Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good-n-Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies .
I'm excited about a visit coming up. I will get to see my daughter and her husband and their two kids. They live in New York. At the same time my son and his wife will be here from Waco, Texas. I am so blessed. I love the people my children grew up to be! Can anyone ask for more?
This is my daughter's recipe, approved by her husband and kids and ME.

1 stick softened butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon water
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix butter, egg, and brown sugar until smooth and uniform consistency.
Stir in baking soda, salt, vanilla and water.
Mix in flour until just blended.
Stir in chocolate pieces.
Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls onto a metal non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 7 minutes (or desired doneness).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Spinach-Piñon Risotto .

This recipe gives consistently good results. It is, to me, really filling and I have to be in the mood for risotto, but when I am, this is a good one to turn to.

1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
32 ounces “No-Chicken” broth (health foods section of supermarket)
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 to 1 cup piñon nuts

In a small sauce pan, heat broth to simmer.
In medium sauce pan, add butter, onions, garlic, salt & pepper. Sauté until onion is soft.
Add 2 to 3 cups of broth and Arborio rice to onions. Cook at medium-low heat, stirring often. As broth is absorbed, continue to add additional broth so as not to allow rice to stick to the saucepan.
Approximately 5-10 minutes before rice is completely soft, add spinach and piñon nuts. Continue to stir, adding broth as needed. If remaining broth has been used, end cooking process with additional simmering water.
Add grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to blend cheese into Risotto.

(Total cooking time will be approximately 25 – 30 minutes.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Broccoli Salad .

I had some good broccoli salad and asked for the recipe. It wasn't given to me, so I played with the ingredients until I came up with one I like. Here it is.

1 large broccoli crown
1 bag broccoli slaw
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup raisins
½ c nuts (pine nuts, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts or a combination)
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons vinegar
6 Tablespoons Splenda (or sugar if the calories don’t matter)

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can water chestnuts, drained and cut chopped
1 1/2 cup green grapes, halved
1 cup chopped celery

Fry bacon until crisp. Chop.
Separate broccoli crown into flowerets. Chop the broccoli slaw a bit.
Mix broccoli, onion, bacon, raisins and nuts. Add from the optional ingredients, if desired.
In a separate bowl, make dressing by mixing mayonnaise, vinegar and Splenda. Add desired optional ingredients—I use red grapes if I have them.
Pour dressing over broccoli mix.
Chill for 1 hour.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cranberry Pear Relish .

Before you think the only thing I cook is dessert, here is a relish that is wonderful. I don't like cranberries and I love this stuff! The head of the IT department where I work shared this with us.

4 cups (approximately 1 pound) fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 slightly underripe pears, cored, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice

Combine all ingredients in a heavy sauce pan and stir well. Place pan over medium heat and boil until berries pop open, about 10 minutes.
Skim foam off the surface with a metal spoon. Let relish cool to room temperature.
Relish tastes best if refrigerated overnight and reheated before serving.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Deviled Eggs . .

I love eggs almost as much as I love corn. My 1961 1st Edition Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book plops open to the page with this Deviled Eggs recipe. I know the recipe lists lots of options, but look what's in the list—bacon! It is great with bacon, and there's a benefit to using bacon beyond taste: if there is a lump left in the yolks when you mash them, it will be hard to detect hiding out with the chunks of bacon. I have never tried any of the other ingredients. Bacon is perfect, thank you.

Deviled Eggs de Luxe

6 hard-cooked eggs, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup mayonnaise

Mash yolks and mix with rest of ingredients. Add one of the following:
1 can (6½ ounces) flaked tuna
Use sour cream in place of the mayonnaise
1 can (4 ½ ounces) shrimp, chopped
8 slices crisp, cooked bacon, crumbled
1 can (2 ¼ ounces) deviled ham
2/3 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese; increase mayonnaise by 2 Tablespoons

Monday, January 19, 2009

Better Than Sex Cake .

I got word from Sharon in Minnesota that Elaine's Chocolate Caramel Euphoria Cake is in her recipe box with the title "Better Than Sex Cake." I had to laugh, because when I posted the Euphoria Cake recipe I debated whether to post it or the recipe I have for "Better Than Sex Cake"—completely different recipes. That inspired me to look online. I went first to Cooks.Com and ther found 320 recipes for Better Than Sex Cake and 5 recipes for Almost Better Than Sex Cake (well, forget those 5...) Just think, at one cake a week, from Cooks.Com alone, one could celebrate 6 years of celibacy and never feel deprived! Here's the BTS Cake from my files.

