Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday: Frozen Pizza - lame, I know
Monday: Dinner at my parents house to finish off Christmas leftovers
Tuesday: Venison BBQ (or as my brother-in-law calls it: Bambi-que)
Wednesday: To be determined - suggestions welcome!
Thursday: Possibly hamburgers - I need to make up my mind!
Friday: New Years Eve!!! We will be heading to a friend's house for pickups. Due to popular demand, I'll be bringing Crack Dip for sharing - and most likely some Christmas cookies.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I was given this bag of Charleston Favorites Yellow Grits as a gift from my third cousin and his wife. They were visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday after recently moving back to the Charleston area. I've only had instant grits before and never cared for them, so I figured I'd wait and make these for someone who really enjoys grits.
My husband's dad came to visit us for Christmas, and I know he likes yummy grits, so I made these for breakfast the day after Christmas. I was pretty excited to have someone really look forward to this treat! He said that yellow grits were one of his favorite things to eat growing up. Serving them with bacon and scrambled eggs seemed to go over quite well.
- 1 and 1/3 cup Charleston Favorite Grits
- 4 cups water
- 1 and 1/4 tsp. salt
- Put the measured amount of grits into a heavy saucepan. Cover them with water to help bran rise to the top. Drain as much of the bran and water off as possible.
- Pour the 4 cups of measured water over the rinsed grits and stir in the salt.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 28 minutes - stirring occasionally.
- Serve hot with butter, salt, and pepper
I was a bit worried about how they would turn out since I've never made them before, but I was assured that they tasted wonderful. Rinsing the bran part off seemed to go alright, though I was sure I'd screw that up. At first I didn't realize that grits are more of a side dish and not the main event like oatmeal or cream of wheat. Thankfully I had some bacon in the fridge and plenty of eggs so I could whip up a proper breakfast.
Now for those of you who know me know that I'm not a Southern girl. You also know that I hate, hate, hate bacon. So obviously I skipped the meat part.... but maybe you'd be surprised to know that I didn't only try the grits, I actually liked the grits! I added some butter, salt, and pepper to my portion and they tasted pretty good. I'm beginning to wonder if it's just the instant stuff that tastes icky, or if the Charleston Favorites brand is just spectacular. Either way everyone loved breakfast and I felt pretty good about it!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Make Gramma's Scotcheroo recipe for Christmas time. It's been many years since I've made these or even eaten one. In my family it's quite a big hit. Gramma's been making them for many years and passed on her recipe to me. They're easy enough to make and everyone seems to love them.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light Karo syrup
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 cups Rice Crispy cereal
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- In a 4 quart saucepan cook the sugar and syrup over medium heat stirring frequently until boiling. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the peanut butter. Add the Rice Crispies and stir until blended. Lightly press mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
- Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together and stir until blended. Spread evenly over the crispy mixture.
- Cool until firm - do not put in the refrigerator - and then cut into bars.
They turned out absolutely divine! I melted the chips together in the double boiler which makes it very easy to get a nice smooth texture. I also find it easiest to measure out the peanut butter and rice crispies ahead of time so I can stir them immediately into the hot sugar/syrup mixture. Make sure you use a large enough pan to stir in all six cups of rice crispies.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Make yet another kind of cookie for Christmas this year that is tasty and delicious. I selected these chewy ginger cookies that I've made in the past but apparently never blogged about. They come out very soft so if you're looking for crunchy ginger snaps, this is not the recipe for you! But if you enjoy a chewy, spicy treat - then give this recipe a try. (This is a doubled recipe and makes about 8 dozen or so cookies)
- 4 and 1/2 cups flour
- 4 and 1/2 tsp gruond ginger
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 and 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups shortening
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs (not 4 like pictured)
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup extra sugar for rolling
- In a large mixing bowl cream the shortening, eggs, 2 cups sugar, and molasses.
- Beat in all of the spices and mix well. Gradually add the flour and mix until dough is formed.
- If desired, refrigerate dough for an hour or so. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball in the extra sugar.
- Place sugar coated balls on a non-greased cookie sheet and press down lightly with the bottom of a glass.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350*F oven or until cookies are done. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
The Results & Reviews:
They turned out really well and I'm glad I learned the trick of pressing them down a bit with a glass before baking. They don't spread very far and I found that if they weren't pressed down, they came out a little humped and underdone in the middles. Now - ginger cookies are not beloved by all people like chocolate chip are, so some people won't care too much for them. I found that it's nothing personal. I happen to love ginger, so of course I like this recipe. Mom would rather have them crunchy and thinner so next year I'm going to make a dozen or so that are pressed much flatter than normal to see how they turn out!
Friday, December 17, 2010
1. Chocolate Chip
2. Oatmeal Raisin
3. Jumbo Raisin
4. Sugar Cookies
6. Chewy Ginger
8. Peanut Blossoms
9. Chocolate No-Bake
I love to bake cookies and give them out as gifts. Above is just a fraction of the tins and containers I gave out or used to store the hoard. This years list is a little longer than usual since I had extra time off work. Cookies are so much fun to make, but after spending two days in the kitchen working on them, I was completely exhausted. Maybe next year I'll either get started earlier and freeze the cookies that will hold well, or enlist some help from someone!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
I wanted to try something a little different with my Chicken Parmesan this time around, but I got so busy that I fell back onto my old standard. Oh well - it still tasted really yummy. (And of course I forgot to take any pictures since I was trying to get dinner ready in a hurry!)
- 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts - trimmed off fat
- 1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese - shredded
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 pound of cooked thin spaghetti or Angel hair pasta
- 1 jar of your preferred marinara/spaghetti sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350*F
- In a shallow bowl, dredge each piece of chicken in the milk, then coat with the bread crumbs.
- Place breaded chicken into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. While waiting for chicken, boil the pasta according to the instructions and warm the sauce until hot.
- When chicken is done, top with the shredded mozzarella and return to oven for 5 - 10 minutes or until cheese is melty.
- Serve chicken with the pasta and the sauce.
The Results & Reviews:
The chicken turned out just fine, but I served it with a marinara sauce as opposed to my husband's favorite spaghetti sauce (Prego meat flavored) so he didn't think it was as good. Next time I'll make sure to use our normal sauce! But all in all this is an easy recipe to make and it does taste pretty good. In the future I hope to make a really great chicken parmesan that is truly something to brag about.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday: Dinner at a friend's house.
Monday: Improved Chicken Pot Pie
Tuesday: Beef Chili with corn bread
Wednesday: Roasted Pork Loin with Green Bean Casserole
Thursday: Venison Stew and rolls
Friday: Chicken Parmesan with a side salad and garlic bread
Saturday: Throwing a party! Menu TBD.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
- 1 can (29 oz.) Libby's 100% pure pumpkin
- 2 cans (12 oz. each) evaporated milk
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 5 large eggs
- 2 unbaked 9 inch pie crusts
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the canned pumpkin, sugar and all of the spices.
- Line 2 9-inch pie plates with the pie crust and press the edges into scallops.
- Crack one egg into each pie crust, making sure not to break the yolk. Swirl the pie plates around until the egg white has coated the bottom of the crust. Pour the eggs into the pumpkin mixture and set the pie crusts aside.
- Add the remaining eggs to the pumpkin mixture and beat in well. Gradually stir in both cans of evaporated milk.
- Divide pumpkin equally between both pie plates making sure you don't over flow the crust. Place strips of aluminum foil over the crusts to prevent burning. (If you have pie shields, use those instead.)
- Bake in a preheated 425*F oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350*F and bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
- Cool on wire racks for 2 hours. Serve with cool whip, whipped cream, ice cream, or plain.
Monday, August 2, 2010
To find an easy cookie/bar recipe to take to a surprise birthday party. I really wanted to find something that didn't require a trip to the grocery store, either.... so I scoured my little recipe booklets - the ones you can find in the grocery store checkout lane - to find the perfect bar. Success was met when I found this yummy recipe out of a 2005 "Treasury of Holiday Cookies" featuring Jif Peanut Butter.
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups quick oats
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan - I used a non-stick pan so I skipped this step. Melt the cup of chocolate chips - either in a double boiler or the microwave and set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat well. Sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined. Stir in the oats. Take 3/4 of the dough and press into the bottom of the baking dish, then spread with the melted chocolate. Dot the chocolate layer with the remaining dough. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool. Cut into bars and serve!
I was really making this in a hurry, so I was a bit scared of how they'd end up, but they turned out great. I melted the chocolate in the double boiler, but in retrospect, it probably would've been easier to use the microwave. Even with the melting step, this recipe was easy to put together - using the non-stick pan really helped too, it was a breeze to cut and remove the bars from the pan! They smelled delicious, too :)
Everyone had great things to say about them, especially my husband. A friend cut them into mini-bars so they were bite sized and easy to handle - they disappeared quite quickly from the serving plate. All in all - they tasted great, were easy to make, and I didn't get any leftovers since my husband took them all! haha. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
To flavor up the original Chicken Pot Pie recipe so it wasn't so bland. Since it's an easy dish to throw together, I wanted to have another "in a hurry" meal to add to my menu regime, but was disappointed with my first batch. Adding spices and cheese really flavored up the pie and made it into a dish worth making more often.
- 3 chicken breasts - cubed
- canola or olive oil
- salt - to taste
- pepper - to taste
- paprika - to taste
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 cup (or so) milk
- 2 (or more) cups frozen mixed veggies
- 1/2 cup (or so) shredded cheese
For the crust:
- 2 cups Bisquick
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- The Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 350*F. In a large skillet, heat the oil and toss in the chicken and as much salt, pepper, and paprika as you want. Cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink. As the chicken browns, mix the two cans of soup, 1/2 cup of milk, frozen veggies and cheese together in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. (You can add more salt and pepper to the mix if you'd like). Stir in the cooked chicken and spread mixture evenly in the pan. In a medium bowl whisk together the Bisquick, eggs, and 1 cup of milk. Pour onto chicken mixture and smooth with a spatula so the mixture is covered. Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes and serve hot. *If your "pie" is very full, you might want to place a cookie sheet under the baking dish to catch any drips that might occur when chicken mixture bubbles over.
Much, much better! This pot pie had a lot of flavor and was definitely not bland. I was very pleased with how it turned out and my husband practically licked his plate clean - haha. Adding the cheese and the spices really perked up the flavor but didn't take away from the simplicity and ease of this comfort-food recipe.
This was definitely a hit with my husband! I'm sure he'll be requesting this recipe a lot in the future - especially once the weather turns colder. It also has the added benefit of freezing quite nicely - which is why I make such a huge pan for the two of us. By the time he has seconds for dinner, and scoops a big serving into his lunch container I still have at least 2 servings to freeze for later.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
To make hamburger patties. I realize this sounds ridiculously simple and that most people have done this before. But the truth is that I have never made them. My parents always bought pre-made patties, and for the most part I have too. If handmade patties were ever served at my house, it was because someone else made them. So, since the grocery store didn't seem to have good pre-made patties, I bought some ground beef and made my own :)
- 3 lbs ground beef
- 6 tsp A-1 Steak Sauce
- 6 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp parsley flakes
With clean hands, thoroughly mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Shape meat mixture into equally sized patties. I made 12. Next time, I will make 8 bigger ones so they won't be so small after shrinking.
Besides the fact that the patties shrunk up more that I would've liked, the hamburgers turned out great. The flavor was fantastic, and they were grilled to perfection. Obviously my husband's grilling skills have improved quite a bit over the years.... though he does need to work on his powers of recommendation when it comes to patty size. I was sure they were too small, but he assured me that they would be fine. Oh well. They were definitely edible!
Everyone at the small dinner party thought they tasted great. There weren't any serious complaints about the size, though it did make for some funny jokes. All in all, I got quite a few compliments on the flavor of the patties, so I'm pretty proud of how they turned out :) with clean hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Shape meat into equally sized patties - I made 12. Grill, broil, whatever until hamburgers are done to your liking. My wonderful husband grilled them for me ;)
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Make the chocolate no bake cookies that my husband has been requesting. I checked out numerous recipe websites and this seems to be the classic recipe. I didn't bother hunting through my cookbooks for this one since I was in a hurry :)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups quick cooking oats
In a 4 quart pot combine butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the oats. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto wax paper lined cookie sheets. Cool until set.
I think they turned out great. Though I probably should have made a double batch.... I doubt these will last long at my house. I really hope that I can refrain from eating all of them until my husband gets home on Monday.... Wish me luck :)
Get out of my blog-less slump by blogging something easy and spur of the moment..... Hot Dog Chili it is! I learned how to make this simple and simply delicious chili from my husband, who learned it from his father. It's easy. It's yummy. It's popular. And it only takes three - yes (3) three! - ingredients.
- Ground Beef - 1 lb
- Ketchup - start with 3/4 cup
- Chili Powder - start with 3 Tbsps
Brown the ground beef. Drain off the fatty grease. Stir in the ketchup - remember that it tastes best if it's Heinz ;). Stir in the Chili Powder. Let simmer for five minutes or so and then taste it. Add more ketchup or chili powder if needed. Repeat until you decide it tastes perfect. Then serve it with hotdogs, burgers, chips, or by itself on a bun - kinda like a sloppy joe ;)
The Results & The Reviews:
I think it turned out yummy as always. I like it best with all of the grease drained off. My husband would prefer some grease left on. But I'm cooking it, so I win. Honestly, most of our friends like it best when it's not drowning in fatty grease, so I figure I win all around :) I've been making this for years for various cookouts, barbecues, and random Wednesday night dinners and it's always gotten good reviews.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
To make yet another dessert for my best friend's birthday party. He requested "chocolate" or "lemon" so here's part two! And again, instead of making a simple boxed cake, I tried something different :) I altered my Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe by adding the zest of one lemon and leaving out the vanilla extract. Here's the original recipe: Cream Cheese Pound Cake.
