Search This Blog

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I discovered a new yarn by Lion Brand called Scarfie and couldn't resist picking up some to make some new scarves for gifts.  It comes in lots of pretty colors and when I showed them to my granddaughter, Samantha, she picked this one that is in shades of black to light gray.  It's a nice yarn and has 22% wool, so will be warm when it's cold outside here in Minnesota.  One skein makes a long scarf and they work up fast because it's a bulky yarn and you use all half double crochet stitches to make it.  You just chain 23, turn and go into the 3 chain with a HDC, then all the way across for a total of 21 stitches, chain 2 and turn and go across the 21 stitches and repeat.  It's a great pattern for watching TV or on long trips in the car (as a passenger!) or any time you need to fill some time..I will be making more!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Version of Chicken and Dumplings

There are a million and one versions of Chicken and dumplings, but I always have made them the same way.  The family all likes them and they are easy to make and something comforting on a cool day when either you have a ton to do at home or a day when you can kick back and find a craft or a good movie to watch for once!  Today it was actually a lot cooler in Minnesota than it's been so I decided chicken and dumplings was in store.  I had a lot of housework to catch up on and it could simmer away while I got things done..plus I kind of like the smell of a chicken and broth cooking on to of the stove..I know I will have something tasty later on after I am worn out from working. Here's how I put it together..

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS:

In a large "spaghetti pot" or steamer aka:

Fill the bottom kettle about 1/3 full of water, insert top strainer section and add one washed and cleaned out whole chicken.  add 1 small onion coarsely chopped, and 1-2 washed and chopped stalks of celery and 1-2 washed and chopped carrots with salt and pepper all over the chicken and two bay leaves.  Turn on high and once it starts to simmer reduce heat and let slowly simmer for 1-1/2 hours, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and starting to fall apart.  remove from heat and let it cool down so you can handle the chicken and the broth continues to strengthen.  Pull strainer from the pan (set it in a bowl or something so it doesn't drip all over, discarding carrots/celery, bay left and onion.  Debone Chicken, tossing bone, skin and gross parts..cut chicken into bite sized pieces and toss back into the broth.  Add two heaping Tablespoons of liquid chicken base from a jar (I use Better than Bouillon) or if you prefer 3-4 bouillon cubes to the liquid, some finely chopped celery, carrots and a handful of small frozen peas cooking until the veggies are tender.  Thicken with a mixture of cornstarch and water and add until it's slightly thickened, stirring constantly.  (I have also just added those packets of chicken gravy mix to thicken it all, and they work fine too..2 probably?)

Then I just pull out the box of Bisquick or Jiffy Mix and follow the directions on the box for making dumplings..these always turn out light and fluffy and we love them.  I serve with a side salad usually.



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Margaret's Best in the World Sugar Cookies

I thought I had posted this recipe previously, but can't find it, so maybe I didn't?  These are the best sugar cookies I have ever eaten.  They are loaded with butter and maybe that's why.  They are my grandkids favorite cookie, my kids favorite cookie and my favorite cookie.  Every time I take them somewhere they become their favorite cookie too!  It's a VERY old recipe, not even sure how old, but it was passed on by my mother-in-law Margaret to me and I am very glad it was.  You can just scoop up some dough with a cookie scoop, roll it in a ball and squish it with a sugared bottom of a glass and bake them that way, or  you can roll them out on a floured board and cut them out with cookie cutters..this is more tricky because the dough is pretty moist, but believe me it can be done.  refrigerating it helps, but generally I don't want to wait that long.  I like to bake them the same day as we are going to eat them because I think they are the absolute best the first day..I always have to make them in to mitten cookies for Christmas, have made them tons of times for the grandkids birthday parties and just because they are spending the night at grams.  I make a glaze with just powdered sugar and a little milk and food coloring that hardens on the cookie and that's the way they like them the best.  Yesterday I made a pile of them and just bought the frosting in the can and colored it with tons of sprinkles and candy for them to make their own version and it was a big hit..they were raving about the cookies, so posting the recipe finally.  Here goes..

MARGARET'S SUGAR COOKIES:
(This makes a lot of cookies.  I made 65 of them out of this batch for work..a lot of times I make a half sized batch and it makes enough for most things)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup room temperature butter
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups plus 4 heaping Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter

Cream together the sugar, butter and oil until light

Add all the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. 

Place on ungreased cookie sheet using one of the methods I described above.  Bake at 375 degrees about 10-12 minutes until very slightly golden on the edges.  I let them sit on the pan for a little bit before removing as they harden up a little bit so easier to remove..I just lay out a piece of aluminum foil to let them cool and frost on..

