Sunday, November 29, 2009

Italian chicken with penne pasta

Tonights dinner is a favorite here. Italian chicken. It's so easy to make and takes almost no time, so it's a quick dinner for anyone to make, especially after a long day or work.


2 eggs beaten
bread crumbs

First place the chicken in a bowl, and add some milk. I use about 1 cup. I keep moving the chicken about every 5 minutes, so i know all pieces have been soaked several minutes in the chicken.

In one bowl place flour, in another place the egg, and the third bowl, place the bread crumbs. Into the eggs, is where I add the spices. I normally just add the italian seasoning. if you don't have that one that combines them, add some oregano, basil, and crushed bay.

Take the chicken from the milk, and dip in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs. Heat a skillet with some olive oil, and place the chicken in the oil.

Brown the chicken on both sides. Only need about a minute or two on each side. Then transfer to a cooling rack. Place the rack into a 9x13 pan. Add some water to the bottom of the pan to keep the chicken moist. Place in the over at 350 about 45 minutes.

When you place the chicken in the oven, make some penne pasta. Place the pasta once made into a 9x13 pan. With about 10-15 minutes left in baking on the chicken, transfer the chicken to the top of the pasta and place back in the oven.

Once the chicken is done, place some mozzarella cheese on top, and pop back in the oven to melt.

I will serve this with some winter squash, and mashed sweet potato. Will make a perfect meal.

Productive Sunday

Well, I got all the presents sorted out and all wrapped up. Now just need to wait till christmas to put them under the tree. Only the few presents I have to make or finish up making are left to be wrapped. Those should be done within the next week or two. Can't wait to be all finished.

Smells of my house

I LOVE the smell of cinnamin. I got lucky and acquired a small crock pot this year. I wish I had more, and not sure why I never bought one before hand. Well, it's great. I bought some cinnamin sticks, but made sure to get the craft ones, as they were much cheaper.

I made my own potpourri pot out of it. I filled it with water, added the cinnamin, some nutmeg, and some cloves. WOW, does my house smell great.

Eggnog Cookies

I have had this cookies over the past few years at different parties. I FINALLY got someone to give me the recipe. So I made them, and they are the easiest things to make, and make a HUGE hit at any holiday party.

The next time I make them, I am going to use homemade eggnog, and thinking of making some "adult only" ones. If they turn out, I will have to post that as well.


  • 1 package (3 ounces) cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-1/2 cups eggnog
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract, divided
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • In a small saucepan, combine the pudding mix, eggnog and milk. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat; stir in 1 teaspoon extract. Transfer to a small bowl. Cover surface of pudding with waxed paper; refrigerate until chilled.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and remaining extract. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • In a small bowl, combine sugar and allspice. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in sugar mixture. With floured fingers, press onto the bottom and up the sides of well-greased miniature muffin cups.
  • Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Just before serving, pipe or spoon pudding into cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cookie equals 138 calories, 7 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 fat, 1 starch.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hershey Cake

Hershey Cake

This was a one of a few favorite cakes of my husband. For him, if it's not chocolate it's not dessert.

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 12-ounce package milk chocolate chips or 8 milk chocolate candy bars
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate chips together over low heat until
smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

3. Mix sugar and eggs together until fluffy. Add cooled
butter/chocolate mixture. Beat thoroughly until well combined.

4. Mix flour and baking soda, then add to egg mixture alternately with
buttermilk, ending with buttermilk.

5. Add nuts if using and mix lightly. Pour batter into prepared pan.

6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out

7. Cool on a wire rack in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out of pan and
cool completely.

If you want to fancy it up, you can dust with cocoa or powdered sugar. My
husband is horrified at this but I occasionally drizzle it with chocolate
ganache but honestly, you don't need to if you don't want to.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas presents

So I am one to make christmas presents as much as possible. I find it easier and much more personalized for others.

For my stepson, I am working on making him a quilt. It's almost done. Just waiting on my new machine to come in so I can finish it up. I do have a quilting loop, but I dont' have a lot of time over the next few weeks to hand quilt it. He is also getting a pillow that i made him out of Nemo fleece for the car. And a scarf out of the same nemo fleece

For my daughter she is getting several new doll quilts. I haven't even started on doing anything to them. I have some material cut out. I just got the perfect stuff for her, so now I have to get working on it.

For my sister and her family, they are getting placemats. When we were in Hawai'i, she found some fabric she loved, so I bought it, and working on placemats for her. I am hand embroidering their names right on the placemat for her. I am just now looking to find some orange napkins to embroider as well for her.

I am working on crocheting a blanket for my husband. His blanket is getting old, and will be worn out soon, so I thought I would make him a new one.

Black Friday Shopping

Well, I looked at all the ads last night, and just couldn't find a thing that I thought was worth going to any major store for. So I stayed home. Well, not really. I took the kids to their grand parents and went to rite aid. They had an interactive wireless game system on sale for $20 for their black friday ad. That was the only thing I thought we might enjoy. All the kids shopping has been done since august or so.

I did go onto walmart's website and ordered me a new sewing machine. I couldn't figure out how to fix the one I had, and since we didn't have to buy a tv, like we thought we had to, I figured I would spend that money on me.

I hope all that went out shopping today found the deals they wanted to .

Making Turkey stock with your Steam Juicer

I have a steam juicer, and absolutely LOVE it. It's one of the best investments I have made. Turkey stock is so easy with the juicer.

