Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Never-Fail Pie Crust

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk
Sift and stir the flour and salt together. Blend in the shortening with a pastry cutter. You can use two knives if you don't have a pastry cutter. Add the milk and mix it all together with a fork. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

This makes one double-crust.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This is one of my very favorite summer (or spring!) salads.

1 bunch spinach, rinsed
10 large strawberries, sliced
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
1 c. vegetable oil
1 T. poppy seeds

In a large bowl, combine the spinach and strawberries. In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, salt, vinegar, oil and blend until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. Pour enough for salad to coat and toss together well.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wingers Sticky Fingers

This recipe really does taste just like wingers sticky fingers it is so good! The other great thing about it is it is one of the easiest meals to make.
  • Frozen breaded chicken tenders (I use Tyson brand)
Cook according to directions on bag.
  • 1/3 cup Frank's hot sauce (it has to be frank's)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • dash of salt
Heat up and allow sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool. It will coat chicken better if it sits and thickens.

When chicken is cooked coat with sauce on all sides. We like to dip our chicken in ranch. I just make the hidden valley ranch.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Orange Chicken

This is a family favorite at our house.

12 chicken tenders
3 eggs
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup Flour
garlic salt

1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. ketchup

Mix cornstarch, flour and salt together in a bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Cut up chicken into small pieces. Pour oil in frying pan and dip chicken into the eggs, then coat in the flour mixture. Put in the pan and quickly fry on all both sides until golden brown. place chicken in a baking dish. For the sauce combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour over the chicken. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. to an hour. Eat over rice.
Extra notes:
We like to have a lot of sauce so I usually double or triple the sauce recipe. We use jasmine rice. If you haven't tried it you should it is so yummy especially with Asian type foods. it is found by all the rest of the rice at the store. I usually buy it at walmart and it comes in a yellow bag.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cinnamon Toast

We LOVE this way to make cinnamon toast, thanks to Pioneer Woman's genius. I warn you: once you try making it this way you'll never go back! It's sooooooo yummy. It has just the right blend of flavors (I love that it includes vanilla!) and ends up with this glaze-like gooey/crispiness that is so delicious! So, if you're looking for something to make for breakfast, give this recipe a try! Although, if your family is small like ours, you might need to 1/4 the recipe. :)

16 slices of bread (we use whole wheat)
2 sticks of salted butter, softened
1 cup of sugar (more to taste)
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract (more to taste)
optional: 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (I've never added nutmeg...if you try it let me know how it is!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and optional nutmeg until combined completely. Spread on slices of bread, completely covering the surface all the way to the edges. Place toast on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until golden brown and bubbling - which won't take long (maybe a few minutes) so watch so it won't burn! Remove from the oven and cut slices into halves diagonally.

Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad

I had this salad at a friend’s house, and it tasted perfect; I felt like I really was at Applebee’s! J

3 T. honey
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

Blend together all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl with an electric mixer. Put dressing in refrigerator to chill while you prepare the salad.

4 Tyson crispy chicken strips
1 c. purple cabbage, chopped
3/4 c. carrot, shredded
2 T. sliced almonds
3 c. romaine lettuce, chopped
1 c. cabbage, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 c. crispy chow mein noodles

Bake chicken strips according to package directions. In a bowl, prepare the salad by tossing the romaine with the cabbage, carrots, and onions. Sprinkle almonds over the salad, then add the chow mein noodles. Cut chicken strips into bite sized pieces and place on top of the salad. You can serve the dressing on the side or mixed in. Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Melissa's Tasty Tossed Salad

I made this salad the other night for a ward party, and it was really good!

2 c. iceberg lettuce
1 c. fresh cauliflower
1 c. fresh broccoli florets
1 c. shredded carrots
1/3 c. chopped red onion
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 c. mayo
3 T. sugar
2 T. lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine everything but dressing. Combine the mayo, sugar and lemon juice in a separate container. When ready to serve, pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serves 6.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Ingredients & Recipes

It is important to use high-quality ingredients when making fondant. Using a store-brand powdered sugar or marshmallows can make the fondant come out with tiny rock-like lumps of sugar in it or change the consistency. I always use the brands named below.

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe
16 oz. white mini-marshmallows (Jet-Puffed brand)
2-5 T. water
2 pounds C&H Cane Powdered Sugar
white Crisco shortening

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondant Recipe
1 batch Marshmallow Fondant
1 oz. top-quality bakers chocolate, melted
1 T. cocoa powder (use the best powdered cocoa you can get. The cheap brands take shortcuts on grinding the cocoa so you might get a grainy fondant if you use a cheap brand.)

Decorating Frosting Recipe
2 tsp. vanilla extract (or other flavors; you could use almond extract, mint extract, etc.)
8 T. milk or water
2 c. shortening
2 T. Wilton Meringue Powder (optional)
2 lb. (approximately 8 c.) powdered sugar

Cream shortening, flavorings and milk or water. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy.

Chocolate Decorating Frosting Recipe
1 batch of decorating frosting
1 T. cocoa powder
1-2 oz. melted bakers chocolate

Mix all together as directed for the decorating frosting recipe, just adding in these ingredients.

Making your Fondant

1. Generously grease a large, microwave-safe bowl, a spatula, and your countertop. If you are using a stand-mixer, grease the bowl and dough hook of the mixer instead of your counter.

2. Melt the marshmallows and 2 T. of water in a microwave, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.

3. Pour the melted marshmallows onto your greased countertop and then pour about 1/2 your bag of powdered sugar on top. Be carefully, the marshmallows will be HOT!

4. Grease your hands generously. Seriously. Be generous. Between your fingers, both sides…

5. Start kneading the powdered sugar into the marshmallows, just like bread dough. Keep kneading! Slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar and knead some more. Re-grease your hands as needed.

6. It usually takes about 8 minutes to incorporate all the powdered sugar and get the fondant to a good consistency.

*Note – The consistency of fondant is very important. You do NOT want it to be sticky. If it is sticking to you at all, you need to add more powdered sugar. On the other hand, you do NOT want it to be dry and tearing. If it feels too dry, try adding some Crisco, or add more water about 1/2 T. at a time.

7. If you want to store the fondant, coat it with a good layer of Crisco shortening, smother it in plastic wrap and then put it in a air-tight Ziploc bag. You can refrigerate it for weeks, if needed.

