Archived Recipe Page (11-14-10 through 6-23-11)

June 23, 2011

Almost everyone loves meatloaf and this week the recipe for meatloaf has a little twist – it’s stuffed.  I like to serve this with baked sweet potato and green beans and/or a salad. 

Shopping List:
§  Two 3 oz cans mushrooms
§  White onion
§  Butter
§  Fresh bread crumbs
§  Powdered thyme
§  2 ¼ pounds of ground chuck
§  2 eggs
§  Salt
§  Pepper
§  Ketchup
§  Parsley
Two 3 oz cans of mushrooms – drain – save the juice
½ cup minced white onion (I use my Black and Decker Handy Chopper to do this)
¼ cup butter
4 cups Bread Crumbs – I use whole wheat bread that I have cut into cubes)
¼ teaspoon powdered thyme
2 ¼ pounds ground chuck
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon salt (if you use sea salt use the lesser amount)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup mushroom juice
¼ cup parsley

Sauté the mushrooms and onions in butter.  Combine with the brad crumbs, thyme, and parsley.  Set aside.

Mix together the meat, eggs, salt, pepper, ketchup, and mushroom broth.

Using a large loaf pan, pack ½ of the meat mixture into the pan.  Pack the stuffing mixture on top of this meat, then top with the remaining meat mixture. 

Bake 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes, and then drain the juice.    Serves 8



June 16, 2011

Who would have thought!  Last week I was writing about 90+ degree weather, and this week it has been in the 70’s and low 80’s.  In fact, right now it is 59 at 10 PM and going down to 52.  Tonight for dinner was my Tomato Basil Soup with Pork  (see the posting on December 15, 2010) and with it I served my homemade garlic herb bread that I mentioned in my post of May 26th – Helen’s Chicken Vegetable soup.  In that post I stated that I would publish this bread recipe at a future date.  The future has arrived.  

I make this in my bread machine, which my daughter gave me about 6-7 Christmases ago.  I confess I am spoiled – and I will never go back to making bread the old-fashioned way.  This machine is what I call a kitchen essential.  Nothing tastes or smells as good as homemade bread. 

Shopping List:
§  Butter
§  Fresh garlic
§  Flour
§  Sugar
§  Salt
§  Dried rosemary leaves
§  Dried thyme leaves
§  Dried basil leaves
§  Yeast
Homemade Garlic Herb Bread
1 ¼ cup water
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3/14 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 ½ teaspoons bread machine yeast or quick-acting dry yeast

Note:  You always put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order given. 

In a microwaveable measuring cup, place the water and the butter, and ‘zap’ for about 20 seconds.  Pour the water into the bread machine, followed by the other ingredients in the order given, yeast always going last.

If you make the bread the old fashioned way, warm the water and butter  - it should feel slightly warm when a drop is place on your wrist.  Add the yeast to the water and dissolve completely.  Add the other ingredients, stirring well until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl, or if you are using dough beaters it will start coming away from the beaters.  The dough should look shiny and smooth. 

Place in a large slightly greased bowl (I use butter to grease the bowl) Flip the dough once in the bowl so the top is slightly buttered (this will help keep the dough from drying out).  Cover and let rise until double in bulk - to test this – press lightly with your little finger near the edge or bottom of the bread.  If the small dent remains, the bread has risen enough. 

Punch down –form the loaf, place in a greased loaf pan, and let rise a second time until double in bulk - follow with the test as mentioned above.  Again, if the small dent remains, the bread has risen enough and is ready to bake.  Bake in hot over about 450 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Bread is done when you flick your finger on the top and it sounds hollow. 



June 9, 2011

Well, summer time is officially here!  Where I live in Tennessee we have been have 90+ degree-days.  Because of the heat I thought a recipe that didn’t require any cooking might be a good idea.  This recipe comes from my husband’s mother – so Thank you Mom!

Shopping List:
§  1 can green beans – 16 oz
§  1 can wax beans – 16 oz
§  1 can kidney beans – 16 oz
§  1 can chick peas – 16 oz
§  Green pepper
§  8 green onions
§  Sugar
§  Oil
§  Vinegar
§  Salt
Four Bean Salad
1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can kidney bean
1 can chick peas
¼ cup slivered green pepper
(Sorry guys, can’t use the frozen green pepper, must be fresh)
8 green onions – sliced
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup oil (I like to use the mild olive oil)
½ cup vinegar
½ teaspoon salt

Drain the green beans and wax beans.  Drain and rinse the kidney beans and chickpeas. Sliver the green pepper and slice the green onions.  Place the beans, green pepper, and onions in a container large enough for stirring and that can be place in the refrigerator. 

Combine in a separate bowl the sugar, oil, vinegar, and salt.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Pour mixture over the beans.  Mix well and place in the refrigerator overnight.  Stir occasionally.

This is particular good to serve with that cookout you are planning on having this weekend. 


June 2, 2011

Here where I live in Tennessee, the first of the summer squash and zucchini are coming in at the Farmer’s Market.  The recipe for this week is using these two items.  It is very simple to do – one of those vegetable side dishes that hits the spot!  This should serve 4 and is baked at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. 

Shopping List:
§  Zucchini (enough 3 cups when sliced)
§  Summer squash (same amount as above)
§  White onion
§  Butter
§  Lowery’s seasoned salt
§  Finely shredded parmesan cheese [DON’T use the dried cheese in the jar]

Helen’s Vegetable Parmesan Casserole
Zucchini – sliced – enough for three cups
Summer Squash – sliced – enough for three cups
½ of a large white onion – sliced then slices cut in half
2 tablespoons butter
Lowery’s seasoned salt to taste
½ to 1 cup of Parmesan Cheese – finely shredded

In a 2-quart casserole dish melt the butter.  Mix the zucchini, summer squash, and onion together in a large bowl, sprinkle with Lowery’s seasoned salt to taste.  Place mixture in the buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and help it to ‘sift’ down into the mixture.  Sprinkle with a little water, cover, and bake. 


