Monday, December 27, 2010

Tomato Bread Salad

This recipe is from the Taste of Home magazine. It's wonderful!

1/4 cup fresh or dry basil*
8 cups French or Italian bread, cubed
3 cups quartered tomatoes**
1 cup red onion rings
1 can small black olives

Fold all above ingredients together in a large bowl.

In another smaller bowl, mix together:

1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs red wine vinegar

Pour above mixture over bread mixture in large bowl. Let set at least 30 minutes before serving.

*Note: If using dry basil, it can be added to the oil mixture to soften it.
**Note: I cut my tomatoes smaller than quarter sized, into bite-sized chunks. But, this is personal preference.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Seven Layer Cookies

An old recipe, but a good one.

1 cup butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in baking pan; sprinkle crumbs over butter. Springkle over remaining ingredients, one layer at a time.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chips melt. Cool completely; cut into squares.

Chocolate Sachertorte Cookies

This was adapted from my Mom's recipe. They are very good!

Cookie Dough:
1 cup butter, softened
1 - 4-1/2 oz pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
1 egg
2 cups flour
3 Tbs sugar

1/2 cup chocolate chips
5 Tbs butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For cookies: Cream butter and pudding mix in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour till well mixed and dough forms.

Shape dough into 1" balls, place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. With your thumb, make an imprint in the center of each cookie. Bake 15-18 minutes until set; let cool.

For filling: Mix chocolate chips and butter in small microwaveable bowl, microwave until melted, stir until smooth. Fill centers of each cookie, let cool completely.

Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds

These are great during the Holidays, as a snack, or place them in a decorated jar or gift tin for a quick gift!

1 egg white
1 tsp. cold water
4 cups whole almonds
1/2 cut white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

Lightly beat the egg white, add water, and beat until frothy but not stiff. Add almonts and stir until well coated. Mix the sugar, salt and cinnamon, sprinkle over the nuts. Toss to coat, and spread evenly on prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until golden. Allow to cool completely; store in airtight container.

Chocomallowriffic Brownies

A tasty, fun alternative to plain traditional brownies.

1 Brownie mix, 13x9 (Family) size
Canned Chocolate Fudge frosting
1 - 7 oz. jar Marshmallow Creme

Prepare brownies per package directions. Let cool completely.

Spread marshmallow creme over top of brownies. Place 1/3 cup chocolate fudge frosting in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high for 10-10 seconds or until melted. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over marshmallow creme and swirl with a knife. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Mandarin Orange Salad

This is nice as a side dish, but could almost be a light dessert as well.

2 pkgs. Light Tapioca Pudding
3 cups boiling water
2 pkgs. Sugar free Orange Jello
8 oz. fat-free Cool Whip
2 cans Mandarin Oranges, drained

Mix water and tapoica mix together. Add orange Jello and mix well. Let cool.

When cooled, add Cool Whip and Mandarin oranges.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is from the Crisco Website. And when they say they are irresistible, they aren't lying!

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 stick Crisco shortening stick or 1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1-1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 Tbs milk
1 Tbs vanilla
1 large egg
1-3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat a medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg, beat just until blended.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.

Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls of dough 2" apart onto greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in a crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

Bake for 7-8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

This fudge takes a bit of time, but it is well worth it.

4 cups sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
1 - 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1 - 16 oz jar creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, brown sugar, butter and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in marshmallow creme until well incorporated and melted. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth; spread in prepared pan.

Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

"Popeye's" Biscuits

These biscuits really do taste like the ones you get at Popeye's!

2 cups Bisquick
2 Tbs sour cream
1/2 cup club soda
1 tsp sugar

Mix ingredients together well until smooth.

Dust hands with Bisquick, knead dough until elastic. Shape into 4 patties, each 1" think, placing close together in greased baking pan.

Bake at 450 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and doubled in size. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes.

Serve hot with butter and honey.

Crockpot Cake

This is an unusual way to make a cake, but it is pretty tasty.

