Monday, December 20, 2010


Last year my husband and I decided to start a little tradition of making/decorating gingerbread houses. So far we have had a lot of fun doing it and the best part about it is that is makes your house smell like christmas! You can't get that from the kits in the grocery store. I got the recipe from Martha Stewarts website. The dough is a little difficult to work with, so make sure its chilled well. Also, when you roll it out, make sure you have plenty of flour! It will stick otherwise. The recipe also says to bake on an ungreased cookie sheet. This is unwise advice. I tried it had to scrape gingerbread off the cookie sheet. A sheet of parchment paper works great.

Here is the recipe! Try it! Its a fun family activity and you can eat it on Christmas with a warm cup of cocoa if you want to! Also, if you click on the link at the end of the post you can see the site and download a template. I just made one up, which you can do too!

Also, I am not going to include the recipe for Royal Icing that I used this year. It was terrible. I believe my mother has one that I used last year that was much better.

Makes enough for 5 small house kits (NOTE: The photo above is a little larger house, I made three medium sized houses with this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsulfured molasses
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt. Beat in eggs and molasses.
  3. Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes, or using template instructions, if desired. Place dough shapes on ungreased baking sheets; chill until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake 15 minutes, or until gingerbread is firm in the center, but not dark around the edges.

Read more at Gingerbread for Gingerbread House Kit - Martha Stewart Recipes

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Easy Peasy! Nice and Easy!

Well, after all of the crazy cooking that is associated with Thanksgiving (did you see how incredibly long my Thanksgiving blogs were? And it was in three parts!), I definitely want to take it easy cooking-wise for awhile afterward.

I blame the crazy title of this blog on a Starburst commercial. It was an insanely quirky commercial that made me laugh every time. I don't think many people liked the commercial though, because they didn't air it for very long. But it must have had a cult following, because you can still find it, there is an extended version that includes dance instruction and the phrase "Easy peasy...nice and easy." Ever since I saw that commercial, that phrase has been stuck in the back of my mind. I had to get it out here! In case you want to check out the commercial, click here. If you want to see the dance instruction and the phrase that lead to the title of this blog, click here.

Besides being easy dinners, these recipes have absolutely nothing in common. But they're all yummy. The first one is an easy sauce that is served over linguine. The second one is an easy sauce that is served over rice. The final recipe uses shredded chicken and puff pastry...yummy puff pastry.

I hope you like them and I hope it makes your dinner preparations easier!

Creamy Italian Chicken Linguine


3-6 chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian dressing mix


Combine soup, cream cheese, and dressing packet. Pour over chicken in slow cooker and cook all day on low heat. Serve over linguine.

Source: I got this from my mom. I don't know where she got it from though.

Notes: You can serve the chicken whole over the linguine, or you can shred it. I prefer to shred the chicken. It makes the sauce heartier and it goes farther to serve more people. I also usually double this recipe. I've also found no reason to combine the soup, cream cheese, and dressing. I usually sprinkle the dressing mix directly over the chicken, pour the soup over the chicken and just place the cream cheese (un-softened) on top. When you shred the chicken, it mixes the sauce completely. Also, if you keep frozen chicken breasts in your freezer, this is a great pantry recipe that you can keep on hand and throw together any time.

Easy Peasy Foccacia Bread


12 Rhodes Dough rolls
2 tbsp olive oil
Garlic salt, to taste
Rosemary, to taste
Parmesan, to taste


I made this easy foccacia by thawing 12 Rhodes Dough rolls in a ziploc bag. Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, flatten it out in a rectangular shape like you would if you were rolling out a pizza. You can either do this with a rolling pin or with your hands. I stretched and flattened the dough with my hands. Place the dough on a jelly roll pan that is covered in foil and lightly dusted with flour. Brush the dough with a little olive oil and then sprinkle it with garlic salt, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese, to taste. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Source: This just came from my mind when I realized that I hadn't planned any side dishes to go along with this dinner. I had Rhodes Dough rolls in the freezer, so voila! Lovely foccacia!

Mexican Pork


1 pound pork boneless loin roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 jar (20 ounces) salsa
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces), if desired


Mix pork, salsa, and chilies in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6-8 hours or until pork is tender. Stir in beans. Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with cheese.

4 servings.

Nutrition information: 345 calories, 10 g fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 900 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 37 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Notes: I usually double this and I serve it over rice. Also, it is great with fresh chopped cilantro on top as well. You can also top it with a dollop of guacamole or sour cream. The recipe suggests that you can serve it over tortilla chips, instead of the rice, if you prefer. Other substitutions suggested by the recipe are to vary the taste by using pinto beans instead of black beans and Cheddar cheese instead of Monterey Jack. It is soooo easy and very flavorful. I used Ortega medium salsa. Also, I think it is basically impossible to find a jar of salsa with exactly 20 ounces. I think most jars come in a 16 ounce size. This amount is totally fine. This dish creates a lot of liquid, so I think it actually works better to use only 16 ounces of salsa instead of 20 ounces. Finally, this dish would be very freezer friendly. You could freeze individual portions served over rice. Just defrost and microwave! Or you could freeze the pork mixture in a freezer friendly container or zip top bag. Don't forget to label and date it! When you are ready to use it, defrost it and reheat it in the microwave. Serve over fresh cooked rice. This is another great pantry recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Stromboli


2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons Frank's® RedHot® Sauce
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed


Heat the oven to 400°F. Stir the chicken, cheese and hot sauce in a medium bowl.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 10x14-inch rectangle.

With the short side facing you, spoon the chicken mixture down the center of the pastry. Fold 2 opposite sides of the pastry to the center over the filling and press to seal. Place the pastry, seam-side down, onto a baking sheet. Tuck the ends under to seal.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Cut the pastry in quarters to serve.

Source: Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry website (

Notes: The recipe suggests serving this with carrot and celery sticks, additional hot sauce, and blue cheese dressing. The blue cheese dressing is really yummy as a dipping sauce for the stromboli or drizzled on top of the stromboli. You can either poach and then chop or shred the chicken or you can cook the chicken in a slow cooker and chop or shred it. Also, I scored the top of the puff pastry (four small cuts) prior to cooking to allow the steam to escape.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving--Dinner, Part 1: Turkey and Gravy

Above: "My first turkey!" Laurie.

Ahhh. Now on to the main course! Thanksgiving dinner! Now, when it comes to Christmas and Thanksgiving, the dinners are pretty much the same. Some years, we do the dinner twice (once on Thanksgiving and once on Christmas). Other years, we only do one or the other.

So, a lot of the recipes I am going to share here are also favorites for Christmas as well.

Oh, and I must apologize that because of how hectic it was to get dinner on the table, we didn't take many pictures!

Perfect Roast Turkey

If your roasting pan only fits sideways in the oven, turn the pan every hour so the turkey cooks and browns evenly.


