Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pizza Roll

Pizza. One of the best inventions ever known to man. Tasty. Portable. Easy. Fairly cheap. And it contains all of the food groups, right?

We eat pizza at least once a week in one form or another. This recipe is a tasty changeup from the ordinary version. It also allows the eater to control the amount of sauce, which is a big plus if you have people in your family who don't like sauce.

3 1/4 cup flour
1 pkg yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs oil
1 1/2 cups warm water

2 cups mozzarella
4 Tbs grated parmesan
8 ounces pepperoni

pizza sauce, for dipping

Make dough with the first 6 ingredients. Let it rise for 1 hour. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Roll each half into a large rectangle, about 1/2-3/4" thick. Spread with pepperoni & sprinkle with the cheeses. Starting with a long side, roll the dough and pinch the seams to seal. Bake at 350F on a greased baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Serve with warm sauce, for dipping.

You can use almost anything for filling - like salami, or turkey & swiss, olives, spinach, etc... Or make it a breakfast roll, by using cooked sausage and cheddar in place of the pepperoni and mozzarella.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Bar Dessert

A long name for a simply delicious dessert!

We found this recipe on allrecipes recently and it instantly shot up to the top of our favorite desserts list. One of the nice things about this dessert (besides its really good flavor) is that you can make it several days ahead of time.

2 cups chocolate syrup
3/4 cups peanut butter
19 ice cream sandwiches
1 12oz container cool whip
1 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Heat syrup & peanut butter in a small saucepan, stirring until the peanut butter is melted.

In a 9x13" pan, layer half the sandwiches, half of the cool whip, half of the chocolate mixture, and half of the nuts. Repeat layers. Freeze for about 1 hour. Cut into squares to serve. Makes about 15 servings.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Like the Boxed Stuff Pancakes

There is a certain someone living in my house who is a pancake snob. To protect the guilty, I won't name any names, but while the kids and I willingly eat a variety of homemade, whole wheat, oatmeal, etc... pancakes, this person repeatedly tries to sneak home boxes of Aunt Jemima or (gasp!) Hungry Jack.

However, this certain nameless someone does like this recipe. It produces fluffy white pancakes, just like Jemima's and Jack's. I found the recipe on allrecipes and once again, tweaked it to suit our tastes. Enjoy!


3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs sugar
3 eggs
2 to 2 1/2 cups buttermilk*
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. If you want thinner pancakes, just add a little more milk to make the batter runnier. Brown on both sides on a hot, greased griddle. Serves 8 generously.

*I rarely have buttermilk on hand, so I substitute regular milk mixed with 2-3 tsp of lemon juice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sausage Balls

These are so simple and good. I've brought them to potlucks and church breakfasts & they are always gobbled up.

1 pound ground pork sausage (hot/spicy is best, in my opinion)
1 cup biscuit mix*
1 pound sharp cheddar, shredded (the sharper, the better)
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients and shape into walnut-sized balls. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet at 350F for 20 minutes, or until golden. Makes about 4 dozen.

*I never have biscuit mix on hand, so I use 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder & 1/2 tsp salt instead.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Creamy Apple Crisp

I don't really know if this qualifies as a crisp, but whatever it is, it is good. We really liked it for breakfast.
2 cups quick oats (though I think rolled would work as well)
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 sticks butter/margarine
4 large apples, peeled & sliced (tart apples work best)
1 cup cream
Combine the first 5 ingredients, using only 1 cup of the sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Press half of it into a 9x13" pan. Layer the apples and sprinkle them with the remaining sugar. Crumble the remaining mixture on top. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Pour the cream evenly over the crisp and bake for another 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sundried Tomato Chicken Pasta

This is sooooo good. My sister-in-law made it for us several years ago & it has been one of our favorites ever since. I have tweaked the original recipe a bit to suit our tastes and number of servings.
Just look at that creamy, flavorful sauce...
1 Tbs oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
3 chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes*, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste
basil, chopped
8 oz pasta (I usually use bowties, but this time I happened to use campanelle)
2 Tbs butter
Cook & drain the pasta according to package directions. Stir in the salt & butter. Set aside.
Cook the garlic & onion in oil until translucent. Add the chicken & tomatoes and cook until the chicken is done. Stir in the cream, milk, parmesan, salt & pepper. Cook over medium heat until it is heated through.
Spoon over plates of hot pasta & sprinkle with a little chopped fresh basil. Serves 8.
*If the sundried tomatoes are packaged dry (as opposed to being packed in oil), rehydrate them by soaking them in very hot water for 10 minutes. If they're in oil, drain them well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tasty Cake

Remember Tastycakes? This cake has a taste & texture just like them. If you're looking for a cake that is pretty & tidy, this isn't the one. But if you're looking for a soft, moist & very delicious cake, this is it.

