December 19, 2011

Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Rods

Anytime you add caramel to a recipe, you have my attention.  Add white chocolate in there...yum.  If it is so easy it doesn't even require a recipe....I am in!

This recipe does not need any explaining.  Just go make some!  The hardest part is finding the pretzel rods at Wal-mart.  Apparently everyone else is making pretzel rods, because the shelves are always bare.

You need pretzel rods, caramel (I prepare my own) and white chocolate drizzled on top.


2 sticks of butter-melted on a medium low heat
2 cups of brown sugar
2 cups of White corn syrup
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Heat the caramel stirring constantly and not leaving the stove to 250 degrees or soft ball stage.  That is it. You are done.

This is your basic caramel recipe that you can use for anything you need caramel for: popcorn, pretzels, apples, other desserts, eating plain...

December 14, 2011

Candied Cereal

Credit for this recipe goes to my neighbor Stephanie Hardin.  Thanks Stephanie!

This recipe should be called "Addiction"

Find a large bowl and add the following:
One large box of Golden Graham cereal
One large box of Corn Chex cereal
7 oz. (or less) coconut
7 oz. slivered almonds
 Stir together well and leave in the bowl

Next...on the stove
Melt 3 sticks of butter  (if I said, 1 1/2 cups it wouldn't sound so bad, but lets be real, this takes 3 full sticks of butter....that is part of why it tastes so good!)
2 cups of white sugar
2 cups corn syrup (and lots of sugar!)

Boil the butter and sugars together for 4 minutes stirring often

When the butter and sugars are boiling, it will get very foamy.  Make sure your pan is large enough to handle the boiling part...or you will end up with over-flow like I did when I made it

Pour over your cereal mixture and mix together with a spoon. It is easier that way. [I added that for the benefit of one of my 18 year old friends who made this without using a spoon, and discovered it was hot to stir with her hands....she ended up just pouring  her syrup on and letting it sit ...ya spoons make things easier)

Enjoy this!

December 12, 2011

Home-made Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

This is from my husband's Aunt Darlene--her famous biscuits and gravy which has become a staple at our house for many years.

Brown 1 lb. of sausage, save the grease
4 Tbs. bacon grease
4 Tbs. flour
pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can of evaporated milk
2 cups "regular" milk
2 cups water (or less)

After  you brown your sausage, set it aside in a separate bowl.  Next brown the flour in the grease.  Take off heat and add evaporated milk and regular milk.  Use a whisk to blend together.  Add the water as needed.  When gravy is thick, add the cooked sausage.  Pour over biscuits. 

My family each has their own special way of eating biscuits and gravy.  Some tear up their biscuits in little pieces.  Others leave it whole.  Personally, I leave it whole.  To each his own.
Actually refrigerator biscuits work great in this recipe.  The store bought ready-bake biscuits are nice and easy to do (although a little pricey)  OR you can make them from scratch:

2 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tarter (1/2 the time I am out of this and substitute baking soda.  I have no idea if that is even a close substitute, but it seems to work fine)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening, butter, or margarine ( if you had to choose, I would choose the shortening first, and the others for substitutions)
2/3 cup milk

Stir together all the dry ingredients.  Cut in shortening until it becomes crumb-like.  Make a well in the center, and add the milk all at once.  Using a large fork, stir just until the dough clings together .  Don't over stir.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough about 10 times.  Roll to a 1/2-1 inch thickness.  Next you will need a biscuit cutter of some kind.  I have always used the top of a drinking glass.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Ham & Potato Crock-Pot Dinner

Slice about 10 slices of ham (turkey ham works great)
8 -10 medium potatoes-peeled and sliced thin
1 cup grated cheese
1 onion in thin rings or slices
1 can cream of chicken soup

Using a food processor slice your ham, potatoes and onions.{make sure you rinse your potatoes and leave them in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the rest of this recipe} Set aside. You are going to be layering the ham-potatoes-cheese-onions.  You can layer it twice or three times.  When you have layered to the top of your crock pot, add your can of cream of chicken soup-undiluted.

