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.