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Monday, August 31, 2009

Fresh Salsa

I don't remember where we got this recipe - probably the Internet - but we absolutely love it when tomatoes are in season and so tasty! I like all the ingredients cut by hand because food processors and salsa makers tend to make it really runny for some reason and I like it chunky!

2 large tomatoes
1/2 small sweet onion (red) finely chopped
1-3 jalapenos finely chopped
1 large garlic clove finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped (we often use less or even none of this)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (we usually substitute bottled lemon juice here)
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper

This tastes good right away, but even better after a few hours or overnight. It only really lasts well a couple days (if it doesn't get devoured before then!)

Pancake mix

This is from Alton Brown of the Food Network, but it has become a staple in our house.

6 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container and shake to mix. Use mix within 3 months.

2 eggs, separated
2 C buttermilk (you can use 1 Tbsp of vinegar in a C of milk to make your own)
4 Tbsp melted butter
2 C pancake mix
Butter for greasing the griddle or pan

Whisk egg whites with buttermilk. In a separate bowl whisk the yolks with melted butter. Combine those two mixtures and add them to the pancake mix. Lightly butter the griddle or pan then wipe most of the butter off with a paper towel (I don't understand this step, but Alton is a master and doing things the way he suggests almost always yields fabulous results!) Cook the pancakes as you would any other pancake.

Sugar Cookies

This is my go-to recipe for sugar cookies any time I want to decorate cookie. Here's a picture of some of the more fabulous creations we have made of this:

1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 1/4 C flour
1/2 C sour cream

Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg. Add vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Stir in about half of the flour. Add the sour cream then the remaining flour. Roll the dough about 1/4" thick and cut into the shapes of your choice. You can store this dough in the fridge if you run out of creativity for cutting and decorating before you run out of dough!

Creamy Macaroni Shell Salad

This salad makes an appearance at all full family gatherings including open houses for weddings! It tastes best if you make it the day before and the flavors get to really combine. I couldn't find any pictures online that look remotely like it, so you'll have to wait until you make it to see what it looks like!

1 pkg of small shell macaroni
1 C mayonnaise
1 C sour cream
3/4 C half and half
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 C sliced celery
1 med green pepper, diced
1 med red onion, diced

Cook macaroni, drain. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, half and half, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add macaroni, celery, green pepper, and red onion to mixture. Toss gently to coat with dressing. Chill at least 2-3 hours.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom made these cookies famous in church in my hometown - they were known to all as Sorensen cookies. The recipe is no secret - my mom got it off the back of a Toll House chocolate chip bag many years ago, even though it's not the recipe they print anymore - but the only people who have been able to recreate them just like hers are me, my brother, and my sister-in-law. My mom claims that the two most important things to make these fabulous are that you use Toll House chocolate chips and that you mix them by hand. I like them best right out of the oven or after they have been frozen.

1 C shortening
3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp water
2 1/4 C flour
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and mix until creamy. Add salt, baking soda, vanilla, and water. Add flour then chocolate chips. the dough should be a bit stiff. Drop by teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes or until light brown. Remove from cookie sheets to wire racks to cool.

Old-fashioned, soft sugar cookies

This is by far one of my favorite cookie recipes ever. It used to sound so strange to me that there is sour cream in it, but I quickly overcame that!

1/2 C butter
2 Eggs
3 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 C sour cream
sugar-cinnamon mixture

Cream butter to the consistency of mayonnaise. Add sugar gradually while continuing to cream. Add eggs. Add vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour alternately with sour cream. Drop by teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. While hot, sprinkle again with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Quick Coffee Cake

My family used to eat this right after opening presents on Christmas Day every year. It's such a simple thing to throw together in the morning.

2 C flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 C milk
1/4 C butter - melted
sugar-cinnamon mixture

Mix first seven ingredients well, pour into a greased shallow baking cookie sheet with 1" lip - I think my mom's pan must have been really small because I had to double this to fill our jellyroll pan. Spread melted butter on top and sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Toffee Carmel Dip

This one goes right along with the apple dip I posted yesterday, it also comes from Taste of Home, it's super yummy and a great way to get the kids to eat their fruit and enjoy it.

  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons water
  • 2 tablespoons English toffee bits or almond brickle chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sliced apples


In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, milk, corn syrup and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in toffee bits and vanilla. Serve with apples. Yield: 1 cup.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Carmel Peanut Butter Dip

This is great when the apples come in season, it's yummy warm with fresh crisp apples. I love to do this dip as well as the carmel apple dip for a party or get together, they are delicious, and the kids love them. They would make an great after school snack. This one comes from Taste of Home, from an issue that had lot's of healthy snacks.

  • 30 caramels
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed peanuts, optional
  • Sliced apples


In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the caramels and water on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave 1 minute more or until smooth. Add peanut butter and mix well; microwave for 30 seconds or until smooth. Stir peanuts if desired. Serve warm with apples. Yield: 1 cup.


