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Friday, December 30, 2011

Bacon & Crackers

I decided to finish up the year with another really simple recipe.  This recipe came from a recipe book that was published by Sardis United Methodist Church Ladies Club of Hartford, Alabama.  This is the same cookbook that I got the recipe for Peach Cobbler To Die For.  Need I say more...this group of ladies can cook. 

Happy New Year's to all of you!

                                                             Bacon & Crackers

Waverly Crackers
Thin Strips of Bacon

Wrap crackers with thin strips of bacon.  Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours or until bacon is crisp. 

So Simple and So Good!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ranch Potatoes

In the spring of the year when our fresh potatoes come in, we cook potatoes every way that we can imagine.  We bake them, fry them, and boil them.  It's still several months before we will have fresh potatoes in our garden but you can usually find red potatoes at the grocery store.  This makes a good side dish for a meal. 

                                                          Ranch Potatoes

Red Potatoes
Ranch Dry Mix
1 cup milk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 stick butter, melted

Wash red potatoes but do not peel.  Cut to desired thickness and boil for 10 min. and then drain.  Mix 1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix, 1 cup milk, 1 cup mayonnaise, and 1 stick butter together.  Stir into potatoes and simmer on low or put in a crock pot and cook on low.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Green Bean Bundles

My bestest friend, GeorgeAnn, had told me about cooking Green Bean Bundles for her family at Thanksgiving.  When I talked with her Christmas Day evening, she again told me how much her family had liked the Green Bean Bundles.  On my next trip to the grocery store, I am going to buy the whole green beans and make this for us for New Year's Day.  I enjoy so much adding new recipes to my collection.  I also enjoy sharing new recipes with all of you. 

                                                       Green Bean Bundles

2 - 16 oz. cans of whole green beans
bacon
3/4 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
garlic powder, salt, & pepper - dashes to taste

Cut bacon slices in half.  Wrap a half slice around 5-6 green beans and secure with a toothpick.  Make a glaze from the butter, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Place green bean bundles in a baking dish.  Pour glaze over bundles.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 min.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Leftover Turkey for Turkey Sandwich or Turkey Salad

We had a wonderful smoked turkey for our Christmas Eve meal at our house.  We will use the leftover turkey for sandwiches and/or turkey salad. 

A Turkey Sandwich is a matter of choice.  Warm a slice of turkey or if you prefer you can eat it cold.  You can make the sandwich with two slices of white bread, wheat bread, or an Hawaiian bun.  Spread on mayonnaise, mustard, or honey mustard.  Add lettuce and tomato.  You are now ready to eat your sandwich.  Don't forget the chips!

For the Turkey Salad, I put several slices of turkey in a food chopper.  I put the chopped meat in a bowl and add mayonnaise and combine well.  Since the turkey is smoked, I do not add any other seasonings.  I prefer to eat the Turkey Salad with Ritz Crackers.  You may add chopped eggs, sweet pickles, chopped onions,  or other items to your Turkey Salad.  I prefer mine very simple with Ritz Crackers.  Again, it's a matter of choice.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chicken Salad

I hope that each of you had a blessed Christmas Day with your loved ones.  We had a traditional Christmas Eve meal with our son and his family.  Christmas Day was spent with my parents and again we had a traditional Christmas meal.  We will be eating leftovers for a day or two and I am not complaining!  We have had so much rich food that I thought you might enjoy a simple Chicken Salad recipe.  My friend and co-worker, Sonia, made Chicken Salad sandwiches for all of us when we opened our new Clinic in May and we sure did enjoy them.  I imagine that most of you are like me and ready for a lighter version of a meal today.

                                                              Chicken Salad

2 - 13 oz. cans of chicken, drained
2 eggs - boiled, peeled, and chopped fine
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1 tsp. celery salt

Drain liquid from cans of chicken.  Remove chicken from cans and place in a medium bowl.  Using two forks, shred chicken.  Add chopped eggs, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and celery salt.  Combine all ingredients.  Serve with crackers or wrap in flour tortillas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Party Mix

Yesterday, I made a 14 layer Chocolate Cake for my family for Christmas.  Today, I will make cookies and I will be finished with all of my Christmas baking.  We all have our memories and traditions associated with our holidays.  I hope my family will always remember the memories that I try to make for them.  They are certainly done in love.

I have blogged so many sweets lately, so I thought I would end the week with something salty! 

Merry Christmas to each of you and your families! 

                                                           Party Mix

2 cups Cheerios
1 cup pretzels
1 cup salted nuts
1/2 cup margarine
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
1 tsp. soy sauce

Melt margarine.  Stir in Worcestershire, paprika, garlic salt, and soy sauce.  Add cereals, pretzels, and nuts and stir well.  Pour into a large roaster pan.  Bake in a 200 degree oven for 1 hr., stirring every 15 min. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I have been quite busy cooking and baking for several days.  I had made M & M Cookies for our Holiday Market and also for a photo shoot for Wiregrass Living Magazine.  I also made Sand Tarts and Divinity for the photo shoot.  They wanted pretty packaged food items that are made for gifts.  This is for their Nov./Dec. 2012 issue.  Monday night, I made Easy Turtles and Pecan Roll.  Tuesday night, I made a Red Velvet Cake. Today, I will be making a 14 Layer Chocolate Cake.  On Thursday, I will be baking cookies.  It must be Christmas!

I was visiting on the phone with my bestest friend, George Ann, last night and asked her about the Buffalo Chicken Dip that she had been telling me about for a couple of months.  She said it's the favorite recipe for anything going on in Tuscaloosa.  Whether a school function, Sunday School party, or Christmas party, this dip shows up. I told her it sounded like a good one to share on my blog.  Thanks, George Ann!

                                                    Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 - 8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 - 13 oz. cans of chicken, drained
1 cup Ranch Dressing
3/4 cup (your favorite) Wing Sauce - not Tabasco Sauce - Frank's Hot Sauce recommended

Place all of the above in a gallon zip-loc bag.  Combine by squeezing the zip-loc bag.  You want all of the ingredients to be well blended.  The dip will be a light orange color.  Pour into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with Pam Spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 min.  You want the dip to be hot and bubbly.   Serve with your favorite chips or crackers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Easy Turtles

When all of us got to work on Monday morning, we had a sweet surprise waiting for us in the breakroom.  One of our nurses, Sheri, had made divinity, fudge, cookies, and Easy Turtles.  We enjoyed all of our sweet treats but my favorite was the Easy Turtles.  I asked Sheri for the recipe for the Easy Turtles and she laughed as she said it was such a simple recipe.  Pretzels, Rolo Candy, and a pecan half.  I loved the combination of the salty pretzel and sweet candy.  I made my batch on a jelly roll pan - 11 pretzels lengthwise and 8 pretzels across for a total of 88 Easy Turtles. 

