Easy Chocolate Fudge

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Published on: December 12, 2015

Easy Chocolate Fudge
 
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Recipe type: Sweets & Desserts
Cuisine: any
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With a house full of kids, I needed to create something that was just as tasty as it is easy. This recipe makes creamy chocolate fudge that children of any age will appreciate. Just hope they save you some! If you're interested in making peanut butter fudge, see the notes following the recipe.
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups sugar
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 6-ounce bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (We could be using bars and such. But remember - This is the EASY Chocolate Fudge recipe.)
  • 2 7-ounce jars or marshmallow creme
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups nuts - optional (pecan or walnut preferred)
Instructions
  1. Heat sugar, milk and butter to boiling.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour into 9 x 13 inch pan.
  5. Cool and cut into 1 inch squares.
To make peanut butter fudge, replace all chocolate with 1½ cups peanut butter. Reduce butter to ¼ stick. And opt for crushed peanuts instead of pecans or walnuts if you're going to use nuts.

 

Cakebox Cookies

Categories: Cookies, Sweets & Desserts
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Published on: December 24, 2014

Cakebox Cookies
 
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Recipe type: Sweets & Desserts
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Total time: 
You can make easy and delicious cookies from any box of cake mix. And there's nothing better than warm homemade cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 18 oz box of your favorite flavor cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup oil
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Add 2 eggs, ⅓ cup oil, and the cake mix to a mixing bowl and stir well.
  3. Drop by 1-inch mounds onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Wait 2 minutes before transferring cookies from the baking sheet.
Use your imagination. You can make any kind of cookie you want.

 

Easy Oreo Truffles

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Published on: December 23, 2014

Easy Oreo Truffles
 
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Recipe type: Sweets & Desserts
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Total time: 
This is the easiest "truffle" to make. If I can do it, it has to be easy! These make great homemade gifts. And are easy to have on hand for those family gatherings. You won't believe how delicious these wannabe chocolate truffles are until you make some, or receive some from someone special (That's IF they divulge their secret!)
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) Oreos (or some reasonable facsimile thereof)
  • 2 pkg. (8 squares each) Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Set aside 5 Oreos and throw the rest in a food processor until they are finely crumbled.
  2. Thoroughly mix cookie crumbs with cream cheese.
  3. Form crumb-and-cream-cheese mixture into balls, approximately 1-inch across each and place onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper.
  4. For best results, pop the formed mixture into the fridge for at least 15 minutes to chill while you complete the next step.
  5. Melt the chocolate. I like to melt it in the microwave. Just use a microwave safe bowl and cook 30 seconds at a time until melted. But use your preferred method.
  6. Remove pot from heat (if you're using a pot).
  7. Coat previously formed balls with chocolate and return to the lined cookie sheet.
  8. Throw the remaining 5 cookies into the food processor until they are finely crumbled.
  9. Sprinkle some of those crumbs on top of the (still wet) truffles.
  10. Refrigerate for one hour.
You are done! You are now free to package, freeze, eat, and enjoy!
Options: Swap out regular Oreos for Golden Oreos (semi-sweet chocolate for white chocolate, if you like white chocolate). You will end up with a cheesecake-like truffle. Or try something you "think" might be good. Experimentation is how we get all these new recipes.

 

Mom’s Hog Dip

Categories: Snacks & Appetizers
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Published on: November 16, 2014

The simplest, easiest, tastiest chipped beef with horseradish ball, log, or spread you’ll ever need! Just three ingredients and a little muscle is all it takes to create a hit.

Mom's Hog Dip
 
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Recipe type: Snacks & Appetizers
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My mother made this every Christmas time of year. Short on ingredients. Great on taste with your favorite crackers or vegetables. As a dip or as a spread, Hog Dip always pleases the masses. With dried chipped beef, cream cheese, and horseradish, what's not pleasing? This is the small batch recipe. It's very easy to double, triple, quadruple, whatever your crowd calls for.
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pkg (8oz) dried chipped beef
  • 1 tbsp horseradish, more or less according to taste.
Instructions
  1. Chop chipped beef into small pieces. Easiest with a processor or blender - but you need to be careful so as not liquefy it. Personally, I like a knife and a cutting board.
  2. Place softened cream cheese in a bowl and add the horseradish. Add half of the chipped beef, mixing it by hand through the cheese. Add rest of chipped beef and mix until uniform.
  3. Put in center of a pretty dish and surround with good crackers or raw vegetables, if preferred.

