Sunday, February 24, 2008

Peach French Toast

This recipe comes from my friend Diane, who loves to cook. She made this casserole for me, and I had to have the recipe. If I'm involved in any kind of brunch, this is what I make. In my version, I have added more peaches. Her recipe calls for just 1 29-oz. can of peaches.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
2 TBS. water
2 29-oz. cans sliced peaches, drained well
French bread, sliced and then halved
5 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 TBS. vanilla

Bring brown sugar, margarine, and water to a boil over medium heat (not too high because the mixture can burn easily). Simmer for ten minutes. Pour into 9X13 pan. The mixture immediately hardens. Top with peaches. Place French bread slices on top. Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla and pour slowly over French bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours). Get casserole out of the refrigerator half an hour before you plan to bake it (sometimes I skip this part and bake it a couple of minutes longer). Put foil over it and bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 25-30 more minutes.

Glazed Ham Slice

This sweet glaze jazzes up that leftover ham. If I don't have a large ham slice, I use smaller pieces-it tastes the same! I also serve the pineapple slices separately with the meal because we do not like warm pineapple.

1 fully cooked ham slice (about 3/4 pound and 1/2-inch thick)
1 can (8 oz.) sliced pineapple
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
2 TBS. honey
1 TBS. steak sauce
1 TBS. Dijon mustard

Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Set aside 2 pineapple slices, refrigerating remaining slices for another use. In a bowl (or just mix together in skillet), combine cornstarch, pineapple juice, honey, steak sauce, and mustard until smooth. Add honey mixture to skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat; cook for 1-2 minutes. Add ham to skillet; heat ham slices through by cooking for a couple of minutes on each side. Top ham with reserved pineapple slices. Makes 2 servings.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

My mother experimented with this recipe one evening when Brady and Karissa were visiting. At the time, I thought the idea of sweet potato biscuits was very unappealing. Then I ate one. It was delicious and very sweet. Try one for yourself!

3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 cup melted shortening or margarine
3 TBS. sugar
2/3 cup milk
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup flour

Heat mashed sweet potatoes. Stir in melted margarine or shortening. Stir in sugar. Add milk, baking powder, salt, and flour to make a soft dough. Roll out dough and cut biscuits. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Banana Bread

This is the best version of banana bread I've ever had. I got it out of the Alpha-Bakery Children's Cookbook by Betty Crocker. It is a great ABC cookbook for kids, although I was introduced to it in college. You can order it here. My kids love making this bread--especially mashing the bananas. We usually make this when we have too-ripe bananas to get rid of.

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 large bananas)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a loaf pan. Mix sugar, bananas, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into pan. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then loosen sides of loaf from pan and remove from pan. Let cool completely before slicing.

Mexican Rollups

This recipe has become a Christmas favorite to take to parties.

8 oz. cream cheese
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz. sour cream
1 1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
4 1/2 oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
2 tomatoes, chopped and drained
10 flour tortillas

Combine first four ingredients until smooth. Fold in cheese, chilies, and tomatoes, blending well. Spread mixture on tortillas, then roll up. For easier cutting, refrigerate rollups until cream cheese mixture is firm. Slice and serve cold with salsa.

Cream Cheese Mints

I learned how to make these at a Relief Society activity at BYU. I now mostly make them for wedding receptions. They are so good. You can add food coloring to make them any color you want. You can also use flexible candy molds for different shapes. To make the process faster, roll the mixture in a long roll and cut the mints in slices.

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
3 cups powdered sugar
food coloring

Stir together cream cheese, peppermint extract, and several drops of food coloring. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until mixture is smooth. Knead in the last of the sugar with your hands. Form mixture into 3/4-inch balls. Roll each ball into sugar and place on waxed paper. Flatten with the bottom of a glass or a fork. Cover mints with paper towels. Let dry overnight. Store tightly covered in refrigerator or freezer. Makes 45-60 mints.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Crunchy Apple Salad

Some people know this salad as Waldorf salad. I think it is the perfect combination of tastes.

4 large red apples, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup mayonnaise

In a large bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. Blend in the mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate. Yield: 16 servings.

