Friday, September 30, 2011

Cinnamon Dessert Pizza

Cinnamon Dessert Pizza

1  lb  Pizza Dough
1/4  Cup  Cold Butter
1/4  Cup  Flour
1/4  Cup  Brown Sugar
2  Tablespoons  Nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350*
Roll out the Pizza Dough in pan.  Mix Butter, Flour, and Brown Sugar together with a pastry blender until Butter is cut into small pea-sized lumps and Flour and Brown Sugar are well mixed.  Stir in Nuts, optional.  Spread out over prepared Pizza Dough.  Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes, until Pizza Dough is baked through.  Cut into wedges.  Serves 12. 

Simple Baked Peaches

Simple Baked Peaches

6  Fresh Peaches, halved and peeled
Dash Cinnamon
1/4  Cup  Sour Cream
2  Tablespoons  Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 450*
Place Peach halves in a lightly greased 11 x 7 baking dish; drizzle with Honey and sprinkle lightly with Cinnamon.  Bake until crisp-tender, about 14 minutes.
Mix together the Sour Cream and Brown Sugar; spoon 1 teaspoon into each baked Peach half.  Dust with Cinnamon for presentation.
Serves 6.

Mmmm....  such a simple Dessert, but oh! so yummy!

Can also top with Easy Cinnamon Granola or Greek Yogurt.
Try using Plums or Pluots, too!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Southwestern Pasta & Cheese

Southwestern Pasta & Cheese

Prep:  40 minutes
Bake:  20 minutes
Serves:  6

3 1/3  Cups  uncooked Bow Tie Pasta
1  lb  Bulk Italian Sausage
1  medium  Red Bell Pepper
8  Green Onions, white and light-green parts only, chopped
1/4  Cup  Flour
1  teaspoon  Chili Powder
1  teaspoon  Chipolte Chili in Adobo Sauce (I buy a can, puree it in the blender and store it in the freezer--eliminates waste!)
1/2  teaspoon  Salt
1/2  teaspoon  Cumin

2 1/4  Cups  Milk
1  Cup  Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
4  Slices  Bacon, cooked and crumbled -OR- 3 Tablespoons Bacon Bits
2  Tablespoons  Fresh Cilantro, minced

Cook Pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook Italian Sausage until done; drain on paper towel and wipe out skillet.  Saute the Red Bell Pepper and the Green Onions in the same skillet until tender, adding 1 teaspoon Olive Oil if needed.  Stir in the Flour, Chili Powder, Chipotle Pepper, Salt and Cumin until blended.  Gradually stir in Milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in 1/4-Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Drain Pasta; toss with Sauce.  Stir in Italian Sausage, Bacon, and Cilantro.  Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining 3/4-Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 400* for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly.

Adapted from Healthy Cooking, January-February 2009

Spicy Garlic Dill Beans

Spicy Garlic Dill Beans

2 1/2  lbs  Whole Green Beans

1/4  Cup  Plain Salt (non-iodized, or canning salt)
2 1/2  Cups  Vinegar
2 1/2  Cups  Water

Per Pint Jar:
1/8  teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper
1  Clove  Garlic
1  teaspoon  Dill Seed

Trim ends off Green Beans.  Combine Salt, Vinegar and Water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil.  Pack Green Beans lengthwise into hot Pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Add Cayenne Pepper, Garlic and Dill to each Pint (can increase the Cayenne to 1/4 teaspoon if you like things extra-spicy).  Ladle hot Vinegar-Water mixture over Green Beans, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process pints (and quarts) 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. 

Yield: about 6 pints.

Many, many thanks to  Lori L. for sharing the recipe (J. kept looking at the jar you sent home with great longing, just wondering WHEN we could open it!), and to Beth at Aria Gardens for sharing her end-of-season Green Beans.  I couldn't have done this without you, Dear Friends!  And I hope you, Dear Homemaker,  enjoy these as much as we do.

