January 2, 2018

Out with the Old

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Not too long ago, a friend sent me a link with the most searched foods in every state.  As I read the list, I realized I'd shared recipes for 10 of these foods.  While I ring in 2018 by preparing new blog posts, I thought I'd share these oldies but goodies from previous years.  Did your state make my list?

Alabama:  My grandmother's made from scratch pound cake has been one of my top 10 posts since I shared the recipe in 2013.

Margaret's Morsels | Loaf Cake

Arizona:  You don't need a lot of chilies to add heat to this crock-pot chili.

Margaret's Morsels | Crock-Pot Chili

Illinois:  This chicken and wild rice soup is similar to one served at a popular restaurant chain.

Margaret's Morsels | Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Indiana:  Hoosiers hankering for noodle casseroles might want to try this oodles of noodles lasagna recipe.

Margaret's Morsels | Oodles of Noodles Lasagna

Kentucky:  This peanut butter fudge requires no cooking, unless you consider softening ingredients in the microwave as cooking!

Margaret's Morsels | Peanut Butter Fudge

Maine:  You don't have to roll, cut out or fry these doughnuts.

Margaret's Morsels | Baked Mini Doughnuts

Michigan:  I don't make dessert very often, but when I do chances are I'm making these no bake cookies.

Margaret's Morsels | Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ohio:  The Buckeye State loves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, especially in the form of peanut butter brownies.

Margaret's Morsels | Blue Ribbon Peanut Butter Brownies

Vermont:  One of the few states whose most searched food is a vegetable. These pickled beets taste just like what my mom used to make.

Margaret's Morsels | Pickled Beets

West Virginia:  West Virginians love pumpkin desserts.  I hope they would agree pumpkin pie goes from ho hum to wow with this tasty pecan streusel topping.

Margaret's Morsels | Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Pie

If your state isn't listed, you can view the complete list here.

© Margaret's Morsels

November 17, 2016

Roll Dough Creation

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Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

I recently sorted through months -- if not years -- worth of recipes, discarding the ones that didn't sound as good as they originally did and filing the ones I wanted to cook for my family.  One, however, was kept out because I knew it would be perfect for Thanksgiving.

The recipe was from a flyer I'd received from Bridgford, a company that makes frozen bread dough.  I was familiar with Bridgford because I use their Parkerhouse rolls to make better than garlic bread pull apart rolls. This time, though, with just a few easy additions, the rolls are transformed into pumpkins.

The visual design of the rolls was inspired by Holly, food blogger behind Beyond Kimchee, using a homemade roll recipe.  I substituted the roll recipe my family has come to expect for the holidays, but you can use your favorite roll recipe, or save time and start with a package of frozen rolls from the grocery.

Shape the homemade bread dough or thawed rolls into balls.  I normally get 18 cloverleaf rolls from one batch of dough.  I made the balls a little bigger so I only ended up with 15.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

Try to keep the balls close to the same size to ensure they bake evenly. Don't fret, though, if the balls aren't the same exact size because pumpkins aren't all the same size either! 

Put the dough balls on a greased cookie sheet, spacing them about 2-inches apart.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

Flatten each ball slightly using the palm of your hand.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

Using a pair of kitchen shears or a knife, make six cuts around the edge of the dough.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

Make a hole in the center of the dough using your pinkie.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

Cover the dough and let rise until double in size.  Insert a pecan piece in the hole in the center for the stem.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

Whether you make the rolls from scratch or use a package of frozen rolls, these pumpkin shaped rolls are a whimsical and delicious addition to a Thanksgiving meal.

© Margaret's Morsels

November 8, 2016

Fall Fruit

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Margaret's Morsels | Apple Salad

The leaves may not have changed color and the temperature doesn't feel very fall like, but I know fall is here and it's not because of all the pumpkin flavored beverages and baked goods showing up on menus and in the grocery.  I know it's fall because freshly picked, straight from the orchard apples are appearing in the produce department.  These apples are so much prettier and flavorful than the ones I've bought all year that have been in cold storage since they were harvested.

Apples are a staple at our house.  They make a quick and healthy snack and are easy to pack in a lunch box or take on the go.  They're delicious baked, poached  and in a pie.  Apples are wonderful combined with other fruit in a fruit salad and they're the star of the recipe I'm sharing today.

A few years ago on a trip out of town, we ate at a restaurant that had apple salad on the menu.  I'd never eaten it before and was hesitant to order it.  I couldn't fathom how apples could taste good covered with mayonnaise and sour cream.  I ended up ordering the dish and was hooked after one bite. When our very friendly server found out how much I liked the salad, she was more than happy to share the recipe with me.

