Thursday, April 30, 2009

Strawberry Jam {Teacher Appreciation Week Idea}

We picked strawberries at the Carlsbad Strawberry Fields this past weekend. We came home and made freezer jam with the precious fruit the kids picked. The kids love to give home-made gifts, and can't wait to share some jam with their favorite teachers. I printed up some of the pictures I took while we were there and created photo cards. The kids wrote their messages on the back. This year, their "Teacher Appreciation" gift will have a truly personal feel. They are very excited to take the jam to school, and loved having been such a big part of the whole process!

Maren's Tip:  Make 52 jars and put them in the freezer.  That way, you will have one jar for each week of the year.

Strawberry Freezer Jam


3-1/4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 box MCP Pectin

1 cup corn syrup

4-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

RINSE clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.

CRUSH strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 3-1/4 cups crushed strawberries into large bowl. Stir in lemon juice. Stir in pectin; let stand 30 min., stirring every 5 min. Stir in corn syrup. Gradually add sugar, stirring until well blended. Stir an additional 3 min. or until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)

FILL all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

Kitchen Tips:
How To Measure Precisely
To get exact level cup measures of sugar, spoon sugar into dry metal or plastic measuring cups, then level by scraping excess sugar from top of cup with straight-edged knife.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spicy Island Shrip

This shrimp dish is an easy weeknight supper with a kick!  This dish is spicy and filling.  The shrimp and sauce are great with rice, and even better with cooked pasta!

Spicy Island Shrimp

1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 TBSP butter
2 lbs uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
2 TBSP green chilis
1/2 TBSP dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Hot cooked rice, or hot cooked pasta

1.  In a large skillet, saute green pepper and onion in butter until tender.  Reduce heat, add shrimp.  Cook until shrimp turn pink.

2.  Stir in tomato sauce, green chili, parsley, and seasoning.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until slightly thickened.  Serve with rice or pasta.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie

My friend, Tara, made this fabulous "pie" and it was so yummy that I had to share it.  This was gooey and rich, and topped off with whipped cream and chocolate sauce!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie
2 3/4 all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two nine-inch pie plates; set aside.
Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.  In the bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Next, add one egg at a time, beating until incorporated.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour mixture, a little at a time, and mix until fully combined.  Fold in three cups of chocolate chips and if desired, walnuts.  Divide the dough between the prepared pie plates and smooththe tops with a spatula.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until pies are golden and slightly firm to the touch, but still soft. Let pies cool completely on a wire rack.  These tend to "bubble up" while baking, so I like to place them on a cookie sheet in the oven.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kathy's Famous Chili

Kathy Haslam's Famous Chili

1-2 lbs ground beef or turkey
2 large onions chopped
1-16 oz can kidney beans
1 16 oz can pinto beans
1-2 tsp salt
4-6 cloves minced garlic
1-28 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1-7 oz can green chilies, diced
1-12 oz can green taco sauce (start with 1/2 bottle and add to taste, sometimes Kathy leaves it out)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp sugar
2-3 tsp chili powder

Saute meat with 1 chopped onion, drain. When browned, add remaining ingredients. Cook on high for 1-1 1/2 hrs or cook in crockk pot all day on low.


Michelle's Corn Bread

1 1/2 C. flour
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 cup white corn meal
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. Milk
2 lrg eggs lightly beaten
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 Tbs butter or margerine melted

Preheat oven to 350; grease 8 in. sq. baking pan; combine first 5 ingredients in bowl and mix.; put rest of ingredients in a separate mixing bowl; add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until mixed but don't over mix. Pour into pan and bake for 35 min or until tooth pick comes clean. (square glass pan takes 35 min but that's not using convection)

Contributed by Michelle Olsen

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oatmeal Carmelitas

Watch these dissapear...

Oatmeal Carmelitas

2 C flour
2 C Oatmeal
1 ½ C brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ C margarine – melted

Mix above ingredients together and pat ½ of it on bottom of 9 X 13 pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and cover evenly with:

1 ½ C chocolate chips,
½ C chopped nuts and
1 ½ C caramel sauce mixed with
2 T flour.

Crumble remaining oat mixture over top and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool – cut into squares.

Thanks to Ginger Langston for this delicious recipe!

Andes Mint Cookies

You can't resist these oh, so yummy, delicious and minty cookies. They make a wonderful treat to give-away and you will definitely bring a smile to someone else!