As a aside, don't you just love to Preserve the Bounty from our Father Above?  It seems like I keep putting my canner away, telling myself "That's all.  I'm done canning for this year."  And yet I keep toting it back up the cellar steps only a few weeks later to try just one more recipe.  Oh, how I love this Autumn season!  What do you enjoy Preserving most?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cheap Eats >> Quick Rice Pilaf

I don't know about your family, but mine loves "Rice-a Roni" Brand 'Herb & Butter' rice.  The children love it to the point of my needing to fix not One, but TWO boxes.  For just one meal.  And that adds up Quick!  Ouch!  So I set about to create my own Rice Pilaf recipe.  No, it's not as creamy as the store-bought boxed mixes but it's sure a whole lot cheaper!  Thankfully the children love it just as well as the $1.25 mixes, even though it's not at all the same!  :)

In a 2-qt saucepan, saute until toasted and aromatic:
1  Cup  Rice
1/4  Cup Small Pasta--Fideo (Fine Vermecelli) preferred, but any small pasta will work--Orzo, Stars, even finely broken Angel Hair or Spaghetti 
1/4  Cup  Butter

Stir in:
1  teaspoon  Dried Onion
1/2  teaspoon  Dried Parsley
1/4  teaspoon  Celery Seed
1/4  teaspoon  Black Pepper
Dash  Poultry Seasoning
2 1/2  teaspoons  Chicken Bullion (Better Than Bullion brand preferred)
2 1/2  Cups  Water

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, or until all Water is absorbed and Rice is cooked through.  Fluff with a fork and serve to a happy family.

Makes 3  Cups  Rice Pilaf

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oven Fried Fish

Recently, between Labor Day fishing trips that yielded Catfish like this:

 And belated Birthday Fishing Trips with Uncle R. which yielded Large-Mouth Bass like this:

We've been eating a lot of this:

Oven Fried Fish

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Bake Time:  10 minutes
Serves:  4

1  lb  Firm White Fish, about 3/4-inch thick--Cod, Haddock, Catfish, Bass
1/4  Cup  Cornmeal
1/4  Cup  Dry Bread Crumbs
1/4  teaspoon  Dried Dill Weed
1/2  teaspoon  Paprika
1/4  teaspoon  Old Bay Seasoning
1/8  teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4  Cup  Milk
3  Tablespoons  Butter, melted

Move oven rack to position slightly above middle of oven.  Heat oven to 500*.

Cut Fish into 2 x 2-1/2-inch pieces.  Mix Cornmeal, Bread Crumbs, Dill, Paprika, Old Bay Seasoning and Pepper in a shallow dish (a pie plate works great).  Dip Fish in Milk, then coat with the Cornmeal mixture.

Place Fish in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Drizzle Butter over Fish.  Bake uncovered about 10 minutes or until Fish flakes easily with fork.

Quick - Easy - Good!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hawaiian Tacos with Hawaiian Pineapple Salsa

Hawaiian Tacos

Oh, this is YUMMY!  Another Special Request, this time from Beth.  I've made this many, many times and somehow there are never leftovers for my lunch the next day.  It is a simple meal to take to someone who could use a boost.  You can always tone down the spices if you know that your family isn't a fan of spicy food.  But please, don't skip making the Hawaiian Pineapple Salsa.  It really is what makes this so yummy (I could eat it by the spoon-full).

Hawaiian Tacos:
1  lb  Bulk Italian Sausage
1/2  Cup  Chopped White Onion
2  Cloves Garlic, minced
Dash  Tabasco Sauce
12  Taco Shells or warmed Corn Tortillas
1  Cup  Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Hawaiian Pineapple Salsa:
3  Roma  Tomatoes, seeded, chopped, and drained
1  Cup  seeded, chopped Cucumber
1  8-oz  can  Pineapple Tidbits, drained -OR- 1  Cup  diced fresh Pineapple
1/3  Cup  diced Sweet Onion
1-2  fresh Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and chopped -OR- dash Red Pepper Flakes
2  Tablespoons  snipped fresh Cilantro
1  Tablespoon Brown Sugar

In a large skillet cook Sausage, Onion, and Garlic until Sausage is browned and Onion is tender; stir to break up Sausage.  Drain off fat.  Stir in Tabasco Sauce.  Spoon meat mixture into taco shells.  Top with Hawaiian Pineapple Salsa and sprinkle with Cheese.  Makes 12 Tacos, serves 4.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

This is a yummy Potato Salad recipe from my Grandma J, a super-fabulous southern cook.  No photo, as it is by special request from April.  Thanks for asking, friend!

