Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Dreamsicle Orange Cupcakes

   By Kerrie

Hi!   I love the orange and cream goodness of Dreamsicle bars – especially bought from the ice cream truck that even in late August is tooling down our street every other day or so with the tinkle of music we remember as children.   The sweet orange and cream in my mouth takes me back to little girl days waiting with Daddy for the truck to get closer to our house so we could run down to the end of the driveway and meet it.   Thank goodness the meandering ice cream truck has not yet gone by the wayside.   Anyway, I have been tinkering with a recipe over the summer, and it’s good enough to share now.   If you love orange and cream as I do, you might want to give these little cakes a try…..


1 classic yellow cake mix  (I used Pillsbury)
1 cup orange juice (the less sweet the better) I use Fred Meyer’s store brand
1/3 cup oil (I use canola)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons orange extract  (I use Specialty Flavors Dream Cycle by Johnson Supply Co.)
Yellow and Red food color – about 2 drops of red and 3 drops of yellow more or less
1 small (3.3 ounce package) Jell-O White Chocolate pudding mix
1 envelope Dream Whip
1 cup cold milk
¼ cup cold milk
½ cup (1 stick butter) ROOM TEMPERATURE
½ cup Vegetable Shortening (I use Crisco) ROOM TEMPERATURE
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon orange extract
Yellow and Red food color – about 2 drops of red and 3 drops of yellow more or less


First, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and either grease or paper line cupcake tins.   This recipe will yield 20 – 22 cupcakes.

Next, to a large bowl add the cake mix, orange juice, oil, eggs and orange extract.  Mix on medium high for two minutes.  Then, starting with a couple of drops of red, and then yellow, add the food coloring – mixing well with each addition until you have the desired color of orange.

Now, using a medium size scoop, fill each cupcake paper.

Place the tins in oven and bake for 17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove tins from oven and place on cooling rack.    In 5 minutes, remove the cakes from the tins and continue to cool on rack.   When completely cooled, fill with cream (see below) and frost (see below).

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream center.   First, to a medium bowl add the white chocolate pudding mix and 1 cup cold milk.   Using an electric mixer, run on medium high for about a minute, scrape the sides and bottom and then cover with plastic and place in the fridge.

Then, to a small bowl add one envelope of “Dream Whip” and ¼ cup cold milk.   Beat with electric mixer on high for about 5 minutes and/or until peaks form.

Now, top the chilled pudding with the fluffy “Dream Whip” and mix on low until blended.   Cover with plastic wrap and chill until used.

Okay, let's make the frosting ....   in a large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. 

Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.  Add orange juice and extract and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.   Now, color the frosting as you did with the cake mix using alternate drops of red and yellow until you have a nice orange color.   Fill piping bag and set aside.

Okay, let’s fill the cupcakes with the cream mixture....   Do this by piping with a long tip.   Push in the filling until you see the top of the cake begin to dome a bit.

Now, when each of the cupcakes have been filled, frost with the orange icing.   Leave a little circle in the center blank – which you will fill with a last little dollop of the cream mixture.

Enjoy !!!!!

Place cupcakes in fridge until 20 minutes before serving.   They will stay yummy and nice for up to 3 days.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

    By Kerrie

Even though the temperatures are still in the 90’s around this part of the country, school has started up again, and the days are getting just a little shorter.   In the school yard behind our house the pee-wee football players gather each evening for coaching and sometimes games.   I swear, they are so cute in their uniforms and helmets!   Anyway, this time of year makes me want to cook the savories.   Tonight we are having stroganoff.   This recipe has been pared down a bit.   Gone is the butter, and we are topping whole wheat noodles for extra fiber, but with fresh snipped herbs and garlic it’s still delicious, and a little bit healthier.   Give this one a try and let me know your thoughts….

1 pound beef sirloin trimmed and cut in ¼ inch strips.
2 Tablespoons canola, or any light oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion – diced
3 cloves mushrooms – diced or pressed
3 Tablespoons flour
¼ cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1-1/2 cup beef stock – low sodium
2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley
2 Tablespoons fresh minced chives
Salt and Pepper to taste ( 1 teaspoon pepper and ½ teaspoon salt)
1 cup light sour cream
1 package cooked noodles ( we are using whole wheat)   You could also use rice or even baked potatoes.

