Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies

The Menu:
Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies

The Original Recipe:
I found this in a small booklet from a local store. I knew immediately that I wanted to make them for our yearly cookie exchange for church. Of course I had to make a test batch and -- Oh yum! I got 3 1/2 dozen out of the single batch that we made, and they are G-O-N-E all ready!! These are for sure "Santa's" new favorite cookie! I couldn't stop eating them until I finally put the last 4 cookies in my hubby's lunch for today... I cannot wait to make more of these to share!

Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies

Nonstick cooking spray

1/3 cup margarine, softened

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg

1/4 cup dark molasses

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat the margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; beat until combined. Beat in egg and molasses. Beat in as much of the all-purpose and whole wheat flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Combine the granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 11 minutes or until set and tops are cracked. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe about 4 dozenCalories50, Total Fat (g)1, Cholesterol (mg)4, Sodium (mg)42, Carbohydrate (g)9, Protein (g)1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftover-Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings

The Menu:
Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings

The Original Recipe:
Last year I made Turkey Pot Pie to use up some leftovers, it was good, but again, this was much better! yum, Yum, YUM!! This made a wonderful leftover meal, especially with my tastey brined turkey! I think this is what added the flavor!
  I saved the juice/broth from my turkey which was about 4 cups after I made the gravy for Thanksgiving. So, I didn't do the first part of this recipe (with the carcass) since my turkey had all these flavors in it from being brined. I had enough liquid flavor from what I saved. I also didn't make this big of a batch. I eyeballed a lot! ;o)
  I used about 1 1/2 cups of broth and 6 cups of water. I sauteed my carrots, onion, celery and garlic in butter, added the broth and water, added the turkey, some thyme and the corn. From there I followed the dumpling recipe, which was amazing! The best leftovers I have made with turkey! My son who said he didn't like the stuffing on Thanksgiving said this was the best part of the meal last night, hahaaa.. He's so funny about his food, I guess stuffing dumplings are different to him. :o)

Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings

Recipe courtesy Wes Martin

.There's probably no better way to empty that overstuffed post-Thanksgiving refrigerator than a hearty soup. Using the turkey bones to make a broth for the soup is the best way to get every penny's worth from your bird. If your leftover stuffing is chunky and rustic, finely chop it to make these delicate dumplings.

Prep Time:15 minInactive Prep Time:--Cook Time:1 hr 30 minLevel:


6 Servings. Ingredients

•Carcass from one 12-14 pound roasted turkey, picked clean

•2 large onions, one quartered and one chopped

•4 peeled carrots, 2 coarsely chopped and 2 sliced

•4 stalks celery, 2coarsely chopped and 2 sliced

•6 garlic cloves, 4 smashed and 2 chopped

•1 bay leaf

•10 whole black peppercorns

•1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

•2 large eggs

•6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

•1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

•Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

•2 cups leftover stuffing

•2 sprigs fresh thyme

•2 cups shredded leftover turkey meat

•1 cup leftover corn kernels


Put the turkey carcass, quartered onions, coarsely chopped carrots and celery, smashed garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to just cover, about 2 quarts. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and strain the solids from the broth. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve; you should have about 10-12 cups broth.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper together until smooth. Add the stuffing and mix until well combined; cover and reserve.

Wipe the stockpot clean with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced carrots and celery, thyme sprigs, and reserved broth and bring to a simmer; cook vegetables are just soft, about 10 minutes.

Roll level tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into balls with wet hands (see note) and drop into the simmering soup; cook until dumplings float, 3-4 minutes. Gently stir in the turkey meat, corn, and season with salt and pepper, and simmer until heated through. Serve immediately.

Note: Moistness of stuffing can vary; if the dumpling dough is too soft to roll, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it is firm enough to hold its shape while rolling.


Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

The Menu:
Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy
(Hey! Who was picking at my turkey!?!)

