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Two Many Cooks in the Kitchen
(Discontinued Column)

....In no particular order.

Mishell Lynch
Kris Macon

Archives:    2004-2006


Blackberry Pie

Your favorite Double-Crust Pastry Recipe prepared
(or use mine found below)
4 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

     Fit an 11" circle of pastry dough into a 9" pie plate.  Place blackberries into the unbaked pie shell.  In a medium bowl combine sugar, flour and salt; pour evenly over berries.  Fit remaining rolled-out 11: circle of pastry dough over top of pie.  Press edges of upper and lower crusts together and flute as desired.  Sprinkle top with sugar (if desired) and cut small slits in center and between center and edge.  Cover edge with foil.  Bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees.  Remove foil and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer, until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbly.  Remove from oven and cool on rack.  I like to serve it warm, but the juices are still runny.  If you want it to be well set, allow it to cool completely before serving.  A scoop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect addition.  Makes 8 servings.

Easy Double-Crust Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

     Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  You will need to use your hands to finish up; don't over-knead, just mix until you have a greasy ball of dough.  For a double crust, break into two sections, on (the bottom shell) slightly larger than the other.  Roll out to desired size and thickness between two sheets of waxed paper using a rolling pin.  Remove one sheet of wax paper, handle carefully and position (wax paper side up) in pie plate.  Remove last sheet of wax paper after it is where you want it and smoothed out on the bottom.  Trim off any excess and add that to the remaining dough before rolling out the top.

Three Musketeers Cheesecake
(or Snickers or Milky Way Bar)

    30 crushed Oreo cookies
   3 tablespoons unsalted butter
   2 tablespoons water

    3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
   2 large eggs
   8 ounces sour cream
   1 cup sugar
   1 (13 oz.) bag of mini Milky Way bars, chopped (or other candy bar of choice)
   1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
   1/2 cup heavy cream
   2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap bottom  and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with foil. Combine cookie crumbs, butter and water in the pan. Press mixture in bottom and halfway up sides of pan.
   In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at time, beating after each one. Beat in sour cream and sugar. Stir in chopped candy bars  and chocolate chips. Place mixture in crust and bake 65 - 70 minutes until top is golden and puffed. Cool on rack.
   To prepare glaze, place chocolate chips, cream and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for 30 seconds or until chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Cool until slightly thick but still pourable. Remove sides of pan. Drizzle or pour glaze on top of cake. Spread glaze evenly to within 1 inch from edge. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Lemon Angel Food Dessert

2 Angel Food cakes (store bought or prepared from box mixes)

2 boxes of instant lemon pudding (not the large boxes)

1-16 ounce container of whipped topping
    Break cakes into pieces and place evenly in a 13x9 baking dish. Prepare lemon pudding as directed on boxes and pour evenly over torn cake pieces.  Push cake and pudding down in pan. Spread whipped topping evenly over top of dessert and chill.
Heath Bar Cake

                1 prepared Angel Food cake
                   24 oz. of whipping cream
                   1 bag of mini Heath Bars, crushed
    Slice prepared Angel Food cake horizontally into 3 even layers. (If you
made the cake, be sure it is completely cooled.)
   Using an electric mixer, beat cream until it is whipped cream consistency. Fold in crushed candy bars. Frost cake, putting it back together as you go. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Hasty Haystacks
* Frito Pie Deluxe *

    For simplicity, ingredients are listed in the order you would naturally pick them up on your way through our Hondo HEB.
        Ready to Use pre-chopped onion (in a clear tub)
        Bagged Fresh Express Shreds! (shredded Iceberg Lettuce)
        Pre-made guacamole (in a plastic pouch)
        Canned Chili (Wolf Brand Turkey Chili shouldn't keep you up at night like the regular Chili)
        Canned chopped black olives
        Canned diced tomatoes and green chilies or picante sauce
        Grated cheddar cheese (in a resealable bag)
        Corn chips (Frito style)
        Sour cream
    First open the canned chili and heat the contents in a pot on the stove or in a covered microwave-safe dish, stirring often. Open all remaining packages and transfer to serving dishes, if you must. Let each family member
or guest build their haystack as desired. Makes however many servings you buy enough fixin's for...

     * An 8 oz. bag of Shreds! serves 3 to 6 people, depending on their appetite and how they build haystacks.
     * Each 15 oz. can of chili should serve 2 to 3 adults.
Obviously, you don't have to have all these ingredients to have some great Hasty Haystacks. Pick and choose your favorites or use what you've got on hand.
Bacon-Cheddar Bundt Bread
                16 oz. bacon, fried crisp and crumbled*
                1 teaspoon vegetable oil
                3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
                3/4 cup chopped onion
                3 tubes buttermilk biscuits
                1/2 cup melted margarine
                1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (or more)
    Heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet, add peppers and onion and saute until tender; set aside. Cut each biscuit into quarters and place in a large mixing bowl. Add bacon, peppers & onion, margarine and cheese; toss well.  Spray a tube (Bundt) pan with cooking spray and evenly disperse the biscuit mixture around the bottom of the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30
minutes. Invert onto a serving plate and pull off desired servings while still warm.

* I like to cut my bacon crosswise in small strips before cooking, then just
drain off the grease and you're ready to go.
Delicious Millionaire Pie

            1 (3.4 oz.) box Instant Vanilla Pudding & Pie Filling
            1 small can Crushed Pineapple
            1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
            1/2 cup Lemon Juice
            1 (8 oz.) carton Frozen Whipped Topping
            1/2 cup chopped Pecans
            1 (6 oz. or larger) Graham Cracker Ready Crust Pie Crust
Combine the first 6 ingredients and spoon into graham cracker crust. Chill and serve.

* Doris Reinhart suggests stirring in a bit of coconut for additional texture and flavor.
Wintry Stew

                    1 cup dried navy beans
                   1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck
                   4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
                   1  medium onion, quartered
                   1 teaspoon salt
                   1/8 teaspoon pepper
                   3 cups hot fat-free chicken broth
    Soak beans in water overnight. Drain and rinse. Place beans in crockpot with next five ingredients. Cook on low for 10 hours. Dilute with hot chicken broth, break up beef with a spoon or fork and serve.

Cherry Cobbler
-Lee Ann Young -

*1 (16 1/2 oz.) can Pitted Red Tart Cherries (NOT pie filling)
  3 cans
*1 cup sugar       
  2 2/3 cup
*1 capful almond extract
  3 capfuls
*1 - 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  4 - 6 heaping tablespoons
*Red food coloring as desired
  Red food coloring as desired
Heat all ingredients in a large saucepan to a rolling boil. It will thicken. Remove from heat and set aside until crust is prepared.

