Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nuts and Bolts


Nana has a stack of recipes she only makes this time of year. I am gonna work my way through these recipes in order to share them with you. She's probably got a system to bang these out each year, and I've got two kids, so we'll see how long this takes.

Nuts and Bolts is basically Chex Mix, but in our family we like to take it to the next level by adding as many nuts as we can get away with. It's cause we're a nutty bunch! We're addicted to this stuff, and it's a good thing Nana only makes it at Christmas when we're planning on wearing our stretchy pants anyway. If I ate this year long, I'd be in trouble!

Now I have to admit, this isn't exactly Nana's recipe. That's because she actually gave me two different recipes for the same thing. They are both very large recipes, so the following is scaled back for ease of cooking. And edited. And probably she won't recognize it. But she better like it cause I just made a huge batch to share this weekend. It tastes the same to me, so I think she will like it. Cross your fingers for me please!


Nuts and Bolts
Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen

3 cups Plain Cheerios
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup Pretzel Sticks, (the small skinny ones)
1 cup Mixed Nuts
1/2 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Cashews
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrin's, if you please)
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt (I used Lawry's Seasoned Salt, but table salt is fine)
3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large roasting pan, mix together cereals, nuts and pretzels. Melt butter and add to it the seasonings and mix well. Drizzle butter mixture over the cereal mix and stir well. Bake for 2 hours, stirring well every 15-20 minutes.

Store in gallon sized ziploc bags or in a large popcorn tin. And don't forget your stretchy pants!




Get Your Craft On Tuesday

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nigella Christmas



Nigella Lawson is my favorite TV Food Personality. So I was thrilled to get this book last Christmas. Nigella Christmas combines some of my favorite things: Christmas, great writing, beautiful photography, and of course food.

Anyone who is familiar with Nigella will know that she has a knack for description. Her writing style is so comfortable; it makes you feel like you are her good friend and she is just having a chat with you. She also knows that for the home cook, things can get hectic around the holidays. She provides you with tips to streamline your holiday preparations and a Christmas Lunch Countdown to keep you on track and on time. Her no-nonsense, laid-back approach will put you at ease.

The photography by Lis Parsons will make you drool. Seriously, it's a pleasure just to flip through this book only looking at the pictures. Not only are there photos of the food, but also Christmas decorations and tablescapes. It will really get you in the mood for Christmas.

But just looking at the pictures will not do. These recipes must be made! The only problem is deciding which recipe to make first.

I've already made some of these recipes like her Spiced and Superjuicy Roast Turkey and Ginger-Glazed Ham. This year I've got my eye on her Peas with Pancetta in Cream All'Italiana, Maple-Roast Parsnips, Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake, and Chocolate Sponge Pudding for Christmas Pudding Haters with Hot Chocolate Sauce. I'm really looking forward to trying these out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Best Cupcakes Ever

Unless you're new here, you'll know that I feel no shame in using a box cake mix, as long as you make your own icing. But the recipe below is worth the extra effort to make the perfect chocolate cake.

We had a baby shower for my Sister-In-Law Saturday. I made cupcakes using Pioneer Woman's recipe for
"The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever." I just had to let them bake a little bit longer than if it had been a sheet cake. Then I used a recipe from Tasty Kitchen called, "That's The Best Frosting I've Ever Had!" This is the frosting for people who don't like frosting. It's not overly sweet like most icings you'll find. It also has a secret ingredient: flour! It sounds crazy, but it soooo works! Since the shower was for my first nephew, I just added some blue sugar crystals to the top, easy peasy!



If you're wondering about the double wrapper, it's to prevent the cupcake from pulling away from the paper. Use two baking cups when baking cupcakes and then when they are cool, you can either serve them doubled or take the outer baking cup off and save for later use. Or you could use one of
these, I really wanted some, but I couldn't find a pattern I could use.


These really are incredible. Just look at how fluffy that icing is! The cake itself is so good that I love to eat the cake, icing free, straight from the fridge, (make sure they are covered well, so they don't dry out!). And don't even get my Father-In-Law started on these, he might not stop!

