Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cupcake Tractor

Amish Sugar Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

In large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugars. Beat in eggs until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture.
Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 5 dozen.

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Peppermint Candy Cane Fudge


1 bag (12 oz.) white chocolate morsels
1 bag (10 oz.) Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips
7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of heavy cream
2 cups of granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pkg. (16 oz.) vanilla Candiquik, melted
3 cup Mini Peppermint Marshmallows
5 peppermint candy canes, broken

In a mixing bowl, add white chocolate morsels, Andes baking chips and marshmallow crème, and then set aside. Prepare a 13×9 baking dish by lining it with parchment paper, then set aside.
In medium saucepan, heat butter, heavy cream, sugar and salt over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and continue stirring. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Pour over morsels and marshmallow crème, beating with a whisk until smooth and melted. (I highly suggest using an electric stand or handheld mixer- this fudge is thick)! Pour fudge into prepared baking dish. Melt vanilla candiquik according to package directions, and then allow to cool slightly (about a couple minutes). Fold in the mini marshmallows and pour over top of fudge. Immediately sprinkle with the broken candy canes. Allow fudge to set for about 2-3 hours.

Cheddar-Mshed Potato Casserole


2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6), peeled, quartered
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded triple cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled

Cook potatoes in boiling water in large saucepan 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Return to pan.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add butter and sour cream to potatoes; mash until smooth. Spoon half into 1-1/2-qt. casserole; cover with layers of cheese, remaining potato mixture and bacon. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Makes 10 servings.

Cream Cheese Mints


4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
Exactly 1/2 tsp. peppermint or spearmint extract
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth, add the extract and some of the powdered sugar and mix until combined well. Then add the remaining sugar and mix until well combined. Shape into 1/2" balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Press flat with a fork and then chill until ready to serve. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks or freeze for up to two months.

Dole Whip


2 cans (20 oz. each) crushed pineapple
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Drain pineapple: reserve 2 Tbsp. juice. Set aside. Place pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and reserved pineapple juice in blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour into two 1-quart freezer zipped bags. Store bags flat in freezer. Freeze 1 1/2 hours or until slushy. Stir pineapple slush gently into whipped cream until slightly blended in large bowl. Return to freezer until completely frozen, about 1 hour and serve.

Cleo's Pumpkin Dog Biscuits


2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour *
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin to smooth. Stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley (if using, optional). Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface (can use the brown rice flour) and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine. Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ – depending on your dog’s chew preferences, – and use biscuit or other shape cutter to punch shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as you go. Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. If desired, press fork pattern on biscuits before baking, a quick up-and-down movement with fork, lightly pressing down halfway through dough. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog. * Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch and promotes better dog digestion. Many dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not, like many people I know, tolerate wheat. Makes up to 75 small (1″) biscuits or 50 medium biscuits.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pork Pocket Sandwiches

Here is a good sandwich recipe. This is good for a small gathering, like the Super Bowl! Enjoy!!


3/4 lb. cooked pork, cut into strips (about 2 cups)
3/4 lb. cooked ham, cut into strips (about 2 cups)
3 to 4 cups tightly packed torn leaf lettuce
2 1/2 cups alfalfa sprouts
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups (8 oz.) cheddar cheese cubes
5 (6") pocket bread rounds
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. dried salad herbs
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine pork, ham, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes and cheese in a large bowl; toss gently. Cut pocket bread rounds in half; spoon mixture into pocket bread. Combine remaining ingredients in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well. Pour dressing over mixture in pocket bread. Makes 10 sandwiches.

Fettuccine Al Fresco


1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced cooked ham (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder OR 1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) mushroom Italian Sauce (3 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley OR 1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
6 cups hot cooked fettuccine OR spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in saucepan. Add ham, onion and garlic powder and cook until onion is tender. Add pasta sauce and parsley. Heat through. Serve over fettuccine. Serve with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Perfect Turkey Gravy (With Flavor Variations)


2 pkg. Turkey Gravy Mix
1/4 cup flour
3 cups cold water
1 cup turkey pan drippings or turkey broth
1 cup chopped cooked turkey giblets (optional)

Mix Gravy Mix and flour in large saucepan. Gradually stir in water and turkey drippings with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in chopped turkey giblets, if desired. Stirring frequently, cook on medium-high heat until gravy comes to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. (Gravy will continue to thicken upon standing.) Makes 15 (1/4-cup) servings.