                                                            Easy Turtles

2 - 12 oz. bags of Rolo Candy
16 oz. bag of pretzel snaps
pecan halves

Spray jelly roll pan with Pam Spray.  Place pretzel snaps on pan.  Remove candy wrapper and place a Rolo on each pretzel snap.  Bake at 350 degrees for 3 - 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately place a pecan half on each Rolo.  Gently press down.  Allow to cool completely and chocolate to solidify.  Place in an airtight container. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Martha Washington Candy

When I was growing up my Mother would make Martha Washington Candy every Christmas.  It was a favorite candy for her and my Daddy.  She no longer makes the candy.  I guess it's because we have found too many other recipes that we now enjoy at Christmas.  My bestest friend, George Ann, recently had a friend who was looking for this recipe and had contacted her.  She thought it was funny that someone wanted to know if she had a recipe.  It's a family joke that she doesn't turn on her oven too often.  I know that she can cook and she has certainly shared with me some wonderful recipes.

                                                    Martha Washington Candy

4 Tbsp. butter
2 lbs. confectioners' sugar 
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups chopped pecans
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
14 Tbsp. cocoa
2 Tbsp. butter
3/4 block paraffin

Cream butter.  Add sugar and milk alternately, a little at a time, until well mixed.  Add vanilla and nuts.  Roll into small balls and place on wax paper.  Let stand for for at least 4 hrs. 

Melt butter in a small boiler.  Add cocoa and paraffin.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Cool slightly, then dip each ball of candy into the chocolate mixture on the end of a toothpick.  Place on wax paper and allow the chocolate to set.  Store in an airtight container.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Vanilla Almond Bark Oreo's

For our Holiday Market at Dothan Nurseries, I made Vanilla Almond Bark Oreo's and packaged them in cute bags with cute tags.  They were a big hit, especially for teacher gifts.  This is a simple dessert that even the kids can get involved in.  Make them for gifts or make them to enjoy at your house. 

                                                         Vanilla Almond Bark Oreo's

Vanilla Almond Bark
1 pkg. Oreo Cookies

Follow package instructions for melting almond bark.  I placed the almond bark in a deep bowl and broke into pieces.  I added a Tbsp. of Crisco shortening.  I placed the bowl in the microwave and set it for 90 sec.  I stirred it after 60 sec.  When the 90 sec. was complete, I continued to microwave until I got a smooth consistency (approx. 30 to 60 sec. longer).  I removed the bowl from the microwave.  I had already laid two long pieces of wax paper on my granite island to place the cookies on.  I placed one cookie at a time in the bowl of almond bark and removed it with a wooden spoon.  I continued to do the same until all of the cookies had been dunked in the almond bark. 

Place in an airtight container.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake is a cake that I associate with Christmas but I would welcome a piece any time of the year.  It's an elegant, rich cake and I was always in awe of whoever baked the cake that I was enjoying, whether it was a bakery or an individual.  When I found this recipe in Southern Living Magazine, I knew it would be the one that I baked for my family.

                                                          Italian Cream Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flaked coconut

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.  Add vanilla, beating until blended.  Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.  Stir in coconut.  Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter.  Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 min.; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.  Spread Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup chopped pecans
1 - 8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 - 16 oz. pkg. powdered sugar, sifted

Bake chopped pecans in a shallow baking pan at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally 5 - 10 min. or until toasted.  Cool.  Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed until creamy.  Add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended.  Beat frosting at high speed until smooth; stir in pecans.  Yield:  about 4 cups.  Garnishes:  Toasted pecan halves, chopped pecans.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mother's Date Nut Cake

Mother always bakes a Date Nut Cake for Christmas.  This is her and my daddy's favorite cake.  This recipe calls for 5 cups of chopped pecans and that's a lot of pecans.  We have arrived at their house a couple of times when Mother is taking this cake out of the oven.  It's always a treat to get a warm piece of cake right out of the oven.  We usually come home with a couple of slices of Date Nut Cake and we always warm a slice in the microwave before eating it.  Sweet memories!

                                                    Mother's Date Nut Cake

2 cups Martha White self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup grape juice
5 cups chopped pecans
2 - 8 oz. boxes chopped dates
1 Tbsp. vanilla flavoring
1 cup coconut

Sift 1/2 cup flour over pecans, dates, and coconut and then mix by hand.

Mix sugar, eggs, butter, grape juice, and vanilla flavoring with mixer.  Pour over first mixture and mix well with hands.  Pour into a large tube pan that has been sprayed with Pam Spray.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Butter Pecan Cake

My mother baked a Butter Pecan Cake for several years at Christmas and it was delicious to me.  After those couple of years of having baked this cake, she decided that we already had enough cakes and candies and didn't need an additional cake and stopped making the cake for us.  We really didn't need another cake but I still find myself wishing she would make this one again.  I am thankful she shared her recipe with me and if I find that I cannot live without another slice of Butter Pecan Cake, I can just make one in my kitchen.  (I have heard a rumor that she is making a Butter Pecan Cake this year for Christmas!)

                                                        Butter Pecan Cake

2 2/3 cups chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups butter, softened, divided
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups Swans Down Cake Flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place pecans and 1/4 cup butter in a baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 min. or until toasted, stirring frequently, set aside.  In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and remaining butter.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift flour; add to the creamed mixture, alternately with milk.  Stir in vanilla and 1 1/3 cups of toasted pecans.  Pour into three greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 min.  Cool for 10 min., remove from pans to cool on a wire rack.

Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
8 to 8 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 - 5 oz. can evaporated milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For frosting, cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add milk and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining toasted pecans.  Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

14 Layer Chocolate Cake

A 14 Layer Chocolate Cake has been a part of Christmas at my parent's house for a very long time.  For many years, I would go in search of a tiny layer chocolate cake that was usually baked by a little old lady who made the layers in an iron skillet and cooked the icing on her stove top in a double boiler.  This was at the request of my daddy.  Some years the chocolate cake was better than others.  A number of years ago, one of our Clinic nurses, Mona, mentioned that her Nanny was going to bake Chocolate Cakes to sell for Christmas.  I told her that I would like to order one and had no idea that I would be getting the best Chocolate Cake that I had ever had.  I asked Mona if her Nanny, Mrs. Ada Alma Strickland, would share her recipe and she said yes. 

