Monday, December 24, 2012

1 Year Anniversary

One year ago today I created this blog.  I did this because I have people asking me all the time for my recipes.  I also thought it would be a good virtual cook book for my kids when they are out on their own and craving some of moms recipes.  I thought it would be fun on this anniversary to let you know some interesting facts about
 this blog over the past year.
I have done a total of 76 posts in the past 52 weeks.  Some of my posts have been shard on the websites of other bloggers.  I also have put some of the recipes on my Pinterest page.  When I make a post I share it on Google+ as well as Facebook.  This has really circulated the blog.  I have had a total of 5,250 page views and counting in the past year.  Because I am able to track audiences, and traffic sources on my blog I can see that people are not just using their computers to view my recipes, but they are looking at my blog on I Pads, I Phones, I Pods, Android Tablets, and Blackberry devices.  I have a viewing audience from around the world.  I am amazed at who looks at this blog. 
My top ten locations are:
United States
United Kingdom
I have earned a total of $1.88 on this blog....yes I can earn money! I know it is not a lot but I am dependant on you, my viewing audience to click on those ad's on my blog.  When you do I earn money. 
 Some of my most popular page views are:
The Cake Plate with 525 views 
Tie Dye Frosting with 263 views
Edible Diorama with 228 views
Cinnamon Knots with 106 views
Tex-Mex Casserole with 71 views
Some of my least popular page views are:
Beefy Noodle Soup with 6 views
Garlic Bread Sticks with 10 views
Ham and Potatoes with 10 views
Zucchini Muffins with 11 views
Banana Bread with 12 views
I really enjoy checking the blog after I create a post to see how popular it is, who is looking at it and how many countries I am reaching.  It is fun to share a recipe with a professional blogger and have them review it and share it with others.  This is how my Cake Plate post became so popular...I shared it with The Southern Fried Bride.  Thanks for taking the time to view my humble little blog.  I cannot believe a year has gone by.  I look forward to several more anniversaries!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beefy Noodle Soup

I was not planning on posting this recipe when I was cooking dinner tonight but I just have to was really good. So I figured I needed to share, and needless to say this is the only picture you will get.  The recipe is so quick and simple it would make a great last minute meal.
Brown 1 lb. ground beef with a little garlic, salt and pepper in a large soup pot.  I didn't measure anything...just put in what you like.  Drain fat from browned ground beef and add some cut carrots, 1 pkg onion soup mix, 1 jar spaghetti sauce....I used Bertolli Fire Roasted Sauce.....and enough water to fill the pot about 2/3 full...or maybe a little more.  Add about 1 lb pasta to the pot and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir occasionally until pasta is done.  You may need to add a little more water if you need more broth.  This was so delicious I am excited to have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Peppermint Bark

As I have gotten older I have realized the the marathon baking days are over.  It is just better for me to do it in batches. I did a small amount of Holiday Baking last night.  I made Peanut Butter Balls, Oreo Truffles, and Peppermint Bark.  In the next day or two I will be making some Christmas Tree Spritz cookies and maybe some Sugar Cookies.  I will apologize now that these pictures are so bad....Seems I get better photos when I take them during the day.  The up side to this camera situation is that my Husband is getting a really nice one for Christmas... I can say that here because he never reads my I am sure the secret is safe!  I will have to "borrow" his camera for some future posts.  Now on to the recipe for Peppermint Bark.  It could not be any easier.....
You will need 1 pkg. Chocolate Almond Bark and 1 pkg. White Almond Bark.  Also you will need 1 box of Peppermint candy canes and 1 tsp. Peppermint extract.
I like to melt my chocolate in a double boiler.  You can use whatever method you prefer. Melt the chocolate almond bark and spread evenly on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Let the chocolate harden before moving on to the next step.
  Last night we just ran an errand while we let the chocolate set up.
While you are waiting for the chocolate you can unwrap the candy canes and put them into a gallon sized zip lock bag.  Using a kitchen mallet take your frustrations out on those candy canes!
Next chop and melt the white almond bark. 
While it is melting add 1 tsp. peppermint extract.
Once the white chocolate is melted spread it evenly over the milk chocolate in the cookie sheet.
Immediately spread the crushed candy canes over the top of the white chocolate and gently press in to the chocolate so the pieces stick.
Let the pan cool and harden...then you can cut into pieces.  I was able to get 96 little pieces out of my pan...and lots of yummy crumbs!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Noodle Soup