The dressing -- which I didn't think I would like -- was actually quite tasty. The sour cream contributes to the creaminess, but also adds a subtle tanginess that keeps the salad from being bland.  I use light sour cream, but regular sour cream will add a richer flavor to the dressing.  Depending on the sweetness of the apples you use, you may need to add some sugar, but don't add too much.  You don't want the salad to be too sweet.

Margaret's Morsels | Apple Salad

I make the salad the way the restaurant did using only apples, craisins -- dried cranberries -- and celery.

Margaret's Morsels | Apple Salad

Additions can include nuts, raisins  coconut, grapes, mandarin oranges and even pineapple chunks.  Depending on the size of the addition, you may need to cut the ingredients into smaller pieces.  You're pretty much limited by your imagination, the ingredients you have on hand and what your family likes to eat.

For a fancy presentation, serve the salad on a bed of lettuce leaves.  A nice touch for a party is to combine the dressing and apples and put all the additional ingredients in bowls.  That way, people can create and fall for their own one of a kind salad creation.
Apple Salad
4 to 6 Servings

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
sugar to taste
2 apples, diced (unpeeled)
1/2 cup craisins
1 stalk celery, sliced diagonally

Combine the first three ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.

© Margaret's Morsels

October 20, 2016


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Oktoberfest may conjure up images of free flowing beer, but there's plenty of German cuisine available at this yearly 2 1/2 week Munich folk festival. One of the dishes, spaetzle, is a specialty of the region.

I wasn't familiar with spaetzle until Simon, the wonderful young man I wrote about in January, asked me to fix it with schnitzel.  I looked in the German cookbook he'd given me and learned that spaetzle is a pasta made from flour, eggs, water and salt.  The resulting dough is too soft to roll out and cut so it's pressed through a spaetzle maker.  The recipe intimidated me for two reasons.  One, I'd never made pasta and two, I didn't have a spaetzle maker.  I was relieved when Simon told me dried spaetzle was sold at the grocery in Germany.  Since we live near several international markets, we decided to go on a spaetzle search.

The market we went to was huge and had products arranged by country. We found several brands of spaetzle and bought the one Simon recognized from Germany.  This solved the problem of making spaetzle. However, what was I supposed to do with the dried spaetzle?

Margaret's Morsels | Spaetzle

Simon's grandmother, Oma, told me to cook the spaetzle in a large pot of boiling salted water, drain it and add butter to keep the noodles from sticking together.  Spaetzle can be served with just butter, but it's tastier with a couple of easy additions.

It's common in Germany to stir Emmental cheese into the hot spaetzle until the cheese melts.  That sounded easy enough, but it ended up being the hardest part of the whole recipe!  I bought two different brands of Emmental, but neither one of them tasted anything like the cheese Simon ate in Germany.  My son suggested we try Mozzarella, but it made a sticky mess!  On my fifth attempt, I added some Swiss cheese.  When Simon said the spaetzle tasted almost as good as what he ate in Germany, I knew I'd found the right cheese.

Margaret's Morsels | Spaetzle
Spaetzle with cheese

While the butter and cheese are stirred into the spaetzle, the final addition, also common in Germany, goes on top.  Diced onions are cooked in olive oil until brown and sprinkled on the spaetzle.  I've eaten spaetzle with and without onions and I highly recommend adding them.

Margaret's Morsels | Spaetzle
Spaetzle with onions served at a Munich
biergarten I visited this summer

A few months after my first attempt at cooking spaetzle, Simon's grandmother showed me how to make homemade spaetzle and gave me a spaetzle maker.  Until I get the courage to make spaetzle from scratch, I'll continue to used dried spaetzle.  And when I do, I'll think about the young man who introduced us to this wonderful dish and look forward to the next time he's sitting around the table with us.

Simon's Spaetzle
4 to 6 Servings

1 (17.6 oz.) pkg. dried spaetzle
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 cups finely shredded Swiss cheese
1 large onion, diced
olive oil (enough to coat saute pan)

Cook spaetzle according to package directions.  While spaetzle is cooking, cook the onion in olive oil on medium to medium-low heat until brown. Drain spaetzle and put it in a bowl; add butter or margarine and stir until melted. Add cheese; stir until melted.  Top spaetzle with onion and serve.    

© Margaret's Morsels

October 18, 2016

A Be"witching" Halloween

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Margaret's Morsels | Witches Broomstick Cookies

It's been a couple of years since I posted anything for Halloween.  I thought I'd rectify that and share two witch themed cookie recipes this year.

Store bought fudge stripes cookies turn into witches hats with the addition of two ingredients.

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Hat Cookies

Turn the cookies so the chocolate side is on top.

