Monday, September 20, 2010

Chocolate Syrup

Inspired by Emily's many recipe posts, I'm going to add my first recipe to the blog!

Chocolate syrup for Ice Cream. It was a sauce my Mom always made for ice cream. I don't think I ever tasted store bought chocolate sauce. How lucky, because that stuff is... well so inferior to the homemade variety. I have to try the fudge sauce Emily posted. That stuff looks good!

On to the recipe.... (sorry no yummy picture)

chocolate Sauce

2 Cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 Cup hot water
1 can sweet & condensed milk

Dissolve sugar,cocoa and water in a saucepan. Add milk and cook 8-10 minutes. Makes 1 quart. (we always make this in a double broiler.. basically a water bath cooking method. If this doesn't make sense, just do this and be careful of the heat. It will work! And you might be eating it by the spoonful.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

My kids LOVE macaroni and cheese, especially the Kraft kind. There is something about the flourencent orange color that makes me definitely want to limit how much we eat it (they now have whole grain kind, which I am thrilled about). My mom made homemade macaroni and cheese while I was growing up and I LOVED it!

My mom is one of those cooks that doesn't use a recipe very much. She throws in a dash of this and a pinch of that. I however, need a recipe for most things so I have asked her to write down her secrets over the years. This one is so good!

1 1/2 cups of macaroni (I use all sorts of pasta for this)
2 TBS butter
1 1/2 TBS flour
4 shakes onion salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped ham if desired

Bring 5 cups of salted water to a boil. Add about 1 1/2 cups of macaroni . Boil until tender.

In another saucepan melt 2 TBS of butter. Take 1 1/2 TBS of flour and stir with 4 shakes of onion salt (that is as exact as we can get, but four shakes should do it :) Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of half and half. Turn down the heat and stir with whisk while the mixture thickens. Add grated cheddar cheese. Take the pan off the heat and let the cheese melt while you stir it in. Tast to correct the onion salt :)

Add drained macaroni and stir all together. If it is too thick for you, add more milk.

I also put about 1 cup of chopped ham into this if we make it for dinner and the kids love it!

Meatballs and Marinara Sauce

I had never eaten a meatball until I got married. I LOVE meatballs and used to buy the big bags of them at Costco. I now make my own because they really aren't that hard! I found this great recipe in "The Essential Mormon Cookbook" along with a recipe to dress up your jar of marinara sauce. So good!


1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 lb. lean ground beef (you can also use ground turkey)
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, pressed (optional)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 recipe Pasta sauce (see below)
1 lb dried spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl combine bread crumbs, ground beef, egg, the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and form meatballs. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Place Pasta sauce and meatballs in a medium saucepan and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over spaghetti. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese on individual servings. Makes 6 servings.

Pasta Sauce
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup fresh or canned mushrooms (optional)
1 (28 oz) jar pasta sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme

In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add mushrooms, if desired, and heat about 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Do not overcook, as garlic will become bitter. Add jar of pasta sauce, sugar tomato, oregano, and thyme. Cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes to blend flavors.

Caramel Popcorn

One of my favorite memories from growing up is my mom making a huge batch of caramel popcorn on a Sunday evening any my family all sitting down to watch some old Disney movie together. It is a tradition that I have carried on with my kids.

This recipe is a little different from the others as it isn't an exact science...I looked and looked for microwave popcorn that is unbuttered and unsalted, but it is hard to find so I make my own. If you have a popcorn popper (what in the world are those things called) all the better. As I don't have one I just make it in a large stock pot with a lid as my mom did. you cover the bottom with oil, just enough to coat the bottom, not a ton over medium or medium/low. Place ONE popcorn kernel in the pot and put the lid on. When that kernel pops you know the oil is hot enough. I then poured in enough popcorn kernels to just cover the bottom of the pan. Do not dump them in or you will have popcorn out your ears. In order to not burn the popcorn I take hot pads and shake the pot back and forth over the burner so it doesn't sit in one place too long. It really isn't that big of deal, but is harder than the other methods.