This is my absolute favorite thing to make the day after Thanksgiving.  I love using up the leftovers and creating a meal that is fast and delicious! When I make my Thanksgiving Turkey I make lots and lots of Gravy.  I start by taking the neck, heart, gizzard etc. and placing them into a pot with water, salt, pepper, onion and garlic.  I cook it while the turkey cooks and keep replenishing the water as it boils down.  Then I remove the neck and gizzard and heart that I had in there and add all the turkey juice that I have from my bird.  I cook my bird in a cooking bag so it is east to just pour the additional turkey broth into the gravy pot...and trust me you will need a pot.  I thicken it with cornstarch and my Thanksgiving gravy is done and always delicious.  I put that leftover gravy in the fridge and the next night I dump it into a big this....
I chop up leftover celery and carrot sticks from the
 relish tray and add them to the pot.
I chop up leftover Turkey and add it to the pot.
I use both dark and white meat.
I dump a bunch of dry noodles on top.
It's about a pound - but I don't measure it.
I fill that pot up with water and give it a stir.
You can add some more salt and pepper for flavor if needed.
Just let that boil together until the noodles are cooked.
And there you have it.  Super fast and super delicious Turkey Noodle Soup made from Thanksgiving leftovers.  Add a leftover dinner roll and your meal is complete!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

Maybe I should call this Chicken Mozzarella because there is no Parmesan in this dish at all.  This is a pretty simple meal - no actual recipe so I will just walk you through the steps.  It did take about an hour or a little more to prepare so it's not super quick
 but it was pretty good.
I took a package of boneless skinless chicken thighs and placed them between wax paper and pounded them semi flat.  I breaded them with seasoned flour, egg, and then flour again and fried them in oil.
I put the fried chicken into a 13x9 pan
and poured a bottle of Marinara sauce over the top
and covered that with mozzarella cheese.
A lot of mozzarella cheese!
I covered that with foil and placed it in the oven
at 350* for 30 minutes.
While the chicken was cooking I started a box of pasta to boil and made up some garlic herb marinade. 
When the pasta was cooked I tossed the marinade on it for flavor.
A quick warm up of some green beans in the microwave
and dinner was done!
It was delicious.  I think my family would have rather had the plain fried chicken but it's good for them to expand their pallet once in a while!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ham and Potatoes

First I will say that looking at these photos just really makes me want to get a good camera!  Now for the food.....Ham and Potatoes.  Ultimate Comfort Food.  This is a go to recipe that I am sorry to say I just toss together. No measuring.  I will do my best to give you approximate measurements but I really just toss it all in and go.  These potatoes are made with Heavy Whipping Cream.  They are not low fat.  This recipe needs to either be made the night before and put in the fridge to sit or made in the morning before work or errands and let it sit all day before cooking.  The potatoes need to soak up that whipping cream
and need time to just hang out. 
Take frozen shredded hash browns and pour them into a 9X13 pan.
No measurement ... just fill it up about 3/4 full.
Add about 1/4 Cup Dehydrated Onion.
You can use a small chopped onion instead if you want.
Add about 1 T. Minced Garlic.
Sprinkle on some salt and pepper.
Add 2 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese.
Add 2 C. Diced Cooked Ham.
Stir it all up.
Pour 1 pint of Heavy Whipping Cream all over the Potatoes.
Cover with foil and put in fridge over night.
I usually mix mine up in the morning, cover it with foil and leave it out all day.  I cook it at 350* for 1 hour.  If you are cooking it cold from the fridge you will need to increase your cooking time....
for an additional 30 minutes.
Hot, Delicious, Comforting....Ham and Potatoes...
Super easy but not low fat!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fried Bread

