Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Upside Down Pizza (Skillet Pizza)

We tried this "pizza" a month or so ago. It was better once we realized that we should have served it flipped over (crust side down). It calls for using jarred pizza sauce, but I used half a batch of sauce found in Cook's Country.

Upside Down Pizza

12 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jar (14 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until the
meat is no longer pink; drain. Add spaghetti sauce. Cover and simmer
until heated through. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking
dish. Sprinkle with cheese.

In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, oil, flour and salt; cover and
process until smooth. Pour over cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 400°
for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 12 servings.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hamburger Macaroni

I had found a recipe for Skillet Macaroni with Zesty Meat Sauce in an issue of Cook's Country. I tried it but substituted some pickled jalapenos instead of the jarred banana peppers (I didn't have banana peppers). I later learned that this is similar to one of my husband's family recipes for Hamburger Macaroni. The next time I made it I added a diced onion because I put onion in nearly everything. I also had to add a bit more water. If its looking fairly dry before the pasta is cooked, it gets gummy. Add a little extra water and the pasta cooks through and you avoid the gumminess.

Hamburger Macaroni

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
3 tbsp. dried basil
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
12 ounces elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat pasta and just used the full box-13.25 oz.)
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. When nearly browned, drain some of the grease if needed. Add onion, some salt and pepper. When onion is tender add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add basil.

Stir in tomatoes, water, and macaroni. Cover and cook, stirring often until macaroni begins to soften, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until macaroni is al dente, about 7 more minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, cover and cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Serve.

Quick Soft Breadsticks

I found this recipe over on Cookie Madness. My boys eat too many breadsticks and biscuits to buy the ones in the tube at the grocery. And really, these are far better. There isn't much work involved as they can be made with a mixer using a dough hook. I only kneaded by hand a few times. Then roll out and cut to bake. I only got 13 breadsticks, but I probably could have cut them a bit narrower. They rose more than I expected in the oven. I'd say these were a hit and will likely make them many times in the future. I just need to make sure I leave about 2 hrs. lead time to allow for the rise and bake times.

Quick Soft Breadsticks

3 cups bread flour or all purpose flour (13.8 oz)
1 packet fast rising yeast (instant yeast)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
optional — 2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with a clove of crushed garlic or garlic powder

Mix the flour, yeast, brown sugar and salt together in bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and stir until almost blended, then add the oil and stir well. Using the dough hook (you can also do it by hand, of course), knead until smooth and elastic. With the dough hook, this is only takes a few minutes.

Rub a second bowl with olive oil. Turn dough into bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, set in a warm place and let rise for 30 minutes. Punch down dough. Roll out into a 10×12 inch rectangle. Cut into strips (I cut mine lengthwise for long bread sticks) about 3/4 inch wide. Twist the strips and place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Let rise for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Brush with butter or garlic butter.

Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Butter Icing

I've been drooling over these for a week now. I found the recipe over on Culinary in the Desert. I made a half batch and baked them in an 11" x 7" pan. I probably should have used a 13" x 9" pan to stay true to the recipe. These puffed up much more than I expected, but the icing didn't all sink down into the center, so it worked well. I'll likely make these again another day.

Butterscotch Brownies With Brown Sugar Butter Icing

For the batter:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (1 cup or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla

For the icing:

16 tablespoons (1 cup or 2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla

To prepare the batter:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined after each. Mix in vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Pour mixture into a 13" x 18" half-sheet pan coated with nonstick spray, smoothing the top with an off-set spatula. Place pan into the oven and bake until the bars are set and slightly puffed, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

To prepare the icing:

In a medium saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and salt over medium heat. As soon as the mixture is lightly bubbling, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together confectioners' sugar, half-and-half and vanilla until smooth. Pour in the melted butter mixture and beat until combined. Immediately spread icing over brownies and allow to sit for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

Makes about 30 brownies (though you could get away with cutting them smaller as they are fairly rich).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Really they are not exaggerating on this recipe I found over on Cookie Madness. I made some of these today and was quite pleased with the result. I made them bigger than the original recipe. It made 4 dozen cookies. I used a #40 scoop (2 Tbsp.) and yielded 26 cookies. I baked them for about 13 minutes and left them on the sheet for 3-5 minutes to cool. The result was a soft peanut butter cookie with a bit of chocolate. Not too much chocolate and not too much peanut butter. The oatmeal is also barely noticed, but does add a nice little chewiness. Might be good with chunky peanut butter instead of creamy. May have to try that next time. I would say this cookie is definitely a winner.

