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, October 29, 2013

Grilled Onion Chicken Panini

Mmmmm, Mmmmm Good!  The grilled onions on this sandwich make it so good.  If you want to make it less calories then omit the breading and just season & grill the chicken.



GRILLED ONION CHICKEN PANINI
(serves 2)

Ingredients:
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 large white onion, sliced thin
*1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
*1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, halved and pounded to about 1-inch thick
*1 cup buttermilk
*1/4 cup all purpose flour
*1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
*1 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*1 tablespoon bleu cheese or mayo (optional)
*2 slices swiss cheese
*2 slices mozzarella cheese
*4 slices of bread
*1 teaspoon butter

Directions:
~Pour buttermilk into a small bowl.
~Place chicken into buttermilk and let sit for 20-30 minutes.~In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
~Add sliced onion & sugar.
~Cook for 20-25 minutes or until onions are a golden brown and caramelized, stirring often.
~Remove from pan and set aside.
~Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil & vegetable oil in skillet, heat over medium heat.
~In a small bowl, combine flour, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper & paprika.
~Remove chicken from buttermilk, and shake off excess liquid.
~Roll chicken into bread crumb mixture until well coated.
~Carefully place chicken into hot oil.
~Cook 5-6 minutes on each side, or until chicken is done.
~ Remove chicken from pan.
~Coat one side of each slice of bread with butter.
~Place bread butter side down on skillet/grill.
~Put chicken on bread.
~Add one slice of swiss & mozzarella cheese over each piece of chicken.
~Divide grilled onions over the cheese.
~Put a 1/2 teaspoon of bleu cheese or mayo over onions.
~Top with bread, butter side up.
~Grill (or put in a panini maker) until one side is golden brown (I put a heavy pan over the sandwich as I cook it).
~Flip and do the same on the other side.


Variations:
`add a slice of tomato before or after sandwich is grilled.
`add dill pickles before or after sandwich is grilled.
`add baby spinach before grilling.
`add 2 slices of cooked bacon before grilling.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Gourmet Bacon Coney Dogs

I love a good chili dog but every once in a while I like to step it up a bit.  This one does that.  I mean, bacon makes anything better.  Chili sauce will make or break a coney dog. So buy a good one or make your own.





GOURMET BACON CONEY DOGS
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1 cup coney sauce (I make my own)
*4 hot dogs
*4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
*1/2 cup cheddar cheese
*1/4 yellow onion, chopped
*4 teaspoons sour cream
*yellow mustard
*4 hot dog buns

Directions:
~Grill hot dogs.
~Toast hot dog buns
~Put hot dog on bun & divide all the toppings evenly among the hot dogs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Almond Joy Cake

If you like Almond Joy Bars, you will like this cake.  Yummy!  Very rich, but oh so good.  You can omit the almonds if you don't care for nuts.




ALMOND JOY
(serves 12)

Ingredients:
*1 (14 ounce) bag sweetened cocoanut, shredded
*1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk*2 cups granulated sugar

*1 cup unsweetened cocoa
*2 cups granulated sugar
*1 3/4 cup flour
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 large eggs
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*1 cup butter milk
*3/4 cup boiling water
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
*1/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips
*1/2 cup heavy cream
*1/4 cup light corn syrup
*1 cup slivered almonds

*2 sticks of butter, room temperature
*1/4 cup heavy cream
*3 cups powdered sugar
*1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Directions:
~In a medium bowl, mix cocoanut and sweetened condensed milk, until well mixed.
~Refrigerate until ready to use.
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Grease & lightly flour a 9x13 inch cake pan.
~In a large mixing bowl, sift sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
~Add eggs, one at a time.
~Add oil & buttermilk, mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.
~Add boiling water  & vanilla extract and mix well (batter will be watery).
~Pour batter into prepared pan.
~Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done.
~Allow cake cool in pan until completely cooled.
~In a microwavable bowl, combine milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips & heavy cream.
~Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir well.
~Repeat for another minutes and a half, stirring every 30 seconds.
~Remove from microwave and stir in light corn syrup.
~Refrigerate until it cools a little and thickens up.
~In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, heavy cream & coconut flavoring, until smooth.
~Slowly add powdered sugar and mix on low speed.
~When sugar is starting to mix in, mix on high speed for 1-2 minutes.
~Once cake is cooled spread cocoanut mixture over cake.
~Frost cake.
~Sprinkle slivered almonds over frosting.
~Drizzle chocolate ganache over top.
~Store in refrigerator.



.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Puree

Fresh pumpkin puree makes any pumpkin dish better.   I put 1 cup of puree in a quart size freezer bag and freeze it.  I'm telling you the rich flavor of this is awesome.  You will want to use pie pumpkins (the small ones).   Big pumpkins do not make for tasty puree.




