Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Raspberry Pretzel Dessert

Well, it's  been a while since I've posted a new recipe!  But hopefully I will have a few good ones for Christmas up soon.  This is a great dessert to take to family get togethers.  It's made in a  9x13 pan and it's a beautiful red and white festive looking treat!

You start by crushing the pretzels.  I just put them in a freezer bag and crushed them with a rolling pin!  You could use a food processor, but I think it's better to leave a few little pieces or else you end up with almost a pretzel flour.  Mix the pretzels with sugar and melted butter...MMMmm..., press into pan and bake for 5-7 minutes.  Let it cool.

Now you mix the cream cheese, sugar and cool whip.  Then spread over the cooled crust and chill.

Dissolve the jello in the boiling water.  Chill until partially set.  Then stir in the frozen raspberries and spread over cream cheese.  Refrigerate until set.  You can do this a little bit ahead of time, but not really the night before. The raspberries thaw and get kind of soft.  It's still good...but not as good as when it's fresh.  I made the crust and cream cheese part the night before, and then added the jello/raspberries the next morning and it worked great. 

The mixture of the tart raspberries, the sweet cream cheese, and the salty crust make for the perfect dessert!  It's not too bad for breakfast the next day either ;-)

Raspberry Pretzel Dessert
1-1/2 cups pretzels, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
8-oz. Cool Whip, thawed
6-oz. pkg raspberry jello mix
2 cups boiling water
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen raspberries

Mix pretzels, sugar and butter; press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 pan to form a crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes; let cool. Combine cream cheese, sugar and Cool Whip; spread over baked crust and chill.  Combine jello and boiling water in a medium bowl; chill until partially set. Stir in frozen berries; spread over cream cheese layer.  Refrigerate until serving time.  Makes 12-15 servings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

crock-pot lemon chicken

We loooove this melt in your mouth lemony chicken!  After cooking in the crock pot it is just falling apart and so full of flavor. 

First off you mix together the spices and herbs, then rub onto the chicken.  I have used whole chicken breasts, but when I made this I was a little short on time so I cut the chicken into strips. 

After the spices, it's time to brown the chicken in butter...

After all of the chicken is browned, move it to the crock-pot.  To the leftover butter in the pan, add the water, lemon juice, garlic and bouillon.  Bring to a boil.

I usually double or triple the sauce ingredients just to make sure there will be plenty.  After bringing it to a boil, pour over chicken in crock-pot.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours, basting occasionally.  Thicken the cooking juices and serve with chicken and rice.

This is such a flavorful comforting meal.  It is often requested in this house by everyone!

Crock-pot lemon chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts
 1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 TB butter
1/4 cup water
3 TB lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used garlic powder in with the spices)
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
hot cooked rice

Pat chicken dry with paper towels.  Combine the oregano, seasoned salt and pepper; rub over chicken.  In a skillet over medium heat, brown the chicken in butter; transfer to a 5 qt. crock-pot.  Add water, lemon juice, garlic and bouillon to the skillet; bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits.  Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Baste the chicken.  If desired, thicken cooking juices and serve over chicken and rice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cranberry Nut Bread

As this time of year rolls family starts begging me to make cranberry bread!  Since you can only buy cranberries for a few months out of the year, we always buy some to use fresh and some to freeze.  I actually made this with frozen berries but it definitely works either way.  You can also get this recipe on pretty much any bag of cranberries.

First off you mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening.


Next stir in the orange juice, egg, and orange zest...just enough to moisten.  Then fold in the cranberries and nuts.  I used my food processor to chop them.  Before I had one, I just used a knife and a cutting board, but those cranberries are roly little stinkers and it's definitely faster to use the processor...just make sure you don't pulverize them.  You want fairly big chunks of berries.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  One tip: to keep your bread from sinking..only grease the bottom of the pan.  That way the bread clings to the sides as it bakes!

Mmmm..see the cranberries, pecans, and that orange zest?  Yum!

