Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pear Crumble

This week's Saturday Sweet is Pear Crumble.  This is the second dessert I recently made with some pears that we were given.  This is like a crisp so why it is called a crumble I do not know.

I liked this cold, but hubby liked it just barely warmed with a scoop of ice cream on top.  I just heated a serving in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm it.

Pear Crumble
4 fresh pears; peeled, cored, sliced
2 T. flour
1/2 t. cinnamon; divided
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. finely chopped nuts

Place pear slices in the bottom of a lightly greased 8" square pan. Combine 2 flour and 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon. Sprinkle over pears. Combine flour, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, sugar and salt. Cut in butter and add nuts. The mixture will be crumbly. Spoon topping over pears. Bake uncovered at 350F for 30-35 minutes until pears are tender.  Serve slightly warm with ice cream or chilled.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Makes 6 to 8 serving.

Linking to:  Strut Your Stuff
Seasonal Inspiration
Weekend Potluck
Show Your Stuff
I'm Lovin' It
Saturday Nite Special
Recipe Sharing Monday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Must Try Monday
Mop It Up Monday
Making Monday Marvelous
Made by You Monday
Mangia Monday
This Week's Cravings

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Finds

My sweet tooth got the best of me this week, so my finds are mostly sweets.  Enjoy.

Crazy for Crust

These have three of my favorite things, oatmeal, chocolate, and peanut butter.  Hubby is going 4-wheeling tomorrow and needs cookies.  I think I will be making these today.  The post shows Dorothy's little girl making these.  The photos are adorable.

Julie's Eats and Treats

She serves this dip with apples, but I'll bet if works with carrot and celery sticks.  I can also see it served with graham crackers, yum.

Flavors by Four

This is a gal after my own heart.  Her recipe calls for a frozen pie crust.  Pie crust is something I rarely make.  I love streusel toppings so this is the best of both worlds, pie and apple crisp.

The Better Baker

We all probably have a cake mix or two stashed away in the pantry.  What a good way to use up the dabs of chips that are sometimes left over from other recipes.  This is a good basic idea that one could do a lot with.

Crumbs and Choas

I really need to use those donut pans I purchased earlier this year.  These sure do look yummy.

I did manage to find a couple of main dish recipes that look delicious.

The Cannary Family

Just four simple ingredients make up this recipe.  Although the recipe calls for Miracle Whip, she use mayonnaise and said it was delicious.  I think that chicken breasts could be used as well as thighs with a shortened cooking time.

Lisa's Dinner Time Dish

This blog has photo sharing disabled so I can't bring one over.  You know how much I like oriental inspired dishes.  This one takes plum sauce which I just happen to have in the pantry.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

For more great finds hop on over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen's Friday Favorite Finds and check out the links.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats-Glazed Cinnamon Toffee Bars

Wow, another year has passed, and here it is time for another 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda over at Meal Planning Magic.

It is so handy to have cookies and other goodies stocked away in the freezer at holiday time.  It is also nice to have a cookie mix on hand.  This year I thought that I would do something a little different.

I have a wonderful recipe for a homemade cookie mix from which over 20 different cookies can be made.  Today I am sharing the basic recipe and one of the cookies.  Each week I will share another cookie which can be made with the mix.

The original recipe called for shortening, but I usually use butter instead.  If using butter, the mix must be stored in the refrigerator.  It will tend to lump up a bit so will need to be stirred well before measuring.

The recipe for the Glazed Cinnamon Toffee Bars calls for an unusual ingredient, cottage cheese.  You may put it through a food processor or blender if you want to hide it.  You could also use sour cream or yogurt if desired.  The bars have a texture somewhat like a light brownie.

Holiday Cookie Mix
8 c. flour
2 c. white sugar
2 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 t. salt
4 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3 c. shortening or butter

In a very large bowl, combine flour, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix until thoroughly blended.  Cut in shortening or butter until mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.  Transfer to zip top bag or bags or a tightly covered container.  Store in the refrigerator if using butter.  Makes about 16 cups mix.

Glazed Cinnamon Toffee Bars
3 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1 c. quick oats
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. cottage cheese
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. cinnamon chips
1/2 c. toffee chips
1/2 c. chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans
1 T. melted butter
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. or more milk

In a large bowl combine cookie mix, quick oats and cinnamon.  Mix well.   Combine  cottage cheese, eggs and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Stir in cinnamon chips, toffee chips and walnuts or pecans.  Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees about 20 to 25 minutes.  Place on a rack and let cool.  Combine melted butter, powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Add milk until of a glaze consistency.  Brush over the top of the bars.  Let cool and cut into bars.  Makes about 36 bars.  Store in a zip top bag.

There is still time to join us in this fun link-up.  Just click here to find the details.  For lots of great recipes just check out the links below.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vegetable Beef Soup

Shame on me, I forgot my weekly Welcome and Thank You to my new followers and readers so here it is today.  Welcome new followers and Thank You to all who take the time to read my blog.  I am truly humbled that anyone would spend some time from their busy lives here.  I always endeavor to write posts that will be useful.

