Let's Cook

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ginger Molasses Cookies---Soft & Chew Goodness!

Ginger and Molasses just were meant to be together...they are a perfect couple. Being a texture kind of gal, I personally prefer a crunch ginger snap cookie but I couldn't help but fall in love with this recipe! Oh, the ooey gooey goodness of molasses and spices of ginger, clove and cinnamon....uhmmmm!  My spin on this recipe is that I used sorghum molasses that I bought at the Country View Mennonite store while home in TN during Thanksgiving. I can honestly say that I'm convinced the fresh sorghum made these cookies the divine little chewy gems that they are. So make a batch of these and hide a few for yourself to enjoy with a cup of coffee (or Tea my friend Kathy!) on the porch before everyone else wakes up. It will be a perfect start to your day! Enjoy :)

 Ultimate Ginger Molasses Cookies


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses (I used pure sorghum molasses)
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Note: I thought the dough was too soft to roll up by hand so I just dropped the dough by good spoonfuls onto the baking sheet and sprinkled the tops with some sugar before putting into the oven. Turned out great!

Soft Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies :) YUM
***The original recipe for this cookie is from:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mixed Pepper and Chicken Enchiladas

The company I used to work for contracted with Sanderson Farms to build a feed mill. I met some wonderful folks from Sanderson Farms and am on their mailing list for new recipes they come up with. This is a recipe I received several years ago and it was a hit then and it still is! This is a stick to  your bones kind of meal and great for a cold winter weekend meal. I will say this though...if you think that you'll have enough for left overs, use corn tortillas. The flour tortillas will get soggy on you and well, if you're somewhat of a texture person like I am, you won't appreciate that soggy enchilada even if it does taste awesome!

Saute Red Peppers and a Pablano Pepper in 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Shred chicken that you've cooked the night before in a slow cooker. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic to taste.

Add cilantro, adobo sauce and corn. Stir til heated throughout.

Spoon 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the chicken/vegetable mix onto the tortilla

Place the rolled tortillas tightly in a 13 x 9 dish and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree heated oven for 20 -25 minutes just until heated and bubbling. Drizzle with Lime Cream.

Mixed Pepper and Chicken Enchiladas w/ Lime Cream

Cook 4 chicken breasts in slow cooker. Season them to taste. I use cumin, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Shred.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Red pepper, diced
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 tsp cmin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp frozen or canned corn (drain)
Flour or Corn Tortillas
1 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese blend or Cheddar

Lime Sauce:

Sour Cream and Lime Juice = for 1 cup of sour cream stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

In a saute pan, heat a Tbsp of olive oil. Add red peppers, poblano pepper, onion, cumin, chili powder and salt. Saute until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add cilantro, adobo sauce, and corn. Stir to heat through.

Spray a large oven proof dish (or two medium-sized dishes) with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon about 1/2 cup of chicken mixture onto each tortilla, roll and place in pan. enchiladas should be placed tightly in the pan. Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Place in heated oven and bake until cheese is melted and Enchiladas are heated through about 20 minutes. Drizzle with Lime Cream when you serve these.

Sweet Potato Biscuits--YUM!

It seems there is an over abundance of sweet potatoes around this time of year but they are so versatile not to mention they are also good for you! Healthy food can taste good! However, some of that nutritional value may be lost in the fat and flour of this recipe but hey, we all need some comfort food once in a while. It's a warm rainy morning here and these little gems fit the bill for a comfort food breakfast.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup of buttermilk
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 425. Stir together the flour and sugar. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles corn meal.

Make a "well" in the center of the flour and pour in the mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk. Stir with a fork, folding in the sweet potatoes and buttermilk until this "glob" makes a soft ball of dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and either pat out or roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter and place on greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter. We like these with butter and REAL maple syrup. These are great with ham!

Pastry cutters are so much easier to use than a fork when incorporating butter or shortening into flour. I highly recommend you get one if you don't have one! My girls will attest to the fact that I do like a well equipped kitchen :)

Stir in the buttermilk and sweet potatoes.

Place the soft ball of dough on a lightly floured surface.

Pat or roll out (I just pat these out by hand) and cut with a biscuit cutter.

Place in a lightly greased baking pan and a preheated 400 degree oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes...serve hot with butter and maple syrup. uhmmmm :)

Note: These biscuits are not a "mile high" biscuit but more of a "tea biscuit". If you want a thicker biscuit, then cut them about 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick. Depending on your oven, you might bake them another minute or two because they are thicker.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chocolate Rum Balls---the Easy Way!

I am not sure that this falls under the category of Southern Food but it does contain rum and chocolate so it definitely should be included!! Somewhere, I have in a stack of cookbooks, my tried and true recipe for chocolate rum balls that is made by crushing vanilla wafers, melting chocolate, mixing in a bit of Karo syrup...etc. You get the picture! BUT...this year, I was in a hurry and well, I guess I got lazy. I found this recipe and tweaked it a bit and I have to say, I may never bother to find that old recipe. This one is just too yummy and too easy!

Chocolate Fudge Rum Balls

1 box of your favorite 13 x 9 size brownie mix
Rum (my fav is coconut rum)

Make the brownies according to the directions except maybe cook them an extra minute or two. We need them to be dry! Once they are cool, cut in large squares and crumble into a mixing bowl. (Again, if they aren't crumbling, just run them through the toaster oven for a minute or two)

Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your favorite rum over the crumbs and mix with your hands. This is going to be sticky. Chill for about 20 minutes then roll by spoonfuls into balls. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill again for about 20-30 minutes. (So you need a little patience for this but it is so worth it!)

While the chocolate rum balls are chilling in the frig, sift together 2 Tbsp good quality unsweetened cocoa with a cup of confectioner sugar. Pour into a zip lock baggie.

Remove the balls from the frig and drop into the zip lock with the sugar/cocoa mixture and shake a bit to coat. Place the balls back on the cookie sheet and let them set for a bit and then put into an airtight container. I let these "cure" in the frig for about 5 days before serving.

The only picture I don't have here is the empty container! They didn't last long and got rave reviews from my girls!

Golden Pecan Pie

I am just back this week from visiting TN for the Thanksgiving holidays and brrrr, it was much colder than here in South Florida!! BUT, the season continues and I am behind on baking and decorating so I had best get busy!

Today, I am gathering recipes for the weekend ahead of baking and came across this pecan pie recipe that I just made for Thanksgiving. It is by far our favorite and honestly, I only had a small sliver of that pie before it was devoured!! I believe fresh pecans, if you're so lucky to have them, make this pie the best!

Golden Pecan Pie

3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt (unless you used salted butter!...then omit this)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
1 9" pie crust

Mix all ingredients except pecans. Mix well. Add pecans. Bake in a 375 preheated oven for 12 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 325 and continue to bake for 30 minutes. If the crust looks like it's getting too brown, just lay a sheet of foil over the top for the last 10 minutes or so.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkey Tetrazzini

This recipe came from my Aunt Faula Tipton's church cookbook, Forest Hills Baptist Church in Brentwood, TN. I made this for the first time over 30 years ago and it's just as big a hit now as it was then. It is totally different than any Tetrazinni recipe I've ever found and it's my favorite. It's a perfect way to use that leftover Thanksgiving turkey. This casserole freezes very well!

Turkey Tetrazinni

4 cups shredded turkey
1/2 lb spaghetti
1 small jar of salad green olives
1/2 lb shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pecan pieces
1 pt of chicken stock
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6-7 ribs of chopped celery
2 small onions, chopped
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Cook the celery and onion in 3 Tbsp butter until tender; add chicken stock and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add slowly to the soup - add cheese. Boil and rinse the spaghetti; add to the stock mixture. Let stand for one hour! Add the turkey, olives and pour into a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

TIP: Chicken works great with this, too!

THE Kahlua Cake

Oh there are so many stories about this cake. I'll share just one or two. First, the original recipe I found many years ago had 1/4 cup of Kahlua. My version uses 3/4 cup and then requires another 1/4 cup for sipping while you bake this cake! uhmm uhmm uhmm!

