Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Creamy Lemon Bars

I just made these for a family party and, oh my, they were good. The recipe comes from Definitely worth checking out!

(Note: instead of using lemon, I used lime. The coloring still looked like lemon because of the eggs, so next time I might add a drop or two of green food coloring to make it look more like lime. Also, I don't have a good zester, so I skipped the peel. It still was great. I also doubled the recipe, so it took about 3 limes to get 1/2 cups fresh lime juice. Enjoy!)

Creamy Lemon Bars

20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold real butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese (you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. grated lemon peel, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (don’t even think about opening a bottle!)
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. (The foil isn’t too pretty, but it makes clean-up and cutting the bars a cinch!)

In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender.

If you don’t have a pastry blender, just use 2 knives, or even your fingers to break up the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.

While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 2 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, and lemon juice and then pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. These bars improve with time. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator. (As if you'll have leftovers!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cheese Fondue

  • Fondue:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Paprika (optional)
  • Sliced green onion (optional)
  • Dipper Ideas:
  • Thick Pennsylvania-style pretzels
  • Toasted garlic bread
  • Apples or pears
  • Saltine crackers
  • Favorite veggies (celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers)


  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle flour in melted butter and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour mixture and constantly stir until mixture thickens and begins to boil.
  2. Lower heat to simmer; stir in Ranch and cheese until smooth. Pour into a fondue pot and sprinkle with paprika or green onion, if desired. Serve with dippers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chunky Crockpot Chili

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 16 oz. can kidney beans (drained)
1 16 oz. can black beans (drained)
1 29 oz. can tomato puree
1 can condensed beef broth
2 cups of salsa
1 14 oz. can diced tomato (undrained)
1 cup water
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. A-1 sauce
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Fritos (optional)
diced green onion (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Brown ground beef and combine with remaining ingredients in a crockpot. Cook mixture on low heat for 6 hours. Serve on top of Fritos and top with green onion and cheddar cheese.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 large sweet potatoes, boiled, drained, peeled & cubed
2 beaten eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all together in a 9 X 13 pan. Bake 350° for 25 minutes.

1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Grapenuts (or cornflakes or any plain cereal)

Mix together. Place on hot potatoes. Bake 10 minutes or until the marshmallows melt.

*The original recipe used canned yams then mashed and whipped them into the other ingredients so it had more of a mashed potato feel.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flawless Focaccia Bread

This post is from my friend Marta's blog. If it's on her blog, you know it's good!

Focaccia Bread
2 hours, start to finish

2 cups warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast (not instant)
1 Tbs. sugar
4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1-2 Tbs. Italian seasonings

1/2 cup butter, melted
garlic salt
Parmesan cheese, grated

1. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.

2. Blend together remaining 1 1/2 cup warm water, dissolved yeast, sugar, flour and salt in mixer bowl. Combine well. Mix in Italian seasonings. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise to double or more (about an hour).

3. Grease a 9x13 pan. Scoop dough into prepared pan, dough will be very sticky. You'll be tempted, but don't add any extra flour. Butter your clean hands and coax the dough into all the edges of the pan.

4. Let dough rise again for 20 minutes, meanwhile preheat oven to 400. Before baking, poke indents in the focaccia with your fingers. Drizzle melted butter over the top of the bread. Sprinkle some garlic salt over the top and add a couple handfuls of Parmesan cheese.

5. Bake 20 minutes. After cooling for ten minutes, turn focaccia out on cutting board and slice into thick breadsticks. Pile them into a bread basket and serve to hungry guests.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

banana bread

Yummy! My favorite banana bread recipe

1 cup sugar
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp milk
1 tsp soda disolved in 1/4 cup water

2 cups flour
pinch of salt
3 bananas


cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes

Makes one loaf or 4 mini loafs

Potato Caserole

I've really been into one dish meals.
Here is one that I really like!

1 pkg(8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
3 lbs red potatoes thinly sliced (I just had baking potatoes and they worked fine)
1 pkg (6 oz) diced ham (smoked is yummy)
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen peas (I hate peas but didn't mind them in this dish)

Preheat oven to 350
spray 13x9 baking dish
mix cream cheese, sour cream and chicken broth until well blended
add potatoes, ham, and peas and 1 3/4 cups cheese
stir gently to coat all ingredients
spoon into prepared baking dish
sprinkle with remaining cheese
bake for one hour or until potatoes are tender


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Easy Strawberry Cake

1 white cake mix
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. oil
2 (6 oz.) ctn. strawberry Yoplait thick & creamy (no fruit chunks) yogurt
4 oz. Cool Whip
Red food coloring
Fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your pan(s) of choice. Prepare cake mix as the box directs, but alter the water and oil to the quantities above and add 1 (6 oz.) container of yogurt before mixing. Pour batter into pan(s) and bake for the short time listed on the box. Cool cake completely.

