Monday, May 31, 2010

Hint-of-Mint Lemonade


2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 fresh mint sprig
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 3/4 cups cold water
Crushed ice
Lemon slices and additional mint, optional

In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the mint, lemon juice, orange juice and peel. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Strain and discard mint and orange peel. Stir in cold water; serve over ice. Garnish with lemon slices and additional mint if desired. Makes 2 servings.

Steakhouse Potato Salad


3 lb. small red potatoes (about 9), quartered
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 cup ranch dressing
6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Place potatoes in 2 quart microwaveable dish. Add water; cover with lid. Microwave on high 12 to 15 minutes or just until potatoes are tender; drain. Place in large bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour or until completely cooled. Mix dressings. Add to potatoes with remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Makes 14 servings.

Patriotic Taco Salad

I also made this recipe for my son's graduation party. When I made it I couldn't take it hot with me. So, I mixed all of the ingredients together and took it that way. It was still very good!


1 lb. ground beef
1 med. onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 env. taco seasoning
6 cups tortilla or corn chips (1 bag)
4 to 5 cups shredded lettuce
9 to 10 pitted large olives, sliced lengthwise
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water, tomato paste and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Place chips in an ungreased 13x9 inch dish. Spread beef mixture evenly over the top. Cover with lettuce. For each star, arrange five olive slices together in the upper left corner. To form stripes, add cheese and tomatoes in alternating rows. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Note: Recipe from Taste of Home

Graduation Caps


24 miniature peanut butter cups
1 tube (6 oz.) decorating frosting in color of your choice
24 After Eight thin mints
24 milk chocolate M&M’s in color of your choice or 24 semisweet chocolate chips

Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups; place upside down on waxed paper. Place a small amount of frosting on each peanut butter cup; center a mint on each. Using frosting, make a loop for each cap’s tassel. Place an M&M on top of each loop. Makes 2 dozen.

Note: Recipe from Taste of Home

Tuscan Dip


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions

Mix cream cheese and sour cream in medium bowl until well blended. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour. Serve with assorted crackers or cut-up fresh vegetables. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Note: Recipe from Kraft Foods

Graduation Punch

My son recently graduated from the 5th grade. We threw a party for him in the park and I made this punch for it. It was very good!! This punch got really good feedback from all of the guests!!


1 1/2 cups sugar
8 qt. water, divided
4 pkg. (.14 oz. each) unsweetened strawberry soft drink mix
3 cans (6 oz. each) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 1/4 cups thawed lemonade concentrate
2 cans (46 oz. each) unsweetened pineapple juice
2 liters ginger ale, chilled

In a large saucepan, combine sugar and 2 quarts water. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in soft drink mix. Cool completely. Just before serving, divided the syrup between two large containers or punch bowls; add the concentrates, pineapple juice and remaining water to each. Stir in ginger ale. Makes 3 3/4 gallons.

Note: This recipe from Taste of Home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Ranch Pasta Salad


1 box Suddenly Salad ranch & bacon pasta salad mix
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 cup cucumber slices, halved
4 med. green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)

Empty pasta mix into 3 quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In medium bowl, mix seasoning mix, dressing and dill weed. Stir in pasta and remaining ingredients. Store any remaining salad covered in refrigerator. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Apple Coleslaw


3/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp. honey
1 bag (16 oz.) coleslaw blend
2 med. apples (preferably 1 red and 1 green), chopped

Mix Miracle Whip and honey in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 12 servings, 1/2 cup each.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1-2-3 Hash Brown Pie


2 cups frozen has brown potatoes, thawed
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can (8 oz.) mushrooms, drained
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. each: dried thyme leaves and onion powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly press has brown potatoes into greased 9 inch pie plate to form crust. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese; top with mushrooms and broccoli. Beat eggs, milk, thyme, onion powder and pepper with wire whisk until well blended. Pour over broccoli. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 35 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Makes 4 servings.

Broccoli & Cheese Stuffed Shells


1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz.)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
18 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
1 jar (1 lb. 9.75 oz.) chunky garden combination pasta sauce

Stir the ricotta cheese, broccoli, ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and black pepper in a medium bowl. Spoon about 2 Tbsp. of the cheese mixture into each shell. Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in a 13x9x2 inch shallow baking dish. Place the filled shells on the sauce. Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot. Makes 6 servings.