4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 cake mix, any flavor
1 small instant pudding mix, any flavor
1 pint sour cream

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Mix ingredients together, adding pudding mix last. NOTE: If you are making a chocolate cake, you can also add 6 oz. chocolate chips.

Pour mix into crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

Cathy's Cornbread

This is from my friend Cathy Marx, and it's the best cornbread I've ever had.

1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour a little oil into a cast iron skillet to cover the bottom. Let skillet heat in oven while you are preparing cornbread mixture.

Mix dry ingredients. Measure buttermilk, add oil to buttermilk, then add the egg and stir slightly to mix. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until blended. Don't overmix! The mixture should be the consistency of grits or cake mix, not too soupy.

When the skillet is hot enough to make a sizzle, pour in the cornbread mixture. Cook until golden brown.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Key Lime Fudge

SO good!

3 cups white chocolate baking pieces
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbs bottled Key Lime juice or regular lime juice

Line an 8x8 pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of pan. Butter foil, set aside.

Stir baking pieces and condensed milk in a large heavy saucepan over low heat, just until pieces are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice. Spread mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

Cover and chill for 2 hours or until firm. Lift fudge from pan using edges of foil. Peel off foil and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Makes 2-1/2 pounds of fudge.

Honey Roasted Potatoes

A little salty, a little sweet, and very delicious!

6 medium sized potatoes, cut into chunks or wedges (your preference)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
3 TBS oil
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put cut-up potatoes in pan with cold water; bring to boil. As soon as they boil, take off heat and drain.

In a large roasting pan, place butter and oil, place in oven until butter is melted. Remove from oven, add potatoes, mix in butter/oil mixture until coated. Springkle with salt. Baste with honey.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, basting frequently with mixture in pan, until potatoes are golden and crispy on the outside.

Red Beans and Rice

This dish is so meaty, it's almost like a meal instead of a side dish!

1 lb. ground sausage
2 medium onions
1 Tbs garlic salt
3 cans red beans
2 small cans tomatoes
1/3 cup red wine *
1 lb. rope sausage, cut into chunks

Cook ground sausage with onion; add garlic salt. Drain off grease. Add remaining ingredients, simmer. Serve over hot rice.

Note: This is best if made the night before to give the flavors time to blend.

* If you don't have any red wine, or if you just basically don't like cooking with wine, chicken broth can be substituted; that works just fine.

**UPDATE** I added 1/2 lb. of bacon, cut into squares and cooked. It was a wonderful addition!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Double-Chocolate Spiced Snack Mix

When placed in a glass canning jar with the lid decorated with Holiday material and/or yarn, it makes a wonderful gift!

1 - 12-oz package Crispix cereal (about 10 cups)
1-1/2 cups mixed nuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light colored corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup chocolate covered peanuts
1 cup chocolate covered raisins
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk or dark; your preference)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large roasting pan, combine cereal and nuts; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, cinnamon, and ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over cereal mixture; stir gently to coat.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring twice. Remove from overn. Spread mixture onto a large piece of buttered foil and let cool. (NOTE: I use butter-flavored cooking spray and it works just as well.) When cooled, break into pieces and place in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate covered peanuts, chocolate covered raisins, and chocolate chips. Place in an airtight container (can be stored at room temperature for up to one week), or into canning jars or other pretty jars to give as gifts.

Makes 16 cups.

Ricotta Cookies

These are wonderful any time of year, but especially so during the Holidays.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup Ricotta
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Allow butter to soften. Blend with ricotta until creamy. Add vanilla, mix well. Add sugar gradually, beating until well blended. Add egg and mix well. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and blend well.

Drop from a teaspoon onto greased baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Yield: 30-35 cookies, depending on size.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

I found this recipe on the Kraft Foods Website ( I am SO making this for the Holidays!

UPDATE: This cake was made for Christmas, and is absolutely AWESOME!

1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 pkg. (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
7 eggs, divided
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
4 squares Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
1 cup thawed Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray 12-cup fluted tube pan with cooking spray; pour in chocolate syrup.

Beat cake mix, water, oil and 3 eggs with mixer 2 min. or until well blended; blend in sour cream. Pour over syrup in pan.

Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until well blended. Add remaining eggs; mix well. Blend in evaporated milk and melted chocolate; gently spoon over cake batter in pan. Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray, sprayed-side down.

Place tube pan in shallow pan. Add enough water to larger pan to come at least 2 inches up side of tube pan. Bake 1 hour 30 min. or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate 2 hours. Invert cake onto plate; remove pan. Serve cake with Cool Whip.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hot Cocoa Mix

This mix, in a jar or a pretty mug, makes a great Holiday gift!

6-1/2 cups powdered milk
1 - 5 oz. pkg. chocolate pudding mix (NOT instant)
1 cup powdered chocolate drink mix (such as Nesquick)
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

If giving as gifts in jars: Divide the mixture between 2 quart jars, seal and decorate. Attach a tag with the following directions: Dissolve 1/3 cup cocoa mix in 1 cup boiling water. Stir well.

If giving as gifts in mugs: Place 1/3 cup mixture in a small ziploc baggie, place in mug. Decorate mug as desired. Attach a tag with the following directions: Dissolve entire contents in 1 cup boiling water. Stir well.

Crockpot Pizza

Simple, easy, and oh so good!

1-1/2 lb. hamburger
12 oz. pkg. Kluski Noodles
16 oz. jar pizza sauce
8 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz. pkg. cheddar cheese
8 oz. pkg. mozzarella cheese
Sliced pepperoni
1 medium onion
Mushrooms and green pepper, optional

Cook noodles until done. Brown hamburger, onions, and mushrooms and green pepper (if using), and drain excess grease. Add sauces and heat through.

Add a layer of noodles to the crockpot, then a layer of meat sauce, a layer of pepperoni slices, and then a layer of cheeses. Repeat layers. Cook on high setting for 30 minutes, or on low setting until cheese is melted.

Monkey Bread

The grandsons love this!

1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 - 10 oz pkgs biscuits
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut biscuits into quarters, then dip each into sugar mixture and place in a greased Bundt pan. Do this until all biscuits are used and all sides of the pan are evenly filled with dough. Melt butter and mix with remainder of brown sugar. Pour mixture over biscuits.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Flip pan over onto a serving dish, serve hot.

Crockpot Stuffing

This stuffing recipe was adapted from one I found on the Rival Crockpot Cookbook Website. It's a very good way to free up room in your oven, especially if you have a large turkey roasting in there!

1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups chopped onion
1 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup parsley
12-13 cups slightly dry bread cubes
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
1-1/2 tsp. sage
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten

Melt butter in skillet; saute onions, celery, and parsley. Pour over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. Add all seasonings and toss well.

Mix in broth to moisten; add beaten eggs and mix well. Pack lightly into crockpot. Cover; cook on high 45 minutes, then reduce to low for 4-6 hours.

White Chili

This recipe is one of my favorites, and a nice alternative to traditional chili.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion
1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 - 15 oz can Northern Beans, RINSED WELL
1 - 14 oz can chicken broth
2 - 4 oz cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 oz. cream cheese
1 - 8 oz. container sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

Saute chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add rinsed beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes uncovered.

Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese, sour cream, and cream.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oven Chicken Salad

This dish is true comfort food.

1 - 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts
2 cups diced cooked chicken
3/4 cup diced celery
1 TBS chopped pimento
1 - 3-1/2 oz can french fried onions
2 TBS mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 pkg. chicken gravy mix
1 cup milk

Drain water chestnuts. Combine chicken, celery, pimento, water chestnuts, half of the onions, and mayonnaise or Miracle Whip in large mixing bowl.

Prepare chicken gravy according to package directions, using milk instead of water. Pour gravy over chicken mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour into 1 quart baking dish, top with remaining onions.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes until heated through. Cover with foil if onions are browning too quickly to prevent burning.

NOTE: I am not a big fan of celery, especially chunks of it in any dish! I substitute celery flakes, to get the flavor without the "chunks".