Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Hot Chicken Ranch Dip


Look at this ooey, gooey cheese stretching, just trying to reach your mouth.
This is a good make ahead dish that you just pop into the oven before your guest arrive. It can even be made a day or two in advance to save on time . My friend Frieda makes this tasty dip, and it would be a perfect dip to serve New Year's Eve. I hope she makes it again. Oh I can just taste that cheesey goodness, irresistible.
  • 1-8 oz package of cream cheese
  • 1 tin, flakes of chicken drained
  • Franks hot sauce
  • Ranch dressing
  • Tex Mex cheese/or cheese of choice
  1. Cream the cream cheese til smooth and add chicken.
  2. Spread that into your 8x8 inch baking pan.
  3. Put a thin layer of prepared Ranch Dressing.
  4. Sprinkle Franks hot sauce over the ranch dressing according to taste, gently swirl that into the dressing. 
  5. Cover with grated cheese.
  6. Put in a 350 oven til the cheese bubbles and dip is hot about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with Tortilla chips.

Bread for the Journey


Out with the old, in with the new.
The end of 2012 is quickly approaching. We will be thinking of all the things we had hoped to accomplish this year. We may not have reached all our goals but we are ready to set new ones.
This is the time I like to clean out my kitchen pantry, closets, and office space. I love the look of everything neat and tidy and in it's place, a fresh start for the new year.
It got me thinking that although it is good to do that, it is not the most important, it is more important to make sure our hearts are clean and ready to face the new year. Things like letting go of  past hurts, disappointments, and bitterness. And rather filling our hearts anew with love, hope, joy, and forgiveness that only God can give. A time to work through and restore relationships.
What a wonderful way to start a new year.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me."  Psalm 51: 10 NIV

Wishing you all God's blessings for 2013

Bacon and Tomato Dip

           
 As my boys say, "Everything is better with bacon!" 
This cream cheese dip is no exception.
You might want to add it to your New Year's Eve appetizer table.

  • 1  8 oz. / 250 g package cream cheese (brick style), at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons / 30 ml  mayonnaise (if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons / 10 ml  prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon / 2 ml celery salt
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml  pre-fried bacon, crumbled
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth.  (For a softer dip, add the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.)
  2. Mix in mustard and celery salt.
  3. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in bacon, tomato and green pepper.
  4. Pile into a serving dish and serve with crackers or baguette slices.
Note: The mixture can also be formed into a ball or log (do not add the mayonnaise).  
           Roll  log in shredded cheddar cheese, wrap and refrigerate until firm.  Unwrap and serve.

Cranberry Yeast Bread

  

One of my favorite sandwiches at a local tea house is made with a cranberrry bread. I decided to combine a French bread recipe with a raisin bread recipe to make this bread - which makes for some amazing turkey sandwiches! Slice up the fresh bread and layer on the mayo, lettuce and left over turkey. Add stuffing too, if there is some of that around. 
Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Method:
  1. In a large bowl, (or kitchen aid bowl) beat eggs, oil and salt, then slowly add very warm water, while beating.
  2. Stir in 2 cups flour, then yeast.
  3. Stir in combined craisins, cranberries, orange zest and sugar.
  4. Continue adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough hold together - is not too sticky and can be shaped into a ball with floured hands.
  5. Cover with tea towel and plastic bag. Let rise until double, about one hour.
  6. Divide in half. Roll each half out to about 8 x 14 inches, then roll up jelly roll style, starting with long side.
  7. Place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cover and let rise 30 - 60 minutes.
  8. Brush with beaten egg (optional) and bake at 400° F for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove to cooling rack to cool.
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Antipasto Platter


 An antipasto platter is a great dish to share at a New Year's Eve party or to have around on New Year's Day while you enjoy football or other festivities. Here are some ideas for putting together a crowd pleasing platter.

  If available start with a colorful base like this rainbow Kale or another large leaf green.

 Choose 3 or 4 different kinds of Italian cured meats to add to the platter. If using prosciutto separate it ahead of time and twist it into a bud shape so it's easy for your guests to pick up. (Upper left)

 This is fresh mozzarella that I added a little olive oil, chopped parsley and red pepper flakes to. The other cheese on the platter is provolone that I bought in larger slices and cut into chunks myself.

\
These are red pepper slices that I added chopped garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to before I added them to the platter.

 I also added pepperoncini, marinated artichokes with a circle of olives in the center. Serve with breadsticks or baguette slices alongside the platter.


Enjoy being creative with the ingredients you choose to build this platter for your guests and family. Here's a second platter I made for another event we attended with friends.


On this platter I used a bunch of radishes for the center of the platter. I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Corn Chip Salad


This salad is perfect anytime or to take along for pot luck meals. You can mix everything ahead of time except for the corn chips which you add just before serving. It's a great recipe to keep in mind for those summer grilling days.  With our cold temperatures, nobody here is thinking of grilling anything these days.

