Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apple Crisp in the Crock Pot

Fall is a perfect time to fix this throw-it-together dessert. On Wednesdays we often come home from evening Bible class and watch TV. Because we usually have a quick dinner before we leave for church, that's the perfect evening for a little dessert. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Note: In place of the cinnamon, I use Apple Pie Spice.

Apple Crisp in the Crock Pot

6 C cooking apples peeled and sliced
1/2 C quick-cook oats
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
2 TBSP margarine (I like butter)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I like Apple Pie Spice)

Place apples in greased crock pot. Combine remaining ingredients in mixing bowl until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Cover. Cook on low for 4 hrs. or high for 2 hrs.

I'll be swapping recipes at DiningwithDebbie's Crock Pot Wednesday today; check it out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

If you noticed, in my menu for the week I listed this hearty breakfast casserole. I don't know where I originally got the recipe, but I have tweaked it some by using turkey bacon and egg whites to make it lighter, or Hormel Bacon Bits to make it even quicker and more convenient. If Hormel made the bag of ready-to-use bacon bits from turkey bacon that would be the "best of both worlds"! This casserole can be made ahead and then popped into the oven when you're ready, or prepared in the crock pot. I'm sharing the crock pot version today.

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

12 eggs (or Egg Beaters, or just the whites)
One 32 oz. bag of frozen hash browns, partially thawed
1 lb. of bacon fried and crumbled into pieces (or turkey bacon, or Hormel Real Bacon Bits)
1/2 C diced onion
3/4 C shredded cheddar
1 C milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard
salt, and freshly-ground pepper

Layer this as if you were making lasagna; layer ingredients bottom to top:

1. hash browns
2. bacon
3. onions
4. cheese
5. Repeat layers

Beat eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper; Pour over all the layers. Cook on low for 10-12 hrs. (depending on your particular crock pot). Keep an eye on it and make it during the day the first time you make it; your crock pot might not take as long as the recipe calls for. Once you know how it goes, you can try putting it together at night for the next morning's breakfast.

I will be at these swaps today:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu for the Week

We had such a fun-filled and busy weekend! Some of the family attended the International Festival to see Needfire in concert (a Celtic rock band), while others enjoyed the play, A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, at the Denny Playhouse. On Saturday, we had a great time at our Area-Wide Church Family Day. There was a delicious buffet; outside games (I didn't fare well in the egg toss or tug-of-war); and a devotional.

Now we're back to the business of Monday morning; laundry, cooking and getting the house back in shape. Here's my menu plan for the week:

Monday, Sept. 28

Chicken and Dumplings
Mashed potatoes
Green beans

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Crock Pot Pizza
Vegetable salad

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
Fruit plate

Thursday, Oct. 1 (Bake a cake)

Beef with vegetables
Seasoned rice

Friday, Oct. 2

Tuna casserole
Chinese Coleslaw

Saturday, Oct. 3

Pepperoni Rolls w/sauce to dip in

7-Layer Salad

Sunday, Oct. 4

Leftover slaw and salad

Have a good week! I will be joining Orgjunkie for MPM today. Tomorrow we'll be "talking recipes"!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Frozen Cheesecake

If you love cheesecake, then you're going to love the cookbook that we're reviewing today! If you don't like cheesecake (what planet are you from?!) you might want to make better use of your time than reading this blog today. (Non-cheesecake-lovers please rejoin us for Monday's menu plan.)

Our cookbook today is The Joy of Cheesecake by Dana Bovbjerg and Jeremy Iggers and was published in 1980 by Barron's. The ISBN is 0-8120-4278-6. To give us a clear picture of the passion these two male authors have for cheesecake, they start the book with a sensual description of the attributes of a good cheesecake and why so many people love this particular dessert.

To further substantiate the importance of cheesecake's place in the history of food, they give the recipe for cheesecake that belonged to Cato, a Roman soldier and statesman. Cheesecake was already popular in ancient Greece, so when they were conquered by Rome, the cheesecake recipe fell into enemy hands. As Rome broadened her conquests, the cheesecake was introduced to Great Britain and Western Europe. In Russia, cheesecake became part of the Easter tradition. As we later tried to duplicate the Neufchatel cheese of France, American dairymen came up with cream cheese; a revolutionary dessert discovery that ushered in the new age of cheese cakes! (I found this type of history much more captivating than the history of war, European royalty, or the development of the automobile; after all, there was so much at stake here!)