Monday, November 15, 2010

National Bundt Day

Today is National Bundt Day! Mary, The Food Librarian has been celebrating with bundt cakes for the last 30 days! That's a lot of cake! Be sure to take a look at her post today with the round-up of this year's bundts. And if that isn't crazy enough, check out her fantastic wedding dessert bar.



My Bundt Cake was inspired by a muffin recipe from my friend Lauren. First let me give you the muffin recipe, and then we'll turn it into a bundt.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
makes 12

1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 15 oz. can of Pumpkin
1/2 cup water
Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together well, then pour into greased muffin cups. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Immediately after removing from oven, cut a slit in the top of the muffin and add a dab of butter to it.

For the Bundt:
Mix ingredients as directed above, adding 3 eggs mixture. Bake according to the bundt cake direction on your cake mix box. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar or cream cheese icing would be nice. (I added eggs only to give the bundt a little more height, you can of course do without.)

Have a Happy Bundt Day!

Here's a link to see all the participating Bundt Cakes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bean and Bacon Soup

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It's getting cold outside and so it's a good time to start thinking about soup. My favorite soup is Bean and Bacon. On the thick side. With LOADS of crackers. That's just me. But this recipe can be made thin or thick to your liking. It's perfect on a cold evening like we've been having lately. Make extra and freeze in small portions; you'll have dinner ready in no time! 

DSC00053 copy2
Bean and Bacon Soup
Serves 8

2 cups dried navy beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 ham hock, (the more meat the better)
4 quarts water
1-2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse your beans and then soak overnight, or follow directions on your bag for a quick soak. After soaking, rinse again and drain.

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Cook the onion, celery and carrot until they start to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans, ham hock and water. Turn to high heat and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low. Cook for 3-4 hours with the lid partially covering the pot. Stir often.

Take the ham hock out of the pot and set aside. Using a blender or food processor, puree about half of the remaining soup mixture and add back to the pot. Take the ham hock and remove the skin, fat and gristle. Take the remaining meat off the bone and finely chop, then add back the pot. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, tasting along the way to get the right amount.

If the soup is too thick you can had hot water to the pot and stir well until it is the right consistency for you. If it is too thin, turn the heat to high and cook uncovered, stirring often until it is thick enough.

Enjoy!!

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen


As you know, my last two posts have been about our recent camping trip to Blairsville, GA. While there, we took a little trip to Helen, GA, just over a mountain or two from Blairsville. The only other time I have ever been to Helen was the summer of '97. Let me just say that it was a slow day in Helen as we were just about the only people in town that day. This latest visit couldn't have been more different.

You see, Helen is a recreation of an Alpine village. And they have the longest running Oktoberfest in the world, this year's starting on September 9th and ending October 31st. THE
Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany is only 16-18 days long and ends the first Sunday or Monday of October. Munich's Oktoberfest began in 1810 as a marriage celebration for the prince, (being Royal gets you great parties!) Today it is the largest festival in the world.

My inner anthropologist would love to go to Munich, be immersed in the culture of Bavaria and eat the traditional German foods. However, I don't see a trip to Germany in my near future, so Helen will have to do. But not during Oktoberfest. It was very crowded, still warm in October and the whole celebration of beer is not my cup of tea. Maybe
Christkindlmarkt , (Christmas Market) would be more fun.

Helen, Georgia does have one thing that makes me definitely want to go back and that is Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen. This is the kind of place that you smell before you see. The aroma guides you to the door and up the ramp where you find delicious candies wherever you look.

Owners Dave and Janet Jones have been making candies here in Helen since 1973. Dave wrote the book on making candy. I'm not kidding...



With so many tempting treats, it was hard to decide what to buy. For me anyway, Brian knew exactly what he wanted...


PECAN Brittle!! It's fantastic! It's made with Georgia pecans, (pronounced peh-cahns, not pee-cans, if you ask me.)

I knew I wanted some chocolate, but couldn't commit to one particular confection. So I got this...


