I have been married to a wonderful Christian man since 1976. The Lord has blessed us with two daughters and two sons. I consider each day the Lord gives me on the earth yet another chance to serve Him.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Soft Dinner Rolls

I love a soft dinner roll that have that golden brown top.  Put a little butter on a hot roll and mmmmmm-mmmmmmm good.




SOFT DINNER ROLLS
(makes 12)

Ingredients:
*1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
*1/2 cup warm water
*2 tablespoons granulated sugar
*1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
*1 egg
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 teaspoon salt
*3-3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
*1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:
~Place warm water, sugar & yeast into mixer bowl.
~Allow to sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast proofs (foams).
~In a small bowl, mix warm milk, egg, olive oil & salt.
~Add the mixture into the yeast mixture and mix just a little.
~Whisk in 3 cups flour until dough comes together (add the other 1/4 cup only if needed).
~Knead at low speed, until dough is smooth, but a little sticky, around 9-11 minutes.
~Place dough into a well oiled large bowl, cover with a clean towel, and let dough rise until doubled, around 1 hour.
~Place dough onto a lightly floured clean surface.
~Cut dough into 12 pieces.
~Tuck edges underneath dough, and roll into a round ball.
~Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
~Place rolls into pan,  with room between each roll (give room for the dough to rise).
~Place in a warm, draft free space and allow to rise for 40-50 minutes.
~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~Gently brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter.
~Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes.
~Remove from pan and serve warm or cool on a wire rack and eat at room temperature.

Variation:
`When rolls come out the of the oven, rub butter over the tops of the rolls and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.
`When rolls come out of the oven, rub butter over tops of the rolls and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
`Mix 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt & 1 teaspoon poppy seeds.  When rolls come out of the oven, rub butter over the tops of the rolls and sprinkle with garlic mixture.






Monday, December 23, 2013

Stuffing

You can't have a turkey without having stuffing. Nothing beats homemade stuffing. It is just as good when warming it up for leftovers. This is a recipe that you can put together (all but baking) the day before Thanksgiving.






STUFFING
(serves 12-14)

Ingredients:
*1 french or italian baguette, cut into cubes.
*4 tablespoons butter
*1 large onion, diced
*2 celery stalks, diced
*1 garlic clove, minced
*2 teaspoons dried parsley
*1 teaspoon dried sage, rubbed between fingers
*1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
*1 teaspoon black pepper
*2 cups turkey (chicken) stock
*2 large eggs

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~Spread bread cubes in a single layer on two large baking pans.
~Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a light golden brown.
~Remove from oven and let cool.
~Heat butter, in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
~Add onions, celery, & garlic, sauté until veggies are soft. About 8-10 minutes.
~In a large bowl, mix bread, vegetables and remaining ingredients.
~Grease a 3-quart baking dish.
~Put stuffing in baking dish.
~Cover with lid or aluminum foil.
~Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
~Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Steak & Cheese Stromboli

Yummy, filling, a very easy meal.  Love the mixture of melted cheese & roast beef.  I will often make my own pizza dough for this, but I have also been known if i'm in a hurry to buy the refrigerated pizza crust and use that.



STEAK & CHEESE STROMBOLI
(serves 4-6)

Pizza Crust Ingredients: (or buy 1 refrigerator pizza crust)
*1 cup warm water
*1 package active dry yeast
*1 teaspoon sugar
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 teaspoons olive oil
*2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon ground basil
*1 teaspoon ground oregano

Sandwich  Ingredients:
*1 pound of shaved roast beef
*2 cups cheddar cheese
*1 pound provolone cheese
*1 large vadalia onion, sliced
*1 green bell pepper, cut into strips and seeds taken out
*1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
*2 garlic cloves minced
*3 tablespoons butter
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
*1 egg yolk
*1 teaspoon water
*1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
*1 teaspoon poppy seeds


Pizza Directions:
~In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast & sugar in the water.
~Allow the yeast to proof, about 10 minutes.
~In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, oregano, basil and olive oil.
~Mix in yeast mixture.
~Sprinkle flour on a clean dry surface.
~Knead dough, until it is no longer sticky.
~Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a damp cloth.
~Let the dough rise until double.  About 1 hour.
~Punch down the dough, and for into a ball.
~Let dough sit for a few minutes.
~Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
Sandwich Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Chop shaved roast beef into small pieces.
~Melt butter into a large skillet.
~Add green peppers for about 5-6 minutes, over medium heat.
~Add sliced onions & mushrooms and sauté for another 4 mintues minutes.
~Add minced garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
~Season with salt, pepper & worcestershire sauce.
~Remove from heat and set aside.
~Spray a large cookie sheet with a cooking spray.
~Lightly sprinkle cookie sheet with corn meal (optional).
~Place pizza dough on prepared cookie sheet.
~Place provolone cheese down the center of the pizza crust.
~Pour the meat mixture over the cheese.
~Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the meat mixture.
~Starting from the long edge, start to roll the dough tightly, enclosing the filling inside of the dough.
~Seal the seam along the side & ends of the dough.
~With a fork, whisk egg yolk & water in a small bowl.
~In small bowl mix garlic salt & poppy seeds together.
~Brush the top of the crust with the egg and water mixture.
~Sprinkle garlic salt & poppy seed mixture over top of the dough.
~Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Variation:
`6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional), to roast beef mixture.
`Pour a little ranch dressing, bleu cheese dressing or chipotle sauce over meat mixture before sealing crust.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

So easy to make, creamy & tasty.  Kids and adults seem to love this recipe.  You can throw the noodles in uncooked, just let it cook longer in the crockpot.  I prefer the noodles cooked ahead of time because they don't seem as mushy.


(forgetting to take a picture before people dove in = a messy picture)

CROCKPOT MAC & CHEESE

Ingredients:
*1 (16 ounce) box of macaroni, cooked & drained
*1 (8 ounce) velveeta cheese, cut into cubes.
*1 (16 ounce) bag shredded cheddar cheese
*3 cups whole milk
*2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
*4 tablespoon butter, melted
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Directions:
~In a large bowl, mix everything but noodles together.
~Add in cooked noodles and mix well.
~Put mixture into slow cooker & cover.
~Cook for 3 hours, stirring once in a while if possible.

**You can cook this in the oven if you would prefer.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with a cooking spray.  Add the mixed ingredients, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.


Variation:
`add small chunks of ham if desired.
















Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crock Pot Chocolate

So easy to make and it makes enough to share with all your friends.  I love the mix of chocolates in this recipe.  This is a great recipe to take to a party.  It goes a long way.



CROCK POT CHOCOLATE
(makes 120-125)

Ingredients:
*2 pounds of salted dry roasted peanuts
*4 ounces of german sweet chocolate, chopped up
*1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
*1 (12 ounce) packages milk chocolate chips
*2 (16 ounce) packages almond bark, chopped

Directions:
~Put dry roasted peanuts on the bottom of a 4-5 quart crock pot.
~Layer the chocolate in order that it's listed above.
~Set on low temperature.
~Cook for 1 1/2-2 hours, do not stir.                                                                                      
~After candy has been cooking for 1 1/2 hours stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth.
~Just off slow cooker.
~Drop by teaspoons into mini cupcake liners.
~Let candy cool completely before eating.