The very-focused guys who wrote this book have collected cheesecake recipes from all over the world. There is Kilimanjaro Cheesecake that requires beating the egg whites into soft peaks before folding them into the cheese mixture; Blue-Bottom Pie, which is a cheesecake with blueberries in the bottom crust; Cider Cheesecake made with apple cider ("a fall favorite that tastes like apple pie with a slice of cheese"); Snow White cheesecake which uses only egg whites, a pound of cream cheese and sour cream to make a totally white cake (it suggests substituting a cup of well-drained vanilla or coffee yogurt for the sour cream to give it a delicious, mysterious flavor.) I could go on and on; there are so many unique and wonderful-looking cheesecakes in this book. My son, Blake, suggested that I start by making the first recipe and then work my way through the book! That's a great idea, except that we would have to have all of the doorways widened in our house. Cheesecake can only be an occasional indulgence around here because nobody in our crew ever turns down a piece of homemade cheesecake.

Finally, I want to say that I appreciate the authors going to the trouble of covering individual ingredients that are most often required for cheesecake, and how important quality is. They also give practical tips on preparation methods for baking and cooling which are crucial to a cook who is attempting a first cheesecake (cheesecakes need to be cooled very slowly to room temperature so they don't crack.)

It was difficult to choose one recipe to sample, but I went with this Frozen Cheesecake on page 133. This recipe is courtesy of Lee Fidge of Detroit. It's a cross between ice cream and cheese cake, it keeps "practically forever" in the freezer. Once frozen, the authors suggest keeping it covered with plastic wrap.

P. 133 Frozen Cheesecake

Basic graham cracker crust in a spring form pan

1 C (1/2 lb.) cottage cheese
1/2 lb. cream cheese
1 C granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C heavy cream

- Place the cottage cheese in a sieve and drain.

- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cottage cheese and the cream cheese.
Add the sugar and blend until smooth and light.

- Add the egg yolks, salt, and vanilla and blend thoroughly.

- Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gently fold them into the cream cheese mixture.

- Whip the cream until it is stiff and fold into the batter.

- Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Place the cake in the freezer for 4 hours, or until frozen solid. Serve frozen.

I will be at these blogs today:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Make Your Own Carmel Corn

Soon, it will be pecan season here in Oklahoma and Texas! So today I decided to pull a recipe that includes pecans from my messy "Try-It Box." This recipe is an easy and inexpensive way to make oodles of a great snack that is similar to the boxed ones at the store. One type is called Crunch and Munch, one is called Poppycock, and of course, the ever-popular Cracker Jacks (this won't have a little toy with it, though!)

Popcorn crunchiness with the chewy glaze and pecans, too, sounds like an unbeatable combination for a snack. I was thinking, if this recipe works out when I try it, I might put some in decorative tins for small Christmas gifts. I like to give something homemade for hostess gifts, too, if possible.

Here's the recipe:

Baked Carmel Corn

3 qt. popcorn
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 C butter or margarine
1 C firmly-packed brown sugar
1/4 C light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-Combine popcorn and pecans in lightly greased 15"x10"x1" jelly roll pan. Mix well and set aside.
- Melt butter over low heat in medium saucepan. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt; Bring to a boil for 5 min. without stirring. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla.
-Pour syrup over popcorn; stir until coated. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 min.; stir after 15 min.
-Cool and break into pieces. Makes 9 cups.

Have a great Thursday and come back tomorrow when I review a cookbook that's all about CHEESECAKES! (One of my favorite desserts!)

I'll be at LifeasMom for the recipe swap.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Game Day Nacho Dip

(My Uncle Dave's favorite team; Go Colts!)

I was trying to think of a popular snack for Fall football-watching marathons on Saturdays, and I have to say that everyone here enjoys nachos. In fact the guys like nachos anytime. I happen to have a dip recipe for nachos that you make in the crock pot, so I want to share that with you today.
Oh, by the way, congrats to Auburn on their win last Saturday; better luck this weekend, WVU! And, kudos to all the die-hard fans who stuck it out during an hour-long torrential downpour to watch their teams play.
God bless those who are now dealing with the after-effects of the flooding in Georgia; our prayers are with you.