Flavor Variations:

Herbed Perfect Turkey Gravy: Prepare as directed. Stir 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Rubbed Sage or 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Poultry Seasoning into Gravy Mix.

Hearty Sage Turkey Gravy: Prepare as directed, decreasing water to 2 cups. Stir 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Rubbed Sage into Gravy Mix. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings.

Hearty Herbed Turkey Gravy: Prepare as directed, decreasing water to 2 cups. Stir 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Poultry Seasoning into Gravy Mix. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings.

Apple Sage Turkey Gravy: Prepare as directed, decreasing water to 1 cup and adding 1 cup apple juice. Stir 1 teaspoon McCormick® Rubbed Sage into Gravy Mix. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings.

Garlic and White Wine Turkey Gravy: Prepare as directed, decreasing water to 2 cups and adding 1/4 cup white wine. Stir 1/4 teaspoon each McCormick® California Style

Garlic Powder with Parsley and McCormick® Thyme Leaves into Gravy Mix. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings.

Mushroom-Onion Turkey Gravy: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms and 1/4 cup chopped onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Mix 2 packages McCormick® Turkey Gravy Mix, 1 1/2 cups cold water and 1 cup turkey drippings. Add to saucepan; mix well. Continue with Step 2 as directed above. Makes 8 (1/4-cup) servings.

Cinnamon-Chipotle Turkey Gravy: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup chopped red onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Mix 2 packages McCormick® Turkey Gravy Mix, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon each McCormick®

Ground Cinnamon and McCormick® Gourmet Collection® Chipotle Chile Pepper, 2 cups cold water and 1 cup turkey drippings. Add to saucepan; mix well. Continue with Step 2 as directed above. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings.

Chocolate-Peppermint Striped Delight


45 NILLA Wafers, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3 cups plus 2 Tbsp. cold milk, divided
1/4 cup finely crushed candy canes
1 tub (12 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
2 pkg. (3.9 oz. each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1/4 cup coarsely crushed candy canes
Make It

MIX wafer crumbs, butter and 2 Tbsp. sugar; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.

BEAT cream cheese, remaining sugar and 2 Tbsp. milk in medium bowl until well blended. Stir in finely crushed candy canes. Add 1-1/4 cups COOL WHIP; mix well. Spread over crust.

BEAT pudding mixes and remaining milk with whisk 2 min.; pour over cream cheese layer. Let stand 5 min. or until thickened. Cover with remaining COOL WHIP.

REFRIGERATE 4 hours. Top with coarsely crushed candy canes just before serving.

Three-Cheese Party Wheel


1 container (8 oz) Swiss almond cold-pack cheese food
1 container (8 oz) sharp Cheddar cold-pack cheese food
1 container (8 oz) chives-and-onion cream cheese spread
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
80 assorted crackers
Fresh currants, if desired

On sheet of waxed paper, spread Swiss almond cheese into 5-inch round, about 1/2 inch thick. With small metal spatula, smooth side and top. Evenly spread Cheddar cheese over Swiss cheese; smooth side and top. Evenly spread cream cheese spread over top; smooth side and top to even layers. Sprinkle almonds over top; press in lightly. Press parsley into side of cheese wheel. Serve immediately, or wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until serving time. To serve, place cheese wheel on serving plate; arrange crackers around cheese. Garnish with currants. Makes 20 servings (2 tablespoons spread and 4 crackers each).

