Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

 These delicious muffins come to you from my sister, Gale. They are absolutely wonderful! Just a hint of lemon to give them that special mmmm factor. Another great thing is, it is easy! I am not a huge fan of blueberries and I love these things. Coming from someone who almost never eats or cooks with blueberries, I think speaks volumes. I think it is the addition of the lemon that makes these muffins so irresistible.So, why not give these a try, trust me, you will not be sorry you did!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 table spoon grated lemon peel
1 cup blueberries
cooking spray
1 tablespoon or more lemon juice
1/2 cup or more powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups and combine with other dry ingredients.
Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Combine wet ingredients and rind and stir well.
Add to flour mixture, stir just until moist.
Fold in blueberries.
Spoon into 12 muffin cups that have been coated with cooking spray.
Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched.
Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over muffins.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quick and Easy Roast Beef Sandwiches

Everybody has those days when you want something satisfying to eat, but don't want to cook a big complicated meal and mess up a lot of dishes. You just want to eat and chill with your favorite past time. This is for those days. It is delicious and so simple anyone can do it. All it takes is one pan and a few minutes. Can't beat that now can you?

1 pound Deli Roast Beef
1 can Beef Consomme (soup)
2/3 soup can of water
Sandwich Buns
Provolone Cheese

Mix consomme and water. Heat to a low boil, add roast beef.
Heat thoroughly.
Lightly toast buns, pile high with meat, top with cheese and place under broiler to melt cheese.
Use reserved liquid for dipping.

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

I was looking for a new way to prepare potatoes to go with the roast I just shared with you in my previous post. I went searching for an easy, few ingredient recipe. I took bits and pieces from several recipes and this is what I come up with. I used several different cheeses, because I had small amount of several different kinds. You can use any cheese you want. I recommend cheddar and a little Velveeta or other processed cheese for the creaminess factor.
 Preheat oven to 350.

6 to 7 potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/8 inch thick
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2/3 can half and half or heavy cream. I think milk will work too.
2 cups cheese, cheddar, or a mixture of your favorite kinds.
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Butter a rectangular pan, about 12 x 9 size or larger.
Place half of the sliced potatoes in the pan.
Mix together the soup, half and half , salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Spoon half of this mixture on top of potatoes.
Top wit half the cheese.
Place remaining potatoes on top and repeat layering.
Sprinkle a little pepper on top and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, cover and continue baking about another 30 to 40 minutes, until potatoes are done. Enjoy!

Easy Beef Pot Roast

This is the easiest way to prepare a beef roast that I have come across. It is fool proof and always a hit. The key ingredient here, other that the roast, is the pot used. A heavy dutch oven with a well fitting lid is essential for this recipe. The ingredients added can be altered to suit tastes, but the basics don't need to be messed with. I love this recipe because it brings out the flavor of the beef, unmasked by wine or strong sauces. Another good thing about this one is, you probably already have everything you need. It is juicy and tender and very simple! Why not try one tonight?

3 to 4 pound beef chuck roast
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.
Place olive oil in bottom of dutch oven and heat to medium high on a burner on top of stove.
Salt and pepper roast liberally. Brown on all sides, about 4 minutes each side.
Remove roast, put all other ingredients in bottom of dutch oven, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place roast on top and bake covered in oven on 350 for about 45 minutes.
Turn oven temperature down to 300 and cook for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Allow to stand for about 15 minutes. Remove roast and place the veggies on top. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chocolate Bundt Cake

This is a simple cake that is very moist. I usually make it in a bundt pan, but can also be made in a tube pan. It is delicious just the way it is. If you want to pretty it up some, try dusting it with powdered sugar. Cake mixes are wonderful to have on hand for creating some really good desserts with much less effort.

1 box yellow cake mix
8 ounces sour cream
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 small box chocolate instant pudding mix
12 ounces chocolate chips

Mix everything except the chocolate chips together with a mixer for 2 minutes.
Fold in the chips and pour into a greased and floured pan.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until cake tests done with a toothpick. That is all!