Game Day Nacho Dip

1 C (1/2 of 15 oz. can) refried beans (I use fat-free)
1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 C water
1 TBSP minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
hot sauce, to taste

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour or low for 2-3 hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

I will be at DiningwithDebbie's Crock Pot Wednesday today for the swap.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gooey Chocolate Bars

Happy first day of Fall to everyone! I'm ready for all of the great things that Autumn brings our way: Football, changing leaves, cooler weather and the holidays. When this time of year comes, I want to get out the decorations from the attic; the pumpkins that light-up, floral arrangements with silk leaves in them, and I still have some lingering Halloween stuff.

I have to admit that I have a silly, dancing and singing mummy, Gremlins with eyes that glow in the dark and light-up jack-o-lanterns. These items were the signal, when my children were young, that Fall had arrived. I know that it's more practical and less work to just go with a general Fall theme when decorating, but, if you have had children or grandchildren around, it's often a different story. They expect some silly or spooky decorations for Trick-or-Treat season. After October is over, I then use the other Fall decorations until Thanksgiving is past.

Speaking of children, the recipe that I'm sharing today came from a play group that I was a part of when Ben was little. Play groups are a great way for toddlers to learn to socialize with others their age, and a wonderful outlet for Moms to chat with other adults and have fun watching their children interact. This is how I met five other Moms from my subdivision, and most importantly, my friend, Sarah Dupont. Sarah and I have been friends for years now, and though we're thousands of miles apart, we still keep in touch.

Our play group started when two brave moms (who were walking-strolling buddies) found out which stay-at-home moms in our neighborhood had children in the 2-5 year old age group. They then went door to door inviting us to attend the first play group held in one of their homes. We signed up to each host one per month (we broke for summer months when our other children were home) and the rest is history. We kept snacks simple for the little ones: animal crackers, raisins, apple juice. The mommy snacks were much better, and involved coffee and tea! That's where I got this recipe for Gooey Chocolate Bars. Enjoy!

Gooey Chocolate Bars
Sarah Dupont, Columbus, Ohio

1 box of Devil's Food cake mix
1 stick of butter
1 egg
Mix together and pat into greased 9x13" pan.

Then mix:
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1 box of powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C chopped nuts

Pour over cake ingredients in the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 min. Make a pot of coffee or hot tea and you're all set!

I'll be joining BlessedwithGrace, Rose Colored Glasses, BalancingBeautyandBedlam and Gypsy's Corner today for the recipe swaps.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu for the Week...I Need Comfort Food!

What happened to "my team" on Saturday?! The Mountaineers had a tough evening; Auburn gave us a sound thumping because we kept giving them the chance. I don't know much about football, but enough to know that the second half of that game stunk. Every time WVU had possession of the ball, Auburn took it from us and went down the field to score. It was frustrating to watch, along with the frustration of hearing Rich (I-don't-care-if-it's-spelled-right) Rodriquez's name mentioned every 5 minutes by the same ignorant announcers who didn't know how to pronounce Divine's first name!! I feel that WVU should have won that one. Oh well, That's why I need comfort food...ha! I'll congratulate Auburn fans later in the week when it's not so fresh. Here's my menu plan for the week:

Monday, Sept. 21

Baked Ham
Mashed potatoes and gravy
watermelon slices

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Fried ham and eggs
Hash browns
orange wedges

Wednesday, Sept. 23

Pasta Fagoli
Garlic toast
Fruit with Jello

Thursday, Sept. 24

Baked fish
Chinese coleslaw
Macaroni and cheese

Friday, Sept. 25 International Festival

Potato Soup
Grilled cheese sandwiches
carrots and celery sticks

Saturday, Sept. 26 Church Family Day

hot tea

Sunday, Sept. 26

Spaghetti w/meatballs
hot rolls

Leftover buffet

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hearty Bean Soup

Today's Old Cookbook Review highlights a book that's not vintage, but it is timely. With school starting and all of the excitement of Fall heading toward us, we need some quick, healthy meal ideas!

