Thursday, December 8, 2011

Samoa Popcorn

Samoa Popcorn
Samoa Popcorn or German Chocolate make the call :)
2 bags of Light microwave popcorn popped with the unpopped kernels removed.
2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
12 tablespoon butter, cubed
4 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 package Samoa Cookies (optional)

After your popcorn is popped according to the package instructions set it aside in a large bowl.
Put coconut in cold skillet and heat to medium low.
It will take 10-15 minutes or so for it to toast up, but please watch it carefully because once it starts to brown it will go fast.
Once it is a light golden color remove from heat and set aside.
Now, if you are adding the Samoas, chop your cookies into small bit-sized pieces.
Set aside.
On your counter or a nearby table line a few sheets of wax paper so you can spread you popcorn onto it when mixing the caramel. You don't have to do this, but it makes it easier.
To make the caramel combine the butter, brown sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.
Whisk ingredients to together and bring to a boil.
Preheat your oven to 200°
Boil without stirring for approx 5 minutes until candy thermometer reads 250°. If you don't have a candy thermometer, 5 minutes is just about the right amount of time, don't worry too much.
Remove from heat and immediately whisk in your baking soda and vanilla.
Now watch as your caramel does all sorts of sciencey things...gets lighter and bubbles/foams up a bit.
It's cool!
Pour your caramel over your popcorn and stir until it's all coated.
Now pour you popcorn on you waxed paper and sprinkle your toasted coconut on top of popcorn evenly.
Leave your wax paper out, you will need it again!
In a large roasting pan or baking sheet bake your popcorn in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Now spread you popcorn back onto the wax paper and sprinkle your chopped cookies evenly on top.
Melt your semi-sweet chocolate in microwave on 50% power in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring each time.
Drizzle your melted chocolate on top of cookies and popcorn. Let the chocolate set and break apart.
Store in airtight container for 3-4 days.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Susi's Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 TBsp. margarine

Mix all the ingredients together pour 1/2 of the batter into a greased 9x13 pan, then 1/2 of the topping. Pour remaining batter and then the remaining topping. Bake at 350 for 35 min.

Deborah's Taco Pasta Salad

Taco Pasta Salad
Serves 8-12

1 pound wagon wheel pasta (or bow tie pasta)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn
1½ cups salsa
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, diced
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
3-4 tablespoons lime juice
1 large (or 2 small) avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1-tablespoon salt and the pasta. Cook according to the package directions. Drain; stir the frozen corn into the pasta to cool the pasta and defrost the corn. Stir the salsa into the pasta and corn, and then add the beans, tomatoes, cilantro and cheese.

Squeeze the lime juice into a small bowl and add the avocado; stir to coat the avocado. Remove the avocado from the lime juice and stir it into the pasta mixture. Add the spices, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt to the lime juice, then slowly whisk in the oil. Stir the dressing into the salad. Serve immediately or chill for up to 1 day.

Charise's Berry Smoothie

Berry Smoothies:

This recipe is very flexible.  Just use what you have.  Add more or less to make it taste how you want it.

1 cup milk
1/4-1/2 can orange juice concentrate
1 banana
2-3 cups frozen (or fresh) fruit (I used blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, etc.)
Mix in blender til smooth.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sarah's Southwestern Chicken Salad

Southwestern Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 oz. ea), all visible fat removed
1/2 medium red bell pepper
1/2 medium green bell pepper
1/4 to 1/2 medium red onion
15 oz. can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. diced jicama (I just use a Granny Smith apple because I like this better)
1/2 c. snipped fresh cilantro
1/2 fresh jalapeno, minced (optional)

2 T. olive oil
2 T. orange juice
3 T cider vinegar
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cayeene
1/2 t. salt

Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Put chicken in a 9-inch microwave-safe pie plate and cover with wax paper.  Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 4-5 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cooking time.  Or bring 1/2 inch water to simmer in a large skillet and cook chicken , covered, for 15 minutes, or until barely pink in center.  Set aside to finish cooking and cool. 

Meanwhile, dice bell peppers and onion; put in a large bowl.  Add remaining chicken salad ingredients to bell pepper mixture, stirring well.

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients.  Shake to dissolve salt.  Pour over bean mixture. 

