Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nancy's Porkchops

Nancy is one of my parents very best friends, Nancy Dolan. This is one of her recipes and it truly is a good one. It screams "comfort food" and makes a really nice Sunday dinner in the fall.
One of the ingredients is a canned good that really not be considered a "good." It is something that I would never in a million years serve to my family straight out of the can.
Are you ready for it? it's cream corn. Yuck, cream corn. Who eats cream corn? What ever possessed someone to create such a thing? Well, after making this concoction, you'll be glad someone did. It is delicious! Seriously, delicious!

Nancy's PorkchopsServes 6
1/2 pound bacon, uncooked and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cans cream style corn
6 bone-in pork chops,
1/2 package Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Spoon out some of the bacon drippings and set aside (about 5 tbsp). Add chopped onion to the skillet and cook the bacon and onion until the onion is just a little bit browned. Add a generous grinding of fresh pepper. Stir in the cream style corn until well combined.
Lightly pepper both sides of the pork chops and arrange in a 9x13 baking pan. Pour the corn/onion/bacon mixture over the pork chops. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel.
Add the bacon drippings to the skillet and heat over medium. Add the 1/2 package of stuffing and toss to lightly mix the bacon drippings. Spoon the stuffing over the cream style corn, it should lighly cover the pork chops.
Bake at 300 for 2 hours. Serve each chop with a spoonful of the stuffing mixture. Yum!

Enjoy! the stuffing absorbs the liquid from the cream corn and the porkchops are so tender and delicious.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tater Tot Hot Dish (aka: Casserole if you're not from Minnesota)

Simple and delicious are two things that are key to any recipe that we make. I'd also like to add another criteria for me: not more than 8 ingredients....
I have a ton of cookbooks and recently went through my collection. I pared it down to 2 cubbies in my IKEA shelving unit, which is not many! Anyhow, I discovered that I had cookbooks on the shelf that had 15 ingredients PER RECIPE on my shelf, how about NO!
So, when my mom passed this on to me a few years ago, I realized that it would be a favorite....Not only because it is one of Dan's favorites, but it's got 6 key ingredients to it! Yes, I said 6! and those 6 are things that we have in the cupboard at any given time....
The recipe card dates back to 1965, so it is an oldie but goodie!

Tater Tot Hot Dish

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 cans french cut green beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package Tater Tots

Press the ground beef into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix over the ground beef.
Spread the green beans on top of the soup mix. (note: often, I don't have canned french cut beans, you can use a bag of frozen ones too, I use this more often!) Evenly spread the canned soup over the top of the green beans and then arrange the tater tots on top of the soup.
Bake in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.

Enjoy, this is a good one!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Luncheon Salad (circa 1970)

This recipe brings back memories for me....it is from the Church of St. Leo's parish cookbook that was printed in approximately 1970. The recipes are extremely vintage and make the year of publication obvious! The little green cookbook is one of my prized possessions from my Grandma; next to her china, sterling silver flatware and her old Oster electric cooker. It has some classic recipes: Red Lion Salad Dressing,Chicken ala King, Stay-A-Bed Stew and Olive Jello Salad (????).
I'm not a fan of the noodle tuna or chicken salad, too much mayonnaise. Don't get me wrong, I love mayo, but not in a goopy noodle salad, blechhhh.

Here we have, Luncheon Salad:

1 can chicken or tuna (preferrably Albacore...none of that cat food crap)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 package English peas, thawed
1/2 cup whipped cream
1/2 cup mayo
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients, gently fold in the whipped cream.
Just before serving add 1 cup shoestring potatoes (I use a little more)

I love this salad.

Friday, June 4, 2010

All-American Potato Salad

This recipe was on Cook's Country and I got it from their website.  It is hands down, one of the best potato salad recipes I've ever made.  Not all goopy with mayo, even though I love mayo.....cooking the potatoes to the proper doneness is tricky, you do need to stand by and watch.  They go from perfect to overcooked in about 1 minute!
Serves 4 to 6.

