Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Balls

This is basically a smore (with lots of additional goodies) that has been squished together to form a ball, and for whatever reason it is one of those rare delights that is only made at Christmas time... at least in my family.
This is a great addition to your plethora of holiday treats, even if it is too late for Christmas Day.

Christmas Balls
Recipe from Sandy Bishop

1 lb. mini marshmallows
2 1/2 c. chopped nuts
2 1/2 c. coconut
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 c. chopped dates
2 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

Pour all ingredients except graham cracker crumbs into a large bowl.
Wet your hands and mix thoroughly.
Roll into small balls and then roll each ball in crumbs, coating the outside (be sure and keep your hands wet through the process).
Store in an airtight container.
These will store for quiet some time - the longer they sit, the better they are!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sugar Cookie Candy Cane Cookies

These festive cookies are a great addition to your Christmas treat arsenal.  The lack of frosting makes this a lighter alternative, which we love, but you'll still get a punch of peppermint flavor from the actual cookie and candies sprinkled on top.
You can use whatever sugar cookie recipe you like the best, including store bought, but I love the one included here.
Sugar Cookie Candy Cane Cookies
Recipe idea from Country Living

2/3 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/4 tsp. salt
4 c. flour
pink food coloring
crushed candy canes

Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and mix between each.
Dissolve baking soda in the milk and add to the creamed mixture.
Add peppermint.
Slowly add flour and salt while mixing.

Divide dough into 2 equal halves.  
Set one half aside and return remaining half to the mixer.
Add 5 drops of food coloring and mix to combine - you may need more or less depending on desired color.

Place dough balls in a bowl and cover.
Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove from fridge and knead each half individually until dough softens.
Form several 1-2" balls from both colors.
Take individual balls and roll them out into long ropes of equal length.

Take one rope of each color and twist them together.
Wrap one end over to make a candy cane shape.
Place cookies on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until just browned on the bottom.
While still hot, sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces on cookies and press down lightly to indent.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dry Taco Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}

Aside from the convenience of having these lining your pantry shelves for a quick and delicious dinner any time, recipes like these also make for the perfect gift, as well as for camping / backpacking / 72 hour kit food options.  Just switch out the glass jar for a ziplock bag if you plan to hit the hills.

Shelf life on these jars are 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar lid on dry goods, it will last much longer (upwards of 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place).

You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated food here, but I've included links to the products that I use personally.  Click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.

Dry Taco Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}
3 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. tomato powder

In each quart mason jar, add the ingredients in the order listed.

To make the soup:
Add 7 cups of water to a pot and turn on high heat.
Dump entire contents of jar into the water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, or until beans are fully cooked.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream, if desired.
Makes about 10 cups of soup.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pretzel Buttons

These cute mini treats are easy to make, taste scrumptious, and are cute and festive.  You can swap out the colors of M&M's to make them more appropriate for any holiday; pink and red for Valentines day, pastels for Easter, red and blue for the 4th of July, or use chocolate kisses with orange candies for Halloween.

Pretzel Buttons
Recipe from g*rated

Square Pretzels
Hershey's Hugs (or Kisses)
M&M's

Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat and line the sheet with pretzels.
Place a Hershey's on top of each pretzel.
Bake for 4-5 minutes at 200 degrees to soften the chocolate - they should look shiny and soft, but still hold their shape.  You do not want them to melt, so watch closely.
Press one M&M in the center of each hug, pressing down to spread out the chocolate.
Allow to cool completely before serving.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Garlic Cheese Breadsticks

Paired with your favorite soup, or in addition to a great pizza night, these garlic cheese breadsticks are sure to please.

Garlic Cheese Breadsticks
Recipe from Baked by Rachel

1 c. water
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
2-3 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water and allow yeast to proof.
To your mixing bowl, add flour, salt and garlic powder.
Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the yeast mixture.
Mix or knead for 6 minutes.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Knead dough to remove air bubbles, and roll out to desired shape.
Place on a greased cookie or pizza sheet.
Melt butter and add in the minced garlic.
Use a pastry brush to brush garlic mixture over entire surface of dough.
Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Minestrone Soup

This is one of those tried and true recipes passed down from my wonderful mother in law.  It is full of veggies and has a great flavor from the sausage.
I also like that you can control how "soupy" you want this to be.  My kids don't prefer all of the extra broth/liquid, so we use a slotted spoon to scoop this over their noodles, leaving more in the pot for me.
 
