Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vanilla Wafers

Nilla Wafers are good cookies! I ended up making miniature vanilla wafers. They’re crispy, have a good vanilla flavor and are ridiculously addictive, that comes from the fact that you can literally eat them by the handful. Each cookie is no larger than a dime in diameter!

I made them by scraping the cookie dough into a pastry bag with a plain tip and piping the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making each cookie the size and shape of a large chocolate chip. Over 100 cookies fit onto each baking sheet and I ended up with a total of almost 400 little cookies!

The hardest thing about getting this cookie recipe right was the coloring of the finished cookies. If baked at too high a temperature, they over-browned. If baked at too low a temperature, they either didn’t crisp up properly or didn’t brown at all. The classic Nilla Wafers have a nice golden brown color to them, so to make sure the cookies turn out right, look for your cookies to be a golden color when you take them out of the oven.

Since the cookies are so small, any variation in size will mean a change in baking time. If yours end up smaller than mine, you might need to take them out a minute early. If yours are larger than mine, they might need extra time. Watch the timer on the first batch and try to keep the sizes of all your cookies as equal as possible. Also, try to use a real pastry bag to pipe out the dough instead of a plastic bag. The pastry bag is much stronger and will hold up better to piping all that thick dough.

Mini Vanilla Wafer Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

• Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

• In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light.

• Beat in egg and vanilla extract.

• Sift flour, salt and baking powder over the butter mixture and stir to combine. Scrap dough into a pastry bag fitted with a plain piping tip.

• Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, making each cookie the size of a large chocolate chip. Cookies will spread, but only a little space is needed between cookies.

• Bake at 325 F for 10 to 15 minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown. Baking time will vary depending on the exact size of your cookies. Mine were a bit tall, but slightly smaller than a dime. They spread slightly to about dime-size.

• Cool on baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 385 mini cookies (32-dozen)

Tarragon Chicken Salad w/grapes

At midnight on New Year's Eve, revelers in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries eat 12 grapes — one for every strike of the clock and month in the year. This custom grew from a grape surplus in the Alicante region of Spain in 1909, and celebrates the coming of a sweet year.

Yield 6 servings


• 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
• 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 3/4 - 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1 cup grapes, (raisins or craisins)
• 1 cup diced red onion


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

2. Arrange the chicken in the baking dish, cover, and bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until juices run clear. Remove from heat, cool, and shred.

3. In a large bowl, mix the shredded chicken, celery, tarragon, parsley, mayonnaise, raisins, and onion. Refrigerate 1 hour, or until chilled, before serving.


It's no coincidence that this good-luck food is the color of money. Greens, such as kale, collards, and cabbage, are traditionally eaten on New Year's Day because of their association with wealth and economic prosperity.

• 3 slices bacon, cut into thirds
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
• 1 head cabbage, cored and sliced
• 1 white onion, chopped
• 1 pinch white sugar


1. Place the bacon and vegetable oil into a large pot over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. Add cabbage, onion, and sugar to the pot; cook and stir continuously for 5 minutes, until tender.

Fried Cabbage Texas Style

• 1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon white sugar
• 6 slices bacon
• 5 tablespoons corn bread mix
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and julienned
• salt and pepper to taste


1. Place the shredded cabbage into a large bowl, and sprinkle the sugar over it. This will remove the excess water from the cabbage. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside, reserving grease in skillet.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the cornbread mix and cayenne pepper. Stir into the cabbage until well blended. In the skillet the bacon was cooked in, saute onion and jalapeno in the hot bacon grease until tender. Stir in cabbage, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the cabbage wilts, about 15 minutes. Stir in crumbled bacon, and serve immediately.

Smoked Salmon Spread and Bagels

In North America, Asia, and Europe, people eat fish to celebrate the new year. In some countries, people associate fish with moving forward into the new year since fish swim forward. Other people think fish symbolize abundance since they swim in schools.

