Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Candy Corn Cookies



I forgot about these until I downloaded the pictures from my camera. I tried two different methods for making candy corn cookies - layering the dough and then cutting slices and then triangles - and this method (which I prefer). Just make sure you put the colors in the right order.... oops :)


-Sugar and Spice and Everything Iced

Divide your favorite sugar cookie dough and color - you'll want the majority of the dough yellow (not orange like above! :), then orange and then just a bit for the white.

Roll out your yellow dough and use bowls or large cookie cutters to cut your outside ring, and remove the center circle. Then roll and cut a ring of orange, remove that center circle and place inside the yellow ring. Then roll and cut a circle of white to fit in the middle. Gently press the edges together and score your cookies with a bench scraper or pizza cutter (be careful if you're using a Silpat).

I left mine together as a big circle, so it took quite a bit longer than my normal sugar cookies to bake. Once they come out of the oven, cut through the lines again and let the cookies cool completely before separating.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lemon Buddies



I saw these on Pinterest and had to try them- yummy!! I'm not sure the butter is necessary - next time I'm going to try it without.

-Chex

9          cups Rice Chex® cereal
1 1/4  cups white vanilla baking chips
1/4     cup butter or margarine
4          teaspoons grated lemon peel (I didn't use this much)
2          tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2          cups powdered sugar

Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; gently shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage


I was assigned to bring a main dish to our Halloween recipe exchange in October - I decided mummy dogs wouldn't be appropriate for such a nice girl's night out.... lol
So I did some research and found this recipe. I must say it was pretty delicious - it might fool your taste buds into thinking it's a curry!
P.S. Even the pumpkin hater in our family thought it was good! :)
-Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock)
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
Pumpernickel or whole grain bread, as an accompaniment

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine (or chicken stock) by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cream Cheese Spreads

As part of Paige's Baptism brunch, I served mini bagels with a couple different flavored cream cheeses. These aren't really exact recipes - add or subtract to taste.


Sweet Orange
4 oz. softened cream cheese
zest of 1/2 orange
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar - more or less to taste
dash of salt

Mix well and chill for several hours.

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil
4 oz. softened cream cheese
3 or 4 sun-dried tomatoes(that have been packed in olive oil), finely chopped
4 or so fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Couple dashes of garlic salt

Mix well and chill for several hours.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Caramelized Apple Upside-Down Cake


A moist cake and caramelized apples - yummy!

-Shar's Kitchen newsletter/ad, slightly modified

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Toss apples with lemon juice, vanilla, and spices and set aside.

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. butter rum oil (I used some imitation rum extract)
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

In a 10" cast iron skillet melt 1/4 cup butter over low heat add butter rum oil. Sprinkle with brown sugar and then pecans. Arrange apples over the top of the brown sugar. Set aside.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.  shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups pastry flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

In a medium bowl with the hand mixer cream together the butter, shortening, and granulated sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add milk, sour cream, and vanilla, beat just until blended. in a separate bowl combine  flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add to the butter mixture beat until just blended. Spread the batter over the apples in the skillet.

Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes then run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen. Invert cake onto a serving plate.

Quick Caramel Corn



There's nothing like Grandma Carling's soft caramel corn with freshly shelled pecans from their trees! We made this twice while my Mom and Aunt Beth were here visiting. Yum!
This is half the original recipe and still makes a big bowl.


-Grandma Carling

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Karo
1 cube margarine (or butter)

Put ingredients in pan and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. This will be sticky and is good eaten right away hot. if you cook it for 3 minutes it is harder and less sticky. Pour syrup over large pan of popped corn and pecans, if desired.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Canadian Buttermilk Honey Rolls



I know... another roll recipe, but how do I know I haven't missed out on a really fabulous one because I'm stuck on my old standbys? :) This one is slightly different from the other buttermilk rolls I posted - equally delicious, but this one doesn't call for eggs and I liked the honey as the sweetener. I've had this recipe kicking around for about 5 years now - it was time to try it! The recipe calls for rolling the dough and cutting it with a biscuit cutter, but I went ahead and shaped them as I normally do. Soft and yummy in less than an hour and a half!


