Archive for December, 2009

I was talking on the phone the other night with my girlfriend from Joisey (that’s New Jersey to most folks, but, ummmm, she’s originally from the south and she says weird stuff like this) and she was telling me about the Christmas cookies that she was making and Hello Dollies was one of her choices. Now, I didn’t really want to sound stoopid, so I didn’t ask her “what the hell is a hello dolly”? After we got off the phone, I searched the internets for a hello dollies recipe and found that they are also called 7-Layer Bars, or even Magic Bars. Well once I found the recipe, which BTW, I’ve made these many, many times in the past, I decided that I just had to make some for our family Christmas dinner. Just looking at them makes my blood sugar count go up, up, up. And they brought back fond memories of my Daddy who loved these cookies, he practically stuffed his pockets to take them home with him. I sure do miss cooking for him. The recipe below is adapted from Eat Me Delicious:

7-Layer Bars

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch-flavored chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for glass baking pan). In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom of 13×9-inch baking pan.

Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly with fork.

Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature.

After eating, get your blood-glucose meter out and watch the numbers go higher and higher…

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I think I may have to start calling this blog the “Eating My Way Though Dlyn’s Blog” because I am about to share with you another one of Donalyn’s wonderful recipes. I am always on the lookout for different cookies to make for the sweet tooths in my family, and this cookie did not disappoint. Donalyn calls these Sour Cherry Christmas Bars, but I think I need to rename them Sour Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Bars, that way I can make them all year round. Thanks for the recipe Donalyn, can’t wait to try some more recipes from your site.

Yum, hope there are some left to take to Christmas dinner…

Sour Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Bars

1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup dried sour cherries
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted

Mix together the melted butter and the brown sugar until well blended. Add in the eggs, one at a time.

Sift together the flour; salt and baking powder, then add to the butter, sugar, egg mixture until well blended.
Then mix in the dried sour cherries, bittersweet chocolate chips and chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

Spread the dough evenly in a well greased 8 to 10 inch square baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes (or longer if you use an 8 inch baking dish). They are done when the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in them comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then cut in bars or squares and store in an airtight container.

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Okay, so I didn’t find this recipe on the internets per-sey…I searched and searched and then searched some more for a fruitcake recipe. I was getting dizzy, there were so many recipes. I just could not decide. Many of the recipes claimed that if you had never liked fruitcake, that after eating their recipe, well you would fall in love with it. Anywho, I chose to go with the recipe that was on the container of the Pennant Fruit Cake Mix that I had bought. There is a link to this recipe on the Pennant web site (so this could qualify as a internets recipe right?), although there is one difference; the recipe I have from the container says bake at 250°, their web site says bake at 275°. I put mine in the oven at 250° for 3 ½ hours.

Sad but true, I don’t even know if I like fruitcake. I have never eaten it. When I was a kid, if it looked gross, I wouldn’t try it, and fruitcake looked gross. This year, I promise that I will try the fruitcake that I’ve made for my Mom and my brother. I can’t guarantee that I will like it, but I will at least give it a try. I will say this though, it smells wonderful, so maybe…


Festive Holiday Fruit Cake

1 ½ cups (12 oz.) Pennant Fruit Cake Mix
1 ½ cups (12 oz.) Pineapple wedges (assorted colors)
1 – 8 oz. candied red cherries
1 – 8 oz. candied green cherries
1 cup dried apples, coarsely chopped
1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
2 cups currants or dark raisins
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup walnut halves
½ cup bourbon

Pour the bourbon over combined fruits and nuts in a large bowl; let stand 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally (I let mine sit overnight in the bourbon, can’t have too much bourbon soaking time right?).

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
5 eggs
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda

Measure the remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed until blended; beat at high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in fruit mixture. Spread evenly in a greased 12-cup fluted or angel cake pan, or 2 greased 6-cup fluted cake pans. Press mixture firmly into pan(s). Bake in a pre-heated 250° oven until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 3 to 3 ½ hours. Cool in pan on wire rack 20 minutes; invert onto wire rack and cool completely. Garnish with whole cherries, pineapple and nuts.

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Ginger-Pear Preserves

OMG, this is the food of the Gods. My dear friend Marilyn found and shared this recipe with me. She told me that I had to spread some cream cheese on a cracker and then add a dollop of the preserves on top. Then I was to prepare myself to be sent to heaven when I tasted this wonderful preserves. And let me tell you it is wonderful!!

