Recipes C

CARIBBEAN PORK (Serves 4-6)

A great dish that you can just throw in the crock pot and the meal will be ready when your family is, after those fall football and soccer games.

2 pounds pork roast or tenderloin cut into 1” pieces
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
6 green onions, cut into 1” pieces
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

    Brown the meat in a skillet over medium heat.
    When done, transfer the meat to the crock pot; add peppers and onions and stir well.
    Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour over pork mixture, stir well.
    Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low, depending on the size of your pot.  Serve over rice.


CARAMEL-SOAKED FRENCH TOAST  (Serves 10)

This traditional breakfast dish is unbelievable.  It just oozes calories and taste, but oh so worth it.  You can make it the night before and just bake it on Sunday morning.  It will have everyone running down for breakfast!   

1½  cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup  butter or margarine
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
10 slices French bread slices cut 1½ inch thick
4 large eggs
2½ cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
Garnish:  any type fresh berries (makes it feel more healthy)

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until mixture is bubbly.  Pour mixture in lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  Arrange bread slices over syrup. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt.  Gradually pour over bread slices.  

Cover and chill 8 hours.
 

CARROT CAKE WITH FRESH ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (Serves Lots)

This is one pretty cake.  And great tasting too!  Fresh orange juice and zest in the creamy frosting are the perfect partners for a spicy carrot cake.  There’s even a little orange juice in the cake batter.  A great dessert for Easter.  You know, bunnies and carrots.

Vegetable shortening and flour for dusting cake pans
1 package plain yellow cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
½ cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots (5 medium carrots)
½ cup raisins (3 ounces)
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (2 ounces)
Fresh orange cream cheese frosting

    Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable shortening.  Dust with flour and then shake out excess flour.
    Combine cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, oil, eggs, and cinnamon in a large bowl and blend with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Stop mixer, scrape down sides, and increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more.
    Gently fold in carrots, raisins, and nuts with a rubber spatula.  Divide the batter between the two pans, smoothing out with a spatula.
    Bake the cakes until they are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger – about 30-35 minutes.
    Remove pans from oven and place on racks for 10 minutes to cool.  Run a dinner knife around the edges of each layer and invert each onto a rack and then invert again so cakes are right side up.   Allow them to cool completely – about 30 minutes more.
    Frost cakes with fresh orange cream cheese frosting on reverse side when completely cooled.


 CELERY SUCCOTASH SALAD (Serves 6)

 A great summer salad to bring to pot luck suppers or just to throw together at home when it’s just too hot to cook anything on the stove or in the oven.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
½ lemon – juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 whole celery heart – thinly sliced
½ cup shredded carrots
(1) 10 ounce box of frozen corn
(1) 15 ounce can of chick peas, drained
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

    In medium bowl, combine first four ingredients and mix well. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper
    Add celery and remaining ingredients.  Toss well and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

 

CHEESECAKE LEMON BARS (Serves 24)

Here you have the ultimate spring dessert! Seriously I don’t know if it gets much better, these bars are to die for! Just try them yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.

Here you get not just one or two layers of utter decadence but FOUR layers of heavenly, sublimely lemony, utterly creamy, melt-in your-mouth bliss! You will most definitely wow a crowd with these over-the-top bars. How could you go wrong with layered buttery shortbread, vibrant lemon bar filling, perfectly rich and creamy cheesecake, and lusciously smooth sweetened sour cream all together in one bar? You just can’t.

Yes, it may seem these have an overdose of sugar but it’s not much more than that cake I just baked, plus keep this in mind --  it will be split between 24 servings (which equates to 2 tablespoons per serving which seems about right for a dessert). You can get a lot of bars out of these. And with Easter just around the corner, you have an excuse to go all out. Or make them just because we all need a weekend treat. Just have plenty of people to share with because they are irresistibly tempting. Self control, gone. Good bye. Hello Cheesecake Lemon Bars!

Shortbread layer

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into small cubes

Lemon Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest

Cheesecake Layer

  • 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened well (but not melted)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) sour cream

Sour Cream Layer

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, set aside.

For the shortbread layer:

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread and pat into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 15 - 18 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly while preparing fillings.

For the lemon layer:

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs until well blended. Set aside (don't pour into crust yet, you don't want it to soak into the shortbread layer while you're preparing cheesecake filling).

