October 31, 2006

Another Day, Another Recipe

Yesterday I got home to find a wonderful surprise in the mail for me! The Christmas Edition to Paula Deen’s magazine, Cooking with Paula Deen. This si the third magazine I’ve received and I have enjoyed reading every one of them from front to back. If you are looking for a good Christmas gift for your friends I would highly recommend giving a magazine subscription to this magazine.

I am planning on getting my mother a subscription because she is always reading my issues when she comes up to visit. She loved Paula’s recipes and her new tv show Paula’s Party too.

Yummy Pie

On to another topic, recipes. I received this recipe in a recipe exchange yesterday and thought it sounded very easy and good. I haven’t tried it yet, but plan on doing so this weekend though. If any of you try it before me, however, let me know what the result it.

Italian Bread Roll
By Lura Roti

2 loaves of frozen bread dough (1 pound each and white) thawed
1 package of Pepperoni (pizza style slices)
1 package of Canadian bacon (pizza style slices)
1 package of parmesan cheese shredded (2 cups)
1 package mozzarella cheese shredded (2 cups)

Heat oven to 400 degrees, roll out the two thawed bread rolls on a floured surface-flat into a rectangle shape-layer the Pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and cheeses. Then roll up jelly roll style, pinch the ends and place seam side down on a backing pan-I use a 10x13 Pyrex. You can brush with egg white and sprinkle with salt or sesame seeds if you want- then bake for 20-25 minutes or until it is brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cut into
3/4 inch slices-serve warm or chilled

THIS IS A Party hit! and I love the leftovers as lunch.

October 30, 2006

Dessert Baking Today

It’s yet another Monday, another start to our work weeks.

I’m in a sweets mood today, so I thought I would post some recipes for three recipes from friends and co-workers. Sweets are what make me happy and are my favorite thing to cook because they always bring smiles to those who indulge in the food.

First, Ginger passed along this recipe to me this morning for Overnight Rolls that are sprinkled with butterscotch….yummy….I haven’t had anything with butterscotch in awhile.

Also, I’ve got a dessert recipe from Clarice that would make a lovely part of your Christmas baking, these impressive Chocolate Cherry Squares would look beautiful in a Christmas basket full of baked goods for your neighbors.

Last, Georgia has a quick and easy recipe for a Pineapple Orange Cake that you could whip up in a snap for those upcoming holiday parties.

Overnight Rolls
by Ginger Berry

1 pkg (18-20) frozen rolls
chopped pecans
1 pkg butterscotch pudding (dry)
6 T. butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 t. cinnamon

Grease bundt pan: sprinkle pecans in bottom. Arrange rolls on top of pecans. Sprinkle pudding over top of rolls. Mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon - pour over rolls. Let set overnight (8-10 hrs). (Rolls will rise to top of pan). Bake 25-30 min at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Cherry Squares
by Clarice Brown

1 cup all purpose flour 1/3 cup butter
½ cup packed light brown sugar ½ cup chopped nuts
Red candied cherries, halved

1 (8oz.) cream cheese ½ cup sugar
1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa ¼ cup milk
1 egg ¼ t. vanilla
¼ cup red candied cherries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixer bowl combine flour, butter and brown sugar. Blend on low speed to form fine crumbs, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in nuts. Reserve ¾ cup crumb mixture for topping; pat remaining crumbs into ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, prepare filling: spread over warm crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture; garnish with cherry halves. Return to oven; bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool; cut into squares. Store covered in fridge. About 3 dozen squares.

Making filling: In small mixer bowl combine cream cheese and sugar; beat until fluffy. Add cocoa, milk, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Fold in cherries.

Pineapple Orange Cake
by Georgia Munsterman

1 package yellow cake mix
1 can mandarin oranges (un-drained)
4 egg whites
½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Mix and Bake at 350 degrees until done

Take 1 can 20 oz. crushed pineapple with juice
1 – 1 oz. sugar free instant vanilla pudding
1 8 oz. carton cool whip

Mix and top cooled cake. Keep refrigerated.

