Monday, May 24, 2010
My oldest daughter (and her friend) are getting ready to take a missions trip to Brazil. To help fund their trip, I have been baking my fingers off! We have hosted 6 bake sales in the last 6 weeks! Finally they have raised enough for their tickets. Now we just have to trust God that He will provide what they need to live on while they are there. They have a little (very little) but God knows and I believe HE is IN this thing. This Saturday was our last sale ~*sigh*~ time to take a break from baking! In a few short weeks our Sunday family dinners will be missing 1 person! I'm having a hard time with the thought of her leaving. She is the sweetest, most precious 27 yr old lady you would ever want to meet (and one of my dearest friends.) She LOVES her mama!
Yesterday it was a WARM 87 degrees - time to break out the Summery tablescapes. To surprise everyone (especially Sarah, who LOVES table decor as much as I do!) I decorated the table in a Hawaiian theme.
When my little 4 yr old grandson saw the table, he said, "Wow! Somebody really did a lot of work on this!" haha He was enamored with the little paper umbrellas I stuck in our cups. He even had one stuck in the hole of his sippy cup!
We have 2 college age girls who attend our church (we actually have many college age kids) but these two (Rebekah and Jamie) are some of our faithful servants in our bus ministry and just all around good helpers. To encourage them a bit, I invited them over to share Sunday dinner with us. I think they enjoyed themselves! Praise the Lord for willing workers to help share the load.
Rebekah insisted on an "eating" pose. I wish I would have snapped a nice pic too, but everyone was getting down to the business of eating!
I served Beef AND pork roast. Mashed potatoes and gravy, mashed yams, corn, and broccoli. My daughter-in-law is the queen of making hot yeast rolls, so we enjoyed those too! She also made a delicious berry compote and served it warm, over a small slice of marbled pound cake. Then she whipped up a batch of homemade whipped cream with orange zest to top it with. Mmm! DEElicious!
I cannot believe this place setting has UNmatched silverware! I'm so ashamed! haha I have 2 of these cute fish plates - and the grandbabies had fun eating on them.
I love FUN, theme related dishes. I find most of them at places like Rite Aid, Walgreens, the Dollar Store, etc... I like to keep just enough to decorate a Sunday dinner table.
The pretty floral table runner, is actually a piece of one of those cheap plastic tablecloths. I cut it lengthwise into 4 runners. I used them for a dinner at our church.
I think I've posted about these napkin rings before, but I really love them. Our "adopted" daughter, Amy bought them for me when she was in FL on vacation. They are made from real shells and are so pretty. I have 4 of them, so don't get to use them a lot, since I'm usually hosting larger groups. But I DO love them.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
MINI CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES w/ CREME ANGLAISE
1 Tblsp soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water1 Tblsp espresso powder (I sub. instant coffee granules)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate + 3 oz. milk chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. rum flavoring
12 oz. cream cheese, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 375.
1. Coat 6 mini souffle dishes with butter (any oven safe, 8 oz glass bowl, will work). Using 1/4 cup of the sugar, distributing among the 6 dishes, sprinkle evenly with sugar.
2. Put remaining 1/2 cup sugar, bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate and water together in microwave safe bowl and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and whisk to combine.
3. Break the eggs into a blender, add the heavy cream and the rum flavoring. Blend until eggs and cream are thoroughly mixed.
4. With the blender running, scrape in the melted chocolate slowly. Add the cream cheese chunks one at a time. When batter is completely mixed, blend on high speed for a few seconds to make sure any leftover chunks of cream cheese don't get missed.
5. Pour the batter to 3/4 full, distributing evenly among the 6 dishes.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) drizzle with creme anglaise and serve warm!
(I usually double this - YES, it's THAT good!)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 egg yolks
2 Tblsp butter
In a saucepan over med-high heat, combine cream, 1/4 sugar, whisk. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar. When cream mixture comes to just a boil, remove from heat, whisk a small amount of hot cream into egg yolks, stir, then whisk in a bit more until the temp of the eggs gradually rises to meet the temp of the hot cream. This is called 'tempering' the eggs. If you do it too quickly you will 'cook' the eggs and ruin your sauce. So just a couple small drizzles at a time, until the eggs are warmed. Then pour warmed egg yolks into hot cream and whisk until smooth. Return this mixture to med high heat and cook, stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm over mini chocolate souffles and assorted berries.
3 egg yolks
3 1/2 oz. white sugar
8 oz. Mascarpone cheese (sub: softened Cream cheese)
16 oz. cream, whipped
(if you're pressed for time, you can use cool whip - but the REAL thing is so much better!)
8 1/2 oz. strong espresso or 3 tsp. of strong instant coffee in 250 ml of hot water
20 Lady fingers (can find these in the ethnic section of your local grocery store)
1 3/4 oz. cocoa powder
Cook egg yolks and sugar over hot water until thin (to do this, fill a saucepan 1/3 of the way with hot water, place pan over med-high heat, then place a mixing bowl in the top of the pan, making sure it doesn't touch the water. Then place the eggs and sugar in the mixing bowl and continue). After eggs are thinned and heated, add them to the Mascarpone cheese (or softened cream cheese), add whipped cream and gently stir until well combined. Dip lady fingers in coffee, layer in pan, cover with cream mixture, add another layer of dipped lady fingers and cream mixture. Refrigerate until firm. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder (do this by holding a small mesh seive over a bowl, place a couple of tablespoons of cocoa in the seive. Gently move over the top of the pan of Tiramisu and begin tapping the edge of the seive as you move it evenly over the top of the dessert.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
EGG NOG FRENCH TOAST
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup store bought egg nog
1 tsp rum flavoring (or vanilla, it's your choice)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/8 t. cinnamon + 1/8 t. nutmeg)
6 slices bread
Whisk together eggs, egg nog, rum flavoring and spices. Heat a griddle to hot. Dip bread in egg mixture, allowing it to soak in slightly. Butter (or oil) the hot griddle and place soaked bread on griddle. Cook on each side until golden brown and crispy. Serve with butter and powdered sugar or hot syrup.
