Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday...Baked Ham w/mashed potatoes
Tuesday...Tacos & refried beans
Wednesday...Spaghetti w/meatballs
Thursday... Crockpot Beef Stew w/homemade bread
Friday...Chicken & Rice Stir Fry
Saturday...Cheesy Sausage, Egg & Potato Casserole
Sunday...Grilled Cheese & Potato soup

Check out more menus over at

Friday, December 12, 2008

Virtual Cookie Swap--Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking soda

colored sugar or icing for decorating!!!

cream together butter and powdered sugar, beat with mixer at low speed until fluffy. Add egg & flavorings. Mix flour & baking soda together in a separate bowl & then stir into the butter mixture. Form dough into log, wrap in wax paper & refrigerate at least 2 hrs.

Cut dough into two sections & roll out 1/4 inch thick. Cut out with cookie cutters. Sprinkle with sugar or colored sugar decorations (skip this if you plan to frost them).
bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 for 7-8 minutes or until edges are just starting to brown. Remove from cookie sheet immediately. Let them cool completely before frosting.

Makes about 4 dozen 2 inch cookies.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday---Beef Stew

I LOVE doing daily themes. I saw a reference to Slow Cooking Thursday on this weeks Menu Plan Menu & was sooo excited to join in.

The crockpot is one of my best friends in the kitchen. I don't always use it to cook entire meals. This recipe is cooked in stages, but eventually it does all end up in the crockpot.

2 lbs stew meat or 2 lb roast cut into cubes (whichever is cheaper)
2 cups frozen carrots
6-8 medium potatoes
2 T vegetable oil or shortening
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup minced garlic
32 oz Beef Broth (I like Swanson's, but cheapest is fine)
26 oz Swanson Beef Cooking Stock
salt & pepper
flour or corn starch for thickening

Heat 2 T oil in large frying pan, add 1/4 cup minced garlic. Let the garlic start to brown, then add meat. Brown meat on all sides, season with salt & pepper, transfer to crockpot. Add chopped celery to frying pan & brown in any remaining oil, add 2 cups Beef Broth & bring to a boil, boil for 3 minutes, then pour into crockpot. Add 2 cups frozen carrots and all of Cooking Stock.....put the remaining 2cups of beef broth in the refrigerator for later. Turn crockpot on low. Peel & cube potatoes, rinse in cold water then add to crockpot. Switch crockpot to High & cook for at least 4 hrs without removing lid. Can also be cooked on low for 7-8 hours.

In a saucepan, heat remaining beef broth to a boil. Mix together 1 cup water & 1/4 cup flour or corn starch in a cup. Slowly add the flour mixture to the boiling broth, stir continuously. Boil at least one minute, add thickened broth to crockpot & stir thoroughly. Turn crockpot to low & cook an additional 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nut Breads for Christmas

For today's Tackle it Tuesday, I'm finally making my pumpkin bread, from the pumpkin puree I made a few weeks ago. Luckily for me, pumpkin stores well in the fridge. I'm using the recipe from my post over on Large Family Cooking.

I've also posted a Cranberry nut bread recipe & a Banana nut bread recipe in the last week. I just LOVE to make nut bread in the weeks before and after Christmas. It is almost as yummy as cookies!! Mini nutbreads also make GREAT gifts for teachers, coworkers, even the mailman. If a small gift is needed, one mini loaf fits that perfectly. If a bigger gift is called for you can give a variety of 3 or 4 different kinds of mini loaves or even add a mini loaf as a center piece to a cookie tray.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday...Pork chops, stuffing & green beans



Friday...Scalloped potatoes w/Ham

Sunday...Roast Beef & Mashed potatoes
Check out everyone else's plans for the week at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

Something about December makes me want to bake every day. On Sunday, I made cinnamon rolls. Sorry, no pictures, but here's the recipe. They were really good, so I'm sure I'll be making more soon & I'll get pictures.


