Sunday, November 3, 2013

Peach Pie Filling

 The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a great website for all things related to canning and/or freezing food.  I really like this peach pie filling taken from their website. For the ascorbic acid mentioned I use a product called Fruit Fresh. It's a powder that you can find in a grocery store near the canning supplies.  Clear Jel is a modified corn starch.  I used a product called Ultra Gel that is the same thing. I found it at a local store that sells it near me by  going to the Carnet Foods website and using the Find a Retailer link or it can be ordered online. 

Quality: Select ripe, but firm fresh peaches. Red Haven, Redskin, Sun High, and other varieties of similar quality are suitable.

Yield: 1 quart or 7 quarts.
Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.
Procedure: See Table 1 for suggested quantities. Peel peaches. To loosen skins, submerge peaches in boiling water for approximately 30-60 seconds, and then place in cold water for 20 seconds. Slip off skins and prepare slices 1/2-inch thick. Place slices in water containing 1/2 tsp. of ascorbic acid crystals or six 500-milligram vitamin C tablets in 1 gallon of water to prevent browning.

For fresh fruit, place 6 cups at a time in 1 gallon boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine water, sugar, Clear Jel®, and, if desired, cinnamon and/or almond extract in a large kettle. Stir and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil sauce 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Fold in drained peach slices and continue to heat mixture for 3 minutes. Fill jars without delay, leaving 1 inch head-space. Adjust lids and process immediately according to the recommendations in Table 2.
Table 1. Peach Pie Filling
Quantities of Ingredients Needed For
1 Quart 7 Quarts
Sliced fresh peaches 3-1/2 cups 6 quarts
Granulated sugar 1 cup 7 cups
Clear Jel® 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp 2 cups + 3 tbsp
Cold water 3/4 cup 5-1/4 cups
Cinnamon (optional) 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Almond extract (optional) 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Bottled lemon juice 1/4 cup 1-3/4 cups
Table 2. Recommended process time for Peach Pie Filling in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 -3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 30 min 35 40 45

This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed November 2009.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rootbeer Pudding Cookies

from Chef-in-training


3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix dry, do not prepare
2 eggs
1 tsp. Root Beer concentrate
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1-2 cups white chocolate chips


Cream butter and sugars together.Beat in instant vanilla pudding mix well.Add eggs and root beer concentrate and beat until well incorporated.Add flour and baking soda and beat until well incorporated.Stir in white chocolate chips.Roll into 1" balls and place on greased cookie sheet.Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Waffle recipe for whole wheat waffles. We tried it tonight with the cinnamon apples. Thumbs up from the family :)

Healthy Whole Grain Waffles
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ*
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal*
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar or no-calorie sweetener, like Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

*If you choose to omit wheat germ and flaxseed meal, add an additional 4 tablespoons flour (whole wheat or all purpose) instead.

Whisk together flour, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl mix together milk, oil, egg, vanilla, and oil and whisk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until just mixed together, (it’s okay to have some lumps) don’t over-mix.

Ladle into an electric waffle iron and cook according to your waffle-maker’s instructions until golden brown. (I use a heaping 1/2 cup batter for my 8″ round waffle iron). Serve warm with desired toppings.

Freezer Instructions: Lay waffles in a single layer on a baking dish in the freezer for a few hours. When frozen, place in a ziplock bag or freezer container. Reheat in toaster. Can also keep cooled waffles in fridge and reheat in toaster.

Yields: 3 1/2-4 rounds (14-16 triangles)

Nutritional Information: (Calculated using Splenda)
Serving Size: 1/2 round, 2 triangle wedges
Calories: 193, Protein: 7, Carbs: 20, Fat: 9, Fiber: 4

For the Cinnamon Apples:
1/3 cups diced apple in a little saute pan with 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and a spritz of cooking spray. Just stir them around and let them cook for 2-3 minutes, just when they soften a little, and then pop them on the waffle.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

(from Taste of Home)

2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup sugar, divided
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 loaf (10-3/4 ounces) frozen pound cake, thawed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
Chocolate curls and additional strawberries, optional


In a bowl, toss strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.
In a bowl, beat cream cheese, orange juice and remaining sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream; set aside.
Drain strawberries, reserving juice; set the berries aside. Gently toss cake cubes with reserved juice. Place half of the cake in a 4-qt. trifle dish or serving bowl. Top with a third of the cream cheese mixture, half of the strawberries and half of the grated chocolate. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cream cheese mixture. Garnish with chocolate curls and strawberries if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Yield: 14-16 servings.

