25 December, 2014

Redo: Updating Lemon (or Lime) Pie recipe

This pie is really easy and really good. Be sure to buy quality graham pie crusts.

Easy Lemon (or Lime) Pie ingredients (4)
Makes two (9-inch / 23cm ) pies
1 (14-oz US / 396g) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
2 (8-oz US / 226g) containers Kraft® Cool Whip® Fat Free Whipped Topping
1 (6-oz / 171g) can frozen lemonade (or limeade) concentrate
2 (9-inch / 23cm) Keebler® Ready Crust® Graham Pie Crusts

Optional garnish
2 lemons or 2 limes, washed and dried

Notes:   Next time, add 1 Tbsp freshly-squeezed juice and decide whether to revise recipe. Updates Mrs. Pat P1's Lemon Ice Box Pie 1975 recipe here. 

Easy Lemon (or Lime) Pie directions
In a large bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk, Cool Whip®, and frozen concentrate.

Spoon mixture into the graham cracker pie crusts, spreading evenly to the edges. Cover and chill for several hours until firm.

If desired, add cartwheel twist garnish to each slice when serving.

Cover and refrigerate any unused portions.     Back to Top

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Graham Cracker Crumb Crust
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Dessert > Pies > freezer
Recipe Redo

Page Last Modified 19 July 2015

24 December, 2014

Menu: Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas Eve 2014 

Dinner Menu for 7

JK's Best Nachos

Salsa    Guacamole    Cheese Sauce    Tortilla Chips

Chicken Enchiladas

Mexican Sour Cream Rice Casserole

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake     Lemon Pie

Page last modified 27 March 2016

Marshmallow Fancies

Marshmallow Fancies ingredients
Makes 36 pieces (with some ingredients remaining)
Total Prep Time: Ninety (90) minutes
2 (24-oz / 680g) bags jumbo marshmallows (diameter 2.0-inch / 5cm)
1/2 (12-oz / 340g) bag Nestlé® Premier White Morsels (I also like Ghirardelli Classic White Baking Chips
1 (5.2-oz / 147g) container Williams-Sonoma Sanding Sugar or Williams-Sonoma Holiday Decorating Sprinkles

Optional for gift presentation
Decorative Baking Cups to fit your marshmallows (cupcake size might fit jumbo marshmallow)

Reindeer Pops (watch video)

Sugar Plum Fairy Confections
Substitute one (5.0-oz / 141g) container Williams-Sonoma Sanding Crystals: Multi-Colored (Product 699173) for the Sanding Sugar or Holiday Decorating Sprinkles. I used more than half of  the Sanding Crystals, which I bought at the outlet store for $1.99.

Vampire Treats
Use Jumbo or Large marshmallows. Use food color to tint melted chocolate to desired "blood red" color. After dipping the marshmallows, use a toothpick to encourage a dripping effect around the entire marshmallow. Set aside to dry before storing/serving.     Back to Top

Notes:  I like using white chocolate on these Marshmallow Fancies because the festive pretties (sugar or sprinkles) appear to be suspended on white marshmallows. 2014 Christmas gifts

You can use any remaining portions of the sugar or sprinkles, to garnish the rim of cocktail glasses!
Back to Top

Some Tips
  • Williams-Sonoma Sanding Sugar regular price is about $8 to $9 for around 5.0-ozs. Budget friendly options include
    1. Watching after-holiday and end-of-season sales for significant discounts (75 to 90%) on various brands' baking products like colored sugars and decorative sprinkles;
    2.  Tinting sugar yourself (For one idea, click here.); 
    3. Changing the medium. Since chocolate and pretzels are a great combination, so why not apply crushed pretzels to the marshmallows with either color baking chocolate?; 
    4. Crushing hard candies and applying with same white chocolate.     Back to Top

  • You want to use a light touch and work at fairly brisk pace because each time I reheated the melted morsels, they seemed to harden more quickly and therefore become less receptive to holding the pretties.     Back to Top