-Book of Bread

2 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp coarse salt or 1 tsp table salt
2 Tbsp butter or lard
1/4 tsp baking soda
4-4 1/2 cups white flour, preferably unbleached
Melted butter

Makes 20 large rolls

Heat the buttermilk to lukewarm. Pour 1/3 cup of it into a medium size bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand until the yeast is dissolved and starts to swell.

Meanwhile melt the honey, salt, and butter or lard in the rest of the buttermilk. Add the baking soda and let cool to lukewarm, then mix in with the yeast. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until smooth and resilient; the dough should not be sticky, so add a little more flour if necessary. Roll the dough out to 3/4" thickness and with a floured cutter or glass 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out circles and place on a greased baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Cover with a porous towel and let rise until double in bulk- about 1 hour.

Brush tops generously with melted butter and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven 20 minutes; the rolls will be golden-topped puffy cushions and should be eaten warm.

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds



These are delicious and easy to make!


-The Sister's Cafe

1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups almonds

Preheat oven to 250. Cover a 13x17" baking sheet with parchment paper (or Silpat), or grease well. In small bowl combine sugar, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large bowl slightly beat the egg white. Add vanilla and beat until very frothy, but not stiff. Add the almonds and stir until well coated. Add the cinnamon mixture and toss until evenly coated. Spread evenly on the prepared pan. Bake for one hour, stirring half way through. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vanilla 'Hunny' Shake

At the beginning of summer, I had the kids go through the most recent Family Fun magazines and pick the activities and recipes they would like to try. This was one of the recipes, and we all enjoyed the subtle honey and cinnamon flavors.

-Family Fun, June/July 2011

Makes about two 8oz servings.

1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp. honey
Pinch of cinnamon

Blend until all ingredients are combined. Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dijon-Rosemary Steak Kabobs



We had these kabobs for dinner at a friend's house and they were amazing! I made them for dinner tonight and although I need to fine-tune the grilling, they were really flavorful and delicious. Yay for an easy summer meal. This recipe was perfect for our young family, but you might need to increase it to accommodate your family.

-Food Network via Jessica Winger

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, stemmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
cherry tomatoes
onion, cut into 1 inch squares

Whisk together all of the ingredients (except the steak) in a bowl. Toss the steak in the mixture until evenly coated. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Soak bamboo skewers for at least one hour to prevent burning on the grill.

Assemble kabobs and grill directly over heat source for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning 1/4 rotation every 2 to 3 minutes, or until the meat is cooked throughout.

Orzo with Parmesan and Basil


I thought I'd branch out and try a different side dish and tried this recipe from allrecipes.com. It was yummy and a great way to use some of the basil from our garden!



2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup uncooked Orzo pasta
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt, pepper (and garlic salt), to taste
Fresh basil sprigs for garnish

Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned. 

Stir in chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.

Mix in Parmesan cheese and basil. season with salt and pepper (and garlic salt). Transfer to shallow bowl. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Strawberries


Fun and festive! Next time I think I'll use blue sprinkles - I wasn't too fond of the sanding sugar texture. 

-Family Fun

Strawberries
White dipping chocolate or white chips
Blue tinted sanding sugar or sprinkles

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Homemade Magic Shell



When I found this recipe I thought it was too good to be true. We love the Magic Shell topping for ice cream, but I didn't really love the fact that it was probably made of wax. If you're in the same boat, here's the solution! This one is a MAJOR hit with our family. I will say that it tastes a lot like an Almond Joy because of the coconut oil. We love Almond Joys, so this is actually a plus for us. I got an extra-virgin coconut oil at the health store, because I didn't know they carried it in the normal grocery store. I'm wondering if just a 'regular' coconut oil would make a difference in the coconutty taste. In any case, coconut oil is very healthy for you, so maybe in a small way your ice cream can be healthy... :)


-AlphaMom

1 1/4 Cups Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (measured when solid)



Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave about 1 minute (depending on your microwave). Allow to sit a few minutes to allow the heat of the oil to melt the chocolate chips and then stir until smooth. It will be runny.


