Come on in! Let's talk FOOD!

"Bacon grease makes pretty much anything taste better!" is the local philosophy and I grew up on good, down home country cookin'! Although I've ventured into a healthier way of eating (some of the time) I still enjoy many of the favorites of my childhood. I also have a passion for Italian food and I'm slowly but surely learning the pleasures of cooking with fresh herbs. Here I'll share with you a broad spectrum of recipes...some healthier than others, but all of them guaranteed DELICIOUS! : )

*I have imported posts from my other blog. These posts may involve topics other than food, but they do include recipes or food related information at some point in the post. Future posts to this blog will be more strictly food-related but I did want to include these recipes here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homemade Noodles

Who doesn't love homemade noodles?
This girl could eat 'em pretty much every single day.
But alas, I'd be big as a house, so I control the urge.
I used to be intimidated by the very thought of making my own noodles,
but there truly is nothing to fear!
This recipe is the best I've used so far and it's super simple.
It's an Amish recipe, so you know it's good.
Those Amish folks sure do know how to cook.

If you've never made noodles, or if you have made noodles
but weren't impressed with the results, 
try these.
You'll be glad you did.
Homemade Noodles  <=====Click here to print!  (Printable version is text only)

1 cup HIGH GLUTEN flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons oil
3 Tablespoons water

Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl and make a well in the center.  Put remaining ingredients in well and stir with a fork until dough is formed and there are no dry particles remaining.  

You may add more water if needed, but the noodles will be better if you don't have to.  Add by the teaspoon and add as little as possible.  On lightly floured surface, knead until you have a smooth dough.  

Usually takes about 5 minutes.  Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 45 minutes.
Cut dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle.  (I doubled the recipe today, therefore I had 4 sections to roll out.)

You want the dough to be very thin, but not paper thin. 

Dust with additional flour while rolling so dough does not get sticky.  Place sheets of dough on lightly floured cloth and let rest for another 30 minutes.  

Dust each sheet of dough lightly with flour and fold each in half, then slice into strips with a pizza cutter.

Or roll each sheet jelly roll style and slice into narrow strips with a very sharp knife, whichever you prefer.

Shake out each noodle and lay in single layer on flour dusted towel.  

Let dry.  Drying can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several hours, depending upon humidity. 

When ready to cook noodles, bring water or broth to a boil and add noodles.  Cook for 7 or 8 minutes, or until tender.   (I actually cook mine longer than that because that's just how I roll...I like 'em DONE and tender.)

These are wonderful cooked in chicken or beef broth.  You can also use them to make chicken noodle soup.  If making soup or adding other ingredients to the broth with the noodles, fully cook other ingredients in the broth prior to adding noodles.  The noodles should be the last thing you add since they take such a short time to cook and are incredibly delicate and tender.

*I apologize for not having a pic of the finished product, but we had to rush dinner somewhat in order to get to ball practice and I completely forgot to snap a pic!  By the time I thought of it, the pan was EMPTY.  Guess that's enough of a testament to how good they were though.  ; )  I did save half of them (dried and uncooked) to use in another meal.  Maybe I'll remember to snap a shot then.  

Tips and Tricks

*High gluten flour is SUPER IMPORTANT!  
Any flour that says 'better for bread' is high gluten.   
* Cook diced onion, carrots and celery in chicken broth. 
You can add thyme, basil, parsley...any seasonings you enjoy.
Add fully cooked, diced chicken.
Add dried noodles and cook until tender.
Now serve your family some of the best chicken noodle soup
they've ever had!
*Cut noodles in whatever way works best for YOU.
There are no hard and fast rules.  
If you plan to roll them, make sure your knife is SHARP.
A pizza cutter or an Alaska knife are what I prefer.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meaty Lasagna...the regular version and the 'making do' version

The other day I got a text from my friend Brian asking if I had a really good lasagna recipe I'd be willing to share.  I was more than happy to oblige and while I was at it, I sent him the link to my White Lasagna  for future reference.  Well, he ended up making the white lasagna and loving it.  But that was of no importance to me, you see, because he had already implanted the idea of a meaty, tomato-y, cheesy lasagna in my head.

