Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Microwave Hard Candy

I found this recipe several years ago when I purchased some oil flavoring for candy making. This is SUCH an easy recipe. Three ingredients, a microwave, and about 8 minutes plus cooling time. That's it! My kids are begging to make more tomorrow.

1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/2 dram (1/2 tsp) flavoring oil (or as desired)

Food color - optional
Powdered sugar - optional

Thoroughly mix sugar and corn syrup in a 4 cup microwave safe glass bowl or measuring cup.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Microwave on high for 3.10 minutes. Remove from microwave and carefully remove plastic wrap.
Quickly stir the sugar mixture and then cover with a NEW sheet of plastic wrap.

Microwave on high for 3.10 minutes. Remove from microwave and carefully remove plastic wrap and stir. (Use caution to avoid rising steam).
Stir in coloring and then flavoring.

Pour syrup quickly, but carefully, into lightly oiled lolipop molds, onto greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet covered with a layer of powdered sugar.

Just before candy has completely cooled, score or use large knife and cutting board to cut the candy into squares. OR wait until it has thoroughly cooled, and then simply break it into bite sized pieces.

Let candy cool until hardened. Do not put in refrigerator.

Dusting with powdered sugar keeps it from sticking.
Store in airtight container.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Easy Fudge

As a kid, I was involved with a summer home economics entrepreneurial  program.  We made foods, and then tried to sell them. As we tried to brainstorm about what to make, one of the kids in our group suggested fudge.  I thought it was a marvelous idea - who doesn't love chocolate or fudge?  We stirred it and stirred it until the gloss lost it's luster, and set it out on paper plates for sale.

The whole class set up in front of the local KMART on a very hot summer morning.  Shortly thereafter, our fudge began to melt. I don't think we made a dime.  The kids next to us with the lame snow cone machine made a fortune though!

The moral of the story is that I've been afraid of fudge ever since.  No matter how easy people tell me it is, it never seems to be.

Things have finally changed.  This week I bought marshmallows (the cheap generic kind because they were on sale) to make rice krispy treats for my kid's class.  On the back of the marshmallow package, I found a recipe for 'Easy Fudge'.  So I figured I'd give it a try (I seem to try a new recipe at least once a year and am always disappointed) and enlisted my daughter's help.  It turned out great!

Hallelujah!  I've finally found a great fudge recipe that IS easy, and turns out great.  Thank heavens for recipes on generic marshmallow bags!

Here it is for any fudge challenged people out there (and my future posterity)

2 T. Butter
2/3 c. evaporated milk (5.33 oz)
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt (if using salted butter, I only add a couple of dashes of salt)
2 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chipes
1 c. chopped walnuts, or nuts
1 t. vanilla

Combine butter, milk, sugar and salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil over medium heat.

Boil for 4-5 minutes, stirring.
Remove from heat; stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts and vanilla.

Stir vigorously until chocolate chips and marshmallows are melted.

Pour into foil lined or buttered 8" square baking pan.
Sprinkle with additional nuts if desired.

Chill until firm.

Makes approx. 2 lbs

Monday, December 20, 2010

Butter Spritz Cookies

Many years ago, someone gave us a spritz cookie press.  We tried it out, but it was a dismal failure, and got stored away in the cupboard for a future try.

For that fateful first attempt, I used the recipe that came with the cookie press...I hoped to eventually find a recipe that would work at that we liked.  Fast forward to today - we finally found it!   

Today, my kids and I spent the afternoon playing with the cookie press using the following recipe from Paula Deane courtesy of Food Network.  

So cute - even without all the sugar and chocolate drizzles
Prior to making these, we spent some time on youtube watching different videos on how to make spritz cookies.  One of the most important things we picked up was that the first few will most likely always be globs...just keep going, they'll get better, and the dough can be recycled.  We also learned that the best way to decorate them is prior to baking them, rather than afterwards.  My kids went kind of crazy with the colored sugar - but then, that's what it is all about anyways.  I followed up with some white and then mint chocolate drizzles after they had baked and cooled.
This recipe turns out melt in your mouth yummy, and will be added to our traditional Christmas cookies list.  We had to triple the recipe to have enough to share with our neighbors and friends.