*Note* To increase the recipe: for every additional 3 slices of bread, add one egg, 1/4 cup of egg nog and 1 tsp. rum flavoring (or 1/2 t. vanilla)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
CRUNCHY ONION CHICKEN
1 (6 oz) French's original or cheddar french fried onions (crushed)
2 Tblsp flour
1 egg, beaten
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or whatever chicken pieces you prefer)
Crush french fried onions with flour in plastic bags. Dip chicken in egg, coat in onion crumbs. Press firmly to make the crumbs adhere. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until no longer pink in center. Bigger pieces of chicken will require a bit more cooking time.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
1 lb pecans (I use half walnuts and half pecans)
1 egg white
1 tsp cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325.
Beat egg white with cold water until frothy. Mix nuts thoroughly with it. Mix dry ingredients, coat nuts. Bake on buttered cookie sheet at 325 for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes. Dry on paper towels until dry. Nice for gift and goody boxes!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
1 (16 oz) pkg. uncooked elbow macaroni (or pasta of your choice)
1 lb Ground Beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 pkg. Taco seasonings
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (8 oz) brick shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 (8 oz) brick shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Pace Picante, medium
Extra Shredded Mozzarella and Pepper Jack
Tortilla chips, crushed
Cook macaroni according to pkg directions. In a separate skillet, brown 1 lb of ground beef with 1 medium diced onion, 4 oz can of chopped green chiles and 1/2 cup diced tomatoes. When the hamburger is done, stir in the packet of taco seasoning. Meanwhile in a dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat, stir in cheeses. Drain macaroni, and pour into cheese sauce in dutch oven. Stir in ground beef mixture and Pace picante. Top with more shredded cheese and bake in oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Serve with extra salsa and sour cream, if desired.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz sour cream
4 oz Pace Picante, medium
1 Tblsp chopped green chiles
2 Tblsp Taco seasoning (more or less to taste)
Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth, Stir in sour cream, and taco seasoning. Beat with mixer until combined. Add picante sauce (or salsa) and chopped green chiles. Stir with wooden spoon until well combined. Serve with tortilla chips.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
- 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches (if using canned, buy peaches packed in juice, not syrup)
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- Ground cinnamon, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.
Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or a good quality vanilla ice cream.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
This chicken was SO wonderfully moist! It received thumbs up from everybody - but especially hubby, which means I'll be making it again and again!
What is braising and what cuts of meat are best suited to being braised?
Braising is a slow, wet cooking method that blends flavors and softens tough textures. The best cuts of meat for braising are those with a lot of connective tissue, that is, the sinew (gristle) and fat that hold the bands of protein together in meat. The connective tissue, during a long, moist cooking process, breaks down into gelatin, becoming soft in texture while retaining its juiciness. Many of these cuts would be horribly tough and unpalatable if they were cooked quickly or with dry heat, since high temperatures make the connective tissue hard and chewy. Braising develops deep, layered flavors and a thick, richly-textured sauce.
Beef cuts most suitable to braising are: chuck pot roast, brisket, rump roast, short ribs, flank steak, skirt steak, eye round roast, top round roast, shanks, chuck eye roast, arm pot roast, shoulder pot roast, cross rib roast, blade roast, bottom round roast and 7-bone pot roast. Veal cuts best suited to braising are: shanks, neck, rib chop, short ribs, arm roast, blade roast, shoulder eye roast, arm roast, round steak, rump roast, breast, riblet, kidney chop and sirloin steak. Cuts of pork that are best braised are: blade roast, picnic roast, sirloin chop, country style ribs and trotters. Lamb is especially good braised, shanks, rolled breast, shoulder roast, shoulder arm chop, neck, blade chop, riblets and sirloin chop are the cuts most used. And the legs and thighs of poultry are good braised, whether chicken, turkey or duck.
Most of these cuts are less expensive, which makes braising a flavorful, satisfying, and inexpensive dinner. Braises are especially easy to prepare if you use a crockpot. Braises are usually served over or with a starch, whether a rice pilaf, couscous, barley, risotto, polenta, wide egg noodles or with biscuits. A mixed salad with a sharp vinaigrette balances the meal.
BRAISED CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS
- 4 chicken leg quarters (or 8 thighs) (dark meat works best in this recipe)
- 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 2 cups white cooking wine (sold in the sauce & marinade aisle)
- 6 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 dozen small pearl onions, peeled
- 1 pound button mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup croutons (I buy the extra large ass't. Caesar croutons, and I don't measure!)
- 1 ounce chives, finely chopped
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring the chicken stock and cooking wine to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep at a slow, steady simmer.
Warm the olive oil and butter in a 7 quart cast iron low-sided braiser (I used an enamel coated cast iron dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with the flour. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and mushrooms and sweat, while stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the bay leaves and thyme leaves. Pour in the hot stock/cooking wine mixture, cover with a round of buttered parchment paper (Don't use the lid to the pan, just use the parchment paper and make sure it is pressed right down on top of the chicken and the broth) and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove and discard the parchment paper and bake 10 minutes more.
(to make this parchment cover: use the lid to the pot - lay it on the parchment paper and draw a circle around it. Cut the circle out. Cut a small venting circle in the middle of that for the steam to escape)
To check for doneness, using a small knife pierce the thickest part of the thigh. The meat should feel tender. Remove chicken to serving platter. Scoop out onions and mushrooms and scatter over chicken. Sprinkle the croutons and chives over the top. Serve.