Variations:
`I love substituting the dry roasted peanuts with spanish peanuts, but you can use any nut you would like.
`Substitute milk chocolate chips with Peanut Butter Chips or Mint Chips.
`Add 1 cup raisins to the mix.
`omit 1 cup of the milk chocolate and add 1 cup butterscotch chips.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chocolate Fudge

There is a much easier way to make fudge (like the one on the back of the 'marshmallow cream' jar), but this far out weighs it in taste. A little more time consuming, but not hard.


CHOCOLATE  FUDGE
(serves

Ingredients:
*1 1/2 cups whole milk
*4 ounces of a good quality unsweetened chocolate
*4 cups white sugar
*3 tablespoons light corn syrup
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*3 tablespoons butter
*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:
~In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the unsweetened chocolate and milk.
~Add in the sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
~Continuously stir until the chocolate mixture is boiling.
~Reduce the heat and continue to cook, without stirring, until chocolate mixture reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer.
~Stir in walnuts.
~Remove from heat.
~Add butter & vanilla, but do NOT stir.
~Allow chocolate mixture to cool until it reaches 110 degrees on a candy thermometer.
~Beat the fudge with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to lose its gloss and starts to thicken. This will take about 15 minutes.
~Pour into a greased 8x8 inch pan.
~Allow fudge to stand, cool, and set.
~Turn fudge out onto a cutting board, and cut into squares.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Marshmallows

Yes, I do make my own, marshmallows! It's a great activity to do with your kids. I allow them to put the ingredients in the pan, but not the cooking part. Once they are cooled and ready to be cut the the little ones can help again. They can help roll them in the powdered sugar.



MARSHMALLOWS

Ingredients:
*4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
*3/4 cup water
*3 cups granulated sugar
*1 1/4 cups corn syrup
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*3/4 cup water
*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*1/2 cup corn starch

Directions:
~Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
~Line pan with parchment paper.
~Spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
~In a medium saucepan combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt & 3/4 cup water.
~Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
~Continue to cook until syrup mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, without stirring.
~While the syrup is cooking put 3/4 cup water into a large mixing bowl.
~Sprinkle the gelatin on the water, but do not mix.
~Let it sit for 5-6 minutes.
~Once syrup has reached it's desired temperature, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin.
~Start out stirring very slowly until the gelatin is dissolved.
~Use a whisk attachment of your mixer and slowly bring the mixture up to high speed.
~Mix for 12-14 minutes, or until  marshmallow mixture is stiff.
~Add vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes.
~Spray cooking spray on a spatula.
~Pour marshmallow mixture into prepared pan and spread with spatula.
~Let marshmallow mixture sit for at least 4 hours uncovered.
~Stift powered sugar and corn starch together onto clean surface.
~Remove marshmallows from pan and onto powered sugar mixture.
~Using a knife or pizza cutter dipped in sugar mixture, cut marshmallows into desired size.
~Roll cut marshmallows into powdered sugar mixture until all sides are coated.
~Shake off any excess sugar and serve.

Variations:
-dip in cinnamon sugar mixture instead of powdered sugar mixture.
-dip in cocoas powder instead of powdered sugar mixtures.
-after dipping in powdered sugar mixture, dip in melted chocolate, let set until chocolate hardens.
-after dipping in powdered sugar mixture, dip in chocolate & crushed graham crackers, let set until chocolate hardens.
-after dipping in powdered sugar mixture, dip in chocolate & nuts, let sit until chocolate hardens.
-after dipping in powdered sugar mixture, dip in melted peanut butter and then melted chocolate, let sit until chocolate hardens.
-after dipping in powdered sugar mixture, dip in chocolate & then  crushed oreos, let sit until chocolate hardens.
-after dipping in powdered sugar mixture, dip in melted white chocolate & then sprinkles, let sit until chocolate hardens.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cherry-Cinnamon Jello

This is a great way to spruce up jello.  Easy to make and I love the hint of cinnamon in it.



CHERRY CINNAMON JELLO
(serves 6-8)

Ingredients:
*1 (3 ounce) package cherry jello
*1 cup boiling water
*1/3 cup red-hot candies
*1/2 cup boiling water
*1/4 cup cold water
*1 1/2 teaspoons cold apple cider or juice
*1 granny smith apple, peeled & chopped
*2 stalks celery, chopped
*1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:
~Dissolve jello & 1 cup boiling water in a small bowl.
~Dissolve red-hot candies and 1/2 cup boiling water into another small bowl.
~Stir red-hot mixture into the jello mixture.
~Stir in cold water & apple cider/juice into mixture.
~Refrigerator for about 1 hour.
~Gently mix in apples, celery & walnuts.
~Cover & refrigerate until firm (3-4 hours)

Variations:
`Add 1/2 cup raisins when you add the apples & celery.
`Coat a 4-cup jello mold with a cooking spray.
`Pour into mold & chill until firm (3-4 hours).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

An easy & quick soup to make.  Lots of flavor and a hearty soup.  Great for a nice cool day or days when you don't feel well.  Soups are always a  wonderful comfort food.




CHICKEN LEMON RICE SOUP
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*2 teaspoons butter
*1 cup carrots, diced small
*1 cup  celery, chopped small
*1 yellow onion, finely chopped
*8 cups chicken stock
*2 teaspoon chicken granules
*1/2 cup rice, uncooked
*1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked & shredded
*3 tablespoons butter
*3 tablespoons flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*3 large eggs
*lemon juice squeezed from 1 large lemon
*1 teaspoon lemon zest


Directions:
~In a large skillet, sauté  carrots in butter over medium heat, for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
~Add celery & onions and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
~In a large stockpot, combine chicken stock, chicken granules, rice, and sautéed carrots, celery & onions.
~Bring to a boil, over medium-high heat.
~Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
~Mix in chicken and let simmer for 2 minutes to heat up chicken.
~Remove from heat & set aside.
~In a small bowl, whisk eggs.
~In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoon butter over low heat.
~Whisk in flour, salt & pepper until roux is smooth.
~Add 2 cups of soup to roux and whisk until slightly thickened.
~Stir in lemon juice & lemon zest.
~Remove 1/4 cup of soup and slowly pour into eggs, whisking very quickly.
~Very slowly, add egg mixture into soup, stir until mixed well.
~Heat soup over low heat until soup is thick enough to coat a spoon (do not boil).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oven Baked Pancake

This comes out so very fluffy.   It's important to make sure your pan is very hot before putting ingredients in it.   Very quick and easy breakfast to make.  Raspberries sprinkled over the hot pancake is very good.



