Saturday, December 31, 2011

Biscuit Bites

I really do enjoy Biscuits.  Not the biscuit you "pop" from a can...but fresh, soft, pillowy, homemade biscuits.  I occasionally experiment with biscuit dough, and have created some really yummy things over the years.  When I woke up this morning I was in the mood to cook, and thought of these little (big) biscuit bites that I made for the first time several years ago.  You can use your favorite biscuit recipe, but the one I use is from my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, and that is the recipe I will be sharing in this post today.

First I preheat my oven to 450*. Then I take one stick of butter (1/2 C.) and put that into my mixing bowl, and soften it in the microwave.
  Don't melt your butter, just soften it. 
 Next I put all my dry ingredients into an old sifter.....
I know this is old fashioned, but trust me, this will help your biscuit immensely.  I truly believe sifting your dry ingredients help make the biscuit lighter, and softer.  (By the way, I only use this sifter when making biscuits, I am too lazy to shift for other recipes)  Anyway, back to the recipe.  Into the sifter I put 2 C. Flour, 1 T. Baking Powder, 2 tsp. Sugar, 1/2 tsp. Cream of Tarter, 1/4 tsp. Salt.  I sift that on top of the butter and then pour 2/3 C. cold milk over the top.  Using a fork I mix the dough.  Now this is where some people can go wrong.  You do not want to over mix your biscuits, or they will be heavy and hard.  Just mix to combine the ingredients.  In fact I mix until they are almost combined and then I use my hands to gently combine the dough to finish it up.   Now that is my  basic Biscuit recipe.  From here you can make them into anything you want.  Today I wanted Biscuit Bites. I used a cookie scoop and dropped balls of dough into cinnamon sugar.
And placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet
And baked them for 10 minutes in that preheated 450* oven.
 They looked like this when they came out....
You should be able to get 18-24 of these yummy bites out of your recipe depending on how big you make them.  These little balls of carbs were just what I was wanting this morning.  They were so soft and pillowy, and the cinnamon sugar gave them a sweet little crunch on the outside. 

Le me know what you think of this recipe and if you tried it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Success....or Failure?

I wanted to creatively use some leftover Ham from last night's dinner.
Looks pretty good right? 
I have no name for this dish.  I am not sure if I will bother naming it at all.  When I started this blog I envisioned beautiful successful dishes.  Food that people would look at and say "I want some of that" or "Wow, she is simply an amazing cook."  Today I decided that to be true to myself and to those of you who choose to read this humble blog I should post my successes along with my failures.  I know exactly where I went wrong. So....let's get started. This is a Ham and Asparagus Alfredo.  I am not a big fan of Alfredo sauce.  I assumed it was because I have only tried if from a jar, and that it must surely be better if I were to make my own sauce, right? So let's get started.  First I put one 16oz. package on Mini Bow Tie Pasta on the stove to cook.
  Then I made a basic white sauce.
Super easy.  Melt 1/4 C. butter then add 1/4 C flour and stir together.  Let that ball of buttery flour cook for a minute in the pan. When I make a traditional white sauce I would now add milk, but since I am making Alfredo sauce tonight I skipped the milk and added 1 can  (14.5 oz) of Chicken Broth and 1 pint of heavy whipping cream instead.  I stirred this together and let it slightly thicken up. Next I added one of my favorite products.  2 T. of Tastefully Simple's Dried Tomato and Garlic Pesto.

(insert apologies for the photo quality...
obviously that will need to improve as I go along with this blog)
Now I realize not everyone will have this product in their home, so you could add your favorite pesto, or some garlic, onion, sun dried tomatoes, etc. Get creative right here if you are brave! After adding the pesto I added about 2 C. of diced leftover Ham from Christmas dinner.
Then I added one bunch of roughly cut Asparagus......
After that I added one 14 oz. can of Artichoke Hearts
 that I had cut into quarters....

