August 31, 2006

A perfect morning pastry

Here is another great dessert recipes from Pepperidge Farm. I've become a big fan of this website in the past months. There are hundreds of easy and quick dessert and appetizer recipes that will go perfect for your upcoming holiday baking that is only 3 months away.

If you have never used puff pastries before don't worry because the website shows you proper thawing intrusions and how to roll out and form the dough.

Apple Pecan Pastries
from Pepperidge Farm Website

Yummy Pie

1/2 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups diced, peeled Granny Smith apples
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp. cold butter , cut into pieces
Confectioners' Sugar

THAW pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add apples, pecans and butter and toss to coat.

UNFOLD pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 15" x 10" rectangle. Brush lightly with water. With long side facing you, spoon apple mixture on pastry to within 2" of long sides and all the way to short sides. Starting at long side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into 12 (1 1/4") slices. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheet.

BAKE 15 min. or until golden. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Makes 12 pastries.

August 29, 2006

Oh Fall Where Art Thou

Here in good ole Missouri the temperature is actually below 80 degrees…I can’t believe it. And better news, it’s rained for the past four days here…Too bad it’s too late to green up yards and give gardens that much needed moisture, but some crops around the state might still have a good chance of good yields.

Yummy Pie

I woke up this morning and much to my surprise – it was chilly out! I mean really cold, and it’s still pretty chilly outside. It actually feels like fall time- my FAVORITE time of the year. Fall means so much: butternut squash, warm soups and stews, chili, the beautiful colors of the trees, pumpkins, MU football games, hot cocoa….It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year. Although, it’s times like this that I miss living on the farm and seeing the wonderful Ozark falls.

I mentioned soups and stews, but I left out one of the best fall recipes: Chicken Pot Pie. Nothing is better than pot pies when the weather finally cools off and the tree leaves start to turn. This recipe from will produce six (12) ounce pies or one 2 quart pie. I like to make the 12 ounce pies and freeze some for another time.

Chicken Pot Pie
by Fine

One 3-lb. chicken
3 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups 1/2-inch potato chunks (1 to 2 medium peeled potatoes; I prefer Yukon gold)
24 pearl onions, peeled and left whole
2 cups 1/2-inch carrot chunks (2 to 3 medium carrots, peeled)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
8 mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 Tbs. chopped assorted fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme); more to taste
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen and defrosted)

For the sauce:
4 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-salt canned)
6 Tbs. butter (as needed)
6 Tbs. flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pastry:
1 recipe Rough Puff Pastry for Chicken Pot Pie, refrigerated or make your own, but I will say I even cheat on this part.

For the egg wash:
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 cup cream

To roast the chicken and vegetables:
Heat the oven to 375°F. Rub the chicken with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and sprinkle generously, inside and out, with salt and pepper.

Toss the potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, and mushrooms with the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil and the chopped herbs.

Set the chicken upside down in a large flameproof roasting pan and scatter the vegetables around the chicken. Roast for 1 hour and 15 min., stirring the vegetables several times.

Remove the chicken from the pan to cool. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and reserve them in a bowl, with the peas. Don't rinse out the roasting pan.

To make the sauce:
Pour the fat and juices into a measuring cup or gravy separator. Spoon or pour the fat away from the juice; reserve the fat. Add the juices to the chicken stock. Measure out the fat and add enough butter (if needed) to make 6 Tbs.

Put the roasting pan (which should still have the caramelized bits from the chicken and vegetables) on the stove over medium heat. Pour in the 6 Tbs. of fat and butter mixture; when it's melted and bubbling, add the flour and stir constantly to make a smooth roux. Scrape up any caramelized remains from the chicken and vegetables. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 min. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer. Continue to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook the sauce for at least 15 min., whisking occasionally, until it's as thick as heavy cream. Season with salt, pepper, and more herbs to taste.

When the chicken has cooled, pull the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Cut the meat into small (1/2- to 1-inch ) chunks and set aside.