I usually make this at Thanksgiving. One year, while baking at my daughters, I used a new measuring cup that was actually a 4 cup and not the 2 cup typically found in her kitchen which shouldn't matter except that I totally missed the measuring of the Kahlua and added 1 and 3/4 cup of Kahlua. You know the alcohol does cook out of the cake or so we've been told. Apparently NOT if you add this much alcohol. What we noticed was that after eating a piece of this cake, everyone's cheeks became flushed. I did finally figure out what had happened but you know, the cake was devoured and not one complaint!

My friends aunt asked me for this recipe one year after our Thanksgiving get together. Aunt Betty is a teetotaler. She spent the better part of 30 minutes hunting for Kahlua in the local Albertsons. Finally, she asked a clerk where exactly was the Kahlua? Of course, he explained to her that it was alcoholic and she would have to go to the liquor store to purchase it. To our surprise, she sent her son to the liquor store to buy it for her! Apparently the Kahlua cake had left quite an impression on Aunt Betty!

It is so good and it is wonderful warm. I have even taken a tablespoon of Baileys Irish Creme and sifted confectioners sugar and made a glaze to drizzle over this cake. Oh my...it just rocks! Enjoy!

Kahlua Cake

1 Swiss chocolate cake mix (Use Duncan Hines...Devils Food if you can't find Swiss)
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups sour cream (do not use the less fat or lite version...you need the fat to make this cake work well)
3/4 cup Kahlua
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients and bake for 50-60 minutes in 350 oven. Use bundt/tube pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.


1 cup sifted confectioner sugar
2 Tbsp warmed Baileys Irish Creme
1 tbsp melted butter

Add a little more confectioner sugar if necessary to get the desired consistency. I have taken a fork and poked a few tiny holes in the top of the cake before pouring this glaze over it.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

I have a confession to make....I love making this pudding but I don't like to eat it. I don't like anything that implies "custard" because I don't like eggs very much. Now with that said, I will make chocolate custard pie and eat it without a second thought. I love chocolate that much!

Aunt Byd Bailey requested I make this pudding for her when she was sick and in the last days of her life as she battled cancer. I was scheduled to go out of town but as soon as I got back, I whipped up this pudding and took it to her house. Well, I was too late. Aunt Byd was in a coma and she never did wake up. We lost her later that night. But I always felt so awful that it was the one food she thought she wanted to eat and I couldn't get it to her in time. On the brighter side, the family that came to the home in the following days did get to enjoy it and Aunt Byd would have been pleased by that. She was all about her family!!

This makes a small pudding, about a 2 quart casserole dish size. Double it if you want a 13 x 9 pan.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

1 cup of sugar
1 3/4 cups of milk
2 Tbsp +1 tsp corn starch OR flour
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter
Ripe bananas--about 3 medium or 4 small
Box of vanilla wafers
Cool Whip or Meringue

Mix the sugar and corn starch into a 2-3 qt. saucepan. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the milk. Add the milk/egg mixture to the sugar mixture. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. It will begin to hold its shape a little when dropped from the spoon. I always use a wooden spoon to stir this. Approximately time to cook is 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter. Stir until the butter is melted.

Layer first the custard, then bananas, then vanilla wafers ending with custard. Top the custard with Cool Whip, whipped cream or meringue that you've made from the egg whites.

NOTE: I rarely make meringue, although I can, because honestly, no one in our bunch likes meringue. My daddy used to call is "cow slobber". That might be part of the reason I don't care for meringue! BUT, it does look nice and I will add a good recipe for meringue for those who do like it. The bananas must have some dark spots which means the sugar is coming up into the fruit. Otherwise, the flavor will not be the same. Adding the bananas to the warm custard really does bring out the flavor of the bananas. Let this stay in the frig a few hours or overnight before serving.

Banana Pudding--The Summer Version

I have two banana pudding recipes that I use all the time. That's because I'm not so keen about standing over the stove stirring the custard base for the old fashioned banana pudding. So I call this recipe my Summer Banana Pudding.

Banana Pudding - No Cooking required

1 large pkg instant vanilla pudding OR 2 small pkgs.
2 1/2 cups of cold milk

Mix the pudding with the cold milk until it begins to hold its shape.