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (use ¼ if using salted butter)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream both sugars and butter. Beat in peanut butter, vanilla and egg. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to batter and stir until incorporated. Stir in oats and chips. Drop by tablespoons on to lightly greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
Let sit on cookie sheet for about 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Friday, May 7, 2010

Herbed Lime Chicken

I found this recipe many years ago in an issue of Light & Tasty. It's very easy to throw together and is wonderful on the grill. I have found that there is plenty of marinade to do more than 1 lb of chicken. I usually make a full batch and put half of it on 1 lb of chicken and put the other half back in the dressing bottle for another time. We also skip the basting step. It grills up quickly and doesn't really need it.

Herbed Lime Chicken

  • 4 Servings
  • Prep: 5 min. + marinating Grill: 10 min.


  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) fat-free Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 lime, halved and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound)


  • In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Remove 1/2 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 8-10 hours.
  • Drain and discard marinade. Grill chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn chicken; baste with the reserved marinade. Grill 5-7 minutes longer or until juices run clear, basting occasionally. Yield: 4 servings.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 162 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 67 mg cholesterol, 718 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 0.55 g fiber, 27 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 very lean meat.
Herbed Lime Chicken published in Light & Tasty June/July 2001, p29

Friday, March 19, 2010

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

So I was at it again. I was thinking I'd do something like barbecued meatballs from some ground pork I found on sale at the store. I also had a bunch of ground beef, so I though a mix of the two would be good. After cooking the meatballs in a skillet, I tried one before saucing and realized they tasted a lot like Salisbury Steak, but made with real meat. I have always been a sucker for Salisbury Steak, but it just doesn't chew quite like it is made from real meat. This had a nice flavor and I was really chewing something. I basically ended up with meatballs in a brown gravy. It was pretty good served over mashed potatoes.

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

1 lb ground chuck
1 lb ground pork
4 bread heals (saved in the freezer) pulsed in the food processor to make fresh bread crumbs
1 egg
1 larger onion, minced in the food processor (or grated on a box grater)
2 cloves garlic, minced with the onion
1/2 tsp chipolte powder (could use cayenne or leave it out)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and form into small (1-inch) meatballs. Brown in a skillet in batches (draining on paper towels after cooking). Once all the meatballs are cooked there should be about 4 Tbsp grease in the pan. Add enough flour to the pan to make a thick grainy-looking paste (about equal parts grease and flour, but I didn't actually measure). Brown the flour for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in 1 can (approx. 2 cups) chicken broth, stirring frequently until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Add meatballs back to the skillet and simmer until cooked through and the sauce has thickened to your liking (maybe 5 minutes).

We served this with mashed potatoes, but I really should have had some peas too so that it was just like the TV dinners of old. You remember, the ones that were in a foil tray and went in the oven. I must admit, I really liked those. The microwaved ones are just not that good.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rattlesnake Brownies

No I didn't put snake in the brownies. A rattlesnake is a layered shot with equal parts Kahlua, Creme de Cocoa, and Irish Cream, although I prefer them mixed and chilled (thanks McNugget). This recipe is based on the Boozy Irish Cream Brownies found on Baking Bites. I figured if Bailey's brownies were good, Rattlesnake brownies would be even better. I did change the glaze recipe, though. It was just coming out too thick for me. And the extra booze can't hurt.

Rattlesnake Brownies

1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Rattlesnakes (or just shy of 3 Tbsp. Kahlua, 3 Tbsp. Creme de Cocoa, and 3 Tbsp. Irish Cream)

2 2/3 Tbsp. butter (just us the remainder of the stick from the brownies)
2 Tbsp. Rattlesnakes (or 2 tsp. Kahlua, 2 tsp. Creme de Cocoa, and 2 tsp. Irish Cream)
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x9-inch square baking dish. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Mix in sugar and cocoa powder until smooth. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in cocoa mixture. Add egg, vanilla, and rattlesnake mix.

