Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sundried tomato hummus

This is a recipe I got from my friend, she always seems to make it better than I do even if I do it exactly how her recipe is. This batch turned out really good. I used my chili powder that I made and it has some chipotle in it so it has a nice smoky flavor. You could use a chipotle in adobo if you like the smoky-ness.
I like to eat this with carrots, celery, crackers or toasted bread. It is a nice snack to have around. Every time I make it I think why have I waited so long to make this again! Sorry about the bad picture, I think santa is bringing me a camera so I wont have to keep using my phone.
2 cans garbanzo beans drained
6 sun dried tomatoes, re hydrated in boiling water
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup oil (I used canola)
Juice of 2 lemons
Spices, as I said I used 1 t of my chili powder. You can put oregano and basil or cumin or whatever you like.
1 t fresh ground pepper
1t or more salt to taste (I think I used almost a T of kosher salt)
Water, enough to make it as smooth as you like I used about 3/4 cup
Throw it all in the food processor or blender and mix until desired consistency.

Never Fail Sugar Cookies

4 cups flour
1 cup butter or shortening
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
Mix until crumbly and no big pieces of butter are visible
In a separate bowl mix well
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 t vanilla or almond extract
Combine mixture just until a ball forms, do not over mix or it will get tough.
Roll and cut out into shapes, Bake at 350 until set, do not over bake. These are good frosted but today I just put sprinkles on before we baked them.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Pie

I looked through a few recipes online and looked to see what I had in the cupboard and fridge and this is what I came up with. It was good, not too sweet but still pretty rich.

1 graham cracker crust

1 8 oz red fat cream cheese
1 cup peanut butter
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1/2 8 oz cool whip

Grated chocolate for topping

Mix cream cheese and peanut butter until combined. Add pudding and milk and mix, then add cool whip last. Spoon into pie shell, sprinkle with chocolate and refrigerate. You could use a chocolate crust too.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Easy Candy

Here are a couple of easy candy recipes I have been making. The fudge is almost too easy. Each of these recipes can be doubled without any problems. The pictures are not the best, I just used my phone but one of these days I will be a little less lazy and get the camera out.
Rocky Road Fudge
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 bag chocolate chips, I use semi-sweet
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts
Heat the milk in the microwave or a saucepan just until it starts to get warm. Add chocolate chips, stir until melted, you can put back into microwave just do it a little at a time so you don't overcook it. Add marshmallows and walnuts, spread in greased 8X8 pan. If you double it a 9X13 works great. It is kind of thick mixture and you have to press it into the pan. Chill until hard and cut up.
Peanut butter chocolate truffles
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 T softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix well and shape into balls. (I used my smallest cookie scoop)
Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Dip in melted chocolate. I used chocolate almond bark but you could use chocolate chips too.
The pretzels are just dipped in white almond bark that I melted in the microwave. If it seems too thick after you melt it you can add shortening to thin it out a little. I like to put sprinkles on for some color.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sausage and Peppers

This is a quick easy pasta dish that is very versatile. It could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the sausage and adding more vegetables like zucchini or yellow squash, you could also use portabello instead of just white mushrooms. This time I made it with bulk Italian sausage but you could use a smoked sausage and just slice it up.
16 0z Italian Sausage
1 red bell pepper diced
1 small onion diced
1 8 oz container mushrooms sliced (you could use canned)
Diced squash or other veggies
Saute this until the sausage and peppers are really nice and browned.
Then add
3 cloves garlic minced
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
1 t dried oregano
1 t Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
I used a hot sausage but if you use mild you could add some red pepper flakes
Simmer until all veggies are soft.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Banana Bread

This is a little healthier than most banana breads. I have substituted applesauce for some of the oil and sugar and put in half whole wheat flour. Check the label if you buy applesauce, some of it contains a lot of sugar or HFCS.

This makes 2 small loaves or one big one

3 mashed bananas

1 can applesauce

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

Mix well then add dry ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups white flour

3 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

Optional 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 t cinnamon

Bake at 350 until golden on top and skewer comes out clean when tested.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

3 T yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/3 cup warm water

Combine and let sit 10-15 minutes until foamy

2 eggs
1 t salt
5-6 cups flour, I use half whole wheat

Add to yeast mixture stir to combine or use mixer and mix or knead for 5 minutes.

Roll out and spread softened butter on and add sugar and cinnamon.