To assemble the pot pies:
Heat the oven to 400°F. Choose four 12-oz. ovenproof bowls or a 2-qt. casserole.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lay it on a floured board and roll it out 1/8 inch thick into a 20x16-inch rectangle. Set the dish for the pot pie upside down on the dough and cut around the rim with a knife or pastry cutter. (If you like extra pastry, cut the pastry a little larger than the top of the dish.) Stack the pastry pieces on a plate, separating each with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Divide the chicken, vegetables, and sauce among the dishes. Lay the pastry on top, pressing along the edge of the dish to seal.

To make the egg wash:

Blend the egg yolk and cream. Brush the mixture onto the pastry with a pastry brush.

Put the pies on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake on the center rack in the 400°F oven for 50 to 55 min., or until the crust is thoroughly browned and puffed. Steam will escape along the edges of the pastry.

August 25, 2006

New Twist on Chicken

Ever get tired of that same ole recipe for chicken? Whether you cook it in wine, olive oil and then add your special seasonings or grill chicken with bbq sauce...the same ole thing gets old.

I like to mix things up around my house. I'm always using new recipes and trying new things. I have a folder full of recipes I haven't even tried yet. That's the fun of cooking...there's always another way of making a recipe.

I've posted some other recipes that use puff pastry sheets, mostly they were desserts, but now I've found a new way to cook chicken. You are just gonna love this easy does it meal, plus it looks very impressive when it's brought to your dinner table.

Herbed Chicken in Pastry
from the Pepperidge Farm website
4 boneless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp. butter OR Margarine
1/2 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
1 container (4 oz.) Garlic & Herb Spreadable Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

SEASON chicken with salt and pepper if desired. Melt butter in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken. Cover and refrigerate 15 min. or up to 24 hours.

THAW pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Mix egg and water. Preheat oven to 400°F.

UNFOLD pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14" square and cut into 4 (7") squares. Spread about 2 tbsp. of the cheese spread in center of each square. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. parsley and top with cooled chicken. Brush edges of squares with egg mixture. Fold each corner to center on top of chicken and seal edges. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.

BAKE 25 min. or until golden

August 24, 2006

Top 25 American Comfort Foods and Recipes

I ran across a article in Home Cooking which I really enjoy...Why? Simple because it's all about comfort foods....everyone's favorites. The best part of the article was the survey that was conducted on American Comfort Foods...which I've listed below. I've provided a link to recipes off each food from the article. This will make for an easy way for you all to search for recipes for each category also.

I also have my own list of my comfort foods that I posted not so long ago...

Top 25 American Comfort Foods and Recipes
Apple Pie
Baked Beans
Banana Pudding
Beef Stew
Brisket Pot Roast
Chicken & Dumplings
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Soup
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Corn on the Cob
Fried Chicken
Green Bean Casserole
Hot Dogs
Ice cream
Macaroni & Cheese
Mashed Potatoes
Potato Salad
Pumpkin Pie
Shepherd's Pie
Tomato Soup
Tuna Casserole

August 22, 2006

I've always wondered....

I've always wondered how to make a bloomin onion like the ones you get at the restaurants. I came across this recipe on Sara's Kitchen the other day and have been meaning to post this to the blog.

This makes a perfect treat at a Super Bowl party or a finger foods dinner night (which is one of my favorite types of dinners to make).

Blooming Onion
by Sara's Kitchen

Yummy Pie

1/3 c Cornstarch; more if needed
1 1/2 c Flour
2 ts Garlic; mince
2 ts Paprika
1 ts Salt
1 ts Pepper
24 oz Beer
4 Sweet Vidalia Onions
2 c Flour
4 ts Paprika
2 ts Garlic powder
1/2 ts Pepper
1/4 ts Cayenne
Creamy chili sauce
1 pt Mayonnaise
1 pt Sour cream
1/2 c Tomato chili sauce
1/2 ts Cayenne

Mix cornstarch, flour and seasonings until well blended. Add beer, mix well. Cut about 3/4" off top of onion and peel. Cut into onion 12 to 16 vertical wedges but do not cut through bottom root end. Remove about 1" of petals from center of onion. Dip onion in seasoned flour and remove excess by shaking. Separate petals to coat thoroughly with batter. Gently place in fryer basket and deep-fry at 375 to 400~ 1-1/2 minutes. Turn over and fry 1-1/2 minutes longer or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place onion upright in shallow bowl and remove center core with circular cutter or apple corer. Serve hot with Creamy Chili Sauce.

