Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter Dinner in the South

In the South, the Sunday midday meal is dinner, especially on a holiday as important as Easter. So, this Sunday, DH (dear husband) and I will sit down to Easter Sunday Dinner with a beautiful spring tablecloth and Mama's "good" china. I just might even get out the "good" silver. Any special occasion  dinner is worthy of both being brought out! Here's the menu.....

Baked Ham
Roasted Asparagus
Green Bean Bundles
Sour Cream Dill Potato Salad
Stuffed Eggs ( you cannot call them Deviled Eggs on Easter!!)
Pineapple Casserole
Crescent Rolls
 Cream Cheese Poundcake with fresh Strawberries and whipped cream

Many of the recipes can be prepared ahead or at least partially prepped. Here are some suggestions:
  • Start with dessert and bake the pound cake a few days ahead.  Cream Cheese Poundcakes get better as they "age". 
  • Make the rolls several days ahead and freeze them.
  • Make the potato salad and stuffed eggs the day before and refrigerate (both will be better the next day when flavors blend). 
  • Bake the Pineapple Casserole the day before and serve it at room temperature. 
  • Slice the strawberries and whip the cream early in the morning. Take the rolls from the freezer.
  • "Bake" the ham in the crock pot and you have freed up the oven and kept the kitchen cool!
  • Green Bean Bundles and asparagus can roast together.
  •  Bake the rolls.

Now, for the recipes??? Ok, someone is going to call me out on it, but I did NOT include recipes for Stuffed Eggs or Baked Ham. Those are just TOO easy! If you really need them, comment or email me!! 

Cream Cheese Poundcake
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine, softened (not diet margarine, it has too much water)
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanill extract (I add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or 4 (4x8-inch) loaf pans.

Cream butter, margarine and cream cheese in large bowl of electric mixer. Gradually add sugar; beat until light and fluffy (very light yellow color)about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time; beat well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture, beat just until flour is no longer visable. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hr and 30 minutes (tube pan) or 1 hr and 10 minutes (small loaf pans). Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Store in airtight container or wrap with foil.


Yield: 3 dozen rolls

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 pkgs yeast
2 cups water
1/3 cup butter flavor shortening*
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs

Measure 2 1/2 cups of the flour into a large mixer bowl. Add yeast; blend.
Combine water, shortening, sugar, and salt in a pan or microwave safe bowl. Heat until warm (120°-130°F), stirring constantly.
Add liquids to flour-yeast mixture. Add eggs. Beat 1 minute at low speed. Scrape down dough from sides of bowl. Beat 3 more minutes at high speed.
Switch to the dough hook, on low speed gradually add the remaining flour, add more or less as necessary flour to form a soft dough. Scrape down dough from sides of bowl.
Cover bowl first with wax paper, then with aluminum foil. Refrigerate no more than 3 days for best results. Punch down dough every 30 minutes for the first few hours until it is chilled, then once a day.
When ready to make rolls, divide the dough in to thirds. Refrigerator remaining dough until ready to shape.
To shape crescent rolls: Roll 1/3 of the dough into a 10-inch circle. Cut into 12 pie-shaped pieces. Brush with melted butter. Roll each piece of dough from the wide side toward the point, stretching the dough slightly as it is rolled. Place on baking sheet a little apart; curve ends.
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
Bake dinner rolls on baking sheet 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, in preheated 400°F oven.
Remove from pan and set on rack; brush with butter.

These are great for make ahead. Shape the rolls, place on a cookie sheet, freeze than place in freezer bag. When ready to use them, remove from freezer 5 hrs ahead of serving time. Place on baking sheets. Cover with cloth and set in warm place to rise.

*Can substitute half or all butter

Sour Cream Potato Salad
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 ½ teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon salt
8 medium size red potatoes (about 5 pounds)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
½ teaspoon dill weed

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, celery seeds and salt. Set aside. Boil potatoes (with peel on) until fork tender. Drain water off and cool. Scrape skin off potatoes (or leave on, if you like). Cut potatoes into cubes. Combine potatoes, onion, parsley, and dill in a large bowl. Stir in dressing. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.

Green Bean Bundles
2 cans whole green beans
bacon, uncooked
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Wrap 8 to 10 green beans in a bundle with 1/3 strip of bacon. (Secure with toothpick, if necessary.) Place bundles in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over bundles. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. (Or cook immediately.) Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Pineapple Casserole
4 cups bread cubes
1 (20-oz.) can pineapple chunks
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss bread cubes with pineapple. Place in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Combine eggs, sugar and butter, pour over bread mixture. Bake 30 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Strawberry Banana Muffins

As Easter approaches and the markets are filled with beautiful red strawberries, these muffins are a great way to enjoy the fruits of the season! They are also a good make ahead for Easter Brunch.

Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast and brunch breads. They are easy to mix (by hand, no electric mixer required!), ingredients can be measured ahead of time and stored until ready to mix, they bake quickly and they always taste best the day they're baked, plus they make the house smell scrumptious! I considered omitting the cinnamon from these, but decided to try it as the recipe was written. It could barely be tasted, but it gave a nice undertone to the full flavor. These were a BIG hit at our house!

And they cooked beautifully in my new muffin pan! USA Pans... I absolutely cannot say enough good things about their pans! They cook evenly, brown perfectly, nothing sticks and they are a breeze to clean!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

1 cup mashed banana
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and mashed banana.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add the butter mixture. Stir in chopped strawberries. Stir just until dry ingredients are wet and strawberries are combined. Spoon into prepared muffin pan.
Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm to the touch, approximately 20-24 minutes. Cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Three Ingredient Spaghetti Sauce

The youngest Grands are coming this weekend ( and bringing their Mommy, my daughter!) of course, that sent grandma off to the kitchen to do as much prep ahead of time as possible so as not to take up too much of our play time with cooking! This spaghetti sauce is as easy as it gets and is kid- friendly!
I've got meatballs chilling and will add those to the sauce after while. Ok, I don't count salt and sugar as ingredients!

Serve just the sauce over pasta or add meatballs and serve all of it over pasta! The meatballs cook in the sauce, so they are easy, not quick, but easy.

Three Ingredient Spaghetti Sauce

2 (28-oz) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon sugar

Since this sauce is for Grands, I processed the tomatoes in the food processor with a few quick off and on pulses just to chop them.  Combine tomatoes, onion, butter salt and sugar in a wide, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove onion with slotted spoon. DONE!

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
8 oz. ground round
8 oz. ground pork
1 cup finely ground ( not grated) fresh Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian ( flat leaf) parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
2 large cloves garlic, pressed

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Break meat up into small chunks. Add cheese, parsley, salt and pepper, eggs and garlic.
Stir lightly to combine. Overmixing causes tough meatballs.
Squeeze milk from breadcrumb mixture, reserve milk. Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture and toss just to combine. Chill for a minumum of 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Wet hands with reserved milk. Shape meatballs into desired size. Place in sauce in a single layer. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with spaghetti.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie

The weather outside was frightful, so I took to the kitchen to whip up the Queen of Comfort Food - Chicken Pot Pie! We all know how much I hate to make pie crust, but I DO have a new food processor, so I even made the Cusinart recipe for Pie Crust. (I was actually REALLY bored and DH was pacing the floor worrying about the weather and distracting me from painting!)  Anyway, this turned out delicious! Several friends already asked for the recipe, so here it it. You could use refrigerated pie crust and (shudder) Cream of Chicken soup adding the veggies and thyme for a shortcut. But, believe me when I tell you, this was worth the time and effort. 

Chicken Pot Pie

One Crust Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes ( I keep a stick of butter in the freezer all the time)
2 Tablespoons shortening , chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 to 4 Tablespoons ice water

Insert metal chopping blade in large work bowl of food processor. Add flour, salt and baking powder; process for 10 seconds to combine ingredients.
Add well-chilled butter and shortening. Use short quick pulses until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal and no butter larger than a pea remains, 15 to 20 pulses.
Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons ice water over the mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed between thumb and forefinger.
Add just enough water for the dough to hold together easily when pressed together into a ball. Too much water will make the crust tough. Do not allow the dough to come together into a ball in the food processor ( it will be tough!). Remove from food processor and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hr ( or up to 3 days). 
Remove from refrigerator and roll on a lightly floured surface to the required shape. 

  • Note: I made only a top crust for my Chicken Pot Pie. If you like more crust, make a 2 crust recipe. I rolled the crust out into a 9x13-inch rectangle to place over the top of my filling.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced celery (1/2-inch slices)
2 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups cubed potatoes (waxy variety works best, I used Klondike Gold)
4 cups chicken broth ( add 1 more cup if mixture cooks down too much)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups cooked coarsely chopped chicken

Melt butter in large skillet or Dutch oven. Add mushrooms and sauté unit mushrooms are lightly browned. Add onion, celery and carrots. Sauté until vegetables are transparent. Sprinkle with flour. Stir and cook for 2 -3 minutes; add potatoes, broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 -25 minutes until liquid reduces and vegetables are tender. Add peas and chicken. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with Pam. Pour filling into pan. Top with pie crust. Seal crust to edges of pan. Cut slits in pie crust.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hr. or until crust is lightly browned and filling bubbles.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sharing the Love and the Chocolate!