Easy Peanut Butter Cheesecake


1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
1 package (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese (room temperature)
¼ cup BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
½ cup PLANTERS Peanut Butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 shortbread cookie premade pie crust

MIX whipped topping and cream cheese together until blended well. ADD sugar and peanut butter until completely mixed. FILL pie crust and top with chocolate morsels. For firmer pie refrigerate 30 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One Hour Cinnamon Rolls


3 1/2 cups of warm water
3/4 sugar
1/2 cup of oil (vegetable is fine)
6 Tbsp. of quick rise yeast
1 Tbsp. of salt
3 eggs
10 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (yes, that's right, lol)

Cinnamon Sugar
1 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp. of cinnamon

1/2 cup of butter
2 dashes of salt
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
6 cups of powdered sugar
Milk (as needed)

**An additional 1/2 cup of butter is needed (separated in half for each half of dough) for spreading on dough with cinnamon sugar.
**Make a double batch of frosting if you like a lot of it.

Mix first 4 ingredients together (water, sugar, oil, yeast) and let sit for 15 minutes. Then add the salt, eggs and flour. Mix together for 10 minutes, then let sit for 10 minutes. Oil counter or cutting board and dump out dough. Divide dough in half. Roll out one half into rectangle. Spread with 1/4 cup melted butter and then half of cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up tight, but not too tight. Divide into 12 rolls and place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Cut dough in half, cut halves in half, etc. Repeat with other half of dough. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees. This recipe will yield 24 regular size rolls or around 12 HUGE rolls.

Jello Shot Tree

Loaded Chicken & Potatoes


1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cubed (1″)
6-8 medium skin on red potatoes, cut in 1/2″ cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. hot sauce (more if you like it HOT)


2 cup fiesta blend cheese
1 cup crumbled bacon
1 cup diced green onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9X13″ baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Add the cubed potatoes and chicken and stir to coat. Carefully scoop the potatoes and chicken into the prepared baking dish. Bake the potatoes and chicken for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until cooked through, crispy, and browned on the outside. While the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon (about half a pound). Once the potatoes and chicken are fully cooked, remove from the oven. Top the cooked potatoes with the cheese, bacon, and green onion. Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve With: extra hot sauce and/or ranch dressing or sour cream!

A Slice of Heaven Cake


1 pkg. devil's food chocolate cake or german choc. cake mix
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel topping
1 8 oz. tub cool whip
4-5 snickers bar (my preference) you can use skor, heathbar, or mini reeses

Bake the cake according to directions in 9x13 inch pan. Cool for 5 minutes, using the handle of a wooden spoon poke holes into cake, then let cake cool for a bit about an 1/2 hour til warm. Slowly pour sweetened milk over cake, letting it soak into holes, then drizzle caramel over the cake. Let cake cool completely (you may refrigerate it to cool faster just cover well). Top cake with cool whip, decorate with candy & drizzle with caramel!!

Crockpot Candy


32 oz dry roasted peanuts
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
4 oz German sweet chocolate
32 oz white chocolate candy melts

Place ingredients in a crockpot as listed. Do not stir. Cook on low for 1 1/2 -2 hours - do not open the lid! After cooked, stir and drop by spoonfuls on a parchment paper or silpat lined pan. Allow to harden and store in a closed container.

Stickey Bun Breakfast Ring


2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits OR 1 tube Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup pancake syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
1/4 cup chopped almonds, optional

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!
** You can use 1 1/2 tubes of the Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits if 1 doesn't' seem like enough) and bake it for about 30 minutes.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid


2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed and chopped
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
Fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents length wise to form a long rectangle. Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayonnaise. Spread mixture over the center of the croissant dough evenly to create a log. Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough. Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid. Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top. Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown. Serves: 5

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites


1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. of half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

For the coating:
2 cups of chocolate chips (melted)
1 Tbsp. shortening

Cream butter and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well -- use your hands to get it together the best. Roll into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Dip in chocolate, drizzle with chocolate or eat as is -- equally delicious no matter what! Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Cookie Cups

Isn't this a great idea. Put the cookie dough on the outside and make cookie bowls. Once they are baked... you can put Ice Cream inside of them

Friday, November 8, 2013

Reindeer Cookies

Grinch Kabobs


Layer mini marshmallow, strawberry, banana slice, and a grape on a small stick and you get Grinch Kabobs!

