Recipes and Cooking Ideas for Homemakers and Amateur Cooks

Creamy Sweet & Sour Cole Slaw – Out of My Comfort Zone #6

Posted on July 14, 2008
Filed Under Out of My Comfort Zone, Salads

I’m going to throw in another ‘Out of my comfort zone cooking’ post. Because that’s exactly what it was. I didn’t know a thing about cole slaw, except that I like to eat it. I don’t remember ever buying cabbage in my life. I do, however, remember a science experiment in grade school involving purple cabbage, but I forget what it was all about or I’d tell you. It must not have made an impression on me back then.

I was walking thro’ the grocery store the other day and beside the bagged ready-made lettuce salads in the produce section was shredded cabbage. I suddenly got hungry for cole slaw. Instead of going over to the deli counter and ordering a small container of cole slaw, I decided to try homemade cole slaw, made by me. So, I grabbed a bag of the shredded cabbage.

We had a church picnic last night at Dan’s (our pastor’s) house. There were going to be burgers and hot dogs and from there we were supposed to bring a salad and dessert. I thought of cole slaw for the salad (and what I took for dessert will be featured in the next post). The nice thing about a potluck where there are 50 dishes to choose from is that if something flops, there are enough other dishes to pick from. The other nice thing about a potluck is that if something flops, nobody knows who made it. Unless they ask around. So, I made cole slaw.

I learned something about cole slaw. Saturday evening, I was chatting online with my aunt and I asked her if I should make the cole slaw now so the flavors can blend together or if it would just get mushy and if it would be better to wait till Sunday afternoon. She said she doesn’t know (she must not make cole slaw very often either :) ), and said ‘why do today what you can put off till tomorrow’. So, me, being an expert at procrastinating, made it Sunday afternoon, about 4 hours before the picnic. It looked perfect. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge and went to take a nap. 3 1/2 hours later, I got it out of the fridge to go to the picnic and it looked totally different! It had gotten runny and the cabbage was softer than it had been! Must’ve been from the sugar in it. I was so glad I hadn’t made it Saturday evening, because it was about perfect at the picnic. It may have gotten too mushy made too far ahead of time.

Another thing I learned is that it is possible for me to make good coleslaw and another thing I learned is that it’s SO easy and quick to make! This recipe is taken from the Famous Daves Backroads and Sidestreets cookbook.

Creamy Sweet & Sour Cole Slaw

Printable recipe 

10 cups chopped shredded red and green cabbage
1/4 cup grated carrot
2 cups Miracle whip
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish (I’d recommend not putting this much in unless you’re making it for a Memphis-style sandwich or really really like horseradish ???? )
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. celery seeds

Toss the cabbage and carrot in a bowl. I used a bag of shredded cabbage and carrots. The bag said there is 7 1/2 cups in it, so I just didn’t put all the dressing on.

Mix salad dressing, sugar, horseradish, dry mustard, white pepper, salt, garlic powder, and celery seeds in a bowl. Add to cabbage mixture and mix well.

Chill, covered, until serving time. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Right after mixing…

3 1/2 hours later…
That coloring difference is from different lighting, but it did actually get lighter in color too. Actually, I guess it does look more like real cole slaw in this picture. Maybe all cole slaw recipes do that. As far as the taste of this, it was great! It will be my cole slaw recipe, but I might try others now and then too. I’m just so impressed how easy it was and how flavorful it was. I’d even make it for company. Or for a summer picnic. Or just for anyhow.


3 Responses to “Creamy Sweet & Sour Cole Slaw – Out of My Comfort Zone #6”

  1. Shannon on July 15th, 2008 7:09 am

    I love cole slaw. Need to try this cause it looks easy enough. (The bag of cabbage appeals to me) :)

  2. Lisa on July 15th, 2008 7:30 am

    This past 4th of July was the first time I made coleslaw too. I went with a Blue Cheese Coleslaw. I got the recipe from a friend, and had just never gotten around to trying it. It turned out great and there wasn’t much left of it after the party. I highly recommend giving the Blue Cheese recipe a try too! It was really good.

  3. Mary Faith on July 15th, 2008 10:06 am

    Coleslaw is definitely better (in my opinion anyway) made several hours ahead of time. This makes me hungry for coleslaw again! I got a recipe years ago that tastes very much like the KFC coleslaw. I’ll have to try this one. It looks very good, too!

Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #5

Posted on May 29, 2008
Filed Under Out of My Comfort Zone, Salads

Do you ever just stop and wonder WHO decided what goes together? And who decided that scrambled eggs and pancakes are breakfast foods? And who decided that you shouldn’t eat ice cream or a Hershey’s w Almonds candy bar before 10:00 a.m.? And who decided that corndogs are a kid’s food? And WHO was the first person to have the guts to put fruit and nuts in a lettuce salad?!


But, you know what, this salad was good! Really good! I could not believe it! And I could also barely stop eating it! If you have never tried it, this recipe would be a great one to try it on. Especially the strawberries were good with it. And the dressing.

If any of you are coming up for air about anything in the first paragraph… “Hey, we eat scrambled eggs and pancakes for supper sometimes!” “Hey, c’mon, I eat ice cream every morning!” “I LOVE corndogs and I’m 27!”, I know, I know. Me too. Well, me too all except the parts about ice cream EVERY morning and being 27. But, when you have pancakes and eggs for supper, you call it a ‘breakfast supper’. And I would think my husband was the one who decided that about no ice cream or candy bars before 10:00 (yes, we’ve had these discussions), except that Dairy Queen doesn’t open till 11:00 a.m., so that’s kind of another clue. And have you ever seen corndogs on the regular menu at a restaurant? Nope, you’d have to order them off the kid’s menu. There, that oughta save some ranting in the comment section. :)

Back to this salad, it comes from the 2001 Quick Cooking Annual cookbook. There’s a picture, and it is so colorful, and it grabbed me. I also learned something… I almost didn’t put the onions in because I do not like raw onions in stuff and was afraid that the amount of them would for sure wreck it. The recipe calls for a sweet onion, so when I went shopping, I made sure to get an onion labeled ‘sweet’. It was a world of difference from the regular onions I usually buy! These were good! And not as strong. I’d still use the regular onions for cooking, but I won’t dodge around raw onions in other recipes anymore… I’ll just make sure they’re sweet onions.

Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. grated onion
1/4 tsp. celery seed
Dash of salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

8 cups torn mixed salad greens (if you see grated carrots and red cabbage in there, it’s because my bag of ready-to-serve Romaine salad mix had them in)
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1 medium sweet onion, sliced into rings
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Note: To toast the almonds, I just tossed them with about a teaspoon of melted butter in a pan, then put them in a 400 degree oven till they started turning brown, maybe 10 minutes or so, I didn’t time them, just kept checking them.
In a 2-cup microwave-safe bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 1 1/2 -2 minutes; stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
I actually had some problems with the dressing… the oil didn’t want to blend into the rest of the stuff, the dressing got really thick after being in the refrigerator, and I thought it was too much dressing. And I did follow the recipe exactly, right down to the celery seed. It actually worked out ok and coated the salad evenly (I was afraid it would be thick in some places and none in other places). I think next time, I would put only about 2/3rds of it on though.

In a salad bowl, combine the greens, strawberries, oranges, onion, almonds, and bacon.

So pretty, huh?


Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to coat. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Maybe this type of thing is a regular dish on some of your tables, but we don’t see it much around here. I’m going to take this salad to the next fellowship meal at church… see if anyone takes any. :)

And now, I have to get an inspiration for something to make for a meal this evening… we eat in a little over an hour and a half and I have no clue what we’re going to have. Any ideas?



21 Responses to “Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #5”

  1. Liz on May 29th, 2008 3:53 pm

    I don’t know what we are having for supper tonight either and I really should know cause Elvie might be home in 1/2 hour. If I see this salad at church I think I’ll atleast try some. So a little bit will be gone. It looks good though.

  2. Annette33 on May 29th, 2008 3:58 pm

    Spaghetti, here! I planned it yesterday, but dang, realized I forgot to pick up the garlic bread. What’s spaghetti without garlic bread??

  3. Arla on May 29th, 2008 4:38 pm

    Hey, why not have a breakfast supper of pancakes and scrambled eggs. We actually have pancakes for supper more often than for breakfast because Elv really likes them and he’s more likely to be here at supper time that at breakfast. The salad looks wonderful. I’ve been looking at those strawberries at the store and wondering what to do with them; vetoing all those deserts we don’t need. Now, you’ve given me excuse to buy them, thanks!

  4. Shannon on May 29th, 2008 4:42 pm

    Ummm, I think I’ll still skip the onions, sweet or not sweet. :) Someone at church makes a salad with Strawberries in it. I’ll have to try some the next time I see it.

  5. lisa on May 29th, 2008 5:04 pm

    we would love this salad. unless i put the onions in. marc would quietly pick them out.

  6. cretora on May 29th, 2008 5:20 pm

    Mmmm! This looks like an awesome summer salad! So pretty and yummy looking all in one. I think you probably hit on a winner here. :)This I’ll have to try.

  7. Michelle on May 29th, 2008 5:34 pm

    Yum! I’ll have to try this. I like about any salad with fruit in it. I know it’s kinda after supper time but for what it’s worth we had the chicken squares tonite. I had kinda forgotten about that recipe until you posted it a couple weeks ago. It’s very good and easy to make!

  8. Sharon on May 29th, 2008 6:01 pm

    I will have to try this, too! I stayed away from “those kind” of salads for awhile ’cause I thought they sounded funny, but then I had a fruit and nut one at a company meal (at someone else’s place–wow! what guts! I thought) and it was REALLY GOOD! I’m with you on the sweet onions–I actually like the stronger ones, too, if it’s just a bit for flavor, but definitely sweet ones are the ones for stuff like this!

  9. Karisa on May 29th, 2008 6:19 pm

    It looks delightful!!!! I have had salads with fruit in and I love them. Last summer I had one with feta cheese and strawberries and I couldn’t get done eating it :)

  10. Kris on May 29th, 2008 7:56 pm

    I am like you and would have turned my nose up at a salad with fruit and nuts in it too at one time. Then several years ago I had a spinach salad with fruit and nuts in it, tossed with a Raspberry vinagerette. Yummy! I totally love making salads like this now. Spinach, mandarin oranges or strawberries or dried cranberries with onions and nuts are so yummy! There is a Crunchy Romaine Strawberry Salad at that is so good!

    I always buy sweet onions for my everyday cooking because my husband is sensative to strong onion flavor, and I love onions, so this is a way we can both enjoy them.

  11. Jo on May 29th, 2008 8:06 pm

    Looks oh!-so-refreshing for a muggy summer day! Will have to try this one sometime, as soon as fresh strawberries are available.

  12. Roxanna on May 29th, 2008 8:56 pm

    Have lots of salads with fruit in them around here and we love them! Annette33-here’s a suggestion for when you forget to get the garlic bread. Take regular sliced bread and butter it. Sprinkle it with garlic salt (not powder) and broil it until its brown. This is quick and easy and a great substitute in a pinch! p.s. homemade bread is REALLY good like this but boughten works great too!

  13. Lisa on May 30th, 2008 5:28 am

    I love variety in salad, since I eat lots of salad I am actually always looking for something new and different. Fruits and nuts – oh yeah! One of my favorites is apple, feta and walnuts – so good.

    Here’s a little tip for those of you who don’t like the “bite” of onion so much. Put the sliced onions in a collander and pour boiling water over them, then immediately pour cold water over them to stop the cooking process. The boiling water takes out the strong flavor and leaves you with a milder onion. Try it!