• 4 ounce(s) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel), softened
• 4 ounce(s) smoked salmon, chopped
• 1 container(s) (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
• 2 tablespoon(s) fresh dill, chopped
• 1 tablespoon(s) capers, drained and chopped
• Salt and pepper
• 1 lemon
• 2 bagels , preferably sesame seed and poppy seed
• 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
• 1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, thinly sliced
• 4 red radishes, thinly sliced


1. Prepare smoked salmon spread: In large bowl, stir cream cheese until light and fluffy. Fold in salmon, sour cream, dill, capers, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 1 teaspoon juice; stir juice and peel into mixture in bowl. Transfer to serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut bagels in half to form 4 shapes that resemble the letter "C." Place bagel halves with cut side down, and cut each lengthwise into four slices to form 16 flat "C" shapes. Cut each in half crosswise to form 32 triangular shapes.

3. On large cookie sheet, arrange bagel slices in single layer; bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. Serve toasts with spread and onion, cucumber, and radishes for topping.

Tarragon Chicken with Grapes

At midnight on New Year's Eve, revelers in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries eat 12 grapes — one for every strike of the clock and month in the year. This custom grew from a grape surplus in the Alicante region of Spain in 1909, and celebrates the coming of a sweet year.

• 1 cup(s) quick-cooking (10-minute) brown rice
• 4 medium skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
• 3 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus additional sprigs for garnish
• Salt and pepper
• 4 teaspoon(s) olive oil
• 1 small (4 to 6 ounces) onion
• 1/2 cup(s) dry white wine
• 2 cup(s) seedless red grapes
• 1 cup(s) chicken broth


1. Prepare rice as label directs.

2. Meanwhile, with meat mallet, pound chicken (placed between 2 sheets plastic wrap) to an even 1/2-inch thickness; season with 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

3. In 12-inch skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil on medium until hot. Add chicken and cook 12 to 14 minutes or until browned on both sides and chicken loses its pink color throughout, turning over once. Transfer chicken to platter; cover with foil to keep warm.

4. To same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and heat on medium until hot. Add onion and cook 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine and cook on medium-high 1 minute. Add grapes, broth, and remaining 1 teaspoon tarragon and heat to boiling. Cook 5 minutes or until grapes are tender, stirring occasionally.

5. To serve, divide rice evenly among 4 dinner plates; top each with a chicken breast. Spoon grape sauce over chicken; garnish with tarragon sprigs.

Orange Upside-Down Cake

When the Chinese celebrate New Year's Day, they often set out bowls of oranges and tangerines to promote prosperity. This tradition developed from a play on words: "tangerine" and "orange" sound much like "luck" and "wealth," respectively, in the Chinese language.

• 1 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine, softened
• 1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar
• 3 navel oranges
• 1 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup(s) cornmeal
• 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
• 1/2 cup(s) milk
• 1/4 cup(s) olive oil
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In bottom of 10-inch cast iron or heavy skillet with ovenproof handle, spread butter. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar.

2. From oranges, grate 1 teaspoon peel; set aside. Cut peel and pith from oranges; discard. Slice oranges crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; arrange in single layer over sugar in skillet (if necessary, cut 1 or 2 slices into pieces to fit into spaces).

3. In large bowl, with wire whisk, combine flour, granulated sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In small bowl, whisk milk, oil, egg, vanilla, and orange peel until blended. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat 1 minute. Spoon batter over oranges and spread evenly.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on wire rack 10 minutes. Run knife around side of cake to loosen from skillet. Place platter on top of skillet; carefully invert cake onto platter. Remove skillet. Let cool 30 minutes.

Pomegranate-Berry Smoothie

Long associated with abundance and fertility, pomegranates are eaten in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries for luck in the new year.

• 1/2 cup(s) chilled pomegranate juice
• 1/2 cup(s) vanilla low-fat yogurt
• 1 cup(s) frozen mixed berries



1. In blender, place juice, yogurt, and berries. Cover and blend until pureed

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

A common good luck food in the southern United States, black-eyed peas are thought to bring prosperity, their shape and abundance representing coins. Hoppin' John is the classic Southern New Year's dish.
• 1/3 cup(s) olive oil, (1 1⁄2-inches thick)
• 2 1/2 tablespoon(s) cider vineger
• 1 tablespoon(s) spicy brown mustard
• 2 teaspoon(s) grated yellow onion
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
• 2 teaspoon(s) honey
• 2 can(s) (15.5 ounces) black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained
• 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
• 1 large tomato , seeded, diced
• 4 thin ribs celery, thinly sliced (3⁄4 cup)
• 2 carrots, peeled, finely diced (3⁄4 cup)
• 2 tablespoon(s) chopped parsley


1. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, onion, salt, pepper, and honey in a large bowl; add black-eyed peas, bell pepper, tomato, celery, carrots, and parsley. Gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.