Tuesday my sister and I tackled all that fresh produce we've been growing and made a double batch of salsa. We had four steam canners going at the same time (2 indside & 2 on the camp stove) we whipped out 45 pints of salsa by 3:30 that afternoon. Here's the recipe we've been using since we were kids.

8 quarts peeled tomatoes (cut 1/8-1/16)
4 large onions (chopped)
2 Green bell peppers (chopped)
3 Red bell peppers (chopped)
1/2 c. salt
1 Tbsp Chili powder
4 Jalapeno peppers (diced)
2 Anaheim peppers (diced)
2 Yellow peppers (diced)
1 can diced green chilies
1/4 c. sugar
2 c. white vinegar
1-3 large cans tomato paste to thicken

Combine all ingredients and simmer in a heavy pan for 1 1/2-2 hours.(or longer to cook down) If too juicy add tomato paste to thicken. Juiciness will depend on the type of tomatoes you use. Beefsteak will have more juice then Roma's. Add enough paste to get salsa to your desired thickness. Put lids in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes to help soften the outside seal. Pour hot salsa into clean jars up to the neck. Rinse neck and top of jar with warm water on finger. Place hot lids and rings on jars and screw down tight. Place in steam canner, cover with lid. Bring water to a boil and leave at med-med high heat. Process 45 minutes (for pints) once steam begins to escape from the hole. Remove and cool overnight. Make sure all jars sealed.

(Yeilds 22 pints of salsa)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Just one more way you can use up all those veggies that might be growing in your garden, I love how moist these are, and happy that they have so many veggies as well. I guess it cuts down my guilt when eating them if I think they are full of veggies.

1-1/4 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrots
1 can (16 ounces) chocolate frosting
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Fold in zucchini and carrots.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Frost cupcakes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Raspberry Plum Jam

4-1/2 cups chopped or coarsely ground peeled pitted fresh plums (2-1/2 pounds)
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen sweetened raspberries
10 cups sugar
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid fruit pectin

In a large pot, combine the plums, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in pectin; return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 6 pints.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Now that corn is in season this is an awesome alternative to boiling your corn, and it's oh so yummy, just make sure you don't leave out the soaking step or you will end up with dried up hard corn that isn't very good. I love summertime grilling!

4 large ears sweet corn in husks
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Carefully peel back husks from corn to within 1 in. of bottom; remove silk. Combine the butter and parsley; spread over corn. Rewrap corn in husks and secure with string. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes; drain.
Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender, turning often. Serve with Parmesan cheese or plain salt & pepper.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sesame Chicken Salad

This makes a huge salad!! It would work great for neighborhood BBQ's, family party's, Baby showers, etc.. if you wanted to make it for your family I would suggest you scale it back unless you intend to eat leftovers for a week. The flavor on this one is awesome! I love oriental salada and this one is up there at the top, next to my mom's Chinese Chicken Salad.

1 package (16 ounces) bow tie pasta
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cans (11 ounces each) mandarin oranges, drained
2 cans (8 ounces each) sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1-1/3 cups honey-roasted peanuts
1 package (9 ounces) fresh spinach, torn
1 package (6 ounces) dried cranberries
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and place in a very large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, sugar and pepper. Pour over pasta and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Just before serving, add the remaining ingredients; gently toss to coat.

Yield: 22 servings (1 cup each).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Garden Squash ravioli

I got this from the Taste of Home website when looking for ways to use my squash and Zucchini. I love the ragu sauce with the chunks of zucchini in it, and this was a great way to add more and to create my own. Love it! You could use the sauce over any pasta you like!

  • 1 package (24 ounces) frozen miniature cheese ravioli
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cans (one 15 ounces, one 8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


In a large saucepan, cook ravioli according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a 1-1/2-qt. microwave-safe dish, combine the squash, zucchini, tomato sauce and seasonings. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain ravioli; top with sauce. Yield: 6 servings.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Too Much Chocolate Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate.

  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.
  2. Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with fresh Tomato & Basil. Potatoes with Peppers & Onions

This one sounds tricky, but it's not. It's a Rachael Ray recipie that I love, especially this time of year when I can gather most of the fresh ingredients from my own garden or the local farmers market. Enjoy.


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds red baby potatoes
  • 1 small red bell pepper,cut into thin strips
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan, available in tubs near deli (not grated, shredded)
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 plum Roma tomatoes or small, vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, pile leaves, roll then thinly slice


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Cut potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on thickness.

Cover a large cookie sheet with foil. Place potatoes on cookie sheet. Combine with peppers and onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Coat the potatoes, peppers and onions with extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat vegetables in a thin layer, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place potatoes in the oven and roast 20 to 22 minutes, until potatoes are just tender and peppers and onions are crisp at edges. Toss mixture with tongs, turning the potatoes after 15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish.

