Recipe Friday: Oreo Fluff Stuff

I had something like this at a restaurant, and hoped to replicate it for a church potluck. I came close, and this is equally tasty. I think this was the first dish I’ve brought to a potluck that was wiped clean – I brought home an empty bowl!

In addition, it’s a really easy recipe. Mind you, there is no nutritional value here; in fact, this is blatantly bad for your health. But some of us get to enjoy treats once in a while, in moderation.

Oreo Fluff Stuff

Ingredients:

4 oz cream cheese, softened

7 oz marshmallow crème

8 oz Cool Whip

6-8 big squirts of chocolate syrup (maybe ½ cup?)

10 Oreo cookies (or more, if you like), crushed

4 Oreo cookies, cut in half (or 8 cookies, if you wish to keep them whole), for garnish

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.

Add the marshmallow crème, beat in and mix well.

Add the Cool Whip, beat in and mix well.

At this point (for example, if you’re starting this the night before), you can refrigerate until just before serving.

Just prior to serving, start scooping the crème mixture into a serving bowl: Add two big scoops of the crème; then squirt in a puddle or two of chocolate syrup and 1/3 of the crushed cookies.

Add two or three more scoops of the crème mixture, another puddle or three of chocolate syrup, and the second third of the crushed cookies.

Add the last of the crème mixture, another couple of puddles of chocolate syrup, and the rest of the crushed cookies.

With a big spoon, gently mix and swirl the crème, syrup, and cookies until the cookies are distributed throughout. Do not overmix if you want a swirl effect.

Arrange the extra Oreo cookies on top, as garnish. A friend suggested also sprinkling miniature marshmallows on top for garnish.

This would make a pretty good pie filling, with an Oreo (or other type of) crust. You may need to double the recipe for a pie.

Recipe Friday: Ha! This Really Works! Keeping Strawberries Fresh

I bought two cartons of fresh strawberries, and wondered how to keep them fresh for the longest time. Every time I buy strawberries, they’re already moldy or soft in just about the next day or two. So I went on the Internet and found this site, where Taste of Home tried out several methods: https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-to-store-strawberries/ .

I tried out their winner, which was to store them, unwashed, in tightly sealed mason jars, in the ‘fridge. I moved them straight from the store’s carton into my jars, tightened the lids, and put them in my crisper. That was on a Wednesday morning. The pictures you see are from this afternoon, Friday – a week and two days later!

They turned out fresh. One strawberry was slightly softened in one spot, but that was all the deterioration I had. After I washed them, I popped one in my mouth to make sure the taste and texture were still fresh, and everything was great.

I love it when something works! 😁

Recipe Friday: Hubby’s Birthday Cheesecake (Instant Pot)

I topped this with a white chocolate glaze and macerated strawberries – all his favorites together!

I did have lots of little lumps when I poured the batter into the crust; but they did not transfer to the finished product – couldn’t notice them.

I was unable to separate the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake until after I’d cut a couple of slices. But they cut and served from the bottom of the springform pan just fine. I did think that, if I’d put the cake (still attached to the pan bottom) over a simmering pot of water, and allowed it to warm up; that maybe I could have separated the cake from the pan and parchment paper via an offset spatula run around the bottom, and a wide spatula to lift.

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 35 min at pressure + natural pressure release

Yield: 7″ cake

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup crushed vanilla wafers

3 tablespoons melted butter

Cake:

2/3 cup sucanat sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 pinches sea salt

16 ounces (2 pkgs) cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

4-8 drops lemon essential oil, optional

Glaze:

4 ounces white baking chocolate

3 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions: Line a 7″ springform pan, bottom and sides, with parchment paper. (Oiling/buttering the paper is optional, but the paper sticks to the sides better if you dab some oil or butter in the pan.)

Mix the crushed wafers and melted butter together and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Do this carefully: you don’t want too much air in your cheesecake, or it will be too dry and cake-y; but you need to beat all the lumps out (once you start adding the other ingredients, you’ll never get any lumps out).

Add the sugar mixture, mix well, scrape down the sides, and mix again.

Add the sour cream and vanilla, mix, scrape and mix.

Add the eggs and lemon essential oil (if you wish), mix, scrape and mix.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Tap on the counter to get the air bubbles to rise. Pop them, and smooth out the top.

Pour 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot pot.