The days are getting a little colder, so when I think about something to make for lunch soup comes to mine.  From time to time our local newspaper prints recipes that have been sent in by readers.  This soup recipe was submitted by Amy Olander.

I, of course, have changed the recipe some from the original.  This is somewhat like a sloppy stew and  makes a large pot which will feed hubby and me for several days.

Vegetable Beef Soup
adapted from a recipe by Amy Olander
2 c. cubed potatoes
1 c. diced carrots
3/4 c. diced celery
1 c. diced onions
6 c. water
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained of excess fat
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. diced green or red pepper
1/2 c. barley
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 t. dried parsley or 1 T. snipped fresh parsley
1 large bay leaf
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
3 whole allspice
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

In a large sauce pot combine potatoes, carrots, celery and onion.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are just tender.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer at least 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and allspice before serving.  Serves 6 to 8.

Linking to:  Trick or Treat Tuesday
Show Me What You Got Tuesday
Tuesday Talent Show
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Tuesday at the Table 
Tasteful Tuesday
Terrific Tuesday
Take-a-Look Tuesday
Get Your Craft On
Hunk of Meat Monday

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spaghetti Pepperoni Pie

I am always looking for new recipes to try for lunches.  Recently I purchased a package of pepperoni that was near its sell-by date for half off.

I remembered a recipe I had clipped from a Family Circle magazine some time ago.  I made a few adaptations and made the recipe for lunch.  We liked it, and I think it is a dish that would appeal to kids.

Turkey pepperoni can be used in this dish.  I don’t care for it, so I degrease regular pepperoni using the microwave.  I have included the directions to do that in the recipe.

Spaghetti Pepperoni Pie
1/2 lb. spaghetti, broken into thirds
1/3 c. dry bread crumbs
2 T. grated parmesan cheese (the shelf stable kind)
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
4 oz. sliced pepperoni (may use turkey pepperoni if desired)
1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 T. grated parmesan cheese

Prepare spaghetti according to package directions, cooking for 8 minutes.  Drain spaghetti and set aside.  Meanwhile, combine  bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl and mix well.  Pour into the bottom of a 10-inch pie pan and spread evenly.  Set aside.  Line a microwave-safe plate with a paper towel.  Place pepperoni slices on a plate as you would for a pizza.  Cover with another paper towel.  Add another layer of pepperoni slices.  Cover with another paper towel.  Repeat one more time.  Cover with a paper towel.  Place plate in microwave and microwave on high about 30 seconds.  Pat top paper towel to help it absorb excess grease from pepperoni.  Stack 5 or 6 slices of pepperoni and cut into quarters with kitchen shears.  Repeat with remaining pepperoni.  Add pepperoni, spaghetti sauce and 1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese to spaghetti.  Mix well.   Add eggs and mix until very well blended.  Carefully turn spaghetti mixture into bread crumb lined pie pan.  Spread spaghetti evenly.  Place in a 350-degree oven and bake 30 minutes.  Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and the 3 T. grated parmesan cheese over the top of spaghetti.  Bake 10 minutes for or until cheese has melted.  Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes.  Cut pie into 6 wedges.  Serves 6.

 Linking to:  Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pear Pudding Cake

The Saturday Sweet for this week and next will feature pears.  Although I have used fresh pears in quick breaks and such, I have made very few dessert recipes in which they were more or less the star of the dessert.

A few weeks ago we were given some Bartlett pears which, of course, managed to all ripen at about the same time.  I decided to make a couple desserts with them, and this is one that I made.

It is one of those cake on top, sauce on the bottom dishes which we like a lot.  I will be making this again.  Although it was very good cold, it was wonderful just slightly warmed with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream on the top.  After the first day, I just microwaved each serving for abut 30 seconds and added the ice cream.

Fresh or canned pears can be used in this recipe so it can be made year round.  I like to add chopped walnuts or pecans for a little-added crunch, but that is entirely optional.

Pear Pudding Cake
2 c. flour
1 1/3 c. sugar (may reduce sugar if using canned pears)
1 T. baking powder
1  t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
Dash ground cloves
1  c. milk
2 to 3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped or 1 (16 oz.) can pears, drained and chopped (bite size pieces) save juice
1/2 c. toasted chopped walnuts or pecans (opt.)

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and blend well.  Stir in milk until well blended.  Add chopped pears and stir.  Turn batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking dish.  Combine the following ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.  Gently pour over the top of batter.

1 1/2 c. boiling water (if using canned pears use drained juice as part of the water)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 t. vanilla

Bake at 375degrees for 45 minutes.  Serve at room temperature or just slightly warm with ice cream if desired.   Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.  Serves 12 to 15.

Linking to:  Sweets for a Saturday
Strut Your Stuff
Show Your Stuff
I'm Lovin' It
Seasonal Inspiration
Saturday Nite Special

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Finds

With  apple harvest in full swing here, and some bloggers doing Apple Week, I thought I would share some of my finds for recipes containing apples this week.