* Pie takes 2 crust recipes & Cobbler takes 4.
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold water
1/3 cup oil

   Mix all together in a medium mixing bowl with a fork. Roll out between 2 sheets of wax paper. Line pie plate or 9 x 13 baking dish with crust. Pour in filling. Dot with butter (3 small pats for pie - 6 pats for cobbler) Roll
out top crust and place over filling and crimp edges. Cut vent holes and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes for pie, 1 hour for cobbler or until crust is browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or just plain.

Walnut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
2004 Medina County Fair Honorable Mention
* Marlene Schott *


                1/2 cup quick cooking oats
                2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
                1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
                1/2 teaspoon salt
                1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
                1 cup butter, softened
                3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
                3/4 cup granulated sugar
                2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                1 teaspoon lemon juice
                2 eggs
                3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
                1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine oats, flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, cream butter, sugars, vanilla and lemon juice together using an electric
mixer. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture blending well. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Using 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie, scoop round balls with an ice cream scoop and place 2 1/2" apart on the baking sheets. Bake until cookies are lightly browned; 16 - 18 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
   Makes 2 dozen BIG cookies!
Marlene's notes & tips: The lemon juice in this recipe helps to activate the baking soda, producing a softer, chewier cookie. A cookie tin full of these cookies makes a wonderful gift!

Eggs Florentine Casserole

    2 - 7 oz. pkgs. of brown & serve sausage links (10 links per box), cooked and cut in halves or thirds
   8 oz. of grated cheddar cheese
   1 - 10 oz. box of chopped spinach, cooked and drained
   1 dozen large eggs
   1 pint of whipping cream
   fresh mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

    Prepare the night before cooking and serving. This can also be prepared and frozen, raw eggs and all, for future use.
    Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Layer cooked and cut sausage in bottom of pan. Sprinkle half of cheese over sausage. Spread cooked and drained spinach over this. Break eggs into a bowl and stir with a
fork. Pour over ingredients in pan. Add remaining cheese. Pour whipping cream over all and place sliced mushrooms in one layer on very top.
    Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until firm.
    *Note: If you don't wish to dirty a bowl, break eggs directly into 13 x 9 pan and stir them along with what's already in pan.
Sausage and Rice Casserole

            2 lbs. bulk sausage, 1 regular and 1 hot (both may be regular if desired)
           1 green bell pepper, chopped OR 2 - 4.5 oz. cans chopped green chilies
           2 cups chopped celery (optional)
           2 large onions, chopped OR 2 - 3 tablespoons dry chopped onion
           2 cups raw white rice (NOT minute rice)
           1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
           8 cup water
           1 can water chestnuts, chopped
           3 packages Lipton's chicken noodle soup mix

   Brown sausage and drain off grease. Sauté the onions, green bell pepper and celery. Add to sausage. Place sausage mixture in a greased, deep roasting pan and add rice, almonds, water chestnuts and soup mix. Stir well.  Cover. Bake for 1 hour in 375 degree oven. Serves 12 - 16.
Fall Festival Bundt Cake

        1 box carrot cake mix + water, oil & eggs as instructed
        1 (15oz.) can Coconut Pecan Frosting

    Heat oven to 350º. Spray bottom & sides of bundt pan. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix batter according to box instructions. Fold in frosting and beat on low until blended. Pour batter into bundt pan.
   Bake at 350º for 45 - 50 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool 5 - 10 minutes before inverting onto serving plate. Leave pan over cake for 5 minutes.
   Drizzle with powdered sugar and milk icing if desired.
Variations: Original No-Name Cake or Coconut Pecan Bundt Cake - use yellow cake mix./ German Chocolate Bundt Cake - use german chocolate cake mix./Nutty Banana Medley Bundt Cake - use banana cake mix./ Use your imagination...
Cranberry Jell-O Salad

            1 pkg. (3oz.) Cranberry or Wild Strawberry       flavored Jell-O gelatin
            1 1/4 cup boiling water
            1 can (16 oz.) Jellied Cranberry Sauce
            2 cups finely chopped Granny Smith apple

    In a small mixing bowl, dissolve Jell-O in the boiling water. Stir approximately two minutes. In the medium sized serving bowl you want to serve the salad in, mash the cranberry sauce with a fork. Stir in apples and
Jell-O. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set, probably 4 hours.
    This is a great salad to prepare the night before you need it. The tart flavor of the Granny Smith apple compliments the cranberries nicely, but any type is fine.
Potato Chip Dip

                3/4 cup of ranch dressing
                8 ounces cream cheese, softened
                1/4 cup sour cream
                1/3 cup dried bacon bits
                2 teaspoons dry chives
    Using an electric mixer or blender, mix all ingredients together. Chill and serve with potato chips or as a topping for baked potatoes.
Sweet Potato Casserole

        2 cans 1-large (40 oz.) & 1-medium (29 oz.) sweet potatoes
        3/4 cup melted margarine or butter
        1 cup granulated sugar
        1 cup evaporated milk
        2 eggs
        1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
        1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
        1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract
        2 cups corn flakes, slightly crushed
        1/2 cup melted margarine or butter
        1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

    Preheat oven to 425º. Drain liquid from sweet potatoes and mash with a potato masher. In a large mixing bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients, mixing well. Bake in a greased 13 x 9-inch casserole dish for 15 minutes.
    Mix remaining three ingredients together and sprinkle over the top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.
Mashed Potato Sweet Rolls

            1/2 lb. Russet potatoes, peeled & quartered
               2 packages of dry yeast mix
               2 Tbl. sugar
               2 cups warm water
               3/4 cup butter, melted
               2 eggs, beaten
               3/4 cup sugar
               2/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
               1 Tbl. salt
               2 tsp. vanilla
               8 cups all-purpose flour
   Place cut potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender. Save 1/2 cup of the potato water when draining potatoes. Mash potatoes and set aside. (I used a small electric mixer.) Let potato water cool until
lukewarm and then dissolve yeast and sugar in it. Let stand 10 minutes.
   Add 2 cups warm water and next 6 ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Stir in 5 cups of the flour and then add enough of the remaining 3 cups of flour to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn once and then cover and let rise in refrigerator over night.    Punch dough down and divide into thirds. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 12 in. by 8 in. rectangle. Spread each rectangle with melted butter and sprinkle sugar mixture completely over each one. (Filling recipe below.)
   Roll each rectangle up and pinch seams and ends to seal. Cut each into 12 slices and place cut-side down in three greased 13 x 9 pans. (12 rolls in each pan) Let rise until double in size.
   Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Combine icing ingredients (below), and drizzle evenly over rolls. (If you like more icing, just double the amount.)

