Friday, November 12, 2010

November: Stuffing and Pumpkin Dessert Cook-Off!

What a night we had a Kathy’s last night! We all left thoroughly edified, if not a little sick to our stomachs from all of the rich and glorious tributes to the autumn harvest, aka, sweet pumpkin treats!


But first, let’s crown our first ever Coal Creek Cook-Off Champion, Allison Bird, who won “Best Overall Recipe” with her pumpkin crumble. Here she is holding the gilded trophy of culinary superiority (thanks Kara for all the smelting, spraying and gluing).



And here is Allison’s prize-winning recipe--

Pumpkin Crumble



1 yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup for topping)

1/2 cup soft margarine

1 egg (beaten)

Mix together & press (with floured finger tips) into 9x13 cake pan


1 29oz can pumpkin (do not use fresh pumpkin)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup "packed" brown sugar

3 eggs (beaten)

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 tsp all-spice

Combine ingredients and mix well;  pour over crust


1 cup reserved cake mix

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup soft margarine

Mix together & sprinkle over top of filling (mixture will resemble course crumbs).

Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts -- sprinkle over topping.

Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour (test by inserting knife -- knife should come out clean).

Best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice-cream.


But Allison wasn’t the only winner—Sarah Gray won “Best Stuffing Recipe” with

Nielson Family Stuffing



16 c bread crumbs (I used a mix of whole grain bread, artisan ciabatta, and homemade cornbread; I used my food processor to turn it all into crumbs)
3 12-oz rolls of sausage
3 cubes butter
1 1/2 c chopped onion
3 c chopped celery
1 1/2 tsp sage
pepper to taste
1-1 1/2 c chicken stock
Brown sausage and drain fat. Put aside to cool. Sauté onions and celery in butter until tender. Place vegetable/butter sauté in a large bowl. Add bread crumbs and seasonings to the vegetables and mix together with a light hand. Add the sausage along with enough stock to moisten the stuffing (do not add too much liquid). Put stuffing in bread pans or other baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate. Bake stuffing at 325 for 30 minutes.


April Ulrich won “Best Pumpkin Dessert Recipe” with

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes




1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix

1 egg

8 tablespoons butter, melted


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 tablespoons butter, melted

1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh maple whipped cream:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream, very cold 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved 2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup 1 tablespoon Cinnamon

Combine the cream, vanilla seeds, cinnamon and maple syrup to taste, in a large chilled bowl, and whip until soft peaks form.


And Gabby Gorden won “Most Visually Appealing” with her

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle (sorry, Gabby, that I didn’t get a more representative picture)



And the there were loads of other great recipes—it was so hard to pick a winner! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Pumpkin Muffins



Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Oat Bars



Pecan Stuffing



Traditional Pumpkin Pie



Frosted Pumpkin Cake



Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Crust




1/2 c melted butter
1/4 C oats
1 1/2-2 C coarsely chopped pecans
3 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon


3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

Pulse nuts, oats and spices in food processoe. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie




2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup canned pumpkin

2/3 cup milk

1 unbaked deep-dish pastry shell (9 inches)


2 eggs

1/2 cup dark corn syrup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon Spice Islands®, All Natural, No Corn Syrup Added, Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup pecan halves


In a bowl, beat eggs, sugars, flour, pie spice and salt until smooth. Mix in pumpkin. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into pastry shell.

Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° and bake 15 minutes longer.

For pecan topping, beat eggs in a bowl until foamy. Add corn syrup, brown sugar, molasses, flour, vanilla and salt. Pour over filling. Sprinkle with chopped pecans; cover with pecan halves.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Store in the refrigerator. 

And here are some candid shots from our fun evening. See you at the cookie exchange and Relief Society Christmas Activity on Dec. 1 at Sherrill William’s house.










Monday, November 1, 2010

October: Halloween Treats!

What a lot of delicious treats we enjoyed at the October cooking club meeting. Happy Halloween to everyone, and see you on Nov. 11th for the first Cook-off! Bring your best stuffing or pumpkin dessert recipe and battle for the trophy of culinary excellence at 7:30 at Jarrie John’s house. If you don’t feel like cooking, come as a judge and taster.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies



3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cloves

2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


3 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.

Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)

Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

Carrot-Coconut Muffins



1 cake mix (I used yellow)
16 ounces fresh carrot puree (or carrot baby food)
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup sweetened, shredded, toasted coconut
preheat oven 400 degrees
spray muffin trays with canola cooking spray
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stir to combine throughly, spoon batter into muffin cups 2/3 full
bake 18-20 min or until golden brown. Serve with warm plain, or with butter.... or cool and frost /decorate.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies



Halloween cupcakes with festive wrappers and toppers


Halloween cupcakes

Simply make your favorite cupcake and frosting recipe.  Download wrappers and toppers from:

The Paper Cupcake.  Eat and enjoy!




Halloween Rice Crispy Treats

New Image

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cooking club update

The Coal Creek cooking club is back on after a summer hiatus, and we have some fun new themes and a great new tradition we'd like to start: cook-offs! Every few months our theme will be a single dish or ingredient for which the sisters can each bring their very favorite recipe and battle for the title of "BEST..." We'll need plenty of delicious submissions and lots of eager tasters, and the winner(s) will receive a prize. Our first cook-off will be in November, where the sisters will pit their Thanksgiving stuffing and pumpkin dessert recipes against one another. In 2011 look forward to a Jell-o cook-off and a Salsa competition!

September: Breakfast

Looking for something special to serve your family for breakfast this Conference weekend? Or do you have a tradition of having breakfast for dinner once a month and you need some inspiration? The Coal Creek sisters have a few great ideas.

Bella Torta


Sherril made this amazing and elaborate egg dish for us. She’s thinking that next time she’ll add pancetta to the egg layer.

4 small boxes chopped spinach

12 eggs

4 eggs

1 C milk

2 Tbs butter

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 1/2 C chopped sundried tomatoes (pat off excess oil)

1/4 lb thinly sliced provolone cheese

24 marinated artichoke hearts

1 C bread crumbs

1/3 C cream or half and half

1/3 C pine nuts

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

Cook, cool and drain chopped spinach. Mix with 4 beaten eggs, bread crumbs, nutmeg, cream and pine nuts; set aside.

Melt 2 Tbs butter in skillet, loosely scramble 12 eggs with milk, italian seasoning and salt. Spread eggs in bottom of 9x13 in. baking dish. Layer tomatoes over eggs, top with provolone, then spread spinach mixture on top of cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper. Place artichoke hearts evenly across top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes in convection oven, or at 350 for 25-30 minutes in a standard oven. Cool 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Here’s how it looks on the inside:



Homemade Pop Tarts

Sarah made these from a recipe she found on the blog

There’s a lot of fun to be had imagining the various fillings that kids and adults would enjoy.


2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour (Sarah used 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

See below for filling ideas/recipes

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack. Mix together a tablespoon of milk, a little vanilla and some powdered sugar to make a glaze. Transfer it to a ziplock bag, snip off the end and decorate the pop tarts with curlicues and stripes.

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool.

Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste. Sarah also did peanut butter and jelly.


Pecan Sticky Buns

Tara made these amazing and rich breakfast buns for us to try—they are incredibly easy to make.


1/2 cup chopped pecans
Rhodes frozen dinner rolls (Target or Kings - I think they came in bags of 18 or so)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 (1.5) tsp cinnamon
1 small package butterscotch pudding (cook and serve; NOT instant)

1. Bring butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to a boil.
2. Spray bottom of 9x9 pan with Pam and lightly flour.
3. Cover bottom of pan with pecans. (Can skip this step if you want to leave out pecans)
4. Roll frozen rolls in pudding powder and place in pan with sides almost touching.  (I sprinkled extra pudding powder over the rolls once they were all in the pan) 
5. Pour hot caramel mixture over and between rolls.
6. Immediately cover with saran wrap which has been sprayed with Pam.
7. Leave out overnight.
8. Bake 30 minutes at 350 - check at about 25 minutes, mine were done a couple minutes early for some reason.  Make sure you take saran wrap off before you bake!  (We've made this mistake before!)
9. Let set for 10 minutes and tip out onto serving platter so pecans are on top.


