Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cinnamon Rolls

Now if you have gotten one of my recipes you know I don't always have exact measurements for everything! I just taste it until it taste good or it looks right. Sorry if this is scary for you. At least the roll recipe is pretty exact. If you have any questions just ask me.

1 packet of active dry yeast
1/3 c. very warm water (105*-115*)
1/2 c. warm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 c. of sugar
Sugar for filling (brown or regular)
1/3 c. unsalted butter for dough, softened
at least a stick of butter for filling, softened
butter for icing
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 1/2-4 cups of flour

Soft butter (again don't know exactly how much, at least a tbls. per roll) if unsalted add a pinch of salt. You've seen how I slather the tops with the icing so depending on how naughty you want to be determines the amount of gooey butter. You can always add more if it doesn't seem like enough.
Powdered sugar (add until it taste good and sweet enough)
teaspoonish of vanilla
a little milk just to loosen up the icing - like a tbls. at a time, you don't want it runny
If you like the orange flavor- add a tsp. or so of orange zest, depending on how strong you want the orange flavor

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Then stir in milk, sugar, butter, salt, egg, 2 cups of the flour. Mix with a spoon until smooth. Mix in enough flour to be able to handle the dough and it's not to sticky. Kneed the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic (like a few min.) Place in a greased bowl and then flip it over in the bowl so that the greased side is up. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size. Mine doesn't always double so let it rise for about an hour and if it stops rising then it's probably done. If you poke it an indent should stay. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Roll out half the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle shape. It should be about 1/4-1/2 an inch thick. Smother with softened butter (I don't know exactly how much but it should cover the whole surface) Then sprinkle with white sugar or brown sugar, nuts, raisins, any dried fruit, and cinnamon. Again, I don't have a measurement for all of this, just cover it with sugar and a light dusting of cinnamon and it will be good I promise! Then roll it into a log and slice it, about 2 inch slices. Place them on a buttered pan leaving room for rising. Cover them and let them rise again for about 40 min. I've skipped the second rising and they rise a lot when they cook so I don't know if it's necessary but that's what the recipe says. Heat oven to 375* and bake for about 25-30 min. or until the tops are browned. If they seem like they're browning to quickly before the inner dough has a chance to cook, cover with foil until the last few min. Glaze while still hot. I make a bunch of these, put 6-7 of them in a disposable foil pie pan (3 for a dollar at dollar tree) cover with foil and give them to my neighbors on Christmas Eve. I put the glaze in a ziplock and a little note on top with cooking instructions. My neighbors love them. It's not very expensive but a very yummy gift. Oh, you can keep these in the fridge covered and raw for a few days and cook them right before you want them. You can even freeze them raw. I'll e-mail the little note I use for gifts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Grandma's Great Meatloaf

It has been a long time since our last post and for that we apologize. With it being Wild Card Wednesday and since we are in the fall season, what better thing to post than a great meatloaf recipe! This is comfort food at its best! This is my grandma's recipe and while I am partial, it is honestly one of the best meatloaf recipes I have had. My mom and I recently made this for dinner and my husband's response was, "A meatloaf I don't have to put ketchup on is a good meatloaf." He has asked for it again so it must be good! With a side of some great mashed potatoes, you can't go wrong with this meal!

Grandma's Great Meatloaf
1 egg beaten
2/3 cup milk
3 slices bread crumbled (I use seasoned bread crumbs)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Mix the first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf. Place in a greased 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, ketchup and mustard. Spread over meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 - 70 minutes or until no pink remains. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Outstanding Oatmeal Cookies

If you are a fan of Oatmeal Cookies, this recipe is for you! Not only are they tasty, they are soft and easy to make. Enjoy these warm with a glass of milk and you have a great weekend treat!

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I added about a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips - yum! You could also add raisins.

Recipe from

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Finally a New Post!!!!!!

This post is for my sister-in-law Esther and those of you who love chocolate goodies! This is a favorite snack of mine, but definitely does not fall into the "good for you" category! This is also a fun thing to make with your kids!

