Saturday, May 29, 2010

Prunes Pouched in Red wine, or "I like prunes, how about you?"

Sometimes I think we need to concentrate on the funny foods. Like prunes. Prunes are the laughing stock of food, and such a pity. I read a recipe years ago that tried to address that issue and then went on to give the the recipe a more glamorous name. Dried Plum whatever, instead of Prune whatever. I remember the content was aimed at younger cooks and the goal was to get the cook, cooking with prunes, I mean dried plums. The nutritionist wrote about the great food value in dried plums; the minerals, the fiber, the great taste, and the convenience.
But.....can't we just say prunes?
And mean prunes?
And know that they are delicious, available in your pantry at all times (unless you forgot them at the store, which would be such a pity) and make for great foods, both sweet and savory?

We can?! Oh, OK, great.

Today I am making Prunes Poached in Red Wine, for Sunday Cafe. The recipe states to simmer and serve, but I wanted to make this a day ahead and let the cinnamon sticks add more flavor. I only made one change I used 3 cinnamon sticks, instead of only 2. I used Merlot as the dry red wine, it is what I had open.



Prunes in Red Wine
adapted from Kitchenography

1 pound pitted prunes (about 40)
1 1/4 c sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
2 1/2 c dry red wine



2 8oz containers Mascarpone cheese 

Combine in a large covered pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Transfer to a dish, cover and chill until serving time.



To serve place a large spoonful of the cheese on a rimmed plate or shallow dish, add prunes and drizzle syrup over.

Serves 8

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate it.

M

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The worlds best Oatmeal Muffins


 Breakfast anyone?

These muffins are tasty and the recipe is a starting point for so many delicious muffin varieties, just stir in your favorite flavor. Today I choose to make the basic recipe, they are that good. Especially with homemade jam, and I just happen to have some in the pantry.

Oatmeal Muffins
adapted from: original recipe source believed to be U.S. Army - scaled way back!
400 degree oven

3/4 c flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour - I use spelt
1 c oats
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T sugar
1 c milk
1/4 c oil
1 egg

if desired: 1 c of any of the following, berries, diced fresh banana, chopped dates, walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins, et.

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl, whisk well to combine.


Beat together milk, egg and oil. Pour over dry ingredients and stir gently to combine, take care to not over mix, batter should be lumpy.


Divide into 12 prepared muffin cups.


Bake 15 minutes or until done. Serve immediately.



As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

recipe rating:  Oh yes, will make again!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Graham Cracker Crumb Cake

 
Deciding what to make this morning, did not come easy. I have been stricken with little appetite, a very rare occurrence for me! Usually I cook more than two people can eat, and then eat more than one person should! But I am sure my old appetite will return momentarily, it always does!

This morning, I have once again turned to my little black book, deciding on the Graham Cracker Crumb Cake. I think this originally was clipped out of a Sunset magazine, many years ago. I always keep graham crackers in the pantry. Granddaughter loves them and I have had a fondness for them for years, not in the usual "milk and graham crackers" way, but as little peanut butter sandwiches. I still take little graham cracker and peanut butter "sandwiches" as my lunch. Oh and lets not forget buttered. Crisp, lightly sweet cracker with creamy, mild salty butter, yum. Cake anyone? Lets get started.....

 The easiest way to make the crumbs, is to use the grater disk on your processor.

Graham Cracker Crumb Cake
adapted from Sunset Magazine (I believe)
350 degree oven

1/2 plus 1 T flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c butter
2/3 c brown sugar
2/3 c sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c buttermilk



Combine all dry ingredients, stirring well and set aside. Cream butter, add sugars, beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla, 1/2 dry ingredients and 1/3 of the butter milk. Mix well. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and 1/3 of the buttermilk, mixing well. Mix in remaining buttermilk bringing any drier ingredients up from bottom of the bowl.



Pour into a prepared 9 inch square pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes.
Serves 8-10

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate it. Have a fun day.

M

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cheeseburger Scalloped Potatoes, some days, dinner like this, will do

Some days/weeks are better than others. And along that same thought, some days/weeks are busier than others. I had one of those weeks! How about you?

Warning: the following words are a feeble attempt to convince the family that this is a "good" dinner!

That seems to be the constant theme; across the blogsphere, myself included. I am (hopefully) on the brink of many changes, change I have worked for and hope will culminate in a final outcome that is, recognizable to my "blueprint" of the original thought. I know I am not alone in the change lane, for one thing is absolutely true. Change is going to happen, regardless of our own personal opinion. We change or are left behind in the change.