October 27, 2006

Stuffed Peppers Make an Easy Dinner

It’s a cold and rainy Friday in Mid-Missouri today. It’s times like these that I want to be curled up with a warm blanket and a great cup of coffee reading a book or watching a great movie.

I’ve got some more recipes from some of my co-workers to share today. I tried these stuffed peppers the other night and they were great and can be fixed in a snap. I will add some diced onions, cheese, different colored peppers and some Italian seasonings to the mixture when I make it again though, that’s just my own preference. This recipe coudl also be served an an appetizer.

Also, I’ve included another cookie recipe. Christmas is just around the corner and it’s time to get to baking for our neighbors friends and family. I’ve already started pulling out my holiday recipes to get started with what and whom I will be baking for. I put together baskets of baking goods for some of my neighbors and co-workers each year, plus I enjoy making family gift bags of goodies too. These are great Christmas gifts that are cheap and are much better than some gift you bought because they come from your own kitchen and are made with love.

Happy Baking!

Yummy Pie

Stuffed Peppers
by Randy and Emma Williams

1 pound ground beef
1 8oz. tomato sauce
½ c. instant rice
1 egg
½ tsp. salt, pepper, garlic powder
½ c. ketchup

Hollow out 4 green peppers. Mix all ingredients together. It will seem unusual to put raw meat and uncooked rice, in the peppers but fill them up to the brim. Place in microwaveable container and cook on high for 12-16 minutes. We add ketchup to the tops and cook a few minutes more. This is super simple, and looks great for company meals.

Yummy Pie

Helen’s Melt In Your Mouth Sugar Cookies
by Karla Mantle

1 C. sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
1 C. oleo
1 T. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. Almond flavoring
5 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 C. powdered sugar

Cream oleo and sugar. Add eggs, oil, vanilla and almond flavoring. Mix until smooth. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Chill dough. Shape into small balls. Press with glass that you have dipped into granulated sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until light brown (very light). Makes about 10 dozen.

October 26, 2006

Winter Go Away

I dislike cold weather very, very much! I like every season except winter. All the beautiful flowers and gardens that were growing and alive and vibrant are now dead and brown. The grass is beginning to turn that ugly brown color, jackets are a must now and the days are getting shorter. This is why I dislike winter so much. Oh, I didn’t mention the cold, bone chilling wind and nasty rain (sometimes freezing rain- YUCK!) and cloudy skies.

But, with everything bad, must come good. There are good things about winter: Thanksgiving and Christmas, the first beautiful snow that sticks to the pine trees, making snow angels with my niece and nephews, hanging Christmas lights and garland, and the best part- the food during the winter months. Foods like soup, stews, chili, turkey, pumpkin pie, rack of lamb, fresh dinner rolls, ham, cookies and candy…I could literally go on and on. This is my favorite time of the year, but it’s my least favorite time of the year too. Truthfully, if the weather could just stay above 50 degrees I would be fine, but that doesn’t happen here in the Midwest. Oh, well there’s some things we just have to live with.

Today I have a wonderful soup that Jan Prenger gave to me to enter into the company cookbook and when I saw this recipe, I just had to try it. I made it last week on one of those really cold nights and served it with French bread. It makes a really nice light dinner or a very impressive first course. I garnished mine with sun dried tomatoes….yummy.

Yummy Pie

Tomato Bisque
Jan Prenger

1 med onion-thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 cans stewed tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped chives

In heavy saucepan, sauté the onion in butter for 5 minutes, Add tomato, bay leaf, brown sugar, basil, cloves, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes.Remove bay leaves and cloves. Puree rest. Strain if you want a very smooth soup. (I like the little pieces of tomato) Add cream, milk and heat well, do not scald. Serve sprinkle with Parmesan and croutons.

October 24, 2006

A Dumpling for You

I remember as a child my grandmother bringing me a big pot of her homemade chicken and dumplings. One bowl and I felt as good as new. Her dumplings were light and tasty, unlike many other recipes for dumplings. Most seem so doughy. Unfortunately, my grandmother has aged and there’s not anyone in our family that can duplicate her chicken and dumplings, which goes back to my post about passing on family traditions. My cousin Tracey can almost make the recipe like grandma.

