Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2 Recipes: Muffins & Brownies

love my kitchen appliances and gadgets
I used my food processor for two great recipes recently. I got these from a cookbook my mom gave me a long time ago called: Food Processor Techniques by the Editors of Consumer Guide. ©1982

I think I might have already shared this recipe from our lunch here with Nana, Papa, & The Twins but I’m not sure. Papa and Summer could not get enough of these and we all loved them! The adults ate them along with steaming cups of coffee.

Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

Makes 1 dozen
1 cup (250 mL) uncooked quick oats
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 mL) packed light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons (7 mL) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2 mL) baking soda
½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) butter or margarine, melted and cooled to room temperature, or vegetable oil
1 egg
1. Combine oats and buttermilk in large mixing bowl; let stand 30 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
3. Insert steel blade. Measure flour, brown sugar, baking powder, soda and salt into work bowl; process, using on/off technique, until mixed.
4. Combine butter, egg, reserved oats and buttermilk; add to flour mixture in work bowl. Process, using on/off technique 5 or 6 times, just until flour is moistened; do not overprocess (batter should be lumpy).
5. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups (cups should have 1/3 cup or 80 mL capacity), filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake until golden and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Marbled Brownies

Makes 18 large brownies
1 package (8 ounces or 225g) cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces.
2 1/3 cups (580 mL) sugar
5 eggs
½ teaspoon (2 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ cups (375 mL) shelled walnuts (I used pecans)
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
2. Using steel blade, process cheese, 1/3 cup (80 mL) of the sugar, 1 of the eggs and the vanilla until smooth; remove from work bowl and reserve.
3. Using steel blade, process butter and remaining 2 cups (500 mL) sugar until light and fluffy. Add remaining 4 eggs to butter mixture; process until smooth. Add cocoa and nuts to butter mixture; process until nuts are coarsely chopped. Add flour to chocolate mixture ; process, using on/off technique, just until flour is moistened.
4. Spread half of the chocolate batter evenly in greased 13 X 9 X 2-inch (33 X 23 X 5 cm) baking pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture over chocolate layer; top with remaining chocolate batter. Swirl slightly with spoon or spatula. Bake until center is fork to the touch, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool brownies in pain on wire rack; cut into bars.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Humble & Southern Brunch

     Papa and Nana visited with our three year old nephew, Konnor yesterday and it was our oldest son’s birthday. He, his wife, Brandy and our three grandlittles were here and my husband was home along with the girls (15 year old daughter and niece) AND our college “kid”, Matthew (wink) was here. . . so a nice gathering. One son (Brandon) wasn’t here because he was on a 24 hour shift at the fire department and his wife was 45 minutes away and our youngest son was still in school. We gather when we can and with who we can around this little homestead.

     Onto the food:
     I have been eating grits from the time I first started eating, I guess. I just know that I don’t know a time when I didn’t and I grew up in the south (with the exception of six years in a northern state) and grits here are as common as bread anywhere else.
     I’ve made all kinds --- from instant, flavored packets to the kind you must slowly cook for 30-45 minutes. As is the case with most things, the longer it takes to cook the better it is. Still, I don’t easily find stone ground grits or those taking longer than five minutes other than traveling one to six hours away or ordering online at: http://www.noramill.com/store/index.php?cPath=48.

     Of course, when I order there, I end up wanting to add things like whole bags of poppy seeds since I go through the small containers in the store in no time. I could fill a whole shopping cart with the baking blends, varieties of grits, flax seeds, pioneer porridge (our favorite of all!) and on and on the list tarries.
     Meanwhile, I make do with Jim Dandy’s 5-Minute grits and have developed a small following of fans. Smile.

     My DIL, Laura, went on and on about the last grits we made and this time, everyone who ate them did the same! We cleared out all eight servings along with 1 ½ dozen eggs, two loaves of bread and two sticks of butter. We did have a total of 14 people so I am surprised it wasn’t more than that. We are used to big meals though. We serve anywhere from five to 25 at a time. Smiles.

     My husband says the grits I made yesterday were beautiful and delicious and I believe they are the best I’ve ever made. I started making grits when I was a teenager and always added butter and American or cheddar cheese. I quit eating American cheese along the way and would just stir in mounds of grated cheddar. Now, I make it however we are in the mood for per meal!
     The usual is grated, sliced or broken pieces (sounds strange but gives a delicious bite of cheese every so often and is well loved around here) of sharp cheddar cheese or aged, white cheddar.
     We add in whatever we want and the blog post I got the latest (and best) recipe from shares a whole list of delicious, add-in ideas.

     I’ll add my notes in asterisks. Brandy, Nana, and I served these grits with softly scrambled eggs, toast made in the toaster oven with real butter and topped with blackberry, seedless jam. There was also a mound of bacon for all our pork eaters to devour and I ended up eating a few bites myself. The adults had steaming hot coffee with this meal and it was comforting on a cold day.
     Lauren and Sierrah deserve a thanks for helping with the dishes and children!

The Perfect Grits
(shared as taken from blog and the ONLY things I share from here to the end will be put in asterisks. Everything else is the recipe sharer’s notes*
Yield: 4 servings *I made 8 servings*

Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
For your basic grits, you'll need only five ingredients: water, cream, butter, salt and the grits themselves.
Use good butter. This can't be stressed enough. Do not use margarine. Do not use "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter." Do not use butter that's been sitting in the fridge uncovered for weeks, soaking up odors and flavors. Do not use unsalted butter. With only five ingredients, you will be able to taste the nasty, disgusting fake butter you inadvisedly used in the grits, and you will be sorry.

 Bring two cups of water and one cup of cream to a boil. I recommend heavy whipping cream, but if you're trying to be more health-conscious, you can use skim milk instead. Either way, don't use all water when trying to make grits -- you need a dairy component.
*I used skim milk mixed with half-n-half --- the closest thing I had to heavy cream!)*
 Gently add one cup of grits and one tablespoon of kosher salt to the boiling water. Don't reduce the heat immediately, but allow the grits to continue boiling while you stir constantly.

 After two minutes, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir. Just like risotto, the secret to great grits is plenty of stirring. Don't forget to scrape the bottom and sides.

 After five to seven minutes, your grits should reach a thick but still creamy consistency (dripping gently off the spoon but not too easily).
*At this point, I added a drizzle of melted bacon grease to the grits since this is the way many southern grandmothers did it!*

Remove from the heat, plate and serve immediately. Cold grits are horrid. Garnish with a single pat of butter and enjoy.
*I added butter taken from a fluffy nest by shaving the stick on a zester. Tip and trick from my mother (Nana) who did this for us.*

 If you're feeling more adventurous, I would suggest the following twists that will transform your simple bowl of grits into a stunning centerpiece. All of these ingredients should be cooked/prepared prior to making your grits and added near the very end of cooking.
•    Chopped bacon, green onions, shredded white cheddar and minced jalapenos
•    Crumbled sausage (I prefer spicy Jimmy Dean) and maple syrup
•    Raisins, dates, dried cranberries, walnuts, a few dashes of sugar and a splash of cream
•    Peeled shrimp, scallions and parmesan cheese
•    Shredded cheese of any variety, a dash of paprika and a few generous dashes of garlic powder
It's nearly impossible to go wrong with a base of perfectly-cooked grits. Go wild and let us know your favorite grits recipes in the comments section below.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Muffins & More

     I am going to share what recipes I can remember from all the baking and cooking I've been doing recently. Hopefully, a good share will be remembered.

     We've baked a lot of muffins. I love my Pampered Chef muffin stone and I use it every chance I get. I went for years avoiding muffins and cupcakes because they would stick and take forever to clean. I endlessly ran out of muffin liners or I could have solved a lot of the problem with those.

