Monday, August 31, 2009

Country Casserole

Another of John's picks....It looks lovely and smells delicious. Children who like cream corn will love this one, there is some in every bite.

365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus
Penny E. Stone
page 229

2 1/2 cups cooked cubed chicken/turkey 1/2lb of bacon diced
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
1 can creamed corn (I used a large can)
2 cups frozen green beans
2 cups frozen sweet peas
1 cup chopped celery
1 large onion chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
2 tsp salt
2 cup cubed marble cheese

Fry bacon until crisp and drain on paper towel.
Reserve 3 tbsp of bacon grease in frying pan.
Add onion and celery to fry pan and saute until tender on medium heat.
Stir in flour and make a paste.
Gradually stir in milk to make a gravy.
Add seasonings and mix well.
In a large casserole dish combine chicken, beans, corn and peas.
note: I added the bacon here (oops!)
Place the cheese in the dish.
Pour the gravy over the top.
Crumble bacon on top.
Bake at 350 for 25- 35 minutes.

note: I think there should be 1 1/2 -2 tsp of Italian seasoning instead. The flavour is very mild. This recipe also needs biscuits, there is lots of gravy to sop up!

Personally I think this would be a really nice cold weather meal (like after toboganning!) I would also do it in a crock pot not a casserole dish.

Serve over rice, noodles or potatoes.
(we had boiled red potato cubes!)

"Bon Appetit!"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Miracle Whip Chocolate Cake

This was a lovely treat that John whipped up for dessert tonight!

365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus
Penny E. Stone
page 47

1 cup Miracle Whip (not fat free or calorie reduced)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup of water

Combine salad dressing and sugar in a bowl, blend till smooth.
Add vanilla.
In a seperate bowl mix dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to salad dressing mixture alternately with water.
note: we found we had to add a little more water because it was very thick
Mix well after each addition.
Pour batter into a greased cake pan (or 2-6" round pans)
note: we did not find the batter rose very much
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
note: it cooked quickly and almost burnt, so watch it carefully!
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Frost if desired, or add a layer of ice cream between!
WE added Pampered Chef "sweet caramel sprinkle to 1/2 and sweet mocha hazelnut sprinkle to the other 1/2 before we baked the cake.......THAT was lovely!

We found the cake was heavy but really nice. I think it would hold up great cut into squares on a dessert tray.

"Bon Appetit!"

Vermicelli Surprise

Well this one surprised me, and came out tasting (according to all 3 of us) like hamburger helper but a lot more work!!!!

365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus
Penny E. Stone
page 114

1lb ground beef
2 chopped onions
minced garlic
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1 can creamed corn
2 cans tomato soup
3 soup cans of water
salt and pepper
8oz of uncooked vermicelli pasta (that is 1/4 of a normal bag)
Optional: 1 cup grated cheese

In a large skillet melt margarine and sautee onion, garlic and ground beef.
**note: we had to move this to a pot, so you might want to start with a pot!
Add mushrooms, corn and soup with the water and stir well.
Heat until almost boiling.
**note: this sticks/burns very quickly, so watch very carefully!
Add vermicelli and stir well.
When pasta is tender, pour into a casserole dish.
**note: again this burnt to the bottom quickly so maybe a greased dish?
Bake at 300 for 30 minutes.
Remove and stir.
Add cheese
and bake 15-20 minutes more.
Serve with salad and garlic bread.

We did not dislike this but it was not a unanimous favourite,
(especially because I don't like mushrooms)...
and again Judy (12) was able to make this on her own.

"Bon Appetit!"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Simple But Elegant

Virgin Caesar Cocktails
Oriental Salad (pre-made mix)
Lime-Broiled Chicken Breasts
Deviled Potatoes
Parmesan Broccoli
Cherry-Cheese Parfaits

Serves 4
Virgin Caesar Cocktails
4 cups regular or spicy Clamato juice
Celery salt
4 celery stalks
4 lime slices
Wet rims of four 8-oz glasses with water and spin in celery salt. Put ice cubes in glasses and fill with Clamato juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Garnish with celery stalks and thin slices of lime.

I don't really like celery salt on the rims so I skipped this step. And of course my Caesar was "experienced" with 1 ounce of Silent Sam vodka . . . lol . . .

Lime-Broiled Chicken Breasts
4 whole chicken breasts, halved
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
4 tbsp Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Place chicken breasts, skin side up, in large baking dish. Combine oil, salad dressing mix and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour evenly over chicken. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Put baking dish under broiler 3 inches from heat and broil, basting with marinade and turning several times, for 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork tender and glazed.

I substituted 1/4 cup of Italian salad dressing for the oil and dressing mix and I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I was nervous about the whole 3 inches from the broiler instruction so I lowered the rack a little more. When I put the potato casserole in the oven during the last 10 minutes, I had to turn the heat down to 350 F. It didn't seem to be a problem.

Hal gave the chicken 2 thumbs up. I found it very light and refreshing thanks to the citrus.

