Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lion House Rolls

We spent some time in Denver last week and grabbed some of these rolls to take home with us - they were oh, so heavenly!

Here's the recipe from my Lion House Rolls Cookbook

2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder (instant or non-instant)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1-In large bowl of electric mixer, combine water and milk powder, stir until dissolved.
2-Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups flour.
3-Mix on low speed of mixer until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed.
4-Add 2 cups more flour; mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes as medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiff and remaining flour may need to be mixed in by hand).
5-Add about ½ cup flour and mix again, by hand or mixer.
6-Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff.
7-(It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour.)
8-Scrape dough off sides of bowl and pour about 1 T.vegetable oil all around the sides of the bowl so it is covered with oil.
9-Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm place until double in size.
10-(My note here- I just sprayed a clean large bowl with vegetable spray and put my ball of dough in there, turning to cover the dough with the vegetable spray.).
11-After dough has risen, sprinkle cutting board or counter with flour and place dough on floured surface.
12-Roll out and cut rolls in desired shape and size.
13-Place on greased (or parchment lined) baking pans.
14-Let rise in warm place until rolls are double in size (about 1 to 1 ½ hours).
15-Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.
16-Brush with melted butter while hot.

My Clam Chowder

I have a picky eater, but this is one of her favorite meals. To cut out some of the fat you can cut out the cream or half and half and just use more milk - you may have to adjust the roux a little though. We love this in bread bowls which our local grocery store bakery is happy to make for me.

1 C onion finely chopped
1 C finely diced celery
2 C finely diced potatoes
2 cans (6 ½ oz) undrained clams
¾ C butter
¾ C flour
1 quart half and half or cream (or just use extra milk)
1-2 quarts milk
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Red wine or balsamic vinegar
Pinch or two of sugar

Drain clams onto vegetables, and add enough water until vegetables are barely covered. Cook until tender (15 minutes). In a large pan, stir flour and butter until bubbly. Remove from heat and add cream, mixing until smooth. Add enough milk until the desired amount is almost attained. (I just add enough milk for the servings needed – if it’s only for a few, I half the amount of half and half, and do the rest with milk, but if it’s for a lot of people, I add more milk, and more half and half –– just adjust it for how many servings you are making). Return to heat to cook. Stir (constantly) until thick and smooth. (This burns easily so make sure you constantly stir it). When it reaches your desired consistency, add vegetables and juices as well as salt and pepper, seasoning to taste. I also usually add a pinch or two of sugar, as well as 1-2 tsp of either red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar which really helps the flavor – all to your taste. You may also add a couple of drops of liquid smoke if desired.

Chile Verde - easiest ever

This was one of the first pork recipes I ever learned. Thanks to my sister in law for sharing it with me several years ago. Bad picture acknowledged, but note that this is a super easy recipe, with fantastic results, which feeds MANY.

1 pork roast - size doesn't matter
1-2 cans green chile enchilada sauce (size of cans depends on size of roast)
1-4 cans green chiles/jalapeños (according to your taste)
1-2 chopped garlic cloves
1 chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste

Place roast in a crock pot. Pour enchilada sauce, green chiles/jalapeños, garlic, and onion over roast.

Cook on med for 6-8 hours. Stir meat - it should separate into strands (I sometimes use a potato masher.)
Serve on corn tortillas with Monterrey jack cheese and sour cream.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Microwave Flan

I found a book at a garage sale titled, "Simple Southwestern Cooking" by Judy Walker which I've really enjoyed. While my family loves flan, I have a hard time finding the time to make it, except for special occasions. We love the following recipe from Judy Walker's book because it takes out several consuming steps from the traditional method and still turns out oh so yummy.

3/4 c. dark brown sugar
2 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 T. vanilla
Plain whipped cream (optional)

Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the bottom of a ceramic or glass bowl, or an 8x8 pyrex pan.) Set aside. Pour evaporated milk into a microwaveable dish. Microwave on full power for 5 minutes, or until milk is very hot but not boiling.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly blend the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add heated milk in three increments, stirring after each addition (careful not to cook the eggs.)

