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Monday, July 27, 2009

4-H Brownies

Its funny you should ask for a brownie recipe. I'm getting all my recipes in one place, and I just typed this one up today. I got this when we were doing 4-H at our house. This is our "go to" brownie recipe. They are not fancy, but really yummy, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. I'll post a picture next time we make them.

1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. butter softened, not melted
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and eggs, mixing well. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter batter. Mix it well using an electric mixer. Spread batter in a greased pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool for at least 1 hour before serving. If you can last that long you have better will power than we do!

I like these better when you cream the butter and sugar really well, about 4 minutes. If I'm taking them somewhere I sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top.


Do any of you ladies have a great brownie recipe?? I usually make them from a mix, but would like to try a homemade version. Thank you!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

So, I got a recipe from my brother-in-law, Mark, for some sweet and sour meatballs (which were pretty tasty). I tweeked the sauce a bit and made it with chicken instead of meatballs and I think it turned out pretty good. Of course, you can choose to use whatever type of meat you like best.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 cup pineapple juice (the pineapple to be used later)
2 Tbl soy sauce
1/4 c vinegar
4 Tbl ketchup
1/4 - 1/3 c sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/3 c water
1 minced garlic clove
2 Tbl cornstarch

Mix ingredients together and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. Saute one coarsly chopped red pepper and add to sauce. Add one can (or a bit less than a full can) of pineapple chunks or tidbits (without the juice). Reduce heat and simmer while preparing the chicken.

3 chicken breasts, cubed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c milk
2 c flour
salt and pepper

Beat eggs and milk together and dip chicken in it, then in flour until well coated (try to strain most of the egg off before putting it into the flour so it doesn't get too gloppy). Cook chicken in a little oil, and season with salt and pepper, until completely cooked and brown. At this point you could add the sauce into the chicken, but I prefer to keep it separate until dishing up, so that the chicken doesn't get soggy. Serve over rice.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tutu's Orange Sherbet

This is the recipe my grandma, Tutu, made every year in June for my grandpa's birthday. Each June I start craving it. This sherbet is so good, that I would call it darn near perfect. It makes my mouth water just to type it! I am including two versions: one for a regular 5-6 quart ice cream freezer; the other for a counter-top mini freezer that I just bought and love.

Regular Version
3 cups sugar
2 quarts whole milk
3 lemons, juiced
6 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 15 medium oranges)
Orange food coloring

Combine the lemon and orange juices. Dissolve the sugar in the juices. Chill for 1 hour. Pour the juice into the milk (the other way around will cause the milk to curdle). Add food coloring. Freeze according to your freezer's directions. Invite some friends over or you WILL eat all of it.

Mini-version-makes about 1 quart
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
3/4 of a lemon; juiced
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (4-5 medium oranges)

Follow above directions and then follow your freezer's directions. With the mini-version, don't invite friends over, or you won't get enough, or kick your family out and then invite the friends.

Do not even think about using store bought orange juice. Blech!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Big Al's K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce

I have been looking for a good BBQ sauce recipe for a while now. Mostly I wanted to find a sauce that didn't have high fructose corn syrup as the #1 ingredient. I hit the jackpot with this one. I found it on allrecipes.com. It has 367 five-star reviews and no reviews less than 5 stars. Lets just say I don't think I will be buying bbq sauce again. I fed it to Mark's family of non-meat eaters, and they loved it. It even got Hannah to eat chicken-that's big.

2 c. ketchup
2 c. tomato sauce
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. unsulphured molasses
4 tsp. hickory flavored liquid smoke
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, mix together all the wet ingredients and then add the seasonings. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes-longer for thicker sauce.

Brush onto any kind of meat during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

The ingredient list is long, but I had a lot of the stuff on hand. You can find liquid smoke near the bbq sauces at the grocery store. I was a little skeptical about the liquid smoke, but I decided to try the recipe "as is" the first time, before I tried tinkering with it. I am glad I did, because I really like the flavor: tangy, but not too tangy; not too sweet; just a hint of smoky flavor. I like my sauce thicker, so I let it simmer about 40 minutes. The recipe made about a quart and a half of sauce, so I have just kept it in a container in my fridge. I'm not sure how to label it so I'm putting it under main dish. Maybe we can add a sauces category later.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Applesauce Muffins

My kids love these muffins. I really like them too because they are a little more filling and not to sweet. Overall the muffins are a pretty healthy breakfast option too. I think you could get creative and add craisins, raisins, nuts, etc. to the recipe. To save time in the morning, I will prep the dry ingredients the night before and then finish the rest right before I am ready to bake them.

Combine and mix well:
2 c. flour (I like to use 1 c. wheat and 1 c. white flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick of melted butter
3/4 c. sugar

Blend well, then add
2 eggs
1 c. applesauce

Blend mixture well. It will be similar to the consistency of oatmeal. Fill baking cups and bake at 350 for 19 minutes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

I made this for my Mother's Day gift to myself and ate the whole thing and did not share. The next time I made it I did the same thing. It wasn't until the fourth time I made it that Dave got a bite. It is that addictive. Warning: do not make this on the same day you make Jessica's Almond Bars. I know from experience that just because a person has eaten half a sheet cake, doesn't mean she'll lay off the dip.

Recipe adapted from Picky Palate

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 Cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 Cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
About 1 cup (0r half a can) artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped (I prefer to not use the marinated ones here)
3/4 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add a handful of spinach, adding more spinach as it wilts and makes more room. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add garlic. Cook, stirring for one more minute. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Add spinach mixture and stir until combines. Spread into lightly greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips or on sourdough bread.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


So, I don't know about you, but my waffle iron sees very little use. But, I had a request from my boys for some waffles the other morning (I'm not sure where they even learned the word), so I dug out the iron, dusted it off and made some waffles. I found a good recipe at allrecipes.com and tweeked it just a little (because it wasn't unhealthy enough). I have to say, they were some of the best waffles I've ever had (that's not saying much, because I rarely have waffles). I topped them with some freezer strawberry jam and whipped cream.


2 c. flour (I used 1/2 wheat. There, now they are healthy)
3/4 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
4 Tbl sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1/3 c melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat waffle iron. Mix together dry ingredients and set aside. In separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Pour into flour mixture and mix well.

Ladle onto hot waffle iron and cook until golden and crisp. Makes about 5 or 6 waffles.