Sunday, November 25, 2012

Copycat Mimi's Cafe Corn Chowder

New favorite soup recipe!  We just tried this Corn Chowder and it was really, really good.  Evidence: I caught my husband scraping out the soup pot before he washed it.  He didn't want to waste a smidge.  I served it in hard french rolls.  Either serve it in rolls or bread bowls, or serve hard french rolls or bread on the side.   Yummy!
Copycat Mimi's Cafe Corn Chowder
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, diced
Several stalks celery, diced (do some celery greens, too)  (about 1 cup)
2 -3 cups water
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used part frozen and 1 can corn)
1 can creamed corn
2 T. sugar
2 tsps. salt
Pepper to taste
3 T. flour
1 1/2 cups milk and 1 1/2 cups cream OR 3 cups half and half
Dash of Tabasco
In a large soup pot, melt the butter.  Add the onion and celery and cook until soft.  Whisk in the flour and stir and cook for a few minutes on med. heat.  Add the water, potatoes, corn, creamed corn, sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir and let simmer until potatoes are barely tender.  Add the half and half and simmer until soup is thicker and creamy.  Add a dash of Tabasco and more salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve in a bread bowl.

I've had Mimi's Corn Chowder.  This is better.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Creamed Tuna on Toast

Looking for an easy pre- Thanksgiving dinner?  How about some good, old-fashioned comfort food?    This recipe- straight from the 1950's is what many of us grew up eating.  It is still delicious and comforting and very easy to make.  You actually can make it with canned chicken or even leftover chicken or turkey as well.  But there is a rule you must know.  You ALWAYS serve it with petite peas.  ALWAYS.  It's especially delicious on buttered and toasted homemade bread or- shown here- on Costco's torta bread, toasted and generously buttered.   Hmmmm!  Just thinking about it is comforting.

Creamed Tuna on Toast
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan.  Blend in 1/4 cup flour, salt, and pepper.  Add 2 cup milk all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles.  Add 2 cans well rinsed and drained tuna.  Serve over buttered toast.  Always serve with young peas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Perfect Apple Pie

Thinking of making apple pie for Thanksgiving?  This recipe is delicious.  I've made it for years and years and years.   This is my husband's all-time favorite dessert.  I serve it with vanilla ice cream and my  Buttery Caramel Sauce on the top.  It's over the top yummy, and because you use the microwave to partially cook it, it is really fast.
Perfect Apple Pie
Pastry for 2-crust pie
6 large granny smith apples
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 T. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp . nutmeg
2-3 T. butter

Heat oven to 425
 Double Pie Crust (I make pie crust once a year at Thanksgiving time, and freeze these pie crust rolls.  It is so convenient and is really, really good crust.)
Roll out a crust and arrange it in the bottom of a non-metal pie plate (ceramic or glass)
Peel, core, and slice the apples (or get your husband to do it- that's what I do!)  Put in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix well until the apples start to get juicy.  Dump the mixture into the pie crust.  Dot the butter all over the top of the filling. (Just cut little dots of the butter and put them evenly all over the filling.) Adjust the top crust(in which you've cut some holes for ventilation)  over the filling and cut and crimp edges.  Sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar.  Bake on high power in the microwave for 8 minutes.  Then, with hot pads, place on a baking sheet and bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes to brown.  Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream, and Buttery Caramel Sauce, if desired

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This is so delicious and so easy, easy, easy! 
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
10-12 slices thick sliced bacon
2 cups cream
Salt and Pepper  and garlic salt to taste
2 eggs
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cut the bacon into chunks and put into a large skillet.  Fry over med heat until done to your liking.  Drain off fat.  While the bacon is cooking, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water.  Cook until el dente.  Drain.
When the bacon is cooked, drain and add the 2 cups of cream.  Cook on low until cream is thicker.  Whisk together the eggs and cheese and set aside.
Put the cooked, drained spaghetti in the cream/ bacon mixture and blend.  Add the egg/ cheese mixture and cook until blended well.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to Prepare Butternut Squash

I LOVE winter squash.   This is my favorite way to prepare it.  It's a little hard to get it open, but otherwise, it's pretty easy, and SO delicious.
1. Heat oven to 350
2.Using a large knife, cut the squash in half length-wise.   Spoon out the seeds.
3.  Fill the seed hole that you've created with butter (a big hunk) and brown sugar.  Fill 'er up!
4. Generously salt and pepper the cut surfaces.
5.  In a baking dish, put about an inch of water.  Place the squash in cut side up.
6. Wrap tightly with foil.

