Orange Cottage Cheese Salad

Jeff’s family often makes this for family get togethers, and this recipe was in Jeff’s family cookbook from his mom, so I wanted to preserve it. In the picture, I didn’t make it with the pineapple, but I think it would’ve been a nice texture–so I think I’ll try it in the future.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Orange Cottage Cheese Salad

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Add pineapple for some good texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Cottage Cheese (small curd)
  • 2 c. Cool Whip
  • 3/4 c. Orange Yogurt
  • 3 oz. pkg. Orange Jell-O
  • 2 c. Crushed Pineapple (optional)

Directions

Lightly mix all ingredients until all dry Jell-O powder is dissolved. Refrigerate until set.


 

Waldorf Salad

This recipe was in Jeff’s family cookbook from his mom, and I wanted to preserve it. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of celery, but I think I only added 1 because we’re not the biggest celery fans. We didn’t use grapes in the picture, but it probably would’ve made a nice addition. Also, I didn’t add the tablespoon of vinegar because it seemed acidic enough with all the apples, but it would be worth a try.

And this one is naturally gluten free–just make sure to use a jar of mayo that hasn’t been contaminated with gluten from previous sandwiches or whatever.

Waldorf Salad

  • Servings: 6?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Light and delightful fruit salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 large Granny Smith Apples, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 large Red Apples, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 c. Celery, chopped small
  • 1 c. Walnuts, chopped
  • 1 c. Red Grapes cut in halves (optional)
  • 2/3 c. Mayo
  • 1/4 c. Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)

Directions

Mix apples, celery, walnuts, and grapes in a bowl. For the dressing, mix the mayo, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl, then pour dressing over salad and stir until fruit is covered.


 

Sweet Potato Casserole

I’m not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but my daughter loved them when she was a baby, so I looked up something to use them for Thanksgiving. And wow, this is amazing! I guess technically it’s a side dish, but it’s more of a sweet dessert, with all the butter and brown sugar. (For the original recipe, you can find it on Food Network.)

If you’re making it gluten free, just replace the regular flour with gluten free flour like Bob’s Red Mill.

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Whether side dish or dessert, it’s perfect for fall and Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 3/4 lb. Sweet Potatoes (about 2-3 large), peeled and cubed 

  • 1/4 c. Melted Butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

  • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar

  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs

Topping

  • 1/4 c. Melted Butter
  • 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Flour (or 1/2 c. gluten free flour with xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 c. Chopped Pecans

Directions

For the sweet potatoes: Add 1 3/4 pounds peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil , then lower to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain and cool, then mash.

For the filling: Preheat to 350° and butter a 2-quart baking dish (11×7). Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, milk, salt, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

For the topping: Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl until moist and the mixture clumps together. Stir in the pecans. Spread the mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Bake until mostly set in the center and golden on top, 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.


 

Chili Lime Corn

We actually went looking for this recipe because Disneyland often has delicious-smelling corn on the cob. I can’t remember if we ever actually tried the corn at Disneyland, haha, but we found this recipe on Food Network and adapted it. Since then, we’ve made it a lot over the years.

You can top frozen corn with just the flavorings after microwaving (obviously it’s not 100% the same). And sometimes we’ll be short on time and we’ll boil the corn cobs beforehand and then grill for just a few moments–but the best flavor comes from letting the corn grill from raw. The original recipe called for grilling the ears in the husk, but we didn’t have good results with that–so we went to aluminum foil. And you generally only need one lime for this recipe if it’s large enough and juicy enough.

Sometimes the flavor is very subtle, so we’ve sometimes doubled the butter mixture for the corn. You spread it on with a spoon or pastry brush. Here’s what it looks like with a single batch:

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Chili Lime Corn

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Delicious flavors, but it usually takes longer to make than I think.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. Butter, at room temperature (you can melt if you’re in a hurry)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Lime Zest

  • 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice

  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder

  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Minced Garlic

  • 1 tsp. Salt

  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper

  • 4 Ears of Corn, husked
  • (Aluminum foil for wrapping)

Directions

Preheat grill to medium. In a small bowl, combine butter, lime zest, juice, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside. Tear off a piece of foil for each ear of corn. Place an ear of corn on the foil, then spread butter mixture evenly on corn with a spoon or pastry brush. Wrap each ear in foil tightly, to keep juices in. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.


 

Cilantro Lime Rice

I make this rice a lot as a side for taco salad, to go in fajitas, or of course to go with sweet pork burritos or salad. I usually end up getting the rice started to cook and then work on adding the rest of the ingredients–and by the time the 15 minutes of cooking is up, I finally have finished adding all the other ingredients. I think the zesting and juicing the lime takes the most time. But it’s still pretty fast and easy. And often instead of adding chicken broth, I’ll do a heaping 2 tsp. of chicken base with 2 1/4 c. water.

This recipe is adapted from melskitchencafe.com, which has lots of great recipes that you should check out–I’m just including it here for my convenience and because I don’t make any money off this blog.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Cilantro Lime Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Great with sweet pork, taco salad, and fajitas.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  •  1 1/4 c. Rice
  •  2 1/4 c. Chicken Broth (or 2 heaping tsp. chicken base with 2 1/4 c. water)
  •  1 scant tsp. Salt
  •  1/4 tsp. Pepper
  •  Juice and Zest of 1 Large Lime
  •  2 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
  •  1/4 tsp. Cumin

Directions

In a pan, melt the butter and add the rice. Stir, letting the rice and butter cook for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-16 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (I’m usually in too much of a rush for this step). Fluff with fork and serve.


