Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Every year my father would make this sausage ring. We'd open presents while the house filled with the aroma of tangy apples and sweet onions.
Dad's Christmas Sausage Ring
2 lbs bulk pork sausage (uncooked)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups Pepperidge Farm Stuffing
1/4 Vidalia cup onion, minced
1 cup finely chopped apples (preferably Macoun or Granny Smith)

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Press into a lightly greased ring mold and chill overnight.
The next day, remove from refrigerator for one hour before baking. Bake at 350º for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and drain fat. Turn out onto a wire rack with a baking sheet beneath to collect remaining drippings.
Serve hot.

Note: Macoun apples are hard to find. They're grown in northwest New Jersey, among other places. If you ask your local grocer in advance, they can order them by the half peck. These heritage apples are worth the extra effort!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


This is a wonderful breakfast to serve on a cold Christmas morning.

Baked Oatmeal with Cranberries and Apples
2 cups quick Quaker® Oats or 2 1/4 cups Old Fashioned Quaker® Oats, uncooked
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 1/3 cups fat-free milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350º. Spray an 8-inch square glass baking dish with cooking spray. 
In large bowl, combine oats and granulated sugar. In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Add to oat mixture, mix well, and stir in cranberries and apples. Pour into baking dish.
Bake 40 - 45 minutes or until center slightly shakes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over oatmeal. With the back of a spoon, spread sugar into a thin layer across entire surface of oatmeal. Return to oven. Bake until sugar melts, 2-3 minutes. Set oven to broil. Broil 3 inches from heat until sugar bubbles and browns slightly, 1-2 minutes. 
Watch carefully to prevent burning. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately.
Serves 8-10. 

My children love this with a bit of milk poured over top, along with steaming cups of Mommy's Hot Cocoa.

*Mommy's Hot Cocoa
Heat 2 cups of milk in a saucepan. 
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine 4 Tablespoons of Hershey's® unsweetened cocoa, 2 Tablespoons of cold milk, a dash of salt, and 4 Tablespoons of sugar. Stir until it forms a slightly lumpy syrup. When milk is heated (but not boiling), pour in cocoa mixture and stir until dissolved and smooth. Then stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. To make it extra fluffy, pour it into the blender and blend for 2 minutes. Serve in mugs with mini marshmallows on top.
Makes 2 servings.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Nana Wray's Meyer Lemons

This lemon bar recipe was adapted over many years from three different recipes, including one from my grandmother. These are my family's favorite Christmas Eve treat.

Sharon's Lemon Bars

2 1/4 cups flour
2 sticks (1 cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup Confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
extra Confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 13"x9"x2" pan.
Combine 2 cups flour, butter, 1/2 cup Confectioner's sugar, and coconut in food processor fit with a metal blade. Process until moist clumps form. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until edges are golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together 2 cups sugar, eggs, lemon juice, baking powder and remaining 1/4 cup flour in a large bowl until well blended. 

When the crust comes out of the oven,  immediately pour lemon/egg mixture over crust and bake until topping is set and light brown, about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. 

Cut into squares, dust with extra Confectioner's sugar, and serve. 

The lemon bars can be frozen for up to one month, uncut and without the extra Confectioner's sugar. They also make a wonderful hostess gift.
Happy Baking!

Monday, December 5, 2011


My husband is not a fan of CrockPot food "boiled into submission".  But there are a few recipes which come out more stew than goo. And this recipe, given to me by my good friend Mary Lenaburg and which I've adapted, has become his favorite early winter dinner. Maybe because I serve it with beer.
1 lb. beef round, cubed
4 Tablespoons seasoned flour*
1 1/2 cups to 2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
4 red potatoes, cubed (no need to peel)
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (1 teaspoon dried)
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram (1 teaspoon dried)

*seasoned flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Toss meat with seasoned flour and place all the meat and flour into the CrockPot. Mix together 1 1/2 cups beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over meat. Stir in all remaining vegetables and herbs. Cover. Cook on High for 4-6 hours, or Low for 10-12 hours. If stew looks a bit dry towards the end of the cooking time, add the remaining 1/2 cup beef broth and cook for another 45 minutes.
Or if you're the more adventurous type, replace the 1/2 cup beef broth with beer--preferably Guinness Stout.

Makes 6-10 servings, depending on the size of the meal (and size of the children). Reheats well, and tastes even better the second day.
This stew also goes well with my dad's whole wheat molasses bread.

Other cold-weather recipes in the Recipe Journal collection include: Dad's Turkey soupFall Vegetable SoupChicken Noodle Soup, and Chicken Corn Chowder.