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes , peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 tablespoons dill pickle juice , plus 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 onion, red (small) , chopped fine
1 rib celery , chopped fine
2 hard-cooked eggs , peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (optional)

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan with cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat, add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. A knife inserted into the potatoes and comes out easily, is done.  Dont' overcook!

2. Drain potatoes thoroughly, then spread out on rimmed baking sheet. Mix
2 tablespoons pickle juice and mustard together in small bowl, drizzle pickle juice mixture over potatoes, and toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until cooled, about 30 minutes.

3. Mix remaining tablespoon pickle juice, chopped pickles, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, celery seed, mayonnaise, sour cream, red onion, and celery in large bowl. Toss in cooled potatoes, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes. (Salad can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 days.) Gently stir in eggs, if using, just before serving.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Salmon on a cedar plank

I grilled salmon on a cedar plank last night for dinner and is was delicious!
First, you need good quality, wild salmon. Second, you need a 7x12 inch cedar plank.
Third, you need some Seattle Salmon Rub from the World Spice Merchants.

You need:
1 large salmon fillet (I used the piece that I bought at Sam's Club last week, it was a 1.5 pound fillet), skin removed
1 tbsp of the Seattle Salmon Rub
4-5 tbsp of Dijon mustard
6 tbsp of brown sugar

Begin by brining the salmon fillet. (this article says they don't brine salmon fillets, but they are talking the small single serving fillets) I used a fillet that is the whole half a salmon, cut in half.
I brined it for about 30 minutes and then pat dry with a paper towel. While the salmon is brining, also soak your cedar plank (fully submerge in water) for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.

When the salmon is done brining and the plank is done soaking, prep your grill for indirect cooking, put all the coals in a pile on one side of the grill. Place the thoroughly dried off salmon on the cedar plank, on what would be the skin side down.
Generously sprinkle the salmon fillet with the Seattle Salmon Rub (or salt and pepper works too.). Next, spread the dijon mustard all over the salmon fillet, coating it.
In a bowl, crumble the brown sugar. If you are using the salmon rub, add a teaspoon to the brown sugar and crumble with your fingers. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the dijon mustard to coat the salmon.
Place the plank on the side of the grill away from the coals and cover. Let the salmon roast for 25-30 minutes, check it at 20. Internal temp should be 125 on an instant read. Be careful to NOT overcook the salmon.
Remove the plank from the grill to a serving platter, serve directly from the plank. (I slid it right onto a flat cookie sheet.
Cut into serving sized pieces and serve. It is delicious!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies


I made chocolate chip cookies today and they are so good! I've been using this recipe for over a year and have made a few modifications to it to make it my own. These cookies are so good and the best part, they stay soft for several days after baking....if stored in a ziploc or airtight container. Also, this recipe makes a lot of cookies, but either more for you or lots to share with friends and neighbors.

1 cup butter, softened (unsalted is preferable)
1 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2-3 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and shortening with sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, mix thoroughly. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add gradually to the butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chip.
Chill dough for an hour. (not absolutely necessary, but the cookies don't totally flatten out when baking).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop dough by spoonfuls on baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let set for a minute or two and remove to cooling rack. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy, this makes about 10-11 dozen cookies.

**if you don't want to have that many cookies lying around the house or can't be trusted with them, freeze half the dough in a ziploc bag and thaw before baking.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fresh and Delicious Green Beans

We grew green beans in the garden last summer, so we had plenty of FRESH green beans to go around. They were delicious! As I was looking for different ways of preparing them, I decided to give one of those grill baskets a try.

If you have never tried one of these, run to Ace Hardware or http://www.cooking.com/ and get one! You'll be happy you did. Ours doesn't look this shiney and new anymore, because it has been used often! We use this for everything! green beans, aparagus, potatoes, onions, zucchini, etc. any vegetable you'd saute on the stove can be cooked on the grill in this thing.
So, we made our beans in this all last summer. These don't take more than 5 minutes on a pre-heated grill, so I would prepare the beans while any meat that was just cooked on the grill is quietly resting under tented foil.