Now mind you, we've been enduring a horrid heatwave here, just like most of the rest of the country.  Who on earth in their right mind would want to heat up a kitchen for the amount of time it takes to boil the water for the noodles and then bake a pan of lasagna? 

Yeah, that would be me.  I managed to control the desire for several days but I eventually caved and made a pan.  And while I did not find everything I needed in my fridge and pantry, I made up my mind that I was NOT going to the grocery store and I would make do with what I did have.  You know what?  It worked.  And it worked well.  The Hubster said it was some of the best lasagna he's ever had and that kind of praise doesn't come easily around here.  ; ) The original recipe (which is also very good!) is first and I've added my 'making do' changes in the notes that follow. 

Kelli's Lasagna <------  Click here to print!

1lb mild Italian sausage  
1 lb. lean ground beef  
¼ to 1/3 cup minced onion (to taste)  
2 cloves garlic, minced  
1 28oz. can HUNT’S tomato sauce (I always use Hunt’s if I want it to be good! )  
1 lg. can Hunt’s crushed tomatoes  
1 small can Hunt’s tomato paste  
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (if it’s super fresh; if it isn’t very strong, use as much as 1 tsp.)  
Fresh basil, chopped (to taste…I use probably 4 or 5 large leaves…you can use about 1 tsp. dried, but it’s not as good)  
1 lb. whole ricotta (not low fat!)  
4 cups shredded mozzarella (reserve 1 cup for top of dish)  
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese  
2 eggs  
1 tablespoon dried parsley  
½ teaspoon garlic salt  
Lasagna Noodles

    Place ground beef, sausage and minced garlic in large skillet. Crumble and brown meat. Drain well but do not rinse. Rinsing takes away all of the flavor! I usually pour mine out on a couple of layers of paper towels, then dump it back into the skillet. Add onions, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and Italian Seasoning. Stir over medium heat until well combined and heated through. Add basil and stir. If mixture seems dry, add a little water or a little more tomato sauce as needed. You don’t want it overly saucy, but not completely dry either.

    Mix ricotta, 3 cups of the mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, parsley and garlic salt.

    Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, or use Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles. (If you really want to impress, don’t use the Oven Ready. The texture is a little different.)

    In lasagna pan (or 13”x9” baking pan…or slightly larger) spread a layer of meat sauce. Place single layer of lasagna noodles on sauce. Top with ½ of the cheese mixture. Add another layer of meat sauce and then second layer of noodles. Repeat with second ½ of cheese mixture and final layer of noodles. Top with meat sauce, making sure noodles are completely covered. Sprinkle with remaining cup of mozzarella and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Cover with non-stick foil (or spray regular foil with cooking spray) and place in a 350* oven for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese on top turns golden. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

     * If you need to 'made do' because you're out of certain things, it's easy to change it up to suit your needs.  Just make sure that you substitute like items (wet for wet, dry for dry) for the things you're omitting.  I had no crushed tomatoes, garlic cloves, fresh basil or fresh Parmesan.  The sub for the Parmesan was simple...I used good ol' Kraft Parmesan in a shake can.  No problem there.  But the garlic and the fresh basil?  Those were major flavors in this dish.  And since I had no crushed tomatoes, I just grabbed a can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano.  I used about 3/4 of the can in place of the crushed tomatoes and the missing seasonings.  Voila!  It worked beautifully!  : )

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Sweet and Sour Veggie Salad

    Fresh, colorful and delicious, this is one of those YUMMY summer salads that is great to take to cookouts and picnics because it contains no mayonnaise.  Mayonnaise and hot weather scare me.  I don't like a sick tummy.  And this salad has been a hit whenever I've served it to guests.  There is always a chorus of "May I have the recipe?"  And of course I oblige.  : )  Gotta share the goodness!