For the cheesecake layer:

  • In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on low speed, cream together cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth, about 30 seconds. Mix in eggs one at a time adding in vanilla with second egg. Mix in 1/4 cup sour cream. Tap bowl against countertop about 10 times to release any large air bubbles.
  • Pour lemon filling over crust then evenly pour cheesecake filling over lemon layer. Skim off any air bubbles. Gently spread cheesecake filling into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until filling only jiggles slightly, about 29 - 33 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 45 minutes then transfer to refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours.

For the sour cream layer:

  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together sour cream and powdered sugar. Spread into an even layer over chilled bars. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.


 CHICKEN BAKE (Serves 6)

 I received this recipe from a customer.  Great comfort food!  As she says, delicious, melts in your mouth.

6 chicken boneless breasts split in two if thick
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 teaspoons paprika
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 package Peppridge Farm stuffing – crushed not cubed
½ cup shortening and ½ cup butter or margarine melted together

    Mix first 9 ingredients together and coat chicken and marinate overnight or for several hours – the longer the better.
    Remove chicken and roll in stuffing mix.
    Place in large pan, spoon half of butter mixture over chicken, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
    Uncover and pour rest of butter mixture over chicken and cook for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.


 CHICKEN CHOWDER  (SERVES 8)

This is a great soup served with tortilla chips or corn bread as a side.  And it's fairly quick to make since you use many prepackaged ingredients.  Packed with chicken and veggies, this chunky chowder makes a nutritious meal.   

1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can (10.75 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (10.75 ounces) condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
1.5 cups milk
2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained (original or mild, depending on how spicy you like it)
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilles
1.5 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack chess for garnish

    In a large saucepan, combine the broth, soups, and milk.

    Stir in the tomatoes, chicken corn, onion, and chillies.

    Bring to a boil.

    Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until onion is tender.

    Garnish each serving with cheese.


 CHICKEN PARMESAN -- (Serves 6)

I’m not a big fan of tomato-based sauces, so finding a chicken parm recipe with a cream sauce was a great find.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1½ cups milk
1 cup white cooking wine
1 cup uncooked converted white rice
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 tablespoons butter pats
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

 

    Mix mushroom soup, milk, wine, rice, and onion soup mix together in a large mixing bowl.
    Spray crock pot with Pam cooking spray.
    Lay chicken breasts in crock pot.
    Place 1 pat of butter on top of each chicken breast.
    Pour soup mixture over chicken breasts.
    Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
    Cook on Low 8-10 hours or on High 4-6 hours.


 CHICKEN POT PIE IN THE CROCK POT (Serves 8)

Chicken pot pies are the ultimate comfort food.  A nice warm dinner for a cold winter night.  So gather everyone around the table and sit down to a nice family meal.

 3 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
3 cups cubed peeled potatoes
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 bay leaf
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust

 

    In the crock pot, combine chicken, potatoes, chicken broth, mixed vegetables, onion, celery, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, and bay leaf.  Cover, cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 4-6 hours.  Remove bay leaf.
    Preheat oven to 400F.
    In a small bowl mix milk and flour.
    Gradually stir flour mixture into crock pot.  Stir in remaining pepper, salt and poultry seasoning.
    If using a removable crock pot, carefully place 9” pie crust over vegetable-meat mixture.  Place removable crock inside preheated oven.  DO NOT COVER.
    Bake 15 minutes or until crust is browned
    For nonremovable crock pot, spoon vegetable-meat mixture into a 9x13-inch casserole dish.  Roll out pie crust and carefully place on top of vegetable-meat mixture.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until pie


 CHICKEN TERIYAKI (SERVES 4)

I got this recipe from a friend, and the family loved it.  Easy to put together and throw in the crock pot – especially during the summer when you really don’t want to cook.  This recipe is easily doubled in the crock pot.  I also found it easier to freeze the chicken a little bit until it gets firm, and then dice it – so much easier.  Serve over hot rice.

1 pound diced chicken
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced

    Combine the chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, and garlic.
    Put diced chicken in crock pot and pour sauce over chicken.
    Cook in crock pot on low, 4-6 hours.    
    Serve over rice.


 CHOCOLATE ECLAIR PIE -- (Serves #-#)

This has got to be one of the most decadent desserts I have ever tried.  It truly tastes like an éclair and is sooooooo easy to make and soooooo smooth going down.

