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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 27, 2012

My Grandma's Hands

Growing up my sister and I spent time each summer with my Grandma and Grandpa on the farm.  We loved to go to the barn with Grandpa and feed the cats each evening.  We loved helping to pick veggies and berries in the garden every day.  But, most of all . . . we loved to help Grandma in the kitchen.  She made everything from scratch and everything was so good!

Looking back, I remember Grandma's hands.  Yes, they were wrinkled, but her hands were always busy and I thought they were cute.  I wanted nothing more than to be able to cook like Grandma.  Today, I look at my own hands and I see hers.  They aren't young anymore.  They are wrinkled (I call them love lines) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Feeding my family and friends gives me the greatest pleasure in life.  My kitchen and dining room are the place we always wind up.  Three-year-old  Christian loves to help me in the kitchen already.  I can only hope that when my grandchildren are all grown up they will look back and think about Grammy's wrinkled hands and the goodies I made for them and the dishes we made together.  Is there any better legacy?  I don't think so.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgivings Past

Growing up, I think my Thanksgiving holidays were like lots of others -- we had more than one family meal to fit in.  My mom's side of the family was rather large.  She came from a family of seven children.  My dad was an only child.  Dinners were a bit different.  We loved spending time with cousins, aunts and uncles with one family and we loved being the center of attention with the other.  It was a great mix!  My childhood holidays were great!  I hope my grandchildren will remember theirs just as fondly.

My Grandma Mohr had a huge group of people to cook for.  I can't begin to imagine how much food had to be prepared for all of us.  Plum Pudding was always the perfect finish to our holiday meal.  Yummy!  I need to learn how to make that.  My Grandma Kruse had a smaller group to cook for and always went all out!  Cinnamon Rolls would start the day and Sweet Potato Pie would end dinner.  My sister, Kim, would refuse to eat the pie because it wasn't pumpkin.  It really did taste the same.

I hope one day my kids and grandkids will look back and remember a favorite recipe from our Thanksgiving dinner.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dinner Rolls

8 oz warm whole milk (100 degrees)
1/3 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast
15 oz all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick of butter (6 Tbsp at room temp and 2 Tbsp chilled and cut into 16 small cubes)

Butter a sheet pan and set aside.

Place the milk, sugar, yeast, flour, egg yolks, and salt in a bowl.  Stir and then work with hands to combine.  When well mixed, let dough rest for 15 minutes.

Add 2 oz of the room temp butter and mix dough well.  Work dough until it pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll and shape with hands to form a large ball.  Return dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a 16 x 3" long log.  Use a bench knife to cut the dough into 1 3/4 oz portions, about 16 rolls.  Using your loosely cupped hand, roll each portion on the counter until they tighten into small balls.  Working 1 at a time, use a rolling pin to roll each small ball into a 3" circle or oval.  Use the side of your hand or a small dowel to make an indentation across the middle of the circle.  Place a small pat of chilled butter into the center of the indentation, then fold in half and gently press to seal the edges.  Place the rolls, top-side down onto the prepared sheet pan, spacing them evenly.  Melt the remaining 1 oz butter and brush the tops of the rolls.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, 30 - 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 8 - 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan halfway through baking.

Remove the pan to a cooling rack and cool for 2 - 3 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rice Pilaf

1 stalk celery (diced)
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms (chopped)
1/4 cup white onion (diced)
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
2 cups white rice

Saute vegetables in butter until tender.

Combine chicken stock, water, bay leaves and salt.  Bring to a boil.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place the rice in deep baking dish.  Mix with vegetables and liquid mixture; stir well.  Cover pan with foil.  Bake 1 hour.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Savory Zucchini Muffins

The end of the summer garden has produced far more zucchini than anyone can possible use.  Grandma found a creative way to use up some of the extra zucchini by using it as a healthy ingredient in muffins.  These are delicious and are sure to become a family favorite.  They're easy too!

1 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Italian Herb Seasoning or dried Thyme

1 cup shredded zucchini (1 medium sized zucchini)

1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Combine all of the dry ingredients and stir to mix.  Add your liquid ingredients one at a time and then mix just until all ingredients are combined.  Stir in the zucchini and gently stir.

Spoon into 12 muffin cups (fill about 1/2 full).  Sprinkle with a dusting of grated Parmesan Cheese.  Bake @ 425 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.

Don't let the sugar fool you - these are not sweet muffins.  They are a perfect compliment to a soup dinner -- Tomato Soup, Potato Soup, Corn Chowder, or Beef Stew.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole with Apples

This is one of those perfect fall dishes that Grandma could prepare using fall produce.  It's the perfect casserole for cool fall nights.

4 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2" slices)
2 large apples (peeled and sliced)
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup light Karo syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Stir in salt and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 10 minutes until potatoes are just tender.  Drain.

Place sweet potatoes in the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9" baking dish.  Top with sliced apples.  Drizzle apples with corn syrup and then sprinkle with brown sugar.  Dot with the butter and top with the finely chopped pecans.