    Sweet and Sour Veggie Salad <---  Click here to print

    1 can French cut green beans
    1 can whole kernel corn (preferably white shoepeg)
    1 can baby June peas
    1 jar chopped pimentos
    1 green pepper, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    2 stems celery, chopped

    1 cup sugar
    ½ cup oil
    ¾ cup vinegar

    Drain first 5 ingredients.  Pour into large mixing bowl and add remaining vegetables.  In saucepan combine dressing ingredients and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour over vegetables.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate at least six to eight hours, preferably overnight.  Stir occasionally during chilling time.

    *This stuff keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks, no problem. :)

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    White Lasagna with (or without) Chicken

    I cannot tell you what a hit this was at my house. I was very bored with the same ol', same ol' and decided to dig through some cookbooks for something new. Trying new things around here isn't always the safest way to go. I have picky eaters in this house. It is a rare occasion when I find something that every single person in this family really enjoys. But this was loved by...

    Every. Single. Person.

    Yeah, baby!

    So here it is. Not in its original form, I might add. You know by now that I always have to change it up to accommodate what's in the fridge/pantry or to give it even a slight chance of being eaten by my family.

    White Lasagna with Chicken (or without, if you prefer) (<--click to print)

    1/2 cup butter or margarine
    1 small/medium onion, chopped
    1 garlic clove, chopped
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 cups chicken broth
    1 1/2 cups milk
    4 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    A few leaves of fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    15 oz. ricotta cheese
    1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
    9 oven-ready lasagna noodles
    2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
    1 cup cubed white meat chicken, full cooked

    Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 13"x 9" baking dish. In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine and saute garlic and onion until tender. Stir in about half of the broth and then add flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir until no lumps remain (I use a whisk) and then add remaining broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minutes. Stir in two cups mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, oregano and pepper. Turn off heat and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, parsley, remaining mozzarella and 1 teaspoon salt. In baking dish, spread about 1/4 of the cheese sauce mixture. Top with three lasagna noodles. Top with half of the ricotta mixture, half of the spinach leaves and 1/2 the chicken. Cover with 1/4 of the cheese sauce and then top with three more lasagna noodles. Repeat layers of ricotta, spinach, chicken and sauce. Top with last three noodles and remaining cheese sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, at 350* for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

    Tips and Tricks

    ~The original recipe called for twice as much chicken and also called for frozen spinach, thawed and well drained. Well, while I am a huge fan of the occasional meatless meal, my husband is not so I thought cutting the amount in half would be a great compromise. I also thought it would be a great way to stretch a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. ; ) This took only one, which I boiled and cubed myself. I guess you could used canned chicken if you want. As for the spinach, what can I say. I prefer fresh over frozen anytime and I very much preferred the texture of the fresh spinach over the typically slimy frozen.~

    ~Oven-ready lasagna noodles are the best thing since sliced bread. At least for this recipe they are. I had never used them before and I must say, I fell just a little in love.
    But just a little.
    I'm not sure I would want to use them every time I make lasagna because for me, there was a slightly noticeable difference in their texture.
    Still, with this creamy sauce, they were very good.
    If you don't have them, the original recipe called for cooked and well drained lasagna.~

    ~No kidding about the let it stand for 15 minutes before cutting rule. Seriously.
    It needs that time to 'set'. Don't skip this step or you'll be disappointed in the gooey mess that runs all over the place.~

    ~I served this along with slices of buttered Italian bread that I had toasted lightly under the broiler and a fresh garden salad, in which I had also used some of the yummy baby spinach leaves. A perfectly wonderful meal.
    And leftovers? This stuff reheats like a dream, even the second day!~

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    The World's EASIEST Whoopie Pies

    I'm not sure when I first made this whoopie pie, but I think it was about 10 years ago. And while this doesn't compare to the ones we get in Ohio Amish Country (I'm sorry, but those just can't be beat!) it's a great substitute. The ingredients are things you'll more than likely find in your own kitchen, so they're great for when you're just wanting something sweet but don't want to go to the store.

