Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Family and Friends' Recipes

As I begin my quest to meal plan, I am realizing that although I do use lots of recipes from the internet, most of the OLD STANDBY recipes that I make all the time, that I got years ago from a good friend or that my mom and grandma made for their families, are not found anywhere on the internet, at least not in the exact form, with the exact ingredients and measurements that I use. That means I gotta type 'em up and put 'em somewhere.  So, here goes.  I'll have to add pictures the next time I make them! 


Garlic Chicken 
I think this recipe appeared in the Daily Bulletin Newspaper.
Note: The chicken will need to marinate for 4 hours or overnight.

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley
6 T butter

Mix egg and garlic.  Place in zip-top bag with the chicken breasts.  Remove as much air as possible.  Massage the bag to thoroughly coat all pieces of chicken.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the butter in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and put it in the oven to melt.  Mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, pepper, and parsley and put in a shallow dish.  Dredge the chicken pieces to coat well on all sides.  Lay pieces on the butter in a single layer.  Pour any remaining egg mixture over the top.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until no pink remains and the juices run clear.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Easy Spaghetti
1 pound thin (angel hair) spaghetti
1 T olive oil
1 jar spaghetti sauce, your choice
1 pound hamburger meat
1 pound ground mild pork sausage
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (topping)

Start a large pot of water to boil, with the oil added to it.  Add the pasta once boiling and cook until tender. Meanwhile, cook the sausage and hamburger together in a large skillet.  Drain off excess grease.  Add spaghetti sauce and simmer until combined and hot.  Serve the sauce over the pasta.  Sprinkle with the cheese.

Hamburger High Hat, Grandma Dieter's Way
This is a yummy and easy main dish.  My mom always made it in a big electric skillet so there was enough room for all the ingredients once mixed together.  You could use a big skillet or frying pan with high sides on the stove instead.
1 10 oz pkg wavy egg noodles
½ pound of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces BEFORE cooking them (I use
         the whole pound)
1 small onion, diced
1 pound ground hamburger meat
1 can cream of chicken soup OR 1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use
         one of each)
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon (or more) poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
Cut up the onion and bacon.  Boil the noodles; drain; rinse with hot water; set aside.   In a large skillet or electric pan, cook the bacon until only about half-way done.  Add the hamburger meat and diced onion and cook until mostly done, breaking the hamburger into small pieces as you cook it.  Drain off the grease.  Add the soups, noodles, sour cream, poppy seeds, and seasonings, and simmer together until done and well-blended.  

Three-Ingredient Baked Chicken   (My favorite dinner!)
      Pieces of bone-in chicken with the skin on, defrosted - as many pieces as
              you need.  I use legs and thighs.  My husband won't eat chicken on
              the bone, so I do a boneless chicken breast for him but I wait half
              an hour before adding his piece to the oven.
      Saltine crackers - two crackers per piece of chicken
      Butter -  one Tablespoon sized pat for every three pieces of chicken

Use metal pans, not glass ones, or your chicken will not brown.  Turn the oven on to 350 and spread the pats of butter randomly in the pan(s), then stick them in the oven to melt.  Meanwhile, crush the crackers in a zip top bag with a rolling pin until fine. Take the butter out of the oven.  Rinse each piece of chicken off under a running faucet.  Place 2-3 pieces of wet chicken at a time into the cracker bag and coat well.   Place skin side down onto the melted butter, with the pieces not touching.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Flip the pieces over.  Bake 15 minutes longer.  Serve with green salad and baked potatoes (put them in the oven at the same time as the chicken!).  Eat some of the crunchies left in the pan too-they're delicious!

Easy Stove-Top Pork Chops
      Bone-in pork chops - as many as you need.
      Saltine crackers -four crackers per chop
      Vegetable oil -  one Tablespoon per chop
      1 egg for every 3 chops
Scramble the egg with a fork and pour into a flat dish or plate.  Crush the saltines in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin. Pour the oil onto a large, flat skillet and heat up to medium heat.   Dip each chop into the egg, then shake in the crackers until well coated.  Cook the chops in the oil, adding oil as necessary, and flipping the chops over once when brown, about 15 minutes for the first side and about 10 for the second side.

