Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pork Loin with Classic Coke Slow Cooker Recipe

My sister told me about this recipe during the family get together on Christmas day. Pork loin and Classic Coke? How does this combination even come about? My sister assured me that this was I had to give it a try.

She was right. The pork loin was sooooo tender and the gravy it made was great, too. Plus and this is a big plus, it was so easy.


I used the half of the pork loin that I froze last month. Weight? No idea.
1 package onion soup mix
1 C Coca-Cola Classic (all recipes I read said not to use diet)
salt and pepper
Kitchen Bouquet

Salt and pepper meat and place in bottom of crock pot.

Add soup mix and Coke.

Cook on low for 8 hrs or high for 4 hours.

Pour liquid from crock pot into a sauce pan.

Skim fat.

Season with salt and pepper and add a dash of Kitchen Bouquet. Bring to a boil.

Remove a cup of juice and add corn starch or flour to thicken. Return liquid to sauce pan and cook until desired consistency is achieved.

Pull pork apart with a fork. Pour gravy over pork and mash potatoes.


Sorry, no photos. I was too busy eating to take photos....LOL.

Free Recipe Booklet

Go here to receive a FREE Woman’s Day Healthy Cooking recipe booklet! Add the booklet to your cart and then fill out your mailing information. Please allow 10-12 weeks for delivery.

I find that these little recipe booklets have some very good recipes in them. I make sure I send in for these whenever I run across an offer for a free booklet.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coconut Macaroon Drop Cookies

I found this recipe on a coupon saving blog that I regularly read called Cutting Coupons in KC. The blogger said this recipe came from a cook book called Presidential Cookies by Bev Young. This couldn't be the exact recipe Jefferson used since they did not have sweetened and condensed milk back then. The author of the cook book must have used alternate ingredients that are available today.

Macaroon cookies are one of my favorites so I thought I give would them a try.

4 Cups of sweetened flake coconut (14 oz package)
1 Cup sweetened and condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake 9-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until the edges are lightly brown.

They are currently cooling and smell wonderful. I can not wait to taste these delectable treats.

Update.....They are wonderful tasting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No Bake Peanut Butter Drop Cookies

Awhile back I received a free booklet in the mail from Karo. I always send away for these free booklets because sometimes they have the best recipes and this was one of those times.

I've always liked rice krispies treats and these are sorta like them but different.

I, of course, changed up the recipe slightly. I added some peanuts to the recipe and I also used rice chex instead of corn chex cereal.No Bake Peanut Butter Drop Cookies

6 cups rice or corn chex cereal (I also bought the generic brand)
1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter. I used a little crunchy peanut butter to make the 1 1/4 cups.
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

Pour cereal into a bowl and set aside.

Stir corn syrup and sugar together in a large sauce pan over med/high heat until dissolved and boiling. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until creamy. Add chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted.

Pour mixture over cereal and mix until all pieces are coated.

Drop by heaping spoonful onto waxed paper. I placed them in the fridge for 5 minutes to set up.

Store in an airtight container.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

Today I tried a recipe that I saw in a magazine and it seemed simple enough, with little that could possibly go wrong...just my kind of recipe.

Bag of Rolos
Bag of small salted pretzels
Pecan halves (I ran out of pecans so I made some with walnut halves, cashews, and peanuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place tin foil on a cookie sheet (I tried parchment paper and the tin foil worked better). Lay out pretzels then place an unwrapped Rolo on top. Put cookie tray in the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Do not let the Rolos get too soft.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and place the nuts on top. I found that I barely had to squish (technical term) them because the weight of the nut made it sink into the chocolate and caramel.

I also made some with peanuts placed on the pretzels first, then a Rolo. After I removed them from the oven, I added 2 or 3 more peanuts to the top.
The recipe called for you to let them cool for 1 hour before storing but I found they were still kind of soft after 1 hour. I remedied this by putting them in the fridge for 5 minutes. This seemed to do the trick and I was then able to place them in a sealed container without them sticking to one another.

Very tasty. Next time though, I would sprinkle with coarse sea salt while the Rolos were still soft but tasty none the least. I preferred the salted pecans the best.