    World's Easiest Whoopie Pies <-------- Click here to print
    1 box chocolate cake mix
    1/2 cup oil
    2 eggs

    1 cup marshmallow creme
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    1 stick margarine, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350*. Combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Roll dough into 1" balls and place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or just until set. Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool. Makes about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

    Combine filling ingredients. Blend well with hand mixer. Spread filling onto bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie. Now how easy was that? These are super rich! And they're always a hit no matter where I take them. Hope you enjoy them, too! : )

    *Tips and Tricks*

    *I've used many kinds of cake mix with this. With pudding in the mix, without pudding in the mix, dark chocolate, German chocolate, devil's food, you name it.
    I've never had a problem with any of them, but my favorite so far has been
    Betty Crocker dark chocolate. The cookies stay chewier and the flavor is wonderful.

    *Even when a recipe calls for an ungreased cookie sheet, I always use Reynold's Nonstick Foil. Anything to make clean-up a little easier is always the way to go. ; )

    *These will store well for a couple of days, but not much more than that.
    Put them in a container that seals tightly. You can refrigerate if you want the filling
    to be more firmly set, but it may make your cookies a little firmer than you'll like.
    You will have some filling left over, but I'll also say that the cookie recipe doubles well. May as well make twice as many and use up all that filling. ; )
    (If you do this, you will need to use less filling per cookie than I did in these.)

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Chicken Casserole

    Hard for me to believe that it's been more than 20 years since I first tried this casserole. My friend Carolyn invited us to dinner, served this, and I was immediately smitten. (With the casserole, not Carolyn. ; ) )

    Of course I've tweaked it a little over the years. (Ya shocked?) And here is the way I make it now.

    Chicken Casserole <------------Click here to print
    1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    1/2 green pepper, chopped
    1 stem of celery, chopped
    3 tablespoons margarine
    2 cans cream of chicken soup
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 1/2 soup cans of milk bread crumbs or cracker crumbs

    Preheat oven to 350*.

    In a large soup pot, cover chicken breast with water and bring to a boil. Cook until done. Drain. Cut chicken into cubes and return to pot with green pepper, onion, celery and margarine. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until chicken is golden and onions are translucent. Reduce heat and add soups and milk. Stir until well combined and mixture is heated through. Pour into a casserole dish or baking pan. Top with crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and crumbs begin to turn golden brown. Serve over noodles or rice.
    *The original recipe calls for canned chicken (2 cans). If you're rushed or if you just have lots of money to throw around, you can certainly use canned chicken. My family just requests this so often that it's much more affordable to cook my own.

    *You can mix it up where the veggies are concerned. The original recipe didn't call for green peppers; just onions and celery. The Hubster hates celery so I usually omit it, and we love green peppers so it made sense to add them. Personally, I like all of it. Don't see why you couldn't even add corn, peas, carrots, etc.

    *This time I used Panko bread crumbs because that's what I had on hand. You can also used crushed saltine or Ritz crackers. Seasoned bread crumbs are also a tasty way to top it.

    *Serving this over noodles is preferred by everyone in my family. Some folks like it over rice, but I prefer lighter, less rich foods over rice.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Creamy Jigglers

    Perfect for a Valentine treat!

    These are fun. If you have kids, they will love you even more for making these. If you don't have kids, find some to make these for and they will love you.


    You will also gain the sincere admiration of various adults with discriminating good taste. Make some and pass them around at the office, a church gathering, or just pick a street corner. See if I'm not right. You'll make all kinds of new friends. ; )

    Seriously though, this is such a simple, tasty little treat. Make them with sugar free Jello and sugar free pudding and they're not even terribly fattening!

    Adorable Easter eggs!

    *I haven't made these recently and won't be making them for a couple of weeks (I always make them for Valentine's Day) but I wanted to get this posted now so you can pick up the necessary ingredients if you'd like to make them for your Valentines, too. The pictures here are ones I found at and not my own. *

    Creamy Jigglers
    <----- Click here to print
    2 1/2 c. boiling water
    2 lg. or 4 sm. pkgs. Jello
    1 c. cold milk
    1 sm. pkg. vanilla instant pudding

    Stir boiling water into gelatin. Dissolve completely; cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Pour milk into mixing bowl. Add pudding mix and beat with wire whisk until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Quickly pour into gelatin, stirring with wire whisk until well blended. Pour into 13 x 9 inch pan. Refrigerate until firm (3 hours). To cut jigglers, dip bottom of pan in warm water for 15 seconds to loosen gelatin. Turn chilled mixture onto a cutting board or cookie sheet. Cut shapes with cookie cutters or just cut into cubes using a sharp knife. Lift from board or pan and place on serving tray. Keep refrigerated.

    Tips and Tricks

    *You can very lightly oil the pan to make it easier to remove the Jigglers. VERY lightly. Nobody wants a greasy Jigglers, ya know.

    *Let your imagination run wild. Experiment with flavor combinations. I adore these things made with orange Jello. Tastes like a Dreamsicle! Lime works well for St. Patrick's Day. And for the Fourth of July there is even blue Jello to go with the red!

    *If you want to make a lot of these and you need to take them somewhere,
    simply layer them into a large, deep Rubbermaid or Tupperware container with sheets of waxed paper between the layers.

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    WV Style Chicken Potpie

    I know when I was a kid, chicken potpie was this little tin pie plate of nastiness that came out of the freezer and went into the oven for about 40 minutes. We never had homemade potpies because....well, it just wasn't something any of us liked all that much. 'Nuff said.

    Then I married Phil and his mom made chicken potpie quite often. Not gonna lie to ya. The first time we were visiting them and I found out that's what she'd made for dinner, I was less than excited. But never one to be rude about such things, I gave it a try.

    And I fell in love!

    Much to my husband's dismay, I might add. It still isn't his favorite meal so we don't have it often. But once in a while, I just gotta have it. ; )

    Chicken Potpie <------ Click here to print
    1 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breast
    2 lg. boxes or cans of chicken broth
    2 chicken bouillon cubes
    2 12 oz. bags frozen mixed vegetables
    flour and water for thickening
    salt and pepper to taste

    Heat oven to 425*. In small saucepan, cover chicken breast with water and bring to a boil. Cook until done. Drain and cut chicken into cubes or use two forks to shred. Set aside. In large pot heat chicken broth and bouillon cubes to boiling and reduce heat to simmer. Make a thickening with about 3/4 cup flour and enough water to make it pourable. Using a whisk and stirring constantly, pour flour mixture into simmering broth and continue to heat until thickened. Add veggies and chicken.Pour into oblong baking dish (13"x 9" or larger).

    Place biscuits on top and bake for approximately 12-14 minutes. Place a piece of foil loosely over biscuits (to prevent over browning) and bake an additional 10 minutes to ensure that biscuits are cooked throughout.

    *Biscuits can be homemade or canned. Mine are somewhere in between. ; ) I use a generic mix that is similar to Bisquik. It comes from Save A Lot and it's called Ginger Evans Baking Mix. LOVE this stuff. I use it for pancakes, waffles, biscuits. You name it, this is a great foundation for it. I use this baking mix and some milk, knead it, cut it with my Mama's biscuit cutter and VOILA! Some of the best biscuits ever.
    : )

    Tips and Tricks

    * If you get the broth a little too thick, add a small amount of water or more broth to get it to the desired consistency.

    *Before you pour mixture into the baking dish, TASTE IT! This is when you need to add salt or pepper or make any adjustments.

    * I use Bird's Eye Steam Fresh mixed veggies. Tastes like you just went to the garden and picked them yourself.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Kelli's Version of Applebee's Chocolate Chip Sunday Dessert

    The Hubster and I grabbed lunch at Applebee's a few days ago. (Ever had their Philly Cheesesteak? HIGHLY recommend it!) Trouble is, like most meals eaten in our favorite restaurants, it left us entirely too full to order dessert.

    And Applebee's has this fantastic dessert that we love, too!

    Does that not look positively sinfully and delectably delicious?

    Yes, I thought so, too.

    So I made them for everyone later that evening at home.