Oven Baked Pork Chops
3 T butter
4 bone-in pork chops
1 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
20 Saltine crackers, crushed
2 eggs

Place the butter in a large metal baking dish that will fit all the chops, and preheat the oven to 350.  Beat the eggs and pour into a flat dish.  Combine the Panko and the crackers in another flat dish.  Remove the melted butter from the oven.  Dip each chop into the egg then into the crumbs, pushing them in to adhere them well.  Place over the butter, with the chops not touching.   Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, then flip over and bake another 15 minutes, or until chops are brown and juices run clear.

Tuna Pea Noodle Casserole (served cold, so it's more of a salad really) 
1 large can of tuna in spring water, drained
1 pkg of little shell-shaped noodles
1 cup mayonnaise (or more to taste)
2 cups frozen peas, still frozen, broken apart
        Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the noodles; drain in cold water.  Add the tuna, peas, and mayo and mix.   Mix in salt and pepper to taste.  Serve very cold.  This saves well in the fridge, but you may want to add more mayo the second time since the noodles and tuna will absorb some of the moisture.
Ham Steak in Au Gratin Potatoes
1 box of your favorite au gratin potato mix
butter, water, milk (as box directs)
1 uncooked ham steak (looks like a thick flat slice of ham)

Cut the ham steak up into 1 inch cubes. (Note: the ham looks delicious, but don't sample it like I accidentally did once, because it's not cooked!) Prepare the au gratin potatoes as directed on the box.  Add the cubed ham.  Bake as directed on the box.

Vivian's Comfort Pasta 
This recipe was given to me by my best friend's grandma.  It's a favorite of her family's.
4 T olive oil
1 large carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 lbs beef chuck, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 c flour
2 c white wine
1 T tomato paste
5 plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds rigatoni (mostaciolli)
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 pound fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy dutch oven, saute garlic in oil until lightly browned.  Put flour in a bag.  Drop meat in (in batches) and shake.  Add meat to garlic/oil in batches and brown on all sides.  Add the wine and cook over high heat until almost evaporated.  Remove browned meat and garlic and set aside.  Lower flame, add onions and saute until clear.  Add tomato paste and cook for two minutes.  Add celery and carrots and cook for 3 minutes.  Add meat/garlic, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Add broth and simmer for 90 minutes on low. Cook the pasta to al dente and drain.  Add spinach to meat mixture and stir.  To serve, pour the meat, cheese, and pasta into a big pasta bowl and stir (add in layers to make easier to mix).


Funeral Potatoes (from the Wheeler family cookbook)
          6 medium potatoes, cooked and grated
          1/4 cup butter
          1 can cream of chicken soup
          1 pint sour cream
          1/2 cup chopped green onions
          1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
          Salt to taste
Directions:  Melt butter.  Blend in sour cream, onions, cheese, and soup.  Fold in potatoes.  Bake in buttered 2 1/2 quart casserole at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Gravy Made From Drippings
My Grandma Dieter was always put in charge of the gravy when she came over to our house for a holiday meal.  I'm so glad she taught me how to make it the Christmas before she went to heaven because now I know how, and I'm the official gravy maker now.  I think of her while I make it, and it's a nice little visit.

Take the meat out of the pan (turkey, meatballs, ham, or whatever you cooked).  Use a large spoon or ladle to scoop off most of the grease left in the pan, leaving all the juice and meat bits, but as little grease as possible.  Take a quarter cup of flour and a cup of milk and shake them together in a jar or mix with a whisk until completely smooth- no lumps!  (Add more milk/flour mixture if you need to increase the amount of gravy for a large group of people). Put the meat pan on the stove-top burners and turn the heat to medium.  Add the flour/milk mixture and begin whisking, scraping the bits off the bottom.  Add salt and ground black pepper or white pepper to taste.  Whisk constantly until it is thickened and hot.  Serve hot!

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Side Dish (from my college roommate Rebecca)
Serves 6-8
Can be prepared ahead of time and kept in refrigerator.  Add extra broccoli and rice to make larger recipe.