Serves 12 to 14

1 twenty- to-twenty-one-pound fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed from cavity and reserved
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 750-ml bottle dry white wine, or 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry red or white wine, for gravy (optional)
Giblet Stock (recipe below)


Rinse turkey with cool water, and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.

Place rack on lowest level in oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine melted butter and white wine or chicken broth in a bowl. Fold a large piece of cheesecloth into quarters and cut it into a 17-inch, four-layer square. Immerse cheesecloth in the butter and wine/broth; let soak.

Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. If the turkey comes with a pop-up timer, remove it; an instant-read thermometer is a much more accurate indication of doneness. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey. Fill large cavity and neck cavity loosely with as much stuffing as they hold comfortably; do not pack tightly. (Cook remaining stuffing in a buttered baking dish for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.) Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string (a bow will be easy to untie later). Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey with the softened butter, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper.

Lift cheesecloth out of liquid, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the breast and about halfway down the sides of the turkey; it can cover some of the leg area. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with butter and wine. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices; if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.

After this third hour of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth. Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven. Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 1 more hour, basting after 30 minutes.

After this fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach 180 degrees (stuffing should be between 140 degrees and 160 degrees and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.

When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off. Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup dry red or white wine, or water, to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the pan until liquid boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from pan. Add giblet stock to pan. Stir well, and bring back to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes more. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of gravy. Season to taste, strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.

Source: Martha Stewart website

Giblet Stock


Makes about 3 cups.

Giblets, (heart, gizzard, and liver) and neck reserved from turkey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (or halved and sliced)
1 celery stalk, with leaves, stalk cut into 1/4-inch dice, leaves roughly chopped (or roughly chopped)
1 small leek, trimmed, washed and cut into 1/4-inch dice, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth


Trim any fat or membrane from giblets. The liver should not have the gallbladder (a small green sac) attached. If it is, trim it off carefully, removing part of the liver if necessary. Do not pierce the sac; the liquid it contains is very bitter. Rinse giblets and neck, and pat dry.

In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion, celery and leaves, and leek. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes. Add 4 cups water, bay leaf, gizzard, heart, and neck (do not add liver; it needs to be cooked separately or it makes the stock bitter). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a high simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, or until gizzard is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

Meanwhile, chop liver finely. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add liver, and cook, stirring constantly, until liver no longer releases any blood and is fully cooked, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside.

After the 45 minutes of simmering, the liquid should reduce to about 3 cups. If it has not, increase the heat, and cook 10 to 15 minutes more.

Strain stock. Chop gizzard and heart very fine, and add to strained stock along with chopped liver. Pick meat off neck, and add to stock. Set aside until needed for gravy.

Source: Martha Stewart website

Notes: I simply put the onion, celery, neck and giblets into a pot with 4 cups of chicken broth. I did not saute the onion and celery first. Then I added the salt and pepper, bay leaf, and butter. I simmered this on low the entire time that the turkey was cooking. I did not reserve the liver to add to the finished gravy. I removed the neck and giblets, strained it and used the broth to add to the turkey pan drippings to make the gravy.

Perfect Turkey Gravy

Do not use a non stick pan when cooking your turkey. This way, there will be more crispy, cooked-on bits, which add flavor to the gravy.

Makes 3 cups


Giblet Stock (recipe above)
Perfect Roast Turkey (recipe above)
1 1/2 cups Madeira wine (see notes)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (see notes)
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, optional
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Make giblet stock while turkey is roasting.
Transfer roasted turkey to a large platter. Pour juices from the pan into a fat separator. Set aside to separate, about 10 minutes.

Strain stock, discarding solids, and return to saucepan; warm over low heat. Place roasting pan on top of stove over medium-high heat. Pour Madeira into measuring cup, then into pan, and let it bubble; scrape bottom and sides of pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge cooked-on bits.

Make a slurry: Place flour in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Ladle 1 cup stock into jar, and close lid. Shake until combined. Slowly pour into roasting pan; stir to incorporate. Cook over medium heat, stirring until flour is cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly stir in remaining stock.

Raise heat to medium high. Add the dark drippings that have settled to the bottom of the fat separator to roasting pan. Discard fat. Stir in rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 to 15 minutes to reduce and thicken. (For thicker gravy, add 1 more tablespoon flour and 1/2 cup less stock.)

Strain liquid from pan through a very fine sieve. Adjust seasoning. Keep warm in heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water until ready to serve.

Source: Martha Stewart website

Notes: I did not use the wine. The giblet stock and the pan drippings made a ton of gravy anyway. Extra liquid was not necessary. But if I had, I would have used half water or chicken stock and half red wine vinegar as a substitute. I am pregnant, after all, and I don’t usually cook with alcohol anyway. Also, since the combined drippings and giblet stock made a ton of liquid, 3 tablespoons of flour was not nearly enough to thicken the gravy. In fact, I probably used about a cup of flour mixed with some of the giblet stock to make a slurry. Even that didn’t thicken the gravy enough. I then added about 1/3 cup of cornstarch mixed with the gravy to make another slurry. That still didn’t thicken the gravy enough. At that point, everyone was hungry and we didn’t have time to work on the gravy any longer. So, it didn’t turn out as thick as I would like, but it tasted fantastic! Don’t feel like there’s a specific amount of flour or cornstarch that is needed for the recipe. Use as much as you need to get the thickness or consistency of gravy that you want.

Directions for Carving a Turkey (Martha Stewart)

Step 1—Preparation

Before carving the turkey, let it stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the juices to saturate the meat; then transfer the turkey from the roasting pan or presentation platter to a carving board (use layers of paper towels or two clean kitchen towels to protect your hands from the heat). The best way to hold the turkey steady is to use your hand -- a carving fork doesn't provide the same grip and will pierce and tear the flesh.

Step 2

Cut through the trussing with scissors, taking care to remove all of the string.

Step 3—Remove Drumsticks

Remove the drumsticks first. Place the knife against the thigh, and cut down to expose the leg's second joint.

Step 4—Sever Drumsticks

Apply pressure at the joint with the knifepoint; twist the knife, and cut through to sever the drumstick. Repeat with the other drumstick.

Step 5—Slice Neck Cavity

Slice open the neck cavity with an oval incision that allows you to remove the stuffing while leaving the skin intact.

Step 6—Scoop Stuffing

Use a long-handled spoon to scoop out the stuffing from the body cavity; transfer it to a serving bowl.

Step 7—Slice Thigh Meat

Slice the thigh meat from the bone (the dark meat should be tender from resting in the juices).

Step 8—Slice Breast

Place the knife horizontally at the bottom curve of the bird's breast, and slice in toward the rib cage to create a "guide cut." Then make a slice from the top down alongside the rib cage. Be sure to cut carefully.

Steps 9-10—Create Slices

Cut vertically through the breast meat to create medallion slices, being careful to preserve some of the skin on each slice. Repeat steps 7 and 8 on the other side of the breast.