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grandma's Green Goddess Dressing

I remember Green Goddess Dressing when I was a youngster.  It was one of those things I wasn't even about to try because it was green.  Well, not with this recipe.  It's white with just a tint of green from the fresh herbs.  It's fabulous on salad or used as a dipping sauce for veggies.  It's particularly good on potatoes.

1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp anchovy paste - or mash one whole anchovy
1 tsp minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.   Makes about 3/4 cup.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Soup Time - Home Made Chicken Noodle Soup

I made a big pot of Chicken Noodle Soup last night, and wow, it was good!  I've never been one to stick to a recipe- I like to change it up and try to improve it.  This is one I think I have to document because it was just perfect.  The rich flavor comes from the roasted chicken.

1 whole chicken (about 3.5 lbs) - cut up
2 Tbsp olive oil
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste
12 cups water
4 large carrots (peeled and sliced)
4 large celery ribs (sliced)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 32 (oz) package of frozen egg noodle or dumplings
1 lb fresh green beans (snipped and sliced)
1 tsp sage
3/4 tsp minced garlic (dried or fresh)
3/4 tsp rosemary leaves
3/4 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp parsley flakes

Place a 12-quart stock pot over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil, and when heated, add the chicken.  Sprinkle heavily with seasoning salt and pepper.  Allow pieces to brown - turn after about 10 minutes and brown the other side.  Once the pieces are browned, add the water and spices.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes - make sure the water boils steadily.

Strain the broth through a strainer to remove the chicken and any bones or skin that have separated.

Add the broth back to the pan.  Set the chicken aside to cool so the skin and bones may be removed.

Add the carrots, celery, onion, and green beans to the stock. Taste the stock and add additional seasoning, if required.  Return to a boil.  Cover and cook until the veggies are tender.

Remove the skin and bones from the cooled chicken and break it into bit sized pieces and add to the soup.

Add one 32 oz package of frozen egg noodles or dumplings and let cook at a rolling boil for another 15 minutes.

By browning the chicken first, the broth was a really nice golden brown and had a wonderful roasted flavor.  Sooooo good!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grandma's Corn Chowder with Chicken

Fall is approaching and it's this time of year when I start to make sure I have ingredients on hand to make soup for those unexpected chilly days.  My favorite days of the year are shorts with sweatshirt days.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  And there is nothing more satisfying for dinner after a chilly fall day than Corn Chowder.  Add a little chicken and you have the perfect one-pot dinner.

12 slices of bacon (fried, drained and crumbled)
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
4 cups potatoes (cubed) - I like red potatoes
2 cups white onion diced
1 cup carrots thinly sliced
6 Tbsp flour
5 cups chicken broth
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 cups of corn kernels - there is nothing better than ears of sweet corn cooked and then removed from the cob with the Pampered Chef Kernel Cutter - it's so much sweeter and fresh  (It takes about 6 ears)
3 cups half-and-half
3 cups diced cooked chicken (1/2" chunks)
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon in 8 quart stock pot
Drain bacon on paper towel and then crumble
Add butter to the bacon drippings
Saute the celery, onion, and carrots for five minutes
Add potatoes and cook for five more minutes, stirring frequently
Stir in the flour and coat the vegetables
Add chicken broth slowly, stirring constantly to prevent lumps
Add the Old Bay Seasoning and cook until mixture thickens
Cover and simmer for 12 minutes
Dice and cook your chicken while you wait
Add the diced chicken and corn
Simmer for 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender
Add the half-and-half and salt and pepper to taste
Heat through

What a hearty comforting dinner this makes when served with crusty bread.  Yum!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chicken Penne Pasta

1 1/2 cups uncooked Penne pasta
9 oz fresh spinach
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite-size pieces)
1 tsp dried basil
1 jar (14 1/2 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes (drained)
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add spinach to boiling water for last 1 minute.

Cook and stir chicken and basil in large skillet on medium-high heat for 3 minutes.  Add sauce and tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Simmer for 3 minutes or until chicken is done.  Stir in cream cheese.

Drain pasta mixture; return to pan.  Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella.  Spoon into 2-quart baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.  Bake for 3 more minutes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Grandma's Special Sloppy Joes

2 lbs ground beef
1 medium white onion (diced)
2 cans Manwich
12 hamburger buns
12 cheese slices
24 slices of bacon

Brown the hamburger with the onion.  Drain fat.
Add the Manwich.
Serve on the hamburger buns with cheese and bacon.

Grandma didn't have the luxury of using Manwich.  She used a combination of ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and other seasonings.  It's much easier to open a can of Manwich.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Boston Cream Pie

This is always a favorite!  I don't know anyone who doesn't like Boston Cream Pie.

1 round yellow cake layer
1 cup milk
1 (3.4 oz) package of Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 1/2 cups of whipped topping
1 square baking chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp cold milk

Cut cake into two layers.  Beat 1 cup of milk with the pudding mix for two minutes.  Add the whipped topping.  Stir to combine and let sit for five minutes.  Place bottom cake layer on a serving dish (cake stand, if you have one).  Spread the pudding mixture over the top of that layer.  Place the top layer on top of the pudding mixture.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over boiling water.  Add the sugar and 2 Tbsp milk and mix well.