Soak for an hour, or up to 24 hrs:
1 1/2  teaspoons  Mustard Seed
1  teaspoon Celery Seed
3  Tablespoons  White Vinegar
2  teaspoons  Salt
1/4  Cup  Olive Oil
Dash Pepper

12  Medium  Potatoes, diced and cooked in salt water
1  Cup  Green Onions, white and green parts
1-2  Cups  Diced Celery
6-8  Eggs, hard-cooked and diced
1  Cup  Diced Bread-and-Butter Pickles and Juice -OR- Pickle Relish
3/4 - 1  Cup  Mayonnaise -OR- Miracle Whip
1  Cup  Sour Cream
1  Tablespoon  Sugar
4  Tablespoons  Mustard

Pour the Oil and Vinegar mixture over warm cooked Potatoes and toss lightly.  Chill 2-3 hours.  Add remaining ingredients.  Chill.  Garnish with Egg Slices if desired.

Mmmm... I haven't had this all summer...  I think that's easy to remedy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Husband-Pleasing Peach Dessert

I'm not really certain what to call this recipe.

Deep-Dish Pie?  Cobbler?  Pie-bbler?  Peach Something-or-Other?

Anyway, here's how it all began:
First, a confession.  I can't make a decent Peach Pie to save my life.  I've tried recipe after recipe after recipe after recipe (well, you get the point).  Each, to the very last one, turns out a watery, soggy mess with a goopy, under-done bottom crust and a too-done top crust.

And I am determined to make a decent Peach dessert.

My dear husband has gleaning privileges in his client's fields and has been blessing me with a 3-gallon bucket of Peaches every Thursday.  And every Friday I have been working on creating and perfecting a Peach Dessert that is worthy to be set on the table and not fed to the green-waste can (we don't have a dog).

This takes a few steps but I believe each one is valuable in creating a Dessert that is a pleasure to serve.  So, without further ado, here is the recipe.  You'll have to tell me what to call it.

For the Peach Filling:
16 - 18  Peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2  Cup  Cornstarch
Dash  Nutmeg (and a very small dash at that; too much and it will be inedible)
1/2 - 1  teaspoon  Almond Extract (I am not fond of Almond Extract and I like 1/2 tsp.  If your family enjoys this flavor, use 1 tsp.  Almond flavoring brings out the Peach flavor--they are 'cousins,' you know)

For the Crumb Crust:
3  Cups  Flour
3/4  Cup  Cold Butter, diced
3/4  Cup  White Sugar
3/4  teaspoon  Salt
3/4  teaspoon  Cinnamon
3  Tablespoons  Cold Water

Place the Peaches in an 8-quart pan.  Cook on medium-high for about 10 minutes, or until the Peaches release their juice, stirring occasionally.  They will cook down from this

to this

While the Peaches are cooking, prepare the Crumb Crust.  Combine the Flour, Sugar, Salt and Nutmeg.  Cut in the Butter with a pastry cutter or two forks until it is cut into small lumps, as for pie dough.  Sprinkle with Cold Water until the crust just begins to stick together (it will look like an incomplete pie crust).

By now the Peaches should have released the majority of their juices.  Carefully spoon the Peaches into a colander which has been set in another pan and allow to continue to drain.  DO NOT discard any Peach Juice!  Measure the juice in your cooking pan; it should measure 2 cups (if not, cook the Peaches for a few minutes longer).

Return this 2 Cups Peach Juice to your cooking pan.  Spoon the cooked Peaches in to a greased 9x13 pan; measure the juice which has continued to drain from the colander.  It should measure about 1/2 Cup; if not, add water to make 1/2 Cup of Liquid.  Stir the Cornstarch into this 1/2 Cup Juice and add it to the Juice in the cooking pan.  Cook together over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it turns 'clear' and starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.  (You may think this looks too thick; it isn't.  The Peaches will release more juice while baking and thin it down.)  Spoon the thickened cooked juice over the Peaches in the prepared pan, top with Crust crumbs. 

Bake at 325* for 40 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then invite 15 of your best friends to enjoy this with you.  Serves 16.  Can also be baked in 2 9-inch pie plates with a bottom pie crust.

So.  What would you call this dessert?

I think I'll call it the Husband-Pleasing Peach Cobbler.

Monday, September 5, 2011

"Deviled" Fried Chicken

"Deviled Fried Chicken"

No, no, not like Deviled Eggs--although they would be yummy with this!--"deviled" as in the original meaning of "deviled:"  highly seasoned.

Like, "really yummy."

Anyway, here's the recipe for super-yummy fried chicken.  Plan ahead, because it needs to marinate for 24 to 48 hours.  Also, check your spices before you start; it takes a LOT!  Enjoy!