Step 10

Place the knife at the first wing joint; insert the knifepoint, and twist it to sever the wing. Repeat with the other wing.

Tools and Materials:

To prepare for carving, have the following equipment ready:
Warm serving platter
Pair of kitchen scissors
Flexible and sharp 10-inch slicing knife (a serrated blade will tear the meat)
Carving fork for arranging and serving the meat

If you would like instructions including pictures, go to:

Brining a Turkey

This year was the first year I, Laurie, made a turkey. See picture above. Like my sister, I also used the martha recipe for gravy, which was very delicious and very flavorful. Also like my sister, I had to add quite a bit more flour to get it to thicken up, but otherwise it was just perfect.

Also, like my mother and sister, I am now a believer in the cheesecloth basting method. It worked really well and gave us a nice juicy turkey, and even the leftovers were moist. The only thing I did differently then my other foodie family members was that I brined my turkey for 24 hours before cooking it. I got this recipe from a Martha Stewart cookbook. Now the key to a moist turkey, after my reading various sources is a few key points:

  • Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking. This goes for roasting a whole chicken, only it doesn't have to sit as long to get to room temperature.
  • Don't rely on the pop up thermometers that come with the turkeys. They will give you an over cooked bird. As my sister stated above, use a meat thermometer!
  • Last, Let the bird rest at least 20 minutes after removing from the oven before carving. This locks in the juices and results in a more tender, moist meat.
The brining method also helps to lock in the moisture, and gives the turkey a nice flavor. I am sure there are numerous variations of brines that would give different flavors that would be worth trying. Here is the recipe I used:

6 quarts water
1 3/4 cup course salt
1 cup sugar
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 dried bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs parsley
1 T whole peppercorns

Combine 2 quarts of water with remaining ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to Boil. stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved completely. Transfer to a large pot ( at least 5 gallon capacity) and add remaining 4 quarts of water. Let cool completely.

Lower defrosted or fresh turkey into brine. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Remove from brine, pat dry and let stand at room temp 2 hours.

Source: Martha Stewart Cooking School ISBN 978-307-39644-0

The only thing I did differently was I used a brine bag, which I got at bed bath and beyond for $5 because I didn't have a large enough stock pot.

Thanksgiving--Dinner, Part 2: Sides

Continuing on with our sumptuous Thanksgiving feast! On to the sides!


We don't usually do anything really out of the ordinary for stuffing. We usually just follow the directions for two boxes of Mrs. Cubbison's herbed stuffing. But if I'm not too much mistaken, my sister tried a new kind of stuffing this year. Perhaps if it was a great recipe, she will add it here later.

Old-Fashioned Vegetable Stuffing


2 – 6-ounce bags Mrs. Cubbison's Seasoned Dressing (herb seasoned or classic seasoned—or Corn Bread Stuffing)
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 cups liquid (water, broth or fruit juice)
1-1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup onion, minced


Combine dressing with melted butter or margarine, celery, and onion. Stir in liquid. Mix well, and stuff loosely in neck and body cavities, allowing for expansion during roasting. Skewer or sew closed. Roast as usual. Makes about 6 cups.

Source: Mrs. Cubbison's recipe.

Mushroom and Walnut Stuffing

I have never really been much of a stuffing fan, but this year, I have to say, it was my favorite part of the meal. This stuffing was very tasty.

2 T olive oil
2 large yellow onions
3 celery stalks
course salt & ground pepper
10 oz cremini or button mushrooms
2 T fresh sage leaves finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 c toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 loaf crusty white bread, cubed and left out overnight or toasted
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

In large skillet, heat 1 T oil over med high heat. Add onions and celery, season with s & p. Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft, about 7 min. Transfer to large bowl. Add 1 T oil, mushroom, sage to skillet season with S & P. Cook until mushrooms are browned about 5 min. Add wine and cook, scraping any browned bits with wooden spoon until wine is nearly evaporated. Transfer to bowl with veggies, add walnuts, bread and enough broth to moisten, but not make soggy. Add eggs to bread mixture and toss well to combine. Reserve 4 cups for turkey. Spoon remaining stuffing into lightly oiled 2 quart baking dish. Preheat oven to 400, bake uncovered 30 min until golden brown.

Source: Everyday Food Nov 2010

Ultra Creamy Mashed Potatoes


3 ½ cups chicken broth
5 large potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 7 ½ cups)
½ cup light cream
2 tbsp butter
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste


Heat the broth and potatoes in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving the broth.

Mash the potatoes with ¼ cup broth, cream, butter, and salt and pepper. Add additional broth, if needed, until desired consistency.

Ultimate Mashed Potatoes:

Stir in ½ cup sour cream, 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve some for garnish), and ¼ cup chopped fresh chives into the hot mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the reserved bacon.

Source: Swanson's recipe.

Notes: We always use a lot more than just five large potatoes! Adjust the other ingredients accordingly depending on how many potatoes you use.

BLT Salad


1 ½ qt. torn lettuce
½ cup green onions, sliced
12 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup real mayonnaise


Combine lettuce and onions. Toss lightly. Chill. Add remaining ingredients. Mix lightly. Serve immediately.

8 servings

Source: Unsure. Mom will have to provide the source!

Fumi Salad


1 head cabbage, shredded (or 1 large bag of coleslaw mix)
6 green onions, sliced
7 oz. toasted slivered almonds
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
½ cup salad oil
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. accent
½ tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1 pkg. Top Ramen-type noodles, Chicken flavor, broken
1 Chicken flavor packet (found in the ramen noodles)


Toss the cabbage, green onions, almonds, sesame seeds and broken ramen noodles together.

Mix the salad oil, sugar, salt, accent, pepper, vinegar and chicken flavor packet together to make the dressing.

Just before serving, toss the dressing with the salad.

Source: This came from one of our ward cookbooks.

Macaroni Salad


2 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cups elbow macaroni
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 tsp. grated onion
½ cup flaked salmon
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
Dash of cayenne
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. MSG
¾ cup whipping cream


Boil water, bay leaves and 1 Tbsp. salt. Gradually add elbow macaroni. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Rinse with running cold water.

Prepare the celery, onion and salmon and set aside. Once the macaroni is cooled, mix these ingredients with the macaroni.

Blend together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, cayenne, ½ tsp. salt, dry mustard, white pepper and MSG.

Whip ¾ cup whipping cream until stiff. Mix mayonnaise mixture with the cream. Mix together with the macaroni mixture and chill.

8 servings

Source: This was one of my Grandma Salazar's recipes. It is soooo good!

Grandma Salazar’s Rice Stuffing


2 ½ cups long grain brown rice
7 ½ cups chicken bouillon
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup chopped celery
Chopped giblets
½ cup diced onions
¼ cup dried parsley
2 cups chopped pecans
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. poultry seasonings


Steam rice according to package directions. Saute celery, giblets, onions and parsley in oil. Mix with rice mixture and add pecans, sage and poultry seasonings. Makes enough to stuff a 20 pound turkey.

