Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sour Cream Swiss Steak


I had a rain check from a local store for round steak at $1.99 a lb. that was about to expire so I picked up 15 lbs. this week.  We have round steak quite often due to its low price.  Round steak generally needs to be cooked for awhile in some kind of liquid for the best results.

I have already posted Steak Cubes with Butter Crumb Dumplings which is one of our favorite round steak recipes.  Tonight I made another of our favorites, Sour Cream Swiss Steak.

This recipe comes from New Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree, 1986.  I have changed it some from the original recipe.   For the salt and pepper, I use Spice Island Sea Salt and Pepper Grinder and just grind it until I like the amount.   The sauce makes a very good gravy to serve over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.  I served it over mashed potato pancakes with I make with leftover mashed potatoes.  I will post that recipe soon.  The sauce is on the sweet side so if it is too sweet for you, cut the brown sugar back to 1 1/2 to 2 T.

The recipe calls for a heat-proof skillet.  I use an old Corning Ware 11-inch skillet and can get only about 1 1/2 lbs. round steak in it.  If a heat-proof skillet is not available or 2 lbs. of steak is needed, just use a regular skillet to brown the steak and transfer everything to a baking pan or dish to bake it.

Sour Cream Swiss Steak

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. round steak, cut into serving size pieces
1/4 c. flour
1 t. paprika
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1/4 c. vegetable oil or 2 T. oil and 2 T. butter
1 medium onion, chopped or 3 T. dried onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 c. sour cream
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. soy sauce
3/4 c. water

Using a meat mallet, pound the steak pieces on waxed paper until 1/4-inch thick.  Combine flour, paprika, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a  pie pan.  Dredge meat in flour mixture and set aside.  In a heat-proof skillet, heat oil or butter and oil until hot.  Brown round steak pieces in hot oil and set aside.  Drain off any excess oil and wipe out skillet if necessary.  Mix together sour cream, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a 1 c. glass measuring cup.  Pour mixture into skillet.  Measure the water in the same glass measuring cup to rinse out all sour cream and add to sour cream mixture in skillet.  Add any excess flour from dredging the steak, and mix well.  Return steak pieces to skillet, turning each piece over to get sauce on both sides.  Cover and place in a 300 degree oven.  Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until steak is tender.  Remove steak to serving platter.  Pour sauce into gravy server to pass at table.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tomorrow Salad Dressing 2: Recipes using mayonnaise as a base

Linking to Vintage Recipe Thursday, 
Hunk of Meat Monday
Recipe Sharing Monday
Ingredient Spotlight

Eat at Home-Feast in 15 E-Book

She doesn't know I am doing this, and she is probably asleep already considering our time difference; but Tiffany from Eat at Home is launching a new e-book tomorrow called "Feast in 15".  I want everyone to know about it.

Tiffany's blog concentrates on good-for-you dishes that can be gotten on the table quickly.  She has compiled 32 of her best recipes into the first e-book.  The recipes are all kid and husband tested on her own family.  There is a section on how she cooks meat and poultry to keep in her freezer and a section on naturally fast foods.  There are two weekly menu plans which include 6 main dishes with side dish suggestions and a shopping list.

A few of the great recipes included are Fastest Ever Cream of Potato Soup, Meatball Gyros, Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce, Grilled Chicken Stir-Fry Noodle Bowl, Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Rice, and Italian Nachos.

At the tiny price of $4.99, this e-book is a real bargain.  I have purchased it myself even though I have many of her recipes saved on my computer.  It is so handy to have them all together in one place.  If you need help at all getting dinner on the table in a hurry, visit Feast in 15 and purchase this e-book.

As I said above, Tiffany is not aware that I am posting this, I purchased my own copy of the e-book, I "stole" her graphic, I am not being compensated in anyway.  I just want to make people aware of this great resource.

I will be back later with a recipe.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hamburger Helper Soup and Frugal or Cheapskate

I don't use Hamburger Helper much anymore, but when my kids were growing up Hamburger Helper was quick, easy; and, with thawed, already browned ground beef from the freezer, something that they could make.  We were not as concerned about additives and such back then.  Over the years I developed a soup recipe to make the Hamburger Helper stretch even further.  Nothing special, it consisted mostly of adding additional liquid to the liquid called for in the directions.  I would also add whatever bits of cooked veggies we might have in the fridge.

Continuing my pantry clean-up challenge, recently I came across a couple of boxes of Helper that had been around awhile.  I decided to resurrect my soup recipe with one of the boxes.  It happened to be a cheese-based flavor.
I made the soup, and we had it for lunch but the flavor was off.  I did not want to serve it again, but I did not want to throw away all the ground beef and macaroni.  So, I put the soup in a colander and rinsed off all the liquid.  I then made a new soup with the hamburger and macaroni and Lasagna flavored Helper, the other flavor I found in my pantry.  I will save the packet of pasta to put in another soup.  So tell me:  frugal or cheapskate?

For those of you who might like the recipe, here it is

Hamburger Helper Soup

1 pkg. Hamburger Helper such as Sloppy Joe, Chili any Mexican Flavored one with pasta
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce plus 2 can water
1 can (15 oz.) chili beans or pinto beans, drained plus 1 can water
1 –2 frozen whole kernel corn or 1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 lb. lean ground beef browned with onion, celery and red pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary to get the soup consistency you like, until the pasta is done.

For Italian Style flavors of Hamburger Helper such as lasagna use above ingredients, but omit the whole kernel corn and add peas or green beans.

For  Stroganoff or Cheese flavors of Hamburger Helper use double the amount of milk and double the amount of water called for in the helper directions.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Easy No-Machine Ice Cream

There is a site on the web called Recipe Goldmine, well this is a goldmine of a recipe.  Want to make ice cream and no ice cream maker?  You don’t need one.  All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk, a pint of whipping cream, any additions you want to make, 10 minutes of effort and a 6 hour wait.

There are many variations, limited only by the imagination.  Be forewarned, this ice cream is very rich with a texture somewhere between hard ice cream and Dairy Queen Soft Serve, depending on the ingredients added.  The richness is not surprising, the ice cream is mostly real cream, not thickeners, additives, or stabilizers.

The basic recipe has been around for years and was probably developed by Borden the manufacturers of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Any brand can be used and you can even make your own sweetened condensed milk from the recipe I posted yesterday.

I use 8-inch square Glad Ware pans with lids to store my ice cream.  I don’t know if they are available any more.  Any 2-qt. container, preferable with a lid, can be used.
I am giving 3 variations of the basic recipe with some suggestions for further ones:  Vanilla Toffee Ice Cream, Bing Cherry Ice Cream, and Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream.


Vanilla Toffee Ice Cream
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 to 1 bag Heath Toffee Bits, regular or chocolate covered
2 c. (1 pt.) whipping cream

In a large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and the toffee bits.  Mix together well.  Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.  (I let my Kitchen Aid Mixer do this.)  Gently fold the whipped cream into the milk/toffee bit mixture until very well combined.  Pour into an 8x8x2-inch pan or any 2 qt. container.  Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top.  Place in freezer and freeze at least 6 hours before serving.   Makes 1 1/2 qts.

