Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken Pesto

9 pcs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
Pesto sauce
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Provolone cheese (9 slices)
Proscuitto ham (9 slices)
Italian bread crumbs

Pound chicken with a meat tenderizer.  Coat with pesto.  Top with a slice of provolone cheese and ham. Fold or roll chicken. Roll again in pesto sauce and bread crumbs.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Drizzle olive oil.  Bake for 30 - 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

From whence it came:  This is another recipe from one of the best cooks I know, Janice Luncford.  Janice made this chicken for a church dinner and everyone went crazy!  Crazy in a good way.  Not crazy like sitting in a white padded room wearing a straitjacket crazy.  Crazy like give me this recipe or I'm going to do something crazy!  That kind of crazy!  Thanks for making us all crazy, Janice! 

Why it's blogable:  Like I said, any food that turns a group of calm, scripture reading, church going folks crazy is blogable.  This is the recipe that inspired my very own recipe that I like to call Yummiest Chicken Ever.  My recipe is the lazier and cheaper version of this recipe.  But even though this recipe is a little bit more work, and a little bit more money, it's worth it.  Try it for yourself.  And don't blame me if it makes you crazy!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Roll Out Sugar Cookies

1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar

1 egg
2 t. vanilla
3 T. evaporated milk

Mix in:
3 c. flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt

Roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper.  Don't roll them out too thin, they are better if they are a little bit thick. Place in fridge or freezer until firm. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles before baking or frost after baking. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. If the cookies are really big and thick you may have to cook them a bit longer.

Butter Cream Frosting:
1 stick softened butter
1 box powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla
Milk - add just a tiny bit at a time until desired consistancy

Just mix all the ingredients in your mixer until smooth and creamy.

From whence it came:
  How will we ever thank my sister-in-law, Geralene, for all these fabulous recipes?  I know.  I'll say something really nice about her.  Hmmm...there's so much to choose from.  I've got it!  Geralene is one of the most patient people I know.  That's kind of out of the big book of duh if you know my brother, cause putting up with that guy can require the patience of Job!  I should know.  I lived with him for many years.  He drove me crazy.  He sat on me and held me down and pinned my hands and arms under his knees and let slobber drip out of his mouth and then sucked it back up right before it landed on me.  Only sometimes he didn't suck it back up in time.  And sometimes it landed on me.  And I still need therapy over those memories.  Also, he would hide behind the bushes and pop out and scare me as I was walking home from school.  And I would scream.  And I would cry.  And we would fight.  Oh how we would fight.  Now my brother is old, like me, and we don't fight anymore.  Miracle of all miracles, I actually really love and admire my brother.  And he rarely gets on my nerves these days.  And, let's face it, he is wise.  Wise enough to marry a great girl like Geralene!

Why it's blogable:  These are by far the best roll out sugar cookies I have ever tasted.  I have other witnesses who would say the exact same thing.  They are good unfrosted, but you put that butter cream frosting on these and you will let out a sigh when you taste the first bite.  And you will let out a sigh with every bite thereafter.  Oh, and another reason, they look so spiffy.  When you make them people (not kids, people) appreciate that you took the time to make a cookie that is a step beyond a drop cookie.  A step in the right direction!

One more idea:  My cute friend, Marianne, made these cookies in the shapes of flowers and then frosted them with this icing:

Almond Icing:
2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. water
2 T. Karo syrup
1 t. almond extract

Here's the deal with this icing.  It's almost more of a glaze.  It is VERY pretty!  Marianne made hers pink and then put it on the flower cookies and they were so beautiful.  I know I've told you before that I am not a fan of almond extract.  If I were to make this glaze, I would replace the almond extract with vanilla.  But if you like almond extract, you really should try this recipe.  It's prettier than the butter cream.  But the butter cream is oh so tasty.  Bottom line, you have two good choices.  You can't go wrong either way!

I made 32 of the baseball cookies for The Spy Who Loves Me to take up to a church youth camp.  The theme was Field of Dreams so I did the baseballs.  They are so easy to make.  Just any round glass will work to cut them out.  Then I just iced them with butter cream frosting and piped the red on them with store bought stuff that came in a tube that I bought at my BFF Super Walmart.  So easy.  So fun.  And most importantly, so yum-e!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken

Take a whole chicken and sprinkle it liberally with lemon pepper inside and out and then with garlic powder and salt and put it in the crockpot upside down for 6-8 hours on low, it comes out like a rotisserie chicken from the deli.  It is so good.  