OVEN BAKED PANCAKE
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*6 tablespoons butter
*1 cup bread flour
*1 cup whole milk
*4 room temperature eggs, beaten
*2 tablespoons granulated sugar
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
*2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
~Put butter into a 10-12 inch oven proof skillet (I use my cast iron pan)
~Place butter into skillet.
~Put skillet in oven as it's preheating, until butter is melted.
~While butter is melting, whisk flour, milk, eggs, sugar, salt & lemon peel together in a large bowl.
~Pour misture over hot butter.
~Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pancake is brown on the edges & a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
~Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar.


Variations:
~substitute bread flour with all-purpose flour.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Onion Strings-Chipolte-Cheeseburger

Wow, this burger is awesome.  Love the different flavors & textures that run throughout this burger.  I love the onion rings on it.  That little crunch makes it so good.  This recipe looks like there are a lot of steps, but there really isn't.  It's well worth the couple extra steps it does take to make this awesome burger.




ONION STRINGS-CHIPOTLE-CHEESEBURGER
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1 pound lean ground beef
*4 slices of cheese (whatever is your favorite)
*2 tablespoons yellow onion, chopped fine
*1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*1 garlic glove, minced
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*vegetable oil, enough to cook onions in (1 to 2 cups)
*4-6 teaspoons chipotle sauce
*lettuce (optional)
*dill pickles, sliced (optional)
*4 hamburger buns (I use whole wheat)


Directions:
~In a medium bowl, mix ground beef,  2 tablespoons finely chopped onion, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt & black pepper.
~Make into 4 equal patties.
~Place on a plate and cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
~Place a wire rack on top of foil
~Place burgers on wire rack.
~Bake 8-10 minutes or until don as you like them.

 -How to assemble burgers-
~I like to toast the buns in the oven the last 2 minutes of the burger cooking.
~Place toasted buns on a plate.
~Spread chipotle sauce over bottom side of the top bun.
~Place lettuce on bottom half of bun.
~Place hot burger over lettuce.
~Place a slice of cheese over burger.
~Place pickles over burger.
~Place onion strings over pickles.
~Cover with top bun and enjoy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Onion Strings

These are wonderful on burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads or just as is.  They are also great to use on the a green bean casserole.  If you are going to use these for a green bean casserole, I would double the recipe.




ONION STRINGS

Ingredients:
*1 medium-large yellow onion
*1 cup buttermilk
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/2 teaspoon season salt
*vegetable oil, enough to cook onions in (1 to 2 cups)

Directions:
~Slice onion very thin and separate.
~Place sliced onion into a medium bowl.
~Pour buttermilk over sliced onions.
~Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
~In  small bowl, mix flour, paprika, garlic powder, baking powder & season salt.
~Heat oil to 375 degrees in a large skillet (I like using my cast iron skillet).
~Pick up a small handful of onions and let milk drip off.
~Drop into flour mixture and toss.
~Shake off excess mixture and fry in hot oil.
~Remove when coating is a golden brown.
~Set aside and repeat until all the onion strings are done.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Oreo Krispy Treats

Mixing Oreos into rice krispy treats is awesome.  Such an easy treat to make.



OREO KRISPY TREATS
(serves 24)


Ingredients:
*1 cup light corn syrup
*1 cup granulated white sugar
*1 cup peanut butter
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*6 cups rice krispie
*20 oreos, crushed
*2 cup white or milk chocolate, melted

Directions:
~Spray a 9x13 inch pan with a cooking spay.
~In a large bowl, mix crushed oreos & rice krispy.
~In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup & sugar.
~Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and just short of a boil.
~Remove from heat.
~Stir in vanilla & peanut butter.
~Stir until peanut butter is melted.
~Pour mixture over oreo & rice krispy mixture.
~Stir until well coated.
~Press into prepared pan.
~Drizzle melted chocolate over rice krispy bars.
~Cut once it is cooled.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Canning Apple Pie Filling

I love to can apple pie filling.   It allows me to make apple pie at a moments notice. It has so much more flavor than the store bought pie filling.  If you don't want to make the dough, just pie the refrigerator pie crusts from the store (they are pretty good).  Fill the pie crust with your pie filling and bake.  Fresh apple pie, fairly quick and easy.  You will see that I use Clear-Jel in my apple pie filling.  Many people use corn starch.  The reason I don't use it, is because Clear-Jel is more stable and won't separate or become watery like corn starch can.  Corn starch is also not recommended by the USDA for safe canning.






CANNING APPLE PIE FILLING
(makes 7 quarts)

Ingredients:
*30-35 medium apples (cortland, golden delicious, rome & jonathan are best)
*9 1/2 cups water
*4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
*1 cup Clear Jel
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions
~In a large saucepan, mix water, sugar, clear jel, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg.
~Cook until thickened, continuously stirring.
~Stir in lemon juice.
~Slice apples, placing them into a large bowl of cold water with a little lemon juice.
~Place sliced apples into jars a quarter way filled.
~Add some syrup.
~Repeat with apples & syrup until filled, leaving at least a 1-inch headspace.
~Clean top of jars from any residue.
~Place lids (I heat lids up first in boiling water) & rings on jars. Tighten lids.
~Place in water bath for 25 minutes.
~Remove from bath & allow to sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place (fruit cellar).

Variation:
`substitute clear jel for Ultra Gel.
`freeze filling instead of canning it.  You would omit hot bath and put into freezer bags.  Remove air & seal.  You can also use cornstarch if freezing.



To make pie:
~Preheat oven 425 degrees.
~Fill bottom crust with pie filling.
~Put 1 teaspoon of butter (chopped) over pie filling.
~Put top crust on and crimp edges.
~Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over top crust (optional).
~Put aluminum foil over the edges of the crust.
~Put small slits in top crust.
~Place pie on cookie sheets (if pie overflows it won't make a mess in your oven).
~Bake for 15 minutes.
~Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
~Bake for 30 minutes.
~Remove aluminum foil and bake another 10 minutes.
~Cool completely before cooking.








Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grilled Onion Chicken Panini

Mmmmm, Mmmmm Good!  The grilled onions on this sandwich make it so good.  If you want to make it less calories then omit the breading and just season & grill the chicken.