Spread over the cake and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On The Grill - Low & Slow Ribs

These ribs are delicious.  The recipe combines an interesting mix of spices.  Grandma had a knack for creating great flavor in her dishes.  These ribs cook in a low oven for about 3 hours and then are finished on the grill.  You'll get the best of both worlds -- really tender ribs with that grill char.  Mmmm good!

1 Tbsp Lawry's seasoned salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (no, that's not a typo)
4 lbs of ribs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce - I like Jack Daniels Brown Sugar & Honey

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  I use my turkey roasting pan and rack for this recipe.

Combine all of the spices and mix well.  Rub all over the ribs.  Place the spiced ribs on the roasting rack in your pan.  Pour the water into the pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until ribs are very tender.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 30 minutes.  Brush the ribs with the BBQ sauce.  Place on pre-heated grill and grill for about 5 minutes.  Turn and brush with remaining sauce.

Cut into sections and serve.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Straight From The Garden Summer Slaw

I've mentioned time and time again that so many of Grandma's dishes were prepared with produce straight from the garden.  This is another timeless favorite.

1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 small head green cabbage (shredded)
1/2 small head red cabbage (shredded)
4 medium carrots (shredded)
1 small red onion (minced)
1 large Granny Smith apple

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until blended.  Add the green and red cabbage, carrots and onion.  Toss well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 2 hours).

Core the Granny Smith apple and cut into thin strips.  Add to coleslaw just before serving and stir/toss well.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blueberry Sauce (For Ice Cream, of course)

The hot days of July are perfect for ice cream!  And there's no better topping than a fresh blueberry sauce.  This is so simple.  Once you try it, you'll make it again and again.

2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

In a saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and salt; stir in water and lemon juice and mix well.  Add blueberries.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir 2 minutes more.

Transfer to a bowl to cool.  Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

This is best served at room temperature.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grandma's Grilled Potatoes

Sometimes I laugh at myself.  So many of the recipes that I post on this blog begin with "Grandma's" in the title.  Most of Grandma's recipes had very simple names.  I choose to use the name she gave her recipe and then give her credit for its creation.  Grandma's Grilled Potatoes are a simple, but very tasty dish on the grill.  She usually did them in the oven - I like to do them on the grill.

2 lbs of potatoes cut into wedges
1 medium white onion (diced)
1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt (one of my favorite kitchen staples)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbsp butter

Combine potatoes and spices in a large bowl.  Toss to mix well.  Place the potatoes on a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Wrap the foil around the potatoes.  Top with the butter cut into 1 Tbsp chunks.  Seal the edges of the foil and place the packets on the grill.  Grill over medium high heat for 20 minutes and then turn.  Grill for another 20 minutes.

To do these in the oven, place the packet on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes, turning once.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Looking for a Pretty Patriotic Dessert?

I saw this tonight on Party City's website.  This is a very patriotic dessert and would be so easy to make.  In fact, I plan to give this one a whirl on Wednesday.  What could be more appropriate for Independence Day and better for the awful heat we've been having?  It looks like they've used bananas, but I think I'll use marshmallows.  (Not a fan of bananas -- I know, that's almost unamerican -- but I don't like them.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blueberry-Orange Bread

I have to admit, this isn't a recipe I've baked myself.  It sounds a bit unusual, but I thought I'd share it here and give it a try one day soon.  If you bake it yourself, be sure to share your comments here.  This comes from a newspaper clipping with a date of November 1948.

3 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
2/3 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh blueberries

In bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Beat together eggs, melted butter, milk, orange peel, and orange juice.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in berries.

Bake in greased 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pan at 350 degrees until golden brown (about 60 - 70 minutes).  Remove from pan.  Cool.  Wrap in foil and store overnight before slicing.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Peach Glazed Brisket

Prepare a rub
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon

4 lb trimmed brisket
2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 white onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (smashed)
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp thyme
3 celery stalks (diced)
3 large carrots (chopped)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

The night before serving, prepare the rub and spread all over the brisket.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large wide pot over high heat.  Add brisket, fat side down.  cook until well browned (5 - 6 minutes).  Turn brisket over and cook until browned (about 3 minutes).  Transfer to a plate.  Lift with a spatula or use tongs.  Do not pierce.  Reduce heat to medium and add remaining Tbsp of olive oil.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly golden.  Add broth and all remaining ingredients.  Bring liquid to a simmer.  Return brisket to pot.  Cover and transfer to oven.

Braise until the brisket is very tender to the touch, but still holds its shape, about 4 1/2 hours.  Transfer brisket to a plate and then strain the liquid.  Return the liquid to the pot.  Bring to a simmer and reduce to 2 cups.  Return the brisket to the reduced liquid.

For the Glaze
Transfer 1/4 cup of the braising liquid to a blender.  Add 1/2 cup peach jam, and 2 tsp bourbon.  Puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler.  Spread 3 - 4 Tbsp glaze on top of brisket.  Broil brisket in pot until browned and glazed, watching carefully to prevent burning.

