Friday, March 28, 2014

Jambalaya - By Valerie

For anyone that loves really spicy . . . this is for you! ☺  Our favorite part is the andouille sausage; it adds so much flavor.  We often make this main dish on cold, rainy, winter days 'cause it definitely warms you right up. ;O)  Our little brothers say after eating a bowl, "I'm breathing fire!"   

2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
10 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (we aren't big celery fans, so we leave it out☺)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon file powder (we have never added this ingredient)
1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a large heavy Dutch oven (we use a large skillet) over medium heat.  Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning.  Saute sausage until browned.  Remove with slotted spoon, and set aside.  Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and saute chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides.  Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

In the same pot, saute onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until tender.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, and season with red pepper, black pepper, salt, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce and file powder.  Stir in chicken and sausage.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Since we don't have a dutch oven, we use a skillet to start and then transfer to a large saucepan before adding the chicken broth and rice.) 

Stir in the rice and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

Source; Allrecipes

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Though these cookies have very little sugar, whole wheat and healthy oils, they definitely are not short on flavor!  The texture is really nice too!  This quickly became my and Richie's favorite cookie recipe!  They are quick and easy to make... you might want to double this recipe since it makes just over a dozen small cookies.  (The chocolate chips I used are super-size, so the cookies are bigger than they look in the pic!)

1 c. Oat Flour
1 c. Whole wheat flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
4 TB Brown sugar (or half honey)
1 TB Vanilla
4 TB Melted coconut oil or other liquid oil
5 TB Milk
3/4 c. chocolate chips
Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add wet ingredients and chocolate chips.  Form into cookie size patties (they don't grow in the oven) and bake at 350 for 6-10 minutes. 

P.S.  To make "oat flour" just throw regular rolled oatmeal into your food processor; that is what I do!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Apple Dapple Cake ~ by Caroline

I once entered this into the Spring Youth Fair
and it won a "Grand Champion" ribbon! 
It is soooo moist and flavorful (and a bit healthy with the apples in it ;-)
The recipe comes from a special cookbook that was given to me
by Richie and Lydia for Christmas. 
(Although, Richie had purchased a copy of this cookbook
for Lydia before they were married,
and so this recipe was first discovered by us girls a couple years ago. :-) 
The cookbook is a compilation of family recipes by Frances Anna Gillette,
who was born in Vancouver, WA, and raised in Yacolt, WA. 
It also has wonderful pictures in it!!

Cream together:
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil

Sift together:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Mix egg and flour mixture together.

1 cup coconut (optional ;-)
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional ;-)
3 cups apples, diced
2 tsp. vanilla

Batter of cake is stiff.  (Put into 13 X 9 greased baking dish.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 60 minutes. 

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk

Boil together for 3 minutes.  Put icing on cake right after baking when cake is hot.  After pouring icing on cake, use a meat fork, piercing cake all over the top so icing will seep in.

Source:  The Old Farmhouse Kitchen, cookbook published in 2007.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Beef Taco Skillet ~ By Victoria

I LOVE this recipe! Not only is it very tasty, it only takes 5 minutes to make! I double this recipe which is enough for 8-10 people. Any leftovers don't last long. :)

1lb ground beef
1 can (10oz) regular tomato soup
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
6 flour tortillas (cut into 1" pieces) 
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese  

Cook beef in 10" skillet until well browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat. Stir in soup, salsa, water and tortillas. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.


Eventually Salad~ By Lydia

Richie has always really loved the "Suddenly Salad" from the box.  I had never eaten cold pasta salad until I married him, so, naturally I used the boxed kind.  It was good.  But, the ingredients on the back were...not so good!  So this is my healthier but still delicious version of bacon ranch "Suddenly Salad."

