Thursday, March 6, 2014

Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles
(Inspired by Maria of "Two Peas and Their Pod", Modified by Judy)
Take about 10 caramels, unwrap them and cut into quarters. Set aside.
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside:
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt

Combine 3/4 c. dark brown sugar, 1/3 c. white sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add 3/4 c. margarine or butter. Mix.  Then add 1 large egg, 1 Tbl. vanilla, 1 Tbl. yogurt. Mix.
Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

Chill at least 30 minutes and preferably overnight.  Form balls from 2 Tbl. dough, dip and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture (1/4 c. sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon). Take one caramel piece and put in the middle of the cookie ball.  Cover it with dough, then roll the cookie in cinnamon and sugar mix again.  Put on slightly greased cookie sheets 2 " apart.  Put a few grains of sea or earth salt on each cookie.  Bake 8-10 minutes at 350* until the edges turn golden brown. Makes about 30 cookies.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuna Casserole

(My version without using “cream of” soups)

 Begin cooking 3 c. dry noodles to desired tenderness and drain (takes about 15-20 mins) (You can add the liquid drained off the tuna in the water to cook the noodles)
Melt 4 T. butter or margarine, then add
4 T. flour, stir thoroughly, then add
2 c. milk, stir again until no lumps, then
Simmer until thick and just barely bubbling.
Then add—
½ c. Italian salad dressing
½ c. Ranch dressing
2 cans tuna, drained
½ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
Milk to thin
Salt, pepper to taste
1 t. all purpose seasoning (optional)
Optional:  Add 1 cup frozen peas

Place in casserole pan and sprinkle grated cheese and/or breadcrumbs on top, heat thoroughly, then serve!  (OR, just serve from the saucepan after warming)

Shrimp Enchiladas Verde

(a delicious way to stretch 1 # of shrimp)  
(Serves 4-5)

1 # peeled, cooked shrimp, tails removed and cut into smaller pieces. (you can buy the uncooked shrimp, saute in butter and garlic)( Also can use chicken or turkey instead of shrimp.)
1 C. frozen corn
4 oz. can chopped green chilis, (not drained)
1  to 2 C. canned green enchilada sauce or  mild green salsa (depending on how saucy or spicy you like it)
15 oz. can of black OR pinto beans, rinsed and drained
8 corn tortillas OR 6 cooked flour tortillas
8 oz. shredded cheese (Mexican style, Mozzarella, Jack or Cheddar)
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro
Lime, cut into wedges

Coat 9 x 13 or dripper pan with cooking spray.
Combine  corn, chilis and 1/2 of enchilada sauce.  Microwave until heated through.  Add beans and shrimp.
Layer 1/2 of the tortillas onto the pan.  You may have to tear them to fit.  Top with the shrimp/bean mixture. Layer the rest of the tortillas.  Sprinkle cheese all over the top.  Cover with foil.  Bake at 300 - 325 for about 30 mins. until all ingredients are heated and cheese look bubbly.  Remove foil, top with cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges and ranch dressing if desired.

DUTCH OVEN CAMPING OPTION:  Use a 14" DO.  Use canned shrimp, canned or fresh corn.


Chocolate Chili

Inspired by Chef Bryan Woolley, KUTV. Modified by Judy.

1 lbs. extra lean ground beef, bison burger or steak, chopped finely.
1 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 red or green bell pepper, minced
1 can black beans, juice and all
2 c blended tomatoes or salsa
1 tsp Mexican seasoning
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
splash of Tabasco--optional
Salt to taste, fresh cracked pepper


Brown meat and peppers, onions, garlic in some olive or vegetable oil.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Add beans and tomatoes and spices.  Simmer for about 30-40 minutes.  Add chocolate, simmer a few more minutes until it is dissolved.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serves 4-5.  May easily be doubled.

