Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Cocoa Mix

When I was a kid, we always had an ice cream bucket of this in the drawer for when we came in from playing in the snow.  It is delicious, much better than Swiss Miss!


10 1/2  cups dry milk

1 cup powder sugar    

4 cups (1#) Hersheys Instant

1 cup Powder creamer

mix in an ice cream bucket.     1/3 cup for 1 mug of water.  heat in micro.  ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stay-A-Bed Stew on Thursday

Yes, I'm back with another recipe that is circa 1971, Church of St. Leo's parish cookbook....
This actually is my own mom's recipe.  I remember her making it when I was a kid.  It's delicious!
It's Simple and the biggest bonus, my kids LOVED it! 
Louie asked if we could have this again on Thursday; that is his stamp of approval.  He doesn't remember all 7 days of the week, for some reason if he really likes something we need to have it for dinner on Thursday or "can we go there on Thursday?"

Stay-A-Bed Stew

2 lbs. stew meat
lots of carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
several onions, cut into big chunks
several celery stalks, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of peas (don't drain them!)
1 bay leaf

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a CrockPot or a dutch oven.  Gently stir in the can of peas and the liquid and the bay leaf. 
Cook on low for 6-8 hours (if using a crockpot).  If you're going the oven route, bake at 275 for 6 hours. 

Simple, delicious and easy on the wallet! Enjoy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baked Beans

What doesn't say "Summer BBQ" like a batch of baked beans? 
I love beans, but am not a huge fan of the canned variety, because I grew up with my Grandpa Conrad making homemade baked beans for all of our summer gatherings.  They were delicious!  My brother Joe has pretty much perfected making beans from scratch like my Grandpa did. 
I have tried, even bought an antique bean pot at a little shop in Ely, MN many years ago.  I came to the conclusion that while I love homemade, they're a lot of work and preparation.....soaking the beans and adding water while in the oven.
So, you have no idea how thrilled I was to find a recipe for modified canned beans several years ago on Paula's Home Cooking (FoodNetwork)....but after making this recipe several times, I had to make some changes (the original is just too darn sweet!). 

Here is my version: 

Baked Beans

4 - 16oz cans baked beans
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup molasses
1/2-3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled.
1 can french fried onions
salt and pepper

Combine beans, pineapple, molasses, BBQ sauce, yellow mustard, 1/2 of the bacon and 1/2 the can of french fried onions in a large bowl.  Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.  in a small bowl, crumble the remaining bacon and french fried onions with your fingers to combine.  Sprinkle over the top fo the beans. 
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour or a bit longer if you prefer to have them be a nice dark brown and baked color. 
These are really good and every time we make them, everyone loves them!  Enjoy!

note:  if you wanted to fake everyone out and use an old vintage bean pot, I would add all the bacon and the french fried onions to the beans before spooning into the bean pot.  You'd want to bake them a bit longer too....Hmmmm, I'll have to try that next time! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vidalia Onion Dip

My sister-in-law, Michelle has great recipes for all things Vidalia onions.  This recipe is really simple, easy and has 3 ingredients!  What could be better than that?  Let me show you..... the version I made is 3 ingredients, plus two more that give it a bit more flavor.
It is a take on the basic Hot Artichoke dip but replaces the artichokes with Vidalia Onions. 

1 cup Vidalia onion, chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (preferrably, not the Kraft stuff in the green can, but a nice grated parmesan)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
a couple drops of hot sauce, I used Chalula

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, use enough mayo to moisten up the dip and hold it together, but not enough to make it really goopy. 
Spread into an oven safe dip crock or oven safe bowl and bake at 350 until golden brown and bubbly.  (about 15 minutes). 
Serve with pita crackers or cocktail rye bread.

Creamy Gazpacho

We saw this on America's Test Kitchen a week or two ago and thought it looked delicious, so we gave it a try.  Let me tell you, it's amazing.  Our guests thought so too!

3 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes , cored

1 small cucumber , peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium green bell pepper , halved, cored and seeded
1 small red onion , peeled and halved
2 medium garlic cloves , peeled and quartered
1 small serrano chile , stemmed and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt 
1 slice high-quality white sandwich bread , crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil , plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar , plus extra for serving 
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley , chives, or basil leaves
Ground black pepper

Roughly chop 2 pounds of tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and half of onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chile, and 1½ teaspoons salt; toss until well combined. Set aside.

Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into ¼-inch dice; place vegetables in medium bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with ½ teaspoon salt and transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.
Transfer drained diced vegetables to medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about ¼ cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
Transfer half of vegetable-bread mixture to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil.
Stir vinegar, minced herb, and half of diced vegetables into soup and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve, passing remaining diced vegetables, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and black pepper separately.

**note, while this recipes does have a lot of chopping, etc involved, we did find that the precise dice that ATK is notorious for is key in the vegetables that get stirred in and that are used for a garnish.  We used flat leaf parsley for the herb. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pomegranate, Avocado and Zucchini Salsa!

Pomegranate, Avocado and Zucchini Salsa
2 Zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 avocado, halved, pitted and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1-2 tbsp feta cheese (or more if you like it)
1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss zucchini in olive oil, oregano, 1/4 tsp salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.  Spread onto a baking sheet and roast in oven until tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Let cool.
Transfer zucchini to a bowl, add onion, avocado, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, lime juice, a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.  Gently stir to combine. 
Refrigerate 30 minutes.  Can be made up to 2 hours in advance. 

Serve with pita chips, tortilla scoops, or with fish tacos.  It's delicious!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another Hot Dish!

We're full of hotdish (aka: casserole) around here!  Dan has been very busy trying out new recipes.....
the most recent recipe he tried was really delicious and it was even more delicious the next day!
It is from the Nativity cookbook, that is a treasure full of wonderfully tasty things!
So, here goes another one: 

Lois' Hot Dish

1 lb. ground beef
1T  butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2-8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup sliced cooked carrots (fresh is really delicious)
1 pound flat noodles, cooked and drained (we used bow ties, but egg noodles would be good in this too)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef with onion and garlic.  Drain fat.  Stir in tomato sauce, add salt and pepper.  Simmer 5 minutes.  In a bowl, combine sour cream, cottage cheese, parsley, carrots and cooked noodles.  Mix well.  Spray 3 qt casserole with cooking spray.  Alternate noodles and meat mixture, beginning and ending with noodles.  Top with cheddar cheese.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, until hot.
**it can be prepared and frozen.  If frozen, bake at 400 for 1 hour.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Several months ago, America's Test Kitchen did an episode on how to make perfect old fashioned burgers, without having to get out the outdoor grill. Well, in typical ATK fashion, it had a bazillion ingredients and many steps that created lots of dirty dishes.
So, this past weekend, the kids and I were home alone and I decided to make them, but with just a couple ingredients....I also made them "kid sized" which they LOVED!
Each of my kids at two of these for dinner when made them. They were do delicious!

So, here goes, SLIDERS!

1 pound good quality 85-90% lean ground beef
Kosher Sale and fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
6 Pepperidge Farms "Slider" sized buns (I used whole wheat)
3 slices deluxe American Cheese
thin sliced onion

On a large baking sheet, crumble the ground beef into small, loose pieces. Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground pepper. Using your fingers, gently divide the meat into 6 equal mounds. Then, using your fingers, shape into a loose patty about 1/2 thick and about 2.5-3 inches in diameter. (dont' pick it up and mash it into a compact burger shape).
The edges should be ragged looking.
Either put the sheet pan in the freezer (or in a Minnesota winter, put the sheet pan outside). My burgers were outside for about 15-20 minutes.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt 1/2 tbsp of butter over medium heat until it is foaming. Add the bun tops, cut side down and toast until lightly golden brown (about 2 minutes). Repeat with remaining butter and toast the bun bottoms. Set aside.

Heat skillet on high heat and add 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil (I brushed it around the pan with a silicone brush, to coat the pan) until it is smoking. Using a spatula, transfer 3 burgers to the skillet, let them cook for 3 minutes without moving them. Flip the burgers and cook for 1 more minute. Top each patty with a 1/2 of a slice of cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Repeat with the 3 remaining burgers.
Transfer burgers to the bun bottoms, top with either raw or fried onions. (to fry them, I just threw the onion into the pan right after the first round of burgers were done cooking and fried them until they were soft and just turning golden brown, about 3 minutes.)
Cover with bun tops and serve.

**will post photo shortly**

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Have you seen these?

I found these little gems at Trader Joe's last fall.
What a great addition to the kitchen! I keep a few of the garlic handy, because we have been known to run out of fresh garlic. These taste great too!
Throw a couple cubes of basil into spaghetti sauce just before serving to brighten up the flavor and the cilantro is really good in the cilantro lime rice in the Shredded Chicken Tacos post.