I have been married to a wonderful Christian man since 1976. The Lord has blessed us with two daughters and two sons. I consider each day the Lord gives me on the earth yet another chance to serve Him.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bill's Birthday Donuts

I make donuts once a year for my husband's birthday. He loves homemade donuts, and I'm reminded that his birthday is coming about a month before. Not for the gifts, but for his donuts. Yep, he loves them that much!

(plain)
(cinnamon sugar)
(donuts holes-just the right size for the little ones)

BILL'S BIRTHDAY DONUTS
(makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients:
*2 quarts vegetables oil (for deep frying)
*3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
*1 cup white sugar
*3 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*2 tablespoons shortening
*2 eggs
*3/4 cups whole milk

Directions:
~Beat 1 1/3 cups flour and the remaining ingredients in a large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, for 30 seconds.
~Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes.
~Stir in remaining flour.
~Turn dough onto a well-floured cloth covered board.
~Roll around gently to coat with flour.
~Roll out gently to 3/8 inch thickness.
~Cut with floured donut cutter.
~Heat oil (2-3 inches) in deep fryer or heavy skillet to 375 degrees.
~Carefully slide donuts into hot oil with a spatula. (three or four at a time, depending on how big your pan is).
~Turn donuts when the rise to the surface, and are a light golden brown.
~Fry until golden second side is a golden brown. (normally 1-1 1/2 minutes on each side)
~Remove from oil and drain on cooling rack or paper towels.
~Serve plain, cinnamon sugar (Bill's favorite), or glazed.


Cinnamon Sugar:
-1 cup white sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
-Place sugar in brown lunch bag and shake.
-Place warm donut into bag, close and shake.

Glazed:
-1/4 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 2 cups powdered sugar.
-Combine mile and vanilla in a medium sauce pan and heat over low heat until warm.
-Sift powdered sugar into milk mixture.
-Whisk slowly, until well combined.
-Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water.
-Set a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.
-Dip donuts into the glaze, 1 at a time.
-Place on cooling rack glaze side up.
-Set set for 5 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Glaze:
-1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon light corn syrup, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped), 2 cups powdered sugar (sifted).
-Combine butter, milk, corn syrup and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted.
-Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted.
-Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.
-Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.
-Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the donuts immediately.
-Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

Old Fashion Yeast Donuts

This is my favorite donut recipe. It's more work than the 'Bill's Birthday' donuts that I make, but they taste like the donuts my mom & grandma would make.
If you make this recipe please resist the urge to add more flour. The dough will seem to be way to sticky, but just trust the recipe. Adding to much flour will make the donuts to dense.

(donut holes are great for the little ones)

YEAST DONUTS;
(makes 24-26 +the holes)

Ingredients:
*1 1/2 cups milk
*1/3 cup vegetable shortening
*2 packages instant yeast (5 teaspoons)
*1/3 cup warm water
*2 eggs, beaten
*1/4 cup sugar
*1 1/2 teaspoons salt
*1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*5 1/4 - 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
*2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:
~Place milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening.
~Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over.
~Set aside.
~In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve.
~Let yeast proof for 5-10 minutes.
~After the yeast has proofed at in to a large mixer bowl. (I use my kitchen aid mixer)
~After the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to luke warm, pour mixture into the mixer bowl.
~Add eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and half of the flour.
~Mix on medium speed until well combined (I use the paddle attachment).
~Add the remaining flour combining at low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
~Change to the dough hook attachment of mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3-4 minutes. (If you don't have a dough hook attachment, then knead the dough until smooth).
~Transfer to a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a draft free area until doubled, about 1 hour. (I do mine in a cooled oven, with a pan of hot water beside it. This make it rise quicker)
~On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8 inch thickness.
~Cut out with a floured donut cutter.
~Set on a floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a damp towel for 30 minutes.
~Preheat the oil in deep fryer of heavy skillet to 365 degrees.
~Gently place the donuts into the oil, 3-4 at a time.
~Donut will rise to the top, flip once it's a light golden brown.
~Remove once both sides are a light golden brown.
~Transfer onto a cooling rack
~Serve plain, cinnamon sugar, or glazed (allow 15-20 minutes before glazing).