     Anyway, the girls REALLY love the little bagged mixed of muffins you get for around 88 cents each. I buy them occasionally as treats but usually convince them to let me make from scratch because they are healthier. I have to admit though --- the mix with a partial cup of milk, stir, pour and bake versions are a dream on busy mornings and days.
     The entire house fills up with a fresh baked goodness and everyone coming in wants to grab a muffin or two.
     Guess what?!
     Now, the mixes come with whole grain versions! We tried the whole grain blueberry and they were tasty. Not much quite beats the regular strawberry cheesecake though;)

     I made two or three (I have forgotten count) batches of various blueberry muffins using frozen blueberries. Loved these and they are wonderful bagged up and carried for snacks, meals on the go, for treats while waiting for long periods in the car and more. I made corn muffins not long ago that turned out a lot sweeter than I'm used to. We ended up in a traffic jam that made our 40 minute trip into 2 hours! Good news? I had a bag of these muffins and some bottled water to pass away the time with!

     The other thing warming up the kitchen and sending an alluring fresh baked aroma all the way to the yard from the windows is homemade bread.
     I'm trying to find a light, fluffy, soft, and airy roll recipe I made a long time ago. I had a lot going on so I don't know where I left the recipe but we are still on our mission to find the right one.

     Meanwhile . . . .

This was okay:

Virginia Clise Bread
3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups warm water 1 cup shortening, melted
2 teaspoons salt
5 pounds all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, stir yeast into 1 cup warm water to dissolve. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar. In a separate large bowl, stir salt into 5 cups warm water to dissolve; stir in shortening and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. After yeast foams, stir salt mixture into yeast mixture.
2. Mix in the 1/2 of the flour, and then mix in remaining flour 2 cups at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Form the dough into approximately 30 to 40 rounds. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
5. Bake rolls in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until brown. Serve warm.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 11/2/2009

This one better:


World's Best Rolls

2 c. whole milk (if you're in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don't use 1% or skim)
½ c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.), preferably bread machine yeast
2/3 c. warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 c. all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs

Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. It's salty. It's sweet. Yum.

Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn't bubbled, you'll need to repeat this step--moving on with yeast that hasn't been activated properly will only end in heartache for you and hate mail for us.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes.

Add beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes--it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly-distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.

Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft--it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don't worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they're so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.

Spray 2 9x13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls. You must now eat one. Now. While it's hot. Then pop the rest into a bowl and no one will ever know that you cheated.

P.S. Using this filling or these fillings, this dough makes fabulous cinnamon or orange rolls. Just bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday Night Meal @ Michael's

Mark 8

1 In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, 2 "I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat.

3 "If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance."

4 And His disciples answered Him, "Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?"

5 And He was asking them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven."

6 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people.

7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well.

8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces.

9 About four thousand were there; and He sent them away.

God provides!
Grocery budgets are very low, pantries are found with more and more shelf space and time has been a huge issue in our kitchen. Even so, when we call on GOD for our supply, He answers.
Last night’s dinner proved this.

We had toasted turkey and cheese sandwiches (darling little toaster oven friend again) and served them with homemade brownies (not so great) and pickled okra. Some of us enjoyed pickled peppers with ours. ;)

We went to our oldest son’s house and shared some time watching “The Office” shows on demand and bouncing the little ones from one lap to another. It was a nice evening --- even if we did get back home late for a school night --- and everyone had plenty to eat.

We didn’t care for these brownies. They have very high ratings on allrecipes but I don’t plan on making them again.

There are three reasons I can guess at what could have made these be such a waste of ingredients:

1. I used half sucanat and half brown sugar in place of the white sugar because I was out. I do this all the time and rarely see a significant difference. Some of the reviewers did this anyway with white and brown sugar so I tried it. Could have contributed to a change in ingredient balance and made them dry.
2. I think an entire cup of cocoa powder for one pan of brownies is just too much. I love cocoa powder, love rich, rich chocolate desserts and this just seemed a little much.
3. I cooked them 35 minutes and think it could have made a difference to bake for 30 or maybe less.

Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
4. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 10/20/2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Focused Homemaking

This is so good!
I read it awhile back and was going to gather notes to go with it but there really isn’t need.
It is a lovely call out to homemakers in my opinion.
We care for and we carry, we clean, cook, organize, plan, and many other things every day.
In whatever form we do it, we must see it as our calling and manage it accordingly.

Here is Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs (certain places in Proverbs from what I can tell by my not-so-neat notes. Also, I will include my notes in brackets from here on out).

Pro 27:23-27

Here is, I. A command given us to be diligent in our callings.

It is directed to husbandmen and shepherds, and those that deal in cattle, but it is to be extended to all other lawful callings; whatever our business is, within doors or without, we must apply our minds to it.

This command intimates,

1. That we ought to have some business to do in this world and not to live in idleness.

2. We ought rightly and fully to understand our business, and know what we have to do, and not meddle with that which we do not understand.

{We should learn what is important in running our homes, know what WE need to do to accomplish those things. I don't think the not meddling with what we don't understand should imply we shouldn't learn more than homemaking. I think it means we need to do our best to learn all we can about what we are called to do and on anything God gives us interest in to learn. If there are things we have no desire to learn in or force ourselves to know about and we are trying to do that just because we feel we "should" ... it becomes a waste of time. If we have an interest in learning something... no matter how complex it is or how much we don't understand it... we can learn it and the Holy Spirit will teach us.}

3. We ought to have an eye to it ourselves, and not turn over all the care of it to others. We should, with our own eyes, inspect the state of our flocks, it is the master's eye that makes them fat.

{We should be the overseers of our households. We should know it better than anyone and we should not turn the entire care of running our homes over to others. We should be involved with it at all the main levels. We need to delegate, train and teach ... certainly. We also need to check and inspect and have a handle on what we assign for others. }

4. We must be discreet and considerate in the management of our business, know the state of things, and look well to them, that nothing may be lost, no opportunity let slip, but every thing done in proper time and order, and so as to turn to the best advantage.

{Looking well to the ways of our households. This is what I always fall short from but aspire to ANYway! To know the state of things from my home, the building... to all the goings on in it. We want to be organized enough so we are prepared for blessings, God's service and every other opportunity He gifts us with. We need plans for meals, shopping, house cleaning, serving others and so much more to keep everything running smoothly.}

5. We must be diligent and take pains; not only sit down and contrive, but be up and doing: “Set thy heart to thy herds, as one in care; lay thy hands, lay thy bones, to thy business.”

{We need to keep busy. Keep at it. There are times for rest, yes! We all need rest and we have one day a week God even instructs us to take specifically for that rest. In the meanwhile? There is work to be done! We are wise to set our hearts to this and lots will be kept on track this way.}

A few more notes from the same commentary I just couldn't not share:

The profit of good husbandry in a family:

“Keep thy sheep, and thy sheep will help to keep thee; thou shalt have food for thy children and servants, goats' milk enough (Pro_27:27); and enough is as good as a feast.

Thou shalt have raiment likewise: the lambs' wool shall be for thy clothing.

Thou shalt have money to pay thy rent; the goats thou shalt have to sell shall be the price of thy field;” nay, as some understand it, “Thou shalt become a purchaser, and buy land to leave to thy children,” (Pro_27:26).


(1.) If we have food and raiment, and wherewithal to give every body his own, we have enough, and ought to be not only content, but thankful.

(2.) Masters of families must provide not only for themselves, but for their families, and see that their servants have a fitting maintenance.

(3.) Plain food and plain clothing, if they be but competent, are all we should aim at. “Reckon thyself well done to if thou be clothed with home-spun cloth with the fleece of thy own lambs, and fed with goats' milk; let that serve for thy food which serves for the food of thy household and the maintenance of thy maidens. Be not desirous of dainties, far-fetched and dear-bought.”

(4.) This should encourage us to be careful and industrious about our business, that that will bring in a sufficient maintenance for our families; we shall eat the labour of our hands.

{I will now leave the computer for a bit to finish up my laundry, check the work I gave the girls' earlier and pull out our food for dinner prep tonight!}

Gathering As We Go . . . .

I am gathering little notes I’ve jotted down over the past few months to remind me of posts I wanted to share and/or articles I’m working on. I need to add more info to some of these so I can recall events, recipes, and reviews a little more clearly!

