10/10/20

Chocolate Orange Drop Cookies

 These Chocolate Orange Drop Cookies are just what you want in a cookie for the holidays, pillowy soft, light hints of  orange rounded out with bites of chocolate.



My Dad & Stepmom were downsizing to an RV, selling their home and traveling between the 8 kids & vacation spots while they still have time to live their best life. So in asking what of their possessions each of us would like to have, I mentioned I would love any of her recipes. She sent me her recipe box and what a treasure trove that is!



I pulled a handful of cookie recipes that I want to try out this season and see what our family thinks, so I am starting off my cookie testing now, so I know what to add into our holiday baking in few weeks. These Chocolate Orange Drops are my first test, and boy I am in LOVE!  Definately a keeper!



Jan's Tips:

1) Cream Cheese: original recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of softened cream cheese, that is just a bit short of 2 packages, I just  used the whole 2 packages and it seemed to work out beautifully for me.

2) Shortening Vs. Butter: calls for shortening, and I did use shortening, but I would bet butter would be fine. If you use salted butter, I would cut out the salt in the recipe. 

3) Vanilla Vs. Orange flavor: I happened to have Orange baking emulsion flavor (Lorann's brand) and substituted that for the vanilla. I did also add the fresh orange zest/ peel. It still turned out to be a light orange flavor,, but you can for sure taste it. if you want a stronger flavor, I suggest playing wtih how much extra to add, but we like it as is.

4) Don't over bake! Check them at 10 minutes you want just  a hint of brown starting to show at bottom of cookie. Pull them then, and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes (they are so soft!) then move to cooling rack. They remain soft like a pillowy cloud.. so good!





Ready to bake? 

Click here for Printable (or save) Recipe

Chocolate Orange Drops

Makes approximately 6 dozen. 


Ingredients:

2 cups shortening ( or butter)

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese softened 

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

1 Tablespoon orange peel

1 Tablespoon vanilla ( Jan used orange flavoring)

4 cups flour 

5 teaspoons baking powder 

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups chocolate chips 


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together shortening, cheese, & sugars.

Add eggs, orange peel, and vanilla ( or orange ) flavor ; beat well. 

Mix in baking powder, salt & flour. Add in Chocolate chips, mix well.

Drop by Large Tablespoons or cookie scoop 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes, do not over bake. 

Let cool 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. 


8/23/20

Strawberry, Peaches & Cream Popsicles with Gingersnap Crumbles

Homemade Popsicles


With summer comes popsicles, and homemade ones are the best of all! My grandchildren are coming out for a visit so I wanted to make sure to stock up on some cool treats, that were full of wholesome ingredients, yet still have a fun twist too!


Homemade Popsicles
Fresh peaches and strawberries, real cream, and yogurt, and just a touch of honey.. that's it folks! You'll never miss all the added sugar, if you choose your yogurt wisely!

I did fill some of the mix into zipsicle pouches, for my toddler grandchildren. They are reusable, and are so easy to use! I buy mine from amazon.

For a grownup touch.. I filled the bottom of some of the popsicle molds with crumbled gingersnaps.. and oh what a special treat! You must not leave this part out! What a nice way to "start nibbling" on your popsicle!
Homeamade Popsicles

Let's get you started mixing up those popsicles!




print recipe

Strawberry Peaches & Cream Popsicles with Gingersnap Crumbles
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Peaches, peeled, quartered & pitted (or canned, drained)
  • 10 strawberries hulled
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup plain lowfat yogurt (or vanilla)
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 4-5 Gingersnap cookies roughly chopped
Instructions
In blender, blend together the peaches, strawberries, cream and yogurt in a blender until smooth.Place about a tablespoon of the chopped cookies into each well of the popsicle molds.Divide the strawberry-peach mixture between the wells of the popsicle mold.Insert popsicle sticks and freeze for about 5 hours until solid.




6/13/20

Blue Ribbon Zucchini Bread


Family Recipes are what makes life the best! and this Zucchini bread recipe has filled our families summers with sweet deliciousness for generations.

With fresh zucchini in abundance from our gardens, there was always a batch of this bread on hand in the kitchen. Our favorite way as child to eat it was lightly toasted with a schmear of peanut butter! I grew up with my dad having the recipe, but I've tracked the recipe back to his mother, and now I've passed it along to my children so it just keeps the memories alive for more generations.