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • Sprinkles for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, add the sugar and the butter. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extractsand mix to incorporate. Sift together the baking powder and the flour. Add the flour mixture. Mix until combined. Using a cookie press, press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets. Top with the sprinkles of your choice. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until firm, but not yet browning.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Trinidadian "Doubles"

My husband had the opportunity to work as a missionary for our church on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago several years ago. There, he fell in love with a street vendor dish titled "Doubles". A couple of years ago we went back to visit and he introduced me to this awesome dish. I woke up this morning craving them, and thanks to the mighty internet, was able to find a great recipe for them, which I slightly modified according to my taste.  Thanks to for this great recipe.

These are called "doubles" because they are eaten almost like a hamburger or sandwich, with two slices on the outside. They are filled with channa - a chick pea/garbanzo bean reduction, and topped off with a chutney.

Barra (the bread) Recipe
4 c. flour
2 t. saffron powder
1 t. ground cumin (roasted is better)
1 T. yeast
1/2 t. sugar
1.5 t. salt

Oil for frying

Place 1 c. lukewarm water in a small bowl, and add sugar and yeast. Allow to proof until twice it's size.

Combine remaining ingredients in mixing bowl.
Add yeast mixture and 1 1/4 c. water to flour mixture. Mix into a slightly firm dough. Try to handle the dough as little as possible. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Form dough into 36 small balls, and let rise for another 10-15 minutes.

Pat a ball of the barra dough into a flattened 4 inch circle with both hands. (If dough sticks to hands, moisten hands with water)

Fry immediately after shaping in hot oil, turning once. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool to room temperature.

Channa (Chick Peas or Garbanzo Beans) Recipe
1 (16 oz) can chick peas or garbanzo beans. Drained and thoroughly rinsed.
1 t. ground coriander
1 T. ground cumin - roasted
2 T. oil
1 small onion - diced
4 garlic cloves - diced
2 T. chives - diced
1/2 t. turmeric powder
1/2 t. salt (to taste)
1/2 t. pepper (to taste)

Heat oil in large pan, add onions and saute over medium heat until the onion begins to carmelize.

Add all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Add enough water to cover beans by 1 1/2 inches, then boil until very soft. Water may need to be added during this process. Some liquid must be left in pot when beans have finished cooking.

Mango - Cucumber Chutney Recipe
1 ripe mango - peeled and diced
1 large cucumber - peeled, and 3/4ths of it diced
1 T. cilantro - diced
1 T. chives - diced
1 habanero pepper (optional)
4 garlic cloves - diced
2 T. fresh key lime juice
1/2 t. salt - to taste
1/2 t. pepper - to taste
1/2 - 1 t. cumin - to taste
2 t. brown sugar

Mix mango and cucumbers together. Shred the remaining 1/4 cucumber and add to the mixture to add moisture to the chutney.
Add garlic, cilantro and chives, and habanero - adjusting the quantity of the habanero according to taste.

Add lime juice, salt and pepper, and cumin.

Allow to sit 15-20 minutes prior to serving so that the juices begin to run and combine.

To assemble, place a small amount of channa on top of a barra and then add any type of chutney desired.  Top with an additional barra.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Class Treats - Little Lemony monsters

I love these little guys...they are so DANG cute. By far - our favorite Halloween tradition!

In the past, I've made these blue, using blueberry mini muffins (upside down) and just frosted over the wrapper with blue frosting. This year - Ta dah! I found little lemon bites at Costco (love that store) which had frosted upside down lemon muffin/cake treats.

Imagine that - already frosted on the outside, and I didn't have to worry about a muffin wrapper. I love it when life gets easier!

My kids requested this one - this is our third year in a row since we discovered them, and they and their friends still love (and request) them...they are just SO cute.
The bonus is that the kids can help make/assemble these.