1 box cake mix (yellow cake with pudding in the mix)
1 large can crushed pineapple, juice included
1 cup sugar
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding

1 small can coconut
1 large tub Cool Whip
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to temperature shown on the box. Bake cake as directed.
While the cake is baking, mix pineapple and sugar in a saucepan. Boil 5 minutes.
Remove cake from oven, and while it is still hot, poke large holes in the cake. Pour the pineapple over it. Set aside to cool.
When the cake has cooled, mix 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding as directed. Spread 1/2 of the pudding over the cake.
Once that is spread, sprinkle a small can of coconut over the pudding. Top the coconut with 1 layer of sliced bananas.
Spread the rest of the vanilla pudding over the banana layer.
Frost with Cool Whip. Garnish with chopped nuts.
Refrigerate until serving. Store any unserved cake in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Southwestern Quiche .

I've been looking through recipes to see what might be good to serve the family when the kids and grandkids come for a visit in March. I haven't made Southwestern Quiche for several months. It is a good lunch dish. I may just have to add it to the menu.

Make your favorite pie crust, adding 1 Tablespoon chili powder to the dry ingredients. Use the following quiche filling.

3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup half-and-half
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
1 can (2¼ ounces) sliced ripe olives
2 Tablespoons finely chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In medium bowl, mix eggs, salt, pepper, cream, chilies, olives and green onions.
In bottom of lined pie dish, mix grated cheeses. Pour egg mix over cheese-covered pastry.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Homemade Slice & Bake Cookies .

I love recipes that can be mixed up days, weeks ahead and then finished off at the last minute. Slice and bake cookies have come to my rescue more than once when I've needed a dessert and have been at work all day. Paired with a bowl of ice cream and some fruit toppings, these cookies are just fine!

2 cups butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
6 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
chopped nuts

Cut four 14″ x 12″ pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Set aside.

In a bowl, cream butter or margarine with the sugar. Beat in vanilla and lemon extracts and eggs until light and fluffy.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Stir flour mixture into egg and butter mixture; blend well. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into an 8″ - 10″ roll (cylinder, not a ball!). Wrap rolls in waxed paper. Place the rolls in a rectangular freezer container with a tight fitting lid, or into a large freezer zip-lock bag, or wrap well in a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Label with date and contents. Store in freezer. Use within 6 months.

To prepare cookies: Slightly thaw one roll of sugar cookie dough. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the dough into 1/4″ thick slices. Arrange cut pieces on lightly greased cookie sheets, placing about 1/2″ apart. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Each roll of dough will make about 3 dozen cookies. The total recipe makes about 12 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Euphoria Cake .

I am walking on a cloud. My kids and grandkids will be coming for a visit in about 6 weeks! Sarah has health eating habits, so I may make Elaine Jordan's cake for a girl's get-together before Sarah comes. It is decadent.

1 pkg Devil’s Food cake mix
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
3 (1.4 oz) chocolate covered toffee bars, coarsely chopped
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (optional)
Bake the cake in a 9 x 13” pan according to package directions. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.
Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through the bottom of the pan.
In a saucepan, over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour the warm topping mixture over the warm cake, letting it sink into the slits. Sprinkle the crushed chocolate bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm.
Let the cake cool in the pan completely. Top each slice with whipped topping, more chocolate toffee bar chunks, and a swirl of caramel topping.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

French Onion Soup .

Yesterday I got the cell phone replaced. The corporate store was a more pleasant place than it normally is. I am big supporter of women, but I wonder if there isn't some friction there between the guys who work there and the women, or one of the women. The young man who helped me had to call for approval to give me a new phone instead of a reconditioned one and when he was on the phone with the override manager he mentioned that it was an unusually pleasant day and rare because the store was staffed entirely by guys. He was able to retrieve the phone contacts from my old phone, but the calendar with all my appointments was lost. So I have to make a few phone calls Monday to reconstruct my calendar. I came home and intended to start a load of laundry and the washer is not working! How much more? Hey, I have some very good recipes that don't cost much, so as I go onto austerity living to pay for all the repairs, I expect I'll be using them.

4 cups sliced onions
4 cans beef broth or bullion
1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf French bread, sliced
sliced provolone cheese
3/4 cup diced Swiss cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in an 8 quart stock pot on medium heat. Add olive oil and stir. Add onions and continually stir until tender and translucent. Do not brown the onions.
Add beef stock, wine and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Ladle soup into individual, oven safe, serving bowls. Place one slice of bread on top. Layer cheese on top of bread, placing a slice of provolone, 1/2 slice diced Swiss and then Parmesan cheese.
Place bowls on cookie sheet and broil until cheese bubbles and browns slightly.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Portugese Sweet Bread (1½ lb loaf bread machine recipe) .

I am beginning to feel like the gods have it out for me! First the plumbing under the garage slab broke. Then we discovered a leak in the pipes under the house -- the ones in the walls. Then the heater went out. All of this in a week's time. Yesterday my phone quit working. It has all my appointments and contacts. I want to crawl in bed, pull up the covers, and stay there until the world makes a few trips around the sun! I was really looking forward to some "downtime" the weekend, instead I have to add a trip to the phone service center to my weekend chores. So many things have failed around me. One thing that has never failed is this recipe for Portuguese Sweet Bread. I make it in my Breadman bread maker. I hope it works as well in other machines.

