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Monday, December 28, 2015

Perfect Day for Lasagna

A big storm is supposed to be heading this way, at least bad through the Twin Cities, they are saying we will have wind and anywhere from 2-6 inches up by me, but a lot more the more south you go, up to 12 inches, so since this is my last day off for the holidays, I decided it was a perfect day to make some lasagna so the kids who want takeout after their drive can pick up some takeout and we can have some for supper tonight and use it up.  It's so hard sometimes to think of what to make that can either be frozen or gotten rid of when it's just the two of us.  I definitely am not used to cooking for two, especially when one is a tiny eater (not me!).  Anyway, I baked it early today so it will cut up nicely for takeout later on as they come by.  I don't make complicated lasagna, but everyone seems to like it in this family.  I have tried other recipes that take a lot of work, and they were great, but this one works, so why change something that works huh?  Here's all I do.

Cook enough lasagna noodles for 3 layers..if making it in a 9 x 13 deep sided pan, that would be about 12 noodles, according to directions on box.  (I don't use the "no bake" noodles.  I have in the past and they totally dissolved in the dish, so I use the old fashioned cook kind).  drain and rinse with cold water so you can handle them.

fry 1 lb of hamburger-I use extra lean because there is already a lot of fat in the cheese- that is salt and peppered and crumbled finely, in a medium sized kettle-then add one large size jar of  your favorite pasta sauce-I like Prego Traditional- and add a tsp or sugar to cut the bitterness of the sauce.  simmer on low heat until noodles are ready.  You can add a small can of drained diced tomatoes to this to add a nice freshness to the sauce too.

Put a little sauce in the bottom of your baking pan..

Layer about 4 noodles on the bottom of the pan.  put a layer of the sauce/meat mixture even over the noodles.  put a layer of small curd cottage cheese (I get a large container of this), then a layer of mozzarella cheese and a small amount of mild cheddar cheese and start the process again.  be generous with all your toppings.  after you do the second layer, put on one more layer of noodles, the sauce and meat, NO cottage cheese, just mozzarella and cheddar and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  cover with aluminum foil, doming it so it isn't touching the cheese and sealing the sides.  put on a sheet pan to protect from oven spills, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Then remove foil and bake another 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown on the edges.  Let sit at least 30-45 minutes so it "sticks" together when cutting into it.  This can be frozen well. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cheesy Baked Potato Soup with Ham or Bacon

I thought I posted this at one point, but can't find it myself, so guess it's not on here..I make this soup usually only once or twice a year, but it's really good and easy to put together from contents you have extras of in the fridge and want to use them up.  Yesterday I made a pot with some buns made from rhoades frozen dinner rolls I let raise at the same time as baking my potatoes for the soup.  It was a great supper for me and Dave after all the loads of foods from Christmas eve.  We both wanted something simple for supper after that feed. 

BAKED POTATO SOUP WITH CHEESE, HAM OR BACON
(I'd advise prepping everything before starting soup)

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 large baking potatoes, baked and cooled, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, sliced
12 bacon strips cooked and crumbled or 1 cup cooked ham diced
1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
salt/pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chicken base or 2 chicken bouillon cubes (I use the liquid base in the jar)

In a soup kettle, or dutch oven, melt the butter being careful not to scorch it.   Stir in the flour; heat and stir until smooth.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened.  Add potatoes and onions,  Stirring constantly bring it to a simmer and then reduce heat.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese and sour cream are melted.  serve.  (I add very little salt, especially if using ham and taste as I add it so it's not too salty).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Prepping for our Big Christmas Eve Event-marinating Whiskey Wings

Our family tradition is to celebrate on Christmas Eve and eat lots of little bites of food..of course we start out strong and then find out little bites add up really fast into a big plate of food and very full belly.  I made the eggrolls (always my contribution) about 10 days ago and froze them, so one major thing was off my list and now it's easy street.  Since everyone makes things we don't have to do a ton of cooking each, which I love.  I will try to post a picture of the big spread once it's ready at my daughter's house tomorrow night, but you never know if that will be possible because everyone dives in once they get the word it's set up..tonight I started marinating chicken wings.  This recipe is an oldy, but goody from back in about the 70's.  I was working at a factory at the time and we had a potluck at which a lady brought these and generously gave me the recipe.  They are so good.  I call them whiskey wings because they have a portion of whiskey in them.  They actually taste somewhat similar to teriyaki wings, but maybe a little sweeter and richer to me.  I always make at least a double batch and used to 4 x it...but just a word of warning, make all separate batches so the flavors stay true to the amount of meat.  I just make them in stronger zip lock gallon bags to help keep down the dirty dishes. 

Here is the recipe and I will post a picture once they are cooked tomorrow also. 

