Monday, January 30, 2012

Cranberry-Orange Pinwheels

I usually do almond poppyseed bread for neighbor/friend gifts every Christmas, but I had lots of leftover cranberries from various cranberry salad adventures this year, so I did something different - Cranberry-Orange Pinwheels. I've made these before and just love them. They're addictive. I got this recipe from my sister's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

Cranberry-Orange Pinwheels

Makes: 60 servings
Yield: 60 cookies
Prep: 25 mins
Chill: 5 hrs to 24 hrs
(*Kar's note - I once only chilled these for ten minutes and they still turned out perfectly. Just sayin'. Don't let the chill time deter you from making them. They'll turn out great even if you don't chill them for this long.)
Bake: 375°F, 8 mins per batch

  • 1
    cup cranberries
  • 1
    cup pecans
  • 1/4
    cup packed brown sugar
  • 1
    cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2
    cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2
    teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2
    teaspoon salt
  • 2
  • 2
    teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
  • 3
    cups all-purpose flour

1. For filling, in a blender container or food processor bowl combine cranberries, pecans, and brown sugar. Cover and blend or process until cranberries and nuts are finely chopped; set filling aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and orange peel until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

3. Roll half of the dough between pieces of waxed paper into a 10-inch square. Spread half of the filling over dough square to within 1/2 inch of edges; roll up dough. Moisten edges; pinch to seal. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Chill for 4 to 24 hours.

4. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices . Place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degrees degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Key Lime Pie

Weirdly, I haven't made Key Lime Pie since I was in high school. I was at my BFF's house, and we were in the mood for some dessert. After taking stock of what was in the fridge and the pantry, we figured out the only thing we could make, based on available ingredients, was key lime pie. So we did just that.

And I love key lime pie. Why haven't I made it in, oh, the last 20 years??? I just don't know. I get it at restaurants all the time. And here's the thing - it's so EASY. So. Easy.

I went on a cruise with my hubs a couple of weeks ago, and I had Key Lime pie whenever possible. It was fantastic. (Fun fact for ya - I gained THREE POUNDS just in four days on this cruise. I kid you not. Horrible.)

I got this recipe from It's actually Emeril's recipe!! You can't go wrong with Emeril. BAM!

Oh, and I didn't actually taste it myself when I made it this week. I made it for my friends. I can't eat sweets on this diet thingey I'm doing. How do I know it's shimmy-worthy, then? She told me. And I believe her. I mean, it's EMERIL!! It's GOT to be shimmy-worthy!

Key Lime Pie

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter) melted
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
  • 1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.

* Kar's Note - I used store-bought graham cracker crusts. So much easier. And it tastes just as good. And then you have a nice, disposable pie tin when you want to give the pies away, like I wanted to. Voila.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my go-to meals. If we're poor and don't have many ingredients, or if I haven't had a chance to go shopping recently, or if I just want something warm and comforting, I make this bad boy.

Oh, and if you want to substitute turkey for the chicken, it's just as yummy.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 pie crusts
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp minced onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 oz. frozen peas and carrots or frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

If you want to make your pie crusts homemade, go here for a good, easy recipe. Or just buy the refridgerated, store-bought kind. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour into the bottom crust. Put the top crust over the filling, cut some venting holes, and seal the edges. Cook at 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Put foil on the pie for the first 20 minutes or so, then take the foil off and finish cooking for the remaining 10 to 15 minutes. This will keep the crust from getting too brown.

Fruit Smoothies

I mentioned to you that my family is doing this Healthy Living Challenge, which involves, among other things, getting three servings of fruit in per day. I found a fantastic way to do it!! Smoothies in the morning. I found a recipe online (I can't find the website where I found the recipe now; sorry 'bout that...) that is soooooo easy. And I can get three servings of fruit in one meal! And really, I've tried tons of different combinations of yogurt and berries, and every single one has tasted so, so, so good! I don't think you can go wrong! I made one with frozen peaches, fresh bananas, and strawberry yogurt this morning, and it was lovely. Who knew peaches and strawberries go good together?? Ben and I did blueberries with vanilla yogurt the other day, and that was wonderful, as well.