 

Cafe Rio Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

This dressing is amazing! And it’s easy because you just throw everything in the blender. It’s great on a sweet pork salad and also inside a sweet pork burrito. I adapted this from a recipe on The Recipe Critic. It often turned out pretty runny and not spicy enough (albeit still delicious), so I made some adjustments. I’m not sure if it’s 100% a Cafe Rio copycat, but I love it. Sometimes 2 jalapenos can be really hot, but I think I’d prefer a little too much heat in the dressing to basically none. Otherwise you might as well make plain ranch.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Cafe Rio Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

  • Servings: 10?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Use 2 jalapenos if you want it to have any heat (1 is usually very mild).

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 c. Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tomatillos, husk removed and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 bunch Fresh Cilantro (discard stems)
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1-2 Jalapenos with seeds, cut in chunks (2 if you want any heat)
  • Up to 1 c. Buttermilk for desired consistency (or 1 c. milk + 1 Tbsp. lemon juice) (or just use regular milk)

Directions

Place all ingredients except buttermilk in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy. Then blend in milk gradually until you reach your desired consistency. Sometimes you won’t need to add much milk at all.


 

Pico de Gallo Salsa

If I’m going to have chips and salsa, I love to have pico. I love the fresh made salsa at Harmons and wish I had a recipe for it, but this is a pretty good recipe adapted from one on All Recipes. Just make sure you give it lots of time to sit, so it can absorb the flavors.

And this one is naturally gluten free, just like the tortilla chips you eat with it.

Pico de Gallo

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Chopping takes a while, but it’s delicious and easy to come together.

Ingredients

  • 6 Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper or 2 small Green Bell Peppers, diced
  • ½ White or Red Onion, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • Juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 if it’s very juicy)
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 pinch Garlic Powder
  • Salt (quite a bit) and Pepper to taste

Directions

Stir all ingredients in a bowl, then cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours so flavors can meld.


 

Spaetzle

I had a fair amount of spaetzle on my mission. Haha, I’m not sure I ever actually had any made by Germans–the missionaries just always seemed to make it because it was fairly easy and fun. We generally eat it with cheese, so that it’s a lot like macaroni and cheese. But you can add onion, ham, or whatever you’d like, and warm it like a casserole. Or eat it with brown gravy on top. It’s not the most photogenic food, but it’s delicious.

I still sometimes make spaetzle as a side for Oktoberfest or when I make Schnitzel. White cheese like Emmentaler is more authentic, but you can use cheddar. Or use mozzarella if you want white cheese but don’t want the more expensive kinds. (I used mozzarella in the photo.)

If you’re making this one gluten free, it turns out great. I couldn’t even tell it was gluten free. Just substitute the cup for cup gluten free flour for the regular flour.

Spaetzle

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: medium
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A fun German side. It always takes longer to make than I think, but it’s fun and cheesy.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Flour (or gluten free flour with xanthan gum)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • Shredded Cheese

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a bowl except the cheese. You may need more milk. It should be slightly thicker than pancake batter because it has to drip through holes. Prepare a pot of water (almost to boiling). Over the pot, place a spaetzle maker or colander. Drop a few spoonfuls of batter into the colander and let the batter drip into the pot. When the spaetzle floats, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a strainer. Once strained, place in a greased baking dish and cover a layer with shredded cheese. Then place in the oven and broil to melt the cheese.


Twice Baked Potatoes

We always used to make this with just cheese on top, but lately we’ve added green onions with the potato in the middle. And it’s been a delightful addition. It’s great either way–it just depends what you’re in the mood for.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pretty easy, but it takes a little time to make.

Ingredients

  • 8 Potatoes (or however many it takes to fill half a cookie sheet)
  • 1 (+) can Evaporated Milk
  • ½ c. Butter
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, chopped (optional)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions

Bake potatoes on cookie sheet at 400° for about 1-1 ¼ hours OR at 350° for about 1 ½ hours, depending on size. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out middles into a bowl, such as a stand mixer. Salt the remaining skins. To the potato middles, add and mix milk, butter, salt and pepper to taste, and green onion if using. You can even add a handful of cheese to the mixture and stir in, if desired. Spoon mixture back into skins on foil-covered cookie sheet and sprinkle potatoes with cheddar cheese. Broil till cheese melts and browns slightly.


Stuffing

Stuffing is great in general, and when you add sausage, it’s amazing. This recipe is for stuffing a Thanksgiving turkey. I feel like the last time we made the stuffing, the recipe on the bag had changed slightly–make sure to follow whatever the bag says. We always get the red bag of Pepperidge Farm–the cubes. If that’s not available, we’ve used Mrs. Cubbison’s as a substitute.

If you’re making this gluten free, you’ll want to use a gluten free stuffing mix or try this recipe for stuffing rice instead.

Stuffing

  • Servings: 12?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sausage is the key to an amazing stuffing.

Ingredients

  • Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Cubes (the red bags–2 packages for a big turkey) (or gluten free stuffing mix)
  • 5 c. boiling Water
  • 1 lb. Jimmy Dean Sausage
  • ½ c. Butter
  • 1 – 1 ½ c. Celery (small chop)
  • 1 – 1 ½ c. Onion (chop a little finer than for spaghetti)

Directions

Brown the sausage and add cube of butter to melt. Add celery and onion (usually chopped in food processor), and cook a little. Add all this to stuffing cubes, then add boiling water. Stir well but gently, being careful not to mash the stuffing. Make sure not to make too wet because turkey has juice. See turkey recipe for instructions on stuffing the bird. With leftover that won’t fit in turkey, place in microwave dish for later and refrigerate. When ready to heat the stuffing from the smaller dish, add chicken broth or water and microwave for 10 minutes.