Peanut Butter Cookies

I love these because they're not overly sweet.

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, then stir in vanilla. Gradually blend in sifted ingredients. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet, criss-cross with fork tines.

Bake 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

Wendy says: What's better than peanut butter cookies? Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Upgrade! Try making them with chunky peanut butter, too. Yum.
Technical notes: I use unsalted butter and up the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. I also use coarse salt. For those of you living in high altitudes, um, good luck. I never quite figured out baking in high altitudes.


ravioli with sun-dried tomato cream sauce

serves 6

2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (the dried kind)
1 pint (or more) of cream
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, slivered
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
25 ounces frozen ravioli (preferably Rosetto brand)

Prepare pasta. Meanwhile, blanche garlic in butter (about 1 minute). Add broth and tomatoes, bring to boil. Simmer uncovered over medium heat until tomatoes are tender (10 to 15 minutes). Remove tomatoes from pan, dice and return. Add cream and bring to boil, stirring. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is thick enough to lightly coat spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes (At this point, sauce may be covered and refrigerated for a day. Add a little cream when reheating, if necessary). Add basil, salt an pepper. Drain pasta well. To serve, spoon a little sauce on to heated plates. Top with pasta and spoon more sauce on top. Serve with remaining sauce separately.

Note: 2 teaspoons dried basil may be used in place of fresh. If using dried basil, add 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley.

Note: This may also be used as a sauce over sauteed chicken breasts.

Prep time: 30 minutes


Chocolate Cake In The Slow Cooker

When my family went to Scotland almost ten years ago we stayed on an island called Jura.  We stayed in the only hotel on the island and I think we were the only guests.  We stayed for a week and every night we had a chocolate cake for dessert that was SO heavenly.  I have often dreamed of it, wishing I could go back there.  Well, a couple weeks ago we made this recipe and much to my delight it tasted JUST like the Scotland cake.  It's delicious served hot with vanilla ice cream.  

1 package (about 18 ozs) chocolate cake mix
1 cup (8oz) sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips (we used semi-sweet)
1 cup water
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 package (4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding and pie mix filling

1. Lightly grease inside of slow cooker
2. Combine cake mix, sour cream, chocolate chips, water, eggs, oil and pudding and pie filling mix in slow cooker; mix well.
3. Cover; cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours.  Serve hot or warm with ice cream.

*My crock pot has four settings, 4 and 6 hours (high) and 8 and 10 hours (low).  I set mine to six hours and it was done in three.  It started to smell like it was burning so I turned it off, but it tasted fine.  So, just keep an eye on it.


Potato Corn Chowder

Combine in large saucepan or medium size pot:
1/4 C butter
2 1/4 C water
2/3 C chopped celery (optional)
3 chopped green onions (optional)
4 C diced potatoes (about 4 to 5 medium potatoes) Leave the skins on if you want.

Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes. Don't let the potatoes get mushy. While potatoes are simmering, make a white sauce.

6 T butter, melted in the pot that you are using to make the white sauce
Gradually stir in 6 T flour
2 1/2 C milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer until slightly thickened.

Add white sauce directly to cooked potatoes. Don't drain potatoes.

Add: 2 C grated cheddar cheese and 2 cans, drained, corn.
Heat through. May also add bacon pieces as garnish. A thick soup that serves well in a bread bowl. Serves about 6 people

Cook's note: Use real butter in this recipe, not margerine. Margerine will not thicken up the white sauce. Use whole or at least 2% milk.

Marinated Flank Steak

This has been a family favorite for a long time. It's an easy company dish that's good any time. The recipe is from a friend who is a believer in "easy is better"

Tenderize 1 to 1 1/2 lb flank steak by generously sprinkling with meat tenderizer on both sides, forking it into meat. I also use a meat tenderizing mallet to flatten out the steak so that it cooks more evenly.


5 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 C water
1/2 C brown sugar
1 T lemon juice.

Reserve some of the marinade for use when serving.

Put steak and marinade in a covered container - large zip locks works well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours, turning steak (or baggie) over a couple of times. Can be marinated overnight.

