September 29, 2006

Reminder: Paula's Party premiers tonight

Reminder to everyone: Tonight is the premier of Paula’s new primetime show…Paula’s Party, so you better be sure to tune in. Tonight on Food Network at 9:00 PM Central time for a full hour of recipes and laughs with the one and only Paula.

And since I started yet another blog post with Paula….I’m going to pass along a few more of my favorite recipes from Paula. This Southern Comfort is one of my favorites….and with the lovely Lemonade Ice Ring that goes along with it…it will make any party a hit!

Also, I’ve included her recipe for Garlic Cheese Biscuits! Oh, my these are absolutely sinful…..because you won’t want to leave one left on the plate. My husband thinks they are better than the ones the Red Lobster serves…and he asks me to make them at least once a week.

Until next week…Keep your hands floured and your ovens warm!

Southern Comfort Punch
From Paula Deen

1 large can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 can frozen banana daiquiri mix
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 liter ginger ale
1 5th bottle whiskey, or to taste
Lemonade Ice Ring, recipe follows

In a large punch bowl, combine orange juice concentrate, banana daiquiri mix and lemon juice. Stir to blend. Slowly add ginger ale. Remove excess foam with a spoon and stir in Southern Comfort. Add lemonade ice ring.

Lemonade Ice Ring:
2 lemons, sliced round
1 orange, sliced round
2 limes, sliced round
1 small jar maraschino cherries
1 quart lemonade
1 sprig mint, optional

In a round mold, place some sliced lemons, oranges and lime rings in the bottom. Place cherries in the center of the orange rings. Slowly add lemonade just to cover. Freeze. Remove mold from freezer and add more fruit and mint leaves. Slowly fill with lemonade and freeze again. Place frozen ice ring in punch.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits
From Paula Deen

1 1/4 cups biscuit mix
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup water ( I use milk the biscuits a more rich flavor)

Garlic Butter:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

(I mix in the garlic powder, salt and parsley myself...and then just melt the same amount of butter and brush the biscuits with just the butter after I pull them out of hte oven.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the biscuit mix and cheese in a small bowl. Add the water and stir just until combined. The dough will be slightly moist. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the biscuits are firm and beginning to brown. While the biscuits are baking, make the garlic butter. In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic powder, salt, and parsley flakes. Mix well. As soon as you bring the biscuits from the oven, brush them with the garlic butter using a pastry brush.

September 28, 2006

From Paula's Kitchen to Ours

As many of you can tell from my blog I am a huge Paula Deen fan. I think she is just the most “real” person on tv and Food Network. I guess the main reason I love her and her lovely recipes is because they remind me of cooking with my mother and grandmother so very much!

She has that lovely southern draw like my family and she cooks only with the good stuff….with that I mean butter and her recipes are real that real people can cook. By real, I mean food that us normal everyday people would cook. Some of these tv cooks today most be out of their minds if they think we have time to make their fancy and expensive dishes that take about 3 hours to prepare everyday, plus I don’t keep items like hazelnuts, pancetta, sesame seeds or watercress in my kitchen at all times. Sometimes we get home in a rush and have to throw a meal together and with other cooks I’ve noticed it’s not that easy to use their recipes and do this.

Now, that I’ve said that – I will say that I do however go and buy the special items every once in awhile when I plan on making a special meal. But, my pantry usually has the traditional all purpose flour- not cake flour, or I might have plain ole milk, but not buttermilk…you all get my point.

Now, I don’t mind cooking over a stove all day on the weekends, but through the week I work and then get home, work out and then have to come up with a meal to cook for my family. Paula makes that possible, fun and her food always suits your taste buds!

I have three of her recipes to share today. The first one is a knock off from her Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake, but this time it’s cookies not a cake! And for an easy and fast dinner sandwich try this Santa Fe wrap, it’s something your family will love. Also, I’ve included her recipe for Herbed Cornbread…that any southerners will love!

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
From Paula Deen

1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 12 minutes.
The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Santa Fe Wraps
From Paula Deen

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 1/2-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (4 1/4-ounce) can chopped olives
1 cup (4-ounce) shredded pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons salsa, plus salsa for dipping, optional
1/2 cup green onion tops, sliced
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 packages flour tortillas

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Then add sour cream, green chiles, olives, pepper jack cheese, salsa, and onion tops. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer. Stir in spinach. Spread mixture evenly over the surface of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and cut each tortilla crosswise into 6 slices. Skewer each wrap with a wooden toothpick. Serve immediately or chill. Serve with salsa for dipping, if desired.

