Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Mexican Wedding Cakes
or Russian Teacakes
or Snowballs
or Whatever-you-want-to-call-them

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup finely chopped nuts.

Mix thoroughly butter, sugar and vanilla. Work in flour, salt and nuts until the dough holds together. Shape into 1” balls and place them on cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes. While warm roll in powdered sugar. Cool and roll in sugar again.

This is the cookie that symbolizes "Christmas" to my husband, so we have it at least once a year. I also discovered this year that this is the perfect recipe for introducing whole wheat flour (substitute for half the white) to your family because the texture and flavor are disguised by the nuts.

Fried Rice

We have a new favorite for Saturday lunch - Fried Rice. (It used to be top ramen.) There really isn't a recipe. Just beat an egg or two and cook it in a skillet like a giant pancake. Remove it to the cutting board and chop into pieces. While you're there chop any other ingredients you might be using. (The version pictured had ham - just a couple slices of lunchmeat - and leftover vegies from dinner the night before.) Fry as much leftover rice as you want for a few minutes, stir in your other ingredients, sprinkle with soy and/or teriyaki sauce and serve. Pretty simple!

Dutch Babies

Dutch Babies
(or the politically correct name: Oven Pancakes)

for one serving: Put 2 tablespoons of butter/margarine in a pie/cake pan and place in a 450° degree oven to melt.
While that's melting, combine 2/3 cup milk with 2/3 cup flour and 2 eggs. Pour into the hot, melted butter and bake for 12 minutes. Top with syrup.

for 4-6 servings: Put 4-6 tablespoons of butter in a 9x13 pan and place in a 450° oven to melt. Meanwhile, combine 2 cups milk with 2 cups flour and 6 eggs. Pour into hot pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

I was first introduced to this recipe as a teenager when my mom took a "fancy" cooking class. It's been a family favorite ever since. I think it would taste delicious topped with fruit, but the boys have always vetoed that idea.

Alfajores

For two years in a row (one of the blessings of having children only a year apart) we've had country reports due in history before the end of the first semester. In honor of Brad being in Argentina on his mission right now, both students picked that country for their project. Part of the assignment included bringing a native food to share with the rest of the class. Since Alfajores turned out well the first time around, we did them again. Maybe it will become a new December tradition! (This year, though, we decided that buying a can of Dulce de Leche was definitely worth not having to make it ourselves.) It's kind of a messy project - aren't all sugar cookie recipes? - but the end result is yummy.

Alfajores


1 to 1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cupsugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dulce de leche
Powdered sugar
Cinnamon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In another bowl whisk together the flour (starting with 1 cup), cornstarch, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and beat until the dough comes together. Add some of the remaining 1/4 C of flour if the dough is too wet. (Can also chill until firmer.) Roll out the dough to about 1/8 in thickness and cut into whatever shape you desire. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown. Cool on a rack and fill two cookies with a spoonful dulce de leche. Dust the tops with some powdered sugar (add a tiny bit of cinnamon if preferred).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bonbon Cookies

Wayne first made these cookies over 20 years ago! They're fun to do when you want something "pretty" for a cookie platter.
Bonbon Cookies

½ cup butter or margarine, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbls vanilla
food color, if desired
1 ½ cups flour
Dates, nuts, chocolate chips, candied fruit pieces
Icing glaze (1 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbls cream, 1 tsp vanilla mixed together)

Mix together butter, sugar, vanilla and food color. Work in flour and salt until the dough holds together. (If too dry, add some light cream.) Mold the dough by the tablespoonful around a date or nut or chocolate chip. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, until set but not brown. Cool. Dip tops of cookies into the icing. They can be decorated with chopped nuts or colored sugar.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Last week Weston's sister-in-law posted pictures of some yummy treats she made, and I decided that the assignment to help with refreshments for the Visiting Teaching Conference was a good excuse to try making them myself. I had seen Bakerella's original post before and they looked like a lot of work. They were! So, we probably won't be making them very often - maybe for a Christmas platter or fancy party. But they were also quite yummy, more of a candy truffle than a piece of cake.

