Creative Meal Ideas:Having Fun In The Kitchen

September 29, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

 Creative Meal Ideas


Having Fun In The Kitchen~Enjoy Playing With Your Food

I watched this video today and had to share with all of you. This is something the kids might enjoy too, maybe even inspire them to join you in the kitchen too. It reminded me of younger days making mud pies and trying to imitate all the chefs I watched on television as a child. Those of us with children, know how kids can be entertained in the kitchen with something as simple as a pot or a pan and a wooden spatula.

What’s your favorite part of the video? My husband and I love the dice sugar cube and the rubix cube garlic. A great reminder that creating a meal for your family can be fun with a simple imagination.

Applesauce Raisin Bread:Quick and Easy Bread Recipe

September 27, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

Quick and Easy Bread Recipe 

Every family has its own favorite kind of bread. This is a quick and easy recipe made with quick oats, applesauce and plump raisins. My normal recipe calls for regular apple juice but I decided to try soaking the raisins in apple cherry juice.


Applesauce Raisin              

Applesauce Raisin Bread


1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup raisins

1 1/4 cup applesauce

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk

Apple juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak raisins in apple juice. In a bowl combine all ingredients, drain raisins, add to mixture. Pour mixture into a 8 1/2 inch pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes. 

Applesauce Raisin Sliced

Quick Classic Apple Pecan Crisp:Fast Cooking Recipes For Family

September 19, 2009 · Posted in Kitchen Tips · View Comments 

Fast Cooking Recipes For Family

It was also baking day. He loved seeing his mother bent over the enormous kitchen table, elbow-deep in dough, moving to the measured rhythm of making bread…Before, in times of plenty, she had put aside a bit of dough, added milk, eggs, and cinnamon, and made buns that were stored in a tin-one for each child for each day of the week. ~Isabel allende, Eva Luna, 1988

Of all the foods that spur memories of childhood for me, few are as instantly memorable as old-fashioned classic desserts. Apple pies were an all time classic in our household. 

I read somewhere as I was researching in one of my books, the author describes that a friend was telling her a story of how she had watched her grandmother prepare a favorite fruitcake many times and wanted to try making it herself. When it came to add the flour, she put in a cupful, just as her grandmother told her to do. When she tried to re-create the recipe, the cake was a failure. When she asked her grandmother why, the older woman opened her cupboard and pulled out an old cracked tea cup. “A cupful, yes-but it has to be this cup!” How many times has this scenario happened to all of us in the kitchen?

Think of a recipe as a trusted guide, it can tell you only so much. If your trying out a new dessert recipe, trust your instincts. If it doesn’t turn out exactly like it says, don’t worry, your oven may be off; temperature may need a slight adjustment. Your apples may be larger, smaller, tarter or drier. Trust your instincts. Experiment with a different fruit, another spice, a different crust, a different topping.

Cooking, after all, should be a great adventure. Recipes are only a guiding tool. One recipe is created and another one is created using a personal touch.

The following dessert recipe has been created over and over again. This dessert is very yummy and a perfect treat for the family or your guests. It is also a very economical dessert and won’t cause a pinch in your budget.

Apple Crisp Deep Covered Baker

Quick Apple Pecan Crisp


5-6 Granny Smith Apples (can substitute with your choice of apple)
1 package (9 ounces) yellow cake mix
1-2 Tablespoons sugar (adjust sugar depending on sweetness of apples)
1 Tablesppon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or your choice of nuts)
Vanilla ice cream or whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel, core and slice apples. Place apples in bottom of baking dish.
2. In a bowl, combine cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and butter. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples. Chop pecans and sprinkle over the top of mixture.
3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping if desired.
Yield: 10 servings
This is a very versatile dessert. Apples may be substituted for blueberries, cherries, pears or peaches. *Pictures show pecans omitted from ingredients.

 Apple Crisp Slice

Quick and Easy Breakfast Casserole

September 14, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

I was at one of my cooking party demonstrations a few months back and created this recipe after speaking with the husband of my host. We were discussing simple breakfast recipes and family’s sharing breakfast together.  We came up with this quick and easy breakfast casserole dish that your whole family will enjoy! It’s such a versatile dish you can substitute vegetables instead of sausage or create a Mexican style dish by adding bell peppers and tomatoes with a little bit of salsa and Cilantro.