I came across this recipe from Ms. Paula Deen the other day and I had to try it. It turned out very nicely…so says my husband. This is a recipe that you could have on your table one hour.

Yummy Pie

Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from Paula Deen's recipe

Chicken: 1 (2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I use 9 chicken tenders for this)
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tsp Italian seasonings (sage, parsley, oregano, basil)
1 tsp garlic powder
dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste (try using kosher salt)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Ice water

To start the chicken: Place the chicken, celery, onion, bay leaves and seasonings to a large pot. Add 4 quarts of water (use half water and half chicken stock for best resutls) and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the chicken until it is tender and the thigh juices run clear, about 40 minutes (chicken tenders only take about 15 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot and, when it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and separate the meat from the bones. Return the chicken meat to the pot. Keep warm over low heat.

To prepare the dumplings: Mix the flour with the salt and mound together in a mixing bowl. Beginning at the center of the mound, drizzle a small amount of ice water over the flour. Using your fingers, and moving from the center to the sides of the bowl, gradually incorporate about 3/4 cup of ice water. Knead the dough and form it into ball.

Dust a good amount of flour onto a clean work surface. Roll out the dough (it will be firm), working from center to 1/8-inch thick. Let the dough relax for several minutes.
Add the cream of celery soup to the pot with the chicken and simmer gently over medium-low heat.

Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Pull a piece in half and drop the halves into the simmering soup. Repeat. Do not stir the chicken once the dumplings have been added. Gently move the pot in a circular motion so the dumplings become submerged and cook evenly. Cook until the dumplings float and are no longer doughy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Cook's Note: If the chicken stew is too thin it can be thickened before the dumplings are added. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water then whisk this mixture into the stew.

October 20, 2006

Bread Making is an Art

Nothings better than the smell of homemade rolls baking in the oven...These were the smells that bring back happy memories of my grandmother's house. She was the best bread maker in Douglas County, as so many used to say. Her rolls were so light and buttery, I could eat a dozen myself when I was a kid.

Grandma would always bake fresh bread for every family function...holidays, family reunions, birthdays and just because. I would always sneak into her kitchen to take a whiff of the lovely bread smell that was always coming from her oven.

As I've gotton older, I've wanted to learn the way to make bread, just as my grandmother did. Unfortunately, bread making has not come as easy to me as I would have wished. I've had to really, really work at it and I'm still by no means as good as my grandmother. She told me the other day that bread making was an art. That is so true.

I can however make these wonderful rolls from Karla Mantle. She provided me this recipe for the company cookbook. You know it's a good recipe when it calls for Oleo....because it's an old recipe.

Yummy Pie

Homemade Rolls
Karla Mantle

2 pkgs. yeast
1 to 2 T. oleo
½ C. warm water
3 to 6 C. flour
1½ C. milk
1 tsp. salt
½ C. sugar

Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Heat milk sugar and oleo until scorchy. Cool. Pour cooled milk mixture over flour and salt and mix well. Add yeast mixture. May need more flour so dough is not sticky. Knead until smooth. Let rise 20 minutes. Punch down and pinch off for rolls. Put in buttered pan and let rise. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

October 19, 2006

A Soup from Mexico

I've said it before that a great place to go for wonderful recipes are the many ag organization's websites. You can find so many recipes that will suit anyone's tastebuds.

You can find many of these sites by going to my sidebar and scrolling to "In My Cupboard." I have listed there many of the ag websites that I frequently visit for recipe ideas.

Here is one of my favorites from the Missouri Beef Industry Council's site for a Mexican soup.

Yummy Pie

Tortilla Soup
from the Missouri Beef Industry Council recipe index

2 lbs. sirloin, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 onion, diced
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 can beef broth
1 can chicken broth
1 can (16 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
1 can tomato soup
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin cilantro, to taste
6 corn tortillas vegetable oil for frying
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Saute onion, jalapeno and beef in vegetable oil until beef is no longer pink and onion is limp.

Transfer to a large pot and add beef broth, chicken broth, stewed tomatoes, tomatoes and chilies, tomato soup, chili powder, cumin and cilantro.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour.

