How to Make Monte Cristo Sandwiches

This is an old French sandwich circa 1910. It became popular in America in the 1930’s and then seem to drop out of sight in the 1960’s. My dad loved Monte Cristo sandwiches. As a child, it seemed that they were popular in diners and other casual recipes. Either way, they were made with meat, usually ham, and a soft cheese, raspberry jam, and mustard or a hot sauce. They are now a type of sandwich, a meat and cheese sandwich cooked like French toast or deep fried. We’ve maintained the sweet layer with either jam or a flavored honey.

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Learn How to Bake Bread on Your Grill

Choose a FREE Bread Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z123” at checkout. Baking your bread on the grill can provide a nice respite from the midday heat, and you don’t have to add the extra heat into your kitchen while it’s baking. Enjoy the fresh air and fresh-baked bread at the cabin, on the patio, or the next family reunion as your neighbors turn their noses upwind to get a swift of the aroma of fresh-baked bread wafting over the fence. Believe it or not, you can bake your bread on the grill, and we’ll tell you …

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Do I Need to Bake My Graham Cracker Crumb Crusts?

(Updated from May 26, 2014) When you don’t feel like preparing a pie crust for your desserts, a graham cracker crust is the way to go. It works great for cream pies and cheesecakes, especially. But do you need to bake your graham cracker pie crusts? It depends, but you will need to expose our crust to the cold or the heat to allow it to properly set. Save your graham crackers for the smores. Make your graham cracker pie crusts easier by using graham cracker crumbs instead of smashing perfectly good graham crackers to make your own. To Bake …

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How To Make Oven Fries

Choose a FREE Bread Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z123” at checkout. One of my favorite things to pair with homemade burgers is french fries, but deep frying the fries in oil can be pretty tricky and often makes quite the mess. Here’s how you can make oven fries. The Best Oven Fries We’ve Ever Made Ingredients 2 1/2 pounds russet or other baking potatoes (not peeled) 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon salt pepper Instructions Preheat the Oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or use a crisper and …

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How to Cook Burgers on a Rack in the Oven

(Updated From May 10, 2014) Get a FREE brownie or snickerdoodle mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z333” at checkout. What if it rains this weekend, and I can’t make burgers on the grill? Don’t worry; I found just the trick. Making burgers in the oven means you can cook them rain or shine. When you cook your burgers on a rack in the oven, you don’t have to turn your food. The air circulates under the food and cooks the food from above and below. Cooking times are reduced. Without turning, your burgers are incredibly juicy. There …

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Can I Substitute Butter or Shortening for Oil in My Recipe?

When we developed this snickerdoodle mix, we wanted the crispness of shortening but the flavor of butter. So we used both. After several trials, it worked perfectly. So much so that the proprietor of a cookie store contacted us and asked if she could buy the mix in bulk and sell these in her store.“She said, ‘I’ll even put a sign on them saying, “Prepared Pantry Snickerdoodles”.’Of course, we said “yes.”Use the code above and share these extraordinary snickerdoodles with your family or friends.” Dennis Weaver The perfect cookies, the best sandwich loaves, the tastiest muffins— all of these require …

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Homemade Burger Buns

Choose One! Get a FREE Burger Press or a FREE Bun Mix! Add it to checkout and use code “Z507” or “ZBUN” at checkout. The weather is warming up, and it’s time to let the neighborhood cookouts and family picnics begin. Burgers are the spotlight of the season, and it’s always best to impress. While you’re showing off your homemade burgers on the grill, why not also give our favorite homemade burger buns a try? As Dennis likes to say, “the buns make the burger,” and it’s true. I’m sure we can all remember eating a burger fresh off the …

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Thai Mango Salad with Sweet Chili Dressing

Mango salad with fresh mango, peanuts, and sweet mango chili dressing

Thai Mango Salad with Thai Sweet Chili Dressing Recipe I love Thai food. I love the kick that Thai sweet chili brings. I love peanut sauce, even the chopped peanuts. And I love mangos. So, this is a perfect combination with its bright sweet chili and lime dressing and ripe mangos. When we made this in our test kitchen, we served this to customers and employees. (That’s what we do in the test kitchen.) Most loved it! The dressing has a little kick. You can control how much by how much of the pepper that you add. We’re in Idaho–meat and …

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How to Make Your Brownies Look Like They Came from a Bakery

Choose your brownies and make them so that they cut neat and square.  Our New York Dessert Brownies were designed for that.  If you want a gooey brownie, choose Uncle Bob’s Extra Moist Brownies but freeze them for an hour to make them firm before cutting. STEP 1: Line your pan with parchment paper.  Spread shortening in the pan to hold the paper in place.  Don’t worry; the fat will be outside the paper, not on your brownies. STEP 2: After removing the pan from the oven, grab the edges of the paper and lift the cake from the pan. STEP 3: Using two cooling …

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How to Make Stuffed Pork Chops (with Recipes)

Stuffed pork chops are one of those foods that is easy to make for the family on a busy day and impressive enough that you can present to company.   Stuffed pork chops are one of the most versatile main dish foods that we know.  Both sweet and savory fillings go well with pork chops so you can stuff them with an endless array of choices.  They work in both the summer and winter.  Since you can grill them as well as fry or bake them, you can cook them on the patio when the weather is nice. How to Stuff …