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag (10 1/2 oz) chili cheese flavored corn chips
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup peas, cooked
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise, add another tablespoon or two if you like it more creamy.
  1.  Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Serve immediately or if you want to take it to a pot luck remember to add the corn chips just before serving.

Bread for the Journey



All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
 -which means, God with us.
Matthew 1:22,23
.
 
The days of celebrating this event that our faith is based on are almost here. We’ve decorated our homes, made contact with relatives, sent out cards, bought gifts and stocked up our fridges.
We have thought through the details of family gatherings, travel and accommodations, where necessary.
In all of this, we’ve kept having to remind ourselves that Christmas will happen no matter how ready we feel.
The most important gift has been sent long ago. All of the important preparations were done for us when God sent forth His Son to be born so that he could die for our sins and show His power over death.
 
Last year I bought The Jesus Storybook Bible to read to our grandchildren.
 I opened the page to Luke Chapter 1-2 and it begins with,
Everything was ready. The moment God had been waiting for was here at last!
God was coming to help his people, just as he promised in the beginning.”

Does that not make you want to read on?  God was ready for Christmas.The Creator of the Universe could have chosen a much more noble way to enter our lives, but He chose a lowly manger, heralded by a lone beautiful star and visited by shepherds.
And just like He foreknew the circumstances of that humble birth,
God has known about us all along and made a way for us to know Him.
We wish you, dear readers, a most blessed Christmas! No matter how ready you feel, know that our Heavenly Father has already prepared the most important details to celebrate this day.

Golden Cheese Wheel


This cheese wheel goes well with a green salad or even as an addition to an appetizer buffet. 
Serve marinara or pizza sauce on the side to dip wedges into.

Ingredients for crust:

  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Method:
  1. Stir sugar into warm water and sprinkle yeast over warm water. Allow to proof 8 minutes. Stir well.
  2. Add flour, oil and salt and knead together forming a moderately stiff dough. 
  3. Cover with a lint free towel and let rise 1 hour in a draft free area.
Cheese filling Ingredients:

  • 3 cups grated cheese, my suggestion is a combination of cheddar and mozzarella or muenster.
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp paprika

Method:
  1. Grate cheeses and combine. Add parsley and sprinkle with spices. 
  2. Whisk egg and add to cheese and spices. Using a fork stir to mix. Set aside.
  3. Punch down risen dough and divide into 2 equal portions.
  4. Roll one portion into a 13" circle and place on a greased or parchment lined round pizza pan.
  5. Spread egg and cheese mixture on this shell leaving a rim of dough 1" showing.
  6. Roll out remaining dough and place over the egg and cheese mixture.
  7. Pinch together the upper and lower crusts. Flute edges for a nice finish.
  8. Bake in preheated 400º oven for 20 minutes.
Topping Ingredients: 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sugar
Method:
  1. Whisk together egg and water while cheese wheel is baking.
  2. After the first 20 minutes of baking remove cheese wheel from oven and brush with egg mixture.
  3. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sugar.
  4. Bake another 12-15 minutes, until golden.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve HOT. 

Mixed Vegetable Casserole - GF conversions given


This veggie casserole is an old favorite and is always enjoyed whenever I serve it.   One nephew once said as he reached for a second helping ... "Now you have me eating vegetables and I don't even like them!"
  • 4 cups chopped mixed vegetables of your choice 
  • 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes (gluten-free if so needed) 
  • 1 tbsp oil
  •  3 tbsp oil or butter 
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 3 tbsp flour (for gluten -free - 1 tbsp sweet rice flour and 2 tbsp cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/8 tsp pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk 
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese 
  • (optional) 1 cube chicken bouillon and/or  1/2 cup chopped ham or sausage
  1. Cook vegetables until tender, drain 
  2. Saute onions in 3 tbsp oil
  3. Mix flour, salt,  pepper and whisk into the milk in a saucepan.
  4. Add onions to milk mixture and cook until thickened,  stirring continually to keep smooth.
  5. Stir in grated cheese (and meat if desired).
  6. Add cooked vegetables and spread into a shallow baking dish. (1 1/2 quart size) 
  7. Toss cornflakes in 1 tbsp oil and spread on top of vegetables. 
  8. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. 
  9. This is nice to prepare ahead, refrigerate,  and then bake just before serving.

Thank you to our Sponsors


Today we want to acknowledge our blog sponsors and thank them for partnering with us.
These people give faithfully and generously each month to help and bless others in their own communities and around the world. Read more about each of our sponsors by clicking on the  link. 

Dan and Audrey Neufeld own and operate Neufeld Farms, their family business in Abbotsford BC.  As a group we have had the privilege of visiting their business and meeting some of their great staff. 
They are making a difference through their faithful giving.

Rob and Charlotte Lepp own and operate Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford BC.
We enjoy teaching evening cooking classes at Lepp's and would invite you to join us sometime.
Visit their web site for details on cooking classes.
We are so thankful to them for their donations to Matthew's House.