  14. Monica on May 30th, 2008 7:57 am

    It sounds good!! I didn’t used to like salads like that, but the more I have them, the more I like them!! I recently made a spinach-strawberry salad with a raspberry dressing that was delicious!!

  15. barb on May 30th, 2008 9:04 am

    My sister gave me a tip on homemade salad dressings. So many of them seperate after they have been in the fridge for a while.(like you mentioned) Just put all of the ingredients in the blender and mix for 3-4 minutes. It really works.

    I am not sure if you could do this with a cooked dressing, but it seems like it would work after you let it cool a little. That should keep the oil from seperating.

    This salad recipe looks great. Thanks for sharing another great idea.

  16. barb on May 30th, 2008 9:17 am

    I would make the peanut butter dream bars, but I would like it better if my friend/neighbor (Roxanna) would let me taste hers. HINT, HINT.

    Kay, I know I have told you before but I’ll say it again. I LOVE your site.
    I would love to do the same thing you are doing. I am always thinking of a recipe or tip that you should post on your site, so I really should start my own. I just think it would take too much of my time. How much time do you spend in a week taking pictures and doing all these post? Just curious.

    Also, could I suggest a post on soft pretzel? I have a recipe that really does taste like the ones at the mall. And you don’t have to let them raise twice like most other yeast products. So they are really easy and fast!!! Just comment back here if you are interested. Maybe I could email it to you.

  17. Kay on May 30th, 2008 9:47 am

    Thanks to those of you who put tips and suggestions into the comments, like Kris, Roxanna, Lisa, and Barb above. I love that!

    Sharon, about you being surprised someone served that to company, that was funny because I had told Shannon that I’m going to make this for carry-in, but I wouldn’t make it for company because at carry-in, they can pass it up if they want to, where with company it wouldn’t be as easy to pass on.

    Barb, yeah! Start a food blog! It is so much fun. It does take time, but we all spend time on hobbies, not? :) It’s actually more like a part-time job… if I update 5 times a week, I’d say I’ve spent roughly 20 hours/week making the food, taking pictures, posting, and managing it. I do need to cook though, so some of that cooking time would be done anyway, but it is amazing how much time it takes to take pictures, esp because I usually take several of one step, then pick the best one.

    I’ve never made soft pretzels, but I’ve always wanted to. I guess that would fit in with ‘Out of my Comfort Zone’. I’ve heard there is a knack to it and that you need certain tips and all, so I’ve always been scared to try them. I’d love the recipe though! I’d definitely try them and do a post, unless you decide to start a site, that could be your first post! Tasting like the ones in the mall sounds like a winner! :) My email address is

  18. LaDonna on May 30th, 2008 12:36 pm

    I have never tried fruit or nuts in a lettuce salad maybe I’ll take the plung and try this one. Love your site by the way I have tried several recipes and loved them. Thanks so much for the ideas and impute. I think the hardest thing about cooking is deciding what to make. You help that process along for me. thanks!

    I do have to make a comment about breakfasts foods because I totally have wondered the same thing. I have always eaten wierd for breakfast like leftovers from the night before. My family always teases me about it. But I’m like hey who says that you can’t eat chicken or mashed potatoes for breakfast. That sounds a little healthier that sausage and bacon anyway ???? There is one thing that I have found that I can not stomach before ten o’clock and that is a salad. Something about the raw veggies or something just doesn’t sit well on the stomach…anyway sorry about the ranting ;-)I’ll have to try that salad,…just not before ten o’clock.

  19. LaDonna on May 30th, 2008 12:38 pm

    Oops, that’s input not impute that’s what I get for sending a comment and not reading over it before it’s sent.

  20. Rosa on May 30th, 2008 1:08 pm

    Just wanted to tell you i LOVE your site! so interesting & practical… i love grilled food & am looking forward to the”perfect steak” post…maybe in time for Father’s Day?

  21. Denise on June 2nd, 2008 2:21 pm

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that the P.B. Dream Bars were a huge hit. I made them for that carry-in supper. There were 3 other kinds of cookies and bars. Every other kind still had some left but these bars were totally cleaned up. And I got a lot of comments on how good they were! Thanks

Carrot Pancakes – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #4

Posted on May 21, 2008
Filed Under Breakfasts, Out of My Comfort Zone

Does ‘carrot pancakes’ strike you as odd? It did me, for 2 reasons: 1. The thought of carrots in pancakes. and 2. These pancakes do not get served with syrup… there is a cream cheese mixture that goes on top of them instead. All my life, pancakes have gotten served with syrup. Sometimes with peanut butter underneath the syrup, but always with syrup. If we’d decide to put jam on them instead, that was not the norm.


This recipe actually sounds really good. It’s got pecans in it… YUM! and it’s got cinnamon and brown sugar in it and that cream cheese spread sounds really good!!! And they are really good, except the carrots kind of wreck them, which is unfortunate because that’s the main ingredient.

Carrot Pancakesfrom the 2003 Quick Cooking Annual Cookbook

1 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp. finely chopped pecans (I didn’t chop them very fine, I like running into chunks)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup grated carrots
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream Cheese Spread:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Dash ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Combine the egg, brown sugar, milk, carrots, and vanilla; mix well.

Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls into a greased hot griddle.
Mmmmm! Look at all those chunks! …too bad so many of the chunks are carrots, huh?

Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes;

cook until second side is golden brown.

Place the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; sprinkle with cinnamon.
Serve with pancakes. Yield: 4 servings. This recipe makes 11 pancakes.



Next time, and I think there might be a next time, I would put in a few more pecans and considerably less carrots. They were fun to try for something different. Lexi (5) wouldn’t touch them with a 10′ pole (and I sounded excited about them to her, carrots and all), but Tiffany (2) downed a whole pancake like nothing. Shannon didn’t get a chance to taste them because he was at work, but I think his take on them would’ve been similar to Lexi’s.