May 26, 2011

When my girls were little, we often gave meals a funny name.  One such meal was Baked Chicken that we fondly called Baked Buzzard.  The recipe this week is a suggestion on what to do with the leftover ‘buzzard’ meat.  This meal will server 4 to 5. 

Shopping List:
§  Leftover chicken (about 2 to 3 cups)
§  Parsley flakes
§  Tarragon
§  Sage leaves
§  Rosemary
§  Chicken Broth – 32 oz
§  Baby carrots
§  Frozen whole green beans (thin)
§  Frozen white corn
§  White onion
§  Garlic
§  Whole Wheat Rotini
§  Salt and Pepper to taste
Chicken Vegetable Soup
2 to 3 cups of leftover chicken
32 oz of chicken broth (Swanson’s is my favorite)
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon tarragon
¼ teaspoon sage leaves
½ teaspoon rosemary leaves
10 baby carrots
½ of a medium white onion
Small garlic clove
Frozen whole green beans (thin) enough for four
Frozen white corn – enough for four
Whole wheat Rotini
Salt and Pepper to taste

Remove all the chicken from bones – cut into bite sizes.  Chop the baby carrots, garlic, and onion (I use my Black and Decker Handy Chopper to do this).  Place the chicken and the carrot garlic onion mix, in a large saucepan.  Add the chicken broth, parsley flakes, tarragon, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.  Cover and turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Cut the green beans into bite size pieces; place them and the corn into the saucepan.  Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes or until the green beans are done. Add the rotini to the mixture, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes.  Add more chicken broth or water as necessary.   

I like to serve this with my homemade garlic herb bread (recipe for the future) and a hearty salad. 

May 19, 2011

Here is another one skillet dinner.  It is easy to prepare, however it will take about 2 hours, which includes prep time and cooking time. 

The recipe calls for canned potatoes, however, I like to use fresh potatoes that I have boiled.  If you choose this option, the best potato to use is a red bliss.  You will need 8 small red bliss potatoes, which you can either peal or leave the skins on.  Personally, since all the best nutrients are in the skins, I leave the skins; however, I clean the potato really well, since you have to use some of the potato water in the recipe. 

Also, dried green pepper flakes are very expensive, which is why I like to use fresh, and it is cheaper.  If you remember, in last week’s recipe I made a note regarding fresh green pepper and freezing what you don’t use.  “(What you don’t use, cut into strips, stick in a plastic freezer bag, and put in the freezer for use in another recipe)”.  This is the time to use what you froze. 

This recipe makes 4 servings, so adjust accordingly for your family

Shopping List:
§  1 pound boneless round steak
§  Flour
§  Oil (I like to use Olive oil since it is healthier)
§  Large white one (you will need a cup)
§  8 fresh potatoes – small - (red bliss) or a 16 oz can of whole potatoes
§  Ketchup
§  Worcestershire sauce
§  Bell pepper fresh or flakes
§  Instant beef bouillon
§  Salt
§  Marjoram leaves
§  Pepper
§  Frozen whole green beans

Saucy Skillet Steak
1-pound boneless round steak, cut into serving pieces
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 large white onion chopped – enough for 1 cup
8 cooked red bliss potatoes reserving about 1 cup of the liquid you cooked them in.  If you opt to use the can potatoes, reserve all the liquid in the can.
¼ cup ketchup
¼ teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon
½ teaspoon sea salt
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons bell pepper flakes or about 2 teaspoon of chopped frozen green pepper
1 package (10 oz) of whole green beans (I like to use the skinny ones)

Any time you use round steak, you have to tenderize it…so dredge it though the flour and take out your day’s frustration on it by pounding it.  Once you have beaten it into submission, place it in a large skillet along with the oil.  Brown the meat on both sides, and then push to one side.  Add the onions and cook until tender.  Drain any excess oil. 

In a separate bowl, add one cup of the potato water (if you used canned potatoes, you may have to add water to make one cup).  Then add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, green pepper (flakes), instant bouillon, salt, marjoram, and pepper.  Pour this mixture over the beef and onions.  Heat to boiling, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours (add more water if necessary) until beef is tender.

Add the frozen green beans and potatoes and heat to boiling, and then reduce the heat.  Cover and simmer until bean are tender – about 10 to 15 minutes. 


May 12, 2011

This is one of my girl’s favorite dinners.  It is easy to do and a good way to use up any left over ham. 

Shopping List:
§  Butter
§  Cubed cooked ham
§  Green pepper
§  Medium white onion
§  2 cans cream of chicken soup
§  Milk
§  Parsley
§  Biscuit mix like Bisquick or your favorite biscuit recipe

Ham Pie
3 cups of cubed cooked ham
½ cup chopped green pepper
(What you don’t use, cut into strips, stick in a plastic freezer bag, and put in the freezer for use in another recipe)
1 medium white onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk (for a richer sauce use ½ cup milk and ½ cup half and half)

2 cups biscuit mix and ½ cup cold water

Using a large skillet, melt butter and sauté ham, onions, and green pepper.  Cook until onion is translucent and tender.  Mix together the cream of chicken soup and milk.  Pour into skillet, and heat until just bubbly.  Pour mixture into an ungreased baking dish.  I use a 2-quart dish.  Place in an oven that has been heated to 425 degrees. 

While baking, mix up the topping.  Place dough on a floured cloth/surface and knead lightly 5 - 6 times.  Roll out into a 12 x 7 rectangle.  Sprinkle the dough with parsley, about ½ cup.  Roll up rectangle and cut into 9 pinwheels. 