1 package yeast (2 1/4 t)
1/2 cup very warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk (cooled)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 t salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour

1 stick softened butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

In a large glass bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, water and milk. Stir until yeast & sugar are dissolved. Add butter, salt & egg. Add two cups of flour & mix until smooth. Slowly add additional flour until dough is smooth & elastic. Cover with kitchen towel & allow to rise in a warm place until double in size. Punch down, knead on floured surface, sprinkling any sticky parts with flour. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness in a rectangle shape.

Spread softened butter on dough. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon. Add raisins &/or nuts if desired.

Roll the dough tightly starting on the longest edge. Slice dough into 1 inch segments and place in greased baking pan. Leave at least 1 inch all the way around each segment. Cover pan & allow to rise again until segments are touching. Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Rub butter over tops immediately after removing from oven. Allow to cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving to avoid burns. Icing or glaze can be applied after the initial cooling phase.


Tamales are a traditional Mexican food served at Christmas. They are one of those perfect foods that almost everybody likes. They are easy to reheat, easy to eat & very portable. They are a bit labor intensive to make, but very worth the effort. I've also been told they freeze well, but there are never any left to freeze when I make them, my family gobbles them up immediately.

Start with

And (This is shredded pork, but you can also use shredded beef or chicken.) I cook the meat in my crockpot until it is falling off the bones, then let it cool in the fridge for a couple hours (or overnight). Remove as much grease from the cooled meat as possible, then shred it either with your hands or using two forks to pull it apart. Add about 1/2 can of enchilada sauce for flavoring. Keep the broth for use in making the dough.

You will need a pot like this with a steamer insert

To prepare the dough, combine 3 cups Masa, 1/2 t salt & 1 t baking powder. Add 2/3 cup shortening and cut in like making biscuits. When it is crumbly, add 2 cups either broth from the meat or canned chicken broth. I add about 1/2 can of enchilada sauce to the broth & heat it ahead of time. Mix the liquid into the dry until the dough becomes spongy. Let sit for a few minutes.Put about this much masa on a soaked & rinsed corn husk (soak corn husks in HOT water for about 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly & remove any corn silks)
Flatten it out
Put a small amount of meat all down the center
Fold over the corn husk

Fold the husk back open
Fold the other side closed, fold the ends in, then roll up

Stack on end in steamer pot
Steam at low heat for an hour, then take them out & let them sit for at least 2 hrs to cool before eating or packaging up for later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It's going to be a busy week!!
Tuesday... Red Beans & Rice
Wednesday... Honey Ham w/sweet potatoes

Thursday... (Thanksgiving) Starting to cook on Wednesday

Roasted turkey
white bread stuffing
cornbread stuffing
mashed potatoes
giblet gravy
candied sweet potatoes w/marshmallows
sweet & sour green beans
canned cranberry sauce
homemade whole cranberry sauce
spiced peaches
homemade bread rolls
2 homemade deep dish apple pies
2 homemade pumpkin pies
cherry pie
peach pie

Saturday...Fend for yourself
Sunday...more leftovers

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This is a family recipe. My Grandmother made this bread daily for her husband & 6 kids when my Mom was a kid. My Mom has always made it for holiday meals & on those chilly winter days when fresh baked bread is the only thing that can make you feel truly warm. I started making it when I was about 10. My Mom would buy a jar of yeast & 20 lbs of flour, then several times a week I would "practice" making bread. It really is one of those trial & error things that you have to make over & over to get the feel for. I don't make it as often as my family would like, but I do make it for all holidays & randomly through out the winter.

This recipe involves getting messy. Plan to have dough up to your elbows & flour all over the place.

2 cups very warm water
1 packet regular yeast (2 1/4 t )
2 T sugar
2 T vegetable oil
2 t salt
5 lbs flour (you won't use the whole thing, but it is best to have a full bag to start)

It is important to use a large glass bowl....I sometimes use the 5 quart stoneware insert from my round crockpot.