Cinnamon Sugar:
-1 cup white sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
-Place sugar in brown lunch bag and shake.
-Place warm donut into bag, close and shake.

Glazed:
-1/4 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 2 cups powdered sugar.
-Combine mile and vanilla in a medium sauce pan and heat over low heat until warm.
-Sift powdered sugar into milk mixture.
-Whisk slowly, until well combined.
-Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water.
-Set a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.
-Dip donuts into the glaze, 1 at a time.
-Place on cooling rack glaze side up.
-Set set for 5 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Glaze:
-1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon light corn syrup, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped), 2 cups powdered sugar (sifted).
-Combine butter, milk, corn syrup and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted.
-Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted.
-Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.
-Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.
-Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the donuts immediately.
-Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Canning Applesauce

Homemade applesauce tastes much better than anything you will ever buy from a store. If you use a mixture of apples such as Fuji, Gala, McIntosh, Red or Yellow Delicious, or Honeycrisp (any naturally sweet apples) you will not have to add any sugar. I always use a mixture of apples (2 - 4 different styles), it makes for a much tastier applesauce. Canning applesauce is so easy, and no preservatives is an added bonus.


CANNING APPLESAUCE
(12-14 quarts)

Ingredients:
*1 bushel of apples
*2 cups water (only if you are cooking down the apples after they are peeled, & cored)
*4-6 tablespoons cinnamon (optional)

Directions:
~Wash 12-14 quart jars (I use rinse cycle in dishwasher)
~Add 2 cups of water into a large stock pot.
~Peel apples.
~Cut apples into segments with a knife or an apple corer & divider.
~Place apples in stock pot.
~Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often.
~Cook until apples are very soft, mushy.
~Add cinnamon to applesauce and stir.
~Remove apples and grind in a food mill.
~Pour into hot canning jars.
~Make sure jars a free from any residue.
~Place lids & rings on jars.
~Place in hot water bath for 20 minutes.
~Remove, and let set for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place (fruit cellar).

~Cut apples in half.
~Cook apples in hot water until cooked, soft & mushy.
~Remove from water.
~Grind apples through the fruit & vegetable grinder.
~Pour applesauce into a large stock pot.
~Add cinnamon to applesauce and stir.
~Pour into hot canning jars.
~Make sure jars a free from any residue.
~Place lids & rings on jars.
~Place in hot water bath for 25 minutes.
~Remove, and let set for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place (fruit cellar).

Helpful Hint:
When making applesauce ask your fruit vender for seconds. It's much cheaper and I normally only have to cut out one or bad spots on a couple apples.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chicken Panini

My girls and I love a grilled panini (although Autumn likes hers without the chicken). They look great and taste delicious.



CHICKEN PANINI
(serves 4)
Ingredients:
*italian bread
*1 tomato, sliced thin
*1/4 cup basil pesto
*2 chicken breast halves chicken
*1 teaspoon pepper
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 red onion, sliced thin
*1 cup sharp shredded cheese

Directions:
~Season chicken with salt, pepper & garlic powder.
~Fry chicken in olive oil in a medium skillet.
~Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
~Remove chicken from skillet, and let cool slightly.
~While chicken is cooling, sauté green peppers & red onions for 1-2 minutes.
~Remove from pan.
~Thinly slice chicken breast.
~Preheat stove top grill or panini pan.
~Slice Italian bread to desired thickness
~Spread each half with pesto sauce.
~Layer bottom halves with equal amounts of chicken, green pepper, onion, tomato & cheese.
~Place top half of bread over fillings.
~Butter top of sandwich and place it buttered side down on stove top grill (butter both sides if using a panini maker).
~Put a small cast iron pan, or aluminum foil covered brick over sandwich and press down on sandwich.
~When sandwich is golden brown, butter other side and flip. (if using a panini maker cook about 5 minutes)
~Put pan/brick on sandwich once again, and press down.
~Remove from pan when golden brown.