Layered Jello Salad

This recipe is from my friend Diane, who loves to cook. You don’t know how cool this salad looks until you’ve made it for yourself. When you cut it, it looks like a rainbow because you can see 12 different colors of jello. It is the perfect recipe for Easter and would be great in an Easter egg mold. You could adapt it to different holidays by changing the colors of jello (ex. Red and green for Christmas).

1 pint plain yogurt
6 small boxes of jello in different colors

Boil 1 cup water and dissolve 1 box of jello in it. Divide mixture in half. To one half, add 1/3 cup yogurt and pour in dish. Place dish in refrigerator to help congeal faster. To other half, add 3 TBS. cold water. Add to dish when first layer congeals. Repeat with remaining boxes of jello.

Pink Perfection Salad

This recipe is from my mother. She makes this at Christmas and for nice dinners. It is a refreshing taste as it is served frozen, but we don't consider it a dessert. We usually freeze it in individual muffin wrappers for easy serving.

4 bananas, diced
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 container Cool Whip
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup sugar

Mix ingredients together and freeze until firm.

Frito Salad

This recipe was given to me from a friend named Carrie, who made this for all the ward potluck dinners. There was never any left.

1 package Fritos
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
3-4 scallion onions, chopped
1 small bottle Catalina dressing
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained

Mix ingredients together (except for Fritos). Put salad over Fritos at time of serving (they will get soggy if you do it before).

Cranberry Salad

This recipe comes from Matt’s grandmother Ganny. She always makes this for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She adds additional sugar, but I have left that out because I don’t think it needs it.

2 packages raspberry/cranberry jello
3 cups water-1 ½ cups boiled and 1 ½ cups cold
1 orange
1 red delicious apple
2 cups chopped cranberries
½ cup sugar

Put ½ cup sugar on cranberries and set aside. Meanwhile, in separate bowl, mix jello with boiling water until dissolved. Add cold water to jello. Chop orange and apple. Combine everything and let chill until firm.

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

This recipe comes from Matt's mother Linda a.k.a. Bigmama to her grandkids. She helped us make this bread for Christmas presents our first Christmas together. We were too poor for anything else!

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1 cup cranberries, coarsely cut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 egg, well beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
2 TBS vegetable oil

Mix 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the cranberries and set aside to sweeten. Sift dry ingredients together; stir in cranberries, nuts, and orange peel. Combine egg, orange juice, and oil and add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened. Bake in greased 9 1/2 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on rack.

Sausage Balls

This easy recipe comes from my father. This is the one recipe he made for my wedding reception. You have to get your hands in it. If it becomes too dry to work with, add a little bit of water. These freeze really well.

1 lb. sausage
10 oz. cheese
3 cups baking mix

Grate Cheese. Mix ingredients together and form into 1-inch balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

90-Minute Dinner Rolls

This recipe comes from the Law Family Cookbook, a family cookbook on my husband's side. The recipe is from Jane Law Duckett. The rolls are on the easy side for homemade rolls, and they taste similar to Parkerhouse rolls.

2 to 2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
2 TBS. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
¼ cup water
2 TBS. margarine

Mix 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt, and undissolved yeast. Heat milk, water, and margarine to 120 degrees. Gradually add flour mixture and beat 2 minutes on medium speed with mixer. Add 1/4 cup flour and beat on high for 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. On floured board, knead 2 to 3 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls. Place on greased 8-inch pan. Pour a 1-inch depth of boiling water into large pan and set on bottom rack of cold oven. Set rolls on rack above water. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes with oven door closed. Uncover rolls and remove pan of water. Turn oven to 375 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pan to cool.

Butterfinger Cookies

When I used to do Achievement Days, one of the girls brought these cookies-and they were so good!

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 ¼ cups peanut butter (chunky)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
5 Butterfinger candy bars (2.1 ounces each), crushed

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Strawberry Cream Crepes

This recipe came from the September/October 2004 Quick Cooking magazine (now simple&delicous), page12.