Just one look at this and I don't have to tell you it is not healthy.  Deep fried bread covered in butter and powdered sugar. Fried bread is something that my husband introduced me to.  My mom would make scones that were like sopapillas and we would eat them maybe once a year if we had a lot of people over.  We would drizzle honey on them or use jelly.  I make fried bread often.  When I make it I usually do it on a Sunday.  I don't know why...I guess it could just be the structure of the day.  It is easy to get up and put the dough together.  It will rise while we are at church and when I come home all I have to do is fry it up.  It makes for a fast delicious meal after church.  It's not very healthy.  I suppose it would be healthier if I made Navajo tacos out of them.  We will just have to save that for another day!  We eat the fried bread plain, with butter and powdered sugar, with jelly, with peanut butter and maple syrup and I also like Jalapeno jelly on mine if I have it.  It's about the only time I will eat jalapeno jelly. 
 Where we live we have a food truck that goes to the fair, to Corn Fest, Fleming Fall Festival, Sugar Beet Days, and all the other events that take place locally.  It also sometimes parks in the Home Depot parking lot.  It is called Grebble.  They make funnel cakes, deep fried Twinkies and a few other things.  Of course they make Grebble.  It is like a fried bread but is a little more puffy than dense.  Not really a doughnut but very addictive.  They will cover the Grebble in cinnamon sugar or plain white sugar.  Today I took some of the fried bread dough and coated it in plain white sugar.  It was pretty good.  Not exactly like Grebble but definitely much cheaper....and you could stand in line for an hour to get Grebble. That's how popular it is around here.
Here is my fried bread in plain white sugar.
You can use any regular bread recipe.  I will give you a couple later in this post.  All you do is deep fry the bread dough.  Shape it however you would like.  I keep a small bowl of oil to dip my hands into while shaping the dough.  This keeps it from sticking to me.  I will also give you a recipe for a puffy fried bread similar to a scone or sopapilla which you can make if you don't have time to allow your dough to rise.  It is a non yeast dough and you can cook it immediately. 
Once your dough is ready to fry shape it however you like it.  I lay mine out all over my counter while I am making it like this.
I put it in my pan in batches and fry it up.
We end up with a big bowl of fried bread that we snack on the rest of the day and my husband likes to take it for breakfast in the morning.
To make a puffy fried bread (not pictured) mix 4C. Flour, 2 T. Oil, 2 T. Sugar, 2 T. Baking Soda, 1 1/2 tsp. Salt, 1 3/4 C. Warm Water.  This will not rise since there is no yeast in the recipe.  Just combine it together and fry it up right away.  It will puff in the hot oil as it is cooking.  I got this recipe from a girl scout troop cook book my niece made when she was little. Troop 1902 submitted by Darcie Sherlock.
The recipe I used today came from my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.  Heat 2 1/4 C, milk for 2 minutes in the microwave.  Mix 1 T. Yeast, 2 T. Sugar and 1 T. soft Margarine.  Add warm milk and whisk together.  Add 6 C. Flour and 1 tsp. Salt.   Stir together with a fork as much as you can then get your hands in there and mix it all together and knead slightly in the bowl.  Spray the lid for the bowl or some saran wrap with oil and cover.  Let it sit until double or do what I do and go to Church or run some errands and when you come back
 it will be ready to go.
My husband prefers this recipe.  It came from Ann Marie Lovin in the "What's Cookin' in the Greeley Colorado Stake" church cook book that I have.  She calls it Pot Luck Pan Rolls.  This is the recipe I usually make for fried bread.  I didn't use it today because I need new powdered milk, but it is the one I usually use and for some reason it is the one my husband prefers.  Mix 1 T. Yeast, 1/3 C. Sugar, 2 Eggs, 1/4 C. Powdered Milk and 1/2 C. soft margarine in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 C. Warm Water and whisk together.  Add 6 C. Flour and 1 1/4 tsp. Salt and stir together with a fork as much as you can.  Just as above get your hands in there and mix it all together kneading a little in the bowl. Spray the lid for the bowl or some saran wrap with oil and cover.  Now let that rise just like above and you are good to go.   
Whatever recipe you use weather it is yours or mine your family will love fried bread. Eat it plain or dress it up either way is yummy.  In fact my husband is eating a piece right now with some leftover chili.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

I have been wanting to make these for a while now but have just been putting it off.  These actually have cream cheese in them and I almost named them Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins but decided against that since you really can make this recipe without the cream cheese.  I just happened to have some leftover whipped cream cheese from when we had Bagels and decided it would be good in the muffins.  It was good.  In fact I ate the two on the plate that you see in the picture on top and when I turned around they were practically gone.  There is one left and I would have eaten that too but I resisted!  I used dehydrated Blueberries in this recipe but you really can't tell.  They cooked up great...which only encourages me to try my oatmeal blueberry cookie idea that has been spinning around in my head for a couple of years!
Blueberry Muffins
1 3/4 C. Flour
1/3 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Egg
3/4 C. Milk
1/4 C. Margarine
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/3 C. Cream Cheese - optional
3 oz pkg Dehydrated Blueberries
In a mixing bowl combine milk and egg with a whisk.  Add soft butter and if you are using cream cheese add that also to the milk and egg and whisk together.  I used whipped cream cheese so this came together easily.  Add Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Vanilla and Salt.  Stir together with a fork until well combined.  Add Blueberries and stir together.  Drop by spoonful into lined muffin cups. 
 I made 12 muffins with this recipe. 
Bake at 400* for 20 minutes
Now you can see how these were gone as soon as a turned my head!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Balls