Deviled Potatoes
1 package (4 servings) instant mashed potatoes
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
2 tsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp chopped green onion
In saucepan, prepare potatoes according to package directions. In another saucepan, heat sour cream over low heat (do not boil). Add mustard and 1/2 tsp salt; stir to blend. Mix into hot potatoes with onion. Immediately turn into a 4-cup casserole and heat in preheated 350 F oven for about 10 minutes.

Okay, these potatoes were delicious. I say "were" because I had one helping and Hal ate all the rest . . . lol . . . I think that means he liked them. They had a really nice texture and turned a box of instant potatoes into a lovely side dish. I did not heat the sour cream in advance.

Parmesan Broccoli
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 lb.)
4 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Cut off broccoli stem and leaves, and break the rest into florets. Wash well, drop into boiling salted water, cover and boil until tender-crisp, 8-10 minutes. Drain and return broccoli to saucepan. Melt butter in small saucepan and pour evenly over broccoli. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Turn into serving bowl, being sure to drain all the butter from the saucepan onto broccoli, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

The only thing I did different with this recipe is to use my rice/veggie steamer instead of boiling the broccoli. I prefer my veggies plain, but this recipe was a nice change of pace.

Cherry-Cheese Parfaits
1 package cheesecake mix
2-1/2 cups cherry pie filling
2 tsp grated lemon rind
6 tsp slivered almonds
In small bowl, prepare graham cracker crumbs from mix according to package directions. Set aside. In medium bowl, prepare filling according to package directions; add lemon rind. Spoon half the crumbs into 6 parfait glasses. Then layer some cheesecake filling, some cherry pie filling, more crumbs, remaining cheesecake filling and remaining cherry pie filling in each glass. Sprinkle 1 tsp slivered almonds on each parfait and chill until serving time. Makes 6 servings.

We haven't tasted the dessert yet . . . waiting for some friends to join us for dessert. But it sure looks good.

The recipe book I am using this month is "No-More-Than-4 Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Kitchen Klutzes" by Joy Gallagher Douglas.

Here is the timetable I used to get this supper on the table for 6:00 on the dot:
The dessert was made in advance.
4:30 pm - marinade chicken
5:30 pm - chicken in oven and broccoli in steamer
5:40 pm - make potatoes
5:50 pm - finish potatoes and put in oven; make salad
5:55 pm - finish broccoli
6:00 pm - make cocktails

Le dîner est servi . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beef 'N Barley Casserole

365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus
Penny E. Stone
page 240

I had my doubts about this one! I do not like tomatoes that much and I have no love affair with barley either, but John had chosen this one so, I gave it to Judy to make.

Oh My Goodness I had 2 plates!

2 sm/med steaks cubed into small pieces
2 tbsp oil
1 cup barley
2 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup chopped celery

optional: 1 cup cheese

In a medium skillet, heat oil and brown meat and onions, stir often.
Drain excess fat and place mixture into an ungreased casserole dish with lid.
Add tomato and seasonings and stir well. Pour celery, carrots and barley over top of mixture. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

If adding cheese, remove lid, sprinkle cheese and bake another 15 minutes.

She served it with rice (because we didn't have enough egg noodles!)
I think it would be awesome as well, over plain boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, noodles and rice.

Do not expect a lot of sauce. This ends up very thick and flavourful.

This will be made again.....Judy(12) is pretty good in the kitchen, but she out-did herself tonight, making homemade bread to go with this.....the whole meal was awesome.

"Bon Appetit"!

Hey! We made macaroni and cheese, too!

So, I was trying to decide what to make for lunch that wouldn't require a trip to the grocery store, so I settled on ada[ting a recipe for macaroni and cheese found in my book choice for this week, The Complete Guide to Country Cooking, from the kitchens of America's Best Cooks, Taste of Home. My changes basically made it a new dish altogether.

I'll give you the recipe first, then my review:

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

7 ounces (2 cups) macaroni
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
2 cups of milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
paprika, optional


Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, slat and pepper; cook until bubbly. Gradually add milk; cook and stir until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Drain macaroni; add to cheese sauce and stir to coat. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Things I changed:

  • I didn't use the paprika, but used a few grinds of red pepper flakes (mine are in a grinder, like a pepper grinder)
  • I used marble cheese because that's what we had
  • I added in some cooked meatballs to the finished dish because, well, Chloe loves them.
  • I used penne because we didn't have elbow macaroni
  • I added a clove of garlic to the milk before I added the cheese
The verdict:

This recipe was OK. Chloe liked it, although it did take some convincing to get her to try macaroni that wasn't a deeper orange like she is accustomed to. Note to self: Next time, use cheddar. Preferably sharp. The recipe needs a boost of flavour and colour, even with my changes and additions. It looks more like an alfredo sauce than cheese sauce.

To sum it up, this recipe was OK, but not great. I'll stick with my usual macaroni and cheese recipe.

Quick homemade mac & cheese for lunch

I absolutley HATE KD!
I love homemade baked mac & cheese
but I had little to no time to make dinner today as
we have lots happening today...

so here's what I did.