For a twist...the next time I am going to cut a date in half (lengthwise), then place a Rolo on top. Place in oven for 5 minutes. Then top with a pecan. If I decide to get out of my pajamas tomorrow...I'll go to the store and get some more pecans and then try this recipe.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

What's spring without strawberries?

I found this recipe on a design blog called Southern Hospitality. It's an great tasting easy recipe that uses a box cake mix as the start for a tasty moist treat.

I followed the recipe for the cake portion but tweaked the frosting recipe just a tad.

Cake Recipe

1 box white cake mix
1 3 oz box of strawberry jello
1/2C water
3 T flour
1/2C oil
1C chopped strawberries
4 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Combine in a large bowl cake mix, flour, jello (dry) mix ingredients. Add water and oil mixing on medium speed. Add 1 egg at a time to the mixture. Mix well. Fold in strawberries until well blended into mixture.

Pour mixture into a greased 9X13 cake dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and cool cake.
Frosting Recipe

1 stick of butter (room temperature)
1 8oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1C strawberries chopped and sweetened (smash with a fork, let sit in fridge for 1 hour so that a syrup forms)
powdered sugar (I used about 2C, use enough to thicken frosting but do not make frosting stiff)Frost cake. This will make a lot of frosting that is why I cut back on the powder sugar and used no more 2 cups. Originally the recipe called for 5-7 cups. I wanted the strawberry/cream cheese flavor to come through and did not want it to be overly sweet. Place frosted cake in refrigerator so that the frosting can set up before cutting.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fluffy Strawberry Meringue Pie

This recipe was demonstrated at the Taste of Home Cooking School that my sister and I attended. It's a rather unique recipe that uses odd ingredients to obtain delicious results.

The pie is great the way it was demonstrated but I am going to tweak this recipe the next time I make it. I'll blog about it when I do.

Fluffy Strawberry Meringue Pie

3 egg whites
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 C sugar
1/2 C crushed saltines (about 12 crackers)
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 t vanilla extract
2 pints fresh strawberries
4 cups of miniature marshmallows
1 carton of frozen whipped topping (thawed)

In a bowl, beat 3 egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, mix on high until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold in crackers, pecans, and vanilla.

Spread onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 10 inch deep dish pie plate. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until meringue is slightly brown. Cool.

Set aside two strawberries for garnish. Slice half of the strawberries, set aside. In a bowl, mash the remaining strawberries.

In a sauce pan combine marshmallows and smashed strawberries. Cook over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Place in refrigerator until partially set.

Fold the sliced strawberries and whipped topping into the marshmallow mixture. Spoon into meringue shell. Garnish with sliced strawberries. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.

Place all leftovers in refrigerator.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Orange Teriyaki Beef

This past Thursday my sister and I attended the Taste of Home Cooking School in Midland, Michigan. One of the recipes that the instructor, Dana, demonstrated was Orange Teriyaki Beef. I prepared this dish tonight and was it delicious.
My photograph does not do it justice.

FYI An alternative variation might be to add pea pods (steam before adding) before serving.

Orange Teriyaki Beef

2 T flour
1 Oven bag large size
1/2 C orange juice (I squeezed 2 large oranges)
1/2 C teriyaki sauce (I used low sodium sauce)
1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
3 garlic cloves minced (I used 1 t freeze dried garlic)
1 t grated orange peel
1/2 t crushed red pepper (I omitted this)
2 lbs beef top round roast 1 inch thick (this is a cheap cut, I paid 5 bucks for 1.75 lbs)
Hot cooked rice
1/4 C chopped green onions for garnish

Shake flour in oven bag. Place in a 13x9 baking dish. Add orange juice, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, garlic, orange peel, and crushed red pepper into oven bag. Squeeze bag to blend ingredients. Add beef to bag. Turn bag to coat beef.

Close oven bag with nylon tie. Marinate in fridge for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325. Cut slits in top of oven bag.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until thermometer reads 145. Thinly slice beef. Stir sauce. Serve with sauce over rice. Garnish with green onions.