Refrigerator Dill Pickles (Bobby Flay Recipe)

Kim passed this recipe on to me when I was searching for a good refrigerator dill recipe.  It really is a good one!  Some of the ingredients are ones I didn't have at home, but worth purchasing even if just for this recipe.  Try it, you'll like it!

REFRIGERATOR DILL PICKLES:

http://oneperfectbite.blogspot.com/.../refrigerator-dill...


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Ten years ago, if asked if I put by pickles, my answer was a resounding, "No." Twenty years ago, it was a terse and less polite, "Get real." My response thirty yeas ago is best kept to myself. My failure to get with the program wasn't based on laziness, I've just never cared for preserved pickles. I thought they were salty and limp, and found their color just plain unappetizing. I wasn't a complete snob about them. I did love the brined, unprocessed dills that could occasionally be found in be found in barrels in some markets and delicatessens. I just never took the time to find out how they were made. Shortly after we moved to this area, I began to experiment with refrigerated pickles for certain Thai and Vietnamese dishes, and in the process learned I could make our favorite pickles in much the say way. I first mastered a refrigerator version of bread and butter pickles because my family loved to have them on hamburgers. I worked on garlic dills for several years but couldn't get the flavors right. I was about to give up and admit defeat when I found a recipe by Bobby Flay and decided to try one last time. I'm so glad I did. These are great pickles and they require no special equipment to make. They can be eaten the day after they are made and keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator. My only caution is to make sure you have enough room to store them for that length of time. I hope those of you who are fond of pickles will try these. You won't be sorry. Here's the recipe.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar-(I used 1/4 cup)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon dill seeds
2 cups hot water
2 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill ( I didn't chop it, just cut a few heads off and threw them in the bottom of the jar)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

Directions:

1) Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds in a heatproof bowl. Add hot water and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid is clear. Cool to room temperature.
2) Place cucumbers, garlic and dill in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour brine over all and turn to coat cucumbers. Cover them with a plate to weigh them down and keep them covered in brine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stirring once or twice. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to two weeks. Yield: 1 quart.

(I just put some dill and the garlic in the bottom of the jar and then filled the jar with the sliced/cleaned cucumbers, and poured the brine over the top.  I might try adding a sliced jalapeƱo pepper the next time for some kick.   The I took a fork and kind of pushed them down and mixed them a little a few times.



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Experimental Refrigerator Pickles

I saw an old Facebook post they put on for me, on some refrigerator pickles I had made a few years ago..I kind of had forgotten about them and how good they taste with hot dishes or even on a sandwich, so decided to make a batch up today.  I couldn't find the recipe I used last time, so I kind of combined a few so hopefully they will be good.  You aren't supposed to eat them for 24 hours after they've been refrigerated so I am anxiously awaiting the clock to test them out.  We ate them for supper and they are already good and it's only been about 5 hours..tomorrow should be even better when they really cold..

Here is how I made them. 

Scrub and slice 6 cups of fresh cucumbers (leaving skins on) and about 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (some people like red too) into a container that will fit in your fridge and allow room for the brine.  I used a 1/2 gallon jar with a lid that I have on hand basically just for these pickles.

In a medium sized kettle add:
3 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
3 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric

Bring just to a boil so sugar dissolves and immediately remove from heat and pour over the cukes and onions.  Cover and set in fridge for at least 24 hours before eating.  Keep refrigerated.  Lasts for quite a long time if you have them that long!



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Taco Pizza

I mentioned my daughter, Kim, makes a Mexican/taco pizza pretty often.  I had some pizza sauce set aside from yesterday's post on how to make pizza sauce, and had thawed out some hamburger yesterday too, so to kill two birds with one stone I decided to make her pizza.  I found a recipe online for bread machine pizza dough that's in the machine as we speak..there are lots of them online, so just pick one that has good reviews and go for it..I was surprised at how many called for flat beer.  Let me know if you try that and how it is!  Sounds interesting.  I just made a basic one but substituted about 1/4 cup of the flour for some corn meal..thought that might be good with a Mexican style pizza.

Here's how she told me to do it.

Bake a pizza crust until slightly browned.

Spread crust with a mixture of half pizza sauce and half salsa.

Add crushed taco chips (I am thinking frito chips crushed might be good too)

Add prepared taco hamburger using directions on taco seasoning packet

add whatever other toppings you like..such as olives, extra onion etc.

Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top and bake in a 375 degree oven until melted and slightly browned.

Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and taco sauce, if desired. 


