Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This was my Father in Laws favorite cake. He requested it for his birthday every year. He died in February of 1989, but I'm sure if he were here he would LOVE this cake. Today is his birthday, so the kids & I made this cake in memory of him.


ingredients

11/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 3 tablespoons (cut into small pieces) for preparing the top
1 cup sugar, plus 2/3 cup for preparing the top
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
7 thin rounds cored pineapple

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture in three additions alternately with the milk in two, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined.
  3. In a 10-inch cast-iron (or ovenproof nonstick) skillet, pour the remaining 2/3 cup sugar into skillet, and place over medium heat.
  4. Let sugar begin to liquefy, then stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is fully melted and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. The sugar may smoke, but if it browns too quickly, remove pan from heat briefly before continuing.
  5. Remove pan from heat; add 3 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces), stirring to incorporate. The butter will help cool the caramel and stop it from darkening; it also thins out the caramel to make a syrupy sauce.
  6. Begin by placing one pineapple round in the center of the pan. Arrange the remaining rounds in a circle around center slice, overlapping slightly if necessary to fit.
  7. Carefully spoon batter over pineapples in skillet. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, then carefully invert onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cranberry Nut Bread


This is my absolute favorite nutbread! Last year I discovered a sweetened cranberry relish in the deli section of the local grocery store. It has whole cranberries, pineapple & walnuts. It was too sweet to eat as a side dish, but when used instead of the fresh cranberries in my nutbread it was AMAZING!

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup sweetened cranberry relish

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two 8X4 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda, stir in butter until crumbly. Add water and egg. Fold in cranberry relish. Fill loaf pans half full.

Cook @ 350 for one hour or until wooden tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. When it is completely cool, wrap nutbread in foil to store. This recipe also works great for mini loaves to give as gifts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FUDGE


One of my favorite Christmas treats is homemade Fudge. I've made the kind with marshmallows or marshmallow cream in the past, but this type with condensed milk is my absolute favorite. I've tweaked this recipe a little bit. It originally called for 3 cups of semi sweet chips, but the package I usually buy is only 12 oz. Instead of opening two bags of semi sweet, I used one bag of semi-sweet & 1/2 a bag of milk chocolate. This recipe can also be made in a double boiler on the stove top, but I find using the microwave to be much faster & easier.
  • 2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (6 oz) milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • (I used store brand condensed milk & it came out fine)
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cups chopped nuts (optional)(I leave out the nuts)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
LINE 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.
  • MICROWAVE METHOD
  • COMBINE chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in 1-quart glass bowl. Cook on HIGH (100% power) 3 minutes or until chips are melted, stirring after 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  • CHILL 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flour Tortillas

My friend Kim posted this link to a flour tortilla recipe. I've been wanting to try making my own flour tortillas for a while. We eat at least 4 dozen flour tortillas a week, probably more.

3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard
about 1 1/4 cups warm water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add vegetable shortening or lard. Or use a combination of half lard, half shortening.
Use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening or just do it the old fashioned way and use your hands.

Next add warm water a little at a time until your dough is soft and not sticky. You do not need very hot water.

Knead the dough for a few minutes.

Now you will pull off pieces of dough to form about 12 small dough balls. Let them
rest for at least 10 minutes, longer if you like.
Now you can roll out the dough It is a good idea to dust each ball with a little flour just before you roll them out. roll up, center and roll down. It is good to lift the dough and turn it. Again, rolling pin in the center and roll. Roll them out fairly thin.
Lay your tortilla on the hot pan. It takes just a few seconds to cook. Flip to the other side. When they are done it should have lots of nice brown speckles. Place them in a towel. They are ready to be served!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sweet & Sour Greenbeans


This is a family recipe. I think it may be Pennsylvania Dutch.

Ingredients
4 cans French Cut Green Beans
1/2 lb bacon cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar


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, sugar and vinegar....increase sugar or vinegar to taste to create sweet and sour flavor. Refrigerate in serving dish until just before dinner, reheat in microwave.

This will feed 15 to 20 people, it can be halved or doubled depending on how many servings are needed.

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Apples & Cranberries


I have always LOVED cornbread stuffing, but until recently I didn't know how to make it. I've tried several recipes, but this year decided to develop one of my own.