Garlic Pork Roast

Due to pigs' dining habits, many countries, including Austria, Cuba, and Spain, view pork as a good-luck food. As pigs root for food, they keep their feet planted and push their snouts forward, signifying progress and future properity.

• 1 (4-pound) bone-in center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed (see note below)
• 2 clove(s) garlic, cut into thin slivers
• 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground pepper
• 2 teaspoon(s) olive oil
• 2 small (1/2 pound each) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
• 1 medium (1-pound) fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
• 1 small (1 1/4-pound) rutabaga, peeled, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• 2 (4 ounces each) parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut about ten 1/2-inch-deep slits in pork and insert sliver of garlic in each. In cup, combine 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; use to rub on pork. Place pork, fat side up, in large roasting pan (17" by 11 1/2").

2. In large bowl, combine oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper with sweet potatoes, fennel, rutabaga, and parsnips; toss to coat. Arrange vegetables around pork in roasting pan.

3. Roast pork and vegetables 1 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of roast (not touching bone) reaches 150 degrees F. (Internal temperature of meat will rise 5 to 10 degrees F upon standing.)

4. When roast is done, place on warm large platter; with slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to same platter. Cover with foil and let roast stand 10 minutes to set juices for easier slicing.

5. Meanwhile, add 1 cup water to drippings in pan; heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of pan. Skim and discard fat. Discard string, if any, from roast. Serve pork with vegetables and pan-juice

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gumbo Bake

From: Paula Deen


• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 1 cup finely chopped celery
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
• 1 1/2 teaspoons House Seasoning, recipe follows
• 1 cup chicken or fish stock
• 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 10-ounce package frozen cut okra
• 2 cups shrimp, cleaned, peeled, and deveined
• (This wasn't in the recipe but I added 1 1/2 cups of rice to thicken it up some and it was good that way!)


• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/3 cup milk
• 12-ounce package corn muffin mix


In an iron skillet, saute onion and celery in oil. Add bay leaves, thyme, lemon-pepper seasoning and House Seasoning. Pour in stock and add tomatoes and okra. Cover pot and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in shrimp.

To prepare the topping, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together egg and milk, add to muffin mix, and combine until just well-blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls on top of hot shrimp mixture, leaving the center uncovered. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook's Note: This Southern dish usually is prepared and served in an iron skillet, but may be cooked in a frying pan with an ovenproof handle.

House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Out of Salad Dressing ~ Salad Dressing

• 1 1/2 lemons, juiced
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 teaspoons garlic pwdr
• 3/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1 cup milk


1. Mix together lemon juice, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in milk, adjusting the amount or adding a little water, to make the dressing as thin or thick as you like. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apple Cider (from Celebrating Life)

Apple cider can be the new love of your life if you let it.

Mix Simply Apple juice, 3 fresh squeezed oranges, 1 fresh squeezed lemon, 3/4 cup brown sugar {or more if needed}, cinnamon and cloves to taste and heat until cozy & warm.

Top with whipped cream, caramel, & cinnamon.

Then take a sip & enjoy your life.

Friday, December 18, 2009

PW Rolls

  • 1 cup Sugar 
  • 4 Cups Milk
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 9 cups Flour 
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 Tsp.) Active Dry Yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
 Preparation Instructions

Pour 4 cups of milk into a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add one cup of sugar and 1 cup of vegetable oil. Stir to combine. Now, turn the burner on medium to medium-low and “scald” the mixture/lukewarm (between 90 and 110 degrees).