Wendy Murray is the owner of Winks Home Garden and Gifts in Chilliwack BC. 
Winks hosted a book signing for us in her lovely store, and has been an on going support.
Wendy and her husband Dave give to help people in Romania and also locally.
We appreciate their generosity both in their community and abroad.

The Fort Langley Guesthouse located in historic Fort Langley in British Columbia is a beautiful place to stay and relax.
Their support to people in need is much appreciated.

Tracey Dueck is the owner of Tracey Cakes
If you are looking for a sweet place to stop and enjoy coffee or lunch with a friend,
choose Tracey Cakes. Cupcakes are her specialty.
We are grateful for their support.


Meda has been able to passionately support impoverished women in underdeveloped counties.
We encourage you to take some time to visit their web site. Their giving is making a difference.


Grand Pappy's Furniture in Chilliwack BC is owned and operated
by the young entrepreneurial spirits of Matt and Brandi Schmidt.
They have involved us in a book signing and we have enjoyed
 supporting their 'Extravaganza Show' in the fall time.
They are generously donating their book proceeds to  Ruth and Naomi's Mission in Chilliwack, BC.


The true heart of Christmas is in the giving.
Thank you!

Wishing you and your families a blessed Christmas Season,

Anneliese, Betty, Bev, Charlotte, Ellen, Judy, Julie, Kathy, Lovella, Marg


Egg Nog



My mom used to make cold eggnog for us in summer when eggs were plenty and before smoothies had  been discovered.  She made it nutritionally simple without spices, chilled it well and it was enjoyed by us all.  Following these instructions gives you a good base for eggnog and following the link will give you suggestions on how to spice it up.

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2/3 cup liquid honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Break eggs into a large saucepan.
  2. Add honey and salt and beat with a handmixer until the egg white and yolks are well blended.
  3. Add half the milk and stir constantly with a heat proof spatula over medium low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon or 160 F.  Do not allow it to come to a boil.  
  4. Place a large heat proof bowl into ice water and pour the mixture through a fine sieve into the bowl.  Add remaining cold milk. Add flavouring and stir to cool. Pour into jars with lids and refrigerate for up to a couple of days.
  5. For additional flavouring tips visit Egg Farmers of Canada's website for their suggestions.

Bread for the Journey



Dear Readers,

There are no words that can express our heart felt sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones in this senseless tragedy which occurred in Connecticut this past week.  We too, like the rest of the world want to send our love and prayers for all of you, for the parents, the grandparents, the siblings, the teachers, the friends, and the community of Newtown.   

Let the words of Max Lucado's Christmas Prayer live deep in your hearts.

A Christmas Prayer.

Dear Jesus,

It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord.  These children, Lord.  Innocence violated.  Raw evil demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas.  But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were night shift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty.  Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.

Hopefully,
Your Children

May God continue to hold you in the palm of His Hand.


Apple Butternut Squash soup


This is a tasty soup that would work nicely as a starter to a Christmas Dinner.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup
  •  2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 large butternut squash 
  • 4 sweet apples
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large cast iron dutch oven or large stockpot over low heat. 
  2. Add the onions and curry powder and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the onions are tender. 
  3. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot every couple minutes.
  4. Peel squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Cut the squash into chunks.
  5. Peel and core the apples and cut into chunks.
  6. Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups broth to pot.
  7. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook until the squash and apples are soft, approx.40-50 minutes.
  8. Use a food processor or hand blender to puree the squash and apples.
  9. Return to pot if you used the food processor and taste, adding salt and pepper if needed.
  10. If the consistency is too thick add a little more broth or water and heat through.
  11. Serve with toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds, optional.
Serves: 16-24 (approx. 1/2 cup servings)





Poached Pears in Puff Pastry



The first time I remember having poached pears was on a cruise. They were served in a fruity sauce and I always wanted to try and re-create them. When I found an old recipe in my stash of "recipes to try one day" I liked the idea of the added pastry around the pear. I used plums because it was fruit I had in my freezer. This makes a beautiful dessert after a big dinner and works well into a day of prep by being able to make it ahead and refrigerating until dinner is out of the oven.

Poached / Wrapped Pears and Filling:
  • 6 pears, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 pkg frozen puff pastry
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar


Plum Sauce
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups syrup, left after poaching pears
  • 3 cups / 750 ml chopped plums, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon / 2 ml cinnamon


  1. Peel and core pears, slicing just a tad off the bottom to make them stand easily.
  2. In the meantime, bring sugar, water and lemon juice to boil in a pot large enough to hold the pears standing up.
  3. Place prepared pears in syrup, bring to boiling point, then reduce and simmer until pears are tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.
  4. With slotted spoon, lift the pears out of the syrup, place on a plate and cool in refrigerator.
  5. To syrup in pot add chopped plums, bring to boil and simmer for about an hour, until thick and syrupy. Stir in cinnamon or any flavor you prefer.
  6. Beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and pipe into cooled pears after coring from the bottom.
  7. Roll out each half of thawed pastry to about 12 x 12 inches. Cut square into quarters.
  8. Place a prepared pear in the center of a quartered square. Taking one corner, pull up and wrap over the top, around the stem. Brush edges with water as you repeat with the next three corners. Repeat with the rest of the pears and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Cut leaves out of the leftover pastry and decorate as you like. Chill 20 minutes or until ready to bake.
  9. Bake at 425° F 25 - 30 minutes until golden.
  10. Serve warm with plum sauce.