Why am I calling it Blue Ribbon Zucchini bread? I was involved in 4-H when I was growing up. It is a wonderful organization to teach youth so many skills and be involved in community! I always submitted this recipe to our county fair competition every year, and it always came out the winner, every time. Well, except one year.  My grandmother had come down to help us out one summer, and had accidentally filled our "sugar" bowl" with salt. so when i went to make the bread, I measured out what I thought was sugar, and apparently it wasn't. The judge knew something must have gone wrong, and noticing my despair , said I could make another batch that night and bring it back in the morning and they'd judge it again for me. phew.. wasn't that wonderful? 2nd chances?  My grandmother and I ended up laughing about it later and always had a special bond!

Printable Copy

Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 loaves


Ingredients: 
3 eggs
2 cups zucchini grated (no need to peel)
1 cup  vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 Cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Optional: chopped nuts, raisins or chocolate chips 


Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray 2 (9x5x3 inch ) loaf pans with non stick cooking spray.
  • In mixing bowl, beat eggs till light & foamy.  Add oil, sugar & vanilla, mixing well,
  • Stir in zucchini mix lightly but well. Add in flour, salt soda, cinnamon,  & baking powder to wet ingredients and mix well.  Add optional ingredients.
  • Pour batter evenly between prepared pans. 
  • Bake 1 hour or until tests done in the center with a toothpick.




5/9/20

Nana's Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad is a classic and easy recipe to make. Perfect for family gatherings, potlucks and barbecues, it is a crowd pleaser that you can make with ingredients you have on hand in your pantry and fridge.
 pasta salad recipe

My mother in law made the best pasta salad! She never measured anything. As my daughter says about her Nana" She's one of the only people on the planet with the "vinegar" tastebud. She just KNOWS when there is just too much vinegar or not enough, and how to pour just the right amount in to make it perfect. No measurements, just has that knack.
pasta salad recipe

 My husband  made his "mom's" pasta salad for Mother's day this year. He made this during our lock-down of the Corona Virus with ingredients we had on hand in our pantry and refrigerator. He came as close as possible to his mom's Italian Pasta Salad It was delish!

Feel free to substitute ingredients you have on hand or prefer yourself! (such as fresh, chopped broccoli, diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, garbanzo or kidney beans, etc.)

Here's the recipe for the version made today.

PRINT RECIPE


Italian Pasta Salad
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups elbow macaroni
½ cup diced pepperoni
½ cup diced salami
½ cup cubed cheese: Colby/ jack or mozzarella
½ cup sliced olives
¼ cup diced green peppers
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup (or to taste) Bottled  Italian Dressing.or homemade.(See below )

Honey Dijon Dressing
1 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
1/8 cup vinegar  (balsamic if you have it)
1/2 Tablespoon thyme
1  Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1  Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
Blend all together. Makes approx. 1 1/4 cups.  Store in refrigerator

Pasta Salad Directions: 
  • Cook Pasta according to package directions, drain and let set aside to cool.
  • In serving bowl, mix togethe prepared pepperoni, salami, cheese, olives, green peppers, and onions. 
  • Add in the cooled, cooked pasta to serving bowl of ingredients and stir gently to mx well. 
  • Stir in Dressing (bottled or homemade) a little at a time,stirring well to mix, till ingredients are coated well. 
  • Reserve some remainng dressing in a container and just before serving, stir salad, and if pasta has absorbed some of the dressing, stir a little more in.
  • Cover the pasta and store in the refrigerator till serving.



4/4/20

7 Shelf Stable Skillet Helper Kits You Can Make Yourself

Making Your Own "Hamburger Helper " style Skillet Dinner Kits that are in your pantry and ready to use for meals takes only a few minutes and with ingredients you probably have on hand already.
Make your Own Hamburger Helper Kits

This is a repost. 2 of my MOST popular posts on this blog are my Master Mix: Hamburger Helper Pantry Kits , and Master Mix: Hamburger Helper Pantry Kits 2.
where I shared quite a few versions of these wonderful kits!  They've always had steady popularity since i published them back in 2012,  but with the current pandemic around the world, they've grown so much I felt it best to combine them into one resource and freshen up the posts a bit.


