Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gary's AMAZING caramels

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups Karo syrup (light)
3 cups whipping cream

* chopped pecans, optional (personally, I like them better without nuts)

Bring sugar and Karo syrup to a boil - to dissolve sugar. Add cream one cup at a time, bringing to soft ball stage after each addition. Butter a 9 x 13 pan. If you are adding nuts, sprinkle the bottom of the pan with chopped pecans now. Pour caramel into pan. Let cool completely and cut into squares. SO DANG GOOD!

** This is really Gary's Grandma's recipe, but I only know these caramels as his ... he makes them every holiday season. I have the greatest husband.

Pasta, Peas, & Carrots

1 bag/box flavored pasta, prepared according to directions
1 cup frozen peas & carrots

Okay, so this is totally NOT a recipe, but Ryan loves this and it sneaks his vegetables into his lunch and dinner ... oh, and it's easy! Every other day, I make up a box of this stuff and it lasts for 4-5 feedings. Make sure that when you make it for your little one that you utilize the opportunity to prepare it with whole milk AND real butter. These little boogers need the calories!

Also, I found these perfect little bowls at Wal-Mart. They're the Nuby brand and they come with lids and they're 2 for $1. Can't beat that! So I bought about 80 (just kidding) and I keep all his food in them and that way we know when we're out ... and Gary knows EXACTLY what to feed him when I'm gone. Quit rolling your eyes at me ... can you tell I'm a first time mom? lol

Pumpkin Gingerbread

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Moist with pumpkin and warm with spices, this autumn quick bread comes together in minutes. We like it sliced and spread with cream cheese. I found this awesome recipe on one of my favorite blogs,

2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger, allspice
1/4 tsp each cloves, nutmeg
1 cup pureed pumpkin (homemade or canned)
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" loaf pan. Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, leavening, spices) in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients (pumpkin, molasses, egg, oil milk) in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with about 10 vigorous strokes to combine.
2. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Cool on a rack.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

-1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
-4 eggs
-1 cup vegetable oil
-2/3 cup water
-3 cups white sugar
-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
-1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 loaf pans
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the 3 prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in preheated oven.

I found this recipe on another blog and decided to make it today for some friends. Wow! It's good. Definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Bowtie Pasta

This makes a lot! We usually enjoy it for leftovers for several days, so you may want to halve the recipe if you don't want a lot of leftovers.

 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
 5 1/2 T olive oil
 1 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
 2 C fresh roma tomatoes, diced
 1 C green onion, chopped
 1 t crushed red pepper
 2 C chicken broth
 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
 16 oz uncooked bowtie pasta

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Cook chicken; dice.
3. Cook and stir garlic in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned.
4. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, and red pepper; cook and stir 2 minutes. (If you like well done mushrooms, add them before adding the tomatoes and green onions and cook until done.)
5. Add broth; simmer mixture to reduce slightly.
6. Add chicken and pasta; heat through.
This is the original recipe, but I tend to alter it to make it spicier. If you like spicier a spicier pasta, double the red pepper.
(P.S. I reduce the mushrooms to about 3/4 to 1 lb since I am not a huge fan of mushrooms. I also did not have enough bowtie pasta so I added some rotini when I made this dish recently.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Gooey Peanut Butter S'more Brownies

I made these the other day for fun. My intention was to give half the pan to my pregger friend, Laura. However, my "intentions" ended up as just that. My boys ate the whole pan and now I'll just have to make more...oh darn! LOL Seriously, my photo does not do these fellows justice!

Here ya go:

1 box brownie mix

1 jar marshmallow cream

1 cup creamy chocolate frosting

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1. prepare brownie mix according to package directions.

2. spread marshmallow cream evenly over cooled brownies.

3. in small micro-safe bowl, micro frosting on high 30 seconds, or until melted & smooth. repeat with peanut butter.

4. pour melted frosting, then melted peanut butter over marshmallow cream & swirl with butter knife to marble. let cool completely!

I HIGHLY recommend a LARGE glass of milk with these rich little daddies! Enjoy!

