Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dad's Favorite Fluffy Tapioca Pudding

My dad has always liked down-home desserts.  He's a fan of pies, cobblers...and tapioca pudding!  He was happiest when Mammam made tapioca pudding and brought up to our house (I like it, too, but her favorite pudding surprise for me was rice pudding!)  I thought of him when I came across this great old recipe for tapioca.  If you've never made it, tapioca can be found near the boxed puddings in the grocery store.  This pudding is good warm or cold.  You know how they always feel the need to garnish an already-perfect food in these old cookbooks, well, they recommend dotting the top of your pudding (which is in sherbet dishes, of course!) with tart jelly.  Hmmm...I've never had it with jelly on top;  don't know about that!  I guess it would be pretty, but I'm not sure about the flavor combination.  Let me know if you try the jelly topping.  I, however, am  a purist, and will leave mine plain white and fluffy.  I'm sure that's the food-styling that Dad would approve of with his favorite pudding!

Fluffy Tapioca Pudding
Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorites ("Free when you buy one 7.0 oz. Crest") 1971

1 quart milk
1/4 C quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 slightly-beaten egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 stiffly-beaten egg whites

Combine milk, tapioca, sugar, and salt;  let stand 5 minutes.  Add egg yolks.  Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat (mixture will be thin at this point);  add vanilla.
Put 1/3 of beaten egg whites in large bowl;  slowly stir in tapioca mixture.  Fold in remaining egg whites, leaving "pillows" of egg white.  Chill.  Pile into sherbets.  Garnish with tart jelly.  Serves 8 to 10.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mall-Style Soft Pretzels at Home!

We love the big, soft pretzels that are sold at the mall, but they can get pricey, especially if you have a family-sized group with you.  So, I was very happy to find this recipe for soft pretzels in a Rhodes Bread pamphlet from 1996.  You know how much I love my old advertising/promo cooking pamphlets!    I always use Rhodes frozen dough;  love the homemade taste and Walmart always has it in the freezer section!  Easy to find, easy to make!  I've been making my "homemade" pizzas for my kids' birthday parties and family get-togethers for years with this dough. 
Speaking of parties, I think these pretzels (with a selection of dips and spreads) would make an interesting and inexpensive Super Bowl party event.  You could make a huge batch of pretzels ahead and then just reheat in a low-heat  oven (with a microproof bowl of water on the bottom shelf of the oven to keep them from drying out)  the night of the party!  I'm thinking...horseradish dip, a variety of mustards, hot cheese dips, some hot sausage dip for the get the idea!  Hope you're as happy to find this recipe as I was.

Soft Pretzels
(Rhodes:  Easy Recipes for Frozen Roll and Bread Dough  1996)

8 Texas White Rolls thawed
2 TBSP baking Soda

Thaw rolls until soft but not risen (about 2 hours at room temperature).  Roll each roll into a 16-inch rope.  Form in pretzel shape.  Place on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed and let rise 30-45 minutes.  In a large saucepan, bring 6 inches of water and soda to a boil.  Slip pretzels, a few at a time, into gently boiling water.  Boil for 30 seconds on each side.  Remove with slotted spoon and drain on cooling rack.  If desired, sprinkle with coarse salt, seeds or spices.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake immediately at 375 degrees F for 15-29 minutes or until golden brown.  Salt-sensitive consumers may wish to eliminate soda and brush pretzels with beaten egg white before baking.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

While we have sunny, mild weather today in the DFW area, I realize that many of you have really cold temps and snow.  We need to pull out some of our comforting casserole recipes to help us get through January and February, right?!   This morning,  I was looking through my file of trusted recipes for a really good chicken dish to have in the winter, and I found one that I haven't made for quite a while.  I hope you like it;  it's a good way to use up leftover chicken, and kids will eat it because it has cheese included.  Just add some good rolls or bread to this casserole and you have a quick meal!  You have better things to sledding!

Easy Chicken Divan

One 10 oz. pkg frozen chopped broccoli
1 C chopped cooked chicken
One 8 oz. jar Cheez Whiz
One 3 oz. can chow mein noodles

Microwave broccoli according to directions;  drain.  Add chicken;  mix lightly.  Microwave Cheese Whiz according to the label;  add to chicken mixture and mix lightly.  Microwave on Medium for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until hot.  Spoon over noodles.
-substitute two 5 1/2 oz. cans of drained chunk chicken for cooked chicken
-or one 6 1/2 oz. can of tuna in water;  drained

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Aunt Lena's Butterscotch Pie

This week's recipe is a goodie;  I remember eating this creamy, delicious pie in my Aunt Lena's tiny little kitchen (she had a bungalow-style home) in Sistersville, WV.  Aunt Lena was my Mammam's twin sister and I've written about her in previous posts.  My mom and dad recently sent me a box of Christmas surprises and this was one of the treasures in that box;  a yellowed envelope marked "Lena"-  full of hand-written recipes!  It brought back a lot of  fond memories of a very sweet lady.

Aunt Lena's Butterscotch Pie

2 C milk
1 1/4 C dark brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP butter

Heat the milk to scalding in a double boiler;  blend sugar, flour and salt and add to the milk.  Stir until smooth and thick;  cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.  Separate eggs and beat the yolks.  Add the thick sauce, gradually, to the eggs;  stir until smooth.  Pour the mixture back into the double broiler and cook for 5 minutes.  Add vanilla and butter.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  cool at room temperature.  refrigerate any leftovers. (Ha!  Leftovers!)

Adventures in Texas:  Seen on signs (during December) in front of Mexican restaurants, convenience stores...and gas stations:   "Tamales Sold By The Dozen".  Yes, it's a Christmas food here!

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