Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Natalie's Sugar Cookies

Cream together:

1 C shortening

1 C butter

1 C powdered sugar

1 C granulated sugar

Beat in:

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla


4 C flour

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

Mix to blend. Shape into balls (1 inch) roll in sugar or roll out and cut into shapes.

Bake 375 degrees 8 minutes on ungreased pan.

Caramel Popcorn

1 C. butter

1 pkg. brown sugar - 1 lb or 2 1/2 C. packed

1 C. Karo syrup

1 can Eagle Brand Milk

1 tsp vanilla

Bring first three ingredients to a boil - then add Eagle Brand Milk and bring to a soft ball stage. Add 1 tsp vanilla.

Add to 3 gallons of popped popcorn. Shape into balls and cover with plastic wrap. Or put into a Christmas tree mold and decorate with M&Ms or gum drops.


(You will need a candy thermometer)

4 C sugar

1 C Karo Syrup

1 C water

4 egg whites

5 TBS butter

2 tsp vanilla

2 C chopped nuts

Add half sugar mixture to 4 beaten egg whites. Cook remaining sugar mixture 256 degrees. Remove from heat. Add to egg white mixture. Stir by hand until it loses gloss. Then add butter, vanilla and nuts.

Drop by teaspoon full onto a greased cookie sheet.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Valeria’s Fudge

4 squares chocolate or 3 TBS cocoa

1 C cold canned milk

4 C sugar

2/3 C brown sugar

4 TBS butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup nuts (opt)

Add all ingredients except vanilla. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally. Cook until forms a soft ball in cold water. (About 5 minutes after it reaches the boiling point.)

Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat until it begins to granulate. Pour at once into a 8x8 buttered pan. Cool and cut into squares.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dad’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup room temperature butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat

1 tsp soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 to 1 tsp ground cloves

3/4 to 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal

Heat oven to 350. Mix thoroughly shortening, butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Bake 8-12 minutes on ungreased baking sheet. Cool slightly before removing from sheet.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chocolate Tort

Chocolate and hazelnut tart
Serves 6

1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup conf sugar
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup, 125g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 small egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup heavy cream
10 ounces good quality dark chocolate, broken in pieces

Place the flour, sugar, hazelnuts and butter in a large bowl.
Use your fingers and rub until a grainy texture.
Add egg yolk and water and mix the dough well with your hands.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Press the dough into a 12 inch tart pan.
Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Bring the cream to a boil, remove from heat.
Pour into a bowl with the chocolate.
Stir well and pour the mixture over the tart.
Cool and serve.

via Sweet Paul

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Natalie's Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
1 egg
1/2 cup raisins (opt)

Mix all ingredients until batter is just lumpy. Do not over mix.
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp sugar on each muffin just before baking to create a crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 mins.

Want something even better for fall? Check out Shane's pancakes over on my main blog!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ina's Lentil and Sausage Soup


  • 1 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts Homemade Chicken Stock or canned broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pound kielbasa, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and sliced 1/3-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Best Pizza Crust EVER!



  1. 1
    In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4-cup warm water (100-110 degrees).
  2. 2
    In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. (can do by hand with spoon if you don't have a mixer).
  3. 3
    Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 C water, mix on low speed until dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
  4. 4
    If the dough is still sticky, then simply add a bit more flour until it pulls cleanly away from the hook.
  5. 5
    Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes.
  6. 6
    The dough should be smooth and firm. Place in lightly oiled bowl an cover with plastic wrap.
  7. 7
    Let sit for about 30-45 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).
  8. 8
    Take dough out of bowl and divide into either 2 or 4 balls, depending on whether you want 2 large pizzas or 4 small.
  9. 9
    Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
  10. 10
    Cover the dough with a damp towel (I just use plastic wrap, loosely fitted) and let rest 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. 11
    At this point, the balls can be used or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  12. 12
    To make pizzas, I stretch out onto greased pizza pan, top with sauce and toppings, and bake at 450 degrees for 12-16 minutes, until done. (smaller pizzas will take less time, so keep watching it)
  13. 13
    I usually slide the pizza off the pan for the remaining 2 minutes to crisp it up a bit.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jenn's Healthified Spinach, Artichoke and Red Pepper Dip

To bake or serve raw:

* 1/2 pkg. reduced fat or fat free cream cheese
* 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
* 1/2 cup yogurt drained (you drain your yogurt by putting a cheesecloth over a strainer and letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours--I usually let mine sit overnight. It makes a thick creamy yogurt the consistency of cream cheese/sour cream).
* 12-16 oz. of artichoke hearts in water not marinated
* 1 roasted red pepper chopped
* 1/2 cup good Parmesan cheese grated
* 2-3 cups fresh chopped spinach
* 1 clove garlic
* 1 Tbl. lemon juice (I didn't use it in this batch--I forgot--it would be good either way).
* Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine softened cream cheese, yogurts, artichoke hearts garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in food processor or blender. Mix--pulse.

2. Pour into bowl and add roasted peppers, fresh chopped spinach, and Parmesan cheese.

3. I serve mine with the best healthy chips I've ever tasted. The brand is: Food Should Taste Good. I can get mine in the grocery store in the health food section but you can order them online. We've tried the multi-grain, sweet potato, and jalapeno. The sweet potato are our favorite with the multi-grain right up there with it. They have about 11 different flavors. Online you have to buy a case of 12 but you can mix and match all the flavors. Sorry for the plug but they really are good. I promise I'm not getting paid to say any of this! Serve with your favorite whole grain chip or cracker. Make sure it doesn't have hydrogenated fat or high fructose corn syrup! Those are major ingredients you really don't want!

4. If you still want to bake it after all of my hype not to you can. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 min or until it's bubbly and browning.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Busy Day Cake

(My very favorite cake)

1/3 C shortening

1 3/4 C sifted cake flour

3/4 C sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 egg

3/4 C milk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Place shortening in mixing bowl. Sift in dry ingredients. Add egg and half the milk. Mix until flour is moistened. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add remaining milk and vanilla; beat 2 minutes longer.

Bake in greased and lightly floured 8x8 pan. 375 degrees about 25 minutes or until done. Test with toothpick.

Nordstrom Family Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1/2 cup Wild Rice (Swanson's long grain and wild rice S&W) ( or any brand variation)
1 1/4 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube (Knorr brand has an excellent flavor)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup celery sliced thin
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup carrots sliced thin
1/4 cup flour
4 cup chicken broth
1 TBS Parsley flakes (garnish)
1 cup cream
2 cups cooked chicken (boil 2 to 3 chicken breasts and cube)

-Combine rice, water and bouillon cube and bake for 1 hour at 325 (set aside)
-sauté onion, celery and carrots in butter
-blend in 1/4 cup flour
-add Chicken broth and Parsley flakes (stir until thick)
-add baked rice, cream and chicken -cook 5 minutes

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Dinner Idea - Chicken Bow-Tie Pasta

2 cups farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 pkg. (6 oz.) OSCAR MAYER Deli Fresh Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato, cut into chunks
1/2 cup KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Dressing
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese Crumbles
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

COOK pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the cooking water for the last 2 min. of the pasta cooking time; drain.
TOSS chicken, tomatoes, dressing, cheese crumbles and olives in large bowl. Add pasta mixture; mix lightly.
SPRINKLE with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Best Banana Bread

2 cups
all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon
baking soda
1/4 teaspoon
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup
3/4 cup
brown sugar
2 large
eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed very overripe

1Preheat oven to 350°.
2Lightly grease 9 x 5 loaf pan or bundt pan
3In large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.
4In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
5Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.
6Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
7Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
8Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. If using a bundt pan - 45 minutes
9Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Dinner Ideas

BBQ Loaded Baked Potato

Shred rotisserie chicken and mix with favorite BBQ sauce - heat until hot.
Serve over baked potato with cheese, scallions, sour cream or ranch.

