Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quick and Easy Syrup Base

Yesterday I was in a pinch.  I needed syrup, but, since we're moving next week, I did not want to go purchase an entire new bottle.  In desperation I turned to the Internet to figure out how to make my own.  I found this recipe, posted by Runkin, on ehow.  It's quick, easy, (hence the title), and a good start to any syrup you might wish.
What You'll Need:
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
2 Tb. butter

What To Do:
1.  Combine the brown sugar and water in saucepan on low heat.
2.  Stir the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves completely.  Add the butter and mix it in until it melts.
3.  Continue heating the syrup mixture until it begins to simmer.  Stir it frequently to prevent burning.
4.  Simmer the syrup for 5 minutes.
5.  Remove the saucepan from the stove and let cool.  As the syrup cools it will continue to thicken.  If it's not thick enough you can stir in more brown sugar and return it to the heat for a few minutes.
6.  Add any flavoring you wish (maple, berries, etc....)
7.  Store remaining syrup in refrigerator. 

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

What You'll Need:
1 1/2 c. flour
3 Tb. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. canola oil
1 large egg
2 medium ripe bananas
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips (or regular ones chopped) tossed with 2 tsp. flour
Cooking spray or butter for pan

What To Do:
1.  Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined. 
2.  Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork.  Fold into batter.  Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.
3.  Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat.  Coat pan with little butter (or cooking spray) and then pour on pancake batter.  Use 1/4 c. batter for large pancakes and 2 Tb. for kid-sized ones.  Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

One of my favorite recipe sites is Our Best Bites.  If you haven't been to their website, go!  Recently I've been trying a lot of their recipes, and I very rarely make any changes to their recipes like I do to others.  Here's one we tried last week and LOVED! 
What You'll Need:
1 roll refrigerated pizza dough
Mariana/Pizza Sauce for dipping
2 Tb. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 T. Olive Oil or Melted Butter
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
Pizza Toppings (whatever you prefer)

What To Do:
1.  Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package.  If you made your own dough, use a 400* oven.
2.  Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8".  Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 24 equal(ish) squares.
3.  Place cheese and desired toppings on each square.  Gather the dough up at the corner and pinch together creating a ball.  
4.  Place dough balls seam-side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar size dish).
5.  Brush the tops of dough balls with olive oil or melted butter, and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with the Parmesan cheese.
6.  Cook in the oven for about 15-20 minutes
(until golden brown on top).
7.  Serve warm with warm marinara sauce on the side for dipping.
Just look at that gooey goodness!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mashed Potato Soup

This is a great basic potato soup recipe from All You magazine. I use it as a base and then add other ingredients based on what I'm wanting or have that day! What You Need:
4 baking potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
4 Tb. unsalted butter
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
4 c. milk
4 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and Pepper
4 oz. sour cream

What To Do:
1. Prick potatoes all over with a fork: microwave on high until cooked through, turning once, 12 to 15 minutes total. Let cool slightly and scoop out flesh, discarding skins. Mash with a fork.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and light golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Stir in cheese, potatoes and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts and soup is heated through. Whisk in sour cream. Check seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired.

Possible Additions: Bacon, Ham, Peas, Corn, Green Onions, Chives

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate Drop Oatmeal Cookies

These are my husband's favorite cookies on the planet. This is the recipe that his family uses, and, trust me, they're scrumptious!
What You'll Need:
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. oats
1/2 pkg. chocolate chips (although I always put more in!)

What to Do:
1. Mix together the ingredients.
2. Spoon onto cookie sheets.
3. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350*.