1-2 pounds fresh green beans
olive oil
kosher salt
1-2 cloves of garlic minced (optional)
soy sauce

Place the grill basket on the preheated grill. Toss the washed and dried green beans with olive oil and put into the hot basket. They'll sizzle and smoke. Using your grill tongs, keep tossing them in the basket. Sprinkle with kosher salt and toss some more. Continue to cook on the grill for a couple minutes, until the beans are cooked, but still crisp; you do NOT want limp beans.
Depending how hot your grill is, this should take about 4-5 minutes.
Just before removing from the grill, generously sprinkle the beans with soy sauce and thoroughly toss. At this point, if you also want to toss in some minced garlic, do it. Be VERY careful to NOT burn the garlic if you do choose to add it. Burnt garlic = blechhhh!
Remove the basket from the grill and transfer the beans to a serving bowl. Pass them when they are hot off the grill. So delicious!

**pictures will follow, making these tonight with grilled pork chops....

NOTE: you can also make these in a large non-stick skillet, on the stove.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Classic BBQ Chicken

I made this for dinner on Thursday night and I have to say, it is one of the best versions of BBQ chicken I've tried! So delicious and the chicken was so tender and juicy. The sauce was really good and sticky on the chicken. There's a lot more sauce than what what you'll need, but we made BBQ Bacon and Cheddar Burgers last night for dinner and it was delicous there too!
Quick BBQ Sauce3 cups barbecue sauce (bottled)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown mustard
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Chicken1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (breasts, whole legs, thighs, and/or drumsticks), trimmed and breasts halved

For the sauce: Whisk all ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce is thick and reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

For the chicken: Mix salt, pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and rub spice mixture all over chicken pieces.

Open bottom vent on grill. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 100 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan on one side of grill and pour coals in even layer over other side of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, open lid vents completely, and let grill heat for 5 minutes. Scrape cooking grate clean.

Oil grate and place chicken skin side down on cooler side of grill. Cover, with half-opened lid vents over chicken, and cook until chicken begins to brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Move chicken into single line close to coals. Begin flipping chicken and brushing with 2 cups sauce every 5 minutes until sticky, about 20 minutes. Slide chicken pieces over coals and continue to brush chicken until sauce on chicken becomes crusted and internal temperature of breast meat registers 165 degrees and legs, thighs, and drumsticks register 175 degrees, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Remove foil and serve, passing remaining sauce at table.
Cooks Country TV has the gas grill version of this recipe available as well! YUM!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

I love split pea soup. I grew up eating split pea soup that my mom made and it was delicious! She made hers in one of those Romertopf clay cookers. I had one for several years and used it often, but realized when we moved in here, we really didn't have room for something like that anymore. I had to adapt my recipe for preparation in the Crockpot.
A very important ingredient for this soup is a smoked ham shank or smoked ham hock. I stop at Widmer's and pick one up, the butcher will always saw it in half so that the marrow will release into the soup. The flavor from a smoked ham shank is delicious. Much better than a ham bone left from Easter.
Let's make Split Pea Soup. Start with a large Crockpot. Dump in one bag of dried green peas, add the smoked ham shank, a large chopped onion, chopped carrot and chopped celery. I always throw in a couple stalks of leafy topped celery stalks for the flavor. I had a bag of matchstick carrots in the fridge that needed to be used, so into the pot they went.
I also gave it a couple turns of fresh ground pepper. Don't add any salt at this time, the ham shank is pretty salty so hold off on that until serving. Add some chopped parsley, Widmer's only had curley and I prefer flat leaf, so I used dried parsley flakes.
Once all that is in the pot, add water. I used 2 quarts of water to fill my Crockpot.
Turn it on and let it cook on low overnight.
My method for this is to start it the night before you want to eat it. It will end up cooking on low for about 24 hours; seems like a long time, but it's not! You'll want to check it in the morning and add more water.
Tune in tomorrow for photos of the cooking process....

