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.