Monday, October 31, 2005

Autumn Recipe Collection

Autumn is my most favorite season. My family and I get so excited when it comes, and we enjoy celebrating the season everywhere in our home...from the decor to meals! Here are some of the most favorite Autumn recipes in our home.
"Caramel Marshmallow Apples"

1 package (14 oz.) caramels
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 tablespoon water
5-6 small apples
Wooden skewers

Line a baking sheet with buttered wax paper; set aside. Combine caramels, marshmallows, and water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stiring constantly, until caramels melt. Cool slightly while preparing apples. Rinse and dry apples. Insert skewers into apples. Dip each apple in caramel mixture, coating apples. Place on prepared sheet. Refrigerate until firm. For a fun change, roll apples in crushed peanuts or drizzle with melted chocolate.


"Pumpkin Pie Squares"

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 cans (15 oz. each) pumpkin
2 cans (12 oz. each) evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

Combine the first four ingredients until crumbly; press into a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, beat filling ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth; pour over crust. Bake for 45 minutes. Combine brown sugar, pecans, and butter; sprinkle over top. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.


"Dinner In A Pumpkin" - 3 Versions!

"Dinner in a Pumpkin" (version #1)
1 medium pumpkin
2 lbs. ground beef, cooked
1 chopped onion
3 sliced carrots
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can sliced mushroom, drained
1 tablespoons garlic salt
1 celery stalk, sliced
2-3 potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Bring all ingredients (except pumpkin) to a boil in a pot. Boil 10 minutes. Place pumpkin in sturdy baking pan. Fill pumpkin with hot mixture. Bake at 350 degrees, for approximately 45 minutes, until pumpkin is tender and brown.

More can be found at


"Dinner in a Pumpkin" (version # 2)
2 lbs. ground beef
6 oz. ground sausage
6 oz. can tomatoe sauce
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. vinegar
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup chopped stuffed green olives
1tsp. pepper

Brown ground beef and sausage. Combine meats with all other ingredients. Fill in a medium cleaned pumpkin. Bake in 1 inch of water of 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve in pumpkin, scraping sides for the vegetable.


"Dinnner in a Pumpkin" (version # 3)
1 small-med. sized pumpkin
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. ground beef
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
10 3/4 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 8oz. sliced water chestnuts, drained

Cut off top of pumpkin and thoroughly clean out seeds and pulp. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onions in oil until tender. Add meat and brown. Drain drippings from skillet. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, and soup. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts. Spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin shell. Replace pumpkin top and place entire pumpkin with filling, on a baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until inside meat of pumpkin is tender. Put pumpkin on a plate. Remove lid and serve. Scoop cooked pumpkin from sides for vegetable. Serves 6.


"Pumpkin Cake in a Jar"
2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
8 pint-size wide mouth canning jars with lids and rings

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar together, adding sugar slowly. Beat in eggs, pumpkin, and water; set aside. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and stir well. Stir in nuts. Grease jars well and fill each jar about half full. Place jars on baking sheet and bake for approximately 45 minutes. When done, remove jars, and wipe the sealing edge of the jars. Place lids on jars and close tightly with the ring.

Proper sealing of cakes in a jar: After the cake is cooked be sure to wipe the sealing edge of the jar clean. Place the lids on and close them tightly with the ring. You should here a "plinking" sound as the jar cools, meaning that they are sealed. You can also press on the lids after the jars have cooled -- if they are properly sealed, they should not move at all.

How to serve a cake in a jar: Open jar and slide knife around the inside of the jar to loosen the cake, and then slide the cake out. Slice and serve alone, with whipped cream, or even some ice cream! A 1-pint jar equals approximately 5 slices.

How long they keep:
A cake in a jar that has been properly sealed will keep for up to a year.

More can be found at


"Easy Caramel Apple Pie"
1 frozen 9" pie crust
10 caramel candies; quartered
1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups Jonathon apples; unpeeled; cut into 1/2" cubes
2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup pecans; chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine caramels and flour. Add apples, caramel topping and lemon juice; mix well. Pour mixture into crust; top with pecans. Bake on baking sheet at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust has browned. Cool.


