Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apples Abound...

We have an abundance of apples.  We bought a 1/2 peck of Johnathon apples, which my kids thought were too tart.  So I made a pie.
I'm still getting over shingles, so I cheated and bought a pie crust.  This is a Westmorland Pie, the recipe is from Southern Living.  The recipe calls for a crumb crust, but my husband balked at that.

I did cut little leaves out of the top crust and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.  It was wonderful.

Then my in laws returned from the smokies with a 1/2 peck of apples.  Not sure what type.  So I made my favorite skillet apple pie.  This is not my recipe, it is a variation from a Martha Stewart recipe.  Hers called for pears.  I don't like pears.  I grew up on the local sand pears (YUK).

I still have apples left.  Haven't decided what to make next.

Happy baking

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cornbread or Biscuits?

I have come to realize there are 2 kinds of people in the world:  those who prefer cornbread and those who prefer biscuits.  Both are huge in the South.  Some marriages exist because the wife makes amazing biscuits,  although fewer seem to rely on cornbread for marital bliss.
I am a cornbread person.  I would eat it every day if possible.  I love it plain or with add-ins.  I even like it fried and called dodgers (hush puppies for those above the mason-dixon line.  My husband is a biscuit person, DUH.  It would be too easy for us both to appreciate the same bread.  I like biscuits.  They are a great receptacle for jelly and syrup.  But I hate making biscuits.  Flour goes everywhere and makes me sneeze.  Not to mention it can be temperamental if you over mix it.  But the worst offense is, it's made with shortening.  As far as I'm concerned, shortening only belongs in one place, frosting!

Today I thought I would share with you my recipe for Cornbread.  Actually it's my mother's recipe, who got it from her mother.  But it's mine now!  This MUST be made in a cast iron skillet. ( Cornbread is also a great way to season your skillet!)

serves 3-4
Oven 425, preheat

1.  Heat the skillet on the stove, on high.  Add 1 TBLS. of oil and swirl around the pan to coat.  While the pan heats make the cornbread.

2.  In a mixing bowl combine:
    1/4 c. self-rising flour
    3/4 c. corn meal mix

3.  In a small bowl combine:
     1 egg
     1/2 c. milk
     Oil, from the hot skillet, be careful it is hot and can burn.

4.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture.  Stir until well blended.
5.  Pour mixture into the hot, greased skillet (small cast iron skillet), about 8in.
6.  Cook in a hot oven for 25 mins.

This can be easily doubled for a crowd.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beef Stirfry with Veggies

Yipee....it's Chinese for dinner.  I love Chinese food.  A few years ago my Sweetie Pie gave me a wok and two Chinese cookbooks for Christmas.  One book turned out to be awesome and is now dog eared.  I think it's called the Thousand Recipe Cookbook (it's listed on the side under favorite cookbooks).  Anyway back to dinner.

Before we start let me say that this recipe can be changed based on tastes.  The great thing about stir fry is, you start with a basic recipe and the stir fry technique and go on from there.  Unlike baking, it's not science!

Beef Stir fry with Veggies

Marinade:  (not my recipe so here is the basis, you can figure out the measurements)
  3 parts soy sauce
  1 part sherry (or rice wine if you can find it)

My part of the recipe:
  1 lb. stir fry cut beef
   3 cups hot cooked rice
  2 large carrots, cut into thin coins
  1/2 onion, cut into chunks
  1/2 bell pepper, cut into chunks
  2 green onions, diced
  2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces, not tiny about the size of a nickel or quarter
   3 Tbls. oil, divided

1) Mix marinade in a bowl, add beef.  Toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
2) Prepare and chop all veggies.  Once you start cooking you will not have time to cut anything up.  It must be ready to go.
3)  Heat wok or large pan to HIGH.  Add 2Tbls of oil.  Swirl around pan to coat.
4)  Stir fry onions and peppers for 2 minutes.  Add beef, reserve marinade, stir fry about 5 mins.  Until the beef is cooked through.  Keep stirring.
5)  Remove beef and veggies with tongs and set aside.   There should be a little liquid left, not to much.  If a lot of liquid has accumulated pour it into a bowl.  You can use it later.
6)  Add 1 Tbls. oil and heat.
7)  Add green onions and carrots.  Stir fry 1 minute.  Add broccoli and stir fry.  Pour the reserved marinade into the wok.  Stir fry a few times then cover with the lid.  Let cook for 5 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked to desired tenderness.  I like mine crunchy.

Serve with hot rice and egg rolls.

It is surprisingly easy and quick to make.  Bottled sauces can be used instead of the marinade.  Leftovers make great fried rice the next day.  Of course, we didn't have any left over.

Happy cooking

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cookie of the Week- Brown Sugar Spice

Perfect time for afternoon tea!  I am feeling much better today.  So much so, I made cookies.  Of course now I just want to rest.  This is my recipe for Brown Sugar Spice Cookies.  When fall hits I crave spice cookies.  This one has a sugar cookie base, made with....brown sugar.  I prefer them cut into small cookies, the kids prefer them large :)

These can be made into drop cookies or freezer cookies.

