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Dump Cake Recipe by Leah

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Grandmothers’ kitchens are always so special, aren’t they?  They seem to be imbued with love, tenderness, and warmth.  My grandmother was Dutch and fit ALL the stereotypes of a Dutch woman: strong (in body and spirit), thrifty, resourceful, tall, addicted to cheese, and an excellent baker.  Though she made her fair share of traditional Dutch desserts, this cake is one she picked up later in life.  It became one of her favorites, both for flavor and ease of preparation.  The smell is amazing!  Best of all, smelling this cake immediately takes me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen.

 

 

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Dump Cake

Yield: approx 18 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 cans (about 40 oz total) crushed pineapple

2 cans (about 40 oz total) Comstock Cherry Pie Filling

1 pkg yellow cake mix

3/4 cup butter

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13-inch pan.
  2. Gently press out some of the pineapple juice.  Pour crushed pineapple and remaining juice into the pan and spread.
  3. Pour cherry pie filling over the pineapple and spread.
  4. Pour cake powder over the cherries and dot the butter over the top.  Bake for 1 hour.  If you want it Grandma-style serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cheddar Garlic Bread Recipe by Leah

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I love bread and cheese!  It’s a little embarrassing to admit but I could eat it at every meal.  It certainly wouldn’t be the healthiest choice but I’ve definitely been tempted.  This bread is lovely because it comes together quickly and has a fantastic cheesy, garlicky flavor.

 

 

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Cheddar Garlic Bread

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp sugar

2 1/2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided

12 oz ginger ale

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 1/4-inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, and sugar.  Mix in  2 1/4 cups cheese.  Add ginger ale and mix well.
  3. Spoon into the bread pan.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Let bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting the bread to cool on a wire rack.

Barbecue Chicken Wrap Recipe by Leah

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Red Robin’s Whiskey River Barbecue Chicken Wrap© is wildly popular.  It’s certainly one of my favorite things to eat there and we long ago started making them at home.  They’re not complicated at all, which is exactly my kind of meal.  The only cooking required is the chicken, and if you happen to already have some chicken on hand, then you’re already set.  Remember my Everything Chicken?  Now is the perfect time to use it. My 10 year old always asks me if I’ll make extra so she’ll have a few to pack in her lunchbox.  You might want to make a few extra too 🙂

 

 

 

Barbecue Chicken Wrap

yield: 4 wraps

 

INGREDIENTS

4 spinach or flour tortillas

4 thighs of Everything Chicken (or grilled chicken), cut into strips

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup ranch dressing

tortilla strips

2 cups shredded lettuce

 

PREPARATION

  1. If you’re chicken is cold from the refrigerator warm it.  Then, place the chicken in a medium-size bowl and toss with the barbecue sauce.
  2. Lay out your tortillas.  Divide the chicken among the 4 tortillas and place in a row down the center of the tortilla.
  3. Do the same with the cheese, covering the chicken.  Add the ranch, tortilla strips, and finally the lettuce.
  4. Fold down the edges at the top and the bottom of the row.  Then roll the other edges to form your wrap.

Everything Chicken Recipe by Leah

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If I was choosing recipes to share with you based on frequency of use this chicken would have been one of the first.  I make it all the time.  Most often I use it for lunchtime salads with lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and ranch dressing.  I serve it as is with some tasty sides like mashed potatoes; I use it in tacos, wraps, quesadillas, pastas, and more!  It is almost always in my fridge.  This chicken is basically my go to and it’s so simple it’s embarrassing.

We call it Everything Chicken because we put it on…EVERYTHING!  I know, I know.  It’s not that creative but it was named by accident when my husband was asking where the chicken was as he dug through the fridge.  I asked what chicken he was talking about and his response was “You know. That chicken we put on everything.”  Thus the name was born.

 

Everything Chicken

 

 

Everything Chicken 

 

INGREDIENTS

canola oil

boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Red Robin seasoning© (Yes, the seasoning from the restaurant.  You can buy it from the restaurant, order online, and even occasionally find it in your local grocery)

 

PREPARATION

  1. Heat a couple Tablepoons of oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Depending on how much chicken you’re making you may need to add more oil to the pot as you cook the chicken pieces.
  2. Lay your chicken out and sprinkle generously on both sides with Red Robin Seasoning©.
  3. Place the chicken gently into the pan to avoid splashing the hot oil.
  4. Allow the chicken to cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove the chicken and allow to rest about 5 minutes before slicing.

Cheesies Recipe by Leah

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Have you ever read the Little House on the Prairie™ books?  I loved those books as a child.  I would read the first book in the series and continue until I’d read them all.  Then, I would start all over again.  I pictured myself as Laura every time!  Especially when she was “wicked” as a little girl.  Imagine my surprise when one day, while reading it, my granny told me that series was much like her life.  She had my complete attention.