Chop chicken and add to bean mixture, tossing well.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed.

**Time Saver:  Use 2-3 cups leftover cooked chicken or store-bought baked or rotisserie chicken instead of microwaving or poaching the chicken breast halves.

Amber's Heavenly Ham Roll-Ups

Heavenly Ham Roll-Ups
1 pkg (9 oz) shaved smoked ham
5 T. cream cheese spread
15 asparagus spears, trimmed

Preheat oven to 350.  Flatten ham; pat dry.  Stack ham in piles of two slices eatch; spread each stack with 1 t. cream cheese.  Place 1 asparagus spead on one of the long sides of each ham stack; roll up.  Place in 9 x 13 baking dish.  Bake 15-20 min or until heated through.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Charise's Asphalt Pie

Asphalt Pie

2 1/2 cups oreos, crushed
4 Tbsp butter/margarine, melted
1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream
caramel topping
chocolate topping
Reddi Whip

Mix oreos with melted butter.  Press into a pie-plate.  Soften ice cream (you can let it sit out or put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds).  Scoop/press ice cream onto the oreo crust.  Freeze for about 4-5 hours.  Before serving, top each piece with LOTS of drizzled caramel and chocolate, PLENTY of whipped cream, then sprinkle a few more crushed oreos ontop.

Sarah's Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie
(from Our Best Bites cookbook)

1, 9” graham cracker crust (I made my own)
5 egg yolks
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Around 1/2 c. lime juice. (tip from the cookbook: Fresh key lime juice is best, then regular lime juice, then bottled key lime juice. If you're going to use bottled regular lime juice, don't. Honestly, I'm too lazy to juice those tiny little key limes, so I just juice regular limes and call it a day.)
2 drops green food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice.  Pour into pie crust.  Bake 10-11 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool; chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

*Can also be made into 10 mini graham cracker crust pies, bake 10-11 minutes.

Sweetened Whipped Cream

1 c. whipping cream
1/3 c. powdered sugar

Combine whipping cream and powdered sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.

Ellen's Baked Spinach Dip Loaf (aka Crack Dip)

Caraway Rye Bread recipe

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water. Add molasses, butter, caraway, salt and remaining water; mix well. Combine flours; add 3 cups to batter. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; shape into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 1 loaf.

Baked Spinach Dip Loaf

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 green onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dill weed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 unsliced round loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread
Raw vegetables

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and mayonnaise. Stir in the spinach, cheese, water chestnuts, bacon, onion and seasonings.
Cut a 1-1/2-in. slice off top of the bread; set aside. Carefully hollow out bottom, leaving a 1/2-in. shell. Cube removed bread and set aside. Fill the shell with spinach dip; replace top. Wrap in heavy-duty foil; place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 375° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until dip is heated through. Open foil carefully. Serve warm with bread cubes and vegetables. Yield: 4-1/2 cups.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holly's Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie


1 1/3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/2 stick well-chilled  Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening OR 1/2 cup well-chilled   Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
3 to 6  tablespoons ice cold water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin or 15 oz of cooked/pureed pumkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
 Whipped cream (optional)

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.  Beat eggs in large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
POUR into pie shell.
BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Top with whipped cream before serving.                                        

Jaymie's Banoffee Pie

Banoffe Pie (Paula Dean)


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
10 tablespoons butter, softened
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
3 large bananas
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix graham cracker crumbs with softened butter and press mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes.

Lower the oven to 300 degrees F for the toffee filling.

To create toffee filling, caramelize the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the condensed milk into a 9 by12 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and place dish inside a larger poaching pan. Add water to poaching pan until half way up sides of baking dish. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Once both the crust and toffee filling are cooled, spread half of the filling evenly inside crust. Slice the
bananas and layer on top of filling. Pour remaining half of filling over bananas, spreading evenly.

Whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and spread on top of toffee filling and bananas.

Pie Night

For our Girl's Night this month, the lovely hostesses decided to do a Pie/Fall Treats night. I think we can all agree that was a wonderful idea.

