Everyday Mom's Meals: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Grab The Vegetable Peeler

Have you ever seen something, or someone do something and wonder to yourself "why"? Well, that is how I was w/ watching tv chefs "shave" asparagus. Almost every time I would see one of them grab their vegetable peeler and start trimming the stalks, I was convinced it was just to be fancy, and really served no purpose whatsoever. Boy was I wrong. Then a couple years ago as I watched my son struggle to eat the asparagus I had so carefully steamed I thought to my self "oh ok now it makes sense". He was having trouble w/ the one thing that I think probably turns most people off to asparagus. The "woody" tough stalks. Even when you trim the ends off, the stalk can still be tough in spots. But not when you take the time to trim them down w/ a peeler. Yes it's kind of tedious, and sometimes messy ( you won't think so until you find asparagus trimmings hanging off your counter top, cutting board and cupboards!) but it is so worth it. Not only does it indeed make it tender, it actually gives it a better flavor I think. So I guess next time I see a tv chef doing something I don't understand I should assume he/she knows what he/she is doing!

Steamed Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus
2 TBS butter or margarine
Salt and pepper to taste

Take one piece of asparagus and gently bend until it snaps. This will give you the natural break for tenderness. Using it as a guide, trim the rest of the bunch the same size. Using a vegetable peeler, trim the stalks until a light green color appears. Place in a casserole dish, add 2 TBS water, cover and mircowave 3-4 minutes until tender. DO NOT OVER COOK. Drain excess water, add butter, salt and pepper and serve.

Asparagus on FoodistaAsparagus

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Warm Drink For A Cold Day

Back when it was still warm and sunny I posted a recipe for Holiday Wassil (August 21, 2010) because I was thinking of the colder temps and holidays approaching. Well, the holiday season is past us, but the colder temps are still hanging on, and with a vengance. I had actually found the recipe b/c my brother in law had wanted to make traditional wassil, but I honestly had planned on trying it myself. Then a couple weeks before Christmas Adam was able to try some for the first time at a client's and came home raving about it. Again, I planned on trying that recipe from August. Well.....let's just say the holiday season swept me up and I never did get around to making it. Then this past week, he came home with my saving grace!! We have a friend who is a Tastefully Simple consultant and after he did some computer service for her she gave him a bottle of their Mulling Spice. He smelled it. I smelled it. We looked at the directions and we both agreed that this had to be VERY close to the wassil we were both looking for. So I decided today was the day w/ the themometer barely reaching 30º. The smell coming from the crock pot is enough to say "here we come a wassling" to me!!!

Mulled Wassail 
64 oz cran apple juice
8 tsp Mulling Spice

Mulling Spice (for those who don't have the pre-made mix)
6 c. brown sugar
3 TBS cinnamon
2 TBS ground orange peel
2 TBS ground clove
2 TBS ground allspice
1 TBS ground nutmeg

Mix all together and store in an airtight container. If using this instead of pre-made mix, start with the 8 tsp and increase if necessary.

Place juice and spice in a crock pot. Stir well. Warm on low until ready to drink!

Shared on Sweetology Sept. 5, 2011
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And The Winner Is............

Yep, the contest has come to an end. Thank you to all of you who participated and commented on a recipe. It's been so much fun trying to get more readers and followers. And even more fun reading all of your comments, ideas and tips!! I'm pretty sure there are more contests to come, but before I start planning the next one I know you are all dying to know who won the Paula Deen Recipe Cards and Organizer. I put all of the eligible names in a cup, drew one out and the winner is......Tricia!!!!! Congratulations!!!! Your prize will be mailed in the very near future. I hope you enjoy it. And please everyone, keep reading, commenting and sharing. You never know when the next give away will come!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A New Twist On An Old Favorite

I've shared my recipe for Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup (October 7, 2010) and I know a few out there love it as much as we do. This is a new way of doing the chicken for that soup, and really any time a recipe calls for precooked chicken. My cousin told me when she makes this soup, she does the chicken this way and it's amazing; and I believe her b/c I've seen Ina Garten do the same thing for chicken pot pie, which is how I now do it for my chicken pot pie too. So even if the soup isn't interesting to you, maybe the method will be for other recipes. After all, we learns something new every day!!