Ranch Potatoes


8 -10 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 1/4 cups milk
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Salt and pepper
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Add the potatoes to a saucepan. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cook about 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender; drain. Place drained potatoes into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the soup, milk, salad dressing mix, 1 cup cheese, salt and pepper to taste; pour over potatoes. Sprinkle crumbled bacon and the remaining cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Turkey Treats


Dip Oreos in melted chocolate. Add eyes (Wilton Candy eyes) and candy corn for the nose with frosting. Place on chocolate frosted preztels.

Crock Pot Lasagna


1 lb. Ground Beef
Lasagna noodles
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Brown ground beef and drain. Spoon 1 cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of 4 quart crock pot. Mix remaining sauce with beef. Place 2 uncooked lasagna noodles on sauce in crock pot. Spread 1/3 meat mixture on top of noodles. Spread 3/4 cup cottage cheese over meat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese. Add another layer of uncooked noodles, 1/3 meat mixture, the remaining cottage cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of uncooked noodles, meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Cook on low for 4 hours. If cooked much longer, it gets a bit well done.

Pork Tenderloin


3 lbs. Pork Tenderloin (1 Pkg. Of 2 Tenderloins), Cut Into 4 Pieces Total
1 lb. Bacon
3/4 cups Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Minced Onions
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 Tbsp. Wine Vinegar Or White Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 dash Pepper
3/4 cups Brown Sugar

Wrap the tenderloin pieces in bacon. Place in an 8 1/2″ x 11″ pan. Poke holes in meat with a fork. Combine rest of ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Pour marinade over meat. Refrigerate, uncovered, 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bake in a 300 degree oven for two to three hours. If the bacon burns, place foil over the top after approximately 1 1/2 hours of baking. Remove from oven, cut meat into small pieces and allow the meat to soak up the excess juices in the pan.

Christmas Candy Trees

Idea for Thanksgiving Veggie Tray

Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake


6 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Tbsp. hot fudge sauce
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter

In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute or until melted. Stir together until combined. Add crispy rice cereal and stir well to coat. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. You could use a pie pan but I've found that a springform pan is much easier when it comes to removing slices. Place in the freezer to chill while you make the filling (about 10 minutes). In a large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and lemon juice and mix until combined. Gently fold in the whipped topping. Pour filling into the prepared crust. Heat fudge and peanut butter in two small separate bowls for 20-30 seconds or until warm. Drizzle over filling. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until pie is firm. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to make cutting easier. Garnish with peanut butter and chocolate candy bars.

Garlic & Lemon Chicken with Red Potatoes & Green Beans


6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb. trimmed green beans
8 small red potatoes, quartered
4 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 400°F (180). Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the chicken, green beans and potatoes and toss to coat. Pour this mix into the pan and spread around evenly. Roast for 50 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm.

Kiss Pies


1 refrigerated pie crust, thawed
14 Hershey Kisses of choice, I used Mint Truffle today
1 egg white whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out pie dough onto a lightly floured counter top. Place 10 kisses around the edges of pie dough, about 2 1/2 inches apart (as in the photo above). Take a knife and cut a 2 1/2-3 inch circle around kiss. Fold half of pie dough around top of dough and pinch edge around top of kiss. Now, fold up both sides of remaining dough up to the tip of the kiss pinching edge. Now press together edges and form criss cross as shown in photo, step 3. * *Continue cutting dough around kisses until all dough is used up. Brush all little pies with an egg white wash then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until little pies are golden. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Dust each with powdered sugar and serve.

Candy Corn Cheesecake


15 graham crackers, crushed
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan. Place insert on top of unbaked crust. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. For the candy corn effect: Pour some untinted cheesecake batter into the middle section of the insert, to about 1/4-inch from the top of the divider. Tint the remainder of the batter yellow~ use a mixture of Wilton Lemon Yellow & Golden Yellow (as Wilton suggested). Pour the yellow batter into the outer section of the insert. Tint the remainder of the yellow batter orange, by adding Orange coloring to it. There’s no problem with the yellow becoming orange. Carefully lift the divider straight up, out of the cheesecake. Before baking, put heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bottom/sides of the pan by setting the foil on the counter, placing the cheesecake on it, and wrapping the foil up and around the sides of the pan) and place it gently in a water bath (I filled a roasting pan with about an inch of HOT water, put it in the oven and then placed the cheesecake pan in it). Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving. Cut into wedges to look like candy corn:

