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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Parmesan Orzo

Creamy & yummy.   Great side dish with just about any dish.  Add some chicken to eat and have it as a meal.


PARMESAN ORZO
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*2 tablespoons butter
*1 cup uncooked orzo pasa
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1/8 cup onion, chopped
*1 3/4 cup chicken stock
*1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
*1/8-1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (depending on your taste)
*1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
*salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
~Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium-heat.
~Stir in orzo, garlic & onion, saute until orzo is lightly browned.
~Stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil.
~Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until orzo is done.
~Mix in parmesan cheese & basil.
~Once mixed well, stir in cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper.

Variations:
-Stir in 1/4 of homemade pesto, when adding parmesan cheese.
-Add feta, when adding tomatoes.
-Add saut├ęd spinach, after adding parmesan cheese.
-Add mushrooms, add when adding garlic & onions.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds

There are so many ways that you can make pumpkin seeds.   I'll post a few.   The photo is the original salt pumpkin seeds.  You really can put just about any seasonings that you like on and bake them.  





SALT PUMPKIN SEEDS

Ingredients:
*2 cups whole raw pumpkin seeds
*3 teaspoons butter melted
*1 tablespoon kosher salt

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
~Rinse pumpkin seeds and remove any pulp.
~Pat seeds dry with a clean towel.
~Toss seeds, melted butter & salt in a small bowl.
~Stir in pumpkin seeds.
~Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
~Bake for 30-45 minutes, until seeds are dry.
~Stir every 10-15 minutes.


SPICEY PUMPKIN SEEDS

Ingredients:
*2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
*2 teaspoons butter, melted
*1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
*1/8 teaspoon onion salt
*2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
~Rinse pumpkin seeds and remove any pulp.
~Pat seeds dry with a clean towel.
~Toss seeds in melted butter, garlic salt, onion salt, & worcestershire sauce.
~Stir in pumpkin seeds.
~Spread the seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.
~Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until seeds are dry.
~Stir every 10-15 minutes.


CINNAMON PUMPKIN SEEDS

Ingredients:
*2 cup raw whole pumpkin seeds
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 cup white sugar

Directions:
~Rinse pumpkin seeds and remove any pulp.
~In a small bowl, mix cinnamon & salt together.
~Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
~Spread seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.
~Lightly sprinkle with salt & cinnamon mixture.
~Bake for 5 minutes, stir the seeds, season again with salt & cinnamon mixture.
~Bake for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
~Remove from oven.
~While seeds are still very hot, sprinkle sugar over seeds and mix gently.
~Let cool & serve.

ITALIAN PUMPKIN SEEDS

Ingredients:
*2 cups whole raw pumpkin seeds
*2 teaspoons olive oil
*1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/4 teaspoon dried basil
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
~Rinse pumpkin seeds and remove any pulp.
~Pat seeds dry with a clean towel.
~Toss seeds olive oil, oregano, basil, salt & parmesan cheese together.
~Mix in pumpkin seeds.
~Spread the seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.
~Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until seeds are dry.
~Stir every 10-15 minutes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fruity Sweet Banana Squash

This is a nice twist on squash.  Even if your kids won't eat squash, they might be willing to give this a try.






FRUITY SWEET BANANA SQUASH
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1 banana squash, peeled and diced
*2 firm, ripe, bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and diced
*1/4 cup butter
*4 tablespoons water
*2 tablespoons butter, melted
*2 tablespoons brown sugar
*2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
*1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
~Put water & 1/4 cup butter into into a medium size saucepan.
~Add squash & pears to water.
~Bring water to a boil over medium high heat.
~Once water is boiling, cover & reduce heat to low.
~Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until squash is tender.
~Remove from heat, and drain any liquid.
~Mix in banana and cover back on pan.
~In a small bowl, mix butter, dark brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.
~Drizzle butter mixture over squash & pears.
~Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.


For those of you who are not sure what a 'sweet banana squash' looks like:


Monday, October 24, 2011

Bacon Vegetable Pasta Salad

This is another salad that is good as a side dish or as a light meal.  We really enjoy this one.


BACON VEGETABLE PASTA SALAD
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*1 (12 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
*10 slices bacon
*3/4 cup mayonnaise
*4 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
*1/2 cup milk, or as needed
*1 large tomato, chopped
*1 carrot, peeled & sliced
*1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
*1 cucumber, seeds removed & diced
*1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, diced

Directions:
~Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
~Stir in rotini pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes, drain.
~Place bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until evenly brown.
~Drain, cool & crumble bacon.
~In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, seasoned pepper & milk, until smooth.
~Place bacon, tomato, carrot, red pepper, cucumber, rotini, cheese and dressing in a large bowl toss until well coated.
~Cover and chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Variation:
-Add 1/2 cup black olives


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Greek Salad

Nice light side dish or lunch.   Quick and easy to put together.  This is a recipe that you want to eat the same day.  I don't think this keeps that well, so I only make enough for one meal.


