Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Frosted Banana Bars

The second "deal of the day" at the grocery store was a giant bag of bananas for $1.50. Unable to resist, I came home looking for new banana recipes. This one sounded yummy and looked easy.
I whipped it up last nite while cooking supper. It went together in a snap but after getting it in the oven, I discovered that I had none of the frosting ingredients except for about 1 cup powdered sugar! (Lesson learned, check pantry for all ingredients before getting started!) So, I made a glaze of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and poured it over the pan before cutting into bars. It was great! Just the right amount of sweetness and I saved a lot of calories since I didn't use the cream cheese frosting. Either way, this one will go into my favorites. It's a nice snack cake or light dessert (or breakfast for Cousin Carol!). Of course, you could top it with ice cream and/or the cream cheese frosting! ;)

If you don't have a 10x15-inch pan, use a 9x13 and bake a little longer. The bars will just be thicker.
If you don't add the cream cheese frosting, you don't have to refrigerate it.


Click here to find out more!
Rec Image
Frosted Banana Bars
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
For the Frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in bananas.
Spread into a greased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough confectioners' sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Is it time to re-cycle the Thanksgiving leftovers at your house?  This recipe can easily be made with leftover turkey and whatever veggies you might have available. I think I'd like to add some frozen veggies, cooked... That is, if only I had leftover turkey! I took a 20lb turkey to Thanksgiving dinner and came home to an empty refrigerator. I sure hope my kids eat well this week! But, I got a "deal" at the grocery this afternoon. They marked down organic chicken breasts from over $7 per lb to $1 per lb. Chicken breasts it will be at my house! Every once in a while I get lucky!

Chicken Noodle Casserole
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
12 ounces medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
Chicken Noodle Casserole Recipe at
In a large bowl, combine soup, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add the chicken, onion, peppers, 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese; mix well. Add noodles and toss to coat.
Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender and cheese is melted.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you and your family and friends have a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving!
I count each of you among my blessings for 2011.

The pies are baked, the cornbread for dressing is made, the sweet potatoes baked, mashed and seasoned, the cranberry relish is done, the turkey is thawing and I'm ready to pack it all up and  take it down to my daughter's house for a big ole' Southern Thanksgiving Dinner with my children and all 4 of the grands! What a GRAND time we'll have!  Mama would be proud.  Love and hugs to all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ginger Pumpkin Tart

I saw this prepared by Claire Robinson, Food Network "Five Ingredient Fix" and thought it sounded wonderful! I'm sharing it with you because I like Claire (she's a Southern girl, living in NY but with strong Southern roots!) and I'm going to make it for our Thanksgiving dinner (in addition to the traditional pumpkin pie).

The crust is crushed gingersnaps! I love gingersnaps on a cold winter night with a cup of hot tea.... of my favorites.  Hmmm... maybe I'll make this next week so I don't have to share with everyone!!

Ginger Pumpkin Tart

 2 1/2 cups crushed thin Swedish ginger cookies, (about 55 to 60 cookies)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
Pinch salt

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan on a baking sheet.

 Make the crust by combining the ginger cookie crumbs and melted butter in a large bowl, until well blended. Add the crumbs to the tart pan and evenly press over the bottom and up the sides with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake until set and a bit darker in color, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, condensed milk, egg yolks and salt until well blended. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, return to the oven, and bake until set and beginning to brown on the top, about 30 minutes. Remove tart from the oven, cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator, at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

To serve, carefully remove outer tart shell ring and slice. Eat and enjoy!

NOTE: Any crushed gingersnap cookie will do; just be sure to use 2 1/2 cups crumbs for the crust.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cooking the Turkey

I left out one VERY important part of Thanksgiving dinner - the Turkey!!!
Here's how I cook my turkey. It's one of those methods handed down from my Mom. We did not care about a brown bird for presentation (which usually is dry and tough), so we opted for roasting then carving in the kitchen. Our platter of turkey came to the table sliced and white! But, it is always tender and moist. If you want pretty, check out Ina Garten's recipes. She makes beautiful look easy.

Rule of thumb for size to buy: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds per person IF you  want leftovers.
 If not, go with 3/4 to 1 lb per person.

Thaw the bird in the refrig. I got a 20 lb one today and it's in the refrig thawing slowly. Better to sit in the refrig thawed for a couple of days, than a frantic thaw under running cold water on Thanksgiving morning!

