Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Little Kitchen Gadget

A couple of things are going on here. Last time I wrote about a kitchen gadget it was the pressure cooker which I still love. Yesterday DH went back to work at Williams-Sonoma - Happy Holidays!! He brought home these two things. On the right is the fabulous wonderful WS holiday cleaning gift box - counter top spray, dish soap, hand soap and lotion - all on sale! Hurry because WS won't have this for long.

Next on the left we have the best little gadget ever. It is a measuring spoon that is all in one - 1/2 teaspoon all the way to 1 tablespoon. You know you hate to get 4 spoons out when you are cooking - now you don't have to! The black part slides to the correct measure. Oh, I can hardly wait to use this. Thank you for hiring DH!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Best appetizer ever

DH made this for our Thanksgiving before the turkey appetizer. Whoa it is good! A friend gave us the recipe and here goes:

1 cup roma tomatoes, chopped 1/4 inch
3 cup yellow onions, chopped 1/4 inch
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine

1/2 Tablespoon jalapeno pepper (no seeds or ribs) chopped fine
6 Tablespoons avocado, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup Heinz ketchup
2 teaspoons lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 tablespoon red tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon green tabasco sauce
3/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon Cajun Chef hot sauce
1/2 cup cold water.

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well and chill (overnight is fine). For each serving:

6 oz. cocktail sauce (above)
15 to 20 small to medium shrimp, peeled, boiled, and chilled
1 teaspoon blackening spice - add to desired flavor
1 lime wedge
1/2 ounce tequila (optional)
tortilla chips for dipping
2 sprigs cilantro, no stems

Place the sauce, shrimp blackening spice and tequila in a bartender's metal tumbler. Squeeze the juice from the lime wedge in the tumbler and cover with a tight fitting lid. Shake like you are making a real martini. Pour into serving glass. Place the glass on a plate, surround with chips and serve with cilantro sprigs for a garnish. Yum yum.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Graham Cracker Pralines

Since graham crackers were on sale at Tom Thumb. . .DD and I couldn't resist making these for the dinner party tonight. Enjoy!

24 graham crackers placed in a jelly roll flat and side by side
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
chopped pecans

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add brown sugar and stir well. Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla if desired. Spoon over the graham crackers and spread as best you can - it will be thin. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes and cool for 10 minutes. Break apart and enjoy!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Orange Jello Salad

It is hot hot outside. What can we add to our tables that is cool and quick:

Orange Salad

1 6 ounce package orange flavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 i oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup nuts, chopped, optional
1 8 ounce can mandarin oranges
1 cup dairy sour cream

Add the gelatin and sugar to the boiling water and stir until dissolved (off the heat). Add the pineapple, nuts, oranges, and sour cream. Pour into a lightly greased 6 cup mold, and chill until firm.


Recipe for June

A couple of recipe requests - but no pictures! Sorry about that but here we go:

Lemon and Olive Chicken

8 bone-in chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green olives, pitted and halved*
2 cups chicken stock or reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. In two batches, sear the chicken, skin side first, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Cut lemons in half lengthwise and then into thin slices crosswise. If the skillet is dry, add the remaining tablespoon oil. Add the onions and garlic, and cook over medium heat until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon slices, olives, stock and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, pour in any accumulated juices from the plate, and sprinkle with thyme and crushed red pepper. Cover, simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Alternately, you can store the chicken frozen for up to 6 weeks; when you are ready to serve, thaw the chicken, place in a pan with water to coat the bottom, cover, and simmer until hot.

*I could not find unstuffed green olives, so I bought the ones stuffed with garlic, took the garlic out and used that garlic where called for the in recipe.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Week of April 22

There was an article in the local paper this week about the farmer's markets around the area. I can hardly wait - this will be fun to visit and plan meals around local produce.

Lots of strawberries on sale this week. 2 pounds of fresh strawberries will make the most wonderful pie you have every tasted - recipe tomorrow.

There were several different stores with specials on pork. It is turning into fabulous grilling weather - Stubbs Marinade for pork is always easy. I need to find something new - that will be my project this week!

With Earth Day this week, lots of store have wonderful specials on Organic products. Sprouts has the best price on organic milk. They also have a decent price on organic ice cream.

If you have never been to the Dallas Farmer's Market, it is quite an experience and well worth the trip to downtown Dallas. Go early on Saturday or Sunday morning.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Our days are still cool enough for soup, so here is one of my favorites courtesy of friend Kelly:

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 bone-in chicken breasts
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 4 oz. can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf 10 oz. pkg. frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Add all ingredients, except chicken, to slow cooker, stirring to combine. Then add Chicken breasts. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 – 4 hours. Remove chicken and cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones, break into bite-sized pieces and return to soup. Stir and serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.

