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My Grandma passed away at the age of 94. She was a wonderful cook and I was lucky enough to inherit her recipes. Many date back to the 1940s and 50s. Grandma prepared them in a charming country kitchen with no running water and most of her produce came from her garden, not from the grocery store. These are made-from-scratch recipes. I wish I had spent more time with her in the kitchen and . . . I wish I had spent more time with her for so many other reasons.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

2 lbs potatoes, cut in half or fourths
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat 10" x 15" baking dish with cooking spray.
Stir together oil, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper in large bowl.  Add potatoes.  Toss well until coated.  Spread evenly in baking dish.
Bake 30 - 35 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes are fork-tender and golden brown.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Supper Veggie Toss

If you're looking for a way to make veggies more appealing to your family, why not try this?

1 lb broccoli florets
1 lb cauliflower florets
1/2 lb trimmed green beans
1 /2 lb sliced carrots
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

Steam veggies in steamer basket until tender crisp.
Drain well.
Pour vegetables mixture into a large serving bowl.
Pour Italian salad dressing over veggies and stir lightly to mix.
Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan Cheese.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amaretto Cake with Cinnamon Swirl

1 pkg white cake mix
1 (4-serving size) white chocolate instant pudding mix
8 oz sour cream
4 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup amaretto (or 1/2 cup water plus 1 tsp almond extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease a 10" fluted tube pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, eggs, 1/2 cup water, oil and amaretto.  Beat with mixer on low speed to combine.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl as needed.  Spoon half the batter into pan.  Evenly sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon sugar over the batter.  Spoon remaining batter on cinnamon mixture.

Bake about 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Place on rack over waxed paper.

Using a wooden skewer, poke several holes in cake.  Prepare glaze; spoon over cake.

In small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 Tbsp butter.  Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bacon Potato Cakes

Now, this is comfort food . . .

1lb bacon
2 lbs potatoes (peeled and quartered)
3 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic (minced)
3 Tbsp fresh chives (chopped)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Sour Cream
Fresh chives for garnish

Bake the bacon at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  The bacon should be cooked, but not crisp.

Place potatoes in a large stock pot.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.  Drain well.

In a small pan, combine the milk, butter, and garlic.  Heat until butter is melted.  In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat potatoes at low speed until mashed.  Add the milk mixture; beat until smooth.  Beat in the 3 Tbsp chives, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cool slightly.

Divide potatoes into 8 equal portions; shape into cakes.  Wrap each cake in two slices of bacon.  Crisscross them over the top and tuck the bottoms underneath.  Place seam-side down on foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake in 425 degree oven until bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes .

Top each potato cake with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with chopped chives.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lemon-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

This week seems to be all about the veggies . . . yesterday green beans . . . today sweet potatoes.

6 medium sweet potatoes (4 lbs)
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp finely shredded lemon peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large pot, place potatoes with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes or just until potatoes are tender, but not soft.  (Potatoes should be tender on outside, but resistant in center when pierced with tip of a paring knife.)  Drain potatoes; cool.

Meanwhile in a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water, the sugars, and salt.  Bring to boiling, stirring just until sugars are dissolved.  Simmer 8 minutes; remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice, grated nutmeg, and 2 Tbsp butter..

Butter a large shallow glass or ceramic baking dish with remaining butter.  Peel potatoes; cut crosswise into 3/4" thick slices.  Arrange slices in a single layer in baking dish.  Pour lemon syrup over.  Bake in preheated oven 40 - 50 minutes, basting occasionally, until potatoes are well-glazed and begin to caramelize on edges.  Remove from oven; cool slightly before serving.  Serve hot or warm garnished with lemon peel.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Parsleyed Green Beans

Love green beans, but looking for a twist?  Give this recipe a try.  It's sure to be a family favorite!

1 1/2 lbs green beans (washed and trimmed)
3 Tbsp butter
2 tsp fresh garlic finely chopped with a pinch of salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Fill a large pot with water; bring to a rolling boil.  Add 1 Tbsp salt and the beans.  Cook, uncovered, for 5 - 8 minutes or until tender but still vibrant green and slightly resistant to the bite.  Drain beans; immediately submerge in bowl of lightly salted ice water to stop cooking and set color.  When thoroughly chilled, drain well.  (Beans can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

In a wide skillet heat butter over medium-high heat until hot and foaming.  Add beans.  Cook, tossing often, until heated through.  Sprinkle with garlic and parley, a generous amount of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.  Cook 1 minute longer, tossing frequently to distribute flavorings and avoid burning the garlic.  Sprinkle with additional parsley.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

2 cups stale bread cubes (French bread is best)
4 cups milk, scalded
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs (slightly beaten)
1 tsp vanilla

For Whiskey Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp butter
1 or 2 jiggers bourbon whiskey

Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes.  Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Pour into 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Bake in pan of hot water for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

To make whiskey sauce, cook first three  ingredients until dissolved.  Remove from heat and add whiskey.  Serve over bread pudding.  Best served warm.

