Thursday, December 3, 2009

easy parfaits

I started making these parfaits for breakfast during the busier holiday months of law school and now it's like a tradition!

1 c. Just Bunches (granola cereal)
1 lg. tub of vanilla yogurt
Your favorite berries (I used blackberries, raspberries and blueberries) sliced strawberries are good too!
Then just layer in your favorite decorative cups.

Friday, November 20, 2009

coolrise sweet rolls

Grandma Olson's Rolls
This recipe isn't that sweet and makes great dinner rolls.

1/3 c. warm water
1 Tbl yeast
1/4 c. sugar
½ c. warm milk
2 Tbl. softened butter
3/4 tsp salt
2 ½ c. flour

Add yeast to warm water in large bowl. Add sugar, milk, butter, egg and salt and mix. Add half of flour and mix well. Add the rest of the flour gradually until it forms a soft dough. If you have a dough hook, mix it in mixer, otherwise, turn out onto flour covered surface and knead 10 minutes. Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Shape into braided bread, rolls or cinnamon rolls. Let rise and cook at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Or you can cover with plastic wrap and let them rise in the fridge for up to 48 hours, take out 10–20 minutes before you put them in the oven, and then cook them.

Cinnamon rolls: Roll out dough into rectangle. Spread with butter, sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, roll up into log and cut with a knife or string. Place on greased pan and cook. Top with a little bit of vanilla, water and powdered sugar mixed together.

Orange rolls: Wash and dry an orange. Scrape off the zest (skin of the orange). Mix with sugar. Spread butter on the rectangle of dough. Sprinkle with the orange/sugar mixture. Roll up, slice, bake and top with a little bit of orange juice and powdered sugar mixed together.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

renee's thanksgiving cranapple crumble

If you like apple crumble you will love this cranberry thanksgiving twist!

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
6 cups peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick apples (I like Braeburn or Granny Smith)
1 cup fresh
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

preheat your oven to 375°. Combine the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the brown sugar, and the COLD butter in a bowl. Mix the ingredients with a pastry blender to create pea-size crumbs. Combine the apple slices and cranberries in a large bowl. Mix the juice, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the fruit and toss well. Spoon the fruit into a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle on the flour mixture. Bake the crumble until bubbly and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve with real vanilla ice cream.....ENJOY!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

maple baked acorn squash

Simply perfect!
1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons PURE Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt
chopped candied pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a strong chef's knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out. Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas. Sprinkle with pecans if you would like. Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

adrienne's stuffed mushrooms

The perfect appetizer or side dish for any holiday meal!

1 (12 ounce) package ground sweet mild Italian sausage
18 LARGE fresh mushrooms
i small onion chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley , chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup Marsala wine

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Clean the mushrooms. Remove, chop and reserve the stems.Place sausage, onion, garlic and mushroom stems (chopped) in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. In a medium bowl, gently mix the cream cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the sausage mixture and 1/4 cup wine. Using a spoon, stuff the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture. Transfer to a large baking dish, and cover with the remaining red wine. Bake in the preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is lightly brown.

thanksgiving brussel sprouts

1/2 cup pecan halves, cut crosswise into thirds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds baby Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pecan pieces in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and bake until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt to nuts and toss until butter is melted and nuts are coated. While nuts bake, cook Brussels sprouts in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain sprouts and pat dry. Melt remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to moderately high, then add sprouts and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in patches, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir in pecans and serve.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ryan's best stuffing ever

While on bed rest Thanksgiving 2005 my darling husband decided to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner for our little family. He took my stuffing recipe and added his own touches...omitting the liver and ground beef that I usually add and adding bacon and turned out AWESOME and I have been making it ever since. I am sure you will love it too!

1 pound maple or sage pork sausage (I like Jimmy Dean)
1/2 pound maple cured bacon, chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 pound fresh shitake and cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
2 apples, cored and diced
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup chicken broth
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (I like Campbell's)
3/4 cup spiced applesauce
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound dry bread cubes (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large baking dish.
Place the sausage, and bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the onion, celery, and mushrooms. Season with parsley, sage, and thyme. Cook and stir until meats are evenly browned. Mix in apples, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Drain grease. Mix butter, broth, soup, and applesauce into skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the bread cubes until evenly moist. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake covered 45 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

mom's jello salad

This is a family favorite at any family party and a must have at Thanksgiving and Christmas... and all the kid's (and adults) love it!!