Cranberry Nut Bread
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 TB grated orange peel
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 TB shortening
3/4 cup orange juice
1 egg well beaten

Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening.  Stir in orange juice, egg and orange peel just enough to moisten.  Fold in cranberries and nuts.  Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees.  Test with a toothpick.  Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It's officially fall now and that means your house should smell like cinnamon!  Don't you think so?  How about a warm snickerdoodle cookie...
A few weeks before I got married, I started looking through all of the recipes that I for sure wanted to take with me.  I only copied a few down, but this one was a definite must!  These cookies are just so homey and I knew that I would be one homesick newlywed...these helped bring a little "home" with me.

You start by creaming the butter, shortening, sugar and eggs.

Next you blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Scoop the dough with a tablespoon or scoop and roll in the cinnamon and sugar.

Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  I did use parchment paper here because the sugar on the bottom of the cookie gets a little burned sometimes, but I haven't had that happen if I use the paper.
They are almost done.....!

Remove from cookie sheet immediately and cool on a wire rack.  Very good warm..almost as good cooled!

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

3 TB sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
  Heat oven to 400.  Cream butter, shortening, 1 1/2 c. sugar and eggs.  Blend in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Shape dough by tablespoons into balls.  Mix together and extra sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls into mixture.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 7-8 minutes or until set.  Immediately remove from baking sheet. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

For some reason, as soon as the weather cools off, I start wanting to bake these cookies.  I think they are a little extra special and perfect for the upcoming holidays.  Here is the process....

First you cream the butter and sugars, then the eggs and vanilla.  Then you add in the flour, baking soda, and cocoa.  Mix until combined...

Ignore the strange color in these photos.  I was making these at night with no natural light so these look a little weird!  Now comes the fun part...the caramel/chocolate candies!! 

I buy the great value caramel cups.  They are bigger than rolos and have more caramel!
(although I haven't bought them in a while..they seem smaller to me!)

Now you take about a tablespoon of cookie dough and wrap it around the chocolate, making sure to close up any gaps.  Make sure the candy is completely surrounded by dough

Then dip the tops of the cookie in sugar and chopped pecans and place a few inches apart on an ungreased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes or until set.  These are actually a little better once they've cooled because the caramel inside sets up.  Not that they are bad warm though!  You can just taste the caramel better.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 TB sugar, divided
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1 package chocolate/caramel cups

In a mixing bowl cream butter, 1 cup sugar, and brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.  Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture and beat just until combined.  Shape dough by tablespoonfuls around each candy.  In a small bowl, combine pecans and remaining sugar; dip each cookie halfway.  Place with nut side up on ungreased baking sheet.   Bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes or until top is slightly cracked.  Cool for 3 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ranger Cookies!!

I got this recipe from my mom who got it from an old cookbook written by a woman who cooked a lot in the 'good ol days'.  As I compared different recipes online (and they were all almost the exact same), I found out that this recipe is from the 20's or 30's.  I love the idea of baking things that people from different generations have baked.  I also love the idea of carrying on here are the Ranger Cookies..rice krispies, coconut, oats and all!  Mmmm...!

Ranger Cookies
1 c. shortening
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. quick oats
2 c. rice krispies
1 c. coconut

Blend shortening and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in the oats, rice krispies and coconut.  Scoop dough with a medium scoop or a rounded tablespoon and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  You might want to pat them down a little before baking.  Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes or until brown around the edges.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lemon Chicken Soup

Now that the cooler weather is here, it is soup time!!  Plus, it's also time for something savory instead of sweet!  This is one of the most requested soups around here..we all love it.  The lemon is sooo good!

Start by chopping up the carrots and onion. Then mince one clove of garlic.

Sautee carrots, onion and garlic until carrots are softened some.

Next, zest one lemon...with this handy dandy microplaner.  I love this tool!

Look at that beautiful lemon zest!  So much flavor here
Now juice 2 lemons.  You could use bottled lemon juice, but the zest makes such a difference it's best to buy lemons for the zest and juice.

