Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spicy Southwest Pork Fingers

Awhile back I ran across a recipe for Pig Fingers over at The Dark Side of the Fridge.  I made the recipe, and it was very good but a little too spicy for me; and I only used 2 t. hot sauce.  I am a real pansy when it comes to very spicy food.  I will make it again, but next time I will use only 1 t. hot sauce.

From time to time I can buy whole pork loins for $1.99 a lb.  The use of pork cut into strips like chicken fingers intrigued me. After all, they are "They other white meat."  I have been experimenting using pork strips in some of my oven-baked chicken recipes.  Here is the most recent one I tried that I have a picture of.

Spicy Southwest Pork Fingers

1 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin or 4 boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick
1 egg
1 T. barbecue sauce
1 T. water
1/3 c. cornmeal
1/3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. onion powder
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. oregano, crushed
1-2 t. chili powder (I use 1 t.)
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted

Cut pork loin into four 1-inch slices.  Trim any fat and cut each slice into three strips.  If using pork chops, cut each chop into 3 strips.  Beat egg with barbecue sauce and water in a medium bowl.  Add pork strips and toss to coat.  Mix cornmeal, flour and seasonings together in a pie pan.  Place butter in a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Place in a 375 degree oven to melt while coating the pork.  Remove a pork strip from egg mixture and let drain.   Roll strip in cornmeal mixture, coating all sides.  Place on a rack or waxed paper.  Repeat with remaining pork strips.  When butter has melted, remove jelly roll pan from oven and add pork strips.  Bake strips for 10 minutes, turn, bake 10-15 minutes more until done.  Makes 12 fingers enough for 3-4 servings.  I served the pork fingers with a choice of barbecue sauce, honey mustard, and ranch dressing for dipping.  One could also use salsa.

I will be trying other recipes with pork fingers, so stay tuned.  

Linking up today with Full Plate Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, I'm Lovin' It
Hunk of Meat Monday

Tomorrow:  Friday Finds and Frugal Tips-Freezing Buttermilk

Skipping through Blogland and Taking a Rest

Since my stubbed toe is still hurting from last week, I am taking a rest.  I will be back next week when I will be stopping at Domestic Engineer Extraordinaire.  Please plan to join me then.

I will be back later with a recipe.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight-Curried Cream of Green Bean Soup with Bacon

Here is a little something different to do with green beans.  This makes a good, light soup for a summer lunch.  Green beans, bacon and a little curry powder.  All good things.  The crunchy bits of bacon make for a nice contrast to the creamy soup.  Of course, 2 cups of any other cooked vegetable can be used instead of the green beans, so one can have curried carrot, pea, asparagus, broccoli, or cauliflower soup.

Curried Cream of Green Bean Soup with Bacon

8 slices bacon, diced
1/2 c. chopped onion
!/3 c. chopped red pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 (13 fl. oz.) can evaporated milk, regular or 2 %
2 c. cooked fresh or frozen green beans or 1 (16 oz.) can
1/4 t. curry powder
1t. instant chicken bouillon
1/2 c. water.
salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp, remove to paper towel to drain and set aside.  Drain skillet of bacon grease.  Add onion, red pepper, and garlic to skillet and cook in residual bacon grease until tender.  Set aside.  Melt butter in a medium size saucepan.  Add flour and stir until well blended.  Add evaporated milk and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken.  Remove from heat.  Drain green beans if using canned, saving the liquid in a glass measuring cup.  Place green beans and 1/2 c. of reserved liquid in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  (If using cooked fresh or frozen green beans, use 1/2 c. water if you do not have the liquid from cooking the beans.)  Add green beans to milk mixture and mix well.  Return to heat.  Add curry powder and instant chicken bouillon.  Add the 1/2 c. water if mixture is too thick.  Cook over low heat 10 minutes stirring often until soup is heated through.  Ladle soup into serving bowls and top each serving with the onion bits.  Makes 4 servings.  Good served with Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers.

 Linking to Ingredient Spotlight

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Deluxe Brownie Fingers

It is about time for another cookie recipe.  This is a very easy and quick brownie recipe.  I like this recipe because it uses cocoa and not a lot of it, and the butter is melted so you don’t have to wait for it to soften.

I do not use the Fudge Frosting recipe that was included with the recipe as I have a similar but easier one that I will post below the recipe.

Deluxe Brownie Fingers
Choice Chocolate Recipes
Farm Journal Books, 1978

1/4 c. cocoa
1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. water
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. chopped nuts (opt.)

Combine cocoa, butter and water in large saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until butter is melted.  remove from heat and let cool. slightly.
Mix together flour, sugar, and baking soda.  Stir into cocoa mixture, blending well.  Blend in eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk, mixing well.  Pour into greased 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.  Bake at  375 degrees 20 minutes or until done.  Cool in pan on rack.  Frost with Fudge Frosting.  Cut into 4x1-inch bars.  Makes 40.

Fudge Frosting
1 1/2 c. sugar
6 T. butter or margarine
6 T. milk
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
20 miniature marshmallows

Combine sugar, butter or margarine, milk and chocolate chis in 2-qt. saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Add marshmallows.  Boil 2 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Cool to lukewarm (120 degrees).  Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until frosting is of spreading consistency.  Spread on brownies.

Fudge Frosting
1 c. sugar
6 tbsp. butter (must be butter)
6 tbsp. milk
1/2 bag semisweet chocolate chips (1 c.)

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 1/2 minute, take off heat. Add chocolate chips. May add nuts if desired. Stir and spread on brownies.

Monday, June 27, 2011

DIY Groceries-Barbecue Rubs/Sauces 2

First, I want to say Good Monday morning and welcome new followers.  Hope you enjoy your visit.

As I said last Monday, I love to make homemade barbecue rubs and sauces, so I try a new recipe  almost every time we have barbecue, whether on the grill  or in the oven.  I do have a few recipes that I go back to, like the rub and sauce I posted last week.  This is another recipe that I use from time to time.  This one comes from an appearance by Ollie Gates, owner of Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, on the Martha Stewart Living TV Show.  There is a bonus Baked Bean recipe using both the seasoning and the sauce also.

The rib seasoning is a dry rub that should be applied 15 minutes before grilling; the barbecue sauce, warmed up in a saucepan, is an ideal accompaniment to the finished ribs. Note:  these are his instructions.  I always put rubs on and let the meat rest in the refrigerator for several hours before grilling or putting in the oven.

Makes 2 cups

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground celery

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed jar.

Makes about 3 quarts

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground red pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 quarts ketchup
2 cups apple vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, mix together sugar, salt, celery seed, cumin, red pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. Set aside.    In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add dry ingredients, and mix well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks or in a freezer for up to 6 months.