Finding Joy in My Kitchen

I combined apples and zucchini to make Applezini Dream Bars, and our own fearless leader of Friday Favorite Finds shared these delicious looking muffins.  My hubby loves hot muffins with dinner.  I can't wait to make these for him.

Sprinkled with Flour

Nikki over at Chef in Training posted 50 Pumpkin/Apple Recipes.  Among them was this recipe.  These are going in my oven today.  This recipe was posted back in 2010, and I may not have found it without Nikki's link.  One of the things I love about Friday Favorite Finds is finding links to recipes that I have not run across myself, so I love it when bloggers post lists like these.

Sugary Sweets

OK, this one has apple pie filling not fresh apples in it, but it's candy.  Who can resist fudge? 

Crumbs and Choas

Wouldn't these be great for breakfast, and a good use for that tube of crescent rolls that I seem to always have in the fridge.

Jam Hands

I think apples in salads really make them shine.  Ali has shared this great looking one.  Apples and pecans, a great wonderful combination.

Chocolate, Chocolate and More

I grew up eating these.  In addition to using them as a topping as Joan does, they are great as a side dish for pork instead of applesauce.  Every cook should know about these.

There can't be too many apple recipes for me.  What is your favorite recipe containing apples?

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the respective blogs represented.

Come on over with me to Friday Favorite Finds to see what other bloggers have found this week.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Improv Cooking Challenge-Applezini Dream Bars

The ingredients that our hostess Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker gave for the Improv Challenge for September were Zucchini and Brown Sugar.

Zucchini has been used in many baking recipes such as zucchini bread, cake and cookies.  I wanted to bake something a little different so combined a couple of recipes to make Applezini Dream Bars.  This bar cookie has a flour/brown sugar crust with an apple/zucchini topping.

If the zucchini is peeled, it will pretty much disappear in the apples.  I don’t peel it, but you may want to if feeding picky eaters.   If the zucchini is large, remove the seeded areas.  For the apple use a good baking apple.   I used Honey Crisp apples.

I used Apple Pie Spice for seasoning, and I make my own.  Cinnamon can be used instead.

I took these to my aunt’s 90th birthday potluck where they were very well received.  Even though I did not peel the zucchini, no one knew what it was until I told them.

Applezini Dream Bars
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. butter or regular margarine
2 c. apple, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4 inch dice (about 2 large)
2 c. zucchini diced into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 medium)
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 t. apple pie spice or cinnamon
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
4 eggs, at room temperature

In a medium bowl combine flour and brown sugar.  Stir to mix well.  Cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Pat mixture into the bottom of a foil-lined 9x13-inch baking pan.  Bake at 300 degrees 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Meanwhile in a large bowl combine apples, zucchini, lemon juice, apple pie spice, sugar, flour and salt.  Stir to mix well.  In a small bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored.  Pour eggs over the apple/zucchini mixture and blend well.  Spread over the baked crust.  Bake at 350 degrees about 50 to 60 minutes or until well set.  Let cool.  Cut into bars.  Makes about 36 bars.  Store, covered, in refrigerator because of the high concentration of egg.  These may also be cut into larger squares and topped with whipped cream or whipped topping to serve as a dessert.  Would make 12 to 15 servings.

Oatmeal and raisins are the Improv ingredients for October.  Gather up any recipes that include these and come join in the fun.  You can find all the details on Kristen's Improv Page.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ingredient Spotlight-Corn Husk Bread

Since the Ingredient Spotlight over at Eat at Home is cornmeal today, I thought I would share this fun and different way to make cornbread.  It may have been the way that Indians did it before there were ovens.  I saw this idea in an issue of Country Living Magazine where it was called Indian Shuck Bread.  Because there is no flour in this recipe; and the bread is boiled, not baked, the cornbread is very dense much like the outside of a tamale.

I used fresh corn husks but would suggest using the commercial dried ones as they are bigger.  I had to use two husks for each amount of dough and had water seep inside the husks during the boiling.  I was able to blot the bread with paper towels and they were fine: but I could not leave them in the husks to serve them which is part of the fun of this recipe.  Commercial dried corn husks can be found in the Hispanic section of almost any grocery store.

Do make the Maple Butter to go with these.  It makes all the difference.


Corn Husk Bread
14 large dried corn husks, soaked in water until softened, about 1 hour
1 c. cornmeal
1/2 T. light brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
3/4 c. water

Blot soaked corn husks dry and tear 4 husks into 5 thin strips each, set strips and husks aside.  In a medium bowl stir together cornmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper.  Measure water into a glass measuring cup and bring to a boil in the microwave.  Carefully pour water over dry ingredient and mix until a soft dough forms.  Form 2 tablespoons of dough into a 1x3-inch log.  Place in a corn husk, wrap dough and tie the ends with two of the thin strips forming a packet.  Repeat with remaining dough, cornhusks and strips.  Fill a Dutch oven or another large pan half full with water and bring to a boil.  Add corn husk packets and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove, letting excess water drain off.  Serve hot in the husks with Maple Butter.  Makes 10.