Chile Verde Diera

(Real Green Chili, a prize winning recipe I developed for a Dutch oven  contest)

5-6 lbs. Chopped lean meat
(pork or chicken--chicken cooks faster)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 diced green pepper
1 diced medium onion
2 tsp. Salt
Dash of pepper
1 ½ tsp. Ground cumin
1 T. Chili powder
½ bunch of cilantro
12oz. can lemon/lime soda
15oz. can mild or medium green salsa
3 drops liquid smoke (optional)

May be cooked in any pot, Dutch oven is ideal.  Mix all ingredients and simmer until done, about 40-45 minutes.  To thicken, remove 2 cups of the broth, add ¾ cups corn starch, ½ t. Kitchen Bouquet (optional).  Pour back onto chili, mix well and bring to simmering to thicken.  (add more cornstarch if it doesn’t thicken enough…)Serve on soft, warmed flour tortillas, or rice.
Top with:  diced tomatoes, diced green peppers, cilantro, grated cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, sliced olives, guacamole etc…

Deviled Eggs

I am not a fan of hard boiled eggs, but deviled...they're delicious.  They are always a hit at a pot luck and are not just limited to Thanksgiving or Easter.  I developed this recipe from research and trial.

12 eggs
1/2 cup Best Foods mayonnaise
2 T. ranch dressing
2 tsp. yellow or Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
 1/8 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
 2 tsp. dried parsley
dash of garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
 2 tsp finely minced dill pickles
1 T. cream cheese
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there's 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.

Crack egg shells and carefully peel.   Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, place whites on a serving platter. Mash or mix all ingredients.  Evenly disperse heaping  spoonfuls of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seven Layer Dip

Layer 1 …mix--
1 can refried beans
2 T. Taco or Mexican seasoning
Layer 2…mix--
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
2 T. Taco seasoning
Layer 3— (optional)  Chopped avocado (coated in Lime or lemon juice)
Layer 4--
1 pint of bottled or fresh Salsa
Layer 5—
Grated cheddar cheese
Layer 6—
½ can sliced olives
Layer 7—(optional…)
Chopped green onions
Chopped fresh cilantro

Serve with corn or pita chips.


Mountain Road Cheesecake
 ( I love almost anything cheescake...I think I took Traditional Cheesecake up a notch…)
Cream Together—
4 -8 oz. pkgs. of cream cheese
      1 c. sugar
      4 large or 5 medium eggs     
Blend in—
      2 t. lemon peel (optional)
      2 T. lemon juice
      2 tsp. vanilla
      ½ tsp. almond extract
     1  c. milk or (even better…1 c. vanilla yogurt)
Mix in—
      ¾ c. flour
Beat until very fluffy, nearly doubled.
Spread in dripper pan or even 3 – 9” pie pans. Sprinkle cookie or graham crumbs on top.  You can make a graham cracker or cookie crust and spread it as the first layer if desired. Bake at 325* for 1 hour, then turn off oven and allow to cool for 1 more hour.  Serve with choice of toppings.

Orange Chicken

This has got to be one of my new favorites:  My daughter-in-law introduced me to it.  The original recipe is from Mel's Kitchen cafe.  It's not a totally "healthy" dish, but a nice transition from eating out. I think it was inspired by Panda Express Orange chicken, but is WAY better than ANY I have had ANYWHERE!  I tweaked it a bit, so I can call it my own. It does NOT deep fry the chicken and is super easy!  (Makes 3-5 servings)

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2" cubes
Heat oven to 350.  In a shallow dish, combine the following:
1/2 C. flour (can substitute corn starch or arrowroot for gluten-free)
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper
(Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mix and coat evenly)
Pour  2-4 Tb.  oil (Coconut oil works well) or melted butter in a shallow baking dish or cast iron skillet, large enough to accommodate chicken in a single layer.  Arrange chicken in the pan and bake uncovered for 15- 20 mins.

Meanwhile, combine the following in a medium saucepan and whisk over med heat for a few minutes:
2 C. orange juice
1/3 C. rice vinegar or lemon juice
2 1/2 Tb. soy sauce ( or one of those little packets)
1 Tb. orange zest
Then stir in:
1/4 to 1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 t. finely minced fresh ginger root
1 t. minced fresh garlic
2 Tb. minced green onion or chives
Bring to a boil.  Turn down heat.
Combine in a separate cup until dissolved:
3 Tb. corn starch
1/4 C. water
Add to sauce and simmer until thickened (about 1-2 mins) Add 3 drops orange or tangerine essential oil.
After the chicken has baked, turn each piece over and pour 1/2 of the sauce mixture evenly over chicken.  Bake another 15-20 mins. basting occasionally until chicken is done. Add the rest of the sauce before serving, garnish with fresh chopped green onion. Serve it  with brown rice and stir fried veggies.  Yum!!

Judy's Stuffing

Here is the famous and frequently requested stuffing recipe. I developed it from several versions.