When the mixture is the right temperature add in 4 cups of flour and 2 packages of (4-1/2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast. After the yeast and flour are nicely incorporated, add another 4 cups of flour. Stir together and allow to sit, covered with a tea towel or lid, for an hour. After about an hour it should have almost doubled in size. If it hasn’t changed much, put it in a warm (but turned off ) oven for 45 minutes or so. When it had risen sufficiently add 1 more cup of flour, 1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder, 1 scant teaspoon of baking soda and about 2 tablespoons of salt. Stir (or knead just a bit) until combined.

Butter 1 or 2 muffin pans. Form the rolls by pinching off a walnut sized piece of dough and rolling it into a little ball. Repeat and tuck three balls of dough into each buttered muffin cup. Continue until pan is full. Cover and allow to rise for about 1 to 2 hours.

Bake in a 400-degree oven until golden brown, about 17 to 20 minutes.

Marlboro Man Sandwich

From: Pioneer Woman Cookbook

• 1 whole Large (or 2 Small) Onions
• 1 sticks Butter (lots And Lots Of Butter)
• 2 pounds (to 3 Pounds) Cube Steak (tenderized Round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
• Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or Similar Seasoned Salt)
• ½ cups (approximately) Worcestershire Sauce
• Tabasco Sauce, To Taste
• 4 whole French/deli Rolls (earthgrains Are Best!)
Preparation Instructions

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.

Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides.

Add 1/2 cup (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 tablespoons butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.

Butter halved French rolls and brown in skillet.

To assemble, lay bottom half of French roll on plate. Place meat mixture, followed by a spoonful of juice from the pan. Top with other half of roll, cut in half, and devour!

Homemade Ranch Dressing

• 1 clove (to 2 Cloves) Garlic
• Salt To Taste
• ¼ cups Italian Flat-leaf Parsley
• 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives
• 1 cup (real) Mayonnaise
• ½ cups Sour Cream
• Buttermilk (as Needed To Desired Consistency)
• White Vinegar (optional, To Taste)
• Worcestershire Sauce (optional, To Taste)
• Fresh Dill (optional, To Taste)
• Cayenne Pepper (optional, To Taste)
• Paprika (optional, To Taste)
• Fresh Oregano (optional, To Taste)
• Tabasco (optional, To Taste)

Preparation Instructions

Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle about an 1/8 to ¼ teaspoons of salt on it and mash it into a paste with a fork. Chop the parsley, chives and any of the optional herbs very finely and add to the garlic.

In a bowl combine all ingredients, adding other optional ingredients as you wish, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, thin with milk or buttermilk if desired.

Mini Cheesecakes

Who can resist thick, creamy decadent cheesecake? Try this low-fat version in the single serving size.

• 12 low-fat vanilla wafers
• 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
• 12 oz. fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup sugar (Splenda)
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 eggs
• cherry pie filling
**  or use your favorite cheesecake filling!

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line muffin tins with 12 foil cupcake papers. Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cupcake paper.

2. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and fat-free cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add eggs and beat until smooth

3. Pour cheesecake mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

4. Decorate cheesecake tops with cherry pie filling.

Apple Orchard Punch

Champagne can be used instead of ginger ale for an adult punch

• 1 (32 fluid ounce) bottle apple juice, chilled
• 1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
• 1 cup orange juice
• 1 1/2 liters ginger ale
• 1 apple


1. In a large punch bowl, combine apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate and orange juice. Stir until dissolved, then slowly pour in the ginger ale.

2. Thinly slice the apple vertically, forming whole apple slices. Float apple slices on top of punch.

**Float an ice ring with fresh cranberries frozen inside.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
• 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans


1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in confectioners' sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

2. Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

3. Roll the cheese ball in finely chopped pecans before serving.

Hiliary's Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

8 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c. powdered sugar
1 pkg mini chocolate chips

Mix together, form into a ball, and chill at least 2 hours.

Turkey in a Bag

This is a very easy way to make a Thanksgiving turkey using an oven bag. The bird will be perfectly moist when done, and you can make gravy out of the juice that forms in the bottom of the bag. Plus, cleanup is a snap! The cooking time will vary for different sized turkeys."

