Sunday, December 23, 2012


Lasagna is our traditional Christmas dinner in the Schulz household.  However, it is enjoyed throughout the year as well.

15 lasagna noodles
1 1/4 lbs ground chuck
3/4 lb Italian sausage
salt & pepper
1 TBS dried basil
2 tsp garlic powder
4 TBS dried parsley, divided
2 tsp sugar
48 oz spaghetti sauce
5 1/2 cups (approx 21 oz) shredded mozzarella, divided
32 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups (approx 4-5 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Prepare noodles according to package. When noodles are done, drain and rinse with cold water. Immediately lay noodles on parchment paper until ready to use. Make sure the noodles are not overlapping, or they will stick together.

Put ground chuck and Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat and season with salt and pepper. While browning meat, break the meat up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When meat is browned, drain the grease. Stir in dried basil, garlic powder, 2 TBS dried parsley, sugar and spaghetti sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

In another bowl combine 4 cups of the mozzarella, ricotta and 1/2 cup Parmesan; stir in the egg, 2 TBS dried parsley and Italian seasoning.

Spread 1/2 cup of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Lay 5 lasagna noodles over the sauce (slightly overlap the noodles). Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the top of the noodles. Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce mixture over the cheese layer. Repeat to make 3 layers. Top final layer of sauce with remaining 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 3/4 cup Parmesan.

Spray foil with cooking spray and cover lasagna; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

If desired, serve with additional spaghetti sauce on the side.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Better Than Anything Cake

This is a very easy cake to make.  It's always the first to disappear at any potluck dinner.  And yes, it is better than ANYTHING!

1 - 18 1/2 oz package chocolate cake mix
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 - 6 oz jar caramel topping
8 oz Cool Whip
4 Skor candy bars, crushed (may also use Heath Bits or crushed Butterfinger candy bar)

Prepare cake according to directions and bake in a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Pierce warm cake all over with a toothpick.  Pour milk over cake.  Pour caramel over cake.  Chill.  Before serving, top with whipped topping and sprinkle with crushed candy.

Serves 15 to 20

Source:  The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook - Paula H. Deen


Best Ever Meatloaf

This is my favorite comfort-food recipe.  It's a nice change from the traditional meatloaf with  ketchup on top.

1 can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, divided
2 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
1 egg - beaten slightly
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. water
2 to 3 TBS drippings from the meat

Mix thoroughly 1/2 cup soup, beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg and salt.  Shape firmly into loaf (8x4); place in shallow baking pan.  Bake at 375 for 1 hour & 15 minutes.  Blend remaining soup, water, and drippings.  Heat; stir occasionally.  Serve over meat loaf.

Makes 6 servings


Date Nut Bread

Date Nut Bread is such a moist and delicious bread.  It is one of my favorites.  It's even good for breakfast!

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups chopped dates, cut in large pieces
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Pour boiling water over dates.  Add baking soda.  Mix and let cool.

Stir together flour, salt and walnuts.  Set aside.
Cream together butter, brown sugar & vanilla.  Blend in eggs; beat well.  Add dry ingredients alternately with date mixture (beginning and ending with dry ingredients).  Blend well after each addition.  Grease the bottom of one 9x5x3 loaf pan; pour in mixture.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.


Pecan Dreams

Pecan Dreams are my family's favorite Christmas cookie.  I have made these every year since the 1950's. 

1 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS water
2 cups flour
2 cups pecans, finely chopped
Powdered sugar

Cream butter; blend in sugar, salt, vanilla, and water.  Add flour and pecans; mix well.  Chill if dough is soft.  Shape dough into small finger-like ovals.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 about 15 minutes.  Roll in powdered sugar while warm.  When cool, roll in powdered sugar again.

10 dozen


Mexican Snack Squares

I found this recipe years ago in one of those little Pillsbury cookbooks that you see at the grocery store checkout.  I have made this many times and it disappears at potlucks every time!  This appetizer could even be served as a light lunch. 