I bought this Busy Mom's Cookbook at a Pampered Chef party when my boys were younger. It has so many good recipes that children will actually eat, and most of the recipes sneak in some vegetables (like the soup recipe that we're sampling today.)

The book, written by Doris Christopher in 1996, is full of great ideas for quick dinners, as well as, breakfasts, lunches and snacks. There is a little bit of advertising of Pampered Chef kitchen tools and other products, but that's to be expected when the cookbook's author is also the founder of a successful American company.

I personally own and use Pampered Chef products and have always been very satisfied with them. It's true that a potato peeler from the Pampered Chef catalog costs more than one from the dollar stores, but you're buying quality. In my kitchen, I cook a lot and I need sturdy tools that will hold up over time. I've never had to toss out one of their items because it broke or didn't work right; I'm a happy customer. (I don't sell the products or have friends or family who do.)

The Taco Ring from page 34 is popular with kids. In fact, my son, Justin made it for his Spanish class' Fiesta when he was in high school, and the students had to bring something. I've made the Sunshine Kisses cookies on page 24 (easy 'cause you use a lemon cake mix) for church gift baskets. Also the Chicken Parmesan on page 41 was very good, and everyone in our family liked it. Good luck in finding this cookbook at your favorite book-hunting spot!

Sample recipe: P. 83

Hearty Bean Soup

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 can (11 1/2 oz.) condensed bean w/bacon soup
1 can water
1 can diced tomatoes w/garlic and onion
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in 2-quart Generation II Saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot. Saute' until onion is transparent, about 5 min. Stir in zucchini and saute' 1 more minute. Stir in soup, water and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 min. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into 4 bowls and serve.

I will be joining these swaps today:


Thursday, September 17, 2009

White Texas Sheet Cake

We were out at the Longhorn Auction today and it was a great time! If you've never been out to the Wildlife Refuge for that event, you need to go check it out! If you missed it and want to go, the Buffalo Auction will be out at the Refuge in October, and again the Chamber will be selling flame-cooked burger lunches. We had some rain this morning, but after it quit it was perfect weather to be outside.

My Thursday recipe to try from my clippings box is for White Texas Sheet honor of the Longhorn steers!

White Texas Sheet Cake

1 C butter or margarine
1 C water
2 C all-purpose flour
2 C sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C sour cream
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda


1/2 C butter or margarine
1/4 C milk
4 1/2 C confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract

1 C chopped walnuts

In a large saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil. Remove from the heat; stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, almond extract, salt and baking soda until smooth. pour into a greased 15-in.x10-in.x 1 in. baking pan. Bake 375 degrees for 20-22 min. or until cake is golden brown and tests done. Cool for 20 min. Meanwhile, for frosting, combine butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, Remove from the heat; add sugar and extract and mix well. Stir in walnuts; spread over warm cake.

Join me at LifeasMom today for the recipe swap!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ways to Use Leftover Rice

I love rice anyway you fix it! But it's like pasta, many times I fix too much of it. It's a "Cook's Bonus" though, because it's so handy to use in other meals. I wanted to post my Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers(see previous blog posting) at DiningwithDebbie's Crock Pot Wednesday today, and that got me to thinking about some of the ways I use up leftover rice. Yes, it's another of my "frugal use-it-up lists"!

Ways That I Use Up Leftover Rice:

-Stuffed Peppers (previous post)
-Dirty Rice
-Cabbage Rolls
-Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls (previous post)
-rice pudding
-Spanish rice
-under Shrimp Prima Vera (previous post)
-Spicy Rice and Sausage (previous post)
-with brown sugar and milk for breakfast (I like cold, leftover oats this way, too)

I guess my point is, never throw out that leftover rice! It's starter for another meal.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Creamy Ranch Cucumber Sandwiches

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday was such a huge laundry day that it's carrying over to today! I tackled Ben's laundry yesterday, so today I'm addressing what remains. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Again, I've got my crock pot humming...decided to cook Wednesday's brisket ahead. Blake's out mowing the lawn before we get more we are moving along this morning; getting things done!