  • Set up an assembly area in your prep area as follows: 
    1. Selected marshmallows, best-end down, on baking sheet covered with wax paper; 
    2. Microwave safe container for melting the chocolate morsels; 
    3. Small glass bowl (about 8-oz) for holding and dipping into decorative sugar/sprinkles;
    4. Empty baking sheet covered in wax paper for holding the fancies while the chocolate hardens;
    5. Covered storage containers for finished product.     Back to Top

  • Open one bag at a time. Some marshmallows will be smashed, stuck together and/or have dimples. Select the marshmallows you wish to make prettier, and place best-side down on the prepared baking sheet at the beginning of your assembly area. That way, you'll hold the best-side while dipping the other end. Remember, light touch! Don't squish the marshmallow while dipping.     Back to Top

  • Pour about one fourth (1/4) of the Sanding Sugar or Holiday Decorating Sprinkles at a time into a small (about 8-oz) glass bowl. Sometimes, I find it useful to hold the bowl at an angle and swirl the marshmallow inside. With a glass bowl, you can watch the coverage and make adjustments more quickly.     Back to Top

  • As you dip each marshmallow, check coverage before proceeding to the next step because the appearance of your finished product will be better if you catch any irregularities early rather than trying to patch it later. Examples:
    1. Check amount of melted chocolate before dipping in the Sanding Sugar or Holiday Decorating Sprinkles because sometimes it might be too thick (use small spatula to remove). The excess may gum-up the next bowl when it drops into the Sanding Sugar or Holiday Decorating Sprinkles, or later, fall off and leave empty spots on the marshmallow. 
    2. If the marshmallow has bumps or creases, sometimes the first dip into melted chocolate does not fill all the crevices. Just use small spatula to dab additional melted chocolate onto the marshmallow where needed. Otherwise, the Sanding Sugar or Holiday Decorating Sprinkles may not evenly cover the desired space.    Back to Top

  • Follow package instructions for heating and reheating the chocolate because ingredients and microwave times do vary. In my kitchen, I initially melted the Nestlé chips in Pyrex Measuring Glass for two (2) one-minute intervals at seventy per cent (70%), stirring between times. Also, I found it necessary to reheat the white chocolate after thirty (30) minutes (and again, later), which I did for twenty (20) seconds at seventy per cent (70%).     Back to Top 

  • You may tint the melted white chocolate with food coloring. Be sure to stir until the color is consistent, and has no streaks. With this technique, you might tint "blood red" dripping from the tops of  Vampire Treats.     Back to Top

  • Humidity will affect how long it takes the melted chocolate to harden ("dry time"). Without significant humidity, the dry time of  these Marshmallow Fancies was less than one (1) hour.   Back to Top

  • For serving, decide whether to place the Marshmallow Fancies decorated-side up or down. Generally when packaging for gifts, I place the Marshmallow Fancies decorated-side up in a tightly covered container.     Back to Top

Melt chocolate morsels according to package instructions because ingredients and microwave times vary.

Taking one marshmallow at a time, lightly dip it in the melted chocolate and swirl it between your thumb and index finger so some of the chocolate comes up the side (generally, 1/8 to 1/4-inch should be plenty).

Lightly dip and swirl in the Sanding Sugar or Holiday Decorating Sprinkles; lightly tap off any excess.

Place Marshmallow Fancy decorated-side up on baking sheet covered with wax paper for the chocolate to harden.     Back to Top 

Page Last Updated 2 April 2015

Redo: Fay's Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe

Whenever possible, prepare your cheese logs / balls the day before serving to allow adequate refrigeration time for both achieving the right firmness and blending and mellowing the flavors. Allow at least thirty to forty-five (30 to 45) minutes before serving to bring the cheese logs / balls to room temperature.

Redo: Fay's Cheddar Cheese Log ingredients
Makes two logs or ??? 1-inch miniature balls
Cheese log
2.5 (8-oz US / 226g) packages store brand Neufchâtel cheese, softened and at room temperature (total 20-oz US / 565 g)
4 tsp Lea & Perrins Original Worcestershire Sauce * -- Reduced Sodium available (See Notes below)
2 tsp freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, strained
2 tsp grated onion
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 cups store brand shredded low fat Cheddar cheese at room temperature

1 cup pecans, finely chopped (I used small food processor and pulsed about eight (8) times.

