Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cream Puff Bars

These are great if you like cream puffs. The kids volunteer their help just so they can have some to eat.

To make the cream puff: Bring 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 1 cup flour. Stir and remove from heat. Mixture should form a ball. Add 4 eggs, ONE AT A TIME, stirring between each with a wooden spoon. Spread on a greased 11x16 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

To make pudding mixture: Mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 2-1/2 cups milk and a 6 ounce vanilla pudding. Beat until smooth.

Spread over cooled crust. If you like bananas, slice them on top.

Spread 8 ounces of coolwhip on top of pudding layer.

Drizzle with hersheys chocolate syrup. As you can see, my kids like more chocolate than is necessary.

And don't forget to use those manners!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rhubarb Juice

After you are done making rhubarb jam and your favorite rhubarb dessert, do you wonder what to do with the rest or wish someone would just come take it off your hands? I usually freeze some but mostly I make it into this juice. The kids especially like it made into popsicles. Now I can it and have it ready for use.

To make the juice, you first have to make juice from the rhubarb. The way it is usually done is by adding enough water and cooking until soft and then straining the juice out. The way I make my juice is by using a steam juicer. I just place cut-up rhubarb into the top (water is in pan under it) and cook it for a few minutes until it is soft. The steamer has a hose on it which drains into jars or bowls, etc. I love this juicer for alot of different juices. If you think you might use one alot the investment is not too bad. Anyway....on to making the juice to can...

Recipe for Rhubarb Juice to Can:

6 quarts rhubarb juice
1 quart pineapple juice
1 can Hawaiian Punch (I actually used 2/3 of a one gallon size)
3 1/2 cups sugar

Mix all ingredients in a large kettle. Boil for 5-10 minutes. Skim light foam off if necessary. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

(To sterilize my jars I wash them and put them in the oven at 225 degrees for 10 minutes. After this point just keep them hot.) Remove one jar at a time and fill and seal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here is a great post about slow-cookers. I use them all the time when we are busy (which is almost always). I love the information he gives here. He also has a great blog called How To Cook Like Your Grandmother. Check it out, it's full of great recipes and tips!
I’m a fan of slow cookers, but lots of people have trouble with them. There’s a good reason, which most people don’t know: Slow cookers today aren’t nearly as slow as they used to be. Rather than risk lawsuits from people undercooking their chicken, the manufacturers have been raising the temperatures of their cookers for years.

The Low setting on many new cookers will cook faster than the High setting on some older ones. So if you’ve got a recipe your grandmother wrote based on her slow cooker, you’re going to overcook whatever you put in yours.

That’s not the only thing you need to understand to adjust recipes. Manufacturers don’t publish the details of how hot the “Lo” and “Hi” settings are. (They also don’t know how to spell “Low” and “High”, but that’s a different issue.) Actually, they can’t publish how hot those settings are, because they’re not controlled by a thermostat.

Designed for time, not temperature
Here’s the deal. Some slow cookers have a thermostat dial on them, like an electric skillet. These can be set to a temperature, and that’s how hot they’ll get. But most of them — and if yours just has High and Low, or maybe Hi-Med-Lo, yours is one of them — are based on how much power is sent to the heating coil. They are designed based on how long it takes to raise a certain amount of food to a certain temperature.

So for instance, the High setting on a 5-quart pot might be designed to bring 3-quarts of liquid from 60° to 185° in 2 hours — all temperatures Fahrenheit — while the Low setting will do it in 4 hours. (All these numbers are just for example. Your pot is sure to be different.) What that means is if you were to put 2 quarts of liquid in the pot, and it’s already at 85°, you’re going to overshoot “done” in about an hour. On the other hand if you load it to the brim with leftover soup right out of the fridge, it won’t be ready to serve for at least 4 hours.

In any case, Both High and Low stabilize at the same temperature, it is just a matter of how long it takes to reach the simmer point.

Get to know your slow cooker
The point of all this is that you have to adjust all your recipes to your slow cooker. No one else, unless they have the exact same model, can tell you how it’s going to work.

And even then it depends on how much you fill it up, and how cold or warm the ingredients are when you add them. None of this is really hard, but you have to pay attention, not follow a recipe exactly and expect it to come out right the first time.

But are they safe?
Mention slow cookers and someone is going to jump in with the figures on bacteria growth: Bacteria can grow if food spends 2 hours between 40° and 140°. True. But there are a few things you can do to make it safe.

First is to realize that any contamination on whole cuts of beef, like a roast, is likely to be on the surface. Bacteria generally do not penetrate into the meat. So brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. You should be doing this anyway for the best flavor. Browning will destroy any bacteria on the surface, as well as raising the starting temperature so that it doesn’t spend as long in the danger zone.

This doesn’t work for whole chickens or turkey pieces. According to Cooks Illustrated:

Bacteria can live inside a chicken, not just on the skin. Chicken parts can be browned to boost their temperature quickly, but this is not really an option for whole birds.