2 (8 oz) cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 (16 oz) can spicy refried beans
1 cup sour cream
2 TBS taco seasoning (dry mix from a package)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican cheese blend)
1/2 cup green onions, sliced (about 2 bunches: 16 total onions)
1/2 green or red pepper, chopped
3/4 cup tomato, chopped and seeded (I use 1 Roma tomato)
1/2 cup black olives
Salsa (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Unroll dough into 4 rectangles.  Place crosswise in a lightly greased 10x15 pan.  Press over the bottom and 1" up the sides to form a crust.  Firmly press perforations to seal.  Bake at 375 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until lightly golden brown (do not overbake).  Cool completely.

Spread beans over crust.  Combine sour cream and taco seasoning; spread over beans.  Carefully, cut into small squares (I cut this into 40 squares = 5 across & 8 down).  Sprinkle remaining ingredients over cut squares in the following order:  cheese, onions, green/red pepper, tomatoes and olives.

Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.  Serve with salsa if desired.

Source:  Pillsbury - Appetizers & Snacks - January 1994


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Apple Crisp

My son and daughter-in-law have a beautiful apple tree in their yard.  Every fall they share some of their apples with me.  It makes this apple crisp taste extra special!  I like to serve this warmed with some vanilla ice cream.

7 cups sliced tart apples (about 7 apples)
2/3 - 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, softened

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange apples in greased square 9 x 9 pan.  Mix remaining ingredients; sprinkle over apples.

Bake until topping is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30 minutes.

Serve warm and, if desired, with cream or ice cream.

Makes 6 servings.

Source:  Betty Crocker


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

My favorite part about Halloween is carving a pumpkin and roasting the seeds.  My Mom always used to roast the seeds when we were was such a special treat.  If you like to spice up your seeds a bit, see my October 2011 recipe post on this blog.  However, this year I just decided to make the traditional salted seeds.

2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 TBS vegetable oil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Rinse the seeds in a bowl or colander and completely remove the pumpkin that is stuck to the seeds.  Place several sheets of paper towel on the counter.  Place seeds on the towel and allow them to dry for about an hour or so.

In a bowl, toss the seeds, oil and salt together.  Spread in a single layer on a 15x10 jelly roll pan or a large sheet pan with edges.  Place in a 325 degree oven, however, after the first 15 minutes, start to stir the seeds every five minutes.  Bake for a total of about 25 minutes.  Keep a close eye on them until they begin to turn a light golden brown.

Let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before eating.

The roasted seeds will keep in a Ziploc bag at room temperature for about a week.  (However, mine never last that long!)


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lazy Day Lasagna (Slow Cooker)

I made this lasagna for my family.  They loved it so much I made it twice in the same week!  Using low fat ingredients, you won't feel guilty at all.

15 oz low-fat ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
2 TBS water
6 TBS grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 tsp dried oregano, divided
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 (24 to 28 oz) jar marinara sauce (or about 3 cups)**See notes
7 traditional lasagna noodles, uncooked
2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (I used a little more)

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, water, 4 TBS Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp oregano.  Mix thoroughly.  Set aside.

Lightly brown the ground beef, drain.  Add garlic powder.  Set aside.

Place the marinara sauce in a medium bowl.  Add 1/2 cup water (unless the marinara is already fairly thin) to the empty sauce jar or container, give it a swirl, and add to the marinara sauce.  Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Add the browned beef to the remaining marinara.

Place half of the lasagna noodles over the sauce, breaking the noodles to fit (don't worry if small spaces are uncovered).  Cover the noodles with half of the cheese mixture (about 1 1/2 cups), then top with 1 cup of the meat sauce.  Repeat.

Top with the remaining noodles, cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle on the mozzarella, the remaining 1/4 tsp oregano and 2 TBS Parmesan.  Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours on low or until fork tender.  Turn off heat and let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.