GREEK SALAD
(serves 4)
*3 tomatoes, chopped
*2 cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped
*1 small red onion, chopped
*1/4 cup olive oil
*3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
*1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
*1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
*1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
*8 black greek olives, pitted and sliced

Directions:
~In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, & onion.
~Sprinkle with olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, oregano, salt & pepper.
~Sprinkle feta cheese & olives and serve.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Greek Potatoes

Yummy.  This goes well with gyros.  Very easy to make.



GREEK POTATOES
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1/3 cup olive oil
*1 cup chicken stock
*3 cloves, garlic, finely chopped
*1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
*1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
*12 red skinned potatoes

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~In a small bowl, mix olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary & pepper.
~Cut potatoes in half.
~Arrange potatoes over the bottom of a 8x8 inch pan.
~Pour the olive oil mixture over potatoes.
~Cover with aluminum foil.
~Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours, turning occasionally, until tender, but not mushy.





Saturday, October 15, 2011

Butter

Butter is so easy to make and very quick.  I really don't think it's much cheaper than buying butter, but I think it tastes better and you get buttermilk to use for pancakes, oven fried chicken, biscuits or anything else that calls for buttermilk.  I guess if you look at the cost of being able to get butter and buttermilk than it's cheaper than buying it.



Make it fun for the kids and let them cut out shapes for a special dinner.



BUTTER
(makes about 1 cup)

Ingredients:
*2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream (organic whipping cream will only make it better)
*1/8-1/4 salt (optional)

Directions:
~Pour cream in a Kitchen-aid Mixer whip a whip attachment, or a food processor.
~If using a kitchen-aid, put plastic over as much of the bowl as possible (unless you have a splatter guard), blend on speed 8 for about 4-6 minutes.  When the milk separates from the solid, it's ready.
~If using a food processor, blend for 8-10 minutes.  When the milk separates form the solid, it's ready.
~Put a mesh strainer over a small bowl or use cheesecloth.
~Put butter and liquid in strainer.
~Allow all the milk to drain into the bowl.  Keep this milk, it's buttermilk and will be excellent in recipes.  Store in in a covered container in the refrigerator.
~Place butter into a small bowl, press butter with the back of a spoon to further remove any liquid.
~Rinse butter with very cold water to remove any excess milky liquid (this will help so the butter doesn't turn sour).
~Now is the time to knead in the salt if you want.  Salt also helps to make the butter last longer.
~Save the butter in a sealed container in the fridge.

Variation:
-If you don't a good mixer or a food processor, then more the cream into a quart size canning jar.  Shake vigorously, 20-30 minutes until the milk separates from the solid.  Follow the rest of the directions as listed above.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicken Gyro

This is a little time consuming, but so worth the effort.
Make the Tzatziki Sauce the night before and it will be awesome.  I also like to marinate the chicken first thing in the morning.   Spicy potatoes or greek potatoes go well with this recipe.


CHICKEN GYRO
(serves 4)

Marinade Ingredients:
*3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (not vinegar)
*3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1 tablespoon dried oregano
*1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Cucumber Sauce:
*1/2 seeded, shredded cucumber
*1 teaspoon kosher salt
*1 cup plain greek yogurt
*1/4 cup sour cream
*1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
*1 teaspoon dried dill
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/8 teaspoon dried mint
*1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
*1/8 teaspoon dried basil
*1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
*1/2 teaspoon fresh onion, minced
(or use 3/4 teaspoon greek seasoning to replace the above 7 ingredients)
*sea salt to taste
*ground black pepper to taste
*dash of cayenne pepper

Ingredients:
*4 large pita bread rounds
*romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4 inch slices
*1 small red onion, thinly sliced
*1 tomato, halved & sliced
*1/4 cup kalamata olives (optional)
*1/4 cup pepperoncini (optional)
*1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cucumber Directions:
~Toss cucumbers with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
~Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
~Place salted cucumber into a colander.
~Place colander over a bowl.
~Squeeze the cucumber until the liquid has drained from the cucumbers.
~In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, sour cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, rice vinegar, and olive oil.
~Season with garlic, dill, oregano, mint, thyme, basil, marjoram, & minced onion.
~Stir in drained cucumber in to sauce.
~Season with sea salt, ground pepper & cayenne pepper.
~Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (I like mine to sit overnight).


