Monday, December 15, 2008

Orange Ambrosia Mold

This is one of my favorite jello recipes. It could be a salad or dessert. Kids love it too, especially when you add marshmellows!

Orange Ambrosia Mold

1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple
2 C. boil water
1 (8oz) orange sugar free gelatin
1 3/4 C. thawed cool whip (lite or fat free)
1 (11oz) can mandarin orange segments, drained
1 C. mini marshmellows

Drain pineapple, save juice. Add cold water to juice to measure 1 Cup.
In a large bowl, stir boiling water into gelatin. Stir 2 minutes ro until completely dissolved.
Stir in measured liquid juice. Refridgerate 1 1/4 hrs. or until slightly thickened.
Stir in cool whip with a wire wisk until smooth. Refridgerate 10 minutes or until mixture will mound. Stir in pineapple, oranges, and marshmellows. Spoon into 6 c. mold.
Refridgerate 4 hours or until firm.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is based on the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe, but I changed it up a bit because my cookies always ended up flat when I followed their recipe.

This is probably one of Ben's favorites. They disappear quickly hot off the cooling rack.

Tip: Buy a cookie scoop. I purchased one last year and it makes it really easy to scoop up dough and drop onto the cookie sheet. I also use it to fill cupcake and muffin cups. Really GREAT tool.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Arrion's version of Toll House)

2 2/3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 C. margarine softened
1 C. packed brown sugar
2/3 C. sugar (try Splenda)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 C. semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine the flour, soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat margerine, sugars, and vanilla. Beat in egg. Gradually add dry ingredients. Gently stir in chips.

Drop by rounded Tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees, 8-10 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes. Remove from pan to wire cooling rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Recipe Credit: Nestle and Arrion Rathsack

Friday, December 12, 2008

Light Waldorf Salad

This is a really yummy fruit and nut salad, made with yogurt. It's considered low fat and goes great with a cold chicken breast for lunch. This recipe makes four servings... so try not to eat the whole thing!

Light Waldorf Salad

2 apples, cored and diced
1 C. seedless grapes, halved
1 C. plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 C. chopped celery
1/4 C. chopped walnuts
2 T. raisans
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Ground cinnamon

Combine apples, grapes, yogurt, celery, walnuts, raisins and juice.
Serve sprinkled with cinnamon.

Taco Soup with Black Beans

Another great crock pot recipe. The leftovers are almost better than the fresh soup! Consider adding fresh lime juice or chopped cilantro after cooking.

Taco Soup with Black Beans

1 lb. ground beef, browned
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 can corn, undrained
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can red beans, undrained
1 env. dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 env. dry taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours. Squeeze about half a lime into the finished soup (optional).
Garnish with tortilla or chips, shredded cheese, sour cream.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Italian Meatloaf

This is a great recipe for a large family meal. A nice twist on your traditional meatloaf or even spaghetti and meatballs. Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce.

To remove meatloaf and other meats from the crockpot, make yourself some foil handles. Place three, double strips of heavy foil, crisscrossed on the bottom of the pot and ends left hanging over the top edge. Place them in the pot first and put your meat on top.

Italian Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 C. quick-cooking oats
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 C. pasta sauce (use the rest with pasta)
1 tsp. garlic powder
onion slices

Combine meat, eggs, oats, soup mix, pasta sauce, and garlic powder. Shape into a loaf and place in the crockpot. Top with onion slices.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Serve with pasta and additional sauce.

Ham and Potatoes

This is a great recipe for your leftover Christmas Ham. Just pop the ingredients in the crockpot and it's ready for dinner. This is the first in a series of crockpot recipes I plan to post. I love getting out the crockpot this time of year, you'll always have a yummy stew, casserole, or roast for dinner!

My family traditionally has lima beans with ham and potatoes. I would toss in some frozen lima beans with this recipe.

Ham and Potatoes

5-6 potatoes, sliced
About 2 C.+ ham, diced
8 oz + American or Velveeta Cheese, cubed
half a small onion, diced
1 can of cream of chicken soup (I use the healthy request, reduced fat stuff)
1/2 C. milk

Layer potatoes, ham, cheese, and onion in the crockpot. Add the soup on top.
Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.

Recipe Credit: Arrion Rathsack

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Growing up, Ben's Grandma Beckhoff would make chocolate cake at Christmas. I have since discovered it's one of Ben's favorites. While this is not the original recipe, it's pretty close. I have discovered that here in Texas, this cake is otherwise known as a "Texas Sheet Cake". A chocolate cake with a hint of cinnamon.

