Karen’s Recipes

Here are a few of my favorite recipes for you to enjoy. These are things that I take to work and pot lucks, or make for parties. They are popular.

FRENCH ONION SOUP (very easy to make)

2 large onions, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon butter
1-1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 packet onion soup and dip mix
5 cans (15 oz.) Swanson’s beef broth, low sodium
pepper, to taste

Melt butter in 3 quart saucepan on medium heat.  Add onions, flour, and paprika.
Cook on medium to low heat, stirring every 3-5 minutes, until the onions carmelize and turn very brown (don’t worry if they burn a little).  This will take 15-20 minutes.  Add the broth and stir thoroughly, scraping off any carmelization that stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the onion soup/dip mix, stir, and let the soup simmer for about a half hour. (no need to add salt, as the soup/dip mix has salt in it).

Ladle into soup bowls, top with croutons and cheese (use a piece of cheese that’s larger than the bowl if you want it to drip down the sides of the bowl).  Broil, watching carefully, until the cheese melts and is bubbly.  Remove from the broiler, and serve.


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup milk
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 large can of peaches (or 2 to 4 cups of any sweetened fruit)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt stick of butter in 8″x8″ baking pan in oven, then remove the pan from the oven and pour the sweetened fruit on top of the butter.  In a small bowl stir together the milk, flour, and sugar.  Pour over the fruit and butter.  Bake approximately 25 minutes until crust is lightly brown and everything is bubbly.

This is an easy recipe to make for unexpected guests.



8 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped bread and butter pickles
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (such as vadalia)
4 boiled eggs, diced
1 Tablespoon celery seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup Splenda (or sugar)
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender, but not falling apart (about 1/2 hour).  Drain, and allow to cool until warm but not hot.  Peel potatoes and slice into chunks (as chunky as you want).  Toss chopped potatoes into large bowl and toss with the vinegar first, then add the remaining ingredients.  Stir until well-mixed, and refrigerate.
To adjust seasonings:
If too “vinegary,” add more mayonnaise and Splenda

If too bland, add more vinegar and mustard
If overall too tart, add more Splenda


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1-3/4 cups shortening (regular Crisco)

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until it resembles small peas throughout.

In a small bowl, beat one egg. Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar and 1/2 cup very cold water and mix. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix together with a fork. DO NOT OVER-MIX; just mix until it goes together. Over-handling pie crust dough will make the crust tough.

This should make enough dough for three bottom crusts. Dust flat surface generously with flour, roll out, and use. Can use the scraps also if not re-rolled more than three times.

This pie crust recipe came from my aunt, Charlene John. She always had an abundance of cherries in the summer, and I used to help my parents pick cherries to take home. One summer day when I was a teenager, Aunt Charlene invited us into the house for a piece of cherry pie after we’d been picking. I was beginning to bake, and told Aunt Charlene I loved her pie crust. She wrote this recipe down on a card for me. That was about 40 years ago, and I still have that card in my recipe box.


Pizza dough:

3 3/4 cups bread flour (important to use bread flour – for high gluten content)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 teaspoons active dry granulated yeast
another pinch of sugar
additional extra virgin olive oil

Place flour, 1 Tablespoon sugar, oil, and salt in mixer bowl.  In a separate bowl, place water, yeast, and the pinch of sugar.  stir until the yeast is dissolved in the water, then let stand for about 5 minutes until the yeast foams and comes to the top.  With the dough hook on the mixer, start the mixer and add the water/yeast mixture to the flour mixture.  Mix for about 15 minutes; the dough should be in a ball and feel very smooth to the touch.  lightly oil the ball of dough with extra-virgin olive oil, then place in a bowl in a warm place to rise while you prepare the toppings.  This dough should make about 3 medium pizzas.

Pizza Sauce:     large can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, OR 1 clove pressed garlic
a few basil leaves, finely chopped (or a pinch of dried basil)
a pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the crushed tomatoes in a fine strainer for about a half hour, to strain out the excess juice.  When the tomatoes have stopped draining, just stir it all together.

Must-Have Pizza Toppings:  Parmasean-Reggiano cheese,  Provolone cheese, Grated Mozzarella cheese, Others as desired

Assembling pizza:  Preheat oven to 500 degrees (this is usually the hottest temperature).

Press the dough onto a pizza pan or baking pan greased with extra-virgin olive oil.  Add additional oil on top while stretching the dough.  Place slices of provelone cheese on the dough, then spread a thin layer of sauce and a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with grated parmasean cheese, a tiny bit of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add additional toppings as desired, topping with another layer of mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle again with a tiny bit of kosher salt, pepper, and parmasean cheese.  Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly (about 15 minutes).  When the pizza is done, brush the rim of the crust with melted garlic butter and ENJOY!


2 cups milk
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons regular table salt
5 cups bread flour* (plus extra for kneading)
½ cup baking soda
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on pretzels (approx. ¼ cup)
2 sticks unsalted butter

In a large bowl, warm the milk in the microwave until warm, but not hot (approx. 110 degrees). Add the yeast, and stir well; let sit for approx. 3 minutes to ensure yeast is dissolved. Stir in brown sugar, melted butter, table salt, and 2 cups flour until well blended. Stir in the remaining flour, and turn out onto a table and knead for approx. 6 minutes, adding flour as necessary (dough should be slightly sticky). Place in greased bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled (approx. 1 hour).

While mixture rises, place boiling water in a bowl that has a wide bottom that can hold a pretzel (can use a baking dish). Add the baking soda and stir until dissolved. Add the cold water and stir (mixture should be warm and not hot).