8. If you want to use the fondant now, color it if desired by adding food coloring and kneading it in.

Decorating with Fondant

1. On a clean surface spread plenty of powdered sugar.

2. Put your disk of fondant on the powdered sugar and begin rolling it out like a piecrust. You probably want it about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick. (If you don’t have a non-stick rolling pin, coat your rolling pin with powdered sugar.)

*Note - If you notice a bubble in the surface, take a thin sharp needle and poke a tiny hole, at an angle, in the bubble. If you poke straight down, you can almost always see the hole even after the most careful smoothing. The angled hole lets the air out of the bubble, and with a tiny bit of rubbing you can reseal the hole.

3. As you roll out the fondant, continually pick it up and flip it over and move it around to make sure that it’s not sticking to the countertop. Add more powdered sugar as needed.

4. When the fondant is rolled out to the desired size, pick up half the fondant and fling over your arm or your rolling pin. Quickly place one edge of the fondant over the cake, unrolling as you go, letting the fondant fall onto the cake.

5. With your hand, begin smoothing the fondant onto the cake. Start with the top. Then begin smoothing the edges. If doing a round cake, pretend it’s a clock. Smooth the edge at 12 o’clock, then move to the edge at 6 o’clock, then 3 and 9, etc. If a wrinkle is developing, pull on the bottom of the fondant and re-smooth. Keep working it out until all wrinkles are gone and the fondant is smooth.

6. Trim the edges with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.

7. Decorate as desired! Cut out and shape your own decorations out of fondant. A drop of water on the back of a piece of fondant is the perfect glue and all that is necessary to hold it in place.

Storing Your Fondant Covered Cake

Most decorators feel that a fondant covered cake will hold the moisture in the cake for 3 to 5 days, depending on your atmosphere. I personally have never done a cake more than 1 or so days in advance. I like the cake to have a fresh taste.

There is no need to cover your fondant covered cake for moisture reasons; the fondant itself acts as a cover and keeps the cake moist and fresh.

Do not refrigerate your covered cake! When you take the cake out of the refrigerator, moisture will condense and destroy your beautiful surface. If you don’t want to leave the cake just sitting out, your best option is to store the cake in a sealed bakery box. The cardboard sides of a box will keep the dust in the air off the cake, but allows the Fondant to breath.

Other Resources

If you want to see some pictures of what fondant is, and look at some fondant cakes I've done, you can view my cake blog at www.CakesByJenn.blogspot.com

Also, if you want to learn more about fondant and cake decorating, here are some great resources where I have learned a lot!

YouTube – type in fondant or decorating a cake or whatever you are interested in learning about and watch videos demonstrating these skills. Very useful!

www.wilton.com - Has tons of great information about making and decorating cakes, including fun ideas!

www.whatscookingamerica.net/Peg@/DecoratingFondantQA.htm - probably the most useful site I used when first getting started!

www.ices.org - a fun and useful site!

www.cakecentral.com - a fun gallery of pictures and ideas!

Melissa's Crab Salad

1 bag of spiral Noodles
1 pkg imitation crab
4 boiled eggs
dill pickles
sour cream
salt & pepper

Boil the noodles and eggs. When they are done mix with chopped crab, pickles, onion, and eggs. For the dressing (I just make up the amount) it’s mayo, half the amount of sour cream than mayo. Add milk to thin it a little. Add salt & pepper to taste. Refrigerate.

Grilled Salmon

A quick, yummy, healthy summer meal!

4 salmon fillets
season all
lemon juice
garlic salt
tin foil

Make large rectangles of aluminum foil and center a filet in each one. Sprinkle with season all, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and dill. Fold foil tightly and grill salmon for 10 minutes over medium heat in the pouch. (You know it is done when it looks opaque.) Serve with boiled red potatoes!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Delicious Twice-Baked Potatoes

4 medium potatoes
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1-2 T. milk
grated cheese

Bake potatoes, speared with a fork about 40 – 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut lengthwise, scoop insides out into a bowl. Mash with sour cream, garlic salt, and pepper. Beat until smooth. Stir in milk. Pile mixture back into potato skins and bake at 425 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 2 more minutes.

Pesto-Ranch Chicken Salad

This is a throw-together kind of salad, so the amounts are only approximate and can vary.

1 lb. farfalle (bowties) pasta, cooked and rinsed
1/2 c. fresh or store-bought pesto
1/2 16 oz. bottle light ranch dressing
2 c. cooked, shredded chicken (can use rotisserie)
1 c. shredded parmesan
1/2 c. pine nuts (even better if you toast them first)
1 1/2-2 c. frozen peas
1/2-1 c. craisins (optional)

Combine the dressing and the pesto in medium bowl. Place all ingredients in very large bowl and stir to combine. Makes a great meal on a bed of lettuce.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to Cook Asaparagus

We love asparagus at our house!

2 lbs. fresh asparagus

Trim woody ends from asparagus and discard. Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling, salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse asparagus under cold water. Drain well. Butter and salt to taste.

Roasted New Red Potatoes

3 pounds small red new potatoes, halved (do not peel
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss potatoes with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange, cut side down, on a large lipped cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Roast until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes (check after 20 minutes). Transfer to a serving dish.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Melissa’s Grilled Corn on the Cob

about 6 corn on the cob
1 stick of butter
parmesan cheese
tin foil

Husk and clean off the corn. Soften the stick of butter then and mix in salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese to taste. Slather the butter mixture all over the corn. Wrap in tin foil. Cook on the BBQ for about 25 minutes. Make sure to turn the corn every so often.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

With Father's Day on Sunday, I have been planning my menu. I am going to serve Melissa's french dip beef sandwiches (we can't wait to try them!!), broccoli salad, and THESE for dessert. They sound absolutely scrumptious! And they have to chill for at least 8 hours, so I can make them the day before and not have to worry about them on Sunday. If you know anything about Gerald, you know he loves raspberries. So, I am going to substitute raspberry pie filling instead of strawberry, but leave everything else the same. I'm drooling already!

1 16 oz. package Pecan Sandies Cookies, divided
1 1/2 T. butter, melted
11 oz. cream cheese, softened (not low-fat)
2 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. strawberry sauce, homemade jam, bottled strawberry topping or canned strawberry pie filling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a food processor, process 3/4 of the Pecan Sandies (reserve 6 cookies). Mix with melted butter and lightly press onto the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond extract, and sour cream. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes. Spread half of the cheesecake batter into the pan.