Breakfast smoothies

Joanna made these refreshing and delicious smoothies for everyone to share.

Peach Orange Smoothie


3/4 C frozen peach pieces

1 orange, peeled and quartered

1 tsp honey

1/4 C water

1 C ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth

Peach Coconut Smoothie


1 C sliced peaches

2 Tbs coconut milk

1/2 C pineapple chunks

1/4 C milk

3/4 C ice cubes

1/4 C water

Blend all ingredients until smooth


Easy Coffee Cake

Joanna also made this coffee cake, which is a snap to whip up with a box of cake mix




Pink Pancakes

Raechel loves serving these beet-infused pancakes to her kids, who are none the wiser to their healthful qualities.


(Recipe from Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jessica Seinfield)

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup *beet puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pancake mix
1/4 grated apple
nonstick cooking spray
1TB cooking oil (canola or veg)
pure maple syrup or fruit for serving

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the water, ricotta, beet puree,
vanilla and cinnamon and blend. Dump the mixture into a medium bowl,
add the pancake mix and apple, and stir until just combined. Do NOT
over mix-the batter will be slightly lumpy.

2. Coat a griddle or large nonstcik skillet with cooking spray and set it
over med-high heat. When hot, add the oil. Spoon the batter onto the
griddle or skillet, using about 1/4 cup batter for eat pancake. Cook the
pancakes until bubbles form on top and the batter is set, 1-2 minutes.
Then flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until golden brown on
the other side, 2-3 minutes. Serve warm, with syrup or fruit.

*To make the beet puree:
Prep: Leave them whole, trim any stems to one inch) and unpeeled.
Cook:Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for about 1 hour (they're done when
they can be pierced with a sharp knife)
Puree: After peeling, place in a blender or food processor for about 2 minutes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

May: Homemade

We all know that provident living includes culinary independence—being able to feed your family frugally, whether from food storage items or by saving money with homemade staples. Tonight the cooking club sisters shared their attempts at homemade favorites, not only to face the pioneer challenge head on, but to make healthier food for their families and avoid all of the packaging and waste that comes along with store bought foodstuffs. Gabby also brought a fantastic book called “Homemade,” a Reader’s Digest compilation with recipes for homemade kitchen basics as well as cleaning products, cosmetics, pet foods and gardening items. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon:

Enjoy the recipes, and join us on June 10th at Gabby Gordon’s house at 7:30 for SUMMER SALADS!





Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chopped vegetables with olive oil and salt. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake 20-30 minutes, stirring partway through. If you have two cookie sheets (Shelli likes to do one sheet of broccoli and one sheet of cauliflower), switch their place halfway through the cooking time.





2 quarts whole milk

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 In a large pot, bring the milk, yogurt, heavy cream (if using), vinegar, and salt to a boil. Very gently boil for one to two minutes, until the milk is curdled.

2 Meanwhile, line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth (I just use a clean kitchen towel) and set it over a deep bowl.

3 Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid. Makes 2 cups.

To serve with crackers: drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

To serve with cookies or use in cannoli or another dessert, sweeten with sugar, add mini chocolate chips if desired.

You could also, of course, use it in the traditional ricotta-ways, like in lasagna or ravioli, but it’s so unbelievably delicious homemade that it almost seems a shame not to just eat it with a spoon.




1/2 pound nappa cabbage (chopped very finely)
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 pound green onion (chopped finely)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
40-50 gyoza wrappers (round wonton wrappers)
small bowl of water for moistening edges of wrappers
2 tablespoons safflower oil or other cooking oil

If cabbage is wet place in kitchen towel and squeeze firmly to get out as much of the moisture as possible. Place in large bowl. Add the pork, ginger, garlic, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper, being careful no to overdo the salt since the soy sauce is salty. Mix together until thoroughly blended.

To fill the dumplings, place a wonton wrapper on your work surface (making sure to keep the remaining wrappers covered with a damp cloth or they will dry out). place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center, being careful not to allow the filling to touch the edges or they might not seal. Using your finger moisten the edges of the wrapper with a little of the water. Fold the wrapper in half across the filling and pinch together at the center of the edge. Starting at one open end, make pleats to gather the dough around the filling. Pinch along the top of the dumpling to seal the pleated edges tightly.