Roast Chicken (for use in other recipes)
 2-4 whole chicken breasts (with bone and skin) depending on how much chicken you need
kosher salt
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meal Plan Jan 30- Feb 4

 * New Recipe
( ) Where you can find the recipe on the blog

BBQ pork sandwiches
Baked Beans
Steamed Asparagus

Monday (Alex's pick for the week)
Fish Sticks
Mac and Cheese
Green Beans

Crock Pot Beef Stew*

Chicken w/ Lemon and Thyme (June 21, 2010)
Mashed Potatoes/Gravy

Clam Chowder

Bread Sticks

New Recipe Night

Ok, so that's not 100% true. Today's "recipe" isn't actually a recipe, it's more of a method. One of our favorite things to order at a steakhouse is the wedge salad. The one in Fort Wayne that we frequent that treats us w/ this is Lonestar-- and they do it better than almost any other place we've had it. Most recently was during a "date night" around Christmas time; and since we haven't stopped talking about how much we enjoy it. So I decided to try them at home, with the same exact same ingredients they use,  but you could really use any of your favorite salad ingredients and have a different "flavor" each time!

Wedge Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce
Real bacon bits
Blue cheese dressing
Green onions, sliced
Roma tomatoes, chopped

Cut lettuce into 4 wedges. Put dressing on top and add toppings.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

I've Looked and Looked

I was 100% sure that tonight's supper was a recipe I had already shared on this blog, but after searching the archive for the past 15 minutes, I can't find it. So, I'm going ahead w/ posting it, and if it is a repeat, I apologize. Mac and cheese is a comfort food that I think 99% of the population enjoys and w/ there being hundreds of varieties there is always a new one to try. If memory serves me right (and today I don't know if it will) I got this recipe from the internet while trying to find a new variation. It's a nice compromise for Adam b/c he likes homemade mac and cheese, but likes it creamy; and sometimes the baked kinds can get a little dried out. Why it is called "southern" I'm not sure, the only thing I can think is b/c of the sour cream and the little "tang" it gives it--whatever the reason, it's comfort food at it's best.

Southern Mac and Cheese
16 oz. elbow macaroni ( I am using medium shells b/c I had them on hand)
16 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
16 oz. sour cream
1 can cheddar cheese soup

Preheat oven to 350º. Cook macaroni and drain. Mix cheese, sour cream and soup in a bowl. Mix macaroni into cheese mixture. Spread into 9x13 pan and bake @ 350º for 30-35 minutes.
elbow macaroni on Foodistaelbow macaroni

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Moms Love Casseroles

Or at least this mom does. I can throw a bunch of ingredients in a pan, bake it off and wah-lah dinner is served. I love dinners that cook themselves and I don't have to stand over a hot stove for a long time. This is a perfect example of that; and with the Steelers football game tonight, this is one fan who wants a supper with easy preparation and easy clean up! I got this recipe a few years back from Taste of Home when I was looking for new things to try. Cabbage rolls have always sounded tasty to me, but I never went to the trouble of making them. Supposedly this gives all the same flavors, with a lot less effort. I still haven't tried the real thing, so I can't say rather they taste the same or not but for us this is such a great dish so maybe we'll never know!

Cabbage Roll Casserole

1 lb. hamburger
medium onion chopped
1-2 garlic cloves minced
1 15 oz tomato sauce- divided
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp sage
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
1 small head cabbage chopped
8 oz. mozzarella cheese

Cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat. Drain fat if necessary. Stir in 1/2 tomato sauce and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in rice and heat through. Remove from heat.

Layer 1/3 of cabbage in greased 9x13 pan. Top w/ 1/2 meat mixture. Repeat layers. Top w/ rest of cabbage and tomato sauce. Cover w/ foil and bake @ 375º for 45 minutes. Uncover and top w/ cheese. Bake 10 more minutes.

Cabbage on FoodistaCabbage

Friday, January 21, 2011

Meal Plan Jan 23-28

 As promised, here is next week's menu, along w/ explanations of how I'm trying to use things I have on hand, or buying something and using it twice. As always * denotes a new recipe, which also helps my goal of having one new item each week :)

Cabbage Roll Casserole (Have 1/2 a box of rice left from Chicken on Rice, Mozzarella cheese I'll use later in the week, and I have hamburger in the freezer)

Southern Mac n Cheese (Using shell pasta I have)
Green Beans

Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

Pizza Joes (Mozzarella cheese for topping from casserole Sun and hamburger already in the freezer)
Wedge Salad*

Pork chops
Squash (Have in freezer)

Alex is going to his Mimi and Pa's to spend the night, so Adam and I will be having left overs.