Make Your Own Hamburger Helper Kits

 Fresh Proteins vs. Shelf Stable Proteins: You can assemble the kits, and then add just a few fresh ingredients to finish them off. One option if you want to make to make them more of an emergency preparedness category, OR if you want to look into vegeterian options, is to look into adding in packets of freeze dried meats such as beef cubes, crumbles, or chicken dices. OR soy crumbles also known as TVP. the tvp comes in many flavors such as plain, beef, taco, sausage seasoned adn more. I have these, and once hydrated, and cooked into my dinners such as tacos, spaghettis, sloppy joes, etc. and to be honest, when my children were small, they never even knew it wasn't ground beef. I love having tvp in my food storage! and now that my husband was furloughed during the pandemic and my hours have been cut in half (cross your fingers as of this publishing that I continue to work) it comes in so handy to fill in our meals! meat proteins are expensive to store and I love having this in our pantry! Just keep this separate from your kit, OR measure what you want, and store in a separate baggie or container within your kit, as it may need rehydrating first before being added to your skillet.

Soy TVP Crumbles 


Play with ingredients:  If you study the recipes you'll see that the premise is the same: A pasta or rice, a meat/ protein,  a sauce packet, some times a can of vegetables.  Once you get the hang of it, you can go "off script" so to speak and start making your own to suit your taste!

 I love that you can control the ingredients (whole wheat pasta, no msg, reduced salt, sugar, etc) as well as the cost. Yet you get the benefits of a quick and speedy dinner on those busy nights!  

What if you skipped the traditional rice in the "rice" recipes and now added in steamed cauliflower rice at the end? Or added zucchini or spaghetti squash at the end of the recipe instead of pasta in the "pasta" recipes?  So feel free to play around with your kits!

Let's get started:  The basic premise for all of them is to create the pantry kits by assembling the dry ingredients together. In a ziplock gallon size bag, add in the pasta or rice, the canned items and mix up the sauce packets in a sandwich bag, and put the sauce packets in the bag as well.  Staple the recipe to the outside  of the bag and store until ready to use.

Here are the printable recipes 


 Cheeseburger Helper Pantry Kit
Pantry Kit: (staple a copy of this recipe to outside of gallon bag)
In gallon   sized bag place: 
1 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni.  Set aside.
Sauce Packet: (mix the below list in a sandwich sized bag. Seal  & store in the gallon bag w/other ingredients)
: 3 Tbsp. dry milk
 1 Tbsp corn starch
2 teaspoons of taco seasoning
 1 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder and sugar

Fresh Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
3 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To Cook Cheeseburger Helper
Brown ground meat in a large skillet. Drain.  Add hot water, and pasta and sauce packet from pantry kit.  Bring mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer on low about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender.  In the last few minutes of cook time, stir in the cheese; cover the pan again. When the pasta is tender and the cheese is melted, turn off the heat and uncover. Let mixture stand uncovered, about 5 minutes . (this will help thicken the  skillet dinner.)


     Taco Beef Helper  Pantry Kit
Pantry Kit: (staple a copy of this recipe to outside of gallon bag)
In gallon   sized bag place:
One sealed (unopened)  can of diced tomatoes
 1 cup of uncooked  instant brown rice. 
 Set aside.

Sauce Packet: (mix the below list in a sandwich sized bag. Seal  & store in the gallon bag w/other ingredients)
 3 Tbsp. dry milk
 1 Tbsp corn starch
 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning
 1 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder and sugar

Fresh Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
2 ½ cups got water
1 cup brown rice
1 ½ cups  shredded cheese
Tortilla chips (optional)
To Cook Taco Beef Helper
 Brown Ground meat. Drain.  Add hot water and contents fro m the pantry kit. (canned tomatoes drained, rice and sauce packet).  Stir together and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked.  In the last few minutes of cook time, stir in cheese. Cover the pan for the final few minutes of cook time. When rice is done and cheeses is melted.  Let mixture stand uncovered for about 5 minutes before serving, this will help thicken the sauce. 



