"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mexican Goulash

You can make the recipe as hot or mild as your taste buds require by the taco sauces you use.

1 pound cubed chicken (you can also use ground meat..chicken, beef or pork)
1 medium onion diced
1/2 cup diced green pepper (any color will work)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, veined and diced
3 tablespoons butter or oil
1 heaping teaspoon chili powder

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy pan, add peppers and onion sautee until they start to color and soften.   Remove from pan, add remaining butter and sautee chicken until it starts to get some color.  Add peppers and onion back to pan and sprinkle with chili powder.  Cook until chili starts to release its flavor.  You'll be able to smell it.

Add the following to the meat mixture:

1 ea.  14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes w/juice
1 ea.  14 oz, can black beans rinsed and drained
1 ea.  16 oz. jar taco sauce (you can also use 1 pkg, taco seasoning + 1- 15 oz can of tomato sauce)
1 cup frozen or canned corn drained
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
As mixture absorbs the juices add either chicken or beef broth to keep it from drying out too much.  I ended up using about 1-1/2 cups.

Bring mixture to a boil and give it a stir once in a while.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until macaroni is tender. 

Optional:  I added 3 oz. of cream cheese and about 3 oz of grated pepper jack cheese.  Turn off heat and let the cheeses melt stirring.

Eat and enjoy.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pumpkin Cream Pudding by Valerie

We give this recipe a 5 star rating, Valerie's Recipe

After making at least a million baked custard pumpkin pies for the holiday season...NO MORE.  We are huge fans of Vanilla Cream, Banana Cream and Chocolate Cream Pies..  We are going to add Pumpkin Cream to the list.  
I used home made pumpkin puree for this recipe so the colors aren't as bright and what comes out of the can.  I am also using Valerie's Directions, though I feel that they make the process sound WAY too complicated. It comes together quickly, just remember that it's very important to keep stirring the mixture as it heats up, mixture will burn easily on the bottom of the pan if you don't.  There is a stage of thickening where the mixture will look lumpy, hang in there it will smooth out.

4 cups whole milk
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie mix), about 1 1/2 cups
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 to 12 ginger snap cookies
In a medium saucepan, combine three cups of the milk, the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger. Whisk to combine and then set over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks and the remaining 1 cup milk.
Whisk half of the hot milk-pumpkin mixture into the egg mixture until smooth, then gradually whisk the egg-milk-pumpkin mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to cook, now over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it has thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.
To assemble, layer the cookies and pudding mixture in a serving dish or parfait glasses. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours).
Recipe courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli

Friday, September 9, 2016

Homemade Velveeta Cheese

I have to confess, one of the reasons this recipe went to the top of the "try" list is I have a new "toy" in my kitchen.  I used the food processor attachment to shred the cheese and the blender to do the mixing.  The power this machine has is amazing.  I have been using a 20+ year old food processor....NO MORE!

It shredded a 16 ounce block of sharp cheddar in a matter of seconds.

This recipe is harder to handle, as it cools very fast...I used a cup of hot water that was still at a rolling boil....  The blender handled the mixing process of the shredded cheese very well..and fast.

Brown Eyed Baker and King Arthur Flour Kitchens have had this recipe on their blogs for a while....I just had to try it.  This version there is a lot less salt, and it will only be as good as the cheese you use.

yield: About 22 ounces
prep time: 10 minutes
total time: 10 minutes

¼-ounce packet unflavored gelatin
6 tablespoons dry milk powder
1 cup boiling water
16 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap, covering all sides and leaving excess to hang over the sides.

2. Place the unflavored gelatin and dry milk powder in a blender or food processor (I used my blender). Pour the boiling water over top and immediately pulse to combine. Add the cheddar cheese and puree the mixture until smooth.

3. Immediately pour and scrape the cheese mixture into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a spatula. Fold the excess plastic wrap over the cheese, pressing it against the surface of the cheese, ensuring that it is completely covered. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, until set. The cheese will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month.

(Recipe from Michael Symon)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fun with Pesto

We are huge fans of the TV series "Big Band Theory", for you that follow the show you know that Sheldon Cooper had an internet show called "Fun with Flags".  Hence, "Fun with Pesto" sense what so ever but that's my justification and I'm sticking to it...

I am having a wonderful Sweet Basil year here in central Missouri..too bad it's quickly coming to an end...The need to get busy and do "stuff" with the stuff is here.  So we are drying a bunch of it, using a lot of fresh in salads and other recipes and finally Pesto...

There are at least 100,000 different/same Pesto recipes out there on the great internet.  I chose an Almond Basil recipe...we are really glad as it has worked out very well with our taste buds...

2 cups firmly packed sweet basil leaves, washed and drained
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2+ grated Parmesan cheese
3 to 4 minced fresh garlic cloves
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

Add everything but the olive oil and salt and pepper to a food processor and coarsely chop.

Once you have achieved this it's time to start slowing adding the olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Next thing that is happening it grilling!  What isn't great with bacon?  I used tenderized chicken tenders ( on words) and simply layered bacon, tenders and basil pesto.  Fastened with tooth picks and grilled until temp of 160 degrees.  Wow!!! and tender tenders!!!

Now for the tomatoes...don't you just love home grown tomatoes?

We are not Vegan's in this house, but this just sounded so good...would be a great first course???

I used Bobby Flay's Pizza Dough recipe which, since I was using my 10" Cast Iron Grill Pan I divided the dough into 1/3's and pre baked at 500 degrees for about 5-8 minutes.  This was not a thin crust but it wasn't thick either.  Make it your own..
Tomato Basil Pizza

 Add Pesto
 Add sliced tomatoes (maybe add salt and pepper to taste)
 Mozzarella Cheese
 Bake at 500 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes


Fun with Pesto has come to an end!!! 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Poppers

I found this recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction  The only change, I used Colby Jack Cheese and I added a generous teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce to the cheese mix.  We also use our gas grill instead of the oven to bake.  Added some hickory smoke for a little more flavor.    These guys are just spicy enough to get your attention.

12 fresh jalapeño peppers
1  8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used Colby Jack Cheese)
2 1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
***1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
12 slices bacon, cut in half
24 toothpicks soaked in water

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (best for clean-up) or a silicone baking mat. Place a baking rack on top of the baking sheet. Set aside.

Cut the jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds and center membrane. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, and paprika together until combined. You could also do this by hand using a rubber spatula. Salt to taste - I add just a pinch. Spoon filling equally among all 24 jalapeño halves.

Wrap each stuffed jalapeño with a half slice of bacon and stick a toothpick through the center to assure the bacon stays in place. Place each on the baking rack and bake for 25-28 minutes or until the bacon is crisp to your liking. I like to turn the oven to broil for the last minute or two to get things extra crispy. Serve immediately. Cover leftovers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Make ahead tip: jalapeño peppers can be stuffed and wrapped 1 day in advance. Refrigerate until ready to bake. You can also assemble and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Additional Notes:

Instead of jalapeño peppers, try using those mini sweet peppers often sold in the produce section. Those a great option if you don't like super spicy.

Mexican style or pepper jack shredded cheese is also tasty.

Adapted from Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Monday, March 28, 2016

Banana Buttermilk Layer Cake

If you are a banana lover, this cake is for you!!!  It is flavorful and moist and no added spices so all you get is Banana!  I have not made a layer cake in years, mostly because I can never make a pretty cake!  I still can't make a pretty layer cake, the flavor takes the place of pretty..  I'm good with that,  The only thing I changed in the Cooking Classy recipe is I added 1 teaspoon of baking powder.  Link to her site is below.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (from about 4 medium bananas)*
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 9-inch round cake pans with aluminum foil, leaving a slight overhang of foil on two sides. Spray foil with cooking spray, then dust evenly with flour and shake off excess.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside. Mash bananas with 1 tsp lemon juice. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whip together butter, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, granulated sugar and light brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Blend in eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla and mashed bananas. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add flour mixture alternating with buttermilk in 3 separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans and spread batter into an even layer.

Bake in preheated oven 45 - 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

*I tried this with both 1 1/2 cups and 1 3/4 cup mashed bananas and the 1 3/4 cup seemed to make the cake more dense and it didn't really need any of that extra moisture so I'd recommend that you measure the mashed bananas and use 1 1/2 cups.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Stuffed Bell Peppers

3 or 4 whole green (or red) peppers
1 cup instant rice ) not cooked
1 pound ground beef, turkey, or veal
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa (you can use diced canned tomatoes if you don't like salsa)
diced tops of the bell peppers...should be a little less than a cup.
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 cup button mushrooms chopped
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Cheese of choice.
You may also add water to the mix if it seems too dry. You will need the extra moisture for the rice.

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
2. "Core" the peppers (take the stems and seeds out) and scald them in boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until tender. **optional
3. On high to medium high heat, cook the meat in an ungreased, non-stick or well-seasoned skillet (the fat will keep the food from sticking).
4. When the meat is almost done, add the chopped onion, and continue cooking until the meat is done and the onion pieces are translucent (add olive oil if necessary). Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Lower to medium heat and stir in the diced bell pepper tops, garlic, and mushrooms cooking just long enough for the veggies to start to soften. add tomato sauce and salsa. Stir until completely combined and simmering.
6. Add the uncooked rice. Stir.
7. Fill the bell peppers with the meat sauce. You will have extra sauce, leave it in the pan to surround the stuffed peppers.

8. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the rice is fully cooked.
9. Turn off oven, uncover peppers. Add your favorite cheese to the top and put back into the hot oven to melt cheese. I used pepper jack cheese.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Rutabaga Yeast Bread

Just about everyone has had Potato Yeast Bread at least once...maybe even Sweet Potato Yeast Bread... well here is Rutabaga Yeast Bread.. It turned out sweeter than the average bread..In this batch I omitted the eggs, dough works well with or without.  Info about the Rutabaga .  I have also cubed and fried with potatoes and cabbage...The added flavor turned out amazing.

Yields: 2 loaves
Cook time: 35 minutes
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 cup warm mashed Rutabaga
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm fresh apple sauce (unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon honey or granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
2 teaspoon salt
6 to 7 cups unbleached white flour (may use more)
1 egg (for glaze)
In a large saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the butter, mashed rutabaga, and honey; stirring vigorously with a wire whisk to blend. Let sit until it has cooled to lukewarm.
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm applesauce with the honey or sugar. Let it sit until frothing. Add the lukewarm rutabaga mixture to the yeast, along with the nutmeg, eggs, and salt; beat well.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and beat 2 minutes with an electric mixer or at least 200 strokes by hand. Stir in the wheat germ, if using. Gradually add more flour, as much as it take to make dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Sprinkle on a little more flour if it remains insistently sticky, but expect some stickiness because of the potatoes. When it has become elastic, especially if blisters appear on the surface, you can stop kneading.

Put the dough in a buttered bowl, turn it over or brush the top with melted butter, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until it has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down, turn it out onto the board, knead a few times to press out air bubbles, and cut in half. Cover with the towel and let rest about 10 minutes.
Grease two medium to large loaf pans. Shape the dough into loaves, put in pans, and brush the tops with melted butter. Cover and let rise again until about doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 35 minutes. About 5 minutes before you expect them to be done, take the loaves out of the oven and brush with a egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk or cream; return to the oven. They are done when the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to cool on a wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.

I decided to make a pan of rolls with half of the dough and then make two small loaves of regular bread..(fits in my toaster)

Smoked sausage, fried potatoes, fried rutabaga and cabbage.