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SANDRA'S COMFORTING PENNE with VEGGIES



Had a craving for a meatless dinner this evening 
so created this recipe using on-hand ingredients, 
which 'fit the bill' to perfection...

Servings: (6)
Prep: 10 Mins.
Cook: 25 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb. penne pasta, prepared according to pkg. directions
2 tbsp. light olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
6 crimini mushrooms, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 zucchini, cubed
1 (15 oz. can) diced Italian seasoned tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons worcestershire
2 teaspoon balsamic
Small squirt of agave (or honey)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Finishing:
2 tablespoons. unsalted butter
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

METHOD

Begin preparing pasta according to package directions, except cooking shy by a couple minutes (pasta will finish cooking in sauce).  When draining, reserve 1/2 cup hot pasta liquid; set aside.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add zucchini and tomatoes, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, basil, worcestershire, balsamic, and agave. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.

Add cooked, drained, hot pasta with and additional 2 tablespoons softened butter to skillet, along with freshly ground pepper, and reserved pasta water; toss to combine, and cook for a final 2 minutes.

Serve in pasta bowls, topped with freshly grated parmesan. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S MILD GREEN-CHILI CHEESY SAUSAGE TATER TOT CASSEROLE

A simple but addicting breakfast/brunch casserole
with country sausage, mild green chilies, cheese and tater tots...


Servings: (10)
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 45 Mins.

A simple but addicting breakfast/brunch casserole with sausage, mild green chilies, cheese and tater tots, oh my!

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. ground country style sausage, browned
1 (4 oz. can) mild diced green chilies, drained (or medium-heat for spicier flavor)
2 cups medium shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
3 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 lbs. frozen crispy Ore Ida tater tots (='s 3/4's of a 2-lb. bag)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place sausage in a large skillet, and cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown using a spatula to bread into small bits. Drain, and spread evenly in bottom of a glass 9x13" baking dish. Sprinkle over sausage the diced green chilies, then shredded cheese.

In medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk, and mix to combine. Pour mixture over cheese. Top with tater tots, and gently press into mixture.

Bake casserole, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, uncovered, before serving. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~
Tip: I found it's also most-excellent topped with a bit of salsa and a tiny dollop of sour cream (over-the-top heavenly)...

SANDRA'S ALASKAN MOOSE ROAST - PRIME RIB STYLE

A simplistic method using minimal spices and ingredients
to guarantee utmost flavor
of our prized Alaskan moose roasts; prime rib style, that is!


Servings: (8-10)
Prep: 5 Mins.
Roast:  1 Hr. 20 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

4 lb. boneless moose roast (tied with kitchen string)
6 fresh medium garlic cloves, sliced in half
Canola oil (sufficient amount to rub entire exterior of roast prior to seasoning)
Fresh ground black pepper (we like to use a lot!)
Kosher salt (a fairly nice dusting)

METHOD

Remove roast from refrigerator 1 hour prior to roasting (tie with kitchen string if not already done). Using a sharp boning knife, poke as many small holes all over uncooked roast to insert the number of garlic clove halves; push in holes. Let prepped roast sit at room temperature for 1 hour (this is an important step to relax meat fibers).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Rub roast with canola oil, and season exterior with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt.

Place roast fat-side up on roast rack inside a shallow-sided roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into middle of roast.

Roast uncovered at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes of high-heat cooking, reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast for 1 hour, or until meat thermometer registers 135 degrees for medium rare doneness (temperature will increase while standing another 5 to 7 degrees).

When 135-degree internal temperature is achieved, remove roast to a carving board. Tent loosely with parchment paper then foil (do not let foil touch roast directly) and allow let rest (without cutting) for at least 20 or more minutes allowing juices to redistribute. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tips: Start checking internal roast temperature for a 3-lb roast (subtract appx. 15 minutes), or for a 5-lb roast (add appx. 15 minutes) of roasting time during the final 350-degree cooking time.

This method of roasting wild Alaskan game works well with venison (deer), caribou, beef., et. al...


SANDRA'S OLD-FASHIONED CHERRY PIE

One fabulous dessert that's not too difficult to prepare
and is so very, very satisfying!


