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Archive for December, 2010

Gone are the days when Chicken wings were a mere .29 cents a pound. When you could walk into the supermarket and pickup a package of chicken wings for pennies!  Chicken wings have long since turned into one of those prime premiere, lip smacking, delicacies that  can no longer be ignored and for good reason; they taste GREAT!!  I’ve been making this recipe for years, and still make them to this day!  These are great served any day for any reason or occasion!

Hidden Valley Ranch Buffalo Wings

3 – 5 Lbs. Chicken Wings/Drummettes

1/4 Cup Butter

1/4 Cup Hot Pepper Sauce (Less if desired)

3 Tbsp. Vinegar

2 Pkgs. Hidden Valley Ranch Milk Recipe Original Ranch Salad Dressing Mix

1/2 tsp. Paprika

Celery Sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.    In a sauce pan, melt butter. Remove from heat and add the hot pepper sauce and vinegar. Dip chicken wings in mixture; put in a baking pan on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with 1 pkg. of dry dressing mix. Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until browned.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Serve with celery sticks and prepared Hidden Valley Salad Dressing as Dip.

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Merry Christmas!

What a whirl wind, busy month this has been for me! I love being busy, and Christmas keeps us all busy. The hustle and bustle are non-stop up until tonight. Christmas Eve!  I wanted to sit down just for a minute and wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  This is my most favorite Holiday we celebrate!  I know that I have not gotten done much posting and that I have a lot of recipes to share with you.  Even though Christmas is almost over, I’m still going to post the recipes I have been making. We still have this week coming up, leading into the New Year and maybe you will find one useful!

Merry Christmas Everyone, I wish you Joy, Peace and togetherness!

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I love Pot Roast. We don’t have it all that often because this is not the favorite of most of my family. However, every once in a while, I make it.  If you’re gonna feed your family a dinner that is not one of their favorites, you have to make sure it’s a winner!  This is! I gotta tell you that I could skip the meat all together, and go for the vegetables. I think that’s what my favorite is. But you must have meat in there to get the flavor that makes the veggies so good. So here it is!   Sunday Pot Roast with Veggies! In all it’s wonderful, beefy tastiness!  A classic, an easy, beefy, quick to put together, simple ingredients, must have recipe!

Sunday Pot Roast (Oven Braised) With Veggies

From: Fire up the Oven

4 lb. Beef Chuck Roast, about 2 inches thick

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, Chopped

32 oz. Beef Stock

Potatoes

Carrots

Celery

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large dutch oven, over medium high heat, get oil hot. Season the chuck roast on both sides with salt and pepper. Add beef to hot dutch oven, (you can cut it up into chunks if you’d like.) sear on both sides, about 4 minutes or so. You want a nice crust on it.  Remove beef from pan and set aside.  Add Onion, and saute until onions are soft, scraping up any beef bits as you go.  When onions are soft, add the beef broth and stir to get all bits off the bottom of the pan.  Place the meat back into the dutch oven and put vegetables around the meat. Mix up well, until everything is coated. Seal the pan with foil and cook for 3-4 hours in a preheated 300 degree oven until meat is tender.  Serve with a gravy if desired.

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Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup! A Classic!  I  have never made my own French Onion Soup! I’m glad I finally did.  This is delicious!

I enjoyed making this.  The slow cook of  the onions. The delicious beef broth, the Swiss Cheese and Bread floating in the soup! Yum. What more can I say?  If your going to make the homemade bread, start with that and then make the soup. Here’s a link to a bread recipe for those of you interested.

Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

Ingredients 


  • 1 1/2 lbs (about 5 cups or a little more) thinly sliced Yellow Onions
  • 3 T. Butter
  • 1 T. Vegetable or Olive Oil
  • A heavy-bottomed, 4-quart covered saucepan
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1/4 t. Sugar (helps the onions to brown)
  • 3 T. Flour
  • 2 quarts boiling brown stock, purchased beef stock, or 1 quart of water and 1 quart of stock
  • 1/2 c. Dry White Wine or dry white Vermouth
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz. (about 3/4 c.) shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 1 T. grated raw onion
  • 8 to 10 rounds of hard toasted French Bread (toast bread rounds in oven at 225 for 25 min.)
  • For Bread Rounds:
  • 1 1/2 c. grated Swiss, or Swiss and Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 T. Olive Oil or Melted Butter

Directions:

  • Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in the covered saucepan for 15 minutes.
  • Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.
  • Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Bring the soup to the boil and pour into a tureen or soup pots. Stir in the 3/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese and grated onion. Float the rounds of toast on top of the soup, and spread the grated cheese over it. Sprinkle with the oil or butter.
  • Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, then set for a minute or two under a preheated broiler to brown the top lightly. Serve immediately.