Store in a squeeze bottle or a mason jar. (I store mine in the cupboard. If it's colder than 76 degrees in your house then it will solidify, so you'll need to heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds.)

Berry Syrup

I usually make this syrup when we have baked french toast, but it's good on anything! 


1 package mixed frozen berries (The Walmart brand is good)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Bring to boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat and simmer until thickened.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lemon Squares

Growing up, we often ate an early Sunday supper and evenings were often reserved for popcorn and a treat. This is one of the recipes that I remember making quite often. You can certainly use bottled lemon juice for this recipe, but fresh lemons make all the difference!

-Betty Crocker

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel, if desired
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350. Mix flour, butter and powdered sugar. Press in ungreased square pan 8"x8" or 9"x9", building up 1/2" edges. Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, baking powder, salt, and eggs with electric mixer for high speed for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center. Cool; dust with powdered sugar. Cut into about 1 1/2" squares.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Magleby's Rolls


Yum! These are perfect for a Sunday dinner - easy and delicious. I used Johnny's Garlic Seasoning from Costco to sprinkle on the top - so good!

-Your Homebased Mom

Frozen dinner rolls (Rhodes)
Mayonnaise (amount depends on number of rolls you are making)
Melted Butter
Freshly shredded Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Powder (or Johnny's seasoning)
Dried Parsley (or Johnny's seasoning)

Place mayo in a bowl, melted butter in a bowl and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (not the stuff in the green Kraft can) in another.

Take the frozen ball of dough, dip the top half into each bowl starting with the mayo, then butter and finally the cheese.

Place roll into a well greased muffin tin (cheese side up). Sprinkle with garlic powder and dried parsley (or Johnny's) and let rise according to the directions (usually 5-6 hours). Bake according to directions on the package.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Muddy Buddies



A classic and simple recipe for teaching young children how to measure, stir, and shake!


-Chex/Betty Crocker


9 cups Chex (any combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Into a large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In a 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Curry in a Hurry



A couple of months ago, I bought an 8 qt pressure cooker with some birthday money. I made some pinto beans in it (super easy and fast), but I didn't know what else to do with it, so I checked out a book from the library and have been trying some of the recipes. I have to say - pressure cooking is genius! Every busy mom should know about it; mashed potatoes start to finish in about 15 minutes. Frozen chicken breasts - cooked and tender in 10! Although it's pretty simple recipe-wise, we really enjoyed it.


-Pressure Perfect

1 cup water
4 Tbsp. Patak's Mild Curry Paste (curry pwd doesn't produce good results)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds chicken or 2 pounds meat (select a cut from the chart)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
salt
Cooked basmati rice (add a little turmeric for color)

Choice of Chicken or Meat                              Minutes High Pressure + Release Method
3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs                                8 + 4-minute natural release
and/or breast halves, skinned                               then quick-release                                
OR
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder,                               8 + natural release
trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks                                                                                   
OR
2 lbs boneless beef chuck,                                    8 + natural release
trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks                                                                                   
OR
2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder,                               12 + natural release
trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks                                                                                   



Pour the water into a 4 qt or larger cooker and blend in the curry paste. Set over high heat and add the onion and chicken or meat of your choice.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for the time indicated in the chart. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally for 4 minutes. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape. If the chicken or meat is not tender, cover and simmer until done.

If necessary skim off the fat that rises to the surface or degrease the broth in a fat separator. Blend the yogurt into 1 cup of the broth. Stir in the peas into the curry and simmer until they are defrosted, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and stir the yogurt mixture into the curry. Stir in the cilantro and salt to taste. Serve on lipped plates or in large, shallow bowls over rice.

Graham Crackers & Frosting


Doesn't everyone put their extra frosting in between graham crackers? Guess not... What else would you do with your extra frosting? Throw it away? Gasp...

My Mom and Grandma C always made these with the extra frosting. I'm not a huge cake fan, and often I enjoy these more than the cake! :)

Spread a cracker with frosting and sandwich it with another cracker and put them in the fridge. You can eat them right away, but they're best after the frosting softens the crackers a little.  Yum!