Variation:
-substitute green pepper for roasted red pepper.
-substitute chicken breast for turkey breast.
Vegetarian Version:
-substitute chicken with zucchini and yellow squash.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canning Spaghetti Sauce

This takes a while to make, but well worth the effort.



SPAGHETTI SAUCE
(makes 12-14 quarts)

Ingredients:
*1/2 bushel Roma tomatoes
*4-6 onions, chopped
*6-8 cloves garlic, minced
*2 tbsp. olive oil
*1/2-3/4 c. chopped parsley flakes
*3-4 tablespoons oregano
*3-4 tablespoons basil
*4-6 bay leaves
*1 teaspoon thyme
*1/8 c. salt (optional)
*1 tbsp. pepper
*6 green pepper, chopped (optional)
*1/2-1 cup sugar
*3 (12 oz.) cans tomato paste (if needed)

Directions:
~Boil a large pot of water.
~Place a few tomatoes at a time into the boiling water.
~Let cook for 45-60 seconds.
~Remove and place into cold water.
~Cool enough to handle, and remove skins and stems.
~Cut up tomatoes, and place into a large pot.
~Add onions, garlic, green pepper, & spices.
~Bring tomatoes to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. (I use 18 quart electric roasting pan, or you can use a very large stock pot).
~Cook tomato mixture for 12-13 hours.
~Add tomato paste only if spaghetti sauce is not thick enough.
~Remove bay leaves.
~If you like a smoother sauce or if you have kids that won't eat spaghetti if they veggies in it, use a food mill at this time to run the spaghetti sauce through.
~Pour into hot canning jars.
~Leave a 1/2 inch headspace.
~Make sure jars a free from any residue.
~Place lids & rings on jars.
~Place in hot water bath for 25 minutes.
~Remove, and let set for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place (fruit cellar).
~Water bath 25 minutes in quart jars.

Helpful Hint:
**If you have a vegetable grinder (mine attaches to kitchen-aid mixer), you can run it through the grinder, without peeling the skins.
**If you want to cut down on your cooking time, you can turn the heat up to medium for 6-8 hours. But make sure you stir it every 15-30 minutes to prevent burning. You can also skim excess liquid off of the top as it cooks. This will cut down on your cooking time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Enchilada

This is one of son Nathan's favorite recipe. So easy to make and very good. This is a great recipe to use your leftover chicken up. I am also adding the vegetarian version with picture along with the chicken version.


CHICKEN ENCHILADA
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
*1 yellow onion, chopped
*1/2 green pepper, chopped
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 1/2 cups sour cream
*1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
*1 tablespoon dried parsley
*1 teaspoon dried oregano
*1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon chili powder
*1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
*8 (10 inch) flour tortillas (use corn tortilla for gluten free)
*1 pint salsa (or 12 ounce jar)
*1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
~In a medium skillet, cook chicken, onions, green peppers, & garlic over medium heat.
~Cook until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
~Drain any excess fat.
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Cube or shred chicken and return it to the skillet.
~Drain any excess fat.
~Add sour cream, 1 cup cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, chili powder, salt, & pepper.
~Heat until cheese melts.
~Stir in tomato sauce.
~Spoon even amounts of the mixture in the tortilla.
~Arrange tortilla's in a 9x13 inch pan, seam side down.
~Spread salsa over tortillas.
~Sprinkle 1 cup cheddar cheese over salsa.
~Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
~Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Variation:
`Replace chicken with leftover turkey.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

This is such an easy dinner to make. It's a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.