Serves: (6 to 8)
Prep:
Bake: 45 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Pie:
1-1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 (14.5 oz. cans) pitted red tart cherries, drained,
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pkg refrigerated pie crusts (Pillsbury: 2 will be enclosed)


Crust topping:
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon granulated sugar + 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


METHOD

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set a 9" glass pie plate aside.

Lightly dust working surface with flour, gently unroll pastry, and use a rolling pin to slightly enlarge, just enough so pastry is a bit larger than pie plate. Repeat for top pastry crust.

In a large bowl, mix sugar and flour. Stir in cherries; fold to incorporate, and spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over cherries.

Cover with top pastry. Brush with a pastry brush the inside of crust (not edges) with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cut slits cut in top pastry crust; seal and flute.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cover edge with 3" strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; return to oven and continue baking for 25 more minutes, until golden brown and juice bubbles through slits in crust..

Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving with French vanilla ice cream. ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA'S LIGHT ASIAN DIPPING SAUCE with WILD ALASKA PAN SEARED SCALLOPS

A terrific Light Asian Dipping Sauce I created while in Yakutat, Alaska
preparing a family dinner when I had minimal on-hand ingredients,
served as a first course with Pan Seared Wild Alaska Bay Scallops ~ Delish!


Serves: 4
Prep: 10 Mins.
Indoor Grill: 4 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Light Asian Dipping Sauce:
1 tablespoon low-sodium Tamari (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey, more/less to your desired sweetness
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of onion powder
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro (measured after mincing)

Scallops:
2-1/2 lbs Wild Alaska Bay Scallops

METHOD

Whisk all dipping sauce ingredients in a small glass (non-reactive) bowl. Let flavors meld at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse and pat scallops dry. Place on paper towel-lined baking dish. (Can be stored covered with plastic wrap in refrigerator for a few hours as such, although bring to room temperature for 20 minutes prior to searing.) Lightly pat tops of scallops one final time with paper towel prior to searing.

Preheat a dry cast iron grill-ribbed skillet over medium-high heat. Pan sear bay scallops for 1-2 minutes per side, depending upon size. (Larger scallops will take slightly longer to sear.) Do not overcook scallops or they'll become tough.

Place seared scallops on serving platter in a single layer with dipping sauce in a small, decorative bowl at the center, along with small dipping forks. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tips: Pan sear scallops in batches so as not to overcrowd pan, preventing steaming scallops. Also, if using larger sea scallops, cut them into quarters prior to searing.


SANDRA'S 30-MINUTE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP with CHEDDAR CORNBREAD

An all-time favorite...a quick and easy comfort meal that's oh so healthy for you!

Be sure to favorite/print out this recipe as I'm sure you'll want to prepare this
each and every time you find you have leftover chicken and/or turkey on hand...







Servings: (6)
Prep/Cook: 30 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Soup:
1/2 tablespoon light olive
2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry minced onion
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons dried parsley, divided (see below)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon worcestershire

3 precooked, boned, skinned chicken thighs, roughly shredded, then cut into bite-size pieces
2 green onions, cut into 1/4" slices (both white and green parts)
1 (reserved) tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 cup frozen sweet peas

Noodles: Prepared and stored separately (See 'Leftover Tip' below)
--1 (8-oz pkg) No-Yolk Broad-Egg Noodles, prepared according to pkg directions (10-12 mins. cooking time)

Cheddar Cornbread (15-20 minutes baking time):
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
--1 (8.5-oz. pkg) dry Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/4 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese

METHOD

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and set aside a sprayed, square 7" baking dish.  Place a separate medium pot on stove with 4 quarts water over high heat for water to boil for noodles.

First, begin preparing soup by heating oil in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium high heat.  Add and sauté celery, carrots, dry minced onion, basil and 1 tablespoon dried parsley, granulated garlic and onion, lemon pepper, poultry seasoning, and turmeric for 5 minutes.  Add chicken broth, white wine vinegar, and worcestershire; stir to combine.  Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat to medium low to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package directions.

Also, begin preparing cornbread batter in a small bowl by beating an egg with 1/3 cup milk, add and mix in with a fork the dry corn muffin mix, and fold in shredded cheddar cheese.  Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

At this point, finish soup by adding the chicken, green onions, remaining 1 tablespoon dried parsley, and frozen peas. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn off heat.