Split Pea with Smoked Ham Soup

1 smoked ham shank or ham hock
1 bag of dried green split peas
2-3 chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 stalk of leafy green celery
chopped parsley
fresh ground pepper
2 quarts water

Add it all to the crockpot and cook for 24 hours on low. Add more water as needed.
Here's the finished product, I ended up cooking this a little longer. After 24 hours, the soup wasn't thick and hadn't lost the bright green color. I prefer it cooked long enough to thicken up and turn a darker green, with a hint of brown in it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Delicious Minestrone Soup

My mom made this soup on Super Bowl Sunday and it was delicious! It looks like it is spendy to make, but very tasty!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ounce pancetta, chopped (5 to 6 thin slices)
1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup peeled, diced potato
1 piece parmesan cheese rind (3 inches square)
3/4 cup vermicelli or angel-hair pasta (broken into 2-inch pieces)
1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)
1/3 cup cooked kidney beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
1/3 cup pesto
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
To cook vegetables: In soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add pancetta. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until fat melts. (Note: Do not allow pancetta to brown.) Add cabbage, onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add broth, potatoes and parmesan cheese rind. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. (Note: Don't overcook them.)
To cook pasta: Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions until tender. Drain.
To assemble: When vegetables are tender, remove and discard parmesan rind. Add cooked vermicelli, tomatoes, chickpeas and kidney beans. Season to taste with pesto, salt and pepper.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chicken Marsala

I had never made Chicken Marsala until I tried the recipe that I found in the Nativity cookbook. It is an old recipe from a restaurant that isn't around anymore, but used to be a standard for really good, authentic Italian cooking.
We have been making it for about 5 years now, and have made it out own by kicking the flavor up a notch. It's relatively low fat too. Give it a try, you'll be glad you did.....

Chicken Marsala

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
salt and fresh ground pepper
2-4 tbsp olive oil
16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp flour
1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked and drained
1-2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
parmesan cheese

Preface, I buy our skinless, boneless chicken breasts at Sam's Club and they are HUGE; we will use two of those for this recipe. Laying one flat on the cutting board, with your palm holding it firmly in place, carefully slice the chicken breast in half (half as thick...). If you don't buy your chicken breasts at Sam's Club and have "normal" sized breasts, pound it out gently between plastic wrap so that it's about 1/2 as thick. Combine the 1/2 c. flour, salt and pepper in a flat container (pie pan works great) and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour so they are well coated.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil at medium-high heat until it shimmers in the pan. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned on one side (4 minutes) and then turn over for another 4 minutes. (with the big breasts, they are a little thicker, cook until it reaches about 155-160 on an instant read thermometer).

Remove the breasts from the pan.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil until simmers and then add the sliced mushrooms.
Saute until they are lightly browned and the moisture is beginning to be released (about 5 minutes). Add the 3 cloves of pressed garlic, saute until fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. Add the wine and chicken broth (some people don't care for a lot of wine in this dish, we happen to like the taste of it, so we will sometimes use all wine and eliminate the chicken broth). Reduce heat to medium and simmer for a few minutes (I put the chicken breasts back in the pan for this step, but remove before the next). In a small bowl, mash the softened butter and flour with a fork until it forms a paste. Remove the chicken from the pan, if you added it in the last step. With the butter paste on the fork, stir it into the wine and mushroom mixture until the butter has melted. Combine thoroughly with a spatula.
For serving, I add the spaghetti to the pan to coat with sauce, place the chicken on top. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan and serve. (I serve it right out of the pan at the table, we don't like to dirty too many dishes...)
Salt and pepper to taste, individually. Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Christmas Cookies in a Jar

I found this on a random blog today and am filing this here because....well, I'll be making these next year for my kids teachers gifts....and in case you're wondering, these cookies are delicious!

Christmas Cookies in a Jar, adapted from Taste Of Home (makes ONE quart-sized jar)
18 Servings

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
1 cup vanilla or white chips

Additional ingredients (list these on a tag, or email me for the PDF of the label)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a quart sized glass jar, layer (use a canning funnel!) the white sugar, followed by the brown sugar. Tamp down between each layer to create a clean line. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour gently into jar and tamp down gently. Layer in the oats, cranberries, and white chocolate chips, tamping between the oats and cranberries. Cover and store in a cool place for up to 6 months.

