best sugar cookie recipe
After Dinner, Just Desserts, Old Family Recipes

Martha’s Best Sugar Cookies

robert and his mom
Martha and her son, my husband, on our wedding day – October 13, 2007.

As the title of this post suggests, this a recipe for Martha’s best sugar cookies.

At this point, you might be wondering: Who is Martha?

Quite simply, Martha Carol Kidd Campbell (formerly Witty) was my mother-in-law. This is a recipe she passed down to me before she died.

She entered this recipe in the Kentucky State Fair every year, and one year she actually won – third place. That’s why she kept resubmitting the recipe, just to see if she could ever win the top prize. Sadly, she never did.

Still, she never tired of baking these cookies for anyone and everyone – family, friends, and visitors to her church. Every Saturday she would bake a batch or two for the hospitality cart her church offered Sunday morning visitors.sugar cookies recipe

She even made several batches for our wedding. As you can see from this picture, we didn’t have very many leftovers!

I asked my husband if he minded me sharing her recipe because I thought it would be a nice tribute to her, and he agreed. He said his mother would probably love to make it possible for others to enjoy her special treat. So here’s how to make Martha’s Kentucky State Fair Cookies.

Martha’s Best Sugar Cookies
Prep time: 9 hours
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 9 hours 5 mins
Serves: 30 cookies
These are sure winners, if you’re looking for something to wow a crowd. My mother-in-law did consistently for years by making these!
Ingredients
  • 1 stick Parkay margarine*
  • 1 cup Domino white granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Martha White self-rising flour
  • Crisco vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups Domino powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • food coloring (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put the margarine in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds on high power, until the margarine is melted.
  2. Pour the sugar in with the melted butter and blend with an electric mixer (on the lowest setting) for three minutes.
  3. Add the egg and continue mixing for 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Stir in the vanilla until completely blended into the mixture.
  5. Stir in the flour and form into a dough ball.
  6. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  7. After the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Grease two cookie sheets with Crisco vegetable shortening.
  9. Cut the dough into three equal pieces.
  10. Sprinkle flour lightly on your countertop and roll out dough pieces one at a time on the floured surface.
  11. Use a cookie cutter to cut cookies into a certain shape, or just hand-roll small sections of dough and flatten them out to make round cookies.
  12. Place the cookies on the greased cookie sheets.
  13. Bake cookies for about five minutes, until the bottoms are golden. “Golden” is the key here.
  14. To make the glaze, pour the powdered sugar into a medium-sized bowl.
  15. Stir in the four tablespoons of water.
  16. Add the food coloring, if desired.
  17. Brush the glaze onto the cookies right after you take them out of the oven.
  18. Let the cookies sit for about thirty minutes, and then enjoy!

best sugar cookie recipe

I asked my mother-in-law why she used margarine instead of butter. I’d always heard butter was a lot better for baking. She told me that (for this recipe, at least), butter always made the cookies prone to burning, so she never wanted to use it for this recipe. She was the sugar cookie expert, so I’m not going to go and change things now!

You will have some glaze left over after you decorate the cookies, so just throw it out. Or, if you’re anything like me and the idea of just tossing out something so delicious makes you cringe, you can store it in an air-tight container in the fridge and use it for your next batch of yummy cookies!

If you are looking for a quick and easy cookie recipe, this is not it. But if you’re looking for a really wonderful, yummy cookie that everyone is sure to love, this is the cookie for you!

One night, I made a batch of these for my daughter’s Awana class. The theme for the night was God’s love, so they wanted a heart-shaped snack. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use this recipe just as my mother-in-law did – serving the church by making delicious cookies.

I sweated for three hours (after making the dough and letting it set for eight hours in the fridge) to get these just the right size and shape. Here is a photo record of that cookie-making adventure, along with a list of things I learned in the process.

I am not the cookie baking expert. In fact, until my mother-in-law shared this recipe, I was a complete cookie baking idiot.

raw cookie dough
Some two-inch cookies cut out and placed on a greased cookie sheet.

I never could get them right – at least not the made-from-scratch kind. I could do the heat and serve cookies all right. I just couldn’t make real cookies.

It should be no surprise, then, that I had a little trouble figuring out just how thick I needed to make the cookies. Before this attempt, I had never used actual cookie cutters. I just made free-form cookies, and that worked a lot better for me.

sugar cookie recipe
This is how the cookies look when they’re done. They don’t even really look done on top, but you can see a little of the golden color peeking through along the bottom edge.