"Autumn Noodle Bake"
1 16-oz. package egg noodles, cooked & drained
1 16-oz. sour cream
1 16-oz. cottage cheese
1 16-oz. jar of your favorite salsa
2 lbs. turkey or chicken, cooked & cubed
1 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix together sour cream, cottage cheese, salsa and meat. In a 13"x9" baking pan, layer cooked egg noodles, then meat mixture, and then a layer of shredded cheese. Continue with layers until near the top of pan -- top layer must end up with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.


"Snicker Bar Salad"
6 full-sized Snickers candy bars, cut into small pieces
6 apples, cored & cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small container whipped topping
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding (do not prepare)

Mix dry pudding into whipped topping thoroughly. Add Snicker and apple pieces to whipped topping/pudding mixture. Chill.


"Crockpot Apple Butter"
7 cups applesauce, unsweetened
2 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice

In a crockpot, mix all ingredients. Cover and cook on low heat for 14 to 15 hours, or until the mixture is deep brown. Pack while hot into 4 hot pint jars. Process in hot-water bath for 10 minutes, counting the time after the jars have been immersed and the water comes again to a rolling boil. Makes 4 pints.

More can be found at

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cold-Fighting Foods
by Peter Jaret
The news made headlines around the world: Chicken soup really does help fight colds.

A team headed by lung specialist Stephen Rennard at the Nebraska Medical Center found that in a test tube chicken soup suppressed inflammation, which causes many cold symptoms. But chicken soup isn’t the only food that might help. Here’s a daily menu based on experts’ recommendations.

Orange juice or half a grapefruit. Both are great sources of vitamin C, which could shorten the duration of colds.

Whole-grain cereal or bread. Whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin E, which can help keep your immune system healthy.

Black tea. Real tea leaves (not herbal) have substances that speed the action of cilia, the tiny hairlike cells lining your nasal pas-sages, helping them expel germs.

Mid-morning snack
Yogurt. It can help you maintain a healthy immune system, as long as it contains beneficial bacteria. One cup of yogurt with live active cultures or a glass of kefir a day provides all you need.

Chicken soup. The Nebraska researchers used a traditional recipe they called “Grandma’s Soup,” which had veggies like onions, parsnips, and carrots, along with chicken. But most of the commercial varieties they tested reduced inflammation, too. For even more protection, add a clove or two of garlic.

Anise-seed cookie. Anise seeds, with their licorice-like flavor, have been found to help break up congestion.

Salad of bitter greens. Watercress and arugula can make a salad special—and research shows they may also have antiviral effects. Bitter greens are especially helpful in relieving chest congestion, sniffles, and coughs.

Pasta with tomato sauce and plenty of garlic. Because the pungent bulb is one of the most potent disease-fighting foods around, it’s worth having at least two servings a day. Raw garlic has the most benefits, but cooked garlic also packs a punch.