Source: This was my Grandma Salazar's recipe. Sadly, we have some picky eaters in our family, so I've only had it a handful of times.

South Cottonwood Carrots


2 lb. grated carrots
1 pt. whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook on medium to medium-high, stirring often, 45 minutes or so until carrots are caramelized. Everyone's stove-top is a little different. You want the carrots to caramelize, not to burn. This is achieved through a steady low-boil. But watch carefully so that they don't burn.

Serves 8

Source: This was one of my Grandpa Mackay's signature recipes. I'm not sure where he got it from though. Maybe he got it from his sister or maybe he made it up. At any rate, I'm sure glad he passed it on to us. It is super yummy!

Mulled-Cider Cranberry Sauce


12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 firm apple (such as Rome or McIntosh), peeled, cored, finely diced


Put all ingredients in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until cranberries soften and pop and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally (sauce will thicken more as it chills). Let cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

8 servings.

Nutrition information: 82 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 0 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 1 mg sodium.

Source: This is an All You recipe. You can find it on here.

Notes: We made this last Thanksgiving. It was a fantastic cranberry sauce...on its own and with the turkey. A nice change from the canned stuff!

Pistachio Salad


3 oz. pistachio instant pudding
8 oz. cool whip
20 oz. crushed pineapple
2 c. marshmallows


Mix pudding and cool whip together until well blended. Add pineapple (undrained). Mix together and add marshmallows.

Source: Unsure. Perhaps one of the ward cookbooks.

Rich Dinner Rolls


1 pkg. yeast
¼ c. warm water
1 c. milk, scalded
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. margarine
1 tsp. salt
3 ½ c. flour
1 egg


Soften yeast in warm water. Combine milk, sugar, margarine and salt. Heat to melt margarine, then cool to lukewarm. Add ½ the flour, beat well. Beat in yeast and egg. Gradually add remaining flour. Let rise until doubled (1 ½ - 2 hours). Turn out and shape as desired. Cover. Rise until doubled (30 – 45 minutes). Bake 400 for 12-15 minutes.

Source: I think this was one of my aunt's recipes. I'll have to verify that with my mom!

Sweet Potato Casserole

“This is already a holiday staple for me. I LOVE IT!!!” Laurie Allred



2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated low-fat milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray


1.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare potatoes, place potatoes in a Dutch oven; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Cool 5 minutes.

Place potatoes in a large bowl; add granulated sugar, evaporated milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs; beat well. Pour potato mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

To prepare topping, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; stir with a whisk. Stir in 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over potato mixture; arrange pecans evenly over top. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or just until golden.

Preheat broiler (remove casserole from oven).

Broil casserole 45 seconds or until topping is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Cooking Light

Frog Eye Salad (aka Acini de Pepe Salad)


½ pkg. Acini de Pepe (it is available at Harmons by the noodles)
1 lg. can pineapple tidbits
3 tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup small marshmallows
½ cup coconut
½ qt. boiling water
1-2 cans mandarin oranges
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 pt. whipped cream


Cook Acini de Pepe in ½ qt. boiling water until tender. Drain and put in a bowl. Drain the juice from the pineapple and oranges and add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. To this, add the sugar, eggs, flour, lemon juice, and salt. Cook until thick. Pour over Acini de Pepe and let stand overnight. Next morning, add the fruit, marshmallows, whipped cream, and coconut. This makes a large bowl.

Source: This came from one of our ward cookbooks.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What would Thanksgiving be without pie? I mean, come on, you have to have at least one pie!

When I was in Jr. High, my mom started a tradition...a tradition that was a blessing and a curse. The tradition that she started was to make a pie for each of us. So, after Thanksgiving dinner each year, we would watch "A Christmas Story" and eat pie. I'm the kind of person who can't resist options. So, if there are six kinds of pie, I don't want to have just one kind! So, every year, I would try a sliver or small slice of each kind of pie...which basically resulted in a full plate of different kinds of pie!

As our family has grown, so have the number of pies! We definitely "scaled down" this year (back to only 5 kinds of pie...but a total of 7 pies), but if I remember correctly, one year we made 18 pies! Yikes!

I'm going to share some of our favorite pie discoveries tonight (get ready for a LOT of recipes and one really long blog).

I hope you like them!

Above: Raspberry Pie using the Enrichment Night Pie Dough recipe. We simply used the pie dough recipe and two cans of raspberry pie filling per pie for the raspberry pies. We then brushed the pie crusts with an egg wash and sprinkled it with granulated sugar. We then followed the bake time for the pie crust recipe.

Enrichment Night Pie Crust Recipe

Ingredients (amounts refer to two-crust pies):

Two Pies:

2 cups flour, rounded
1 cup shortening, level
1 tsp. salt
½ cup cold water

Four Pies:

4 cups flour, rounded
2 cups shortening, level
2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold water

Six Pies:

6 cups flour, rounded
3 cups shortening, level
3 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups cold water


Always use Crisco brand butter-flavored shortening.

Mix together: flour, shortening and salt with fingers until well blended. Slowly add water. If slightly sticky, press palm in plate of flour and pat dough ball. Form small ball of dough in pan (baseball size approximately). Roll on slightly floured surface. Place bottom crust in pan. Trim edges with back side of a table knife. Fill pie. Top with vented top crust after you moisten edge with finger to seal both crusts.

Bake at 400 degrees (375 degrees if your oven cooks too hot) for 50-60 minutes or until the pie shakes loose.

Refrigerate leftover dough. Bring to room temperature before using.

Here are some other pie recipes that were given to us along with the pie crust recipe at the Relief Society Enrichment activity years ago.

Apple Pie


1 gallon of apples (canned in water)
6 ½ cup sugar
1 cup instant clear gel
½ square margarine
1 ½ cup diluted apple juice
2 tsps. Apple pie spice


Examine gallon of canned apples and remove tough cores and skins, if any.

Bring apples, juice and margarine to a boil (medium high heat). Sprinkle with apple pie spice.

Mix sugar and instant clear gel with a fork. After apples boil, add sugar and clear gel mixture. Lower heat. Boil until thickened and clear. Cool. Refrigerate.

After putting in crust, sprinkle with apple pie spice before putting on top crust.

Razzleberry Pie


5 cups water
3 ½ cups sugar
1 pkg. raspberries
1 pkg. boysenberries
1 pkg. blackberries
1 round cup pie tone (mixed with water until dissolved)

Note: Pie tone supplied at: Steffs, 3555 S. 700 W., SLC, UT or Kitchen Needs, Riverdale Road, Ogden, UT

Directions: Bring water and sugar to a boil. Add package of blackberries. Bring to a boil. Add pie tone mixture and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and pour into ice cream pale. Then gently fold in raspberries and boysenberries. Let cool, then refrigerate.