The leftovers conveniently freeze beautifully for a hot lunch or dinner any time (just freeze the soup - not the noodles).  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Minestrone Soup
Recipe from Lyn Denna

½ lb. browned pork sausage
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 quart water
2 c. beef broth
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery ribs, chopped
1 can garbonzo beans
1 can green beans
2 8oz. cans tomato sauce
2 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil
1 Tbsp. parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Optional additions: zucchini and green peppers
1 lb. noodles

Prepare noodles according to package directions.
Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour, or put in a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours.
Place prepared noodles in bowls and top with hot soup.

Monday, November 14, 2016

White Chocolate Popcorn

This delightful popcorn treat is absolutely easy and always tastes amazing.  The only thing of import here is the ratio of chocolate to popcorn; everything else that deems this a recipe can be thrown out the window. 
You can flavor the chocolate or add whatever color sprinkles you would like - I made this particular batch for a baby shower so I sprinkled some pink on there for fun.

Mini M&M's and colored sprinkles have also been a hit at our house:

White Chocolate Popcorn
Recipe from Eat Good 4 Life

1 c. pop corn kernels
20 oz white chocolate (baking bars, chips, etc.)
food coloring or sprinkles of choice

Pop corn into a large bowl.
Sift through to remove all un-popped kernels and discard.

In a double broiler, place chocolate pieces under boiling water and stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth.
Add food coloring to chocolate (if adding), and stir to combine.
Pour warm chocolate over popped corn and stir immediately to evenly coat.
Lay popcorn out to dry on cookie sheets or waxed paper.
Sprinkle with sprinkles (if adding) while chocolate is still wet.
Allow to dry completely.
Break up and store in an airtight container.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dry Chili Mix {Meal in a Jar}

This hearty mix comes together in minutes to create a delicious chili.  If you aren't into the whole "meal in a jar" thing, by all means just throw this together for a quick dinner any night of the week.
  If you are looking for convenient gift giving this Christmas, this ticket fits the bill.  I like to pair this meal with home made corn bread (also available as a dry mix).

Aside from the convenience of having ready made meals like this lining your shelves, these make excellent options for camping, hunting or 72 hour kits.  These can just as easily be put into mylar bags, or if you aren't worried about shelf life, a ziplock would work just fine.
The shelf life of this chili mix is 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar or vacuum seal a mylar bag, you can extend the shelf life up to 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place.
You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated foods here, but I've included links to the products that I personally use.  The most important thing is to use instant beans; this allows for long term storability with minimal cooking time and water.  You can click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.

Dry Chili Mix {Meal in a Jar}

1 c. freeze dried beef (I used 1/2 hamburger, 1/2 roast beef)
1/2 c. freeze dried tomato dices (i omitted these)
1 Tbsp. beef bouillon
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper 
salt and pepper, to taste

To make the chili:
Add 8 cups of water to a pot over high heat.
Add entire contents of jar and bring to a boil.
Simmer over medium heat until beans are cooked through, 20-30 minutes.
This chili will thicken up quiet a bit during the final minutes of cooking time, so don't panic if it looks too watered down, just keep boiling.

Serve with shredded cheese, optional.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Baked Caprese Spaghetti Squash

This cheesy side makes the perfect accompaniment to whatever main dish you've got planned for this week.  Full of flavor and vegetables!

Baked Caprese Spaghetti Squash
Recipe from Pink Troll Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small roma tomatoes
1 small handful fresh basil leaves
1 large handful spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash in half and remove seeds and pulp.
Cook squash in microwave for 12-15 minutes, until easily shredded with fork, OR
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until easily shredded with fork.

Scrape cooked squash flesh from skins and place in a bowl.
Add garlic.
Dice tomatoes and add to bowl.
Rough chop basil and spinach and add to bowl.
Mix well, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fold in 3/4 c. of the cheese.