Maple Butter
1/2 c. butter, very soft
1 T. light brown sugar
1/4 t. maple flavor

Combine butter, brown sugar, and maple flavor and mix until very well blended.  Serve with hot cornbread or biscuits.  Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.  Makes 1/2 c.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fast and Frugal Pita Chips

I like pita chips and eat them often.  I try to steer clear of snacks that are too salty like potato chips.  The only fault I have with pita chips is the cost.  They tend to be on the expensive side.

Last year I posted about shopping at bakery outlet stores.  We have three of them in a nearby town.  One of them is the outlet for Oroweat who makes Sandwich Thins.  I can regularly buy these for $1.00 for a package of 8.

When you think about it the Sandwich Thins are very much like small pitas.  When I realized that, I decided that they would be great to use to make my own pita-like chips.

I used four of the Sandwich Thins which gave me eight halves.  I cut each half into 6 triangles.  (This amount will fit into one 10x15-inch jelly roll pan.)  I  brushed them with olive oil and used Spice Islands Garlic and Herb Grinder to season them.   I baked the chips in a 350-degree oven about 7 to 10 minutes until they were just crisp.  They crisp up more as they cool.

I love the fact that you can use either melted butter or olive oil or a combination of both of them on the chips.  I also love that you can just leave them plain or sprinkle them with any seasoning desired or even a little grated cheese.

If you, too, like pita chips and would like to save some money, you might want to give this a try.

Now I could share that the same things can be done with the Bagel Thins to make bagel chips, or I could keep quiet and save that info for another post.  The baking time may need to be adjusted some.


Fast and Frugal Pita Chips
4 Sandwich Thins
1 to 2 T. olive oil, melted butter or a combination
seasonings of choice and/or grated cheese

With a knife or kitchen shears cut each sandwich thin half into six pieces.  Place in a single layer in a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan.  Brush with olive oil, melted butter or a combination.  Sprinkle with seasoning of choice and/or grated cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees 7 to 10 minutes until just crisp.  Remove from oven and cool.  They will crisp up more as they cool.  Makes 48.

Linking to:  Trick or Treat Tuesday
Show Me What You Got Tuesday
Tuesday Talent Show
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesday Time Out
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tasteful Tuesday
Terrific Tuesday
Take-a-Look Tuesday
Get Your Craft On
Full Plate Thursday
Sweet Treats and Swanky Stuff
Tastetastic Thursday
Tasty Thursday
Showcase Your Talent Thursday

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hasty Tasty Sauce on Fried Cube Steak

Happy Monday all and a warm welcome to my new followers.  Thank you for taking time from your busy lives to read this blog.  It is truly appreciated.  I hope what you find here proves to be useful.

We like cube steak, but I don’t always want to make chicken fried steak with it.  This is what I sometimes do instead.

Hasty Tasty Sauce is a way to stretch steak sauce out a little bit.  Although I served the sauce with fried cube steak, It can be served with any kind of steak or meatloaf.  The sauce flavor will vary somewhat depending on the kind of steak sauce that is used.

I think I might have actually gotten a somewhat decent picture of a hunk of meat.


Fried Cube Steak
cube steak
flour (about 1/2 c. per 2 cube steak)
salt and pepper or other seasonings
vegetable oil (enough to cover the bottom of skillet)

Place flour in a shallow container.  Add salt and pepper or other seasonings to taste and mix well.  Pour oil into skillet and heat on medium-high heat until it is hot.  Coat both sides of cube steak in the flour mixture.  Place in hot oil but do not let them touch each other.  Cook  about 5 minutes, turn and cook about 5 minutes more until done.

Hasty Tasty Sauce
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/3 c. steak sauce
2 T. brown sugar, packed
1/2 T. vegetable oil

Combine tomato sauce, steak sauce, brown sugar and vegetable oil in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and keep warm.  Makes about 1 1/3 c. sauce.  This will keep for a week or so.

Linking to:  Hunk of  Meat Monday

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fresh Peach Melba Cookies

For those of you who might be interested, Brenda over at Meal Planning Magic is again hosting 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets (that may not be the final title this year).  It is scheduled to start  September 27th.  If you would like to join in the fun, you can go here to sign up.  Even if you don't sign up, come by every week for a link up to many wonderful Holiday themed recipes.

This week's Saturday Sweet came from a Martha Steward Living magazine which was among the magazines destined for recycling that I was tearing recipes from recently.  I can't pass up a cookie recipe, and when I saw this one was Fresh Peach Drop Cookies I immediately tore it out.

Since peaches were in season, I thought it was a very good time to make the recipe.   I had only one challenge.   The recipe called for some peach jam or preserves, and I did not have any.  I did have some raspberry jam in my fridge so decided to give the cookie recipe a try with that.  They turned out fine so I would say that one could use any jam in this recipe.