The Original Recipe:
  My typical Thanksgiving Turkey is never this good (always good, but not as good as this one!)
  I found this on foodnetwork.com. This was the best turkey we had in all my Thanksgivings. It was moist, it had flavor, and it made leftovers that make awesome meals!! I cannot say enough about this turkey. I seriously couldn't stop eating it. All morning... day... and night! Ugh, I was so full of turkey! I think the dark meat had the best flavor! Even the kids began to pick at it again right before bed! It was funny.
  Now then, I didn't make the gravy listed with this turkey recipe. I did use all the wonderful drippings though for leftovers and to make our own gravy with. I just added about 2 tbls. cornstartch with water, mixed until no clumps, and then added about 2 cups of turkey juice to it for my gravy. It was so flavorful, too!
  I used a 25lb. turkey and a 5 gallon buket to brine it in! It was perfect.

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

.Prep Time:1 hr 0 minInactive Prep Time:48 hr 0 minCook Time:4 hr 0 minLevel:


8 to 10 servings. Ingredients


•7 quarts water

•1 quart apple cider

•3/4 cup kosher salt

•1/3 cup granulated sugar

•1 large onion, diced

•1 large or 2 small carrots, diced

•3 ribs celery, diced

•1 head garlic, cut in 1/2 equatorially

•1/2 bunch fresh rosemary

•1/2 bunch fresh sage

•6 bay leaves

•1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, free range organic is great!

Herb crust:

•1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped

•1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped

•3 sticks butter, room temperature

•Kosher salt


•1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

•1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

•2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice

•4 cloves garlic, smashed

•2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice

•5 bay leaves

•1 cinnamon stick

•1 bunch thyme

•Kosher salt

•1 quart chicken stock, divided

•2 cups apple cider, divided

•1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour


Special equipment: butcher's twine

To brine the turkey: Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the turkey and let it brine in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To prepare the turkey for cooking: Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, sage, and butter for the herb crust in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the butter on the outside of the skin as well. Tie the legs together over the breast so they will protect it during cooking and help keep it moist and juicy.

Gravy preparation: Put the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the turkey on top of the veggies and refrigerate overnight UNCOVERED! Yes, that's right, uncovered. This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. Make sure that there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator. After refrigerating overnight, the turkey is ready to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so and add more stock to the roasting pan, if needed. Cook about 17 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey registers 160 degrees F. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone when doing the reading. When the turkey has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.

Carve the turkey, transfer to a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

Cook's Note: Don't fight over the drumsticks.

Give thanks for such a great turkey!!!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Home Made Christmas Present #3 (non-edible)

The Menu:
Cinnamon Ornaments

The Original Recipe:
This recipe is flying all over the internet. I had someone give this to us as a Christmas gift one year, and I still have it. They are very sturdy and smell wonderful. I thought that these would be a great gift for the teachers, bus driver, and Sunday school teachers this year. I had all the ingredients right at home!

Cinnamon Ornaments

Mix 1 cup cinnamon and 1 cup applesauce with 1 Tablespoon of white glue.  You want a consistency that can be rolled with a rolling pin but not quite as sticky or it will stick to your counter!  Sprinkle counter with cinnamon and roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters.  Cut a hole in shape with the straw so you will be able to hang them.  Let dry about 24 hours.  They shrink as they dry.  Cut lengths of gold thread, make loops and hang. they will keep their scent for a few years.  Refresh scent with cinnamon fragrance oil.

* My notes:
I thought it would be adorable to have 1 small star and 1 other larger shape together. I tied a ribbon on a small star and then looped over to the other shape (christmas tree, gingerbread man, large star, and snowman). This way they can hang it over their tree and have 2 ornaments hanging down.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Home Made Christmas Present #2 (edible)

The Menu:
Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar

Finished Product

The Original Recipe:
I found something similar on allrecipes.com, but I formed my own. I made some tonight, and I thought it was delicious. It reminds me of vegetable soup. Yum!
I am going to put the finished jar of soup in a basket, along with the tomatoes and carrots and a pack of corn muffin mix to have a complete meal for the people I am giving it to. I think it's gonna turn out to be a wonderful gift basket, not to mention a really great fast meal where there is no prepping or chopping of veggies!

Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar


1/2 cup dry split peas

1/4 cup beef bouillon granules

1/4 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup dry lentils

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. celery seed

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

1/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup uncooked alphabet pasta


1. In a 1 1/2 pint jar, layer the split peas, bouillon, barley, lentils, onion flakes, Italian seasoning, celery seed, rice, and bay leaves. Wrap the pasta in plastic wrap, and place in the jar. Seal tightly.