NOTE: While the Cabbage Roll Casserole is not a new meal to our family, it has never been featured on the blog, so it will be next week :)

New Recipe #4- It's Been a Busy Week

Yes, that's right I accomplished by goal of 1 new recipe/ week....4 times over this week! I'm very proud of myself and very happy that so far we are 3 for 3---all being "keepers" as my boys would say. Tonight's experiment is cheddar potato soup from the Betty Crocker Soups, Stews and Chilies online cookbook (which was a free download if anyone is interested, the link was posted Jan 12th). Adam and I are both hoping this comes close to Bob Evans Cheddar Baked Potato Soup, one of our all time favorites. When I used to work there, Adam would come in for lunch before work and I would load him up w/ soup, and he could never get enough. To this day, we still talk about how much of that soup he ate while I was working!! The nice thing about this one though is it is done in the crock pot, w/o a lot of attention or work from me:) Hopefully #4 will turn out as well or better then 1, 2 and 3 did!!

Slow Cooker Cheesy Potato Soup
1 32 oz bag frozen southern-style diced hashbrowns
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium stalk celery, diced
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
1 cup water
3 TBS flour
1 cup milk
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup real bacon bits
4 medium green onions, chopped

In crock pot, mix potatoes, onion, celery, broth and water. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. In small bowl, mix flour into milk; stir into potato mixture. Increase heat setting to high. Cover, cook 20-30 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in cheese until melted. Garnish individual servings w/ bacon and green onions.

Shared on Crock Pot Exchange July 29, 2011
Shared on Gooseberry Patch Sept. 14, 2011
Shared on The Country Cook Oct. 21, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Steak House at Home

Nine times out of ten when Adam and I go out for a steak dinner, he will order a baked sweet potato for one of his sides. He loves them w/ butter, brown sugar and cinnamon; and b/c of this I make them all the time at home too. So when I put steak on the meal plan for this week I knew I wanted something w/ sweet potatoes, but something different. So I turned to my trusted friend, the internet. I found this on a southern food website, and am very excited to try it. (It is the 2nd new recipe of the week!) I think it will give us all the same flavors of the baked sweet potatoes, with a few extra and a different texture. And besides, how bad can something turn out if it has brown sugar, butter and pecans on top???

Sweet Potato Casserole
1 large can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2-2 quart casserole dish. Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle on top. Bake @ 350º for 30-40 minutes until hot and browned.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Coming Soon.....

While it's only Tuesday, this is the day of the week I attempt to do a meal plan for the next one. Even though I don't share it w/ all of you, my loyal and wonderful readers, until Sunday, I usually have a pretty good outline by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest. I try to have it done in plenty of time before my weekly grocery trip so I know exactly what I need so I can better watch what is on sale, and where the best place is to get what I need. Sometimes I switch things out if a sale really catches my eye. For example, maybe I don't have a chicken dinner planned, and boneless chicken breasts are $1.27/lb--well, we're eating chicken!! Inspiration comes to me in other ways too: maybe I'm really hungry for something specific, or Alex asks me make something, or I know we're going to be extra busy that week & I'm going to need easy & quick meals. See--a lot of thought goes into what I'm going to feed this family every week! Next week, this is my goal/inspiration--I want to use things I already have in the freezer or the pantry, or if I have to buy something I want to use it more than once. So here I go trying to plan meals based upon that. I will let you know how successful I am when I post the meal plan b/c I will note where my ideas worked! Stay tuned......

More Chicken

This recipe comes to me from my cousin Jill, but she can't take all the credit for it:) It is originally one of our "Grammy's" and apparently one that was very popular w/ our family! The funny thing is that I don't ever remember her making it; but my guess is that since we were mostly home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, we were too busy eating turkey, and left over turkey for her to make this! And of course I'm excited to have another chicken dinner in my recipe box. I will say while the recipe calls for chicken breasts, I will be using boneless skinless chicken thighs, b/c they were on sale at the grocery this week. I really hope Adam and Alex enjoy this one b/c it could very easily become one of my "go-to" dinners!

Chicken On Rice
1 1/2 cups instant rice (uncooked)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup diced onions
Salt and pepper to taste
4-6 Boneless chicken breasts ( I used a package of chicken tenders)
Garlic salt/powder- I will be using powder
1 stick margarine, metled
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix the rice, onions, soup, and salt/pepper together and pour into a 9x13 pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with 4-6 boneless chicken breasts. Sprinkle with garlic. Combine margarine, sugar and lemon juice. Pour over chicken and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs-2 hours. Serve chicken and rice separate.