Herbed Corn Bread
From Paula Deen

1 1/4 cups self-rising cornmeal
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine eggs, milk and butter in a separate bowl, and add to the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Pour batter into a lightly greased 9-inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

September 27, 2006

Cooking with my Co-Workers II

It’s time to see what’s cooking in the Learfield kitchens again.

I love Mexican food, in fact it’s one my family's weekly meals at my house.

I am originally from the Springfield, Mo area. Springfield is home to one of the best Mexican food restaurant chains I have ever eaten at. The chain is called Mexican Villa, and there are about seven locations in city now.

Even time my husband and I are in the area visiting family and friends we are sure to been seen eating at least once at Mexican Villa.

Today, I have two recipes from two of my favorite Learfielders. Georgia has shared her take on beef enchiladas and Shelly has a great pasta recipe that your families will enjoy.

Easy Cheesy Beef Enchiladas
by Georgia Munsterman

1 lb. ground beef
1 jar Thick & Chunky salsa, divided
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 flour tortillas

Brown meat, drain. Stir in ½ cup salsa
Add ½ of the cheese
Spread 1 cup salsa in 9 x 13 baking dish.
Place ¼ meat mixture down center of each tortilla, (seam side down) on salsa.

Top with remaining salsa and cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Stuffed Pasta Shells
by Shelly Voss

12 uncooked Jumbo Pasta Shells

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup taco sauce
1/2 cup taco sauce (needed separately)

1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup crushed corn chips
2-3 medium green onion tops
1/2 cup sour cream (if desired)

Directions: Boil Jumbo Pasta shells for 11-13 minutes until shells are tender. While shells are boiling brown the ground beef with salt, pepper, and onion to taste. Drain when finished. Place back in skillet and stir in chili powder, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup taco sauce into the beef. Cook with medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove skillet from heat. Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking dish. Fill shells with beef mixture and place in baking dish. Pour the 1/2 cup taco sauce over the shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, corn chips, and onion tops. Bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. You can add sour cream once done baking if desired.

September 22, 2006

Cooking it Up with Co-Workers

Yummy Pie

At my work I’m putting together a company cookbook. The cookbook is up to around 80 pages now, but I’m guessing there will be well over 100 when we get the book completed.

As I have said many times before, there are some very good cooks here at my work and everyone is sending in their “famous creations” to be included in the cookbook.

Over the next couple of weeks I plan on sharing some of these wonderful Learfielder’s recipes on my blog.

I’m first going to start with one of favorites! If you have never had Puppy Chow before you are missing out….this was one of favorite snack items in college. My girlfriends and I would make a huge batch and it wouldn’t last very long.

Also, Beth has a great recipe for funnel cakes….Ummm…it takes me back to the local and state fairs that just got over with. Nothing’s better than going to the Missouri State Fair and ordering freshly squeezed lemonade, a corndog and a funnel cake.

Puppy Chow
by Karla Mantle

1 – 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
1 – 14 oz. box Crispix or Chex cereal
1 stick margarine, melted
1 to 3 C. powdered sugar
¾ to 1 C. peanut butter

Melt chocolate chips, margarine and peanut butter. Pour over cereal and stir until coated. When cool, pour coated cereal into a baggie or paper bag. Add powdered sugar. Shake to coat.

by Beth Schoeneberg

2 Beaten Eggs
1 ½ C Milk
Mix the above together

2 C Sifted Flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1tsp Salt

2 Cups cooking oil
Electric skillet

Place above ingredients in a mixing bowl – Add the egg & milk mixture stir or mix until smooth.

Using a funnel, pour batter into hot grease – 350 or more. Cook 3 min on each side or until golden brown.

Top with powdered sugar, strawberries, flavored jelly or jam - whatever your taste.

September 21, 2006

Paula's Party

The best news on earth came the other day and I have been meaning to share with all of you!

Paula Deen, from the Food Network, is premiering a new cooking show where she will be cooking her famous southern cuisine among her fans. The new show is called: Paula's Party!

It will premier Sept 29 at 10PM/9 Central and you can bet that I will be there tuning in to watch my favorite cook - will besides my mother of coarse!

The show will be an hour long and will be all about fun times with Paula.