GRILLED ONION CHICKEN PANINI
(serves 2)

Ingredients:
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 large white onion, sliced thin
*1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
*1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, halved and pounded to about 1-inch thick
*1 cup buttermilk
*1/4 cup all purpose flour
*1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
*1 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*1 tablespoon bleu cheese or mayo (optional)
*2 slices swiss cheese
*2 slices mozzarella cheese
*4 slices of bread
*1 teaspoon butter

Directions:
~Pour buttermilk into a small bowl.
~Place chicken into buttermilk and let sit for 20-30 minutes.~In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
~Add sliced onion & sugar.
~Cook for 20-25 minutes or until onions are a golden brown and caramelized, stirring often.
~Remove from pan and set aside.
~Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil & vegetable oil in skillet, heat over medium heat.
~In a small bowl, combine flour, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper & paprika.
~Remove chicken from buttermilk, and shake off excess liquid.
~Roll chicken into bread crumb mixture until well coated.
~Carefully place chicken into hot oil.
~Cook 5-6 minutes on each side, or until chicken is done.
~ Remove chicken from pan.
~Coat one side of each slice of bread with butter.
~Place bread butter side down on skillet/grill.
~Put chicken on bread.
~Add one slice of swiss & mozzarella cheese over each piece of chicken.
~Divide grilled onions over the cheese.
~Put a 1/2 teaspoon of bleu cheese or mayo over onions.
~Top with bread, butter side up.
~Grill (or put in a panini maker) until one side is golden brown (I put a heavy pan over the sandwich as I cook it).
~Flip and do the same on the other side.


Variations:
`add a slice of tomato before or after sandwich is grilled.
`add dill pickles before or after sandwich is grilled.
`add baby spinach before grilling.
`add 2 slices of cooked bacon before grilling.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Gourmet Bacon Coney Dogs

I love a good chili dog but every once in a while I like to step it up a bit.  This one does that.  I mean, bacon makes anything better.  Chili sauce will make or break a coney dog. So buy a good one or make your own.





GOURMET BACON CONEY DOGS
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1 cup coney sauce (I make my own)
*4 hot dogs
*4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
*1/2 cup cheddar cheese
*1/4 yellow onion, chopped
*4 teaspoons sour cream
*yellow mustard
*4 hot dog buns

Directions:
~Grill hot dogs.
~Toast hot dog buns
~Put hot dog on bun & divide all the toppings evenly among the hot dogs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Almond Joy Cake

If you like Almond Joy Bars, you will like this cake.  Yummy!  Very rich, but oh so good.  You can omit the almonds if you don't care for nuts.




ALMOND JOY
(serves 12)

Ingredients:
*1 (14 ounce) bag sweetened cocoanut, shredded
*1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk*2 cups granulated sugar

*1 cup unsweetened cocoa
*2 cups granulated sugar
*1 3/4 cup flour
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 large eggs
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*1 cup butter milk
*3/4 cup boiling water
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
*1/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips
*1/2 cup heavy cream
*1/4 cup light corn syrup
*1 cup slivered almonds

*2 sticks of butter, room temperature
*1/4 cup heavy cream
*3 cups powdered sugar
*1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Directions:
~In a medium bowl, mix cocoanut and sweetened condensed milk, until well mixed.
~Refrigerate until ready to use.
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Grease & lightly flour a 9x13 inch cake pan.
~In a large mixing bowl, sift sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
~Add eggs, one at a time.
~Add oil & buttermilk, mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.
~Add boiling water  & vanilla extract and mix well (batter will be watery).
~Pour batter into prepared pan.
~Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done.
~Allow cake cool in pan until completely cooled.
~In a microwavable bowl, combine milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips & heavy cream.
~Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir well.
~Repeat for another minutes and a half, stirring every 30 seconds.
~Remove from microwave and stir in light corn syrup.
~Refrigerate until it cools a little and thickens up.
~In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, heavy cream & coconut flavoring, until smooth.
~Slowly add powdered sugar and mix on low speed.
~When sugar is starting to mix in, mix on high speed for 1-2 minutes.
~Once cake is cooled spread cocoanut mixture over cake.
~Frost cake.
~Sprinkle slivered almonds over frosting.
~Drizzle chocolate ganache over top.
~Store in refrigerator.



.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Puree

Fresh pumpkin puree makes any pumpkin dish better.   I put 1 cup of puree in a quart size freezer bag and freeze it.  I'm telling you the rich flavor of this is awesome.  You will want to use pie pumpkins (the small ones).   Big pumpkins do not make for tasty puree.




PUMPKIN PUREE
(Makes 4-6 cups)

Ingredients:
*2 pie pumpkins
*2-4 tablespoon water if needed

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Cut pumpkins in half.
~Scoop out seeds & pulp from the center of the pumpkin (I save the seeds to make pumpkin seeds with).
~Place pumpkin face down on a cookie sheet.
~Bake for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender.
~Peel off skin of pumpkin.
~Put pulp into a food processor, a little bit at a time (can use food mill, potato masher or blender, just make sure it's mashed well and not stringy).
~Pulse until very smooth (if puree looks to dry add a few drops of water. If it becomes to watery drain through a cheesecloth).
~Measure 1 cup of puree for each freezer bag (this is so it's easier to know how much you have for recipes).
~Seal bag, remove any trapped air.
~Freeze until you are ready to use it.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Muffuletta

If you don't like olives you probably won't like this sandwich.  I happen to love then and think this sandwich is delicious.  Now I've never been to New Orleans, so I don't know how close this to being a true muffuletta.
This sandwich is also takes two days in the making.  One day to let the olive mixture marinate and the second day to let the stuff all soak in all the flavors. You can eat the sandwich as soon as it's made, but I personally think it tastes better, when it sits for a while.
                                            (cold sandwich)

(sandwich heated up & cut in half)



MUFFULETTA
(serves 2-4)

Ingredients:
*1/2 small red onion, chopped fine
*6-8 kalamata olives, chopped fine
*6-8 green olives, chopped fine
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 tablespoon pickled cauliflower florets, chopped fine
*1 teaspoon celery, chopped fine
*1 teaspoon carrots, chopped fine
*2 tablespoons pepperoncini, drained & chopped fine
*dash of salt
*1/8 teaspoon celery seed
*1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/4 teaspoon dried basil
*1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*2 very sturdy bread rolls or muffuletta bread (I make my own)
*1/4 pound Genoa salami, sliced thin
*1/4 pound ham, sliced thin
*1/4 pound italian bologna, sliced thin
*1/4 pound mozzarella cheese
*1/4 pound provolone cheese

Directions:
~In a small glass bowl, mix red onion, green olives, kalamata olives, garlic, pickled cauliflower, celery, carrot, pepperoncini, salt, celery seed, oregano, basil, black pepper, vinegar, olive oil & vegetable oil.
~Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
~Cut rolls in half.
~Remove some of the bread from each half of the roll.
~Spread olive mixture on both sides of the roll.
~Layer the bottom half of the roll with the salami, ham, italian bologna, mozzarella & provolone.
~Place the top half of the roll over the meats & cheeses.
~Wrap sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-24 hours (optional).
~Unwrap sandwich and enjoy or wrap sandwich in foil, and place in a preheated 375 degree oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  This really depends on if you prefer cold or hot sandwiches.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie with Maple Cream Filling


These are soft and creamy and oh so good.  I like to have one with a hot cup of tea or apple cider.   A wonderful fall dessert to bring to any party.  If you don't care for maple flavor, use a vanilla extract instead.



PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIE
(makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients:
*2 cups light brown sugar, packed
*1 cup vegetable oil
*1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh is even better)
*2 large eggs
*3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
*3 cups powdered sugar
*1 cup cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1 teaspoon maple extract
*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 cup pecans, chopped fine (optional)

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray.
~In a large mixing bowl, mix brown sugar and vegetable oil.
~Add pumpkin puree, eggs & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, mix well.
~Add sifted flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cinnamon, ground ginger & ground cloves, mix until incorporated.
~Drop dough with a cookie scoop (or a heaping teaspoon) onto prepared cookie sheet.
~Bake for 10-12 minutes.
~Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
~In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth.
~Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
~Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mix well.
~Mix in maple & vanilla extracts, beat until smooth.
~Turn half of the cooled pumpkin cookie upside down.
~Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon spoon of filling onto each half.
~Place another cookie, flat side down over the filling.
~Press down lightly so the filling spreads to the edges.
~Roll edges in chopped pecans.
~Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
~Refrigerate for 30 minutes & serve.

Variation:
`if you don't care for maple flavoring, just use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grape Jelly

This is labor intensive but it is so worth it.  The flavor just bursts.   It will the best grape jelly that you have ever had.




GRAPE JELLY
(8 pints)


Ingredients:
*4 pounds ripe concord grapes
*1 (1.75 ounce) box of fruit pectin
*1/2 teaspoon butter
*7 cups granulated sugar

Directions:
~Wash grapes & drain.
~Put grapes into a large saucepan & cook over medium heat until grapes are softened.
~Place about 2 cups of grapes into a Jelly Strainer or layered cheesecloth over a bowl.
~Keep doing this until you have 5 cups of grape juice (you can add unsweetened pure grape juice if needed)
~Bring grape juice to a boil, over medium heat.
~Reduce heat.
~Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
~Add fruit pectin to juice & mix well.
~Add butter.
~Turn heat up to high heat, and bring to a full rolling boil for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.
~Stir in sugar all at one time.
~Bring back to full rolling boil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.
~Remove from heat.
~Skim off any foam.
~Pour hot jelly into sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
~Wipe tops of jars making sure any jam residue in removed.
~Seal.
~Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
~Remove from water bath and let cool.
~Listen for the ping sound.  This means that your jelly has sealed.
~Let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool, dry space.

**If you feel a bubble in the lid after it's cooled, this means it did not seal.  Either start the water bath again, with a new lid, or just store in the refrigerator.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

WOW, this soup is pretty amazing.   The only suggestion I have for you is if you like your soup a little spicy use hot italian sausage, if you like it mild use mild italian sausage.  Keep in mind that you always want to use a good italian sausage, it will make or break a soup.



(serves 6)

Ingredients:
*4-6 slices of a good quality bacon (optional)
*1 pound of a good quality hot or mild Italian sausage
*1 large onion, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*3 large russet potatoes, chopped small
*2-3 cups kale, viens removed and cut thin
*6 cups chicken broth
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 cups kale
*1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
~Cook bacon in a stock pot, until done.
~Remove, cool, crumble and set aside.
~Remove casing from sausage and cut into small pieces.
~Brown sausage in stock pot.
~When sausage in close to being done, add onions & garlic.
~Once the onions are translucent, add chicken broth.
~Add poatoes, salt & pepper.
~Cook until potatoes are almost done.
~Add bacon.
~Simmer for 15 minutes.
~Use immersible blender (or blender) and mash some of the potatoes (optional)
~Add Kale & cream.
~Simmer for another 15 minutes.

Canned Christmas Pears

Pears, pears, pears everywhere at this time of the year.  My girls love Christmas or Cinnamon Pears.   Easy to can and so good.  The longer they sit the more red they become.



CHRISTMAS PEARS
(makes 10-12 pints)


Ingredients:
*1/2 bushel of firm, but ripe pears
*2 cups sugar
*6 cups water
*1 1/2 cups cinnamon hot candies


Directions:
~Fill a large bowl half way full with cold water.
~Put 1 tablespoon on lemon juice in water.
~Peel & core pears.
~Slice and drop into water.
~Bring a small pan of water to a boil, reduce heat and keep hot.
~Place canning lids in hot water.
~In a large saucepan, mix sugar & 6 cups water and bring to a boil.
~Turn burner down to a simmer.
~Place 1/8 cup of cinnamon hots into each canning jar.
~Pack the pears tightly into the pint jars.
~Pour hot sugar water over pears, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.
~Make sure the tops of the jars are wipe free of any residue.
~Place lids & rings on jars.
~Place int hot water bath for 15 minutes.
~Remove, and let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place (fruit cellar).



Friday, October 11, 2013

Muffuletta Bread

I really like muffuletta's but just can't go to New Orleans every time I want one.   This means I need to make my own.   This bread is good for any sandwich, or just to eat as bread and easy to make.  It's very similar to Italian bread.


MUFFULETTA BREAD
(makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:
*1 cup warm water
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
*1 1/2 teaspoons salt
*3 cups bread flour
*3 teaspoons active dry yeast
*1 tablespoon sesame seeds
*1/2 teaspoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon corn meal


Directions:
~Place water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sugar, salt, flour & yeast into the bread machine.
~Select dough cycle and start (mine takes 1 1/2 hours).
~Remove dough from bread maker.
~Lightly oil a clean surface.
~Place dough on surface, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
~Spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray and lightly coat with corn meal.
~Form dough into a circle and place bottom side up on prepared pan.
~Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the dough, and press down gently.
~Lightly brush olive oil over top of dough.
~Cover with plastic wrap.
~Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm, draft free area.
~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
~Bake for 10 minutes.
~Reduces heat to 375 degrees.
~Bake for 15-20 minutes or until done.  Bread should sound hollow when tapped.


Variation:
`Once the dough is ready for the last rise, break into smaller pieces.  To make individual bread.  Makes 8-10 loafs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Candy Apple

I have brother-in-law and a daughter that love Candy Apples.   They really are easy to make and doesn't take very long.   To me Candy Apples & Caramel Apples just scream Autumn time to me.



CANDY APPLE
(serves 6)

Ingredients:
*2 cups granulated sugar
*3/4 cup water
*1/2 cup light corn syrup
*6 medium to small apples of your choice (I use macintosh)
*6 popsicle sticks
*2-5 drops red food coloring (optional)

Directions:
~Spread butter on a sheet of parchment paper.
~Bring a medium bowl of very hot water (not boiling).
~Remove stems from apples.
~Dry apples.
j~Insert popsicle sticks into apples.
~In a medium heavy saucepan, mix sugar, water, corn syrup & food coloring.
~Bring to a boil over hight heat.
~Once mixture starts to boil, turn heat down to medium-high heat.
~Continue to boil until mixture comes to the hard crack stage (between 300-310 degrees).
~Quickly and carefully dip apples into sugar mixture until completely covered.
~Set on butter parchment paper.
~Set until completely cooled.