Pour mixture over brown sugar in the set aside bowl/pan. Place into a 3 quart casserole dish containing 1/2 inch of hot water. Microwave all at half power for 20 minutes (I find this takes me 30-40 minutes) turning the mold a quarter every 2 minutes if not using a carousel. After the cooking time, a knife inserted near the outside edge should come out clean.

Remove from the water bath and chill at least 45 minutes in the refrigerator. Loosen flan from edge and invert onto a serving dish. Fill center of flan with whipped cream, if desired.
Makes 8-12 servings.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Creamy Frozen Fruit Cups

My mother in law made these for Thanksgiving several years ago and I fell in love with them. They pick up a tropical taste without the coconut and work as an appetizer, or a dessert. This recipe originally came from a Taste of Home magazine.

* 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 jar (10 ounces) maraschino cherries, drained
* 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
* 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
* Fresh mint, optional

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Halve 9 cherries; chop the remaining cherries. Set aside halved cherries and 18 oranges for garnish. Add the pineapple, pecans and chopped cherries to cream cheese mixture.Fold in whipped topping and remaining oranges.
Line muffin cups with paper or foil liners. Spoon fruit mixture into cups; garnish with reserved cherries and oranges. Freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Top with mint if desired. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Super quick, Morning Smoothies

My cousin's wife taught me to make these several years ago and I love them as a way to get a few more fruits into my kids at the start of the day.
For added nutrition, I like to add a little raw oatmeal and flax seed to these as well.

Banana Soy smoothie

Fill blender half way up with ice cubes
Add 1-2 bananas
Fill halfway with soy milk (or any other milk)
Honey to taste
Optional vanilla or almond flavoring
Blend all ingredients

The following recipe uses frozen fruit instead a ice cubes.

Banana Blueberry smoothie
1-2 bananas
1/2 - 1 c. frozen blueberries (or other frozen berries/fruit)
Honey to taste
1/2 - 1 t. almond flavoring
Fill blender up with milk or soymilk

Blend all ingredients

Note, several other virtually undetectable fruits and vegetables may also be added for extra nutrition including spinach, pumpkin, beets etc.

Swedish Pancakes or Crepes

My husband doesn't do very much cooking and has a limited repertoire.
This however, is one of his specialties, and he often caves into requests and gives me a morning off on Saturdays to make this for our kids.

6 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar
2 1/2 c. milk

Blend in blender.
Pour very thin layer in greased (Pam) skillet over medium heat, roll around in pan so that it coats the pan. As the bubbles pop and it begins to look cooked (30 seconds - 1.5 minutes) turn onto other side. Slide onto another plate, fill, roll, and watch them instantly disappear.

Fill with any of the following: Butter, powdered sugar, jam, lemon zest mixed with sugar, lemon or lime juice, fresh fruit, ham and cheese, peanut butter, honey, cottage cheese, applesauce, syrup etc.

We generally just sprinkle powdered sugar into them, and then roll them up while they are still hot.

Note, these make a beautiful and sophisticated presentation filled with a mixture of 8 oz. cream cheese combined with a large packet of prepared instant pudding. Top with fresh fruit, berries, or a compote, a dollop of whipped cream, and a mint leaf for the full effect.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tortilla Soup

I noticed that my friend has one of the fancy blenders that makes ice cream and cooks soup. She shared her recipe for 'fancy dancy blender tortilla soup' which I love.
It is my belief that this recipe can be made with a standard blender, using the stove as the heating element if one does not have the blender - it may just take a little more time.

Tortilla Soup

3 cups water
1 Roma tomato
1 carrot
1 rib celery
1 thin slice of onion
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 thin slice of yellow squash
1 thin slice of red bell pepper
1 thin slice cabbage
1 mushroom
1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp Southwest style spice blend

Mix (in blender) on High.

