Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Judy's Birthday Cake

Judy, a dear friend, recently celebrated a birthday. Several friends gathered for supper to help her celebrate. Another friend, Lynn, made this very yummy chocolate cake!

Judy's Birthday Cake
2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour*
3/4 cup cocoa
1 and 1/2 t. baking powder
1 and 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 cake pans.
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Combine wet ingredients. Add wet to dry ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour into cake pans and bake for 28 minutes. Let cool and frost.

1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 t. vanilla

Stir cocoa into melted butter. Alternately add sugar and milk. Beat on medium to desired consistency. Stir in vanilla.

*I always use unbleached flour because it is more healthy. I know regular all-purpose flour would result in a lighter cake.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Karen's Chicken Casserole

2 or 3 chicken breast
dumpling noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 -8oz sour cream
1 stick butter
1 stack Ritz crackers

Cook chicken until tender, cut into small strips, put in baking dish. Cook noodles until tender, drain, put in chicken and mix with sour cream, cream of chicken soup and cream of celery soup. mix well. Crumble Ritz crackers over chicken and noodles. Melt butter and dribble over Ritz crackers.
Bake on 350 degrees about 35 minutes

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Joined A Supper Co-op!

I am so excited about this! I joined three friends in a supper co-op! If you have ever thought about doing this, I highly recommend that you give it a try!

Here's how it works: Four families agree that they will work together to provide meals for each other during the week. Each cook is assigned a week day (Monday through Thursday) in which she is responsible for cooking. Today was my day to cook this week. I made enough food to feed all four families, then I delivered them to each home. That means that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I did NOT cook supper! And on those days, a meal was delivered to my home.

This is the second week that we have been doing this, and I am sold on the idea. It has freed me from the large amounts of time I felt like I was spending in the kitchen. I have been able to give more attention to schooling. I have been able to be more flexible with my children and to add more fun activities to our day.

Here are a few tips for starting your own supper co-op:

1. Find friends to join you who have similar family size and similar preferences in food.

2. It is important that everyone in the coop live in close vicinity to each other. Spending a lot of time delivering food adds stress and takes up a lot of your time.

3. Have a meeting of all the cooks and plan a menu for a whole month. Make sure the meeting is a low stress event. If at all possible, meet where children are not present. Our next meeting will be at our local coffee shop. We will accomplish our goal in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere.

4. Use this meeting to discuss the likes and dislikes of each family as well as the menu choices for the month. Make menu assignments and determine who will be cooking on which days.

5. Determine delivery times. This will vary based on the time of year and the activities in which each family is involved.

6. Be flexible. Life happens and people have activities in their lives which will make flexibility in scheduling essential. One of our co-op families is traveling this week, so we agreed to freeze the one meal they missed. They can relax knowing that when they return from their trip, there is a meal waiting for them.

7. Be willing to be honest. If your family doesn't particularly like a certain menu selection, don't hesitate to kindly let the co-op cooks know.

8. Don't wear your feelings on your sleeve. Everyone has different taste. If other families don't prefer a dish you made, it's not an attack on your cooking.

9. Choose menus that are not too time intensive to prepare. The idea of a supper co-op is to make life easier. Don't get carried away!

10. Budget your meals. Your group may want to agree on a weekly budget per family. Don't let this time-saving idea stress your budget.

11. If you have left-overs, serve them for lunch the following day or freeze them for future weekend meals.

12. Have fun making friends with co-op members!

13. Enjoy the extra time with your family or on your favorite projects!

Curious about what we are cooking? See our menu plan for February.

As for what I prepared today: Southwest Lasagna, yellow rice, lettuce salad, and Valentine brownies.

