Monday, December 1, 2008

Buttermilk Pie

I was going to call this "Creepy Coworker Buttermilk Pie" because I got the recipe from a jerk I used to work with at JP Financial years ago. He brought it for a Thanksgiving party we had and I asked for the recipe, which he gave me, and then I lost. I recently found it again in our move. I love surprises, don't you?

2 T. flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix together butter and sugar until creamed. Add flour and salt, mix again. Add eggs, mix well. Add vanilla and buttermilk last, mix. Pour into 9 inch pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes (until brown on top).

This pie is extremely rich and delicious. I've tried other buttermilk pie recipes, and this is definitely the best.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cool Tortelini Salad


I threw this together yesterday.  i really didn't want to cook and didn't have any meat thawed.  this was calling my name, so i answered.

one package cheese tortellini of choice (i chose a kind with spinach and white pasta mixed together)
one cucumber seeded and chopped
one tomato seeded and chopped
olives chopped
one green pepper chopped
1 1/2 C. frozen corn

put that all together in a bowl.  combine 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 T. balsamic vinegar, two tsp. italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, and pepper.  pour over the other ingredients; mix well; chill; serve.

thinking back, i should have added some artichoke hearts.  that would have made it perfect. it was still really tasty.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Peanuts and Greens Salad

So easy - just open bags! This makes a lot, so you may not want to use all of each bag. Adjust for your needs.

1 bag spinach

1 bag Romaine lettuce

1 bag cole slaw (no dressing)

1/2 to 1 can peanuts

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Small bag Craisins

Poppyseed dressing

Mix all except dressing in large bowl. Add dressing just before serving.

Quick Candy

This is my new favorite treat - quick, easy and yummy. Great if you have to take something to a party or meeting and remembered at the last minute.

Rolo candies, unwrapped

Small square pretzels- same number as you have Rolos

Pecan halves or pieces

Put one Rolo on each pretzel and place on cookie sheet. Put in 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and press a piece of pecan on top. Cool. So good!

Pumpkin Caramel Pie

This is from Rachel Ray's magazine. I tried it twice and failed both times. It is seriously delicious, but if someone can tell me how to prevent the whipped cream from deflating during the caramel drizzling process I would really appreciate it.

Chocolate cookie pie crust
2 3/4 c. heavy cream
One 15 oz. can pure pumpkin puree (or fresh obviously)
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (equal parts cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg)
1/2 tsp salt
28 caramel candies (why 28? can't figure)
grating chocolate for the top

Mix together the 3 whole eggs, 1 c. cream (here's where I made my first mistake- ONE CUP), the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt until just combined. Pour into pie shell and bake until set 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool slightly and refrigerate overnight.

In a bowl, microwave the caramels with 1/2 c. cream at high power until melted, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth, then let cool to room temp.

Whip the remaining 1 1/4 c. cream until soft peaks form. Drizzle in the caramel and beat until well blended. Spoon the caramel whipped cream on top of the pumpkin filling and refrigerate until completely chilled.

Before serving, grate chocolate over the top of the pie.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Quiche au Fromage

Melissa suggested I make this for one of my meals because I was STUMPED and not in the mood to cook. So easy! I felt bad for about a minute that I used a store-bought pie crust (they're so cheap). I think I'll eat the leftovers for breakfast. Quiche is so versatile. This is in the 2nd Sisters' Cookbook in the holiday section. I've made a couple of minor changes.

1 pastry crust
6 large eggs
2/3 c. heavy cream
1 c. milk
8 oz. Swiss cheese (I used a 10 oz. block and grated it)
1 pkg. mini-cubed ham (Hormel)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cover the edges of your pie crust with aluminum foil and poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes. Remove foil from edges and set crust aside.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and milk until thoroughly blended. Add ham and stir. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie crust. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and the nutmeg. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

IMPORTANT - Place the store-bought crust on a cookie sheet or something with an edge so you don't make a mess of your oven. :-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Chili

It's that time of year! Time to win the Ward Chili Cook-Off! This one is different - special, even. I got it from Rachael Ray during an episode of her show I watched at the gym. I couldn't hear her screeching, so I was able to endure the entire recipe. Also, I took out the beer.

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs ground chicken (or turkey)
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. smoked sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 c. chicken stock
1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Buffalo Wings hot sauce)
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 15-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
Tortilla chips
Crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Place a large pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add ground chicken/turkey and break it up, lightly browning for about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, paprika and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 7-8 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot.

Add hot sauce, tomato sauce and fire-roasted tomatoes to the chili and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips and blue cheese.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Homesteader Cornbread

I've been looking for this for ages- a cornbread that is moist and delicious with a crisp crust but does not require sour cream or creamed corn (ew!). This was a universal hit with the fam, so it must be shared.