Add 1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk and 8 oz thawed Cool Whip

Alternate layers of pudding with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers; top with remaining cool whip and a pretty layer of whole vanilla wafers.

Refrigerate and chill several hours before serving.

I typically will use 4 large bananas. You want to use bananas that are just beginning to get the dark spots on them. If not, they'll be green and the pudding will be flavorless. If there are too many spots, the bananas will just mush up and that's not good.

I use either/or vanilla, french vanilla, banana, cream cheese flavored puddings. I think my favorite is to use one small pkg cream cheese instant pudding and one small pkg of the banana flavored instant pudding.

Almond Joy Cake

Barbara McKean, mother to one of my very closest and best friends, was one of 4 people who influenced me as a young woman learning to cook. This recipe is one of hers and although I don't think I ever made one that she had made, because it was hers, I knew it had to be good and I wasn't wrong. I've made this cake many times and shared the recipe almost as many. However, there is one time that I remember more vividly than the rest.

I made this cake for a Christmas gathering and as always, it turned out beautifully. I couldn't find sliced almonds at the grocery so I just bought whole almonds and sliced them myself. Then I placed each almond slice ever so carefully across the cake and stood back to admire it. Gorgeous! I covered the cake and proceeded to clean up the big mess I had made. As I began to wash dishes, I realized I had a nail missing. A nice, long, red nail (polished with OPI I'm Really Not A Waitress red). I remember details like that. Anyway...the nails was gone or at least the end of it was gone. How in the world......? Then it hit me...the realization of where that nail was! Somewhere in that beautiful white bed of sliced almonds was my nail....I just knew it!!  And I was right! I looked for a suspicious almond that might have a shadow of red under it and yep, it was there! In the process of slicing those almonds, I had just sliced so neatly through that acrylic nail. That was some kind of sharp knife!!

I called my nail tech who got such a kick out of the whole story, she didn't even charge me to repair it. Oh horror of horrors if someone had bitten into that nail!!

Almond Joy Cake

1 chocolate cake mix baked according to directions. I use Duncan Hines Devils Food and it's my preferred cake mix for this recipe.

Mix: 1 cup evaporated milk (Pet or Carnation); 1 cup of sugar

Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Add 7 oz jar of marshmallow creme. Blend well and then add 11 oz. bag of coconut.  Stir well. Pour over the warm cake-spreading evenly.

Heat: 1 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup Pet or Carnation milk

Bring to rolling boil. Remove from heat and add 1 stick of butter. Stir until melted. Add 1 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is my favorite)

Stir until melted. Pour over the cake. Place slivered almonds on top.

Grandma George's Fudge

It's been a crazy week. The one thing I despise more than traveling on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is traveling on the day before Thanksgiving! Typically I plan better and get the traveling done much earlier in the week but this year, the weather has not cooperated.It's all good though because I cannot wait to see the kiddos and grandkids!!

For me, Thanksgiving signals "Let the Baking Begin". I love to bake...I also love to eat it but I enjoy it much more that other likes to eat what I bake! So I wanted to share a few favorite recipes that I like to make and share with others during this festive time of the year.

Christmas is not the same without fudge...chocolate fudge to be exact. Now, I know that the recipe that is tried and true that involves boiling canned milk and adding chocolate chips is a big hit. I get that. I never turn it down. BUT, I believe if you are wanting to learn some of the real arts of cooking, one must learn how to make REAL fudge. You know, the boil the sugar, milk, etc. to softball stage. To help with this, you can always use a candy thermometer to get that fudge to the soft ball temperature but I am going to make an attempt to tell you how. Never fear, you probably won't get it right the first time because it usually takes practice. If you do get it right...well, then kudos!!

This recipe came out of my Grandma George's cookbook. "Mammy George" was my daddy's momma. She was almost 5'2 and was about as round as she was tall. She had blue gray hair and had the sweetest giggle. She also was my partner in crime. I was allergic to cats and dogs and whenever I was allowed to spend the night, my step-mothers last words were "leave the cats alone!" Of course, as soon as she had left and was no longer within sight, Grandma let me go outside and catch my favorite kitten. Life was good at the farm!

