Friday, December 28, 2007

Ho Ho (Ho) Cake

Merry Christmas! I hope that everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed lots of good food. One of the desserts that I made and tend to make most years for Christmas is "Ho Ho Cake". It's really very simple and tastes remarkably like a Ho Ho, which I always thought was a cupcake but at one point was convinced otherwise. All that to say, I'm not sure what a Ho Ho is exactly. I received this recipe from a friend a few years ago in a recipe exchange. This is the only recipe I received in the exchange that I have made consistently and was worth the postage spent sending out all those letters that were supposed to return something like 36 recipes, but in reality only 5 or so arrived.

Here's the recipe-

Note: You will need a stand mixer to make this cake. Or the desire to spend lots of time with your hand mixer.


1 chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to make cake
1 can chocolate frosting
3/4 c. evaporated milk
2/3 c. solid shortening
1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Bake cake according to package directions in a 9 by 13 inch pan. Let cool completely. Combine evaporated milk, shortening, margarine, sugar and vanilla in bowl of stand mixer. Mix on medium-medium high speed for 20 minutes. Spread filling over cooled cake. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until set. Microwave frosting for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Pour over the cake and spread evenly. Return to refrigerator until set, approximately 3o minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Soup and Spouses

Last night our small group celebrated Christmas with "Soup & Spouses". After studying a book on marriage throughout the fall, it was fun to meet the husbands and watch the couples interact. We had three delicious soups, which all ended up being the same color: white chicken chili, cheesy potato soup and cheeseburger soup. Yum. Below is the recipe for the white chicken chili. One comment about the recipe: it calls for both sour cream and heavy cream to be added at the end, but when I doubled it, I just could not bear to add that much cream. So, if you were making this recipe, I would suggest adding the sour cream first and then determining how much cream you would like to add on top of that, depending on how much more liquid you think it needs. Hope that helps!

White Chicken Chili
(This recipe is courtesy of a friend who got it from another friend. I do not claim it as my own...yet.)

1 lb. chicken, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TB oil
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/3 tsp. cayenne (more if you like it extra spicy)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz sour cream
2 c. heavy cream

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, onion and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add chicken mixture to a large soup pot along with beans, green chilies, chicken broth, salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne and black pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add sour cream and heavy cream and heat through (do not boil).

Yield: 4-6 servings

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Beef and Potato Bake

Here's a good "meat 'n potato" casserole that's pretty much a one dish meal. I like to serve it with some flaky biscuits.

Beef and Potato Bake

4-5 Cups Shredded frozen hash browns
3-4 Tbs Oil
1/8 tsp pepper

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef or turkey
1 cup water
1 pkg brown gravy mix
1/2 tsp garlic salt
10-12 oz frozen peas and carrots (the bag that is a mix of the two, the carrots are diced small)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can Durkee Onion rings

In a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish, combine potatoes, oil and pepper. Firmly press mixture on bottom and sides of pan to form shell. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Meanwhile, brown the meat in a deep frying pan and drain. In a Pyrex measuring cup, whisk together water and gravy mix until dissolved and pour over the meat in the pan. Add garlic salt and stir together. Bring to a boil, add vegetables and reduce heat. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese and 1/2 of the onion rings. Pour filling into the potato shell. Put back in the oven and bake uncovered at 350 for 15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese and onion rings over top and bake 5 minutes longer.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Obsessive Cooking

So, every once in a while, I get on a kick where I just want to eat the same thing over and over. This is not normal for me. Usually the key to our meals is variety. I have recently discovered a couple of food blogs that have amazing photography, witty script and, often, challenging recipes. One of the blogs encouraged readers to make popcorn on the stove top instead of in the microwave. (This is obviously not a "challenging" recipe and probably not so novel to most people). After one attempt, I was in love. We have had popcorn nearly every night since. The method is quite simple. I use my non-stick wok, add 3 TB oil and a few popcorn kernels. I heat this on medium high heat until the 3-4 kernels pop. Then I add 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer on the bottom, sprinkle it with some coarse salt and take it off the burner for 30 seconds. Then, back to the burner it goes with vigorous shaking until the kernels have stopped popping. Dump this in a bowl, add some butter to the hot pan and then pour it over the popcorn. Yum. Unfortunately, we're out of popcorn tonight or I would be headed to the kitchen right now.