In a small pot melt down 1/4 cup of margarine,
when melted stir in 1 - 2 tsp of flour and stir to thicken into a paste.
Pour in 1 cup milk slowly and mix well.
Add salt and pepper if desired.
Remove from heat. (*NOTE: you have just made a white sauce!!)
Stir in 1 tsp mustard
and 1 cup (or more if you like) of cheese *moz, marble, cheddar...whatever.
Add diced chives, bacon bits or onions if you like.
Set this pot aside.

To prepare:
3/4 bag of your favourite pasta (boiled and drained)
2 cups of diced tomatoes *fresh or canned
(I microwaved them for 2 minutes on a plate for the Quick method)

Mix warm pasta with warm tomatoes in the pasta pot on med heat, pour sauce over mixture and heat till bubbly. Careful! It will stick to the bottom so keep the heat lower. This will be a very creamy mac and cheese.

Stir Pasta and tomatoes together in a lightly greased casserole dish.
Pour sauce over (stir if you like) and bake for 20 minutes. This will be a less runny version.

Judy(12) has eaten almost 3 plates of this for lunch! She claims it is better than KD!!

"Bon Appetit"!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tonight's dinner - one skillet zucchini

365 Quick, easy & inexpensive Dinner Menus
Penny E. Stone pg 88

John made this meal in 45 minutes!

1 onion diced
1 can diced tomato
1 medium zucchini sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozarella cheese
1lb of smoked sausage or kielbassa cut into chunks
8 medium peeled and boiled potatoes cut into chunks
1/2tsp garlic powder
1 1/2tsp of italian seasoning
1 tsp chives (fresh or dried)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet (we had to move to a dutch oven), brown the sausage chunks in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Add onion, tomato, zucchini, potato and seasonings. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with both cheeses. Allow cheese to start to melt before serving.....

There was nothing left to put in the fridge after supper! It was all gone....I would definitely make this again.

"Bon Appetit"!

Child Labour in the Kitchen Produces Tasty Results

Hello, fellow foodlovers!

I realize this post doesn't exactly fit the mandate of the blog, but I had to share. Thanks for letting me slip it in here :)

I have a confession to make: Today, I resorted to child labour in the kitchen. That's right, I used my just shy of two-year-old daughter to help me make muffins today. OK, so it wasn't quite like that. My goal was to get her involved in the kitchen young, to teach her motor skills, life skills, to be proud of what she has made and, most of all, to spend quality time with me.

The verdict: It worked. She put the paper liners in the muffin tin, she dumped all of the (pre-measured by me) ingredients, and she did the (preliminary, at least) stirring. I then dumped the whole tasty mess into their expertly lined tins, and we waited. An excruciating 20 minutes later, our noses (and the timer) lead us back to the oven to retrieve the warm little babies from the oven.

We done good. The muffins turned out just lovely. My daughter ate 2 right when they were done, and as I am typing this she has just finished off another as dessert to her meatball sub and oven fries (which she also helped to make). She had a great time in the kitchen today and, truthfully, so did I.

I think I've created The Next Food Network Star...and I kinda like it :) We made some great memories today, and we can wash them down with some very tasty muffins.

If anyone else out there wants to try this recipe, here it is:

Cat’s Own Applesauce Muffins

1 1/2 Cups of Unsweetened Applesauce (either store bought or homemade is fine)

1 cup white sugar (reduce if using sweetened apple sauce)

1 slightly beaten egg

1/3 cup melted margarine or butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the applesauce, sugar, egg and margarine together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Mix wet and dry ingredients all together. Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees oven for approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!


August in the Disney Deb kitchen


This idea came to me when I first seen the advertisement for the Julie/Julia movie. I was not enjoying being in a bookclub as much as I thought I would. When I seen the advertisement for the movie, I realized that for me I would prefer to pour through a cookbook.

Although I love to go grocery shopping, I go into the store and follow the same path, buying almost the exact same groceries EVERY week/month. Therefore we were eating the EXACT same thing every week/month too!!!

I had been laid up, due to surgery, for most of July and August and started watching the Food Network shows...they fascinate me! And, after a short time I decided I wanted to find out what celery root tasted like! What is the difference between rhutabagas and white turnip? And, what the heck WERE they using on the Iron Chef cooking show last night? Not to mention actually trying the boneless fowl stuffed with ground beef, and wrapped in pastry...that is the last recipe Julie tries in the movie!

So, following the premise of the Julie/Julia movie, I decided that my family and I were going to start USING my cookbooks for more than decoration! My family is on board, and each of us choose 4-6 recipes from the cookbook for the next we will be trying 3 new recipes each we are not big fish eaters, most of our recipes will be made with land based animals! LOL

I mentioned this idea to our CNP group and many people are interested. Pam thought of blogging what happens and listing the best of the recipes you try on here. (Thanks for setting this up Pam!) We are all using whatever cookbook amuses us! Hope you want to join us.....

As Julia says...."Bon Appetit!"
Now I am off to find my pearls........