Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Julie's Cornbread

After many years of searching, I have (in my opinion) found the best cornbread courtesy of my friend Julie. Back when I was in College in Idaho I loved the cornbread at Frontier Pies and have been looking for a similar recipe. Julie brought this to a church potluck a year or so ago and it was bliss at first taste. Thanks Julie!

3/4 C cornmeal
1 1/4 C flour
2/3 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C oil
3 T melted butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 C milk

Mix dry ingredients. Set aside.

Whisk the wet ingredients together. Add to the dry ingredients.

Pour into a greased 8" square pan and bake at 350 degrees for approx. 35 minutes. It can be doubled and baked in a 9 X 13 pan. I don't usually make that size because since I eat most of it myself-- the smaller pan is plenty for me ( :

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cup Cake Cones

I made these for my daughter Olivia's 6th birthday party. They are super easy to make and the kids really LOVED them.

Mix any flavor cake as per directions given on the box. The batter will yield 18 cupcakes and 18 mini-size ones. I used large cupcake wrappers and a mini-muffin pan.

While they are baking, fill 18 wafer cones half-way full with jelly beans, or gumballs, just not a chewy candy. The cone will tip over if it isn't weighted down (and the kids never mind having more candy to eat).

After they are cooled, peel off the wrappers and frost the top of the cupcake. Invert the cupcake and stick frosting side down into the cone.
Next frost the mini-cupcake. Invert and stick it on top of the larger cupcake.

Now frost the both cakes; leaving a little dollop on top to give the appearance of a soft-serve cone. Top with sprinkles. They look cute but hide cake crumbs if you are a messy froster like me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats can I make a Rice Krispie treat EVEN better?
Add peanut butter!

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats:

6 cups Rice Krispies

3/4 c. creamy peanut butter

1/2 c. butter

1, 10 oz pkg of marshmallows

1 t. vanilla

In a large saucepan or stock pot melt the butter and peanut butter. On low heat add marshmallows and stir until marshmallows are incorporated. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir in Rice Krispies.

Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. With buttered fingers press Rice Krispie treats into the pan. Cool and cut.

Bon Appetit!

Greek Couscous Salad

I love Middle Eastern food. My Dad loved it too, especially falafels. I don't actually make them since I can buy authentic ones that taste a whole lot better than I could ever come up with. I do, however, make couscous quite a bit. What is great about couscous, even though it is bland on it's own, there are so many combinations that can change the flavor and make it a new salad every time. Not to mention it is quick and easy.

To make the couscous:
Bring 1 1/4 C of water or broth to a boil. Add 1 C of couscous. Stir briefly and cover. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it cool.

The dressing:
1/4 C olive oil
1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
pinch of salt and pepper
Whisk and set aside

Chop and add into the cooled couscous:
1/2 C flat leaf parsley
1/2 C or so of feta cheese
1/2 C red/ and or yellow bell peppers
Kalamata olives, however many you like, optional

Toss with the dressing. I find it a little too much dressing for the amount of couscous, so toss with as much or little as you like. I use about 3/4 of it. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Audra's Sugar Cookies

These are my favorite sugar cookies courtesy of my college roommate Audra. For the longest time I didn't even know she could cook. She seemed to take no interest in the domestic arts. I later found out she could cook but chose to keep that talent hidden so as not to betray her feminist ways ( : Miss you Audra!
The secret ingredient in these cookies is the sour cream. I hate trying to roll crumbly dough. This dough is super soft and never breaks.

1 C sugar
1 C butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 C flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C sour cream

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until for a minute or two until batter is light and smooth.

In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

Add the dry mixture alternatively with the sour cream. Wrap the dough and chill for a few hours. Roll out to 1/4 -inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes. Frost with your favorite icing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dad's Hummus

Here is a recipe from my Dad's vast repertoire.
We've both eaten our fair share of hummus
but agree this is the best.
The recipe originally came from a restaurant
my Dad volunteers his services at and is owned
by his good friend, Mohammed.
We make this anytime we are together. It is
fantastic served with cucumbers, red peppers or
a traditional grilled pita bread.