Edit: I tried these again later and replaced the cup of carrots with 1/3 cup of pumpkin and doubled the pecans, but kept everything else the same. I think I should’ve added nutmeg too. Anyway, they were delicious!

I’m actually having alot of fun with this Out of My Comfort Zone series. It’s fun trying stuff I’d never try otherwise. Next week, I’m planning to try a lettuce salad with fruit and maybe nuts in it.


7 Responses to “Carrot Pancakes – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #4”

  1. Jo on May 21st, 2008 11:57 am

    You are braver than I! Our boys love carrots & pancakes, but I can only imagine the reaction if I’d put carrots IN their pancakes, then veto the syrup!!

  2. Sharon on May 21st, 2008 12:29 pm

    My first reaction too is that carrots don’t go with pancakes, but these sound kind of neat with the cream cheese spread–a little like carrot cake maybe? So that part makes sense. Do the carrots get soft though in just the little time it takes to fry the pancakes, or are they still a bit crunchy?

  3. Mary Faith on May 21st, 2008 12:59 pm

    I’m not usually a brave one for trying new recipes, but I think this would sound MUCH BETTER if you used sweet potatoes instead of carrots. Of course, that’s coming from a sweet potato lover! :) I think maybe I’ll try it sometime when I have sweet potatoes on hand. I think I would cook them first, though, at least a little bit…

  4. Kay on May 21st, 2008 1:13 pm

    It was kind of surprising, but the carrots didn’t need cooked first. They weren’t crunchy chunks. I grated baby carrots with a grater, so it was pretty flat little pieces. I wonder if the bought grated carrots would need cooked first though…they’re longer and thicker than mine were.

    Can’t tell you how good those pecans were in there though! I’d recommend not chopping them too fine. Pecan chunks (as opposed to carrot chunks) are a good thing. :)

  5. Rosalyn on May 21st, 2008 2:01 pm

    I was thinking too, along the lines of carrot cake, and decided these sound delicious! And I wonder how it would be to top it with syrup, after you put on the cream cheese spread??! :) (I love syrup with my pancakes) My girls would probably like it w/o the syrup…they (are going thru a phase?) don’t like syrup with their pancakes! ????

  6. Tamara Merritt on May 21st, 2008 5:20 pm

    Hmmmm I was thinking to use some canned mashe carrot instead, and maybe mix some honey in the cream cheese or either drizzle honey after the cream cheese.

    I think they sound yummy though, but heck add more PECANS…and toast the pecans before adding to bring out more of that nutty goodness.

    Sweet potatoes sound really good too! I would definitely cook them some first.

  7. Ruth on May 21st, 2008 7:26 pm

    They sound good to me. Nothing like getting your veggies. I’ve had carrot pie,carrot cake, and carrot salad and enjoyed all of them. I, personally, like gravy on my pancakes … tomato gravy or sausage gravy, then finish with syrup on my last pancake, like dessert. I find that pancakes with gravy are more satisfying than pancakes and syrup. Maybe I’m odd???

Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #3 and there were no explosions

The reason the recipe this week is out of my comfort zone in NOT because of using an ingredient I don’t like or because it seems like a weird ingredient combo. It is because right in the recipe directions there is the phrase “or the cans will explode”.

We’re talking canned cans, which are much thicker than pop cans. I have heard (but never seen) a can of Diet Coke explode. And I have cleaned up several DC can explosions in the freezer (you know, cooling it down quickly then forgetting about it) and in the car (winter time in WI). If a thin pop can can create that much of a bang and a mess, I don’t even want to be around a regular can exploding. And I just had to think of the poor people who discovered that they do explode if you let the water boil dry. Also, I just cannot imagine ‘covered with water’ being such a magical thing to keep a can from exploding. So, because of these reasons is why I’ve never made this, even though I always thought it sounded so good!

But, here we are, kitchen still intact, no wild stories to tell, and a delicious dessert eaten!

Eagle Brand Milk and Pineapple Rings

Remove labels from Eagle Brank milk cans.

Set 4 cans in 4 qt stainless steel kettle. I did only 2 cans and used a smaller kettle because I don’t have a bigger kettle, but that’s another story… what happened to my big kettle. Fill with cold water. Turn on medium high heat until it cooks, then turn down to medium.

Keep adding warm water. Do not let the water evaporate or the cans will explode. Boil for 3 hours. Cool. Drain cooled pineapple rings and arrange on plate. (One can of Eagle Brand milk should be just right for 1 can of pineapple rings.)

Open both ends of the milk cans. Remove one end and press the other end so that about 1/4″ sticks out of the end. Slice along the can with a sharp wet knife, slide onto pineapple ring.


Top with Cool Whip and a cherry.

Man, this stuff is good! That milk tastes like caramel. And caramel goes great with pineapple! I’m not scared anymore to boil cans of milk and I’ll make this again sometime! I’m also going to try that ‘caramel’ in a recipe that calls for caramel and see how it tastes. That was amazing to me how a can of white liquid could turn into a can of brown solid (soft solid).

Just thought of something I should mention yet so you don’t learn the hard way like I did. If you have a Pampered Chef can opener, it’ll go on the can like this:

That works great for the one end, but not for the other end (the end that you push on) because this can opener takes the lid off, including the rim. And the rim does not fit thro’ the can when you go to push on it!

So, use a can opener that goes on the side of the can, not the top of the can. Thankfully, I kept my old Walmart can opener when I got my Pampered Chef one a few years ago!


23 Responses to “Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #3 and there were no explosions”

  1. Amber on May 17th, 2008 12:34 pm

    My husband loves these! I personally can’t stand them…for some reason the caramel doesn’t go with the pineapple. (even though i love them both) :) Very brave of you, though!

