Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wild Rice Soup

This recipe is in my sister's Better Homes and Gardens book. It's sooo amazing.

Wild Rice Soup

2 T butter or margarine
2 stalks celery, diced (1 cup)
1 carrot, shredded (1 cup)
1 onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 green pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 T flour
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
1 cup water
1 can (10 1/2 oz) chicken broth
1 cup half & half
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups cooked, cubed turkey or chicken

1. Melt butter in large pot. Cook celery, carrot, onion, and pepper in butter for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
2. Stir in flour and pepper. Stir in wild rice, water, and broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in half-and-half, almonds, and parsley. Heat just until hot (do not boil or soup may curdle).

Cinnamon Applesauce Salad

This is my utmost favorite jello salad. Whenever I make it for potlucks, people stare at it like, "Whaaaa??" And when I tell them that it's a jello made with cinnamon candy and applesauce, they stare at me like, "Whaaaaaa??" Trust me. This is the best jello you will ever eat. And you'll want to make it at least once a week for the rest of your LIFE!!

Cinnamon-Applesauce Salad

1/2 cup (4 oz) red hots candy
2 cups boiling water
6 oz. lemon jello
2 cups applesauce
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese
1 small jar marshmallow cream
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Boil red hots in water. Then mix in jello. Add applesauce. Pour into a 9X9 inch pan and let it softset for one hour. Mix the cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and lemon juice. Swirl only 3/4 of this mixture into the applesauce mixture so that it looks marbley. Then let it hard set. The extra marshmallow cream mixture is really good for a fruit dip.

Corn Chowder

I got this recipe from a lady from my old ward growing up, Ann. It's soooooo nummy.

Corn Chowder

Cook one pound bacon, reserving the bacon grease. Dice one whole onion and cook it in the bacon grease until soft. Set cooked onion aside, as well.

Peel and dice 6 - 8 potatoes. Cover the potatoes with barely enough water to cover them. Then boil until the potatoes are done. While this is cooking, make a white sauce:

White Sauce:
9 Tbsp. melted butter
12 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups milk

Melt the butter and blend in the flour, salt, and milk. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens. Add the white sauce to the undrained potato mixture. Add two cans of creamed corn, bacon, and onions. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste.

Rice and Ham Casserole

I'd have to say that this is, bar none, Ben's utmost favorite meal. When I tell him we're having it for dinner, it's he that does the little shimmy. :) I'm giving this recipe to you doubled, so you'll need two casserole dishes to fit this amount of food.

Rice and Ham Casserole

2 cubes of margarine - melt in very large skillet. Add:
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups rice, uncooked
6 cups water
2 cans cream of celery soup

Simmer 15 mins. Add 16 oz. diced, pre-cooked ham, and 4 Tbsp. soy sauce. Put into two greased casserole dishes and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Pistachio Salad

This is such a fun thing to make this time of year. I like to use chopped pistachios instead of pecans, but in a pinch, pecans are great.

Pistachio Salad

Mix together:
1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding
20 oz. crushed pineapple (undrained)

8 oz. Cool Whip
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or pistachios)
1/2 cup to 1 cup coconut
2 cups mini marshmallows

Mashed Potatoes

Dude, mashed potatoes have a bad rep. People are always like, "Mashed potatoes are so hard to make, so I use those mixes with potato flakes!" Which, by the way, are equally good. But for reals, if you have potatoes to use up, like I did the other day, and it would go perfect with your crock pot turkey, which they did, this is really, really, really not hard. Try it out. You won't regret it. Especially if you go with the optional add-ins.

Traditional Mashed Potatoes

4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 10 cups)
1 1/2 cups hot milk
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Optional Add-Ins:
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley or dill

1. Place potatoes in large pot and add enough water to cover them. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander.
2. Return cooked potatoes to pot and stir over medium heat, about 1 minute, until excess water has evaporated.
3. With potato masher, mash in hot milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Beat with wooden spoon until potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in the optional add-ins, if desired.

Beef Stroganoff

My mom has had this recipe for bazillions of years. It's so very good.

Beef Stroganoff

Mix in large skillet and brown:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 T. minced onions
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 small can of mushrooms (or a similar amount of fresh, sliced mushrooms)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small sour cream.

