Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet Potato Souffle'

Yum

This is absolutely, positively the BEST Sweet Potato Souffle' I've ever had, and I've had a lot of different ones over the years.


The recipe was shared with me a few years ago by Dawn Weatherford and it is soooooo good it has become my "go to, never make it any other way" recipe.  It's especially nice at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, sharing with family and friends, but, of course, you could make it most any time you want a nice sweet potato side dish!  It's quick, simple and oh so yummy!


For the filling:
3 cups Sweet Potatoes (I use fresh sweet potatoes, peeled, baked and mashed, but you can also use canned sweet potatoes, drained)
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs (slightly beaten)
½ cup Evaporated Milk
½ Stick Butter (Melted)

1 tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Salt

For the topping:
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ Stick Melted butter (not hot)
½ cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Chopped Pecans
Mix together till crumbly

Mix all filling ingredients together and pour into 13 x 9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle topping over filling, covering evenly. 


Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until topping is browned and filling bubbly.

Enjoy,
Mary


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grilled Chicken Salad

Yum

My husband cooks too from time to time ... he enjoys cooking on the grill and does an awesome job with homemade barbecue sauce, ribs, steaks and more! But, probably the one thing we all love the most is his grilled chicken salad. Chicken tenders,spiced and grilled to perfection, then chopped/diced and mixed with all his special yumminess makes this awesome chicken salad.

Ingredients
1-2 chicken breasts, cut off the bone and into thick strips
1 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 tsp course-ground black pepper, divided
1/2 stalk celery, minced
1/2 medium onion, minced
1/2 tsp celery seed
diced apples or chopped grapes (optional)

Method
Grill chicken until cooked through dusting both sides with 1/2 tsp garlic and 1/2 tsp course-ground black pepper. Allow to cool, then dice finely.

In a large bowl, mix diced chicken, 1/2 stalk celery, minced, 1/2 med onion minced, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp course-ground black pepper; mix thoroughly until combined. Stir in diced apples or grapes if using and mix well.

Chill until ready to serve.

Serves: 4-6

Enjoy,
Mary


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cauliflower Casserole

Yum

Love cauliflower, all by itself, raw with dip, steamed with butter, salt and pepper, topped with cheese sauce or in this lovely casserole.  One of my family's favorites!

Recipe

Ingredients
1 small head fresh cauliflower, broken into florets
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tsp mustard
½ cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp melted butter


Method
Mix cauliflower florets, soup, mustard, milk and shredded cheese in a bowl until blended. Pour into casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. 

Mix melted butter with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. 

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 oven 30-45 minutes or until bubbly. Delicious!



Note - You can substitute fresh broccoli florets for the cauliflower


Enjoy,
Mary

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Bread with Crunchy Topping

Yum

Simply yummy, moist and delicious pumpkin bread!  I bake my own "baking pumpkins" when making almost any pumpkin recipe because it's easy to do, tastes great, and I know the farm where they came from! (It pays to support your local farms or markets). 

You can split them, remove the seeds (for roasting later) and bake cut side down in a large baking pan with 1 cup water added.  Cover tightly with foil and bake 35-40 minutes, (or longer) until pumpkin is soft.

I usually do this step ahead, then mash the pumpkin to freeze it for use another time.  3 medium-sized baking pumpkins yielded approx. 8 cups cooked pumpkin. I freeze mine in 2 cup freezer containers.


















Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 cups sugar
4  farm fresh eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (I bake my own pumpkin)
3-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup pecan pieces (optional)

Crunchy Crust Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
2 tbls. butter
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cut butter in with a fork and mix really well until it resembles course sand. Sprinkle on top of batter prior to baking.


Method
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter, cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in pumpkin. Gradually add combined dry ingredients, mixing after each addition just until moistened. Stir in nuts (optional).

Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 x 5-inch loaf pans (or 6 mini-loaf pans)  Sprinkle Crunchy Topping on top of batter.

Bake 55 min.or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. For mini-loaves, bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Yield - 2 large or 6 mini-loaves

Enjoy,
Mary

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Yum
Lovely little chicken tenders, dipped in beaten egg, then dredged in a mixture of Panko crumbs and Parmesan Cheese.  Baked to perfection, topped with Alfredo Sauce and dusted with more Parmesan Cheese!  Perfecto!  Serve over your choice of pasta with steamed veggies or a fresh salad!  Yummmm!


