blender to use.

FRUIT SMOOTHIE
1 6 oz. Yoplait Light Thick and Creamy Yogurt (can use any kind of yogurt you prefer -- I used Strawberry Banana Orange Sunrise for this one).
1/2 banana
1 cup frozen fruit for smoothies (I find this in the frozen section). This particular mix had pineapple, strawberries, and mango.
1/2 cup canned peaches

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

If I don't have frozen fruit, I throw in a few ice cubes. On this one I just added a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out. This was the consistency of a milk shake. It was pretty good.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chocolate Cake

I made a birthday cake for someone in the office today. This cake is usually made as a layer cake, but I decided to try my Nordicware Heart pan that my son and daughter-in-law gave me for Christmas. It lost some of the form with the icing on the cake. This pan makes a beautiful cake that can just be dusted with powdered sugar to get the true design of the pan.

CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

1-3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and dust with cocoa two 9" layer cake pans (I've used a 9 x 13 before or a bundt pan). Set aside.

In large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until blended.

Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat well until combined, about 2 minutes. While beating, heat water to boiling. Stir boiling water into cake batter.

Pour the thin batter into the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan, top springs back when lightly touched, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup cocoa
4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a saucepan, melt together butter and cocoa. Stir until smooth. Using mixer, alternately beat in powdered sugar and milk until frosting is smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla. Frost cake as desired.

Butter Pecan Quick Bread



BUTTER PECAN QUICK BREAD


2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup pecans, chopped


Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Mix together dry ingredients. Add egg and buttermilk and vanilla. Stir until just blended together. Add pecans. Pour into a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Drizzle with icing.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Roasted Garlic Pasta Salad

ROASTED GARLIC PASTA SALAD

8 ounces farfalle pasta (bowtie) cooked and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
1 small can sliced black olives
3 green onions sliced
Garnish with 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Dressing:
1/2 cup Italian dressing (I used Ken's Light Caesar)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I used light)
2 heads garlic roasted with 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool. Add onions, tomatoes, olives. To roast garlic, slice ends off two heads of garlic. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. When done scrape garlic out of cloves and whisk into dressing ingredients. Add dressing to pasta and toss. Sprinkle cheese on top.