Dad's Hummus:

2 cans of garbanzo beans or chick peas, rinsed well
2 heads of roasted garlic
1/3 c. tehini, sesame paste
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil (I substitute water for 1/2 of the oil)
1/2 t. cumin - or less to taste
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Start by roasting the garlic at 400 degrees for 45 mins. To do that, tear 2 sheets of aluminum foil, cut the top off the head of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle with a little olive oil and seal the garlic heads, bringing the foil up from each side.
While the garlic is roasting...
In a food processor begin by combining the garbanzo beans, lemon juice and tehini. Process until things aren't moving around. At this time, start to drizzle the oil to help loosen the mixture. Add roasted garlic by squeezing each clove from the head. This should be done easily if your garlic is properly roasted. Add, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and parsley, continue processing until smooth.
If the hummus is too thick you may want to add more oil or water until it reaches the consistency you like.
Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 16, 2010

No-Knead Raspberry Coconut Rolls

I found these in a magazine the other day originally made with Nutella. Since I didn't have any Nutella, I decided to use up some raspberry jam that has been in my fridge for a while. It makes about 14 rolls, but they are only good the day you make them so be prepared to eat a lot or have some friends or company nearby.

4 C flour
1 pkg yeast
1 C milk
1/3 C sugar
1/4 C butter
2 eggs
2/3 C jam or desired filling
1 C shredded coconut

In a large bowl, combine 2 C of the flour and the yeast. Set aside.

In small saucepan, heat and stir milk, sugar, butter, and 1/2 tsp salt just until warm and butter has just about melted. Add this mixture and the eggs to the flour mixture. Beat with mixer on low to medium for 30 seconds, scraping bowl as needed. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour. Cover; let rise in warm place for about and hour until it doubles in size.

Turn dough onto a well-floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Lightly grease baking sheets and set aside.

Roll dough into a 10X16 inch rectangle. Spread 2/3 C filling over dough, leaving a 1-inch edge along one of the long sides. Sprinkle coconut over the jam. Roll up rectangle, starting from the long side with the filling spread edge to edge. Seal the seam by pinching dough together.

Slice into 16 pieces. Arrange 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Cover; let rise until nearly double in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees. Bake 15 or so minutes until golden. Cool about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Drizzle with some icing. Enjoy!

Earthquake Cake

This cake is like an explosion in your mouth!
If the creamy craters aren't enough you've got nuts and coconut
on the bottom that take it to a whole new dimension.
It bakes up bubbly and molten.

Earthquake Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to make
1 c. coconut, shredded
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips (on top at the end)
2 c. powdered sugar
Spray 9x13 inch pan with Pam. Sprinkle walnuts and coconut on the bottom of the pan. Mix cake mix according to directions. Pour over coconut and walnuts. Mix softened cream cheese and butter until combined. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls over the cake mix and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
***Baker's Note: Place a clean cookie sheet or aluminum foil under the cake. As mine baked it flowed over the edges of the pan a bit. I narrowly averted a mess by having a baking stone on the rack below:)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

German Chocolate Cookies

If you like German Chocolate Cake - these cookies are right up your alley!
German Chocolate Cake has always been a centerpiece in our family.
My Aunt Marilyn makes this phenomenal cake every year for my Dad's birthday -
and he ALWAYS raves about it.
Here is a little taste of heaven Dad.

German Chocolate Cookies:
Frosting -
2 eggs, slightly beaten
10 oz. evaporated milk
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 c. flaked coconut
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans (walnuts will also work)

Cookie Dough -
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 c. flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For frosting, in a saucepan, combine the egg, milk, sugar and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until slightly thickened and mixture reaches 160 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, this happens after it comes to a roiling boil for about a minute. Stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour, soda and salt. Stir in 2 c. chocolate chips and coconut.
Drop by tablespoon (or the medium Pampered Chef cookie scoop:) - 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 mins or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost cooled cookies with approx. 2 T. of frosting.

In the microwave, melt the remaining chocolate chips. I put them in a Ziplock bag and microwave them that way - then you can just snip the corner off in order to drizzle the chocolate over the frosted cookies.

Bon Appetit!

Spicy Chinese Chicken Tacos

This is one of my favorite dinners that is as quick and easy as it is tasty. I love the Asian flavors combined with the ease of rolling all up in a warm tortilla.

2-3 Chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 tsp ginger root, grated (I keep a jar of store bought ginger puree in the fridge)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T honey
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more if you actually want it spicy)

Cook chicken in a bit of oil 3-5 minutes on medium heat until browned.
Reduce heat to low and add the rest of the ingredients. Cover; cook 5 more minutes or so until chicken is cooked through.

Put chicken in a taco shell, or roll up in a tortilla. I like to garnish with lettuce, sour cream, and a bit of grated cheese. Bon Appetit!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Banana S'more Sandwich

I cannot tell a lie.
This is NOT the picture I took.
My picture didn't make me want to make this again... kids saying, "you're the BEST Mom ever!" did.