Remove the ham mixture from the oven and place the pinwheels on top of the HOT mixture.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes uncovered.  Makes 6 to 9 servings.   Serve with salad and/or vegetable. 


May 5, 2011

You may have noticed that most of my recipes are mostly from scratch.  I am finding that the older I get, the more trouble I have with ‘boxed’ or ‘prepared’ food.  I don’t know if it is all of the additives or fillers they put in these things, but I know that my system doesn’t like them.  Additionally, many of these items, include much of our fast foods, have MSG, which is an appetite stimulant.  Do you think if they removed the MSG from our prepared foods, we, as a nation, might eat less and therefore lose weight?  Just a thought!

When I was a working mom, I always like the recipes that you can cook in one ‘pot’.  The recipe for this week is for two people, so adjust it accordingly for your family size. 

NOTE:  I do not add any salt to this recipe since there will be some in the cream of chicken soup and perhaps in the chicken broth. 

Shopping List:
§  2 chicken breast
§  Swanson’s Chicken Broth
§  Cream of chicken soup
§  Half and Half
§  Brown rice
§  Butter
§  Medium white onion
§  Broccoli flowerettes
§  Tarragon
§  Parsley
§  Garlic clove
Helen’s One Pan Chicken and Rice Meal

2 chicken breasts
1 ½ cup chicken broth
½ medium white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic diced
¼ teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cups brown rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
Enough half and half to fill up the soup can – about 10 oz

In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Chop the onion and garlic (if you have a Black and Decker handy copper use it for the onion and garlic).  Place both in the skillet along with the uncooked brown rice.  Brown on a low heat until the onions are translucent.  

Add the chicken breasts and slowly brown on low heat on both sides.  Then add the chicken broth, tarragon, and parsley.  Cover and cook on low heat for 25 minutes.  Check to see if the rice is done and most of the broth has been absorbed.  If rice is not done, continue cooking and add more broth if necessary. 

Mix the cream of chicken soup and Half and Half together.  Add this mixture and broccoli (enough for two) to the chicken.  Cover and continue on a low heat for an additional 25 minutes or until broccoli is done. 

Serve with a salad and/or Sister Schubert rolls.


April 28, 2011

This week we are having Delmonico Potatoes.  This recipe is supposed to have been one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorites.  Although this takes a little prep time, it is well worth the effort.  I hope you enjoy it!

Shopping List:
§  8 medium all- purpose potatoes
§  Butter
§  Flour
§  Light cream or half-and-half – enough for 2 ½ cups
§  Salt
§  Pepper
§  Grated sharp cheddar cheese
§  Bread crumbs

Delmonico Potatoes

8 medium all-purpose potatoes
8 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 tablespoons flour
2 ½ cups light cream or half-and half
½ teaspoon salt
dash or two of pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup fine dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash, peel and dice potatoes.  Boil in lightly salted water until just done, but not mushy.  Drain potatoes and place in a 2 quart lightly greased casserole or baking dish.

In a medium saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter, and blend in the 6 tablespoons of flour using a whisk to avoid lumps.  Gradually add cream or half-and-half, stirring.

Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a dash or two of pepper.  Pour over the potatoes.  Top with grated cheese.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter; stir in bread crumbs, mixing until coated.  Sprinkle buttered crumbs over casserole. 

Bake until cheese melts and casserole is bubbly, about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Makes 6 servings. 


April 21, 2011

This week is a recipe that I would make at Easter Time for my children, and now I make for my grandchildren – Honey Bunny Bread.  I found this recipe about 30 years ago in the local paper and have added my own special flourishes to it.   The dough can be mixed in your bread machine.  There should be a setting that allows you to just mix and raise the dough without baking it.  Also, remember to add the liquids first, then the dry ingredients, and finally the yeast to the machine.

Shopping List:
§  Milk
§  Active dry yeast 
§  Flour    
§  Honey
§  Salt    
§  Butter
§  Quick or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
§  Egg
§  Cinnamon 
§  Powdered sugar
§  Coconut (optional)
§  Jelly Beans or gum drops (optional)
§  Red licorice whips

Honey Bunny Bread

3/4 cup milk
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup honey
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

If you are NOT using a bread machine, do the following:

For bread, heat together milk and butter in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted - cool to lukewarm.  Dissolve yeast in water. 

In large bowl combine butter mixture, dissolved yeast, 1 cup flour, oats, honey, egg, salt and cinnamon; mix well.  Add enough additional flour to make soft dough.

Knead on lightly floured surface 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Shape to form ball.  Place in greased large bowl, turning once to coat surface of dough.  Cover; let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double in size.  Punch dough down.  Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

If you are using a bread machine, you have added the liquid first, then the dry ingredients, and then the yeast.  After it completes its cycle or if you have made it as above and it has finished resting the 10 minutes do the following:

Divide dough in half. 

For bunny body, shape 1/2 to form a 36" long rope.  Slightly butter the top of the rope and sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar mix. [NOTE:  you will follow this step with each ‘rope’]  Loosely roll up rope spiral fashion; pinch dough to seal end tightly.  Place about 3" from bottom of greased large cookie sheet; press down slightly. 

Divide remaining dough in half. 

For bunny head, shape one half to form a 25" rope.  Loosely roll up rope spiral fashion; seal end tightly.  Attach to top of body on cooked sheet by pinching dough together. 

Divide remaining dough into thirds. 

For tail, shape on third to form a 15" long rope.  Loosely roll up like others; pinch to seal end.  Attach to side of body on cookie sheet by pinching dough together. 

Shape remaining dough to form (2) two 3 ½ inch long bunny ears. Attach to head by pinching dough together. 

Let rise about 1 hour or until nearly double in size.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire cooling rack.