   1/2 cup butter, melted
   3/4 cup packed brown sugar
   3 Tbl. cinnamon

   2 cups powdered sugar
   1/4 cup milk
   2 Tbl. butter, melted
   1/2 tsp. vanilla
Red Dog

                    1/2 stick butter or margarine
                    1 large onion, chopped
                    5 - 10 serrano peppers (5 for medium-hot or up to 10 for
                    4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed and diced
                    3 medium tomatoes, peeled & crushed or
                    1 medium (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
                    dash of Worchestershire Sauce
                    1/8 to 1/4 cup vinegar
                    juice of one lemon
                    1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    1/2 teaspoon course ground black pepper

   Sauté onion, peppers and garlic in butter until transparent; stir in tomatoes, juice and all. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat
for at least two hours. Add ketchup, tomato sauce or a small amount of water if it seems too dry. It is actually best the next day!
   Serve over steaks, tamales, any of your favorite Mexican food dishes or with tortilla chips. Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat as desired. Makes a little over 1 quart.


Baked Corn Casserole

                    1 - 15 oz. can cream corn
                   1 - 15 oz. can whole kernel corn (undrained)
                   1 stick of margarine or butter, melted
                   8 oz. cream cheese, softened
                   2 Tablespoons sugar
                   1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
    Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a lightly sprayed 2 quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown on top and set.

*Note: When I double this recipe, I bake it in a 13x9 dish for about 1 1/2 hours or until golden and set.


Pineapple Sheet Cake
~ Frankie Wentz ~

                    2 cups flour
                    2 cups sugar
                    2 teaspoons baking powder
                    2 eggs
                    1 (#2) can crushed pineapple (undrained)

   Mix the above ingredients together and pour into a greased and floured 13 x 9 baking dish or pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

                    1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
                    1/4 cup softened margarine or butter
                    2 teaspoons vanilla
                    2 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
                    1/2 cup chopped pecans
   Mix the frosting ingredients together and spread over cooled cake.
        * Be sure to use a margarine that is at least 80% vegetable oil.
        * Cartwheels are optional.
Butterscotch Pecan Crunch Fudge

                3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
                1/2 cup butter (margarine may be used if desired)
                1 cup evaporated milk
                12 ounce package of butterscotch morsels
                7 ounce jar of marshmallow cream
                2 cups chopped pecans
                6 ounces of brickle chips (found on baking chips shelf)
                1 teaspoon vanilla

    In a 3 quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and milk Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches soft ball stage for candy (238 degrees.)*
    Remove from heat and stir in butterscotch morsels and marshmallow cream.  Stir with a wooden spoon until it¹s thoroughly mixed and smooth. Stir in pecans, brickle chips and vanilla.
    Spread mixture evenly in a buttered 13 x 9 pan. (I used glass.) Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator in a sealed container.
    * A candy thermometer comes in really handy to determine temperature of mixture.
Blueberry Dream Pie
* Jean Weynand *

                    2 baked 9" pie shells
                    3 bananas, sliced
                    1 envelope Dream Whip whipped topping mix
                    1 cup granulated sugar
                    8 ounces cream cheese
                    1 teaspoon vanilla
                    1 (21 oz.) can blueberry pie filling*

Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions. Beat Cream Cheese and sugar together until smooth; add vanilla. Fold cream cheese mixture into the
prepared Dream Whip. Place sliced bananas in the bottom of the pie shells.  Divide the Dream mixture evenly between the two pie shells, spreading smoothly to the edges. Top each pie with equal amounts of blueberry pie filling. Refrigerate until fully chilled, approx. 4 hours. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 16 servings.

   * Strawberry pie filling is an excellent substitute.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

               2 package of cream cheese, softened
              1/2 cup sugar
              1/2 tsp. vanilla
              2 eggs
              3 squares (3 oz.) white baking chocolate, melted
              1 ready-to-use chocolate or graham cracker cookie crust
                 (OR make your own crust by mixing 1 1/2 cups
crushed Oreos with  2 Tablespoons of melted margarine/butter and
pressing mixture in a pie pan)

              3 Tablespoons seedless red raspberry preserves

   Using an electric mixer, blend cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Add melted white chocolate and blend well.
   Pour mixture into prepared crust. Microwave raspberry preserves for about 15 seconds or until melted. Dot top of cheesecake with small spoonfuls of preserves. Cut raspberry through cream cheese mixture with a knife several times for a marble effect.
   Bake at 350º for 35 - 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
McKinney's Lentil Soup

1 pound dry lentils
5 cups water
3 teaspoons salt
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce*
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
    Rinse dry lentils and remove any stems or stones. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add lentils and salt to boiling water; cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes. Do not drain! Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, onion, celery and garlic. Replace cover and simmer for 30 minutes more, or until lentils are tender. Serve alone or over corn chips, rice or spaghetti. Makes 7 servings.

   * I used a 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies. We really liked the little bit of spice that added. You can also just stir in a 4 ounce can of diced green chilies and get the same effect.
Microwave Green Chili Tomato Soup

            1 - 10 3/4 oz. can condensed Tomato Soup
            1 - 4 oz. can whole green chilis*
            grated Monterey Jack cheese
            corn tortilla chips or tostada shells
            onion powder
   Empty soup into a large microwave-safe mixing bowl. Pour the liquid from the green chilis into the empty soup can; add water to fill and pour into soup. Cut green chilis to desired size, discarding any skins. Add chilis to soup, stir and cover. Heat in microwave on high about 3 to 4 minutes.  While soup is heating, place a few tortilla chips on a small microwave-safe plate and generously sprinkle cheese over them and lightly dust with onion powder.
Remove soup from microwave and let sit, covered, for 1 minute. Heat the prepared chips in the microwave (uncovered) for about 40 seconds on high or until the cheese is melted. Uncover the soup and stir. Ladel the soup into serving bowls and top with cheese covered chips.  Makes 2 - 3 servings.

