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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Penne Pasta Casserole

Printable Recipe

Cook one package of mini penne pasta as directed. Drain.
Add one jar of your favorite pasta sauce or about two cups-ish of Pasta Sauce.
I add extra dried basil and a minced garlic clove.
Mix it all together with some grated mozzarella (or Italian blend) cheese: about one cup or to your tastes.

Put it in a round casserole dish and bake for about 25 minutes.
Serve with salad and garlic bread (or the Herbed Bread Rolls).

Holly's Note:
This is one of our favorite, quick and easy meals. If you like a good, meaty pasta sauce, then use this delicious pasta sauce recipe that includes both ground beef and ground sausage.

Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad

Printable Recipe

If you see this photo on another site, without the watermark or without a link and credit back to here, that person copied the photo without permission.

  • 1 1/2 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cube butter, melted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip
  • 6 oz. raspberry jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 bag unsweetened raspberries
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix pretzels, 1/2 cup sugar and melted butter together.
  2. Press into a 9 x 13 pan.
  3. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
  4. Let cool
  5. Blend together cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and Cool Whip.
  6. Spread on top of cooled pretzel crust.
  7. Dissolve jello in water. Add raspberries. Stir.
  8. Pout over creamed mixture.
  9. Refrigerate until set.
Holly's Note:
In England, jello is a dessert not a salad, so The Doctor always eats this after his meal instead of with it. It's a delicious taste sensation because you get salty, sweet and tart flavors all at once. It's also a wonderful addition to BBQ. This is best eaten the day you make it, although it's not bad for breakfast the next morning!

This post has been shared at Food on Friday,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Cake Mix Doctor...Review

About the book:
The Cake Mix Doctor is in! And the prescription is simple: By doctoring up packaged cake mix with just the right extras--a touch of sweet butter here, cocoa powder there, or poppy seeds, vanilla yogurt, sherry, eggs, and grated lemon zest for the Charleston Poppy Seed Cake--even the least experienced baker can turn out luscious signature desserts, time after time. The proof is in the taste, and the taste never stops--from Toasted Coconut Sour Cream Cake to Devilishly Good Chocolate Cake; from a to-die-for Caramel Cake and a Holiday Yule Log to cheesecakes, coffee cakes, sheet cakes, pound cakes, bars, brownies, and those all-important frostings, here are 175 fast, foolproof recipes that will transform the art of home baking in America.

Who could believe these cakes came out of a box? Moist, tender, rich, deep, and complexly flavored, without a hint of artificiality, each cake stand up and delivers. But without any of the fuss of baking from scratch. Anne Byrn, an award-wining food writer and self-described purist, creates recipes that employ a cake mix's strengths--convenience, ease-of-use, dependability, and almost imperviousness to overbeating, underbeating, overbaking, and underbaking.

In addition to the recipes are the Cake Mix Doctor's Q&A's, extensive "Doctor Says" tips, lists--15 Beautiful Birthday Cakes, 15 Cakes That Will Cash in at a Bake Sale--and more, all illustrated in a full-color photographic insert.

The idea behind this book is good, if you use cake mixes. There are some innovative and fun ways to doctor up cake mixes so that they taste homemade.

I don't use cake mixes anymore (except for two recipes: Lemon Sheet Cake and Turtle Brownies), and I think it's just as easy to mix up a cake from scratch, as it is to add a bunch of stuff to a mix.

However, for someone who only uses cake mixes, I think this is a great book. For someone who cooks from scratch, it's a waste of time, unless you want some different ideas for flavored cakes and you can just add some of the extras to your tried and true scratch recipes.

You can purchase your own copy here.

* *
2/5 Stars

Friday, May 16, 2008

Turtle Brownies

Printable Recipe

1 German Chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 package unwrapped caramels (about 40)
1 package chocolate chips (milk is richer than semi-sweet, but both are good)

Blend cake mix, butter and 1/3 cup evaporated milk with 1/2 cup pecans. Spread 1/2 of the mixture in a greased 9 x 13 pan, and bake at 350° for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven.