Serves 18 to 20

2 fifty-five-ounce cans baked beans
1/2 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons Rib Seasoning (recipe above)
3/4 cup Barbecue Sauce (recipe above)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

In a cast-iron pot, combine all ingredients.    Cook on the grill, stirring occasionally, until hardened “crust” forms on top of beans, about 20 minutes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Taco-Macaroni Supper Skillet

 Here is a quick, good one-dish dinner that can be on the table in the amount of time it would take to cook Hamburger Helper and with none of the additives.  I used my "Ready Ground Beef" from the freezer and a homemade taco seasoning.

Ready Ground Beef
I brown 3 lbs. of 15% ground beef with 1 1/2 c. each chopped onion, celery, red pepper and 3 cloves garlic.  When it is cooked, I drain it and rinse it with hot water.  I divide it into 4-5 packages and freeze.  When I am ready to use it, I thaw in the microwave for casseroles or just put in soups still frozen.  I use this anywhere 1 lb. browned ground beef is called for.  I do not worry that the amount is not a whole pound.  It doesn't really make a difference in casseroles and soups.

Taco-Macaroni Supper Skillet
1/2 to 1 lb. lean ground beef (If using Ready Ground Beef, omit onion, pepper, and celery)
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped red pepper
1/4 c. chopped celery
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (or homemade-see below)
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 1/4 c. water
1 1/2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
1 1/2 c. frozen corn or 1 can (16 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15 oz.) pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained or 1 can (15 oz.) chili beans, undrained
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese or Mexican Blend

In large skillet brown ground beef, add onion, pepper, and celery and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Drain.  If using Ready Ground Beef start here.  Add taco seasoning mix, tomato sauce, water (use part of measured-out water to rinse tomato sauce can), corn and beans.  Bring to a boil.  Stir.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover, cook 8-12 minutes or until macaroni is of desired doneness, stirring occasionally.  Top with dollops of sour cream.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; let stand 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Makes 6 servings.

Taco Seasoning
1 T. chili powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. oregano
1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper

 Mix together well.  Makes about 2 1/2 T. mix.  Use in above recipe, starting with half of mixture and increasing to taste.  It may be too spicy for children if all the mix is used.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frugal Friday Tips-Quick and Easy Bread Sticks

Today's Frugal Friday is shop your local bread discount outlet.  In the moderate-sized town near me, there are three bread discount outlets.  There I can get bread products for a little as $1.00 an item.  This is real savings over buying the same items at the grocery store.  I shop two of the stores on a regular basis.  Here is what I last purchased at the store A for $1.00 each.  As you can see, you can get other products beside bread.  This trip I was able to snag tortillas, pizza crusts, and potato chips. 

This is what I last purchased at Store B.  At this store, you must buy 5 items to get them for $1.00 each.  I also purchased a box of donuts which I took to work, so they are not in the picture.  I will divide up the Brown and Serve Bread Sticks and put them in the freezer.  I am not always able to get the bread sticks.  When that happens, I make bread sticks from oblong sandwich rolls.  Today I used the French Hoagie rolls, and this is how I do it.

1/2 to 1 roll for each person
1 T. butter per roll, melted
Seasoning to sprinkle over rolls I like Spice Islands Garlic and Herb Grinder); any spice, herb, or blend can be used.
Grated or shredded cheese as desired (optional)

If rolls are not completely cut in half finish cutting them in half.  Cut the halves in half.  There will be 4 sticks per roll.  Brush each stick with melted butter.  Sprinkle chosen herb or spice over bread sticks.  Bake in a 375 degree oven 5-10 minutes or until as brown and crisp as desired.  I do not go too brown with the Spice Island Blend so the garlic doesn't burn.  Allow 2-4 bread sticks per serving.

Friday Finds

I took a little trip around the world with my Friday Finds this week.  Here are several recipes from different ethnic cuisines.

Talking Dollars and Cents

I really like the flavor of curry and am anxious to try this recipe.  It doesn't have any unusual ingredients in it so I think I could get this one by my husband.

Chef in Training

I am going to do this one the next time I am in the mood for Oriental food, which is quite often.

Well, it looks like I am on a chicken "kick" this week also.  This site has a 1-Dish category that has 39 main dish and dessert recipes that can be made in less than one hour.  I have made several of the pizza ones.  Now I want to try the Mexican inspired ones.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe

I have had several Heath Bars in my cupboard for awhile.  I knew I had purchased them for a recipe so I was very good and did not eat them.  Last week I was reading a post at Mel's Kitchen Cafe regarding suggestions for food for Father's Day.  The it was!  Heath Bar Cake.  I suddenly remembered that was what the Heath Bars were for.  So that was Father's Day dessert.  It was very good.  I also made the Heath Bar Cookies.  They were very good also.  I used the packaged Heath Bit in the cookies.  I highly recommend booth recipes.

Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
I have not been very successful with flatbread recipes.  My fault, I'm sure.  I want to give this one a try so I can make homemade gyros.

King Arthur Flour Blog

Cheeseburgers with cheesy buns.  Sounds really good to me.  The no-knead part sounds good, too.

I am off to see what great recipes the other party attendees have found this week.

Linking to Friday Favorites at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

1-Dish Meat Lovers' Pizza Bake

I  am so excited!  I managed to edit the HTML for this blog to add a button for PrintFriendly.  I have never done anything with HTML before.  Of course, it was just a copy and paste thing, but I feel so empowered.  It kind of makes up for my stubbed toe (see previous post.)

Now, if you want to print a post, you can just click the print/PDF button below the post.  It will bring up a page where you can delete the photos and any parts of the post you do not want.  You do need to be on the post's separate page, not on the home page.  (See a more thorough explanation here.)  You can then print or save it as a PDF.  Pretty cool, I think, and I use it all the time.

Fleischmann's Yeast has a web site call  They have a category there called 1-Dish that has 39 main dish and dessert recipes that can be made in less than an hour.  I often use recipes from there for our lunches.  I made this dish this week but used all Italian sausage.  The crust for this is more like a biscuit crust.  We prefer our crusts thin, so I halve the dough ingredients.  I make my own pizza sauce and have included the recipe below.  I used a 9-inch round pie pan instead of a square pan.

1-Dish Meat-Lovers' Pizza Bake
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 envelopes Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
3/4 cup very warm water (120° - 130°F)
1/4 c. olive oil

Meat Filling
1/2 pound lean ground beef, cooked
1/2 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1 can (8 ounces) pizza sauce

12 to 18 pepperoni slices (about 1-inch diameter)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian Herb Blend

Mix dough ingredients together in a pre-sprayed 8x8-inch baking dish.  Stretch dough out to cover the bottom and sides of dish.  Combine meat filling ingredients and place on dough in pan.  Evenly distribute pepperoni slices over meat; sprinkle with cheese and herbs.  Bake by placing in a COLD oven; set temperature to 350 degrees; bake 30 minutes.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Pizza Sauce-supposed to be like Pizza Hut's
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried marjoram
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 t. sugar

Combine and let set for an hour to allow flavors to blend or place ingredients in a small saucepan and cook 10-15 minutes.

