Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seafood Cheeseball

I happened into a party at my mom's hair salon years ago when one of her friends had made this tasty cheese ball. I'd never had anything like it at the time and loved it! Try it, you will too! It's most tasty and quite simple!

1 Pound Imitation Crab, chopped finely (use a food processor)
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
You'll also need:

Ritz Crackers
"Homemade" brand Chili Sauce (You'll find it in the small 1 cup jar near the other chili sauces at your local grocers.) *There's a photo of it below on another recipe.

Mix well. Serve as appetizers by spreading on Ritz crackers and then topped with a healthy dollop "Homemade" brand Chili Sauce or as a cheese ball with the chili sauce on the rim of the plate so that everyone will know to "double dip". I'm thinking of trying this recipe, just before serving, and use the melon baller to make little bite size cheeseballs, then roll them in crushed Ritz Crackers to serve the balls with hors' deurve toothpicks along side to dip in the chili sauce. They wouldn't keep well served this way for long, but they disappear quickly, I don't think that would be a problem. Trust me, the Chili Sauce is what makes this recipe! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Cranberry Salad

This salad has been a Thanksgiving tradition in our home since our first Thanksgiving. It's part of my "perfect bite" at the Thanksgiving meal. I always make it a day ahead, which is not the best idea because I want a bite every time I open the refrigerator all day long while cooking the big feast!

1 large box Raspberry Jello

2 cups hot water

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. lemon juice

1 can whole cranberry sauce, mashed

1 can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 cup chopped pecans

3-4 cups finely chopped apples (peels and all, if desired)

Dissolve the Jello and salt in the hot water. Add the lemon juice can of pineapple. Fold in the remaining ingredients. Pour into a very large mold or serve in a beautiful clear glass bowl. (It's very festive looking!) Cover and chill until served. Enjoy!

Fresh Cranberry Salsa!!!

OH MY GOSH! My friend, Liz called and shared this recipe tonight. Doug was stopping at the grocery store on the way home, so I asked him to pick me up a jalapeno and some fresh cranberries. THIS IS TO DIE FOR! It took me exactly five minutes start to finish to make it, using my food processor. WOW! Good stuff! The combination sounds very funky and I forgot to add the cumin first, which was good but with the cumin, it was fabulous! And it looks so festive!!

1 bag fresh cranberries

1 bunch of green onions, chopped (the entire thing all the way down to an inch from the end)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded then chopped

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (about 1/4 of a bunch is what I used)

Put in food processor and chop finely. Add:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 - 1 tsp. cumin

Spread 16 ounces of cream cheese, softened, into platter. Top with salsa. Serve with crackers or chips. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These are, without a doubt, the favored muffins in our home! The batch is huge, which makes for a great treat to take to any gathering at any time of the day. My favorite thank you for these tasty baked treats came from my friend, April, who said, "My boys just looked at them like 'Pumpkin? No thanks! Then they promptly woofed down everyone of them!" They are especially good on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning... prepared a day in advance, just pop them in the microwave and they are perfect for a snack/breakfast before the big meal! We are planning on delivering them to a friends and neighbors this year while the turkey is cooking! Enjoy!

2 cups oil

2 cups brown sugar

4 cups sugar

Beat together and add:

8 beaten eggs

1 1/2 TBLS baking soda, dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water

4 cups pumpkin (I use one large can, even though it's about 1/3 cup short)

7 cups flour

2 tsps baking powder

2 tsps salt

1 1/2 tsps ginger

2 tsps cloves

2 tsps nutmeg

4 tsps cinnamon

Mix well, then add:

1 cup warm water

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1cup milk chocolate chips

Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake @ 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes as soon as they start to brown. Do not over cook.


on cooking turkeys... last year, after I shared this on my daily blog, I received so many emails saying that they'd tried cooking their turkey this way and what a huge hit it was. So, I share this little gem again. Years ago, we learned this great Thanksgiving tip. Cook your turkey upside down!! We use a Reynold's Browning Bag. Season the turkey as always, flour the bag, then place the turkey inside the bag breast side down. Place the browning bag in your roasting pan (I use the big foil ones because it is a great place to debone the meat and just toss the whole thing afterward. Mr. Granolaman, my husband, says that I "owe the earth an apology" every time I use a foil baking pan. but I can live with that once a year.) It makes the turkey heavenly moist because the drippings from the dark meat flow into the breast meat while it's cooking. Bake Mr. Gobble at about 285° all night long. Sllllooooooooow cooking is the key! Note: The little red thermometer will pop way early because it's in the juices, so you have to disregard it as your "it's done" gage. We usually put Mr. G. in the oven right before bedtime and by morning (around six to eight hours for our normal 22 pound turkey), the yummy smell will wake everyone up. You'll smell it and know that it's time to start checking. But, the best part is that when you pull Mr. Gobble out of the bag, the meat just falls off the bones. So far, it's never failed us! If you like to have the picture perfect golden delicious turkey on the platter to carve, this is not the method for you. The breast is buried in juices and does not brown. For us, eating a moist turkey sliced on a platter is more important than looking like the Waltons for the one moment before we eat. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Natalie's amazing fruity oatmeal bars!

Natalie brought these to the ranch for our girls' night out and they were to die for!! I can't wait to try them with other dried fruits. We talked about dried blueberries, apricots, craisins, cherries or dates. Natalie's had cherry. I'll be making them with blueberries very soon!