You can see from the picture that my first attempt failed pretty miserably. The cut-out hearts were crepe-sized, not cookie-sized. I had to redo most of them. My second attempt turned out much better.

It took me a while to get the cooking step just right, too. These cookies just don’t look done when they’re done. They’re fluffy and puffy, and they just don’t harden to “normal” cookie consistency until they cool.

It is really difficult to brush the glaze onto the cookies while they’re still warm, even though that’s the way you’re supposed to do it. It is possible. It’s just not easy.

red food coloring
I was trying for red, but I didn’t really get there. I stopped trying after 5 drops of red food coloring. You might see bubbles in the glaze (as you can see in the picture), but they don’t hurt anything. Sometimes you get them; other times you don’t.

I had red food coloring, so I thought I would make red glaze for the heart-shaped cookies. Ha! How wrong I was!

After five drops of food coloring, this is the darkest the color got, and I really didn’t want to add more food coloring than that. I guess I could’ve doubled it, but I thought it would be excessive. And I decided there’s nothing really wrong with pink hearts, so I left it the way it was. My daughter likes pink better than red, anyway!

When it was all said and done, these pink heart cookies turned out to be pretty terrific! Even my mom said they were pretty (and she is not one to offer much praise at all).

Things didn’t turn out quite exactly the way I wanted them to before I started this project, but it was fun making them. There was also some decent pay-off for all that hard work. The kids seemed to love them, judging from later comments from their parents.heart shaped sugar cookies

My mother-in-law dedicated her life to doing things for others. She was always on the move. I don’t think I ever saw her sit down for more than five minutes at a time – until the cancer finally beat her seven years after it first made its appearance.

I am so grateful she shared this recipe with me. I will be passing it down to my little girls when they are old enough to learn how to bake. My hope is they will treasure it enough to share it with their children and grandchildren, continuing the family sugar cookie legacy.

And maybe one day I’ll enter this recipe in the Kentucky State Fair, just to see if I can win the top prize for the woman who worked so hard to perfect this cookie recipe.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

 

chocolate egg
Cooking Tools & Techniques, Cooking with Kids, Gift Ideas for Everyone in the Family, Just Desserts, Old Family Recipes

Making Chocolate Eggs

making chocolate eggs

This past Easter (which at the time of this writing was less than a week ago), my mother and I were trying to figure out what we could do to take in as treats to my daughter’s first grade class (which only has 7 kids). My mom remembered the candy-making supplies and chocolate she had stored away, and we finally decided we’d try to make little candy pieces for the kids.chocolate eggs

She dug through her stored Easter stuff to see what kind of molds she could find and came up with those old green Jell-O Jiggler molds – you know the ones I’m talking about? She remembered trying to actually make the Jell-O eggs with them (I didn’t), and she said it never did turn out right for her. But I got the bright idea to pour our melted chocolate into them and see if we could make huge solid chocolate eggs. I was a bit skeptical, to be sure, but my curiosity won out, and I decided to give it a try.

Well, it turns out the whole thing was a lot messier and more time-consuming than I thought it would be. But, more importantly (and the thing that completely turned us off making 7 whole gigantic eggs) was the fact that it took a LOT of chocolate to fill in those Jell-O egg molds. I mean, we’re talking ONE bag of chocolate made about 2.5 eggs!

So, we filled up two of the egg molds (so my two little girls could each have one for Easter), and we poured the rest of our chocolate into much smaller Easter candy molds to share with the class.

When it was all said and done, the eggs did turn out pretty well (although one had some slight discoloration to it – I think because I paused in between pouring the melted chocolate because I ran out and had to melt more). I was thrilled with what we ended up with, although neither of my two girls seemed very impressed. They liked the little chocolate pieces a lot better. Go figure. Maybe they just found the prospect of eating the huge chocolate eggs too daunting. I think I’m going to have to cut them up into smaller pieces to actually get my kids to try eating them.

Still, if you’re looking for an extra-special treat to share with your loved ones next Easter and you happen to still have one of those old Jell-O egg molds like my mom does, you might want to try making your own solid milk chocolate eggs. Here’s all you need:

Wilton Light Cocoa Candy Melts (3 bags, if you want to fill all six eggs)
1 double-sided, hinged Jell-O Jigglers egg mold
1 double boiler or chocolate melting pot
1 squeeze bottle
Non-stick cooking spray

And here’s what you’ll need to do:chocolate egg

1. Melt one bag of candy melts in the double boiler or chocolate melting pot.
2. Spray the insides of the egg molds with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Using a squeeze bottle, fill two of the closed Jell-O egg molds to the top. If you see bubbles forming, tap the mold against the countertop a few times in between adding chocolate.
4. Continue melting and filling the egg molds until all 6 are full, if desired.
5. Stick the filled egg molds in the fridge overnight (or for about 8 hours).
6. Remove from the fridge.
7. Carefully open the top of the egg mold, and remove the chocolate eggs. These can be stored at room temperature until you are ready to serve them.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

beef stroganoff recipe
Exotic Flavors, Old Family Recipes

Basic Beef Stroganoff

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved a good beef stroganoff. There’s just something about lean, tender beef in a rich cream sauce that really hits the spot on a cold night. The length of time spent cooking is what really helps the beef get tender. You can always add a bit of meat tenderizer before cooking for extra tenderizing power. Here’s the basic recipe to get you started.

Basic Beef Stroganoff
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 50 mins
This classic Russian dish is the perfect treat for a cold night. You can serve this over rice or noodles.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean beef
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter, and stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Add the beef and brown thoroughly over high heat.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the sour cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and heat through.

I almost always serve this with egg noodles because we really love them at our house. This is easily every bit as delicious over rice.

Traditionally, beef stroganoff is made with sliced mushrooms. I don’t use them because my husband is somewhat allergic to them, but if you prefer to use them you can add them in during the 30-minute simmer stage, just after you brown the meat.

Also, traditional beef stroganoff uses real onions (if you prefer to use these, brown them with the meat), but my husband hates onion, so I use onion powder in everything I cook instead. He doesn’t seem to mind the onion powder. Go figure. It must be the texture that bothers him more than the taste.

You can switch up this recipe in other ways too, like adding green or red pepper slices…or even carrots. Have any other ideas? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

brown betty
Cooking Healthy Food, Fruit for Dessert, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking, Old Family Recipes

Applesauce Brown Betty

 

applesauce brown betty

Today is National Apple Brown Betty Day! Nobody really knows how the brown Betty got its name. It’s said that it was named for the African-American slave who invented it hundreds of years ago. A recipe for the now-famous concoction was first published in Yale Literary Magazine in 1864. The original recipe used whole, fresh apples as its base, but a variation printed in the 1870s used crackers and applesauce, and this I found particularly intriguing. So I took the idea and ran with it and came up with something amazing that the whole family enjoys!

Applesauce Brown Betty
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 8 servings
This brown Betty variation was based on an 1870s version using applesauce and crackers. My whole family enjoyed it so much, they’re now asking to have it every night. Definite winner!
Ingredients
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 3 slices whole wheat bread
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups saltine cracker crumbs (about 1/2 a sleeve)
  • 1/4 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Grease a 7 X 11 Pyrex baking dish.
  2. Put the bread in a chopper (I used my Ninja Master Prep) and chop into fine crumbs.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave, for about 45 seconds.
  4. Layer the breadcrumbs along the bottom of the baking dish, and pour the melted butter on top.
  5. Stir the butter and crumbs together and press down into a thin crust.
  6. Sprinkle the nutmeg over the crust.
  7. Layer the applesauce over the crust and spread evenly.
  8. In the chopper or a blender (again, I used my Master Prep), combine the cinnamon, crackers, nuts, brown sugar, and wheat germ.
  9. Process until everything is well blended into fine crumbs (about two minutes).
  10. Pour out into a bowl and stir in the maple syrup and water until all the crumbs are moistened.
  11. Spoon out on top of the applesauce and spread evenly.
  12. Put the baking dish in the microwave and heat on high (Power Level 10) for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove and cover with wax paper.
  14. Put back in the microwave and cook on medium (Power Level 5) for 5 minutes.
  15. Remove from microwave and serve immediately with a dollop of Greek yogurt or whipped cream on top.
brown betty