1 1/2 c. cornmeal
2 1/2 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 Tb. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine cornmeal and milk- let it stand for 5 minutes. Grease 9x13 baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife insterted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

German Chocolate Cake Topping

I know we already have a recipe for this, but I tried this one and it is so easy and heavenly that I had to include it. Also from King Arthur Flour.

1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup half and half or milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pecan flavor or pralines & cream flavor, optional
1 1/2 cups shredded or flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, toasted
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
7 1/2 ounces light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces half and half or milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pecan flavor or pralines & cream flavor, optional
3 1/2 ounces shredded or flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, toasted
4 1/2 ounces chopped pecans, toasted

1) Whisk together the brown sugar, ClearJel, and salt till thoroughly combined.
2) Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan; stir in the milk or half and half, sugar mixture, and corn syrup.
3) Bring to a simmer and cook gently, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly.
4) Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, flavor, coconut, and pecans.
5) Spoon topping onto cake.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe was included in my most recent order from King Arthur Flour.
Kids and cookies go together like… well, like kids and just about anything sweet. Given kids’ affinity for sugar, you might as well temper it with some of the "good stuff"–in this case, oats with their soluble fiber, and whole wheat flour, with its extra vitamins, minerals, and bran. Trust us: the kids won’t know they’re getting anything "healthy" in their favorite cookie! And what’s vinegar doing in a chocolate chip cookie recipe? Ah-HA! Vinegar is our secret weapon. It tempers cookies’ sweetness just a tad, and reacts with the leavener to give them a bit more rise, making them lightly crunchy/chewy rather than hard.

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) vegetable shortening, trans-fat-free
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, organic preferred
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) quick-cooking rolled oats (or traditional rolled oats pulsed several times in a food processor, to break them up a bit)
3 cups (18 ounces; 1 regular and 1 small package) semisweet chocolate chips, or a mixture of chocolate chips and cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla, salt, and vinegar. Beat in the egg, then the baking soda, flour, and oats. Stir in the chips.Drop the dough, by tablespoonfuls, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Note: If you bake the cookies for 12 minutes; they’ll be crunchy around the edges, with a slight bend at the center. If you bake for the full 14 minutes, till they’re almost a light mahogany color, they’ll be crisp/crunchy all the way through. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Short Sharp Chops

Nicole also requested some freezer meal recipes. A while back I decided I was going to freeze a bunch of food and never cook again. I wanted something healthier than a casserole, so I was excited when I found this Cooking Light recipe. It fed our family for three meals. (I sliced two pork chops for each meal, rather than give everyone their own pork chop.)

Freezing directions: Combine pork and marinade in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, and place in freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator, cook as directed.

8 (2oz) boned center-cut pork loin pork chops (1/4 inch thick)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup thawed orange juice concentrate, undiluted
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. olive oil

Trim fat from pork. Combine soy sauce and the next 5 ingredients (soy sauce through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag. add pork to bag, seal and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. Remove pork from bag, discard marinade.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat. Add chops, saute 3 minutes on each side.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Creamy Tomato Soup

As requested by Nicole....this is my favorite from Ginny Callan and The Horn of the Moon:

2 Tb butter

1 1/2 c chopped onion (3 onions)

Two 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or the fresh equivalent)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 c. water or stock

1 c. heavy cream

4 Tb. flour

1/3 c. minced fresh parsley

1/2 tsp salt

dash pepper

Heat the butter in a fry pan and saute the onions over medium heat, cooking until golden brown. Combine the onions and tomatoes in a soup pot. Add lemon juice and water or stock and simmer on low heat, covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix cream and flour together until smooth. Add to soup, and return to a simmer, uncovered. Add parsley, salt, and pepper. Serve hot! Serves 6.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"mah noo bes frind"

Disney's Cars - Mater

we were invited to some new friend's house for labor day. youknow, for labor day food and fun. this girl is quite passionate about cooking. in a way that is not seen often these days. they served us grilled pizza. not carbequed, but grilled on an actual grill with coals under it. the crust was amazing and she has promised to share it, but hasn't revealed her secret just yet. but i told her that i wanted it and would be putting it in this blog. for now i will just share the recipe for her amazing chocolate frosting that covered her amazing chocolate cake.
equal parts chocolate chips and sour cream. melt the chocolate chips. let both ingredients cool and warm to room temperature. combine until smooth and smother your cake. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
you won't be disappointed (unless you do it wrong.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Spaghetti Sauce

This is the recipe I use for canning- we LOVE it. From the Better Homes and Gardens canning book.