Crockpot Pork Dip Sandwiches

Here is an easy and delicious recipe that will be sure to please. It is an adaptation of a recipe I obtained from my mother in law, Vera. The only reason I adapted it, is because I lost my original recipe and wanted to make it. I am a little impatient, so I just winged it. It came out much better than I expected! It is a little tangy and oh so tender! I used pork butt roast, so it is affordable and satisfying. Give my version a try. If  I can obtain the original again, I will share it too! Both are fantastic and the crock pot makes it so simple.

4 to 5 pound pork butt roast (some fat trimmed)
1/4 cup vegetable oil, for browning
garlic powder
black pepper
1/2 chopped bell pepper (I used orange but any will work)
1 package pork gravy mix (I used turkey gravy mix, worked just fine)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
 dash of worcestershire sauce
oregano, basil, thyme, sage to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 bay leaves
Sub rolls or your favorite sandwich buns. I prefer toasted.

Generously rub pepper, garlic powder and salt onto roast.
Brown on all sides in a skillet with vegetable oil.
Place in crock pot with the fat side up. I trim some of the fat before browning if it is excessive.
Saute bell peppers in the pan after removing roast until soft Add to crock pot.
Mix all other ingredients together and pour over roast. Add a little extra salt and pepper if desired.
Cook on high for about an hour and a half. Turn down to low and cook an additional 4 to 5 hours until roast is falling apart.
Remove and pull apart with two forks, removing bone and fat as you go.
Add some of the juice to maintain moisture.
Strain the remaining broth from the crock pot and serve as a dipping sauce if desired.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Easy Apple Crisp

 This recipe is an old one from a Betty Crocker Cookbook, from the 60's I think. It was shared by my niece, Erin, who is a fine cook herself. I plan to feature more of her recipes in the future. She has been a vegetarian for many years, so I'm sure she has a lot of delicious meatless recipes to chose from. She made it while we were visiting a few months back. She served it warm with vanilla ice cream! It is so delicious to be so simple! It  can easily be doubled. I recommend it because you are going to love it! If you do so, you may want to cut back on the salt a little. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place in buttered 10x6x2" baking dish 4 cups apples - thin sliced
Sprinkle with 1 tsp.cinnamon and 1 tsp salt and 1/4 cup water
Rub together  (mix with fingers or spoon) 3/4 cup sifted flour (I use bread flour)
1 cup sugar
1/3cup butter (margarine works too.)
Drop mixture over apples.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Aunt Peggy's Awesome Buttermilk Cornbread

As I have stated before, I come from a long line of fantastic cooks! I am very fortunate to have so many talented people in my family and circle of friends to inspire me. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to master.Cornbread is one of those things for me. Sure, anybody can stir up a mix, or follow the instructions on the corn meal bag, (guilty) but not everyone can make a cornbread that is so good you remember how wonderful it is years later. I don't live near my Aunt Peggy, so I don't get to sample her great cooking often. While visiting her during the holidays, I asked her to give me her recipe. She chuckled and said, "I don't have a recipe, I just do it." Sound familiar? Seems like all of the older generation greats in the kitchen never measured anything and always pumped out a flawless meal! She gave me the guidelines and basic measurements as best she could. I came home and tried it a couple of times. I managed to get it as close as I can to hers. Here is my version of Aunt Peggy's cornbread. She always uses Sunflower brand of yellow corn meal. We don't have that brand in our area, so I used Martha White self rising yellow cornmeal. I hope you enjoy it.

Preheat oven to 425, then turn down to 400
Pour 2 tablespoons oil in a cast iron skillet (a pan will work, it just won't be as crunchy)
Place the skillet in oven to preheat oil.
1 1/2  cups self rising yellow cornmeal (Sunflower brand if possible)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (you may need a little more, if the batter isn't runny enough)
Beat thoroughly, don't just stir it up Should be semi liquid consistency.
Add a beaten egg. Beat until combined well.
Remove skillet from oven and sprinkle a little cornmeal in the bottom of it.
Pour batter in pan and bake for 25 minutes or until light golden brown.
Remove and turn out on a plate or platter.