Add to base soup:
½ c cooked chicken
½ fresh jalapeno
¼ c pitted olives
¼ c canned corn
1 c tortilla chips

Mix on low for 10 seconds.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Curry, Roti and Sada

Last year we traveled to Trinidad & Tobago where my husband previously lived.
While there, we were able to connect with some of his friends he'd met while living there. One particular friend, Belle Maharaj was an amazing cook who had recently opened a restaurant. She and her daughter gave us the following recipes for some traditional Eastern Indian/Caribbean food.

Curried Meat (chicken, shrimp etc.)

Heat oil on low
Add onion and garlic, cook until translucent
Add curry and heat for 2-3 minutes
Add a little water (2-3 T I add 2 cups)
Add meat
Sprinkle with cumin and saffron


2 Cups flour (1 t. sugar if making bus up shut)
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt

Water – enough to mix into a dough. Knead like bread. Leave 15 minutes. Divide into 4 balls. Roll one out until thin. Paste (spread with hand) with oil or butter.

Sprinkle dry flour over.

Fold into thirds, as you would a letter. Fold sides in, to make a square.
Cover with wet towel and let sit 20-25 minutes (or put into a bag to hold in moisture.) Repeat with each ball.

Heat tawa and grease with oil. Flatten with rolling pin and roll out to be the size of the tawa. Put on tawa, and after approximately 2 minutes turn. Oil before turning. Cook approximately 2 minutes other side.

Sada – soft
Make dough and make it into a ball. Let it sit 10 minutes, and then divide and roll out. Place on the tawa with no oil. After two minutes turn.

Tear off pieces of the sada/roti and eat with the curried meat and rice.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chewy Chex® Mix

This treat is a hit with all ages.
8 cups Rice Chex (or the Chex cereal of your choice)
1 cup coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chow mein noodles
1⁄4 cup butter or margarine
6 cups miniature marshmallows
Combine Chex, coconut, almonds, and noodles in a large bowl. Melt butter over medium heat; blend in
marshmallows and stir until melted. Pour over cereal mixture; spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in an
airtight container or individual plastic bags. Makes about 10 cups.
(Julie Badger Jensen, The Essential Mormon Cookbook, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004] p. 130.)

Halloween Meatloaf

Feet of Meat
(8 – 10 Servings)

2 ½ pounds ground beef or meat loaf mixture
1 t. minced garlic
½ cup breadcrumbs or oatmeal
½ cup milk or water
1 egg
1 envelope (1 ounce) onion soup mix
8 Brazil nuts (Fillmore’s) or Almonds
2 Tablespoons barbecue sauce or ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Mix ground beef, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, milk, egg and onion soup mix in large bowl until blended. Remove and set aside 1 cup of the mixture.
2. Dived remaining mixture in half and shape each half into an oval about 7 x 4 inches. Place oval shapes side – by – side on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide reserved mixture into 8 balls and place 4 balls at end of each oval to form toes. Press 1 Brazil nut into each toe to form toenails. Brush meat loaf with barbecue sauce and bake 1 ½ hours.

(Notes: Instead of breadcrumbs, I used crushed garlic and herb croutons. I also added 2 Tablespoons of chili powder to this recipe. I also used the cheapest generic BBQ sauce from City Market – go figure). If you make this as one combined whole instead of the feet/stumps, it will take longer to cook – (my other recipes call for 2 ½ - 3 hours).

Grandma J's Homemade Tomato-Basil soup

I learned to make this soup with my grandmother. Although she's not around anymore, here's my rendition of her amazing homemade tomato soup.

2 quarts canned tomatoes (home canned - should have a little sugar, lemon juice, and salt)
1 garlic clove
1/4 onion
2 1/2 t. Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo (Chicken Flavor Bouillon) (this can be found in the mexican section of most grocery stores, Walmart and Costco)
1-2 quarts of milk
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
basil, oregano, pepper to taste

There is no exactness to this - you have to do it to taste, desired thickness, and desired amount - it can be easily halved. This amount easily serves 10 people.

Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and chicken bouillon in blender on high. Allow to run for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy bottomed pan on med-high. Add flour and mix, making a nice roux. This may need more or less flour. You want a thick paste (almost too thick) consistency. While stirring, allow to cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn. Place sieve over pan, and pour tomato mixture into roux, straining out all seeds. Quickly stir into roux, making sure to eliminate any lumps. Continue stirring until entire mixture is smooth, heated, and on the brink of boiling. Add milk (once again - to taste and desired thickness), stirring constantly. Heat stirring constantly, but do not bring to a boil (this will curdle the milk) and serve. Season with pepper and fresh basil to taste.

There it is. Better than Campbells, and right from the garden

Cream Cheese Veggie Pizza

2 (8 ounce) packages crescent rolls
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
½ - 1 cup mayonnaise
1 package ranch dressing mix
Onion powder, dill weed, and cheddar cheese – optional, to taste.

Spread crescent rolls in 15x10x1 jelly roll pan, or on pizza stone. Press seams together, and back at 350* for 7-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, ranch dressing (and onion powder and dill if desired.) Spread over cooled crust.

Top with chopped up vegetables, i.e. broccoli, red onions, mushrooms, olives, cauliflower, carrots etc., and cheddar cheese (if desired.)

Refrigerate 1-2 hours prior to serving.

Asparagus Appetizer Roll-ups

These asparagus rolls are tasty and always get lots of compliments. They keep everyone guessing as they try to figure out what is wrapped around the asparagus.

While the original recipe yields 1 dozen, when serving a crowd I find that these can easily be cut in half prior to baking them, and arranged nicely on the serving tray.

• 12 slices white bread, crusts removed
• 1 container (8 ounces) spreadable cream cheese
• 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
• 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
• 24 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
• 1/4 cup butter, melted
• 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Flatten bread with a rolling pin. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, onions and bacon. Spread mixture over bread slices. Cut asparagus to fit bread; place two spears on each bread slice. Roll up bread and place, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Brush with butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 dozen.

Thelma's Pumpkin Bread

2.5 c. sugar
3.5 c. flour
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cloves
1.5 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1 c. oil (I use applesauce)
1/3 c. water
4 large eggs
2 c. pumpkin (canned, or boiled and pureed)
3/4 c. nuts (optional)
3/4 c. raisin or dates (or choc chips or both - whatever you want) (optional)

In large bowl sift all dry ingredients, in a separate large bowl mix all liquids, combine and mix well. Bake in well greased loaf pans 1 hour at 350 degrees.
(I don't sift, I just dump it all in together)

Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread

I originally found this recipe in the instruction manual that was included with my wheat grinder years ago.  I had given up on finding a good wheat bread recipe, until I tried this one, which I've been using since 2004.  I've had so many requests for this recipe, and have visited several of my friend's kitchens to teach them how to make this bread (and many of them have taught others how to make it, or even sold it).  Of all of my recipes, this is one that I come back to again, and again.    

This recipe takes 2 hours from start to finish, with 30 active minutes 

5 ½ cups warm water
2 T. dry yeast
2 T. salt
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
8 cups whole kernel wheat

Combine 5 ½ cups warm water, yeast, salt, oil, and honey in Bosch or large mixer bowl. Let stand 5 -10 minutes to activate yeast.
While yeast proofs, using a wheat grinder, mill 8 cups whole kernel wheat to yield 12 cups of whole-wheat flour.  (The wheat will be warm, and perfect for the yeast if ground at this point). 

Add 8 cups of whole-wheat flour to mixing bowl. If using a Bosch, use the ‘spring-loaded’ position (turning to the left instead of the right) button the switch first to blend the ingredients, or mix on low speed until well blended.
Add 3 – 4 cups more flour, 1 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. (The amount of flour required will vary according to the moisture and protein content of the wheat and your atmosphere/altitude etc. The stickier the dough, the moister the bread, but it should clean the sides of the mixing bowl).   Knead dough on low speed for 10 minutes.