1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups white flour
1 Tablespoons gluten
2½ teaspoons dry yeast

Add ingredients in the order suggested by your manufacturer. Select “sweet bread” setting.

Note: I use the bread machine to make the dough (dough setting) and punch the dough down and shape it by hand. Another thing I do is use Bible ingredients when I make communion bread, replacing some of the sugar with honey and replacing about 1/2 cup of the white flour with barley flour.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sour Pickles into Sweet .

Bess, Mom B, was my first mother-in-law. Like a lot of women who grew up in the Depression, putting enough food on the table to nourish a growing family was an economic challenge rather than a gustatory adventure. The cooking and eating patterns of her youth stayed with her lifelong. This is one of the few recipes I got from her that tickles the taste buds more than it sticks to the ribs. I treasure it. These are sweet, sweet, sweet!!!!

1 quart sour pickles
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon pickling spice
Drain pickles.
Cut into slices.
Cover with 2 cups of the sugar. Let stand overnight. Drain.
Bring to a boil 2 cups of the sugar, 1/2 cup water, vinegar and spice. Add pickles.
Let boil through. Re-jar and finish cool.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Santa Fe Soup .

I've veen thinking about Aunt Suz lately. She has a birthday Friday and I miss seeing her. This was her recipe. Just looking at it makes me feel closer to her.

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 large onion
1 can pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 pound Mexican Velveeta cheese
Brown meat and onion. Drain thoroughly. Add rest of canned ingredients. When thoroughly heated, add cubed or shredded cheese. Serve after cheese is melted.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Grandma's Corn Pudding .

This is pure comfort. Of course, I think corn is one of God's great gifts to mankind. Eat it, pop it, squeeze and drink it, grind it, fry it, combine it or leave it plain. Grits, cornbread, corn syrup, roasting ears - there isn't a way I don't like corn.

5 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn
2 (14.75 ounce) cans cream-style corn

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add melted butter, sugar, and milk. Whisk in cornstarch. Stir in corn and creamed corn. Blend well. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.
Bake for 1 hour.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chicken Breasts Party Style .

Betty Butler gave me this recipe back in the early 1970s. How many times I've made it since! Easy, super yummy, inexpensive, make-ahead - this recipe has it all.

4 chicken breasts, boned and split
8 bacon strips
1 package chipped beef (1/4 pound) — substitute: thinly sliced pastrami
1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
2 cups sour cream
Preheat oven to 275°F. Wrap each chicken breast with a strip of bacon and secure with toothpicks.
Place chipped beef in bottom of 9 x 13-inch dish. Top with chicken.
Mix soup and sour cream. Pour over chicken.
Bake uncovered for 3 hours.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Roasted Vegetables and Rice .

Sister Edie inspires me to eat better. I need her to perch on my shoulder before every meal instead of sending an occasional recipe by e-mail! I might like to throw in some green beans when roasting the vegetables, or saute some snow peas or sugar snap peas and add them when stirring the rice and vegetables together.

Prep time 20 minutes, roasting time 40 minutes. NOTE: the veggies cook down a little. When they are sliced/diced you might think you are feeding an army! This makes 6 servings

1 pound zucchini, diced
1 pound yellow squash, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 (8.5-oz.) packages ready-to-serve brown and wild rice mix (Uncle Ben's)
1/2 cup chopped roasted salted almonds

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss together first 7 ingredients until vegetables are well coated. Place vegetables in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan.
2. Bake at 450°F for 20 minutes. Stir vegetables, and bake 20 more minutes or until slightly crisp and golden.
3. Prepare rice according to package directions. Stir together rice, almonds, and hot vegetables.

To make ahead: Prepare vegetables as directed through Step 2. Let cool completely. Transfer to airtight containers or heavy-duty zip-top plastic freezer bags, and freeze up to one month. Thaw in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours. Reheat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated and any extra liquid is reduced. Proceed with recipe as directed, or use vegetables as desired.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Susie's Pecan Pie .

Susie bakes a scrumptuous pecan pie! She has shared the recipe and here it is...

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo (1/2 light and 1/2 dark)
Melt all the above together.
Then stir in 3 beaten eggs.
Pour into prepared pie shell that has been filled with 2 cups pecan pieces.
Cover edge and bake at 340 for 45 min, uncover edge and bake 5 to 10 more minutess until center is 200°F on a thermometer.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Creamy Cucumber Salad .

6 to 8 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
2 to 3 tomatoes, in bite sized chunks
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons salad vinegar
4 Tablespoons sugar (Splenda works fine)

Mix vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
Mix mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar until smooth.
Pour dressing over vegetables. Chill.