OKAY....the recipe:

Grandma George's Fudge

3/4 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 Tbsp Karo syrup
pinch of salt

Boil at medium heat until this makes a soft ball in cold water OR 234 on candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add:
Butter the size of a walnut (I always thought that meant 2 Tbsp--big walnut I guess!)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Let cool without stirring until the bottom of the pan feel warm to the touch. THEN beat with a mixer until the fudge loses its glossy look. It will also begin to "mound" as you beat it. Pour into a well buttered 8x8 pans.

TIPS: On rainy days, let the empty pan "warm" just a little on the stove first before adding ingredients. Stir the fudge constantly until it reaches a full rolling boil and then begin checking it for the softball stage...(1/2 cup of cold water. Let two or three drops of fudge drip into the cold water. It has reached soft ball stage when you put your fingers into the water and can roll it into a soft ball that holds its shape with your fingertips.) Also, a stainless steel pot with a copper bottom just tends to make the best fudge!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Turkey Breast Slow Cooker Style

This is just the absolute best way to cook a turkey breast. It will be so moist and juicy and the meat can be used so many ways. Sandwiches, casseroles, etc. I've done this when we have a cajun fried turkey for Thanksgiving but need more of the breast meat to feed the masses!

Turkey in a Slow Cooker

turkey breast - frozen or slightly thawed

size depends on your slow cooker

Rub the turkey breast in olive oil or butter. Salt well.

Place in the slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook 8-12 hrs on low depending on how fast your slow cooker cooks and how big/frozen the turkey breast is. Test to make sure it's done by poking it with a large fork and juice runs clear. The breast bone should literally just pull out of the meat.

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars

This is one of those recipes that you have so many times, you don't even know if it's written down anywhere! I do remember that I found this on a bag of chocolate chips when Amanda was a little girl so that's been over 30 years. You can use chunky or smooth peanut butter. This is like a chewy peanut butter brownie with ripples of chocolate through it. I like to use Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips for this and I love to eat this still warm...it's just lots of goodness going on when you bite into this!

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars

¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
1/3 cup margarine/butter
½ cup peanut butter
2 eggs
¾ cup self-rising flour
½ tsp. Vanilla
1 ½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat over to 375. Cream together the sugars and margarine; add eggs and vanilla; stir in flour. Spread in pan (8x11 or a 8 x 8 square) that is greased. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the batter and place in the oven for 5-6 minutes (chocolate will begin to melt). Remove from the oven and with a knife, swirl the chocolate chips ONCE through the batter. (more than that and it mixes with the batter and that’s not what you want. Just move the knife down through the batter). Return the pan to the oven and bake another 25 minutes. More if using an 8x8 because the batter will be thicker.
If you only have plain flour, add ½ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp salt

Broccoli Casserole

We always make this at Thanksgiving. I think my sister-in-law Judy started this tradition and now it's just expected to have this on the table. Nobody has ever asked me "are we having broccoli casserole this year?" Thanks Judy!! Ha!

Broccoli Casserole

2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli
8 ounces Velveeta
1/4 stick butter
32 Ritz crackers, crushed or plain crackers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Place half the broccoli in casserole dish and cover with half the cheese. Repeat to finish up the broccoli and cheese.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; add the cracker crumbs and stir until evenly coated. Sprinkle over the last layer of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

White Chicken Chili

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, it's always good to have ideas for that leftover turkey. Chicken or turkey both work great for this and it just gets better each time it's warmed up. I do add jalapeno's for the gang that likes more spice to their food. You can also mix up the beans. I've used pinto and white beans and occasionally thrown in a can of rinsed black beans! This freezes well, too. So double the recipe and when it is completely cool, bag it in a gallon freezer bag or freezer container to have on those nights you don't want to cook!!

White Chicken Chili

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Onions
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2-3 cups cooked chicken
3 cans chicken broth
2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cans Great Northern beans
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Tortilla chips

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and saute' for 10 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add chicken, chicken broth, green chilies, cayenne, oregano and cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and add beans. Simmer at least 30 minutes before serving. Pour into bowls, add cheese and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Citrus Pound Cake

This recipe comes from Tammy Dean via my daughter, AJ and OH MY...it is so good. No glaze necessary on this cake. I typically use butter instead of margarine because margarine is just glorified plastic. Also, I copy/pasted this recipe as it came to me so what it doesn't define is the type of cake pan. A Bundt pan works great for this cake. No tube pan necessary. But do grease and flour well.