 Quick and Easy Breakfast Casserole


6 Russett potatoes

12 eggs

1 pound pork sausage

1 medium yellow onion

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon Chipotle rub

1/2 cup shredded cheese mixture


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 9 x 12 casserole dish with cooking spray. Shred potatoes and squeeze excess water from potatoes in a cloth towel. Spread shredded potatoes evenly in casserole dish, bake 25 minutes or until lightly brown. In a skillet brown sausage and drain excess fat. In a batter bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Add salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, chili powder, and Chipotle rub. Pour mixture over potatoes. Evenly spread chopped onion and pork sausage. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Sprinkle cheese mixture over the top and bake for 5 additional minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.



Easy Cookie Freezing Tips:Storing and Freezing Cookies

September 9, 2009 · Posted in Kitchen Tips · View Comments 


With the organizing of our Bakers Team, Nevada County Bakers, we spend a lot of our time in the kitchen prior to our bake sales  planning which type of cookies to make and how soon to make them. One of the most important uses of our time is determining which cookies can be made ahead and placed in the freezer to preserve their freshness. Cookie dough in the freezer will last 4 to 6 weeks.

Storing and Freezing Cookies

1. Freeze cookies in layers separated by a sheet of waxed paper.

2. Freeze cookies unfrosted because the frosting may cause the cookies to stick to one another. Also, cookies tend to absorb moisture from the frosting and lose their crispness.

3. Before baking bar cookies, line the baking pan with foil, leaving 2 inches extra at each end. Add the batter, bake, and cool the bars in the lined pan as directed. Lift the foil to remove the cooled bars. Wrap in foil, seal, and freeze. Frost and cut the bars after thawing.

4. To freeze cookie dough, pack it in freezer containers. (For sliced cookies, roll and wrap the dough as directed in the recipe.) Freeze cookie dough for up to six months. Before baking, thaw frozen dough in the container in the refrigerator. If the dough is too stiff to work with, let the dough stand at room temperature to soften.

When your ready to bake your cookies, here are a few Baking Tips.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all bran cereal

1 package chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl beat together margarine, shortening and sugars. Gradually add in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Stir in bran cereal and chocolate chips. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Celebrate Labor Day with Quick and Easy Recipes

September 7, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

Celebrate Labor Day

steak  On Labor Day, many people gather for a traditional picnic or bbq to celebrate. Celebration can occur on your porch, patio, park, seashore or lakeside. The tantalizing aromas of chicken or steak, the sizzling sounds of hot dogs and hambugers, the glistening glow of the coals and the humming sounds of happy voices. It definitely adds up to fun for everyone.

Salads are a welcoming addition to out door eating. What’s a better compliment to a sizzling steak than a zesty and tangy tossed green salad! And having fried chicken, isn’t a picnic without a creamy summer potato salad.

Quick and Easy Recipes

Here are some of our family’s favorite quick and easy recipes:

Crispy Herb Fried Chicken


6-8 pieces of chicken

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon tarragon leaves

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic


Mix ingredients together and coat chicken pieces. In a large pot, heat peanut oil to 400 degrees. Fry chicken pieces until golden, approximately 10 minutes, turning and cook until browned and tender.

Kids Slow Cooker Chili


1 1/2 pounds of ground beef or turkey

1 pound pork sausage

1 28 oz. can of canned tomatoes

1 30 oz. can kidney beans

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans

1 15 oz. can Ranch style beans

1 15 oz. can baked beans

1 large yellow onion

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Southwest seasoning

1/4 cup Cowboy barbecue sauce


On medium-low heat cook ground beef and pork sausage in a skillet until brown, drain and set aside. Chop onion into small bite size pieces, set aside. Rinse kidney and garbanzo beans. To your slow cooker, add diced tomatoes with juice and all your beans. Add ground beef and sausage mixture. Add onion, chili powder, Southwest Seasoning and Cowboy barbecue sauce. Mix well. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. Serve as a side dish at a barbecue or as a main dish with cornbread. A simple Chili recipe your kids will enjoy!


ist1_9581233-slabs-of-bbq-spare-ribs Cowboy Barbecue Sauce

In a saucepan mix 1 cup tomato juice, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickend.