The dough can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.    Although they will keep for several days, the cookies are best the day that they are made.   I would keep the dough in the fridge and bake the cookies as I needed them.

A note about the photo:  This is the arrangement of the cookies that was in the photo in the magazine.  I took a photo of that photo and was going to put it up as a comparison to see how I did.  After thinking about it and getting concerned about copyright issues, I decided not to.  I do know if someone had asked me a year or so ago if I paid any attention to how food was styled in magazine photos, I would have said, “No.”


Fresh Peach Melba Cookies
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine

2 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla
2 large ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/3 c. raspberry or peach jam

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.  Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and beat in egg and vanilla.  Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Add peaches and jam and stir gently until well combined.  Drop dough with a 1 1/2-inch scoop or tablespoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and just set, about 11 to 13 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheets 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Linking to:  Weekend Potluck
Sweets for a Saturday
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Show Your Stuff
I'm Lovin' It Party
Seasonal Inspiration

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Finds

Here are a few of the recipes that caught my eye in my travels around the web this week.

In Cindy's Kitchen

I have said before that I like to make homemade crackers.  This is a blog and recipe that is new to me.  I like her idea of dividing the dough into three portions and putting a different topping on each one.  There are so many spice/herb combinations that could be used with these, that one could have a different cracker every day for at least a month.

Dishes and Dishes

Since I like cumin so much, I am anxious to try it with sweet potatoes.  What a great idea.

Tess-The Domestic Diva

This is one of the easiest and simplest recipes I have seen for a homemade Nutella-like spread.  It looks like this one could be used for people who cannot eat the purchased one.

Growing up Gabel

I still need more recipes for cooking beef roasts in a slow cooker.  This looks like a good one to try.

All photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am sharing this with Friday Favorite Finds over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  Hop on over with me to see what others have found in their travels around the web this week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ingredient Spotlight-Peanut Butter Brittle Cookies

Recently I was tearing out recipes and articles from some old magazines so that I could send the magazines for recycling.  Am I the only one who still tears recipes from magazines, I wonder.

One of the recipes that caught my eye was from a 2004 issue of Family Circle magazine.  (See, I said they were OLD magazines.)  The recipe was for a peanut butter cookie that had crushed peanut brittle added.  Thinking that was a good idea and being that I just happened to have some peanut brittle on hand that I had picked up at Dollar Tree, I made the cookies.  They were not quite as dense as most peanut butter cookies and had a subtle peanut brittle flavor with a little extra crunch, a very nice change.

I must warn that this recipes make a lot of cookies, somewhere around 7 dozen of the size that I made.  The original recipe called for using 1/4 c. dough per cookie which would have made Huge cookies.  I used a level tablespoon of cookie dough per cookie and still had 3-inch cookies which I find plenty big enough.

I crushed the peanut brittle in my mini food processor in three batches, then I put it in a zip-top bag and used my metal meat mallet to crush any remaining bigger pieces the food processor did not get.


Peanut Butter Brittle Cookies
adapted from Family Circle magazine

4 –5 oz. peanut brittle
3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 c. sugar, divided
2 t. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Break peanut brittle into fairly small pieces and  pulse in food processor until finely crushed.  If you do not have a food processor, place pieces in a plastic zip top bag and pound with a metal meat mallet or hammer.  (There should be about 3/4 cup crushed brittle.)  Combine crushed brittle, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and mix well.  Set aside.  Place butter and peanut butter in a large mixer bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add brown sugar and 1/2 c. sugar.  Beat until light in color, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl.  With a mixer on low speed, add half of flour mixture and beat well.  Add remaining flour mixture and beat until well mixed.  The dough will be  stiff.  Place remaining 1/2 c. sugar in a shallow bowl.  Using a scoop that holds 1 tablespoon or a measuring tablespoon scoop out level tablespoons of dough and form into balls.  Roll balls in the sugar.  Place on ungreased baking sheet and flatten with the bottom of a glass.  (I do not have a glass so I use a 1-cup metal measuring cup and wipe it with a paper towel after flattening each cookie).  Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges have just begun to brown and cookies are set.  Remove from oven and let stand on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove cookies to a rack to cool.  Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.  (Believe me, these would never last that long in this house.)  Makes about 84 cookies.

I am linking to:  Ingredient Spotlight

Monday, September 10, 2012

Secret Recipe Club-Maple Pecan Brown Sugar Cake

My assignment for Secret Recipe Club this month was the blog, A Dusting of Sugar.   What a great find this was for this Great Big Sweet Tooth Dessert Lovin’ grandma.  The blog is filled with wonderful dessert and baking recipes from Rebecca, a college student who does most of her cooking in a dorm kitchen.  She is getting a bit better kitchen to cook in this year, I understand.

Looking through the blog, I found recipe after recipe that I wanted to try, but when I came across the post for Brown Sugar Cake I knew that was what I was going to make.  I also totally agree with sentiments she expresses in the post about eating sweets.  Just a couple of the other recipes that I want to try are Milk Muffins and Nutella Nanaimo Bars.

