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.

Caramel:

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.
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Biscuits:
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!

Ingredients:

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)


Directions:

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:
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INGREDIENTS:
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

DIRECTIONS:

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