WHISKEY WINGS:
 2 lbs wings split into separate parts
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Accent seasoning
5 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp drinkable whiskey

Mix well and marinate at least 24 hours.  Use tightly sealed container or gallon zip lock bag with air squeezed out before sealing and make sure contained is mixed around at least a few times.  Heat oven to broil.  lay wings on a broiler pan, and brown on both sides under broiler.  I take them off the top broiler unit and place them in the bottom pan with the juices and then turn heat down to 350 and bake until done..30-45 minutes.  (they can be put in a crockpot also to slow cook or keep warm during a party.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

PEPPERMINT COCOA MIX FOR GIFTS

Every year we exchange little gifts at work.  Last year I made my mini loaves of cherry almond bread (recipe posted previously) that went over great..most people didn't even share theirs, just ate it themselves because they loved it so much!, so this year  decided to make something again that I am hoping they wil enjoy over the holidays or just on a cold winter night at home relaxing.  It's a recipe I found for homemade peppermint cocoa mix.  It makes a huge batch and since I have about 12 people to give to, I bought little holiday tins that I will put a packet of cocoa mix in zip locks in with a few candy canes to stir it with.  You don't have to add peppermint candy to the mix and you can add different flavored coffee creamers to vary the taste also or just leave it plain for a great hot chocolate. I added a whole box of candy canes crushed because it didn't seem like enough to me on her recipe.  One lady suggested as a gift to include some mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips on top of each package..I made some peppermint hot cocoa last year around this time when the grandkids were over and Kyle loved it. He was asking if I had any when he was over last time, so guess I'd better save enough for a cup for him the next time he stops over! 

The link is http://snapcreativity.com/peppermint-hot-chocolate-mix-recipe/

 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Kim's Apple Coleslaw

My daughter, Kim, made this coleslaw for Thanksgiving this year and we loved it, so I got the recipe.  Today, after making a pile of eggrolls the last two days, I had about half a bag of cabbage mix for coleslaw and thought I'd reduce it down and make up some for supper tonight..it's so easy and nice you have to make it at least an hour before serving so you can just pop it in the fridge while you are busy making the rest of the meal.  (although I scooped some into a small bowl and ate it just now)..I couldn't resist.  (I made 1/4 of the recipe)

Here's how she makes it:

APPLE COLESLAW:
Poppy Seed Honey Dressing:
1/4 cup vinegar
1 cup real mayonnaise
up to 1/3 cup poppy seeds (she uses about half of the 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix altogether and set aside.

Take two bags of coleslaw mix with carrots, add 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced and 4 honey crisp apples that have been finely cubed and add the dressing..toss until well blended.  refrigerate at least 1 hour, then mix lightly and serve. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Owl Hat for Leah

I was asked to make my Great-great niece an owl hat in October..she loves owls lately..as part of her Halloween costume, had no time then, and finally got it done now to match her winter coat this winter.  Once I sat down and started it, it only took one evening and part of this morning to finish up.  Little hats for little heads are fast!  I can't wait to see it on her..

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Easy GOOD cookies

Kyle and his cookies he helped make this morning, now he's going home to decorate their tree and house and he plans on sharing them with hot cocoa, so I sent a box of candy canes with them to stir the cocoa with. He said the cookies are THE BEST! They are peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips in them and then a rolo mini in the middle..He put the Rolos in and made them into the balls..did a good job! (and they are yummy cookies!)
 
Good Cookies:
 
One pouch of Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix prepared as directed. Add 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
12 unwrapped Rolo mini candies
 
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out 24 balls of cookie dough onto 2 cookie sheets.  Take one of the scoops,  top it off with a Rolo candy, top with another cookie ball and roll in hands to make one big ball..Put 6 big ball on each cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 14-15 minutes until golden brown.  Let sit on the cookie sheet once removing from the oven for 3-5 minutes to set, remove onto cooling rack to completely cool.  Makes 12 big cookies.
 
 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Caramel Apple Fudge. quick and easy

If you want something a little different and absolutely creamy and delicious at this holiday season..try this fudge! I saw it on one of my blogs I follow and had to try it. It calls for dulce de leche and "Walmart" didn't have it, so I made that part last night. You just boil sweetened condensed milk in it's can with the label off covered in water for 2-3 hours and you have it! I did 2 cans so if it turned out good I could make more for the holidays or gift giving. It's called caramel apple fudge and it has a little sea salt in it so it's like salted caramel..it's good! I was trying not to taste test but the spoon had way too much stuck to it so I couldn't resist! LOL. think the majority of it will be going to work tomorrow or I'd eat the whole pan..not a good plan.  I think it would be good with peanuts in it too..next time I might try that..

http://thepioneerwoman.com/food-and-friends/quick-caramel-apple-fudge/

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

I am sick of boring pork chops, so today I searched for a recipe to make for tonight because I had a pack of pork chops I had defrosted.  Plus I needed a recipe I had all the ingredients for because I was absolutely not in the mood to go to the grocery store.  We only have one somewhat nearby my house these days as two of them closed their doors and the one that is open is still about 7 miles away and a little more pricey than the Walmart I usually go to on my way home from work.  Anyway...I found this recipe and Dave and I both really liked it.  The pork chops were moist and super tasty.  I just threw in some squash, baked potato and steamed some broccoli to go with it.  I definitely will be making these again.  The only thing I did differently was browned them and then tossed them in the oven to finish cooking at 350 degrees with my squash and potatoes so I didn't have to watch them so close..I think they were in there about 35-40 minutes.  Here is the link to the recipe. It's one of Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Networks..
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/parmesan-crusted-pork-chops-recipe.html


Another "in progress" Project Done! Enchanted Garden Pillow

Wow, I am feeling productive!  That hasn't happened for a while!  I finally finished the back of my Enchanted Garden pillow I started about 3 months ago and put it together!  I used a cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby and am loving the texture and detail it shows on this.  It's pretty heavy though, but still fluffy and comfy.  Now on to an owl hat I've been behind on too for my GG niece!
 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Deer Pillow

My friend, Leslie, gave me an idea for a door prize that I wanted to contribute for our December "Christmas" party at work so today I bought the things I needed and put it together.  I just bought a cheap 16" square pillow form, some canvas and a plaid guys shirt since they didn't have the plaid I wanted at Walmart.  For the back I just made a French pillow/envelope style opening since I didn't want to invest in a zipper for a donation project and this will work just fine.  The canvas background is more tannish/cream than this picture, and the I used the plaid flannel on the back as well as the deer.  I am going to make myself two of them hopefully for the holiday season on my couch because I really like how they turned out...thanks Leslie for the idea and tips and "checking out the supplies at Walmart"!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cowl to a hat in one easy step!

