Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Morning Grocery Trip's a Success!

My morning is off to a good start. I've already done my grocery store trip. Dreaded the grand total 'cause the guys wanted junk food for Super Bowl Sunday. I don't usually buy it, but through the use of double couponing and store specials I saved $80.88. The checkout lady and the folks behind me were all waiting to see how much I had saved. It's akin to the feeling teens who are good at video games get when they draw a crowd of other teens in the electronic section of a store. My one second of feeling like a "rock star"! Anyway, I did save 45% on my total, so count me happy.
My Old Cookbook Review this week did not turn out to be my favorite. It is the McCormick Cookbook published in 1988 and also in 1991 by Ottenheimer Publishers Inc. The ISBN is 0-8317-1056. I was really surprised that it didn't have many recipes that fit my idea of usable and tastey-sounding, because I love their spices. Everyone has different tastes and you might feel differently. For one thing, we don't use a lot of sauces and gravies. I do have to give the book a thumbs up on the salad section. All of the salads sounded good to me. So my sample recipe will be from that section of the book.

p. 20 Corn Salad In Pepper Shells

4 green peppers
1/3 C salad oil
1/2 tsp McCormick ground mustard
1/2 tsp McCormick ground black pepper
1/8 tsp McCormick ground red pepper
1 TBSP McCormick instant minced onion
2 TBSP vinegar
3 C whole kernal corn
1 6 oz. jar pimiento, cut into 1-inch squares
1 C thinly sliced celery
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, thinly sliced

Cut tops from green peppers and remove seeds. Cut top edge in petal shape, if desired. Parboil peppers in boiling water 5 minutes. Mix together oil, ground mustard, black and red peppers, minced onion, and vinegar. Combine corn, pimiento, celery and water chestnuts. Add dressing to corn mixture, tossing to mix well. Fill peppers with corn mixture. Chill covered.

Since Sunday is the Super Bowl, and one of the teams involved was my Mammam's favorite, here's a bonus recipe for the big game:

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
12 oz. bottle of your favorite blue cheese salad dressing
hot sauce to taste
Mix ingredients and spread in 13x9 greased baking dish. Shred chicken on top(you can use leftover chicken or canned)
Bake at 350 dgrees for 25 minutes.
Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Go Steelers!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Results of baking

As promised, I tried the blueberry muffin recipe from Friday's "Old Cookbook". We had a snow day here on Tuesday, which is a rarity in Oklahoma, so with everyone home, I fired up the oven and got out the cookbook. I found the recipe on page 113 called Guest Supper Muffins. Below the recipe are many variations such as cranberry, date, bacon, and Pennsylvania Dutch muffins. I, of coarse, used the blueberry one. Here is the recipe, and then I'll tell you how it went and whether anyone liked them.

2 C sifted all-purpose flour
2 TBSP sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 C shortening(I used a Crisco baking stick)
1 egg, well-beaten
3/4 C milk

-Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until crumbs are the size of small peas(I used a pastry cutter for this, but you can use 2 forks if you don't have one)
Make a hollow in the center of the mixture.
-Combine egg and milk; add all at once to hollow in dry ingredients. Stir only until dry ingredients are just moist(batter will be lumpy).
-Fill greased muffin pan cups 2/3 full.
-Bake in hot oven(400 degrees)25 minutes, or until done. Makes about 12 muffins.

For blueberry muffins: Quickly fold 1 C blueberries into batter and bake as directed.

We are used to the modern day cake-type muffins. These had a sturdier consistency; more like a biscuit. They were good, but could use more than the 2 TBSP of sugar that the recipe called for. Because we thought they needed to be sweeter, we put jam on them...problem solved! Next time I make them I will add more sugar. They remind me of the cinnamon biscuits that you could get at Arby's a long time ago. They no longer have them, so I'm thinking that I will try to recreate them by adding cinnamon(and added sugar)to the basic muffin recipe. The recipe was precise when it said that it makes 12 muffins. That's exactly how many I got out of it. And they're all gone but two! I think the very best topping for these muffins would be homemade apple butter. Of coarse, you just can't go wrong putting homemade apple butter on almost any baked bread or muffin. West Virginia is the best place to find apple butter made outside in a big kettle over an open fire. Check it out!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Team Up On Meal Ideas With One Piece of Meat