From whence it came:  The same generous gal who gave us the Crockpot Lasagna recipe gave us this one, too.  Michele Carnohan, you can do magical things with a crockpot.  And with people!  Michele really has a way with people.  She gives some of the best advice of anyone I know.  She is wise!  And her chicken is good!

Why it's blogable:  I feel like it's silly to say "because it's easy".  Just look at the recipe.  It's one sentence.  Two if you count "It is so good."  And it really is so good!  I just love my crockpot!  And I just love this chicken when it comes out of it!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chocolate Cream Pie

This is what I made for The Spy Who Loves Me for Father's Day.  It's not really an official recipe, and it's so easy that it's almost embarrassing to post it on this blog, but I'm without pride so I'm just gonna go for it.

Graham Cracker Crust:
Crush 3/4 of a box of graham crackers
(This is not an exact measurement.  It's close.  Use more or less, depending on how thick you like the crust.  The Spy likes it thick.  Really thick.  So I used almost a whole box and a big pie pan.)
I put the graham crackers in a gallon zip lock and beat them with a rolling pin.  This is cheaper than therapy and way more effective!  How would I know?  I've never had therapy, although many people, mainly family members, have suggested I should.  And I just want to say, for the record, that I am not the crazy one.  They are the crazy ones!  I am perfectly normal.  Perfectly!

Where was I?  These people are driving me crazy!  I can't even think with all of them talking to me at once.  (Does it concern you that I'm totally alone right now?  Me neither!)

So, crush those graham crackers, and enjoy beating them silly.  I think the crust is good and looks pretty if some crumbs are bigger than others.  Some of my crumbs were more like chunks, and I think that's perfectly fine.  If you are into uniformity then you can put them in the food processor and grind them to death, but where's the fun in that?  Just whack 'em.  I might make another pie just so I can whack more crackers!

Once they are properly whacked, add 4 T. sugar and 1 stick melted butter.  Give it a stir.  When I made this pie on Saturday I threw caution to the wind and added even more butter.  Yes I did.  I actually made two pies, one to take to church, and one for home, so I whacked two boxes of crackers and then had too much, so I froze some of the whacked crackers.  I have the feeling I'm giving you too much information and that by now you've either switched over to The Pioneer Woman's website or you're just barely hanging on to see if I ever get to the point.  Don't fret, I'm almost there!

Once you've mixed the whacked crackers, sugar and butter, you pour it into your pie pan and firmly smash it down.  I used a cup to really give it a good smashing.  Come to think of it, this is a very violent recipe.  That's probably why I felt so good after making it!

Press the crust mix into the pan and bake at 325 degrees for ten minutes.  That's it.  Pie crust done.  Check!

Now to fill it.  This is where the difficult level gets ridiculously ridiculous!  This is where I totally swallow my pride and tell you that it's chocolate Jello pudding.  That's it.  Nothing more.  And even worse, it's the instant stuff.  Just one large box of pudding mixed with two and a half cups of milk.  My pie pan was really big.  Gigantic actually.  So I used two large boxes of pudding.  But for most pies, the ones that aren't on steroids, you only need one box.

Let it gel slightly, just for about five minutes, then pour it into the cooled crust.  Cooled!  Don't put it into a hot crust.  That could get ugly!

Final touches:

Put it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.  Mine was in there overnight.  When you're ready to serve it, top the whole thing with an 8 oz. container of Cool Whip.  How embarrassing.  I didn't even make real whipping cream.  What a loser!  Who cares!  It was delicious!

Just to be a show off, and to make it look like I worked harder than I did, I grated part of a chocolate candy bar on top.  It adds nothing except the WOW factor.  I'm all about the WOW factor!

From whence it came:  All those people in my head talked me through this one.  Just kidding!  My mother-in-law used to make this pie for The Spy when he was just a little tyke and now he forces me to make it.  More like begs me to make it.  And, because I'm wonderful, I do it.  (Actually, whenever he wants me to do something he threatens to hide my Tim McGraw CDs.  That always gets my attention!)

Why it's blogable:  My teen daughter totally turns her nose up at pie.  Today, the minute she walked in the door from work, she went straight to the fridge (before eating lunch, which is against my rules, which if I had any power over her at all I would never allow, but I don't, so she did).  She pulled out the pie and cut herself a slice and ate it while I lectured her on the pitfalls of eating pie before a meal.  Then she licked her lips and that was that.

