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Monday, July 28, 2014

Creamed New Potatoes and Peas

Our garden is finally coming on nicely!  One of the things we look forward to the most from our garden is creamed potatoes and peas.  My Mom used to make these a few times every summer from the first digging of potatoes and the first nice picking of peas.  Mom never had a measured recipe and neither have I, however, my kids and others have asked several times how to make them so this last time I made them I measured ingredients so I could write a recipe. :)   This should be more helpful than "add more milk until it's the thickness you like" or "until it tastes right".

If you don't grow a garden or have access to a nice farmers market, you could use small red potatoes and frozen peas and have a dish that is still tasty.  It isn't nearly as wonderful as fresh from the garden, but it is still good.

Creamed New Potatoes and Peas

3-4 lbs. of new red or gold potatoes
2 C. freshly shelled green peas

Wash potatoes leaving skins on. Cut potatoes in halves or quarters so they are large bite sized pieces.  Rinse peas.    Put potatoes in a 4 quart pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.  Add peas and continue to cook until  potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.  Poke a large potato piece with a fork to see if it's done.   Drain put back in pan.

While potatoes are boiling make sauce.

Cream Sauce

1/2 C. salted butter
2 C. heavy whipping cream
2 C. milk
1/4 C. cornstarch
1/4 C. water
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Add cream and milk and start heating over medium heat.  In small bowl mix cornstarch and water until smooth.  Whisk into the cream mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly until bubbly and thickened.  Be careful!  It spits and splatters!  Add salt and pour cream over cooked peas and potatoes.  Serve immediately!

Joy's Notes:   This is a LARGE batch.  I fed 9 people with seconds and a few leftovers.   Would be easy to cut in half.   IF you are planning to need to reheat these after they've been refrigerated you need to replace half of the cornstarch with flour.  Mom always used flour but I find it easier to keep the lumps out with cornstarch.   However, cornstarch will break down and the cream will be runnier when reheated.  The flour seems to stabilize it nicely and still make it easy to make a lump free sauce.  IF you like a thicker sauce use 1/3 C. of cornstarch and 1/3 C. water.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cinnamon Chip Bundt Cake

Need a quick and easy cake to take to a summer picnic, easy dessert for company, or a delicious afternoon snack at home?   This cake is easy and convenient to make.  My 13 year old daughter has been making this cake in several variations for more than two years and can do it my herself now.  She tried this with the cinnamon chips this past week and we all loved it!  The cinnamon and glaze make it a great breakfast cake.

If you've never used cinnamon chips before, they are mini chips that melt into whatever they're baked in.  If you live near me, I can order these for you through Alison's Pantry.  Otherwise you can order them from King Arthur Flour and even on Amazon (of course!).   Click THIS LINK to see what they're like.  Unlike chocolate chips, they are not good for eating straight out of the bag, but they are a delicious addition to muffins, breads, cakes, and other baked goods.

Cinnamon Chip Bundt Cake

1 pkg. white cake mix
1 C. sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 C. oil
3 ounce (or larger) pkg french vanilla pudding mix
3/4 C. cinnamon chips

Mix cake mix, sour cream, eggs, oil, and pudding mix together until smooth.  Stir in cinnamon chips.   Grease bundt pan and pour batter in evenly.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. (in my convection oven we did 325 for 40 minutes)  Remove from oven and turn out onto a large plate.   Let cool 10 minutes or so and then drizzle with the glaze.


2 1/3 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. water

Mix well and drizzle over top of cake while still slightly warm.

Joy's Notes:   This seems to stay moist and keep well on the counter for a few days if covered with plastic wrap.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Decadent Chocolate Truffles

I made these for my daughters wedding reception.  They are super easy and delicious!  I don't have a picture with these but I love to do a variety of coatings to make a pretty plate of treats.  Coatings are easy to coordinate with the current holiday so you can make these year-round.  It's almost shameful how easy they are to make.  (and honestly, they're even easier to eat!)