Read the instructions on the back of the yeast packet. The water should be 90 to 100 degrees. Pour water into large glass bowl. Add sugar, yeast, oil & salt. Mix around with your fingers to dissolve.

Start adding flour 2 cups at a time & mixing in well with one hand (keep one hand out of the mixture to use in getting the flour out of the bag or canister). It can also be helpful to have another person pour flour for you. You will know you are close to enough flour when it starts to get hard to mix the flour into your dough. The dough should have an elastic feel & when you knead it, there shouldn't be any stickiness.

Put the dough back in the large bowl & cover with a towel. Let it rise in a warm part of the kitchen until it doubles in size. Punch it down, sprinkling flour on it anywhere it is sticky. Cover & let rise again. The second rising will be faster.

Punch it down again. Break off a piece about the size of a racquetball. It should fit nicely in the palm of your hand. Knead the dough by pulling the edges out & folding them firmly back into the center. Continue kneading until a solid firm ball is formed. Place into a greased 13X9 baking pan. Repeat until the pan is full. Be sure to leave about 1 inch space around each roll. Cover with a towel & let rise until the rolls are touching each other.

Bake in the oven @ 400 for 20 minutes or until they are golden. Remove from oven, rub the tops of the rolls with butter for a soft crust or shortening for a firmer crust. Remove from pan & allow to cool slightly before serving. DO NOT cut into hot bread with a knife!!!!! Cutting with a knife will cause the bread to get gummy. Break open by hand to butter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Mom's Baking Powder biscuits

This is a recipe my Mom has been making since she was a child.

1 Cup all purpose flour
1t baking powder (not baking soda)
1/2 t salt
1 T Crisco
enough water to get good dough consistency

Measure flour, baking powder & salt into bowl. Mix together. Add Crisco. Cut Crisco into flour mixture until crumbly. Add enough water to make a stiff dough. Roll out on a floured surface & cut with a small glass, or add a little extra water & drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased pan. Bake at 425 until golden (10-15 minutes).

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to accommodate a crowd.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let the countdown to Thanksgiving begin

There are 12 days until Thanksgiving!!!It's time to start gathering the recipes & thinking about strategy! I will be buying a 15 to 18 pound frozen turkey in the next few days...they are currently 79 cents a pound at the local grocery store, I'm hoping it will drop down another 10 to 2o cents a pound when the sale papers come out tomorrow. Once I buy the turkey it will sit in the bottom of my fridge until Thanksgiving morning. I know from past experience that it takes about a week for a turkey that size to actually defrost in the refrigerator. Based on that, I'll probably buy it this Wednesday. I've already bought a 10 lb spiral sliced ham. I've been making lists of what I've already got & what I still need to buy. Most of what I still need is produce, so I will buy that on the Tuesday before.

Here's a run down of my plan
Roast turkey--put it in the roaster by 9 am Thanksgiving morning, it should be done about 1 1/2 hrs before dinner. I don't cook my stuffing inside the turkey. Put turkey on a serving platter & let it cool to make carving easier.

Honey glazed ham--put it in the oven for one hour, two hours before dinner. Keep it in the baking pan covered with foil until just before dinner. Reheat in the microwave if needed just before putting it on the serving platter....don't forget to remove the foil before putting it in the microwave.

white bread stuffing--have the kids rip up 4 loaves of day old bread Wednesday morning. Leave out overnight to get completely stale. Thanksgiving morning, melt 1/2 cup butter in frying pan, saute 1 diced onion & 2 diced stalks of celery, plus the diced core of the celery until limp & slightly golden, add spices, eggs & milk put into baking pans & cover with foil. Cooks for about an hour at 400....anytime during the day. Remove foil & brown in oven for about 20 minutes sometime in the two hrs before dinner. Warm up in the microwave just before serving if it gets too cool.

cornbread stuffing--bake batch of cornbread on Wednesday, cube & allow to sit out to get stale, prepare stuffing at least 2 hrs before dinner, substitute turkey broth for chicken broth, substitute poultry seasoning for thyme, bake in a baking pan as time allows. Reheat in microwave just before serving.