Let me tell you the secrets that I have learned.  I always cook the icing first.  I cook it in a metal mixing bowl.  When I could not find a large double boiler, it was suggested to me while I was shopping at Kitchen on the Square in Savannah to buy the metal mixing bowl and make my own double boiler.  When it is finished cooking, I put the mixing bowl on top of a deep large boiler that I have ready with boiling water in it.  The top of the mixing bowl will fit evenly with the top of the large boiler and the bottom of the mixing bowl rests above the boiling water.  This is how the metal mixing bowl becomes a double boiler.  The icing will not continue to cook but will stay hot and will be ready for the cake layers when they come out of the oven.  You need very good cake pans, so that your layers will cook evenly.  I always cook my layers in 8 in. pans.  I bake 4 layers at a time.  For me, it took cooking the cake several times before I became comfortable with it.  I spoon 3 heaping Tbsp. of batter into the cake pans that I have sprayed with Pam Spray and spread thinly.  When I remove the cake pans from the oven, I immediately turn them over onto a dish towel, tap the cake pan, and the layer falls out of the pan onto the dish towel.  The cake layer may not always turn out perfectly and that's okay.  You can still stack it, even if it's in several pieces, and then spoon icing on it.  When the cake is sliced, you will never know that a layer was not perfect.  The number of layers is not always the same.  Sometimes, my cake will stack straight and sometimes it's crooked but it always tastes good!

                                                          14 Layer Chocolate Cake

1 cup Crisco Shortening
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
3 cups Martha White self-rising flour, sifted
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add one ingredient at a time and beat after each addition until all has been added.  Place 3 heaping Tbsp. of batter into 8 in. pans that have been sprayed with Pam Spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 min.  Stack layers and add chocolate icing while hot.

Chocolate Icing

3 sticks plus 2 Tbsp. of butter
2 - 12 oz. cans of Pet Milk
4 1/2 cups of sugar
13 1/2 Tbsp. of Hershey's Cocoa

Melt butter.  Add Pet Milk, sugar, and Hershey's Cocoa.  Cook over medium/low heat until it comes to a boil, stirring often.  Continue to cook for 7 min. or until desired consistency.  It will thicken slightly.

Place icing in a double boiler.  It will remain hot while you bake the cake layers  and place icing on cake layers.

I use a soup ladle to pour the icing on the cake layer.  I usually put two soup ladles of icing on the layer and then use a tsp. to spread the icing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Red Velvet Cake

                                             Christmas Cakes Week

We have always had Red Velvet Cake at Christmas.  My mother-in-law would make her Red Velvet Cake out of a butter recipe cake mix to which she added cocoa powder and red food coloring.  She would then make a traditional cream cheese frosting to go on the cake.  She had given her recipe to my sister, Debra, and this is the cake that my sister brought to our parent's house for a number of years.  My friend, Vickie, surprised me one Sunday at church with a Red Velvet Cake for my family.  The cake was wonderful and she was so kind to give me her recipe for Red Velvet Cake and this was the beginning of me making a Red Velvet Cake for my family.  I tripled her recipe for the frosting to make sure that I have plenty of frosting to go between each layer as well as plenty for the top and sides of the cake.  There will be extra frosting, so make a batch of cupcakes.  Red Velvet Cake and Cupcakes, now isn't that delightful!

                                                             Red Velvet Cake 

1 cup Wesson Oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 oz. Red Food Coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Hershey's Cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp. vinegar

Cream oil, sugar and eggs.  Make a paste with coloring, cocoa, and vinegar.  Add to mixture.  Sift flour and add to mixture.  Add buttermilk and vanilla.  Do not beat hard.  Bake in four 9 inch cake pans at 350 degrees for 22 min.  Allow to cool in pans.  Place in freezer for 7 min.  Remove from cake pans and frost.

Frosting 

3 - 8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
3 sticks Land O Lakes Real Butter
3 tsp. vanilla extract
3 boxes powdered sugar
3 cups chopped pecans

Combine softened cream cheese and butter.  Add sifted sugar and vanilla and mix well.

Place one cake layer on cake plate.  Cover with frosting and then sprinkle on a layer of chopped pecans.  Repeat with all of the cake layers.  When all layers are stacked, spread frosting on the sides of the cake.

*I like having the extra frosting, so that I can spread a generous amount between each cake layer and on top and sides of the cake.  It is easier to spread the frosting without adding the chopped pecans to the frosting.  You can add a layer of chopped pecans on top of each cake layer that has been frosted.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Praline Grahams

The first time that I had Praline Grahams, they were still warm right out of the oven.  They were made by Gina who only lives a short distance from our clinic.  We almost hurt ourselves eating Praline Grahams.  Make sure when you make these to stop and try a couple while they are still warm.  It will be a deeeeeelight!

This is a delicious dessert to serve at a Christmas Party or take to family Christmas get-together.

                                                         Praline Grahams

1 sleeve Nabisco Honey Maid Honey Graham Crackers
1/2 cup sugar
2 sticks of Land O Lakes Real Butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Layer a single layer of graham crackers on a large cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam Spray.  All of the graham crackers should be touching. 

Bring butter, sugar, and pecans to a boil; cook for 3 min., stirring frequently.  Spread hot mixture over graham crackers.

Bake at 300 degrees for 12 min.

Allow to cool and break apart into small pieces.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oatmeal Cinnamon Crispies

I was given Oatmeal Cinnamon Crispies as a Christmas gift last year.  They were baked by MaeBell Bridges.  Her daughter, Lavirty, gave them to me and the recipe came from "The Earth Stirs Cookbook, a recipe book that she has had for many years.  I liked them so much that I baked them on Christmas Eve to take to my parent's house on Christmas morning.  I half the recipe since it makes 200 - 2 1/2 inch cookies.

                                                   Oatmeal Cinnamon Crispies

2 1/2 cups butter, softened
5 cups sugar
1/3 cup dark molasses
4 eggs
1 1/3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 3/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease two baking sheets.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter.  Add the sugar gradually, then the molasses, and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Shut off the mixer and add the baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla to the batter.  Turn the beater back on and blend.  Add the flour and blend.  Last, add the oats and pecans and blend.

Drop by rounded tsp. onto the baking sheets.  Bake for 5 to 9 min. or until the cookies are medium brown and a bit crinkly looking.  It may be necessary to turn the cookie sheets around in the oven, so they will brown evenly.  Allow the cookies to set on the cookie sheets for about 3 min., then remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.  The cookies freeze well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sand Tarts

I make Sand Tarts and give them as gifts to my friends at Christmas.  The recipe for Sand Tarts came from my sister-in-law, Angie.  She made them for Brent and Joy's Wedding Reception.  It was the day after the wedding before I actually tried the Sand Tarts and they melt in your mouth.  They are very delicate and you have to handle them carefully.  I always put them in a tin nestled in tissue paper when giving as a gift.  They are probably my favorite Christmas cookie!  It's just hard to choose only one favorite.  Do you have that problem, too?