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole


2 lbs. cauliflower florets
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
8 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 bunches green onions, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 clove garlic, grated
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam cauliflower florets until tender. While cauliflower steams, cream together 6 oz of the shredded cheddar, 6 oz of the Monterrey Jack, cream cheese, and heavy cream. Stir in sliced green onions, chopped bacon, and garlic. Set aside. Drain any liquid from steamed cauliflower and add to cheese mixture. Stir cauliflower and cheese mixture together. Taste for seasoning, and add as necessary. If you want a finer texture, give a few mashes with the potato masher. Pour into a 2-3 quart casserole and sprinkle on remaining cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Crack Potatoes


2 (16 oz.) containers sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 (3 oz.) bags real bacon bits
2 pkg. Ranch Dip mix
1 large bag frozen hash brown potatoes

Combine first 4 ingredients, mix in hash browns. Spread into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark


2 sticks of butter
1 cup of light brown sugar
1 reg. bag of pretzels (you'll use about 3/4 of the bag)
12 ounce bag of chocolate chips
Sea salt - ( I use our coarse sea salt with our grinder)

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a large bar pan with parchment paper, cover with pretzels. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. When it begins to bubble add the brown sugar. Stirring occasionally let the butter/sugar mixture meld together and brown. This should take about 3 minutes. Do NOT let it boil, you will have sticky goo that is no good. When you have a nice, brown caramel pour it over the pretzels, slowly and evenly. You can then use a spatula to spread it out, you have to work quickly and gently. It hardens fast so even pouring is the best method. Bake the sheet for 5 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and sprinkle the whole bag of chocolate chips evenly over the mixture. Place back in the oven for about 45 seconds. If you let it sit there too long the chocolate will burn. Remove from the oven and use a silicone spatula to evenly spread the chocolate over the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Famous Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi


1 lb. med. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. pure olive oil
2 Tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups white wine, I use chardonnay
1/2 fresh lemon, Juice only
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 cup softened butter
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat cast iron skillet and add olive oil. Add shrimp and cook until tender and no longer translucent, reduce heat. Remove Shrimp and set aside. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Do not allow garlic to brown - it will make it bitter. Add white wine, and lemon juice. Cook until wine is reduced by half. After it is reduced, add Italian seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and add butter. If pan is too hot, the butter will separate. Add shrimp back into sauce, add parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Halloween Haystack Mummies


Before You Start:

White chocolate melts differently than regular chocolate; it takes very little heat to get it to the desired consistency.

1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 cups shoestring potatoes
2 cups white chocolate chips
30 mini chocolate chips

Add about 1 inch of water to a medium saucepan. Top the pan with a heatproof bowl making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not sit directly in the water. Add butterscotch chips and peanut butter to the bowl and heat over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until completely melted and combined then remove bowl from heat. Add shoestring potatoes to the butterscotch mixture and stir to coat completely. Cool for 3 minutes. Place a piece of parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet. Using a medium cookie scoop, measure out scoops of the haystack mixture packing it in quite firmly against the side of the bowl and leveling off the top with a butter knife or offset spatula before pressing the scoop flat on the baking sheet and releasing the contents. Allow haystacks to cool and harden in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Place hardened haystacks on a wire rack and place the wire rack on a baking sheet. Fill a clean heatproof bowl with white chocolate chips then place the bowl over a small amount of water in a medium saucepan. Heat the water on LOW heat and whisk the melted chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for just a minute or two. Place the melted white chocolate in a piping bag fitted with a long skinny icing tip like those used for flower petals. At two thirds of the haystack mound begin coating with chocolate in a ribbon effect overlapping with each pass. Start again at two-thirds but make the first pass a bit rounded to leave room for the eyes. Continue until the top of the mound is covered. After all of the mounds are "wrapped" in chocolate, use a toothpick to place a white -chocolate dot for each of the eyes in the spaces you left. Insert a mini chocolate chip upside down on each dot of white chocolate while it is still soft. Place in refrigerator to cool completely before trimming away any excess chocolate around the bottom of the treats. Display stacked on a plate or slide each haystack into a cellophane bag to hand out as party favors.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies


2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup reese's pieces
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 35o°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and pudding; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla extract and honey and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beat to combine. Add chocolate chips, reeses pieces and peanut butter chips and mix until incorporated. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball between your palms and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart (you should be able to fit 12 cookies on each sheet). Using your palm, gently flatten the dough balls until they are about ¾ inch thick. Bake 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen.

