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Category Archives: Condiments & ETC.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

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OK, I’m almost ready to share CW‘s recipe for strawberry shortcake, but the draft started out so long that I’m trying to break up the longer parts into separate blogs, and this stabilized whipped cream recipe certainly deserves its own post.

Dollops of whipped cream top so many summer-time desserts and a recipe for a stabilized version comes in quite handy for me throughout the year.  Since I need it so often, but very rarely have the time to whip it up right before serving dessert, and can’t make it much in advance since it waters out over time, I usually make the other recipe for stabilized whipped cream that I have on my blog.  But then a reader (shout out to Miss Sandi Rose!) shared her own recipe for stabilized whipped cream with me back in March and I tried it out the first chance I got because it was so interesting!  I can tell you that not only was I pleased with the results, but my family was as well.  I left the leftover whipped cream at my parents’ house and when Mom gave me my piping tip back next time I was over, I asked if they ate the leftovers.  She answered, “We ate the h#@& out of it!”  LOL!  I can totally see her squirting the whipped cream straight into her mouth and laughing like a lunatic while dodging Dad as he tries to get it away from her to hog it for himself.  That’s totally Crazy Man and CW.

Anyway, while you can’t tell the other recipe apart from regular whipped cream, this one doesn’t increase in volume very much, if at all, so it’s very thick and creamy and has just a little bit of tang to it, which I happen to love.  The texture reminds me of mousse and it really could be a dessert in and of itself.

I used it to top a strawberry shortcake (bet you figured that out already since you’re smart like that) that I added blueberries to for our Independence Day barbecue.  Check back tomorrow for the shortcake recipe-it was a huge hit and this whipped cream put it over the top!

Stabilized Whipped Cream

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3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
24 miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Mash cream cheese with a fork in a medium metal mixing bowl. Slowly add the whipping cream and stir until blended. Stir in marshmallows and sugar. Chill 4 hours or overnight. (Do not cover the bowl.) Place beaters in freezer to chill while the mixture is in the fridge.  Whip mixture with the chilled beaters until the marshmallows are completely dissolved and mixed in and the mixture is thick and hold stiff peaks.  Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Recipe source: Sandi Rose

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Watermelon Black Bean Salsa

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For the Holiday Recipe Club‘s Memorial Day blog hop, the secret ingredients to choose from were watermelon, beer, and pork.  I think I’m on a salsa kick because my last recipe for the HRC on Cinco de Mayo was for Fresh Mild Salsa, and the first thing I thought of when I saw that watermelon was one of the ingredients for Memorial Day was the salsa recipe my hair dresser gave me back in February.  I have been craving it ever since I read the recipe, imagining how wonderful it must taste, and I was trying to wait until watermelon were truly in season here in Wichita to try it (that happens in August for us), but with the added incentive of the Holiday Recipe Club blog hop, I knew the time had come.

This stuff is the bomb, yo!  The only change I made was to add in some lime juice, which I feel was essential to achieve the salsa flavor and balance the sweetness of the watermelon.  The beans, which may seem strange, are somehow a perfect fit with the flavors & textures.  I could eat this as a meal, it is so good!  It is juicy, and seriously addictive.  It is, however, best if eaten within four hours of making it as the watermelon leaks more and more water and becomes mushy after a while.  To serve this at your Memorial day barbecue or another gathering,  just have the watermelon prepped in a separate container than the other ingredients, then stir them all together and refrigerate an hour before serving and you’ll have a bowl of salsa perfection ready to wow your guests.

Watermelon Black Bean Salsa

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2 cups diced seedless watermelon
3/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Juice from 1/2 a lime
2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Tortilla chips

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients but the chips. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Drain if necessary before serving. Serve with chips within 2-3 hours of making.

Yield: 3-1/2 cups.

Veronica’s Note: I advise wearing latex gloves when handling and dicing the jalapenos, as the oils can burn your skin.

Recipe source: Jennifer L.

A big thank you to Erin for creating this club!  I’m having a lot of fun with it.  If you’d like to join or find out more, check out the Holiday Recipe Club website.  And don’t forget to check out the other Memorial Day recipes by clicking the linky frog below.