    Kelli's Version of Applebee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dessert
    <-- Click to print

    One warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie per dessert
    Vanilla ice cream (I prefer vanilla bean)
    Hershey's syrup
    1 can of whipped cream
    Crushed Oreo cookies

    I grabbed a roll of Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie dough for my cookies because I was in a hurry, but you could certainly use homemade. While the cookie is still warm, put it on an individual serving plate and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with Hershey's syrup and then top with a dollop of whipped cream. Now sprinkle crushed Oreos over the entire thing and hand it to the person who is drooling over your shoulder, waiting for you to get it done! : )

    Applebee's makes theirs the size of a dinner plate and it takes four of us to eat it all! I like this individual serving size, especially when you want to limit how much sugar your kids are taking in at any one setting. ; ) You can make it as small or as large as you like.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    THE Bread Dough

    The long awaited bread recipe. This is going to be a long post, folks, but please don't let the length of the instructions scare you away! There are two reasons for this:

    1. I am wordy by nature.
    2. In order to communicate to you the little tricks I've learned throughout the years, I need to explain thoroughly. It just makes things so much easier.

    So make it easier on yourself. Learn from my many years of trial and error.

    First, the recipe:

    Bread Dough <------- Click to print

    1/2 cup warm water (about 105* to 115*)
    1 packet yeast
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    3 Tablespoons oil
    1 1/2 cups warm milk

    Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, sugar and eggs; stir well, then add oil and warm milk. Add about 3 cups of flour and mix. Continue adding flour until you have a dough you can handle. Turn onto a floured surface and allow to rest for 10 minutes or so. While dough is resting, wash out your mixing bowl, dry and then generously oil it. Set aside.

    Sprinkle dough with additional flour and begin kneading. Continue kneading, adding flour as needed to keep dough from getting sticky, for about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl, then turn dough over so oiled side is up. Cover with a warm, damp towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. This will take about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough and *shape as desired. Allow to rise until doubled, about 40-45 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 400*. Grease pans. For dinner rolls, bake for approximately 12-14 minutes. Lay a sheet of foil loosely over rolls to prevent over-browning and allow to bake an additional 10 minutes or so, or until they're done. Remove from oven and rub or brush tops with butter. For cinnamon rolls, bake for approximately 10-12 minutes and check to see if they're done. Depending upon the size of the pan and the thickness of the rolls, it may take up to 18 minutes.
    For loaves, grease loaf pans, shape dough into loaves and bake for 20-30 minutes depending upon size of loaves. You may need to cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Loaves are done when tapping on them produces a hollow sound.

    *At this point you can shape into simple rolls, cloverleaf rolls, cinnamon rolls, loaves, etc. This is a multipurpose dough that is delicious no matter how you shape it.

    Here is the dough once you've kneaded it and allowed it to rise the first time:
    This is the dough rolled out for cinnamon rolls:

    Spread with butter/margarine:

    Sprinkled with cinnamon:

    Brown sugar is added:

    And then this is how we roll:

    Once it is rolled and you've pinched the edge to seal, it's time to cut the rolls.
    A knife makes this messy work. Dental floss makes it quick, neat and easy!
    Simply slide the floss under the roll, bring up the sides and crisscross.

    Now pull all the way through, producing a clean cut.
    How easy was that?
    Place rolls cut side down on greased pan.
    Place pan in a warm area (I use my oven...NOT turned on, of course.)
    Allow to rise for a second time, about 40-45 minutes or so.

    Here they are when they're just about ready to pop into a hot oven:
    And here they are all golden and yummy.

    But wait! We need GLAZE!
    Just a simple glaze.
    Mix up a couple of cups of confectioner's sugar,
    a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and just enough water to make a good drizzle.

    And there ya go!

    I use this dough for everything. Delicious light rolls, loaves of bread, tea rings, you name it. Something else you can do is this: Once you have spread with butter and sprinkled on the sugar and cinnamon, you can also add finely chopped apples. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Talk about yummy! Then roll it up, slice it and bake it.


    *Yeast is a living thing. Never add the oil before adding at least a portion of the dry ingredients.
    The oil will bind to the yeast and suffocate it, stopping the rising process before it even begins.

