Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Aunt Debbie’s Chocolate Rum Balls

My aunt Debbie from Dad's side made these every holiday.  She would pack them in cookie tins, and hand them out as homemade family gifts to everyone.    They were GREAT and now most of us associate them with the holidays.   But you can play around with other flavors and make them for almost any occasion. 

Aunt Debbie’s Chocolate Rum Balls

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup rum


1.       In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Shape mixture into 1-inch balls.  You can use a cookie dough scooper if you want, to keep the portions equal.   You can add more or less cocoa powder, depending on how dark you want them to be.  
2.       Layer the rum balls in a tight-sealing container (putting wax paper or parchment paper between the layers so they don’t stick together).  
3.       Refrigerate rum balls over night.  This helps them firm up.   Serve. 
Tips And Ideas:
·         You can roll the rum balls in ground nuts, powdered sugar, sprinkles (colors to suit the holiday/occasion), etc.   Or dip them in chocolate and lay them out to set up on wax paper.  
·         Leave the cocoa powder out and dye them different colors.
·         Leave the rum out and make them onto “cake pop” treats for the kids.
·         Experiment with different types of cookies.  Oreos (cream filling removed) or graham crackers would also give interesting colors and flavors.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

No-Bake Eclair Cake

This recipe does have some family significance for me.   I remember at Thanksgiving or Christmas, Aunt Debbie (from Dad's side) used to make a big eclair cake and bring it to the family gatherings.   It was sooooo good!  It never lasted long.   Most people only use vanilla pudding.  But Aunt Debbie used both chocolate and vanilla.  She just layered them.   Also, some people mix the whipped cream with the pudding, and some layer it over the pudding.   I can't remember which one she did...    But she did describe how she made it all the time.   I have tried it a few times myself, and this is how I like to do it.   I don't remember aunt Debbie using frosting, but many people do (I think she just used a top layer of chocolate pudding and whipped cream over the last layer of graham crackers).   But I like the look of the chocolate frosting, and the richness.   You can also make your own frosting.

No-Bake Eclair Cake 


2 (3.5 oz.) boxes vanilla instant pudding (or 1 chocolate and 1 vanilla)
3 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip
2 (14.4) oz packages graham crackers
1 container of the darkest frosting you can find

  1. In a large bowl, blend milk and pudding packets for about 2 minutes (separate bowls if you use chocolate and vanilla). Fold in Cool Whip (divide it equally if different pudding flavors).
  2. In a 9x13 pan, Layer graham crackers to cover entire bottom of pan. You may need to cut and shape the crackers to fit nicely.
  3. Pour half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level (if using different flavors, use all of only one flavor at this time).
  4. Put another layer of graham crackers to cover entire surface. Cut and shape crackers accordingly.
  5. Put the second half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level (if using different flavors, use all of the other flavor at this time).
  6. Put the final layer of graham crackers on top with bumpy side down. This will help the top look more smooth when you go to put the frosting on top. Once again, cut and shape crackers accordingly to avoid pits and cracks.
  7. For the frosting, remove the lid and the seal from the frosting container.   Microwave it just long enough to make it pourable.  Pour frosting over the top of the last layer of graham crackers and spread it out, making sure it covers all areas. 
  8. Cover cake and refrigerate overnight to allow cake to set, otherwise it may be too runny, and the graham crackers will not soften properly.   Cut into squares and serve.  
TIP:  For an interesting twist, use different flavored graham crackers, puddings, and toppings (such as Nutella).   Dissolve some coffee crystals in a a few tablespoons of water and add it to the pudding and whipped cream, for a more "tiramisu" flavor.  You can also make it more figure friendly by using fat-free/sugar-free alternatives, or gluten/dairy-free substitutes, if you have an allergy.   The sky is the limit, so be creative!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chicken And Vegetable Rice Bake (Stouffer's Copy-Cat)

 I found this recipe because I tried a Stoufers dinner (Granma's Chicken And Vegetable Rice Bake) and I LOVED it!   So I set out in search of a good "copy-cat" recipe and I found this one on mommy's.   I was really happy to find it, because I love anything "comfort food-y".   So I decided to add it to my blog and pass it on.   

Chicken And Vegetable Rice Bake (Stouffer's Copy-Cat)
6 - chicken breasts, cooked & cut in pieces or use rotisserie chicken
1/2 - cup butter or margarine, separated
1/2 - cup chopped onion
2 - carrots, peeled & diced
1 - cup frozen peas or peas & carrot mix
4 - cups cooked rice
1 - 18 oz can Progresso cream of mushroom soup
1 - 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup or
1- 10 3/4 oz can cheddar cheese soup
2 - cups milk
1 - 8 oz package Kraft Shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 - cups Panko bread crumbs
3 - tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Cook the rice first according to package directions. You will need 4 cups cooked rice. Cut the chicken breasts into smaller size pieces for even cooking.

Drizzle some olive oil into a large skillet. Heat up a skillet or grill pan. The skillet needs to be nice and hot.

Add the chicken pieces and pan fry until golden brown on each side and the chicken is cooked through. Cook the chicken in batches so you don't crowd the skillet. Set the chicken aside.

In a separate saucepan melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the diced carrot, onions and peas. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent in color. Set veggies aside when done.

In a very large bowl add the cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken, cheddar cheese soup and milk. Stir together;

Add shredded cheese, chicken, cooked veggies and rice. Gently mix everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into two 9x11 inch pans (I used disposable roaster pans from Walmart). In a small bowl melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and mix with the bread crumbs.

Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly between both casseroles. Place in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cook until mixture is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.

To Freeze Casserole: Wrap unbaked casserole with glad press and seal or plastic wrap, and then wrap with on layer of aluminum foil. Date the casserole and freeze.

To cook Frozen Casserole:  Remove casserole from freezer, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and heated through.