 

Ingredients
8 chicken tenders
2 eggs, beaten
3/4-1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Alfredo Sauce (I used one jar of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce or make your own)
2 cups pasta of your choice (boiled according to package directions - I use sea shells)
Dust with Parsley Flakes

Method
Mix Panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  Dip chicken in beaten egg and dredge in Panko/Parmesan mixture.  Place on a cooking rack on top of paper towels and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.  Place chicken tenders in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and oil.  Bake in 400 oven 35-40 minutes or until chicken tenders are cooked through, turning chicken half-way through cooking time to ensure even browning.  Heat Alfredo Sauce in a saucepan over med-low heat until hot.  Served chicken tenders over your choice of pasta noodles and top with Alfredo sauce.  Dust with more Parmesan cheese and Parsley Flakes.

 
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Italian Beef Stew/Soup

Yum

This Italian Beef Stew/Soup is versatile, easy to do, and cooks in a stock pot, Dutch Oven or slow cooker ... can't get any easier than that!




Ingredients
1 lb. stew beef, cut into small pieces (or cut your own from a top round roast or other beef roast)
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 - 15 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
1 small can mushrooms (optional)
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 cups beef stock (I make my own)
1/2-3/4 cup red cooking wine
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. course-ground black pepper (or less)
1-2 tsp. sea salt (or omit)
4-5 small/medium red, Yukon gold potatoes (not russet), peeled and diced
3 large carrots, diced

Put all ingredients, except carrots and potatoes, in a large Stock Pot, Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker.

Method:

Stock Pot - simmer on stove top, covered, 3 or more hours, or until stew beef is very tender.  Add potatoes and carrots, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook over low heat an additional hour, or until vegetables are tender.

Dutch Oven - bake covered in 350 oven 2-3 hours, or until stew beef  is very tender.  Add potatoes and carrots, and continue to bake covered for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Slow Cooker - cook on low 8-10 hour.  Add potatoes and carrots during the last 2 hours of cooking time and continue cooking  until vegetables are tender.

Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese on top and a side of a good crusty bread or garlic toast!

Yummmm!

Enjoy,
Mary



Canning Sweet Potatoes

Yum

One of my favorite all-time "veggies" is the Sweet Potato!  We grow ours in a small 8'x2'x20" deep raised bed garden and always get a pretty good yield for the 2 of us ... with a few to share with family of course.  Sweet potatoes are one of my oldest grandson, Ethan's, favorites! So gather up your sweet potatoes and get canning ... I only had a small amount to pressure can this year, so what I had yielded 5 wide-mouth pint jars.




Method
Wash potatoes and boil or steam until partially soft (15 to 20 minutes). Remove skins. Cut medium potatoes, if needed, so that pieces are uniform in size. Caution: Do not mash or puree pieces. I prefer to cut them into large "coins" or thick slices/chunks.

Fill jars, leaving 1-inch head-space. Add 1 teaspoon salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Cover with your choice of fresh boiling water or syrup, leaving 1-inch head-space.

Note - I only use hot water and salt most of the time so the sweet potatoes can be used a variety of ways, such as mashed with butter - if you use the syrup you are going to need to use them for sweet potato casserole/souffle or sweet breads and pies. If using a syrup I would choose the "very light" or "light." Of course, that's personal preference and certainly up to you.


Syrups for Canning Fruit/Sweet Potatoes

Adding syrup to canned fruit helps to retain its flavor, color, and shape. It does not prevent spoilage of these foods. The guidelines for preparing and using syrups (Table 1) offer a new "very light" syrup, which approximates the natural sugar content of many fruits. The sugar content in each of the five syrups is increased by about 10 percent. Quantities of water and sugar to make enough syrup for a canner load of pints or quarts are provided for each syrup type.

Method
Heat water and sugar together. Bring to a boil and pour over raw fruits in jars. For hot packs, bring water and sugar to boil, add fruit, reheat to boil, and fill into jars immediately.


Table 1. Preparing and using syrups.
Measures of Water and Sugar
Syrup Type Approx. % Sugar For 9-Pt Load (1) For 7-Qt Load Fruits Commonly packed in syrup (2)
Cups Water Cups Sugar Cups Water Cups Sugar
Very Light 10 6-1/2 3/4 10-1/2 1-1/4 Approximates natural sugar levels in most fruits and adds the fewest calories.
Light 20 5-3/4 1-1/2 9 2-1/4 Very sweet fruit. Try a small amount the first time to see if your family likes it.
Medium 30 5-1/4 2-1/4 8-1/4 3-3/4 Sweet apples, sweet cherries, berries, grapes.
Heavy 40 5 3-1/4 7-3/4 5-1/4 Tart apples, apricots, sour cherries, gooseberries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums.
Very Heavy 50 4-1/4 4-1/4 6-1/2 6-3/4 Very sour fruit. Try a small amount the first time to see if your family likes it.
  1. This amount is also adequate for a 4-quart load.
  2. Many fruits that are typically packed in heavy syrup are excellent and tasteful products when packed in lighter syrups. It is recommended that lighter syrups be tried, since they contain fewer calories from added sugar.