Variation:
`put 1 cup of red hot candies into the mixture to melt.  This give it a slight taste of cinnamon and you won't need the food coloring.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Caramel Apples

Fall time just screams caramel apples to me.  If you have never had a caramel apple made with homemade caramel sauce, you need to try it.   So good.   Using a fresh Michigan grown apple even will make it better.





CARAMEL APPLES
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*8 medium apples of your choice (I use macintosh)
*1 cup butter
*2 cups light brown sugar, packed
*1 cup light corn syrup
*1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
*1 tablespoon pur vanilla extract
*8 popsicle sticks

Directions:
~Bring a medium bowl of very hot water (not boiling)
~Remove stems from apples.
~Dip apples into water for 10 seconds (removed any wax).
~Dry apples.
~Insert popsicle sticks into apple.
~Grease a sheet of parchment or wax paper.
~In a large heavy sauce pan, mix butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk together.
~Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
~Once the butter is melted, insert candy thermometer.
~Turn heat down to medium heat.
~Bring mixture to a boil, again stirring constantly.
~Cook until mixture reaches 245 degrees.
~Remove from heat and continue to stir for 2 minutes.
~Stir in vanilla.
~Dip apples into caramel mixture.
~Allow the excess caramel to drip off.
~Place on to buttered parchment or wax paper.
~Allow to set for 3 hours.

Variation:
~After dipping apples, roll into chopped nuts, cocoanut, chocolate chips, mini m&m's or anything you would like.  Let sit for 3 hours.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love that this recipe has a little taste of several cookies.  A mixture of Peanut Butter Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies & Chocolate Chip Cookies.  So good and soft.




PEANUT BUTTER-OATMEAL-CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(makes 5 dozen)

Ingredients:
*1 cup butter, softened
*1 cup granulated sugar
*1 cup light brown sugar, packed
*1 cup creamy peanut butter
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 rolled oats
*1 cup rolled oats
*2 teaspoons baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2 cups milk chocolate chips
*2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Ingredients:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar & brown sugar until creamy.
~Mix peanut butter, eggs & vanilla until combined.
~In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda & salt, set aside.
~In a food processor or blender blend 1/2 cup rolled oats into a fine powder.
~Mix sifted flour mixture & the powered rolled oats into sugar mixture until slightly blended.
~Mix in 1 cup rolle oats, milk chocolate chips & semi-sweet chocolate chips, until just mixed in.
~Spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray.
~Drop by large tablespoons on to prepared cookie sheet.
~Bake for 12 minutes.
~Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes.
~Remove and let cool on a wire rack.


Variations:
`decrease milk chocolate chips down to 1 cup and add 1 cup butterscotch chips.
`substitute milk chocolate chips with mint chocolate chips.
`add 1 cup sweet flaked cocoanut.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blueberry Dump Cake

I do love most anything with blueberries in it.  This is a very simple recipe.  Most people just use a box cake, but I prefer to make my own.  I know what's in it that way.   Wonderful recipe for a pot-luck.




BLUEBERRY DUMP CAKE
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*5-6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
*1/2 cup granulated sugar
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*2 cups all purpose flour
*1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
*1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
~In a medium bowl, mix blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar & cinnamon.
~Spread mixture over bottom of prepared pan.
~In same bowl, mix flour, 1 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder & powdered milk together.
~Cover the dry ingredient mixture over blueberries.
~Pour melted butter evenly over blueberries.
~Bake for 35-40 minutes or until light golden brown.
~Serve warm or cold.

Variation:
~Add vanilla ice cream on top
~Omit flour, 1 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder & milk for 1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chili Rice Casserole

A great meal on those chili days (pun intended).  You can also make this with leftover chili.  This is very easy to make.  You can omit the cheese, if you can't do dairy.  Great gluten free dinner.



         (I made this half without cheese so those who were dairy intolerant could still eat it)



CHILIE RICE CASSEROLE
(serves 10-12)

Ingredients:
*1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
*1 large yellow onion, chopped
*1 green bell pepper, chopped
*1 red bell pepper, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*1 (1.25 ounce) package chili seasoning
*1 (30 1/2 ounce) can chili mix
*1 teaspoon chili powder
*1 teaspoon black pepper
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 quart stewed tomatoes
*1 (46 ounce) can tomato juice
*1 cup water
*1 1/2  cups rice
*2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
*sour cream (optional)
*green onions, chopped (optional)

Directions:
~In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, cook ground beef, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper & garlic until beef is browned.
~Drain any grease.
~Add salt, pepper, chili seasoning, chili mix, chili powder, stewed tomatoes, tomato juice & water.
~Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-4 hours.
~Add rice, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
~Preheat oven 350 degrees.
~Pour chili into a lasagna pan (12x15 inch).
~Sprinkle cheese over top.
~Bake for 20-30 minutes.
~Serve and add a dollop of sour cream & sprinkle with green onions.

Variation:
`cook in slow cooker for 5-6 hours.  Add rice 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle cheese on after serving.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bark

Who doesn't love the mixture of salt & chocolate?   This is so good.  If you don't care for pecans, substitute with any nut that you like or omit them all together.  This goes a long way and is great for a party.




CHOCOLATE CARAMEL PECAN BARK

Ingredients:
*1 cup butter
*1 cup light brown sugar
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*4 cups pretzels sticks, broken in small pieces
*1 cup pecans, chopped
*1 (12 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips
*1/2 cup butterscotch chips.

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper.
~Spread pretzels evenly over the pan.
~Sprinkle pecans over pretzels.
~In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
~Once butter starts to bubble on the sides add the brown sugar.
~Stir until brown sugar is mixed in well.
~Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to brown and butter is mixed in well (about 3-4 minutes).
~Stir in vanilla.
~Quickly and carefully pour caramel sauce over pretzels & pecans.
~Bake for 5 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling.
~Remove from oven.
~Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel.
~Sprinkle butterscotch chips over chocolate chips.
~Bake for 45-50 seconds.
~Remove from oven and using a knife spread hot chocolate chips until smooth.
~Let cool for 15 minutes.
~Refrigerate for 1 hour.
~Break into pieces.

Variation:
`Sprinkle with sea salt once chocolate chips have been melted.
`Omit nuts.
`Omit butterscotch chips.
`Substitute butterscotch chips with peanut butter chips.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Spicy Dill Pickles

If you like dill pickles and like spicy things, you are going to love this.  I personally think that homemade pickles are far better than those that you can buy in the store.  Even better than the expensive ones.