Serves: 4 - 5

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp  baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2  cups butter
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 pkgs (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In large mixer beat sugars and butter until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat at low speed until well combined.  Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by Tbsp onto lined baking sheets, about 2" apart.  Bake in 375 degree oven until edges are lightly browned, about 9 - 10 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grandma's French Onion Soup

4 Tbsp butter
4 cup slice white onions
3 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp cooking sherry
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 dash dried thyme
1 cup soft croutons
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Melt butter in large skillet over low heat.  Add onions and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add beef broth, water, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and thyme to pot.  Increase heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 4 minutes.  Divide into bowls.  Top with croutons, then mozzarella.  Broil until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apricot Pork with Garlic Green Beans

This dish is so good, and so simple!

1 Tbsp olive oil
4   1/2" thick pork chops
Salt and pepper
4 apricots (pitted and cut into wedges)
2 Tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves (sliced)
1 lb green beans, trimmed

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat; lower heat to medium.  Lightly sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.  Cook chops in hot oil for 5 minutes, turning once.  Add apricots, honey, and garlic to chops in skillet; cover and cook 5 - 7 minutes or until apricots are tender and pork is slightly pink in center.

Meanwhile, in a 4-quart saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add green beans and cook for about six minutes.  .  Drain well.

To serve, spoon cooking juices from skillet over pork, apricots, and beans.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Honey Glazed Carrots

1 tsp salt
1 lb baby carrots
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 - 6 minutes.  Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice.  Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Grandma's Cinnamon Buns

1 cup whole milk
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1/4 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp butter (melted)
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 flour, plus more if needed
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Flour, for dusting
12 Tbsp butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp butter (melted)

Make the dough:  Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches about 100 degrees.  Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the yeast and 1/4 tsp sugar (don't stir).  Set aside until foamy, 5 minutes.  Whisk in the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla.

Whisk the flour, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the salt and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture.  Mix on low speed with the dough hook until thick and slightly sticky.  Knead on medium speed until the dough gathers around the hook, 6 minutes.  (Add up to 2 more Tbsp flour if necessary).

Remove the dough and shape into a ball.  Butter the mixer bowl and return the dough to the bowl, turning to coat with butter.  cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 hour 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough, fill and cut into buns.  Butter a 9 x 13" baking pan; place the buns cut-side down in the pan, leaving space between each.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 40 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Bake the buns until golden brown, about 35 minutes.  cool in the pan 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the glaze:  Sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then whisk in the cream and melted butter.  Transfer the buns to a rack and spoon the glaze on top while still warm.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mini-Bacon Meatballs

These are so good!  They can be used in any number or recipes.  Grandma would make them and then freeze them to be used in any number of recipes when needed.

4 strips of bacon
1/2 cup onion
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
4 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 eggs (beaten)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a boiler pan with nonstick spray.  Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until starting to crisp, about 4 minutes; remove and set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the drippings of the pan.

Saute onion in same skillet in the drippings over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic to the skillet; cook 1 minute.

Combine sirloin, cooked bacon, onion mixture, bread crumbs, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Stir in beaten egg; roll into small meatballs, and place on prepared broiler pan. Bake meatballs until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars - Perfect Fall Snack

This is a dual purpose recipe.  This not only makes a good snack, but it could easily double as a healthy breakfast choice on your way out the door.

2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar,
Pinch of salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries or blueberries (or 1/2 cup of each)
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice of variety - I like cashews)
2 Tbsp wheat germ - you'll find it near the flour in your grocery store

Melt the butter in  a large saucepan on the stove.  Add the remaining ingredients in order one at a time in the order shown.  Remove your pan from the heat after adding the salt.  Continue adding ingredients stirring well after each one.

Spray an 8" square pan with Pam.  Press mixture into pan and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool and then cut into bars.

Double this recipe for a 13 x 9" pan.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vegetable Toss

This is a great veggie side dish for your next pot luck.  Just be sure to plan ahead.  You need time to blanch the veggies and give them time to cool.  And then, give the flavors time to blend.

1 lb broccoli florets
1 lb cauliflower florets
1/2 lb green beans (trimmed and sliced)
1 cucumber (seeded and diced)
1 dozen cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the broccoli and cauliflower florets and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the green beans and cook for one more minute.  Veggies should be tender crisp.  Drain well.

Place vegetables in a large serving bowl and refrigerate until completely cool.  Add cucumber and tomatoes.  Toss to mix.  Add dressing and cheese.  Toss again and allow to cool for 1/2 hour to 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grandma's Sweet Potato Casserole

This will definitely be part of our Thanksgiving menu this year.  Grandma knew how to make sweet potatoes irresistible!

1/2 cup brown sugar (divided)
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1" chunks)
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.  Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.  Spoon into a 13 x 9" baking dish.  Dot with 2 Tbsp of butter.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are slightly tender.

Mix flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl.  Cut in remaining 2 Tbsp butter with fork until crumbly.  Stir in marshmallows.

Remove casserole from oven and stir gently to coat potatoes in syrup; top with marshmallow-crumb topping.  Bake, uncovered for 7 - 10 more minutes or until potatoes are tender and topping is golden brown.

Give this a try, and it will become a family favorite!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Honey-Rosemary Chicken with Yukon Gold Potatoes

12 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (about 5 lbs)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes
2 medium onions (cut into thin wedges)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Rinse chicken and pat dry.  (I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs.)   Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat.  Add chicken and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.  

Place the potatoes, onion and garlic in slow cooker; top with chicken.