My other new favorite thing is a simple salad we've been eating with great regularity. We take some spring greens, a sliced pear, some dried cranberries and toss it all with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. I could eat this for every meal. (We just had it for dinner, thus prompting this post.) It would be great with some toasted almonds added, too....sweet, salty, juicy, chewy, crunchy, crisp. Enjoy these simple pleasures.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Easy Thanksgiving Side

Here is a fool-proof recipe for you. I told someone a couple months ago that I would post this recipe and have subsequently forgot...until now. This corn casserole is so simple yet is always popular. The key to this dish is sauteing the onions in butter before adding them to the other ingredients. It gives it more flavor than many traditional corn casseroles/corn puddings. Try it for Thanksgiving!

Corn Casserole

1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
2 eggs, well beaten
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Saute the onion in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper. Combine the sauteed onions and the remaining ingredients. Mix together and bake in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish/3 qt dish at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Best Banana Bread Ever

My mom used to make this banana bread when I was growing up. As I tried other people's banana bread I thought, "They just can't cook as well as my mom can." In some cases that was true, but in others they just didn't have as good of a recipe (in my opinon). Well I will keep you in suspense no longer. Here is the best banana bread recipe ever.

Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda

Mash bananas and mix with sugar, egg, and oil. In separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda. Combine with banana mixture. Mix well and pour into lightly greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Monday, October 8, 2007

An Added Benefit

I've recently discovered that blogging my favorite recipes, new and old, has an unintended benefit. Now, when I need the ingredients to one of these recipes (and I'm not at home), as long as I have access to a computer and the internet, I can look up the recipe online and make my grocery list. It's pretty handy.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

An Oldie, but Goodie

Most of the time when I post recipes on here, it's because I just tried a new recipe and can't wait to share it. Only occasionally will I pull something out of my "tired and true" binder to post. Well, today is one of those days. I made a batch of cookies last night for my husband to take to work today (it's his birthday...although I send desserts with him to work fairly often. It's the only way I can justify making a new dessert and not eating ALL of it, just the two of us.) Anyway, these have been my favorite cookies for as long as I can remember. I didn't start making them myself until recently though, and my first batch was a bit of a disaster. I added way too much salt, like four times what was called for. In my defense, the recipe is photocopied from a very old cookbook, and the measurement certainly looked like 2 tsp, but it's actually a 1/2 tsp. Oops. I still sent them to work with my husband. This second batch was better, although I experimented and used half butter, half shortening. (I have one recipe that calls for one and one for the other). I think I'll go back to all butter next time for the flavor. Well, on to the recipe...

Ranger Cookies
1 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded coconut
2 c. oatmeal
2 c. Rice Krispies

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add flour which has been sifted with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add coconut, oatmeal and Rice Krispies. Dough will be crumbly. Mix and mold with hands into small balls. Bake 11 minutes at 350 degrees for small cookies and 15-20 minutes for larger ones. Yield: 6 dozen (small cookies)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Barbeque Chicken in the Oven

OK, so the picture doesn't exactly describe it (hopefully). This recipe has a great flavor and if you, like me, have trouble keeping chicken tender on the grill, this is just what you need!

Baked Barbeque Chicken

5 chicken breasts

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. barbeque sauce

1/4 c. oil (I used a little less)

1 c. ketchup

Spray the bottom of a 9X13 pan, arrange chicken in pan and salt. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake and additional 10-20 minutes until the juices cook down.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Desserts Galore

Tonight we are hosting a training for work. One of my responsibilities was providing desserts for the attendees. Well, I certainly didn't mind. So, I spent this morning baking! I made Tiramisu Brownies, Coconut Cake and Buttermilk Cake with Caramel Icing. Then, I found out we only have about 10 people who have RSVP'ed for the training. I guess there will be some dessert left over!
This is the second time I've made the buttermilk cake. If you like cake (like me), you've got to try it. It doesn't call for many ingredients, and the frosting/icing is amazing. The recipe is from Taste of Home.

Buttermilk Cake w/ Caramel Icing
1 cup butter, softened
2-1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition (batter will be thick). Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. For icing, in a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; cool for 5-10 minutes. Whisk in confectioners' sugar. Drizzle over cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Last Chance (Almost)

As fall comes we are nearing our last chance to enjoy some of those traditional summer foods...until next year, at least. This awareness spurred me on to test out a peach pie recipe last weekend with some wonderful peaches from a local produce market. I chose a recipe for crust that I've made before and enjoyed and I used a recipe for filling that I picked up when I bought the peaches. They worked well together, but then again with pastry and fresh peaches, how could you go wrong?

