Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GENERAL TSAO'S CHICKEN (WW version)

We love Chinese food in our house, and it's really not all that hard to prepare, if you have the right ingredients on hand. General Tsao's is one of our favorites, but the normal way is deep fried chicken in a spicy sauce. In this WW version, the chicken is sauteed and bypasses a lot of the fat calories in the normal version. If you're used to the fried version, please don't think this one is inferior. The flavor is tremendous! I have to admit though, I fix fried rice with mine. We all love it. I'm adding the recipe for the fried rice, at the end of this post.

GENERAL TSAO'S CHICKEN (WW version) 6 pts

3/4 cup(s) canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp peanut oil
2 medium scallion(s), chopped
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or 1 dried chili pepper, minced (add more if you like it extra spicy)
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cup(s) cooked white rice, kept hot

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger; set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions, garlic and pepper and cook 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes.
  • Add reserved sauce and simmer until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  • Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Yields about 1 cup of chicken and sauce and 1/2 cup of rice (white) per serving.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

FRIED RICE
  • 1 - 2 green onions, as desired
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
  • 4 cups cold cooked rice
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons light soy sauce or oyster sauce, as desired (I use Soy sauce)
Wash and finely chop the green onion. Lightly beat the eggs with the salt and pepper.
Heat a wok or frying pan and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the eggs. Cook, stirring, until they are lightly scrambled but not too dry. Remove the eggs and clean out the pan. (I use a non-stick skillet to fix mine in).

Add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the rice. Stir-fry for a few minutes, using chopsticks or a wooden spoon to break it apart. Stir in the soy sauce or oyster sauce as desired.

When the rice is heated through, add the scrambled egg back into the pan. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the green onion. Serve hot.

Monday, December 29, 2008

TABLESCAPES - Burgundy & Gold

Here is a pretty "Burgundy & Gold" table. My sweet daughters bought me this whole outfit one year for Christmas. Including the gold rimmed plates and the gold flatware. The gold chargers were purchased later, on a clearance rack.
For the centerpiece, Sarah used a clear cake stand, with a rim, and placed a pillar candle in the middle, some gold ornaments and then a strand of gold beads. She took a strand of gold ribbon that she found in a drawer and laid that on the table around the candles. Your centerpiece can be made up of most anything you have sitting around your home.

Here is a better close up of the centerpiece. I had to giggle when my daughter in law said she was bringing place cards for the table. She had Toddler church this morning, and this was the craft that the little ones made. haha She is such a nut!

If you notice, one of the places on the end, doesn't have a charger or goblet. This was my grandson's first time to sit at the "big" table. Little sister has moved on to big people food and has commandeered the high chair for family meals! Little D didn't mind though. I think he loved the idea of sitting with the grown ups.

This is why there was no goblet at his place! haha He loves his special "Cars" cup from his Grpa and Grma Rader in NY.

Here's Katie in the high chair. She just finished a plate of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and a roll. I think the Tryptophan is hitting her early! haha

DEEP FRIED MUSHROOMS

We love mushrooms! Every once in a while we get a hankering for a batch of crispy deep fried mushrooms. My Honey made these the other night and boy, were they ever good! You just can't go wrong using Drakes coating mix. It is wonderful on chicken, mushrooms, onion rings, etc... The only "problem" is, everyone wants to stand around the kitchen, eating the mushrooms, as soon as they come out of the fryer. It just doesn't work to make these to "go with the meal!" You'd be better off to consider them as an appetizer. haha

DEEP FRIED MUSHROOMS

1 lb. First Choice, fresh, white mushrooms
3/4 c. Drakes coating mix
3/4 c. water
Cooking oil for deep frying

Wash mushrooms and dry thoroughly on towel. Cut stem ends even with bottom of mushroom. Stir coating mix and water together until smooth.

Dip mushrooms in batter and fry in 400 degree oil for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Oil should be deep enough for mushrooms to float freely. Drain on paper towels. We don't dip ours in anything, they are good just like they are.

Friday, December 19, 2008

RASPBERRY SHORTBREAD DREAMS

This little shortbread cookie has become a real family favorite over the last few years. My friend Chris passed this one on to me and we all love her for it! It's a super simple recipe. Very few ingredients. And if you don't like raspberry, then you can use your own favorite jam in place of it. See here I've used some homemade peach jam as well. The peach is really yummy too!

RASPBERRY SHORTBREAD DREAMS

1 cup butter (NO SUBSTITUTES), softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in extract. Gradually add flour until dough forms a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the center. Fill with jam. Bake at 350°F for 14-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Spoon additional jam into cookies if desired.

Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over cookies.

Yield: about 3 1/2 dozen.

*NOTE* I use my finger to make the indentation, but a spoon works too. Also, if you are using Pampered chef bakeware, you may want to shorten the baking time. You don't want these cookies to brown, necessarily. Just a light tan on the bottom. They will finish cooking on the stone when you take them out of the oven.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

PUPPY CHOW

Now here's a classic that's been around for a very long time. It's super easy, and what a fun little treat to bag up in cute little snowman bags and stick in your Christmas goody boxes! I usually have to make 2 batches of this when I mix it up - one for home and one for giving! It disappears fast - especially when the gang's all here!

PUPPY CHOW

9 cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Directions
1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

TURTLES

This has GOT to be one of the easiest Christmas treats I have ever made in my life! It literally took just minutes to make an entire sheet pan full! And they go great in the Christmas goody boxes!

CHEWY TURTLES

A bag of Mini Pretzels
A bag of Rolos (chocolate candy) UNWRAPPED
A bag of WHOLE pecans ( or cashews, walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350.
Spread the pretzels out on a baking sheet.
Put one Rolo on top of each pretzel.

Put into oven for 5 minutes, take them out of the oven. Don't walk away from your oven. The rolos only take 4 or 5 minutes to soften. The rolos won't look melted, they will retain their shape. Now push a nice, big, crunchy pecan down on top of the Rolo`s.
It should be nice and soft and gooey at this point.

Eat immediately or cool and serve. Makes a fun gift to give to someone!

CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER CRACKERS

Thank you all for allowing me a bit of a posting break. Seems like since Thanksgiving, we have been going non-stop. But recipes and pics are starting to back up in my files, so I wanted to pop on tonight and post a few new ones for you.
This one is SUPER easy and a real favorite during the holidays. The best part is, you don't have any mixing to do and you don't have to fire up your oven either! These are nice for those goody baskets at Christmastime.

CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER CRACKERS

1 (12 oz.) box round Ritz crackers
Jif Peanut butter
1 lb. white chocolate
3 tbsp. shaved paraffin

Make peanut butter crackers as you usually would, using a decent amount between 2 Ritz crackers. Press the crackers together until peanut butter comes to the edges of the crackers. This gives a nicer look once they are coated. Here they are all piled up, waiting on their chocolate bath!
Place white chocolate and paraffin in top of double boiler. Heat over boiling water until ingredients melt and mixture is smooth. Turn heat down as low as possible.Drop each cracker in the chocolate. Using a fork, turn cracker over to coat other side. Lift cracker and drain excess chocolate. Place on waxed paper to cool. Store in canister. Yield: 4 dozen

Friday, November 28, 2008

OVER THE TOP GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

Are you tired of the same ol' green bean casserole that's been around for 100 years? If you still love it, then my apologies. But for me, it's gotten a bit blase'. I was SO thrilled when Monica (my daughter in law) walked in with this dish yesterday, for Thanksgiving dinner! I heard she was trying something different. And this was just over the top! You REALLY need to try this one! It's amazing. You'll have a hard time not picking at the croutons though, until dinner is ready!

OVER THE TOP GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

* 3 pounds green beans
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 loaf crusty Italian bread
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
* 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
* 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 pounds mixed mushrooms (such as button, cremini, shiitake), sliced
* 2 shallots, sliced
* 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a big pinch of salt and the green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes, the beans should still be crisp, they will be cooked more in the oven. Drain them and set aside. Butter a baking dish large enough to hold the green beans with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Tear the bread into 2-inch pieces, put them into a bowl, and add 1 tablespoon chives, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon rosemary, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir well to coat and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake just until the bread just starts to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, add the remaining thyme and chives, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the green beans and stir well. Put the green bean mixture into the prepared baking dish, top with the croutons, and sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan. Bake until everything is hot and bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

SOUTHERN PECAN PIE

Have you ever made a pecan pie? I love it but had never personally made one, until this year for Thanksgiving. And now, it's going to be a yearly thing! It got rave reviews, especially from my Honey! I guess I always thought pecan pie was difficult, or too expensive, but neither is the case. If you like it all, don't hesitate to try this recipe - it's a piece of cake. OOPS! I mean a piece of pie! *hehe*

SOUTHERN PECAN PIE

4 Tblsp butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup light Karo syrup
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecan halves (roughly chopped - or whole, it's your preference)
1 (9") pie crust

Preheat oven to 325. Cream the butter, brown sugar, flour and salt until smooth. Add the Karo syrup, eggs and vanilla, then fold in the pecans. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or utnil firm to the touch.
Serve the pie warm or cool.

*One thing I noticed as I was scouring the many recipes, out there, for pecan pie. The argument over whether to leave the pecans whole or roughly chop them. I've always felt that roughly chopping them, helps them stay in place better on top of the pie as you're cutting into it. I like pecans with each bite, and if they are whole, chances are, that won't happen as you're eating it. So for my pie, I roughly chopped them. But if you prefer them whole, by all means, leave them that way!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

SWEET POTATO CRUNCH

Here's a favorite Thanksgiving recipe of ours. The first time I had this was at a friends house. I begged her for the recipe, I could not believe it was sweet potatoes! It is just absolutely delicious and gets requested every year for Thanksgiving. The crunchy topping is just to die for!

SWEET POTATO CRUNCH

6 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I use canned)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter, melted
4 eggs
Cinnamon to taste

Beat all ingredients, except melted butter, until creamy, and with as few lumps as possible. In a 9 x 13 pan, pour melted butter. Place sweet potato mixture in pan on top of butter, do not stir.

TOPPING:

2 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted (more as needed)
2/3 cup flour
Dash of salt and cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together until moist and crumbly. Sprinkle topping over potato mixture until evenly covered. Bake at 350 for about 45 min., or until topping is lightly browned.
Let it sit for abotu 10 minutes before serving.
ENJOY!

Monday, November 24, 2008

COMPANY CORN

Looking for a way to jazz up your boring dish of corn? Then you will like this recipe! It has a bit of a zing to it. I made this Sunday for my Guinea pig family! LOL The women liked it, the men folk - not so much. But it's hard to get anything new or different passed the men! They like their food the "usual" way! Me, I get sort of bored with the same ol', same ol'.
I do have to tell you though, that this dish is best when it is warm and fresh. Don't make it and then leave it sit. If you are serving buffet style, it would be best to put a warmer under this. Once it starts to cool off, it's not so good.

