Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jen's request

Jennifer, my older daughter, called this morning to request this recipe. It's one that I cut out of the San Antonio Light newspaper when hubby was stationed at Kelly AFB from 1969 -71. We were newly weds then. The Organization for Rehabilitation and Training was publishing a new cookbook and holding a tasting. The chairman of the organization, Mrs. Joel Pullen, was to prepare Beef Tips, and the recipe was given in the paper. Here it is:

Beef Tips
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
1 1/2 lbs. round steak, 1/2" thick, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 10.5 oz. can beef consommé
1/2 can water
2 teaspoons liquid gravy seasoning (I use Kitchen Bouquet.)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Flour or cornstarch to thicken gravy, if desired (I do.)
Rice or buttered noodles
Sauté onion and bell pepper in oil until limp. Remove and brown the steak in the same oil, adding more if needed. Put the onion and pepper back into the skillet and add the comsommé, water, gravy seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper. [I don't add salt because consommé is very salty, but use your own judgement.] Simmer on low or medium low for 1 1/2 hours. [To thicken, I shake 1 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch in approximately 1/4 cup cold water. I turn the heat up so that the gravy comes to a boil and thickens.] Serve over rice or noodles.
I don't use round steak in many recipes because it is usually either too tough or totally falling apart, but it does turn out the way I expect it to in this recipe - quite tender, but still holding together.
We're having hamburger cooked on the grill tonight with potato chips and strawberry shortcake. Yum, yum.
Maybe I can get back into the habit of posting more often.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One of Paula Deen's recipes

Last night I used that last huge chicken breast half to make Paula Deen's Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps. They were very tasty and very easy. Here is the way it appears on the Food Network site.

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 4 breasts) 1 (1-pound) package sliced bacon 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden pick. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Coat a rack and broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. [I covered the pan with aluminum foil because I knew it would make a mess and it did.] Place chicken wrap on rack in broiler pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Recipe Summary Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 to 15 appetizer servings User Rating: 5 stars

I was able to de-bone the breast and cut it into 20 cubes. I had halved the sugar/chili mixture and that was about right - there was a little left over, but not much.

Tonight I made The Y chili, a relic from hubby and my past. The town we grew up in had a greasy spoon in the YMCA building, affectionately known to us as the Y. Their chili was a legend, and one of hubby's mom's friends asked the cook how he made it, and he told her. Here is my take, 50 years later. Hubby and I were talking at supper that the original was very salty, but no one eats as much salt today as they did back then. We're also a lot more aware of fat content too. So here's how I do it to get the taste and texture without so much salt and fat. The ground beef is not in chunks or hunks - it's in very fine "beads."

Y chili for hot dogs (hamburgers and fries)

2 lbs. ground beef, not round or sirloin
about 2 quarts cool tap water
16 oz. tomato sauce
2 tablespoons good quality chili powder
2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onion
1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
(I added no salt - the bouillon and tomato sauce have plenty.)

Put the water and ground beef in a large saucepan or dutch oven and use your hands to squeeze them together into a pudding-like mixture. Put on the burner on high to bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook until the meat is no longer pink. It will be sort of grayish-brown. Drain off the liquid and that will remove the fat also. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. You'll need to add some water to thin it down some. If you can avoid adding the fat back, you can use a little bit at a time of the water the meat was cooked in till you get the right consistency - not too thin, not too thick. Otherwise, just use fresh water. Simmer at least 30 minutes covered. Will be even better the next day. I always freeze and LABEL the leftover in 1 cup lots. That's enough for 6 to 8 hot dogs.

That's it for tonight.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Tinkering with a recipe

I decided to use the chicken breasts that were accidentally thawed for a casserole for Sunday supper. Hubby likes good old comfort food, even while watching the Super Bowl. I used a recipe called Creamy Chicken and Rice from my new Taste of Home Recipe Card magazine I bought Friday. I made a few changes to start with, and I suspected that it was going to make way more than I wanted, even though it said it served 6. I'd say it would serve 10 generously. So, while my mind is fresh, I'm going to write out the changes I'll make next time because we did like it enough for me to make it again.

My Creamy Chicken and Rice

Cook until tender chicken pieces that will give you 2 to 2-1/2 cups diced meat, approx. 45 minutes – time depends on size and type of pieces. Or use leftover chicken or supermarket Rotisserie chicken.

Prepare 1 box of Uncle Ben’s Wild and White Rice Mix according to package directions. When rice is cooked spread in bottom of 9” x 9” Pyrex baking dish.

While rice cooks, de-bone and cube chicken – need 2 to 2-1/2 cups.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Also while rice cooks, make white sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 c milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes until thickened and bubbly. Stir almost constantly.

Reduce heat; add 6 to 8 oz. cubed Velveeta and 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream. Stir until cheese is melted. Stir in the cubed chicken. (Next time consider adding toasted slivered almonds for taste or frozen peas and diced pimiento for color.) Pour over rice in the casserole.

