Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's February, so it's time for Cherries

I know I'm late, but it's still February and technically I can use that title above. When you think of February, you think of George Washington. You think of other things too, but it's a themed column today, so go with me on this. We all know the story about George Washington, as a boy, cutting down the cherry tree, but is that story true? While it's a good story, no one has ever found any evidence that young Mr. Washington did indeed cut down his father's cherry tree and then profess, "I cannot tell a lie." So, when February rolls around every year, we all connect President Washington's birthday with cherries.

Now, I have to profess that I cannot lie either, I do not like cherries. Won't eat them, or anything that has a cherry flavor, with one exception. I love my mom's Cherry Delight dessert. But, when I eat it, I push the cherries to the side. My recipe for you today is one that I usually alter because you can use just about any fruit in it. Today, I have a Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler recipe. When I make this recipe, I usually use Musselman's Peach Pie Filling, if I can find it, you could also use apple pie filling, or blackberries. Just about any fruit will work with this.

Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler

1 - 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

Line your slow cooker with a Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner, or coat the inside of the crock with cooking spray. Pour the pie filling into the crock and spread along the bottom. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Making a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Spread the batter evenly over the pie filling in the crock. Cover, and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Onion Chip Dip

Have you noticed that some of the major grocery stores have stopped carrying name brand products? I've noticed it happening at both Kroger and Walmart stores.It's a marketing thing for the stores. They want to sell you their own store brand, but you want to buy the name brand. Let me give you an example with yogurt. I've mentioned before on here that I love Weight Watchers yogurt. It's the best I've ever tasted, but many of the Walmart stores no longer carry it. Out of five Walmart stores that I have been to, only two have the Weight Watchers brand yogurt.

I love Prairie Farms French Onion Dip. I've tried the store brands and even the other brands and none match up to Prairie Farms brand. You know what happened, my local Kroger store stopped carrying Prairie Farms French Onion Dip. The only place I can find it now is at Walmart and that's a thirty-minute drive away. So, this week I decided to try and make my own onion chip dip. How hard could that be? Well, I found out that it was pretty easy. At my local store, I bought a 16 oz. container of Kroger Sour Cream and one package of Kroger Green Onion Dip Mix. The instructions on the package didn't say anything about mixing it with sour cream, but why not? Mixing both together, I discovered a really good Onion Dip. My husband liked it so well that he nearly ate all of it and then asked me to make another batch a few days later. You can't beat how easy it was to make. Sometimes, experimenting pays off.


Addendum, February 19, 2011:
I went to Walmart today and wouldn't you know it, they did not have the French Onion Dip AND they only had three flavors of Weight Watchers Yogurt, who of which I don't like. I may have to rethink my normal shopping stops.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate Pancakes

It's the weekend before Valentine's Day and today I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for my mother to finish getting her hair done. While waiting, I notice that there were a lot of people coming out of one store carrying the same thing. No, it wasn't flowers or chocolate, it was Mylar balloons. Most of them were red and shaped like hearts. Some said Happy Valentine's Day and some said I Love You. From what I could see, there are going to be a lot of happy people in that particular town for Valentine's Day.

After my mother was finished with her hair appointment, we headed to Walmart. What a madhouse. It almost felt like Christmas. I don't know if it was because of Valentine's Day or the fact that the weather was finally nice out. The sun was shining and the temps made it above freezing.

Obviously, chocolate is a popular item to give at Valentine's Day, so today I am going to give you a different recipe, Chocolate Pancakes. If you are a chocolate lover like I am, you will love these.

Chocolate Pancakes

4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c. milk
6 T. oil
3 c. flour
2 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients. Batter will be lumpy. Stirring with a wire whisk helps mix it better. Pour batter onto a hot griddle and cook as you would any pancake. Top with warm chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Making dill pickles into sweet pickles

My aunt was a wonderful cook and she passed on many of her recipes to me. I think I've posted a few on here in the past. Today, I wanted to share her recipe for making sweet pickles out of dill pickles. The first time I saw this recipe made, my mother did it. I was convinced that she was crazy and that there was no way you could make sweet pickles out dills. I watched as she mixed everything together and periodically turned the jar she left sitting in her sink dish rack. Amazingly, it worked and they were delicious. I was convinced. I've added this recipe to my list of what I call "Magic Recipes."

To be honest, my aunt's recipe does not list what size jar of pickles to use. It just says large jar of pickles. The best I can remember, I use a 46 oz. jar of large whole dill pickles. I like to use the large whole pickles and cut them into bite size pieces, but you can just as easily used the hamburger slices, if you want.

With this being Super Bowl Sunday, if you are in need of just one more appetizer, you might want to give this one a try.

Sweet Pickles from Dill Pickles

46 oz. jar of whole dill pickles
2 C. sugar
1 t. celery seed
4 T. vinegar

Pour dill juice out of jar. Slice or chop pickles to desired size and place back in jar. Add sugar, celery seed, and vinegar. Replace lid and turn the jar until sugar has dissolved. The pickles will make their own juice. Store in refrigerator until serving time.