Pour into a greased pie dish and smooth out evenly.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned.
Top with additional fresh basil, if desired.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Oatmeal Smoothie

**The 2016 Discounted Group Food Storage Order can be found here.

This is hands down one of my favorite go to recipes for a filling breakfast, lunch or even a mid day snack.  I practically lived on this and refrigerator oatmeal when I worked early in the mornings and needed something to grab and go.  The oats keep you feeling full all morning long, and it has great texture and flavor.  
I've also loved this as a recovery drink after a particularly long or hard workout.  It works great to make ahead and have in the fridge if you are in a rush - just don't let it sit for longer than 1 day as the oats will continue to absorb the liquid.
You can play around with the flavors here.  My husband hates peanut butter, so we omit this for him.  And you can really use any fruit combination you have on hand as well, if you aren't particularly fond of strawberry banana.  This really is fool proof!

Oatmeal Smoothie

1 c. milk of choice (even chocolate... just sayin')
1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 banana
1 c. strawberries
handful ice cubes

Blend and serve.
Makes 1 serving.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dry Chicken Noodle Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}

Meal in Jar recipes are the perfect solution for quick dinners with zero fuss.  They also make wonderful gifts (I like to give them to new moms, perfect for when they need something healthy and fast).

You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated foods here, but I've included links to the products that I personally use.  If interested, you can click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.  OR, take advantage of our 2016 discounted group food storage order by clicking here.
You can switch up the seasonings for whatever you like to add to your chicken soup, so this is completely customizable for your tastes.

This mix makes 2 large servings.  If you have a larger family, I would recommend doubling the ingredients and leaving the noodles out of the jar.  Those can always be included in the bag along side the jar, and added at the time of cooking.
Aside from the convenience of having ready made meals like this lining your shelves, these make excellent options for camping, hunting or 72 hour kits.  These can just as easily be put into mylar bags, or if you aren't worried about shelf life, a ziplock would work just fine.
The shelf life of this soup mix is 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar or vacuum seal a mylar bag, you can extend the shelf life up to 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place.

Dry Chicken Noodle Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}
Recipe modified from My Food Storage Favorites

2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. freeze dried celery
1/3. c. dehydrated carrots
1/4 c. freeze dried onions
1 c. freeze dried chicken
2 c. egg noodles

In each quart mason jar, add all ingredients in the order listed.

To make the soup:
Add contents of jar to 6 cups of water in a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until noodles are done.

Makes 2 large servings.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin season is right around the corner, and these easily canned jars are the perfect go to for delicious breads, waffles, cookies, cakes, pies, or whatever else you love pumpkin for.

Due to their acidity levels, pumpkins (and all vegetables), require the use of a pressure canner.  The internal temperature of puree'd pumpkin is questionable for home canning safety, so please don't try that at home.  Stick with this cubed method and strain the water when ready to use, if necessary.  This same method can be used for canning any winter squash.

Canned Pumpkin
Recipe from Presto

fresh pumpkin
mason jars

Wash and remove seeds from pumpkin.
Remove peel from flesh and cut into 1" cubes.
Drop cubes into boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.
Pack hot squash cubes loosely into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1" headspace.  Do not mash or puree cubes.
Cover with liquid that squash was boiled in, leaving 1 " headspace.
Remove air bubbles by running a plastic knife around the edges of the jar.
Wipe rim clean with a wet paper towel.
Place hot, sterilized lids on jars, and screw on bands.

Process at 11 pounds pressure, making sure to adjust for altitude (13 pounds if you live in Utah).
55 minutes for pints, or 90 minutes for quarts.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Apple Cider {Bottled}

Apple season is in full swing and thanks to wonderful farmers and a generous neighbor, I had a plethora of them last week.  I was stocked with dehydrated apples, applesauce and canned apple pie filling already, so I branched out to try something new: apple cider.  The results were fantastic.

You really can use whatever apples you have on hand; I had a mix of granny smith and red delicious; with a few fuji's and golden delicious in the mix.  The type of apples used will contribute to the sweetness factor, so you may need to adjust the honey or sugar to your liking.
If you are making a large batch you can definitely can this for future use (instructions follow), but if canning intimidates you then by all means just leave that part out.  This should store just fine in the fridge for up to 1 week.  If you are doing multiple batches, I would reuse the cinnamon/clove spice bag - you could definitely get more than one use out of it.
Also, DON'T THROW OUT THE APPLE PIECES AND PULP AT THE END!  This can be sent through a Victorio Strainer and made into delicious applesauce, which you can either eat plain or bottle (instructions here).  Or you could use it to make apple butter.  I sifted through mine for core-less pieces and pureed them in my blender to make apple cider fruit leather, so you've got a lot of options!