For serving
Melba Rounds or
Baked cracker or
Pretzel sticks for miniatures

Redo: Fay's Cheddar Cheese Log  Directions
Mix and chill
In a large bowl, use hand mixer to blend together the first five ingredients (softened Neufchâtel cheese through cayenne pepper). Add cheddar cheese and blend until smooth. 

At this point, Fay would form the cheese mixture into two (2)-inch diameter logs to fit the size of the Bacon Thins, roll the logs in chopped pecans, wrap and refrigerate.

For my update, use a spatula to move the cheddar mixture to the center of the bowl and cover securely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two (2) hours before forming logs / balls. This will allow time for the flavors to mingle and the mixture will be easier to shape.

Form logs / balls
Then, form mixture into two logs / balls and roll each in the chopped pecans. Either serve or wrap in waxed paper and then aluminum foil and return to refrigerator.

To serve, unwrap logs and place on platter with a spreader, and surround with crackers. If you've made miniature cheese balls, add a pretzel stick to each one and arrange on platter. Serve at room temperature.

Redo: Fay's Cheddar Cheese Log Notes
  • We do not use store brand Worcestershire Sauce in this recipe because the flavor is different. There is a Lea & Perrins Lower Sodium available; however, I don't use it because, in my particular circumstances, I need sodium in my diet. For others' personal preferences, I would use the lower sodium as requested. 

For full flavor, serve cheese at room temperature, removing from the refrigerator about an hour before serving, depending on size. Hard cheeses require a longer time to reach room temperature than soft cheeses.

  • I think Smoked Gouda will work nicely in this recipe, too.

  • Before applying to the cheese log(s), toast the pecans, if you'd like. 

  • If you have any leftovers from Fay's Cheddar Cheese Logs (doubtful), place slice atop a burger or steak sandwich.

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Fay's Original Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe | Card files

Appetizers and Snacks > Cold dips / spreads
Recipe Redo

Page Last Modified 28 June 2016

Christmas Food Gifts 2014

Page Last Updated 24 March 2015

22 December, 2014

Jonagold Apple Butter with No Sugar Added

This is a slow-cooker recipe for preparing Apple Butter to be stored in the refrigerator (for one to two months) or freezer (for longer time). No sugar is added. 

Jonagold Apples were developed in Geneva, NY  (in the Finger Lakes area) and are a cross between the Jonathan and Golden Delicious apple varieties. The US Apple Association describes Jonagold apples as having "a unique honey-tart flavor and crispy, juicy, nearly yellow flesh."

Jonagold Apple Butter ingredients (7)
Makes four (1/2-pint) jars
5.5-lbs fresh premium Jonagold Apples (about ten large)
1 large fresh Granny Smith Apple
Non-stick canola cooking spray
1.5 cups (12-oz US / 355ml) Hays Orchard Original Fresh Pressed Apple Cider (No Artificial Flavors or Colors, No Sugar Added, No Fat or Corn Syrup)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Freshly-squeezed juice of one-half Meyer lemon, strained

Notes:  2014 Christmas gifts. Hays Orchard, 3622 Middleton Rd., Columbiana, OH 44408 www.haysorchard.com

Tools & Equipment
Large bowl and clean tea towel
Citrus juicer and small strainer
4-quart (16 cups) capacity slow-cooker
Clean, dry microfiber absorbent towel (or other absorbent towel) for wiping moisture from crock-pot
Oven mitt or pot holder for protecting hand while wiping moisture from crock-pot
Chilled plate
Conical Strainer & Pestle or Fine Mesh Open Kitchen Large Strainer (optional, for silky texture)
Four (0.5-pint /237ml) sterilized glass canning jars with lids and screw bands
Paper towels
Labels (adhesive or some you make from card stock)