Andes Mint Cookies

¾ cup butter

1 ½ cup brown sugar, packed

2 Tablespoons water

1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 eggs

2 ½ cups flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 lb. Andes Mint (2-6.67 oz. pkgs.)

Heat butter, sugar and water in saucepan until melted. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Pour into large bowl and cool 10 minutes. Beat in eggs, then add flour, baking soda and salt. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place Andes mints on top. After they melt, spread over entire cookie and remove from cookie sheet. Let them cool until chocolate is solid and enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tangy Pulled Pork

This recipe is easy, and amazingly delicious! It is the perfect dish to make on a busy day... Just assemble and your oven does the rest!

...tangy pulled pork...

2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder or loin

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 cup-1/2 the jar of apricot or mango preserves..depending on how tangy you like it.

1-2 jalapeños, sliced into rings (..and seeded.)

1 red onion- chopped corn tortillas (AUTHENTIC HAND MADE-from TRADER JOES.)

fresh cilantro


lime, cut into wedges

Heat oven to 300° F. Place 2 large sheets of aluminum foil on a work surface. Place the pork in the center of the foil and season all sides with the salt, pepper, and cumin. Spoon the jam over the pork, turning to coat. Scatter the jalapeños and onion around the pork. Fold the double layer of foil around the pork and crimp the edges to seal tightly. Place on a COOKIE SHEET. Roast until your house smells AMAZING, about 4 hours; let cool. Unwrap the pork, RESERVE THE JUICES.. Use two forks to shred the pork, and transfer to your serving bowl. Pour the cooking juices, onion, and jalapeños back over the pork. Serve with the tortillas, cilantro, avocado and lime wedges. NOTHING ELSE. my husband loves to pile everything on. cheese.fresh salsa. rice.guacamole. it makes me so mad. TRUST me. it is just a simple taco and should be topped with a sprig of cilantro..drenched with lime juice and garnished with slices of avocado. and that is PERFECTION. Tip: The best place to warm the tortillas is in the oven: it's quicker than a skillet and less drying than a microwave. As soon as you remove the pork, turn off the heat, wrap the tortillas in foil, and warm them for 10 minutes. ..Makes for about 6-8 servings..if its a sunday meal..maybe 6. from BRIT GHARRING

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whole Wheat Pancakes

These are my family's favorite!  We have them two or three times a week.  My kids prefer these over white pancakes.  I use freshly ground whole wheat flour (white wheat).  I grind extra flour then put it in tupperware and stick it in the freezer so I don't have to grind it every time.

1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. oil
1 tsp. baking soda
1 heaping  tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
1 1/4 C. milk
1 egg

Whisk all ingredients together, then spoon onto a hot griddle.  Flip once the bubbles pop.  Butter, then serve with syrup or powdered sugar.  Yum!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Orange Rolls

Can I just say... DIVINE!
Best Ever Orange Rolls

3 tablespoons active dry yeast

         2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

         1 cup butter, diced

         1/2 cup white sugar

         2 teaspoons salt

         2 cups scalded milk

         2 egg, lightly beaten

         6 cups all-purpose flour


         14 tablespoons butter, softened

         1 cup white sugar

         3 tablespoons grated orange zest



In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Combine the diced butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the hot milk, and mix to dissolve the butter. Let stand until lukewarm.

Mix the yeast, eggs, and flour into the milk mixture to form a sticky dough. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove dough from the refrigerator 2 to 2 1/2 hours before baking. Divide the dough into halves. Roll each half out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick rectangle.

Mix the softened butter, one cup sugar, and orange peel in a bowl. Spread over the dough. Roll up the dough along the long edge. Cut the rolls into one inch slices with dental floss. Place in greased muffin cups. Let rise until doubled in bulk.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree F (205 degree C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

White Chocolate Bars

White Chocolate is truly divine!

White Chocolate Bars

2 cups white chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup (1/2  stick) butter
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 egg
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup pecans (optional)
Powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 13*9-inch baking pan.  In large saucepan over low heat, melt  cup chips and butter.  Stir in sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla.  Stir in flour and baking powder until blended.  Stir in pecans (if so desired - I just placed them on top of the squares) and remaining chips.  Spoon mixture into prepared pan.