Cake:

1 cup water
1 stick of butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Pudding:

2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1 8 oz. package of softened fat free cream cheese
3 cups milk

Topping:

1 8 oz container of fat free cool whip
Chocolate syrup

To make the cake:

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees
    Boil water and butter until melted.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
    Add flour.  Beat until mixture leaves the side of the bowl.
    Add eggs, one at a time, and beat with an electric mixer.
    Grease a 9 x 13 pan with Pam and spread mixture into pan
    Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Lower heat to 350 degrees and back for another 20 minutes (batter will rise up the side of the pan).  Cool.

Pudding:

    Combine pudding mix, cream cheese, and milk into a medium bowl.
    Beat with an electric mixer until thickened.
    Pour into cooled crust.

Topping:

    Spread Cool Whip over the pudding.
    Drizzle with chocolate syrup over the top.  Refrigerate.

 

CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKE IN A CROCK POT (Serves 12)

Everyone who tries this dessert falls in love with it.  It’s decadent without being too rich.  I would recommend using a slow cooker liner for this as it will make clean up a breeze.  Serve it with vanilla ice cream, and life doesn’t get any better!

1 package of devil’s food cake mix without pudding (Duncan Hines)
1-2/3 cups water
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups cold low fat milk
1 large package of instant sugar free pudding mix (serves 6)
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1.    In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and scrape down bowl.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Transfer to slow cooker (at least 4 quart size).
2.    In another bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Spoon over cake batter, sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until a toothpick inserted in cake portion comes out with moist crumbs.  Serve warm.  

 

 CHOCOLATE MARBLE CAKE WITH SHINNY CHOCOLATE GLAZE

The trick to creating the marbled look in this chocolate cake is to gently drag the chocolate batter through the yellow batter with a knife until the batter is just swirled.  This not only looks great, but tastes great as well.  The secret ingredient:  almond!

Cake:
Vegetable oil spray for misting pan
Flour for dusting the pan
1 plain yellow cake mix (no pudding)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon water

    Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly mist a 10-inch tube pan with vegetable spray and then dust with flour.
    Place cake mix, sour cream, oil, melted butter, eggs, and almond extract in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until well blended.
    Melt semisweet chocolate with the milk and water in a small pan over medium heat, stirring often until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Cool slightly.
    Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out with a rubber spatula.  Drop the chocolate mixture by spoonfuls over the batter.  Marble the batter by swirling the chocolate lightly through it with a knife.  Place the pan in the oven.
    Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, about 40-50 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes.
    Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack, then invert it again onto a serving platter so that it is right side up.  Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake and let it drizzle down the sides.  Allow the cake to cool completely before serving, about 30 minutes.

Frosting
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
    Add cocoa powder and cream and stir until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.  Do not boil.
    Remove pan from stove and stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth.

 

 CHOCOLATE MINT ICE CREAM CAKE

Nothing speaks of summer more than ice cream.  So why not combine it with another one of my favorites – cake!  I love chocolate mint ice cream, but if you are not a fan, use coffee, vanilla, or strawberry.   Recipe from The Cake Doctor.

For the cake:
Pam for misting the plan; flour for dusting the pan
1 package (26.2 ounces) chocolate cake mix (no pudding)
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 quarts chocolate mint ice cream, or your choice

For the frosting:
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons semisweet shavings or grated chocolate (optional for garnish)
Fresh mint leaves (optional for garnish)

    Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
    Place cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, and water in a large mixing bowl and blend on low speed for 30 seconds.  Increase speed to medium and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and place in the oven side by side.
    Bake the cakes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 30 minutes.  Let cakes cook on wire racks for 15 minutes.
    When the cakes have cooled, run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake.  Shake the pan gently and invert the cakes onto wire racks and then invert again onto another rack so they are right side up.  Place one layer in a cake server, cover it with waxed paper, and place the second layer on top.  Place the cake in the freezer until firm, at least 1 hour.
    Meanwhile, prepare the whipped cream frosting.  Place a large mixing bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer in the freezer for a few minutes.  Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the mixer on high speed until the cream is thickened, about 1.5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and add the confectioners’ sugar.  Beat the cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form – 1-2 minutes more.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.
    Remove the ice cream from the freezer and place it on a plate.  Using a sharp knife, cut through the cardboard container and peal it away from the ice cream.
    Remove the cake layers from the freezer.  Using a serrated knife, slice each lay in half horizontally.  Set one of the cake tops aside.  Place one of the bottom layers on the base of the cake server.  Using a knife and working quickly, cut a third of the ice cream into slices and arrange these on the top of the bottom cake layer.  Cut smaller slices to fill in the gaps.  Place a cake layer on top of the ice cream-covered cake.  Cut half of the remaining ice cream into slices and arrange these on top of that cake layer, then repeat with another layer and the remaining ice cream, ending with the cake top you put aside earlier.  Put the cake server lid on and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
    Working quickly, spread the side and top of the cake with whipped cream.  Garnish with the shaved chocolate.  Replace the cake server lid and return the cake to the freezer for at least 3 hours.  When ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with fresh mint if desired.


