Monday, June 7, 2010

Russian Creme with Fresh Fruit

There's a fun little restaurant here in town called "The Trolley". They use to serve this amazing dessert called Russian Creme, but I haven't seen it there for the last couple of years. I came across a recipe recently and tried it. Oh man...heaven! I've made it twice. Once topped with raspberries and blackberries...

And once topped with strawberries & kiwi fruit.

3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water
1 pkg. Knox Unflavored Gelatin

In a saucepan, heat cream and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat. Mix the unflavored gelatin in with the boiling water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Pour water mixture into cream mixture and mix well. Stir and cool completely. Pour mixture into glass or clear plastic cups. Cover with plastic wrap to keep film from forming on top. Refrigerate for several hours until firm. Top with fresh fruit just before serving.

One Batch Mini Cupcakes

I've made cupcakes twice in the last couple of weeks. Once for a baptism and once for a work party. This is a delicious recipe that is super easy to make. I was able to make two batches of cupcakes (one chocolate, one vanilla) but by topping them creatively, it made 4 different types of cupcake: Lemon, Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter, and Strawberry.

Basic Cupcake Recipe:
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil (the amount suggested on box)
4 large eggs

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until moistened (about 30 seconds) then increase the speed and beat 2 minutes longer. Place cupcake liners in tin(this recipe will make just under 2 dozen). Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. (If you make mini-cupcakes, decrease baking time and remove when cakes are lightly golden brown). Cool cupcakes and frost.

Basic Buttercream Frosting Recipe
1 stick butter
1-2 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Mix butter, milk and vanilla. Mix in powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. If it doesn't seem thick enough, add a little more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add more milk in small increments (1 tsp. at a time, mixing well between to check consistency).

Lemon Cupcakes (use white or lemon cake mix for the cupcakes):

Add 1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring and a few drops of yellow food coloring to the frosting. Top with sprinkles.

Cookies & Cream (use chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes):

Frost cupcakes with regular white buttercream. Crush 1-2 oreos and sprinkle on top. Place 1/4 of an Oreo on each cupcake (cut them in fourths with a serrated knife).

Strawberry Cupcakes (use white or yellow cake mix for the cupcakes):

Add 1/2 tsp. strawberry flavoring and 2-3 drops red or pink food coloring to the frosting (I've also mixed in strawberry jam when I don't have strawberry flavoring). Top each cupcake with a sliced strawberry or a small chocolate dipped strawberry.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes (use chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes)

Mix 3-4 T. cocoa powder into the buttercream frosting recipe to turn it chocolate. It will get a little thick with that extra powder, so you may need to add a bit more milk to smooth it out a bit. Cut a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup in fourths and stick one fourth in each cupcake.

To frost the cupcakes:

Place the frosting in a sturdy ziploc bag and snip off a corner. Squeeze the frosting on top and swirl to finish.

Navajo Tacos

We spent memorial day at the cabin and decided to make Navajo tacos. Don't know if these are a "Utah" thing, but what you're looking at is basically a scone topped like a taco. Of course the family loved eating the extra scones with honey butter too.

Meat Sauce:

1-2 lbs. hamburger
Salt & Pepper
1-2 cans Chili Beans
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning (I like Ortega)

Brown hamburger and season with salt and pepper. Drain grease and add taco seasoning packet and water suggested on the back. Cook 10-15 minutes. Add chili beans (drain first) and stir well. Basically, when I make a small batch I use 1 lb. meat and one can of beans. When I make it for a crowd I add 2 lbs. meat and 2 cans beans. You can also use kidney beans (but I like the creamier chili bean better).