(not only for Thanksgiving…Make and serve with any meat)
Melt 1 cube butter or margarine in saucepan.
Add  3  c.—total-- celery and onions, chopped.  Saute slowly. 
2 T. Spinach flakes (optional)
1 T. Parsley
1 ½ T. poultry seasoning
1 t. salt and  ¼ t. pepper
3 Tb. Finely chopped fresh or 2 Tb. dried sage
Fresh rosemary and thyme if available

Add 1 to 1 ½  c. chicken or turkey broth, water or milk then beat in 2 or 3 eggs. Pour mix over 5 qts. Fresh bread “cubes” or 4 qts dried and stir until all is moistened. 

This is a versatile recipe. Can add a variety of seasonings, whatever you have on hand. Walnuts, pecans, sausage, dried cranberries, mushrooms...the possibilities are endless. Can substitute cooked rice for part of the bread.

Bake at 350* for 60 min, uncovered. 

Potato Salad

(I created this version and am always asked for this recipe...and to bring this to picnics or pot lucks. )  
About 7 medium potatoes, steamed and cut into chunks (peeling is optional)
1 cup chopped celery
¼ c. chopped onion
½ chopped cucumber (optional)
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Sauce: 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
¼ c. Cesar or oil/vinegar dressing (or similar)
2 Tb. jalapeno or other Ranch-type dressing
2 t. mustard
3 Tb. Lemon juice
¼ c. of other creamy salad dressing such as Ranch or Cilantro (very versatile here, use what you have)
½ t. paprika
2 Tb. fresh chives or dried parsley
2 t. salad sprinkle (or other salad season mix)
2-4 Tb. milk

Ranch Party Potatoes

I came up with this version...Better than its cousin-- “funeral” potatoes…

Steam, bake or boil approximately 7-9 potatoes until slightly soft but not mushy. After cooking, peel or leave the peelings on and cut into 1/2" pieces.  The amount depends on the size of potatoes etc.  This recipe serves about 10.

1 large 26 oz can of Healthy Choice Cream Chicken soup (or Cream Mushroom, etc.)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
Optional: Italian dressing
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional ingredients--fresh herbs, chopped peppers, mushrooms, bacon, parsley
Leftover vegetables, etc………….This can be a creative process. The condensed soup may be substituted with mayonnaise, more ranch and other seasonings.

Mix all ingredients including potatoes until desired consistency.  Add milk if too thick or more dressing.
Place in casserole dish or Dutch oven.  Another 1-2 cups shredded cheese on top.  
Bake until heated through and cheese melts at about 300-325.

Home Made Noodles

(handed down from Great Grandma Levena Barnes)

2 eggs
¼ c. milk
½ t. salt
Add flour enough for a stiff dough
   (about 2 cups)

Roll very thin on floured surface.  Let stand until fairly dry. You can cut with a pizza cutter at this point OR roll loosely and slice. Slice them VERY thin. Add to broth or soups. Boil for 10 mins.   You can add them to chicken broth or soup, thicken the soup with corn starch. (if the noodles haven’t thickened it enough)  Serve the thickened soup over mashed potatoes.  Yum! 

Dutch Baby

(from Pam Anderson, This is basically a smaller version of a "German Pancake") Makes 2-3 servings.

 Adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 425.
Whisk together:
4 large eggs
1  cup whole milk
1/4  tsp. Salt
2 tsp vanilla
 Then add 1 cup  flour, whisk until mostly smooth. Let stand a few minutes and whisk again.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbl. butter in a heavy bottom 10" skillet over med heat until light golden brown.
Pour milk mixture into skillet.  Transfer to oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 15-17 minutes.  Without removing from the oven, sprinkle 1 Tbl. sugar.  Bake/Broil for a minute or two longer until sugar melts slightly. (Watch carefully, as it burns quickly)  Remove from oven and drizzle with sauce or syrup.  My favorite is equal parts of fresh cranberry sauce mixed with Orange Marmalade.

Cranberry Sausage Baked Beans (Easy version)


We adapted this in March 2003, then I even simplified it more.
 Takes about 10-15 minutes.