Short Grain White Rice on Foodista

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Awesome, But Messy

So, that is how the Greek Burgers from last night turned out. The flavor was exactly what I was looking for--so much like a Gyro I couldn't be happier--but they were awkward to eat. The sauce caused the bun to get soggy and kind of fall apart. Not that big of a deal, I know, but it got me thinking, what could I do to adapt the recipe to get the same flavor profiles, but not having cucumber dressing running down my arm. So, this is what I've come up w/ and the next time we'll see how it goes!

Greek Pita Pockets (adapted from Greek Style Burgers 01-14-11)
2 lbs. ground beef
salt and pepper, or an all purpose seasoning
Pita pockets
Cucumber Ranch Dressing
Feta Cheese
Sliced Tomato
Sliced White Onion

Instead of making hamburger patties, brown hamburger in a skillet and drain fat. Add seasonings. Let cook about 5 minutes for flavors to develop. Place burger in pita pockets and top w/ tomato, onion and sauce.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meal Plan Jan 16-21

 *New Recipe

Leftovers Night

Texas Toast

Chicken w/ Rice*

Coney Dogs*
Hashbrown Cakes
Creamed Corn

Sweet Potato Casserole*

Cheddar Potato Soup*

New Recipe Night, Take 2

Yep that's right it's another "newbie" in our house tonight. Experimentation is beginning to be my friend. This one isn't anything crazy though. It's basically a jazzed up burger, that will hopefully taste like one of our favorite foods, a Greek Gyro. Oh my how we love our Gyros. Back in May I tried another recipe for burgers like these, and while they were good, they weren't quite what I was looking for, and they had a homemade sauce on them; while these have store bought ingredients to help the process along. This recipe comes from the same cook book Wednesday's did, Better Homes and Gardens Super Market Shortcuts with the time saving ingredient being preformed, shaped patties. I think burgers like these are a great time saver and totally worth the extra cost if you are doing a large amount for a party or get together. I've purchased them myself many times if I know I'm feeding a ton of people. But since it's only the 3 of us, and I have a whole freezer stocked w/ beef, I made my own beef patties. There are a couple things I'm going to differently, which will be noted in the recipe; and I will say that these are nice b/c the additions to make them "Greek" are not in the actual meat, so they can be kid friendly very easily by leaving off the extras. So, we'll see how it goes and if I'm more successful than the previous try!

Greek-Style Burgers
4 4oz. uncooked ground beef or ground turkey patties
salt and pepper ( I substituted an all purpose seasoning I use a lot)
1/3 cup bottled cucumber ranch dressing
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 TBS snipped fresh mint (I am omitting this b/c I don't like the flavor)
4 lettuce leaves (they gyros we get do not have lettuce on them, so I'm leaving off)
4 kaiser rolls (I am using hamburger buns b/c I had them on hand)
4 tomato slices
white onion sliced (this was my addition b/c it's on the gyros)

Sprinkle patties w/ salt and pepper. Grill on a greased surface according to thickness. Allow 10 minutes for 1/2 inch thick patties or 14-18 minutes for 3/4 inch thick. (I will be using my indoor grill pan) Meanwhile, for cucumber sauce, in a small bowl combine salad dressing, feta cheese, and mint. Assemble burger w/ toppings and sauce.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Free Soup Cookbook

Thanks to my fellow blogger Real Mom's Kitchen, everyone can have some new soup recipes!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Recipe Night

While I'm not really a believer in new year's resolutions, I do try to change things up a bit at the start of a new year. I think resolutions put too much pressure on us. We can try our hardest, but sometimes circumstances beyond our control prevent us from keeping them, then we spend too much time beating ourselves up. So at the beginning of each year I simply look at things in my life I can improve on and keep them in the forefront of my mind striving to do better. One of mine in 2011 is to attempt a new recipe at least once per week. I love trying to new things, but like most moms/wives out there I get into ruts cooking the same things over and over. Most of the time reason being b/c of lack of time-I'm in a rush so I head straight for the "go to" recipe that I know is a crowd pleaser, quick and simple. So I'm going to try really hard to keep my promise to myself and try something new one night each week, and hopefully get some "keeper" recipes out of it. This week we are actually doing 2, the first of which is tonight. I got a new cook book for Christmas Better Homes and Gardens Super Market Shortcuts and it is amazing. It is broken down into sections w/ each having a store bought ingredient as a main component of the recipes. Tonight's star: Boxed Mac and Cheese :-) I know everyone has the favorite kind of mac and cheese; and I love home made; but sometimes you just need a good 'ole box of Kraft. And this takes that to a whole new level. I know Alex is excited to try it, so I'm hoping it tastes as good as it sounds!