Take the bones, and place in the strainer basket. Fill the bottom pan with water, and just let it go for a few hours. I let it go about an hour to an hour and a half, and then i add in some onions, celery, carrots, and if i have garlic, garlic. I then let it cook another hour to hour in a half, and then i get a really nice concentrated stock. The stock collects in a pot under the strainer, and has a tube to be drained off. If i drain any off during the process, I do mix all of it back together. I then Will can into pints and quarts, and pressure can at 11 lbs for 75 minutes.

Sometimes I will make quarts if i am planning on making soup with it. But this is great, then when i need gravy, it's so easy to make. There are a lot of things that you use stock in, so why let the bones go to waste.

If you want a richer tasting stock, you can paint the bones with tomato paste and roast them about 2 hours at 200. This draws out a richer flavor for the bones.

I love useing as much of the turkey as possible. Plus this way, I don't have to buy stock.

Turkey a la king

This is a favorite in my family. Growing up we used chicken or turkey depending on what was around the house.

To make just have the turkey or chicken shreded up some. Easier to consume that way. I start off with a rue. About a stick of butter and 4 tablespoons flour. Melt the butter. Mix the flour into the butter. Let cook about 2 minutes. Slowly add either some stock or some water about 2 cups into the mix. If it's took thick for you still, slowly add more water. If too thin, add some more flour.

Don't let the mixture boil, but let it get hot. Then add in the turkey and 1 16 oz bag of frozen peas. Cook until the turkey and the peas are heated throughly.

While making, start up on some toast. We serve everyone 2 pieces of toast, and then smoother the toast. Sometime, I will use biscuits. I try to make up some home made bread the day or two before, and that is really good to use. I sometimes do have to hide the bread, so it will last that day or two.

What to do with Leftovers from Thanksgiving

So thanksgiving is now over and what do you do with all the leftovers. Well, there are different options. If you had a veggie tray, use that, the turkey and the carcass and make turkey soup. Or you can use the veggies and the turkey to make a casserole, or a pot pie. The thoughts are just endless.

To make the soup, I would first cook the turkey carcass for a bit, and get a nice rich stock. Pop the carcass into a pot, with enough water to cover about an inch over the carcass. Let it sit in there for about 3-4 hours. When that's done, I strain the liquid, so no bones end up in the soup. Put the stock back into the pot, or the slow cooker. Add the turkey and the veggies, and let it cook and there you have a nice soup. I would season with salt, pepper, garlic. And for the veggies, carrots, celery onion, brocoli, any of that would be good in there.


Well, hopefully everyone had a great thanksgiving. I know we did. We had to drive out to Mason to my husband's uncles. That was about a 90 min drive, but it was a lot of fun out there. All I had to make was the mashed potatoes. Well, I also made pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, and amish friendship bread. Good thing, as their wasn't any bread there at all.

For the potatoes, I use a family recipe.

I peeled about 8 lbs of potatoes and there was 11 adults, and 3 kids under age 2. I had about half the potatoes left, so next time, I won't make so many.

After they were all cooked up, I added to them, one stick of butter, 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, and about a 16 oz container of sour cream.

After they are all mixed up nicely i placed them in a 13x9 pan. you will want to grease the pan. makes clean up SOOOO much easier. then sprinkle with paprika and pop in the oven. I placed in the oven right away at 350, and let them bake about 30 minutes. I placed in my awesome pyrex to go bag with the heat pack, and they were still hot when we got to our destination.

If you make these up the day or two before no problem. just wrap up, and when you go to bake them they will take about an hour or so in the oven. BE CAREFUL. When you are about 30 minutes from baking though, pull out of the fridge and let them start to warm up. If you don't, you run the risk of the pan breaking, from extreme temperature change. Don't want that to happen

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Free Cards to our troops overseas


If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

50 easy soups

I got this from someone else, and thought I would post for people looking for quick and easy soups. The directions are listed and then there are tips after each one, if there is any ways to substitute items


50 Easy Soups

Source: Food network

1. Basic Chicken: Chop 1 onion, 1 celery stalk, 2 carrots and 1 tablespoon thyme; sauté in butter until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add 6 cups chicken broth; simmer 20 minutes. Add 2 cups shredded cooked chicken,
1/3 cup mixed chopped dill and parsley, and some lemon juice.
Rachael's Recipe Note: If you don't have thyme, use extra dill or parsley or cilantro. If you don't have fresh, substitute 1 tsp. dried.

2. Chicken Rice: Make Basic Chicken Soup (No. 1); omit dill and add chives, chervil and tarragon. Stir in 1/3 cup cooked basmati rice.
Rachael's Recipe Note:
Don't have basmati? Use long grain white or brown rice.

3. Italian Wedding: Make Basic Chicken Soup (No. 1) with a rind of Parmesan in the broth. Add 1 pound mini meatballs,
1 cup orzo and 3 cups torn escarole; simmer until the orzo is tender.
Rachael's Recipe Note:
No "rind of Parmesan"? Use 2 cloves finely minced garlic and 2 Tbsp. of grated Parmesan. No fresh garlic? Use 1 Tbsp. garlic powder.
No orzo? Use pastina. No escarole? Omit or use 1/2 package frozen spinach that has been thawed, drained and all the water pressed out.

4. Chicken Dumpling: Mix 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup dry farina (cream of wheat) cereal and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Drop half-teaspoonfuls into simmering chicken broth; cook for 3 minutes after the dumplings float.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No farina (cream of wheat)? Use a tube of refrigerator biscuits, cut each biscuit into quarters. Drop into simmering chicken broth, cook for 3 minutes after the "dumplings" float.