Rhodes or Terrell's frozen roll dough
Oil for frying

2-3 hours before dinner, place desired amount of dough on a greased cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Once dough is totally thawed, press each roll out into the shape of a small scone and allow to rest on cookie sheet and rise some more (30 minutes to an hour). Heat oil to about 350 degrees in either a deep frying pan, dutch oven, or electric fry daddy. Fry the scones until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove from grease and place on paper towels.


shredded cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
chopped green onion
chopped tomato
chopped olives
Sour Cream

Creamy Chicken Penne

Before you make this recipe, go out and buy some Romano Cheese (the kind you grate yourself). I know you're more comfortable with Parmesan, but the Romano will take the taste from "Mom made it" to "Olive Garden". I promise.

2 cups penne pasta, uncooked
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 T. Olive Oil
1 small red pepper, chopped small
1 pkg. snow peas (optional)
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
4 oz. cream cheese, cut in cubes
1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 T. chopped parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot. Drain pasta but reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Meanwhile, cook chicken and onions in olive oil for 6-8 minutes in a large skillet. Add the pepper, peas and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Remove mixture from pan and cover to keep warm. Melt butter in skillet, then add flour, stir well, cooking for an additional minute. Then add milk. Bring to boil and cook until thickened (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Add cream cheese, grated Romano cheese and season with salt and pepper. Once bubbly and creamy, stir in the chicken mixture and the drained penne pasta. Stir to coat everything. If the mixture seems thick, add a little bit of pasta water to thin. Top with additional grated Romano and chopped parsley.

Homemade Cheesy Mac

This recipe makes the BEST homemade macaroni and cheese you've ever tasted...but I have to warn you that I used a sauce mix and I'm going to shamelessly plug it here (see below). I used a curly pasta in this picture and added some tomato sauce, but I also made it last week with elbow macaroni and topped it with breadcrumbs. My picky kids LOVED both versions.

3 cups water
3/4 cup Shirley J Universal sauce mix
12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. elbow macaroni (cooked in salt water and drained)
2 T. melted butter
1 cup breadcrumbs (regular or Italian style)

In a saucepan, bring the water and the sauce mix to a boil. Boil 2-3 minutes until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Pour in the cooked macaroni. Pour into a casserole dish. Mix the butter and breadcrumbs together and spread over the top of the mac & cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. May want to cover it with foil at first, then remove the foil the last 10 minutes or so, otherwise the breadcrumbs get really browned.


I can't begin to tell you how much I love the Shirley J products. Their chicken bullion and beef bullion is the BEST I've ever tried. Here is a picture of the Universal Sauce Mix which can be used in hundred of recipes. Visit their website to see about ordering ( or if you live in the Springville area, they sell the complete Shirley J line of products at Shaybee's on main street.

Cinnamon Apple Bread Wedges

This bread was made with the Shirleyj muffin mix. It is the BEST mix ever. Simply add in a few ingredients to the basic dough and you are set to go.

3 cups Shirleyj Universal Muffin Mix
1 1/4 c. water
1 cup apple pie filling (cut apples into smaller chunks)
1/2 c. walnuts
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. oats
2 tsp. brown sugar

Mix water and muffin mix for about a minute. Stir in pie filling, walnuts and cinnamon. Pour in a greased pan. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

My friend Janet gave me a Mapleton Ward Cookbook for Christmas and I've just loved it. There are so many fabulous recipes. My picture here didn't turn out great, but the cookies did. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, just the way I like em!

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
5 c. Quaker Oats
2 c. Craisins (soak them for 20 minutes in warm water to plump them, drain)
2 c. chopped nuts (I have used either pecans or walnuts)

Mix softened butter with both kinds of sugar and beat well. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix the flour and soda together and add it to the creamed mixture and beat again. Stir in oats, pecans, and drained craisins. Drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Peanut Butter Puff Rice Squares

They use to serve these tasty little treats for school lunch. They are easy to make, but sometimes finding the plain puffed rice cereal can be a challenge. I always get mine at Macey's in Spanish Fork.

1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup (corn syrup)
1 cup peanut butter
6-7 cups puffed rice cereal (NOT SUGAR SMACKS!)