COMPANY CORN

2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen corn, cooked according to pkg directions
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup butter, cubed
2 Tblsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried savory
1/2 tsp. white pepper
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice

Cook corn according to pkg directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onions and celery in butter until tender. Stir in the parsley, salt, savory and white pepper.
Drain corn. Add to onion mixture in skillet. Stir in sour cream and lemon juice. serve immediately.

APPLEBEE'S BLONDIE

Have you ever had a Blondie from Applebees? Does this look yummy? Well it's not the right recipe! LOL I have been to at least 20 different sites looking for a copy cat recipe for the Blondie like Applebees makes. And NONE of them are right. Most of them say the sauce is: butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and nuts. But that can't be right because Applebees sauce is white, thick and has a slight tartness to it. The sauce for the recipe I made on Sunday was "close" but still not quite on the money. The Blondie recipe itself, was TOTALLY wrong. So I'm still on a quest for the RIGHT copy cat recipe for Applebees Blondie! I won't rest until I find it and make it. My family and I all love that dessert! They humored me on Sunday and said it was good, but I'm a big girl - they wouldn't have hurt my feelings if they would have told me the truth! LOL I knew it was blah and not the right one.
I'm off to hunt some more! ~*sigh*~

SUBSTITUTES IN A PINCH

Don't you hate running out of something right when you need it? Especially when it's late and you don't feel like driving to the store, to get more, even if it is only 4 miles! I'm like that. I HATE running out of needed items. But..... occasionally it happens.

Last week I let my self run out of 2 things: dishwasher soap and spray starch!

A quick google search gave me a recipe for homemade dishwasher soap, but who keeps "borax" in their house? Not me. I did find one suggestion to add 3 Tblsp of baking soda to the dishwasher to wash the dishes, but that just didn't seem like a "clean" enough substitute to suit me. So along with the 3 Tblsp of baking soda, I added a scant teaspoon of regular Dawn dishwashing detergent. (What can I say? Yes, I had regular dish soap, but didn't feel like washing an entire sink of dishes by hand! I'm so spoiled!) It worked and my dishwasher didn't even suds over (and yes, I've been there, done that! LOL)

My next adventure was running out of spray starch (the same week!) A quick google search uncovered a "recipe" for homemade spray starch. I was a bit skeptical, but decided to try it anyway. My hubby wears dress shirts most every day of the week, so I needed something quick to iron up a few shirts for him. The homemade starch worked like a charm!

*Special Note* I would only use the homemade spray starch on whites and brights though. I tried using it on some dark dress shirts and it left a spotty residue that I had to wipe off with a damp cloth. But.... hey, it worked for me in a pinch! And hubby's white dress shirts were clean, and crisp looking! Could use on table linens, cloth napkins, pillowcases, etc...

Here's the recipe in case you ever need it:

HOMEMADE SPRAY STARCH

2 cups cold water
1 heaping Tblsp corn starch
A couple drops of your favorite scented essential oil (but if you're like me, and don't have essential oil in your house, just take a new, scented Bounce sheet and stuff it down in the spray bottle along with the corn starch mixture!)

Combine it all in a measuring cup, whisk until corn starch is dissolved and pour into spray bottle. Add your essential oil (or your bounce sheet!) Give it a good shake, and you're good to go! Be sure to shake it occasionally to keep it mixed up while you're ironing.
Even if I'm just using plain water to mist my clothes when I iron, I still keep a fresh bounce sheet stuffed inside my spray bottle of water.

So, that's my favorite way to use a food item in a non-food way. What's yours? Do you put cucumber slices on your eyes to prevent puffiness? Do you rub lemon on your copper pots to make them shine? Share your food / non food tips with me. I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEWIES

Here's another one from my daughter in law, Monica. She created these last weekend. They had the youth group over to their house for food, after they raked lawns for our Sr citizens. My daughter Sarah brought one over to me, and said, "These were so good, I just knew you would want to put the recipe on your blog!" She was right! They are so moist, and chewy. And I LOVE the cherries in them! It might look like a brownie in the pic, but I broke the cookie in half, so you could see the cherries inside. THANKS Monica! This one's a keeper!

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEWIES


1/3 cup veg. shortening
1/3 cup butter (softened)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 whole jar Maraschino cherries, drained and roughly chopped

Mix first 6 ingredients until blended and smooth. Combine thoroughly with dry ingredients Fold in cherries at the end. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. (I used parchment paper on baking stones) Bake at 350 until tops of cookies begin to look cracked. Let stand on baking sheet 5 min., then remove to rack to cool.
Note: If uncertain about whether or not they're done, take them out on the "under" side of done. They'll be chewy and gooey with the consistency of a soft brownie!! YUM
Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

100 THINGS EVERY OMNIVORE SHOULD TRY

I came across this tonight and thought it was interesting. It’s a list of 100 things every good omnivore (one who feeds on both animal and vegetable substances) should try at least once in their life. I didn’t fair very well. I see a lot of things I would like to try one day, though.

The Omnivore’s Hundred:
The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. The instructions are quite explicit...

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

*I did remove all the references to liquor and alcohol as I don’t drink and don’t promote drinking.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle

19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

37. Clotted cream tea

39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle


59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare 87. Goulash 88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

How about you? How'd you do with this list?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

SAVORY STUFFED "TURKEN"

WOWZERS is all I can say about this one! Have you ever heard of the Turducken? Well, I couldn't find anything other than a whole duck, so I skipped the duck part and did my own thing! I stuffed this turkey breast with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a delicious savory stuffing. I was a bit nervous as it was cooking and kept wondering if I should have seasoned the layers of meat. But amazingly, the meat picked up the flavors of the stuffing as it was baking! This was a REAL WINNER! A bit of work to prepare, but every bit, worth the effort! I'll be taking this to our church's Thanksgiving dinner too. I've included sort of step by step instructions on how to assemble the "Turken." If you can grab an extra set of hands when you tie it up, you really should - you'll need them!