Don't forget to include a red hot and green frosting ivy leaves!
The photo shows Ben's sister Sarah Rathsack and his mom Brenda Rathsack decorating the chocolate sheet cake, Christmas 2007.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

2 C. flour
2 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. butter or margerine
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine flour, sugar, soda, and salt. In saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and 1 C. water. Bring mixture just to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add chocolate mix to dry mix and beat with mixer till combined. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute.

Spread onto greased 13x9x2 pan (or 15x10x1 pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Cool on wire rack, but frost while still warm.

Chocolate Frosting
In a saucepan combine 1/4 C. butter, 3 T. cocoa, and 3 T. buttermilk. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat. Add 2 1/4 C. sifted powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp. vanilla. Beat till smooth. If desired, stir in 3/4 C. coarsely chopped pecans.

Decorate with red hot candies and use green frosting for ivy leaves.

Recipe Credit: Arrion Rathsack

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Casbah Sugar Cookies

These cookies taste like those lofthouse sugar cookies you can buy at the store, only these are made with fresh ingredients and no preservatives. My husband's mother Brenda and his Grandma Beckhoff made these cookies every Christmas. They would be frosted white, with a red hot in the middle and two little green frosted ivy leaves.

Casbah Sugar Cookies

1 C. butter
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

With a mixer, beat well the butter and sugar until creamy. Add sifted dry ingredients. Mix well. Chill in fridge. Roll into balls, place on cookie sheet and then smash down ball with the bottom of greased glass pressed in sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

1/3 C. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. powdered sugar
2 T. milk (or more)

Mix all together with mixer. Spread on the cookies.

Recipe Credit: Brenda Rathsack and Janet Starwalt Beckhoff (1934-2002)

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I always thought that Mac and Cheese was too difficult to make, so I never tried. I stuck to my favorite Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from a box. The other day, I came across this recipe from my mother-in-law Brenda Rathsack. She had written a bunch of recipes for my husband Ben on a steno-pad when he first went off to college. Now of course, Ben has never made anything other than chicken fajitas or chicken stir-fry (i.e. all the same ingredients except for the bottle of spice he grabs.) He did say he tried a tuna casserole once, enough said.

Anyway, this is VERY simple. I am now addicted to the stuff. It's REAL mac and cheese. (Can you tell I am excited?)

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

1 bag of elbow macaroni
Milk (I did use whole milk - but try 2%)
1/2 a large box of Kraft Deluxe American Cheese - cubed
Butter - about 1/2 a stick or more

After macaroni is cooked and drained, place it back in the pan. Start heating (about medium). Add enough milk to just cover the macaroni.
Add cubed cheese and butter.
Heat until cheese has melted and milk has thickened.
You'll know when it's ready!

Recipe Credit: Brenda Rathsack

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mom's Sugar Cookies

I have been making these cookies for as long as I can remember. In particular, I can remember dipping the glass in sugar and smashing the cookie dough along side my mom and older sisters. At Christmas, we would add red and green sprinkles. My family has always liked to store and eat these cookies straight from the freezer. They have a great lemon flavor, which makes them different from a traditional sugar cookie. This is one of my personal favorites.

Mom's Sugar Cookies

2 eggs - beaten with a fork
2/3 C. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon flavor extract
3/4 C. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together first five ingredients. Sift together flour, powder, and salt. Add to the sugar mixture.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with bottom of greased glass dipped in sugar.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until a they just start to turn a light golden brown on the edges.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe Credit: Nancy Smith

Grandma Smith's Orange Cookies

These cookies are a Smith family favorite and once again could be found stored in an aluminum cake pan on Grandma Smith's porch. I think these are my sister Allison's favorite cookies and I always think of her or grandma when I hear "orange cookies". My mom has another version which I will post sometime as well.

Grandma's Orange Cookies

1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. soft butter
1 egg
1 tsp. lemon flavor
1 tsp. vanilla flavor

Liquid mix
1 T. vinegar
Add buttermilk to make 1 C. liquid

Dry mix
3 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Juice of one orange

Combine and mix the first 5 ingredients. Set aside.
Mix together vinegar and butter milk. Set aside.
Mix together flour, soda, powder, and salt.

Add the liquid mix and dry mix to the sugar mix alternating each a little at a time.
Add the orange juice.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until just a little bit brown. Touch the top, as soon as it doesn't dent, they're done.

Mix together to following ingredients in order.
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 stick melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring
orange juice

Add the orange juice to make stiff enough to spread and smooth on the cookies.