Ginger tea. It’s different and refreshing—and, Duke says, “ginger is loaded with virus-fighting substances, including several that act directly against cold viruses.” (One substance, gingerol, can suppress coughing.) Boil water; then steep a tablespoon of fresh shredded ginger for 2 or 3 minutes.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Chinese Recipes - So Easy And So Impressive!
The chinese cuisine is fantastic!
It is composed of more that 14000 recipes to date... No other cuisine comes close to it! If you have never prepared a chinese menu in your kitchen, so here is your chance to quickly and easily learn 3 delicious dishes....
3 Chicken breasts (boned and skinned)
1/2 lb. Chinese pea pods
1/2 lb. Mushrooms
4 Green onions
2 cups Bamboo shoots, drained
1 cup Chicken broth
1/4 cup Soy sauce
2 tb Corn starch
1/2 ts Sugar
1/2 ts Salt
4 tb Salad oil
1 pack Cashew nuts (about 4−oz)
PREPARATION: Slice breasts horizontally into very thin slices and cut into inch squares. Place on tray. Prepare vegetables, removing ends and strings from pea pods, slicing mushrooms, green part of onions, and the bamboo shoots. Add to tray.
Mix soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Heat 1 tbls of oil in skillet over moderate heat, add all the nuts, and cook 1 min shaking the pan, toasting the nuts lightly. Remove and reserve. Pour remaining oil in pan, fry chicken quickly, turning often until it looks opaque. Lower heat to low. Add pea pods, mushrooms, and broth.
Cover and cook slowly for 2 mins. Remove cover, add soy sauce mixture, bamboo shoots, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Simmer uncovered a bit more and add green onions and nuts and serve immediately.
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 block (16 oz.) of tofu, cut into 1 1/2 inch long strips
5 shitake mushrooms, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cups bamboo shoot strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
3 eggs. beaten
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
PREPARATION: Combine first seven ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Drizzle the cornstarch mixture into the soup, stirring to thicken. Then drizzle beaten eggs into soup, stirring. Top with sesame oil.
1 lb. chinese cabbage (Napa)
2 stalks celery
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp
1/2 lb. cooked pork or chicken livers
10 water chestnuts
1/3 cup bamboo shoots
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
Liberal dash pepper
1/2 tsp. light soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1 beaten egg
10 egg roll skins
3 cups oil
PREPARATION: Boil cabbage and celery until very tender. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Shred very fine and set aside to drain further. Parboil shrimp and fry or bake pork. Mince both. Shred water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Mix all ingredients but egg together. Beat egg. Wrap filling in egg roll skins and seal with egg.
COOKING: Heat oil in wok or deep fat fryer to 375 degrees and drop in egg rolls. When skin turns light golden brown, remove from oil and drain. (At this point restaurants refrigerate them and finish the cooking process as needed.) When cool, drop again into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Makes 10.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Duck with Cardamom Sauce by Paul Curran

Christmas recipe serves: 6
calories per serving: 400
preparation time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 2hours 30 minutes
suitable for freezing after step 3.

Christmas recipe ingredients:

* duck legs, 6, about 2 kg (4.5 lb)
* onions, 350 g (12 oz)
* root ginger, fresh, 5 cm piece, (2 inch)
* butter, 125 g (4 oz)
* caster sugar, 15 ml (1 tbsp)
* green cardomom pods, 8 whole
* chicken stock, 1.7 litres (3 pints)
* ginger wine, 300 ml (10 fl oz)
* dry white wine, 150 ml (5 fl oz)
* salt and pepper
* orange juice, 45 ml (3 tbsp)
* lemon juice, 15 ml (1 tbsp)
* oil, 5 ml (1 tbsp)
* sea salt, coarse 10 ml (2 tsp)
* garnish, coarse fresh coriander

Christmas recipe instructions:

1. Simmer the duck legs gently in a large pan of boiling water for about 2 hours.

2. To prepare the sauce, fry peeled, chopped onions in 50 g (2 oz) of the butter for about 10 minutes or soft. Add peeled and grated ginger, with the sugar and csardomom seeds from one pod. Cook until the color of the mixture turns dark golden brown.

3. Add the stock and boil until the volume is reduced by half. Reduce by half again till syrup like after adding the white wine and dry ginger. Add salt and pepper and orange juice to taste.

4. Stir in 25 g (1 oz) of the butter into the sauce at boiling point. Separate the onions from the liquid and combine with the rest of the butter. Keep.

5. Remove excess water from the duck and put over a roasting tin on a rack. Brush the duck with oil and sprinkle with salt and the remaining cardomom seeds.

6. Roast until the skin is very crisp. About 20 to 25 minutes at gas mark 8. (230 degrees centigrade, 450 F). Add the reheated butter and onion and serve the food with heated cardomom sauce. Garnish with coriander.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Holiday Recipe: Filled Cookies
From the book: Christmas In Dairyland (True Stories From a Wisconsin Farm)
When I was a kid growing up on our dairy farm in Wisconsin 40 years ago, cookies with a date filling were my dad's favorite kind. Here is the recipe.
3/4 cup butter or margarine (softened)
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
several tablespoons of milk if the dough seems too dry
Jam: blackberry, black raspberry, strawberry, red raspberry, plum conserve, apple conserve, or date filling (recipes for plum and apple conserve and date filling are included below.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. If the dough is too dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk. If the dough seems too wet, add 1/4 or 1/2 cup of flour.
Roll out dough. Use either a small round cookie cutter or one large round cutter. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Put one teaspoon of jam (or other filling) in the middle of the smaller rounds or off to one side of the larger rounds. Place another small round on top of the small rounds; fold the larger rounds in half. Use a fork to crimp the edges together and to poke holes in the top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until light brown.
This recipe makes about six dozen filled cookies.
The recipe can also be used to make cut-out Christmas cookies frosted with colored icing.
~ Plum Conserve ~
If plum conserve is made specifically for filling cookies, store any that remains in the refrigerator and use on toast or biscuits. The conserve can also be sealed in pint jars. (This recipe makes about three pints.)
8 to 10 fresh, large, ripe plums
1/2 cup of water
4 cups of sugar
2 cups of raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Pit the plums and chop into small pieces. Place in a large saucepan and add the sugar and water. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice, raisins and walnuts and cook for 10 minutes longer, stirring constantly. (Note: Recipe can also be made using 3 cups of chopped apples instead of plums. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.)
~ Date Filling ~
3 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Put all ingredients into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (10 or 15 minutes).
About The Author
LeAnn R. Ralph is the author of the book: Christmas In Dairyland (True Stories From a Wisconsin Farm). Share the view from Rural Route 2 and celebrate Christmas during a simpler time. Free shipping on autographed copies.;

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe?" Fern Butters asked. "Child, I’ll take that secret with me to the grave."
Fern Butters’ frozen key lime pie was legend. Every time President Harry S Truman went through Islamorada on Upper Matecumbe Key on his way to the "Little White House" in Key West, he stopped. More specifically, he stopped at Fern Inn for some of Fern Butters’ frozen key lime pie.
And so did other folks, commoners and dignitaries alike–Papa Hemingway, Cordell Hull, Douglas Fairbanks, Julia Child . And me.
I didn’t see any of those famous folks. Except Julia Child. And I didn’t know who she was. Ignorance of youth.
But I did eat Mrs. Butters’ frozen key lime pie.
I wasn’t a child when I asked her about the recipe. I had recipes for my grandmother’s compressed fruit cake. And my grandfather’s elderberry wine. And a passel of others I’d collected from near and far. So I thought her recipe would fit right in with my collection.
Not so. I was a young pastor at her little church in Matecumbe. But I could have been Gabriel himself.
And could never obtain that closely guarded secret.
Many had tried to replicate her recipe, but without success. I saw Julia Child once try to wheedle the recipe from Fern Butters with no success. I heard she tied to duplicate the recipe–again, no success.
Of course, that may just be a legend. It’s believable. Everyone who ever ate her frozen key lime pie coveted the recipe.
Well, Fern is now dead. The Fern Inn has changed names. Fern took the recipe to the grave with her.
But, recently her daughter called me up. She said that after all these years she was going through her mother’s letters and things and trying to clean out an old dresser drawer packed with old letters and notes.
She came across an envelope with my name on it. She wanted to know if I were the same preacher that served the little church down in Matecumbe.
This was a strange event. I had moved to Wisconsin serving churches there for several years. When I returned to South Florida, I was a professor in a college for 33 years. I retired from the college and served a church in North Miami Beach for 13 years. I retired again. Then answered a desperation call to serve as chaplain at a retirement community. I just happened to be in the area where Fern Butters’ daughter could contact me.
She sent me the envelope, now yellow with age. Fern had been dead for some 40 or so years. I opened the envelope. The note read:
This is what you asked for. Use it wisely.
And there was the recipe!
Now I’ve wondered what to do with this recipe. I could, of course, just publish it. Or I could write a book about my days as a young pastor among the Keys Conchs, as the folks there called themselves. I might even sell it [How long would that last!?]
But I’ve decided to give it away. I’m not even going to swear the recipients to secrecy. I’m just going to give it to folks who have a love for unusual recipes and for historical recipes. I have a buddy from North Carolina, for example, whose family has a recipe for pumpkin soup handed down since pioneer days.
And then there’s my friend from Ladies Island in Beaufort County South Carolina. She claims her ancestors created Frogmore Stew.
There’s an aunt in Western Maryland says she will give me the recipe for "Puddin’," a meat product that’s out of this world when used on pancakes. I’ve no idea what the ingredients are, but I long to find out.
Not only will subscribers receive a copy of Fern Butters’ frozen key lime pie recipe, but will also receive a monthly issue of the newsletter at no cost. Everyone is invited to send their own unique recipes.
And invite your friends to subscribe. They’ll love you for telling them about it.
But for those who are simply curious about the recipe, for those who don’t want to visit the web site, for those who don’t mind missing out on all the wonderful features found in Cookin’ Good Gazette, here’s the recipe.
With Fern’s secret ingredient [forgive me, Fern!].

