Friday, February 27, 2009

Pork Chops 'N Stuffing From Campbell's Cookbook

If you like pork chops as much as my family does, you'll love our sample recipe from the Cookbook Review today. Our cookbook off my shelf is a down-home classic; Campbell's Cooking With Soup. My copy is part of the book's 15th printing, revised in Nov. 1982. It was published by the Campbell Soup Company of Camden, N.J.
This cookbook includes comfort foods that many of us grew up on. Most of our moms and grandmas used Campbell's soups on a regular basis. Whether it was in a Green Bean Casserole at Thanksgiving, or Porcupine Meatballs (which are pictured on the cover), we knew the food would turn out to be delicious.
My mom used to make this Pork Chops 'N Stuffing recipe (p. 37) and everyone loved it. When I make it at my house it's always popular. I sometimes use boxed stuffing in place of the stuffing part of the recipe, if I'm in a real hurry. I also like to make this in my non-stick electric skillet instead of the oven. It makes less clean-up, but it turns out great either way.
I had fun browsing through this "soup-can-red" cookbook. If you want quick and easy recipes, this book has many that are just right. The use of soup makes the recipes easier to prepare and cuts down on cooking time.
There are quaint touches such as themed meals like "Saturday Night Supper" and "Home From The Game". In fact the book has a section called, "For Teens Only." This will be helpful when we host the teen devo at church. I felt that some recipes were outdated such as the "Creamy Peanut Butter Soup," but I think "Pizza Doggies" and "Pronto Chili" would be a hit. Break out the bags of Frito chips!
If you've ever wondered about that mysterious recipe called, "Tomato Soup Cake," it's in here,too. Quick versions of pilaf, paella and egg drop soup are also found in the various chapters. If your family is less adventurous, there are plenty of casseroles, skillet dinners and....."Oven Barbecued Spareribs". Yes, it is worth searching for this book!

P.37 Pork Chops 'N Stuffing

6 pork chops (about 2 pounds)
6 C soft bread crumbs
1/2 C finely chopped onion
4 TBSP melted butter or margarine
2/3 C water
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

In skillet, brown pork chops (a little olive oil or cooking spray).
Arrange in 2 qt. baking dish (12x8x2") Lightly toss bread cubes, onion, butter and 1/3 C water and poultry seasoning; spoon onto chops. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Meanwhile, blend soup and 1/3 C water; pour over chops. Bake 15 min. more, or until chops are tender. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Olive Juice Cleans Grout

There's some commercial on T.V. that says, "Life comes at you fast," but today, after a trip to the grocery store, I found that sometimes in the homemaking game unexpected cleaning tips come at you fast. Who knew you could clean your tile grout with olive juice?!

I had just come from the grocery store this morning, and had set my bags on the kitchen counter in hopes of unloading the goods into the cabinets, when I found a Labrador Retriever sitting on my foot expecting her treat for being good while I was away. Stormy thinks she's been "good" if the house is still standing in the same place when I arrive. Her assessment of the situation, as usual, was that her treat should be addressed as soon as I was in the door. Therefore, she was sitting on my foot and nudging me with her nose as a reminder. I turned to get something out of one of the bags, without moving my one foot, of coarse, when a jar of olives slid out and crashed on the tile floor.

As it turned out, Stormy got her way by default, because she had to be given her treat and put in the laundry room so she wouldn't step in the glass. Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen scooping up olives and juice. What a strong smell! If I were having any sinus congestion this morning, believe me, it has cleared.

Anyway, as I started wiping the juice up with my paper towel, I noticed that it had whitened my grout. I guess if you could stand the smell, it might be worth saving that jar of leftover olive juice. It must be the vinegar in it, but it only took seconds. I was amazed. If I could change the scent we could sell it as Stormy's Awesome Floor Cleaner.