I found this recipe in the Harmon's recipe flyer - I rationalized it's "health" benefits with the addition of banana's to the traditional s'more sandwich.
Give it a shot - your kids will love ya for it:)
Banana S'more Sandwich:
Serves 4
8 slices of bread - your choice, I used our homemade whole wheat bread
2 T. butter, softened
4 T. Nutella spread (this was my addition because we didn't have chocolate bars laying around)
***2 chocolate candy bars***this is what the actual recipe called for in place of the Nutella
12 large marshmallows - cut in half
2 large bananas - sliced
Heat a griddle or skillet. Place 1/2 T. butter in pan. Spread each slice of bread with Nutella (or break up chocolate bars evenly over bread.) Do the same with the marshmallows and banana slices. Grill until the bread browns and the marshmallow starts to melt. Flip over and grill other side.
Cut in half and enjoy!
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tres Leches Cake

This is a favorite cake of both Tamara and myself. We have been making it for years and several months ago came across our new go to recipe. It is from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. It has just the right amount of moistness without the the sogginess that sometimes occurs with these cakes. The secret is the lightness of the batter; folding in the whipped egg whites right at the end. This allows lots of pockets for the milk mixture to ooze in. It is easy to make and makes a wonderful dessert for company or just for the family.

1 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 eggs
1 C sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 pan with cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the first three ingredients. Set aside.

Separate the eggs. Beat yolks with 3/4 C of the sugar until pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and stir gently until combined.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks appear. Continue beating while adding 1/4 C sugar. Beat until stiff. Fold into the batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out onto a rimmed platter to cool.

While cake is cooling, mix together the evaporated milk, condensed milk and the cream. After the cake has cooled, prick the cake with a fork. Drizzle all but 1 cup of the milk mixture over the cake. Pay attention to the edges. Sometimes I end up trimming the cake if the edges are too dry. You don't actually use the excess cup of milk in the cake--it is too much for the cake to absorb. Save it and use it for a sweet french toast, rice pudding, or if all else fails, put it down the drain.

Let the milk absorb for a half an hour. Now it is ready to ice with some sweetened whipping cream. Use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cream with a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to desired sweetness. Whip until thick and spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate with whole or chopped maraschino cherries if desired. Now try to eat just one piece.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken Spezzatino

This is one of my favorite Giada recipes, taken from her Everyday Italian cookbook. I make it a lot all year round even though it is more of a fall/winter recipe. Fresh basil is a must in this recipe--not to mention the best part. It really gives great flavor.

2 T olive oil
2 celery stalks, but into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 14.5 oz chicken broth (As you can see from the picture, I double the broth just because I like it more like soup than stew)
1/2 C torn basil leaves
1 T tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
2 Chicken breasts with ribs
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil. Add celery, carrot, and onion. Saute until onion is translucent, 5 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme. Add chicken and press down to submerge. With the lid off, cook on med-low heat, turning chicken over occasionally until it is almost cooked, about 20 minutes.

Add the beans and simmer until chicken is cooked and liquid has reduced to a stew-like consistency (another 10 minutes).

Remove bay leaf and discard. Take out chicken and let it cool for a few minutes. Discard skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Add the chicken back into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Apple Pie Muffins

These muffins are one of my favorites. If you have some old apples lying around, this is the perfect recipe to bring them to life again. The recipe calls for buttermilk but if you don't have any, just put a tablespoon of lemon juice, or vinegar into a measuring cup and then fill with milk to make one cup. Let it set for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe-- quick and easy substitution.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 C buttermilk
1/2 butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 C diced or grated apples

1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T butter or margarine, melted

Grease muffin tins or use silicone or paper cups. (makes around 16 muffins).

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients except the apples, until the sugar dissolves. When ready, pour into the flour mixture, add the apples and mix just until blended. Don't over mix.

If you have an ice cream scoop, one scoop per muffin tin is just the right amount. If not, spoon batter almost to the top. Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle a generous amount of the mixture on the top of each muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes or until tops spring back. Cool and enjoy.

"Kneaders" Double Chocolate Brownies

it's a theme today.
This is a recipe that came from a restaurant here in Utah
called Kneaders. The recipe was featured on "Good Things Utah"
and I simply had to try it.
Grab a large glass of milk and some friends - you'll need both.