2 cups minute rice
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 T butter 16 ounces of frozen chopped broccoli, bite-sized pieces
3/4 stick butter or margarine (6 Tablespoons)
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz jar Cheese Whiz
1 2.5 oz can sliced mushrooms
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook the rice with the chicken stock or water and the 2 T butter.
3. Melt butter in skillet and saute onion
4. Add broccoli and soup.  Stir.
5. Cook until broccoli is thawed, soft, and separated
6. Add mushrooms and rice.  Stir well.
7. Pour into 8 x 8 casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. 

Baked Butternut Squash
1 large, whole butternut squash
Cooking spray
4 T butter, cut into 2 separate pats
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Place the two halves of squash face down on sheet.  Bake for one hour. To serve, put the butter pats into the seed crevice and sprinkle the whole squash with salt.

Macaroni and Cheese, my mom's way
1 package elbow noodles
4 T butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, preferably sharp, plus 1/4 cup for topping
2 slices of bread heel, torn up into small pieces
Set a pot of water to boil.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Add the noodles and cook until tender.  Meanwhile, start your cheese sauce.  Melt the butter then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth.  Add the milk and cook on medium-high heat, whisking continually with a metal whisk until it becomes thick.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the cheese until melted.  Pour the cooked and drained noodles into a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, and stir to combine.  Scatter the torn up bread over the top, then sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the bread is browned and the cheese is melting.

Garlic Corn on the Cob
1 stick of butter, softened but not melted
1 T dried parsley
1 T minced garlic
4-6 ears of corn
Mix the first three ingredients together in a small bowl until a smooth paste.  Pull back the husks to the fat end of the cob, but do not remove them.  Remove the silk from the corn.  Tie the husk into a bunch with a piece of twine or a piece of thin husk.  Brush the corn kernels with the butter mixture.  BBQ the corn until blackened and tender, turning occasionally and basting with more of the mixture. Use the husk as a handle for turning.  Baste again with mixture when done, remove husk, and serve hot.

Baked or BBQ'd Summer Squash
Serves 4-5 as a side dish

1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash
coarse salt
ground black pepper
olive oil or bacon grease

Slice squash into quarter inch slices, going the LONG way by using a mandolin slicer.  Put in a bowl or zip top bag and add the salt and pepper.  Mix.  Lay slices on oiled/greased cookie sheet (with sides) in two neat layers.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Flip slices using tongs.  Bake 10 minutes longer. Alternatively, the squash can be grilled on a well-greased grill for 6-7 minutes per side.

Veggie Pizza
I got this recipe from Sara at my MOPS.  Deeelish!
2 tubes of Pillsbury THIN pizza crust
16 oz sour cream
1 package dry ranch dip mix
1/2 cup each: finely chopped broccoli and cauliflower 
1/2 cup shredded carrot
Bake Pillsbury crusts as instructed on package. Mix sour cream with ranch dip mix. Chop the veggies. Once crusts are done, let cool for about 15 min, then spread ranch mix with a spatula over the entire crust. (One container of the dip mix will cover two pizza crusts thinly, or you can use it to cover just one crust, and make it as thick as you'd like.) Sprinkle veggies and cheese onto crust.
You can make this on cookie sheets or on a pizza pan.  They both turn out really cute, it just depends on who/what you're making it for.  For a large, pot luck style, the small square pieces from a cookie sheet work best, but for a smaller group, larger, pizza style cuts work well.

Cathy's Salsa
Our friend Cathy is an excellent cook, and her husband is the wine-maker at San Marcos Creek Vineyard, so dinners at their house are truly a treat.  My husband especially loves the Mexican food she makes.  Her salsa is fabulous, tastes like a nice restaurant's salsa, and is not too spicy.

In a blender, combine:
1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 roasted, seeded medium sized jalapeno pepper (just hold it by its stem over
            your stovetop until it's brown and bubbly.)
1/2 an onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher or sea salt to taste
1-3 cloves minced garlic

Blend on "chop" for just a few seconds and serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Fried Red Tomatoes
On Saturday mornings growing up, my mom would sometimes make fried tomatoes for breakfast.  I thought they were awesome.  My friends and now my husband thinks that's the weirdest thing ever.  My grandma used to make them for her family too, so I guess it's a genetic love.  By the way, cornmeal has tons of iron in it, so if you need more iron in your diet, this dish is a great-tasting way to get it!

Tomatoes, preferably large, firm ones, with the core removed
Vegetable oil

Slice the tomatoes up, using a tomato slicer or a sharp serrated knife. Spread the cornmeal onto a plate or shallow dish.  Dip each tomato slice in the cornmeal on both sides, patting to adhere it.  Coat a large non-stick griddle (like the kind you use to make pancakes) with a good amount of oil and heat to medium heat (not smoking).  Cook the tomatoes on one side until the cornmeal is brown, then flip once with a pancake turner and cook until the second side is brown.  Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.

Dana's Guacamole
3 ripe avocados
1 medium sized tomato
Lawry's garlic salt, to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Scoop out the avocado flesh and put it in a bowl (don't mash yet!).  Chop the tomato up into small pieces and throw away the juice and seeds. Add the tomato to the bowl.  Add the lemon juice and the garlic salt to the bowl.  Mash everything as little as possible with a fork to blend, leaving it chunky.  Taste and add more garlic salt if necessary.


My Mom's Easiest Cheesecake Ever
My mom got this recipe from a friend of hers, back in the late 1970s.  Since then, I’ve never come across a simpler recipe.  It tastes great too.  This makes TWO cheesecakes, and can be halved.

2 8 oz packages of cream cheese (do not use low fat)
2 store bought graham cracker crusts
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 pint sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of salt

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350.  Get the cream cheese to room temperature.  Beat it with a mixer until smooth.  Add the next five ingredients and beat again until smooth. Pour into the crusts. Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool in the refrigerator before serving.  Serve with cherry pie filling or other fruit.

Barbara's Peanut Butter Squares
A very sweet lady at church brought these for a bake sale, and once I tasted their fabulous deliciousness, I asked her for the recipe and she was kind enough to give me these next two recipes.

1 cup finely crushed graham crackers (about 24 single crackers)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ cups peanut butter
1 cup melted butter or margarine
3 cups (or more) chocolate chips

Blend the first four ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and press into a 9 by 13 pan.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler and spread on top.  Chill in the refrigerator, then cut into squares.

Barbara's Easy Brownies
1 3 oz package of instant chocolate pudding
1 box of chocolate cake mix

2 cups of milk
1 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (any kind)

Mix the pudding with the milk, then add the cake mix and mix all together.  Pour int well-greased 9 by 13 pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips and nuts.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

Katie's Minty Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Katie is a friend, and formerly a colleague of mine who makes oodles of delicious Christmas cookies and gives them away as gifts each year.  These are my favorite! 

Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
A few drops of peppermint extract
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt (optional if you are using salted butter)

Cookie Directions:
Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the egg, vanilla, and extract and mix well.  Stir together the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt, then stir into the creamed mixture.  Shape the mixture into two log-shaped rolls, 1 ½ inches in diameter.  Wrap them in waxed paper and chill.  Slice into thin (1/4 inch) slices and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes (they burn easily).  Cool on racks.  Stick two of them together with the following filling.

Filling Ingredients:
3 T softened butter
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 T milk
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
A few drops of red and green food coloring

Filling Directions:
Combine the first four ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy.  Divide in half and add green to one batch and red to the other.  This makes just enough filling for one batch of the cookies, so don’t over-fill. 

Note: For Valentine’s Day, roll the cookie dough out and cut with a heart shaped cutter, then cut a small heart out of half of them, then put together so that the filling shows through the little cut out.  You can make tiny sandwiches with the cut out hearts.

Heidi's Peach Cobbler
My cousin's wife is a great cook, and when she served this to us, I just had to get the recipe.  It's super easy to make and tastes heavenly.  But oooooh the calories!