Ingredients

    1 package fresh cranberries (rinsed & chopped)
    2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used one Gala & 1 Granny Smith)
    1 cup cider
    1 8X8 pan of cornbread, cooled & crumbled
    1 pound pork breakfast sausage
    1 stick butter
    3 cups water


Directions

  1. Soak cranberries & apples in cider for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Cook sausage in a skillet, stirring frequently and crumbling the meat with a spoon, until it is well browned and no longer pink. Add sausage to the stuffing bowl and stir everything together. Add apples, cranberries with their liquid. Mix thoroughly. In a small saucepan, melt stick of butter. Add 3 cups water and stir. Pour this liquid into the stuffing mixture and combine thoroughly.
  3. Store in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking, or freeze up to a month in advance. I don't like to stuff my turkey. I bake the stuffing at 350, in a covered casserole dish, for 40 minutes. If you like your stuffing browned, cook it uncovered.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Doctored Macaroni & Cheese


We eat a LOT of Kraft macaroni & cheese....well, the kids do, Hubby won't touch it. Recently Morgan & I have been experimenting with adding things to make it more like baked macaroni & cheese. Today, we added extra cheddar cheese, then put it in a baking dish added Italian bread crumbs & baked it to a golden brown. It is FABULOUS....even better than the baked mac & cheese we were trying to imitate. It's so good we are considering adding it to our Thanksgiving menu.

2 boxes Kraft Mac & Cheese prepared according to package directions.
Stir in 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Add enough milk to make creamy (1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on how creamy you want it)
pour into baking dish
sprinkle with bread crumbs (Progresso Italian bread crumbs are DELICIOUS)

Bake at 400 approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown & bubbly.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies--Hubby's Favorite

I don't make these as often as Hubby would like, but now that the weather has suddenly turned very cold I'm in a baking mood. I start with the Quaker Oatmeal Vanishing Oatmeal cookies recipe and make a few modifications. Today, I did use butter, but I often substitute shortening. I am using 1 1/2 cups of Old Fashioned Kroger brand oats & 1 1/2 cups of Thick & Rough grain milled oats to make the 3 cups of Oats. I always add the salt even though it is optional & about twice as much cinnamon as the recipe calls for.

    Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 cup raisins

Preparation

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm sure that there a LOT of different peanut butter cookie recipes out there. Skippy peanut butter is my favorite brand and their recipe is my favorite for peanut butter cookies. I do make a few modifications. First, I use whatever brand of peanut butter is on sale or cheapest...this time we used Peter Pan. I've also used Jif. The second modification I make is using shortening instead of the margarine that the recipe calls for. I don't ever buy margarine & shortening works fine as a substitute.

This is a GREAT recipe to for my Tween kids to mostly make on their own. I check to make sure they put in the right ingredients & don't forget anything. I put the cookie sheet in the oven & take it out...they can do the rest. Even the 2 & 4 yr old can help making the dough into balls & flattening them with a fork on the cookie sheet.

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Skippy ® Creamy or Super Chunk ® Peanut Butter
1 cup Imperial® Spread, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl; set aside.
2. Beat Skippy® Creamy Peanut Butter with Spread in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in sugars, then eggs and vanilla until blended. Beat in flour mixture just until blended. (If necessary, refrigerate dough until easy to handle.)
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange balls on ungreased baking sheets 2 inches apart. Gently flatten each cookie and press crisscross pattern into tops with fork dipped in sugar.
4. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool completely on wire rack. Store in tightly covered container.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Apple Strudel Muffins


I've had two apples sitting on my counter for a couple weeks. I've been wanting to bake, but the weather wasn't cooperating, then we go SICK. Today, we still aren't feeling great, but the weather is cool & brisk & I'm in the mood for something fresh baked. I searched on All Recipes & found an Apple Strudel Muffin recipe.

INGREDIENTS (Nutrition)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples (I peeled, cored & diced 2 apples)
  • (I added 2 T sugar & 1 t cinnamon to the apples)
  • Topping:
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
  4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
  5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.
This yielded 18 regular size muffins....I think 2 apples is more than 1 1/2 cups, but I didn't measure.