On preheated hot grill, BBQ or grill pan (indoors), cook steak approximately 10 minutes per side for rare. Add additional time, if you prefer medium. Don't overcook. Let stand for a few minutes before slicing. Slice thinly on the diagonal with the grain. Arrange on platter and pour reserved marinade over the top. Serves about 4 to 6 people.

Cook's note: Recently, I changed up the marinade by substituting part of the soy sauce with a bottled marinade like "Yoshida's" teriyaki marinade. Don't use too much of the bottled stuff because the extra sugar will crust up on the meat while cooking and sometimes cause burning of the meat. In a pinch recently, I used the juice of an orange when I didn't have a lemon on hand. We actually like it better.

Filled Cookies

I got this recipe from a friend who is a great cook.

1/2 C shortening
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
jam or pie filling

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs. Blend well. Add dry ingredients. Blend. Add vanilla. Blend well. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to about 1/16" thick. Cut to desired shape, two for each cookie. For decorative effect, cut top cookie in center, i.e. heart, start, etc. Place bottom cookie on greased, or non-stick, cookie sheet. Spread teasponful of filling on cookie. Put on top cookie. Press edges together with fork tines. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Optional: After baking, glaze with thin glaze of confectioners sugar and water brushed on with a pastry brush. I think the glaze gives the cookies a finished look.

These are good for special occasion cookies since they are a little labor intensive. I generally cook them for around 8 minutes since I like a softer cookie.


Variation of Sarah Salad

1 head of romain lettuce (or whatever your favorite is)
swiss cheese (grated)
4-5 green onions
6 slices of Turkey Bacon
1/2 cup of frozen peas
Salt and Pepper to taste
miracle whip

Fry up the turkey bacon, cool and set aside. Thaw the peas in the some warm water. Wash and cut up the lettuce put in a big bowl. Cut up the onion and the turkey bacon, add to the lettuce. Now add peas and grate however much swiss cheese you want right into the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now add equal parts of miracle and whip and mayo, not a lot, just enough to coat all the ingredients.

Very light and tasty. I usually eat just that for lunch or dinner.

Peanut Butter Chicken

2 Tbsp. Sesame seed oil
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or dark brown, whatever you have)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
Chicken Tenderloins

Cut up chicken into bite size pieces. Heat up sesame oil in frying pan and put the chicken in. Cook them thoroughly and then add the teriyaki sauce and brown sugar. Stir and then add peanut butter. In a separate cup, add the water and cornstarch, mix well and add to the pan with the chicken. Cook until sauce is thick and serve over rice.

Sounds different, but it is so yummy!

Chicken Over Pasta

1/2 Cube of butter
1/2 (8oz) onion and chive cream cheese
1 can golden mushroom soup
1/2 c. canned chicken broth
1 pkg. dry Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
Parmesan cheese (optional)
6 frozen Chicken

Melt butter and cream cheese. Stir in the soup, broth and dressing and heat until warm. Place the chicken in a crock pot and pur heated mixture over top and cook 4 to 6 hours. Serve over angel hair pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

This is sooo delicious and easy to make! Serve with bread and a green salad is good with it too. You can use unfrozen chicken as well. I usually use the fresh chicken tenderloins. Great for leftovers. Enjoy!


Mustard-Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

This could be one of the best chicken dishes on the planet. It is DELICIOUS. It came from Real Simple Magazine, which you will learn is one of my favorite places to get recipes.

1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I buy a cut-up chicken to save myself some work)
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
salt and pepper
4 small carrots, cut in half crosswise
1 medium fennel bulb, cut into wedges
1 red onion, cut into wedges
8 sprigs thyme (I use 1-2 teaspoons of dried thyme)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees (F).

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Combine the mustard, soy sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat.

Combine the carrots, fennel, onion, thyme, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a roasting pan.

Nestle the chicken among the vegetables.

Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 45 to 50 minutes.

Divide the chicken and vegetables among individual plates.

Wendy says: Spring for the whole-grain mustard. It's worth it.
Goes well with: brown rice, risotto, quinoa, couscous
This meal is freezable.