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

This is a really simple dessert that you can probably make with ingredients you probably already have on hand. I was looking for something sweet in one of my favorite cookbooks. Since I didn't have a lot of stuff on hand for baking, I was sort of limited. I ran across this and figured I didn't have anything to lose. After all, the cookbook is a compilation of Home Economics Teachers favorite recipes.If they think it is worthy, who am I to judge? One of the best things about this recipe is that it is very cheap to make and doesn't taste that way.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped (I used walnuts, didn't have pecans)
1 1/2 cup flour ( I used self rising and left out the baking powder)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder

Combine brown sugar, water, 1 tbsp butter, cinnamon and pecans in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil.
Pour into a 9 x 13 pan.
Combine flour, sugar, 2 tbsp butter (cubed small), milk and baking powder in a bowl, mix well. (I mixed it by hand, recipe didn't specify)
Pour over top of  mixture in pan.
Do not mix. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Almond Joy Bars | Cake Recipes | Just A Pinch Recipe Club

Almond Joy Bars | Cake Recipes | Just A Pinch Recipe Club

Saturday, January 14, 2012

George's Cha Cha Chili!

I know I'm sort of on a chili roll here, but I obtained the recipe for perhaps the best chili I've ever tasted, or at least in recent memory. It comes from my good friend George Manus Jr, owner of Out Front on Main, an awesome little theater in Murfreesboro TN. He doesn't call it "Cha Cha Chili". but I couldn't just call it "George's Chili", that sounds boring, and anyone that knows George, knows he's anything but boring! I have known him for about two years now, and I can honestly say I have never been bored around him. His theater is a very welcoming place that has produced award winning, contemporary shows. It is a magical place that sucks you in. I never even realized I liked live theater, now I'm one of many of George's theater family. Which is fantastic, because he treats his family well! His cast parties are the best. He always prepares wonderful food for everyone. That is how I discovered this delicious chili. It is making it's food blog debut right here! You know how you hear food people on TV talk about 'layers' of flavor? Well this has many layers, just like George. It is a crock pot recipe too, which makes it even better. Join me as I present to you this very zesty and exciting chili. It deserves an award in my opinion. Make it, and sit back and enjoy your rave reviews with your full tummy! That's a wrap!

In crock pot: One pound of dried kidney or pinto beans, celery to taste, I use a lot because I love celery.
Chicken broth and Lowery's Hot Chili dry package-cook low overnight.
To save time you can use three cans of spicy chili beans.

Brown ground beef two lbs. with bell pepper and onions. Drain.

Add 1 jar of Medium Salsa. I typically make my own-but a 16-20 oz. jar will work as well, also Hot salsa is a good option for a more spicy result.
For tomatoes:
Easier option: 3 cans of petite diced tomatoes
Better Option: Blanch 6-8 fresh tomatoes, peel and bring to a boil, let simmer about half an hour.
Add all ingredients to the beans in crock pot with one can of diced tomatoes with green chilis. Cook all of this on low for a couple of more hours. Enjoy!!
For a jucier chili-add tomato juice to desired consistency.
To save left overs, simply freeze in an air tight container and thaw before heating.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

White Chicken Chili

 Here is a great easy recipe that taste fantastic. It is very hearty and simple to make. A good one dish dinner that will help keep you warmed up and filled up on these winter days. There are many variations of this dish, I like this one best. The parsley and lime gives it a nice twist. Why not try some tonight? 

 1  medium onion, chopped 
1  jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped  (or you can use a 4oz. can of chopped green chilies)
1  tablespoon canola oil 
2  garlic cloves, minced 
4  cups chicken broth  
2  cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained 
2  tablespoons minced fresh parsley 
1  tablespoon lime juice 
1  to 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin 
2  tablespoons cornstarch 
1/4  cup cold water 
2  cups cubed cooked chicken

In a large saucepan, cook onion and jalapeno in oil until tender. 
If using green chilies add them later with the other ingredients.
Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Stir in the broth, beans, parsley, lime juice and cumin; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into chili.
Add chicken. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Super Moist Coconut Cake

This recipe comes from my cousin, Donna. It is a really simple cake to make, but it tastes so wonderful! That is the best kind in my opinion. I would much rather have a cake that takes little effort and tastes delicious than one that is time consuming and expensive to make, only to be disappointed with the end result. This cake is even better the second day, if it lasts that long! Thank you Donna for this easy and awesome cake. It is a nice addition to my collection of fool proof, simple desserts that don't taste that way!