Cut into cinnamon rolls (I use dental floss to cut, it does not smash as much as a knife)

Let rise approx 10 minutes and bake at 350

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough/Breadsticks

Whole wheat pizza dough/breadsticks

1 cup warm water
1 T oil
1 T sugar or honey
1 T yeast
1 t salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, you can start with 2 and then add more if it is too sticky

Combine first 5 ingredients and let sit 5 minutes. Add flour mix well.
Roll into breadsticks or onto pizza stone. Bake at 350
For the pizza I like to cook the crust for a few minutes before I put the sauce and toppings on.
For breadsticks you can put melted butter, cheese, garlic salt or anything you like. I have made it with pre-made pesto and some cheese on it and that is good too.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving!
I have a lot to be thankful for, a wonderful healthy family and great friends. I am also thankful that I actually enjoy cooking especially since I enjoy eating great food. It is easy for us all to take some many little things for granted and so Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays in that you are reminded of how lucky you are. Hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
This recipe will fill 2 pies.

1 29 oz can pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 t salt

I use pumpkin pie spice because it has everything in it and I only need to keep one bottle around instead of 4.
6 t pumpkin pie spice
2 1/2 t cinnamon
2 t ginger
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves

Bake at 400 for the first 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook until center is set and knife comes out clean.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crab Cheeseball

This is a recipe I started making when I worked at the grocery store in high school. It uses imitation crab which is made from white fish, all imitation crab is not created equal. I use a brand called seablends and it is good, try to stay away from the stuff that is supposed to be like crab legs or sticks. I use the 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese for 2 reasons, 1 I hope it is a little healthier and 2 it seems to spread on crackers easier as it is not as hard. You can roll it into a ball and cover with almonds but do it right before serving so the almonds stay crisp.
This recipe makes a lot so if you get tired of eating it on crackers and veggies you can make some crab wontons with it. Use one teaspoon in each wonton wrapper, seal and fry. I like to have a sweet and sour dipping sauce with it.

4 8 oz bars cream cheese
1 16 oz package crab meat
2 bunches green onions sliced thinly
Celery salt to taste, start with 1 T and taste it

You can just mix this in a mixer until well blended. If you are mixing it by hand break the crab up first so you don't have big pieces in it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Raw Cranberry Relish

1 package (12 oz) fresh cranberries

1 apple

1 orange

sugar to taste

I like to use the food processor with the blade attachment for this. You don't need to peel the apple or orange, just take any seeds out. Grind it all up until it is chopped pretty finely. Add sugar to taste. I like to start with 1/2 cup and then taste it, if you wait a couple days it will sweeten so don't make it too sweet. Refrigerate at least overnight, the longer it sits the better. This is really yummy and refreshing, especially with all the rich thanksgiving foods. You could probably use some other sweetener like honey or agave if you like. You can double this easily.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Great Grandma's Molasses Cookies

This is my great grandmas recipe. My mom still has the card she wrote it on. We have traditionally made these on Thanksgiving, in the shape of a turkey. This year I am a little less ambitious and can't really reach the back of the counter so instead of rolling them out I used a cookie scoop and then flattened them with a glass. I have only made one change, she used lard and I use butter. You could use shortening also. Traditions are fun, I want to start more, any ideas?
2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup butter
1 t allspice
2 t cinnamon
3 eggs (save one egg white to brush the tops, this keeps them soft)
2 t baking soda dissolved in 3 T water
5-6 cups flour, start with 5 and see how sticky it is
Mix in order given, roll out and cut into shapes. Brush with egg whites and bake at 350 until tops are cracked looking.
Sometimes I burn a tray just to keep as my stash in the freezer to have with tea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Apple Pancake

Sometimes I get tired of the same things for dinner so I make breakfast foods because we usually just eat cereal or something in the mornings. This is a twist on German Pancakes, I like them because you can just put it in the oven and you don't have to stand and flip pancakes forever. We have a lot of apples so I looked around online and saw some recipes like this.
This is not a very good picture but it was yummy.

Apple Pancake

2 apples peeled cored and chopped

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 t cinnamon (I used pumpkin pie spice)

Cook until apples are soft but not mushy

In a separate bowl

6 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

Mix well

In a 9x13 pan melt 2 T butter, add cooked apple mixture, top with egg mixture. Bake at 400 until golden and puffy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Updated Crescent Rolls

This recipe came from my mom, I have cut the sugar and butter in half and used half wheat flour and they are still very good rolls.

