Monday, December 27, 2010

Weekly Menu: December 26 - 31st

The week following Christmas is always a little crazy, but I'm hoping I can manage to get things together to have an easy time figuring out what to do for dinner!

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

Southern Style Grits

The Mission:

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.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cup Charleston Favorite Grits

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 and 1/4 tsp. salt

The Instructions:

  1. 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.
  2. Pour the 4 cups of measured water over the rinsed grits and stir in the salt.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 28 minutes - stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve hot with butter, salt, and pepper

The Results & Reviews:

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


The Mission:

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.

The Ingredients:

  • 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

The Instructions:

  1. In a 4 quart saucepan cook the sugar and syrup over medium heat stirring frequently until boiling. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the Rice Crispies and stir until blended. Lightly press mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
  3. Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together and stir until blended. Spread evenly over the crispy mixture.
  4. Cool until firm - do not put in the refrigerator - and then cut into bars.
The Results & Reviews:

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.

My husband had never had these before and raved about how tasty they were. I have a feeling that he'll be requesting these often in the future. They always disappear quickly off of a cookie tray, but I always make sure to reserve a few for my family who are die hard Scotcheroo lovers.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chewy Ginger Cookies

The Mission:
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)

The Ingredients:
  • 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

The Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl cream the shortening, eggs, 2 cups sugar, and molasses.
  2. Beat in all of the spices and mix well. Gradually add the flour and mix until dough is formed.
  3. If desired, refrigerate dough for an hour or so. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball in the extra sugar.
  4. Place sugar coated balls on a non-greased cookie sheet and press down lightly with the bottom of a glass.
  5. 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

Cookie Baking Day

The Christmas 2010 Cookie List

1. Chocolate Chip
Oatmeal Raisin
Jumbo Raisin
Sugar Cookies
5. Scotcheroos
Chewy Ginger
Peanut Blossoms
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

Weekly Menu: Dec 12 - 18th

Sunday: Out to dinner with a friend

Monday: Left over night

Tuesday: Frozen Pizza ;)

Wednesday: Baked Chicken, creamed corn, California blend veggies

Thursday: White Bean Chicken Chili

Friday: London Broil

Saturday: unknown!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

The Mission:

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!)

The Ingredients:

  • 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

The Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F
  2. In a shallow bowl, dredge each piece of chicken in the milk, then coat with the bread crumbs.
  3. Place breaded chicken into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  4. 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.
  5. When chicken is done, top with the shredded mozzarella and return to oven for 5 - 10 minutes or until cheese is melty.
  6. 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

Weekly Menu: December 5 - 11th

The weather has finally turned colder so I wanted to make some hearty and warm comfort foods for dinner this week. I've pulled out a lot of my go-to recipes that are easy winter favorites and added a few things that I haven't made in a while. Chicken Parmesan is going to be my blogging concoction for the week - so I'm off to find a great recipe to use!

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.