4 c. dry small shell pasta
1 lb cooked and crumbled bacon
3/4 c frozen peas
3/4 mayonnaise (you can make your own)
1 TB ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 c shredded carrot
 Cook pasta until done.  Add peas and boil 1 minute longer.  Strain, run under cold water to cool.
In the mean time, cook bacon until crispy.  Transfer to a paper-towel on a plate.  
Mix together last 4 ingredients, crumble in bacon and add pasta.  Refrigerate immediately, serve when cold. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cinnamon Snap Cookies ~ by Caroline

These cookies are one of our family's must-haves at Christmastime,
or when we need a little taste of "home."
With their delicious cinnamon smell,
slight molasses flavor,
and very soft texture,
they just have a way of warming the heart! : -)
We often get asked for the recipe for these cookies,
so I think they are a big favorite among friends and family!
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream shortening, brown sugar, egg and molasses in mixer.
Mix dry ingredients together, and then add to creamed mixture.
Form dough into balls, and roll in granulated sugar.
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Source:  This recipe was given to us by a friend of the family 8 years ago.  Its original source is unknown. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Enchiladas de Pollo - By Valerie

Our family loves Mexican food and as a result it seems like we eat it several times a week. ☺  These enchiladas have been a favorite ever since our mom found the recipe in a cookbook long before any of us were born.  They are so flavorful!  We all love the taste of fresh cilantro and this recipe calls for cilantro in the enchilada sauce!  Yum! 

Chicken enchilada filling
2 whole chicken breasts
1/2 small onion
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Enchilada sauce
 1 (4 -oz.) can green chiles
1 (13-oz.) can tomatillos drained, or 1-3/4 cups drained canned tomatoes
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 egg
1/4 cup lard
8 corn tortillas
4 oz. Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Optional Toppings
1 cup dairy sour cream
3 or 4 radishes, sliced
2 cups shredded lettuce
12 ripe olives

Place chicken breasts in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Add water to cover, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt to taste.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until tender.  Cool chicken in broth.  Drain, reserving broth for another use.  Shred chicken with 2 forks or with your fingers.  Mix shredded chicken, chopped onion, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese.  Taste and add salt if needed.  Set aside.

In blender or food processor, combine green chiles, tomatillos or tomatoes, cilantro, whipping cream and egg.  Blend until smooth.  Add salt to taste.  Set aside.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.  Heat lard in a small skillet.  With tongs, carefully place 1 tortilla at a time in hot lard.  Hold in lard 3-5 seconds until softened.  Quickly turn tortilla and soften other side, 3-5 seconds.  Drain over skillet or on paper towels.  Place 1/8 of the chicken mixture on each tortilla, pressing the mixture to make it compact.  Roll tightly and place seam-side down in a 12" x 7-1/2" baking dish.  Pour chile-cream mixture over enchiladas and sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.  Bake 20 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

For each serving, place 2 enchiladas on a plate and top with about 3 tablespoons sour cream.  Place a mound of Guacamole over sour cream.  Garnish with radish slices.  Place 1/2 cup shredded lettuce next to enchiladas, if desired.  Place a mound of Guacamole on lettuce.  Top Guacamole with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 2 ripe olives if desired.  Makes 8 enchiladas.

Source: Mexican Cookery

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes ~ By Caroline

These pancakes are a wonderful easy breakfast for those busy mornings, and are definitely a family favorite!  We all love how fluffy these pancakes get and the flavor is just wonderful!  :)

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 TB sugar
2 cups milk
1 TB butter, melted
1 cup mashed pumpkin
2 eggs, separated

In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients.  In a blender, mix milk, butter, pumpkin and egg yolks.  Stir into dry ingredients.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold in last.  Ladle onto hot greased skillet.  When bubbly around edges, flip over.  Cook until done. 

Source:  Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook, 2007

Monday, March 17, 2014

White Chili ~ By Victoria

This is *definitely* a family favorite, especially on cold days with cornbread on the side. The smell of this chili cooking is SOOOO good! One of us will need to post our corn bread recipe now! :-)  When we've served this chili to guests, we often get asked for the recipe, so it seems to be well-liked by lots of folks!  Hope you like it!

1lb chicken, cut up
1 med. onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1Tb veg. oil
2 cans of Great Northern Beans, rinsed
1 14/2 oz can chicken broth
1 4oz can green chilies
1tsp salt
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
grated mozzarella cheese

In and large sauce pan, sauté chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Top with cheese.