Fruit Smoothies

Serves 2

2-3 cups frozen fruit. If you use fresh, you'll have to add ice cubes to get the right texture.
1 - 1 1/2 cups liquid - juice, milk, etc.
1/2 cup yogurt (not frozen yogurt; just regular, flavored yogurt)

I put the frozen stuff into the blender first, and then the yogurt, and then the liquid. I find it easier if I throw them in in that order.

Seriously, one of the best things I've discovered.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chinese Sundaes

Otherwise known as Hawaiian Haystacks. But I grew up knowing them as Chinese Sundaes. They're amazing and soooo filling.

Chinese Sundaes

Cook up a bunch of rice. Then top with your choice of the following:

Chinese noodles
cooked, cubed chicken
diluted cream of chicken soup (so that it's gravy consistency)
chopped onion
chopped celery
diced tomatoes
grated cheese
crushed pineapple
grated coconut
sliced almonds
1 cherry on top

Have guests prepare their sundaes buffet style. :)

Claim Jumper California Citrus Salad

Among the many, many things I loved about living in San Diego for a couple of years was the restaurants they had. Idaho Falls doesn't have tons of restaurants to choose from. Among my favorite places to eat in SD were Panera, California Pizza Kitchen, and the Claim Jumper.

ANYTHING you get at the Claim Jumper will have you...well...jumping for joy. Amazing food. Amazing. One of my favorite salads of theirs was the California Citrus Salad. I loved it so much (and missed it so much when we moved to Idaho) that I set out to re-create it. I could tell, when I ate it, that there was a gingerey-citrusey dressing involved. And I remembered the ingredients from the salad. I found a ginger/citrus salad dressing online maybe four years ago or so - I cannot remember where I found it, so I apologize for that - and voila, the Claim Jumper California Citrus Salad has been ours to enjoy in our humble home over and over and over again.

My extended family just started a Healthy Eating Challenge - think Biggest Loser, but not with weight. You get points for doing certain things each day - exercising, drinking 64 oz. of water, not eating sugar, etc. One of the things you do is have three servings of veggies per day. What I've loved doing with this challenge is preparing the toppings and the dressing for this salad. Then, when I have a bowl of lettuce ready for my lunch, I put on just what I need for that individual salad, then pack the remaining ingredients and remaining dressing away for the next day. If I had tossed it all together and tried to eat off of it all week, it would have gotten all gross and wiltey by the second day, you know?

The salad comes with chicken on it, but I've tried it without, and it still tastes AMAZING.

I don't have specific measurements of how much of each ingredient to use. Just use your best judgment. What I do with salads is fill a bowl with leafy greens, then for each ingredient, make one layer on top. Like a sheet on a bed. A sheet of craisins. A sheet of avocadoes. Etc. And then toss 'em all together with the dressing.

Claim Jumper California Citrus Salad

cooked chicken
lettuce of any type
golden raisins
feta cheese (the original recipe called for bleu cheese, which I hate. Feta tastes great in this salad.)
avocadoes, chopped
green apples, chopped
green onions, chopped
pecan brittle (recipe to follow)
mandarin oranges
citrus dressing (recipe to follow)

Pecan Brittle

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. pecans, chopped

Combine sugar with water & cream of tartar in a small saucepan. Heat and stir on medium low until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until it turns an amber color (about 9 minutes). Add chopped pecans. Pour onto cookie sheet that has been criscoed. When it has hardened (this only takes a few minutes to harden), break up into small bits and throw into the salad.

Citrus Dressing

Put the following into a blender and blend, then toss with the salad:
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. rice or white vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cumin

Monday, January 16, 2012

Banana Lover French Toast

I could definitely put myself in that category - a banana lover. I got this recipe from a lady from my ward growing up, LeAnne. It's fantastic.