Let simmer 15 minutes. Then add 2 T flour. Sprinkle it over the stroganoff and work it in. Serve over noodles - I prefer wide egg noodles with this sauce.

Hot Hoagie

My husband LOVES these so much. As do I. As do I. I got this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Yummmmm.

Hot Hoagie

2 loaves french bread, cut lengthwise
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
4 green onions, sliced
1 tsp. garlic salt
2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 4 T. dried)
4 cups shredded cheese
1 small can chopped olives

Preheat oven to 350. Place french bread on large baking sheet. Mix all topping ingredients together in a bowl. Spread it on top of french bread. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Slice before serving.

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

These are just as easy as using a mix, I swear! And sooo much better. Ya know, because of the sour cream. Sour cream makes everything better. :) I got this recipe from

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Fold in sour cream. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and pecans. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Lentil and Pasta Soup

I made this tonight and it was soooooo good. And nope, that's not my picture. Because it actually looks nice. :) It looks similar to how mine turned out. I got this recipe from my Relief Society president a couple of years ago.

Lentil and Pasta Soup

1 pkg. bacon, cooked, bacon grease reserved
6 clobes garlic, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
6 tomatoes, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 cups brown lentils
16 cups water
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup small shell pasta
finely chopped parsley for garnish

Cook the bacon either in a skillet or in the microwave until done; reserve the grease and set the bacon aside for awhile.

Cook the garlic, onion, tomatoes, and celery in the bacon fat until soft. Stir in the lentils, the water, and the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then back the temperature to medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes more. Break the bacon into small pieces and put in the soup. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Crock Pot Roasted Beef Medallions


My mom gave us a bunch of beef medallions that she got for a steal a few months ago (Obviously, they've been frozen this whole time). And I was grateful, because food is so stinkin' expensive lately. I wanted to throw them in the crock pot on a Sunday, so I looked up some recipes and found the one below from Spark Recipes. I actually had all of the other ingredients on hand, so it was perfect. And YES, I do sometimes cook with red wine. My mom thinks it's abominable. As long as the alcohol cooks out, I'm good with it. Alcohol makes meat taste AMAZING.

Crock pot Roasted Beef Medallions with Vegetables a la Red Wine

    8 beef medallions (4 oz. no fat)
    3 carrots, sliced
    1 large potato, sliced
    3 celery stalks, chopped
    0.5 onion, sliced
    2 garlic cloves, pressed
    2 tsp of Yellow Mustard
    1 tbsp of Whole Wheat Flour
    1 cup of Red Wine
    1 tbsp of Olive Oil
    0.5 cup of Water
    1 dash of Rosemary
    Salt and Pepper to the taste

Put the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag, put the medallions and shake evenly.

In a hot pan, heat the oil and brown the medallions on every side. Cover them with mustard and reserve.

Put the vegetables in layers inside the crock pot, add the garlic cloves and season, put the meat evenly distributed, ad the red wine, the water and sprinkle some rosemary above, cover and cook. Cook in your crock pot on low for 6 hours, or high for 4 hours.

Serve with a cup of brown rice to complete a delicious meal.

Number of Servings: 8

Friday, November 18, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Oh, I just had to try these. And I'm so glad I did. The recipe looks a little intimidating because of its length, but it was worth every moment I spent on it. I was lucky I had all of the ingredients - food prices are so high these days that we've been eating our food storage food a lot lately. I didn't have to buy one thing - my son loves granny smith apples, so we had them on hand, and the carmel sauce is homemade, so I didn't have to go out and buy that, either.

I got this from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. The girl is a cooking genius!!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping
Printable Version
Printable Version with Picture

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).

For the caramel sauce, mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

* Kar's Note: I measured the caramel sauce after I made it - it yields 1 1/3 cup. So if you would rather buy prepared caramel sauce, buy about 1 1/3 cups worth.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cranberry Salad

So this salad is more of a creamy fruit salad. If you want something cranberryish, but creamy instead of jelloey, this is the one for you. I think I got this one from my mom, maybe??

Cranberry Salad


1 (12 oz) pkg. fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 pomegranate, seeded
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans
1 pint heavy whipping cream
7 oz miniature marshmallows


1. Coarsely chop the cranberries in a food processor; put in a large, non-metal bowl and mix in the sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

2. Whip the cream until stiff. Add the pineapple, pomegranate seeds, and nuts to the cranberries, mix well. Fold in whipped cream and marshmallows; refrigerate until ready to serve.

