Monday, June 29, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

1 tube crescent (I use Pillsbury's Crescent Creations)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbl. cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbl. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a round cake pan with non-stick spray. Roll crescent on a sheet of waxed paper. Brush with 1/2 of the butter. Evenly sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll into a tight log. Using a serrated knife cut the log into 10 pieces. Place in the cake pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the tops are lightly brown. Mix remaining butter, powdered sugar and milk. Spoon evenly over hot rolls.

Changes - try a very thin coating of applesauce added after the butter. Apple butter is good but you may want to cut down on the amount of cinnamon since apple butter has some in it. A thin coating of strawberry jam, not preserves, works well. When adding one of these ingredients I usually cut the oven down to 350 degrees and bake the rolls 12-15 minutes due to the moisture in the additions. And don't forget, you can also add chopped nuts.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chicken Pie

Chicken Pie

2 cups cooked chicken, cut up
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp. dried sage
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups milk
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk baking mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small frying pan sauté celery and onions in olive oil until slightly tender. In a large bowl combine chicken celery & onions, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour into a 10" pie plate. With an electric mixer beat milk, eggs and baking mix in a bowl until smooth. Pour over chicken mix. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Changes - add a cup of frozen chopped broccoli or well drained spinach. If the top starts to brown too quickly, lay a piece of foil over the top. Don't seal the edges. This will slow down the browning process.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Squash Casserole

5-6 small squash, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled (can use pre-cooked)
1 cup grated cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook squash and onions together until tender. Drain, add soup, salt, pepper and bacon. Mix well and pour into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover with cheese. Mix crushed crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over casserole. Bake 20 minutes.

Changes - I haven't been able to come up with too many changes for this one. It's so good just the way it is. You can change the soup by using cream of celery or cream of chicken. You can also change the crackers to most any butter flavored type.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cajun Homefries

2 lbs. white potatoes, cut into 3/4" squares
3 Tbl. cooking oil
3 strips bacon, cut in half
4 tbl.. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 tbl. Tabasco sauce
1 tbl. chili powder
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbl. paprika

Add all ingredients to a large, cold frying pan. Stir until blended. Turn heat to high. Stir frequently until potatoes are golden brown. Reduce heat to low and cover pan. Continue to stir and cook until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and serve.

Changes - These will have a some heat to them. You can control the heat by the amount of Tabasco sauce used. One change that I've made in the past is to use sausage instead of bacon. It changes the flavor completely but is really a tasty change.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Garlic Shrimp Toss

1 cup uncooked pasta of your choice
3 Tbl. olive oil
3 Tbl. butter
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. uncooked shrimp, shelled
salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. On medium high melt butter and olive oil. Add garlic and shrimp. cook 3-5 minutes or until shrimp is pink. Pour over pasta and toss.

Changes - This is good with any style of pasta but my favorite is the wagon wheel style. The butter/oil and garlic gets trapped inside the cutouts and it's so good. You can also make this dish using imitation crab, flaked salmon or tuna (drained of liquids). And to really make the dish appealing, sprinkle the top with chives before serving.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cherry Pie Cake

Cherry Pie Cake

1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 carton (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 Angel food cake (14 oz.) cut into 1" cubes
2 cans (21 oz. each) cherry pie filling

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar. Fold in whipped topping and cake cubes. Spread evenly into a 13" x 9" x 2" dish. Top with pie filling. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before cutting into squares. Serves 12-14

Changes - Use different pie fillings, i.e. strawberry, blueberry, etc. Also, try this with non-fruity pie fillings. Use chocolate, butterscotch, lemon, etc. You can't go wrong with this one.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

White Chocolate Popcorn

1 bag butter flavored microwave popcorn, popped
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 pkg. (12 oz.) white chocolate chips

Place popcorn in a large bowl, discard unpopped kernels. Stir in nuts and cranberries. Microwave white chocolate in glass measuring cup at High for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 30 second interval. Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Spread on a cookie sheet and let stand 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Break into pieces.

Changes - use milk chocolate or half milk chocolate/half white chocolate. If using the combination, melt each in it's own dish, pour one over popcorn, toss then pour the other on and toss. For holidays, use colored white chocolate - pastels for Easter, red for Christmas, orange for Thanksgiving, etc. To me the white chocolate is best. The combination of the white chocolate combined with the salt from the popcorn and nuts create the perfect taste blend.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Potato Stuffing

Potato Stuffing

2 lbs. potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tsp. dried sage
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup minced parsley
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds

Peel and dice potatoes into 1/2" cubes. Boil 5 - 7 minutes in enough salted water to cover by 2". Add chopped celery to boiling potatoes and drain in a colander. In a large bowl mix seasonings and bacon. Add potatoes. Mix lightly. Pour into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle almonds over top. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until potatoes are starting to brown. Serves 6-8

Changes - Top with cheese before adding almonds. Sprinkle French fried onions on top before broiling.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Coconut Almond Bars

36 vanilla wafers
5 Tbl. butter, melted
1 bag (14 oz.) shredded coconut
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg whites
1 cup almond slivers
1 1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick spray. In a food processor grind wafers. Add butter and grind until the butter is evenly distributed. Press crumbs into baking dish. Bake 8 minutes. With an electric mixer combine milk and egg whites until completely blended. Fold in coconut and almonds. Evenly sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Gently spoon coconut mix over chips. Bake 30-35 minutes until top is set and slightly browned. Cool completely.