The following meals were on a day a few weeks ago when our grown kids and their families came to eat with us. We all talked, laughed, ate and just enjoyed being together so it was wonderful.

Here was our dinner:

Spaghetti sauce

I thawed some venison and added it to a cast iron skilled with some organic olive oil drizzled into it. I let the meat cook with some chopped onions and green peppers on medium fire so it would cook evenly and give me time to keep breaking it up because I like it better that way.

When the meat was cooked all the way, I added spaghetti marinara sauce from a jar, tomato sauce, tomato paste and enough water to make it the consistency I wanted.
I stirred in some Italian seasoning blend, parsley, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Meanwhile, I had a skilled of diced zucchini sautéing in another cast iron skillet and spaghetti boiling in another pot. Garlic toast got crispy and fragrant in the oven and when the pasta was drained… everything was grabbed from the kitchen and taken hot to the table.

We topped our spaghetti and meat sauce with the zucchini and it was delicious!
If I remember correctly, we also had a huge bowl of salad with this meal as we do as often as we possibly can!

Later that night, long after the dinner mess was cleaned and visiting had been going on for another three or four hours, I made a “snack” from the left overs in our meal.

I pulled the leftover pasta, and tossed it in a skillet where I had already sautéed some chopped onion in olive oil. It went in with some of the l/over zucchini. As soon as it got hot, I added heavy cream and kept heating on a low to medium heat until it was how I wanted it. Right before taking it off the heat, I added 2 T. of pesto from a jar I got at Sam’s and tossed in some freshly shredded parmesan. I took it off the heat and grated some more parmesan over the top. It was SO delicious!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Best-Brownies Ever

My daughter named these brownies Best-Brownies Ever because she fell madly in love with them. She is a brownie lover and these are her ALL TIME FAVES. We made them for a dear friend who was craving something chocolate and preferably in the form of a brownie. We tried these and I almost lost the two in brownie bliss!

Best – Brownies Ever AKA: Rich Chocolate Brownies

Servings: 12

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add butter; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to batter and mix well.
2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until brownies test done with a wooden pick. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
3. For frosting, combine butter, cocoa, water and coffee; mix well. Gradually stir in sugar until smooth, adding additional warm water if necessary to achieve a spreading consistency. Frost the brownies.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 10/5/2009

Charlotte's Chicken Casserole

My mother has cooked for as long as I can remember.

When she was a SAHM with a husband and four daughters, she made breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I could probably write a book on all the things she came up with over the years!

To this day, she cooks some of the most amazing meals with little time to plan but they all taste as though they were. She and Papa are raising my twin niece & nephew (had them since birth) and have my sister and her little boy living with them right now. Nana still cooks up delicious dishes and every time we go, she serves something from her kitchen.

My oldest son gets to visit with them once a week and Nana makes him a lovely lunch each time.

Anyway, my daughter and I made an unplanned visit to Nana’s one evening when we stopped by on our way home from an appointment. She pulled out a casserole they had eaten for dinner and insisted on heating some up for us.
It was so scrumptious … we each had two helpings and had to stop ourselves before eating three! I scribbled down her recipe as quickly as I could and simply must share it with you. Smile.

A note from Nana: She told us it was one of the quickest meals she has ever made!

Charlotte’s Chicken Casserole

Oven cooked chicken tenders (battered and baked with olive oil drizzled on the pan) that are hand cut… across horizontally.
Egg noodles (whole grain, Mueller’s) Cook al dente (or slightly less) and drain.
Cream of chicken (2 cans)
Carnation Evaporated milk (1 can)
Shredded cheddar

Pour the two cans of soup into a bowl and fill the soup cans with evaporated milk (add water to make two full cans) and add that to the soups.
Whisk together the soups, milk and water mixture. Stir in chicken and pasta. Put in greased pan and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake until bubbly. Probably around 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes.
Top with shredded cheddar and heat until it is melted.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Blueberry Day

     Yesterday morning, I made a quick pot of morning oatmeal. As it sat covered on the stove top to keep warm for everyone while they got ready for school, the phone rang. It was our son, Brandon calling from the fire station where he had his first day of work. This was a beautiful answer to prayer and a HUGE display of God’ s wonder.

     Anyway, he was heading over to catch seeing his little brother before school. He (along with every one of my kids) is no longer an oatmeal eater (as you can see, I still fix it!) because they all say I made it too much when they were growing up.

     I started a batch of pancakes from a mix we have been buying from Sam’s for years. Brandon and his teenage sister asked for blueberries so I tumbled a generous amount from a freezer bag of them and they cooked beautifully in without being thawed. I heated the syrup, added pats of butter and we had a wonderful breakfast. The oatmeal got left on the sidelines for a baking venture later.

     Later in the day, I was in the kitchen when I heard a small series of knocks and taps. I opened the door to see my twin niece & nephew standing there with Nana & Papa! We were so happy to see them and I started a fresh pot of coffee. I wanted to make something very quick and comforting to serve and I knew Papa just loved blueberry muffins I made in the past so I looked for a recipe. Everything called for eggs and we were out and I didn’t have ingredients for the vegan versions I found online. I pulled out a Bisquick cookbook my sister gave me right after her 23 year old daughter, my niece was killed in a car accident. The book had been ordered for Nikki because she was trying to learn how to cook and she needed something not complicated. She had a tendency to burn bacon, eggs, and just about anything else she put on the stove top… smiles and heart pains as I remember this precious girl.

     Right inside the cookbook cover was a recipe for blueberry muffins but it called for an egg. My mom said I could use mayonnaise instead because it had eggs in it. I was skeptical but it worked! The muffins were baked in our Pampered Chef stoneware pan and they came out beautiful and delicious.

     I did a quick online search to see if I could find the recipe to save time hand typing it and I did! This one from RecipeZaar is the same one in the book! I’ve added my little notes as well.

Bisquick Blueberry Muffins


• 2 cups Bisquick (reduced fat is fine, too)

• 1/3 cup sugar (I used sucanat and it could use a few tablespoons more next time)

• 2/3 cup milk

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

• 1 egg (I used two tablespoons of mayonnaise)

• 3/4 cup organic frozen blueberries (smaller, juicier) ---I used over a cup!

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Grease muffin pan well.

3. Stir all ingredients except blueberries in medium bowl, just until moistened.

4. Fold in berries.

5. Divide batter evenly in 9 muffin cups.

6. Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Cool slightly and remove from pan to wire rack.

8. Yield: 9 muffins.

© 2009 Recipezaar. All Rights Reserved. http://www.recipezaar.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

“Our Wednesday” / September 23rd, 2009

Finally keeping track of these days so we can fill up a scrapbook and have a record of recipes, memories, and more.

Brandy (DIL) got a gift card for Christmas from “the aunts” (my husband’s aMazing sisters) and she couldn’t wait to use it. She went through the site and finally narrowed her choices to a couple of things for herself (something she so rarely does it is a wonder she has clothes to wear!) and waited for months just to make sure.

What she ended up doing with that certificate touched me to tears and will always be held in my heart. She wanted to thank me for throwing her a baby shower so she searched and searched the site until she found me the neatest journal I have ever had. It is literally hand crafted with bamboo leaves and has a cinnamon stick enclosure. I’m going to try to scan it and see if the picture shows up well enough to share it. The pages are all handmade paper and I have decided to use it for our Wednesdays. We’ll each write something in it and maybe let the kids make a mark or two.

Pictures do not do these justice!

If that wasn’t enough, she also ordered me a dream-come-true scrapbook from the same place! It is also hand -made and has hand-stamped leaves covering it and I love it so much I’ll have to force myself to use it! These are pretty enough to place on a display shelf!

ANYway, we are using those to hold the journal of these shared times and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Yesterday, we had Laura, my other sweet DIL here with us and my son/her husband for a bit! He was down for an appointment on his way to being a fire fighter (he got hired so we are celebrating with him!) and they were in town. We women were talking in the kitchen while cooking and taking care of the littles and it was so nice.

Our menu was: broccoli & cheddar “stew” along with freshly baked rolls and chocolate cupcakes with cheesecake centers. It took awhile to prepare but was worth it!