Frosted upside down muffins or cupcakes
Whoppers - cut in half
Pull apart string licorice cit into 1 inch lengths
Bubble gum pieces, cut in half lengthwise
Decorator's frosting

Note: I found that whoppers stay more intact when cut in half - the swifter the slice.

I mixed together 2 c. powdered sugar, 2 t. butter, 1/4 c. milk, 1/2 t. vanilla for my decorators frosting and put it in a decorating bag.

Frosting glue is the key here. Starting with the gum pieces, apply frosting to the top back half, and stick them under the muffins/cupcakes.

With the frosting bag tip, poke a hole in the middle of the muffin, going down about 1/4 - 1/2 inch, then apply two blobs of frosting to glue on the eyes.

Place two licorice antennae in the hole on the top, and then two whopper halfs on the frosting for the eyes.

Allow to set/dry, then serve to lots of happy little children, and be ready to make them the next year by request.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Today's cooking

Here's what I did today:
Yep - canned tomatoes...our winter staple, and basis for all good soups, chilies, stews etc.    

Butternut Squash Pancakes

I know - it sounds pretty yucky doesn't it?  I promise it isn't.  I made these for breakfast yesterday and my husband commented on how much moistness the squash lends to the pancakes.  High praise indeed!

I love using pureed squash and pumpkin in my pancakes for several reasons.  First, because I am able to sneak more vitamins and a vegetable serving into my kid's breakfast, and because it adds a great moistness and is virtually undetectable.

On a busy morning, I use a general pancake mix.  
In the freezer, I've frozen 1 - 2 cup baggies of squash or pumpkin puree.  This can be microwaved and mostly thawed within 1-2 minutes (or set it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw).  

Add approximately 1 cup of the puree to prepared pancake batter, and mix in 1/2 t. cinnamon.
Cook like normal pancakes and see if you can tell the difference!

Yep - healthy pancakes.  Even better with wheat flour.    

Butternut Bisque

Looking for a new way to get your family to enjoy squash? I tried out this Butternut Bisque (a smooth creamy soup) earlier this week and am still enjoying the left-overs!

While this can be made all at the same time, I decided to use my slow cooker and made this in two parts.

1/2 large Butternut squash
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 can chicken bouillon 
2 t. Knorr Caldo de pollo seasoning
1 quart milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Using potato peeler, peel squash and discard peels.  
Chop into 1 inch squares.  
Place in slow cooker, cover with water and allow to cook until soft, OR place in a pot of boiling, lightly salted water and boil until soft.  

Remove with slotted spoon and puree in blender, using remaining cooking water to slightly thin the mixture. 

In a large pot, melt butter and sauté the onions until translucent.  Add flour and mix to coat onions and make a roux.  

Once flour is heated and incorporated into butter, add squash - mixing with a wire whisk to eliminate any lumps.  Add chicken bouillon and seasoning, and finally enough milk to bring to desired consistency.  Heat until thoroughly warmed, but do not bring to a boil.  

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Cheesy Bacon Pull Aparts

I recently ran across this recipe in a "Good Things Utah" cookbook. As one of my kids loves bacon, this recipe caught my eye. I like the simplicity that I can throw it together and even use all store bought ingredients (biscuits, pre-cooked bacon, shredded cheese) if I'd like. This is a great one to toss into the oven this morning, get kids ready for school, and come back to as a hot breakfast, paired with fresh fruit and/or yogurt.

1 egg
2 T. milk
1 can Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Refrigerated original Biscuits
1 package precooked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or cook it and crumble it)
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. finly chopped green onions or chives

Heat oven to 350*. Spray 11 x 7 or 12 x 8 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat egg and milk with whisk until smooth.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut ieach into quarters.

Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly.

Fold in bacon, cheese, and onions.

Spoon mixutre into sprayed dish, arranging biscuit pieces in a single layer.

Bake for 23-28 minutes (28-33 for high altitude), or until golden brown.

Cut into squares to serve.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Barbara's Brazilian Salmon

This recipe comes from my friend Barbara, and it is our family's favorite.  Seeing as my husband doesn't like fish, but asks for this one - it really is that good!