    *That ten minutes of resting time before you begin kneading the dough can make all the difference in the world in the consistency of your bread.
    Impatience can ruin it.

    *Be generous with your kneading time. Unlike biscuits, yeast bread likes being handled.
    Over-handling or over-kneading will make biscuits tough.
    Yeast dough gets smoother and more elastic and reaches perfection
    from kneading for at least ten minutes.

    *Don't try to make this bread when you are in a hurry. Trust me, you'll be disappointed.
    Patience is the most important part of this recipe.
    I can't stress that enough.

    *Days of high humidity can cause issues, too. I do my best to avoid making bread when it's raining or the humidity is simply through the roof. The dough is sticky, difficult to handle, and the consistency of the finished product suffers, too.

    Friday, January 7, 2011


    These have been a Christmas tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Their chewy, gooey goodness has always been a huge hit! My Mama Jones was the official Scotcharoo maker and not only did she make a batch for Christmas Eve, she would also always make a batch for my Uncle's birthday a few days before Christmas. Once she got to the point that she could no longer handle stirring and cutting them (it does take some strength!), I took over for her. And I'm happy to say that Uncle Cecil has gotten a batch for his birthday every year since, too! : )

    These are truly delicious. When you have a batch in the kitchen, you'll have a hard time walking past them without snitching a nibble! ; )

    <---Click here to print
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup light corn syrup
    1 cup peanut butter
    6 cups Rice Krispies
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1 cup butterscotch chips

    Butter a 13"x 9" pan. Measure Rice Krispies into a bowl and have them ready to use. In large pot combine sugar and corn syrup. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute, still stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until well combined. Stir in Rice Krispies until coated. Press gently into buttered 13"x 9" pan.

    In microwave safe bowl combine semisweet chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave at 15 second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Spread on top of Rice Krispies mixture. Set aside until topping has fully set. Depending upon temperature and humidity, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Cut into squares and watch them disappear! : ) Store in airtight container.

    Tips and Tricks

    *Have a small bowl of cool water at hand when patting into pan.
    Dampen hands often. This will not only keep your hands from burning, but will also keep the mixture from sticking to you.

    *These will keep for a week to ten days when sealed in an airtight container;
    4 or 5 days when just covered with plastic wrap.

    *These are ideal for bake sales! When vacuum sealed, they also travel by mail very well.
    College students, friends and family who are far from home LOVE them! : )

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Mashed Potato Casserole

    This was the biggest hit of our New Year's Day dinner. I hadn't made this in YEARS. Back in the mid 1980s my uncle was hosting a formal dinner party and he asked me to do the cooking. I readily agreed and we found a recipe similar to this. I prepared it and everyone loved it! Well, the recipe is long gone...I somehow lost track of it when I moved...but this is the 'Kelli' version of it. ; ) It's a very tasty dish that will please all sorts of palates. The onion and pepper give it some zing while the cheeses make it sinfully rich and delicious! And the egg makes the creamy mixture puff up all fluffy on the inside while the outside gets the most tender, slightly golden crust. Try this. I promise you won't regret it! : )

    Mashed Potato Casserole <---Click here to print

    10-12 medium to large potatoes
    1 can evaporated milk
    1/2 stick margarine
    salt to taste
    1 8 oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 egg
    2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
    1/4 finely chopped onion

    Preheat oven to 350*. Grease an oblong casserole dish (13"x9" or a little larger; I prefer glass) with shortening.

    Peel, cut and boil potatoes for mashing. Drain well. Using an electric hand mixer, mash potatoes with margarine, salt, cream cheese, egg and about 1/2 the can of milk. Beat on high speed until smooth. Add more milk if potatoes are not creamy enough, but don't make them runny. Add pepper, onion and about 2/3 of the shredded cheddar. Mix on low speed just until combined. Spread in prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheddar and bake for 40 -45 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and potato mixture is golden around the edges.

    Sorry there are no pics but I really didn't have time to snap them before the vultures descended! ; ) Trust me when I tell you it's not only delicious but quite a pretty dish, too.