Before I share this yummy recipe with you, did you know that this is the 400th post since I started writing this blog in 2009?  When we moved to the mtns from metro Atlanta, my daughter thought I would be bored and that this blog would keep me busy ( and she would have all of my favorite recipes in one place!). Thank you, Kelley for pushing me into the blogging world where I have been entertained, met new friends and reconnected with old ones. I hope some of you have learned a few things along the way, have eaten lots of good food and enjoyed following the antics of our crazy family! Happy Valentine's Day! I love you all! Hugs, Helen

Oh Fudge! 
Don't you just hate recipes that either require you to make a special trip to the grocery store for an insanely long  list OR you get ready to make it and THINK you have all the ingredients only to find that one crucial ingredient is missing?? The ingredients in this recipe are almost guaranteed to be found in everyone's pantry/refrigerator.  Ingredients aside, you'll LOVE the warm, gooey lusciousness of this pudding cake! What a great thing to make for your Valentine! 

  • Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups hot water
  • Whipped topping or Vanilla Ice Cream
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla; beat until smooth. 
Pour batter into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Pour hot water over top; do not stir. 
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes. Serve in dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired. Makes 9 (1/2 cup) servings.

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Blog Feature!

I have been on SUCH a learning curve this week! But it resulted in success for both of us!
You can now print the recipes by selecting the print button on the bottom of each post!
Let me know if it works for you.... I'm SUPER excited!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


There are two of us in our house and making desserts is a challenge. We both like sweets but neither of us NEED them around for days on end. Cakes are too big, pies too time consuming ( you KNOW how I hate to make pie crust!) so cookies are usually my fall back. Most cookie dough freezes well allowing you to take out a few and have freshly baked, warm cookies in just a few minutes. That also allows for "portion control".  Form drop cookie dough into portion size pieces, freeze on a cookie sheet and when frozen toss into a freezer bag. Take out the number needed (ok, desired!) and bake adding a minute or two to the baking time.

One of my very favorite cookies is a "slice and bake" Pecan Sandie. The dough is rolled into a log and frozen, then sliced and baked! How easy and how convenient. I make these for funeral receptions at our church and several people have come to expect them. They are definitely a favorite wherever they are served.

Pecan Sandies (aka Funeral Cookies)
1 cup butter, softened (you can use butter flavor Crisco or even 1/2 butter, 1/2 Crisco) 
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup frimly packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl of mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir in pecans.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, stirring well. ( I use lowest speed on mixer.)
Divide dough in half; shape each half into a log 2-inches in diameter ( or smaller to make more cookies). Wrap in waxed paper; chill until firm. ( I put them in the freezer overnight. If you skip this step they will spread and be a different texture.)
Cut into 1/4-inch slices with a SHARP knife. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 5 dozen, depending on size of logs. 

The following recipe is on my "to try" list, but I thought you might like to experiment with it along with me! I'll report back on my results, meanwhile give it a try and let me know if you think it's a keeper.

Lemon Butter Cookies
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually mix in the flour until incorporated. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using the tines of a fork, make cross marks in the cookies to slightly flatten them. Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until cookies are set on top and slightly golden on bottom. Transfer to cooling rack and immediately dust with powdered sugar (sugar will melt into cookies from the remaining heat). Once completely cool, dust cookies again with powdered sugar.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Simple Fettucini Alfredo

There are many recipes for Fettuccine Alfredo and all of them are loaded with butter, cream, cheese and various other calorie and fat laden ingredients. However, this very simple recipe, while not a dieter's favorite, is one that is more reasonable and sooooo quick and easy! If you're in need of a quick meal, give this one a try! Add some oven roasted broccoli or a green salad and you're done! Enjoy!!

Simple Fettuccine Alfredo

1/2 lb butter, softened
1/2 lb freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1lb fettuccine
freshly ground black pepper

Cream butter and Parmesan cheese in electric mixer. Cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain fettuccine reserving 1 cup cooking water. Combine cooked fettuccine and butter mixture in large heat proof bowl; add freshly ground black pepper to taste.. Add hot cooking water as needed to loosen pasta. Serve hot!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Butternut Squash Kale Soup

I have shared this recipe before, but with the snow and coooold weather looming, I thought it well worth sharing again. After all, there is nothing better on a cold winter day than a hearty bowl of soup! This recipe comes from my artist friend, teacher, mentor and wonderful cook - Elly Hobgood. She truly does it all! I think you will also love this recipe! 