Now that your suspisions of my being completly insane have been confirmed, you should trust me on at least one thing.  This pie is good!  I promise!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Symphony Brownies

Here's whatcha need:

Here's whatcha do:

Mix a family size brownie mix as directed on package.

Pour half into greased 8x8 inch pan.

Place two 4.5 oz Symphony Candy Bars (the ones with toffee and nuts) on top of the brownie batter.

Pour remaining brownie batter over the candy bars.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

The original recipe said to make these brownies in a 9x13 pan and to use three candy bars, but I like thick brownies so I did the 8x8 and it worked great.  Either way would be terrific!  Also, you could use My Favorite Brownie Recipe instead of the box mix, but if you do, use a 9x9 pan because that recipe is a bit bigger.

From whence it came:  My married daughter has the cutest friend named Kylee Dial.  This girl is a wonderful girl.  She is from Chicago and grew up with my sonny-in-law.  She comes from the nicest, most fabulous family.  We spent time with all of them last summer here in San Diego at my daughter's wedding, and they are the kind of people that you just feel like you've known forever and ever.  Kylee, this recipe is to-die-for, and you are a hero for sharing it with all of us!

Why it's blogable:  Here's the deal...these brownies are beyond fabulous!  I made them for the first time this past week and everyone did back flips over them.  Who am I kidding, there isn't an Anderson in this household who has ever done a back flip.  None of us have ever even attempted a back flip.  We're simply not back flippers.  But if we were, we would do one over these brownies.  That's how good they are!  I promise.  Trust me.  You must.  Make them soon.  Make them now.  Hurry!

A family tradition:  Us Andersons have a tradition in our family that when it's your birthday, or Father's Day, you get to pick the meals you want to have that day.  Breakfast and dinner.  You're on your own for lunch.  Two meals is enough.  Let's not get carried away!  So this week I asked The Spy Who Loves Me what he wanted to eat for Father's Day breakfast and dinner.  (I'm not kidding about lunch.  I draw the line at lunch.  I won't do it and you can't make me!)

I'm always curious as to what these goofballs that I live with will choose.  My teen son chose Cheese Strata last year for his birthday breakfast and Crockpot Lasagna for his birthday dinner.  My teen daughter wanted Breakfast Burritos for breakfast and for the life of me I can't remember what that girl wanted for dinner.  The Spy Who Loves Me was born on Christmas Eve and let me just say, I find that annoying!  Christmas Eve should just be Christmas Eve.  He also finds it annoying and shares many sob stories (none of them true) about how when he was a little red headed, freckled face, four eyed boy he would get the toy for his birthday and the batteries that went in it for Christmas.  Don't you dare feel sorry for that man.  Everyone has always gone out of their way to make sure that Christmas Eve is HIS big day.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, the brownies.  Father's Day is tomorrow so this past week I asked The Spy what he wanted...I think I already said this.  I should just get to the point.  This is what The Spy picked.  Whole Wheat Pancakes and bacon for breakfast.  The Spy and the teen son have a love affair with bacon.  It's not good.  For dinner he wants Stromboli and salad with just iceberg lettuce, cheese and ranch dressing.  Totally unhealthy!  Totally ridiculous!  But it's Father's Day so I have to do what he wants.  It's a tradition.  But don't you worry, I'll make him pay by feeding him tons of vegies this coming week!  And guess what he picked for his Father's Day dessert.  These brownies.  That's how much The Spy loves these brownies.  Wanna know a secret?  I'm not making these brownies for The Spy for Father's Day.  Nope, I'm not.  They are delicious, and they are so easy, but I decided to be a rebel and make his favorite pie from his childhood.  Chocolate Cream Pie with a really thick graham cracker crust.  He knows me well enough to know that I'm pretty much gonna do what I want, so he won't be too surprised.  I'll make him the brownies some other day...just because.  Just because I'm the best wife in the whole wide world!  Now if I can just convince him of that, we'll be in business!

Click here to get the printable:
Symphony Brownies

You can watch my BFF, Paula Deen, make them here:
Paula's Symphony Brownies

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Low Fat Pumpkin Cookies

1 spice cake mix (just the dry mix - don't add anything else)
1 small can pumpkin

Mix above two ingredients together and bake on Pam sprayed cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Even more delicious when mini chocolate chips are added, but also more fattening!