 
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Greek Lemon and Rice Soup (Avgolemeno)

This is one of my families favorite soups and a quick and easy dinner solution, especially this time of year when there seems to be a lot more busyness going on with shopping, concerts, baking, wrapping, Can you relate?
If we go out for dinner, we prefer going out for Greek food. Usually we order this soup as a first course. I can't recall there being carrots in the soup, but I like to sneak in veggies where ever I can. This is my version of the soup better known as Avgolemeno. If you don't have a homemade broth ready, use a good quality low / no sodium broth, that is a good option. The creaminess comes from the eggs simmered in the broth, adding some protein.
  • 8-10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 or 2 lemons, juiced depending on personal taste*
  • parsley and lemon slices for garnish
  1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil, with the added vegetables.
  2. Boil for about 15 minutes until carrots and celery are tender.
  3. Add the rice cook for 15 minutes longer.
  4. Turn the soup to barely a simmer, before adding the eggs.
  5. While the soup is cooking, crack the eggs into a large bowl and add the lemon juice, beat together. Let it sit on the counter to reach room temperature.
  6. Take about 2 cups of the broth and while whisking the eggs vigorously ever so slowly add the broth to the eggs so the eggs won't scramble but have this creamy texture. (if the eggs scramble, no big deal, it all tastes good and then it becomes egg drop soup. Don't sweat it, I don't always accomplish this creaminess texture every time either if I am in a bit of a hurry, really it's OK.)
  7. The eggs cook quickly and as soon as the soup becomes thick take it off the heat and let it rest with the lid on. 
  8. Add the chopped parsley for garnish and color.
*We like things lemony so try using the juice of one lemon first and adjust the seasoning after the eggs have been added and cooked through. Always use fresh lemon juice for the best lemon flavor, you just can't compare the taste to the bottled juice. I also throw in the lemon shells for the last 5 minutes of cooking time and take it out before I add the eggs for more lemon flavor. If you leave the shells in for too long the soup becomes a bit bitter. Or add a bit of the lemon zest to the broth in the end too, that is optional.


Bread for the Journey

Years ago I had a friend who had an only child who was born with very severe asthma. 
Countless nights the frantic parents rushed her to emergency to save her life. 
This child, when I knew her was only two years old and there was a sensitivity about her that gave  you the sense she was not an ordinary child - something about her was 'other-worldly'. 
Her mother told me the following story.
It was Lisa's (not her real name) second Christmas and in her paternal extended family there was a family tradition where the youngest child got to put the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve.  
That year it was Lisa's turn.  
She did not attend church  or Sunday School (her father was not a believer) and as far as the mother knew no one had told her enough for her to understand to do what she did. 
Lisa took the offered 'baby' from her grandmother and obeyed the instructions to go put it in the manger.  She walked over, laid the baby in the manger and then kneeling down in front of it folded her hands and bowed her head. 
Her grandmother asked in surprise, "What are you doing, Lisa?" 
The child replied, "I'm worshipping Him."   

We read ... "A little child shall lead them" (Is. 11:6)  and Jesus says.. "Except you become as a little child.." (Matt. 18:1-5)

For the world the baby in the manger is quite comfortable to accept, after all every one loves a baby! 
But this baby came to rule as  King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
He came worthy of our worship. 

Does the babe of Christmas rule in your heart ? 
Is your response to Him to fall down and worship Him? 

The chorus of the old Christmas Carol , "O Come all ye Faithful" is an invitation.
"O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,  
O come let us adore Him, 
Christ, the Lord!"

Chocolate Eggnog Cake

A chocolate cake mix, eggnog, a Jersey Milk chocolate bar and a splash of strong coffee.
Moist and delicious! 

Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 1/4 cup grape seed or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup strong hot coffee
  • 1 100 gram milk chocolate chocolate bar ( I use Jersey Milk)
  • 1 box Swiss Chocolate cake mix
Method:
  1. Beat together first 3 ingredients.
  2. Break chocolate bar into small pieces, place into hot coffee and stir until completely melted.
  3. Add to eggnog mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Sift powdered cake mix into eggnog mixture and beat for another 2 minutes until ingredients are well combined.
  5. Grease two 9" cake pans or one 9x13" pan and then dust lightly with cocoa powder.
  6. Pour cake batter into prepared pans.
  7. Bake in oven pre heated to 350º for 30-35 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when lightly pressed on, or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
  8. If using a 9x13" pan you may want to just leave the cake in the pan to cool.  Once cooled frost or serve with ice cream.
  9. If baked in rounds for a layered cake allow to cool for 5 minutes in pans and then invert onto cooling racks.
  10. Cool and frost with your favourite chocolate buttercream  or pudding and whipped cream frosting.