1 1/2 c. Cool Whip, thawed
1 pkg. dry orange Jello
1 pt. small curd cottage cheese
1 can drained mandarin orange sections

Sprinkle dry orange Jello into the Cool Whip and fold it in. Add 1 pint carton of drainedsmall curd cottage cheese, 1 small can drained mandarin oranges. Mix together. Place in refrigerator to set up.....YUMMY!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

pumpkin gingerbread trifle

I made this 2 thanksgivings ago and it was a HUGE hit! It's a fun easy alternative to traditional pumpkin pie!!

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
3 cups whipped cream
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions (I used a 13x9 glass dish); cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Cut gingerbread nto 1 inch squares and layer into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped cream. Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps, if you'd like. Refrigerate for 2 hours. ENJOY!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

fresh cranberry sauce

This is so easy!!!


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 12-ounce package Fresh or Frozen Cranberries


Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

delicious potato casserol

These are so good!

I decided to post this because we recently had a family friend pass on from the H1N1 flu. He fought for 4 days through a medically-induced coma, then left this earth a couple days ago. Here's the story if you are interested... heartbreaking!

FUNERAL POTATOES (makes a lot!)

1 3 lb. (48 oz.)(1 bag from a box of Costco hash browns) bag frozen hash browns

1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup

2 c. sour cream (I use light)

1 c. grated cheese

2 Tbsp. minced onions (I use dehydrated onion flakes)

1 cube butter or margarine (divided into 6 Tbsp. & 2 Tbsp.)

2 c. crushed cornflakes or rice krispies (I prefer rice krispies, and use extra)

Let hash browns start to thaw. Mix the cold hash browns, soup, sour cream, cheese, onions and 6 Tbsp. of butter (melted) in a very large bowl. Place in greased 13x9 pan and smooth the top. Mix 2 Tbsp. melted butter and the crushed cereal in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour. Allow more time if the hash browns are frozen hard.


The original recipe calls for a 2 pound (32 ounce bag) of hash browns. By increasing the hash browns by a pound, it makes each individual portion less fatty. The original recipe cooks for 45 minutes since it is only 2 pounds of cold hash browns.

If you want to make a smaller batch that is less fatty, try using:

1 2 lb (32 oz.) bag of hash browns

use part or all of the soup

1 cup of sour cream

2/3 c. grated cheese

1 Tbsp. minced onion

6 Tbsp. butter (divided into 4 Tbsp. & 2 Tbsp.)

2 c. crushed cereal

Thursday, November 5, 2009

pomegranate 101

One of my favorite Holiday time snacks!!

Eating a pomegranate can be a messy task. The juice can stain your clothes and even your countertops!

The seeds of the pomegranate fruit are sweet, juicy and bursting with flavor. Sprinkled in salads, in fruit salads, over ice cream and sorbet, the seeds add an interesting addition to any dish. The seeds are tasty eaten by themselves!

Before you go biting into this delicious fruit, read these step by step instructions on how to de-seed a pomegranite. It will leave you stain free and with lots of seeds to eat!

Cut off the crown...
Slice the rind in several places...Soak the pomegranate in cold water, upside down for 5-10 minutes...
Break apart the rind of the pomegranate and remove seeds from membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Remove rind and membranes from bowl...
Drain seeds with a collander. Pat dry with cloth or paper towel. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Enjoy!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

renee's chocolate orange bread pudding

a fun twist on an old favorite!!

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 cups day-old french bread, crust removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liqueur
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 6-cup (9 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 2 3/4 inch) loaf pan with the butter. Whisk the eggs, sugar , cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, melted chocolate, and Grand Marnier together in a large mixing bowl until very smooth. Add the half-and-half and mix well. Add the bread and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the unmelted chocolate chips. Pour the remaining bread mixture over the chocolate chips. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 55 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. To serve, cut the pudding into 1-inch-thick slices. Top with the spiced cream.

Spiced Cream

1 quart heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp all spice
1 tablespoon fresh grated orange peel

Beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed in a large mixing bowl for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and beat again until the mixture thickens and forms stiff peaks (about 1 - 2 minutes), fold in grated orange peel.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

pumpkin upside-downcake with spiced cream

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounce evaporated milk
1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Spiced Cream (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with wax paper and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the eggs until slightly thickened and lemon colored. Add the sugars, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well, then gently stir in the evaporated milk. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the cake mix over the top. Sprinkle with the pecans and pour the butter evenly over the entire pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake layer comes clean with a wooden pick and bounces back when gently pressed. Cool thoroughly. Remove from the pan and place on a serving dish.