Nutritional Facts 1 serving (1 each) equals 344 calories, 25 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 104 mg cholesterol, 129 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies from

These cookies are so soft! I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour and some cinnamon. I baked them for 10 minutes and took them out (even though they don't look done) and let them continue to cook while they are sitting on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Baking on parchment is great for easy clean up and even baking on the bottom of the cookies.

Yields 36 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, softened
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup White Sugar
1 small pkg Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 pkg ( 12 oz) Milk Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the butter, both sugars, pudding mix, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until creamy and fluffy. Then slowly mix in flour and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonfuls, onto an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for ONLY 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before eating.

Monday, April 22, 2013


An even better snickerdoodle! From

Yield: 16-18 cookies


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
For rolling:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees while you let the dough rest for 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the cinnamon for the topping.
Take about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the dough and roll it into a ball. Roll this dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and press it onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat for the remaining cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes and no more. The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven. When the cookies have cooled they should be soft and chewy in the middle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All About Garlic

(taken from the TLC website)

Whole bulbs of store-bought garlic will keep for several months or more when stored at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation. Keep in mind, however, that garlic's lifetime decreases once you start removing cloves from the bulb.

Storing garlic uncovered, such as in a wire-mesh basket inside your cupboard or beneath a small overturned clay pot, is ideal.

You can also store garlic in a paper bag, egg carton, or mesh bag. Just be sure there is plenty of dry air and little light to inhibit sprouting. To avoid mold, do not refrigerate or store garlic in plastic bags.

If you've prepared more garlic than you need for a particular recipe, you can store minced garlic in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Although the most active sulfur compound diminishes within a few hours, refrigeration will slightly slow the process. Use refrigerated garlic as soon as possible. Some people are tempted to freeze garlic, but this is not recommended because its texture changes, as does its flavor.
Garlic in the Kitchen

The first thing to remember about cooking with garlic is the difference between bulbs and cloves. The average teardrop-shape garlic bulb is about two inches wide and two inches tall. It typically contains about 10 to 20 individual cloves about the size of your thumbnail. Most recipes call for one or more cloves, not bulbs.

To separate the individual cloves from the bulb, place the bulb on a flat surface. Use the heel of your hand to apply firm but gentle pressure at an angle. The parchment layers will separate, allowing you to carefully remove as many cloves as you need.

Then, tenderly remove the thin covering on each individual clove. Most people reach for the plumpest cloves, but the smaller cloves have a more intense flavor.

Because one of garlic's most beneficial ingredients, allicin, is partially destroyed by cooking, you'll get the greatest health boost if you use it raw or only lightly cooked when you can. However, cooking garlic forms other healthy sulfur compounds, so you still receive benefits when you cook it.

Plan ahead so you can cut, crush, or chop your garlic and let it sit for 15 minutes or more before using it to activate the enzymes that turn alliin into allicin.
Peeling Garlic the Easy Way

To easily peel garlic, slice off each end of a clove. Then, turn your broad chef's knife sideways so the flat side is parallel to your cutting board and the sharp edge is facing away from you. Place your knife this way on top of the clove and give the blade a quick pop with the heel of your hand to lightly crush the garlic clove (you don't want to mash it). The papery skins then rub off easily.

If you're going to peel many garlic cloves at once, drop them into boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds. Then plunge them into cold water. The skins will slide right off between your thumb and forefinger.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Revised 4 week menu

Side note: I cook from my menus Monday-Thursday. I have more than 4 recipes listed under each week. That allows for some variety or taking advantage of weekly sales. Friday and Saturday nights we eat leftovers or homemade pizza. I hate cooking big dinners on Friday and Saturday. Even if I buy stuff to make I just don't do it. I know myself well enough to know it won't get done. Homemade pizza is easy. Sunday nights is always breakfast for dinner. Pancakes or waffles with eggs and fruit. I always have that stuff on hand and so I don't put it on my menu or shopping list. Each dinner in the list is linked to the recipe. No shopping lists yet...