                                                           Sand Tarts

1 cup Land O Lakes Real Butter
1/4 cup confectionate sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cold water
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar.  Add vanilla and cold water.  Add flour and mix well.  Stir in chopped pecans.  Shape into small balls and flatten slightly.  You can shape them round or crescent shaped. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 18 min.

Allow to cool for 5 min. and then roll gently in confectionate sugar.  Place on a plate for serving or in an airtight container

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

M & M Cookies - Pecan Cookies

It has always been a Christmas tradition in our family for my sister, Debra, to bake and bring M & M Cookies to our parent's house for Christmas.  We all loved them, except for our Daddy.  He said that he did not care for the candy in the cookies.  I decided to make them one year with chopped pecans, instead of M & M's.  Phillip and Brent loved them and so did our Daddy.  When I make the cookies just for my family, I half the dough and put M & M's in half of the dough and chopped pecans in the other half.  The cookies are so good, especially when they are still warm from the oven. 

                                         M & M Cookies - Pecan Cookies

1 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups M & M's

Blend shortening and sugar.  Beat in vanilla and eggs.  Sift flour.  Add to sugar and egg mixture and mix well.  Stir in M & M's.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 min.

Pecan Cookies

Substitute chopped pecans for M & M's.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

                                              CHRISTMAS COOKIE WEEK

We have had a pre-lit Christmas Tree for the past five years and sections of lights went out before the Christmas season was over last year.  After Christmas, I bought for us a new tree (1/2 price)!  Phillip put it together Saturday morning and I decorated the tree all afternoon.  It's such a trip down memory lane as I put each ornament on the tree.  When I opened the first drawer of ornaments, there were two ornaments that Brent had made for us when he was a small boy.  One is a paper plate that had been made into a wreath and another was a construction paper wreath.  There's also the reindeer that he made out of closepins.  The snowflakes crocheted by my bestest friend, George Ann, and my former co-worker, June, as well as crocheted angels by my friend, Mrs. Griswold, are all so special to me.  My sister, Debra, has given me ornaments from Macy's and when I see the Christmas commercials for Macy's I always smile as I see the children trying to mail letters to Santa.    

Eli and Brooke stayed with us last year when they were out of school for the Christmas holidays.  Eli asked me if I would make cookies for Santa.  When I asked him what kind of cookies he wanted me to make he requested Christmas tree cookies.  I knew I had some cookie cutters and was delighted to find that I had a Christmas tree cookie cutter.  I enlisted the help of George Ann for a recipe and she suggested one that she had recently seen in a magazine.  With the help of the internet, I found the recipe she had seen and it's the one that I used to make cookies for Santa.  I've already bought green sprinkles to go on the cookies when Eli wants me to make them this year for Santa.

                                                   Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 - 3 oz. pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.  Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Using a scalloped cookie cutter, cut out dough, rerolling scraps as needed.

Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 to 10 min. or until edges are very lightly browned.  Cool on cookie sheet for 1 min.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

Decorate as desired. 

   

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sweet Snowballs

My sweet sister, Debra, has ordered several magazine subscriptions to cooking magazines for me over the past several years.  She first surprised me with a subscription to Paula Deen, then Sandra Lee, Rachel Ray, and most recently Food Network.  She knows that I love to cook!  I found the recipe for Sweet Snowballs in Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade magazine.  I had cut it out and put it in my recipe box for safekeeping.  Here's a simple, sweet recipe for you to try this weekend.

                                                        Sweet Snowballs

Golden Oreo Sandwich Cookies
8 oz. pkg. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 - 6 oz. pkgs. of Baker's white baking chocolate

In the container of a food processor, process one 18 oz. pkg. of golden cream-filled vanilla sandwich cookies, until crumbly.  Pour into a large bowl.  Add 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese.  Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until well combined.  Using hands, shape into 30 (1 inch) balls.  In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt two (6 oz) pkgs. of white baking chocolate, Baker's, according to pkg. directions.  Dip balls in white chocolate, and place on a baking sheet covered with wax paper.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.

*Note:  You could use a 24 oz. pkg. of vanilla almond bark instead of the Baker's white baking chocolate.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

White Cheddar Carrots

For two days, my friend, Renae, has been offering me a taste of her White Cheddar Carrots that she had made for her family this weekend.  I walked in the breakroom at lunchtime yesterday to get ice for my sweet tea and she reminded me that she had two little containers of White Cheddar Carrots in the refrigerator if I wanted to try them.  She had told me that one of her grown boys had never eaten carrots and tried his best to get out of eating them this weekend but her persistance paid off.  He loved the carrots and so did I!   This is one of those recipes that I was fortunate to get to try the finished dish before I was given the recipe.  Trust me on this one.  White Cheddar Carrots are delicious! 

                                                      White Cheddar Carrots

2 onions, chopped  - (1 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup butter, melted, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
2 - 16 oz. pkgs. frozen sliced carrots - cooked and drained
3/4 lb. white cheddar cheese slices
2 sleeves Ritz Crackers, crumbled

In a medium skillet, saute onions in 1/4 cup butter until the onions are translucent.  Stir in flour and cook for one minute.  Add dry mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper.  Slowly add milk.  Reduce heat to low and cook stirring constantly until thick and smooth. 

Lightly grease a 3 qt. casserole dish with Pam Spray.  Layer carrots alternately with cheese slices ending with carrots on top.  Pour sauce over carrots.  Combine cracker crumbs with 1/2 cup butter.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 min. or until golden brown on top.

Serves 8.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cherry Salad

Last night, I was busy making Sand Tarts to sell at our Holiday Market at Dothan Nurseries.  They will be packaged in red tins with gold tissue paper.  The tin will be tied with a gold bow.  The tins will look so festive and the Sand Tarts will melt in your mouth!  The Holiday Market at Dothan Nurseries will be the first three Fridays in December from 9 to 1.  I will have plenty of Hot Pepper Jelly.  It's a wonderful appetizer or snack and makes a great gift for teachers, friends, and family.

Cherry Salad is a recipe that came from a very old cookbook that belongs to a friend.  I've had the recipe in my recipe box and decided that the Christmas season is a perfect time for it.  You stir everything together in a bowl and it's ready.  Now, how easy is that?

                                                         Cherry Salad 

1 large Cool Whip
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 can cherry pie filling
1 cup chopped pecans
1 - 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, partially drained

Stir together in a bowl.  Pour into a serving dish and refrigerate. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups

One of my favorite pasttimes is looking at cookbooks.  One of my former co-workers had helped with a cookbook fundraiser about 19 years ago, so it was fun looking at the published cookbook that she had worked so diligently completing.  Employees that I used to work with as well as my mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, niece, and myself all have recipes in the cookbook.  The Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups is a recipe that my friend, Renae, had printed in the cookbook.  Renae is a fabulous cook and I know you'll like this one, too.