5. Escarole and White Bean: cook 3 chopped garlic cloves and some red pepper flakes in olive oil.
Add 3 cups chicken broth, 1 head chopped escarole and a Parmesan rind; simmer 15 minutes. Add 1 can white beans, Parmesan and salt.
Rachael's Recipe Notes: No "rind of Parmesan"? Use 1 to 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan.

6. Butternut Squash: Sauté 1/2 sliced onion with a pinch of thyme in butter until soft. Add salt, pepper, 2 pounds diced butternut squash and 5 cups chicken broth. Simmer until tender, then puree.

7. Squash and Sage: Make Butternut Squash Soup (No. 6) using 2 shallots instead of onion. Fry sage leaves in the butter.
Replace 1-1/2 cups of the broth with apple cider; add nutmeg. Top with crème fraîche and the fried sage.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No fresh sage leaves? Instead of frying sage leaves and putting them on top, add a scant 1/2 tsp. ground sage to the broth. No creme fraiche? Use sour cream. No apple cider? Use apple juice.

8. Parsnip-Bacon: Make Butternut Squash Soup (No. 6) but substitute 2 pounds parsnips for the squash. Top with crumbled bacon and crème fraîche.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No creme fraiche? Use sour cream. No bacon? Use bacon bits.

9. Asian Chicken: Puree 2 garlic cloves with a 2-inch piece peeled ginger; fry in oil with 1 bunch sliced scallions (green onions). Add 3 cups each chicken broth and water, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and sherry, and a pinch of sugar; boil.
Add shredded cooked chicken, sliced carrots and snow peas; drizzle with sesame oil.

10. Spicy Dumpling: Make Asian Chicken Soup (No. 9); add frozen dumplings instead of chicken. Top with Asian chili sauce.

11. Spicy Tortilla: Puree 2 seeded, soaked ancho chiles, 1 onion, 2 tomatoes and 2 garlic cloves; fry in oil.
Add 6 cups chicken broth, 4 torn corn tortillas, some shredded cooked chicken and 1/2 cup cilantro; simmer
until thick. Add salt; garnish with crisp tortilla strips, Mexican cheese, avocado, cilantro and lime juice.

12. Stracciatella: Beat 2 eggs with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan. Drizzle into 6 cups simmering chicken broth; cook 2 minutes.

13. Egg Drop: Cook 1 tablespoon chopped ginger and 3 chopped scallions in sesame oil. Add 6 cups chicken broth
and 2 tablespoons each soy sauce and sherry; bring to a simmer. Slowly pour in 2 beaten eggs and cook 2 minutes.

14. Sausage-Bean: Make Escarole and White Bean Soup (No. 5); sauté 4 chopped sweet Italian sausages with the garlic.

15. Egg-Lemon: Cook 1/2 cup pastina in 6 cups simmering chicken broth with 3 tablespoons lemon juice.
Beat 2 eggs, 2 yolks and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; whisk in a little hot broth, then stir the mixture into the soup.
Cook over low heat until thick.

16. Potato Chowder: Sauté 4 ounces chopped bacon; add 2 tablespoons butter, 2 sliced leeks and 2 teaspoons each
sage and thyme. Add 4 cups chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups cream, a bay leaf and 3 chopped potatoes.
Simmer until tender; top with chives.

17. Potato Cheese: Make Potato Chowder (No. 16); stir in 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar.

18. Clam Chowder: Make Potato Chowder (No. 16); omit sage and use 2 cups each clam juice and water in place of broth.
Season with cayenne. Add 2 cups chopped clams during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

19. Corn Chowder: Make Potato Chowder (No. 16); omit sage. Stir in 2 cups corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Garnish with diced roasted red peppers.

20. Minestrone: Chop 3 garlic cloves, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 celery stalk and 1/4 head cabbage; sauté in oil.
Add 1 can each white beans and diced tomatoes, 4 cups chicken broth and a Parmesan rind; simmer 20 minutes.
Add 1 cup ditalini pasta and simmer until tender. Add salt and pepper.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No "Parmesan rind"? Use 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan. Substitute any combination of chick peas, pink beans and kidney beans for white beans. Substitute pastina or cooked elbow macaroni for ditalini. Substitute 2 cups diced zucchini for the cabbage.

21. Fish Chowder: Make Potato Chowder (No. 16) with just 2 ounces bacon. Omit sage; swap the cream with half-and-half.
Add 1 pound white fish chunks and 1/2 pound flaked smoked trout during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No smoked trout? Substitute tilapia.

22. Pistou: Make Minestrone (No. 20); add 1 sliced zucchini and 1 cup diced butternut squash with the vegetables.
Swirl in pesto.

23. Tortellini: Make Minestrone (No. 20); substitute 1 cup tortellini for the ditalini.

24. Sweet Potato: Sweat 2 chopped onions, 4 chopped garlic cloves, 3 peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, and 1 teaspoon coriander in olive oil. Simmer with 6 cups chicken broth until soft. Puree; top with salsa.

25. Curried Sweet Potato: Make Sweet Potato Soup (No. 24); use butter instead of oil and add 1 tablespoon curry powder with the potatoes. Top with chutney.