Set the dumpling, sealed side up, flattening the bottom slightly, on a lightly floured cookie sheet. Keep covered with a damp towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil to the pan, making sure there is enough to cover the bottom. Add the dumplings, sealed side up, and cook until the bottoms are brown. Add 1/2 cup of water carefully. Cover immediately. Steam until the dumplings are firm and fully cooked, or until the liquid has evaporated (you will hear a popping sound). If the dumplings are frozen when you cook them do not brown first just add water + 2 tablespoons extra then cover immediately and cook till water is evaporated then let them cook for a min or two till the bottoms are browned.

Soy Ginger dipping sauce:
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup water
fresh grated ginger
garnish with chopped green onion





1 C flour

1 1/4 C whole wheat flour

5 Tbs sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3 Tbs chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 vegetable shortening

2 Tbs honey

1 Tbs molasses

1/4 C water

1 tsp vanilla extract


1. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. Mix honey, molasses, water, and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add gradually to the dry ingredients, stirring with a fork. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the center. Divide the dough in half and let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

4. Spread wax paper over work surface, lightly sprinkle with whole wheat flour. Place half of dough on paper, sprinkle with flour, cover with another sheet of wax paper and roll the dough out to form a 7 x 15-inch rectangle.

5. Peel off the top sheet of wax paper, prick dough with a fork in dotted lines 1/2- to 1-in intervals. Use a pizza cutter to separate dough into 2 1/2-inch squares. Using a spatula, transfer the dough to a baking sheet. Gather dough and reroll until all is used.

6. Bake until crackers are lightly browned on the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 month.

HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE SYRUP (pictured on the graham cracker above)

1 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 dash salt

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Stir together.

2. Boil 2-5 minutes, stirring rapidly, until sauce begins to thicken.

3. This must be stored in the fridge.




3/4 C unsweetened apple juice or cider

1/3 C firmly packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

3 lbs apples, peeled, quartered, and cored

1. In a food processor or blender combine juice, sugar and spices until well blended. Add apple quarters a few at a time until all apples are pureed.

2. Pour the mixture in a large saucepan. Over medium high heat, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook until the mixture is thickened, and 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer.

3. Spoon apple butter into two widemouthed, warm, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/2-in space between lid. Use hot water bath method to seal. If you don’t can the butter, it will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks or in the freezer for a year.




One of the challenges of homemade ice cream sandwiches is that the cookies can get too hard when frozen. Using gluten-free flour keeps them soft enough to eat easily in ice cream sandwich form.

1 C butter, softened

1 C sugar

1 C brown sugar

2 eggs

1 Tbs vanilla

3 C Pamela’s Gluten-free flour mix (Kathy mixed hers with some coconut flour too)

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

chocolate chips

Heath toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into wet until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits. Place 1 to 1-1/2-in balls on a cookie sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a rack

When cookies are cool, make sandwiches with your favorite ice cream that you’ve left soften on the counter slightly.





Double Chocolate Fudge

1-12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-11 1/2 oz package milk chocolate chips
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 TB cream or milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c chopped walnuts (optional)

In saucepan, over low heat, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 TBSP cream and 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Spread evenly into foil-lined 9-inch square pan. In another saucepan, over low heat, melt milk chocolate chips with remaining sweetened condensed milk, 1 TBSP cream and 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat; stir in remaining walnuts. Spread over fudge in pan. chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Makes about 2 1/2 pounds.


White Chocolate-Cherry Almond Fudge

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk (whole)
1/2 stick (1/4 c) butter
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Line a 8" square pan with foil; grease foil.
Mix sugar and milk in a heavy 3 quart saucepan. Add butter and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Without stirring, boil vigorously 5 min. Remove from heat. Add chips and vanilla. Stir, then whisk until chips melt and mixture is smooth. Stir in almonds and cherries; spread in prepared pan. Refrigerate 6 hours until firm. Invert pan, peel off foil, invert fudge and cut in 1" squares.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April: Italian Cuisine

This was one of those cooking club meetings where it was really hard not to eat just a little too much; everything was so succulent! Thanks, Kathy, for hosting, and thanks to everyone for all of the delicious food. Join us next month for “Homemade” cooking. Take a look in your pantry or refrigerator and identify something that you buy regularly at the grocery store: oreos? roast chicken? mac n’ cheese? yogurt? cream of chicken soup? Try a homemade version of one of these staples for the May. 13th meeting.




