Sep 29, 2009

Connie Spencer's Corn and Black Bean Salsa

1 can corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
½ red or green pepper, chopped
½ can green chilies, diced
Chopped cilantro (to taste)
Italian salad dressing

Mix all ingredients and blend with the Italian salad dressing. Refrigerate. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sep 27, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

I just tried this recipe for the first time recently, and I thought it was definitely worth passing on. I like the flavor of pumpkin and chocolate together, especially in a moist, cake-like bar cookie such as this. Also, though the original recipe didn't include it, I made a simple vanilla frosting for these and I thought it added a nice touch.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium high speed until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend well. Then beat in pumpkin puree. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly in 9 x 13-inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan and then frost and cut into squares.

Vanilla Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
About 2 tablespoons milk

Mix powdered sugar and butter. Stir in vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Sep 26, 2009


2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated carrots
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients and bake in loaf pan at 350 degrees for about one and one-half hours.

Sep 25, 2009

Quiche Lorraine

8-inch deep dish pie crust, unbaked
4 strips bacon
1/2 of a small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake unfilled pie shell for five minutes. Cook the bacon until crisp and remove it from the skillet. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat remaining in the skillet. Cook the onion in the remaining fat until the onion is transparent. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle the bacon, onion, and cheeses inside the partly baked crust. Combine the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and pour over the onion-cheese mixture. Bake the pie 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until a knife inserted one inch from the pastry edge comes out clean, about twenty minutes longer. Served immediately as an hors d’oeuvre or main course. 6 to 10 servings.

French Toast

Who needs a recipe for French toast? I think French toast is second nature to most people, but I discovered and adapted this recipe a few years ago from a Betty Crocker cookbook. I like the addition of flour, which I think gives the French toast more of a crispy texture on the outside. And then the sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon enhance the flavor.

1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
9 slices French bread, each 1 inch thick.

Beat flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs with a hand beater until smooth. Heat skillet over medium heat or to 375 degrees. Grease skillet with butter. Dip bread in egg mixture. Cook about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Sep 20, 2009

Honey Baked Chicken

I tried this recipe for Honey Baked Chicken for dinner this evening. It was easy and tasty. I used chicken tenders and reduced the cooking time to a little less than an hour. The chicken and sauce would work well over rice over rice. (This recipe is adapted from

1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Place chicken pieces in a shallow baking pan, skin side up. Combine the melted butter, honey, mustard, salt, curry powder, and garlic, and pour the mixture over the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours (75 minutes), basting every 15 minutes with pan drippings, until the chicken is nicely browned and tender and the juices run clear. (I actually covered the chicken with foil for the first half hour and then removed the foil for the last half hour so that the chicken would brown.)

Sep 16, 2009

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

While peaches are still in season, don't miss out on the opportunity to make fresh peach ice cream. This recipe is adapted from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream
2 cups ripe peaches that have been peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sweet Cream Base (see below)

Combine the peaches, sugar, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Puree with a hand blender. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours. Prepare the Sweet Cream Base and then combine with the chilled fruit mixture. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according the manufacturer's instructions.

Sweet Cream Base
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

Makes 1 generous quart.

Sep 12, 2009

Chili Sauce

It doesn't seem like many people I know are familiar with, or have even heard of, chili sauce, which is a shame. This recipe comes from my Grandmother Beck and one of her neighbors in St. George, Utah. Antone and Vilate Prince were pioneer descendents in St. George when my grandparents, Elden and Florence Beck, moved there in 1933. Antone (Pa Prince) was the sheriff of that small community. Vilate (Ma Prince) shared this recipe with my grandmother during the time they both lived in St. George.

Chili sauce makes meatloaf worth eating. We also use it on stuffed peppers, omelets, roast beef, and in homemade Thousand Island dressing. And we make a dip for crackers by spreading cream cheese on a plate, then topping it with chili sauce, chopped hard boiled egg, baby shrimp, and then letting it chill. Yum! I'm not sure why this recipe is called chili sauce since there are no chilies in it. But in any case, this is a recipe that my family and extended family love. By the way, store-bought chili sauce does not even come anywhere close to homemade.

1 bucket ripe tomatoes
6 large green peppers
10 medium-size onions, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons salt
1 quart sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of pepper

Scald tomatoes, peel, and cut into quarters. Let drain in colander or sieve. Set aside. Wash and remove seeds from the peppers; cut into quarters. Coarsely grind peppers and onions in food grinder and then drain some of the liquid off in a colander or sieve. Combine all ingredients in a large pan, and simmer over medium heat, uncovered, until chili sauce is thickened (about 3 hours). Makes 20 to 24 half pints.

Sep 9, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

This simple soup works well as an appetizer or as a meal.

1 lb squash, peeled and cubed (Costco often sells a 2-lb bag of cubed squash)
4 carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
½ clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ½ cups chicken broth
Salt to taste
Flavored butters (see below)

Heat oil in a large pan. Add squash, carrots, onion, and garlic. Stir until onion is soft. Add salt and chicken stock. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Let cool and then puree using a blender or an immersion blender. Reheat before serving. Add a teaspoon each of the flavored butters to each bowl. Garnish with almonds or bacon, if desired.

Soup butters:
½ tablespoon cinnamon
1 cube butter

Mix and shape into a log form. Wrap and then freeze. Thaw and slice when ready to use.

½ tablespoon curry
1 cube butter

Mix and shape into a log form. Wrap and then freeze. Thaw and slice when ready to use.

Sep 7, 2009

Frosted Lemon Butter Cookies

These are one of my all-time favorite cookies. The cookies are soft and delicate. The frosting is both sweet and tart. These melt in your mouth!

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour

1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Stir in cornstarch and flour. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. Combine frosting ingredients and spread on cooled cookies.

Sep 5, 2009

Tuna Pasta Salad

1 package large shell pasta, cooked according to directions (be sure to use salted water) and then cooled
1 can tuna, drained and then broken up
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 can black olives, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
1 cup Miracle Whip
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and then chill.

Sep 2, 2009

Andy Bay's Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

I didn't grow up eating pecan pie, but it is now one of my personal favorites. And when you combine the flavor of chocolate with pecan pie, it's even better. This recipe comes from my friend Andy.

8 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup butter, melted
About 4 1/2 cups pecans
About 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 8-inch pie shells

Beat together eggs, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla. Add butter and mix well. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle pie shells with chips until bottom of the shells is covered. Add half of pecan mixture, more chocolate chips, then rest of pecan mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Makes three 8-inch pies.