2. Attach a label to the jar with the following instructions:

1 (32 ounce) can diced tomatoes, 1 can carrots, 2 quarts water.


1. Remove pasta from top of jar, and set aside.

2.Add 32 oz. tomatoes, 2 quarts of water, and soup mix.

3.Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

4.Cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

5.Stir in the pasta and carrots(rinsed and drained), cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta, peas, lentils and barley are tender

*Optional to add cooked ground beef or cooked stew meat or cooked ground pork

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Home Made Christmas Present #1 (non-edible)

The Menu:
Home Made Bird Feeders

(front view)
(Side View)

The Original Recipe:
Well, we are tight on money this year, and I have a lot of "crafty" ideas floating around in my head as to what we might be able to make for the grandparents this Christmas. Gifts from the heart! It's always a joy to have a 13 (almost 14) yr. old boy help with crafts *eye roll.* My smallest boy is 5, and so he needed a bit of help. I helped him. That left my 13 yr. old boy to help my 7 yr. old boy, and my 8 1/2 yr. old boy on his own to do his bird feeder. My 13 yr. old decided it was much to much "work" to help his brother and no longer wanted to make one of his own. To Bad! He had to make one anyway. It is sloppy at its best, but it is still so cute and he just slaved on it all afternoon to finish. I get a chuckle at thinking how easy these really were. I am also very impressed with our project and how they turned out. Our grandparents are bird watcher/feeders and these gifts are going to be great for each of them.

What you need:

Empty Juice bottles-- We used Juicy Juice bottle which were the perfect size.
1 medium bottle of glue
fat craft paint brushes
Collage paper
wire hangers
scissors and/or craft knife
bird seed

How to make:
Make sure your juice bottles are rinsed and dried out.
Also peel the label off of the outside.

Now, I used a scrapbooking craft knife to cut out rectangular holes on each side for the birds to get in to eat. You don't want it to high up, just high enough for them to bend down and find the food. You don't want them nesting inside.

Next, make a hole below the food hole on each side for a stick/branch to go through so the bird can perch on each side.

After that, make a smaller hole up on each side. This is where you will undo your hanger, stick it through the holes and then redo it to be able to hang.

Ok, so next we want to tear the collage paper into medium pieces. Lots and lots of medium pieces.
Once that is done  you will mix your glue with some water in a small cup. I would say 1 tsp. of water to 1 tbls. of glue (you might have to double/triple, etc.). It should be thin enough to spread over the bottle with out really dripping.

Next you paint some glue on your bottle, then you take a piece of paper and stick it on the glue and then paint more glue over the paper gently so that it adheres nice and flat. Do this until the bottle is covered and you see no plastic peeking through. Don't cover the holes though. If you do, gently poke back through them.

After all is covered up with pretty paper and nice and dry, go ahead and use clear spray paint to seal the whole thing together (and it makes it weather resistant, too).
 You can then add your sticks and hangers, fill with bird feed and now you have great Christmas presents, not only for your grandparents but for the birds, too!

(Oh, and I am leaving my cap untouched. I might have the kids paint it, but I want the grandparents to be able to open it, stick a funnel in and fill the feeder with food.)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pepper Jack Potato Soup and Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

The Menu:
Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

The Original Recipe:
My friend April gave this recipe to me. Actually, she made it and gave me some to eat! It was soooo good. I love spicy things and this one had a nice kick but not overwhelming. So, I got the recipe. Of course, my kids don't like spice, so I made this a different way (which follows this one!) that is perfect for the whole family...

Pepper Jack Potato Soup

3 strips of Bacon (crisp and crumbled)
1 tbls. olive oil
1/4 medium yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups russet potatoes, cubed
3 tbls. cup butter
3 tbls. cup flour
1 (12 oz. can) evaporated milk
8 oz. pepper jack cheese
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground thyme

heat oil in soup pot on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots and bell peppers; cook and stir until the onions are soft. Add the broth and bring to boil. Decrease the heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until carrots are cooked.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a medium sauce pan until they are tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and add to the soup with the bacon. Wipe out the pan if necessary and use for the next step.
Melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and turn the heat up slightly and whisk until the mixture is bubbly. Add the milk whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Add to the soup. Stir in cheese and continute to stir until melted. Do not boil. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Serve.