Easter Bunny Cake



My grandma always makes super cute bunny cake for Easter, but I've never seen one 'standing' up like this. I ran out of nuts, so my cake was not as brown as it should have been, but still fun!


-Kacee Carlson


Carrot cake & Cream Cheese Frosting
Walnuts (I can't eat them, so I used pecans)
Large marshmallows
Small marshmallows
small candies/chocolate chips for eyes
small candy for nose


To make the bunny:  You will only need one of the round cakes for the bunny cake.  Cut the round cake in half and stack them up with the flat, cut side down.  It should now be two half circles, flat against each other, sticking up in the air. 

Frost between the two half-cakes to stick them together.  Next you’ll need to cut a triangle out of the two half-circles, about 2-3 inches from the base.  This is hard to explain, but basically you cut a slice parallel to the base and then straight up perpendicular to your first slice.  This makes the place for the bunny ears.  Now frost the whole cake, including the indentation you just cut.  Now finely chop some walnuts until it resembles a powder.  Pat this walnut powder all over the surface of the cake – every place there is frosting.  Now cut 1 large marshmallow in half diagonally and place in the “ledge” you created, with their cut sides out.  These are the bunny ears.  Now cut another large marshmallow in half the short way (so that the two circular edges are intact).  Place these cut sides in on the “face” of your bunny for cheeks.  Use chocolate chips or brown M&Ms for eyes, a jelly bean or red/pink M&M for the nose (which is directly above your two marshmallow cheeks), and then put two small marshmallows under the cheeks for the buck teeth.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Pudding Cookies



I tried this recipe mostly because I was curious to see if pudding made a difference in cookies. These are very soft and delicious, and I do think the pudding probably does make the cookie a little more tender. Yum!


2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt  (1/4 tsp. table salt)
4 oz box instant chocolate pudding mix
10 oz bag peanut butter chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or line with a silpat liner.

2.  In a stand or electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.

3.  Place flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl, mixing to combine.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate pudding mix, peanut butter chips and marshmallows.  Mix until just combined.  With a medium cookie scoop, place onto baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through.  Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Easter Story Cookies



This is a great activity to do with children to teach them the Easter Story. These cookies are slightly different than a traditional meringue because they are meant to be hollow and are started at a higher temperature. The initial heat makes the moisture evaporate quickly and an air pocket forms. These work very best in a dry environment, so avoid running your dishwasher or boiling water while making the meringue. If cookies are not all the way dry in the morning, you can bake them in a low-temp oven for a few more minutes (although I prefer them a bit wet & chewy). Make sure your beaters and bowl are really clean - the egg whites won't form peaks if there is any trace of oil.


-Aunt Janet McClellan



Begin this recipe on Saturday, the day before Easter.
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon or a wooden meat hammer
duct tape or packing tape
Bible

Preheat oven to 300*F.

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon or hammer to break them into small pieces.


Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.


Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar into the mixing bowl.


Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.


Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life.


Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.


Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste. Then put your pinch of salt in the bowl.


Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus's followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27


So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing! Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl.


Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.


Beat with a mixer on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form.


Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.


Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets.


Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus's body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.


Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door.


Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.


Leave the kitchen. If you've been making these cookies just before bedtime, GO TO BED!


Acknowledge that the kids are probably sad that they've worked hard to make these cookies, and now have to leave them in the oven overnight. Explain that Jesus' followers were in sad when Jesus died and the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.


On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Ask the kids to notice the cracked surface. Have them bite into the cookies. The cookies are hollow!


Explain that on the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.