Fresh tomatoes and basil


Olive Oil (the best you have)

Salt & Pepper

Coarsely chop the tomatos and basil. Mince garlic cloves.

Just enough olive oil to help the basil stick to the tomatos

(you don't want it really oily). Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with crackers, toasted slices of baguette or fresh mozzarella.



Sicilian Cassata Cake


For the marzipan

9 ounces (250 g) blanched peeled almonds

1 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2-4 Tbs water

a few drops of green food coloring

cornstarch or potato starch for dusting the counter

For the sponge cake

3/4 C granulated sugar

1 1/4 C flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

6 eggs, room temperature, separated

minced zest of 1 lemon

A pinch of salt

For the apricot glaze

1/2 C apricot preserves

1/4 C water

1 tsp rum extract

For the ricotta filling

1 1/8 pounds (500 g) ricotta

1/2 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 oz. chopped candied fruit (I used maraschino cherries, but next time will try a mixture of candied lemon peel and cherries)

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated

First stop: marzipan, because it needs to chill in the refrigerator before you roll it out. Place the almonds in your food processor and process until reduced to a fine powder. Blend briefly with the powdered sugar, then add the almond extract, food coloring, and water, little by little, until the mixture just comes together. Turn the almond paste out onto a cornstarch dusted counter (put more cornstarch on your hands, cause this stuff is STI-CKY) and knead a few times until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until you’re ready to roll it out.

Next: start making the sponge cake. Put the yolks in the food processor with the sugar and blend 4-5 minutes until pale in color and fluffy. Sift in the flour and baking soda, then add the minced lemon zest, and pulse until combined.

In a separate (clean, grease-free) bowl start whipping the egg whites on low speed. When they get frothy, add the pinch of salt and turn the mixer to high. Beat whites until they form stiff peaks (this should take about 5-6 minutes).

Scoop about a cup of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and pulse until combined; this will lighten the yolk mixture and make it easier to combine the two. Transfer the yolk mixture to the bowl with the whites and begin gently, gently folding the batter over with a rubber spatula until it all comes together.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9x9 in square pan and bake at 360 degrees for 30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling you can prepare the glaze: whisk together the apricot preserves, water and rum extract. And now you can get to the business of rolling out your marzipan. Dust your counter, hands and rolling pin with cornstarch.

Line a 9-in loaf pan with plastic wrap. Roll the marzipan into a large rectangle. Run a spatula under the marzipan to loosen it, then transfer it gently to the loaf pan. This is heavier and not as cohesive as fondant, so you have to make sure that you get the sheet to sink down into the pan as quickly as possibly, lest the sides fall off. Now trim the edges and patch up any holes.

Cover this with a damp kitchen towel while you move to the next step, making the ricotta filling: place the ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla in the food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and stir in the grated dark chocolate and candied fruit.

Once the cake is cooled, transfer it to a large cutting board; slice it in half to form two rectangles, then slice those rectangles in half lengthwise. Brush with the apricot mixture.

Spread about 3/4 C of the ricotta filling on the bottom and sides of the marzipan in the pan. Press a rectangle of sponge cake on top. Smother the rectangle with ricotta cream and top with another layer of cake. Continue. End with the last layer of cake. Cover with plastic wrap and weigh the cake down with heavy books or a brick or whatever you have lying around. Chill the cake like this in the fridge for 24 hours before serving. When you unmold the cake you can make pretty decorations on top with powdered sugar or royal icing.

You can see detailed instructions of this whole process with pictures on Sarah’s food blog.


Spaghetti Sauce


1/2 lb bacon

2 1/2 lb ground beef

2 c onion chopped

1 c bell peppers

6 cloves of garlic chopped

3 large cans of tomatoes

3 small cans of tomato paste

1 c red cooking wine

4 tbsp oregano

4 tbsp basil

1 1/2 c water

1/2 c parsley chopped

2 tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

brown sugar to taste

This will make 6-8 quarts so make sure you use a big stock pot.