Blueberry Pie

Same as above, except use 3 packages of frozen blueberries.

Boysenberry pie

Same as above, except use 3 packages of frozen boysenberries.

Cherry Pie


1 gallon cherries
6 cups sugar
4 tsp. almond extract
1 round cup pie tone (mixed with water until dissolved)


Mix cherries, sugar and almond extract. Mix rounded cup of pie tone with enough water to dissolve (not quite 1 cup).

Bring cherries to a boil. Lower heat and add pie tone. Cook until thickened.

If filling appears to be too thin, stir in some tapioca. Tapioca can also be added later after cooling if too thin.

Basic Cream Pie Filling

(Makes enough for 2 pies)


5 cups milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 (3 oz.) package of jello brand pudding (not instant pudding)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. lemon juice (if making any kind except chocolate)
½ cup corn starch
1-2 cups Cool Whip
1 pint whipping cream


Mix all of your ingredients together in your pan. Cook on high until it is almost to a boil. Reduce your heat to medium and take off when it has started to boil again.

Mix 1-2 cups Cool Whip with 1 pint whipping cream after whipping.

Savory Pies using the Enrichment Pie Crust

Chicken Filling


5-6 chicken breasts (5 cups chicken)
4 cups carrots (cooked about 10 minutes)
3 cups potatoes (cooked about 7 minutes)
1 cup celery (cooked about 10 minutes)
½ package frozen peas.
1 ½ cup flour


Place chicken breasts in water. The water should be about 2 inches above the chicken. Boil until done.

Remove chicken and add 2 Tbsp. chicken base. Bring to a boil and thicken with flour and water (it should take about 1 ½ cup flour). After the gravy has cooked add chicken carrots, potatoes, celery and frozen peas.

Beef Filling


2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
Schillings brown beef gravy
Schillings beef stew mix (plus)
8 cups water
Cook until thickened
4 cups carrots (cooked about 10 minutes)
3 cups potatoes (cooked about 7 minutes)
1 cup celery (cooked about 10 minutes)
½ package frozen peas


Brown ground beef and medium onion. Mix Schillings brown beef gravy, Schillings beef stew mix and 8 cups water in a saucepan until thickened.

Add carrots, potatoes, celery and frozen peas.

Above: Caramel Pie, Dear Abby's Pecan Pie, Eggnog Pie, and Banana Cream Pie
Banana Cream Pie


9 inch baked pie shell
3 T. cornstarch
1 1/3 c. water
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 T. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 bananas, sliced and dipped in lemon juice from concentrate and drained
Whipping cream, whipped


In heavy saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in water; stir in condensed milk and egg yolks. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Cool slightly. Arrange 2 sliced bananas on bottom of prepared pie shell. Pour filling over bananas; cover. Chill 4 hours or until set. Spread top with whipped cream; garnish with remaining banana slices. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: Mom will have to provide that!

Above: Caramel Pie without topping. It can be served without any topping, or you can top it with meringue or whipped cream.

Above: Caramel Pie topped with whipped cream. If you prefer, you can simply place a dollop of whipped cream on each slice. It is a pretty rich pie and putting a ton of whipped cream on top (as pictured above) is really decadent. Though it is the prettiest way to serve it!

Caramel Pie

This pie is time consuming and takes some patience, but it is worth it!


4 T. cornstarch
1 ½ c. water, divided
2 eggs separated
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 baked 9 inc. pie shell
1 T. sugar

In a bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with ¾ c. water. Beat the egg yolks and stir them into the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan with high sides, cook ¾ c. sugar over low to medium heat until it is completely melted and a golden brown color (increase the heat if the sugar takes a long time to melt. Don’t stir the sugar until the majority has melted on its own. Stirring too early will cool the sugar and make it take longer to melt).

Once the sugar is completely melted, add the remaining ¾ c. sugar, the butter, and the remaining ¾ c. water. This may create a cloud of steam, so stand back while you are adding the water!.

Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.

(Usually, once the second batch of sugar is added with the water, the first batch of melted sugar hardens and becomes a ball of caramel candy. Try to break this up as best as you can. Stir this mixture—including the hardened caramel—until everything has dissolved. You may have to remove the ball of hardened caramel if it does not completely melt. But give it some time, because it usually does melt—or at least it shrinks considerably.)

Stir the cornstarch/egg mixture into the saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring it constantly. Continue to boil slowly until the mixture thickens about 2 minutes.

Take the mixture off the heat, stir it until smooth, and let it cool. Stir in the vanilla and pour the filling into the baked pie shell.

To make a meringue topping for the pie, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1 T sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue on top of the pie filling, spreading it right up to the edge of the filling. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the top of the meringue is delicately browned. Chill the pie before serving. Can be topped with whipped cream instead, if desired.

Source: The Anne of Green Gables Treasury, ISBN 0-14-017231-9, published 1991.

Notes: It takes awhile for the sugar to melt and caramelize, but this is such a yummy and unique pie. Feel free to use a little more corn starch if the mixture isn't setting up. But don't use too much because it will diffuse the caramel flavor of the filling. I stink at making meringue, so I almost always top this with whipped cream and it is fantastic!

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie


1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust
1 c. creamy peanut butter
½ c. sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 ½ c. coolwhip, divided
1 jar 11.75 oz. hot fudge topping, divided

2 T. hot fudge topping
2 T. creamy peanut butter


Combine in a medium bowl, the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in 3 cups whipping topping. Spoon mixture into the pie shell. Using a spatula smooth mixture to edges of pie. Reserve 2 T of hot fudge topping and place remaining hot fudge topping into microwave bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Spread hot fudge topping over pie to cover the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping (1 ½ c.) over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers. Place the 2 T. hot fudge topping in a small plastic bag and knead for a few seconds. But a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over pie. Do the same with 2 T. peanut butter going in the opposite direction of the hot fudge toppings.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Eggnog Pie


1 T. unflavored gelatin
¼ c. cold water
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups commercially prepared eggnog
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. rum extract
1 c. whipping cream, whipped
1 baked 9” pastry shell


In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand 1 minute. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in eggnog until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in gelatin until dissolved. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Stir in extracts; fold in whipped cream. Pour into pastry shell. Refrigerate until firm.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

French Apple Pie


Pastry for 9 in. pie
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt
6 c. thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 6 medium)
2 T. margarine or butter


Heat over 425. Prepare pastry. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in apples. Turn on to pastry lined pie plate; dot with margarine. Top with crumb topping.