3 large cans of sliced peaches
1 yellow cake mix
2 sticks of butter, sliced into pats

Dump all the peaches into a 9 x 13 inch pan, including the juice from ONE of the cans.  Sprinkle the whole box of cake mix on top, evenly.  Sprinkle the top with cinnamon.  Lay the butter pats all over the entire top so it is completely covered.  Sprinkle the top AGAIN with cinnamon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Oatmeal Peach Betty
This is one of the few desserts my mom made as I was growing up, so it was such a special treat.  I typed out this recipe, copying it exactly from the 1950 Westinghouse cookbook made for children by Julia Kiene called Sugar an' Spice and all Things Nice.

Use a 2-quart ovenware casserole.  Preheated oven 375.  Baking time: 45 minutes.


sifted together:     2/3 cup all purpose flour
                           1/4 teaspoon salt
                           1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup melted shortening
2 cups canned sliced peaches or 2 cups leftover cooked peaches
2 T lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1T butter or margarine for "dotting"

Maybe this sounds difficult...But don't get discouraged.  It's really very easy.
1. First of all, grease the casserole with butter or margarine.  Hands and fingernails clean? Then use your fingertips.
2. Sift flour (page 6), measure and sift again with soda and salt.
3. Mix rolled oats into flour.  You can use a piece of waxed paper or a medium-sized bowl.
4. Melt shortening.  Why not use a small saucepan or a metal cup [on] simmer?
5. Put peaches in the buttered casserole.  A little peach juice won't hut a thing.
6. Sprinkle lemon juice and cinnamon over peaches.
7. Cut butter in little pieces and scatter over peaches.  Grownups call it "Dot with butter".
8. Add brown sugar to melted shortening.
9. Add flour and rolled oat mixture to shortening and stir until mixture looks crumbly.
10. Add vanilla.  Stir some more.
11. Spread this mixture over peaches.  Bake.  Serve hot or cold with cream or milk.  Serves 4 or 5.

Secret: If your mother is using the oven, perhaps she will let you bake your pudding at the same time.  You can use applesauce or canned blueberries instead of peaches, if you wish.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream #1
Some of my best memories growing up were of my mom and I cranking out homemade ice cream on the porch in the rickety wooden-sided bucket in the middle of the summer.  We'd go buy an enormous bag of ice at the creepy ice factory on the bad side of town, she'd mix up the ingredients, then we'd take turns cranking until Mom declared it done.  Then, oh heaven, I'd get to lick the paddle (which I called the bleater.)  There is just nothing more delicious than homemade hand-cranked ice cream on a hot day when you don't have air conditioning!  Note: This ice cream is safe for elderly and pregnant folks because it does not contain raw egg.

4 cups whole milk OR heavy whipping cream
8 cups (2 quarts) half and half 
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
9 T vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
Lots of ice and rock salt

Directions: Scald the milk. Add to it the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved.  Add the half and half.  Stir in the vanilla.  Cool in the fridge until at least slightly cool.  Freeze in ice cream maker as directed.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream #2
Note: This ice cream is safe for elderly and pregnant folks because it does not contain raw egg.

10 cups light cream
2 cups sugar
2 T vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Lots of ice and rock salt

Pour cream into gallon ice cream freezer container.  Gradually add sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in vanilla and salt.  Freeze as directed.

Divine Peach or Strawberry Ice Cream #1
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 T flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, scalded (mom used 1% milk)
6 eggs
4 cups cream or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
4 cups pureed FRESH RIPE strawberries or FRESH RIPE peeled peaches
   (that's 2-3 pints berries or about 7 1/2 medium peaches)
Lots of ice and rock salt

Scald the milk.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl.  In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Slowly stir in the scalded milk.  Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened.  Mix a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten eggs.  Add the eggs to the hot mixture and cook 1 minute longer.  Chill in refrigerator.  Add the cream, vanilla, almond, and fruit, and mix well.  Freeze as directed.

Divine Peach or Strawberry Ice Cream #2
Note: This ice cream is safe for elderly and pregnant folks because it does not contain raw egg.

6 cups light cream
4 cups pureed FRESH RIPE strawberries or FRESH RIPE peeled peaches
   (that's 2-3 pints berries or about 7 1/2 medium peaches)

2 cups sugar
2 T vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Lots of ice and rock salt

Pour cream into gallon ice cream freezer container.  Gradually add sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in vanilla, salt, and fruit.  Freeze as directed.