Bring the sugar and Karo to a boil in a saucepan. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Stir in puffed rice cereal a little at a time until it is all mixed and incorporated. Press into a pan. Cool, cut in squares.

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe makes a big pan of bars - great for a big family party or gathering. These are so soft and moist and the home made frosting is divine.


1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed bananas
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour

Grease and flour a jelly roll pan (15x10). Mix sugar, sour cream, butter and eggs in large bowl at low speed. Beat in banana and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients on medium speed. Stir in nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until light brown, about 20-25 minutes. Cool and frost

1/4 c. margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk
2 c. powered sugar

Mix until fluffy. Spread on cooled banana bars.

Mini Tarts

This is an old 9th ward recipe that I've had for ages. You can make small little tarts or one big one. The original recipe called for blueberry pie filling for the topping, which is also very good. Here I just used fresh fruit.


1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
2 cubes butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk

Mix the powdered sugar and flour together. Add the butter and mix until crumbly. Lightly beat the egg and egg yolk. Add to flour mixture and mix until it forms a ball. Press dough into small tart shells and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. (If you use one large tart shell, you will need to cook it longer - until it is nicely browned).


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and powered sugar until creamy. Beat in the cool whip. Fill tart shells by putting filling mixture in a sturdy Ziploc baggie and cut off the corner. Pipe the filling in to the tart shells. Top with fresh chopped fruit or canned pie filling.

Sweet BBQ Chicken Skewers w/Rice Pilaf

We fired up the grill for the first time last week. These kebobs were tangy and sweet. Pop the rice pilaf in the oven while you make the rest of the meal and it will all be ready at the same time.

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
6 T. ketchup
2 T. honey
2 T. soy sauce
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 T. brown sugar

In a saucepan place the ketchup, honey, soy sauce, lime, ginger and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Once sauce has cooled, place chicken in sauce and marinate for at least an hour. Soak skewers in water while chicken marinates. Place chicken on skewers and grill on grill, brushing chicken with additional sauce during cooking.

Rice Pilaf:

In a 13 x 9 pan place 4 1/2 cups hot water and 2 tsp. chicken bullion. Add 2 cups rice. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour or until all moisture is absorbed. You can add chopped green onion before baking as well if you like a little green in your rice.

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Croissants

This is an easy family favorite. On busy nights, I make them for dinner.

croissants from Sam's Club (or sometimes I cook up a roll of Grand's Biscuits)
sliced cheddar cheese
cooked bacon slices

Fry egg in frying pan over hard. After egg is cooked, place cheese on it so it can start to melt. Assemble sandwich by placing egg, cheese and bacon on a sliced croissant or biscuit. Serve with fresh fruit.

Popeye Pancakes

I've been making this dish since I was a teenager. It tastes like a crepe, but denser and more filling. I serve it with powdered sugar, syrup, and whipped cream on top.

6 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter

Blend eggs, milk, flour and salt in the blender for 2-3 minutes. Place a cube of butter in a 13 x 9 pan and stick it in the heated oven for a few minutes until the butter melts. Remove the pan and pour the egg mixture over the butter and return to oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It will rise in the oven and get really puffy, then settle down once you take it out of the oven. Top with powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup and whipped cream.


I've already planted my tomatoes and fresh basil this spring and can't wait for the summer harvest. I sometimes serve this bruschetta on Bagel Crisps, sometimes on soft slices of french bread, and sometimes on sliced baguettes that have been brushed with garlic-flavored olive oil and baked until golden.

3 medium ripe tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
6 basil leaves
1 clove garlic
Parmesan cheese

Halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Chop in to small pieces. Press the garlic in a garlic press and add to tomatoes. Chop basil leaves and add. Stir in the olive oil and mix well. Stir in desired amount of Parmesan cheese. Serve on toasted slices of baguette. (I like to press a garlic clove into a small dish of olive oil, then brush the baguette slices with the flavored olive oil and bake until golden brown).