Slice tortillas into thin strips. Heat 1" vegetable oil in pan until hot. Fry tortilla strips until crisp. Drain well and sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with cheese and tortilla strips.

October 18, 2006

Fast Family Meals

I’m cooking it up today with Jan Prenger, with whom I work with at Learfield. She emailed me these recipes to put in the company cookbook. She said back when she had a family of five to cook for it wasn’t always easy getting a healthy and tasty meal on the dinner table that EVERYONE liked, but these three recipes always put smiles on her family’s faces.

The Country Club Eggs is one of my favorites because my cousin Tracey always makes it for our yearly family reunion. This dish is perfect for a morning breakfast.Thanks for sharing Jan!

Yummy Pie

Bar B Q Roast
by Jan Prenger
1 cup ketchup
¾ cup water
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 Tablespoon vinegar
¼ cup sugar
Salt and pepper

Mix all of the above ingredients together and pour over roast. Bake in 300 degree oven for 4 hours.

BBQ Brisket
Rub both sides of Brisket with:
Onion salt
Garlic salt
Celery salt
Liquid smoke
Worcestershire sauce

Wrap in foil and marinade over night. Bake in 275 degree oven for 5 hours. Cool and slice thin. Serve with BBQ sauce, is desired.

Green Rice Casserole
2 cups cooked rice
1 package frozen chopped broccoli or spinach
2 eggs beaten
½ cup vegetable oil
1 chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup milk
1 lb. American Cheese (Velveeta)

Mix all together and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Country Club Eggs

5 slices of white bread
1 lb. mild sausage
½ lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
5 eggs
2 cups milk
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sage
¼ cup butter

Butter large baking dish. Cube bread and cover bottom of dish. Fry sausage and drain well. Cover cubed bread with sausage and put grated cheese over sausage. Beat eggs, milk and seasonings, pour over bread, sausage and cheese. Melt butter and drizzle over all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 1 hour in 325 degree oven.

October 17, 2006

Veggie Medley for those Cold Nights

It has been a little chilly in Mid MO lately, but today it’s much nicer…a cool 68 degrees and the sun is finally shining again. Yesterday it rained ALL DAY long. Which is good… we need a good slow rain here.When the weather turns cold and blustery out there is one food a turn too – Soup and Stew. I think these are some of the easiest meals to make. Why? Because you can go wild, be creative, and throw whatever you have the fridge in a pot or slow-cooker.

Here is one of my favorite throw together soups and remember these are just suggested ingredients. When it comes to making your own your can add whatever veggies, seasonings, and even change the meat up if your wish. I will say though, I would use beef broth instead of water, it gives your soup a much richer flavor and depth. If you have to use the beef and chicken cubes try to not use very many...those are packed with sodium.

Yummy Pie

Lane’s Beef Vegetable Medley
1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1 small onion, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup of okra (if you have any on hand)
5 new potatoes, peeled and cubed in quarters
½ tsp of each (parsley, sage, basil, and cumin)
3-4 cups of beef broth
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt

Place beef in a slow cooker. Pour in broth. Stir in onion, tomatoes, mixed vegetables and potatoes. Season with ingredients. Cook on low 8 hours.

Yummy Pie

Lane's Italian Chicken-Veggie Stew
4-5 chicken tenders, cut into 2 inch bites
2 squash
2 zucchini
3 cloves of garlic, minced
some carrots, cut
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of Italian seasonings
1 can (28 oz.) of crushed tomoatoes
4 new potatoes, diced and quartered

Coat large pot with oil and add veggies, except potatoes. Let cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add wine and scrape the bottom of your pot to grab all those wonderful bites and pieces. Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add stock, potatoes and tomatoes as well as all your seasonings. Cook for 3 minutes

Place cut up chicken in pot...your liquid will poach your chicken. Cook at medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

Serve both of these meals with a good sourdough bread and a salad.

October 16, 2006

Marriages, thoughts, cookies

Since my last post on spending time at the dinner table I heard a very startling news brief.

Apparently, married couples are the “minority” now in America. I heard that on 106.1 (a Columbia, MO radio station) this morning while making my daily commute to work. I was very shocked to hear this. I guess I’m still one of those few people out there that think every couple is like my parents (married for 40 years and happy as ever). But, I was proven otherwise by recent research that indicated more couples are deciding to live together and never marry.