Monday is always my busiest day for homekeeping chores. That's the day that I change and wash all bed linens and catch-up from the weekend. I usually put something in the oven to roast on low all day, or something in my big crockpot to cook all day. Tonight, we're having a pork roast, for example. Then, I'll have leftover, shredded pork to use in stir-fry with rice, and pulled pork BBQ sandwiches with coleslaw later in the week! That's two more meals out of the same roast, and the meat's cooked and all ready to go! The frugal part of this idea is that I bought three pork roasts on sale when they marked them down after New Years Day. I got Hormel pork for $1.69 lb. and froze it. I bought turkeys the same way when they went for the cheapest price at Thanksgiving. Ditto on Spiral ham after Christmas! Gotta go for now. My laundry is calling!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Old Cookbook Friday!

A personal note before I review this week's old cookbook: kudos to WVU's basketball team! They stomped the Hoyas of Georgetown last night! Thankfully, my dad called to let me know it was on ESPN(dads are thoughtful that way!)
Anyway, you didn't sign on for sports talk! You want to know which of my old cookbooks I pulled off the shelf this week, right?! The old cookbook of the week is Homemade Bread By the Food Editors of Farm Journal. It was published in 1969 by Doubleday & Co. It's Library of Congress catalog number is 69-10973.
This pre-bread machine delight covers yeast breads for the serious baker, and quick breads and everyday staples for the rest of us. My favorite section is the one on coffee cakes. It has ethnic recipes such as Swedish Tea Ring, Easter Egg Bread, Stollen and Bohemian Kolaches. And who doesn't enjoy a good kolach now and then? This book was enlightening for some of us who had no idea that such a Bohemian delicacy existed. If anyone else is wondering, they're little sugar-dusted rolls with apricot or prune filling.
While it has a few exotic recipes, it is brimming with practical, everyday recipes for muffins, biscuits, cornbread, waffles and every type of loaf bread that you can imagine. I encourage you to search for it! I plan to make blueberry muffins, my husband's favorite, from it later this afternoon. I'll let you know next week if it was a hit or miss. Happy Friday!

I think this sample recipe would be a great bread to have on the kitchen counter for the weekday morning rush. Around here, I'm always looking for nutritious, fast and portable breakfast food to grab on the way out the door. This would also be delicious when you have time to enjoy it with hot tea, at a slower pace...maybe Saturday morning...with the paper....oh, sorry, just daydreaming!

p. 19 Old Fashioned Oatmeal Bread

2 C milk
2 C quick rolled oats, uncooked
1/4 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1 TBSP salt
2 TBSP shortening
1 Pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 C warm water(110 to 115 degrees)
5 C all-purpose flour(approx.)
1 egg white
1 TBSP water
rolled oats
-Scald milk; stir in 2 C rolled oats, brown sugar, salt and shortening. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
-Add milk mixture and 2 C flour to yeast. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, 2 minutes. Or beat with spoon until batter is smooth.
-Add enough remaining flour, a little at a time, first with spoon and then with hands, to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn onto floured board; knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
-Turn onto board and divide in half. Round up to make 2 balls. Cover and let rise 10 minutes. Shape into loaves and place in greased 9x5x3" loaf pans. Let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hr. and 15 min. Brush tops of loaves with egg white beaten with water and sprinkle with rolled oats.
-Bake in moderate oven(375 degrees)about 40 minutes(if bread starts to brown too much, cover loosley with a sheet of aluminum foil after baking 15 min.)
Makes 2 loaves.

I know that if you're like me(not a bread baker by nature)this sounds long and complicated, but it might be a fun project for a slow Sunday afternoon. Then, on Monday morning, when everyone's flying by in a flurry of car keys, coats and school books, they can grab a healthy slice of oatmeal bread and a banana. Here's to you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Use Up Those Leftover Candy Canes

If you have a few candy canes; peppermint or any other flavor that are collecting dust after the holidays here's a light, crunchy candy you can make(it uses up leftover almond bark, too)

Peppermint Crunch

Melt leftover almond bark or white chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave. Keep stirring until smooth. Add crushed candy canes(my food processor here is a ziplock bag and a wooden rolling pin!)Then, add several cups of Rice Krispie-type cereal until coated and chocolate is used up in the bowl. This is not exact and has no measurements-we're using up Christmas baking leftovers! Finally, drop by tablespoonsful onto waxed paper. Store in tin can lined with waxed paper. Keeps for a good while. If you have candy canes that are in the many flavors that are available, they would be ok, too)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Here's My First "Old Cookbook Review"!

