Friday, May 28, 2010

Time for a Summer Break!

I'm officially on Summer Break. It's time to work in the yard, make sun tea, count lightening bugs,and search for old cookbooks at yard sales; enjoy! See you back here in the fall when baking season starts! Have a wonderful, fun-filled summer! Blessings to you and yours.

P.S. My favorite new drink concoction for summer is called an, "Arnold Palmer". I mix 1/2 glass Crystal Light Lemonade to 1/2 glass brewed iced tea over crushed ice. Oh Yeahhhh....summer is here!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Brisket in the Crock Pot

Yesterday didn't go as I expected, time-wise. I had some errands to run after I dropped son #3 at his driver's ed class. Then, I had an appointment at 11:30, which as it turned out, was 1/2 hour behind schedule. I then got on the phone to ask son #2 to please prepare the brisket and get it in the crock pot for me; it was the planned item for dinner. I'm getting ready to do some "Mom bragging" was the best Corned Beef Brisket that I've ever eaten!

Blake had rinsed the piece of meat off with cold water and seasoned it with salt and pepper. He then wrapped it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil and put it in a dry oval-shaped crock pot on high for 1/2 hour, and then turned it to low for the rest of the day. It was so moist and tender. He had never fixed a brisket before, so he didn't know to trim the little cap of fat off of it-but I think that added to the flavor! Way to go, Blake! Dinner was a success.

I will be joining these fine swaps today:


Monday, May 24, 2010

A New Favorite!

We were served a tangy, delicious, chopped salad at a dinner we attended last night that was so good that I immediately jotted down all of the ingredients on a card as soon as we got home! (My thoughtful husband, noticing how much I enjoyed it, asked one of the servers what dressing was used.) I wanted to share this refreshing taste combination with you.

Chopped Salad

Chopped Romaine lettuce
Chopped Napa (purple) cabbage
Diced Granny Smith? (or sour green apple)
Chopped walnuts
Crumbled Blue Cheese
Cherry tomatoes
Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

Toss chopped ingredients with dressing and chill. Mound onto salad plates, sprinkle edges of plate with finely-cut parsley. Top each mound with a cherry tomato. Chill until serving time. (This is my best guess at how this delicious salad was put together.) I plan to try to re-create this salad here at home sometime soon; it would be great with "grilled whatever" for Memorial Day!

I will be at these recipe swaps today:


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monday's Plan for Quick and Easy Menus

I have a lot of things to get accomplished this week and the menu plans will be brief and nutritious. I find myself living off of to-do lists these days and don't have much time for cooking elaborate meals. I'm also still trying to clean out three freezers. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 23 (We have an event to attend)

Stuffed Peppers in the Crock Pot for guys
Refrigerated Biscuits
Eclair Cake (for Blake's belated birthday dessert-celebrated Saturday at a Japanese restaurant so he could have sushi!)

Tuesday, May 24

BBQ Brisket
Red Garlic Potatoes

Wednesday, May 25 (I teach final Bible class for the quarter)

Baked Fish
Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup

Thursday, May 26

Meatball Hoagie
Copper Pennies Salad

Friday, May 27

Chicken and Noodles
Green beans

Saturday, May 28

French Toast
Turkey Bacon

French Bread

Sunday, May 29

Mesquite Chicken
Wild Rice

-Leftover Buffet-

I will be at Orgjunkie for MPM today!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar Cookbook from 1962

The cookbook that is up for review today is from 1962 but has the same focus as some of the most recently published cookbooks. With the "going-green movement" and cooks being more health conscience, the trend recently is toward using what's in-season and buying from local farmers, or growing it yourself. (I found an organic farmer and and his wife who sell picked-that-morning produce at the flea market in the old Brittain's building here in Lawton every Saturday!)

This little wire-bound cookbook, published by Golden Press (catalog number 62-9842) is all about going from season-to-season using the best of the particular fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak. I've always enjoyed women's magazines which feature a menu for the month, and this book does the same. For every month there is a calendar of days listing events from America's history that have happened on each day. So, if you want to make a special meal, or just remember the day that the first ship passed through the Panama Canal (in 1914, by the way) you can!

I enjoyed the quotes by famous Americans that are sprinkled into the monthly calendars, as well. On August 20 we have, "Delay is preferable to error,"-Thomas Jefferson; (maybe someone should send a copy of this cookbook to Washington!)
Along with the monthly calendars are menus and recipes using the best-of-the-season. Here's a good-looking recipe for the month of May from page 60:

Page 60 Chicken Asparagus Cheese Bake

1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut up and cooked, or 1 pkg. frozen asparagus, cooked
2 C sliced cooked chicken
1/2 tsp each, marjoram and sage
1 C unsifted Gold Medal Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C milk
1 C grated cheddar cheese sauce (page 157)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 1 1/2" baking dish with layer of asparagus. Place chicken on top and sprinkle with herbs. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Beat eggs, milk, and cheese; add to flour mixture. Beat batter well and pour over chicken, spreading evenly. Bake 25 to 30 min. Cut into squares and serve hot with cheese sauce. 6 servings.