15 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes
1/4 c. water
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red or green pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c. snipped fresh parsley
1 Tb. brown sugar
1 Tb. fennel seed (the secret ingredient)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp pepper

1. Wash tomatoes. Remove cores; cut into quaters (I just quarter them)
2. Place tomatoes in an 8 or 10 quart Dutch oven or kettle. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Add water to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Press tomatoes through a food mill; return tomatoes to Dutch oven. Discard seeds and pulp. (Ok, this is where I just stick it in the blender by small batches until the whole thing is pulverized. Anything to avoid the pain and mess of the food mill)

3. Add onion and pepper. Cook until onion and pepper are soft. Stir in garlic, parsley, brown sugar, fennel seed, salt, basil, oregano, marjoram, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, about 2 hours or until reduced by half, stirring frequently.

4. Ladle hot sauce into hot, clean quart or pint canning jars, leaving 1- inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process jars at 10 pounds pressure for 25 minutes for quarts or 20 minutes for pints. Allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the jars from the canner; cool on racks. Makes 4 pints.

* Don't let the canning piece scare you. You can use this recipe as a guide for making just enough for dinner if you want to.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Peaches and Cream Pie with Sugar Cookie Crust

I got this recipe from my friend Jen who got it from her favorite bakery. She says you can use any fruit with this, but peaches are her favorite. If you use peaches, be sure to blanch them in boiling water for 60 seconds, transfer to an ice water bath, and remove the skins before slicing. You don't have to peel nectarines, but be sure to wash the skins well. Don’t use frozen fruit. No good. You can also double this recipe and bake it in a 10X13 pan like I did.

1 stick butter (preferrably unsalted) softened
3 Tbs sugar ("sometimes I add more if I'm feeling naughty," says Jen)
1 Large Egg Yolk at room temp
3 Tbs heavy cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 pound cream cheese
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced ripe peaches

preheat oven to 375*

To make the crust: In a large bowl, on the low spread of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolk and cream, and mix well. Add the flour and salt, and beat until just combined. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to fit into a 9 inch glass pie dish. Fold the edges under all around the rim and crimp. Prick the bottom and sides all over with the tines of a fork, Cover the edge of the pie crust with aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 min. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking 20 min more, until the crust is crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the heavy cream and vanilla, and continue to beat at low speed until well combined.

Refrigerate the filling while the crust is cooling. When the crust is completely cooled, spread the filling evenly in the crust with a rubber spatula. Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the filling in a decorative manner. Refrigerate the pie for at least 8 hours or overnight to ensure that the filling sets.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Coconut Pecan Frosting for German Chocolate Cake

For years I thought my Mom's recipe for German Chocolate Cake frosting was a family specialty. Turns out it's from the Lion House Cookbook (the original one, page 83). Be careful with the egg yolks. The first three I put in got scrambled immediately because I had the heat turned up too high. Yuck. (I used a boxed cake, btw.)

3 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 c. flaked coconut
1 c. chopped pecans

Combine egg yolks, sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened (about 10 minutes). Add coconut and pecans. Stir vigorously until it's thick enough to spread. Makes 3 cups.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oatmeal Cookie Bars

These came with a family home evening packet from Primary yesterday. The kids balked at the raisins but they loved this cookie! I'm convinced that it is the recipe for the amazing cookies at the Hines Mansion Bed and Breakfast. Close enough!

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (oh! this is why the kids liked it so much!)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut
2 cups raisins

Blend butter and sugars until smooth (You could probably get away with only half of all that sugar) Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add all remaining ingredients except raisins and coconut. Mix well again. Add raisins and coconut. Spread evenly on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Drop cookies would probably be 10 minutes at 350.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Enchiladas & Sauce

I noticed a few weeks ago that this is a dish I can make without the recipe, so I thought I'd write it down. For posterity, you know.

5 T. vegetable oil (approximately)
4 T. flour (approximately)
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
24 oz. + 14.5 oz. Hunt's tomato sauce

Pour oil into a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add flour one tablespoon at a time and whisk as you add it. When the mixture is smooth, shake in the cumin and chili powder and continue whisking. Let it bubble for just a minute or two. Take the sauce pan off the heat and add the tomato sauce. Put the sauce pan back on the burner and stir until it's completely combined. Turn heat to low while you assemble the enchiladas.

10 flour tortillas
1 lb. hamburger
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1/4 c. chopped onion (optional)
3 c. cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, whatever)

Brown hamburger, add onion when meat is almost done, drain the fat. Mix taco seasoning in a 1/4 cup of water, then add to the hamburger and simmer for five minutes. Put about a 1/4 cup of meat and a small hand full of cheese down the middle of each tortilla, then roll them up (leave the short ends open, don't tuck them in). In a 9x13-inch casserole dish, pour 1/2 a cup of sauce. Place the enchiladas, seam side down, in the dish on top of the sauce. Once the dish is full of enchiladas, cover them completely with sauce, then sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (We like having these with Spanish Rice. I usually just use Rice-a-Roni's version. Lazy.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

The purloined recipe.

i am stealing these recipes from the mission tortilla strips bag. i have been getting these chips for three years now and these same recipes have been on the bag. i have wanted to try them for three years and, for some reason, have not tried them, even though i usually have all the ingredients. also, we are on the road right now and i don't want to drag an empty bag of chips across the country trying to save the recipes. thank heaven for modern technology.

Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Dip
1 package (1 oz.) Lawry's Taco Spices & Seasonings
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained
1 package (12 oz.) light cream cheese
1 T. chopped cilantro
1-2 tsp. lime juice
Garnishes: chopped tomato and fresh cilantro
In food processor combine all ingredients except garnishes; mix thoroughly. Serve with chips and raw veggies.
makes 2 C.

South of the Border Guacamole Dip
2 large ripe avocadoes
1 med. tomato, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
1/8 tsp. black pepper
3 T. lemon juice
Chop avocados coarsely and mash until smooth. Add tomato, onion and chiles and mix gently. Add pepper and lemon juice. Stir. Cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Serve with chips.

Picante Queso Dip
4 green onions
1 can (4 oz.) green chiles, diced and drained
2 med. tomatoes, chopped
Bottle hot pepper sauce, to taste
1 1/2 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1 T. butter
Saute onions in butter. Stir in Chiles and tomato. Add hot pepper sauce. Simmer uncovered. Stir in cheeses until melted. Serve with chips.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

the last noodle

as you know, we are three days away from being packed up and shipped out. instead of making the wonderful people who come to pack all of my stuff pack a bunch of food, i have decided to eat it all before they come. we had some friends come over for dinner thursday night. we had caramel popcorn for dessert. now all the popcorn is gone. i am pretty sure that i have one good meal left in the house. it is hamburger soup, emma's favorite. the only down side to that is that it is 100000 degrees here. we might have to eat it chilled.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Cajun Classic! least that's what the recipe says!

Crawfish Etoufee
You can serve it on fine china at formal gatherings or down-home style right from the pot on the stove. When Makenzie and David were in town we went to The Big Easy restaurant in downtown Raleigh and this is what I had to eat. This recipe sounds even better than what I had. I can't wait to try it. Caution: celery ahead.

1/4 cup butter
2 TBS olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 med. onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 med green pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, chopped
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 (14 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 lbs cooked, peeled crawfish tails *
Hot cooked rice

1. Melt butter with oil in large Dutch oven over medium -high heat; stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until caramel colored. Add onion and next 6 ingredients; saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2. Add chicken broth, parsely, and chives; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and bubbly.
3. Stir in crawfish; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Serve with hot cooked rice. Makes 4-6 servings.
* Substitute 2 lbs frozen cooked crawfish tails, thawed and drained, for fresh if desired.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weiner and Best Bun

After I got married, I bought the "wrong" hot dogs and the "wrong" bacon for many years. Not on purpose. I figured they were all the same and I could buy the one that is on sale. Now we have our favorites and I don't need to call Brian from the grocery store to make sure I'm not buying something gross. (The Rule of Bacon is usually that the most expensive one that never goes on sale is the one that will taste the best.)

Best Dog (if it's not Polish)

Oscar Meyer Bun Length All Beef Franks

Best Bun

Wonder Hot Dog Buns

What do y'all think? Or are you too good for hot dogs? :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dr. Maxwell Strawberry Cream Pie

This was the winning pie at Jeff's surPIES graduation party. It was submitted by my friends Heather and Jeremy. It tastes as good as it looks!

Prebaked pie crust
1 quart strawberries -- cleaned and hulled
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
8 ounces cream cheese -- softened
14 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
For chocolate leaves:
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
¼ teaspoon shortening

Slice one cup of strawberries. Dissolve cornstarch in water, then put sliced strawberries, cornstarch, and sugar in a saucepan. Mash strawberries with a potato masher. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Once mixture has thickened, continue to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and chill in refrigerator.

In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into prepared crust (there was too much for my 9”, non-deep pan). Place remaining whole strawberries, tips up, on top of filling. Once jelly mixture is cold, spoon over pie. Let chill.

Garnish with mint sprigs and/or chocolate leaves if desired.

Chocolate Leaves

Choose about 12 rose leaves or camellia leaves (or use other pesticide-free non poisonous leaves). Wipe with a clean towel. In the microwave or in a double boiler over hot water, melt 2 ounces semisweet chocolate with ¼ teaspoon vegetable shortening. Use the back of a teaspoon to coat the undersides of leaves with the melted chocolate. Do not coat edges. Place coated leaves on wax paper-lined plate or pan. Place in refrigerator or freezer to harden. When ready to use, loosen edges. Starting with stem end, carefully peel leaves away from the chocolate. Leaves can be trimmed with scissors to even out jagged edges.