A Milk Chocolate Chattahoochee Snapper--The fresh pecans really make this!

A Chocolate Covered Graham Cracker (not pictured)


Dark Chocolate covered Pretzels = Bliss!

Are you salivating yet? Then here's some good news, they ship! Check them out!


Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen
8651 Main Street
Helen, GA 30545
and
8078 South Main Street
Helen, GA 30545
800-524-3008 Toll Free
www.hanselandgretelcandykitchen.com

Anyone been to Christkindlmarkt in Helen? Is it worth a day trip from Chattanooga? Let me know!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Breakfast In A Bag

Remember how I told you we eat well when we're camping? Well, here is another tasty camp meal that you can make at home too! It's an omelet cooked in a Ziploc bag. Crazy right? Maybe, but it couldn't be easier!

First, crack two eggs into a bowl and scramble with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.




Next, add your diced veggies, about a quarter cup worth, more or less depending on how loaded you want your omelet. We used green bell pepper, tomato and onions here.



Then add your meat, either one sausage patty or 2-3 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled.




Finally, add your cheese. Here we used 1 slice of American cheese torn to pieces but you can use your favorite shredded cheese as well.




Dump your egg mixture into a quart sized freezer bag.



You'll want to mark your bags if cooking more than one at a time. If you use a sharpie, it is important to either write on the white part of the bag used for labeling or make some identifiable mark at the very top of the bag. If you write on the bag down where the eggs are, the sharpie will bleed through the bag and tint your eggs where they touch that part of the bag.
That's why my Dad made these little tags. It's safe to pin to the very top of the bag, so you can adorn your own safety pins in order to identify your omelets.



See, here it is all tagged and ready to go.




You'll need to have some water already boiling. Drop your bags down into the water. Boil for 8 minutes or until the eggs are set to your liking. I don't like a very wet omelet so mine cooked a little longer.



Grab a plate, open your baggie and let the omelet slide right out!


Hey! Did you notice that this recipe doesn't have any butter in it? That's because you don't have to worry about your eggs sticking to the bag! Of course, if you like the flavor butter adds to an omelet, by all means, add a little melted butter before cooking, but honestly it doesn't need it!


I hope you enjoy this recipe and wow your friends with your amazing omelets. This is a fantastic way to cook breakfast for a crowd as you can put these together the night before and store in the fridge. No need to get up too early to slave over a hot stove.


*Ziploc is the brand we used, (no BPA), but I imagine any good freezer bag would work well enough.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dutch Oven Dinner

 

This weekend we went camping with my family in Blairsville, Georgia. It was Liam's first time camping, (he's only 8 weeks old). Sophie was just 4 months the only other time we've been camping with her, so to her this was a new adventure. Luckily there was a sandy spot in our campsite where she could play and get completely filthy--nature is fun!

Now don't think that when we go camping that we "rough it" too much. We had water and electric hook-ups and we sleep on air beds in our tent with our tiny heater. And most of all, we eat very well. That's because my Dad is the king of the
Dutch Oven.





Dad used the contraption pictured above this weekend. Let me explain what it is. He bought this at an Army Surplus store. It is a cast iron cooking stove made in 1951 for the Korean War. It was originally made to put a burner inside and be used as a stove. It also came with a taller chimney so it could be used inside a tent to cook and for warmth during the cold Korean winters. Dad replaced the tall chimney with this smaller chimney and put a lid over the hole for the burner.

In the bottom of the stove he placed hot coals, then put his dutch oven inside. Saturday morning he baked biscuits, so he put hot coals on the lid of his dutch oven. To make stew, he put the stove lid on and left it for several hours. At night he would rake the coals together in the fire pit and placed the top of the stove over it to contain the smoldering embers.

Not the outdoorsy type? Don't have a dutch oven? Don't worry, you can still make this recipe for Papa's Stew. Papa's Stew, (named after my grandfather and pronounced "Pawpaw") is one of our family favorites. Papa and Nana created this recipe by trying different things until they came up with this perfect stew. Of course, if you want or need to make substitutions, Nana says pretty much any vegetable will work. So please enjoy this recipe. You can cook for a crowd, or just your family and freeze the leftovers. Just make sure you share it with people you love.