                                                    Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups

2 - 3 chicken breasts
1 pkg. crescent rolls
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
Cheddar cheese, optional

Boil chicken until tender.  Remove chicken from chicken broth, save broth.  Tear chicken apart into bite size pieces.  Separate crescent rolls to make 8 rolls.  Flatten each crescent roll.  Place chicken at larger end of crescent roll.  Roll chicken into a roll.  Place rolls in a 10 X 13 baking dish.   Mix cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and milk.  Pour over crescent rolls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. or until rolls brown slightly on top.  If desired, extra cream of chicken soup can be mixed and used for additional sauce.  Top with cheddar cheese, if desired. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Divinity

My pink Artisan KitchenAid Mixer was bought last November for the purpose of making this Divinity for Christmas. Two years ago, Phillip wanted me to make Divinity for Christmas.  He said that his Mother always made it and it was a candy that he really loved.  We did not have his Mother's recipe, so I had remembered Paula Deen talking about making her Mother's Divinity.  I got out one of her cookbooks and we decided that we would make it together.  We almost burned up my old mixer and knew that we would have to have a new mixer before we made it again this past Christmas.  My pink KitchenAid is prissy and goes so well with making Divinity!  Remember not to make Divinity on a rainy or humid day - it won't harden.

                                                         Divinity

4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup (Karo Syrup)
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg whites
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir only until sugar has dissolved; do not stir after this point.  Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to the hard-ball stage.

While syrup is cooking, beat egg whites until stiff in the large bowl of an electric mixer.  When candy reaches 250 degrees F, pour a slow, steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed.  Add vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape.  This could take up to 5 min.  Stir in pecans.

Using two spoons, drop divinity onto waxed paper, using one spoon to push candy off the other.  This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft-serve ice cream.  If candy becomes too stiff to twirl, add a few drops of hot water.  You will need to work fast when making this type of candy.  In fact, when it's time to twirl, it might not hurt to have a friend around.

Yield:  50 to 60 pieces.   

Friday, November 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Balls

Our sweet corporate accountant, Laura, who first shared her recipe for Oreo Balls on my 4/8/11 blog also shared with me her recipe for Peanut Butter Balls.  She says that her husband loves these frozen and made with chunky peanut butter.  It's your choice whether you make these with smooth or chunky peanut butter. 

December is just a few days away and we'll be entertaining a lot, so here's a new recipe to serve to your guests or make just for you and your family.

                                                    Peanut Butter Balls

10 oz. peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 1/3 sticks of butter or margarine
1 box powdered sugar
1 pkg. of chocolate almond bark

Soften the butter at room temperature.  Whip butter and peanut butter together until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, mix well.  Roll a tsp. of the mixture into a ball.

Melt the bark in the microwave for approx. 5 min., stirring several times.  Dip the balls in the chocolate and then place on wax paper to cool.  You can refrigerate to speed up the drying time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessing

                                                            Psalm 100

1.  Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2.  Serve the Lord with gladness:  come before his presence with singing.
3.  Know ye that the Lord he is God:  it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves, we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:  be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5.  For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

                                                    Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Even More Thanksgiving

Our desserts for our Thanksgiving meal on Sunday were Utterly Deadly Pecan Pie, Nicholson's Farmhouse Peanut Butter Pie, and Pecan Roll.  I will bake today miniature Pecan Pies and Bread Pudding to take to my parent's home for our family Thanksgiving.  I have posted all of these in previous months but they are worth repeating for your convenience for Thanksgiving baking.

                                                             Pecan Roll

3 sleeves of  Nabisco Honey Made Graham Crackers, crushed
1 - 14 oz. can Eagle Brand Milk
1 cup chopped pecans

Place one sleeve of Graham crackers in a gallon zip-loc bag.  Use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers.  Repeat with the other two sleeves of Graham crackers.  Pour crushed Graham crackers in a large bowl.  Add Eagle Brand Milk and chopped pecans.  Use your hands to mix well.  After mixing well, shape mixture into a log.  You will need to work with the mixture until you get the size and shape that you want.  I usually make two logs.  Wrap log in aluminum foil and place in the freezer.   Remove the Pecan Roll from the freezer at least 30 min. before you wish to serve it.  It will be easier to slice.  Phillip usually slices the entire Pecan Roll the first time that we serve it.  He places the leftovers into a container that can go into the freezer and we can then remove once piece at the time.


                                   Nicholson's Farmhouse Peanut Butter Pie

3 graham cracker pie crusts
1 stick margarine, room temperature
3 - 8 oz. pkgs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
3 cups Cool Whip
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix all of the above together and spread in pie crusts.

Topping:

1 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup half & half

Combine chips and half  & half  in a medium bowl.  Melt in microwave.  It will take approx. 5 min., stirring after 2 1/2 min.  You want it to be slightly thick.  Spread on each pie.


                                                     Pecan Pies

1 stick oleo, melted
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups light corn syrup
dash of salt
2 Tbsp. self-rising flour
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans
2 unbaked pie shells

Pour melted oleo into sugar and mix.  Add eggs, syrup, and flour.  Mix well.  Add salt, vanilla, and pecans.  Pour into shells.  Bake until firm at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 min. 

I bake my pies in party shells or tart shells.  I fill about two dozen shells and bake at 350 degrees for 35 min.


                                                          Bread Pudding

1 loaf of white bread
6-8 canned biscuits, cooked
6-8 canned cinnamon rolls, cooked & iced
1 - 12 oz. can of Pet Milk
1 - 12 oz. can of water
3/4 stick of margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 tsp. butter pecan flavoring
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 - 16 oz. jar of Caramel Topping, heated

You may use your hands or a potato masher to combine all of the ingredients together, except Caramel Topping.  Pour into a 10 X 12 pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 min.

Poke holes in bread pudding.  Heat caramel topping in microwave.  Pour caramel topping on bread pudding.

This is best when served warm.  You can warm servings in the microwave.


Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie - 11/11/11 on blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Thanksgiving

We always have a smoked turkey for our meat for Thanksgiving.  We buy a frozen Norbest Smoked Turkey.  We thaw it out for four days in the refrigerator.   When you remove the turkey from the packaging, there will be a good bit of water.  Phillip removes the packaging from the turkey with the turkey in the kitchen sink.  Next, he removes the turkey neck from the turkey cavity.  He has a pan ready with aluminum foil in the bottom.  The pieces of aluminum foil are long pieces that once the turkey is placed in the pan you will be able to bring each end of the aluminum foil together over the top of the turkey to form a tent.  The turkey needs to be completely covered in foil.  We bake the turkey at 350 degrees for 3 hrs.  This is a very moist, delicious smoked turkey.

