Sweet Potato Souffle’

14 c. cubed peeled sweet potatoes - about 5 lbs.
½ c. half and half
½ c. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla
¾ t. salt
1 large egg-lightly beaten

½ c. flour
½ c. packed brown sugar
¼ c. chilled butter cut into small pieces
½ c. chopped pecans

Boil the potatoes until cooked soft throughout.

Combine half and half, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and lightly beaten egg in a large bowl, and stir with whisk. Transfer to a mixer and add the boiled potatoes. Beat until smooth. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and fill with potato mixture.

Combine in food processor the flour and packed brown sugar and then add the butter. Pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans and top casserole.

Cover and cook @ 375 for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cracked Sugar Cookies

We love sugar cookies. We love snickerdoodles. This recipe is a little bit of both. While the recipe does not call for it, I like to roll each ball in colored sugar before baking. Being able to choose colors that match the occasion is a plus.

12 12_cracked sugar cookies_0355
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.

Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir.

Form dough into walnut size balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don't flatten. Bake 10 to 11 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.

Yields abt 2 dozen cookies.
Original recipe HERE

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Soup is perfect for cold wintery days. More of those are ahead of us. This recipe is another family favorite. Today, I used leftover turkey instead of chicken. I have used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store as well.

(Photo from Allrecipes.com)

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups milk

In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.  (I prepare this in the microwave.)

Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

(Original recipe is HERE)

Triple-Tier Brownies

By request. These are for you Jess...

I found this recipe in the “Taste of Home” magazine after I tried some at a Christmas party several years ago.
(I don't add the peanuts)

  • 1 package fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)
  • 1 package (11-1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1 can (16 ounces) cream cheese frosting
  • 1 cup salted peanuts, chopped (optional)

Prepare and bake brownie mix according to package directions, using a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large saucepan, combine chocolate chips and peanut butter. Cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes or until blended, stirring occasionally. Stir in cereal; set aside.

Spread frosting over brownies. Sprinkle with peanuts if desired. Spread with peanut butter mixture. Chill for 30 minutes or until set before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: about 5 dozen.

Cinnamon Twists

Another recipe that comes from a Ward Cookbook and another family favorite. A twist (no pun intended) on traditional Cinnamon Rolls.

This recipe makes A LOT! so I usually make a half  batch.  I also use the dough setting in my bread machine to prepare the dough. Food

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp yeast
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 8 cups flour
  • 3/4 c sugar


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine

Mix together

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon

Dissolve yeast in water; add the salt, yeast, eggs, shortening, flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Let rise. Pinch a piece of dough about the size of a walnut and roll into a rope. Dip in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Tie in a knot. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise until almost double. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes. Frost while hot with your favorite icing.
(Stay tuned for MY favorite icing for these or for traditional cinnamon rolls.)

Pumpkin mousse

1 cup heavy cream, whipped until medium peaks form
15 ounces pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
5 ounce package vanilla pudding
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix together pumpkin and milk, then add pudding and spices.

Fold in whipped cream, then place in ramekins or in a pre-made pie shell, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or until completely set.

Pumpkin spice instant pudding works better than vanilla pudding, but is more difficult to find.

At the last minute, we added a crunchy topping made with butter and crushed pretzels, which made the dessert better. A sweet, crunchy topping would have been even better!

Pumpkin Cookies

In keeping with the fall/pumpkin theme, this has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember.

Preheat oven to 375 deg.

3 cups canned pumpkin (1 15-ounce can)
1 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
2 packages butterscotch chips

Mix all the ingredients in the order given.

Once the batter is mixed, drop 1 ounce portions onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies.

My favorite part about this recipe is the butterscotch chips, especially the chips that fall off of the cookies! You can use chocolate chips, but the recipe is MUCH better with the butterscotch chips.

I have made huge cookies, like to ones you would find at a convenience store.