Bake for 22-26 minutes, until it tests done with a toothpick.

While the brownie bakes make the glaze. In your saucepan (no need to wash, we're starting with butter, cocoa, and sugar anyway), melt butter. Add cocoa. Off the heat add Rattlesnake mix and powdered sugar. (If it's too thick, thin a bit more with milk or more Rattlesnake mix.) Pour the glaze over the brownies as soon as they come out of the oven. Spread the glaze out to the corners and let cool.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Better than Hamburger Helper

So I had a good bit of sauce left from the Roast with Red Gravy I came up with the other day. I figured I could add some basil and oregano and have an Italian-ish dish. So I browned a pound of hamburger and added about a tsp. each of basil and oregano, then added about 3 cups, or so, of sauce. It didn't really taste Italian. It seemed like something better than Hamburger Helper. I guess real vegetables in the sauce will do that. I served this over a box (13.5 oz.) of cooked whole wheat pasta. The sauce was flavorful enough that no one noticed that the pasta was whole wheat. Even better, all of the boys liked it, which is more than I can say for most pasta dishes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hot Chili

I'm just making things up today. We wanted some chili but didn't have a pork shoulder for Ranch Chili. I had out a pound of ground beef, so I started adding things I had on hand that sounded good for chili. I had a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes. I think next time I'd prefer to have two big cans of crushed tomatoes. There were also cut veggies in my fridge and great northern beans in the pantry. Two dried jalapenos, canned diced green chilies, and half a can of chipoltes in adobo brought on a nice heat. The heat came after the initial bite, but didn't linger. This was a thick chili. Looked very meaty, but was mostly veggies. It was hearty and left us satisfied (especially with the cornmeal biscuits I baked to go with it).

Hot Chili

1 lb. ground beef
2 onions, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1-2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. chili powder
1-2 tsp. chipolte powder (substitute cayenne, if preferred)
2 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper, to taste
2 - 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 - 7 oz. can diced green chilies
3 chipoltes in adobo sauce, minced + 1-2 tsp. adobo sauce
2 - 15 oz. cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained (use whatever bean you like, I think red kidney beans may have been better)

Brown ground beef, add diced veggies and cook until softened. Add garlic, and saute until fragrant. Add seasonings and let cook a couple minutes. Add tomatoes and chilies. Add beans and simmer until ready to serve (at least 15 minutes - I think I went half an hour).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Roast with Red Gravy

So I was trying to make something along the lines of barbecued beef. I had a rump roast so it didn't shred like I would have liked, but that's okay because the sauce wasn't quite up to barbecue standards although it was quite good. I ended up with far more sauce than we will use for the roast, but I'm thinking the remainder will be good on pasta if I throw in some Italian sausage and some basil and oregano. Some also liked the extra sauce over mashed potatoes although it was a bit weird for me.

Roast with Red Gravy

rump roast (or whatever cut you have)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-3 carrots, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (or one dried jalapeno, crushed-if you're lucky enough to have one)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. chipolte powder, optional
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything but roast together in the crock pot. Add roast and cook on low for 8 hrs or so. When in roast is done,remove the bay leaf and puree the vegetables in the blender (probably best to do in two batches-careful, it's hot). Slice the roast and serve with sauce.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Black Bean & Chicken Soft Tacos

We've used this recipe for years. It came from one of the early issues of Quick Cooking. Using leftover cooked chicken makes it really quick, but doesn't take much more time if you cook the chicken fresh, just dice before cooking.

Soft Chicken Tacos

"I came up with this healthy chicken and bean filling for tacos since my husband needs to watch his cholesterol level," relates Ruth Peterson of Jenison, Michigan. "Sliced radishes make a unique crunchy topping."
6 ServingsPrep/Total Time: 20 min.