My kids love these.  Last night we wanted some candy.  We didn't have any.  I figure if it is not in the house we won't eat it.  But yesterday it was worth it to make some candy.  These peanut butter balls are so fast and easy and if you want you can dress them up in mini muffin cup liners.  I think I may have introduced you to these before in the form of Peanut Butter Cups but I am doing it again!
Peanut Butter Balls
1/2 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
3 T. Butter or Margarine
1 C. Powdered Sugar
1/2 Pkg. Chocolate Almond Bark
Ok - I cheat when I dip chocolate....
no tempering for me....
almond bark is just fine for this family!
Combine Peanut Butter, Butter and Powdered Sugar.  Roll into walnut sized balls....or smaller.  Dip into melted chocolate.  Let cool on wax paper on a cookie sheet.  If you have never dipped before I like to use a plastic fork that has the middle 2 tines  broken off.  With the leftover chocolate I made Chocolate Covered Popcorn.  I like the sweet and salty combo.  I just pop a bag of my favorite microwave popcorn.  Pour the leftover chocolate over it and stir it up.  Pour it out on to wax paper on a cookie sheet and let it cool.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Zucchini Muffins

I know I have mentioned to you before how much my family loves zucchini bread.  In fact I have done a post about it.  You can find that recipe here.  Interesting fact is that this is the first recipe I ever put on this blog after my creation post.  We often have zucchini bread on a Sunday morning.  It is a fast breakfast as we are trying to get out the door for church.  I decided to try something new with the very same recipe.  Muffins.  Just make the zucchini bread recipe I linked you to above and place them in muffin cups!  I got 24 muffins from the recipe.  I filled them about 3/4 full.  I debated putting a streusel topping on them with some oats and butter and cinnamon but decided against it today.  It would be delicious however.  My family gobbled these up.  In fact my husband said they tasted better than the bread....we all know there really is no reason for that, since it is the same recipe but hey - who am I to argue?  The muffins only take 20-25 minutes to cook and the bread takes at least an hour or more so I figure I am getting off easy on this one! 
My hope from this post is that you will look at the recipes you use and love and try them in other ways.  My daughter suggested using this recipe for zucchini pancakes or waffles!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cheese Souffle

It has been a while since my last post.  I guess you can say that life has really gotten away from me lately.  I have been pretty busy with the girls and Homecoming,  and doctor appointments.  Shelby has a project going at Church where she is learning to master a skill from a family member.  She has chosen to do 10 hours of cooking with me.  She is choosing the recipes and I will say that she had decided on some harder recipes that require a variety of techniques.  The first one she made was this Cheese Souffle.  I myself have never made a Souffle so this was a first for both of us.  I of course turned to my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.
Cheese Souffle
6 T. Butter
1/2 C. Flour
Dash Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 C. Milk
3 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
(I used a cheddar jack cheese)
6 Egg Yolks
6 Egg Whites
First you need to take a strip of tin foil and cut it to the length that will go around a souffle dish.  Fold the foil into thirds and butter the side of the foil that will be on the inside of the dish.  Wrap it around the souffle dish and tape it together like this....
Set the dish aside while you work on your Souffle.
For your cheese sauce melt butter in a medium to large sized sauce pan.  Stir in flour and cayenne pepper.  Add your milk all at once.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Add the cheese 1 cup at a time stirring until melted. 
Set the cheese sauce aside while you work on the next step.
Separate your egg whites from the yolk.
Beat the egg yolks with a fork and then slowly combine the cheese sauce with the yolks stirring constantly.  Once combined set the cheese sauce aside while you work on the next step.  Beat your egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form...The tips will be standing up straight.
Gently fold about 2 C. of the stiff egg whites into the cheese sauce.
Gradually combine the remaining egg whites and cheese sauce together folding to combine.  Pour entire mixture into your ungreased souffle dish that you prepared with foil earlier.  Bake at 350* for about 50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Be kind to your souffle and don't make a lot of heavy movements in the kitchen....
you don't want it to fall!
Traditionally you would place 2 forks in the center of the souffle and pull it apart to serve....but we just took a spoon and scooped it out.  To me it tasted like cheesy scrambled eggs.  I learned that I didn't see what all the fuss was about as far as a Souffle is concerned, and Shelby learned that she really does not like to cook too much!  I will say that for someone who does not like to cook she made
a perfect looking souffle!