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Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 small packages raspberry Jell-O, I actually used sugar free.
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup cranberry juice, or water works

Topping

  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water.
  2. Add crushed pineapple, cranberry sauce, jello, and cranberry juice. Mix it all together well.
  3. Mix well. Pour into a 9″x12″ glass dish and refrigerate until firm.  Really firm, so you can spread the topping over the top.
  4. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth.
  5. When the first mixture is firm, spread the creamed ingredients on top.

Serve as a side salad or dessert. Can add crushed nuts to the jello mixture and sprinkle on top if desired.  I didn’t.

HT: Lisa 🙂  It’s a keeper.


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Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is better than the typical pumpkin pie.  I got mixed reviews about it.  Some really liked it and some didn’t.  It still tastes like pumpkin so if someone doesn’t like pumpkin they still won’t like this.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust

2 cups crushed ginger snap cookies

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

Filling

4 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

or in place of the above use 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice


Mix together crust ingredients.  You can always use graham cracker crumbs in place of ginger snaps if desired.   Press into bottom of pan.  Can use springform or 11 x 7 pan (this is what I use).  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cream together the cream cheese and the sugars.  Add in pumpkin and spices.  Play around with the amount of spices, some like lots of spice and some like light spice.  You can taste it at this point since it is before you add the eggs.  Spices tend to be just slightly stronger after the baking.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Don’t beat on high because you don’t want lots of air.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour.  Reduce heat to 300 degrees if browning too quickly on top.  Cook until center is set.  Let cool in turned off and vented oven to decrease chances of cracking.  Refrigerate.

I cook mine in a larger pan half full of water, or you can place a pan of water on the rack under the cheesecake.

Top with whip topping to serve, if desired.



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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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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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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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Sweet Homeschooling

This week we found blueberries at a very good price so the kids begged for us to make blueberry jam. They have learned to like blueberry jam due to a friend that has given us some, made from her parent’s blueberries. I was hesitant at first and actually said not right now but then I walked across the produce area and there were the same blueberries for even .50 cents less! How could I refuse? I saved .50 cents a pint almost instantly!

So we made two batches of blueberry jam that really is very good. The blueberries didn’t seem to make as much as the strawberries did earlier this summer. So we ended up with only six and a half pints. Plus tasting and licking spoons and the pot.

Since we were already in jam mode, we also made a new recipe I had seen just that week. Zucchini Jam! Sheri at The Nourishing Home had posted the recipe. I know it sounds strange and the kids thought that would be so gross. But since I had unclaimed Zucchini in the refrigerator I decided to give it a try.

Zucchini Jam

4 cups Shredded zucchini
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 (3 oz.) box orange Jell-O (I actually used a sugar-free box)

In a large pot, cook zucchini for 10 minutes on medium-low, stirring constantly. Add in the pineapple, lemon juice, and sugar. Cook for 20 minutes. Add Jell-O and boil for 2-3 minutes to make sure the gelatin is dissolved. Ladle into freezer containers, leaving 1 1/2 inch headspace. Put into freezer when cool.

You can also water bath can these. Ladle into clean jars, put lids and rims on, then process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.

This was so good. I actually liked it better than the blueberry jam. It tastes like orange marmalade to me. Plus it is so cheap to make. Zucchini is something around here that if you just know a gardener you get offered lots of it.

What could be sweeter than making jam for school (recipe reading, math, science, home economics, working together, etc) and then licking the pot?


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