For the Broccoli & Cheddar “Stew”, I sautéed a chopped red onion (preferred regular onions for this but had none) in butter and olive oil until softened a bit. I cook my vegetables less and less now to get more nutritional benefits from them and for the added texture. Brandy chopped several cloves of garlic and they were tossed in with the onions, olive oil and butter.

I simply made chicken broth out of the left over steamed water from the broccoli (steamed it, of course) and add that and some half-n-half (we are out of milk) until the desired consistency. I added shredded sharp cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and let a sprinkle of basil dance in.

After this, I snuck a “shot” of oyster sauce for flavor! The last part was just keeping it stirred, adding about 1/4th of the broccoli and using a hand immersion blender to blend everything up and then stirred in the rest of the broccoli.


I was late for the first time ever to get Braxton from school and was s haking when I frantically called to tell them I was on the way. I looked down and realized I could not go INTO the school with my apron all askew and things wiped all over it! Brandy left her soup, handed me the baby and picked him up for me. Praise God that is over and I hope I don’t do it again!

The rolls… food’s version of “Gone in 60 Seconds” ;)

Perfect Dinner Rolls
Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into measuring cup, then leveled off

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups of the flour - on low speed with the paddle attachment incorporate the flour to create a wet, sticky mixture. Still on low speed, add 1 cup of the remaining flour and incorporate. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 cup flour. On low speed, mix the dough to incorporate the final addition of flour until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the speed to medium and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl - turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 20 -30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate into a rectangle. Cut it in half vertically, then each half vertically again into thirds so you have 6 equal strips of dough. Cut each strip of dough into fourths by cutting horizontally to make 24 little squares of dough. Take each piece of dough and cup it lightly under the palm of your hand on a clean surface. Press lightly and start rotating and rolling the dough ball quickly so that it forms a nice little ball of dough. Once you get some practice, you can do this with both hands at the same time and really speed up the process.

Place each rolled piece of dough into a lightly greased 9x13 baking pan in rows of 4 about 1/2-inch apart. Cover the rolls in the pan with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap and let rise to double while your oven is preheating to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) - about 20 minutes. If you want an even more golden color to the rolls, brush them with a little melted butter before baking. Bake for 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt and baking soda. Stir in oil, water, vinegar and vanilla until blended. Pour mixture into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
3. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop a heaping teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each cupcake. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/24/2009

Wednesday Night Wonder

Yesterday was a FULL day, dear ones!
It was Wednesday, the day my DIL and I get together with the grandbabies and eat a lunch and visit with a movie, scrapbooking session or something equally casual. :)
I’ll write that up in a separate post because they get lengthy with my “talkative” (or “write-a-tive? Ha, Ha!) self.

Last night, it was last minute dinner for ten plus a baby. I used the search feature of my computer (falling a bit in love with it, I must say) to find a pizza dough recipe I had in an email folder to try. Found the sauce recipe on my used so often it is ridiculous recipe website: www.allrecipes.com and pulled mozzarella from the freezer. We buy this in big bags at Sam’s and seal up in small Food Saver bags once we get home.

My DIL made sweet tea while taking care of Miss Hailey Hope and even washed my sheets and blanket and re-made my bed! Long story (aren’t so many of them this way around here?) but I put clean ones on the previous night AND the morning of. The reason for all this bed changing?! A wayward beagle who is a run- away rebel and FINDS a way to get my bedding dirty. He was washed by my 15 year old daughter who was pre-occupied at the time and he could have used a spray down at a car wash but whatever. The deal is … my darling dear did the task for me and I appreciated it immensely.

The girls (ours here and a precious friend who “lives” here off and on … smiles) cleaned counters, kept dishes up, peeled and sliced cucumbers, cut up lettuce and threw together dressing for a salad. It all ended up being delicious and fed everyone with left overs!

Quick & Easy Pizza Dough
1 - 1/4 oz packet of yeast
1 - cup warm water
1 - tsp sugar
1 - tsp salt
2 - tablespoons oil (vegt or olive)
2 1/2 - cup all purpose flour
2 - tablespoons cornmeal - optional for sprinkling on cookie sheet

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add sugar. Let yeast sit about 10 minutes (you want it good and foamy). Stir in remaining ingredients until blended. Beat vigorously 20 strokes. I removed the dough from the bowl and kneaded it until it was no longer sticky. I placed the dough in a greased bowl, turning dough to coat all sides. Allow dough to rest 5 minutes ( I let mine sit 20-30 min) in a bowl with saran wrap or a towel over it. Preheat oven to 425, spread dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal (optional). Top with desired toppings and bake for 20 minutes This makes 1 - 14 inch pizza.

When resting the dough: I covered the dough with saran wrap and a towel. Then I turned on the oven light and put a bowl of hot water underneath the covered pizza dough bowl on the bottom rack of the oven to help it rise faster.(notes from the same one I got the recipe from)
From my files saved off a blog post from: www.mommyskitchen.blogspot.com

Easy Pizza Sauce III

"Quick and easy pizza sauce. No cooking and quick to make."

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground oregano 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1. In a medium bowl, Mix together tomato sauce and tomato paste until smooth. Stir in oregano, garlic and paprika.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com
Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/23/2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Birthday Celebrations

We had such a wonderful time celebrating our son’s 22nd birthday over the weekend. It was a double blessing because Grandpa turned 70 on September 14th and two of Blake’s sisters picked him up and brought him home to celebrate there. We basically held one party here, took it next door for awhile and came back down.
A large group of us shared chicken fingers and mashed potatoes (a ten pound bag and several sticks of butter later!) and I made a cake. Brandon had been asking since he got home from Italy for the cake I finally re-found the recipe for.
Granna and Grandpa used to come over anywhere from one to several times a week for a full meal, coffee and dessert and a movie. This cake was Granna’s favorite (well, it was tied with another one) and something so good our son thought of it while away.
I’ve shared the recipe before but I’ll do so again because I still don’t know how to link to previous posts!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Wacky Cake
Servings: 18

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
10 tablespoons butter, melted 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and white sugar.
2. To the sifted ingredients, add the 10 tablespoons butter or margarine, vinegar, and warm water. Mix thoroughly, but do not beat. Pour batter into ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove cake from oven, but keep it in the pan.
4. Cream together peanut butter, brown sugar, milk, and 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Spread icing onto cake. Place under broiler until brown and bubbly.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/21/2009

We were supposed to play a bunch of games but it didn’t work out. A whole crew of the guys went camping the night before and were all very, very tired. There were also dogs at home needing to be walked, kids running along the floors and sides of the walls… smile.
All in all . . . it wasn’t as spectacular as I’d been hoping and dreaming it up to be but we were together. We were together and he was home after spending the past few birthdays far away from us!

*For any family reading this* Please let me know if I can get pictures of the birthday?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lunch in the midst of activities!

I made this for our lunch on Saturday. Enjoyed immensely by two families! I was BUSY from morning until after midnight with shopping, having company with babies visiting with my DIL and I and our grandtweets:) Later, I had to shower and get dressed for my husband's 25th high school reunion!

The sauce for this was blended and set to simmer while the pasta cooked and I set about getting laundry done and preparing to leave. Very nice plan on a day full of activity.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

1 (28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
1 cup half-and-half
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 (8 ounce) package angel hair pasta
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saucepan combine pasta sauce, half and half, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg and basil. Simmer over low heat for 45 to 50 minutes; do not boil.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Toss pasta with sauce and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED C 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com

I added organic fresh spinach cut in thin strips and pressure cooked chicken breasts cut in bite sized pieces.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In everything give thanks . . .