Page 157 Cheese Sauce

To 1 C Medium White Sauce (right) add 1/4 tsp dry mustard with the seasonings. Blend in 1/2 C nippy Cheddar cheese (cut up or grated). Stir until cheese is melted.

page 157 Medium White Sauce

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 C milk

Melt butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Makes 1 C.

I will be at these swaps today:


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicken Mexicali

In our family, we are a "house divided" when it comes to our favorite part of the chicken. My oldest son, along with my husband and I, prefers the white meat. Our middle son likes the dark meat, and the youngest son, who I jokingly call, "Jethro" because of his tremendous appetite (that's just how 16-year-old boys are) will eat either type, including seconds ...and whatever piece is leftover in the fridge!

I had this recipe for a spicy chicken casserole in my clippings drawer, and realized that it's one of those great recipes where you use a cut-up chicken; you have the luxury of both light and dark meat in one dish. I hope to try this one soon.

Chicken Mexicali
Jan May, Sioux Valley Southeastern Electric

2-1/2 lbs. cut-up chicken
1 C long grain rice
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can tomato juice
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
4 TBSP melted oleo
1/2 C tomato juice

Sprinkle uncooked rice in a 9x13 pan (I will spray Pam on mine first). Pour melted oleo and tomato juice over rice. Mix 1 can enchilada sauce and 1 empty can filled with tomato juice together and pour over rice. Lay chicken on top and sprinkle with taco seasoning mix. Seal tight with foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hrs. at 325 degrees. Do not peek-leave sealed until done!

I will be at these recipe swaps today:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sweetened Condensed Milk from Home

My Aunt Sis had scribbled these instructions down on a post-it note (probably during a break in the middle of her school day!) and stuck in one of her cookbooks. I think this would be less expensive than buying the individual cans, considering the huge box of powdered milk that is available at Sam's Club or other grocery suppliers.

Sweetened Condensed Milk from Home

1/3 C boiling water
3/4 C sugar
4 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C powdered milk

Blend together the water, butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add powdered milk and blend u thick. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

I'll be joining these great recipe swaps today:


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Summer's on the way and usually folks have a little more time to enjoy breakfast. Here's a coffee cake recipe that uses buttermilk and a white cake mix. I think fresh strawberries make an excellent side-dish or topping!

1 (18.25 oz.) package white cake mix
1 C buttermilk
1/2 C melted butter
5 large eggs
3 TBSP light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBSP granulated sugar

Vanilla glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer for 1-1/2 minutes or until thoroughly blended; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Grease a 12 cup Bundt pan with shortening; sprinkle with 1 TBSP granulated sugar.

Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan; sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over batter. Top with remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done in center. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool for 20 minutes. Drizzle your favorite vanilla glaze over the top of slightly warm cake.

I'll be at these swaps today:


Friday, May 14, 2010

"Bug Juice" from Pooh Cookbook

Today's cookbook combines two of my favorite "Mom memories" from the early days when my boys were small. As preschoolers, all three of them enjoyed Winnie-the-Pooh books and impromptu picnics.

Every season of the year there would be some opportunity to have a picnic lunch (before nap time). We would keep a cooler and plastic table cloth in the back of the van and anyplace was fair game as a potential picnic spot. There have been lunches in the park (near the swings); the gazebo near the library; on the Capital lawn (near Daddy's office); at FMC Swim Club; on our back deck; and during enclimate weather, on the family room floor or under the dining room table (a pretend camping spot, also).

Just as many little girls enjoy Alice in Wonderland because of the tea parties, my boys' fondness for Winnie-the-Pooh at the ages of 3-5, I believe, spoke to Pooh and his woodland friends' sense of outdoor adventure and fun, along with the idea that lunch could be eaten outside and on the run! Of coarse, during the eating of lunch-on-the-run, the boys at various times have shared parts of lunch with a group of outside friends including: squirrels, pigeons, ducks, chipmunks, geese, dogs and turtles! This experience was a bonus and well-worth packing some extra bread-crumbs!

If you have small children, or are a Winnie-the-Pooh fan like me, you should look for this book. It's a small hardback copy called Winnie-the-Pooh's Picnic Cookbook published in 1997 by Dutton Children's Books; the ISBN is 0-525-45533-7. My boys found this copy for me as a Mother's Day gift and I treasure it!