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

For brunch, we like to be just a touch extravagant. We made this for Saturday brunch recently and it was fabulous. Best of all, it was quick and easy.                                                                                                              . We used blueberries for this recipe. Try your favorite berries—maybe strawberries or raspberries. If you feel adventuresome, try puréed apricots, mangoes, or wherever your imagination takes you. The bread we used is our Knobby Apple Cinnamon Bread which makes fabulous French toast—with or without the filling. In a sweeter bread like this, don’t put too much filling in your toast so that it is not overwhelming. Ingredients 1 eight-ounce …

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Four Steps to Easy Dinners

Dinner is a challenge. It’s not that we don’t know how to cook but after a long day at work and with a dozen things to do at home, it just takes time and energy.What do we fix for dinner?We could put something in the crock-put before we leave for work. We’re not that organized (I’m not that organized) and the crock pot is utilized for Sunday duty. I love stir-fries but Merri Ann doesn’t like them. There are other choices like casseroles (they usually take too long), tacos, and soups, but what to fix for dinner usually centers on …

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Fall Picnics | Ideas for Great Fall Picnics

This is my favorite time of year, September and early October.  I love the cooler weather, the crisp bite in the mornings.  I love the mountains in the fall, the medley of bright colors in the forests, the deeper blue sky that seems to go forever, the earthy smells of fallen leaves, and the crunch of dry leaves underfoot.  I love the crystal clear waters of gentle streams after the water has dropped in the fall with their quiet babble as they find their way over smooth stones.  It’s my favorite time for hikes and picnics in the woods. We …

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Your oven doesn’t work quite right!

Does your oven have a temperature?

Fix it for few dollars or $80 plus. Chances are, your oven is out of kilter. We did a demo at a local appliance store. Even though their ovens were new, the temperatures were off by an average of 50 degrees. Yours will be too. And most ovens are not steady state. The longer the oven is on, the hotter it gets. When you open the door, you lose a ton of heat. So it’s often not 350 even if you have a correctly calibrated oven. You have three solutions: The few dollar solution. Stick an oven thermometer in your …

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Really Easy, Really Good Barbecue Ribs

Saturday was delightful. Diane Jensen, the founder of Gresham and Myers spice company, came to the store and made ribs. She recruited her son and husband to help.Wonderful people, terrific ribs. Time and again, people told us they were the best ribs they had ever tasted. They were surprised that they were so simple to make. The meat’s not expensive either. Dianepaid $2.05 a pound at Sam’s club. Someone said that they were $1.79 at Albertsons. I’ve never made ribs. They seemed too involved. Diane made them easy, basically three steps. Rub the ribs with the spices. Slow cook them …

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Merri Ann’s Easy Chili

You don’t need much more for this than a pot and can opener.  It’s super easy to make and was the winner of an extended family chili cook off. This is a one pot meal.  Cook the ground beef in the same pan that you will use for the soup.  You’ll have soup on the table in twenty minutes. Ingredients 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained of grease 5 15-ounce cans of beans, drained 2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with onions 1 29 ounce can of tomato sauce 1 tablespoon chili powder 1/2 cup …

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How to Make French Fries

French fries are easy to make at home and they taste better than most of those from the restaurants. We like to make them outside on the deck—away from the heat and any odor. Here’s how: 1. Pick good quality russet potatoes. Wash them and cut out any bad spots. 2. Cut them into 3/4-inch wide strips. You can do so with a knife; it’s a lot easier to do with a French fry maker. 3. Heat the oil to 350 to 375 degrees. You can do so, on the stovetop or with a thermostatically controlled deep fryer. If you …

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Hot Turkey Sandwiches with Sweet and Sour Onions

These sandwiches can be made grilled, open-faced, or panini style.  The caramelized onions accent the sandwich as relish might.   The secret ingredient in the sauce is apricot jam. We used sourdough bread and it was perfect but any quality, hearty bread will work.  These sandwiches would also be good with deli roast beef or ham. Ingredients 2 large onions cut into slices and then cut into 1/2-inch pieces 4 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce 1/3 cup apricot jam 2 tablespoon granulated sugar 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1/3 cup water 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger …

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Sione’s Barbecue Chicken

Sione Taulanga married our niece Sarah. We’ve enjoyed his barbecue chicken at family parties.  So we called his house to get the recipe. “He doesn’t have a recipe.  He just makes it,” explained his wife. He only uses four ingredients for the marinade and makes it by taste.  So we went to work in our test kitchen.  We think this version is very good. Dennis and Merri Ann Weaver Ingredients 2 cups soy sauce 3/4 cup brown sugar 3 cloves of garlic, minced 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger plus any juice created by grating 10 to 12 pieces of cut …

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Peach Raspberry Slump Recipe

What’s a slump? It’s really a cobbler but it is made on the stovetop like dumplings, not baked. It’s easy. Even a novice can make a slump. And you don’t have to heat up your kitchen. You can make them on the grill or even out camping. What follows is a slump made with peaches and raspberries. That‘s because the peaches are in season but we could have used frozen peaches or a choice of other fruits. In fact, blueberries and pears sound really good. This slump was made with peaches and raspberries. You can use fresh or frozen. Try …

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