I made this just a few weeks ago and froze half of it. It was wonderful!

Citrus Pound Cake

3 c. flour
3 c. sugar
2 sticks margarine or butter (room temp)
5 eggs (room temp)
1/2 c. oil
1 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/2 tsp. orange extract

350 cold oven
Add sugar and margarine; then add eggs one @ a time
Add oil a little @ a time, add flour and milk alternating, then add extracts, grease pan & dust with flour. Bake for 1 1/2 hrs.

Crock Pot Dressing

Several years ago, a friend from work brought this to our Thanksgiving luncheon and it's become my favorite dressing! My spin on this is because none of our gang really is crazy about sage, I just use the poultry seasoning. There is the tiniest bit of sage in it...just enough for some good flavor but not overwhelming. And for this to really rock, mix it all up in a bowl the night before and refrigerate until you are ready to pour up into the crock pot for cooking. This lets all of that flavor come together. Because it's going to be cold, add a couple of hours to the cook time. No picture yet for this one!! I'll add it soon. Enjoy!!

Crockpot Dressing

8” cornbread, crumbled (I  use two boxes of Jiffy mix cornbread if I'm in a pinch)
8 slices dry bread, crumbled
1 medium chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tablespoon rubbed sage (do not use ground sage) OR 2 Tbsp Poultry seasoning
2 tsp sugar
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup
l/2 cup water
2 T. margarine

Mix all together  in crockpot.  Cook 4 hours on low or 2 on high.  You will be able to tell from the consistency when it is done. I sometimes take the lid off the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Optional: I sometimes cook chicken parts or the whole chicken in a cup or two of water in the crockpot overnight (salt and pepper to taste). The next morning, remove the chicken from the pot and taking off the skin and removing bones...shred and set aside. Strain the liquid from the crockpot (this is some awesome stock!) and then put the dressing mix in the crockpot to cook while adding any additional chicken stock necessary. Stir in the chicken pieces the last hour of cooking. This is a good option if not everyone likes turkey for Thanksgiving. Plus, who says chicken and dressing is just for Thanksgiving?!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Apple Butter (slow cooker)

Thanks to my friend Bettye for sharing this picture!
Apple butter is probably my favorite spread for toast or biscuits and when it's home- made apple butter, that's even better. I don't think you can have too much cinnamon in this but then again, my bunch LOVES cinnamon so use it according to your taste. Also, all cinnamon is not created equal! A good Vietnamese cinnamon is stronger in taste and you won't need to use as much. If you are using a well known brand such as McCormick...then use liberally. It is much milder in taste.

I like to use a variety of apples. In my most recent batch, I used Macoun, McIntosh, Granny Smith and a few Fuji apples. You will want to mix some tart and some sweet to get a good flavor. Also, use a firm apple. The red and golden delicious are not typically good cooking apples.

I also make mine with the skin on. The reason is that all the pectin and nutrients are in the peeling. Once the apples have cooked, just ladle the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth and no one will ever know those peelings were on the apples. I promise!

Fill the slow cooker as full as possible with about 4-5 lbs apples that have been sliced/cored. If the lid doesn't fit all the way down, that's ok, just put a towel over it to help hold in the heat. The apples will "cook down" and will easily fit!

Cook 1 cup of apple cider, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup (REAL maple syrup) with the apples on low for about 7 hours. Ladle about 2 cups at a time into a food processor carefully (this stuff is hot!) and puree until there is no sign of a peeling! Pour out into a bowl and after all the apples have been pureed, return to the slow cooker and add the spices. Continue cooking with the lid OFF for about 2 hours. Tip: when the apples mixture sheets off the spoon, it is ready. Another test is to place a couple spoonfuls onto a saucer and when no rim of liquid separates around the edge of the butter, it is done!

