Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ingredient Substitutions Update

There was a post indicating that one of more of you could not open our substitutions PDF. If you are having trouble viewing PDF files, make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader by going to We want to make this blog as user-friendly as possible. The original is a chart, which is a little easier to read, but I did a little cut and paste action, so that you could still get the information.

If you still cannot get to the PDF after you have downloaded Adobe Reader, then you can print this list off:

(Original ingredient in bold font and substitution underneath in regular font.)
Bacon, 1 slice
1 Tbs. cooked bacon pieces

Baking Powder, 1 teaspoon
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar + 1/4 tsp. baking soda

Balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbs.
1 Tbs. cider vinegar or red wine vinegar + 1/2 tsp. sugar

Bread crumbs, fine dry, 1/4 cup
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs, or 1/4 cup cracker crumbs, or 1/4 cup cornflake crumbs

Broth, beef or chicken, 1 cup
1 tsp. or 1 cube instant beef or chicken bouillon + 1 cup hot water

Butter, 1 cup
1 Tbs. shortening +1/4 tsp salt, if desired

Buttermilk, 1 cup
1 tbs. Lemon juice or vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup (let stand 5 minutes before using)

Chocolate, semisweet, 1 ounce
3 Tbs. semisweet chocolate pieces, or 1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 tsp. sugar and 2 tsp. shortening

Chocolate, sweet baking, 4 ounces
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder + 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 3 Tbs. shortening

Chocolate, unsweetened, 1 ounce
3 Tbs. Unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tbs. cooking oil, or shortening melted

Cornstarch, 1 Tbs. (for thickening)
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Corn syrup (light), 1 cup
1 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup water

Garlic, 1 clove
1/2 tsp. bottled minced garlic or 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Ginger, grated fresh, 1 tsp.
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Half-and-Half or light cream, 1 cup
1 Tbs. Melted butter +enough whole milk to make 1 cup

Molasses, 1 cup
1 cup honey

Mustard, dry, 1 tsp.
1 Tbs. prepared

Onion, chopped, 1/2 cup
2 Tbs. dried minced onion or 1/2 tsp. onion powder

Sour cream, dairy, 1 cup
1 cup plain yogurt

Sugar, granulated, 1 cup
1 cup packed brown sugar or 2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Tomato Juice, 1 cup
1/2 cup tomato sauce + 1/2 cup water

Tomato sauce, 2 cups
3/4 cup tomato paste + 1 cup water

Wine, red, 1 cup
1 cup beef or chicken broth in savory recipes; cranberry juice in desserts

Wine, white, 1 cup
1 cup chicken broth in savory recipes; apple juice or white grape juice in desserts

Yeast, active dry, 1 package
About 2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

Saturday: Ham 'n' Cheese Tortillas

This was one of the meals we tried when we got together for our girl's weekend. This is a recipe that might make a better appetizer, but man! is it ever yummy!

Vegetable oil for frying
6 flour tortillas (10 inches), quartered (we used wheat tortillas)
3 packages (6 ounces each) boiled ham (24 slices)
4-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup picante sauce or salsa
Garlic salt
Sour cream and minced chives, optional

In an electric skillet, heat 2 inc. of oil to 375 degrees. Cut tortillas into quarters.
Fry tortilla wedges, a few at a time, until lightly browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Place wedges in a single layer on baking sheets.

Top each with a folded ham slice, 3 Tbs. cheese and teaspoons picante sauce (we used Archer Farms salsa after they came out of the's the best salsa). Sprinkle with garlic salt. (we left that part out) (notice Sarah's sweet little baby belly...she's expecting in a few months!)
Broil 4-6 in. from the heat until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. (we just put them in the oven for 5-7 minutes) Serve warm. If desired, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with chives. (Candace put mustard on hers)

Yield: 2 dozen

For Baked Tortilla chips:
You can also brush tortillas with olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and cut into wedges. Arrange wedges in a single layer on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Cool on paper towels.
We had fun making these and eating them. Hope you do too!

Click here to download and print a copy of this recipe.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday: Split Pea Soup

This recipe was okay. It was a little saltier than I expected. I would add 1/2 tsp. salt next time and serve with bread.
1 small onion
1 Tbs. vege oil
4 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1-1/2 cups dried split peas, rinsed
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
3 bay leaves
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat.

Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until peas are tender. Discard bay leaves. Let's face it. Split pea soup is not the prettiest soup, but it tastes good and smells great. Some of you are shaking your heads "no". I can feel it through the screen. If you are one of those people, then maybe it'll be a spaghetti night. ;) To everyone else, enjoy!

Yield: 6 servings

Click here to download and print this recipe.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine Bonus Dessert #2: Creamy Cappuccino Cheesecake

Another dessert idea for Valentine's Day. This one is more sophisticated, and very delicious. It's the best cheesecake recipe I have seen. Don't let its name fool you. My husband will not drink coffee, but he loves this cheesecake. This comes from my Pampered Chef "It's Good for You" cookbook. This recipe is very good TO me, but I would not go as far as to say that it is good "for" me. It is still cheesecake, so its main ingredient is cream cheese. I suggest you make this one if you are sharing it with more than just your husband. ;) It is rich. You will need to make this on Friday if you are planning on eating it on Saturday, as it does take a few hours to cool.

8 reduced-fat creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 packages (8 ounces each) fat-free cream cheese
2 packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
1/2 cup double-strength coffee, cooled
1-1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray Spring form Pan with nonstick spray. Place cookies in resealable plastic storage bag; whack at it with a roller until you have fine crumbs. (I just used our food chopped...I always bust the bag when I do it the other way)
Press crumbs into bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.
In a HUGE bowl (16 cups or so) beat cream cheese at high speed of electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar mixture to cream cheese; beat well. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat until blended. Add eggs, one at a time; mix at a low speed just until blended. Gradually add coffee while mixing at low speed; mix until well blended. I used an 8 cup bowl like the recipe suggested and I am showing you a picture of why that was a bad idea. ;) Use a big bowl so it will be easier to mix once all the ingredients are in the bowl together.

Pour filling over crust. Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes-1 hour, 20 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken (the center will firm as it cools). Remover from oven to cooling rack. Immediately run toothpick around sides of cake to loosen from pan; cool completely. Loosely cover; refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Release collar from pan.
If desired, place a heart stencil over top of cake. Sprinkle with cocoa powder; carefully remove stencil. Cut into wedges.

Bonus: Valentine's Treat

This is a red, heart shaped corn flake (or rice krispie) treat. I added pink candies (nerds) to it to add some pink and some unexpected pop to the treat. This is a sticky recipe that your kids could have a lot of fun helping you with. I was thinking it might have been fun to draw an arrow going through the heart using white frosting and a frosting piper, but I did not have any frosting so here it is.

1/3 cup Butter
32 regular marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla
5 cups Cornflakes cereal or Rice Cereal
Red Food Coloring
Pink or purple sprinkles (I used Nerds because it is what we had)

In a large saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows. Stir until melted. Add in several drops of red food coloring.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla, then the cereal. Mix well.Butter a large piece of aluminum foil.
Spread out the krispie treat and shape into a large heart. Allow to stand about an hour, or until it can be peeled away from the aluminum foil without falling apart.
Transfer to a large serving platter. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

List of emergency substitutions

Don't you hate it when you are just about to start a recipe and then you realize you are all out of one ingredient? Often times it is a staple, like sugar, or butter, that you would always have in your house. I have created a PDF with substitutions listed alphabetically that you can print, or refer to, on our site.

Next time you are out of butter, pull out 1 Tbs. shortening and 1/4 tsp. salt for every cup of butter you need, and you're all set!!

Click here to find more substitutions you can use in your kitchen.