 Next I chopped one whole red bell pepper......
Now here is where I went wrong.  I discovered tonight that I don't like Alfredo sauce because I don't like Romano Cheese.  At this point in the recipe I added 5 oz. of crumbled Parmesan Cheese and 5 oz. of crumbled Romano Cheese.  I knew the minute that I opened that Romano Cheese that I should abort the mission. The minute I took a whif of that strong cheese I realized what gave the Alfredo that distinctive tang that I just don't care for.
Did I follow my instincts and abort? 
 NO!! I added the cheese.....
Let me just say, the sauce looked wonderful.  It even smelled better than I expected considering it had that stinky cheese in it.  I think I am just a plain cheese kind of girl.  Mozzarella, Provolone, even just the Parmesan Cheese would have been fine for me!  OK - back to the dish....I stirred the sauce and once the cheese melted the sauce was done, and those noodles I started in the beginning were now cooked.  I drained the pasta and added it to the sauce.
 I gave it a good toss and the finshed skillet looked like this....
(again...apologies for the photo quality)
The veggies in this dish were a perfect tender crisp.  While this dish was not my favorite, I did have 2 kids who liked it. But one did not and my husband was not a fan.  So 2 out of 5 means that I will probablly never make this again.  It is not that it was inediable, and there is a possibility I might try this again, but with some different cheese, before I write it off completely.  If you are someone who likes Romano Cheese, or even other strong cheese flavors, then this may be something you might really enjoy.

Le me know what you think of this dish and if you tried it!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Dinner

Merry Christmas!  I debated about posting tonight.  We had a wonderful Christmas. Great famiy time, a really nice day at Church, good conversations with loved ones from across the country, and a delicious meal. So why shouldn't I post.....well.....It was a delicious meal, but somewhat traditional. And I almost didn't post when I noticed one of my friends had posted a picture on Face Book of her Christmas Dinner.  It was a huge bowl of small red potatoes, corn on the cob and Crab Legs. Laura, that looked wonderful.  So what if we had the tradtional Ham, Potatoes, Salad and dinner roll.
It was delicious. Obviously I decided to post about it. I really have nothing to say about the salad, it came from a bag this time.  And against what I usually do the rolls were store bought also, so I have no secret recipe to share there. I will promise you there will be bread recipes in the future however I really did take it easy this year. But let's discuss the ham.
I usually buy a nothing special ham and make it great.  If you remember at the start of this blog I mentioned that I am into inexpensive cooking, so that menas no fancy spiral sliced ham for us. But I did slice it nice and serve it pretty...see...
I scored the top of the ham so all the good stuff could get down into it.  Now here's where it gets tricky.  You probablly want measurements. Well for this dinner I did not measure one singel thing...sorry. But don't panic, you can do this on your own!  I sprinkled dry mustard all over the top.  Honelstly if I were to measure it I think it would have been 2-3 Tablespoons.  I rubbed that into the ham and then put about 1/2 C. Brown Sugar over that. I gave it a good rub again and then sprinkled about 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. Cloves over the top.  I covered the Ham with foil and baked it at 350* for about an hour....with these potatoes....
These are Whipping Cream Potatoes. We eat them A LOT here in my home. I really cannot take credit for these potatoes.  Several years ago I received a Church cook book from my sister-in-law LoriAnne. This potato recipe was actually her Aunt Nancy's recipe.  I don't think I make them today exactly like her Aunt Nancy does, but her recipe is the base and inspriation for mine.  I use frozen hash brown potatoes. Remember I said I didn't measure anything, so if you are making these like I do then just pour a bunch of these frozen potatoes into a 9X13 pan until the pan looks about 3/4 full.  Grate 2 C. Mozarella Cheese into the potatoes. Sprinkle about 1/4 C. Dehydrated Onions on top....yep you heard me... Dehydrated Onions.  I don't like to chop onions and I don't like the crunch of a raw onion but I do like the onion flavor, so dehydrated works great for me.  If you don't use dehydrated onions then just chop up about 1/2 C. of fresh onion.  Then put in about 2 T. Minced Garlic. (we like garlic) and salt and pepper the potatoes.  Mix these up really good and then pour 1 pint of HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM all over the top of the potatoes.  (this is not the time to question those holiday calories) Cover the potatoes and put them in the fridge the night before.  If you do not have that much time then you should at least let them sit for several hours so the potatoes can soak up all that whipping cream. Bake uncovered 350* for 1 hour.  This potato recipe is delicious.  Sometimes I put diced ham into it for a ham and potato casserole.  My family ate the whole pan today!