(single 9-inch, not deep-dish)
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1/8 – ¼ tsp of salt (depending on how you like your crust)
¼ cup cold, good quality butter (gives it a better taste)
2 Tbs cup shortening
2-4 Tbs ice water

Cut butter into small cubes, then keep cold until use. Blend flour and salt in food processor. Add butter and process at low speed or intermittent bursts until crumbly. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add water one tablespoon at a time, just until crumbs stick together when pressed and can form one large ball. Wrap ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll out dough, place in pie pan, pressing down everywhere to remove air pockets. Prick sides and bottom of pie shell with fork. Place pie weights, dried beans or rice on a piece of foil or parchment paper in bottom of shell to keep pastry flat while baking. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is brown as desired.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chocolate Waffles with Chocolate Chips

These were soooo delicious! The recipe is from Alton Brown's Good Eats show. I made them when the girls had some friends sleeping over. Chocolate Waffles plus Star Wars equals good times.

1 1/2 cups flour
3 TBS sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 whole eggs, beaten
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla
16 ounces buttermilk, room temp. (I didn't have buttermilk so I used whole milk and they were still outstanding)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Vegetable spray for waffle iron

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions-and directly you'll be directed in the right direction!
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl beat together the eggs and melted butter and vanilla, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in the chocolate chips just until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the center of the iron. Close the iron top and cook until the waffle is crispy on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

We served them with maple syrup, but I'm dying to try this for, say, a FHE treat and put whip cream and extra choc chips on top!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This weekend was one of experimentation for me. I was faced, once again, with the dilemma of what to take to the ward pot-luck. My dear husband generously signed Me up for a casserole AND a salad. I was already going to make a coconut chess pie (sisters, vol. I) for the service auction, so I really didn't want to make both the other items. I stood in my kitchen for about 20 minutes thinking of what I had on hand and what it would make if mixed together and whether it would look like a salad or a casserole. What I came up with was this (you can try it or not, it is not that good):
1 1/2 C. Sour Cream
Half a package of taco seasoning
1 T. olive oil

4 C. cooked tiny shell macaroni
1 can olives, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 green onions chopped
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 C. frozen corn

So, this is the concoction that I took to the church. There were left overs. When I got home I tried a bit and decided it was too dry so I added a little dump of salsa and another spoonful of sour cream. Deliciouso.

Then this morning Lilja came into my room and asked me to make cinnamon rolls. I guess she didn't know how freakin' long it takes to make cinnamon rolls and I didn't really want to tell her that it took forever. I went down and decided to use Aunt Julie's scone recipe (Sister, vol. II). That dough is super sticky, but moist and sweet and it rises fast with the baking powder. It was a total mess, but made some AWESOME cinnamon rolls. Almost store bought, but better, because everything is better than store bought. Yes, it was faster than the roll dough recipe, but not fast enough to make us on time for church!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baked Chicken Spaghetti

I took the photo before it was in the oven swimming in cream and covered in cheese. The time for a photo session, by then, is past and it's time to eat it! It's definitely a "make ahead" dinner and it spends a long time in the oven (I can't figure out why), but the end result is my new favorite food. Or at least in the top five. Enjoy!

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked (I used the meat from one rotisserie chicken)
12 oz. thin spaghetti, cooked
Chicken broth
2 T. olive oil
5 spears celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Seasoning salt to taste
1 pint heavy cream
2 c. shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

Boil spaghetti in chicken broth. Saute celery, green pepper, onion, and garlic in olive oil. When the vegetables start getting clear, add the tomatoes (and liquid) and continue to simmer. Add seasoning. Add chicken. Stir and keep on low heat for a few minutes.

Put spaghetti into a 9x13-inch baking dish (I used two 7x11-inch dishes and froze one). Pour vegetable/chicken mixture over the spaghetti. Refrigerate overnight (optional, but it makes a BIG difference). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, covered. Remove the cover and pour 1 pint of heavy cream over the top and sprinkle the cheese on top of that. Bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

(The original recipe had the first oven time as an hour and 40 minutes. Yikes. I only left it in for an hour and everything was warmed through enough to add the cream and move on.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Mini Sour Cream Biscuits

I was in the mood for coffee cake and scrambled eggs this morning, but I had no brown sugar. Next I was in the mood for some buttermilk biscuits and scrambled eggs, but I had no buttermilk. I went to allrecipes and found a recipe for mini biscuits with THREE ingredients. Of course one of them was a Bisquick-type something, but still. They were delightful with my perfectly cooked scrambled eggs. (We used the mini-muffin pan for the second time ever, too.)