Puppy Chow

1 large box of Crispix Cereal
12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
1 stick margarine
1 cup peanut butter (creamy)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Melt chips, peanut butter and margarine on medium in microwave; stir occasionally. Pour over Crispix and stir gently until coated. Pour 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar into a large brown paper bag. Dump Crispix mix in and toss until coated well. Store in small zip lock bags. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cool Summer Dessert - Mango Lime Icebox Pie

The warm sunny California weather has put me in the mood for a cool summertime dessert. This week we have a tasty tart, yet sweet dessert that is perfect for a warm day! What is even better is that it is not bad for you. While this isn't a Weight Watchers recipe, I have calculated the points and it is only 3 points per serving - how awesome is that! A tasty treat that is low calorie.

Mango-Lime Icebox Pie

1 - 9 inch Piecrust (You can definitely use the pre-made piecrusts at the grocery)

1 cup mango nectar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4-5 limes)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 large eggs
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 T. butter
2 t. grade lime rind

Prepare and bake piecrust. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack. To prepare filling, combine the nectar and next 5 ingredients in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter and lime rind. Spoon mango mixture into a bowl. Place bowl in a large ice filled bowl for 10 minutes or until mixture is room temperature, stirring occasionally. Remove from ice bowl and spoon mango mixture into prepared crust. Cover and chill for 8 hours or until firm. Top with whipped topping (for the above mentioned weight watchers points, use fat free whipped topping). Enjoy!!!!!!!

This is also great in a graham cracker crust or the new prepared shortbread crust.

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, June 2002

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oatmeal Rolls

Here's an EASY recipe for homemade bread rolls- they melt in you mouth! This recipe came from my husbands grandmother in Colorado- she served it with some great homemade white grape jelly!

1 cup oatmeal
2 cups boiling water
3 Tbsp. butter
2/3 cups brown sugar
1 Tbsp. White sugare
1 ½ tsp. Salt
2 pkg. Yeast
½ cup warm water
5 cups flour

Mix first three ingredients and let cool. Add sugar, salt and yeast and warm water. Add and knead in flour. Let rise. Punch down and form into dinner rolls. Let rise again. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350. Brush with butter when they come out.

From Esther's Kitchen

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Homemade Granola

For my first post on this excellent site I thought that I would pass on a recipe I received from my mother'n'law. I thought it would make a fun Wednesday Wildcard recipe. Unlike most granola recipes out there, this one is made without any fat (besides natural fat existing in nuts). This recipe yields a lot of granola (about 2 gallons). It delicious and even a hit with the kids.


2 Tbls Vanilla
1/4 Cup Cinnamon
1 Cup Wheat Germ
2 Cups Maple Syrup
2 Cups Honey
2 Cups Walnuts (unsalted)
2 Cups Pecans (unsalted)
2 Cups Almonds (unsalted)
1-1 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Bag Quaker Oats from Costco (Costco: Box of Quaker Oatmeal with two bags, use one)
2 Large Roasting Pans (I just buy aluminum pans and re-wash them)

Mix Together all of the above ingredients in a super large bowl or in two large bowls. Make sure that it is thoroughly mixed together. Put an even amount in the two roasting pans (spray with pam first to keep from sticking). Bake for 45-60 minutes. Stir the mixture every 10-15 minutes. Rotate the pans on the racks each time you stir (move the top pan to the bottom shelf). This allows the granola to cook evenly. If you don't want as crunchy of granola, just cook for 30-35 minutes.

Mix all the dried fruit you'd like in another mixing bowl and add to the warm nut mixture when you remove it from the oven. This allows the fruit to blend into the granola flavor. Use one cup or more of each dried fruit you want for a total of 4-5 cups of fruit. You can add more or less to your liking. Some fruits I use are: Raisins, cranberries, blueberries. You can also use (depending on the season) raspberries, dates, apricots (make sure you cut them up), cherries, etc.