Week of April 15

It has been a while since I posted - mainly because of the new grandbaby and wanting to spend as much time with him as possible. Looking over the ads today, a couple of things caught my eye, so here is recipe #1 for this week. Even though the title implies that it is for the fall season, this is good anytime and it is still cool enough outside to enjoy. Here is what you will need:

14 to 16 ounce package Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage - $2.50 at Kroger
1 can corn, 1 can green beans, 1 can carrots - 50 cents each at Market Street
1 can Diced tomatoes - Hunts are 75 cents at Market Street
1 chopped onion - 33 cents a pound at Market Street
1 yellow squash or zuchinni squash, 88 cents a pound at Sprouts

Saute the onion in a little olive oil in a skillet. Cut the sausage into 1 inch lengths and add that, together with the other vegetables to the pan. Cook on low for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Serve with cornbread. This is very very good! I'll try and add a picture after I cook this week.

Other ideas to come this week:

Is it too late in the season for soup? I don't think so. Bone in chicken breasts are on sale at Albertson's for 88 cents a pound (family pack). For the recipe you will also need onion, canned tomatoes, canned or frozen corn, diced green chilies, chicken broth (maybe we will make our own) and the seasonings like chili powder and cumin that you already have on hand. That recipe will be up tomorrow (Thursday). Have a great evening.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Banana Cupcakes

The bananas purchased on sale last week were still on the counter this morning looking a little poorly. Now, they are in fantastic shape in the form of Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Frosting:

Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Frosting

1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups mashed bananas, about 4
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl. whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In the well, mix together the melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Spoon batther into the muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Top with:

Honey Cinnamon Frosting:

In a medium bowl, using a electric mixer, beat powdered sugar unsalted butter, honey and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Green Beans

I am not ignoring my blog. We had a grandbaby arrive last week and the new grandmother, that is me, has been a little busy. I am at my DD's house trying to feed her and help her get her strength and energy back. Today I ran to Sprouts (near her house) and picked up some fresh green beans for a side for supper. I snapped them and set them to simmer until tender with garlic powder sprinkled on top. Then I drained them, added a little unsalted butter and a tablespoon of brown sugar and let them sit off the heat. They were great. We are not using a lot of salt right now trying to help her get unswollen from all that baby stuff. More later. . .don't give up on me!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Dear Son in Law Mike is a St. Patrick's Day baby and Dear Son Chris loves this holiday! We celebrated Mike's birthday on Saturday evening with Irish Stew, soda bread from Panera, and Green cupcakes! The cupcakes are actually Paula Deen's recipe for red velvet cupcakes available by googling exactly that. Just use green food coloring instead. They were a big hit. The Irish Stew recipe follows. It was written to use lamb. Lamb is an acquired taste, so I used beef instead. The original recipe was from, then I altered it for our party:


1 tablespoon olive oil 2 pounds beef stew meat
1/2 teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks 3 cups beef broth
1 bottle Guiness 3 large potatoes, cut into quarters
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary 1 cup coarsely chopped leeks

Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add beef and cook, until evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion and cook along side the beef for a few minutes. Transfer to a crock pot and add the broth and Guiness. Add the vegetables and rosemary, cook on low for 6 hours. Serve in bowls with Irish Soda Bread - we bought ours from Panera!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lemon Bars

This is usually considered a summer dessert. It is freezing outside, and a perfect day for the chili cook-off at work. The lemon bars offered a nice contrast to the spicy, hot chili.

Lemon Bars
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup butter, melted
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup all purpose flour
⅝ cup lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan

In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups flour and the powdered sugar. Blend in the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light. Combine the sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 cup flour so there will be no flour lumps. Stir the sugar mixture into the eggs. Finally, stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the prepared crust and return to the oven.

Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the bars are set. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Can be sprinkled with powdered sugar after cutting.

The tartness of the bars will depend on the tartness of the lemons. It is not recommended that Meyer lemons be used as they are not tart. There are so many recipes around for these bars. This recipe is most like the oldest one I had. A little lemon extract can be added to the egg/sugar/lemon mixture if the lemons are not quite flavorful enough.

Week of March 11

Who would have expected this cool weather? Not I! Good thing we planned the chili cook-off at work on a day with 40 or so degree weather!