Pour 3/4 cup of the strawberry sauce over the batter, spreading gently to cover the surface. It doesn't have to be perfect. Spread remaining cheesecake batter over the strawberry layer and then spoon remaining 1/2 c. of strawberry sauce over the batter. Being careful not to cut into the surface of the cookie crust, swirl the strawberry mixture with a butter knife. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until center if jiggly but not liquid. While baking, process the remaining 6 cookies. During the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the cookies on top of the cheesecake. Chill for at least 8 hours and then cut into squares. If desired, drizzle remaining strawberry sauce over each individual square and serve.

From Our Best Bites cookbook

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Yummy appetizer!

1 lb. of bacon
1 package of little Smokies
Brown sugar to taste

Cut the bacon into thirds. Take a cookie sheet and line with foil. Preheat oven to 350. Take one smokie and wrap in 1 piece of cut bacon. Secure with toothpick. Once you have finished wrapping all, place on cookie sheet and cover with brown sugar (don't be shy). Bake for 40 minutes.

Alfredo Salmon and Noodles

This is another great salmon recipe.

3 c. uncooked wide egg noodles (6 oz.)
1 box (9 oz.) frozed chopped broccoli
1/2 c. Alfredo pasta sauce
1 (6 oz.) can skinless boneless pink salmon, drained and flaked
1/8 tsp. pepper

Cook noodles as directed on package, adding broccoli for the last 4 to 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and return to saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Broiled Red Potatoes

2 medium unpeeled red potatoes
1 T. butter or margarine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Cut potatoes into 1/4-in. slices; place in a microwave-safe bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over potatoes. Cover and cook on high for 1-2 minutes or until butter melts. Place potatoes in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Broil for 5-6 minutes on each side or until browned.

Melissa’s Cops & Beans

2 1-pound cans pork & beans
1/2 c. ketchup
8 slices cooked bacon
1/2 c. chopped onions, sautéed
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
4-6 pork chops
2 tsp. mustard
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. ketchup
1 lemon

Brown chops in a skillet. Combine the 1/2 c. ketchup, bacon, onions, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 c. brown sugar in a crock-pot. Mix together 1 T. brown sugar and 1/4 c. ketchup and brush each chop with the mixture. Place chops in the crockpot. Put a slice of lemon on top of each chop. Submerge in bean & bacon mixture. Cook on low 4-6 hours.

Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn

12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup un-popped kernels, popped)
You can use air-popped or microwave popcorn. If using microwave, try to find a natural flavor that's low in butter and salt.
1 cup pecans
1 cup cashews
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup real butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup (honey makes a good substitution)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 squares almond bark

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Place popcorn, pecans, & cashews in a large bowl & set aside.
3. Combine the brown sugar & cinnamon in 2 quart capacity microwaves safe bowl. Mix well. Chop the butter into chunks and place on top of the sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds & then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heart for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more.
4. Remove from microwave and add vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. The mixture will foam and rise. Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and nuts. Stir well so everything is coated.
5. Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and stir again. Set aside to cool.
7. Melt the almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. When the almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks and enjoy!

Tip: I always double the recipe - it makes 2 cookie sheets full. After I drizzle the almond bark I put it in the freezer for a few minutes to set up more quickly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hot Beef Hoagies

2 T. butter
1 lb. top sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1/2 c. thinly sliced onion
1 c. thinly sliced green pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese
4 hoagie buns (toasted if desired)

In a frying pan, melt the butter. Add steak slices and cook and stir over medium heat until cooked through and browned (about 10 minutes). Add onion and green peppers. Stir-fry about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat. Place grated cheese over top of meat and vegetables. Put lid on. Allow cheese to melt (about 5 minutes). Spoon mixture on hoagie buns. Enjoy!

Melissa's Grilled Chicken Marinade

1 c. soy sauce
1 c. oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 c. sprite
4-6 chicken breasts

Mix everything together in a large bowl or bag and add chicken. Let sit in the fridge until ready to grill. I make this in the morning and let chicken sit in it all day. Yum!

Italian Chicken

This is such a quick and easy recipe, and it also tastes GREAT! It's also quite healthy. Definitely one of our family's favorites.

3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Bottle of Fat Free Italian Salad Dressing

Place chicken in glass baking dish and pour over the Fat Free Italian dressing until bottom of dish is covered*. Bake in oven, uncovered, at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

*If time allows, marinate chicken breasts for 20 minutes to several hours ahead of time.

Also tastes great with green beans or chopped up in a nice Romaine lettuce salad!

Beef Roast / French Dip Sandwiches

This is how I always cook my beef roast whether I am making french dip sandwiches out of it or just having a roast for Sunday dinner. It always turns out so tender and juicy.

1 beef roast
1 packet of Au Jus gravy mix
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1 14.5 oz can beef broth
If you are making sandwiches you will also need:
6 large buns
sliced Swiss cheese

Pour a little oil in the bottom of a frying pan and heat up. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. sear the roast on all sides. this goes fast maybe a minute on each side. This step is a must it keeps all the juices in and makes all the difference when cooking a roast. When it is done searing place roast in a crock pot and sprinkle both the Au Jus, and the Italian seasoning mix then pour the beef broth in. Cook on low for 8 hours. If you are just eating the roast shred and eat.
If you are making french dip sandwiches take your buns and broil them for a minute until crusty. take the top side of bun and set aside. place shredded beef on bottom half of bun. Then place the swiss cheese on the beef. Place back under the broiler for a minute until cheese is melted. Don't walk away it melts really fast. Place top bun back on, and ladle the juice from your roast into bowls for dipping your sandwich. Enjoy!

Red Pepper Pasta

A rich, sweet pasta. I don't love raw red peppers very much, but I LOVE this pasta because the peppers are cooked with these other amazing ingredients! (Kara, if you ever read this, I will think of you every time we make this -forever!)

3 red peppers
capers (about half a small jar)
crushed red pepper to taste
1 large can stewed tomatoes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 pint heavy whipping cream (or a little less)

Roast the red peppers cut in half on foil at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Peel off the skin and chop up. Sauté in olive oil. Add tomatoes, capers, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Boil down till most of the liquid is gone. (It doesn’t have to be all gone.) Add the whipping cream right before you add to the noodles. Start boiling the noodles about the time that you add the tomatoes. The longer you let the mixture boil, the better it tastes.

How to Roast Red Peppers

Many recipes call for roasted peppers. Follow these instructions for easy roasting.