SPICY DILL PICKLES
(Makes 14-16 pints or 8 quarts)

Ingredients:
*8 pounds Pickle Cucumbers (3-4 inches long)
*16 cloves garlic, sliced
*1 medium white onion, chopped
*4-6 hot banana peppers or jalapeño pepper, chopped & seeded (leave seeds in if you like it really spicy)
*2/3 cup pickling salt
*8 Sprigs dill weed along with the heads
*4 cups white vinegar
*12 cups cold water
*2 bags ice

Directions:
~Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink with cold water and lots of ice.
~Soak for at least 2 hours but no more than 8. Refresh ice as needed.
~Sterilize 8 (1 quart) or 16 pint jars & lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
~In a large pan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, water & pickling salt.
~Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
~Divide the garlic, dill, onion & hot peppers into the jars.
~Slice cucumbers either length wise or in hamburger dill style.
~Fill each jar with cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
~Fill jars with hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
~Wipe top of jars with a clean cloth to remove any residue.
~Seal jars with lids & rings.
~Process jars in hot water bath for 15 minutes.
~Remove jars from hot water bath and let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool place (fruit cellar).
~Store pickles for at least 8 weeks before eating.

Variation:
~Add two hot cherry peppers in each jar quart jar or one for a pint jar in place of hot peppers.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Brined Oven Fried Chicken

When I first heard the recipe I thought, ewwww!   Boy was I wrong.  As usual, I added stuff to the recipe to make it even better.   For those of you who don't like pickles, don't let it deter you from trying this out.  It's so moist and tender.   I'll be making this again.





BRINED OVEN FRIED CHICKEN
(serves 6)

Ingredients:
*6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*1 cup dill pickle juice
*1 cup chicken stock
*1 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
*1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
*1/2 small onion sliced
*2 garlic clove, minced
*1 cup all purpose flour
*1 cup italian bread crumbs
*1 teaspoon corn starch
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/2 teaspoon paprika

Directions:
~Place chicken, pickle juice, chicken stock, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, rosemary, thyme, garlic & onion into a gallon size zip-loc bag.  Seal & mix well.
~Refrigerate over night (a least 12 hours).
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Place a wire rack over a cookie sheet.
~Spray the rack with cooking spray.
~In a large plate mix flour, bread crumbs, corn starch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper & garlic powder.
~Remove chicken from brine and drip off extra liquid.
~Dredge chicken in flour mixture.
~Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until done.

Variation:
~If you prefer deep fried chicken, do all the prep work the same as above.
~Pour vegetable oil 1 1/2-2 inches deep into a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven.
~Heat over medium heat to 360 degrees.
~Carefully place chicken into skillet, careful not to crowd pan.
~Cook about 6-8 minutes per side, or until done.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cherry Jam

I would suggest that anyone who wants to make this jam go out and buy a cherry pitter, quick!!!  You really do not NEED to have one, it just makes it so much easier and quicker.  Just like any other jam, once you make this you will not want store bought.   It really is very easy to make.






CHERRY JAM
(makes 7-9 pints)

Ingredients:
*3 pounds sweet cherries, pitted
*Juice of 3 or 4 small lemons or 1 large one
*1  (1.75 ounce) box of fruit pectin
*1 teaspoon butter (not margarine)
*5 cups granulated sugar

Directions:
~With a blender or food processor, chop up cherries to desired size (I make mine pretty small).
~Measure out sugar into a bowl and set aside.
~Dump cherries into a heavy duty saucepan.
~Mix in fruit pectin & fresh lemon juice.
~Stir over low heat until fruit pectin is mixed in.
~Turn heat up to medium-high, bringing the mixture to a full rapid boil, stirring often.
~Add butter once it starts to foam (this will help decrease the foam).
~Add the sugar all at once.
~Stir well.
~Bring to a full rapid boil, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
~Pour jam into sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
~Wipe tops of jars making sure any jam residue is removed.
~Seal with canning lids & rings.
~Process int hot water bath for 15 minutes.
~Remove from hot bath & let cool.
~LIsten for the ping sound, this means it has sealed.  If you feel a bubble in the lid after it's cooled, this means it did not seal.
~Let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place.

**If it doesn't seal, either star the hot water bath process over agin with a new lid, or just store in refrigerator.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Banana Cake

I am not a banana fan, but I must admit that this is pretty tasty.  It went over really big a a church social and I was asked for the recipe by several.   A great way to use up those old bananas.





BANANA CAKE
(serves 12)

Cake Ingredients:
*4 ripe bananas, mashed
*juice of 1/2 lemon
*3 cups all-purpose flour
*1 1/2 baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*3/4 cup butter, softened
*1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
*3 eggs, large
*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups buttermilk
*1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Frosting Ingredients:
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
*1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*4 cups powdered sugar
*1-2 teaspoons milk, if needed
*1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Cake Directions:
~Grease & dust a 9X13 inch pan with flour.
~Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
~Mash bananas, lemon juice & vanilla in a small bowl.
~In a mixer bowl, cream butter & granulated sugar.
~Beat in eggs one at a time.
~Pour buttermilk into a measuring cup.
~In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda & salt.
~Mix the flour mixture & buttermilk alternately into the sugar mixture.
~Pour cake batter into prepared pan.
~Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
~Remove from oven and immediately cover with plastic wrap until cake is completely cool.  This will keep the cake moist.

Frosting Directions:
~In a mixing bowl, cream butter, vanilla & cream cheese until very smooth.
~Add powdered sugar and mix until frosting is smooth.
~Add milk only if frosting is to thick.
~Mix in pecans.
~Spread over cake.

Variations:
`Make cupcakes.  Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Crowd Size Cheesy Potatoes

This is a quick and easy recipe for any large party.   Warning that it will go quick.  You can add other things to it like ham, bacon (cooked) or bell peppers.  This recipe will fit into a large electric roasting pan.




CROWD SIZE CHEESY POTATOES
(serves 60)

Ingredients:
*6 (2 pound) bags southern style hash browns, thawed
*3 (26 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
*3 (16 ounce) sour cream
*1 pound butter, melted
*2 (16 ounce) bags of shredded cheddar cheese
*2 large onions, chopped (optional)
*2 teaspoons garlic powder
*2 teaspoons black pepper
*3 teaspoons salt

Directions:
~Spray roaster with a cooking spray.
~Mix soup, sour cream, butter, onion garlic powder, salt & pepper in roaster.
~Add cheese & mix well.
~Stir in hash browns until well coated.
~Turn roaster onto 275 degrees.
~Bake for 3-4 hours, stirring every so often.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Banana Muffins

We all get bananas that get over ripe way to quick.   I will normally throw my in the refrigerator or freezer until I'm ready to make something with it.  This is a recipe that the kids love to help with and really enjoy eating.  





BANANA MUFFINS
(makes 10-12)

Ingredients:
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 egg
*1/3 cup melted butter
*3/4 cup granulated sugar
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
Topping:
*1/2 cup white sugar
*1/4 cup brown sugar
*3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 1/2 teaspoons butter

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~Line muffin pan with paper liners, or spray muffin pan with a cooking spray.
~In a mixing bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
~In a small bowl, lightly beat egg.
~In another bowl, mix egg, melted butter,  3/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla & bananas.
~Mix banana mixture into dry ingredients until just mixed, do not over mix.
~Spoon batter evenly into muffin pan.
~Mix brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, flour & cinnamon until well mixed.
~Cut in butter until mixture resembles a corse meal.
~Sprinkle over the top of the muffins.
~Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until done.  Mini muffins 10-12 minutes.