 CHOCOLATE PAN FROSTING

 This frosting is a simpler, but just as delicious, version of the old-fashioned version your mother probably made.  It’s luscious on brownies, layer cakes, and chocolate sheet cakes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

 

    Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over low heat, 2-3 minutes.
    Stir in the cocoa powder and milk.  Let the mixture come just to a boil, stirring, and then remove the pan from the heat.
    Stir in the sugar until the frosting is thickened and smooth.
    Pour the warm frosting over the top of a cooled cake of your choice, spreading it with a spatula so that it reaches all side of the cake.
    Work quickly because this frosting goes on best while still warm.

 

 CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE PIE (Serves 8-10)

What a scrumptious dessert.  Melt in your mouth delicious.  You would think it would be really sweet, but surprisingly not.  A great pie to surprise your sweetie with on Valentine’s Day.

 1 ¼ package (10 squares) Baker’s semi sweet baking chocolate
½ cup whipping cream
4 eggs
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour

Cool Whip topping

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place chocolate in a large microwaveable bowl.  Add whipping cream.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted; cool slightly.
    Add eggs, sugar, and flour and beat with a wire whisk until well blended.
    Pour into a lightly greased 9” pie plate.
    Bake for 35 minutes or until outer half of the pie is puffed but the center is still slightly soft.  Cool.
    To jazz it up a bit, dust the top of the pie with powered sugar just before serving a top with a dollop of the Cool Whip.

 

UPSIDE-DOWN CHOCOLATE PB CAKE (Serves 8)

PER SERVING (1/8th of recipe, about 1/2 cup): 143 calories, 3.5g fat, 320mg sodium, 19.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g sugars, 6.5g protein -- POINTS® value 3*

Super-rich, peanut-buttery, chocolate cheesecake filling topped with a layer of chocolate crunch!?! Yup...

Ingredients:
1 packet Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets 25-calorie diet hot cocoa mix
One 8-oz. tub fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
2 Jell-O Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding Snacks
1/3 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups Cool Whip Free, thawed, divided
3 tbsp. reduced-fat peanut butter, room temperature
Two 100 Calorie Packs Oreo Thin Crisps or 3 sheets (12 crackers) chocolate graham crackers
Optional: Fat Free Reddi-wip

Directions:
Dissolve cocoa mix in 2 tbsp. hot water. In a medium bowl, combine cocoa mixture with cream cheese, pudding, Splenda, and vanilla extract. Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk until smooth. Fold in 1/2 cup Cool Whip.  Transfer mixture to a large pie pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip with peanut butter. Whisk until smooth and uniform in color. Spread over the "pie." Cover and refrigerate until chilled and slightly firm, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, crush Oreo Thin Crisps or chocolate graham crackers into fine crumbs, and set aside.

Once ready to serve, top pie with crushed cookies/graham crackers. If you like, top each serving with a squirt of Reddi-wip. Enjoy with a spoon!


 CHRISTMAS CIDER (Serves Lots)

 Reminisce about Christmases past as you sit down with a cozy quilt and a cup of warm cider during the holidays.  Surely to bring about feelings of those old tyme Christmases.

2 quarts apple juice or cider
1 quart cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
¼ cup sugar
Orange slices, ½ inches thick
Cinnamon stocks, broken up

Combine all ingredients in a large pan on the stove or in a crock pot on low heat.  Simmer until blended.  Garnish with clove studded orange slices and serve in mugs with cinnamon sticks


 CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE (Serves Lots)

2 ½ cups unsifted flour
2 slight beaten eggs
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 28 ounce jar mincement
2 cups mixed candied fruit

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan.
2.    Stir together flour and baking soda, set aside
3.    In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; blend in dry ingredients.
4.    Bake for 1 hour and 50 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out dry.
5.    Cook 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  

 

 CINNAMON BREAKFAST CAKE (Serves 16)

 

This is the perfect cake for making ahead of time when you’ve got company coming for the weekend or when you’re headed down to the Cape or up to New Hampshire.  It contains a little more vegetable oil than most recipes, but it adds a lot of moisture and contributes to its rich, dense crumb.  And by adding the pecans first, they have a chance to toast against the hot edges of the pan and become more flavorful as the cake bakes.  A pure delight on a Sunday morning when “calories” don’t count.