You may add 1to 4 teaspoons vanilla to this for a more pronounced vanilla flavor.
What can you add:  chopped, toasted nuts (any kind), chopped candy bars, marshmallows, sugared nuts, coarsely chopped cookies, 1/2 t. to 1 teaspoon maple flavor and walnuts for maple nut ice cream,  1 T. instant coffee for mocha ice cream, 1/2 peanut butter, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon mint extract and mini chocolate chips for chocolate chip/mint ice cream.

Top the ice cream with any sauce that you want.  The ice cream above is drizzled with Butterscotch Sauce from this post.


Bing Cherry Ice Cream
1 c. pureed Bing cherries (about 40 cherries)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 c (1 pt.) whipping cream

Put cherries and process 1/3 at a time in a blender or mini food processor until pureed.  There will still be little bits of cherries.  In a large bowl, combine the cherry puree with the sweetened condensed milk until well blended.  Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Gently fold whipped cream into the milk/cherry mixture until very well blended.  Pour into 8x8x2-inch pan or any 2-qt. container.  Place plastic wrap over the top.  Put in freezer and freeze at least 6 hours.  Makes 1 1/2 qts.

1 cup of any pureed fresh fruit can be used:  apricots, herries, berries, mangoes, bananas, peaches, etc.  I like to add 1/2-1 cup chopped fruit as well as the puree.  Fruits can be combined such as banana puree with chopped strawberries.  Nuts and mini marshmallows can also be added.  In the winter, the same amount of pureed canned or frozen fruit can be used.  Drain the canned fruit well and use individually frozen fruit, if possible.


Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 c. chocolate syrup like Hershey’s
1 c. miniature marshmallows
2 c. (1 pt.) whipping cream

In a large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and the chocolate syrup until well blended.  Stir in the marshmallows.  Beat the cream until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into the milk/chocolate syrup mixture until well blend.  Pour into a 8x8x82-inch pan or any 2 qt. container.  Place plastic wrap over the top.  Put in freezer and freeze for at least 6 hours.  Makes 1 1/2 qts.

Of course, any of the suggestions under the vanilla ice cream can be used in the chocolate.

I keep at least two flavors of this in my freezer at all times.  Make this ice cream, you'll be so glad you did.

Linking to: Sweets This Week 
Sweet Tooth Friday
I'm Lovin' It
Fat Camp Friday
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Sweets for a Saturday 
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Strut Your Stuff

Friday Finds

Well, cookies, slow cookers, and pork seem to be where my mind was this week.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Butterfinger Oatmeal Cookies
Baking Bites

 I really, really needed another cookie recipe.  Oh Yeah!  My daughter asked me to make some peanut butter cookies as she had a hankering for them.  Now I have lots of peanut butter cookie recipes, but decided I wanted a new Peanut Butter Oatmeal one.  Well I find one and a bonus-another recipe made with my favorite candy-Butterfingers.  I made both these recipes yesterday-delicious.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork
Mostly Food and Crafts

A slow-cooker recipe that can be made with a loin or other pork roast.  Looks absolutely delicious.

Slow Cooker Thai Style Peanut Pork
Eat, Drink, Smile

I like Thai food, but the spice level is usually a bit too hot for me.  This recipe doesn't have any exotic ingredients, and I can adjust the heat level.  Another slow cooker recipe, what more can I ask.

Breaded Pork Chops with Peach Glaze
Shugary Sweets

She use a homemade "Shake and Bake" mix here so she got me at that.  Also pork and peaches are a great combo in my mind.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts
Pinch My Salt

I know, I know, Brussels sprouts are not in season; and this recipe includes bacon and walnuts so how healthy can that be.  I do, however, love fresh Brussels sprouts and my husband eats them.  That to me is funny since he won't eat cooked cabbage or cauliflower.  This post was part of Fall Fest last year so there are links to other Brussels sprout recipes.  May I say her photos are gorgeous.

These are my finds for this week.  Can't wait to see all the others.

Come back later today for a recipe for a great one-step, no ice cream-maker ice cream.

Linking up to Friday Favorite Finds

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bonus DIY-Sweetened Condensed Milk

Tomorrow I am going to share a great one-step homemade ice cream recipe that takes no ice cream maker.  The recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk, which can be a little expensive.

Here is a wonderful recipe for homemade sweetened condensed milk that looks and tastes just like the original.  I have tried a number of recipes over the years that used only nonfat dry milk, sugar, and butter.  They were never quite “right.”  This recipes uses a can of evaporated milk, and that makes all the difference.

I have changed the direction somewhat from the ones I posted as a comment on the Eat at Home blog last year.  This makes an amount equal to 3 cans of purchased sweetened condensed milk.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 c. sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 c. non-fat dry milk
6 T. butter or margarine sliced

Put sugar in a food processor  and blend until super fine.  If you do not have a large food processor, put sugar, 1 cup at a time, in a blender or mini food processor and blend until super fine.  (This is what I do.)  Combine sugar, evaporated milk, dry milk, and butter in a large saucepan.  Mix very well.  Cook over medium heat, watching carefully and stirring often, until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and divide evenly into thirds, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cup each.  Refrigerate overnight before using to allow mixture to thicken up.  This keep 2 weeks in the refrigerator and can be frozen up to 6 months.  It may be a little grainy after thawing, but it smooths out when mixed with other ingredients.  Makes the equivalent  of 3 cans of purchased sweetened condensed milk.

This may be made fat-free by using skim evaporated milk and omitting the butter or margarine.  I think that you could reduce the sugar by using Splenda for at least part of the sugar, but I have never experimented with that.

Come back tomorrow for a really great one-step, no ice-cream maker, homemade ice cream

Linking to Full Plate Thursday
Recipe Swap
It's a Keeper 
Sweets for a Saturday 
Strut Your Stuff

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight-Powdered Sugar

Brownies  yesterday and cookies today.  Guess this is going to be a sweets week here at Grandma Loy's Kitchen.  When I think of powdered sugar, invariably some sort of sweet comes to mind.  So, that is what I am sharing today.  Jeweled Thumbprint Cookies.  This recipe comes from Taste of Home’s Best Country Cookies book.

I know it is early, but this cookie looks wonderful on a Christmas cookie plate.  One thing I love about this cookie is that you can vary the jams or jellies that you use.  I have even used homemade apple butter.  When I do that I do not put the apple butter on the cookies until just before serving as it doesn’t set up the way that jam or jelly does.  I have also used lemon curd on the cookies.  When I do that, I substitute lemon extract for the almond extract.

The flavor in this cookie is very dependent on the butter and powdered sugar.  Fresh butter is a must, and a fresh box of powdered sugar wouldn't hurt either.

I have altered the directions somewhat from the original.  I sift the powdered sugar or put it through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps.  If I forget to take the butter from the refrigerator ahead, I will put the unwrapped butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it in 10 second increments until soft enough.  I like using my cookie scoop which makes about 1-inch balls and only get about 3 dozen 1 1/2-inch cookies.  I think the original yield given in the directions is optimistic, and the cookies would be very small.