Seriously so simple and so good!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lumpy Noodles

This is an after-Thanksgiving tradition from my husband's family (it's a yummy way to use the leftover turkey), but it is great anytime of year.
You Will Need:
3 eggs
3 Tb. Butter
1 1/2 c. Flour
9 c. water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
Chunky chicken or turkey to taste

What to Do:
1. Create a broth with the bouillon and water. Add chicken or turkey. Bring to boil.
2. While broth is heating to boil mix together the eggs, butter, and flour. Place on a really well floured table. Work until not sticky on finger and roll out thin. Put more flour over it, roll it up, and cut into strips.
3. When the broth is boiling add the noodles to the liquid. Let the noodles cook in the boiling broth.
4. Serve garnished with frozen peas.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cheesy Chicken and Salsa Skillet

You can find the original recipe here. Below you'll find how I made it. We loved it!
1 box whole wheat penne pasta
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 c. medium salsa
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 c. bell pepper strips (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese

What to do:
1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
2. Meanwhile, heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in salsa, corn and peppers. Bring to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.
3. Drain pasta. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Top with cheese. Remove from heat; cover. Let stand 1 minute, or until cheese is melted.

Lion House Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipe (and the picture) are from my friend Shelly Sutton. She made this yummy soup for a lunch we had together once, and it was scrumptious! With fall and winter coming up, I know I'll be using this recipe often. Thanks Shelly!

2 teaspoons (or cubes) chicken bouillon
4 cups canned chicken stock/broth
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups cooked diced chicken
4 cups cooked egg noodles

What to Do:
Heat chicken stock/broth and bouillon together. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add cream of chicken soup and milk, then add cooked chicken and noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 2 1/2 quarts or 10 one cup servings.

Sand Castle Cake

If you don't know about the Disney Family Fun website, you are truly missing out! They have so many fun ideas for crafts, activities, and, my favorite, decorating cakes. For my husband's birthday he chose this sandcastle cake. I'm going to share with you the original recipe and instructions. You'll notice mine is a little different; this is because I was serving over twenty people, so I needed to make the cake bigger. Otherwise, it's essentially the same idea.
8-inch round yellow cake
9-inch square yellow cake
2 (12-ounce) cans vanilla whipped frosting
Vanilla Wafers, 12-ounce box
4 jumbo ice cream cups
2 small ice cream cups
6 sugar cones
Graham cracker sticks (or stick like cookies), cut in half

What to do:
1. Use a long serrated knife to trim the top of the round cake flat, if needed. Cut a 5 1/2-inch and a 3 1/2-inch circle from the square cake, then stack all three pieces, spreading vanilla frosting between the layers. Frost the stack.
2. Use a rolling pin or food processor to crumble the wafers. With your hands, press the crumbs into the frosting, completely coating the cake. Spread frosting on the bottom of each ice-cream cup, then set them around the cake. With a serrated knife, carefully trim 1 1/2 inches from the top of 2 of the sugar cones. Set all 6 cones into the cups to complete the turrets, spreading a bit of frosting around the rims to hold them if needed.
3. Press 2 graham cracker-stick doors into the middle cake layer and rim the rest of the cake with graham cracker-stick halves. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs around the base and add a scattering of candy seashells and rocks. Serves 12.

(Click on the sand castle cake link above to see the example picture from the website.)


I found this recipe at allrecipes, posted by Sue W. I followed it exactly (which is rare for me!), and we LOVE these cookies. They're soft and thick. Super yummy!
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tb. white sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

What to Do:
1. Preheat oven to 400*F.
2. Combine 1 1/2 c. white sugar, butter or margarine, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
3. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Blend well. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
4. Combine 2 Tb. sugar and 2 tsp. ground cinnamon. Roll dough in sugar/cinnamon mixture and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.

I just have to share this picture of my daughter anxiously waiting for the cookies to finish cooking!

Crab Cakes

This recipe is a combination of two recipes, which were almost identical, from kraftrecipes.
2 cans (6 oz. each) crab meat, well drained, flaked
1/4 c. Miracle Whip
1 egg, beaten
20 Ritz Crackers, finely crushed
2 green onion, sliced
2 Tb. Thousand Island Dressing
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of Pepper

What to Do:
1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Beat eggs and dressing in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add crab meat; mix well. Gently stir in remaining ingredients. Let stand for five minutes.
2. Shape into patties, using about 1/4 c. of the mixture for each patty. Should make about 8 patties. Place in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (2 hours is preferable).
3. Bake 7 minutes on each side, or until cakes are golden brown on both sides and heated through.
You can serve crab cakes by themselves or like a burger. These are especially yummy with Thousand Island dressing as the sauce.