SAVORY STUFFED "TURKEN"

1 lb. mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil, plus some for brushing over turkey
3 oz. prosciutto, finely minced
3/4 cup onions, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tsp. salt, divided (1 tsp each)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
garlic powder

1/2 (14 oz) bag of seasoned crouton stuffing
1 cup hot water or chicken broth
1/4 butter

1 3 lb. boneless turkey breast with skin
1 lb boneless, skinless, thin, chicken breasts
butcher's twine

2 Tblsp butter
2 Tblsp honey

Roughly chop mushrooms. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add prosciutto and sauté for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic; cook until onions are translucent. Add thyme, parsley, 1 tsp salt, salt and pepper. Set aside. Melt the 1/4 cup butter into the 1 cup of hot water or chicken broth. Pour over stuffing mix and stir until moistened. Add mushroom mixture and toss to mix well.

Do not remove skin from turkey breast. Debone and butterfly if not boneless. Place breast, skin side down on cutting board. Evenly layer in boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the turkey, leaving the edges clear all around. Roll the turkey up over the filling and secure with cotton string.

Place roast in a roasting pan, skin side up. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Roast in a preheated 500°F oven for 20 minutes, or until roast is well browned. Reduce temperature to 325°F and roast an additional 60-90 minutes, or until temperature reads 165-170°F on an instant read thermometer.

*I put this in the oven on 350, before I left for church (9:00 a.m.) and it was done when we got home (12:45) I still checked it w/ my meat thermometer though.

Combine 2 Tblsp melted butter with 2 Tblsp honey and using a pastry brush, baste the turken with the mixture. Place back in oven for 10 minutes or until nice and shiny and crisp. Remove from oven and Allow roast to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Cut into 1/2" slices and serve with pan drippings as gravy.

If you can't find a boneless, skin on turkey breast, you can debone your own, but it is a little work. I did it, and if I can figure it out, anybody can! You have to have an extremely sharp deboning knife to get the carcass cut away from the breast meat. And be careful not to cut the turkey breast in half while you're removing the bone a little at a time. As you removing the bone - do not cut away the extra skin at the neck area. You'll want that to help cover part of the stuffing.
Once you get the bones out and get the turkey breast layed out flat - layer in your pound of thin, boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Then spoon on the stuffing. Don't be afraid to load that puppy up! I spooned it on and then pressed it down with my hands.
Now, remember that extra skin at the neck area? Using both hands, grab from the sides and pull it together as tight as you can. Have your extra set of hands pull the extra skin up and over the top of the Turken. Then have them wrap butcher's twine around it. Wrap it around horizontally in at least 3 or 4 evenly spaced sections and tie it TIGHT. Then wrap one vertically and tie it tight. Flip it over so the skin side is up. Season with salt and pepper and place in roasting pan with 2 cups of water.
VOILA! Just out of the oven! Now take your honey and butter mixture and baste the turken with it. Place the turken back in the oven for about 10 minutes or so, just long enough for it to get nice and shiny and crispy on top.
OH NO I have tan lines! See what I mean? YUMMO!

Soooo moist and delicous! Don't you want to try it now? You won't be disappointed! Trust me!

SAVORY SQUASH CRISP

Do you ever make new recipes for dinner guests? I must be a glutton for punishment - I made 2 things today, that I had never eaten or made! This was one of them. A friend had given me a couple of butternut squash from her garden, and I had them sitting in a basket by my stove. I needed to use them, but am still sort of new to the whole squash scene. We're trying to eat more of it, but it's still unfamiliar territory for me. I actually saw this recipe in one of those recipe card holders at the grocery store, by the produce. I saw the word squash, read the recipe, and said, "I have everything I need to make this! I'm making this for Sunday dinner!" It got rave reviews at dinner, by everyone at the table. So yep, it's a keeper!
Very savory and delicious!

SAVORY SQUASH CRISP

1 (2 lb) Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup butter, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups seasoned crouton stuffing mix
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400. Bring large pot of water to boiling. Drop in squash cubes. Cook 7 - 8 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well. Spoon squash into 3 qt baking dish. Toss with 1 Tblsp butter, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 3 Tblsp butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in bread cubes, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and thyme. Saute 1 to 2 minutes to coat with butter. Stir in pecans. Spoon evenly over squash. Bake 10 - 15 minutes or until bread cubes are lightly browned.

*This can be made the night before. I mixed this up last night. Pulled it from the fridge early this morning (7 am) and then let it sit and come to room temperature during church. When I got home, I tossed it in the oven for about 20 minutes (maybe 30) and it baked up just as nice and fresh as if I had just made it.
*I also drizzled a little melted butter over the top before I put it in the oven.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

SATURDAY NIGHT CONEY DOGS

My Honey LOVES Coney dogs, but you can't find a good coney place within 2 hours of here! So, he does what any red blooded, American man would do, he makes his own! And it is REALLY good! So easy and it tastes so much like the coneys you get in a regular coney dog shop. We don't eat a lot of processed food or even hot dogs. But once in a while you just get a hankerin' for a good coney! If you have any leftover sauce, it freezes well.