We are having a December party at work and they asked for craft donations for door prizes.  WELL, I decided I'd make a cowl from a blog site I follow (free pattern) and when it was done I just wasn't that keen on it..I should have made it a lot longer before sewing it together, but she never stated how long it should be, even after asking her the question, just to use up so much yarn, which I did.  I am sure her yarn must have been larger balls, because mine was more like a turtleneck..anyway, I kept looking at it and looking at it, and decided I needed a warm hat for my car stash in case I broke down this winter or went in a snowbank, so transformed it into a hat!  I actually love it.  it's soft and warm and big enough to pull way down on my head.  Now, to make something else for the party..?? (the hat colors are closer to the real thing..

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hamburger, Broccoli, Hash Brown Hotdish

I decided I wanted to try a different hot dish tonight, so found this recipe and luckily I had all the ingredients for it for supper.  I only made half the recipe, which was easy to do, because it's just Dave and I tonight.  The full recipe would definitely feed a family of 5 or 6.  I think it is super tasty and was easy to make .  Would definitely make it again when the kids and mini kids come over to eat, or take to someone who isn't feeling well enough to cook etc for their family.  It has everything in it for a complete meal in a dish.  I am just serving it with my bread and butter pickles.  A salad would be great with it too.

Here is the recipe:

Hamburger, Broccoli, Hash Brown Hotdish:

(full sized version)

1 (32 oz.) bag frozen hash brown potatoes
2 lbs hamburger, browned with a small chopped onion (and seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped broccoli
1 can French fried onions
2 cans cream of celery soup
2/3 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese-or 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup pepper jack if you like the extra kick)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper

Place potatoes in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  Place browned (salt and peppered) meat and onion, broccoli and 1/2 can of the French fried onions in the potato shell. 

Combine the soup, milk, 1 cup cheese and spices.  Pour over the burger mixture and bake, covered, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Top with the remaining cheese and rest of French fried onions and bake, uncovered, 2-3 more minutes (it took longer for mine to completely melt and brown a little)..DONE.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Successful Birthday quad-Bash

The celebration of 4 family members went off without a hitch.  We ate until we were stuffed on bread, fondue cheese, shrimp, steak, chicken, tempura vegetables, benihana sauce, rice and tons of other little side items to dip in the cheese.  Then with 4 different desserts after gift opening I think we were all ready for a nap!  Fun family day!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hershey's Old Fashioned Triple Layer Chocolate Cake

We are celebrating 4 birthday's in the family tomorrow with a giant fondue and 4 desserts, one for each birthday guy or girls..Just finished Dave's dessert of choice, has it every year..unless I don't feel like making it for him. This year he was a good boy most the time so I made him a triple layer Hershey's chocolate cake.   I made it in 3 layers because I only have smaller rounds and not the 2 larger sizes called for.  They worked perfectly.  I believe they are 8 inch...Here is a picture of his cake!  I may have posted the recipe before, but will check and if not post it soon.
 
Guess I haven't ever posted the recipe for here it is in case you use cocoa powder other than Hershey's.  I believe this recipe and frosting are on that can still..
 
HERSHEY'S COCOA DEEP DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE
 
 
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
 
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour (I spray the pans with Pam spray and then cut parchment paper rounds and put them in the bottom of each round pan and spray it lightly again so it doesn't stick to the bottom) 2 round pans 9 x 1-1/2 inches, or 3 eight inch pans, or a rectangle 13 x 9 inch pan.  In a large mixer bowl combine dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.  Remove from mixer.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour into prepared pans (not over half full on the 8 inch pans so when it rises it stays in the pans) and bake 30-35 minutes for round pans, 35-40 minutes for rectangular pan, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool cake in rounds for 10 minutes; remove from pans sliding knife around the outside perimeter first. Do not remove cake if baked in rectangular pan.  Frost with one-bowl buttercream frosting or frosting of your choice. 
 
 
ONE BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
 
6 softened Tablespoons of butter
Cocoa- 1/3 cup for light flavor, 1/2 cup for medium flavor or 3/4 cup for dark flavor-I use dark..
2-2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
In small mixe bowl cream butter.  Add cocoa and confectioners (powdered) sugar alternately with milk, beat to spreading consistency (additional milk can be added if too thick-add small amounts at a time).  Blend in vanilla.  
 