Shredded Beef Empanadas

1 eye of round roast
1 jar salsa (I use homemade, but I'm sure you would love it with your favorite salsa)
1 pkg refrigerator crescent rolls OR 1 pkg refrigerator pie shells (the ones that are rolled)
cheddar cheese
* diced sauteed potatoes, optional

Prepare the beef by searing the roast, seasoned with garlic salt, on all sides. Place the roast in the crock pot with jar of salsa dumped on top. Cook on high for 5-7 hours ... until the beef begins to pull apart with ease. Remove beef from pot and allow it to rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes before shredding it. Shred beef using 2 forks. Place shredded meat back in crock pot to soak up salsa juices.

Using crescent rolls

Unwrap the crescent rolls and place a good portion of meat on the middle and pile cheese on top of that ... roll pastry until each end touches and seals. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 12 minutes.

Using pie pastry shells

Unroll pie pastry. Using a large cup or small bowl, cut out circles of dough. Place a pile of meat in each circle and a little cheese on top. Dab the edge of one side of pastry with water. Pull the other side over to meet the damp edge and seal. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes. ***Gary likes to add sauteed diced potatoes in these kind of empanadas.

* For those of you that came to the Halloween Party, this is how you should make your empanadas ... I was in a hurry. lol. ENJOY!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cookies

For a delicious Halloween treat, try these yummy cookies! We took them to a Halloween party and the plate emptied in no time. In fact, we made them again two days later because we didn't get enough.


1 c. pumpkin
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1 c. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Dissolve baking soda in milk; set aside. In large bowl add pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg; stir. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda mixture. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until done.

about 140 calories per cookie

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Baked Potato Soup

I was given this recipe by a newlywed when I was a newlywed so it feeds just two, but it shouldn't be hard to make a bigger batch.

2 medium baking potatoes
1 14.5 oz can of chicken broth
2 T sour cream
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Cheese, bacon bits and chives to top (optional)

Bake potatoes. Cut one into fourths and blend with broth until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan. Dice second potato and add to mixture. Carefully stir in sour cream and pepper. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve topped with your favorite baked potato toppings. Yummy and fast!

Spiced-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin w/ BBQ Sauce


1 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tbs. Chili Powder
2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Mustard Powder
1/4 tsp. Dried Thyme
2 (1-pound) Pork Tenderloins

In a small bowl combine sugar, chili powder, salt, mustard powder, and thyme. Rub mixture on the tenderloins, coating all sides. Shake off any loose spices. Place meat in a baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, make the BBQ Sauce. Once done refrigerating set meat on a hot grill, searing it on all sides (about 1 minute each side). Place back in baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 1-2 hours.


1 c. Hickory BBQ Sauce
3/4 c. Ketchup
1/3 c. Orange Juice
1 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Hot Sauce

In a medium saucepan mix sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium-low , stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

*I got this recipe out of a magazine and fell in love with it. If you don't feel like making the sauce, that's fine because it tastes great with out it too.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Sopapilla Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cans crescent rolls (can use large rolls)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick of butter
2 or 3 -8 oz blocks of cream cheese (I used 2)

In a small bowl combine cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar.
Set aside for a topping.

Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and rest of sugar in a
bowl. Set aside.

Place one can of crescent rolls in the bottom of a
9x13 pan. Spread cream cheese mixture on dough and
then top with 2nd pkg of crescent rolls. Melt butter
and pour on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bacon-Spinach Salad

This is a great and easy salad. I am picky when it comes to salad and I really enjoy this salad!

 4 slices bacon, diced
 1/4 C white or cider vinegar
 8 oz spinach
 5 medium green onions, chopped
 2-3 t sugar (use 3 tsp if you like a sweeter dressing)
 1/4 t salt
 1/8 t pepper

1. Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. (Do not drain bacon fat.)
2. Stir in vinegar; heat through; remove from heat.
3. Add spinach and onions to bacon mixture.
4. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper.
5. Toss 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.

By the way, if you want a printer friendly page of this recipe, email me and I will send it to you.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Deep Dish Apple Crisp

A fun Sunday night dessert! JT & I had some friends over tonight and this dish was hit. Super easy and very tasty.

Deep-Dish Apple Crisp

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds) (optional)
2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 350°F.

For the topping, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the butter and cut it in until coarse crumbs form. Stir in the nuts; set aside.

For the filling, toss the apples with the remaining ingredients. Pile them into a 2-quart baking dish with sides at least 2 inches high. Spread the topping over the surface of the apples. Bake in the middle of the oven until the apples are tender, about 1 hour.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hot Pizza Dip

8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup bottled pizza sauce
1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped (optional)
3/4 cup pepperoni slices, chopped

Prehead oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, Italian seasonings and garlic powder. Spread over the bottom of a greased 9-inch plate. Combine the cheeses. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheeses over the cream cheese layer. Top with the pizza sauce, peppers and pepperoni. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with bread sticks.