I place the cooled granola into gallon ziplock bags. This keeps good for quite awhile. If you don't eat it fast enough, you can also store it in the freezer.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Orange Chicken with a Twist

It always feels good to try a new recipe and have it turn out right the first time. Especially when you decide you don't like the way it sounds and change it. Although cooking, unlike baking, is much more forgiving when it comes to improvising. If you leave the yeast out of your bread you'll wind up with something more like a pita. But if you forget the salt in your soup you can just add it afterwards. That being said, I found a recipe in my new Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 that I got for Christmas. Orange Chicken. Boring name really yummy. Since I've tweeked it slightly I feel I have the right to change the name so...

Mothers Old Fashion Country Fried Chicken
with a Delightfully Tangy Orange Wine Sauce:
(my variation my name)

For Country Fried Chicken:

4 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Montreal Chicken Seasoning
Bread Crumbs
Olive Oil

For Tangy Orange Wine Sauce:

1/2 cup White Cooking Wine
1/2 cup Orange Juice (no pulp)

and some White Rice

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; pound each piece to 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Mix equal parts flour and montreal seasoning along with a small amount of bread crumbs. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.

Heat oil and butter (cover just the bottom of deep pan) over medium-high heat; about 1 minute, stirring occasionally to mix butter and oil. Add chicken to pan; cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until crispy and done. Slice chicken into strips place on oven safe dish and place in warm oven while you make the sauce.
Add wine and juice to pan; cook until slightly reduce (about 4 minutes).

Serve chicken over white rice with plenty of sauce.

From the Kitchen of Taffata Tadpoles

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spicy Mexican Brunch Eggs

Today's recipes come from my aunt, who currently lives in New Mexico. She served this to us at a family gathering and it was a breakfast/brunch hit! If you like Mexican food and enjoy a great brunch, this recipe will serve you well. Besides the great taste, another great aspect of this recipe is the fact that you can make it the night before and bake it the next day before serving. Also, you can control the spice - if you like really spicy food, use a hotter salsa. A little more a "mild" person - use a milder salsa - you choose how spicy you want your eggs!

Spicy Mexican Brunch Eggs

1 lb. sausage, crumbled
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced
1 medium red onion finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs
3 Tablespoons Sour Cream
6 Tablespoons Salsa (you choose - hot or mild) (I also use more than 6 Tablespoons - use what you enjoy)
8 oz. diced velveeta
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook sausage, mushrooms and onion. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Combine eggs and sour cream in blender 1 minute. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 4 - 7 minutes (until eggs are soft set). Spoon salsa over the eggs. Top with sausage mixture. Top with velveeta, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

If you are making this ahead, do all steps through topping with cheese. The next day all you have to do is heat the oven and bake.

Happy Brunch!

Quick Tip for Manicotti

One of my fellow cooks and I recently discovered a quick and easy tip that makes manicotti a much easier dish to make. I don't know about you, but usually when trying to stuff manicotti noodles, they have a tendency to break and/or tear. A great way to avoid this is to use "no-boil" lasagna noodles. Put them in warm water for 5 minutes to make pliable. Put the stuffing for your manicotti on the lasagna noodle and then roll it up. This makes great manicotti and saves you the time and effort of having to "stuff" the noodles.

That is Tuesday's tip! Make some manicotti and enjoy!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Black Bean and Couscous Salad

Want a side dish that will be a hit and is easy to make? This week our Wild Card Wednesday is a Black Bean and Couscous Salad recipe from a sweet kitchen in a small Midwestern town. This makes a great side dish for most any meal. It is great in the summer when you want a cool and tasty salad to accompany your main dish. We especially enjoy this salad when we are grilling in the summer! As the recipe says, you do want to be sure to be able to chill it before serving and it is actually better when it has been refrigerated overnight. For those of you wanting to be healthy, this works for you too!