Week #1
1. Taco Salad
2. Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
3. Pepperoni Macaroni
4. Spaghetti
5. Meatball Sandwiches
6. Chicken Bacon Ranch
7.  Chicken Enchiladas

Week #2
1. Chicken Parmesan
2. Stromboli
3. Rav'n Ravioli
4. Southwest White Bean Chili
5. Sloppy Joes
6. Fajitas
7.  Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Week #3
1. Chicken and Black Bean Tostizzas
2. Manicotti
3. Thai Lettuce Wraps
4. Turkey/Chicken Pot Pie
5. Baked Ziti
6. Tuscan Garlic Chicken
7. Pork Chimichangas

Week #4
1. Lasagna
2. Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
3. Pasta with Chicken and Squash
4. Taco Soup
5. BBQ Cups
6. One Pot Sausage and Tortellini
7.  Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

BBQ cups

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c BBQ sauce
1 T. minced dried onions
1 can grands jumbo biscuits (biscuits made from scratch work well)
2 T. brown sugar
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef. Drain off any fat. Add onions, BBQ sauce and brown sugar to meat and mix well. With a rolling pin roll each biscuit flat. You want a nice big flat circle. Press each biscuit into a muffin tin making a nice "bowl" to hold the meat mixture. You will have a little of the biscuit sticking on top. Fill each biscuit with the meat mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.


1 lb. ground beef
1 16 oz. container cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (approximately)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
3 lasagna noodles broken in half

*I like the oven ready lasagna that I don't have to cook ahead of time.

Brown ground beef. Add spaghetti sauce and mix well. In bottom of pan spread 1/2 cup meat sauce.
First layer: 3 pieces of lasagna noodles on top of sauce (each piece is really 1/2 regular noodle so it will fit in the 8x8 pan).
Second layer: 1/3 of meat sauce
Third layer: Spoon of cottage cheese (you can use more or less depending on how much cottage cheese you want in each layer) over the meat sauce
Fourth layer: Sprinkle approximately 1 cup of cheese over the cottage cheese. Again, adjust to fit how much cheese you want.

Repeat layers 2 times: noodles, meat sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese

Cover tightly and bake at 425 for one hour.

Taco Soup

2 cans corn
2 cans dark red kidney beans
2 cans Mexican style stewed tomatoes
1 lb. ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning

In large pot/sauce pan brown ground beef. Add taco seasoning and stir. Add corn, kidney beans and tomatoes. DO NOT DRAIN JUICE.
Mix well and heat through. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.

*** I like more liquid than this recipe provides. I add about 1/2 can of water using the kidney bean can.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Serves 4-6 (depending on if you are serving adults or kids)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup lowfat milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound fettuccine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they’ll finish up in the oven). Don’t scoot the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil! Let the oil work it’s magic to sear the crust on the chicken. If you get all antsy and try flipping too early and/or moving the chicken around the pan, the breading is lightly to fall off. Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted from More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes

***Changes I made while trying the recipe. My family does not like pepper so I only used about half the pepper called for in recipes. I used whole wheat linguini instead of fettuccine. I used half the amount of parmesan cheese called for.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pinterest failure

Trying recipes on Pinterest is a gamble. Some are great and some are not. This one was not. It was supposed be a recipe for a Dole Whip. This was nothing like a Dole Whip. It was more like pineapple whipped cream. If you are looking for a pineapple whipped cream recipe, then this is it. Otherwise don't bother. Click here to see pin on pinterest

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cookies and Cream Popcorn from


9 cups popped popcorn
20 Oreos finely crushed
24 oz. White Vanilla Almond Bark


Melt white vanilla almond bark according to package directions until completely melted and smooth consistency.
Drizzle almond bark over popped popcorn.
Sprinkle finely crushed Oreo crumbs through out popcorn to evenly distribute.
Let almond bark set up and dig in!

*I used 1 bag of Nestle white chips instead of almond bark and I let mine set up for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brown Sugar Oat Muffins

From Taste of Home

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Yield: 12 Servings


1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another small bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400° for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Nutritional Facts 1 serving equals 192 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 189 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.