Vi’s Fruitcake

This recipe was developed by my friend Judy Begley Trimarchi’s mother, Violet (Vi) Begley.

Don’t be afraid!

Yes, it’s fruitcake, but not the kind of fruitcake that your parents warned you about. This cake is full of raisins, dates, and walnuts with some candied fruit, held together by a moist spice cake flavored with molasses, apple jelly, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.

Try it, you will be surprised! When I was first offered a piece of this fruitcake, I was reluctant to try it, but I quickly changed my mind and ate two more pieces.

Servings: 48 cupcakes

1 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar
6 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
¾ cup brewed coffee
½ cup apple jelly
½ cup molasses
1 lb raisins
½ lb currants
½ lb dates, chopped
½ lb nuts, coarsely chopped
1 lb candied fruit

  1. Cream shortening and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & spices.
  4. Stir in flour mixture alternately with liquids (coffee, jelly & molasses) until well combined.
  5. Stir in fruit and nuts.
  6. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans or lined cupcake pans, filling almost to the top.
  7. Bake at 300℉ until a toothpick comes out clean. Cupcakes about 25 minutes, 2″x 4″ loaf about 45-50 minutes.
  • You can substitute other dried fruit for any of those listed. This year we used dried pineapple & dried cherries instead of the candied fruit – yum!
  • You can substitute another mild-flavored jelly if you prefer.

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Impossible Pie

basic recipe from Bisquick

1 1/3 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 cups Bisquick
1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.
  3. Pour over chosen ingredients in a greased 10″ pie pan.
  4. Bake until set, about 25-35 minutes.

Filling options:

  • chicken & vegetables
  • ham & Swiss cheese
  • bacon & Cheddar cheese
  • spinach & Swiss cheese
  • Taco – ground beef with taco seasoning, onions, Cheddar cheese
  • chicken, broccoli & Cheddar cheese
  • ground beef, mushrooms & 1/2 cup sour cream (replace equal amount of milk)
  • green chile & Cheddar cheese
  • cherry tomatoes & Cheddar cheese

Note – all filling ingredients should be chopped in bite-size or smaller pieces and meat should be cooked. If using vegetables with high liquid content such as spinach, squeeze out liquid before using.


Moussaka

My mother cut this recipe out of a magazine in the 70s. I have a photocopy of it, but it does not show the magazine’s name. Like many old photocopies, it is faded and very difficult to read. The recipe, however, is as delicious as always.

Servings: 6

Meat Sauce

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup onion, diced
1 ½ lbs ground beef or lamb
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp oregano, dried
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp cinnamon
dash freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
16 oz tomato sauce
2 Tbsp dry bread crumbs

  1. Melt butter in 4 quart Dutch oven.
  2. Add onion and meat, stirring until brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, herbs, & spices. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, 1/2 hour.
  5. Stir in bread crumbs.
Eggplant

2-2 ½ lbs eggplant
½ cup butter, melted
salt

  1. Halve unpeeled eggplant lengthwise, then slice ½ inch thick.
  2. Place in broiler pan and brush lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Broil 4 inches from heat, 4 minutes per side, or until golden.
Bechamel (Cream Sauce in original)

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
dash pepper
2 c milk
2 large eggs

  1. In a medium saucepan melt butter; remove from heat and stir in flour, salt and pepper.
  2. Add milk gradually. Bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, beat eggs.
  4. Temper eggs by adding a small amount of hot bechamel sauce, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Mix well and set aside.
Topping

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup Cheddar cheese, grated

Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375℉.
  2. In the bottom of 9″x13″ baking dish, layer 1/2 of the eggplant, overlapping slightly.
  3. Mix cheeses. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons over eggplant.
  4. Spoon meat sauce over top.
  5. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons cheese.
  6. Layer rest of eggplant, overlapping as before.
  7. Pour cream sauce over all.
  8. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.
  9. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and top is set. If desired, brown top under broiler for 1 minute. Cool slightly before serving.
  • You can replace the Cheddar cheese with more Parmesan.

Hamburger Loaf aka Meatloaf

This is a recipe that my mother, Sherry Salvage ReVeal Bradley, had for years – I do not know where she got it.

The original recipe was called Cheeseburger Loaf, but I never put the cheese on it.  I also use less ground beef because I like my meatloaf a little softer than the typical one.

1 lb ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 tsp salt (optional)
dash pepper

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly – I usually do it by hand.
  3. Put into a deep casserole dish.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour or until browned and bubbly.
  • My favorite way to eat this is with a baked potato.  I split open the potato, spoon the meatloaf over it, and mash it into the potato.
  • You can substitute bread crumbs for the oatmeal.

Chile Cheese Squares

recipe from Sara Garretson – a friend of my mother’s in New Mexico

2-3 roasted green chiles, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
6 large eggs, beaten

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread green chiles in a greased 9″ square pan.
  3. Sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Pour eggs over chiles & cheese.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set and slightly browned.
  6. Cut into small squares.
  • I even like these cold the next day.
  • You can also cook this as a frittata in a skillet.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted by my mother, Sherry Salvage ReVeal Bradley, from Nestle’s Toll House

2 cups shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp water, as needed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Combine shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Add water if mixture is dry.
  4. Stir in walnuts & chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges and still soft in the center.
  7. Makes 4-5 dozen 3 inch cookies.
  • Cook one batch – if the cookies do not spread out, you need to add more water. Add a few teaspoons at a time.
  • We used to use semisweet chocolate chips, but recently we switched to Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips which are slightly darker than semisweet.