So for poultry you want to get it through the danger zone as quickly as possible. Start on High until the cooking liquid is over 140° before turning it down to Low.

For me, that defeats half the point of slow cookers. I like to set it and walk away. If I have to babysit the pot and check the temperature, I’d just as soon roast the chicken in the oven with a meat thermometer in it to tell me when it’s done.

Perfect use for them
For a really great recipe to start getting used to it, you could try slow cooker BBQ ribs. Because ribs are tough, it takes a long time to break down the connective tissue. It’s almost impossible to overdo them in a slow cooker. I know that’s like giving someone driving directions and saying, “You can’t miss it.” Someone will find a way.

But slow cookers are forgiving, and so are ribs. Give it a try and tell me how they came out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Apple-Oatmeal Cookies

Apple-Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups old fashioned or quick cooking oats
1 medium apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup shredded)
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons apple juice (or milk if no apple juice is available) I used apple juice that I canned from our tree.)

Heat oven to 375. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla, scraping sides occasionally, until blended.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture. Stir in oats and apple. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar and apple juice (or milk) until smooth, using wire whisk or fork. Drizzle over cooled cooking on cooling rack. Let stand about 1 hour or until glaze is set.

Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, February 22, 2010

So here's what our table looked like on Valentine's Day. The kids love to 'set' the table for us for any special occasion. I love how they add their own special cards for us. We save these cards in their baby boxes and years down the road we open the boxes up and go through the things we have saved. It's alot of fun for the kids.

Another surpprise for Valentine's Day was these delicious peanut butter balls from a friend. She included the recipe so I could make them myself. (The bowl was full before the picture but you can't eat just one.) Here's the recipe for the peanut butter lovers out there.

Peanut Butter Balls

2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups peanut butter
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix together all ingredients. Shape into small balls. Cool in freezer for at least 1/2 hour or longer. Dip into a mixture of 1/2 chocolate bark and 1/2 chocolate chips, melted. Cool on wax paper.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins

Teddy LOVES oatmeal. So when I remembered I had this recipe in a book that I had not opened for 20 years, I thought I would make them for him. He loved them too. He ate all 5 that he took and put on his plate. So.....this recipe is for Teddy.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup buttermilk
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix oatmeal and buttermilk and let set for 15 minutes. Stir in egg, sugar and oil. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into oat mixture just until moistenend.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake @ 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

4 cups sugar
12 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 stick butter
1 cup milk

Mix and boil in a dutch oven until sugar is dissolved. Add:

6 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
2 cups coconut

Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Peanut Butter-Fudge Swirls

Had a craving for a peanut butter cookie today so I thought I would dig out one of my old recipes and start baking. These are easy and fun to make but don't last long at our house. One of my kids (who claims he does not like peanut butter) ate a handful and then just looked at me like "what?!" Good thing I snuck some dough before baking because after dinner when I went to get one they had all disappeared! Oh well, maybe next time!

This is the trickiest part of the cookie. Just slowly place the white dough on top of the chocolate dough.

Refrigerate cookie dough so it will slice evenly. Slice into 1/4-inch cookies...

Bake 2-inches apart. Maybe not even 2 inches...

Bake for 10 minutes and enjoy!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

In a large mixing bowl beat butter, peanut butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until combined. Add about half of the flour. Add sugar, egg, milk, vanilla, soda and salt. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat or stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Set one portion aside. To the remaining portion, knead or stir in melted chocolate until thoroughly combined.

To shape dough, place each half of dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Using a rolling pin, roll each half into a 12x11-inch rectangle. Remove top sheets of waxed paper. Carefully invert peanut butter dough on top of chocolate-peanut butter dough. Remove waxed paper from top. If necessary, pat the 2 layers together to form the 12x11-inch rectangle. If desired, trim dough around edges. From the long side, roll up jelly-roll style, removing bottom sheet of waxed paper as you roll. Cut the roll in half. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap, then chill for 4 to 48 hours.

Cut chilled dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Remove cookies and cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

1 pound ground beef
1-1/2 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1-1/2 cup celery, diced
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons parsley
8 tablespoons butter, divided
6 cups chicken broth
8 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
3 cups milk
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup sour cream

Brown beef and set aside. In same dutch oven, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 2 tablespoons butter until vegetables are tender. (About 10 minutes.)
Add broth, potatoes and beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer (covered) for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Blend in sour cream.

Pork Steak Delight in the Crock-Pot

•3-4 pounds pork steak cut into strips
•2 tablespoons vegetable oil
•1 large white onion sliced
•1 green bell pepper cut into strips
•10 fresh mushrooms chopped (I left those out)
•1 pint (2 cups) tomato sauce
•6 tablespoons light brown sugar
•3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
•3 teaspoons salt
•6 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1.Brown pork in oil in skillet then drain on double paper towel.
2.Place pork and all remaining ingredients into crock pot then cover and cook on low 6 hours.
3.Serve over hot buttered noodles or rice.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fast Fruity Delight

This is a Jell-O recipe that kids can make. My kids love how fast this can be done because they can eat it right away. We double the recipe because it only makes 4 servings. Karissa is practicing with her camera so she took the above picture for me.