Sister Schubert's Dinner Yeast Rolls are the rolls served at our house. 

I love sweet potato casserole with each bite of dressing that I eat.  Phillip loves candied yams, so we have both with our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  You may choose one or the other or like us you may want both.

                                               Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups of sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (you can use canned sweet potatoes
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp. salt

Mix all of the above together well and then pour into a baking dish.

Topping:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 stick of soft butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Blend ingredients with a fork and then sprinkle on top of the sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. or until light brown.


                                               Mother's Candied Yams

29 oz. can of Yams
1 stick of Land O Lakes Real Butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves

Drain liquid from the can of yams.  Melt butter and pour into a casserole dish.  Add yams.  Sprinkle sugars over yams.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and pecans.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hr.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving

Our son, Brent, is a nurse and some years he has had to work on Thanksgiving, so we began having our Thanksgiving meal on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Yesterday, we had our family meal of Smoked Turkey, Chicken & Dressing, Homemade Dumplings, Chicken & Rice, White Peas, Sweet Potato Casserole, Candied Yams, Yeast Rolls, Pecan Pie, Peanut Butter Pie, and Pecan Roll.  I have shared all of these recipes during the past months on my blog.  Today, I will share my mother-in-law's dressing recipe and homemade dumpling recipe with you again.  I am so thankful she taught me how to make dressing and dumplings.  Mrs. Othell Herring not only taught me how to cook but she also taught me a lot about life.  I was so fortunate to have her for a mother-in-law.

                                                     Chicken & Dressing

4 chicken breasts with skin

Boil chicken in a large pot for one hour.  Remove chicken from pot.  Remove the skin and discard.  Save chicken broth.  Once the chicken has cooled, I pull the chicken apart.  When I am ready to add the chicken to the dressing, I add several pulled apart pieces of chicken together, so that each person has a serving of chicken with their serving of dressing.

6 cups of Martha White self-rising corn meal
3 cups of buttermilk
1 cups of water

Stir corn meal, buttermilk, and water together.  Spray a large iron skillet with Pam Spray.  Add 1 Tbsp. of Crisco Shortening to the iron skillet.  Place iron skillet in oven to melt shortening.  Remove the skillet from the oven after the shortening melts.  Pour corn meal mixture into skillet and bake at 400 degrees for 40 min. or until light brown.

6 cups chicken broth
2 large onions, chopped
2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cans of Cream of Celery Soup
2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 canful of water
3 Tbsp. cooking oil
6 eggs, beaten

Place the baked cornbread in a very large bowl.  Pour 4 cups of chicken broth over the cornbread.  Use a potato masher to mash the cornbread.  Add chopped onion, black pepper, salt, soups, 2 cups chicken broth, and water.  Stir until all ingredients are blended together.  Add cooking oil and beaten eggs.  Stir again until well blended.  Spray a large deep baking dish with Pam Spray before adding dressing.  Pour dressing into large baking dish.  Place pulled apart chicken pieces into dressing.  Bake at 400 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs.  You will want the dressing to be golden brown around the edges. 

I always pour our dressing into two 10 X 12 disposable foil pans, so that we will have two occasions to have dressing.  For a family larger than ours, you will need to cook your dressing in a large deep baking dish.  Dressing heats well as a leftover, too.


                                                  Homemade Dumplings

5 1/2 cups cups Martha White self-rising flour
2 cups of water
1 Tbsp. salt

Sift flour into a large deep bowl.  Add water and salt.  Use your hands to mix together.  You want the dough to be smooth and not sticky.  You may have to sprinkle a little more flour on the dough to get the consistency that you want.

I spread a cup or two on my granite island.  I place the dough in the middle of the island and use my hands to flatten the dough.  I flour my rolling pin and then use the rolling pin to smooth out the dough in all directions as thin as possible.  You are not ready to cut into dumplings. 

I cover the surface of my jellyroll pan with Press 'N Seal.

I cut long strips from top to bottom.  I then cut long strips from side to side.  The cut dumplings are now ready to go on the jellyroll pan.  I do a single layer and then tear off another piece of Press 'N Seal.  I continue this process until all dumplings are on the jellyroll pan.  I securely cover the top of the pan and place the dumplings into the freezer.  They will keep until I am ready to cook them.  I usually have 3 layers and each layer is one cooking for us.  If we have company, I will cook more.

To cook:  If you want chicken and dumplings, cook chicken breasts with skin on for a richer flavor.  Add 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper.  Cook chicken for an hour.  Remove chicken from broth.  Remove skin and discard.  Tear chicken apart and return to chicken broth.  Add one can of Cream of Chicken Soup.  Bring chicken broth to a boil.  Add a layer of frozen dumplings.  Do not stir.  Cook dumplings for 5 min.  Gently move dumplings around with a wooden spoon during the cooking process.

For garden pea dumplings, make your broth with a 15 oz. can of Lesueur sweet peas and the addition of 4 more canfuls of water.  Add 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1 Tbsp. corn oil.  Bring broth to a boil.  Add a layer of frozen dumplings.  Do not stir.  Cook dumplings for 5 min.  Gently move dumplings around with a wooden spoon during the cooking process.

Chicken & Rice - 11/14/11 on blog

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turtle Brownies

If you have ever wondered if I will run out of dessert recipes, the answer is no!!!  I continue to collect dessert recipes almost daily.  Between e-mails, magazines, Food Network, and friends,  I have numerous sources to build my recipe collection.   My dessert recipe collection continues to grow faster than my other collected recipes.  Since I blog several desserts a week, you've probably already picked up on my sweet tooth!

                                                    Turtle Brownies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13 X 9 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray with flour. 

In a large bowl, beat butter at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add sugar and brown sugar, beating until fluffy.  Add sugar and brown sugar, beating until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla, beating well.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until smooth.  Stir in chopped pecans.  Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.  Bake for 30 to 35 min., or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Spread with Cream Cheese-Caramel Icing.  Cut into 24 squares.  Place a pecan half on each square.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cream Cheese-Caramel Icing

1 - 8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup hot caramel sauce
2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.  Beat at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add caramel sauce to cream cheese mixture, beating until smooth.  Gradually add confectioners' sugar to cream cheese mixture, beating until smooth.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breakfast Casserole

I recently found this recipe for Breakfast Casserole in a magazine, Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Christmas, that I received in the mail.  I have had other magazines published by her company, Hoffman Media, as well as e-mail newsletters.   She certainly knows how to decorate and celebrate special occasions and holidays.

It's always nice to have a breakfast casserole that you can make the night before and pop into the oven the next morning. Breakfast Casserole will be a welcome change for breakfast or supper during the holidays. 