  2. Andrea on May 17th, 2008 12:54 pm

    mmmmm! we love these things! josh’s mom often makes these and they are so tasty! your “caramel” looks so much better than mine did!

  3. rosa on May 17th, 2008 2:49 pm

    wow, this recipe brings back lots of memories. I was in Haiti for a year of VS and we made these down there alot. I bout forgot about them and will be craving them till I find time to make em again. Thanks!!

  4. Michelle on May 17th, 2008 3:03 pm

    Hmm.. I haven’t made these in quite a while. I need to again. I’m always a bit worried too when I cook the Eagle brand milk.

  5. Freida on May 17th, 2008 3:05 pm

    Yummmm!!! Now I might be brave enough to try it.

  6. Mary Faith on May 17th, 2008 4:59 pm

    Yum, yum! Does that make me hungry, or what? I love those things! And yes, those cans DO explode if you let the water boil away and it is NOT a funny explosion! Talk about carmel ALL OVER the stove, wall, and ceiling, and floor. It was a miracle no one was right there because they WOULD have gotten hurt. The explosion itself is about enough to scare several years off your life. lol But we love them too much to get freaked out about making them again. :)

  7. Jenn on May 17th, 2008 5:19 pm

    I had to comment when I saw this….I grew up with these – we called them “Wheels” and they were a tradition for us every Thanksgiving and Christmas time. Now my husband has learned to love them too and we don’t just save them for the holidays! I like to keep a couple of cooked eagle brand cans in the frij (they keep for quite a while) and then you have a quick, fancy looking dessert. Also, always use Eagle Brand milk – store brand sweetened condensed milk doesn’t cook up as nice. Mmmmm, now I’m hungry for wheels!

  8. Tamara Merritt on May 17th, 2008 5:25 pm

    I had heard of doing lots of recipes with cooked sweetened condensed milk, but never with pineapple rings. That sounds like a weird combo to me…not saying I would not like it, it just sounds weird.

    Thanks to someone up there about the tip for only using Eagle Brand.

  9. Twila on May 17th, 2008 8:57 pm

    Hmmm…I’ll bet the Jenn that commented above is my sis. I was also going to say that I grew up with these “Wheels”, and have made them often. I like to use a deep pot so you can nearly fill it with water…then you don’t need to be adding water all the time. No fear as long as you keep that pot full! As a side note, when we were in Russia we found that you can buy the already-cooked sweetened condensed milk right off the shelf….they eat it on blini (pancakes) and maybe other things. I LOVE it!

  10. Rene on May 17th, 2008 9:18 pm

    I’ve cooked the condensed milk before but just long enough to make a caramel sauce for ice cream. I’ll have to try the longer cooking to get the more solid version. These look great!!

  11. Mary Faith on May 17th, 2008 9:41 pm

    Hmmm. The tip on using Eagle Brand is interesting. I’ve always used the stuff from Aldi. I don’t THINK that’s Eagle Brand, but I haven’t used it for awhile so I could be wrong. Anyway, I’ll have to try the Eagle Brand sometime and see if I can tell a difference.

  12. Karen on May 18th, 2008 6:59 am

    These are Rondyn’s favorite and I think off brands get grainy….?

  13. Annette33 on May 18th, 2008 9:12 am

    I’ve only eaten this carmel with bizcochos, or just by the spoonful in Colombia, South America. This is a popular sweet there, but made the old fashion way, in a large pot. I found out about the canned way when older dd had to make a dish common to Colombia. The troop loved it! I will have to make it with pineapple next time. Every six months or so, I boil a can for my Colombian-born dh.

  14. Katie Mast on May 18th, 2008 9:36 am

    O i love these as well. I first had them when I was in VS at Hillcrest, in AK. We made often there. Now my kids love them boiled just 2 hours and then they are carmel and they dip apples in it. My husband is’nt to sure it’s cheaper then buying it already made, cuz of all the gas or electric you use when boiling it. BUt i think it’s just a fun thing to do. Gld you tried it, now it’s making me hungery. I will make it this week i think.

  15. Shannon on May 18th, 2008 2:25 pm

    Ohhhh, I am sooo hungry for these again. HAVE to make them!

  16. Lisa on May 18th, 2008 4:19 pm

    This does look interesting. Hmmm, might have to try these. Oh Kay, I do have to tell you I made your Mexican Lasagna tonight and it was a big hit! Check out my blog for pics.

    My neighbors loved it too. (I share, lol). Thanks for the great recipe!

  17. Twila on May 19th, 2008 6:26 am

    I made these for the first time, too, just recently, after 23 years of marriage. I’ve always been a bit nervous about the exploding part, too. But I had no disasters, I used a very deep pot, and decided to do 3 if I’m doing it anyway. I did use an off brand, and it seemed fine except it seemed a bit soft, and I thought it should have maybe been cooked abit longer. They’re good, but I don’t think I’ll make them very often, I really don’t like cooking something for that long.

  18. Jo on May 19th, 2008 11:35 am

    Now I’m drooling. :-) Wonder if I have the ingredients in my pantry right now….???

  19. Christy on May 19th, 2008 1:30 pm

    I love this dessert, but don’t make it because Steve doesn’t care for it. In Belize the ladies cooked the milk for less time and used the carmel for icing on cakes.

  20. Crystal on May 20th, 2008 8:03 am

    If you just leave sweetened condensed milk in your cabinet for a long time (not sure how long, a year maybe) it will turn in to caramel too. I have friends that label certain cans to make sure they leave them long enough and then use them for caramel later.

  21. Anna on May 20th, 2008 12:38 pm

    I’m still scared.

  22. Melissa on May 22nd, 2008 11:08 am

    I love these and have been trying to find the recipe for a long time!