Some Tips
  • Even if you are skeptical about the No-Sugar approach, let the natural flavors of this Jonagold Apple Butter develop during the slow-cooking process. 
    1. Wait until the Jonagold Apple Butter is "done" before adjusting the sweetness;
    2. Taste. Add other ingredients just a little at a time;
    3. If  you prefer the Jonagold Apple Butter to have more sweetness, decide whether to add a little honey, granulated brown sugar or a sugar substitute; 
    4. If you think the finished Jonagold Apple Butter is too sweet, then add a bit more strained fresh lemon juice for tartness;
    5. Then, either way, stir and taste; repeat until the flavor pleases you.
    6. Let the Jonagold Apple Butter stand in refrigerator for at least twenty-four (24) hours to let the flavors mingle before serving. 
  • Safety first! Unlike many slow-cooker recipes, you will periodically remove the cover to gather the condensation that has collected. 
    1. Be mindful the rising steam can cause burns. When removing the cover, point it away from yourself and others;
    2. Use a clean, dry microfiber absorbent towel to soak up the condensation on the lid's underside; 
    3. Then, wear a protective oven mitt or use a pot holder to grasp a microfiber absorbent towel folded in quarters (so the corners don't drop into the hot mixture) to cautiously dab liquid away from the lip of the crock-pot which will be extremely hot, too.
    1. The mixture is thick; and  
    2. Has a dark color like prunes (I compare to dried dates); and 
    3. A spoonful of the mixture dropped onto a chilled plate that you then refrigerate for one (1) minute, stays in a mound, and does not run when you tilt the plate.  
  • You may cook this Jongold Apple Butter in two (2) or more sessions. 
    1. Between sessions, cool the mixture by uncovering it for a few hours, and 
    2. For longer time periods, refrigerate it. 
    3. Since the Jonagold Apples took quite awhile to cook down, and much longer than recipes I researched, I divided preparations into three (3) cooking sessions, as indicated below.

Session One:  Cut and cook down apples
Peel, core and remove any bruised or brown parts of the apples. Then, cut apples into evenly-sized slices and place them in large bowl. Cover bowl with clean tea towel to deter browning of apples. 

Lightly apply nonstick canola cooking spray to the inside of  4-quart crock-pot. 

Pour the apple cider over apple slices; toss lightly to moisten all pieces. Pour apple mixture into the prepared crock-pot. 

Cover and cook on the High setting until the mixture begins to boil. Then, carefully remove cover and use the microfiber towel to begin wiping away moisture (Some Tips above).

Replace the (dry) cover and cook until the apple mixture is "done" (Some Tips above), stirring at least every 1.5 to 2.0-hours. Every time you stir, use the microfiber absorbent towel to wick away moisture from the cover's underside and from the lip of the crock-pot, which will be extremely hot.

The Jonagold Apples took quite awhile to cook down. After twenty-four (24) hours, I turned off the crock-pot to bring the mixture to room temperature to take a break from monitoring.

Session Two:  Spice and cook down 
Add the cinnamon, allspice and strained fresh lemon juice. Use an immersible blender to purée.

Cover and cook on High setting for about eight (8) hours, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Continue using the microfiber towel to wick away moisture.

Then, remove the cover and continue cooking on the High setting until "done," about four (4) hours more.

When the Apple Butter is done, taste for sweetness (Some Tips above). Purée the Apple Butter or press it through a food mill using the fine disk. Then, if you want a silky texture, also press the puréed Apple Butter through the Conical Strainer (or Fine Mesh Open Kitchen Large Strainer).

Session Three:  Ladle into sterilized jars and refrigerate or freeze
Reheat the Jonagold Apple Butter and ladle it into the sterilized jars. Use a funnel to keep the rims of the jars clean. For freezer storage, leave one-inch (1-inch US / 2.54 cm) headroom.

Dip folded paper towel into boiling hot water and wipe clean the jar rims.

Place the disc portion of the lid on top of the jar. Using only moderate firmness, screw on the ring band; don't tighten it too much.

Wipe clean the cooled jars before attaching a label. Refrigerate or freeze.

Page Last Modified 15 September 2015