MILO NEEDS A COSTUME

My granddaughter, Sam, is going to be Snoopy and Grandson, Kyle, Charlie Brown for Halloween this year, so they asked me if I could make their dog, Milo, into Woodstock  Guess what, they don't have many Woodstock for dogs costumes out there to get ideas from, so I looked up pictures of the little yellow bird and came up with this..I am hoping it will pass!  It's extra hard since he doesn't live here and so got measures from my daughter, Shellie, and bought some yellow fleece and went for it.  Here is the final result.  If I get them to send me a picture I will post it later with the trio!  (and they say dogs can't fly..)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Chicken Soup with White and Wild Rice

There is a chance of snow during the night tonight and it's rainy and cold today, so, since I had a whole chicken in my freezer, I thought I'd make a pot of soup for supper..Joe said he'd pick some up and Dave can make a grilled cheese if he wants one or eat his crackers and butter with it.  I will just eat it the way it is and be totally happy!  Joe and I are trying to lose some pounds, so you may be seeing less baking and more soups and lower cal meals on here coming up for a while..plus I love soups this time of year anyway and there are a million good ones out there!  I am not going to repost the whole recipe..if  you do a search above and write in soup it should come up with the recipe I posted for chicken noodle soup and this is basically the same except I had a box of Uncle Ben's white and wild rice in my cupboard, so I reserved the seasoning packet to use another time on something and dumped in the box of rice..it seems to be the perfect amount. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

BLUEBERRY YUM YUM DESSERT

I've been looking for a few days for different dessert recipes for a little party we are having at work tomorrow.  I said I'd bring the dessert and others are doing other things..It's a belated party and hopefully will be a surprise so I can't tell who it's for on here.  Anyway, I came up with 3 choices and bought ingredients for all three, but settled on this one because it just looked so darn good to me!  It pretty much did it for me with using Lorna Doone cookies in the crust and topping, and I liked the idea of fruity things since we usually have chocolate something or another for these events.   I used two pie fillings half blueberry and half peach in mine so they had a choice and instead of using the pecans in the middle, I put them on top with the crushed cookies.  Other than that I did it the same as the recipe.  The filling is really good, not sour at all like some cream cheese fillings.  As long as you have  your ingredients at room temp it will go fast and easy for you!  Here's the link to the recipe:
http://southernbite.com/2014/05/27/blueberry-yum-yum/




Saturday, October 24, 2015

Baby Aiden's baby blanket finally finished!

Ta Da!  I told myself when I went to bed last nght that I was going to get up and do nothing else but finish this baby afghan before Aiden went to college.  I did decide mid morning though that it was probably a good idea to get dressed, comb my hair and brush my teeth when someone decided to come and knock on my door and I looked like I was dressed in a Halloween costume with my hair really wacked out and in my housecoat. BUT, I did stick to it and finished the last of the crocheting and wove in the zillions of ends!  I am so happy to have one of my 4 unfinished projects done and I am sure his mom will appreciate having it with the weather turning chillier and chillier besides.  Tomorrow I have to make a costume for my granddog, Milo, and sew a belly on Alana's deer costume for Halloween..(her friends and her are going as a herd of deer with a hunter.  If she sends me a picture I will post it later-I think they will look adorable.  Anyway, here is the latest and greatest completion!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Yet another step done on THE ROOM!

Happy girl today! Dave got the floor down in the cave! Now to do a little cleanup, get the switchplates on, and get the room back together..he said it went together really well, but when I said we should extend it into the rec room, he was not excited at all and looked like he was going to take the high bridge, so that might have to wait...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Fallish Snack Mix to Try.

This recipe came up on Facebook as a popular post from Pinterest a week or so ago, so I printed it off, picked up the ingredients I needed and figured one day I'd try it since it looked pretty good.  Today I finished painting the second coat on my ever lasting bedroom project and had some time left in the day, so threw it in the crockpot.  I did 4 cups of Rice Chex and 4 cups of Graham cereal and omitted the broken up graham crackers.  I bought a can of mixed honey nuts and dumped the whole thing in.  I also added the 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice and it's perfect to me.  When it cooled enough I added about half a bag of candy corn to brighten it up and I actually like the taste even more with one of those with a some of it in my mouth.  Alana said she liked dried cranberries so that's what I threw in there, but personally I think I'd leave them out next time. they are okay, but I don't think they enhance it at all.  Alana, the middle grandkid, is having her friend birthday party this weekend, so I will be giving it to her for that, otherwise I would be constantly picking at it, I can already tell.  I definitely thought it was great for this time of year..the link to the recipe is  http://www.averiecooks.com/.../crock-pot-maple.../print/

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Treats just because

I haven't baked or cooked a meal in a week.  I've been too busy trying to get projects done and work and survive.  I was feeling kind of guilty..another night of throwing fast food on the counter for supper just wasn't going to fly in my book or Dave's, so I cooked a quick spaghetti supper and then put together the Toll House cookie recipe on the back of the mini chips (add some chopped pecans) and am baking them for a surprise for the old man when he comes in the house tonight.  He loves cookies and milk before bedtime!  I had to taste test, of course, so made myself an ice cream sandwich and shoved it in because it tasted so good to me.  Back to the oven to get another batch out!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ongoing basement cave room completion..

okay, progress made today..walls sanded, woodwork taped, ceiling painted, walls first coat put on. One more coat and I turn the job over to dave to put down the plank flooring!! only 3-1/2 months since I started the job..we'll see how long it is until the room is ready to have sleepovers in. my mind has turned to decorating at this point..good sign! Wednesday I should get the second coat on..tonight it's prep for work with more laundry to finish up. I ended up with almost a white color, but turns a tint of gray when dry..although I am proud of the wall prep I did after that wallpaper mess there are still some slight imperfections here and there and I thought it would hide them better and also lighten up the cave room.  The ceiling looks really white, but this picture sure doesn't show that..final picture soon I hope

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls by Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman)