Chocolate lovers, your cookie is here.

It's a favorite around here, this cookie. Chocolatey as can be, it even has the surprise of a rolo candy melted in the middle. The recipe is a classic from my sister in law, Jenni. Presenting ...

1 package devils food cake mix
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup oil
4 Teaspoons milk
Mix ingredients. Roll into individual balls with 1 rolo candy inside each ball.
Then roll each ball in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
Bake 350 degrees for 8-10minutes. Makes about 12-15 per cake mix.
about 200 calories per cookie (but totally worth it!)
This is my cute husband JT enjoying the warm carmel stretching across the two havles of the cookie. I think this was a winner ...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Your favorite HARVEST Meal!

Hey guys!! Gotta share this recipe/idea with you. Ever heard of dinner in a pumpkin??? Dont throw those pumpkins away!!!! The origional recipe is with spaghetti but I hate spaghetti- my mom has always used this recipe for us 6 kids. This is a general recipe, assuming you know how to make a few things such as salad et. the magic is in the concauction of it all once its thrown together! Happy Harvest!

Pumpkin Preparation:

Pick out your FAVORITE medium sized pumpkin, about the size of a basketball would feed about 7 people (This is really a cute dinner so you might as well impress a lot of people, just keep in mind the quantities as you create this dinner!! The bigger the pumpkin the more people you feed!!!

Carve out that pumpkin- get all those guts out- but don't throw away the seeds!!! Get the pumkin nice and clean inside.

Place the pumpkin and top of the pumpkin on a cookie sheet, do not put the top of the pumpkin on top, set it to the side on the sheet. :) Put about 4 tablespoons of butter on the bottom center of the pumpkin. Jab the pumpkin with a fork about 4 or 5 times all around the outside. Stick it in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes.

While the pumpkin is cooking, make your FAVORITE stuffing recipe. Why not add celery and apples to your stuffing! The more Harvesty the better! Cook chicken breast as you usually would and then slice or dice the chicken, once cooked, and add it to the stuffing.

Gravy- make your FAVORITE Gravy recipe!

Once the pumpkin has been cooking about 45 minutes put the stuffing inside the pumpkin and put it back into the oven for about 15 more minutes.

Harvest Salad: (I got this idea from the Red Robin harvest salad, just add chicken and it can be its own meal!)

While the pumpkin finishes cooking create your harvest salad! Quantities depend on what you would like more of. Ya'll know how to make salad so I wont tell ya how much just what to put in.

Your FAVORTE greens (Lettuce and spinach at the least)
diced apples
candied walnuts (See direstions on how to do this below)
Feta cheese or goat cheese
Dried cranberrys
Top with cooked pumpkin seeds!!! (See directions on how to do this below)
Rasberry viniagarette dressing or any sort of fruity or sweet dressing with a vinagarette base. Honey musterd viniagarette is also yummy.

Candied walnuts-
Simply heat up your frying pan, put about a 1/4 cup of butter inside as well as 1/4 cup brown sugar. Let it melt together (while stirring) on medium heat then add the walnuts and stir. basically you are just coating the nuts in caramel that will soon dry:) Let cool before adding to your salad.

Cooked pumpkin seeds-(they taste better than they sound!)
take all those pumpkin seeds from that poor pumpkin you just gutted:) Wash them so there are no stringy orange squash attached any longer. Dry them out and spread them across a cookie sheet. Add about 1 tablespoon of salt. (Depending on how much salt you like) and about 2 tablespoons of butter. Just dalop the butter on top of the seeds and stick into the oven for about 30 minutes (Browning and drying the seeds) Continually stir the butter and salt around on the sheet to evenly coat all of the seeds. you will know that they are done when they are browned and crunchy, not sticky when you eat them.

Isnt this sounding yummy!!

Now add your third item.
Perhaps green beans?
Perhaps jello with celery and apples or other fruit in a wreath formation on top?
Perhaps yummy orange rolls?

And if you really wanna impress them add some sparkling cider to your dinner!

And make an apple pie or oatmeal cookies, carameled apples or something for desert! (Keeping with the Harvest theme)

the best thing about this dinner is that it only takes about 1.5 hours to do it all. you'll be amazed. Enjoy everyone! Hope you like it and happy harvesting!