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two or three 9" baking pans. Combine the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs, milk, oil & vanilla together. Mix with the dry ingredients until smooth. Stir in the boiling water. Pour into pans & bake for about 25 minutes or until springy to touch. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool thoroughly before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Combine all the ingredients until smooth. Spread a thin layer over cooled cakes.

And... the harsh realities of food blogging:

Not to mention the extra calories I have to consume while staging these shots. (Can't touch the camera with chocolate fingers, you know.)

I am editing this post to say that I didn't mean to imply that this is my own recipe. I got the cake part from allrecipes.com ("One Bowl Chocolate Cake") and the icing recipe was one I found and altered from another source. I combined the two to come up with our version of Tastycakes... Wherever it came from, you can be sure it is very yummy! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chocolate Popcorn

Sooooo good. Good enough to package & give as a gift. Good enough to take to a potluck. Good enough for an extra special snack...

1 cup popcorn kernels
whatever you normally use to cook & season your popcorn with
6 squares (2oz each) almond bark/candy coating (I used 3 chocolate & 3 white)

Pop your popcorn and season as usual (i.e. salt & butter). Spread half of it onto a large baking sheet. Melt the almond bark in the microwave, stirring frequently. Drizzle half of it onto the popcorn. Top with the remaining popcorn and drizzle that with the remaining almond bark. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes or until the almond bark is hardened and you have wonderful, mouthwatering, chocolatey popcorn clusters. Like so:

Note: You can make this with air popped, but it is sooo much better when done the old-fashioned way on the stovetop with oil & salt.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love Fall... leaves rustling, candles burning, goodies baking... and pumpkins, lots of pumpkins...
These muffins are so moist & yummy, and even the pumpkin flavor-haters in my family will eat them.
1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups pumpkin (I used a 15oz can)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine the sugar, butter, pumpkin & eggs. Stir in the dry ingredients. Bake in a greased muffin tin (or use liners) at 400F until springy to the touch. Makes 4 dozen mini-muffins.
Hint: I have found that my kids are far more likely to try new muffins if I make them mini. Of course, chocolate chips help too. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Brown Sugar Granola

Brown Sugar Granola is a staple in our kitchen. It is inexpensive and easy to make, using ingredients that I almost always have on hand. You can spruce it up a bit by adding nuts, coconut, raisins, dried cranberries, etc... but my family seems to prefer it just as it is.


1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Melt the margarine and sugar in a large pot. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined. Spread the mixture onto a large baking sheet and bake at 375F for about 10 minutes, or until golden. (Stir occasionally to prevent the edges from burning.) If you let it cool in the pan without stirring, you will have more chunks in your granola. My kids seem to like it better when it is chunky.

Either rolled oats or quick cooking oats will work in this recipe. Rolled oats produce a chewier granola, and quick are slightly more crunchy. Makes 8 generous servings.

P.S. I did add some sliced almonds to this batch. Shhh!

Our favorite pickles

We grow a lot of veggies around here, and therefore do a lot of canning. This is our favorite way to eat cucumbers. The kids love them because they are very sweet and tangy. I like them piled on a big, juicy burger!

This recipe makes a lot & can easily be halved or fourthed (is that a word?).

8 cups white vinegar
9 cups sugar
3 Tbs pickling spice
about 3 dozen 5" cucumbers, washed & sliced

Bring vinegar, sugar & spice to a boil in a large pot. Add cukes. Pack into hot, sterile jars & process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Makes about 10 pints.

*You could add other yummy ingredients like sliced onions & peppers, but if I did, I'm afraid it would result in anarchy.

P.S. Pickling spice can be found in the spice aisle & it looks like this:

Unfried Rice

Fried rice, or Unfried rice, is a great way to make a little bit of meat and veggies go a long way. The sauce I use in it is salty & sweet and also makes a great marinade for meats. Soy sauce brands vary in flavor & saltiness, so you may want to taste the sauce as you go along (but before you add the garlic - trust me). You may need to add a little more water if it is too salty.

Sauce ingredients:
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 Tbs sesame oil
8 Tbs sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced

Remaining ingredients:
8 cups of hot, cooked rice
1/2 to 1lb diced cooked meat (I used some leftover pork loin in this batch)
1 onion chopped
2 cups mixed veggies (I used carrots, some leftover lima beans & salad greens)
2 eggs, beaten

Combine sauce ingredients in a small pot & heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Have a very large pot or bowl ready. (I used my turkey roaster.) Sautee each veggie seperately in a little oil and put them in the large pot. Do the same to the meat. Scramble the eggs & put them in the pot.

Put the rice in the pot, pour the sauce over and mix it all up. Serves 8.