For icing, combine the powdered sugar and milk ingredients, mix until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled bread.  Depending on much icing you like, just remember to keep the powdered sugar to milk ratio to 1 ½ cup pwd sugar to 2 tbls milk.

At this point I like to ‘coat’ the bunny with shredded coconut.   I take a little of the coconut and dye it pink with red food coloring and use this in the ears.  You can use jelly beans or gum drops for the eyes and nose and red licorice whips for the whiskers. 


April 14, 2011

I love cheesecake and it took me many years to find one that I really enjoy. This one comes from my husband’s Aunt Flip.  The recipe can be made with or without a crust.  My preference is crust less!  I bake it in a spring pan (see the attached picture) and it will pay you to invest in a good one.  Also, I cut a piece of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of the pan.
Shopping List:
§  Sugar
§  Cream Cheese – 2 pounds
§  Large Eggs
§  Vanilla
§  Cornstarch
§  Sour Cream – 8 oz. 

Aunt Flip’s New York Cheesecake
2 pounds of cream cheese
2 cups sugar less 2 tablespoons
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sour cream

If you want to use a graham cracker crust you will need:
1 7/8 cups graham cracker crumbs (this is 2 cups less 2 tablespoons)
½ cup butter melted
2 tablespoons sugar
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

Crust Instructions:
In a bowl – place crumbs, melted butter, and sugar – blend well.  Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish on top of cheesecake.  Press remaining mixture into bottom and sides of greased 9-inch spring pan – (won’t need to grease if you use parchment paper).  Chill in freezer. 

Instructions for cheesecake – remember you can make this without the crust:
In a mixing bowl – beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and light.  Beat in eggs, vanilla, and cornstarch – just until blended.  STIR in sour cream.  Pour into pan.  Bake 10 minutes at the 450-degree temperature then reduce temperature to 200 degrees and bake 45 minutes.  Turn OFF oven and allow to cool with the door opened slightly for 3 hours. (yes, I said 3 hours).  Remove sides from pan.  Chill

If you made this with a crust –sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoon you reserved for garnish before chilling.

I serve this with fresh strawberries or blueberry topping that I have cooked with a little sugar and cinnamon added. 


April 7, 2011

This week I will be doing two recipes  - one for Gluten Free Banana Bread and one for regular Banana Bread.  The gluten free Banana Bread comes from a friend of mine, Linda F., who is seriously allergic to wheat gluten.  As you may know, the medical community is now finally properly diagnosing this condition.  I didn’t realize how many other medial aliments mimic what is in reality gluten intolerance and how many foods that you would never suspect that have wheat in them, i.e. Hershey’s chocolate bars. 

Shopping List for Gluten Free:
§  Sugar
§  Canola oil
§  Eggs
§  Almond flour
§  White rice flour
§  Sorghum flour
§  Salt
§  Baking soda
§  Bananas
Banana Bread – Gluten Free

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup almond flour
2/3 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup sorghum flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in hot water (about 2 tablespoons)
2 bananas, mashed
¼ cup nuts (optional)

Cream oil and sugar.  Add well-beaten eggs.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt and nuts.  Add the flour mixture alternately with mashed bananas.  Add baking soda/water mixture.  Pour into a loaf pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes @ 350 degrees.  Let cool for 10 minutes and remove loaves from pans to finish cooling.  Makes one loaf.

Shopping List for Regular Banana Bread:

§  Flour

§  Baking powder

§  Salt

§  Baking soda

§  Shortening

§  Sugar
§  Eggs
§  Grated orange peel
§  Banana
§  Milk
§  Nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Regular Banana Bread

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup mashed banana
2 tablespoon milk
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and orange peel and beat well.  In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and stir well. In another bowl or large measuring cup (2 cup size) combined the mashed banana and milk.  Add the banana mixture and the flour mixture alternately to the creamed mixture, beating just until smooth after each addition.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into a greased loaf pan (9x5x3).  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan, then wrap.  Wait a few hours before serving.  Makes one loaf. 


March 31, 2011

For those of you that like curry you will like this recipe.  For those who have never tried curry, this is a great recipe to use for the first time around.  It is a very easy recipe to prepare and goes great with whole-wheat pasta, brown rice (see my recipe baked rice recipe posted January 13, 2011), or baked potato.  Just add a vegetable and you have dinner. 

Shopping List:
§  1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
§  Milk
§  Curry powder
§  Salt
§  6 pork chops
§  ½ medium white onion

Curried Pork Chops

6 pork chops (I use bone-in chops at least ¾ inch thick
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
½ medium white onion – chopped or sliced
¼ to ½ teaspoon powdered curry
½ to 1 teaspoon salt

In a medium to large skillet, brown the pork chops in a little bit of olive oil.  When well browned, remove chops and place in a baking dish.  Now in the same skillet, sauté the onions. 

While the chops are browning, mix together the can of soup and enough milk to make 2 cups. Add the curry and salt. Mix well.  Add the sautéed onions to the liquid mixture.  Pour over the chops and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.   Serves 6


March 24, 2011

Some of my younger readers may find this difficult to accept, but Macaroni and Cheese casserole did not always come out of a box or frozen out of a freezer.  When I was a kid, this was my absolute favorite food.  I guess things haven’t changed much.  My mother would serve it with a vegetable and tuna fish loaf.  Personally, I think it goes well anytime with anything.  I do sometimes put cut up cooked chicken, or a partially cooked frozen vegetable, or both in the casserole.  I partially cook the vegetable since this casserole only bakes for 25 – 30 minutes at 375 degrees. 