Turn dough out onto a board, and use a pizza cutter to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 36-inch rope, using the palm of your hand (do not grease the rolling surface; the tackiness of the dough helps with rolling, and they don’t stick to the table or counter). Form pretzel shape, and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place a clean towel on the counter next to the soda mixture. Quickly dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution, onto the towel to pat dry the bottom of the pretzel, and back onto the baking sheet (you may need to re-shape the pretzels as you go along). Brush the tops of the pretzels with beaten egg, and sprinkle lightly with the coarse sea salt (don’t need much, just 2-3 grains per bite). Bake approx. 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Melt the two sticks of unsalted butter and place in a shallow dish that is wide enough to accommodate a pretzel. When the pretzels are removed from the oven, dip each one in the melted butter (this can also be done after they are cooled).

Makes 12 large pretzels

*Note: Regular all-purpose flour can be used; however, the pretzels seem more light and fluffy made with bread flour.


1-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
14 large egg whites, at room temperature* (about 2 cups)
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour and ¾ cup sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in mixing bowl and mix on high until foamy. Continue mixing, gradually and slowly adding the other 1 cup of sugar. Mix until you begin to see beater tracks on the surface, then add the almond extract and flavoring and mix until the mixture looks satiny and will hold a tall peak (watch and don’t overbeat, as an overbeaten mixture will become dry and the whites will begin to separate).
Stop mixing and gently fold the flour mixture into the egg white mixture. Fold gently, but ensure the flour mixture is well incorporated into the whites.
Place into a tube pan with removable bottom (DO NOT GREASE PAN). Run a knife through the mixture to break up any large air pockets that may have formed while putting the batter in the pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until the cake top is browned, springy to the touch, and a tester comes out clean.
Turn cake upside down in pan and cool completely before removing.

*It is important to ensure no yolks get in the mixture. Separate the eggs in a separate bowl and add each one individually to the rest so you won’t ruin the whole batch if some yolk accidently gets in.

It is also important to use clean utensils and bowls in this recipe; a trace of oil or fat can ruin the batch.

The cake can be made with other flavorings, and citrus zest can be added. ¼ cup cocoa can replace ¼ cup of the flour to make a chocolate version of this cake.

For a nice light dessert, slice a bowl of strawberries and stir in some sugar (2 tablespoons per cup of strawberries). Let sit in the refrigerator overnight, and the sugar will melt and form a delicious strawberry topping for the cake. Serve slices of angel food cake with this topping and whipped cream out of a can (use the real stuff, not Cool Whip).


1 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter (extra crunchy)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ cups chopped peanuts, divided

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

With mixer, combine shortening, sugars, peanut butter, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the flour and baking soda; mix only until fully incorporated (don’t overmix).
Add ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, mix just until combined (don’t overmix)

Place remaining chopped peanuts into small bowl. Using ice cream scoop, drop mixture into bowl and coat the rounded part (tops) with peanuts.
Place onto cookie sheets, being careful to leave plenty of room for spreading (6 cookies per sheet)..
Place on center rack of oven and bake approx. 13 minutes. Cookies will be VERY lightly browned, have a little crust on top but still seem raw inside when they are done (be careful that bottom of cookies is only SLIGHTLY browned; overbrowning ruins the flavor).
Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool. Cookies are very delicate when warm, but firm as they cool.



1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup canola oil
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
¼ cup milk
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 orange

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves

5 cups grated carrots, firmly packed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   With electric mixer in a large bowl, blend together the first set of ingredients (sugars, oil, butter, milk, eggs, vanilla, ginger, and orange zest) until well-mixed.   In a separate bowl, whisk together the second set of ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves).  Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix only until all ingredients are well-incorporated.  Add carrots last and stir until well-blended (can also add 1 cup of your favorite nuts).  Pour into greased 9×13” baking pan and bake approximately 40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean (cake will be deep golden brown).  Cool, then frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese (can also use light cream cheese), at room temperature
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups confectioners sugar (or to taste)

With mixer, blend together cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth.  Add confectioners sugar and blend until fluffy and smooth.  If necessary, add milk to make spreadable.  Frost cooled cake.


1 32-oz package of frozen grated hash brown potatoes (I could only find a 30-oz package, and it worked fine)
8 oz grated colby cheese
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter or margarine
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Stir everything together in a large bowl. Pour into a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until bubbly all over and browned on top. Serve warm.



Homemade Funnel Cakes
2 Eggs (Beaten)
1 1/2 Cups Milk
2 Cups Flour (Shifted)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg
2 Cups Cooking Oil (Do not add to batter)
Powdered SugarHeat 2 Cups of Oil in Pan on Medium to High heat.

In mixing bowl, combine Eggs and Milk.
Shift together Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. 
Add to Egg mixture; Beat until smooth.

Test Mixture to see if it flows easily through a Funnel.
If too thick add Milk, if too thin add Flour.

Pour batter into a funnel or squeeze bottle while using your index finger to stop the flow of the batter. Bring the funnel over the hot oil and release your finger to start a stream of batter while moving the funnel in a circular motion to create spiral-like shapes.

Fry for 1 to 2 mins on each side, using tongs to flip, until golden brown and puffy.

Remove form oil and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can cream corn
1 stick butter
1 (8 oz.) pkg. sour cream
1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

 Melt butter in dish. Put in corn and cream. Mix together well. Sprinkle corn bread mix over corn and stir all together. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.


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