Banana Lover French Toast

2-3 ripe bananas - mash coarsely (leave kind of big chunks)
nuts (walnuts) if desired
nutmeg to taste
good, heavy french bread (the kind from the deli that you slice is the best)

Use two slices of bread. Put banana mixture between the slices of bread. Dip both sides of bread in egg and milk mixture (add a drop of vanilla if you like it sweeter). Let the bread sit in the egg mixture for a short moment. Fry in margarine on both sides until egg mixture is cooked. Top with powdered sugar and a drizzle of honey.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Orange Peach Jello

Kay, so this is the closest picture I could find to what mine looks like. Imagine cool whip and crushed nilla wafers layered on top of this, and that's what you'll get with this recipe. It is so good, so good, you see. (As the dude in Green Eggs and Sam says.)

Orange Peach Jello

1 c. boiling water

Dissolve 1 pkg. orange jello

Add 1 c. peach juice (There is one c. peach juice in a 29-oz can of peaches)

Add 1 tsp. almond extract

1 quart of cut-up peaches (approx. one 29-oz can)

Stir. Let it set.

Put on cool whip.

Sprinkle crushed nilla wafers on top.

Chicken or Turkey a la King

I got this recipe from my sister - she has an amazing crock pot cookbook. I think it's called "Simple Slow Cooker Recipes."

Chicken or Turkey a la King

4 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey

2 10 ¾-ounce cans condensed cream of chicken soup

2 4 ½-ounce jars sliced mushrooms, drained

¾ cup chopped green sweet pepper

¾ cup chopped celery

1 5-ounce can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk

½ of a 7-ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers, drained and coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)

½ cup chopped onion

3 Tbsp dry sherry, dry white wine, or milk

1 tsp. dried basil, crushed

½ tsp. black pepper

1 10-ounce pkg. froz. Peas

4 or 5 English muffins, split and toasted; 8 to 10 baked potatoes; or 4 to 5 cups hot cooked rice

  1. In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker combine chicken/turkey, chicken soup, mushrooms, green sweet pepper, celery, evaporated milk, roasted sweet peppers, onion, sherry, basil, and black pepper.
  2. Cover and cook. When finished, stir in frozen peas. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Serve chicken mixture over English muffin halves, baked potatoes, or hot cooked rice.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chicken Divan

Yeah, I got this picture from SkinnyTaste. My own picture was horrific, as usual.

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I remember my freshman year at college, a guy I really, really liked wanted to hang out one night, and I made this for him. He was impressed. And he needn't have been, because this is one of the simplest recipes I have. I got it from my mommy.

Oh, and he didn't end up being that impressed with me, by the way. Which is okay, I know now. C'est la vie. :)

Chicken Divan

1 pkg. chicken breasts - maybe 2 1/2 lbs to 3 lbs.
1 pkg. frozen broccoli florets, OR 2-3 stalks of broccoli, chopped up, with the stalk part thrown away. We just want the fun floret part.
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 T. lemon juice
grated parmesan cheese
bread crumbs, OR bread that you cube up yourself in 1/2 inch cubes or so.

Cook chicken and shred or cube it. Thaw the frozen broccoli, or if you're using fresh broccoli, steam it for ten minutes. Combine soup, mayo, curry powder, and lemon juice. In casserole dish or 9X13 pan, put broccoli first. The next layer is the chicken. Then you pour the soup mixture over all of it. Sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs or bread cubes. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 mins.

Shredded Potato Casserole

This isn't exactly what mine looks like when it's done, but it's as close as I could find. I forgot to snap a picture of this when I made it last week to go with some leftover spiral-cut ham.

I also got this recipe from Joan, my dear friend's mom.

Shredded Potato Casserole

Peel & shred 3-4 medium potatoes. Place in colander and rinse for a reeeeeally long time, like maybe three minutes or so. Be really thorough. Put potatoes in layers in your casserole dish - one layer, then tons of salt (more than if you were salting something just to taste), then potatoes, then salt, etc. until you get to the top of your dish. Then, pour one pint of whipping cream over the potatoes. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees, or 2 hours at 325 degrees. Cover for soupy or uncover for unsoupy. I like mine unsoupy.

This stuff is to die for. Enjoy!!