SATURDAY NIGHT CONEY DOGS

Good casing hog dogs - Koegels are the best for these coneys

Coney Sauce:

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp margarine (he used all butter, since we don't use margarine)
1 1/2 lbs. LEAN ground beef
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (6 oz) can water
13 to 16 cheap, skinless hot dogs
Salt and pepper to taste

DO NOT brown the ground beef before using. Combine ALL ingredients, except cheap hot dogs, in a large pot and simmer until thick. Grind the cheap hot dogs in a food processor and then stir them into the meat mixture, cook 15 minutes longer.

Use over GOOD casing hot dogs, like Koegels, with chopped onion and mustard. The big secret in this recipe is the cheap ground hot dogs.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

21 DINNER GUESTS!

Don't wait for ...... to show hospitality to someone! Just keep the meal simple, use what you have and DO IT! You won't be sorry. If you don't have many decorations, just take a walk outside and see all that God has given you to decorate with, in the way of nature! My daughter is always cutting things outside to bring in and stick in a vase.
I remember the days when we were first married. We lived in a tiny little 2 bedroom apt. When we had dinner guests over, I would set up the ironing board, cover it with a sheet and use it as my buffet! haha The food fit perfectly on it, and then we ate in the living room with our plates on our laps. So don't let the lack of space keep you from having friends over. And the meal can be anything you want it to be. From soup and sandwiches, to a fried chicken dinner, to burgers & dogs on the grill, or just dessert and coffee. And your house doesn't have to be the Taj Mahal. Just be thankful for what you have, keep it clean and neat and remember, people don't come to look at your house - they come to visit YOU!

Today we had a blast with our Sunday dinner guests! The whole Maxwell clan (3 families) came over for dinner! I had just rearranged my living room last week to a more user friendly set up for our family. And amazingly, it allowed room for 2 long banquet tables end to end in there! So we all fit perfectly! I didn't make any new dishes. I stuck to good ol' standbys. And don't judge me for the paper plates and plastic cups! They were Chinet - does that count? haha I still used tablecloths and cloth napkins - oh, and real flatware!

The menu:

2 hams (got them on sale for 1.49 / lb)
Party potatoes
Cheesy broccoli
Corn
Hot yeast rolls
Pumpkin gooey butter cake
Hot fudge pudding cake w/ ice cream

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For those that like the Party potatoes - (they go perfect paired with ham by the way) I came up with a MUCH easier way to prepare them! I'm also going to edit that post to include the amounts for "feeding a crowd."

OK Wow - I just looked back through my recipe files and realized that I've never posted the recipe for Party Potatoes! I can't believe that! It's such a great recipe! I'm surprised it wasn't one of my first recipes! I'm going to post it w/out a pic this time and the next time I make them, I'll come back and edit this to include the pic. They really are just delicious - they go especially well with any meat that doesn't have a gravy - such as ham or meatloaf. I'll post the original recipe and then below it, the edited version for "feeding a crowd."

PARTY POTATOES

8 servings of Instant potatoes, prepared according to pkg directions.
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, cut into chunks
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 stick butter
Paprika

In a large saucepan, prepare 8 servings of instant potatoes according to pkg directions. Stir in cream cheese, sour cream and garlic powder. In 2 qt baking dish, melt 1 stick of butter. Pour potato mixture on top of melted butter and then spoon some of the butter from the edge, over the top. Do not stir. Sprinkle with paprika and bake uncovered at 350 for 30 - 45 minutes or until bubbly. Allow to cool for several minutes before serving. Good with BBG meat, meatloaf or ham.

*An easier way to prepare these is to mix the cream cheese chunks and the sour cream into the hot water, milk and butter mixture, BEFORE you add in the instant potato flakes. Once the cream cheese and sour cream are melted and blended in, then add the potato flakes and proceed from there.

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PARTY POTATOES FOR A CROWD

6 1/2 cups water
4 cups milk
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 (8 oz) cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
2 tsp garlic powder
6 1/2 cups instant potato flakes (or more depending on consistency)
Paprika

In large stock pot, heat water, milk and 1 stick of butter until heated through and butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in garlic powder, cream cheese chunks and sour cream. Whip with wire whisk until cream cheese and sour cream are both thoroughly blended in. Slowly add potato flakes and whip with wire whisk until they are the consistency of nice creamy mashed potatoes. If they are too thin, add more potato flakes. If they get too thick, add a bit more milk.
Melt the other stick of butter and pour it into a large dutch oven or roasting pan, pour the potato mixture over the melted stick of butter. Spoon some of the melted butter from the edges, over the top. Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 375 for 30 - 45 minutes or until bubbly.
Serves 20

Saturday, November 8, 2008

WHITE BEAN CHILI

What is it about colder weather that makes you want to make more "comfort" food? It must be because you aren't afraid to heat up the kitchen. It was only 36 degrees here today in MI. And it's only Nov. 8. So a nice hot pot of white chili just sounded good tonight. This one packs a ton of flavor! You won't be disappointed.

WHITE BEAN CHILI

1 large onion -- chopped
1 whole red or green pepper -- chopped
3 cloves garlic -- minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large chicken breasts cut in bite-sized pieces,
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles, do not drain
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
6 good shakes Frank's hot pepper sauce (or more, if you like it really hot)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 (49 oz) can chicken broth
2 (19 oz) can Cannellini beans, drained (1 can will be mashed)
4 tablespoons cilantro -- chopped, fresh OR parsley
grated jack cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Directions:In large pot, saute onion, garlic and red or green pepper in olive oil until translucent.