Oil hands and working surface. Remove dough from mixing bowl and with oiled hands, spread into a large rectangle.  Divide into 5 equal portions.  Starting at one end, begin rolling each section, one at a time, into an oblong shape.  Pinch the ends together and turn underneath.  Place in oiled, metal 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 5/8" bread pans (this size seems to work the best, and metal works better than glass).  If desired, oil the top of the loaves for a soft crust.  Cover with a damp cloth, away from drafts, and let rise 1/3 in bulk, or approx. 35 minutes.  

Bake at 425* for 8 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350* for the remainder of the baking period (27 to 32 minutes). Remove from pans when done, and allow to cool on baking racks. Brush tops with butter or oil immediately.  

*Notes:  I specifically use a Bosch mixer with this recipe.  I've tried it with a Kitchenaid mixer, without the same results.  My guess is that it relates to the Bosch's cover retaining the heat perhaps?  

**Because this bread doesn't have any preservatives it can spoil quickly.  I cut mine into half loaves, wrap in plastic, then place in a large ziplock in the freezer.  For a quick defrost, I remove it from the ziplock, and place it in the microwave (still in the plastic) for 1.5 minutes.  This sort of steams it, and it comes out just as if it were fresh from the oven. 

Authentic Cheese Enchiladas & Zero Spice Salsa

This authentic Mexican recipe came from my friend Maria. These enchiladas are super easy, and you will become famous and worshiped for these - I'm not kidding - I saw it happen with my own eyes. They are amazing.

6 or 7 Hot New Mexico Chile Pods (they are dried and in bags)
3 - 4 c. water +/-
3 whole tomatoes
1 whole onion (3/4 chopped)
1 tsp oregano
1 -2 cloves garlic
1 package of 'queso fresco' Mexican cheese (usually a round block of cheese with a little water in the package, very soft) - found in most grocery stores that carry Mexican products (Walmart has it)
Corn tortillas

Boil chilies, and tomatoes until soft, and then blend together along with a 1/4 of an onion and 1 tsp oregano and a clove or two of garlic.

Strain with a sieve.

Take corn tortillas - dip them in this sauce, and then fry tortilla in small amount oil just til slightly tender and cooked.

Meanwhile, crumble the cheese into small pieces, almost cornmeal size. Place in a bowl, and toss with the remaining 3/4 chopped onion.

Moving quickly, after frying tortillas, pile onto a plate, and then fill each one with a small amount of the cheese mixture, and roll. Place on a plate, and serve with other salsa (recipe following), chopped lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream and quartered radishes on top.

Serve hot.

Additional Salsa - Zero spice Salsa
Boil four tomatoes.
When soft, add a clove of garlic, a tsp of oregano, and salt to taste. Blend, and serve on top of the enchiladas.

Café Rio knockoffs - Pork, rice, beans, dressing

There's a popular restaurant chain called Café Rio which has some really great dishes. I've received several knock-off recipes - here are my favorites.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

3 Tomatillos
1 c. cilantro, Minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 pkt ranch buttermilk dressing mix

Husk and cut the tomatillos into quarters, put under a broiler for 7 minutes, then chop or mince. Mix together all ingredients in blender and chill.
My brother says he could drink this stuff by the quart!
Also yummy served on top of chicken breast salad.

BBQ Pork
2-3 lb boneless pork roast
1 bottle (4-5 oz) A1 Steak Sauce
1-2 c. chunky salsa
3/4 c. brown sugar
juice of 2 limes (6 T)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Blend all ingredients (except pork of course.)
Cook in crock pot for a very very long time. You can either cook pork first, and then add sauce for the last couple of hours, or cook entire thing together all at one time. I haven't noticed a difference between the two methods.

Lime Rice
1 c. white rice
2 T. chicken broth + broth to cook rice
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. dried minced onion
pinch of salt
1/2-1 c. chopped cilantro
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 c. green enchilada sauce

Combine first 6 ingredients in sauce pan, substituting broth for water, and cook rice according to package directions. When rice is done, stir in cilantro, lime juice and enchilada sauce.