Brown meats, drain fat and remove meat from pan

Cook onions, peppers, garlic

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 3 hours (I usually simmer all day if I can)

I then laddle into plastic containers and freeze.



Gnocchi with Walnut Sauce


1 C walnut pieces of halves

1 Tbs bread crumbs (I used Italian-style)

3 Tbl olive or walnut oil

3 Tbl fresh chopped Italian parsley

1/4 C butter, melted

2 Tbs cream (I used milk and didn’t notice a difference)

Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth (3-4 minutes). Prepare gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and toss with walnut sauce. Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese.




Pillsbury Meatball Bubble Biscuits


1 can (12 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk or flaky biscuits

10 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs (about 5 oz), thawed, each cut in half

2 sticks (1 oz each) string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1cup marinara sauce, heated


Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Press each biscuit layer into 3-inch round.

Place 1 meatball half, cut side up, and 1 string cheese piece in center of each dough round. Wrap dough around meatball and cheese, pressing edges to seal. In ungreased 8- or 9-inch round cake pan, place seam side down in single layer.

Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Serve warm biscuits with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Friday, March 12, 2010

March: Mexican/Latin American Cuisine

Thanks to Rachael Peterson for hosting our March cooking club meeting, featuring Mexican and Latin American dishes. Thanks for all the delicious food, ladies!

Sweet Pork Enchiladas





Southwestern Egg Rolls (from Chili’s Restaurant)


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
5 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 quart oil for deep frying

1. Rub 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over chicken breast. In a medium
saucepan over medium heat, cook chicken approximately 5 minutes
per side, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan
over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and
stir 5 minutes, until tender.
3. Dice chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix
in corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin,
chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes,
until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in
Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.
4. Wrap tortillas with a clean, lightly moist cloth. Microwave on
high approximately 1 minute, or until hot and pliable.
5. Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each tortilla. Fold ends of
tortillas, then roll tightly around mixture. Secure with
toothpicks. Arrange in a medium dish, cover with plastic, and
place in the freezer. Freeze at least 4 hours.
6. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees
F (190 degrees C). Deep fry frozen, stuffed tortillas 10 minutes
each, or until dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels before
serving. or bake at 350 for 30 min.

Dip in cilanto cream sauce:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 (7 oz) can tomatillo salsa
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1  tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine cream cheese,sour cream, salsa, pepper, celery salt, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Southwestern Chicken Stacks


Whip this up in the slow cooker and serve over tortilla chips or wrap in a flour tortilla with guacamole, sour cream, etc.

2 frozen chicken breasts
10oz frozen corn
1 can of black beans drained
1 jar green salsa

Combine all ingredients is crockpot, cook on low for 6 hrs. Shred chicken and mix all ingredients. Serve with chips, cheese, etc.

Champurrado: Thick Mexican Hot Chocolate


1/4 cup masa harina

3 1/2 cups cold water

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups of milk

1 (3-ounce) tablet sweetened Mexican chocolate, flavored with cinnamon

In a small mixing bowl combine the masa harina with 1/2 cup of water mixing by hand to form a paste. In medium saucepan add the paste and the remaining 3 cups of water. Bring to boil stirring constantly. Cook slowly for 20 minutes, the mixture will thicken. While this mixture is simmering, in another saucepan add the milk and bring to a boil. Add the chocolate and cook for about 10 minutes until the chocolate has completely dissolved. Pour the chocolate into the masa harina mixture stirring until well incorporated. With a milinillo or an eggbeater, whisk until a foam forms on top, about 3 minutes. Serve in a large bowl spooning some of the foam on top.

Black Bean Salsa


1 can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

2 large tomatoes, diced

1 large avacados, diced (optional)

1 small bunch green onions, chopped

1 medium bunch cilantro, chopped

1 package Good Seasons Italian

dressing mix (prepared as directed)


Mix first six ingredients together. Add prepared Italian dressing.

Add salt to taste. Enjoy!