This saddens me. I guess I can’t imagine not being married to my husband, who is also my best friend. I just can not see the point in not marrying? Yes, marriages always have problems and there are some really rough times, but think about all the good times there are too.

I am young, yes. 25 to be exact, but I think I do know a thing or two about making a marriage last. Maybe that’s because I had a good example of a good marriage because of my parents, and my husband had a good example with his parents. Who knows. But I do have some thoughts on the subject:

1.) Many people today come from single homes and don’t know what a good healthy marriage is today, maybe that’s why they’re not marrying now.

2.) Divorces in this country have skyrocketed since the 1960’s…so maybe it’s just easier to divorce than to really try and make a marriage work…is divorce really the easy way out?

3.) People are scared to get married because they believe their marriage could become one of those statistics I’m discussing now?

4.) Families today are on the run so much they don’t have time together. Many of the families I know never sit at the dinner table together to eat or discuss what’s going on in their lives. The moms and dads are so consumed with work and paying bills, they forget one key component in making a marriage last: togetherness. Whether that’s time at night to talk alone or with the kids, going out to dinner or just saying “I love you.” I think this is one main problem that I see with the couples and families I know. You have to remember to take time out for one another, without the kids or other interruptions.

I don’t think that this new marriage statistic can be blamed or pinned on one fact, but I do think that when it comes down to it the world around us is changing. Now, that may be good or bad in some eyes, but I think you know where I stand.

Plan a family outing together, take your husband or wife on a date on the town, or husbands cooks for your wives once a week, help each other around the house with the chores and the kids….it takes a lot to raise a family. Whatever you do: Sit down as a family and eat dinner together at least once a week. Ask your kids about their days, talk with your spouse about their day…you might just learn something about your kids or spouse you never realized before.

Here’s a recipe from Pam. She won first place with these wonderful cookies at our company’s Bake-Off. This recipe will help remind you to get all those holiday baking recipes out and start preparing your dishes and meals for my two favorite holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can already smell turkey and stuffing and my favorite part of the holidays…my grandmother’s sweet potatoes baking in the oven.

Molasses Crinkles
By Pam Smith
1st Place Cookie Winner in LCI Bake-Off

¾ cup Shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
¼ cup Molasses
Sift together and stir in
2 ¼ cup Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cloves
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger

Chill dough – Roll into balls the size of golf balls. Dip tops in Sugar. Place sugared side up 3 in. apart on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with 3 or 4 drops of water to produce a crackled surface. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes-Bake just until set but not hard.

(Pam's note: Old Family Recipe of my husband’s late mother.)

October 13, 2006

What happened to sitting down as a family around dinner?

Yet again, Beth has more terrific family recipes to share for our upcoming company cookbook. How does she do it? I'll tell you...she's raised and married off FOUR boys. Can you imagine trying to keep all those mouths fed? Whewww. I wouldn't know where to begin.

I'll tell you, I've had some wonderful conversations with Beth about cooking and family. She is an amazing woman and I would love to cook with her anytime. She and her husband have raised four lovely and handsome boys and she is what I consider these days a woman of the past. What I mean by that: She is still a working wife, mother and woman, but still enjoys making delicious and beautiful meals (from scratch) for her family.

In the world we live in today, people are so consumed with fast food and tv they don't have time to relax and just be a family. Hardly ever do families sit around the table and talk about their days around dinner. Mom's are running the kids to football and soccer practices, dad's are home late from the office, kids are busy with school projects and by the time the whole family is settled back at home - Everyone is tired and just want something quick to eat.

So, I pose the question - What happened to sitting down as a family for dinner?

It's fading away, I'm afraid. With the hustle and bustle of the world, families sometimes don't have the time for this important part of being a family. Although I do not have children I know the importance of sitting down as a family and eating dinner. Some of the best meals and conversations with my family were surrounded around my parent's dinner table. We talked about school, weekend plans, day at work, funny things that happened to us...it was a time for the family to gather as one again and have some laughs. I know that sounds corny, but it was true.