• 12 pounds whole turkey
• salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 5 stalks celery
• 2 large onions, quartered


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Rinse turkey and remove giblets. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Sprinkle the bottom of a turkey size oven bag with flour. Place turkey, celery and onions in the bag. Seal bag and poke several holes in it with a fork.

4. Bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C).

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

• 6 turkey wings
• 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
• 1 cup water
• 2 quarts chicken broth, divided
• 3/4 cup chopped carrot
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Arrange a single layer of turkey wings in a large roasting pan. Scatter the onions over the top of the wings. Roast in the preheated oven for 1-1/4 hours or until wings are browned.

2. Place browned wings and onions in a 5 quart stockpot. Add water to roasting pan and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the the water from the pan into the stockpot. Stir in 6 cups broth, carrot, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours.

3. Remove wings from the pot and place on a cutting board. When the wings are cool, pull off the skin and meat. Discard the skin and save the meat for another use. Strain contents of stockpot through a large strainer into a 3 quart saucepan. Press on the vegetables to extract any remaining liquid. Discard the vegetables and skim the fat off the liquid. Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk flour into the remaining 2 cups chicken broth until smooth. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the simmering turkey broth; simmer 3-4 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Stir in the butter and pepper. Serve immediately or pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.

**I also like to reserve the separated fat to make a roux, helps cut down on the floury taste...Do this by whisking the flour into the reserved fat over medium until golden, and then whisk back into the strained broth and drippings.

Parmesan Broccoli Balls

• 1 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
• 1 (6 ounce) package chicken flavored dry stuffing mix
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 6 eggs, beaten
• 3/4 cup margarine, melted
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Place broccoli in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Cover, and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Uncover, and continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, drain, and cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix broccoli, stuffing mix, Parmesan cheese, onion, eggs, margarine, pepper, and garlic salt. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour, until moisture has been absorbed.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

4. Roll the chilled mixture into 1 inch balls, and arrange on a medium baking sheet.

5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until browned.

**Variation: increase the Parmesan Cheese to 1 cup and used fresh broccoli instead of frozen.

Cheesy Sour Cream and Salsa Dip

• 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
• 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, with liquid
• 1/2 (1 ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
• 1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
• 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


1. Mix together sour cream, canned tomatoes, dry ranch dressing mix, black olives, and shredded cheese. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

**I made it once as the recipe suggested and then a second time and used 8 oz. sour cream and 8 oz. cream cheese instead of the 16 oz. of sour cream that the recipe calls for. This was also good heated up.

Banana Pudding

• 2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1 cup milk
• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
• 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 6 bananas, sliced
• 1/2 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers


1. In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix and milk and stir until mix is dissolved. Refrigerate 15 minutes, until partially set.

2. Stir condensed milk into pudding mixture until smooth. Fold in sour cream and whipped topping. Fold in bananas.

3. Make a single layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish. Spread pudding evenly over wafers. Crush remaining wafers and sprinkle on top. Refrigerate until serving.

Easy Garlic Chicken

• 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 1/4 cup butter
• 6 cloves crushed garlic
• 2 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. In a small saucepan melt butter/margarine with garlic. Dip chicken pieces in butter/garlic sauce, letting extra drip off, then coat completely with bread crumbs.

3. Place coated chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Combine any leftover butter/garlic sauce with bread crumbs and spoon mixture over chicken pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Red Wine Pork

• 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
• 3 pounds pork roast
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 1/2 cups red wine
• 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. Heat bacon drippings in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides. Remove roast to a casserole dish. Place butter, garlic, and carrots in the skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in parsley, bay leaf, salt, pepper, tomato paste, and sugar. Pour in red wine, and stir to combine. Pour over pork roast.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove, and arrange mushrooms around the roast. Return to oven, and bake 1/2 hour.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 2 cups sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 (1 ounce) bottle McCormick® Red Food Color
• 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 2 tablespoons sour cream
• 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
• 1 (16 ounce) box confectioners' sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

4. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese, softened, butter, sour cream and McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Potato Skillet

• 4 slices bacon
• 2 peeled and diced potatoes
• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt
• 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Remove bacon slices, reserving grease. Crumble bacon and set aside.