Drain noodles in a colander at end of cooking time.

Remove cornbread at end of baking time, and cut into 6 squares.

To serve, place 3/4 cups of prepared noodles into each bowl and ladle soup over top. Place filled soup bowls onto separate dinner plates, each with squares of cheddar cornbread slathered with butter ;) alongside. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Leftover Tip: I store cooked noodles separately in the refrigerator in ziploc bag so as to maintain their integrity, with the actual soup separately, covered, in an air-tight container.


SANDRA'S ALASKA WILD DUCK with SECRET SAUCE over STEAMED RICE



A wonderful Alaskan 'comfort food' recipe I created this evening
that consists of one Pintail and another Mallard duck.
~ Thanks to my husband! ~
We'll be looking forward to having this fine dinner again and again...

Servings: (8)
Prep: 30 Mins.
Cook: 1 Hr.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1/2" strips, browned (retain grease and drippings)

4 Alaska wild duck breasts, brined (See below*)
= Must be brined 3 days prior
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion

Vegetables-herbs-spices:
2 cups sliced celery
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon dried ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Sauce:
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg dry brown gravy mix
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3-4 cups water (depending on sauce consistency)
1 tablespoon worcestershire
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 dry bay leaf

--Prepared steamed rice

METHOD

*Brine duck breasts 3 days prior to preparing recipe, as follows:

Clean and dress by boning and skinning two Alaska wild ducks.  Place four whole breasts in medium-size, clean, glass bowl in brine consisting of 1 tablespoon table salt and 4 cups cold water, cover and refrigerated for 3 days. Rinse brined duck breasts with cold water until water runs clear; pat dry. Remove any remaining silver skin, cut in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2" thick pieces.

In a large heavy-bottom stainless steel skillet, over medium-high heat, brown the bacon. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. (Retain drippings and bacon grease in skillet).

Add duck pieces to the hot skillet, including granulated garlic and onion, and sauté until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove duck pieces to another paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. (Retain drippings and remaining grease in pan).

Add celery, onion, basil, marjoram, sage, parsley, granulated garlic and onion to skillet and sauté until onions are translucent. Sprinkle in flour and sauté for 1 minute longer.

In the meantime, whisk all sauce ingredients in medium bowl; add to skillet. Also, add the reserved bacon and duck pieces, and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low to gently simmer, covered, for 1 hour, while occasionally stirring. Check sauce consistency when stirring, adding additional water, if needed.

Meanwhile, prepare steamed rice, according to package directions.


Serve over steamed rice with your favorite vegetable alongside. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S EASY CHOCOLATE PARFAITS topped with CINNAMON PECANS

A quick and easy dessert I created using ingredients I had on hand
for a halftime treat ~ Go Seahawks!!


Servings: (6)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Set in refrigerator: 1 Hr.

INGREDIENTS

1 (6-serving size pkg) instant chocolate pudding mix
3 cups cold milk
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon agave (or granulated sugar)
1 (8 oz. tub) cool whip, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cinnamon pecans
--(found in the ice cream topping section of the market)

METHOD

In a medium bowl, whisk the pudding mix and milk until fully combined, place in refrigerator to set for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small glass bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, about 40 seconds. Add the graham cracker crumbs and agave; use a fork to combine.

Add vanilla extract to the cool whip; mix to combine.

Remove pudding, then layer dessert among 6 decorate glasses in the following order: 1/2 crumb mixture, half chocolate pudding, half cool whip, half cinnamon pecans - repeat a second time.

Place parfaits in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour to set and for flavors to meld. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S NO-BAKE CHERRY YUM YUM

Truly, truly a ''yummmm...yummm" dessert
in both this cherry version ~ or the alternate blueberry option!


Servings: (12)
Prep Time: 15 mins
Refrigerate to set: Minimum of 4 hrs or overnight

INGREDIENTS

Crumb mixture:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Creamy mixture:
1 (8 oz. pkg.) regular cream cheese, room temperature (not whipped)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 (16 oz. container) whipped topping, thawed (or 2, 8 oz. containers)

Filling:
1 (32 oz. can ) prepared cherry pie filling (or 2, 16 oz. cans) - Blueberry is an option too!