* Note: I didn't let the cranberries sit in the sugar for 12 hours - I didn't have that kind of time. So I just went ahead and mixed everything together, and it still turned out wonderfully yummy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Turkey Rolls

Man, I have had this recipe for so long that I can't remember who I got it from. Probably from my mom??

I like to use pie crust to make my turkey rolls, but I know you can use those canned Pillsbury crescent rolls as well. You won't want to bake them as long as I bake mine in pie crust - if you choose Pillsbury rolls, you'll only want to cook them on 375 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.

And you can roll yours up any way you like. I was inspired by my recent trip to China, where our friends taught us how to make dumplings. Now, I really, really think Chinese dumplings are disgusting, but I liked the concept of how they assembled them. And I liked how small and almost bite-sized they were. So when I made them this time, I did them Chinese dumpling-style.

A teeny picture tutorial -

You roll out your pie crust:

Then use a cup or a round cookie-cutter to make a bunch of circles:

Then you put in some of your filling - maybe 1 Tbsp or so - it's a small amount:

Then fold it up in half and pinch to seal:

Then flute the seam to make it look pretty:

In the past, I've just used a knife, made bigger squares with my crust, then folded up a larger amount of filling inside, kind of like an envelope. This way is prettier, but it is more time-consuming.

Kay. On to the recipe.

Turkey Rolls

2 T. melted butter
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. chopped mushrooms
1 stick diced celery
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup cubed, cooked turkey
1/4 of an onion, minced
half a can of chopped olives

Soften cream cheese. Combine with all of above ingredients.

1 1/3 cup herb-seasoned bread stuffing
1 cup walnuts

Put above in blender and crumble. Then put into a bowl.

Use a pastry recipe and make enough for four pie crusts. Roll out as directed above, put desired amount of filling in each roll, and seal.

Melt 6 Tbsp butter. Dip each roll in butter and roll into the crumb mixture. Put on cookie sheet. Bake for 40 minutes on 375 degrees.

Make a gravy to put on top:

1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 can cream of chicken soup

Thicken it and pour on rolls.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sausages with White Beans in Tomato Sauce

My mom gave me tons and tons of tomatoes from her garden that we needed to eat up, and I found this recipe on that seemed to fit the bill. I tweaked the original a little bit - I'll make note of the changes I made at the bottom. We had it tonight, and it was fantastic. I did take a picture, and it was so very, very awful that you get the pretty picture from epicurious instead.

Sausages with White Beans in Tomato Sauce

Makes 4 to 6 servings


2 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
6 whole sweet Italian sausages (about 1 1/4 pounds)
6 cups cooked white beans with 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid
1 14- to 15-ounce can plum tomatoes in juice; tomatoes chopped, juice reserved
2 large fresh sage sprigs
1 cup (or more) water

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic. Saute garlic until golden, about 2 minutes. Add sausages; saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup reserved bean cooking liquid, tomatoes with juice, and sage. Simmer 5 minutes. Add beans and 1 cup water. Cover and simmer until sausages are cooked through, adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls if dry, about 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer until sauce thickens, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

* Changes I made tonight - I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. 2 cups of diced tomatoes is about the same as one 15-ounce can of tomatoes. And then I used canned beans instead of cooking them - four cans of great northern white beans makes about six cups. I used some of the liquid from the can as the 1/2 cup "reserved cooking liquid" from the beans in the recipe. And make sure you drain and rinse the beans before putting them in the skillet.

Craisin Salad

Wow. Neato picture. Sigh.

Anywho, this is one of MANY craisin-sprinkled salads I have on this blog, but it's so dang good that I have to include it. Remember - only shimmy-worthy recipes are allowed on here. :)

I got this from Barbeques - Parties & Potlucks, California Cookbook Company, 2001. We had it tonight and it's sooooooooo good.

