January 10th, 2008
I absolutely love this dip. It’s a great appetizer or snack. Just be careful … it’s a little addicting. Thank you Sarah for introducing us to this (several years ago). We’ve made it a million times since. Okay, so not quite a million. But a lot.
PS – Some food tastes a heck of a lot better than it photographs. This is an example of food that is NOT photogenic. : )
TOFFEE APPLE DIP
Mix the following together & serve with apple slices:
8 oz. cream cheese
½ c. brown sugar
¼ c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Skor toffee bits
January 8th, 2008
My friend Tori shared this recipe with me a few years ago and it’s become another family favorite for us. After making it many times, we’ve tweaked the recipe to our liking. David loves to add a little bit of “this & that” to spice it up, and we love the flavorful results.
1 lb. hamburger
1/2 c. uncooked rice
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1-2 cans of stewed diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 c. water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Seasonings as desired (oregano, pepper, garlic salt, Tabasco sauce)
Mix hamburger, uncooked rice, water, onion, celery salt, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Add an egg to help hold it all together. Shape into (about 16) balls and cook in skillet until all sides are brown. In a separate bowl, mix tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, 1 c. water and Worcestershire sauce and pour over meatballs. Heat to boiling. Add desired seasonings. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes. (Add water during cooking if necessary.) Serve over cooked rice.
Note: This takes about ½ hour to make and 45 minutes to simmer, so 1 hour and 15 minutes, from start to ready to eat.
December 28th, 2007
If you’re interested in a pasta dish with serious flavor, give this is try. We’re hosting a dinner party tonight, and my chicken is in the crock-pot now. This is one of our favorite things to make for a large group.
GARLIC CHICKEN FARFALLE
16 oz. Farfalle pasta
1 c. heavy whipping cream
3-4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed OR garlic salt (I do a spoonful of crushed garlic)
1 Tbsp. pepper*
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. bacon, crumpled**
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (12 oz) Lawry’s mesquite marinade with lime juice
*Seems like a lot of pepper, but it has a wonderful flavor when everything mixes together. If you’re apprehensive, do less pepper. You can always add more.
**We like to cook our bacon in the oven (400 degrees, convection). Way less messy. And it’s crispy every time. Time varies, so you just have to watch it. I think it’s usually around 30 minutes. Allow to cool and then crumple (I totally wear disposable gloves for this part – surprise, surprise).
[ directions ]
Crock pot chicken and bottle of marinade on low for 6 hours. Pull marinated chicken out of the juices, allow to cool a little bit, and shred (I pull it apart). Set this aside. About a half-hour before serving, boil the pasta. In a small saucepan, melt butter, add garlic, whipping cream, pepper, parmesan cheese, and crumpled bacon. Whisk together on low heat for 3-4 minutes. In a large bowl, pour over cooked, drained pasta, add chicken and stir through. Sprinkle a little bit more shredded parmesan cheese on top.
December 20th, 2007
Three words: Thank. You. Ana.
I got this recipe from my dear friend Ana Cabrera (has the best sense of humor and a huge, warm-fuzzy heart made of gold). I grew up eating red velvet cake for special occasions. Love it. But then I just didn’t have it (or hear about it) for years and years. And then Ana (who, by the way, really is a foodie and in fact, used to be a professional chef) rocked my world with this recipe.
Ana, my neighbors thank you. My hips do not.
RED VELVET CUPCAKES with butter cream cheese frosting
You’ll need this stuff for the cake:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. red food coloring paste*
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
*I couldn’t find “paste” but regular food coloring worked just fine for me.
And you’ll need this stuff for the frosting:
1 brick cream cheese, softened (8 oz.)
1 stick butter, softened (1/2 c. or 8 Tbsp. or 4 oz.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. sifted confectioners’ sugar
[ DIRECTIONS ]
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers. There is a lot of oil in this recipe, so I prefer the foil kind.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
In a large bowl beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with an electric mixer or balloon whisk. The liquids should be emulsified. Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Stir gently with a large spoon just until combined. Do not over work the batter or your cupcakes will be tough.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins, about 2/3 filled. Bake at 350 for about 22-25 minutes. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Cakes will be a little soft while still hot, but will set once cooled. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
[ MAKING THE FROSTING ]
Combine all ingredients until smooth. Chill for at least 30 min. before frosting cupcakes.