Apple Cider
Recipe modified from BLDG 25
25 apples of choice
water to cover apples (should be at least 4 quarts)
1 c. honey (or sweetener of choice)
10 cinnamon sticks
15 whole cloves

Chop apples into 4-6 pieces (do not skin or remove cores - just throw it all in)
Add apples to a large pot and cover with water.
Add sweetener of choice to the pot.
Take cinnamon sticks and cloves and wrap in a spice bag or cheesecloth; toss into the pot.

Bring to a boil, and boil uncovered on high for 1 hour.
Turn the heat to low, and simmer for 2-4 hours longer.
Once cooking is over, remove cheesecloth or spice bag.
Use a potato masher to mash the apples into a pulp (as much as possible).

Using a fine mesh strainer, remove as much of the pulp as possible.
Pour the remaining cider and pulp through a mesh strainer to catch all of the big pieces (you can also pour it into a large cheesecloth bag and squeee out all of the liquid).
Season to taste, and adjust sweetener if needed.

Makes 4 quarts.

If canning: put strained cider into a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer.
Pour hot cider into hot, sterilized jars.
Wipe rims clean, and top with a hot, sterilized lid.
Screw band on as tightly as possible.
Let stand on a towel or hot pad until you hear the "pop", and the cider has cooled completely.
Store in a cool, dark place.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Zucchini Casserole

As the weather cools, casserole season is quickly approaching again.  This is the perfect way to continue to use up the wonderful zucchini from the garden before it's gone for the winter.

Zucchini Casserole
Recipe from Six Sister's Stuff

6 oz. package boxed Stove Top stuffing mix
1/2 c. melted butter
4 c. zucchini, diced
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 c. sour cream

In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix and melted butter.
Set aside 1/2 c. of the stuffing mixture for the topping.
To the large bowl, add the zucchini, chicken soup, onion and sour cream, stirring to combine.
Pour mixture into a greased 9x13" baking dish and spread out evenly.
Top with remaining 1/2 c. stuffing mixture.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Dry Vegetable Cheese Chowder Mix {Meal in a Jar}

One of my all time favorite soups is now available as a shelf stable dry mix.  Aside from the convenience of having these lining your pantry shelves for a quick and delicious dinner any time, recipes like these also make for the perfect gift.  Not to mention the convenience factor for camping / backpacking / hunting / 72 hour kit food options.  No refrigeration, light weight, nutritious and great tasting.  Just switch out the glass jar for a ziplock bag if you plan to hit the hills.
To make this even more backpacker friendly, you can buy resealable mylar bags, add the jar contents along with boiling water to the bag, seal it up, and let it cook on its own.  This takes about twice as long as boiling on the stovetop, but it is another option.

Shelf life on these jars are 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar lid on dry goods, it will last much longer (upwards of 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place).

You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated food here, but I've included links to the products that I use personally.  Click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.

Dry Vegetable Cheese Chowder Mix
Menu Managed Original

1/4 c. mashed potato flakes
1/3 c. cheese blend powder
1/4 c. powdered milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 c. dehydrated potato chunks
1/2 c. dehydrated carrot dices
1/2. c. freeze dried onions
3/4 c. freeze dried broccoli
3/4 c. freeze dried cauliflower
3/4 c. freeze dried celery

Add all contents to a wide mouth quart jar, in the order listed above.  You will have to push down on the celery to get it all to fit.

To make the soup:
Add 7 cups of water to a pot and turn heat to high.
Dump contents of jar into water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked, stirring occasionally.
Soup will thicken up quiet a bit near the end of cooking time, so don't worry if it looks too thin.
Add up to 1 more cup of water if soup seems too thick for your liking.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pineapple Zucchini

As weird as this name may sound, this is no joke!  Cubed and skinned zucchini is soaked in pineapple juice, absorbing all of the flavor to make perfectly pineapple look and taste alikes.  I opted for tidbits, since that is what we use most, but you can also grate or shred your zucchini if you are going for more of a crushed pineapple texture.  This is an excellent recipe for those big or over ripe zucchini from the garden.