Throughout this picnic-themed book are illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard and excerpts from Milne's series of books about the famous bear and his friends. All recipes seem to be kid-friendly and picnic-ready to me. Here's the recipe for a jug of refreshing drink to carry along in case you spend the whole day on your picnic and wait to catch lightening bugs!

Page 12 Bug Juice

1 quart prepared fruit punch
1 quart ginger ale
juice of 1 lemon
1 jar of maraschino cherries

Combine fruit punch, lemon juice and ginger ale. Chill well. Stir in cherries. Makes approximately 2 quarts.

***Lawton-Fort Sill's Armed Forces Day Parade kicks off at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow***

I will be at these swaps today:


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Creamy Chicken Salad

Yesterday, I attended our final Ladies' Class before summer break. This group is just a wonderful variety of women from our congregation, as well as some of our friends from the Northwest congregation. We always have a good time when we're together, but my favorite Wednesday classes are when we end with a salad luncheon. Each of us brings either a salad or dessert and then we have time to munch on salad and visit! My friend, Sherri brought this creamy chicken salad that was so good that I wanted to mention it today.

Sherri's Chicken Salad

Canned Breast of Chicken
1 package of cream cheese
chopped green onion
chopped water chestnuts

Shred the chicken with a fork, mix in softened cream cheese. Add onions and water chestnuts. Mold into a ball and chill. She served this with Townhouse butter crackers. Sooo good!

I'm at these swaps today:


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thanksgiving in May!

As I was talking about thawing a turkey that I found in the freezer yesterday, I started thinking about how great it will be to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal in May! I'm already looking forward to the turkey salad that I will make later in the week. I don't know why, but turkey salad, chicken salad and pimiento cheese are always best when they are homemade. I like a little poultry seasoning, celery and Hellman's Mayo mixed in with my turkey for sandwiches.

Another item that comes to mind when I think of a Thanksgiving meal is sweet potatoes-candied, roasted, in pies or casseroles...I just love them. My Aunt Sis used to make a great sweet potato pie, and "lucky you", I'm sharing her recipe today. It's only 'cause we're blog buddies! Enjoy!

Aunt Sis' Sweet Potato Pie
Ruth Ann (Michael) Martin

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C sugar
1 1/4 C cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
3 TBSP butter
1/2 C boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 C evaporated milk
One 9" unbaked pie shell

Mix spices with with boiling water and stir into sweet potatoes. Add sugar, eggs, salt and butter; blend thoroughly. Stir in milk and heat mixture over hot water (double boiler, maybe?) about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into pie shell and bake at 425 degrees until filling is set, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.

These are the great recipe swaps that I will be linking to:


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cleaning Out My Freezer Space-MPM

Every Monday when I put the new menu for the week on the side of my fridge, I post it at OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday (MPM), as well. You need to visit that site! It's a great way to get new ideas for meal plans and meet some other bloggers.

I'll be clearing out my freezer spaces this week so that I can give them a much-needed wipe down with warm water and baking soda. It's a dreaded project, but one that needs done. One of the meals for this week will be a Thanksgiving-type dinner (in May!) because I found a turkey in the bottom of my garage freezer; I'm excited about this prospect! Here's my plan for the week:

Monday, May 10

Pot Roast w/ Vegetables
Spinach Salad w/ Red Onion and Mandarin Oranges

Tuesday. May 11

Turkey and Dressing
Green Beans
Cranberry sauce

Wednesday, May 12 (Make salad for Ladies' Class Luncheon)

Pasta Fagoli
French bread
Lime Jello Salad

Thursday, May 13

Baked Fish
Macaroni and Cheese
Cole Slaw

Friday, May 14 (Make food for Family Night-summer vacation theme)

Pepperoni rolls w/ dipping sauce
Muffins w/ glaze

Saturday, May 15 (Armed Forces Day Parade)

Pack snacks and drinks

****A big congratulations to my web-designing, "bloggermom"-rescuing, son, Ben, who won the top spot in the state in "advanced computer" at the Tournament of Champions this weekend in Oklahoma City! Way to go, "Jethro"!****

I will be at Orgjunkie today for Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good and Easy Cookbook from 1954

Today's selection for our Old Cookbook Review is Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook published by Simon and Schuster in 1954. What a compact 1950's gem it is! The book is complete with two-color (rose and black, or teal and black) illustrations to break up the recipe copy. The introduction to the book is presented in the form of a chatty-style letter from the fictitious Betty Crocker to homemakers everywhere! Sections of the book are divided with four-color photos of some of the recipes offered.