2  fully-cooked smoked sausage links sliced  (optional if you’re vegetarian)
1 tsp cumin seed, or less if powdered or ground up (can use Taco seasoning or leave it out if you don’t have it)
1 (28-oz) can Baked Beans  (B & M Original Brick Oven or other brand)
1 (16 oz) can Pinto beans
1 (4.5 oz) can Chopped Green Chiles 
1/2 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries  (expensive, optional, but oh, are they good!)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (may be left out if you’re wimpy)
8 oz. tomato sauce or part barbecue sauce

1.Not that difficult, add everything together in a pan, and heat.  If you put them in a Dutch oven, it looks like you’ve been slaving over the fire all day.

Chocolate Syrup

Good or better than the more expensive store bought kind.  Inspired by Amy Dacyczyn's, The Complete Tightwad's Gazette. I modified it to be less sweet, more chocolate.

1 Cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
dash of salt
1 t. vanilla

Mix cocoa and water in a saucepan.  Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa.  Add sugar, stir to dissolve.  Boil gently for 3 minutes over medium heat.  Don't let it get too hot and boil over.  Add salt and vanilla.  Cool, pour into clean glass jar. Yields two cups.  Store in the refrigerator.

Use 1-2 tsp. per 8 oz glass of milk (or more, if you're a real chocolate-y kind of person)

Fresh Peach Pie

Mountain Road Ranch Fresh Peach Pie
(I created this one and I believe it is the BEST fresh peach pie recipe EVER!!)
Bake Pastry (or use 9” single pie crust)  Use any pie crust recipe OR….      
Sugar Cooky crust: this one is easy and good: (recipe is for 3-4 9" pies or a 13 x 9 dripper plus a 9".  It can be spread a little further, depending on what you want)
Cream together: 1 c. sugar, 1/2 c. margarine or shortening, 1 egg.
Then add; 1/2 C. sour cream or milk and 1 Tbl. vanilla extract
Mix and add; 3 1/2 to 4 C. of white flour, 1 Tbl. baking powder, 1/2 t. baking soda.  Mix thoroughly.  Add more flour until the dough is stiff.  Take handfuls of it, roll in a little more flour and spread with fingers onto the bottoms of the pan so it looks like pie crust. You can punch it with a fork like you would a pie crust. Bake at 350 for about 10 mins.  Remove from oven and cool.  (This recipe may be doubled and the extra dough frozen for later use.)
Optional:   Raw Nut crust, finely chop or blenderize walnuts and/or almonds. Add a little honey to hold together.  Spread in pie pan.
Pie Filling:
   In a bowl, mix well with whisk attachment:
          16 oz. cream cheese, 3/4 c. sugar, 1 c. marshmallow crème’
          1 c Cool whip or whipped heavy cream, 1 Tbl. Vanilla, 2 Tbl. Milk or enough to make it spreadable. Add more or less sugar to taste if needed.
          Spread evenly over baked crust. Chill.   
Blenderize (these ingredients are generous for one pie, may be doubled or tripled)
Option #1    1/4 c. sugar, 1 c. peaches,  2 Tbl. orange juice concentrate,  or Tang made double strength, 1/2 T. lemon juice, 1/4 c ultra-gel (available at most Kitchen supply outlets. It is a corn starch thickener that thickens without heat)  Option #2:   Make 1 pkg. Orange or Peach Kool-Aid made with using half the water or juice, 1 cup sugar, 1 c peaches and 1/4 c. ultra gel.  Slice your peaches right into the mixture after it has been blenderized.

Add Approximately 5-7 c. or more sliced peaches (add until looks right) to glaze, then stir.  It should be mostly peaches with just the glaze.  Keep in mind the ultra gel takes a while to set up, so it’s best to make this ahead of time and chill. (Also, the gel is very sensitive to the digestive enzymes in saliva, so beware of “eating out of the bowl” or you may have “Peach soup”.) Scoop the peaches out of the glaze using a slotted spoon onto cream cheese mix in crust.  You will have some glaze left over which you can use in milk shakes, as ice cream topping or put more peaches in it for another batch.  If you don't drain the glaze from the peaches, the topping will be too runny.
 Chill until firm, about 3 hrs.  May be served with whipped cream, sweetened, flavored with grated orange peel, but is just wonderful without topping. 
THIS IS A VERSATILE RECIPE!  THE KEY IS THE FABOULOUS WHITE LAYER AND USING FRESH PEACH SLICES.  If you don't have access to ultra-gel, try a few tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding mix.

For Blackberry or raspberry pie, use white grape juice or apple juice instead of orange in the filling.