Black Bean and Couscous Salad

1 c. couscous
1 ¼ c. chicken broth (I use fat free/low sodium)
6 T. Olive Oil
4 T. limejuice
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
6 green onions (I usually only do 3)
½ red pepper chopped
¼ c. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 can shoepeg corn (drained)
2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)

Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add couscous to broth, remove from heat and cover. Whisk together oil, limejuice, vinegar, and cumin. Fluff couscous in a large mixing bowl; add onions, pepper, cilantro, beans and corn. Pour oil mixture onto couscous and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving. Keeps well for several days.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Easy Cheesy Garlicky Drop Biscuits

One of my favorite places to eat is Red Lobster. I do love seafood but mostly I crave those cheddar cheese biscuits! There have been times when I’ve asked for a fresh batch just so I could put them in my to go box. Now I neither have the pocket book to go to Red Lobster on a regular basis nor the time to try and make fresh biscuits from scratch everyday. So I’ve settled on a satisfying alternative. A wonderful recipe I found on the back of a Bisquick box for Easy Cheesy Garlicky Drop Biscuits (okay they don’t call them that, I just liked that it kind of rhymed).



2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. Milk
1/2 c. Grated Cheddar Cheese


2 tbsp Melted Butter
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder

Stir first three ingredients together. Drop by large spoonfuls (about the size of a…well a biscuit) onto a greased cookie sheet. Makes about 8 biscuits. I’ve noticed if they are too large they don’t cook right. They should only take 8-10 minutes in a 450-degree oven. Do not over bake. Mix melted butter and garlic powder. Drizzle or brush on to hot biscuits. You can experiment with the garlic depending on your families taste.

And there you have it delicious hot biscuits made
from start to finish in about 20 minutes!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Baked Potato Soup

On a recent trip I made back to Missouri, I was blessed to be able to attend a dinner hosted by a couple that attend church with my parents. The dinner was for the International students who attend the local college there. It was a great evening of fellowship, learning about students from other cultures, and of course - GREAT FOOD. One of the dishes served was Baked Potato Soup. I loved this soup and am excited to share this recipe with you! It comes to you from Tracy in Missouri. Enjoy!

Baked Potato Soup

4 large baking potatoes
2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. flour
6 c. milk
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
4 green onions, chopped*
12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled*
1 ¼ c. shredded cheddar cheese*
8 oz. sour cream

*These 3 items will be divided – part to be used in soup & part as garnish

Wash potatoes and prick several times with fork; bake at 400ยบ for 1 hour or until done (you may microwave if time warrants). Let cool, cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out potato pulp and set aside; discard skins. Melt butter in heavy soup pan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. (Note: A heavy, thick-bottomed soup pan or dutch oven is best, otherwise you may have trouble with the soup sticking and scorching in the bottom of the pan!) Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper and 2 T. green onions, ½ cup bacon and 1 cup cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated and stir in sour cream. Add extra milk if desired for thinner consistency. Serve with remaining green onions, bacon and cheese for garnish. Makes about 10 cups.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Want a recipe that is quick, easy and tastes great? Then this is for you! HappyHouseWife gave me this recipe and when I made it, I was amazed at how easy it was and my husband and I loved it! This would be a great dish to make when company is coming or to take to someone's house. Served with mashed potatoes, this dish is a sure hit!

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) petite diced tomoatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzerella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes in medium bowl. Add stuffing miz, water and garlic; stir just until stuffing is moistened. Set aside.

Place chicken in a 13X9 inch or 3 qt. baking dish; sprinkle with basil and cheese. Top with stuffing mix.

Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each (for those doing Weight Watchers, this calculates to 6 points per serving)

Recipe from Kraft Food and Family Magazine

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Veggie Soup

For Wild Card Wednesday I’ve chosen a recipe that I personally use to hate as a kid. My dad’s Vegetable Beef Soup!! I could smell it walking in the front door and I would cringe when I’d see the cut up potatoes, onions and celery. I mean really veggies and I just didn’t get along as well back then. Mmmm…maybe this isn’t the best way to start a recipe post when the hope is you’ll want to try it. So let’s start again.