Good food buys this week include:

Bottom Round Roast at Tom Thumb - $1.99 a pound
Boneless Arm Roast at Market Street - BOGO
Look for an recipe for a great cool weather crock pot roast

Boneless skinless chicken at Albertsons: $2.49 a pound
Same at Kroger for $2.99 a pound
The recipe for Poppy Seed Chicken is already posted.
I am thinking that some baked chicken with pasta primavera (pasta with vegetables) is going to be on the menu this week.

Roma Tomatoes: 69 cents a pound at Sprouts, $1.48 a pound at Tom Thumb. Look for a Tomato Torte recipe that is great with soup. You will need crescent rolls, onions and garlic, mozzerella cheese, mushrooms (2 pkg. for $6 at Kroger) and basil. Wouldn't this be a good soup week?

Kroger also has onions on sale, 99 cents for 2 pounds. I am thinking of buying several, chopping and freezing to have them readily on hand.

Albertsons also has jumbo lemons on sale, 10 lbs. for $10. I made lemon bars for the chili cook-off because it will be a nice contrast for the hot and spicy chili. Just in case you can't find grandma's recipe, I will post that this week.

Have you tried baking sweet potatoes? They are 10 lbs. for $10 at Albertsons. Bake like you would a regular potato - they do cook a little faster. Serve with butter and a little brown sugar. I really like these as a side to pork.

Speaking of pork, there is lots on sale. My friend Lisa is doing pulled pork sandwiches this weekend. That recipe I gotta have!

Fruits and vegetables: Not a huge variety, but the zucchini at Tom Thumb, onions already mentioned, organic carrots at Market Street, broccoli crowns at Sprouts all sound like they will be good individually or in a pasta sauce.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Poppy Seed Chicken

Albertson's has boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale this week for $2.49 a pound. This is a good and quick recipe. Nearly everyone has a version of this - but it never hurts to remember how very good this is!

Poppy Seed Chicken
3 whole chicken breasts, cooked and pulled apart
2 10 oz. cans cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz. carton sour cream
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crumbled
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
Cook the chicken, cool to handle, and chop or pull apart. Mix the chicken, soup, sour cream, and poppy seeds. Put this into a casserole dish (always spray with cooking oil first). Sprinkle the cheese on top. Put the crumbled ritz crackers on top of that. If you want, you can melt about 3 tablespoons of butter and drizzle that over the cracker crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

At Camp Travis (part of the TBarM family of camps), Sammy the cook would serve this with broccoli and salad. It is also very good served over egg noodles. That is a great meal stretcher too, if you are feeding hungry boys and men.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Roast Chicken

This is a long standing family favorite. I am putting it in because of the sale on leg quarters. This recipe adapts easily to that cut of chicken. Often, I will serve this with a salad and a side of pasta with vegetable sauce. Enjoy!

Roast Chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, snipped
1 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken
2 tablespoons butter, melted
If using dried rosemary, use 2 teaspoons.

Combine the garlic and 1 tablespoon (1 teaspoon) of the rosemary. Rub the chicken inside and under the skin with the mixture. Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Tie legs to tail and twist the wing tips under the back. Place the chicken on a roasting rack over a shallow pan. Combine melted butter with the remaining rosemary and pour over chicken.

Roast, uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Check to be sure the drumstick moves easily in the socket.

Another variation is Lemon Roast chicken. In this version, omit the garlic and squeeze the juice of lemon over the chicken before rubbing it with the rosemary. Place the squeezed lemon in the body cavity. Continue the rest as above.

This recipe is actually quite versatile. Cut up chicken can be used instead of the whole chicken. The same seasoning procedure can be used on boneless skinless chicken breasts, though the pan would need to be covered during cooking. I have even prepared chicken as described then cooked it in the pressure cooker for a quick supper. The flavor is wonderful, whatever you do.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pork Chops and Spinach Salad

The price of the pork chops at 89 cents a pound was too good to resist. From, here is a good recipe, easy and quick to prepare.

Italian Breaded Pork Chops

3 eggs, lightly beaten 3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups Italian season bread crumbs (you can make your own)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 pork chops

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl beat together the eggs and milk. In a separate small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, parsley and cheese.

Heat the oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until lightly browned. Remove the garlic. Dip each pork chop in the egg mixture, the bread crumb mixture, then lightly brown in the oil, 5 minutes each side. Place the skillet with the pork chops in the oven and cook 25 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

With this, I am serving pasta (whatever I have in the pantry) with a vegetable sauce that basically will clean out the crisper: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, whatever I have, mixed with the leftover pasta sauce in the fridge.