Peach Pie

All Butter Pie Pastry
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
16 T. (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces and frozen for 10 minutes
3T. sour cream
1/3 - 1/2 c. ice water

1. Process the flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of large peas, about 10 second pulses.
2. Using a fork, mix sour cream and 1/3 c. ice water in small bowl. Add half of the mixture to the flour mixture. Pulse for 3 1-second pulses. Repeat with remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch dough with fingers; if the dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1-2 T. ice water and process.
3. Turn dough onto work surface. Divide dough into halves, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
4. Roll out dough onto parchment paper. Fill bottom of pie pan and refrigerate 20-30 minutes or until cold. Fill pie plate with peach mixture (see below). Roll out top crust, place on pie and seal edges. Cut 4 2-inch slits and brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle a little sugar on top and bake 40-50 minutes @ 400.

Peach Filling
4 c. sliced fresh peaches (about 6)
1 t. lemon juice
2/3 c. sugar
3 T. flour
1/4 t. cinnamon

Slice peeled peaches and mix in lemon juice. (I blanched them to make them easy to peel.) Mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon and pour over peaches. Mix gently.

I mixed up the dough and refrigerated it while making the filling. I learned that one key to good pie crust is making sure the butter stays cold. So, if the crust gets difficult to work with, refrigerate it for a few minutes to let the butter firm up.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

So Easy Soup

I feel a little ashamed to post such a simple recipe that requires no skill whatsoever, except what is needed to operate a can opener. But, this soup was really good and really easy and everyone needs recipes like that. I like to make a pot of soup on Sunday evenings for my husband and I to eat for lunch during the week. This soup will be ideal for that. It makes quite a lot and takes so little time that it won't be a burden to throw together even when I am making something else for dinner.

Refried Bean Soup
1 can (16 oz) spicy refried beans, fat-free
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) whole kernal corn, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, cut up (do not drain)
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilis
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. salsa

Combine the eight ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered 8-10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. Can be topped with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.
Yield: 8 servings (probably closer to 6-7 at our house)

**I added a can of drained hominy (because we both love hominy).
**I used Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
**I think you could add a can of Rotel tomatoes to this also, perhaps in place of the salsa? They would give it a little more kick.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cilantro Chicken

I have experimented several times this summer with preparing a feast for friends and/or family. I got the idea from a blog of a woman who had made this a tradition in her family. Her feasts were complete with table decorations and ice cream with sprinkles for dessert. While my feasts have not been so elaborate, I've enjoyed preparing meals for slightly larger groups (10-12 people). I doubled this recipe for the latest feast and it easily served 8. I served it with cilantro rice and homemade refried beans. One of my friends contributed homemade salsa to top it all off!

Cilantro Chicken
2 T. lime juice
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. honey
1 c. finely crushed tortilla chips
4 chicken breast halves (around 1 lb.)
1 16 oz. jar salsa
2T. minced fresh cilantro
1/3 c. shredded cheese (I used more than this.)

In medium bowl, mix lime juice, vegetable oil and honey together. Dip chicken breast halves in this mixture and coat with chips. Place in greased 9X13 inch pan. Bake uncovered at 350 for 25 minutes or until the juice runs clear. Pour salsa over chicken, sprinkle with cilantro and cover with cheese. Bake 5-7 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Serves: 4

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This recipe for dip that tastes just like buffalo wild wings is requested all the time. Serve it with tortilla chips or celery sticks and you will have a hit at your next party. It's a great appetizer when people are coming over to watch football! (Note: it is best served right out of the oven when it is hot!)

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 lbs. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (you can substitute 3 (12 oz each) cans of chicken)
1 c. Ranch salad dressing
2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
12 oz. Frank's Red Hot
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together and place in a 9 by 13-inch backing dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or celery sticks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On Sale

This last week raspberries were on a great sale at the grocery store. So, I went looking for recipes that call for raspberries. The following recipe was the one I found that required the fewest number of ingredients. I did buy a graham cracker crust instead of making one, though. It was delicious. In fact, I am going to make it again tonight, since I bought so many raspberries. This recipe was published Taste of Home.