I Wonder if this is how the guy on T.V. with all the infomercials got started? Maybe the reason he is so excitable and loud is because his dog is "helping" him discover new products. I hope that my story made you smile; have a great Thursday, and don't let your dog push you around!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some No-Brainer Recipes

Today I'm sharing two recipes from my own recipe file that I've made so many times that I have them memorized. You know how those days go when you've got a to-do list the length of your arm and don't want to put too much thought into this evening's dinner? Well, here are a couple of those handy recipes. Just add a loaf of French bread, and at 6:30 when when everyone's starving, you're in business!

I admire any woman who will openly admit on national T.V. that she loves anything with butter in it. Go Paula!

Paula Deen's Crock Pot Potato Soup

1 30 oz. bag frozen hash browns
3 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1 10.75 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1/2 C chopped onion
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
minced green onions

In 6 qt. slow cooker, combine potatoes, broth, soup, onion and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Cover, and cook on low for 5 hrs. Stir in cubed cream cheese and cook 30 min. more (til smooth and combined). Garnish with green onions.

My friend, Christy and I have been recipe sharers, phone buddies (as young moms we kept each other sane!) and partners in chocolate hoarding activities for years. She makes a mean chicken stir fry, and my boys always knew it was Fall when she brought over her pumpkin cookies. This is her recipe for broccoli salad.

Christy's Broccoli Salad

2 bunches of fresh broccoli
6 slices of bacon, fried crisp and drained (can substitute turkey bacon or bacon bits)
1/2 C diced red onion

Dressing: 1 C Hellman's mayo (or Miracle Whip, if you must!)
2 TBSP white vinegar
1/2 C sugar ( can substitute Splenda)

Shake dressing in a jar with a tight lid and pour over Broccoli, onions and bacon. Refrigerate for several hours. Toss before serving.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cookbook Friday Features Porcupine Meatball Recipe

The old cookbook off of my shelf today is Southern Living's Our Best Recipes. It was published in 1970 by Oxmoor House, and it's ISBN is 70-140493. My feeling on Southern Living's series of cookbooks entitled Our Best is that they are "spot on"! A compilation of the best recipes submitted by their readers is sure to be a hit every time. People who like to cook, know that the most delicious and practical recipes often come from cooks who are at home cooking for their families. I really enjoy this cookbook. It's a keeper.
It starts out with cheese wafers and punch recipes and covers everything from main dishes to desserts. The fact that the dessert section begins with loads of recipes for homemade ice creams and sherbets sells me. Fresh Blackberry Sherbet on page 137 is on my to-do list.
This book has the fancy recipes, if you're into that. There's Roast Pheasant With Rice (p. 192) and Old English Prime Rib (p. 217). But, what I really like is that they furnish plenty of recipes for those of us who want something hot and delicious out of the oven at 6:30 that didn't cost us a lot of time and energy. One of these recipes was on page 208. A recipe for Porcupine Meatballs made me smile. My Mom used to make these when I was little. Since I was a little picky, ok, a lot picky, when it came to meat dishes, the fact that I liked these says something about this recipe. All other forms of meat got covered with ketchup and swallowed with minimal chewing. I think that the name was also a selling point to a 5 or 6 year-old. These meatballs would be great with mashed potatoes and fresh steamed green beans.

P.208 Porcupine Meatballs

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 C rice, uncooked
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 (6-oz.) can tomato sauce

Mix ground beef, onion, salt and pepper. Add enough ketchup tomake mixture stick together. Make into balls the size of walnuts. Place in glass baking dish and pour tomato sauce over meat. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Organizing Cards, Stamps and Envelopes