Shopping List:
§  Elbow macaroni – I like to use the small elbows and you will need 8 ounces for this recipe
§  Butter
§  Flour
§  Salt
§  Pepper
§  Whole milk or half and half
§  Sharp cheddar cheese – total of 2 ½ cups
§  Breadcrumbs
Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

8 ounces elbow macaroni (about 2 cups dry)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Teaspoon salt
¼ Teaspoon pepper
2 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese – shredded

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese – shredded
½ cup breadcrumbs
Mix above two ingredients with 2 tablespoons of butter

Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the box or bag.   Rinse in a colander and let drain covering with a damp paper towel while you cook the sauce.

In a large saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter.  Stirring constantly, add the flour a little bit at a time to the butter to avoid lumps. Then add salt and pepper.  Stir well.

Slowly add the milk, once again stirring constantly – I use a whisk – sauce will thicken some.  Then add the cheese.  If you like it real cheesy – add two cups. 

In a 2 quart casserole dish, put in the elbows, then stir in the sauce, mixing well throughout.  Cover with the topping.  Bake 375 degrees – 25 - 30 minutes. Serves 6


March 17, 2011

Do you remember me writing about the “ugly” pork chops in my ‘Helen's Tomato Basil Soup with Pork’ posted on December 15, 2010?  You can use them in this recipe by cooking them like I described in the soup recipe, OR this is a great way to use up a leftover pork roast.  This recipe goes very well with rice (see my baked rice recipe posted January 13, 2011) or egg noodles plus a vegetable of choice. 

You will need a large skillet with lid

Shopping List:
§  2 pounds of pork (as listed above or purchase a boneless pork shoulder)
§  white onion
§  can of tomatoes
§  chicken bouillon granules
§  dried marjoram, crushed
§  salt
§  thyme, crushed
§  fresh or 3 oz can of mushrooms

Pork Marengo

2 pounds of pork cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup chopped onion (I use a white onion)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 16 oz can tomatoes, cut up (use Handy Chopper to do this)
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1 teaspoon salt (I use less since I use sea salt)
½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
dash pepper
Fresh mushrooms or 1 3 oz can of chopped mushrooms, drained
1/3 cup cold water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In a large skillet, slowly brown the pork and onions.  If I am using the boneless pork shoulder, I do cut it up in smaller pieces and cover it while cooking it in the skillet.  When the pork shoulder is done, I then cut it up into the 1-inch cubes.  Sprinkle the flour over the meat, stir, covering the meat evenly with the flour.

In a separate bowl, place the chopped tomatoes, chicken bouillon, marjoram, salt, thyme, water, and pepper. 

Slowly stir the mixture over the pork and onions in the skillet.  I do this so the flour on the meat will blend well with the tomato mixture. 

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and simmer for 20 more minutes. 

Serve with rice or noodles.  Will make 6 to 8 servings.


March 10, 2011

Last week I did French Coffee Icing.  This week I am going to do a terrific cake to go with that icing.  This recipe was my Nana’s and has been in my family for several generations.  This is one of the few recipes that I have of hers.  She usually put a peanut butter icing on it, but alas, that is one recipe that has not survived.   When I found the French Coffee Icing, the first thing I did was make Nana’s cake to put it on and, voila, a combination made in heaven. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  You will be using a 9 x 13 pan, greased. 

Shopping List:
§  Flour
§  Sugar
§  Shortening/butter
§  Salt
§  Vanilla
§  Eggs (4)
§  Whole milk
One, Two, Three, Four Cake

1 cup shortening (sometimes I do half shortening half real butter)
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt

Cream well the shortening and sugar.  Then add one egg at a time, beating well between each egg.  Add vanilla

In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add this mixture alternately with the milk, beating well between each addition.

Fold cake mixture into baking pan.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes – cake tester used in center of cake should come out clean. 


March 3, 2011

If you are looking for an icing recipe that will go with any cake and taste wonderful, this is it!
French Coffee Icing

3 1/3 cups Powdered Sugar
¾ cup butter
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons strong coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat the butter until soft.  Then add the powdered sugar gradually, beating well between each addition. Then blend until creamy.

Add the salt and the coffee and beat for two (2) minutes and I mean 2 minutes not less, preferable more.  This thickens the icing.

STIR in the vanilla and let stand for five (5) minutes.  Then beat well – again you want the icing to thicken to spreadable consistency.   I have been told you can add more powdered sugar, but I find that is not necessary if you really beat this icing well.  Will cover a two-layer cake or a 9 x 13 sheet cake. 

I thinking the next time I make this icing I am going to try making it with Hazelnut flavored coffee. 

Check with me next week and I will give you an old family recipe for a wonderful cake to put this icing on. 


February 24, 2011

This chicken recipe is great for dinner or to use on top of a chef salad.  It is easy to prepare and delicious to eat.  As a dinner, I serve it with whole-wheat noodles or brown rice and a vegetable. 

Oven B-B-Q Chicken

1 frying chicken cut up or 4 large skinless chicken breasts
Season the chicken with salt (sea salt) and pepper

In a sauce-pan put the following ingredients:
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ to ½ teaspoon garlic salt

Simmer the above ingredients until well blended.  Cut the chicken into serving pieces and then dip into the sauce. 

Place chicken in an aluminum foil lined 9 x 15 pan.  Make sure you have enough foil coming over the edges since you will be covering the chicken with foil.

Pour remaining sauce over the chicken and then cover completely with foil.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

When ready to serve, place chicken on top or noodles or rice and pour the sauce over the chicken. 


February 17, 2011

Here is a great cake to go with that cup of coffee or tea with out being overly sweet.  It comes from my friend’s mother and has been in their family for generations.  Hope you enjoy it. 

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup hot milk

Beat the eggs until creamy, about three minutes (they will look nice and lemony yellow).  Gradually add the sugar – small amount at a time.  Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt mixture.  Add the vanilla and the hot milk (to heat the milk - measure the milk in a glass measuring cup and put in the microwave for 2 minutes). 

Pour the cake mixture in a well-greased bundt pan or an angel food pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or more until cake tester comes out clean. 

When finished baking, cool 10 minutes then turn pan upside down on a plate.  Once cake has cooled, using a sifter, lightly sprinkle powder sugar on top. 


February 10, 2011

Some of my older readers may remember the popularity of fondue pots back in the 1970’s.   This recipe was originally meant for cooking in the fondue pot, however, who wants to go to the trouble getting sterno fuel and assembling the pot.  I find a large non-stick skillet works just as well. 

Ground Beef Stroganoff

¼ cup butter
¼ cup finely chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef/chuck, or round
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt (if you use sea salt cut this to ¾ teaspoon)
dash pepper
1 can mushrooms
½ can cream of chicken
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons parsley flakes

In the skillet, place butter, onions and garlic, which you have chopped together in the Handy Chopper if you have one, and the ground beef (I use chuck). Cook until ground beef is brown.  Sprinkle the flour over the meat mixture, add the salt and pepper and stir well. 

Add the mushrooms. 

In a measuring cup mix together the cream of chicken, sour cream, and parsley flakes.  Pour over the meat mixture and stir.  Heat until slightly bubbly.  This serves 5.

I serve this with either brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, a green vegetable and/or salad.  Garlic toast also makes a nice accompaniment. 

One pan method and substitutions:

All right, you don’t have any sour cream on hand or you don’t like it. Additionally, you are all out of canned mushrooms.  And perhaps you don’t feel like using a lot of different pans.  Here’s what I do.

Using a large skillet, I follow the above instructions regarding the butter, onions, garlic, ground beef, flour, salt and pepper.

To this mixture I add the following:
     3/4 cup of Swanson chicken broth
     ½ cup of cooking wine (Sherry)
     2 ½ to 3 cups of uncooked whole-wheat noodles
     ½ of a 16 oz bag of whole frozen green bean (I like the thin green beans) 
            or broccoli flowerettes.

Cover and simmer on low heat until the noodles are done and the vegetable is tender.

While this is simmering, put 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, parsley, and 1 cup of half and half in a large measuring cup and stir well.  Add this to the meat, cooked noodles and vegetable mixture.  Simmer until bubbly.  Serve with garlic toast. 


February 3, 2011

This recipe comes from my grandmother, Nana.  If you like fudge, but don’t like to take the time to cook it, you will like this recipe.

Uncooked Fudge

1 beaten egg
1 box of powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Hershey’s cocoa
3 tablespoons peanut butter (plain or crunchy)
3 tablespoons butter

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix together with a spoon, and then knead in the bowl until everything is mixed together well.  Put the mixture into a pie pan and press down with the back of a spoon.  Mark the mixture (I believe by this she meant cut the mixture into the size pieces you want).  Set in the refrigerator to cool.  After about an hour it is ready to eat.  I place the pie pan in a Ziploc bag and keep it in the refrigerator. 

Because of the concern for using raw eggs, I have add the following article from The American Egg Board:

Following is what the American Egg Board says on using raw eggs:
There have been warnings against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs on the grounds that the egg may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a type of food poisoning.  With eggs and all other raw foods from animals, there is a small possibility of Salmonella food poisoning.  The risk is greater for those who are pregnant, elderly, or very young and those with medical problems, which have impaired their immune systems.  These individuals should avoid raw and undercooked animal foods.

Healthy people need to remember that there is a very small risk and treat eggs and other raw animal foods accordingly.  Use only properly refigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh, grade AA or A eggs.  Avoid mixing yolks and shites with the shell.  Refrigerate broken-out eggs, prepared eggs dishes, and other foods if you won't be consuming them within an hour.  

For summer outings, use ice or coolant in an insulated bags or cooler to keep cold foods cold (40 degrees F or lower) and thermal containers to keep hot foods hot (140 degrees F or higher).  When toting raw eggs on outings, leave them in their shells.  Immediately consume, refrigerate, or freeze raw of lightly cooked egg dishes.  Eggnog and homemade ice cream should be based on a cooked stirred custard to ensure safety.  

The kitchen, too, can be a source of bacteria.  Clean hands and eqipment, sanitary food handling practices, proper cooking and adequate refrigeration are essential in safely preparing all foods.

Raw Egg Whites - Althought it is possible for Salmonella to be in both the white and the youk of the egg, the white does not readily support bacterial growth.  Cold Souffles, mousses, and chiffons containing raw beaten whites require refrigeration to maintain their character, and added safety factor.  Such dishes might be considered low risk for healthy individuals.

For further safety, combine the whites with the sugar in the recipe (suing a minimum of 2 Ttablespoons of sugar per white) and beat over hot water or over low heat in a heavy saucepan until the whites stand in soft peaks.  Without sugar, the whites will coagulate too rapidly and produce an unsatisfactory meringue.  

This is the same procedure used in making 7-minute Frosting and can be used to make Royal Icing or other frostings ordinarily containing raw whites.

If using an unlined aluminum saucepan, do not add cream of tartar.  It will react with the aluminum to produce an unattractive gray product. 


January 27, 2011

Here is a dessert that you can dress up or down…Custard.  Many people hesitate to make this dessert, thinking it’s complicated or takes a long time, however, it is one of the most easily prepared desserts you will ever make.

Cup Custard

2 cups milk (scalded)
¼ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs or 3 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Set your oven to 325 degrees.

In a glass measuring cup or bowl put the milk.  I like to use ¼ cup half and half and 1 ¾ cups milk.  Place in microwave for 3 to 4 minutes.  This will scald the milk. 

While that is in the microwave, I add 2 eggs to a 1-½ quart corning ware dish and lightly beat them with a whisk.  When the milk is scalded, I add the sugar and salt to the milk and stir. 