Linking to Full Plate Thursday and I'm Lovin' It
Ingredient Spotlight

Tomorrow:  Friday Finds and Frugal Tips

Skipping through Blogland and Stubbing My Toe

Well, while skipping through Blogland I have stubbed my toe.  The blogger I wanted to spotlight this week did not respond to my emails.  I could probably spotlight a blog without notifying the blogger, but I don't work that way.  The spotlights are only positive with a few links to posts/recipes I especially like.  Soooo, if you are reading this and would like your blog to be spotlighted some Thursday, please email me at, and we will "talk."  Thanks a bunch.

If you would like to see a couple of my Skipping through Blogland spotlights, here is Eat at Home and  Jam Hands.

Since I am trying to get enough recipes up to qualify for the next Secret Recipe Club, I will be back later today with a recipe.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight-Jam Cake

 I confess, I do not care for blueberries.  However, I did not want to skip this Ingredient Spotlight so I have been keeping my eyes open for something to post.  In the same Farm Journal cookbook that I posted the Sour Cream Coleslaw recipe from yesterday, I spied a recipe for Blackberry Jam Cake.  The recipe said that it was also good with strawberry or raspberry jam.  So I thought blueberry jam-that could work.  I think this is just going to be called Jam Cake as probably any jam flavor could be used.  I love a recipe that is a base from which I can make variations.

This improves with aging so can be made a day or two ahead of serving if one can wait to eat it.  That would not be me.  I put this in a 9x13-inch glass baking dish and baked it for 45 minutes.  I let cool and sprinkled powdered sugar over the top.  The cake is just a hint of purple, is moist with a subtle spice and berry flavor, and is crunchy with the nuts.  So go forth and make a purple cake!

Jam Cake
Great Home Cooking in America
Farm Journal Books, 1976

1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. jam of choice
3 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. ground allspice
3/4 t. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/3 c. chopped walnuts (I used only 1 cup and toasted them)

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in jam.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.  Stir in walnuts.  Spread batter in greased and waxed-paper-lined 9-inch tube pan.  Bake at 325 degrees 1 hour and 30 minutes or until cake tests done.  Makes 10 servings.

I am linking to Ingredient Spotlight and Whisking Wednesdays.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Sour Cream Cole Slaw

Today's recipe is for an easy coleslaw made with ingredients one usually has in the fridge and pantry. Cook's Country has a new trick to keep cabbage from weeping in coleslaws and salads.  Place the cabbage with 1 t. salt in a microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave on high just until cabbage begins to wilt, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Transfer to a colander over a bowl and let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Press cabbage to release moisture.  Rinse cabbage to remove excess salt and dry well in a clean dish towel.  Proceed with recipe.  I sometimes add chopped onion, shredded carrot, and chopped red pepper to this, but it is fine without the additions.

Sour Cream Coleslaw
Great Home Cooking in America
Farm Journal Books, 1976

1 c. dairy sour cream
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. vinegar
1 T. mayonnaise or salad dressing
6 c. finely shredded cabbage

Blend together sour cream, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and mayonnaise, mixing well.  Stir into cabbage until well blended.  Chill until serving time.  Makes 6 servings.

Tomorrow:  Ingredient Spotlight-Blueberries

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do It Yourself Groceries-Barbecue Rubs/Sauces 1

Barbecue season is upon us and this was Father's Day dinner.  Over the next two or three weeks, I am going to share some of my favorite homemade barbecue rubs and sauces.  Now I do buy sauces if there is a good sale on my favorite brands as that can be less expensive than making your own.  However, I think nothing beats a good homemade rub and sauce.  If you already have the spices on hand, as I do, homemade rubs will always save money.

My copy of this rub doesn't indicate where it came from, but after a web search it seems to have come from The Smoke Ring website from a book called  "The Thrill of the Grill" by Chris Schlesinger.  This rub gives a nice barbecue red color to whatever you use it on.

All South Barbecue Rub
2 T. Salt
2 T. Sugar
2 T. Brown Sugar
2 T. Ground Cumin
2 T. Chile Powder
2 T. Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 T. Cayenne Pepper
4 T. Paprika

Mix ingredient together until well blended.  Store tightly covered in cool, dry place.  Makes about 1 cup.

This barbecue sauce recipe is one that I have been using for years.  I like it because the base is tomato soup and tomato sauce.  It keeps in the refrigerator for up to six months and can be frozen.  You may use any kind of vinegar in this although I used rice vinegar this time.

Two frugal tips:  Grease your measuring cup when measuring the molasses.  Use the measured-out vinegar to wash out the tomato soup and tomato sauce cans to get "the very last drop".

This recipe comes from "The Year Round Holiday Cookbook" by Marlene Sorosky.  This is a fairly mild sauce with just a bit of a bite.

Panhandle Barbecue Sauce
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed tomato soup
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 c. light molasses
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. vegetable oil  (I don't use this)
1 T. instant minced onion
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 T. seasoned salt
1 T. dry mustard
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. orange or lemon peel (I don't always use this)
2 t. paprika
1/2 t. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer for 15 to 20 min., stirring occasionally.  Brush on chicken or meat during the last 15 minutes of grilling.  Cool and store in refrigerator.  Keeps 6 months. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.  May be frozen.

A great big welcome to my new followers.  Hope you like it here.

Tomorrow:  Cooking with the Journal

Linking to Melt in Your Mouth Mondays

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Greek Chicken-An Experiment, Mostly Successful

I really like the moist, slightly teriyaki flavored chicken meat that I get from Simmered Chinese Chicken and have wondered for some time if I could use the same method to make a Greek flavored chicken.  My husband had to be gone yesterday, so I decided that was the day to give it a try.

First I put a Greek seasoning mix on the chicken and let it chill for a couple of hours.  Then I combined ingredients from several recipes to come up with the mixture to cook the chicken in.  When the chicken was done, I had a chicken with the moist chicken meat I had hoped for and a nicely flavored gravy/sauce.  The chicken didn't have quite as much flavor as I had hoped so next time I will rub the seasoning mix under the skin.

Recently I had made Smothered Pork Chops in the Slow Cooker from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  (I had cooked some thin pork steaks in the oven using the ingredients in the recipe).  I decided to use a similar method for making the gravy/sauce for the chicken.

You can use Cavendar's Greek Seasoning or make your own.   I have seen the seasoning recipe I used a number of places on the internet, but Food for My Family has it with a Mediterranean Bean Salad and Chicken Gyros recipe so I will give credit to her.  The one variation I have seen in the seasoning mix is the addition of 1 t. instant beef bouillon.

Greek Seasoning
2 t. salt
2 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. onion powder
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. cornstarch
1 t. pepper
1 t. dried parsley flakes
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. grated nutmeg

Mix together and store in a cool, dry place.