Garnish:
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, sifted over top

METHOD

Using a fork, combine crumb mixture ingredients in a medium bowl.

Press half  of the crumb mixture in a glass 9x12x2" rectangle baking dish, set remaining aside.

In large bowl, add all creamy ingredients in 3 increments; switch to using a wooden spoon to fold in each addition until smooth.

Spread half of the creamy mixture on top of crumb crust. Top with pie filling. Add remaining creamy mixture in small dollops and sprinkle top with other half of crumb mixture, then press lightly to adhere.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. Generously dust top of dessert with a couple of tablespoons of confectioners' sugar sifted through a fine-mesh sieve. Cut into squares, and serve. ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA'S EASY OUTSTANDING RHUBARB COBBLER

A wonderful recipe that's easy to prepare in which I used frozen rhubarb
 I thawed beforehand, so you're able to prepare this outstanding dessert year round!

Also, feel free to substitute rhubarb for apples using this same par-cooking method.


Or, changing it up using stone fruit or berries 

without par-cooking prior to baking...

Servings: (8 to 10)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Bake: 50 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Filling (Par-cooked before baking)
5 cups sliced, 1" pieces, fresh (or frozen rhubarb, thawed)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk (not sweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup hot water

-- Serve with a scoop of French vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Par-cook rhubarb in the microwave in a glass bowl covered with a plate on high for 8 minutes. Drain through a sieve, without disturbing by pressing rhubarb pieces down. Place drained rhubarb in a sprayed, glass 9x9x2" baking dish. Drizzle with lemon juice, and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and soda. Switch to using a spoon then add beaten egg, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter; mix just until combined. Spread batter evenly over rhubarb mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle mixture over batter. Drizzle hot water over top of ingredients to fully cover.

Bake until golden brown for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand on baking rack for 10 minutes.  ~ Enjoy!




SANDRA'S GLAZED CARROT CAKE COOKIES

A portable carrot cake in cookie form...
 ~ How divine is this?! ~


Yields: Appx. 3 doz.
Prep Time: 10 Mins.
Cook Time: 14-16 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Cookies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
3/4 cup shredded carrots
--about 2 medium, scrubbed
1/4 cup shredded apple (I used Braeburn)
--about 1/2 unpeeled, cored apple
1/4 cup shredded coconut, chopped finer
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2-1/4 to 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
--depending on juiciness of grated carrots and apple
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Cream Cheese Glaze: Yields 1 cup

4 oz. whipped cream cheese
--does not need to be at room temp
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
--sift through sieve for a smoother glaze
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
--add more or less, depending on desired glaze consistency
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside a couple of baking sheets lined with silpat liners or parchment paper.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until mixture is light and creamy. Add crushed pineapple and its juices, carrots, apples, raisins, coconut, and pecans. Place a sieve over batter in mixing bowl, and add flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice; sift dry ingredients into wet ingredients in mixing bowl.  Turn on stand mixer and beat on low, just until batter is fully combined (do not over mix).

Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto prepared cookie sheets 1-1/2" apart. Bake cookies for 14-16 minutes in preheated oven, just until bottoms begin to brown and cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies cooling on wire rack prior to glazing...
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Add confectioner’ sugar, and a bit of milk, and begin mixing until smooth (add additional milk, if necessary, to reach desired glaze consistency). Use a fork dipped on its backside into the glaze, then run the fork tines through the glazed top of each cookie to form drizzle marks using a gentle back-and-forth motion.

Place glazed cookies in a single layer on decorative platters. Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip: This particular cream cheese glaze will not harden. If you wish to make a hardening non-cream-cheese type of glaze instead, simply combine confectioners' sugar with reserved pineapple juice, milk, or water to desired drizzle consistency, which will harden within 1/2 hour for easier storage.


SANDRA'S 10-APPLE NO-SHRINK DEEP-DISH ALMOND-CRUST PIE


By gently par-cooking the apples beforehand,
I've finally solved the problem of apples shrinking as they cook,
and therefore this method prevents leaving a gap between crust and apples
that have typically collapsed upon cooling...