With fall coming, I have had the flavor of maple on my mind so decided that I would add maple flavor to the recipe and also some chopped, toasted pecans.

The cake is topped by a penuche type frosting to which I also added a bit of maple flavor.  This made the frosting taste similar to what is on bakery maple bars.  The cake is a sturdy cake which I actually cut into small enough  pieces to serve as a bar cookie.  No matter if you cut it into larger pieces to serve as cake or smaller ones to serve like bar cookies, it is  a delicious dessert well worth making.  Thanks for sharing a great recipe, Rebecca.

Maple Pecan Brown Sugar Cake
based on a recipe found at A Dusting of Sugar

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1/2 c. shortening
2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
5 eggs at room temperature
1 t. maple flavoring
1 T. vanilla extract
3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 c. milk
1 c. chopped toasted pecans

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, shortening, and brown sugar and beat until light and creamy.  Add eggs and mix until well blended.  Blend in maple flavoring and vanilla extract.  Combine flour and baking powder and stir well.  Add flour to creamed mixture and mix until well blended.  Add milk, mixing until batter is smooth.  Stir in pecans.  Pour batter into a well-greased 10x15-inch jelly roll pan.  The batter will fill pan very full.  Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched with a finger.  Let cool to room temperature.

Maple Frosting
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 c. milk
1/2 t. maple flavoring
2 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar

Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan on the stove.  Add brown sugar, bring to a boil and boil over low heat for 2 minutes.  Add milk, cook and stir until mixture boils.  Remove from heat.  Stir in maple flavoring.  Add powdered sugar and mix in well.  Pour frosting over cake spread out quickly and evenly over the top.  Frosting will set up quickly.  Cool and cut as desired.  Makes 60 or more bar cookies or 15 servings as a cake.

 If you would like to join in the fun, just click on over to The Secret Recipe Club information page to find out all the details.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fruited Chiffon Squares-Saturday Sweet

Today's Saturday Sweet is one that I have had ready to post in my drafts for awhile.  I sort of forgot about it and want to get it posted before summer really goes away.  This is a great dessert, but can also be served as a salad. Cool and light, it is perfect in the summertime when so much fresh fruit is readily available.  Well drained, canned fruit can be used at other times of the year.  It is quick and easy to put together, make-ahead, and the ingredients are easily varied.

Vary the gelatin flavor and fruit combination to your liking.  Orange gelatin with drained mandarin oranges tastes like orange sherbet.  Lime gelatin with chopped pear is a classic.  Any of the berry flavors are very good.  Splash lemon juice over bananas if you use them.  Use sugar-free gelatin for a fairly low sugar, low-fat dish.

To make measuring the non-dairy whipped topping easier, I just run a table knife through the middle of a tub of topping while it is frozen and remove half to another bowl to thaw.

It is best to eat this within a day or two.  It tends to get weepy after that.  I have had the same challenge with any gelatin recipe that uses the "fast to gel" ice cube method like this recipe call for.

A local grocery story used to supply recipes on cards many years ago.  That is where I found this one.

The combination pictured is mixed berry gelatin and sliced bananas.

Fruited Chiffon Squares
1 large package gelatin, regular or sugar-free
1 1/2 c. boiling water
2 to 2 1/2 cups ice cubes
half of an 8-oz. tub of non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
2 c. chopped fresh fruit or berries of your choice, or 1 (16 oz.) can fruit, drained and chopped, or 1 (16 oz.) can fruit cocktail, drained, or 1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained or about 2 small bananas sliced.

Bring water to a boil.  Add gelatin and stir until dissolved.  Add ice cubes and stir constantly until gelatin begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes (becomes egg white consistency).  Remove any unmelted ice.  Measure 1 cup dissolved gelatin and mix into whipped topping, blending with a whisk until smooth.  Pour mixture into an 8-inch square pan and chill until set, but not firm, about 10-15 minutes.  Fold fruit into remaining gelatin.  Gently spoon gelatin with fruit over the creamy layer.  Return to refrigerator and chill until firm, at least one hour.  (I usually allow at least 3 or 4 hours for this.)  Cut into squares and turn upside down on individual serving plates.  Garnish with additional whipped topping and fruit if desired.  Serves 9.

Linking to:  Weekend Potluck
Sweets for a Saturday
Strut Your Stuff
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Show Your Stuff
I'm Lovin' It Party

Friday, September 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge-Dilled Ranch Dressing/Dip Mix


I am so glad that Tina over at Mom’s Crazy Cooking is continuing to host Crazy Cooking Challenge.  I have so much fun with this every month.  If you would like to join in the fun, just click on over to get the details and to see what the challenges are for the next several months.

This month’s challenge is Ranch Dressing /Dip.  I suspect that most cooks have their own special recipe for this, and I am sharing a variation that is one of my favorites.  I wanted to change my basic Ranch Dressing Mix recipe up a bit; so, since I really like dill, I decided to add dried dill to the rest of the ingredients.  I guess I could say it turned out well, I am tempted to eat it by the spoonful.