Transfer brisket to a cutting board.  Slice against the grain and transfer to a large platter.  Ladle braising liquid over.  Drizzle remaining glaze on top.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Herb Butter

Grandma grew lots of herbs in her garden.  I do all of my herb gardening in containers on the deck.  It keeps them handy when I need them for a recipe.

Herb butter is easy to make and will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.  Use it on pasta,  veggies or steak.

4 oz butter (softened)
1/4 cup of your favorite finely chopped herb -- chives, rosemary, thyme, sage or tarragon (you can use a mixture)
1 tsp lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

Mix the butter and other ingredients together either with a fork or hand mixer.  Shape the butter into a stick and wrap in waxed or parchment paper.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fruit Cocktail Cake

If you're looking for a recipe to start your child baking in the kitchen, this is it.  It's very easy and requires very little attention.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 can (15 oz) fruit cocktail -- do not drain
1 egg

Stir ingredients together.  Mix well.  Pour into a 9 x 9" pan.  Top with 1/2 cup of brown sugar sprinkled evenly over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve this topped with Cool Whip.  It's simple and delicious!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownies

Grandma had quite the collection of dessert recipes.  In fact it is almost endless.  This is one I've prepared several times.  You may either follow the brownie recipe that appears first, or start with a box mix.  It's positively delicious either way.

1 cup butter (melted)
2 cups sugar
8 Tbsp cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour

Soften butter.  Stir in sugar, cocoa, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in salt, baking soda, and flour.  Mix well. Pour into 9" x 9" pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Brownies should still be moist in the center.

1 cup cold milk
1 pkg (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups whipped topping
3 squares semi-sweet baker's chocolate

As the brownies cool, beat the milk and the pudding with a whisk for 2 minutes.  Add peanut butter and sugar and mix well.

Spread pudding mixture over the brownies.

Melt the baker's chocolate in a double boiler and then stir in the whipped topping.  Spread over the pudding mixture and then refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Tips:  To make this easier, I use Cool Whip
          To change up the flavors, sometimes I'll use White Chocolate pudding instead of vanilla

Monday, June 11, 2012

Turkey Bacon Salad

This is another one of Grandma's recipes that made good use of the produce from her garden.  She grew lots of herbs to use in her cooking.  This is a good hot summer evening dinner.  It won't heat up the house, and you get your meat and veggies.

6 slices of bacon (fried and crumbled)
2 cups sugar snap peas
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp snipped fresh dill - we can buy this in the produce section at the grocery store
1 small head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
8 oz turkey breast, cut into strips

Fry the bacon to desired crispness and drain on paper towel
Set bacon aside to cool
Cook peas, covered, in boiling salted water for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender
Crumble one bacon slice and set aside
Break the remaining bacon slices into pieces
In a bowl, combine the Miracle Whip, mustard, vinegar, and dill
Stir in crumbled bacon
Arrange romaine lettuce on each plate
Add peas, turkey strips and bacon pieces
Top with dressing

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chicken Hash with Apricots

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 lb red potatoes (small B-size), unpeeled
1 large red pepper
3 Tbsp apricot jam
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Okay, before we get started, I've modified this recipe to make it far more to my liking.  I haven't changed it enough to require a new name.

I use 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I like white meat far more than dark meat).
I replace the red pepper with fresh or canned apricots and a white onion.
The rest remains the same.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine chicken and soy sauce; let stand.  Cut potatoes and red pepper into 1/2" pieces.  In a small bowl, mix jam and lemon juice until well blended.

Spread the chicken on foil-lined pan; brush with the jam mixture.  roast 15 - 17 minutes or until meat is no longer pink inside.

While chicken roasts, place the potatoes in a deep fryer and fry for about 5 minutes until crispy.  Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towel.  Heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the red pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring.  (In my version, you'll replace the pepper with the onion and apricots.) Stir in deep fried potatoes and most of the green onions.  Add 1/4 tsp of salt to season.  Cook 5 - 7 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spoon the potato mixture onto a plate and top with the chicken.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sirloin Steak with Cabernet Mushroom Sauce

Grandma didn't have a gas grill.  She did all of her grilling on a charcoal grill or with the broiler in the oven.

Select about a 7 oz sirloin steak for each person
Season them with salt and pepper and allow to sit at room temperature for about 1/2 hour
Place steaks on a hot grill or in the broiler and cook for about 6 minutes on each side
Remove from grill and allow to rest for about 20 minutes

Cabernet Mushroom Sauce
3 Tbsp butter
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (snipped into small pieces)
4 oz sliced button (white) mushrooms
1 white onion, sliced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or you may substitute a good Burgundy)
2 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp cornstarch, stirred into 2 Tbsp cold  water
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy 10" skillet over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, thyme, black pepper and 1 oz of the beef broth.  Saute, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the red wine and stir well, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Cook until the win has been reduced almost to a glaze.  Stir in the remaining beef stock and bring to a full boil.  Stir in the cornstarch slurry and continue to boil just until sauce has thickened, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add salt, if desired.

Serve the sauce over the steak.

Steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes are a perfect way to complete this meal.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dinner on the Grill - We just call this Packets

Growing up, my mom would occasionally make "Packets" for dinner.  They were neat folded foil packets holding a hamburger and veggies.  They were always a family favorite.  There was lots of prep work involved and an hour of cooking time in the oven, but they are delicious and well worth the wait!

This is one of my go-to recipes when the weather is hot and I want dinner on the grill without heating up the kitchen.  Serve this with your favorite lettuce or fruit salad and you have a dinner to satisfy the whole family.

3 1/2 lbs ground beef
6 medium potatoes (washed and sliced into thin round slices - I don't peel my potatoes)
1 lb carrots (washed, peeled, and sliced into 1/2" slices)
1 large onion (large dice)
6 stalks of celery (washed and diced)
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup
2 cups water
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste
8 sheets of aluminum foil about 24" long

Prepare 8 hamburger patties from the ground beef
Wash and slice potatoes and place in a bowl of cold salt water
Wash, peel and slice carrots into 1/2" slices and place in a bowl
Peel and dice one large onion and place in a bowl
Wash and dice 6 stalks of celery and place in a bowl
Open 2 cans of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup

Place a hamburger in the center of the sheet of foil.
Sprinkle with seasoning salt and pepper.
Top with 1/8th of the diced onion, potato slices, carrots, and celery.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Spoon 1/4 can of soup on top of veggies.
Pull sides of foil up to the center and fold to seal top and one end of packet.
Pour 1/4 cup of water into the open end and then seal.
Place packet on tray to carry to grill.

Complete all 8 packets and then place on pre-heated grill.  Cook for one hour over medium-high heat, turning after 30 minutes.  If you can't do this on the grill,  cook in the oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour.

Be careful when serving.  These will be very hot and steam will escape from the packet when opened.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Summertime Lemonade

In a large pitcher stir together 3 cups cold water, 1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and 3/4 cup of sugar.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Serve chilled over ice.  It's so refreshing.

If you want to jazz it up a little bit, try one of these combinations . . .

Add watermelon puree and serve with watermelon wedges
Add a few fresh blackberries
Add honeydew puree and a few slices of kiwi
Add a few fresh raspberries

I'm sure there are lots of other combinations, but these are a few of my favorites!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Corn Chowder

This is a perfect recipe to use the season's sweet corn.  I'm a huge fan of corn on the cob and this uses fresh corn.  Grandma had the best recipes to use everything that grew in her garden.

8 ears fresh corn (shucked)
8 strips bacon (crumbled)
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 ribs celery (finely chopped)
1 medium yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 fresh bay leaf
6 cups milk
3 medium new potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs) - peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Bring a large stock pot full of water and 2 Tbsp salt to a boil.  Boil the ears of corn for 10 minutes and then allow to cool.  Slice the corn kernels off the cob, scraping the cob with a knife to extract the flavorful juices.  Halve 5 of the bare corn cobs crosswise, discarding the rest.  Set corn cobs aside.

Heat the bacon in a 6 quart pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes.  Reserve 3 Tbsp bacon for garnish, leaving the remaining bacon in the pot.  Add butter, thyme, garlic, celery, onions, and bay leaf.  Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 6 minutes.  Add the reserved corn kernels and cobs, milk, and potatoes.  Cover, bring chowder to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.  Skim any foam from the surface of the soup.

Discard the cobs and bay leaf; transfer 1 1/2 cups of the soup to a blender, and puree.  Stir puree into the chowder to thicken it.  Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with reserved bacon and basil.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grilled Orange Chicken Fingers

This is a recipe kids are sure to love.  Serve this with carrot and celery sticks with Ranch dip and you'll have the perfect warm weather dinner for the family.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed of fat)
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp frozen orange-juice concentrate (thawed)
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
salt to taste

Cut chicken crosswise into 3/4" wide strips.  Whisk together mustard, orange juice concentrate, honey, sesame oil and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add the chicken and toss to combine.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat grill.  Lightly oil rack or coat with nonstick cooking spray.  Remove the chicken strips from the marinade, discarding remaining marinade.  Grill until no longer pink in the center, 2 - 3 minutes per side.  Season with salt and serve.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rhubarb Sherbet with Fresh Strawberry Sauce

My grandparents grew rhubarb in their garden, and I used to love the desserts Grandma would make with rhubarb.

4 cups cubed rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Strawberry Sauce
2 pints strawberries
1 Tbsp sugar

To begin, boil the diced rhubarb in a half-cup of water until it is tender.  This should take about 10 - 15 minutes.  While continuing to cook add 1 cup of sugar to the rhubarb, stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove the mixture from heat and add corn syrup, orange juice, lemon juice and lemon rind.  Turn the mixture into a chilled bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Beat the egg whites, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp of salt until foamy.  Slowly add the chilled rhubarb syrup to egg whites.  Whisk together until well combined.  Pour solution into an ice cream freezer and rotate the freezer as you would if you were making homemade ice cream.  Transfer the firm sorbet into a container and place in the freezer.  If you d not have an ice cream maker, pour the solution into a shallow dish and freeze until sherbet is frozen around the edges.  Remove from freezer, mix until smooth and refreeze until almost solid.  Repeat this process two more times

While the sherbet is freezing you can make the strawberry sauce.  Place 2/3 of the washed and hulled strawberries and 2 Tbsp of sugar in food processor or blender.  Puree the strawberries, adding water is necessary, until smooth but not too runny.  Slice the remaining strawberries and fold into sauce.