Marinade Directions:
~In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinaigrette, lemon juice, oregano & 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
~Place chicken into a zip-loc bag.
~Pour marinade over chicken, seal bag, & refrigerate at least 2 hours (I normally marinate mine all day).

Directions:
~Mix tomatoes, onions, with a dash of sea salt, ground pepper & a dash of garlic powder.
~Allow to sit for 1-2 hours, covered & in the refrigerator.
~Preheat stovetop grill over medium-high heat.
~Remove chicken from marinade and grill, about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until done.
~Discard remaining marinade.
~Remove chicken from grill, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
~Slice chicken into thin strips.
~Brush pita lightly with olive oil.
~Grill pita bread, until warm, turning frequently to prevent burning.
~Spread cucumber sauce over warm pita.
~Arrange chicken, lettuce, onion, tomato, olives & pepperoncini, and feta cheese over pita, fold in half & enjoy.




Variations:
-if you don't have a balsamic vinaigrette, use 3 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar.
-if you don't have plain greek yogurt, use plain yogurt and strain it for a couple hours to remove the extra liquid.
-add some cheddar cheese over chicken.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fiesta Lime Chicken

I love this recipe.  Just enough kick of lime to it.   A little spicy with the sauce.  I did not have colored corn chips so I used black.  It was still yummy.


FIESTA LIME CHICKEN
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1 cup water
*1/3 cup teriyaki sauce (I make my own)
*1/2 lime, juiced
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*1/4 cup real mayonnaise
*1/4 cup sour cream
*2 tablespoons chunky salsa
*1 tablespoon milk
*1/2-1 teaspoon cajun blackening spice
*1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
*1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
*1/8 teaspoon dried dill weed
*1/8 teaspoon cumin
*1 1/2 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
*2 cups multi-colored corn chips, crumbled

Directions:
~Whisk the water, teriyaki sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, liquid smoke, salt & ginger together.
~Place chicken breasts & marinade into a zip-loc bag and marinade for at least 2 hours.
~Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, salsa, milk, cajun seasoning, parsley, hot sauce, dill weed & cumin together.
~Cover bowl, and chill until ready to use.
~Remove chicken from marinate and discard marinade.
~Grill chicken for 4-6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
~Brush grilled chicken with mayonnaise mixture.
~Sprinkle cheese over chicken and mayonnaise mixture.
~Broil in oven until melted.
~Serve chicken over a plate of crumbled corn chips.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teriyaki Sauce

Any recipe that calls for teriyaki sauce, I make my own.   It has far less salt in it and tastes better than what you buy at the store.   It's also so simple to make.




TERIYAKI Sauce
 (Makes about 2/3 cup)

Ingredients:
*1 tablespoon cornstarch
*1 tablespoon cold water
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/2 cup soy sauce
*1/4 cup cider vinegar
*1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Directions:
~In a small saucepan over low heat, all the above ingredients, minus the chicken.
~Let sauce simmer for about 20 minutes, until it thickens.
~Let sauce cool.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Beef Stew

Very easy dinner to make.  This is a good winter meal.  I cube & dice my meat and veggies into bite-size pieces because of my family's preference, but you can cut them up into larger pieces if that's what you like.


BEEF STEW
(serves 8-10)

Ingredients:
*2 1/2 pounds roast beef
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour (omit for gluten free)
*6 cups beef stock (or broth)
*1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
*1 teaspoon dried parsley
*1 teaspoon pepper
*4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 packet of lipton onion soup mix (omit for gluten free)
*4 large carrots, peeled & chopped
*5 celery stalks, sliced
*1 large onion, chopped
*2 teaspoons cornstarch
*2 teaspoons very cold water

Directions:
~Dust roast with flour.
~In a large dutch oven or pot, cook roast in olive oil over medium heat, until meat is brown on both sides.
~Remove meat.
~Pour in 1 cup beef stock, and scrape dripping off bottom of pan.
~Return roast to pan.
~Add the rest of the beef stock, garlic, rosemary, parsley & pepper.
~Bring to a boil, and turn heat down to a low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
~Remove roast from dutch oven.
~Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
~Cut Roast into bite-size pieces and return to dutch oven (I remove any fat from the meat at this time).
~Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onions & lipton onion soup mix into the pot.
~Cover and cook for 1/2 hour.
~In a small bowl, mix cornstarch & cold water together.
~Stir into the stew.
~Cover and simmer 1 hour.