** Notes:  I like to use Mazzetta Napa Valley Bistro Homemade Style Marinara.  I also added some diced red bell pepper.

Source:  Eat More of What You Love - Marlene Koch


Friday, October 26, 2012

Chocolate Ho-Ho Cake

Quite a few years ago, I purchased a City of Kenosha Fire Department fund-raiser cookbook from a co-worker.  When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it!  I have made this cake many times!  It's sooo delicious!

1 pkg. Devil's Food chocolate cake mix

3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2/3 cup Crisco
2 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

1 small can (5 oz) evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk) 

1 can chocolate fudge frosting

Bake the cake in a 9 x 13 pan according to the directions on the box.  Let cool completely.

Combine the next five ingredients and mix until creamy.  Add the evaporated milk and mix very slowly at first.  Beat for 3 to 4 minutes.  It will seem like a lot of liquid but it pulls together very quickly.

Spread the cream topping on top of the cooled cake.  Refrigerate.  Make sure the topping is firm before frosting it. 

Place the entire can of frosting (cover and foil removed) in the microwave for 45-55 seconds.  Stir.  Slowly, pour the melted frosting evenly on top of cake.  Refrigerate cake overnight.

Source:  K.F.D. Auxiliary Cookbook II


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ribbon Pumpkin Bread

When I shared this pumpkin bread with my co-workers, no one realized this was a lighter version of the typical pumpkin bread because it was so flavorful.  No reason to feel guilty enjoying a piece of this pumpkin bread.

6 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS flour
2 egg whites

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 TBS canola oil
1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 and spray two 8" x 4" x 2" loaf pans with cooking spray.

For filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour and egg whites in a bowl; set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, applesauce, egg, egg whites and oil.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves; add to pumpkin mixture.  Stir in walnuts

Divide half the batter between the two prepared loaf pans.  Spread each with the cream cheese filling; top with remaining batter.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Makes 2 loaves

Source:  2003 Taste of Home Annual Recipes


Inside-Out Stuffed Mushrooms

Rather than taking the time to stuff each mushroom, with this recipe you mix all of the ingredients together.  These mushrooms are a great side dish for almost any meat dish.

1 lb medium whole mushrooms
2 tsp sherry (I used balsamic vinegar)
1 small clove garlic, pressed
2 tsp olive oil, divided
3 TBS Italian breadcrumbs
3 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Clean, trim stems, and quarter mushrooms.  Place the mushrooms in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high power for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, or until the mushrooms begin to soften.  Remove and drain the mushrooms, discarding the liquid.

Place the mushrooms in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Add the sherry, garlic, 1 tsp of olive oil and stir to combine.  In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir 2 TBS of the crumb mixture into the mushrooms and mix well to coat.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Mix the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil into the remaining crumbs.  Sprinkle over the mushrooms and bake for 15 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown.

Makes 4 servings

Source:  Eat More of What You Love - Marlene Koch


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Frosting

In the late 1950's, I went to the Braselton reunion in Illinois, my mother's side of the family.  I had the most wonderful oatmeal cake and just had to have the recipe.  I make this cake quite often.  It is a hit at any picnic or potluck....also one of my husband's favorites! 

Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over 1 cup Quick Cooking 1-Minute Oatmeal.
Let stand for 20 minutes.

Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Blend in:
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Add Oatmeal mixture

Sift together:
 1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Blend dry ingredients well into creamed mixture.  Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 cake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or til it tests done.  Let cool for about 5 minutes then frost it.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated canned milk (not sweetened condensed)
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts

Melt the butter, brown sugar and canned milk in a small saucepan.  Add coconut, vanilla and nuts.  Stir til well mixed.

Frost cake while it is still warm.  Place frosted cake under the broiler.  Broil about 4" from the broiler for several minutes until bubbly.  Watch carefully so it does not burn.

You may also bake this in a 9 x 9 pan for a smaller and thicker cake.  Only make a half recipe of the frosting.