Aunt Miriam's French Silk Chocolate Pie
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour minimum of refrigeration time
Servings: 8-10 slices (it’s rich, so you can cut small pieces)
                1 frozen deep-dish pie crust
        ¾ cup butter
                1 1/8 cup granulated super fine sugar (if you use regular
                    granulated sugar, your pie will probably turn out crunchy)
                3 squares unsweetened chocolate
                1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
                3 eggs
                ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (makes it smooth)
1. Bake the pie crust as per the package’s directions.  This pie looks best if you remove the pie crust from the oven when it is barely light brown.  Stick the crust in the freezer to cool, because it shouldn’t be hot or even warm when you pour in the filling.
2. Cream the butter well.  Start with very cold butter… this recipe doesn’t work well if it’s a hot day or if the ingredients are warm.  If it won’t set right, refrigerate it for a while then whip it again.
3. Add the sugar, then cream well on medium-high until there are no sugar granules left and the mixture is fluffy.  If you don’t mix long enough, the pie will be crunchy from the sugar.  This takes about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the vanilla to the sugar.
5. Melt the chocolate for about 30-40 seconds in the microwave until all melted.  Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!!   
6. Before it hardens, add the chocolate to the sugar and butter, and mix well.
7. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for one-two minutes after each egg.  This makes the pie fluffy.
8. Add the cream of tartar, and beat everything some more until well blended.  If you add too much cream of tartar, the pie loses its fluffiness.
9. Put mixture into pie crust and spread around with a spatula to make even.   Refrigerate or freeze for at least an hour before serving.  Serve with or without a dollop of whipped cream on top.
10. Cover leftovers tightly as the pie dries out easily once a piece has been cut out of it.

Dana's Blondies
(This is an adaptation of this recipe for White Chip Island Blondies)

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½  teaspoon salt
1 ½  cups packed light brown sugar
2/3  cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups white morsels
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup angel flake coconut
1 cup of pieces of chewy caramels.  (Unwrap then cut them up into four pieces by using kitchen scissors.)
1 cup of Heath bits ‘o brickle toffee bits
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, nuts, coconut, caramels, and toffee bits. Press into prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes uncovered, then cover with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes more.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Yield 2 dozen bars
This recipe can be halved and made in a 9x9 pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes instead.  
Dana's Big Chocolate Chip Cookies
5 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 cups (4 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 24 oz bags chocolate chips (I use Nestle semi sweet morsels)

Preheat oven to 375.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  With a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.  Add all eggs and beat until mixture is starting to get fluffy.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Add more flour (up to 1/2 cup) if dough is still sticky.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Use an ice cream scooper to drop dough onto cookie sheets (about 1/4 cup size).  Bake for 11-12 minutes, then remove from oven and let stay 2 more minutes on the sheet before removing to wire racks to cool.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.  Note: Freeze half of the dough for up to three weeks in a tupperware container then pull out and defrost in the microwave to make cookies any time.

Shirley's Seven Layer Bars 
These bars are a friend's mom's recipe, and they are absolutely fabulous.  She had almost 90 years to perfect them!

2 sticks real butter
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1 13 oz pkg angel flake coconut
1 large pkg semisweet chocolate chips
1 lrg pkg butterscotch morsels or peanut butter morsels
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cans Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter and spread it in a jellyroll pan (a 10 x 15 inch pan with sides).  Spread the graham cracker crumbs over the butter.  Spread the coconut flakes next.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over that.  Sprinkle the butterscotch or peanut butter chips next.   Sprinkle the nuts next.  Sprinkle the 2 cans of milk over everything.  Bake for 30 minutes, watching to be sure they don’t get too brown.

Kwassini's Mom's Raspberry Brownies
Kwassini and I were summer camp counselors back in our college years.  His mom baked these brownies for the staff a couple of times, and we thought we'd died and gone to heaven they were so delicious.  These brownies have three layers, with the brownie layer being the most ordinary part of the dessert, so to save time, I often just substitute the brownie layer with a box mix brownie of any kind.