Today’s Wild Card Wednesday is my dad’s Veggie Beef Soup!!! Yummy. Seriously though I really do love this hearty, not to mention healthy, soup. It’s crammed full of all sorts of veggies and warms you up on those cold days. To top it all off it’s very easy to make.



1 lb Stew Beef
1 Yellow Onion (diced)
2 Med. Brown Potatoes (diced)
1 pkg Celery (chopped)
Salt (to taste)
1 tbs Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 tsps Italian Seasoning
16 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach
32 oz Mixed Veggies
29 oz Tomato Sauce
28 oz Diced Tomatoes (do not drain)
about 2-3 qts water

Brown beef in 1-2 tbs vegetable oil. Half way through add onion, potatoes, Montreal seasoning, Italian seasoning and salt. After meat is browned add everything except tomato sauce & diced tomatoes bring to a boil. Once boiling add tomato sauce and tomatoes, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hrs. Enjoy!!

I really like to make Garlicky Cheese Biscuits to go with it, but that’s a whole other post!!

From the Kitchen of Taffata Tadpoles

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Herb chopping tip!

This is for all of you cooks who like me dread having to chop up fresh herbs!

I began to panic last night when my meat loaf recipe called for "chopped" fresh parsley. Then I remembered a trick my good friend SJ had taught me.

My husband & I were over at her house one evening for dinner when I saw her doing something strange. She had a big plastic cup & a pair of kitchen scissors in her hands.

I asked her what she was doing & she explained she was chopping the herbs. She had cut off a portion of the herb & put it in her cup. She then took her kitchen scissors & cut the herb inside her cup until it was chopped into tiny little pieces.

Well, last night I tried it for myself & sure enough it was the quickest, easiest job of "chopping" herbs I've ever had!

I just rinsed out the cup & moved on.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Chicken- Chili Enchiladas

For all you Mexican food lovers out there here is a great enchilada recipe. It's fairly quick and easy to make. Enjoy with a little salsa on top and you're good to go. - Esther

6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups shredded)
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese (2 cups shredded)
1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast
3/4 cup chopped onion
12 tortillas (6 inches)
2 cups warm chicken broth
1 can chili without beans
1 can green (or red) enchilada sauce

sour cream
chopped tomatoes

1. Grease 3 qt. dish. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix cheddar cheese, half of Monterey Jack cheese, chicken and onion. Set aside.
3.Dip tortillas, one at a time in broth to soften. Fill with about 1/4 cup chicken mixture, roll and place seam down in baking dish in 2 rows of six.
4. In sauce pan over medium heat, stir chili, enchilada sauce and 1/2 cupe chicken broth until bubbly. Pour over tortillas. Sprinkle tortillas with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.
5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
6. Serve with toppings if desired.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Spring is in the Air

I love the fall and winter months. I love to decorate for harvest time and Christmas. My house feels so cozy and warm compared to the blustery and damp day outside. The anticipation of the holidays fills me with joy and I can hardly wait to see friends and family from so far away. And New Years brings the excitement of the unknown. A new year filled with endless possibilities. But with that said once the decorations are down and family and friends have gone back home there’s a kind of sadness that comes with each cold and rainy day.

I am once again looking forward to sunshine, flip-flops, pools and picnics. Long walks with my girlfriends and just sitting outside enjoying the beauty God has created. Thus the inspiration for this week Final Course Fridays. It’s perfect for those warm or even hot days because it doesn’t require heating up your kitchen by using the oven, stove or even microwave!!

Banana Pudding Squares

20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
3 tbsp. Butter, melted
1 pkg. (8oz) Cream Cheese
½ c. Powdered Sugar
1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip, thawed & divided
3 med. Ripe Bananas
3 c. Milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) Vanilla Instant Pudding
½ square Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, grated

Mix crushed wafers & butter. Press firmly onto bottom of 13x9 inch dish.