I saw the show on these a while back, I am thinking last fall, and have been thinking about making them ever since, along with her caramel roll recipe.  Well, lo and behold, she posted it today again and since I had all the ingredients, luckily for me!, I went ahead and made them.  I found them very easy to make if you follow the directions, and also found them super yummy with a cup of flavored coffee!  I am resisting going and getting another one actually...Here is the link to her recipe.  She even has a step by step tutorial on making them on her blog.  Just make the one block of cream cheese for the frosting..it actually had leftovers with that amount of frosting. 
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/pumpkin-cinnamon-rolls/

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Chicken Abigail by Pol Martin

Yet another oldie, but goodie recipe from the Pol Martin cookbook! I made this quite a few times in my 30's and Dave's brother, Ron, used to make this after I gave him the cookbook for special occasions. He and Kim both loved it as well as myself! It's called Chicken Abigail and once you get all the ingredients it's really fast to put together. You are supposed to garnish it with thin slices of lemon, but I didn't want to waste a lemon..cheap me!  I definitely would if making it for guests though because it really dresses it up nicely.  The Madeira wine can sometimes be harder to find, but it gives it just the right flavor..make sure it's Madeira and not Madera Sangria-wrong!  I guess you can substitute marsala if you absolutely can't find the Madeira.  I couldn't find the pearl onions at Walmart-just the cocktail onions-those are pickled, so just used thinly sliced sweet onions. 

Here's the recipe:

ABIGAIL'S CHICKEN BY POL MARTIN:

3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup heated chicken stock
2 large whole chicken breasts (or 4 half breasts) diced.
1/2 lb small mushrooms cleaned (I just buy a jar of the tiny button mushrooms)
1 green pepper diced
1 red pepper diced
1/2 cup cooked pearl onions (or as above)
1/2 cup Madeira wine
2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper
few drops tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
pinch nutmeg

Heat 1 Tbsp butter in large skillet.  When hot, stir in lemon juice and chicken stock.

Add chicken and season.   cover ad cook 8-10 minutes over low heat.  Pour chicken and sauce into a bowl, set aside.

Replace pan on the stove and add remaining butter.  when hot, add mushrooms and peppers and onions; cook 3 minutes, uncovered, over high heat.  remove vegetables from pan and set aside in bowl. 

Pour wine into pan and cook 3 minutes over high heat.  add cream and spices; mix and continue cooking 6-7 minutes over high heat to reduce.  replace chicken mixture and vegetables in the pan, season and simmer 3 minutes to reheat.

Serve over buttered toast triangle or toasted French bread slices.  I like to serve this with a green salad. 

Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup by Skinnytaste

I made this soup once last year and have been thinking about making it again ever snce..well I finally made it again today.  I could eat just the meatballs alone..they are delicious!, but the whole package is super nice too and feels so good for you besides.  A loaf of crusty bread and butter and maybe some cut up mixed fruit and it's a whole meal that really good for you and not fattening besides.  Don't get me wrong..it takes a while to make, but it's worth it on a day you have some time.  Next time I am going to double it and freeze some-it would be so good if I had a cold or wanted some for a work lunch all ready to go.  Here is the link to her recipe.  I didn't have all the fresh herbs (walmart didn't have all of them), so substituted with dry ones (basil, parsley) using like 1/2 tsp of each instead.  I think the taste was perfect with that amount.  Try it, you'll like it!
http://222.skinnytaste.com/2014/10/mini-turkey-meatball-vegetable-soup.html

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Swiss Steak (recipe for Pol Martin)

When I was young, many, many moons ago, there was a book sale at work.  The girls were at home still and they had a cookbook that I thought looked super good for them.  I ended up buying 3 of them, one for each daughter and one for Dave's brother, Ron, who loved cooking.  Somehow I ended up getting one back, one got lost and his brother has since passed away and I don't know what happened to that book.  He actually made several recipes from it and so have I.  It's called "Easy Cooking for Today" by Pol Martin.  If you like good, comfort food, this is the best cookbook.  He is/was? a Canadian chef.  He has a couple other books out there too, but I'm not as impressed with those.  I bought them online a few years back, used, and I am glad I didn't pay a lot for them.  Anyway, here is the Swiss Steak recipe.  I usually always serve it with baked potatoes and salad, but tonight it's going to be the potatoes and squash because someone gave me a couple today in exchange for a few gladly given away black walnuts from the trees, and it sounded good.  It's one of those darkish fall days today..

Swiss Steak:
3-1/2 lb cube steaks (he used round steak and tenderizes it himself, but not me!)
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil
1 yellow onion peeled and sliced thinly
1 garlic clove smashed and chopped
28 oz tomatoes (I used fresh or a quart of canned)
1 Tbsp beef base
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
a little dried or chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in large frying pan.  Salt and pepper meat on both sides and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.  Brown well on both sides.  Put in an oven proof pan with sides.  add onion and garlic to fry pan and oil if needed.  brown onions until light golden brown and place them on top of steak.  Then add tomatoes to the fry pan with beef base and seasonings.  simmer about 10 minutes and then pour over the steak and onions.  cover with foil and bake in the oven for 1-1/2 hours.  (that's why I have baked potatoes, less dishes and same cooking time pretty much). 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tomato Basil Soup!