Combine the second container of yogurt, Cool Whip and a small amount of food coloring to turn the frosting pink. Frost cake and chill in refrigerator to set frosting. Partially slice strawberries into approximately 4 slices, stopping when you hit the leaves so the slices remain connected. Splay the slices and place strawberries on top of cake in a decorative manner. Cake should remain refrigerated until ready to serve.

Limeade Slush

8 c. water
3 c. sugar
1 (12 oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate or any flavor juice (lemonade or cranberry juice works well, too)

Dissolve sugar in water and add limeade. Freeze in decorative bowl or ice cube trays. Remove frozen limeade from trays or bowls and place into a large punch bowl. Add Sprite or ginger ale and break up frozen limeade with a fork to form slush when ready to serve. Serves 20-24.

(Notes: Before Sprite is added, the limeade fits in a bundt pan well for freezing. Also, if there's any slush left, refreeze and reuse!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Andes Mint Puddle Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend Anjela down the street. She is a dessert master!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 package Betty Crocker's Devils Food Cake Mix (Any type of dark chocolate cake mix would work)
2 eggs
3/4 Cup Shortening (I always use butter flavored)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 boxes
Andes Mints

Combine all ingredients, EXCEPT the mints, with an electric mixer.

Scoop 1 inch balls on to UNGREASED cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake! Unwrap mints while your waiting for the cookies to bake.

Remove from oven. Immediately after you remove the cookies from the oven, place 1 Ande's mint on top of each cookie. Let it sit for a minute or two until it is melted. Once it is melted, swirl the chocolate slightly with your finger tip or the tip of a spoon, so that you now have a circle instead of a rectangle.

Let cool completely before serving.

Soft Gingersnaps

This recipe comes from my friend Marta's blog. The first time I made them, they instantly became one of my staples. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cup Shortening
2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Dark Molasses
1/2 tsp. Salt
4 tsp. Baking soda
2 tsp. Baking powder
2 tsp. Cloves
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Ginger
4 cups Flour

Cream together all the ingredients except the flour. When dough is creamy, gradually add the flour. Form dough into small balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten each cookie with your thumbprint.

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. (The key is to under-bake them a little for truly soft cookies.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

French Bread

The Most Fabulous French Bread

I always get a little excited when I try a new bread recipe. I know, I'm a food geek, but it's true! I wandered my way over to a food blog called Jamie Cooks It Up! and was mesmerized by her so-called Fabulous French Bread. Hmmm...fabulous you say? I've been on the hunt for a wonderful recipe for French bread. To date, I've tried 5 different recipes and each was delicious, but...something was missing. French Bread recipes are simple by nature, but each seemed to be more work for no more added yumminess in the final product.

But I have to say, this recipe truly is fabulous. Try it. Read the instructions a few times before starting. There are several steps, but they're not difficult and just require a little focus, especially when you're making it for the first time. Start to finish it took me just under 2 hours to have these beautiful loaves. Amazing!

Jamie has several more pictures than I do. I blame it on trying to make grilled chicken crepes, double chocolate cookies and the French bread all at the same time. You can see the step-by-step pictures in her post here.

Note: Both Jamie and I used a mixer in the instructions below. You don't have to have one, but it's certainly a time saver!

Fabulous French Bread

Yield: 3 loaves
  • 1 TBSP shortening
  • 1 TBSP coarse salt {or 1/2 TBSP regular salt}
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 TBSP yeast
  • 5 - 6 cups white all purpose flour {I used bread flour}
  • 2 rounded TBSP dough enhancer {my addition}
  • 1 egg
Step 1: Place the 1 cup hot water in the microwave for 3 minutes to get it boiling.

Step 2: Dissolve the yeast into the warm water. Stir it around until it is all mixed.

Step 3: Combine the salt, shortening, and sugar in the bottom of your mixer with a fork. The dough hook doesn't work very well. You need to smash up the mixture until it resembles the picture above. {I used my whisk attachment on high. It took about a minute and was perfect.}

Step 4: Pour the boiling water over the shortening mixture. Mix slightly to combine.

Step 5: Pour the cold water in next.

Step 6: Then pour the warm water and yeast into the mixer.

Step 7: Begin to add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of your mixer. Add the dough enhancer at this time, along with the flour. The dough should be balmy but not sticky.

Step 8: Let the dough mix on high for 8 minutes.