Bake white cake according to directions for 9 x 13 cake.
While cake is cooking mix together a can of eagle brand milk and a can of cream of coconut.
When cake is done make holes in the cake with the end of wooden spoon. Pour milk mixture over cake and let cool.
Top cake with cool whip with a little coconut mixed in. Sprinkle
coconut over top.
Keep refrigerated.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sour Cream Chicken Tortillas

This is a very basic recipe that can be enhanced to suit your taste. As directed, it is very good. I have added more peppers and Tabasco on occasion. I have also used fresh garlic and added onion. Sometimes I use cheddar cheese in the chicken mixture as well as Monterey Jack. Salsa can be added too. I have even used a combination of salsa and enchilada sauce poured on top. It is all good! Make it your own, however you like it, or just stick with the original. It reheats well and is very hardy. A good way to expand your use of chicken. We all need a little variety every now and then. It can also be made ahead of time, refrigerated and baked later.

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
a little Tabasco, about 3 or 4 drops (more if you love it like I do!)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 to 8 ounces cooked chicken, chopped
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies,drained
6 to 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup sour cream
10 to 12 flour tortillas
a small amount of oil or cooking spray to soften tortillas
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Stir in flour, milk, chicken bouillon, Tabasco, and garlic powder.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Add chicken, drained chilies and shredded cheese and mix well.
Stir in sour cream.
Heat tortillas in greased skillet one at a time for a few seconds on each side to soften.
Spoon a couple of tablespoons of chicken mixture into center of each tortilla, roll up and place in a greased 9x13 dish, seam side down.
Pour remaining chicken mixture on top.
Top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 until bubbly and heated through, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chili, The Easy Way!

I often get compliments on  my chili. I don't have a secret recipe, nor do I make homemade chili from scratch. I have discovered some tips along the way to make a good pot of chili without spending a lot of time chopping and tasting, adding, tasting. Chili is one of those dishes that can easily become too spicy if you aren't careful. The heat is sometimes hidden in an 'afterburn'. My husband don't like real spicy foods, so I have to be careful not to over do it. I have discovered with the right stuff you can make a fool proof pot that will please everyone. It all starts with the right seasoning packet. Thanks to my friend, Sybil, who many years ago told me that French's Chilio Seasoning was the best, I have always used that brand. She was right, it is better than the others. Thanks Sybil!

 2  pounds (at least) ground beef, the leaner the better
1  large onion, chopped
1  packet of French's Chilio Seasoning
1  can petite diced tomatoes
2  8 ounce cans tomato sauce
1  can Bush's Chili Beans, I use mild (lightweight in family)
2 or 3 packets of Wendy's Chili Seasoning (ask for it next time you go, even if you don't order chili!)
Cumin or a pinch or two of chili powder or red pepper flakes to taste.

 Brown ground beef, add onion and cook until tender.
 Drain and pour into a 5 quart pot.
 Add tomatoes, Chilio seasoning, tomato sauce and beans.
Cook over medium low heat for about 20 minutes, add Wendy's Chili Seasoning packets to taste. I usually add three. It adds a great flavor without making it too spicy. I discovered this once when I didn't have any chili powder, and was grateful, for once, that I am a little crazy for saving all those packets from various places! Stir well and continue simmering on low for about 15 minutes.
I usually serve my chili with shredded cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream, but just plain crackers will work too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Myrna's Chicken Salad

      This recipe comes from my sister, Gale's mother in law, Myrna. She doesn't really like celery in her chicken salad, so she decided to create one without it. I personally haven't tried this one yet, but if Gale says it's good, and if Myrna recommended it, it's good! I guarantee it. I have had a few of Myrna's dishes over the years, and  trust me when I say this Southern lady knows a few things about preparing delicious food. I am honored to share this recipe from her kitchen. I think we all need a little something simple and tasty right now after all of the holiday food we have been stuffing ourselves with. Why not give this one a try?
       4  large chicken breasts, cooked (I use skin on, bone in chicken, cooked all night in the crock pot, then cooled, boned and skinned)
1  cup chopped water chestnuts
1  cup chopped roasted cashews
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 cup sour cream
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing mix
      Chop chicken and combine with water chestnuts and cashews.
      Mix Miracle Whip, sour cream, and salad dressing mix in a bowl.
     Add chicken and nut mixture.
     Stir well. Serve with crackers or your favorite sandwich bread.