Chai Tea Mix

I found this recipe several years ago and make it as soon as the weather gets cooler.  It tastes wonderful and smells so good.   It's so much cheaper than purchasing it at your local coffee shop. This mix would make a great gift, too. 

1/2 cup instant tea powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup non-fat dry powdered milk
1/2 cup dry coffee creamer
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp white pepper

Combine the first four ingredients together.  Combine the remaining spice ingredients together, making sure all the clumps are out of the spices.  Combine all together.  Mix well.  Store in an airtight container.

When ready to serve, mix 3 heaping spoonfuls with a mug of hot water.  Enjoy!

I use regular coffee creamer, however, it would also be good with a flavored creamer such as vanilla.

Makes approx. 20 servings


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Autumn Vegetable Curry

This is a perfect fall dinner.  The curry will warm you from the inside out.  I like to serve this vegetable curry over brown rice.  Since this dish is so good for you, the serving size is very generous.

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
1 1/2 TBS curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
2 TBS canola oil
2 TBS tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth (preferably low-sodium)
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 head cauliflower, broken into 1 1/2-inch wide florets (about 3 cups)
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
Grated zest of 1 lime
2 TBS fresh lime juice
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (5 oz)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cooked rice for serving (optional)

Place the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder and cayenne pepper in a food processor and process to combine.  Add the oil and process until a smooth puree is formed.  Transfer the curry puree to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to darken, about 5 minutes more.

Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots and tomatoes, season with additional salt and pepper, and return to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.  Remove the cinnamon stick.  Stir in the lime zest and juice, chickpeas or beans and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.  Season with more salt to taste.

Serve garnished with cilantro and over rice, if desired.

Makes 4 (2 1/2 cup) servings

Source:  Comfort Food Fix - Ellie Krieger


Banana Snack Cake

The addition of oatmeal to this banana cake makes it a very hearty yet moist cake.  It's great for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 medium bananas)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS water (or more to reach desired consistency)

Heat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter and eggs; mix well.  Stir in buttermilk, bananas and vanilla; blend thoroughly. 

In another bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt; mix well.  Add dry ingredients to banana mixture; mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

While cake is still warm, combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over cake.

Makes 16 servings

Source:  Summer Fun Cook Book - Pillsbury


Monday, October 1, 2012

Creamy Chicken And Potato Casserole

I saw this recipe in our local newspaper and went to the store to buy the ingredients that day. I think a lot of people had the same idea because I bought the last bag of potatoes.  I am sure you could use any variation of vegetables that you wish.  It was very delicious and will definitely be making this again soon.

Bagged hash brown potatoes (not the frozen type) can be found in the refrigerator section of your grocer, often near the eggs or yogurt.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
20 oz package hash brown potatoes (refrigerated potatoes, not frozen)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup green beans, cut into pieces (I used 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup grated carrots (I used 1 cup)
Meat from a 2 pound rotisserie chicken, cubed, skin & bones discarded (about 1 1/2" cubes)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used 3/4 cup inside the casserole and 1 1/4 cup on top)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (I used 1 cup)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a 9x13 baking dish, stir together the mayonnaise, soup, milk, pepper, salt, thyme and garlic powder.  Stir in the potatoes, zucchini, green beans, carrots and chicken (and 3/4 cup cheddar if you wish).  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until bubbling and the vegetables are tender.

Serves 8

Source: Racine Journal Times


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spinach Dip

This is one of my all-time favorite dip recipes.  So simple and yet so delicious.

1 package (9 oz) frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled and squeezed dry
1 container (16 oz) sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 green onions, chopped

Combine all ingredients and chill about 2 hours.

Serve with assorted crackers or vegetables.  
You may also serve in a hollowed out bread bowl.  Serve the torn up bread pieces as dippers.
Another idea is to fill hollowed out cucumber slices or cherry tomatoes with the dip.