Just before you are ready to serve the sherbet, stir it briefly with a spoon to make it creamy.  Serve cold, topped with the strawberry sauce.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Fever

I'm anxious to spend some quality time outdoors planting my hanging baskets and weeding my flower gardens.  That has left me with little creativity for the kitchen.  Bear with me as I make my way through the next couple of weeks to get my outdoor world looking presentable.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Orange -Thyme Veggie Trio

3 medium beets
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 2" lengths
2 lbs acorn squash, cut into 1" slices
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tsp olive oil
1 tsp thyme (divided)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
zest and juice of 1 orange
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Wrap beets in a double layer of aluminum foil, seal and bake for 75 minutes or until soft.

In a bowl toss together carrots, squash, garlic, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast alongside the beets until just tender and golden, 35 - 40 minutes.  Peel skin from cooked beets by rubbing with a paper towel, then cut beets into 1" pieces.  Set aside.

Measure orange juice, then add enough vinegar to equal 2/3 cup.  Whisk together juice, vinegar and 1/4 tsp salt and drizzle in 2 Tbsp olive oil, whisking constantly.  Add 1/2 tsp thyme leaves and zest.  Place vegetables on a serving dish and add orange vinaigrette.

I have to wonder how Grandma knew how to make veggies so delicious.  I probably wouldn't have eaten them as a kid, but now, this sounds awesome.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Brown Sugar Chews - The easiest dessert ever!

Grandma knew all of the secrets of a good cook!  This was a simple, but so delicious recipe of hers.  It's almost like a small bite of pecan pie in cookie form.  They absolutely melt in your mouth!

1 egg white
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup pecans (chopped)

Beat egg white until stiff and frothy.  Add brown sugar and continue beating.  Stir in flour ans salt.  Fold in pecans.  Drop by small teaspoon on buttered cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bacon and Cheese Egg Casserole

This is a great idea for Easter breakfast, but with a modification or two it could easily become breakfast for dinner any night of the week.

6 green onions (green and white parts sliced)
1 tomato (chopped) divided
1/2 lb bacon slices
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 dozen eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Reserve 2 Tbsp each of the green onions and tomatoes.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Cut bacon into 1" pieces into hot pan.  Cook until crisp.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.

Add 2 Tbsp of bacon fat to a 10" skillet.  Add sliced mushrooms to drippings;  cook until tender.  Remove from heat.  Add bacon to skillet with remaining onions and tomatoes.  Mix well.

Whisk eggs and sour cream until well blended.  Pour into greased 13 x 9" baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with bacon mixture and cheeses.

Bake for 30 minutes or until center is set.  Top with reserved onions and tomatoes.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting to serve.

To make this a dinner dish, add one thinly sliced/diced zucchini with the mushrooms.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pork Roast with Peach Glaze

1 boneless pork loin roast (2 lbs)
1 tsp Thyme
2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix sea salt and thyme in a small bowl.  Place roast in roasting pan.  Tub seasoning mixture all over roast.

Roast for 1/1/2 hours.

Peach Glaze
1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp ground ginger

Mix preserves, Worcestershire sauce and ginger in a small bowl.  Spoon over pork during last 10 minutes of cooking.

Remove glazed pork roast from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Orange Spinach Salad

I remember thinking when I was a kid that spinach was slimy and gross and, of course, you only ate it if you wanted big muscles like Popeye.  Grandma knew better.  What makes a better and healthier salad than fresh spinach?

1/2 lb bacon cut into small pieces and browned to a crisp
2 peeled tangerines (with seeds removed)
6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup of your favorite salad dressing (I like Poppyseed)

Toss spinach, bacon pieces and oranges in a large serving bowl.  You may add dressing before serving or set out a variety and let everyone pick their favorite.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake - The perfect dessert recipe for Spring

The weather is getting warmer :)  I don't know about you, but I'm getting ready for the brighter flavors of Spring and Summer.  This one is sure to become a favorite.

1 package lemon cake mix (regular size - not Jiffy)
1 package (3 oz) Lemon flavor gelatin
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup (4 oz) Cream Cheese spread
2 Tbsp butter (softened)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat cake mix, lemon gelatin, water oil and eggs with mixer until well blended.  Stir in poppy seeds.  Pour into well-greased bundt pan.

Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour or until cake is springy to the touch.  Cool in pan 30 minutes.  Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan.  Cool cake completely.

Beat cream cheese spread and butter with mixer on low speed until well blended.  Gradually beat in sugar and lemon juice.  Spread over cake and garnish with lemon zest.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grandma's Easy Chicken & Dumplings

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups milk
3 cups pulled/shredded chicken (cooked)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
1 cup Bisquick
3/4 tsp sage
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until soft.  Sprinkle with flour and stir.  Add chicken broth and 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly to mix and thicken.  Add all of the spices except parsley and mix until smooth.