Pizza Rolls


These pizza rolls are great for packing in lunches and to have in the freezer for a quick supper. I like to have them handy around Christmas time when you want something different from the usual buffet of leftovers. You may add chopped mushrooms, green peppers, and bacon if you like. Another idea, that my daughter suggested is to use tomato, olives, mushroom, and feta.

Pizza Rolls
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 6 1/4 cups flour, I used 2 cups multigrain and 4 1/4 cups white flour
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 cups pepperoni, finely chopped
  • 5 cups cheese, shredded, I used half cheddar and half mozzarella
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten for egg wash
  • Italian seasoning
  • Cornmeal for sprinkling on cookie sheet (optional)
  1. To make the dough: stir together sugar, salt, oil, and warm water.
  2. Add flour and yeast. Mix well. Start with 4 cups of flour and keep adding as needed.
  3. Knead 5 minutes.
  4. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk.
  5. Divide dough into 2 pieces and roll each out into a rectangle 1/4" thick.
  6. Spoon half of the sauce on each rectangle of dough, then sprinkle pepperoni and cheese on top.
  7. Roll up as you would for cinnamon rolls and pinch edges to seal.
  8. Place rolls in a parchment lined pan sprinkled with cornmeal. If you don't have a pan large enough you can make these rolls in smaller sizes. 
  9. Brush slightly beaten egg over the rolls and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  10. Bake in a 400º oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
* These rolls never seal completely for me and they kind of fall in after baking but nobody here seems to mind if some of the filling oozes out and the rolls flatten a bit:) 



Hazelnut Holiday Trifle

This recipe came about as a result of an 'oops' in my kitchen.  The plan was to make the hazelnut roll (also found on page 154 of the MGCC cookbook) for a holiday gathering.  After removing the cake from the pan, I rolled it up to cool.  I realized too late that it should have been rolled starting at the short end...and I rolled it the long way.  I un-rolled...and re-rolled...and cracked the cake in the process.  At that point I decided it would become a hazelnut trifle...and so the hazelnut holiday trifle was born!  Like the log roll...it is gluten free for those who are on a GF diet. Equally good, is a trifle made up the same way but using banana cake instead of the hazelnut cake. 


Ingredients:
  • 1 hazelnut sheet cake, cubed (recipe below)...or your favorite banana cake
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding, 6 serving size
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Nutella hazelnut spread (soften slightly in microwave oven)
  • 2 cups whipping cream, whipped and sweetened
Method:
  1. Place 1/3 of cake cubes in the bottom of clear glass trifle bowl.
  2. Spread with a layer of Nutella, 1/3 of the pudding and 1/3 of the whipped cream.
  3. Repeat layers, spreading whipped cream over the entire top of bowl.
  4. Garnish with coarsely chopped hazelnuts and raspberries, if desired.

Hazelnut Sheet Cake:
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teasoon salt

  1. Line 10 x 15 inch bar pan with parchment paper and spray with Pam.
  2. In mixer, combine sugar and egg yolks; beat on high speed for 5 minutes.
  3. Add extracts and beat well.
  4. Combine ground hazelnuts, baking powder and salt. 
  5. Add to sugar mixture and beat 2 minutes longer.
  6. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  7. Fold into cake batter by hand.
  8. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  9. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. 
  10. Run knife around outer edge once slightly cooled; flip from pan to cool completely.
  11. Cut into cubes when ready to assemble trifle.

Bread for the Journey


Recently I've been learning about the gift of listening.

I received a call from my sister this week and she just needed to talk. Shortly into the call she said, "thanks for listening to me". How many times has she been the one on the other end of the phone listening to me.

Yesterday a very dear friend called and we had a long conversation. We both talked about what was on on hearts and at the end of our conversation she said, "thank you for listening". Again I thought how many times she has been the one who gave me the gift of listening to me.

This past month my husband and I have been taking a course at our church called Hearing God.
As I've worked through the homework for this course I've realized how important it is for me to be still and listen to the voice of God.

Advent is a time of preparation.
In Psalm 46:10 God says, "Be still and know that I am God".

God has a personal message for each of us. He loves each of us and I know He desires for us to take time to be still. I am so grateful for the many times I have come to Him knowing He always listens. "Thank you God, for listening to me".

The desire of my heart during this advent season is to glorify God by listening to Him.....
and I know that when I do, my life will be transformed into His likeness and His response will be, "thank you for listening for Me".