Seasoned Flour:Combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, pepper and cayenne and mix well.Creamy Chili Sauce:Combine mayo, sour cream, chili sauce and cayenne and mix well.

August 17, 2006

Your Best New Potato Recipes

After my post about the new potato recipe I recieved quite a few other suggestions from fellow bloggers. My husband's mother emailed this wonderful and quite easy recipe that she like to use. It makes a very simple and easy dinner for two.

Mama J's New Potatoes

1 package of raw/fresh Italian sausages (about 5 or 6)
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic, chopped
2 cups of fresh green beans. clean and cut
6 to 10 small red potatoes. Wash them but do not peel remove any undesirable eyes/imperfections.
Salt to taste

In a 3 to 4 quarts pot, cut the sausages in bite size and sauté till done and bottom of pot is brownish with drippings, add the onion and garlic sauté few minutes till anion is transparent. (Do not over cook the onion or garlic). Add the green beans and cover with water, Add enough salt to taste.

Bring to boil, reduce heat and boil in medium till the green beans are tender. Now at this point you need to see if you have about 2 cups of juice if you do, add the potatoes. boil in medium heat till tender. You may need to add a little water to keep about 1 1/2 cups of juices when finish.
Serve with French bread and Spanish green salad.

August 15, 2006

New Potatoes Get a Facelift

I really enjoy finding new recipes for the same ole meal. Sometimes a new change is a good thing, but your classic meals are sometimes left untouched.

For instance: steak, new potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, side salad, creamed corn. This is my idea of a "classic" dish. But, finding a new way to make a new potato dish is something that in my opinion can be changed.

Usually, potatoes are just seasoned up with salt, pepper and butter or maybe Italian seasonings. Now, the dish is just fine as is, but think about other ways to cook potatoes.

I came across this recipe from Simply recipes and made it the other night for my husband along with a steak and a few other sides. I was amazed how easy the preparation and cooking was. This recipe is a now a hit in our house.

New Potatoes with Cheese and Tomatoes
by Simply Recipes
Here is a photo of the dish from Elise's blog

8 to 12 small red-skinned new potatoes
2 Tbsp butter
1 med yellow onion, finely chopped
4 large green onions, cut in 1-inch lengths
2 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Scrub the potatoes; do not peel. Place the potatoes in a large pan, cover with water and boil, covered, until tender when pierced, about 20 minutes. Drain and place in a serving container. Keep warm.

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and green onions and cook until limp. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, cilantro, oregano, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. While stirring, slowly add the cheese and cook until the cheese is melted.

Spoon the sauce over the potatoes.

August 8, 2006

Log on to Ag Groups Sites for Recipes

If you have never been on some of the state or national livestock association's is you time to check them out.

These websites, such as Missouri Beef Industry Council, National Pork Board and a number of other ag groups provide cooking tips and recipes for delicious meals that help promote their products.

I've found a lot of great recipes for beef, pork, poultry and even lamb on a variety of ag groups websites.

Don't be afraid to wonder into the unknown either...if you have never been on these type of websites before now is your chance. A good list of a variety of ag groups can be found on the Brownfield website.

The following recipe and grilling tips come from the Missouri Beef Industry Council's site.