Also with this, a spinach salad. Since the spinach was on sale this week, together with some beautiful fruit, here is a different kind of salad that usually gets surprisingly rave reviews at my house:

On the spinach, add thinly sliced apples, raspberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and thinly sliced red onion, if you like. When I do the apples, I drop the thin slices in a bowl of water mixed with a little fruit fresh or lemon juice. This will keep them from turning brown. Any combination of fruit will do, whatever your family likes or whatever is on sale. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds or sliced almonds, pecans, or again, whatever your family likes on top. Here is the dressing:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

That is our dinner tonight. Enjoy! Hopefully I will remember to take pictures and post those this evening. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Week beginning March 4

We are off to another great week of cooking! There are a lot of good buys this week. Here are the ones I noticed this morning - the recipes will follow and most will be posted tomorrow.

Ground beef: $2.99 at Tom Thumb, $3.99 at Albertsons. We are going to make Mexican Cornbread Casserole so you will need 2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix, a can of Ro-Tel and a can of creamed corn, and 8 ounces grated cheese
Chicken: Fresh whole cut up at Tom Thumb; leg quarters back at Albertson's for 49 cents a pound. We are making garlic/rosemary chicken, so grab the fresh garlic and either fresh or dried rosemary.
Eckrich Sausage: 2 for $5 at Market Street. We will be making Autumn Sausage Skillet if you didn't make that the last time, because Market Street also has fresh carrots for $2.97 a package
Pork Chops: $2.99/lb at Kroger. 89 cents a pound at Market Street. Guess where I am going!
Spinach: On sale at Market Street 2/$3. MS also has raspberries for $2.99. Kroger has strawberries for 2/$5. Sprouts has pink lady apples for 88 cents a pound and dried cranberries for $2.99. We are going to make a spinach and fruit salad with a wonderful dressing.

Tomorrow is moving day in our household. I am using the term "our" loosely: DH is helping his sisters move their mother to an active senior adult apartment complex. My job is to put dinner on the table for the movers. The following is Memaw's favorite so naturally it is what I am making:

Mexican Cornbread Casserole
1 pound hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 can cream style corn

Brown the meat and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the Ro-Tel and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, mix the Jiffy Cornbread Mix according to package directions. Stir in the cream style corn.
In a 9 x 13 pan, pour 1/2 of the cornbread mixture. Put all of the meat mixture on top. Sprinkle the cheese on top of that. Pour the remaining cornbread mixture on top. At this point, the casserole can be frozen. Thaw before cooking. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with a choice of toppings: Salsa, chopped avacado, sour cream.

Grilled Salmon

Salmon is back on the specials for this week beginning today, March 4. Tom Thumb's price is $5.99 per pound, while Albertson's price is $4.99 per pound.

This is definitely on the menu for tonight. I hope everyone picked up salmon fillets this past week. When buying salmon, I purchase based on number of people and serving size. Because we are watching our weight (who isn't?) I allow 4 ounces for me and 6 ounces for DH. Since there is no shrinking in cooking salmon, there is no need to calculate extra ounces. Here is the fabulous recipe from

Grilled Salmon
1 ½ pounds salmon filets
⅓ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
lemon pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
salt, to taste
Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last Minute New Discovery

I dashed in Market Street this morning to check on the Libby's vegetables on sale for 69 cents. What I discovered were Libby's Naturals - just vegetables and water and nothing else! Awesome! They were also on sale for 69 cents. I don't used canned vegies a lot, but it is nice to have them on hand for Autumn Sausage Skillet or a great summer salad that will come up later in the season. Natural vegetables - what will they think of next!

Speaking of last minute, don't forget the salmon on sale at Kroger and Tom Thumb - great recipe for that tomorrow. Later today I will post my favorite Pork Spare Rib recipe - hope you got some of those on sale last week!

Crock Pot Spare Ribs

We have the nicest new neighbors - newly weds - a Baylor/A&M mix, aka BAM :-)

We are having Craig over for dinner. Ginger is traveling and we are afraid that Craig will starve! This is what I put in before coming to work. The rest of the menu is below.

Crock Pot Spareribs
1 rack spare ribs
¾ cup prepared yellow mustard
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
¼ cup catsup

Place the ribs on the rack over a broiler pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook for 20 minutes or less if the sauce begins to thicken. The balsamic vinegar will seem overpowering - this will cook out in the crock pot.

r the ribs to the crock pot, cutting apart if necessary to fit. Pour sauce over all. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

This is so good. By cooking the ribs in the oven first they cook up with little grease compared to other recipes I have tried.