Mystery Pumpkin/Squash Soup

 
I bought this green gourd for our Thanksgiving decor because I am partial to that color. It ended up sitting around for quite some time till I decided I need to do something with it. It was was quite hard to cut and it was all I could do to cut it into large pieces so I stuck the quarters, with peel on, into a roaster, drizzled with olive oil to cook for about an hour and a half. Then I made this easy soup.
Ingredients:
  • 6 - 8 cups cooked and mashed squash or pumpkin
  • 1 onion, chopped very fine
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 - 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups chicken stock ( I use water and better-than-bouillon)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 - 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • chili flakes or chili powder according to personal taste. I used a rounded tsp chili paste.
  • 1 cup milk or half and half cream
Method:
  1. Cut squash or pumpkin into large pieces, removing seeds, keeping the peel on. Roast, covered, and drizzled with olive oil, for about 75 minutes, or until soft,  at 375° F. Cool.
  2. Remove peel, return to roaster and mash with potato masher.
  3. In a large soup pot, cook finely chopped onion in oil until soft, then add garlic and stir once more.
  4. Add mashed squash, broth, spices and bring to simmer. Add milk or cream and continue to simmer until time to serve.
  5. This makes a large pot full. Can be divided into containers and frozen or just make half the recipe.
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Friendship Soup



Years ago,  ladies that attended my bible study group brought me little thank you gifts.  I loved them all but there was one gift that was 'unusual' since this was before the time that these kind of 'home gifts' were recognized for their simple joy and worth!
I smiled and thanked the lady who gave it to me, little realizing how much I would enjoy her gift and years later still be enjoying it !
The gift was a tall narrow glass  jar filled with layers of dried beans. Attached to the jar was a rolled up piece of red  construction paper on which was a hand written soup recipe entitled 'Friendship Soup'.
I kept the jar for a long time and then one day decided to make the soup.  It was DELICIOUS and stayed a family favorite.
With Christmas coming  -- I thought what a neat idea this would be to tuck into a gift basket or just to bring as a hostess gift.
I had trouble finding the 'right' glass jar, I wanted a tall, narrow one  -- the one pictured  exactly doubles the recipe. (so if you are going to use a jar that doubles the recipe make sure you make a note of that somewhere on the enclosed recipe)

The hand written recipe reads  as follows....

Friendship Soup 
(in this jar are a combination of  7 kinds of dried beans -- 1/4 cup each)

  • 1/4 cup  kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup   green split peas 
  • 1/4 cup  yellow split peas 
  • 1/4 cup pinto beans 
  • 1/4 cup  small white beans 
  • 1/4 cup  lima beans 
  • 1/4 cup soya beans
  1. WASH -  the beans thoroughly.  Place in a pot , cover with  water and 2 tbsp. salt and soak overnight. 
  2. DRAIN - Add two quarts water and 1/2 ham or ham bones (or bouillion cubes) Bring to a boil, Stir occasionally -- simmer 2 or 2 1/2 hours.  
  3. ADD -   
  • one large onion chopped 
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 large can of tomatoes (29 oz) 
  • 1 pod red pepper (or 1 tsp. chilli powder)
    4. SIMMER - another 30 minutes. This makes a large pot of soup. It is even better aged in the fridge. 
    5. ENJOY WITH FRIENDS


Bread For The Journey



From my patio I over look the valley where nestles a city .
I love to look down on it and enjoy the peace and tranquillity in which it seems to rest.
At about this time of year, the Christmas lights begin to add to the night time twinkling  and I know people are decorating their yards and homes for the season.
In my mind's eye I see Jesus walking  up and down the streets, observing the decorations, looking into the windows to see families busily preparing for the holidays  and I wonder if He stops to gaze into each home to see if there is room for Him.
The season is after all,  all  about Him -- He is the celebrity, nay,  more than a celebrity - He is the Creator of all, and yet so often  He is completely ignored.

May we all make room for the Lord Jesus Christ  this season and I pray that all our homes are ones where He knows that He is more than just a guest.
 " Jesus answered and said to him, 
"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, 
and We will come to him and make Our home with him." (John 14:23)


When I was a child I once memorized the following poem for a church program.
The poem  stirred my young heart then and it still stirs me today.
I'm sure you have heard it before but I thought I'd like to share it again .

                                                     If Jesus Came to Your House 

If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two
If he came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do.
Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored Guest,
And all the food you’d serve to Him would be the very best,
And you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have Him there
That serving Him in your own home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly Visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in?
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been?
Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard?
And wish you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?
Would your family conversation keep up its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?
Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read,
And let him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go?
Or would you, maybe, change your plans for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends?
Or would you hope they’d stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do?
If Jesus Christ in person came to spend some time with you.


*************************

Saturday in Kathy's Kitchen

I'm not here advertising for a particular company I just happen to love all things parchment and was given a bag full of  assorted parchment products I wanted to tell you about. I usually purchase parchment paper on the jumbo roll from Costso because I use so much and those big rolls are wider and I get more for my buck.

Parchment paper in great for lining baking pans when baking meat balls, chicken pieces, salmon, natchos pizza and appetizers.
It's also great for lining baking sheets and pans for cookies and cakes.
Using parchment is a heathy way of cooking as you don't need to use any butter, oil or spray.....things won't stick.
There is little and sometimes no clean up of pans after baking.... bonus!