Greek Chicken
1 3 1/2-4  lb. whole fryer
2 t. olive oil
1 T. Greek seasoning (above) or Cavendar's
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c dry white wine
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 T Greek yogurt
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. marjoram
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. rosemary, crushed
1/2 t. basil
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4 c. chopped onion

Remove giblets from chicken.  Rinse well and pat dry.  Lift chicken skin and rub 1/2 t. or so Greek seasoning over chicken breasts.  Brush chicken front with 1 t. olive oil and sprinkle with 1 t. Greek seasoning  Turn chicken over, brush with 1 t. olive oil and sprinkle with 1 t. Greek seasoning.  Place chicken in plastic bag or wrap in plastic and chill 2 hours or more.

Heat 1 T. olive oil in Dutch oven until hot.  Add chicken and brown well on both sides.  Remove from heat.  Add onion to Dutch oven.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix until yogurt is well blended.  Pour over chicken.  Heat until liquid boils, then turn heat down to maintain a simmer.  Cover and cook about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken reaches 165 degrees.  Remove chicken and keep warm.

Pour liquid in Dutch oven through a sieve to catch solids.  Set solids aside.  Pour liquid into gravy separator,  pour 1 cup or so into a blender container, stopping when fat gets to the bottom of spout.  You may have more liquid than will fit into the separator at one time.  If so, fill it in batches.  Pour remaining liquid into a 1-quart glass measuring cup.  Add reserved solids to blender container and blend until smooth.  Pour into the measuring cup.  Note amount of liquid in cup.  (I had about 2 1/2 cups.)  Pour liquid back into Dutch oven or a saucepan.  Add remaining Greek seasoning.  Mix together 1 T. cornstarch for each cup of liquid in pan with 1/3 to 1/2 c. water, blending well.  Add to liquid in Dutch oven.  Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce/gravy is desired thickness.  Serve with the chicken.
I tasted the chicken meat today after it was refrigerated overnight.  It is wonderfully moist with just a hint of additional flavor.  So next time I will put the Greek seasoning under the skin and add a bay leaf or two to the liquid the chicken is cooked in.  All-in-all, I am pretty happy with the results of my experiment.  It certainly is a long way from being a dish destined for the garbage.

Linking to Whisking Wednesdays.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fried Rice-Japanese Style

Everyone probably has their own recipe for this, but I thought I would share mine.  This is loosely adapted from the Benihana Japanese Fried Rice recipe in "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes".  I use more ingredients in mine.  I don't know if there is much difference between Japanese and Chinese fried rices, but I am going to call this Japanese.  I sometims garnish this with toasted, slivered almonds.  Diced, cooked meat, poultry, or even seafood could be added to make this a main dish.

Fried Rice-Japanese Style
2 c. well-chilled cooked rice (1 c. rice cooked according to package directions)
1 1/2-2 T. butter
1/4 c. minced or grated carrot
1 bunch green onions, sliced or 1/2 c. diced regular onion
1/2 c. finely diced red pepper
3-4 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2  eggs, beaten
1 c. frozen peas, thawed

Melt butter in medium-sized frying pan.  Add carrot, onion, and red pepper.  Cook until tender, stirring often.  Add rice, cook and stir for a few minutes.  Add soy sauce and mix well.  Push rice to ide of frying pan.  Pour eggs into frying pan and scramble quickly, breaking egg up into pea-sized pieces.  Mix egg and rice together, blending well.  Add peas.  Cook, stirring often, until peas are heated through and everything is hot.  Makes 4 servings.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Frugal Friday Tips-Twice Baked Croutons

This post could go in my DIY Groceries series, but I am posting it here under Frugal Tips instead.  One the most over-priced items in the grocery store, in my opinion, is packaged croutons.  I can buy bread at three different bread surplus stores in my area for as little as $1.00 a loaf, and it is perfect for making croutons.  Besides saving money, there are other reasons to make your own croutons.  Homemade croutons have no additional preservatives other than what is in the bread. They can be made from any bread, which provides unlimited variety.  My personal favorite for making croutons is 12-Grain bread, although that is not what I used today.  They can be made in small batches so they are fresher.  They can be seasoned with any combination of seasonings.  They are very easy to make.

I use a double bake method when I make croutons.  This is a little more labor intensive than most methods, but not much.  I cube my bread, bake it, add the butter/olive oil/seasonings/etc. mixture, blend well and put back in the oven to finish baking.  Before I started to do this, some of the croutons absorbed too much oil and were greasier than the rest.  This method seems to avoid that.  This is what I made today.  Unfortunately, I tend to eat homemade croutons like popcorn which is not very good for my hips.

Sour Dough Garlic/Parmesan Croutons
8 slices Sour Dough French Bread
2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 t. garlic powder
1/4 c. Parmesan Cheese

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes.  Spread out in a single layer on two jelly roll pans.  Place in a 300-degree oven and bake for 7-8 minutes.   Turn bread cubes and bake another 7-8 minutes.  Remove from oven and place bread cubes in a large bowl.   Place butter and olive oil in a glass measuring cup.  Microwave at 50% power 1 minute or until butter is melted.  Add garlic powder and Parmesan Cheese.  Mix well.  This will form kind of a paste.  Pour the paste as slowly as you can over the bread cubes, stirring and stirring until it is all very well mixed.  Place the bread cubes in single layers back into the jelly roll pans.  Return to oven and bake 10 minutes, turn bread cubes and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until as crisp as you like.  They will crisp up some more as they cool.  Store tightly covered.  This makes at least as much as a package of croutons.

Linked to I'm Lovin It at Tidy Mom and Frugal Friday at Living on a Dime

Friday Finds

A fun find this week.  Without further adieu, I give you:

From Knit1Kids4
I found this because Kristal left a comment on this blog.   I always try to go to my commentors' blogs when I have the time.  What can I say about this one.  I think that it would be a great thing to do with kids,  specially when they do the, "Mom, I'm bored, there's nothing to do." thing.  Been there.  Kristal also does Chocolate Fridays.  Guess where I'm going to be sometime today.

From Apples to Zucchini

This came in my email yesterday.  I had one of those "duh" moments-why had I never thought of freezing caramelized onions.  I'll bet the bonus "onion broth" is great, too.  This is going in my slowcooker tonight.

Fresh Cherry Pie Filling
Cherry Crisp in a Jar
My Baking Addiction/My Kitchen Addiction

Same blogger/different blogs.   Due to weather this spring, cherry season is late here in the valley but is starting soon.  I am lucky enough to get Free cherries, and this looks like a fun thing to do with them beside just eating them fresh and getting a stomach ache.

Pig Fingers
Dark Side of the Fridge

Guess I'm into recipes with "interesting names" this week.  There is boneless pork loin on sale at one of the local grocery stores.   This just might be part of Father's Day dinner.  I think this would be great with some of those Caramelized Onions mentioned above on the side.