Now you might ask, what on earth does that have to do with dinner? Well as the title suggests, some days a dinner like this will do. The focus is on feeding the family a good meal; and sometimes that needs to be a simple affair, so that other tasks can be completed as well. Often I have landed on a blog or article that talks about simple meals, and that author is brave enough to put it out there. By that I mean they tell you what they are eating, and give you the nitty gritty details. Sometimes it is not pretty, but when you look at the sum of the parts, why would it not taste good when put together? Today I took a step toward brave!


Cheeseburger scalloped potatoes
a slow cooker meal - I used a 6QT

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained of excess fat
6 potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin (peel if that is your preference)
3 T flour
2 T dried onion
rounded 1/2 t thyme leaves, crushed
garlic salt
pepper
1 1/2 c beef stock
1/2 c milk
2 c grated cheddar cheese - divided

Slice 3 of the potatoes and place in the bottom of a slow cooker, sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper and half of  the flour. Add the ground beef, sprinkle with the thyme and dried onions. Slice the remaining 3 potatoes and layer over the beef. Sprinkle with the remaining  flour, more garlic salt and pepper. Bring stock to a boil, add milk and pour over the mixture. Sprinkle with half (1 c) of the cheddar cheese, cover and cook on high, 4 hours. 

Remove cover, pierce top potato layer. If tender, cover with the remaining cheese, recover and let rest 30 minutes before serving. If potatoes are not tender cook addition 30 minutes then sprinkle with cheese, cover and let rest. Serves 4 - 6


Serve with something green and something fruit and dinner is done! Simple and tasty, yes a brave dinner!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I do appreciate your time.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

This post is linked to Make it from scratch.

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Sad Saturday @ An Oregon Cottage

Monday, May 10, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding Cake

The weekend was quiet and delightful. I was treated to a wonderful home cooked dinner, the kids made grilled pizzas and it was a lovely day. Sunny, surrounded by family and having a nice meal together. As I have said before, I have been blessed as a Mother, a big Thank You to all my kids!

Some of the wonderful gifts received, all my favorites, cookbooks and hand picked flowers. 

Saturday offered a bit of time to go thrifting and I found this birthday celebration plate. The honored guest will be served on this plate in the future! 


It is still chilly and rainy here. Honey left this message for me this evening. It will be nice to sit and enjoy a fire tonight. 


If you look close, you can see the 20+ foot branch that fell from the tree. The green boughs filled a large yard recycling can. So far we have been real lucky, no one has been present when these have fallen. We will cut this up in a few days and put it in the camping wood pile. 

Honey is reading this book on sailing. His Portland Brother now has a boat, and they will be sailing as soon as is possible. Honey is very excited, he wants to camp from the boat. The man loves the water!

Speaking of the boat, Portland Brother is rebuilding all the electric stuff and Honey is rebuilding all the wood stuff. This is one of the drawers from the galley. It looks like there is no bottom in the drawer, but it is rebuilt with plexi-glass as the bottom. Since galleys tend to be darkish, this will help when trying to find something in the bottom of the drawer.

Agate is usually camera shy, but while trying to capture a shot of the sailing book, for some reason He wanted to be in the thick of things. This shot of him turned out fairly well.

And now something more! 
I had mentioned this crockpot pudding cake on Friday. I even gave the link to the recipe. And then I made it! I ate some warm, and honestly I did not like it. For some reason I do not like the flavor of warm peanut butter. But when this cooled, YUM!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pudding Cake
Use a 4 Qt cooker

1 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
 1/2 t salt
Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

1/2 peanut butter(warming the PB in the micro for 30 seconds will make this easier)
1/2 c milk
1 T oil
1 t vanilla
Carefully whisk together in a medium size bowl. When smooth pour over the flour mixture and combine. 


Spray the cooker insert with Pam and spoon the batter into the bottom. Smooth the top. 


1/2 sugar
3 T cocoa
1 c boiling water
Carefully stir together until smooth, pour slowly over the cake batter in the cooker. 


Cover and cook on high 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Let cool, serve with ice cream.
Serves 8

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for taking the time to stop and say hello! I do appreciate your time.

M

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Homemade Beef-a-roni, and fun in the sun

 
When the sun was out, it seemed natural to go outside, at that point Honey set about cleaning up a 20 foot branch that fell from the one of the trees in the backyard. I knew he was getting hungry, and decided to fire up the grill and cook up a package of preformed beef patties. For some reason when one of these patties had been cooked in the house it left that "greasy hamburger joint" smell in the air for a long time! Now smells don't usually bother me, but that one does.