Cover the pan tightly with foil. Place on a trivet and lower the pan and trivet into the pot.

Tighten the lid, set the valve to seal, and set to pressure cook for 35 minutes.

When the 35 minutes are up, allow to natural pressure release.

Using the trivet handles, carefully lift the pan out of the pot and remove the foil. Set the pan on a cooling rack.

Allow the cake to cool on the counter for an hour or two, until it’s at room temperature. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Remove the ring from around the cake, and peel off the parchment paper from the sides. If you can, separate the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake, and remove the cake to a serving plate. Otherwise, just place the cake, pan bottom and all, onto the serving plate.

In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the white chocolate. Whisk in the whipping cream. Allow to cool, then pour over the cake. (This glaze does not harden, even after refrigeration.)

Garnish with fruit, if desired, and serve.

Recipe Friday: Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Soups are so flexible because you can throw almost anything in: left-overs, the bottom of that old jar of herbs or spices, the tail ends of veggies, etc. I had some left-over potatoes and gravy from our pot roast, and threw that in. If you have been saving ends  of onions, celery, and carrots, you can throw them in, too: be sure clean them first, and fish them back out before you serve.

This soup can easily be made on the stovetop. Allow it to simmer for about 2 ½ hours total.

This would be good with a can of diced tomatoes in it; but my husband doesn’t like tomatoes.

I make my own bone broth and use that for the broth. Read more about the health benefits of bone broth here and here.

I like to cook my meat and veggies separately because the veggies get mushy if you cook them for as long as you need to cook the meat. But if you don’t mind the mushiness, you can throw everything in at the same time and pressure cook for 30 minutes total. Still use the natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes, though, so your meat doesn’t toughen up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef stew pieces
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbs minced garlic
  • ½ cup red cooking wine
  • 2 cups coffee
  • 3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbs tamari (soy sauce that’s really soy)
  • ¼  tsp liquid smoke (if that’s to your fancy)
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup sliced or chopped mushrooms
  • 4 cups beef bone broth
  • 1 tsp thyme or basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup instant barley
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions:

Turn the Instant Pot to sauté.  Heat the oil, then brown the stew meat (salt and pepper the meat). Remove the stew meat to a bowl. (If desired/needed, cut the meat into bite-size pieces.)

Add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and cook until browned (add salt and pepper as desired). Remove to a separate bowl.

Add the wine to the pot and scrape the fond up.

Add the browned meat back into the pot.

Pour in the coffee, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and liquid smoke.

Tighten the lid and cook at pressure for 15 minutes. Natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.

Cancel, and turn to sauté.

Take off the lid. Add in the veggies (onion, celery, and carrots), mushrooms, garlic, tomato paste, bone broth, thyme, bay leaf, and barley. Stir well.

Cancel, and turn to meat/stew pressure for 5 minutes.

Cancel and natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.

Remove the lid, and take out the bay leaf.

Turn to sauté. Stir in the peas and cook until the soup is hot.

Taste test and add salt, pepper, more broth, or whatever else you like (like the left-over potatoes and gravy).

Serve with a salad and some crusty bread.

Recipe Friday: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

As usual, I don’t measure stuff when I’m cooking. I put this all together, and then wrote down the amounts I thought might be accurate. Use whatever you have on hand.

There was an issue, when it was done and served, of clarified butter puddling on the bottom.

I considered cutting the butter amount in half for the recipe; but we liked the taste (and texture) of the dish so much that I’m keeping it as-is. The butter melded into the creaminess of the sauce and potatoes eventually, as it cooled.

I used red potatoes, which hold their shape and texture well with longer cooking times.

My husband and I both had seconds of this dish, we liked it so well. I recommend against seconds, though; it’s pretty filling.

One more note: After we finished eating, I kept having flashes of nutmeg, almost in my mouth. So I think maybe a dash of nutmeg in this dish might be good.

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 90 min

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 extra large or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8-10 oz fully cooked ham, cut to bite-size pieces (this was four, thick, maybe 3”x4” slabs of ham)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 T flour
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Put the sliced potatoes, onions, and ham into a large bowl. Salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and cream cheese, whisking together. (It’s a little clumpy.)

Whisk in the milk and heat to simmering.

Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more milk.

Whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Pour the cheese mixture over the ingredients in the bowl (potatoes, onion, and ham); stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9×11” (or similar) baking dish. Cover with foil.