Stir together honey, juice, cornstarch, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Pour over chicken.  cover and cook 6 -8 hours on low or 3 - 4 hours on high.  Serve garnished with rosemary sprigs, if desired.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Leftover Turkey Soup

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, so I think it's time to share a recipe for Leftover Turkey Soup.  This is very good, and it doesn't require that much effort Thanksgiving night after dinner has been served.  Get your biggest soup pot ready!

To make the stock for your soup, combine the following:
   Bones and meat from leftover turkey
   1 Bay leaf
   1 tsp thyme
   6 whole cloves
   2 Tbsp dried parsley
   1 medium onion (diced)
   3 ribs celery (diced)
   1 carrot (diced)

Bring all ingredients to a boil in 16 cups of cold water.  I pour in any leftover juices from my turkey roasting pan and any leftover gravy too.   Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours.  Strain and cool.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  If you don't plan to use it within 3 days, freeze it until ready to use.

For soup, add:
   1 large onion (diced)
   3 ribs celery (diced)
   6 carrots (peeled and sliced)
   2 sticks of butter
   1 1/2 cups flour
   3 quarts turkey stock
   1 pint Half 'N Half
   1 cup cooked turkey (diced)
   1/2 lb egg noodles
   Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Cook onions, celery and carrots until tender-crisp.  Add the flour and stir well to coat all veggies.  Slowly add turkey stock and Half 'N Half while stirring constantly.  Add turkey and noodles.  Bring to a boil and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Serve in large bowls.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Roasted Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes
4 gold potatoes
4 red potatoes
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Scrub your potatoes, but do not peel.  Cut into 2" chunks.
Place potatoes in a large saucepan.  Add enough salted water to cover the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain well.

Spread potatoes in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with tarragon, salt and pepper.  Roast potatoes until crisp (about 30 minutes).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lemon Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 tsp thyme (dried)
1/4 tsp marjoram (dried)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

I use my Pampered Chef zester/scorer to create strips of zest from 1/2 of the lemon and set them aside in damp paper towel and refrigerate.  Grate the other half of the lemon to make 1 Tbsp of zest.  Slice the lemon in half and juice it into a bowl.

Combine the grated lemon zest and juice, oil, crushed garlic clove, chopped parsley, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken breasts  and spoon the marinade over the chicken.  Cover and chill for 2 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat your grill or grill pan. Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill and cook until cooked through - about six - eight minutes per side.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley and reserved lemon strips.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Broccoli with Garlic

Grandma had lots of simple, but really delicious recipes.  She even made broccoli taste good when we were kids.  That's almost unheard of . . .

1 lb broccoli
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper

Wash and cut the broccoli into florets.  Steam for five minutes in a saucepan over high heat.  (I use my Pampered Chef steamer for this - it fits perfectly into the bottom of my 4-quart saucepan.)  Do not overcook - broccoli should be tender crisp.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Slice the garlic into thin slices.  Cook the garlic in the oil for about 3 minutes - it should start to brown.  Remove the garlic from the oil.

Drain the steamed broccoli well.  Add the broccoli to the skillet and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Transfer to a serving  bowl.  Sprinkle with the garlic and season to taste with salt.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grandma's Fettuccine Alfredo

Who knew Fettuccine Alfredo could be so easy?  Need dinner in a hurry?  Whip this up with a tossed salad and grilled chicken breasts.  A good dinner in no time!

1 cup of salted butter - don't substitute
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of grated Romano cheese
1 lb of fettuccine
Fresh basil leaves

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Add the whipping cream and cheeses.  Whip with a whisk and heat until mixture is just bubbly.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Slice the basil leaves into very small bits.

Prepare fettuccine as directed on package.  Drain well.  Pour Alfredo sauce into large serving bowl and add hot pasta.  Toss the noodles and the sauce.  Sprinkle the basil bits over the hot pasta and serve immediately.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bacon-Onion Biscuits

This recipe makes 1 dozen biscuits - they are absolutely delicious, so you may want to double this if you have more than four people for dinner.

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk

In a skillet cook bacon and onion until bacon is slightly crisp and onion is tender.  Drain off and discard fat.

In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well  in center of flour mixture.  Combine milk and bacon mixture; add all at once to flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for flour to six strokes or just until dough holds together.  Pat or lightly roll dough to 3/4" thickness.  Cut dough with a floured 2 1/2" biscuit cutter, re-rolling dough scraps as necessary.  Place unbaked biscuits on baking sheet; freeze 1 hour.  Transfer to a plastic freezer bag.  Seal, label, and freeze up to 1 month.

To serve: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place frozen biscuits 1" apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grandma's Cabbage Slaw

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp celery seed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head red cabbage, cut into roughly 1 1/2" chunks
1/2 head green cabbage, cut into roughly 1 1/2" chunks
2 small carrots, grated
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup golden raisins or Craisins

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fancy Gelatin Salad

This is a pretty gelatin mold that Grandma used to make.  I think I'll use this for Thanksgiving this year.

3 cups boiling water
2 - 3oz packages of strawberry gelatin
16 oz whipped topping

Pour boiling water into gelatin in a large bowl.  Stir until dissolved.  Whisk in the whipped topping until well blended.  Mixture will not thicken.

Pour into 6-cup gelatin mold (I spray mine with Pam).  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Unmold onto serving platter.