This was the second Taste of Home Cooking School that my sister and I have attended. The cost is 10 bucks. Not only do you get a gift bag but you might be lucky enough to win one of the many door prizes. My sister and I did not win a thing!!! But the cooking demonstration is well worth the time and $$$$.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Free Jiffy Recipe Booklet

I love these little recipe booklets that are put out by food manufacturers. Jiffy products are manufactured here in Michigan and their corn bread mix is a favorite here at 'The Gear'.You can get a FREE updated Jiffy Recipe book by going HERE and requesting one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Angel Food Cake with Apricots & Raspberries

This is a cake that was featured on the Katie Brown TV show. I tweaked it a bit and rather than use a store bought angel food cake (the horror!) I used my favorite angel food cake recipe and omitted and added certain items. This cake recipe could also be changed slightly by using different fresh fruits.

What I really liked about this cake is that it is light and tastes great after a large heavy meal.
Bake cake according to recipe. Once the cake is completely cooled, cut the cake into 3 layers using a long serrated knife.

Spread pudding mixture onto the bottom layer. Place fresh raspberries and apricot slices about 1 inch apart centered on the layer. Repeat this for the next layer.

The top layer is assembled using the same method except you omit the apricot slices and use sliced almonds around each fresh raspberry.

Keep cake chilled in the refrigerator.

Angel Food Cake Recipe

1 C sifted cake flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C egg whites (10-12 medium size eggs)
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1/2 t almond extract
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Sift flour and 3/4 C of sugar together. Beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar in large bowl using high speed setting on mixer, until light and fluffy. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 C sugar over egg whites, 2 T at a tine, beating thoroughly after each addition. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in extracts. Sift dry ingredients, 2 T at a time, over beaten egg whites. Fold in gently but thoroughly with a wire whip or rubber spatula. I cut a piece of wax paper exactly the size of the bottom of pan. Place in pan before pouring batter into pan. Pour batter into ungreased tube pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cracks are dry. Invert pan immediately. Cool cake in upside down pan for 1 hour.

After the cake is cool, place pan right side up. Run a knife between the cake and pan to make removal easier. Place plate on top of pan and invert the pan and plate. Lift the outer pan from the cake leaving the tube part and cake. Place a knife between wax paper and pan bottom loosening the cake. The cake should fall onto the plate with the wax paper still attached. Peel the wax paper from the cake.

Pudding Filling

1box of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 3/4 C of cold milk
1/2 small container of Cool Whip

Mix together pudding mix and 1 3/4 C cold milk. Mix thoroughly and let stand for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes the pudding should be thick. Add the Cool Whip, mixing thoroughly. Place in refrigerator for two minutes to aid in thickening. Use for filling after 2 minutes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Free Cookbook from SeaPak Seafood

Click on the link below for a free cookbook from SeaPak.

We love their jumbo shrimp so I am looking forward to trying some new recipes.

Plus...... make sure you look for coupons in the newspaper and magazines.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick & Easy Taco Salad

I love this recipe. It is the kind of recipe that you can fine tune for your likes and dislikes. Plus, it is fast AND easy. Excuse the paper plate but I felt like minimal clean up tonight.Ingredients

Doritos Taco chips
lettuce (shredded)
shredded cheddar cheese
diced fresh tomatoes
diced white onion
sliced black olives
1 can dark red kidney beans washed and drained
1 bottle Russian or Catalina salad dressing
taco mix
1/2 C water
1 lb ground beef
sour cream optional

Brown ground beef in a skillet. Once the meat is fully cooked, drain as much of the fat as you can from the ground beef. Place meat back in skillet. Add 1/2 C of water, kidney beans, and taco mix to cooked ground beef. Cook until the majority of the water is gone. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

While meat cools, dice the veggies. Once the meat is barely warm add the dressing of your choice (I prefer Russian). Use 1/2 bottle for 1 pound of ground beef.

Crush a large handful of Doritos, place on a plate. Place the following items in this order on top of the Doritos, shredded lettuce, large scoop of cooked taco mixture, diced tomatoes, diced onions, sliced olives, and shredded cheddar. Finish off with a dollop of sour cream.

Some people mix all the ingredients including the Doritos together in a large bowl and then serve with a small bowl of sour cream. I don't prefer this method because once all the items are mixed together they get soggy and cannot be refrigerated as a left over. Yuk, who wants soggy Doritos?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

KitchenAid Stand Mixer Sale at Target

I found this information about a KitchenAid Stand Mixer sale at Target. Looks like quite the savings and you don't even need to leave the house or get out of your jammies!!! Now that's my kind of sale.

