Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 a stick of butter
1/2 a block of cream cheese
1 pound box of powdered sugar
1/4 t. of vanilla

Let butter and cream cheese sit out until soft. Then whip them together until smooth. Add sugar 1/2 C at a time until all in mixed in. Then add vanilla. Food coloring can also be added at this point.

This is excellent of sugar cookies, graham crackers, spice cakes, by the spoonful or however your little heart desires it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Crisp Ginger Cookies

This is how we make gingerbread men around here. It makes a crispy (as opposed to the softer gingerbread men most people make), wonderful cookie that can stand alone or be iced if you like. I also double this recipe.

1/3 C molasses
1/4 C shortening
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 1/4 C all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
dash of ground nutmeg
dash of ground allspice

Mix molasses, shortening & brown sugar. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover & refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick or paper thin on floured, cloth-covered board. Cut with floured cookie cutter. Place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake until light brown, 1/8 inch thick cookies about 8 minutes, paper-thin cookies about 5 minutes.

Immediately remove from cookie sheet & cool. Frost if desired.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen 1/8 inch thick cookies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Old Fashioned Pfefferneuse (Peppernuts)


1/2 C. Butter
3/4 C. granulated Sugar
1 egg
1/2 C. sweet (or heavy) cream
2 Tbsp. Honey
1/3 cup white corn syrup
1 tsp. oil of anise
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. all spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
4 C. flour



  1. Cream together butter & sugar until fluffy

  2. Add egg, beat well

  3. Add other liquids

  4. sift dry ingredients with spices & flour. Add half the amount of flour, missing well, add remaining four & knead thoroughly.

  5. Store dough in tightly covered container in the refrigerator for one hour or longer. This helps the dough to season & the spices to blend. (The longer it can set the better. I try to let it rest for at least 2 weeks sealed in a gallon sized Zip-loc bag.)

  6. Roll dough into thin ropes & slice with a sharp knife dipped in flour or cold water. Pieces should be about the size of a hazel nut.

  7. Place pieces separately on a greased baking sheet.

  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes

This will make quite a few Peppernuts. I keep a big bowl of them setting on the counter when we have company.


*Updated 12/16 with picture. I just baked up all my dough & thought I'd post a picture of some of the results. I didn't have enough honey on hand when I made the dough, so I substituted 1 Tbsp molasses for 1 Tbsp honey. I'm very happy with the results. I think in all this made around 300 or more nickle sized cookies. But be warned, you will eat these by the handful & they are addictive!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sarah's Gingerbread Cheesecake

To be honest, y'all, I just tweaked a "regular" cheesecake recipe to suit my craving for gingerbread. So, instead of a graham cracker crust, I subbed out gingerbread cookie crumbs (I suppose you can be extremely Martha Stewart-y and make your gingerbread cookies from scratch - I used Keebler gingerbread cookies that I bought in the store. Pepperidge farm makes some too). I added a bit of extra seasoning to the filling in addition to just vanilla.

Crust:
2 cups gingerbread cookie crumbs (I used slightly more than 2 cups because I squashed too many)
1/3 cup melted butter

Filling:
3 pkgs cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c sugar
Nutmeg and ginger (to taste - I sprinkled some in until I found a nice flavor I liked but wasn't overwhelming -- you could probably use Pumpkin pie spice instead - as it has ginger and nutmeg in it)
3 eggs

What To Do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix crumbs and butter and press firmly into bottom of 9x13 pan (You could also use a 9" springform pan - and just up the cooking time by about 25 minutes. I have horrible luck with Springform though - I always crack my cheesecake that way).

Beat Cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and ginger with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Then taste it. That's the fun part. If you need more spices - add more, if not, then....

Add eggs and mix just until blended (over blending puts too much air in your cheesecake. Not good).

Pour over crust.

Bake 30 minutes or until center is almost set. (Again, if you go the springform route, bake time is about 55 minutes usually).

Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Pumpkin Turtle Pie

Found this recipe in a coupon flyer and have adapted it to a low-cal version. Gave it to the family and it's been voted in for Thanksgiving this year. It is rich, but very good.

1-8 0z container of fat free cool whip-divided
1/4 c + 2 TBS of sugar free caramel topping
1/2 c + 2 TBS of halved pecans
1 premade graham cracker pie crust
1 c canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding
1 c fat free milk

In pie crust, pour 1/4 c of caramel topping onto crust. Spread across the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle 1/2 c of pecans on top of caramel topping.

In a bowl combine 1 c pumpkin, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp of ground cinnamon, 2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding, and 1 c fat free milk with wire whisk. Slowly fold in 1/2 of the fat free cool whip.

Place in pie crust, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

After chilling for 1 hour remove from fridge, spread remainder of fat free cool whip on top of pumpkin mixture. Drizzle remaining 2 Tbs of sugar free caramel topping across the top. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbs of pecan halves across the top.

Serve.

1 pie = 10 servings

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stuffed Mushrooms

8 white large mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp of grated Parmesan cheese
3 tsp of bread crumbs
3 slices of precooked bacon

Preheat Oven to 375
Serves 4

Clean Mushroom Caps with damp paper towel, carefully removing stems and set caps aside.

Carefully dice mushroom stems and place into a pan on medium heat to saute. Add lemon juice and garlic until mushrooms are nicely sauteed. Remove from heat.

In an empty bowl combine, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and bacon (Crumbled). Mix ingredients together. Add mushroom mixture. Mix together, and carefully spoon mixture into mushroom caps.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Remove and serve warm.

2 mushrooms = 1 ww point

Weeknight Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients:

2 C Cooked, Cubed beef (I brown up ground beef most times)
2 C frozen mixed veggies, thawed and drained
salt
pepper
thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 C half and half (I use milk)
4 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 C parsley (dried)
2 C mashed potatoes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray or grease a pie plate. Put beef, seasoned lightly with salt & pepper in. Mix veggies with 1/4 tsp thyme and add to pie plate. Mix together half and half, a little salt, and pepper with egg. Carefully add potatoes. Mix well. Add 1/2 of parsley and mix. Spread over top of pie plate. (you can cover the entire top, or make the "ring" found in traditional variations) Drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden and slightly crispy. Serve hot, with hot beef gravy.

As you can see, this is a "leftover" pie. However...I make it with "fresh" ingredients, using instant potatoes, instant gravy, and just brown up the beef, and drain it. One of these nights, I'll make it with actual leftovers...I guess...

Hope you enjoy this, and let me know if you find any yummy variations...you know, with chicken and mashed sweet potatoes or something...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fresh Apple Crisp

In a pinch for a dessert that is yummy but not requiring crazy ingredients like cream cheese and whipped cream? This is it!

Ingredients:

4 C peeled and sliced tart apples. I prefer Granny Smith, but Gala work well also.
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1 C flour
1 C oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2/3 C margarine

Directions:

Heat overn to 375. Grease a square pan (8x8 or 9x9).* Place apple slices in pan. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, cutting in margarine or butter, and sprinkle over the apples. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the apples are fork-tender.

Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or just plain. You can substitute peaches, or cherries, but may have to adjust the baking time accordingly.

* I did NOT grease my pan, and used a disposable aluminum pan. It worked just fine.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yummy Chicken & Rice

This is a recipe that my BB found. We tried a little bit last night, that a friend sent home with him.

Ingredients:

1 6 ounce box of Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice Original Flavor
4 - 6 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts lightly seasoned with salt & pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
milk
2 C HOT water

Directions:
Put rice in a 13x9 pan. Pour 2 C HOT water over rice, and mix. Place chicken on top of rice. Seal pan TIGHTLY with foil. Place in a 375 degree oven for 75 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together cream of mushroom soup with about 3/4 of the can filled with milk. Take pan out of oven and carefully remove foil, spread soup mixture over top, reseal, and return to oven for 15 minutes. Remove pan, remove foil, and return pan to oven for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until soup is bubbly.