December 18th, 2007
This is one of my lifetime favorite side dishes (even and when I was a child) and when I serve them at a dinner party, there are never any left.
(as taught by Mom Allgaier)
mayonnaise (not salad dressing or any substitute)
salt & pepper
mustard (liquid, not dry)
pickle juice (from a jar of sweet pickles – not dill)
paprika (found with the spices & seasonings)
You’ll notice that there are no quantities or measurements listed. I learned how to make deviled eggs from my mom and she never measured anything for deviled eggs. She just added a “little bit of this and a little bit of that” until it was just right. I like to taste it as I go to see what needs to be added.
Boil the eggs* and cool. Remove eggshells and cut the eggs in half, lengthwise. Put all egg yolks in a bowl and mash them. Add mayo, salt & pepper, mustard, and pickle juice (spoonfuls) to taste. You don’t want your egg batter to be stiff or too runny. It should be a nice, creamy texture. Remember to start light on the mayonnaise because you can always add more but you can’t go back once it’s in there. Put a dollop of the batter in each egg and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, sprinkle a little paprika on each deviled egg.
* How I boil my eggs: After the water reaches a rolling boil, turn off the stove and let the pot sit there on the range to finish. When they’ve cooled for about 15 minutes, let the eggs cool in cold water and then store in refrigerator until you’re ready to make the deviled eggs.
December 14th, 2007
Perhaps you saw the Andes Mint Cookies recipe I posted on 5.9.07. It’s been my #1 favorite cookie for 2007. I’ve made these more than any other baked goodies lately. And now … here’s a little festive variation. It tastes almost identical. Just a different texture on top. I’ll go ahead and post the recipe again. The only difference is the very last part. Instead of melting an Andes Mint candy on top, you’ll use peppermint crumbles (found near all the other baking stuff).
PEPPERMINT CRUMBLE COOKIES
3/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. water
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
bag of crumbled peppermint pieces
Melt butter, brown sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat until melted and then add the chocolate chips, stirring until completely melted. Cool for 10 minutes. Put this in a mixing bowl and beat in 2 eggs. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together and chill for about 45 minutes.
Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. When cookies come out of oven, sprinkle peppermint crumbles on top of the cookie and do not spread. The pieces will get soft at first, but then keep their shape and re-solidify when cool.
*Added comment: No, peppermint crumbles are not the same as crushed peppermint candies or candy canes. The texture is more similar to chocolate chips/crumbles.
December 13th, 2007
Recognize the picture? It’s the one currently used on my new homepage. These delectable treats are one of my all-time favorites.
CHOCOLATE OAT SQUARES
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened, divided
2 c. packed brown sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
3 c. quick-cooking aots
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. baking soda
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 c. (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts
In a mixing bowl, cream 1 c. butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla. Combine the oats, flour, 1 teaspoon salt and baking soda in a separate bowl; stir into creamed mixture. Press 2/3 of oat mixture into a greased 9″ x 13″ baking stone (or pan). It’s also fine in an 8″ x 8″ pan. You’ll just have taller squares.
In a saucepan combine milk, chocolate chips and remaining butter and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat; stir in walnuts and remaining vanilla. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Cut into squares.
Yield: 4 dozen.
November 30th, 2007
I don’t remember where I got this recipe years ago, but I altered the recipe and this is how I make it.
[ fudge layer ]
3 tsp. butter, softened (yes tsp. … not Tbsp.)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. baking cocoa
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
[ peppermint layer ]
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. milk
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/4 c. crushed peppermint candy (about 10-12 candies)
Line the bottom and sides of a square baking dish with foil. Grease foil with butter; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla. Spread into prepared pan. Chill for an hour until firm. For peppermint layer, beat cream cheese in a small mixing bowl. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, milk and extract. Stir in peppermint candy. Spread evenly over chocolate layer. Chill for an hour or until firm. Using foil, lift fudge from pan. Gently peel off foil and cut into squares.
Notes: A double batch fits well in a 9” x 13” pan and makes about 7-8 dozen little squares of fudge. Also, to crush the peppermint candies, I place them in a thick zip lock bag and use a rubber mallet (soft hammer). This is where my kids like to help!
*Added comment: I recommend storing your fudge in the refrigerator. It’s probably fine at room temperature (I think?), but that’s just my personal preference. I think it tastes better chilled.