Black Beans - Double or triple (etc) according to size of crowd
1 can black beans
1/3 c. tomato juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 T. oil
1/2 t. salt
2 T. chopped cilantro

In sauce pan, heat oil, cumin, and garlic. Throw in rest until warm.

To make the 'official' Café Rio salad:
One very large tortilla toasted with cheese and filled with: chopped romaine, lime rice, black beans, BBQ pork, pico de gallo, guacamole, chopped cilantro, lime wedge, Cotija cheese, tortilla strips (fried crisp,) and creamy tomatillo dressing.

Simple (yet addictive) Salad

My addictive salad
A friend invited us for dinner and I helped her make this salad. I have generally always hated oil and vinegar dressings, and was amazed when I fell in love with this one.

Drizzle approximately 2-3 T. olive oil in the bottom of salad bowl (depending on how big your salad will be). Add 1-2 finely chopped fresh garlic cloves. Add 1-3 t. dill (fresh or dried). Allow to seep for 5-10 minutes. Add salad greens (not iceberg,) 1/2 c. Craisins, and 1/2 c. nuts of your choice (I generally use whole toasted almonds) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat all ingredients with olive oil. Add enough balsamic vinegar to coat, and toss everything again in the vinegar. Parmesan or feta cheese may be added as a garnish. Serve immediately.

I learned that if you toss first with the olive oil and later with the vinegar, you don't have to deal with the oily taste (which I hate) nor any separation problems.
Also - I generally use a Tuscan olive oil and balsamic vinegar that I pick up at Costco for this recipe.

Earthquake cake

Coconut to cover bottom of 9x13 pan
1 c. chopped nuts
1 German chocolate cake mix (I used devils food - still worked great)
1 stick margarine
1 lb. powdered sugar (4 c.)
1 8 oz cream cheese brick

Grease pan. Cover bottom with coconut, then nuts. Prepare cake mix as directed. Pour over coconut and nuts. Combine margarine, cream cheese and powdered sugar and cream together. Spoon over cake but do not mix (yes this is a weird part - I ended up using my hands and trying to sort of place/spread it out - but do it anyways.) Bake at 350 for one hour (I think mine took a little less due to altitude - check it when it REALLY smells like a cooked cake.)
**This is called earthquake cake because when it is done it looks like an earthquake hit it. This is fun as it definitely isn't your everyday cake. Also works in a dutch oven and serves well either hot or cold.

Barf bars, Saltine Toffee, & Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bakes - My Kid's favorites

My mom used to make these when I was a child. I'm not sure if we made up the title or not but I was thrilled to find the recipe in a friend's recipe book and they've been a hit with my kids.

Barf Bars
1 c. light corn syrup (this would be in color rather than calories)
1 c. sugar
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. cheerios

Mix syrup and sugar in sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring. Allow to cook for 2 minutes while stirring constantly. Add peanut butter to mixture, mix, then pour over cheerios and stir until coated. Pour contents onto a piece of waxed paper, or into a 9x13 pan (greased or sprayed with Pam), and mold into shape of pan (like you do with rice krispy treats). Allow to cool, and cut into bars. Once you see the finished product, you may understand the title. Apparently, they can be made with corn flakes as well.

This is a fantastic recipe for those who love english toffee, but who may be intimidated by candy making, or short on time. This recipe won a blue ribbon at the county fair and is my children's ALLTIME favorite dessert. It only uses 4 ingredients, and takes about 10 minutes to make.

Saltine (Mock) Toffee

1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1-2 c. milk chocolate chips
1-2 packages saltine crackers (salted)
1/2 c. chopped almonds (optional garnish)

Pre-heat oven to 400*.
In saucepan bring butter and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat. Once bubbles begin to start, do NOT stir. Allow to boil for three minutes. Meanwhile, line cookie sheet with saltine crackers, salty side up (pan may be lined with foil for easier clean up.) Once mixture has boiled for 3 minutes, pour over saltines and spread evenly. Place in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and immediately sprinkle milk chocolate chips on top. When they have melted, spread evenly. Garnish with chopped nuts almonds and allow to cool. Break into pieces to serve.
**NOTE: You must use milk chocolate chips for this recipe as semi-sweet chips will not set up after melting.