                                             Breakfast Casserole

3 cups frozen country-style hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 cups chopped Canadian bacon
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 cups whole milk
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup sour cream
5 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Lightly grease a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.  In a large bowl, combine hash browns, 1 cup Cheddar cheese, 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Canadian bacon, red bell pepper, and green onion.  Spoon hash brown mixture evenly into prepared baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine milk, baking mix, sour cream, eggs, salt, and pepper; whisk until smooth.  Pour milk mixture evenly over hash brown mixture in baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese.  Cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours, or up to overnight. 

When ready to bake, let casserole come to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover, and bake for 40 to 45 min. , or until golden brown around the edges and middle is set.  Let stand for 10 to 15 min. before serving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mother's Candied Yams

My sister, Debra, and I think there is nothing like Sweet Potato Casserole for our holiday meals.  At my house, I cook Sweet Potato Casserole for me and Candied Yams for my husband, Phillip.  He fell in love years ago with my mother's recipe for Candied Yams.  He especially loves the toasted pecans that she would sprinkle on top, so he'll have his Yams and I'll have my Sweet Potato Casserole and all will be well at the Herring house on this Sunday as we celebrate Thanksgiving with Brent and his family.  We'll all be going to have Thanksgiving with my parents in Tallahassee on turkey day.  Celebrating twice is tough but we'll suffer through it! 

I made Homemade Dumplings last night and placed them in the freezer.  They are now ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Advance preparation helps so much!  Remember, I made our Chicken and Dressing a couple of weeks ago.  Lots of cooking but worth the effort to have these wonderful homemade meals for my family.  I hope you will make memories for your family, too.

                                                  Mother's Candied Yams

29 oz. can of Yams
1 stick of Land O Lakes Real Butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Drain liquid from the can of yams.  Melt butter in casserole dish.  Add yams.  Sprinkle sugars over yams.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and chopped pecans.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hr. 


Sweet Potato Casserole - 10/13/11 blog
Homemade Dumplings - 4/11/11 blog
Chicken & Dressing - 4/18/11 blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Classic Spritz Cookies (Butter Cookies)

Last week, I finally remembered that I wanted to google:  Mirro Cookie Press.  I googled it and immediately Amazon came up with just the item that I wanted.  I clicked check-out and got all excited about my purchase of a Mirro Cookie Press.  It's used but in perfect condition.  It came in it's original box with a recipe book.   On the box it says that it's a Cooky and Pastry Press.  I do plan to make cookies with the Cooky Press but my main objective is to make Cheese Straws.  I was told by my friend, Renae, that the new cookies presses were not what I needed to make Cheese Straws.  It was confirmed by my friend, Mila, who makes Cheese Straws for the Market at Dothan Nurseries.  She, too, said that I needed an old Mirro Cookie Press.  There are 12 discs that include a Christmas Tree, dog, star, hearts, & dinosaur as well as 3 tips for decorating.  I cannot wait to get started cooking cookies and those cheese straws that us southern girls love!

The recipe for Classic Spritz Cookies came from a co-worker who made decorated cookies for us.  They are delicious and will be made in my new Cooky Press!

                                                Classic Spritz Cookies (Butter Cookies)

1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Thoroughly cream butter and sugar.  Add egg, milk, vanilla, and almond extract; beat well.  Stir together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough.  Do not chill.  Place dough into a Cookie Press and press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 min. or until lightly browned around edges.  Remove cookies from cookie sheet; cool on rack.

Makes 7-8 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mother's Chicken & Rice

Brent has always loved his grandmother's chicken and rice and she would make extra, so that he would have some to take home for leftovers.  He's not the only grandchild or great-grandchild to love their grandmother's chicken and rice.  As holidays would near, Daddy would go in search of a fat hen for Mother to cook for her chicken and rice and also dressing.  His search was always to grocery stores and not to a farmer's hen house!  They would buy a whole hen and ask the butcher to cut the hen into quarters.  She would then use two quarters for her chicken and rice.  She would place the hen quarters in a large pot and cover with water.  She would add 1 tsp. salt.  She would boil the hen quarters until the chicken was done, approx. one hour.  She would remove the chicken from the pot to cool.  Save all of the chicken broth that the chicken cooked in.  Remove the chicken from the bone.  Tear the chicken into bite size pieces. 

                                                    Mother's Chicken & Rice

4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
chicken pieces
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Pour 4 cups of chicken broth into a dutch oven.  Return chicken pieces to chicken broth.  Add salt & pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Add rice and stir.  Reduce heat and stir for 5 min.  Cover with lid.  Cook for 22 min. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

I have posted the pecan pie recipe that I use for my miniature pecan pies that I make for my family on 10/17/11.  When I saw this recipe in a recent edition of Southern Living, I knew that I had to make it, too.  My curiosity has gotten the best of me and I can't wait to bake this pecan pie in a cast iron skillet.  It will bake at 325 degrees for 30 min., then bake at 300 degrees for 30 more minutes, and then turn the oven off and let the pie stand in the oven with the door closed for 3 hrs.    Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

                                                     Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

1/2 (14.1 oz.) pkg. refrigerated piecrusts
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. bourbon*
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Fit piecrust into a 10 inch cast iron skillet; sprinkle piecrust with powdered sugar.
2.  Whisk eggs in a large bowl until foamy; whisk in brown sugar and next 6 ingredients.  Pour mixture into piecrust and top with pecan halves.
3.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake 30 more minutes.  Turn oven off, and let pie stand in oven, with door closed, 3 hours.

*Vanilla extract may be substituted.

When I make the pie, I will substitute the vanilla extract for the bourbon and I will only use chopped pecans.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Candied Bacon

Several Christmases ago, Brent asked me what I would like for Christmas and I had a particular cookbook in mind.  The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock had been featured in a magazine and I wanted a copy of the recipe book.  Scott Peacock is a local young man from Hartford, AL who shares his love and respect for home cooking that he grew up on.  He has served as chef to two governors of Georgia and has owned two restaurants.  Their recipe for Candied Bacon certainly appealed to me.  You only need Brown Sugar and Bacon.  It's a combination of sweet and salt.  The bacon slices are great for a breakfast or brunch. 

                                                          Candied Bacon

8 slices of a good quality smoked bacon
1/3 cup light-brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. or a Silpat.  Dredge the bacon on both sides in the brown sugar, and arrange on the baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 min, until brown.  Remove from the oven, and use a pair of tongs to lift the bacon from the baking sheet, allowing all excess fat to drain from the bacon as you transfer it to a serving platter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dried Baby Lima Beans

Dried Baby Lima Beans, dried blackeye peas, sweet potato casserole or baked sweet potatoes, turnips, collards, or mustard (my granny's favorite green) are all dishes that I associate with fall and winter.  With most of these dishes, you must also have baked cornbread.  I can remember my daddy coming home from his insurance job and for a snack after finishing his meal, he would pour a glass of milk and then crumble a piece of cornbread into the glass of milk.  He would then take a spoon and dip into the milk and cornbread and eat with contentment.  Well, I would imitate my daddy and do the same.  No wonder I had a weight problem as a child!

