Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Merlie's Apple Salad

Nana shared this recipe with me about a year ago and we make it quite often, especially in the summer. The first time I tried this salad it sort of threw me for a loop because it looks like the usual fruit salad with whipped topping. The dressing is actually sour cream. Also, I'm not hugely crazy about a lot coconut but the salad doesn't taste right w/o it so don't attempt making it unless you have sweetened coconut on hand. And lately, when I throw this salad together I've been winging it on the quantities, so looking at the actual recipe I probably 1/2 everything for my little family.

Cut and core apples in 1/2 inch pieces: 6 cups of apples

2-3 cans mandarin oranges, drained

2 cups mini marshmallows, 2 cups coconut, and 3/4 chopped pecans

2 cups sour cream

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This is a German dish that Jason's family makes. It's really different, but I like different! They actually don't follow a recipe so this is one that I found on Allrecipes so that I would have something to follow.

12 pieces top round beef, pounded thin (1/4 inch thick)
1 ½ c. chopped onion
1 ½ cups chopped dill pickles (or thin pickle slices)
Nonstick cooking spray
¼ cup butter
5 T. flour
2 cans beef broth
16 ounces baby carrots
4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

Season beef with salt and pepper. Spread each piece with 1 tsp. mustard; top with 2 T. each onion and pickles. Starting at one short side of each beef piece fold long edges over, then roll beef tightly. Secure with a toothpick.

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Brown beef rolls in batches over medium-high heat. Remove from skillet.

In same skillet, melt butter. Add flour. Cook and stir 1 minute. Add beef broth, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture thickens.

Pour half of broth mixture into slow cooker. Add carrots and celery; top with beef rolls; pour remaining broth mixture into slow cooker.

Cover; cook on LOW 8-10 hours or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Red Cabbage (Rot Kohl)

Here is another German dish that my in laws make that I quickly acquired a liking for. It's a great side dish to the Rouladen recipe. I hope you like it as much as I do.

1 shredded red cabbage
1 lb. bacon, chopped
2-3 onion, chopped
Olive oil (for shine)
4-5 apples, cut up in ½ -1 inch pieces
Vinegar or lemon juice
6 bay leaves, broken in half for more flavor

Fry onion and bacon in large pot until bacon is a bit crispy. Add red cabbage, apples, and bay leaves. Add aprox. 3 T. sugar. Simmer for approx. 2-3 hours on low heat stirring often. When cabbage is fully cooked, add the vinegar or lemon juice when pot is off the burner. This dish will double in flavor if served the next day.

Cucumber Salad

My sister in law Jenny makes this salad often for us and we love it. It's fresh and the dressing is very versatile. For example, last night I made this salad and used cider vinegar but I've used regular vinegar and balsamic as well. Same goes for the oil; just use what you have on hand.

1/4 cup onion finely chopped
2-3 thinly sliced cucumbers
1/4 bunch parsley chopped

2 T. vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Citric Acid Punch

The first time I had this drink was at a friend's wedding reception a few years back. I couldn't figure out if the reason I loved it so much was because it was 95 degrees outside or if it was because of the refreshing fruity flavor in the water. Whatever the case, my sister had to finally pull me away from the refreshment table. What I later found out was that they had added citric acid to the mix and that's what really made the water taste...good!

5 quarts water
Almost 3 c. sugar
2 tsp. Citric Acid
2 tsp. lemon extract

Depending on the occasion you can add food coloring, floating flowers, or citrus slices.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Orange Brownies

My friend shared this recipe which she had once seen on an episode of Paula Deen,(Food Network). They are a little deceiving because I tend to associate brownies with chocolate and this recipe doesn't call for anything chocolate whatsoever. So once you get your brain turned around, these brownies are so so good! I love the fresh orange flavors and of course the 2 sticks of butter probably help :)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest and beat with a handheld electric mixer until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and pierce top of entire cake with a fork.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Pour glaze over cake. Cool cake and cut into squares.

Linda’s Lasagna

I was never really a fan of red sauces until I married my husband. His all time favorite meal is spaghetti so I decided I better change my ways fast. Now I love lasagna, especially this recipe. I found it on Allrecipes and I really like it because it's fairly simple to make and doesn't include a lot of crazy ingredients that my picky eaters won't touch. Thank you Linda!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar

12 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
9 lasagna noodles
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef until brown. Drain. In another skillet over medium heat, cook onion until translucent. Combine beef and onion in a large saucepan with tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, water, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.