mashed potatoes--get Hubby to peel 10 lbs of potatoes on Wednesday night. Immerse them in water in a big pan or bowl & refrigerate until about 2 hrs before dinner. Cook & prepare, store in crockpot on low to keep them warm through out dinner.

giblet gravy--remove the giblets from the turkey before it goes in the roaster. Boil them including the neck for about an hr, then let cool. Chop up the meat, only use a small portion of the liver, it can be very bitter, feed the extra liver to the dog or cats. Remove as much meat as possible from neck & discard bones, put the chopped meat back into the broth & set aside until the turkey is taken out of the roaster. Add the broth from the roaster, then bring to boiling & thicken with a flour & water paste.

baked sweet potatoes--wrap about 6 thoroughly washed sweet potatoes in foil. Bake in oven at 400 for 1 1/2 hrs early in the day....leave them wrapped & reheat in oven for about 20 minutes just before dinner. Serve with butter, marshmallows & cinnamon

candied sweet potatoes w/marshmallows--prepare in a baking dish a couple hrs before dinner, reheat in microwave just before serving

sweet & sour green beans--in the morning, cook 4 cans french cut green beans in the juice from the cans, add 1/2 lb crumbled cooked bacon, add 1 T bacon grease, 2T sugar & 2 T vinegar....increase sugar or vinegar to taste to create sweet & sour flavor. Refrigerate in serving dish until just before dinner, reheat in microwave.

canned cranberry sauce--refrigerate cans until just before dinner, slice onto a refrigerated plate to serve.

homemade whole cranberry sauce....follow recipe & prepare on Wednesday. Refrigerate until just before dinner.

spiced peaches...on Wednesday, put 2 cans of peaches in heavy syrup into large bowl with lid. Insert cloves randomly into peach pieces, sprinkle with cinnamon. cover & refrigerate until just before dinner

veggie tray...daughter in law is bringing

pickle & olive mother is bringing

homemade bread rolls...make dough Thursday morning, allow to rise 2X, set aside until about an hour before dinner, then make into rolls & let rise again. put in oven at 400 for 20 minutes just before dinner, when the bread is done it is time for dinner!!!

2 homemade deep dish apple pies...make on Wednesday, store uncovered in a cool place until time for dessert

2 homemade pumpkin pies...make according to Libby directions on Wednesday. Use two regular pie pans. Store in cool place covered with plastic wrap until time for dessert

cherry pie...make on Wednesday in a deep dish pan. Uses two cans of pie filling. Store in cool place covered with plastic wrap

peach pie...make on Wednesday. Use 3 lbs frozen peaches in a deep dish pie pan. Store uncovered in a cool place.

It may seem like a lot of work, but the enjoyment my family & I get from having this special meal together makes it well worth the effort.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Cooking with Anne had a post about Fresh Pumpkin a while back. Pumpkin anything is always popular with my kids, so we had to give it a try. We baked the pumpkin, we let it cool & then we scooped it out. I put it in the colander to drain for about 30 minutes because pumpkin is VERY watery. Then I put it in the refrigerator because I didn't have time to blend it up. The next day, I put it in my biggest bowl that goes to my electric mixer & used the mixer to puree it. Anne recommended using a blender or a food processor, but I don't have either of those out on the counter at the moment, so I decided to give the mixer a try first & it worked beautifully!!! One fairly small pumpkin made 5 cups of puree!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Deep Dish Apple Pie

Yesterday, I went to the store & bought more apples.....the neighbor's tree is all out. I bought 4 large Granny Smiths, 6 Romes & 12 Gala. The Granny Smiths are tart & very firm. The Romes are slightly sweet, & very firm. The Gala's are much softer than the other two & pretty sweet. The Granny Smiths & Romes are essential to a good pie, the sweet apple usually varies depending on what is on sale. Fuji's, Red Delicious & Golden Delicious all work equally as well as the Gala's. The firm apples will retain some firmness even when cooked, but the softer apples will cook down almost to the point of being a sauce. By combining different types of apples, I not only get an interesting sweet/tart balance, I also get several layers of texture.