   * To simplify, use the canned chopped green chilis, just expect to find a few pieces of chili pepper skin in the finished product.
Mexican Chicken Soup

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cubed
                   2 teaspoons oil
                   1 envelope taco seasoning
                   1 can (32 oz.) V-8 juice
                   1 can (16 oz.) salsa (I used mild.)
                   1 can (15 oz.) black beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
                   1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn, thawed

   In a large skillet, sauté chicken in oil until cooked through. Add 1/2 cup water and taco seasoning and simmer until chicken is well coated. Pour mixture into a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, cover and cook on low for 3 - 4 hours. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips if desired.
Browned Butter Pecan Pie

1/2 cup real butter (NOT margarine)
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup pure honey
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked 9" pie shell

   Cook butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat 6 to 8 minutes or  until browned. (Do not stir.) Remove from heat and set aside. Combine corn syrup and next five ingredients; stir well with wire whisk. Gently stir in
browned butter and pecans. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake 40 to 45 minutes more or until center of pie is set. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Molasses Sugar Cookies

                1 1/2 cups shortening, melted & cooled slightly
                2 cups sugar
                1/2 cup molasses
                2 eggs
                4 teaspoons baking soda
                4 cups flour
                1 teaspoon ground cloves
                1 teaspoon ground ginger
                2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
                1 teaspoon salt
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the prepared shortening, sugar, molasses and eggs; beat well*. Mix all the dry ingredients together in another bowl and add to the molasses mixture, stirring thoroughly until smooth. Form dough into balls about the size of walnuts by rolling between your hands.  Roll each ball around in a small bowl of granulated sugar and place on a slightly greased cookie sheet.
   Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for EXACTLY 9 MINUTES - NO MORE if you want a soft chewy cookie. (If you desire a hard, crunchy cookie bake for 10 to 12 minutes.) Remove from oven and place individual cookies on a cooling rack to cool completely.
   Depending on the size of your "walnuts" you will end up with 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 dozen cookies. If you can keep everybody from eating Them straight from the oven, store them in a tightly sealed container to keep them soft. ENJOY!
   * You can use an electric mixer if you like, but a large spoon and a little muscle will do just fine!
Imperial Chicken

   3/4 cup melted butter
  garlic powder to taste ( 1 - 2 tsp. maybe)
  1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
  1 teaspoon salt
  1/4 teaspoon pepper
  4 - 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts pounded thin
  juice from 2 lemons or bottled lemon juice
  paprika to taste

  Before pounding chicken, rinse and trim all fat off of raw meat. Place chicken breasts, 1 at a time, in a freezer bag. Use a meat mallet to carefully pound chicken until thin. Set aside.
  Melt butter in a bowl or pan that gives you enough room to dip the chicken in. Add garlic powder to taste and set aside.
  In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir together well. Pour some of this dry mix into a pan that gives you enough room to dredge chicken in.
  Dip pounded chicken in the melted butter and then coat both sides with dry mix. Roll chicken up and place seam-side down in a 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat until all chicken is coated and in pan. ( If there is any dry mix left, keep it in a container in the freezer for another time.)
  Sprinkle chicken with lemon juice and paprika to taste. (I also pour any melted butter that's left over in between the rolled chicken breasts.) Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes until done.
Pecan Squares

                        2 cups flour
                       2/3 cup powdered sugar
                       3/4 cup butter, softened
                        1/2 cup packed brown sugar
                       1/2 cup honey
                       2/3 cup butter
                       3 tablespoons whipping cream
                       3 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

  For crust: Sift together flour and 2/3 cup powdered sugar. Cut in 3/4 cup of softened butter using a pastry blender or fork until mixture looks like coarse meal. (This will take a few minutes.) Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2
inches up sides of a 13 x 9 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
    For filling: In a medium saucepan, bring all ³filling² ingredients, EXCEPT for pecans, to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Stir in pecans and pour hot filling over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into small squares.
SPAM-n-Bean Tacos

1 (12 oz.) can SPAM Luncheon Meat*
2 - 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 - 4 fresh serrano peppers, chopped**
3 cups cooked and seasoned pinto beans (with some juice)***
fresh flour tortillas
  Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Cut SPAM into 1/2-inch cubes and heat in oil until slightly browned. Add onion and peppers and cook until onion is transparent, stirring often. Add prepared beans to skillet and begin mashing all with a potato masher. Continue mashing until desired consistency is achieved. Heat thoroughly and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve on fresh hot tortillas. Grated cheddar cheese and lettuce, tomatoes, taco sauce and spanish rice are great extras.
  Feeds 6 or more.
  * The store brand of luncheon meat is fine and I prefer the "lite" versions.
  ** Serrano peppers are milder than jalapeno peppers, but you still need to be careful when handling them. The quantity you use will determine the "temperature" of your tacos.
  *** Homemade pinto beans are best, but canned are OK, too.

Cookies-n-Cream Cake

                1 box (18 1/4 ounces) white cake mix
                1 1/4 cups water
                1/3 cup vegetable oil
                3 egg whites
                1 cup coarsely crushed cream-filled chocolate
                sandwich cookies (approx. 8)
    In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil and egg whites. Beat on low speed until moistened; beat on high for additional 2 minutes. Gently fold in crushed cookies just until blended. Pour into two greased and floured 8-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or
until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack to cool completely.

Creamy Frosting

                4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
                1/2 cup shortening
                1/4 cup milk
                1 teaspoon vanilla
                Additional cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies for decorating
    In a medium mixing bowl, beat sugar, shortening, milk and vanilla until smooth. Generously spread between the cake layers, around sides and top. Decorate the top with halved cookies and the sides with crushed cookies, or use your imagination to create your own unique presentation.
   Makes 12 good sized servings.

Orange Glazed Treasure Bread

1 tablespoon orange zest (grated orange rind)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans*
1 stick margarine or butter
3 ounces cream cheese (not softened)**
2 cans (10 count each) buttermilk biscuits

   Lightly spray a bundt pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine orange zest, sugar and pecans; set aside. In another small microwave-safe bowl, heat margarine (covered with paper towel) in microwave on 50% power for about 40 seconds or until completely melted. Cut cream cheese into 20 somewhat equal pieces. One at a time, flatten a biscuit with the palm of your hand, place a slice of cream cheese in the center, then fold the biscuit in half around the cheese and seal edges. (Or, soften the cheese a bit and spread some inside each biscuit.) When all of the biscuits are prepared, dip each one in the melted margarine and then in the sugar mixture. Place the biscuits in the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over the top and pour remaining melted margarine over all. Bake in the center of oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare the glaze.

2 tablespoons orange juice, slightly warm
1 cup powdered sugar

In a small mixing bowl or 2-cup measuring cup combine orange juice and powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Invert bread onto serving platter and drizzle glaze over top. Serve warm. Don't try to slice, just pull apart. Makes 20 individual treasures, but serves 6 to 10 people.
  * You can omit the pecans, but don't get too much sugar mixture on the first few biscuits or you will run low toward the end. This method is delicious as well!
  ** Experiment with the two options for the cream cheese to discover which one you prefer.