26. Curried Red Lentil: Cook 3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 each chopped onion and carrot, 1/2 tablespoon chopped ginger and a pinch of cayenne in oil. Add 6 cups water, 1 can coconut milk, 1 cup red lentils and 1/2 cup rice; simmer 20 minutes. Garnish with lime, cilantro and scallions.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No red lentils? Substitute brown lentils. Different taste and texture, but just as delicious.

27. Split Pea: Simmer 1/2 pound split peas with 1 each chopped celery stalk, onion and carrot, a ham hock and a bundle of fresh herbs in 5 cups water until tender. Remove ham and bone; pull off the meat. Puree the soup; stir in ham.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No ham hock? Use a ham bone

28. Vegetarian Pea: Make Split Pea Soup (No. 27); omit the ham hock. Puree just half of the soup and mix it back in; add 1 cup diced carrot. Top with croutons.

29. Cheddar-Horseradish: Sweat 2 each diced carrots and leeks in butter. Add cayenne, salt, 3 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons dry mustard; cook 2 minutes. Add 1 bottle beer, 1/4 cup horseradish, 3 cups water and a dash of Worcestershire; simmer until thick.
Whisk in 2 cups half-and-half and 1 1/2 cups cheddar.

30. French Onion: Cook 4 sliced onions and 2 thyme sprigs in butter, covered, 20 minutes. Uncover; cook 1 hour, or until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Add 6 cups beef broth; simmer 10 minutes. Add cognac, salt and pepper. Top with shredded Gruyere.
No Gruyere? Use mozzarella or provolone.

31. Tomato Alphabet: Boil 3 cups chicken broth, 2 cups tomato juice and a pinch of dried oregano. Add 1/2 cup alphabet pasta, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Stir in grated Parmesan.

32. Tomato Orzo: Make Tomato Alphabet Soup (No. 31) with orzo instead of alphabet pasta. Omit Parmesan; top with feta and dill.

33. Carrot-Ginger" Sweat 2 sliced shallots and 3 tablespoons minced ginger in butter; season with salt and pepper.
Add 1 pound sliced carrots, 2 tablespoons rice, 2 cups chicken broth and 3 cups water. Simmer until the rice is tender, then puree.

34. Carrot-Dill: Make Carrot-Ginger Soup (No. 33); omit the ginger and add chopped dill. Garnish with sour cream.

35. Pappa al Pomodoro: Sauté 1 chopped onion in oil until tender; add 3 chopped garlic cloves, some red pepper flakes, 1
large can chopped tomatoes, 1 cup water and a basil sprig. Add 2 cups stale bread cubes; simmer 20 minutes.

36. Thai Coconut: Sauté 3 sliced garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons grated ginger, 1/4 cup chopped lemongrass, 1 teaspoon each cumin and coriander, and a Thai chile in oil. Add 1 sliced raw chicken breast and 1 sliced onion; cook 5 minutes. Add shredded bok choy, 4 cups water, 1 can coconut milk, cilantro and 2 tablespoons fish sauce; simmer 8 minutes.

37. Black Bean: Soak 1/2 pound dried black beans overnight; drain. Sauté 1 each chopped celery stalk, onion and carrot and 2 smashed garlic cloves in oil. Add beans, thyme, a bay leaf, a ham hock and 5 cups water; simmer 40 minutes. Remove ham and bone; pull off the meat. Puree the soup; stir in the ham.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
No dried black beans? Use 2 cans undrained black beans. This also makes the soup quicker to make.

38. Mexican Bean: Make Black Bean Soup (No. 37); omit thyme and add 1 teaspoon each chipotle chili powder and cumin.
Puree just half of the soup and mix it back in. Mix in the juice of 1 lime; top with sour cream, cilantro and salsa.

39. Curried Cauliflower: Cook 4 sliced leeks with 1 tablespoon curry powder in butter. Add 1 head chopped cauliflower and 1 garlic clove; cook 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 5 cups chicken broth; boil until soft, then puree.
Simmer with 1 cup cream.

40. Thai Shrimp Make Thai Coconut Soup (No. 36); omit the chicken and add 1/2 pound peeled small shrimp during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

41. Potato-Leek: Sauté 3 cups each sliced leeks and cubed potatoes in butter. Add 1 sliced garlic clove and a pinch each salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg; cook 5 minutes. Add 5 cups chicken broth; boil until potatoes are tender, then puree.
Reheat with 1 cup cream.

42. Beef Borscht: Sweat 1/2 head chopped cabbage and 2 each chopped celery stalks, leeks, carrots and parsnips in oil.
Add thyme, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, a bay leaf and 10 cups beef broth; simmer 30 minutes. Add 4 diced roasted beets
and 2 cups shredded cooked beef; simmer 15 minutes. Top with sour cream and dill.

43. Potato Broccoli: Make Potato-Leek Soup (No. 41); add 3 cups broccoli and simmer 5 minutes before pureeing.

44. Vichyssoise Make: Potato-Leek Soup (No. 41) with water instead of broth. Strain after pureeing, then chill.
Omit the cream; stir in half-and-half and top with chives.

45. Watercress: Make Potato-Leek Soup (No. 41); add 2 bunches chopped watercress and simmer 3 minutes, then puree until smooth.

46. Garlic Broth: Sweat 2 heads garlic (smashed and peeled) in olive oil. Add 8 cups chicken broth and a bundle of fresh herbs; simmer 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

47. Garlic-Chorizo: Make Garlic Broth (No. 46); add 1/4 pound sliced chorizo during the last 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach.