This was Melanie's reaction.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Purple Lunchbox....a new weekly Carnival!!

The Purple Lunchbox


Anelys from Blooming Buds has started a new weekly food carnival. My older kids usually eat hot lunch at school, but I thought this would be a great way to get me motivated to do some FUN things with the little ones lunches at home. This is the first week of the carnival & I'm am not very prepared. Anelys took pictures each day of what she put in her daughter's lunchbox. I'm hoping to do that next week, but for this week I'm just trying for a recap of what Marissa (4) & Melanie (2) had each day.

Monday: Cheese Quesadilla, watermelon cubes (both LOVED it!)

Tuesday: Eggs & Bacon at Gramma's house

Wednesday: Whole wheat crackers w/ hummus, blueberries & strawberries (Melanie LOVED it all, Marissa didn't eat the hummus)

Thursday: Salami & Cheese, crackers, banana (an all time favorite lunch)

Friday: Leftover hamburger & rice, grapes, watermelon cubes (both ate well)

I really haven't put much thought into lunch before, I think I need to work on getting more vegetables into our lunch menu. I've got lots of saved e-mails with recipes for FUN meals to make for kids, I'll be searching them over the weekend to find some fresh ideas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cherry Tarts from Fresh Bing Cherries


Hubby was having a potluck at work today. He wanted me to bake bread, instead he decided to try making cherry tarts from fresh Bing cherries. I have NEVER made a cherry pie filling before, this is the one type of filling that we always buy in a can from the grocery store. In principal I knew how it should be done & so we experimented.


Ingredients
4 pounds fresh cherries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2T corn starch mix in 1/4 cup cold water

Bing cherries are $1.99 a pound right now at our local Kroger, we bought about 4 lbs of fresh cherries. Hubby, Morgan & Maggie cut the cherries in half & pitted them. Then we put about 3 cups of chopped cherries into a double boiler saucepan on the stove. We added 1/2 cup water, 2 cups sugar & 1/4 cup lemon juice. We brought the mixture to a boil & cooked it down until the cherry meat separated from the skins. We skimmed out the skins & continued to cook the cherries. We smashed up the pulp. The cherry mash wouldn't come to a rolling boil in the double boiler, so we transferred it into a medium size Pyrex bowl. We put it in the microwave & cooked it in 3 minute increments until it boiled, then we added the corn starch mixture. We boiled it again until it was almost ready to overflow from the bowl, stirred it & then boiled it again. We let it sit to cool for about half an hour, then mixed it into the rest of the pitted cherries.

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


We made a double batch of my pie crust & pressed ping pong ball size balls of crust into our silicon muffin pan. This is the first time I've really use the silicon pan & it worked GREAT!! We have a new tool we bought from Pampered Chef that works great for spreading the crust evenly.



Fill the tart crusts about 2/3 full with the cherry mixture & bake @400 for 20 minutes or until crust is golden. It's a good idea to have a cookie sheet or foil under the muffin pan to catch any drips. Remove from oven & let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. I had to use a butter knife to gently loosen up the tart before popping it out of the pan. The more cool they are, the easier it is to get them out of the pan without having them fall apart.

This filling had wonderful flavor & was enough for 3 dozen tarts with enough filling left over for an 8 inch pie.


For more Tempt my Tummy Tuesday visit Blessed with Grace.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Well, that didn't work out so well

Last week was the first time in a long while I had planned a menu. When I planned, I thought all the kids would be home all week & I hadn't finished all my grocery shopping.

So here is what we actually ate:

Monday...hot dogs on the grill w/chips & fresh strawberries
Tuesday...BBQ Beef Ribs
Wednesday....Chicken breasts
Thursday...Pulled BBQ pork
Friday...Tacos
Saturday...Hamburger & Rice

I'm thinking about making steaks on the grill tonight. I got some pretty good deals on meat last week & my freezer is currently almost overflowing. I'll be doing a lot of cooking this coming week. Maybe I'll even manage to post some new foods here, it's been FOREVER.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday



It's been FOREVER since I've written down a plan for our weekly menu. The kids have been out of school for 6 weeks & we've been winging it every night....it was FUN, but sometimes makes for a really hectic night, so here I am, planning again. I'm trying to buy & eat as much fresh produce as possible. This is easier said than done here in Tennessee...it is a very green place but very little food seems to be grown here. We were spoiled living in the California Central Valley. It just seems so wrong to be eating fruits & veggies grown in South America in the middle of Summer.