Since fresh tomatoes are abundant right now and I don't grow them anymore, I decided to go to the "Green Barn" today and buy a few to make two of my favorite fall foods..tomato basil soup and Swiss Steak-the steak to make on Wednesday and will be posting it at that time.  I still might pick up a bushel of tomatoes and can them Wednesday too..they are so good over the winter to have on hand..we'll see if I have the energy, hopefully so.  Anyway, here is the recipe for the soup!  I plan on freezing some for lunches at work and a bowl for my supper.  I can't wait!

Tomato Basil Soup:

8 fresh large tomatoes peeled (the easiest way to do this is to dip them in boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skin, then set aside until you can touch them comfortably-doesn't take long, and then the skins peel off very easily).  Chop up discarding any hard parts, and put in a bowl until ready to use.  Otherwise, you can use two 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes. 
1 can (14-1/2 ounce) chicken broth (I use this amount of water and add chicken base)
18-20 fresh basil leaves, minced (can also use 1/2 tsp or so of dried basil)
1 large clove garlic minced
2 Tbsps chopped onion
1 stalk celery chopped
2 tsp sugar
1 cup whipping/heavy cream
1/2 cup butter or magarine
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan/kettle, add butter, onion, celery and garlic to a low simmer..cook until softened.
Add tomatoes and broth and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add basil and sugar, reduce heat to low and add cream.  you can eat it this way, but I prefer to use an emersion blender and blend it smooth, or put small amounts in a regular blender and blend each batch until smooth..add salt and pepper to taste.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

British Themed Bachlorette Party Hat

My daughter, Kim, is going to a bachelorette party for her friend today and they have to wear a dress and a hat to go to a British style dinner club.  She asked me to make her a hat, because they were so expensive online, that she could wear.  She had found one she liked so I tried to copy it.  I think it turned out cute.  She is wearing a solid black dress so I had some color freedom based on that.  Here is the finished product.  Hopefully she will post some pictures with it on tonight so I will add one of those if she does..I am sure she will get lots of looks in the car driving there!
 
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CARAMEL APPLE OATMEAL COOKIES

We just got back from a 10 day RV trip to South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado.  Lots of relaxation, gorgeous scenery and no breakdowns!  Thus the reason I haven't been on here for a while.  BUT I did find a delicious cookie at a trucks stop that I just had to recreate once I got home to take in to work tomorrow for the ladies who helped out with my work while I was out.  I had never had this one before and I think it's delicious and a great breakfast cookie with a cup of Joe for them.  The only difference in my cookie is I didn't use coconut..some people don't like it much, so thought they would be just as good without it and they are to me!  I found the recipe online..there was only one review and it wasn't good.  The baker said hers never set up, ran all over the cookie sheet and she threw it out, but I didn't have any trouble.  I am wondering if she missed some ingredient or didn't chill the dough long enough?  Add some coconut if you like, that's what my Wyoming cookie had and I liked it.  The only thing I did differently on her cookie was cut the nutmeg to 1/2 tsp because I am not a big fan of nutmeg.   My baking time varied..I used two cookie sheets at a time because I didn't want to be baking them all night..you can only fit like 6 of the monsters on each pan and the time took anywhere from 17-20 minutes.   Here is the link..  oh and make sure you spray your pan or use parchment paper..the caramel will stick. 
http://hoosierhomemade.com/easyrecipe-print/27887-0/

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Old Fashioned Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I used to make this cake a ton when I was in my 20"s..my first husband absolutely loved pineapple anything, this cake, pineapple pie, fresh pineapple, anything with it in it, but after he passed away for some reason I kind of quit making it.  My sister, Yvonne, made a big one last Sunday and posted it on Facebook and it brought back to me how yummy it was, especially loaded with topping of some type..fresh whipped cream is the best, but I also like Cool Whip on this cake and that's what we will be using tonight since I don't have whipping cream in the house and am not in the mood to go to the store today.  I happened to have a can of pineapple rings and maraschino cherries in the cupboard..luck was on my side.  This is the recipe I used to use and since it's tried and true (I used to double it for a 9 x 11 pan) I made it (in an 8 x 8) since it's just me and Dave this weekend.  It's from an old edition of the Better Homes and Garden's cookbook..I think my first cookbook..about 1970-1971. 

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE:

1 (8-1/2) ounce can sliced pineapple (rings)
3 Tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
maraschino cherries
1/3 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Drain pineapple, reserving syrup.  Melt butter in an 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking pan.  (I just set the baking pan on a stovetop burner to melt the butter, don't scorch it though)  Add brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon of the pineapple syrup.  Add water if needed to the rest of the syrup so it equals  1/2 cup of syrup.  Arrange pineapple in the bottom of the pan.  Place a cherry inside rings or spaces.  set aside.

Cream together shortening and sugar until light and well mixed.  Add egg and vanilla.  Beat till fluffy.  Sift together dry ingredients; add alternately with the 1/2 cup reserved pineapple syrup, beating after each addition until smooth.  drop globs on top of base you set aside and smooth out so completely covering pineapple base.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes ; invert on plate.  Serve warm. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Carrot Pickle Relish

I ran out of my pickle relish that I use on hotdogs, hamburgers and cold noodle salads about a month or so ago and I have been lost, so I decided I'd better make some before the winter snows start falling and I don't have any for another year.  I'd be lost without it..I use it a lot and my son, especially, loves it on hotdogs.  A few years ago I had him over, as a matter of fact, to help me grind all the vegetables with old fashioned hand grinder, so he went and bought me an electric one..guess he wanted the relish, but wasn't fond of grinding vegetables?  Anyway, I finally used it today and it seems to be fine..it's a little finer of a grind then with the hand one though, so we'll see what I think of the final product.  Right now the mix is sitting under canning salt for 2 hours, and then it's finish it out with the brine and seal it up in hot jars.  It's really not a hard recipe, just kind of takes up your day.  Here's the recipe..