Once the popcorn is done I place it in one big bowl or two medium bowls depending one how much I made/want

Then you need a recipe for caramel. I usually use my good old Betty Crocker recipe. The same one that I use to actually make caramels at Christmas. Here it is for all of you who need a good recipe, and it is I assure you.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or stick margarine
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
3/4 cup light corn syrup

Heat all ingredients to boiling in 3 quart heavy saucepan (I have had this overflow on my burner before so I use a stock pot) over MEDIUM heat, stirring constantly. Don't be tempted to turn the burner higher because it will burn (yes I know that from experience).

I don't cook this recipe as long as it says because I want a thick caramel sauce (not as thin as an ice cream sauce recipe), not caramels. The recipe says 35 minutes, I cook it for about 20 minutes, until dropping a little bit in a bowl of cold water forms a soft ball that loses it shape when out of the water.

After your caramel is done you pour in a thin stream onto the popcorn while someone else stirs it in until it is all blended. How carmely it is depends on your taste, for me it is drenched in caramel!

It really isn't as hard as it may sound, I make it quite a bit and it gets easier the more you do it.

Hot Fudge Sauce

My mom made most things we ate growing up from scratch. Let's be honest, things from scratch are so much better than store bought (usually). Due to time however, I can't do as much from scratch as I would like (homemade bread is a rare treat at our house these days). Ice Cream toppings however I HAVE to have from scratch. Okay I don't have to have them from scratch, but I really really like them better homemade, like way better).

Another one of my go to cookbooks is Betty Crocker. I LOVE that cookbook. It has a lot of really good basics and some more daring recipes at the same time. I tried out this fudge sauce the other day when my brother and his family came over and we all went crazy for it! I mean like "have a little ice cream with your hot fudge" crazy. So good!

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cups sugar
1 TBS butter or stick margarine
1 tsp vanilla

1. Heat milk, chocolate chips and sugar to boiling in 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat.

1. Stir in butter and vanilla until mixture is smooth and creamy. Cool about 30 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Serve warm. Store remaining sauce covered in refrigerator up to 4 weeks.

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

Yet another recipe I get asked for a lot. This dip is so good, but look out because you may start downing it with a spoon, it really is that yummy. I got this from my Layton ward cookbook and use it all of the time.

1 large tub of Cool Whip
1 jar marshmallow cream
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve with fresh fruit-heavenly!

Fabulous Lasagna

My husband's favorite food is lasagna. Needless to say that is a dish that I try to make well since it is his favorite and I don't want him wishing he was at Olive Garden if I am going to go to the trouble to make it. I don't have a picture for this one since I just made it, realized I needed it on my blog, and didn't take one...oh well you have all seen lasagna before right? Well, picture that and you are golden.

The funny thing about this recipe is it is the one from the back of the American Beauty Lasagna noodles box. Yep it is the best one that I have ever found. I have tried them all. The only thing we do different is I use cottage cheese instead of Ricotta (we aren't big ricotta's a texture thing). It is pretty easy though a little time consuming, but so yummy! Each time I bring this somewhere I am asked for the recipe. So you can either go and look at the back of your lasagna noodles box, or keep reading.

1 lb ground beef (I use ground turkey, just as good)
2 cups of spaghetti sauce (your own or from a jar)
1 package (I use 9 pieces) lasagna noodles, prepared according to the package directions
4 cups cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley (dried is fine too but use less)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet brown meat; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce, simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Spread about 1/3 cup meat sauce on bottom (I don't think I even do that much, just enough to make it not stick-I'd rather use the meat higher up :) of 13x9x2 baking dish. Arrange 4 pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce (I use my 9th noodle to break in half in case my noodles aren't long enough for my dish...which for some reason they never are!) overlapping edges. Spread on-third cheese mixture over pasta; spread with about 3/4 cup meat sauce. Repeat twice beginning and ending with pasta. Top with remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake about 10 additional minutes, or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting (never happens here).