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Haystacks

I had never made these before but my husband requested them so I gave them a try. No complaints from anyone here. We’ll see how well they work for a bake sale today and tomorrow.  😮

Haystacks

  • 1 11 oz bag of butterscotch chips

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup peanuts

  • 1 12 oz bag of Chinese Chow Mein Noodles


Melt butterscotch and peanut butter over a double boiler.  Stir in peanuts and noodles.  Place spoonfuls on wax paper and allow to cool to room temperature.

You could use chocolate chips in place of the butterscotch if desired.

These supposedly freeze very well in order to make ahead for holidays.


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More Potluck Helps

Kim at Life In a Shoe has the following to share about potlucks.

Potluck protocol and recipes

… We love potlucks and have hosted them nearly weekly for years.  Our church also has a potluck meal after the worship service every week.  We love the additional fellowship and I believe our church body is exceptionally close because of this tradition….

The Common Room has more to share about potlucks.

Welcome to Potluck Saturday

… My mother taught me that you should also bring a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert to a potluck, and it should be enough to feed as many people as are in your family plus around four others. …

Previously I had shared some helpful tips to make potlucks easier:

Potluck Meals Made Easier

Our church has potluck meals each Sunday AM.  We also had been in a previous church that had Providence Meals each Sunday. 🙂  So I’m beginning to get some experience with them.

When I was little my grandmother would fix a complete meal for a Dinner on the Grounds, different term same meal.  She would prepare everything.  Meat, sides, dessert, salads, drinks, etc.  Right down to sliced tomatoes, pickles, hot pepper sauce, chow-chow ….  How we got everything to church is a wonder.  She always had a large box that she would pack with her food.  I have a couple of coke bottle carriers that work well for transporting casserole dishes, hot crock-pots, etc.  By the time my family of seven is loaded in the car with all the food, bibles, computers, camera equipment, and violins we are jamb packed.

Here in the south we do use the term pot luck in two ways.

1) Covered dish meal

2) You get whatever is in the pot when visiting.  Although we may have to throw in a few more vegetables. 🙂



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Peaches, Peaches, Peaches

We were able to get two 25 pound boxes of peaches through the efforts of a friend.  These were very cheap due to being seconds so I expected there to be several that would have to be thrown out.  But no, these are very good quality and very big peaches.  Big peaches are so much easier to prepare.  My mother has some peach trees but they are the old-fashioned kind which turns out they have very little fruit by the time you peel and pit them.  So we spent all day yesterday preparing peaches.

Canned Peaches

Peel and pit peaches.

Slice peaches and fill sterilized jars with the fruit.

Prepare a sugar syrup using a ratio of sugar to water depending on how sweet you want the peaches.

I used a 1:4 ratio, 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water, light syrup.

Boil sugar water until sugar is dissolved.

Add 1 tbsp lemon juice to each jar or use fruit fresh per instructions.

Pour sugar water over peaches in jar to within 1/2 inch of top.

Cap with a lid and a ring.

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove and cool.


Frozen Peaches

Peel and pit peaches.

Slice peaches into Ziploc bags or plastic containers.

Add 1 tbsp Lemon juice. Stir around to cover the fruit well.

Can add a sugar syrup but I left mine plain.

Seal bag or container.

Freeze.


Jam

Peel and pit peaches.

Dice small or process in food processor until you have 4 cups fruit.

Mix fruit, 2 tbsp Lemon juice and Sure-Jell in large pan.

Bring to Boil.  Add 5 1/2 cups sugar.

Return to full boil for 1 minute.

Fill sterilized jars, wipe rims and cap.

Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Remove and cool.

Be sure to follow the instructions for the fruit pectin you are using.  Sure-Jell and Ball Jelly are slightly different.

This jam has a lot of sugar but there are light and sugar free Sure-Jells.

The light or sugar free are good but they use lots more fruit for the amount they produce.


Peach Butter

Peel and pit peaches.

Add 1 Tbsp lemon per four cups of peaches.

Cook peaches in just enough water to cook until soft.

Process in food processor or mash with potato masher.

(I like the potato masher unless my food processor is already peachy.  I dislike dirty dishes if I can help it.)

Add 1/2 cup sugar to 1 cup mashed peaches.  Add sugar to taste, sugar isn’t as important here as in the Jam.

Cook on a very low simmer until thick.  Stirring occasionally or convince a little to sit and stir. 🙂

Fill sterile jars, seal.

Process in water bath for 10 minutes.

Cool.


Peach Juice or Syrup

Scrub all the peaches before ever cutting them.

Peel and pit into a large sauce pot.

Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice.

Separate out bad spots into a different container keeping just the good peel and pits in the pot.

