Monday, January 30, 2012

Baked Spice Donuts

Kids get sprinkles & Nana gets almonds!
This recipe comes from King Arthur Flour & it is so light & perfectly spiced! The original recipe can be found  here.   I made this when three of my grandchildren spent the night.  I mixed all the dry ingredients in one bowl the night before, so all that was left to do was add the wet ingredients in the morning.  I used canned frosting on some (sometimes life just needs canned frosting!!) and sugar & cinnamon on some (first dipped in melted butter).  These are REALLY yummy!

7/8 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar                                                          
1 t. baking powder                                          
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
3 T. dried buttermilk powder
2 large eggs
3 T. vegetable oil
2 T. water

Whisk together all the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, oil & water until foamy.

Pour the liquid ingredients in all at once into the dry ingredients & stir just until combined.

Butter or grease (I sprayed) the donut pan.  Fill each donut form half full.
Bake the donuts in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  When done, they'll spring back when lightly touched.

Remove the donuts from the oven & remove them from the pan.  Allow to cool on rack.  Dip in melted  butter & coat with sugar & cinnamon or frost with vanilla or chocolate frosting.  Decorate with sprinkles, nuts, coconut, etc.

Makes 6 donuts
Papa likes sugar/cinnamon

I am sharing this with:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Man Dip

If you're in need of an easy dip for any occasion, you have to try Man Dip (women love it, too)!!!!  My daughter got this recipe from a neighbor years ago & our whole family loves it.  Of course, if you don't do pork sausage, you could always use bulk chicken or turkey sausage.  It's a recipe that you can remember in your head, because it's one thing of each ingredient.  Try some Man Dip for the next event you need to host or bring something to.  It'll be a HIT!!

You may want to double the ingredients!!
1 pound sausage (breakfast style is good)
1 (8 ounce) pkg, of cream cheese (I always use the "light")
1 can Rotel, not drained

Brown the sausage in a skillet. ( I actually have an electric fondue pot that I do this in.)  Add the cream cheese & stir to melt.  Add the Rotel & stir.  Let simmer & then serve.  (You can also put this in a slow cooker & keep warm.)

Serve with tortilla chips or  Fritos Scoops.

I am  sharing with:
Mix It Up Monday!
Table Top Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Rock 'n Share Party
Full Plate Thursday                                                     
Thriving on Thursdays
Foodie Friday
Seasonal Sundays

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A 48 year-old Love Story & Dessert

48 years ago,  on January 25, 1964, when we were only fourteen years old, my darling & I became high school sweethearts!!  6 1/2 years later we married, had four children and then later added  six grandchildren.  What's our secret?  It's loyalty to each other & commitment & dedication to our family.   This special fella of mine has always been:

-my knight in shining armor                                  
-my rock
-the one I can always depend on
-my hero
-my one, true LOVE

My darling has always managed to make me feel so loved, adored and cherished.  For that, I am forever grateful.  Happy 48 years to us, when we started "going steady".

Here's my honey's favorite dessert:

Cream Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 400.  Heat water & butter to rolling boil.  Stir in flour.  Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute or until it forms a ball.  Remove from heat.  Beat in eggs, all at  one time.  (I use a wooden spoon).  Continue beating until smooth (the mixture gets very stiff).  Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls,  3" apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until puffed & golden.  Cool away from draft.  (I cut a small vent on the side, towards the top to let out the steam). 

Cut off tops.  Pull out any filaments of soft dough.  Fill puffs with the following:


1 package of instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cups milk
half of an 8 ounce container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix pudding & milk together & whisk for 2 minutes.  Fold in the thawed whipped topping.  Fill the cream puffs. Replace the tops.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar (use a small sieve).

To make the swans:  Pipe a question mark design on the baking sheet.  These will brown  in about 15 minutes. Take them out while the cream puffs finish baking.  Cut the top of the cream puff in half.  Fill the bottom of the cream puff with the filling. Fan the tops out to resemble wings inserting into the pudding.  Put the swan's neck in the front & there you have it...a beautiful cream puff swan!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chocolate Cups

If you ever need a quick, impressive, super chocolaty dessert, this is it!  Rachel Ray demonstrated this recipe on Oprah many years ago & I copied it down on a piece of notepaper.  RR said that it was her Mom's recipe & it's a very good one. 