Papa's Stew
25-30 servings

Click here for the printable recipe at Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:

5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
1 whole chicken cut up or 3-4 chicken breasts boiled and shredded, (boil for 20 minutes or left all day in you crock pot)
3 15.25 oz. cans English Peas
3 14.5 oz. cans sliced carrots
3 14.5 oz. cans corn kernels
3 14.75 oz. cans cream corn
1 lb black eyed peas, remove debris and rinse well
1 12 oz. bag frozen butter beans, speckled recommended
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup Worcester sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until nearly done. Do not drain. Add all other ingredients except tomatoes and simmer until thickened. Add tomatoes last and cook for 15 minutes. Serve with crackers or cornbread for some true comfort food!



Floyd Markham
1926-2003

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monster Sandwich

I was going to write about something else today, but because of technical difficulties, that will have to wait. Instead, I'm going to share with you one of my favorite books. I was reading another blog today which reminded me to go get this book and read to my daughter. It's a book of poetry...about monsters...and sometimes food.




I love the subtitle to this book:
"And other stories you're sure to like, because they're all about monsters, and some of them are also about food. You like food, don't you? Well, all right then."

You'll love this book, probably more so than your kids. It is so clever! Each story is about a monster that you know and love. Here are just some of the stories you will find in this book.

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
Poor Frankenstein! All he wants is a sandwich. But he has the rudest neighbors, not the kind of people likely to lend a cup of sugar.

The Phantom of the Opera Can't Get "It's a Small World" Out of His Head
Don't tell me you haven't been there!

The Invisible Man Gets a Haircut
That's just asking for trouble!

Count Dracula Doesn't Know He's Been Walking Around All Night With Spinach In His Teeth
"Vhat are you staring at?"

The Yeti Doesn't Appreciate Being Called Bigfoot
Do you really wanna make him mad?

The Lunchsack of Notre Dame
You'd pack a lunch too if Frankenstein was your lunch lady!

I love love love this book, so I'm excited to learn that the author, Adam Rex, has also written this book:



Can't wait to get it!!

P.S. Yeah, yeah, I know Frankenstein is the name of the man who created the monster, but what else are you gonna call the guy?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

They Are To Teach What Is Good


I know a special little boy named Zek who is about to turn one year old. It seems like just yesterday I was throwing a baby shower for his Mommy.

This was a unique shower in that we also had a Bible study. The passage we studied, Titus 2:3-5 says of older women:

"They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. "



With (at that point) just 4 years of marriage under my belt, I knew that I would have very little to offer in such a study. So I asked some of the guests to be prepared to speak on a topic from the passage and to share their experiences in relation to their topics. These ladies spoke about self-control, purity, being a homemaker, kindness and submission to our husbands. This was an inspirational and very moving experience, and I'm so glad these ladies were willing to share such meaningful thoughts.

Of course, we also had food, it was a shower after all. We all chipped in, so don't think that I made all of this. Here's the spread...



Ice cream cake, fruit tray, cookie cake and behind the candles is this...


This my friends, is a cheese ball! Isn't it gorgeous?

I did make the punch. It's delish!
 
Fruit Punch
Makes about 50 servings--can easily be halved
(Of course, you should always have extra on hand as one cup is not enough)

2 packets of Fruit Punch Kool-Aid
1 c. boiling water
2 qts. warm water
2 1/2 c. sugar
1-46 oz can of pineapple juice
2-2 liter bottle ginger ale, chilled

Dissolve the Kool-Aid in the boiling water. Then in a large pot add the Kool-Aid, water, sugar and pineapple juice. Mix well and divide into two large freezer bags and freeze.

To Serve:
Thaw the punch until it is just starting to slush. Add one bag's contents to a punch bowl and add one bottle of ginger ale. Stir well.

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

 

Happy Birthday Zek!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Going Bananas!