Frugal tip:
I wanted to mention that if you are one of those "nurturing types" who likes to coddle end-of-season plants (the ones that didn't get chosen) back to life , now is the time to check all plant dealers! I stopped by a local nursery on Friday afternoon to buy a Texas Yellow Bell for my landscaping project, and got several little pots of perennials for a few dollars. They had them on a cart that looked like it was the "last chance" cart. It didn't have a clearance sign, but when I asked about them I was told to choose what I liked and the guy would give me a good price. (They were just trying to clear them out of the way, because the fall plants are coming in.) So to you gardeners who have more time and patience than money....go ye!

Here's a favorite recipe of mine that I like only when I can get summer cucumbers. This sandwich is also good with a slice of summer tomato or Vidalia onion on it. The Ranch spread really makes it a special sandwich for lunch. If you need a sandwich for a Tea or other fancy occasion, this is good just with the cucumber filling (you don't want to have "onion breath" at the Tea!)

Cucumber Sandwiches

1 to 2 loaves of thin sandwich bread
2 to 3 TBSP dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
4 to 6 TBSP milk
2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly-sliced

Use a small biscuit cutter to cut rounds the size of the cucumber slice. Blend other ingredients. Spread spread a thin layer, then add cucumber slice and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Arrange on tray with lettuce and cherry tomatoes.

For a regular summer lunch sandwich: Use 2 slices of bread. Spread thin layer of filling; layer of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions (any vegetable from your garden that you like) and finish with other slice of bread. Fix a big glass of iced tea and you're ready for lunch!

I'll be at BlessewithGrace's swap today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Week-New Menu Plan

We're getting ready for a new week around here and that means a new menu plan to keep us on track! I have two great happenings this weekend that I want to mention; we were blessed with some rain and Hubby got my fall decorations down from the attic for me! I'm very excited about both of these occurrences. Because of the rainy weekend it's a little cooler here and I feel like "soup weather" is on the way. Watch, it'll be 95 degrees again tomorrow! Here's my plan for the week:

Monday, Sept. 14

Stuffed Peppers in crock pot
(Meatballs and Rice for non-pepper lovers)
Broccoli Salad

Tuesday, Sept 15

Fried Chicken Thighs
Twice Baked Smashed Potatoes
Spinach Casserole

Wednesday, Sept. 16

Beef Brisket in crock pot (carrots, potatoes)
Steamed cabbage/corn

Thursday, Sept. 17 (Longhorn Auction)

Chili w/ crackers
vegetable plate

Friday, Sept. 18 (Make an Apple Crisp.)

Baked Fish
Seasoned Rice
Brussels Sprouts

Saturday, Sept. 19

French Toast and Bacon

Chicken Fettuccine
Garlic toast
7-Layer Salad

Sunday, Sept. 20

Baked Ham
Mashed Potatoes w/ ham gravy
green bean casserole

I'm joining OrgJunkie today for MPM.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Refrigerator Pineapple Preserves

I've got a great little book today for our book review! Aunt Freddie's Pantry is a unique combination of family stories and jam, jelly and pickle recipes; my very favorite mix for a good "cookbook read". This is a delightful book written by the 80-year-young aunt of well-known designer and author, Lee Bailey. Aunt Freddie's preserves and jellies were such a hit with her family and the locals in Natchez, Mississippi, that her nephew persuaded her to sell them by mail. The business took off and soon she was mailing her jars of delicious accompaniments to customers all over the country.

Freddie sounds like a lively and fun person! Through her stories we learn about her husband's duck cabin; her daughter and little "cousin Lee", as children, and the many family and friends that she's cooked for over the years. She includes little pictures of her family, and rooms in her vintage home. Her jelly kitchen is on the back of the house and she says, "I always think happy thoughts when I'm in my jelly kitchen." As any true Southern hostess, she invites readers to stop by and see her when they're in the area and gives the address under the picture of her house. If I'm ever in Natchez, I'll have to take her up on her offer; she sounds like a person that you wouldn't want to miss!

The publisher of this little treasure is Clarkson N. Potter and its ISBN is o-517-55300-7; copyright 1984. The forward is written by her famous nephew, Lee, and Liz Smith adds a few personal reflections about Aunt Freddie's personality. Liz enjoyed the cookbook, and called Freddie, "a natural artist of life". She's enjoyed many meals at Aunt Freddie's and thinks that Freddie's goal is finding ways to make others, "fat and happy." Good luck finding this book for your shelf!

