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.