Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 T butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (5-oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (12-oz) container cream cheese spread
  • 1 (6-oz) container plain yogurt
  • 2 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 (10-oz) pkgs frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 (14-oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1 T garlic powder (optional)
  • Tortilla chips or crackers

1. Heat butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until tender, 5 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to low; stir in evaporated milk, cream cheese spread, and yogurt. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth, 2 minutes. Add cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, until cheese melts, 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not allow to boil.) Add spinach, artichoke hearts, paprika, and if desired, garlic powder. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Yield: 9 cups

From Wal-Mart Homemade Recipe Booklet

Katie: We have had this recipe for quite some time, thinking it sounded good when we got the recipe booklet in the mail. We hadn’t made it because it made such a large quantity and we didn’t want to make it just for ourselves. We went to a party with about 10 people recently, and decided to give this a try. I made it, and it was very hard to stir with all the cheese in it, and it never did reach a consistency that I wanted it to. It was sorta gloppy, and when scooped up, wanted to slide right back off the spoon. The flavors were pretty good, but it made a big mess in my pot, so I don’t think I would make this particular recipe again. However, I love spinach-artichoke dip, so I will try another recipe another time! Good luck if you try this one!

Gray: This was tasty, but I think we can do better.  We have some other versions that we want to try.  If you need to make a large quantity for a party this would be a good recipe. I hope you enjoy!

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Carrot Cake

Carrot Cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots, raw
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour desired pans. Cream sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at at time, mixing well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Add to sugar mixture. Fold in carrots and pecans. Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your pan, until cake tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched. Ice with cream cheese frosting. (Frosting recipe follows our comments. I used a double recipe for the cupcakes.)

Recipe in a Drexel First Baptist Church Compilation Cookbook

Katie: I made cupcakes out of this recipe, as you can see from the picture. They were so good! I filled the cupcake liners too full, and so the batter tried to escape during cooking a little bit, but that did not affect the taste. I have made a carrot cake before, but never this one from the church I attended as a child. Gray said that if I had this recipe written down on one of the cards in my recipe box, that it must be good. I have to concur with that statement! This is a dessert with vegetables in it, so it’s definitely a winner in my book!

Gray: I think this is the best carrot cake I have ever had.  It is very intense in all the flavors.  The carrot, spices, and sugar all hit you in the face in a great way.  It also had a little crispyness to the crust that was very good.  We will be making this again, it is a real winner.  The only drawback is that they seem to lose that crispness after a day, so be sure to store them in a dry place, or eat them right away (this isn’t hard to do).

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 box 10x powdered sugar (1 pound)

Let butter and cream cheese come to room temperature. Then cream together until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Double this recipe for 3-layer cakes. Refrigerate if using for piping decorations.

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Congo Bars

Congo BarsPreheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing it to overhang the two narrow ends of the pan by about 2 inches. Grease the foil or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt:

  • 1 cup (8 ozs) unsalted butter

Remove from the heat and stir in:

  • 2 1/3 cups (18.75 ozs) packed dark brown sugar


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla

Sift over, then stir in:

  • 2 2/3 cups (13.25 ozs) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder

Stir in:

  • 2 cups (12 ozs) semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/2 cups (5.25 ozs) walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 oz) flaked or shredded sweetened coconut (optional)

When the batter is mixed, turn out into the pan, spreading to edges. Bake on middle oven rack for about 25 minutes, until firm when lightly taped and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly wet. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand until completely cool. Using the overhanging foil as handles, lift the bar to a cutting board. Carefully peel off the foil. Cut into 18 bars.

Joy of Cooking Christmas CookiesFrom Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies

Katie: I have had such good luck with recipes from this cookbook! This one was no exception, and turned out wonderfully! They are similar in flavor to chocolate chip cookies, but are easier to make since you don’t have to take the time to make drop cookies. That was one of the reasons that I chose the recipe, and it didn’t let me down. It wasn’t hard to do and was just delicious. I did not have any walnuts, so mine didn’t have any nuts. Also since I was taking this to a party, I did not add the coconut since many people do not like it. I now want to try it with coconut! This recipe is a keeper for sure!

Gray: These were delicious and a super treat.  We took them to a get together and they were a hit. As Katie said above, we ended up picking this this because it was a bar and not as hard to make as regular cookies. I definitely think they would be better with nuts and coconut.  I can’t wait to try them again.

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Zucchini Tian

Zucchini Tian

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 large garlic cloves, to taste, minced
  • 2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash, cut in 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice, cooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or dry)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until it begins to smell fragrant, and stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is translucent but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the thyme and rice, and remove from the heat.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese. Stir in the zucchini mixture and combine well. Scrape into the gratin dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 Servings

From: The Splendid Table

Gray: This was definitely not my favorite dish.  Katie enjoyed it much more that I did.  I really didn’t like the flavor.  I think I just didn’t enjoy the thyme.  In any case It was fairly simple to make and it I would recommend giving it a try if you like zucchini.

Katie: I thought this was pretty good, and I enjoyed it, but Gray wouldn’t even give it a second chance. It was definitely not as good as our stuffed zucchini that we made a while back, but I thought it was still good. I do think the thyme gave it a completely different flavor that anything else I have eaten with zucchini. I would recommend it if you like zucchini and are looking for something different to try! It made a very large dish, so cut down the recipe if you don’t need to make very much.