4 salmon fillets (5-6 oz)
1/2 large orange, juice only (or orange juice)
1/2 large lemon, juice only (or 2-3 T. lemon juice)
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. chili powder
1 large garlic clove (minced)
2 T. melted butter

Marinate salmon in orange juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper for 20 minutes at room temperature (or longer).

Preheat oven to 425*
Mix brown sugar, chili powder and garlic together in a small bowl; rub well into marinated salmon.  Grease a foil lined baking sheet with a bit of the melted butter and place rubbed salmon on top.  Then drizzle with remaining butter and any remaining marinade. 

Cover with foil and bake for 25 +/- minutes - until salmon flakes with a fork.  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Breakfast Crepes with Country Gravy

Earlier this summer we spent a week cooking for the leaders at our church's girls camp.  One morning, we started to prepare breakfast and I had a hankering for something salty.  We'd had a lot of fruit with every meal, and I was tired of the sweet.  On the fly, I decided to experiment and throw something we hadn't planned on together - hoping it would work.  

Every now and then I still get comments about how delectable it was.  My husband has asked for it a couple of times, so we tag teamed it this morning - he made the crepes/swedish pancakes, and I the filling and sauce.  Note that the gravy in this photo is a basic white sauce.  The recipe below is for a country gravy...which really completes this dish (er, I mean to say 'don't try it with a white just isn't as good..the sausage really makes it amazing'). 

1 recipe for Swedish Pancakes prepared (but not rolled with sugar)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
6 large mushrooms - sliced
1 c. sliced red, yellow, orange bell peppers
1 garlic clove, diced

Country gravy (see below)

Slice veggies.  Spray cooking spray in the bottom of a frying pan, and heat, then veggies &  garlic.  Spray with cooking spray, add coarsely ground pepper.  Sauté until veggies are tender but still slightly crisp.   Add a few dashes of salt.
Remove cooked veggies from frying pan and place in center of crepe/swedish pancake.  Roll, and cover with country gravy (below). 

Country gravy
1 lb. ground sausage meat
4 - 6 c. milk
1/4 - 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. coarsely chopped onion

Brown sausage and onions until thoroughly cooked.  Do NOT drain grease.
Add flour, and gently toss until sausage is coated.

Slowly add milk, stirring constantly.  Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Allow to boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat.  Continue to stir as sauce begins to thicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over crepe/swedish pancake
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Award Winning Canned Peaches

Here's my recipe for canned peaches.  They won class champion at the county fair last year.

Use whatever quantity you have.  

Blanch peaches.
Peel and remove any bruises or bad spots (but save this for peach skin jelly). 
Slice and pit the peaches.  
Place sliced peaches into a bowl of cold water with Fruit Fresh mixed in to keep them from browning until enough for an entire batch of jars are sliced. 

Remove peaches from water, and place into sterilized, warm jars (keep heated in the dishwasher until ready to use). 
Add between 1/4 - 1/3 c. sugar (depending on the desired heaviness of the syrup) to each jar.
Add a dash or two of Fruit Fresh (helps them not discolor).

Fill the jars up the rest of the way with boiling water - leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Gently slide wooden spoon or rubber scraper into the jar (keeping to the side) to remove any air bubbles or pockets.  Add more boiling water if needed. 
Wipe down the mouths of the jars to remove any of the sugar.  You can use a damp paper towel for this, just use a different spot for each jar.  

Place hot lids and rings on the jars - screwing until finger tight, and place in hot water bath.  
Once the water begins to boil, cook for 45 minutes (6,000+ altitude). 

Remove from water bath, place on dishtowel on counter to cool, and allow to cool for 24 hours before moving.

After 24 hours, some of the syrup may have settled to the bottom.  Gently swish and swirl, and the sugar will dissolve into the syrup.  


  • The amount of sugar you add depends on your preference.  1/2 c. = medium heavy, 1/3 c. = medium light, 1/4 c. = light syrup.
  • If entering these into a fair, make sure that the brand name on the bottle matches the name on the lid.   
  • 60 lbs. of peaches generally produces approx. 45 quarts and 15 pints of peach skin jelly.  