Add poultry, chopped chiles and seasonings (except for fresh cilantro/parsley); saute for several minutes until chicken is done. Add chicken broth, hot pepper sauce and 1 can of the Cannellini beans (drained). Drain 2nd can of Cannellini beans and process in food processor until smooth. Add processed beans to pot and stir until combined. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Add parsley/cilantro, simmer 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with grated cheese and sour cream as garnish.

CREAMY CORN MUFFINS

I really love cornbread, but find the dry, gritty texture a bit distasteful. We recently had a chili cook off at our church and my daughter-in-law brought the most delicious corn muffins! They were so moist and flavorful. I made white chili tonight and was just itching to whip up a batch of these muffins to go with it! Soooo yummy!

CREAMY CORN MUFFINS

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar, OR pepper jack (your choice)
1/2 of a 4 oz can of chopped green chiles OR 1/4 cup of canned sliced jalapeno, drained (your choice)

*The Pepperjack cheese and the jalapenos would give the muffins a bit more "kick." So if you like heat - go for it!

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Fill muffin cups 1/2 way and bake for 15 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched with finger. Let cool for 5 minutes. Loosen edges with butter knife to pop out of muffin tin.
Yield: 8 muffins

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CREAMY HERBED POTATOES


Another big thank you to the Pioneer Woman for this one. As soon as Leah pointed this recipe out to me, I knew it would make it's appearance on our Sunday dinner table last week! And it didn't disappoint - my family loved it! A dear friend had given us a bunch of buffalo meat and I made a roast and then these potatoes to go with it. I just wanted something different than plain ol' mashed potatoes & gravy. Do you ever feel like that?
I kind of changed up the recipe a bit to make it quicker - a must for this family. Also the original recipe called for rosemary and sage - our family doesn't like either one of those, so I omitted them and added the marjoram. But if you like them, by all means add them. It called for 1 tsp of finely chopped rosemary and 1/2 tsp of finely chopped sage - all fresh herbs, mind you.

CREAMY HERBED POTATOES

4 to 5 russet potatoes, cut small, and boiled until fork tender, but not mushy.
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (half & half works, too)
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon dried marjoram

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add butter to a large skillet over medium low heat, When melted, add diced onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add cream cheese to the pan and stir to melt.
Pour in cream and milk, stirring to combine.
Season with plenty of salt and pepper, then add chopped herbs.
Place potatoes in a buttered baking dish. Pour contents of skillet over the top.
Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly, and top is golden brown. Allow potatoes to sit for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

I really should have left mine in the oven a bit longer, but we had to have dinner on the table in a hurry, because of a nursing home service that afternoon. So mine didn't turn out as brown as I would have liked them to.

*NOTE* In the original recipe, it called for the potatoes to be sliced thin and layed in a buttered dish, uncooked. Then pour the sauce over and bake for 45 minutes. Just in case you'd rather try that way, I've added this note.


Monday, October 27, 2008

MUFFIN MONDAY - CHEESECAKE STUFFED PUMPKIN MUFFINS

CHEESECAKE STUFFED PUMPKIN MUFFINS

This was actually a 2nd attempt! I made this muffin on Saturday for the group on Sunday. The original recipe called for sour cream in the batter and for a cube of plain cream cheese to be shoved down into the center of the muffin batter before it was baked. At first bite, I told myself that nobody will like these. I bit into it and immediately had this feeling, that I didn't know how I felt about that cube of cream cheese! Then one by one, as different ones tasted, they all said the same thing - it wasn't horrible, but .... that cube of cream cheese.... ugh!
So today I remade them. I couldn't handle the defeat! I was really pleased with the results!

CHEESECAKE STUFFED PUMPKIN MUFFINS


Philadelphia brand, prepared cheesecake filling mix (sold next to regular cream cheese)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup applesauce

Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in bowl.

Mix eggs, pumpkin, butter and applesauce together, then add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.

Fill greased muffin cups 1/3 full. Place 1 Tblsp of the prepared cheesecake filling , in center of each. Add remaining batter to fill cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and then with sugar.

*NOTE* When you fill the muffin papers - be sure to spray them with Pam first. Also, after you spoon in the cheesecake filling, and add the top layer of batter - do not seal the top layer. Just spoon it on top - and let the cheesecake filling show on the sides or however it turns out. Don't smooth the top over.

Bake in 375ºF oven 15 to 18 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched.

FOR COFFEE CAKE: Spread half of batter in a greased 9 inch square pan. Arrange cheese cake filling evenly spaced over the batter. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle with chopped pecans, and cinnamon & sugar. Bake approximately 30 minutes.

Yields: 12 muffins

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

I know this isn't much to look at - but WOW what a ton of flavor! It smelled SO good in my house while it was simmering on the stove. I served this with rice, but it would also pair nicely with angel hair pasta. I fried the chicken for it and set some aside to serve my hubby - without the sauce. I honestly didn't think he would care for it. But he said he couldn't help tasting it because it smelled so good. He actually liked it! I was so surprised! It has a nice flavor-filled heat to it. Perfect for those cold Autumn or Winter nights!

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

  • Flour, to coat chicken
  • 2 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) chickens, cut into 8 pieces with the breasts cut into 1/3's
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 10 to 12 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, chopped

Directions

Place the flour in a shallow dish and coat the chicken pieces, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil in a large saucepot over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken in batches and fry until golden brown on all sides. When all the chicken has been cooked, set it aside. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it turns golden brown. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until they release most of their liquid. Add the onion and bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are soft, approximately 6 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, crushed red pepper, salt oregano and tomato paste. Return the chicken to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil just before serving.