Peanut Blossom Cookies

adapted from Joy of Baking

These are the most tender cookies of this type that I have ever tasted.  I switched to dark brown sugar because I like the deeper flavor it adds.  I prefer creamy peanut butter because they have such a wonderful texture.  I also prefer not to roll them in sugar which gives them a crunchy coating.

peanut_butter_blossom

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
48 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

  1. Beat butter until creamy and smooth.
  2. Add peanut butter and sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine.
  4. Beat in milk.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add to the peanut butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
  7. Cover and chill for about an hour, or until firm enough to roll into balls.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 and place rack in the center of the oven.
  9. Roll the batter into 1″ balls.
  10. Place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silicone mat, spacing about 2″ apart.
  11. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned.
  12. Immediately after removing from the oven, place a Kiss into the center of each cookie, pressing down gently until the cookie just starts to crack.
  13. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
  • You can substitute any type of chocolate candy for the Kisses – Dove Promises, mini peanut butter cups…

Amish Friendship Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
5 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Lightly grease 2 large loaf pans. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix.  Make a well in the center.
  4. Add Amish Friendship Bread Starter, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Stir in nuts.
  6. Pour batter into pans.
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Variations:

  • Lower fat: substitute ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce for 1 cup oil.
  • Apple Cinnamon: add 2 apples. peeled, cored and finely chopped when you add the nuts.
  • Banana Nut: reduce cinnamon to 1/2 tsp and add 3 large ripe bananas, mashed.
  • Chocolate: substitute chocolate pudding mix and “flour” the pans with cocoa – omit cinnamon or leave it in for a Mexican chocolate flavor, omit nuts if desired.
  • Lemon Poppy Seed: substitute lemon pudding mix, reduce cinnamon to 1/2 tsp, omit nuts and add 2 Tbsp poppy seeds.
  • Muffins: pour into greased muffin tins and reduce the baking time to 23-25 minutes.
  • Pistachio: substitute pistachio pudding mix and pistachios.
  • Raisin or Date: add 1 cup raisins or dates.

Lemon Butter Tart

recipe courtesy of Mary Kay Korn
Mary Kay is the mother of my daughter Alycia’s friend and kindly shared her recipe when Alycia fell in love with these tarts.

Shortbread Crust

3/4 lb butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

  1. Cream butter & pwd sugar.  Add vanilla and blend.
  2. Sift flour, butter and sugar, add to butter mixture.  Stir to combine.
  3. Cover dough in wax paper, chill 4-6 hours.
  4. Press into tart pan.  Bake at 325 until golden brown – about 27-30 minutes in a silicone pan.
Lemon Butter Filling

finely grated zest of 7 lemons
1 cup granulated sugar
9 extra large eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into 6 pieces
powdered sugar

  1. In a food processor, combine lemon zest with 1/4 cup sugar.  Mix for several minutes, until fine and moist.
  2. Combine eggs, remaining sugar and zest mixture in a medium bowl.  Whisk until well blended, then stir in lemon juice.
  3. Cook in a double boiler, stirring frequently until mixture thickens to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Stir in butter one piece at a time, mixing until melted and smooth.
  5. Immediately pour into tart shell and set aside.  Filling will set as it cools.
  6. Cool completely before serving.
  7. Just before serving, dust the edges of the tart with pwd sugar.
  • Makes two 9″ Tarts, 1 1/2″ deep. You can also make individual tarts.
  • The amount of juice needed is about what you’d get from 7 lemons…convenient.

Dorian’s Eggplant Parmesan

recipe created by Dorian Lara

Dorian brought this yummy dish to one of our potlucks. It is one of the best that I have ever tasted – I think I had 2 servings.

2 large eggplants
lots of salt
flour
3 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
2 cups dry bread crumbs
1 Tbsp dry oregano
1 Tbsp dry thyme
pepper
7 cups Dorian’s Marinara Sauce
mozzarella cheese, sliced
Parmesan, freshly grated

Directions

  1. Slice the eggplant into 1/2″ thick rounds.
  2. Lay them on a cookie sheet (or other flat surface) that already has a layer of salt on the bottom. Cover the top of the slices with more salt. Let sit for 1 hour.
  3. After one hour, thoroughly rinse the eggplant in cool running water and pat dry.
  4. To bread the eggplant, set up a station using three different flat bowls leading up to the cookie sheet.
    • flour
    • eggs beaten with milk
    • breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme, and pepper (to taste)
  5. Dredge both sides of the eggplant slices in flour. Shake off any excess flour.
  6. Dip in egg mixture.
  7. Press into bread crumb mixture – really pack on the  bread crumbs.
  8. Place breaded slices on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.
  9. Pour some of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 13×9 dish.
  10. Place half of the breaded, cooked eggplant on the sauce.
  11. Spoon a small amount of sauce over the eggplant.
  12. Place a thin slice of mozzarella over each piece. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
  13. Spoon more sauce on top.
  14. Repeat layers.
  15. Pour any remaining sauce over the top.
  16. Bake, covered, at 350 for 30 minutes.
  17. Remove the cover and continue to bake for another 30 minutes.
  • The salt will weep the bitter juices from the eggplant.  Dorian recommends using kosher salt.
  • Dorian designed the marinara recipe for this dish so it should make the proper amount of sauce.