Cook in crock-pot on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/8 cup water
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
3 cups oats ( I don't put all 3 cups in)
Nuts, raisins, butterscotch chips...optional

Mix wet ingredients and add dry ingredients.  Add the oats last. 
Bake @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes

December 11, 2011

Crock-pot Apricot Chicken

This is one of our main stand-by crock-pot/Sunday/ company recipes

One bag of frozen boneless, skinless ("everything-less" we call it) in the crock-pot

Mix the dressing together and add to the chicken:
1 cup of apricot jam
1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
1 cup of Russian, french or Catalina dressing

Cook on high for 4-5  hours.  Serve over rice.

Emergency substitutions for this recipe:
I have made this enough times...I have generated a whole bunch of emergency substitutions and it still turns out great..

1 cup of apricot jam OR  1 cup of peach  OR blend up a cup of canned apricots
1 cup of Russian dressing....OR  {this homemade recipe} for Russian dressing

Homemade Russian Dressing for Apricot Chicken

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbs. sugar
1  Tbs. white vinegar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Chicken and Vegetables

I believe this recipe came from a Lipton onion soup box years ago....
it- is- a -good -one!


Raw Chicken breasts...about 4-5-cubed

Potatoes...about 8-10 peeled and cubed
Carrots...about 2 peeled and cubed

Combine the raw cubed chicken and the raw cubed vegetables in a gallon-size ziploc

Marinade sauce:

Lipton Onion Soup packet

1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp garlic

Mix together well, and pour over the chicken & vegetables. 
Pour everything into a 13 X 9 baking dish and cook @ 400 degrees for 45 minutes

Strawberry Spinach Salad

10 oz. of fresh baby spinach/you can do a mix of spinach and romaine
1 quart of strawberries
1/4-1/2 cup of candied almonds or pecans

Poppy Seed dressing--you can make it...{go here}

but I just buy this

This salad is addictingly delicious

Cinnamon Candied Almonds

1/2 cups water
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
2 cups whole almonds (if you want them in smaller chunks, I think it is easier to chop them before you candy them)


Combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon in a pan over medium heat, bring to a boil, add the almonds.  Cook and stir the mixture until the liquid evaporates and leaves a syrup-like coating on the almonds.  Pour the almonds onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.  Separate almonds using forks.  Allow to cool about 15 minutes.

Chicken Parmesan Salad

6 cups cooked, diced chicken
2 cups halved red grapes
1 small pkg. roasted almonds
 *to roast almonds you can do them in a skillet or the oven @ 350 (or so) for about 4 minutes--watch them close
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Mayonnaise/cool whip--use equal portions until you have the right moist consistency

I usually don't have actual croissants on hand, so I use flour tortillas.  Whatever suits you.  I add a lettuce leaf in the middle of the tortilla, then place my Parmesan chicken salad on top and fold in half. 

It is such a great combination of flavors.  It will keep in the fridge for a few days.

This is one of our favorites for Conference weekend.

December 02, 2011

Crescent Rolls

These are softest, buttery-est, yummiest, most delicious, easy-to-make, and fastest disappearing rolls. 
 Love them!!

This is not my recipe.  It comes from my sister-in-law Charise who is an amazing cook.  She is always making and finding awesome recipes. These were found via pinterest on {this website} I think I am going to have to add this website to my blog list.  I need to keep up with what they are cooking next.

OK here it is:

2 cups milk
2/3 cup yellow corn meal
1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
5 ½ – 6 cups flour


Heat the milk to just below a boil so bubbles are just appearing around the edges (this is called scalding milk). Add the cornmeal and cook and stir until thickened, lowering the temperature if needed.

 Pour the cornmeal/milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl and let cool until lukewarm. Add the yeast, butter and sugar (if you dissolved active dry yeast with a bit of water and sugar until it foamed, add it now). Mix. Add the salt and eggs. Mix well. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms. Knead for 5-8 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl covered with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

Divide the dough into three portions and roll each into about an 8-10 inch circle. Brush the top lightly with butter. Cut into 8 wedges and roll each wedge up starting from the wide end so it forms a crescent roll shape.

