Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Green Beans w/Spicy Pecans

I got this recipe years ago from Mary Tincher and it's been a staple in our holiday meals ever since. When I was the Compassionate Service Leader in my LDS ward congregation, I used this recipe for the funeral meals that we would serve. Everyone would come into the kitchen to ask for the recipe.

I always use the frozen green beans from Costco that have a fresh taste. If you want to dress it up for a Christmas meal, cut strips of red pepper and add to boiling water the last few minutes. It ends up looking very festive.

green beans, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
cumin & cayenne pepper
chili powder

Cook as many green beans as you need for your recipe, boil or steam them until crisp-tender and still a bright green color (making sure to salt them as they cook). While they are cooking, melt the butter and sugar in a frying pan. Stir over med-high heat until melted. Generously sprinkle cumin & chili powder over the mixture and then ad some cayenne (not as generously as the others). Add pecans and continue to stir until they start to carmelize. Transfer green beans to a bowl and quickly toss with the nut mixture. Serve hot.

Old-Fasioned Coconut Pie


I was a judge at a ward party last year and had to taste over 20 pies to find a winner. When I tasted Taya Borrowman's coconut pie, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before. She got my vote for the best pie of the night. (Although my friend Laura Gould's apple pie was heavenly and the best apple pie I had ever tasted.) I asked Taya if I could have the recipe. Instead of just emailing it to me (or referring me to a blog), she actually made a pie for me and dropped it off with the recipe! How amazing is that? This pie has now made it's way onto our exclusive Thanksgiving pie list.

1 stick butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
3 T. vinegar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. coconut
2 T. heavy cream

Blend sugar and butter. Add eggs and blend well. Add vanilla, vinegar, coconut and cream. Put in unbaked pie shell and bake 1 hour at 325 degrees. Top with fresh whipped cream.

Pie Crust

I stink at pie crust-really stink at it. I also really don't love pie crust, which doesn't help motivate me to make it. When my I tasted my friend Taya's pie crust and loved it so much, she gave me the recipe. However, I still haven't quite been able to succeed and make mine as good as hers. Maybe someday I will perfect it, but until now, I will just keep trying.

1 1/4 c. flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
3 T. shortening, cut into pieces
4 T. butter
4-5 T. ice water

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.  Add in shortening and butter and mix until you have pea-sized pieces.  Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until a stiff, play dough like dough forms.  Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.  Let chilled dough warm to room temperature.  Roll into pan.  Cook according to pie directions.

Mud Pie

This is the James' Family traditional pie that is made every year for Thanksgiving. Rick grew up with it and it sometimes doubled as his birthday cake (since often his birthday fell on Thanksgiving). My mom was always so sweet to make it when we came to her house for dinner so that Rick would feel at home. It's a big hit with my kids and it's always top on the Thanksgiving pie list.

2 pie crusts, baked
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. cool whip
1 lg. chocolate instant pudding
1 lg. vanilla instant pudding
5 c. milk
cool whip

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and 2 c. of cool whip together until smooth. Spread a layer of mixture on the bottom of the 2 pie crusts. Mix together both packages of pudding with the milk. Pour pudding on top of cream cheese layer. Top pies with cool whip. Chill before serving.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Coconut Bread

This recipe is from my sister Jennifer who I think got it from her husband's Nana. It's a very unique quick bread and has a really yummy glaze on the top that reminds me of the sugary outside of an old-fasioned donut.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1/2 t.  baking powder
1 c. coconut
3 c. flour
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. coconut extract
1 t. vanilla

Mix together. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. While the bread bakes, mix together the glaze:

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 T. butter

Boil glaze for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 t. coconut extract. When loaves come out of the oven, use a knife to loosen bread from the sides of pan. Pour glaze over loaves (while they are still hot and are still in pans). Let cool slightly before slicing.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Creamy Sweet Potato & Rosemary Soup

I adore cookbooks. I read them like I would read a novel, or a magazine. I also love the Food Network chefs and enjoy watching them cook. However, when it comes to actually trying new recipes, I'm not always as adventurous as I'd like to be. I think it's because there are so many millions of recipes to try, that it feels overwhelming and I end up just making the same old things over and over again because I know the grocery lists by heart.