For the Marinade:
2  Cups  Buttermilk
1/4  Cup  Dijon Mustard
1  Tablespoon  Onion Powder
1  teaspoon  Salt
1  teaspoon  Dry Mustard
1  teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper
1  teaspoon  Black Pepper
8  pieces  Chicken (use the same size pieces of Chicken--for instance, all bone-in thighs--for a more equal frying time)

 In a 1-gallon resealable bag, mix all of the Marinade ingredients, coating chicken completely.  Refrigerate AT LEAST one day, and up to two days, turning bag occasionally.

My Chicken, during the marinating process.

Flouring Mixture:
3  Cups  Flour
1  Tablespoon  Onion Powder
4  teaspoons  Salt
1  Tablespoon  Dry Mustard
1  Tablespoon  Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2  teaspoon  Black Pepper
1  Tablespoon  Baking Powder
1  Tablespoon  Garlic Powder

Oil for frying

Mix the flouring mixture in a 9 x 13 pan.  With marinade still on Chicken (do not shake off excess), add Chicken to the Flour Mixture; coat thickly.  Let Chicken stand in flour for 1 hour, turning occasionally to re-coat.

Pour Oil to 1-1/4" deep in a large, deep pan (8-qt size works great).  Do Not, I repeat, DO NOT use your skillet.

I did.

I caught the stove on fire.
Big time.

Here's what it looked like while I was trying to get it snuffed out.  What you don't see behind me is the panicked children holding the fire extinguisher and all of the hot oil that splattered when I was removing the skillet from the flames.  And you don't see the flames.  They're under the pan lids:

Okay, back to the instructions:

Pour Oil to 1-1/4" in a Large Pan, heat to 350* on thermometer.  Carefully add 4 pieces of Chicken.  Fry 5 minutes at 280*-300* (Oil should bubble constantly around Chicken).  Using wooden spoons (or tongs, but be very careful not to break off the crust), turn Chicken over.  Fry 7 minutes.  Turn Chicken over, fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes (if you are frying this in the upper heat range--300*--you may not need to fry for the final 3 minutes).  Transfer to a cooling rack set on a plate or jelly roll pan.  Continue to fry remaining Chicken.

Serve warm or a room temperature within 2 hours or chill and serve cold.  To keep the Chicken crisp, place the cooling rack and jelly roll pan in a 200* oven while you fry the remaining Chicken.

Serves 8

Adapted from Bon Apetit, August 1998

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cheap Eats >> Creamed Chicken over Rice

Creamed Chicken over Rice

You will need:

1/4  Cup  Butter
1/4  Cup  Flour
2 1/4  Cups  Liquid:  Chicken Broth -OR- 1 1/4  Cups Milk + 1  Cup Water + 1  Teaspoon Chicken Bouillon -OR- 2 1/4  Cups  Water + 2  Teaspoons Chicken Bouillon
Cooked Chopped Poultry:  Chicken -OR- Turkey
Seasonings:  Dried Minced Onion, Tarragon, Poultry Seasoning, Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder or your family's favorite flavors, to taste
Dash Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper
Seasoned Salt -add this last-
Hot Cooked Starch:  Rice -OR- Mashed Potatoes -OR- Toast Triangles

In a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, melt the Butter.  Stir in Flour.  Gradually and slowly stir in the Liquid of choice, cooking until thickened.  Stir in Poultry.  Season to taste with Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper and your favorite seasonings.

For Country Chicken use Dried Minced Onion, Poultry Seasoning, and Parsley.
For Herbed Chicken use Tarragon, small amount Rosemary, and Thyme.
For Italian Chicken use Italian Seasoning, Dried Garlic, and Parmesan Cheese.

Last of all, add Seasoned Salt to taste.  Stir in any vegetables, if desired--frozen Peas & Carrots are always fun.

Serve over your choice of Hot Cooked Starch.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fake It >> AriZona Raspberry Tea

Fake It!  AriZona Raspberry Iced Tea

Add to One Gallon of your favorite Tea (sweetened to taste, without Lemon flavor):

1/2  Cup  Torani Raspberry Syrup
a Splash of Fresh Lemon Juice, about 2 to 4 Tablespoons

Mix well and enjoy over Ice.

Easy as pie!  Well, actually, it's easier than pie.

(Don't you just love that funny little glass pitcher?  My Grandma J. gave it to me; I just love it's odd shape and that it is turning lavendar!  And that red cloth?  I made kitchen curtains out of it and have about 4 yards of material left.  Hmmm... what to do, what to do...)