Jeweled Thumbprints

TOH Best of Country Cookies, 1999
Sent in by Mary Debono. New York, NY

3/4 c. butter, well softened (no substitutes)
3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk
1/2 t. almond extract
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. jam, jelly or preserves, your choice

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk and extract until very well combined.  Add flour in 1/4 c. increments, beat well after each addition.  Cover and chill 1-2 hours until easy to handle.  Roll into 3/4-inch balls.  (See my comment above.)  Place on a greased baking sheet.  With the end of a wooden spoon handle make an indention about 1/4-in deep in the center of each ball.   Bake at 350 degrees 12-14 minutes until edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  When cool, fill indentation in each cookie with about 1/4 teaspoon jam, jelly or preserves.  Makes 6 dozen

Linking to Ingredient Spotlight, Cast Party Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked
Sweets for a Saturday

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Chocolate Coconut Brownies

On the theory that one can not have too many brownies recipes, here is one for the coconut fan.  I like nuts in my brownies so usually add them, and the ones in the picture have toasted, slivered almonds added.

I am partial to brownie recipes that use cocoa and melted butter, and this is one of those.  A hint on the eggs.  Most baking recipes call for eggs to be at room temperature.  I almost always forget to take them out of the refrigerator ahead of time.  I have solved the problem by putting the eggs in a bowl, covering them with very warm water, and letting them set 10 minutes.  Presto-room temperature eggs.  I would add 1/2 to 1 t. coconut extract to these the next time for a more pronounced coconut flavor.

Chocolate Coconut Brownies
Choice Chocolate Recipe
Farm Journal Books, 1978

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chopped, toasted nuts (optional)

In a bowl, blend together flour, cocoa, and salt.  Mix well and set aside.  Melt butter.  I use a glass 1 or 2 cup measuring cup, cover it with a plastic sour cream container lid, and melt in the microwave.  Blend melted butter and sugar together, mixing very well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients, beating well.  Stir in coconut and nuts, if using.  Spread mixture in greased 9x13-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes or until done.  Do not over bake.  Cool in pan on rack.  Cut into squares.  Makes 24 to 36 brownies.

Linking to Totally Tasty Tuesday,
Tasty Tuesday
Time Out Tuesday
Sweets for a Saturday

Monday, July 25, 2011

DIY Groceries-Salad Dressings 1

Good Monday morning to all my followers and welcome to the new ones.  I hope that you find the information here useful.

Because it is summer, because it is sweltering hot in some places, because you can save a lot of money and avoid additives,  because they are some of the easiest DIY recipes to make, salad dressings are going to be my focus over the next two or three weeks.

The first recipe is for Bob Evan’s Colonial Dressing with variations.  Now I have never eaten at a Bob Evan’s restaurant, and I don’t know where the recipe came from (maybe the Recipe Detective), so I don’t know how authentic it is.  It is, however, a very good sweet/sour celery seed dressing all by itself, and the variations make the recipe very versatile.

I am on the lazy side and easily bored when it comes to salad dressings. So, over the years, I have doubled the recipe which I then divide up 4 ways.  I keep one as-is and make whatever variations I am feeling like having with the other 3.  Therefore, the recipe makes a lot-about a quart and the additions for the variations are for 1 cup of dressing.  The ingredient amount for the variations will need to be quadrupled if you want to vary the whole recipe.  I hope that makes sense.  If not, just ask.

One other thing I love about DIY salad dressing is you can make them “your own.”  This dressing is definitely sweet/sour so won’t appeal to all.  I like it the way it is and have never played around with the amount of the ingredients in the basic recipe, but I’m sure it could be done.  I have played with the ingredients in the variations, and they are no longer the original ones.  One way I like to use the dressings is drizzled over wedges of lettuce.  The basic dressing, the Catalina, and the Slaw dressing are good drizzled over fruit salads.

From Left Basic Dressing, Creamy Italian Colonial, Catalina Colonial, Creamy Onion

Bob Evan’s Colonial Dressing

2 c. water
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 c. vinegar, light or dark
2 c. sugar
2 t. onion powder
1 T. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter (sliced)
1 t. pepper
2 t. celery salt
2 T. celery seeds

Combine water and cornstarch in a large saucepan and mix well with a whisk until well blended.  Set mixture over a medium high heat, add remaining ingredients individually, stirring constantly and mixing well after each addition.  Cook and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.  Boil, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes until mixture has thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool.  (I divide the mixture up evenly into bowls to hasten cooling).  Let cool completely.  Stir in ingredients for variations, if desired.  Transfer to a tightly covered container.  Store in refrigerator.  Basic dressing keeps for about 6 weeks.  Makes about 1 quart.

Note: the variations made with sour cream should keep until the expiration date on the sour cream.

Creamy Italian Colonial Dressing

1/2 T. prepared mustard, any kind
1/2 T. light corn syrup
1 T. Italian herbs
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 c. mayonnaise

Add above ingredients to 1 c. of  the basic dressing.  Stir with a whisk to combine.  Store in refrigerator.  Keeps for about 6 weeks.  Makes about 1 1/4 c.

Catalina Colonial Dressing

1/2 c. catsup
1/4 c.  pickle relish, any kind

Add above ingredients to 1 c. of the basic dressing.  Stir well to combine.  Store in refrigerator.  Keeps for about 6 weeks.  Makes about 1 3/4 c.

Creamy Onion or Garlic Dressing

2 T. dried minced onion or garlic
1/2 c. sour cream, regular or low-fat

Add above ingredients to 1 c. of the basic dressing.  Stir with a whisk to combine.  Refrigerate overnight before using.  Store in refrigerator.   Makes 1 1/2 c.

Slaw Dressing

1/4 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise

Add above ingredients to 1 c. of the basic dressing.  Stir with a whisk to combine.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes 1 1/2 c.

Linking to Newbie Party,
Sharing Monday

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Taco and Sloppy Joe Grinders

I have to admit that I have no idea what a Grinder actually is.  I am calling these two recipes Grinders because I got the idea for them from Amanda’s  (Amanda’s Cooking ) post for  Guinea Grinders.  They are a type of Italian seasoned meat sauce and mozzarella cheese hot sandwich.  I made them, and they were very good.  My husband approved so the Grinders will go into our regular lunch rotation.

When I made the recipe, I used my Pizza Sauce recipe and multiplied it by 4, used sandwich buns instead of French Bread, and used an Italian Cheese Blend instead of the mozzarella as this was what I had on hand.

The more I thought about the method used in the recipe; the more I got to thinking, which is not a good thing sometimes, why not use the same method with other fillings such as taco or sloppy joes.  So I did. 

I am also thinking that the fillings could be cooled and put in the buns with the cheese, wrapped, and put in freezer bags, frozen and reheated from the frozen state.  I have some of the Guinea Grinders in the freezer right now to test that out. 

Update:  The already filled buns did not work out as well as I had hoped.  The sandwiches took too long to reheat.  For Plan B I put about 1/4 cup of the filling into zip-top snack bags, then put them into a freezer bag.  I hollowed out the buns and froze them separately.  I then removed the filling and a bun from the freezer, put the filling in a small bowl and heated briefly in the microwave.  I put the filling in the bun, topped with cheese, wrapped in foil and put in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  This worked much better and will still allow me to heat one or two sandwiches at a time.