Fresh Mild Salsa

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The secret ingredients chosen for the Holiday Recipe Club‘s Cinco de Mayo blog hop were dulce de leche, tomatoes, and chorizo.  For last month’s Easter blog hop, I went crazy and put a lot of effort into creating something with all three secret ingredients (carrot cracker treats with carrots, spinach, and eggs).  This month, I’m totally cheating and taking the easy route by using this as an excuse to finally post my fresh salsa recipe that I won third place for at the fair last year.

My inspiration for the recipe came from my sister, Danielle, who usually only makes recipes that turn out things like soap, lip balm, or bath fizzies.  But one edible thing she does make, and well, is fresh salsa.  Her secret ingredient is orange juice, and while I didn’t follow her original recipe to a T, I did make sure to use some fresh orange juice in it. I also replaced the jalapeño with poblano, which is a mild pepper, sort of like a bell pepper with just a bit of kick to it.  (I love spicy food but I was making this salsa for the “mild” category.  The salsa also had to use fresh ingredients, which is why I didn’t just make my favorite salsa.)  If you’d like a hotter salsa, dice up some seeded jalapeño instead!

The judges loved my salsa, but said it had a bit too much garlic, so I’ve adjusted the recipe to up it to blue ribbon status by cutting the garlic from four cloves (hey, what can I say, I love garlic!) to two (the amount in Dani’s original recipe–I should have listened to the expert!).  But as with all recipes, just add amounts to suit your own tastes!

Fresh Mild Salsa

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6 medium fresh tomatoes on the vine
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced
½ large red onion, finely diced
½ a bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Juice from ½ a lime, ½ a lemon, and ½ an orange
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated pepper

Finely dice the tomatoes, removing the seeded pulp as you go, and place them in a wire mesh sieve set over a bowl to drain for five minutes. Discard juice, then stir the tomatoes and all other ingredients together in a large bowl. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 pints.

Recipe source: adapted from Danielle Davis

Check out the other Cinco de Mayo recipes in the blog hop by clicking below!



Blackening Seasoning

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If you’ve ever had blackened chicken, you know what this stuff will do to your chicken or fish: make it spicy, flavorful, and…well, kinda black!  This is my second favorite way to eat salmon, coating it in this before cooking it.  (This is my first favorite.)  This is perfect if you’re low-carbing it–just serve your blackened meat with veggies…or if you’re lovin’ the carbs, head on over to Suzie’s blog to get a recipe for Olive Garden’s copycat fettucine alfredo to serve with your blackened goodness!

Blackening Seasoning

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2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Stir all spices together and store in an airtight container. Rub onto chicken, salmon, or meat of choice before pan-frying or grilling.

The blackening seasoning blackens better the more batches of meat you cook in the pan. I think it helps to have it on high heat, at least to begin with.

Breadless Breading

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Pictured: Chicken in Basil Cream, using Breadless Breading

This is a fabulous low-carb, gluten-free substitute for breading that can be used as a coating for things you’re either going to be baking or frying.  I use it on both chicken and fish (it’s best for mild white fish, though it’s pretty good on salmon too) and have even added it to meatloaf*.  I prefer this tremendously over any other coating I’ve used, as it has so much flavor in comparison to even seasoned breadcrumbs.  The first time I used it on fish, my husband said, “this is like…onion ring-fried fish!!”  While this breading isn’t overly onion-y (in my opinion, it is perfectly seasoned), I will say that if you like onion rings, you’re going to love it as it does lend a similar flavor and texture experience to your meal.  I hope you enjoy!

Breadless Breading

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2 (3.75 oz) jars (2 cups) dehydrated minced onion
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves, crushed
1 ¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese

Place dehydrated onion in food processor bowl and process for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients except the cheese and process 30 seconds. Add Parmesan and pulse to blend. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

Recipe source: adapted from Suzanne Somers’ Fast & Easy Bake & Fry Mix

*This doesn’t replace bread crumbs in meatloaf because there is nothing in it to absorb moisture the way real bread can, but it does add great flavor!  For a gluten-free meatloaf, you can add in quick-cooking oats along with some of this breadless breading.  You will not need to add onions to your meatloaf if you use this breading because it adds plenty of flavor, but I added a red pepper to mine and it was really good!

A quick and easy meal: coat one side of fish (this is swai) with breadless breading and fry in olive oil until golden.  Flip and cook until the fish flakes easily.  Enjoy your Onion Rings-Fried Fish!