I have loved living in DC and having the opportunity to meet some of the chefs from Food Network and Bravo. I have a whole new collection of autographed cookbooks, which makes me so happy. Recently, as fall weather arrived, I wanted to try a new soup out of my newest cookbook, "Weeknights with Giada." I have to say, it was the most fantastic soup I have had in a very long time. Butternut squash soup is a family favorite, but this was voted better by the entire family. It's one I don't want to forget. Of course, as always, I doubled the recipe.

3 T. butter
3 T. olive oil
3 lg. shallots, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt & ground pepper
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 stems fresh rosemary
6 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. mascarpone cheese
3 t. maple syrup (the real stuff is best)

In an 8-quart stockpot, melt the butter and oil together over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and season with 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the sweet potatoes, rosemary, and chicken broth. Season with 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are very tender, 20-25 minutes.

Turn off the heat and remove the rosemary stems. Using a blender, blend the mixture in batches, until smooth and thick. Once all soup has been blended, whisk in the mascarpone cheese and maple syrup until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.


Bolognese Sauce

This is a hearty red sauce and the recipe that I use for everything from spaghetti, to gnocchi, and especially lasagna. The recipe comes from Giada de Laurentiis and I've been making it for years. My sister Karen lived in Italy for 3 years and makes a killer Bolognese as well, which is very similar to this one. I always make a double batch and freeze the leftovers.

1/4 c. olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
1 lb. ground beef
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground pepper
1/4 c. freshly grated romono or parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is very tender, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the ground beef, and saute until the meat is no longer pink, breaking up any large lumps, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt & pepper, and cook over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about an hour (the longer you cook it, the better it gets). Stir in the cheese and season to taste.

Prize-Winning Roll Dough

My mom is known for her rolls-they are famous. She made these all growing up and still makes them for every single funeral dinner she helps with. They are the best rolls I have ever tasted and most would agree. They usually take about 3 hours total (mostly raising time). This recipe also makes the best cinnamon rolls.

4 c. milk
2 c. mashed potatoes
1 c. warm water
4 T. yeast
4 eggs
1 c. sugar
4 t. salt
1 c. oil
about 10 cups of flour

Peel, dice and boil about 3 medium potatoes and mash them until they are lump-free (I use ricer) and cool. Scald 4 cups of milk in a heavy pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until bubbles and foam appear at the top (do not boil) and cool. In a very large bowl add warm water and yeast; sprinkle in a little bit of sugar to help it activate faster. In a smaller bowl, beat eggs and add salt and oil. After yeast sits for 10 minutes and bubbles up, add egg mixture, sugar, potatoes and milk (making sure they are not hot). Mix well, making sure there are no lumps from potatoes. Start adding flour, two cups at a time, and mix well with each addition. As soon as the dough is too thick to stir, dump 2 cups of flour on the counter and dump the dough on top. Top with another 2 cups of flour and work in, adding additional flour as needed (it should remain slightly sticky, adding enough to be able to handle). Kneed dough until it is as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Wash out original large bowl and add oil to the bottom and sides. Put dough in the bowl and turn to coat all sides with the oil. Let rise in a warm spot (can use oven if has been warmed, but not hot) for about 45 minutes. Punch down and let rise for another 30 minutes.

For Dinner Rolls: roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. When doubled in size, bake at 375 degrees until golden brown (about 15-18 minutes). Rub butter on the tops of them as they come out of the oven.

For Cinnamon Rolls: divide dough in thirds and cover two of the sections and work with one at a time. Add a little flour to the counter and knead dough for a minute. Then shape into a rectangle and roll out into a very large rectangle. Spread melted butter and cinnamon-sugar mixture (2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar and 1 T. cinnamon) all over dough, up to the edges. Cut into fourths. Always working toward the raw cut edge, roll smaller rectangles like cinnamon rolls, pinching the raw edge together so there is no gap. Slice into 1 1/2 inch sections and placed on greased pan. When doubled in size, bake at 375 degrees until golden brown (about 12-15 minutes). After cinnamon rolls have cooled sightly, glaze with frosting (milk, powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla).

Hot Fudge Sauce

My sister Jennifer makes this and it is the yummiest hot fudge you will ever try! People always rave about it when it's served. This recipe makes a generous amount- keep the leftovers in a jar in the fridge and simply heat in the microwave when you are ready to use. (Or some people have been known to take a spoon and eat it straight out of the jar while it is cold. Not me, just some people I know.)