Add water to the pot, enough to boil well.  I use about 1/2 the amount of the peels.

Boil at a slow boil forever, actually just a few hours.

Juice should cook down and turn a dark peachy color.

Cook until the juice is peachy and starting to slightly thicken.  Thicker if making syrup or thinner for juice.

Strain through a strainer, I don’t worry about a little pulp.

Pour into sterile jars.

Here is where you experiment.

Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sugar to 1 quart for peach juice, to taste.

Add 1 cup or more sugar to a quart for peach syrup.

Cap and shake well.

Process in water bath for 10 – 15 minutes.

Cool.

The syrup is good heated up and used over pancakes, waffles or Ice Cream.


Peach Jelly

I don’t typically make jelly because we like Jams better; however, you can use the unsweetened peach juice from boiling the Peach pits and skins to make jelly by following the instructions on a box of Sure-Jell.


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Grape Ice-cream

Grape Ice-Cream

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

2 cans evaporated milk

2 cans grape cola (Grape Nehi, Grapico, etc.)

Mix in a large mixing bowl.  Mix well to remove carbonation.

Pour into Freezer.  Add whole milk to fill line (shouldn’t be much if any).

Makes 4 quarts.

Freeze according to freezer directions.


3 cans each will make a 5 quart Ice-cream maker.

Of course you can also use Orange or Strawberry colas.

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Pecan Pie Bars

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 13×9 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Cut in 1 cup of margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the prepared pan, and press in firmly.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
  4. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, corn syrup, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons margarine, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. Spread the filling evenly over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until set. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into bars.



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Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Crust 

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

 Filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lemon juice (less if desiring milder lemon taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 11×7 inch pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup flour and confectioners’ sugar. Blend in the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden.
  4. In the same mixing bowl, beat eggs until light. Combine the sugar, baking powder and 1 cup of flour so there will be no flour lumps. Stir the sugar mixture into the eggs. Finally, stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the prepared crust and return to the oven.
  5. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until bars are set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers



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Potluck Meals Made Easier

We’ve been worshiping in a church which has a Potluck meal each Sunday morning after the worship service.  This week I’ve been contemplating ways to make that time more enjoyable for the younger women and less stressful.  If you have several little bitties to get fed and dressed on Sunday mornings then you will know what I mean by stressful when you throw in preparing a meal to transport to church.

Remember this is a church fellowship, a meal among family, not a time to wow everyone with your cooking skills or one-up another lady.  It isn’t a competition to have the most raved about meal.

Another thing to remember is what are the dynamics of your church.  If your church is mostly elderly with several widow ladies and a few elderly couples then you can probably get along with preparing a single dish, taking into account dietary needs such as sugar-free or less spicy.  However, if your church is made up of families with lots of little ones preparing one dish won’t be enough and child friendly meals will work better.

Don’t forget the drink!  Some churches provide drinks and others depend on church members to bring a drink, jugs of tea and lemonade go over well.  Save some large gallon jugs from bought juice or punch, they are sturdier and easier to clean than milk jugs.

What makes things more manageable for you in this situation?

These are some things I’ve learned that help even though I don’t have several little bitties to take care of.

Plan ahead!!

I know, duh, but how many times, like tonight, do I have plans for a meal item only to find I’m missing a crucial ingredient.  I can’t make my Cheesecake for a Crowd because I have no cream cheese!  Sorry no cheesecake Sunday. 🙁

Menu Planning

I go through spurts of menu planning but the funny thing is if I find a menu plan from years ago I will see a favorite meal that somehow has been missed.  Having a record of Potluck meals will help keep you from falling into a rut with meals.  Also keeping track of special instructions for preparing potluck meals will help.  Potluck meals might require a little adjusting compared to the way you prepare the meal at home.

Gather Recipes

Meals to transport and then to sit unattended for hours at church have special requirements.  Some things just won’t work no matter what.  Develop a file of recipes that work well in a potluck situation.

A Crock-pot is your friend

I’m not the queen of crock-pots but you can usually guess I’ll have one or two with me at least for a potluck.  It is amazing what you can do with a crock-pot if you get some good recipes and just give it a try.  Just don’t try something new on Sunday morning unless you don’t mind embarrassment.  Give things a try at home first.

Simple Chicken

Place Chicken breasts or tenders in Crock-pot with a favorite seasoning.  Add vegetables if desired.  Cook the appropriate amount of time.  Always better to over cook than under cook in a potluck setting.