Makes 24 cookies – 2 Weight Watchers points each (without chocolate chips)

From whence it came:  I got this recipe at a Weight Watchers meeting quite a few years back.  Yep, I was once in the WW zone.  Then I fell off the WW wagon and hit my head so hard that I've been dizzy ever since.  But I still believe in WW!  And one of these days I'm gonna drag my chubby buns and thighs back onto that wagon, and hold on tight! 

Why it's blogable:  Because if you insist on eating low fat foods, this is a good recipe.  These cookies have great flavor and could they be easier?  Nope!  My married daughter likes these cookies a lot, and The Spy Who Loves Me eats them, too.  He just eats way to many of them, which kind of defeats the low fat purpose.  

Why today:  I thought about posting this recipe today because today was the first day of summer vacation for my teenagers, and guess where we went...to the beach!  I just love and adore the beach!  Love and adore it more than I could ever tell you in words!  I have spent my childhood, teen years, and now a fair amount of my adult life at the beach.  What's not to love?  Stingrays and Jelly Fish, that's what!  But besides those two things...oh yeah, and sharks.  Besides those three things...oh yeah, and old men in Speedos.  Besides those four things...there is nothing not to love about the beach.  But putting on a bathing suit for the first time this summer made me think of these low fat cookies.  So here ya go!  Enjoy your summer, and I really really hope you find your toes in the sand a time or two before fall!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up! 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hot Corn Dip

1 Can Green Giant Mexi-corn
1 cup mayo
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1 lg. or 2 small Ortega diced green chilies
½ c. Parmesan

Mix. Pour into round casserole dish or pie pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

From whence it came: This is from the sister of The Spy Who Loves Me. Lori is famous for making this delicious dip! We like to eat it with tortilla chips, but it's good with crackers, too! Wheat Thins are my personal favorite!

Why it's blogable:  This recipe has fabulous flavor!  It's a little bit spicy, but not too much.  And it smells terrific.  It couldn't be easier to make and when you do, everyone will smile!  Hopefully they won't have any green chilies stuck in their teeth when they do!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Strawberry Pecan Green Salad

Slice and set aside:
        1 pint washed and hulled strawberries

Place in large bowl:
        2 bunches washed and torn spinach
        Romaine lettece
        1/2 thinly sliced red onion
        Feta cheese

Make coated pecans and poppy seed dressing

Coated Pecans
See recipe for glazed nuts

Poppy Seed Dressing

Toss salad with a little dressing.  Serve the salad in individual portions.  Place a few strawberry slices and a handful of pecans and a sprinkling of poppy seeds on each serving.  Drizzle with a little more dressing.

From whence it came:  Guys, I'm getting old.  Soon...very soon...I'll be half a century.  I'm no longer buying green bananas.  It's just too risky.  My point?  I can't remember where I got this recipe.  I wish I could, 'cause it's really good. 

Why it's blogable:  A few days back I posted the recipe for glazed nuts and kind of sort of told you how to use them in a salad.  Then today I ran across this good ol' recipe and I immediately remembered it was blog worthy.  If I've told you once, I've told you a million times, The Spy Who Loves Me doesn't always love fruity stuff.  And this is a fruity salad.  A girly salad.  And you know what?  The Spy really likes this salad.  A lot!  That's another reason it's blogable.  It's perfect for summer.  Heck, it's just plain ol' perfect!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Steak San Marcos

2 lbs. chuck steak or London broil – 1” thick, cut into bite size pieces
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can Italian peeled tomatoes
1 t. oregano
Pepper and garlic powder to taste
2 T. olive oil
2 T. wine vinegar

In crock pot arrange meat; cover with onion soup and tomatoes.  Sprinkle with oregano, garlic powder, pepper, oil and vinegar.  Cook on high about six hours.  Serve over bow tie pasta.  Serves 4-6 people.

The original recipe said to cook it in a covered skillet for about one and a half hours until the meat is tender, but I always make it in the crock pot.

You can double the recipe!