This is the standby cookie recipe that I've come back to time and time again. My kids call them Muds. I grew up calling them Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bakes. They are a great solution for a hot summer day when you just can't bring yourself to turn on the oven.

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
2 c. sugar
4 T. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
1/2 cube butter (1/4 c.)
1/2 c. peanut butter (smooth or chunky - your preference)
3 c. raw oatmeal
1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Boil sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter 1 minute, stir. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, (nuts,) oatmeal and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool.

Pecan Praline Cookies

I found this recipe several years ago in the newspaper. I wish I had a photo as these are also visually delicious.

Pecan Praline Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
11/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the icing:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whole pecans
In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; mix into butter mixture to blend thoroughly. Form tablespoons of dough into balls and place, spaced 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on pans 10 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely.
To make icing: In small saucepan over medium heat, mix brown sugar and cream; bring to boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar; stir until smooth. Dip bottoms of pecans into icing and place 2 on each cookie; drizzle tops with icing.
Makes about 3 dozen (23/4-inch) cookies.
- Recipe from Terry O'Reilly of Ferndale, Calif., Volunteer Fire Department

Mushroom Cactus Soup with Tomatillos

Mushroom Cactus Soup with Tomatillos
(Doesn't that title just sound AWESOME?)

1 lb. (approx. 2) nopales (cactus leaves - available in most grocery store produce section)
1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes (2 med)
1 c. thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 large onion
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 c. chopped jalapeño
1/4 t. crushed anise seeds
1 T. olive oil
6 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 lb. (5 med) tomatillos, husked and washed
8 large sprigs cilantro

Pre-heat broiler
If nopales have needles/spikes, carefully trim from cactus with scissors or knife.
After removing needles, scrub with clean plastic scouring pad. Rinse with water and brush with olive oil.
Broil, turning occasionally until limp, approx. 10-15 minutes.

Set on large plate to cool, when cool, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut each half into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.

Place tomatillos and tomatoes whole on baking sheet and broil until soft and blackened in spots - approx. 4 minutes each side. Once cool, peel tomatoes.

Combine garlic, jalapeño, onion, and anise with enough olive oil to sauté vegetables in large stock pot. (Note, use gloves when seeding and chopping jalapeños. Removing inner seeds and veins will greatly reduce the jalapeños'heat.) Cook over medium until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant (6 min.)
Combine tomatoes and tomatillos in food processor with 2 cups stock and cilantro. Puree until chunky smooth. Add this to garlic and onion mixture along with remaining stock, and simmer over medium. Add thinly sliced mushrooms.

Cover, allow to simmer 20 minutes.

Add cactus to soup and simmer 5 minutes more.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fabulous French Bread

I know that I've told several people in the last month or so that I'd get this recipe to them, but I can't remember who they are. So I thought I'd share it with the world via my little blog. Thanks to my friend Luanne for sharing this recipe with me.

I love this recipe, and I have yet to see it disappoint. I live at high altitude, but never have to make any adjustments for it. If you are at a low altitude, you may need to slightly adjust your flour/liquid amounts.

Plan 2 hours start to finish for this bread.

2 1/2 c. very warm water
2 T. sugar
1 T. salt
2 T. cooking oil (I use olive)
6 c. flour
2 pkg active dry yeast or 2 T.

Pour warm water in large mixing bowl, then stir in sugar, salt, oil, half the flour, and yeast. Beat vigorously 2-3 minutes.

Stir in remaining flour until all dry ingred. are completely mixed in, leaving spoon/dough hook in heavy batter. (Now, you can do this by hand, but I cheat and do it with my mixer.) Allow dough to rest 10 minutes then stir down, allow dough to rest another 10 minutes and stir down again. Repeat this process until dough has been stirred down 5 times.