PS- Photos are not from my dinner- i have yet to make it this month. But they give you the general idea what it is supposed to look like.
Think Harvest!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Great web

Hey guys- not a recipe right now but wanted to let you all know of this wonderful website called If ever I need a recipe for ANYTHING I can find it on here. And if I want it to be a simple recipe I'll just type in for example EASY cake fondant, and there ya go! An easy recipe. Anyways check it out. (Of course Im coming to this wonderous web site now adays before I go to that one:)

Chicken & Dumplings

2 chicken breasts
4-5 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small bag frozen peas
1/2 pkg frozen dumplings
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 bouillon cubes
8 cups water

Bring water to a boil, adding chicken breasts. Boil chicken breasts until cooked through. Remove from water and allow to cool completely on a cutting board. Add bouillon cubes and diced carrots. Cook for about 8 minutes, just until carrots lose their crunch. Using a slotted spoon, remove the carrots and join them with the cooling chicken breasts. Remove about 10-12 dumplings from the package and add them to the water one at a time. Set a timer and boil the dumplings, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes. Gently whisk in cream of chicken soup. Dice the chicken and return chicken and carrots to the pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas and heat just until peas are hot. Salt and pepper to taste; although, I'm pretty confident it won't need the salt, lol. ***If you don't like peas, you can use green beans, celery, etc.
*** I use Mary B's Open Kettle Dumplings, in the white package with black and red lettering. You can find them in the freezer section next to the pie shells at Wal-Mart. The dumplings have the flavor of a biscuit, but the texture is more like gnocchi.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sweet Az Caramel Corn

I got this caramel corn recipe in college actually when I was rooming with Janettes sister in law Cindy!!! (My mission companion) Hi Comp!! Anyways- its super easy and man do the boys love it! Great for football Sundays et.

1 package brown sugar (2 2/3 cup)
1 cup white karo Syrup (Corn syrup)
1 cube of butter or margerine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
About 4 packs of popcorn (depending on how caramally you like your popcorn)

wax paper

Pop all of your popcorn and place it in a large mound onto a countertop covered in wax paper. (Tape the sides down- its going to get sticky!) Bring the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter to a boil. Stir in condensed milk; simmer, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a soft ball stage. (234 to 238 degrees). Stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn mixing it around with a wooden spoon. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chicken Fiesta Soup

1 can chicken stock
1 small can diced green chiles
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of dark red kidney beans (or any bean that you really like)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 12oz can of white chicken breast or 1 large chicken breast
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp cumin

Dump everything into a pot (including all the liquids from the cans). Cook on medium heat until it comes to slow boil (about 30-40 minutes) and voila you are ready to eat. Serve with sour cream, chips and cheese.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Shredded beef tacos

1 eye of round roast, cut into 3 hunks
1 1/2 cups homemade "Church Family Salsa" (look under "appetizer" for the recipe)
garlic salt (I use the Lawry's garlic salt)
olive oil
sour cream
shredded cheese
Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a skillet. Use garlic salt to salt all sides of the hunks of meat. Sear every side of meat until caramelized. Move meat to the crock pot. Pour salsa into the crock pot. Cook on high for 5 hours. Meat will be super tender. Remove meat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using two forks, shred meat into strips. Serve in your favorite tortillas, with your favorite fixings.

Sunday Doughnuts

(This is really our picture ... we really made these!! Can you believe it!?)

2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar; 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 TBS yeast
4 eggs (beaten)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
7 cups sifted flour; divided into 3 cups & 4 cups separately


3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cold water

Mix together ingredients for glaze and set aside (glaze will be very runny ... don't add more sugar to thicken it ... it's supposed to be very runny). Melt butter in hot milk; add 1 tsp sugar and salt. Allow mixture to cool. Beat in yeast, nutmeg, eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, and then add 3 cups flour. Switch to the hook attachment on your mixer, if your mixer has one. Add the rest of the flour (dough will be very sticky ... it's supposed to be that way). Knead (using your electric mixer with the hook ... or whatever attachment you have) for 5 minutes. Dough will still be VERY sticky. Allow dough to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours (remaining in the mixing bowl the whole time). Roll out dough to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into doughnuts. Pull cut outs away from other dough and place on a greased sheet of plastic wrap. Allow doughnuts to continue to rise for another 30-45 minutes. Heat oil to 365 degrees about 15 minutes in advance. Fry doughnut holes first to test oil. Adjust the temperature of the oil if the holes burn or cook too slowly. Allow doughnuts to cool on a paper towel. Dip in room temperature glaze. YUMMY!
***We used one of Ryan's medicine droppers to fill some of the doughnuts, without holes, with raspberry jam and vanilla pudding. We covered the jam filled doughnuts with powdered sugar and the pudding filled ones with glaze ... would have been better with chocolate icing, but I didn't feel like making any, lol. We also dipped some of the regular doughnuts in a cinnamon sugar mixture. YUM!!

