Monday, April 8, 2013

               My all time favorite cookie is shortbread.  I also really like sugar cookies.  At odds with these two favorite cookies is the fact that I like moist cake-like cookies.  So, I have attempted to capture the essence of the shortbread cookie in a softer form. 
               My first attempt was close but left a sugary after taste that I didn’t care for.  I have for years added a little pepper to my sugar cookies to give them another layer of flavor.  I tried it here and it changed the after taste to a hint of spice that most people will never guess to be pepper.
               In my quest for cake-like I actually achieved a little bit of chewiness that I really like with this cookie.  I hope you enjoy them.  Let me know at

Sugar Cookie Surprise

         3½-3¾ Cups Flour
         ¾ Cup Sugar
         1¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
         1 Teaspoon White (or Black) Pepper
         ¼ Teaspoon Salt
         1 Tablespoon Vanilla
         ½ Cup Butter
         ¾ Cup White Corn Syrup
         1 Beaten Egg

         Combine dry ingredients
         Warm syrup and butter in sauce pan over medium low heat until butter melts (alternately, warm in microwave for about 90 seconds and stir until butter melts reheating if needed)
         Cool syrup mixture to about room temperature and add beaten egg
         Combine all ingredients and mix well.
         Cover and chill at least 2 hours
         Form into golf ball sized balls, roll balls in sugar and flatten to 1/4 inch on a cookie sheet lined with non stick aluminum foil.
         Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes
         Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet

         3 dozen 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tom and Ella's Recipes
According to, a recipe is a set of instructions that describe how to prepare of make something, especially a culinary dish.

         These are original recipes that we've adapted for recipes of family and friends.   Some are very simple open-cans-combine-heat-serve type of recipes.  Some may require a little more preparation.  However, these are all good make-at-home foods that you just might want to take to the potluck or covered dish.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Corn/Potato and Bacon Chowder

Recipe:  Corn/Potato and Bacon Chowder

If you can open a can and turn on the stove, you should be able to make this quick and hearty chowder.

Warning:  this is neither on my diabetic or heart-healthy diet.  This is pure comfort food.

        4 slices thick cut bacon
        1 can whole corn
        2 can diced potatoes
        8 ounces sour cream
        1 pkg Chicken Flavor Booster
        Parsley Flakes
        Salt and Pepper to taste

In a 2 qt sauce pan. Cut bacon into 1” pieces.  Brown until just crisp, drain excess fat.
Add juice from canned corn to pan and scrape browned bits from bottom of pan.
Add corn and potatoes
Add one half can of water
Add Chicken flavor booster.
1 Tablespoon of dried Parsley Flakes
Bring to boil. And turn off heat.
Stir in the sour cream and check for seasoning

(I actually like a thicker soup so I added a ‘handful’ of potato flakes to thicken)

If you want to 'fancy it up for company', serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with parsley flakes.

This is really good with hot from the oven pre-packaged biscuits.  The chowder will take less time than it takes to preheat the oven and bake the biscuits.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Potato Bread

Potato Bread
        12 oz water (bottled or filtered)
        4 Cups flour
        2 teaspoons salt
        2 ½ Tablespoons sugar
        ¾ Cup Potato Flakes (or ½ cup potato buds)
        3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
        1 ½ Tablespoons dry yeast

        Mix together potato flakes and flour
        Add all other ingredients to mixing bowl and briefly stir

        *If using a stand mixer set a low speed with dough hook and add flour mixture one cup at a time until it forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.
        Set mixer on medium and knead for about 5 minutes.
        Shape dough into a ball and move to a large lightly

        **If mixing by hand with a wooden spoon add 3 cups of flour to liquid and stir until it forms a sticky dough and then slowly add remaining flour until it forms a ball that cleans the bowl.
        Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead at least 20 times.

        Shape dough into a ball and move to a large lightly greased bowl.  Turning once to coat dough.
        Cover bowl and let rise in warm location until double.
          Once dough has risen punch down and divide into two loafs pans (or shape into one large round loaf on a baking sheet).
          Cover and let rise until double.
          Lightly score top (brush with butter or oil if desired)
          Place on middle rack of oven preheated to 350 degrees.
          Bake until golden brown (loaf should sound hollow when thumped) about 1 hour.
          Resist the urge to cut the bread while it is still hot.  Let it rest until it is just above room temperature and you’ll have a better loaf. 

Makes two loaves or one large loaf

Monday, February 11, 2013

Apple Sauce Pork Chops

Apple Sauce Pork Chops

        1 ½ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
        ¼ teaspoon onion powder
        Dash of salt and pepper
        1 Tablespoon Margarine
        1 Apple (firm type such as Granny Smith)
        1 can apple sauce
        2 Iowa Chop pork chops

        Peal, core and coarsely chop the apples
        Melt margarine over medium heat in a medium cast iron skillet
        Fry chops until golden brown (3-5 minutes on each side)
        Add apple sauce to skillet
        Top with diced apples
        Cover skillet and reduce heat to low.  May need to stir occasionally
        Cook 10 to 20 minutes (check for doneness by pressing on chops … when juices run clear it is done.)
        If apple sauce starts to dry out, add water or apple juice

Serves 2
originally posted February 11 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

1-2-3 Cake

 Recipe 1-2-3 Cake*

          Start with two packaged cake mixes.  One of them HAS to be Angel Food but the other can be any flavor you like.  Mix the packages of dry ingredients together.  We placed ours in a gallon size zipper locked bag.  Store the mix until you are ready to use it.
          When you have the craving for cake, add 3 Tablespoons of mix and 2 Tablespoons of water in a coffee cup.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  You may have to adjust time according to YOUR microwave.
          Top with frosting, fruit, or nothing at all.  Be creative.  We used Pillsbury Easy Frost.  It seemed like the perfect compliment to a one minute cupcake.
*I’d like to credit the person who came up with the recipe.  However, it is something that I’ve seen being passed around on Facebook so I don’t know where it originated.

Potato Bacon Chowder with Yukon Gold potatoes.

          Potato Bacon Chowder with Yukon Gold potatoes.  

.  I like a little carrot in with my chowder


UMMMM! Bacon crisp.

A little salt and pepper and saute in a little bacon fat

Stir in a couple tablespoons of flour and then add milk.  
Just before serving, add a couple generous glops of sour cream. 

Topped with some veggie straws for crunch.