Monday...Hot Dogs, corn on the cob, watermelon & chips (on the grill if the weather cooperates)
Tuesday...hamburgers, corn on the cob, fruit salad (grill again if the weather cooperates)
Wednesday...spaghetti & meatballs (one of the kids keeps asking for it)
Thursday...Grilled chicken, baked beans & salad
Friday...Tacos w/refried beans
Saturday...Smoked sausage & Fried potatoes & Fruit
Sunday...Chicken stir-fry w/LOTS of veggies

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tamale Pie...Tasty Tuesday


This is another of those things I make without a REAL recipe.


Ingredients
2lbs ground beef
2 packets taco seasoning
small can chopped olives
small can chopped Ortega chilies
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
2 small boxes of cornbread muffin mix

Fry the ground beef, drain & add taco seasoning according to package directions
After the water has cooked out, add olives & chilies

Pour meat into a large casserole dish

Add cheese over meat if desired (my family likes cheese on EVERYTHING)

Prepare cornbread mix and pour over top to form a crust. ( Homemade cornbread can be substituted, you need enough for a standard 8x8 pan of cornbread)

Bake at 400 until cornbread top is golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes then slice into squares to serve. (pictures coming soon)
Visit Balancing Beauty & Bedlam to see more Tasty Tuesday...she's got Mexican Freezer meals this week, YUM!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I received a Splash Award!!!




I'm so excited, this is my first Blog Award on this blog!!!! Annette at Fairy Blog Mother gave me the Splash Award. Which means she finds my blog alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring!
I need to pass this along to 9 others...which is so incredibly hard to choose because there are SO many great blogs out there. Here are a few of my favorite blogs in no particular order:


Tammy's Recipes - Everyday Cooking Inspiration
Dadsdish.com
Joy The Baker
The Money Jar
Moms By Heart
The A to Z Twins
Christie's Thoughts
Molly's Country Memories Home Place
Crazy Adventures in Parenting

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Braided Pizza Bread--Calzones

I saw this recipe the other day and had several ideas!! My youngest son wanted calzones this week, so I decided to start with a pizza like version.

Ingredients
2 loaves frozen bread dough (thawed) or you can make your own from this crust recipe
1 can spaghetti sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 stick butter (softened)
garlic
oregano
basil
pepperoni
shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat spaghetti sauce in a saucepan, add tomato paste, 2 T garlic, 1 T oregano & 1 T basil, stir until well combined.

Roll bread dough out into a rectangular shape so its approx. 1/2 inch thick. Combine butter with 2 Tablespoons garlic. Spread thin layer on the rectangle.

Spread 1/3 cup sauce down the center of rectangle.
Add layer of pepperoni down center
Cover pepperoni with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese

Use a pizza cutter to cut strips along each side of the dough (even numbers on each side). Starting at the bottom, take each piece, cross and twist.
Continue cris-crossing until your pizza is braided.
Brush remaining butter/garlic mixture over top.


Cover with foil to prevent burning crust
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes
Remove foil after 15 minutes of cooking



Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
One loaf feeds 4 adults easily.

The original recipe gives instructions for preparing this as a freezer meal.

Meat Pies...Tasty Tuesday

My Hubby has been talking about meat pies for YEARS. The idea has always appealed to him & he has wanted me to make them. The problem has always been that I wasn't really sure what to put in them. Last Fall, I finally got around to trying it and they are now a family favorite. My first attempts were made with left over beef stew. The stew gravy made them too wet and they were hard to pick up. Next we came up with a stew like filling, but with almost no gravy.....it worked GREAT!

I'm making these this week because my youngest son requested them for his Birthday week menu. At his request I will be leaving out the peas & the green beans, he is not much of a vegetable fan.