Start by baking a Red Velvet Cake. (I made it simple and used a mix). Once it's cooled, crumble it and mix it with a can of cream cheese frosting (or 2 cups of your own recipe). It'll be VERY gooey. Then you're supposed to form it into 1" balls. This was too messy, so I stuck it in the freezer for a while and tried again. Still messy, but worked much better. Then, chill the balls until firm. Dip in melted almond bark or chocolate and chill again. Drizzle with a contrasting color and they're done.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pork Chops Dijon

Here's a new favorite family recipe (except someone prefers A-1 sauce instead of this yummy mustard concoction) from our favorite low-calorie cookbook.
Pork Chops Dijon

3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons low-calorie Italian salad dressing
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 pork loin chops, cut 1/2 “ thick
1 medium onion, halved and sliced

In a small bowl combine mustard, Italian dressing and pepper. Brown the chops in a non-stick skillet (use a little oil or Pam if necessary) on both sides. Add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes. Spread the mustard sauce on the chops, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until no longer pink. Serves 4.

Our Favorite Brownies

Chocolate-Pecan Brownies

1½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1½ cups sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup water
2 cups (12 oz. pck) chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
2 more cups chocolate chips, optional

Mix flour and soda together and set aside. Combine sugar, butter and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove immediately. (Can be done in microwave.) Stir in 2 cups of chocolate chips and vanilla until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool completely. Stir in eggs and beat well. Gradually stir in flour until smooth. Add pecans and remaining chocolate chips if desired. Pour into greased 9x13” pan. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes. (Can divide everything in ½ for 9” square pan.)


Smells Good!

Wheat Blender Pancakes

Blender Wheat Pancakes

1 Cup Milk

1 Cup Wheat Kernels, whole & uncooked

2 Eggs

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 cup Flour

2 Tbs. Oil

2 Tbs. Honey or Sugar

Put milk and wheat kernels in blender. Blend on highest speed for 4 or 5 minutes or until batter is smooth. Add eggs, flour, oil, baking powder, salt and honey or sugar to above batter. Blend on low. Pour out batter into pancakes from the actual blender jar onto a hot greased prepared griddle or large frying pan. Cook; flipping pancakes when bubbles pop and create holes.

Note: We tried this recipe with both uncooked wheat kernels and cooked wheat kernels. Our family preferred the pancakes using the cooked kernels. It wasn't quite so "crunchy." Both versions were good. I would say the choice between them depends on your mood - like whether you'd want a sandwich made with crunchy or creamy peanut butter.


We didn't use up all the batter the first day. A couple of days later we had pancakes again. The version made with uncooked wheat needed to be thinned with milk to become "pourable" but both versions were tasty the second time around as well, especially with chocolate chips added.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Triple Wheat Muffins

Can you tell we've been preparing to teach a class on using wheat? Anyway, here's another recipe we made. I wasn't going to post it because last time I tried it, I was the only one who liked it. (It's not very sweet!) However, yesterday afternoon Steven announced that if he had to eat wheat, this was how he wanted it fixed. That's high praise! Because it's so basic, have fun experimenting with adding bananas or apples or crasins or cinnamon or whatever!
Triple-Wheat Muffins

1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
¼ cup cooked cracked wheat (or whole)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Makes 12 regular size muffins at about 125 calories each. (For mini muffins, bake 7-8 minutes.)



It's also a great way to use up some of the honey sitting in your food storage closet!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wheat Chili

Wheat Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
½ green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 quart stewed tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
4 cups cooked whole wheat

(go here for directions on cooking wheat)
1 can kidney beans, drained

Brown the ground beef and drain off grease. Add onion and green pepper and cook until softened. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a crock pot. Cook for at least an hour – the longer it does, the better it tastes because the wheat takes on the flavor of the other foods.
Makes about 8 2-cup servings at about 400 calories each.

Serve with chopped olives, grated cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream if desired.

Homemade Crackers

Homemade Crackers (from Tightwad Gazette)

3 cups dry quick oats
2 cups white flour
1 cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

Mix ingredients together and roll onto 2 cookie sheets. Sprinkle with salt and lightly roll again to press it in. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter. Bake at 350°. After 20 minutes begin checking. Remove crackers as they turn golden, the edges will finish first.(makes about 108 individual crackers at about 25 calories each)