Skor Bar Cake

                1 box of German chocolate cake mix
                1 can sweetened condensed milk
                1 - 12.25 oz. jar of caramel topping
                4 Skor (or Heath) bars
                1 regular-sized carton of whipped topping
    Prepare and bake cake according to box directions in a 13 x 9 pan.  Combine milk and caramel together. While cake is hot, poke holes all over top of cake with a fork. Pour milk and caramel mixture over the top of cake.
   When cake is cool, cover with whipped topping and sprinkle crushed candy bar over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Barbecued Pork in a Crockpot

3 - 4 pound pork butt roast   (you may have to ask the    grocery meat department to cut you one)
2 onions, chopped or about 4 tablespoons of dried, chopped onion
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (about 12-14 oz.)
1/4 cup honey

Place meat in crockpot and add remaining ingredients. Cover and  cook on low at least 6 - 8 hours. Pull bone out and any large pieces  of fat. Use 2 forks to pull tender meat apart in crockpot before  serving. Serve on hamburger buns or rolls of your choice.

Tortilla Chip Enchilada Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 cups broken (not crushed) tortilla chips
1 can (15 oz.) enchilada sauce
1 can water
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or American)
salt & pepper to taste

  Brown ground beef, bell pepper and onion in a skillet or large saucepan. Drain off fat and rinse with water in a collander, if desired. Stir in broken chips, enchilada sauce, water and 1 cup shredded cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
  Spoon casserole mixture into a sprayed 11 x 7 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated. (This can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to bake. Allow 1 hour to bake if casserole is cold.) Serve hot with pinto beans, spanish rice and salad for a delicious Mexican-style meal.
  Serves 6 to 8.
Hamburger-Tater Casserole

            2 pounds ground meat
            1 medium onion, chopped
            1 1/2 teaspoons salt
            1/4  teaspoon pepper
            1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
            2 cans cream of chicken soup
            1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies
            2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar or Colby Jack)
            1 large bag tater tots

    Cook meat, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a skillet until meat is browned. Place meat in a 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. In a bowl, stir together soup and tomatoes with chilies. Spread mixture over meat. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Place tater tots on top in
one layer so that all of cheese layer is covered. (If you don't have quite enough tater tots to cover casserole solidly, that's okay. It just won't have as much potato.) Bake casserole on second rack in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
    *This recipe can easily be halved.
Grandma's Strawberry Pie

  1 cup sugar
  1 cup water
  3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  2 pints strawberries, halved (be sure to wash, drain and pat dry so there's not a lot of  extra moisture)     
  3 Tablespoons strawberry flavored gelatin powder
  1 baked 9 -10 inch pie shell

  Boil water, sugar, and corn starch until clear. Add 3 Tbsp. gelatin powder and mix thoroughly. Let cool a little. Place strawberries in a baked pie shell. Pour glaze over them. Chill for several hours or overnight. Top with whipped topping.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole

  4 - 6 cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces OR   (1 fryer boiled, skinned and deboned and cut into small pieces)
  1 can cream of chicken soup
  1 can cream of mushroom soup
  1 small can (4 oz.) Pet milk
  7 oz. can of chopped green chilies OR
           drained and chopped, pickled jalapenos to taste
  12 corn tortillas torn into small pieces
  16 oz. grated, sharp cheddar cheese

   Mix first five ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. In a 13 x 9 greased baking dish, alternate layers of torn tortillas and chicken mixture. Cover top completely with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. (I usually cover the dish with foil while it cooks to be sure that the cheese doesn't overcook.)
Juice Sweetened Strawberry Pie

You will need one baked and cooled 9 or 10 inch pie shell

4 cups fresh strawberries, cut in quarters lengthwise
3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
6 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

  Wash and stem a total of 3 pints (or 1 1/2 pounds) of fresh strawberries. Prepare the 4 cups as directed above and set aside. Place the 3/4 cup chopped berries in a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 15 to 20 seconds. Pour into a 3-quart saucepan. Cook on medium- high, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Gently fold in the 4 cups of berries with a rubber spatula. Turn into prepared pie shell and smooth with spatula.


   Cut a few additional berries lengthwise in 1/8" slices. (Save the end fragments for the glaze.) Place side by side, covering the top of pie with concentric circles. Beginning at the outside, lay the berries with the widest part closest to the outside. Stand one whole strawberry (upside-down) in the center and glaze.

   Blend for 1 minute on high in blender: 1/3 cup (total) leftover fragments from the topping and chopped strawberries, 2/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate and 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon corn starch. Pour into the same saucepan used for the filling. (You don't even need to rinse it out if you used the rubber spatula to empty it the first time.) Cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly until thick and semi-transparent. Drizzle over topping, using wooden spoon or spatula to gently spread over all.

   Eat remaining strawberries (if any) while pie chills. Serve alone or top with a dollop of whipped cream.
Sour Cream Banana Bread
(or Muffins)

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (3 medium-sized bananas)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, cream butter (or margarine) and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy. Stir in sour cream. Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to creamed mixture. Stir in bananas, nuts and chocolate chips and mix just until well blended. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until well browned. Check center for doneness with a toothpick.
  For muffins: Grease and flour 20 to 22 muffin tins (2 1/2 in.) or line with paper liners and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. (This recipe will also make approx. 5 dozen mini-muffins. Adjust time accordingly.)


Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 - 10 ounce cartons frozen sliced strawberries, thawed *
2 - 16 ounce bags frozen whole strawberries, slightly thawed *
2 - 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
3 - 8 ounce cartons whipping cream
2 - 16 ounce cartons half & half
3+ cups rock salt
16+ pounds crushed ice

  In a mixing bowl large enough to hold 1 1/2 gallons of liquid, beat together the first two ingredients using a rotary mixer. Add the next three ingredients, beating until well mixed. (there will still be large strawberry chunks.) Blend in whipping cream and half & half. Add red food coloring if desired. Pour into electric homemade ice ceam freezer canister. If needed, add whole milk to the fill line. Follow manufacturer's directions for your freezer.
  *  2 - 3 pounds of fresh strawberries can be used instead of the frozen strawberries, when they are available.

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

4 cups chopped fresh apples
2 cups granulated sugar
  Mix the apples and sugar together and let sit for 15 minutes to form syrup.
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick and foamy. Add oil and beat well until it looks like soft margarine. Stir in apple mixture, mixing well. Add all dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 13" x 9" baking pan or dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 to 65 minutes or until sides begin to pull away from edge of pan and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm or cooled. Makes 15 to 20 servings.

Caramel Sauce

1 stick margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small (4 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

  Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and smooth. To serve, pour or spoon 1 tablespoon or more over each slice of cake. Can be served warm or cooled. Refrigerate any leftovers in a sealed container. It can be re-heated.