P. 18 Refrigerator Pineapple Preserves

2 20 oz. cans crushed pineapple in unsweetened juice
1 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
1 TBSp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

In a heavy saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, over moderate heat until the liquid is thickened, 30 to 40 minutes. Ladle into hot, clean jars and set aside to cool. Cap tightly and refrigerate. Will keep about a month. Makes about 6 half-pints.

*************************************************************************************Happy Happy Birthday to my son, Justin, today!!

I will be at these swaps today:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WV Pie Contest Winner

As I sorted through my box of,uh...recipe clippings, I found an old newspaper clipping from years back that has the winning recipe from the WV Pie Contest. The recipe is for Rhubarb Pie and the winner that year was Hazel Varea of Lumberport, WV, who won $50 for best of show. The Annual WV Pie Contest is held every September at Jackson's Mill (I attended a state-wide 4-H conference there once to earn my 4-H Charting Pin.) It is a beautiful place to visit if you ever have the opportunity. Now, here's that prize-winning pie recipe that I promised:

Rhubarb Pie
Hazel Varea, Lumberport, WV

3 C rhubarb
1 1/4 C sugar
4 TBSP quick-cooking tapioca
2 TBSP flour

Mix ingredients together in a bowl until well-coated. Turn into pastry-lined 9" pie plate. Cover with top crust, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Have a great Thursday; Friday's on the way!

I'll be at LifeasMom today for the recipe swap.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sweet Potatoes and Apples in the Crock Pot

I really enjoy reading other people's blogs when I have a little extra time, and one of my new favorites is DiningwithDebbie's Crock Pot Wednesday blog. She gives us all a chance to swap our best recipes for the crock pot.

Wednesday is the ideal day for using the crock pot during my week, because that is the evening that I'm teaching a children's class at church. If I have something ready in the crock pot for dinner it really saves me time. Family members here come through the door at varying times from work and school and then they can just serve themselves, as I get ready for church and start cleaning up the kitchen mess. I do not like to come home and see a pile of dishes that need attention! Wednesday is the night that I plop onto the couch to watch the results show for America's Got Talent; I'm sooo hooked!

Here's my crock pot contribution for the day. It's a great side dish for Thanksgiving because it frees-up precious oven space on that day.

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

40 oz. can sweet potato chunks, drained
21 oz. can "More Fruit" Apple Pie Filling
1/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C Red Hot Candies
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into slow cooker sprayed with Pam. Cover. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Spanish Pork,Monkey Bread and Apple Salad

The Labor Day weekend is over and now it's back to business around here. All the usual chores I do on Monday are going to be on Tuesday this week...but the work week will be shorter. If you've read my blog before, you know that I have my "Monday Mountain o' Laundry" going and I'm prepping do-ahead food items for the week. I've already weeded the front landscaping (after the morning school drop-off) and the trash is out!

I'm happy to get to sit down for a few minutes so we can "talk recipes"! I sorted out three from my files last night. The first one is a pork chop recipe that my Aunt Hazel Bell used to make. It has rice and tomato sauce on top of the chops and bakes in the oven once you've put it together. I think it's the perfect meal when you pair it with a salad. Hope you like it!

Aunt Hazel's Spanish Pork Chops

Place pork chops in greased pan. Put 1 TBSP rice on each chop; on top of rice, place a slice of onion. Pour 2 C tomato soup over all; add enough water to cover chops. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees; baste once in a while. (I think I put a little salt and pepper on the onions.)

This is a quick version for Monkey Bread. It's like sticky nut buns without all the trouble of making your own bread dough, so you can make it any time.

Quick Monkey Bread

1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 (10 oz.) cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 C firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 C butter or margarine, melted

Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly in bottom of well-greased 10" Bundt Pan; set aside.
Combine sugar and cinnamon. Cut biscuits into quarters; roll each piece in sugar mixture and layer in pan.
Combine brown sugar and butter; pour over dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool bread 10 minutes in pan; invert onto serving platter. Yield: one 10" coffee cake.

