November 16, 2006

Cooking up a Storm

Last night was an experience. I began cooking and preparing the food to take to my parent’s 40th anniversary party last night and found that I may have placed too much on my plate.

I started the cheesy potato casserole (which I have changed the ingredients for, the recipe is below). I found myself making a casserole to serve 90 people and having some issues.

First, I have never made a dish to serve 90 people so I had no idea what I was doing. I had casserole strung all over the kitchen, seasonings, hash browns, bowls, spoons and I was almost ready to cry!

Why? Because I couldn’t get the casserole mixed together like I wanted. I was working with about 6 pounds of hash browns and was about to have a nervous breakdown, but then my husband came in the kitchen and help me divide up the casserole mixture into four large bowls. It made for a much easier time mixing up the casserole ingredients. My husband is so terrific, I’m so very lucky to have him.

I’m kind of a worry-wart, actually I’m a perfectionist when it comes to cooking. I wanted everything to be beautiful and taste simply perfect for the party. I think that is why I’ve been a little stressed about getting all the food just right.

I also made about 100 of the Melting Moment cookies which I mentioned is yesterday’s post. My kitchen was a total disaster area after finishing everything up. But, everything is almost ready, except for the Chocolate Zucchini Bread that I will be making tonight.

Today I have included my revised copy of the recipe for the Cheesy potato casserole. I used my grandmother’s original recipe, but I’ve made quite a few changes to it.

Also, I was recently asked to submit a photo and a few of my recipes to Ozark Farm & Neighbor newspaper. The paper puts together a cookbook and places photos of local farm cooks. I submitted a few of my favorites, including a recipe from Simply Recipes that I recently made for Molasses Spice Cookies. I’ve made a couple of changes to the original recipe.

Creamy Potato Casserole (revised)
by Grandma and Lane

1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can creamy onion soup
2 T Italian seasonings
1 T. garlic powder1/4 cup butter, melted
2 8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Corn flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).Combine all ingredients, except corn flakes and butter. Be sure to combine well. Pour into a 9x13 inch dish. Sprinkle corn flakes over the top of casserole and sprinkle the melted butter.
Bake 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm

Molasses Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies
Simply Recipes, with changes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus
1/3 cup white sugar for rolling cookies
1 large egg1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulphered molasses, plus a little more

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk.

Cream butter for 2 minutes, then add sugars and beat another 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla extract and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Please cookies dough in refrigerator for 1 hour. (This will allow the dough to become hard and makes it much easier to roll into perfect balls.

When dough is ready, roll into golf ball sized balls and roll in a bowl of sugar to coat the entire ball. Place on a baking stone or cookie sheet, about 1 ½ inches apart. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the top of the cookie. (This makes the cookie have a very pretty “cracked or crinkled effect.”)

Bake for about 12 minutes and then let cool for 4 minutes before placing on a rack to cool. It’s very important that you do not overcook these cookies.

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