Bake at 375° for 70 minutes. Uncover, turn the oven to 325°, and continue to bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve hot, with a vegetable and/or salad.

Recipe Friday: Kathy’s Instant Pot Chicken & Dumplings

This is a comforting, stick-to-your-ribs dinner. It’s also time-consuming, so pick a day when you really feel like cooking, and want to bless your family. You’ll want to plan ahead and make sure you have all the ingredients at-the-ready before you begin. Plan 3 to 3 ½ hours from start to finish.

This serves 3 with generous portions.

I started with frozen chicken breasts, bone-in. Because they were bone-in, I didn’t want to try to separate the meat from the bone until after they were cooked. If you have boneless chicken breasts, you can skip the first step, and just put in the raw, cut-up meat. Similarly, if you’re using left-over chicken, skip the first step.

Because my bone broth is concentrated, I used water and wine to supplement the amount of liquid. For extra nutrition, whisk a big scoop of collagen powder into the liquid.

The peas are optional. In our house, the peas only go into my bowl. 😉

Here is the complete list of ingredients. They are listed again later, separately, to show where in the recipe to add them.

Into the Instant Pot insert, put:

  • 3 large frozen, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth

Close the lid, set to Seal, and cook 10 min at pressure. Allow 10 min natural pressure release, then release pressure and open the lid. Push Cancel.

Remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool.

Pour out the liquid into a 2-cup measuring cup.

While the chicken is cooling, set the Instant Pot to Sauté and start in on the next set of ingredients:  

  • 4 T Butter
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut to bite-size chunks
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut to bite-size chunks
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp thyme or rosemary (or both)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Add the butter and olive oil; allow butter to melt.

Add the onion and celery, and sauté only 3-4 minutes.

Add the carrots, potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, thyme/rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir.

Separate the cooled chicken from the bones. Cut the chicken into strips or bite-size pieces. Add the chicken to the Instant Pot.

Add back all but ½ cup of the cooking liquid (keep that ½ cup broth in that cup; you’ll use it for the dumplings). Stir.

NOTE: If you don’t have at least 1 ½ cups of liquid in the pot, add water until you do.

Cook 15 minutes at pressure. Allow 10 minutes natural pressure release, then release the rest of the pressure and carefully open the lid. Push Cancel.

Next ingredient set:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 Tbs softened cream cheese OR ½ cup heavy cream

Stir in the ½ cup water, ½ cup white wine, and 2 Tbs cream cheese (or heavy cream).

Set the Instant Pot to Sauté.

While the cream cheese is melting, mix the dumplings (This made 6 medium-size dumplings.):

  • ½ cup broth from cooked chicken mixture
  • (If your broth isn’t very salty, you’ll want to add a bit of salt to the dough.)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ Tbs butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten

In that 2-cup measuring cup with the ½ cup broth left in it: mix the dumpling dough together.

Stir the chicken mixture, making sure the cream cheese is blended in.

Drop dumpling dough by spoonfuls onto the top of the chicken mixture. DO NOT mix the dumplings into the liquid; leave them on top.

Replace the Instant Pot lid, but do not tighten or seal it. Cook, on Sauté, for 15-20 minutes. On my Pot, the Sauté function gets the mixture to a rolling boil. I let it boil for 8 minutes, then turned it off to cook the rest of the time, still with the lid on. (Alternately, you can seal the lid and cook at pressure for 10 minutes.)

Open the lid and check the thickness of the liquid. If you like, you can thicken with 2 Tbs flour:

GRAVY (optional):

  • 2 Tbs flour, mixed as a slurry with water or broth

First carefully remove the dumplings to a bowl or plate and keep warm.

Stir the flour slurry into the chicken mixture and allow to boil for at least two minutes.

If you like, add the frozen peas at this point, mix in and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Replace the dumplings on top of the chicken mixture, or serve them from the separate plate/bowl.

This is the pot after 2 servings were taken out.

Recipe Friday: Chicken (or Turkey) Vegetable Soup with Rice

We got dat bad bug in our house. Not having much energy to speak of, I opted for easy and nutritious meals.

One day I threw a chicken into the oven for a couple of hours (easy enough), boiled some potatoes, and served with heated-up veggies.