Homemade Miracle Whip & Tartar Sauce

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OK, which side are you on?  Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?  In our house, my husband goes for the mayo, and I reach for the whip.  I just love the sweet tanginess of it!  So when I discovered how easy making my own mayonnaise was, I very quickly adapted it to taste like my preferred sandwich spread.  I don’t know what took me so long to share it with you.  Enough delaying, here you go!

Homemade Miracle Whip

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1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 ½ cups flavorless oil

Place all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Have the oil measured and at hand. Turn on the food processor and pour the oil through the feed tube in a thin, steady stream. Gradually increase the flow until all oil is in the mixture. Continue to process until a thick mixture. Refrigerate.

To make tartar sauce, stir in finely chopped onion and dill relish (or finely chopped pickles), as much as you desire. I think I added 3 tablespoons of each to about half the Miracle Whip recipe.  It’s so yummy with fish sticks!

Caramel Sauce

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When I need caramel sauce as an ingredient in frosting or in baking, I prefer to use homemade because the flavor is more pronounced and comes through better in the finished product.  It is wonderful as a garnish on top of ice cream or cake, and I’ve successfully added it to frosting to make caramel buttercream, and to Amish Friendship bread, which I’ll be posting the recipe for tomorrow.  And since it’s so useful and beloved in our home, my recipe makes a rather large batch so I always have some in the refrigerator, but if you only need enough to garnish ice cream, you might want to halve the recipe.  Then again, this stuff will last months in the refrigerator so it wouldn’t hurt to have too much.  Who knows what delicious creativity it might spawn in your kitchen!

Caramel Sauce

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2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt*
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes*
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Measure sugar into a large saucepan and measure corn syrup over the top. Set the heat to medium-high.

When the corn syrup starts to bubble around the edges, stir with a spoon or silicone spatula.

Allow to sit again without stirring until it starts melting around the edges.

Stir infrequently until the sugar really starts melting, then begin to stir constantly.

Now we’re getting somewhere!
Now it’s completely melted, but I want mine to be a little darker before I remove it from the heat.  The darker the color, the stronger the flavor.  Just be sure not to burn it.

When the sugar is completely dissolved and deep amber in color, remove from heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and butter. The mixture will bubble up a lot.

When completely combined, add the whipping cream and stir until combined; mixture will bubble up again. Keep stirring until smooth and uniform in color.

Pour into a heat-safe dish and allow to cool to room temperature.  Your pot will have a ring of crystallized sugar around it–don’t try to scrape it into the caramel sauce because it will make it grainy–just soak your pan in hot water and it will come right off.

Cover and store in the refrigerator once cool.

*Omit salt from recipe if using salted butter.

Homemade Magic Shell

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Have you ever had Magic Shell?  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Smucker’s ice cream topping that comes out liquid, like chocolate syrup, but hardens when it comes in contact with your ice cream, so that you have to tap and break it to take a spoonful of icecream.  It’s so cool!

My husband is obsessed with it, but you can rarely find the peppermint kind, his favorite, so I started making it for him last year.

It is super simple to make, and you can add any extracts you like to change the flavor profile.   You can also use dairy-free chocolate, such as Ghirardelli semisweet chips, and you have a vegan topping for your vegan one-ingredient ice cream. Since that ice cream is so healthy, I didn’t feel too guilty about adding some of this to the top of it and calling it my breakfast.  :)


Homemade Magic Shell

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1 1/2 cups (300 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (200 grams) refined coconut oil
pinch of salt

Place the chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for thirty seconds, stir, and microwave another 15 seconds. Repeat, if necessary, stirring well every 15 seconds, until mixture is melted and smooth.  This can also be done in a double boiler. Stir in salt and store in an airtight container at room temperature.  Mixture will remain liquid during the summer, but might solidify during the winter.  If it becomes solid, simply heat it until liquid again.

Peppermint Magic Shell: add 2 teaspoons peppermint extract.  I like to divide the batch in half, leaving half plain and adding 1 teaspoon peppermint to the other half.

Makes about 2 cups Magic Shell.