48. Garlicky Broccoli Rabe: Make Garlic Broth (No. 46); add chopped broccoli rabe and small pasta during the last 10 minutes. Top with grated Parmesan.

49. Tomato-Lime: Make Garlic Broth (No. 46); add 3 chopped plum tomatoes during the last 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro.

50. Peas and Pesto: Make Garlic Broth (No. 46); add 1 cup frozen peas during the last 5 minutes. Stir in pesto and grated Parmesan.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apple Pie

For this I will just use the Pillsbury Pie Crust. Normally I would make my own, but since this was a last minute thought to make a pie for dessert, I don't have much time. The pie filling is already been canned and in the basement, so it's a quick throw together and be done.

I canned the pie filling about 2 weeks ago. To make place the crust in the pan. Add bread crumbs to the bottom. You will want to add more or less, depending on how juicy the filling is. If there is a lot of liquid, add more. This helps to soak up the liquid so your crust isn't soggy. you can use a second pie crust for the top. I make a topping.

Topping is 2 parts flour, 1 part sugar, 1 part butter. Normally it's 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter. You can adjust the topping as you want to. Cut the butter into the flour sugar. I have a pastry blender to do this with, or you can use a work. When it's nice and crumbly looking, and well mixed, add to the top of the pie

Bake the pie about 45 min in a 350 oven. Perfect time to pop those sweet potatoes in as well. If your crust is browning TOO much, add some foil around the edges. That will prevent over browining.


Pork Chops and Applesauce

Anyone that watched the Brady Bunch is probably laughing at the title and picturing Peter saying Pork chops and Applesauce. I know I can remember that episode from the Brady Bunch. But that's what dinner is tonight.

I will start the apple sauce first thing this morning, and let that cook in the crockpot all day. Definitely makes the house smell nice. All you have to do, is peel and core the apples, add some water and let it cook down. We like it on the chunky side, so I just use the potato masher to mash up the apples as they are cooking. If you like a non chunky sauce, use the blender about an hour before you want to serve it. Blend up till a smooth consistency, and then let it cook longer.

I do know some people will use the peels in the apple sauce, as that is where all the nutrition is. If you do that, you will want to use the blender, or food processor to break up the peels. They have said there isn't much of a difference. But you might see the applesauce color from the peels. I add cinnamin to my applesauce. I add and just keep tasting until I like it. Plus it gives a good scent in the house as well. Like Apple Pie....hmm maybe that will be dessert

For the pork chops, we always bread them. Hubby never had them that way until he meet me, and now it's his favorite way to eat them. We just buy a pork loin from sam's club, and cut that up ourselves. We pay about $1.25-$1.50 a pound there, and we get about 8 meals. We typically spend about $15 on one. We package 4 chops together. Then we eat 3 and hubby has for lunch the next day.

To bread them you will need 3 bowls. Add some flour into the first one, not much as you can always add more. Into the second bowl beat 1 egg, if you want to double dip as I do, use 2 eggs. Into the egg mixture, I will add a few drops of water and my spices. I add parsley, oregano, thyme, and majauroum. Into the third bowl add bread crumbs.

Heat your pan up, and add some Olive Oil. Then take a pork chop, dip into the flour, then the egg, and then the bread crumbs. At this point, you can either place into the pan or dip back into the egg, and back into the bread crumbs. I double dip, as we like some extra breading on them.

Do this to all the pork chops. I keep the heat on low, to make sure that they cook all the way, without browning too much to almost burning the outside. I do NOT place a lid on the pan, as it will make the pork chops soggy.

I guess I will make that apple pie, as I will make up sweet potatoes for dinner, and those will go in the oven about 45 minutes to cook.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sausage Stew

Sausage Stew

4 or 5 potatoes, peeled or not, chopped
1 ring of smoked sausage, not the breakfast stuff, I like the beef
2 or 3 onions, peeled & chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
1 package of brown gravy mix or a quart of home canned
spices to taste

In a large pot cook the potatoes till tender, drain reserving the cooking water if using the gravy mix. Put the potatoes back into the pot.

While the potbtoes are cooking, in a fry pan place the whole sausage ring with an inch or so of water. Turn on high. After half of the water has cooked out flip the ring to cook the other side. When the water is almost gone take the ring out to the cutting board. Add about 3 TBS of butter or margarine to the pan. Saute the onions on med-low heat. While the onions are cooking cut the sausage into 1/4 or so slices. You can cut the disks in half if you like. Add the sausage back to the onions. Add the green peppers to the onions. If they get too dry add some of the potatoe water to the pan. While that's going make up the gravy mix using the potatoe water, add to the potatoes & tvrn to med heat. Or add the home canned gravy. Add the onion mixtvre to the potatoes. Heat through. Add enough potatoe water or plain water to make it the desired thickness. Add breadcumbs a tablespoon at a time if to thin. If you cook it to thicken it the potatoes will
cook to nothing. Season to taste. Serve with slices of buttered bread.
Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Deer Processing

We processed the one deer last night. Instead of keeping any roasts this time, we decided to just burger the entire deer. So I got some 50/50 pig fat/pig meat to mix into the venison. If you have ever had venison, it's so lean, that it will not keep a shape such as meatballs or meatloaf at all. Adding in some of the fat will help that. We mixed in 1 lb pig to about 6-7 lb venison. This seems to be a good ratio. We ended up with about 40 lbs of venison burger.

This weekend, about 5 lbs or so will be made into salami. Look for that recipe this weekend when it's pulled out to make. It's a rather simple and excellent recipe, since it involves no mixing at all, after you initially put it all together.