Since it's "Apple Season," I had to include my favorite recipe for an apple salad. Don't remember where I got this one, but it's supposedly the original recipe for Waldorf Salad created in 1893 by Chef Oscar of the Waldorf -Astoria Hotel in NYC. Whether my note on this old recipe is accurate or not, it is a delicious apple salad!

Waldorf Salad
Chef Oscar 1893

2 C cored and diced Red Delicious Apples
2 C cored and diced Yellow Delicious Apples
1/2 C chopped celery
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 C mayo (Hellman's)
2 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp McCormick Apple Pie Spice
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Lettuce leaves

Place fruits and nuts in mixing bowl. In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except lettuce. Mix well; pour over all. Toss gently to mix; chill. Serve on lettuce leaves.

I will be swapping recipes at these places today:

Have a great week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day! I'll be back tomorrow with some great Tried and True Recipes to share with you!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Brown Bag Apple Pie, Cold Mocha Drink

I have been anxiously awaiting today's Old Cookbook Review. I really enjoy sharing my excitement when I find a book that is full of great recipes. If you're looking for a dessert book full of the recipes like Mom and Grandma used to make, here it is! The cookbook that I have been reading is Favorite Recipes of America-Desserts from 1956. It was published by Favorite Recipes Press in Louisville, Kentucky. The hardback copy has a three-tiered strawberry shortcake on the front and blue/yellow gingham pattern decorating the back. The homey design is perfectly suited to the flavor of the book; traditional, homemade sweets from cooks all over the country in '56!

In the introduction of the book,Staff Home Economist, Mary Anne Richards, explains that she chose the recipes from her files of over 50,000 to, "represent the desserts that Americans like best." Even in the decade in which she made her selections, she wisely chose a diversity of dessert recipes from different parts of the country. You will find such a mix of cooks and their recipes from every state; this was a part of the book that I liked very much. There's a recipe for a century-old rice pudding along with a recipe passed down in another family for empanadas! I found at least three recipes submitted by President's wives; Mrs. Eisenhower and Mrs. Roosevelt's recipes were chosen and included. I was impressed by the section of foreign desserts contributed by citizens with foreign ancestry. There are recipes for British Scones, Chinese Almond Cakes, German Raisin Cake and on and on!

Aside from the delicious categories such as: Cakes; Candies and Confections; Cookies; Pies; Frozen Desserts; Chilled Desserts; Jiffy Desserts; Foreign Favorites and Sweet Breads, there's an added section of Party Beverages! I actually found an alternative method for making a favorite beverage of mine-Cold Mocha Drink!

It was difficult choosing a sample I chose two! I'm going to copy down the Mocha recipe and another recipe that I have been looking for (that I finally found in this book)-Brown Paper Bag Apple Pie!

If you like old-fashioned cookbooks with lots of sweet recipes, you need to hunt this one down! I found my copy during a "book dive" at Goodwill!

P. 180 Brown Bag Apple Pie
Mrs. R.S. Siefken
Williams AFB, Ariz.

4 or 5 large, tart apples
1/2 C plus 2 TBSP flour
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 TBSP lemon juice
One 9" uncooked pie crust
1 stick margarine

Pare apples; cut into eighths. Work into 2 TBSP flour, 1/2 C sugar, nutmeg and lemon juice. Arrange in 9" pastry-lined pie pan. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 C sugar, 1/2 C flour and margarine. Place pie in brown paper bag, tucking the open end under. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake for 40 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

P. 366 Cold Mocha Drink
Mrs J. Frank Beall
Nacogdoches, Texas

3 C milk
1 C leftover coffee
1/2 C chocolate syrup
Whipped cream
Cinnamon or nutmeg

Chill milk, coffee and syrup until serving time. Pour mixture into tall glasses; top with whipped cream, sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg over top. Yield: 4 servings.

I'll be participating in these recipe swaps today:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Today has been unexpectedly busy! Sorry that I'm just now getting around to leaving a message, and tonight's busy, as well! Here's a great recipe that I've made before that I think you'll like. If you like cabbage rolls but not the mess of rolling them, this is a great way to fix it!

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

White rice
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 heaping TBSP brown sugar
2 heaping TBSP vinegar
salt to taste
(I like pepper in it, too)

Cook white rice(any quantity you desire) while preparing dish.
Brown beef and onions in bottom of deep pan (Dutch oven). Drain.
Add remaining ingredients.
Simmer over low heat until cabbage is tender; about 30 minutes.
Place some rice in bottom of bowl and ladle cabbage mixture on top.

