Thursday, December 30, 2010

Delightful Lemon Bars

I love chocolate so I don't usually go for bars that don't have chocolate. However, this recipe was given to me by one of my first friends in Omaha. I was in a playgroup with several moms and Lanae made these yummy lemon bars. I don't see Lanae as often as I used to but know she is a great cook. These lemon bars aren't too lemony or too sweet - almost like a lemon shortbread. I just love them!

Lemon Bars

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp grated lemon peel (just do lemon zest from one lemon)
1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix in small bowl until thick and well blended.


2 cups flour
1 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup coconut

Chop butter into small pieces and mix with flour, sugar and salt - Just continue to use a fork until mixture is nice and crumbly; Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the top and pat the rest into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Spoon lemon mixture over crust. Add 1/2 cup coconut to reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle this on top of lemon mixture. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Do not overbake! Cool, cut and enjoy!

Printable Version

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cheese Blintzes

This is the last ingredient for Merry Mondays - cinnamon. I love this recipe and I know you will too!

This is a favorite recipe-anyone that tries these LOVES them. Amy made these for me for a bridal shower she had for Chris and me when we were getting married - about 20 years ago. Amy is from Nebraska and I met her when living in Dallas. She still lives in the Dallas area and I live in Nebraska - hard to believe.

These blintzes are a little time consuming to make but not hard to make. The BEST thing about them is that I make them ahead of time and freeze them and then take them out when I need them - Christmas morning or just breakfast for my girls! I know you will love them!
Cheese Blintzes

2 lbs. of white bread - 2 loaves or more
1 lb cream cheese, softened
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

Cream cream cheese, yolks and sugar and set aside.

Mix: (will probably need more of this mixture)

1/2 cup sugar
2/3 tsp cinnamon

Melt a stick of butter in another bowl.

I do this recipe in an assembly line - say 4 at a time. Cut crusts off bread - I stack up 4-5 at a time and cut the crust off; using a rolling pin, roll out each slice of bread as flat as possible; spread cream cheese mixture on each slice; roll up jelly roll style with mixture inside bread and then dip in melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar mixture; place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze. When frozen, I place all of the blintzes in an air tight container and keep in the freezer until needed. When ready to eat, thaw 15 mintues and then bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

*when i take mine out of the freezer before storing them - while frozen, I cut them in half so I have small bite size blintzes.

Printable Version

Sunday, December 26, 2010

TEXAS Christmas

We love being with family for Christmas! We went to church on Christmas Eve and then Santa still found our teenage girls in TEXAS. We spent the day with family at my brother and sister in laws home. We had our traditional meal of turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, rolls and lots of desserts. Rob fried two turkeys - they were amazing. I always heard that once you have eaten a fried turkey - there is no going back! Mom made a pretzel salad for our fruit salad and it was a nice change. My cousin has small children and it was so nice to have the excitement of children on Christmas day. We are so blessed to have such a great family as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!


TEXAS Cousins

TEXAS family....

Rob's Fried Turkey!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feta Cheese and Sundried Tomato Nachos

I was looking for a different new recipe to take to a party. I found these in my once again favorite cookbook - Dining by Fireflies by the Charlotte, North Carolina Junior League. I loved them but then again I love feta cheese and sundried tomatoes. The recipe called for goat cheese but I prefer feta. Also, I apologize for the poor quality of this picture - I took it with my phone when we got to the party.

Feta Cheese and Sundried Tomato Nachos (adapted from Dining by Fireflies - Junior League of Charlotte, North Carolina)

4 oz goat cheese ( I used feta)
4 oz sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1 cloved minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2 Tbssp fresh cilantro ( I used basil)
Blue corn chips

Crumble cheese and toss with sun dried tomatoes, garlic, pepper and cilantro. Sprinkle on blue corn chips and bake for about 20 min or until cheese is warmed through (cheese will not melt). Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Printable Version

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fudge Macaroons

I wasn't sure what to post this week for Merry Mondays. Fudge is the ingredient for the week and Fudge has just never been my thing. I found a recipe for Fudge Macaroons in one of my very favorite cookbooks - Dining by Fireflies by the Charlotte, North Carolina Junior League. I always thought a MACAROON had to have coconut but these do not. They are brownie-like - they remind me of chocolate crinkle cookies.