A couple of days later, I chopped up one of the left-over breasts and added some back and thigh meat, and made this easy soup. Sadly, I had lost my taste and smell some days earlier, but my husband told me it was delicious, and I believe him.

Be sure to use real bone broth, (not just chicken broth) to get the gut-healing properties.

This made enough to fill my 3-qt saucepan.

Chicken (or Turkey) Vegetable Soup with Rice

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil or butter

3 stalks celery, with leaves, diced

1 medium-large onion, diced

4 medium-large carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 shakes dried tarragon

4 shakes dried basil

2 shakes dried rosemary

2 cups diced chicken or turkey

1-2 cups cooked brown rice

4 cups chicken or turkey bone broth

Salt (use a healthy Celtic sea salt, or Himalayan salt) and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil or butter. Sauté the celery, onion, and carrots until the onions are translucent. In the last 2 – 3 minutes of sautéing, stir in the garlic, tarragon, basil, and rosemary.

Add the diced chicken, rice, and the bone broth. Stir.

Do a taste test before adding the salt, since bone broth contains varying amounts of salt, depending on who made it. Add pepper to taste.

Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes – 1 hour. (I let it simmer in the oven, covered, at 325°. That way I didn’t have to stir, and it wouldn’t scorch.)

Serve hot.

Recipe Friday: Barb’s Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Banana Pancakes

My sister, Barb, is visiting with us for a whole week. 😁 I inherited several tubsful of photos and albums from my parents when they moved. My plan has always been to sort through them, scan all the pictures and put them on thumb drives, then bring those and all the pictures to the next family reunion to distribute. They’ve sat, collecting dust for several years.

Barb has been such a blessing! Together, we’ve been sorting and organizing and scanning. (The photo is from mid-progress in our project.) There’s been a considerable amount of sleuthing involved, as we try to figure who is who in many unlabeled pictures. [Note to those who have photos: LABEL while you can, so future generations don’t have to guess.] It’s been interesting to look through photos from the early 1900’s. One album, that my grandmother created, is 100 years old, given to her for Christmas by her father in 1921.

Thank you, Barb! I could never have done this without you!

One day Barb made pancakes for dinner. (I love breakfast for dinner, don’t you?) These were not only delicious, but free of gluten and sugar! The recipe makes a small batch (3-4 pancakes, depending on size), but it doubles (or triples, I suppose) well.

The original recipe is from https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/oatmeal-cottage-cheese-banana-pancakes-high-in-protein-gluten-free/ . I added “Barb’s” to the title because she is the one who made them.

The only substitution when Barb made them was rice milk for the almond. We used quick oats, but they were still organic and gluten-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large egg whites (or 1 egg)
  • 1/4 cup fat free (or low-fat) cottage cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Optional add-ins:

  • Fresh berries, chocolate chips, peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium low heat. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto skillet. Add desired toppings such as chocolate chips or blueberries. Cook until bubbles appear on top. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside. 

Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more cooking spray and remaining batter. Makes 3-4 pancakes.

Recipe Friday: Cherry Poke Cake

This is an easy and tasty dish for a potluck – pure sugary junk food. The varieties are up to your imagination, but here are a few ideas:

  • Spread frosting over the cake, instead of Cool Whip or whipped cream.
  • White cake, use chocolate pudding instead of gelatin (can still mix in the cherries); sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the whipped topping
  • Chocolate cake, use chocolate, butterscotch, or vanilla pudding; drizzle caramel sauce over the whipped topping
  • Chocolate cake; mix strong brewed coffee with chocolate pudding mix; mocha frosting
  • Any kind of cake; any kind of ice cream, softened, then re-freeze before adding the topping (cake should be cooled before adding the softened ice cream)
  • Lemon cake, use pineapple gelatin mixed with crushed pineapple
  • White cake with lemon gelatin and lemon pie mix
  • White cake with canned coconut milk (thick part only, save the watery part for another use) mixed with sweetened condensed milk; mix some coconut into the Cool Whip
  • Spice cake with vanilla pudding (mix in some cinnamon); mix cinnamon and nutmeg into the Cool Whip
  • Spice cake with green apple gelatin and apple pie filling (blended into smaller chunks); cream cheese frosting on top

You can do an internet search for poke cake varieties, and find dozens of ideas.

Whatever flavor mixes you choose, be sure the gelatin or pudding sets up pretty thick, so you don’t dissolve your cake into a puddle of mush.