While sauce is simmering, blend cottage cheese, Parmesan and egg until smooth. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover sauce with 3 noodles. Cover noodles with one-third of remaining sauce. Top with half the mozzarella. Place another layer of noodles and one of sauce over the mozzarella; top that with the cottage cheese mixture. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining sauce.

Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top and bake 15 minutes more, until golden and bubbly.

Artichoke Bruschetta

A Taste of Home magazine last summer 2008 was featuring different types of bruschetta's. We have made this recipe several times and it's always a hit! I prefer extra tomato so depending on the size of your tomatoes you may consider adding a second to the recipe.

1 jar (6 ½ ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½ cup grated romano cheese
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
5 T. mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
1 loaf French bread baguette

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Cut baguette into 30 slices; top with artichoke mixture.

Place on ungreased baking sheets. Broil 3-4 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ground Turkey Tacos

The Biggest Loser has inspired me through their crafty advertising tactics to try substituting lean ground turkey into our meals at home. Honestly just the coloring of ground turkey was enough to keep me away for so long but spice it up with some taco seasoning and it really tastes quite good. We've eaten these tacos several times and from now on this is how I will serve them.

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1/4 c. water

whole wheat flour tortillas
fat free sour cream
shredded cheese
fresh Salsa

Brown ground turkey in a fry pan until cooked through. Add 1/4 c. water and taco seasoning. Warm tortillas in the microwave (15-30 seconds depending on how many). Fill tortillas with ground turkey and your favorite taco toppings.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yesterday Brandon asked if we could make some chocolate chip cookies. I should have known that all he really wanted was the dough. I found this recipe on Allrecipes and it definitely lives up to its name. It is so soft and chewy and doesn't go flat like other recipes. I bet you can't stop with just one!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I always use milk chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.

Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2 c. 2% milk
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. peppermint extract
3-5 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 c. miniature chocolate chips (chopped in food processor)

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. Color to your liking with the green food coloring.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. After the ice cream has thickened; about 30 minutes later, spoon into a container, and freeze for 2 hours.

Strawberry Shortcut Cake

I found this recipe on the foodnetwork and have been wanting to try it for awhile. Last night we had a bbq and I finally had a reason to make it. It turned out great! Even the little kids loved it. One little girl said she loved it so much she wished she could just eat it forever :) I doubled the whipped topping because I didn't think the original recipe covered a 9x13 well enough.

1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin (recommended: Jell-O)
Fresh strawberries, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Follow cake directions as written on cake mix box.

Remove from oven and cool cake completely. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Let macerate 20 minutes. Invert and release cake onto a decorative platter.

Whip cream with confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until it reaches stiff peaks. Do not over whip.

Mix gelatin as directed on box. Refrigerate gelatin mix but do not let it harden, it should cool to a liquid consistency.

Using a straw, poke holes all over the cake. Pour gelatin into holes and spread over the top of the cake.

Spread layer of macerated strawberries on top of cake. Spread layer of whipped cream on top of the strawberries, making pretty swirls and ripples. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Chicken and Bacon Shish Kabobs

We made these for Brandon's birthday dinner. We actually doubled the recipe and also included stew meat chunks and bell peppers, but my favorite ended up being the chicken. We didn't have one skewer left so I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons canola oil
4 green onions, minced
10 whole mushrooms, washed and stems removed
1 purple onion cut into chunks
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
1/2 pound sliced thick cut bacon, cut in half
1 fresh pineapple cut into chunks
Skewers (soaked in water for at least 2 hrs)

In a large bowl, mix the soy sauce, cider vinegar, honey, canola oil, and green onions. Place vegetables and chicken in separate zip lock bags and pour half of the sauce into each bag. Zip bag shut and shake to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Preheat grill for medium high heat.

Cover 4 pieces of bacon at a time with paper towels and cook in microwave for 2 minutes. Cut each slice of bacon in half. (This helps precook the bacon part way so that it will be a little crispier once it’s cooked on the grill).

Wrap the chicken chunks with bacon, and thread onto skewers so that the bacon is secured. Alternate with vegetables and pineapple chunks.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange skewers on the prepared grill. Cook 15 to 20 minutes until bacon is crisp and chicken juices run clear.