Chicken Pepper Pasta

You can make this dish with any kind of pasta you have on hand, rotini, angel hair, farafelle, or penne. The red and yellow bell peppers make the dish full of flavor and color.

6 T. butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 whole red pepper, chopped small
1/2 - 1 whole yellow pepper, chopped small
1 T. garlic, minced or pressed
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in to strips
1 T. fresh tarragon (optional)
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3/4 c. half and half
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
7 - 8 oz. pkg. pasta, cooked

Melt butter in skillet until sizzling, then add onion and peppers. Cook and stir until tender (3-4 minutes). Add garlic and saute a minute longer. Remove vegetables from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add chicken, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir 7 to 9 minutes until chicken is golden and tender. Add veggies back in. Add half and half and cheeses to chicken mixture. Reduce heat and continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add pasta and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Crispy Chicken

Who needs to buy chicken strips at the grocery store deli when it's this easy to make your own. These go well with baked or mashed potatoes and a side salad.

10-12 boneless chicken tenders
2 cups crushed cornflakes
1 cup parmesan cheese (the powdered kind in the green can)
1 tsp. dried parsley, crushed
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups flour
2-3 eggs, whisked

Create a "dredging station" by getting out 3 bowls. In the first bowl place the flour. In the second bowl crack the eggs and whisk them up. In the third bowl add the cornflakes, parmesan, parsley and garlic salt (mix well). Take each piece of chicken and coat it in flour, then in the egg, then in the cornflake mixture. Place in bottom of a greased pan. Once all of the chicken has been coated, bake at 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes.

Hawaiian Haystacks

I've been waiting to upload this recipe for quite some time, but didn't have a picture. This is my friend Kristie's recipe and the chicken gravy is DIVINE (much better than any other I've tried).
Please Note: Usually haystacks are topped with tons of assorted nuts, veggies, pineapple, and coconut, but my picky family likes them simple (with cheese and chow mein noodles).

For the gravy:
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 tsp. chicken bullion crystals (or 1-2 bullion cubes, smashed)
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cube butter, sliced in 8 pieces
4-5 baby carrots (or 2 regular carrots, sliced)
1 stalk celery, sliced
salt & pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups chicken broth (may not need to use it all)

In crockpot, place the chicken breasts, onion, carrots & celery. Sprinkle bullion over the top. Place slices of butter all over the top. Salt & pepper the top. Place lid on crockpot and cook for 3-4 hours on high.

After chicken is cooked and veggies are tender, remove all of the ingredients from the crockpot. Be sure to reserve the drippings as well (if vegetables still seem a little crunchy, remove the chicken and leave the vegetables to cook a little longer in the drippings). Shred the chicken and set aside. In a blender, place the cooked carrots, celery and onion. Pour some of the drippings in and then blend the mixture. If it's really thick, add more drippings (or chicken broth).

In the crockpot, add the cream of chicken soup & sour cream and begin to heat the mixture, stirring well. Add the shredded chicken and some of the blended veggie mixture. Use the drippings and the extra chicken broth to thin the sauce to the desired consistency. You can add as much or as little of the blended veggies as you'd like. This just gives it a delicious, homemade taste that's a notch above other chicken gravy recipes I've tried.

To Serve:

Serve gravy over a bed of rice and top with the following Haystack Toppings:
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Olives
Chow Mein Noodles
Chopped green onion
Chopped green pepper
Chopped cucumber
Chopped celery
Pineapple tidbits
Chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, or macadamia)

Grilled Chicken Salad (EASY!)

Costco now carries this delicious bagged salad that comes with everything except the chicken (cranberries, feta cheese, candied almonds, and citrus vinagarette). For a healthy meal, I've been grilling up chicken tenderloins for a complete meal.

For the chicken:
Marinate the chicken (1-6 hours) in a mixture of 1 cup sprite, 1 cup soy sauce, 1/4 c. vegetable oil, and 2 tsp. garlic salt. Grill on grill. Serve with salad.