 

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

Categories: Cakes, Frosting
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Published on: January 16, 2014

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting
 
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Recipe type: Cakes
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Straight from Grandma's recipe box comes a chocolate cake to be proud of. I'd never been a fan of mayonnaise in cake, so when Grandma first told me as a child that this cake used mayonnaise, it was hard for me to take that first bite. I remember fondly those days. And you'll remember the first time you bit into this wonderful chocolate cake with mocha frosting. The frosting calls for some instant coffee granules. If it's not something you keep on hand (most coffee drinkers don't), just get a 3 ounce jar at the local store. It's well worth the investment if you only use it in one batch of frosting!
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups of sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, cooled to room temp
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted room temperature butter
  • 2 tbs instant coffee granules
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup melted semi-sweet chocolate- cooled slightly
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  3. Mix in vanilla, coffee and mayonnaise.
  4. Pour cake batter into two 8 inch round greased and floured cake pans.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
  6. Allow cakes to cool on a cooling rack.
To prepare frosting:
  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, whip butter and instant coffee granules together until fluffy.
  2. Turn mixer to medium/high speed and slowly pour in whipping cream and whip until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in vanilla extract and melted chocolate while whipping on medium/high speed.
  4. Turn mixer speed down to medium/low and slowly add in your powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until the frosting has reached your desired thickness.
Once cakes have cooled, level the tops and frost as desired.

 

Really Easy Lasagna Recipe

Categories: Ethnic, Main Dishes
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Published on: January 6, 2014

Really Easy Lasagna Recipe
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
I've made this recipe since first perfecting it over forty years ago. This is my first attempt to share it. You will not be disappointed. This is one tasty lasagna. Of course you'll likely tweak it to be your own, but I've never received anything but rave reviews when made following my recipe exact. But with all things cooking, there's always room for improvement - there's always room to make it your own - there's always a method to make it different each time you bake it. Start with my recipe - make it your own.
Ingredients
  • Meaty Spaghetti Sauce (adjusted per the Notes for lasagna)
  • 4 oz. Grated Romano Cheese
  • 8 oz. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 8 oz. Provolone Cheese
  • 4 cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 cups of cheese you think will meld well with the others if you want more cheese. I sometimes throw in some cottage cheese, maybe a bit more mozzarella or provolone. I've even been known to toss in some Monterey Jack.
  • 12 lasagna noodles (either lightly pre-cooked or oven-ready) I prefer oven ready noodles
Instructions
  1. Prepare Meaty Spaghetti Sauce adjusted for lasagna as explained in the Notes section. For ease of preparation, sauce can be made the day before and left in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Cook noodles as per package directions - drain and set aside. If using "oven ready" noodles, skip this step.
  3. Lay all your cheeses out so they're at the ready when it comes to layering your lasagna. You'll have an assembly line of sorts. Sauce / Noodles / Cheeses
  4. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of sprayed 9x13 lasagna pan (pan should be 2½ - 3 inches tall for best results).
  5. Take four of the noodles and lay them on top of the sauce, lightly pressing to distribute the sauce and noodle evenly.
  6. Spread 1½ - 2 cups sauce on top of the noodles you just layed, keeping it relatively even.
  7. Sprinkle with 1 oz of the Romano and 2 oz of the Parmesan cheeses.
  8. Add ¼ pound Provolone cheese.
  9. Finish with 1 cup Monterey Jack and 1 cup Mozzarella cheeses.
  10. Press down with the palms of your hands so that everything is pretty close to even.
  11. Repeat so that you now have two layers.
  12. For the final layer, follow the directions for the first two layers, but use up all the cheese (except use the Romano and Parmesan cheeses as you've been using them). This top layer will have more cheese than any other layer.
  13. Set pan in middle of pre-heated 350F oven for 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. This 15 minute cooling period is perfect for cooking up some garlic bread and getting everyone settled around the table. Otherwise simply finish your table prep so this dish is the star and cool enough to eat without burning your lips off your face with hot cheese.

 

Common Cooking Measurements and Equivalents Guide

Categories: Cooking Tips
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Published on: December 21, 2013
1/2 teaspoon

=  30 drops

1 teaspoon

=  1/3 tablespoon or 60 drops

3 teaspoons

=  1 tablespoon or 1/2 fluid ounce

1/2 tablespoon

=  1 1/2 teaspoons

1 tablespoon

=  3 teaspoons or 1/2 fluid ounce

2 tablespoons

=  1/8 cup or 1 fluid ounce

3 tablespoons

=  1 1/2 fluid ounce or 1 jigger

4 tablespoons

=  1/4 cup or 2 fluid ounces

5 1/3 tablespoons

=  1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon

8 tablespoons

=  1/2 cup or 4 fluid ounces

10 2/3 tablespoons

=  2/3 cup or 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

12 tablespoons

=  3/4 cup or 6 fluid ounces

16 tablespoons

=  1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1/2 pint

1/8 cup

=  2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce

1/4 cup

=  4 tablespoons or 2 fluid ounces

1/3 cup

=  5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon

3/8 cup

=  1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

1/2 cup

=  8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces

2/3 cup

=  10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

5/8 cup

=  1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons

3/4 cup

=  12 tablespoons or 6 fluid ounces

7/8 cup

=  3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

1 cup

=  16 tablespoons or 1/2 pint or 8 fluid ounces

2 cups

=  1 pint or 16 fluid ounces

1 pint

=  2 cups or 16 fluid ounces

1 quart

=  2 pints or 4 cups or 32 fluid ounces

1 gallon

=  4 quarts or 8 pints or 16 cups or 128 fluid ounces

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

Categories: Main Dishes, Sauces
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Published on: December 20, 2013