Life's Ambrosia

I freely admit that I am the Cookie Monster's grandmother so must confess that I made these not once, but twice this past week; and they are all gone.  These are that good.  They just may be my new favorite cookie.

Well, will close this up until next Friday.  I am anxious to click around and see the great things others have found.

Linking to Friday Favorites at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Skipping through Blogland and Stopping at Jam Hands

Today I am stopping at what is a, new to me, blog but such a find!  Jam Hands, what a clever title.  There is a little explanation on the right for the inspiration for that title.  I am finding so many great blog titles out there that I am more than a little envious since mine is just "so-so".  Oh well, on to the business at hand which is to tell you about this great blog.

This blog has wonderful recipes and some of the best  food pictures I have encountered  in blogland.  Her photos just make you wish that you could reach through the computer screen and eat whatever it is you are seeing; AND she does those great photos with a point-and-shoot camera.  I like so many recipes it is hard to narrow it down to just a few to feature here, but here we go:

 Smothered Creole Cube Steak.  We eat a lot of cube steak, and I am always looking for new recipes.  This looks like a good one, and I will be making it soon.  Just will use red peppers instead of the green.

Pepperoni Mac and Cheese.   I always have pepperoni in my freezer since I get big amount of it at Costco.  I am going to try this soon.  I think it would make a great lunch or dinner.  There is a great tip for  degreasing pepperoni here at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Lasagna Sandwiches.  Though I cook dinner only 3 times a week, I make lunch almost everyday.  These look sooooo! good.  I can get sandwich buns at my local bread outlet store for only $1 a package.  Definitely going to make these the next time I go there and stock up.  I am sure that this will be hit with my hubby and a nice change from soup which he gets a lot.\

Bacon Tomato Dip.  I would have to leave out the green peppers.  Otherwise this dip is calling my name.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bars. There always has to be a cooky recipe for Cookie Monster's grandma here.  I have zucchini in the freezer so there are being made, like tonight.

These are just a few of the wonderful recipes that can be found at Jam Hands.  Something for everyone.

Ali has other great features, too.  There is Ali's Notepad where there are links to the recipes and information she has found interesting at other blogs that week.  Ali also does The Weekend Dish where she summarizes the recipes and other info posted during the week. You don't have to scroll all through the blog to find something, which makes it nice.  There is a Featured Commenter section, so if you have commented on the blog that week, you and your blog just might get featured.

There is great help for bloggers with posts on organizing your blog parties and the recipes that you post.

Ali will be soon be doing a post on photo tips and how others can produce great photos like she has.  Be sure to watch for it.

This is a blog that you will want to subscribe to and follow.  There is just too much good stuff there for a one-time visit.  I really hated it when my stop at Jam Hands had to end.

 All photos were taken by Ali at Jam Hands, are her property, and are used with permission.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pillsbury Bake-Off Recipe-Fudge Nougats

Since I just found a, new to me, link party at Happier than a Pig in Mud called Celebrity Cook-Along, since they are doing Pillsbury Bake-Off Recipes, since I just happened to have a favorite, since I am off work today, since I am trying to post enough recipes to qualify for The Secret Recipe Club in August, I am posting a second post today.

Edited 7/6/11.  You don't have to look at my kitchen any more, I made the recipe and took some pics.  Again since I left my camera at work and since I already posted one picture, you are going to get another view of my humble little kitchen.

I have been making Fudge Nougats for over 40 years.  This recipe was part of the 1963 Bake-Off.  That was back when contestants had to use Pillsbury Flour in their recipes.  Pillsbury did not have many "convenience products" in those days.  This makes kind of a "fake" fudge.  It has been part of my Christmas goody plates for many, many years.  I always hear about it, if this is not included.  I am sharing the original recipe and the revised recipe that Pillsbury printed in a 1967 cookie book.  I collected the Bake-Off cook booklets for a long time until there began to be "convenience" products in almost all the recipes.

Fudge Nougats
1963 Pillsbury Bake-Off

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I usually use milk chocolate chips)
3/4 c. Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour
1 c. finely crushed graham crackers (about 5 double graham crackers)
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped walnuts

Combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk in a saucepan.  Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Lower heat and boil 10 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in remaining remaining ingredients and blend well, mixing until chocolate chips are melted.  Spread in greased 8x12-inch pan.  Let stand until set.  For faster setting,  place pan in the refrigerator.  Cut into 40 squares

For a richer chocolate flavor, increase chocolate chips to 2 cups or add 1/4 c. cocoa to the sugar/butter/evaporated milk mixture before cooking.

Revised Fudge Nougat Recipe-1967
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. Pillsbury's Best All Purpose Flour
1/2 c. butter
1 (15 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 5 double graham crackers)
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. miniature marshmallows (optional)

In saucepan, combine sugar, flour, butter and condensed milk.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; boil l minute.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients except marshmallows.  Stir until chocolate chips are melted.  Stir in marshmallows.  Spread in greased 8x12-inch pan.  Cool.  For faster setting, place in refrigerator.  Cut into squares.  Makes 40 pieces.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Nougats:  Use 1 c. chopped peanuts instead of walnuts and add 1/4 c. smooth peanut butter with chocolate chips.

Linking to Celebrity Cook-Along, These Chicks Cooked, Cast Party Wednesdays,

Ingredient Spotlight-Bacon and Corn Scramble

Aw, peppers, kind of a love/hate relationship here.  I don’t like the green ones, but discovered a couple of years ago that I do like the red ones.  Also found out that they are very good for you.  I like the yellow and orange one, too; but don't buy them often since they are more expensive.  Now I put red peppers in as many things as I can get away with.  So far hubby hasn’t said anything about it

Here is my contribution to today’s spotlight.  Although I am calling this Bacon and Corn Scramble, it is more of an idea than a recipe; and I use other vegetables:  carrots, peas, green beans, mixed vegetables, etc. to make this side dish also.  I change the herbs/spices up all the time so this dish is very versatile.  I like to use green onions for color if I have them, otherwise I just use regular ones (can be yellow, white or red ).

Bacon and Corn Scramble

2 slices bacon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, sliced with some of the green part used
1/3-1/2 c. red pepper, chopped
1/3-1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 can (16 oz.) corn, well drained or 2 c. fresh or frozen corn, cooked
1/4-1/2 t.  herb or spice of your choice (try curry powder, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, blends)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in frying pan until crisp.  Crumble and set aside.  Drain bacon fat from the pan into glass measuring cup.  Wipe skillet with a paper towel to remove residue.  Return 1 T. bacon fat to the skillet.  Heat and add garlic, green onions, red pepper, and celery.  Cook, stirring often, until tender.  Add corn and herb or spice of your choice.  Heat and stir until corn is heated through.  Put in a serving dish and top with the crumbled bacon.  Makes 3-4 servings

Linking up to Ingredient Spotlight at Eat at Home.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Swedish Meatballs

I doubt that this recipe is at all authentic, but it is very good and can be made 2 or 3 days ahead.  If you have frozen meatballs in the freezer it is also quick.  I usually double the sauce ingredients.