We just had a couple bunches of bananas in our home this week. My favorite time to eat bananas is just after they stop being green. After a while, once they start to brown, they are just too sweet for me. I'm not likely to eat them straight from the peel when they are like that, but they are still good for smoothies and cutting up into your Rice Krispies! But there comes a point when they are good for nothing but Banana Bread.

Two bunches of bananas may be too much for my family to have at once. We've eaten them as best we could, but they still went brown and mushy pretty quickly. Brian says it is my fruit bowl. He thinks it has supernatural powers to turn fruit bad before their time. Anyway, we had three soon-to-be rotten bananas, and it was time for Banana Bread.

I guess everyone probably has a recipe for Banana Bread. I'm not going to say that this is the very best Banana Bread recipe there is, because I'm sure someone out there has a better one. But that being said, there really aren't that many variations to Banana Bread recipes. They're all gonna have pretty much the same basic ingredients. But maybe you don't have your own recipe for Banana Bread. Then I would like to share mine with you. This is a good standby, I-don't-have-to-put-much-effort-into-this, only-making-this-to-use-up-old-bananas kind of recipe. Of course, you could add some spices or chocolate chips, (would have done that if I had some on hand) to make it your own.




Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smushed to mush
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/8 cup additional sugar for pan, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oil and sugar and whisk together. Add the bananas and eggs and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients, milk, vanilla and nuts and stir well to fully incorporate. Grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan. Add sugar to the pan and shake around till it coats the bottom and sides of pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Options for serving:
1. As soon as it is cool enough to eat.
2. Well chilled from spending some time in the fridge
3. Sliced, toasted and slathered in butter.

Enjoy!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

An Egg With Many Names

Ah, the Deviled Egg! What church potluck would be complete without them? I love Deviled Eggs, but did you know that they have lots of different names? For example, say you want to take them to a church potluck, but don't want to call them "deviled". Then call them "Dressed Eggs". Or if you want to sound highfalutin, then call them by their French name, "Oeufs Mimosas" (Eggs Mimosa in English). In Hungary they are called "Casino Eggs". When they are stuffed with Caviar they are called "Russian Eggs". In the Middle Ages they were called "Stuffed Eggs" and only relatively recently (the 1800s) began to be called "Deviled" due to the spices that are often used.

I grew up eating my Nana's deviled eggs. They are simple and delicious, with few ingredients, so it's economical too! Below I will give the basic instructions for making these eggs. It's not a "recipe", but more like the techniques you need to make them. You know, that's how Grandmothers cook, a dash of this, a splash of that...




Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:
Eggs (as many as you want/need)
Mayonnaise (Hellman's is recommended)
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

Directions:
Place your eggs in a pot and cover with cold water, allowing for a couple inches of water above the eggs. Place the pot on the stove burner and set to high. Once the water has started to boil, set a timer for nine minutes. After nine minutes, the eggs should be hard set. Remove the eggs from the pot by using a ladle and place eggs in a bowl of cold water.

Remove shells immediately. Carefully crack the egg, (I find that cracking the egg under water allows some water to get between the egg white and the membrane to allow for easier shell removal). Gently peel away the shell and set the hard boiled egg aside.

Once all eggs have been peeled, slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Pop out the egg yolks and place in a bowl. Place the egg whites in an egg dish hollow side up.

Mash the egg yolks with a fork or potato masher. Sprinkle with salt: the amount of salt will depend on the number of eggs used. It usually takes about 1 dash of salt per egg, but only add about half of that at this time. Add pepper at this time, no more than one grind/dash per two eggs. You can always adjust later to taste. Mix well. Add mayonnaise, one spoonful at a time mixing well after each addition until egg yolks are creamy. Taste the yolks and make necessary adjustments to seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

