Fried Cheese Appetizers

French Fried Cheese Appetizers

1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or 1/4 teaspoon salt
10 oz. assorted cheeses; cut into 36 (3/4 inch) cubes
2 eggs, beaten
Oil for deep frying

In small bowl, combine bread crumbs and seasoning. Using fork, dip each cheese cube in egg, then in crumb mixture. Dip in egg and crumbs again, making sure cheese is completely coated (a third time may be necessary). Cover, and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. At serving time, heat 2 to 3 inches oil in fondue pot or small saucepan to 375 degrees. Spear cheese cubes with fondue fork; fry 30 to 60 seconds or until coating is golden brown. Cool slightly; transfer to toothpicks. 36 appetizers.

*** Cheddar, Monteray Jack, Muenster, or mozzerella cheese can be used.

Acini di Pepe Salad Recipe

Acini di Pepe Salad

1 lb. Alcini de Pepe pasta
2 small cans of crushed pineapple
1 large can mandarin oranges
1 – 9 oz. container of Cool Whip
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
a handful of miniature marshmallows (optional)

Drain fruits and save juice. Add juice to sugar, eggs, flour, and salt. Cook until thick. Add cooked macaroni. Refrigerate overnight. Then add cool whip and fruits (and marshmallows).

Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe

Twice Baked Potatoes

6 medium potatoes (russet or baking potatoes)
salt and pepper to taste
1 pt. sour cream
1/2 cup chives or chopped green onion, if desired
1 cup chedddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
Parmesan Cheese

Bake the potatoes until done, approximately 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Cut in half. Scoop out both halves. Reserve the skin. Whip the potatoes together in a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. When smooth, add sour cream, chives, or onion if desired, cheese and butter. Whip until blended. Scoop potato mixture back into the skins. Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. May be held in the refrigerator for 24 hours, or wrapped for freezing. To serve, place on cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Spaetzle Recipe

Spaetzle (German-style homemade noodles)

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons dried dillweed or mixed herbs
(like chives, parsley, basil)
4 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups milk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and dillweed. Make a well in the center and pour in the beaten eggs and milk; mix by hand just until smooth. Bring a large pot of water to a hard, rolling boil; add remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Over the pot, with a wide slotted spoon, scoop out a spoonful of batter and shake it lightly until it breaks into strands that fall into the water. The pieces of batter will congeal to form spaetzle; when the spaetzle float to the top of the water, remove them with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat until no batter remains.

Makes about 4-6 servings, 8 cups cooked noodles.

Note: Add spaetzle to any soup, serve it with any meat or chicken dish, or simply serve warm spaetzle plain, with butter or gravy or topped with cheese.

Sausage Apple Stuffing Recipe

Sausage and Apple Stuffing

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups water
2 large bags of your favorite cornbread stuff crumbs
1 pound pork sausage (no links)
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 medium apples, cored, sliced
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large pot melt 2 sticks butter in water. When melted add dry cornbread stuffing, stirring to incorporate liquid, set aside.

In a large saute pan set over medium high heat melt 1 tablespoon butter and add sausage. With a wooden spoon break up port and saute until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove sausage to paper towels to drain. In the same saute pan melt remaining butter and saute onions with a garlic and celery until onions are translucent and celery is crisp tender. Add walnuts and saute for 1 minute. Add apples and saute for one minute more. Remove from heat. Combine cornbread stuffing with sauteed ingredients and stuff turkey. Roast turkey as usual. Alternately: fill a 9x13x2 inch pan with stuffing and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, covered with foil for 1/2 hour. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more.

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

An oldie, but a goodie. My mother used to make these – always nice to be able to have mashed potatoes without all the work (beyond the first round of work, I mean – LOL)

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs. potatoes, cooked until tender
2 pkgs. (3 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. salt (in water)
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. butter

Mix all ingedients together. Will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

John got me a cheesemaking kit for Christmas, and we finally decided that the time was right to make us some CHEEEEESE! Fresh Mozzarella to be exact. All we had to get was a gallon of (non-ULTRApasteurized) whole milk – the rest of the ingredients were in the kit – rennet, cheese salt (non-iodized), citric acid, and a thermometer.

Below are photos and general descriptions of the process – this is not detailed with exact measurements and not a full recipe by any means, so if you want to make your own cheese, follow the link above or google it – lots of great info online! Onward…..