Rejoice always;
Pray without ceasing;
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

It has been a rough day but the Lord prevailed as He has a grand way of doing.
The world hits so hard sometimes and it can be hard to not throw our hands up in despair. Thankfully, the Word of God carries us through and gives us what we need to continue on.
My parents, sister, and two year old nephew stopped by when they were in town and I was in a bad mood. My clothes got ruined when washed in hot water (long and aggravating story) and there are so many people hurting and in need of our Savior’s touch --- I ended up in angry tears.
Jesus is truly all we need.
When we let HIM take over us, the results can be astonishing.
Today was one of those cases. I ended up cooking a big package of chicken breasts with bone in the pressure cooker (two batches) and this has been a favorite around here for some time. The chicken was served with pesto linguini and iced tea. After they left and the kitchen was cleaned, I drove to my oldest son’s house and visited for a few minutes with my DIL and grandbabies. My husband picked up our son and I met them back at our house and a friend came home with our daughter to spend the night. My DIL and grandbabies met over here (my husband and our two oldest sons went to an audio convention) and we women decided to gather here We made stacked tortillas served with organic, fresh spinach leaves and iced tea and finished the meal off with chocolate cobbler covered in cream and coffee. The Lord blessed us all with such wonderful conversation, visiting time, and watching the children play.
Chicken Breasts with Bone and Skin in Pressure Cooker I followed instructions from Vicki’s pressure cooking site. I have gone to her site for years and used her outstanding charts for pressure cooking beans, rice, chicken and more.
I would love to get her cookbook one day!

Back to the chicken:
I washed it, put three big pieces in my pressure cooker and added 1 cup of water. The site said a minimum of ½ cup so I went with one and it worked well.
I secured the lid and got it locked on and kept the eye on high until two red lines were visible on my pressure thing. (Gauge? Valve?) Each pressure cooker is different so please follow the instructions you got with yours to the letter. My first pressure cooker (used it for years) was monitored by the top whistling and “dancing” and it was right when it rocked steadily. Too crazy and wild meant there was too much heat and not enough dancing meant not enough. Some cookers have electronic settings to just dial.
When the right pressure was achieved, I turned the heat to low but it went down to one red line so I upped it until it quietly stayed at two red lines. Sounds so much harder than it is! Ten minutes and the eye was turned off after that and I waited until the pressure dropped and the top was safe to open.
Delicious! I used a funnel to pour the chicken broth into a glass jar and have it in the fridge for when I need it for recipes. If I don’t use it soon, I’ll freeze it.
The linguini was cooked and drained and then added to a pan where I sautéed some onion and added a few tablespoons of pesto. I topped it with freshly grated parmesan.
For dinner tonight:
We just sautéed portabella mushrooms (sliced) with onions in butter and olive oil and then added cubed chicken breasts (from the pressure cooker) and freshly chopped garlic.
We heated tortillas on the cast iron stove top grill and spread each with sour cream, seasonings, and shredded cheddar before topping them with the chicken/mushroom/onion mixture.
The kids were so cute taking care of our spinach leaves! I washed them and spun them in the salad spinner and after the kids washed and dried their hands, they broke the stems off of each and stacked them up.
At one point, Emily, our three year old grandgirl (our oldest grandchild) looked up and said:
“I need more weeds, Nandy!” Our precious darlings!
The chocolate cobbler recipe is the one I’ve shared on this blog quite a few times!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

GREAT *quick* Dinner

Chicken A La Queen

2 c uncooked macaroni
1 5oz can chicken or 1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 c chopped onion (or 1 small or 1/2 large)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/3 c cooking oil
1/2 c water or chicken broth
1/2 c Grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar

Saute uncooked macaroni and onion in oil over med/med high heat. When the macaroni starts to become a little yellow, add the tomato sauce, water/broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add chicken and simmer another 5 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Garnish with bell pepper rings, if desired.
* I have NO idea how ½ cup of water would be enough. I added a lot more water/chicken broth as needed. *

I made two Dutch ovens of this (first time trying it) and between after school teens (girls had two friends over) and dinner --- the only leftovers fit in a small container for a school lunch tomorrow!
Big, big hit.

It was great to have something filling to serve these teenagers. They sat on stools in my kitchen talking about this and that and just visiting. Maybe I need to find more quick recipes to have on hand ;)

Sandy :)

Microwave Mug Cheesecake

My little afternoon dessert! The blog I got this from is listed below the recipe. I didn’t add chocolate chips or jelly but I did drizzle some local honey over the top!

Microwave Mug Cheesecake

2 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons egg white, slightly beaten (egg whites in a carton work fine)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (prevents liquid from forming)

For "mix ins", add 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips, or swirl in (not stir) 1 tablespoon jam of choice.

In a 1 cup or larger microwave proof mug, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy with a small whisk. Mix in the sour cream, sugar, egg, lemon juice and cornstarch. Whisk about 2 minutes until light. Alternatively, the mixture may be mixed in a small bowl with a hand held electric mixer and then poured into the mug. Add any "mix-ins", or swirl in jam at this time. Microwave on medium for 2 1/2 minutes* (in a 650 watt microwave). Since microwave powers are different, you may need to experiment. You want the center to just start to bubble, and then stop cooking. If it is allowed to bubble and cook further, the mixture will "break" and you'll need to start over. Make a note of the successful cooking time for your microwave. Take out of the microwave and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until fully chilled, about 1 1/2-2 hours. If any liquid has formed, carefully pour out. Sprinkle with graham cracker mixture and top with any topping of your choice.

*I also had success with 1 minute 50 seconds on high.

Serves 1.

Graham Cracker Topping

1 tablespoon crushed graham crackers
1/2 teaspoon melted unsalted butter

Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of mug

Birthday Brownies

Mom’s Birthday Brownies

I don’t recall if I did or didn’t write about these already so I’m going forth. If I am repeating myself, just send me a note to get more sleep.

We went to my mom’s for her birthday at the end of August and my sister made a chicken dish (very good) and I made a so-so pasta salad to eat with it.
I also made up one box and one bag of brownie mix but I added something scrumptious to each.

For one pan, I set the mixed and ready to bake brownie mixture aside and made a bowl of cream cheese goodness to add a cheesecake like taste. I just used a Kitchen Aid mixer to get the cream cheese softened and added powdered sugar and a bit of milk --- all to taste. Sometimes I add vanilla. I poured a layer of brownie in a greased baking dish and spread this cream cheese mixture and then topped with what I had left of the brownie mixture.

The second bowl was set aside and I mixed peanut butter, powdered sugar and some milk to mix in a separate bowl. The brownie batter was already poured into the baking pan so I swirled the peanut butter mixture with a butter knife. So beautiful!
These were devoured by all the ages there (from baby to grandparents) with raving reviews. Definitely need to make again!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lunch and After School Snack

Fettuccini & Pesto Pasta

Olive oil
Chicken breast
Portabella mushrooms
Heavy cream
Fresh garlic
Organic fresh spinach (cut in strips or chopped)
Fettuccini (cooked)
Parmesan cheese

This isn’t exactly in order but I need to take care of one last load of laundry, get my little one in the shower past his bedtime routine time and check on the girls’ routines.
It was just too good and loved all over to now share and have a record of!
Cook chicken breast in a WOK drizzled with oil (I used olive oil) and butter along with portabella mushrooms (chopped or sliced).

When done, add fresh garlic (chopped) and let sizzle a bit before adding heavy cream. Stir the mixture thoroughly and add spinach and cook until bubbly. When spinach is done to your taste preference, add the cooked, drained fettuccini and toss until well coated. Add two tablespoons of pesto and mix well.

Add a generous mound of freshly shaved parmesan once on the plate (this differs from many fettuccini recipes because they usually call for stirring it in way earlier but I don’t like the mess in the pan!) and serve.
We ate a whole box of this between lunch and after school snacks!

Dinners with Family

Things have been so full and fabulous around here at dinner time that I haven’t been near the computer enough to write about it!

The entire time I was making dinner plans, tidying up the house to have it and throughout the entire preparation --- I was content within. Joy swirled around like the cream in our coffee drinks and I was silently (and maybe with some humming) praising God for the miracle and blessing of it all. My family. Here with me laughing, talking, joking, eating, smiling, living, loving, relating, revealing, and being together in this humble little home.
Even thinking on it now, I offer up a thankful praise.

Spaghetti made with a healthy venison meat sauce was topped with diced, sautéed zucchini and served with garlic toast. I was supposed to serve fresh mango and pineapple for dessert but I forgot. I did make many pots of coffee (smile) and a lot of those were our now very popular iced coffees.