Please join me tomorrow for my Old Cookbook Review Friday!

I'll be at LifeasMom and JoyofDesserts today for the recipe swaps.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crock Pot Pizza

My friend Christy gave me this recipe not too long ago. The actual long-distance phone conversation was really about her new cutie-pie grandson, but we did manage to sidetrack to "talking recipes" for a few minutes! (He doesn't know it , yet, but he is a lucky boy 'cause Nana's a good cook!)
She's a new grandma and she's "spoilin' that baby" don't anyone get in her way!
(I only wish that I was closer so I could help her!; I really enjoy his pictures that she sends me.)

Christy got this recipe from a friend who brought it to a church dinner and she said that her whole family loved it.

Crock Pot Pizza
Christy Yost, WV

12 oz. bag wide Light and Fluffy Noodles
26 1/2 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce(green peppers and mushrooms variety)
14 oz. jar pizza sauce
1 jar traditional spaghetti sauce (optional-if you like lots of sauce)
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
8 oz. pepperoni
6 C shredded cheddar
6 C shredded mozzarella
1 to 2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 dash salt
1 dash pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 C minced onion

Brown beef with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Boil and drain noodles. Add sauces. Add Italian seasoning to ground beef; cut pepperoni in half. Spray a large crock pot w/ cooking spray. Layer in this order:

1 C sauce in bottom
1/3 noodles
1/3 pepperoni
1/3 sauce
2 C each cheese
1/3 jar traditional sauce
Repeat layers

I will be participating in:

WeareThatfamily's Wednesday swap

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shrimp Prima Vera and Irish Oatmeal

My little herb and vegetable patch out back, which I will now refer to as, "the rabbit buffet," is chewed and nibbled away! They have eaten the leaves off of my green beans; completely demolished the Italian parsley; chewed holes in the green peppers and then spit the rest of the green mulch out. The only items that didn't meet with their culinary standards are the banana peppers, tarragon and...Carrot Leaves! That's right, of all things in a garden, you'd think they would have bothered the carrots, but no! I have weird bunnies! I, at first, tried to scare them away by attaching an aluminum pan to a string that blew in the wind and made noise. One of my sons observed this garden security measure and thought it gave our backyard a "redneck effect". I then, hung a small wind chime to make some noise, but I think the rabbits just considered it "dinner music"! I think that next year, I'll pot my herbs and put them on the porch and spend my time and money chasing down Farmer's Markets instead of weeding and watering...just to feed the rabbits.

Enough about my garden woes, last week I tried to put together a dish that is my favorite at Olive Garden, Shrimp Prima Vera. I just noted the items in the dish and then made my own version of the sauce. For those of you who like the flavor that wine gives their sauces, you might miss that with my recipe, but my family didn't. When I took the thumbs-up vote after we ate the new dish, everyone was very complimentary! Blake and I even had a re-run of it for lunch the next day! So, I thought I would share this new recipe that we loved with you.

Marcia's Shrimp Prima Vera

1 bag frozen cooked medium shrimp, thawed (de-veined and tailess)
1 jar Ragu Roasted Garlic Sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 thinly sliced onions
2 thinly sliced green peppers
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
pinch of salt
olive oil

In large heavy skillet, saute onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil. Add jar of sauce and all other ingredients except shrimp and pasta. Let simmer on low for 10 minutes. Cook angel hair pasta in boiling, salted water. Drop thawed shrimp into sauce just long enough to get hot through. Serve sauce over drained angel hair pasta.

Here's how I fix Irish Oatmeal:

1 1/2 C steel cut oats (I use John McCanns Irish Oatmeal)
6 C water
1 tsp salt (optional)

Place ingredients in your crock pot. Cook on low for at least 8 hrs. (heating elements in crock pots can vary, so keep an eye on them after several hours to make sure the oats stay moist; stir the oats occasionally.) These are good with brown sugar mixed in and raisins if you like them.

I will be at BlessedwithGrace, TheGypsy'sCorner and BalancingBeautyandBedlam today for the recipe swaps.