When work's over, I like to unwind in the kitchen. Here are some of my favorites. . .

Brownies II (A World of Baking)

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. butter, melted
12 Tbs cocoa or 4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
4 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. chopped nuts (your choice - I like pecans)

Sift the flour with the baking powder.
Combine melted butter with cocoa.
Add to the eggs and beat to a smooth cream with the sugar, salt and vanilla.
Add flour mixture & chopped nuts.
Turn into a buttered 9 x 13 x 2 pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes @ 325 degrees F.
Note: I've tried to double this recipe, but it is happiest when it's not.
Doubling requires longer baking time and a hard crust develops on top.

Fruit Cobbler

3 cups Flour
1 cup Vegetable Shortening
1 tsp salt
8 - 12 Tblsp water (added as needed) 

Fruit Mixture:
1 quart of fruit (can be peaches, cherries, or a mixture of berries). You can add
more fruit if you want (I usually do)
1/4 cup Flour
1 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Water
1/2 stick melted butter

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 stick of Butter

Crust first, then fruit mixture, and the topping is last
Mix until shortening is cut into the flour (I use a food processor for this). Add water
by table spoon until a pastry ball is formed. Divide in half. Roll out and put the crust on the bottom of a 9 x 12 pan. 
Toss together ingredients for fruit mixture. Add on top of bottom crust.
Roll out second half of pastry and cut in strips. Put strips across top in a decorative
manner. Sprinkle topping on top of pastry. Dot top of pastry with dots of butter.

Bake @ 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down tempurature & bake @ 350
for 45 minutes. Cool till fruit mixture gels. Yummy.

Elevator Lady Spice Cookies (my husband's favorite)

Mix together:
3/4 c shortening
1 unbeaten egg
1 c sugar
1/4 c molasses

Then sift together and stir in
2 c flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon
powdered cloves
3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

Now mix altogether and form into walnut-sized balls. Place 2" apart on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Chocolate Mallow Pie

1-9" Oreo cookie crust
11 oz cream cheese (1-8 oz pkg + 1-3 oz pkg)
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
8 oz frozen whipped topping
2 cups mini-marshmallows

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and chocolate syrup until blended. Bead in melted chips. Set aside 1/4 cup of whipped topping. Fold marshmallows and remaining whipped topping into chocolate mixture. Spoon into crust.

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Garnish with reserved whipped topping and chocolate curls if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Shortbread Cookies

2 c butter, softened @ room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
4 c flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and sugar till creamy. Cut flour into mixture until crumbly with a pastry cutter.

Form into a ball and cut in half. Roll out each half in granulated sugar until 1/2-inches thick. Cut cookies with metal cookie cutter and put on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until slightly brown on cookie edges.

Butter Pound Cake

2 c butter, softened to room temperature
16 oz box powdered sugar
6 whole eggs (@ room temperature)
2 3/4 c flour
1 tsp vanilla, lemon extract, or brandy

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter until shiny (5 min.). Add sugar until mixed. Add eggs one at a time. Mixture may appear curdled but will smooth out. Add flour and mix till smooth.

Bake in tube pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check after 50 minutes at 10-minute intervals. Cake is done when the crack on top is slightly brown and shows no moisture. Cool at least 10-minutes before removing from pan.

Creamy Potato Bisque

(courtesy of Gail Stamler, my mom)
4 Tbs. butter
1 c celery, including leaves
1 lg chopped onion
4 c peeled potato
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 c chicken broth
4 c milk
3 Tbs corn starch
1/4 c water

Sauté celery and onion in butter until soft. Add potatoes, parsley, salt, pepper, and broth. Boil till potatoes are tender (approx. 30 min.). Stir in milk. Heat until steaming, DO NOT BOIL. Mix corn starch with water and add to the soup. Cook until thickened.