Filling and cake:
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 package plain yellow cake mix without pudding
1 package (4 serving size) vanilla instant sugar-free pudding mix
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup water
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons of milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly mist a Bundt pan with vegetable spray and dust with flour.  Shake out excess flour.

2.    For filling, place the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir until well combined.

3.    Sprinkle the pecans in the bottom of the pan.  Place the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer for 1 minute.  Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl.  Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes more.  Batter should be thick and smooth.  Pour 1/3 of the batter into the pan.  Scatter half of the filling evenly over the batter.  Pour another 1/3 of the batter evenly over the filling.  Scatter the remaining filling over the batter and top with the remaining batter.  Smooth it out with a rubber spatula.

4.    Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed – about 58-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack.  Allow to cool completely.

5.    Meanwhile prepare the glaze.  Place the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir until smooth.  Place the cooled cake on a serving platter and spoon the glaze over the top so that it drizzles down the sides and into the center of the cake.  Slice and serve.

 

 CINNAMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES (Serves not enough!)

One of our customers brought us in some shortbread cookies over the holidays, and I just had to have the recipe.   They were scrumptious!  The recipe is adapted from a Land-O-Lakes Butter recipe.  Thank you, Curtis!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients for a single batch:
Shortbread:
1 ½ - Cups Flour
   (1 - cup organic white flour and ½ - cup whole wheat flour)
¾ - Cup Powdered Sugar
½ - Cup Cake Flour
1 - Cup Butter, (2 sticks softened)
½ - Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Topping:
1 - Tablespoon Sugar
1/8 - Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Preparation:
•        Heat oven to 325.
•        Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl at high speed for 4 minutes
•        Add dry ingredients slowly and mix at low speed for 4-6 minutes
•        Turn out dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet
•        Press and roll out dough evenly to about ½ inch thickness
•        Mix Sugar and Cinnamon and sprinkle over dough
•        Cut dough into squares but do not separate
•        Prick each square several times with a fork
•        Bake in oven for 22 minutes, or until light golden brown
•        Set cookie sheet on cooling rack and cut squares again while still warm

It’s definitely worth making a double batch.  It will fill up the cookie sheet!  Enjoy!


 COMPANY CHICKEN CASSEROLE IN SLOW COOKER (Serves 6)

This recipe is easy to throw together for the crock pot and contains all your major food groups!  Especially a nice meal on a cold evening.  Definitely comfort food!  Very tasty.   

1 package (8 0unces) flat noodles
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 ½ cups cream-style cottage cheese
1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup grated sharp cheese
/2 cup diced celery
½ cup diced green bell pepper
½ cup diced onion
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 jar (4 ounces) pimientos, diced
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon dried basil leaves

    Cook noodles according to package directions in boiling water until barely tender; drain and rinse thoroughly.
    In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients with noodles.  Make certain noodles are separated and coated with mixture.
    Pour mixture into greased (with Pam) slow cooker.
    Cover and cook and low 6-10 hours or high 3-4 hours.

 

CONFETTI BEAN SALAD (Serves 8-10)

I got this recipe when I was in Minnesota this summer; it’s a great summer salad.  It can be served as a side dish at potlucks and BBQs or even on its own with a cool drink when you are in the mood for something light and quick.  Interesting combination of ingredients; yet very tasty!

1 can (16 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained but not rinsed
1 can (16 ounces) pinto beans, drained but not rinsed
1 can (16 ounces) black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
½ cup diced red onion
1 celery stalk, halved lengthwise and then sliced
¼ cup ranch dressing
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper; optional
Salt and pepper
2-3 plum/Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1½ cups thinly sliced fresh spinach

    Combine all of the first 9 ingredients into a large serving bowl; season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until chilled.
    Just before serving, gently stir in the tomatoes and spinach.

 
CORN PUDDING  (Serves 10-12)

I came across this recipe when looking through my cook books.  I never had it before but remember hearing it was a southern favorite.  Boy, do they have that right!  This is absolutely delicious.  It’s supposed to be a side dish, but it could just as easily go as a dessert – it’s that good!

