Friday, August 28, 2009

September = Apples

In my mind September equals apples. Something about putting an apple on the teachers desk and the feeling of crisp autumn air. Course, it's still 100+° here, there is a nasty feeling of moderate humidity in the air and school started this week, which of course is still August...

I stand by my feelings though, *ahem*, September = Apples...following me?

Here are a couple of apple recipes. They are great for fall menus. I typically buy Gala, Fuji for cooking and Golden Delicious because my family likes them to eat.


3 large apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Put apples in the bottom of a lightly greased 8x8 in. baking dish. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and egg until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over the apples. Pour melted butter over the entire dish.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


12 gala apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a large pan, boil apples with about 1 cup of water. Cook about 10 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle sugar over cooked apples. Mix with hand mixer until blended to desired consistency. This will make about 1 quart of well blended applesauce. I keep old applesauce bottles to put it in, or I put in tupperware containers and freeze.

You can sprinkle some cinnamon in with the sugar if you prefer. This is not cheaper than buying it at the store, but my kids love the homemade stuff and it's got all natural ingredients, no preservatives.

PORK CHOPS w/ Sweet potatoes and apples

4 pork chops
1/2 cup chicken bouillon
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 apples, sliced

Place pork chops and bouillon in crock pot and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Add apples and sweet potatoes for the last hour.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Homemade Grape Jelly

This is cheaper than buying it and is REALLY simple!

Grape Jelly3 cups grape juice (I just make mine from the frozen concentrate)
1 package powdered pectin
4 cups sugar

In a large saucepan combine the grape juice and the powdered pectin. Stir until dissolved.
Bring mixture to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Add sugar and return the mixture to a boil. Boil for a full minute and remove from heat.
Makes about 5 cups.

I just pour mine into a tupperware containers and place in the fridge without the lid. When it is cool I put the lid on.

To bottle:
Ladle the jelly into clean sterilized jars and seal with bands and lids. Process in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes to seal. Remove the jars and allow to cool before storing on the pantry shelf. Makes about 5 cups.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honey Lime Enchilladas

I also rotate through several recipes for enchilladas, depending on what mood I am in. This recipe is my husbands favorite and I stole it from My Kitchen Cafe. It sounds kinda strange, but it is really yummy! My pictures do not do it justice.

Honey Lime Enchilladas

6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large or 2 small limes)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (3 small chicken breasts)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded (I used cheddar too)
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Night is Pizza Night

Family traditions start small. Duplicate a fun event several times and it becomes tradition. We love to celebrate Friday nights with pizza and a movie.

In Utah we ordered the pizza for two reasons - one, I was working full time and by the time Friday night came around I was beat, and two, we had a really great pizza place that I loved.

Here in Texas it's a different story. Friday night comes around and I'm even more beat than I was when I was working "full time", but we haven't managed to find a remarkable pizza place. Thus I've been trying out different pizza recipes. After several attempts I found a winner tonight. This crust was perfect! A few modifications and I made it stuffed crust, topped with ham, turkey, pineapple and monterey jack cheese - it was heaven!

To finish off the "fast food" experience, we completed the meal with sweet potato fries. They were a great compliment to the pizza and the kids ate them up!

Quick Pizza Dough

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp. quick-rise yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup warm water
1 tbsp. oil (I used EVOO)
t tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Separately combine water, oil and honey. Combine with flour mixture. Knead for 2 minutes - it will be stiff and crumbly at first. Roll out. I rolled a little extra big for my pizza pan so that I had extra to roll over the 'stuffed crust'. There is no need to let the dough rise, or to bake it first.

Place on pizza pan/stone. For stuffed crust I added cut cheese the size of small carrot stick around the perimeter of the pan, then rolled the extra dough around the cheese. Add pizza sauce - I used left over spaghetti sauce from yesterday's Eggplant Parmesan. Add any additional toppings prefered by your family and bake in preheated oven for 9 - 12 minutes.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. parsley

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray baking pan with cooking spray. Skin sweet potatoes with potato peeler, and cut into sticks that look like carrot sticks, approximately 1/4" wide.

In a large mixing bowl add olive oil and cut sweet potatoes. Using hands, mix potatoes and oil until all potato sticks are coated. In a separate bowl add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle over potato sticks while mixing with your hands to ensure good coverage. Spread on baking pan, taking care to separate each stick. Bake for 20 minutes and turn with a spatula, then bake and additional 20 minutes.