This is pretty because the gelatin and whipped topping sort of split.  One layer is lighter than the other.  It really looks more difficult to make than it is.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bacon Dip

Bacon - who doesn't like bacon?  I think it's universally loved.  Serve this bread dip at your next get-together and you'll have everyone asking for the recipe.

8 oz cream cheese (softened)
6 green onions (sliced into 1/4" pieces)
4 oz sour cream
1 (1 lb) round loaf of sour dough, rye, pumpernickel or Hawaiian bread
1 lb hickory smoked bacon (fried, drained, and crumbled)
4 oz can of chopped green chiles

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Fry bacon until crisp.  Drain, and then crumble - set aside.
Cut top off bread to form a cover.  Remove bread inside load, leaving a 1/2" shell of bread.  Cut removed bread into 1" cubes.
Beat together cream cheese, sour cream, chiles and onions.  Stir in bacon.  Spoon mixture into bread and replace bread top.  Wrap bread in heavy foil and bake 1 1/4 hours.  Serve the bread with bread cubes for dipping.

There will be enough dip for two loaves of bread.  Cut one whole loaf into cubes to dip.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary-Thyme Vegetables

Grandma had great fall weather recipes.  This is the perfect cool weather, one pan, in the oven recipe for Sunday dinner.

1 1/2 tsp Thyme leaves
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Rosemary leaves
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 lb red potatoes (unpeeled and cut into 1" chunks)
1 cup baby carrots
1 medium white onion (cut into 1 1/2" chunks)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix Thyme, Paprika, Rosemary and sea salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.   Place potatoes, onions and carrots in a medium bowl.  Add oil and 1 Tbsp of the spice mixture;  toss to coat well.  Place vegetables in single layer on foil lined 15 x 10 x 1" baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, coat pork evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tsp spice mixture.  Push vegetables to one side of the pan.  Place pork on other side of pan.  Bake 20 minutes longer or until pork is desired doneness, stirring vegetables occasionally.  Place pork on cutting board.  Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, scrape pan drippings with spatula and stir to incorporate into the vegetables.  Lift foil edges to seal the vegetables in a pouch.  Let stand 5 minutes to allow vegetables to absorb flavors.  Serve vegetables with sliced pork.

This recipe serves four.  There are six in our family.  We double it and there are no leftovers.  Everyone loves it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grandma's Blueberry Muffins

Grandma didn't have the luxury of going to the grocery store for her blueberries.  She grew them herself.  When you start to feel sorry for yourself when you come home and have to fix dinner, think about what it must have been like in the 1940s and 50s or even earlier to fix dinner for your family.  There was little or no frozen produce, and certainly no microwave.  Food favorites were prepared whenever foods were in season.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 large egg (beaten)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with 12 paper muffin cups or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg and milk.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended (mixture should be slightly lumpy).

Add the blueberries to bowl and stir them in just enough to combine.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.  Bake the muffins until golden  brown.  (18 - 24) minutes.  Remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Muffins are best served warm.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Orange Cream Layered Dessert

The  best part of Grandma's meals was always dessert.  So much time and effort went into everything she made for us.

2 cups orange sherbet (softened)
1 pkg (8 oz) Cream Cheese (softened)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip (thawed)

Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with foil.  Spread sherbet onto bottom of prepared pan to form an even layer.  Freeze 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy.  Gradually add condensed milk and juice, beating until blended.  Whisk in Cool Whip; spread over sherbet in pan.

Freeze 3 hours.  To unmold, invert pan onto plate; remove foil.

This is pretty - and it's delicious!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

AARP Create the Good Event for Feed My People

Today was an awesome day!  Please click on the link to Karan's Kitchen to find the details and pictures of our event.  It was such a success.  We're feeling really good about it.!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grandma's Night Before French Toast

Holiday meals at Grandma's house were always special.  Her love was always there in her food.  As a youngster, I didn't understand that, but it's very clear to me now.  I only hope I can become close to the cook she was.  This recipe was a family favorite, and I think Grandma liked it because it could be prepared the night before.

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (melted)
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tart apples (I like Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup raisins (I like to substitute Craisins (dried cranberries))
1 loaf Italian or French bread, cut into 1" slices
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Mix brown sugar, butter and 1 tsp of the cinnamon in 13 x 9" baking dish.  Add apples and cranberries; stir to coat well.  Spread evenly in bottom of baking dish.  Arrange slices of bread on top.

Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining 2 tsp cinnamon until well blended.  Pour mixture over bread, soaking bread completely.  Cover with foil.  Refrigerate 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake, covered for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  For an eye-catching presentation, loosen edges with small knife.  Invert onto large serving platter.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tomato Soup

August always finds me with an abundance of tomatoes, so why not make tomato soup?  I love a great bowl of tomato soup with an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich.

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 jars of canned crushed tomatoes or 2 cans (28 oz) of crushed tomatoes
3 1/2 cup vegetable broth (see yesterday's recipe)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 drops hot pepper sauce

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Saute onion and garlic until onion is tender.