Start by washing all the apples well. Peel apples & place in a large colander. Wash again after they are all peeled. Discard the peels. Using a fruit slicer, slice & core the apples. Mix all the different kinds together in one bowl. Don't worry about stray seeds or bits of peel. Discard the cores. Wash all the slices in cold water in a large colander. Let it sit for a few minutes in the sink for all the water to drain. Using a paring knife, cut off any remaining peel, core or seeds on each slice, cut the slices 1/8 inch thick and put in a large bowl.

Sprinkle cinnamon over sliced apples. Stir gently with a slotted spoon until they are all lightly coated. Sprinkle 2 cups sugar over sliced apples, stirring gently until the are all coated. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour over apples & stir gently to coat. Apples can be stored for up to 24 hrs before making pie. To store, cover bowl tightly & refrigerate. Add additional flour just before using apples if mixture seems too wet. There should not be any visible liquid in the bowl.

Double-Crust Pie

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup Crisco butter flavored shortening
  • 5 to 10 tablespoons ice cold water

To make pie crust, put flour, sugar & salt in medium bowl, mix with fork to combine. Add Crisco. Using two butter knives or a pastry blender, cut the shortening into flour mixture until crumbly. Add water one tablespoon at a time stirring continuously with fork until it starts to stick together. Using hands, form into a ball. Cut ball into two equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out on waxed paper. Lightly flour the rolling pin if it starts to stick to the dough. Roll dough into a large circle to fit into deep dish pie pan with at least 2 inches overlap.

Fill pie pan with apple slices. Stack apples about 4 inches above top edge of pan.

Using rolling pin, roll out second crust and place over top of pie.

Trim crust, leaving about 1 inch overlap all the way around. Fold up edge of bottom crust over edge of top crust & crimp with a fork. Gently poke holes in top crust with fork to allow venting during cooking.

Cook in oven at 400 for about 1 hr or until crust is golden.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shredded Beef Taquitos

My 18 yr old would live on frozen taquitos if I was willing to buy him an unlimited supply. Last week over on Lots of Kids Kitchen, Mirz posted a recipe for homemade taquitos....this gave me the idea that I really needed to try making my own shredded beef taquitos.

1 lb of cheap chuck roast (any inexpensive beef roast or even stew meat works)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese
60 corn tortillas
non-stick cooking spray

Cook roast in crockpot overnight so that it is very done & falling apart. Place the crockpot insert in the refrigerator for at least 3 hrs. The grease will have risen to the top & congealed. Remove as much grease as possible & dispose of it. Remove the meat from the crockpot. Using fingers or a fork shred it up and place it into a medium saucepan. Transfer the remaining broth into a freezer container & freeze for use in something else. Add one packet of taco seasoning & 3/4 cup of water to meat in sauce pan. Simmer until most of the water is cooked out.

Heat griddle or dry frying pan and warm individual corn tortillas to make them soft & pliable. Place a small line of meat along one edge of a tortilla, sprinkle cheese over meat, then roll tightly. Place on lightly greased large cookie sheet with the seam down. Repeat until pan is full.

Lightly spray non-stick cooking spray over them & then cook in 425 oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove from oven & allow to cool for 5 minutes. They are fantastic warm with salsa or guacamole or sour cream & also make a great cold appetizer. This same shredded beef can be used in any recipe you would normally use ground beef for, especially nachos,tacos, tamales, burritos & tostadas.