HE HAS RISEN!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bunny Buns


This was the choice for our Family Home Evening treat this week. They were really soft and yummy! I decreased the orange zest a bit and used orange juice instead of water and butter for the glaze. They puffed a little more than I thought they would, so next time I'll leave the ears a little longer. I went to put some little sprinkles on for eyes, but then I realized these were supposed to be 'buns' with a tail. Maybe I shouldn't be so technical next time and our bunnies will have eyes in the back of their heads... :)

-The Friend, April 2011 - slightly modified


1 package active dry yeast (2 ½ tsp)
¼ cup warm water
1 cup milk, warmed not quite to boiling
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
5 ½ cups flour, sifted

Glaze: 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice

1.     Sprinkle yeast in the warm water and set aside.
2.     In another bowl, blend milk, sugar, shortening, and salt. Cool until lukewarm, then add eggs, water with yeast, orange juice, and orange zest.
3.     Stir in flour a few cups at a time to make a soft dough. Let stand for 10 minutes.
4.     Knead dough 5–10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover bowl with a clean towel and put it in a warm place. Let dough rise for 2 hours, or until double in size. Punch dough down and let stand for 10 minutes.
5.     On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into strips 1/2 inch wide and 14 inches long. Roll between hands into rounded snake shapes. Cut one strip into pieces 1/2 inch long, and roll into balls.
6.     Place one long piece of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Place one end of the strip over the other to make a loop; bring the end that is underneath up and cross it over the other end. Place a ball of dough on top of the bottom loop.
7.     Cover bunnies and let rise in a warm place for 45–60 minutes (30 min), until nearly double in size. Bake at 375ºF (350 if using dark pan) for 12–15 minutes.
8.     For the glaze, stir powdered sugar and orange juice together. Frost the bunnies with the glaze while they are still warm.

Ham & Brie Melts

This combination may sound a little strange, but the sweet/salty combination is quite tasty!

-Taste of Home

Whole grain bread
Spreadable brie cheese
Apricot preserves
Deli-sliced ham
butter

Spread 1 slice of bread with brie and the other with apricot preserves; top with ham. Butter outsides of sandwiches and toast on a griddle or in a large skillet.

Ham & Cheese Pasta

Yummy! This is a slightly different twist on creamy pasta, with dill, garlic and lemon pepper. I did modify the original recipe a bit to fit our family's tastes.

-Taste of Home, modified

8 oz. penne pasta
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup sour cream
7 oz ham steak, cubed
1 1/2 cup (6 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a Dutch oven, melt butter; whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended. Add ham and pasta; cook until heated through. Remove from the heat; stir in Mexican cheese blend until melted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easter Nests

I can't say these are amazingly delicious, but they are a fun treat for Easter and spring! I recommend making smaller nests for children.


-JIF Peanut Butter

4 cups chow mein noodles
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
Jelly beans or other egg-shaped candies (Whopper Robin's eggs)

In large mixing bowl, use your hands to break oodles into smaller pieces. In large saucepan, combine sugar and syrup. Cook over medium heat until sugar is melted and edges begin to bubble. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth. Pour mixture over noodles and toss to coat.

With slightly buttered hands, form mixture into tight balls using approx. 1/4 cup mixture per ball (2 Tbsp for smaller nests). Make indention in center of each ball to resemble a bird's nest. Place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely.

Place two or three jelly beans or other egg-shaped candies into each nest.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Italian Meatballs





My family loves nothing more than a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs. This meatball recipe is the one we enjoy!

-Ina Garten - slightly modified

1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (1 hot dog bun works well :)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, or 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs. (Or about 30 1-inch meatballs)

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. (Less for smaller meatballs) Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.

Add meatballs to your sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Corned Beef & Cabbage


When our good friends the Hamptons lived up the street, they invited us over for a delicious St. Patrick's Day dinner. I've never cooked an Irish dinner myself, so Anna was gracious enough to share her recipes and this year we enjoyed a yummy dinner with Brandon's parents who were here visiting. 


-Anna Hampton

1 (3 to 4 pound) corned beef, trimmed
3 bay leaves
1 T. whole black peppercorns
1 T. whole mustard seeds
Water
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes (I've used small yellow as well)
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 head green cabbage cut into wedges

1.  Add the corned beef, bay leaves, peppercorns, and mustard seeds to a large Dutch oven and cover by 1/2 inch of water.  Bring to a simmer and cook, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface, until a fork slides easily in and out of the center of the meat, 2 to 3 hours.