Southwestern Potatoes

1 dz (3 lbs) medium-size potatoes, peeled, cubed and uncooked
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine
1 cup milk
1 cup (8oz.) sour cream
1 cup (1/8 loaf) cubed Velveeta cheese
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) cream of celery soup
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange potatoes in a lightly sprayed 10.5 x 14.75 baking dish. (They will fit in a 13 x 9, but it is very full.)
  Combine all remaining ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring very often. Continue heating until all cheese and margarine is melted and sauce is smooth. Pour sauce over potatoes, Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Let it sit for 10 minutes or more before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  Makes enough to feed a small army.

Helpin' Hands Cole Slaw

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (
or 2 tsp. sugar)
1 - 10 ounce package "angel hair" fine shredded cabbage

  In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, combine the first five ingredients. Empty cabbage into a medium-size mixing bowl and spoon mayonnaise mixture on top. Gently stir slaw until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or until ready to serve.


The Pastor's Wife's (Chocolate Chip) Cake

* Meaghen Chandler *

1 box yellow or white cake mix
1 small box (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding
1 small box (3.4 oz.) vanilla instant pudding
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (not a whole 12 oz. pkg.)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, slightly beaten

  In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix together all the ingredients until well blended. (DO NOT use an electric mixer. The cake will not rise properly.) Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Invert onto serving platter to finish cooling. Makes 12 to 15 servings.



1 stick Margarine
1 19-oz package of Oreos, crushed
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
2 jars of hot fudge sauce
1 large carton whipped topping, thawed

     Melt margarine in a 13 X 9 baking dish.  Reserve 1/2 cup of crushed cookies and mix remaining with margarine and press in pan to form a crust.  Put in freezer for about 15 minutes to set.
     Spread softened ice cream over crust and put back in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes, until set.  Pur hot fudge sauce over ice cream layer and return to freezer for 30 mor minutes or until firm.  Top with whipped topping and sprinkle with remaining crushed Oreos.  Freeze until ready to serve.
     *You do not have to freeze after each layer, but I've found it is much easier to add the next layer without making a mess if you do.


Bread & Butter Pudding

18 slices white bread
1 - 2 sticks margarine or butter, softened
cinnamon to taste
raisins or mini-chocolate chips (optional)

2 - 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
splash of rum (optional)

  In a 13x9 baking dish, make a layer of 6 slices of bread, buttered on both sides. Sprinkle with cinnamon and raisins or chocolate chips to taste. Repeat these steps two more times so there is a total of 3 layers of buttered bread with cinnamon and raisins or chocolate chips.
  Mix milks and remaining ingredients together. Slowly pour mixture over bread. (There is a lot of this milk mixture, but it all goes in.) Using a wide spatula, press bread gently, but firmly down into milk. Milk should be over the bread as much as possible. The bread will be thoroughly saturated.
  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Bread will rise as it bakes, but will fall once taken out of the oven. Serve warm, if possible.

Peanut Butter Apple Dip

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brwon sugar, packed
1/8 cup milk

  Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Chill and serve with sliced red and green apples. (It is also great on bananas.)
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes approx. 2 1/2 cups.


Lemon Basil Carrots

1 pound carrots, cleaned & sliced (or baby-cut carrots)
2 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon basil, crushed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

  Partially cook carrots in boiling water. In a saucepan, melt margarine and stir in remaining ingredients. Drain carrots and add to the seasoned butter in the saucepan. Gently mix to coat. Cook until tender. Makes 4 servings.
  * Go ahead and double or triple it, it will work fine.

Shrimp & Crab Sauté
* Ronnie Oliver *

1 1/4 cups crock style vegetable oil spread
2 - 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 - 6 green onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley)
2 pounds uncooked shrimp, shelled & deveined
Morton's Nature's Seasoning (or Durkee Crazy Dave's Salt & Spice)
1 - 8 ounce container sliced mushrooms
2 - 8 ounce packages flake style imitation crabmeat
1 medium sized tomato, peeled & diced

  In an oversized skillet, heat vegetable oil spread with celery, onion, garlic and parsley. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Add the shrimp and continue to cook until shrimp is pink. Sprinkle Nature's Seasoning over all as you would use salt to taste. Add mushrooms and crabmeat, stirring well. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until mushrooms are tender, stirring often. Do not overcook or crabmeat will fall apart. Remove from heat and stir in tomato. Cover and let sit for a couple of minutes before serving over steamed white rice. Add more vegetable oil spread if it seems dry. Serve with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a delicious meal.
  Makes 6 to 9 servings.

Shrimp Casserole

Prep time:  5min      
Cook time: 15min       
Bake time: 25min

3 cups uncooked penne pasta (9oz)
½ cup butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour 
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 cups milk
1 can (14 ½ oz) chicken broth
¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese (3oz)
1 lb cooked shrimp
¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350º.  Spray rectangle baking dish, with cooking spray.  Cook & drain pasta as directed on package.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Cook mushrooms & garlic in the butter, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender.  Stir in flour, salt, & pepper.  Continue stirring & cook over med-heat until mixture is smooth & bubbly.  Stir in milk & broth until smooth.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stir in Swiss cheese until melted; remove from heat.

Stir the pasta & shrimp into the mushroom mixture & pour into baking dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered 20 to 25 min or until cheese is golden brown.                                                                               
6 servings

Quick Sugar-Cake

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour 9" square baking pan. Put all ingredients in large mixing bowl and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Empty batter into pan and bake 20 minutes.


1/3 cup softened margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 cup shredded coconut

  Mix all topping ingredients together and spread on warm cake. Place under broiler set on low heat. Broil until topping bubbles and is lightly browned - 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares. Makes 9 squares.

White Sauce Lasagna

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 - 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 beef bouillon cube
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
10 -12 uncooked lasagna noodles

white sauce:
2 Tbl. margarine
3 Tbl. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella

In a large skillet, cook meat and onion thoroughly. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef cube and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Sweet Pumpkin Dip

1 cup canned pumpkin
2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
      (or 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ginger)
3 cups powdered sugar
ginger snap cookies (or miniature cinnamon graham cookies)

Mix all ingredients together (except cookies) with an electric mixer. Chill. 

Version #1 - Fill a small, cleaned out (chilled) pumpkin with dip and arrange cookies around it.

Version #2 - Spread a generous amount of dip on a cookie and top with another cookie to create a sandwich. Freeze and serve.
Butterscotch Pecan Crunch Fudge

3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (80% vegetable oil margarine may be used, if desired)
1 cup evaporated milk
12 ounces butterscotch morsels
7 ounce jar of marshmallow cream
2 cups chopped pecans
6 ounces brickle chips (found in baking chips area)
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a 3 quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and milk. Cook over medium heat , stirring constantly, until it reaches soft ball stage for candy. (238 degrees)*
Remove from heat and stir in butterscotch morsels and marshmallow cream.  Stir with a wooden spoon until it's thoroughly mixed and smooth. Stir in pecans, brickle chips and vanilla.
Spread mixture evenly in a buttered 13 x 9 baking dish. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator in a sealed container.