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rocky Road or Mississippi Mud Brownies

I found this recipe in a cookbook my mother-in-law gave me with recipes from the state of Utah. The original title for these brownies was "The Huntsman Family's Favorite Brownies". The Huntsmans are a prominent family in Utah (previously the Governer of Utah).

We gave this recipe a run through last month and followed the directions exactly. We weren't so sure that the finished product was correct, or that the recipe had been printed correctly. This time, we didn't quite follow the recipe and we tweaked a few things, and love the result - so we changed the name. This is a rocky road or mississippi mud type of brownie. Gooey and OH! So, VERY sweet!

4 eggs beaten
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1 c. butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 of a 16 oz bag (8 oz.) miniature marshmallows

Combine eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.

Melt margarine and add cocoa, stir. Add to egg mixture and beat well.

Bake in a 9x13 inch pan at 375* for 30 minutes.

As soon as brownies are taken from the oven, cover with marshmallows. Return pan to oven until marshmallows are slightly melted.

Pour chocolate frosting over marshmallows and cool before cutting.


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Chicken and Basil Alfredo

One of my kids has recently developed a fascination with basil. She also loves chicken alfredo, so when I saw this recipe, it was a must try.

I have to admit that at first glance I was fairly dubious of this recipe. Traditionally, I've never made an alfredo sauce using cream cheese - that just seems like cheating, and doesn't give the same results. I was pleasantly surprised though with this recipe, and appreciated the time saved by not making the uber rich, more time intensive traditional sauce.


4 1/2 c. (12 oz.) short shape pasta
1 T. butter
1 lb. chicken, cut into chunks
1/2 t. garlic salt (or fresh garlic)
1 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, coarsely cubed
2 t. dried basil leaves
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions: drain. In a skillet, melt butter, sprinkle chicken with garlic salt, (or add fresh garlic to butter), and cook chicken until no longer pink.

Add milk and heat until it boils. Stir in cream cheese and basil.

Reduce heat and continue stirring until cream cheese has melted.
Remove from heat, add Parmesan cheese.

Toss with hot pasta and serve immediately.
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Tomato Salad / Mediterranean Tomato Platter

Here's a very simple and quick way to enjoy some fresh tomatoes.

Lay out serving platter and crush fresh salt, (or sprinkle) kosher salt lightly onto the platter.
Drizzle olive oil lightly over the salt.
Sprinkle with freshly minced or dried basil.
Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and arrange onto platter.

Once again, lightly salt. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with basil. Top with freshly ground black pepper.

Variation - add mozarella cheese cubes.
Variation - coarsely chop tomatoes and cube 1/2 c. mozarella cheese. Toss all ingredients and serve as a salad.
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Chocolate dipped pretzels

Looking for a quick chocolate fix?


I made this treat for my family this evening. It took all of five minutes and my kids were thrilled - if they hadn't been weeding the garden (yes, my slave labor crew was hard at work while I was playing in the kitchen) I would have let them help as this is very kid friendly (and finger licking friendly as well).

I love the crunch of the pretzel and the marriage of the salty and sweet in this simple treat.

15-20 pretzels
1 c. chocolate chips (semi-sweet gives a darker chocolate flavor, milk chocolate a sweeter taste, white chocolate chips may also be used)
1 T. vegetable shortening (Crisco etc.)

Place chocolate chips and shortening into a microwave safe bowl, and heat at half power for 1 minute. Remove and stir with a spoon. Repeat until completely melted. Check and stir every 30 seconds after 2 minutes so that chocolate doesn't scorch.

Once chocolate is melted, dip pretzels into chocolate, covering both sides. Fingers can be used, or a fork or spoon. Place dipped pretzels onto waxed paper and allow to cool (if in a hurry, place waxed paper on cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator to speed up the setting process).

If desired, repeat this process with a coating of white chocolate as well after the chocolate has cooled and set, or dip half of pretzel with white chocolate, and half of pretzel with brown chocolate. My kids would love to be creative and cover these with sprinkles as well.