2. Add potatoes to bacon grease and season with garlic salt, seasoned salt and black pepper. Cook until potatoes are soft.

3. When potatoes are tender, add crumbled bacon. Pour eggs over potatoes and cook until firm. Spread with cheese and cover with lid until melted.

Variations: Added some green pepper, sweet onion, (extra bacon) and wow. This is good good stuff. We used Yukon Gold potatoes to give it a buttery delicious flavor.

Apple Cider

• 6 cups apple cider
• 1/4 cup real maple syrup
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 6 whole cloves
• 6 whole allspice berries
• 1 orange peel, cut into strips
• 1 lemon peel, cut into strips


1. Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.

2. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.

3. Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.

4. Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.


• 4 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.

Luscious Slush Punch

• 1 – 1 1/2 cups white sugar
• 6 cups water
• 2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin mix
• 1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
• 2/3 cup lemon juice
• 1 quart orange juice
• 2 (2 liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage

1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture in half, and freeze in 2 separate containers.

2. When ready to serve, place the frozen contents of one container in a punch bowl, and stir in 1 bottle of lemon-lime soda until slushy.

I have nade this with Splenda, sugar-free jello and Diet Sprite/ 7UP. It's perfect for those who can't have sugar and those of us who are watching our carbs and calories.

It's become a family favorite and gets requested by lot of folks to have the recipe! This is a great punch, just allow extra time for freezing. I divide the punch into 2- 1 gallon freezer Ziploc bags that I place on a sheetcake pan in my freezer until frozen. I have never had to wait for the punch to cool before pouring it, by doing it this way. I take 1 bag of punch out of the freezer an hour or so before serving and with it in my punch bowl, I scrape it with a metal spatula to make a consistent slush when the 2 liter is added. I've also sat it in my sink for an hour and let it thaw a bit on its own and/or microwaved it for a minute or so to get it to the consistency I wanted. If you forget to get it out beforehand or have unexpected company, just throw it in the microwave and it'll be ready in no time. This is very good with Gingerale as well. Feel free to change up the jello flavors, Try Wild Strawberry and Cherry combined for an extra treat. I have made this for 25+ years

Cake Balls

• 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
• 1 (16 ounce) container prepared chocolate frosting
• 1 (3 ounce) bar chocolate flavored confectioners coating


1. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions using any of the recommended pan sizes. When cake is done, crumble while warm into a large bowl, and stir in the frosting until well blended.

2. Melt chocolate coating in a glass bowl in the microwave, or in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3. Use a melon baller or small scoop to form balls of the chocolate cake mixture. Dip the balls in chocolate using a toothpick or fork to hold them. Place on waxed paper to set.

#1) Bake cake as directed.
#2) Let the cake COOL for at least a half hour! Don't mix in the frosting while HOT! You will get a gooey, albeit yummy, mess!
#3) I used a handmixer to mix the cake and frosting.
#4) Put this mixture in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 3 hours but I did it overnight and it was perfect. #5) Using your hands, roll the balls bite size. I used a foil covered cookie sheet because I was out of wax paper. Wax paper is preferred.
#6) Stick the balls in the freezer for an hour.
#7) Melt up whatever chocolate you prefer
#8) Using a toothpick, pick up the balls and dip in the chocolate. Using a second toothpick in the other hand help the ball slid off the toothpick.
#9) Place in refrigerator to set.
#10) Enjoy, these are SUPERB!!!!!!!!

NOTE: If your balls fall off the toothpick into the chocolate they are not frozen enough. 9) Place in refrigerator to set. 10) Enjoy, these are SUPERB!!!!!!!!