Nana scoops the egg yolk mixture into the egg white using a fork. I have found that using a pastry bad makes the job quick and easy, not to mention kind of pretty. Either way, just fill up the hollow part of the egg white. Finish with a sprinkle of paprika over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Troubleshooting:
For the last few years, I have been the deviled egg maker for the our family reunion. So using about 4 dozen eggs, I'm turning out around 100 deviled eggs!! Needless to say, not only do I have a lot of egg plates, but I also know some tricks when it comes to fixing mistakes! One time I added too much salt. Adding a little milk will help tone down the saltiness. Another time, I used a new mayonnaise brand, which I didn't realize tasted too much like vinegar until after adding to the egg yolks. A little milk and sugar did the trick, no one would have ever known. I've also used my food processor to mash and mix up the egg yolk mixture when I'm making such a large number of eggs...anything to make life easier! Finally, for the family reunion, I don't fill the eggs until I get to the location. I make everything the night before, then cover my plate with the egg whites with plastic cling. The egg yolk mixture goes into my pastry bag and sealed into a Ziploc bag and I park all of it in the fridge overnight. When I get to the reunion, I just pull out the pastry bag and quickly fill the eggs then sprinkle with the paprika.

Though many people put other ingredients in their deviled eggs, our family loves these eggs "plain", as Nana says. It's a great way to please the picky eater. That being said, there are so many ways to make deviled eggs, so how do you dress your eggs?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cake Mix Cookies

In 8th grade I took Home Economics. Once a week we would make something to eat, then share with all the teachers in the school. I remember making haystacks and cookies made with a cake mix. Those became my favorite cookies and I made them all the time. I lost that recipe long ago, but Nana has a recipe for Cake Mix Cookies that I will share with you today.

The great thing about Cake Mix Cookies is that you can be creative and design your cookies to fit your own style. First, pick what flavor cookie you want by choosing your cake mix flavor. Then decide what you want to add to your cookies. Chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, and candies will do the trick. You could even ice the top with a
glaze or butter cream. It's lots of fun and easy enough to do with kids. Sophie (who is 2 1/2) has been helping make these cookies.


Devil's Food Mix with Chocolate Chips



French Vanilla Mix with Chocolate Chips



Lemon Mix (would have been great with a glaze!)

Cake Mix Cookies

Ingredients:
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup of your add-in (chocolate chips, etc.)


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, (you may have to use your hands). Drop teaspoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack or plate to continue cooling until set.

This makes a whole lot of cookies, or less if you want bigger cookies. Nana makes these to take to Vacation Bible School.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nana's Baked Beans

Today is Labor Day! You're probably spending this day with family and friends. And eating, cause that's what you're supposed to do on holidays. Last night we had a meal at church. I've been wanting to make Nana's recipe for Baked Beans and last night was the perfect opportunity! It's a great dish to serve alongside your other holiday fare, or at your next church fellowship meal.



Nana's Baked Beans Deluxe

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
4 15 oz. cans pork and beans (Van Camp's recommended)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
3 tbsp. mustard
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tbsp. oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat. Add beef, pepper and onion to skillet and cook until beef is browned and vegetables are softened. Mix all ingredients in a large casserole dish. Cover and bake for one hour.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Brunch Potatoes

Here's another recipe from the Baby Shower...



Brunch Potatoes

Ingredients:
5 lbs bag tater tots
4-6 tbsp olive oil
4-5 tbsp all-purpose seasoning (see below)
Sprinkle of dried parsley flakes

Seasoning:
You can use any all-purpose seasoning that will go well with potatoes. I prefer
Emeril Lagasse's "Baby Bam"

Directions:
Completely thaw tater tots. Smash them to bits, (best done inside the bag, but can be done in the pan. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add potatoes and sprinkle with seasoning. Depending on size of skillet, you may need to do this in batches. Stir well to incorporate the seasoning into the potatoes. Sprinkle with dried parsley for extra color. Serve warm.

Click here for a Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.


Thanks to Leigh for the photo.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's a Boy!


Baby Liam is finally here!
Born 8/13 at 12:55 p.m., weighing in at 8 lbs. 13 oz. and measuring 21 inches.


Baby Liam with Daddy and Big Sister Sophie

Last week we had a baby shower and my mom made the punch. Several people wanted the recipe, so here it is.