Bake a pan of cornbread to go with this and get ready for a delicious, hearty meal. One that "sticks to your bones" as Mama would say!

Butternut Squash Kale Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
3 cups diced butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper
4 generous sprigs fresh thyme (remove stems before serving)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups diced (packed) kale
1 can chickpeas or other white beans, drained and rinsed

Saute onion and carrots in oil in a large Dutch oven. Add garlic, squash, allspice, salt, pepper, thyme, broth and tomatoes. Simmer until squash begins to soften, about 20 minutes.Add  kale and chickpeas.

Cook another 10 minutes until kale has wilted.  Adjust seasonings. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan when serving, but even without that it's quite hearty. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Provencale Chicken Supper

There are days that are entirely to busy to prepare a meal from scratch in the late afternoon. That's when a good slow cooker meal is my 'ace in the hole'! This meal could not be easier nor quicker to get started. If you are rushed in the morning, you could prep this the night before and refrigerate the slow cooker insert. Take it out in the morning and place it in the cooker, set it and go off to work or play! Now, how easy is that???

Provencale Chicken Supper
4 chicken breast halves (with bone but no skin)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup diced yellow pepper
1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained

Place chicken in slow cooker, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper. Add yellow pepper, beans and tomatoes. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

Serve with Basil Crostini

Basil Crostini
8 (1/4-inch) slices French bread baguette
1 garlic clove, halved
2 Tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Broil bread slices for 15 seconds or until toasted. Rub toast with garlic halves. Sprinkle with cheese and basil; broil an additional 20 seconds.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Croissant Blueberry Puff

When you live in the mountains, you naturally have lots of visitors or "houseguests" as I prefer to call them. We are blessed to live in a beautiful place and are always happy to share that blessing with family and friends. This week, we are fortunate to have dear, dear friends who have moved away to take care of an aging mother and have come back to visit with us. Just as in any good "B&B", I believe breakfast is one of the highlights of the day. And certainly important when you have a full day ahead whether it is sightseeing or visiting old friends. 

This recipe is from "The Girl Who Ate Everything" blog via Pinterest. (YES! Pinterest!!!) I have to tell you, we ALL voted it a "keeper"! It is similar to bread pudding (with blueberries), not too sweet, but different from the typical breakfast strata casserole. 

Of course, I made a couple of changes! I actually forgot to buy cream cheese but had 1/2 of an 8-oz pkg in the refrigerator. I used that and we all decided it was just right! I also used 4 croissants as they came in a pkg of 4 and were medium size. I used frozen blueberries, thawed and drained on paper towel. I would make it again and double the recipe for a 9x13-inch pan. This recipe served the 4 of us with no leftovers (it was THAT good!).

Bonus tip: To soften the cream cheese in a hurry, I placed it on top of the drip coffee maker as it brewed! The cream cheese was perfect by the time I was ready for it! 

I've been thinking about a make-ahead method for this. I believe you could cut the croissants and place them in a plastic bag, mix up the liquid and refrigerate then combine all of it along with the blueberries in the morning. I do NOT think this could be completed the night before because the blueberries would run and the mixture would be purple! If anyone tries it, let me know how it turns out. OK??

Photo and recipe from "The Girl Who Ate Everything" blog

Croissant Blueberry Puff

3 large croissants, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place croissant pieces in a greased 9- inch square pan. Sprinkle with blueberries.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Gradually add milk, beating well after each addition. Pour evenly over croissant pieces. Let stand 20 minutes.
Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until set in center and golden brown. You may want to cover it with foil for the last 10 minutes if the top is getting too brown.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cheesecake Swirled Fudge Brownies

Last weekend was my birthday but I was too sick to celebrate. Later in the week, I dreamed of warm brownies topped with ice cream and hot fudge sauce. VIOLA! A dear friend took me out to lunch for a belated celebration and just guess what we had for dessert?? Of course, the most decadent warm brownies topped with vanilla gelato and drizzled with warm fudge AND caramel sauce and sprinkled with pecans! Well, you only have a birthday once a year! The celebration was heavenly!! So, I thought I would share another favorite brownie recipe this week. 

These brownies are double chocolate and swirled with cheesecake rivers. They are truly decadent and worthy of a celebration or just a late night snack. You decide!

The only down side to this recipe is that they really need to be chilled overnight before you eat them! So, plan ahead! 

Cheesecake Swirled Fudge Brownies

2 sticks butter, melted
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with aluminum foil strips hanging over each side and the ends of the pan. This makes it easy to lift the brownies out of the pan when ready to serve. Preheat oven to 350º.

Combiner butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Mix together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour and add to the butter sugar mixture. Stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

 Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Stir until well mixed.