SHEPHERDS PIE
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*4-5 cups mashed potatoes (about large potatoes)
*1 tablespoon butter
*1 1/2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
*1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon pepper
*1 (12 ounce) bag mini carrots (6-7 whole carrots)
*1 pound ground beef
*1 yellow onion, chopped
*1 garlic clove, minced
*3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*2 tablespoons ketchup
*1 cup beef broth
*1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
~Bring a pot of water to a boil.
~Add a little salt.
~Add carrots and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes.
~Drain, and mash.
~Set aside.
~Mix in butter, finely chopped onion, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup cheese to mashed potatoes.
~Set aside.
~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~In a ovenproof skillet, cook hamburger, garlic & onions. Cook until hamburger in brown.
~Drain any excess fat.
~Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
~Add ketchup and beef broth.
~Bring to a boil.
~Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
~Spred the ground beef mixture evenly over the bottom of the oven proof skillet.
~Spread the mashed carrots over top of the hamburger.
~Spread the mashed potato mixture over top of the carrots.
~Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of potatoes.
~Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Variations:
`Substitute mashed carrots for peas.
`Substitute mashed carrots for mixed vegetables.

Vegetarian Version:
-Substitute ground beef for Bocca Crumbles.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tomato Barley Soup

This is one of Autumn's favorite soups. Like most soups, this is even better the next day.


Tomato Barley Soup

Ingredients:
*1 cup onion, chopped
*1 cup celery, chopped
*1 cup carrots, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*2 cups water
*2 tomatoes, diced
*1 pint stewed tomatoes
*2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
*1/3 cup uncooked barley
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon dried oregano
*1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
*1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Directions:
~Soak barley in a bowl of water while preparing the vegetables.
~In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and olive oil.
~Sauté for 5-10 minutes, until vegetables are almost tender.
~Drain barley.
~Add the water, fresh tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, chicken stock, barley, oregano, italian seasoning, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
~Stir throughly and bring to a boil.
~Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour (make sure barley is tender).


Variations:
-Add 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken.
-Add 1 pound ground beef, cooked & drained.
-Add a half a head of cabbage.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fried Chicken

This is another recipe that reminds me of my childhood. Every Sunday, we had fried chicken at our house. My dad loved it. The is the easiest fried chicken to make. It's crunchy, but it's not a heavy or greasy chicken. Make some chicken gravy from the leftover chicken drippings.


FRIED CHICKEN (serves 6)

Ingredients:
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*35 saltine crackers
*2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*3 tablespoon dry potato flakes
*1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
*1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 teaspoon ground paprika
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 egg
*1/8 cup vegetable oil
*6 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves

Directions:
~Pound to a even thickness, if needed.
~Put crackers into a gallon size zip-loc bag.
~Seal bag and crush the crackers until they are coarse crumbs.
~Add 2 tablespoons flour, potato flakes, seasoned salt, paprika, garlic powder, salt & pepper into bag and mix well.
~Add 1 cup flour into a shallow dish.
~Beat egg in a shallow dish or bowl.
~Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
~Coat chicken with flour.
~Next dredge chicken in beaten eggs.
~Then place chicken into the bag with the crumb mixture, seal bag and shake to coat.
~Reduce heat to medium and cook chicken for 20-25 minutes, turning frequently, until chicken is golden brown and juice run clear.

Variations:
`Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper for a hint of spice.
`Use chicken leg & thighs, cooking time may be a bit longer.
`Marinate chicken in buttermilk a couple hours before dredging in cracker crumb mixture.

Helpful Hint:
To make it even less calories, spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray and bake in the oven at 400 degrees



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tater Tot

Easy to make and will make your tater tot casserole even better. The babies love this one.