Sweet Yeast Rolls

These are not my mom's famous rolls. No point in posting that- no one can make 'em as well as she can. These are quite good, though. I'm going to try subbing in some whole wheat flour next time and see how they turn out.

1/3 c. honey
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. instant potato flakes
1 c. room temperature water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water

In a small bowl, mix yeast and warm water until yeast is dissolved. Add yeast mixture to the batter you mixed in the large bowl.

3 1/2 to 4 c. flour

Slowly add flour to the mixture. Mix well. Knead dough so that it forms into a smooth ball. Grease large bowl and place ball of dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and wait for the dough to double in size. This may take up to 4 hours. Punch the dough down and knead it a few times.

Now you can form your rolls into whatever style you prefer. The girl who gave me the recipe forms hers into clover rolls by putting three small balls into each cup of a muffin tin. Cook at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Rolls should have a hint of a golden color to them. Makes 24 rolls.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

These are so easy and so yummy.  Aidan often asks for them for breakfast.

Make up a batch of your preferred pankcake batter.
Peel and grate an apple and add to batter.  (If I'm just making enough for me and Aidan I use only half an apple.)
Add some cinnamon.  I don't really measure it.   A couple shakes of the cinnamon.  

Mix well.



There is a recipe for Apple Cider Syrup that goes with this, but I left it at my mom's house, but you can put maple syrup on it, too.  Just as good.


Pumpkin Muffins

These muffins are the BEST EVER. They are moist and delicious and easy. Really.

Pumpkin Muffins
source: Barbara Brown

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients in food processor or with mixer at medium speed. Pour into prepared muffin cups and bake about 25 minutes.



We use this frosting for just about anything.  It's a must for the Crazy Cake or slathered between to graham crackers.

Mix together:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Once mixed together, add milk and powdered sugar alternately until you reach the right consistency.  

Crazy Cake

This is a chocolate cake that my mom has been making since I was a wee one.  It is a family favorite.  It's called Crazy Cake because you don't use any eggs!  Crazy!  There are two sizes: large (9x13 pan) and small (loaf pan).

Large Recipe
In an ungreased 9x13 pan mix the following ingredients well: 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons cocoa, and 2 tsp baking soda.  To that add: 8 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 cups cold water, and 2 tablespoons vinegar.  Mix together well.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

Small Recipe
In an ungreased loaf pan mix the following ingredients well: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, and 3 tablespoons cocoa.  To that add: 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix together well.  

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

For frosting see this recipe.

Pork Fried Rice


1 cup bean sprouts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms (3 oz)
3 cups cold cooked rice
1 cup cut-up cooked pork
2 medium green onions sliced (2 tablespoons)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons soy sauce (*We found 3 tablespoons to be WAY too much.  My sister made it with 1 1/2 tablespoons and said it was perfect.)
Dash of white pepper

1. Rinse bean sprouts with cold water; drain.  2.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat; rotate skillet until oil covers bottom.  Cook mushrooms in oil about 1 minute, stirring frequently, until coated.  3.  Add bean sprouts, rice, pork and onions.  Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up rice until hot.  4. Move rice mixture to side of skillet.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to other side of skillet.  Cook eggs in oil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist.  Stir eggs into rice mixture.  Stir in soy sauce and white pepper.

*The recipe says to use cold rice, even day old rice, because it prevents it from getting mushy.  We didn't have day old rice, so we made some in the microwave and then stuck it in the fridge until it had cooled down a little.  That worked just fine.


Sweet & Sour Sauce

My son loves "Chinese chicken" so I was looking through my cookbooks to see if I could find an orange chicken recipe, which I couldn't find, but I did find this recipe for sweet and sour sauce in my Betty Crocker cookbook.  It was delicious and my son loved it, so win-win!

1/2 Cups packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, drained and juice reserved
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

1.  Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in 1-quart saucepan.  2.  Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 1/2 cup; stir into sugar mixture.  Stir in vinegar and soy sauce.  3.  Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir in pineapple and bell pepper.  4.  Use sauce immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 1 year.  Serve over pork, poultry of seafood.

*We had it over chicken we just cooked in a pan.  It was really delicious.  Mm mm!