We use a LARGE covered roaster with rack for lifting it out.

Remove giblets, neck etc. Wash the thawed bird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels.

Place the bird on the rack in the roaster, brush with melted butter, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Fill cavity with onions and celery - just cut into big hunks. Put the neck and giblets around the turkey (take them out after about 45 minutes and set aside for giblet gravy)

Pour 2 quarts of water or chicken broth around the bird. Cover and bake at 350 for however long it says on the package! I usually get a turkey with a pop up timer, that helps too.

When the time is up and timer pops up, twist the leg. If it moves easily, it's done. If not, cover and cook for another 30 min or so.

Dip the liquid out with a measuring cup to make the gravy. Replace the cover and let the turkey sit/set while you bake the casseroles, dressing, etc. Make the gravy, slice the turkey and you're done!
How easy is that?? Just kidding!!!
And, you can always call these folks. They are the REAL experts! (I knew the home economist who started the Turkey Talk-Line!)
Turkey Talk-Line®
Call: 1-800-288-8372
Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
CST (Central Standard Time)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beef Enchilada Bake Recipe

While you're doing all the preparations for Thanksgiving Dinner, you need quick and easy for weeknight meals. This casserole goes together in a snap! And the flavors are a world away from the upcoming BIG meal. Give it a try; I think you'll like it. If you don't like spicy, substitute diced tomatoes for Ro*Tel or substitute salsa. Rotisserie chicken works in place of the ground beef.

Beef Enchilada Bake

 1 lb.  lean ground beef
1 can (10-3/4 oz.)  reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1-1/4 cups (8 oz.)  cubed VELVEETA (1/2-inch cubes), divided
6   corn tortillas (6 inch), cut in half
1 can (10 oz.)  RO*TEL® Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
 Brown meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in soup and 1 cup VELVEETA.

 Spoon 1/3 of the meat mixture into 8-inch square baking dish; cover with 6 tortilla halves and 1/4 cup RO*TEL®. Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat mixture, RO*TEL® and VELVEETA; cover. Bake 25 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

I thought about searching out some new recipes for you this Thanksgiving but quickly realized that this meal IS Thanksgiving in my world. Mama made these same dishes every year that I can remember. As an adult child I have made these same recipes every year except for two. Both times we ate with someone else's family. I missed the comfort of sameness, having leftovers and as my son says, "laying in the floor and rubbing our bellies"! Ok, HE does that, not me! 

Whatever you cook, I wish for you love, health and happiness around your table. I am very thankful for each and every one of you who take the time to read this blog. 
Happy Thanksgiving!
November 21, 2013

It occured to me that giving you these recipes next week would not do you much good, so here are our family's favorites for a traditional Southern Thanksgiving Dinner. They have been on our Thanksgiving table for more years than I can remember. Mama (Miss Martha) made the best pecan pie I've ever eaten and it's sooo easy! The Praline Sweet Potatoes are almost like dessert and always a hit with the kids. And finally, our "recipe" for Old Fashioned Cornbread Dressing. It was hard to put it down on paper, but I decided it was time to pass it along to the next generation. Mama and I would taste the dressing and add whatever we thought it needed. I like dry dressing so that you can put lots of gravy on it. This one fits the bill. If you like moist dressing, add more liquid and reduce the cooking time by 5 or 10 minutes.

I have to confess that I make Pumpkin Pie straight off the Libby's Pumpkin can label AND I put it ( as well as the Pecan Pie) in a frozen piecrust. My opinion of piecrust is that it's job is just to hold the filling! ;)

And, of course, we'll have green beans, mac 'n cheese, rolls (Sister Schubert's) and giblet gravy. And maybe I'll make Indiana egg noodles for my dear husband...Oh boy! I'm hungry just thinking about it!

Helen's Notes: Getting this all done depends on organization and pre- prep. Here's what I'll do ahead:
Chop all the pecans at once (in food processor)
Measure ingredients for each recipe and put in containers
Bake the cornbread for dressing and freeze when cool
Bake sweet potatoes in oven while cornbread is cooking, mash and refrigerate until needed. Take sweet potatoes out of refrig early in day to warm up to room temperature before making casserole
Make Praline Sweet Potato Casserole topping and refrigerate until needed
Bake pies on Wed. Refrigerate Pumpkin Pie, not Pecan
Combine bread and dry ingredients for dressing. Then mix it all together on Turkey Day.

Miss Martha’s Pecan Pie
2/3 stick butter, melted
¾ cup sugar
1 cup white Karo
3 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans ( I coarsely chop mine and lightly toast them)
1 (9-inch) deep dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine ingredients in mixing bowl (or 4 cup-measure). Pour into pie crust. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until almost set in middle (that means it doesn’t wiggle when you gently shake the pan!). Cool on wire rack.

Praline Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I bake mine, peel and mash)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

Mash potatoes well and mix with remaining ingredients. Pour into greased 2-quart baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans (lightly toasted)

Combine butter, sugar and flour; mix with a fork until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Crumble over sweet potato mixture. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Old Fashioned Cornbread Dressing

2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine ingredients in large mixing bowl. Stir until well mixed. Pour into greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes.  Cool completely. Crumble cornbread into a large mixing bowl.

12 slices white bread, crusts removed and crumbled
2 to 2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth (turkey broth makes it richer tasting)
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (Mama would have never used this, but I like it!)
½ teaspoon rubbed sage
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add remaining ingredients to crumbled cornbread, stirring well. Spoon dressing into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish ( or 4-quart casserole). Bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cranberry Fruit Conserve Recipe

Are you ready to get started on Thanksgiving Dinner??? This will be my first recipe to prep  (and one of my favorites, although not many other family members share my enthusiasm!) I have to be honest and say I usually just make the recipe on the bag of fresh cranberries using fruit, water and sugar. This year, I think I'll add the apple from this recipe and maybe the raisins... see what you think.. I trust Ina Garten to give us the BEST! Add and subtract as you desire, just keep the basic proportions the same. I like to have leftovers to spread on turkey sandwiches! Yuuummm!

Cranberry Fruit Conserve

 From : Barefoot Contessa Parties!


1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Cook the cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open. Add the apple, zests, and juices and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, and serve chilled

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick and Easy Fresh Apple Cake

Ok, I have to confess. I snuck into the kitchen the other day. I was craving something sweet and knew Bill was as well. I'm feeling so much better and thought just a quick recipe would soothe both of us. This is one that Cousin Carol passed on to me. She makes the most scrumptious coffee cakes and "breakfast cookies". This one is good for brunch, lunch, dessert or snack. It truly is QUICK and easy!  The longer it sits, the denser (is that a word?) and more juicy it gets. I'm giving you my version; Carol's makes a 9-in pan. You KNOW I'm not about to heat up the oven for a pan that small, besides, in my house that would last about a nano second! So, half the recipe if you wish and bake in a 9-inch pan (but you'll be sorry!). If only I had some vanilla ice cream to put on top while it was hot... sigh.... Now I'll go back to "resting" on the sofa. ;)

Quick and Easy Fresh Apple Cake
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups diced apples (don't peel)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

Helen's Note: Since I just had my gall bladder out, I omitted the nuts. If I was adding them, I would lightly toast them before adding. Raisins are optional, too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spiral Apple Dumplings

I've completely forgotten where I found this recipe, but today all I can think of is something warm and gooey and filled with cinnamon. This recipe jumped right out at me! Doesn't it sound wonderful???? I had gall bladder surgery last Thursday and am slowly recovering. I think I'm hungry but am filled up after a few bites and I really don't feel up to tackling the kitchen. So, I'm sitting at home reading about yummy things to eat and hoping you'll be inspired to try them! Give this a try and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for me!

Spiral Apple Dumplings
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
¼ cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2  cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups shredded, peeled cooking apples (3 to 4 medium), such as Golden Delicious, Rome, Granny Smith, Jonathan, or Newton Pippin

Combine 2 cups sugar, water, margarine, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large saucepan . Bring to boiling and boil for 5 minutes; set aside (about 2 cups sauce).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pea-size. Make a well in the center; add milk all at once. Stir just until moistened. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth. Roll out to 12x10-inch rectangle.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside. Sprinkle apples evenly over dough. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll dough into spiral, starting from a long side. Pinch seam to seal. Cut into twelve 1-inch-thick pieces. Place in 9x13-inch baking pan. Pour sauce over dumplings.  Bake for about 50 minutes or until golden.Yield:12 servings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken-Broccoli Mac and Cheese Recipe

In a hurry? Need a quick meal in a matter of minutes? Swing by the grocery store on your way home and pick up ingredients for this quick one-dish meal. If you don't have time to remove the chicken from the bones, just make the mac and cheese with the broccoli and serve the  chicken on the side. Either way, you've got dinner in a matter of minutes.

Chicken-Broccoli Mac and Cheese

 8 oz. dried rigatoni
1 whole roasted/rotisserie chicken
1 ( 5.2-oz). pkg. semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs (or cream cheese with herbs)
¾  to 1 cup milk
¼  cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and snipped
¼  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, optional

 In large saucepan cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli florets during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. While pasta is cooking, remove meat from roasted chicken. Coarsely chop chicken. Drain pasta and broccoli; set aside.

 In same saucepan combine cheese, the 3/4 cup milk, tomatoes, and  freshly ground black pepper. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta mixture and chicken. Heat through. If necessary, thin with additional milk. Sprinkle fresh parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I'm going to start this post with what will probably be blasphemy to some of you. I do not like Paula Deen. EEEK... did I really say that out loud??? Sorry to those of you who love her. However, I do like this recipe of hers and have made it for covered dish dinners and large holiday gatherings! It is easy to make, looks beautiful and tastes yummy! So, personalities aside, I highly recommend the recipe, especially if you're having a crowd or if you're charged with bringing dessert for a crowd!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

  Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely.
 Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool.
 Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding.
 Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, and then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crock Pot Apple Butter Recipe

Some of you have heard this story before, but I think that it is one that bears repeating every fall.
My Hoosier husband thought there was nothing that could ever top Brown County, IN apple butter - UNTIL he tasted this recipe! Now (with the aid of a gadget) he even helps make it! Today he peeled 1/2 bushel of apples while I prepared them for the following recipe. Of course, to hear HIM tell it, he MAKES the apple butter! Just like when we throws the meat on the grill, he COOKS dinner! As long as it gets him into the kitchen to help me, I'll let him keep on thinking that HE made the apple butter, but we all know better! ;)

From our 1/2 bushel of Pink Lady, Rome and Golden Delcious apples from a North Georgia grower, we have 2 crock pots of apple butter and my large le Cruset Dutch oven of applesauce all cooking. To make a crock pot of apple butter, you only need about 8 pounds of apples. Any variety will do, but the fresher the apples, the better the apple butter and a variety of types will give it intense flavor. Same holds true for applesauce.

Trust me, once you've had homemade applesauce, you won't ever want the comercially produced stuff again!

Crock Pot Apple Butter
8 pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Place apples and vinegar in a 4-quart crock pot. Cook, covered on HIGH for 6 hours. Stir in remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to LOW and cook, covered ro 4 hours. Cool and store in refrigerator.

To seal and store for up to 6 months, pour hot apple butter into hot, sterilized canning jars. Cover with lids, adjust rim, process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes for 1/2 pints and 10 minutes for pints. Remove from water and set jars on wire rack to cool. Store in a cool, dark place.
Yield: 14 (1/2 pint) jars or 7 pints.

This recipe can be halved. Follow the same directions, just half the ingredients.


4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced or chopped
1 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar, optional

Place apples and apple juice in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add lemon juice and sugar and simmer, stirring often, until apples are soft enough to mash with a potato masher. When apples are soft, remove from heat and mash to desired consistency.

You can add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon with the sugar, if desired. If your apples are sweet, you may not even want to add sugar. Taste them when they start to get soft and see if you really need sugar. I use my stick blender to mash them. Just make sure your apples are soft and the deep enough in the pot (I had them splash all over the kitchen once!).

You can also make the applesauce in the crock pot. Place the apples (no juice) in the pot, cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. Stir mixture and continue to cook until desired consistency. Add sugar, if needed after the first 4 hours.

Refrigerate applesauce or put in jars and process as described in the Apple Butter recipe.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash

Don't let this winter squash intimidate you! Cut it (carefully), scoop out the seeds, cut into cubes and make this delicious recipe! The taste is similiar to sweet potatoes. (Actually, you could substitute them in this recipe!)

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash, cubed (7 to 8 cups)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat  oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash with the maple syrup and oil. Arrange the prepared squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast it, stirring once, for 35 to 40 minutes, until it turns golden brown. Serve the maple roasted butternut squash hot or at room temperature.