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups flour, sifted
- zest of one lemon
- 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice (I used the juice from the lemon I zested and had the perfect amount!
- Mix all of the ingredients together until blended and pour over cooled cake.
Preheat oven to 300*F. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg. Don't forget to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl. Add in the lemon zest and then slowly add the flour. I like to add one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly and scraping the bowl between each cup. Spoon the batter into a tube or bundt pan (it will be thick). Bake for approximately 1.5 hours. I usually set the timer for 1 hr 15 minutes and then test the cake for doneness. Cake is done when an inserted knife comes out clean.
The icing ran way more than I thought it would. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I needed to thicken it up a bit by adding some more sugar. Who knows. Certainly not I. But the flavor was divine and complemented the cake very well. I think that the cake could use a tad more lemon flavor, so next time I might add a tsp of lemon extract in addition to the zest.
Mark loved it! Which was the whole point of this recipe :) Everyone else thought it was really good. The rest of my dinner guests had very nice things to say about it, as did the recipients of my leftovers (namely coworkers and my parents). This twist on my pound cake is definitely a keeper :)
Somehow the pictures ended up being deleted. I shall blame the dog.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
- To make something chocolatey to bring to my best friend's birthday party. And instead of baking a cake, I figured I'd do something different and make cupcakes. And since box cupcakes are easy and boring, I figured I'd try out a new recipe. I chose this recipe from my America's Test Kitchen: Family Cookbook. I fell back on my favorite website - recipezaar.com - for the icing.
- 2 sticks butter
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- Microwave the butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder together, whisking often, until melted and smooth (took me about 4 minutes). Set aside to cool. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, wisk the eggs and vanilla together, slowly whisk in the sugar until combined. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture. Sift in half of the flour mixture, stir in the sour cream, and sift in the remaining flour mixture. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners and fill about two-thirds full. Bake in a 350* preheated oven for 18 minutes or until done. Let cupcakes cool and ice as desired.
- 1/2 cup butter - softened
- 2 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1/3 cup half and half cream
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Cream the butter in a small bowl. Blend in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and the confectioners sugar alternately with the cream. Beat with an electric mixer until the desired consistency. If needed, add a more cream. Click here for the Recipezaar link!
Well - I thought they turned out good. Though I have to admit, it was waaaaaay too much work for something that wasn't just absolutely fantastic. So I probably won't make these again. The idea of a dark chocolate cupcake went over very well, though.
I had my husband test them out before I took them to the party. He said that they were too bitter. Obviously he doesn't really care too much for dark chocolate. He made sure to tell me that it was a personal preference and that he wasn't implying that my cupcakes were awful. He said they were "hoity toity." hahaha. I got a big laugh out of that :) Everyone else who tried one liked them..... one person said they were very rich. Dad gave me his honest opinion and told me they were slightly on the dry side, but that he and Mom enjoyed them regardless. So this recipe isn't a winner, but it wasn't a total loss either.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
To make a smashingly fantastic dessert to take to Mark's parents house since they had graciously invited us over for Thanksgiving lunch. I wanted to make something a little bit fancier than a traditional pumpkin pie (though I love pumpkin pie dearly!), so when I came across this recipe listed in the Taste of Home Thanksgiving 2009 booklet, I knew it would be perfect.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 2 cups cold milk
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut gingerbread into 1/2-in. to 1-in. cubes; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon; stir into pudding. In another bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and extract; beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside 1/4 cup gingerbread cubes. In a 4-qt. trifle bowl or glass serving bowl, layer a third of the remaining gingerbread cubes; top with a third of the pumpkin mixture and whipped cream. Repeat layers twice. Crumble reserved gingerbread; sprinkle over top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Oh wow! It was fantastic. I loved it.... though I think that I might use a little less rum extract in the whipping cream next time. Though everyone else thought it was delicious just the way it was. It turned out really pretty, too. Which is always a plus when I'm taking a dessert somewhere for a special occasion.
This dessert got RAVE reviews. Everyone who tried it told me how amazing it was. I am so pleased with myself :) It was definitely worth the effort to make all of this from scratch. This will be a dessert I make every year for sure!