My Mom has always been a woman with clever ideas. She loves to find unique items at yard sales and auctions and use them in interesting and innovative ways. Just recently, over the phone, she told me about a little antique drop leaf desk that she just found a use for. This little desk has been in the family for quite some time. Although it is very cute, it is also delicate and small. When you pull the front leaf down, the inside is like an old secretary with slots and lots of space to organize things. Mom is very good at sending cards for birthdays, illness, etc. to family members, as well as folks at church. She has put all of her cards, stamps, return labels, envelopes and pens in the slots of the desk. Now, anytime that she needs to write someone a note, or just send a card, she's ready. Everything she needs is in one convenient spot. Sometimes, I think the tediousness is what keeps me from good intentions-just thinking about where I've stuck my postage stamps and where the cards are, wears me down and I think, "oh, I'll do that later!" " Later," needless to say, I often forget to send the card in time. When I asked Mom if I could share her idea on my blog, she said she didn't mind at all. This great idea would work with any small piece of furniture that has slots, drawers or cubby holes. In fact I use an old smoker's chest (or humidor) to store cds . It holds several. Keep these tips in mind at the next yard sale or auction.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Baking Cookbook Review

Better Homes and Garden's Old-Fashioned Baking
Meredith Corporation 1995
ISBN 0-696-20419-3

This week's cookbook was chosen because Valentine's Day is tomorrow. I assumed that a baking book would have lots of "goodies" to choose from. I usually make the guys a special dessert for my Valentine offering. When I say, "goodies" you should know that I always mean Chocolate!
As a source for chocolate baking recipes, this cookbook fell short. I thought with a title like "Old-Fashioned Baking" I'd be knee-deep in recipes for chocolate fudge cake and several ways to make brownies even more fattening by additions of extra chocolate! Imagine my surprise when I found: Apricot Tea Cookies; Orange Custard and Coconut Bread Pudding. I had to hunt for the one recipe for brownies, and the one recipe for chocolate cake. They both started out with Buttermilk in their titles. I don't mind buttermilk, but not everyone's a fan of it and that's the only recipe offered.
Although short on chocolate recipes, (why even light the oven?!) this book has a variety of baking options. The chapters are broken down as follows: Breads; Baked Desserts; Cookies and Crackers; Cakes and Frostings and Pies and Pastries. I didn't see an abundance of baking recipes that would suit my family's tastes, but maybe you would.
Our sample recipe is from page 41 and sounds like a great cookie.

P. 41 Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cookies

1/2 C shortening
1/2 C margarine or butter
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C packed brown sugar
2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 C coarsely chopped chocolate-covered peanut butter cups

-In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and margarine or butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or tll softened.
-Add about half the flour to the shortening mixture. Add sugar, brown sugar, unsweetened chocolate, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Beat till thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat or stir in the remaining flour. Stir in chopped peanut butter cups.
-Drop dough from a rounded TBSP 2 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or till tops look dry. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Then remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack. Makes about 30.

Here's wishing everyone a big- bowl-licking- chocolate- kinda-Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whew...Is It Wednesday Already?!

Sorry I've not been blogging since Friday. I was actually sick...very sick that day, too, but had my book review already written. I just had to push the button that says publish. That was a good thing because that's about all the energy I had on Friday afternoon. I don't know what this creeping crud is that I caught, but it has flu-like symptoms, so for all intensive purposes I've had the flu. By Monday night/Tuesday morning, sometime around 3:00 a.m., I started wondering, as I sat upright in the recliner, why I was feeling shakey and light headed (no blonde jokes here, please). As I reviewed the weekend, I realized that I had been continually on over-the-counter meds, hadn't been eating, but had been drinking hot tea (a diuretic) and lots of water (which carries away any nutrients you do have in your system). Aha! I must be dehydrated. I can't tell you how good that Gatorade tasted. I don't think it tastes good normally, so my body must have really needed it. I'm slowly on the road to recovery. How do I know this? Because, I went to the store this morning to buy more....Gatorade!