PUMPKIN PUREE
(Makes 4-6 cups)

Ingredients:
*2 pie pumpkins
*2-4 tablespoon water if needed

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Cut pumpkins in half.
~Scoop out seeds & pulp from the center of the pumpkin (I save the seeds to make pumpkin seeds with).
~Place pumpkin face down on a cookie sheet.
~Bake for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender.
~Peel off skin of pumpkin.
~Put pulp into a food processor, a little bit at a time (can use food mill, potato masher or blender, just make sure it's mashed well and not stringy).
~Pulse until very smooth (if puree looks to dry add a few drops of water. If it becomes to watery drain through a cheesecloth).
~Measure 1 cup of puree for each freezer bag (this is so it's easier to know how much you have for recipes).
~Seal bag, remove any trapped air.
~Freeze until you are ready to use it.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Muffuletta

If you don't like olives you probably won't like this sandwich.  I happen to love then and think this sandwich is delicious.  Now I've never been to New Orleans, so I don't know how close this to being a true muffuletta.
This sandwich is also takes two days in the making.  One day to let the olive mixture marinate and the second day to let the stuff all soak in all the flavors. You can eat the sandwich as soon as it's made, but I personally think it tastes better, when it sits for a while.
                                            (cold sandwich)

(sandwich heated up & cut in half)



MUFFULETTA
(serves 2-4)

Ingredients:
*1/2 small red onion, chopped fine
*6-8 kalamata olives, chopped fine
*6-8 green olives, chopped fine
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 tablespoon pickled cauliflower florets, chopped fine
*1 teaspoon celery, chopped fine
*1 teaspoon carrots, chopped fine
*2 tablespoons pepperoncini, drained & chopped fine
*dash of salt
*1/8 teaspoon celery seed
*1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/4 teaspoon dried basil
*1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*2 very sturdy bread rolls or muffuletta bread (I make my own)
*1/4 pound Genoa salami, sliced thin
*1/4 pound ham, sliced thin
*1/4 pound italian bologna, sliced thin
*1/4 pound mozzarella cheese
*1/4 pound provolone cheese

Directions:
~In a small glass bowl, mix red onion, green olives, kalamata olives, garlic, pickled cauliflower, celery, carrot, pepperoncini, salt, celery seed, oregano, basil, black pepper, vinegar, olive oil & vegetable oil.
~Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
~Cut rolls in half.
~Remove some of the bread from each half of the roll.
~Spread olive mixture on both sides of the roll.
~Layer the bottom half of the roll with the salami, ham, italian bologna, mozzarella & provolone.
~Place the top half of the roll over the meats & cheeses.
~Wrap sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-24 hours (optional).
~Unwrap sandwich and enjoy or wrap sandwich in foil, and place in a preheated 375 degree oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  This really depends on if you prefer cold or hot sandwiches.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie with Maple Cream Filling


These are soft and creamy and oh so good.  I like to have one with a hot cup of tea or apple cider.   A wonderful fall dessert to bring to any party.  If you don't care for maple flavor, use a vanilla extract instead.



PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIE
(makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients:
*2 cups light brown sugar, packed
*1 cup vegetable oil
*1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh is even better)
*2 large eggs
*3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
*3 cups powdered sugar
*1 cup cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1 teaspoon maple extract
*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 cup pecans, chopped fine (optional)

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray.
~In a large mixing bowl, mix brown sugar and vegetable oil.
~Add pumpkin puree, eggs & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, mix well.
~Add sifted flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cinnamon, ground ginger & ground cloves, mix until incorporated.
~Drop dough with a cookie scoop (or a heaping teaspoon) onto prepared cookie sheet.
~Bake for 10-12 minutes.
~Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
~In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth.
~Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
~Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mix well.
~Mix in maple & vanilla extracts, beat until smooth.
~Turn half of the cooled pumpkin cookie upside down.
~Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon spoon of filling onto each half.
~Place another cookie, flat side down over the filling.
~Press down lightly so the filling spreads to the edges.
~Roll edges in chopped pecans.
~Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
~Refrigerate for 30 minutes & serve.

Variation:
`if you don't care for maple flavoring, just use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grape Jelly

This is labor intensive but it is so worth it.  The flavor just bursts.   It will the best grape jelly that you have ever had.




GRAPE JELLY
(8 pints)


Ingredients:
*4 pounds ripe concord grapes
*1 (1.75 ounce) box of fruit pectin
*1/2 teaspoon butter
*7 cups granulated sugar

Directions:
~Wash grapes & drain.
~Put grapes into a large saucepan & cook over medium heat until grapes are softened.
~Place about 2 cups of grapes into a Jelly Strainer or layered cheesecloth over a bowl.
~Keep doing this until you have 5 cups of grape juice (you can add unsweetened pure grape juice if needed)
~Bring grape juice to a boil, over medium heat.
~Reduce heat.
~Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
~Add fruit pectin to juice & mix well.
~Add butter.
~Turn heat up to high heat, and bring to a full rolling boil for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.
~Stir in sugar all at one time.
~Bring back to full rolling boil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.
~Remove from heat.
~Skim off any foam.
~Pour hot jelly into sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
~Wipe tops of jars making sure any jam residue in removed.
~Seal.
~Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
~Remove from water bath and let cool.
~Listen for the ping sound.  This means that your jelly has sealed.
~Let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool, dry space.