You should celebrate Merry Mondays with Claire or Taylor and see all of the recipes posted today with fudge. Last Monday, the ingredient was MINT and the week before that, the ingredient was cranberries. This has been so fun - check it out.

Fudge Macaroons (Dining by Fireflies - Jr. League - Charlotte, North Carolina)

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
powdered sugar

Melt chocolate in double boiler or in microwave. Stir in oil and melt together. Stir in sugar; Beat in eggs one at a time - add vanilla, flour and baking powder. Chill mixture. Roll mixture in into small balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Printable Version

Saturday, December 18, 2010

English Toffee with Cashews

I teach 3 year old preschool and one of my mom's shared this yummy recipe with me. I tried English Toffee in the past and never got that perfect texture. Gina was encouraging and told me I could do this. I gave it another try and it was AMAZING! I don't think I have had toffee with the nuts in the toffee. Typically, it is plain toffee with chocolate on the top and the some type of nuts sprinkled on the chocolate. I made this toffee both ways…but I really like the cashews in the toffee the best. The key for perfect toffee is a candy thermometer and not giving up until you reach that hard crack stage of about 302 degrees. This is easy - YOU can do it too. Give it a try - your family will love you!

I made this toffee without any nuts-also yummy. Another favorite is chopped, salted almonds on bottom with dark chocolate on top… then finely chopped almonds sprinkled on top with sea salt flakes. 
English Toffee 

2 sticks butter 
1 cup sugar 
pinch salt 
Salted  cashew pieces 
Milk chocolate chips 

Butter a glass dish and sprinkle with cashews. In a heavy pan, melt butter, sugar and salt on medium high stirring constantly. Mixture will start to boil and turn amber-colored.   Mixture will be foamy. Boil for about 12 minutes or until your candy thermometer reaches hard crack stage - don't give up.  When it reaches about 302 degree F, pour evenly over cashews. This hardens immediately so pour it where you want it to go. Top with Hershey bars or I just sprinkle milk chocolate chips evenly over the top. Allow a minute or so to melt and spread with a knife. After chocolate has hardened, score with a knife and cut into squares or break apart. Enjoy this TO DIE FOR treat! Printable Version

Friday, December 17, 2010

Easy Peanut Clusters

This is one of the first candies I learned to make. I think I started making these back when I taught high school. There are only 3 ingredients - so easy and so addicting. They are one of my dad's favorites. I take them home with me every Christmas!

Easy Peanut Clusters

6 or 12 oz white almond bark
6 or 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6 or 12 oz cocktail peanuts

Use equal parts of each ingredient. Melt almond bark for about a minute in the microwave. Add chocolate chips and melt about another minute. Stir until all melted - may have to microwave just a bit more. Add cocktail peanuts. Stir to coat. Drop by small spoonfuls on to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate. I like these best when stored in the refrigerator.

Printable Version

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Molasses Cookies

My hubby loves molasses cookies. The are very soft and yummy - you will love them!

Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and molasses; add dry ingredients and mix together. Roll into small balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Enjoy with cold glass of milk!

Printable Version

Cranberry Spritzer

My friend Barb had some friends over the other night and served this yummy, easy holiday drink. She has made it once before and I forgot how refreshing it is. She pretty much made it to taste but here are a few suggestions! This can be made with or without alcohol and it can be made in a pitcher or by the glass. Float cranberries in the pitcher to be extra festive!

Cranberry Spritzer

Cranberry juice
top off with Diet Squirt
vodka to taste

Mix and serve over ice!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Caramel Puffed Corn

This is an amazing recipe. My friend Barb introduced this to me several years ago - it is like nothing I had ever had before. She found this recipe on the back of Old Dutch Puffed Corn. I haven't been able to find Old Dutch Puffed Corn so this Christmas, I bought Chester's Puffed corn. You have to make this - your friends will be amazed. The recipe doesn't call for nuts but I have added pecan halves on occasion and a friend mentioned she wanted to try it with cashews. Your family will totally devour this .. but I recommend sharing with friends... they will love you!