Fast Fruity Delight:

3/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) raspberry gelatin
2 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup thawed Cool Whip

Add boiling water to gelatin and mix in large bowl; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add berries; stir until gelatin starts to thicken.

Stir 1/2 cup gelatin mixture into Cool Whip with whisk until well blended; spoon into 4 dessert dishes. Cover with remaining gelatin mixture.

Can eat right away or refrigerate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


2 pounds hamburger
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 box lasagna noodles
1 small cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon basil
4 cups motzerella, divided

Brown meat and drain. Add spaghetti sauce. Boil noodles and drain well. Mix cottage cheese, eggs and basil. In a greased 9x13 pan, layer noodles, 1/2 meat sauce, all of cottage cheese and 2 cups motzerella. Repeat with noodles, meat and cheese. Top with parmesan if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Asian Chicken

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-1/2 to 4 pounds), cut up
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablesspoons water
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/8 garlic powder)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup slivered almonds, optional

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the chicken in oil on both sides. Transfer to a 5 quart slow-cooker. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic and ginger; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or until chicken juices run clear. Remove chicken to a serving platter; sprinkle with almonds.

Lasagna Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 pound shell pasta, cooked and drained
1 pound (4 cups) motzellera, divided
1-24 ounce cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup parmesan
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1-26 ounce jar spaghetti sauce

Cook hamburger and onion until browned and onion is transparent. Drain. Sprinkle with salt and half of the pepper. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine pasta, motzerella, cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan, parsley and remaining pepper. Stir. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Top with beef and spaghetti sauce. Cover. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the rest of motzerella. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Stand 10 minutes before serving.

Spiced Pear Bread

3 cans (15-1/4 ounces each) sliced pears, drained and mashed
(I used 1 pint pear sauce) should equal two cups
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3 eggs
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Combine the remaining ingredients; gradually add to pear mixture and mix well. Pour into four 5-3/4 in. x 3-in.x 2-in. loaf pans coated with nonstick cooking spray. I use two 8 in. bread pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Western Meal-in-One

I just tried this recipe for the first time tonight. The family liked it and all said that I should make it again. It was not my favorite but I thought I would share it here because it seems that it got a thumbs-up at our house. Maybe my kids just eat anything and everything! Well, at least they are eating and not complaining! To make this casserole you need to brown 2 pounds ground beef with 1 chopped onion and 1/2 to one chopped green pepper. Cook until meat is browned and onions are transparent. Drain.

In casserole pan, combine meat, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 can kidney beans (drained), 5 cups chopped tomatoes with juice (I used 2 pints of canned tomatoes) and 1-1/2 cups uncooked rice. Sprinkle with garlic salt. It will be juicy but the rice will soak up the liquid. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Check to see that rice is soft.

Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and sliced black olives. I left one part plain at the request of some littles..:) Put back into oven (uncovered) and bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Raisin-Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

These cupcakes were a hit with the family the first time I made them. Requests for making them again are brought up as soon as we run out of them. The cinnamon frosting on top is what I think makes them even better.....SEE, you really DO want to plant that zucchini plant in the garden this year!

Raisin-Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) spice cake mix
1-1/3 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups shredded zuchhini
1/2 cup raisins

Cinnamon Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in zucchini and raisins. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18- 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
For frosting, in a small mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioner's sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add enough milk to achieve a spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes.

About 2 dozen

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup

2 quarts water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
6 1/2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2-3 cups cooked chicken
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream (I usually use only 1/2 cup)

Bring water and bouillon to a boil in a dutch oven. Add noodles; cook until tender. Do not drain. Add soup and chicken; heat through. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Sprinkle with parsley.

Just another day at the grocery store...

Actually, this is all we need for the entire month (besides our refrigerated stuff like milk and produce.)

Italian Vegetable Soup

This is a soup recipe I have had for years. I think it came from a magazine. We all like it and even the little kids scrape their bowls clean. We eat it with crackers or bread and butter. It's a great way to get your veggies!


1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic salt)
1-16 ounce chopped tomatoes
1-15 ounce tomato sauce
1-15 ounce red kidney beans, undrained
2 cups water
5 teaspoons beef bouillon
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup fresh or frozen beans (I use our canned grean beans)
1/2 cup elbow macaroni

Brown beef and onion in a dutch oven. Drain. Add all ingredients except cabbage, beans and macaroni. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cabbage, beans and macaroni. Bring to a boil. Simmer until tender. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

* I added some extra water and a cup of noodles just because the kids like a few more noodles.
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