Pretzel sticks may also be used in this recipe.

Chocolate mixture can be used with fruits, cookies, candy, nuts, etc. as well.
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Peach Pie with lattice top crust

I was looking through the camera roll on my husband's phone this evening and realized that I forgot to post this recent recipe.


This week I have been canning peaches. Lots and lots of them. It took 12 hours and I ended up with 45 quarts of peaches and 15 pints of jelly made from the bruised peach parts and the skins.

On top of the canning, my kids started school on Wednesday. In honor of having a quiet house and some time to do whatever I wanted, I decided to make a peach pie. Now, I really haven't ever made one, and I couldn't be bothered to go and actually research and look up a recipe. I figured it couldn't be very hard (it wasn't) and here's what I came up with. This was also my first lattice pie crust - which I really liked. My pie dough was already prepared in the freezer, so the preparation for this pie was no more than 20 minutes total.

6-8 peaches, washed, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 - 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 dashes ground nutmeg
1 splash lemon juice

dough for top and bottom pie crust
cinnamon sugar mixture

Preheat oven to 350* F.
Roll out bottom crust and place in pie plate.
Lightly sprinkle flour over bottom of crust to prevent sogginess.

Place sliced peaches into a bowl and add 1/4 c. flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gently toss. Add a splash of lemon juice.

Pour mixture into pie crust, and dot with butter if desired.

Sprinkle flour over working area of counter top, and roll the rolling pin through the flour to coat. Roll out the remaining pie crust to 1/8 inch thin. Using rotary slicer/cutting wheel, or a pizza slicer, slice into 1/2 inch strips.

Carefully arrange the strips at half inch intervals horizontally across the pie, floured (flour from the counter) side up, pressing one end of each strip into the left pie crust edge. Once all of the strips have been placed horizontally, press a strip of pie crust dough at the bottom of the left pie crust edge, and gently lattice this strip with the horizontal strips in an over/under pattern until the opposite side is reached. Continue this vertical pattern, at 1/2 inch intervals, alternating each strip over/under beginning point.

Press vertical strips into the pie dough crust at the top of the pie when finished. Trim and flute edges of pie crust.

If desired (for a shinier and prettier pie), wet ring finger in milk and lightly moisten each lattice strip. If lattice strips don't stick well at edges, moisten with milk.

Sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 350* for one hour.

Best served with vanilla ice cream.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010


Molé is a meat sauce generally eaten with rice made with many spices, even including chocolate. Yeah - I know, chocolate covered chicken just doesn't sound appetizing, but it really is quite tasty (molé covered chicken at least is).

While molé can be made from scratch, I don't have the recipe for it. I do however know how to put it all together from the little bottle of molé sauce you can find in the mexican section of most grocery stores. It generally comes in a small glass jar. The jars also come in handy as glasses later on for those on a budget who get excited about molé AND a free drinking glass!

I don't have photos right now, but will add some in the near future...I decided I'd rather get the recipe posted before I lose my recipe.

1 whole chicken (or the equivalent in meat from breast, thighs etc)
1 jar mole
chicken broth (reserved from cooking the chicken)

In a large pot, heat a pot of water, and cook whole chicken (excepting the innards).
Remove chicken from broth, and allow broth to cool.
De-bone chicken, cutting into bite-sized pieces, and discarding the bones.

Scoop molé from the jar into a blender. Add reserved chicken broth, filling blender 2/3 full. Cover and blend. Add salt to taste and a little bit of sugar as well.
If mixture is still very thick, add more broth, blending until it reaches the consistency of a thick buttermilk or batter.

In a frying pan, heat oil and fry chicken pieces. Pour molé on top of this, heat, and serve with rice and beans.

Chile Pasado

Elva gave me the recipe for Chile Pasado.
While technically this means old (past its prime) chiles, these chiles are very expensive but very flavorful and add zest to just about anything you can think of.

After roasting and peeling chiles as in the chile relleños recipe, leaving stalks intact, place chiles on foil lined baking sheet and set out to dry in the sun for 3 days, covering at night.

