Chocolate Fudge with Peanut Butter Swirls

 photo 66B594E3-EF46-4278-8E68-D3B80D966E6A_zpsfvcun5ln.jpgThis fudge is another family favorite I've made since the 1970s, for family and/or for gifts.  In recent years I've added some swirls of peanut butter after pouring the fudge into a baking dish.  

This gives it a marbling effect with the rich taste of chocolate and hint of peanut butter.

This fudge also freezes well, so it can be made ahead of time, then frozen in smaller packages and used as needed.

Chocolate Fudge with Peanut Butter Swirls
2 Tabs. butter
 photo 342C2741-24D2-471E-BD33-4F64EF257CCE_zpsxi9bcgvp.jpg2/3 cup evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp.salt
2 cups (4 ounces) miniature marshmallows
1-1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 or 3 Tabs. of peanut butter

In a 3 qt. saucepan, combine butter, evaporated milk, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. 
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Boil stirring constantly for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, and vanilla. Stir vigorously for 1 or 2 minutes until marshmallows are melted, and all is blended. 

Pour into a sprayed, foiled-lined baking pan, about and 8 or 9-inch square pan.

Drop teaspoons of peanut butter on top and swirl through fudge mixture. Chill until firm. Cut in desired sizes, about 36 pieces. Makes approximately 2 pounds.

Recipe can be doubled and poured into a 9 x 11 baking dish.
Estimated cost: $5.00 or less.

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake photo 0327C0D2-DCA8-4FBC-8A65-E5AF34C8ED62_zpsv3fshdak.jpgHolidays mean Cheesecake for dessert in our house. With the convenience of ready made cookie or graham cracker crusts, this one couldn't be easier. Believe me, I know how to make one from scratch, including the crust and using a spring form pan, but when rushed, this is a great alternative.

I keep a few ready made crumb crusts on hand, usually from my local Dollar store and use for a variety of refrigerator type pudding, cream pies or a Peanut Butter Pie

This recipe uses just a half cup of pumpkin filling, so you could make several pies from a 15 oz. can or use the remainder for pumpkin bread, muffins cookies, a pie, or even soup!

To make it even easier I use whipped topping in a spray can to decorate a slice before serving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake photo EAADACDF-E16A-4FCB-8D89-240112C1DB72_zpsi3ycsknv.jpg
Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) softened cream cheese
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash ground cloves
Dash ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust, or crust of choice
1 cup whipped topping

Pumpkin Cheesecake photo 6A9C8440-771F-4464-9610-046836064648_zpsdwaiovqc.jpg
Pumpkin Cheesecake photo EC6DE2DB-F0FD-413C-A2B4-83DBF8B341EF_zpsex2bosju.jpgPreheat oven to 350 
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and spices in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; beat until blended. Pour into crust.
Bake 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Top with whipped topping just before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Serves 8 to 10.

Estimated cost $4.00 or less; .50 cents or less per serving.

Roca Nut Crunch Candy

Roca Crunch photo 85331974-9F9B-417E-B376-012680CA25DC_zpsbtnmjhlb.jpgI've been making this Christmas candy for my family and friends since the 1970s.  I think it came from my Betty Crocker cookbook. It makes a nice addition to a dessert table, or put in small gift bags, boxes, or containers.

If you don't have a candy thermometer, or digital thermometer (a good gadget to have) you can eyeball the "soft-crack" stage, by taking a small spoonful and dropping it into a glass filled with cold water. 

The mixture should form a soft glob when it hits the water and when taken out cracks gently. (see video below)

This candy has a toffee flavor and with a few simple, inexpensive ingredients produce a large supply of attractive candy.
Roca Crunch photo 32E459F2-FC7B-4C2A-9DD1-F6F3A944A1D5_zpsagr9exu1.jpg

Roca Nut Crunch
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts or almonds
6 oz. chocolate chips

Roca Crunch photo 4CE63866-5FED-4946-8808-59FB213B5F8F_zpsvyleo2eo.jpgIn a  3-quart sauce pan, combine sugar, water, salt and butter over medium high heat.  Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.  Mixture will bubble up and expand. At soft-crack stage (270-290 degrees) add 1/2 cup chopped nuts and stir. Note: 285 degrees is an ideal temperature for this recipe.
Roca Crunch photo 909A3DE7-2012-464B-910E-68ECD7DB4BDF_zpsmeexbaao.jpgRemove from heat and pour onto a buttered or non-stick baking sheet. Let it spread thinly. Wait a minute or two for mixture to become firmer then sprinkle with chocolate chips, which will melt in about 2 or 3 minutes, as mixture is still hot.

Spread chocolate evenly over the top and to the edges.  Sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts.  Chill until set, then break into bite-size pieces. Makes approximately 1-1/2 pounds, 48 or more pieces.

Estimated cost $3.00 or under.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling

Chicken Pot Pie photo DDE71044-CE49-449B-9414-6C523A8C7A75_zps0nruxoyf.jpgI've serve pot pies a variety of ways, but always make the filling the same. Sometimes to save time, I serve over biscuits, even toast. When wanting a prettier presentation, I'll use puff pastry or make pie crusts.

After making a roast chicken I use leftover chicken for the pies, or after Thanksgiving I vacuum seal and freeze left over turkey in pint bags for future pies or other recipes.

This summer I purchased an electric mini pie/pastry maker, and it makes gorgeous, delicious individual pot pies in under 15 minutes. I've also used this "gadget" for making individual fruit pie. quiches, and muffins.

Chicken Pot Pie photo D163A051-FC49-4AAA-84C9-57D03E0FF262_zps6qpks5vu.jpgMine makes two at a time, other models make four.  If you like beef pot pies, substitute cooked beef in the following recipe and use beef broth instead of chicken broth.

For pie crusts I use my Mom's no-fail recipe or buy a mix that calls for just adding water.  Both are more economical than buying  pre-made crusts.

Chicken Pot Pie photo CC7B92A5-84D1-41F2-964D-34DB1DBEF456_zpsjmxkjt4f.jpg
Chicken Pot Pie Filling
1, 14 oz. can chicken broth
2 to 3 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (turkey works, too)
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, (peas carrots, corn,green beans)

1/3 cup  mushrooms (optional)
1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup butter

2 to 3 Tabs, flour
3 Tabs cornstarch

1 cup cream or milk

Melt the butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions stirring frequently, cook 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add flour, stirring until it thickens. Stir in chicken broth, adding vegetables, chicken, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer until vegetables are cooked, about 7 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
Chicken Pot Pie photo 8D4397F5-22A9-4D98-B300-EBC8106F4665_zps79bxassf.jpgBlend cream and corn starch together in small measuring cup and add to mixture. Bring back to boiling, stirring constantly, and cook 1 minute until mixture thickens. Serves 4 to 6.

Ways to Assemble or Serve: 
    Chicken Pot Pie photo BECEFDE4-C7EB-41B8-B7D4-C4BDEEADE9ED_zpswv55d46y.jpg
  1. Spoon chicken mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with biscuits; drizzle with 1 or 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is bubbly and biscuits are lightly browned.
  2. Spoon heated mixture over toast, prepared puff pastry squares or biscuits.
  3. Make a double pie crust, then spoon into pie crust and seal with top crust, making slits for steam to escape while baking.
  4. Use a mini pie/pastry maker and bake according to instructions.
  5. Make individual servings in muffin tins, using pie crust dough or puff pastry.
Estimated cost $3.60 or less; .90 cents a serving or less.