These are great! They are perfectly crisp on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Sometimes I really love Albertson's buy one get one free meat specials...

Yesterday's menu?
Pre-seasoned pork ribs cooked all day in a crock pot
Karen's rolls listed here
These jalapeno poppers
and yellow squash from our garden, steamed with chopped onion, garlic and butter

Oh, and because I'm Utahn at heart...and I love jello...

10 Layer Rainbow Jello

5 (3 oz.) packages of jello - I usually use strawberry, peach, lemon, lime and grape. You can alter this around holidays - just look at the colors.
6 1/2 cup boiling water
1 pint sour cream

Place 9 x 13-inch glass pan in freezer on a level surface. Line counter with 2 rows of 5 bowls. In the front 5 bowls pour a dry jello package in each. In each of the back 5 bowls place 3 tbsp. sour cream. Pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water into each jello filled bowl and mix until dissolved. Remove 1/2 cup of each jello mixture and pour into each of the bowls filled with sour cream. Whisk until all mixed.

Take first bowl (you pick the order you want them in the pan) and pour into pan in the freezer. Set a timer for 5 minutes. When first layer is solid (usually 5 minutes) add creamy layer of the same flavor and again set timer for 5 minutes or until solid. Repeat with each flavor, first clear layer, then creamy layer. When placing last layer move pan to refrigerator and let set for 15 minutes. If you let the layers freeze they will separate instead of staying together.

This whole 10 layer jello only takes an hour to make and the kids love it!

Monday, August 17, 2009


I have about 4 roll recipes that I rotate through. This is one I actually got from "18 Kids and Counting" on TLC. Thanks Duggars! (I know that I'm lame).

Homemade Butterhorn Rolls

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages yeast
5 cups flour, plus flour for kneading
2 eggs
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Combine the shortening, sugar, salt, yeast, and 2 cups of the flour in a large bowl and cut with a pastry cutter. Beat 2 eggs in a 2-cup measuring cup, then fill cup to the 2-cup mark with hot water; pour over the dry mixture. Slowly add the remaining 3 cups flour.
Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes in a warm oven. Then pour the dough onto a floured surface. Knead. Flatten with hands into a large pizza shape. Cut with pizza cutter into 16 triangle-shaped slices. Roll up from the wide end to the point. Place the rolls in two greased 9x13-inch pans, bending into crescent shapes and leaving space for the rolls to double in size. Let rise in a warm (but not hot!) oven at least 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how brown you prefer. When done, immediately brush with the melted butter.
Makes 16 rolls.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Soup 'n Salad

We usually have company for dinner at least once a week. It's typical. However, we've had the same people for the past few weeks, and it'll continue for months to come, I'm sure. While the company is great, it's becoming a little wearing coming up with a special menu that is exciting yet different so that you ensure you're not repeating anything for the company. Add to that the fact that all the food has to be easy to prepare, because it's always being prepared with at least one child underfoot.

Last week I took it easy...Soup and Salad.


Romaine Salad
Broccoli Cheese soup
Homemade bread bowls and bread sticks

It was great! So easy and the bread bowls actually worked out way better than I thought they were going to. Now, to come up for the menu for tomorrow...I'm thinking Mexican.

Here's the recipes:

Romaine Salad
Duh, romaine lettuce (with the nasty centers removed), topped with chopped tomatoes, green onions, green peppers, croutons and a little shredded cheese.

Want the easiest way to make a great sweet chili?
2 cans of chili con carne
2 cans of black beans
2 cans of pork and beans
1 can of sweet corn (drained)
1 can crushed (or stewed) tomatoes

Broccoli Cheese Soup
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1 large package frozen broccoli
1 qt. half & half
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
4 oz. velveeta (I always use about twice this much...)

Combine broth, onion, salt, and broccoli in large pan. Cook until broccoli and onion are tender. Add half & half to broccoli mixture. In a small saucepan, combine butter and flour and cook until mixed well and bubby. Add to broccoli mixture. Add velveeta to soup. Heat and stir until soup thickens.

Variation - instead of broccoli add chopped potato.

Bread bowls/bread sticks
I used this recipe...remember, the one that is so very versatile? Here's two more ways to use it!