Let me know if you tried this recipe and if you liked it!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Breakfast Buritos.....for Dinner?

It's Christmas Eve, and we are not a family strong on traditions.  Don't get me wrong, we do have a few, but a very few.  In the early years of our marriage we spent Christmas with my family. After we had a couple of kids we broke the trend and started spending Christmas at home and traveled for Thanksgiving.  Perhaps because we did not start out at home we did not start traditions, or perhaps it is because I am just not one to hold to traditions.  Whatever the reason is I did not plan a fancy Christmas Eve Dinner, and because we had some shopping to do and I created this fabulous blog today I made Breakfast Buritos for dinner.  So since the purpose of this blog is to share my recipies, here is what I made tonight:
  Sausage, Potato, Egg and Cheese Buritos
(how's that for a title)

Brown 1 lb. Pork Sausage in large Skillet.  Do not drain. Add 1 full package of ....
These worked great since they already had onion and peppers in them.  Cook them in the pork grease with the sausage.  I cooked mine until they were defrosted and soft and hot, but not crisp.  Wisk together about 7 eggs and stir into the skillet with the meat and potatoes.  Keep mixing and the eggs will cook.  I did not add any salt or pepper since the pork and potatoes had so much flavor in them already.  Once the eggs are cooked turn off the heat and sprinkle 2 C. grated Colby Jack cheese on top.  I suppose you could use cheddar, or pepper jack, but I used what I had.  Cover the skillet with a lid and let the cheese melt.  It will look like this......
Scoop the mixture into flour tortillas and roll this....

Wrap in foil.  This is an important step even if you are eating them right away like we did.  The foil around the burito softens the whole thing and the heat inside helps to "glue" that burito together.  It really does make a difference.
You should get about 2-3 dozen depending on how full you fill your tortilla.

What do you think about this recipe?  Let me know if you try it!

Zucchini Bread

 My family likes loves Zucchini Bread. It is most often consumed as a breakfast here in our home. I have to make 2 loaves at a time just to feed the 5 of us.  Did I mention we love it? Well, I know how this may sound, but I really like my Zucchini Bread.  It is not uncommon for us to have an abundance of zucchini in the summer time, so if this is the case for you, then here is what you can do to preserve your zucchini for bread:

Clean the outside of your Zucchini
Cut the Zucchini in half length wise
Scoop out and discard all the seeds
Grate Zucchini into a large bowl
Scoop 2 C. of Zucchini into an air tight Zipper Lock Bag
Freeze until ready to use

When I use my zucchini I let it defrost in my mixing bowl. It will become very juicy.  Don't drain it. These juices are important to keep in your bread. The basic recipe I use is one that I got from a Better Homes and Gardens cook book years ago, however I made some changes so even if you were to bake their recipe it would not taste like mine.  Lucky for you I am going to let you in on the secret:

Zucchini Bread 

2 C. Grated Zucchini
3 C. Flour
2 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Nutrmeg
1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Lemon Juice

Measure all your ingredients into your mixing bowl and blend with your mixer.  Be sure to scrape the sides of your bowl with a spatula because there is nothing worse than a chunk of powdery flour in the middle of your piece of bread!  Grease the bottom and half way up the sides of two 8 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350* for about an hour....check to be sure they are done!
Let the bread stand in the pan for 10 minutes before removing them. Be sure to run your knife around the edges of the pan to keep the bread from sticking before you turn them out onto a cooling rack.

We do not like nuts in our bread, but you sure could add a cup of nuts if you want them in yours!

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it!


I have wanted to start a food blog for a long time now.  What stopped me? Well, first I didn't have a good name for the blog. And second, there are a lot of food blogs out there that I really enjoy visiting and I was worried. Could I do as good of a job as they do? Does the world really need one more food blog?  Well worries aside, I decided "why not" and got started.  I live in a very rural area so Rustic Flavor was as good of a name as any other, and people are always asking me for my recipes, so here we go! My intention was to get off and running after the first of the year, but who knows, I may feel inspired before then!