And as I do things the way I do, I decided to cook the whole package and get it over with. I knew I could/would do something with the cooked beef. Honey suggested homemade chili, but honestly you can get a decent canned chili at the market for a good price and I use that as my "go to" food when there is nothing else planned. Canned chili and some homemade cornbread is a tasty dinner. As you can imagine homemade chili was not on my radar.

Using the grilled burgers diced up, gave this dish a wonderful flavor. I will probably grill up extra burger patties in the future to use in dishes, the added flavor is great!

I decided on homemade beef-a-roni after seeing this link on the Perfect Pantry/facebook. I do not like pasta as much as Mr Ruhlman, so I won't use a full pound! I like recipes like this, they are easy and easy to adapt to what you have on hand or your family likes. My kind of make it up, use it up, and eat it up arrangement.

Homemade Beef-a-roni my way and your way

1 medium onion diced 1/4 inch
1 T oil
1 t garlic salt
2 14 oz cans Italian stewed tomatoes
Seasoning of choice, I chose to make this very simple but you could add your families favorites here.
1 - 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or this is a great way to use up extra grilled meat, diced 1/4 inch
8 oz elbow macaroni (or up to 12 oz, depending upon how much pasta your family likes)
2 c (or more, it is up to you) grated cheese, use what you have


Saute the onion in the oil, until wilted, add the garlic salt and cook on low while preparing the tomatoes. Pour both cans of tomatoes into a blender and puree, add this to the onions. If using raw beef, saute separately and drain the excess fat, add to the tomato mixture. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Cook pasta until 1/2 done, drain well. Stir into the tomato mixture and turn into a 9X13 glass pan. Cover with the grated cheese and bake 30 minutes.

Yum, and this reheats well also. Add a green vegetable or a salad and some fruit and dinner is done.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate it!

M

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Butterballs with chicken and veggies


There are times that you do not wake up and go to the kitchen and pull out supplies to make something never before made.

There are times when you do go to the kitchen and take stock of what is in the refrigerator that  must be used, and use it!

That is today. Our refrigerator was full. Full of some of this and a bit of that and it is all good, nourishing food that will go to waste if I do not do something with it. Now frequently the problem with leftovers is simply presentation. This subject has been explored countless times throughout the history of cooking in modern day kitchens, so I won't bore you with a subject that is over done.

Here is what we had, that needed to be used up:
2 quarts of chicken stock
6 chicken thighs, that had been cooked in the crockpot. Surrounded by their own juices and excess fat. It was not a pretty sight.
2 zucchini in the fruit/veggie basket

My first thought was make chicken and dumplings, Honey loves dumplings and with the chicken and broth all ready cooked this would be ready in time for his mid day meal before his shift start time.  But here is the catch, that much broth would make a very large pan of chicken and dumplings and then we would have leftover chicken and dumplings to contend with, which is a problem of a different nature. Since I prefer to use leftovers in ways that will not create new leftovers, I had to think through a different meal.

Breaking down the ingredients is helpful to determine what would be best made out of them. I thought about the broth, it was 2 quarts and tasty but not as rich as I prefer for a simmered dish. The broth needed to be simmered for an 30 minutes to an hour to reduce the volume and increase the flavor for richness. The chicken thighs, looked like a lot of meat in the bottom of the crockpot, encased in broth and fat. But once skinned and broke up into pieces, it was about 3 solid cups of meat. Dumplings, what can you say about dumplings, they are large and they do make leftovers, no matter how hard I try to only make enough for the two of us.

Enter Butterballs. I love these little guys! They are tasty, tiny and do not make leftovers. Best part is, if there are more than 2 of you, double or triple the recipe.

Butterballs
from the black binder, source unknown but appreciated!

3 eggs, beaten
1 T melted butter, cooled
22 saltines, crushed fine
dash of nutmeg
Stir together well, let stand 5 minutes. Drop into simmering broth (or soup) by 1/2 teaspoon measures. Cook 5 minutes or until puffed and floating.


Butterballs with chicken and veggies

1 qt rich chicken stock
3-4 c cooked chicken
2 zucchini (or green beans, what ever you have and want to use), halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 1/4 inch slice of an onion, minced
1/4 c dry white wine
Butterballs, prepared and ready to cook
salt and pepper; to taste
1 tomato diced, for garnish


Bring stock to a boil, add zucchini, carrot and onion, let simmer covered while preparing the butterballs. Remove cover and drop the butterballs between the veggies, let simmer as needed. Stir in chicken, turn off heat, cover and let rest 5 minutes. Serve in shallow soup plates, enjoy.
Serves 3 - 4

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I really do appreciate the company! Enjoy your Sunday.

M