I totally cheated on this one...boxed Strawberry cake mix and pre-prepared strawberry frosting...I know, I know....I should have at least added fresh cut strawberries or something.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tostada Pizza

This is something I make quite often in our home. It's cheap and easy. We eat a lot of beans around our house so I usually have all these ingredients on hand. As you can tell in the picture though, I am lacking the green onion. Still good! I will post my favorite pizza dough recipe later.
Tostada Pizza
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
3/4 lb ground beef or turkey
1 4-oz can diced green chili peppers, drained
2 Tbs taco seasoning
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbs cornmeal
1 15-ounce can pinto beans with jalapeno peppers, rinsed and drained (Don't worry, it does not make it spicy to use the one with peppers)
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup (4) thinly sliced green onions
Bottled taco sauce or salsa (optional)
Pizza dough (10 oz refrigerated can or homemade)
Brown meat in skillet and drain off any fat. Stir in 3/4 cup water, chili peppers, taco seasoning, and chili powder. Bring to a boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone.
Meanwhile, grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with the cornmeal. Pat pizza dough into rectangle on sheet and bake in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.
In a bowl mash beans with a fork or potato masher; spread over partially cooked pizza dough within 1/2 inch of edges. Spoon meat mixture over beans. Bake, uncovered, 10 more minutes or until crust is just golden. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes more or until cheese melts. Top with lettuce, tomato, and onions. Serve with sauce or salsa if desired.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Well, I'm packed...

Menu for the weekend?

Hot dogs, roasted over a nice, hot fire with ketchup (catsup?) and mustard
Pork 'n beans

Tomorrow morning:
Oatmeal packets
Hot cocoa
Pop tarts (for everyone else...I got chocolate)

Tomorrow for lunch:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

There are crackers, granola bars and fruit snacks for in-between meal snacks.

I'm looking forward to being home tomorrow night. I like my gas cooktop and modern conveniences....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Y'know what's good?

Zucchini bread french toast. Just sayin'. The kids suggested it and I being the amazingly patient, understanding mother that I am...well, we tried it. Delicious with a little sour cherry jelly dabbed on top. Mmmm!

Also, I made the best, BEST brownies the other night. Well, actually it's more like cake than brownies. We'll call them cake brownies...k?

Simply wonderful.

However, I can cook pretty much anything presented to me in a recipe, but I can not, let's repeat, CAN NOT, seem to master frosting. It always tastes good, but the consistency always bugs me. Maybe it's because I just don't particularly care for frosting, that makes me dislike it all...hmmm.

However, this is all that's left of Shane's lunch helping of the cake brownies...he said he liked it all, even the frosting. Which did, by the way, turn out much better than some recipes, I'd say keep this one, it tastes good, but wait until it cools to frost me on that one. It's a much better frosting today than it was yesterday.


3 cup flour
3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup butter
9 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup butter
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
6 tsp. buttermilk
4 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 12 x 18 inch jelly roll pan. ***Please note the size, it's a huge batch of brownies!!***

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. In a small saucepan, bring butter, cocoa and water to a rapid boil. Pour over the flour mixture and stir until combined. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract, in that order, and mix well.

3. Spread evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool before frosting.

4. Frosting: In a small saucepan melt 1/2 c. butter, stir in powdered sugar, 3 tbsp. cocoa, buttermilk and vanilla, in that order. Beat by hand until creamy. Spread on cooled brownies.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bread, Bread, Bread

I just logged on to post a bread recipe my sis-in-law requested and noticed that Brooke just did Zucchini Bread yesterday! I guess it's bread week.Chocolate Banana Bread

1/2 c. softened butter
2 eggs
2 Tbs cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. mashed ripe banana (2-3)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. sugar
1 c. white flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Beat eggs and butter together. Beat in cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla. Add and beat banana and sour cream. Mix in sugar. Mix in flour. Stir in chocolate chips.
Bake in loaf pan for 55 minutes at 350.

White Chip & Coconut Chocolate Swirl Cake

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2-3/4 cup plain flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup white chips
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, 1 tsp baking soda and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
Measure out 2 cups of batter and place in seperate bowl. Stir in syrup and remaining 1/4 tsp of baking soda. Add white chips and coconut to remining original batter. Pour into a greased and floured 12-cup fluted pan or 10-inch tube pan.
Spoon chocolate batter over vanilla batter in pan, do not mix.
Bake 65 - 70 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Check with toothpick (cake will sink in center). Cool 15 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Glaze or frost if desired.
20 servings.