2.  Heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Transfer the meat to a large baking dish and ladle 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the top.  Cover with foil and keep warm in the oven.

3.  Add the potatoes and carrots to the liquid left in the pot and simmer until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes.  Add the cabbage and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Tin Roof Chocolate Pie

 

This is another recipe that's been in my "to-try" file for a loooong time. It's a good one! I skipped the caramel topping since everyone was anxious to have dessert.


-Better Homes & Gardens - Nestle Toll House competition

1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked

PEANUT LAYER:
20 caramels
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups salted peanuts

CHOCOLATE LAYER:
1 1/3 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk
15 large marshmallows
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

TOPPING:
3 caramels
5 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter

Whipped cream and salted peanuts, optional

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp. butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Spread onto the bottom and up the sides of crust; refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

For peanut layer, in a small saucepan, melt caramels and cream over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in peanuts. Spoon into pie shell; refrigerate.

For chocolate layer, in a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips and the marshamllows. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate and marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract; set aside until cool.

When chocolate mixture is cool; beat the 1 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Spoon chocolate mixture over peanut layer in pie shell (pie will be full). Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Before serving, in a small saucepan, melt caramels, cream and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly. Top each serving with caramel mixture, whipped cream and additional chocolate chips. Serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fajitas



I've been looking for a good fajita recipe for a long time and finally found one that we all like!

-Your Homebased Mom

1 1/2 lbs flank steak
1/2 C Canola oil
1/3 C soy sauce
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Combination of peppers – red, yellow, orange, green and onion, sliced.
Olive oil
Salt

Using a medium bowl,combine the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon or lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, and ground black pepper. Place meat in a large zip loc baggie and pour marinade over the steak. Turning meat to coat thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill for medium-high heat.

Place steaks on the grill, and discard the marinade. Grill meat for 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Slice meat thinly going across the grain

While meat is grilling, saute onions and peppers in olive oil and salt until tender.

Serve with meat on a tortilla. Add sour cream, guacamole and or salsa

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Black Tie Strawberries

I saw this idea in a newspaper and clipped it out to put in my "good ideas and to try" book. Here they are - 8 years later! :)

Cheese Boats


Whenever I eat these they remind me of home and family - one of those dishes that's not particularly fancy or complicated, but comforting because it reminds me of  my childhood. This one is tricky in my family because Paige and I are the only ones that like olives. I think next time, I'll just make some without olives before stirring them in for the rest. Paige calls these "volcanoes" and I think the name fits! :)

-Grandma Carling

12 French rolls
1 lb. longhorn cheese, shredded (4 cups)
1/2 can olives - sliced or chopped
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup El Pato sauce
3 eggs, hard boiled and grated or finely chopped
garlic powder - about 1/4 tsp

Scoop the middles out of rolls. Mix all the above ingredients together in a saucepan until cheese is melted. Fill rolls with mixture. Wrap in foil and heat in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through. (Mom always put the wrapped rolls in a muffin tin so they didn't fall over - this works great because if you don't keep them upright the cheese oozes out into the foil.)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Molten Lava Cakes


Thomalee demonstrated these for a Relief Society enrichment activity while we lived in San Jose. I love this recipe because of it's simplicity-both ingredients and preparation.

-Thomalee Abraham

2 T. butter, plus more for pans
1/3 c. confectioners sugar, plus more for pans and serving
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, broken in pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
pinch salt
3 t. all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 6-ounce ramekins (or 2 cups of a standard size muffin tin), then dust with confectioners sugar. Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high at 20 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, sugar, and salt. Add chocolate mixture; whisk to combine. Add flour and whisk just until combined (do not overmix!). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted 1/2 inch from edge of ramekins comes out clean, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out wet, 10-12 minutes (do not overbake!) Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around inside of pans to loosen. Invert cakes onto serving plates and dust with sugar; serve immediately.