From whence it came:  Once again we have a fabulous recipe, thanks to my fabulous friend, Kerinda VanWagoner.  I asked her if I could post this yum-e recipe on my little blog and she said yes, as long as I said something "nice and gushy" about her.  She is really high maintenance!  But a deal's a deal so here we go.  Kerinda has the voice of an angel.  If you've never had the privilege of hearing her sing, I am really sorry.  You're missing out on some serious goose bumps!  I've been fortunate to hear her sing on many occasions and I can say that she's never pitchy.  Simon, Randy, Ellen and Kara would love her!  If only she weren't so old, she could be the next American Idol.  Hey Kerinda, good news, Simon's new show, The X Factor, has no age limit.  You could be the next Susan Boyle!  (I think I may have just veered away from the "nice and gushy" requirement.  I guess I should admit that Kerinda is younger than me.  She's not all that old.  Just a little bit!)  Thanks for sharing your Steak San Marcos Recipe with us, Kerinda.  I'll make it for the celebration dinner we throw when you win The X Factor!  (Was that "nice and gushy" enough?)  Trust me, she'll make a comment and let us know.

Why it's blogable:  This is one of my favorite things to make for dinner.  I like to make it for Sunday dinner because it just cooks away while we are at church.  Quite often I assemble it in the crock pot on Saturday, pop it in the fridge, then just plug it in on Sunday before we leave for church.  When we come home the house smells amazing!  This recipe is delicious and you can make it more nutritions by using whole grain pasta.  I love whole grain pasta!  And I love it even more when it's covered with Steak San Marcos!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Click here to get the printable:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Glazed Nuts

4 cups nuts (whichever you choose: pecans, walnuts or almonds etc.)
1 egg white
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spread nuts in pan and bake 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove and cool for 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

Grease baking pan.  (You can use two 9x13 pans or one half sheet pan.)  In a bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Whisk in sugars, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir in nuts until well coated. Spread nuts into baking pan(s) in a single layer.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove and stir to separate if nuts are stuck together. Return to oven for another 10-12 minutes until they are a pale golden brown and appear dry. Remove and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

When nuts begin to harden, quickly loosen from pan and spread on wax paper to cool. Nuts can be frozen for storage. Enjoy! The smell is terrific!

From whence it came:  A wonderful gal named Katrina Preece shared this recipe with me.  And now I'm sharing it with y'all.  And you need to get ready to say "Thank you, Katrina and Pam."  "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!"  "How can we every properly thank you?"  Mostly you should thank Katrina because she is the genius who found this recipe.  But you can thank me if you must, because now I'm sharing it with you.  And you're welcome!

Why it's blogable:  If someone told me that I could only post my top ten favorite recipes on this little blog, I would have to put this one on the list.  Seriously.  That's how good this recipe is, and that's how much I love it.  First of all, the aroma that will fill your home as they cook will make you drool.  I'm not kidding.  You should wear a bib while they cook because those drool marks can be embarrassing.  I'm speaking from experience.  Then, as if smelling them wasn't enough, wait until you taste them.  Brace yourself.  Sit yourself down on a chair because your knees will weaken when the first nut makes contact with your taste buds.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

What to do with 'em:  There are a few options.  The first is to sit down on the couch and eat the whole batch.  If you have the strength to avoid option one, you can put them in a salad.  That's my favorite thing to do with them.  Here's whatcha do...use fresh cut Romaine lettuce, baked and chopped chicken that you've seasoned with a little bit of salt and pepper, fresh strawberries cut in quarters, a few very thin slices of red onion and some feta cheese.  Oh baby!  Plop these nuts on top and drizzle with a sweet poppy seed dressing, or a raspberry vinaigrette.  Or just go back to option one and sit on the couch and eat all the nuts.  Either way, you're taste buds will do the happy dance!

Click here to get the printable:
Glazed Nuts

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meat Pie

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 very large potatoes
1 can French onion soup
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 c. grated cheddar cheese

Brown meat and drain.  Add soup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes until tender; drain and mash.  Put the meat in a casserole dish and cover the meat with potatoes.  Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

From whence it came:  This recipe was published in a church cookbook by my really good cook of a sister-in-law, Geralene.  I've shared a few of her other yum-e recipes and this one is a winner, too!

Why it's blogable:  This is a kid friendly recipe!  The Spy Who Loves Me likes this as well, but he's just a big kid so that's no surprise.  My kids have always liked this recipe and now that they're cool teenagers they still do.  My teen daughter asked me to make this the other night and I didn't have all the ingredients on hand so I got my act together and made it tonight.  And she was happy.  Until her pesky brother started bugging her at dinner.  Then she wasn't happy.  Then she was ticked off.  And cranky.  So she shot him her very best stink eye, and he just laughed.  And then she was even more ticked off.  Are you folks getting a picture of our dinner atmosphere tonight?  It wasn't a Norman Rockwell moment, that's for sure.  But the good news is that we ate together as a family.  And we narrowly avoided a food fight!  I'm pretty proud of us!