She told me all about her parents and their very large family as they settled in Arizona.  She told me about her responsibilities, much like Laura’s, of helping however was needed on the ranch.  She told me about helping her mother and older sister cook for all the brothers and ranch hands.  They used to make a full washtub of bread dough every week!  Can you imagine?!  The food they prepared was always straightforward and simple.  A special treat was when they made Cheesies.  They would make flour tortillas and fry them one at a time in shallow oil.  You’d drop the tortilla in the oil, she’d tell me.  Then when it was beginning to get crispy you’d flip it and sprinkle bits of cheese on top so you’d have a crispy tortilla that would have melted cheese with bits of crispy cheese where it had cooked faster than the rest.

Granny went on to become a teacher (just like Laura!), marry, and then move away.  Most of the meals she learned as a girl she didn’t keep up but Cheesies were a special treat she continued to make and spoil her grandchildren with.  Granny died 5 years ago now at the age of 102 and she would be happy to know I keep making Cheesies.

Somewhere along the line I made a slight alteration though and I have to tell you that Granny would have been proud.  She loved to see people “improve” things and make them their own.  With a desire for more crispy cheese (after all, that’s where the flavor is) I decided to cut out the oil from the recipe.  Guess what?  It worked.

 

Aj

 

Cheesies

 

INGREDIENTS

flour tortillas

medium cheddar cheese, shredded

 

PREPARATION

Heat your skillet.  Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp cheese directly on the skillet and immediately lay your tortilla on top.  Let it cook until your cheese is beautifully crispy.  Flip the tortilla and cook the other side of the tortilla in the residual grease from the cheese until crispy.

Peppermint Bark Recipe by Leah

Peppermint Bark

 

I sent this Peppermint Bark with my husband to a leadership meeting and to say they were well received would be an understatement!  My husband came home laughing as he told me the reactions.  One gentleman, reaching for a second piece, declared that these are “proof that God loves us”.  Another took a bite and interrupted the meeting to ask who brought them.  The reactions were so good that those that initially declined the offer of a piece ended up eating some.

So rewarding for me.  The best part is that it’s not even complicated to make.  It can be a little pricey because high quality chocolate is a must but I stock up on Ghirardelli baking bars when they go on sale and they work perfectly in this recipe.

 

Peppermint Bark

 

INGREDIENTS

24 oz high quality white chocolate, broken in to pieces and divided

12 oz high quality semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces

3 tsp vegetable oil

1 tsp peppermint extract, divided

8 regular sized candy canes

 

PREPARATION

  1. Remove the wrappers from your candy canes and crush.  My favorite method is placing them in a bag and hitting with my rolling pin as it allows me to control the size of the chunks.  Set aside.
  2. Line the bottom and sides of a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, making sure to smooth out wrinkles.  Set aside.
  3. In a double boiler or microwave* melt 12 oz of white chocolate with 1 tsp of vegetable oil.  Once melted stir in 1/2 tsp peppermint extract.  Pour melted chocolate into the prepared pan and spread into a thin smooth layer.  I find an offset spatula works best for this.  Place the pan in the freezer for about 8 minutes or in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes; or untl almost completely set.**
  4. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate with 1 tsp vegetable oil.  Pour the semi-sweet chocolate over the white chocolate layer and spread until smooth.  Place back in the freezer for 8 minutes or the refrigerator for 10-15.
  5. Melt the remaining 12 oz of white chocolate and 1 tsp vegetable oil.  Once melted stir in 1/2 tsp peppermint extract.  Pour over the semi-sweet layer and spread until smooth.  Sprinkle with crushed candy canes and very lightly press into the bark.
  6. Freeze or refrigerate the bark until completely hardened.  Use the foil to lift the bark from the pan then peel the foil from the bark.  Allow the bark to sit at room temperature about 15 minutes and cut into squares.

 

*To melt your chocolate in the microwave use a small heatproof bowl and melt in 15 second increments.  Stir vigorously after each time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

**If you allow the layer to set completely before adding the next layer of melted chocolate then the layers will separate upon cooling.

 

 

 

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Crockpot Peanut Clusters

Crockpot Peanut Clusters

I actually found the original recipe on Pinterest (I may have an addiction *laugh*), and the original printable recipe is here, but there weren’t any pictures of the process and there were a couple of hard learned tips that will make your experience much better, so I thought I’d share the recipe. I am not claiming any credit, it belongs to the original blogger. I simply want to share an easy recipe that is truly easy when you don’t make the mistakes I did. *grin*

First off, you need a 5 quart crockpot, a sturdy spoon or spatula, parchment paper, cookie sheets, a scoop, and a little over two hours.

For ingredients you will need 34.5 oz of honey roasted dry roasted peanuts (**My note: Larry said that he doesn’t like the flavor of the honey roasted in the peanut clusters, so I’ll definitely be using plain dry roasted from now on), 32 ounces of vanilla flavored almond bark (in the baking supply aisle and contrary to the name doesn’t have any nuts), 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, and 4 ounces Baker’s German Chocolate bar (found near the almond bark and the bar itself is the full 4 ounces).

Now, I’m going to admit that this is where things started going wrong. We were trying to make the peanut clusters and another candy at the same time, and ditched the other one because so much was going wrong, but found that there was a snafu with this one too. It was the first time I had bought or used almond bark, so silly me didn’t pay attention to the size and notice that the recipe would need part of a second package, so instead I compensated for the missing eight ounces of almond bark by adding that much more of semisweet chips. I liked the results, so I’m not sure that I’ll do it the correct way the next time I make this, but I want to be honest about what went on in case you have the same problem or want to go that way.

Pour the peanuts into the crockpot – it will seem like there’s an insane amount of peanuts in there, but I assure you, you’re doing it right. Next is one key tip that the original didn’t mention. Before layering the almond bark over the peanuts cut that bar up!! I can vouch that the blob of almond bark may soften, but won’t fully melt in the allotted time, so cut it on those scored lines please. You will have a very hard clump that you’ll have to pull out of the pot, chop up, and put back in, all while trying not to make a huge mess, which is nearly impossible, if you don’t chop it at the beginning. *sigh* Anyway, lay the bits of almond bark over your peanuts, and then scatter the chocolate chips over that. Next is the Baker’s bar, which will melt just fine without cutting (it isn’t nearly as bulky as that bark *grin*). Put the lid on it, turn the crockpot to low, and walk away for one whole hour. Don’t stir, don’t lift the lid to peek, nada. Dance around that Christmas tree, pull the cat out of the said Christmas tree, or fall into the black hole of Facebook until your alarm goes off. Whatever floats your boat, but hands off!

Now you can stir and look how yummy it all ready looks!

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Put the lid back on, set the alarm for fifteen minutes, and stir the mixture every fifteen minutes for an hour. It won’t be the prettiest girl at the prom, but it’ll be the one with all of the personality, so don’t worry if the sides look a bit icky like mine.

After the hour of stirring intervals it’s time to scoop. The original recipe just calls for laying out parchment paper, but I don’t have a very big kitchen with tons of cabinet space, so we lined cookie sheets and swapped them out. I tried one batch without a cookie sheet and it was pure misery with some of the candies oozing together into big blobs when I tried to move them a little, so I strongly recommend cookie sheets. The flat AirBake sheets worked best for us. Now, I have no idea what makes parchment better than wax paper for these, but I didn’t want to risk trouble by experimenting to figure it out. Parchment paper it is. *grin* Don’t forget to turn off the crock pot! If it’s really cool in your kitchen you can keep it at warm, but you’ll have a little trouble with the mixture staying runny once you get to the bottom. That’s better than a solid mass though, so I’d definitely do it if I felt it was necessary. You just don’t want to keep it on low the whole time you’re scooping.

We used a tiny cookie scoop for scooping the peanut clusters. While the mixture was fresh and hot, it was more runny and didn’t need the little sweeper arm. As the mixture set up a little more the little arm was quite useful. Make sure to drop the scoops apart from one another.

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Once we had scooped it all (and licked the spoons *grin*) I noticed that the chocolate wasn’t setting up and realized that my house was too warm for them to set up. I must have accidentally grabbed a log of hedge when I loaded the woodstove, so it was nearly as hot as the face of the sun, while it was 30 degrees outside. *laugh* Some creative thinking resulted with utilizing our standing smoker as a refrigerator. Let my amusing substitution show you that if your refrigerator is full of Christmas meal prep, you just need to think outside of the box. Literally. *smirk*

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I left them to cool for about four hours and then brought them in.

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They were good and hard, so I was able to pop them into some zipper bags, and fit those bags into the remaining gaps in the refrigerator then. Even with samples left out (or happily melting in our bellies) I filled an entire gallon bag and a quart bag! Oh, by the way, don’t forget to let these chocolates sit out at room temperature for a little bit before serving, since you don’t want anyone to break a tooth on cold peanuts. Those suckers are hard when they’re cold!

Hopefully this little feature for Serve It Sunday will help if you’re looking for one more item to round out your Christmas dishes. These would also make a great gift, since it’d be easy to put the clusters into decorative mini muffin or candy liners, and then into a festive cellophane bag. The recipe is easy enough that you could cook dinner while it’s melting, too. Just don’t try to make a complicated dessert while making these for the first time. *laugh* They are so worth giving a shot and the original blogger even added decorative candies, so there is a lot of room to put your personal touch to these.

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Enjoy!

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