Parchment cooking bags are another favourite of mine. They look something like a microwave popcorn bag when opened. With just the two of us at home I slide 2 chicken breasts or pieces of salmon in a bag along with some herbs and spices, fold it over at the top several times, place the bag on a baking sheet and bake in oven just as you would without a bag. The difference is.....no pan cleanup. I also find that using parchment bags keeps meat really moist.

Then there are the baking cups which I have found in small and large sizes. Have you ever baked muffins and go to pull the paper liner off and the muffin sticks to the paper? You won't have that trouble if you change over to parchment cups. The paper pulls away clean from the muffin or cupcake.

My latest find in parchment are the tulip cups. I'm a sucker for anything new and different to use in my kitchen.
Your muffins will look like they came from a gourmet coffee shop...they did....right from your own oven served warm with a good cup of coffee.

With the holiday season just around the corner you might find these products useful and fun.



If you have our Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbook go to page 36 where you will find my recipe for these Blueberry Crumble Muffins.
In the photo above I've used that recipe 1 1/2 times to bake up 12 gourmet size muffins using the parchment tulip cups.
The only thing you need to do is add about 5-7 minutes onto the baking time as the muffins are bigger.
To test use a toothpick or  a cake testing spear. If it comes out clean muffin is done.
(Bev gave each of us girls one of those little testing spears last year for Christmas....love that pretty little kitchen gadget too... like kitchen jewelery.)

Parchment paper can be found in most grocery stores. Follow all instructions for baking and oven temperatures on brand you choose. For a Christmas gift giving idea for someone who has most everything or a new bride who is just beginning to set up her kitchen make up a kitchen basket and fill it with some parchment products,  a cake testing spear.......
and a Mennonite Girls Can Cook cook book.

Happy baking!

Sugar Plum Brunch Ring

Candied fruit is worked into this sweet dough that bakes up into a pull apart ring. Maraschino cherry juice adds a hint of pink to the icing drizzle.


Ingredients: (yields 1 brunch rings)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons  white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 3 1/2-4  cups flour
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup candied fruit, small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
Method:
  1. In a glass microwave bowl beat together first 6 ingredients until frothy. 
  2. Microwave one minute at a time for 3 minutes, whisking well every minute. Mixture should be  warm like that of a baby bottle.
  3. In a large bowl stir together yeast and 3 cups of the flour.
  4. Pour warm milk mixture over flour and yeast. Add the candied fruit and stir until mixture begins to come together.
  5. Knead adding remaining flour until dough is smooth and not sticky. You may need to add a little more flour if your dough is too sticky. Knead well for about 10 minutes.
  6. Cover bowl of dough with a clean, lint free kitchen towel and place in a draft free place to rise for one hour or until double in bulk.
  7. After first rise, punch dough down and pinch off golf ball sized pieces of dough. Roll each ball in melted butter and place in lightly greased bundt pan so that dough balls are touching. The dough balls will fill the bottom of the bundt pan. If you have extra just place on top of others. 
  8. Cover, and again place in a draft free place and allow to rise 3/4 of an hour. Dough ring will have risen to double or more.
  9. Bake in oven preheated to 350º for 20-23 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out onto cooling rack. 
  10. Ice with a thin drizzle icing of 3/4 cup icing sugar thinned to a thick drizzle with 2 teaspoons melted butter and either 2-3 teaspoons of milk or maraschino cherry juice. Using the juice adds a little flavour and colour to your icing. 
Tip: When kneading the dough I like to have 1-2 extra tablespoons of oil close by and add a little at a time along with the remaining flour. It will help the dough not stick to your hands and helps to make a nice smooth soft and none sticky dough. This dough produces nice bubbles from the yeast as you knead it. If you don't care for the candied fruit you can substitute with raisins. 

Ring right after baking. You can see how it becomes a pull apart ring as it bakes. The individual balls have baked together, and will pull apart nicely when serving.

A Sugar Plum brunch ring.....oh so soft and just the right amount of sweet!

Barley Mushroom Bake


This casserole is great served as a sidedish to fish or chicken, but can also be served as a main dish if you like to go for a meatless dinner. The wonderful neighbor lady who shared the recipe with me many years ago knew how to cook up the tastiest vegetarian menu.

Ingredients:
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup pearl or pot barley
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Method:
  1. Cook chopped onion in a bit of olive oil until tender. Spread into buttered 5-cup casserole.
  2. Cook chopped mushrooms until tender and juicy, then add to onions.
  3. Add barley to onions and mushrooms, then stir.
  4. Cover with broth and salt (or boiled water in which you have dissolved 2 teaspoons Better than Boiulon or your prefered cubes).
  5. Bake covered at 350° F for 1 1/4 hours or until liquid has evaporated.

Chocolate Macaroons

If you love chocolate and coconut you will want to run to the kitchen and bake up these little mounds of goodness. Have the coffee ready when they are still just a wee bit warm....bet you can't just eat one.