Stir in chicken and vegetables.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a bubbling simmer.

Mix baking mix and parsley in a medium bowl.  Add 1/3 cup of milk and mix well.  Drop by spoonfuls into soup mixture.  Cook uncovered 10 minutes.  Cover and cook for 10 more minutes.

Oh, this is so good -- totally comfort food!  Great recipe for those really cold winter days or the end of winter days when everyone is fighting off the colds and flu.  Nothing better than Grandma's chicken soup to cure what ails us. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Herb Mixture for Cooking

Grandma would use the following spice mixture tied in a cheesecloth to flavor meat, vegetables, and stews/soups.  Tied in a cheesecloth, it made the herb mixture easy to remove after cooking.

1/4 cup dried parsley
2 Tbsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp dried bay leaf
2 Tbsp dried rosemary

Combine parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary in a bowl.  Place in an airtight container.  Store in a cool, dark place away from heat sources.   Use within 6 months.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Brownies

I was so surprised to find this recipe in Grandma's collection.  It uses jarred marshmallow cream.  Such a modern day ingredient.

1 box of brownie mix (I like Duncan Hines Fudgy brownies)
1 jar (7 1/2 oz) marshmallow cream
1 cup prepared creamy chocolate frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Prepare and bake brownie mix according to package directions in a 13 x 9" baking pan.  Evenly drop marshmallow cream onto cooled brownies and spread evenly with a spoon.  Heat the frosting in a small saucepan until it is melted and smooth.  Heat the peanut butter in another saucepan until it is melted and smooth.  Pour melted frosting and then melted peanut butter over marshmallow cream and swirl with butter knife to marble.  Let cool completely on wire rack.

Monday, February 13, 2012

How To Make A Good Stock

I love to make soups.  There is nothing better than a homemade soup when the weather is cold or when the family is under the weather.  I always try to keep soup stock in the freezer for just those moments.

When you have beef or pork meat scraps, try the following:

Place your meat scraps in a large stock pot with 2 Tbsp oil. Sear your meat to give it that roasted flavor.  Add 12 cups of water, 2 Bay leaves, 1 Tbsp Thyme, 2 Tbsp salt, 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, 3 washed carrots (unpeeled and cut into pieces), 1 bunch of celery (tops and leaves only), 3 potatoes (chunked), 1 pkg chopped Porccinni mushrooms, 1/2 cup red wine.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for two hours to reduce.  Strain broth to remove all solids.  Allow to cool and then pour into freezer safe container to store for future use.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Salad with Lemony Buttermilk Dressing

3 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1" chunks)
1 lemon
2/3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
Salt and pepper
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

In a 6 quart saucepan, place potatoes and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 8 minutes or until potatoes are just tender.

Meanwhile, from lemon, grate 1 tsp peel and squeeze 1 Tbsp juice.  In large bowl, whisk lemon peel and juice with buttermilk, Miracle Whip, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.  Stir in celery, onion and parsley.

Drain potatoes; cool 10 minutes.  Add to dressing in bowl and gently stir until potatoes are well coated.

Makes about 8 cups.  Spoon potato salad into large container with tight-fitting lid.  Can be refrigerated up to 1 day.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quick Berry Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp sugar
32 oz cream cheese at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 - 2 cups of fresh mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
8 oz of whipped topping

Combine the cracker crumbs, butter and 3 Tbsp sugar.  Mix well and then press into the bottom of a 13 x 9" pan.  Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Beat the cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until well blended.  Stir in the berries until well mixed. Whisk in the whipped topping.  Pour mixture over crust.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Cut into squares to serve.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Grandma used lots of sweet potatoes during the fall and winter months.  They stored well in the cellar.  Here is another one of her delicious sweet potato recipes.

3 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes cut into chunks or 1/2" slices
1/2 cup pecans (finely chopped)
6 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate (thawed)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Peel and slice the sweet potatoes and place them in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Drain well.

Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, stir together the sweet potatoes, pecans, butter and orange juice concentrate until combined.  In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and Cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture and stir until combined.  Spoon into the baking dish.

Cover and cook on at 285 degrees for 2 - 3 hours.  Sprinkle the marshmallows over the top of the sweet potatoes.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are melted.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Honey-Roasted Sesame Pork

Pork tenderloin is one of my go-to meals when I need to make dinner in a hurry.  I try to stock on them when they are on sale and keep them in the freezer.  It's easy to defrost one in the microwave and then prep it for the oven.

This is one of Grandma's recipes, and it's a good one!

1 (3/4 lb) pork tenderloin
1/4 cup honey
1 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted

For Marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Combine the soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a dish just large enough to hold pork tenderloin.  Add meat, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning several times.

Drain tenderloin and pat dry.  Spread honey on a plate and roll meat in it.  Spread sesame seeds on another plate and roll honeyed tenderloin in them, coating all over.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a roasting pan, bake pork tenderloin for 20 minutes or until no longer pink at the thickest part.  Let meat stand for 5 minutes and slice to serve.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Dessert - Pear Upside-Down Cake

We live in a very busy world, and as the mother of young adults who live at home, I'm always looking for ways to serve good comfort food that will be ready to eat at the crazy times we manage to have everyone home.