Melt caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk together. Let cool slightly. Spread over baked cake mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel mixture. Drop the remaining cake mixture by spoonfuls over the caramel/chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts. Bake at 350° for about 18 minutes.

A little extra milk in the caramels makes them really gooey, less milk makes the caramel firm up more.

Holly's Note:
My husband calls these "cardiac brownies" and they are divine. Especially with some vanilla ice cream...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Eating for Life...Review

About the book:
Did you truly enjoy the food you ate today? Do you really like the way you look and feel? Are you consistently enjoying great health and high energy?

Bill Phillips, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Body-for-LIFE, believes your answer to all of the above questions should be, "Yes!" He feels that food should be a source of pure pleasure. A source of positive, abundant energy! A "sure thing" in a world of much uncertainty.

Phillips, who's widely regarded as today's most successful fitness author, has firm beliefs which go against the grain of today's popular weight-loss methods. "Diets, all of them, are potentially dangerous, most always dumb and ultimately a dead-end street!" he insists. "Eventually, anyone and everyone who's at all concerned with their health must learn how to feed their body, not how to starve it."

Instead, Phillips encourages a safe and sound solution which includes eating balanced, nutrient-rich meals, frequently throughout the day. "This is what works in the long run," he explains.

Rich with common sense and science, Eating for Life has rhyme and reason. It is specific. There are very clear dos and don'ts which help people enjoy food and improve their overall fitness.

Bill's approach, which he calls the "Eating for Lifestyle," has already helped thousands of people break free from the dieting dilemma and discover that, contrary to pop-culture belief, food is friend, not foe. Used intelligently, it nourishes the body and mind, satisfies the appetite, calms cravings, renews health and lifts energy.

Like Bill Phillips' Body-for-LIFE, this is a tell-it-like-it-is book. There's no promise of a quick fix. No metabolic tricks or so-called miracles. Just straightforward, clear, concise, practical and appropriate principles for eating right... for life.

An excellent cookbook for healthy eating. It's a companion to the Body for Life series, but there are recipes in here that are just plain good, even if you don't follow the Body for Life program. We especially love the Grilled Chicken Tuscan Style on page 153. (Although we call it Tuscan Chicken!)

There is a lot of information about healthy eating, weight loss and working out as well. Much of that information comes from the Body for Life books. My husband likes the Body for Life program and it has worked for him. It doesn't work for me so much. However, this is fantastic cookbook that stands on its own.

You can learn more about Body for Life here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Freezer Hints

One of my favorite things to do is freeze food: especially vegetables. I use celery in cooking, but a full bunch of celery will go bad in my fridge before it gets used. I bought celery on sale the other day at Albertsons: 10 for $10. I chopped up every bunch of celery, very fine, and put it in freezer bags. I flatten the bags as I lay them in my freezer. Once they are frozen, I can just go in and break off pieces of celery. You can thaw them for about 30 seconds in the microwave if you want, or they can be added to your dish as is.

I do the same thing for onions and carrots. Not having to chop something is a big time saver. And, if they are flat and thin, breaking off chunks is easy.

And, while I always have an onion or two on hand, I usually chop up an entire bag at one time. If I'm going to cry and smell like onion, I might as well do it all at once.

I use a mixture of celery, onion and carrots in several of my recipes. We call it the Holy Trinity of cooking. Having it all already chopped up saves so much time while cooking.

I also do this for bacon. I use bacon in my cooking, and so I'll buy 2 or 3 packages of bacon at once, while it's on sale. I chop it into pieces and then cook it all. After I drain it, I put it in freezer bags and freeze. When I need some bacon, I can just pull out what I need and put the rest back. Again, not having to fry up some bacon is a real time saver.

You can use a foodsaver, which I recommend for the bacon, but for the veggies, I've found that freezer bags work just as well. If a little ice develops on them, it hasn't affected the flavor.

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday,