Friday, April 27, 2012

The Wedding Reception We Catered

Adam's sister (Adam is my daughter, Erin's, husband) got married on Friday and Susie and I catered the wedding reception. We love catering events because we absolutely love the details involved in making an event delicious and lovely. Ya...we love it...but I wouldn't want to do it every weekend since the effort and work required are enormous! We did have a ball, though, and not only love every splendid detail but we love working together.

First of all we glued pearls in the bride's wedding colors to the tops of skewers. The wedding was lovely shades of pink, peach, cream and white. So lovely.

Here is Susie at our station for threading the Salad Kabobs.
This is in the kitchen at Bella's. Have you seen the ballroom in Bella's in Lindon? Lovely.

We peeled most of the peel off of the largest cucumbers we could find. Just peeling them would have been much easier, but we intentionally peeled slowly and carefully to leave behind just enough green to make them look splendid. Susie said they looked artistic. Ahh, yes. Artistic.
We then cut 1/2 inch slices and cut the slices in half. Turned them on the edge and used them as the base for our Salad Kabobs. They looked so wonderful standing up.

Cheese tortellini on top, black olives (wish we had used the large ones), artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, all standing in a half circle chunk of cucumber.
Drizzled with Balsamic Dressing just before we took each platter out to the table.
We put the dressing in a squirt bottle to make the drizzling job easy.

Susie at our Sandwich Kabob station. We prepared as much as we could in advance. Earlier in the day we cut cheese and garlic breadsticks in fourths, threaded ham and cheese onto toothpicks, and cut large dill pickles into 4 spears and then each spear into chunks to create the cool triangle pickle chunks we topped them with.

Our finished Sandwich Kabobs. Aren't they splendid?! We made 400.

We made tiny little fruit and cream tarts. We started with the crusts. Made 400 of them 2 days before the wedding. Took us several hours but we so enjoy talking and being together that it was completely enjoyable. Well...the first 300 hundred were anyway. You really shouldn't have to do anything more than 300 times. ha ha ha...but we made 400. 

The filling is cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream. Real cream, stabilized with one envelope of gelatin for every 2 cups of cream.

Topped with berries. We used raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

The bride requested food on both sides of the table. We used wrought iron displays on this side and crystal cake pedestals on the other. I used my collection of white plates in the center display and Susie's peach plates on the sides. So pretty.
The picture really doesn't show how pretty it turned out.

Fruit and cream tarts in the middle on both sides.

Salad Kabobs on one end.

Sandwich Kabobs on the other end.

Susie and me in our ever so cute matching aprons.

If I had one thing I could say to every wedding guest (and of course, I would not be considered rude to say it) it would be, "This is not an all-you-can-eat-dinner-buffet. Proper wedding etiquette is to take one of each thing offered." Sheeeesh!

How many men did I see piling their plates as high as they their embarrassed wives said, "hon, it's a wedding reception!" as he piles on more and puts one in his mouth and says, "Ya. So? I'm hungry."


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sweet Corn Bread


Sweet Corn Bread
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups biscuit baking mix (Bisquick or similar)
6 heaping Tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients and pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes. 16 servings.

This recipe is found in the Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook by Stephanie Leavitt from Laurel Hills Ward in Henderson, Nevada. Stephanie says, 

"I love soup or chili during the holidays and this cornbread recipe is always a favorite on the side. It is so sweet and irresistable that my cousin ate it right out of the pan one night without butter or honey!"

Thank you, Stephanie!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Potatoes


Looking for a delicious recipe for your Easter dinner? Maybe something a little different from the customary au gratin or scalloped potatoes. Or perhaps you are looking for a great recipe to use those left over hard boiled eggs from Easter.  Here is the fantastic recipe you are looking for!  
My dear friend gave me this recipe. She got it from her mother in law who got it from her sister in law. Ha ha ha, did you keep up with that? Doesn't matter where it came from. This recipe is just so good….  
Hungarian Potatoes 
5-6 large potatoes 
1 medium onion

2 Tablespoon butter 
2 Cup sour cream 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
4 hard boiled eggs shelled and sliced 
In a large pot, heat water until boiling. Add potatoes in their skins. Return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook until a knife can be easily inserted (about 35 minutes). Set aside to cool. 
Chop onion, in a frying pan saute onion in butter until translucent. Set aside to cool. 
Preheat oven to 350°.  
Peel and slice potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. In a bowl, mix onion, sour cream, salt, paprika and pepper. Gently combine the potatoes with the sour cream mixture. 
In a 9×13 inch baking dish, arrange 1/2 the potato slices in a layer, then 1/2 of the boiled eggs. Cover with the rest of the potaoes and then then the remaining eggs. Sprinkle with paprika. 
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Do you love chocolate? Do you love caramel? Do you love the two together? You have come to the right place. This is the recipe to satisfy your chocolate caramel craving!

Combine cake mix, butter and a bit of canned milk. Spread it on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for a few minutes. Melt caramels with some canned milk in the microwave. Pour over the first layer when it comes out of the oven. Sprinkle lots of chocolate chips over the caramel layer.
 Pat spoonfuls of the remaining cake mix batter into flat portions and arrange over the top of chocolate chips on caramel. 
 Use all the remaining cake mix batter. Arrange the pieces to mostly cover the caramel. Finish baking the brownies and look at this!
Ooey and Gooey and completely fitting of their name...
Aunt Leanna's Ooey Gooeys

1 14-oz. pkg. caramels
2/3 C. evaporated milk, divided
1 German chocolate cake mix
3/4 C. melted butter
1 C. chopped pecans
1 12-oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine caramels and 1/3 cup milk. Melt in microwave; set aside. Combine cake mix, butter and pecans, and mix well. Pat 1/2 (the less the better) of the cake mixture into a greased and floured 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 6 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and pour caramel mixture over top. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cover with remaining cake mixture by flattening sections of the dough between your hands and laying it on top of the caramel mixture. Bake 18 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool before cutting. 12 servings but it’s never enough.

This recipe was submitted by Lacy Allphin from St. Peters, Missouri. Lacy says, "This is a Rucker family recipe (of which I am part) but Aunt Leanna has the secret touch and makes the very best desserts. All of my aunts and my grandmother are genius in the kitchen. Aunt Leanna is baking royalty, with a down home touch."

Thank you, Lacy, we love this recipe!! And you're right...there are never enough!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak is a favorite comfort food meal of mine. But it is also one that I've tried to make a few times but have not been successful at making it as good as it is at a restaurant. You know, with that crispy coating and the gravy you just can't get enough of.

Well...everything has shifted. Completely shifted. Now that I have found this recipe for Chicken Fried Steak, I only want this recipe. None other. And I don't want to order it in a restaurant any more because it just isn't as good! Really.
 Combine buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, garlic, egg, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a shallow dish.
I used a pie plate.
 Flour in a separate pie plate.
 Coat the steaks with flour. I coated all the steaks in flour at once.
 Coat the steaks in the buttermilk sauce.
 Both sides. Completely coated.
 Again into the flour. Gently, gently so as to not knock off the coating.
 Pat the flour into the sauce coating
 All ready to go.
 Gently lay the steaks into hot oil.
 A few minutes on each side. Crunchy, crispy, golden brown.
 So delicious. Can you smell it? Are you hungry?
Whisk together the gravy using every bit of the crunchies left in the drippings.
 Gravy. Gravy. Gravy.
So. Good.

Chicken Fried Steak

4  (½-lb). beef cube steaks
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. buttermilk
1 egg
1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 C. vegetable shortening for deep frying
1/4 C. flour
4 C. milk
kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste

Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a separate shallow bowl; stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco sauce and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour. Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees. Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible. Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve.  4 servings.

This recipe is found in the Worldwide Ward Secret Recipes Cookbook and was submitted by Tara Sanchez from Jamestown, North Dakota.
Tara says, "I grew up in the south where chicken fried steak is a staple food at every restaurant. When I moved to North Dakota I decided to figure out a way to make my own. This is my secret recipe for chicken fried steak. It is down home cooking at its finest, and it gets amazing reviews every time."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Banana Salad

When I married my husband, David, I knew nothing about Banana Salad. But he loves it and his mother taught me to make it. It has become a favorite of mine as well. It goes with so many meals. It is sort of the stand by salad at our house. Everyone loves it. How many times I have thought, "Hey, Banana Salad would be great with this meal!" and then been disappointed because I didn't have a banana.

You might think it unusual, but it doesn't seem unusual to me at all. Well, not any more anyway. =)  Try it for dinner. My guess is it'll become a favorite at your house.

It is as simple to make as it is delicious.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
Tear some lettuce in bite sized pieces. Slice a banana.
Pour on the dressing, stir, and serve!
Banana Salad

6 C. torn Iceberg lettuce
2 bananas
2/3 C. salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
6 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. celery salt
Place torn lettuce in a large bowl. Slice bananas and arrange over salad. In a small bowl, combine salad dressing, milk, vinegar, sugar, celery seed and celery salt. Whisk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad and mix well. Serve immediately. 6 servings.