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce
 
Author: 
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
I learned to make spaghetti sauce when I was working as a butler and listening to the old Finnish lady that did the cooking. I've been asked dozens of times for the recipe. But it's rather difficult when you're taught by a dash of this, a pinch of that, and about that much of something else. The recipe I've written here likely comes close to what I make when I just pour stuff in a pot. I mention to taste it here and there because not all ingredients are consistent when we purchase them. Great spaghetti (or lasagna) sauce should be a bit sweet. You should also be able to taste enhanced tomato sauce. All in all, this recipe will be a great starting point for creating your own family tradition. I save my lasagna to showcase our un-traditional Christmas dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 16 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can tomato paste
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon crushed oregano (or ¼ tablespoon powdered)
  • 1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon (or 1 cube, dissolved)
  • ¾ tablespoon crushed basil leave
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 large bay leaf (optional)
  • ½ cup hot water (use to rinse sauce and paste cans)
Instructions
  1. Thoroughly cook ground beef - drain exceptionally well
  2. In 5-6 quart cooker, combine all ingredients, mixing well
  3. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for 25 minutes or until mixture begins to boil
  4. Reduce heat to simmer, stir well, and cover for 3-4 hours, stirring well every ½ to 1 hour
  5. Take a taste - if it ain't right, fix it. (adding a pinch of oregano, a dash of sugar, whatever you think is light because it's generally one of these items that needs bumping depending on preference)
  6. Let simmer another 2-4 hours then taste it again
  7. If it's right, put the cover on
  8. If it's not right, fix it
  9. Cook noodles al dente' and serve
Notes
If cooking for lasagna, increase garlic powder to ¼ teaspoon and basil to 1 tablespoon. Decrease sugar to ½ cup.

You can find our lasagna recipe here.

 

Absolute Best No-Bake Drop Cookies

Categories: Cookies
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Published on: December 19, 2013

Absolute Best No-Bake Drop Cookies
 
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Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe has been in my family for generations. Always a hit. Always a treat. And so easy to make on top of the stove.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup milk
+
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup nuts or coconut (optional) I always make mine without nuts or coconut.
Instructions
  1. Mix and bring to boil sugar, cocoa, salt, butter and milk. Boil for one minute.
  2. Add peanut butter and stir until melted.
  3. Add oatmeal, vanilla and nuts - stir well.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls on waxed paper and allow to cool.

 

How to Peel Tomatoes

Categories: Cooking Tips
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Published on: October 22, 2013

If you like using fresh ingredients in your dishes, you’ve probably had the opportunity to use fresh tomatoes in stews, soups, and other recipes.

While there are a few different ways to peel tomatoes, I’m going to show you my favorite method because it’s fool-proof and appropriate for anywhere from 2 to 2 dozen or more tomatoes at a time.

Place a pot of water on the stove and let it come to a rolling boil. Place your bowl of ice water next to the stove so it is easily accessible. Rinse your tomatoes clean and remove any stems that are still attached.

Using a sharp knife, slice a shallow X into the bottom of the tomato (opposite the stem side).

How to peel tomatoes

Gently place the tomatoes into the boiling water. If you have several tomatoes, boil them in batches of 3-4 at a time.

How to peel tomatoes, step 2

Boil the tomatoes till you see the X begin to split open wider, or for 25 seconds, whichever comes first. Do not boil them for longer than 25-30 seconds or they will begin to soften and cook.

Remove the tomatoes immediately from the boiling water using a slotted spoon.

How to peel tomatoes, step 3

Place the tomatoes directly into the bowl of ice water and let them cool off. This will help to stop any “cooking” that has started.

How to peel tomatoes, step 4

Remove the tomatoes from the ice water. Begin peeling the skin at the X, pulling the skin back gently.

How to peel tomatoes, step 5.

Not much tomato flesh should come off with the skin– if the flesh comes off or the tomato seems soft/mushy, you’ve cooked it a bit too long. Try cooking it for a shorter time on the next round.

Discard the skin and proceed with your recipe.

How to peel tomatoes, step 6.

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