Here is my addition to the night:

Make Ahead Blueberry Pie (Cook's Country)

1 recipe double-crust pie dough (The Pillsbury Just Un-Roll is fine I used this times 2)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 whole graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
6 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 ¼ dried cranberries
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt

On lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough into 12-inch circle (or just unroll if using store-bought). Transfer to 9-inch pie plate. Brush crust with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with half of cracker crumbs. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll second dough into 12-inch circle and brush with remaining butter, leaving 1-inch border around edge. Refrigerate, covered, on large plate for 30 minutes.

Heat 4 cups blueberries and cranberries in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally and mashing slightly, until blueberries break down and mixture is thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then stir in sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, salt and remaining blueberries. Refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.

Transfer filling to dough-lined pie plate. Sprinkle remaining cracker crumbs over filling. Fold lip of bottom crust inward over filling. Brush border of dough with water, then arrange top crust, buttered-side down, over pie. Crimp edges of pie. Cut six 1-inch slits, about 1 inch from crust and four 1-inch slits near center of pie. Allow pie to firm in freezer for 1 hour. Once pie is firm, wrap it tightly with plastic, then aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

To cook: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 375. Bake until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 80 minutes. Let cool on wire rack at least 2 hours.

I will post any other recipes I get. Can't wait to go tonight and gorge!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Greek Chicken Florentine Pasta

This recipe was invented by me...I'm sure someone else has already done this, but tonight this came out of my head.

Greek Chicken Florentine Pasta

· 1 box whole wheat pasta (rotini, bow tie, penne)

· 2 ½ Tbsp. EVOO divided

· 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed

· ½ C chopped onions

· Salt & pepper to taste

· 1-2 tsp. minced garlic

· 20 grape tomatoes halved

· 2 green onions chopped

· 4-5 C baby spinach leaves

· ½ C bacon crumbles

· 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano chopped
4 oz. crumbled feta

Boil large pot of water (don’t forget to salt your water) for your pasta. Heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO over medium heat. Cook chicken, onion, garlic, salt & pepper until chicken is just cooked through (don’t over cook). Once chicken is cooked add tomatoes, green onions, spinach, and bacon. Cook just until spinach is wilted. Once pasta is cooked and drained add back to pot and immediately add feta & remaining (1-1 ½ Tbsp.) EVOO, mix well. Add chicken mixture and stir in fresh oregano.

Serve with crusty bread…enjoy!

this dish serves 8 and is 8 Weight Watchers points per serving :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Warm Bacon Cheese Dip

Warm Bacon Cheese Dip

1 round loaf sourdough bread
8 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 cups sour cream (12 oz)
2 cups shredded cheddar (I used sharp)
1-1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup green onions
assorted crackers

Hollow out bread, leaving 1 inch shell.

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese. Add sour cream, cheddar cheese, and Worcestershire sauce until combined. Stir in bacon and onions.
Spoon into bread shell. Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake 325 for 1 hour or til heated through. Serve with crackers and reserved bread cubes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Popeye Pasta

Casual in looks, good in flavor. Fresh-tasting garlic and tomato with salty feta cheese. A Mediterranean look and taste. Really quick and easy with great flavor (I add diced chicken if I want to make it more filling but it doesn't need it). One of our FAVORITES!

8 oz. spaghetti noodles/angle hair pasta
12 c. boiling water
1 T. olive (or cooking) oil
2 c. diced roma (plum) tomatoes (I just used canned diced tomatoes usually)
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 3/4 t. powder)
2 T. olive (or cooking) oil
3 c. coarsely chopped fresh spinach, lightly packed (I've used 1 lb. frozen spinach)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. chopped fresh marjoram (or 3/4 t. dried)
1/2 t. salt
granulated sugar, just a pinch
pepper, sprinkle
1 c. crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta in boiling water in large uncovered pot for 6 minutes until tender but firm. Drain. Return to pot.

Add first amount of olive oil. Toss. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, saute tomato and garlic in second amount of olive oil in large frying pan for about 2 minutes until tomatoes have released their juices.

Add next 6 ingredients. Heat and stir about 1 minute just until spinach is wilted and heated through. Pour over pasta. Add feta cheese (or like I did for food group, I added mozzerella instead since we pregnant ladies can't eat feta right now!). Toss well.

Sarah's addition to the Cheese Food Group!