Whole Bay Leaf
Fresh Parsley
Cayenne Pepper
Sausage, cube cut
Ham Pieces
Shrimp (raw and peeled)
Tomato Paste (small can)
Tomato Sauce (medium can)
Dash of Sugar
Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, cooked

Put sausage cubes and ham pieces into oven and let cook.

Sauté thyme, parsley, onions, cayenne pepper, paprika, and other spices you may prefer in butter until onions are clear in color. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste to sautéed mixture (sauce is very thick). Add a dash of sugar to cut the tang of the tomato mixture. Heat until sauce bubbles. Salt and pepper sauce to taste.

Add cooked sausage and ham to tomato mixture and sauté a few minutes more. Add raw shrimp, turn off heat and cover until shrimp is cooked. Add rice.

5 Pounds of Fabulous Fudge

(courtesy of Gail Stamler, my mom)
1/2 c butter
1 can evaporated milk
4 1/2 c sugar (granulated)
10 oz. bag of marshmallows
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz sweet baking chocolate
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 c chopped nuts

Combine butter, milk, and sugar in pan. Stir till sugar dissolves.

Cook to boil, cover. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add marshmallows, stir till melted.

Add all the chocolate, one at a time stirring until melted. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour into buttered pan. Cut when firm.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 c butter, softened @ room temperature
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1 1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp vanilla
2 eggs (@ room temp)
4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (24 oz.)
1 1/2 c. pecan pieces

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs in large bowl using spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces.

Drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

8 whole graham crackers
1/2 c whole hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 c. sugar
4 Tbs butter, cut up

16 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c reduced-fat sour cream
2 large whole eggs
2 large egg whites
3/4 c white-chocolate chips
15 oz. solid-pack pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Heat over to 350 degrees. Coat 8-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Crust: Break crackers into food processor. Add hazelnuts, sugar and butter. Process until fine crumbs form. Press firmly over bottom and 1 1/2-inch up sides of prepared pan.

Filling: Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with mixer on high speed until smooth. On low speed, beat in sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and sour cream until well blended. Add eggs and egg whites; beat until mixed.

Melt the chocolate chips according to the package directions. Add 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture and stir until well blended.

Stir pumpkin and spices into remaining cheese mixture until well blended. Reserve 1/4 cup; pour rest into crust.

Pour the chocolate mixture onto pumpkin batter in a thick ring about 1/2-inch from sides of pan. Top with dollops of reserved 1/4 cup pumpkin batter. Run a knife through both batters for a marble effect.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted 2-inches from the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool.

Chocolate Mocha Biscotti

1 1/3 c blanched whole almonds
1 1/3 whole hazelnuts
1 Tbs. instant coffee granules
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c sugar (granulated)
3 large whole eggs (@ room temp)
1 egg white from a large egg
1 1/2 Tbs. light corn syrup
3 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Spread almonds and hazelnuts in separate small baking pans. Bake 8 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almonds are tinged with brown and fragrant, and hazelnut skins start to flake. Let cool, then rub hazel nuts in a kitchen towel or between palms to remove as much skin as possible. Coarsely chop all nuts. Set aside.

In a cup, dissolve coffee granules in extracts. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in coffee mixture and corn syrup. On low speed, gradually beat in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt until blended. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

Divide dough into quarters. Roll each portion into a log, 10-inches long and 1 1/2-inches wide. Place 2-inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 30 minutes. Place sheet on a wire rack. When logs are just cool enough to handle, carefully remove to a cutting board. Cut each crosswise on a slight diagonal in 1/2-inch thick slices. Lay slices flat on cookie sheet.

Return to oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes longer or until slices feel firm when pressed. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 North Louisiana Style Red Beans & Rice

2 cans of Van Camp's Louisiana Style Red Beans
2 links of sausage
Worcestershire sauce
Lemon pepper
Cooked rice (white or brown)
Slice sausage into slim rounds. Sauté till cooked. Add beans. Add Worcestershire sauce and lemon pepper to taste. Top cooked rice with sauce.