To begin this dish, I pour an entire bag of dried baby lima beans into a dutch oven pot.  I fill the pot with more than enough water to cover the lima beans.  The lima beans will swell.  I leave them soaking overnight.  The next morning, I pour off the water and rinse the lima beans.  I return the lima beans to the dutch oven pot for cooking.  I cover the lima beans with enough water that they can move around when stirring occurs.  I bring the lima beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium/low.  I stir often while cooking for a couple of hours.  The lima beans will become soft and the water will thicken.

                                                       Dried Baby Lima Beans

1 bag of Dried Baby Lima Beans
2 tsp. salt
lean smoked ham or smoked pork chop.

Follow the above preparation and cooking of the lima beans.  Add salt and smoked ham for seasoning when cooking begins.

Baked cornbread - 6/1/11 on blog.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Caramel 'n Chocolate Pecan Bars

I am already getting ready for the holidays that will be upon us very soon.  I made my Chicken and Dressing this past weekend for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We placed the pans in the freezer and will remove them the day before they are to be cooked.  The recipe makes enough to feed a large family and since the holiday meals at our house are only feeding six I can divide the dressing into two pans.  Preparing ahead of time certainly makes the holidays easier and more enjoyable for the cook!  

Land O Lakes Butter will have recipes in magazines on their advertisement for real butter and Caramel 'n Chocolate Pecan Bars is one that I cut out of a magazine and filed in my recipe box.  Let's see what caught my eye about this recipe.  How about caramel, chocolate, and pecans?  I knew it had to be a winner with that combination.

                                        Caramel 'n Chocolate Pecan Bars

Crust

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Land O Lakes Butter
1 cup pecan halves

Topping

2/3 cup Land O Lakes Butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all crust ingredients, except pecans in a bowl.  Beat at medium speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Press onto bottom of a ungreased 13 X 9 inch baking pan.  Place pecans evenly over unbaked crust.  Combine 2/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a 1 quart saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface of mixture begins to boil.  Boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Pour mixture evenly over pecans and crust.  Bake for 18 to 22 min. or until entire caramel layer is bubbly.  (Do Not Overbake.)  Remove from oven.  Immediately sprinkle with chips; allow to melt slightly.  Swirl melted chips over bars leaving some whole for marbled effect.  Cool completely.  Cut into bars.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Frozen Lemonade Pies

My bestest friend, George Ann, had told me about these pies and after seeing the recipe in several cookbooks, I decided to share the recipe with you, too.  It was suggested that these were great to make ahead of time and have on hand for dessert.  It was also suggested that you might want to share one.

                                                    Frozen Lemonade Pies

1 - 14 oz. can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 - 6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed, not diluted
1 - 8 oz. container Cool Whip
2 - 9 inch Graham Cracker Pie Crusts

In a large bowl, fold the sweetened condensed milk and lemonade concentrate into the whipped topping.  Spoon this mixture into the pie crusts.  Freeze for 3 hrs. or until firm.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hamburger Casserole

When I found this recipe, it reminded me of the recipes that I was looking for as a newlywed.  Simple, easy, and made with ground beef (ground chuck)!  You might want to add this one to your recipe box.

                                                             Hamburger Casserole

1 cup uncooked macaroni
1 lb. ground chuck
3 Tbsp. ketchup
3 Tbsp. dry onion soup mix
1/4 tsp. salt
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.  Drain.  In a large skillet on medium heat brown the ground chuck.  After the beef has browned, add the ketchup, onion soup mix, salt, tomato sauce, and the drained macaroni.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 min.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour the ground beef mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake for 10 to 15 min. until the cheese melts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

I found this recipe in The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking.  The recipe book was either a gift from my Mother or bestest friend, George Ann.  The Blue Willow Inn Restaurant is a Greek revival mansion in Social Circle, Georgia.  They serve country cooking with southern hospitality.  I haven't been there but I hope to go one day.  When I found the recipe, I began to remember that I had this cheese ball somewhere at sometime and it dawned on me that my co-worker, Sonia, had made this and brought it to work for us to try.  It is delicious with graham crackers.

                                              Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

1 - 8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 stick real butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
3/4 cup miniature milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Graham Crackers

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy.  Gradually add both the confectioners' and light brown sugar and beat until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Place the cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Shape into a ball.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Just before serving, roll the cheese ball in the pecans.  Serve with Graham Crackers, regular or chocolate.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ham & Redeye Gravy

Since I was a little girl living in Camilla, GA., I can remember my mother cooking ham and redeye gravy.  She would always cook rice and homemade biscuits to go with the redeye gravy.  I loved the redeye gravy over rice.  It's salty.  This is not something that you hear many people talk about cooking today.  This is more common with my generation (I'm 54) and older.  Ask your parents or grandparents about red eye gravy.  It'll be a memory that they can share with you.

                                                       Ham & Redeye Gravy

Smithfield Center Cut Ham Slices
2 cups strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

In a bowl, stir the coffee and brown sugar together.  In a large cast iron skillet on medium heat fry the ham slices until they are brown on both sides.  Remove the ham slices to a platter, reserving the drippings in the skillet.  Add the coffee mixture to the hot drippings.  Stir to loosen the particles from the bottom of the skillet.  Bring to a boil and allow the mixture to boil, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by about half.  You may pour the redeye gravy over the ham or you may pour it into a bowl to serve with biscuits or rice.

Homemade Biscuits - Blog on 1/3/11
Steamed Rice - Blog on 10/25/11

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Cake

Happy Halloween!

When I began my blog, I was so anxious to blog certain recipes of My Mother, My Mother-In-Law, and my recipes that I blogged the Halloween Cake recipe in May!  It was just too good of a recipe to wait for October 31st!  This is the first recipe that I have blogged twice but I didn't want anyone to miss this recipe if they needed a good one for Halloween.  I promise your little ghosts and goblins will love this one.

                                                            Halloween Cake

German Chocolate Cake Mix
Caramel Topping
12 oz. Cool Whip
3 Butterfinger Candy Bars, crushed

Prepare and cook cake mix according to the box directions.  Bake in a 13 X 9 inch pan.  Allow to cool.  Poke holes in the cake.  Warm caramel topping and then spread over cake.  Spread Cool Whip over caramel topping.  Sprinkle crushed butterfingers on top.  Refrigerate.