Note: I used peas instead of broccoli and used cheddar cheese.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mini Clubs


1 tomato, chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 pkg. (12 oz.) dinner rolls (12 rolls), split
3 sharp cheddar cheese slices, each cut into 4 pieces
1 pkg. (9 oz.) shaved oven roasted turkey breast
6 lettuce leaves, torn in half

Combine tomatoes, bacon and dressing. Fill rolls with cheese, turkey, lettuce, and tomato mixture. Makes 6 servings, 2 sandwiches each.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fried Egg Candy


1 pkg. (15 oz.) pretzel sticks
1 pkg. (12 oz.) vanilla or white chips
48 yellow M&M's

Place pretzel sticks on waxed paper in groups of two, leaving a small space between each. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat vanilla chips at 70% power until melted; stir until smooth. Drop by tablespoonfuls over each pair of pretzel sticks. For "yolks", place one or two M&M's in the center of each "egg". Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

Minted Fruit Salad


1 pint strawberries
3 kiwis
1 medium-size ripe cantaloupe
1 medium-size honeydew melon
Handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. sugar

Wash, drain, and hull the strawberries. Peel the kiwis and slice thin, reserving 1 sliced kiwi for garnish. With a melon-baller cut balls from the cantaloupe and honeydew melons. Mix all the fruits together except for the reserved kiwi. Chop the mint leaves and tender stems very fine and sprinkle on the side. Mix the orange and lemon juices with the sugar and pour over all. Toss the salad gently and thoroughly. Arrange the reserved kiwi slices on top and garnish with a fresh mint leaf. Chill for 2 to 3 hours and serve cold. Makes 12 servings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baked Cheese Stuffing Casserole


2 cups water
1 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top savory herbs stuffing mix
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Mexican style shredded four cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring water and margarine to boil in large saucepan. Stir in stuffing mix; cover. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir egg and 1/2 cup of the cheese into stuffing mixture until blended. Spoon into greased 9 inch pie plate. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown and cheese on top is melted. Makes 8 servings.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quick Bean Quesadillas


1 cup refried beans
1 pkg. (11.5 oz.) flour tortillas for burritos (8 tortillas)
1/2 cup cheese n’ salsa dip
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup thick n’ chunky salsa

Spread 1/4 cup refried beans over each of 4 tortillas. Place 1 bean topped tortilla in 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Spread 2 Tbsp. dip over beans. Top with additional tortilla. Heat 5 minutes. With large pancake turner, turn quesadilla; heat 1 to 2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining tortillas and dip. Cut each quesadilla into 8 wedges. Serve with guacamole and salsa. Makes 4 servings.

10 Minutes Zesty Salsa


1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 Tbsp. seeded chopped jalapeno pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Dash salt
Dash pepper
Tortilla Chips

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Mojito Freeze


1 cup finely crushed pretzels
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
Zest and juice from 1 large lime
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
2 cups thawed Cool Whip, divided

Mix pretzel crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom of plastic wrap-lined 9 inch round pan. Freeze until ready to use. Beat cream cheese, sugar, zest, juice and mint with mixer until well blended. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip; spoon over crust. Freeze 4 hours. Serve topped with remaining Cool Whip. Makes 10 servings.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta with Shrimp


3 cups farfalle (bow-tie) pasta, uncooked
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato dressing, divided
1 lb. uncooked peeled deveined medium shrimp
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. each garlic powder and black pepper
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, cubed
2 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
8 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add shrimp; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink. Use slotted spoon to remove shrimp from skillet; cover to keep warm. Discard any drippings in skillet. Add remaining dressing, broth and seasonings to skillet; cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Add Neufchatel; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until melted. Stir in tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Drain pasta. Add to ingredients in skillet. Stir in Parmesan and half the basil; top with shrimp and remaining basil. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bread Stuffing


3/4 cup butter or margarine
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
9 cups soft bread cubes (15 slices)
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/4 tsp. pepper

Melt butter in 4 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook celery and onion in butter for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove Dutch oven from the heat. Gently toss celery mixture and remaining ingredients, using spoon, until bread cubes are evenly coated. Use to stuff one 10 to 12 lb. turkey. Or to bake stuffing separately, grease 3 quart casserole or rectangular baking dish. Place stuffing in casserole or baking dish. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Makes 10 servings.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salsa Pizza with Cheese Crust


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/4 cups thick and chunky salsa
2 cups Bisquick
1/4 cup mild salsa-flavor or jalapeno-flavor cheese spread
1/4 cup hot water
4 med. green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease large cookie sheet. Cook beef in 10 inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain. Stir in salsa; remove from heat. Stir Bisquick, cheese spread and hot water until soft dough forms. Turn dough onto surface dusted with Bisquick; roll in Bisquick to coat. Shape into ball; knead 5 times. Roll into 14 inch circle; place on cookie sheet. Spread beef mixture over crust to within 2 inches of edge. Sprinkle with onions. Fold edge over beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Brown Butter Soda Bread


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper plus additional for topping
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg white, beaten to blend

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Stir butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until melted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend. Pour buttermilk and melted browned butter over flour mixture; stir with fork until flour mixture is moistened. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead gently until dough comes together, about 7 turns. Divide in half. Shape each half into ball; flatten each into 6-inch round. Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet, spacing 5 inches apart. Brush tops with beaten egg white. Sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper. Using small sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch-deep X in top of each dough round. Bake breads until deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool breads on rack at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 2 loaves.