1/2 cup baking mix
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 TBS. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 package frozen sweetened sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed

For crepes, in a bowl, whisk the baking mix, egg, milk, and vanilla. Spray 8-inch nonstick skillet and pour 2 TBS. of batter into the center. Lift and tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry; turn and cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter.

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and cinnamon until smooth. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoonfuls down the center of each crepe; roll up.

Microwave strawberries and syrup until heated through and serve over crepes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I got this recipe off a computer program. It’s my favorite cookie and has become a family favorite.

1 cup margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 ½ cups quick oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream first three ingredients together. Add sugar and brown sugar. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture and mix until combined. Stir in quick oats and chocolate chips until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Monster Cookies

My mother made these cookies when we were growing up. The recipe makes a ton of cookies!

12 eggs
2 pounds brown sugar
4 cups sugar
1 TBS vanilla
1 TBS corn syrup
8 tsp. baking soda
1 pound butter
3 pounds peanut butter
18 cups oatmeal
1 pound M&Ms
12 oz. chocolate chips

Mix ingredients in order given. Bake 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

Dolloped Sweet Potatoes

This recipe came from the November/December 2006 issue of simple&delicious, page 10. Very elegant and easy.

4 small sweet potatoes
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 TBS. butter, softened
2 TBS. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Scrub and pierce sweet potatoes. Either microwave, uncovered, on high for 10-13 minutes (or until tender, turning twice) or wrap with aluminum foil and bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, brown sugar, and pumkin pie spice. Make a slice in the top of each potato; fluff with a fork. Dollop with cream cheese mixture. Yield: 4 servings.

Baked Lemon Chicken

I got this recipe from my friend Anica's food blog. It was very easy--you can make it with ingredients on hand. It was also very tasty. She got the recipe from the Taste of Home cookbook, page 166. The second time I made it, I decreased the salt by half (I used 1/4 tsp. salt) because I thought it was a little too salty the first time.

3 T butter, melted
2 T lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)

In a shallow dish, combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Place bread crumbs in another dish. Dip chicken in butter mixture, then coat with crumbs. Place in a greased 13 in x 9 x 2 baking dish. Drizzle with remaining butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Forget-Me-Not Cookies

This is the cookie recipe we always use for Santa Claus. The kids love making these and opening the oven in the morning to see how they turned out. My mother and grandmother both make these cookies too. I usually double or triple the recipe.

2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

Beat 2 egg whites with pinch of salt. Add sugar gradually. Beat until very stiff. Add chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper; mixture does not spread. Put in oven that has been preheated to 350°. Turn oven OFF and leave the cookies in for 4-5 hours (it’s easiest to leave them in overnight).

The Softest Sugar Cookies Ever

My college roommate Sarah had a grandmother who baked the best sugar cookies. She shared the recipe with me. The secret ingredient is the pudding. The key is putting the dough in the refrigerator to harden; it is impossible to roll out the dough without doing this.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 small box vanilla pudding
4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix pudding, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add mixture to butter mixture alternately with the milk. Allow dough to sit in fridge for at least an hour so it will be easier to work with. Cut cookies and bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.

Cheesy Macaroni

My sister-in-law Michele makes this for almost every covered-dish dinner. It is yum-o.

1 box elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3 tbs. flour
3 tbs. butter
1 1/4 cups milk
dash of salt
1 lb. of grated cheese

Melt butter in a pan. Add salt, butter, flour, and milk. Stir frequently until sauce thickens. Take it off the burner and add 3/4 pounds of grated cheese. Add noodles to sauce and stir until well combined. Put into baking dish that has been coated with margarine. Top with extra cheese and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.

Chicken Casserole

A friend from high school gave me this recipe. It is very yummy and comforting.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 lb. grated cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 box Stove Top stuffing
1 cup milk

Cook chicken. Meanwhile make dressing, mix soup with milk, and grate cheese. Tear chicken into bite-size pieces. Layer chicken, cheese, then chicken, and more cheese. Pour soup and milk over the mixture. Top with dressing. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes.

Ranch Chicken

I found this recipe early on in married life, and it has become one of our favorite ways to cook chicken. The chicken is best grilled.