Caramel Cheesecake Bites


19 ounces cream cheese
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 cup melted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Crush your slivered almonds. In a mixing bowl whisk together the almond flour, almonds, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the butter and combine with a spoon. Line a muffin tin with liners. Push the almond mixture into the bottom of the liners. Bake for 10 minutes to set. Turn oven down to 300 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and eggs. Beat until light and fluffy. Spoon mixture into the muffin tins with prepared almond crust. Bake for 40 minutes. While cakes are cooking, start on the caramel. Combine granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently for 3 minutes. Stop stirring and continue cooking 10 minutes or until the color of light brown sugar. Remove from heat; carefully stir in butter and milk. Place pan over medium-high heat until caramelized sugar melts. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; cool caramel to room temperature. Cover and chill 1 hour or until slightly thickened. Take cheesecakes out of the oven when they are done. Once cool, the middle will slightly fall and this is the perfect indent for the caramel. Spoon about 1 tablespoon caramel over each cheesecake.

Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole


1 lb. of Lean Ground Beef
28 oz spaghetti sauce
8 oz of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup of Sour Cream
1/2 lb. of Cottage Cheese
Whole Stick of Butter
1lb pasta such as elbow noodles or rotini
Bag of shredded cheese (I use pizza blend)
Optional: sliced mushrooms, diced bell pepper, diced onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the noodles. Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese in a mixer to thoroughly mixed together. Set aside. If you have chosen to use the bell pepper or onion saute them for 3 minutes then toss in the hamburger meat. Brown hamburger meat in a skillet and drain. Add spaghetti sauce and mix together. Put a few slices of butter in bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. Then layer half of the noodles in the bottom of the dish. Spread the cheese mixture over this layer. Then add the rest of the noodles on top of this with a few pats of butter. Now pour the red sauce and meat on top and spread. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spread cheese on top and return to oven for another 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Orange Cream Cheese Bread


1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c shortening
1 2/3 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 c milk
1/2 c chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp grated orange peel
1/4 c orange juice

Combine cream cheese and shortening, creaming well. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition. Stir in walnuts and orange peel. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 3 inch loaf pans. Bake at 375 degrees F for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then sprinkle orange juice over loaves. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Tortellini Crockpot Meal


1 bag of frozen tortellini
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 cans of Italian style diced tomatoes
1 box or 4 cups or vegetable broth
1 block of cream cheese

Put all ingredients in crockpot, chunking up the cream cheese. Cook on low for 5-6 hrs.

Sausage Hash Brown Bake


2 pounds bulk pork sausage
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup (8 ounces) Daisy Brand® Sour Cream
1 carton (8 ounces) French onion dip
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 package (30 ounces) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain on paper towels. In a large bowl, combine 1-3/4 cups cheese and the next seven ingredients; fold in potatoes. Spread half into a greased shallow 3-qt. baking dish. Top with sausage and remaining potato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 10-12 servings.

German Vegetable Soup


1-1/2 lb. ground beef
2 med. onions, diced
2 Tbsp. beef bouillon granules
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 can (46 oz.) tomato or vegetable juice
3 celery ribs, diced
6 med. carrots, sliced
3 med. potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 can (15-1/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (8-1/2 oz.) peas, drained
1 can (8 oz.) cut green beans, drained

In a Dutch oven, cook beef and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Dissolve bouillon in water; add to the beef mixture. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaf, tomato juice, celery, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and green pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the corn, peas and beans; heat through. Discard bay leaf before serving. Yield: 16 servings (4 quarts).

