Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Watergate Salad

Watergate Salad

1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant pistachio pudding mix
1 *8 oz) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 (8 oz) container of low-fat, frozen whipped topping.

In medium bowl, mix together dry pudding mix, pineapple with juice; add marshmallows and walnuts; fold in whipped topping and chill. Garnish with marachino cherries, if desired.

This is a sweet, fluffy salad that was popular in the 1970s. Many think it is named after the Nixon spying debacle, Watergate, but really is named after the hotel where the spying occurred, the Watergate Hotel. No matter, you will love this tasty salad, which goes well with baked ham, pork ribs or lamb dishes. I lightened up the salad a bit using fat-free whipped topping.
This delicious salad about 2 minutes to prepare and will wow your family or dinner guests ... trust me on this ... "I am not a crook!" :)

Suicide Bars

Suicide Bars
or Fabulous Fudge Bars
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups quick cooking or regular oats

12-oz pkg. of semisweet or milk chocolate chips
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees ... grease 9x13 pan
Mix brown sugar, 1 cup butter, eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, soda, salt and oats. Reserve 1/3 mixture. Press rest of mixture in greased pan.
Heat chocolate chips, milk and 2 Tbsp. butter until melted, stirring constantly (if using microwave, cook in 30 second increments, stirring between). Stir in nuts and 1 tsp. vanilla. Spread over oatmeal mixture in pan. Drop reserved oatmeal mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto chocolate mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden.

For years now, a local desert cafe, Bread & Chocolate, has served Suicide Bars, an oatmeal/cookie bar with fudge and caramel centers. The cafe caught a lot of flak for the name and a few years ago, renamed the ooey-gooey treat "Fabulous Fudge Bars."
Several years ago, the St. Paul Pioneer Press published Bread & Chocolate's original recipe and I thought I died and went to heaven! I make them for super special occasions when I know I'll have a lot of help eating them. When you taste this bar, you'll understand where the original name, Suicide Bars, comes from: You'll want to eat the whole pan of goodies.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Organizing my Spices

I've been trying to come up with a way to organize my spice rack and have wanted to use small tins, labeled and placed in a easy-to-reach spot. My spice cupboard had become so disorganized and jam-packed with jars, boxes, bags and bins of spices that it took up too much time to find and pull the spices and herbs needed for cooking and baking. One day this summer, while I was digging through one of six "junk" drawers in my kitchen I realized I was wasting a handy, accessible spot that could be better utilized for my spices and herbs.
I decided to clean out one of the larger drawers, purchase some tins, and organize the most-used spices and herbs. I watched Craigslist and found 35 tins for $12, sold by a woman who had recently married and used the tins for party favors. Super great deal!! I cut out circles from patterned scrapbooking paper to cover the tops of the tins; typed up the list of spices and herbs and glued the names to the top of the tins. I cleared out my junk drawer and I now have a convenient, accessible spice drawer. I love it and it saves me tons of time while cooking and baking.
Now, my cupboard holds the ingredients that I use seasonally such as pickling spice, barbecue spices and baking supplies like cardamom. It's a great system and I no longer go through bottle after bottle trying to find my seasonings.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Barbecue Sauce Using Water-Bath Canning Process

This is a sweet and slightly tangy sauce that's even better than my favorite local sauce-man's, Pastor Hamilton! I quadrupled the recipe and was able to put up 4 pint jars. It only took a 30-minute water-bath to can.

BBQ Sauce
1 c. Heinz Ketchup (Our favorite)
1/2 c. Molasses
1/4 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 c. Dijon Mustard (Any brown mustard of choice)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp. Hot Sauce (Tabasco)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Makes about 2 cups of sauce. (16 oz. Mason Jar)
Use for basting or marinating ribs, chops, chicken, burgers, hot dogs or smokies.