Craisin Salad

1 head lettuce - red leaf, green leaf, iceburg, or a mixture of all three
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 small pkg. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup craisins
1 pound bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 small pkg. almonds, sliced
3 chicken breast halves, cooked, diced
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil

Toss together lettuce, shredded, cheese, craisins, bacon, almonds, and chicken. In a blender, combine onion, sugar, mustard, red wine vinegar; blend, slowly adding canola oil until well-mixed. Toss salad and dressing together or serve dressing on the side.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Char-Broiled Brisket with Mopping Sauce

I should have sliced this up nicely for the picture, but you know how it is when it's dinner time - busy, busy, busy. So you get the slab in a picture instead.

Kay. So this recipe is supposed to be a grilling recipe, but I decided to tweak it a little bit for my crock pot. So I'm going to put the original grilling recipe below, but then I'll make a note of the changes I made for crock pot cooking.

Char-Broiled Brisket with Mopping Sauce

Serves 8

6 pounds beef brisket, flat cut, trimmed of fat
2 quarts of water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. pepper

Mopping Sauce:
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. bay leaf, crumbled
1 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 2/3 cups meat stock from brisket

Place brisket into a large pot and cover 3/4 of the way with water. Add bay leaves and pepper. cover with lid and cook 3 to 4 hours on simmer, adding water if needed. Turn brisket every 30 minutes. When brisket is tender and done, drain off all liquid, reserving 2 2/3 cups for mopping sauce. Prepare mopping sauce by combining all sauce ingredients and mixing together. Place brisket on barbecue at medium heat. Brush with mopping sauce. Turn every 20 minutes and brush with sauce. Cook on grill 30 to 40 minutes. Place brisket on platter and slice into serving slices. Warm the leftover sauce in the microwave and serve it on the side.

* My changes: I only had a 2 1/2 pound brisket. I put it in the crockpot, and then mixed the mopping sauce at the same proportions as above, but instead of meat stock (which you need to boil a brisket to get), I substituted 2 cans of beef broth. Then I poured it over the brisket and let it cook in the crockpot. It turned out really wonderful. With the crock pot, you don't need less mopping sauce with a smaller brisket, because you need lots of liquid in there with the meat. If you're grilling the 2 pound brisket, I would obviously cut the mopping sauce proportions by two-thirds.

Tortellini Salad Toss

Yummmm. This was wonderful. Anything involving tortellini is wonderful, in my opinion. While I was eating it, I was reminded of that taste you get when you go to the Macaroni Grill and you dip that rosemary bread into the bitter vinegar/oil stuff - you know what I'm talking about? It's that kind of taste. But it's also very greek-ey, with the olives, the feta, etc. I served this with beef brisket and steamed vegetables, and it was awesome, but I keep thinking how amazing it would be next to, like, a grilled steak in the summertime. I think it would be the perfect yang to the grilled meat's ying.

Oh, and this recipe calls for sun-dried tomatoes, but I couldn't find the dang things in Wal-Mart. And I didn't have time to dry my own or go to a different store to find them, so I just chopped up the tomatoes I had on hand fresh, and they were great.

I got this recipe from my Barbeques - Parties and Potlucks book, California Cookbook Company, 2001.

Tortellini Salad Toss

Serves 4

1 pound cheese tortellini
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup black olives, halved
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook and drain tortellini according to package directions. Cut sun-dried tomatoes into julienne strips. Add remaining ingredients and toss. This salad is good hot or cold.

Mom Carrots

Ben la-hoves these carrots. And they couldn't be any easier to make. My mom gave me a bunch of carrots from her garden - the last of them - and it was the perfect way to use the carrots up. And the perfect way to make Benny smile. :) I got this recipe from my mama.

Mom Carrots

Peel carrots and slice them julienne-style. Steam them for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a serving bowl. Put in a whooooole bunch of butter - I honestly probably put 3 to 4 Tbsp. of butter in this bowl shown in the picture. The carrots will be nice and hot and will melt the butter quickly. Stir the butter in really well until the carrots are all coated. Then add liberal amounts of seasoned salt. I'll sprinkle way more than I would if I was just putting salt on something, then stir the carrots, then sprinkle them again, then stir, then sprinkle them again, then stir.

And that's it. I know it's kind of vague - it's one of those things that you just learn how much butter and seasoned salt you like. Taste them every now and then to see how you're feeling about the taste. These are fantastic.


One of the things I love best about omelettes is that you can open your fridge and use up your leftover veggies and meat. So it's a different thing every time. We had some leftover link sausage, so that's what we used this weekend, as well as leftover green onions and cheese (we had parmesan, three-cheese Italian, and cheddar all mixed in there) from different meals we've had the past few days. And then my mom gave me a ton of tomatoes, so we threw those in, too.


My hubby and I feel that two eggs is just about ideal for an omelette. And we use less milk than we would when preparing scrambled eggs or french toast - maybe about 1/3 milk to 2/3 eggs. Mix it up good, along with salt and pepper to taste, and pour it into a small skillet that has plenty of melted butter or margarine in the bottom. We like our stove set at a medium for these. Then pour your veggies and other fixins' on top. Kind of moosh those veggies and meats in there really good. When one side is golden brown, flip it and cook the other side. Ben serves his omelette just like shown above, but I'm sure you could fold it so that it's prettier for serving.

Stuff we like in our omelettes:

diced, fresh tomatoes
sliced green onions
diced green peppers
cheese, of course
diced ham
diced link sausage, pre-cooked
deli meat we want to use up, chopped up
sliced, fresh mushrooms

Honestly, the sky's the limit.

French Toast

Am I capable of taking such a pretty picture? Nope. And when we made it Saturday, I forgot to take one of my own. So for now, you get this gorgeous picture from The Chic Brulee.

And really, a monkey could probably make french toast, but I'm sticking it in here so that, when I'm thinking, "What should I have for breakfast this weekend?" and look at my recipe index, I won't forget that french toast should be in heavy rotation. Just because it's easy to make doesn't mean it should be ignored, vrai?

French Toast

Decide beforehand how many slices you want to cook. Then break about one egg per slice you'll be making into a cake pan. If you'll be cooking up 12 slices, you'll need a dozen eggs. Once you've broken as many eggs as you need into the cake pan, pour some milk in. I eyeball it and make the ratio about half egg, half milk. Use a fork and beat those eggs really hard until the yolks and milk and whites are mixed well.

Prepare a skillet -I like to heat it to medium on the stove, or to 350 degrees on my electric skillet. Put oil in it and spread it evenly so you don't get any stickage.

Dip one piece of bread in the eggy/milky mixture, first on one side, and then on another. Then slap it on the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown.

Top with whatever does it for you - I like butter and karo syrup.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Carrot Cake

Yes, there are two pieces missing from this cake - Ben and I forgot to take a pic before we wolfed some down last night. :) But look, it looks like a letter C, right? So it's kind of cute. C for Carrot Cake.

My mama gave me the last of her garden carrots, and there are tons of them! So I thought this would be the perfect way to use some up, along with some steamed carrots that I'm planning for dinner tonight.

I got this recipe online like 15 years ago from It's fantastic and easy.

Carrot Cake

3 cups grated carrots
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup golden raisins
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 oz. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Beat together the eggs, oil, and sugar. Blend mixture for 30 seconds.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the carrots and raisins. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients, and mix well.
3. Pour batter into well-greased 10 inch tube or bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool cake on wire rack, and then refrigerate until completely cooled.
4. To make cream cheese glaze: Blend together powdered sugar, cream cheese, corn syrup, and vanilla. Spread over cooled cake.

* Note: I've added 1/4 cup of flour to the original 2 cups of flour in this recipe, because I live at high elevation. I forgot to put the extra 1/4 cup in last night, so the cake fell, as you can see:

So now the 1/4 cup is permanently added to this recipe so I don't forget it again. It still tastes amazing, but it's not so pretty. If you live at low elevation, take away 1/4 cup flour from my recipe.

Baked Chicken Taquitos

I got this recipe (and this photo) from Mel - I love her stuff.

A neat story about these taquitos. I was planning to make them on Thursday night last week, and I decided to make a quadruple batch. Our ward was having its trunk-or-treat that night, and our tradition is that each trunk gives kids candy, but accompanying adults yummy finger food. It's a great tradition. So I cooked zillions of these taquitos, and my husband put my son's vampire makeup on, we got the kids all dressed up, etc. As we were walking over to the trunk-or-treat, several people were leaving. I was like, "Why are you leaving? Didn't it just start??"

"Uh, no, it just ended. We're going home. You must have written down the wrong time."

Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. I was so mad.

Ben's not mad, because now he has ten zillion of these taquitos to eat, and he loves them so very, very, very much. To him, it was a win-win situation. I didn't feel the same. I went and lay in my bed for half an hour, seething at myself that I had written down the wrong time and not double-checked it. And my kids were bitterly disappointed. Lesson learned - always double-check the time with someone else.

Without further ado, here's the recipe:

Baked Chicken Taquitos

6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup green salsa
2 T lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 T. chopped cilantro
4 T. sliced green onions
4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
2 cups grated pepperjack or monterey jack cheese
26 small corn tortillas
salt and cooking spray

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Soften cream cheese. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir. Add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. Place 2 Tbsp of chicken mixture in each tortilla. Important - if the tortillas start cracking, heat the tortillas in the microwave by placing them between damp paper towels for 20 - 30 seconds. Place seam side down on baking sheet. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle some salt on top. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 26 taquitos.

* Note - the reason you don't have one of my super-amazing pictures (I'm saying that facetiously) is because I didn't have time to microwave my tortillas one at a time that night. And they were cracking horribly. So mine weren't pretty at ALL, but dang, were they good.

Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper Salad

(picture from The Veggie Gal)

I made this salad this weekend, but with all of the Halloween stuff that's been going on - parties, trunk-or-treats, etc. - I forgot to take a picture of it. So this pic will have to suffice for now.

This salad is sooooo great to have with a Mexican food meal. It's fresh and really, really yummy. And easy peasy lemon squeezie.

I got this recipe from Barbeques - Parties and Potlucks, California Cookbook Company, 2001.

Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper Salad

Serves 6 - 8

2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained, rinsed
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen corn, thawed
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, firmly packed, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp. salad oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 fresh jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded, minced (optional)

Mix it all together and enjoy!

Tropical Apple Salad

I love making this salad this time of year. It's colorful and appley and totally appropriate for autumntime.

Not sure where I got this recipe - I've had it for ages and ages.

Tropical Apple Salad

1 c. diced red apple (unpared)
1 c. diced yellow apple (unpared)
1 lg. banana, sliced
1 c. diced celery
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 dash salt
1/2 c. whipped topping

Mix the mayo, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and whipped topping together before putting it on the other ingredients and tossing it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Broccoli Salad (Broccolislaw)

This salad is just too yummy for words. I've been in love with it ever since my friend, Mary, made it for a baby shower we both attended. A. mazing.

Broccoli Salad

4 stalks of broccoli florets, cut up
1 branch green onion, sliced
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

3/4 cup mayo
1/6 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix dressing together in separate bowl, then pour over other ingredients. Stir together.

*Note - The original recipe says to let the salad sit for three hours before serving, but I've found that it's okay to serve it immediately.

Marinated Pork Chops

Marinated Pork Chops

Serves 6

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 soy sauce
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
6 (1" thick) pork chops

Combine first four ingredients. Marinate pork chops in sauce for 1 hour. If desired, brush sauce on pork chops before grilling. Grill on medium heat 5 to 8 minutes per side.

P.S. - We've put our grill away for the winter (it comes early around here), so I put these in my crockpot with the marinade, and it turned out FANTASTIC. That's why, in the picture, the chops don't look grilled. They were crock-potted. And the chops were soooo tender - which is not something one can often say about pork chops.

P.S.S. - I got this from a recipe book called Barbeques - Parties and Potlucks, California Cookbook Company, 2001.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tortellini Soup

I got this from a gal in my book club, Jennifer B. It's vunderbar. More pasta-ey than soupey (and that's okay by me), but if you want it more soupey, I'd add more chicken broth.

Tortellini Soup

2 cans chicken broth
1 can stewed Italian tomatoes (chop the tomatoes up)
1 can green beans with liquid
1 can drained kidney beans
1 bag cheese tortellini
cooked, cubed chicken

Add together in a pan and cook enough to soften the tortellini. Serve with shredded Italian cheeses.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cranberry Set Salad

Can you tell I'm in a cranberry mood? They're in season, so I'm going nuts!

This is a variation of waldorf salad. I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, Gloria. She's the cutest.

And dude, I made this today, and I just barely realized that I didn't use enough jello. I wondered why it wasn't terribly firm! It was firm enough, but just...kind of loosey goosey. And now I know why. I used a small jello packet instead of a large one. Doh!!