Then using the whisk, I slowly add the milk to the eggs.  When well mixed, add the vanilla and nutmeg.  Place the corning ware dish into a Pyrex cake dish (9 x 13.5) in which you have added about 1 – 1 ½ inches of water.  You can pour the mixture into individual custard cups, if you prefer.  Just put the cups into the Pyres cake dish with the water.   Place the dishes in the oven and bake for 1 hour.  Serves 4.

To dress this dessert up, add some strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream, or a fruit glaze. 


January 20, 2011

Many people when they hear Chicken Parmesan, they think chicken covered with a ‘spaghetti’ sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Well, the recipe I use calls for the Parmesan cheese, but not the sauce. 

Chicken Parmesan

2 ½ pounds chicken (I use chicken breasts, boneless)
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon salt (sea salt is best)
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon crumbled rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon instant minced garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup white wine, chicken stock, or water
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
¼ to ½ shredded Parmesan cheese

I use four chicken breasts, about 6 oz each.  Wash and dry off.  In a plastic bag add the salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic.  Mix well and then rub the mixture onto the chicken breasts.  I coat the chicken with ALL of the mixture. 

In a large fry pan, add the oil and then the chicken, cooking over a moderate heat, for 25 minutes, turning until browned evenly on all sides.  Add wine, chicken broth, or water.  (I generally use chicken broth or wine)  Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.  Add more chicken broth as necessary. 

Transfer the chicken only to a baking dish.  Blend well the 1 tablespoon of water with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chicken broth.  Add this mixture to the drippings in the fry pan.  Mix well and then spoon over the chicken.  Sprinkle the chicken with the shredded Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.   Serves 4. 

I serve this with whole-wheat egg noodles, a green vegetable, (like green beans or broccoli) and in the summer, a salad. 


January 13, 2011

Here is a great chicken recipe.  My family eats a lot of chicken, so I am constantly looking for good chicken recipes.  Here is one of my favorites:

Chicken Fricassee

4 pounds of chicken 
(I use chicken breasts, but a roasting chicken cut up into serving pieces works well)
1/2 cup OLIVE oil
1 teaspoon salt (sea salt) you may want to use less if you are using cooking wine.
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/4 cup oregano leaves
3/4 teaspoon WHITE pepper
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 cup Spanish-style tomato sauce (since this in not an item I keep stocked, I use ketchup)
1/2 cup cooking sherry or dry sherry (since cooking wine has salt in it, you may want to use less salt.  In days of yore, the owners of the castle/mansion salted the wine used in cooking to keep the help from drinking it.)

Remove the skin from the chicken and cut into serving pieces.  In a large fry pan combine the olive oil, salt, celery salt, garlic salt, oregano, and white pepper.  Mix well in pan and add chicken.  Flip the chicken to cover it with the mixture.  Cover the chicken and cook on a low to medium heat depending on your stove for 30 minutes turning every 10 minutes.  While the chicken is cooking, mix together the onion, ketchup, and wine.  At the end of the 30 minutes, pour the ketchup/wine mixture over the chicken and stir.  Cover and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.   Serves 6.  Serve with rice and vegetable of choice ( I use broccoli flowerettes or green beans.)

Great leftover tip:  Make a chef salad using the chicken cut up on top.  

Bake Rice

1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups Swanson Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a 2 quart baking dish place the above ingredients and mix.  Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hours and 15 minutes.  

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.


January 13, 2011

I am re-posting my earlier blog entry of January 6th.  For some reason when I saved my post for today, I lost not only today's post, but also January 6th post. 

January 6, 2011

Besides cookies, I love pie, and my favorite is Lemon Meringue.  I've also included my piecrust passed down to me from my Grandmother.

Lemon Meringue Pie and Pie Crust

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cup cold water
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1 teaspoon lemon peel or grated peel of one lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter

1 baked 9-inch piecrust

3 egg whites
1/3 cups sugar

Before you begin on the pie filling, place the small glass-mixing bowl in which you will make the meringue, in the refrigerator.  Egg whites should not be whipped in a metal bowl.  This may be an old wives tale, but it is a rule of cooking that I have always followed.  

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and corn starch.  Gradually stir in the cold water.  Mix well.  Stir in egg yolks and mix well.  Turn on heat and stirring constantly bring mix to a boil over medium heat and boil one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in orange peel, lemon juice, and butter.  Pour hot mixture into a pre-baked pie shell and set aside. 

In your cooled glass mixing bowl, put in the egg whites (3) and beat until they form soft peaks.  Then gradually beat in the sugar.  Continue beating until they form stiff peaks.  Using a long spatula spread the meringue over the pie mixture, sealing the meringue to the crust.  If you do not do this, the meringue will shrink while baking, exposing the pie filling.  Place pie in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and cool on rack.  Refrigerate.  Serves 8

Helen's Pie Crust

 2 cups flour
3/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup COLD water

The secret to a great pie crust is a pastry cloth, rolling pin cover/sock, and not handling the dough more than necessary. 

In a large bowl put in the flour and salt. Mix.  Add shortening.  Using a pastry blender cut in the shortening to the flour mixture.  Add water.  Then using your fingers mix the dough together and form a ball.  Since this recipe makes two pie crusts or one pie with a crust topping, cut the ball in half and form two small balls.  

Lay out your pastry cloth and flour it.  Take your rolling pin with its cover on and roll over the pastry cloth, thus flouring the rolling pin cover.  Take one of the dough balls and place in center of pastry cloth and roll out.  To determine if the dough will fit the pie pan, place the pie pan upside down on the dough.  You should have 1/2 to 3/4 (best) inch of dough beyond the edges of the pan.  If not roll it out some more.  Fold the crust in half, lift, and place it in one half of the pie pan.  Flip open the crust to fill the pan.  Trim the edges and use the 'trimmings' to build up the edges of the crust. 