Melt 3 tablespoons additional butter; toss 24 crushed saltines with the butter. Sprinkle over the casserole.

Bake uncovered at 425° for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through and saltines are golden. Serves 4 to 6 people.

This morning, Kat cooked up a storm in my kitchen - homemade pound cake, two bite brownies, cheese ball, teriyaki wings, and she got together the ingredients for the meatballs that she'll prepare at her friend's house. She reminds me of my late mother-in-law. She was a whirling dervish in the kitchen. She could cook up a scratch meal in 1 hour and have the kitchen clean at the same time.

That's all for tonight.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Crunch time on the Super Bowl recipes

I must be an idiot when it comes to this blogging stuff. Why do I have to reset my font and color every time? Sometimes it won't even let me have arial, but forces me to use the dreaded New Times Roman which I do hate.

Well, on to the recipes. One that I always get requests for is "Janet's Cheese ball." Janet is my niece. She brought this to my house for Christmas 10 years ago, although it seems like yesterday. That's what happens when you get old - time just flies on by. I like this because it's easy to keep the ingredients on hand, it's quick, and it makes just a small amount, but it's easy to double, triple, quadruple (yes, I have), well, you get the idea.

Janet’s Cheese Ball

For each 8 oz. block of cream cheese you need 1 pkg. of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix, kept dry (regular or the Zesty, you can’t tell the difference)
Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Pepper

Soften the cream cheese to room temperature and mix in the dry salad dressing. Form into a ball and roll it in Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Pepper. That’s it. Do make at least a few hours ahead of time so the veggie flakes from the dressing can rehydrate.
We like it with Triscuits and Wheat Thins, but use your favorite cracker. The Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Pepper is with the spices, and is in a cardboard container like the small Kraft's Parmesan Cheese package. Look hard, along the bottom of the shelves and you will probably find it. If you can't locate it in your stores, it's made of coarsely cracked black pepper and the herbs and spices that are in Lawry's Seasoned Salt, without the salt.
I'm off to Paula Deen's Food Network site to look for a recipe she made earlier this week. I missed the part of the show where she made it, but saw it at the end and was interested. Kathryn took what she thought were my chicken wings out of the freezer to thaw and I didn't pay attention until it was too late - she got out huge breasts. So, I'll be trying something new. The recipe had what looked like small pieces of chicken tenderloin wrapped in bacon and sprinkled with something. I'll just cut up the whole breasts. I might try making what some restaurants call boneless wings by cutting the breasts into appropriately sized pieces and proceeding with my Teriyaki Wing recipe.
That's all for tonight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Comfort Food

For some reason I am having more and more difficulty in getting hubby to eat chicken at home. He says he has it for lunch so often that he gets tired of it. But - there's one sure fire way to make him lick his lips for a chicken meal, and that's my own tweaked, very easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe. Without further ado, here it is:

Chicken Pot Pie, my final easy style version

Simmer covered in a dutch oven about 25 minutes: 4 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
2 tablespoons instant chicken bouillon
3 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes
Water to cover
The bouillon takes the place of salt and intensifies the flavor. If you're using left over chicken, use 2 - 3 cups.

Then add to the above from larger bags: 1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen carrots

Return to a boil and simmer for about 15 more minutes.

Remove the chicken from the broth and add i can of small potatoes, drained and cubed so that they can heat. If you don't want to use canned, add one peeled medium cubed white potato when you are adding the peas and carrots above

Let the chicken cool slightly before skinning, boning and cutting it into bite sized pieces. Place the chicken evenly over the bottom of a 2 quart (13" x 9") Pyrex baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Make a thick white sauce in a sauce pan: 6 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of plain flour
3 cups of milk
3/4 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste

Melt butter, add flour,salt, and pepper and blend till smooth. Cook until bubbly and then add the milk and return to a slow boil. Simmer till thickened, stirring frequently to keep from sticking.

Drain the chicken/veggie broth and save it for another purpose. Arrange the veggies on top of the chicken. Pour the white sauce evenly over all.

Make the topping: Blend one stick of melted butter and
1 cup self-rising flour. Mixture will be very stiff.
Whisk in 1 cup of milk.

Pour the topping evenly over the ingredients already in the baking dish. Bake 50 - 60 minutes.

Note: You can use caned evaporated milk in the white sauce and use equal parts of the broth to reconstitute it (12 oz. of each).

Now it's time for me to get started on mine for tonight.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Not keeping up here

I do admire those who make entries on a regular, dependable basis. I can see that keeping up a steady pace is going to be a problem for me. I have to decide if I'm writing for myself or for possible readers. I remember the very first time I heard of blogs years ago, I thought they were a terrible idea. Why would someone put their "business" out there for anyone to see? Having made that judgement, I as surprised that I am doing this now, even if it is only to share recipes.

First I want to share the recipe for Ham Delights that my daughter will need if she decides to make them for the Super Bowl Party.