Kneaders Double Chocolate Brownie:

Brownie -
1 c. butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
4 eggs
1 c. flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Filling -

1/2 c. butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
2 drops mint extract - or to taste
pink food coloring

Chocolate Ganache -

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl on high for 3 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds until the chocolate is melted. Cool slightly.
Put the sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Add chocolate mixture, mix. Add flour and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread into a buttered/greased 9x13 inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool.

Make the filling by creaming the butter in a mixer, add powdered sugar, flavoring and color. Mix until fluffy. Spread on completely cooled brownies then chill.

Make the ganache by microwaving the chocolate chips and cream on high for 1 minute, stirring every 20-30 seconds until chocolate is melted. Do not overheat.
Immediately pour over brownies, spreading to all edges.
Do not refrigerate, mixture will set up on brownies in about 15-20 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Double Chocolate Marshmallow Pillows


Double Chocolate Marshmallow Pillows:

1 pouch Betty Crocker double chocolate cookie mix
1/4 c. oil
2 T. water
1 egg
12 large marshmallows, each cut in half


1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 t. butter
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine cookie pouch, oil, water and egg. Mix until a dough forms. On ungreased cookie sheet drop dough by spoonful - 2 inches apart.
Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, gently push marshmallow halves into each cookie and return to oven for 2 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl place chocolate chips, whipping cream and butter. Heat for 20-30 second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Melting should occur within about 90 seconds. Blend well. Add vanilla, stir. Add powdered sugar and stir until smooth.

Once cookies are completely cooled, top each cookie with frosting. Let stand until frosting is set.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Baby Back Ribs

After much research and many tries - I've discovered the best way to make BBQ'ed baby back ribs. It is so simple - and why this particular cut of meat frightened me, I'm not sure. I've tried the boiling method before putting them on the barbecue, but I think you lose a lot of the flavor when you boil them. And I've had them done in a slow cooker - but I have to admit...I don't really like slow's a personal thing. This is just SO easy!

Back to the recipe.

Keep in mind, you can season your ribs with any rubs or flavors you and your family enjoy. I chose to keep it simple and kick it up with my semi-homemade BBQ sauce.

So here you have it - straight forward and to the point. Tender, tasty baby back ribs.

Cut your baby back rib slabs into 4-6 rib pieces.
Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder.
Wrap each piece in aluminum foil.
Bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.

Once they are done baking, get out your favorite BBQ sauce, light up your BBQ
and relish in the fact that your neighbors are wishing they were eating at your house!

BBQ'ed Baby Back Ribs:
5 lbs. baby back ribs
garlic powder
salt and pepper
favorite BBQ sauce (I only had about 1/2 a cup of Bulls Eye BBQ sauce, so I added to it and made it even better! Lots of caramelized onion and garlic that I pureed, brown sugar, ketchup, water, vinegar, lemon juice and chili powder. I actually impressed myself with this McGuyver move.)
Cut ribs into 4-6 rib pieces. Wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from foil, slather with your favorite BBQ sauce, commercial or homemade.
Place slathered ribs on heated BBQ. The ribs are already cooked and tender - but this is where the flavor comes in. BBQ, turning often, until the ribs are browned and caramelized.
Remove and serve!
Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Olive Garden Style Breadsticks

I found these tasty breadsticks in my last summer's issue of the Food Network magazine. I haven't been to Olive Garden in ages since they since they are no longer in Canada, so I don't know if they actually taste like their breadsticks, but they are really good and I will be making them often.

1 pkg yeast
4 1/4 C flour
2 T butter, softened
2 T sugar
1/2 T salt

Place 1/4 C warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle yeast on top and set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add the flour, butter, sugar, salt and 1 1/4 C plus 2 T warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 or so minutes. Roll into a 2- foot-long log; cut into 16, 1 1/2 inch-long pieces. Shape each piece into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt 3 T butter. Brush on the breadsticks. Sprinkle with garlic salt, and if desired
oregano. I think parmesan cheese would be really good in place or with the oregano. Can't go wrong with cheese!

Bake until lightly golden, 13-15 minutes. Brush with more butter if desired after baking. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cheese and Crackers

I don't know how many of you are blessed to have grandparents still living...but I consider myself one of the lucky few. I am in my 30's (wink wink) and can call my Nana and Papa any day of the week. Nana is 90 years old and Papa is 94 years old - they've always been there. I have 37 years of memories built around them and this post is about one of those memories.