Servings: (8-10)
Prep/Par-Cook: 30 Mins.
Bake: 65 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Almond Crust
--(A hearty, darker, and super flavorful crust)

2 cups all-purpose flour
--plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
--plus extra for filling below
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain kosher salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons cold milk
1 large egg, beaten

Filling
--(No shrink)

10 mixed apples (I used Granny Smith and McIntosh), washed, unpeeled, cored and cut into 3/4" pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons corn starch
--2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
--1 tablespoon milk
--1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw), or regular

METHOD

Prepare the crust in a food processor by combining flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar; pulse 4 times to mix. Add 1 cup butter cubes and pulse 8 times. Add sufficient milk, beginning with 4 tablespoons, pulsing until mixture pulls from edge and begins to solidify into a ball. Remove dough and place on lightly floured surface; divide in half, and form into 2 flat discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, including placing a foil-lined baking sheet on middle rack in oven. Cut three 4" wide foil strips; set aside. Also, set aside a deep-dish pie plate. (I used a 10" diameter x 1-1/2" deep ceramic pie dish.)

Meanwhile, prepare filling by placing apple pieces in a Dutch Oven (or large heavy-bottom pot) over medium-high heat. Add sugars, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and cornstarch. Using a wooden spoon, toss to combine. Cover Dutch Oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, while frequently stirring. Remove Dutch Oven from heat, and uncover to allow filling to gently cool while preparing crust.

Remove crust disks from the refrigerator, and roll out one at a time, on a lightly floured surface about 1/8" thick. Place bottom crust into pie dish, cutting any excess outer edge hanging over dish.  Roll out top crust using the same method.

Working quickly, add filling over bottom crust in dish. Dot with 2 tablespoons cold butter cubes, then push slightly under apples (so when butter steams while pie bakes it does not cause top of crust to separate from filling). Add top crust to pie, trim edges to 1/2"; pinch to flute and secure. Gently cover top of crust with a light coating of milk using a pastry brush, score a few decorative steam hole slits, and evenly sprinkle top with turbinado sugar.

Set pie on preheated baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape from the pie while cooking). Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Pull pie from oven and line edges of crust with foil strips (to prevent over browning); lower the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking for an additional 45 minutes, turning once half way through baking. Remove pie from oven and cool on a wire rack for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours to set. Cut into wedges and serve with French vanilla bean ice cream. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip: Feel free to peel the apples beforehand, although this unpeeled pie version adds more nutrients and fiber to its outcome, including doing so dramatically cuts down on prep time...


SANDRA'S LAYERED FRUITY OATMEAL BARS

Luscious fruity goodness in every bite!

If you're at all like me, you won't be able to stop with only one bar...
Servings: (24 bars)
Prep Time: 15 Mins.
Cooking Time: 28 to 30 Mins.

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon fine-grain salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats (for more crunchier bars),
--Or, quick cooking oats (for chewier bars)
1 cup raisins

Filling:
1-1/4 cup jarred meatless mincemeat with apples and raisins (I use Nonesuch, not the 'dry' pkg'd type)

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a glass 9”x11” baking dish; set aside.

In large stand mixer bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. In medium bowl, sift through a sieve the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and salt; mix well. Add to butter mixture; mix well. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well.

Divide dough in half. Spread half of dough mixture into bottom of prepared baking dish, using fingers ‘slightly’ moistened with water to prevent sticking. Layer meatless mincemeat fruit filling to within ¼” of edge of first layer, then drop by tablespoons the remaining dough atop the filling and press lightly with fingers (it’s okay if a bit of filling remains visible).


Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely for 1 hour in baking dish on wire rack, prior to cutting evenly into 24 bars. ~ Enjoy!

Hot out of oven cooling for 1 hour on wire rack...

SANDRA’S MOLASSES-KISSED CHEWY OATMEAL-RAISIN COOKIES

This cookie recipe creation yesterday turned out phenomenal!

Back in the kitchen today, upon request,
to bake an additional double batch ~ Gotta keep my guys happy...