Makes 4 cups



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Avocado, Cream Cheese & Salsa Pockets

Mexican food is my favorite.  When I saw this recipe it went right to the top of the list of recipes I wanted to make.  This is a very quick and tasty appetizer.

1 large sheet puffed pastry, thawed
1 ripe avocado, halved and mashed
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup salsa
chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, sprinkled to taste
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 and spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. 

Thaw puffed pastry for about 10 minutes.  With a knife, slice the pastry into approximately 2 inch by 2 inch squares.  (If you use only one of the two pastries that came in the box, you will get 9 squares, or 4 pockets.  You can get 18 squares, or 9 pockets if you use the whole box). 

On half the squares, place a dollop of avocado, then cream cheese, then salsa and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.  Use the remaining squares as the tops and place over the filling.  Seal the pockets by pressing the edges with a fork.  Seal well so no filling oozes out during cooking.

In a small bowl beat an egg with a fork and apply an eggwash  to each of the pockets.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until desired browning and puffing has occurred. 

Remove from the oven and serve.  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and if desired, reheat leftovers in the microwave for approximately 45 seconds before serving.  Or, store extras in an airtight container on the counter top for a day or so, using common sense because of the cream cheese filling, and reheating in the microwave if desired.

I served these with extra salsa on the side for dipping.

Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I usually use the oatmeal cookie recipe that is printed on the box of oatmeal.  However, this time I thought I would try a different recipe.  I thought they were really good and a little bit healthier for you...I think.

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup + 2 TBS flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  I prefer to use parchment paper instead of spraying the pans.

Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter on low speed of mixer until mixture resembles wet sand.  Add applesauce, egg and vanilla and beat again until well blended.  Add oat mixture to sugar mixture.  Using a wooden spoon, stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in raisins.

Drop dough by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.  (Use abut 2 TBS dough per cookie and space 2 inches apart).  Flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness using a fork.  (this is a very important step because these cookies do not flatten out or spread during baking).  Dip the fork in water to prevent it from sticking to cookies.  

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until tops of cookies are dry to the touch.  Cookies may seem under baked but that's OK.  Do not over bake.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully remove to cooling rack.

*Janice's cookie tip:  Whenever I bake cookies I roll out all my cookies into balls first and place them on wax paper on the counter or on a dinner plate.  That way I can clean up my baking mess and then relax while the cookies are baking rather than rolling cookies and constantly washing my hands between batches.

I also love parchment paper.  The cookies never stick or burn.  Easy cleanup, too!

Makes 20 cookies

Source:  The Looneyspoons Collection - Janet & Greta Podleski


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beet and Apple Salad

This is a light and refreshing salad.  I'm not fond of blue cheese but my sister told me that is what makes this salad so delicious!  I thought it was delicious without it.

2 TBS honey
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 - 14.5 oz cans sliced beets
1 Fuji apple (I used Braeburn)

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 - 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Make dressing:  Whisk together honey, vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Rinse and drain beets.  Cut apples into slices.

Toss beets and apple slices with the dressing, coating well.  Top with blue cheese and parsley.

Serves 6



Braised Pork Chops with Mushroom Cream Gravy

I was going through some old recipe cards of mine and came across this pork chop recipe that I used to make quite often years ago.  I'm not quite sure why I haven't made this in a while.  It is very delicious.  I served this with a side of brown rice.

4 loin bone-in pork chops, 1/2" thick
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBS dried parsley flakes
1 - 8 oz. package sliced mushrooms, optional

4 TBS flour
1 - 2 cups milk 

Season both sides of pork chops lightly with salt and pepper.  Brown pork chops on both sides in lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat.

Mix together the water, salt, onion powder, thyme and Worcestershire Sauce.  Carefully pour this mixture over the pork chops.  The water will steam and splatter when adding it to the hot skillet so pour slowly and very carefully.  Sprinkle the chops with parsley.  Add mushrooms.

Cover; simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes or until the chops are tender.  Continue to add more water if the water evaporates.