My DIL, Brandy craved McDonald’s new iced coffees throughout her last pregnancy so I tried making them here. Pretty popular results, I must say.

Spaghetti Sauce

Ground venison (free range, hormone free and more --- ha ha)
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper & Seasonings
Green Pepper
Spaghetti Sauce
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Tomato Paste

Brown ground beef/venison with some organic olive oil and chopped Vidalia onions and green peppers. Add everything else and let simmer on low while the rest of the dinner is made or as long as you like.

Garlic Toaster Oven Toast

My DIL, Laura made this by mixing garlic powder with softened butter and spreading that on one side of the bread. Toast at a high heat until desired crispiness. We made four “batches” at varying times to accommodate all the tastes at the table.

The next day, we had barbeque chicken legs and “gourmet” macaroni and cheese.
For the BBQ chicken? Get your apron on and get ready for a lot of work. Kidding, wink.
Drizzle any barbecue sauce over the chicken legs (do spray the pan to keep everything from sticking) and bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes. I baked mine around an hour to give it a crispy coating.

“Gourmet” Macaroni & Cheese
Elbow macaroni, cooked (I used a bowl of left over out of my fridge)
Garlic, finely chopped
Portabella mushrooms, chopped
Green Peppers, chopped
Heavy Cream
Sour cream
Sharp Cheddar cheese (sliced and then cut in squares or strips … or you can grate it)

Sautee onions, garlic, mushrooms and green peppers in butter and a drizzle of olive oil until flavorful. Add heavy cream and stir before adding macaroni. Turn off heat for a few minutes. Add spoons of sour cream, seasonings, and make sure all are thoroughly mixed. Add cheese and turn heat to low until all the cheese is mixed in well. It doesn’t have to be completely melted if everything is hot --- it will melt here and there all through and make for some delicious forks full!

One meal was the two above meals in one! I had the grandlittles and wanted to spend time with them (plus, this Nandy was doing well to keep up without trying to cook as it was!) so I pulled the glass bowl of spaghetti sauce and pasta out of the fridge and simmered the sauce on the stove. I heated the pasta and put the left over chicken legs and macaroni and cheese straight from the fridge shelf into the oven. I did give it a few minutes to adjust to the change in temps to keep from shattering the glass!
For dessert, we had Oreo Cake and Boston Cream Pie with coffee. I didn’t make either dessert! Our church sent both home for us since they had extras after a recent event there.

Nandy’s Iced Coffee

Brewed Coffee, Strong or Expresso (I used strong coffee using our vacuum coffee maker … another post on that is coming up!)
Sugar or other Sweetener

Prepare 8 cups of coffee (the most our little glass pot makes at once so you could make 10-12 if you have more to make) on the stove top and have everything ready on the counter for when it is done.
Pour hot coffee in Pyrex 2-cup measure or any container available safe for hot liquids.
Add sugar/sweetener to desired tastes (my family likes way too much so I use 4-8 teaspoons or tablespoons of sucanat, sugar, honey, or agave sweetener) and fill about half way full. Add enough milk to make coffee look creamy and stir or whisk well.
Pour in tumblers pre-filled with ice and top with a swirl or two of half-n-half before adding a straw. When we have whipped cream, it gets scooped high on the top and sometimes a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg is added.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Easy Burritoes & Dinner Notes

School nights are in full swing now and there are tests to study for, homework assignments to complete and art projects to plan.
Papers have to be signed, bookbags and lunch boxes emptied and re-filled and the beat goes on.

My pre-planned menu had to wait for groceries to be purchased and we finally got our farmer's market list and a good deal of our regular list. Praise God for providing... always, always providing!

Tonight, I didn't have time for one of the recipes I had lined up so I looked through my "main meals" email folder and scooped this one right up.

What a success!
It was easy, quick and delicious. My husband loved it, two teenage girls devoured it and our six year old son had two big servings. There were none left on his plate!
Me? I had to force myself to not overeat but that is another post. Maybe a future posts on diets or self-control or something . . . .

For dessert, I grabbed banana cream pudding from the fridge that I whisked up from a box while the food was cooking. I filled some ramekins half full of pudding, dolloped cool whip on top and grated fresh nutmeg over that. Very TASTY meal :)

Easy Burritos
Added by Beth on July 21, 2009 in Beef, Main Courses

Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 30 Minutes Servings 4 Difficulty Easy

•1 pound Ground Beef
•1 package Flour Tortillas (10")
•1 envelope Taco Seasoning (any Kind)
•1 can Cream Of Mushroom Soup
•1 can Chopped Chillies (small)
•1 container Sour Cream (8 Oz)
•2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Preparation Instructions
Pre heat oven to 350

Prepare ground beef according to taco seasoning packet. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Heat tortillas for a few minutes in microwave (just enough to soften them and make them easier to work with). Place a scoop of the taco meat in a flour tortilla and fold over so the meat is all inside. Place seam side down in 9×13 baking dish. Repeat until you have them all filled (I usually end up over filling and only using 8).

Mix soup, chillies and sour cream together in a mixing bowl and pour over burritos. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake at 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

From: Pionner's Woman's site: www.tastykitchen.com

Quick Recipe from the Cabinets!

Peanut Butter Bars
1 ½ cups unsalted natural peanut butter
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup brown rice syrup (didn’t have any so I used agave sweetener)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup soy flour (don’t use soy so I used unbleached flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chip (we used dark chocolate)
1) Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Hand mix peanut butter, syrups and salt in a large bowl for one minute with a spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

2) 2) Spread mixture on a lightly oiled 9 x 13 inch baking dish and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

I used a smaller baking pan (the one that came with the toaster oven) and just put ½ the mixture in it. Baked at 350 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. Kids and I loved them with a glass of cold milk!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dinner from the Freezer...Pantry Shelves...Cabinets and More!

There is a reason I haven't blogged here since the 5th of August.
I guess my computer is going haywire or something. Three or four times now... I go to the blog site and it hangs up and won't connect. I try for quite awhile and eventually give up. This time, it took me three tries to get this up. Oh, well!

Dinner from the Freezer… pantry shelves… kitchen cabinets and more!

Things have been wild in ways around here.
The budget is the usual squeezed condition so I was blessed to have some to take out for the kids’ lunches and breakfasts for the week. I’ll be making them oatmeal with brown sugar and/or honey, a bit of milk, butter, and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Alternate mornings will be like this morning: free range eggs and buttered toast. In the morning, they actually get blueberry or strawberry muffins because my teen daughter found the mixes for .79 and .88 cents each. We made two of them tonight for dessert and put the rest in a container for breakfast.

For lunches, they are eating the peanut butter and jelly swirl sold in jars. We got a grape jelly and one strawberry jelly version so they can switch to keep from being bored. They also have muffins, peanut butter crackers and cream cheese with chives crackers. They also have puddings and jellos for a treat I will be glad to have some things made in advance for better health and to fill up more.

I made up a vegetable soup that the teen girls both said was fantastic and awesome. This is a wonderful compliment and I thank the Lord… praise His Name… for showing us bounty.
I was dragging myself through the shelves after discovering we don’t have spaghetti as I thought. I had planned to make buttered noodles and sautéing up some vegetables to eat with them.

The Lord let me work through my despondency and set me to task!
I found some frozen carrots already cut, frozen lima beans, frozen peas, a can of hominy, two cans of green beans, and some tomato paste and sauce. Then I found three cans of V-8 my sister left here awhile back so I sautéed the carrots and lima beans for awhile in butter (got that with the breakfast and lunch stuff!) and olive oil (found some the other day I forgot we had!) and then added all the tomato cans except the paste. I added some chicken broth and then the corn and eventually the rest of the ingredients.
I let this simmer while I made other things and then cooked a medium sized pot of pasta, drained, and added to the soup/stew. I added dehydrated onions, parsley, garlic powder, Spanish paprika, and freshly ground pepper.
The girls ate two bowls each (so did I) and our six year old ate some of it. We put my husband’s up for when he got off of work.