4 red peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, cored and seeded
olive oil

Preheat the broiler. Lay the pepper pieces skin-side-up on a flat broiling pan and place the pan 3 to 4 inches below the heat. Broil the peppers for about 10 minutes until the skins are charred (they should be black). Remove peppers to a plastic bag for 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bad and slip off the charred skins. Place the peppers in a quart storage jar on plastic bad. Add olive oil just to cover. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to a week.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

When we grew tomatoes in our garden, we made this recipe in bulk and froze it for use throughout the year. It's a bit of work, but this is probably the most delicious spaghetti sauce we have ever tasted!

1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large green pepper, chopped (optional – I usually choose to leave this out)
12 c. fresh tomatoes, peeled
3 (12 oz.) cans tomato paste
3 T. sugar
1 T. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
3 T. oregano
2-3 bay leaves

Blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins. Core and seed the tomatoes and dice them into chunks. Heat oil in a large kettle and cook onion, garlic and green pepper until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well after each addition. Simmer uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. If you want to add already cooked meat, add it now and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Serve or freeze. (This sauce freezes really well.)

See comments for extra advice.

"Missionary" Casserole

Mom made this for the first time when the missionaries were coming over for dinner, and "missionary" casserole has become a family classic ever since!

1 lb. ground hamburger, cooked
1 bag cooked elbow or bowtie noodles
1 can seasoned Campbell’s tomato soup (Tomato w/ garlic & herb, if possible, or with Italian herbs)
1 can tomato sauce
1 package spaghetti mix
1 can chopped olives
1 c. grated cheese

Cook meat and set aside. Cook noodles. Drain both. Combine meat and noodles with all other ingredients. Save a bit of cheese to sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

P.S. This FREEZES great! Just make it in a disposable casserole dish and freeze before baking. (Be sure to make the noodles al dente or even a little under cooked as they will grow softer after freezing.) Thaw and bake as normal when ready to eat.

Melissa's Cheesy Manicotti

1 box manicotti
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
15 oz. ricotta or cottage cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped, fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
32 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
Italian sausage, cooked (optional)

Combine the cheeses, parsley, salt, and pepper for filling. Fill each dry manicotti noodle with the cheese mixture (Note: use a frosting bag with no tip to squeeze the mixture into each manicotti noodle neatly and easily.) Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the manicotti in a single layer over the sauce. Cover each noodle with the remaining sauce and with the Italian sausage, if desired. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes, or until the noodles are done. This is delicious!


1/2 lb. lasagna noodles (buy the OVEN READY kind)
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced*
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (12 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 pkg. spaghetti sauce mix
1 T. sugar
2 c. ricotta or cottage cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated

Brown the ground beef. Add minced garlic and pepper to beef and cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spaghetti sauce mix. Simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Layer one cup meat sauce mixture on bottom of pan. Layer uncooked, over-ready noodles over meat mixture, followed by cottage cheese and then grated mozzarella. Repeat layers a total of three times, ending with 1 c. meat sauce and 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

*I usually buy the jars of already minced garlic and add about 3 tsp.

P.S. This is a staple FREEZER meal at our house. Just assemble in a disposable casserole dish and freeze before baking. When ready to eat, pull out and thaw and then bake as directed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mom’s Yummy Potatoes

Otherwise known as Funeral Potatoes!

8 potatoes, peeled, partially boiled, and grated (Jennifer usually uses frozen hashbrowns instead.)
1/2 c. margarine
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. chopped green onion
1 pint sour cream
2 c. grated cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Place grated potatoes in a bowl, mix all other ingredients together and pour over potatoes. Mix well. Place in a greased baking pan. Top with Yummy Potatoes topping and bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes.

Yummy Potatoes Topping

1 c. cornflakes, crushed
2 T. margarine

Melt margarine and mix well into crushed cornflakes. Sprinkle over potatoes before cooking.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thurston Ice Cream Cake

I remember Aunt Alice making this for her kids' birthday when they were young. I love this recipe! I've made it once or twice for Gerald's birthday, as well.

3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 gallon of ice cream

Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper. Stir together the four, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Beat 4 eggs for 6 minutes. Gradually add the sugar. On low speed, blend in water and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just smooth. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from pan with wax paper. While still hot, put another piece of waxed paper on top of the cake. Put a towel on top of the wax paper, and roll the cake up into a spiral. Allow to cool. After the cake is cooled, unroll gently and remove the towel and wax paper. Cut the ice cream into thick but even slices and spread evenly over the top of the cake. Roll up again with the ice cream in the middle and frost. Place the cake back in the freezer just until the ice cream is firmer. Serve.

Navajo Tacos

cooked meat (this could be whatever mexican-style meat you want, such as cooked ground beef, pork or chicken etc. We prefer this shredded beef recipe.)
cooking oil
Rhoad’s Rolls dough balls, thawed
Sour cream
Any other toppings you desire

After the previously frozen rolls are completely thawed, heat a couple inches of cooking oil in a large pan. Take each roll one at a time, and flatten and stretch it into a round disk about 4-6 inches across. Place the roll in the hot oil and cook a minute or two on each side or until browned. Place on a plate with a paper towel to drain and cool. Top each scone with whatever toppings you want and enjoy. Yum!

Melissa's "Melt In Your Mouth"


1 c. flour
1/2 c. nuts, chopped into small pieces (what ever kind you prefer; walnuts or pecans are good.)
1/2 c. melted butter

Combine and press into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min. Cool.


1 8oz. cream cheese
1 c. powder sugar
1 c. cool whip

Beat the cream cheese and sugar, and then fold in the cool whip. Spread on crust.


2 pkg. instant pudding, choc. or vanilla (I like vanilla)
remaining cool whip

Mix the pudding according to the directions on the box. Spread pudding over the cream cheese mixture. On top of that, add a final layer of cool whip. Chill 4 hours.

Tator-Tot Casserole

I loved when mom made this for us when we were kids.

1 lb. hamburger
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup can of milk
salt & pepper
1 small bag of tater tots
shredded cheese

Brown the hamburger and drain. Mix the soup and 1/2 a can of milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir soup mixture into hamburger. Put into the bottom of a casserole pan. Top with tater-tots. Cook 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until crispy and brown. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted.

Mom's Crock-Pot Beef Bites

1 –2 lbs. beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup.
2 brown gravy mixes
Cooked rice

In a crock-pot, cook stew meat and cream of mushroom soup all day. Prepare the two gravy mixes as directed on package. Mix all together. Serve over hot rice. Easy, yummy, and filling!