3 cups flour
3 cups of oats (Natalie used quick-oats)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 cups brown sugar

Add: 2 cups melted butter (and you wonder why they are so good!)

Sift the dry ingredients and then mix in the butter. Press half of the dough into a cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350°.

Prepare the filling:
Put 2 - 3 cups of dried fruit in a saucepan with 1 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil then add 1/2 cup white sugar mixed with 2 tbsp. cornstarch. Pour the filling over the hot crust. Crumble the remaining cookie crust over the top. Make for thirty more minutes.


Italian Chicken

This photo is not mine! I found it at because I was too busy serving the chicken to take pictures of the chicken. This recipe is a sure way to please your family or guests! Quick and simple main dishes that are this tasty are just too good to be true.

Chicken breasts or tenders (I made 16 breasts using the remaining ingredients)

1 large sour cream (You could use the low-fat or no-fat kind, I'm sure.)

2 packages italian dressing mix

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 box Ritz crackers

1 stick of butter, melted

Wash the chicken breasts. Mix sour cream and italian dressing mix. Dip each breast into the sour cream mix and then roll into crushed Ritz crackers. Pour or gently brush the melted butter over the chicken breasts. Bake in a buttered baking dish at 350° over for the first half hour. Then, uncover and continue to bake for another half hour. Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pumpkin Roll

This is something that I'd never tried making but it's probably my most favorite fall treat ever. In October, I thought that I'd get brave and give it a shot. Denise walked me through it over the phone and I was amazed at how quick and easy this dessert is to make! Try it! People will think that you've become the next Martha! Try it, I promise, it's not hard at all!!

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin

1 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

Prepare the jelly roll pan by laying a piece of parchment paper that covers it completely with an extra few inches on each end. Spray Pam or a cooking oil spray heavily onto the paper. Mix the ingredients well and then pour the mix into the jelly roll pan. Bake for fifteen minutes at 350°. Sprinkle or dust powdered sugar over the baked roll. Cool for a few minutes, but do not wait until the roll is cold. Cover the cake with another piece of sprayed parchment paper. While baking, mix the filling until smooth and creamy.


8 oz. cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

4 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Carefully, flip the cake out of the pan and onto the counter, so that it is sandwiched between the two pieces of parchment paper. If you place another jelly roll pan on top, sandwiching the cake between the two pans, then flip it, it lessons the chance of the cake falling apart. Remove the top piece piece of parchment paper. Spread the filling over the partially cooled cake. Then, lifting the parchment paper slowly, roll the pumpkin roll gently lengthwise. (If your pan is a 10x15" pan, roll it starting at the 10" end.) Wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill for a few hours. Slice the pumpkin roll after it has completely cooled. Sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar before serving. Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

the battle of the Caramel Corns

Connie and I go the rounds on this one because until I tried hers, I always thought that I made the best caramel corn in the world! Doug loves mine because it's baked and not so sticky. I now love Connie's because it's ooey and gooey and very simple to make! So, here's both our recipes! The photo is of Connie's. Mine looks like Cracker Jacks when I bake it. Below is another version of mine and it's out of this world delish! It's alway a perfect little holiday neighbor or office gift! (I'll try to remember to photograph it when I make some in the upcoming weeks.)

Connie's Caramel Corn

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup Karo syrup

1/2 cup butter

Place in large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil five minutes. Stir in one can of sweetened condensed milk. Pour over 4 bags of microwave popcorn.

My Caramel Corn

Melt 2 sticks of butter in a large saucepan. Stir in:

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add:

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Bake at 250° on a greased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and it will cool crunchy.

OR ~ and oh, is this a great OR!!!

Do not bake. Mix the caramel corn and, while still warm, toss in a bag of milk chocolate chips and 1 small can of cashews or pecans or peanuts. Toss well. Once cool, dish into large cellophane bags and tie with raffia or ribbon, add a cute tag and you've got a very tasty, cute gift that will be talked about for a long time!

Note: This recipe is finger licking good! Prepare to gain five pounds before the batch has disappeared or put on your walking shoes and walk a few extra miles for the next few days! Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie

If you know me, you know that anything is better with cream cheese in it! Here's one of the tastiest pumpkin pies I've ever had!

1 graham cracker crust

First layer:

4 oz. Cream Cheese

1 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 cups whipped cream

Second Layer:

1 cup milk

1 large box vanilla instant pudding

1 16 oz. can pumpkin

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Mix cream cheese, milk and sugar. Fold in the whipped cream gently. Spread on the bottom of the graham cracker pie crust. In separate bowl, add milk to pudding mix. Beat 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and spices. Spread over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving. Top with more whipping cream and a light sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

Barbie's Quick and Easy Rice Pilaf

I've neglected the cooking blog for the past few weeks because life has just been a bit too busy! Our adoption was final and we have been too busy celebrating to think about anything else! So, getting back to the business of cooking, here's a tried and true favorite that is so so simple! Great side dish for a busy night when you don't have time to hang out in the kitchen. Toss a roast in the crockpot in the morning and you've got a great start to a great dinner!

6 cups water

3 cups rice (not instant)

2 pkgs. onion soup mix

2 tsp. boullion

1/2 cup butter

Mix in a 9x13 baking pan. Cover. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350°. Enjoy!!