Constant Growing Amazement Cooks!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Make a Mix Granola Mix

When we were Young Marrieds, a few years out of college, a wonderful cookbook was published called Make-A-Mix. It was full of all the things that you can now get on the internet- on how to make all kinds of "mixes"- to make cooking easier.  One of David's cousins was married to one of the co-authors.

When we went to Washington for Memorial Day, my sister-in-law Cher had made up a yummy batch of granola that my husband devoured.  She shared it was from the cookbook that I gave her many years ago.  We are getting ready for our week at Lake Powell with family and like to keep breakfast simple- so I made up a big batch (all these mixes are for big batches) to take.  Yummy as a cereal or we love to put it on yogurt or just a yummy snack. 

Granola Mix

10 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 lb. shredded coconut
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds (I actually didn't put in this batch)
3 cups chopped almonds and pecan combinations

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups water
 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. vanilla

raisins or other dried fruits, if desired

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large bowl all the top ingredients through the nuts.  Blend well.  In a large saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients and heat until sugar is dissolved, but do not boil.  Pour syrup over dry ingredients and stir until well-coated.  Spread into five 13 x 9 baking sheets with sides. (I used 3 large cookie sheets.)  Bake 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Bake 15 minutes longer for crunchier texture.  Cool.  Add raisins or other dried fruit, if desired.  Put in airtight containers.  Store in a cool, dry place and use within 6 months.  Makes about 20 cups of granola mix.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cottage Cheese Dip

Love, love, love this dip.  Love that it has some protein in it.  Great with veggies and even better with crackers!  It's better after chilling for a bit to let the flavors meld.

Cottage Cheese Dip
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. mayonnaise (low fat is fine)
1 tsp. onion chopped (I used chives and a titch of onion salt)
1/8 tsp. dried mustard
1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/16 tsp. white pepper (who has white pepper?)
1/16 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tb. bacon bits

In blender, combine all ingredients except bacon.  Blend until smoother (about a minute.)  Chill Fold bacon bits into mixture just before serving.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Festive Cherry Bars

Another recipe from my Stayvacation.  Talk about a quick and easy recipe that is over the top good!

Festive Cherry Bars

1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. chopped maraschino cherries, well-drained
1 roll refrigerated slice and bake sugar cookies
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2-3 Tbs. milk  (I used maraschino cherry juice and 1/2 tsp. almond extract)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In small bowl, blend cream cheese and 1/2 cup cherries.  Slice cookie dough into 1/4 slices.  Arrange half of the slices over the bottom of ungreased 8" square pan, overlapping if necessary.  Spread with cream cheese mixture.  Top with remaining cookie slices.  Bake 20-30 minutes.  Combine powdered sugar and milk  until smooth.  Drizzle over bars.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. cherries.  Cut into 18 squares.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Truth be told- I just cut the cookie roll in half and pressed the dough into the pan and flattened the rest to make a crust. 

These are sooo delicious!!!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bacon Cranberry Nut Stuffed Celery

There is just something refreshing about stuffed celery.  I liked this recipe with a few changes- adding dried cherries and pecans and blue cheese.


from justapinchrecipes with a few changes-                         

    12 celery stalks, cleaned and cut into portions
1/2 lb crispy cooked bacon, drained and crumbled

8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup glazed walnuts, chopped (you know me and walnuts!  No way- I used candied pecans)                           

1/2 cup craisins, chopped (I used dried cherries, my favorite) 

2 green onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons heavy cream (I didn't use)                           

1 teaspoon garlic powder (I used salt and probably not a whole tsp.)
Note:  I really liked these but thought the flavor needed to be kicked up a notch.  I added about 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles and thought they were perfect.                           


1 Cook bacon (crispy), drain on paper towels. Chop walnuts, Craisins, and green onion. In a small bowl, combine: Cream cheese, bacon, nuts, Craisins, green onion, heavy cream, and garlic powder.   My note: add blue cheese crumbles. 
Stir until mixed well. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes (to combine flavors).
2 Clean celery and cut into desired portion size.
3 Stuffing Celery: Carefully spread cream cheese mixture into each portion of celery. 

 Refrigerate until time to serve, keep chilled.

Teriyaki Chicken (Edo's Knock-off)

I think that food court teriyaki chicken is one of my favorite things in the world.  I LOVE it and have tried to duplicate the teriyaki sauce for years.  So many of the recipes are complicated but yesterday I think I came up with a close resemblance and it was soooo easy and good.