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/3 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn
1 can (16 ounces) cream-style corn
1 package (8½ ounces) corn bread muffin mix
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Lightly grease your crock pot.  In a mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, eggs, and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Transfer to your crock pot.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

 
CRANBERRY RELISH WITH TANGERINE AND MINT -- (Serves 10-12)

This fresh, uncooked relish is also excellent with ham, pork, and game.

3 cups (12 ozs.) fresh or frozen cranberries
2 unpeeled tangerines
1/2 cup packed fresh mint sprigs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Wash and pick over the cranberries. Cut the tangerines into eights and remove all the seeds. Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and grind into a fine puree. Pour into a medium bowl. Cover and chill. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.


CRANBERRY PORK -- (Serves 6-8)
 

1 boneless rolled pork loin roast (3-4 lbs), halved
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can (14 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup cranberry juice
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup water
Salt to taste


    1.     In a  Dutch oven, brown roast in oil on all sides over medium-high heat.  Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker.  Combine the cranberry sauce, sugar, cranberry juice, mustard, pepper and cloves; pour over roast.

    2.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.   Remove roast and keep warm.

    3.  In a saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, and salt until smooth.  Stir in cooking juices.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.   Serve with roast.


 CRANBERRY SOUP (Serves 8)

Whether you are staying home for the holidays or visiting others, ‘tis the season for this hearty and tasty dessert, a New England tradition.  Enjoy this one.

1 pound fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
1 large cinnamon stick
½ cup sugar or less, depending on tartness of cranberries
2 cups evaporated skim milk
½ cup plain lowfat yogurt
Nutmeg

    Place cranberries and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan.  Add water to level about ½ inch above the berries.
    Heat to a boil at medium heat; reduce heat and simmer until cranberries are very tender and beginning to fall apart.  Remove cinnamon stick.
    Pour cranberry mixture into a blender.  Puree, slowly, adding sugar to taste.  Strain.
    Place cranberry mixture and evaporated milk in saucepan; reheat to just under a boil.  Serve hot or cold, topped with a tablespoon of yogurt and a dash of nutmeg.

 

 CREAMED CORN -- (Serves 6)

 

2 ounces low-fat cream cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons of low-fat milk
1 can (14.75 ounces) cream-style corn
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions

    Cook cream cheese and milk in a medium saucepan on medium heat until cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently.
    Add cream-style corn and thawed corn.  Stir.  Cook 4 minutes or until heated throughout, stirring occasionally
    Spoon into a serving disk, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and green onions
    Jazz it up if you like a hint of spice but adding a dash or two of hot sauce.

 

CREAMY DIJON-DILL POTATO SALAD (Serves 12)

I’m sticking to the classic salads for my BBQ, and there’s nothing more classic BBQ than a good home-style potato salad.  This one is rich in flavor, but still light and fresh thanks to the dill and lemon juice.  There’s nothing worse than mushy potatoes, so make sure to start your spuds off in cold water and to cook them whole.

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (leave whole)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 stalks of celery
1 cup mayonnaise (light works fine)
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
¼ cup tightly packed chopped fresh dill
1-2 tablespoons vinegar
½ lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    Put the potatoes in a big pot with enough cold water to cover by
    1 inch.  Season with salt and bring the water to a boil.  Cook just until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.
    Drain the potatoes and return them to the uncovered pot off heat.  Let them sit until almost room temperature (cooling them in the warm pot will get rid of any excess water in the potatoes – that’s good!)
    Meanwhile, cut the white parts off the ends of the celery stalks.  Cut the stalks in half lengthwise and then across into 1/4 inch slices.  Stir celery, ¾ teaspoon salt, and the remaining ingredients together in a large serving bowl.
    When they are cool, cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces and add them to the bowl as you go.  Stir gently until all the potatoes are coated with dressing.  You can make the salad a couple of hours in advance.  Keep covered at room temperature.  Don’t refrigerate or the potatoes will lose their rich, smooth texture.

 

 CRUNCHY PEA SALAD -- (Serves 8-10)

Another great summer salad.  It has many of the requisite vegetables, but also has the nice addition of cashews just before serving that bring a unique taste and texture to the salad.

10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
1 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1/4 cup diced scallions
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped grated carrots
8 ounce container of sour cream
1 cup Hidden Ranch dressing
Bacon bits
1 cup chopped cashews

    Combine all of the ingredients except the cashews and chill for at least 2 hours
    Right before serving, add the cashews.  If you add them before, they will get soft.