Christmas Kringle, my way

December 22, 2012


This is an easier version of the kringle we have received from a neighbor almost every Christmas since we moved to this house.  The neighbor has the kringles he gives shipped from the “American home of kringles” Wisconsin, so they are the real thing — and delicious.

This culinary journey began last Christmas when I made the original of this recipe called (cleverly) Cream Cheese Dessert.  It was popular with everyone who tried it, but it was hard to get done in the middle of the 9×13 pan, so I actually didn’t use the very center of  the pan — it was just too mushy.  So this year, I changed that recipe to make it a little more like a kringle (thin) and we really liked the result and it was cooked all the way through!

So, here is my recipe:

Christmas Kringle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


2 can crescent roll sheets 

3 (8 oz.) packages of (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 C. sugar, divided

1 1/2 t. vanilla

raspberry preserves

1 stick butter (1/2 C.)

Unroll one of the sheets of dough and place it on a lightly floured countertop.  Roll it to fit a 10×15 jelly roll pan.  It will be very thin.  Just gently push it into all the corners of the pan and up the sides a little, repairing any little holes that appear as you go.

Beat the cream cheese with 1 1/4 C. of the  sugar and the vanilla in a bowl until smooth.  Spread the mixture on the dough in the pan.

Spread  raspberry preserves thinly on top of the cream cheese mixture.

Roll out the second sheet of dough and place over the top.

Melt the butter and pour as evenly as possible over the top.  It will tend to pool in places, which you won’t be able to correct completely, but it will be fine.

Sprinkle the other 1/4 cup of sugar over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top — approximately 15 minutes.*

*Note:  Next year I will make one more adjustment — I’m going to bake it a little longer and get it a little darker.  It would be nice if the crust was a little crunchy.)

P1130906That’s it!  Hope you enjoy these.

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends.  I’m going to try to post more often in 2013 — lucky you.  (tongue in cheek)  I am so blessed by the friends I have made through blogging.  I don’t want to lose touch with you!

Easy Peasy Corn on the Cob

August 8, 2012

Have you heard (or seen on the internet) how to cook an ear of corn without having to remove the husk and silks, in just two minutes?

Well, we tried it and it works!

Just cut both ends off the ear,

making sure you cut enough off the big end that the husk and silks are no longer attached to the end of the cob.

Put it in the microwave for two minutes. (Depending on your microwave, it may need three minutes.)

Be careful when you take it out because it will be very hot.  You may want to either let it cool a little before handling it, or wear oven mitts.

Squeeze the small end, forcing the ear out the large end.  The cooked ear will come out clean, cooked and beautiful!

It’s ready to eat!


A recipe you’ve never heard of before: Trifle Cobbulee!

July 2, 2012

I recently saw a trifle recipe which included cream cheese — and I firmly believe that there is no recipe in the world that can’t be improved by adding cream cheese!

But I already had a “light” trifle recipe that we really liked (recipe), so I took the two recipes and “cobbled” them together.  When I did that I told Hubby that I need to come up with a unique name for  the “cobbled” recipe and he decided that the perfect name was Trifle Cobbulee!  So that’s where the name came from — blame him. (He pronounces cobbulee like brulee.) Don’t try to look it up!!

Trifle Cobbulee


Mix dry Betty Crocker angel food cake mix with a 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, undrained. Mix with a spoon for 100 strokes, then pour into an ungreased 12×17.5 jelly roll pan (edged cookie sheet). Note that this is a little larger than a “normal” jelly roll pan and the cake just fits. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.


Clean and quarter at least two cups or more of fresh strawberries. Put in bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.


Beat 8 oz. of room temperature 1/3 less fat cream cheese in a mixing bowl. When it is “fluffed”, continue mixing as you gradually add one cup of 1 percent milk. Then add a small box of instant fat-free, sugar-free vanilla pudding and beat for two minutes.


In glass, straight-sided salad bowl, place 1/3 to 1/2 of the cake torn into small pieces in the bottom. Then spread half the pudding over that. Next cover the pudding with half of the berries. Next add a layer of light Cool Whip. Repeat layers.

Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!

 Sandy’s notes:

 I had about a third of the cake left after assembling this.

 I plan to try raspberries next time — and add some of my newly purchased raspberry liqueur!

Baked Beans For All Seasons!

June 16, 2012

I started to use a title for this post about how baked beans and summer go together, but when I really thought about it, baked beans really don’t have a season — they are good any time.

I thought that I had shared my favorite baked bean recipe before, but I went back through my recipe blogs and don’t see it.  So here it is.  My mother got this recipe from the back of a bottle of Open Pit BBQ sauce about 40 years ago, and it is still a family favorite.

I’m thinking about this recipe now because we are taking a big batch (4x the recipe) to a party today.

Open Pit Baked Beans

In a large pan saute four slices of bacon cut in pieces and 1/3 C. finely chopped onions.

When onion is tender, add:  2  1-lb. cans of pork and beans (I drain one to keep them from being too soupy.), 1/2 C. Open Pit BBQ sauce, 1/3 C. packed brown sugar and 1 T. mustard.