To vary this when using it as a dip, I sometimes add some finely chopped dill pickle, some finely chopped black olives and some finely chopped red pepper just because I like them.

The dry mix ingredients can be kept tightly sealed for a long time if stored in a cool, dry place. Because of the paprika, the dressing/dip is a light pink color and not white like most ranch dressings.

Dilled Ranch Dressing/Dip Mix
3 T. dried minced onion
1 T. dried parsley
1 T. dried minced garlic
2 t. paprika
2 t. sugar
1 t. coarsely ground pepper
1 t. tarragon
1 T. dried dill
1 t. salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place.  Makes about 7 to 8 tablespoons of mix, enough for 7 to 8 batches of dressing/dip.

To Make Dressing/Dip
1 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 c. buttermilk or regular milk (add more for dressing, less for dip)
2 T. dill pickle juice
1 T. Dilled Ranch Dressing/Dip Mix

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk or milk and the dill pickle juice.  Mix well.  Add dip mix and mix until well combined.  Place in a covered container and chill at least a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.  Makes 1 3/4 to 2 c. dressing or dip.  Serve as a salad dressing or as a dip with crackers, pita chips, or veggies for dippers.  I like to put this on baked potatoes, too.

Friday Finds

It's time for another Friday Finds, and my picks seem to be all over the place this week so let's get started.

Here are a couple of recipes that I want to try for breakfast.

White Lights on Wednesday

I like cranberries and coconut so am sure that I will like this granola.  I am adding this to that file of granola recipes that I am going to get around to making sooner or later.

High Heels and Grills

Cooler weather is coming.  I think that these would be just wonderful for a Sunday morning treat.  This was posted by Sarah, the wife of this couple blog.

Here a couple of ideas for lunch that caught my eye.

The Kitchen is My Playground

I love the flavor of curry in chicken salad.  I also like that this could be used both as a salad and as a sandwich filling.

Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

This wonderful looking sandwich is from Sarah, a regular contributor to Friday Favorite Finds.  Maybe it is the melty cheese running down, but I just want to jump into the computer after this.

A couple of ideas for new dinner main dishes:

High Heels and Grills

Normally I don't include two recipes from the same blog, but this just looks so good, and I recently got a great deal on some steak that would be perfect for this recipe.  This was posted by Zach, the husband of this couple blog.

Cookin' Mimi

As I have said, I need to use my slow cooker more.  This one is pretty much a dump the ingredients in and turn the slow cooker on recipe.  Right down my alley.

Resisting the urge to link up any sweets recipes this week, I am going to hop on over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen and see what others have found to share on Friday Favorite Finds.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

This is also September Crazy Cooking Challenge Day so I will be back later with a Dilled Ranch Dressing recipe.  See you then.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ingredient Spotlight-Herbed Potato Frittata


The theme for today’s Ingredient Spotlight over at Eat at Home is Eggs 2012.  Now eggs go into lots of things, but this is for recipes that highlight eggs.  I am sharing one of my favorite egg dishes.

This is one of those dishes that Rachael Ray calls a B, L, D.  It can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It is a good, basic recipe with which much can be done.  Just use your imagination.  Other cheeses, other seasonings, the addition of chopped cooked veggies, whatever.

This frittata can be a meatless main dish, served as a side dish with meat, or cooked meat can be added to make it a one-dish meal.   Bacon, sausage, ham, ground beef, chicken, and even cooked chopped steak could be added if desired.

If the potatoes are cooked ahead of time, this can be on the table in less than 15 minutes.   If I have cooked the potatoes ahead, I cook the red pepper in the butter for about 5 minutes, before adding the other ingredients.

Any leftovers warm nicely in the microwave.  Since hubby does not eat breakfast, I sometimes make this up and use it for a quick and easy breakfast dish that I just have to warm up.


Herbed Potato Frittata
2 cups diced red potato
1/4 c. finely chopped red pepper
1 T butter
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t. paprika, smoked if you have it
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

If potatoes are not already cooked, cube them and cover with water.  Salt lightly.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add red pepper to water after 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.  Melt butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet.  Add green onions and garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add seasonings and cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring.  Add potatoes and stir until they are well coated with seasonings.  Spread potatoes out into an even layer.  Pour the eggs over the potatoes.  Cook, uncovered, over med-low heat until almost set, about 8 to 10 minutes.  If the handle of the skillet is not ovenproof, wrap it in foil.  Place skillet under broiler and broil until egg is completely set, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese, and broil until cheese melts, about 1 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cut into 4 to 6 wedges, depending on whether it will be a main dish or a side dish.  Serves 4 as a main dish and 6 as a side dish.  (Or me all by myself for a few days!)