Cranberry Set Salad

1 lg. pkg. (6 oz.) cherry jello
2 cups hot water
2 cups chipped ice (or 4-6 large ice cubes)

Combine gelatin and hot water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool with ice. Chill. When partially set, add:

1 can (16 oz.) jellied cranberry sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar

Whip cranberry mixture until smooth and add:

1 large apple, diced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 small can crushed pineapple (do not drain)

Chill until set. Serve on lettuce leaf (I didn't do this, because my kids hate lettuce - it's a waste. But it would look really pretty if you were serving this to adults) and topped with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 10 - 12 servings.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Dude, I swear half the time I make this dish is because it's just so PRETTY coming out of the oven.

And what a concept! A casserole, baked in a pumpkin instead of a boring old casserole dish! It's really a fun thing to do this time of year. My kids love the novelty of it. I've made this in regular-sized pumpkins, pie pumpkins, and even in those gorgeous, stripey, spotty squash. When you scoop it out to serve it, you can dig deep and bring some cooked pumpkin out with the casserole, or if you don't like it, just dig more shallowly to scoop it out and serve it. I made it tonight with pie pumpkins.

Oh, and I got this recipe from my dear friend and old college roommate, Carrie. Love ya, Care.

Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 medium pumpkin, or 4 pie pumpkins, or as many little upright squashes you like. As long as it can sit up by itself, you're good.
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups tomato juice
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, steamed
3 cups pre-cooked rice

1. Wash, scrape pumpkin.
2. Cook hamburger, onion, and garlic in a skillet.
3. Add sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, tomato juice, and rice.
4. Layer in pumpkin: one-third of the cabbage, one-third of the green beans, and one-third of the beef mixture. Repeat two more times, or until your pumpkin is full.
5. Replace lids and cook on 350 degrees for two to three hours.


Okay, you're going to think I'm so dumb for putting this on here, but for reals, I think people need to know how to cook rice properly. Including every person living in Baoding, Hebei, China. I never once had good rice there. It's because they don't cook with margarine. It's really difficult to find butter, and I never once found any margarine. That's what makes good rice - a little bit of margarine and a little bit of salt. This is how my mom taught me to make rice. Once you do this, you'll never go back to plain old rice again:

Cooking Directions for Fluffy, Tender Rice

1. Combine 1 cup rice, 2 cups cold water, 1 Tbsp. margarine, and 1 tsp. salt in a 2 quart pan.
2. Bring to a brisk boil. Turn heat down very low and cover with a lid. Simmer for an additional 15-18 minutes or until all water is absorbed.

Yield: 3 cups of rice.

Breakfast Casserole

Ack! Thanks to my horrible camera skills, this doesn't look as amazing as it tastes. The recipe only calls for 1 Tbsp. of chopped green onion, but my husband was in charge of chopping it, and he went a little hog-wild, because he loves green onions.

The casserole looks gross, but tasted wonderful. But let me tell you, that canteloupe actually did taste HORRIBLE. Canteloupe is officially out of season, folks. Nasssssssssty.

Here it is coming out of the oven:

I got this recipe from Lori L. from my ward growing up. It's fantastic. You use up a lot of bread for it, which can be fun - like, for instance, I hate the heels of bread. So I gleefully put the heels into this, along with any wheat bread I have lying around (I don't really like wheat bread all that much either). Or, if we have leftover buns from hot dogs or hambugers, this is a great way to use those up instead of throwing them out or freezing them and forgetting about them (that's what happens to leftover hot dog buns in my house, unfortunately).

Breakfast Casserole

10 - 12 slices bread
6 eggs
1 large can evaporated milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 Tbsp. snipped parsley (optional)
1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
1/2 - 3/4 lb. breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Cube bread; place in bottom of 9X13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle cooked sausage and cheese over bread. Beat eggs, milk, soup, parsley, and onion until well-blended. Pour over sausage, cheese, and bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for about an hour.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Joan's Rolls

I got this recipe from my dear childhood friend's mom, Joan. They are incredible, and really, quite easy. When we have family get-togethers, I'm usually asked to bring one of two things - a salad, or Joan's rolls. I actually baked a batch of rolls for my youngest sis for her birthday a couple of years ago, per her request. :) They're fantastic. I made these tonight, and while I was unpacking my suitcases from China (finally), my dang three-year-old ate FIVE of them. The little stinker.