Filling (enough for at least 12 pies, freeze leftover filling)
1 lb stew meat (or left over roast beef)
4 peeled and diced potatoes
1 cup frozen carrots (chopped into small pieces)
1 cup frozen peas
1 can green beans (drained)
1 cup cheap red wine
1 bay leaf
1 t salt
2 t pepper
1 T oil
1 T minced garlic (I like the kind in the jar)
1 stalk celery chopped
1 cup water

This can be made in the crockpot or any large pot on the stove. Chop the meat into small pieces (1 inch by 1 inch or less), season with salt & pepper. If the meat is uncooked, brown in a skillet before adding to pot. Add the meat, vegetables, bay leaf and wine to pot. In a skillet, cook the garlic and celery in oil until tender. When garlic and celery are tender, add water to skillet and then pour mixture into pot. Cover with tight fitting lid and cook on low heat until potatoes are fork tender.

Crust (make 2 batches for 12 pies)
2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Crisco butter flavored shortening
5 to 10 tablespoons ice cold water

Remove the filling from the stove & refrigerate for at least an hour. Divide the crust into 6 sections. Roll out each section individually into a saucer size circle. Rolling on a piece of wax paper or a silicone mat is highly recommended. Add about two tablespoons of filling to the center of the crust, fold over and crimp the edge along the open portion.

Poke a few vent holes in the top with a fork to let out steam. Place on a cookie sheet then do the next one. When the cookie sheet is full put it in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.
They heat up well for a quick snack or lunch, they can also be eaten cold. If making more than your family will eat in 2 to 3 days, freeze before baking, then bake from frozen, allowing 10 to 15 extra minutes for cooking. These freeze best if you put them on a cookie sheet until hard, then put in freezer bags or wrap tightly in freezer paper.

To see more Tasty Tuesday visit Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Homemade Chicken Strips...Tempt my Tummy Tuesday


My son Morgan will be 11 on Wednesday. Chicken strips have been one of his absolute favorite foods since he was a toddler. Anytime we take him out to dinner, we don't even have to ask what he would like....he always orders chicken strips, everywhere we go. We don't eat out very often anymore, so I've started making our own chicken strips at home. This is another of those no real recipe foods, but here goes.

Ingredients
2 lbs boneless chicken (breast or thigh both work fine)
2 cups toasted bread crumbs
1 cup flour
2 eggs
pepper
salt
lemon pepper
garlic
oil for frying

Slice the chicken into strips. Cut into smaller pieces if your family prefers nuggets
Dredge the chicken in beaten egg
Mix the bread crumbs, flour & seasonings together in a pie pan, then dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. I like to put a LOT of seasoning in the flour. Being able to see the pepper is a good sign that you've got enough in there.
Heat oil in a large skillet. The oil should be at least 2 inches deep. Drop a small piece of bread into the oil, if it immediately starts to sizzle & fry, the oil is hot enough. Add the coated chicken pieces being careful not to let them touch in the pan.

When the first side is golden brown, flip them over to cook on the other side. Usually takes about 5 to 7 minutes on each side.

When they are golden on both sides remove from pan & place on a dish with paper towels or coffee filters to allow the grease to drain. Serve with your favorite dips & sides.

Visit Blessed with Grace to see more Tempt my Tummy Tuesday

Monday, April 20, 2009

Land O'Lakes chocolate chip cookies

I saw this recipe on Frugal Girls. She is also currently hosting a giveaway to win 2 lbs of Land O'Lakes butter.

Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups Land O Lakes Butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 Land O Lakes All-Natural Farm-Fresh Eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla1
(12-ounce) package(2 cups), semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:
Heat oven to 375 F. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside. Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. (Do not over bake.) Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack.

The kids & I had planned to make Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies together on Friday afternoon for Family Fun Friday. Instead we made these. I like to use real butter (generic, unless Land O'Lakes is on major sale). I bought the store brand of genuine chocolate chips (imitation aren't good). These were the best chocolate chip cookies we've had in a very long time.

Menu Plan Monday...a loose plan for this week

My youngest son is turning 11 this week, he is very excited. I am wondering where those years went.
He is helping me plan this week's menu. He chose his favorite foods. I am going to make them and write down the recipes. Like his older brothers, he LOVES to cook, so he'll probably be helping me in the kitchen too.