Step 9: Let the dough rise in the mixer for about 20 minutes. {This step can actually be skipped if you are in a hurry, but I recommend it as it allows the dough the chance to rest and improves the flavor and texture.}

Step 10: Separate the dough into three parts and place on a large jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray. Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes. Letting it sit will make it MUCH easier to shape.

Step 11: Spread the dough out with your hands. Stretch it slightly until you have an oval about 1" in thickness. Roll the dough up into a log shape. Take the ends of the log and fold them into the middle, with the ends touching. Turn the loaf seam-side down onto a greased pan. I used my french bread pans, but you could also use a jelly roll pan. Repeat with remaining dough.

Step 12: Using a sharp knife, quickly cut 3 diagonal slits into the top of each loaf.

Step 13: Whisk egg until frothy. Cover loaves with egg wash, making sure to get in each slit.

Step 14: Place the loaves in a warm 170 degree oven and let rise for about 15 minutes.

Step 15: Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and re-set your timer for 15 minutes. {Leave the loaves in while the oven increases in temperature.}

Step 16: Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and turn the pan around in the oven. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the loaves are a nice golden brown.


Also- Don't be intimidated by all the steps! I simply wanted to break the recipe down and make it easier to follow. Like I said, read it over a couple times, print it out and have it right by you in the kitchen. It really is easy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Super Easy Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 cup artichoke hearts - chopped
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
dash ground pepper

Simmer spinach and artichoke hearts in a cup of water in a small saucepan for 10 minutes. Drain when done. Heat cream cheese in small bowl in microwave for 1 min or until softened. Add spinach and artichoke hearts and stir well. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve.

Cheese filled Parmesan Biscuits

3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup walnuts
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp finely chopped basil
1 garlic clove
1 roll Grand Biscuits
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine Parmesan cheese and walnuts, set aside. In other bowl combine cream cheese, garlic, and basil. Spoon 1 tsp cream cheese mixture into center of biscuit. Fold biscuit over and press closed. Dip into melted butter and roll into parmesan cheese mixture. Bake @350 for 20 min.

These are the rolls I made for our Christmas dinner.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lemon Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
grated rind of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Cream butter and sugar, add flour. Spread in 8x8 pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. While crust is baking prepare next layer.

Beat eggs slightly and add sugar, flour, lemon juice and rind. Mix well and pour over hot crust after it comes from oven. Now bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups chicken broth (or one 14 oz can)
1/2 cup each carrots, celery cut into chunks (I omit the celery and double the carrots :)
1 onion chopped

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbs. parsley

Cook Chicken breasts in microwave. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour all ingredients into the crock pot. Cook on high for about 3 hours. Make dumplings and drop spoonfuls on top of chicken stew. Cover and bake one more hour on high. Do not remove lid the last hour. Enjoy!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Raspberry Butter

2 cups butter, softened
4 Tbsp. powered sugar
1 cup raspberry preserves (not jam)

Beat on High for 5 Minutes. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.Makes 3 ½ cups.

Corn Bread

¾ cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup corn meal
1 can cream of corn
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased 9x13 pan or a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Layered Ice Cream Cake

1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
8 OREO Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

POUR fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup COOL WHIP. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. Stir in chopped cookies.

ARRANGE 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; top with half the COOL WHIP mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining COOL WHIP. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet.

FREEZE 4 hours or until firm.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Macaroni Grill" Bread

1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
1 c. hot water

Let sit and rise about 15 minutes.

Slowly add:

1 1/2-2 1/2 c. flour
1 T. rosemary
1 t. salt

Let rise in bowl until double the size. Divide into 2 portions, place on greased baking sheet. Let rise again. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown. When out of oven, melt butter all over the top and sprinkle with salt.

Oreo Cream Cheese Pie

35 Oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cold milk
1 tub (12 oz) Cool Whip, thawed and divided
3 1/4 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (4 oz. serving size each) chocolate flavor instant pudding
(candy canes)
(small carton fresh whipped cream)

Mix crushed cookies and butter in medium bowl. Press firmly onto bottom of 13 x 9-in. baking dish (or divide evenly between 2 pie pans). Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and 2 Tbsp. milk in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Gently stir in 1 1/4 cups of the whipped topping. Spread over crust.

Pour 3 1/4 cups milk into large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Pour over cream cheese layer. Let stand 5 min. or until thickened. Drop remaining whipped topping by spoonfuls over pudding; spread to cover pudding.

Refrigerate at least 4 hr. Cut into 24 squares. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator. Makes 24 servings (1 square each). Top each square with crushed candy canes.

*When I made this I skipped the top layer of Cool Whip and I served it with fresh whipped cream and crushed candy canes.