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It's A Boy Punch
24 Servings

1 (0.13 ounce) package blue raspberry flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid
1 (2 liter) Sprite
1 (64 fluid ounce) bottle white cranberry juice or white grape juice
1 cup sugar, or to taste
8 scoops vanilla ice cream

In your punch bowl, add the Kool-Aid, Sprite and juice and stir to combine. Add the sugar a little at a time, stirring well and tasting after each addition until it is sweetened to your taste. Drop scoops of ice cream into the punch, allowing them to float on top like clouds. Once the ice cream begins to melt a little, it will turn the punch baby blue colored.

Variation:
For the picture shown, Sugar-Free Kool-Aid was used and it made it foamy. It still looks nice, but Mom says it's better as prepared according to this recipe.

*For the shower she also used the white grape juice.

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salmon Bake for Brunch


Saturday we had a Baby Shower for the soon-to-be-here Baby Liam. We had it at 11:00 a.m. so it was an appropriate time to have Brunch. Being brunch, it was treated as more of a meal than your normal baby shower fare of cake, mints and punch. We had quite a spread:



I really wanted to make something for the shower, mostly because it was something I was dreaming about eating. So I made my Salmon Bake. It is a really easy recipe, and if you've made my Salmon Patties, you already know much of what to do since it is a variation of that recipe. I doubled this recipe and it was exactly enough for this shower, because no one (well, except for me maybe) was eating a full serving. And boy, was it yummy! It was perfect and exactly what I had been craving!


Salmon Bake
Serves 6

12 oz. cooked salmon, flaked *see note below
1 6 oz box stuffing mix (cornbread flavored)
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cups shredded mozzarella (reserve some for top)
1 egg
3/4 c water
2 tsp oil

Mix together well the mayonnaise, lemon juice, egg, water and oil. Then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and place into a baking dish. Sprinkle top with reserved mozzarella. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

*I bought frozen salmon fillets and after defrosting, sprinkled with kosher salt and grilled on my George Foreman style grill. It is more economical than buying in cans or other packaging.

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

* Thanks for taking pictures, Leigh!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yummy Once--Yummy Twice--Yummy Chicken Soup with Rice

Have you missed me? I'd like to say I've been really busy with no time to write. In reality, I've just been too pregnant and lazy to be motivated to do anything much. Even though I should probably save every tiny amount of motivation I might find for baby prep, I felt that at least one post before Baby Liam gets here should be in order.

This recipe came about one afternoon when I was trying to figure out what we'd have for dinner. Too hot to spend much time in the kitchen, and too weary to do much standing, I decided it was a crock-pot kind of night. I threw some chicken into the pot and then searched the kitchen for something to give it flavor. I found a can of chicken and rice soup and decided that would do.

That evening, I fished out some of the chicken from the crock-pot and served with whatever sides I had prepared. It made our taste buds sing! There was some chicken left, (not to mention that beautiful golden liquid) all of which went straight to the fridge. The next day for lunch, I took the remaining chicken and mixed it with some rice and peas and the reserved soup. DELICIOUS!!

If you just want the chicken by itself, follow the first part of the recipe, but continue on for the chicken and rice recipe.

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.


Yummy Chicken and Rice
serves 6

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans chicken and rice soup + 2 cans of water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsps butter
salt and pepper to taste
*******************************************
6 cups cooked rice
1 can of green peas, drained


Directions:
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to crock-pot and drizzle with olive oil and add butter. Add soup and water. Cover crock-pot and turn to high and allow to cook until done, (according to crock-pot instructions).
********************************************
Place the chicken in a large bowl and shred. Add rice, peas and the remaining soup and mix well. Devour!!

I told you once
I told you twice
all seasons
of the year
are nice
for eating
chicken soup
with rice!

--Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nana's Famous Rolls

Either I'm very ambitious or just plain insane.

Sunday was a Family Reunion for my husband's family. Since a lot of people are from out of town, my mother-in-law orchestrates the meal and gets the locals to do the cooking. I have been doing the deviled eggs since joining the family, (more on that later). This year, I wanted to try a recipe of Nana's, one for which she is famous.