Bring to a boil and cook at least 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Makes 4 1/2 C. — four to six servings.

One little note:  These tend (even when you drain some of the beans) to be soupy.  So I like to finish them off in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees long enough to “set” them a little bit.

Hope you like these as much as our family does!

Recipe: Potato Confetti

February 29, 2012

I had an interesting potato dish at a dinner recently.  It was not only more colorful than most potato dishes but it was delicious.  So I went on to look for the recipe.  I didn’t find one exactly like it, but one very similar.

The recipe I found had a very generic name so I decided to give my version a name that better fits its colorful look.

Potato Confetti

4-5 red potatoes, cooked in skins, then cubed

1/4 lb. fresh green beans, steamed (I used a bag of microwave green beans instead)

1/2 C. green olives

1/2 C. black olives

1/2 C. sundried tomatoes, pack in olive oil

3-4 T. olive oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes

1 C. chopped onion

3 T. parmesan cheese

Saute the onions in the olive oil for two minutes.  Then add the potatoes, green beans, olives and sun dried tomatoes, and heat through.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.

We had this with breaded pork chops for dinner today.  Delicious!  I love food that is as pretty as it tastes.

Book Club Caviar

January 30, 2012

Book club is fun.  Not only because it is interesting to all read the same book and then come together to discuss what you thought of it, but also because the hostess always has snacks and a dessert.  Interesting discussion and good food — a winning combination.

One snack that has been served numerous times is called Texas Caviar.  And it seems like everyone has a slightly different recipe, but they are all good.

So being the “sheep” I am, I made the “caviar” when I had the club here in November.  Mine was copied from one of the others’ recipes and was delicious.  And I served it with both tortilla chips and thin slices of garlic bread.  I liked it on the bread best.

In case you would like to try this yourself, here is the recipe I used.

Book Club Caviar

1/2 large white onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

6 green onions, chopped (AHA!  I can use my home-grown green onions next time!)

1 T. minced garlic (from a jar)

2 average-size jalapeno peppers, with seeds removed, diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced

15 oz. black beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. black eyed peas, drained

1/2 t. ground coriander

8 oz. zesty italian dressing

1 bunch fresh chopped cilantro (amount to taste)

Mix, cover, chill.  Best if made a day ahead so that flavors can blend.


Bark, Bark, Bacon

December 12, 2011

Occasionally I see a recipe that makes me think, “Who would have ever thought of that?”  But now that I watch “Chopped”  on the Food Network I understand how inventive professional cooks can be, so I’m not as surprised at unusual combinations in food.

But, having said that, I was still surprised and intrigued by a recipe in the newspaper last week that was a chocolate bark with bacon in it.  So I made some of it to take to a party on Saturday night and it was a big hit!

Well, because I enjoy taking something that “is a big hit” to a party, I’m going to make it again for a party this coming Friday night.

Here is the recipe and a picture (with my comments in blue).  In case you want to be a “hit” too!

Caramel Bacon Peanut Bark

12 oz. maple or brown sugar bacon

2 12-oz. packages milk chocolate bits

1 1/2 C. chopped peanuts, salted or not (I used lightly salted)

1 10-oz. bag soft candy caramels (I used caramel bits made specifically to melt.)

large flake sea salt (I just used the sea salt I had on hand.  I have no idea if it’s “large flake” or not, but it does look flakey.)

Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.

(Before you do this first step, let me tell you that I instead did the bacon in the microwave because I knew it would get uniformly done.) Heat a large saute pan over medium high.  Working in batches add the bacon and cook until very crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Drain bacon on paper towels.  Set aside to cool completely. When cooled, crumble the bacon into small pieces.

Place the chocolate bits in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, or until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, then tap it on the counter to settle the chocolate into an even, smooth puddle.

Immediately sprinkle the chopped peanuts and crumbled bacon evenly over the chocolate.  (I gently pressed them down into the chocolate to ensure they stayed put after it hardened.) Allow the chocolate to fully harden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile place the caramels in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, or until melted and smooth.  Drizzle the caramel over the bark, then sprinkle lightly with the sea salt.  Allow to cool and harden, then break into pieces.

Next time I will mic both the chocolate and the caramel just a little longer so that they spread thinner.  And this first time I made this just a couple hours before the party and it tasted very salty.  But when we ate a few leftover pieces the next day, it didn’t taste as salty. So I’ll make it a day ahead from now on.

No one is more surprised than me that this may become a recipe we make every year!

Frankly, I love Frankies!

October 3, 2011

I recently made a recipe for a casual party that I hadn’t made in a long, long time — frankies, which are hot dogs cooked in a sauce of tomato sauce, onions, green peppers, garlic and chili powder.

I wondered if they would taste as good as I remembered from my childhood and it was a pleasant surprise that they did.  So, here’s the recipe, in case you would like to try them.