CARROT PICKLE RELISH: (use your largest size grinder fitting)
6 cups of ground up, fresh from the garden, washed and ends removed, medium (not large-you don't want big seeds in your relish-gross) cucumbers. 

3 cups of peeled fresh carrots ground

3 cups of yellow onions, ground

3 green peppers, washed, seeds and membranes removed, ground

Mix all veggies together in a large bowl, sprinkle top with canning salt.  Let stand 2 hours (covered with plastic wrap, then drain thoroughly.  (I used a colander and push on it to get all the water out in smaller batches. 

Boil together until dissolved for 5 minutes:
4 cups sugar
4 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon turmeric

Add drained cucumber mixture and cook 1/2 hour on low simmer.  seal in hot jars (I put washed and rinsed 1/2 pint jars in a canner of hot water and pull them out as I fill them so they are really hot, then apply a warm lid and ring and twist tightly, put on a flat bath towel and don't disturb them until they have sealed.  (the lid should have sucked in and made a popping sound..can take a little while). 
 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Applesauce Bars with Caramel Frosting

My daughter, Kim, has a PowerPoint presentation tomorrow for one of her finals at school.  The subject has something to do with Washington and she wanted to bring something to share made with the state fruit, apples (I am assuming to push her grade to the best she could get by feeding the teachers and classroom) LOL.  I am home today and she was both going to school and working today, so I volunteered to bake something and thought up applesauce bars.  She said she doesn't remember ever having them before, but I'm sure at some point I made them.  The one I used to make just had a glaze on top and usually had raisins in them, which I like a lot, but a lot of  younger generations are not into raisins anymore so I left them out of this recipe altogether.  A lot don't care for nuts either, so I just trimmed the edges for decoration mainly and in case some people liked them on the bars..they can eat the edge pieces.  Here is the recipe.  It's supposed to make an 8 x 8 pan, but I doubled it and that's how I have written it.  Mine is in a bar pan..probably would work in an 8 x 13 pan also if you wanted thicker, more like cake consistency..

Turn oven to 350 degrees.

in a larger bowl cream together:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs

then add:
2 cups applesauce
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
(optional: 1-1/2 cups raisins)

beat with a mixer until smooth and put in your Pam sprayed pan.  Bake 20 minutes or until center is done.  Allow to cool.

Caramel Frosting:
4 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners)
1 teaspoon vanilla
melt butter in a larger saucepan on lower heat so it doesn't burn (so you can add sugar later and not dirty another bowl), add milk and brown sugar.  increase heat to medium.  when mixture starts to boil, continue cooking for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, cool slightly and beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.  can add additional milk 1/2 Tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.  I didn't have to add any.  spread over cooled bars, slice and eat.

Monday, August 17, 2015

My adaptation of The Enchanted Garden Tote Bag

I decided to add another crochet project to my already pile of unfinished projects.  It's called The Enchanted Garden Tote bag, but I am going to adapt it along the way.  I am making the front panel the same, but you are supposed to make two, one for the front and one for the back, and I really don't care for that,  plus you are supposed to make granny squares for the sides of the tote and I don't really like that either, so I am going to make panel with variegated matching yarn for the sides and bottom and either a black or yellow back panel and line it with cloth with pockets etc in it.  you are supposed to use a mesh tote bag to sew it to, but I am going to make basically my own bag to attach it to.  Anyway, tonight  realized I wasn't going to have quite enough cream yarn to finish it, so I had to order more.  It's the only yarn that I bought online and they don't sell it in our stores in the U.S..of course!  I might have enough for another row and then I switch again to yellow, so I can maybe do a few more rows.  eeekkk!  Right when I was on a roll too!  Oh well, such is life..
 
This all that is left..see the picture alongside it!

panel is finished!  am thinking it would be a really pretty pillow?  We'll decide soon...
 

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Scones

My niece, Jacqui, had a friend at work who wanted to make scones so asked me about these (I had made them for my sister, Karen, and her when they were up a few years ago to visit the Minnesota family and they liked them a lot. I had also made them for work years ago and they had the same reaction, so I decided to post the recipe on here in case I lost it and wanted to make them again for something..I have so many papers all over the place that I could very well see that happening!  Here goes..they are really quite simple if you follow the directions carefully.  If using frozen berries just make sure you have them thawed and drained on paper towels before starting..the cold butter is important to keep them light and flaky.  I use a pasty blender when mixing it together..

