Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Country Fried Steak and Gravy

Cabbage and Onions

Smashed Rosemary Potatoes

Spiced Applesauce Bread

Calabacita Bread

Country Fried Steak and Gravy:

2.5 lbs. chopped beef steak

¾ cup all-purpose flour (plus ½ cup for gravy)

2 tsp. salt (plus 1 tsp. for gravy)

1 tsp. black pepper (plus ½ tsp. for gravy)

1 egg

3 T. vegetable oil

2-3 cups milk

~Heat the oil in a large skillet

~Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Beat the egg in another shallow bowl.

~Batter the steaks in the egg and flour mixture. Cook 5-10 minutes per side or until the middle is no longer pink.

~Add the extra flour to the pan drippings and bits. Whisk and cook for a few minutes. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the desired consistency is reached.

Cabbage and Onions:

1 head cabbage, sliced thinly

3 medium onions sliced thinly (about 2 cups)

3 minced garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste (lots of salt!)

2 T oil

~Heat the oil in a large skillet.

~Combine the other ingredients. Cook a pan-full for about 10 minutes. Take that batch up and add more cabbage to the skillet. Continue cooking in batches and setting it off to the side and then add it all back to the skillet (it’s cooked down now, so it’ll all fit) and cook as long as you wish (well, not really, don’t burn it!). I like it “just” cooked, but you can cook it down if you like.

Calabacita Bread

from The Servant (a newsletter for Angel Food Ministries)

3 eggs

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups grated, peeled calabacita or zucchini squash

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup nuts, chopped

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. baking powder


1. Preheat oven to 325’. Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder

2. Set aside. Beat eggs and sugar until light and foamy. Add oil, grated calabacita or zucchini squash and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and stir only until blended. Add in chopped nuts.

3. Pour batter into 2 loaf pans which have been brushed with oil.

4. Bake 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chicken Alfredo

The original recipe is Crock Pot Seafood Alfredo. I was going to take this to church today, substituting chicken for the seafood, but we were "snowed" in* so I ended up making this on the stove for our lunch and supper.

Unlike Stephanie, I already knew how to make a roux so I rearranged the directions and order of ingredients. The basic steps to making a white sauce from a roux are:

  1. Melt butter or heat oil in a skillet.
  2. Whisk in flower, salt, and spices.
  3. At medium heat, whisk in milk or cream and stir continually until thickened. You don't want it to boil. Contrary to most instructions, I do find it necessary at times to leave the sauce alone for 30-60 seconds and let it bubble just a bit. On some days, I can't get it to thicken otherwise. You can add extra flour, but be careful, otherwise it can become lumpy or gummy.
  4. To make this a cheese sauce, stir in some cheese a handful at a time.
Yesterday, I sent my Dad to the store for a few things we needed for the week. I put "Italian blend shredded cheese" on the list to use in this dish. Of course, I'm thinking a blend including parmesan, mozarella, romano, etc... Instead, he comes home with a "pizza" blend of cheddar and mozzarella. *shakes head* I scrounged around and found some parmesan to use for most of the cheese and only used a little bit of the "pizza" blend.

This recipe calls for herbs de provence. I looked this up in The New Proffessional Chef which said that it is an herb blend from Southern France of basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme. I had everything but the lavender and savory, so I mixed together 1/4 tsp. each of basil and thyme and 1/8 tsp. each of the other dried herbs. It smelled absolutely delightful when I stirred these into the butter!

This was enough sauce to coat the 2 lbs. of chicken breast and 1.5 lbs. of pasta that I cooked. This is good eating for a crowd! This tasted a bit different from the Olive Garden alfredo I'm used to, but it was oh so good!

*Not really, just a few inches. But, here in Alabama that's serious and because we drive 40-70 miles to church, we decided to stay home.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weekly III

Here are some new websites I discovered recently:

A Year of Crockpotting
Cooking by Numbers
Cooking For Your Crowd

Aunt Bea's Chili

Yes, I really do have an Aunt Bea. No, she's not from Mayberry. An amazing seamstress, quilter, and cook, she's the best great-aunt in the world. My favorite memories of her always include her southern drawl, big smile, and cooking this amazing chili with her.

Aunt Bea's Chili

2 lb. Ground chuck
1 lg. onion
3, 16 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 to 1 1/2 cans water
4-6 T. chili powder "Most folks season their chili like it's tomato soup. This is chili, so don't be stingy with the chili powder."
1 T sugar "In the south, you have to throw a bit of sugar in everything." It also helps to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
1 T soy or Worcestershire sauce

Cook meat and onions until done. Drain, set aside.

In a large pot bring the tomato sauce, water, and soy/rooster sauce to a boil.
Add chili powder and sugar.
Reduce heat to a slow simmer.

Taste add more soy/rooster sauce, chili powder, or sugar if needed.
Let simmer slowly 1-3 hours.

*Note* Aunt Bea always made two pots of chili, one with beans and one without to compensate the different preferences of the huge family that was constantly coming in and out of Grand Central Station at my great-grandmother's house. I prefer no beans, but it's up to you. And, of course, it's no good unless you have some good 'ole southern cornbread to crumble in your bowl.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekly II

Here a few more sites I've recently run across:

Heavenly Homemakers
Natalie's Kitchen
Meal Planning Mommies


Today I took Peanut Butter Cupcakes and Key Lime Cupcakes to church. The Key Lime ones were gobbled up in a hurry (the frosting was sinful!) and the peanut butter flavor turned out pretty well. I think next time I'll frost the Peanut Butter cupcakes with chocolate. Thanks to Miss Jen for the Key Lime recipe!