Almost all of the recipes are short, easy-to-follow, and with few ingredients. That's why I call a cookbook like this a "summertime cookbook". When the weather is warm and it's beautiful outside, your family still expects something tasty to accompany those grilled meats, but you don't want to spend all of your time in the kitchen. That smart, domestic diva, Betty Crocker, knew this clear back in 1954!

Betty, we know that you, and Mattel's Barbie, are just unattainable female icons created to mess with our psyches, but we love you anyway! After all, who doesn't want to own a townhouse, have perfect hair, a 17-inch waist and prepare perfect meals every night?! You both make us dare to dream.

I had a delicious salad at a luncheon yesterday and our sample recipe reminds me of it. I plan to try this one over the weekend, you go with the meat from the grill! Happy Mother's Day Weekend!

Page 150 Buffet Salad

1 small head of cauliflower
1 medium mild onion (think I'll use green onions)
3 1/2 oz. bottle stuffed olives
1/4 C Roquefort cheese
1 small head of lettuce
1/2 C French dressing

Break Cauliflower in small pieces (I know that Betty didn't have one, but this could go through my Salad Shooter!). Thinly slice onion and olives, crumble cheese, break lettuce in bite-size pieces. Toss together; pour French Dressing(page 152) over all, and toss again. Makes 6 to8 servings

Page 152 French Dressing

1/2 C olive oil
2 TBSP vinegar
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp paprika

Put in a jar and shake to blend. Makes 3/4 C.

I will be at these recipe swaps today:


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Caramel Pie

If you're in the mood for something sweet that has that old-fashioned flavor, make a pie-filling the old-fashioned way and put it in a Pillsbury Pie Crust. If I'm in a hurry to fix a dessert, I've found the ready-to-unroll crusts to be closer to homemade crusts than the ones in the freezer section of the grocery store (the ones like Pet-Ritz, that are already-formed). Here's a recipe for a creamy, delicious, caramel pie filling.

Caramel Pie
Caroline Simonds, Charleston, S.C.

1 1/2 C sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 C)
3 TBSP cornstarch
1 1/2 C water
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP sugar

Scorch 1/2 of the sugar, pour water in, then add rest of sugar and butter. When butter is melted, add cornstarch, which has been mixed with a little water. Stir constantly and cook until very thick. Take off and cool. Add beaten egg yolks and vanilla. Put caramel filling on baked crust in pie plate. Make meringue of egg whites and extra TBSP of sugar. Place on top of pie, run in oven (300 degrees) to brown.

***Don't Forget to watch "The Middle" on TV tonight!***

I'll be at these recipe swaps today:


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mexican Salad

Since this is Tuesday, when I usually share a Tried-and-True recipe that I've fixed myself or enjoyed with friends or family, I pulled a goody from my recipe file! This recipe comes from a mother-daughter team who I attended church with in Scott Depot, WV.

Whenever we would have a covered dish dinner at church, often either Juanita or Cindy Quaranta would make this wonderful salad. They would bring the individual ingredients and toss it together right before we ate. I understand that both ladies have since moved from that area, but their salad recipe remains in my box, and I remember them fondly when I fix it.

Mexican Salad

1 large head of lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
1 lb. grated cheese (your choice)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) Ranch Style Beans, drained, rinsed and chilled
3/4 bottle Catalina Dressing, chilled
1 medium package of Frito Corn Chips, crushed

Combine all ingredients except last two and chill. Add last two just before serving and toss well.

Note: Ranch Style Beans are "Texas" food. Janet (other daughter who lives in Ohio-doggone Yankee!:0) uses Van Camp's Chili Beans)

****Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad today!!****

I will be at these swaps today:


Monday, May 3, 2010

First of May Menu Plan

I'm enjoying the spring weather and the ability to be back out in my yard. I did some neatening-up in my landscaping this morning and then cooled off on the back porch with a grape Gatorade. I don't look forward so much to the high temps of summer, but spring weather (minus the tornado season's interruptions) is just right!

Here are the meals that I have planned for this first week of May:

Monday, May 3

Mesquite Chicken
Macaroni Salad (Previous post)
Baked Potatoes

Tuesday, May 4 (Happy Anniversary to my mom and dad!!)

Meatballs and Sauce (previous post)
Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday, May 5

Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole (previous post)
Green Beans

Thursday, May 6

Nachos Supreme
Jello w/ fruit

Friday, May 7

Garlic and Rosemary Pork Roast
w/ potatoes and carrots
Caesar Salad (previous post)
Toasted French Bread

Saturday, May 8

Grill hamburgers w/ fixin's
Southern Baked Beans (previous post)
Garlic & Parsley Red Potatoes (in cast iron skillet)
Vegetable plate

Sunday, May 9 Happy Mother's Day!!

Papa John's Veggie Pizza
Lime Coke
Chocolate Cake

I will be at MPM at Orgjunkie today