The thing I really love about this is (as I discovered later) it tastes just as amazing cold as it does warm. You really can’t miss with this one! I’m glad Betty (whoever she was) made this and shared it with the rest of us.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

apple dumplings
Breads, Cooking Healthy Food, Cooking with Chicken Leftovers, Exotic Flavors, Old Family Recipes

Chicken and Apple Dumplings

 

chicken and apple dumplings.png

Today is National Apple Dumpling Day, and it’s also National Chicken Month, so I thought it would be neat to combine those two ideas into one scrumptious post with this chicken and apple dumpling recipe. I found an old dumpling recipe in a scrapbook my husband’s mother had made for us as a wedding present, and I decided to stuff those with a filling of apples, spices, and (you guessed it!) leftover crock pot chicken. And the best part is, you can use the leftover broth from the pot that you cooked the chicken in!

Here’s how I did it:

Chicken and Apple Dumplings
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 2 hours
Serves: 40 dumplings
This is a fresh take on an old-fashioned recipe I inherited from my husband’s grandmother. So good! You’ll definitely want to make this the next time you have company. You’ll impress their socks off!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 2 medium-sized Gala apples, diced
  • 2 tbspns apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbspns water
  • 3 tbspns brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 2 2/3 cups milk
Instructions
  1. Chop up the apples and shred the chicken into tiny pieces.
  2. Combine chicken and apples together with the water, vinegar, sugar, and spices, in a medium-sized microwavable bowl.
  3. Microwave on high for two minutes, and then stir.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, butter, and milk with a fork.
  5. Flour a flat surface well.
  6. Spoon and flatten out a small portion of the dumpling dough.
  7. Add a teaspoonful of the chicken and apple mixture.
  8. Spoon out another layer of dough and connect the two.
  9. Add the dumpling to hot, but not boiling, broth in a large stock pot on the stove.
  10. Repeat this process until all the dumplings are formed.
  11. Cover and simmer the dumplings, 8 at a time, for 15-20 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately, and spoon the gravy in the pan over the dumplings, for extra flavor.
apple dumplings

The idea to reuse the broth from the crock pot pan is not really my own. I got that from a blog post I read the other day, but I absolutely love it. You can reuse your leftover chicken AND the broth. That’s a double win!

Admittedly, this recipe takes some time and effort, but it is so worth it! Note: These dumplings are pretty big (about the size of a biscuit), so two per person makes a pretty decent serving size. This recipe can be halved, or even quartered, if you don’t want to make so many dumplings at once (or if you don’t want to spend so much time in the kitchen).

 

51-wy1JrHcL

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Cooking with Chicken Leftovers, Old Family Recipes

Blah-buster Leftover BBQ Chicken

 

leftover bbq chickenYears ago, my grandmother fixed some amazing barbecue chicken for me. I liked it so much, I asked her to share the recipe with me, and she did. That original recipe was, in fact, a sugar-free barbecue sauce recipe.

The other day, I was trying to figure out something I could do with leftover crock pot chicken (if you’ve been following my blog long, you know this is not something new for me – it feels like a never-ending journey), and that old recipe naturally came to my mind. So, I went to my old post and searched through my pantry. I didn’t have everything I needed (including the artificial sweetener) for the original recipe, so I improvised…and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Even my CHILDREN ate this…and (also, if you’ve been following this blog for a while) you know that’s something special.

It just proved, in my mind, what I’d already suspected for so long – Grammy made the best food. Even if you don’t follow her recipes exactly, you can come up with some amazing food that will please the WHOLE family!

Here’s my improvised, updated tangy BBQ sauce recipe that gives new life to leftover crock pot chicken.

Blah-buster Leftover BBQ Chicken
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of cooked, shredded chicken breast meat
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp wasabi
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbspns apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
Instructions
  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the tomato sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, wasabi, salt, pepper, sugar, and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the shredded chicken, and combine thoroughly to make sure all the chicken pieces are covered with the sauce.
  4. Serve immediately with buns for sandwiches or with prepared jasmine rice.
crock pot bbq chicken

Don’t have crock pot chicken leftovers? Just cook some before you make the sauce using the directions in the first linked article above.

Or, you can cook up to 5 pounds of chicken in your crock pot at one time for 8 hours on low (if thawed; if frozen, you’ll have to cook it a bit longer). Stick the meat in the pot before you go to work, and by the time you get home, the chicken will be ready to put in the sauce. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Old Family Recipes, Salads, Super Sides

German Potato Salad

 

german potato salad

I’m at least 1/16th German. My great-great-grandparents came over on a boat from Germany before my great-grandfather was born (my mom’s mom’s maiden name was Woehler). So, naturally, I’m drawn to all things German.

