Had enough cold? Let’s have a little more….

Slush, that is!   It’s hard to post recipes when you’re cold!  It’s hard to do much of anything when you’re cold!  So let’s make ice cream, or a slushie!  HA! you say…..

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I saw these on my “let’s go in and see what’s on sale” visit to Williams Sonoma and thought they were so cute….and have it on good authority that they absolutely do work.   I have never gotten anything from there that doesn’t.  This “Quick Pop Maker” says it uses no electricity, simply store the unit in the freezer and remove when ready to use, insert stick, pour in juice, and it freezes before your very eyes!  Someone needs to do this and tell me that it works! 

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And this….oh me, oh my… when the summer gets here, and you have had a day of working in the yard, pour yourself some Crystal Lite Lemonade in here and stir!  Instant Slushie!  Just put the inner core in the freezer (just keep it in there when not in use), outer core keeps hands from getting cold, and comes with its specially designed slush spoon (how cool is that!) and have fun.  

 

Let’s give away one “Quick Pop Maker” and three of these cute Slush and Shake cups!  That’s right 4 winners!   Just leave a comment if you are interested in trying one of these new fangled contraptions and tell us what you did on “snow days”! Winners will be drawn and posted Monday morning, Feb. 3rd.  

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Bacon and Spuds – a great combination

it was “eat at Sunday School” day yesterday – the last Sunday of the month usually is and I love to spring a new recipe on the group.  This one was a big hit….so much so that there wasn’t a crumb left on the plate.   These were great for breakfast, but would also make a great Super Bowl munchie, or a great side to your favorite steak/chicken dish or your hamburger/hot dog cookout.   

Bacon Wrapped Tots

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp barbecue sauce

2 tsp firmly packed dark brown sugar (I only had light brown and used that – worked fine –  Splenda Brown sugar would also work fine)

12 slices bacon (I used a thin cut applewood smoked)

48 extra-crispy tater tots (I used Ore-Ida Extra Crispy)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (makes cleaning up easy).  Place a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix the ketchup, barbecue sauce and brown sugar. Brush both sides of the bacon with ketchup mix.  Cut each slice of bacon in half crosswise and then in half lengthwise so that each slice of bacon makes 4 pieces.  Wrap each prepared piece of bacon around a tater tot, and place seam side down on the rack.  Ready for the oven:

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 Brush tops of prepared tater tots with remaining ketchup mixture.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.  

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Don’t they look yummy??!!  

Next time, since I don’t eat bacon, I plan on brushing some extra tater tots with the left over sauce, and sprinkling some of my taco seasoning mix (homemade, of course) which has a nice kick in it on the tots and letting them bake.   My, I can taste those little spuds now.   Enjoy!

 

Fried Cornbread and Blenders….huh???

I made fried cornbread two nights ago to go with our homemade vegetable beef soup (mine had turkey!).  Man was it good.   I also found out that I think my blender is going out on me.  I have only had it like, 20-25 years.  You think it would last longer than that. GEEZ! Don’t they make anything to last anymore?   The blender issue has nothing to do with the fried cornbread.  Anyone have a favorite blender they like?   I am on the hunt!!!!!!

Now…..for this fried cornbread.  I have always made mine with two ingredients.   Self-rising cornmeal and very hot water from the faucet.  That is all.   I have seen so many recipes using boiling water and tried it a while back and don’t like it as well. The consistency is different.  So this time, back to my regular, good old, recipe.  But this time, I added one more thingy….some chopped jalapeno peppers – the kind from the jar.   Man, did it kick it to another level!   YUM-O!

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AND….. I sliced off a “pat of buttah” and added to the skillet with each new batch – I think it gave them a great crispiness and added another level of flavor……(sorry – the lighting above my stove is not the best…if I would remember to turn the overhead light on it may help….)

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what do you think???  You can see those jalapenos in there!   Sure was good with that homemade soup(s).

 

NOW – back to the blender – I will be looking at getting one in the next few months – do you have a new, spiffy updated one? Or are you in need of one, also?    Let me know what you think a good one is…as you can see, I have not shopped for a blender in quite some time.  Have a good day!

Crispy Root Vegetable Roast

These were so good……..see all these veggies?   They are delicious….and easy….and good for ya!  Look how pretty they look all sliced and nestled in the skillet before cooking:

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Combine the listed ones, leave out the ones you don’t care for and include more of the ones you want, just try them.   So good.

And if you don’t have a mandoline to cut yours up, your grater may have a slicer on the side of it that slices, or just slice thin.  Either works.  

And now they have cooked:

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One note:   make sure you “brush” the melted butter on top of the veggies – i just dribbled and think I missed some spots – and I may cook them a bit longer next time – I want them more caramelized/golden colored.

Wouldn’t this be good with your favorite roast recipe?  Or a pork loin?  They can cook in the oven at the same time!  Whala! Dinner done! 

Let me know how you like your veggies.

Roasted Crispy Root Vegetables

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and divided

2 russet potatoes, peeled

2 sweet potatoes, peeled

1 rutabaga, peeled

1 turnip, peeled

6 cloves garlic, smashed

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, add 3 tablespoons melted butter, swirling to coat bottom.

Using a knife or mandoline, slice potatoes, rutabaga, and turnip into 1/8 inch thick rounds,.  Keeping sliced vegetables together by type, place in skillet.  Tuck in garlic among sliced vegetables.  Brush vegetable tops with remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake until vegetables are tender and golden brown, approximately 1 1/2 hours, depending on your oven.  Garnish with fresh thyme if desired.  

**Note:  I actually pulled some thyme off the stems and sprinkled on top of the veggies and baked it with the veggies.  Great idea.  This would also be good using rosemary and olive oil.   

Pecan pie in a muffin

No, i didn’t take a picture of these either……. I know, I must get better.  I really did mean to take a picture but as soon as they cooled, hubby had snapped them up and put them in containers….I think he had divided them out as to how he wanted to eat them each morning! HA!   Mainly because I made a little switcherooo in these and used the Splenda Brown Sugar instead of regular brown sugar so he could have them.

I don’t know why I worry about that because lately he has been sitting cupcake mixes on the counter and said, “here make these and leave off the icing…I like them for breakfast”.  So I have tried to help the cause by making healthy!  And you know what, these were just as good, just as decadent and you couldn’t tell the difference.    Splenda Brown sugar rocks!

These only make 8 really nice sized muffins, but I will tell you that using Splenda Brown Sugar does not allow the muffins to “rise” in the middle and get that little “Poof” to the center.   You know what I’m talking about.   But it won’t matter cause even the small “poof” you get is just fine.   The flavor, oh, the flavor……. just make them!  I have seen several variations, and this, by far, is the easiest, least ingredients, and so dadgum good.

Pecan Pie Muffins

1 cup Packed light Brown Sugar (remember – I used Splenda Brown Sugar – same quantity)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup softened butter

2 whole eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your muffin pan. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, and pecans.   In a separate bowl, beat the butter and eggs together until smooth.  Stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  They will be about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.  Cool on wire racks when done.

And if you want something really good, when they come out of the oven, slice off a “pat of buttuh” and place on top of one of them and eat it warm!  Oh, my.   Change this up  – use walnuts instead of pecans, or toasted almonds.   I just may add some mini chocolate chips next time!  Just for me!  

Enjoy!

Stack ’em high!

I cannot tell you the number of these I made “down at the river”.  We had a small place down there where the girls learned to ski… where they paddled the width of the river….where they learned to drive the boat….where they ate copious amounts of fried fish.. for supper, for breakfast (a couple of them liked it cold the next morning with ketchup!) …where they made dad fish out any critters in the homestead before entering after a long winter’s night……. where they did not rake leaves……..where they had fun with the neighbors’ kids…..where they shot off firecrackers…where they brought grandkids back to…….I could go on and on……but I won’t.

When I made this “10-Layer Chocolate Cake” – a recipe my mom had – and a favorite of all – I would have thin layers of the best cake laying everywhere to cool while the other ones baked.   And you know something, it did taste better at “the river”.   But no matter where you have this cake, it is so good.   The layers, though thin, seem to know they are to hold together, and “take the icing like a man”.  

Make it for the family – make it for Valentine’s Day, which, by the way, is just around the corner, and dress it up with some sliced strawberries around the edges, but just make it.  This is truly a “from scratch’ cake.  The recipe reads that way.  And it must be made that way.   So roll up your sleeves, and get to it.  You wont be sorry.   this one’s for you, Memom.

10-Layer Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

 1 cup buttermilk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients, mixing well.  Line 8-inch cake pans with waxed paper and spray with vegetable spray.  Pour batter into pans, using about 3 large serving spoons of batter per pan.  Bake at 325 degrees about 10 minutes or just until brown.  remove from pans and cool.  

Stack layers, placing frosting between each layer.  Frost sides and top of cake.  

Frosting:

2 sticks margarine

4 cups sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup evaporated milk

Combine ingredients in saucepan and let come to a boil.  Boil one minute.  Cool, and beat until smooth.

 

See, I told you it “reads” like a “made from scratch” “it came from my great-aunt’s grandmother” type of a recipe!  But it works! And it works so well!  Ask my kids!  And make it! You will see!

Tea Time and Tomato Dill Bisque – a winning combination

There used to be a tea shop in our town that served High Tea and had the best little tea sandwiches, the best little quiches, and the most fun that girlfriends, grandmothers and granddaughters, sisters, bridal parties, could have.   It moved locations for a while but has been closed for some time, and one thing it had, and shared by selling its little packets of the mixed herbs with its recipe, (you can mix your own herbs for the recipe) was its recipe for the best “Tomato Dill Bisque” that they served.  

I have made this, but again, not in a long time. (Am I trying to say I have a lot of recipes?)  I need to re-create this and make it again.   It is so rich, and good, and leaving you wanting another cup.   Make some, serve it in a tea cup, along with some mini tea sandwiches, and have yourself a tea party!   

Tomato Dill Bisque

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 tsp dill seed

3 or 4 cups diced canned tomatoes

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup butter

1 cup half & half (if you want to lighten up the recipe, you can use the fat free half and half)

1 tsp dill weed (one of my favorite herbs – have I mentioned that before?)

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 tsp oregano

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup flour

Saute onion in butter.  Add flour and spices.  Stir in tomatoes and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer 15 minutes.   Add parsley, honey, and half & half.   Heat thoroughly.  Serve with a sprig of fresh dill for garnish.

 

Me, I am ready for a “cup” right now.   This may just be on the menu for this weekend!   Along, of course, with a mini tea sandwich and a cup of hot tea!  Won’t you come and join me?

Stuffed Chicken Breasts – a beautiful thing

We had these for Sunday Lunch and man, were they good.  The filling is so incredible, so healthy, so low cal.  And for weight watchers, One serving is 4 pointsplus, if you use a chicken cutlet, which is a thinner cut of a chicken breast – if you use a larger cut of chicken breast, i estimate a count of 6 points.

Anyhow, for those who just want something that is good, healthy, and you want your kids to eat healthy and get some greens, this is it.  I prepped the chopping stuff on Saturday, thawed the frozen spinach Saturday, which made putting these together on Sunday so quick and easy.  Even doing it all on the same day would be quick and easy.  I just wanted something to chop!  

Try them as I don’t think you will be disappointed.  As you can see, I used regular chicken breasts, and put them between wax paper and pounded them out so they were even thickness which in essence made them in to one large cutlet.  The secret in stuffing a chicken breast is you want the same thickness throughout for even cooking.

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Spinach, Feta and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Cooking Spray

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chipped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped scallions

10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and juice squeezed out

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp fresh dill

1/2 cup (2.5 oz) crumbled Feta cheese

1/3 cup fat free ricotta 

1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper, or more to taste

8 thin skinless chicken breast cutlets  ( I only used 4 but mine were so big by the time I pounded them out that it took a lot of the filling!  the store I went to were out of the cutlets  I had enough filling left I could have done another chicken breast – regular size pounded out – but I am saving it for filling something else for me!)

1 large egg

1 Tbsp water

1/2 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large baking sheet with spray.  

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan and add onions, garlic, and scallions and saute about 1 minute.  Add spinach, parsley, dill, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper and cook another minute or until heated through.  Remove from heat and mix in the feta and ricotta cheese.  (I tasted it to see if it needed any more salt and pepper at this stage – adjust as needed).