Mom’s Broccoli-Cheese Chicken

1 T. margarine
4 chicken breasts
1 can Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 c. broccoli
1/3 c. milk or water
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a frying pan, melt margarine over medium–high heat. Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes until browned on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside. In the same pan combine soup, broccoli, milk (or water) and pepper. Heat to boiling. Return chicken to the pan. Reduce heat to low. Cover, cook 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and broccoli is tender, stirring occasionally. Eat or freeze. This is a common freezer meal at our house.

Homemade Root Beer

This is my brother-in-laws recipe. It's always a delicious addition to a family gathering!

3 – 5 gallons cold water (depending on how sweet you want it, use less water)
5 lbs. white sugar
2 oz. bottle of root beer concentrate
5 lbs. dry ice

Place all but one gallon of the cold water in a large container. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in root beer extract and mix. Add the dry ice and put the lid on loosely so the gas can escape. Be sure that no one touches the dry ice with bare hands! Let it brew for about 15 minutes. Add the last gallon of water and let brew for another 15 minutes.

Candy-Making Tips

Temperatures for Cooking Candy

Some cooks prefer to use a candy thermometer and some prefer to use the old-fashioned cold-water way to test the doneness of candy. Below there are directions for both.

Thread Stage - begins at 230 degrees F. - Makes a long thread when dropped in cold water.

Soft Ball - 234 degrees F. - Forms a soft ball that doesn't hold its shape. Cream candies, fudge, fondants are done at the softball stage.

Firm Ball - 246 degrees F. - This ball will only flatten with pressure. Divinity and Caramels.

Hard Ball - 250 degrees F. - This ball will hold its shape when pressed. Taffy.

Soft Crack - 270 degrees F. - Separates into bendable threads. Toffee and Butterscotch.

Hard Crack - 300 degrees F. - Becomes brittle. Peanut Brittle.

Caramelize - 310 degrees F.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gerald's Quick Beef Enchiladas

1 lb. ground hamburger, cooked and drained
1 large can red enchilada sauce
grated cheese

Pour some of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Stuff each tortilla with some sauce, hamburger, olives, cheese, and any thing else you think sounds good. Save a little sauce and cheese to coat on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Enchiladas of any kind are always a great freezer meal - just prepare in a disposable casserole dish and freeze to use when needed.

Toffee Chip Cookies

1 c. butter flavored shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 bag Skor toffee chips
1 bag milk chocolate chips

Cream together the shortening, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. AMAZING!

Glazed Carrots and Peas - Delicious!

This is one of our favorite vegetable side-dishes!

8 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. orange juice
2 T. butter
1 (10-oz) package frozen peas
salt to taste

Cook carrots in small amount of water for about 8 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain carrots and sprinkle with sugar and cornstarch. Add orange juice and butter. Stir over low heat until thickened. Prepare peas according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. Mix together with carrots. Salt to taste.

Chicken Mozzarella

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 can tomato soup
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Place chicken in a baking dish. Mix the soup, Italian seasoning, and garlic together and spoon over chicken. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Sprinkle cheese over chicken. Serve with pasta or rice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Holiday Cheeseball

This cheeseball is a family holiday tradition!

8 oz. cream cheese
1 large jar Cheese Whiz
grated cheddar cheese

Mix the first three ingredients together. Roll into a ball and roll in nuts. Serve with crackers.

Homemade Brownies

1 c. butter
4 c. sugar
1 c. cocoa
10 eggs (really)
4 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
nuts to taste (optional)

Cream butter, sugar and cocoa until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time and mix well. Add vanilla, salt, and flour, mixing well. Stir in nuts if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. This makes 2 9x13 pans. Cool and frost, if desired. These are truly great brownies!

Cracker Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup croutons or saltine crackers, crushed
1 cube butter

Dip chicken in butter and then in the crushed mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately one hour.

This is a family classic!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tijuana Taco Dip

Does anyone else feel like this is a must for Superbowl Sunday? :)

1 lb. hamburger
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 – 3 small cans tomato sauce
grated cheese
1 can black olives
1 large can refried beans
hot sauce (optional)
sour cream
tortilla chips

Brown the hamburger and pour off any grease. Add the taco seasoning, some of the cheese, and enough tomato sauce to make it good and saucy. Set 2 –3 T. tomato sauce aside. Add olives to meat mixture. Mix the 2 – 3 T. tomato sauce with the refried beans. Add a little hot sauce, if desired. Spread the bean mixture at the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle some of the grated cheese on top of bean mixture. Spread the hamburger mixture on top. Sprinkle leftover cheese on top of the hamburger mixture. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Dab sour cream on top while still warm. Serve with tortillas chips.

Holiday Cheeseball

This is a pretty soft, so it works well (maybe even better) as a cheese dip! ;)

8 oz. cream cheese
1 large jar Cheese Whiz
grated cheddar cheese

Mix the first three ingredients together. Roll into a ball and roll in nuts. Serve with crackers.

Brittany's Brown Sugar Muffins

1/2 c. melted butter
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. flour
1 c. milk
1 T. vanilla

Beat everything together well; pour into muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 18 muffins.

Gerald’s Favorite Puffy Omelet

4 eggs
2 T. water
omelet toppings of your choice, such as:

Separate the yolks from the egg white. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the water and continue beating until there are stiff peaks, about 1 1/2 minutes with a Kitchen Aid. Fold the yolks into the whites. Pour into a hot, greased frying pan. Cook over low heat 8 – 10 minutes, not turning, or until puffed and golden brown on the bottom and set. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. Loosen from pan, pile with toppings, and fold. Eat!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Creamy Italian Chicken

Creamy Italian Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 c. plus a bit Italian salad dressing
1/3 c. water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 4 oz. can of mushroom stems & pieces, drained
Hot cooked rice or noodles.

Place chicken in crock-pot. Combine salad dressing and water; pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken. Cook 1 hour longer or until the chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice or noodles.

JD’s Version of Creamy Italian Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 c. plus a bit Italian salad dressing
1/3 c. water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup

Place chicken in crock-pot. Combine everything else and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours or until the chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice or noodles.

We love to double this recipe and freeze the leftovers in a gallon-sized freezer bag for a quick and yummy meal!