To prepare cookies (provide these instructions to the recipient!): Preheat oven to 375. Pour cookie mix into a large bowl, stirring to combine. Beat in the butter, egg and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2" apart onto un-greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until browned, cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

I'll be making a label to attach to the jar, before the lids are are put on....I had originally thought of these, but got a terrific deal on the awesome Entertaining at Home ice cream scoop...the teachers LOVED that with a jar of hot fudge! Super cute!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

Saw this recipe on Cook's Country a few weeks ago and it looked delicious! It is definitely on to file away and try when I feel ok about using 16 tablespoons of butter in the frosting!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Frosting16 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
16 ounces cream cheese , cut into 8 pieces, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until a smooth paste forms.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir. Scrape into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

3. For the frosting: With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. When cakes are cooled, spread about 2 cups frosting on one cake layer. Top with second cake layer and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.

Pancake Mix

The recipe for pancake mix to store in the freezer and use as needed:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
1 cup non-fat milk powder
3/4 cup malted milk powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into 1/2 -inch pieces

Process all ingredients in food processor until no lumps remain and mixture is texture of wet sand, about 2 minutes. Freeze in airtight container for up to 2 months.

To make 8 pancakes: Whisk 2 cups mix, 2 lightly beaten large eggs, and ½ cup buttermilk** (I prefer thinner pancakes and pancake batter, so I use a little more buttermilk) in large bowl until smooth. Pour ¼-cup portions of pancake batter onto lightly oiled large nonstick skillet or griddle and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter as desired. Serve. (If you don’t have buttermilk, make clabbered milk by whisking ½ tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice into ½ cup whole or low-fat milk and letting the mixture thicken for 10 minutes.)

**if you don't have buttermilk, you can use 1/2cup milk and add 2 tsp of vinegar, let rest before whisking in with the mix and eggs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who are you?

I looked at the stats of this blog and there's a lot of people checking this....who are you?
is there any recipes that you would love to share? something that you'd like to see posted here?
Leave a comment and let me know....

Perfect Pancakes

One of favorite thing to have for breakfast is pancakes. We make pancakes of all varieties, sourdough, whole grain, buttermilk, Swedish, from a box, etc. Between Dan and I, we've tried just about every recipe that we have in our file and cookbooks for pancakes. Yesterday, I tried a recipe that we've made in the past, but we didn't have our own buttermilk....So, I improvised.

Perfect Pancakes
about 16 4-inch pancakes

2 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
3 cups buttermilk**
4 tbsp butter, melted
additional butter for griddle

Heat griddle on stovetop at medium....I'm a very impatient cook and tend to turn the stove up too high. I set the stove one notch above medium, but NEVER go higher than that.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together in a medium bowl. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and egg.
Add the buttermilk mixture and the melted butter to the flour mixture and gently combine. Don't overmix. This has a lot of liquid, so it is a thinner batter, but don't overmix to get rid of the lumps. Lumps are key to great pancakes!
Put 1/2 tsp butter on the griddle and wipe with paper towel to coat the griddle.
Drop the batter by 1/4 cup measuring spoon onto the griddle. Let it cook for abotu 2 minutes, until it has lots of bubbles covering the cake. Gently turn over. The top should be a nice golden brown. Adjust cooking time accordingly. Cook on the second side for another minute. Remove to a platter and keep warm in your own set to warm setting.
You can drop blueberries onto the batter before turning, don't mix into the batter or it will turn blue....We have also tried thin sliced pears on the griddle and then pour the pancake batter on top of that. Delicious!
**we don't always have buttermilk on hand. this recipe works great by combining 3 cups of milk (really should be at least 1%) and add 3 tbsp of cider vinegar, stir and let it rest for a few minutes. Add to the recipe as directed.

These pancakes are so good. I love buttermilk pancakes, but am not a fan of ones that turn out to be 1/2 thick because the batter is so thick. This batter is thin and light. So delicious!

Also, it makes more than we need. So, I put the extra cakes on a cooling rack and freeze them in a single layer. When frozen, put them in a zipper freezer bag for a quick breakfast. They can be microwaved or put into the toaster (our preference).