Now, as far as taste is concerned, these really do taste just like pineapple.  You will notice the difference in the way they look, and the texture, but I have had success in several dishes using these in replace of the real thing; fruit salads, jello's, etc.  If you want to see a picture of them on an actual dish, check out this Hawaiian Haystacks photo/recipe.

A second note on terms of canning.  Most vegetables need to be canned in a pressure canner (as opposed to a water bath) because of their non or low-acidity levels.  Soaking the zucchini in pineapple and lemon juice, as well as the sugar, makes these suitable for water bath canning.  However, it is recommended that you do not process in jars larger than pints (no quarts).

Pineapple Zucchini

16 c. zucchini, cubed in the size you want, or shredded
46 oz. canned unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 c. bottled lemon juice
3 c. sugar

Prepare your zucchini by first cutting it in half lengthwise and removing all of the seeds.  
Use a knife or a vegetable peeler to remove all of the skin.
You should be left with just the "meaty" portion of the zucchini.
Chop zucchini into chunks or tidbits, or grate if you want crushed pineapple.

In a large pot, combine pineapple juice, lemon juice and sugar.  
Stir to dissolve sugar and then add the zucchini.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Fill hot, sterilized pint or half-pint size jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.
Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and place sterilized lids on each jar.
Secure with a band and fingertip tighten.

Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, being sure to adjust for altitude (25 minutes Utah time).
Makes 8-10 pints.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lemon Custard Cake

Another great option for summertime treats, this lemon custard cake it great alone, with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or topped with juicy berries (my personal preference).
Do not be alarmed by the runny consistency of the batter - that is exactly how it is supposed to be.   The cake firms up quite a bit once cooked and cooled.

Lemon Custard Cake
Recipe from Give Recipe

4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 cube)
3/4 c. flour
2 c. milk, lukewarm
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (1 Tbsp. lemonaide powder)

Separate egg whites and egg yolks.
Beat whites in a bowl until stiff and put aside.
Whisk egg yolks, vanilla and sugar until creamy.
Add melted butter and mix for half a minute.
Add the flour and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.
Continue beating as you add the milk gradually.
Gently fold in the egg white, one third at a time.
Fold in the grated lemon zest.
Pour very runny batter into a greased 8x11" baking dish.
Bake at 320 degrees for 60 minutes.
Let cool.
Dust with powdered sugar or top with fresh fruit.  I ended up putting mine face down on a platter first, but you can't really go wrong here.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Cobbler meets granola bar in this fantastic oatmeal breakfast alternative.
I altered the sugar content significantly to make this a bit more morning friendly rather than "treat worthy", and we don't miss it at all!  The berries are plenty sweet and this satisfies even my pickiest oat eaters.
You can dive in fresh out of the oven, and your bowl of breakfast will literally look like berry cobbler, or you can wait for them to cool and cut into bars; perfect for snacks or breakfast on the go.  We love these.
The original recipe calls for frozen berries, coating them in cornstarch to keep the juices down.
However, it is significantly better using fresh, so that is what the recipe below indicates.  If all you have is frozen, simply add 1 Tbsp. cornstarch to the frozen berry mixture before adding to the pan.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Recipe modified from Delightful E Made

2 1/4 c. Quick Oats
2 1/4 c. flour (we use whole wheat)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt, mixing until combined.
Melt butter and pour over ingredients, stirring until combined and crumbly.
Pour 2/3 of the oatmeal mixture into a greased 9x13" baking pan, pressing down to form a crust.
Arrange berries over crust.
Evenly sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture over berries, breaking up with fingers as you do.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve immediately for cobbler style, or let cool before cutting into long bars.
Refrigerate leftovers.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Churro Waffles

This is not so much a recipe, as a method of making everyday waffles even more spectacular!  This will work with any favorite waffle recipe you have.  We love ours topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream!