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 6 fat-free flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
  • Shredded lettuce, shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, sliced radishes, chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions and fat-free sour cream, optional


  • In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir in the beans, salsa and taco seasoning; heat through.
  • Spoon the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up.
  • Serve with the toppings of your choice if desired. Yield: 6 servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1 taco (calculated without toppings) equals 271 calories, 2 g fat (0 saturated fat), 42 mg cholesterol, 1,077 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 23 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 starch, 2 very lean meat.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Barbecue Chicken Meatballs

Tonight I made Barbecue Chicken Meatballs kind of like the recipe suggested on Epicurious. It used grated onion, but I just don't like grating onions, so I finely minced them and the cooked them in a skillet just until softened. There were a bit difficult to work with. They didn't hold together all that well, but it may have just been the ground chicken. That is just not something I have worked with often. They were really good though, so we'll probably have them again.

Barbecue Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2/3 cup corn-bread crumbs or bread crumbs (I used 3 saved bread heels)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 small onion, grated and drained (I minced and sauteed until softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (we like Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1/2 cup water

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls.

2. Place the oil in a wide frying pan. Add the meatballs and brown them on all sides until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the barbecue sauce and water. Cook until it reduces and sticks to the meatballs, about 1 minute. Serve.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip Stuffed French Toast

This weekend we tried a different variation on stuffed french toast. I modified another Cooks Country recipe. I used miniature chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips as the recipe called for and I use an extra egg in the batter so I could make 6 instead of the original 4 in the recipe.

Chocolate Chip French Toast

Serves 6

4 ounces cream cheese , softened

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

12 slices sandwich bread
2 large egg
1 cup cold water

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple syrup for serving

1. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and chocolate chips in medium bowl. Spread on 6 bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pressing down gently, forming 6 sandwiches.

2. Combine eggs, water, flour, and vanilla in shallow pie plate. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Dip both sides of 2 sandwiches in batter and place in skillet. Cook until deep golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining butter and bread. (I used an electric griddle and cooked all 6 at once but it did take more than 3 minutes per side.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Custard Pie

This recipe comes from my mom's copy of the Better Homes and Gardens cook book (probably from the mid '70s). My newer copy of the book says to par-bake the pie crust before adding the filling. That is really an unnecessary step, so I follow this one now.

Custard Pie

4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1 unbaked pie shell

Blend eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Gradually stir in scalded milk. Pour into pie shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350 for 3540 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack then chill.

Maple Bun Bars

My mom got this recipe from a friend many years ago. The original recipe used only 1 cup each of the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter and used a 9"x5" loaf pan instead of a 9"x13" pan. I like to stay with the traditional peanuts in the top layer, but my dad prefers almonds instead.

Maple Bun Bars

2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups butterscotch chips
2 cups peanut butter (I like crunchy, but creamy is fine)

Melt chips and peanut butter over low heat. Line a 9"x13" pan with waxed paper. Spread half of the chocolate mixture into the pan and freeze for 12 minutes (or refrigerate for a hour).

Meanwhile, combine in a saucepan:

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp. vanilla non-instant pudding

Cook over low heat until just boiling. Add:

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring

Beat mixture until smooth. Spread on top of chocolate layer.


1 cup dry roasted peanuts

to other half of the chocolate mixture. Spread over maple layer. Chill for at least 1 hour. Cut into small bars. Keep chilled.

Cream de Menthe Bars

This has long been one of my favorite candies to make during the holidays. I did have a thought this year that it may be good to try with Cream de Banana instead of Cream de Menthe. The bottom layer didn't have any baking directions but I baked it this year and ended up with a crisp crust that offset the creamy top layers.

Cream de Menthe Bars

Bottom Layer:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Combine butter and cocoa in a saucepan. Heat and stir until well blended. Remove from heat and add sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir in crumbs. Mix and press into a 9" x 13" pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely before adding middle layer.

Middle Layer:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup Cream de Menthe
3 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter. Add Cream de Menthe. Beat in sugar until smooth. Spread over chocolate layer. Chill 1 hour.

Top Layer:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Melt butter and chocolate chips over low heat. Add sugar and milk. Pour over middle layer. Chill 1-2 hours. Cut into small bars. Keep refrigerated.