Serve with the Spiced Cream on the side, or frost with chilled Spiced Cream.

Spiced Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp all spice

Whip the cream until light and fluffy. Fold in the all spice. Chill.

green bean casserole from scratch

2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced

Fried onion rings:
2 large yellow onions, sliced into thin rings
Whole milk to cover onions
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying rings

Heat a pot with plenty of generously salted water. When the water comes to a full rolling boil, add the beans and cook until just tender. Do not crowd the beans or they will turn gray (cook in batches if necessary). Fill a large bowl with ice water and when beans are done, drain and place in the ice water. Once beans have chilled, remove from the ice water and set aside.

In a medium pot, bring the milk to a boil.

While the milk is heating, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan, then add the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon. Cook flour mixture over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly and making sure the flour doesn't brown.

Very gradually pour the boiling milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly to ensure there are no lumps. Continue to cook the milk mixture, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat. When hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and immediately follow with the sliced mushrooms, even before the butter has completely melted. (This will keep the butter from burning while allowing the pan to stay hot enough so the mushrooms saute.)

Saute the mushrooms until lightly browned, and season with salt and pepper. Pour milk mixture into pan with the mushrooms and cook together for a few minutes to meld the flavors. To make onion rings: Place onion rings in a bowl and cover with milk. Place in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, garlic salt, salt and pepper.

Place enough oil in pot to cover the onion rings (you can fry in batches, if necessary). Heat to 375° F.

Strain milk from onions. Coat onion rings with flour mixture, then fry in the hot oil. Once lightly browned, remove from oil and drain on paper towels To assemble the casserole: Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the green beans, mushroom mixture and 1 cup of the onion rings. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper, if necessary.

Spray nonstick cooking spray into an 8-inch square baking pan or any suitable size that will accommodate the beans. Pour mixture into pan and top with the remaining fried onion rings.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until hot, and serve. Note: Any component of this casserole can be done a day or two ahead, and the whole casserole can be assembled a day in advance.

crockpot coconut pecan sweet potatoes

2 lb Sweet potatoes; peel, shred
1/3 c Brown sugar; pack
1/4 c Margarine or butter; melt
1/4 c Coconut
1/4 c Broken pecans; toast
1/4 ts Ground cinnamon
1/4 ts Coconut flavoring
1/4 ts Vanilla
Toasted coconut; opt

In a 3 1/2 qt slow cooker, combine potatoes, sugar, margarine, coconut, pecans and cinnamon. Cover; cook on LOW for 6 to 8 or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Stir in coconut flavoring and vanilla. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired. ENJOY!!

turkey 101

Some helpful information from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, November 1996 to help you make the perfect Holiday turkey!!

1. Getting Started
Have ready the following equipment:

Large, heavy roasting pan (not nonstick)
Roasting rack (V-shaped or flat)
Toothpicks or small metal skewers
17-inch square of four-ply cheesecloth
Kitchen twine
Pastry brush
Instant-read thermometer
Fat separator

Remove giblets from the body and neck cavities, and reserve them; you can make Giblet Stock while the turkey is roasting.

Rinse the turkey under cool running water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body to prevent them from burning.
2. Stuffing the Bird
Insert the stuffing just before the turkey goes into the oven; never do it ahead of time. And don't pack it too tightly, as the stuffing won't cook evenly and bacteria may grow; also, don't forget to stuff the neck cavity.
3. Securing the Neck Flap
Pull the flap of skin at the neck down, and use toothpicks or small metal skewers to fasten it.
4. Trussing
Pull the legs together loosely, and tie them with kitchen string; a bow will be easy to untie later. Any kind of sturdy white string or twine will do, as long as it's made of cotton, not polyester (which may melt in the oven's heat). Rub the turkey with butter, and season it with salt and pepper.5. The Basting Process
Cover the turkey with cheesecloth that has been soaking in butter and wine; the cloth should cover the breast and part of the leg area. Make sure the cheesecloth never dries out or comes into contact with the inside walls of the oven; in either situation, it may ignite.