Mix cream cheese & powdered sugar with spoon until well blended. Gently stir in 1 ½ cups of the whipped topping. Spoon mixture evenly onto crust; spread carefully.

Cut bananas in half crosswise; cut each piece lengthwise in half. Arrange bananas over cream cheese mixture.

Pour milk into bowl & add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Spoon over bananas.

Spread with remaining whipped topping & sprinkle evenly with chocolate.

Refrigerate at least 3hrs before serving.

Goes great with a large cold glass of milk!!

Now for those of you who want to make it a little healthier (after all shorts and bathing suit season right around the corner) it’s quite simple. Take every thing and substitute low fat or even fat free when available. I know you can find fat free pudding mixes, milk and cool whip, plus there are wonderful low fat cream cheeses and even Nilla wafers. So whichever way you decided to make it I hope it brings a sense of excitement of the wonderful seasons to come!

From the Kitchen of
Taffeta Tadpoles

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Final Course Friday: Sugar-Free Apple Pie

This Friday we give you a great final course that is perfect for those who want to be healthy and still have a great dessert! If you didn't know it was "sugar-free," you would never be able to tell! I used to make it for my grandpa who was diabetic and it was something we all could enjoy! There is nothing better than homemade apple pie - and if you just need some sugar - top it with some ice cream!

Sugar-Free Apple Pie

6 medium red delicious apples, peeled and sliced
1 - 6 oz. can frozen apple juice, thawed (without sugar)
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Double Pie Crust - you can do homemade or Pilsbury makes a great quick and easy refrigerator crust
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place apples and undiluted apple juice into a large pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Disolve cornstarch in water. Gently stir cornstarch into apple mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes (or until apples soften). Stir in cinnamon. Fill pie shell and cover with top crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. Baste with melted butter.

Enjoy! This recipe from a kitchen in Mid-Missouri.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pancake Flippin'

I consider myself a pretty good at home chef. I especially love baking. The things you get to eat after all your hard work are so yummy! I’m good at following recipes and most of the time I’m left with something quite tasty. And yet there was one simple food item that use to elude me…Pancakes!!! For years I just couldn’t cook or flip a pancake to save my life. Brownies, cookies, chickens and roasts all seemed easy enough but that darn little pancake I just couldn’t get right. I’m happy to say that after many years of flops and a lot of helpful suggestions from friends and family along the way I have finally conquered that elusive pancake!! One suggestion came from my dear grandmother, Dolores Brouse, who has since gone on to be with the Lord. She is where I got my tip for the day.

Helpful Tip for Perfect Pancake Making:

Everyone knows you butter the pan or griddle but she told me if you lightly butter your spatula it helps it slide under the pancake for easy flipping!

Grandma Brouse could also forgo the spatula all together and just flip the pancake with a quick shake of the pan. I remember one time I was watching her do this when she looked over and asked me if I knew what she was doing to which I simply replied, “Sure you’re showing off”. Luckily I had a grandmother who loved me very much and had a great sense of humor. She just laughed and laughed. So remember this Saturday when you have a chance to sit down and eat breakfast as a family that some of the best memories are made in the kitchen.
From the Kitchen of Taffeta Tadpoles

Monday, January 29, 2007

Italian Chicken Salad

This is a great fix-ahead main dish. It is great served in pita pockets.

Italian Chicken Salad


1 T Olive Oil
1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
1 T Red Wine Vinegar
½ t minced fresh garlic
½ t sugar
¼ t fresh ground pepper
1/8 t salt


3 cups cubed chicken breast cooked
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 t dried oregano
½ t dried basil
10 pitted ripe olives, halved
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts marinated, drained

1. To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

2. To prepare salad, combine chicken and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad, and toss gently to combine.

