Wednesday, September 30, 2009

8-Layer Salad

This salad is freakin' delicous!  I could eat half the bowl on my own.  No joking.  I know it's not really a fall recipe, but we eat this at every special family dinner it seams - Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, barbecues...the list could go on.  Today is Dusty's Dad's bday and he quite enjoys this salad as well, so we had to brew one up.  Here's the recipe:

1 head iceberg lettuce, bite size pieces
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup green pepper, diced
1 cup green onion, sliced
1 pkg. green peas, thawed under warm water
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
2 T. sugar
1 cup Hormel cooked bacon, or 8 crisp slices, crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Layer first five ingredients in order given.  Combine mayo, sour cream & sugar & spread over peas like frosting.  Sprinkle with bacon & cheese.  Cover tightly and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.  Do not mix before serving.

(NOTE: Salad will keep longer if you spin your lettuce first)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Creamy Potato Soup & Cornbread

That's what I made for dinner tonight! 

Creamy Potato Soup:
1 lb. bacon (or 1 cup already cooked bacon - like Hormel bits)
1 onion, diced
1/2 bunch celery, diced (include leaf)
4 medium potatoes, small diced
4 chicken bouillon cubes
5-6 cups water
1 cup milk (or 1 can evaporated milk)
1 cup instant potatoes (or cornstarch slurry)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

If using fresh bacon, slice into small pieces and cook to a crisp in large stock pot.  Remove bacon to paper towels to drain and add onion & celery to bacon grease.  Stir just until browned, then add potatoes, water (you want it to completely cover your veggies, plus be about 2 inches above) & bouillon cubes.  (If not using fresh bacon, use 1/4 cup butter to brown your veggies.)

Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are done.  Add milk, then stir in enough of the instant potatoes to thicken the soup (or you can mix cornstarch & water and use that to thicken to your desired consistency - be careful with this though, only add a little at a time and wait until it's boiled for a minute or two to check the thickness before adding more).  Turn off heat.  Stir in crisp bacon & cheese just before serving.  Salt & Pepper to tast.

NOTE: Only add your dairy products just before serving or you will end up with grainy looking soup.

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients together.  Add wet ingredients and stir until combined.  Pour into lightly greased 9x9x2 pan or muffin cups.  Bake @ 425 for about 20 minutes.  Serve with butter & honey.  (Check prior to the 20 minutes as you don't want overdone cornbread!  It should feel springy like a cake, but you don't want it to turn brown.)

Apple Pie

Everyone loves apple pie, right?  I know I do!  I made three the other day with some apples my sweet sister-in-law decided to share with me, and forgot to take a picture.  So, a picture will be coming soon...I'll just have to make them again.  As for the recipe, I got this one from my first baking instructor back in college.  Mmm.  Still my favorite.  It makes 2-9" pies.

1 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
10 cups tart apples, peeled & thinly sliced
2 T. butter

Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon & salt.  Toss with sliced apples and allow to sit while you prepare the crust.

5 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 c. crisco (butter flavored is great)
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 T. vinegar or lemon juice

Cut in shortening to flour/salt mixture with a pastry blender or fork until the size of small peas.  Whisk together milk, eggs & vinegar, then slowly stir into the flour mixture.  DO NOT over mix or your crust will be tough.

Divide dough into 4 sections.  Gently squish each section into a ball, and roll out onto a lightly floured surface.  You'll have to turn quite often to keep from sticking, and squish the edges back together as you roll to keep it a perfect circle.  When you've accomplished that, fold circle in half and move to pie plate.  Press into plate and trim the edges (flush if you're making a double crust, about 3/4" over if you're making a dutch apple).  For a double crust, add your filling at this point, rub some cold water on the edges of the pie, top with another crust and seal the edges.  You can use a knife to make slits in the top crust, or use cookie cutters to make a design before placing on top of the apples.  Once the seam is sealed, flute your edges.  Bake for 40-50 minutes.

For Dutch Apple Pie, flute the edges on your single crust after adding filling, then top with the following mixture and bake for the same amount of time:

Fruit Crisp Topping:
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. butter (cut into the flour mixture to form coarse crumbs)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These are my favorite muffins!  Not really on the healthy side, but delicious!  I couldn't help myself today and made a double batch.  Mmm.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut butter into small cubes and blend into dry ingredients with fork or pastry blender until the size of small peas. 

Stir together the following wet ingredients and add all at once:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 egg

Mix together just until moistened (over mixing will make your muffins tough and they will have peaks & tunnels). 

Gently stir in:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can use milk chocolate, but they will be a bit too sweet)  To avoid over-mixing, I stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients maybe three or four turns, then add the chocolate chips and continue combining together.Fill greased muffin cups 2/3rds full and bake @ 400 degrees for 16-19 minutes.  Makes 12.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Baked French Toast Casserole

I got this yummy recipe from Paula Dean.  It's basically bread pudding, but we eat it for breakfast.  So good!

• 1 loaf bread (I use cinnamon burst from Great Harvest, but you can use raisin bread, french bread, or white)
• 8 large eggs
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 cup milk
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Dash salt
• Praline Topping, recipe follows

Break bread into small pieces and arrange in a greased 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl or blender, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk or pulse until blended but not too bubbly (DO NOT OVER PULSE IF MIXING IN A BLENDER). Pour mixture over the bread cubes, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  (You can top with praline mixture at this point if desired.)

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup & whipped cream if desired.

Praline Topping:
• 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Ahh fall...what a perfect time to start this blog.  I am often asked for recipes and am hoping this will be an easy way to share with you my love for food.  I love to cook (and I love to eat!), especially during this time of year when the air is crisp, the leaves are turning, and I'm finally okay with having my kitchen heated up by an oven.  I'd like to start this blog with baking recipes.  Baking is definitely my preferred pastime in the kitchen.  I was taught in culinary school to measure everything when baking, but I rarely do.  I shall try to do my best at getting my exact recipes posted for you all to try.  Get ready for some delicous ones as they'll be coming your way quickly!