Friday, February 22, 2013

Oatmeal Chip Cookie

I love the mixture of chocolate & butterscotch chips.  This cookie is soft, chewy & delicious.  The only problem is trying to just eat one.





OATMEAL CHIP COOKIES
(4 dozen)

Ingredients:
*1 cup butter, softened
*1 cup light brown sugar, packed
*1/2 cup granulated sugar
*2 large eggs
*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon salt
*3 cups, old fashion oatmeal
*2 cups chocolate chips
*1 cup butterscotch chips
*1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:
~In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar & granulated sugar until very smooth.
~Beat in eggs one at a time.
~Stir in vanilla.
~In another bowl, sift flour, baking soda & salt.
~Mix flour ingredients into butter mixture.
~Mix in oatmeal.
~Mix in nuts, chocolate chips & butterscotch chips.
~Cover bowl & refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
~Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
~Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon drop onto a cookie sheet.
~Bake for 10-12 minutes.
~Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.
~Remove and let finish cooling on a wire rack.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spicy Steak Sauce

My daughter loves steak sauce on her steak.  I on the other hand never have, but his has changed my mind.  This is unbelievably good.   I think I'll try it on a chicken sandwich next.  It really isn't that spicy, just a little kick to it.  If you want to make it more spicy just add more hot sauce or a dash of cayenne pepper.



SPICY STEAK SAUCE


Ingredients:
*2 tablespoons raspberry jam
*1/2 cup blackberries
*2 tablespoon brown sugar
*2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
*2 tablespoon ketchup
*2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
*10-15 drops hot sauce
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
~Pour all ingredients into a blender and mix well.
~Set a wire sieve over a small saucepan.
~Push ingredients through sieve with a wooden spoon.
~Discard everything that will not go through the sieve.
~Bring mixture in saucepan to a boil, over high heat.
~Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until thickened.
~Mixture will thicken up even more as it cools.
~Refrigerate any leftover sauce.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spicy Turkey & Swiss Roll-up

Great sandwich to pack and take to work or school.  Easy to put together in the morning or even the night before.  I like to add tomatoes to it when then are in season.  Not bad on the calories either.





SPICY TURKEY & SWISS ROLL-UP
(serves 1)

Ingredients:
*1 tablespoon spicy chipotle sauce
*1 ounce lean white turkey, sliced very thin
*1 ounce reduced fat swiss cheese, sliced thin
*1/4 cup cucumbers, peeled & sliced very thin
*1/8 cup alfalfa sprouts
*1 flour or low-carb tortilla

Directions:
~Spread chipotle sauce evenly over tortilla.
~Spread turkey over top of chipotle sauce.
~Lay the cheese over the turkey.
~Sprinkle alfalfa sprouts over the cheese.
~Lay the cucumbers down the center of the tortilla.
~Roll tightly & cut in half.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Thin

I love the blends of the ingredients in this sandwich.  Great by it's self or with a nice hot bowl of soup.  I personally like a hot cup of tomato soup with it.  Best part is that the calorie count is only about 180 calories.
You can buy roasted red peppers to make this sandwich super quick to make, but I prefer making my own.




SPINACH 7 ROASTED RED PEPPER THIN
(makes 1)

Ingredients:
*1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (I make my own)
*1/2 large onion, sliced
*1 cup raw spinach
*4-6 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
*1 wedge light mozzarella sun-dried tomato & basil laughing cow cheese
*1 whole wheat sandwich slimwiches

Directions:
~Break slimwhich in half.
~Spread laughing cow cheese over one side (inside part) of the the bread.
~Spray a small skillet with a cooking spay.
~Add sliced onions, and grill over medium heat until lightly brown, stirring often.
~Remove onions & set aside.
~Pour about 2-4 tablespoons water into skillet.
~Add spinach and cook until it starts to wilt.
~Add tomatoes, roasted red peppers & grilled onions and mix.
~Pour over half of the slimwich & place the other half over top of mixture.
~Grill in skillet until bread is slightly toasted.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookie

A good old classic peanut butter cookie.  Soft & chewy and oh so good.  I like these with a cup of hot tea.




PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
(makes 4 dozen)

Ingredients:
*1 butter
*1 1/2 cups creamy or crunchy peanut butter
*1 cup granulated sugar
*1 cup brown sugar, packed
*2 large eggs
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
~In a large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar & brown sugar together.
~Mix in eggs & vanilla.
~Sift flour, baking powder, salt & baking soda in another bowl.
~Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until just mixed.
~Cover bowl & refrigerate for at least one hour.
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar into a bowl.
~Roll dough into one-inch balls.
~Dip into sugar & place on a cookie sheet.
~Flatten each balls with a fork making a criss-cross pattern.
~Bake for 8-10 minutes (do not over bake)
~Allow cookie to cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing.
~Place cookie on wax paper to cool (this cookie should not be cooled on a wire rack).

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spicy Crackers

If you like spicy snacks you are going to love this .  My daughters love them.  Very easy to make and they are a great for an appetizer.  These crackers get even better after sitting for a day or two, if you can resist the urge to eat them.



SPICY CRACKERS

Ingredients:
*1 (11 ounce) box mini club crackers
*1 (11 ounce) box mini saltine crackers
*1 (13.7 ounce) box cheese-it crackers
*2 (0.4 ounce) packs original ranch  seasoning mix
*1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
*2 1/2 -3 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
*1 1/2 - 2 cups vegetable oil

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
~In a small bowl, mix oil, ranch seasoning mix, garlic salt  & red pepper flakes together.
~Dump crackers into a large bowl.
~Pour oil mixture over crackers and mix well.
~Pour the crackers into a large roasting pan.
~Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
~Let cool and enjoy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cheesy-Garlic Biscuits

Yummy!  Great with soup or just about anything else.   The trick to making a good fluffy biscuit is not over handling it and have chilled ingredients.  For this reason I will put my flour mixture in the freezer for about a half hour before I mix everything.




CHEESY-GARLIC BISCUITS
(makes 12)

Ingredients:
*1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*5 tablespoons butter, frozen
*1 cup buttermilk
*1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
*1/8-1/4 cup butter, melted
*2 whole garlic cloves

Directions:
~Place 1/8-1/4 cup butter & garlic clove into small saucepan.
~Melt butter over low heat
~Set aside.
~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
~In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder & garlic powder.
~Cover and freeze for at least 1/2 hour.
~Cut butter into cubes.
~Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
~Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
~Add milk & cheddar cheese.
~Stir until just combined (do not over mix).
~Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray pan with cooking spray.
~Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared pan.
~Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
~Remove garlic from butter.
~Remove biscuits from oven and brush garlic butter over biscuits.

Variation:
`mince garlic so you have small bits of garlic on biscuits.