The real key is using boneless chicken thighs.  No white meat here.  At Edo's- they have big chopped cabbage and shredded carrots and broccoli but I made it real simple by buying a shredded coleslaw mix.  Your choices at the restaurant are white rice, brown rice or noodles.  The only noodles I had were Top Ramen and they worked great.  This is one of the easiest dishes ever!
Teriyaki Chicken (Edo's Knock-off)

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I have found if they are slightly frozen, it is easier to dice them up)- cut up in small pieces
olive oil- a few tablespoons

2-3 cups of coleslaw mix or chop your own cabbage, carrots, add broccoli if you like

Teriyaki Sauce-
in a saucepan add
1/2 cup Kikoman Teriyaki sauce
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 Tb. cornstarch in 2 Tb. water for thickener

Mix sauce ingredients all together and cook until right consistency. (a pourable sauce, not as thick as gravy)

Saute the chicken in the oil until done- about 5 minutes.  Add about a cup of the sauce to meat and stir in vegetables.  Add more sauce if you think it needs it.  Let simmer for a few minutes, then add a lid for a few more.

Done!  You will have plenty of sauce.   Serve over rice or noodles.  (I cooked the Top Ramen with the flavor package and just stirred them into the dish.)   Snarf it up!  So delicious.  You could top with peanuts or cashews but you don't need anything else.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Swedish Meatball Noodle Soup

Over Memorial Day, niece in law, Melinda, made this delicious soup- really more a stew.  It was so good with crusty bread and salad.  A keeper for sure.  You could probably use Ikea's Swedish meatballs but I'm not really a fan. 


Swedish Meatball Noodle Soup (recipe shared by


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 oz. Broad Egg Noodles, cooked al dente according to package directions
  • ¼-½ cup sour cream (personal preference)
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • 2 slices bread, toasted and torn into pieces
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • pound ground beef
  • pound ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Soup
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup flour
  • 7 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch**
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes


1.To make the meatballs, place the bread into a small bowl and mix in 1/2 cup cream. Allow to stand until bread absorbs the cream, about 15 minutes, then add bread to food processor and pulse until completely broken up (it will look like mushy bread). Add pulverized cream bread to a large bowl. 2.While the bread is soaking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add onions and sauté until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add to large bowl with bread. 3.To the onions and bread, add remaining meatball ingredients and mix. Form meat into 1 tablespoon meatballs, approximately 40 meatballs. 4.Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add half of the meatballs and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. Remove meatballs to paper towel lined baking sheet. Add remaining meatballs to skillet and repeat. 5.Melt 5 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven/large soup pot over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. 6.Turn heat to low and gradually stir in beef broth followed by heavy cream. Add Worcestershire sauce, parsley, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, stirring frequently until thickened to desired consistency, approximately 5 minutes. 7.Add meatballs and lower the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally. 8.Stir in sour cream until smooth, followed by noodles. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, red pepper flakes if desired. 9.Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve.

Notes *For a lighter version, you may substitute milk but only use 1/4 cup and add more as needed to meatball mixture. **You may substitute milk or half and half, but keep in mind the higher the fat content, the creamier the soup. You can add more sour cream at the end of cooking to help creamify. ***For a less "chunky" soup, add more beef broth and/or heavy cream/milk.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Roasted Pork Carnitas

When I was on a recent girl friend trip to San Clemente, Ca., we were recommended an eating establishment called "Nick Around the Corner."  The person recommending was the gal that owns the Schmidt's Chocolate Company there and she said, "You can trust a girl who owns a chocolate company!" and we could!  She recommended the guacamole, the shrimp taquitos and the pork carnitas.  We ordered all 3 and shared.  The next day we went back for more.

I never knew I was a Pork Carnitas lover.  Now, it is all I can think about!  Right now I have this recipe slow cooking in a brand new dutch oven.....and so I will share how it was after the taste test. (it was marvelous!!!  I left it in big chunks instead of shredding it which is how they serve it at Nick's.)   I pinned several good looking recipes on Pinterest but this particular recipe called for Coco Cola which I remember was in the menu description. 



My Favorite Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes


  • 3 pounds pork shoulder cut into 3 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola beer or low sodium chicken broth can also be used
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 leaves bay
  • juice from 2 limes
  • cilantro for serving


Classic Slow Roasted On the Stove

  1. Toss the cubed pork with the garlic powder and chipotle chili powder. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear the pork on all sides. If needed, sear the pork in batches if your dutch oven is not large enough. Reduce the heat low and pour in the coke, orange juice and 1/2 cup water (there should be just enough liquid to cover the sides of the meat). Add the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours on LOW. After 1 1/2 hours the pork should be falling apart. Remove the lid and continue cooking another 30 minutes. The Coca-Cola will caramelize and the liquid will evaporate almost completely.
  3. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred. Drizzle the carnitas with lime juice. Serve with warm tortillas, avocado and cheese. EAT!


  1. Toss the cubed pork with the garlic powder and chipotle chili powder. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear the pork on all sides. If needed, sear the pork in batches if your dutch oven is not large enough. Transfer the pork to the bowl of your crockpot. Add the coke, orange juice, 1/2 cup water and the bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. During the last hour, remove the lid and allow the liquid to evaporate almost completely.
  3. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred. Serve with warm tortillas, avocado and cheese. EAT!