It's my understanding that there is a special procedure for storage. It includes an aluminum cake pan and wax paper. Carefully layer cookies and wax paper in the pan and store in the freezer.

Recipe credit: Eileen Kinnick Smith (1918-1999)

Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe comes from my Grandma Eileen Smith, whose mother Dorothy Sorenson Kinnick immigrated from Denmark in 1904. It's written a bit differently, because it's based on an oral description of the recipe. Basically, grandma told me the recipe and I wrote it down. Grandma would have fresh rolls in an aluminum pan sitting out on the "porch" when we would visit. If you want to make half the dough into plain rolls as the recipe indicates, you'll need to improvise as further instructions are not provided. One of the classic "Danish" pastries.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 1/2 C. scalded milk
1 stick of butter
2/3 C. sugar
Stir until butter melts.
Add 1 C. cold water and 3 pkgs. of dry yeast
Stir in and let it stand until bubbly (15 minutes).
Add 3 eggs (beaten with a fork) and 2 tsp. salt.
Add 5 C. flour.
Beat well and add about 2 more Cups flour.
Put it on a floured board and cover with a tupperwear bowl and let it rest 10 minutes.

Kneed 2-3 minutes.

Put it into a greased bowl and let it rise about an hour.

Flatten 1/2 the dough on a floured surface.

Spread flattened dough with butter.
Mix 1/2 C. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon, sprinkle on top.

Roll up and cut with a piece of thread.

If you make it all into cinnamon rolls, you'll need to double the filling for the other half of dough. I usually make half of it into plain rolls and half into cinnamon rolls.

Depending upon how thick you cut them and how close you put them in the pan. The recipe says 1/2 recipe in a 9x13 pan, but they are really thick and hard to get done in the middle so I usually make them half that big.

Bake at 350 degrees, 15-20 minutes.

Recipe Credit: Eileen Kinnick Smith (1918-1999)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hot Chocolate Mix

My mom used to make this recipe every winter. It's cold outside, so it seems like a great recipe to post. According to the card, it comes from my Aunt Carolyn Conner (my mom's older sister). I bet you could substitute the No Sugar Added Quik Chocolate for the regular stuff.

Hot Chocolate Mix

8 Qt. Box of powdered milk
1 lb. box of Quik chocolate
1 (6oz) Coffee Mate
1/2 C. powdered sugar

Combine ingredients and store in air tight container.

Add 1/3 C. mix to a mug of hot water.

Recipe Credit: Carolyn Conner


My great-grandmother Dorothy Sorensen Kinnick immigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1903, landing at Ellis Island. This is a recipe handed down to me from her daughter Eileen Kinnick Smith (my Grandma Smith). It's best described as a danish hamburger recipe! But they have always been refered to as Fricadels.
The photo shows the Kinnick family abt. summer 1938. R. Edward (Buzz), Mary Eileen (Grandma Smith), Leo, Paul, and Dorothy Kinnick.


1lb hamburger
1 egg
1 T. flour
1/2 C. Milk
Onion, pepper, salt

Combine all ingredients and shape burger mix into patties. Drop 2 T. fat in skillet. Fry patties on both sides until done in the middle.

Recipe credit: Dorothy Sorensen Kinnick (1887-1983)

Pumpkin Bread

I came across this recipe after I married my husband. His mother had written it down for him on a recipe card. I tried it one Christmas and it was wonderful. It makes a very moist pumpkin bread. I make it every year. My son loves it and my daughter is allergic to bananas, so she'll be eating pumpkin bread Christmas morning.
Update: Made this recipe a few days ago. Turned out great, here are a couple of photos. 12/28/08

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients and Instructions
Combine these five ingredients:
3 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Combine these ingredients:
3 C. granulated sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 C. water
2 C. canned pumpkin (1 15oz can)

Combine dry ingredients (first 5.) Mix oil, water, and eggs well. Add sugar.
Fold in half the flour mixture and half the pumpkin. Mix until blended. Add remaining flour and pumpkin. Mix only until combined (don't over mix.)