 Place each roll on a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing about 1-2 inches apart to allow for rising. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Brush with butter while still warm

November 22, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe is all made in a bread maker if you have one. If you don't, you can make it the same in a mixer or bowl.  I love the bread maker because it does all the mixing and rising for you. This recipe is so good that although this is a recipe for cinnamon rolls, I use this recipe now for ALL my bread recipes: pizza dough, dinner rolls, any recipe calling for a home-made dough.  It is delicious, and I think the secret ingredient is the vanilla pudding.  Hope you love it!  

Add the following ingredients to a bread maker in the order shown:

1/4 cup water at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2small box of instant pudding
1 cup warm milk
1 egg at room temperature
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
1 pkg. active dry yeast

Once it is mixed and has risen for about 30 minutes, roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick.  Add:

1/2 stick melted butter
brown sugar
raisins (opt.)

Roll the dough as shown  and cut into individual pieces using a piece of thread.  Let rise again until double in size. 

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Frost the rolls once they have cooled down sufficiently with a frosting or glaze. 


Holiday Sugar Cookies

This recipe comes from my sister-in-law Wendy which I think comes from her mom...

I loooooooooooove these cookies.  They are soft and literally melt in your mouth they are so good.
Hope you like them!

In your mixer, cream together one stick of butter &  1 cup sugar

Next add 1/2 cup of milk

 and mix well

Also add 1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 1/2 cups flour
Mix well until the dough no longer overly sticky

The dough needs to chill in the refrigerator. 
You can just put it in the fridge in the same bowl,
or you could put it in some plastic wrap

Roll out your dough, cut your shapes

  bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.
  Do not over bake

Holiday Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
3 1/2 cups flour

Bake at 350 for 7 minutes

Here is what you will need...
This is a real vague recipe. 
I don't measure, I have made this so much,
but this is what it is approximately;

1 cup shortening
1/2 bag (or so) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional actually)
milk-add until it is the right texture
1 tsp butter flavoring (optional, but really good)
1 tsp vanilla
food coloring if desired

Blend it all together

 and frost your cookies.

November 14, 2011

Grilled Zucchini marinade

I have a confession to make
 I hate squash--all varieties.  There is no amount of butter, brown sugar, or marshmellows that helps me gag it down.  It is in my gene-pool so I don't think there is any hope of my taste-buds changing. 

I grow zucchini squash so I can make zucchini bread.  One plant every other year is sufficient.

We had a ward BBQ where our neighbor was grilling zucchini.  My husband was being  "Bob" (from "What About Bob) ooo-ing a aww-ing over how good the grilled zucchini was.  He talked me into trying just one piece.  Which I did to appease him-and my neighbor. 

It was sooooooo good! 
I quickly changed from wondering what to do with all of my zucchini from my garden, to hovering over  the zucchini plant waiting for it to produce another zucchini for me to grill.
This recipe is that good!  This is actually a vegetable marinade, but we use it primarily for zucchini.

Grilled Zucchini

Sliced zucchini 

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 whole lemon-juiced
1 Tbl. Steak Grilling Seasoning
2 tsp. Kosher salt ( I have just used regular salt)
1 tsp. pepper

Marinate for at least 15 minutes.  Grill.

November 07, 2011

Scrapbooking My Recipes

I am right in the middle of scrap booking my recipes. For those who know me really well-know that I am NOT a scrap booker. It has to do with the money invested for all the little trinkets, and time that I don't have. All of my pictures are sitting in a file on my floor or in my computer file. I know someday I am going to have to address the photos and do something with them...but for now...I am procrastinating that part of my life. It just feels so overwhelming to do.

I love to cook and love a good recipe. If you are like me, your recipe books, files, cards, are a mess.