Variation:
-After browning the meat, add roast and the rest of the ingredients (minus the cornstarch) into a slow cooker.  Put the roast on the bottom and veggies on top.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  About 1/2 hour before the serving, remove roast from slow cooker and cut into bite-size pieces.  Return to slow cooker, add the cornstarch mixed with cold water into the slow cooker.  Mix, cover and let it finish cooking.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Maple Nut Fudge Candy

This is a little bit of the taste of a maple bun.   It's very rich and so you want to cut it into small pieces.   It's consistency is like fudge.  I keep in in the freezer until ready to serve.



MAPLE NUT FUDGE CANDY
(makes 48 )

Ingredients:
*1 cup milk chocolate chips
*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*2 cups butterscotch chips
*2 cups creamy peanut butter
*1 cup spanish peanuts
*1 cup butter
*1/2 cup milk
*1/4 cup vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
*1 teaspoon maple flavoring.
*1 (2 pound) package powdered sugar

Directions:
~Melt chips & peanut butter over a double boiler unti melted.
~Spread 1/2 of mixture in a wax paper lined 9x13 inch pan.
~Put into freezer until set.
~Add peanuts to remaining chocolate mixture.
~Let cool.
~Combine milk, pudding & butter into a medium size pan.
~Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring continually.
~Add powered sugar & maple flavoring.
~Spread over set chocolate flavoring.
~Spread peanut mixture ove top of powdered sugar mixture.
~Allow to chill and cut into bars.

Variation:
`substitute maple flavoring with vanilla flavoring.
`substitute maple flavoring with caramel flavoring.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple Fries

I had these once at a fair.  They were so good.   Not quite as healthy as eating the apple plain, but still a great treat.  These also go well with pork chops.


APPLE FRIES
(serves 2)


Ingredients:

*2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled & sliced
*1/2 cup cornstarch, or as needed
*cinnamon-sugar
*1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
*1/4 cup marshmallow cream
*Dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
~Preheat oil in deep-fryer (or heavy pot) to 375 degrees
~Whisk, cream cheese, marshmallow cream & cinnamon together, until creamy.
~Core, peel & slice your apples (I use my french fry cutter for slicing).
~Put corn starch in a paper bag.
~Place apple slices in bag, close and shake until well coated.
~Remove apple slices from bag & place in a strainer.
~Shake off any excess cornstarch.
~Carefully place apples in hot oil.
~Fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
~Sprinkle fries with cinnamon sugar.
~Dip in cream cheese mixture (this will be enough for at least 4 apples).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Tenders

Kids love chicken tenders, but they really aren't that healthy.  This recipe is so much healthier than the ones you buy in the store.  Let the kids help with this recipe.  Make a bunch up and freeze them.  Freeze them before or after baking for future use.  They go great with the 'crispy french fries' recipe.


BAKED CHICKEN TENDERS
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1 1/2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon dried thyme
*1 tablespoon dried basil
*1/2 teaspoon onion powder
*1 cup buttermilk
*12 chicken tenderloins

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~Place flour into a shallow bowl or a plate.
~Mix breadcrumbs, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme & basil in a gallon size zip-loc bag.
~Coat chicken, one piece at a time in the buttermilk.
~Next coat it with the flour.
~Return to buttermilk mixture.
~Next drop it into the bread crumb mixture.
~Seal bag & shake.
~Spray cookie sheet & cooling rack/wire with cooking spray.
~Place a cooling rack/wire on a cookie sheet.
~Gently place chicken tenders on the top of the cooling/wire rack in a single layer.
~Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken in done.


**Dip in BBQ Sauce, Ranch Dressing, Bleu Cheese Dressing, Horseradish Dipping Sauce or just eat plain.  I have posted all dipping sauces at sometime in my blog.

Nutrition Facts may not be exact.






Monday, October 3, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

When I first heard of BBQ Pizza my thought was "Yuck".  The the more I milled it over the more I wanted to try it out.   I do not know if this is how most people make it, but I really enjoyed it.





BBQ PIZZA
(serves 4-6)

Ingredients:
*1 pizza dough (I make my own and some pizza places sell the dough).
*1 boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cooked & shredded
*1/2 cup green peppers, chopped small
*1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin
*1 - 1 /2 cups barbecue sauce (I make my own)
*1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
*5 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled (optional)
*1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
*Corn meal

Directions:
~Sprinkle a thin layer of corn meal over pizza pan or a cast iron pan.
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~In a medium bowl, mix chicken and barbecue sauce together.
~Roll out pizza dough to fit pizza pan.
~Spread barbecue sauce with chicken evenly over pizza dough.
~Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over barbecue sauce.
~Sprinkle parmesan cheese over mozzarella cheese.
~Sprinkle green peppers evenly over top of cheeses.
~Spread onions over next.
~Bake on middle rack for 20-25 minutes.