September 20, 2006

Get Ready for this Casserole

Ok, I've posted a few casserole recipes before, but for me to actually post a casserole recipe takes a lot! The dish has to be absolutely amazing in my book, and unfortunately many of the casserole recipes I’ve tried always end in disappointment!

Now, I’m probably going to upset someone by saying this, but it’s my blog so I can say what I want to and if anyone disagrees there’s a COMMENT section for everyone’s voice to be heard.

Most casseroles taste like out of the box dishes to me. And if you know me I HATE those type of meals. They taste like cardboard… and most casseroles have no creative steps or ingredients. You all know what I’m talking about..a can of soup, meat or noodles, a little cheese, some salt and pepper…throw it into a dish, bake it and there’s dinner. Now come on! How creative is that? It’s not.

Last year at one of my company’s many food functions…a lady I work with, who I think is a wonderful cook, brought in this really pretty cheese casserole with sliced tomatoes garnishing the top of the dish. I thought how pretty and how I hadn’t ever seen a casserole like it before. So, I proceeded to try it out!

“OH WOW,” I remember saying to a co-worker. “This is wonderful.”

I finally wiggle the recipe out of Beth and here it is! And when you read the ingredients you’ll know why it’s sooooo good. Thanks Beth!

John Wayne's Cheese Casserole
by Beth Schoeneberg

2 4oz Cans of Diced Green Chiles
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese; coarsely grated
1 Tlb Flour
1 Can Evaporated milk; small (2/3 Cup)
1 lb Cheddar cheese; coarsely grated
Salt/pepper to taste
4 Eggs
6 to 8 slices of fresh tomatoes; thinly sliced

Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Beat evaporated milk and flour in with egg yolk... Season with salt and pepper. Add stiffly beaten egg whites, folding them in gently. In a deep, well buttered, casserole dish, mix the shredded cheese with the diced green chilies. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and "ooze" it through with a fork. Place casserole in a preheated 325F degree oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove casserole and arrange the tomato slices on top of the casserole. Return to oven and bake an additional 30 minutes or until aknife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

September 18, 2006

Quick Party Dish

Spinach-Cheese Swirls
From Pepperidge Farm Website

1/2 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
1/2 cup shredded Muenster OR Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 green onion , chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 pkg. (about 10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach , thawed and well drained

THAW pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix egg and water. Set aside. Mix Muenster cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion and garlic powder.

UNFOLD pastry on lightly floured surface. Brush with egg mixture. Top with cheese mixture and spinach. Starting at short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into 20 (1/2") slices. Place on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.

BAKE 15 min. or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 20 appetizers.

September 13, 2006

Passing on Traditions

My boss recently put together a radio segment for our Rural Issues Forum program that I thought many of you would enjoy, titled. "Who'll make the gravy?" This program made me think how lucky I was to have parents and grandparents teach me the simple things in life.

Like to cook squash and zucchini, growing herbs, baking the perfect chocolate chip cookies and how to be adventurous in making new recipes.

I have talked a lot about learning to cook old fashioned recipes from my mother and grandmothers before...from sweet potatoes to biscuits. I am amazed how many people my age don't know how to cook or prepare so many meals that our parents and their parents lived on.

For instance, one of my girlfriends calls me just about everytime she cooks anything...about twice per week. She called the other day and asked me how to make mashed potatoes! I laughed. "Well, "I said, "boil your potatoes until they are done."

"Done? she asked.

"Yes, they are done when you stick a fork in them and they are soft." I replied.

"Soft, how soft?" she asked.

"Umm..." I thought to myself how do I explain this? "The fork will easier slide through the potatoes, you will know."

After giving my friend further instructions on the ingredients and the perfect mashing techniques I felt as though she could make her mashed potatoes.

It's amazing how many of the easiest recipes so many young people today have no idea how or where to begin. Why were they not taught? Why weren't the lessons learned? How will grandma's sweet potato recipe be taught to future grandchildren and family members?

I am in the process of recording all of my mothers and soon, my mother-in-laws family recipes. Because someday I might be the only one that knows how to make my mother's famous fried chicken...or my mother-in-laws wonderful shrimp and fettuccine.

Think about it...those cherished secret family recipes could be lost if our young adults and children are not given the opportunity to have traditions passed onto them.

Don't let those traditions be lost....

September 11, 2006

Another Breakfast Casserole

I am a big believer in getting a good start to my mornings. I think the best way to do that is eat breakfast, which many of us don’t do any longer. My mother would always make me sit down and eat breakfast every morning. I can remember even when I was in high school, she would make me eat something before I left for school.