Pork Schintzel

I didn't change a thing about this recipe. While tenderizing the meat I listened to music history lectures and hammered to the beat of Brahm's Hungarian Dance and Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Eastern Overture. These were some of the best pork chops I've ever had. Maybe it's the music that was pounded into them.

Ground Beef and Biscuits

Once again, this recipe was found at All Recipes. I really pared it down to the basics.

~Cook ground beef with onion powder, seasoning salt, oregano, and pepper.
~Stir in tomato sauce.
~Make buttermilk biscuits from scratch, brown for about 5 minutes
~Pour meat into casserole dish, sprinkle on cheddar, place biscuits on top, sprinkle on more cheddar.

Verdict: A keeper. :-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tater Tot Hot Dish

Today I tried Tater Tot Hot Dish. After reading some of the comments, I decided to cook the beef ahead of time, omit the oats, and add a layer of shredded sharp cheddar cheese in between the soup/meat mixture and the tater tots. It was an immediate hit that will find its place on our list of favorite comfort foods.

Crock-Pot Enchiladas

Yesterday I took one of my tried and true improvisations to church.

Crock-pot Enchiladas

  1. This is essentially made up of layering tortillas, cheese, and a meat/veggie mixture. The mixture can be composed of ingredients based on you and your
    family's preferences. It may include ground beef, shredded chicken, beans, corn, salsa, green chillies, black olives, etc. The key is to have about 2 lbs. of meat and/or "chunky vegetables." I usually do 1-2 lbs. cooked ground beef, a small can of corn, and a small can of black beans. Then, make sure this mixture is covered with plenty of salsa, you want it good and saucy. I usually do at least 4 cups of salsa.
  2. Once that's mixed together, layer it in the crock-pot. Layer in this order: meat mixture, tortillas, and then cheese. I usually use about 6 large tortillas and 2-3 cups of cheese (I prefer Monterrey jack and Colby or sharp cheddar.)
  3. Cook for 3-4 hours on high, or until heated through and the cheese is melted.
  4. Dish up with extra salsa and sour cream if you like. Serves 8-10 large portions.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Weekly I

Once a week I am going to try to share interesting links about cooking and homemaking with ya'll that I've stumbled across throughout the week.

~I have recently discovered the lovely blog of Blessed Femina by Miss Jen. The following two posts especially grabbed my attention:

~Here's a very cute idea for making a handy coupon organizer.

~ The following are some new cooking sties:

101 Cookbooks
Gourmet Sleuth
Play with Your Food

~A friend from church made this adorable birthday cake masterpiece for her daughter's second birthday. (Here's the explanation for the theme inspiration.)

~Here's a new blog about natural health in the home: Happy, Healthy, Home

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Middle Eastern Way to Fry Potatoes

As a native of the Heart of Dixie, I love fried potatoes. I never dreamed I'd find my favorite version from the Middle East. I had a several limes and a bunch of cilantro left over from the Avocado soup I made last week. So, I searched All Recipes for something that uses a lot of cilantro, and I came up with Cilantro and Garlic Potatoes. It's a Lebanese version of fried potatoes.

Since I had the limes, I tried that in place of the lemon juice. I think that was a bit too strong, I would suggest using lemons. And, I didn't feel like getting into the mess of the Fry Daddy, so I just fried them in a skillet.

I have to say they're the best potatoes in any form or fashion I've ever had. But, don't take my word on it, here's what Daddy said, "You can't leave home."

Wednesday: Cajun Style Corn Soup

Wednesday I cooked Cajun Style Corn Soup. Very easy and tasty but also very spicy. Next time I think I'll cut down on the cayenne pepper amount.

For convenience sake, I made a few substitutions which included frozen, chopped green bell pepper, canned corn, onion powder, and canned, roasted, minced garlic.

A Fiasco Starring Chops and Blue Cheese

Tuesday I fixed Pork Chops with Blue Cheese Gravy.

I find it ironic that I decided to start this blog this particular week. Mistakes have abounded this week from the grocery store to the kitchen sink. God is sovereign.

One of those mistakes was forgetting the blue cheese, how do you forget something as important as that? I did. So, I decided to use the Monterey Jack Cheese left over from the burritos, which worked ok, but I definitely want to try this again sometime with the esteemed blue cheese. Ya'll please shoot this absent minded amateur chef a note the week I decide to.

That was only the beginning. The pork chops are to be fried in butter. Simple, right? Except that I forgot Mama's rule she'd told me several times, watch your heat when working with butter. Smoke ensued, that batch of chops was saved, but I decided to bake the rest of them.

So, the last batch of pork chops is in the oven. I sit down to eat lunch and completely forget about them. No smoke this time~pork jerky.

Once the various parts of this dish were saved, substituted, and dressed up, it became a family favorite. The sauce can't be any easier and it's a wonderful comfort food.

So, if you try this recipe, remember:

  1. It's butter not oil.
  2. Blue cheese, blue cheese, blue not green, red, yellow, or purple with pink polka dots. Blue, blue, blue.
  3. To be in a good mood before beginning to cook this dish
  4. And enjoy it no matter the outcome. If it's a fiasco like mine, just laugh. That's one of the main reasons for living anyway.