Aunt Marlene's Chicken Casserole

4 c. chopped, cooked chicken
3/4 c. mayo
1 box chicken flavored rice (put in dry)
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
13 oz. evaporated milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. diced green peppers
1 c. chicken broth

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for 2 hours. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

Sticky Chicken

1 1/2 c. sugar
8 T. ketchup
1/2 c. vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
bowl of cornstarch
2 T. flour
3 eggs beaten
1 1/2 pounds chicken cut into bite size pieces.

Mix the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, and soy sauce in a pan, and bring to a boil. Set aside. Beat eggs and flour together. Dip chicken pieces into cornstarch and then in egg mixture. Brown chicken in a skillet with oil. Then place in a 9 x 13 pan. Pour the ketchup sauce over the chicken and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Grandma Klingler's Cashew Turkey Pasta Salad

2 bone-in turkey halves, skin removed, or about 1 lb. precooked roasted turkey cut into cubes.
3 c. uncooked tri-colored pasta
1 small white onion
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. salted cashew halves
2 celery ribs, diced
1 1/2 c. mayo
1 T. cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Cook turkey, cool in fridge, then cube. Cook pasta, rinse in cold water and drain. Place pasta in large bowl with turkey and add diced celery and onion. In small bowl, mix mayo, brown sugar, cider vinegar, salt and lemon juice; pour over pasta mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Stir in cashews just before serving.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Party Chocolate Trifle

1 chocolate cake mix
2 small boxes instant chocolate pudding
1 large container Cool Whip
6 Skor or Heath bars

Prepare cake as directed on box. Crumble up one half of the cake in a trifle bowl or punch bowl. Prepare 1 box of chocolate pudding and spoon over the cake. Spread one half of the Cool Whip on the mixture. Crush 3 Skor bars and sprinkle on top. Repeat.

Pomegranate Salad

It is simply not a true family gathering or holiday without this salad.

fruit cocktail, drained
grapes, sliced
apples, diced
bananas, sliced
whipping cream, whipped and sweetened with sugar

In a bowl, combine the desired amounts of fruit. Add the whipping cream until the salad is the correct consistency. Chill or serve. (Note: You can make this as a fruit salad with any fruit you want.)

Homemade Waffles

We love this breakfast!

1 3/4 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 egg whites

In a mixing bowl mix the egg yolks, milk and oil together. Add the dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the batter. Cook on a hot waffle iron.

Note: You can substitute buttermilk for the milk, but you will need to cut the baking powder in half and add 1 tsp. baking soda.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fried Ice Cream

3 1/2 c. cinnamon life cereal, crushed
1 c. coconut
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pecans
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 gallon ice cream

Mix all the ingredients except the ice cream. Sprinkle about 1/2 of the mixture on the bottom of a sheet cake pan. Cut the ice cream into thin slabs and place on top of sprinkled mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cereal mixture on top of the ice cream. Freeze or serve immediately.

Buttermilk Syrup

1/2 c. buttermilk
1 cube butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Put everything but vanilla in a sauce pan and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Make sure the pot is bigger because the baking soda makes it foam up. Take it off the heat and stir in vanilla. Serve.

Blueberry Summer Smoothie

I think I made this smoothie almost every morning for breakfast last summer. I gave the recipe to mom and dad, and they actually drank it a lot, too. Dad liked it best extra cold, made with ice. With the warm weather back, I've been craving it again. This fills me up for breakfast and is a great way to start your day!

1 banana
1 c. frozen blueberries
1/3 c. fresh spinach leaves (I just throw in a handful)
1/4 c. plain low fat yogurt (Just a big spoonful)
1/2 scoop protein powder
1 T. ground flax seed
1/2 c. pomegranate juice
water, if desired, to make less thick. I personally don't add any water.

Mix all the ingredients well in a blender or food processor. Pour into glasses and enjoy! (This makes 2 glassfuls.)

Total calories: 184! Woot!

Blueberry Pineapple Smoothie

We bought pineapple juice today (in order to make Melissa's fruit pizza recipe) and found this recipe on the can. We had all the other ingredients on hand, so we tried it out tonight - yummy! Here is another 'keeper' smoothie recipe.

1 ripe medium banana
3/4 c. pineapple juice
6 oz. blueberry yogurt
1 c. frozen blueberries

Throw everything into your food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

*In our other smoothie recipe, we add a handful of fresh spinach leaves, 1 T. flax seed, and a scoop of protein powder. We didn't put these things in this smoothie tonight, but after trying it once, we know we could add them also without affecting the look or flavor very much. In the future, we'll add those ingredients to this one as well. :)

Shrimp and Artichoke Fettucine

Our friends moved and gave us some frozen shrimp from their freezer. We tried this recipe with the shrimp and LOVED it - everyone gobbled it up! The recipe calls for fresh shrimp, but we used frozen that we thawed according to the bag directions.

From the Essential Mormon Celebrations cookbook by Julie Badger Jensen

8 oz. fettuccine
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 c. whipping cream
8 oz. artichoke hearts (found in glass bottles in the grocery aisles)
1/2 c. crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 pound large fresh shrimp
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain well and set aside. In a large skillet, cook bacon until cooked through, but not crisp. Add onion and saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in whipping cream, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, dried basil, salt and pepper. Heat to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until artichokes are tender and sauce is thick, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in shrimp to artichoke mixture. Heat until warmed through and serve over cooked pasta. Top with parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Homemade Oreo Cookies

This is my friend's recipe, and I can't get enough of them! These are so, so, so yummy!

1 package of Devil's Food Cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 c. oil

Mix the above ingredients to make the cookie dough. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Make 1 inch balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. SLIGHTLY FLATTEN (or they'll be too puffy). Bake for 10 minutes.

4 oz. cream cheese
1 cube butter (softened)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar

Mix the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix well. Frost these cookies with the yummy cream cheese frosting in the middle of two cookies, like an oreo. Enjoy!

*Side note - we made these cookies again tonight for some friends. I didn't have a Devil's Food cake mix, so I just used a chocolate fudge cake mix, and it still turned out fabulous!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pie Crust Paint

1 egg white
food coloring

Mix food coloring into one egg white. Use a toothpick or paintbrush to brush the color onto the top crust of an uncooked pie to make pictures such as holly leaves, pumpkins, Christmas trees, etc. When the pie bakes, the color will turn deep and vibrant and create a beautiful pie!