Churro Waffles
Baked waffles of choice
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. cinnamon sugar

Melt butter on a large dinner plate, and swirl around to distribute in an even layer.
On another dinner plate, sprinkle cinnamon sugar.
Make and bake waffles according to package directions.
When waffle is done baking, remove from iron and dip each side into the melted butter (you don't want it to soak, just enough to get the cinnamon sugar to stick).
Dip each buttered side into the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Strawberries are officially in season (as far as my backyard garden is concerned), and this is the perfect summer treat to take to parties and potlucks.
Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Recipe from A Spicy Perspective

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
zest of 1 lemon (or use a lemon substitute)
2 1/2 c. flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 c. powdered sugar

Sift together 2 1/4 c. flour, baking soda and salt.
Min in the lemon zest and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffly.
Beat in the eggs, one and a time.
Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.
Alternate adding the flour and yogurt mixture, mixing after each addition, just until incorporated.

Toss strawberries with the remaining 1/4 c. flour.
Gently fold into batter.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease and flour a 10" bundt cake pan, and pour in the batter.
Place in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled, whisk together remaining 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar.
Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Corn Bread

I love cornbread.  It is a go to side dish at our house, and definitely isn't new here on the blog.  
However, I have three recipes, and two have been posted here before.  I thought it was time to consolidate, and explain my reasonings.

The first recipe (Creamed Corn Bread) is best.  It is moist, has great flavor and texture, makes for a better leftover, and overall we like it the most.

The second version (Corn Bread) I did away with completely until I found myself reverting back to it for certain recipes.  For example, I prefer it if the cornbread is paired with something else (like in this cornbread taco bake recipe), as opposed to being eaten alone.  It also works perfectly for any recipe that calls for a boxed corn bread muffin mix; (just omit the liquid ingredients and you've got the same thing).  If you don't have creamed corn to make the first version, this is the next best thing. 

The third version (Dry Corn Bread Mix) is excellent for camping/vacations.  You can toss everything in a bag and just add water when ready to bake.


Creamed Corn Bread
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. talk
3 eggs
1 can cream-style corn

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir to combine.
Puree creamed corn in food processor or blender until smooth.
Whisk eggs lightly and add to creamed corn.
Pour corn/egg mixture into dry ingredients; stir until well blended.
Pour into greased 8x8" or 9x9" pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Serve warm or at room temperature with honey butter.

Corn Bread
1 c. flour
4tsp.  baking powder
1 c. corn meal
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. butter or shortening
1 c. milk

Combine dry ingredients and mix.
Add eggs, butter and milk, beating with a fork until barely smooth.
Pour into 8x8" or 9x9" greased pan.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Dry Corn Bread Mix
1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter powder
3 Tbsp. powdered milk
2 Tbsp. powdered eggs
1 1/3 c. water

Combine all ingredients except water and mix.
When ready to make, add water and mix until barely smooth.
Pour into greased 8x8" or 9x9" pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Dutch Oven Cobbler

As summer approaches, I thought I'd share one of my all time favorite dutch oven desserts: COBBLER.
This recipe is SO EASY, making it perfect for camping or backyard BBQ's.  Fill with whatever fruit you desire (peaches and raspberries below), top with a sprinkling of cake mix, butter, and sprite.  Delicious!  The best part about this recipe is that you can't really mess it up.  Don't worry so much about proportions and measuring; just dump it in and put the lid on.  You wont be disappointed!
Dutch Oven Cobbler
Recipe from Sandy Bishop

6-8 c. chopped fruit of choice (I almost always use 2 quarts of bottled peaches)
1 boxed cake mix; white, yellow, chocolate, whatever you prefer.
1/4 c. butter
1 can sprite or 7-up

In a 12" dutch oven, layer the bottom with fruit (drained, if using canned).
Open a boxed cake mix and sprinkle the contents over the fruit (do not make the cake as directed, just use the powder in the mix).
Cut thin strips of butter and layer pieces over the cake mix.
Carefully pour 1/2 - 1 full can of sprite over everything.  You want it to be moist on the bottom, and dry on the top.

For Briquette cooking: 
10 coals on the bottom
14 coals on the top
Bake for 30-45 minutes, until fruit is bubbling up in places and the cake is browned on the top.

Or you can bake it in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.

Monday, May 30, 2016

{Homemade} Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

Some of you have already tried my powdered cream of chicken soup substitute, which I love.  But I have lately started using this recipe as well.  I have found that it works better for certain things.  Both are a great addition to any recipe index, and if you haven't jumped on this bandwagon yet, you should.  You'll save yourself a bundle, and cut down on unnecessary ingredients.
This recipe makes the equivalent to 1 can of Campbells Cream of Chicken Soup.

Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup {Homemade}
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

3/4 c. chicken broth
1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning (sage)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch dried parsley
pinch paprika
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. flour

In a medium saucepan, bring broth and all seasonings to a simmer.
Whisk milk and flour together in a separate container, and slowly pour into the broth mixture, whisking constantly.
Continue cooking, whisking occassionally until thickened, 3-4 minutes.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Use in desired recipe.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Coconut Cream Berry Polenta

Step aside oatmeal, there's a new hot breakfast in town.  Polenta.
It may sound sketchy at first, but trust me, this delicious berry breakfast is packed full of flavor.
I've long since discovered the magical happenings of cooking any hot breakfast in milk rather than water, and this one takes it one step further.  Coconut milk provides sweetness and texture, which pairs perfectly with berries of any kind.  Sprinkle some toasted coconut over the top and you are good to go.

Coconut Cream Berry Polenta
Recipe modified from Edible Perspective

1 c. polenta (I use this)
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. coconut milk
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. toasted flaked coconut
berries of choice

In a medium sized pan, bring water and coconut milk to a simmer over medium high heat.
Whisk in polenta.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

After cooking, whisk in the coconut oil, honey, and salt.
Ladle into bowls and top with berries, toasted coconut, and extra coconut milk.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Brussel Sprout Cranberry Quinoa Salad

This all season salad is perfect for potlucks, a satisfying lunch, or a vegetarian dinner (if you are in to that sort of thing...).
I made a few modifications; subbing freeze dried cranberry slices for craisins, which cuts down significantly on the sweetness, but still adds that great pop of color, and I used almonds instead of pecans, since that is what I had on hand.  Like most salads, anything you choose to throw in or omit would work great.

Brussel Sprout Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Recipe modified from Gimme some Oven

Salad
2 c. quinoa, cooked
6 oz Brussel sprouts
3/4 c. freeze dried sliced cranberries (or craisins)
1 c. sliced almonds (or pecans)

Dressing
1/2 orange (1/4 c. juice)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 Stevia packet (omit if using craisins)

Wash and trim ends of Brussel sprouts, and thinly slice.
Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.

Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad.
Toss to combine.
Serve cold or at room temperature.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Broccoli, Ham and Egg Bake

This easy throw together meal is perfect for a hearty breakfast, but I almost always serve it as a main dish for dinner.  I never measure anything but the eggs - just layer everything in a casserole dish, pour the eggs over the top and bake.  You can mix up the ratio of everything else, depending on how much meat, cheese or vegetable you want.

Broccoli, Ham and Egg Bake
Recipe modified from Focuseat

4-6 c. small broccoli flowerettes
1-2 c. diced ham
1 c. mozzarella cheese
1 can diced green chilies
salt and pepper to taste
10 eggs, well beaten

In a 9x13" casserole dish, layer broccoli on the bottom.
Top with diced ham.
Sprinkle mozzarella on top, as well as green chilies.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Mix eggs, and pour over everything.
Move things around slightly with a fork, so ensure the egg mixture seeps to the bottom and is coating everything.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until middle is firm and the eggs have set.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Canned Apricots

Canning apricots is a great way to extend the harvest all year long.  This method leaves the skin on, making it quick and easy.
If canned apricots aren't your thing, try using these to make apricot nectar - toss entire contents in a blender with some sugar and ice and you have a fantastic summer treat!
Or, you can make canned apricot nectar.

Canned Apricots

mason jars, lids and rings
Aprictots
sugar

In each sanitized quart mason jar put up to 1/4 c. sugar (based on taste of fruit).
Pour about 1 c. boiling water into each and shake bottles to dissolve sugar.
Wash, half and remove pits of apricots, and place halved pieces in prepared jars.
Pour hot water over apricots until jar is full.
Remove air bubbles with a knife or plastic spatula by running it down the sides of the bottle.
Steam quarts for 25 minutes, pints for 20 (do not start timer until steam in consistently coming out).
Remember to adjust for altitude - Utah time is 35 minutes for quarts, 25 for pints.