Pour into pre-greased/floured pans.
Bake ~1 hour in preheated oven at 350 degrees.
Cool slightly and move them from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 loaves

UPDATE: I recently tried using two 9 hole mini-loaf pans. Bakes about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Recipe Credit: Brenda Rathsack and Arrion Rathsack

Grandma Kinnick's Oatmeal Cookies

I remember my Grandma Smith (and my mother) making these cookies from her mother's recipe. In particular, I remember helping roll the dough into logs, wrapping them in wax paper, and putting them in the fridge to chill. I also remember eating a bunch of the dough. Yum! My dad and husband prefer raisins, but I usually leave them out because my son Alex doesn't like them in his cookies. Watch them carefully to determine to correct baking time, they can burn easily.
Here's a photo of my Great Grandma Dorothy Kinnick, holding my Dad Billy Smith, around 1940.

Grandma Kinnick’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar
1 egg
1 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. oats
1 C. raisins (optional)

Soften margarine by smashing & whipping with a fork. Add sugar, egg, & vanilla. Add flour, salt, soda, & powder. Add oats (& raisins.)

Stir all ingredients with fork, do not use mixer. Mold into 1-2 inch thick rolls/logs. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Cut rolls in 1/2 inch slices and place greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes, watch first batch closely. Bake until golden brown.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Recipe Credit: Dorothy Christine Sorensen Kinnick (1887-1983)

Cran-Raspberry Fruit Salad

I started making this recipe several years ago for Thanksgiving, to replace our traditional can of Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce (cut in perfect little slices). I've adapted it a bit over time to include less sugar and calories. It's now one of my favorite jello salad recipes.

Cran-Raspberry Fruit Salad

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained, reserving juice
1/2 cup Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Juice from one lemon
1 3-ounce package sugar free raspberry-flavored gelatin
1 16-ounce can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Combine reserved pineapple juice, cranberry juice cocktail and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add gelatin, stirring until it is completely dissolved. Break up cranberry sauce with a fork. Stir into gelatin mixture. Refrigerate until mixture begins to set. Stir in pineapple. Chill until firm.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe Credit: Arrion Rathsack &

Mom's Banana Bread

Every year at Christmas we bake our banana bread, and chill it in the fridge. On Christmas morning, we slice it up and slather parkay margerine on each piece. My husband thinks we are crazy and he warms his slices in the microwave. Any more, we love it so much, half the loaf is gone within 30 minutes out the oven. I like to make it year 'round, any time we have some over ripe bananas, it's time to make banana bread.

Mom’s Banana Bread Recipe

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup banana pulp
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 well-beaten eggs

Sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Cream shortening well and beat into sugar. Add eggs, mix in well. Mash ripe bananas as soon as peeled with silver fork. 3-4 ripe bananas yield 1 cup. Add flour alternately with bananas mixing well after each addition. Turn into greased loaf pan and bake in (350 degrees F) 1 hour or until done. 8x4x3

Recipe Credit: Nancy Smith

New Fashioned Chicken and Noodles

I used to love my Grandma Smith's homemade chicken and noodles. Of course the egg noodles were from scratch and the chicken was often leftovers from homemade fried chicken. I tried making noodles from scratch, they were good, but time consuming. In effort to save even a few calories, I use chicken breasts, low fat broth, bouillon, and you can even use no yolk noodles (although I heard they really don't save you much in fat/calories/choles/etc.)

I was never able to get my grandma's recipe, but came up with this one on my own (after looking at several different cookbooks and websites). Enjoy!

New Fashioned Chicken and Noodles

32 oz low fat chicken broth
4 C. water
4 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
3 chicken breast halves (abt. 1½ lb package) cut in large chunks
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
3 tsp celery flakes
¼ tsp pepper
dash salt
3 T. butter (don’t substitute!)
2 C. whole milk
3 T. flour
12 oz Bag of Egg Noodles

In a six-quart pot combine broth, water, granules, chicken breasts chunks, herbs, pepper & pepper, & onion powder. Bring to boil, then turn heat down to medium, and cook until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally (if it starts to boil over, take a stick of butter and rub it around the rim of the pot). Remove from heat. Remove chicken. Add the butter. Let chicken cool slightly (so it’s easy to handle), shred or chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Combine ½ C. milk and 3 T. flour, mix or shake well. Bring broth to boil again. Add bag of noodles, cook about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ C. milk. Add the milk and flour mix. Stir into the noodles. Turn down to medium heat. Stir and cook until thick and bubbly. Stir in chicken and cook a few more minutes until chicken is warm and sauce further thickens.

You can make your own noodles, but I found it takes to much time and effort, the bagged works well. The broth and herbs add the good flavor!

Serves about 6-8. Great with homemade mashed potatoes, peas, and corn!

UPDATE: I recently used a bag of Amish Kluski noodles and they worked great. More like old fashioned noodles.

Recipe Credit: Arrion Rathsack