Turn dough onto floured board, knead only enough to coat with flour so it can be handled. Divide into 2 equal parts. Roll each part of dough into rectangle about 9x12 and roll up like a jelly roll, rolling from long side, Pinch edge of loaf to seal the dough. Arrange lengthwise on large cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal, allowing room for both loaves.

With sharp knife (I use a serrated) cut three gashes at an angle on top, then brush entire surface with slightly beaten whole egg. If desired, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Cover lightly and let rise at room temperature 30 minutes (I don't cover mine, but I keep it in a warm area.) Bake immediately at 400* for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet immediately and cool on racks.

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars
3 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 c. cold butter (no substitutes)

4 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. corn syrup
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2.5 c. chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 15x10 inch pan. Bake at 350* for 18-22 minutes or until crust edges are beginning to brown and bottom is set.
For filling, combine the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla in a large bowl; mix well. Stir in pecans. Pour over crust. Bake 25-30 minutes longer or until edges are firm and center is almost set. Cool on wire racks. Cut into bars. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 3-4 dozen
C/O Taste of Home

Ham and Cheese Spirals

Cheese 'n Ham Spirals
1 egg
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese (divided)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 slices shaved smoked or brown sugar ham

Preheat oven to 400*. Beat egg and 1 Tbsp. water with wire whisk until blended: set aside. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14x10 inch rectangle; cut in half lengthwise. Brush both pastry halves lightly with some of the egg mixture.
Sprinkle 3 Tbsp of the chesse and the pepper evenly over 1 of the pastry pieces: cover with ham slices. Place remaining pasty piece, egg side down, over ham. Brush with additional egg ixture. Roll gently with rolling pin to seal. Roll in jelly-roll fashion to make a 14 inch log. Cut into 24 equal slices. Place, cut side down, on parchment - covered baking sheet. Brush with remaining egg mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp cheese.
Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This appetizer can be made weeks in advance. Just prepare, wrap securely and freeze. Defrost and bake as directed, prior to serving.
C/O Kraft

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Pie Bars
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar, divided
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. pecans
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese softened
3 eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 T. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350. Line 13x9 inch pan with foil and grease.
Mix flour, brown sugar and 1/4 c. of the granulated sugar in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and pecans. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake 15 min.
Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/2 c. sugar, eggs, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice in smal bowl with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Bake 25 min. Lift from pan using foil handles; cool completely. Cut into 24 bars.

Notes: If you can't find pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 tsp each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
Nuts may be toasted in oven at *350 for 5-7 minutes or in microwave on a plate on high for 2 minutes, stir, then continue cooking 1-2 minutes until nuts are fragrant and toasted to taste.
C/O Kraft

Pancake Mix

I know I should never start out with "I hate," but I feel strongly about this one. I hate Krusteaz Pancake mix - absolutely can't stand it. My husband loves its convenience. I was given this recipe from a friend several years ago. I love that it is super easy and quick, it is from scratch, and that it tastes SO much better than Krusteaz. I add cooked, pureed pumpkin (just cook, puree, and seal in baggies in the freezer) to this to give it a little more nutrition, and love that the pumpkin is virtually undetectable.

General Quick Mix
8 1/2 c. flour
4 T. baking powder
1 T. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. instant nonfat dry milk/dry buttermilk powder
2 1/4 c. shortening

In large bowl, sift together all ingredients (make it easy and use mixer.) Blend well. With pastry blender or heavy duty mixer, cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal in texture. Put in airtight container. Store in a cooll, dry place. Use within 10-12 weeks. Makes approximately 13 cups.

Variation - use 4 1/4 c. all purpose flour, and 4 1/4 c. whole wheat flour. Increase baking powder to 5 T.

Quick Pancakes
2 1/4 c. Quick Mix
1 T. sugar
1 egg beaten
1-1/2 c. milk or water
optional 1/2-1 c. cooked and pureed pumpkin and additional liquid as needed)

Combine mix and sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well. Combine egg and liguid in a small bowl. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Blend well. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Cook on hot oiled griddle. Makes 10-12 4" pancakes.

Serve with maple or berry syrup.