Adjust lids and process following the recommendations in Table 1 and Table 2.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Sweet Potatoes in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0-2,000 ft 2,001-4,000 ft 4,001-6,000 ft 6,001-8,000 ft
Hot Pints 65 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 90 11 12 13 14


Table 2. Recommended process time for Sweet Potatoes in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0-1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 65 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 90 10 15

Reference National Center for Home Food Preservation

Enjoy,
Mary

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

German Sauerbraten Roast

Yum

In Germany, this beef roast is a very popular dish, and it quickly became one of our favorites! Since the beef marinates several days in your refrigerator, once it's ready to cook, it's very easy to place in the slow cooker and serve any day of the week.


What is Sauerbraten? Sauerbraten (German: "sour roast" from sauer for "sour" or "pickled" and Braten for "roast meat") is a German pot roast that can be prepared with a variety of meats—most often beef, but also from venison, lamb, mutton, pork, and traditionally, horse. Before cooking, the cut of meat is marinated for several days (recipes vary from three to ten days) in a mixture of vinegar and wine, water, herbs, spices, and seasonings. Since usually tougher cuts of meat (like rump roast, or bottom round of beef) are used for Sauerbraten, the longer marinating of the meat acts to tenderize it, resulting in a finished dish that is tender, soft, and juicy. The ingredients of the marinade vary based on regional styles and traditions throughout Germany.

Sauerbraten is regarded as one of the national dishes of Germany. It is one of the best-known German dishes, and is frequently found on the menus of German-style restaurants outside Germany. Several regional variations on the dish include those from Franconia, Thuringia, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia, and Swabia. In a few parts of Germany potato pancakes (either Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen) are served with sauerbraten; many German-style restaurants in the US do this.

Sauerbraten is traditionally served with traditional German side dishes, such as Rotkohl (red cabbage), Knödel or Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings), Spätzle (an egg and flour noodle), and boiled potatoes. (source: Wikipedia)

My family loves this roast, and it's one we enjoy many times during the year, and, as you can see, there are many ways to serve it. 


Recipe
Ingredients
4-pound lean beef roast (rump or eye of round work best)
For the marinade mix together in saucepan:
2 C. red wine vinegar
2 C. red wine
2 C. water
1 large onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
10 peppercorns (or ¼ cup pickling spice)

Add to slow cooker when ready to cook:
2 cups beef stock or bone broth

Method

Heat marinating mixture to a simmer, then turn off heat. Pour mixture over meat in a large bowl, and allow it to cool. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-5 days, turning roast once daily. Remove meat from marinade and drain fully. Strain and reserve the marinade. 

Place sliced onions from the marinade on the bottom of a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray. Place the roast on top of the onions and cover with 1 cup of the reserved marinating liquid and 2 cups beef stock or beef bone broth.  Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove from slow cooker and place on a platter; cover with foil and allow to rest 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, to make the gravy, melt 4-6 tbls. butter in a saucepan, stir in 1/2 cup flour (or more) to make a roux, then slowly add 1-2 cups of the liquid the roast cooked in, whisking briskly to blend. Heat to boiling over med-high heat, stirring often, until desired thickness. *optional - add 1-2 tsp. ground ginger to gravy and 1/2 cup sour cream).

Serve gravy over sliced roast. Sauerbraten is traditionally served with Spatzle, Potato Dumplings, or mashed potatoes and German Red Cabbage (Rote Kohl). I have also served it over egg noodles.


Make this with a Pork Shoulder Roast: to make this with a Pork Shoulder Roast ( I used a pasture raised pork shoulder roast from Sunny Cedars Farm), reduce the cooking time to 6 hours in a slow cooker on low (pork will shred some) or 4 hours if you want it to slice. Reduce the amount of red wine vinegar to 1 1/2 cups and follow remainder of recipe above.


Enjoy,
Mary

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

Yum

Stop! Don't throw away those pumpkin seeds! Toast them up for a great, healthy snack!  Plus they are good for you! See benefits of pumpkin seeds here!  While there are many recipes out there, I found this procedure of cooking the seeds in the boiling water first, has the overall best results.



Recipe

Ingredients
1 quart (4 cups) water
1 tablespoon (or less) salt
2 cups (or more) pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
More salt or other spices to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove seeds from fresh pumpkin, pick through seeds and remove as much of the stringy fibers as possible.

Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the seeds and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, then spread on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry.

Place dry seeds in a bowl and toss with oil; then spread evenly on a large cookie sheet and toss with your choice of spices: Old Bay seasoning, Cajun or Creole seasoning, sea salt, season salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic salt, onion salt, paprika ... the possibilities are endless!

Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes, until seeds are crisp and golden brown. Store cooled seeds in an airtight container or glass canning jar.


Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Easy Italian Chicken

Yum

I've been making this recipe for years!  Chicken breasts, petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and other ingredients all come together for this super-simple, easy, delicious, dinner in a hurry recipe!

Recipe

Ingredients
Bone-in chicken breasts (or any chicken pieces you want)
1- 14.5 oz. can petite, diced tomatoes (or make your own)
1- 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce (or make your own)
1-2 tsp garlic salt or powder
1 -2 tsp Italian seasoning
1-2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine (I used cooking wine)
Shredded mozzarella cheese or 5/6 Cheese Shredded Italian Blend
Parmesan cheese

Method
Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all ingredient together (except chicken) in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Add chicken pieces and ladle sauce over chicken to cover.

Cover baking dish and bake one (1)  hour (for bone-in chicken breasts), or until chicken is tender and cooked through.

Uncover chicken and top with Parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella.  Continue cooking until cheeses melt (approx. 5 minutes).  Serve over the pasta of your choice.

















Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Soft Half Whole Wheat Bread

Yum
A slightly sweet, soft, healthy half-whole-wheat bread. Delicious!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
 
Method:
1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.
3. Punch dough down; let rest 10 minutes. Form into a loaf, place in greased loaf pan and cover.  Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.
5. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Slice and enjoy while still warm!  Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen until needed.

Yield:
1 loaf

Enjoy,
Mary

Nanny Walt's Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels

Yum
Having it's roots in Amish Country (Lancaster, PA), where my husband spent many summers during his boyhood, he has such fond memories of this soup his great-grandmother, "Nanny Walt," used to make. Considered by many to be very "frugal," it uses the ambundance of fresh sweet corn farmed in the summer, a roasting chicken, some hard boiled eggs, and "rivels," proving to be a simple, satisfying meal feeding many. Rivels are a soft flour and egg mixture blended together then run between your hands quickly over the boiling soup, dropping into the soup to form little dough balls (not dumplings).
After her passing, many tried to make "her" soup and just couldn't quite replicate it.  It's always "close" or "that smells right" but never exactly right.  Over the years I've tried a few times to make it, and have had some successes and failures!  There are many variations out there, including some adding diced carrots, but the closest I can come to what he remembers, which is a plain chicken soup with corn and rivels, is a recipe by Jeff Smith in "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American" cookbook.  Although, it's still not quite right, the smells he remembers are there and the taste is awesome ... one of the best comfort foods I know.

















Ingredients
4 - 5 lb. roaster chicken (or you can use chicken pieces, i.e. legs, breasts, thighs)
1 medium onion, minced
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped small
4 quarts (16 cups) water (if you use chicken pieces, you might want to strengthen the broth by using chicken stock) (I always add some chicken stock)
6 or 8 ears of fresh corn, cut from the cobs (you may substitute canned or frozen corn, about 6+ cups worth)
4 hard cooked eggs, chopped into medium size pieces (I serve the chopped, hard-boiled eggs on the side and let people add their own)
a handful of chopped parsley (I use parsley leaves in the spice jar)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf

Method
In a large soup pot, combine the onion, celery, parsley, bay leaf, chicken, and cold water (or stock). Bring to simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and continue simmering until the chicken is done and ready to fall off the bones ... this will take an hour or more. Remove chicken and let cool. Cut the meat into pieces and reserve, discarding the bones. You may skim the fat off the stock if you wish. (You could do this step ahead, keeping the broth and chicken in the refrigerator until ready to finish the soup).When ready to finalize the soup, add the corn kernels, reserved chicken pieces, hard boiled eggs, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let cook for 10 minutes.

FOR THE RIVELS: Wait until the soup is done to prepare this dough. Then, in a bowl, mix 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 beaten eggs, blending until the mixture is crumbly (NOT SMOOTH).
Make up the rivel dough at this point and add to the soup by rubbing the mixture between your hands over the pot of soup, dropping in small amounts bit by bit. They should not be big. Some people make them about the size of a pea. I like mine slightly larger. You can substitute a small amount of cooked pasta for the rivels, if desired.  Simply cook pasta according to package directions and add to soup at the end of the cooking time, just before serving.

Enjoy!
Mary