Swedish Meatballs
Busy Woman’s Cookbook
Farm Journal Books, 1961, 1971

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. nutmeg or allspice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 egg
2 T. flour
2 T. fat-butter, shortening, or vegetable oil
1 c. beef broth

Mix together beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg or allspice, onion and egg.  Shape lightly into 1 1/2-inch meat balls.  Spray a broiler pan with non-stick spray.  Place meatballs on pan.  Brown meat balls quickly on all sides under the broiler.  Remove meatballs to a large casserole dish.

Melt fat, brown flour in fat.  Add beef broth and cook until gravy is smooth and thickened.  Pour over meat balls.  At this point, meat balls can be covered and refrigerated 2-3 days.  Cover and bake in 325 degree oven 1 1/2 hours. Serve over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Monday, June 13, 2011

DIY Groceries-Snack Cake Mix

Back in the late 70’s and into the 80’s Snack Cakes were all the rage.  There were Snack Cake mixes from all the commercial bakers on the store shelves.  The appeal of these mixes was being able to make the cake right in the baking pan.  Women loved it if they had just one less item to wash.

In 1982 Woman’s Day put out a homemade version of this popular dessert.  I still have the clipping from the magazine and make this mix often.  It makes it so easy top whip up and bake dessert in about 40 minutes.  There were many variations in the magazine article which I will post here, but one can easily think of more.   Since the whole idea of these cakes was to bake something fast, they were not usually frosted but certainly can be.  This is also just the right size cake for a couple or small family.

Snack Cake Mix
Woman's Day 10/82
Snack Cake Mix
6 c. flour
4 c. sugar
3 T. baking powder
2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. shortening

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut in shortening with
a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal.  Store in
airtight container in cool, dry place.  Makes 13 cups.  Use
within 3 months.

Use rubber spatula to mix ingredients to avoid scratching baking pan.
Scrape down sides of pan before baking.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into center of cake.
Cool cake in pan on rack.

Everyday Cake
2 c. Snack Cake Mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk

Place all ingredients in an 8-inch layer-cake or square pan  stir
until well blended.  Scrape down sides of pan.  Bake at 375 degrees 30 minutes or until done.  Makes 8 servings.  190 cal. ea.
This makes a great shortcake topped with sliced fresh fruit.  Canned or thawed frozen fruit may also be used.  Can be topped with sauces of your choice.  Chocolate and butterscotch are very good.

Chip and Nut Cake:  Add 1/3 c. chips of your choice and 1/3 c. toasted nuts of your choice to above recipe.

Pecan Glazed Cake
Ingredients for Everyday Cake above
/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. flour
1 t. vanilla
1 T. flour
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Prepare and bake Everyday Cake as above.  Meanwhile in small bowl mix butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and milk.  Fold in pecans.  When cake is done, remove from oven: spread with butter-nut mixture; return to oven and bake a minute or two until glaze is bubbly.  Remove from oven and run a thin-bladed spatula around edges to loosen cake.  Makes 8 servings. 346 cal. ea.

Other nuts can be used:  walnuts and almonds are very good in this also.

Chocolate Cake
2 c. Snack Cake Mix
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. ice water
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

In 8-inch layer-cake pan or square pan stir cake mix and cocoa until well blended. Briskly stir in egg, vanilla, and iced water until well mixed. Bake and cool.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar if desired.  Makes 8 servings.  191 cal. ea.

2 c. Snack Mix
1 t. each cinnamon and ginger
1/4 t. each cloves, nutmeg, and baking soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c. each dark molasses and milk
Whipped cream or topping

In 8-inch square pan stir cake mix, spices, and baking soda.  Stir until well blended.  Briskly stir in eggs, molasses and milk until well mixed. Bake and cool.  Top with whipped cream if desired.  Makes 8 servings.  319 cal. ea.

Easy Carrot Cake
2 1/2 c. Snack Cake Mix
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
1/3 c. raisins (leave out if you don't like)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 jar (7 1/2 oz.) junior baby-food carrots
1 T. lemon juice
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

In 8-inch square pan stir cake mix, cinnamon, nuts and raisins until well blended.  Stir in egg, carrots, and lemon juice until well blended.  Bake and cool.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired.  Makes 8 servings.  298 ca. ea.

Crumb-Top Cake
2 1/2 c. Snack Cake Mix, divided
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. chopped pecans or other nuts.
1 t. cinnamon

In 8-inch square pan stir 2 c. cake mix, the egg, milk and vanilla until well blended.  In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 c. cake mix, nuts, and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake and cool.  Makes 8 servings.  259 ca. ea.

Applesauce Cake with Almond-Sugar Topping
2 c. Snack Cake Mix
1/2 t. each nutmeg and cinnamon
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 c. applesauce
1/3 c. sliced almonds
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg

In 8-inch layer-cake or square pan stir cake mix, nutmeg and cinnamon until well blended.  Stir in egg and applesauce.  Combine almonds, sugar, and nutmeg.  Sprinkle over cake batter.  Bake and cool.  Makes 8 servings.  216 cal. ea.

Swedish Coffee Cake
2 C. Snack Cake Mix
1 t. ground cardamom (or cinnamon)
1 egg, slightly beaten
2/3 c. milk
3 T. chopped nuts
1 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon

In 8-inch layer-cake or square pan stir cake mix and cardamom until well blended.  Stir in egg and milk until well blended.  Combine nuts, sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake and cool.  Makes 8 servings.  213 cal. ea.

Tomorrow:  Cooking with the Journal-Swedish Meatballs

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Links to Help for New Bloggers

As a new blogger, I am always on the look out for any help I can get regarding blogging and digital photography.  I am such a beginner at both.  Last week figgsandsuch posted a link to this great series from Serenity Now about commenting on blogs.  There is a new series called Blogging Myths starting there on Tuesday also.

This post led me to posts with other great information which in turn led to even more.  In an attempt to collect the links into one place, I am compiling them here both for myself and other new bloggers.  Thanks much to these generous bloggers who are trying to help the newbies out here.

Because some of these posts do not have "print" features, the first link is to my post on Printing or Making a PDF from any blog or web site.  This allows information to be printed or saved to a computer.

Southern Hospitality
10 Tips for New Bloggers, Balance in Blogging, and The Business of Blogging.  Plus a couple of other posts.  Good all round information and some "food for thought" on advertising.

Funky Junk Interiors
Blog Tips on FJI.  This will take you to a page where Donna has links to all the posts on her blog regarding blogging.  There are tips on just about all areas of blogging.  Of special importance, I think, is the link to Backing Up Your Blog.  That is something I had never thought about.  I did have the unfortunate experience when I had been blogging a week or two of having to rename my blog and delete the first one.  Blogger does make it easy to export/import; and if I had not been able to do that, I would not have been able to move my posts to this new blog.