If you have to have a pre-baked piecrust, take a fork and poke the crust several times on both the sides and the bottom.  This keeps bubbles from forming in the crust as it bakes.   Place in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. 

Post Scrip:  January 13, 2010  -  If you would prefer not to have the calories of the crust, you can make the Lemon Meringue as Chiffon.  Simple do the following:  

  1. Make the filling and the meringue as directed.
  2. Let the filling cool.
  3. Once cooled, stir in the meringue - stir well and place in a 2 quart dish
  4. Refrigerate
  5. Once cooled, serve with a dollop of whipped cream.  


December 30, 2010

I truly like Swiss steak.  Not the kind that is made with ground beef, but made with round steak or flank steak.  This is the best recipe I have ever used and it is sooooo simple to do.  This recipe makes 5 servings.  Also, you need to have a set of measuring spoons that have tablespoon, 1/2 tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, and 1/8 teaspoon.  If you don't have this type, you should consider purchasing a set. 


1 1/2 pound round or flank steak
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/16 teaspoon garlic powder  (see, I told you that set of teaspoons would come in handy!) For those of you from Rio Linda, that's a half of an eighth teaspoon.
1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup hot water
3 tablespoons onion flakes or 1/2 small onion well chopped
2 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk or water.  

Cut steak into five serving pieces and pound with a mallet until meat is thin. In a pinch you can use the edge of saucer, just be careful that it doesn't break.  

Mix together the 3 tablespoons flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place in a plastic bag.  Toss in the meat and cover well.  

Place meat in a 10-inch skillet with the oil.  If there is any of the flour mixture left in the bag, I sprinkle it over the meat at this time.  I do this so I don't have to add the flour mentioned at the end of the recipe.  Brown well on both sides.  

Add the 1 cup of hot water and the onion.  Cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes until the meat is tender.  Check to be sure the water has not completely evaporated, add more water as necessary.  

Because I add the flour before I start browning the steak, this usually is enough to make a nice gravy.  However, if you would like thicker or additional gravy, remove the steak from the skillet when fully cooked and keep on a warm serving platter.  Blend the 2 tablespoons of flour in the pan drippings.  Using a wire whisk, slowly add the milk or water.  Stir until of medium thickness.  

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta noodles.


December 21, 2010

Here's an idea for a delicious soup to have on a hectic Christmas Eve.

Vegetable Potato Ham with Cheese Soup

2 can of cream of potato soup
Half and Half or whole milk
Frozen Corn
8 to 10 baby carrots
Frozen Broccoli flowerettes
1 to 1/2 pounds of ham steak
Cheddar or a Colby/Monterey Jack Cheese

I usually make this soup in a crockpot, set on low and allow to cook for 4 hours.  This should serve 4 people very nicely.  As a side, you can do a salad and/or garlic bread or French bread.  

Empty the two cans of potato soup into the crockpot.  Depending on how rich you want the soup, fill each can with half and half and add to pot.  Ham - trim any fat and cut into bite size pieces and add to pot.  Process the carrots in your handy chopper/food processor and place in a microwave dish with enough frozen corn (4 servings) - cook in microwave.  Add cooked carrots and corn to pot reserving the water left to cook the broccoli in.  If necessary, add a little more water to the microwave dish and cook 4 servings of broccoli flowerettes.  When cooked, hand chop into smaller pieces then add broccoli and the water to the pot.  Finally, add 2 cups or more to taste of the cheese.  I use cheddar, but in a pinch have used the colby/monterey jack cheese. 

Merry Christmas!


December 20, 2010

Hope you all had a great weekend.  My original intent with this page was to publish a new recipe weekly.  However, since it is Christmas, I have been publishing Monday through Friday.  So after this week, I will be going back to a weekly post.

The recipe for today is:
 Helen's Chili

My childhood memory of chili was not positive.  My mother made it with the red kidney beans.  I remember when I had to eat it; I would pick out all the beans and hid them in my napkin.  The meat and the sauce were okay.  

Now that I am older, much older, I have learned to appreciate chili, especially since I discovered pinto beans.  Being raised in Pennsylvania, these beans were never spoken of in the house.  It wasn't until I lived in North Carolina, that I was introduced to pintos!  Once that particular ingredient was added to my cooking repertoire, chili started looking better.  So here is my recipe:

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck
1 small/medium onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
3 Tablespoons of chili powder (more or less to your taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon parsley
2 pinches basil
1 pinch oregano

I make my chili in a crockpot, so into the pot goes the tomato sauce, pinto beans (don't drain, throw the juice in), stewed tomatoes (which have been lightly run through the handy chopper/food processor), salt, chili powder, pepper, parsley, basil, and oregano.  

In your handy chopper/food processor, put in the onion and clove of garlic and process till finely chopped.  Put into fry pan with a very small amount of olive oil and add the ground chuck.  Cook until all the pink in the meat has gone.  Drain off excess fat from meat mixture then add to the crockpot.  Cook in pot about 4 hours minimum.  

Chili is one of those items that the longer it cooks on a low heat the better it tastes.  This recipe makes enough to serve 6 people with generous servings.  


December 16, 2010

Sugar Cookies

I love sugar cookies, but until I found this recipe, I seldom made them because of all the fuss - refrigerating the dough, rolling it out, etc.  This is a simple recipe, but probably the best tasting sugar cookie I ever had.  

What is really great about this recipe is its versatility - you can add candy to the dough, like M and M's, or decorate the tops any way your heart desires.  These make a great Christmas gift.  Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.  

2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (yes, you read it right, powdered sugar.  Granulated sugar doesn't work)
1 cup butter flavor shortening (I use 1/2 cup butte