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. sugar
pinch salt
2 T. liquor of choice *
Put all the above ingredients in a blender & blend away.
Add 2/3 cup hot, hot milk  to the blender, in a slow, steady stream, on low speed.     (I heated mine in the microwave until it boiled).  Cover the blender & blend for one minute.  (The hot milk cooks the egg.)   Pour into teacups or demitasse cups.  Refrigerate until set, which takes 30-45 minutes.  Add whipped cream to garnish.

Makes 4 demitasse cups or 2 teacups.

*  instead of liquor, add maybe a teaspoon of vanilla.
So pretty for a tea party dessert!!

I am sharing this with:

Mix It Up Monday!
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Tea Party Tuesday
Table Top Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Full Plate Thursday
Thriving on Thursdays
Foodie Friday
Pink Saturday
Sweets for Saturday
Seasonal Sundays

Friday, January 20, 2012

Easy Bistro Chicken

This recipe is from the spring 2006 issue of Kraft Food & Family.  I've always loved this recipe when I want a dish that's flavorful but I need it in a hurry.  If you're looking for a quick, delicious meal, then try this recipe & you'll have dinner ready in a jiffy. 

2 t. vegetable oil
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 ounce) stewed tomatoes (I use petite diced)
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
3 T. tomato paste (see note)
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (I omit)

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms & onions; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomatoes with their liquid, the dressing & tomato paste.
Add chicken; cover.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through & no longer pink. 

Sprinkle with cheese & bacon; simmer, uncovered 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 

Kraft suggests serving over cooked rice, but we prefer serving over cooked pasta.
Makes 4 servings.

NOTE:  What to do with leftover tomato paste?  Freeze tablespoon- size portions on wax paper.  When frozen, transfer to freezer- proof bags to use later in other recipes.

I am sharing this with:
Mix It Up Monday!
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread

I really don't know the Grandmother that this recipe comes from!  I got this recipe from my oldest child's first grade teacher back in 1981.  I've updated  this recipe by using the food processor for convenience.  I LOVE cranberries & this bread is so moist & flavorful.  I hope you give it a try!

Mine is with all cranberries!
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen *

Chop cranberries in the food processor.  Remove & set aside.

Add  the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse several times to mix the dry ingredients.  Add the butter, that's been cut into 4 tablespoons & pulse until the mixture is crumbly.  Add the beaten egg, orange zest, & orange juice.  Pulse until the mixture is evenly moist.  Add the raisins & cranberries & pulse until they are distributed.

Spoon into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.  (I actually  used mini bundt pans.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour & 10 minutes. (Mini bundt pans will bake in 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

*If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.

I am sharing this with:
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Tea Party Tuesday
Table Top Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Full Plate Thursday
Thriving on Thursdays
Foodie Friday
Sweets for Saturday
Seasonal Sundays

Monday, January 16, 2012

Almond Broccoli Casserole

When I moved to Texas over 25 years ago, my special friend who moved here six months before I did, bought me The Texas Experience  cookbook.  This recipe comes from that cookbook & always was & still is a favorite of our daughter.  I've adapted the preparation slightly & substituted some ingredients for ones that are no longer available.  I don't think I've ever been able to find a roll of Nippy sharp cheese.  Anyway, if you need a delicious side dish, with lots of good flavor, color & texture,  I hope  you try this.

1/2 stick butter
4 ounces fresh mushrooms                                                          
2 (10 ounces each) packages frozen,
 chopped broccoli, thawed 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (3 ounce) package slivered almonds
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts
1 (5 ounce) jar Kraft Old English cheese spread

Melt butter in skillet & saute' mushrooms.  Add all other ingredients.  Pour into buttered 2 1/2 quart casserole & bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes.