Caramel Puffed Corn (adapted for the Old Dutch Puffed Corn)

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
nuts (optional)
9 oz of puffed corn ( I used Chester's Butter Puffed Corn)

Preheat oven to 250. Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Cook until comes to a boil. Add baking soda. Put puffed corn/nuts in a large roasting pan - pour sauce over corn/nuts til thoroughly coated. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and pour onto wax paper, breaking apart and allow to cool.

Printable Version

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blogging Giveaway at Fashion Meets Food

I am just loving meeting all of these new blogging friends. It is quite addicting but a new addiction I am thankful for. I just found a new blog -Fashion Meets Food - and she is having a GIVEAWAY where you can win a free year of Panera bread. We all love Panera bread - what a great contest! I highly recommend you check out her blog.

Merry Mondays - MINT

Two of my blogging friends are helping us to enjoy the holidays even more with Merry Mondays. The ingredient for this Monday is MINT! Stay tuned for our next two Mondays!

I posted this recipe a couple of weeks ago but it I love it so much, thought I would share it again.

I have another great mint recipe. I got this cookie recipe from a dear friend that moved from Omaha - I just don't like it when friends move away. Jill is a great cook - and so creative. Jill is a great wife, mom and friend!

Jill's Mint Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. water
12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
Andes mints

Microwave butter, sugar and water until melted; add chocolate chips; cook 5-10 minutes. Mix at high speed adding eggs; Mix well and add dry ingredients; Chill for one hour and form into balls; Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. After taking cookies from oven, top with an Andes mint, allow to melt and swirl with a knife.

Printable Version

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

My family loves this soup. It reminds the girls of Broccoli-Cheddar with ground beef. I have several versions of Cheeseburger Soup but my friend Shelley gave me this one. I did change it just a little - I thought I would try it with 8 oz of Velveeta instead of 16... it was great. I was going to use the 2% but I had the other on hand. This was one of those busy nights when we didn't all eat together and the soup sat on the stove on "warm". It got a little thick so I just added some chicken broth or more milk to thin it out. It is VERY cold in Omaha right now - this soup was perfect!

Cheeseburger Soup

1 1/2 cups of water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 10 oz box frozen chopped broccoli
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
16 oz. cubed velveeta
1 lb browned hamburger meat, browned

3 burners on stove top going at one time - brown hamburger meat on one; boil water on another, add bouillon then add broccoli and cook according to directions - do not drain and set aside; on 3rd burner - in a larger pan to make the soup in... melt butter and cook onion til tender. Add flour, salt and pepper... slowly add milk to avoid any lumps.. stirring as you add; bring to a boil and boil about one minute; add cubed cheese, beef and undrained broccoli. Heat thoroughly - serve with favorite bread.

*I only used half of velveeta and it still tasted yummy - I think 2% Velveeta would work nicely too. I used 93% lean beef too.

Printable Version

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Oh my!  I think these babies are just delightful.  I am a chocolate girl and I loved these cookies.  They remind me of the wedding cookies with a hint of lemon.  I truly could not stop eating them!  They look like snowball cookies so they would be a perfect Christmas treat!  I apologize that the pictures have not been the best lately - not enough time or light.  We will just have to work on it!

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups cake flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy;  Gradually beat in sugar and beat hard.  Stir in vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Add flour, mixing well.  Add nuts.  Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough and line cookies on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for 20 to 25 minutes.  Roll in powdered sugar while hot!

Printable Version

Friday, December 10, 2010

Salted Chocolate Pecan Candy - AMAZING!

My friend Donna made this for me a couple of years ago. The recipe is from Southern Living Home for the Holidays. I have made it numerous times but I tend to want to eat it all - just me. I goofed this year and totally forgot it calls for pecans. I made it with just the two chocolates and the sea salt and it was still amazing! I also couldn't find the white Ghiradelli bars in the local stores I checked. I used the dark bars but used a 12 oz bag of white chocolate chips instead of the bars. It didn't swirl as nicely but still tasted amazing!