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Dante’s Chicken (Pollo alla diavola)

Dante's Chicken

  • 3  1 1/4 to 1 1/12 pound Cornish game hens, halved, gibblets and backbones removed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Pat hens dry with paper towels. Place on baking sheet. Mix oil, red pepper and rosemary in bowl. Rub all over hens. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature.

Dante's Chicken, SkilletsHeat two heavy large skillets over medium-high heat. Sprinkle hens with salt. Add 3 hen halves, skin side down to each skillet. Place 1 heavy large pot atop hens in each skillet. Place weights (such as several bricks or rocks) in each pot. Cook until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced, about 18 minutes per side.

Yield: 6 servings

From: Bon Appetit, May 2000

Gray: DON’T FORGET THE SALT!!!! (I forgot the salt – It isn’t in the ingredient list, so I missed it…)  That goes back to rule #1 Read your recipe first….  I did that, still missed it…  Oh well, I also didn’t chop the rosemary – or let it rest long enough.  All that being said, this dish was underwhelming.  Probably because I screwed it up so bad. This isn’t worst thing I’ve ever made, but considering the extra work to flatten the birds, I think I get better results from other techniques.  Another thing, was that the smoke from the rosemary and peppers was very potent and burned our eyes.  If you have a way to cook this outdoors, then I suggest you do so.

Katie: This was just okay. I was not impressed especially due to the amount of work that Gray put into it. It wasn’t bad though, and it would definitely do better with salt. If making again, I’d also go easier on the rosemary because that flavor was pronounced. We made two Cornish game hens, and they fit into our biggest skillet. We used a second skillet as our weight to put on top, and the aluminum foil is so that the bottom of the skillet didn’t transfer anything to the hens. Overall, I think there are many other recipes for roasted chicken that are tastier and take less time!

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Jelly Cupcakes

Jelly Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • generous 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jelly
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put 28 paper liners into shallow muffin pans or put double-layer liners onto cookie sheets.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and cornstarch into a large bowl and add the butter, superfine sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat well until the mixture is smooth.

3. Divide the mixture among the paper liners and put about 1/2 t jelly onto the center of each, without pressing down.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until risen, firm, and golden brown. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

1 Mix, 100 CakesYield: 28 cupcakes

From 1 Mix, 100 Cakes

Katie: I decided to try these jelly cupcakes because jelly and cupcakes sounded like a good combo to me! My batter was very thick, and it did not end up closing over the jelly like the ones pictured in the cookbook did. However, they still tasted good. Some of mine got a little too done. They did not seem to rise as much as I would have thought, but I am not sure why. I also only ended up making 24 cupcakes instead of 28. I tried one when I got done, and while good, I thought they were on the drier side. So I made some buttercream icing to pipe on top, which ended up being very good together! I recommend adding some buttercream if your cupcakes are dry like mine were! I am sharing my modified buttercream recipe below our comments if you want to try it. The quantity I made was not quite enough to ice all of the cupcakes, so you either need to make a little more or use less icing per cupcake.

Jelly Cupcake InsideGray: These were very tasty, but they were a little dry, so you may want to add a tablespoon of milk to give it some more moisture.  The flavor was fantastic and I definitely think this is worth trying again.  Enjoy!

Buttercream Icing

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3-5 T milk, cream, or half and half

Put the butter, vanilla, and salt in a bowl and mix together with a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar alternately with the milk. Use as much milk as necessary to get the desired consistency. Keep in mind that the more milk you use, the less the icing will stand up to piping. It already only has butter which makes it less firm than icings with both butter and shortening.

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Icebox Biscuits

Icebox Biscuits

  • 1 package active drive yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup lard, chilled or 1/2 cup cup shortening plus 1/4 cup butter, chilled
  • 2 cups buttermilk, chilled
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Dissolve yeast in the warm water; let stand 5 minutes.
  2. In bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Whisk to mix well. Using your fingers, quickly work chilled lard into dry ingredients until flour mixture resembles large peas. Stir in dissolved yeast and buttermilk; mix just until well blended.
  3. Turn dough onto floured surface; knead 6 or 7 times. Roll out to 1/2 thickness. Pierce rolled dough completely through at 1/2 inch intervals with a floured dinner fork. Cut out biscuits with 2 1/2- to 3-inch cutter, taking care not to twist cutter, which will seal the sides of the biscuit and inhibit rising.
  4. Place biscuits on greased baking sheet, about 1/2-inch apart. Cover with tea towel; let rise 30 to 45 minutes, until almost doubled.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven 1o to 12 minutes until biscuits are golden brown. Remove from oven. Brush generously with melted butter. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen biscuits

From: Better Homes and Gardens magazine, November 2007

Gray: These were very tasty and turned out well.  The yeast risen biscuits had a different flavor than regular biscuits.  They tasted and flaked more like canned biscuits.  They were very good, but I think with all the extra time and trouble of kneading and letting them rise, I prefer baking powder biscuits.  If you want to try something different, definitely give these a try.  They are delicious and make a large quantity that are very consistent.

Katie: These biscuits were fun to make. I’ve been wanting to try them for a long time and finally said that I was just going to make them since we had some buttermilk! They were good and tasted a little bit different than other biscuits. But they did take more trouble, and I think I like regular buttermilk biscuits without yeast a little better. If you don’t love regular biscuits, these might be just what you want! I hope you enjoy!

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