**If you feel a bubble in the lid after it's cooled, this means it did not seal.  Either start the water bath again, with a new lid, or just store in the refrigerator.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

WOW, this soup is pretty amazing.   The only suggestion I have for you is if you like your soup a little spicy use hot italian sausage, if you like it mild use mild italian sausage.  Keep in mind that you always want to use a good italian sausage, it will make or break a soup.



(serves 6)

Ingredients:
*4-6 slices of a good quality bacon (optional)
*1 pound of a good quality hot or mild Italian sausage
*1 large onion, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*3 large russet potatoes, chopped small
*2-3 cups kale, viens removed and cut thin
*6 cups chicken broth
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 cups kale
*1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
~Cook bacon in a stock pot, until done.
~Remove, cool, crumble and set aside.
~Remove casing from sausage and cut into small pieces.
~Brown sausage in stock pot.
~When sausage in close to being done, add onions & garlic.
~Once the onions are translucent, add chicken broth.
~Add poatoes, salt & pepper.
~Cook until potatoes are almost done.
~Add bacon.
~Simmer for 15 minutes.
~Use immersible blender (or blender) and mash some of the potatoes (optional)
~Add Kale & cream.
~Simmer for another 15 minutes.

Canned Christmas Pears

Pears, pears, pears everywhere at this time of the year.  My girls love Christmas or Cinnamon Pears.   Easy to can and so good.  The longer they sit the more red they become.



CHRISTMAS PEARS
(makes 10-12 pints)


Ingredients:
*1/2 bushel of firm, but ripe pears
*2 cups sugar
*6 cups water
*1 1/2 cups cinnamon hot candies


Directions:
~Fill a large bowl half way full with cold water.
~Put 1 tablespoon on lemon juice in water.
~Peel & core pears.
~Slice and drop into water.
~Bring a small pan of water to a boil, reduce heat and keep hot.
~Place canning lids in hot water.
~In a large saucepan, mix sugar & 6 cups water and bring to a boil.
~Turn burner down to a simmer.
~Place 1/8 cup of cinnamon hots into each canning jar.
~Pack the pears tightly into the pint jars.
~Pour hot sugar water over pears, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.
~Make sure the tops of the jars are wipe free of any residue.
~Place lids & rings on jars.
~Place int hot water bath for 15 minutes.
~Remove, and let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool dry place (fruit cellar).



Friday, October 11, 2013

Muffuletta Bread

I really like muffuletta's but just can't go to New Orleans every time I want one.   This means I need to make my own.   This bread is good for any sandwich, or just to eat as bread and easy to make.  It's very similar to Italian bread.


MUFFULETTA BREAD
(makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:
*1 cup warm water
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
*1 1/2 teaspoons salt
*3 cups bread flour
*3 teaspoons active dry yeast
*1 tablespoon sesame seeds
*1/2 teaspoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon corn meal


Directions:
~Place water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sugar, salt, flour & yeast into the bread machine.
~Select dough cycle and start (mine takes 1 1/2 hours).
~Remove dough from bread maker.
~Lightly oil a clean surface.
~Place dough on surface, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
~Spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray and lightly coat with corn meal.
~Form dough into a circle and place bottom side up on prepared pan.
~Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the dough, and press down gently.
~Lightly brush olive oil over top of dough.
~Cover with plastic wrap.
~Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm, draft free area.
~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
~Bake for 10 minutes.
~Reduces heat to 375 degrees.
~Bake for 15-20 minutes or until done.  Bread should sound hollow when tapped.


Variation:
`Once the dough is ready for the last rise, break into smaller pieces.  To make individual bread.  Makes 8-10 loafs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Candy Apple

I have brother-in-law and a daughter that love Candy Apples.   They really are easy to make and doesn't take very long.   To me Candy Apples & Caramel Apples just scream Autumn time to me.



CANDY APPLE
(serves 6)

Ingredients:
*2 cups granulated sugar
*3/4 cup water
*1/2 cup light corn syrup
*6 medium to small apples of your choice (I use macintosh)
*6 popsicle sticks
*2-5 drops red food coloring (optional)

Directions:
~Spread butter on a sheet of parchment paper.
~Bring a medium bowl of very hot water (not boiling).
~Remove stems from apples.
~Dry apples.
j~Insert popsicle sticks into apples.
~In a medium heavy saucepan, mix sugar, water, corn syrup & food coloring.
~Bring to a boil over hight heat.
~Once mixture starts to boil, turn heat down to medium-high heat.
~Continue to boil until mixture comes to the hard crack stage (between 300-310 degrees).
~Quickly and carefully dip apples into sugar mixture until completely covered.
~Set on butter parchment paper.
~Set until completely cooled.

Variation:
`put 1 cup of red hot candies into the mixture to melt.  This give it a slight taste of cinnamon and you won't need the food coloring.