Pork roast and Mashed Potatoes

With being the first week of deer season, I try to keep things quick meals. Like tonight will be a pork roast and mashed potatoes. Since I can only guess what time, my husband will be home, it's a perfect meal. I put the roast in the crock pot this morning, so that is done already, and just set on warm. I put it in about 7a on low, and let it cook all day. I added about 2 cups of water to the roast. Normally I would add carrots and potatoes about 1p, but today we are doing mashed potatoes. I got a great deal on potatoes this week 8lbs for $1.

I do add some butter, and milk to my potatoes. And for that extra yumminess, I saved some of the liquid from the roast and will add that into the potatoes as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stuffed Shells

So tonight we are cutting up the buck that hubby got on opening day. Because that's going to take several hours I have to have a quick meal. I have several meals that I make up and place in the freezer just for days like today. One of those is stuffed shells. We love them, but they are time consuming to make. So I make up a bunch at one time, and they freeze nicely. They are quite easy to make though.

To make them you will need a box of shells, or you can use manicotti. Cook them up as directed on the package.

For the filling, you will need
1 16 oz container ricotta cheese
1 egg
cinnamin (optional)

In a bowl mix everything listed above. This will be a nice filling. You can omit the spinach, but it does give a nice flavor, and is a great way to add more veggies into your healthy eating without a strong flavor.

Next you will want to take some of the mixture and place into each of the shells. If making manicotti, I have found it easiest to use a pastry bag, or a ziploc bag to fill the shells. If useing the ziploc bag, put the filling in the bag, let out the air, and seal. Then cut the corner off. Don't make too big a cut. Then you can fill the manicotti. I fill one side, and then turn and fill the other side.

Place the pasta, (shells, open side down) in a 9 x13 pyrex dish. Cover with sauce, and pop in the oven at 350 for about 25 min. You want the filling to get warm. After 25 minutes, pull out, and add mozzarela cheese, and place back in the over, until the cheese is melted. About another 5-8 minutes. You can add as much or as little cheese as you like.

To freeze, after they are filled, place on a piece of wax paper lined cookie sheet. Again the shells open side down, and place in the freezer. After several hours, they will be frozen, and then transfer them to a freezer bag. Can be stored several months. Ours never last more than about 3 months, so not sure how much longer they will last.

To bake from the frozen stated. Place them in the dish as directed above with sauce. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Then add the cheese and bake until melted

Learning to be frugal

If you are learning to be frugal and want some great ideas for inexpensive, but really nice gift, check out this blog.

FREE Mueller's Pasts calendar

Sign up and get a free calendar full of meal ideas from mueller's. I signed up to get mine. I am excited to get it, and see what kind of meal ideas that they have in there. I have been thinking come the new year, I am going to plan on our meals a month at a time, and make up as many as possible for the freezer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What to do with Venison

Well, within 30 minutes of dawn on opening day, my husband called and told me he got a buck. That was great to hear, since we use a lot of venison around here.

Over the past few years we have changed what we use it for and how. I didn't grow up eating venison, so it does have a different taste to me. And it all comes down to how it is cooked and seasoned if I like that taste.

We take the roasts and cube them, and can them. We fill the jar up add some onion, and pressure can at 10 lbs for 75 minutes for Pints. It makes it own juice, so no water is needed to add.]

We keep the backstraps and the tenderloins. I cut them up thin and use them to make stirfry. I do keep one backstraps, and cut up so my husband can have it as a steak.

Everything else is ground into burger. We use the burger meat to make jerky, and salami. What is left of the burger is frozen and used then through out the normal cooking. Use it in meatballs, spaghetti, tacos, and anything requiring burger.

This year, I will be taking the rib sections and placing them in the steam juicer to make some venison stock. I have made some chicken stock already this year, and venison stock sounds good to add to the shelf.

Paula Dean's Thanksgiving Cookbook

Earlier this week, I posted Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving cookbook. Now her is Paula Dean's. The only problem is that all these recipes look so good between the two books, It's having to narrow down the list for thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Deer Season

This weekend is opening weekend for Deer Season. My husband so far has seen several deer where he has been Bow Hunting, but has yet to get one. We are hoping, he gets some this weekend, since everyone will be out in that area.

Deer season is exciting for us. When we first met I wanted nothing to do with it. Now we have it down we can process a deer quite quickly.

After several years we have finally decided how we best like it. We take the roasts and actually cube that up, and can it with some onion. Then when we are busy, we just pop it open add some noodles, and a veggie, and there is dinner. We will keep a couple of the back straps for steaks. those are great marinated, and grilled. The rest will all be made into burger. We go through a lot of burger just on normal uses. But we also like to use the burger and make it into jerky and salami. I will post the salami recipe.

Rocky Road Brownies in a Jar

So this year, we have a lot of gifts that have to go out. I have decided that I am going to make as many as possible my self. I hate spending money when I know it may not be appreciated. We have several in the family, if they don't like it, after you walk out of the house, they will throw it away. So I have decided to make things everyone will like.

For several people they have loved these brownies that we have had, so those people will be getting brownies in a jar. It's one gift, I know they will enjoy.

Ingredients you will need
1 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (we use semi-sweet, but some people prefer milk or dark chocolate)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts. (I have also make with pecans
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup miniature marshmallows

You will need to get a quart mason jar. In there you will layer the ingredients so it looks pretty, everything but the marshmallows. The marshmallows, place in a bag on the side, as they won't fit in the jar. Cover the jar.