 * A candy thermometer comes in really handy to determine temperature of mixture.

1 pound link sausage, skinless if available
2 green onions, chopped
2 medium to large onions, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed and diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 stems celery, sliced
2 pounds uncooked shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Tabasco, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, cayenne pepper, etc. to taste
1/2 to 3/4 cup uncooked rice
2 1/2 cups water

Remove casing or "skin" from sausage, if applicable, and cut into bite-size pieces. In a large skillet, cook sausage, onions, parsley and garlic until sausage is well browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.
      In a large soup pot, combine the flour and oil and cook over a medium high heat until flour is dark brown, stirring constantly. Do not let it burn! Add sausage mixture, celery, shrimp, tomato paste, tomatoes, bay leaves and all seasonings to taste. Heat to simmer and let simmer about 15 minutes. Stir in rice and water, and allow to return to a low simmer and let cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving. This is a hearty, thick jambalaya. Add tomato juice or sauce to thin, if desired.
      Serve hot with a salad and French bread loaf.  Makes 7 to 10 servings depending on the size of the servings.

Chicken (or Turkey) Taco Soup

2 cans (14.5 oz) Chicken Broth or 1 quart homemade  chicken or turkey broth
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes (with green chilies if you like it spicy)
1 can (14.75 oz) Cream Style Corn
1 envelope (1 oz) Chicken Taco Spices & Seasonings
2 cans (14.5 oz) Pinto Beans or 1 quart homemade pinto beans
1 to 2 cups diced cooked turkey, chicken or chicken fajita meat
1 to 2 cups leftover Spanish rice (optional)

Add ins: Corn Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream, Guacamole or small chunks of

Place first six (or seven) ingredients in a stock pot. Heat over medium low heat for at least 30 minutes. (Do not boil or meat will fall apart.)  To serve, place broken tortilla chips in bottom of individual bowls, ladle soup over chips and add small dollops of sour cream and avocado, if you have it.
 Makes 6 to 7 servings.

 * This is a great recipe to use leftovers from a Chicken fajita meal or Thanksgiving turkey. Don't be afraid to alter it to fit what you have on hand. It is also perfect to use in your slow cooker. The longer the chicken or turkey sits in the soup base, the more flavorful it becomes.


     Last year I was blessed by a sweet lady in a Bible study group I was in. She gave each of us a precious gift of "Mixed Blessings" the last time we met before Thanksgiving. The small bag containing a Thanksgiving snack mix had a tag attached with the following message:
Mixed Blessings

Bugles are a symbol of the Cornucopia, a horn of plenty.

represent arms folded in thanks and prayer.

Candy Corn
reminds us that during the first winter, the pilgrims were allowed only five kernels of corn per day because food was so scarce.

is a reminder that Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest.

Seeds & Nuts
represent the potential of the bounteous harvest for the next season if they are planted and well-tended.

Happy Thanksgiving! 
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~

1 Thessalonians 5:18

 I immediately began to think of how I could use this great idea in 2005. As November arrived this year I began contemplating just how I should go about it. I would love to give some "Mixed Blessings" to everyone I know... but how could I possible do that? That's when it hit me, "I'll put the idea in our Two Many Cooks recipe column and watch the blessings multiply!"
     So, now you know what you have to do. I am issuing you a challenge. Think of who you can bless with this simple project. Don't let yourself be talked out of it just because you think someone else will probably do it.  Think about it... worst case scenario, someone gets multiple "Mixed Blessings." Then they can pass along some "Mixed Blessings" to someone else.  Doesn't that sound like something you want to be a part of? Don't be a turkey...one of those at every table is plenty... but, there is always room  for more blessings!   

Mixed Blessings
~ Thanksgiving Snack Mix ~

Bugles Corn Snacks
Candy Corn
Assorted Dried Fruits (raisins, pineapple, papaya, apricots or apples)
Peanuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds

      Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Scoop out 1 - 2 cups and place in cellophane gift bags and seal with a twist tie. Type or write the "Mixed Blessings" text shown above onto heavy paper to create a tag. Punch a hole at the top. (You can also use adhesive labels and place
them directly on zippered sandwich bags.) If desired, purchase fall fabric and cut 18" squares or circles with pinking shears. Gather fabric around bag and secure with a matching decorative ribbon, twine or raffia-type paper ribbon that you have laced through the "Mixed Blessings" tag.


"Glad Tidings"
A Christmas Snack Mix
Chex  Squares are a symbol of the "Gift" of Christ at Christmas.

represent arms folded in thanks for His coming to earth and giving His life as a great sacrifice for us through His birth, death and resurrection.

Red & Green M&Ms
remind us of the blood (red) He would one day shed for us, and the new life (green) He promises to those who put their trust in Him.

represents the "Fruit of the Spirit" provided each day for those who love the Lord.

Seeds & Nuts
represent our responsibility to plant, water or harvest the fields God places before us, and His promise that His Word will not come back void.

     For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.
     And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
     Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.
~Isaiah 9:6-7a
May you be inspired to remember the true "Spirit of the Holidays"...
God our Father, Christ His Son, and His Counselor who guides our being.

   Hopefully, some of you will be able to fit this project into your Christmas preparations...and I will try to as well. But, I will venture to guess that if it actually comes to completion, it will probably be because this Mom gathers the ingredients and then steps aside to let the kids see it through. They are perfectly capable and will most likely be more excited about giving it if it is ALL done by them anyway. Hummm, I wonder if that was divine inspiration? ~M.L.

* * *
Glad Tidings
Christmas Snack Mix

Chex Squares
Mini Pretzels
Red & Green M&Ms
Dried Fruit (Raisins, Pineapple, Coconut, Banana, etc.)
Seeds & Nuts (Pumpkin, Sunflower, Peanuts, Cashews, Pecans, etc...)

   Empty desired amounts of ingredients listed above into an oversized mixing bowl. You will probably need to use your hands to get everything mixed together well. Using a disposable plastic cup, scoop 1 to 2 cups of "Glad Tidings" into pint size clear cellophane or plastic bags, sealing with a twist tie. Copy the "Glad Tidings" message from above onto Christmas colored paper and attach to each bag with a ribbon or raffia paper ribbon. Use your imagination to make this project uniquely yours as you share your "Glad Tidings" this Christmas season.