Pumpkin Pie Squares

13 oz. canned milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
13 oz. can of pumpkin
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 c. margarine

Combine the canned milk, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl. Pour into an 11x13-baking pan. Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the top. Slice the butter and place over the cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

Hawaiian Haystacks

2 – 4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
rice, cooked
Cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
Salt and pepper
Chinese noodles
Toppings, such as pineapple, chopped celery, grated cheese, olives, coconut, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, raisins

Combine cream of chicken soup, milk, and salt and pepper in a saucepan and heat through. Heap rice, chicken and other desired toppings in a pile - top with soup mixture and grated cheese.

Bacon Potato Soup

1 package sliced bacon, cut into small pieces
8 – 10 medium-sized potatoes
2 c. shredded cheese
1 onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 c. flour
1 c. cold water

Peel and cube the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Drain the grease and set the bacon aside. Cook the potatoes and onions in enough water to cover them in the same pan that you cooked the bacon in, so that the bacon flavor cooks into the broth. Mix together the flour and water. When the potatoes are tender, add the flour-water, cheese, bacon, salt and pepper. Stir until warmed through.

Fruit Pizza

I know there are a lot of recipes out there for fruit pizza, but this one is by far my favorite. My friend gave it to me and I crave it all the time.

1/2 C. marg/butter
1/2 C. shortening
1 and 1/2 C. sugar

Cream these three together then add:

2 eggs
then mix in:
2 and 3/4 C. flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Press dough into a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 10 min and then cool.

8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 C. sugar
2 Tbs pineapple juice

mix together then add:
16 oz cool whip

Spread on cooled cookie dough then add cut up fruit my favorites are strawberries, kiwi, and grapes. Refrigerate the leftovers.

Recipe by Melissa

Extra notes by Jenn

We made this recipe tonight for Bobby & Angie and their family. It has a hit! Everyone LOVED it. When the recipe calls for a cookie sheet, it means the large jelly-roll sized cookie sheet. The crust is hard to burn. :) I accidently overcooked it by like 6 minutes - ack! It was crispy on the edges but still chewy in the middle and really good. We added blueberries and bananas to Melissa's favorite fruits. This is an AWESOME recipe that we'll definitely make again! Thanks Miss!

Queso Chip Dip

Mom made this for us once, and now it is one of Gerald's favorite things to make! We made it tonight for games with friends and everyone loved it.

1 can of chili
16 oz. of Velveeta cheese, Mexican style

Put them both in a pot and heat on low, stirring often, until cheese is melted and the chili starts to bubble. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jennifer's Favorite Lemon Bars

ß 1 c. margarine
ß dash of salt
ß 1/2 c. powdered sugar
ß 2 c. flour

Mix all four ingredients together. It will be crumbly. Press into a 9x9-baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until very lightly browned.


ß 4 eggs
ß 2 c. sugar
ß 1/4 c. flour
ß 6 T. lemon juice

Mix ingredients together well in a large bowl. Pour over the baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until set. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top. Cut and remove from the pan while still warm.

Baking Powder Biscuits

Easy, Flaky Baking Powder Biscuits

2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
a dash of salt
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Measure flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Cut in shortening thoroughly until mixture looks like meal. Stir in all of the milk. Knead the dough. Roll out on a floured surface until it’s 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter (I use the top rim of a glass). Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until done.

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb ground Italian sausage
11/2 tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
1/4 of a bunch of kale

Brown sausage and red pepper. Drain fat and set aside. In same pan sauté onion, bacon and garlic until onions are soft. Add water and bouillon. Bring to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until soft, around 30 minutes. Add cream, sausage and kale. Cook until heated through and serve.

This truly tastes and looks just like Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, which is I LOVE! Serve with Italian rolls for an extra treat! ;)

JD’s Favorite Indoor S’mores

8 c. golden grahams
5 c. mini marshmallows
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1/4 c. light corn syrup
5 T. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 more c. mini marshmallows

Butter a 9 x 13 pan. Measure the cereal into a large bowl. Microwave 5 c. marshmallows, the chocolate chips, corn syrup, and butter in a large microwavable bowl on high for two to three and a half minutes, stirring after very minute until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in bowl. Toss until evenly coated then stir in the last cup of marshmallows. Press into pan. Let stand uncovered at least one hour or put in fridge for a firmer bar. Store covered.

Mom's Clam Chowder

2 cans minced clams
2 c. peeled diced potatoes
1 c. onion, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
2 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 c. evaporated milk
3/4 c. margarine
1/2 to 3/4 c. flour
2 cans cream of celery soup

Drain clams and set aside the juice. Put potatoes, onions and celery in a saucepan. Add clam juice and enough water to cover everything. Put the lid on and simmer vegetables over medium heat until tender. In another pan melt margarine. Slowly stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually add milk and stir until it thickens. Add evaporated milk and soup. Stir. If mixture is too thick, add more milk until it is the desired consistency. Pour water off vegetables and add sauce. Put in the clams. Stir well and eat. I love this served in bread bowls! Such a great comfort food.

Teriyaki Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Place chicken in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic salt. Pour over the chicken. Stir to coat. Grill and turn over medium heat for about 20 minutes for until cooked through. OR, bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Homemade Breakfast Potatoes

These are truly great!

6 T. butter
1 white onion, halved and sliced
3 medium to large cold baked potatoes, chopped
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
dried red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for one minute. Stir in the potatoes and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the potatoes are crisp, about 20 minutes, adding more butter if they become to dry. Add bacon, if desired. Serve.

Leftover Turkey Soup

A great way to use those Thanksgiving leftovers!

1/2cup chopped onion
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1 T. oil
2 14.5 oz cans of chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup bite sized pasta (like bowtie), uncooked
2 cups cooked turkey cubed
1 envelope dried Italian dressing mix

Cook the onion, carrot and celery in hot oil in a large sauce pan for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, water, and dressing mix. Bring to a boil. Add turkey and pasta; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve hot.

Easy Pink Slush

This is similar to grandma's slush, but easier and faster because there is no real fruit you have to mash or cut up. It tastes really good!

2 1/2 c. sugar
6 c. water
2 (3 oz.) packages of strawberry Jell-O
46 oz. pineapple juice
2/3 c. lemon juice
1 quart prepared orange juice

Bring the sugar, water and Jell-O to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Then add the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Put into containers to freeze. When ready to eat, crush up and add 7-up.

Easy Pink Slush

This is similar to grandma's slush, but easier and faster because there is no real fruit you have to mash or cut up. It tastes really good!