I can get sandwich buns like the ones shown in the photo above for $1.00 a package at my local bakery outlet stores.  These have various names:  stadium, outdoor, hoagie, etc.  While the filling is cooking, hollow out a trough in both halves of the buns as shown above.  I use a grapefruit spoon to do this, but it isn’t  necessary.  Be careful not to go through the bottom or top of the bun.  Frugal tip:  spread the hollowed-out bread on a baking sheet and let dry to make dry bread crumbs.

Fill the trough in the bottom with your filling (about 1/4-1/3 c.) and top with the grated cheese (about 2 T.)


Fold the top of the bun over the filling.  Cut a square of aluminum foil and wrap bun with it.  Bake in a 375 degree oven 15 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

Below are the recipes I used to make the Taco and Sloppy Joe Grinders.  Feel free to use your favorite recipes if you have them.  It may be necessary to reduce the liquid called for in a Sloppy Joe recipe.  I cook the seasoning with the ground beef for 5 minutes after adding them and simmer the filling 30 minutes before using.  I think I get a more flavorful product that way.  The Taco Grinder filling can be topped with ripe olives before adding the cheese if desired.

Taco Grinders

1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef

Taco Seasoning (this is adapted from The Thrifty Cook, Farm Journal Books, 1974)
1 T. instant minced onion
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. chili powder
3/4 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. crushed dried red pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
3/4 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. dried oregano leaves

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 c. water
Grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Heat a large skillet until hot, add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up beef as it cooks.  Drain fat it necessary.  Combine taco seasoning mix in a small bowl and mix well.  Add to ground beef, mix well and let cook for 5 minutes.  Add tomato sauce.  Measure water and use to rinse out tomato sauce can.  Add to skillet.  Mix well.  Simmer 30 minutes.  Using 1/4-1/3 c. fill sandwich buns as shown above.  Top with cheese.  This will fill 6-8 buns.

Sloppy Joe Grinders

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped red pepper (or can be green for more authentic Sloppy Joes)

Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix  (this is adapted from The Thrifty Cook, Farm Journal Books, 1974)
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cornstarch
3/4 t. sugar
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. celery seeds
1/2 t. chili powder

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. ketchup

Heat a large skillet until hot.  Add ground beef, onion, and red pepper.  Cook until browned, breaking up ground beef as it cooks.  Drain fat if necessary.  Combine Sloppy Joe Seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl.  Mix well.  Add to ground beef mixture, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes.   Add tomato paste.  Fill tomato paste can with water and use a small spatula to get the last of the tomato paste.  Add to ground beef and mix well.  Add an additional 1/4-1/2 c. water, brown sugar, and ketchup.  Mix well and simmer 30 minutes.  Using 1/4-1/3 c. fill sandwich buns as shown above.  Since Sloppy Joes don’t typically have cheese added, cheese would be optional.

Linking to Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Make a Food "e" Friend

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Savory Roast Potatoes

These are the potatoes that I made with the chicken that I posted on Tuesday.  This is a recipe that I make often when I am making chicken or meat where there will not be any gravy.  The potatoes soak up the butter and broth while they are baking and are so good.

This dish is also very versatile.  Either chicken or beef broth may be used, although the beef broth will make the potatoes a brownish color.  Any low salt seasoning desired may be sprinkled over the potatoes. Spice Islands Garlic/Herb Grinder is very good. The broth provides plenty of salt.  The paprika provides a pretty color.

The potatoes may be halved, quartered, or cut into chunks, depending on the length of time needed for whatever else they are being cooked with.  These may also be cooked at whatever temperature is needed.

The original recipe called for 1 can of condensed chicken broth.  I now use homemade double-strength broth that I either make by cooking down 3 cups of homemade broth to 1 1/2 c. or by mixing 1 1/2 c. water with 1 T. Better than Bouillon Chicken Broth Base.  Generally the latter as it is much quicker.

Savory Roast Potatoes

9 (4-inch or so) potatoes, peeled and halved (this is the amount I can get in a 9x13-inch glass baking dish)
1/3 c. butter
1-2 t.  low salt seasoning of choice-Mrs. Dash, herb blends, Italian seasoning, etc.
1 t. or so paprika
1 1/2 c. water
1 T. Better than Bouillon Chicken or Beef Broth Base or other broth base

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place butter in baking dish and put  in oven to melt.  Peel and halve the potatoes.  Roll potatoes in the melted butter and place in dish.  Sprinkle liberally with chosen seasoning and paprika.  Bake uncovered 30 minutes.  Mix water and broth base together well.  Pour over potatoes.  Cover and bake another 30 minutes to 1 hour or until done.  Remove to serving dish, pouring any liquid left in baking dish over the potatoes.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Frugal Friday Tips-Make Your Own Onion Soup Mix

Today I am going to talk a little bit about onions and onion soup mix.  Onions generally keep for some time, but if they are starting to go “south” as they say, chop them up and put in the freezer.  Put the chopped onions in 1/2 c. amount in snack bags.  Put the snack bags into a large freezer bag and freeze.  The onions can then be removed as needed and added directly to soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles.



One of the handiest things to have in your kitchen is onion soup mix because there are so many things you can do with it.  Purchased onion soup mix is expensive and high in sodium.  A homemade version of the mix can be made in less than 5 minutes with ingredients probably on hand, and will be lower in sodium even with using the instant beef broth granules.  If sodium is a concern, use low sodium granules.  Note:  The mix in the photo above is not as brown as some would be due to the brand of instant broth I used.

The mix can be stored in an air-tight container and measured out as needed, or 5 T (the equivalent of 1 envelope of mix) can be measured into snack bags and stored in a larger plastic storage bag.  Dividing the mix up ahead saves time when using it.

An advantage of homemade mixes is that they can be customized to a person’s tastes.  After trial and error, this is my version of homemade onion soup mix with several recipes to use it in.  I like to place my dried onions in a 350 degree oven and toast them for about 3 minutes, but that is optional.  Watch them carefully.


Homemade Onion Soup Mix

3/4 c. dried onion flakes, toasted if desired
1/3 c. instant beef broth granules
1 T. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. black pepper

Combine all ingredients together, blending very well.  Store in an air-tight container.  When ready to use, shake container well and use 5 T. for 1 envelope of mix.  This can also be divided up into 5 T. amounts and stored in snack bags.  If using for onion dip, spread, or rice add 1 t. dried parsley to each 5 T. mix
Onion Dip

5 T. Onion Soup Mix
1 c. sour cream or cottage cheese (put through a blender)

Mix soup mix and sour cream or cottage cheese together and let chill at least 1 hour.

For Onion-Cheese Dip add 1 T. grated Parmesan Cheese to above mixture.

Onion Spread

5 T. Onion Soup Mix
1 pkg. (8 oz.) softened cream cheese, reg., low-fat, or fat-free

Mix soup mix and cream cheese together, blending well.  Let chill at least 1 hour.

Onion Rice Pilaf

1 T. butter or olive oil
1 c. rice, uncooked
1/2 c. vermicelli or thin spaghetti broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 T. onion soup mix
1 1/2 to 2 c. chicken broth or water.

Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Add rice and vermicelli and cook until vermicelli is browned, watching carefully and stirring often.  Add onion soup mix and chicken broth or water.  Bring to boiling, reduce, cover and simmer until rice is done and liquid is absorbed.  I give a range on the water because most directions  call for 2 cups water to 1 c. rice, but I have better luck with 1 1/2 cups.  Serves 4.