Mix 1 c. all purpose flour, ½ c. firm margarine or butter, and ½ c. brown sugar until crumbly. Bake 50 minutes. Cover topping with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes of baking. Best served warm.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Heavenly Lemon Pie


1 c. sugar
4 heaving T. cornstarch
¼ c. butter
1 T. grated lemon peel
¼ c. lemon juice
3 unbeaten egg yolks
1 1/3 c. milk
1 c. 8 oz. dairy sour cream
1 baked 9 inch pastry shell
Whipped cream


Mix sugar and cornstarch; set aside. In saucepan melt butter, add lemon peel, juice, egg yolks and milk; blend. Gradually add sugar and cornstarch; cook over medium heat until thick. Mixture will be lumpy. Cool. Stir in sour cream; pour into pie shell. Chill. Top with whipped cream.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Pineapple Pie


1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
3 cup liquid (drained pineapple juice and water)
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon butter
2 eggs, beaten


Boil juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Add pineapple. Remove thickened mixture from the stove and add 2 beaten eggs. Return to the stove and cook on low for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and butter. Stir until well combined. Chill. Pour chilled mixture into a pre-cooked pie crust (can be homemade or store-bought frozen). Top with whipping cream and keep refrigerated.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Pumpkin Pie (Karo)


½ c. sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
2 eggs
½ c. Karo light or dark syrup
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
12 oz. evaporated milk
9 inch Deep dish pie, unbaked


Mix sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Add eggs and beat slightly. Add remaining ingredients; blend well. Pour pumpkin filling into pie crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in pie center comes out clean. Cool a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Source: This is a Karo Syrup recipe.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie (Eagle Brand)


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND®
Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Source: This is an Eagle sweetened condensed milk recipe.

Famous Pumpkin Pie (Libby’s)


3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)


Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.


1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin spice may be substituted for the cinnamon, ginger and cloves; however, the taste will be slightly different. Do not freeze, as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.

FOR 2 SHALLOW PIES: substitute two 9-inch (2-cup volume) pie shells. Bake in preheated 425° F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F.; bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pies test done.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (3,500 to 6,000 ft.):Deep-dish pie- extend second bake time to 55 to 60 minutes. Shallow pies- no change.

Source: This is a Libby's recipe.

Lite 'n Easy Crustless Pumpkin Pie


Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons water
2 envelopes (7 grams each) unflavored gelatin
2 1/4 cups NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk, divided
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar or low calorie sweetener equivalent
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Light whipped topping (optional)
Fresh raspberries (optional)


Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.

Place water in medium bowl; sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until softened. Mixture may be firm. Bring 1 cup evaporated milk just to a boil in small saucepan. Slowly stir hot evaporated milk into gelatin. Stir in remainingevaporated milk, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into prepared pie plate. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Garnish with whipped topping and raspberries, if desired.

Source: This is a Libby's recipe.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can 14 oz. sweetened, condensed milk
¼ c. lemon juice divided
1 egg
1 Keebler chocolate or graham cracker pie crust
½ c. seedless raspberry preserves


In small mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add egg, beating until just combined. Pour half of cream cheese mixture into crust. In small bowl combine preserves and remaining lemon juice. Spoon half of preserves mixture over cream cheese mixture in crust. Top with remaining cream cheese mixture and remaining preserves mixture. Use knife or narrow spatula to swirl preserves into cream cheese mixture. Bake at 300 for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Classic Pecan Pie

To pack lots of pecans in the filling, we kept the fat in this easy piecrust to a minimum, resulting in a biscuit-like crust.


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted
Cooking spray


1 large egg
4 large egg whites
1 cup light or dark-colored corn syrup
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add milk and butter; toss with a fork until moist.

Press mixture gently into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, to an 11-inch circle. Freeze 10 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.

Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Fold edges under; flute.

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the filling, beat the egg and the next 4 ingredients (egg through 1/4 teaspoon salt) at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Stir in the pecan halves and the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Bake the pie at 350° for 20 minutes, then cover with foil. Bake the pie an additional 20 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool pie on a wire rack.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Nutrition Information: CALORIES 288 (29% from fat); FAT 9.2g (sat 1.5g,mono 5.1g,poly 2g); IRON 1.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 25mg; CALCIUM 52mg; CARBOHYDRATE 48.1g; SODIUM 253mg; PROTEIN 4.3g; FIBER 1g

Source: Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 1999

Notes: You can also use a frozen pumpkin pie crust or the Enrichment night pie crust recipe found above.

Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie


1 ½ cups pecan halves
1 store-bought or homemade pie crust in a deep dish 9-inch pie plate
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for coating chocolate chips
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread pecans in crust. In a small bowl, toss chocolate chips in a little flour to coat, then scatter evenly over pecans. In a medium bowl, stir together vanilla, butter, and flour until well combined. Pour filling over pecans and chocolate chips.

Bake until filling is set and crust is browned, about 70 minutes. (If pie browns too quickly, loosely tend with foil.) Let cool on a wire rack at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information: 8 servings. 586 calories, 32 g fat, 5.7 g protein, 76.7 g carbs, 3 g fiber.

Source: Everyday Food Magazine published by Martha Stewart. Recipe by Emeril Lagasse.

Caramel-Pecan Pie

Create this rich gooey caramel pecan piefor your family and friends. It is a perfect special occasion pie.

Prep: 20 min., Bake: 38 min., Cook: 7 min.

Yield: Makes 8 servings


1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
28 caramels
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
Chocolate-Dipped Pecans (optional, see below)


Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork.

Bake piecrust at 400° for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned; cool on wire rack.

Combine caramels, butter, and 1/4 cup water in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until caramels and butter are melted; remove from heat.

Stir together sugar and next 3 ingredients. Stir into caramel mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in pecans. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake pie at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, and bake 20 more minutes, shielding edges of crust with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove pie to a wire rack to cool. Top with Chocolate-Dipped Pecans, if desired.

Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2005

Chocolate-Dipped Pecans

Prep: 20 min.
This recipe goes with Caramel-Pecan Pie
Yield: Makes 20 pecans

1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
20 pecan halves, toasted

Microwave chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted, stirring at 30-second intervals.

Dip half of each pecan in melted chocolate; place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Let cool completely. Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Source: Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2005

Above: Dear Abby's Pecan Pie. The pecans didn't rise to the top like they do in most pecan pies, but it was super easy and it tasted fantastic.

Dear Abby's Pecan Pie

Serves: 8


1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans


Beat the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients, in the order given; work in the nuts. Pour into a 9 inch unbaked pie shell. Bake at 300 degrees for 40-45 minutes.


Notes: This recipe by Abigail Van Buren (aka Pauline Phillips) is published from time to time in her "Dear Abby" column. Jeanne Phillips, the original Abby's daughter, and the current "Dear Abby" adds this tip: The original recipe stated that the pie should be baked 45-50 minutes in a preheated 350 degree gas oven. If an electric oven is used, it may be necessary to add 15-20 minutes to the baking time. (Begin testing the pie with a toothpick after 45 minutes.)

Key Lime Pie

Key-lime pie takes its name from the type of lime it is made with, the Key lime, which grows in the Florida Keys. The Key lime has a mild, delicate fragrance, and the flavor is sweeter and more tart than that of the commonly found dark green, seedless Persian lime. Condensed milk and a graham-cracker crust are also common to the Key-lime pie, which has remained essentially unchanged over the years.