Every 30 minutes, use a pastry brush (better than a bulb baster) to baste the cheesecloth and exposed area of the turkey with the butter-and-wine mixture. (The turkey pictured here is out of the oven, but basting should be done in the oven and as quickly as possible, so the oven temperature doesn't drop.) Watch the pan juices; if they are in danger of overflowing, spoon them out and reserve them for the gravy.

After the third hour of cooking, take the turkey out of the oven. Carefully remove the cheesecloth, which will have turned quite brown, and discard it. Baste the turkey with pan juices, taking care not to tear the skin, and return it to the oven.
6. Temperature Taking
After the fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (if you poke a bone, try again); when the temperature reaches 180 degrees, the bird is ready.
7. Carving
Use a thin-bladed, flexible carbon-steel knife to carve the meat into thin slices.

Friday, October 30, 2009

harvest fondue

3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash ground black pepper
3/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups Italian bread cut in 1" cubes
4 cups assorted blanched veggies

In a medium saucepan combine until smooth: milk, apple juice, flour, mustard, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils; cook and stir one minute longer. Remove from heat; add cheese; stir until melted. Transfer to a fondue pot; keep warm. Serve with bread cubes and assorted vegetables. This about 2 cups.

midnight moon

1 round (8 ounces) Brie cheese
3 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons apricot preserves, divided
Assorted crackers for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut Brie cheese horizontally into halves. Combine blue cheese and walnuts. Spread 4-1/2 teaspoons apricot preserves on cut side of one half of Brie cheese; sprinkle with half of blue cheese-walnut mixture. Place remaining half of Brie cheese on top; spread with remaining 4-1/2 teaspoons apricot preserves. Wrap 3-inch-high strip of foil tightly around Brie; secure with piece of tape. Sprinkle remaining blue-cheese-walnut mixture over half of apricot preserves to form crescent moon shape. Bake cheese in 8x8-inch baking pan 7 to 9 minutes or until soft and beginning to melt. Serve immediately with crackers and sliced apples.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

renee's garlic pie

Does garlic keep the vampires away * wish I could ask Edward* This is so yummy :) Better eat something else Bella ;)

For the dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed, plus extra for the pan

For the filling

5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 cups freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
3/4 lb pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3 eggs
10 saffron threads
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

To glaze
1 egg, beaten to blend

Make the dough: In a bowl, mix the flour and the butter with your fingers until they resemble a coarse meal. Add the salt and enough ice water to make an elastic dough. Shape into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Drop in the garlic and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water. Crush the cooked garlic cloves; place in a bowl and fold in the pecorino, the pancetta, raisins, saffron, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper. Cut the dough in 2 equal pieces and roll each out into 1/2-inch thick disks. Line a buttered 10-inch pie pan with 1 disk. Spoon in the filling, mounding it high. Top with the second disk of dough and seal the edges with your fingers; trim off excess dough. Glaze the top with the beaten egg. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden. Remove from the oven, place on a serving platter, and serve hot.

spiced apple sauce

It's not just for babies!

3 pounds cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the apples, water, and brown sugar in a heavy large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the apples are tender, but not mushy. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium. Briskly simmer until most of the water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and cinnamon. Cool for 20 minutes and then mash with a fork until a thick and chunky sauce is formed. Serve warm or refrigerate for up to three days and serve chilled. For a smoother sauce, cool the apple mixture until it reaches room temperature. Place in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return to the sauce pan and re-warm before serving if desired. Makes about 3 cups of applesauce.

chocolate cinnamon devils

yummy little devils!!
1 bag cinnamon devils
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 stick butter
1/4 bar paraffin

Melt in double boiler over low heat. Dip candy with toothpick. Place on waxed paper. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

renee's perfect hot cocoa

ok guys...throw away the Stephen's hot chocolate mix! OK, you don't have to throw it away ...just save it for the kiddos. When you want creamy decadent hot cocoa, this is the one for you.