Curried Apricot or Peach Chicken

Chicken:  may be whole, cut-up; skinless thighs, or boneless, skinless chicken breasts-enough for 4-6 people
1 bottle (8 oz.) bottle Catalina Dressing or make your own.
1 (10-12 oz.) jar apricot or peach jam
5 T. onion soup mix
1/2 –1 t. curry powder

Place chicken in a foil-lined baking pan.  Combine Catalina Dressing, jam, onion soup mix, and curry powder.  Pour over chicken.  Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour depending on what chicken parts you use.  Sauce is good served over rice or couscous.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Friday Finds

I found so many great new recipes this week, it was hard to narrow them down to just a few to list.

 Bacon Wrapped Chicken
For Such a Time as This

Chicken breasts flattened, spread with chive and onion cream cheese, rolled up and wrapped with bacon.  Sounds so easy, looks so good.  What more can I say.

Cook Lisa Cook

Lisa says that they freeze beautifully.  If I had them in my freezer, my mouth and hand would be in a constant fight.

Mandy's Recipe Box

I think this tasty looking variation on cinnamon rolls would be fun to make.

Crispy Fried Green Beans with Zesty Dipping Sauce
Mommy's Kitchen

I really like deep fried green beans, but don't live anywhere near TGIF Fridays or PF Chang.  This made-at-home version looks like a winner.

Prairie Story

Ginger and soy go so well together.  I think this would be good on chicken, too.

These are all going on my "to make soon" list.  I am anxious to see what everyone else has found this week.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bacon/Cheese Dogs in Blankets

In my effort to get 60 recipes posted by August 1st. so that I can join the Secret Recipe Club, I am suspending Skipping through Blogland posts until August.  So here is a recipe I hope you enjoy.

We don't eat a lot of hot dogs or wieners here, but recently I was able to purchase 1 lb. packages of hot dogs for $ .39.  That is not a typo.  Well, when I can get hot dogs for that price, I am buying them, and will figure out something to do with them.

I was trying to decide what to make for lunch over the weekend and found a package of the hot dogs in the fridge along with a tube of crescent rolls that had been in there awhile.  Still trying to informally do the pantry-cleanup challenge, I decided to use these for lunch.  I remembered a recipe that had been posted over at Barbara Bakes for Bacon Wrapped Cheese Hot Dogs.  They looked so good, that I decided to adapt her idea using the crescent rolls.  I think that these might be a hit with kids.

Bacon/Cheese Dogs in Blankets

1 pkg. hot dogs or wieners with 8 in the package
4 to 8 slices bacon
1 tube crescent rolls
hot dog relish, other relish, or mayonnaise
about 1/2 c. sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

I prefer to cook my hot dogs in some boiling water for a few minutes to plump them up, but this step can be omitted.  Cook bacon slices until almost crisp but still flexible.  (I used bacon half slices, but think that next time I will use whole slices.)  Place bacon on paper towels to drain.  Drain bacon fat from skillet.
Open crescent rolls and divide into the 8 wedges.  Place wedges on baking sheet.  Spread 1-2 t. hot dog relish over each wedge.
Slit each hot dog in half lengthwise, but not all the way through.  (Next time I will briefly fry the hot dogs, slit side down, in the skillet the bacon was cooked in.)  Place a hot dog about 1/3 of the way below the wide end of a crescent wedge.  Fill the slit with about 2 t. of Cheddar cheese.  Place a bacon slice on top of the cheese.  Wrap the crescent roll over the hot dog, keeping the hot dog upright.  (See photo of uncooked hot dogs.)  Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Bake at 375 degrees 13 to 15 minutes.  Makes 8 hot dogs.  My husband dipped these in Ken's Honey Mustard Salad Dressing.

Linking to:  Full Plate Thursday
Recipe Swap Thursday
It's a Keeper Thursday
Ingredient Spotlight

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been following Eat at Home’s Ingredient Spotlight for awhile.  Well, last week I forgot about it, and this week the ingredient is tomatoes.  That is not bad, but my favorite ways to eat tomatoes are fresh local ones sliced or in a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.  A recipe isn’t needed for either of those, so let’s have cookies.

There are many different recipes out there  for chocolate chip cookies.  All good, I’m sure.  The most important difference in this recipe is that it makes lots of cookies.  It is my “go to” recipe whenever a   large batch of cookies is needed.   I generally do not make these without a place to send them.  These are just too tempting, especially when they are still warm.

We are taking two of our grandchildren inner tubing on the Snake and Columbia River today.  Chocolate chip is my grandson’s favorite.  Hence, an excuse to make these.

The recipe makes 12 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies and calls for only one (12 oz..) package chocolate chips.  A second package of chips can be added for more chips in each cookie, but my family has never complained.  This is a cookie that is crisp around the edges with a softer center.

I have had the recipe for years.  It came from a Christian Woman’s magazine called "Virtue" and was called Great Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I obviously changed the name.

These cookies are most easily made in a stand mixer, but I have made them by hand.

Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. shortening
1 c. butter or margarine
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 t. vanilla
1 t. water
4 large eggs
4 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips
2 c. walnuts, chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine shortening, butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Cream together until well blended.  Add vanilla, water, and eggs.  Beat well.  In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix together well.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, mixing until well blended.  Remove mixer bowl from mixer.  Add chocolate chips and nuts by hand, mixing until well blended.  Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  (I use a cookie scoop.)  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Do not over bake.   Centers should be soft.  Let cookies stand on baking sheet for one minute before removing to a rack to cool.  Makes 12 dozen, 2 1/2-inch cookies.

Linking to Cast Party Wednesday
Foodie Wednesday
Whisking Wednesdays
These Chicks Cooked
Ingredient Spotlight

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Potato Chip Chicken

Last night when I got off work, God treated me to the vision of an almost complete double rainbow.  It was a gorgeous sight to behold.  What a wonderful world we live in.

Today's recipe is more of an inspired by a Farm Journal recipe rather than an actual Farm Journal recipe.  This is a great recipe to use up all those bits and pieces left in the bottom of potato chip bags.  Just save them up until there is enough for the recipe.  It is fine to mix different flavors together.  Any kind of potato chip may be used.  When I am using plain potato chips, I use the seasoning listed in the recipe.  If I am using other flavors, I skip most of the extra seasonings.  This is usually a hit with kids.

Here is the Farm Journal recipe, my recipe follows:

Oven-Fried Chicken
The Thrifty Cook
Farm Journal Books, 1974

1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 (2 1/2 to 3 lb.) fryer, cut up
1/3 c. melted butter or margarine

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag.  Dip chicken pieces in butter.  Shake, a few pieces at a time, in seasoned flour.  Place skin side up without touching in foil-line jelly-roll pan.  Bake at 375 degrees 1 hour, until done.  Serves 4.