Jam Hands
Link Parties--Probably the most comprehensive list of link parties anywhere on the web.  The parties are listed by days of the week which make it easy to schedule link-ups to the parties you choose to join.  Do follow her instructions and read each  party's requirements.  How to Organize and Track Link Parties
and Food Blogging-Organizing and Tracking.   Just what they say, great ideas on organizing and tracking posts and link parties.  Lots of other good stuff here, too.

Thrifty Decor Chick 
All I Know about Blogging , Comment Love, When Blogging Gets You Down, Shake Your Money Maker.  More good "food for thought" here.

Between Naps on the Porch
Blogging Secrets.  A post with links to a whole bunch of things you might want to do with your blog.

Vanderbilt Wife
10 Easy Blogging Tips for Beginner Bloggers, Helpful Grammar Hints for Bloggers, Before You Hit Publish.  Most of us have been out of school for some time.  Or in my case, a long, long time.  Here we are writing publicly again.  Speaking for myself at least, a little refresher information on grammar and punctuation can be helpful.  Jessie provides that here.

Creatively Domestic
Better Blogging:  Search Engine Optimization  A basic article explaining SEO and how to make it work for your blog.

Feels Like Home
Two slide shows on how to improve your blog's SEO.

Recipe Girl
If Your are into Food Photography and Styling.  A great post on making background boards and showing some of what she uses when she photographs food.

Blogging Tutorials  Another page with links to tutorials on all sorts of things you might want to do to your blog.

Sneaky Mom
A whole blog with blog tips and tutorials, divided up by beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  What more could one ask?  This gal does blog design at what appear to be very reasonable prices, also.  What a nice thing she is doing with this blog.

Well, this post has taken much longer than I thought it would making all those links.  I am sure that I have only scratched the surface of the information that is available if you can find it.  This is, however, plenty to keep most of us busy awhile.

Linking up to Weekend Bloggy Reading  at Serenity Now and Newbie Party at Debbiedoos.

Tomorrow:  DIY Groceries-Snack Cakes Mix with lots of ways to use it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Simmered Chinese Chicken

We made a quick trip out of town yesterday (Sat.), just got back early this a.m. (Sun.), and I see that this did not post like I thought I had scheduled it.  So, there will be two posts today (Sun.).


I make this recipe a lot.   Very quick, very easy.  You can cook a whole 3-4 lb. chicken in less than an hour.  This recipe produces very moist meat with a slight teriyaki flavor.  I usually use sherry in this, but had some apple juice I needed to use up so I used that.  If I don’t have green onions on hand, I usually just use a tablespoon of dried, minced onion.  Since I can make this so fast, I have never made this in a slow cooker, but I am sure that you could.  Unlike roasting, the skin will not be crisp, but it will come right off.  This recipe came from a Foster Farms Whole Chicken package.  The recipe suggested serving with rice.  Hubby is not a big plain rice eater so I serve it with fried rice and green beans with almonds

Simmered Chinese Chicken
1 whole chicken, 3 to 3 1/2 lbs.
1 T. oil
1/3 c. soy sauce, regular or reduced sodium
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. water
1 T. ketchup
1/4 c. dry sherry or apple juice
1/2 to 3/4 t. crushed dried red pepper (opt.)
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 bunch green onions sliced
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. water
2 t. toasted sesame seeds (opt.)

Heat oil in Dutch oven, brown chicken on all sides. Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, ketchup, sherry, red pepper, garlic, and onion. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover and simmer 35 to 40 min. I usually turn the chicken over once or twice so all sides get immersed in the sauce for a while. Remove chicken to a platter, draining juices back into the pan. Skim fat from sauce. Blend together, cornstarch and water, stir into sauce. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds. Serve with sauce.

This is pretty fast for time, but here are microwave directions: Place chicken in 3 qt. casserole. Pour sauce mixture over chicken. Cover, microwave on HIGH 5 min. Microwave on MEDIUM 15 min. Turn chicken. Cover, microwave on MEDIUM 15 to 20 min. Remove chicken to a platter. Blend cornstarch and water, stir into sauce. Microwave on HIGH 1-2 min. until thickened.

Linking up to I'm Lovin It at Tidy Mom
Hunk of Meat Monday
Ingredient Spotlight

Tomorrow:  Links to Help for New Bloggers

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Finds

Frugal Tips is on vacation this week as I have been busy creating a post on links to Help for New Bloggers which I will post on Sunday.  In the meantime, here are what I consider some great finds this week.

Creating Nirvana

Just what it says, great tips for making homemade broth, whether chicken, meat, or vegetable.

Thistle Byre Farm

Same author, different web site.  I am so going to make this.  I have always wondered about making pork broth but was too lazy to pursue the idea myself.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Mouthwatering is all I can say.  Maybe I could save the bones from these to make the pork broth above.

Eat at Home

Plain, unassuming little gems holding a Nutella surprise.  The only thing that might make them better is a little dollop of peanut butter on top of that Nutella.  Tiffany and I agree that these are really "muffcakes" being one of those muffins that is a cross between a muffin and a cupcake.

From Apples to Zucchini

I love watermelon but don't eat it all that much.  Since there are just two of us, it is hard to go through a whole watermelon; and I am frugal (too cheap) when it comes to buying already cut ones.  She also has done watermelon muffins which are a little further down on her blog. I think both of these would be a lot of fun to make.

Jam Hands

Hey, not too early to be thinking about Christmas gifts.  Wouldn't these look pretty on a candy/cookie plate.  She shares variations for caramel and orange flavors, too.  I'll bet that you could use just about any extract you could get your hands on--coconut, black walnut?  Definitely going on that Christmas food gift list.

 Kevin and Amanada

OK, I fess up.  This is a link to a page of links.  Amanda is leaving this for us while she is away on a seafood retreat.  Sno White, please forgive me, but when you see what Amanda is offering up over there, you will understand.

Tomorrow:  Simmered Chinese Chicken

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Skipping through Blogland and Stopping at figgs and such

Last week Kelly at figgsandsuch posted a link at Friday Favorites over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  I try to visit all the bloggers who link up there.  So, I found figgsandsuch.  I assumed that Figgs was perhaps Kelly's last name, but that is not the case.  Figgs stands for food, ideas, gardening, and gifts.  Such a clever blog name.  Kelly started her blog at the beginning of this year, and she is sharing the recipes, crafts, gardening ideas, and crafts that she is doing that she has found around the web.  This week is Granola Bar Week, and you can go and see what she is making with links to the recipes she is using.  There is also Weedless Wednesday where Kelly is chronicling how her new garden is doing.  One of the best features of the blog is Kelly's  Friday Finds posts.  There is always a variety of  links on different subjects to go to.   Last week one of the links Kelly shared was to a series of posts on commenting on blogs at Serenity Now.  As a new blogger, I found the series especially informative.  I notice that there is a new series called Blogging Myths there starting Monday.  figgsandsuch is well worth visiting.  Be sure to stop by on Fridays for a look at all the great links.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight-Thyme Enough Casserole

This casserole is a nice dish to take to a potluck or other gathering.  It comes from a Chex recipe booklet that was put out when Chex were still made by Ralston Purina.  You can use whatever combination of vegetables that you prefer in this.  It just needs to be around 3 cups.  I usually use frozen mixed vegetables.  You can also use other herbs of your choice.