New to canning?
Peaches and apricots are very similar - click here to view my peach canning tutorial.
Click here for a complete list of canning tutorials.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Chopped Chicken Sesame Noodles

This chopped chicken sesame noodles recipe was modified slightly to suit more of our everyday ingredients - subbing soba for normal noodles, and bell peppers for cucumbers.  Really any assortment of veggies you have in the fridge would work here.
This was great served warm from the cooked pasta, but cold leftovers the next day were also fabulous. Perfect for a filling lunch or a summer dinner. 

Chopped Chicken Sesame Noodles
Recipe modified from Pinch of Yum

2 c. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
8oz. pasta of choice
1 red bell pepper
3 large carrots
1 handful cilantro

Sesame Sauce
3 Tsbp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
3-4 Tbsp. water
2-3 Thsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

In a food processor, combine all sauce ingredients except sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.
Pulse until smooth, and stir in sesame seeds and red pepper.

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
While noodles are cooking, uniformly chop all veggies and cilantro and place in a bowl.
Add chopped or shredded chicken and drained noodles.
Pour sesame sauce over everything and stir to coat.
Serve warm or cold.

Monday, April 18, 2016

German Chocolate Cookies

These individual german chocolate cake cookies are made from a boxed cake mix, making them super easy yet absolutely delicious.  

German Chocolate Cookies
Cookie recipe from Six Sisters Stuff
Frosting recipe from Sandy Bishop

Cookies:
1 box German Chocolate cake mix
2/3 c. butter (or shortening)
2 eggs
1 tsp. water

Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
Roll into 1" balls and place on a silpat lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes.
Let cool.

Frosting:
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1 c. coconut
1 egg
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (I like walnuts or almonds)

Bring sugar, coconut, evaporated milk, butter and egg to a boil, stirring constantly.
Cook slowly for 3-4 minutes.
Stir in vanilla and nuts.
Cool, and spread on cookies.

Optional:
1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted and drizzled on top of cookies.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Brown Rice

Another family favorite, this easy side is paired perfectly with steak, chicken or pork.  If this looks familiar, this previously posted recipe has been modified slightly; less butter and more liquid, resulting in a lighter, fluffier consistency.  All of my kids consider this a personal favorite, and request it often.
It is also worth noting that one can of beef consume can be substituted for a packet of AuJus seasoning + 1 can of water (if you are interested in cutting down on price without sacrificing flavor). 

Brown Rice
Recipe modified from Sandy Bishop

1 bunch green onions (about 7)
6 Tbsp. butter
3 cans beef consume (not broth) OR 2 cans consume and 1 packet AuJus + 1 can water
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 c. water
3 c. rice

Melt butter in oven proof medium size pan.
Add onions and saute for a few minutes.
Add consume, water and soy sauce, and bring to a light boil.
Add rice.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.  Do not stir.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Take pan directly from stove top and put into the oven with the lid still on.
Cook at 325 for 20 minutes.
Stir thoroughly and serve.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hawaiian Haystacks

This is a repost on this blog - a family favorite that desperately needed a photo upgrade.
This is the perfect dish for feeding a LOT of people, but still letting everyone pick and choose what they like.  I love the different colors, textures and flavors.

Hawaiian Haystacks
Rice, cooked
1 soup can milk
2 small chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 tsp. ground fennel seed
1/2 tsp. cumin OR curry
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:
Cheese
Red/Green Onions
Bell Peppers
Tomatoes
Celery 
Olives
Coconut
Pineapple Tidbits
Slivered Almonds
Chow Mein Noodles

In saucepan, combine soup, milk, chicken and spices - heat through.
Serve sauce over rice.
Top with desired toppings.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Cranberry Bars

This tasty torte comes from Lottie + Doof, and is a perfect solution for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  I ended up cutting out half of the sugar called for in the original recipe, and even still, find this pleasantly sweet.
 
Cranberry Bars
Recipe modified from Lottie+Doof

1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
generous pinch of salt
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar, plus 1 Tbsp. for topping
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 drops almond extract
1 heaping c. fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, and then add the almond extract.
Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Spread batter into greased 9x9" dish, or a 9" springform pan.
Arrange the cranberries on top of the batter in a single layer, and sprinkle with remaining Tbsp. of sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown.
Stores up to 4 days at room temperature.