Mrs. Butters’ SecretKey Lime Pie Recipe


1 Cup sweetened condensed milk

6 egg yolks [save whites]

½ Cup key lime juice [genuine key lime]

6 egg whites [I told you to save them!]

1 Tablespoon cream of tartar

1 Cup sugar

1 graham cracker pie crust [preferred–regular crust permissible]

½ pint secret ingredient



Add yolks to condensed milk and beat 8 minutesAdd secret ingredient and beat until well mixedAdd key lime juice and mix wellFold into pie shellPlace in freezer until well set. Keep unused portion in the freezer for up to a week [if it lasts that long!]


While pie sets beat 6 egg whites with cream of tartar for 5 minutes.Add 1 cup of sugar and whip until meringue makes peaks when beater is removed from mixture.Add to top of pieBrown in 350◦ oven and cool in refrigerator for 15 or more minutes for a regular pie or in the freezer for an hour if it is frozen key lime pie.

Secret ingredient. ½ pint of soft vanilla ice cream.

Don’t laugh. The addition of this secret ingredient has stumped many a jealous cook and chef, including, as I said, Julia Child. Reveal it and you take the mystery out of your own ability to produce “Harry Truman tested” Frozen Key Lime pie.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Chocolate-Cinnamon Toast: The Ultimate Comfort Food

Some mornings you wake up and charge out of bed, ready to save the world. Other mornings you want to pull the covers over your head and tell the world (including your family) to go away.

On those "undercover" days, try this Chocolate-Cinnamon Toast. There’s nothing quite as comforting as cinnamon and chocolate mixed together. This toast is the ultimate comfort food. It’ll give you a good reason to throw off those covers and charge out of bed on even the gloomiest day.


For the chocolate-cinnamon mixture, combine 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl. This will be enough for about 8 slices of toast, so once it’s mixed together put it in a small jar with a lid and store what you don’t use right away in the jar (tightly sealed) in a cool cupboard.

For each piece of chocolate-cinnamon toast, butter a slice of bread and put it on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoon of the chocolate mixture over each slice of buttered bread and spread it out evenly with a knife.

Pop the cookie sheet into the broiler or a toaster oven, a few inches from the heat source. But watch the toast VERY carefully. It only takes a minute or so for the butter and sugar and cocoa to melt and the top of the bread to toast slightly. Turn the cookie sheet around if the bread isn’t toasting evenly. But don’t let the chocolate mixture burn.

EXTRA TIP: Some cooks suggest toasting the bread BEFORE buttering it, then adding the chocolate mixture to the toast and broiling it. You might want to try it that way, too.