David says, "I don’t recall having a “favorite” meal growing up.  Just about everything my mother put on the table was delicious and I never had to worry that dinner might be something I was going to dread.  She made liver about once every 2-3 years, as if to give our tastebuds one more chance to overhaul their preferences.  Even on those rare occasions, thankfully she always served a full meal, and there were plenty of other flavors to drown out the pasty, nasty liver.  When I was a newlywed, I once asked my wife Deanna – the second dream cook of my life – if she would make a banana salad.  She had never heard of such a thing, and I directed her to my mother.  Such a simple but yummy side that complements just about any meal.  Deanna loved it immediately and serves it to our family quite often.  Every time I eat Banana Salad, I’m reminded of my mother’s tasty repertoire and her consistent diligence of putting a delicious, well-rounded meal on the table so we could enjoy dinner as a family every evening."
~David Buxton, Pleasant Grove, Utah

This recipe is found in the Worldwide Ward Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wisconsin Brown Bag Apple Pie Recipe

There are a lot of apple pie recipes out there but this one is truly spectacular. Great for Thanksgiving. Especially heavenly for Christmas. How marvelous that in most places you can get apples at the grocery store any time of the year = baking and eating apple pie any time you want to.
This is one scrumptious pie.

Is your mouth watering? Read on.

Start with a pie crust. Use your favorite recipe.

A variety of apples makes an especially delicious apple pie. I used 3 kinds, but 2 is fine.
One should be a tart apple, like Granny Smith.

 Toss apple chunks or slices in sugar and cinnamon. Pile them high in the unbaked crust.

 "Frost" pie with fabulous frosting.

Put the pie in a brown bag, roll it closed and staple it shut.

Bubbly, apply deliciousness. And the mess stays in the bag.


Wisconsin Brown Bag Apple Pie

2 1/2 pounds (about 8 C.) apples; best to use two types of apples
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 unbaked pie crust
3/4 C. softened butter
3/4 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
Peel and slice apples. Immediately place cut apples in lemon juice to prevent browning. combine sugar, flour and cinnamon, and coat apples with mixture. Place apple mixture in your favorite pie crust. Combine softened butter, flour, sugar and brown sugar to make frosting. Spread frosting over apples. Do not place a top crust on the pie. Place pie in a brown paper grocery bag and staple shut. Place brown bag in center of oven making sure the sides of the bag do not touch the sides of the oven. Bake at 400 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Rip open top of bag of bag immediately after baking being careful not to let steam burn you. Let pie cool and set for 1 hour. (It gets better and better with each passing hour!) Makes 1 pie or 8 large servings, which is certainly not enough!

This recipe was submitted by Jamica Wilcox from Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is in the Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook. 

Jamica says, "We discovered this recipe while going to school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This recipe alone was worth our four years spent there and our student loans obtained there! It was a holiday favorite of everyone and we were never surprised to show up to a holiday party and see that several others had brought the exact same pie! Tradition was to leave the bottom part of the brown bag stuck to the bottom of the pie dish so that everyone would know that it wasn't just any ordinary apple pie- it was a 'Brown Bag Apple Pie'!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chocolate Banana Gag

For every birthday for many, many years, my daughter, Erin has asked for Chocolate Banana Gag for her birthday cake. She is 25 now (wait, I am sure I am not older than can this be =)) and is the mother of 2 darling baby boys. Yes, that makes me a grandma. I love it. She came over and I made her this delicious dessert, just like I have for the past many years. At least 15. Maybe more. 

We call it Chocolate Banana Gag because even though she loves it, it makes her gag. I have no explanation for this. It does not make me gag. Not the first bite. Not the middle bites. Not the last bite. I don't get it. But it does make me laugh. 

I'll share the recipe with you. Go ahead and make it. I'm pretty sure it won't make you gag. She's the only one.

Chocolate Banana Gag
1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. butter, melted
1 8-oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 C. sugar
1 8-oz. tub frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed (divided)
2 bananas
2 1/2 C. milk
1 large instant chocolate pudding

Combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press onto bottom of 9 x 13-inch dish. Chill 15 minutes. In a bowl, beat together cream cheese, milk and sugar. Fold in 1 3/4 cups Cool Whip. Spread over crust. Slice bananas and arrange in a single layer over cream cheese layer. In a large bowl, beat pudding mix and milk. Pour over bananas. Chill several hours. Top with remaining Cool Whip and serve. 12 servings.
 Start with a graham cracker crust.
 Next, add the cream cheese mixture. Top this with sliced bananas.
Pour the pudding layer over top. Top this with the remaining whipped cream.
 Cover with many candles for the birthday girl.

Erin says, "This is my very favorite dessert. Every year for my birthday my mom made this dessert for me because I would rather have this than birthday cake. Even now that I am married my mom still makes it for my birthday. I still request it even though the combination of pudding and bananas makes me gag by the end of my piece. My mom renamed the dessert, "Chocolate Banana Gag" just for me. Now that I am a mom, I am looking forward to figuring out my kids' favorite food and making it for them, even if it makes them gag."

This recipe is in the Worldwide Ward Cookbook, Mom's Best Recipes.