So the lady on Controlling My Chaos has inspired me to scrapbook! I encourage you to go to her blog and check out her recipe cards. They are to -die- for cute and that is my latest project.

Go here to get all the details on how to make them. 

Party Potatoes

This is the recipe with a million names. 

Relief Society Potatoes ,Funeral Potatoes, Sunday Potatoes, scalloped potatoes, hash -brown potatoes, and we call them Party Potatoes most often.

 In my family we call them "Party Potatoes" or "Sunday Potatoes" We usually eat them on Sundays with ham...yumm!

Before I write the recipe, know that there are also a million versions of this recipe, all pretty close to eachother, all good.  Here is my  basic version:
 7 potatoes
 Boiled in the skins

The type of potato doesn't matter, and you can leave them whole, or halve them before you boil them.

You are going to boil them until they are tender, but not mushy.  You are not going to mash these potatoes, you are going to grate them, so you don't want them all the way cooked.

When they are done boiling, they will look like this

Pour the potatoes into a colander and run cold water over them, as they will be way too hot to handle at this point. 

 Let them sit a while and cool down...then
Peel the potatoes by just using a knife to pull the skins off. 
Then grate your peeled potatoes into a bowl

In a separate bowl add the following ingredients:
2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup canned milk ( or regular milk will do)
1/4 cup minced onions
1 pt sour cream
1 1/2 cups grated cheese

What I do...
I put my potatoes and soup ingredients (above) in separate bowls because the texture of the Party Potatoes matters. You don't want it too dry, or no one will enjoy them and will be needing water just to get them down.  You don't want them soupy, because it is not soup-it is potatoes.  You want them to hold their shape.  So put the grated potatoes in one bowl and the soup ingredients in the other.  

Fold into the potatoes and mix well.  If the potatoes look too dry, add more milk, soup or sour cream.  If they look too moist and soupy, add more grated potatoes.

Bake at 350 degree for 30-40 minutes, uncovered.

Holiday Slush

1 Large Jell-O
1 46 oz. can pineapple juice
3 cups sugar

Dissolve Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water.  Add sugar and 7 cups warm water.  Add juice and 5 cups cold water.  Freeze. Stir often (about every hour) so it will form crystals.  Serve in glasses with 7-Up poured on top.  Makes a lot.

Vitamin C Surge

Russian Tea is the official name
For those of you who don't drink tea, don't worry about the name, there is no caffeine in this drink

I think this is actually a holiday drink, but we have nick-named it Vitamin C Surge and usually make it
when we are sick with a cold or the flu. It just soothes the body! 

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
--Boil for 5 minutes

2 qt. water
1 12 oz can orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup  reconstituted lemon juice
2 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. almond extract

Leave on and simmer until ready to serve.

November 03, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies


 2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter-melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbls. vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
semi-sweet chocolate chips
This is a recipe I found on A website I highly recommend which I usually end up on daily

When I was growing up I was a "chocolate- hater." In fact one year for Christmas my parents bought me one of those extra-large Hershey Kisses in a box. It was like 50 times the normal size. They knew I would never touch it and it did look pretty.

Well....things have changed since then. Now, I love chocolate. In fact, I have to make chocolate rules for myself so I don't over- do it.

Well...a few of my girls have obviously inherited my disdain for chocolate and beg me to make chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips...

This recipe is a must-have and has been a huge hit, especially with my chocolate-chip cookie haters. They are that good.

The only thing I don't like about this recipe is that it only makes 2 dozen cookies. That is never enough cookies in our family. That means we all get around 2 cookies each. So, definitely double, triple, or quadruple this recipe.

The one thing I noticed different about this recipe-as we know there is a million chocolate chip recipes out there- is the egg yolk. That is the magic ingredient making these fluffy and sooooooooooo good.