2 T yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
Let this sit for 10 minutes until bubbly.
Then mix the rest of the ingredients in
1/2 stick melted butter (1/4 cup)
2 eggs
1 t salt
3 cups white flour
3 cups wheat flour (You may not need all of this)
Let rise until doubled in size then punch down and make into two balls. Let these rise until doubled and then roll out into a circle. Spread a thin layer of butter on top of circle. You need to cut it like a pizza into triangles to roll up. I find a pizza cutter works really well but you can use a knife. Roll up into crescents and place on baking sheet. Let rise again and bake at 350 until light brown on top.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Veggie Cheese Soup

It is raining and starting to snow here today so I decided I better make some soup! This recipe can be changed around a bit depending on what veggies you have or want to use. I have used a frozen medley of carrots broccoli and cauliflower because that is what I had but you could use potatoes, just broccoli, really anything you want that you think would be good with a cheesy sauce.

Veggie Cheese Soup

4 cups water

1 onion diced

3-4 stalks celery diced

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 t garlic powder

1 t pepper

Boil this for 15 minutes

Then add your veggies of choice and cook 15-20 minutes more until soft. Do not drain.

In a separate pan combine

4 cups milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 can condensed cheese soup, I used nacho cheese just for fun

Cook on medium heat and keep stirring until thickened.

Add to cooked veggie mix and simmer for another few minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rhubarb Cake

This is a recipe I have from a family cookbook, I made a few changes. You might not like rhubarb so you could use raspberries, blackberries or blueberries and it would be really good too. The buttermilk makes a big difference, whenever I make a cake from scratch I always use buttermilk.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 t baking soda

2 cups flour

1/4 t salt

1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb or raspberries

Mix everything but the flour and fruit until smooth. Add flour and mix just until blended then fold in fruit. Bake at 325 in a greased 9x13 cake pan.

Optional-sprinkle with white sugar and cinnamon

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Pie crust is one of my least favorite things to make. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts though so I thought I would give this a try. I roasted a squash for dinner and it was good to eat by itself but it did have a pumpkin-y flavor so I used it. The pie turned out a little sweet, maybe because there was not a crust and maybe the sweetened condensed milk was too sweet.

2 cups pumpkin (I used some that squash that I had roasted)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3 eggs

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

1 t pumpkin pie spice

Mix in food processor or blender until smooth. Bake in greased pie plate for 30 minutes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Laundry Soap

A couple of years ago me and my sister were cleaning out my grandmas house and came across over 100 bars of Fels-Naptha. We were not sure what to do with it but we hated to just throw it out. She had a friend who was making their own laundry soap and it had Fels-Naptha in the recipe. This is an easy recipe and it makes good soap with no dyes or perfumes. It also makes me feel better about not using those huge plastic containers that the soap usually comes in. I make it in liquid form in a 5 gallon bucket, I use one cup for a load of clothes but you can experiment to see how much you want to use. It does NOT sud up so you might think you need to add more, but it will never make suds. You can add essential oils if you want it to smell good but I don't.

2 bars fels-naptha, chopped or grated

2 cups borax

2 cups arm and hammer washing soda (not baking soda)

You can find the borax and soda in the laundry aisle.

Dissolve the grated fels-naptha in about 6-8 cups water. I cook it on the stove on low and use a whisk to help it dissolve faster.

Boil enough water to fill your 5 gallon bucket about half way.

Add borax and washing soda powder to bucket, add boiling water and dissovled fels-naptha. Stir well. At this point I like to move the bucket to the laundry room before it is too heavy and then add enough hot water to fill to the top. Let it cool off, the next day it will gel up, that is normal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chili Powder

Chili Powder
I seem to use chili powder a lot. It never seems to have much flavor so I end up using half the bottle to get the flavor I want. I read a few recipes and came up with this one. You could use different chili's and make it as mild or hot as you want. Of course I had to use dried chipotles because I put them in everything lately.
This made it pretty spicy, next time I might use more ancho's and less of the arobols.
5 dried chipotles
2 dried ancho chili's
5 dried arobol chili's
2 T whole cumin seed, I toasted these for a few minutes in a dry pan, just until they smell good
2 T dried oregano
2 T garlic powder, not garlic salt
Blend in blender until powdered. THIS IS IMPORTANT, do NOT remove lid until dust has settled, just leave it alone for a few minutes or you will breathe chili dust in and it can be hot!
Here is an easy crock pot chicken recipe that I use chili powder in.
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic chopped or crushed
1 T chili powder, or to taste
1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce, you can also add some of the sauce from the can
salt and pepper to taste
Cook on high for 4 hours or until shreds easily
This recipe is from martha, she adds salsa to it also but we like it just like this.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

2 cups cooked chicken
1 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 chipotle chopped or more to taste
1 T chili powder
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 cans white beans
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic until softened. Add about 6 cups water and the rest of ingredients. You could simmer on the stove for an hour or so but I just put it in the crock pot.