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Peach Jam

I decided to make a batch of peach jam since I had just gotten a crate of Colorado peaches and thought I'd make something I could get that great peach flavor from this winter too.  I kind of blended a few recipes together I had found and used the "new" (at least to me)Sure Jell for less or no sugar added jams and jellies.  It was super simple and gelled up really nicely.  Dave said it tasted like peach pie.. Here's the recipe I made:

PEACH JAM:
In a large kettle:
Combine 4-1/2 cups finely diced ripe (peeled and pitted) peaches (about 9 larger peaches), 1 envelope of the Sure Jel described above that is combined with 1/4 cup sugar, and the juice of 1 fresh lemon..(no seeds..lol). 

Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly, until it stays boiling even when stirred.  add 2-3/4 cups more sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon,  plus 1/2 tsp butter to prevent it from foaming, and when it comes back to a boil- boil it for one full minute more.  Remove from the heat and spoon into 6 clean hot jelly jars-mine held 1 cup of jam, so half pints..put on clean lids and rings and put in a canner with warm water on a rack.  Bring to a boil  and lightly boil for 10 minutes.  remove onto a doubled towel until all pop and seal.  I leave them until morning.  Mine actually popped almost immediately. 

I wash my jars in the dishwasher to sterilize them and use them right out of the hot dishwasher so the hot jam doesn't crack them..tip of the day.



The Best Pizza Sauce

I got this recipe for pizza sauce from my sister Diane many years ago.  It was published in their Wyndmere, North Dakota Centennial cookbook, so I haven't lost it like I usually have done with great recipes, but wanted to put it on here for the kids etc to have easy access to.  It makes a huge batch, but I don't mind at all because I have plenty of people who like to get some of it to freeze and have on hand for their homemade pizzas and other dishes they use pizza sauce with, or just for dipping with.  It has very little sugar also which is a plus, as a ton of the bought sauce is loaded with.  This is really fresh tasting and not tinny either like the canned stuff.  I usually try to use it up within 6 months though because I think the taste changes when it sits in the freezer too long.  My one daughter makes a recipe sometimes for a French bread pizza (my sister, Karen's recipe) where you just slice the bread in half the long way, hollow out most of the bread in the center (make homemade croutons with it!~) then add some sauce fairly lightly in the bottom, add whatever pizza toppings you like, such as cooked sausage and pepperoni, olives, onions-whatever, and then add your mozzarella/cheddar or any pizza cheese, and bake on a rack in the oven covered with tin foil, or a baking sheet, at 400 until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty, maybe 12-15 minutes.  cut in slices and eat.  She also makes Mexican pizza a lot with it.  Experiment and enjoy!

PIZZA SAUCE: (I put mine in the crockpot on high for 4 hours, but you can put it in a large kettle and let it simmer for 3 hours which is what the recipe suggests, I just don't like watching it, so do it this way)

In a large crockpot combine:
2-(29 oz) cans of tomato sauce plus 1/2 can of 8 oz tomato sauce (6-1/2 cups total)
3 cups of water
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon crushed oregano
1 Tablespoon crushed sweet basil (regular basil)
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese (I use the grated fresh)

Cook on high for 4 hours in the crock pot (or 3 hours in a kettle on the stove on simmer). 

ADD:  4 (12 ounce) cans of tomato paste and 3 cups more of water stirring until smooth. 

put in half pint jars and freeze until ready to use.  I just put 1 cup portions in freezer zip lock bags and squeeze the air out as much as possible so they lay flat and freeze them that way. 




Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tomato Tuna Melts

I am a stuffed tomato fan-stuffed with ham salad, chicken salad or tuna salad, so when I saw this posting on Skinnytaste.com I had to make some.  For her recipe just go to her site.  It's a little different than mine because I am a Miracle Whip person and I used American cheese slices because I didn't have Cheddar at home.  I really liked them and they were easy to make.  I had some fresh Colorado peaches with it and it filled me up on a week night besides. 

Here you go:

TOMATO TUNA MELTS:
1 can (5 oz) tuna in water drained.
2 Tablespoons Miracle Whip salad dressing
1 center stalk celery finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion (I used yellow sweet)
2 ripe tomatoes, halved (I got fresh from the garden ones)
some salt and pepper
4 slices American cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the broiler to high, pull the top rack and line with aluminum foil. 

Season the cut tomatoes with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients, season lightly with salt and pepper.

divide the tuna mixture in 4 and put one portion on top of each tomato.  add a slice of cheese on top of each.  Put on rack and then place the rack on the second rung down from the broiler.  watch carefully..the cheese melts fast and will burn.  Remove from the oven and serve.  you can use the same recipe but substitute cooked chicken or diced ham..