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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Dec 30, 2014

Scottish Shortbread

Another first - I have never made shortbread.  Mainly because I do not prefer it - usually.  Apparently, this is because I do not prefer commercially prepared shortbread.  Recipe number three on the LHJ Favorite Christmas Cookies was shortbread.  It is wonderful - and wonderfully easy.  I made it easier by purchasing three non stick foil pans and using one of my own that I buttered with an empty butter wrapper.

2 Cups Unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
5 Cups All Purpose Flour

Heat oven to 275 degrees.  Grease four 8 inch square pans, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in flour 1 cup at a time until well mixed.  Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and pat each evenly into the bottom of a pan.  If you only have two pans, refrigerate half of the dough until the first batch is baked.  With tines of a fork, prick dough all over to prevent bubbles.  Bake for 1 hour until pale and golden - NOT brown.  Cool in pans 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.

Dec 29, 2014

Pretzels, Beer Mustard and Chicken

I found Beer Mustard at our local grocer.  I had chicken breast on hand, and pretzels.  SOOOO - split the breast in half (butterfly style) coated them, browned and baked them.  YUM.

You'll need -

2 large chicken breast, butterflied completely in half.
2 Tbl Cup Beer Mustard - I used Sierra Nevada Porter and Spicy Brown Mustard, you can use whichever you like, they have 3.
1 cup crushed pretzels placed in a large, shallow bowl.
2 Tbl Butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt 1 Tbl butter in a pan large enough to hold 2 pieces of chicken.

Place 1/2 Tbl of mustard on one side of the chicken, rub to coat.  Place mustard side down in pretzels.

Rub top with another 1/2 Tbl mustard, flip and coat with pretzels.  Repeat with a second piece of chicken.  Place both in hot, buttered pan.

Cook 2 minutes per side and then placing in an oven safe pan. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces of chicken.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until 165 degrees.

Dec 16, 2014

Joe Froggers

Ladies Home Journal ceased publication this year.  Not long after, my mother in law found a cookie insert from December of 1980.  I am slowly working my way through in homage to LHJ.  This week, Joe Froggers (tweaked, of course).

1/2 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Sugar
4 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tsp Ginger
1/2 Tsp Clove
1/2 Tsp AllSpice
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Molasses
1/2 Cup Corn Syrup
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Dark Rum
3 Tbl HOT Water

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add salt and spices then gradually add flour to the creamed mixture.  Combine Molasses, Corn Syrup and Baking Soda.  Pour into mixer and blend until well mixed.  Combine rum and water, pour into mixture and continue to beat at low speed until well mixed.  Cover and chill at least two hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with silicone mats, parchment OR non stick foil.  Divide dough into quarters, working with one quarter at a time while the remaining dough is refrigerated.  Flour your work surface and roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick for a soft cookie, 1/8 for a crisp cookie.  Cut into 4 inch circles. Transfer to cookie sheets and bake 15 minutes.

Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Dec 15, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Cakes - for 1

I enjoy the American Profile magazine insert that is in the weekly paper.  Sadly, there was a notice this week that American profile is going a different direction and will not be available to our paper any more.  In this last episode, the include a recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cakeletts.  That was the basis for the following.

12 Maraschino Cherries
8 Ounce Crushed Pineapple
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
8.5 Ounce Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 Large Egg
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray muffin tins with oil.  Place a maraschino cherry in each.

Mix together pineapple and brown sugar, divide over cherries. Mix together muffin mix, egg, sour cream and yogurt.  Spoon over the pineapple.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cakes are set.  Flip onto a serving dish.

Dec 14, 2014

Meat Loaf Sauce

Hubby LOVES meat loaf - he prefers a red sauce on top.  His grandmother's recipes, posted here before, do not include the topping I use.  Simple enough - mix the following and spoon over the meat loaf before baking.

3/4 Cup Ketchup
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar

Dec 7, 2014

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

Recently, I tried a Molasses Sugar Cookie for the first time.  My niece has a great recipe that I will share, if she doesn't mind.  In the mean time, I had 1/2 cup of pumpkin in the refrigerator left over from making Creme Brûlée, so Pumpkin Molasses Cookies seemed to be a great idea.  Hubby thought so - he said he liked them better than the ones he used to eat with his Pop Pop.

1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/4 Cup Molasses
1 Large Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ginger
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 1/3 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
Sugar for rolling

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg and vanilla - mix until well combined.  Add the cinnamon, salt and ginger, mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine Flour and Baking Soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients and mix until combined.  Put in a small bowl, cover tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to 24.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner, parchment or non stick foil.  Place about a cup of sugar in a small bowl.  Drop balls of dough into sugar and roll to coat then place on the pan.  Bake for about 12 minutes until they start to get crinkly.  Remove from oven, leave on pan for 1 to 2 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Nov 26, 2014

Cornbread Stuffing

This cornbread stuffing is one of Hubby's favorites.  However - there is a soy allergy in the family.  Do you know how hard it is to find bread without soy? This year, I made the cornbread first using the recipe found here.

14 Oz Cornbread
1 Lb Sausage, Cooked, Drained And Crumbled
2 Tsp Thyme

1 1/2 Cups Sweetened Dried Cranberries
2/3 Cup Pecans, Chopped
1 Cups Chicken Broth

Combine all ingredients in a medium casserole dish or bowl.  Stuff bird or cover casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Pie Crust - Pre Baking 101

Sometimes, you just need a pre baked pie shell.  Cream pies, some custards, tarts - all use a pre baked, cooled crust.  Doing so is simple.

Place the pie crust in your pie pan - press the crust so it is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch taller than your pan to allow for shrinking.  Place in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Top crust with three coffee filters.

Top filters with pie weights - you can used purchased pie weights that are ceramic or stainless steel.  You an also line the crust with beans or rice.  Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or so until browned.  If you would like the bottom browned, remove the filters and weights and bake for another 5 minutes or so.

Nov 25, 2014

Spinach Potato Soup

Snow arrives tomorrow - how about a broth based soup to keep you warm and light for Thanksgiving?

2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Cups Potatoes, Diced
3/4 Cup Carrots, Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
15.5 Ounce Canellini Beans, Undrained
15.5 Ounce Dark Red Kidney Beans, Undrained
4 Cups Beef Broth
2 Cups Water
5 Cups Spinach - Washed and Chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste.

In a large soup pot, heat the oil.  Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute.  Add potatoes and carrots, sauté for 5 minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Nov 24, 2014

Queso Blanco

I recently purchased a cheese making kit from Standing Stone Farms (learn more here).  It had everything I needed to make cheese and a few things I didn't as I had them already (see earlier posts about cream cheese and creme fraiche).  My first project?  Queso Blanco.

1 Gallon Whole Milk (keep the empty jug)
2 Tsp Citric Acid
1 Tsp Kosher Salt

Sterilize all equipment before you begin (1 part to 10 parts water, dip, air dry).

Add milk to pot and stir gently over medium low heat until milk is 195 degrees.  Remove from heat and add citric acid, stir gently up and down for 10 seconds.

Cover and let stand 5 minutes, do not stir.  Drain into a flour sack towel and gently fold in the sea salt.    Tie the curd in the towel tightly and form cheese into a disk shape.  Place the cheese on a plate with a second plate on top.  Fill the milk jug with water and set on top of top plate.  Press for 1 hour.  Remove from sack, wrap and refrigerate for 7 to 10 days.

My cheese looked like a donut - the knot in my towel pressed a hole in the middle.

Nov 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Burritos

I wanted to make Queso Blanco, but I wanted something to cook and enjoy with it - and I wanted it easy.  Slow cooker chicken burritos fit the bill.

2 Lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
15 Ounce Chili Pinto Beans
16 Ounce Salsa
10 Inch Whole Wheat Tortillas
Shredded Cheese

Line a 6 quart slow cooker with a slow cooker liner.  Place chicken, beans and salsa in a slow cooker and stir.  Cook on high 3 hours.

Remove chicken and shred.  Return it to the slow cooker.  Spoon into tortillas, top with cheese and roll.  Enjoy.

Nov 19, 2014

Rolled Flank Steak

Frozen spinach, flank steak and cheddar horseradish cheese.  Roll it up, bake it, enjoy!

2 Lbs Flank steak, pounded to 1/2 inch
6 Tbl Cheddar Horseradish Cheese Spread
10 Ounces Frozen Spinach, thawed

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

To pounded steak, rub cheese to within 1 inch of the sides.  Place spinach in a towel and squeeze thoroughly.  Once very dry, put on top of cheese.  Roll up and tie with twine.  Bake about 45 minutes until about 150 degrees.

Nov 18, 2014

Sweet Potato Coins

Fresh sweet potatoes from the CSA.  This dish went well with the beef roll up.

Scrub the potatoes well, peel if you like.  Slice into 1/4 inch pieces.

While prepping, put 4 Tbl butter into a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan.   And 3 Tbl Brown Sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.  Melt over low heat.

Once the potatoes are prepped, add enough to the sauce pan that you can stir easily.  Put the remaining potatoes into a pie pan.

Stir the potatoes in the saucepan to coat then pour over the top of the potatoes in the pan coating well.  Drizzle any butter remaining in the pan over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven until soft.

Nov 17, 2014

The Fifth Paw

I walk my dogs.  A Lot.  Nature calls whenever it wants, but I don't want to have to carry a full bag.  I used to, as any good dog owner does, then I saw an advertisement for The Fifth Paw.  

An ingenious little device that slips onto your leash.  It has two sides and can slip onto thick or thin leashes up to 1 inch wide.

It has three 'hooks' around the outside that will hold poo bags - sometimes two at a time, if you are walking multiple dogs.  Just tie a knot, slip it in and away you go.

Learn more and see a demonstration at their website.  

Nov 16, 2014

Blueberry Apple Bake

Blueberries frozen at their peak, apples fresh from the CSA, a crumbly topping and YUM.

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 Stick Butter, softened
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Cups Apples, peeled and chopped
4 Cups Blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine Brown Sugar, Coconut, butter and flour.  Mix by hand until crumbly.  Set aside.

Stir together remaining ingredients.  Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.  Top with coconut mixture.  Bake 30 to 40 minutes until browned.

Nov 9, 2014

Coconut Cherry Cookie Bar

I received a pouched cookie mix in a silent auction item.  I had canned cherries.  Why not mix them?
Topped with a coconut mixture and baked...yum!

8.5 Ounce Pouch Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
21 Ounces Lucky Leaf Premium Cherry Pie Filling
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbl Butter
1/4 Cup Mik
1 Cup Coconut

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray an 8 inch square pan with baking spray with flour, set aside.

Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies to package directions.  Press into the bottom of the prepared pan, bake for 12 minutes.

Carefully spoon cherries over cookies and spread to cover.  Keep in mind, the cookies are very soft at this point.  If you just dump in the middle and spread, you may move the cookies.

Bake for 10 minutes.  While baking, combine remaining ingredients.  Spoon over cherries and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until coconut is browned.

Nov 8, 2014

Breakfast Casserole

I made this as breakfast for dinner then we had leftovers for breakfast for several days.

1 Pound Sausage
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
8 Large Eggs
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
15 Ounces Shredded Hash Browns, thawed
2 Cups Cheese, shredded
12 Ounces Cottage Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Cook the sausage.  Cool.  While cooling, sautee garlic in the pan.  Add sausage and garlic to a food processor, pulse twice.  Add eggs, salt and pepper.  Run food processor for 2 to 3 minutes.  Pour into a large bowl.  Add cheeses and potatoes, stir well.  Pour into a pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until set and slightly browned.

Nov 7, 2014

Broccoli Soup - Hiding Others

I had broccoli from a CSA.  I also had Cauliflower.  Hubby isn't fond of Cauliflower and I can only eat so much on my own.  I made soup and the broccoli hid the cauliflower quite nicely.  I used pepper jack cheese.

4 Tbl Butter
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
7 Cups Broccoli, Chopped
1 Cup Cauliflower, Chopped
1 Cup Carrots, Chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste
3 Tbl Flour
4 Cup Beef Stock
1/2 Cup Cream
1 Cup Shredded Cheese

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant - about 1 minute.  Add broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and sautee for 4 to 5 minutes.  Add flour and cook for another minute or two.  Add stock, bring to a boil.  Simmer until vegetables are tender.  Add cream and puree with an immersion blender.

Nov 6, 2014

Beef Wellington

Hubby wanted to try beef wellington.  We could find a restaurant that made it - and pay a fortune for something he may not like - or I could try and make it.  I took option two.  I used a recipe from the FamilyTime website, tweaked slightly as below.

1 beef tenderloin (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1 Tbl ground black pepper 
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Butter
2 cups finely chopped mushroom
1/4 cup medium onion, finely chopped 
all-purpose flour
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed

Heat the oven to 425°F.  Place the beef into a lightly greased roasting pan. Season with the black pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the beef reads 130°F.  Cover the pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Reheat the oven to 425°F.  Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until the mushrooms are tender and all the liquid is evaporated, stirring often.

Sprinkle the work surface with the flour.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a rectangle large enough to fully cover the beef. Brush the pastry sheet with the egg mixture. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the pastry sheet to within 1-inch of the edge. Place the beef in the center of the mushroom mixture.  Fold the pastry over the beef and press to seal.  Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet.  Tuck the ends under to seal.  Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the beef reads 140°F.

Nov 5, 2014

Layered Pumpkin Bars

I have an abundance of pumpkin puree.  I smoked a turkey breast.  I thought a pumpkin dessert would  give it a nice fall feel but I didn't want to do pie - too close to Thanksgiving.  SOOO, dessert bars.  Whatever I had in my cupboard.  This is it.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 inch square pan with non stick foil OR regular foil lightly butter.

4 Ounces Butter
1 1/2 Cups Cinnamon Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
14 Ounce Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
1 Cup Coconut

In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.  Add the cookie crumb and stir until well combined.  Press into pan.  In the same bowl, combine the pumpkin, approximately half of the sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir to combined, pour evenly over the crumbs.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips then almonds then coconut.  Pour remaining milk over the top of all.  Bake approximately 40 minutes, until coconut is well toasted.

Oct 22, 2014

Baked Pork Chops and Potatoes

Potatoes and peppers from the CSA, pork chops on sale = baked goodness.

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
4 Pork Chops
1 Tbl Oil
1 Tbl Herbs De Provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Cups Bell Pepper - Large Dice
2 Cups Potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
2 Cups Milk, heated to almost boiling
4 Tbl Butter
1/4 Cup Cake Flour (may use AP)

Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet.  While heating, sprinkle Herbs De Provence on the pork chops.  Put the garlic in the skillet and place the pork chops on top, herb side down.  Cook for 1 minute, sprinkling with salt and pepper.  Turn.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes and move to a casserole dish.

Put peppers into skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, pour on top of pork chops.

Layer potatoes over peppers.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter.  Whisk in flour - making a roux.  Slowly whisk in milk, pour over all.

Cover and bake for 1 hour.

Oct 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Pound Cake

This cake will get are dark crust.  Don't worry, it doesn't taste burnt, it tastes like a peanut butter cookie.  Think of it - peanut butter pound cake wrapped in a peanut butter cookie.  YUM.

1 Cup Butter, Softened
3 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Jif
6 Large Eggs
3 Cup Cake Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Creme Fraiche
1 Tsp Vanilla.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter a tube pan, set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Beat in peanut butter.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.  Sift together flour, baking powder and soda.  Add half to the mixer bowl, mix well.  Add the creme fraiche and vanilla, mix well.  Add remaining flour mixture, mix and pour into pan.

Bake in middle of oven 80 to 90 minutes until a pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes.

Oct 9, 2014

Apple Cake

This is a spicy, apple loaded pastry that is a bit like monkey bread but baked in one piece like a cake. It is not extremely sweet.  You may make and use a glaze, but I didn't find it necessary.

3 Cups Bisquick
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1/4 Cup Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla
3 Large Eggs, slightly beaten
3 Cups Diced Apples

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a bundt pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients, set aside.

Mix all wet ingredients, stir into dry ingredients just until moist.  Gently stir in apples (You may need to use your hands).  Press into pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

Oct 7, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob

By now, many of you have seen this post on FaceBook.  What follows is my first time making a version of this.  I had no Cajun Spice, but I had a cupboard full of spices, so this was my concoction.  Quite tasty.

I heated my grill to 400 degrees.  While heating, I shucked the corn and placed each on a piece of non stick foil.

I mixed 1 Tsp Chili Powder, 1 Tsp Salt, 1 Tsp Five Pepper Spice Mix, 1/2 Tsp Ground Mustard, 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper and 1/2 Tsp Hot Hungarian paprika and sprinkled that over the corn.

I then wrapped the corn in bacon.

Wrapped all of that in foil and placed on the grill.

Cooked it for about 10 minutes, turned it and added chicken to the grill.

Turned every 10 minutes until the chicken was done.

Yes, I had spices left over.  No problem - I mixed them with the plum glaze so the chicken tied together nicely with the corn.  You could also dice potatoes, toss with oil and the spices, wrap in foil and put them on the grill with the corn.

Oct 6, 2014

Pumpkin Treats for Your Dog

It's fall, don't your pup's deserve a pumpkin treat, too?

Mix 2 Cups pumpkin, 1/2 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter, 1 Container Plain Greek Yogurt (approximately 5.5 ounces), and 1 Cup milk in a blender.

Blend until smooth.

Pour into ice cube trays.


Oct 5, 2014

Another Weekend, Another Corn Maze

Today found is in Aspers, PA at Fields of Adventure.  A space themed maze - with a finish time of 19:41.  We picked a pumpkin - this one to decorate the bottom of the steps.  When soft, we will put it out where the deer like to hide.  A zip line was available, but it was too windy when we were there.  There were ponies, calves and goats to pet:

Pumpkin Checkers:

Pumpkin Bowling:

and lots of other things to do.  Find a farm, have a fun fall day.

Oct 3, 2014

Spiced Plum Sauce

Yesterday's Pork chops and the sweet and spicy plum chicken wings we had a few weeks ago were wonderful.  I had a batch of spiced plum jam that did not set (twice) and is now plum syrup, so I thought I would make a glaze for chicken.  This would work with spiced plum jam, too, but be thicken.

Combine 1 cup Spiced Plum Jam and 1/4 Cup Spicy Mustard.  Use as a glaze for chicken (or pork).

Oct 2, 2014

Spiced Pork and Plums

CSA Plums - wanted something a little different.  This mixture fit the bill.  Spiced Pork and Plums - may sound odd, but the plum sauce is WONDERFUL - try it, you'll like it.

4 Pork Chops
2 Tbl Butter
1 Tsp 5 Spice Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 Cup Seasoned Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar
2 Tbl Soy Sauce
1 Tbl Brown Sugar

Melt butter in medium heat pan.  Sprinkle one side of pork with 5 spice powder, place spice down in hot pan.

Sprinkle top side with salt.  Cook 4 minutes per side and remove to a plate.

Slice plums, add to hot pan.  Cook 3 minutes.

Whisk together garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar.

Add to pan.  Cook and stir until simmering.

Return Pork to pan, cover and cook until pork is cooked (155 degrees).