I found this fudge recipe 9 years ago. It usually works really well for me, although this year we moved and I was using an unfamiliar electric stove vs. the gas stove I has always used before. This time it turned out a bit grainy. I will blame it on not being used to the stove, so I'll be sure to use it again next year. I usually use various chips and nuts to make different kinds of fudge. This time I did milk chocolate chips with no nuts, semi-sweet chips with walnuts, peanut butter (chunky), and white chips with almonds (using 1/2 tsp. almond extract instead of the vanilla). I'm posting the basic recipe, but follow the link for many variations.


© 1997 T. P. Skaarup, original recipe. May be copied unaltered. All
rights reserved.

This is a medium chocolate fudge with creamy texture. It serves as
the backbone to dozens of other fudges. Experiment yourself.
Follow the rules I’ve laid down on this web site and you'll do fine.

1/2 cup Butter
2 1/2 cup Sugar (extra-fine granulated preferred)
5 oz. Evaporated Milk (one small can)
12 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Hersheys or Nestle)
6-7 oz. Marshmallow Creme/Fluff (1 Jar)

(may substitute 2 cups mini-marshmallows)

1 cup Walnuts (chopped) -or- 4 oz. bag (optional item)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Line a 9” x 9” pan with aluminum foil and set aside. Place
chocolate chips, vanilla, and marshmallow cream into a 3-quart
saucepan (or Pyrex bowl) and set aside. Chop walnuts and set
aside (optional). Heat milk at Medium setting until warm then add
sugar. Bring to a rolling boil (Medium-High), stirring constantly with
a wooden spoon. Continue to boil for [8] full minutes -or- if using a
candy thermometer continue boiling until the boiling temperature
reaches 235°F but do not exceed 9 minutes rolling boiling total.
Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until dissolved (but no more
than 30 seconds).

Pour hot mixture over chocolates, vanilla, and marshmallow cream
without scraping the sides of the hot saucepan. Mix until the
chocolates are melted. Add walnuts if desired. Mix thoroughly and
cast into prepared pan. Cool at room temperature. Chill in
refrigerator prior to cutting. Remove from pan, remove foil, cut into

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Quesadillas

So we're in the grocery store yesterday and I asked the boys what they wanted for dinner. The oldest chirped up that he wanted Taco Bell. As we're trying to cut costs, I told him we'd try to make something like it. He usually just gets the cheese quesadilla, but last time he tried his brother's chicken quesadilla. He discovered that chicken is better. So that's what he wanted, with some spice and melty cheese, but not too melty. This it the task I was given. I didn't do too badly, but I think I'd marinate the chicken for a few hours instead of the half hour I had available.

Everyone but the oldest likes a side of rice from Taco Bell. so I threw together a quick Cheater's Spanish Rice. I think it actually turned out better than some of the box mixes. It's nowhere near authentic, but it's not too bad in a pinch. Add a jar of queso and some tortilla chips and the boys all got what they would have had at Taco Bell less than half the cost and there is some left over.

Chicken Quesadillas

2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup vinegar
few dashes Liquid Smoke
1/2 pkg. Mexican Velveeta, diced
shredded Mexican blend cheese
flour tortillas

Combine the salsa, vinegar, and Liquid Smoke in a quart zip top bag. Add the chicken breasts and marinate 4 hours or so.

Cook the chickens breasts (skillet, grill, whatever) discarding the marinate. If you cook the chicken in a skillet, add some water toward the end of cooking if the pan starts smoking (mine did from the marinate). Slice the chicken thinly and cut into bite-sized pieces.

To assemble the quesadillas, spoon some salsa on the tortilla and spread out. Sprinkle in some of the Velveeta and shredded cheese. Add the chicken to half of the tortilla and fold in half. Cook in a nonstick skillet with cooking spray or on and electric griddle until golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Cheater's Spanish Rice

1 cup Minute Rice
1/2 cup salsa
3/4 cup water
salt & pepper, to taste

Combine the rice, salsa and water. Microwave for 5 minutes. Add a bit more water if needed and cook 1 minute more. Fluff and serve.