Getting back to the recipe:
  Sometimes I double the recipe because this is good leftover.  Also, sometimes I use dry onion soup instead of the canned stuff.  If you use the dry mix, just add it to two pounds of ground beef along with two cups of water, and cook it until most of the water cooks off.  Just let it simmer and the water will magically disappear.  If you're in a hurry you can use instant mashed potatoes.  I've done that sometimes, but it is better if you use real ones.  And speaking of the potatoes, I always add a little bit of evaporated milk and butter to make them creamy and flavorful.  Just add enough to get the consistency you like. When I made this tonight I didn't double the recipe but I used six medium potatoes.  We like lots of potatoes in our pie.  You can do it however you think is best.  There is no right or wrong way to make this recipe.  Try it out and you'll see what I mean.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Caramel Brownies

 1/3 c. evaporated milk
14 oz. package caramels (approximately 50 caramels)
1 box German chocolate cake mix
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/3 c. evaporated milk
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in double boiler. Heat, stirring constantly until melted (or microwave on high 4 minutes, stirring after each minute). Remove from heat and set aside.

In another bowl combine cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk and butter; beat with mixer until mixture holds together. Stir in nuts. Press 1/2 of this mixture into 9x13 greased and floured pan. Bake 6 minutes.

Take out of oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crust and cover evenly with caramel mixture. Crumble remaining cake mixture on top. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Refrigerate. When cooled, cut into squares.

From whence it came:  This recipe was given to me by my sister-in-law, Lynn.  I have this wonderful memory of Lynn making these brownies in her kitchen many years ago while all her cute little blond kids sat at the counter and unwrapped all the caramels.  It's funny how we remember silly little things like that, but it's such a sweet memory of mine.  Lynn passed away over 17 years ago when all of her children were still very young.  At that time, her oldest was 11 years old and her youngest was 10 months.  That ten month old baby girl is graduating from high school this month, and I couldn't be more proud of her.  Boy do I love those blond nieces and nephews of mine, who are now all grown up and just as wonderful as their mom always dreamed they would be.  These brownies make me think of all of them, and especially of their momma.

Why it's blogable:  These brownies are really good, folks!  How can you go wrong with a combination of chocolate and caramel?  You can't!  Not even if you try!  I haven't made this recipe in so long, but for some reason is has just been on my mind lately.  I've been meaning to post it and today is the day.  They are very easy to make, and you can get your kids to unwrap the caramels for you.  Getting the family together in the kitchen is a good idea...a very good idea!  It creates memories that will last a lifetime!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pork Salad

Throw all of these into the blender:
1pkg ranch dressing mix - mix according to package directions –
  Do not use low fat, be sure to use regular mayo
2 large tomatillos rinse and throw in blender –
  They look like green tomatoes with a skin on them
Cut off stem and add two whole jalapeno peppers –
  Use only one if you don't like it too spicy
1 bunch cilantro-
Just cut off part of the stems and throw the whole thing in the blender
Juice of one small lime

For every three cups of rice, add one small can of diced green chilies and about 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon

Buy a nice pork shoulder roast, cook in the crock pot for a few hours, then drain a little and shred. Add one large can of green Enchilada sauce and equal part of brown sugar (just fill the empty sauce can with brown sugar to measure) Let the meat simmer in this for a little while.

Rice, meat, black beans, Romaine lettuce, chopped green onions and top with dressing.  You can squeeze some fresh lime on top, too!

From whence it came: A really wonderful gal named Maria Hudson published this fabulous recipe in a church newsletter. She served it at her daughter's wedding and then was kind enough to share the recipe with everyone. Recently, my friend Shannon, made it for her son's wedding reception and it was a huge hit! Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us, Maria! It's as sweet as you are!

Why it's blogable: Just make it and you'll see why. It is such a great recipe. The pork is really sweet, which might sound weird, but it's not weird at all! It's good! The rice has a great flavor when you add the green chilies. I am a huge fan of green chilies! Love them! And let's take a minute to discuss this salad dressing. Guys, this is truly truly delicious stuff. If you've ever eaten at Cafe Rio, this is very similar to their house salad dressing. And if you've never eaten at Cafe Rio, run! Run to Cafe Rio right now! It's my favorite Mexican Food in the whole wide world!