Spicy Fry Sauce

I am a Utahn, which means Fry Sauce is a side dish, not a condiment.

This recipe is for my favorite fry sauce – the added spices give it the perfect little kick.

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Stir together mayonnaise and ketchup; season with cayenne, onion powder, pepper, and salt.
(Original Recipe)

Boston Cream Pie

This is really not a pie. It’s a cake with a vanilla cream filling and a chocolate glaze icing. Very delicious and a favorite of many in the family and extended. (This is for you, Eric.)

It is speculated that it is called a pie because colonists baked their cakes in pie tins as they did not own cake pans.

I love to cook and bake. I wish I had all day to spend in the kitchen. Someday, when I do, I will look for a recipe for this dessert to make from scratch. But, this one is quite good and I just might stick with it . . . It is made from a cake mix and boxed pudding, items I usually have on hand, so I can make this whenever the mood hits. (Makes 2 pies)

Boston Cream Pie_0166

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 packages (3.4oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 Cups cold milk
  • 3 squares (1oz) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
  • 6-8 tsp hot water

Mix cake according to directions, adding lemon extract to batter. Pour into two greased and floured 9" round cake pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, beat the pudding mix and milk according to directions; chill. Cool cake in pan for 10 min. before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter. Stir in sugar until crumbly. Stir in hot water, 1 tsp at a time, until smooth. Split cakes in half. (**See how I split my cakes HERE) Spread 1/2 pudding on bottom layer of each cake. Place second layer over pudding. Pour  1/2 chocolate glaze over each top, letting in drizzle down the sides. Chill.

How I split a cake

The perfectionist in me loves a level cake. Something I can’t control very often. But, when it comes to splitting a cake, I have a trick that will help.

Insert at least 4 toothpicks to use as guides. Place them at the center if you are splitting halves like this:Boston Cream Pie_0161

Cut a piece of thread or unwaxed, unflavored dental floss (something I have never been able find), and wrap it around the circumference of the cake using your toothpicks as guides. Boston Cream Pie_0162

Then pull the ends, opposite each other, cutting through the cake like this:


This is a recipe that I have not tried, but was submitted by my cousin Travis. I have heard rumors that he is quite the BBQ and Dutch Oven chef, so I am sure this recipe will not fail.

** Be sure to read his added comments for additional suggestions/options

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk baking mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Blend eggs, baking mix and milk in blender. Grease 10-inch pie pan or quiche pan and spread cheese over bottom. Pour blended mixture over and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Filling will puff slightly and be golden brown on top.

May also be cooked it in the microwave for about 10 minutes, 3-4 minutes at a time.  At each break, stir it up a little, stirring the cooked part into the middle, allowing the uncooked part to flow to the outside. Finish it off (about 5 minutes) in the oven.

** I added cooked breakfast sausage to it this time.  I placed half the sausage in the pan before adding the wet ingredients, and I used the balance of the meat and the drippings to make a pan gravy which I served over the finished quiche.
In the past, we've also added krab to the wet ingredients, or served the cheese-only quiche with salsa.


Thanks Trav!

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

First snow of the season, another perfect day for soup.  This is another one of my throw it all together recipes. The amounts can vary to your taste or how much you need to make.

One of my shortcuts is omit the onion and chicken broth and replace with a packet of dry “Golden Onion” soup mix. (A onion soup with a chicken bouillon base.)

broccoli cheese_0127

  • Broccoli
  • chicken broth/water to cover
  • onion to taste
  • butter or margarine
  • flour
  • milk
  • 8 oz velveta
  • shredded colby jack

Boil broccoli, onion in liquids. When softened, blend most of this down and add back to the pot. (Be sure to leave some broccoli chunks.)

Make Roux with butter flour and milk. Add to soup. Add cubed cheeses. Continue to cook until cheese cubes melt down.

Serve with shredded cheese. Great in a bread bowl!