Raspberry Patch Cream Pie
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/3 cups cold water
1/4 cup raspberry gelatin powder (I just used jello)
3 cups fresh raspberries

In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. For filling, in a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla. Carefully spread over crust. For topping, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Arrange raspberries over filling. Spoon gelatin mixture over berries. Refrigerate until set. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My "Go-To" Dessert

Whenever we're having company and I'm in a time crunch, I make Chocolate Cheesecake Pie for dessert. Nearly everyone likes it (my mom probably wouldn't, since she doesn't like chocolate), it is quick to make and doesn't have to chill for very long. One of the students who used to be part of our collegiate ministry said that eating this pie is like eating chocolate marshmallows. He loved it! I do like to buy a quality (read, not generic) graham cracker crust, because I think it does make a difference. If you had a little extra time, it would be great with a homeade crust. Yum. I make this recipe exactly as directed. I got this recipe from an issue of "Quick Cooking" a few years ago.

Chocolate Cheesecake Pie
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in melted chocolate. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Cover and chill until serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.

You can eat this pie almost immediately as it doesn't have to chill very long. However, it does taste a little better if it's been in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Great Guac

As on of the house guests mentioned below, I contributed a new recipe for guacamole that I found on This is a great basic recipe for guac that can be tailored to any taste. I made this one again last weekend for a girls night and it was the first snack to disappear. My preference is for things to be a little spicier, so I added jalapeno, increased the garlic and added a little more salt than the original recipe. You can also decide whether you like a smooth blended guacamole or a chunkier version. (I prefer to not mash the avocado). Here's my current version of the recipe, but I will continue to play with this one!

3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed (optional)
1 lime, juiced
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons diced fresh garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 small jalapeno,diced (optional - include the seeds for even more heat)

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

House Guests

This past weekend we had friends visit from Ohio. It was a lot of fun to have the three girls staying with us. It was also really fun to have them helping out in the kitchen. It's amazing how quickly we could get things done with five of us at work instead of just two. On Sunday evening we invited some friends over to play games and get to know our visitors a little better. We spent the afternoon preparing snacks for the evening's activities. I probably looked forward to the time cooking together as much as to the game night itself. We prepared texas caviar, homeade guacamole, brownies, popcorn ball bars, fruit and dip and fresh limeades.

Texas Caviar
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white corn, drained
4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 jalepeno pepper, diced (with seeds for more heat)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle Italian dressing (8oz -16oz)

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pork Burritos

Once a month we get together with two other couples for dinner and cards. We have such a good time connecting, playing games and definitely eating. It doesn't stop with dinner either. We always have a great assortment of snacks to eat while we play. This Saturday was our turn to host, and we had a busy day planned, so we decided to use the crockpot, which had the added advantage of not heating up the kitchen. We made carnitas, a Mexican-inspired pulled pork. The pork was good Saturday night, but my husband and I both agreed that it was even better leftover on Sunday. These burritos are tasty served with shredded cheese, sliced avocado (or guacamole) and sour cream.

Pork Burritos
1 pork shoulder roast (3-4 lbs), trimmed
1 can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c. chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped, seeded jalepeno pepper
1 teaspoon salt (I just put in a pinch, thought it was a little on the salty side last time)

Cut the roast in half and place in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Pour over pork. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or until meat is tender. Shred pork with two forks. Serve with a slotted spoon on tortillas with assorted toppings.
Serves: 8

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake

I made this delicious ice cream cake for Father's Day this year. Everyone was quite impressed and thought I spent HOURS making it. Many guests commented that it tasted better than a Dairy Queen cake. It truly is amazing and an extra special treat!

This recipe comes from Kraft Foods. I attended "Cooking School" online to learn how to make it. If you need visuals (like me), go to


Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake
1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided (I used Cool Whip Lite)
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
8 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped

1.POUR the fudge topping into a medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping with a wire whisk until it's well blended. The consistency of fudge topping can vary depending on what brand you purchase. If your fudge topping mixture is too thick to spread easily, stir in 1/4 cup milk. (I did not add milk to mine--it spread okay. 1/4 cup seems like a lot so use your own judgement) Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 minutes or until well blended.

2. CHOP the OREO cookies roughly into chunks. They don't all have to be the same size. Stir into the whipped topping/pudding mixture.

3. ARRANGE 4 of the ice cream sandwiches, side by side, on a 24x12-inch piece of foil; top with half of the pudding mixture. Repeat the layers.