*If you want to double or triple this recipe, just add 3 minutes or so to baking time. To make ahead, cover ramekins with plastic wrap after step 2; refrigerate up to 1 day. Bake 14-16 minutes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken & Cheese Bundles



I've never used frozen roll dough for anything other than monkey bread, but this recipe opened up a whole other world of possibilities! I omitted the mushrooms because Brandon isn't a big fan, and used Monterrey Jack cheese because that's what I had on hand. Yummy!

-Taste of Home

1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (didn't include)
1-1/2 tsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
1 Tbsp. honey mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese (any kind you have on hand)
12 frozen bread dough dinner rolls, thawed
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

In a large skillet, saute onion and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Add the chicken, peppers, mustard and seasonings; heat through. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese.

Flatten each roll into a 5-inch circle. Place 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of six circles. Brush edges with water; top with remaining circles. Press edges with a fork to seal. (Cut slit in top for steam to escape.)

Place on greased baking sheets; brush with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cut bundles in half to serve.

Cap'n Crunch French Toast


One of our favorite TV shows is Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives with Guy Fieri. I was browsing some of the books at the library and came across a book/cookbook of some of the places they've had on the show. After thumbing through the book, I saw this recipe remembered seeing the episode where they served french toast crusted in crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal. Of course it's good - look at the ingredients! :)

-From the Blue Moon Cafe, Baltimore MD

4-5 Servings

3/4 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal
8-10 slices bread, such as Texas toast or French bread
Butter for cooking

Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups assorted fresh seasonal berries

Mix the cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until combined.

Put the cereal in a storage bag and use a rolling pin to crush cereal until it resembles cracker meal. Transfer the cereal to a shallow bowl.

Dip a couple slices of the bread into the cream mixture until soft but not completely soaked. Let excess liquid drip from the bread, then press into the cereal crumbs to coat evenly. Place on a sheet pan and repeat with the remaining slices.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat, add butter as needed, and cook the bread until caramelized on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total.

For the whipped cream toppin; Beat the cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with a hand mixer to soft peaks. Dollop on top of the French taost and serve with the berries.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Banana Split Ice-Cream Cake

I can always tell how good a dessert is by how long it takes to disappear! I made this for our FHE dessert on Monday and its about 2/3 gone (a little scary actually). :) This one is a winner and really does taste like a banana split. Plan ahead - this one takes awhile to prepare.

-Family Fun

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
4-5 medium bananas, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1 1/2 quarts strawberry ice cream, softened (Do not use low fat)
1 cup walnuts (I prefer pecans)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) container nondairy whipped topping

In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture, then press the remainder into the bottom of a 9x13" pan.

Place the banans in a single layer over the crust. spread the softened ice cream on top and smooth. Sprinkle the nuts on the ice cream, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

In a large saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and the 1/4 cup butter and stir until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and evaporated milk. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until slightly thickened and smooth, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool the mixture, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture over the ice cream and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with the reserved crumbs. Freeze for at least 3 1/2 hours. Remove the dish from the freezer 10 to 20 minutes before slicing. Serves 18.

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes


I've always loved sweet potatoes, just not the ones covered with marshmallows and sugar. :) This is a new spin that Brandon and I really enjoyed!

-Taste of Home

3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette, divided*
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. honey
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (I used 1 and it was plenty spicy!)

Place sweet potatoes in two greased 15"x10"x1" baking pans. Drizzle with 1/2 cup vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Cool slightly; transfer to large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining vinaigrette with the cilantro, honey and chipotle peppers. Pour over potatoes and gently stir to coat.

*For homemade vinaigrette: (from allrecipes.com)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 pinch salt
ground black pepper to taste

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rockin' S'more Bars

Another yummy one from Family Fun! Marshmallow Fluff isn't the easiest thing to work with, but for this I'd say it's worth it!

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 (1.55-ounce) chocolate bars
1 (7-ounce) jar of marshmallow creme


Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the crushed graham crackers, flour, salt, and baking powder and beat until well mixed, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Spoon half the dough into the pan and spread evenly with your fingertips. Break the chocolate into pieces and arrange over the dough. Spread a layer of marshmallow creme over the chocolate. Flatten the remaining dough into pancakes and lay them over the marshmallow.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let the bars cool before serving.