TATER TOT
(makes about 30)

Ingredients:
*8 medium potatoes, peeled
*1/4 onion, grated (optional)
*4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (use rice flour for gluten free)
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~Finely shred potatoes.
~Place potatoes in a colander and press out as much liquid as you can.
~Pour potatoes into a medium sized bowl.
~Stir in flour, salt, pepper, grated onion, and garlic powder.
~Form into tots and place single layer on a cookie sheet. (Toddlers/kids love to help at this point)
~Bake until tots are crisp and a golden brown.
~Serve hot. (Freeze extra for tater tot casserole)

Variation:
~Deep fry at 350 degrees. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
~Add hot sauce to mixture for spicy tater tots.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Banana Nut Bread

My entire family likes this recipe, although a couple prefer it without the nuts. I love that I don't have to toss out overripe bananas.


BANANA NUT BREAD
(makes 1 loaf or 8-10 mini loafs)

Ingredients:
*1/4 cup white sugar
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1 cup white sugar
*2 eggs, room temperature
*1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 3/4 cups flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup sour cream
*1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
*3 medium bananas, over ripe, mashed

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan or mini loaf pans
~Stir 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together.
~Dust loaf pan with cinnamon sugar.
~In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
~Mix in the eggs one at a time.
~Stir in vanilla, mix well.
~Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into the butter mixture.
~Mix until smooth.
~Fold in sour cream, bananas, & nuts.
~Pour into loaf pan.
~Spread out mixture so it's lays even in the pan.
~Bake for 40-60 minutes (20-30 for mini loafs), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
~Remove from oven and let cool for ten minutes.
~Remove bread from loaf pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Variations:
`add 1 cup fresh blueberries
`add 1 cup chocolate chips
`omit walnuts
`substitute walnuts for pecans
`omit nuts

Helpful Hint:
-whenever your bananas get to ripe to eat, peel, mash and put them in freezer bags, and freeze until you are ready to bake breads.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicken/Turkey Pot Pie

This is definitely a comfort food. It is a meal that you can put together and freeze for a later date. Remove from freezer defrost and bake. 




CHICKEN/TURKEY POT PIE
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup lard, chilled (or shortening)
*3 tablespoons ice water
*1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
*2 cups, cooked chicken/turkey, cubed
*1 cup sliced carrots
*1 cup frozen peas
*1 cup celery, sliced
*1 cup potato, chopped
*1/2 cup onion, chopped
*1/3 cup butter
*1/3 cup all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon celery seed
*1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 3/4 cups chicken stock
*2/3 cup milk

Directions:
~Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
~With a pastry blender, cut in the cold lard until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
~Mix the vinegar into the ice water.
~Drizzle ice water/vinegar mixture over flour.
~ Mix mixture with clean hands to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together.
~Gently mold the dough into two equal balls.
~Wrap in a plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
~Remove dough from refrigerator and take plastic wrap off.
~Roll dough to fit into a 9 inch pie plate, and put one into a pie plate.
~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
~In a medium saucepan, combine chicken/turkey stock, water, carrots, peas, onion, celery, and potatoes.
~Cover and boil for 15 minutes.
~Stir in flour, salt, pepper, celery seed, poultry, and garlic powder.
~Slowly stir in milk.
~Simmer over medium-low heat until thick.
~Add chicken/turkey.
~Remove from heat and pour into pie pan.
~Cover with top crust.
~Crimp edges.
~Make a few small slits in the top of crust.
~Place pie on a cookie sheet.
~Bake 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
~Remove from oven.
~Let cool 10 minutes, before cutting.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole in one of my niece Jacki's favorite side dishes. This recipe is a little more time consuming than the Campbell soup one, but still very easy to make. I think it's better this way, but that's just my opinion.


GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*2 tablespoon butter
*2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (use rice flour for gluten free)
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon white sugar
*1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
*1 cup sour cream
*1 1/2 -2 pounds fresh green beans, ends snapped off
*1 cup chicken broth
*2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
*1/2 cup crumbled Ritz crackers (omit cracker topping for gluten free or use rice crackers)
*1 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Heat chicken broth in a saucepan (or steam-pan).
~Steam the green beans with the heated chicken broth.
~In a skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in 2 tablespoons butter, cook until translucent.
~Stir in flour, salt & pepper, until smooth, and cook for one minute.
~Add sour cream and half of the cheese.
~Mix and heat through, about 1 minute.
~Remove beans from steamer, and shake off any excess liquids.
~Set aside any liquid left from steaming green beans.
~Pour into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.
~Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of green bean mixture.
~Add leftover chicken broth from steamed green beans.
~In a small bowl, toss together cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
~Sprinkle cracker mixture over cheese.
~Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is a golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Variations:
`substitute fresh green beans with 3 (14.5 ounce) cans of French Style Green Beans.
`add 1/2 cup bacon, cooked & crumbled.
`add 2 garlic cloves, minced (add when sautéing onions).
`substitute cracker topping with 1 (2.8 ounce) can French Fried Onions.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bread & Butter Pickles

I'm not a big fan of bread & butter pickles (love dill pickles), but I've been told these are delicious. I make them for my daughter Tonia, who happens to love them.


BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES (8-10 pints)

Ingredients:
*25 pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced
*6 onions, thinly sliced
*2 green peppers, diced
*3 garlic cloves, chopped
*1/2 cup pickling salt
*3 cups cider vinegar
*5 cups white sugar
*2 tablespoons mustard seed
*1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
*1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
*1 tablespoon ground turmeric

Directions:
~In a large bowl, mix together cucumbers, oinons, green bell peppers, garlic and salt.
~Allow a stand approximately 3 hours.
~In a large saucepan, mix the cider vinegar, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, whole cloves and turmeric.
~Bring to a boil.
~Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture.
~Stir into the boiling vinegar mixture.
~Remove from heat shortly before the combined mixtures return to boil.
~Transfer to sterile canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
~Make sure tops of jars are clean of any residue.
~Put on lids & rings.
~Boil in canning pot for 20 minutes.
~Remove and let stand for 24 hours.
~Store in cool place (fruit cellar).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tomato Basil Tart

What a great way touse all those grape/cherry tomatoes growing wild in your garden. So easy to make and it looks and is very appetizing. You will impress your family and friends when you put this on the table.



TOMATO BASIL TART
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*1 1/4 cups flour
*2 tablespoon cornstarch
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon italian seasoning
*6 tablespoon butter, cold, and diced
*1-2 eggs
*2 pints grape/cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
*1/2 cup basil leaves, divided
*1/3 cup chopped green onion
*2 cups sharp provolone cheese, grated
*1/2 cup mayonnaise
*1 teaspoon pepper


Directions:
~Preheat oven to 375 degrees
~In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and italian seasoning.
~Cut in butter until it resembles a coarse crumbs.
~Mix in one egg at a time, until a dough forms. This dough is a little tough but it works.
~Form the dough into a ball.
~Then press the dough tin a 9 inch tart pan, covering entire pan.
~Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
~Roughly chop 1/4 cup of the basil leaves.
~Stack and roll the rest of the basil leaves and cut them into thin ribbons.
~Mix the cheese, mayo, chopped basil, green onions and pepper in a medium bowl.
~Spread the mixture over the bottom of the tart shell.
~Top with grape/cherry tomatoes and press them down into the mixture.
~Bake for 35 minutes, or until the the crust edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling up.
~Cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup sliced basil ribbons.

Variations:
-substitute sharp provolone cheese for your favorite type of cheese.
-add cooked crumbled bacon to cheese mixture.
-add cooked chopped chicken.
-make in mini-tart pans or cupcake pans for an appetizer.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ratatouille

I'm thinking vegetarians and carnivores will enjoy this recipe. It's a good way to get your kids to eat their veggies. It's even better served in a bread bowl. Throw it in the slow cooker before you leave for work, and you will have a nice hot meal ready for you when you get home.

Add a little cheese to make it even better.