Even though I don't have children yet, my husband and I spend at least three nights eating dinner around our dinner table (tvs off) talking about our day at work and what we had planned for the weekend. I love this time with my husband. It's time for us to relax and just be us together. And when I do have a family I will make it a rule that our family MUST sit down for dinner at least three times per week. I think this is an importnat part of being a "close" family and is the building blocks for building a strong family.

Do you have thoughts about this....If so let me hear them, shoot me a comment, I always respond.

Have a wonderful weekend trying some of this week's new recipes and let me know how things turn out.

Until next time...Keep your hands floured and your ovens hot!

Baked Pork Chops and Beans
by Beth Schoeneberg

(Note from Beth: Adjust this recipe per your own quantity. It is so easy and so good. My husband’s favorite.)

1 Can of Pork ‘n Beans
4 Pork Chops
Sliced onion rings
Sliced green pepper rings
Brown Sugar

Pour beans in the bottom of a baking dish… Salt & Pepper each pork chops, to taste. Lay the pork chops on top of the beans. Sprinkle each pork chop with brown sugar and top each with mustard and ketchup. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees… Again top/garnish with slices of onion and green pepper. Continue baking until chops are cooked through… perhaps an additional 10 minutes. This will vary depending on the thickness of the pork chops.

Serve with a salad and you have a delicious meal ready in just 30 minutes.

Crock Pot Chocolate Pudding Cake
by Beth Schoeneberg

1 chocolate cake mix (approx. 18oz)
1 large package of instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups sour cream
4 eggs
1 C. Water
3/4 C. Veg. oil
1C. semisweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips in bowl about 2 min. Stir in choc. chips. Pour in crockpot that has been coated w/butter or nonstick cooking spray. (I use a crockpot liner instead) Cover and cook 6-7 hours on low. Done when knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Serve w/ice cream or whipped cream if desired. Serves approx 10-12.

Perfect for every chocoholic!!!

by Beth Schoeneberg

1 Box yellow cake mix
1 Can cherry pie filling
1 Can crushed pineapple
1 Stick margarine or butter
½ Cup chopped pecans

In a 9" x 13" pan, begin dumping in this order:

Cherry pie filling
Dump the entire box of yellow cake mix
Dot with slices of butter or margarine
Sprinkle top with the chopped pecans

Bake at 350o for 25 or 30 minutes – until golden brown.

Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream.

Variations that are excellent… substitute the Cherry pie filling with either Strawberry or Blueberry pie filling.

October 12, 2006

Umm. Umm. Good

Look what's cooking up with one of my co-workers... Umm Umm Good it's time for Chicken Noodles. This photo is one I grabbed from the internet, I've been really bad lately on not posting photos along with my posts, my apologies. I know that the photos make the page more eye appealing, I promise to work on that.

Yummy Pie

Chicken Noodles
by Clarice Brown

Bring chicken broth (and meat if desired) to a rolling boil. You may have to add water to broth. If you do, add some chicken bouillon for flavor. While it is heating up, make noodles:

1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
2 T. milk (or enough to make a soft dough)

Roll out as thin as you like on floured board (or counter top). I use a pizza cutter to cut the noodles.

Drop into boiling broth and cook 10 to 20 minutes until tender. All of the flour will thicken it up, so you may have to add water as it cooks.

October 11, 2006

10 Ways to Improve Your Cooking

Many of you have commented on the new look of my blog recently. I am still working on getting new links and sections up and running on the blog, but I wanted to be sure I got this post up today.

I am always looking for ways to improve my cooking and my cooking skills. Trust me, no matter how good of a cook you think you are...you can always learn something new and better.

I came across this article in Fine Cooking online today while I was adding a link on my site to theirs. I think these are wonderful tips that we should all really consider.

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Cooking
Little things can make a big difference
compiled by the editors of Fine Cooking

1. Choke up on your chef’s knife. For better control, choke up on the handle to the point of putting your thumb and the side of your index finger onto the side of the blade right above the handle. Speaking of chef’s knives, invest in a good one (and keep it sharp). The longer, wider blade of a chef’s knife will give you speed, control, and confidence.