You can find the Ginger-Pear Preserves recipe over on My Recipes.

It’s a wonderful idea as a Christmas gift for family and friends. The only thing I did different was I processed the jars as I would for any jelly or jam that I make (10 minutes submerged in boiling water bath in the canning pot). I wanted the preserves to last longer if the recipients of this gift waited longer than the 6-week shelf life called out in the recipe.

I found the half pint wide mouth jars at Taget and I will add a pretty Christmas ribbon around the ring to make the jar more festive.

The pear liqueur was a challenge to find. I went to 3 different liquor stores before I found Douce Provence French Liqueur which is a pear cognac. I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to use per the recipe, but if I do say so myself it works very well in this tasty recipe.


Ginger-Pear Preserves

6 cups cubed ripe Bosc or Bartlett pear (about 1 3/4 pounds)
3/4 cup chopped seeded lemon, rind included (1 large)
1/4 cup pear-flavored liqueur
1 to 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir in sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 12 hours (do not refrigerate).

Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Place 1 cup preserves into each of 4 sterilized (8-ounce) jars. Cover with lids, and cool upside down on a wire rack. Chill.

Note: Preserves will keep in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

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I came across this recipe on Ramblings of a Bored Cook blog and her pictures of the dish sent me out in the nasty cold weather to get some of the ingredients that I needed to make this meal-in-one-dish delight. I gotta tell you I am so glad that I did because I loved it. My Mom even loved it when I took her some of the leftovers!! Thanks so much Bored for sharing this wonderful comfort food recipe!

Sausage and Potatoes

8 – 10 Sweet (or Hot) Italian Sausage Links
4 Large Russet Potatoes
1 Large Onion
1 large red pepper
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning Blend (Salt Free)
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash potatoes and leave the skins on. Cut into large, equal sized chunks, and place them in a large mixing bowl. Slice the onion thickly, separate and place them in the bowl as well. Slice the red pepper and place in the bowl.

Add all of your dry ingredients, along with the olive oil, and give it a good mixing to evenly distribute everything together.

Cut each sausage link into thirds and place in the bowl with the potatoes and onions. Gently mix the sausage into the potatoe and onion mixture trying not to break apart the sausage as you do this.

Dump this all into a 13 x 9 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for at least an hour, after which you’ll need to raise the oven temp up to 400 degrees to brown the sausage and potatoes some. Make sure and watch this process so you don’t burn your dish.

Serve with some fresh Italian bread and your tummy will thank you!!

Thanks for the recipe Bored! I’ll be coming over to your blog often to see what delectable dish you are serving up next!!

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Baked Ziti

My old high school friend Donalyn shared her recipe for Baked Ziti last April. I was home on medical leave and I just happened to have all of the ingredients to make this recipe for yummy comfort food.

Dlyn’s recipe for her baked ziti is below, and OMG is it delish! Make sure to check out her blog to see her great recipes and wonderful photography!!

Baked Ziti

12 ounce box of ziti or penne pasta
1 lb of Italian sausage, removed from the casings
1 medium onion, cut in a large dice
½ large green pepper, cut in a large dice
½ large red pepper, cut in a large dice
8 ounces of button mushrooms, cut in thick slices
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, cut in cubes
½ cup grated Romano or parmesan cheese
24 ounce carton of ricotta cheese
1 beaten egg
15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons parsley [dried or fresh]
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions till al’ dente (2 to 3 minutes before total cooking time on package). Drain.

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil and add the sausage, breaking it into big crumbles as it cooks. Add onion, green and red peppers, mushrooms, salt and a few grinds of pepper to the pan and cook until sausage is fully cooked and onions are translucent. Add cooked pasta, garlic, mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes and oregano into mixture and combine.

Oil the bottom and sides of a large baking pan. Spread pasta, sausage and vegetable mixture evenly in the pan.

Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta cheese, beaten egg, parsley, Romano cheese, salt, and a few grinds pepper. Mix well and spread evenly over the top of the pasta, sausage and vegetable mixture in the pan.

On top of the cheese mixture spread the spaghetti sauce, salt, garlic and oregano, basil and thyme.

Bake at 350º for about and hour to 90 minutes, until it is all bubbly. You can sprinkle the top with some grate parmesan or Romano cheese for the last half hour.

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then serve with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread and prepare to feel like you’ve died and gone to baked ziti heaven.

Thanks for the wonderful recipe Dlyn, and um, we really ain’t that old right??

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