Garnish options, sour cream, green onions, green chili's, cheese, tortilla chips

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1/2 pound of Italian sausage

1 small yellow onion chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

4 potatoes sliced thin,

1 bunch kale, tear leaves from stems

1 12 oz can evap. milk

2 chicken bouillon cubes

Brown sausage, add onion and garlic and cook until onion has softened. Add 8-10 cups water and bring to a simmer. Add bouillon cubes, potatoes, milk and kale. Cook until potatoes are getting tender. Check seasoning, you might need salt and pepper. I use a teaspoon or two of Cajun seasoning to give it a little kick. This is kind of a rip off from Olive Gardens soup but I think it is healthier because I dont use the bacon and cream and there is a lot more kale. I really love kale, if you can't get it you could use collard greens instead.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Roasted Vegetables
1 Butternut squash peeled seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Onion peeled and cut into wedges
2 cloves of garlic smashed
8-10 Red potatoes halved
2 Sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
5 Carrots peeled and cut in half
1-2 T oil (I used Canola)
1 T coarse salt
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425
Toss vegetables with oil, salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes to an hour stirring every 15 minutes.
These really are delicious, I first read a similar recipe on Martha. You could use different vegetables or more or less of each to your own taste. Ben usually only eats the potatoes and squash so the rest I cook because I like different stuff and with a salad it is a great meal for me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 T. instant yeast
3 cups warm water
mix together and let sit 5 minutes
1 T. Dough enhancer
1 T. Salt
1/4 cup Wheat gluten
7-8 cups whole wheat flour

Mix together, add flour until sides of the bowl are clean.
Grease 2 loaf pans, spray your hands with cooking spray or oil and shape into loaves. Let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 until dark brown 30-40 minutes

Dough enhancer and gluten are what makes this recipe so easy, no kneading or letting rise a few times. You can find both items in the baking aisle.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Squash Season

It is squash season and we went to a great pumpkin patch yesterday. They had over 30 different varieties of squash, from ornamental to edible. Usually I like to roast squash in the oven, I cut it in half, scoop the seeds out and put the cut side down on a greased cookie sheet. 400 degrees for about an hour usually does it, check it with a fork to make sure it is tender. Sometimes if I am in a rush I will microwave it but it has a better flavor when roasted.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I am not sure how I found out about these but they are my favorite and I use them a lot lately. A chipotle is simply a smoked jalapeno pepper. I use the ones packed in adobo sauce but you can also get them dried or in a seasoning cube. Most of my recipes call for 2 or 3 peppers from a can so I have found if I puree the whole can and keep it in the fridge I have some already to use without cutting them up. They can be a little messy in the sauce. I will post an easy crock pot shredded chicken I use them in but you could use them in anything. They give a great smoky flavor and a little kick.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

1 large (29 oz) can pumpkin
1 small can applesauce
6 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 teas. baking powder
3 teas. baking soda
2 teas. salt
1 T. cinnamon
5 cups flour

Mix in order given, bake at 350 45 minutes to an hour.

This makes 4 large loaves
If you like more spices you could reduce the cinnamon and add cloves, allspice or nutmeg

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

1 medium onion diced

3 carrots peeled and diced

3 stalks celery diced

Water to cover

Simmer until vegetables are very tender.

4 cups tomato juice

1 small can tomato paste

2 T. prepared pesto

Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender.

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Great on pasta.

I didn't post a picture because we all know what tomato sauce looks like. The carrots give it a really good texture.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crock Pot Chipotle Beans

1 medium onion, diced

3 cans assorted beans, drained
I used kidney pinto and white

1 chipotle bouillon cube

Water to cover beans
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion before adding the rest of ingredients to crock pot.

Let cook on high 4 hours or low 6
This turned out yummy and the leftovers were a great lunch.