Decadent Chocolate Truffles

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
3 C. powdered sugar, sifted
3 C. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or other flavoring
coatings of choice:  ground nuts, cocoa powder, coconut, powdered sugar, sprinkles, candy melts of any color, melted.

Beat cream cheese until it is smooth.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar until well blended.  Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla flavoring until well mixed.

Refrigerate about an hour.  Shape into 1 inch balls.  Roll truffles in desired coating.  Makes about 60 truffles.  Store in refrigerator or freezer if you need to make them quite a bit ahead.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies

My son loves the Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies from Subway.  These were an experiment to try imitating those.  It's been a while since I've had one of those cookies from Subway, but whether they compare exactly or not, this experiment turned out really well!  My son gives them two thumbs up so I will continue making these cookies!  YUM!   

I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with some modifications.  I left out the regular vanilla and chocolate chips and added a block of cream cheese, a little extra flour, raspberry flavoring and raspberry "bits".  These raspberry bits I ordered through Alison's Pantry a while back.  They haven't been in the catalog but will be for the September order!  You can find a similar product on Amazon Here.  The products aren't exactly the same but I imagine either would work.

This does make a large batch but they freeze really well in either dough or baked form!

Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies

2 C. butter, softened
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 C. white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. raspberry flavoring
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 1/4 C. flour
1 12 oz. package white chocolate chips
1/2 C. raspberry bits
1 C. barely chopped nuts, optional  (I used walnuts because I had those on hand)

Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugars, then add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add rest of ingredients and mix together well.  Roll in golf-ball sized balls or use a cookie scoop, and place on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350° for around 10 minutes give or take a minute depending on your oven.  You want them to be puffy and starting to brown a tad on the bottom edge and then when you take them out of the oven they won't look quite done.  Let them sit on the cookie sheet and cool for 5-10 minutes.     I have a gas convection oven and have to adjust for that.  I bake these in my oven at 325 for 9 minutes most of the time.

Joy's Note:   If you can't find the raspberry bits, I think a lot of the flavor comes from the raspberry flavoring so I think they would still be pretty good without those.  If you live near me - the bits will be in the September 2014 Alison's Pantry catalog.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Super Summer Slushies!

One of the tastiest ways to cool off on a hot summer day is with a slushie!  Shaved ice or Icee's are really tasty but not always conveniently located (or in the budget!).  We live in a very rural area so it takes a trip to town for those.  Though, we do have an ice cream truck that occasionally stops by - we think THAT is a real treat!  An ice cream truck in the country is a rare sighting!   

Years ago we bought a Vita-Mix brand blender.  We've used the daylights out of it.  Smoothies, ice cream, chopped veggies, whole wheat blender pancakes, etc.  At 20 years old it's still in pretty good shape.  It is one of the best blenders on the market even now and can easily tackle pulverizing ice cubes.  I love my Vita-Mix!   

This is the first year we've done slushies at home.  (lots of ice cream and smoothies, but no slushies!  We've been missing out!)   

Simple directions for a Slushie:

1 packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid
1 C. sugar
1 quart of water
2 C. ice cubes

Mix the Kool-Aid, sugar and water.  Place ice cube in blender, pour 1 C. of Kool-Aid mixture over ice (reserve the rest for later).  PLACE LID ON BLENDER!  (Sometime ask me why I stress this. lol )   Turn blender on high speed and blend until ice is crushed.  Pour into cups immediately as it separates quickly.

Joy's Notes:  If your blender doesn't handle the ice cubes as well add a little more Kool-Aid and let it continue blending for a minute.   This is where my Vita-Mix wins hands down. I can mix a slushie thick enough that I have to spoon in out.  Yum!

Our ice cream truck sells a 9 oz cup of shaved ice for $1.50.    Right now I can pick up a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid at WinCo for 10 cents.  A cup of sugar is about 30 cents.  For less than .50 cents I can make about 3 of that same sized cup of slushie at home!   A cheap sugar high!  (and my budget loves it as much as the kids do!)