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Hat Cookies

Put a dollop of orange frosting -- I use Wilton decorating icing -- in the center 

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Hat Cookies

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Hat Cookies

and add a Hershey's kiss.  

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Hat Cookies

Let the cookies dry and then store them in an airtight container.

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Hat Cookies

If you don't mind doing a little additional work, a pretzel rod and peanut butter cookie are easily transformed into a witches broomstick.  I like the look and texture of these braided pretzels, but you can use a regular pretzel rod.

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Broomstick Cookies

Put the pretzels on a cookie sheet.

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Broomstick Cookies

Mix up a batch of peanut butter cookies and roll the dough into balls. Place one ball on each pretzel, pressing down so the cookie will adhere to the pretzel when baked.

 Margaret's Morsels | Witches Broomstick Cookies

Use a fork to make vertical lines on the cookie to resemble the bristles of the broomstick.  

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Broomstick Cookies

Bake the cookies as directed and let them cool on a wire rack.  Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Margaret's Morsels | Witches Broomstick Cookies

The cookies don't have to look perfect because, at Halloween, the uglier, grosser and more disgusting, the better!

© Margaret's Morsels

October 14, 2016

A Recipe Revival

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Not too long ago, I read an online article about seven forgotten dishes that should be brought back to life.  Over the years, I've written about three of these dishes.

Meat Loaf:  The Sweet and Sour Meat Loaf recipe I shared in 2014 is a twist on the classic.  It's not your grandmother's meat loaf!

Margaret's Morsels | Sweet and Sour Meat Loaf

Salisbury Steak:  A fancy name for a humble hamburger patty.  The version I wrote about three years ago calls for the sauce to be baked with the meat.  Mix, shape, bake and serve.

Margaret's Morsels | Salisbury Steak

Tuna Noodle Casserole:  I shared this classic six years ago.  Unlike the recipe from years gone by, this one is cooked in the microwave, except for the pasta.

Margaret's Morsels | Microwave Tuna and Noodle Parmesan

Click here to see the rest of the list and rediscover a dish or two you might have forgotten about.

© Margaret's Morsels

May 6, 2016

A Tribute to Mom

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With Mother's Day right around the corner, I've been thinking about my mom and all the wonderful meals she cooked for her family.  I've shared many of her recipes over the years from entrees and side dishes to breakfast, desserts and foods she made only for holidays.

After she died, as I boxed up the contents of her kitchen -- the electric skillet she received as a wedding present; the measuring cups and spoons she taught me to use as a child; the white plastic mixing bowl she bought at a Tupperware party -- it hit me that I would never eat her cooking again.

It's been almost two decades and I still miss my mom and her cooking. Although there have been birthday cakes, there's never been another one of her made from scratch, three layer coconut cakes with a cooked white icing sprinkled with coconut.  While I'd love to have one more piece of her butterscotch pie, the food I miss the most, though, is her homemade rolls.

Growing up, I can't remember an Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas that there wasn't a basket of icebox rolls on the table.  These rolls also showed up on birthdays, when we had company, or when there were leftover mashed potatoes that needed to be used.  Family and friends weren't the only recipients of these rolls.

A few months after we moved, a repairman was working in the house while a batch of these rolls were baking.  He raved so much about how wonderful they smelled, my mother buttered a couple of rolls while they were hot and gave them to him when he left.  He started eating one as he walked out of the house and said he would be glad to come back any time she was making rolls.

Mom always told me the secret to good rolls was not using too much flour when kneading and cutting out the rolls.  For years, she made the rolls with homemade mashed potatoes, but later on substituted instant mashed potatoes without any discernible difference.  I don't have any pictures to share because I've never made these rolls.  It's also why I didn't elaborate on the directions.  The recipe is exactly as it appears on my mom's recipe card.  

Thanks, mom, for all the wonderful memories, delicious dinners and the strawberry covered recipe box filled with the recipes of my childhood that I can cook for and with your grandchildren who never had the opportunity to know you.

Happy Mother's Day from my mother's kitchen to yours!

Icebox Rolls

2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup cold mashed potatoes 
1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. yeast, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
4 cups or more all-purpose flour

Melt butter; add to scalded milk.  Add the sugar and salt; let cool to lukewarm.  Add beaten eggs, potatoes, yeast and flour.  You've added almost enough flour when the dough is hard to stir and you have to turn it out on a board and knead it with your hands.  Add flour until the dough will not stick to the board; knead until smooth and elastic.  Put dough into a bowl and let rise until double in bulk.  Roll out and shape rolls.  Place on a greased baking sheet; let rise about 1 hour.  Bake at 400° until nicely brown.

© Margaret's Morsels