Our favorite Simple Chicken recipe is cooking the chicken in a Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad dressing or Italian Salad dressing.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes work well in a crock-pot for a potluck.  Find a recipe for crock-pot mashed potatoes or play around with your own.  Just remember that they need to be thinner to cook for a while, don’t start out with them at serving consistency.  One trick I’ve learned is to transport a small container of instant mashed potatoes to add if your mashed potatoes need to be thickened.  You can always add water if too thick.  If really desperate for a quick meal, measure water into a crock-pot and heat during church then add the correct amount of instant mashed potatoes.

Make ahead Items

Cookies, cakes, and pies can all be made ahead of time.  That will make Sunday AM much smoother.  Some pasta salads, chicken salad and green salads can also be made and refrigerated overnight.

Double or Triple up

Many, many times what we are eating Saturday night is the same thing I take Sunday morning.  Just make extra and refrigerate, then you can warm it the next morning or place in a crock-pot on low to warm.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, roast, turkey and BBQ all work for this idea.

Casseroles

Many casseroles can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until time to cook.  Then you can stick them in the oven to bake while you dress.  Or use a roaster oven at church to bake if timing works out.

Child Friendly Meals

We have lots of children at our church. So child friendly and appealing meals go over well. Hot dogs, Pig-n-blankets, corndogs, Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken nuggets, etc.  Remember also that there might be several moms with little bitties who are just beginning to eat so simple mashed potatoes, peas, and finger foods work well.  Bread and cookies make good finger foods.

Themes

While some churches might have a theme for individual meals like Mexican, Italian, etc. ours doesn’t.  However, I tend to prepare my meals with a theme in mind.  So if I’m taking BBQ, I’ll have potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, buns, chips or some other things that fit a BBQ meal.  If I take Mexican, I’ll include the fixings like salsa, sour cream, and cheese.  Essentially I prepare my potluck meal like I would a meal at home but with extra servings.

 

 


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Baked Custard

I’m always looking for new recipes that take little time, and expense, but yield bountiful results.   I found this over at In a Shoe and tried it already.  Yum, but what is even nicer is this is a recipe that can easily be tweaked to meet your taste buds.  For a change, I actually followed the recipe exactly!  That is a joke around here that I never cook the exact same thing twice, that is what happens when you don’t measure. 

Baked Custard

serves 8-10

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sugar (Kim used 1/2 cup, but we used a cup.)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups milk (for richer custard, use a combination of milk and cream or evaporated milk)
  • nutmeg

Heat 3 quarts of water to boiling, and pour into your electric roaster.  Heat roaster 325.

Meanwhile, heat milk in the microwave.  About 4 minutes is right for ours.  This step is not necessary but your custard will cook much faster if you start with hot milk.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Beat in vanilla, then sugar.  Stir in hot milk until combined.  Pour into 9×13 and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Use your roaster rack to lower custard into roaster.  Watch water level as you lower it to be sure it’s not high enough to flow into custard.  Cover and bake 60-90 minutes, until center is set.

Serve warm or chilled.

HT: Kim at In a Shoe


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Fruit Salad

My husband likes fruit salad and this recipe is so easy and quick.  This is easy to transport or to prepare ahead of time.

Fruit Salad

  • 1 large #10 can of Tropical Fruit Cubes (Wal-mart and Sam’s sell these)
  • 1 small bag of Coconut
  • 1 small bag of Marshmellows
  • 8 – 16 oz container of Sour Cream

Drain very well the can of fruit.  This is very important to keep the fruit salad from becoming runny with time.

Mix in Coconut and Marshmellows.

Add Sour Cream just to make creamy.  Add less than you would think because the fruit salad will get a little more moist over time.

Refrigerate.

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Cheesecake for a Crowd

I get tired of making the same desserts each Sunday.  Recently my family suggested Cheesecake.  But most recipes make a small round cheesecake that doesn’t serve too many people.  However, I found this recipe and tried it with my own personal adaptations. (I don’t know that I’ve ever followed a recipe exactly or done the same thing twice.)

Cheesecake (11 x 7 Pan)

  • 1  cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in pan in preheating oven.

Sprinkle graham crackers and sugar over melted butter.

Press down and form crust.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Mix together in mixing bowl.

  • 4 packages of cream cheese, (8 ounces) softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Almond flavoring (optional)

Beat on low slowly adding ingredients together.  Too many air bubbles will cause it to fall when baking.

Pour into crust and bake for 50 minutes or until set.  (Cheesecake works best in a moist oven so add a pan of water below the cheesecake.)

My husband didn’t want the sour cream topping but for those who do:

Topping

  • 1 16 ounce sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Blend together.  Spread over top of hot cheesecake and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Refrigerate.

This sliced well enough that the cheesecake could be served as bars.

I guess it was liked well enough because there was fighting over the last slices. :0

 


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