7. Bake until soft- usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the squash.
8.  If you have time, let cool.  If not, try not to burn yourself.  First, spoon out the yummy brown sugar mixture into your serving bowl.  Then spoon the squash into the same bowl, scraping it from the skin.  Mash together.  Serve and enjoy!

This same method works great with acorn or banana squash as well.  Cut the banana squash in slabs.  The banana squash won't have a hole for the butter and brown sugar, but you can just put it all over the top.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monster Cookies

If you follow "The Pioneer Woman" you may have seen this recipe recently. I decided to give them a try, mostly because I wanted to have an excuse to buy M & M's. And because I had some Rice Krispies that I needed to use up.   I liked them.  My husband did not.  I  pretty much know that if something has bacon in it (these do NOT), my husband will like it.  If something has oatmeal in it (these DO), my husband will not like it.  But he says the reason he didn't like them is because they are too salty.  I totally agree.  If you like that salty sweet taste, then you'll like them, otherwise, lower the amount of salt.  I think I'll cut the salt in half when I make them again.

Monster Cookies
1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsps. salt (I say 1 tsp. salt!)
1 1/2 cups oats (quick or regular)
1/2 cup M & M's
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Peanut butter chips (I didn't have them, so I didn't put them in)
I added some white chocolate chips and about 1/2 cup toffee bits
2 1/4 cup Rice Krispies ( I didn't have that much, so added less.  It was fine)

Heat oven to 375.
Cream the butter with the sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs, beating well after each.  Add the vanilla and beat well.
Combine the flour, salt, soda , and baking powder.  Add to the mixing bowl and blend well. Then turn off the mixer and add whatever ingredients you like.  the amounts are just suggestions.   Mix in.  Then add the Rice Krispies and blend until just combined- don't overmix.
Scoop  big cookies onto a sprayed cookie sheet- or lined with a silpat.  Bake until golden brown- but not overbaked.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers

Our garden has produced LOTS of green peppers this year.  I have many quart bags of diced peppers in my freezer.  This was our picking last week.  So I tried a new recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers.  They were really good. The stuffing was good, but the topping really made them delicious.  My homegrown peppers were smaller, so I used more than the four called for in the recipe.  I just filled up the pan- and still had stuffing leftover.  I froze the leftover stuffing to use in burritos later.

Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers
4 large Green Peppers, cut in half the long way, seeded

1 cup dry rice, cooked  (about 2 cups cooked)
olive oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin and divided whites and greens
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup frozen corn, or 1 can, drained
1/2 can black beans, drained
1 small can diced green chilis
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
cayenne pepper (pinch to more, according to taste) or Tabasco sauce
1 cup Jack or Mexican cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
Juice from a Lime ( about 3 T.)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Heat the oven to 350.  Cook the rice.   In a large skillet, drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onion whites with the hamburger.  Add the seasonings, and cook a minute more.  Stir in the rice, corn, beans, green chilis, salsa, and 1/2 of the cheese.  Mix well.

Get out a 13 x9 pan or similar baking dish.  Put about a cup of water in the bottom.  Fill each green pepper half with the stuffing mixture and place in the pan.   Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and top with the other 1/2 of the grated cheese.  Put back in the oven until cheese is bubbly and melted and the peppers are el dente.
Whisk together the topping ingredients.  When you take the peppers out of the oven, put some of the topping on each pepper, then garnish with the greens of the green onions.  Serve with salsa, if desired.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's For Dinner?

It's time for November's meal plan.  There's a couple of the meals that I didn't make in October that are now planned for November. That happens every month.  
1. Ham and Cheese Roll ups
2. French Dip Sandwiches/ Green Salad
3. Beef Spread Sandwiches
4. Tacos
5. Oh, Baby Sandwiches, Chips and Ken's guacamole
6.  Mad Hatter Meatballs/ Rice/ Carrots
7.  Orzo Veggie Pasta
8. Smothered Chicken, Rice, and Bean Burritos
9. Thanksgiving Dinner
10. Creamy Turkey Noodle Soup
11. Turkey Pot Pie (Michelle's recipe)

New recipes to try (I'll post them if they're good)
12. Sweet Chili/ Corn Muffins
13. Mimi Cafe's Corn Chowder in bread bowls
14. Slow Cooker Orange Chicken/ Rice

Banana Cream Pie
Salted Caramel Butter Bars
Thanksgiving Pies