I don’t eat a huge breakfast, unless it’s on the weekends because I just don’t’ have the time to do so. I usually always have a bowl of oatmeal every morning along with a piece of fruit.
But, on the weekends when my husband and I are at home…I bring out some of my favorite recipes. One of the best recipes to make when you have guests staying with you is a breakfast casserole. I’ve posted a lot of breakfast recipes before…Breakfast Bacon Casserole, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Hashbrown Sausage Bake.

Here is yet another great way to a healthy start to your morning.

Breakfast Morning Casserole
by Lane

Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3 Tbsps all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup nonfat sour cream alternative
1 pkg. (32 oz.) southern style hash brown potatoes (thawed)
5 large eggs - beaten
8 slices bacon

Take a large saucepan and spray with cooking spray. Heat to medium. Saute for 4 minutes the onion and bell pepper. Add flour, salt, and mustard, stir. Cook for 1 minute and then remove from heat.

Gradually add milk and broth, stirring until blended. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheese and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Blend in sour cream.

Combine cheese mixture and potatoes, stir well. Spoon into a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour eggs evenly over top of mixture. Add crumbled bacon and paprika on top.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, then uncovered for 25-35 minutes

September 8, 2006

This Pudding Takes it All

Have you ever had bread pudding? No? Then you are missing out. There are a lot of recipes for bread pudding out there…just go and Google bread pudding and see what pops up.

This pudding is a very old dessert that was known as the “poor man’s pudding” way back when it was made with stale bread. The English would moisten the bread with water, add some sugar and other spices and fruits and maybe candies if they had them.

Now, this pudding is made from lots of different breads such as croissant, French, brioche….any type of bread works. Another change to the recipe from then to now is that the bread is soaked in a rich custard mixture, instead of just water.

This recipe is my mother’s that she would serve every now and then at special meals. She would always vary this recipe with to add more flavor which such things such as nuts, dried fruits, alcohol, zests, chocolate and fresh fruit. You can really be creative with this recipe and add your favorites to add more depth and texture to the pudding.

Mom’s Day Old Croissant Bread Pudding
by my mother

Yummy Pie

3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
4 tablespoons of melted butter, cooled
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 croissants, preferably stale, sliced horizontally
1 cup raisins and chocolate chips
1 large peeled and cored tart apple, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mid-sized bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Set aside.

Slice the croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the sliced croissants, then add the raisins apples, and chips, then the tops of the croissants (brown side up), being sure the raisins, apple and chocolate chips are between the layers of croissants or they will burn while baking. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 15 minutes, pressing down gently.

Place the pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

September 7, 2006

Great Baking Website

I have to first apologize for not keeping my blog very fresh lately. I was out of town all Labor Day weekend at the Nebraska State Fair for work and didn't come back to work until Wednesday. I promise that will not happen in the future.

Joy Of Baking is one of my new favorite websites!

If you haven't ever had the chance to go on the site, now is your chance!

You have to check out the Christmas Baking section, it's loaded with every type of holiday baking under the sun! I know where I'm going to go for this year's holiday baking ideas.

September 1, 2006

One potato, Two potato, Three potato, Four

As a child one of my favorite holiday treats from my Grandmother Pat was her famous sweet potatoes. I swear they always tasted like heaven to me!

Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and very special occasion she would bring out a dish of her perfectly cooked, shiny glazed sweet potatoes. Every bite was better than the first…I think what made them so special was they were just enough sweet and made with love from her.

After grandma passed, my mother began carrying on the tradition with sweet potatoes at every special meal. Eventually, mom’s began to taste just as wonderful as grandma’s did.

I have now cooked many holiday meals in my mother’s kitchen and my favorite dish to cook is they wonderful sweet potatoes. I know that usually sweet potatoes are only served as holiday meals, but I think they go perfect whenever.

Grandma Pat’s Sweet Potatoes
10 sweet potatoes
½ stick butter, plus a little more
1 c. sugar
½ c. pancake syrup

Boil sweet potatoes until they are soft. Let them cool. Then peel off skins, usually the skins will peel off very easily with a knife after they have been boiled.

Cut potatoes in half and make sure all slices are the same size. Place potatoes in a baking dish that has been prepared with butter or cooking spray. Dot butter all around dish, sprinkle sugar around and drizzle syrup. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Baste every 15 minutes.

* The key to this dish is to baste the potatoes every 15 minutes well.