Add carrot and celery; cook 7 - 9 minutes until tender, stirring frequently.  Stir in tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, pepper and hot pepper sauce.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

There is nothing better than homemade!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock was a staple in Grandma's cooking.  She was a believer of adding flavor to her cooking in any way possible.  Nothing from her garden went to waste.  Her vegetable stock was made from 8 cups of water with onion, garlic, celery, carrot, cabbage, potato and tomato pieces thrown in for flavor.  She would add a Bay Leaf and allow this to boil for at least 30 minutes.  Once the stock cooled, she would strain it through cheese cloth to remove veggie bits.

The stock would be frozen in 4 cup batches to be used in recipes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peach Bars

This is a perfect dessert to help you use up the abundance of summer peaches you have.

5 cups peeled and sliced peaches
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup butter (melted)

In a large mixing bowl, lightly toss peaches with brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon and arrange in an 11 x 7 baking dish.

To prepare topping:  In a mixing bowl, sift the first five topping ingredients together; add egg and mix with a fork until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over peach mixture, drizzle melted butter evenly over topping.  Bake at 375 degrees for 55 minutes or until peaches are soft and topping is golden brown.  Cut in squares and serve warm or cool.

Grandma's Clam Chowder

1/2 stick butter
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced leeks
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup flour
8 cups milk
2 cups clams in juice
2 cups diced potatoes
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp dried Thyme
1 cup heavy cream

In a soup pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, leeks and garlic.  Saute for 3 minutes, mixing often.  Remove from heat and add flour, mixing well.

Add milk and whisk vigorously.

Drain clams and add juice to soup.  Slowly bring to a boil, mixing often.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Add potatoes and seasonings, simmer 10 minutes.

Add clams and simmer 5 - 8 minutes.  Finish with heavy cream.  Serve.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Karan's AARP Create The Good Event Update

Today was a great day for our "AARP Create the Good" event. Loomis Bros. Equipment Company was officially our first donor. What a great start they've given us! Thanks also to Dale and Elaine Loomis for a personal donation. Food for Less called to tell me they have a donation waiting, and Russell's Cafe & Bakery in Fenton has offered pastries to provide to our volunteers on Saturday, September 10th. I will meet with Mary at Feed My People tomorrow to discuss the logistics of the event. I'm really feeling enthusiastic about the amount of fresh produce we'll be able to provide to the hungry families in our community. Please spread the word to your friends and family who may be interested in participating in this worthwhile event with a donation of time or money.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Garden Macaroni (Pasta) Salad

1 lb Macaroni (I use bow tie pasta)
1 Tbsp salt
2 cups broccoli (cut into bite size pieces)
1 red onion (sliced really thin)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)

Bring a 4 quart saucepan of water plus the salt to a boil.  Add macaroni and cook for 6 minutes.  Add broccoli and cook for three more minutes.

Drain well.  Place in a large serving bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese.  Mix well.

Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.  Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grandma's Chocolate Syrup

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

Combine cocoa, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.  Add water and mix until smooth.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Allow it to boil for one minute.  Do not let this boil over.  Remove from heat.  When mixture cools add the vanilla.

Great served over ice cream.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Volunteer Your Time for my AARP Create the Good House Party

I'm reaching out to all of my blog friends to ask you to participate in my AARP Create the Good House Party. A couple of months ago I submitted an idea for a "party" to be held the weekend of September 11th.  This "party" isn't really a party, it's a community event.  It's my plan to contact local businesses to solicit donations to purchase fresh produce.  We'll then work with a local food pantry to distribute the produce to families who are in need of food.  The food pantries are a good source of boxed and canned food, but the produce is certainly not fresh.  I'll do the leg work to solicit donations, but I'm asking you to offer your time on Saturday, September 10th beginning at 1:00 pm to help distribute the food - and possibly some other items.  (I had an offer of blankets tonight.  Most donations will not be turned down.)

Please contact me via e-mail if you're able to donate your time, money or items for this event, or if you have a suggestion of who I might contact to request a donation.  I'm hoping for an event that will bring welcome relief to those in need, and a sense of satisfaction to those who participate.  AARP has committed to providing a goody package for the event to help make it a success.  Won't you help too?  It's a great way to give back and make our country a better place.  Let's help make the USA a country that makes sure her citizens don't go hungry.

Contact me at keplen@charter.net.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Double Orange Carrots

4 cups water
10 medium carrots (peeled and sliced diagonally)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup orange juice
4 Tbsp butter

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add carrots and cook until just tender.  Drain, set aside and cover to keep warm.  

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger and orange juice.  Stir constantly until mixture thickens.  Raise heat and boil 1 minute longer.  Stir in butter; pour over hot carrots, toss thoroughly and serve.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Raspberry Lemonade

Looking for a great picnic beverage idea?  Or, just an old-fashioned way to serve a refreshing beverage at your next outdoor gathering?  Give this Raspberry Lemonade a try and serve it in Mason jars.

For every three servings, combine the following::

1 (8 oz) container of fresh raspberries
6 - 8 lemons
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar

Squeeze lemons into a large bowl, extracting as much juice as you can.  Add the water and sugar and whisk to help the sugar dissolve.  Taste and adjust sugar to your preference.

Put the raspberries in a food processor or blender and pulse until pureed.  Press through a fine-mesh sieve and into the bowl or pitcher.  Stir to combine, then pour the mixture over ice in three Mason jars.  Seal with lids and pack in your picnic basket.  Store leftovers in a pitcher in the fridge.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

Are you overwhelmed with zucchini from your garden?  Are you looking for a tasty way to use it up without letting it go to waste?  Here is your answer.