This is what you need:

Brown Sugar Spice Cookies

2/3 c. butter
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Course sugar to decorate, optional

1.  Beat butter and sugar until smooth, scraping sides of mixer.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Beat in flour and spices, a little at a time, until mixed well.  You might need to move to stirring by hand if you don't use a stand up mixer.

2.  Place the dough on surface covered with plastic wrap.  Form into a disk, wrap, and chill for 1 - 3 hours.  This dough is very sticky, the longer it sits in the refrigerator the better.  If you plan on making drop cookies skip this part.

3.  On a lightly floured surface take half of the dough and roll out.  Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on size.

4.  Cool on a rack and then eat ;)

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies. 

Hope you enjoy.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Taco Casserole

Tonight I made Aunt Jamina's Taco Casserole.  Daughter #1 loves Tacos, so I thought she would enjoy this.  I altered the recipe, of course.  I added a can of drained kidney beans and 1/3c -1/2c of taco sauce.  It looked really dry when I mixed it up, the taco sauce helped.
Food photography is not as easy as you would think! 

Anyway, it turned out pretty good.  Both of the girls ate it, and the added beans made it heartier.  Very quick and easy to make.  I would definitely make it again.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Casserole

Over the weekend a case of Shingles has crept up.  The kitchen has seen very little action.  I did make an altered version of the Pillsbury Chicken Alfredo Biscuit Casserole.  It turned out pretty good. 
I added crushed red pepper and garlic.  I also didn't have ready made biscuits, so those are from scratch.  You may not be aware of this, but I came a cornbread girl not a biscuit girl!  But that's a conversation for another time.

Sweetie Pie said the casserole needed less chicken and less broccoli and double the alfredo sauce!    Don't know if I will make it again!

Happy cooking

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pasta Salad

It is way too early to be up and cooking.  But since I wasn't sleeping, I thought it would be a good time to make my Sweetie Pie's favorite lunch for work.  Cold Pasta Salad. (I don't east cold pasta, but he loves it!)  Everything can be adjusted to personal taste.

Perfect Lunch Pasta Salad

Serves: 4-6
Time 15 min.

1 box of tri-colored pasta (16 oz)
1/3 of a bottle of Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 small tomato or 12 cherry tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, trimmed, and diced (green and white part)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
12 green olives, chopped
1/2 Parmesan cheese
1/2 can of water packed artichoke hearts, chopped

1) Boil pasta for 5 mins.  According to Sweetie, firm pasta is best.
2) Rinse pasta in cold water to stop the cooking.  Pour into medium bowl.  Pour Vinaigrette over pasta.
3) Add all ingredients and stir well.
4) Place in refrigerator until ready to eat.
5) Serve cold.

This is a great salad to take to work.

Happy Cooking,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu for the Week

I just returned from the grocery store, and spent way too much money!  I've made the menu for the week, some meals will actually have enough for two nights.  I'm hoping to make it until next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Monday:  Boxed Red Beans and rice with spicy sausage added
                Fresh Cornbread

Tuesday:  Chicken Alfredo (Semi-homemade)
                French Bread
                Fresh Broccoli

Wednesday:  Altered Taco Casserole

Thursday:  Stir-fry
                 Boxed Egg Rolls (i made them once, never again!)
                 Jasmine Rice

Friday:  Crock Pot Special

Saturday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Sunday:  Braised Pork chops
             Fresh  Broccoli
              Glazed Carrots

Cookie of the week: Spice Cookies
 Assuming all goes well and nothing bizarre happerns  we should have plenty to eat!

Happy Cooking

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Hello, bloggers. This is my first post as a food blogger. I am not a "foodie", I like to cook, and I love to eat. I have two picky eaters to feed, so that has limited my menu. I have more cookbooks than necessary, and find new ones I need everyday.
My schedule limits my "real cooking". Most of what I do now falls into the category of Just throwing things together. My hope is to get back into real cooking and baking.
This morning my nephew called asking for Deviled Eggs, he's 12. Who can refuse that. So here we go....

Deviled Eggs (basic recipe)
4 boiled eggs
3 Tbls. mayo
1 tsp. Mustard
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. salt
dash black pepper

1. Take eggs and peel them.

2. Slice eggs along the long way, pop out the yolk into a bowl. Set
the whites into a tray.

3. Using a fork or pastry cutter break the yolks into small pieces. A
food processor works well for this.

4. Add all ingredients, except for paprika. Stir well.

5. Use a small spoon, or pastry bag, to fill egg white cavities with
the yolk mixture.

6. Sprinkle paprika over each egg. Chill before eating, overnight is
great. It gives the flavors a chance to meld.

This is only the beginning. From here any number of mix-in's can be added. Pickles, onions, anchovies, etc... Half of these eggs had
Cayenne pepper added to them. They were really good.
In my cookbook I have measurements for up to 24 eggs. They are always going to family gatherings.
Happy Cooking