Fresh Wraps

This is more of a meal suggestion than a recipe ... it's all the same, right?

wrap size tortillas (I use the spinach herb ones)
deli ham
deli turkey
sliced cheese (whatever kind you like)
iceberg lettuce
ranch dressing (I use the T. Marzetti Classic Ranch)

Layer meats, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and dressing in a wrap size tortilla ... roll up ... yum!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rice and Beans

We call this recipe gallo pinto at our house. It is a traditional food of Nicaragua, and they eat it at almost every meal. There are two versions, the authentic (fatty and hard to get right) version and then there is my easy, fast and low-fat version. Believe me you don't want to even attempt the authentic one, so I'm not going to give it to you. Janette wanted things she would actually make, so here is an easy side-dish. Just so you know my kids eat it.

Gallo Pinto
2 cups instant white rice
1 1/2 cups water
Garlic Powder
Ground cloves (optional)
Minced onion (I use dried onion)
1 can ranch style black beans (you can also use red beans, more traditional)
1 Tbsp veg. oil

Spray a big frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and brown the rice over med-high heat, if you are using fresh onions brown them as well. Add the water, garlic powder, salt, onions and clove (sorry I don't have measurements, it really is to taste). Cover, reduce heat. After about 5 minutes add the can of beans, warm through. Taste, and add whichever spice you think it needs more of. If you think it is a bit bland then add the oil.

That's it, I've never written it down before, so if it seems odd and confusing I'm sorry! Sometimes we eat it with a fried egg, sour cream, bread, or some cheese.
PS My son is usually dressed, but I was tired so I didn't fight it. That's why I made rice and beans, it's easy and the kids like it. No fight and one dish to clean.

Creamy Carmel Candy

Creamy Caramel Candy

Microwave about 2 sticks of butter 13 seconds

Put butter in 3-4 quart saucepan
use the butter wrapping to grease the pan you will put the finished caramel into

Melt the butter in the saucepan, medium, to medium high heat

Gradually add in 2 ¼ cup of brown sugar stirring constantly

Add 1 cup of clear corn syrup and bring to a low roll boil

Remove from heat

Stir in 1 can (5oz) of condensed milk

Put back on the heat stirring constantly and cook until candy thermometer registers 244-250 degrees

Remove from heat and stir in 1 ½ tsp of vanilla

Pour into buttered pan and let cool at room temperature- do not refrigerate

Cut cooled pieces into sections and wrap with wax paper

San Antonio Salsa Recipe

San Antonio Salsa Recipe


4-5 Serrano peppers – pull off stems
1 bunch green onions – finely chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves (fresh)
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 large cans of Whole tomatoes
½ tsp cumin powder
lemon wedge
½ tsp salt

Take 3 of the tomatoes from one of the cans and put it into the blender with the peeled garlic cloves and the peppers

Blend until a puree. Do not get this into your eyes!

Add the rest of the tomatoes except ONE, salt, & cumin. Save the tomato sauce in the can. Hit the “pulse” on your blender and BARELY mix it up so it doesn’t get soupy.

Stir in the onions and cilantro leaves

Squirt some lemon juice in there and mix some more

Taste and see if you need more salt

If it’s too hot, add a little of the tomato sauce and stir.

If it’s not hot enough, take everything out of the blender and puree one or two more peppers with your left over tomato from the can. (The peppers will just spin around in the bottom of your blender unless there’s a tomato in there with them) Then add the new puree to your salsa and mix it around.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chile Verde

4 T cooking oil
1/3 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chopped cilantro
3-4 jalapeno peppers
4-6 lbs boneless pork, cut into 1" cubes
1 can chopped green chiles
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
3 minced garlic cloves
1 cup mild salsa
14.5 oz chicken broth

In a frying pan, brown the cut up pork in olive oil. Pour into crock pot. Sprinkle with flour to coat meat. Add all the remaining ingredients. Simmer on high for 6-8 hours. Serves 8.