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 lb of zucchini)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two 4 x 9" loaf pans, either coating with butter or spraying with baking spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.

Beat the eggs in a mixer (or by hand) until frothy.  Beat in the sugar.  Beat in the melted butter and olive oil.  Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation.

Divide batter/dough into two loaf pans.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes.  Test after 40 minutes.  If you gently press down on the surface of the loaf, it should bounce back, and a bamboo skewer inserted into the center should come out clean.

Remove from the oven.  Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaves from their pan to cool on a rack.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vanilla Chip Bundt Cake

Looking for a yummy dessert for friends or family?  Make this bundt cake for your next gathering.  It will become a frequently requested dessert.  It's rich and delicious!

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just to moisten.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.

Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into greased and floured 12-cup bundt pan.

Bake 50 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Invert cake onto wire rack.  Cool completely.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with a mixture of 2 cups confectioner's sugar and 3 Tbsp milk.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grandma's Green Bean Casserole

Onions for Topping
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp bread crumbs  (I like to use Panko - she didn't have that luxury)
1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt (divided)
1 lb fresh green beans (rinsed, trimmed, and halved)
2 Tbsp butter
12 oz mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Combine the onions, flour, bread crumbs and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.  Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan.  Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.  toss the onions 2 - 3 times during cooking.  Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until they are ready to use.  Turn the oven down to 400 degrees.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans.  Bring a gallon of water and 2 Tbsp of salt to a boil in and 8-quart saucepan.   Add the beans and blanch for 4 minutes.  Drain in a colander and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12" cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, 1 tsp salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 - 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute.  Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half.  Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately6 - 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans.  top with the remaining onions.  Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grandma's Colorful Potato Salad

Grandma had lots of hot weather favorites, and this was one of them.  Give this a try this week as we try to get through this heat wave.

1 lb russet potatoes, cubed
1 lb sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp grated lime peel
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water in large saucepan.  cook potatoes 10 minutes or until they are fork-tender.  (Do not overcook)  Drain well.  Cool slightly.

Combine oil, lime peel, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, ginger, salt and nutmeg in large bowl until well blended.  Add potatoes; toss to coat well.  Gently stir in celery, onions and pecans.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grandma's Mashed Potatoes

4 lbs potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp chopped chives

Put potatoes into a large pot, add bay leaf, 2 Tbs salt, and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain them well and remove the bay leaf.  Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan.  Mash the potatoes with a masher.  Add the hot cream and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in chives before serving.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yeast Rolls

1 envelope Active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 cup scalding hot milk
1 egg (lightly beaten)
4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp melted butter to brush rolls

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water.  Stir until yeast dissolves.  Add sugar, the 1/4 cup butter and salt to hot milk and stir until the sugar dissolves and butter is melted.  Cool mixture to 105 - 115 degrees.  Add milk mixture to yeast, then beat in egg.  Beat in 4 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, to form a soft sough.  Use some of the remaining flour to dust a pastry cloth.  Knead the dough lightly for 4 minutes, working in the remaining flour (use it for flouring the pastry cloth and your hands).  Place dough in a warm buttered bowl; turn greased side up.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.  Punch dough down and knead 4 -5 minutes on a lightly floured pastry cloth.  Dough will be sticky, but use as little flour as possible for flouring your hands and the pastry cloth, otherwise the rolls will not be as feathery light as they should be.  Pinch off small chunks of dough and shape into round rolls about 1 1/2  to 1 3/4" in diameter.  Place in neat rows, not quite touching, in a well-buttered 13 x 9 x 2" pan.  cover rolls and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 - 40  minutes.  Brush tops of rolls with melted butter, then bake in a 375 degree oven for 18 - 20 minutes or until nicely browned.  Serve warm and with plenty of butter.  This recipe yields about 2 dozen rolls.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes (unpeeled)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 garlic cloves (minced)
3/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut potatoes into wedges.  Combine potato wedges, oil, rosemary, garlic, and salt in large bowl.  Toss to coat.

Pour potato wedges onto baking sheet.  Bake 12 - 15 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and turn wedges over.
Bake another 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July - 2011


I read P. Allen Smith's blog tonight and he wrote about 10 things that inspired him about America.  That really got me thinking about what truly inspires me about our country.

1.  Our soldiers and their families who endure great lengths of time away from one another, and then struggle to readjust to life back at home as a family.  Our society doesn't make that easy.  God bless them for their willingness to give themselves so selflessly.

2.  Yellowstone National Park - such a beautiful place, and so full of the wonders of nature.  Where else will you find geysers, mud pots, hot springs, Earthquake Lake, and so many other thermal wonders?  I was there as a teenager, and sure hope to get back there to see it again one day.  We saw Glacier Lake that same trip.  What a beautiful place that is!

3.  Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the Bad Lands in South Dakota.  It's an interesting place to visit for people like me who are intrigued by rocks!  Nearby, you'll find Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

4.  My parents inspire me.  Both were school teachers for all of their adult lives.  Now that they've retired, they continue to work with young people.  Mom tutors "youngsters" of all ages at her business, "Project Excel".  Dad is the head librarian at the New Windsor Library.  Mom coordinates the best VBS in the country (in my opinion) for Calvary Lutheran Church in New Windsor, and Dad always volunteers to teach a class.  There aren't many people in this world that will devote themselves to the education of children.