Enjoy!


If you plan to serve more than 6 people, or more than 4 adults, make a 2nd pan using a 2nd box of rice!


This is fantastic for "taking a meal" to someone, and is really yummy with salad. It is a filling dish without being to "casserole-y" and is nice all year long.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nutty Apple

I made this today thought it was pretty good. Hubby liked it.

1 granny smith apple peeled, cored and cubed
2 TBS of raisins
2 TBS of chopped walnuts
1 container of yoplait lite (choose your flavor)

Mix above ingredients together in a bowl and serve.

Diabetic Exchanges: 2 fruit, 1 fat, 1 protein

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Other Squash Options

I have used Mama F's Squash casserole, and it was amazing! Think mashed potatoes with cheese, and butter and bread crumbs....mmmmmmmmm...only it was yummy squash!

I had, on my kitchen counter, a total of 18, yes 18 crookneck squash (yellow, bumpy guy), ready to be eaten, or I'd have to toss them into my composter...and I did not want to do that...so I baked, pureed, and froze them...first time ever doing that for me...I know, I know...but here's what I did...


Pureed Squash (for use in soups, sauces, cakes)

Ingredients:
Ripe Squash

Directions:
Heat oven to around 350 degrees.
Slice squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and place flesh-side down in 13 x 9 baking dish. If you're using a drier squash variety, add about 1/4 C of water to the baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, checking to see if uniformly tender. Check each 10 - 15 minutes after that to keep from overcooking. Remove from oven, let cool to touch. Remove from pan, and slice to fit into your food mill, food processor. NOTE - if you do not have something like the Kitchen-Aid, or Oster Kitchen Center, you will need to PEEL the squash prior to running it through your mill/processor. Place into quart-sized freezer bags, lay on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, you can then lay them flat on a shelf in a basket in your freezer, OR you can stand them like books on your shelf/in your freezer basket.

I use the quart-sized bags, as that usually equates to a doubled recipe for most things. I think, as they are completely unseasoned, I'm going to try using some of it in carrot cake, and maybe even in a "pumpkin" pie...

This is a great option (I had a friend gift me with her surplus bags of squash she'd done as baby food for her daughter before they knew that she was allergic to squash), as I didn't use it all as baby food, but would toss it into my soups to thicken it, and then got the crazy thought of using it in place of tomato paste in a recipe, and was AMAZED at how it didn't change the taste, consistency, and in fact, my crazy picky nephew who doesn't eat vegetables, actually ate several helpings of the stew, and even more of the spaghetti with the sauce...and he NEVER eats sauce when they have spaghetti at their house...

What to Do With Underripe Squash

Well, as ever, I goofed...but not too badly...I planted Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, and Crookneck squash, along with good old zucchini. As is the way with those type of plants in my garden, we have had waaaayyyy more than enough to eat fresh, and honestly, just how much cooked zucchini can you handle? We've had it fried, stir-fried, sauteed, steamed, in bread, in cake, in spaghetti sauce, raw (think cucumber slices with some salt and pepper)...you name it, we've had it that way...I think. Same with the Crookneck squash. When I saw the acorn all glossy green and giant on the vine, I automatically picked it...ooops! I didn't realize that a "winter squash" was supposed to stay on the vine until right after the first frost/freeze of the fall, as that hardens the rind, and changes the sugars inside, creating the delicious flavor of the squash that we know, and some of us love! So, I had about 6 acorns, and 5 spaghetti squash on my dining table, hoping to cure them and be able to keep them whole, in my garage or basement until we were ready to eat them over the winter...

I decided to call my local Garden Center (NOT a Home Depot, but an actual garden/flower store), and talked to one of the growers there. He recommended the following options:

1 - Blanch, peel, seed, and cube the squash, pack it in quart bags/containers, and freeze. You can defrost them during the off-season, stir-fry them, or steam them, and put them into soup etc.

2 - Using the good ol' Interweb, look up a recipe for "Indian Pickle", and voila! You've got a yummy, raw-food option for any underripe produce, that is healthy, easy, and something new!

I recently used the first option, as I didn't want to get the rest of the ingredients that I didn't have for the pickle option, and am now the proud freezer stuffer of 3 gallon-sized containers of spaghetti squash...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pear Sauce

Yup. You read that right. It's just like Apple sauce....only with pears. It's very good & very easy & needs very little (if any) sugar added.

Take 3-5 pounds of pears (I think I did about 15 pears yesterday), peel, core, and cut them into eighths. As I'm cutting the up, I soak the pear slices in cold water with about a 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Put pear slices in your crock-pot with abut 2/3 cup water (I use the water they're soaking in, so there's a little lemon juice in it as well), cover and cook on high until pears are very soft. Depending on how ripe they are it can take from 3 to 6 hours.

Cool pears off then run them through a food mill or food processor until they're consistency you want. I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon to the entire batch and one or two tablespoons of sugar if it's needed. Then you can either divide it up & freeze it or can it.

I processed mine in a hot water canner for about 30 minutes.

If anyone's interested, let me know & I'll post the recipe for Pear Butter (think Apple butter) that you can make from this point. I've not made it yet, but I plan on trying it soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mama F's Squash Casserole

This is for Kork & anyone else with a surplus of squash. Mama F is mother to Did (my best friend from high school). Her house is where I learned to not only eat, but love vegetables. I was a seriously picky eater. I emailed her today & she graciously shared this with me....so I pass it on to you with love.

SQUASH CASSEROLE

8 medium squash* 1 cup grated cheese

1 medium onion* 2 TBSP. Mayonnaise

1 tsp. Salt 2 or 3 TBSP cream
[I use Coffeemate]

1 TBSP sugar ½ cup bread crumbs

¼ stick butter

Combine cooked drained squash and onion with all ingredients except ¼ cup of crumbs. Mix well. Sprinkle crumbs on top, dot with butter. Bake 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes.
*Cover with water and cook till tender

She also added this, "When my squash plants used to survive, I'd slice and barely steam the surplus, drain, cool, then freeze it in really full quart bags, and have the casserole in wintertime if I remembered to think ahead for thawing." She has groundhogs......

Mama F'

SQUASH CASSEROLE

8 medium squash* 1 cup grated cheese

1 medium onion* 2 TBSP. Mayonnaise

1 tsp. Salt 2 or 3 TBSP cream
[I use Coffeemate]

1 TBSP sugar ½ cup bread crumbs

¼ stick butter

Combine cooked drained squash and onion with all ingredients except ¼ cup of crumbs. Mix well. Sprinkle crumbs on top, dot with butter. Bake 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes.

*Cover with water and cook till tender

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Favorite Show...Ever...

OK -

Seriously y'all...I have fallen completely head over heels, infatuated, all I can think about, in LUV with "America's Test Kitchen".

It airs on my local PBS station (yes, I enjoy public broadcasting. So there!) every day, and is totally amazing.

Basically, they take a recipe go through every possible variation of technique, advice, and make all the mistakes, and find all the best ways to do things!

Last time I watched it all the way through, they were doing pepperoni pizza...not a difficult thing to make right?

Did you know that to cut down on the grease from things like sausage, pepperoni, or any other meat that you can cook it on a paper towel, in your microwave for about 1 minute? That cooks it enough to release most of the grease, absorb it in the paper towel, and it cuts your cooking time down, making sure your crust isn't too crunchy?

To check it out... go to America's Test Kitchen

Hint for Putting up Sweet Corn


I was watching the Today show this week & they had a guest chef. He was cutting fresh corn off the cob. He took a Bundt pan, stood the corn cob up on the hole in the middle of the pan, and cut the corn off into the pan. The hole keeps the cob from slipping around & the pan catches all the corn to keep it from rolling off on the floor.


I thought this was brilliant & fully plan on trying it out in a few weeks when the 8,000,000 stalks of corn my husband planted start coming in! Maybe I can use it as an excuse to get a new fancy Bundt pan (No, honey, I can't use the corn pan to bake cakes in for pot-lucks! What are you, some kind of barbarian?!).

Toffee Crunch Cookies

Yield: 3 Dozen (see hint below)

1 1/2 Cups sifted flour
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 Tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped Heath Bars
(Heath Bits 'o Brickle may be substituted, but you lose the chocolate flavor from the candy bars)
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Combine flour, soda, salt

Cream butter, ad sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix until creamy

Stir in dry ingredients, blend in chopped candy bars and pecans.

Drop tablespoons full 2" apart on greased baking sheet

Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes

Hint: If you promised to supply 2 dozen cookies for an event, you should double this recipe to make up for what you eat while baking them.

~Inkling, these are the cookies my dad made for G'ma & G'pa M&M's anniversary party last summer.

Potato Pizza

5 C. peeled & thinly sliced potatoes (I used my slicing blade on my food processor for this)
Pepper
1 1/2 lbs. hamburger
1/2 small onion chopped
1 can (10 3/4 oz) Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 C. milk
4 oz melted cheddar cheese (OK, so in reality I use 2 full cups....there is no such thing as too much cheese)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) tomato soup
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese.

Grease 9x13 glass Pyrex dish. Lay potatoes out flat in pan in layers. Sprinkle generously with pepper. Brown ground beef and onion. Drain. Stir cheese soup, milk, and melted cheddar cheese together until smooth (works best if cheese and soup are warm.  In fact, I do this in a sauce pan over heat as I melt the cheddar cheese). Mix ground beef and cheese mix, spread over potatoes. Bake @ 350 for 1 hour or until potatoes are done.

Top with tomato soup and mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Om Nam nam

As a thanks to all those who gave me such great recipes for freezing/easy fixing, I thought I would come by - since there hasn't been a post in a while - with a fabulous dessert my MIL made and passed the recipe on to me. It is so super easy, and so very very yummy. Not healthy. But very yummy.

So without further ado:

Cream Cheese Yummy Bars

2 pkgs cream cheese
2 pkgs Pillsbury or other brand Crescent rolls
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. butter or margarine
Cinnamon
Brown sugar

Press the first package of crescent roll dough into a 9x12 pan
in a separate dish, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Spread over crescent dough in pan.
Lay the other package of crescent dough on top of this.
Melt the butter or margarine and pour over the top.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar
bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Friday, June 13, 2008

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

3 Eggs
1 C Oil
2 C Sugar
3 tsp Vanilla
2 C Peeled ground, drained zucchini
3 C Flour
3 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C raisins (or coconut, chocolate chips, or chopped nuts)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350
Sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, soda, and powder. Set aside in a bowl. Beat eggs, add oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add zucchini and mix. Add dry ingredients slowly. Bread batter should be closer to "stiff" than "cake-like". Add flour 1 Tbsp at a time if too runny. Add raisins (chips, etc). Grease loaf pans heavily. Bake 45 - 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

This is my all time favorite version of zucchini bread! I enjoy it with chocolate chips more than raisins, as it makes it more dessert-like, and a little more special as a breakfast bread.

This one is lucky to make it through a week, unless I hide the 2nd loaf in the freezer before the family sees it...even Captain Chaos enjoys it, running around shouting "Ma-nummy!" and stealing your piece off your plate if you don't look!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My First "You Really Don't Have to Eat That!" Experience

I first met BB almost 9 years ago...and we've been together now for 8. I started out as many of us ladies do...by trying so hard to impress him...

Needless to say, about 4 months after we started dating, I decided I'd had enough of his bachelor ways, and decided to clean his house from top to bottom while he was out of town on business. I was staying to house sit and take care of his cat, and decided after I'd cleaned the whole place (there must have been an inch of dust, and at least 10 loads of laundry and towels...not to mention that the pantry had stuff in it from his house in college!)

He was coming home the next night and I thought to myself "What better way to welcome my sweetie home than with a home-cooked meal?"

I tried the recipe below, but somehow, managed, instead of opening the "Sprinkle" side of the seasoning, I opened the "Spoon" side...and dumped almost 1/4 C of it into the mix...and then I had the stupidity to think to myself "He'll never know!"...OY! Needless to say, I have not used Lowry's Seasoning Salt again...ever.

Ingredients:
1 Family Size box of Rice A Roni (match to your meat choice)
2 Lbs meat, cubed (stew meat, pork loin, or chicken, your choice)
Lowry's Seasoned Salt
Oil
Butter


Directions:
Cook the Rice A Roni according to the package
In a skillet, heat oil and butter, cook meat thoroughly, seasoning to taste.
Mix with Rice A Roni.

Now this is NOT a terribly difficult recipe right?!?!?! Hence my total humiliation upon ruining it by not paying attention...UGH!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fluffy Fruit Pie

Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes 12 Servings

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling, divided
1 Graham pie crust (6 oz) I prefer a larger crust because this pie has LOTS of filling.
1 pkg (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
1 C. cold milk
1 pkg. Lemon or Vanilla Instant pudding
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip Extra Creamy Whipped Topping, thawed & divided

Spread half of the cherry pie filling in the bottom of crust.

Beat cream cheese in large bow with hand mixer until creamy. Gradually add milk, mixing well. Add pudding mix & beat until well blended & fluffy. Gently stir in half of the Cool Whip; spread over cherry layer in crust. Cover with layers of remaining Cool Whip & cherry pie filling.

Refrigerate 3 hours or until set.

I picked up this recipe from the Cool Whip tub for the first time 2 weeks ago because I wanted something cool & fruity for desert. I made it and by the next day, FarmBoy finished it all off. So I picked up the ingredients again last week and made it on Saturday. FarmBoy walked into the kitchen and said, "You're making that again? You don't expect me to eat that pie too, do you?"

I laughed at him & went back to work. That's when he noticed the cream cheese. FarmBoy hates cream cheese! "That has cream cheese in it?! Are you trying to poison me?!" Yes, that is my grand plan. Death by confection. Gonna' collect that insurance all because of a dairy product I sneaked into your desert.

Just goes to show, you never know what you'll get him to eat as long as he's in the dark about it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chicken & Rice Bake

Ingredients:
1 6-oz package of Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice (best flavor packet in the world!)
2 C Hot Water
Salt & Pepper to Taste
4 - 6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
3/4 can of milk

Directions:
Pour rice into 13 X 9 pan. Sprinkle seasoning over rice, and pour hot water. Mix a little bit. Lay the seasoned chicken on rice, seal tightly with foil. Bake at 375 for 1 hour 15 minutes. Mix soup and milk together, and pour over mixture. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until soup is bubbly.

This one doesn't freeze so well, but is super easy to make...even my husband can do this one!

Mmmmm-Possible Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of those recipes my mom used to make when she was working full-time that tasted as though it was made and slaved over for hours...

Ingredients:
1 2/3 C frozen mixed veggies - thawed and drained (frozen don't get quite as mushy when the pie is done)
1 C cooked chicken, cut or shredded
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C Bisquick (or other baking mix - I make my own)
1/2 C milk
1 Egg

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 (425 for high altitude). Mix veggies, chicken & soup in 9" pie plate. Stir baking mix, egg and milk together and pour over chicken mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

Once this is made, it can be frozen, and then just defrosted and re-heated in the oven.

Chicken Delicious

This is my mom's best "Care" recipe. She often makes it when she is taking meals to folks that are down with surgery etc, but it is so easy, we eat it about once a month around our house!

Ingredients:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts rinsed and patted dry. (I use a mix of breasts, and leg/thigh for juicier results)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken or Celery soup
salt & pepper to taste
Paprika
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
Put chicken in crock pot, and cover with other ingredients. Cook on low in your 6 - 8 hours. Serve with rice, noodles, biscuits, dumplings and a cooked veggie or salad.

This recipe can be made ahead, doubled, tripled etc.

Chili

This is for Zann - hoping this will help as the Little Person's imminent revival rapidly approaches...

Prep Time : 25 minutes
Cook Time: At least one hour

Ingredients:
1 lb of ground meat (I use beef, but you can use turkey if you'd like)
Large can of Kuner's Chili Beans In Sauce (your flavor/temp choice)
Large can of Tomato Sauce
4 ounce Tomato paste
Salt
Pepper
Chili Powder

Directions:
In large skillet, brown ground meat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain well. In large stockpot, combine Chili Beans, Tomato Paste and Sauce with one can of water for each can of tomato product. Add meat. Season with about 3 Tbsp of Chili Powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least one hour, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled, depending on the size of your stockpot. Simply ladle into your freezer container/bag, seal tightly and freeze. You can then defrost it just enough to dump the contents into your crock-pot, and heat through.

We eat this with tortillas, rice, tortilla chips, or corn bread/muffins. I often top it with shredded cheese, sour cream, and some times chopped onion. No ice cream here, sorry Farmie! hee hee...

Freezer Chicken Pot Pies

This came out of a Cook's Country Magazine. You definitely have to freeze these for a few days before you bake them. They are really soupy when you make them but thicken up while frozen and then when baked.



Freezer Chicken Pot Pies



1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2Tbls. veggie oil
5 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbls. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp dry
2 Tbls lemon juice
1 (15 oz.) boxes Pillsbury ready to roll pie crust
1 large egg, beaten, plus 1 large egg, beaten, for baking
1 1/2 c. frozen peas



1. To make ahead: Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbls. oil in lg dutch oven over high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well browned, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate and strain broth into bowl.



2. Melt butter with remaining 1 Tbls. oil in now empty dutch oven over med-high heat. Cook onion, carrots, celery and 1/4 tsp. salt until lightly browned and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, and cook 1 minute. Whisk in reserved broth, milk, and thyme and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.



3. Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. Off heat, add chicken and lemon juice to sauce and season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to medium bowl and cool until just warm. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.



4. Unwrap and unroll pie crusts onto lightly floured surface. Glue 2 crusts together using 1 beaten egg. Do this again with remaining two crusts. Cut out 6 pastry toppings(I use the small disposable aluminum rectangle pans and just use the top as a template for your crusts) Stir frozen peas into cold filling and divide mixture among six 2-cup disposable aluminum loaf pans. Top with pastry and use fork to seal edges. Using paring knife, make 3 steam vents in each crust. Tightly wrap each loaf pan in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.



5. When ready to serve: Adjust oven to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap frozen pot pies and arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Brush crusts with egg, cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until crusts are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let pot pies rest 10 minutes before serving.

Freezer Cooking

Here is a link to something I've used: 30 Day Gourmet I have the Freezer Cooking Manual and it was a life saver when my boys were little. I still use techniques I learned from it. Like: browning ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey ahead and freezing. Marinating the meat in the freezer(put your meat-chicken, pork or beef-in your freezer container with the marinade and freeze it that way. Then while it defrosts it marinades and all you have to do is 1. remember to take it out of the freezer and 2. cook it up). I also will chop up onion and peppers and freeze those as well. Great for soups or sauces. Hope this helps.

Yummy Easy Potatoes

I kind of made these up, I saw something similar on a food show.

6-8 Potatoes, washed, I use red or yukon
6 Tbls olive oil, divided
salt
pepper
garlic powder

Wash potatoes, dry off. Put in microwave safe bowl, I use glass. Pour 2 Tbls. Olive oil over potatoes, cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 12 minutes. You want the potatoes to be cooked through but not mushy. Now heat up a skillet. Smash the potatoes with a meat tenderizer, bottom of a glass, rubber mallet, rolling pin, whatever works for you. You are just squishy the potato down flat basically. Then transfer to skillet. Pour remaining oil over potatoes in pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and any other seasoning you want. Cook in skillet on med-high heat until the potatoes begin to brown and get crunchy. These are wonderful. Even my picky eater likes them.

A Challenge Request

I know I never really post anything here. I blame it on feeling a little lacking in culinary knowledge in comparison. I'm ashamed to say, I make almost nothing from scratch. But I gain so much from lurking here. And because of that I have a request... I don't know if I need to go through Farmwife for this or if it is kosher for me to just throw it out there like I am here (just let me know Farmy, if I'm going about it all wrong) But I'd like to post a new challenge or topic...

We just bought a freezer. And I am on the hunt for good freezable meals, snacks and tips. I figure this will come in handy in about a month or two when I become a new mom with very little time on my hands.

I'll start things off tonight when I get home with one of my favorites that I've found so far for Freezable Cheese & Potato soup.

Hummus

I've never tried hummus before tonight. After going through recipe books I found a recipe for hummus wraps..This one happens to be from Weight Watchers. The family thought it was great for their first time trying (except Pixie and Dragonboy who've had it before store bought)

1 15 oz can of chick peas/garbonzo beans
1 T of Olive oil
2 T of Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/4 t of ground cumin
1/4 t of salt
2 cloves of garlic

Blend above ingredients in blender or food processor. Serve with baked pita shells or tortillas, or spread on a wrap.

Not sure what to label this under so feel free to put one on FarmWife

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tomato Sauce

This is at FarmWife's request, due to her newly turned over garden plot.

This is actually my mom's recipe, so I take no credit except for sharing it with you all.

Ingredients:
Enough fresh tomatoes to fill your biggest pot.
1 onion (optional)
1 bell pepper (optional)

Directions:
rinse tomatoes, remove any "greens" from the tomato, and cut the larger ones into quarters.
Throw into your pot. If you wish, you can "pre-flavor" the sauce by adding a quartered, peeled onion, and/or a seeded and quartered bell pepper (I prefer green as it is milder than the rest). Put lid on pot, and put on stove on lowest heat setting possible. Check after an hour or so, stirring to insure that no tomatoes get overcooked. After your mixture has settled about halfway, remove from stove. Using a slotted spoon, remove all pieces of onion and pepper. Ladle out tomatoes into a food mill, or your Kitchen-Aid hopper to mill the tomatoes. The end result should be to mash/liquify the flesh of the tomatoes and remove the skins and seeds. You should end up with a warm, watery mixture that is red, and smells like tomatoes. Once you've done this with all the tomatoes, dispose of the skins and seeds (we compost ours), and onion and pepper pieces. Return the tomato juice to the pot, bring to a boil, turn down to a low simmer and cook down about halfway, stirring every so often. (I watched the first batch like a hawk, afraid it would burn or stick, or boil over) Once the tomato sauce is cooked down halfway, cool it, fill a gallon freezer bag not quite full, seal (remember to get as much air as possible out). I mark the bags with the date and whether the sauce is plain or flavored, lay it on a cookie sheet, so it is flat, and freeze it. Once it is frozen, you can then stack them like paper, or stand them up like books in your freezer. You can also can this using either a hot method in jars, OR cold into those nifty plastic containers you can get now and freeze that way. I freeze it, as its easier for me to do with our lifestyle.

Once you're ready to use the sauce, you have several options. As it is, you can use it as a base for soups and stews. You can also add the following things and make marinara to use for pasta dishes:

Marinara sauce:

Tomato Sauce
Tomato Paste (4 oz can per 24 oz of sauce)
Salt
Pepper
Oregano
Parsley
Garlic (fresh - minced, or powdered)
Onion powder
Basil
EVOO

Herbs, with the exception of the onion, can be either fresh or dried, your choice. I dry my own herbs, and use the dried for this type of thing.

In a large stock pot, heat about 1 TBSP of EVOO, add tomato paste (yes, I use canned from the store), garlic and "brown" the paste. It doesn't actually change colors, you just want to mix it with the oil and garlic, and heat it through to release and blend the flavors.

Add the sauce, and the other seasonings to taste (each batch is a little different). I start with about 1/4 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of salt (but I use the well in my cupped hand to measure, not spoons - sorry!). Crush the dried herbs in the palm of your hand and sprinkle into the sauce. Depending on how "spicy" your family likes things (I call it flavorful, or savory...), add more oregano, basil, and onion. Salt and pepper are also flexible...its really an art, not a science for me.

Stir well to blend everything together, and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally. Turn the heat to the lowest possible setting you can, and cook down by half, stirring often to avoid sticking. You can cook this to your desired thickness, as each family likes things a little different. We always had it on the runnier side, as that is a traditional marinara thickness. It is thick enough to stick to your pasta, but not so thick that you feel like you're eating a stew, or paste on your pasta.

Once the sauce is made, you can either use it, or divide and freeze it for future use. I make a triple batch and freeze up the marinara for later on down the road. It definitely tastes better a few days after its been made as the flavors blend even more.

Feel free to send me your questions on this one.

kris zeh gmail dot com

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Time Savers

Hi -

I have found, for myself, that if I spend one day a month, or the afternoon after a shopping trip to our Costco, or Sam's Club, that I can get lots of things pre-done, making cooking easier down the road.

For instance - I buy only blocks of cheese, no pre-shredded stuff, and the bags of boneless skinless thighs, and breasts, and then a bag of chicken legs. I also by the massive packages of ground beef/turkey.

Once I'm home, I shred the cheese in the food processor (I actually use my attachment for my Kitchen-Aid mixer), measure out 2 C portions, put it into zip-top freezer bags and date the outside. That way, I can freeze 10 pounds of cheese, but always have it ready to go for casseroles, tacos, or whatever I might need.

I separate the ground meat into 1 - 2 pound portions, and freeze that in bags also. It keeps longer in a freezer bag than in the thin plastic and foam from the grocery, and we can't get a side of beef, pre-wrapped real easily or cheap around here. I tend to brown about half of the meat, and leave the other half uncooked for meatloaf or meatballs.

The chicken (or turkey) parts, I throw into my largest stock pot with an entire onion cut into quarters, some salt, pepper, and enough water to cover the meat. I cook it on low for about 3 hours. Once it has cooled down, I skim anything off the top, shred the meat, and measure it into bags in 1 - 2 pound options (usually about 4 - 6 cups). This way I get a mix of light and dark meat, which makes for good flavor in soups and casseroles. I also save a ton of money not buying the canned stuff.

Each bag gets dated and used in the order that I bought it.

You can season any of the meat ahead of time as well, so if you know you like tacos, you can brown, season and freeze several pounds of meat, so when you want tacos, you just defrost the meat, and warm it through...great for those busy days, or days when things seem to go awry.

Mexican Chicken Bake

This is a yummy casserole that is easy, and uses stuff I mostly keep on hand. It can be spiced up or down depending on your tastes.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1/4 C butter
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (this is where you get your spice)
2 C Cooked chicken shredded or chopped
10 6-in corn torillas (soft, and you can use flour, but the corn gives it a more robust flavor)
2 C Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (you can use cheddar, a blend, whatever is your favorite)
1 C sour cream (I substitute plain fat-free yogurt for a healthier option)
1 Tbsp milk
1 small jalpeno, chopped (I use a 4 ounce can of diced chile, or just leave it off)
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped (I don't use this at all)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 F.
Melt butter in a large skillet, add pepper and onion. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soup, undrained tomatoes, and chicken. Stir well, and let simmer to blend flavors while you tear the tortillas into bite-sized pieces.

Spray a large casserole with cooking spray. Layer tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese (Depending on the size of your dish, you may have up to 3 layers).

Mix sour cream, milk and jalapeno, and spread over top of casserole.

Bake until bubbly, around 40 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

This dish is yummy, and tastes really good topped with some shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, a little more cheese, OR just as it is. I usually serve salad with this but its filling in its own right.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blue Cheese Burgers

1 lb of extra lean ground beef
1/4 c bread crumbs
2 oz crumbled low sodium blue cheese
1/4 t pepper
pinch of salt

Mix ingredients together and form 4-6 patties. Broil, Foreman Grill, or BBQ. Garnish with Lettuce, Tomato and a whole wheat or multi-grain bun.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Picadillo

This is one of my favorite recipes. It came from a cookbook published by a fantastic restaurant in Buffalo Gap, TX: http://www.periniranch.com/. Some of my favorite recipes come from their cookbook. I highly recommend it. I have made my own ranch dressing from scratch, fantastic chicken fried steak, incredible cream gravy, and many, many more things from this book. It's the most-used and most-loved cookbook in my house. The following recipe is one I modified:

It is fantastic stuff! I make a big batch and then we have it in regular tacos, put it in our Queso, and wrap it up with eggs and cheese in a tortilla for a great breakfast taco...

Here's my modified version:

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed

Brown these together in a large frying pan on medium-low heat, then add:

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 bell or sweet pepper, chopped

Stir those around, then add:

1 cup beef broth with 2 Tbsp flour mixed in

If the broth doesn't cover the meat mixture, add more until it just barely covers.

Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, then add:

1 white potato, peeled and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
2 whole jalapenos for flavor

Cover and simmer for another 10 - 15 minutes.*

*I typically remove the lid and let the liquid simmer off and evaporate for another 20 minutes or so.

Mmmmm!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Campbell's Cheesy Chicken & Rice Remix

FarmBoy won't touch rice as a side dish with a ten foot pole. So when QM made this for us while I was recuperating after Bitsy's birth I was skeptical. Turned out she changed up one thing & it made all the difference.

You can find the original recipe here. QM used Zatarain's Dirty Rice Mix in place of the long grain white rice & enough brown rice to make it equal 2 cups of rice. We also make it in larger quantities, so you need 2 cups of water and the Family size can of Cream of Chicken soup.

If you use the Dirty rice mix you can leave out the onion powder & pepper.

Freddie Kruger Casserole Remix (and a bonus FarmFamily Chicken Quesadillas)

It's time for the first wha'cha got cookin' Recipe Remix. I've asked all our cooks to post the recipes they've redone to suit their families tastes. We'll start off with the original recipe & follow up with our new & improved version.

A few years back QM brought me this recipe. To save space, I'll just leave the link & you can check it out there. It sounded great, but I have a major aversion to beans, so I needed to change a few things.

It all started with our version of Chicken Quesadillas. I cook a chicken overnight in the croc-pot, then strip it off the bones, shred the meat, put it back in the croc-pot, add a jar of my favorite salsa & a packet of Taco seasoning, and cook it on low for 2 hours. Come lunch time I spread a large spoon full of the chicken & a small amount of shredded cheese on a flour tortilla, fold it in half, & grill it on our George Foreman grill for 3 minutes. Cut into wedges & serve with sour cream.

Without fail, I have chicken left over, so I modified the Freddie Kruger Casserole to use my leftovers (you can also freeze any leftover chicken).

Replace the hamburger meat with the chicken mix, the ranch style beans with Spanish rice cooked according to package directions, & the cream of mushroom soup with cream of chicken soup.

Everything else stays the same.

You can modify this further if you like using different "heats" of Rotel tomatoes & salsa (I use mild on both accounts), low fat cheese & low fat soup (in fact, I suggest using the low fat ingredients).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hummus

This is a recipe that my brother and his wife taught me when they were home 2 years ago. It is ridiculously easy and you'll wonder why you spent so much money buying pre-made stuff...

Ingredients:

1 can of Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
Olive Oil
Salt
Garlic Powder
Lemon Juice (or fresh lemon if you prefer)
Tahini (you can also use sesame oil and some sesame seeds)
Turmeric

Directions:

Drain beans and dump into blender. Add at least 1 Tbsp olive oil, the juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 Tbsp), 1 Tbsp of tahini (or about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sesame seeds and a couple drops of sesame oil). Add salt and garlic to taste, and a dash of turmeric. Blend until smooth. Chill for about an hour.

Serving Suggestions:

Cut up a couple pita pockets into wedges or strips and split in halves, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and pop under the broiler until lightly toasted. Dice up some fresh tomato, cucumber, and onions. Toss veggies together. Scoop hummus onto the pita chip, top with veggies and enjoy!

You can fill a pita with about 3 Tbsp of hummus, and top with veggies of your choice.

You can dip your carrots and celery and eat it that way.

You can enjoy it with Tostitos Multi-Grain Tortilla chips, or spread it onto bagel chips.

I prefer to make mine up before bed, put it into a tightly sealed container and let it sit overnight in the fridge to blend the flavors.

The ration of ingredients is totally up to you and you can add some roasted peppers or use a flavored oil instead of plain olive oil.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sarah's Bisquick Cake

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Bisquick? In a cake? Seriously, y'all. It's good stuff.

2 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 cups Bisquick
3/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease & flour 9" x 13" pan. Mix eggs, vanilla and milk. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Alternately add milk mixture and Bisquick to creamy butter. Pour into pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 35-45 minutes (test with toothpick for "done-ness"). Sprinkle cake top with powdered sugar.

Texas Sheet Cake

This one is a big hit at our house.

Texas Sheet CakeCake:
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter or stick margarine
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Icing:
6 tablespoons butter or stick margarine
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°.
To prepare the cake, coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Set prepared pan aside.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour and next 4 ingredients (2 cups flour through salt) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Combine water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; pour into flour mixture. Beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake at 375° for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.


To prepare the icing, combine 6 tablespoons butter, milk, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in powdered sugar, pecans, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Spread over hot cake. Cool completely on wire rack.

Note: You can also make this recipe in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 375ยบ for 22 minutes.

Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)CALORIES 298 (30% from fat); FAT 10g (satfat 5.5g, monofat 3.2g, polyfat 0.7g); PROTEIN 3.1g; CARBOHYDRATE 49.8g; FIBER 0.5g; CHOLESTEROL 44mg; IRON 1.1mg; SODIUM 188mg; CALCIUM 25mg;
Cooking Light, MARCH 2000

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Emmaline's Chocolate Cake

This is rich, decadent, and easy peasy.

1 Devil's Food Cake mix baked according to package directions in a 9x13 cake pan
1 jar Smuckers Toppings Caramel sauce (for topping ice cream)
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 small tub Cool Whip, thawed
4-6 crushed Heath Toffee Bars (note: Heath bars come two to a pack, so this will actually be 8-12 crushed bars...I normally end up eating at least 2 while crushing the rest, so it's proably 9 or 10 crushed bars)

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in the top of the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour the entire jar of caramel sauce & the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake & allow cake to cool completely. Frost cake with Cool-Whip & sprinkle with crushed Heath bars. Refrigerate.

This cake is best if you make it the night before & let it sit in the fridge all night.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chicken Fried Rice

6 oz of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (diced) and cooked in Pam on Stove Top
1/2 c of egg substitute (cook on stove top like scrambled eggs)
1 can of bean sprouts
1 T of low sodium soy sauce
2 c of instant brown rice uncooked
1 small box of mixed vegetables (carrots and peas)

Serves 4 (1 cup servings)

In pot cook instant brown rice according to directions.

In another pot, steam box of mixed vegetables.

In pan spray Pam, and cook diced chicken breast..Remove chicken from pan into a bowl.

Add egg substitute to pan and cook like scrambled eggs.

Drain can of bean sprouts (or use fresh if you can find them)

In large bowl combine, rice, scrambled egg, chicken, bean sprouts, and steamed vegetables with soy sauce.

Add additional soy sauce to taste.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pick your Poison

My mom makes this and my kids and husband go nuts for it..I will have to make it on a low cal version..The version below has not been modified for calorie content.

1 box small jello gelatin tart flavor (cherry, blackberry, raspberry, lemon, lime)
1 small container cool whip
1 small container of cottage cheese

It's basically a 1 per 1 ratio.

Mix all three ingredients together and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

CAKE TIPS!

In honor of FarmWife's Cake Off, I thought I'd share this with you.

I learned from watching the Test Kitchen on PBS that if you have the "crown" in the middle of your cakes, you should only grease halfway up the side of the pan.

This keeps the cake from "climbing" up the side of the pan as it initially heats and rises, and then sliding back down as it bakes.

I've tried it a couple times, and there was only a little crown, but I greased it past the halfway point.

Black Forest Cake

This is NOT a fast cake, so DO NOT WAIT until right before you need it. It tastes better if it can sit more than one night before serving it. It it time consuming, but totally worth it in my estimation. Besides, what better reason to have Port and Kirsch on hand?

Ingredients:

FILLING -
1 lb 4 oz can of TART RED Cherries
1/2 C Port
1 Tbsp Kirsch
3 drops almond extract
Combine and chill for 4 hours

MOUSSE -

3 oz semisweet chocolate (I use the Bakers' Friend brand of squares)
3 Tbsp Kirsch
1 beaten egg
1 C whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar

Melt the chocolate and Kirsch together over low heat (using a double boiler is best) until smooth. Add the beaten egg to the chocolate. Whip the cream and sugar together and FOLD into the chocolate mixture. Chill 2 hours

CAKE -
2 egg whites
1/2 C sugar
1/3 oil
1 C milk (set aside 1/2 C to mix with chocolate)
2 egg yolks
2 oz semisweet chocolate
SIFT together :
1 3/4 C flour
1 C sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Melt chocolate, egg yolks, and 1/2 C of milk together and cool slightly.
Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture forms peaks. Mix together the dry ingredients, oil, 1/2 C of milk and chocolate mixture until smooth. FOLD in egg whites.

Bake cake in round pans, greased and lightly floured at 350 for 30 min. Cool in pans for 10 min and remove. Allow to cool thoroughly. Split each cake into 2 layers after completely cooled.

FROSTING -
6 Tbsp butter
1 lb Confectioners' sugar (powdered)
1/4 C CREAM
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 ounces UNSWEETENED chocolate melted

Cream butter, add sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Fold in chocolate.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE -
Spread 1/2 C of frosting over the bottom layer, and use the other 1/2 C to form a ridge, or wall about 1/2 inch wide and 3/4 inch high, AND a 2nd ridge about 2 inches in from the side of the cake. CHILL FOR 30 MINUTES.
Fill the spaces with the cherry mixture.
Place 2nd layer, and spread the mousse evenly. CHILL FOR 30 MINUTES
Whip an additional 2 C of cream with 2 Tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of Vanilla.
Place 3rd layer on top. Spread 1 1/2 C of cream over 3rd layer, leaving about 1/4 C to "frost" the remainder.
Place 4th layer and frost with about 1/4 C of whipped cream.
Sift some confectioners' sugar over the top, make whipped cream "dollops" around edge, and in center of cake. Add some fresh cherries to dollops, and make chocolate curls or shavings.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ingredients:
1 package yellow cake mix
1 large package instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c oil
1 C sour cream

Directions:
Beat together for 7 minutes.

Mix 1 C nuts
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cocoa

Grease a bundt pan, sprinkle 1/4 of the nut mixture in the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the batter and nut mixture

Bake 1 - 1 1/2 hours at 350

Peach Cake

Ingredients:
CAKE -
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can peach pie filling
3 eggs
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 C chopped nuts

TOPPING-
1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C butter

Directions:
Combine at slow speed on your mixer. Beat 2 min. Spread in a 13 x 9 greased and floured pan. Sprinkle topping over cake batter.
Bake 40 - 45 minutes at 350

White Fruit Cake

I normally do this at the holidays, but I suppose you could do it anytime you can find the candied fruit.

Beware - this fruitcake is actually the yummiest I've ever tasted and is NOT your typical fruitcake.

Ingredients:

1 pound butter
2 C sugar
6 eggs
4 C flour (Set aside 1 C for dredging the fruit)
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz package of white/golden raisins (not the usual Sun-Maid brand of brown raisins!)
1 C candied cherries (NOT the kind you put on your ice cream sundae, these are DRY in the package)
1 C candied pineapple (same as above)
2 C chopped pecans
2 tsp lemon extract

Directions:

Cream butter, add sugar, and eggs (one at a time, beating until smooth in between)
Add dry ingredients and lemon extract. Dredge the fruit, and add it and nuts.

Use a 10-inch tube pan (like a bundt pan, only smooth) or 2 loaf pans greased and lined with parchment paper.

Bake tube pan for 1hr 45 min at 300
OR
Bake loaf pans 1hr 45 min at 275.

I tried once to use a paper bag to line the pans because I didn't have parchment...it didn't work. Next time we tried not lining the pans at all...it didn't work...so use parchment paper...

Feathery Fudge Cake

This recipe is my aunt's, and it is awesome!!!!! I'm not sure where she originally got it from, so forgive me if it's actually from some cookbook that y'all have on your shelf! :D

Ingredients:

2/3 C Butter
1 3/4 C Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate (melted and cooled slightly)
2 1/2 C Cake Flour (I love Swan's Down brand!)
1 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/4 C Ice Water


Directions:

Lightly grease 2 9-inch round pans, and flour. Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, and add sugar gradually. Add vanilla and eggs. Blend in chocolate.

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternating with the ice water.

Pour half of batter in one pan, and the rest in the other.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

TO TOP this cake...
Chocolate Glaze

1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2C POWDERED sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Melt chocolate and butter together over heat. Stir in sugar and Vanilla until crumbly. Add boiling water 1 - 2 tsp at a time until glaze consistency. Pour and spread over cake.

I also make an exception and use good old Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Frosting...mmmm...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Berry Angels

1 Angel Food Cake Mix

Fresh Or Fozen Berries

Fat Free Cool Whip


Our family is watching their intake these days so Our favorite cake now is Angel Food Cake. I prepare cake as directed on the box, and then 1/2 c of fresh or frozen (thawed) berries with the cake and fat free cool whip.

It's lowcal, it's healthy and on a spring and hot summer day it's soooo good..Pull up a slice.

Sun-Drop Cake

Allow me to start off the first ever wha'cha got cookin' Cake Off with an old favorite. It's from a cook book I was given as a wedding present. I take this cake to a lot of pot-lucks & rarely bring home left overs. The best part? It's a doctored mix, so it's super simple.

For those of you who've never been south of the Mason-Dixon line, Sun-Drop is hyper charged Mt. Dew. Any soda of that variety will work.

1 box lemon cake mix
1 small package instant lemon pudding
1 (12 oz) can Sun-Drop
3 eggs
3/4 C. oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon cake mix, lemon pudding, Sun-Drop, eggs, and oil. Mix well. Pour into greased tube or Bundt pan. Bake 35 minutes or until cake tests done. Let set for 5 minute in pan, then invert onto serving plate. While still warm, prepare glaze.

Glaze
1 C. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. water (I use Sun-drop in place of the water)
1 tsp. vanilla or lemon flavoring

Mix all together until sugar is dissolved & mixture is smooth. Pour over cake.

While I'm at it, I should share a story about this cake. I took it to church once for a pot luck for our missionary & his wife. She had a slice of the cake & loved it, so she asked about it. When she was told it was a Mt.Dew cake (since we couldn't get Sun-Drop around here at the time) she nearly panicked. Apparently she was on some kind of medication that reacted badly if taken with caffeine. Since there's only one can in the entire cake, she was fine....but it made for an interesting church dinner.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cheesy Ravioli Bake

We love this one at our house and it's pretty easy to put together.

Cheesy Ravioli Bake
serves 4 to 6
From Cook's Country Magazine Feb/March 07

3 TBLS. unsalted butter(the real butter, not margarine)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes(this is a large can, I just use to regular size cans)
2 TBLS. coarsely chopped fresh basil, can use dry just use about half of that
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt
2 (8 oz) pkgs fresh cheese ravioli
1 (6 oz) bag baby spinach
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot for cooking pasta. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease shallow 2 quart baking dish with 1 TBLS butter.

2. Melt remaining 2 TBLS butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, increase heat to high, and cook until thickened and almost dry, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil and cream and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

3. Add 1 TBLS salt and ravioli to boiling water and cook until al dente(you want it to still be pretty firm pasta because it's going to go in the oven for a few minutes). Add spinach to pot with pasta and stir until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain pasta and spinach, return to pot, and stir in tomato sauce. Transfer mixture to baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until top is golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Pass The Beer, Grandma" Beef Stew

Okay, better explain the title. Farmwife and I share a grandmother who is known as a tea-totaller to the max. At Cardinal/Cubs baseball games in St. Louis, she would refuse to pass the cups of beer down the aisle, and it would have to go over her. She's a hoot that way. (Can't wait until she comes to my house and I feed her food with alcohol based sauces. Hee hee.) Anyway, I found a couple of beef stew recipes in Real Simple's cookbook, and decided to combine them and modify them according to my pantry and refrigerator contents. Here's what came about. Just so you know, Henry David loved it and had two big bowls.

Ingredients:
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt (about 1 T.)
Black Pepper (however much you want)
3 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Dried Thyme
1-2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, leaves roughly chopped
3-4 Garlic Cloves, diced
2 Yellow Onions, chopped in bigger pieces
6 Small Yukon Gold Potatoes, quartered (peel if desired)
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced in ovals
1-2 Parsnips, peeled, woody core removed, and cut into 1" pieces
28 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes not drained
2 lbs. Stew Beef, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 Can of Beer (any kind will do....I had leftover Budweiser from my slug killing days, which is what I'm sure you just wanted to know during a cooking session)
16 oz. Water

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a Dutch Oven, brown beef stew pieces in a bit of olive oil over medium heat on the stove top. There is no need to dredge in flour. Remove when browned and put on plate to use later.

2. Add onions and garlic to the Dutch Oven, using more olive oil if needed. Saute until softened and partially carmelized, about five minutes.

3. Add beef stew pieces back to the Dutch Oven with the onions and garlic. Add in the can of tomatoes, liquid included. Add in the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. Add about 16 ounces of water, the can of beer, the brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, and kosher salt. Stir well over medium heat for a few minutes until nicely simmering.

