Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kellogg's Surprise Muffins

I used to make this recipe for my college roommates & they all loved them.  So here it is girls:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes®
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup preserves or jam
4 oz cream cheese, softened (optional)

1. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine KELLOGG'S CORN FLAKES cereal and milk. Let stand 2 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg, oil & almond extract. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined.

3. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Fill muffin cups about 1/2 way full. Top with 1-2 tsp of your favorite jam or jelly (I always use grape).  Top with remaining batter.

4. Bake at 400° F about 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with soft cream cheese.   (The jam will be very hot, so dive in with caution.)

Makes 12

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Monika's Sugar Cookies

So I love to make sugar cookies for every holiday.  And you should be very excited I'm sharing my secrets with this recipe...because I like to think I'm famous for my sugar cookies.  (I'm probably not, but you know, it keeps me going.)  So here's the goods, hopefully dummy proof:

3 cubes butter, unsalted (if using salted, cut salt to 1 1/2 tsp.)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract (this is what makes them good!)
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt

Preheate oven to 400 degrees. (8-10 minute bake time)

Cream room temperature butter and sugar together in a large mixer.  Add eggs and flavorings, beat again.  Add baking powder, salt, and most of the flour, mixing slowly until all flour is incorporated.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  (You may want to separate into two sections if it's too large to roll.)  Here's the tricky part, the more you handle your dough, the harder and yuckier your cookies will be, so less is more here.  You want to make sure you have enough flour underneath your dough that it doesn't stick to the surface, and you want to roll it out only 3 or 4 times.  So that being said, the thing that makes my cookies great is I roll them fairly thick - about 1/3", and I never bake them longer than 8-9 minutes.  If they still look like they're not done at 9 minutes, take them out anyway!  If you get them too thick, they really won't be done, so don't go thicker than I've said.  If they're brown at all, you've ruined them!  :)  That's my opinion anyway.

Let the cookies cool on a wire rack or paper towels while you whip of the frosting.  They should be completely cool before you frost or the frosting will run.

1 cube butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 lb. powdered sugar (3 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup milk
food coloring of choice

Cream together butter, flavorings and sugar.  Add milk and beat until smooth (thick, but not stiff - you want it spreadable).  Add your desired colorings at this point.  (Make sure to separate the frosting into different bowls for all the different colors you want to use.)  The trick to making edible art here is to spread the frosting with back and forth, swirling motions, don't just swipe it on the cookie.  Hold the cookie in your hand, scoop some frosting up on an icing spatula (you want the frosting to stay on the end tip) and make swirling motions to spread it around.  If you're adding sprinkles or decorations, place while the frosting is still wet.  Allow to cookies to air dry and either wrap for giving or store in an airtight container. 

Note: Unfrosted cookies freeze very well for about 2 months - just layer in between parchment and freeze in airtight container.  And, this is the best tool for icing anything:


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Easy Apple Dumplings

Apparently this is a recipe that has been passed down for generations in my family - from my Great Grandma Storment, to my Grandma Dymond, to my Mom, and now me.  This is the first time I've made it or tried it, but thought it was worth sharing.  It almost tastes like an apple cobbler (a syrup develops underneath during baking) and its fairly easy (compared to making REAL apple dumplings).

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 T sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

4 cups tart apples, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

2 cups water
2 cups sugar (if your apples are sweeter, reduce sugar to 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 cube) butter

Mix together dry ingredients for the dough.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the size of peas.  Add milk and stir to form a soft dough.  On a floured surface, roll dough into the shape of a rectangle until about 1/4" thick (be careful not to roll it too thin or the dough will rip when you roll it up).  Top with chopped apples and nuts if desired.  Roll up (just like a cinnamon roll) and seal edges by pinching.  (If it rips at this point and apples start falling out, don't worry about it - mine did too and it turns out just fine after baking.)  Cut into 1" slices and place into a 9"x13" pan.

Prepare sauce by bringing all ingredients to a boil.  Gently pour the sauce over the dumplings.  Bake uncovered at 375 for 75 minutes.  (The dough will rise up fairly high and a sauce will form during baking. You may add a bit more water after 15 minutes of baking if you have room in your pan.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

This recipe is a mixture of two I've found.  I made one today from Taste of Home and thought it needed a little something more...so I'm combining the recipes from there and Food Network to bring you this version.  I think it's a winner...and Happy Birthday, Marie!  Hope you liked your cake!