Here is the link: http://www.annies-eats.com/2007/07/10/raspberry-chocolate-scones/

 
 

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

I Just finished a big pan of dark chocolate coconut Granola bars. I like to have some at work and they are so darn expensive and some of them are not that good or filling anyway, so thought I'd try making this recipe that looked good. They are really tasty-snuck a little corner to taste- and don't have any sugar or corn syrup etc in them..I think they are gluten free too..maybe people who have to avoid gluten could tell me if that's the case or not.  Once the chocolate is set up you just cut them into about 1 x 3 inch pieces and I guess it makes about 26 bars.  Looking forward to my mid morning or mid afternoon snack coming up!  Here is the link to the recipe if you are interested in trying them..they'd be great for school lunches or after school snack. I found most the ingredients at Walmart to make them except the vanilla bean paste, so I just substituted 2 tsps. of vanilla..Here is the link to the recipe if you'd like to try them.
http://fabtasticeats.com/2014/04/02dark-chocolate-coconut-granola-bars-healthy/




Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Perfect Day for Making Tuna Salad

I have hardly made any cold pasta salads this summer for a reason I do not know..I love pasta salads (that may be the reason..I can't stop eating them and don't need to keep shoving pasta salad into my body).  Anyway, it' been in the high 90s the last few days and I thought to myself, "you know, a tuna pasta salad would be good this weekend to have around ready to pull out when we want to eat hamburgers or hotdogs or something and I don't want to cook because it's in the high 90s"..I have a tendency to talk to myself a lot these days and I enjoy my own conversations.  Thus, I threw together the tuna salad just now.  I did make it one other time this summer, and Joe, my son, complained that tuna salad should have rings in it as I had used shell noodles, so I had picked up a box just to make him happy the next time I made it.  I was out of my sweet pickle relish (making that next weekend) so I substituted some baby sweet pickles like my mom used to use in her cold salads.  It's pretty good that way..had forgotten about using them even and luckily I had part of a jar of some in the fridge from a feed with the kids.  Here's how I made it.

COLD TUNA PASTA SALAD:

Cook one half of a  16 ounce box of large pasta rings-I used Creamettes, according to directions on the box.  I add a handful of frozen baby peas into the boiling water too to save a kettle..drain and rinse with cold water. 

Meantime into a medium to larger bowl or sealable container:
chop 3 tiny sweet pickles and some of the pickle juice from the jar-about 3 Tablespoons
1 cup Miracle whip-can add a little more if it doesn't seem moist enough to you.
1/8 cup Western dressing
a small amount of finely chopped yellow onion, or a few green onions diced finely
1 can of your favorite style of tuna, drained well and rinsed.
small amount of salt and pepper
a large handful of shredded cheddar cheese (I use mild for this)

add cooked noodles and stir until mixed well.  sprinkle paprika on the top and refrigerate until cool and flavors have had a chance to meld together.  I actually think it tastes better the second day, so good item for a potluck that you can make ahead to bring..

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Burrito Bowls!

I had seen a post on Facebook with this recipe and printed it off a few days ago to make this week.  It looked like a good work night supper, fast, not expensive and leftovers possibly for work.  Of course I had to change it up a little, so sharing it with my adaptations.  The recipe was pretty vague about sizes of ingredients so it appears you can alter those to your taste.  We liked them, although both Joe and I added some chopped green chilies to ours because it fell a little flat for us without them..Dave liked his more mellow..

EASY BURRITO BOATS:

Brown 1 lb of hamburger with salt and pepper-next time I would add a litte chopped onion to this. Drain well. 

add 1 package of your favorite taco seasoning or an amount to your taste. 

add one can of refried beans (I used authentic flavor)

add 1 small can of tomato sauce.  Blend all well. 

I bought the little tortillas that are formed like boats..they were on sale and the package of 8 was perfect and they were easy to work with for this recipe.  Divide the meat mix evenly in the 8 shells on a sheet pan. Top with a small package, about 6 ounces, of Mexican cheese blend, shredded, divided evenly between the 8 pieces.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  In the meantime I shredded some lettuce, chopped some tomatoes, although salsa would be good too, black or green olives, chopped onions, sour cream, taco sauce and whatever else you enjoy on your burritos for sides.  (I used a small can of green chilies also) and let people add their favorites.  I also served it with some nacho cheese Doritos that I actually crushed up on top of my serving and added some Western dressing.  I know..sounds weird, but it's actually how I make my taco salad and we love that.  Glad I tried these..

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Korean BBQ Burrito Bowl

I tried this new recipe today and it's a 5 star recipe, so sharing it.  It's packed with flavor and has a little heat to it, but not the super spicy overwhelming flavors I can't handle.  My grown son, Joe ate two hearty bowls of it and took another one for his lunch at work tomorrow.  It has a lot of steps, but none are hard and you cook the pork in the slow cooker.  It's super moist and tender/tasty.  I would even cook a pork roast alone with American sides because it's not distinctively Asian, just good.  I am not sure if this link will work for you, but if not just do a search for Korean BBQ Burrito Bowl by fabtastic and you will find it.  It does make a lot of servings and I had pork left that I am using for BBQ pork sandwiches tomorrow..

http://fabtasticeats.com/2015/01/30/korean-bbq-burrito-bowl/

Alana Needs a New T-Shirt Quick

Alana is going to a "teeny" rage concert tonight for someone I have never heard anything about..anyway, when a girl her age goes to a concert, guess what? they need a T-shirt.  Since it was just decided she could go, and the concert is tonight, plus the shirts are only available online and cost at a base price of $15 plus shipping, Kim picked up a T-shirt at Walmart last night for $3 and her and I made transfers for it today on my day off for a few hours.  It turned out really cute (per Alana and her mom) and can't wait to see her in it.  I guess this person is a "comedian" style performer, but sings?  It sounds like it's in the early teen fan club spotlight.  I am getting sooo old, I think I will pass on even trying to figure this one out..it will most likely be old news really soon anyway and why stress my brain..LOL.

 Here is the front and back of our creation..(guess this is something the performer says on a regular basis..again ???