Banana Nut Quick Bread


1 box banana nut muffin mix
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees, Grease bottom of 9x5 -inch loaf pan with shortening or spray bottom with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir muffin mix, walnuts, milk, oil, and egg just until blended. Spread batter in pan. Bake 33 to 43 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top of loaf golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Run knife around edges of pan before removing; remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing, about 45 minutes. Check recipe.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp. whipping cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Easy Layered Taco Pie


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. (1-1 /4 oz.) taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup water
4 flour tortillas, cut into quarters
1 cup thick 'n chunky salsa
1 cup Mexican Style Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 /4 cup sliced green onions
1 /4 cup sour cream

Place meat in microwaveable (plastic) colander set over bowl. Microwave on high 8 minutes, stirring and breaking up every 2 minutes. Discard any fat that collects in bowl. Transfer crumbled meat to 9-inch microwaveable dish. Stir in seasoning mix and water. Microwave 5 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes. Remove half of the meat mixture; set aside. Place eight tortilla quarters on top of remaining meat mixture in pie plate. Top with reserved meat mixture and remaining eight tortilla quarters. Top with salsa and cheese. Microwave 4 minutes. Top with lettuce, green onions and sour cream just before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Peanut-Carob Isabooscotti

Here is one for our canine friends....


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 cup carob chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine that flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Place the peanut butter in a medium bowl and microwave at high power to soften, 5 to 10 seconds. Whisk in the milk, then stir the mixture into the dry ingredients. Shape the dough into a long, flattened log and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice the log crosswise on an angle into 1-inch-thick pieces. Set the slices on their sides (they should look like biscotti) and bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool. Melt the carob in a microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Thin the melted carob with 1 tablespoon water, if needed. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted carob over the biscuits. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes 16 biscuits.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Zesty Turkey & Rice


1 tsp. dried basil leaves, crushed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 can (about 14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups cubed cooked turkey or cooked chicken

Mix broth, basil, garlic powder, hot pepper sauce and tomatoes in saucepan. Heat to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes. Stir in peas and turkey. Cover and cook 5 minutes more or until rice is done. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fruity Cheesecake


1 cup crushed Nilla Wafers (about 25 wafers)
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 pkg. (4-serving size) lemon flavor instant pudding
2 cups thawed Strawberry Cool Whip
1 cup each: blueberries, sliced strawberries and peeled sliced kiwi

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix crumbs, butter and 3 Tbsp. sugar; press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and the flour in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Stir in dry pudding mix. Pour over crust. Bake 1 hour or until center is almost set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Lift cheesecake out of pan with foil handles; place on serving platter. Spread with the whipped topping; top with fruit. Makes 24 servings.

Goin' Fishin' Cupcakes


1 box devil's food cake mix
Water, oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container (1 lb) creamy vanilla frosting
Blue liquid or paste food color
Fishing Poles
24 cocktail straws
24 pieces thick craft thread, dental floss or fish line, each 6 1/2 inches long
24 Shark Bites chewy fruit snacks (2 to 3 packets)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Coot completely, about 30 minutes. Mix frosting and a few drops of food color. Frost cupcakes with blue frosting. Pull up on frosting, using metal spatula, so frosting looks like waves. Cut each straw to make one 3-inch piece. Insert piece of craft thread into end of each straw to look like fish line. Attach 1 shark snack to end of each piece of craft thread. Decorate cupcakes with fishing poles. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lemonade Stand Pie


1/3 cup lemonade flavor drink mix or Lemon Berry Sippers Drink Mix, any flavor
1 pt. (2 cups) vanilla ice cream, softened
2 cups thawed Cool Whip
1 graham cracker pie crust (6 oz.)

Stir drink mix and 1/2 cup water in large bowl until drink mix is completely dissolved. Add ice cream. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Freeze, if necessary, until mixture will mound. Spoon into crust. Freeze 4 hours or overnight until firm. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes or until pie can be cut easily. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired. Store leftover pie in freezer.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Impossibly Easy French Apple Pie


3 cups sliced peeled apples (3 large)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Bisquick
1/2 up granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs

1/2 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. firm butter or margarine

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9-inch glass pie plate. In medium bowl, mix apples, cinnamon and nutmeg; place in pie plate. In medium bowl, stir remaining filing ingredients until well blended. Pour over apple mixture in pie plate. In small bowl, mix all streusel ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle with filling. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Store in refrigerator. Makes 6 servings.

Velvet Crumb Cake


1 1/2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk or water
2 Tbsp. shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
Crumb Topping (See Below)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8-inch square pan or 9-inch round pan. Beat all ingredients except Crumb Topping in large bowl on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on medium speed 4 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; cool slightly. Make Crumb Topping; spread over cake. Set oven control to Broil. Broil about 3 inches from heat about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8 servings.

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
2 Tbsp. milk

Stir together all ingredients.