Monday 31 October 2011

Reader Recipe: Tater Tot Casserole

I’m always happy to hear from fellow cakers (it’s therapeutic), so when Bob from Baltimore emailed to share his recipe for Tater Tot Casserole, I grabbed my can opener and gave it a try.

I’m thrilled to report that Bob’s Tater Tot Casserole is not only delicious, but it also has green beans. And that makes this caker recipe unique in two ways: 1) the vegetable isn't broccoli and 2) it probably has vitamins.

Have you got a caker recipe you want to share with the world the people who read this blog? Email cakercooking at gmail dot com. I'd love to hear from you.

Here’s Bob’s recipe in his own words:

Brown 1 pound of ground beef with a big chopped onion.  Drain.
Mix with 1 can Cream of Celery soup and 1 can Cream of Chicken soup.
Add 1 cup cut green beans, salt (go easy) and pepper to taste, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder.  (Yes, 1/8 teaspoon. Heaven forbid this should have any flavor.)
Pour into a greased flat baking dish and cover with Tater Tots (the original recipe called for 4 cups of them, but I’ve never measured Tater Tots in my life and have no intention of starting now.  Cover the whole dish with ‘em.)
Bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes, or until the Tots are crispy.
I usually up the amount of green beans considerably, and sometimes throw some grated cheese on top.  Because we like cheese.

Source: Caker Bob. Check out Bob's blog, The Fondue.

Monday 24 October 2011

JELL-O Popcorn Balls

As a young’un, I remember diving headfirst into a pile of leaves in our backyard and hearing the sound of my dad’s voice trailing behind me:

“Watch out for the dog poooooppppp…”

I haven’t been able to look at a pile of leaves with the same reckless abandon since.

These popcorn balls remind me of that time. Rest assured, there’s no dog shit or leaves in the recipe. Cakers can be cheap when it comes to ingredients, but not that cheap, for God’s sake. That said, there is a dog shit equivalent in popcorn balls: unpopped kernels.

All I can say is don’t start chowing down on these balls before stopping to consider what could be lurking beneath the surface. New teeth ain’t cheap, after all.

6 tablespoons butter
3 cups mini marshmallows or 24 large
3 tablespoons JELL-O powder (pick a colour for different occasions)
3 quarts popcorn or ¾ cup kernels

Melt butter and marshmallows. Blend in JELL-O powder. Mix with popcorn. Butter hands and shape into balls.

Source: Our 20th Anniversary Cookbook, Lambeth Co-operative Playschool Inc.

Monday 17 October 2011

Nuts and Bolts

When it came to entertaining, my folks knew how to live it up. They’d dust off the half-empty bottles of Captain Morgan Rum and Canadian Club, bring out the Petro Canada 1984 Olympic tumblers, push a “Country Gold” 8-track tape into the stereo and let the good times roll, baby.

A heaping bowl of homemade Nuts and Bolts is as essential to caker parties as a shrimp ring, forced laughter and the cloying smell of Charlie perfume. But be warned: this recipe makes a lot. Like, a bucket. So unless you want to be like me and find yourself three pounds heavier in a week's time, I’d hold off making it until you’re entertaining a crowd.

2 cups oil (see note)
2 packages onion soup mix
1 tablespoon garlic salt (No Frills didn’t have any, so I went with garlic powder)
1 box Crispix
¾ box Cheerios
1 large bag hickory sticks (or 3 small bags)
1 can mixed nuts
1 large bag pretzels (I bought the twisted, but recommend the sticks)

Heat oven to 250°. Mix all ingredients well in a large roaster. Bake for 2 ½ hours, stirring every ½ hour. Cool.

Note: I mixed the oil, soup mix and garlic powder together first, then poured it over the mixture. This seemed like an easy way to distribute.

Source: With Hearts that Care and Hands that Serve, Outlook and District Volunteer Services, Outlook, Saskatchewan

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Creamy Fantasy Fudge

I often think of fudge as the black hole of candy. There simply isn’t any other confectionary that comes close to its sugar density. If sweetness could be quantified by weight, a cube of fudge would be so heavy, it would be impossible to pick it up. You'd have to get down on all fours and nibble on it like a rat does cheese.

But something tells me that wouldn't go over too well with the ladies at Auxiliary Branch 133.

While I don't consider fudge itself caker – although it’s about as Anglo Saxon as you can get – there’s a magical ingredient in this recipe which gives it the Caker Seal of Approval. Can you tell which one it is?

Here's a clue: if you get it in your hair while making this, you’re screwed.

3 cups sugar
¾ cup margarine (I used butter)
6 ounce can evaporated milk (about 1/2 of a large can)
12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
7 ounce jar Kraft Marshmallow Cream (I used Fluff brand)
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar and margarine with milk. Bring to rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly (mixture scorches easily). Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Add marshmallow cream, nuts and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Pour into greased pan and cool. Cut into squares.

Source: Cooking Favorites of Cobourg, Ladies Auxiliary Branch 133

Sunday 9 October 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you every joy of a Caker Thanksgiving, minus the indigestion.

Here's what we enjoyed at my family Thanksgiving dinner: JELL-O with suspended mandarin slices courtesy of my mom.

See? Cakers really do consider JELL-O a side dish. Pass the gravy!

Monday 3 October 2011

Low Calorie Salad

There was a dark period in caker history (and by “period,” I’m referring to the ‘80s) when cottage cheese was viewed as a dieter’s dream food. Cakers looking to shed a few pounds were gobbling it up (and washing it down with a TAB) in between their Jane Fonda LP workouts and moussing their bangs.

But moderation is everything in life. So while cottage cheese might have been light in calories, it didn’t do much for the waistline when paired with Cool Whip.

Needless to say, this salad doesn’t live up to its name. When I added things up, it came in at a hefty 1843 calories. Time to dust off that leotard. Your session with Jane starts now.

1 small can crushed pineapple
1 small box strawberry JELL-O
1 medium carton cottage cheese
1 large carton of Cool Whip

Bring crushed pineapple and jelly powder to boil. Let cool, then fold in cottage cheese, then Cool Whip. Store in fridge. Serve.

Source: St. Mary’s C.W.L. Grafton Cookbook