  • Dark chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting.
  • White cake mix and mint chocolate chip icing - Dipped in chocolate confectioners coating
  • French vanilla cake with white chocolate almond icing. – Dipped in chocolate confectioners coating.
  • Red velvet with cream cheese icing and vanilla confectioners coating. **see cream cheese icing recipe at end!
  • Red velvet with cream cheese icing dipped into milk chocolate coating. 
  • Chocolate cake, milk chocolate icing, dipped into chocolate bark.
  • Lemon cake with lemon frosting and dip them in whit chocolate.
  • Lemon cake mixed in white chocolate chips and lemon frosting, dipped in white chocolate.
  • Spice cake with cream cheese frosting and coated them with white chocolate coating.
  • Cherry chip cake mix and cream cheese frosting dipped in white chocolate.
  • Fudge cake, mixed in peppermint chips and fudge frosting. Dip in dark chocolate.
  • Chocolate fudge cake mix and coconut pecan frosting dipped into chocolate.
  • Chocolate cake, butter cream icing, and dark chocolate coating.
  • Chocolate cake/chocolate icing and dipped into raspberry/chocolate chips are melted with a bit of oil.
  • German chocolate cake mix with coconut pecan frosting & dipped in melted semi sweet chocolate chips.
  • Strawberry with vanilla frosting, dipped in chocolate.
  • Carrot cake with cream cheese frost
**For Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
6 T. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
1T. cream (or milk)
3 cups powdered sugar
To make:

Make the frosting by combining all the frosting ingredients in a bowl. Beat on low with beaters until smooth.

Red Velvet Cake Balls (Bakerella)

1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
wax paper

Directions:1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)

3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)

4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.

6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

I also only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot.

White Chocolate or Milk Chocolate....your choice!

Idea for Easter Cake Balls:

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
• 4 slices bacon


1. In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, spinach, feta cheese, and garlic until well blended. Set aside.

2. Carefully butterfly chicken breasts, making sure not to cut all the way through. Spoon spinach mixture into chicken breasts. Wrap each with a piece of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Place in shallow baking dish. Cover.

3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 1 hour, or until chicken is no longer pink.

** I've made this several times, the first time following the directions exactly, but the bacon was undercooked and left the chicken very greasy. The next time I pre-cooked the bacon in the microwave about half way first, but again, the chicken was a bit greasy and the bacon wasn't doing anything to compliment the chicken. Now instead of bacon I wrap the chicken in prescutto and it's perfect! The flavors mix very well with the feta and spinach stuffing.
I also have butterflied the chicken breasts, I seasoned them with garlic powder and onion powder. Then, because I don't like chicken that does not have a golden color on the outside, I sauteed in a nonstick pan sprayed with Pam (because I am fat conscious due to cholesterol) for about 45 seconds per side til I got the color I wanted. (The center was still quite rare.) I made my stuffing by using only half of a 10 oz carton of frozen spinach. (Drain the spinach well on lots of paper towels.) Then I added 3 parts fat free sour cream to 1 part mayo. I added 1 tsp of egg substitute to bind the mixture. I also sauteed sweet Vidalia onions and fresh minced garlic to add to the spinach mixture. Instead of feta cheese, I added grated Parmesan/Romano cheese (about 1/4 cup). After stuffing the chicken, I precooked slices of turkey bacon (less fat) and topped them on the chicken pieces. I covered my chicken with aluminum foil to bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (depends on thickness of your butterflied breasts). It was quite moist and very flavorful (not bland or dry.)

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

• 1 (6 pound) bone-in turkey breast
• 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix


1. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast. Rub onion soup mix all over outside of the turkey and under the skin. Place in a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on High for 1 hour, then set to Low, and cook for 7 hours.

SO EASY AND SO GOOD! I made a few modifications: Using a 7.25lb Bone-in Turkey Breast I layered the bottom of my crockpot with 3 cut-up celery stalks, one sweet yellow onion, 1/4 cup chicken broth, and 1/2 tbsp. minced garilc. I placed the turkey breast on top of the celery and onion, rubbed the turkey inside and out with the onion soup packet (lifting up the skin on top of the breast and adding the seasoning right on the meat works great!), also rubbed some oregano, sage, thyme, and 1/2 tbsp minced garlic on the breast. Drizzled the breast with 1 tbsp. melted butter. Cooked on high 1 hour, low for 7 hours more. Perfect moist turkey! Smells and tastes great, plenty of leftovers for sandwiches, casseroles, or enchiladas! Will be a simple cold-weather staple for me.

Magic Cookie Bars

• 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
• 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
• 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
• 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
• 1 cup chopped nuts


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.

3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.