Serves 6-8.
I am sharing with:

Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Friday, January 13, 2012

Macaroni & Cheese

The week after chemo, my DH loves comfort food & that's what I like to make for him.  Several years ago,  my DIL made this wonderful recipe from Giada De Laurentiis & it immediately became a family favorite.  The original recipe can be found here.  I have adapted it because,  making it according to the original, it would come out runny.  Here's the adapted version  of wonderful comfort food.

13.25 ounces of pasta 
(I love Dreamfields pasta, for low-carb eaters)
2 cups heavy cream                                                                  
2 cups milk (I use 2% )
2 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
2 cups Italian Blend cheese
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup grated mozzarella
4 ounces ham, diced, optional
1 T. dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Butter a 9 x 13" glass baking dish.

Par-cook the pasta in boiling salted water about 5 minutes.  Drain well, but do not rinse.

Whisk the cream, milk, flour, salt & pepper in a large bowl.  Stir in 1 cup of the Italian Blend cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham & parsley.  Add the pasta & toss to coat.
Transfer the pasta mixture to the baking dish.  Toss the remaining 1 cup Italian Blend cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan & 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend.  Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta mixture. 
Bake until the sauce bubbles & the cheese melts & begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 

Makes 6 servings
I am sharing this with:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate fondue is the perfect ending to any meal.  What's not to love about fruit dipped in chocolate? Try it soon,  maybe after a cheese fondue meal!

1/2 cup heavy cream                                                         
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate  chips
 (I really love the Ghirardelli 60%
   Bittersweet Chocolate chips)
1 t. vanilla

Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until it comes to a boil.  Add the chocolate chips & stir until the chips are melted. 
Put the mixture in a fondue pot & keep warm.
Serve with an assortment of fresh fruit, such as pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, apples, bananas, etc.   Of course, you can always add cubed pound cake, angel food cake, pretzels, graham crackers & marshmallows, too!!

 I am sharing with:

Mix It Up Monday!
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Tea Party Tuesday
Table Top Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Full Plate Thursday
Thriving on Thursdays
Foodie Friday
Seasonal Sundays

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheese Fondue

This cheese fondue doesn't require any fancy, expensive cheese & yet it tastes great!  My DH & I had this for New Year's Eve, along with a chocolate fondue.  I plan to make it again soon!  You may want to make this for a fun Valentine's Day meal!!

3/4 cup white wine
3 cups grated cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
2 T. flour
dash of garlic powder

Mix the cheese & flour together & set aside.

Heat the wine in fondue pot until it comes to a boil.  Turn down the heat until the wine comes to a simmer.

Add the cheese, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is fully melted.  Add the garlic powder.

Serve with roasted or raw veggies, such as cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms & asparagus.  Smoked turkey sausage is also good after it's been heated & of course, don't forget the bread cubes!!! We love the Artisan Bread found here

To roast veggies, coat them with a little olive oil, salt & pepper & roast the cut up cauliflower, carrots, broccoli for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  For asparagus & mushrooms, add during the last 10 minutes.
Yummy roasted veggies & sauteed  smoked turkey sausage

NOTE:  Any cheese fondue can be refrigerated & reheated.  I almost think it tastes even better after re-heating!!

I am sharing this with:
Table Top Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Rock 'n Share Party
Full Plate Thursday
Thriving on Thursdays
Foodie Friday
Happy Friday
Seasonal Sundays

Friday, January 6, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

My dear DIL made this delicious soup & when I tried it, it was love at first bite!  She got the recipe from Cuisine magazine.  It's a quick soup, but tastes like you've cooked it all day.  In fact, you could saute' the veggies & then throw all the rest, except for the spinach & the egg/Parmesan mixture, in the slow cooker, and add the rest before serving.  I hope you give this comforting soup a try!

This soup is so good!
Sweat in 2 T. olive oil:  
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced                                                   
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup ham, diced
1 T. garlic, minced

Add & simmer:

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (I only used 1 t. )
1 bay leaf

Drop in:

30 uncooked marble-size meatballs, recipe below ( I tried this the first time & the meatballs fell apart!!  The second time, I did what my DIL did & used a 12 oz. pkg. of turkey meatballs, cut in fourths...much better & easier!!) 