Thyme Enough Casserole
4 T. butter or margarine
2 1/2 c. Rice or Corn Chex cereal crushed to 1 1/2 c.
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. diced celery
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 t. salt
dash pepper
1/2-1 t. fresh thyme (may use 1/4 to 1/2 t. dried thyme if you don't have fresh)
1 can (10 3/4 oz..) condensed cream of mushroom or chicken soup or 1/3 c. Cream Soup Mix and 1 1/4 c. water.
1/2 c. chicken broth or water
1 1/2 c. cooked sliced carrots (canned, frozen or fresh)
1 1/2 c. cooked cut green beans (canned, frozen or fresh)

Melt butter in large skillet.  Remove 2 T. and combine with Chex and 1/4 t. dried thyme.  Mix thoroughly.  Set aside.
In remaining butter sauté garlic, celery, and onion until celery is tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Add salt, pepper and fresh thyme to taste, soup and water.  Blend well.  Stir in carrots and green beans.  Turn into a greased shallow 1 1/2 qt. baking dish.  Top with reserved Chex mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is lightly browned.  Makes 6 (3/4 cup) servings.  Can easily be doubled.

I am linking up to Eat at Home's Ingredient Spotlight-Fresh Herbs

Tomorrow:  Skipping through Blogland and Stopping at Figgs and Such

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Potato Chip Cookies


 Summer is a time when there are lots of picnics.  With picnics come potato chips.  With potato chips come all those crumbs in the bottom of the bag.  Oh, what to do with them?  If the chips are flavored like barbecue or sour cream & onion, crush them up slightly and top casseroles with them a few minutes before removing from the oven.

With plain potato chips make Potato Chip Cookies.  Just collect chips until you have enough for these cookies.  These are a crisp brown sugar-flavored cookie with a hint of crunch from the chips.  No, there is not an error in the recipe, there is no baking powder or soda in the cookies.  Having said in yesterday’s post that I make my all-purpose mix with vegetable oil, I still do use shortening from time to time.

Potato Chip Cookies
Homemade Cookies
Farm Journal Books 1971

1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 c. crushed potato chips (about 2 c. uncrushed)

Combine shortening and sugars and beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and blend well.  Stir in flour until thoroughly blended.  Fold in crushed potato chips.  Dough will be slightly stiff.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheet.  Flatten with fork.  Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Makes about 5 dozen.


Tomorrow:  Ingredient Spotlight-Thyme Enough Casserole

Monday, June 6, 2011

DIY Groceries-Biscuit/All-Purpose Mix

Biscuit or All/Purpose Mix is a very handy thing to have in your kitchen.  I have so many recipes that call for this kind of mix that I have a whole file on my computer.  One can, of course, purchase Bisquick or other commercial mix.  However these are expensive and have chemical and additives many people would prefer to avoid.  The alternative is a homemade mix.

There are a couple of ways to make homemade biscuit/all-purpose mix.  One way is to combine the dry ingredients for a recipe, put that in a zippered storage bag; and add the remaining ingredients when the recipe is made.  This can be repeated as many times as you want.  The advantage of this method is that you do not have to use shortening if you object to that ingredient.  The disadvantage to this is that the mix is restricted to being used in a specific recipe.

To have the mix be truly “all-purpose”, it is usually necessary to have some fat in it.   Over the years, shortening has been the fat of choice to make all-purpose mix shelf stable.  (Although, if you look at the label on Reduced-Fat Bisquick, it says to refrigerated it after opening.)
Years ago, county extension services provided directions for a all-purpose mix called Missouri Mix.  The directions for  Missouri Mix can be found here.  There is a link to a PDF version in the upper left corner of the page.  Included are directions for the Missouri Mix in small and large quantities and recipes for using the mix.  Missouri Mix made with half white and half whole wheat flour was my all-purpose mix of choice for many years.  With the addition of the whole wheat flour came the necessity to keep the mix in the refrigerator or freezer.

Now, many people are concerned about the use of shortening.  Missouri Mix uses 1 1/2 cup shortening to 8 cups of flour.  King Arthur put out a Baking Mix that has a slightly smaller ratio of shortening to flour.  Their mix uses 1 cup shortening to 9 cups of flour.  There is also information in this article on making self-rising flour and corn meal and recipes for using the Baking Mix.

If you want to avoid shortening completely, this is a mix that I now make which uses vegetable oil.  It is successful in most recipes   This recipe seems to have come from Weight Watchers, but I don't know that for sure. 

WW Master Mix
5 pounds all purpose flour (about 20 cups)  I use half whole wheat flour
2 cups instant non-fat powdered milk
3/4 cup baking powder (preferably sodium free)
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup Splenda or other sugar substitute (I leave out)
1 cup oil

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except oil.  Mix together until very well blended, at least 2 minutes so baking powder is well incorporated.  Cut oil into flour mixture until consistency of cornmeal. Store tightly covered in refrigerator or freezer.  Stir well before using.

No matter what recipe one chooses, a homemade all-purpose mix is very handy to have in the kitchen.   

Here are a couple of quick recipes using all-purpose mix:

Canton Crispy Chicken Stir Fry
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. all-purpose mix
2 c. diced uncooked chicken breasts (about 3/4 lb.)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 red  or green pepper, cut in thin strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits or chunks, drained (I prefer the tidbits as they are smaller)

Mix pepper and all-purpose mix in large plastic bag. Stir chicken into beaten egg, remove with slotted spoon. Shake in bag until coated, remove chicken and set aside in single layer.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry carrots 2 minutes; add red pepper and stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove from skillet.  Heat remaining oil. Stir-fry chicken until golden. Add vegetables. Stir-fry until heated through. Stir in pineapple.  Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 2 3 Cookies
1 cup peanut butter (I like crunchy)
1 cup sugar or 1 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups all-purpose mix

Combine peanut butter, sugar and water blending well. Stir in all-purpose mix.  Drop by small spoon fulls on to lightly greased baking sheets. Flatten  cookies with a fork dipped in flour. Bake at 400 for 8 to 10 minutes.
Makes  about 6 1/2 dozen.

Tomorrow-Cooking with the Journal-Potato Chip Cookies
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