2 1/2 c. sugar
6 c. water
2 (3 oz.) packages of strawberry Jell-O
46 oz. pineapple juice
2/3 c. lemon juice
1 quart prepared orange juice

Bring the sugar, water and Jell-O to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Then add the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Put into containers to freeze. When ready to eat, crush up and add 7-up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rich Chocolate Cake

1 chocolate cake mix (I use double chocolate or chocolate fudge)
1 big box of instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all the above ingredients together. Bake as directed on the box but add 10-12 minutes onto the baking time. This is moist and yummy!

Grandma Thurston's Holiday Fruit Slush

6 c. water
4 c. sugar
5 oranges
2 lemons
5 bananas
2 quarts pineapple juice

Boil water with sugar; set aside and cool. Add the juice of the oranges and lemons. Mash bananas and mix in. Stir in the pineapple juice. Put in Tupperware containers and freeze. Chop up and mix with 7-up.

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

6 lb. beef roast (sirloin tip works well)
1 onion, chopped
2 T. butter
2 c. ketchup
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. barbecue sauce
1 dozen large, soft rolls

Cook roast until desired doneness, either in the oven or in a slow cooker. Cool for about 14 minutes then cut the roast into thin, sandwich-sized slices. Return sliced meat to pan with drippings. Sauté the chopped onion in butter. In a large saucepan, combine ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, and sautéed onion. Heat through. Pour desired amount over the beef. Fill the rolls just before serving. Makes 12 sandwiches. This is a great dish for potlucks or picnics.

Hearty Beef Stew

1 1/2 lbs. cubed beef stew meat
2 cups water
1 small onion
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
10 cubes beef bullion, crumbled
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 T. salt
1 T. dried basil

Place beef in a large crock-pot. Pour in water. Stir in onion, tomatoes, mixed veggies and potatoes. Season with bullion, pepper, salt, and basil. Cook on low 8 hours. This is hearty and delicious, and makes lots!

Best EVER Apple Pie

1 recipe for a 9 inch double pie crust
1/2 c. unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
5 - 8 Johnny Gold apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
cinnamon to taste
nutmeg to taste
ginger or other spices as desired

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, sugars, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer. Place the bottom crust in your pie pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a latticework of crust. Gently and slowly, pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. If desired, sprinkle some spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg over the pie. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, or until apples are soft.

Italian Rolls

These are so easy and soooooo yummy! We love to serve them with our favorite pasta dishes.

1 cube butter, melted
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
Parmesan cheese
20 frozen Rhodes Rolls

Put rolls in the bottom of a bundt pan (this will work just fine in a regular cake pan, too). Pour melted butter over the rolls. Sprinkle the dressing and cheese. Let rise for 4 – 5 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Mom's Feather Rolls

5 c. all-purpose flour
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 c. mashed, cooked potatoes
1/3 c. cooking oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt

In a mixer bowl, combine 2 c. of the flour and the yeast. In a different bowl, combine potatoes, oil, sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 c. warm water (110 degrees). Add to the dry ingredients; beat on low speed with electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat for 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in remaining flour. Cover; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Punch down; turn out on lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. With lightly floured hands, shape into 24 buns. Place in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Cover and let rise until almost double in sized (about 40 minutes). Bake at 400 degrees until done, about 16 – 20 minutes.

Mom’s Pie Crust Saver

1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. flour

Mix these together and put in the pie plate before putting the uncooked crust into the plate. This prevents the bottom of the piecrust from getting soggy.

Mini Cream Cheese Desserts

2 8 oz. boxes of cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
mini baking cups
1 box Nilla Wafers
Cherry, raspberry or blueberry pie filling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together with a hand-mixer the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add one egg and mix well. Add the second egg and mix well again. Place mini baking cups in a mini muffin pan (muffin paper cups may also be placed on a cookie sheet, or regular muffin tray, use 2 paper muffin cups for extra support). Place Nilla Wafer (about 1 box full or 48 total cookies) in the bottom of each muffin paper with the flat side of the Nilla Wafer down. Spoon and slightly smooth about a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on each cookie (about 3/4th full). Bake in the preheated oven for 14-15 minutes. After initially cooled, refrigerate. Top with cherry, berry or blueberry pie filling just before serving. (Empty muffin papers may be lightly sprayed with cooking spray to help prevent cookie from sticking to the edges of the paper.)

Melissa's Famous Salsa

1 gallon diced canned tomatoes
1 medium white onion
1/2 to 3/4 bunch of cilantro
1 jar sliced jalapenos (don’t use the whole jar – these determine the hotness of the salsa, so add them to taste.)
salt to taste
1 –2 cloves garlic to equal 1 tablespoon

Chop the onion, cilantro, jalapenos, and garlic. Put everything together in a blender or food processor and pulse to desires thickness. If you like it chunky, only blend half of it.

Hearty Sausage Soup

1 lb. turkey or chicken sausage. (I use Italian.)
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, diced
1 large red potato, diced
2 tsp. Italian seasonings
2 cans chicken stock (14 oz)
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes (14 oz)
1 can white beans (undrained, 14 oz)

Sauté onions and garlic with sausage until browned. Add carrots, potatoes, and seasoning and cook 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Romano cheese and crusty bread. We LOVE this soup!!

Grandma Thurston's Oatmeal Cookies

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
2 T. water
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
3 c. oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 package chocolate chips
1 package coconut (optional)

Mix the brown sugar, sugar, and shortening. Add the water and eggs. Mix in all the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and coconut. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Deviled Eggs

Mom always made these for Easter dinner!

12 eggs
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. miracle whip
pinch of salt
Dill pickles, diced fine and thin
squirt of mustard

Boil the eggs until they are hard-boiled. Cool. Peel the shells off the eggs and cut neatly in half. Remove the yolks and put into a mixing bowl. Mix the yolks with the mayo, miracle whip, salt, pickles, and mustard. Spoon the yolk mixture back into the eggs, piling it up. Garnish with paprika salt on top. Serve or chill.

Homemade Play Dough

Homemade Play dough

1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 c. water
1 T. cooking oil
food coloring
2 tsp. cream of tarter

Mix together and cook over medium heat until mixture pulls away from sides of pan. Knead by hand while hot to make dough soft. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Wendy’s Frosty

This really tastes just like the chocolate frosty from Wendy’s; very yummy!

1/2 cup chocolate Nesquick powdered milk
3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
milk (only if necessary)

Allow ice cream to soften in refrigerator for 1 hour. Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add milk if necessary.

Pizza Sauce

8 oz. tomato sauce
6 oz. tomato paste
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. garlic salt

Mix together and use for pizza or lasagna.