November 7th, 2007
16 oz. can chili beans
16 oz. kidney beans
16 oz. can black beans
8 oz. can tomato sauce
15 oz. can diced stewed tomatoes
16 oz. can whole corn
16 oz. creamed corn
pkg. taco seasoning
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 sm. can chopped green chilies
Do not drain any of the canned foods. Add all ingredients to a crock pot and add taco seasoning to the soup. Brown the ground beef in a pan with the chopped onion and add this combination to the crock pot. Simmer for at least a couple of hours. Serve warm and garnish with optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips (cooked in frying pan with olive oil and grated parmesan cheese). Another idea: Eat with large Fritos chips.
October 24th, 2007
The first time I tried these was about a year ago when my friend Karolyn made them for breakfast during a girlfriends retreat/reunion. Good memories (love you guys!). What I like about these muffins (besides the chocolate chips!) is that you barely taste the pumpkin. It’s not overwhelming. Not even close.
PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. ground pumpkin (canned)
1/2 c. cooking oil
1/3 c. chocolate chips
Mix together. Fill muffin cups and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
**Added note: If using mini muffin pan, just about 12 minutes is perfect in my oven. And I sprayed the mini muffin pan before filling each space half-way with the mixture. (No muffin cups.)
Super simple. When the recipe is this simple, I definitely involve the kids. Porter & Claire helped me make some today and we’re sharing with some neighbors when we go for a walk later this evening.
October 9th, 2007
This is the easiest snack ever. And the kids will love to help. We made a bunch this weekend and delivered them to a few friends & neighbors. This was the first time that we used the waffle-style pretzels (instead of traditional). BIG hit. Much better.
1 bag pretzels
1 pkg. M&Ms
1 pkg. Hershey “Hugs”
Place pretzels on baking stone or sheet. Place a Hug on each pretzel and bake at 200 degrees for about 8 minutes (just watch for the Hugs to melt). Remove from oven and promptly place a couple of M&Ms on each pretzel, pressing into the melted chocolate. Allow to cool before serving. At room temperature, this takes SEVERAL hours. I would recommend making these the day before you plan on eating/delivering. Or you can put them in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
Note to self: I tried to experiment with the caramel-filled kisses (the batch before this one). Bad idea. It didn’t work. But my friend, Karolyn, said that Rolos work. So maybe you’ll want to try that version.
September 26th, 2007
(makes 4 mini loaves)
2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. oil
3/4 c. milk
3 ripe bananas, mashed
chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)
Combine all ingredients (except nuts or chocolate chips) in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for about one minute. Then add the nuts or chocolate chips (I’m all about adding the chocolate!) and stir them in with a spoon. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350.
This recipe makes 4 mini loaves (I love the Pampered Chef mini loaf pan that’s a baking stone). You could also pour the mixture into a mini muffin pan. If you do the mini muffins, they only need about 10 minutes in the oven. Or you could do one large loaf of banana bread and that would take about an hour to bake.
September 5th, 2007
This one’s a staple for our family:
2-3 pieces of cooked chicken breasts, diced
(or 2 cans of chicken if you’re in a pinch for time)
8 oz. cream cheese
Salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
6 crescent rolls (Pillsbury Grands are best)
stuffing mix (I prefer Pepperidge Farm brand)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. milk
Combine first 3 ingredients. Add a spoonful of mixture on crescent roll. Wrap around and pinch the edges. Dip in melted butter and then roll in stuffing mix. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes. Serve with mushroom sauce (combine soup and milk in saucepan over low heat until smooth and creamy).
August 18th, 2007
One of favorites lately is KABOBS! Grab some skewers, soak them in water for about 20 minutes (so they don’t burn on the grill), cut up some favorite vegetables (mushrooms, bell peppers & such) and some marinated steak. The two marinades that we’ve used and loved are Lawry’s Hawaiian and Lawry’s Teriyaki Pineapple.
Or try chicken with fresh pineapple. Also really good.
August 16th, 2007
GRILLED CHICKEN BRUSCHETTA
Sundried tomato salad dressing (we used Kraft brand)
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small pkg. fresh basil, chopped
Marinate chicken in sundried tomato dressing ahead of time. Place large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of grill grate; preheat grill to medium heat. Grill chicken on uncovered side of grill about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil and dressing (as much as you desire; we did about 1/2 cup). Back to the grill – Turn chicken over; place on the foil-covered part of the grill, cooked-side up. Top evenly with tomato mixture. Close lid. Grill an additional 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.