    Salisbury Beef Helper Pantry Kit
Pantry Kit: (staple a copy of this recipe to outside of gallon bag)
In gallon   sized bag place:
 1 ½ cups egg noodles.
Set aside

Sauce Packet: (mix the below list in a sandwich sized bag. Seal  & store in the gallon bag w/other ingredients)
2/3 cup dry milk
 1 Tbsp. corn starch
 1 tsp. each: onion powder, garlic powder, and sugar, ½ tsp. Pepper

Fresh Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
3 cups hot water
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

To Cook Salisbury Beef Helper
Brown Ground beef in a large skillet. Drain.  Add hot water, worcestershire sauce, and contents of pantry kit (noodles and sauce packet).  Cover and simmer on low about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Turn off the heat and uncover.  Let mixture stand for about 5 minutes. Mixture will thicken as it stands.




Chili Mac Helper Pantry Kit:
Pantry Kit: (staple a copy of this recipe to outside of gallon bag)
In gallon sized bag place: 
1 ½ cups elbow macaroni
1 can diced tomatoes
Optional: 1 6 oz. can tomatoe paste (if you like your chili mac abit more tomato saucy)
Sauce Packet: (mix the below list in a sandwich sized bag. Seal  & store in the gallon bag w/other ingredients)
⅔ cup powdered milk
1 Tablspoon Corn starch
1 Tablspoon Chili Powder (adjust to your preference of hotness)
1 teaspoon each: Onion Powder, garlic, salt and sugar

Fresh Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
3 cups hot hater
½ -1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese.

To Cook Chili Mac: 
Brown ground meat and drain grease.  Add hot water, macaroni, drained tomatoes, tomato paste  and sauce packet. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender.  In the last few minutes of cook time add the cheese, turn off heat and let mixture stand uncovered about 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it stands.





Lasagna Helper Pantry Kit:
Pantry Kit: (Store the following in a gallon sized ziplock bag and attach this recipe to the outside of bag)
1 ½ cups egg noodles 
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Sauce Packet: (mix the following in a sandwich baggie, seal and store in the gallon bag w/other ingredients) 
⅔ cup powdered milk
1 Tablspoon each: Corn Starch,  Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic, salt sugar

Fresh Ingredients:
1 1lb. ground beef or turkey
3 cups hot water
½-1 cup shredded cheese: jack or mozzarella

To Cook Lasagna Helper:
Brown ground meat and drain grease. Add hot water, noodles, tomatoes,tomato paste  and sauce packet. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender.  In the last few minutes of cook time, add the cheese, turn off the heat and let mixture stand uncovered about 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it stands.



Potato Stroganoff Pantry Kit:

Pantry Kit: (Store the following items in a gallon sized zip lock bag and attach this recipe to the outside)
1 can diced or sliced potatoes, Optional : one small can sliced mushrooms, 
Sauce Packet: (mix the following in a sandwich sized bag. Seal and place in gallon bag along w/ other ingredients)
⅔ cup powdered milk
1 Tablspoon: Corn starch
2 teaspoons: Garlic powder
1 teaspoon: onion powder, parsley, salt, sugar
½ teaspoon pepper

Fresh Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
3 cups hot water
½ cup sour cream  (optional)

To Make Potato Stroganoff:
  Brown meat and drain grease.  Add in potatoes, hot water, mushrooms and sauce packet.  Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat about 12 minutes  stirring occasionally until potatoes or tender. Turn off the heat. Stir in the sour cream (optional). Let stroganoff sit uncovered 5 minutes. sauce will thicken as it sits. 









Cheese Jambalaya Pantry Kit:

Pantry Kit: (Store the following items in a gallon sized zip lock bag and attach this recipe to the outside)
1 cup  instant rice
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes ( I used rotel tomatos for abit for “kick”)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Sauce Packet: (mix and store in a sandwich sized bag. Seal &  place in the gallon bag with other ingredients)
⅔ cup powdered milk
1 Tablespoon: cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon: basil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and sugar

Fresh Ingredients:
1 lb. meat: Choose from sliced kielbasa/sausage, or ground beef or sausage or even cubed chicken
3 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To make Jambalaya:

Brown meat, (or if using kielbasa slice kielbasa and place in the skillet) drain grease, add in the rice, tomatoes,tomato paste  water, and sauce packet. Bring to a boil. cover and simmer on low approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until rice is tender.  Uncover and turn off the heat. Stir in the cheese. Let Jambalaya sit for about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it sits.



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