2 (14.5 ounce) pkgs. Gingerbread cake mix (prepared and baked according to package directions) - or you may use the recipe below for Gingerbread Snack Cake.
2 (3.4 oz.) pkgs. Cook & Serve Vanilla Pudding
1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Pie Mix
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 (8 ounce) carton's whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Gingersnap cookies or 2 Skor candy bars, crushed (garnish)

Prepare & bake gingerbread.  Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Combine pudding mixes with milk and bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.  Add pumpkin pie mix and brown sugar to pudding & stir until smooth.

Crumble gingerbread cake into small pieces. Place one layer of the crumbled gingerbread into your serving / trifle dish and press down lightly to compact the layer. Pour 1/2 of the can of sweetened condensed milk over the gingerbread.  Add a layer of the pumpkin pudding (make sure it has cooled completely first - if not you'll end up with air pockets and it won't look pretty).  Add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat the layers again.  (You may need to hold off on the final layer of whipped topping until after chilling if your dish is full - it will settle in the refrigerator).  At this point, refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Before serving, add a final layer of whipped topping in decorative swirls.  Garnish with crushed gingersnap cookies or skor candy bars.  Yield: 25 (1 cup) servings

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gingerbread Snack Cake

I am making my dear sister-in-law a pumpkin gingerbread trifle tomorrow for her birthday and the recipe calls for a gingerbread mix, which I could not find anywhere (okay at either of the two stores at which I had time to look).  So, I had to resort to googling a recipe to make from scratch.  So worth it!  I probably sampled a little more than I should have tonight and I wish I could remember what site this recipe came from (I think it was a Martha Stewart blog), but anyway, it's delicious.  Had to share.

1 stick (8 oz) butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 T freshly grated ginger
2 large eggs

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan; set aside.  In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside.  With an an electric mixer & paddle attachment, cream butter until light. Beat in brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in molasses and grated ginger, baking-soda mixture, flour & spices. Beat in eggs.
Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares; dust with confectioners’ sugar or whipped cream.

Chicken Enchiladas

Not the best picture.  Guess I'll have to work on that.  Regardless, these are delicious & easy!

1 lb. chicken breast, cooked & shredded or cubed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can green chilis OR 4-5 green onions, sliced
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
10 tortillas (I've been using whole wheat, or you can get fresh ones at a local bakery that add to the experience)
1-28 oz can green chile enchilada sauce

In a medium bowl, mix chicken, soup, chilis OR onions, and 1/2 of the cheese.  Lay out tortillas on a large workspace and distribute filling evenly.  Pour a bit of enchilada sauce into the bottom of your baking dish to prevent sticking.  Roll up tortillas tightly and place in baking dish.  Top with enchilada sauce and remaining cheese.  (At this point you can top with sliced black olives before baking if you'd like.)  Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Variations:  If you're not a fan of the spicy sauce, I've used cream of chicken soup mixed with sour cream and a bit of water in its place.  Also, pre-cooked rice and black beans may be added to the filling if you want to beef them up.  Also, a note about the chicken - to save time I often boil a large package of chicken breasts (about 40 minutes to make sure they're done).  Then, allow them to cool and cube or shred.  Place in ziploc bags in the freezer to use at your convenience.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Probably the best thing I make.  Sad, but true.  So I 've made this a variety of ways: in the oven, in the crockpot, with biscuit dough, with pie crust...it's up to you.  But I will say, the best tasting pot pie is when it's been in the crock pot all day, and then finished off in the oven with your topping of choice.  This just gives it more time for the chicken and vegetables to be tender, and for all the flavors to meld.  This recipe is super easy.

Mix together the following:
1 lb. cubed chicken
1/2 bunch celery, diced
1/2 bag (8 oz.) carrots, diced
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 onion, minced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon pepper

Simmer in a crockpot for 6-8 hours.  Add 1/2 bag frozen peas & 1 can of corn.  Transfer to a large baking dish and top with either biscuit dough or a double pie crust recipe.  Bake @ 400 degrees for 15-20 more minutes or until golden brown.  If you're short on time, mix all ingredients together and bake @ 350 for one hour with the pie crust on, or for an hour, then add your biscuit dough and bake for an additional 15.  (You'll have to crush your bouillon or use use granules.)

Some notes: Dusty's favorite topping is the garlic cheese biscuit recipe on the back of the bisquick box - so try that if you'd like.  My favorite topping is pie crust.  Also, if someone in your family doesn't like the smell of onions permeating every corner of the house, you do have options.  One time, I made this the day before we left on vacation.  When we arrived at our destination and opened our suitcases, there it was...the aroma of chicken pot pie.  I won't mention any names, but someone at my house isn't a fan of that onion smell and this incident was the final opportunity for its offense.  I now lovingly place the crockpot in the garage anytime I want to make this dish.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from cooks.com.  I love it - and just had three while they were hot.  Mmm.