Yields: 30 (Appx.)
Prep Time: 15 Mins.
Bake: 8 to 10 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses (spray spoon first)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1-1/2 old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
½ cup raisins

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple of baking sheets with a silpat liner or parchment paper; set aside.

Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl with hand mixer (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) on medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg, vanilla extract, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. On low speed, beat in flour, and then oats and raisins just until fully combined.

Drop level tablespoons 1-1/2” apart on a prepared baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes until tops appear dry for chewier cookies, more dry for less chewy (my baking time for chewy perfection is 9 mins.). Cool cookies on baking sheet 1 minute before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Store cooled cookies in an airtight at room temperature up to 5 days (or freeze up to 3 months). ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tip: To retain stored cookie chewiness so they do not harden over time, place ¼ slice of fresh bread inside airtight container ~ Ensure to replace with a fresh piece of bread daily until cookies are gone.
  

SANDRA’S ALASKA MOOSE MEATLOAF MINI’S topped with a ZESTY SAUCE

An 'All-American Comfort Food' you can prepare ahead of time,
and it's in 4 mini loaf pans so you can choose to serve a few or many.


Meatloaf freezes very nicely too for those with smaller families (see Tip below).

Also, feel free to prepare this recipe using 
lean ground beef, pork, venison, elk, caribou, buffalo, etc...







Prep: 15 Mins.
Bake: 50 Mins.
Servings: (8-12) | Yields: (4 Mini Loaves)

INGREDIENTS

Veg and seasonings:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely diced
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Loaves mixture:
2 lbs. extra-lean ground venison
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup ketchup

Topping (sauce):
1/3 cup ketchup
2 teaspoon agave (or 1 tablespoon honey)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and place sprayed mini loaf pans on top.  Set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and saute onions and seasoning ingredients for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add all loaves mixture ingredients using clean hands, just until combined (do not over mix).  Add veggies/seasonings mixture, including all pan scrapings, and mix to incorporate.  Form into 4 equal loaf-type shapes in bowl, and transfer to individual pans.

Filled mini venison meatloaf tins...

Combine all the topping/sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and equally spoon over top of 4 loaves.

Topped with tangy sauce...

Bake for 50 minutes, uncovered, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. ~ Enjoy!

Hot out of the oven...



SANDRA'S ADDICTIVE BAKED-STYLE SMASHED TATERS (Recipe)...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip: These mini loaves freeze wonderfully ~ Simply, prior to baking, cover tin(s) with foil and label each using a permanent marker: 

"Moose Mini Meatloaf - Thaw overnight in frig - Bake at 350 degrees-50 mins."


SANDRA'S UNBELIEVABLE BANANA GLAZED BARS

Full-flavored, light and moist dessert
that will, without a doubt, keep you coming back for more...


Servings: (36 small or 18 large bars)
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 20 – 22 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, slightly packed
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups (3 medium) ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking soda (or regular)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt

ICING:
1 (4 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons water (approximately)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 15x10x1” baking sheet, line with parchment paper then spray top of parchment paper as well; set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer (or use a hand mixer and large bowl), cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, bananas and vanilla. Sift in a medium bowl the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; gently mix into creamed mixture just until blended. 

Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Bake at 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in baking sheet on a wire rack draped with a clean kitchen towel. 

Meanwhile, for the icing, in a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Sift, and then add confectioners' sugar.  Add vanilla and a bit of water, and beat until smooth, until desired drizzle consistency is reached. 