With this I did green beans: Opened two cans, drained one. Put the beans in a serving bowl. Put the liquid in a small sauce pan and added one grated garlic clove, 2 tablespoons butter, and a squirt of prepared mustard. Cooked that down a little, then poured over the beans. Covered with foil. These will go in the oven at 5:00 with the:

Carrots: Sliced up about a pound of fresh carrots. Put them in an oven proof dish. Mixed about 2 tablespoons butter (melted), 3 shakes of Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning, and a dash of Italian seasoning and 2 dashes of parley. Spooned that over the carrots, covered with foil, and it will go in the oven with the beans. Yum.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Warning - Addiction Possible

Beer was on sale this week - but I don't want you to drink it. Remember the recipe for the Beef Tips? That is one use. Here is the second: Beer Bread. But be warned - this is so easy to make and so good that you may become addicted and need your daily fix. Here is the basic recipe, then some changes:

1 12-ounce can or bottle of beer
3 cups self rising flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix all of the ingredients except the butter. Turn into a loaf pan, pour the melted butter on top, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven. That's it!

Now here is the fun part: The changes or tweaks or whatever you want to call them. Try adding in to the batter: 1 clove grated garlic
1 T. fresh chopped Rosemary
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 or 2 chopped jalapenos + 1 cup grated cheese

Now, I don't recommend adding all of these at once - try different combinations until you find the one(s) you like. There is also a whole wheat version of beer bread:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup brown sugar 12 ounce can of beer

Same mixing directions - pour 1/4 cup melted butter on top - same baking time.

When I was making the whole wheat version yesterday, I didn't have any brown sugar, so I used 1/4 cup molasses instead. I warmed the molasses a little so it would not be too thick. It was fabulous! Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last week of February

I do hate blogging without pictures. Nevertheless, as we start our week, I wanted to look at some of the sales and recipes to go with the sales. Kroger has beef stew meat for $2.99 a pound and pork loins for $1.99 a pound. (Market Street has pork tenderloin, all natural, for $4.99/pound). Also, check on the good buys on raspberries 2/$5 at Kroger, Clemetines at $4.99 at Kroger, Strawberries at 2/$3 at Tom Thumb and oranges at $1/lb at TT.

If you did not buy a pork loin last week, you might want to grab the one for this week, together with that bottle of Stubb's Marinade. I also have a fabulous recipe for pork and sweet potato stew, but the weather needs to be cooler than 80 degrees to really enjoy it.

Meanwhile, here is a wonderful way to cook the stew meat called Sissy's Beef Tips:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds stew meat (I always trim it and cut it into smaller pieces)
3 slices bacon (optional, but very good)
2 cups sliced onions
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 can beer or 1 1/2 cups apple juice
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Dredge the meat in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown in a skillet with the bacon. Add the onions. Remove the bacon. At this point I put all of the ingredients in a crock pot and head to work. Or you can continue on top of the stove - add all ingredients and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Serve the stew over:

Cooked egg noodles, topped with the crumbled bacon.

I tend to be a little lazy when it comes to vegetables - grab something out of the freezer, pop it in the microwave, and call it done. This week Libby's vegetables are on sale at Market Street for 69 cents a can. So let's get creative:

Sweet and Sour Green Beans
2 strips bacon, cut in to pieces (a good way to use the rest of that bacon from above)
1/3 cup diced onion
1 1-pound can French style green beans
3 tsp. sugar
dash pepper
2 Tablespoons vinegar (white)

Brown the bacon, then add the onions and saute. Add the liquid from the beans. Cook down to about 1/2 cup. Add the rest of the ingredients. Heat and serve. Serves 3 to 4.

And here is a good one from one of the famous chefs in Savannah, GA.:

Mixed Vegetable Casserole
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups mixed vegetables (various canned vegetables on sale)
1 7-ounce can water chestnuts (optional)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and sate the onions and celery until tender. add the vegetables, water chestnuts if using, soup and mayo and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased 9 X 13 casserole. Melt the remaining butter and stir in the cracker crumbs, then sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly on top. Serves 8 - 10

Be sure and pick up a whole fryer at Albertsons for 88 cents/pound, Albertsons canned tomatoes for 88 cents each, a pint of Blue Bell for 88 cents, and fuji apples for 88 cents.