  23. Mary Faith on May 29th, 2008 10:53 am

    I made these this week and I had a most interesting thing happen. I used the Eagle Brand, just out of curiosity, and you know what? It was the first time EVER that it did NOT turn out right. :0 I think I must really be strange. lol

Baked Apples and Cheese – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #2

Quote from my last Out of My Comfort Zone post:
“Up next week on Out of My Comfort Zone cooking… Baked Apples and Cheese. Yes, they are mixed together in the same dish, and yes, that would be cheddar cheese, not cream cheese. No, I didn’t make it yet. But I’m looking forward to it.”

Well, here it is, in all its syrup-y goodness:

I was expecting rave reviews, but well, um, didn’t get any. Not even from myself. It was good, but not exceptional. While I was eating my portion, I kept thinking I should try it sometime without the cheese… the rest of it was so scrumptious and that toasted pecan streusel topping on it was to die for, I could’ve eaten that stuff plain! You know, skim along the top with my spoon when nobody was looking.

I took it to a family supper and asked for feedback on it. The feedback was that the cheese was too chewy and that apples don’t go with cheese. They said it was good though, just not ‘make again’ quality. My MIL liked it the best, although what she raved about mostly was the toasted pecans. They really were good, but then most things are good if they’re tossed with melted butter and toasted in the oven!

So, here’s the recipe and then we’ll talk about cheese problems at the end. This recipe is taken from the Famous Daves Backroads and Sidestreets cookbook. That in itself is another reason I thought this recipe would be a keeper… that cookbook is loaded with keepers!

Baked Apples and Cheese

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter
4 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in apples. Mix flour and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add sharp Cheddar cheese, tossing to coat.
Add to apple mixture and mix well. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon the apple mixture into a buttered 9×13″ baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Lightly stir.

Sprinkle with Pecan Streusel Topping.

Bake 10 minutes more. Yield: 5 – 6 servings.

Pecan Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Toss the pecans with 1 tsp. butter in a bowl.
apples-cheese3.jpg  Spread in a round baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 13 minutes or until lightly toasted, then cool.
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor container. Pulse in short bursts to mix. Add 1/2 cup butter. Pulse in short bursts until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Stir in the pecans. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 cups.
apples-cheese7.jpg This topping can be used for other stuff too… layered in the middle of coffee cakes or topping for crisps and cobblers.


Now, about the cheese… the problem was that you’d hit a patch of chewy cheese, which is a good thing on a pizza or in a grilled cheese sandwich, but it tasted a little weird surrounded by sweetness.
Here are my ideas:
—maybe shredded cheese or smaller chunks would work better
—maybe a more ‘melty’ cheese, like American, would blend in better
—maybe I should’ve served it piping hot
—maybe this recipe would be THE best apple crisp recipe after omitting the cheese completely

I want to try this on my mom sometime and see what she thinks. She loves ‘out of her comfort zone’ stuff and trying new things. I could make half a pan with no cheese and the other half with cheese, using some modification ideas that I had… or modification ideas that you might have.

Not sure what next week’s “Out of My Comfort Zone’ food will be. I haven’t had any inspirations yet.


9 Responses to “Baked Apples and Cheese – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #2”

  1. amy on May 7th, 2008 4:26 am

    I agree with family. Cheese and apples don’t belong.:) My mom likes a chunk of cheese and a raw apple together…but baked… The recipe sounds like it would be scrumptious-minus cheese:) especially the topping. Your family must love the good food you so faithfully make.

  2. Freida on May 7th, 2008 6:17 am

    You were brave to take it to a family supper. I would not have had the nerve. I can not seem to put the taste of apples and cheese together. :/

  3. Ali on May 7th, 2008 7:03 am

    Good for you for being brave!

    Cheddar and apples are a classic combo — but I think the cheese is traditionally baked into the crust of an apple pie. So it doesn’t get chewy or anything, it just gives a nice flavor.

    If you love streusel toppings, I have a recipe you might like for sweet potatoes w/ pecan streusel.

  4. Ruthie on May 7th, 2008 7:05 am

    Sorry, I agree with the other comments. I just can’t wrap my mind around the melted sharp cheddar with cooked apples! The pecans sound yummy!

  5. Jo on May 7th, 2008 2:35 pm

    I wonder if shredded cheese wouldn’t work better…and maybe putting it (in a lesser amount) in the topping instead of baking it right w/ the apples? I dunno…just what I was thinking. The apple pie we baked in home ec years ago had shredded cheddar cheese in the crust, and it was delish.
    I think you’re brave, too! At least it wasn’t terrible…just…weird. :)

  6. Twila on May 8th, 2008 1:16 pm

    I think maybe shredded cheese, and not sharp, but mild. I think apples and cheese can go together if done right. Do you know what snitz pies are? Like turnovers with dried apple fillin. Well anyway, I think those are good eaten with a piece of cheese. haven’t had any for a while, so I don’t remember what kind of cheese is best with them!

  7. lisa on May 8th, 2008 1:35 pm

    i love sliced apples and cheese together, but haven’t ever tried them baked together.

    do you have a good spaghetti recipe? i just use sauce from the store, cook some noodles, brown some burger, stir it all together…marc loves spaghetti, so i’d love to learn to make it better than boring.

  8. Kay on May 8th, 2008 9:04 pm

    Lisa, I don’t have a good speghetti recipe… I buy Ragu pasta sauce (the kind that says ‘Mushroom’ on it), and use bought frozen meatballs and serve that over speghetti. I usually sprinkle some Italian seasoning into the sauce too. We really like it, but yeah, mine could definitely be improved on too! My favorite thing when we have it is Lexi calling it ’skabetti’. :)

  9. Ali on May 9th, 2008 8:21 pm

    Sorry if I’m butting in, but I have a tip for Lisa.

    Adding half ground beef and half italian sausage (hot, sweet or regular, but i love sweet) makes a big difference. :)

Flaky Crabmeat Bundles – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #1

Posted on May 1, 2008
Filed Under Out of My Comfort Zone

This week’s cooking adventure is… Flaky Crabmeat Bundles. I’d love to know, does that sound like something you’d just up and make without thinking twice?