This dish goes well with any pasta or rice and tastes even better the following day.

OVEN READY LASAGNA

Mmm! Have you ever used the Oven ready lasagna noodles? I used them for the first time the other night, when I made a pan of lasagna for the family. I don't think I will ever use the kind that you have to boil, ever again! This went together in a snap - so easy! It could also be made the night before and just popped in the oven the next day.

OVEN READY LASAGNA

1 (12 oz) pkg Oven ready lasagna
2 (15 oz) containers Ricotta cheese
2 cups Shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmasan cheese, divided
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp dried Basil
2 (27 oz) jars pasta sauce
1 cup water
1 lb lean ground beef, cooked, crumbled and drained
1 lb lean Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained

Preheat oven to 375. In medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, eggs, and basil. Mix well. In skillet, combine cooked ground beef, cooked Italian sausage, pasta sauce and water. Combine to mix well - heat until simmering. Then remove from heat. In a 9 x 13 pan, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce. Place 1/3 of the oven ready lasagna over the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over lasagna noodles, top with 1/3 of the meat sauce. Repeat layering until ingredients are all in pan. Top with remaining lasagna then sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 for 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes sealed in the foil before cutting and serving. Makes 9 - 12 servings.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CHECK OUT THIS GIVE AWAY!

I love anything to do with setting a pretty table and I also love give-aways! Nina has visited here on my site several times and commented. Imagine my surprise when I went over to visit her site and saw this BEAUTIFUL table set, from Portugal, being given away. She has a lovely blog about their missionary adventures in Portugal - stop over and say Hi to Nina from Portugal today! Wouldn't you just love to win this set? I sure would! Well go on over and join the fun! And tell her I sent you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HAWAII - International Dinner

Have you ever been involved in an International Dinner? They are SO much fun! We have one every year during our Missions Conference. This year, we had a table decorating contest along with it. It was neat to see the people go all out on their tables. We are starting to have as many men involved in it, as we do ladies. And that's exciting! This year, I chose Hawaii. It's not a different country, but it is certainly a different culture. I had fun. I didn't win the table contest, but it wouldn't look very fair if the preacher's wife won, now would it? haha

The first recipe I want to share with you is the Volcano punch. That is the purple liquid on the end of the table there, it's in a clam shaped bowl. It was to die for!! I only bought enough to make 2 punch bowls full, and people were waiting in line for it. It was so different and so good. You simply MUST try it at your next function!

VOLCANO PUNCH

3 cans frozen fruit punch concentrate
1 64oz-can pineapple juice
1 can cream of coconut
2 2-Liters ginger ale
ice cubes

In a large punch bowl add the 3 cans of frozen fruit punch concentrate. Keep one of the empty frozen juice cans. Fill the can with water 6 times and add to punch bowl. Add pineapple juice, one bottle of ginger ale, and ice cubes then stir. Then add as much of the 2nd bottle of ginger ale as possible leaving at least 3 inches from the rim of the punch bowl and stir again. Pour in the can of cream of coconut on top. Will serve 40-70 people.

* I didn't have a punch bowl big enough to make the entire batch at once, so made it 1/2 at a time.

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I flew solo on my table this year, so didn't get a good pic of it before all the dishes of food got set on it. But you get the idea.

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The next recipe is Hawaiian Shrimp - and man alive were they ever good! I will definitely be making these again. These are the kabobs that you see in the light blue bowl. My dh grilled these for me, but next time, I'll just do them under the broiler. They are quick and easy!

HAWAIIAN SHRIMP

2 lbs fresh shrimp -- peeled & deveined

40 ounces pineapple chunks in juice -- canned (RESERVE JUICE!)
1/2 lb bacon slices -- cut in 2" pieces
2 red peppers -- cut in 1" pieces
1/2 lb mushroom caps
1 pint cherry tomatoes
8 ounces sweet and sour sauce
16 skewers


Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Combine vegetables with shrimp on skewers
and place in shallow pan. Mix sweet-and-sour sauce with reserved pineapple
juice and pour over kabobs. Grill or broil kabobs for 3 to 4 minutes on each
side or until cooked. Baste often with sauce.
Super easy!

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The next one is Crispy coconut chicken. This turned out so delicious! It was a favorite on the table and several ladies asked me for the recipe. You can also use this same recipe to coat shrimp.

CRISPY COCONUT CHICKEN FINGERS

1 cup Angel Flake Coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1" strips
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter or margarine

Dipping Sauce

1 cup apricot preserves

2T Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix coconut, flour, salt, pepper and garlic pwder in medium bowl. Dip chicken strips into egg, then coat with coconut mixture. Place in a shallow baking pan; drizzle with melted butter. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through, turning once. Serve with Apricot Dipping Sauce (mixture of apricot preserves and Dijon mustard) or Honey mustard.

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I know I already showed this pic, but the Tropical Muffins are in the pic too. You can barely see them in the background in the wire basket. I made mini muffins out of them, so they would go farther. The recipe calls for baking in a bread pan, you can do that if you choose, or do muffins, it is entirely up to you. They are so moist and yummy! One of the men that was there asked if I would mind if he took the leftovers home "to his wife." haha I gladly let him.
This one would be great for gift giving - bake it in mini bread pans.