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Homemade Turkey Potpies

To use up our leftover Thanksgiving Turkey, I decided to make homemade potpie.  These pot pies are delicious and a favorite of my husbands. Even the picky Grandbabies will eat these!!  I have made them several times with chicken too! Here’s how I make my pot pies:

Turkey or Chicken Potpies

By: Fire up the Oven

1 Cup Chopped Onions

1 Cup Chopped Celery

1 1/2 Cups Diced Potatoes

1 Cup Chopped Carrots

1 Cup Frozen (or Fresh) Corn

1 Cup Frozen (or Fresh) Peas

1 Stick Butter

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Gravy:

1/2 Cup Butter (1 stick)

3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

2 Cups Water

Half and Half or Milk (Add enough to achieve desired thickness)

3 Tbsp. Minor’s Chicken Base (or use Better than Bouillon Chicken Base)

1/4 tsp. Pepper

1/2 tsp. Thyme

1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Marjoram

1/4 tsp. Sage

Salt to taste (Chicken base is salty, so go sparingly and taste!)

4 Cups Diced Turkey or Chicken

2 (15 oz.) pkg. Refrigerated pie Crusts (or Homemade from my dessert blog)

Directions:

Allow refrigerated Pie crusts to come to room temperature (or make homemade pie crusts).  In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil.  When hot, add onions, celery, potatoes, and carrots.  Saute mixture until carrots are just fork tender.  Remove from heat and add corn and Peas.  Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt butter. Add flour, and cook and stir for 5 minutes.  Add water and half and half until you reach desired consistency for gravy.  Add spices.  Remove from heat.  Add diced turkey or chicken to potato mixture and add enough gravy to potato/turkey mixture to make vegetables and turkey mixture creamy.  Reserve leftover gravy for over the top of potpies.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 2 9 inch deep dish pie plates with crust. (You can also use a 9X13 inch square baking pan if desired.)  Fill pie crusts with potpie mixture. Add a top crust, cutting vents into the crust.  Bake at 400 Degrees for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Let pot pie rest and cool for about 15 minutes. Serve with remaining gravy if desired.

Yield: 2 9 inch Pies, or one 13X9 inch pie.

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Bagel Dogs (or Pretzel Dogs)

My Picture for this is awful!  I made them at my daughters and had to use my cell phone for the pictures.  My cell phone does NOT take good pictures. But, My grandkids loved these and gobble them up, so I thought I would share the recipe. Anytime you can get picky eaters to eat something, is a recipe worth posting.  I found the recipe here, and her pictures are much better! Plus you get the pleasure of checking out her blog!

Bagel Dogs (Or Pretzel Dogs)

From: Carrie’s Cooking and Recipes

Ingredients
2 cups hot water (110° F)
2 packages, active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
12 quality all-beef hot dogs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water, lightly beaten
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds and/or coarse salt for garnish (I didn’t use any garnish)

Directions
Pour the water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and sprinkle with the yeast. Let the mixture stand about five minutes or until foamy, then stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar and the salt. Using the paddle attachment and with the mixer on medium speed, gradually add flour, beating until well-blended and smooth, until you have a stiff dough. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and knead thoroughly until smooth and elastic in texture. Form the dough into a lump and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Turn the dough over to grease the top. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel (Plastic wrap will work here too in a pinch) and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead briefly to eliminate any air bubbles and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Using a rolling-pin, roll the dough out into a 12×9 inch rectangle or until it’s about a 1/4-inch thick, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling-pin or the board. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut 12 1-inch pieces of dough.

Dry the hot dogs thoroughly. Starting at one end of a hot dog, wrap the dough around overlapping slightly as you make your way to the other end. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining hot dogs and strips of dough. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Preheat the over to 400°. Fill a deep, heavy pot with water and add the baking soda. Bring to a gentle boil. Working 2 to 3 bagels at a time, carefully drop the bagel dogs into the boiling water, turning frequently with a slotted spoon or spatula, for about a minute. Lift the bagel dogs out of the water and gently dry each bagel well on a kitchen towel and arrange about 2-inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with remaining bagel dogs.

Brush the bagels with the egg glaze and sprinkle on your garnish of choice. Bake for about 35 minutes or until nicely browned and crusty, turning the pan about halfway through. Serve warm or let cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 Bagel Dogs

NOTE:

I found this to make a lot of dough. (Maybe I didn’t wrap them quite right)  However, next time I make these, I am going to make lots and lots of extras and freeze them. That way my daughter can feed them to the kids whenever they might want them. The kids loved them and ask for them now. Worth the effort?  You bet! Just ask the Grand Kids! Thank you Carrie for such a great recipe!

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These are one of the best cookies!  Once you eat one, you can’t stop!  I recently made these for a wedding as Thank you favors.  We dipped some in chocolate halfway and left one plain as we packed them into favor containers. Everyone raved about these cookies! These are delicious and is one of our favorite cookies! This makes quite a few cookies.

