Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caramel Brownies

I first made these with my friend Pam in high school. Not sure where we got the recipe from. The original calls for German chocolate cake mix, but I prefer Devil's Food. Up to you!

Once again, these are very good and very bad for you! I think they taste better and cut better the next day. And the day after that, if they last that long.


1 (18.25 oz) pkg. devil's food cake mix
3/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
14 oz. bag caramels, unwrapped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Mix well and spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan (batter will be thick). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine unwrapped caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring twice. Microwave for additional 30 second intervals until caramel is smooth; pour over cooled "crust."

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and top with tablespoonfuls of remaining batter (it will not entirely cover the top). Bake for another 15-18 minutes; cool. Cut with a wet knife, if necessary.

Oven Stew

This is currently cooking in my oven and it smells so good. Perfect meal for a cold day - prepare it in the early afternoon and let it bake all day until dinner time. Thanks, Mom, for the recipe!


2 lbs. stew meat, cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp. tapioca (not the pudding)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 can tomato soup + 3/4 can water
1/2 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Place meat in bottom of deep casserole dish. Layer veggies in order given starting with carrots. Sprinkle with tapioca, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour soup + water over top, cover, and bake for 5-6 hours stirring once or twice. Add frozen peas 30 minutes before end of cook time. Stir and serve hot.

If you are wondering about the tapioca, it's used as a thickening agent. You can find dry tapioca (the little pearls minus the pudding ingredients) in the baking aisle:

This is the brand I use because it's usually the only brand available:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Homemade Noodles/Dumplings

I tried out the recipe found here (or scroll to the bottom of this post). It made decent noodles. Ours were very interesting since I let my 5 year old do a lot of the work. We used a pizza cutter to cut out the noodles - much faster than a knife. And yes, she was supervised during the cutting!

If you decide to go the noodle route, do not do this:

Caralie and I just dumped them all on the cookie sheet and guess what? They all stuck together. So when drying the noodles (which is not really necessary), make sure you spread them apart.


3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup milk

In medium bowl, stir flour and salt. Add egg and milk and stir until dough forms. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out to desired thickness (thicker for dumplings, about 1/8" for noodles) and cut into desired shapes. Allow to dry as you prepare your broth/soup.

Drop into boiling soup and cook until tender. Time will depend on thickness of dumplings/noodles and how dry they were.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Broccoli Wild Rice Soup

I will probably be posting a lot of soup recipes in the future as it is finally beginning to be fall-like here in AZ and soup is one of my favorite dishes. This one is very thick and filling. When reheating it the next day, be sure to add some water or milk to thin it out a bit. I recently took this to our Relief Society's Super Saturday.


1 pkg. (6 oz) chicken and wild rice mix (ex: Uncle Ben's)
5 cups water
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 medium carrot, coarsely shredded
2 tsp. dried minced onion
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed

In a large saucepan, combine rice, contents of seasoning packet, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once. Stir in broccoli, carrot, and onion. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in soup and cream cheese. Cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Loaded Potato Soup

Threw this together last night. Caralie thinks it's "disgusting" but that's just because she doesn't like potatoes unless they are of the french fry variety. My father-in-law enjoyed it and I rather did too.

When reheating this soup the next day, add milk as the soup thickens significantly once stored in the fridge.


4 cups water or chicken broth
6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and diced*
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
8 oz (2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

In a medium sauce pot, combine water and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Do not drain.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, melt butter over med-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Add potatoes and water, onions, bacon, sour cream, pepper, and salt. Use a potato masher or whisk to blend soup but leave chunks of potato for texture.

*I usually only peel half of the potatoes because I like having some skins in the soup for texture.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe will feed a crowd. The pan in the picture is larger than a 13x9 baking dish, to give you an idea of how much it makes. Halve the recipe if you don't want lots of leftovers when feeding a small family. Use lowfat or fat free ingredients if that makes you feel better.


16 0z. elbow macaroni
16 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
24 oz. cottage cheese
16 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine cheddar, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan, milk, a dash or two of hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Fold in macaroni. Pour into large baking dish (this will barely fit into a 13x9) and bake for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

I highly recommend the hot sauce. I'm not asking you to make it spicy, just give it a little kick. It brings out the flavor of the cheeses. But know your hot sauce! If it's super strong, just put a little in.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread


1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 packets instant apple cinnamon oatmeal (single serving size)
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour*
1 apple, peeled and diced
oatmeal for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in applesauce, cinnamon, and packets of oatmeal. Stir in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the baking soda and flour. Fold in the apple. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with oatmeal, if desired.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

*I tried 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and it turned out great, if you want to health it up a bit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

I made this on Sunday and it turned out pretty good. The dumplings are more biscuity than noodley, so depending on how you like your dumplings, you may or may not like this recipe. If you have a good recipe or suggestion on making dumplings, please leave a comment and I'll publish it on this post with your first name to give you credit. As always, share the wisdom!


2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans (or approx. 3 cups) chicken broth (preferrably low sodium)
1 cup milk
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 med. carrots, peeled and chopped
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. dried basil (optional - I like it but others don't)
ground black pepper to taste.

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, combine soup, broth, and milk. Add onion, celery, carrots, chicken, basil (if using), and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and shred or chop into bite-size pieces; return to pot.

At this point the sauce is runny like a soup. If you like it thicker like a stew (like I do), you can thicken it with a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and water. Just don't make it too thick, because the dumplings will absorb much of the liquid.

To make dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup milk and vegetable oil; pour into the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Drop tablespoonfuls (I use a small cookie scoop) of the dumpling mixture into simmering chicken stew. Cover pot tightly and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 12 -15 minutes. Serve hot.

Pumpkin Spread

I found this recipe in our newspaper today. I think it sounds delish, so I thought I'd share.


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
15 oz. can solid-pack pumpkin
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin and spice and blend thoroughly.

Serve with sliced apples or pears, graham crackers, gingersnaps, or sugar cookies. Can be spread on bagels or toast. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes approximately 4 cups.

Taco Soup

This morning was a cool 69 degrees, so I decided to pretend that fall was here in Arizona and make one of my favorite soups:


4 cups water
3-4 cups diced, cooked chicken breast*
1 small onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white beans (ex: navy or great northern), rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)
1 (1.25 oz) packet taco seasoning (I prefer Old El Paso)

Combine all ingredients in large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Top servings with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

*Option: Cook 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the 4 cups of water until done and shred or dice. Return to cooking water and add remaining ingredients...