1 oz packet of ranch dry salad dressing mix
2 tbs. vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine dry dressing mix with oil. Marinate chicken in the mixture for 15 minutes. Brush chicken with remaining marinade. Grill about 10 minutes or bake in oven t 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Saucy Tortilla Dip

My Young Women's president at church gave me this recipe before I left for college. Ingredients can also be placed in crockpot.

2 lbs Velveeta, cubed
1 lb sausage
3/4 cup salsa

Crumble sausage in pan and brown until done. Drain well and add Velveeta and salsa. Stir until cheese melts and ingredients are mixed well. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Broccoli Salad

This recipe made me a fan of broccoli! The combination may sound a little weird, but it is delicious. I usually leave the onion out. You can add slivered almonds too, but i usually don't.

4 cups fresh chopped broccoli
¼ cup onion (chopped)
½ cup raisins
¾ cup mayonnaise
8 slices bacon (crisp & crumbled)
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBS. vinegar

Mix sugar, vinegar, and mayonnaise. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Refrigerate until it is served.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

While I was at BYU, a friend of mine made this for me. This recipe is probably my favorite soup. It makes a large amount, so it will probably last for more than one meal.

5 cups cubed potatoes
8 TBS. butter
2 cups carrots, cubed diagonally
4 TBS. flour
1 cup onions, finely chopped
2 cups milk
1 ½ cups celery, chopped
1 lb. Velveeta, cubed
10 oz. frozen broccoli
1TBS. dry mustard
6 tsp. chicken granules
l/2 tsp. pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup (optional)

Steam potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery in 2 ½ cups water until
tender. Add broccoli and chicken granules. In another pan, melt butter
and add flour. Gradually add milk. As it thickens, add Velveeta, dry
mustard, pepper and salt to taste. Add cream of chicken soup if you need
to extend recipe. Pour mixture into steamed vegetables and broth.

Vegetable Pizza

The first time I had this, my sister-in-law Michele made it. I've had variations of this recipe, and this version is still my favorite.

1pkg. refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
½ package dry Ranch mix
½ cup mayonnaise
chopped vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, etc.)
cheddar cheese, shredded

Unroll rolls and press into pan, pressing seams together. Bake until
lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Cool dough. Mix cream cheese, Ranch, and mayonnaise. Spread over dough. Sprinkle vegetables and cheese on the top. It is better if you let this sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This goes really well with my Cherry Wreath.

6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2-4 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

Mix ingredients and use as desired.

Cherry Wreath

This is a recipe my mother begs me to make for Christmas. The shape of it has evolved over the years to a wreath since I usually make it for the holidays. You can try putting the crescent rolls in a different shape or even putting them in the bottom of a 9X13 pan. I usually use lowfat crescent rolls, which still taste really good.

2 packages of crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
cream cheese frosting

Arrange crescent rolls in a circle on a round baking stone so the points of the rolls face outward. Make filling by beating cream cheese and powdered sugar. Spread filling on crescent rolls, leaving points unfilled so you can fold them over. Spread cherry pie filling over mixture. Fold points over to the inside of the circle and press into dough to form a seal. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until done. Let cool and then frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cookie Tip

The secret to good cookies is to get them out of the oven when they still look doughy. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. They will be very soft and delicious!

Cake Mix Cookies

I got this recipe from a roommate at college. It is such a quick, easy recipe that can be used for a variety of cookies. My favorite combination is a chocolate cake mix with M&Ms in them.

1 box favorite cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 tbs. flour

Mix ingredients together and add favorite candy (M&Ms, chocolate chips, etc.). Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.

Butter Crunch

This is a candy my family begs me to make each Christmas. We go through at least 5-6 batches. I got the recipe from my grandmother, who still makes it. I leave the nuts out because my daughter is allergic to nuts, and the recipe still turns out great.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tbs water
1 tbs light corn syrup
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts
1 package (6 oz.) chocolate chips

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, to 290° on candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in nuts. Pour onto parchment paper and spread. Melt chocolate chips and spread half over the cooled candy. When firm, turn crunch over and spread remaining cholcolate chips. When firm, break into pieces. Store where cool.