Beef, Barley & Black Bean Soup

My only salvation during the winter months is hot soup for dinner. I love soup so much, I often consider making it during the summer, but opt out to keep the kitchen cool.

This recipe I have changed and tweaked over the years, and tonight, I think I finally hit the jackpot. Try it and see what you think. The original recipe calls for the ground beef, but I prefer the roast. (I use the leftover roast from Sunday dinner.)

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  • 2 cups cooked roast beef, cubed (or 1 lb ground beef)
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked, quick cooking barley
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pkg dry Onion Soup mix
  • 4.25 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained (I blend this up before adding.)
  • 5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

If using ground beef, cook over medium high heat until browned.  Drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, except beans. (If using leftover roast, add it now.)

Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 min. or until barley and vegetables are tender.

Stir in beans. Cover and simmer 2-3 minutes or until heated through.  Thicken if desired.

Corn Bread

This is a family favorite and always prepared with a Chili dinner. The recipe comes from my mother, who found it in a Ward Cookbook.  It is sweet and very YUMMY! It does not crumble like many corn breads do.

This recipe can be doubled easily and baked in a 9x13 pan. Just increase the baking time about 5 minutes.


  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour

Heat oven to 375°. Grease 8” square pan or spray with cooking spray. Melt margarine. Add sugar, eggs and buttermilk. Mix well. Stir in baking soda, salt and cornmeal. Add flour, blend well then pour into baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.

Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce

Since my discovery of my neighbors recipe for Quick and Easy Pizza Crust we have been enjoying fresh homemade pizza once a week. It is inexpensive and delicious. Best of  all, quick and easy. It’s what I love most during a busy work, school, church week.

Now, it would stand to reason that a quick and easy pizza dough deserves a quick and easy pizza sauce. Here is the recipe that I use. It makes plenty and unused sauce stores well in the fridge for future use.

  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika

In a medium bowl, Mix together tomato sauce and tomato paste until smooth. Stir in oregano, garlic and paprika.

(Original recipe can be found here.)

Mini Oreo© Cheesecakes

As a fan of cheesecake, I never pass up a great recipe. Easy is best, and this is no exception. Plan ahead though, as with most cheesecakes, they require an overnighter before serving.


  • 1 package Oreo’s©
  • 3 8oz packages Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 24 cupcake liners

Line cupcake pans with liners. Heat oven to 275°. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner. Beat cream cheese at medium speed using an electric mixer. Gradually sugar, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies.

Divide batter among pans. Bake for about 22 minutes or until filling is set.

Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate  overnight.

** I served with a squirt of whipped cream on top and additional cookie crumbs.

Makes 24 cheesecakes.

NOTE: Fill them up almost to the very top. I used a 1/4 measuring cup and it worked out perfectly. They may puff in the oven, but they don't rise.

Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

I have had my eye on a recipe for these  but did not want to fuss with a cake from scratch. So, I came up with my own easy version using pre-made products.

stuffed cupcake

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough log
  • Cake Mix of your choosing (I used chocolate)
  • Can of Frosting, again your choice (I used whipped vanilla)

Prepare 24 balls of cookie dough (appx. 1 Tbsp.). Place on a cookie sheet and freeze.

Prepare cupcakes as directed on box. Before baking, place a frozen cookie dough ball on top of the cookie dough batter (it will become covered as the cupcake bakes). Bake as directed, about 18 minutes.

Cool then frost.

Chocolate Candy Pretzels

A quick and yummy snack. Perfectly sweet and salty, best of all – VERY easy to make. Perfect for a treat for a school class, a church gathering, a football party etc. I like to share them at work during the holidays using the red and green M&M’s.

chocolate pretzel_09 11 09_0008

  • Pretzels
  • Candy kisses (I like the caramel kisses)
  • M&M’s

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

Place pretzels on baking sheets. Unwrap candy kisses and place one in the center of each pretzel.

Place in preheated oven 1 to 2 minutes, until kisses melt. Remove from oven and place one candy-coated chocolate in the center of each pretzel.