First, we dissolved a 1/4 tablet of rennet into a little water and set that aside.  Then we dissolved teaspoons of citric acid in water and poured that in a large pot, and added the entire gallon of milk – heating it til about 90 degrees. It didn’t really take that long.

Then we removed the pot from the burner and slowly stirred in the rennet solution we made earlier for about 30 seconds. They make sure to specify stirring up and down, not just spinning it around.

Next, we took it off the warm burner and let it sit for about 5 minutes with the lid on. This is the part where the whey separates out and the curd beneath starts to get the consistency of custard.  Ours actually took a bit longer than 5 minutes – maybe an extra 5 tops.

In the image below you can see the custardy curd part is easily pulled away from the side of the pot. It was a lot softer than we were expecting (since we had ‘finished cheese’ on the brain) but it was just perfect at this point.

Next, we took a knife and cut the curd in a grid pattern – feels like you’re cutting nothing, but it’s really working – LOL.  I shook the pot slightly and could see that the cut marks were staying, not healing back up.  Whew!

Gotta heat it up again, to 105, while slowly moving the curds around – not really ‘stirring’. Then, we took it off the heat and kept stirring for a few more minutes. In the photo, you can see the yellowy, watery whey, and the chunks of curd much better now.

Then, we scooped out the chunks of whey with a slotted spoon.  After a while John suggested we use the strainer, which did save us a lot of time, although it was fun, for a while, to stir the goop and find new curds that had sunk to the bottom of the pot. Here are the curds in a glass bowl, with some whey settled around it.

At this point we used the microwave method of heating the curds, then draining off the excess whey, then adding a little salt, and massaging it into a ball-ish form, heating it again, and then stretching it like taffy, until it was smooth and shiny. (The more you stretch/work it the firmer it will be.)

After stretching, we formed it into a ball and cooled it in cold water. After five minutes, we added ice and let it set for 15 more minutes.

Then, as we could barely contain ourselves, we rescued it from the cold bath, patted it dry with paper towels, and cut off a chunk to eat – ohhhh – it was soooo good!  Creamy, a wonderful flavor and consistency. And although it seemed like there were a lot of steps, it only took us about 45 minutes to make it – not bad for cheesemaking newbies!

I highly recommend the Cheesemaking Kit from – and they have a number of other kits and supplies and books too. The directions were easy to follow, and the cheese was delicious! 🙂

Banana Pancakes

I know these LOOK like regular, ordinary pancakes…

Banana Pancakes

But they are really BANANA PANCAKES! Didn’t see THAT one coming, did you!  Did you!!?? Did…. never mind.  Anyway, they were delicious. We even had a special tiny pancake left over for the dog, who also approved.

Here is our recipe, adapted from a basic one we found on the web.

Banana Pancakes

2 1/2 cups Bisquick
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 c. wheat germ/ground flax (optional)

Beat ingredients until well blended. For thinner pancakes add more milk, a little at a time, as needed. Pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle – we recommend greasing the griddle beforehand. Cook until edges are dry. Then flip and cook until golden. Yields 12-13 pancakes, depending on size, etc.

Aw, Nuts. I mean, Trail Mix!

John and I have been making our own homemade trail mix lately. It’s much less expensive than buying it in those little bags, you can make a lot to have on hand and fill multiple containers, plus you can put in EXACTLY what you want!

Our usual mix seems to have evolved into a can of mixed nuts, a can of cashew pieces (since mixed nuts simply don’t have enough cashews!), yogurt raisins, and golden raisins.  We also have some M&Ms, but we keep those in their own container – it’s safer that way – LOL. We mix together a bunch, then put a container out on the coffee table to munch on, and with nuts, it doesn’t take much to fill you up, plus there’s lots of protein and good fiber in the whole mix.

I highly recommend making your own trail mix – just think of all the weird things you’d put in your ideal snack!

homemade trail mix -


Hot Weather Pasta Salad

A little while ago the temperature was 110 degrees for many days in a row. When we actually had appetites, we had to come up with something else to eat besides cold sandwiches and fruit, so we put together a cold pasta salad!

We used a lot of stuff we had around the house – rotelli pasta (tri-color would have been nicer, but we only had regular), organic Tuscan Italian dressing, tuna fish, diced tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. And we sprinkled on some sliced, fresh mozzarella just before we ate it.

We have nothing against mayo-based salads, but even that can seem heavy when it’s so hot outside, so the Italian dressing version worked nicely for us.
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