More meat recipes tomorrow, including grilled salmon and a wonderfully good roasted chicken.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meats and a favorite kitchen gadget

The other day while having breakfast with my daughter and her friend Kim, we began discussing the various ways meat can be purchased: organic, natural, and the "regular" way. This was my green light to do some research! I visited with Randy, the butcher at Market Street, for a bit and learned this: Organic means that the animals were grazed on land that has not been treated with pesticides for 7 years. Most farmers, according to Randy, are now doing that anyway. Natural means that the animals have not been injected with hormones or antibiotics. "Regular" is what a lot of us grew up on. Now daughter's friend Kim feels that eating Natural is the way to go. She thinks that she and her husband feel better and look better. Since I did not know her before. . .she is very pretty now!

So here is the rest of my talk with Randy: all of the chicken at Market street is natural. The chicken I purchased at Albertson's for 49 cents a pound (WooHoo) is natural. The roast shown above is natural. It is also $5 a pound!

The kitchen gadget is a Food Saver. It vacuum seals food items. Today I divided up the chicken because there is no point in my cooking 10 pounds, and sealed it up for the freezer. Above are the before and after shots. The Food Saver can be found at Sam's Wholesale Club, WalMart, Kohl's and probably a lot more placed. It is easy to clean - remember to wipe it down after use, especially with meats, with an anti-bacterial cleaner. Food vacuum sealed takes up less room in the freezer. I love my Food Saver!

If anyone reading this has more information on meats, organic vs. natural, please comment.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recipes for the last week of February

I am not going to have pictures to post until later. However, here is how my week is shaping up as far as dinners go:

Monday: Pot Roast. There is nothing as good and comforting as the basic pot roast in the crock pot. Sprinkle a packet of Lipton Onion Soup on top, add about 1/2 cup water, potatoes cut in big chunks, carrots (I like the mini-carrots), and celery. Add a salad and dinner and how easy can you get!

Tuesday: Autumn Sausage Skillet - from the recipe the other day. It is a great and easy way to get vegetables in every member of the family, and only takes about 30 minutes to fix.

Wednesday: Pork loin or tenderloin, depending on which one you purchased. Marinate the meat in the Stubbs Marinade for Pork for a couple of hours, or all day if you are at work. Grill until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees. If you are doing a big pork loin, you might want to grill until you get some pretty grill marks, then wrap tightly in foil and finish in a 350 degree oven until the thermometer registers 140 degrees. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serve with raspberry chipotle sauce. I love sweet potatoes with pork. They are on sale this week at Albertsons for $1 a pound. Baked sweet potatoes are yummy with butter and brown sugar. A salad and/or green beans and dinner is served.

Thursday: Hopefully you had leftover roast from Monday. Today is called Quick Beef Stroganoff. This is so easy: cut up the leftover roast and heat it with some of the juice. Stir in a can of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup sour cream. Serve over egg noodles.

Friday: I think we are grilling out. The chicken on sale at Albertson's - leg quarters for 49 cents a pound (10 pound bag) is too good to pass up. So here is the recipe:

In the blender, make a sauce from: 1 stick butter, melted
1 medium onion, cut up
2 cloves of garlic
2 lemons, juiced
3/4 teaspoon thyme or 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
10 grinds black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt

Baste chicken on the grill with this sauce, turning often. Cook slowly for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to check done-ness with a meat thermometer or by making a small slit in the thigh.

Since asparagus was on sale, here is a quick way to prepare: Wash and trim asparagus. Lay on a cookie sheet or toaster oven sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt and smashed garlic. Roast at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes. That is all! Soooo good.

And for those carrots that were on sale at Market Street: Cook carrots in boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Put the pot back on the heat (low) and add 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat carrots. You may need to adjust the seasonings for the amount of carrots. As taste test will be in order, of course. :-)

That is all for today. Happy cooking!

Fresh Vegetables are Back!

Lots of fresh vegetables were on sale this week. We are off to a dinner party tonight, and I am assigned the snack. So here is what I did: After purchasing broccoli crowns and baby carrots at Market Street, asparagus and grape tomatoes at Albertsons, and BOGO sour cream at Albertson's, I assembled the "snack". First I trimmed and steamed the broccoli crowns and asparagus to bring up that deep green color, plunging each item into an ice bath to stop the cooking. The dip is a combination of sour cream and Pace Picante sauce (every good Texas girl has Pace stashed in the pantry!) - just stir some together until it looks right. This is called Pink Dip or Q-Sauce. Everything was good and chilled, put in bowls for staging, and voila! a healthy snack. I am thinking that children arriving home from school would enjoy all the bright colors presented by this appealing treat! Total cost: $5.20 for 6 people