5. My kids inspire me.  They each had difficulties in school.  Two were ADD kids (struggling with distractibility issues) and the other struggled with a serious reading disability.  School was not easy for any of them, yet they let me push them to be the best they could be and all three have high school diplomas.  One has begun work on a college degree and the other two will begin in the fall.  I couldn't be more proud!

6.  Dr. H. Farouk Sadiq, and Kathy S. in the NICU at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital are truly angels on this earth.  I cannot say enough good things about them or our experience at Cardinal Glennon as our newest grandson, Liam, was treated for Premature Lung Disease there.  They truly love kids and it shows in everything they do.  Their knowledge and expertise is unsurpassed.  My wish for you is that if you ever find yourself in need of treatment for a sick youngster, you'll find the wonderful compassionate people of Cardinal Glennon.  They are angels indeed!

7.  The Smoky Mountains - oh, what a beautiful part of our country!  The clouds hang over the mountains and there are waterfalls to be found amongst the mountains.  There are trails to hike and animals to be found in the wild.  Gorgeous scenery and not far from most of the population in our country.

8.  Food - we have access to every kind of food, every single day in this country.  Our grocery stores stock local produce when it's in season, but they stock produce from every part of the world year round just so we are able to eat what we choose year round.  Amazing!

9.  Work - Even in the worst American economy in decades, we are still able to find employment.  I thank God that all of our family members are employed.  Katy and I work for a great family centered company.  Paul works for a company that struggles, but continues to provide him a good place to work.  Luke works for Lowe's and Emma will return to Dierbergs after her maternity leave.  I can't say enough about how kind the people at Dierbergs have been to Emma during her pregnancy.  What a great company!

10.  My grandchildren - what a fabulous inspiration to continue to be healthy and love life!  One child is no more special than the next, but each new baby reminds us to become more healthy so we are still here to enjoy school plays, ballgames, graduations, and weddings.  I can't wait to experience all of it!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Zesty Brown Sugar Rub for Beef or Pork

This spice mixture is great for steaks or roasts (beef and pork).  It can be rubbed on the meat up to 12 hours before cooking time (leave the salt out of the rub and then sprinkle the meat with salt just before cooking).  Keep meat refrigerated until time to cook.

This recipe will cover four steaks or two roasts.

1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp fennel seed
2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp dried minced garlic
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

This is very good, but it's quite warm (spicy).

Rub this on all sides of meat.  Place in refrigerator (covered with aluminum foil) until ready to cook.

This is not your ordinary steak or roast.  This is SO good!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

Grandma has many, many bread and roll recipes, most of which require lots of time and energy to make.  This one is surprisingly easy.  No yeast, no kneading, no rolling, no rising . . . my kind of bread recipe.

4 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg (lightly beaten)
2 cps buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine all dry ingredients.  Whisk together egg and buttermilk.  Add all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir in the melted butter.  Stir to combine.

Scoop the dough into a greased 9 x 5" load pan.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35 - 45 minutes.  If top begins to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil.  Test for doneness with a toothpick in the center.  If it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt

Pierce potatoes in several place with a fork; place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  Transfer hot potatoes to cutting board to cool slightly.  Combine milk, butter and salt in a saucepan and heat over medium low heat until hot.  Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; carefully scoop flesh into bowl.  Add milk and butter mixture and mash until smooth.

Okay, this may be cheating, because it's not on Grandma's recipe card . . . but I like my sweet potatoes with a little more "sweet".  I add 1/2 tsp of Allspice and 3/4 cup of brown sugar.  Mmmmmm!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Potato Salad - Routine or Memorable

Grandma had a Basic Potato Salad recipe, but I've run across a few of her notes that take the basic recipe and make it special.

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/4 cup Miracle Whip, 1 Tbsp yellow mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss with 2 lbs of boiled potatoes and allow to cool.

Good BET -- add bacon bits, chopped hard cooked eggs and tomatoes.

Island -- add fresh pineapple, cashews, and lemon zest.

Garden Crunch -- add cucumber, carrots, pickle relish.

Orchard -- add apple slices, ham, and grated smoked cheese.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ham & Beans

Well, those who know me, know I don't like beans.  This is certainly not a dish I'd put on my list of favorites, but I will eat it.  Considering it's beans - that's pretty amazing.

1 - 20 oz bag of 16 Bean Soup Mix
1 large ham shank (1 1/2  - 2 lbs)
6 cups chicken or pork stock (and/or water in a pinch)
1 - 2 carrots, peeled and chunked
2 ribs celery, in chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
thyme leaves (fresh, if available)parsley, minced (or crushed dried)
pinch red pepper flakes
freshly ground pepper
salt (with caution)

Soak the beans:  Put beans in a pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Boil 2 minutes, then cover, remove from heat, and let sit for an hour.  (You can also put the beans in a bowl or pot and cover them with water at least 2" above the beans, and let them sit overnight.)  Drain and rinse.  Beans will look gray - that will cook out later.

Load the slow cooker with beans and the ham shank.  Add the rest of the ingredients except salt.  Do not salt soup until cooking is done, since the ham hock is already salty.  Use your judgment with thyme, parley and pepper.  You may substitute fresh herbs if available, as minced leaves.  Be careful not to use too much red pepper.  If you don't like chunks of carrot and celery, put them in whole and remove when soup is done; otherwise, you can dice them into the soup.

