Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Contribution to the Easter Picnic

This Easter we are gathering at Debbie and Rob’s for dinner. (She with the three ovens, formal dining room, breakfast nook, European patio, and a ginormous flat screen!) We are having a picnic. Indoors if the weather is cool. I promised to bring my favorite baked beans. And I am also bringing the Best Bean Salad, Ever!

Back in the ‘70’s when marinated three bean salads became popular; you couldn’t get me to eat one on a bet. I tried many, many horrid salads before I just said, “No thank you.”
When pressed, I would mutter about being allergic to something in the dressing.

Then, when I was working at a call center, potlucks were a weekly occurrence. Lots of junk and a few, very few, tasty nutritious dishes. I saw the bean salad and passed it by. My friend and co-worker, Bridget, got a spoon and put some in my mouth; I was prepared to spit in the waste basket. Only, this tasted good; really, really good! I took a 3x5 card from my desk and wrote ‘Best Bean Salad, Ever!’ on it and handed it to Bridget. She magnanomously wrote out the recipe for me.

Here’s my take:

Homemade Chinese Five Spice Blend

Last night I fixed our favorite Hawaiian Pork Chops – also great as Hawaiian Chicken. But I was out of Chinese Five Spice. After searching the web, I came up with an easy blend that tastes great!

Chinese Five Spice

1 tsp ground anise
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger

Mix together and store in an airtight container

If you use freshly opened ground spices this will keep for about a year. If you grind your own spices, just grind and use as needed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Duggar Time!

Previously on 19 Kids and Counting, Anna Duggar prepared Chicken-etti for her in-laws. She said it was Josh’s favorite dish.  Jessa pointed out his waistline proves the statement!

 Now those of us over at Duggars Anonymous are notorious for our snark. Of course, we had to pick at the recipe for being too salty, having too much fat, and overall just not healthy. (Much like the Duggars favorite Tater Tot Casserole.)

 Scott and I like TTC on occasion. Rare occasion. Once a year occasion. And then, I try to make it a little healthier by using low sodium, low fat products.

 This week, I promised I would fix a healthier Chicken-etti on Tuesday. That’s my 2fer night. 19 Kids and Counting AND LOST! I just realized it’s a 3fer, add on Table for 12. Don’t talk to me, I’m watching teevee!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet & Salty

Sometimes you find a recipe in a magazine that just tickles your tummy. In the April 2010 issue of Country Living, I found just such a recipe. Trisha Yearwood shares some family photos along with some favorite family recipes. Like she writes about her mother, I love salty/sweet flavors. I gave her Sweet & Saltines recipe a try. YUM! Chewy toffee, chocolaty, and salty, just right flavor! I made a couple of changes for my taste and here is the result:

Yummy dessert or snack served on Mom's '60's platter

Sunday, March 21, 2010

French Dip ala Italiano

I bought a huge, five pound, London Broil last week. After cutting it into five pieces and freezing four of those; I had to come up with a meal for that chunk of meat. And, I could only use what was in the pantry. (My rule to make things more interesting.)
How about a French Dip, I thought. Great, but there was no beef broth to make up the au jus. (We don’t use bouillon cubes; they taste like salt licks to our low sodium taste buds.) Okay, I’ll make up the difference with some merlot; wine is always a good idea when cooking.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Morocaan Chicken

This came about when I was going to make Hawaiian Pork chops; but didn’t have any pineapple. I did have prunes and dried apricots so I searched for Moroccan spice blends. I found one at Recipe Zaar that I could use after a small change. I fixed this thinking Scott would eat it, but not like it. He has asked for it again, so it must be a winner!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Navy Bean Soup, Cornbread, Cinnamon Rolls

Back in high school we had a two week menu rotation. Prior to Vatican II we alternated fish sticks and grilled cheese on Fridays. Afterwards, it was hot dogs and pizza. Wednesdays, it was either chili with the best, fluffy cornbread or navy bean soup with huge, fluffy cinnamon rolls.

Being a bean lover, I was in hog heaven every Wednesday. It didn’t hurt that the cornbread came with honey butter or the cinnamon rolls were cinnamony and as big as a catcher’s mitt.
Family story time: We had our neighborhood ‘egg lady’ who came by every now and then. Mom always bought her farm fresh eggs. I loved that I could get double yolkers.
One day, three year old Debbie answered the door; the egg lady asked if Mom might like some navy bean. Debbie ran through the house to Mom and shouted, “Mom, Mom we got to get some ARMY beans!” After that, we always had army bean soup at home.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stuffed Peppers and Meatloaf

Grandma Jo served the first stuffed peppers I ever ate. They were good, for having green peppers. I have never been a green pepper fan. When I discovered the colorful, thus ripe, sweet peppers; I immediately became a fan!
I remember Grandma serving Scott the filling, but no pepper. She explained her only brown-eyed grandson didn’t really care for green peppers. Aren’t grandmas the greatest?

 Stuffed peppers have a lot in common with meatloaf; in fact some people use the very same recipe for both. I have favorite recipes for each.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Recipes, Our Heritage

Nate requested I share Selene’s recipe for Cheesy Potato Soup when I wrote my Chowder Head post. I called Selene to get the full recipe; she was excited to see it published! She got the recipe from a friend’s older sister. It is rich and filling, Scott calls it ‘Heart Attack Potato Soup.’ While searching for another recipe, I found her original handwritten directions. I will save them with all our recipe boxes.

While I have pared down my recipe book collection, I did save all the handwritten recipes from my MIL and her mother. I have one of Great-Grandma Pearl’s cookbooks, with notes and recipes in her own hand. I also have a Watkins recipe book from the ‘30’s that my MIL Pat wrote in as a child. Then, there is Grandma Lee’s recipe box with recipes from her, her mom Pearl, and her daughter Pat.

Pot Roast

I love a good pot roast. Flavorful roast beef cooked with veggies until the meat falls apart and the potatoes and carrots are full of the beefy juices.

 Leftovers turned into a hash for dinner the next night and roast beef sandwiches for lunches. Yum!

 This past week, I found some boneless chuck on sale. The ad said ‘7 bone.’ But the meat cutters removed it. Damn. Love them bones! I forgot the freeze my last batch of $.99 ribs (I know, wasteful) and they went bad; really, really bad. I cooked up the roast, boneless, and we did pig out!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cornfield Beans & Succatash

Grandpa Bill and Grandma Jo grew a magnificent garden. They grew vegetables for themselves and two of their son's families. That was a total of 16 people! There was always enough for friends to come by and help themselves as well.

My favortite food they grew was Cornfield Beans. I think that seed has been saved, within the family, for at least 75 years! I grew several rows for years, until we lost our seed in a moldering mess when the shop sprung a leak and drowned most of what we had stored in there.