TROPICAL NUT BREAD

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 (8 1/4 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)*
1/3 cup orange juice (using one of the Dole 100% juice mixes is good, too...especially the orange, mango, peach)*

1/2 cup butter (you can half the amount of butter and add 1/4 cup applesauce to lower fat)*
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped macadamia nuts (walnuts or pecans or no nuts at all work also)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1 lb loaf pan *(or 3-4 mini loaf pans). Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Combine pineapple, banana, and orange juice and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add a small amount of the flour mixture alternately with the fruit mixture, mixing only enough to moisten the
flour. Stir in the nuts and pour batter into pan(s). Bake for 1 hr and 15 minutes *(check mini loaves after 35 minutes). Note: This bread is much better after a day or two.

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This last one is Wiki Wiki Coconut Cake. Wiki Wiki means "quick quick." So next time you want your kids to move it, say "Wiki Wiki" to them and see what they do! haha This one was soooooo moist and delicious! Wow! I made it the night before so it would have time to sit and get all happy with the toppings that were poured over it! Mmm! A real keeper!

WIKI WIKI COCONUT CAKE

1 White cake mix (with ingredients listed on back of box)
1 (16 oz) pineapple w/ juice
1 C. Brown sugar
1 Tblsp Cinnamon
1 can coconut milk
1 Lg. Instant Vanilla pudding
1 (12 oz) Cool whip
1 cup shredded flaked coconut


Bake cake according to pkg. directions. Poke holes in cake and set aside. In saucepan, over med. - high heat, combine the pineapple with juice, brown sugar, 1 Tblsp. of cinnamon and 1 cup of coconut milk. Heat until bubbly and pour evenly over top of cake. Mix pudding according to pkg. directions and pour evenly over top of cake. Cool completely and spread cool whip over top. Sprinkle generously with coconut flakes. ENJOY!

Monday, October 20, 2008

FRESH PUMPKIN PIE

Sing with me.... All I want for Christmas is a new digital, a new digital, a new digital. All I want for Christmas is a new digital..... then I can take better picture!! Pictures! LOL
Well, I think you can get the idea anyway. Have you ever made a pumpkin pie using fresh pumpkin? There is NO comparison! This version is so light and smooth, you almost forget you're eating pumpkin! And we like just a "tad" extra Cool Whip on ours! Ha ha! It really isn't hard at all to make this. You should give it a trial run before Thanksgiving, so you can surprise & impress your family with it!

FRESH PUMPKIN PIE

1 medium sugar pumpkin (2 cups cooked & mashed)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Crust:

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 400. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy portions. Lay pumpkin flesh side down on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Cool just until warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Puree in food processor or blender.
Prepare pie crust by mixing together the flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour, add 1 tablespoon water to mixture at a time. Mix dough and repeat until dough is moist enough to hold together. With lightly floured hands, shape dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board, roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. With a sharp knife, cut dough 1 1/2 inches larger than the upside down 8-9 inch pie pan. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it right side up on to the pie pan. Unroll, ease dough into the bottom of the pie pan.
In a large bowl,with mixer on medium speed, beat the 2 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin, heavy whipping cream, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well (will be thinner than a normal pumpkin pie) Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake 40 minutes or until when a butter knife inserted comes out clean.

*If you have extra pumpkin left - you can use it to make pancakes, muffins, cookies, milkshakes, etc...

Friday, October 17, 2008

TRAVELING TREAT JAR

A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to Barbi, for pointing out where the blog was, that featured this edible gift! It was on Carrie's blog - "With all that I've been given." I only wish I had seen her cute little poem before I finished my project! It's OK though, I think they turned out nice still, and those that received them were thrilled with them! I found the jars on sale this past week for $2.97 each, so I bought 2 and decided pass them both around. It only took 1 batch of cookies to fill them both. I was able to fit a dozen and a half cookies in each one. and yes, those are Monster Cookies in there!


I wrote my own poem, since I couldn't find her website beforehand. Mine isn't as clever as hers, but it works! haha My girls helped me cut the paper and stamp the labels, to jazz them up a little.

I also included a list of rules as to how it works. And then the 3rd sheet underneath has half of our church family names. The other jar had the other half of the names. With 2 of them circulating, families will get them quicker.

One of the jars went to our college kids group (5 of them) who travel back home every weekend, from Bible college, to serve in their various ministries. The other one went to a family whose husband just lost his job. They are one of the most giving families. They have shared the bounty from their garden with me, all Summer long. She also has brought in lots of neat things for our nursery and toddler rooms, along with some very clever ideas to make them run more efficiently! I just wanted to let them each know I appreciate all that they do for the Lord.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MINI SAUSAGE AND EGG CASSEROLES

I like to surprise my family once in a while on Saturday or Sunday morning with a new treat. This one was for a Sunday morning. That is rare for me, since Sunday mornings here are so very busy with bus routes. The girls and I are all up and out the door pretty early. I didn't take into account that I had to allow for the set up and photographing of the dish! haha So I really pushed myself on time this particular morning - but it was totally worth it! Sooo good! The nice thing about these, is you can mix them up the night before and just toss them in the oven in the morning.

MINI SAUSAGE AND EGG CASSEROLES

8 (1 1/2 oz) sourdough bread slices, cut into cubes (or any other favorite bread)
1 (16 oz) package ground pork sausage, browned and crumbled
2 1/2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1 Tblsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Divide bread cubes among 10 (8 to 10 oz) lightly greased ovenproof ramekins or coffee mugs. Top with cooked sausage. Whisk together milk, eggs and mustard. Pour over bread and sausage mixture in ramekins. Whisk together buttermilk and cream of mushroom soup. Spoon over bread mixture in ramekins. Sprinkle with cheese. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until set and puffed. Serve immediately.
*NOTE* Unbaked ramekins of casserole can be covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and frozen up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Bake as directed.