• Variations

• 7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars: Substitute 1 cup (6-ounces) butterscotch flavored chips* for 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and proceed as directed above.

• Peanut butter flavored chips or white chocolate chips may be substituted for butterscotch flavored chips.

• Magic Peanut Cookie Bars: Substitute 2 cups (about 3/4 pound) chocolate-covered peanuts for semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped nuts.

• Magic Rainbow Cookie Bars: Substitute 2 cups plain candy-coated chocolate candies for semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pork Roast

• 1 (3 pound) boneless pork roast
• 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, undrained
• 1 1/2 cups chopped dried cranberries

1. Rub the pork roast on all sides with salt and pepper, and place in a slow cooker. Pour in the pineapple chunks and juice, and sprinkle in the cranberries.
2. Cover, and cook 7 hours on Low

I chopped a yellow onion and put that on the bottom of the crock pot, put thyme, pepper and rosemary on a 3 lb pork tenderloin and then topped it with terriyaki sauce. I put in a generous amount and then added the pineapple and cranberries. I did not use salt since I was using terriyaki and that is salty. It was great - moist and had lots of nice flavor. The best thing was that it was very, very easy!

Warm Mushroom Spread

• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
• 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms and onion, and cook until tender. Sprinkle with the flour. Reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Mix in sour cream and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small casserole dish, and top with Parmesan cheese.

3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly.

PorterHouse Steak

Perfectly Grilled Porterhouse Steak. Grilled either indoors or out."

• 20 ounces porterhouse steak
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon meat tenderizer
• 1 teaspoon steak seasoning


1. Place steak on a plate and coat lightly with olive oil. Rub steak with meat tenderizer. Sprinkle steak with Canadian steak seasoning and gently rub into steak. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat a grill for high heat. When the grill is hot, lightly oil the grate.

3. Unwrap steaks and grill on open flame or charcoal grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or to your desired degree of doneness.

The Most Incredible Garlic Bread

• 1 (20 ounce) loaf French bread, sliced
• 1 cup olive oil, divided
• 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
• 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
• 1 pinch salt
• freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add garlic; cook and stir for a few minutes until fragrant.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, garlic, oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in about half of the remaining olive oil until smooth. Spread 1 tablespoon of this mixture onto each slice of bread, and place them on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each slice, then drizzle with remaining olive oil.

4. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Watch VERY carefully, it will brown fast.

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

• 1 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter ~ plus 2 tablespoons Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
• 1 prepared chocolate pie crust
• 1 (11.75 ounce) jar Smucker's® Hot Fudge Microwaveable Ice Cream Topping, divided


1. Beat together 1 cup peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium, until well combined. Gently mix in 3 cups whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.

2. Reserve 2 tablespoons of hot fudge topping into the corner of a resealable plastic bag. Microwave remaining topping, on HIGH (100% topping), for 1 minute. Stir. Spread topping over pie, covering entire peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until set. Spread remaining whipped topping (1 1/2 cups), over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.

3. Cut a small corner from bag containing topping. Squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pie. Place remaining 2 tablespoons peanut butter in a resealable food storage bag; cut bag corner and squeeze to drizzle in opposite direction from topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tangy Turkey and Swiss Sandwiches

These sandwiches are absolutely AMAZING!! The combination of ingredients with a special sandwich spread helps to create a taste beyond compare. A true delicacy. Garnish with a kosher dill pickle and enjoy

• 3/4 cup chopped red onion
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup coarse-grain brown mustard
• 8 slices country style French Bread
• 6 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 pound thinly sliced roast turkey
• 8 slices tomato
• 8 slices Swiss cheese


1. In a small bowl, stir together the red onion, thyme, mayonnaise and mustard. Spread some of this mixture onto one side of each slice of bread. Spread butter onto the other side of the slices of bread.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place 4 slices of the bread into the skillet with the butter side down. On each slice of bread, layer 1/4 of the sliced turkey, then 2 slices of tomato, and top with 2 slices of Swiss cheese. Place remaining slices of bread over the top with the butter side up. When the bottoms of the sandwiches are golden brown, flip over, and cook until golden on the other side.