Yield 4 servings

1 serving = 1 ¼ cups
5 pts. Per serving

***On the dressing, I added a little more olive oil and sugar as I thought it was a little tart – add what you need to for you ☺

***When I did the chicken, I baked 3 chicken breasts, which was 3 cups exactly. I also rubbed some seasoning on the chicken before I baked it. I think it would also be good with baked or grilled chicken that had been marinated in Italian dressing.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Easy, Fix Ahead Meal

For those times when you need something that will be easy and ready to eat when you get home, try our Cheesy Chicken recipe. This recipe is a weight watcher friendly recipe. If you are counting points, it comes out to be 5 points per serving. This recipe is a way to eat healthy and have an easy, tasty dinner!

Cheesy Chicken (From In the Kitchen With Aimee Weight Watchers Cookbook)

2 (10 oz) cans 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 (10oz) can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
7 (4 oz) Bonless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Place chicken in a crockpot sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Mix soups and garlic powder. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. This is great served over rice. Another way to enjoy this is with a baked potato.

We have found Trader Joes Jasmine Rice (microwave in 3 minutes) to be a tasty selection with this dish.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Grandma's Banana Cream Pie

Hi Foodlovers!

Since it's Wild Card Wednesday...I thought I'd share my Grandma's recipe for Banana Cream Pie. She always had to make several of them when making them for our family!

Serves: 6-8

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Stir together flour & 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening till pieces are pea size. Add 1 tblspoon water to part of the mixture & gently mix with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl & repeat moistening the dough till all the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, sightly flatten dough with your hands. With a rolling pin, roll dough from the center to the edges into a circle about 12" in diameter.
Wrap pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to 9" pie plate. Ease pastry ito pie plate being careful not to stretch the dough.

Trim pastry to 1/2" beyond edge of the pie plate. Fold extra pastry under. Crimp edges with fingers. Generously prick bottom & sides of shell with a fork. Make sure to prick where the sides meet the bottom of the crust. Place parchment paper in pie crust and fill with beans of some sort to keep the crust from shrinking.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove beans and paper & bake another 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Pie Filling:

1/2 cup sugar
5 tbl flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 tbl butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbl rum
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
3 large ripe sliced bananas

Sift sugar, flour & salt in large mixing bowl. With a large spoon beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

Heat the milk & butter in a small sauce pan until butter melts & small bubbles from around the edge of the pan.

Slowly pour into the egg mixture stirring constantly with a whisk. Add vanilla & rum.

Return to sauce pan. Bring almost to a boil, reduce heat to low & simmer stirring until it thickens into a heavy custard. Let it cool until lukewarm.

Meanwhile beat 1/2 cup of the cream until it forms peaks. With a spatula gently fold into custard. Layer custard & sliced bananas in pie crust starting & ending with custard. Top with the extra whip cream. (For 1 cup whipping cream add 2 tbl spoon sugar & 1/2 tsp vanilla)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Easy Method for Chicken Prep

It is time for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays!

It seems that I have quite a few recipes that call for chicken cooked and cut into pieces. All too often, I am late getting dinner prepared because I have to cook the chicken and then make the recipe. For all those recipes that call for cooked chicken, here is an easy way to have the chicken ready when dinner preparation begins. Simply place boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen) in a crockpot on low for approx. 7 to 8 hours. If using thawed chicken, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to the crockpot. At the end of 8 hours, the chicken will be cooked and easily cut into pieces and/or shredded for any recipe needing cooked chicken. This makes the preparation of dinner much easier and quicker.

If you have any great kitchen tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments and share with everyone.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Welcome Food Lovers!

On behalf of the contributors to "For the Love of Food," we welcome you to our blog! We look forward to sharing great recipes with you as well as kitchen tips! It doesn't matter if you are an experienced cook or new to the kitchen, if you love food and cooking, this is the place for you!

The motto of our kitchen: Live, Love, Cook!

Look for our weekly "menu" coming soon! Until then, here is an "Appetizer" to wet your appetite from a sweet kitchen we visited in central Missouri:

Black Bean Salsa

2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can shoepeg corn (17 oz)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 medium chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
Dash of hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the above in a small bowl and refrigerate over night. Enjoy!!!!!