Season chicken lightly with more salt and pepper on both sides to taste.

Place about 1/4 cup or less if needed in the center of the chicken and roll, then lay the chicken seam side down on a platter or piece of wax paper.  Repeat with the remaining chicken.  Whisk the egg and 1 Tbsp water together in a small bowl with a pinch of salt.  Place the breadcrumbs in another bowl.  (You could substitute the whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs with the Italian bread crumbs that are already seasoned).  Dip the chicken rolls into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs and place seam side down on the baking sheet.   Repeat with the remainder then lightly spray top of the chicken with cooking spray or drizzle with a bit of olive oil.   Bake about 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through.

 

And wait until you see the veggies we had with this!  Oh My!  That is a story in itself!   Happy Monday!

Soup’s On!

This is one of hubby’s favorite soups.  I thought I had posted it but I couldn’t find where I had.  This recipe is easy, can be made healthy by using turkey kielbasa and light sour cream, and is so flavorful.  And what a great weekend for some soup!  A rainy, cool Saturday!  Hope you will give it a try. 

Kielbasa Stew

1 pound kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (can use turkey kielbasa)

1 Tbsp butter

1 (14 ounce) can beef broth

1 (10.75 ounce which is the campbell’s soup size) tomato soup

1 1/2 cups water

3 cups shredded cabbage (I just either slice really fine or chop – doesn’t matter on this one)

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup sour cream

1.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook sausage in butter until brown.  Pour broth, tomato soup and water into pan with sausage.  Stir in cabbage, onion, and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until flavors are well blended and cabbage is done.  Stir in sour cream and heat through before serving.

 

Hope you like it as much as hubby does.  Have a great weekend!

“Dressing” up

My kids want my “dressing” recipe.  They also want a few other recipes I make.  Well, here’s what I told them and I have to tell you the same thing.  Y’all come on over!   I don’t got no recipe….. which means, I “eyeball’ it and taste test and add a little more pinch of this and a little more pinch of that.

Apparently, their family members did not eat dressing, any sort, any kind, until they had mine.  Now that’s not to say there’s not great dressing other places, they just like mine.   Mine tastes like Memom’s (my mom’s) – and they simply like it.  Its not cubed up bread, its not “stuffing”, its not packaged.  Its strickly from “scratch” with a lot of “scratch’ in it.  

I did tell them that once they make their pone of cornbread for the base, take it out of the oven, immediately cut that beauty and taste it.   If it ain’t good enough to serve and share, and you oooh and aahhh over it, don’t make your dressing with it.   It won’t make good dressing.  (I speak from experience here, y’all.) 

And I tell them, don’t, under any circumstances, use an off-brand cornmeal.   Not at all.  Never.  There are some things I won’t do.  And this is one of them.  I am particular about my cornmeal, my flour, and my paper towels.  That’s all I got to say about that.

My dressing contains: cornbread, (of course),  onion, chopped, celery, chopped-number of stalks depends on amount of onion I use and amount of dressing I am making – usually onion and celery is about same quantity (I do not sauté these before adding – they cook in the process of baking the dressingand flavors the dressing so much better this way), salt and pepper to taste, a pinch of rubbed sage, 2 eggs, beaten, either the broth from the turkey you baked or chicken stock if I don’t have homemade stock, (I like using chicken stock as opposed to chicken broth as it is richer in flavor) and about 3 tablespoons of canola oil (keeps it so moist)  – and I can’t tell you the amount of broth I use as it is an “eyeballing it” sort of process.  I mix it all together, (after crumbling the cornbread all up, adding all the others) and place in the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until set, done, and golden on top. I always add the eggs last, as I taste the “mix” to adjust the seasonings of salt, pepper, and sage to “get it right.”

Man, oh, man, is it good.  Hubby likes it made into “chicken and dressing” in which I just boil the chicken (a scaled down portion of the above) and pull the chicken off the bone, use the broth I cooked the chicken in and lay the chicken all over the top of the dressing and bake.  He likes this better than the Baked Turkey sliced and the separate dressing. 

I just may have to make him some this month!   Make you some and let me know how your “eyeballing it” recipe turns out!