2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. milk
2 cups pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 T baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Dissolve baking soda in milk in a large mixer.  Add pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs & vanilla.  Mix together til smooth.  Add flour, baking powder, salt & spices.  Mix for about one minute.  Add chocolate chips & mix again.  Scoop onto cookie sheets & bake @ 375 for 12 minutes.  Makes about 5 dozen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bacon Cheese Breakfast Rolls

Mix the following with a dough hook:
1 T yeast (dissolved in water)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 T sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup minced dried onion
3 cups flour (add more while kneeding to make a soft dough)

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Roll into a rectangle.  Top with:
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup crumbled bacon

Roll up lengthwise and seal edges.  Cut into 1 inch rolls and place in buttered baking dish.  Allow to rise for 20-30 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle garlic salt on top.  (These freeze really well if you need a quick breakfast idea.  Just microwave to thaw and enjoy.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Taco Soup

We had this tonight.  So good!  Put the following ingredients into your crockpot:

1/2 lb. cooked ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
8 oz. tomato sauce + 1 can water
16 oz. can corn
16 oz. stewed tomatoes
32 oz. chili beans

Stew for several hours.  Top with grated cheddar cheese, fritos & diced avocado.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Grandma's Breakfast Cookies

Dusty's Mom has been making these for years.  They are so delicious!  In recent years she has made them with Splenda and whole wheat flour to be more diabetic friendly, but you can make them with regular brown sugar and white flour if you'd like.  Also, just a note, if you use QUICK oats, you'll need to decrease the flour to 2 cups.  This dough is not like a normal cookie dough, it's almost muffin or cake like, so don't be worried about the consistency, just scoop it onto baking sheets and put them in the oven!  (More flour will make them softer & rounder, less flour, more flat & chewy.)  And seriously, these are healthy enough for the kids to eat for breakfast.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup Splenda brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups whole oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream shortening with sugar.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Add applesauce.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Add raisins & chips.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

It's cold, and time to use that crockpot.  This recipe is easy and tasty.  Sorry, my picture didn't turn out so hot, so you'll just have to make it and see what it looks like yourself!

Dump the following into your crockpot:
1 lb. beef stew meat (frozen or thawed)
1 onion, diced
8 oz. carrots, diced (1/2 a small bag)
1/2 bunch celerey, diced
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
4 small cans tomato sauce (you can use diced tomatoes if you like them)
4 beef bouillon cubes
Salt & Pepper
Add enough water to just cover ingredients, cook on high for 6-7 hours.  Add 1 can corn 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sweet & Sour Pork with Fried Rice

I LOVE Asian food - more than Italian, more than Mexican; it is just so good!  I could eat take out from our favorite place a couple of times a week and never tire of it.  But alas, our budget cannot handle all that eating out, so I make this from time to time to stifle my cravings.  This recipe is from none other than Marjorie Pay Hinckley.  You can find it in its original form in her book, "Small and Simple Things".  But here's my slightly modified version:

Sweet & Sour Sauce (make first & set aside)
1/2 cup sugar (or Splenda if you want low cal)
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
1/3 cup vinegar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup

Combine sugar & cornstarch. Stir into vinegar & water & whisk to remove lumps.  Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  (You can also do this in the microwave - just stir after each 60 seconds.  It takes 2-3 minutes.) Add ketchup after removing from heat.

Sweet & Sour Pork
Cut one pound of pork or chicken into 3/4 inch cubes.  Toss in one beaten egg white and then coat with 2 T. flour & a pinch of salt (I like to use season salt).  Deep fry pork in hot oil until brown.  Remove from pan & set aside on some paper towels to drain.

Remove most of the remaining oil from the pan (leave about 2-3 T.) and saute the following:
1 onion, large diced
1 green pepper, large diced
8 oz (half bag) of baby carrots, cut on a bias

Don't cook to long, just a few minutes should get the vegetables softer, but still crisp.  Add the pork back in along with a can of drained pineapple chunks (or you can use fresh which is fabulous!).  Stir in the sweet & sour sauce and serve immediately over steamed rice or with fried rice.

Fried Rice
1/4 cup butter
Approx 4 cups cooked white or brown rice (if it's been cooked the day prior and refrigerated it works great)
soy sauce
2-3 eggs
1 cup frozen peas or pea/carrot combo

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Toss in rice and cook until browned.  Sprinkle with soy sauce & plenty of salt.  Add veggies at this point (you can also add cooked cubed chicken if you want this to be a stand alone meal), stir and move rice to one side of the pan.  Break eggs right into the skillet.  Salt and stir to scramble.  Combine entire mixture together and let sit on low heat until ready to serve.