Cook on High for 4 - 5 hours, or on low for 8 - 9 hours, until ham falls from the bone.

Remove bay leaves, bones and any visible pieces of gristle with a slotted spoon.  Putt out the big ham chunks and shred them with two forks, then put them back in. If soup is not thick, allow to cook for another hour with lid off, to reduce the water content.  Salt only after cooking is complete - the ham hock is already salty (and so is the stock if you use canned.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dinner Rolls

Grandma was famous for her breads and desserts. Her dinner rolls were incomparable.

1 dry yeast packet (1/4 oz)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
7 1/2 - 8  cups flour (plus more for dusting)
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled, plus softened butter for brushing
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

Sprinkle the yeast into a large bowl with 1/2 cup of warm water.  Add sugar and whisk well.  Let sit 1 minute (it should bubble and froth slightly, then gently stir in 1 cup flour.  Set aside and keep warm while you prepare dough.

Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low speed.  Add eggs and mix until blended.  Add 6 1/2 cups flour and 1 Tbsp salt, and mix until the dough forms a ball, 2 - 3 mins, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky.

Brush a large bowl with softened butter.  Transfer te dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and set rise in a warm place 2  - 2 1/2 hours.  The dough should double in volume.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Dust a clean, flat surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it.  Flour your hands; gently press the dough into a 16 x 8" rectangle, about 1/2 - 3/4" thick (don't forget to use a rolling pin).

With the short side in front of you, but the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife.  Then slice crosswise into 12  strips.

One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half, then tuck the overhang underneath.  Place the rolls seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet in 3 tightly packed rows.  (If making in advance, wrap the baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 weeks.)

Bake the rolls until they are bursting at the seams and golden brown, about 18 - 20 mins.  Remove from the oven and brush with softened butter.  Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toffee Crunch Bars

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped Heath bars

Combine flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar well.  Add eggs and vanilla, and then stir in Heath bars.

Drop from teaspoon onto greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pickles - Sliced Dill Pickles

Place a sprig of dill in jar.  Slice quantity of dill-sized pickles into the jar.

Boil and pour over the pickles the following solution:

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup salt
1 tsp pickling spice in a bag

Place another piece of dill on top of pickles and seal at once.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snack - Pepper Popcorn

This is an unusual snack recipe - might just have to try this out for Super Bowl Sunday.  I never would have come up with this idea.

2 quarts popped popcorn
2 cups shoe string potatoes
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine butter with seasonings and toss with popcorn shoestrings and peanuts.  Put in a 9 x 13" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Stir every two minutes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gravy - Grandma's Perfect Gravy

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Neck and giblets from your turkey (discard the liver)
8 cups of chicken or turkey stock
Several sprigs thyme, parsley, rosemary and or sage
1 bay leaf
Turkey drippings (from your roasting pan)
1/2 cup flour
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and turkey neck and giblets; cook, stirring, until browned, about 15 minutes.  Add the broth, herb springs and bay leaf; cover and simmer about 2 hours (do this while your turkey roasts).

Once your turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board to rest and pour the pan drippings into a large degreasing cup.  Strain the broth.

Put the roasting pan on the stovetop over low heat.  Add a dash of the broth to the pan and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon.  Transfer the liquid and bits to the degreasing cup.  The fat will rise to the top of the degreasing cup.  Spoon off 1/2 cup fat and transfer to a saucepan.  Scatter in the flour; cook over medium heat, stirring in a figure-eight motion with a wooden spoon, until the flour mixture browns slightly, about 4 minutes.

Gradually ladle the hot broth into the flour mixture, whisking constantly (this is key, or your gravy will be lumpy).  Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the gravy simmers gently.

Add remaining turkey drippings to the gravy, leaving any extra fat behind in the degreasing cup.  Simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fruit - Old-Fashioned Fruit Compote

Looking for a side-dish  that's the perfect to go with your next turkey, goose, duck or ham?  This warm and fruity dish will simmer while you prepare the rest of the menu, or make it a day ahead and reheat before serving.

1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, undrained
1 pkg (18 oz) pitted dried plums
1 can (15 1/4 oz) sliced peaches, undrained
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, undrained
1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, drained
1 pkg (6 oz) dried apricots
2 pkgs (3 1/2 oz each) dried blueberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 lemon peel strips
1 cinnamon stick (3")

In a Dutch oven, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 50 - 60 minutes or until fruit is tender.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cookie - Melting Moment Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 cup corn starch
12 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, stir together first three ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat margarine at medium speed until smooth.  Beat in flour mixture and vanilla until well blended.

Refrigerate one hour.

Shape into 1" balls.  Place about 1 1/2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Flatten with lightly floured fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Salad - Festive Cranberry Salad

2 pkg (3 oz each) raspberry Jell-o
2 cups boiling water (divided)
1 can (14 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water.  In another bowl, combine cranberry sauce and remaining water; add gelatin mixture and lemon juice.  Pour into a 13 x 9" dish coated with cooking spray; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form.  In another bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup whipped cream; fold in remaining whipped cream.  Spread over gelatin mixture; sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.