Once dried, they can be stored for a VERY long time in a plastic bag.

To cook, cover with boiling water and cook (you may place a saucer on top of them while they boil to keep them submerged).

Throw out water because it will be bitter, and remove stalks and seeds.

Chop up rehydrated chiles and mix into potato or meat mixtures, add to rice and beans, or add to a fried onion, tomatoe and garlic mixture seasoned with tomato bouillon with ample amounts of mexican cheese.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Elva's Cheese Enchiladas


My friend Elva also makes a very mean cheese enchilada. She made these for my family the other day and gave me the recipe as well. Very similar to my friend Maria's recipe, Elva cooks the tortillas differently. We love them both ways. Elva also taught me how handy it is to cook outside on the side burner on the grill. This alleviates heat in the kitchen during the summer, and keeps things A LOT cleaner as well!

Here is Maria's salsa recipe that was almost identical to Elva's

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

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.
It didn't appear that Elva strains hers

Cheese mixture
Use either Queso Fresco/Ranchero (available at Walmart and Costco)..this is a very fine cheese that you crumble with your finger tips, or shredded mozarella or monterey jack. Place in a bowl, and mix in 1/2 to a whole finely chopped onion.


While Maria dips the tortillas in the salsa and then quickly fries them, filling them with cheese and rolling at the end, Elva took these steps in a different order.

Elva heats the corn tortillas wrapped in a dish towel (about 12) in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes. They come out steaming hot, and are dipped in the salsa and then filled with a cheese and chopped onion mixture and THEN fried.

Lower tortillas into hot oil and allow to cook for just a few minutes on each side.

Enchiladas ready to be fried

Top with sour cream or Maria's Zero Spice (Heat) 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.

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Elva's Chile Relleños


My friend Elva makes the BEST chile relleños in the world period. Over the years, I've had a lot of chiles relleños, and hands down, she makes the best. Several years ago I asked her to teach me how - she responded that it was the wrong time of year for the good chiles.

Well, right now - it's the right time, so go get your chiles and get cooking!

First off, choose fresh chiles peppers. Anaheim are usually the best, and adjust the type you buy depending on how hot you want these to be. Also (I didn't know this at the time) fresh = not wrinkled. Wrinkles make it difficult later on. Also, wider is better (it isn't very often you get to say that!)

10-12 anaheim chile peppers
Oil (optional) - only if using wrinkled peppers
25-30 julienned cheese sticks (mozarella or monterey jack)
4 eggs
1/2 t. baking powder
2-3 heaping t. flour
1/4 t. salt
Oil for frying

Turn on broiler in over and allow to heat up. Meanwhile, arrange chiles on baking sheet. Once oven is hot, place chiles under broiler. Broil until blistered and roasted (almost charred), turn over and repeat until chiles are completely roasted on the outsides. If the chiles are older and wrinkled, prior to baking, wet a paper towel with oil, and wipe over the chiles, to help them peel easier later on.


Working quickly, place chiles in a plastic bag. Spray/sprinkle cold water from the tap onto the bag to help it cool very quickly.

Wrap bag with a cold wet rag, and set in bottom of sink for 10-15 minutes to allow the chiles to sweat.

Meanwhile, julienne cheese into sticks approx. 1/4 inch X 3 inches. If the cheese is a little bit older or hard, it works better.


Remove chiles from bag and gently remove and discard the outer skin layer from each chile. Remove the stems, and insert finger into the chile to remove as many seeds as possible (the seeds generally give it the heat).

Carefully stuff each chile with the cheese sticks, taking caution NOT to split the chiles.


In the meantime, crack a small hole in each egg with a spoon, and drain the whites into a mixing bowl.


Mix egg whites until they come to stiff peaks. Gradually add baking power, and flour.

Mix the egg yolks into the egg white mixture, beating until it becomes yellow and frothy. Add salt.


Heat oil until it is smoking. Gently dip each chile into the batter and place in frying pan with hot oil.


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After just a few minutes, turn chiles.


Remove from pan and place on paper towel lined plate or pan so that grease can be soaked up.

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