Look for brightly colored, smooth-skinned limes that are heavy for their size. Small brown areas on the skin won't affect flavor or succulence, but a hard or shriveled skin will. You'll know the pie is done when the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged. Before serving, chill the pie in the freezer for 10 minutes; this will make slicing easier.


Makes 1 pie.

1 1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 tablespoons sugar
1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed key-lime juice
1 tablespoon grated key-lime zest, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine graham-cracker crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl; mix well. Press into a 9-inch pie plate, and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Lower oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, key-lime juice, and zest. Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.

Return pie to oven, and bake until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Shortly before serving, combine cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon over cooled pie; garnish with zest. Serve immediately.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

Coconut-Key Lime Pie

A classic Key lime pie gets upgraded for the holidays with coconut milk in the filling. If that wasn't enough, the dessert is gilded with toasted shredded coconut sprinkled on top of a billowy whipped cream topping.


1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice
7 large egg yolks
1 Easy Press-In Pie Crust, made with graham crackers
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, toasted


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed milk, coconut milk, lime juice, and egg yolks until smooth. Pour into crust and bake until set but still slightly wobbly in center, 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, then refrigerate 3 hours (or up to 1 day).

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. To serve, top pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

Easy Press-In Pie Crust

With store-bought cookies, some butter, and a bit of salt and sugar, you can make an irresistible homemade pie crust -- no rolling required. Ideal for icebox pies, press-in crusts are a Thanksgiving shortcut: Bake the crust a day or two ahead, fill it the night before, then add a topping before serving. Whether you use graham crackers or chocolate or vanilla wafers, our simple recipe will turn out a perfect crust every time.


Makes one 9-inch pie crust.
6 ounces cookies (about 12 graham crackers, 46 vanilla wafers, or 30 chocolate wafers, such as Famous)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse cookies until finely ground (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Add sugar, salt, and butter and pulse until combined.

Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. (If using a springform pan, press crumbs halfway up sides.) Bake until crust is dry and set, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely in plate on a wire rack before filling.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

White Chocolate-Key Lime Pie

Yield: Makes 1 (9-inch) pie


1 cup whipping cream
1 (11-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/3 cup fresh Key lime or lime juice
1 (9-inch) ready-made graham cracker crust or your favorite prepared recipe
Garnish: lime slices


Combine cream and white chocolate morsels in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook 5 minutes or until morsels melt, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add sour cream, lime rind, and juice; stir well. Pour into crust. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Garnish, if desired.

Source: Coastal Living, MARCH 2004

Key Lime Pie


2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup Key lime juice (such as Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 (6-ounce) reduced-fat graham cracker crust
1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed


Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat eggs and egg whites at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Gradually add juice, rind, and milk to egg mixture, beating until well-blended. Spoon mixture into crust, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until almost set (the center will not be firm but will set up as it chills). Cool pie on a wire rack. Cover loosely, and chill 4 hours. Spread whipped topping evenly over filling.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Nutrition Information: CALORIES 288 (18% from fat); FAT 5.9g (sat 3g,mono 1.5g,poly 1.1g); IRON 0.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 141mg; CARBOHYDRATE 49.2g; SODIUM 198mg; PROTEIN 7.6g; FIBER 0.8g

Source: Cooking Light, JUNE 1999

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving--Holiday Appetizers

This is the first of more Thanksgiving-themed blogs to come. Thanksgiving is all about the food. Thanksgiving dinner, of course is the main attraction. Then, there are the pies. But don't overlook the appetizers!

One of our family's holiday traditions is to have a lunch consisting of only appetizers. We don't always do this on Thanksgiving. Some years, we do it on Christmas or New Year's. I love this tradition because how often do you have the time to cook a ton of appetizers? Also, how often do you have the appetite to eat as many appetizers as you want?

Over the years, we have amassed a number of appetizer favorites. This year, we found a number of new favorites to add to the rotation.

The holidays aren't over. Maybe you can have an appetizer lunch on either Christmas or New Year's! You should try it!

Above: Buffalo Chicken Dip

This one came from one of my mom's cookbooks. I'll have to get the recipe and add it to the blog.

However, we tried another buffalo chicken dip a few years ago that was also really yummy. Here's the recipe for that dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip


1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup any flavor Frank's® RedHot® Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 ounces)
2 cans (9.75 ounces each) Swanson® Premium White Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
Assorted fresh vegetables and crackers


Heat the oven to 350°F.

Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it's smooth. Stir in the dressing, hot sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the chicken mixture before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.

To make in the microwave:Use a microwavable 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Prepare the dip as directed above in Step 2. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 5 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot, stirring halfway through the cook time.

Serving Tip: This dip can be kept warm in a small crockpot or fondue pot on the buffet table.

To reduce fat: Use 1/3 less fat cream cheese and reduced-fat blue cheese salad dressing.

Serves 4.

Source: Campbell's Kitchen

Notes: Don't forget the celery sticks. It is the perfect vegetable to use for this dip.

Above: Cheddar and Cranberry Cheese Ball

Above: Goat Cheese and Scallions Cheese Ball

Above: Roquefort and Walnut Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball Three Ways


Base Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Cheddar and Cranberry:

8 ounces sharp orange cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 tablespoons store-bought chutney
3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
Water crackers, for serving

Roquefort and Walnut:

6 ounces Roquefort cheese
1 shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Vegetable chips, for serving

Goat Cheese and Scallions:

8 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1/3 cup fresh curly-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, for serving


Put butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until combined. Divide equally among 3 medium bowls.

Stir cheddar cheese and chutney with base mixture in the first bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll cheese ball in cranberries to coat before serving. Serve with crackers.

Stir blue cheese and shallot with base mixture in second bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days; freeze up to 1 month. Roll in walnuts to coat before serving. Serve with vegetable chips.

Stir goat cheese and scallions with base mixture in remaining bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll in parsley to coat before serving. Serve with cucumber slices.

Source: Martha Stewart website. You can find it here.

Notes: For the cheddar and cranberry cheese ball, we used smoked cheddar cheese as opposed to sharp cheddar because that's what we already had on hand. Also, rather than using the chutney, we used apricot jam (again, we had it on hand). Finally, I chopped the cranberries as finely as I could, but those little babies sure stick to the knife and make it hard to cut! I felt that the smoked cheddar nicely complimented the sweetness of the cranberries.

For the Roquefort and walnut cheese ball, I used regular blue cheese (it wasn't technically Roquefort). Plus, I used 4 ounces instead of 6 ounces. The blue cheese was pretty strong, so actually, it turned out better to use less blue cheese than the recipe called for.

For all of the cheese balls, I used assorted crackers rather than the suggested water crackers, vegetable chips, and cucumber slices.