Ingredients: (yields 16 large or 24 small macaroons)
  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate, chopped fine
  • whites from 3 large eggs (save the yolks for an omelet) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened fine coconut
Method: 
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a small metal bowl or top of double boiler. 
  2. Place over a pot of simmering water and allow chocolate to melt. Stir several times while it is melting. Once it is completely melted remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place egg whites and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and whisk until slightly frothy.
  4. Sift sugar, cocoa, espresso powder and salt into bowl of whisked egg whites.
  5. Whisk well to incorporate the dry ingredients into the egg whites.
  6. Whisk in the warm melted chocolate until mixture is smooth.
  7. With a spatula stir in the coconut. 
  8. Using an ice cream scoop place large mounds of mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheets. 
  9. Place cookie sheets with macaroons in the fridge for 1/2 hour-1 hour. This will insure that they don't spread out during baking. 
  10. Bake in preheated 325º oven for 13-15 minutes. Macaroons will be shiny on the outside and still very soft when touched lightly. They will seem under baked, but they are done.
  11. Cool on pans and then remove to plate or an air tight container to store. 

Apple / Pear Spice Muffins



I had two pretty sad looking pears in my fruit basket, so I decided to see if I could make some muffins out of them. So I stewed together two apples and two pears added some spice and it resulted in these delicious  muffins perfect for fall.
  • 2 apples peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 pears peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger 
  • 1/2 cup of hard margarine or butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup raisons
  1. Cut  the apples and pears into small pieces. I left the peel on but you can peel it if you wish. No need to add water or sugar to the pot. Cook on low heat  until soft.
  2. Add the cinnamon and ginger. Mash together.
  3. Cream together the softened butter with the sugar adding the eggs one at a time.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients together stir.
  5. Add the raisins to the flour, add that into the creamed butter mixture.
  6. Stir the stewed fruit and combine until all the dry ingredients are mixed in.
  7. Place into 12 greased muffin tins.
  8. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
  9. Leave the muffins in the tins for 5 minutes, remove and cool on a cooling rack.
  10. Serve with a warm cup of tea, perfect for those cool fall afternoons.

Bread for the Journey

Best Dressed


Therefore, as God's chosen people,
holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, 
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 NIV


She stood before the mirror...
checking to be sure everything looked just right.
She loves to raid the 'tickle trunk' and dress up!

I asked her...
'Maggie, is it more important to look nice or to be nice?'

Without hesitation she said,
'To be nice.'

That's my girl!
  
She cares how she looks...
but she knows that how she acts is more important.

May I be more concerned with being clothed in compassion and kindness...
humility, gentleness and patience...
than about what I am wearing or how my hair looks.

Only then will I be 'best-dressed'!


Farmer's Omelette


How about making this hearty omelette for a weekend brunch? I enjoy brunch guest, I do as much pre prep as possible so I can relax with our guests and not be overly busy in the kitchen. I pre-cook the potatoes and veggies the day before, add the remaining ingredients the morning of serving. This recipe is very versatile, use the ingredients you have on hand or what you prefer and it will be delish! This recipe makes 2-4 servings depending on the appetites. Serve with muffins  and a fruit salad.
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cups diced uncooked potatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/4 cup of finely diced peppers (green or red)
  • 1 cup of ham, diced
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste (I omit the salt)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cups of low fat shredded cheese
  • 1 seeded and diced tomato
  1. Pre heat your skillet first, then add a bit of oil.
  2. Add the potatoes, peppers and onion. Cover and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally til browned.
  3. Add the cooked ham and cook til lightly browned and warmed through.
  4. Beat the eggs with the milk and parsley.
  5. Pour over the potatoes and ham. Cover and cook on medium low heat until set, lifting the edges occasionally to let the eggs mixture run under and cook evenly. This takes about 8 minutes or so.
  6. Top with the diced tomato, and cheese and cover again until the cheese melts.
Serve with a fresh fruit salad, toast, banana bread or muffins.

Chocolate, Chocolate Cookie Cake

If you don't have the time or inclination to bake and decorate a cake, here's a simple and delicious alternative for your next celebration that's always a hit for 'kids' of all ages! 


  • 1/2 cup  butter
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (use white chocolate, dark chocolate or milk chocolate)
  1. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Line two nine inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  5. Divide dough in half, and spread each half evenly in a lined cake pan, leaving a small gap around the edge of the pan
  6. Bake cookies on center rack at 350°F for about 15 minutes..or until set.
  7. Cool completely before removing from pan.
  8. Now your cookie-cake is a blank canvas waiting to be written on.  Melt white chocolate,  put into a Zip-loc bag, snip one corner and write a message to the happy recipient. Or mix up a batch of butter-cream frosting, use a pastry bag and decorate. 
* I usually double the recipe and make large cookies with the remaining dough.  These can also be personalized and used as party favours. If you have another cookie recipe that you prefer, most cookie doughs will make up nicely into a 'cake'...keeping in mind that each 9" cookie-cake uses about 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup flour.


Place on serving platter...
and enjoy!