2. Start with the best ingredients. Imported Parmigiano Reggiano is so much better than domestic parmesan that the two can hardly even be compared; excellent chocolate makes all the difference in a cake; and fresh homemade breadcrumbs are a world apart from packaged crumbs.

3. Use your hands. Hands are extremely sensitive and sophisticated cooking tools. You can develop this sense of touch by paying attention to how different foods feel at different degrees of doneness, even as you’re checking them with a thermometer, a toothpick, or a knife. Meat, for example, goes from being very soft when it’s rare to quite firm when well done. Touch can also indicate when a cake is baked, if a dough is kneaded enough, and whether a pear is ripe.

4. Switch to kosher or sea salt, and don’t be stingy with it. Kosher salt and sea salt have a much better flavor than ordinary table salt. Though food shouldn’t taste salty, going to the opposite extreme and using little or no salt in your cooking results in food that taste flat. Even if a recipe suggests an amount of salt to use, your ingredients -- as well as your palate -- may be different enough from the recipe writer’s to necessitate adjustments.

5. Don’t crowd the pan when sautéing. Be sure you can see the bottom of the pan betwee the pieces of food. Too much food will lower the temperature of the pan, creating a lot of steam, meaning you won’t get good browning. It’s also important to dry food before sautéing it and to make sure the pan is good and hot.

6. Reduce liquids to concentrate flavor. If you’ve braised meat or vegetables, take the main ingredient out when it’s done and reduce the sauce a bit more before serving. When you deglaze a pan, be sure to reduce the added liquid by boiling it over high heat. Reduce homemade stocks before use, too.

7. Bake pie and tart crusts longer than you think you should. Pastry doughs taste much better when cooked long enough for the sugars in the crust to caramelize. You’re going for brown, not pale blond.

8. Let roasted meats rest before carving. Without a rest to let the meat’s juices redistribute, your roast will be dry.

9. Add a final splash of acid (vinegar or citrus juice) to almost any vegetable or meat dish or fruit dessert at the last minute to perk up the flavor.

10. Trust doneness tests over the timer’s buzzer. When you try a recipe for the first time, look to those descriptive words you'll find in a good recipe: "bake until golden brown" or "boil until reduced by half." Don’t be so concerned that the time it takes to reach the desired state is more or less than the time suggested by the recipe.

October 10, 2006

Ready for a Fiesta

Mexican Lasagna
by Lane McConnell, adapted from Paula Deen’s Mexican Chicken

Sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of onion soup
(You can use other creamed soups as well)
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 whole chicken, cooked, boned, and chopped or 4 cups leftover cooked chicken or use 1 lb. of hamburger
1 (11 1/2-ounce) package flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar (I use a little more)
2 cans of green chilies
1 can pimentoes
1 diced pepper (I use whatever I have in my fridge)
2 cloves of minced garlic or use 1 tsp pf garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by-9-inch pan with cooking spray or use butter.
In a large bowl, stir together the 3 kinds of soup all seasonings and veggies and the tomatoes. Stir in the chicken or beef.

I also like to add a small handful of cheese in the mixture. Layer the tortillas and the mixture in the pan, beginning and ending with tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole and bake for 30 minutes.

October 6, 2006

TGIF ....Finally

I am so thankful for Friday today. This has been a very long week and I am so looking forward to have the weekend to myself, well not exactly. I am traveling down to Table Rock Lake with my husband later this afternoon for a fishing tournament. But, at least I’ll get to do some great shopping at the Branson outlet malls.

I have more recipes from my co-workers again. These look like something that are sure to be family favorites.

Enjoy your weekend because Monday start a whole other work week.

King Ranch Chicken
by Sarah Hoelscher

1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
¾ stick butter
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
4 chicken breasts
1 pkg Monterey Jack cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes

Boil chicken in water until done. Skin & debone. Slice into small chucks (shred). Sauté’ onion and green pepper in butter. In a casserole dish, mix all ingredients except cheese. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Honey Roasted Pork Loin

By Randy and Emma Williams

2 – 3 lb. Boneless pork loin
¼ c. honey
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. mixed or black peppercorns, crushed
½ t. dried thyme
½ t. salt

Place roast on a lightly greased rack in a shallow roasting pan. Combine honey and next 4 ingredients; brush half mixture over roast. Bake at 325 for 1 hour; brush with remaining mixture. Bake 30 additional minutes. Our Christmas favorite!