My husband, Shannon, reads my blog… ok, yeah, I guess you’d know that since I told you he’s my tech support and the one that got it up on the web and customized it for me. Anyway, last night, I said, “You know the thing about cooking something once a week that’s out of my comfort zone?” He said, “Yeah, I saw it in your last post.” I said, “Well, first up is Flaky Crabmeat Bundles”. He was in the next room and after a slight pause, he appeared in the doorway and said, “HUH?!” I think he was afraid he had heard me right.

Well, I made them…

First, while thinking about making them, I had to get over the ‘crab’ thing. Ewwwww! And then it didn’t help matters when I opened the can. Flaky describes it for sure.

Next, there was the thing of phyllo dough. I had bought some awhile ago because it kind of intrigued me, but never got the nerve to try it. I was looking forward to that part, though.

This recipe comes from a Pampered Chef Stoneware Sensations cookbook. Since I only have one piece of stoneware, when I use that cookbook, I start by looking in the Stoneware Index (which is categorized by the different stoneware pieces used) instead of the Recipe Index. And, no, I don’t really want to own more than one piece… I should say that quietly because I know there are some die-hard stoneware fans out there. I am, however, a big fan of Pampered Chef and have LOTS of things and there are still more in that catalog that I think I can’t live without. Well, anyway, we can talk about Pampered Chef some other time, let’s get on with these crab things…

Flaky Crabmeat Bundles

2 cans (6 oz. each) lump crabmeat, drained (I couldn’t find anything that said ‘lump’ on it. Mine ended up looking more grated.)
1 container (8 oz) chive and onion soft cream cheese
2/3 cup fresh pea pods or sugar-snap peas, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium carrot, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, pressed (don’t miss the lazy man’s tip for this at the end of the post)
6 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic or white wine vinegar
2 tsp. peeled fresh ginger root (I used about 1/3 tsp ground ginger… I found online that 1 tsp. ground ginger is equal to 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, although not as good. I looked for ginger root for quite awhile in the produce section at the grocery store, but couldn’t find it. We live in a little town.)
2 tsp. sesame oil (couldn’t find that either, I used olive oil)

Preheat oven to 375. For bundles, combine crabmeat, cream cheese, pea pods, and salt in a bowl.
crab2.jpg   Shred carrot.

Add carrot and garlic to crabmeat mixture; mix well.

Unfold one phyllo sheet onto an 18″ long piece of parchment paper. (Keep remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap.) They’re not kidding about that! Those sheets are paper thin and dry out SO fast. And after they dry, they break instead of bend. Using Kitchen Spritzer filled with vegetable oil, generously spray phyllo sheet. I don’t have a Kitchen Spritzer, so I used a pastry brush. Worked ok, but a sprayer would’ve been much better. Top with second phyllo sheet; spray with oil. Repeat with 3rd sheet of phyllo and oil. Trim phyllo sheets to a 16″ x 12″ rectangle. Cut thro’ all layers of phyllo to make 4″ squares. My sheets were smaller, so I only got 6 squares out of each batch.

Using small Stainless Steel Scoop, drop rounded scoops of crabmeat mixture onto center of each square.

For each bundle, bring 4 corners together at top; pinch. Place bundles on flat Baking Stone.

Bake 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and place on nonstick cooling rack. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and crabmeat mixture to make 24 bundles. I just made a half batch for us.

For sauce, combine all ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Serve warm bundles with sauce. I warmed up the sauce, too. Yield: 24 bundles, 3/4 cup sauce

They were good! Shannon liked them even better than I did. I liked them better with the sauce. With or without the sauce was a toss-up for Shannon. It was definitely a different taste than what we’re used to.

They’d be great to serve at a ladies’ afternoon tea party or as appetizers for a formal meal.

Back to the phyllo dough… I have over 3/4 of the pack left. I’m looking forward to using the rest. Maybe next time it’ll be for a dessert.

Just a quick tip for garlic cloves… I’ve never bought a garlic clove or used a garlic press. I use this:
crab10.jpg  crab11.jpg

It’s fresh minced garlic, found in the spice aisle, and you refrigerate it after opening. On the side of the jar, it says, “1 tsp = 1 average fresh garlic clove”. I should compare this stuff side by side with a freshly pressed garlic clove and see if I can tell a difference.

Up next week on Out of My Comfort Zone cooking… Baked Apples and Cheese. Yes, they are mixed together in the same dish, and yes, that would be cheddar cheese, not cream cheese. No, I didn’t make it yet. But I’m looking forward to it.


21 Responses to “Flaky Crabmeat Bundles – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #1”

  1. Jessica on May 1st, 2008 9:24 pm

    The bundles look good. I am coming over for supper the night you have Apples and Cheese…

  2. Twila on May 1st, 2008 9:31 pm

    So much to comment on…speaking of Pampered Chef, I love my garlic press! I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I would love these crab bundles. Now I just want to know how they’d bake up on a regular baking sheet as I own no baking stones and don’t wish to. As for apples and cheese, have you ever had an Apple Grande at Taco John’s? If your Baked Apples and Cheese is anything like that, it will be scrumptious!

  3. lisa on May 1st, 2008 10:11 pm

    we LOVE an appetizer that must be just like these. i’ll have to try these out once i go grocery shopping. IF there’s anything left to spend after buying milk, eggs, butter, diapers…

  4. Jo on May 1st, 2008 10:33 pm

    P.C. stoneware is great. Took me a long time to convert, but I’m a fan now.
    Way back in high school Home Ec class, we made a Dairy State Apple Pie that had cheddar cheese in it…we all thought that it would be so gross but we were in for a surprise! It was YUMMY.
    I love trying different things…when I have time…and extra grocery money (what a joke!). These crab bundles look great, but I’m too tired to be tempted right now.