Apple Pie Stuffed French Toast

We tried this French Toast over the weekend. Our oldest, who isn't usually a fan of French Toast, really enjoyed it. The flour added a crispness to the outside that you just don't get with the usual custard batter that I use. This recipe was adapted from Cook's Country.

pple Pie Stuffed French Toast

Serves 6

4 ounces cream cheese , softened

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons apple butter

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 slices sandwich bread
2 large egg
1 cup cold water

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple syrup for serving

1. Combine cream cheese, sugar, apple butter, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Spread on 6 bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pressing down gently, forming 6 sandwiches.

2. Combine eggs, water, flour, and vanilla in shallow pie plate. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Dip both sides of 2 sandwiches in batter and place in skillet. Cook until deep golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining butter and bread. (I used an electric griddle and cooked all 6 at once.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Swope Bread

I got this recipe from a friend a month or so ago. It sounded really good, but I hadn't gotten around to making it until tonight. I wish I would have tried it sooner. It is easy to prepare and tastes great. I don't usually like bread that has more wheat than white flour, but the sweetness makes it really good, although I think I'd like to try it with honey instead of sugar, and perhaps a bit less sweet. If you follow the link to All Recipes, you can see the discussion of tweaking the recipe a bit. But it's quite good as is.

Swope Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in buttermilk. Stir buttermilk into flour mixture. Beat well. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for one hour.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Old School Chili

This is how my mama taught me to make chili (mostly). She'd use half a can of tomato juice (save the other half for spaghetti sauce), a small can of Brooks mild chili beans, 1 lb. hamburger, some onion, salt, pepper, oregano (I think, or was that my addition), and chili powder. Cook some elbow macaroni right in the pot (before adding the beans) and you have a meal. When we were first married we had to stretch a buck, so we discovered that we could use 1 lb. hamburger with a whole can of tomato juice and 3 cans of chili beans to stretch it over several meals. In those days I still added the macaroni to stretch it further, but this is not a chili-mac loving house (other than me) so now we leave it out. I served the chili with Cornmeal Biscuits with honey butter (mix together equal parts softened butter and honey).

Old School Chili

I lb. ground chuck
I onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste (I went with a heavy hand and adjusted several times through the cooking)
oregano (maybe 1/2 tsp. or so)
crushed red pepper (to taste) or if you're as lucky as I was, 1 dried red chili pepper (compliments of my brother-in-law), crumbled
1 large can tomato juice
1 large can Brooks mild chili beans (sometimes we use hot, but the boys are not fans)

Brown the beef seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili powder. As the meat cooks, dice the onion and add to the pot. When the meat is nearly browned, add the garlic. Little more salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano, and red pepper. Add the tomato juice and simmer for a while (maybe 30 minutes). If you like chili-mac, add about 1 cup uncooked macaroni while the tomato juice simmers. Add the chili beans. Cook for 15 minutes or so and enjoy.

Monkey Bread

This recipe is compliments of Cook's Country (which I highly recommend). It takes some work, but is so much better than using refrigerator biscuits for the dough.

Monkey Bread

Serves 6 to 8

The dough should be sticky, but if you find that it's too wet and not coming together in the mixer, add 2 tablespoons more flour and mix until the dough forms a cohesive mass. Make sure to use light brown sugar in the sugar mix; dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor that can be overwhelming. After baking, don't let the bread cool in the pan for more than 5 minutes or it will stick to the pan and come out in pieces. Monkey Bread is at its best when served warm.

For the Dough
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened, plus 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package rapid-rise yeast or instant yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons table salt

For the Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

For the Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk

For the Dough:

1. Adjust oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

2. In large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook, (see below for making Monkey Bread without a mixer). Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

For the Sugar Coating:

3. While dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.

To Form the Bread:

4. Gently remove dough from bowl, and pat into rough 8-inch square. Using bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.

5. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.

6. Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes. (or let the dough do the final rise in the refrigerator over night)

7. Remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

For the glaze:

8. While bread cools, whisk confectioners' sugar and milk in small bowl until lumps are gone. Using whisk, drizzle glaze over warm monkey bread, letting it run over top and sides of bread. Serve warm.

Monkey Bread Without a Mixer:
In step 2, mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in flour, then add milk mixture to well. Using wooden spoon, stir until dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating shaggy scraps back into dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into taut ball and proceed as directed.