Recipe source: adapted from Brownie Points

Homemade Kahlua {Coffee Liqueur}

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When I was little, my Mom went through a Kahlua phase that joyfully caused her to have ice cream in the freezer for like a month straight.  Having any sort of sweets on hand was literally unheard of in our house, but when she discovered this coffee liqueur and how good it tasted on ice cream, she stocked up!  To our further delight, Mom let us have it with her!  That is until Dad found out and told us that our Kahlua and ice cream days were over.  Mom seemed stunned at his outrage, as if she hadn’t realized that giving alcohol to children 9 and under might be folly.  I was majorly bummed at the time, but appreciate Dad’s intervention now.  With my addictive nature (have I mentioned my sweet teeth?), I hate to think of what my teen years might have been like with an unlimited supply of delicious Kahlua!

Although I don’t drink, I do love to bake with alcohol because it’s excellent for highlighting and intensifying flavor.  Because of my early exposure to Kahlua, it is my favorite liqueur and the one I use most often in baking.  I go through a large bottle of it every year, using it in Mocha-Frosted Kahlua Brownies and THE Mocha Crunch Cake exclusively.  Seriously, I make those two things so much that I need that much Kahlua just for them!

Unless you live in Mexico, Kahlua doesn’t come cheap, so I was thrilled when my friend, Suzie, shared her recipe for homemade Kahlua with me.  It never even occurred to me that it was something you could make at home, or I could have saved hundreds of dollars by now!  It is so much cheaper to make it yourself, and just as delicious.  You can use it in any recipe that calls for Kahlua with good results.

Homemade Kahlua {Coffee Liqueur}

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2/3 cup instant coffee
2 cups boiling water
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
3 cups vodka
1/4 cup Buttershots (a butterscotch flavored liqueur, optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

Place coffee in large glass bowl.  Pour water over and stir.  Add sugars and stir until most of the heat has dissipated.  The sugar won’t be completely dissolved but that is OK.  Stir in the vodka, Buttershots, and vanilla or vanilla bean.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about two weeks.  Stir every day or every couple of days.  Remove vanilla bean, if used, and ladle into bottles using a funnel.  Keeps in refrigerator for about 6-8 months.

Makes about 2 liters.

Recipe source: Suzie S.

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

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This spicy vegan dip originates in Syria and I didn’t discover it until my friend, Pia, introduced me to it.  It’s her favorite dip and she recommended it to me when she found out I enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine.  I knew it was right up our alley simply because it’s spicy, and since I’d seen some of the pomegranate syrup the recipe calls for at a market attached to our favorite Lebanese restaurant, I snapped a bottle up next time we were there and set out to make this dip.

It is great simply as a dip, but I’m also going to include a “recipe” for a veggie wrap that I’ve incorporated it into for quick lunches.  The first time I served this to my husband, he raved, and it wasn’t until afterward that I realized he had eaten an entirely vegan meal with no complaints. Score!

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

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1 (12 oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs — 1/2 cup (I turned pita bread into crumbs in the food processor)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses/syrup/concentrate
1 tablespoon sriracha hot chile sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chop the peppers roughly and place them, along with all the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor or blender. Pulse to roughly chop the ingredients, then slowly pulse in the olive oil. Try not to purée the ingredients too much. You want the dip to have a little texture.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as a dip or spread with pita wedges, vegetables or kebabs.

*Veronica’s notes: the original recipe calls for four fresh red peppers which you roast before processing.  Click the recipe source link below for instructions on this if you would like to do it this way.  The original recipe also calls for red pepper flakes instead of sriracha, so that can be used in place of sriracha if you desire.  As for the pomegranate syrup, my bottle is actually a pomegranate juice concentrate and I know that Pom is now selling this so you might be able to find it where Pom brand pomegranate juice is sold if you don’t have a market that sells ethnic foods in your area.

Recipe source: Inato lang Filipino Cuisine and More


Muhammara Veggie Wrap

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You will need:

  • Muhammara
  • Black beans
  • Parsley
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Shredded carrots
  • Tortilla, flat bread, or pita bread*

Spread muhammara down the center of your tortilla or bread, then sprinkle on some beans, a little parsley, a handful of spinach and shredded carrots.  Wrap tightly and cut in half to serve.

*I used a pita “tortilla” for my wrap bread:

Recipe source: inspired by My Kitchen Adventures

***For those who wish to participate in BSI this week, don’t forget to submit your cream cheese recipes to me by Sunday night!  Details here.***

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