For just about any family function we have, Nana will make her yeast rolls. It just wouldn't be right if she didn't make them. So, of course, I had to try my hand at making them. I volunteered to make them for the reunion. Here's the thing: I'd never made rolls before, and I don't have the best track record with yeast. But for some reason, the challenge didn't register, even after calculating the need to make a double recipe. No biggie, right?

I have to say the rolls turned out pretty well, especially for my first time making them. I did learn two important lessons: my oven browns them too quickly and if I want the rolls to taste just like Nana's, margarine cannot be substituted. I feel confident that, with some practice, I will be able to make these rolls just like Nana herself.



Nana's Refrigerator Rolls
Yields 3-6 dozen depending on cutter size

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (boiling)
2 eggs beaten
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup water (lukewarm)
6 cups plain flour (unsifted)
1 stick melted margarine

Place shortening, sugar and salt in a large bowl, pour in boiling water and stir until shortening is softened. Allow to cool.

Add eggs to mixture. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast into lukewarm water and stir, then add to mixture. Stir in flour and mix to fully blend all ingredients. Cover with foil and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Make sure there is room for dough expansion in the bowl.

Just over 3 hours before baking, roll out dough to about 1/2 inch on a floured surface. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on baking sheets. Brush with melted margarine and fold over in half. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 3-4 hours, (a warm environment is best).

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until browned to your liking. Brush tops with remaining margarine. Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator and later heated in microwave or warmed in the oven.

To make ahead of time, bake until not quite browned then freeze or store in refrigerator, then thaw and brown in oven as above.

Note: I used a medium sized biscuit cutter and it made larger rolls by the time they had done all their rising. Having doubled the recipe for the reunion, I ended up with 85 rolls total.

Click here for the printable recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dressing Up Dinner: Green Beans

Often, after giving much thought to dinner's main dish, I find that I have completely neglected to plan for side dishes. I examine my pantry and usually walk away with a can or two. I admit that sometimes I just open the can, dump it in a pot, and turn on the heat. Such unimaginative cooking, while handy, can become quite dull. So, instead of the same old same old, it's time to revamp side dishes and dress up dinner. With just a few ingredients, we can easily accomplish this.



Dressed Up Green Beans
serves 2

Ingredients:
1 Can Green Beans- no salt added, drained and rinsed.
1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 pinch kosher salt
light sprinkle of garlic powder
light sprinkle of onion powder
1 tablespoon real bacon bits
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Melt butter in sauté pan on medium, add green beans and toss to coat. Sprinkle other ingredients over beans and stir well. Turn heat up to medium high and sauté until beans are hot.



Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Strawberry Cobbler


Today is the last day of Strawberry Week. I really can't believe I've written five posts in as many days. And I'm pretty sure that unless someone wants to pay me for blogging, I won't be making a habit of it. Anyway, I'm happy to end Strawberry Week with a recipe from Brian's Aunt Vera: Strawberry Cobbler. It's easy and delicious!


Pictured above is a half recipe


Strawberry Cobbler

Ingredients
1 cup water + more if necessary (up to a cup)
1 cup sugar
2 heaping tbsps cornstarch
3 oz box Strawberry Jello
4 pie crusts- homemade or store bought (I won't tell!)
3-4 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
3 tbsps melted butter


In a saucepan, combine sugar, 1 cup water, and cornstarch. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and ingredients are well combined. Add jello and stir until combined. Add more water if necessary to fill baking dish.

Place two pie crusts in a 9x13 baking dish covering bottom and sides of dish. Add strawberries and jello mixture. Top with remaining pie crusts and press edges together. Cut a slit in the top of the crust to allow for steam to escape.

In a 350 degree oven, bake cobbler for 35-45 minutes. Brush with butter about half way through baking time and again at the end. Allow to cool before serving.

Go here for a Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.


Note: I used too much water and the result was a runny cobbler. It was still delicious so I spooned out some liquid and it congealed better. However, if you were planning on eating with ice cream, the liquid would make a good sauce.