Prick 8 hot dogs all over with a fork and put them in the bottom of a heavy pan.  Add at least 16 oz. of tomato sauce, a chopped green pepper, a chopped onion, a minced clove of garlic (I used 1 T. from the jar) and 1 T. of chili powder.

Cook slowly so that all the flavors will blend into the sauce and until the sauce has thickened and the hot dogs are cooked.  Serve hot dogs in buns and cover with sauce.

I cut the hot dogs and buns in half because there were going to be quite a few children at the party and it would make them easier to handle. But it actually made it easier for everyone because they are a little messy, so I’ll probably do that from now on.  (Because I DO plan to make these again, now that I’ve rediscovered them.)

However, next time I make these Hubby has suggested that I try Italian sausages instead of hot dogs.  He frequently enjoys an Italian sausage sandwich at the golf course and he thinks the sauce is this same recipe.

And, of course, I’ll gladly try it because my cooking motto is, “No recipe is too good to be tinkered with”.  Just ask my friend, Linda about the perfect-just-as-written soup recipe she once gave me. 🙂

Fast Slow-Cooker Lasagna

August 25, 2011

I have a great recipe for lasagna that I hardly ever make because it requires so much work.

But WeightWatchers has a really tasty, easy recipe for lasagna that you make in a large crock pot.  I made it recently and we really liked it — proven by the fact that we ate it warmed up for several more meals, until it was gone.  I see this recipe as being a regular for us from now on.

Note:  I made this in my large oval 5 1/2 qt. crock pot.  And while the published recipe says it is six servings, we found an 8th was plenty for us and we are not small-portion eaters.  What a nice change from recipes that figure servings so small they are unrealistic.  For any WW’s, an 8th is 8 PP WW points.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 lb. lean ground beef (with 7% fat)

1 small onion, chopped (I used 3/4 C. frozen)

1 garlic clove, minced (I used 1 T. from the jar– we LIKE garlic)

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 t. salt

1 t. dried oregano

1/2 t. dried basil

1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 C. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 1/2 C. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

6 dry no-cook lasagna noodles

1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese, strong-flavored like Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Cook beef, onion and garlic stirring frequently, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes.  Simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together the ricotta and 1 C. of the mozzarella.

Spoon 1/3 of the bef mixture into a 5 qt. slow cooker.  Break 3 lasagna sheets in half and arrange over beef mixture; top with half of the ricotta mixture.  Repeat.  Then put the final third of the beef on top.

Put lid on and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours (Sandy’s note:  4 hours was plenty when I did it).

When done, remove lid and turn off heat.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 C. of mozzarella with the Parmesan and sprinkle over the lasagna.  Put the lid back on and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes.

The day I made this, I was in a hurry and was so glad that it only took about 15 minutes to get this started (I didn’t have to do any chopping because I used frozen onions and garlic from a jar).  And I was really glad when we got home four hours later and dinner was ready!

Fudge Cake (even better than Marian’s Chocolate Cake)

August 5, 2011

Yesterday I told you how much I liked Texas Sheet Cake when that recipe first arrived on the scene — and how it became known in our circle of friends as Marian’s Chocolate Cake”.  But I have since found a recipe that is a kissin’ cousin of the original Texas sheet cake, but even better.  Here it is:

Fudge Cake

Bring to a boil over medium high heat in a small sauce pan:

2 sticks BUTTER, 1 C. water and 4 heaping T. cocoa (not instant)

Meanwhile, combine in a large bowl:

2 C. flour, 2 C. sugar and 1 t. soda

Pour the boiled cocoa mixture over the flour mixture and mix well.  (Set the pan aside to re-use for the frosting.)

Add:  2 eggs, 1/2 C. buttermilk* and 1 t. vanilla.  Mix well.

Pour into a greased and floured jelly roll pan (edged cookie sheet).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes OR LESS (don’t overbake).  Ice warm.

Fudge Frosting:

Bring to a boil over medium high heat (re-use the pan that had already been used to boil the cocoa for the cake):

1 stick BUTTER, 6 level T. cocoa and 4 T. buttermilk*

Add 2 to 2 1/4 C. powdered sugar and 1 t. vanilla.  Mix well.  Spread over warm cake.  The frosting should be somewhat runny, but it will set up as it cools.

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, mix a cup of milk with a scant Tablespoon of lemon juice and let it set for a minute.  Then use that as a replacement.  There will be a little left that you can use if the frosting needs to be made a little runnier.

Chopped pecans can be added to the frosting, but I hardly ever do that.  Why mess with perfection?  Enjoy.

Note:  My friend, Linda has always been the best at making this cake.  Hers is always absolutely perfection.  We discussed that recently and the only thing she and I did differently was that I always mixed it with a spoon rather than a mixer.  So this time I used a mixer and it was as good as Linda’s!  So, I recommend you mix both the cake and the frosting with a mixer to make this cake it’s most moist and incredible.  BTW, she also slaps the pan down on the counter a few times to get rid of some of the air bubbles, before putting it in the oven — so I now do that too.  Linda’s now my cooking idol.