Remove chops and mushrooms from skillet.  Keep warm.  If the water has fully evaporated from the skillet, add about a cup of water to deglaze the  pan.

In a small bowl, combine flour and one cup of the milk.  Blend until smooth.  Gradually stir this into the hot mixture in the skillet.  Cook until thickened.  Stir constantly.  Add the mushrooms back to the pan.  (I removed the mushrooms because it is somewhat difficult to stir the gravy til it is smooth when there are mushrooms in the gravy).  You may need to add more milk to get the gravy consistency that you prefer. 

Serve mushroom gravy over the pork chops.

Makes 4 servings


Yellow Summer Squash Casserole

My friends Ron and Audrey gave me some beautiful yellow summer squash from their garden along with this delicious recipe.  They said this was their's now a favorite of mine!

3-4 yellow squash (wash and slice..about 1/4" - 1/2" thickness)
1 small onion, diced
2 eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the squash and onion in a medium size pot, cover with water.  Boil for about 10-15 minutes.  Drain well.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well.  Add mayonnaise.  Mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add cheddar cheese.  Mix well.  Add this mixture to the squash and combine.

Pour into a small casserole dish (1 1/2 quart or 2 quart dish) and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Since it was a very hot day out, I made this in the toaster oven.  It turned out perfect!

Source:  Ron and Audrey


Peach Cobbler Smoothie

What a great way to start the day.  This smoothie is refreshing and delicious.

2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp honey
1/4 - 1/2 tsp nutmeg (or cinnamon)
2 tsp ground flax seed (or wheat germ)
4 tsp rolled oats
2 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices
8 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed and secure lid.  Blend well.

Makes four 1/2 cup servings

Source:  Vitamix


Friday, August 31, 2012

Sticky Buns with Toasted Pecans

Yum!  Yum!  Yum! This recipe makes 40-50 sticky buns...plenty for now..freeze some for later.  I combined two recipes to make these heavenly sticky pecan rolls. 

1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 tsps) active dry yeast
9 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1 TBS salt

2 cups softened butter
1/4 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
2 cups sugar

Pecan Caramel Topping:  *This is only enough topping for 1/2 of the recipe, about 24 rolls*
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 TBS light corn syrup
1/2 tsp table salt
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat; do not allow the mixture to boil.  Set aside and cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.  Add 8 cups of the flour.  Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.

Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1 cup flour.  Stir thoroughly to combine. 

You may use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the bowl.  On a floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches.

To make the filling, spread 1 cup of the softened butter over the surface of the dough.  Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly.

Sprinkle 1/8 cup of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. 

Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you.  Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight.

When you reach the end, pinch the long seam together.  When you're finished, you'll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.  Set aside.

Generously grease pie pans or a 9 x 13 pan with softened butter.  Set aside. 

To make the pecan caramel topping, boil the brown sugar, cream, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat, for 2 minutes.  The topping is only enough for about 24 rolls (a 9x13 pan).  You will need to double the topping if you are making this full recipe.

Pour the hot caramel mixture into the greased pan(s).  Sprinkle toasted pecans over the caramel.  Set aside.

Transfer the dough logs to a cutting board and with a sharp knife, make 1 1/2 in slices.  One log will produce about 20-25 rolls.Place the sliced rolls in the pans being careful not to over crowd.  I was able to fit 24 rolls in one 9 x 13 pan.

Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans.  Or you may cut this second log into 4 separate logs.  Wrap each log well and freeze for later.  When ready to use,  remove from freezer, let thaw and follow recipe above.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the counter top for a least 20 to 30 minutes before baking.  Remove the towel and bake for 13 to 17 minutes, until golden brown.  Don't allow the rolls to become overly brown.

Let rolls rest 5 minutes in the pan; then carefully turn pan upside down onto a serving platter.

Sources:  Cinnamon Rolls:  The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Ree Drummond
                Caramel Pecan Topping:  Cuisine At Home Magazine, October 2012 issue