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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday recipes from my family to yours!

Some of my fondest memories growing up was all the great food on holidays and Sunday dinners.
The traditional Sunday dinner was especially nice, the entire family would all gather together at mom and dads house and it seemed, no matter what else was going on, the comfort of the food and being together always made for a great day.
Family and food is a great combination that's sure to warm you for the holidays.
Here are a few family recipes and a few favorites from friends and Kroger. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family has over the years.
And don't forget to include the kids. Getting your children and grandchildren into the kitchen with you is great family fun.
Send me your favorite family recipes, I would love to add them to my favorite recipe list!

Merry Christmas Everyone! And may the new year bring you much happiness and good health!

Moms Chicken and Dressing
4-6 chicken thighs or breasts
1 32 oz can chicken broth
5 Tb McCormick sage
1 prepared pan cornbread
4 slices white bread lightly toasted
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 small onion diced
(If you enjoy celery, you can dice a couple stalks with the onion)

Boil 4-6 chicken thighs or breasts with 1/2 tsp salt, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and reserve broth.  Remove skin and bones from chicken and set aside.
Remove outside crust from cornbread and discard. Crumble cornbread and toast into baking pan. Add sage, chopped onion and chicken broth and mix well. Stir in slightly beaten eggs. Tear or cut chicken into pieces and mix into cornbread mixture.
Place into preheated 350 degree oven and bake until edges begin to brown and dressing is slightly firm but soft.
Dressing will continue to set after removing from oven. Do not overcook.

Caramel Apple Salad
1 cup sugar
2 Tb corn starch
4 Tb vinegar
2 eggs
1 Tb flour
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple

Combine sugar, corn starch, flour and mix well removing all lumps
Add pineapple and slightly beaten eggs. Mix well
Cook on low heat until thick
Cool completely
Add 1 12 ounce cool whip thawed
3/4 cup peanuts - unsalted
4-6 peeled and chopped granny smith apples
Mix well and refrigerate

Pineapple upside-down cake

1 Box Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme cake mix (mix according to direction but I like to replace at least half of the water with the juice from the pineapples.

1 20 ounce can sliced pineapples
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapples (well drained)
1 1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 small can maraschino cherries or replace with fresh blueberries
Optional chopped walnuts is also good

Directions
Melt butter and pour into bottom of 13 x 9 baking pan. Add brown sugar and mix well.
Spoon well-drained crushed pineapple over entire bottom of pan over sugar and butter mixture (do not mix)
Arrange pineapple slices on bottom of pan and place either cherries or blueberries in centers of pineapple slices.
Mix cake mix according to directions and pour over pineapple topping in pan.
Place on center rack at 325 degrees for at least 45 minutes or until top springs up when pushed or well browned.
After removing from oven, place flat platter or sheet cake pan on top of cake and flip upside-down. (The boys really liked this part).
Slowly remove 9 x 13 pan (careful, will be hot).
Allow to cool completely.
Beautiful!

Buttermilk Pie
(I always make this for my Uncle LeRoy when he visits from Arkansas)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs separated
3 Tb flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tb lemon juice
1  1/2 cup buttermilk
1 deep dish pie crust

Directions
Cream butter & sugar together
Add egg yolks and mix well
Add flour, salt and lemon. Mix well
Add buttermilk. Mix well
Beat egg whites until a peak will form
Fold into mixture

Pour into pie crust
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 40 minutes more.

Chocolate Passion
1) box chocolate cake mix (I like Duncan Hines devil's food but any chocolate cake will work - light or dark)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (I use Eagle brand)
1 20 ounce jar of Sanders Classic Caramel topping
1 12 ounce container whipped topping
1  king size Hershey's Health candy bar
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Directions
Prepare cake mix according to directions and bake in 9 x 13 cake pan.
Immediately after removing cake from oven, punch holes over the entire top of cake using back of tablespoon.
Pour entire can of sweetened condensed milk over top of cake.
Pour entire jar of caramel topping over top of cake.
The first time I made this cake and complained to my daughter-in-law Jessica that mine just 'wasn't the same' as hers, she gave me this very important tip.
TIP: For best results, the condensed milk and caramel should be poured over the cake hot-out-of-the-oven without cooling.
(I like to leave the cake set overnight to allow the milk and caramel to totally absorb into the cake before refrigerating).
After cake has then completely cooled, spread whipped topping over entire cake.
Break candy bar (still in wrapper) into pieces and scatter over whipped topping.
Cover and refrigerate and this will keep nicely for 5 days.


Other options:
Sprinkle nuts (walnuts or pecans) over top
Use Butterfinger candy bar topping or another favorite candy bar for topping.
Use Butterscotch Caramel topping instead of Caramel topping
*Fat-Free Eagle Brand condensed milk
Sugar Free Caramel topping
*I have not used either one of these options. They are both much thinner than the regular and may need to be applied to a cooler cake.



Cherry Cream Cheese Cake
(My sister Pat wouldn't dare show without this on the holiday)
2 8 ounce pkg creme cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
16 oz container Cool Whip
Graham cracker crumbs
1 can cherry pie filling

Directions
Mix 3 cups graham crackers with 1 stick butter and press into bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees until well done.n
Blend cream cheese with powdered sugar at med speed until well mixed and fluffy. Fold in whip cream and blend well.
Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled Graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Spread cherry topping over cream cheese. Cover and Refrigerate.

Chicken enchilada's
(everyone raves about my sister Doris' enchilada's)
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 can chopped green chili's
1 small onion
2 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg Velveeta Mexican cheese
2 pkg shredded Colby jack cheese
1  pkg soft flour tortilla shells

Directions
Boil chicken breasts and cut up. Set aside.
Brown onion and green chilis in 1 stick of butter
Add both cans of cream of mushroom soup to onion and chills
Heat through completely on low
Add Velveeta cheese and heat until melted
Add about half of soup mixture to cut up chicken
Fill shells with chicken mixture and place in baking pan
Pour remaining soup mixture over shells
Cover with one package of co-jack cheese
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
Note: add second package of cheese after cheese melts. Continue baking.

Sweet Potato Souffle
(My sister Mae's Souffle - side dish or dessert?)
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 stick butter

Mix sugar, salt, butter, eggs and milk. Add mashed sweet potatoes and vanilla and mix well
Pour into greased casserole dish

Mix flour and brown sugar. Add butter and mix well until crumbly. Add chopped walnuts and mix well. Spread topping evenly over sweet potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.


Cheese strudel
(My sister Pat first made this for my son's graduation open house. He is now 32 and this is still a favorite)
2 pkg Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk

Press one pkg of Crescent Rolls into bottom of greased 9x13 pan, pressing together all edges.
Place all ingredients in bowl and mix with electric mixer until smooth.  Spread over top of crescent rolls in pan.
Open second can of crescent rolls and place rolls on top of cream cheese mixture. Unroll crescent rolls and slightly stretch rolls to join edges as close together as possible to cover cheese mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees or until very golden brown.

Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tb milk
Mix until smooth, will be very thick

Spread icing over top of rolls directly out of oven. Do not allow to cool.


Sock-it-to-me Cake
(My niece Nena makes this especially for me - but I share)
1 Yellow cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
My niece Nena (center) with Sock-it-to-me cake
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup nuts
2 Tb brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon and set aside.
With electric mixture, Blend cake mix, oil, sugar and sour cream.
Add eggs one at a time and blend well
Pour half of the batter into bundt pan coated with cooking spray
Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and nut mixture over batter. Pour remaining batter over sugar mixture.
Using knife, make swirls through batter
Place in oven on center rack and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees

Glaze
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 3 Tb milk
Drizzle over top of completely cooled cake

Pumpkin Bars
(My daughter-in-laws says Rachel Wilcox is the best baker ever!)
4 eggs
1  1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1  15-ounce can of pumpkin puree (not mix)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In large bowl Combine first 4 ingredients. Mix until light and fluffy (although it's really not fluffy, but rather smooth).
In medium size bowl combine the rest of the ingredients with whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stir until well incorporated but do not over mix.
Pour and spread into non-greased 9x13 pan.
Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean and springy to the touch
Let cool completely
Top with Buttercream cream cheese frosting
Cut into bars and enjoy!

Buttercream cream cheese frosting
5 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix with electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Courtesy of Rachel Wilcox

Chocolate Cream Extreme 

(My sister Diane added this delicious recipe to the Family Favorites back in the summer)

OMG! This cake screams delicious. My sister Diane gets an A+ for this recipe. The paring of chocolate cake and a cream cheese and whipped cream blend filling, all topped with a milk chocolate icing, makes this the perfect Bundt cake.



My sister Diane and her Chocolate Cream Extreme Bundt Cake
Ingredients (Cake)
1 box Pillsbury chocolate cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
1 small box Jello brand chocolate instant pie filling
1 can Pillsbury milk chocolate frosting
2 Tbl water
 Filling
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 8 ounce Philadelphia cream cheese
1 8 ounce Kraft Cool Whip


Directions
Prepare cake according to directions. Mix in package of chocolate instant pudding and mix well. Batter will be stiff, add 2 tablespoons of water and finish mixing.
A slice of Heaven
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake according to directions.
While cake is baking prepare filling.
Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla with mixer until smooth and fluffy. Fold in Cool whip until well blended. Set aside.
When cake is done, remove from oven and place on wire rack. Take a knife and run it along the outside of the cake to prevent sticking.
Invert cake onto a plate and cool completely.
Using a sharp knife, slice cake evenly from side to side. Gently separate the top half of the cake from the bottom half and set aside.
Spread filling evenly on bottom half of cake and gently replace top half.
Completely frost entire cake with milk chocolate frosting.
Now enjoy!
Variations
 Add an extra cup of Cool Whip topping for a fluffier filling. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the milk chocolate frosting. Melt frosting in microwave and drizzle over top of frosted cake. Garnish with fresh strawberries or raspberries and this cake could be served at any of your finer restaurants.
  

Cherry cobbler - quick and easy
1 cup  self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
4 Tb butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 16 ounce pkg frozen cherries (thawed) (reserve juice)
Peaches may be used in place of cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine flour, sugar and milk until there are no lumps
In a cast iron  or oven-proof skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add batter and cook until edges are set, about 3-5 minutes. Pour thawed fruit in and put in oven for 30-40 minutes, until top is brown and set. Refrigerate leftovers.

Kroger recipe, courtesy of associate, Debbie

White Chocolate Cheesecake (Divinely decadent)
Crust
1 pkg chocolate chip cookies
1/4 cup butter melted
1/4 cup sugar

Filing
4 8 oz pkg cream cheese softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 oz white chocolate grated
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 oz white chocolate grated
1 tsp almond extract

Place cookies in food processor and process to crumbs. Combine crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, butter and mix well. Press onto bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese in large bowl until creamy. Gradually add 1 1/3 cups sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 3 oz white chocolate and vanilla.
Pour mixture into crust. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Remove from oven. Let set 10 minutes.
Combine sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 oz white chocolate and almond extract. Mix well.
Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven. Cool, chill 8 hours or overnight. Remove from pan before serving.

Kroger recipe courtesy of their chef Ann

Sunday, December 4, 2011

ALDI's "Switch & Save" could be just what you need for holiday savings

Disclaimer: ALDI's  has not compensated the writer in any way for this article.
If you're looking for quality value without the high cost, you may want to visit your local ALDI market.

Nearly all of the products at ALDI's are sold under its exclusive brand name and manufactured by leading food producers. Its primetime shopping hours, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon. through Sat. and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays and a quarter shopping cart rental system, helps keep overhead cost down. The shopping cart rental system allows shoppers to pay a quarter for the grocery cart when entering the store, which is then given back on return of the cart. The store is then able to pass these savings to consumers, according to the store.

A consumer survey conducted by the world's leading customer intelligence solutions company, showed ALDI’s was chosen No. 1 out of 10 of top competitors by consumers.

In fact, ALDI’s is so confident you’ll love their high quality products, they offer a DOUBLE GUARANTEE that you’ll be 100 percent satisfied.

If you don’t like the product, simply bring it back for a replacement and also get your money refunded.

After a nicely packaged assortment of items arrived at The Oakland Press, I decided to put a few of the great looking products to the test.
I love to bake, so I chose the Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread.

Both packages called for identical ingredients and measurements. Considering I was preparing them at the same time it helped with any possible mix-ups.
Pillsbury Quick Bread and ALDI brand Baker's Corner


I mixed both packages in separate bowls according to the directions, taking note as to the color and texture of the batter and noticing that the ALDI Brand (Baker’s Corner) was a bit lighter in color and the batter slightly thinner than the Pillsbury brand.

After pouring about half of the batter into each baking dish, I opened the cinnamon packets and sprinkled a little more than half the content over the batter. I also noted that the ALDI’s Brand cinnamon packet was both lighter in color and texture, the Pillsbury Brand was definitely heavier, like the difference between white sugar and brown sugar.

I then poured and carefully spread the remaining batter over the cinnamon, topping both mixtures off with their remaining cinnamon/sugar packets. I placed both cakes on the center rack in the oven together and baked for 30 minutes.

After removing from the oven, they both looked terrific and my kitchen smelled scrumptious. The cinnamon/sugar toppings cooked nicely on both cakes and were still easily identified by the color.

From left: ALDI brand; Pillsbury brand
Once both cakes completely cooled, I opened the glaze packets that were included and swirled the contents over the top of each cake.

NOTE: You’ll want to cut a tiny tip off the corner of the glaze packet. What I thought was small, proved to be a little large for the sticky glaze.

Now for the best part – the taste test.
I thought my husband would love to help out with this. Totally engrossed in the Michigan football game, he had no idea which was which but was more than happy to assist.

I cut a small piece from each cinnamon bread and placed them on a plate – asking that he only tells me which he liked best. As he headed back to the other room to enjoy his cake and football game, I also cut myself a piece of both, poured a cup of coffee and indulged.

From left: Pillsbury brand; ALDI brand
The results:
My husband, not knowing which he was choosing, chose the ALDI brand. He thought it had a lighter and slightly better flavor. Me, I thought they were both equally good. Other than the slight difference in color, the texture and taste were basically the same.

With both brands equally good in comparison, why not save yourself 25 percent and choose the ALDI brand.  

Other items featured at your local ALDI discount grocer offers consumers quality products with savings compared to the national brands.
ALDI brand Stonemill Essentials line of seasonings can save you up to 86 percent from the national brand McCormick.

You'll get at least 25 percent savings on ALDI brands compared to national brands on many of their other products, such as: olive oil, cheese, crackers, apple pie, crescent rolls and even your favorite wines.

So if you're making your holiday list and checking it twice - you might want to stop in at your local ALDI's and check out their featured "Switch & Save" items.