(My friend who taught me this actually halves the amount of pork and keeps the rest of the ingredients the same.)


This is yet another classic at the Church household. Gary grew up eating these little goodies and it was one of the first things he made for me after we got married. I had never had them before, but I loved them! We made them for dinner tonight.

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped

Biscuit dough:

4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups milk
1/2 cup oil (I use olive)

Cheese sauce:

4 TBS butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Brown meat and onion together. Drain grease and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix together. Add milk and oil and mix using electric mixer until dough forms a ball. Kneed dough until uniform (just about 1-2 minutes). Roll dough out on a floured surface, as you would for cinnamon rolls (about 1/4 inch thick). Sprinkle meat and onion mixture all over dough, extending all the way to the edges. Roll up the dough (just like cinnamon rolls) and slice in 1-1/2 inch rings using a sharp knife (again, just like cinnamon rolls). Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. While the pinwheels are baking, make your cheese sauce to pour on top of pinwheels. Start by melting the butter. Add the flour to make a rue. Once the flour and butter are uniform throughout (30 seconds), add the milk. Bring to a boil (you will notice the mixture start to thicken). Once it thickens, salt and pepper to taste and add shredded cheese gradually until melted and uniform. Serve on top of pinwheels, or on the side for dipping. Kids LOVE this meal.

**This usually makes about 15 pinwheels ... plan about 3 pinwheels per person.

It's all in the presentation...

I have discovered this crinkle cutter from Bed Bath & Beyond. My daughter will eat cheese & more cheese & sometimes nothing else. I've given her apples before but she never ate them, she'd lick it & them put it down. So I cut them up using this & she ate them even before she touched the cheese! I don't know if it's because they looked like fries so she tried them, all that matters is that she ate them & it wasn't a one time occasion either. If you've got a picky eater try one of these, it's less that $3 & it worked for me.

Wisconsin Cauliflower-Cheddar Soup

They serve this at a Zuppas - a favorite restaurant of mine. I've made this a few times and it is pretty close to what they serve.

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 package (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (2 cups)

1. In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.
3. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth.
4. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Easy Pizza Crust

4 -1/2 cups flour
1 -3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil (optional)
1 -3/4 cups ice cold water

Mix the flour, salt, and yeast together. Then stir in the oil and water. I use a dough hook with a kitchen aid, and let it stir for 5 to 7 minutes. the dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides. I have tried this with wheat flour and had to add a little more water. I also added 1 Tbs gluten for every cup of flour, it helps the dough be more stretchy.(If you add the gluten, add it with the dry ingredients)

I then break the dough into 4 even balls, put them into plastic baggies and refrigerate them over night, up to 3 days.If you have Semolina Flour, or cornmeal you can use it for dusting the balls when they get sticky. You can also freeze them and pull then out the day before you want to make the pizza.

If you have a pizza stone you will want to pre-heat the stone for about 45min on the bottom rack of the oven as hot as you can. Most ovens only go to 500-550 degrees. (you will also want the pizza to have been sitting out and ready to go for a while so the dough has had time to warm up some. I was too excited to eat and have cracked 2 stones so far.) I just bought a pizza pan, it looks like a cook sheet with holes all over it. I got it from Ross for $5. Cant beat that.

Once the pizza is placed in the oven, cook time should be 8 to 10 min. For a crispier flakier crust you can spray the edges of the crust with some water just before placing it into the oven. If you are cooking directly on the stone it may be done in as little as 5 min, so keep an eye on it. If you think the crust is done but the toppings need a little more you can always turn the oven to broil. But if you do you need to watch very closely. It will quickly caramelize the cheese and can burn the toppings in no time if not watched.

The pizza we made tonight had a barbecue sauce for the base, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese, and sliced roast beef for the toppings.
I really liked it and wanted to just eat the whole thing tonight. Thanks to Joanna's "will power"
I did not.

This crust is easy and once you have made the dough, it is easy to throw something on and have a fresh cheap pizza any time. Or you can make a desert pizza with cinniman and sugar cooked on top and dip the pizza into frosting.
I have some ideas for the sauce, but will have to post them later... I took an ambien before I started this, and it is getting a little weird.