One word of warning:  Unless your mouth is made of steel, you might want to use just one jalapeno in the dressing.  And because I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy stuff, I remove the seeds.  Did you know that most of the heat is in the seeds?  I learned that watching the Food Network.  And I was kind enough to pass that info along to y'all so you don't scorch your insides.  Remember how I told you that my friend, Shannon, made this for her son's wedding?  Well, I made 12 batches of this salad dressing for her and when I was done my hands were actually burned from the peppers.  I never knew that could happen, but now I know.  And don't you ever ever ever rub your eyes when you've been dealing with peppers.  That, my friends, is a huge mistake that you only make once!  Oh, and one more thing...I've told you more than once that I'm not a fan of cilantro.  And I'm still not, but I have to admit, it is really good in this dressing.  I only use half a bunch instead of a whole, but even with a whole bunch it's really good.  The Spy Who Loves Me has been known to overdose on this dressing. 

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Microwave Caramels

1 cup butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup corn syrup
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 t. vanilla
Dash of salt

Measure all ingredients (except vanilla) into a 2 quart microwave bowl.  Microwave on high for approximately 16-20 minutes (depending on your microwave) stirring every 2 minutes.  Have ready a buttered 9x13 pan.  If you cook the caramels too long, they will be good suckers.  If you cook them too short, they will be soft and gooey.  Make a batch or two to test your microwave.  When done, add vanilla and pour into ready pan.  Let cool.  Cut into strips and wrap in wax paper.

From whence it came:  Last year when we wanted to go up to Utah to visit our newly engaged daughter and the wonderful young man who was stealing her away from us, we needed a place to stay.  The whole family was making the trip so we wanted something bigger than a hotel room.  We found a great place on Craig's List.  It was a basement apartment in the home of some great folks that treated us very well.  One day, after a long wedding dress shopping extravaganza, we came back to our temporary basement home and found these divine caramels waiting for us.  Not only were they kind enough to make them, they were kind enough to share the recipe with me.  Thanks for the fabulous recipe, Sherry!

Why it's blogable:  I came home from our trip and along with the help of the teen son made 300 of these little bites of heaven for the wedding.  That's how good they are!  And they are really easy to make.  These are the best caramels I have ever had! 

A few tips for ya:  Every microwave is different so you're going to have to experiment with these a little bit.  My microwave is no spring chicken, so I cook them for 20 minutes.  If you're microwave is newer you probably won't need to cook them as long.  If you cook them too long, they will get hard and pull out all of your dental work.  Don't say I didn't warn you!  If you don't cook them long enough they will be too soft.  So, there is a bit of a learning curve on this one, but it's worth figuring out.   

Also, when they've cooled, I take the entire chunk of caramel from the pan and place it on wax paper.  Then I cut them into strips with a pizza cutter. I think it works better than a knife.  Once they're cut, wrap them in little squares of wax paper and twist the ends, just like the picture.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Still Tasty

Here is a really great and informative web site:


This web site answers so many questions that I've had about how long food will stay fresh and edible.  I'm a little bit freakish when it comes to this stuff.  I don't like food poisoning!  Call me weird, but spending the night kneeling next to the commode is not my idea of a good time!

I want to give a shout out to my good old friend, Vince, for sharing this web site with me.  (Vince isn't old, but we were friends before I was old, so that's why I referred to him as good old.  In reality, he is just good!)

Vince and I worked together at a bank a bunch of years ago and recently reconnected thanks to Facebook.   Vince was present during one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my entire life...testifying in front of a grand jury in Los Angeles.

Long story, but basically one of the bank's customers was on trial for tax evasion and we found ourselves right in the middle of the courtroom drama.  And just in case you're wondering, those people involved in grand jury trials do not have a sense of humor!  Not at all!  I won't tell you how I made a fool of myself that day, but just know that I did.  OK, so I'll tell you.

I was scared to death to sit in that hard cold chair in that hard cold room with those hard cold people.  When they asked me to state my name for the record, I basically gave every name that anyone had every called me.  All they wanted was my first and last name, but I gave first, middle, maiden and last.  I think I may have even said a few of the nicknames I'd been called along the way in life.  The court reporter snickered, but no one else found it amusing.  Like I said, those people have no sense of humor!

I was really happy when that experience was over, and I hope to never find myself in that hard cold place again!

Anyway, thanks for the great web site, Vince!  And thanks for the memories, too!