Serve when set. (Can put in the fridge to quick set.)

Tres Leches Cake

Have I mentioned, I love sweets?

This cake is one of my all-time favorites. It is a very light cake that is full of holes and sits overnight in a mixture of 3 milks (hence the name).

tres leches_08 30 09_0005

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Strawberries

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    Butter and flour bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.

    Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until light in color and doubled in volume.
    Stir in milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder.

    In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
    Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
    Beat until firm but not dry.
    Fold egg whites into yolk mixture.
    Pour into prepared pan.

    Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    Allow to cool 10 minutes.

    Loosen edge of cake with knife before removing side of pan.
    Cool cake completely; place on a deep serving plate.
    Use a two prong meat fork or cake tester to pierce surface of cake.

    Mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup of the whipping cream.
    Discard 1 cup of the measured milk mixture or cover and refrigerate.
    Pour remaining milk mixture over cake slowly until absorbed.
    Whip the remaining whipping cream sweeten to taste with powdered sugar and vanilla.

    **NOTE I prepare this the night before and cover the cake after pouring the milk on top.
    When ready to eat, I serve with the whipped cream and strawberries.

  • Sweet Party Mix

    I LOVE Chex cereals, but am NOT a fan of the traditional Chex Mix. Most definitely the sweet tooth in me. When I came across this recipe I knew I had to try it. The results were a perfect snack.


    • 1 (12 ounce) package crispy corn and rice cereal
    • 5 ounces slivered almonds
    • 6 ounces toasted, chopped pecans
    • 3/4 cup butter
    • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
    • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

    Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Lightly grease a large roasting pan.

    In a large bowl, mix crispy corn and rice cereal, slivered almonds and toasted, chopped pecans.

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and mix with dark corn syrup and light brown sugar. Pour the mixture over the crispy corn and rice cereal mixture. Stir and shake to coat all the nuts and cereal.

    Pour the coated mixture into the prepared roasting pan. Stirring approximately every 15 minutes, cook 1 hour in the preheated oven. Cool on wax paper, and store in airtight containers.

    ***NOTE: I used Crispex cereal and just dumped out the mostly empty cans of nuts I had laying around (A few dry roasted peanuts, salted peanuts and cashews.)

    (Original recipe is HERE)

    Blackberry Buttermilk Syrup

    My sister-in-law commented on my Blackberry Pie post. She is not a fan of blackberries, but she has an open mind. In fact, she suggested I try this recipe. (Original recipe can be found here.) I figured if  and anti-blackberry-ite recommends it… I have nothing to loose.

    We served this wonderful syrup over french toast this morning. It was an instant hint. Take heed: no need to use butter. There is plenty in the syrup!

    Blackberry Buttermilk Syrup_0067Blackberry Buttermilk Syrup_0073

    • 10 fresh blackberries
    • Tablespoon sugar
    • 1 stick butter
    • 3/4 Cup sugar
    • 1/2 Cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    1. Place blackberries and sugar into a small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. Pour into a sieve placed over a small bowl pressing on berries to extract the rest of the liquid. Set aside; discard smashed berries and seeds.

    2. Place butter, sugar and buttermilk into a separate small saucepan over medium heat. Stir and melt until mixture comes to a low boil. Remove from heat and add in baking soda and vanilla. Mixture will foam. Mix in blackberry liquid then pour syrup into a serving dish. Cover to keep warm while preparing waffle pancakes.

    ** I have substituted raspberries for the blackberries. Still Yummy. I am sure any berry substitution would work. If you try something different, please let me know how it turns out!!!

    Crockpot Chicken

    Being from Utah, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Ward Cookbooks are common on my shelves. These cookbooks are a collection of favorite recipes from people we worship with. They are often recipes that are passed down for generations, or simply a family favorite.  I have received books from my own Ward, and have been given books from my mother and sister-in-law from their Wards.