1 c. biscuit/baking mix (I used Bisquick)
1/2 c. sour cream (surprise! I had sour cream)
1/4 c. butter, melted

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls into greased mini muffin pans. Bake at 425 degrees for 13-14 minutes.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mexican Flan

Sorry no picture because I had to leave before it came out of the oven, but it was amazing to watch the process, so here you go-

3 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Put sugar in unheated saucepan. Heat the pan on the stove with medium heat. Stir the sugar continuously until sugar melts and has a light brown color. Quickly empty it into a 2 qt. glass pan.
In blender, blend eggs, vanilla, both milks.
Pour into glass pan over the sugar. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until knife comes out clean. Flan should be a light brown color. DO NOT turn over until flan is completely cold.

How do you cook this stuff?

Last night we had a Young Women's activity where Larissa from Mexico taught us how to make some native dishes. Part of her enchilada recipe (which I lost- ah!) included rice. Her rice cooking method stunned me and led to the entire group giving their methods for cooking rice- all different! I remember watching Dad make rice once in CA and being amazed by his method as well. So, how do you cook rice? I want to know.

Here is how Larissa did it last night: She put the rice in a big pot with olive oil, stirred the rice around to coat it with oil and then let it fry for a while on medium heat. When she was satisfied with the frying of the uncooked rice, she filled the pot with water (2:1 water to rice) but her last cup of liquid was thick tomato sauce (!!) then she put about a cup of salt in, stirred only the top, as not to disturb the rice, and made us all test the water from the spoon to see if it was salty enough (uh...yeah!) She waited until it all came to a boil, turned the heat to low and covered it until whenever.

Here is how I make rice: First, I usually only use Basmati rice and I mix half brown and half white. I rinse the rice until the water runs clean (put the rice in a pot, fill with water, stir stir stir, drain, repeat until the water is clean) then put the cooking water in, some salt maybe some broth, sometimes herbs, and always butter. Then I turn on the rice cooker and wait for it to tell me the rice is cooked :).

Seriously- how do you cook rice?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Another recipe from the Mayo Clinic website. I had never had tilapia before, but it's quite a tasty little fish. I ran out of mayonnaise once and used Miracle Whip instead. Boooooo.

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets

1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Greese a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oh, the Devil Take It!

The day after Easter brings an abundance of hard-boiled eggs. Thank heavens Paula Deen is here to show us what to do with them! Here are our 2 favorite Deviled Egg recipes from her magazine.

Southwestern Stuffed Eggs
makes 12 servings

6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons salsa

1 1/2 Tablespoons sour cream

1 Tablespoon chopped green onion

1 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper

Halve eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, Cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, green onion, and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with additional green onions, if desired. Store covered in refrigerator.

BLT Stuffed Eggs

makes 12 servings

6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 cherry tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

1 Tbs dried parsley flakes

Salt and pepper

Additional crumbled bacon for garnish

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chocolate Cups

Since this was our second attempt at these chocolate cups, I feel like we can impart enough wisdom to post the recipe. They're so cute! Popped balloons = lots of chocolate splatter to clean up, but otherwise fun to make. (We used dark chocolate and mint chocolate chip ice cream for our St. Patrick's Day version. I liked these better, though.)

5" balloons (NOT water balloons - they will pop... they will ALL pop)
3 bags white chocolate chips (for approximately 18 finished cups)
Crisco (or whatever) spray
Wax paper

Blow up the balloons - as many as you need for the number of cups you want. Melt the chocolate over medium low heat in a double boiler. When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, let it cool slightly. Spray the balloon with Crisco and spread the grease with your hand to about halfway up the balloon. (We have done it without the Crisco with sad results. The higher up you go with the grease, the easier it will be to get the balloons out.)

Hold the balloon by the knot and dip it in the melted chocolate, bringing it up out of the chocolate between each dip. (The longer you leave the balloon in the warm chocolate, the more likely the balloon will pop and you will be finding chocolate in strange places for weeks.) Set the balloon on a flat (and mobile) surface covered in wax paper (we used our cutting boards) until you have filled the surface. Put the chocolate covered balloons in the refrigerator (or freezer) for about 15 minutes.

Remove the balloons from the refrigerator and poke the top (near the knot) with a safety pin. Let the air out of the balloons slowly, then ease it out of the chocolate cup. Keep the cups cold until you plan to use them. We filled ours with strawberry ice cream and added a side of dipped strawberries.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

green eggs and ham

Adam was dreaming of having breakfast in green for St. Patrick's Day; green grits, green orange juice, green everything. I had thought about it St. Patrick's Day Eve, but when the morning came, I didn't have the energy. Luckily, I have a very festive husband who happened to be home that morning. He got busy working on the green pancakes, apple juice (no orange around),green butter, and green sprinkles to top everything. I got a good one of the girls and Adam. Somehow, Banks was not captured eating his green feast!

Friday, March 14, 2008

And Bring A Turkey!