October 4, 2006

Making it Easy on Cooks Everywhere

I've been meaning to let you know about this website called Recipe Thing. I had totally forgot until a fellow blogger that I work with sent me the link to the website, which jogged my memory.

this site let us cooks organize all of our recipes in a way that is easy and fun, plus it's easy to share your recipes with other. Also, the site helps us be creative with new meals and provides a shopping list for your weeks meals. No how easier could cooking for you family get!

Well, it's even easier because it's a free service, WOW! No that's a good deal.

Try it out and let me know what you think. Do you thinks it's an easy site to find what you are looking for, has it made your shopping easier, are the recipes worth it?

Let me know.

October 3, 2006

Going South Today

Let’s go south of the border today with some out of this world Mexican dishes.

First, up I’ve got a great recipe for San Diego Chili Enchiladas, which one of my co-workers made for our company Pot Luck in March. It was a huge hit among our employees.

Next up is one of my favorites from Paula Deen. I saw her make this with her sons on a recent episode of Paula’s Home Cooking. I was amazed how easy it was to prepare and when I tasted it for the first time I was surprised because it tasted like it had taken a lot to put together. I think that comes from cooking a whole chicken to your liking first then de-boning the bird. You could just use seasoned and grilled chicken strips that are cut up for this dish to save some time, but it’s worth it to actually take the time and cut up a whole chicken.

Last, I have a recipe that Beth shared with me for the company cookbook I’m working on. She said its one of her kids favorite dishes around their house.

If you have a favorite dish around your home, share it with me. Either email me or leave a comment.

San Diego Chili Enchiladas
by Paul and Leah Roberts
From the LCI Pot Luck

12 corn tortillas
1 can Rotel
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 16 oz carton of sour cream
1 can diced green chilies
3 to 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 to 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In medium sized pot, blend and warm Rotel, cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Warm the corn tortillas using a skillet or microwave, spraying each tortilla lightly with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil and then warming.

Assemble enchiladas: Place the desired amount of shredded chicken in warmed tortilla, sprinkle cheese, add three to four diced chilies, and spread a spoonful of cream sauce. Roll tortilla and place in oblong pan. Repeat. Spread remaining cream sauce over top of tortillas, sprinkle remaining cheese across top and sprinkle additional chilies to taste.

Warm in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Best served with Lipton Spanish rice.

Mexican Chicken
From Paula Deen

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes
1 whole chicken, cooked, boned, and chopped or 4 cups leftover cooked chicken
Unsalted butter, for greasing pan
1 (11 1/2-ounce) package flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by-9-inch pan with the cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the 3 kinds of soup and the tomatoes. Stir in the chicken. Layer the tortillas and the chicken mixture in the pan, beginning and ending with tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole and bake for 30 minutes.

by Beth Schoeneberg

If you’re family is bored with hamburger, this will be just the right dish for you. Serve with a salad and the meal is complete.

9" x 13" pan
1 refrigerator pizza dough
1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1 jar salsa (you choose mild, medium or hot)
1 carton sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the beef and drain. Return to low heat and add taco seasoning, just as you would if you were making tacos. Spread pizza dough on bottom of the 9"x13" pan (I always spray my pans with Pam) On top of dough begin layering: Spread refried beans, salsa, beef, sour cream and top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350o or higher for about 25 or 30 minutes. Just watch the dough to make sure it is not undercooked and the cheese that it doesn’t overcook.

Variations that I’ve tried and liked:
Add chopped onion to the beef, when browning.
Layer a can of chopped green chilies along with the salsa.

NOTE: The original recipe used crescent rolls spread on the bottom of the pan for the crust… that was before Pillsbury came out with the refrigerator pizza dough. So, if you’re in a pinch and unable to find pizza dough, use the crescent roll dough…just open and spread out in the bottom of the pan, pinching the seems together.