4. Cover and put in oven for about two hours, taking it out every 30 minutes or so to stir. The last 15 minutes, put the Dutch Oven lid partially ajar. It's ready when everything is tender. It smells wonderful and tastes incredible. No one will ever guess you used water and not beef stock. I think the secret is the beer and the brown sugar.

***This makes about six cereal bowl sized servings.

Monday, March 17, 2008

mushroom sauce for beef roast

I made my very first oven-baked top sirloin roast yesterday. I rubbed it in a garlic/ginger rub, and added salt pepper, and worscestshire sauce to it before sticking it in the oven at 325. Pretty standard. It turned out a tad dry, but it was only a 1.3 pounder.

Anyway, since it was a bit dry, I decided the sauteed mushrooms and red onions needed to be in more of a broth or thin gravy.

I sauteed them as normal (lots of butter, about 1 tsp minced garlic), then I added about 1/2 c vegetable broth, 1/2 c Sutter Home Merlot, and a little water. I used flour to thicken it just a smidge. I also added salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Sorry it's not more of a recipe format, but that's what happens when you throw something together. Anyway, hubby and I were pleased with the results, and Baby Bear LOVED the mushrooms.

A different kind of breakfast burrito

I make this for the kids now and they love it.

1 T of salmon cream cheese (or cream cheese of your desired flavor) (1pt)
1/2 c of egg substitute (1pt)
1/8 c of l/f shredded cheese (1pt)
1/4 c of diced mushrooms (free)
1/4 c of diced peppers (free)
2 t of bacon pieces (I use the hormel) (.5 pt)
1 w/w tortilla (burrito size) (4 pt)

I use pam and spray my pan. Turn my burner on 5 (medium heat) and pour the egg substitute in pan. After it cooks a bit I sprinkle, bacon, mushrooms, peppers, and cheese around on top of the egg. While that is cooking, I move the pan to move uncooked egg around. I flip the egg (not breaking it and lightly brown other side)

I take the 1 tablespoon of cream cheese and spread it on tortillia.

Place egg in center of tortilla and roll. You'll get egg mixture in every bite.

(7.5 pts weight watchers but it's very filling and the kids love it)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ropa Vieja

This is great served on rice - but we also tried the leftovers wrapped in a tortilla and it was awesome... This is from Cooking Light magazine...

Ingredients
Cooking spray
2 (1-pound) flank steaks, trimmed
3 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion
2 cups red bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
2 cups green bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons thinly sliced pitted green olives (I LEFT THESE OUT OF MINE...)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar (Not sure if it's the same, but I used Red Wine Vinegar - couldn't find Sherry Vinegar at the store)
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon no-salt-added tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 steak to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove steak from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining steak.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic to pan; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in olives and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in vinegar, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Add steaks; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until steaks are very tender. Discard bay leaves.
Remove steaks from pan; shred with two forks. Stir shredded beef and cilantro into pan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sourdough Bread for Every Kitchen

This recipe was actually published in a Church cookbook about 6 years ago, is incredibly easy, does NOT require weeks of nasty goo fermenting in your refrigerator, or lots of upkeep. The bread itself is light, and is sweet, not like a traditional "San Francisco Sourdough" tangy bread. I hope that you feel encouraged to do this, as it takes no special skills, and that your family loves it as much as my hubby does!

STARTER:
3/4 C white sugar
3 TBSP potato flakes (I buy the store brand because they are CHEAP!)
1 package yeast (or equivalent from a jar. DO NOT use "rapid" or "fast" yeast)
1 C hot water (it should be almost steaming).

Mix ingredients in the order listed in a glass jar, or plastic container that can be loosely covered in your refrigerator. *IF YOU WANT TO MAKE BREAD RIGHT AWAY - Let starter sit on your counter, loosely covered for 45 minutes. Feed starter, and make dough.*

STARTER FOOD:
Same as above, minus the yeast. Every 3 - 5 days (you can go as long as 8 days without starting over), take the starter out, let it come to room temperature, and feed it. If you choose to make bread, leave it out, and make the dough. If you are not ready for more, take 1 C of starter out, throw it away, cover the starter, and put it back into the refrigerator.

DOUGH:
6 C flour
1/3 C Sugar
1 TBSP Salt
1/2 C Oil
1 C Starter
1 - 2 C Hot Water.

Stir dry ingredients together (I put them in my Kitchen-Aid). Add oil, then starter and let mix. Slowly add water until dough is not quite sticky. Cover bowl with saran wrap, set in a warm place and let it rise until doubled. Once dough is doubled, you have several options...

1 - punch dough down on lightly floured surface.
2 - separate into 2 equal portions, place into greased bread pan, cover and let rise as long as you can possibly wait. I let it rise anywhere from 6 - 10 hours depending on temperature in and out of the house, and how quickly the dough responds to the heat. I will sometimes put it into the oven, and turn on my oven light to speed things up.
3 - once risen to your desired height, bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
4 - Remove from oven, and let sit in bread pans for 5 - 10 minutes, remove, and let cool completely before trying to cut it.

OPTIONS -
you can roll the dough out, sprinkle it with cinnamon (no need to add sugar to this one), roll tightly into loaf shape and put seam-side down into greased pan to make cinnamon bread. You can also add raisins if you want. I personally don't like loose raisins in my bread, but I'm weird that way...

you can also make this into a sweet roll by making balls of the dough, and letting rise. You can make cinnamon rolls as well, by rolling the dough out thinner than for the bread, sprinkling cinnamon, rolling up, and cutting into slices.

I like the bread the best either plain or cinnamon, sliced and toasted with some butter...you can eat it plain, with entrees, or even as a dessert.

I hope you enjoy this, and please feel free to leave posts if you have questions on this one.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Crockpots, Slow Cookers - those wonderful inventions from Heaven!

To go along with Grace...did you know that you can also keep your stuffing and mashed potatoes in your crockpot???? They will be nice and toasty warm, not dried out, and are the yummiest way to do them especially for large group meals! I discovered this at Thanksgiving time with my Moms' Group at Church! I'd have never thought of it...but it works amazingly well!

I also will make a "casserole" in my crockpot...especially when using already cooked meat for said casserole...just dump all the cooked ingredients (best for noodle or potato dishes like good ol' tuna noodle casserole) into your crockpot, and set it to Low, and let it "cook" the rest of the day until you're ready to eat!

I've also made soups galore in there...simply dump all the ingredients into the crockpot, and turn it to high til it boils, and then turn it to low to simmer the rest of the day/overnight, whatever...fantastic for taking meals to potluck dinners, or when providing meals to folks that have just had surgery or whatever.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Meatloaf

Did you know that you can cook a meatloaf in the crockpot? I'd heard this years ago, but never tried it. Since yesterday was a crazy day, I put the meatloaf in the crockpot, on low, at noon and by seven at dinner, it was perfect! I made mashed potatoes in the morning to warm up. So, all I did was warm up the potatoes and veggies and it was all ready! Easy, breezy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Shrimp Scampi

Last night, I was in a bind for something to cook. I had a two-pound bag of frozen, de-veined shrimp in my freezer, but wasn't in the mood for plain ole boiled shrimp. So I pulled out my trusty Joy of Cooking and found just the thing. Scampi!

1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic


Heat the olive oil and garlic over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is browned. Do it slowly, it should take about 10 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium/medium high and add:

One and an half to Two pounds peeled and de-veined shrimp
1/4 cup chopped parsley*


*I used dried parsley flakes and just sprinkled liberally

Cook through, stirring occasionally. This takes about 5 minutes or so. They're done when they are totally pink.

Toss with fresh lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste.

Server over plain pasta or rice.

Yummy and healthy for the new year!