Ingredients:

1 yellow cake mix with additional ingredients to make and bake the cake in a 13×9” pan

1 21 oz can cherry pie filling

1 3 oz package cherry gelatin dessert

1 cup boiling water

1 tub of Cool Whip or whipped cream

Directions:

Bake the cake according to package directions in a 13” x 9” pan. Cool slightly.

Use the round end of a wooden spoon to poke the cake at 1-inch intervals. I found that the cake starts sticking to the wood (and spreading cake crumbs all around) about half way through, so you might want to rinse it; I didn’t care, since it was all going to be covered up with the Cool Whip, anyway.

While the cake is cooling, pour the cherry pie filling into a 4-cup container. Use an immersion blender to blend the cherries into smaller chunks.

In a separate bowl, mix the cherry gelatin with one cup of boiling water, and stir until completely dissolved.

Pour the gelatin into the mashed cherries, and stir to combine.

Pour the cherry mixture evenly over the cake, making sure it drizzles down into the holes.

Refrigerate the cake for two hours or overnight. I put plastic wrap over mine, and the gelatin and plastic stuck together the next day. It came apart easily with a spatula, though. You may want to spray the plastic wrap with some oil before laying it over the cake, or cover with a high cover.

I cut the cake before adding the Cool Whip (although, at the potluck, the person putting out the dessert didn’t know that, and cut it again 😉); you can cut it before or after.

Spread the Cool Whip over the cake, and serve.

Recipe Friday: My Other Morning Drink

This hot drink is comforting and filling, besides being pretty healthy. It can be enjoyed any time of day. It is a mixture of Dandy Blend, turmeric bone broth, collagen, sucanat, and rice milk.

Dandy Blend is an easy-to-dissolve blend of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root, and sugar beet. It is touted as a good coffee substitute, with no headache upon withdrawal. It has no caffeine, acidity, or bitterness. I enjoy the taste as-is, and it can be prepared hot or cold. It’s sold in most health food stores, and online (I buy it through vitacost.com). I first bought the smallest size available, but I liked it so much, I now buy it in the blammo-size packages.

Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein – Turmeric delivers 20 grams of protein per serving. (Bone broth is one of the healthiest nutrients you can consume. See my other posts, https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/2021/10/08/recipe-friday-how-i-make-bone-broth/  and https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/recipe-friday-bone-broth-and-butternut-squash-soup/ for more information.) I bought it for the turmeric content: turmeric is a fabulous natural anti-inflammatory. I don’t know what made me think of adding it to my Dandy Blend, but I’m glad I did. The taste is really good. Ancient Nutrition also sells other flavors: pure, chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and salted caramel. I haven’t tried any of the other flavors in my morning mix. The turmeric blend does not contain any sweetener; most of the other blends have stevia or other natural sweetener (except the pure). If you use a sweetened blend, you will likely not need to add any sweetener to your drink.

Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein delivers 20 grams of protein per 2 scoops, besides the 5 types of food source collagen. (Collagen promotes healthy hair, skin, joints and digestion.). It is mostly tasteless, but adds some richness and body. You can also get other flavors of collagen. I get both Ancient Nutrition products from store.draxe.com.

My sweetener of choice is sucanat, but use any kind you like, or none at all.

It works best if you mix the powdered ingredients together really well before adding the hot water. The protein powders tend to clump badly; but they don’t if you mix well first. I top it off with a splash of rice milk.

To make one 16 oz. cup:

1 spoon of Dandy Blend

1 scant scoop of Bone Broth Protein – Turmeric

1 scant scoop of Multi Collagen Protein

½ spoon sucanat

Directions:

Measure ingredients into a 16 oz mug. Stir the ingredients together well.

Add boiling water, stir to dissolve.

Add some cream, milk, or non-dairy alternative to taste.

Because I drink this often, I make up a larger quantity at a time. Ingredient amounts can be adjusted to taste.

Quart mixture:

5 heaping spoons of Dandy Blend

5 heaping scoops of Bone Broth Protein – Turmeric

5 heaping scoops of Multi Collagen Protein

5 heaping spoons of sucanat

Add all ingredients to a 1-quart mason jar. Mix contents thoroughly.

To make a 16-oz mug:

Add two heaping spoonfuls of the mixture to the mug.

Add boiling water.

Stir to dissolve.

Add milk, cream, or non-dairy alternative to taste.