CPK's Spinach Artichoke Dip


All I can say is YUM! I've made many versions of spinach artichoke dip, but this one really takes the cake. It does take a few ingredients, and some time to make, but It's Worth It! Suzie made this to go along with the cookies for our holiday cookie exchange, and I liked it so much I just had to have it again! I made it for the Tostitos National Championship game and Brandon and I polished off a good portion of it all by ourselves. It was even good reheated the next day. :)

-Suzie Irwin

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup diced white or yellow onion
1 ½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup flour
1 ½ cup chicken stock
1 ½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dehydrated chicken stock base or crumbled bullion cubes
1 ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ cup sour cream
12 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, wrung out by hand and coarsely chopped
6 ounces canned artichoke bottoms, drained and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¾ teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (I'd use a little less next time)
Blue and white corn tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, warm olive oil and butter together over medium heat. When butter has melted, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently and stopping before the onion and garlic brown.

Sprinkle the flour and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns a golden blonde color, 10 to 15 minutes. Then, whisking continuously, slowly pour in the stock until it is smoothly incorporated. When the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cream. Let it return to the simmer. Add the Parmesan, chicken base or cubes, lemon juice and sugar and stir until thoroughly blended.

Add the sour cream, spinach, artichoke bottoms, Monterey Jack cheese and Tabasco sauce and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese in melted. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately, accompanied by blue and white corn tortilla chips

Monday, January 10, 2011

Moist & Tender Turkey Breast



Delicious & easy! This would be a perfect turkey for Thanksgiving if you have a small family. :) We'll be making this one again for sure!

-Taste of Home

1 bone-in turkey breast (6-7 lbs)
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Place turkey in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Place rosemary and garlic around turkey. Combine the brown sugar, pepper and salt; sprinkle over turkey.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until turkey is tender.

Onion & Cheddar Biscuits


Yum! Brandon and I really enjoyed these, but the kids didn't really care for them. I'm guessing the balsamic onions were a little strong for them. They were a perfect accompaniment to the soup we had for dinner. These do take a little while to prepare, so double the recipe and put some in the freezer for later!


-Taste of Home


Yield: 6 biscuits

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
4 Tbsp. cold butter, divided
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped (I didn't included these)
1/4 cup buttermilk

In a small skillet, saute sweet onion in 1 Tbsp. butter until tender. Add vinegar; cook and stir until liquid is evaporated. Cool.

In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and seasonings. Cut in remaining butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the onion mixture, cheese and green onions. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 6-8 times. Pat or roll out to 1/2" thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2" biscuit cutter. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Southern Fried Chicken Strips


I've never liked making traditional fried chicken  - trying to ensure big pieces of chicken are fried evenly and cooked thoroughly is not a fun process for me. I guess I should have been born in the South for that... Anyhow, chicken tenders are a little more manageable and my kids really love this version. If you have time, soaking the chicken in the buttermilk for a couple hours makes them even better! Double dipping adds an extra thick coating that we enjoy.

-Taste of Home

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
2 lbs chicken tenders (Remove any tendons with kitchen shears)
Oil for deep fat frying
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and buttermilk. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, pepper, salt and paprika. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then flour mixture (repeat for extra coating).

In an electric skillet, heat oil to 375°. Fry chicken, a few pieces at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Mexicali Chicken

My friend Kacee is a master at making delicious meals in the crockpot! Here's one of her recipes- which our family loves.

-Kacee Carlson

4 chicken breasts (frozen)
2 c salsa (I used Herdez Medium)
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 t. salt
½ t. oregano
¼ t. minced onion
¼ t. minced garlic
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 T. lemon or lime juice (if desired)
2 c. shredded cheese (any variety)

Mix all other ingredients together, except cheese, and pour over chicken breasts. Cook in a crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (My crockpot runs hot, so I reduce these times to about 7 hours on low and 3 to 3 1/2 on high). Just before serving, break chicken breasts into large chunks – about three per chicken breast. Stir in the cheese until melted. Serve over rice.