To a non-stick deep dish pan add two Tablespoons oil.   When the pan is hot, add the trimmed and cut sirloin.  Brown quickly and then remove meat and set aside.  Do not overcook.   (this is how I would normally cook the meat.   For tonight, I am using leftovers from a 4 steak value-pack.  We grilled them last night, and I set two aside.   I then trimmed and sliced them.   I will add them to the pan later.   See below. )

Now, to the same pan, add the onion, mushrooms and garlic.   Over medium high heat, cook until the onions and mushrooms are tender. 

Then, top the onions and mushrooms with the flour, and stir to mix.

Now, pour in the wine and stir.   Follow this with the tomato paste and beef stock.   Stir, and cook over medium high heat until thickened and bubbly. 

 Then, add the meat, salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes.

 Now, remove pan from heat and add the minced herbs, and stir to incorporate.

 Next, add the sour cream and stir until creamy.

Top noodles, or rice, or baked potatoes and enjoy!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grilled Vegetables & Whole Wheat Lasagna

    By Kerrie

Yesterday a friend gave me a beautiful zucchini and eggplant from her garden.  I really wanted to do them justice, so why not season and grill them for a healthy lasagna dish, keeping the "grill" theme throughout?  If you like that idea too, give this a try…..

1 pound zucchini cut into 4” x ¼ inch slices
1 pound eggplant cut into ¼ inch slices
Olive oil spray
Montreal Steak seasoning (about 8 teaspoons)
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 large onion
1 package or two cups sliced mushrooms
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
One 32 ounce container Ricotta Cheese (part skim milk)
Two 10 ounce packages of frozen chopped spinach – thawed and squeezed dry
Two 24 ounce cans or jars of tomato pasta sauce
1 egg lightly whisked
8 ounces Italian Blend Grated Cheese  (part skim milk)
8 ounces Mozzarella cheese  (part skim milk)
One 14 ounce package of whole wheat lasagna noodles

There are three components to this luscious lasagna that will be prepared and then set aside for final assembly:  grilled zucchini and eggplant,  grilled onions and mushrooms, and a spinach and ricotta filling.   Each of these components could be prepared earlier in the day or even the day before and chilled until ready to assemble.    I do HIGHLY recommend the use of Montreal Steak Seasoning for continuity of the grilled flavor theme.   One other thing –  if you use, as I have, whole wheat noodles, don’t precook.   Whole Wheat is more porous and it cooks more quickly and absorbs liquid faster than regular pasta.   Okay, let’s go……

First, slice the zucchini and eggplant and spray each slice with olive oil and then sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning.   Grill each slice over a hot BBQ grill until nicely char marked.  When done, set aside.

Next, slice onions and then spray a nonstick pan with a little olive oil.  To the hot pan, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until tender.   At this point, add the minced garlic and continue to cook on medium high until nicely caramelized.  When done, add 1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasonings, toss and set aside.

Now, to a large bowl add the Ricotta cheese, whisked egg, 4 ounces of the “Italian Blend” grated cheese, 4 teaspoons of Montreal Steak Seasonings, 4 teaspoons of Italian Seasonings, and the squeezed chopped spinach.   Using an electric mixer, on low speed mix until well blended.    Set aside.

Okay, let’s assemble…..

First, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Oil a 13 x 9 inch glass or ceramic pan.   Spread the first can/jar of pasta sauce over the bottom of the pan and cover with “dry” whole wheat lasagna noodles. 

 Then, top with the grilled/seasoned zucchini.

Then, top with the ricotta and spinach filling.

Then, top with another layer of “dry” whole wheat lasagna noodles.

 Then, top with the grilled onions and mushrooms.

Then, top with the other 4 ounces of “Italian Blend” shredded cheese.

Then, top with the grilled/seasoned eggplant.

Now, top with the second can/jar of tomato pasta sauce.

Place the lasagna pan over a cookie sheet to catch any sauce that might bubble over and place in oven.

Cover lightly with foil (don’t tuck/fold).      Bake for 45 minutes.

Then sprinkle the top with the 8 ounces of Mozzarella cheese.    Continue to bake for another 12 minutes – more or less – until melted and bubbling.

 Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy !!!!!