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.