Taco Salad
Green leaf Lettuce
Black Beans
Homemade salsa
Thousand Island dressing
frozen corn
Taco meat (optional)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

3-4 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken
2 1/2 C milk
1 C sour cream
1/2 tea garlic/seasoning salt
1/2 tea pepper
1 Tbl dried onion
2 bullion cubes
1 red bell pepper - finely chopped
3 celery stalks- finely chopped
5 green onion stalks- finely chopped
1 tomato - diced
1 can pineapple
1 can mandarin oranges
1 C Yoshidas Sauce
1 can crunchy chow mein noodles
2 C shredded cheese
coconut (optional)
slivered almonds (optional)
sticky rice

In a crock pot place frozen chicken, cream of chicken, sour cream, milk and spices together and mix, let cook slowly for several hours until chicken in cooked throughout and sauce is bubbly.Serve over rice and chow mein noodles and top with garnishments of choice and drizzle with yoshidas sauce.

Recipe from Yummy Fun

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ina's Lemon Bars


For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Parties

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Easy Chinese Stir-Fry

1 tsp. oil
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into thin slices
3 carrots, sliced
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced

HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat and carrots; cook and stir 5 min.
STIR in dressing and hoisin sauce; stir-fry 7 min. or until carrots are crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
ADD onions; cook 1 min.
For extra browning of the cooked pork, sprinkle meat strips with 1 tsp. cornstarch before stir-frying.

Serve over hot cooked rice
For a Thai kick - serve with lime and cilantro.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ina's Mexican Chicken Soup

split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

To serve
Sliced avocado
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home

Shane's Saturday Morning Pancakes

1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons
vegetable oil
1 tablespoon
baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together, breaking up any lumps. Pour batter onto a hot griddle. Flip pancakes when the edges appear cooked and the batter bubbles on top. Serve immediately.
For "Pancake Art" put pancake batter into a new empty ketchup bottle (available for purchase at any grocery store where picnic supplies are sold). Cut the end until you have a wide enough opening for batter to flow easily. "Draw" batter on to hot griddle.

6 (5-inch) pancakes

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dream Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

3 cans (8 oz. each) pineapple slices in juice, undrained
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
6 maraschino cherries, halved
1/2 cup PLANTERS Chopped Pecans
1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 envelope DREAM WHIP Whipped Topping Mix
4 eggs
1 cup cold water

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Drain pineapple, reserving 2 Tbsp. of the juice; set aside. Mix brown sugar and butter in 13x9-inch baking pan. Arrange pineapple slices in pan, cutting slices if necessary to evenly fit onto bottom of pan. Place cherry half, cut side up, in center of each slice. Sprinkle with the reserved pineapple juice and pecans.

BEAT dry cake mix, dry whipped topping mix, eggs and water in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 2 minutes. Beat on medium speed 4 minutes. Carefully spoon into prepared pan.
BAKE 50 to 55 minutes or until top springs back when lightly pressed. Let stand 10 minutes; invert onto serving plate. Let stand 1 minute; remove pan. Serve warm or cooled.

Gnocchi with Broccoli Rabe, Caramelized Garlic, and Parmesan

Keep an eye on the garlic to be sure it browns but doesn't burn, which can make it unpleasantly bitter. Blanching the broccoli rabe helps tame its bitterness.
Total time: 25 minutes.
Yield 4 servings
3/4 pound broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed
1 (16-ounce) box vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water 4 minutes. Remove broccoli rabe with a slotted spoon, and place in a colander; drain. Add gnocchi to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done. Drain gnocchi in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add broccoli rabe, gnocchi, and reserved cooking liquid to pan; cook 2 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Place 1 1/4 cups gnocchi mixture in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Welcome. Just food here. Lots of food.