I’ve had German potato salad before, but I hadn’t had it for a very, very long time, so I thought it would be fun to celebrate National Potato Month by posting my favorite German potato salad recipe. This is, at least in part, in honor of my great-grandfather. I never got to meet him. He died 10 years before I was born, but my grandmother told me he always had to have potatoes of some sort at every meal.

I guess it’s a German thing. I had a coworker once whose parents were German, and she said she grew up having potatoes at every meal.

Anyway, here’s my take on the traditional German potato salad:

German Potato Salad
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: About 12
This delicious German potato salad can be served either hot or cold.
Ingredients
  • 5 strips of turkey bacon
  • 6 medium-size russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Fry the bacon in a skillet over high heat until mostly crisp.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a 2-quart saucepan in enough water so that the potatoes are covered by about an inch or two for 13 minutes.
  3. Drain the water from the potatoes.
  4. Pour the potatoes out into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Crumble the bacon over the potatoes.
  6. Add the onion powder, salt, thyme, black pepper, and sugar.
  7. Pour the apple cider vinegar over the mixture, and combine well.
  8. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate to heat later (or to serve cold, if preferred).
German Potato Salad

You can peel the potatoes before cooking, if you prefer. I didn’t because I like eating potato skins. Also, I think they add some nice color and character to this salad. Besides that, I like to save myself as much time and work as I can in the kitchen. 🙂

For more information about how to boil “perfect” potatoes for salad, check out this article.

I made this potato salad and told my husband he had to at least try some (he’s notorious for not eating potato salad of ANY kind). As he puts it, “I’ve never met a potato salad that didn’t have something I won’t eat in it.” But this one DOESN’T have anything he won’t eat, and I told him so. He gave it a try and pronounced it, “Not bad.” LOL!

My four-year-old wouldn’t touch it, and my six-year-old took a bite and said it was a little too “spicy” for her. So, for now I’m the only one who really appreciates this dish. Not surprising, really. I live with a bunch of picky eaters!

If you give this a try, though, I’d love to hear what you think of it, so do leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Cooking Tools & Techniques, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking, Old Family Recipes

Potato Candy Cake Bites

 

potato candy cake bites

September is National Potato Month. As such, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a bunch of potato recipes. The other day, for example, I posted a yummy potato soup recipe.

I also wanted to feature a potato candy recipe because I remembered making some with my mom one time, but it wasn’t the roll-out-the-log kind of potato candy that you can find hundreds of recipes of online. Her potato candy recipe was easier than that (or so I thought) – just mix all the ingredients together and roll them into little balls that you coat with powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. Well, I tried to do it from memory, and…it was a big, fat FAIL! I could NOT replicate my mom’s potato candy balls.

Since I came out with a big, sticky, ooey-gooey mess, I tried to make something of it by adding flour and baking powder and sticking it in the microwave. The result? A deliciously rich, thick cake that’s great for breakfast or snack time. No need to ice this baby. It’s perfect as is (the confectioner’s sugar is inside the mix, remember).

Thankfully, I was able to turn a near-food tragedy into a delicious food WIN! But I guess I’ll need to bug my mom to give me her potato candy recipe so I can see where I went wrong with that.

However, today I bring you what I affectionately call Potato Candy Cake Bites. Yum!

Potato Candy Cake Bites
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 24 bites
Here’s a fun new twist on an old favorite, potato candy!
Ingredients
  • 4 servings instant mashed potatoes, prepared according to box instructions
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together cooked instant mashed potatoes, peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, and spices.
  2. Add flour and baking powder, and stir until combined. Mixture will be slightly thick.
  3. Grease an 8 X 11-inch Pyrex baking pan.
  4. Spoon potato candy batter into the greased pan.
  5. Cook in the microwave on medium (Power Level 5) for 10 minutes.
  6. Rotate once in the middle of cooking, if you don’t have a turntable (or, if your microwave is small like mine, and the baking pan gets stuck so the turntable can’t move).
  7. Microwave on high 4-6 minutes. Check the cake carefully at this stage.
  8. When the cake is done, the top will appear mostly dry (this cake stays pretty moist)
  9. Cut into 24 smallish squares to serve. These cake pieces are very thick!
Potato candy cake bites

I was pleasantly surprised by how well these little gems turned out (especially considering how disappointed I was when the potato candy didn’t turn out the way I thought it would). These things are super-filling, but super-delicious! My whole family loves them, and I hope yours does too!

 

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Cooking Up a Food Blog, Just Desserts, Old Family Recipes

Sharing the Love: No-Bake Cheesecake Update

I’ve always loved cheesecake. My grandmother used to make a yummy no-bake version with graham cracker crust. So easy, and so super delicious. I really, really miss that cheesecake. But mostly I miss her!

As part of the Foodaplenty 30-day Challenge for the second day, Alice Seba encouraged us to share a little link love.

This no-bake cheesecake recipe caught my eye… especially because it uses a shortbread crust instead of the traditional graham cracker crust, so I thought I’d feature it here today on my blog. It looks so very, very good. I can’t wait to try it!

Take a minute and hop over to the Crazy Cat Girl’s blog, and tell her Mishael Austin WItty sent you! I SO love her name, mostly because I’m a crazy cat girl myself!

No-Bake-Cheesecake

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

 

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

 

Breakfast, Old Family Recipes

Old-Fashioned Pancakes

What’s a girl to do when her family is desperate for pancakes in the morning when they wake up, and she doesn’t have any pancake mix in the house? Why she turns to the old faithfuls…the recipes her grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to create some of the best pancakes ever.

This happens to me frequently because we’re a family of “pancake monsters,” but honestly, I don’t ever buy pancake mix at the store anymore. I just make sure I always have these ingredients on hand, so I can whip up a batch of homemade pancake batter from scratch. It’s a lot easier than I ever thought possible, and it’s way better than any store brand.

Just try this recipe, and I bet you’ll never want to make pancakes from an instant mix again!

Old-fashioned

Old-Fashioned Pancakes
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 8 pancakes
This is an easy, almost foolproof recipe that will have your family enjoying delicious, old-fashioned pancakes just like Grandma used to make them in no time at all. No instant pancake mix needed!
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp butter (melted)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. Dig a well in the center of the dry mixture.
  3. Pour in the milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter.
  4. Stir together until smooth.
  5. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Spoon the batter into the frying pan, one “pancake” at a time.
  7. Brown on both sides (about 30-60 seconds per side).
  8. Serve hot, with maple syrup.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

 

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Breads, Breakfast, Old Family Recipes, Super Sides

Best Kentucky Biscuits and Gravy

My most favorite breakfast food of all time is biscuits and gravy, hands down. Nothing can compare. We do biscuits and gravy a little bit different here in Kentucky, and these recipes were passed down to me by my grandmother, who cooked everything with either lard or bacon grease. Low-fat? No way! But it is incredibly delicious.

This is how my grandmother taught me to make biscuits – the best “Kentucky” way. They’re flatter than some varieties, but they taste every bit as good (or better). Serve with the bacon grease milk gravy for maximum Bluegrass State effect.

Best Kentucky Biscuits

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time 15 minutes

Makes 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 tbspn white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in 1/2 cup butter with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Stir in the milk.
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet, roll out into a 6 X 6-inch square, and cut into 12 even sections. DO NOT separate.
  7. Bake about 15 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the square comes out clean.
  8. Separate the biscuits, and serve hot.

American_biscuits_and_gravy

Bacon Grease Milk Gravy

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 25 minutes

Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bacon grease
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups evaporated milk

Instructions

  1. Heat bacon grease in a skillet over medium heat until liquid.
  2. Whisk flour into drippings until smooth.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook the flour mixture until it turns a caramel brown color.
  4. Stir constantly for about 15 minutes to prevent burning.
  5. Stir in salt and black pepper.
  6. Whisk 1/2 cup milk into the roux until well blended.
  7. Continue whisking the milk into the gravy, 1/2 cup at a time.
  8. Bring gravy to a simmer and whisk constantly until thick, smooth, and bubbling.
  9. Serve immediately.
  10. OPTIONAL (but totally recommended): Brown 1 pound of sausage, breaking it up into little pieces as you cook it. Drain most of the grease off, and then add the sausage to the bacon grease milk gravy before serving. Why not go “whole hog?” 🙂

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

 

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Breakfast, Fruit for Dessert, Old Family Recipes, Super Sides

Kentucky Apple Butter

Years ago, I got my first taste of apple butter (at Joe Huber’s restaurant in Starlight, Indiana, so it was not “Kentucky” apple butter), and I was hooked. Fortunately for me, my grandmother started making apple butter herself soon after that. Hers tasted a bit different than Joe Huber’s, and it was only later that I realized there are regional (and, possibly, even state to state) differences in the way apple butter is made.