The Way I Made It My Own:
This was so good that my 13 yr. old had 2 bowls!! This is a great alternative to the above!! A great cheesy potato soup for sure! I love how easy it was to adapt to the crockpot. I know, there is still some work at the end, but it's worth it! I have tried and tried to add the slurry in with my cream soups in the crockpot, but they always turn gritty on me. I am not sure why. So, a quick 3 minutes  to whisk up the slurry before we eat isn't a big deal to me. It turns out great every time!

Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

5 strips of Bacon (crisp and crumbled) (I used turkey bacon)
1/4 medium yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 1/2 cup chicken broth (or I used 2 pkt.s sodium/msg free bullion powder and 2 cups water)
5 medium white potatoes, cubed
3 tbls. cup butter
3 tbls. cup flour
1 (12 oz. can) evaporated milk ( I used Fat Free)
8 oz. Cheddar cheese
1/2 block cream cheese ( I used low fat)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground thyme

In Crockpot combine potatoes, broth, carrots, onion, peppers and garlic. Cook on low 8 hours (or until carrots and potatoes are tender).

After potatoes and carrots are tender, melt, on the stove in a saute pan, the butter over low heat. Add the flour and turn the heat up slightly and whisk until the mixture is bubbly. Add the milk whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Add the cheeses to the mixture. Stir into crockpot, whisking it in.  Add salt, pepper and thyme and crumbled bacon.  Stir and Serve.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

The Menu:
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

The Original Recipe:
I can't think of any other way to make this other than written. It is so good! My husband just raved about it while eating it tonight, so I know it must be a keeper to make again!  I served it with some stuffing and corn as sides.
I know I found this on the Babycenter CFYF board a long time ago...

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan


2 pounds Tilapia fillets

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup Butter, softened

3 tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp Dried basil

1/4 tsp Ground black pepper

1/8 tsp Onion powder

1/8 tsp Celery salt


Preheat your oven's broiler, and grease a broiling pan, or line with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix together the

Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, and lemon juice and season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder, and celery

salt, mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over, and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven, and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side and broil for 2 more minutes, or until the topping is browned, and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Texas BBQ Sloppy Joes

The Menu:
Texas BBQ Sloppy Joes

The Original Recipe:
I found this on cassiecraves.blogspot. It is really good. I did a few things differently, but it is a definite keeper to make again. I get tired of plain old sloppy joes, so this was a nice change!

Texas BBQ Sloppy Joes

adapted from Tried-and-True Cooking with Heidi

1 1/3 pounds lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup bottled barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 package frozen garlic Texas toast

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Brown ground beef and onion in large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain well. Return to skillet.

2. Stir in tomatoes with green chilies, ketchup, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare Texas toast according to package directions. Serve beef mixture over Texas toast; sprinkle with cheese.
The Way I Made It My Own:
I just changed a few little things to make it a bit easier for a quick supper. I wanted it to not be so runny, too so I cut out the tomatoes. We just ate them like regular sloppy joes with some augratin potatoes and corn as sides. A keeper to make again for sure!
Texas BBQ Sloppy Joes

2 lb.s pounds lean ground beef

1 tsp. onion flakes
1 can diced chilies
1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup bottled barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1. Brown ground beef large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain well. Return to skillet.

2. Stir in green chilies, ketchup, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce, onion flakes and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

3. Serve on Buns of your choice.

Alfredo Sauce

The Menu:
Alfredo Sauce

The Original Recipe:
I have combined recipes over time to create this yummy lower fat alfredo sauce.

1 can fat free evaporated milk (or low fat half and half)
2 tbls. flour
3 tbls. butter (I used low fat margerine)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cooking sherry (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup parmasean regiano cheese

Melt butter and garlic in saute pan to melt butter, stirring the garlic around. Add flour and stir to combine. Slowly add milk, whisking until smooth, add wine. Bring to a slow bubbling boil and whisk until thickened. Add cheese and stir to combine. Serve overtop any pasta dishes that requires a yummy white alfredo sauce!