Sunday, October 30, 2011

Éclair Dessert

This is a recipe that my Grandma Bonner gave me years ago.  It’s super easy and very delicious!  For the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve requested it for my birthday.  My mom even called me after making it last week and thanked me for being so easy about my birthday dessert.  I was quick to thank HER for making it for me!    It's important to let the dessert sit overnight or all day so that the crackers get soft (which, in this recipe, is a good thing!).

You can make your own chocolate frosting if you prefer.  While I normally do make my own frosting for cakes, etc., I always use the canned for this recipe.  It just tastes so good that way!  

For a lighter version, you can use fat free milk, sugar free pudding, light cool whip, low fat graham crackers and frosting.   

2 small packages vanilla instant pudding 
3 cups milk 
1 8 oz. cool whip 
1 package graham crackers 
1 can milk chocolate frosting, room temperature 
2 tablespoons milk   

Mix pudding and milk thoroughly.  Fold in cool whip.  Line 9x13 pan with whole graham crackers.  Spread half of pudding mixture over crackers.  Make another layer of whole graham crackers.  Spread the second half of pudding mixture over crackers.  Make a third layer of whole graham crackers and refrigerate until firm.  Stir milk into frosting.  Spread over crackers.  Refrigerate overnight.      

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheese Chowder

This is a recipe that an internet friend (Donna) gave me.  It's super easy and quick and very yummy!  One batch makes enough for a small family...double it for company or a larger family.   
1 box Julienne potatoes (I think Betty Crocker makes it) (you can use any type of boxed type potatoes, such as au graten--we just prefer the shape of these)
2 cups water 
2 cups milk 
4 ounces cheese (I like mild cheddar but just about any cheese will work), cut into small cubes or shredded 
4-8 pieces bacon cooked and crumbled 
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn   

Place the water and potatoes (not seasoning mix yet) in a medium pan over medium-high heat.  Cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Stir in the seasoning mix until well combined.  Slowly stir in the milk.  Add the cheese and stir often until cheese is melted.  Add bacon and corn and cook until heated through.   

NOTES:  You can use up to 8 ounces of cheese (which is what my original recipe called for) but we just prefer 4 ounces.  You can add one small sautéed onion if you like.  Ham or some other type of meat can be exchanged for the bacon or omitted all together.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cajun Corn Soup

This recipe comes from my dear friend Dawn Whittington.  She made it the first time I came to her house for lunch one Sunday.  It's easy and delicious!  I must admit that I honestly don't know if this really follows her recipe...I've used it for so many years I'm sure it's changed (as all recipes do with me).  But it's the gist of her recipe.

Beef tips (1-2 pounds) 
1 small onion, chopped 
1 can tomato paste 
1 can roasted garlic Hunts tomato sauce (it’s a small can)
16 oz. frozen yellow whole kernel corn
2-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste 
Colby/jack marbled cheese, shredded (optional)   
4-6 small corn cobs (optional)

Sauté beef tips and onion in a skillet with a little oil until beef tips are browned (but not done).  Don’t worry about the onions being done.  Drain off excess fat.  Place tomato paste and about 6 cups water in a large pot.   When paste is mixed into the water, add tomato sauce and stir.  Add meat, onion, and seasoning.  Cover and cook over medium heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.  When meat is almost tender, add potatoes and cook for 30 minutes.  Add corn and cook until corn is hot.  If needed, add some water (we like ours thick).  To serve, add some cheese to each bowl and dish the soup over the cheese.  Serve with cornbread or French bread and salad.   

If you want to freeze this, do so before adding the potatoes.  To prepare, remove from freezer, heat, add potatoes and corn as directed above.  For some reason freezing soup or stew with potatoes just doesn't work for me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Bars

This is a combination of two recipes. One from Paula Deen and one from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  I made this today and it's so easy and really yummy!  It's more like cake than "bars." 

2 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
2 teaspoons cinnamon 
½ teaspoon salt   

Combine in a mixing bowl.  Stir (I use a whisk) together well.   In a separate bowl, stir together:   
4 eggs 
1 can pumpkin (15 or 16 ounces) 
1 cup oil   

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Stir together well.  Pour into ungreased jelly roll pan (15x10)—I used a 17x12 pan and it worked really well (I only baked for 20 minutes).  Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until done.  It’s done when it’s touched and the surface bounces back and does not retain an indention.  Cool completely and frost.   


6 ounces cream cheese, softened (8 would be better but I only had 6) 
½ margarine or butter, softened 
1 teaspoon vanilla (I didn’t use this because I didn’t have any—gasp!) 
3 ½ cups powdered sugar   

Beat the cream cheese, margarine or butter, and vanilla until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth.