Follow on Facebook!

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.

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.