Linking to:  Ingredient Spotlight
Cast Party Wednesday
Wow Me Wednesday-Ginger Snap Crafts
Wow Me Wednesday-Polkadots on Parade
What I Whipped Up Wednesday
Whatever Goes Wednesday
Whole Foods Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday
Tastetastic Thursday
Tasty Thursday
Sweet Treats and Swanky Stuff

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Barbecue Pasta and Bean Salad

When I did my index for this blog, I found several drafts for posts that I had not posted.  This is one of those drafts.  I made this for a barbecue last year, and the recipe seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.  I wanted to try a salad with a sort of barbecue dressing.  Since pasta salad seems to be mostly a summer dish, I thought that I should get this one up.

You can, of course, add cooked meat or chicken to make this more of a main dish.  Next time I make it, I think that I will add some cubed cheese.

Barbecue Pasta and Bean Salad
8 oz. rotini or other pasta
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 can (15 oz.) pinto, kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. quartered ripe olives
1 medium dill pickle, chopped
1/2 c. mayonnaise, reg. or low-fat
1/4 c. plus 2 T. barbecue sauce
1 T. cider vinegar
3/4 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 t. hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Add red pepper, celery, onion, beans, ripe olive, and dill pickle.  Combine mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, vinegar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce in a small bowl.  Mix well.  Spoon over pasta mixture and mix in well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and chill several hours before serving.  This is good with corn chips or the Cheese and Onion Nut Bread.  Makes 4 servings.

Linking to:  Tuesday Talent Show
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesday Time Out
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tasteful Tuesday
Terrific Tuesday
Show Me What You Got Tuesday
Take a Look Tuesday
Get Your Craft On Tuesday

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sweet and Sour Meat Loaf

It is another Monday, and I want to say “Thank You” to all who come by and take the time to read this blog.  It is truly appreciated, and I hope what you find here is useful to you.

I had to work an extra night last week, so decided to make a meatloaf for hubby to warm up for dinner.  This is a new recipe that has been in my computer files forever.

Using different mustards in this will give the sauce a slightly different flavor each time.

I make my meat loaves free-form in a 7x11-inch pan so that a sauce topping can be  used.  I did not get a chance to take a photo before the meatloaf had been sliced so the pic is not a particularly good one.  What is there about meat that it just doesn’t photograph very well?

Sweet and Sour Meat Loaf
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 c. dry bread crumbs
1 t.  salt
1 t. poultry seasoning
1/4  t. pepper
2  eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. finely chopped onion or 2 T. instant chopped dried onion
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce -- divided
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. rice or wine vinegar
2 t. prepared mustard

Mix together beef, bread crumbs, salt, poultry seasoning, pepper and eggs. Add onion, half of the tomato sauce and the Worcestershire sauce.  Form into a loaf shape and place in a baking pan.  I use a 7x11-inch glass one.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. In a saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, mustard and remaining tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Pour over meat loaf and bake 10 minutes more.  Serves 6 to 8.

Linking to:  Hunk of Meat Monday
Recipe Sharing Monday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Must Try Monday
Mangia Monday
Made by You Monday
Making Monday Marvelous

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Frozen Chocolate Coconut Almond Joy

Here is another sweet recipe for a Saturday.  When I received my Foodie Penpal package this month, I received a package of these cookies.


I did not even know that coconut Oreos were available.  Well, I ate a few, and they were very good.  So good I decided that I wanted to make a dessert with some of them.  Chocolate and almonds always go well with coconut so I created this.


I used the cookies to make the bottom crust, then added a layer of cream cheese, powdered sugar, whipped topping and coconut.  I topped this layer with sliced almonds and then put chocolate no-machine ice cream on the top.  Tried this on hubby, and he approved.

Although this is a very easy recipe, there is chilling time involved, and it must be made ahead.

You won’t need the entire package of the cookies, so feel free to eat the excess.

Frozen Chocolate Coconut Almond Joy
1 pkg. Coconut Oreos (make 1 3/4 c. cookie crumbs)
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat)
1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 c. frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 to 2 t. coconut extract (optional, but I use it)
3/4 c. sweetened flaked coconut, toasted in oven until moisture has evaporated (watch carefully)
3/4 c. sliced almonds
2 c. whipping cream
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (can be fat free and you can make your own.
2 to 3 T. cocoa, depending on how chocolatey you like your ice cream

Combine crushed cookies and melted butter until well blended.  Press into the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan.  Chill 30 minutes.  Combine softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended.  Fold in whipped topping.  Stir in coconut extract and coconut.  Spread cream cheese mixture on top of chilled cookie crust.  Sprinkle sliced almonds over the cream cheese mixture.  Press almonds into cream cheese mixture carefully with your hand.  Chill at least 30 minutes.  Whip cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  In another bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and cocoa until well blended.  Fold whipped cream into condensed milk mixture.  Spread whipped cream mixture over cream cheese mixture.  Cover and place in freezer at least 6 hours before serving.  This is very rich and will serve at least 12 to 15 people.  Enjoy.

Linking to Weekend Potluck
Sweets for a Saturday
Strut Your Stuff Saturday
Weekend Bloggy Reading
I'm Lovin' It Party
Busy Monday
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