We found the almost end of a parmesan wedge I thought we finished off on another meal and grated it finely on top of our soup. I also made garlic butter toast in the toaster oven and it made such a comforting meal!
I tried the oat cakes I’ll share the recipe for but they did NOT turn out so I don’t know what I did wrong!

Oat Cakes

1/4 cup medium oatmeal, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup whole wheat flour.
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
pinch of salt.
tablespoon of lard.
5 tablespoons of boiling water.
• Melt a tablespoon of lard over a medium heat until it has completely melted.
• Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and add a tablespoon of melted lard and five tablespoons of boiling water.
• Mix together using a round bladed knife until a dough forms.
• Sprinkle a surface with oatmeal and place the dough on it.
• Cut the dough in two and place one piece aside.
• Shape the half into a round and roll it out using a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
• Cut as many oatcakes as the shape allows and place them on the baking sheet.
I actually just pick up tablespoons of dough and pat them out into patties. [notes not mine]
• Repeat with the other half.
• Roll out and cut the leftover dough.
• Place the oatcakes into the hot oven for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
• Remove the oatcakes from the oven and place them on a cooling rack.
• Serve hot with butter and honey or fresh fruit!Alternatively, you can cook oat cakes on the stove top on a griddle. cook 2-3 minutes on one side, tilt he top becomes dry, turn and cook 2-3 minutes longer til pale golden brown.

[I have NO idea where this recipe came from to give credit. I found it in my bread recipe file and when I went to the link on it … it said the site was no longer active.]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

All our kids were here for dinner last night as we usually manage once a week or so. It is always wonderful to connect with so many busy schedules after our meal, we usually spend some time together.
We play games, look at photos or just talk and laugh and each gathering is a gift.

Last night, we made pizzas on the stove top and on the grill. I have read of this many times and kept hoping to try it but never got around to it.

This time, it was out of necessity. With air only baby breathing out of a couple of window units. . . using the oven is out!

I ended up making three batches of dough and some did way better than others. The first two did well and held up beautifully on the stove top cast iron griddles I used. The pizzas on the actual outdoor grill were definitely not done right! They were thick (the more thin versions fell apart) and not very tasty. There is an art to this and we rushed it.

We had one to all of three cheeses (sharp cheddar, mild cheddar and mozarella --- we don't eat mild cheddar here but one of my Daughters-in-Law doesn't eat sharp) and we used pizza sauce I had in the pantry and spaghetti sauce.

I rolled small crusts out as thin as I could and still keep them together and then put them on a cast iron griddle on high heat. I kept these on high for awhile and then turned the heat to medium and just let the doughs cook until they were browning well on the bottom. Then, I flipped them over, added sauce and cheese and let them cook until the bottom was browned as on the first side.
I did broil a few of the pizzas to make the cheese more melted and make the tops taste better.

These were all a huge hit and we went through pizza after pizza as quickly as they could be cut!

Grilled Pizza Dough

Save Time With Pre-made Dough or Crusts

Many customers came into my pizza shop to buy raw dough to grill or bake. Your local pizzeria might also sell dough for this purpose. Trader Joe’s sells terrific fresh pizza dough that grills up beautifully. Pillsbury sells decent pizza dough that tastes great grilled.

Frozen bread dough is a little different. It grills more like bread than pizza crust. It chars nicely with grill marks, but comes out softer because it has no cornmeal, and because the ratio of yeast is lower. I have also grilled pita bread, and used it as a small crust for pizza, which works well too. A prepared crust, such as Boboli, works if you grill both sides first to crisp it.

Thicker Crust Variation

Stir 1½ tablespoons dry milk powder into the yeasted water. Adding dry milk powder creates a thick crust, more like those served at traditional pizza parlors. This Sicilian-style crust has a crisp outer layer when grilled, and will be softer than the thin-crust version. When you grill thicker dough, use a slightly cooler fire, and grill for a few minutes longer. This way the outer crust does not burn before the middle of the dough cooks through. I prefer using unbleached flour for my pizza dough because bleached flour has chlorine agents that remove nutrients such as beta-carotene from the dough. These natural nutrients add flavor, color, and more nutrition to your pizza crust. A little whole wheat flour results in a more robust and chewy crust. It also makes the dough easier to handle on the grill. Up to 25 percent of the flour could be whole wheat. Any more than that, and the dough becomes too dense, heavy, and won’t rise enough. This recipe is easily doubled.

¾ cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
½ teaspoon sugar
1½ cups unbleached flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal, preferably white, plus additional for the pan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus ¼ teaspoon for the bowl

Makes: two 12-inch (30 cm) pizzas
1. Pour the warm water into a small bowl or measuring cup. (If the water is too hot, the yeast will die. If too cold, it will not activate.) Add the yeast and sugar and stir until the yeast dissolves into a smooth beige color. Let it stand on your counter for about 5 minutes to prove that the yeasted water is active. A thin layer of foam will appear at the top, indicating that the batch is good.
2. Kneading with a stand mixer: Add the flours, salt, and cornmeal to a 4- or 5- quart (4 or 5 liter) standing mixing bowl. Use the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed to mix the dry ingredients. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix on the slowest speed to allow the ingredients to come together. You may need to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Then move to medium-high speed and knead for 2 minutes. The batter should form a ball, unless it’s too wet or sticky. If so, add only enough flour to prevent it from sticking. The dough should come off the sides cleanly and form a ball.
Kneading with a food processor: Measure all of the ingredients into the bowl. Use the plastic blade made especially for dough. (The metal blade may tear the dough to pieces.) Use a pulse action until the dough comes together. Continue to pulse the dough in quick bursts for about 3 minutes. This technique keeps the dough from overheating.
Kneading by hand: Measure the flours, salt, and cornmeal into a large bowl. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well, stirring with a strong spoon. Lightly flour a clean, dry countertop. Form a ball of dough, place it on the counter, and press down with the palm of your hand. Fold the dough over itself and press again. Continue to roll and press the dough for about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth. (You will feel the dough change. It will soften and become more elastic.) Add only enough flour to prevent it from sticking.
3. Put the remaining ¼ teaspoon of olive oil in a medium bowl. The dough will be sticky, so flour your hands before picking it up, and place it in the bowl. Turn it over several times until it is coated in oil. This prevents a crust from forming on its surface as it rises.
4. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a draft-free, warm place, 70° to 80°F (20° to 25°C), for 2 hours, until it rises to almost double in appearance.
5. Chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight, or for 1 hour to firm it up. Since this dough is slightly sticky, chilling the dough makes it easier to roll out. Chilling it overnight gives the dough more flavor and texture. Dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Note: This recipe makes two crusts. If you’re planning to prepare only one pizza, grill the second crust anyway, because it will keep better than dough. Crusts keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, or for up to 3 months in the freezer. Then you’ll be ready to grill pizza anytime. You can even cheat by cooking the pizza in the oven. Try 400° (200°C) for 12 minutes, and check toward the end to avoid burning. Put the frozen crust right onto the grill. It will only take a minute to thaw. Or defrost it in the refrigerator or at room temperature; it will thaw quickly, within a half hour.

Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved


Pizza On The Grill I
(I just made the dough up from this bec I didn't have the ingredients for the rest)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 pinch white sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, and mix in sugar. Proof for ten minutes, or until frothy. Mix in the salt, olive oil, and flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down, and knead in garlic and basil. Set aside to rise for 1 more hour, or until doubled again.
2. Preheat grill for high heat. Heat olive oil with garlic for 30 seconds in the microwave. Set aside. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Form each half into an oblong shape 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick.
3. Brush grill grate with garlic flavored olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill. The dough will begin to puff almost immediately. When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Arrange 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/8 cup sliced black olives, and 1/8 cup roasted red peppers over crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons basil. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 8/5/2009

The following recipe was definitely not my favorite. I don't know if I made it wrong (hurried through it) or what but it kept coming to pieces before I even got it on the cookie sheet and/or grill.