Cereal Coating:  Substitute 2 c. crushed corn flakes or crushed crisp rice cereal for flour.  Place cereal in shallow pan.  Roll butter-coated chicken in crumbs.  Bake as above.
Potato Chip Coating:  Substitute 2 c. crushed potato chips for the flour.  Omit salt.  Place cereal in shallow pan.  Roll butter-coated chicken in crumbs.  Bake as above.
Corn Chip Coating:  Substitute 2 c. crushed taco-flavored corn or tortilla chips for the flour.  Omit salt.  Place cereal in shallow pan.  Roll butter-coated chicken in crumbs.  Bake as above.
Herb/Cheese Coating:  Substitute 3/4 c. packaged herb-seasoned stuffing mix, crushed, combined with 1/2 c.  grated Parmesan cheese for the flour.  Roll butter-coated chicken in stuffing-cheese mixture.  Bake as above.

My Potato Chip Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 oz. would be preferred, but mine were much larger this time)
2 c. crushed potato chips (takes 3-4 cups uncrushed chips)
1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. oregano leaves
1/2 t. basil leaves
1/2 t. celery salt
1/2 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 T. lemon juice

For the most even cooking, pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness.  Combine flour and potato chips.  Add seasonings if using plain potato chips.  Mix well and place in a shallow pan.  Combine egg and lemon juice.  Dip chicken breasts in egg, then roll in potato chip mixture pressing down to help the coating adhere.  Place in a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  I use Reynolds Nonstick Foil.  Bake at 375 degrees 30 minutes to 1 hour or until done.  I know this is a big range of time.  If the breasts have been pounded to an even thickness they should be done in 30 minutes.  If not pounded even, it may take up to an hour for the thickest parts to be done.  Makes 4 servings.  Note:  The potato chips have plenty of oil in them, there is no need to add additional oil.

Linking to Totally Tasty Tuesday

Monday, July 18, 2011

DIY Groceries-Barbecue Rubs and Sauces 5

Well, I said last week that I was done posting barbecue rubs and sauces.  Turns out I'm not.  A local grocery store advertised pork riblets at only $1.39 a lb. this week, and I wanted to give them a try.  They are kind of like spareribs but much cheaper.  I generally buy country style rubs instead of regular spareribs because they are less expensive and have more meat.  Spareribs are always a little unpredictable as to the amount of meat one gets.

So with the riblets on sale and one more rub recipe I wanted to try, that is what was for dinner Saturday night.  I put the rub on the riblets and let them sit in the fridge for several hours.  I then cooked them in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, basting lightly with barbecue sauce the last 20 minutes.  I had a small amount of  Bulls' Eye Barbecue Sauce in my fridge I wanted to use up, so I just used what I had of that.  These could be served without any added sauce if desired.

The rub was very good but a bit spicy for me.  I think the next time I will cut the cayenne back by half.  When I use the rest of what I made up, I will not be quite so generous when I apply the rub as I was today.

My husband's verdict was that the riblets were very good, but a lot of work to eat.

The rub was part of a recipe called Spice-Rubbed Ribs which was for baby back ribs.  The recipe is from Taste of Home and was sent in by Cheryl Ewing from Ellwood City Pennsylvania.

Spice Rub

3 T. paprika
2 T. plus 1 t. salt
2 T. plus 1 t. garlic powder
2 T. cayenne pepper
4 t. onion powder
4 t. dried oregano
4 t. dried thyme
4 t. pepper

Mix ingredients together well.  Sprinkle on ribs or other pork, chicken, or beef  before barbecuing.  I like to apply the rub and chill the meat for several hours.  Store tightly covered in a cool place.  Makes about 3/4 cup.

Linking to Hunk of Meat Monday

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Got the Happy 101 Award

A few days ago, J-Lee over at Domestic Engineer Extraordinaire gave me the Happy 101 Award.  Life has been so crazy lately that blogging has been sort of "back burner" so I am just now getting a post done about this.

Here are the rules:
     1.  Copy the award image into a post.
     2.  List 10 things that make you happy.
     3.  Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day.
     4.  Put in a link to their blogs.
     5.  Notify the award receivers.
     6.  Recipients should link back to the sender’s blog. 
     10 Things that Make Me Happy
         1.  Just being alive and relatively healthy.
         2.  My husband and family and the fact that they are healthy.
         3.  That my 19-year old granddaughter who is following her dreams and living and going to school in
              California finally found a job she actually likes after looking for six months.
         4.  Reading blogs (which I spend way too much time doing).
         5.  New "virtual friends" I have met online.
         6.  My two, very spoiled "cat" children.
         7.  Cooking has always made me happy, now blogging about it does.
         8.  All the fresh fruits and veggies available this time of year.
         9.  A warm, but not too, summer day.
       10.  Living in America.

    Blogger I'm Passing this award on to:

    Eat at Home  If there was a "sweetest blogger" award, Tiffany would certainly be in the running.  I so appreciate all she has done for me, and that she liked my recipes and wanted to interview me.  Her blog is really great, and I visit every day.

    Jam Hands  Ali has great recipes, great photos and great info all around.  I always find new information and new blogs in the links posted in Ali's Notebook.

    Whoa, this got posted too soon.  I scheduled it, and thought I had plenty of time to finish it up; but didn't get back to it.  Sorry to those who only got a partial post.

    Mel's Kitchen Cafe  This was one of the first food blogs I discovered and started reading regularly.  Mel always has wonderful recipes, and this is where I found my husband's now favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe-Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies, which contain no eggs.

    Miz Helen's Country Cottage  A sweet Texas blogger who, like me is "over a certain age".  What that is, I won't tell.  She hosts Full Plate Thursdays.

    Fran's Faves  Another new blogger, I just discovered, who started blogging a little before I did.  Also "over a certain age".  She has great recipes and a cute husband.  I look forward to reading all her posts.

    Pinch of This, That, and The Other  This young, military wife is also a new blogger.  Her family just moved to Japan.  She posts the most wonderful desserts along with other goodies. She hosts Whisking Wednesdays.  I look forward to reading about her Japan adventures.

    Debbiedoos..Blogging and Babbling  Because life is not all about the food.  This is a very inspirational decorating blog.  Debbie is a great supporter of new bloggers and hosts a Newbie Link Party on Sundays and Mondays.

    Serenity Now  Again, because life is not all about the food.  A great decorating/life styles blog.  She has wonderful information on blogging and is doing a series on Blogging Myths right now.  She hosts Weekend Bloggy Reading.

    This Chick Cooks  Delicious recipes, fun to read.  She hosts These Chicks Cooked on Wednesdays.

    Mandy's Recipe Box   Another fun blog with delicious recipes.  She hosts Totally Tasty Tuesdays.

    If you haven't visited some of the above blogs, please go.  They are well worth the time.

    J-Lee, Thanks for the award.

    Raspberry/Brownie Layered Dessert

    Note:  If you are a follower and got this in a reader, the amount of water is wrong.  Should be 2 c.  I have corrected the recipe.

    Saturday was an alligator day around here.  When you are up to your armpits in alligators, it is hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.  By the end of the day, I knew that I needed chocolate.

    Problem was, I had fresh raspberries I needed to do something with.  After some thought, I decided that brownies and raspberries would be a good paring.  I sort of have a reputation for doing different things with layered desserts so I adapted parts of various recipes and came up with this:  a thin layer of brownies, a cream cheese layer, and a raspberry fluff or mousse type layer topped with dollops of whipped topping.  I couldn't come up with a very inventive name, any ideas?  The raspberry layer is an adaptation of Six Sisters Stuff Raspberry Fluff Salad recipe.

    I recently was able to purchase some Pillsbury Brownie Mixes for $ .50 each so I used half of one of those to make the brownie layer.  A homemade recipe for brownies for a 8 or 9-inch square pan baked in a 9x13-inch pan would work also.  For a thicker layer of brownies, use a regular recipe for a 9x13-inch pan.

    Whipped cream may be used instead of the whipped topping if desired.  Measure after the cream has been whipped.  A pint of whipping cream will be plenty.  A 12-oz. container of whipped topping will make the dessert and dollops for topping.

    I have to say how much I love Reynolds Nonstick Foil.  I have been using it underneath the raspberries that I have frozen individually.  I just line a baking sheet with the foil, wash the raspberries, and scatter them out over the foil.  Place in freezer until the raspberries are frozen.  Remove the raspberries to a freezer bag.  Not one raspberry has stuck to the foil.  I have used the same sheet over and over, still no sticking.  I lined my baking pan for this dessert, and it came right off.  I still use the regular foil, too.  But the nonstick is great is certain uses.

    Raspberry and Brownie Layered Dessert
    1 pkg brownie mix, divided in half
    half of additional ingredients called for to make the brownies
    1/2 c. chopped pecans, toasted
    1 large pkg. cook and serve vanilla pudding (may use sugar free)
    1 large pkg. raspberry gelatin (may use sugar free)
    2 c. water.
    1 T. lemon juice
    6 oz. fresh or individually frozen raspberries (about 1 c.)
    1 c. whipped topping or whipped cream
    1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese (may be 1/3 fat or fat free)
    1 c. powdered sugar (I sift this)
    1 c. whipped topping or whipped cream.

    Measure brownie mix and divide in half (will be about 2 c.)  Prepare mix with half of each of the ingredients called for on the package.  Add pecans and mix well.  Pour into 9x13-inch baking dish lined with nonstick foil.  Bake at oven temperature called for on package about 12 to 15 minutes or until done.  Let cool 15 minutes.  Place in refrigerator to continue cooling.
    Combine vanilla pudding, raspberry gelatin, water, and lemon juice.  Blend together well.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture boils.  Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.  Place in refrigerator until thickened. (about 1 hour)
    Meanwhile mix together softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped topping.  Spread over cooled brownie layer.
    Add whipped topping to gelatin blending very well.  Carefully stir in raspberries.  Spread over cream cheese layer.  Chill until ready to serve, at least 2 to 3 hours.  Cut into squares and serve with dollops of whipped topping.  Store, covered, in refrigerator.  Makes 12 servings.

    Linking to:  Melt in Your Mouth Monday,   Newbie Party, Summer Cookout Food, Sharing Monday,
    Making a Food-"e"  Friend Monday,
    Sweet Treats Thursday

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Salmon Pasta Ranch Salad

    On Monday I decided to make Chili-Mac for lunch.  This simply consists of cooked macaroni, a can of Nalley's Hot Chili thinned with a little water, mixed together and topped with shredded Mexican Blend Cheese.  Since I was going to cook macaroni anyway, I cooked extra to make a salad.  I decided I wanted a salmon and pasta salad.  Hubby doesn't eat either pasta salad or fish.  Yesterday I posted that he does not eat cabbage.  I think that I am making him sound like a picky eater, which he is not.  I just seem to be posting recipes for things he doesn't eat.  I shared the salad with a friend at work.

    I have unofficially been doing the pantry clean-out that some of the bloggers are doing this month, and I wanted to use up some food that had been on hand for awhile.

    The thing that I love about pasta salads is they are so versatile.  Cook any kind of pasta, combine with almost anything, season with almost anything, and use almost any dressing.  It is just whatever you want to do that day.  Here is my current rendition of pasta salad.  I used 1/2 package of dry Ranch Dressing Mix because it was left from making something else and I wanted to use it up.  If I hadn't used that, I might have instead used Greek seasoning, lemon-pepper, curry powder, Italian herbs just to suggest a few.  The amounts of ingredients added to the pasta are approximate.  Add or subtract as you like.

    Salmon Pasta Ranch Salad

    1/2 lb. macaroni or other pasta, cooked
    1-2 stalks celery, diced
    1/2 c. chopped onion, red would be nice if you have it
    1/2 c. chopped red pepper (I put red pepper in everything I can)
    1/3 c. chopped dill pickle
    1/4 c. sliced black olives, drained
    1 c. frozen peas
    1 (5 1/2 oz.) can salmon, drained (could be tuna, chicken, ham) Use a larger can if you want.  This is the size I had on hand
    1/2 c. mayonnaise
    1/4 c. sour cream (I used Mexican Sour Cream which they sell in our area)
    1/2 pkg. dry Ranch Dressing Mix

    In a large bowl combine pasta with celery, onion, red pepper, dill pickle, olives, peas and salmon. Measure mayonnaise and sour cream into a 2-cup glass measuring cup.  Add dressing mix and stir well.  Combine pasta mixture and dressing mixture, blending well.  Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Makes about 6 servings.  (Or just for me eaten over several days.)

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Friday Frugal Tips-Freezer Coleslaw

    My husband is not a fan of cabbage except when it is made into the salad that has ramen noodles in it.  I, on the other hand, am a big fan of cabbage.  One of the things that I do, so I can have coleslaw whenever I want, is make up a batch of Freezer Coleslaw.  I then put about 1/2 c. into zip-top snack bags and put those bags into a freezer bag.  That way I can thaw a single serving of coleslaw.

    This is a very colorful salad with a sweet/sour flavor dressing.  1  lb. cabbage equals about 4 c. shredded or 2 c. cooked.  You may find that the dressing is a lot of liquid.  I lift the coleslaw out  of the dressing with a slotted spoon to put it in the plastic bags.   The dressing may be refrigerated to use with fresh coleslaw in a few days.  This recipe was given out by Tupperware salesladies many, many years ago.

    Tupperware Freezer Cole Slaw

    1 large head of cabbage (3 lbs. or so), shredded
    1 Tablespoon salt
    4 stalks celery, diced
    1 red pepper, diced
    1 green pepper, diced (I don’t use this)
    1 carrot, shredded
    1 cup vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    2 cups sugar
    1 Tablespoon each: celery & mustard seed

    Mix cabbage and salt in a large colander and place over another large bowl or pan.   Let stand 1 hr.  Juice will drain into the bowl or pan.  Rinse cabbage to remove extra salt and pat dry.   Add celery, peppers & carrot.   Meanwhile,  put the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seed & celery seed in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 min.  Cool & pour over cabbage mix.  Package in freezer bags in amounts suitable for your family.  When ready to eat, thaw and serve.

    Friday Finds

    Well, it looks like I was into snacks and sweets this week.

    Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese Wontons
    Life's Ambrosia

    I was so excited when this recipe came through on my email that I went right over to say thanks.  Cream cheese wontons are one of my favorite things to eat at Chinese buffets.  Unfortunately, many of the restaurants in my area add crab which I don't eat.  These look so good.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
    Captive Creativity

    I used to have a recipe that was similar to this, but used oats.   The book it was in disappeared, and I have not been able to locate it.  This one may take its place.  I like the use of Rice Krispies.
    Loaded Garlic Bread
    The Kitchen Cookie

    Oh, this sounds wonderful.  I think my husband would love this for lunch.  I know I would.
    Guinea Grinders
    Amanda's Cooking

    This is another one that looks wonderful.  A bonus is that it freezes well.  What a great thing to have on hand when I don't know what to fix for lunch.

    Lemon Raspberry Bars
    Six Sisters' Stuff

    We were gifted with a large bowl of fresh raspberries by a neighbor.  I didn't know and had picked some up at the store.  I am going to make these tomorrow.  A great, light dessert for summer, I think.

    Frans Favs

    OK, I couldn't resist another one.  Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake is one of my favorite desserts.  I want to try this one soon.

    I can't wait to see what everyone else has found this week.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    DIY Groceries-Barbecue Rubs and Sauces 4

    Here is one last post of recipes for a barbecue rub and sauce for this go round.   The rub is very basic and has fewer ingredients than the rubs posted previously, but it is still very useful.  I do not know the source of this recipe.

    I occasionally can purchase commercial barbecue sauces on sale at a good price.  I check the label; and , if it has no high fructose corn syrup, I will purchase a bottle or two.  Bull’s-Eye Barbecue Sauce is one such product.  The recipe today is for a “doctored up” commercial or homemade barbecue sauce.  Add just a few ingredients,  and a commercial sauce becomes almost homemade.  This is a sticky sauce with molasses undertones.  It is great on both pork and chicken.  This recipe  is adapted from Allrecipes.

    Basic Barbecue Rub
    2 T. Chili Powder
    1 T. Granulated Garlic
    1 T. Onion Powder
    1 T. Ground Cumin
    1/2 T. Ground Black Pepper

    Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

    Sticky and Tangy Barbecue Sauce
    1 cup honey
    1 cup ketchup  
    2 tablespoons molasses
    1 (18-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce (or an equivalent of homemade sauce.

    Mix ingredients together, blending well.  Brush on ribs or chicken, cooked on a grill or in the oven, during the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking.  This keeps for a month or so in the refrigerator if using commercial sauce.  How long it would keep with homemade sauce would depend on how long the homemade sauce could be kept.

    Tomorrow we are Cooking with the Journal

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Salisbury Steak with “Eat Your Veggies” Gravy

    This is an easy and economical dish.  There is a bit of chopping, but if it is done ahead; the dish comes together in less than 30 min.  I chop and cook the vegetables a day or two ahead, and sometimes mix the ground beef and additions the night before.

    The Salisbury Steak recipe is my own, and the gravy is one that I have been making since my children were small.  It was a way to get a few more veggies into them.  Now it works with my hubby.  If one has a child (or a husband) that would resist because they saw the veggies, the gravy can be run through a blender to make the veggies “disappear.”   Some sliced fresh mushrooms added to the vegetable mix is very nice if people like them.  Can't get mushrooms past my hubby unless I do the blender thing.


    Salisbury Steak
    1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef, I use 15 or 20%
    1 egg, beaten
    1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
    1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    1 t. seasoned salt
    1/3 c. flour
    salt and pepper

    Place ground beef in a bowl.  Mix egg and Worcestershire Sauce together.  Mix into ground beef.  Combine bread crumbs, garlic powder and seasoned salt.  Mix gently into ground beef.  Shape into 6 equal size patties, about 4 inches across.  Place flour in a pie pan.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Dip patties into flour coating each side.  Set patties aside on a rack or waxed paper.  Use remaining flour in the gravy.  Heat a large skillet until hot.  Add patties and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Turn patties and cook 5 to 8 more minutes until done.  Remove patties and keep warm.  Drain any fat from skillet and reserve 2 T.

    “Eat Your Veggies” Gravy
    1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
    1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    1/4 of a red pepper, finely chopped
    1/2 c. onion finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 T. butter
    2 T. reserved fat from above
    remaining flour from above.
    1 can (14 oz.) beef broth
    1/4 c. water

    Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Add vegetables and cook slowly over low heat, stirring often, until they are tender, about 15 minutes.  This may be done a day or two ahead.  Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.  Heat reserved fat in skillet meat was cooked in.   Add flour and cook 1 or 2 minutes.  Stir in beef broth.  Use the 1/4 c. water to rinse beef broth can and add to skillet.   Cook and heat until thickened.  Add vegetables and heat through.  Serve over meat patties and potatoes, rice, or noodles.

    Linking to Melt in Your Mouth Monday,
    Foodie Wednesday
    Cast Party Wednesday
    Whisking Wednesday
    Ingredient Spotlight

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Friday Finds

    This week I have found recipes for some great summer cooking.

    There was an article on barbecuing in my Parade Magazine last Sunday that include a link to these spice rub recipes The link is to the start of a slide show for the five rubs.  I know that I will be trying all five.

    Extraordinary Life

    This one is a little more work than my Easy Pizza Sauce, but I am going to try this one the next time I need pizza sauce.

    A Year of Slow Cooking

    What better way to make a decadent dessert when it's too hot to turn on the oven (97 degrees here Wed.) than to use your slow cooker.  This one only takes 2-4 hours.

    Country Living

    Chocolate for breakfast.  Oh Yum.  I can think of all sorts of ways to have these.  Add some chocolate chips and/or nuts to the batter.  Top with slice bananas, raspberries, any other fresh fruit.  Pour all kinds of different syrups over the top.  I'll bet kids would love these.  The mix makes enough for 24 4-inch pancakes.  There are three other make ahead pancake and waffle mixes on this site.

    Can't wait to see all the delicious dishes others have found this week.

    Linking up to Friday Favorite Finds

    Tomorrow:  Salisbury Steak with "Eat Your Veggies Gravy"

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Skipping through Blogland and Stopping at Domestic Engineer Extraordinaire

    Today I am stopping at Domestic Engineer Extraordinaire.  J-Lee is another Washington State blogger who is an Environmental Engineer by day.  Engineering anything is way beyond my limited talents.  She started her blog last year.

    A few of the recipes on her blog that I want to try soon are:

    Turkey Barley Soup
    Like me, J-Lee did not take photos when she first started blogging, but the ingredients in this soup sound good without the need of a photo. This is a slow cooker recipe.  I can never have too many of those.

    Hot Oatmeal and Rice
    This combination intrigues me.  This is another slow cooker recipe.  Since I am the only breakfast eater at our house, and I like oatmeal and rice; I am going to make this soon.

    Potato Soup
    OK, I know that this is another soup.  J-Lee just calls this Potato Soup, but with soy sauce, nutmeg, and dill weed in the ingredients, I would hardly call it ordinary.

    Well, I tried to get these photos to line up across, but they did not.  Don't these all look delicious?  They are all breakfasts.  I think anyone, maybe even my hubby, would eat breakfast if they could wake up to one of these.  From the top Pumpkin Pie Baked French ToastFinnish Pancakes, Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal.

    J-Lee also include her weekly menus with links to the recipes and does a Friday's Five to Try.  She links to Finding Joy in My Kitchen's Friday Favorite Finds.   I always find another recipe to try when I check out her Friday's Five.  If you are ever even a little down, go here to see the wonderful pics of J-Lee's adorable little daughter jumping in puddles.  That's something we should all consider doing at least once in awhile.  It will make your day!

    This is a delightful blog to spend a little time visiting.  I will return often.
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