    • 1-1/4 cups semi-sweet real chocolate morsels
    • 1/2 cup margarine
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp. instant coffee crystals (optional - recommended for those of you who like darker chocolate)
    • 2 Tbsp. water
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Truffle Filling

    • 1 cup semi-sweet real chocolate morsels
    • 1/4 tsp. instant coffee crystals (optional - recommended for those of you who like darker chocolate)
    • 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/3 cup seedless red raspberry preserves


    • 1/4 cup semi-sweet real chocolate morsels
    • 1 tsp. vegetable shortening


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9"x9" baking pan.


In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate morsels with margarine. Cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs together. Add chocolate mixture and coffee crystals dissolved in water, mixing well. Stir in baking powder and flour, blend well. Spread evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Truffle Filling

Melt chocolate morsels with coffee crystals in heavy saucepan, over low heat. Set aside. In small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and raspberry preserves, beat until fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate, mixing until well blended. Spread over top of brownies.


In small heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate morsels with shortening. Drizzle over top of truffle mixture. Chill at least 1 to 2 hours. Cut into small bars and serve.  Tightly cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Missouri Cookies
These are a family favorite on my husband's side, but this is a different recipe than they usually use because something in the family recipe didn't agree with my husband's tummy.  (Adapted by Mrs. O from this recipe)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 stick butter + 2 T
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
6 oz butterscotch chips (half a small bag)
Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan. On medium heat, bring to a boil for one full minute. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and oatmeal. Stir in butterscotch chips last so some melt and some don't. Drop by spoonful onto wax paper. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.  Makes about 25 cookies.

Grandma Dieter's See's Fudge 
2 ½ cups sugar
1 large can evaporated milk
18 oz chocolate chips (I use Nestle’s toll house)
1 jar marshmallow whip
1 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Mix canned milk and sugar in a 4-quart or larger pan.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Turn to medium-low heat.  Stirring constantly, cook to “softball” stage (about 234 degrees).  This takes 15 mins or more.  Quickly add the chocolate chips, marshmallow whip, butter, vanilla and optional nuts. Stir till mixed smooth and everything is melted.  Pour into a buttered or parchment paper lined 9x12 pan or onto a 10x15 cookie sheet with edges. 

My notes about this fudge recipe:
To make the cooking process easier, before you start cooking, measure out your chocolate chips, take the lid and seal off the marshmallow whip, unwrap and cut up the butter, and take out a measuring spoon for the vanilla and a spatula for the marshmallow whip. Now you’ll be ready to throw everything into the pan at the right moment. What a stress-saver!

Lining your pan with parchment paper makes the fudge easier to get out of the pan than using butter.  If you use paper, pull the whole fudge chunk out of the pan after it’s been refrigerated hard, then cut.  Saran wrap and waxed paper don’t work because they melt.

When I give this fudge as a gift, I pour it directly from the pan into square, “toss-able” plastic containers or metal tins, so you never have to cut it.  Don’t worry, the hot fudge won’t melt the plastic.

Cool it in the fridge until hard (about two hours) before cutting. When cutting the fudge, clean your knife off after every pass or the globs stuck to the knife will make your next cut jaggedy.

Remove your fudge from the heat immediately if you see some small darker brown chunks forming---it’s going to the hardball stage and will have “crunchies.”   To save slightly crunchy fudge, add nuts and no one will know the difference between a nut and a candy chunk.

To help the chocolate chips and butter melt easier, keep the pan on the still-warm burner while stirring (make sure burner is turned off)

My Aunt Miriam says that cutting the butter or margarine into chunks makes it melt faster.  Also, she says not to use diet or low-fat margarine. I always just make the fudge with butter because it tastes the best J.  She gives boxes of fudge as Christmas gifts, and uses a ruler to measure out the pieces into perfect squares when cut.  It looks great and is worth the extra bit of effort.

I make three batches at a time in a huge pot, and it turns out the same as a single recipe. 

If your butter seems to be “floating” on top of the fudge, don’t worry.  Just keep stirring the heck out of it and eventually it will be fine.  This happened to me once when I accidentally put in too much butter.

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