Pretzel Crusted Chicken


2 cups sourdough pretzel nuggets
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp. pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 pkg. (5 oz.) spring mix salad greens

Place pretzels in a food processor; process until finely crushed. Place pretzels and flour in separate shallow bowls. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, garlic and pepper. Pound chicken with a meat mallet to 1/4-in. thickness. Dip both sides of chicken in flour, egg mixture and then pretzel crumbs. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook for 4-6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard. Remove 2 Tbsp. to another bowl for dressing; whisk in remaining oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Place salad greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Serve with chicken and remaining mayonnaise mixture. Yield: 4 servings (2/3 cup sauce).

Potato Beef Lasagna


1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 can (19 oz.) ready-to-serve tomato-basil soup
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (20 oz.) refrigerated sliced potatoes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

In a large skillet, cook beef and sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in soup and tomatoes; set aside. Place half of the potatoes and onion into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with remaining potatoes and onion. Top with mozzarella cheese and meat mixture. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Uncover; sprinkle with Gruyere cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 8 servings.

Favorite Creamy Chicken Casserole


4 cups uncooked egg noodles
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen peas and carrots
2 cups milk
2 cans (10-3/4 oz. each) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
2 cans (10-3/4 oz. each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain noodles; add to chicken mixture. Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 2 casseroles (5 servings each).

Chinese Beef Casserole


2 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 cans (10-3/4 oz. each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can (14 oz.) bean sprouts, undrained
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 can (5 oz.) chow mein noodles

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the soup, bean sprouts, soy sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil. Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Stir in rice and water chestnuts. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; stir in peas and sprinkle with noodles. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

Butterfinger Dessert


1 (10") prepared angel food cake, cut into 1' cubes
1 ( 1 oz.) package butterscotch pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
2 ( 8 oz. ) containers of cool whip, thawed
10 fun-sized butterfingers candy bars, crushed

Spray 9 x 13" pan with cooking spray. Arrange half the angel food cake cubes in bottom of pan. In large bowl, combine the pudding mix with milk. Whisk until starting to thicken. Fold in both containers of cool whip. Pour half the "fluff" mixture over the cubed angel food cake in pan. Top with half the crushed butterfinger candies. Repeat with rest of cake, fluff and candy. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, or overnight. 15 servings.

Granny's Grand Cinnamon Rolls


1 cup warm water
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1 tsp. + 2/3 + 1 1/2 + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp salt
2/3 + 1/2 + 1/2 + 2/3 cups butter, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
8 cups flour
3 Tbsp cinnamon
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp hot water

In a small bowl mix together warm water, yeast, and 1 tsp sugar and set aside. In a large bowl, mix milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup melted butter, salt, and eggs, stir well and add to yeast mixture. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour until dough is slightly stiff (dough will be sticky). Turn onto well floured board and knead 5-10 minutes. Place in well buttered bowl, cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts, until double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When doubled, punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Roll onto floured surface into a 15x20 rectangle. Spread dough with ½ cup melted butter. Mix together 1 1/2 cups sugar and cinnamon, next sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, and roll up jellyroll-fashion and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices. Coat bottom of 9x13 and 8” square baking pans with 1/2 cup melted butter, next sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in pans. Let rise in warm place until dough is doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until rolls are nicely browned. Cool rolls slightly. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix 2/3 cup melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Add hot water 1 Tbsp at a time until glaze reaches desired spreading consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls and serve warm. Makes 12 to 15 large cinnamon rolls.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole


5 lb bag of potatoes peeled.
1 box cream cheese softened
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese (You can use your favorite kind of cheese)
1/2-1 cup of sour cream
Bacon cooked and crumbled (1/2 package)
Green Onion diced (Optional)
Milk as needed for mashing consistency.

Peel and boil your potatoes for faster cooking but you can also bake them and scoop out the insides, however you prefer. Drain potatoes when ready to mash and add the cream cheese, butter, shredded cheese, sour cream, and milk (as needed). When you get your right consistency, add 3/4 of the bacon and 3/4 of the green onion. Place in a greased casserole and garnish with the remaining bacon and onion. You can also add more shredded cheese to the top for garnish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Sausage Roll