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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.

May 27, 2020

Pudding Mix

During quarantine, I purchased a box from a local restaurant that included a gallon of milk,  We don't go through milk very fast, so I found myself with not only bananas to use up, but milk.  I pulled out my trusty Amish cookbook and found a Pudding Mix recipe.  You read that right - Pudding Mix.  When you make pudding, if you want to avoid the skin on top, push plastic wrap onto the top.

1/2 Cup Corn Starch
1 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp Salt

Mix well and store in an air tight container.

Okay, that is the mix, now what about the milk????

Time to make pudding!

Vanilla Pudding
3/4 Cup Pudding Mix
2 Eggs, Beaten
2 Tbl Butter
3 Cups Milk
2 Tsp Vanilla

Heat 2 cups milk and butter over medium heat until almost boiling.  While heating, stir together the remaining milk, pudding mix, eggs and vanilla.  When milk is ready, whisk in the pudding mix and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.

Remove from heat and cool.  Refrigerate.

Chocolate Pudding
3/4 Cup Pudding Mix
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs, Beaten
2 Tbl Butter
5 Tbl Cocoa Powder
3 Cups Milk
2 Tsp Vanilla

Heat 2 cups milk and butter over medium heat until almost boiling.  While heating, stir together the remaining milk, pudding mix, Cocoa, eggs and vanilla.  When milk is ready, whisk in the pudding mix and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.

Remove from heat and cool.  Refrigerate.

May 24, 2020

Roasted Chicken and Tomatoes in a Mustard Balsamic Sauce

Quick and easy supper - done.  If you do not have balsamic glaze just use 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar.  Serve over cooked spaghetti.

1/4 Cup Balsamic Glaze
1/4 Cup Hot Water
1/4 Cup Ice Water
4 Tsp Olive Oil
4 Tsp Mustard
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1.5 Lb Chicken Breast
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
1 Lemon, zested

Salt and pepper the chicken, put into a baking dish.

Stir together balsamic glaze and hot water until blended then stir in ice water..  Add olive oil, mustard and garlic.  Whisk together and pour over chicken.  Allow to sit for at least 2 hours.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator and turn the oven to 400 degrees.  When the oven is heated, place the chicken in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and continue to cook, at least 10 minutes, chicken should be 165 minimum.

Place chicken on top of spaghetti then top with sauce and tomatoes, sprinkle with lemon zest and enjoy.

May 23, 2020

Southwest Black Beans

Quarantined?  Don't want to go to the store?  Raid your pantry.

1 Tbl Butter
1/2 Cup Bell Pepper, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
15 Ounces Black Beans
2 Cups Corn
1 Cup Cooked Rice
1/2 Cup Cilantro
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
2 Tsp Cumin
1 Lime - zested and juiced
2 Cups Shredded Cheese of your choice

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Saute Bell Pepper until just beginning to soften.  Stir in Garlic until fragrent.  Add the Beans and Corn - heat through.  Add spices and rice, stir well.  Add lime zest and juice, stir well.

Once fully heated, set aside. 

Heat tortillas in a microwave with a most paper towel.

Put cheese and filling on a tortilla, wrap and grill on each side.  Serve topped with salsa and more cheese.  No tortillas?  Add some more rice, eat as a burrito bowl.

May 20, 2020

Ripe Bananas - Option 2 - Cake

Okay, so you want something a little sweeter, but still a healthy snack?  Try this banana cake.  Don't like coconut?  Use an extract of your choice, such as vanilla, and stir in some chopped nuts.

2 Large Eggs, separated
2/3 Cup Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 1/4 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Tsp Coconut Extract
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 pan, set aside.  

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light in color.  Beat in egg yolks, one a a time, until well mixed.  Add bananas.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda (and buttermilk powder, if using).  Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk (or water for buttermilk powder), beating well after each addition.  Add Coconut Extract.

Fold in Egg Whites.  Fold in Coconut.  Bake for about 50 minutes.  Set on a wire rack to cool.

May 18, 2020

Ripe Bananas? Option 1 - Bread

I try to purchase only the number of bananas I think will get eaten.  However, best intentions aside, I sometimes miss the mark.  So ripe bananas - option 1 - banana bread (or bake in muffin tins).  I like banana bread, but it is sometimes too sweet, but not this one.

1 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Butter, softened
2 Large Eggs
1 2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Water
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom only of a 9 inch bread pan, set aside.

Cream together sugar and butter until light in color.  Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended.  Add bananas and water, mix well.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except coconut, until just moistened.  Add coconut, fold in and then pour into the pan.  Bake for about 60 minutes - a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes then loosen from sides of pan and then turn onto a cooling rack.  Cool Completely before slicing.

May 2, 2020

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

This is a great recipe for two - double to have leftovers for lunch or feed a family of four.  When you drain the tomatoes, save the oil.  It is great to add flavor to other dishes - for example, use it to scramble eggs.  I like to use Boars Head Italian Mozzarella for this - it has a nice coating of spice on the outside.

2 Chicken Breasts
Salt and Pepper
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
1 Roma Tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup  Basil, chiffonaude
4 Tsp Sun Dried Tomatoes in oil - drained and chopped
2 Slices Cheese - your choice
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Cup Balsamic Glaze

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Butterfly the chicken breasts (slice in half, stopping just short of cutting through and open like a book).

Season inside of the breasts with salt, pepper, oregano and basil.  Place 2 slices fresh tomatoes, half the basil, 2 tsp sun dried tomato and 1 slice cheese one one side of the chicken.  Close the chicken and wrap snugly in foil.  Wrap each breast separately.

Place in a baking pan and place in the oven.  Bake until the chicken is cooked through - 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, remove from foil, place on plate and drizzle with Balsamic Glaze.

Apr 29, 2020

Millionaire's Shortbread

If you watch the Great British Baking Show, this recipe may seem familiar - it was a challenge on one season.  Don't worry, I will give you more direction that the contestants had :)

1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
3 Tsp Cornstarch
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Cold Butter, Cubed
1 T Ice Water
1 Large Egg Yolk

14 Oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
6 Tbl Butter, softened
2 Tbl Corn Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla
Large Pinch Salt

6 Oz High Quality Semi Sweet Chocolate, grated
3 Tbl Heavy Cream

Prepare Crust:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 inch square pan with non stick foil OR parchment paper.  Push the paper into the corners and ensure that paper overlaps on the edges.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor with blade, combine flour, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Combine well.  Add the butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.  Add the ice water and egg yolk - blend until moist clumps form.  Dump into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.  If the dough sticks to your fingers, dust your fingers lightly with flour.  Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Prepare Caramel:  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, syrup vanilla and salt.  Continue stirring until sugar dissolves and the butter melts.  Add a candy thermometer, bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Continue to whisk and boil until the thermometer registers 225 degrees.  Pour the caramel over the crust, even if still warm.  Cool until caramel is set.

Prepare Chocolate:  Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave 20 seconds at a time, stirring well in between, until the chocolate is 75 percent melted.  At this point, keep stirring until fully melted.  Spread over the caramel layer.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.  ]

Serve:  Remove the bars from the pan with the overlapping liner and place on a cutting board.  Cut into small squares.  Store in the refrigerator.