Stir into the carrots - lemon zest, juice, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, stir in rice (I am using basmatti favorite!!)

Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender.
With about 5 minutes of cooking time left, add chopped cooked chicken.  I like to buy a lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken for this.  It's so quick and easy...and yummy!

Best enjoyed with a fresh baked batch of garlic cheese biscuits!

adapted from The Pampered Chef: It's Good For You cookbook
Lemon Chicken Soup
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1/2 c chopped onion
2 lemons (zest of 1)
2 TB snipped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 (10 3/4 oz) can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup
3 cans (14 1/2 oz each) chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2/3 c uncooked long-grain white rice
  Dizzle bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil.  Sautee carrots, onion and garlic until carrots are softened.  Stir in lemon juice, zest, soup, broth, and black pepper; bring to a boil.  Stir in rice; reduce heat.  Cover; simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender.  Add chicken, heat through.  Remove from heat; stir parsley into soup just before serving.  Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peanut butter chocolate-chip cookies

These would rank right up at the top as my husband's favorite cookie.  They aren't anything really special...they are just really good!

First off you cream the butter, sugars, and peanut-butter

Next you add the eggs and vanilla, beat well

Now comes the dry ingredients.  Mix well then add the milk chocolate chips

Scoop out cookies (I use a medium scoop)

Scoop them onto a baking sheet a few inches apart

Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes or until slightly browned around edges.

Grab a glass of milk and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate-Chip Cookies
3/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (12oz) pkg. milk chocolate chips

Beat butter, sugars and peanut butter in large bowl till fluffy.  Blend in eggs and vanilla.
Mix in flour, baking soda and salt.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop on cookie sheet by
medium scoop or rounded tablespoon.  Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes or till brown on edges. 
Makes approx. 3 dozen

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monster Chip Cookies

Okay, so these cookies are sooooo good and impressively big!  No calorie obsessing allowed.  Everyone knows you can't eat just one cookie...this one just saves you a trip!

Here is what you will need:

First off, you start by creaming the butter, shortening, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  I know its seems like a long time but definitely do it.  It will look like this:
Mmmm...ain't it purty?
Add the eggs one at a time then add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
So, this makes a big batch and a spoonful or two won't be missed from the bowl.  It's all about quality control.  It is this same commitment to quality that requires me to have a warm cookie straight out of the oven.  I also need to try one once they have cooled know.. just to make sure the texture is right.  This cookie making is serious business!

Now, time to get them on the cookie sheet.  I use parchment paper on my cookie sheet, but it's not a must.  You will use a 1/4 cup cookie dough for each cookie.
Yep..1/4 cup.  I only manage to get 6 on my cookie sheet at a time.  *Did you notice my Tupperware measuring cup?  From the set that I got at my wedding shower 18 years ago.  Thanks Mary Anna!
Since these will just be a blob, you will want to pat them down a little so that they cook evenly and if you just poke them some, then they will look more homemade.
Okay, into the oven they go...350 for 10-12 minutes.  Just until the edges start to brown.  In this house, an overdone, crunchy cookie is not welcome!
Oh my goodness!!  Good things are happening!!

Once they are done, let them cool in the pan for 2 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.  Then get a big glass of milk and enjoy!

Oh, and just for is the size of one cookie.  This recipe makes 28 cookies.  Now I might should mention that I don't have very big hands, but these are still nice big cookies.  Great for gifts too.
Monster Chip Cookies
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 -1/3 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 tsp baking soda
1- 1/2 tsp salt
1 (12oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (12oz) pkg milk chocolate chips
2 cups chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening, butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Add vanilla and lemon juice.  Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture; mix well.  Stir in chips and nuts.  Drop by 1/4 cupfulls 3 in. apart onto lightly greased baking sheets (or parchment lined).  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on edges and center is set.  Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.  Yield: about 28 cookies.