2.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  Cool.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar: cut into squares.  Store covered at room temperature. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Salmon Tacos

Salmon Tacos with Avocado-Mango Salsa 

This dish is an instant favorite when I do cooking demonstrations.  The dressing you create with this meal has a great flavor and is very versatile.  It can also be used the next day on a cold turkey sandwich.  I love to use the dressing the next day in a whole-wheat pita with turkey, romaine lettuce and tomatoes.  

2 Tbsp. Fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Oregano, dried
 1/4 tsp. Salt
 1/4 tsp. Pepper
1 lb. Salmon  ( I use the individually frozen Salmon from Costco)
8 6-inch corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cabbage or lettuce
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Mango-Avocado Salsa:
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped; -or- frozen mango,chopped 
1 Tbsp. Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 Tbsp. Fresh lime juice
 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (or if you’re like me, omit the jalapeno)

1. Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish.  Marinate your lovely salmon for 31 minutes to an hour.  If you use the frozen fillets, defrost before you marinate them.
2. Meanwhile, mix all the salsa ingredients together in a nonmetal bowl.  Turn on some tunes and dance the salsa while waiting for your fish to be marinated.
Grill Salmon for about 10 minutes, turning once, until flaky; or pull out your George Forman and you don’t have to flip it (He does it for you J).  Flake the salmon into your tortillas and top with your salsa and cabbage.

Contributed by Becki Cutler

Sunday, April 5, 2009


4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cube butter melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour

Mix eggs, milk, salt and sugar until well blended. Slowly add flour. Add more if you like a thicker consistency or less if you want it thinner. Spray a pan with cooking spray or use butter. Pour a little less than 1/2 cup into pan and turn pan until the batter fills the bottom. When the sides begin to brown flip to the other side. Watch it closely - they cook quickly. Layer on a flat plate - they will peel apart easily when you are ready to eat.

We use gogurts so the kids can easily spread the yogurt in a thin line down the middle
Fruit (any kind - we like strawberries and bananas)
Powdered Sugar sprinkled on top
When you have your filling roll up sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

For the brave and adventurous eater we also like a layer of peanut butter down the middle, then sour cream, roll up and drizzle syrup on top. I know it sounds weird but it is delicious!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

This is one of our favorite dinners!  It is so simple, easy, and good!  This chicken is really tender and flavorful, and veggies on the grill always have a yummy flavor.

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs
4 Cups assorted Vegetable pieces
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
2 teaspoons McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1 LB Chicken Breast, cut into bite sized pieces

1.  Combine oil, vinegar, and seasoning in a bowl.

2.  Thread ingredients onto skewers

3.  Place in a glass dish, and pour marinade over top.  Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.

4.  Cook on a gas grill on medium heat until tender, and chicken is cooked through.

You can use whatever veggies are in season!  My favorites are Onions, Peppers, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Corn on the cob, Canned potatoes, and Pineapple.

We used to alternately thread the ingredients on each stick, but we found that some things cooke faster than others.  So, we started threading each stick exclusively with one ingredient so we could control the cooking a bit more and boy did it make a difference.  It is great to be able to put the chicken on the grill first, and then some of the more delicate veggies on later.

Our favorite way to serve this meal is to pile all of the cooked ingredients on a platter and serve it family style!

This meal is great with a side of white rice, or is great on it's own!  My husband likes to add a bit of teriyaki sauce to his plate for an extra kick.

Fruit Salad Dressing

This recipe was always a special treat for me as a kid.  I always asked my mom to make this fruit dressing on my birthday, along with my favorite Chicken Broccoli Casserole.  This dressing can also be used as a fruit dip, and brings out the flavor of any fruit

Fruit Salad Dressing
8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Marshmallow Cream
1 TBSP Lime Juice

Using an electric mixer, cream all ingredients together.  Serve with your favorite fruits.  Refrigerate until served.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chicken Curry

Fragrant Chicken Curry

It's easy to buy a cooked hen, take the meat off the bone and use it in a 'wow' recipe. I especially like it for dishes like this curry that I might not have time to make from scratch.

2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and boned, meat pulled into large chunks
1 (13.5 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

To serve: Cooked basmati rice chopped fresh cilantro.


Mix spices in small bowl. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or small soup kettle over medium-high heat; add onion and saute until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic; saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spices; toast until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add chicken; stir until completely coated with spices. Add coconut milk, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer; cook uncovered until flavors blend and stew is thick, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with cilantro and serve over rice. Pass chutney separately.