Fresh Strawberry Pie


1 9-inch baked pastry shell

2 pints fresh strawberries

3/4 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons corn starch

2 Tablespoons Strawberry flavored gelatin

1 cup water

Red food coloring

Whipped Cream


Remove stems and wash strawberries. Drain thoroughly on paper towels. Place berries in pie shell, arranging carefully, placing biggest berries on top. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, gelatin and water. Cook , stirring constantly, until thickened and clear. Add several drops of food coloring to make a rich red color. Cool 15 minutes. Pour over berries, making sure to cover all berries. Refrigerate 5 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.

 picnic  Happy Labor Day!

Make Your Own Salad Dressing: Quick Easy Salad Dressing

September 4, 2009 · Posted in Gardening: Growing Your Own Foods, Recipes · View Comments 

Quick Easy Salad Dressing

If your garden is showing an abundance of cucumbers and your wondering what else you could do with them besides putting in them in your salad, how about a quick, creamy dressing? You won’t believe how good it tastes too. Try this delicious summer salad dressing today!

Cucumbers     Creamy Cucumber Dressing


1 cup light mayonaise

1 cup skinned, seeded, chopped cucumbers

2 Tablespoons minced parsley

1 clove garlic

1 Tablespoon chopped chives or scallions

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt


Process all ingredients in an electric blender or food processer until smooth. Chill.

Makes approximately 2 3/4 cups.

Why purchase your salad dressings from the store? Why not make your own? It’s very easy to do. Homemade salad dressings are always fresh and delicious.  Preparing your own dressing at home is not only easy, but very quick, and healthy. It’s also very cost-effective on your grocery budget. This dressing is very light and brings great flavor to a bed of greens.

ist1_678758-bowl-of-mixed-salad-against-a-white-background       Light Balsamic Dressing


1/4 cup imported balsamic venegar

1/4 cup tomato or tomato vegetable juice

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons water

1 garlic clove, mashed

Dried thyme and dried marjoram (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine ingredients in covered jar and shake before serving. Makes 3/4 cup of dressing.

Cooking Ideas For Busy Moms: Quick Dinner Recipes

September 2, 2009 · Posted in Main Dishes · View Comments 

Cooking Ideas For Busy Moms

ist1_8588766-modern-woman   It is very easy to be a good cook when you have all the time you need. The real test comes when you have very little time to produce a satisfying meal for a family of six in less than an hour and serve that meal to your family minutes after arriving home from work. You work hard all day, the last thing you need is trying to figure out what’s for dinner every night!

Every busy mom who needs to prepare her meals quickly and efficiently, must have a system.  Plan meals that are versatile, healthy and always delicious. Chicken and Rice make the perfect, quick meal for your family.

Quick Dinner Recipes

Chicken and Rice are such a natural combination, one might think they were a match in heaven when combining together. They add convenience, and peace of mind when it comes to a quick hearty meal.

In this quick weekday meal, the flavors of garlic and lime blend together to add a special zesty flavor to chicken.

Garlic Lime Chicken and Rice


2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4-6 boneless, chicken breasts

3 garlic gloves, minced

2 cups white rice

4 cups vegetable broth

1 lime, halfed

1 1/2 cup frozen vegetables of your choice: broccoli, carrots, peas, or corn


Drizzle 1 TablespoonExtra Virgin Olive Oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add chicken breasts, cook over medium-high heat 7-10 minutes, or until lightly brown. Mix together remaining olive oil with garlic, add to chicken. Cook another 3-4 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, rice and juice from 1/2 of lime. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat; simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add vegetables, continuing to cook another 5 minutes. Cut remaining 1/2 lime into slices and use for garnish.

ist1_9915226-chefCook’s Tip

Garlic is a very popular ingredient worldwide for cooking. When purchasing garlic, look for firm heads with tightly closed bulbs. Store your garlic in an open container in a dark cool place. Garlic heads will last up to 2 months. If the garlic is separated, the unpeeled cloves will keep for up to two weeks. garlic flavors change depending on the cooking procedure. Raw garlic is extrememely sharp, while long, slow cooking mellows its flavor.




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