  5. esther on May 1st, 2008 11:06 pm

    I love crab so the appetizers sound good to me. And my husband likes cheddar cheese with his apple pie. So we might do okay with your OOMCZone food. =)

  6. Mary Faith on May 1st, 2008 11:26 pm

    I have to agree with Jo on the stoneware. :) I love it but it took me awhile to get used to it, too. But, as a (used-to-be) PC consultant, I better love it. :) The garlic press is awesome too. And that recipe… I never tried it but am sure it is wonderful. This gives me the urge to try it soon. :) Course I’ve never had a PC recipe that I didn’t like, no matter how weird it sounded. ???? I’m impressed with your bravery. :)

  7. barb on May 2nd, 2008 4:39 am

    O.k. at what section of the grocery store do you find phyllo dough/sheets or whatever its called?
    They look wonderful, and they look similar to crab rangoon that you can get on a buffet at a chinese restaurant. We LOVE those. My husband would be happy if I could figure out a way to make them at home. If I can find the phyllo ????….

  8. barb on May 2nd, 2008 4:42 am

    By the way, Kay…
    I can’t get enough of your website. It is the best cooking/baking blog that I have found, and I’ve been all around and seen lots of them.
    You do an awesome job. Thanks for sharing, I love it.

  9. Freida on May 2nd, 2008 6:48 am

    These remind me of something very similar I’ve had at a Chinese Restaurant a few times. If its anything like those, they are good! Cheers for cooking out of your comfort zone.

  10. Andy Lawrenson on May 2nd, 2008 6:49 am

    I have found no difference in the jar garlic and the fresh garlic.

    By the way, why am I the only man commenting here?

    The crab bundles look good and may try that sometime, we happen to have fresh crab handy here.

  11. Christy on May 2nd, 2008 7:04 am

    Evidently the people who are thinking , “gross,” aren’t commenting today. :) This looks like the kind of thing I’d love if someone else would make so I could try it. I love eating something a little more exotic, but don’t like buying all the ingredients when it’s not something I’d normally buy. The dough reminds me of wonton wrappers. Is it similar? Michelle makes some killer sausage wontons using those.

  12. Shannon on May 2nd, 2008 7:05 am

    Hummm, something I might eat, but I doubt my family would. :) I don’t like cooking OOMYCzone but maybe I should more often cause we just eat the same things all the time. :)

  13. Katie Mast on May 2nd, 2008 7:56 am

    O how lovely. I have that cookbook and I have not tryed them yet!!! Well i better make them this week or maybe i will make them at my next show. I dont really care for sea food but i love the crab rangoons at the chinese resturants. Someone was wondering where to get the phyllo dough, you can find it in the frozen section where they would have bread dough. Now, for the garlic i never liked garlic, cuz i would buy that stuff in the jar. But wants i got a PC garlic press i couldnt believe the difference. The aroma is enough to get your taste buds watering. You will need to get one at your next show. OR become a consultant like me and get it with your kit. HUM!!!! sounds like we have a few PC lovers on here. I love my stoneware as well, once you use it for a while, that is all you want to use. I love mine, i have bought 2 pieces at yard sales, yeah!! i was so excited. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas. I love your website.

  14. Kay on May 2nd, 2008 8:09 am

    I’m glad for the positive comments on the apples and cheese stuff! I still can’t imagine that going together, but now I’m REALLY anxious to try it.

    Christy, I’ve never used wonton wrappers, but it seems like they’d be a bit thicker than phyllo. Seriously, I couldn’t believe how thin the stuff was… literally at least as thin as a piece of lightweight paper, only more delicate.

    Barb, I got my phyllo dough at Walmart by the frozen pie crusts. Not sure what else is around there… oh, yeah, probably bread dough, like Katie said above.

  15. Lisa on May 2nd, 2008 10:00 am

    I just found your website via Jadens Steamy Kitchen and I had to tell you I’m having a blast checking things out. So many great recipes. I have 2 boys and 2 hubby so easy and simple always works for me. I bookmarked you so I will be visiting often! Come check out my site too!

  16. Rick L. on May 2nd, 2008 11:07 am

    You can come here to the Outer Banks and fix those things any time you want! And we’ll make sure your crab meat is not only lump, but right out of the crab.

  17. Amber on May 2nd, 2008 12:51 pm

    OH, those look so yummy! I just wish someone would make them for me to try… :) I’m not hearing any volunteers.

  18. Arla on May 2nd, 2008 8:28 pm

    Hi Kay, Maybe you all knew the correct pronunciation of phyllo. I didn’t. The packaging that I had when I used it had (fillo) written on it or something like that right beside the phyllo word. So I was pronouncing it “fillo”. My friend Susan who knows these things laughed at me and said, “Don’t you know? It’s Fi- (long I)lo Dough.” I argued that with my own theory, and ended by looking it up. Friends,it is FEELOH dough. So, now you know.

  19. Kay on May 2nd, 2008 9:00 pm

    Thanks, Arla! I didn’t know how to pronounce it. In my mind, I say Fi(long i)lo. Glad to know now… it may become a more common part of my cooking/baking, once I get past the thing of being a bit intimidated by it. Now, if I can just get my brain to switch to a long E!

  20. Sharon on May 6th, 2008 7:28 am

    These look good, but yeah, I’d have to get a few things I haven’t ever used–although phyllo has always intrigued me. Had to comment on the garlic. I always minced fresh garlic, then found out about the jarred stuff and decided it would be much better and quicker. Well, it wasn’t for me–the fresh has just much better flavor, I think. But really, it’s probably just what you’re used to!

  21. Wendy on April 15th, 2009 8:15 pm

    I just read this post and thought I should tell you to try the sauce with the sesame oil. It will totally add a new flavor. You should be able to find this in the Asian section at your grocery store.

    Want to try these sometime soon!