I love turkey! Roast turkey and roast chicken are both recipes that cookbooks and grandmothers assume everyone knows. (Therefore I rarely see a recipe for a basic roast turkey.) It has taken me years to figure out how to make a good one. Keep your mind away from Grandma Shirley's disturbing raw turkey imagery and you're set!

1 turkey breast up to 8 lbs. (I prefer the kind with the bagged guts so I don't have to do any digging)
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 an onion, quartered
Fresh sprigs of:
1/4 cube soft butter
1 Reynolds oven bag
1 T. flour

Release the turkey from those high-security bags they come in, remove the giblets, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Set the turkey in the pan you'll be cooking it in while you cut the onion and put the flour in the oven bag. Come back to the turkey and pat it dry again. Liberally salt and pepper the cavity between the breasts (the turkey's, not yours) and put a few sprigs of herbs in, followed by the onion. Tuck the rest of the herb sprigs under the skin of the turkey breasts (you'll need to cut a little opening to get them in there far enough). Rub with butter (with your fingers is the only way!), then salt and pepper the whole bird. Put the turkey into the oven bag, leaving room for heat to expand around it, and place it in a shallow roasting pan. For an 8 lb. turkey, bake at 350 degrees for an hour and 50 minutes. (The package for the oven bags has excellent instructions for smaller birds.)

Serve with yukon gold mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Delicious!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fuss-free Ravioli and Cheese Bake

I, personally, don't care how long something takes to cook as long as it's easy to put together. That's why this is one of my favorite recipes--it never takes longer than 5 minutes to prepare. Also, it's delicious and my kids will eat it, so bonus!

1 jar (16 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 oz.) reduced sodium beef broth
1/4 cup italian dressing
1 pkg (24 oz.) frozen cheese-filled ravioli (or 2 9oz pkgs fresh)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, with their liquid, broth and dressing in 13x9-inch baking dish. Add ravioli; mix lightly. Cover with foil.

Bake 50 min. or until ravioli are tender.

Remove foil; stir. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand 5 min. until the cheese melts.

Makes 6 servings.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chocolate Cake

The title does this cake no justice. It's so good!

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, beat sugar, canola oil, eggs and vanilla for 4 minutes. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with boiling water to the sugar mixture. Beat well after each addition.
3. Pour into an oiled and floured 9x13 inch cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake springs back to the touch.

I like to put cream cheese frosting on it. I just throw a brick of cream cheese, some milk and as much powdered sugar as you can stand.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Creamy Cheese Grits

Delicious anytime! Goes well with ham.

1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1/4 tsp (or more!) cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp basil
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

In 2-quart saucepan, combine milk, broth, cayenne pepper, and basil; heat to boiling over high heat. Slowly whisk grits into liquid. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened, 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese.



2 Tbs oil
1 onion
1 green pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 greeen onoins
2 celery stalks (or not)
1 Family Size package Zataran's Jambalaya Rice Mix
2 lbs total of chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp

Preheat large saucepan on medium heat. Chop onion, green pepper, garlic and celery. Saute in oil while preparing other ingredients. Cut sausage into 1/4 inch pieces and chicken in 1/2 inch cubes. Add all remaining ingredients, except the shrimp, and cook on medium. After rice is cooked (about 20 minutes), add shrimp and green onions. Serve warm.

Whole Wheat Bread

This is for Makenzie so she won't have to write it out again and so she won't have to remember where she put it again. This bread is perfect in every way. It is a huge recipe, too, that will easily make 5 loaves.
1/2 C. warm water
2 T. yeast
1/4 tsp. sugar
5 C. warm water
2/3 C. oil
2/3 C. honey
2 T. salt
6 C. whole wheat flour
6 C. white flour
1/4 C. gluten
Start yeast in 1/2 C. warm water with sugar
In a large bowl combine 5 C. water with oil, honey, and salt. Mix until combined.
In a different bowl combine wheat flour with white flour and gluten. Add three cups of flour mixture to water,oil,honey mixture.
Add yeast mixture to the other and mix until combined.
LET RISE to double size. Punch down and divide into 5 balls. Roll out each ball flat, then roll up like a cinnamon roll and put into greased loaf pan. Let rise a little longer, then bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.

Tomato-basil pizza

This is a basic pizza recipe I found on the Mayo Clinic website. Usually we make it with two cups of plain flour instead of half wheat/half plain, but it's good either way.

1 cup whole-wheat (whole meal) flour
1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups canned unsalted crushed tomatoes, drained
2/3 teaspoon dried basil
2/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup reduced-fat (or not) mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 10-inch round pizza pan with cooking spray. (We use a pizza stone lightly coated with cornmeal.)

In a large bowl (or dough mixer), combine the flours, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the oil and warm water and mix well.

