Monday, November 30, 2009

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

This week's post is both a recipe and a "craft" idea . . . this year for Thanksgiving, I made sugar cookies and decorated them with our guests' names and used them as place cards. I saw a similar idea with stars decorated for Christmas. I'm definitely going to try to do this for Christmas too!

The recipe I've included is a great recipe, but it isn't for the faint of heart. If you're too rushed for time or have a lot going on, use your own sugar cookie recipe and still use the idea for the place cards.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

2/3 c Butter-flavored Crisco
3/4 c sugar
1 Tsp plus 1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Combine Crisco, sugar, milk & vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until well blended. Cover & refrigerate several hours or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough half at a time to about 1/4" thickness on a floured surface. (Try to roll the out the least amount possible.) Cut out with cookie cutter. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugars or leave plain and frost when cooled.

4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Remove immediately to wire racks. (There is a fine line. They need to be baked until done but taken out just before they get lightly brown. I let them sit a minute before putting them on the wire rack. I also alternate cookie sheets so one has time to cool in between.)

Icing: 2 c powdered sugar and 3 Tsp milk.

I included this picture of the Butter-flavored Crisco, so you would know what to look for when you go to the store. I am pretty sure it comes in a 3 pack.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Turkey" Stuffed Shells

UPDATE:  Just had a friend tell me they added chopped up broccoli to the mix before stuffing the shells.  What a great way to add veggies if your family is picky.

Here's a recipe that will give you something to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers. My husband's aunt made this for us after I had surgery years ago. It's definitely a comfort-type food!

The original recipe calls for jumbo shells, but because I get lazy or sometimes am in a hurry, I've substituted various types of pasta for the shells (ditalini, penne, "mini lasagna" noodles) and turned it into a casserole. (See photo at bottom of post.)

Chicken Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo shells (cooked al dente)
1 box stuffing mix
1 c mayonnaise
1 1/2 - 2 c chicken breast (cooked and diced)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 "can" milk (fill one of soup cans), divided
1 - 16 oz pkg shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 9x13 pan.
2. Mix together stuffing, mayo, cream of mushroom soup, 3/4 of the milk and 1 cup cheese in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Using a spoon, scoop the stuffing mixture into the shell and place in the baking pan. (Don't know if I've ever ended even using all the shells.)
4. Stir cream of chicken soup and remainder of the milk. (I use the mixing bowl to save on dishes.) Pour over stuffed shells. Sprinkle cheese on top.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until warmed through. (I prefer to cover with foil for 10-15 minutes, then remove for the remaining time. This keeps it from drying out but allows for some time to lightly brown.)

I have made a whole recipe and split it between two smaller pans and froze one for later. A 9x13 is a lot for us. Plus it saves on the work for later. Can also make earlier in the day and just put it in the oven at dinner time.

Recipe from Marlene Lott.
To make into a casserole: Mix all ingredients except 1 cup of cheese. Scoop all into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 mintues.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole & Cran-Raspberry Salad

Since I didn't get back to add more side dishes last week, I will post them as this week's recipe. The first is a simple, delicious way to make sweet potatoes. The second is my grandma's recipe which is a different take on cranberry sauce.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 baked sweet potatoes or 2 small cans canned sweet potato
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbs butter / margarine
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 stick butter / margarine
1 c brown sugar
1/2 to 1 c nuts (pecans or walnuts)

1. Mash the potatoes then mix in remaining casserole ingredients.
2. Pour into greased casserole dish.
3. Topping: Melt butter. Mix in remaining topping ingredients and spread over potato mixture.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

This recipe can easily be doubled in a 9x13 inch pan. Cooking time should remain about the same.
The picture was taken off the internet. Recipe by Maggie Barnhouse.

Cran-Raspberry Salad

1 - 6 oz pkg raspberry gelatin
1 3/4 c boiling water
1 - 20 oz can crushed pineapple
1 - 16 oz can whole cranberry sauce
1 c sour cream

1. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
2. Add undrained pineapple and cranberry sauce stirring unti cranberry sauce melts
3. Chill in refrigerator unti partially set.
4. Pour half of mixture into a 6 1/2 cup ring mold (or a large serving dish).
5. Chill until firm leaving other half at room-temperature.
6. Stir sour cream and spread on firm, chilled layer.
7. Pour remaining gelatin mixture on top of sour cream layer.
8 Chill to set. Serve cold.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Glazed Carrots & Swiss Medley

Keeping the upcoming holiday's in mind, this week's post will include a couple side dishes. Our family is pretty traditional down to the foods we eat, but maybe some of you have more flexibility!

(Note: I didn't have a picture so I grabbed one online.)

Glazed Carrots

1 1/2 lbs carrots
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs margarine or butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated orange peel

1. Boil carrots in water until tender. Julienne strips take approximately 18 - 20. Whole carrots take approximately 25 minutes. (I typically use the baby carrots sometime cutting in half depending on the size because it's easy!)
2. Cook remaining ingredients in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. (A splash of orange juice is a good replacement if you don't have any the orange peel. I've even made it without either, but it definitely tastes better with the orange flavor.)
3. Stir in carrots. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are glazed and hot.

Serves: 8

Recipe from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook: Everything You Need To Know To Cook (mine is the 1996 version). On a side note, this is a GREAT book. I wouldn't say it's a great cookbook -- definitely don't recommend most of the baked goods. However, it is great in that there is a information at the beginning of each section that is very valuable. Information like terms & definitions, storage times, explains the uses of cuts of meat, types of apples & cheeses, and much, much more. It even explains how to boil and egg! I love it as a reference book.

The second recipe is a mixed vegetable dish. It is called Swiss Medley, but it can be made with mozzerella cheese if Swiss cheese isn't your preference.

Swiss Medley

1 pkg. frozen California-style vegetables
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups grated Swiss or mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can Durkee's French fried onions, divided

1. Mix vegetables, soup, sour cream, pepper, 1 cup cheese, and 1/2 can onions. Place in a 9x13-inch pan.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3. Remove and top with remaining cheese and onions. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Recipe from Niki Lott (Bethel Memorial Baptist Church Taste & See Cookbook)

I do have a couple other side dish recipes. Lord willing, I'll have time to add them later this week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese has always been a favorite of mine. I'm still tweaking this recipe, but this is a good start. You can see in the final product picture that it isn't the creamy cheese sauce type. Depending on what kinds of cheese I have in the frig when I make this, I'll change it up a little. You could use just cheddar cheese, but I like a combination of flavors.

Sometimes I'll pair this with grilled keilbasa or baked chicken. Sometimes we will make it the main dish for lunch with a side of fruit, vegetables or Jell-O salad.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese
3/4 lb elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack / Colby
4-6 slices Swiss cheese
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup milk *
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Dash of salt and pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish (or 7x11 casserole dish).
2. Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Melt butter and heat milk in pan pasta was cooked in. Pour pasta back in to the pan. Add Cheddar and Monterrey Jack / Colby cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder.
* add more milk to make creamier
4. Spoon half of mixture into prepared dish. Place Swiss cheese in a single layer. Add remainder of mixture. If desired, sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Serves: 6-8

This recipe can easily be adjusted for a 9x13 pan: 1 lb elbow macaroni, 2 cups each Cheddar and Monterry Jack / Colby, 6-8 sliced Swiss cheese, 3 Tbs butter, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 tsp + garlic powder. Cooking time remains same. Serves: 8-10
PS: Forgot to mention . . . obviously you don't need to use sliced Swiss cheese . . . I just have a half a package left from making the "Creamy Swiss Chicken" I posted last month. You can find shredded Swiss cheese in the grocery store and add it in to melt with the other cheeses rather than layering.