Thursday: Hashbrown Quiche

We loved this one. It came from a cookbook my mother-in-law gave me this Christmas. It is called, Taste of Home HOLIDAY get-togethers: 549 Festive Recipes to share with Friends and Family.
I would recommend this cookbook. Okay, here's the recipe:
3 cups frozen loose-pack shredded hash browns, thawed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup diced fully cooked ham
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup diced green pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Press hash browns between paper towel to remove excess moisture.
2. Press into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Drizzle with butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.3. Combine the ham, cheese, and green pepper; spoon over the crust. (nice little head shot of my son here...he thinks he has to help me cook everything. At 2 and a half, I have not trusted him to measure yet, but stirring is more his thing.)4. In a small bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper.
5. Pour over all. 6. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife insert near the center comes out clean. (hint: If the eggs jiggles when you go to move the dish, it is not done.) Allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 6 servings, but for my family it was more like 4 servings. :)

Click here to print this recipe.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday: Bob's Burgers

This recipe came in the mail with a coupon for a free Country Bob's sauce, so I had to try it. My personal opinion was this: the sauce reminded me of a mix of A-1 sauce and BBQ sauce. You are supposed to be able to use this sauce on any meat, poultry included. I actually like to put A-1 sauce OR BBQ sauce on my cheeseburgers, and Country Bob's sauce did not necessarily seem like a better alternative. That is just my opinion, though. My husband thinks it is nuts to put anything on cheeseburgers, so to each is own I guess.
2 lbs. Hamburger meat
8 Hamburger buns
8 Cheddar cheese slices
Country Bob's sauce
Pineapple slices (I used pineapple chunks because it was what we had)

Cook your beef into hamburger patties.
Put one slice of cheese onto each patty and continue cooking until the cheese melts.
Put patties onto bottoms of hamburger buns. Put pineapple on the top. Top with Country Bob's sauce. Wala.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday: Bombalki

This one came from my husband's family. I kind of made up my own version of what they have made several times in the past when we got together, as I have never actually asked how they made bombalki. In fact, I don't even think I am spelling it right, so if you are out there and know the correct spelling, please feel free to share your knowledge. :) At any rate, my husband LOVES this stuff and I have grown to love it with him. The other day when my husband saw that I made this he said, "OH! You are my favorite person right now." ;) I hope whoever you make this for says the same to you if you try this recipe.

Frozen pizza dough, thawed.
Polish Sausage
brown sugar (light or dark does not matter)
1 can of sauerkraut, drained

Cut up sausage and cook in a pan on med./ high heat. Drain sauerkraut.
While cooking sausage, roll out and cut up pizza dough into approx. 1 inch squares, using a pizza cutter.

Roll each square into a ball. Cook bread balls at 350 degrees for approx. 12 minutes.

Stir sauerkraut in with the sausage. Add 2-3 Tbs. sugar and mix, while cooking. Add bread balls into sauerkraut mixture.

Mmmmm...Delicious. Who knew!?! :)

Click here to download and print this recipe.

Bonus: Valentine's Breakfast

I will be doing this one for my husband on Saturday. He is a big breakfast kind of guy.
Here it is:

Butter or butter spray
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut out a shape of a heart into your bread slice.
Heat a frying pan and spray with butter spray, or melt a little butter onto pan.
Place bread onto the pan and crack egg into the heart of the bread.
Allow the egg to set on the one side before turning to cook the other side.
Salt and pepper to your liking.

I served mine with salsa, because I love salsa. If doing this one as a Valentine's Breakfast consider serving it with bacon or sausage.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Printable Weekly Meal Planner

Click here to get your hands on a meal planner that you can print off and put on your refrigerator. Print as many as you like!

*Please note: I am still working on the PDF thing. If your computer assumes you do not want to print the planner in landscape mode you might have to click on "Choose paper source by PDF size". On my computer it is the second box I can click on.

Bonus: Apple Streusel Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1-1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cup chopped peeled tart apples
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbs. cold butter

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Peel and chop apples. I use a peeler/corer/slicer to make the peeling and chopping very fast. I am showing pictures, in case if you have never seen one used. I use my peeler/corer/slicer all the time when I make anything with apples and it save lots of time. Definitely a worthwhile investment. Fold in apples. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. I use a mini muffin pan because my son can easily pop one into his mouth as a snack. If you are using a mini muffin pan use 1 Tbs. batter for each cup. If you are using a regular size muffin tin use 3 Tbs. batter for each cup.
For topping, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoonful over each muffin. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes(I do 12-15 minutes when using a mini muffin pan) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

Makes 16 regular size muffins.

Click here to download and print this recipe.

If making these for Valentines Day, add red food coloring to make the muffins pink.