Bacon Cheese Spread
~ Marlene Magers ~

2 - 8 ounce bricks cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
3 cups grated Monterrey jack cheese
4 heaping teaspoons dijon mustard, optional
1 pound bacon (peppered or regular), cooked and crumbled

   In a medium to large mixing bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients, stirring until well blended. Fold in crumbled bacon. Bake in a sprayed 1 1/2 quart casserole dish or 11 x 7 baking dish at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until center is set. Serve warm with your choice of hearty crackers, deli bread or thinly sliced baguette bread. Refrigerate leftovers.
   * This recipe can easily be cut in half and baked in smaller baking dishes and will only need to bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Mixture
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine, softened

Chocolate Covering

12 ounces chocolate chips
1/4 of one square/rectangle of paraffin

   With and electric mixer, blend ingredients for peanut butter mixture together until smooth. Chill for one hour.
   Using a double boiler, melt the paraffin over medium-low heat and add the chocolate chips and continue to stir allowing the chocolate chips to melt completely. Turn heat to low.
   Roll peanut butter mixture into small balls and dip into the warm chocolate mixture. Use a small spoon to remove the dipped balls from the chocolate. Place on a wax paper covered tray to cool. When tray is filled, refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled and refrigerate any leftovers.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
~ Lisa Rothe ~

   2 tablespoons sesame seed
   1 tablespoon poppy seed
   1/2 cup granulated sugar
   1/2 cup olive oil
   1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
   1/2 teaspoon paprika
   1/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
   1 tablespoon minced onion
   Measure all ingredients into a 1 pint or larger jar. Seal lid tightly and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
   12 ounces (2 - 6 ounce bags) fresh baby spinach
   1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
   1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted in a 350 degree oven for 8 - 10 min. until lightly browned, cooled)
   Keep all ingredients in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Shake dressing again just before pouring over salad. In a large mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together until well blended. Serve immediately.

Simply Irrestible Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup softened margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal (blended fine in blender or food processor)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

   In a large bowl, cream margarine, shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda and cocoa. Add to creamed mixture a bit at a time. (If using an electric mixer, you may wish to switch to a wooden spoon at this point.) Mix in chocolate chips and pecans with spoon.
   Roll into balls or using a spoon, drop onto a lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes for softer cookies or about 12 minutes for cruchier cookies.
   * Note: 1 cup butter may be used in place of margarine and shortening if preferred.

Bacon, Cream Cheese Appetizer with Mango Chutney

1 - 8 ounce block of cream cheese
5 - 7 pieces of cooked, crispy bacon, crumbled

1 - 9 ounce jar of Major Grey's Chutney (in salad dressing aisle near bacon bits)

Place block of cream cheese on a shallow baking dish with sides. Pour chutney over cream cheese. Sprinkle crumbled, cooked bacon on the top of cream cheese and chutney. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for about 10 - 12 minutes.
Serve hot with crispy crackers. I used Wheat Thins.

Pork Chop ~N~ Potato Bake

5 - 6 pork chops
vegetable oil
seasoned salt & pepper
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small pkg (16 oz.) frozen hash brown potatoes (diced)
1 cup shredded Cheddar or American cheese, divided
1 can (2.8 oz.) French Fried Onions, divided
   Season pork chops to taste with seasoned salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chops in a small amount of vegetable oil.
   While pork chops are browning, combine soup, milk, sour cream and a dash of pepper. Add the hash browns, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 can fried onions to the soup mixture. Stir until blended and spoon into a lightly sprayed 13x9 inch baking dish or pan. (if your pork chops are extra large, use a 15x10.5 dish.)
   Arrange browned pork chops on top of the potato mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Then sprinkle the remaining cheese and fried onions on top and bake an additional 5 minutes.
   Yields 5 - 6 servings (or 2 - 3 teenage boy servings)


Microwave Turtles

1 pound caramels (45-50 Brach's Milk Maid)
1 tablespoon milk
1 - 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 pound (4 squares) almond bark, chocolate flavor

   Using butter or margarine, generously grease a large cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil. Unwrap all caramels and place in a microwave -safe (glass) mixing bowl. Add milk and microcook on high in 30 second increments until melted, stirring between each time.
   Stir in pecans and drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet or foil. You will need to use a clean finger to push the caramel mixture off the spoon. The caramel will be very hot, so be careful not to burn your finger. Let the caramel drops cool until they basically hold their shape when handled, 10-15 minutes.
   In a small to medium-size glass mixing bowl, microcook the chocolate chips and almond bark together on high until melted, stirring every 30-40 seconds. Peel the caramel drops from the greased surface and dip in the melted chocolate, using tongs. Remove and place on waxed paper to cool and set.
   Makes 20-25 Turtles.
   * Just for fun...use leftover chocolate mixture to dip pretzels, raisins or nuts, or drizzle over donuts, cookies, muffins, ice cream or bananas.

Prairie Cheese Soup

5 green onions & stems, thinly sliced
1 1/2 stalks celery, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons margarine
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth + one can water
   or 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can clear vegetable broth + 1/2 can water
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium potato, grated
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (maybe more)
1/2 pound Velveeta or Easy Melt cheese product, cubed
Salt and pepper

   Sauté onions and celery in margarine in a 3 to 4 quart pot, until transparent. Add broth, water, carrot and potato. Simmer until all vegetables are tender.
   In a small bowl, use a fork to mix a small amount of milk with the flour until smooth. Pour into broth mixture. Stir and add milk and cubed cheese.
   Heat until all cheese is melted and mixture thickens a bit, stirring occasionally. If it is a little thicker than you like, add more milk, a little at a time. Salt and pepper to taste.
   Makes 4 good sized servings.

Resurrection Cookies

            1 cup pecan halves
            1 teaspoon vinegar
            3 egg whites
            1 pinch salt
            1 cup granulated sugar

Make sure you have these needed items:

Zippered bag
Wooden spoon
Measuring cup & teaspoon

Preheat oven to 300. Place pecan halves in zippered bag and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon, breaking them into small pieces.

Explain that after Jesus was arrested, the Roman soldiers beat him. Set bag aside. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. into mixing bowl. Explain that Jesus was thirsty on the cross and was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19: 28-30.

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Explain that eggs represent life and Jesus gave His life to give us abundant life. Read John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the bitterness of our own sins. Read Luke 23:27

Point out that so far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add I cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know Him and belong to Him, Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat all ingredients except the pecans with a mixer on high speed for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes toward those whose sins have been washed clean by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and1John 3:1-5

Fold in the broken pecans. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper covered baking sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60

Place baking sheet in the oven. Close the door and turn OFF the oven. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

Leave the kitchen and prepare for bed. Explain to the children that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Resurrection Morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow. Explain that on the first Resurrection Day, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb
open and empty, Read Matthew 28:1-9,

Rejoice together that Jesus is Alive! He is alive forevermore!!!

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