Double Butterscotch Cookies

Adapted From: Taste of home

Yield: 7 dozen Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package English toffee bits (10 ounces) or almond brickle chips (7-1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (I left these out to avoid nut allergies)
  • Chocolate (Almond Bark, or Chocolate Chips, or whatever chocolate you  would like to use.)
  • Vegetable oil, to thin the chocolate a little bit

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening and brown sugar for 2 minutes or until mixture resembles wet sand. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; gradually add to the brown sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in toffee bits and pecans.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto a silpat lined cookie sheet. (I used a cookie scoop to get uniform sized cookies)
  • Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1-2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: about 7 dozen.
  • Chocolate: In the top of a double boiler, over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring often. Once melted, thin with a little bit of vegetable oil until you have a nice steady stream when a spoon is dipped into it.  Dip cookies halfway into the chocolate and set on a silpat (or parchment paper) lined baking tray.  Let set until chocolate hardens.

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My First Wedding Cake!

A short while back, I told you that my daughter and I were doing a Wedding cake and favors for a wedding in December.  This is the first time I have done a wedding cake, and I was quite  pleased with the results and thought I would share the pictures. So, without further ado, here they are:

The whole cake was a marble cake, but the bottom layer, I made chocolate swirled with vanilla to have it more chocolate than vanilla. All Cakes were frosted with a Crusting Buttercream frosting.

This was her side cake to make sure she had enough.

The littlest cake on the right here was for the Bride & Groom to freeze and eat for their 1st Anniversary.

The Bride & Groom were very happy with their cakes and they tasted good too! What more can you ask for?

I wanted to post the recipe for the Frosting that I used on this cake! I found it to be dreamy, tasty and easy to work with.

Crusting Buttercream Frosting (Viva Method)

* 2 lbs. Sifted Powdered Sugar

1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter, Softened

1 1/2 Cups Solid Vegetable Shortening (Sweetex works best)

2 Tbsp. Clear Vanilla Extract (Available in Cake Decorating Stores, Walmart & Michaels)

1/4 tsp. Almond Extract

1/3 Cup Water or Milk (1/4 Cup for stiffer Frosting)

Cream butter, shortening and extracts until creamy and smooth.  Gradually add powdered sugar and milk. Mix thoroughly on medium speed for hand mixers, low speed for stand mixers, until smooth and creamy.  Do not over mix or mix on high speed.  For whiter frosting, use white butter, available some cake decorating stores and some health food stores.  If you live in a high humid climate, you can add 1-2 Tbsp. Meringue powder.   Be sure to sift your powdered sugar, even if it says pre-sifted as it will remove lumps from the powdered sugar, making your frosting creamier and smoother for easier decorating.   Let cake sit for 15 minutes after you’ve frosted it to smooth out your frosting with the viva paper towels.   Frosting can be refrigerated for 2 weeks in an airtight container, or Iced cake can be left at room temperature (if using water) for 2-3 days.

*Any flowers made with this recipe, will remain soft enough to be cut with a knife.

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Lemon Drop Rainbow Cupcakes

My grand-daughter Alexis was home sick with bronchitis and wanted to make cupcakes.  We went through my recipe cookbook program and this is what she picked to make.  I would not suggest these for kids. I think they are made for the taste buds of adults.  She wasn’t particular to the flavor combination of the cupcakes, but loved the frosting! (Kids and frosting just go together don’t they?) I was quite fond of the flavors in this cupcake, with the wonderful taste of lemon. Folding lemon zest and lemon drop candies into the batter, make a perfectly wonderful lemony cupcake! Thanks Lexi! These were delicious and beautiful!

The recipe was found here.  Originally, this was adapted from Martha Steward’s Cupcakes, Lemon Meringue recipe.  Delicious! If you like  lemon and cupcakes, this may be the recipe to try!

Lemon Drop Rainbow Cupcakes

    3 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

    2 cups sugar

    4 large eggs, room temperature

    3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (about 3 medium lemons)

    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1 cup buttermilk

    1/4 cup crushed lemon drops

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line standard cupcake tins with liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside.

With an electric mixer on medium-high, cream the butter and sugar (using the paddle attachment) until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one. Scrape down the sides of bowl if needed. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Combine the buttermilk and lemon juice in small bowl or measuring cup. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with two additions of the buttermilk/lemon juice mixture. Beat until just combined after each addition.

Gently fold in the crushed lemon drops. To avoid the batter getting too stiff, try not to overmix when adding the lemon drops. It will be mixed even more when you add the colors.

Divide the batter into 1 cup increments and put into 5 separate small bowls (if doing 5 colors). Gradually add food coloring to each bowl, until you get to your desired colors. Stir gently to make sure there aren’t any remaining streaks of color.

To measure the coloring she dipped a toothpick about 3/4″ into each jar of color (with the exception of the green, see below), swirled it through the batter and mixed thoroughly.

Here are the colors and amount of coloring she used from the bottom of the cupcake to the top:

• Orange – Wilton Creamy Peach – 1 toothpick plus a tiny bit more.
• Yellow – Wilton Buttercup Yellow – 1 toothpick
• Green – AmeriColor Avocado – 5 drops
• Blue – Wilton Cornflower Blue – 2-3 toothpicks
• Violet – Wilton Violet – 1 toothpick

Put 1 teaspoon (slightly heaped) batter of your first color in each of the cupcake cups. I gently smoothed out only the first color, just to get an even bottom. Repeat with the other colors.

Bake at 325°F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Decorate!

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