Flip bars over to remove parchment paper (I do so from the rack to a baking sheet), then re-flip to right side up.  Cut bars into 36 squares, or 18 larger triangle bars. Drizzle icing on bars diagonally using a teaspoon sweeping in a back-n-forth motion. (See photo below). ~ Enjoy!


~~~~~~~~~~

Tip: I like to let icing ‘set’ to sufficiently dry for a minimum of 3 hours before storing in an airtight container.

SANDRA'S VIVACIOUS VANILLA BANANA-MARSHMALLOW-COCONUT PUDDING

A quick and delicious dessert to put together
but ohhh so difficult to wait until it sets...



Servings: (8 to 10)
Prep: 20 Mins.
Refrigerate: 2 hours

INGREDIENTS:

PUDDING:
1 (5.1 oz. box) instant vanilla pudding
1 (12 oz. can) cold evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)
1-1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)

FILLING ADDITIONS:
2 slightly ripe bananas, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup shredded coconut, chopped finer

TOPPING:
1 cup fresh whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar (or granulated sugar)

--Sprinkle topping with a pinch of ground cinnamon

METHOD:

In  medium, round, glass bowl, whisk all the pudding ingredients for 3 minutes to slightly thicken. Gently fold in fruit additions. Evenly spread whipped cream topping over pudding mixture, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours to allow dessert to fully thicken and for flavors to meld. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tip: I place the unopened can of condensed milk in the freezer for a 1/2 hour prior to preparing recipe.

SANDRA'S LAYERED FRUIT-LADEN LEMON JELLO DESSERT

Top layer: Lemon jello, pineapple, pears
Middle Layer:
Sweet creamy mixture
Bottom Layer:
Lemon jello, pineapple, peaches


Servings: (8 to 10)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Refrigerate: 1st time-1-1/2 hrs; 2nd time-4 hrs.

INGREDIENTS:

2-Layer Jello-Fruit Mixture:
2 (3 oz. boxes) fat-free lemon jello, divided
2 cups boiling water, divided
1 15 oz. can peaches in light syrup, drained (reserve juice)
1 15 oz. can pears in light syrup, drained (reserve juice)
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (reserve juice)
--[Note: Overall, you'll only be using 1 cup of reserved fruit juice)

Middle Creamy Layer Mixture:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons agave (or 1 tablespoon honey)

METHOD:

In a medium, round, glass bowl, add one pkg. lemon jello; stir in 1 cup of boiling water to dissolve.

In a small, round, glass bowl, the second pkg. lemon jello; stir in 1 cup of boiling water to dissolve.

Separately drain the 3 cans of fruit through a sieve a medium bowl to drain; setting 3 different drained fruits in their own small bowl.  Roughly chop the bowl of peaches, then the bowl of pears.  Set 3 bowls of fruit aside.

Measure 1 cup of drained fruit juice mixture and stir into large bowl of lemon jello, then do the same adding a separate 1 cup of drained fruit juice mixture and stir into second small bowl of lemon jello.  Place both bowls of lemon jello into refrigerator to cool and slightly thicken for 1-1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, whisk the creamy layer mixture ingredients in a small bowl, and refrigerate until final assembly of dessert.

After 1-1/2 hours, drain any additional juice that accumulates under fruit in 3 bowls.  Add half of the drained crushed pineapple both the first large bowl of partially set lemon jello, including the other half to the small bowl of lemon jello. Gently fold in all the drained peaches to the large bowl jello mixture.

Spread the creamy layer mixture over top of first layer of jello fruit mixture.

Gently fold in all the drained pears to the small bowl jello mixture, then pour atop the creamy layer mixture, and your dessert is fully assembled! Cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours to set. ~ Enjoy!


MAX'S RITZ CRUSTED ALASKA HALIBUT FILLETS

An incredibly quick, easy and fabulous halibut dinner
my husband made the other night...


Servings: (4)
Prep: 5 Mins.
Cook: 5 to 7 Mins.

INGREDIENTS:

Frying:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Halibut prep:
4 boneless, skinless halibut fillets (ensure they are of even 1" thickness)
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 sleeve whole ritz crackers, finely crushed

Serving Sauce:
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mayonnaise

METHOD:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add olive oil and butter.

Meanwhile, pat the halibut fillets dry with paper towels.  Brush all sides of fillets with olive oil, then sprinkle both sides as well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Place ritz crackers in a small shallow dish, press halibut fillets in cracker crumbs to amply coat.

Fry fillets, not touching, in preheated skillet without moving for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn fillets over, and continue to fry without moving for 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Remove fillets from skillet to a platter and let juices redistribute (without covering).

While doing so, prepare sauce by whisking ketchup and mayonnaise in a small bowl, then serve alongside halibut fillets. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tip: We ate these incredible halibut fillets with a nice side dish consisting of a large green salad gently tossed with light vinaigrette...

