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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
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.


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.


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.