1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cubes butter
1 can evaporated milk (not sweetened)
3 c. powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate chips and the butter in a saucepan. Add canned mil and bring to a boil. Add powdered sugar. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Brownies

This recipe was originally from my mom. I will choose from-scratch brownies over a box any day. And, they are super easy to make. If you are doubling the recipe, use a jelly roll pan/cookie sheet and bake for the normal amount of time. I never make less than a double batch of these because there are always neighbors or co-workers to fatten up, or a big dinner party to throw. Oh, and if you are really up for a treat, top these warm brownies with ice cream and my sister Jennifer's hot fudge. Delicious!

1 c. butter
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. flour
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9X13 pan. In large saucepan over very low heat, melt butter and chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add sugar, and cool mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, salt, vanilla, and nuts, if desired. Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Crepes

My sister Elaine visited me earlier this year and we had a blast. Elaine is one of the best cooks I know and while visiting she made crepes one morning for breakfast. I have made crepes before, but the recipe she made our family was the best I've ever had. We have made it numerous times since.

4 eggs
1 c. milk
2 T. melted butter
1/4 c. water
3 T. sugar
1 c. flour
pinch of salt

Blend everything in the blender until smooth. Heat non-stick skillet on low-med heat, add a light coating of Pam cooking spray or butter. Pour about 1/4-1/2 c. batter and swirl around pan until it is only a thin layer (pour out any excess if needed). Cook until top appears dry, but before bottom gets brown and crisp. Place crepe on a plate and fill with whatever toppings you'd like. I love Nuttella & banana, or blueberries that have been heated in a pan with a small amount of sugar and water.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Banana Cream Pie

This recipe is from my amazing sister-in-law, Mary Cozzens, and came from her mom. It's the yummiest banana cream pie I've ever had. Now that I'm thinking about Thanksgiving, I need to make sure this recipe is at my fingertips when I get ready to start the pies.

1/3 c. sugar
3 T. corn starch
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 T. butter
2 t. vanilla
2 egg whites with 1/4 c. sugar
2-3 bananas
2 pie shells, pre-cooked
whipped cream

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn starch, and salt until blended. Slowly add milk and egg yolk and whisk on medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Cover with wrap and cool to room temperature. Beat egg whites & sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into pudding. Slice bananas into bottom of pie shell; add pudding and top with more banana slices and whip cream.

Mom's Banana Bread

I love to cook and I really love trying new recipes. Sometimes, I end up trying so many, that I forget how good the old-fasioned original recipes are. I love banana bread and I somehow forgot how good my mom's recipe is. My niece Lisa is living with me for a few months and she decided to make banana bread the other day. "Do you have Grandma Cozzens' recipe?" Lisa asked. Well, yes, I guess it is in the old Moab 3rd Ward Cookbook. It was created by a typewriter and was printed on pastel sheets of paper, hole punched and put together with rings. It has ripped pages, stains and notes all over it. We found the recipe, she made the banana bread and it was the best I had tasted in years! Why do I sometimes forget the simple recipes that made my mom one of the best cooks I've ever known?

1 2/3 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. soda
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 c. mashed bananas
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl; cream at high speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add mashed bananas, nuts, sour cream, and dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until well blended. Pour into oiled 9 x 3 x 3 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the pan and remove bread from pan.

Homemade Root Beer

Every year for Halloween we make homemade root beer in a witch's cauldron. It's easy, fun and oh so impressive to your little goblins and ghosts. Even though it's easy, many people ask how it's done. The tricky thing back east has been finding root beer extract and dry ice. You have to buy your dry ice no more than a couple of hours before using, as it loses volume quickly.

1 lg. bottle root beer extract
5 lbs. sugar
5 gallons water
7 lbs. dry ice

Mix water, sugar and root beer extract until sugar is mostly mixed in and dissolved. Add half of the dry ice at once. Constantly stir so the dry ice doesn't pile up in the bottom. After about 20-30 minutes it should be sufficiently carbonated. I usually hold back and add more dry ice here and there to make the smoke for the kids.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rolo Cookies

If you ask the kids what treat they want brought into school for their birthday celebration, they always request Rolo cookies. It's a great recipe to make with the kids. As a matter of fact, I have made it a few times without kids and it's a pain! I have them unwrap all the rolos and help shape cookies and roll in sugar. They really do help a lot. These are best warm, as the carmel oozes out when you bite into them. But, they are good after they cool down as well.


1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1 bag Rolo candies

Cream together butter, sugars, eggs & vanilla. Add flour, cocoa & baking soda and mix well. Take a ball of dough and place a Rolo inside. Cover it completely as you roll into a ball. Roll it in sugar to coat. Place cookies on a cookie sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes at 375 degrees. Make sure you do not over cook. Cool them on a wire rack only slightly, still keeping them warm when serving, if possible.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shredded Chicken Quesadillas

This is actually embarrassing to add to my favorite recipes, but I have friends (who will remain anonymous) who honestly call me a couple times a year because they can't remember how to make these. One of my sisters started making them for our Lake Powell trips because they fed a crowd and you could make the mixture and then whip up yummy quesadillas day after day. I have taken these to friends and neighbors who need something for a meal, along with lunch for a few days in a row. I've also taken it to people when they move into a new house so they can eat them for a few days when they are busy and don't have much in their fridge or pantry yet. Simple but wonderful, this recipe makes enough to feed an army!

6 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1 very lg. jar of mild Pace picante sauce
3 lg. fresh tomatoes, chopped
12 green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 lg. can green chillies
lg. tortillas
monterey jack cheese, shredded
sour cream
olives
guacamole

In a large saucepan, mix chicken, salsa, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and green chillies. Cook on medium heat until flavors combine, about 10-15 minutes. On a saute pan or griddle, place a tortilla and top with cheese; wait until it starts to melt. Spread hot chicken mixture on half of the tortilla (use a small amount so it doesn't spill out the sides) and fold other half over top. Grill until light brown on both sides. Cut into triangles and top with sour cream, olives and guacamole. Mixture can be refrigerated for a week and warmed up to use at a later time, or frozen for up to 6 months.

Cilantro Chicken Enchiladas

My friend Elyssa Andrus brought these to me one day and I have never made any other enchiladas since. I have probably made them for 100 new moms and it is my go-to meal for the missionaries. They are dreamy! This is the original recipe (although I have added the beans and corn), and I always triple it for our family and bake it in a large baking dish.

4 oz. chopped mild green chiles, undrained
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
3 green onions, sliced 
2 T. sliced pickled jalapeno chilies (if you don’t want them too spicy, only use a little)
2 T. fresh lime juice (we use more because I like it so much)
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. water
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
1 c. grated monterey jack cheese
1/2 c. black beans
1/2 c. white corn
1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 11 X 7 baking dish. In blender, combine chilies, cilantro, green onions, pickled jalapenos, lime juice, salt and water; puree until smooth. Transfer to 8-inch skillet and heat to boiling over medium heat; boil 2 minutes. Dip one side of each tortilla in sauce; spread 1 tablespoon sauce over other (dry) side of tortilla and top with chicken. Add cheese, corn and black beans. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. Stir cream into remaining sauce in skillet; pour over filled tortillas. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with cheese and bake until cheese has melted about 5 minutes longer.

French Onion Soup

French onion is Rick's absolute favorite soup. There is a restaurant in Gettysburg that serves the best french onion he has ever had and he has been known to drive us all to Gettysburg to see the battlefields for the day just so he can have this soup (although he pretends it is so our kids understand the Civil War better)! This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman, who has some of my favorite recipes.

1 stick butter            
6 onions, sliced thin                      
1 c. chicken broth            
4 c. chicken broth                      
4 c. beef broth
2 cloves minced garlic
worcestershire sauce
slices of bread
5 oz. Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in heavy pot, add onions & cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Place onions in oven with the lid slightly ajar so the onions will brown. Cook onions in the oven for an hour, stirring at least once. Remove pot & place on stove top over medium heat. Stir, scraping all of the brown bits. Add the cup of chicken broth and cook for 5 minutes, letting it reduce. Add the other broths, Worcestershire sauce & garlic. Reduce heat to low & simmer for 30-45 minutes. Butter bread slices & boil both sides until crispy. Ladle soup into bowl or ramekin. Place bread on top & sprinkle grated Swiss on top. Broil until cheese is melted & bubbly.

Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe was originally one from chef Kent Anderson, but I adjusted it quite a bit to my liking. 

5 T. olive oil
1 lg. onion, small dice
3 lg. butternut squash, halved
3 c. chicken stock
1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream (fat free half & half works too)
½ c. brown sugar
fresh ground nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste

Rub squash halves with 2 T. of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 ½ hours, until very tender. Scoop out all of the flesh and reserve. Heat oil in a medium large soup pot. Add onions and cook over moderately low heat until completely translucent. Add squash and allow to warm to a simmer. Add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to allow for interchange of flavors. Add whipping cream and brown sugar. Blend to desired consistency in a food processor or blender, small batches at a time (or use an immersion blender).  Return to stock pot. Adjust seasoning with freshly ground nutmeg, salt and pepper. Makes 1 gallon.

Tortellini Soup


This fast and easy recipe once won me the "Best Soup" award at the ward Halloween party. I was actually a little embarrassed, as I chose the easiest soup I make because of a lack of time. It's wonderful though and very hearty.

2 T. olive oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 pkg. mild ground Italian sausage
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock
2 lg. cans diced tomatoes
2 sm. bags of baby spinach
1 pkg. fresh basil, chopped
1 lg. pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini
salt & pepper to taste
grated parmesan

Heat olive oil and add onions. Sauté until tender. Add sausage and garlic (break up sausage) and cook until done. Add stock, tomatoes, spinach and basil. Add salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Add tortellini and boil for about 8-10 minutes, but be careful not to overcook them. As soon as they are done, take off of heat. If you make it ahead of time, just do everything but wait for the tortellini until last minute. Makes a very large pot of soup.


Tuscan Tomato Soup

This recipe is from Kent Anderson when he was the head chef of Chef's Table in Orem (he is now head chef of La Jolla Groves in Provo). He gave it to us for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival cookbook and it was an instant favorite. When you have an abundance of garden tomatoes (and an extra hour), it's a great use for them. However, when it's winter time, or you are short on time, use canned tomatoes.

3 T. olive oil
1 lg. onion, small dice
5 c. diced, peeled and seeded fresh tomatoes (or canned w/o liquid)
1 sm. can tomato paste
3 c. chicken stock
1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream (fat free ½ & ½ works too)
1 c. basil pesto (I use Costco & freeze the rest)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium large soup pot. Add onions and cook over moderately low heat until completely translucent. Add tomatoes and allow to warm to a simmer. Add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to allow for interchange of flavors. Add whipping cream. Add pesto.  Blend to desired consistency in a food processor or blender, small batches at a time (or use an immersion blender). Return to stock pot. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Makes 1 gallon.

Christmas Tea Rings


These are a tradition in my family-big time. I grew up with my mom delivering tea rings to neighbors and friends in Moab at Christmastime. For years I got out of making them myself and just let my older sisters produce them and deliver to my house. However, moving back east has made me really homesick, especially at Christmastime, so last year I made them. I'm not as good as my mom or sisters, so I had my sister tell me EXACTLY how to make them, step by step, so I would succeed. I stayed up all night long and made batch after batch to deliver to co-workers, neighbors and ward members. They turned out lovely and I'm glad that I am rekindling the Cozzens girls' tradition.

4 c. milk
2 c. mashed potatoes
1 c. warm water
4 T. yeast
4 eggs
1 c. sugar
4 t. salt
1 c. oil

Peel, dice and boil about 3 medium potatoes and mash them until they are lump-free (I use ricer) and cool. Scald 4 cups of milk in a heavy pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until bubbles and foam appear at the top (do not boil) and cool. In a very large bowl add warm water and yeast; sprinkle in a little bit of sugar to help it activate faster. In a smaller bowl, beat eggs and add salt and oil. After yeast sits for 10 minutes and bubbles up, add egg mixture, sugar, potatoes and milk (making sure they are not hot). Mix well, making sure there are no lumps from potatoes. Start adding flour, two cups at a time, and mix well with each addition. As soon as the dough is too thick to stir, dump 2 cups of flour on the counter and dump the dough on top. Top with another 2 cups of flour and work in, adding additional flour as needed (it should remain slightly sticky, adding enough to be able to handle). Kneed dough until it is as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Wash out original large bowl and add oil to the bottom and sides. Put dough in the bowl and turn to coat all sides with the oil. Let rise in a warm spot (can use oven if has been warmed, but not hot) for about 45 minutes. Punch down and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Divide dough in thirds and cover two of the sections and work with one at a time. Add a little flour to the counter and knead dough for a minute. Then shape into a rectangle and roll out into a very large rectangle. Spread melted butter and cinnamon-sugar mixture (2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar and 1 T. cinnamon) all over dough, up to the edges. Cut into fourths. Always working toward the raw cut edge, roll smaller rectangles like cinnamon rolls, pinching the raw edge together so there is no gap.

Put 6 pieces of tin foil (large enough to cover a cookie sheet) on a table and spray with cooking spray. Set the cinnamon “roll” onto one half of the tin foil. Form a “U” shape and cut both of the ends off (about an inch or so until it looks nice). Using clean, sharp scissors, clip almost all the way into the dough every 1 ½ inches. Twist and turn each individual “roll” until it faces up (all going in the same direction), placing one end slightly on top of the other end. Continue with all the rolls, keeping track of which were first. Let them raise for about an hour.

Two tea rings should fit on one tin foil sheet. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Cool.

Wheatley's Oatmeal Cookies

I had Matt & Julianne Wheatley over for dinner once and they brought the most divine oatmeal cookies I've ever had. I've always been looking for that perfect oatmeal cookie recipe and this is finally it! When Julianne sent it over, she said that it was Mrs. Fields' recipe, but I'm hear-by renaming them after this great family.

Mix together:

4 c. flour
5 c. oatmeal
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda

In a separate bowl, cream together:

2 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar

Add:

4 eggs
2 t. vanilla

Mix in dry ingredients and then add:

12 oz. chocolate chips
3 c. nuts (optional)
1 lb. raisins (optional)

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Yields approximately 100 cookies.

Baked Cheese Crepes

If you ask my kids (especially Andrew or Harrison) what meal they would like me to make, it is usually cheese crepes. I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this on Food Network's "Everyday Italian" and I thought it looked so unusual that I decided I had to try it. My kids couldn't stop raving about them and for the last 10 years it has been a top favorite at our house.

6 lg. eggs
1/3 c. whole milk
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
butter

Mix all ingredients (except butter) together. In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, butter the pan and add about ¼ c. of egg mixture. Turn pan to coat and pour out any excess mixture. Cook for about a minute until done on the top, but not too crispy on the bottom. Cook all the crepes.

8 oz. fontina cheese, grated or cut into cubes
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
basil, cut into strips
1 jar of marinara sauce
¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange one crepe on a work surface. Place some of the fontina and mozzarella cheese in the center of the crepe, add some fresh basil and roll up. In a 9X13 baking dish, cover the bottom in some sauce, then add the crepes, seam side down. Top the crepes with the remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese (and whatever other cheese is left). Bake until the cheese melts, about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I serve along side some simple pasta, using the extra sauce to top it with.

Chicken Divan

The first time I ever had this recipe was when I had Andrew. My sister Karen brought it to me and there are few times that I have needed "comfort food" as I did then. It tasted heavenly. It's a staple at our house and a wonderful dish to take to new moms, or anyone needing a bit of comfort.

1 whole chicken, deboned and shredded
broccoli
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. curry powder
1 c. cheddar cheese
6 slices of bread
¼ cup melted butter

Layer broccoli and chicken in a 9X13 baking dish. In a saucepan, add mayo, milk, soup, lemon juice, curry and cheese and melt until smooth. Poor mixture over broccoli and chicken. Cube the bread and toss with melted butter. Top the casserole with bread cubes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve over rice.

General Authority Buttermilk Pancakes

This is my favorite pancake recipe and I make it when I have buttermilk on hand. It is from my friend, Karen Ashton, who served these pancakes while her husband served as an LDS Mission President in Toronto, Canada. She served them to missionaries and many visiting special guests. I hope I never have to actually feed General Authorities breakfast. For now, I am happy to make these for family and occasionally visiting friends.

2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk
½ c. milk
¼ c. butter, melted

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs, buttermilk, milk, and butter. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just to blend it. Let the batter rest until you see bubbles beginning to form. Make pancakes.