One of the things I really loved about this recipe is that it made a total of three cheese balls. That either gives you some fun variety, or you can choose one flavor of cheese ball and make three cheese balls and give them as gifts at Christmas!

Above: Grandma Salazar's Crab Dip

Crab Dip


2 cups coconut
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cups sour cream
2 cups crab (cartilage removed)


Mix, chill and serve with crackers.

Source: I think my grandma got this from a newspaper years ago. From what my mom told me, it was supposedly one of President Kennedy's favorites.

Notes: This definitely has a different taste to it, but it is one of my all-time favorite appetizers. I just can't get enough of it! Yum, yum, yummy! Oh, and this picture doesn't do it justice. It is delicious and attractive. We usually serve it in a lovely clear glass bowl, but this time, we were shooting for simplicity...hence the tupperware!

Megan's Salmon Ball

Here's the introduction to Megan's recipe:

"Mia Israelsen--This recipe comes from Mia's grandfather who lives in Alaska. He catches the salmon, cans it, and sends it to Mia's family. This is served as an appetizer every Thanksgiving in their home."


1 (8 oz) can salmon (or 8 oz smoked salmon)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. horseradish
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. onion, grated
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped


Drain and flake salmon. Remove bones. Thoroughly combine salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice, grated onion, horseradish, and salt. Shape into a ball. Chill 1 hour. Roll ball in pecans. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, garnish with parsley.

Yield: 16 servings.

Notes: This was so addicting. Megan said that she usually uses smoked salmon for this recipe.

Kielbasa Made Easy


2 (16 ounce) packages kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 (16 ounce) cans whole cranberry sauce
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce


Brown the kielbasa in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Place the browned kielbasa, cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce in a slow cooker set on low. Allow the mixture to simmer at least 1 hour before serving warm.

Source:, submitted by Kimberly

Notes: This one was a crowd pleaser--especially among the men-folk.

Here are some old favorite appetizers:

Cheese Ball


2 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 (5oz.) jar Roka cheese (see substitute below)
2 (5oz.) jar Olde English cheese
2 T. grated onion
1 tsp. water
½ tsp. accent
Chopped nuts


Mix together. Chill 12 hours. Roll in chopped nuts.

Kraft Roka Blue Spread Substitute

1-1/4 cups or 10 servings, 2 Tbsp. each


1 tub (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
1/4 cup Athenos Crumbled Blue Cheese


Mix ingredients until well blended.

Add up to 1/3 cup water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if thinner consistency is desired. For added tang, stir in 1/2 tsp. white vinegar.


Use half of this recipe as the perfect substitute for the discontinued 5-oz. jar of Kraft Roka Blue Spread.

Refrigerate any leftover spread. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Source: This is a Kraft recipe that my mom found years ago. It's one of my favorites. It's so flavorful! It's a great Christmas gift idea too.

Garlic and Brown Sugar Cheese Ball


1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream
cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened1/4 cup brown sugar
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped pecans


Mix the garlic powder into the softened cream. Form into a ball, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook 1 minute on High in the microwave, or until butter and brown sugar are melted. Mix in Worcestershire sauce and pecans. Chill 1 hour in the refrigerator, stirring often so that the butter and sugar do not separate.

Spread butter mixture over the cheese ball, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source:, submitted by KHOLST3

Notes: This one sounds super weird, but I love the mix of flavors.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ c. butter (no substitutes)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. confectioner’s sugar
2 t. brown sugar
¾ c. mini chocolate chips
¾ c. finely chopped pecans
Graham crackers


In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars; beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans. Serve w/Crackers.

Source: I'm not sure where my mom found this recipe.

Notes: This is a great way to get your sweet-fix appetizer-wise.

Hot Artichoke Dip


1 (14oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4oz) can chopped green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced
Chopped tomato (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)


Mix all ingredients except tomato and green onions. Spoon into 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle with tomato and green onions. Serve with crackers. Makes 2 cups – 16 servings.

Source: Again, I'm not sure where my mom found this recipe. I think it was served at a Relief Society party that she attended.

Notes: You know you've found a good recipe when you won't ever make another kind of artichoke dip again. This is the ultimate artichoke dip.

Parmesan Puffs with Marinara


½ c. milk
¼ c. margarine or butter
½ c. Gold Medal all-purpose flour
2 eggs
¾ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. marinara sauce, heated


Heat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheet. Heat milk and margarine to boiling in 11/2 qt. sauce pan. Stir in flour, reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in cheese. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.

Bake about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping. About 30 appetizers.

Source: Yet again, I have no idea where my mom found this recipe. We usually double or triple this recipe because these little puffs get gobbled up by my family so quickly.

Salmon Spread


1 (15 ½ oz.) can salmon
2 tsp. each grated onion and prepared horseradish
1 T. lemon juice
¼ tsp. liquid smoke
1/8 tsp. salt
3 drops hot pepper sauce
8 oz. cream cheese, softened


Drain and flake salmon. Combine with remaining ingredients. Chill several hours.

Source: I have no idea. My mom is good at keeping secrets!

Notes: This is similar to Megan's recipe, but we don't usually make it into a ball. We simply serve it in a bowl.

So Good Wings


¾ c. soy sauce
¾ c. white sugar
5 cloves garlic
1 ½ inches of peeled ginger
¾ lbs. chicken wings


Place 1st four ingredients in a blender and blend well. Place wings in a zip-loc bag and pour marinade over them. Marinate for 18-24 hours in refrigerator. Pour all the wings and marinade in a well-greased 9x13 pan. Roast in oven @ 375 for about an hour or so until the chicken is cooked. Let cool slightly before serving.

Source: ? Mom, where did it come from?

Notes: This is one of my brothers' favorites.

Rita’s Sweet Red Pepper Sauce


12 – 14 large red bell peppers
2 T. uniodized salt
3 cups sugar
2 c. white vinegar
8 oz. cream cheese


Chop fine or grind in food processor. Add 2 T. uniodized salt. Let stand 3 hours. Drain well. Add 3 cups sugar and 2 cups vinegar. Simmer about 1 ½ hours, until thick. Yield: Around 1 quart. Store in refrigerator up to 18 months. Pour over block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Source: My mom got this recipe from a lady in her ward.

Notes: This is another addicting appetizer, so watch out. If you don't have the time to make the red pepper sauce, you can serve salsa over the cream cheese and serve it with tortilla chips. It's a completely different taste, but it is yummy too!


Sweet Pumpkin Dip


1 (15oz.) can pumpkin
2 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
Sliced fruit, bite-size cinnamon graham crackers, mini bagels, English muffins


Beat cream cheese and pumpkin in large mixer bowl, until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve as a dip or spread.

Source: I have no idea!

Notes: This is wonderful on graham crackers (cinnamon or honey).

So, tell me, sisters...did I miss any? I know that Shandie's family has a fantastic cheese ball recipe too. Maybe she'll be good enough to share it with us!

What are your favorite appetizers?