Southern Butternut Squash

We have made this recipe several times and LOVE it! I thought the ingredients sounded a little too sweet so I cut the butter down to about 6 T. and the white sugar down to almost a 1/2 c. I also used 2% milk instead of the heavy cream. Ok, and we don't add the topping either so I guess I've changed the recipe up quite a bit but it is so yummy that it really doesn't matter how you make it. Jason isn't a fan of squash and he even ate leftovers the next day...he never eats leftovers!

3 cups mashed, cooked butternut squash
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter one 2 quart casserole dish.
Blend together the butternut squash, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, butter, vanilla, cream and sugar.

Pour into prepared casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 45 minutes or until set and edges begin to bubble.

Prepare a topping if desired by combining 1 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Mix together and sprinkle over squash before baking.

Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes

I recently came across this recipe on The Sisters' Cafe blog. We have eaten them 4 times in the last week; yes they are that good! I consider my kids fairly picky eaters, so when I can find something that they will gobble up, we will eat them often.

One thing I especially like about this recipe, aside from the fact that they are healthy and yummy, is that it takes very little mess to make and you can use your blender to pour the batter directly onto the griddle.

1 cup whole wheat kernels
1 cup milk

Blend wheat and milk for 3 minutes in blender.
½ cup milk
Blend for 2 more minutes.

2 eggs
½ tsp salt
½ cup oil
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
Blend only long enough to combine. Cook on hot griddle. The batter is very thin.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

I'm always on the lookout for recipes that call for Zucchini especially in the fall when my garden is overflowing and I practically have zucchini coming out my ears :) My kids love sweet breads so of course I'm all about trying to hide anything nutritious into their food.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 6 mini-loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.

Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Homemade Bagels

I watched a show on The Food Network and they were featuring a restaurant that made bagels. I thought it might be fun to try making some so after searching around for a good recipe I found this one that didn't look too difficult. I was suprised at how easy making bagels ended up being. Brandon said I was only allowed to eat the cheese ones and the cinnamon and sugar bagels were for him. (Unfortunately I found this recipe in 2008 and didn't write down where it was acquired from. I will keep searching so I can give credit where credit is due. But I just had to add this one to the blog because they were that good!)

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 quarts boiling water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cornmeal or parchment paper
1 egg white

Place water, salt, sugar, flour and yeast in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting.

When cycle is complete, let dough rest for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 6 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Poke a hole in the middle of each with your thumb. Twirl the dough on your finger or thumb to enlarge the hole, and to even out the dough around the hole. Cover bagels with a clean cloth, and let rest for 1 hour. Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal.(I used parchment paper instead of cornmeal)

In a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water. Boil for 1 minute, turning half way through. Drain briefly on clean towel. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze tops with egg white, and sprinkle with your choice of toppings.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until well browned.


Last week my sister Holly had a friend stay with her and DJ who made this salsa recipe for them. She shared some of it with me. I loved it! The ingredients are so simple and you can adjust the level of hotness to your liking. I'm a fan of chunky salsa but if you are more of a dipper than a scooper, just pull on out your blender and give it a little whirl.

2 (14.5 cans) diced tomatoes
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh chopped cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 lime, juiced

I have tried this recipe three times in the last week trying to figure out the level of hotness. If you are a "mild" person, cut the jalapeno's and clean the seeds and membrane out completely before chopping and adding to the bowl. For a "medium" flavor, clean one jalapeno pepper out completely and leave the second one whole before chopping. For a "pretty darn hot", leave the seeds and membrane in both jalapeno's when cutting and add everything to the bowl.

I've enjoyed this recipe best if you make it ahead of time and let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours. Yum!

*revision* Since it's tomato season we've been using our fresh tomatoes to make salsa. I'm also trying to copy my favorite restaurant salsa from Joe Bandidos and I think they add green onions and cumin to the mix. Jason says my salsa isn't hot enough so I guess I better start throwing in another jalapeno! HOT!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Japanese Chicken

My neighbor shared this recipe with me a few years back and we now make it often. I LOVE the sauce and usually double it when served with rice.

1 cup flour
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix together in a large ziplock bag.

6 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces.

Coat chicken pieces in flour mix and fry in a small amount of oil until golden brown on both sides. Place chicken in 9 x 13 dish.

3 T. soy sauce
3 T. water
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Pour over chicken pieces. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes turning chicken every 15 minutes to baste.