Changes - use white chocolate, milk chocolate, etc. instead of butterscotch chips. For color add 3/4 cup dried cranberries to coconut mixture. Use pecans or walnuts instead of almonds.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 jar (7-7 1/2oz.) marshmallow cream
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat butter in a medium bowl with mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in marshmallow cream. When well blended, beat in confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat 3-4 minutes until fluffy.

Changes - for chocolate frosting beat the butter as directed. Beat in 6 oz. baking chocolate that has been melted and cooled according to it's package. Then add marshmallow cream. Continue to follow the directions for Vanilla Butter cream.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Herb & Cheese Spread Pinwheels

Herb & Cheese Spread Pinwheels

1 carton (5.2 oz.) garlic and herb cream cheese
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbl. pine nuts, toasted and chopped
Deli meats of your choice

Combine cream cheese, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, butter and pine nuts mixing until well blended. On a sheet of waxed paper lay out meat slices. Carefully spread mixture over slices to within 1/4" of edges. Roll jelly roll style. Secure with toothpick. Refrigerate.

Changes - Can be sliced and eaten as appetizers or place rolls on a baking dish, place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes to heat. They are really good either way. You can also add a touch of hot sauce or red peppers for added taste, change the nuts to pecans or walnuts. And of course you can really change the flavor by using different types of deli meats. This is especially good with chicken.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brown Sugar Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 Tbl. brown sugar
1 cups packed brown sugar
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9" pan with non-stick spray. Mix crumbs, butter and sugar and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with a mixer until blended. Add sour cream and mix. Add eggs one at a time mixing on low speed after each until blended. Pour over crust. Bake 60 - 65 minutes. Cool.

You can top this with your favorite topping. I like to drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with crushed toffee candy. It's also good with caramel and chopped nuts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beef & Barley Soup

1 lb. lean stew meat
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with garlic and onions
1 can (2 oz) mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup barley
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a 4 qt or larger crock-pot. Cover and cook on low 7 - 9 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender.
Serves 6-8.

This is a great soup to put on before going to work. When you walk into the house after work, the aroma will have you wanting to eat right then.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fruit Dip

1 carton (8 oz.) sour cream
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine sour cream, cream cheese and sugar blending well with an electric mixer. Serve with fresh fruit.

This is such a simple but delicious dip for fruit. I've tried it with apples, strawberries, peaches, kiwi and believe it or not, even oranges. Each fruit gives the dip a different flavor that blend so well with the cream cheese and sour cream. If you want it a little sweeter, increase the sugar adding 1 tsp. at a time until it's the sweetness you desire. This dish is perfect for any gathering at any time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Corn Cakes

1 pouch (6.5 oz.) cornbread mix
1 1/2 cups corn
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
cooking oil

Combine cornbread mix, corn, egg and milk until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes. Heat oil in a ban and drop heaping Tablespoons of batter into the hot oil. Cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side flattening with a spatula after turning. Makes about 18 corn cakes.

Changes - Try using 1 cup of chopped broccoli instead of corn. Maybe even add 1/2 cup shredded cheese to the batter before frying. These can be served as the bread of the meal.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shrimp Dip

1 can cream of celery soup
2 cans (6.5 oz. each) shrimp, drained
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups Mayonnaise

In a sauce pan over low heat heat soup and cream cheese whisking until cheese is melted and smoothly blended with soup. Remove from heat. Blend in shrimp and mayonnaise. Chill 8 - 10 hours before serving. Serve with party breads, crackers or chips.

Changes - crab meat instead of shrimp. A little hot sauce to add heat and flavor. Serve in the center of a round loaf of bread for a pull and dip.

Brown Butter Frosting

6 Tbl. butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar
5 Tbl. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

In a 1 qt. saucepan, heat butter on medium for 6-8 minutes or until melted and dark nutty-brown in color but not burned, stirring occasionally. Immediately transfer butter to a pie plate and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. In a large bowl, with a mixer at medium speed, beat butter, sugar, milk and vanilla until creamy and smooth. When frosting a cake, make sure the cake is completely cooled.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Broccoli Custard

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 can (4 oz.) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 Tbl. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 1 1/2 qt. baking dish with non-stick spray. Toss together broccoli, mushrooms and cheese. Pour into baking dish. Beat eggs, milk, dressing and flour until blended. Pour over broccoli. Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6

Changes - Use Brussels sprouts or mixed vegetables instead of the broccoli.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strawberry Breakfast Rolls

1 tube (8 count) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
1 cup sliced frozen strawberries, thawed
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray sixteen 2 1/2" muffin cups with non-stick spray. Cut cinnamon rolls in half crosswise. Press into the bottom and about 1/2" up the sides of each muffin cup. Mix strawberries and preserves. Spoon strawberries into muffin cups. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Drizzle with icing.

Changes - change flavors by using blueberries, peaches, blackberries, etc. Just make sure the fruit is quick frozen with no excess liquid. If liquid appears after thawing fruit, drain.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Salsa Corn

1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa
1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Cook the corn according to the package directions and stir in salsa and olives. Cool until hot and drain.

This is a delicious twist on corn and a beautiful dish to serve.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Simple Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbl. butter, softened
3 Tbl. heavy cream
2 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat peanut butter and butter until smooth with an electric mixer. Add cream and sugar and beat until creamy.

I have made this with crunchy peanut butter and it's great but I had to add an extra 1/4 cup of peanut butter to get the creamy texture for the icing. Also, don't use "natural-style" peanut butter. The consistency of the frosting will not come out smooth.