Info found at A Thrifty Mom blog.

KitchenAid Ultra Power Stand Mixers

Target has a temporary price cut on their KitchenAid Ultra Power Stand Mixers. It looked like not all of the colors are on temporary price cut, but several of them are. The Ultra Power Mixer has a 4.5-qt. bowl and boasts 300 watts of power for mixing double batches.

The list price is is $249.99 temporarily marked down to $199.99. There is an automatic $20 taken off for spending over $100. Use egift card code: URTYJLI8 to take off another $20.

Your total will come to $160 plus tax.

Shop through Shop At Home and receive 5% ($8.00) cash back on your order! Did I mention that shipping is FREE?!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas Cherry Pie with Decorative Crust

For Christmas dinner, the last two years, I have baked a cherry pie. It is not just a cherry pie but a cherry pie inspired by an apple pie recipe that I saw on the Anton Brown show.

How did an apple pie recipe inspire a cherry pie recipe? Well, not so much the recipe but the technique. Anton Brown used a deep tart pan so that the pan could be removed from the pie and the pie could stand alone.

2 cans of cherry pie filling (I used Comstock Country Style)
2T tapioca granules
pie dough from scratch or otherwise (I used Pillbury's frozen pie crusts)
Decorative sparkly white sugar

Deep dish tart pan (I had to order mine off the Internet)
Decorative pie crust cutter

First I empty one can of pie filling into a bowl. Then add just the cherries from the second can of filling. Add the 2 T of tapioca granules, this will help thicken the filling so the pie can stand on it's own without a pan for support.

Spray the tart pan to make pan removal easier. Place the bottom layer into the tart pan making sure to press it into the fluted sides of the pan. Pour the filling into the pan. Sprinkle the top of the cherry filling with the decorative sparkly white sugar.

Next roll out the top layer of crust. If dough is starting to get soft place it in the fridge on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes. It is important that the crust not be too soft for the next step.

The decorative pie crust cutters have two patterns, one on each side. This is the two patterns on mine. I used the second pattern for my pie.
Lay the top crust on a flat surface. Center the decorative crust cutter on the pie crust. Press down firmly. I used a rolling pin to make sure it cut the entire pattern into the crust. Lift the cutter directly up. The crust will be very delicate so I wrapped mine around the rolling pin and place onto the pie. Press the top crust and bottom crust together. Cut off the remaining crust that is hanging over the edge of the pan.Bake according to the filling's instructions.Cool completely (overnight in the fridge is best) before removing from the tart pan.

Sorry, I don't have any photos of the entire pie. We started nibbling before I thought about taking a photo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chicken Salad Wrap with Cream Cheese and Raspberry Jam

If you read my other blogs you will know that my sister, my niece, and I ate at the French Laundry in Fenton, Michigan last week. We all ordered the same delicious wrap sandwich called a Freudian Slip.This weekend I attempted to recreate this wonderful delesh wrap. Enjoy!!

You will need the following items....

Chicken either fresh or in a can (I used can chicken)
Red onion diced thinly (for one wrap I used one slice of a med size red onion)
Seedless red raspberry jam
Cream cheese (I used whipped cream cheese)
Flat bread to wrap chicken salad (I used Mission brand Garden Spinach Herb Wraps)

Make chicken salad (chicken, onion, mayo) remembering to keep salad slightly dry. I made mine too runny and it dripped out of my wrap too easily.Lay out one wrap on a flat surface. Spread with a very thin layer of cream cheese. Now spread a very thin layer of seedless red raspberry jam. Think thin. You do not want either one of these flavor to overwhelm your chicken salad. Using an offset knife makes spreading a lot easier.Place chicken salad in the center of wrap. Fold each side toward the middle.Now starting at one end, roll sandwich making sure to keep all the goodness inside the wrap.Place on a plate and cut on a angle. Add a dill pickle and chips.Well, what do you think?

Here is a close up of the wrapping instructions on the back of the package. Sometimes diagrams are easier to understand.