Pour into hot sterilized jars and tighten the lid about 3/4 of a turn. After you've heard the beautiful popping sound that means yours jars have sealed, then finish tightening the lids.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

4-5 lbs variety of apples (McIntosh, Rome, Granny Smith, Macoun, Jonathan, Fuji)
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup (use 3/4 cup brown sugar if you don't have maple sugar)
3 tsp - 1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
grated lemon or orange peel

Wash apples, quarter and core. Cook on low 7 - 8 hours with the cider and sugar until soft. Puree apples in food processor until peeling and apples are a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture back to the slow cooker and add the spices and citrus zest. Continue cooking over low heat until butter has thickened. Tip: when the apples mixture sheets off the spoon, it is ready. Another test is to place a couple spoonfuls onto a saucer and when no rim of liquid separates around the edge of the butter, it is done!

Pour into hot sterilized jars. This makes about 4 pints.

Elvis Presley Cake

This cake has become one of the family favorites. It is rich...very rich...but it is very good!! A small piece goes a looong way!

Elvis Presley Cake (banana cake with peanut butter fluff icing)

Elvis Presley Cake

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dark rum
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour well, 2 nine inch cake pans.
Mix the flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl.

Beat the butter until it is creamy; add the sugars and beat for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the vanilla and rum.

At a lower speed on the mixer, add the bananas. Then begin adding the buttermilk and flour alternately beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (the rule of thumb in cake baking). Mix just until everything is incorporated. Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the cakes are a deep golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove them and cool completely on a rack.

Flutter Nutter Icing

1 cup marshmallow cream
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup soft butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup confectioner sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Combine the marshmallow cream and peanut butter until well blended; then add sugar and milk alternately. Beat in vanilla. Refrigerate 30 minutes before frosting the cake.

I typically add chocolate mini chips or drizzle ganache over the top of this cake. It just screams for chocolate :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Roll

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it was appropriate that "my" recipe for Pumpkin Roll be the first recipe posted. Pumpkin roll has become a tradition in our family and with friends. I've discovered that among some of the younger girls in the family that  don't necessarily tap into their domestic side on a regular basis, even they love to make this pumpkin roll.

So let's get started!

TIP: make sure you do beat the eggs for the full 3 minutes to incorporate enough air into the eggs so that you get a nice spongecake type texture. This will make rolling up the cake into a roll so much easier...it rarely cracks and well, it tastes so good! It's not your typical 'cake' texture.

Sift together the flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and baking powder. 

I like to use cotton tea towels....dust with confectioners sugar so that there's a light coating on the towel. 

Line the jelly roll pan (this one is 10 x 18 I believe) with wax paper or parchment paper like I did in this picture.

NOW....get those eggs to beatin' (3 eggs and 1 tsp lemon juice)...3 full minutes folks....no cheating on this part!

After the 3 minutes, add sugar slowly while mixer is still beating...and fold in pumpkin.

 Add the flour mixture and spread out evenly onto the parchment lined pan. 

 Bake in the 350 preheated oven for about 16 minutes....know your oven. If it cooks fast, make that 15 minutes, if it cooks slower then make that 18 minutes. If edges begin to break away from the paper, it's ready to take out of the oven!

Now, I wait about 5 minutes, then pic up the paper with and flip it right over onto the confectioner dusted towel. The paper should just peel right off. Don't be too rough with....gently peel it beginning on the long side of the pumpkin roll.

Beginning on one of the short ends, roll it with the towel....firmly...not a loose roll.

Then let it cool....COMPLETELY!

While it's cooling, you can clean up the mess you just made :) But trust me, it will be worth it...oh so worth it!! We've got more mess to make, too :) We're not done, yet!

While the pumpkin roll is cooling, soften 8 oz cream cheese and 4 Tbsp butter....cream the cheese and butter well, add 1/2 tsp vanilla and then gradually, add in 1 1/2 cup confectioner sugar. I usually sift mine first because it eliminates those pesky lumps. Once the roll has cooled, unroll it (see below) and spread the filling over it. Now, roll up again but carefully so as not to squish the filling out each end. After it's rolled up, I lay it on a sheet of Press 'n Seal, wrap it completely and then freeze until ready to use. 


3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder


1 1/2 cup sifted confectioner sugar
8 ozs softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp softened butter