Friday, February 6, 2009

A&P Cookbook is Like Time Travel

This cookbook is like traveling back to your childhood if you grew up in the "Brady Bunch Era" like me. It was published in 1975 by Simon and Schuster and the ISBN is 0 671 2241-8. I remember my Aunt Lena had an A&P grocery store in her small town. I have fond memories of going with her on a shopping trip and watching her put her coffee bean selection through the grinder. The aroma of that A&P Eight O'Clock coffee in the little red bag was wonderful. In the front pages of this book you can see the entire display of the famous coffee products. There's also a picture of a housewife in a snappy green dress with matching coat. Her ensemble is topped off with pearl necklace and a bouffant hairdo. She's dressed like this for weekly grocery shopping! This is the polar opposite of the comfortable jeans and tennis shoes that most people wear to hunt and gather today. If you spot someone dressed up in Krogers, you assume they've just come from work or church service.
While this book, I believe, was published primarily as a public relations/advertising piece, I feel it has merit as a cookbook and guide in everyday meal preparation and grocery selection. It gives tips on saving money at the grocery store by breaking it down to the different parts of the store, such as deli, meat counter, and bakery. It explains the finer points of the checkout such as unit pricing and how a UPC code works. Also included are handy charts on spice usage, oven temperatures and the metric system. It even has a chapter on how to save time and money when house cleaning!
The recipes in the book are basic and homey. It offers a wide selection of everyday recipes. I like that in a cookbook! When a cookbook has recipes that are simple, and the ingredients are easy to find at the store, it makes the cookbook a "go to" book for me. It's usually the cookbook with worn corners and little slips of paper marking my place that I grab when I'm pressed for time.
The sample recipe that I chose for this week is an old favorite. I've had it at breakfast buffets and school cafeterias, but never made it myself. I plan to make it this weekend as a special breakfast. I'll let you know if the guys give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Pg. 25 Creamed Chipped Beef

1/4 lb. (1 jar) dried beef, shredded
4 TBSP butter or margarine
4 TBSP flour
2 C milk
4 to 6 slices of toast

Cook the dried beef with the butter in a heavy skillet for 5 min. or until edges curl. Sprinkle flour over the beef and blend well. Remove from heat; slowly stir in the milk. Return to low heat and cook, stirring until sauce is smooth and thick. Serve on hot toast. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

P.S. I believe A&P stores might still exist in some parts of the country. If so, you need to search one out .....and smell the coffee!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Like The Scent Of Gain Detergent, But Not The Price?

My favorite clean scent is that of original scent Gain detergent. However, with four big guys and a dog in the house I have oodads of laundry, we're talking "washday" almost everyday! I buy Gain for the scent, and unscented , cheaper, off-brand detergent for the cleaning part of the equation. Then, to one load of laundry, I add the amount required by the unscented detergent directions minus a couple of TBSPsful. Then add your Gain to make up the difference in the measuring cup. Your towels and clothes will smell like Gain, but one bottle of Gain will go much further when mixed with that less-expensive unscented detergent.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cheap Way to Shave Your Legs and Moisturize

This morning in the shower I thought of a frugal tip that I wanted to share. If you run out of your fancy shave gel that you usually use, a great substitute is a dab of hair conditioner. It works great. I've done this for a long time. It works nicely in the winter because it's thick and moisturizes your legs. I suffer from dry skin in the winter, so this is an added bonus. Another practice I use to fight dry skin, is to slather on my facial moisturizer while my face is still wet, then pat dry with the towel. Anyway, the conditioner idea has saved me many times when I press the shave gel button and nothing comes out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ready, Set, Clean!

Today is the monthly aerobic workout that I like to call "Stormy's At The Dog Groomer-Can You Disinfect and Clean Her Room and Belongings in 1 1/2 hours?" It's my version of the old game show "Beat the Clock". However, my version includes a Mr. Clean Eraser mop and a bucket with warm water and color safe bleach in citrus scent. For those of you who are clueless, I mean dogless, it's similar to the game "My kid's at summer camp-can I clean and disinfect his closet and room in 1 week?" While the Labrador is out for a bath and some grooming, I'm washing her pillow covers, rugs that she's partial to and anything she may have slobbered on. I then, mop floors with the bleach/warm water mixture. Her food and water bowls get de-germed, as well. The game ends quickly when the phone rings and the groomer says she's ready. There is no prize involved, but I do get to pay the groomer and give a tip if the dog looks and smells good. I'm glad that I only play this game once a month. By the end of the game I'm the one who needs a bath and grooming!