Tres Leches Cake



    6 eggs, separated

    2 cups sugar

    2 cups flour

    2 tsp. baking powder

    ½ cup whole milk (or any)

    1 tsp. vanilla

    Cream Topping

    1 (14 oz.) can evaporated milk

    1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

    1 cup heavy cream

           Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 9x13.  Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add sugar gradually (should have stiff peaks).  Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each.  Sift flour and baking powder together and add to egg mixture, alternating with milk.  Do quickly so batter does not lose volume.  Add vanilla.  Bake until golden (25 minutes).

    In a blender combine cream topping ingredients.  Blend on high.  Remove cake and while warm poke holes ¾ way down in cake.  Pour cream topping over cake.  Let cake sit and cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Frost cake with whipping cream and serve with strawberries (or any fruit).




Chorizo Quiche


1 ½ cups all purpose flour (I used Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix)

1/4 tsp. salt ( I did not use salt)

8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed ( I used 4 tbs. butter and 4 tbs. coconut oil)

6 ounces raw chorizo, casing removed

5 large eggs

½ cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 ½ cups grated Emmenthal cheese (Swiss), about 6 ounces

1 cup diced boiled potatoes


Mix flour and salt in food processor. Add the butter and pulse to form a coarse meal. With the motor running, add 5-6 tbs. cold water in a slow stream, processing until the dough forms a ball. Spread in pie pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook chorizo. Whisk eggs, milk and cream in a large bowl. Mix in the chorizo, cheese and potato. Pour mixture into the crust. Bake for 10 minutes on 357 degrees. Then turn oven to 325 degrees and bake until center is done, about 35-40 minutes approximately.

Tinga Poblana (an typical dish from Oaxaca)


8 oz. pork

1 lb flank steak

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt

1 lb chorizo

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

8 oz. tomatillos, thinly sliced

1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used 2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained)

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp marjoram

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 C adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilies

rice and/or tortillas to serve, sliced chipotle chilies and diced avocado to garnish


The original recipe said to cube the pork and beef and simmer it for one hour, then shred it; I found this to be very difficult (shredding cubes is a challenge). Instead I’m recommending that you put the pork and beef in the slow cooker with the bay leaves, crushed garlic and salt, and enough water to cover, and that you cook them for 8-10 hours. Remove meat from broth (reserve broth), shred and set aside.

In the meantime sauté the chorizo until browned, then remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside with the shredded beef and pork. Sauté the onion and garlic in the chorizo fat until transparent. Add the tomatillos and sauté 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spices and adobo sauce and let simmer 10 minutes. Finally add the chorizo, shredded meats, and 1 cup of the reserved broth, and simmer 15 minutes. If the mixture seems too thick, add more broth. Serve the tinga over rice, and/or with tortillas. Garnish with diced avocados and sliced chipotle peppers.


Croquetas de Jamon


1/2 cup chicken broth

8 tbsp butter

3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

dash of ground pepper

1/2 cup very finely hand-minced ham

2 eggs, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water

bread crumbs for coating

olive oil for frying

This croquetas de jamon recipe makes about 6 servings as an appetizer.

Tip: Make sure that the ham if very finely minced, so it can be mixed thoroughly with the dough (i used my food processor).

Heat the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and the chicken broth, stirring without stopping. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

Add the minced ham and continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes on low heat, continuing to stir. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours until mixture is cold. If you are preparing a day or so ahead, you can cover the mixture tightly and keep refrigerated until you are ready to fry the croquettes.

Pour the bread crumbs into a small, wide bowl. Beat the eggs with water in a small, wide bowl. Cover your hands in flour, then divide the mixture into 1-inch balls and set on a plate so that they are not touching.

Pour enough olive oil in a medium to large frying pan to cover 1/2 inch deep. Heat the olive oil for frying to about 355F degrees. Dip the croquetas in the beaten egg and coat with crumbs by rolling in bowl (I had better luck doing a crumb coating, then the egg, then another crumb coating). Place the croquetas in the hot oil and fry quickly, turning several times, until golden. Remove the croquetas with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve immediately.

If croquetas will not be served immediately, place in a warm oven (200 degrees) for up to 30 minutes.

If you prefer, you can use a deep-fryer to fry the croquetas. Be sure not to over-cook them.