I can't even begin to recall the numerous times I'd walk through the front door of the camp to find Papa preparing a plate much like the picture above. Crackers, cheese, pickles and kielbasa. He had the "gleam" in his eye, knowing he was making us all feel special with his offering. Who knows why some foods make such an impact, but this is one of my fondest. Maybe it's because we got to make our "own" choices - I don't know?

Today my kids enjoy this - I'd like to think as much as I did. We've added cucumbers and sweet pickles - and sometimes put various olives out too. My kids like pepperoni, but I'm a purest...Kielbasa or dry Italian salami all the way!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Grown-up" Funeral Potatoes

I found this recipe on one of the many food blogs I follow and had to try it. I made it for Easter dinner - and it went up against the traditional family favorite "Funeral Potatoes." The results were split down the middle. Both pans of potatoes were enjoyed.

So, why should you try these?

I would say that these potatoes are the grown up version. Not the soupy/cheesy combination (which I love) you are accustomed to eating when you dive into a plate of funeral potatoes. But instead they are a rich, yet delicate potato dish with full-bodied cheesy undertones. Simple, yet succulent.

These pictures are obviously backwards...but I give up trying to fix it.

Grown Up Funeral Potatoes:

5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cut up
2 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 1/2 c. swiss cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

In microwave safe bowl, microwave the chopped potatoes until tender. About 12-15 mins.

Coarsely mash potatoes, season with salt and pepper.

Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 2/3 of whipping cream into the potatoes until absorbed.

Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Carefully spoon potatoes into the baking dish, trying not to deflate them.

With a rubber spatula fold all but 1/4 c. of cheeses into the remaining whipped cream. Spread the cheese mixture onto the potatoes & sprinkle with reserved 1/4 c. of cheese.

If you are eating immediately, broil for 3-4 mins. until golden brown. Let rest for 5 mins. before serving.

You may also put them in the refrigerator, covered until you are ready to bake. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Creamy Peach Dessert

I was going to make sure the FIRST "jello" recipe came from Jodie...because everyone expects it from me. I live in Utah - but I didn't grow up here and I didn't even grow up eating jello.
But I am going to post this phenomenal "jello" recipe...first. It was given to me by a wonderful woman named Nancy, who works with my sister in Boston. We've gone on a few trips with her and her husband and we never fail to exchange great recipes.

P.S. You wouldn't even have to admit that this recipe includes jello if you didn't want to. Jodie witnessed the deception of my Dad when we made this recipe last summer. He has a weird phobia/hatred towards jello - so we made it and failed to mention jello being an ingredient. He believed us...hook, line and sinker - and LOVED IT!

Creamy Peach - (shh...jello) - Dessert:

2 pkg. peach jello (you may use orange if you can't get peach)
2- 8 oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened (you could easily use 1/3 less fat, by why?)
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1- 28 oz. can peaches, juice reserved
3 small cans mandarin oranges, drained

Drain syrup from peaches. In a small saucepan heat drained syrup to boiling, stir in jello - using a whisk stir until jello dissolves. Put aside to cool.

Using a food processor, puree peaches. Add cream cheese in pieces, blending well after each addition. Add slightly cooled jello. Blend well. You may need to do this in stages, depending on the size of your food processor. It won't affect the end result.

In large bowl whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks. Gently FOLD in the jello/cream cheese mixture until smooth and even. Add mandarin oranges, folding gently.

Pour into a 2-3 qt. mold...or a 9x13 if you are like and don't own a jello mold:)

Refrigerate until firm. Unmold - and/or garnish with additional mandarin oranges or fresh orange slices.

Bon Appetit!

You'll undoubtedly notice that there is not a picture. I tried, really. The jello wouldn't cooperate but the posting must go on...with or without a picture. I won't make a habit of it, I promise.

Jam Sponge Cake

I saw this recipe in the new issue of Canadian Living magazine. It caught my attention because I first tried it when I was living in England and really enjoyed it. This cake was a favorite of Queen Victoria and it is a classic tea-time treat in England. Today it was my Sunday afternoon treat. The trick to making it light and airy, like a sponge, is to beat the butter, and add the sugar bit by bit as well as the other ingredients to ensure the batter is not heavy.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees


1/2 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C sifted all-purpose flour, OR 1 3/4 C cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 C milk

Grease and flour an 8 or 9" round metal cake pan; line bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

With a mixer, beat butter until light and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar, 3 T at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; sift into butter mixture alternatively with milk, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on rack for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack and peel off paper. Cool completely.