Without pecans ( I forgot)

With Pecans :) Yummy both ways!

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy - adapted from Southern Living Home for the Holidays

1 cup pecans - coarsely chopped
3 4 oz bars Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet baking bars
3 4 oz bars Ghiradelli white chocolate baking bars
coarse sea salt

Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast at 250 for 8-10 minutes. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Break each chocolate bar into 8 pieces and arrange them checkerboard style alternating white/dark chocolate - pieces will touch. Bake at 225 for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Swirl chocolate using a toothpick. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans and sea salt. Chill one hour or until firm. This is best if stored in the refrigerator.

*remember.... I couldn't find the white baking bars so I used a nice sprinkling of white Ghiradelli chocolate chips in the white checkerboard spots. The chips didn't melt as nicely as the bars but it still turned out great. I also left off the pecans this time but still amazing. I do plan to make it with pecans next time because pecans are my very favorite!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Roasted New Potatoes

This is a favorite quick/easy side dish. My Baylor friend Lya told my about it. I just buy the smallest red new potatoes I can find. I put them in a ziploc bag, added olive oil, sea salt and a favorite herb. I have done rosemary in the past but my girls don't love it so this time I sprinkled in some Herbs de Provence and they were so yummy. I cooked them at 350 for about 30 - 40 minutes or until done and slide right off a knife. My youngest said, "I just want to the outside of the potato -so good!" They are so good. You will have to give it a try!

Roasted New Potatoes

10-15 small new potatoes
olive oil
sea salt
favorite herbs

Toss in a ziploc bag and empty contents in a 9 x 13. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.

Printable Version

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Easy Crockpot Turkey Breast

When my in laws were here over Thanksgiving, my mother in law mentioned a crockpot turkey recipe she had seen at All Recipes. We made it and loved it. I read many of the reviews (there are like 660 of them) and comments where everyone added veggies or water, etc but I made it with just the turkey breast and the Lipton Onion Soup Mix and it was so moist and tender. The top was yummy and brown with the soup mix. Allrecipes uses a 6 lb bone in turkey breast-I used a boneless turkey breast. I think this would be nice turkey just to keep around the house for sandwiches. Very yummy!

Easy Crockpot Turkey Breast (adapted from All Recipes)

1 6 lb or so turkey breast
1 pkg dry Lipton onion soup mix

Spray slow cooker with a cooking spray. Place turkey breast in cooker and top with soup mix. Cook first hour on high and approximately 7 more hours on low. Slice and serve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Merry Monday - Cranberry Chutney

Two of my blogging friends decided to do something fun for the holidays..... Merry Mondays! The ingredient for today is CRANBERRIES.

I decided to share a recipe for Cranberry Chutney. This recipe came from a sweet dear TEXAS friend - Miss Kathy. She is a wonderful Christian lady and I was lucky to teach preschool with her for several years. Two of my girls were lucky to have her as a teacher!

I think this would be a great gift. Put some of this yummy chutney in a little jar with a cute spreader. You could even give the cream cheese and crackers with it for a complete appetizer!

Cranberry Chutney

1 pkg fresh cranberries
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Serve over cream cheese with wheat thins or your favorite cracker.

Printable Recipe

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hot Cocoa Mix - Great Christmas Gift

We LOVE this hot cocoa mix at our house. It is a staple - especially in our Nebraska long winter months. I have given this as a gift numerous times. Just find a cute container - fill it with mix and attach the recipe.

I got this recipe from my good friend at church - Lori. Sizes of products have changed over the years so I did adjust the recipe slightly. You can also vary the variety of non dairy creamer for a different taste - I use original. I know you will love it!

Hot Cocoa Mix

21.8 oz Nesquik
11 oz non dairy creamer, original
25.6 oz Carnation nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix together in a large bowl and store in an airtight container. Use 1/2 cup or 8 Tbsp. per 8 oz of hot water ... or to taste.

Printable version