Tentative Thanksgiving Menu

Baked turkey
Honey glazed ham
white bread stuffing
cornbread stuffing
mashed potatoes
giblet gravy
baked sweet potatoes
candied sweet potatoes w/marshmallows
sweet & sour green beans
canned cranberry jell
homemade whole cranberry sauce
spiced peaches
corn on the cob
veggie tray
pickle & olive tray
homemade bread rolls
2 homemade deep dish apple pies
2 homemade pumpkin pies
cherry pie
peach pie

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cheesy Sausage, Egg & Potato Casserole

Eggs are very popular with my kids. I have modified a crockpot recipe that a friend gave me & come up with a casserole. It is perfect for a special breakfast or brunch. The ingredients can be put into the crockpot at night before bed & it will be ready to eat in the morning, or the more popular version at my house gets cooked in the oven in an 11X13 baking dish. This recipe can easily be halved & cooked in an 8X8 pan to feed 4 adults.

2 lbs ground breakfast sausage
2 lbs frozen diced hash browns
1 dozen eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (2 cups if cooking in crockpot)
1t dry mustard
salt & pepper
small chopped onion (optional)
4 cups grated cheddar cheese

Brown the sausage in a frying pan. Spray the 11X13 baking dish (or crockpot insert) with non-stick spray. Spread the frozen diced hash browns evenly in the bottom. Drain the grease off the cooked sausage. Spread Sausage over the frozen hash browns. In a medium size bowl, scramble the eggs, add milk (1 1/2 cups for baking dish, or 2 cups if using crockpot), spices & onion (optional), mix well. Pour over hash browns & sausage.

If cooking in baking dish, cover with foil, cook in oven at 400 for 50 minutes. Remove foil & add grated cheddar cheese over the top. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted & golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

If cooking in crockpot, add cheese, cook on low for 8 to 10 hrs.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hamburger and Rice

This is a staple in our house, one of those things that EVERYONE loves. It is simply browned ground beef mixed with white rice. The seasonings seem to be the key.

2 lbs ground beef (I usually buy the 80% lean, the extra lean doesn't work well, some fat is necessary)
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Lemon Pepper
2 cups long grain white rice
1 t salt
2 T butter

Break up the ground beef & cook in a large frying pan on medium heat. Season well with Montreal Steak Seasoning & Lemon pepper. Boil 3 cups of water in a large sauce pan that has a tight fitting lid. Add salt & rice to boiling water, return to a boil for one minute, then cover & reduce heat to medium Low. Allow rice to cook for 15 minutes. When the ground beef is browned, reduce heat to low until the rice finishes. Remove lid from rice, add butter, replace lid & let sit for 5 minutes. Drain any remaining grease from the ground beef. Turn the frying pan back up to Medium High, add rice to ground beef & stir well. Cook together for a minute or two in the frying pan, stirring constantly. The rice will pick up the residual spices from the pan.

This goes well with green beans or peas as a side dish. Leftovers store well & are GREAT heated back up the next day for lunch.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beef Barley Soup

This is one of Hubby's favorites. It's been a while since we've had it, so we'll see how the kids like it, maybe I'll get lucky & they will all LOVE it (yes, I know that is unlikely, but I can dream).

2 lbs chuck roast
1 onion
1 stalk celery chopped small
1 t basil
1 bay leaf
2 T minced garlic
1 can whole tomatoes undrained
1 can peas undrained
1 can chopped green beans undrained
1 cup barley

Cook chuck roast (or any inexpensive beef roast or stew meat) in crockpot until tender. Remove meat from crockpot & set aside the broth. Allow the meat to cool, then dice it into small cubes, removing all visible fat. Return the meat and broth to the crockpot, add diced onion, chopped celery, basil, bay leaf and minced garlic. Pour the juice from the tomatoes into the broth. Crush the tomatoes, then add to broth. Add peas and green beans. Add water to 3 inches below the top of the crockpot. Add barley. Cover with lid & cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Add more water if soup becomes too thick.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday...hamburger & rice (kinda like stir fry w/no veggies)
Tuesday...baked chicken w/baked potatoes
Wednesday...Taco & refried beans
Thursday....Beef Barley soup & homemade yeast rolls
Friday...Chili Verde (wish me LUCK, I'm entering it in our neighborhood chili contest!)
Saturday...Navy Bean soup
I'll be posting recipes for the Beef Barley soup & the homemade yeast rolls later in the week & hope to get a recipe posted for the Navy bean soup soon too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cinnamon Apples

Yesterday the kids picked 19 apples from a neighbors tree. I'm not sure what kind of apples they are, but they were pretty good size & the neighbor didn't want them. The kids wanted an apple pie, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. I did make a pan of cinnamon apples & it turned out very YUMMY!!!