2/3 C whipping cream. Whip until stiff; add powdered sugar while beating for desired sweetness. My jam is very sweet, so I didn't add too much sugar.
1/2 C strawberry jam

Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread the jam on the bottom half of the sponge, and then the cream. Replace the top of the cake. Sift powdered sugar over it all.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I love homemade granola. It is especially good sprinkled on yogurt. My kids just like to snack on it by itself.

4 C large rolled oats
1 C sliced almonds
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C oil
1/4 C honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 C Craisins

Mix the dry ingredients together. I use a roasting pan, sprayed with cooking spray. You can really use any style pan, but make sure it is at least as big as
9 X 13.

Warm the honey and oil in a saucepan. Once the honey is melted and thin, add in the vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients. Mix together.

Bake at 275 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. I like to add a 1/2 cup or so of coconut during the last 10 minutes of cooking just because I really like it. it will get too browned if you put it in at the beginning.

Spread it out and let it cool completely. Add Craisins if desired. Store in an airtight container.

Easy- as- Possible Parfaits

This is truly the quickest and easiest dessert you will ever make. It can be customized to whatever fruit you like or what is in season. You can also make it relatively fat-free depending on what kind of yogurt and cool whip you choose.

3 C stirred yogurt of your choosing ( I used strawberry)
3 C cool whip

Mix well.

Line your parfait glass with a dollop of the cool whip/yogurt mixture. Then put a layer of graham crackers crumbs, followed by another layer of the mixture. Add a layer of strawberries or whatever fruit you are using. Layer how you like until the glass is full, topping it with some of the berries.
Granola instead of the graham crackers crumbs is good too.
This will make around 5 parfaits depending on the size of the glass.

Bite-size Cucumber Rounds

These are my favorite go-to appetizers for a baby shower, party or any get together. The cream cheese spread would also be good in a tortilla rolled up with vegetables and/or meat.

1 C cream cheese
1/2 C mayo
2 to 3 tsp of a pkg of dry Italian salad dressing mix

Mix the above ingredients until smooth. Chill overnight.

Slice a baguette into bite-size rounds. Spread with cream cheese mixture. Top with a thin slice of cucumber and then sprinkle with dried dill weed if desired.
This makes enough for 2 baguettes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cucumber Lime Magic

This is one of my all time favorite recipes that came from my "Bunko" group.
It is an odd combination that when combined screams - REFRESHING.

I dare you to try it.

Cucumber Lime Magic:

1 can frozen lime-aid
1 - 2 liter bottle of Sprite, chilled
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
*sliced lemon & lime, optional

In a pitcher thaw the lime-aid and stir together with the Sprite.
Add thinly sliced cucumbers and other citrus if desired.
Serve over ice.

Bon Appetit!

Simple Whole Wheat Bread

Don't let that deter you from trying this fantastic bread.
I love to cook, but baking is where my joy truly lies. I make bread all of the time and my kids have been raised on white bread - but I am trying to diversify my usual repertoire. I want to try and include more whole grains, but I've had a hard time finding a recipe
that didn't turn out H-E-A-V-Y.
I've been searching
for a whole wheat bread recipe that my entire family would enjoy.
After 3 failed attempts I struck gold with this one!
It is light and soft and yummy all over.
Here's the run-down:
It makes 3 perfect sized loaves
Let them rise until they peek 1 inch over the top of the pan

Bake - and then brush generously with melted butter.
No margarine people...never margarine.

Slice and enjoy.

This is literally what was left - 10 minutes after they came
out of the oven. My kids LOVED it!

Simple Whole Wheat Bread:

3 c. warm water
2 pkg. yeast
1/3 c. honey
5 c. all-purpose flour
3 T. butter, melted
1/3 c. honey
1 T. salt (very important, don't skimp)
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. butter, melted

In a large bowl combine warm water, yeast and 1/3 c. honey. Add 5 c. all-purpose flour & let it stand for 30 minutes. It will be big and bubbly (if it's not then your yeast has seen better days.)

Mix in the remaining 1/3 c. honey, salt and 3 T. melted butter. Start adding the whole wheat flour 1 cup at a time. Mine took the entire 3 1/2 cups, but yours may take slightly less or slightly more. Mix until it is no longer sticky.

Cover and let it rise until it is doubled.

Divide into thirds and knead it briefly while you shape your loaves.
Put each loaf into a greased 9x5 inch bread pan.

Cover and let rise again until the bread peeks out of the pan - 1 inch.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Bon Appetit!