1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
8 teaspoons sugar
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat mix together the milk, half-and-half, sugar, chocolates, and brown sugar. Heat until the chocolate melts and the sugar dissolves. Do not bring to a boil, but make sure the mixture gets steaming hot. Reduce the heat and keep the chocolate hot. Place half of the mixture in a blender and mix until frothy. Return to the pan, add the vanilla, and pour into glasses. Serve immediately. This recipe doubles and triples easily. Choose your favorite eating chocolate for this recipe as that will really influence the flavor of the final drink. This makes 2 servings...Enjoy!!

friendship soup mix in a jar

A great way to show appreciation for friendship!!
1/2 cup dry split peas
1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/4 cup dried minced onion
2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup alphabet macaroni or other small macaroni (can be put in a plastic sandwich bag to make it easier for the recipient to get out of jar )

Additional Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
3 qts. water
1 (28-ozs.) can diced tomatoes, undrained

In a 1-1/2-pint jar, layer the first eight ingredients in the order listed. Seal tightly. Yield: 1 batch.

Instructions to attach to jar:

Friendship Soup Mix:

To Prepare Soup: Carefully remove macaroni from top of jar and set aside. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown beef; drain. Add the water, tomatoes and soup mix; bring to a boil Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add reserved macaroni; cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until macaroni, peas, lentils and barley are tender. Yield: 16 servings (4 quarts)

gingerbread cookies in a jar

My favorite Christmas cookie gift!!
8 C. flour
2 C. sugar
1/4 C. baking powder
1 T. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ginger
1 T. cinnamon
2 C. shortening

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut shortening in with a pastry cutter. Measure 3 Cups of mix into 4 jars. Yield: 4 Jars

Attach a gift card with the following instructions:

Gingerbread Cookies

1/3 C. molasses
1/4 C. flour
1 slightly beaten egg

Combine gingerbread mix, molasses, egg and flour. Blend well. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into gingerbread shapes. Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes. Cool and decorate. Use mix within 3 months

Note: When you tie the bow on this one, attach a gingerbread cookie cutter.

white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies in a Jar

1/2 C. chopped macadamia nut
1/2 C. white chocolate chunks or vanilla milk chips
1/2 C. packed dark brown sugar
1 C. biscuit and baking mix (first of 2 layers)
1/2 C. light brown sugar
1 C. biscuit and baking mix

In a clean 1 qt. jar layer and pack the ingredients in the order shown above. If there is any more space at the top of the jar, add more white chocolate chunks.

Add a recipe card with the following instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Empty the contents of the jar into a bowl. Stir in 1 stick of melted butter or oleo, 1 egg and 1 t. of vanilla. Mix until the dough is well combined. Shape it into 1 inch balls. Place them on the baking sheets and bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

m & m cookies in a jar

An easy, fun and festive holiday gift!
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. white sugar
1 1/2 C. mini baking M & M's
2 C. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
Mix together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a clean 1 qt. canning jar layer the ingredients in the order given, starting with the brown sugar and ending with the flour.

Attach a recipe card with the following directions:

M & M's Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Empty the contents of the jar into a mixing bowl. Add 3/4 C. softened butter or oleo. Beat in 1 egg and 1 t. vanilla. Mix in until well combined. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 10 -12 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove to a rack to cool. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Monday, October 26, 2009

renee's frightfully fantastic halloween punch

This is a great way to start any Halloween party, kids and adults both love this!!

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 (2 liter) bottle orange soda, chilled
1/2 gallon orange sherbet
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice, chilled
1 can pineapple tidbits
1 can mandarin oranges

In punch bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk and pineapple juice; add orange soda. Top with sherbet and sprinkle in fruit. ENJOY!!!

pumpkin cranberry muffins

So yummy they will disappear quickly

2 C. Pumpkin puree (canned or fresh pumpkin)
3 C. granulated sugar
1 C. buttermilk
1 C. vegetable oil
4 whole eggs
3 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. powdered ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg, freshly grated is best
3/4 t. ground cloves
1 t. salt
1 C. finely chopped pecans, toasted & cooled
1 C. dried cranberries (Craisins)

Mix together the pumpkin and sugar. Stir in the oil and buttermilk. Beat the eggs lightly and add to the mixture. Mix together flour, soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add to the pumpkin mix and stir in until just moistened. Stir in the pecans and cranberries. Scoop into miniature muffin tins which have been liberally sprayed with oil, or generously buttered. Bake until they dome up and spring back to the touch about 20 - 25 minutes at 350°F.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

creamy clam chowder

perfect on a cold day!
5 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups diced potatoes
1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (approximately 7 ounces each) chopped clams
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk

Cook bacon until crisp in a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan. Remove bacon to paper towels with slotted spoon; drain. Add onion to bacon drippings; sauté until softened. Add potatoes and clam juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Add minced clams with their liquid. Whisk flour into milk; add to chowder with half-and-half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until clam chowder thickens and bubbles, or about 3 minutes.

hell's fire bacon-cheese dip

2 (8 oz.) pkgs cream cheese
4 shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. hot mustard
1/8 tsp. cheyenne pepper (optional for extra spice)
16 slices of bacon
tortilla chips

Place all ingredients (except bacon) in crock pot and stir every 20 minutes or so. Fry and crumble bacon. When smooth add crumbled bacon to cheese mixture and cook on low for 2 hours. Serve right out of the crock pot to keep warm if desired with tortilla chips or crusty french bread.