I saw a new recipe for pancakes that we really want to try, it's for a dry pancake mix to store in the freezer and just use as needed. It sounds GREAT.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicken Soup with Spaetzel

Several years ago, I decided that I really disliked canned soup...I couldn't eat it for lunch anymore...Homemade soup is where it is at! And I have a love for chicken soup of all varieties. Chicken Noodle and Chicken Soup with Spaetzel are two of my favorites and ones that I think that I've perfected. Tonight, Louie said that Chicken Soup with Spaetzel was delicious and it was his favorite! I think that is a winning endorsement.

A few notes on this soup: I have a Ziploc bag in my freezer that I keep uncooked chicken pieces and parts in to make soup with. I save the chicken backs that are in the packages of cut up chicken, I save the chicken wings and I know it sounds gross, but if there are big hunks of chicken fat when cutting up a whole chicken. Basically, anything but the chicken livers are used for chicken stock around here.

If you don't have the time or the desire to mess around with making stock from scratch, there are lots of chicken soup base products available.   I typically use the Better than Bouillan Organic Chicken Soup Base (no MSG).  It's perfect for a quick soup with lots of delicious chicken flavor. 

Chicken Soup with Spaetzel6 servings

2 pounds of chicken parts
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut into large chunks
2 ribs of celery, cut into large chunks
celery tops and greens
1 tsp of kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Put all of the above ingredients in a 6 qt dutch oven or stock pot and fill with water to cover. You'll end up adding about 4 qts of water. If you're using frozen chicken parts, like I do, they don't need to be thawed. Bring the pot to a boil, loosely cover so a little steam can escape and reduce head to simmer and let the pot simmer for 4 hours. If you need to add a little more water, go ahead.
During the winter, after 4 hours I turn off the heat and put the pot outside just until the fat at the top semi-hardens so it can skim off easier.
After skimming the fat, strain the soup into a large bowl, to remove all solids. Set aside.

To make the soup:
4 qts of chicken stock
1-2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
3 carrots, small chop
1 large onion, small chop
2 stalks of celery, small chop
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sugar

Heat olive oil in the stock pot or dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces and saute just until it is no longer pink. Add the carrots, onion and celery. Saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and stir about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken stock and stir. Bring to a boil. Stir in 1 tbsp sugar. Salt and pepper to taste. At this point, if the broth doesn't have a rich chicken flavor, I'll add a spoonful of "Better than Bouillon" Chicken Soup Base. This just intensifies the chicken flavor, but be careful of adding too much salt.
Let simmer for 30 minutes.

To make the spaetzel:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 egg beaten

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In a measuring cup, mix the egg, milk and water. Gradually add to the flour mixture, mixing well.
Add the batter by 1/2 tsp to the boiling soup. After all the batter is added to the soup, reduce heat to medium and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, covered.

Serve with a yummy crusty bread.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

PW's Simple Sesame Noodles, Pelletier style

A while back The Pioneer Woman had a recipe for Simple Sesame Noodles. I thought the recipe sounded delicious, I love sesame anything! The only problem was that I wanted to make a whole meal out of them....So, I added a chicken breast and fresh broccoli and voila, we had a meal and a huge bonus is that it is now Emily and Louie's favorite meal!

And so, without further adieux:


12 ounces, Thin Noodles, Cooked And Drained  (we use whole wheat pasta)
Whisk together:
¼ cups Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
½ teaspoons Hot Chili Oil
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Hot Water

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and then into bite sized pieces
2-3 tbsp corn starch
2 heads of broccoli, stalks removed and cut into bite sized florets
2-3 tsp canola oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced

In a bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the corn starch. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add 2-3 tsp canola oil. Once the oil shimmers in the bottom of the pan, add the chicken in a single layer. Leave it and let it cook for a minute or two. Stir so that the chicken cooks evenly.
When the chicken appears to be almost done, about 5 minutes, add the broccoli pieces and stirfry. Add 1-2 tbsp of water and cover to steam the broccoli. In a couple minutes, it should be bright green, but slightly crunchy.
Add the noodles to the pan and toss thoroughly with the chicken. Pour the sauce over the noodle and chicken mixture and toss. Sprinkle with the green onions. Serve hot.

Enjoy, we do!