Home-made Bread

1/2 cup warm water
3 pkgs Yeast
1/2 cup bread flour
1 Tbls. white sugar

Mix these 4 ingredients together and let them sit for 5 minutes

Add these remaining ingredients:

2 cups oats
2 cups wheat flour
6 Tbls. Gluten
4 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbls. salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup oil
10 cups white flour ( I don't really measure this part, but just add until it is the right consistency)

Mix with dough hook for 2-3 minutes. Add just 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (humidity determines how much flour you will need)

Place dough in oiled bowl and cover for one hour.

Secret dough rising ingredient: H E A T I N G P A D

Place your bowl of dough right on top of the heating pad
Your family will all ask you what you are doing-
just expect that question
Then they will all be impressed with your ingenuity

Turn it onto medium to get things warm, then turn down to low until the dough has doubled in size.

Knead and punch your dough down a little bit
Divide dough into 3 pieces for larger bread pan size

Roll out each piece of dough (not too thin) to get rid of the bubbles, and to make it nice a smooth.

Roll up and place seam side down in your bread pans.
Set your pans back on your heating pad and let them rise for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. 

Lemon Bars




1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups flour

Bake for 15 minutes @ 350 degrees

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 lemons or 2/3 cup lemon juice

Bake for an additional 20 minutes

sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled

Pork Barbecoa Salad

This IS without a doubt one of the best recipes! This is from one of my awesome sister-in-laws, Amber. It is now on the top of my list for great company food as well as, great Sunday meals.

Cafe Rio Pork

You will need: 1, 3-4 lb Pork shoulder or butt roast

Place it in your crock-pot.

Mix together:
1 cup Worcester Sauce
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 Tbls. minced onion
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

Pour over pork roast and cook on low-all day, all night or 6 hours at the minimum. My best results were over-night.

When that is ready, drain off some of the juice, but not all.

Take a fork and SHRED the PORK-you can do this while keeping the roast in the crock-pot.
No need to make any extra work for yourself.

... and make sure you pull off all the nasty fat that you can.

OK! When that is done, you will want to mix together the barbecue sauce:

Barbecue Sauce:
2 cups of enchilada sauce
2 cups of brown sugar

Pour over the shredded pork and cook on low (still in the crock-pot) for 1-3 hours. For me, the longer, the better flavor. But if you are short on time, 1 hour will work.

Feeds 10-15 people.


( "to-die-for") Cafe Rio Dressing

1 buttermilk ranch-dressing packet (make according to directions)
-I have also just bought buttermilk ranch and used around 2 cups

2 tomatillos (cute little tomatoes with the husk around them)

1/2 bunch cilantro

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeno-which I don't use, but if you like it HOT-go for it!

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

2 cups uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 tsp. lime zest
1 can chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water

2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbls. chopped cilantro-combine these three and pour over hot rice

The Assembly

Warmed up flour tortillas
Black or pinto beans-or none if you hate beans like by kids do. You can tell my preference...
Yummy pork barbecoa
Lettuce-lots of it
pico de gallo-tomatoes & onions chopped finely together
guacamole--looooove this part
tortilla strips-you can actually buy theirs at Cafe Rio. It is about $4.00 for a gallon size Ziploc of them. I am sure you can make them too. Regular tortillas chips would also work -if you had to.
Cilantro-the best herb ever
Top with a squeeze of lime & Cafe Rio dressing

November 01, 2011

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I love a good home-made chicken noodle soup that is filling and comforting. This is that recipe!!  I know you will love it.
Grab a pan that you can cook everything in to keep all the flavors together

4 raw chicken breasts-cubed
1/2 onion -diced
1 garlic clove-diced

With 1/4 cup of olive oil in bottom of frying pan
Saute' chicken, onion, and garlic until the chicken is barely
crispy on the outside.

Keeping the same pan add:

2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. basil
3 cans of chicken broth
4 carrots -cut and cubed
Let that boil until the carrots are crisp-tender
Corn or peas-I usually have these left over in the fridge and add whichever I have on hand

Last Add:
1 1arge can of cream of chicken soup
This is what adds the creamy texture to your soup, to make it perfect

2-3 cups of Country noodles, or any noodle you like
Boil until the noodles are done.