Perfect for a game day!

Friday, October 23, 2009

easy baked apples

Simply delicious...the perfect compliment to any holiday meal!!

12 Red Delicious or another good baking apple
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped candied nuts, I like pecans
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 375° F. Peel upper half of each apple. Core to within 1/2 inch of bottom. Place apples in ungreased baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the nuts, sugar, butter and spices. Divide the mixture among the apples. Bake 30-40 minutes, basting occasionally. To test for doneness, pierce with fork; they should be tender. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or plain...YUMMY!!!

renee's praline sweet potatoes

4 C. mashed sweet potato
1/2 C. white sugar
2 T. vanilla extract
4 eggs - beaten
1/2 pint heavy cream
1/4 lb. butter or margarine
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. flour
1 1/4 C. chopped pecans

Butter one 2 quart casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a mixing bowl, combine potatoes, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and cream. Blend well. Spread into casserole dish evenly. Prepare the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, flour, and pecans. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over top sweet potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Serves about 6.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

cranberry pecan bars

Nothing says it holiday season like cranberries!!
1 C. flour
2 t. sugar
1/4 C. butter, cut into pieces
2 T. water
1/2 t. vanilla extract

1/3 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. light brown sugar
2 T. honey
3/4 C. dried cranberries
1 C. finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside. Combine flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add water and vanilla; pulse again. Press dough into prepared pan and freeze for 15 minutes. Bake dough for 15 minutes, until golden.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine whipping cream, brown sugar and honey. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cranberries and chopped pecans. Spoon filling over crust, spreading evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. Cut into squares.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

pumpkin gingerbread

Your family will thank you for this!

1 c. unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp. salt (if butter is salted use less 1/8 tsp. approx)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 (15 oz.)can pumpkin puree ( 1 3/4 c.)
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter and flour two loaf pans; set aside. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger and salt. In medium bowl, whisk together, sugars, pumpkin, melted butter, and eggs; add flour mixture, and stir just until combined. Pour into the two loaf pans. Bake 45-50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

1 1/2 c sugar

In small bowl mix sugar with 2-3 tbsp. water until mixture is smooth but thick(don't mess this up). Drizzle over loaves and wait 15 minutes.

TIP: Place wax paper underneath bread for easy clean up.

great grandma's sweet potato gratin

The perfect sweet potato!!
4 to 5 sweet potatoes
1 C. coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 C. lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
4 T. unsalted butter plus more for dish
2 C. miniature marshmallows

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan of cold water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, 20 minutes. Drain. Place potatoes in a bowl of cold water until skins begin to loosen. Peel cool potatoes; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine pecans, dark brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter, using your fingers to blend. Slice reserved potatoes 1/4 inch thick.

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Butter an 8-inch-square baking dish. Layer one-third of the potatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the nut mixture. Repeat, adding another 1/3 of the potatoes, another 1/3 of the nut mixture, then the remaining potatoes and nut mixture.

Cover with foil, and bake until heated through, about 40 minutes. Remove dish from oven, and raise temperature to broil. Top gratin with a layer of marshmallows, and heat just until browned, 30 to 60 seconds. Serve hot.

renee's pumpkin chowder

Fun fall twist on an old favorite!!

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, diced
2 cups chopped onion
2 teaspoons curry powder, preferably Madras
2 tablespoons flour
1 pound pumpkin (eating or sugar type) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Garnish: toasted pumpkin seeds
Garnish: chopped green onion

Put the bacon in a large soup pot over low heat and cook gently until it releases its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in curry powder and flour and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, potatoes, and stock. Increase the heat to medium-low and cook until the pumpkin and potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until heated through. Do not allow to boil. Serve the soup in warm bowls, garnished with pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of green onions. Serves about 6.