You will want to give the jar with the following list of instructions as well. I write up on an index card, and tie right to the jar. I have received these as gifts, and if it's not with the jar, it may end up lost.

To make
You need 1 jar of Rocky Road Brownie mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Turn the oven on to 350. You will use an 8x8 pan. If you want a thinner brownie you an use a 9x9.

Mix the all the above ingredients except the marshmallows in a bowl. Make sure it is well blended, and all is moist. Place into the pan, and bake 25-30 minutes. Put the marshmallows on and bake another 3-5 minutes, until they are puffy and melted.

My notes and variations
**If you would like to brown the marshmallows a bit, place under the broiler on low to melt them, and puff them up. They will brown slightly.
**I check the brownies after about 15 minutes, and rotate the pan, to make sure they do bake evenly. I also then test how "set" the brownies are. they aren't wiggly too much in the middle I check them after it's been about 22 minutes in the oven. if they are still soupy looking, i go closer to about 27 minutes before i check. I like my brownie to be chewy on the inside instead of cake like.
**Sometimes, I will take chocolate sauce, either store bought or homemade, and drizzle on the brownies.

When serving, it is great to serve seperatly, but It's also good with a side of rocky road ice cream.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chili Cheese Hotdogs and Chocolate Eclairs

Tonight's dinner will be a quick and easy one. Since my husband is out hunting, he won't be home till late. So I went to aldi's and picked up a package of polish sausage links. To me they are more of a smoked sausage. Also picked up chilli with no beans, and buns.

For Dinner I made an eclair dessert.

I take a 9x13 pan, and place a layer of graham cracker crumbs in the bottom. Use 2 packages of instant vanilla pudding and add 2 cups of milk to the pudding. Whisk up until it starts to thicken. Then add 1 tub (8 oz) of whipped topping to the pudding. Place about half of the pudding mixture on top of the layer of graham crackers. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding. Then add the rest of the pudding. Place one last layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding.

For the chocolate topping.
Melt 2 tablespoons of bakers unsweetened chocolate, 2 tablespoons butter. Once melted, remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons milk. Also add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. If too stiff add another tablespoon milk. If it's too thin, add a touch more powdered sugar.

Put the topping over the entire top. This does make a lot of chocolate sauce. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, and serve. If you don't have that much time, the graham crackers will be a bit crunchy, but I do know some people like them to crunch.


Free Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Recipes

Sirius Radio and Martha Stewart are giving away a copy of Martha's Thanksgiving Recipes. is the link. If you don't have sirius radio, you should get it. Listening to Martha Stewart everyday is awesome

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicken stock and what to use the chicken for

It's so easy to make your own chicken stock. I own a steam juicer, and it's a great thing to own. With it, I can make my own stock very easily. I also make all sorts of juices as well.

To make the chicken stock with a steam juicer, you just take the chicken rinse off, and place in the basket. I placed 2 full chickens into the juicer. It was about 11 pounds of chicken. It takes about 90 min to get a nice rich looking stock. When it's been about 60-70 minutes that it's been in, go ahead and add some onions, carrots, and celery. After the 90 minutes are up. you will want to discard the vegetables, and drain off the stock. I let it cool down and then will can the stock. I have about 5 pints of stock

With the chicken I will let it cool down. I will then de-bone the chicken. With the chicken, I will can some of it. I will also use some chicken to make Chicken a la king, chicken quesadillas, chicken soup and chicken alfredo. With the canned chicken, that comes in handy to make quick dinners. All of the above, can also be made with the canned chicken.

Southwestern Bean Chili and Rice -- Gift in a Jar

From the Kitchen of Lady D (~.~) Dolores Hayney
Cindy gave as a Christmas gift 2004, Jar mix

Here goes...........1/2 C dried red kidney beans
1/2 C dried chick- peas or navy beans
1/2 C dried black beans
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp chicken bouillon granules
2 tsp minced or ground garlic
2 tsps chili powder
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 bags boil in bag rice

Inx on Jar:
1 Jar Southewestern Bean Chili & Rice Mix
3 or 4 cups water
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
Shredded Cheese
1. Remove rice and seasoning packet from jar; set aside. Place beans in
large bowl; cover with water. Soak 6 to 8 hours or overnight. (To quick
soak beans, place beans in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a
boil over high heat. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let soak, covered,
1 hour.) Drain beans; discard water.

2. Combine soaked beans, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce and contents of
seasoning packet in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover;
reduce heat and simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender. Submerge
bags of rice in boiling salted water. Cook 10 minutes. Drain rice. Serve
with chili and cheese.
Makes 6 to 8 servings..

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Meatloaf Meal

Tonight is Meatloaf night. This is a family favorite of ours.

Unfortunately I can't give any amounts exactly of how I make it. I will do my best though. This is one of those that ends up as a little of this, and some of that type of recipe. I have been making this since I was a young child, and can't remember ever measuring it out.

We like leftovers so this one definitely gets made extra.

3 lbs of ground meat. I use a combination of ground beef, and ground turkey
1 medium onion, or about 3 tablespoon dried onion
3 tablespoons parsley
2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon pepper. I use lemon pepper sometimes. Give a different flavor
2 teaspoon salt. I use seasoning salt sometimes
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup ketchup
bread crumbs

I mix all of the above together in a large bowl. I add enough bread crumbs to the mixture so it has a stiff feeling to it. I mix with my hands so I can feel better. I would suggest adding the bread crumbs until it resembles a good consistency for you. I typically end up adding about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs. Shape into loaves. Bake at 350 about 45-60 min

Toppings----- I make this into 2 loaves. In one loaf, I add prunes. On both loaves about half way through I put ketchup on the top.

