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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.

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.