RATATOUILLE
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 medium onions, chopped
*3 medium tomatoes, chopped
*1 large green bell pepper, chopped
*1 large red bell pepper, chopped
*1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
*1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*3 tablespoons dried basil
*1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
*1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
*1 (5 1/2 ounce) can pitted ripe olives, drained and chopped.


Directions:
~Sprinkle the eggplant with salt.
~Let stand in a colander for 1 hour to drain.
~Press out excess moisture.
~Rinse egg plant.
~Put the eggplant into a crock pot.
~Add the onions, tomatoes, red-green-yellow peppers, zucchini, olive oil, basil, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
~Mix well.
~Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
~Stir in tomato paste, and olives.
~Serve hot or cold, whatever tickles your fancy.

Variation:
-Add cooked chicken, shredded
-Add cooked ground beef
-Add cooked Italian sausage

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lemon Horsey Potatoes

I do not care for horseradish, and yet I really like these potatoes. The lemon juicemellows out the flavor.


LEMON HORSEY POTATOES

Ingredients:
*1/4 cup butter
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
*2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
*2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
*1 1/2 pounds red skin potatoes, unpeeled, & quartered.

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Melt butter in a 2 quart casserole dish in the oven.
~Stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, dried rosemary, horseradish and lemon juice.
~Place potatoes in casserole dish and coat with butter mixture.
~Cover and bake for 1 hour.

Variation:
-Add more prepared horseradish to give it more kick.
-Add 1/2 pound of fresh green beans.
-When finished cooking, add 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, and stir.
-Substitute potatoes with cauliflower.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Potato Soup

My family enjoys a potato soup on a chilly day. This recipe is so easy and quick to make.

(plain potato soup)

(loaded potato soup)

POTATO SOUP (serves 6)

Ingredients:
*5 strips bacon, diced (optional)
*3 green onions greens, chopped (optional)
*1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
*1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 medium onion, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (use rice flour for gluten free)
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
*1 teaspoon dried parsley
*1 teaspoons black pepper
*4 cups chicken stock
*5 large boiled (or baked) potatoes, peeled and mashed
*1 1/2 cups half & half
* dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:
~In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil, until tender.
~Stir in flour, salt, parsley, basil & black pepper.
~Mix well, and cook for a minute, careful not to let it burn.
~Gradually add broth.
~Bring to a boil.
~Boil and stir for 2 minutes.
~Add potatoes, cream, and cayenne pepper.
~Heat through, but do not let it boil. Be very careful not to let it scorch.
~Garnish with desired toppings.

Variations:
-substitute chicken stock with vegetable stock.
-substitute half & half with whole milk.
-substitute olive oil with bacon drippings.
-add a little dried rosemary to flour mixture.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dill Pickle Relish

I do love a good dill pickle relish. It's not just good for hot dogs and hamburgers, but for potato salad, tuna salad, egg salad and many more things.


DILL PICKLE RELISH (5 pints)

Ingredients:
*6 cups pickling cucumbers
*2 cups red bell peppers, chopped small
*2 banana peppers, chopped small
*2 cups onions, chopped small
*1 cup celery, chopped small
*2/3 cup pickling salt
*6 cups water
*4 cups cider vinegar
*2 tablespoons mustard seeds
*1 teaspoons celery seeds
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*1/2 cup dill weed, chopped very small

Directions:
~Combine cucumber, peppers, onion and celery with salt and water.
~Let sit for 3 hours.
~Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain well.
~Bring vinegar, and remaining ingredients to a boil in a large pan.
~Add drained, chopped vegetables, and return to a boil.
~Reduce to simmer and continue until relish reaches desired consistency. (about 15 minutes)
~Ladle relish into hot pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
~Make sure tops of jars are free of any residue.
~Close with hot lids, and rings.
~Process in boiling water for 15 minutes.
~Remove from hot water bath and let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place (fruit cellar).
~Let sit for 8 weeks before using

Friday, September 3, 2010

Salsa

I love salsa made from garden fresh tomatoes. Not only good on tacos or with tortilla chips, but wonderful to use for salsa chicken (I may have to post that recipe too). I make this on the milder side, using less jalapeno peppers than the recipe calls for. Add more jalapeno peppers or keeping the seeds in it if you like more heat.