While potatoes cook, prepare chicken. Roll out a 2-foot piece of waxed paper or foil near the stove top. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat -- your pan must be very hot when the chicken is added. Pile the shredded cheese on the work surface created with the waxed paper or foil. Season your chicken breasts with black pepper but no salt; the cheese will add enough salt to the taste of the dish. Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat both sides of breasts with as much cheese as possible. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet, 1 turn of the pan. Set breasts into the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, until cheese forms an even, golden casing around the tender chicken breasts.

While chicken cooks, combine chopped tomatoes with basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

Drain off any excess oil from chicken as you remove it from the skillet. Top chicken with big spoonfuls of raw sauce and serve with potatoes, peppers and onions.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Grilled Zucchini

This is another simple but delicious way to enjoy some home grown goodness. You can toss this on the grill with whatever you're cooking up! Last night we enjoyed it with grilled chicken and ripe beefsteak tomato slices. Mouth watering, I know.

2 small zucchini cut into spears, wedges or 1/2 inch slices.
3/4 cup Yoshidas marinade (any teriyaki marinade will do)

Cut zucchini into desired shapes. (Smaller zucchini is more tender and has less seeds, save the big ones for baking.) Marinate for 1-2 hours in a ziploc bag, flip the bag over occasionally to make sure every thing gets coated. Grill over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side. Watch them carefully and adjust the heat as needed so they don't burn, you want them to be tender, not dried out. Serve with your favorite grilled meat and enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Watermelon Blaster

Super Simple, Refreshing and Delicious! Thanks Martha.


  • 3 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Sugar, to taste
Put watermelon, strawberries, lime juice and ice into the pitcher of a blender, blend for 15 seconds on high speed. (Always put the top on the container before processing.) Stop machine, and stir ingredients with a long wooden spoon. Blend for 15 seconds more on high speed.

After processing the watermelon, strawberries, lime juice, and ice, taste before adding sugar; you may not need any. For the star garnish, press a cookie cutter through the rind with the back of a wooden spoon.

Top it off with a little whipped cream if you so desire!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fresh Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Salad

This time of year you have to enjoy what's coming out of your garden. This is a simple yet delicious way to enjoy those sun ripened tomatoes, one of my favorite parts of summer.


* 4 large tomatoes or 4 cups cherry tomatoes
* 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese
* 8-10 leaves fresh basil
* 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* salt and pepper
* 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)


1. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into bite size chunks. Loosely chop the basil.
2. Gently toss tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in serving dish.
3. Drizzle with olive oil (and balsamic vinegar if desired).
4. Salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Girl Scout Samoas

I found this recipe on gourmet mom on the go and couldn't help but give it a try, and if I do say so myself these are better then the real girl scout cookies, so if you are a fan, give them a try, and if you aren't a fan give them a try you will not regret it!!

1 box shortbread cookies
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-4 cups toasted coconut (depending on how much you want)
1 cup chocolate chips

(Optional) To make handling easier you can dip the bottoms of the cookies in melted chocolate first and let them sit to thoroughly dry.
Place each shortbread cookie in cup of a greased muffin tin.
In 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, sugar and corn syrup. Heat to a full boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in sweetened condensed milk, stirring constantly. Continue cooking over low heat until candy thermometer reaches 200-210 degrees.Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Beat until creamy. Immediately stir in toasted coconut and mix well. Spoon mixture by teaspoonfuls over shortbread cookies. Cool completely. Remove cooled cookies from muffin tin onto waxed paper.
Melt chocolate chips and drizzle thinly in stripes over cookies and let chocolate harden at room temperature. Store in airtight container

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dutch Apple Crisp

Filling Topping
10 cups granny smith apple slices 2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs. lemon juice 2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar 1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup flour 1 cup butter; melted
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. salt

Prepare Filling: In a 12" Dutch oven add apples and lemon juice; stir to coat apples. In a separate dish combine remaining filling ingredients and stir to mix. Pour dry ingredients over apples and stir until apples are well coated.

Prepare Topping: In a separate bowl combine brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and walnuts; stir to mix. Using a fork, mix in butter. Spread topping evenly over apples.

Bake: Cover Dutch oven and bake using 12-14 briquettes bottom and 16-18 briquettes top for 60 minutes.

Serve topped with whipped cream.

Serves: 12-14

Monday, August 3, 2009

Banana Macadamia Nut Pancakes

This is another fabulous recipe my sister made for us camping. She got the recipie from her husbands aunt who lives in Hawaii. They were easy to make and a delicious variation on a family favorite.

2 Cups Krusteaz buttermilk or whole wheat pancake mix
(You can substitute your favorite pancake recipie)
2 Bananas diced
1/2 Cup macadamia nuts finely chopped
Maple Syrup

Start with your favorite pancake recipie or mix. I like Krusteaz buttermilk and their whole wheat variety. Follow the package directions and mix 2 cups of batter. Dice 2 bananas into tiny chunks. Chop 1/2 cup nuts into small pieces. Mix well with Pancake batter. Cook on medium to medium high griddle until browned on both sides. Butter and serve with warm maple syrup. You can garnish with additional bananas and nuts if desired.