Monday...homemade chicken strips w/roasted red potatoes
Tuesday...calzones
Wednesday...meat pies
Thursday... Breakfast for Dinner, pancakes & sausage
Friday...homemade corned beef hash

We plan to bake a chocolate cake for his birthday and a few other treats this week. Wish me luck getting all these recipes written & the pictures taken. I'll add in the links as I get them completed.

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie to see more Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What we actually ate this week

On Monday, I wrote a Menu Plan, this is a big improvement over last week, just because I had a plan. My intent in writing the plan was to try to figure out what we were likely to eat...not necessarily to lock us into eating those things, but to have my ideas written down somewhere so that when it got to be 5:30 & I hadn't started dinner yet I could look at the plan & make the choice to either go with the plan or if something else really sounded appealing & we had all the ingredients make that. I realize that this is probably not how most people use a menu plan, but I've learned over the years that what works for most people usually doesn't work for my family.

Here is what I planned:
Monday....Chicken, white rice & asparagus
Tuesday...Baked Ham, mashed potatoes
Wednesday...Hamburger & Rice
Thursday...Red Beans & Rice w/ smoked sausage
Friday...Burritos

Here is what we actually ate:
Monday...Chicken, white rice & asparagus (just as planned)
Tuesday...Baked Ham, green beans & salad (a little different, but still the same main course)
Wednesday...Hamburger & Rice (just as planned)
Thursday...Pork Chops, hominy & salad (we ended up having the red beans & rice for lunch)
Friday... Chicken & Rice Stir Fry (ran out of tortillas for burritos...made a double batch of stir fry & took one to Maggie's teacher who is home on disability)

I think I did pretty good. My ultimate goal is to NOT run to the store for ingredients on a daily basis & to resist ordering take out or running through the drive thru....I was totally successful there this week. Now to figure out what we are going to eat Saturday & Sunday. My goal for next weeks menu (in addition to the ultimate goal) is to try not to repeat anything that we ate this week....we tend to get a bit monotonous at times.

Saturday...Spaghetti (wanted to add a no meat night as recommended by my friend Janet in one of her posts this week)
Sunday...Tacos or burritos (I need to do a bit of grocery shopping for next week so I'll pick up more tortillas)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Artichokes--Tempt my Tummy Tuesday


Artichokes are one of the very best foods I have ever eaten. If I could afford to eat them everyday I definitely would. When we lived in California, they were very cheap from about mid-March through mid-May. Here in Tennessee, they are available most of the year, but the quality is not as good & the price is staggering.

We prepare artichokes to eat by immersing them in boiling water & letting them cook until the stem is fork tender. We eat them by pulling off the individual leaves one at a time & dipping them. I dip mine in mayonnaise. Hubby dips his in melted butter seasoned with garlic & a bit of pepper. Once the end of the leaf has been dipped, you put it into your mouth & scrape the dip & artichoke meat off with your teeth. Eating an artichoke is a time consuming process, but well worth the effort. After all the leaves have been eaten, you scrape the choke (fibery thistle type stuff) out of the heart, cut the heart into chunks and eat it with your preferred dip.

Head over to Blessed with Grace for more Tempt my Tummy Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday...Fried Potatoes & Sausage


This is something that I have eaten all my life....one of those things that you "just make". There really isn't a recipe, but I'll try to create one as I go.

Ingredients:
1lb smoked sausage or kielbasa (I like the all beef)
2 lbs potatoes (frozen cubed potatoes are my new favorite)
oil for frying the potatoes
salt & pepper
catsup

I use two frying pans. Slice the sausage into rounds about 1/2 inch thick & brown in first frying pan on medium heat.

If using fresh potatoes, wash thoroughly & cut into 1 inch cubes, peels can be left on or removed depending on how you like your fried potatoes. Lately, I've been using frozen cubed potatoes to save time. Heat about 2 Tablespoons of oil in another frying pan. When it is HOT, add potatoes, season with salt & pepper. Cover with a lid. Cook on medium heat, turning with a spatula every 3 to 5 minutes until the potatoes are starting to brown.

Add cooked sausage to potatoes, stir together & cook uncovered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes allowing the potatoes & sausage to finish browning.

I have served this for breakfast, lunch or dinner....we like it any time of the day!! I usually eat mine with catsup.
Tasty Tuesday has a new host at Balancing Beauty & Bedlam....hop over to see more Tasty Tuesday.