4. TOP the pudding mixture with the remaining 4 ice cream sandwiches. The layers create a neat striped effect when sliced. (It's really pretty--you can't tell it's ice cream sandwhiches)

5. FROST the top and sides with the remaining whipped topping.

6. BRING up the foil sides. Double fold the top and ends to loosely seal the packet. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving. Let stand at room temperature to soften slightly before serving. Store leftover dessert in the freezer. Makes 12 servings.

Hawaiian Cheese Bread

Here is another recipe from the latest issue of "Simple & Delicious". This was a good month for that cooking magazine! Hawaiian Cheese Bread was one of the contest winners in their "5 ingredients or fewer" contest. (They don't count ingredients like water, salt and pepper toward the total). This recipe we so yummy! It is best served hot, right out of the oven!

1 loaf (1 pound) Hawaiian sweet bread
1 block (8 ounces) Swiss cheese
3 slices red onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt

Cut bread diagonally into 1-in. slices to within 1 in. of bottom. Repeat cuts in opposite direction. Cut Swiss cheese into 1/4-in. slices; cut slices into small pieces. Insert into bread. Combine the onion, butter, garlic and salt; spoon over bread. Wrap loaf in foil. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Antipasto Pasta Salad

We had this at my small group leader's house a few weeks ago, and my husband has been asking me to make it ever since. I finally made it this week and served it for supper with grilled pita wedges and fruit. We had enough left over to serve with our 4th of July cookout and still had some for lunch the next day for both of us.

Antipasto Pasta Salad
1 lb small penne pasta (cook then cool under cold water)
1/4 lb. Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 lb. pepperoni, chopped
1/2 lb. Asiago cheese (try not to substitute, the Asiago is really good in it!)
1 (6oz) can of olives, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 (.7 oz) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

Mix all together, cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

3/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tlbs. fresh oregano (substitute dry if you don't have fresh, just decrease the amount)
2 Tlbs. fresh parsley (again, you can sub)
2 Tlbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Combine and pour over pasta salad, mix gently, cover and refrigerate one more hour.

(I also added some diced green bell pepper simply because I had some.)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Blond Butterscotch Brownies

These were so tasty that they didn't last very long. This recipe is from "Simple & Delicious" July/August 2007.

Blond Butterscotch Brownies
2 c. flour
2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate CHUNKS
4 Heath bars, coarsely choppped (I only used 3)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. (Batter will be very thick.)
Spread into a 13 in. by 9 in. by 2 in. baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. (I pressed the batter into the pan with my hands, dampened with water.) Sprinkle with chocolate chunks and heath bar pieces. Press lightly into the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 27) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Yield: 2 dozen

Coming Soon

I was off work the last two days which afforded me some much needed time to try out a few new recipes. I don't have them with me right now but plan to post them by the weekend. Here's what was cooking in my kitchen (not all at once, though!):
Barbeque Chicken Drumsticks
Antipasto Pasta Salad - definitely a new favorite!
Hawaiian Cheese Bread
Blond Butterscotch Brownies

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pina Colada Slush

I actually haven't been doing that much cooking lately, although I've been in the kitchen plenty. Activities the last two weekends have called for lots of baking, a couple kinds of muffins and more than 20 dozen cookies. I have also brought punch to a couple of events lately. Last night, I tried a new punch recipe for the women's small group I'm a part of, Pina Colada Slush. It seemed to be a hit with everyone. The recipe is from July/August 2007 issue of "Simple and Delicious."

Pina Colada Slush
3 cans (6 oz each) unsweetened pineapple juice
2 c. water
1 can (10 oz) frozen non-alcoholic pina colada mix
1 TB lime juice
1 tub sugar-free lemonade soft drink mix (I used Crystal Light, not a big tub, just one of the tubs that comes the cylinder the drink mix. )
6 c. lemon-lime soda, chilled

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple juice, water, pina colada mix, lime juice and soft drink mix; stir until drink mix is dissolved. Transfer to a two quart freezer container. Freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
Remove from the freezer at least 45 minutes before serving. For each serving, combine 1/2 cup slush mixture with 1/2 cup soda. Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts)

Note: Instead of combining it one cup at a time, I just poured the lemon-lime soda over the slush and mixed it together. I also doubled the recipe, so that we could have more than 1 cup of the beverage. Also, this allowed me to purchase a large can of the pineapple juice and use most of it, instead of buying it in the small cans, which was much more expensive.