February Supper Coop Menu Plan

Week of 4-7:
Ham, corn on cob, fried okra, roasted potatoes
Spaghetti Lasagna, focacia breadsticks, lettuce salad
Chicken and Rice Bake, corn, butter beans

Week of 11-14:
Chicken casserole, green peas, pear salad
Chicken Zucchini Pasta, black-eyed peas, cabbage
BBQ sandwiches, cole-slaw, baked beans, jello-jigglers
Southwestern Lasagna, yellow rice, lettuce salad, brownies

Week of 18-21:
Rotisserie Chicken, green beans, mac & cheese, croissants
Pork Tenderloin
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta
Ravioli, salad, garlic bread

Week of 25-28:
Hamburger Casserole, lima beans, sweet potato souffle
Salmon Fillet, butter-chive carrots, garlic roasted potatoes, broccoli cheese casserole
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
Country Style Ribs, corn casserole, green bean bundles

Aunt Melanie's Brownies

I love my Aunt Melanie's brownies. I remember these from when I was growing up, and they spoiled me to homemade from scratch brownies. I rarely make brownies from a box! Here's her famous recipe:

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. cocoa
2 c. sugar

Melt above ingredients in saucepan over medium heat.

Remove from heat and add:

4 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder

Place in rectangular or square baking dish and bake at 350 until toothpick inserted in center comes back clean (approx. 20 min).

Need a Valentine variety? Replace baking dish with heart shaped cake or muffin pans. After they are cooked and have been removed from oven, immediately push peanut butter M&Ms (pink, red and white variety) into brownie. Allow to cool before serving.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Connie: Salvager of Cake Flops!

I was in charge of a birthday party for a friend this week. I decided to make one of my favorite cakes: moon pie cake. It turned out to be a lesson in humility!

When I was putting it together, the top layer broke and in spite of all my efforts to repair it, I could not. Then, when I iced it, the icing just got gloppy and gunky (did I make those words up?) and didn't look good at all. There I stood with my plans of taking a showy cake to my friend's birthday party falling apart before my eyes.

After recovering from a panic attack, I decided to cut the cake in half (the party was a small one for six ladies), remove the damaged part and then try to ice it again.

This is the part of the cake I cut off.

But, I was afraid the icing would get gloppy and gunky again, so I asked my friend, Connie, to help me out. I dropped the cake off at her house on my way to my daughter's piano lesson and when I came back, I found this beautiful creation. She not only redid the icing, she decorated it with flowers from her yard.

The cake was a hit at the birthday party and Connie now has a new title: Salvager of Cake Flops!

Plug: Connie just started her blog. She loves to cook, and her blog will feature her favorite recipes, kitchen tips and more! Go check it out. I bet you'll enjoy it! mainstreet mom

Friday, February 8, 2008

Note To Self: Try These Soon!

Chicken Spaghetti

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs

BBQ Ribs

2 or 3 pounds country style pork ribs
salt and pepper
onion salt
1-2 cups BBQ sauce

Put the country style ribs in a 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and onion salt. Do not add any water. Cover lightly with aluminum foil,and bake at 300 degrees for 4 hours. Allow to cool slightly, then pick out the meat (discarding bones and fat). Place this meat into a crockpot, layered with BBQ sauce. Cook on high for one hour, or low for two hours. Serve with additional BBQ sauce.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cinnamon Fruit

From my friend, Judy Gay

1 large can peach halves or slices
1 large can pear halves
1 large can pineapple slices
¾ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter
1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon

Drain fruit well; place in 9x13 pan. Melt butter, add brown sugar and cinnamon and mix until dissolved. Spoon over fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Apple Cake

My friend, Judy Gay, made this cake recently and it was heavenly! I plan on making it soon!

1 ¼ cup corn or canola oil
2 cups sugar
3 beaten eggs
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups plain or cake flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
3 tsp. vanilla

Sift dry ingredients 3 times. Mix ingredients in order given. Add vanilla. Cook in 2 – 9 inch pans which have been greased and floured. Put in cold oven. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

½ cup margarine or butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup evaporated milk
½ tsp. vanilla

Melt butter and sugar together; add milk and let come to a boil. Cool. Add vanilla. Ice between layers and top.

Optional Glaze:
1 stick butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring to boil over low heat. Boil 2 minutes. Pour over cake while hot. Can be used instead of icing for cake.

This cake gets better with age...so make it ahead if possible.


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