This version is from Cooks.com with a few tweaks from me.

2 sticks of butter
3 tablespoons of poppy seeds (the seeds may cause someone to test positive on certain drug tests, and I usually reduce the amount to 2 tablespoons)
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons of prepared yellow mustard
1 lb. boiled ham, chopped
1/2 lb. Swiss cheese, cut into small squares
3 packages of Pepperidge Farms party rolls (These are the rolls that are about the diameter of a quarter. I use rolls the size of the dinner rolls that White Castle burgers are made on - 2 dozen. I have even used Sub rolls before when not preparing them for a party.)

Blend the first five ingredients together and spread on both sides of the cut surfaces of the rolls. Try to keep the sheets of rolls attached because it will be easier to spread the butter mixture that way. Divide the ham and cheese evenly between all the rolls. and and if they came in aluminum foil trays, cover tightly with foil. If the rolls came in a plastic bag, completely wrap the assembled delights into two or three foil packages. At this point you can freeze them for later use or to use at different times. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 400° and heat still in the foil 10 minutes or until very warm. If you froze them, increase heating time and lower the oven temperature to 350° so that they will thaw inside before drying out or burning on the outside.

Teriyaki Wings
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 lbs. chicken drumettes
Combine in a large bowl or ziplock bag all ingredients except chicken and mix well. (If I have time, I look over the wings and trim off any large pieces of fat I can see and even some of the ridge of skin that runs down the side of the "flats," as my girls call them.) Add the chicken and stir so that the marinade cover all. If using a bowl, cover it or close the bag and put in a bowl or on a tray so that if it leaks, it won't mess up your whole refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. Turn it the bag or stir the bowl occasionally. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375° and cover a shallow pan with aluminum foil (I use heavy duty foil because this gets really messy). Arrange the wings in a single layer. Bake 40 to 45 minutes (longer if your wings were really large). Baste occasionally with the marinade. I turn mine about halfway through the cooking time. Some people bake theirs on a rack, but I find that the marinade will thicken up and coat the wings if they cook directly in it.

Well, that's it for today. I'll try to get back here tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's a soup day!

Today I put together a vegetable beef soup. You might wonder at the wording of that, but there's a reason I expressed it that way. I can't say I made "Homemade Vegetable Soup" because all I did was open some cans and rip open a plastic bag or two. However, it was still very warm and appetizing, and hubby and I pretend that it was from scratch. Here's the recipe:

Vegetable Beef Soup
1 lb. of ground beef, browned drained and returned to the Dutch Oven
1 26 oz. can of diced tomatoes with liquid
1 26 oz. can diced potatoes, with liquid
3/4 package of frozen peas and carrots - just eyeball it
2 tablespoons dehydrated chopped onion
2 cans Campbell's beef gravy (10 oz. size)
1 can Campbell's beef consommé
Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer covered for around 1 hour and serve with cornbread.
Makes about 4 quarts. If you don't want to eat leftovers for days, freeze the soup you don't eat.
Be sure that you label and date it. You don't want a mystery meal at some later date. I use a sharpie because it doesn't run or smear off.
Now for a small amount of cornbread. I halve my regular recipe with a few slight adjustments. We always have about half leftover if I don't cut the recipe.
I use Tenda Bake Cornmeal mix and the recipe on the back of the bag if I'm making the full size.
Tonight here's what I did.
1/2 cup whole milk
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 extra large egg (they were on sale)
1 cup of cornmeal mix
Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 4" X 8" loaf pan very generously. Put first 3 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and beat with a wire whip. (Recipes always warn you not to over mix, but when you just have your liquid ingredients, you can't damage the finished product. Still, you just want to get it fluffy.) Add the cornmeal mix and I still use the whip, but I just use it gently, like a spoon. This is where you can over mix. Stir slowly and gently till you don't have any large lumps. Small ones are OK. Turn into your greased pan and use a rubber spatula to scrape out all the goody. Put into the preheated oven and turn it down to 400° and set the timer for 20 minutes. If it has pulled away from the sides by then and it's nice and golden on top, remove it from the oven. Hubby likes a rather dark golden top, so I turn the broiler on high for 2 minutes. You can rub a piece of butter over the top if you want it to look especially pretty, but I don't bother to do that. I turn it out onto a wire cooling rack so that the bottom doesn't get soggy. This makes 3 to 4 pieces of cornbread to crumble up in you soup.
Hint: If you didn't grease you pan well enough and the cornbread wants to stick, wet a dish towel and fold it so that it is slightly larger than the pan. Set the pan on it for several minutes, and the cornbread will turn out without tearing up. This works for anything cooked in a metal pan.
That's all for tonight.
If you wondered why I preheated to 425° and reduced to 400°, it's because an oven can lose up to 100 degrees when the door is opened. I just get mine a little hotter than I need it, and then reduce to the setting recommended in the recipe.