Stir in:

1 can white beans, drained & rinsed
2 cups whole spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine, off heat, add:

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

Sweat veggies, ham & garlic in oil in a stockpot over medium heat until softened.

Add chicken broth & seasonings; simmer 15-20 minutes.

Drop meatballs into simmering soup with a small scoop or a melon baller.  Cook until they float to the top, 3-4 minutes.  (Or add the pre-cooked cut-up turkey meatballs).

Stir in beans, spinach & parsley.  Cook until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.

Combine eggs & Parmesan with a whisk.  Off heat, stir egg mixture into soup. 

If you want to try Cuisine's meatball recipe that goes with the soup, here it is:

For the Meatballs—

Stir Together:
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
1 T. dried oregano
1/2 T. garlic, minced
1/2 T. kosher salt
1/2 T. ground black pepper
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch nutmeg

Add; Shape:
1 lb. ground chuck

I am sharing with:

Seasonal Sundays
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken & Dumpling Bake

My favorite recipe for Chicken & Dumplings happens to be found here.   However,  when I saw this recipe awhile back at Anita's blog at Aunt Nubby's Kitchen , I  knew I wanted to try it.  I have made it twice &  we really love it!  If you want a quick, easy, homey meal, you need to try this.  Credit for the original recipe comes from

3-4 cups cooked chicken
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)                            
1 cup self-rising flour (see NOTE below)
1 cup milk
1 can cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large,  microwave-safe measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave & pour into the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Shred the chicken & spread that on top of the butter.

In the same measuring cup, whisk together the milk  & flour.  S-l-o-w-l-y pour that over the chicken.  Don't stir this up!

Put the stock or broth in the measuring cup & whisk in the cream of chicken soup.  Very carefully pour that over the flour & milk mixture and don't stir!!

Bake uncovered  for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown. 

NOTE:  To make your own self-rising flour, mix together 1 1/2 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. salt & 1 cup flour.  This is a great substitute & you never have to have a whole bag of self-rising flour sitting around.

I am sharing with:
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kid's Card Table Makeover

I bought one of those card table's for kids several years ago.  Having gone through 6 grandchildren, it was it need of an update.  I took off the legs & recovered the cheap, flimsy top with a chalkboard fabric. The whole project cost me zero dollars because I had leftover chalk cloth.  I would've used a staple gun but ours was broken, so I used  good, old duct tape underneath the table,  to hold down the new top.  I like the way it turned out & the kids like it, too!!  It's fun to leave messages or just to draw pictures.  A source for the chalk cloth is here at

The old, marked-up table

The old table, all made-over!

I am sharing with:

Table Top Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Rock 'n Share Party
Metamorphosis Monday
Bunny Hop

Monday, January 2, 2012

Amazing Peanut Butter Balls

I made these this year to put in my kids' cookie baskets, along with several others.  My one son told me that these overtook first place from his old favorite,  Chocolate Crackles.  He named them with the "Amazing" part!!  They really are addictive & the recipe makes a bunch.  You can even freeze them, to pull out later, when you need a treat to eat or share. 

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
5 1/2 cups Rice Krispies                                                 
2 cups peanut butter                                          
3 cups (about) semi-sweet chocolate chips
(You can also use white bark to coat the balls)

Combine confectioners sugar & Rice Krispies in a LARGE bowl.  Add peanut butter & melted butter.  Using both hands, stir immediately.  It helps to spray your hands with a little Pam to keep the mixture from sticking to them.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.  I do this at 50% power, a minute at a time & 1 cup at a time.  When melted, I usually add about 1/2 teaspoon shortening per cup of chips. 

Roll out small balls, about walnut-size, and coat with melted chocolate chips. If you want to decorate them with sprinkles, do it immediately before the chocolate hardens.  Place on cookie tray that's covered with wax paper.  Put the cookie tray with the balls into the freezer to set for 5-10 minutes.  Once set, transfer to zip lock bags.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer. 

To thaw the frozen balls, spread them out on wax paper for about 20-30 minutes.

I am sharing with:
Tea Party Tuesday
Full Plate Thursday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Foodie Friday
Rock 'n Share Party
Sweets for Saturday
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