Sunday, August 31, 2008

Marlene's Never-Fail Bread

Okay, so this is the much-anticipated entry about my breadmaking experience. This is more a review of a recipe than an actual recipe. Someone at church said the best food storage cookbook is Marlene's Magic With Food Storage. I purchased the cookbook, and the picture above is the first recipe I tried. It is called "Marlene's Never-Fail Bread" on page 144.

She says you can also use this recipe to make cinnamon rolls, donuts, hotdog and hamburger buns, and dinner rolls. It uses such ingredients as yeast, potato flakes, and powdered milk, all of which are ingredients you would have if you were living off your year's supply of food.

The recipe makes seven loaves of bread. Since I had only three bread pans, I made three loaves of bread, one round loaf, one pan of rolls, hotdog buns, and hamburger buns.

To jump to the conclusion, I was not all that impressed. This is why:

1. The recipe made such a huge amount of dough that it wouldn't fit in one huge bowl.

2. The recipe called for kneading the dough 10 minutes. Since I had to split the dough into 2 huge amounts, I actually had to knead for 20 minutes.

3. The recipe called for 16 cups of flour, but I ended up using closer to 20 cups--which seemed like half of my bucket of flour!

4. The bread had a bland taste, which is perfect for sandwiches and buns (you don't want to overpower the toppings). It is definitely not the kind of bread you would want to eat by itself fresh out of the oven--not without a lot of butter and jam, anyway.

5. The bread had a crumbly texture.

So, I 've still got a ton of bread in my freezer that I need to find some use for...

Does anyone else have this recipe book, and, if so, have you had any luck with the recipes?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Banana Boats

I think this is a snack my mother created. I made it just the other day as an after-school treat. We used soy butter instead of peanut butter because of A's allergy. The kids loved it!

To make the banana boat, I cut a banana in half (but I usually use a whole one) and scooped out some of the middle. I filled it with peanut (soy) butter. I actually put some in a baggy and cut off one of the corners and squirted it into the banana that way. I put chocolate chips on top of the peanut butter. The kids loved it!

Any other good ideas for after-school snacks? Post a comment if you have one!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cake Mix Brownies...Don't Do It!

I tried this wonderfully easy recipe last night that I had clipped out of the newspaper. It was a recipe for brownies made out of a cake mix and had three ingredients...but they were AWFUL.

The batter tasted like cake, not brownies. The final product tasted like cake, not brownies. But it was also dry, crumbly, and grainy. So I frosted it, but it didn't help. It ended up in the trash can, much to the shock of my children.

So, next time I will stick to another recipe I know is good...Cake Mix Cookies.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bean and Cheese Burritos

This is a recipe from my childhood. My mother used to fry these burritos, and we would dip them in a mixture of ketchup and Texas Pete hot sauce. I've started making them again because it is a very budget-friendly meal.

I can make about 8 burritos with one small can of fat-free refried beans and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Instead of frying them, I spray both sides of the burrito with nonstick cooking spray and cook them on a skillet until they are golden brown on each side (see the picture). The kids are crazy about them, and our family of 5 eats all 8 burritos in one meal!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Homemade Pretzels

This was a fun afternoon activity. It involved only 2 timeouts and 10 handwashings! This is an easy pretzel recipe because you don't have to wait for the dough to rise before you bake them.


1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 1/4 cups flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and warm water. Add the salt, honey, and 1 tablespoon sugar and stir well. With an electric mixer, blend in the flour at low then medium speed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it's smooth (about 5 minutes). Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and roll into a 10 to 12-inch-long rope. On the foil, shape each rope into a letter, number, or other design.

Bake the dough for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. In small bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining 4 tablespoons sugar. Brush pretzels with melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Makes 16 pretzels.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ice Cream in a Baggie

This is a recipe we had to try out at home because we are making it at a Primary activity on Saturday, and we had to make sure it worked. It did work, and we had a lot of fun doing it! After 5 minutes, the ice cream was a milkshake consistency and very yummy.

1/2 cup milk or half & half (we used whole milk because that's what we had on hand)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon vanilla
squirt of chocolate syrup or other optional add-ins like mini chocolate chips

Place ingredients in sandwich-sized baggie and seal. Place in quart-sized baggie that has been filled halfway with ice and 3 tablespoons of rock salt. Seal.

Shake and dance around for 5 minutes or until the ice cream reaches the consistency you would like. We ate the ice cream right out of the baggie after wiping the salt off the outside with cool water.

Fish Sandwiches

I came up with this dish by using a technique I saw on the Food Network Channel (and tweaked some myself). Our family is tired of eating salmon, so we've switched to tilapia. The technique could be used with any kind of fish. The whole family loved this recipe.

4-4 oz. tilapia filets (we buy the 1 pound bag in the freezer section at Wal-Mart for around $3.50-there are 4 individually vacuum-packed tilapia filets in them)
flour in dipping bowl
1-2 eggs, cracked and whisked in dipping bowl
Italian-style breadcrumbs in dipping bowl
rolls (we prefer Sister Schubert's yeast rolls you can buy in the freezer section at Sam's Club)
tartar sauce

Thaw the filets per package directions. Dredge them in flour. Dip them in egg mixture and then coat in breadcrumbs. Place them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Spray the tops of the filets to get the fried effect. Bake them at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (I think) and place them on rolls with tartar sauce. Yum-o! Everyone loved the recipe.

Corn Pudding

I brought this dish to a ward swimming party that turned into a ward thunderstorm under a metal tent! I had many comments about this "unusual" dish I grew up with. Our family considers this a vegetable side dish and not a dessert. You decide your own preference. This is one of those recipes you can make for last-minute dinner guests, as long as you have a can of creamstyle corn on hand.

2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk (original recipe called for 1 cup milk)
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups (1 can) creamstyle corn

Melt butter in baking dish. Add eggs, sugar, flour, and milk and mix well. Stir in corn. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or microwave 4 1/2 minutes, stir, and cook 4 1/2 more minutes.