Turn dough out onto a generously floured work surface. With floured hands, knead the dough for one minute. If dough is too sticky, add flour 1 teaspoon at a time. Gather into a loose ball. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the tomatoes, basil, black pepper and garlic powder.

Roll out dough and press into prepared baking pan. Spread the tomato mixture over the dough. Top with cheese. Bake until dough is browned and cheese is bubbly, about 10 to 20 minutes.

For the Jeff and Melissa Special add:
Sliced artichoke hearts, bacon, and roma tomatoes (as pictured).

Note: This recipe makes much more sauce than is needed for one pizza so you may want to double the dough. We usually freeze the sauce.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Checkerboard Chili

Katy put this in the last installment of The Sisters' Cookbook (page 97). I made it for the first time tonight and Brian and I both loved it. Also, I was missing several ingredients (dumb dumb dumb) and I added a little something special (ouch). Lately I like to find any recipe that I can use a Costco rotisserie chicken in (that wasn't the something special, by the way). Anyway, here's my version of Checkerboard Chili.

The meat from 1 Costco rotisserie chicken, chopped
4 small garlic cloves, chopped fine
3 T. olive oil
1/2 of a small onion
3 drops of blood (Nicole's is sweetest)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Season Salt
1 (15-oz.) can black beans
1 (15-oz.) can white beans
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) soup can water
1 (10-oz.) brick (ha!) Velveeta

Saute onion, blood, and garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot for two minutes. Add rotisserie chicken, sprinkle on Season Salt and cumin. Stir to combine the flavors. Add black beans, white beans, and crushed tomatoes. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. Add Velveeta (cut into cubes) and let it melt for a few minutes before stirring again. Serve.

If I ever made side dishes, I would have served this with corn bread and a nice green salad. I haven't seen Marie Calendar's corn bread mix at the store lately. Is that over?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

French Country Slow Cooker Chicken

This is a good piano lesson day recipe. It also uses the wonderful tarragon that I bought for the maple salmon recipe and haven't used for anything else.

1 med. onion, chopped
4 Carrots, sliced
4ribs celery sliced
6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and black pepper
1 can (10 3/4 oz.)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/3 white wine or apple juice (I use the apple juice!)
2 T. cornstarch
Hot cooked rice

1. Place onion, carrots and celery in slow cooker. Arrange chicken over vegetables. Sprinkle with tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Pour soup over chicken. Sprinkle with dry soup mix. Cover; cook on High 3-4 hours, stirring once during cooking.
3. Twenty minutes before serving, blend wine and cornstarch until smooth; stir into slow cooker. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Gooey Chex Mix

I made this for our road trip to Moab because I'm addicted to it right now. It was so cold at Arches that the Boney kids had a hard time getting it chewed enough to swallow. Ha! I ate it for breakfast several times, too. Delicious and nutritious!

12 oz. box Chex (rice or corn is best - use both if you're doubling)
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. light Karo Syrup
2 cubes butter
1/2 c. slivered almonds

Boil sugar, syrup and butter for two minutes. Add almonds and stir. Pour mixture over Chex in a large bowl. Spread mixture on a cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 10 minutes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sick of Cooking

I'm good for two big holidays in a row (this time it would be two birthdays in one week) and then I absolutely refuse to cook for the rest of the week. Survive on leftovers- let the masses defend for themselves. I. Am. Done.

So, for dinner tonight I have offered my 13-year-old the opportunity of a lifetime: "Here is $20. Your challenge is to go to Shaw's (don't forget the Shaw's card) and come home with a healthy dinner for the whole family. And also cook it." He is so excited that he called a friend to come along. AND he's walking (it's like 10 degrees out there) so I'm saving gas and brain cells. Win-Win! Ok, maybe I don't win the "Mother of the Year" award but I'm cuddling up by the fire with a good book and waiting for my dinner. Ahhh- the luxurious life!

Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Ham

I was hoping to add this one to the next volume. How wonderful that all that needs to be done is to type it up and send it. Aron found this soup recipe and made it for Christmas Eve and then again for our New Year's Eve party. It was incredible!!!!

Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Ham
3 T. Butter
1 Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Rib Celery, chopped
1/2 tart Apple (youknow, like Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 C. canned Pumpkin puree
1/3 C. dry white wine (or your favorite vinegar, like we did because we didn't have the "sauce" on hand)
1 T. Dried Sage
1 Bay leaf
3 1/2 C. Water
2 1/2 C. canned low sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground Black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. Ham cut into 1/4 inch dice

1. In a large pot, melt butter over moderate heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent (about 10 minutes).
2. Stir in the pumpkin puree, wine/vinegar, sage, and bay leaf. Add the water, broth, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add the ham and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes longer. Remove bay leaf.

Yield: 4 servings