Still, no matter where it comes from, apple butter is a delicious treat to have at breakfast or any other time of the day. Here’s a fabulous Kentucky apple butter recipe, which is very similar to the one my grandmother used to make.

kentucky apple butter on bread

Kentucky Apple Butter
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours 5 mins
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 45 servings
There are many apple butter variations. This one is a traditional Kentucky apple butter like my grandmother used to make.
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds chopped McIntosh apples
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 (1-pint) canning jars with lids and rings, as needed
Instructions
  1. Place apples in a large pot and cover them with water.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are softened (5 to 10 minutes).
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  5. Press apples through a food mill to separate seeds, cores, and skin from apple pulp.
  6. Transfer pulp to a bowl.
  7. Stir together white and brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg into the apple pulp.
  8. Pour the apple mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  9. Bake for 2 to 4 hours, stirring and scraping the sides of the pan every 20 to 30 minutes, until the apple butter is red and thickened.
  10. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
  11. Fill the hot, sterilized jars with the apple butter, to within 1/4 inch of the top.
  12. Run a knife or thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles.
  13. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue.
  14. Put the lids on the jars and screw on the rings.
  15. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water.
  16. Bring to a boil and lower the jars into the boiling water, using a holder.
  17. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars.
  18. Pour in more boiling water, if necessary, to bring the water level to at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars.
  19. Bring to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and process for 30 minutes.
  20. Remove the jars from the stockpot and place them, several inches apart, onto a cloth-covered or wood surface until cool.
  21. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down).
  22. Store in a cool, dark area.

Now, admittedly, this isn’t an easy recipe, but it’s worth every minute and every ounce of effort. If you try it, I’d love to know what you think about it, so be sure to leave a comment!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

 

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Breads, Breakfast, Old Family Recipes

Cat Head Biscuits

As I was browsing the Internet recently, I came across a strangely named concoction called cat head biscuits. The name intrigued me because, honestly, I was a little afraid to look…for fear that they might actually be made out of cat heads. Much to my relief, they are NOT! They’re just called that because they are actually as big as a cat head. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a fool-proof recipe you can use to try them for yourselves. They are truly amazing!

cat head biscuits

Cat Head Biscuits
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 6 huge biscuits
These yummy biscuits have a strange name, but they are truly delicious. You don’t want to miss out on these!
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tbspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsps unsalted butter (softened)
  • 4 tbsps shortening
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Make sure your oven rack is in the upper middle position.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Grease one 9-inch baking pan.
  4. Combine both kinds of flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  5. Work the butter and shortening into the flour mixture with a fork until you have coarse crumbs.
  6. Stir in the buttermilk until your batter is smooth.
  7. Scoop the batter out of the bowl with a spring-loaded measuring scoop.
  8. Place six scoops in a flower shape (1 scoop in the middle and 5 scoops surrounding it) on the baking pan.
  9. Bake until the biscuits puff up and are golden brown (between 20 and 25 minutes).
  10. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.
3.3.3077

In my research, I discovered that cat head biscuits are predominantly a Southern thing (or, at least, that’s mostly a Southern name. Being from Kentucky, I’d never even heard of these before, and this is certainly not how my grandmother taught me to make biscuits. Hers were the standard “Kentucky” variety – smaller and flatter, but still much tastier than the biscuits you get out of the can!

Still, I’m glad I discovered cat head biscuits. They’re just wonderful with honey or some good old “country” gravy. Biscuits and gravy is still one of my most favorite breakfast treats. I’ll share my favorite country gravy recipe soon. And I’ll share my grandmother’s biscuit recipe in that post too.

But in my next post I’m going to share my other favorite thing to eat with biscuits – Kentucky apple butter I’ve never tasted anything quite like it, and it’s too wonderful to ever want to live without now… kind of like these biscuits.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

 

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.