Tag Archives: Dessert

Straw-Melon Soup and Re-post of Chicken & Dumplings

During the first warm day of the year I decided to break out one of my favorite summertime recipes for a kids’ cooking class.  We whipped up some Straw-Melon Soup and the kids devoured it!  It tastes like Summer.  Sip some summer for yourself.    Also, I’m re-posting the Chicken & Dumplings recipe because I found a typo!  Use this one instead.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin & Cranberry Cookies

This is one of my most popular cookie recipes.  I guess because it includes fruit and oatmeal, folks give themselves permission to eat multiple ones for breakfast or a “healthy” snack.   I think these cookies would freeze well although I’ve never had any hang around long enough to find out.  This is a good one to make with your kids.  Tip:  Don’t over mix cookies once you add the flour.  Mix just until you can’t see the flour anymore.  Over-mixing results in cookie spread and no one wants that!

Make your own Giant Cookie Cake

My son LOVES those big decorated chocolate chip cookies you get in the grocery store.  This year, I decided to make him one myself.  Once you buy the 16″ cake pan (I got mine 40% off at Michael’s), the ingredients cost very little.  Now, I can “get my big cookie on” for any occasion with just basic baking ingredients that I usually have in the pantry.  Here’s my version of the recipe.  Including the shortening helps reduce the dreaded cookie spread and not pushing dough all the way to the edge of the pan prevents spill-over and kitchen cursing.

Some “getting ready for summer” recipes: Sausage Dogs, Fruit Salad, Key Lime Cheesecake and Frozen Mojitos

No surprise that summer makes me think about food.  Actually, every season makes me think about food, but that’s beside the point.  For summer, I like recipes that include elements that can be made ahead and are easy to double or triple for summertime sharing.  Here are four ideas to get you started with the season.

Dinner-worthy Sausage Dogs (can’t even believe I’m calling this a recipe!)
1.  Choose a kielbasa sausage link (or your fave) from the deli case, one such as Hillshire farms.  Cut into almost bun-length pieces, crosswise.  Slice each piece in half, lengthwise.
2.  Place in your favorite steak or pork marinade  (I like Allegro Creole).  Cover and refrigerate for a  couple hours or overnight.
3.  In a saute pan over medium heat, saute julienned red bell peppers and yellow onions in a little olive oil/butter mixture until softened and translucent; do not brown.  Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.  (note:  by mixing butter and olive oil, the onions aren’t as likely to brown as when you use butter only).  Remove from heat and keep warm.
4.  On a preheated grill, grill sausages on both sides until charred marks appear and sausages are hot throughout.
5.  Serve on Pepperidge Farm Split-top Hot Dog buns with spicy brown mustard, relish, and sauteed vegetables.
You can make these and wrap in foil for a take-along meal.

Summer Fruit Salad
1. Cut your favorite  fruits (I like strawberries, mangoes, blueberries, honeydew melon, green grapes) into 1/2″ dice pieces.2.  Mix equal parts honey, fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice, and orange juice.  Pour over salad, using enough to coat well but not pool underneath
3.  Stir in finely chopped fresh mint.  Chill.  For a yummy add-on, add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream that has some fresh lime zest mixed in.

The Key Lime Cheesecake is a little more challenging, but Drop Dead Delicious!!!! Worth the effort.

The Mojitos are my favorite “lake cocktail.”  I can bring on big grins with a pitcher of that!

Goin’ Easy on Easter Treats

I don’t know about you, but my schedule has been ridiculous lately!  Oops!  My son’s school Easter party almost snuck up on me.  I did remember in time, but I only had a couple hours total to devote to making the treats.  So, I looked around for some cute but easy ideas.  These treats turned out to be a big, yummy hit and several folks asked me to post about it.  Here ya go. See recipe below.

photo 3-3Scratch-Made Chocolate Cupcakes with Butterscotch Pudding and Canned Frosting
I have had this basic cupcake recipe so long I have no idea where it originally came from.  I love these cupcakes because they are made with mayonnaise instead of eggs and have very few ingredients for homemade batter.  They turn out moist, chocolatey and delicious.


photo 1-3Easter Fish Snacks
Spread Snyder’s Butter Knots pretzels on a baking sheet.  Top each pretzel with a Hershey kiss.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for a couple of minutes or until the chocolate looks shiny, indicating that it’s melted.  Remove pan from oven and press a Goldfish cracker into each chocolate kiss, flattening into a disc.  Place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set the chocolate.  It’s a great snack for kids while they learn about the story of Jesus’ Miraculous Fish Catch, John 21:1-14.  Fun for kids to make and eat!

photo 2-3Rice Krispy Robin’s Egg Nest Treats – Right off the Rice Krispies website  These are great for the kids to help make, too.

Two of my favorite cookies

I like to try different cookie recipes each year but I also enjoy making those old reliable ones I know I’ll love.   If you mix up the old and new, you know at least half of them will come out ok!  These two cookie recipes continue to be on my list of faves.  I have made these for so long I don’t even remember where the recipes came from so I don’t know how to acknowledge credit.  Oops!

Straw-Melon Soup makes yummy use of leftover fruit

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned in culinary school is how to creatively use up leftover or extra food.  It’s really cool to open the door of my fridge and behold all those little containers of miscellaneous food from a few days ago and AHA!  I have an idea for something that will totally re-make the ingredients.

I bought a lot of fruit on sale last week and we have enjoyed having it as summer snacks and lunch add-ons.  But… today I realized I had a pretty big bowl of watermelon balls and a container of organic strawberries that needed a quick rescue.  Thinking back on some “use up” ideas from school, I decided to make a cold fruit soup.  WOW was it good!  Delicious and refreshing on this 90 degree day.  It tastes like strawberries and watermelon in the same perfect moment.  You could serve in a bowl with whipped cream, freeze into a popsicle or make a smoothie.  We pretty much finished it off with a spoon before it could be transformed into anything else.  You could change the ingredients in this soup to your taste or whatever leftover items are lurking in your fridge.

Strawmelon soup