SANDRA'S PECAN MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES

Melt in your mouth cookies that are superbly airy and tender…


Yields: 32 cookies
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 12 Mins.

Melt in your mouth cookies that are superbly airy and tender…

INGREDIENTS

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
1 teaspoon bourbon-vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
2 cups pecans, very finely chopped

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside a couple of baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat liners.

With an electric or stand mixer, beat butter, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, and bourbon-vanilla extract, until pale yellow and fluffy. Add sifted flour, salt and nuts to batter; and mix to incorporate (if using a hand mixer, you may want to use a spoon at this point), ensuring to scrape sides of bowl.

Roll dough into 1" balls. Place on ungreased, lined baking sheets.

Bake 12 minutes, until lightly golden.


While hot, roll in remaining 1-1/2 cups unsifted confectioners’ sugar. Cool on wire rack, then dust with additional ‘sifted’ confectioners' sugar. Let cookies fully cool. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S RAVISHING RHUBARB-RASPBERRY-PINEAPPLE PIE

Just pulled this jewel of a pie
(made from the bounty of my garden this summer)
out of the oven as the hubs pulls in the driveway...


Servings: (8)
Prep: 30 Mins.
Par-cook filling: 20 Mins.
Bake: 1 hr.

INGREDIENTS:

Bottom Crust:
1 (10") prepared pie crust (store-bought, or Sandra's Homemade Pie Crust Recipe)

Filling:
4 cups frozen rhubarb, thawed, drained, and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup frozen raspberries, unthawed
1 (8 oz) can, crushed pineapple, with juices
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt

Crumble topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons butter, melted

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside a 10" pie dish.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add all filling ingredients and stir to combine, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, while occasionally stirring.  Remove from heat, and set aside. (This procedures allows the pie to bake faster, including reducing pie filling shrinkage while baking.)

Line pie crust in pie dish, trim and flute edges. Ladle in hot filling.

Prepare crumble topping by adding all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine, except the melted butter. Drizzle in melted butter, then stir with a fork to incorporate until small pea-sized shapes form. Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over pie.  Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.  Remove to baking rack to let cool for a minimum of 1 hour to allow pie to set, prior to cutting. ~ Enjoy!

~~ An amazing dessert to serve with French vanilla ice cream ~~











SANDRA'S 15-MINUTE INDIVIDUAL ROMA PIZZA

When faced with preparing lunch for myself today,
this is the end result; a flavorful mini roma pizza that turned out fabulously well....


Serving: (1)
Prep: 5 Mins.
Bake: 10 Mins.

INGREDIENTS:

Roma Pizza:
1 (7” round) store-bought Mama Mary’s Gourmet Pizza Crust
2 teaspoons, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EEVO), divided
2 tablespoons, crumbled goat cheese, divided
2 Heaping teaspoons, Jarred, basil pesto sauce
4 Jarred, kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
2 Jarred, halve sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, roughly chopped
4 Jarred, marinated quartered artichokes in olive oil, quartered

Greens (to wilt over hot pizza):
Small handful, baby spinach and arugula mix
Slight drizzle with: EEVO, Balsamic Vinegar, Agave ~ Including a bit of Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper ~ Toss and set aside.

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place pizza crust atop baking sheet.  Brush surface, including edges, very lightly with EEVO. Leave ¼” edge of crust free of toppings, while smearing inside crust with basil pesto. Sprinkle lightly with a layer of goat cheese, all of the kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichokes.  Sprinkle, again, with a bit more goat cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove hot pizza from oven and immediately add dressed greens on top, along with a final sprinkle of goat cheese.  Cut into quarters, and serve ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA'S TERIYAKI SAUCE (Homemade)


An easy and tasty option to make your own Teriyaki Sauce.

I always have some of this Asian sauce on hand for those last-minute stir-fry recipes
for quick meal options on those busy nights...

Prep: 5 Mins.
Yields: 1 Pint (2 Cups)

1-½ cups dark brown sugar
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (An Asian-style barbecue sauce)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (or 1 teaspoon ground)
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

METHOD

Add all ingredients to a nonreactive (glass/ceramic) bowl, and whisk to combine. Use in your favorite teriyaki recipe or as a marinade, including basting grilled meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish.

Store in an airtight jar in refrigerator~ Enjoy!

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