I don't like grease at all in my meatloaf. I used to bake this in a pan, and always had grease in the bottom from the meat. So I now wrap in foil, make 3 slits on the bottom of the foil, about 2-3 inches in length and place on the broiler pan. I grease the broiling pan first. This way I can enjoy the meatloaf and it wasn't sitting in grease while cooking. The slits on the bottom allow the grease to drain out.

Side Dishes

Now to this, I make up some au gratin potatoes. If I have time, I will make from scratch otherwise, I will use a box. Sometimes I will also make up mashed potatoes

I then go and grab a jar of corn or peas to go with for the veggies

I will also make up corn muffins if I am short on time. If I have time, I will start a loaf of bread in the morning.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

The other day I started making the bread bowls. So now that the starter is ready and the bowls are made, it is time to make the SOUP.

In a saute pan, you add 2 tablespoons butter, and half a medium onion. You can add more or less onion based on your tastes. Saute the onion until translucent. Set Aside

In a larger pot, melt 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons butter). To that add 1/4 cup flour. mix. This is called a roux. Let this cook about 2 minutes, and keep stirring. To this slowly add 2 cups of water, or chicken stock. You can mix the two to equal 2 cups. While adding this, keep stirring. Let heat up about 10 min. Then add the onion, about 1 pound brocoli, and 1 cup carrots Cook until the veggies are soft. About 20 min. When soft, you will blend together. If you used a large sauce pot, you could use an immersion blender. If you can not use an immersion blender, transfer in batches to a blender. Be carfeul as the soup is hot.

When you have everything blended, and back in the pot add some heavy whipping cream. I add about 2 tablespoons. Add until it's a consistency that you like. I also add about 1/4 cup milk as well. You could add that 1/4 cup as the whipping cream. When i have the cream on hand I will add more, as it's a nice rich flavor. For calories and due to the cost of the cream, I typically add in the milk. It does lessen the calories and the fat content as well in the soup.

Now that you have made the bread bowls and the soup. You will want to cut the tops off the bread bowls, and pull out the middle. Place the bowl on a plate, add soup, and enjoy.

For my family of 2 adults and 1 child, I double all the ingredients in the soup. I also add in extra broccoli, and carrots. This is a great way to get veggies into your kids. And unless they are around when you are making this, they won't realize how many veggies are in the soup.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Homemade Noodles

So sitting here trying to figure out dinner, and thought about making some spaghetti and meatballs. I already have the sauce canned, so don't have to worry about making that one. Since that is an all day process. So I decided since I have about an hour until dinner, I would make some homemade noodles.

Homemade Noodles

2 cups flour
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup water
1 tsp oil (I use olive oil)
1 tsp italian seasoning (optional, but we love it)

Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and add the wet. Mix well. Once everything is well mixed, place 1/3 cup flour on a flat surface and turn dough out onto. Knead the dough about 8-10 minutes until dough feels smooth, and has some stretch to it. Then let it rest about 10-15 min.

After the dough has rested, divide into 4 sections. Work one section at a time. Roll out one section, until about 1/8 to 1/16 thick. I roll out thinner, as my family likes it that way. Roll out how your family will like it. The thinner the noodles, the quicker they will cook up.

Once rolled out, cut to your desired. If you want to make linguine or fettuccine, the easiest was it to roll the dough loosely and cut into 1/4 inch strips. I used a pizza cutter to help cut them. Put a ruler every spot I wanted to cut, and then just rolled the cutter on through.

You cook them about 4-6 minutes in boiling water. I just sample them, when I think they are done. And when they taste good, they are done.

Sourdough Bread Bowls

I was at the orchard and picked up 2 bushels of apples, a bushel of winter squash, 12 pie pumpkins, 1 head of cabbage, 5 pounds of broccoli, and a jug of apple cidar. I have been wanting to make some broccoli cheddar soup, and serve in a bread bowl. I thought i would be able to make for dinner tonight, but to make sourdough bread it's a few day process. So I will be salivating until Sunday Night Dinner.

Sourdough Bread Starter
2 cups water
2 cups flour
1 TBL sugar or honey
1 TBL yeast

Mix the above together, and set off in a warm draft free place. I put mine by the vent in the corner. Use a towel to place over the top. This will allow wild yeast to get into the mixture and taste better. If you use saran wrap, you won't allow the exchange of gasses to occur. You will have to be careful where it is placed, as if it gets too cold or too hot, it can kill the yeast. If you have a pilot light on your oven, you can place in the oven, and there should be enough heat to keep the starter going.

You will need to make the starter and let it sit for 2-5 days. When it is mixed, you will notice it start to bubble. If it doesn't bubble within about 10 min, you will want to through that mix away and start again.

You will know when the starter is ready, as it will start to have a yeasty smell to it. When this happens, either use your starter right away, of place in the fridge in a container with a loose lid.

As you use the starter you will have to refresh what is left. You want to refresh with equal amount of water and flour as you took out. Example, if you use 1 cup starter add 1 cup water, and 1 cup flour back into the starter. When you go to use the starter, you will have to let it warm up to room temp. So if you know you will need 1 cup, pull out the one cup the night before, so in the morning is it ready to go.