Make long trenches in the batter with the end of a wooden spoon.  Fill the trenches with cream cheese mixture. With a knife cut rows through the batter across the trenches.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes; refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs and Oven Roasted Broccoli

Since I've had major CRUD for 3 weeks, I've been in the kitchen as little as possible. It really has not mattered what I cooked; I can taste nothing but salt! UGH! My DH (dear hubby) says this chicken tasted great. It was simple to prepare and once in the oven, I could go back to my chair and box of tissues. Just because it was easy, I put a couple of baking potatoes in the oven along side the chicken. I think it would be better with rice, but DH spooned the sauce over his potato and was happy! Toss in a pan of Oven Roasted Broccoli and your meal is complete and clean up is minimal!

Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs

1½ – 2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (most of the fat cut off and discarded)

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
5 Tablespoons honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees . Line an oven-proof pan with 2 layers of foil. (I highly advise usίng foil in this dish because soy sauce & honey are STICKY and tend to adhere heavily on glass dishes when cooked at high temperatures. Unless you want to be scrubbίng forever, use the foil!)
In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlίc, ground ginger, and pepper.
Place the chicken thighs in the foil layered pan then pour the mixture over. Turn the chicken around in the sauce to make sure it's coated on all sides. 
Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes, checkίng occasionally to make sure the tops are not browning too quickly. If they are, cover with foil and resume baking until chicken is done.
Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate and pour sauce over chicken. 
Serve with white or brown rice and steamed veggies.

Oven Roasted Broccoli
1 bunch broccoli, separated into florets
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove fresh garlic, minced

Toss broccoli florets in olive oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and minced garlic. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned on the edges and fork tender. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Brrrrr! The COLD weather makes hearty hot meals a MUST! Soup, stew and (in the South) gumbo are among our absolute favorites. This is a simple gumbo that allows several options. (There goes "that" word again... options. I've even instilled it into my 4-yr old granddaughter's vocabulary! We like to have lots of "options"!)

Rather than making a traditional roux, this recipe browns the flour in a dry skillet. This is much easier and if you make a mistake, you can toss it out and start over easily (options!) The recipe uses andouille sausage, but I have substituted smoked sausage successfully. I also added 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning.

Simple supper : Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with Crusty French Bread and a green salad.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart Magazine. I "borrowed" it and have prepared it several times, making small changes and suggesting "options"!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 link andouille sausage, finely chopped OR 1/2 lb smoked sausage OR a combination of the two
3 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
12 oz. fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch slices OR 2 cups frozen sliced okra
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 skinless chicken thighs
1 (28-oz) can plum tomatoes (with juice plus enough water to make 2 cups liquid), coarsely chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring to break up lumps, until it reaches the color of peanut butter and has a toasted aroma, about 14 minutes. Adjust heat to prevent burning. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool. Sift through a fine sieve, pressing clumps.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook for 1 minute. Increase heat to high. Add celery, onion and green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Add okra; cook for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, gradually whisk broth into flour; add to Dutch oven along with chicken, tomatoes, juice and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium; simmer vigorously for 1 hour. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. Transfer chicken to a plate and remover meat from bones. Add meat back to gumbo. Remove bay leaves. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.  Yield: 10 cups / 8 servings.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Apple Cider Waffles

* A note of apology for my long absence. I assumed (wrongly) that no one was cooking anymore and just stopped writing and sharing recipes. I have heard from several of you and vow to get back to my "job". Thanks for contacting me; it's always good to hear that there are actually folks out there reading and cooking! 

The winter weather has finally made it's way to us and that makes me crave warm "comfort foods". Breakfast for supper was common on cold winter nights in our house when I was growing up. I still love a crisp hot waffle with a side of scrambled eggs and little sausage links. Yuuummmm! 

This waffle recipe is quick and easy and tasty! I still have apples from the fall harvest and think I will sauté a pan full to spoon over these waffles. I'm sure I can talk the hubby into a dollop of whipped cream to top them off! And viola! We have dessert, too!

Apple Cider Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup apple cider ( or apple juice or milk)

Preheat waffle iron and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk all dry ingredients together and add egg and apple cider. Whisk until well-combined.
Pour into waffle iron and prepare according to waffle iron instructions.
Remove from waffle iron when baked throughout and serve warm.

Skillet Apples
Melt 4 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add 4 peeled, cored and sliced apples ( Yellow Delicious will cook down nicely, Pink Lady will hold their shape). Stir and cook over medium high heat until caramelized. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired. Serve over waffles, pancakes. as a side dish with pork or over ice cream!