Yummy Pie

Mojo Beef Kabobs
As seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Beef Ingredients
1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
1 tsp coarse-grind black pepper
1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges
1 small red onion, cut into 8 thin wedges
1 container grape or cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

Mojo Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp minced garlic

Whisk Mojo Sauce ingredient in small bowl. Set aside.
Cut beef steak into 1-1/4 inch pieces; season with pepper.
Alternately thread beef with lime and onion wedges evenly onto four 12-inch metal skewers. Thread tomatoes onto four 12-inch skewers.
Place kabobs on grill over medium heat. Grill tomato kabobs, uncovered, about 2 to 4 minutes or until slightly softened, turning occasionally. Grill beef kabobs, uncovered, about 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.
Serve kabobs with drizzled sauce.

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 10 minutes prior to grilling.

Tips for Great Summer Grilling
Trim visible fat from meat before grilling to help prevent flare-ups.
Grill over medium heat. For gas grills, set the temperature controls to medium. If food is grilled over too high heat, the exterior will become charred before the interior reaches the desired doneness.
Use an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the side of burgers and steaks to check doneness. Thermometer should penetrate the thickest part or center of the burger or steak; and not touch bone, fat or the grill. Medium Rare will read 1450 and Medium will read 1600
Use a long-handled spatula to turn burgers and tongs to turn steaks. Do not press, flatten or pierce the meat- flavorful juices will be lost.

August 4, 2006

Cooking for Our Pets Again

As you may have seen before on my blog I like to include recipes for dog treats also! My pets our my kids right now and they get just as pampered as any human would.

Here are two new recipes that are sure to be a hit with you four-legged friends.

Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375'F. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container. This is the original recipe, but I have found the cookies burn easily.

Darlene's Favorite Dog "Cookie"

My favorite dog "cookie" (low-fat, low-calorie, about 20 calories per 4" cookie).
2 cups rye flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup cornmeal

Mix well. I usually add about 1/4 tsp either vanilla or mint flavor.
Roll out to 1/4" thick. Cut into shapes (I usually use about a 3-4" bone-shape cutter). Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

August 3, 2006

Substitution Charts

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you go to cook something and it calls for a certain spice and when you look in the cabinet you are out of that spice? Happens to me all the time! And then I wonder what can I substitute since I'm out of this?

I came across this Herb Substitution Chart the other day and thought I would share it with everyone. Cooking is not always an easy task, especially when you are having to substitute spices and herbs in recipes.

This Spice Substitution Chart also gives ways to use other spices that you may have in your cupboards.

Another problem I've been having lately is learning to reduce the fat in my cooking. Yes! I am on a diet and I just want to eat healthier.

Reduce The Fat
All fats and oils are high in calories and provide lots of flavor but you can make a healthier choice by choosing those with less saturated fat. Likewise, when you use lower fat milk products, you reduce fat, calories, and cholesterol.

Canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut, olive and soybean oil, contain the lowest amount of saturated fat (6%-15%). Coconut oil, butter, palm oil, animal fat and lard contain the most (41-54%).

Use reduced fat sour cream, low fat or nonfat yogurt, or cottage cheese instead of regular sour cream in sauces and dips. Skim milk can replace whole milk in most recipes. Evaporated milk can substitute for whipping cream, and evaporated skim milk can replace regular evaporated milk in some recipes.

Healthy Ingredient Substitutions
Instead of butter try a 60/40 butter blend or reduced calorie margarine.
Instead of sour cream try light or mock sour cream
Instead of 2 whole eggs try 1 whole egg plus 4 egg whites
Instead of 2 egg whites try homemade egg substitute
Instead of whole milk try 2% or skim milk
Instead of cream try evaporated or evaporated skim milk
Instead of cream cheese try light cream cheese or Neufchatel
Instead of whipped cream try homemade non-fat whipped topping
Instead of cottage cheese try non-fat ricotta cheese
Instead of 1 ounce baking chocolate try 3 tablespoons powdered cocoa plus 1 tablespoon cooking oil.
Instead of mayonnaise try half light mayonnaise and half non-fat yogurt

In the meantime keep your hands floured and your ovens warm.....