SALSA (6 pints)
(I normally times this recipe by 4 when I'm canning)

Ingredients:
*10 cups chopped, peeled cored Roma tomatoes (about 6 pounds)
*5 cups chopped and seeded green peppers (about 2 pounds)
*5 cups chopped and seeded red peppers (about 2 pounds)
*2 cups chopped and seeded banana peppers (about 3/4 pounds)
*1 cup red onion, chopped
*1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
*2 1/2 cups chopped and seeded jalapeno peppers (about 1 pound) (Keep seeds if you want it to be hotter)
*1 1/4 cups cider vinegar 
*6-8 cloves garlic, minced
*2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
*2 tablespoons cumin 
*1 tablespoon salt

Directions:
~Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
~Briefly place tomatoes into boiling water to loosen skins.
~Drain, peel, and cut into small pieces.
~Mix chopped tomatoes, onions, green peppers, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, salt, cilantro, & cumin.
~Bring to a boil.
~Reduce heat and cook for 60 minutes.
~Place salsa into sterile jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.
~Put lids and rings on jars, making sure jar is free from any residue first.
~Cook in hot bath for 20 minutes.
~Make sure all lids have sealed, and store after sitting for 24 hours.

-Salsa is best the longer it sits, at least for 5 weeks.

Helpful Hint:
-Use plastic or latex gloves while chopping up the jalapeno peppers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Twice Baked Potato

This is one of those side dishes that could be eaten as a meal in it's self. You could add so much to it.



TWICE BAKED POTATOES (serves 4)

Ingredients:
*4 large Idaho potatoes
*1 cup sour cream
*1/2 cup of milk
*6 tablespoon butter
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoons pepper
*1 cup cheddar cheese, divided in 1/4 cups

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees
~Slice potatoes, lengthwise, but not all the way through.
~Bake potatoes in oven for 1 hour
~When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 8-10 minutes.
~Scoop the potatoes out of skin (carefully, so you don't break skin of potato) and place in a medium bowl.
~Safe skins
~Add sour cream, milk, butter, salt & pepper to potatoes, and mash.
~Return the mashed potatoes to empty skins.
~Top with cheese.
~Return to oven for another 15 minutes.


Variations:
`6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
`6 green onions, sliced, & divided into 4 equal amounts.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peaches

I love fresh peaches. When canning them, you get that fresh peach taste even in the winter. A little bit of Romeo Peach Fest all year long. Yummy.


PEACHES (7 quarts)

Ingredients:
*1/2 bushel fresh peaches
*3 quarts water
*fruit fresh
*2 1/2 cups sugar (lite) - 3 1/4 cups (heavy syrup)
*5 1/2 -cups water (lite) - 5 cups water (heavy syrup)

Directions:
~Emerse your canning jars and lids into hot water.
~Wash the peaches.
~Dip in the boiling water, about 60-45 seconds.
~Drop them into cold water.
~The peels should slip right off for you (makes peeling much easier).
~Cut peaches in half and remove pit.
~Scrape fibers from the pit cavity.
~Slice peaches in half or quarters.
~To prevent darkening of peaches, soak in water and fruit fresh, until you are ready to put them into jars.
~Heat on medium heat 2 1/2 cups sugar and 5 cups water.
~Bring to a boil and make sure sugar has dissolved.
~Drain the peaches and pack them into the hot jars cavity side down in overlapping layers.
~Leave a 1/2 inch headspace.
~Ladle hot syrup over peaches, until there is about 1/4 inch headspace left.
~Remove all air bubbles using a knife.
~Seal the jar using hot lid and ring.
~Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
~Remove from heat and let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool, dark room. (fruit cellar)

Variation:
`Don't add any sugar just add water.