Pizza Dough for the Bosch

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 c water , heated to 110 degrees
1 tbsp sugar
5 c all-purpose flour
2 envelopes instant or rapid-rise yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tsp salt

After mixing, the dough will be very sticky. Be sure to coat your hands with flour before transferring the dough from the mixing bowl to the greased bowl.

1. For the dough: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn off oven. Grease large bowl. Evenly coat 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1/4 cup oil.
2. Combine water, sugar, and remaining oil in measuring cup. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, yeast, and salt on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-low and slowly add water mixture until dough is uniform in texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic, and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

4. On lightly floured work surface, use rolling pin to roll dough into
16- by 12-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and stretch dough to cover pan, pressing dough into corners. Brush dough with remaining oil and cover with plastic wrap. Set in warm spot (not
oven) until slightly risen, about 20 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
5. Remove plastic wrap and, using fingers, make indentations all over dough. Sprinkle dough with 1 cup Parmesan and bake until cheese begins to melt, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and spoon sauce over pizza, leaving 1-inch border. Bake until sauce is deep red and steaming, 7 to 10 minutes.
6. Sprinkle mozzarella and remaining Parmesan evenly over sauce and bake until cheese is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blessed Birthday Meal

Our third son turned 20 years old yesterday! He has been home from college for the summer and has worked almost every single day. It was good to see him for a full day and to be surrounded with family.

We held his birthday meal up the path at Granna's. She had a box of Twinkies everyone dug into while waiting for food and I had to smile. Matthew loved Twinkies so much growing up that people used to buy him boxes for his birthday. . . smile.

The Lord blessed us with some wonderful Angel Food Ministries boxes (He provided through my sister... so thanks for her being a vessel for His bounty!) and we had plenty of food. The meal served 23 + people!

We started off with chilled cantaloupe and watermelon and they were wonderful!

My husband took the hamburger meat that came with our main box (for more on this, visit: www.angelfoodministries.com) and mixed it with ground venison from the freezer for grilled hamburgers. We had two bags of potatoes so this birthday son's girlfriend peeled all of those and cut them in smaller sizes for quicker cooking. I used a free spirited style of the recipe below. All that means is that I used the ingredients it called for but with no measuring. I just tossed it all together and my daughter, niece and I kept tasting it until we liked it. Along with all the ingredients called for in the recipe, we added garlic powder and I finely chopped garlic cloves and sauteed them in butter along with some finely chopped onion and drizzled this over the whole thing before gently mixing it in. Very good!

Octoberfest German Potato Salad
Servings: 7

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons dried parsley
ground black pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add peeled and cut potatoes; cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl. Add onions.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Gently stir in the potatoes and onion. Let stand for 1 hour before serving to enhance flavors.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED C 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com

I've made this chocolate cake for several years now. The idea to search this recipe came because Mamaw made chocolate pound cakes for many years and my husband loved them. When the two oldest boys were grown and on their own, a lady who watched after Mamaw started making the chocolate pound cakes for her.
She sent one of these home and Matthew tried it and fell in love!
Time went on and Mamaw moved out of the home she made so many cakes and meals from and went to move with my MIL.

I looked for recipes but stopped the first time I made this one. I have shared and shared and shared it before now bec it has brought more compliments than any other cake I've made. It is that good.

When my MIL ate a piece at Matthew's birthday gathering, she told me she simply must have one made for her next birthday. Such a decadent chocolate flavor and deep, rich cocoa all the way around. Marvelous!
Chocolate Pound Cake III

Servings: 16

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water 1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the dissolved coffee and buttermilk. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED C 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tres Leches Cake

Finally found it!

My mom made this cake for my birthday a couple of months ago and my DIL loved it so much ... I am making some for her baby shower. It was at this great blog:


I'll share the other recipes and ideas from the shower when I have more time!


1 package white cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream
1 container (8 ounces) whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Bake about 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is firm to the touch. Remove cake from oven; cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sweetened condensed milk, milk and whipping cream in a 4-cup measure. Poke holes all around the warm cake, using a wooden skewer or toothpick. Slowly pour milk mixutre evenly over top of holes on cake. Let cake cool 10 to 15 minutes more to absorb all the liquid. Cover and refrigerate cake in pan at least 1 hour.

When cake is completely cool, spread whipped topping evenly on top. Cut into pieces and serve with fresh fruit. Keep cake covered and refrigerated.

Friday, June 26, 2009

20-Minute Alfredo

We have had a busy past couple of weeks but we are pulling things together. My 16 and 15-year old nieces are with us now and we've been working on rooms, papers, and much more. We have been having quick dinners:)

One such dinner was what I fixed and served last night. It turned out really well and everyone loved it.

I was looking for something quick and filling and this fit the bill. I made two separate pots/skillets of it and we at it for lunch today.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Submitted By: Campbell's Kitchen
Cook Time: 20 Minutes Ready In: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4

1/2 (16 ounce) package linguine (I used angel hair pasta bec I didn't have the other)
1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets (I used a bit more in each dish)
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, (used more)
cut into cubes
1 (10.75 ounce) can Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
(Regular, 98% Fat Free or 25% Less Sodium)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (used more and then topped it with a few shavings as well)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Cook linguine according to package directions. Add broccoli for last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain.
2. Heat butter in skillet. Cook chicken until browned, stirring often.
3. Add soup, milk, cheese, black pepper and linguine mixture and heat through. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 6/26/2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Farm Stand Lunch

We stopped at a little farm stand in the little town I spent some of my childhood and got a paper bag of green beans, a basket of peaches, and a small basket of tomatoes. My sister wanted to stop and she surprised us with these and got our parents a seedless watermelon.

This little stand has been offering the small community produce for as long as I can remember. It is such a neat set up. . .

The house is right off of a small town road dotted with little family restaurants, garden nurseries, and a gift shop or two. It is a classic, large, white and simple farm house with a generous front porch on a grassy sprawling yard with a large shade tree here and there.

To the side of the house and yard (literally within 30 to 60 seconds of a walk) is the garden. Somehow, the rows and rows and rows of various produce stay neat all summer. The family and sometimes friends... pick the produce and pack them in baskets to walk or drive to the little stand near the road.

It is small and covered with a little roof and shaded by a large oak tree.
Netted bags of Vidalia onions hang from nails on the supporting beams... watermelons line an entire area... velveety GA peaches fill produce baskets and fragrance the air around them. Tomatoes ... with red and glossy skins give an artistic look to the whole scene.

People, local as well as tourists, pull onto the little gravel and dirt beaten area off of the road.
A smiling teen (granddaughter) fills bags and tells you things like... the green beans were picked minutes before. She tells the prices as different voices ask.
Each time we leave... we look forward to the next time we go back.

Yesterday's lunch was green beans, pan-fried yellow squash, lima beans, shredded WOK fried cabbage, tomato slices salted and peppered, and buttered bread. What produce didn't come from the little stand was from another local garden. It was all served with iced lemon water I made up in the fridge at the first part of the day.

Green Beans

Someone brought or left a package of salted fat back or pork something or another. I don't eat pork and haven't in a long time (long story) but most of my family does. I sliced this into a little smaller than bite sized pieces and added it to the prepared green beans (washed, ends broken off and the large beans broken in three pieces) and added water just until I saw the water through the beans. I learned to not cover all vegetables when cooking by Mamaw. She is known for the best squash dish around and she showed me how to make it in her kitchen one day.

I wrote about that in a previous post or a hand written journal so I won't repeat it all for now.
Anyway, I remembered what she said about filling the water just to the point of being able to see it. I did this with the green beans and added the fat back pieces and set the eye to high. As soon as it reached boiling, I covered it and adjusted the heat to low.
I wanted to keep a slow simmer until they were fully cooked so I went from low to medium low as needed. The timer was set for 20 minutes and about half way through, I took the lid off and added sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
I added about 5 minutes cooking time and the beans were so wonderful!

I used a sharp knife to shred the cabbage and cooked it in a WOK on high until just how I wanted it. I added butter because I am out of all oil! This was a tremendous win for the two teen girls who finished the last of it off.