Joan's Rolls/Bread


Dissolve 2 pkg. yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. (Add 1/4 t. sugar to make it go faster.) Put in a blender: 2 c. warm water, 1 block margarine, 1/2 c. sugar, 2 t. salt, and 2 eggs. Blend for 1 1/2 minutes. Add yeast mixture and blend. In a very large bowl, have 7 cups of flour ready. Pour blender mixture into flour. Stir with big wooden spoon. Cover with cloth and let rise until double in size (1 1/2 hours or so). Split dough in half. With each half, roll out flat and cut pizza-style. Roll them up big end first. Put on pan that has been sprayed with Pam and let rise again until desired size (about 1/2 hour). Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.

Bread (I love the taste of Joan's rolls, so I did some experimenting to make them into bread):

After the dough has risen to double its size in the bowl, punch down and shape into three loaves. Put them into three greased loaf pans, and let them rise until desired size. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 mins. Cover with foil after the first 10 mins so they don't get too brown.

German Pancakes

We had this all the time when I was growing up - my youngest sister called it "The Big Yellow Stuff," a name my kids now call it. It's soooooooooo easy to make.

My mom used to serve it with a choice of applesauce or jam, and whipped topping on top. I prefer canned fruit pie filling, but in a pinch, I'll use applesauce or jam. It's a good way to use up jam, especially if you're like me, and everyone and their dog gives you jam. I must have a sign on my forehead that says, "Please give me some jam." I've gotten three jars just since I've been home from some sweet elderly neighbors, and I expect to get six or seven more jars when my grandpa returns from wintering down south in the spring. He always keeps himself busy making all kinds of jam - cactus, pomegranate... Old people are cute.

German Pancakes

6 T. butter
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put butter in a 9X13 pan and melt it in the oven. Mix other ingredients and pour into pan on top of butter. Don't stir it in - just pour it right on top. The butter serves as a barrier between the batter and the pan. Cook for 20 minutes. When you pull it out, don't be alarmed - it will be huge, curling up toward the top of the oven:

But then it falls gradually as it cools.

We eat this whole 9X13 pan's worth of pancakes in one sitting. We are little piggies. Ziggy, Piggy! Ziggy, Piggy! Oinkoinkoinkoink!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mini Grilled Cheese with Cranberry, Turkey, and Brie

This recipe was next to the recipe for pumpkin muffin turkey sandwiches in People Magazine, Nov. 16, 2009. They recommended using pumpernickel bread, but pumpernickel makes me yak, so I just like to use plain old white bread. Preferably Grandma Sycamore's bread. Aw yeah, baby.

I love turkey/Brie sandwiches. The first western meal we ate after living in Baoding, Hebei, China for three months was in Beijing, where we toured for a few days before returning home. We ate at an Italian sandwich place in the Silk Market, and I ate like ten turkey/brie sandwiches. Nothing has ever tasted so good to me in my life. I didn't see any turkey the whole time we were in Baoding. Chicken feet to munch on, yes. Sheeps brains, yes. Chicken stomachs, yes. But no turkey to be found.

And now that I've ruined your appetite (unless you're Chinese), here's the recipe:

Mini Grilled Cheese with Cranberry, Turkey, and Brie

12 slices bread
1/2 cup leftover cranberry sauce
1/2 pound Brie
Leftover turkey meat
4 tbsp. butter

1. Lay out six slices of bread. Spread each with cranberry sauce, Brie, and leftover turkey. Top with remaining 6 slices of bread.
2. Melt butter in skillet (be careful not to burn). When butter starts sizzling, add sandwiches, and cook until golden brown. Remove from skillet and cut into quarters.

Cran/Apple Spinach Salad

I often make a variation of this salad in the summertime, using strawberries. When I saw that it could also be good with apples, I thought I'd try it tonight. Apples are in season and much, much cheaper than strawberries right now, right? Right.

I got this recipe from a lady who was in my ward when I was growing up. Her name is Le Anne S.

Cran/Apple Spinach Salad

Baby spinach - washed and ready to eat
Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, dried cranraisins, chopped apples, and toasted sliced almonds.
Lightly toss, and serve with Briana's poppyseed dressing.