Source: We have had this recipe for around 9 years, and although we don't remember exactly where we originally found it, I believe we found it on a family blog.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Bars- By Valerie

I found this recipe in a cookbook from the library.  These bars quickly became a family favorite!  They are so good.  Anyone that likes oatmeal raisin cookies will LOVE these. :)  Enjoy!

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups raisins
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed

1.  In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.  Stir in sour cream until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly.  Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in a small amount of hot filling into egg; return all to pan, stirring constantly.  Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat.  Gently stir in raisins.  Cool to room temperature without stirring.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.  Cut in butter until crumbly.

3.  Firmly press 3-1/2 cups crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan.  Spread with the raisin filling.  Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Yield: about 3 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home (Shop Smart, Eat Great) Cookbook

Monday, March 10, 2014

Orange Chicken ~ By Caroline

This recipe is very similar to the Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken only with a distinctly tangy flavor! The red pepper also makes it pleasantly spicy! : -)   I prepared the chicken almost the same way as in the Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken, but decided not to bake it to keep the chicken's "crunchy" coating.

4 1/2 c. water
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 TB grated orange zest
3 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 TB cornstarch
3 TB water

4 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup cornstarch
3-4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Place cornstarch and beaten eggs in separate bowls.  Dip chicken into cornstarch then coat in egg mixture.  Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until browned. Place on paper-towel covered cookie sheet to allow drainage. Mix all sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch/water to sauce until the desired thickness. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until chicken is ready. Once all chicken has been cooked, combine with the sauce and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: Unknown

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe . . . Ever☺- By Valerie

Our parents' special 25th wedding anniversary was on Tuesday and I wanted to make a cake to celebrate.  We have several "tried and true" cake recipes, but I wanted to try a new recipe. I was hoping for a chocolate cake that would be very moist and have a really dark chocolate color and rich flavor.  I looked up the "best☺" chocolate cake recipe and found  this one!  We all really enjoyed this cake and I think it has definitely become a new favorite.  The recipe calls for espresso powder in both the cake and butter-cream frosting which was all new to us and we didn't have any on hand.  So, we did some research on possible substitutes and found that you can use instant coffee granules after they have been ground in a food processor.  Also you should double the amount of instant coffee as espresso powder. Hope you enjoy!

  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

  • Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
    2. For the cake:
    3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
    4. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
    5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
    6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

    Perfect Chocolate Butter-cream Frosting
    • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
    • 1 cup cocoa
    • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
    • ½ cup milk
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
    1. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
    2. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
    3. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
    4. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
    5. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Pizza Crust ~ By Victoria

    My family enjoys pizza on a regular basis... at least a couple times a month! 
    We double this recipe, but if you like thin crust pizza,
    just use the recipe as written below. :)
    I doubled the recipe for the pizzas in these pictures.
    2 cups of flour
    2 1/2 tsps. of yeast
    3/4 cup of hot water
    1 TB of sugar
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1 TB of canola oil

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    Mix everything in a mixing bowl together as it is listed. 
    Once the dough is well blended and looks smooth,
    roll out your crust and bake it on a pizza pan for about 5 minutes.
    After it has cooked for a few minutes, put the pizza sauce and other desired toppings on.
    Bake the whole thing for another 15 minutes or so.
    Source:  Dear friend from church.  Thanks, Vicki!  : -)

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Sugar Cookies - By Valerie

    We LOVE these sugar cookies!!  It has been a family favorite ever since my mom received the recipe from her grade-school friend's grandmother.  (We usually double the recipe because we know these cookies do not last long around our house.☺)  They are especially fun as you can decorate them with different sprinkles for any and every celebration/different season! This is a very special recipe, as the nutmeg adds such great flavor!  We are thrilled to share it with you and hope you enjoy trying it out sometime.

    1/2 cup Crisco
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 eggs
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Beat the Crisco and sugar together until light and fluffy then add the vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.  Whisk together the four remaining ingredients and then add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness.  Bake for 5-8 minutes.  Once cooled frost with your favorite frosting and decorate.