4 firm tart apples peeled, cored & sliced
1 stick softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 T cinnamon

Layer the sliced apple pieces in a small baking dish, sprinkle cinnamon over them. In a seperate bowl, cream the butter into the sugar & 3 T cinnamon. It should form a stiff paste. Spread the paste over the apples. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Apples will be fork tender when they are done. They can be eaten warm as a side dish or dessert or can be served over ice cream as a topping. They are also good mixed with warm oatmeal for breakfast or served cold as a snack. They can be reheated in the microwave if you prefer them warm.

Monday, October 20, 2008


This is a traditional chili made with pinto beans, ground beef & tomatoes.


1 lb bag of dried pinto beans
1t baking soda
1lb ground beef
1 can chili ready diced tomatoes
1 T dried onion
2 T minced garlic
2 T chili powder

Dried beans have to be presoaked. I recently discovered that I prefer the "quick" method. Start by pouring the beans into a large pot, cover them with cold water & swish around. Remove any that are broken or look odd. Dump out the water. Rinse thoroughly. Add 6 cups of cold water & 1T salt, bring to boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1t baking soda to reduce the gas in the beans & cover with a lid. Let it sit for one hour. Drain and rinse again. Rinse the pan out very well, then put the beans back in & add 8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer.

Brown the ground beef in a frying pan then drain the grease. Add the can of diced tomatoes, dried onion, garlic and chili powder. I also like to add any dribbs of tomato based salsa I may have in the fridge, anything that has tomato, peppers or onions is fair game. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the ground beef mixture to the pot of beans. Let cook for another 90 minutes or until beans are tender. This can also be left in the crockpot on low all day to cook.

I usually serve it with crackers or corn bread. You can also add cheese, onions, sour cream, or anything else you like on your chili. This recipe makes plenty for dinner and some leftovers for lunch or even another dinner. It stores well in the fridge for up to a week & can be frozen in an airtight container for several months.

Menu Plan Monday

Wednesday...Steak & baked potatoes (My birthday)
Thursday...Red Beans & Rice w/smoked sausage
Friday...Hamburgers & Fried potatoes
Saturday...Chili & cornbread
Sunday...Baked Chicken & Roasted Red Potatoes

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Roasted red potatoes

These are yummy & very easy.


1.5 to 2 lbs of small red potatoes (10 to 14)
lemon pepper or your favorite pepper based seasoning.
1/2 stick of butter

I use a glass loaf pan. Thoroughly wash the potatoes, then quarter them. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of potatoes, season, add another layer & season. Continue until all the potatoes are in the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake @ 400 for 45 minutes. Leave the foil on until just before you are ready to serve them. Pour into a serving dish & top with the butter, stir the potatoes around in the dish to coat them all lightly.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lots of Kids Kitchen Challenge for October

On a budget of $10, feed a family of 4 for a day or $15 for families with 4 or more children. The meals must include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast and lunch can be one-dish, but dinner must include a main course and sides. You do not have to include drinks in your budget.

I am feeding 2 adults and 4 children
Breakfast $2.89
Scrambled Eggs--dozen eggs $1.19
Toast--loaf of bread $1.10
Butter--one stick .60

Lunch $4.46

Cheese Quesedillas
package of fajita size flour tortillas $1.79
2 cup package of grated cheddar $1.67

Dinner $7.94
pan fried strips--2 lbs boneless chicken breast $4
1.5 lbs roasted red potatoes $1.50
1 dozen biscuits from scratch $1.15
can of green beans .69
butter--one stick .60

My total for this day is $14.29