Better Homes & Gardens: Soups and Stews
Since we're in the midst of the cold weather months when everyone seeks warmth and comfort , I thought my first review should be a cookbook on soups. The next one may be a bread-baking cookbook...we'll see! The Better Homes and Gardens Soups and Stews Cookbook was published in 1978 by Meredith Corporation and it's ISBN is 0-696-00445-3.

I really like the handy way this book divides the different recipes into categories. There's nothing so frustrating as when you need to find a recipe for just a quick soup, but you have to wade through everything else from bisque to chowders to find it. I like the simplicity and organization that they use here! In every section, whether it's for poultry, beef, sausage or seafood, there is a subsection for quick soups of that type.

For the beginning cook, the back of the book offers a chapter on Soup-Making Basics. Oh, how I needed that when I was first married( I once made a pot of beans without rinsing them!). You can find out how to make your own stock, homemade noodles, dumplings and crackers.

If you like the idea of a hearty soup simmering on the stove or in the crockpot on a cold winter's day, this is the book for you. Cold soup recipes are offered for sweltering summer days, as well. Who wouldn't enjoy a cool cucumber soup or frosty fruit soup when it's" just too hot to eat"? I say break out the crackers and the iced tea! Good luck at finding this great cookbook in your favorite used book spot.

Here's a recipe to try...

Hamburger Soup (p. 47)

1 lb. ground beef
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
1/3 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup catsup
1 tbsp. instant beef boullion granules
2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1 bay leaf

In large saucepan, cook ground beef till browned. Drain off fat. Stir in remaining ingredients and 5 cups of water. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. Serves 6.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Got Buns?

I like to use up extra hotdog buns or hamburger buns. You know, the two or three extras that get tossed into the fridge and then get thrown out when you leave them there too long? Well, after you have enough accumulated you can do a couple of things to use them up. One trick of mine is to place the bun halves on a Pam-sprayed(I prefer Olive Oil Pam) cookie sheet, butter thinly and top with a little garlic salt and parsley. Brown these in a 350-375 degree oven. These are perfect with spaghetti. I also use up my leftover buns by spreading them with pizza or spaghetti sauce, cheese and whatever else you enjoy as a pizza topping. Place on greased cookie sheets and brown in 350 degree oven. There you have a quick lunch or snack! You have the satisfaction of knowing that you made something delicious and no buns were wasted!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stuffed Manicotti for "Football Game Night"

Oh yeah, the Sooners play the Florida Gators tonight! Since I don't want to spend my evening in the kitchen, we're having stuffed manicotti for supper. I can make it ahead and the guys love it. Put it with a salad and French bread and you've got a winner.Here's my game, recipe! Go Sooners!

Manicotti with Cheese

1 pkg. Manicotti pasta
1 3/4 C (15 oz. container) part-skim ricotta cheese
2 C (8 oz.) mozzarella cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 C (28 oz. jar) Ragu Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Lay flat on a piece of foil to cool. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl, stir together cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper; spoon into cooled pasta tubes. Spread thin layer of sauce on bottom of 13x9x2" baking dish; arrange filled pasta in single layer over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over pasta; cover with foil. Bake 40 min. Remove foil; bake 15 min. longer or until hot and bubbly. Note: at our house, the guys like for me to add browned ground beef to the sauce.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Restocking Your Kitchen or Dining Room Linens On The Cheap

A great way to buy beautiful tablecloths, matching napkins and table runners for practically nothing is to shop the after-Christmas sales. Those plain ivory or white linens will work great for all year! After Christmas, take your table measurements to the sales with you. You'll be buying nice linens at 50 to 75% off. It's a great time to buy candles and placemats as well. I've done this for years. If you don't need them, think about Mom's table. Would a whole new set of matching linens be great for an Easter or Mother's Day gift? It's a wonderful feeling to have some gifts ahead, too. Happy shopping!