    This recipe is one of my family favorites and comes from my sister-in-law’s Ward. We serve it over rice or baked potatoes. Peas or broccoli compliment it very well! I make this often and will share part of it when the Relief Society calls for help with bringing in meals to a family in need. (Usually after babies are born or surgeries are performed.)

    • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4-6, maybe more if they are small)
    • 1 envelope of dry Italian Seasoning Mix
    • 8 ounces Cream Cheese
    • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup

    Place the chicken in a Crockpot or slow cooker. Sprinkle the Italian dressing packet over the chicken. Cook 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low. One hour before serving, blend the softened cream cheese with the cream of chicken soup. Drain off the broth from the chicken and add it to this soup mixture. Blend well and pour mixture over the chicken then continue to cook for one more hour.

    This chicken is so tender and will fall apart. We serve this directly over rice with extra sauce on top and a vegetable on the side.  I hope you enjoy this a much as we do.

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    Many years ago my mother gave me a cookbook she so often used as I was growing up: The first edition of the Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book (1963). This book is older than I am, but full of wonderful cookie recipes that were enjoyed by my bother and me as we were growing up.

    One favorite, and now a favorite of my oldest daughter is this recipe for Snickerdoodles:

    • 1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 3/4  cups flour
    • 2 tsp cream of tartar
    • 1 tsp soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 2 tsp cinnamon

    Heat oven to 400°. Mix shortening, 1-1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Blend flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll in mixture of 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon. Place 2” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

    These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out.

    I just made these again and sent them off with my daughter for her road trip. My only mistake… not keeping a few here for the rest of us.

    Apple Strudel

    Every year at Christmas time, one of my friends delivers hot Apple Strudel at my door. We look forward to this every year!

    I have craved this delectable treat of and on throughout the year and though I should get the recipe. I stumbled across this one and thought I would give it a try… the photo resembles our annual gift to a tee. (The original recipe is HERE)

    • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons raisins
    • Confectioners' sugar (optional)

    Heat the oven to 375°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk. Stir the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the apples and raisins and toss to coat.

    Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet to within 1 inch of the edge.  Roll up like a jelly roll.  Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet.  Tuck the ends under to seal.  Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Cut several slits in the top of the pastry.

    Bake for 35 minutes or until the strudel is golden brown. Let the strudel cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar, if desired.

    Tip: Make sure to toss the apples and raisins until they're evenly coated with the flour mixture. The flour helps to thicken the juices released by the apples as they cook.

    I definitely need to work on my presentation of this dessert. This photo comes from the original post. It tasted great… but not sure if it is up to par with the annual gift (it's been 8 months since my last taste). I will have to wait until December to see.

    Chicken, Rice and Back Bean Casserole

    (This is a re-post from my personal blog: www.herodiaries.com. It is what we are having for dinner tonight.)

    I love it when I successfully merge a recipe with my own ideas or personal preferences and create an instant HIT! I don’t attempt this very often and I think I have failed more than I have triumphed. Tonight was an exception to that rule. The best part is, I was able to rid my fridge of leftovers that my family refuses to eat. (I  have quickly learned the best way to get rid of leftovers in my household is to recycle them.)

    (The amount of these ingredients may vary and will not alter the recipe. This is my best estimate as to how much I used tonight.)

    layered black bean casserole 0709

    • 2  cups of cooked chicken cut into bite sized pieces. ( I used leftover grilled chicken breasts)
    • 1/2  tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/2 to 1 Tbsp cilantro (I usually have dried cilantro in my spice rack, but fresh is always better!) Use more or less depending on your preference.
    • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.
    • 2 - 3 cups cooked rice (I flavored mine with cilantro and lime juice)
    • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)
    • 1 (10 oz) can Red Enchilada Sauce
    • 8-10 corn tortillas

    Heat oven to 375. Place chicken, spices, cilantro, drained beans, and cooked rice in a bowl and mix together.  Pour 1/2 of the enchilada sauce in a 9x13 pan. Top with half of the tortillas. (They will overlap.) Put 1/2 of chicken mixture over tortillas and top that with 1/2 of the cheese. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over this layer, top with remaining tortillas followed by the chicken mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream.

    Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

    My neighbor “Krazycakelady” shared a recipe for this pizza crust on her blog. (Her source: Gourmet Magazine.) I had to try it!!

    The hardest part, deciding what to top it with. I had all sorts of leftovers in the fridge. I opted for BBQ chicken since a had a some chicken left over from Sunday night and over a pint of BBQ sauce. Other toppings: black beans, corn and green onions. I divided the dough in half and made two smaller pizzas, the second pizza was a traditional pepperoni (for the pickier eaters).

    Here is the recipe she posted:

    • 2 to 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/4-ounce package fast acting yeast
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    In a large bowl whisk together 3/4 cup of flour, yeast, sugar, and 2/3 cup hot water (130 degrees F). Stir in the oil, 1 1/4 cups of the remaining flour, and the salt and blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of the remaining 1/4 cup flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.

    The dough may be used immediately, but for better flavor it is best to let it rise once. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until it is double in bulk, and punch it down.

    Bake 10-15 min at 425. Or grill it same temp same time!

    *NOTE* I opted for a bread machine method (dough setting...love being able to knead the dough from the couch) and baked on a pizza stone.

    The results were YUMMY! I finally found my pizza dough of choice. (Thanks Summer!) I love the fact that if I am short on time, I do not have to wait for a raising.

    Blackberry Pie

    It was my sister in-laws birthday this week. She spent her day with her husband and 300+ teenagers in the wilderness.  Each month, Tamra and I take a Sunday and cook a family dinner for all. Today was my turn and I wanted to make sure she enjoyed a birthday treat that did not require wood, matches or dirt.

    A little bird reminded me (thanks Eric) that her favorite dessert was berry pie, ANY berry pie. I told him it was taken care of! I hit up my favorite recipe site and found the perfect pie. Quick, easy, and YUMMY! Tamra had left me with some of the blackberries  she has recently picked and I supplemented it will more berries from the Provo Farmers Market. The results were ideal!

    Blackberry Pie collage

    • 4 cups fresh blackberries
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie   (my favorite recipe comes from Pillsbury)
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    1. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
    2. Bake at 425 degree F (220 degrees C) for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes.

    I added the sugar and flour together through a sifter to keep it from getting lumpy. It worked perfectly. My oven required the full  25 minutes at 375  and probably could have gone a little longer so I think I will give it 5 more next time. (Berry Pies usually require about 45 minutes.)

    (Original recipe can be found here.)

    Thousand Island Dressing

    We LOVE Ranch Dressing. On salads, baked potato’s and french fries. Once in a while I will explore other possibilities. A favorite of my brothers is Thousand Island.

    This recipe is my keeper. (My inspiration)

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1 pinch ground black pepper
    • Buttermilk as needed.
    1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Add buttermilk until you reach your desired consistency. Serve.

    This also makes a great hamburger topper.

    What this is all about.

    For several years now, I have collected MANY recipes. I subscribed to cooking magazines, I purchased cookbooks, I bookmarked links on the web and I received cards from family and friends.

    I have attempted to organized these collections and failed.

    This is my attempt to once again, organize this collection. First order of business... actually TRY a recipe. If I (or the majority of the guinea pigs) don't like the results, I will throw it away. If we find a winner, I will post it here (perhaps with a photo or two).

    Two very important things you should know:

    1. I am a very picky eater. If it is here, chances are pretty good that you will like it.
    2. I have a sweet tooth. I am trying to change my ways, but in the meantime, you may be enjoying a lot of sweet treats.

    Please share your comments and suggestions with me. I am always looking for ways to improve a dish.

    Have it in you to contribute? Let me know... I could use more recipes!

    Bon Appetit

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