This recipe comes from from my Grandma's recipe book, but I've borrowed some baking ideas from the Slow Cooker Cookbook.  This recipe will take 4 hours from start to finish.  Give it a try . . . it will be a new family favorite.

7 Tbsp butter (3 Tbsp cut into small squares, 4 Tbsp softened)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 fresh Bosc pears (cored, peeled and sliced in half)
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs (at room temp)
2 Tbsp milk (at room temp)

Line a 5 quart slow cooker with foil and spray the foil with non-stick spray.  Turn the cooker on low.  Sprinkle the cut-up butter and brown sugar over the foil in the cooker.  Add the pears cut-side down.

Mix the flour, pecans, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.  Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl at low speed until blended.  Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.

Add the dry ingredients and the milk, mixing until the batter is smooth.  Spread over the pears in the slow cooker.  Drape paper towels over the top of the slow cooker (don't let them touch the cake).  This will keep condensation from dripping onto the cake.  Cover and cook on the low setting until the cake is set (about 3 hours).  Allow the cake to rest for 20 minutes and then lift from the slow cooker by the foil.  Invert onto a serving plate when cool.

Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cinnamon-Honey Sweet Potatoes

Grandma had lots of ways to serve sweet potatoes.  They were a staple in her fall and winter pantry.

5 large sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9" baking dish with cooking spray.
Arrange potato slices in bottom of dish.
Combine cinnamon, ginger, orange juice and honey and pour over potatoes.

Bake covered for 50 - 60 minutes until potatoes are soft and tender.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake

3 1/4 sticks butter cubed and at room temp
3 cups cake flour sifted
12 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (thaw if frozen)
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp whole milk
4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the Glaze
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray non-stick cooking spray inside bundt pan.

Cook the cranberries with 3/4 cup sugar in a pot over medium high heat until juicy and the mixture reduces to 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Whisk the milk, whole eggs and yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the 3 cups flour, the remaining 1 3/4 cups sugar, the lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add the 3 1/4 sticks butter and beat with a mixer on low speed until moistened.  Add half of the milk mixture, increase the speed to medium and beat 1 minute.  Add the remaining milk mixture in two batches, beating between each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again, about 30 seconds.

Transfer 2/3 of the better to the pan.  Spoon the cranberry mixture in a ring around the middle of the batter (do not let it touch the pan).  Top with the remaining batter and smooth evenly.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 - 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup:  Dissolve the 1/4 cup sugar in 1/2 cup lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Remove the cake from the oven, poke the surface all over with a skewer and pour the syrup on top.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Carefully invert the cake onto a parchment-lined rack to cool completely.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let sit overnight.

When ready to serve, whisk the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 Tbsp lemon juice until smooth.  Drizzle over cake.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Plum Applesauce

This is comfort food!  This is the perfect fall or winter side dish with dinner.  It's delicious served warm or cold.

5 large apples (peeled and cored)
5 red plums (peeled and pitted)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 Tbsp butter

Peel and core/pit your apples and plums.  If you like a sweet applesauce, use McIntosh apples or Red Delicious apples.  If you like your applesauce a little on the tart side, use Granny Smith apples.

Melt butter in a medium sized deep skillet.  Add the apples and plums.  Allow to cook slightly.

Add the apple juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks.  Stir well and cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to bubble.  Reduce heat and cook over low heat for 45 - 50 minutes or until apples and plums are tender.

Remove cinnamon sticks and mash the fruit to make a chunky sauce.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pork with Squash and Apples

1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1 tsp dried sage
2 lbs pork tenderloin (trimmed)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Tbsp honey mustard
1 sprig fresh rosemary
5 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix the nutmeg, 1 tsp garlic, and sage in a bowl.  Rub over the pork and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the squash, apples, onion and remaining 1/2 tsp garlic, the honey mustard, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.  Spread out on a long sheet of foil.  Add the rosemary and 3 Tbsp butter, then bring the ends of the foil together and crimp to seal into a packet.  Place the packet on a baking sheet and roast on the upper rack until tender, 30 - 35 minutes.  Poke holes in the packet to release steam.

Meanwhile, heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, then brown the pork on all sides, about 8 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp water and scrape up any browned bits from the pan, then transfer the skillet to the lower oven rack and roast until a thermometer registers 150 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

Return the skillet to medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup water, scrape up any browned bits and simmer about 2 minutes.  Slice the pork and drizzle with pan juices.  Serve with the squash and apples.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tomato-Celery Soup

We have our coldest weather of the season so far, and it's so windy.  Even our poor dogs don't want to go outside.  These are the days when I look for a good hearty soup to serve for dinner.

1/2 cup finely-chopped celery
1 small onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp butter
2 cans (10 1/2 oz) tomato soup
10 1/2 oz water
10 1/2 oz milk
1 tsp minced parsley
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp unsweetened whipping cream
1 tsp chopped parsley

Saute celery and onion in butter.  Do not brown.
Add remaining ingredients except cream and chopped parsley.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Celery will remain crisp.
Garnish each serving with whipping cream and parsley.