Pizza-Style Mac and Cheese
1 7.25 oz box mac and cheese dinner mix
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 6 oz can/jar chopped mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup chopped black olives (I bought sliced)
1/4 cup chopped pepperoni
Parmesan cheese

Prepare dinner mix with butter and milk according to package directions. Stir pizza sauce into mixture. Stir in mushrooms, olives and pepperoni. Heat through. Sprinkle servings w/ Parmesan.

*I am doubling this recipe for our family*

Just Had to Share

I was watching 30 Minute Meals this afternoon & this is what Rachael Ray was cooking. When she first described it I thought "no thanks" but as she was cooking it I started to think "yes please". It just looked so good. I went straight to foodtv.com and downloaded the recipe. I'm not sure when I will try it, but I know I will. I will note that while the recipe calls for red wine, I don't always have it on hand, so I might substitute red grape juice, in the same quantity. The only thing I'm concerned about finding in the store is dried figs. I have no idea where to even look. So I think I might take a couple weeks to try to find those before I put it on my menu plan. So if anyone has seen them before or knows exactly where I look to find them, please do share!

Chicken with Figs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 lb thick cut pancetta, cut into sticks (she said you can substitute bacon)
2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, breasts or mixture, cut into large chunks
flour for dredging
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
14-16 dried figs, halved
1 cup dry red wine
1- 1/2 cups chicken stock (I use broth)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 lemon zested
1 TBS fresh thyme (I will use 1 tsp dried)

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Add oil and the pancetta. Brown pancetta 3-4 minutes then remove w/ a slotted spoon and drain. While pancetta browns, season chicken w/ s&p and dredge in flour lightly. Brown chicken a few minutes on each side on high heat, in same skillet after pancetta removed. Scoot meat to edges of skillet and add onions, garlic and figs. Saute 5 minutes, combine chicken w/ onions and figs. Add wine and cook it down 5 minutes until 1/3 cup remains. Add chicken stock, parsley, lemon zest and thyme to chicken and stir to combine. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mr. Coneys, Please Mommy!!!

One of Alex's favorite things are hot dogs. But only recently was he willing to try a coney dog. Here is Fort Wayne, we have "Coney Island" and "Mr. Coney", both serving the same recipe. It's not surprising that once Alex tried one, he fell in love w/ them. I think it's in his blood. One b/c Adam and I both love them and two b/c when I was pregnant w/ Alex Mr. Coney hot dogs were one of the few things I craved. And I mean CRAVED. Each Sat night from about 7 months on, Adam would take me there for dinner and I would waddle in to find my meal ready for me--yes the servers would see us coming and have mine on the table before I even made it to the seat :-) So I think it was only a matter of time before Alex discovered his love for them. This recipe is one I want to try at home to recreate those same coney dogs, so we can enjoy them whenever, or where ever we want!

Coney Sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
2 TBS butter
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 TBS yellow mustard
2 TBS cider vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder

Saute the onions and garlic in butter. Add ground beef and break up until fine. Cook until brown and drain fat. Combine all other ingredients and mix well. Add to beef mixture. Stir well and heat. Let simmer for at least an hour. If dries out, add a little water, scrape bottom of pan to get pan drippings off and continue simmering.

Shared on Savannah's Savory Bites Aug. 3, 2011
Featured on The Country Cook as Guest Blog Aug. 10, 2011 
Shared on Gooseberry Patch Aug. 24, 2011
Shared on Make Ahead Meals May 28, 2012

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Meal Plan Jan 9-14

 * Denotes new recipe


Soft Tacos
Refried Beans

Beef Roast
Mashed Potatoes/Gravy
Candied Carrots

Pizza Style Mac and Cheese*
Brown and Serve Rolls

Ham and Beans

Greek Style Hamburgers*
Sweet Potato Fries
Green Beans


My lovely cousin Jill, who is a faithful reader of this blog, asked me yesterday where she could find the recipe for the Italian White Bean Soup that was on the meal plan. I said "it's on there, just an older post". Uh, duh!!! No it's not. I went back through the entire archive and was shocked to see I had never posted it. I know I meant to, so I guess that was one of those days when my brain cells didn't communicate well! So, here it is Jill, thanks for bringing it to my attention! Hope you enjoy--Love ya!!

Italian White Bean Soup
4-5 garlic cloves minced
2 TBS olive oil
1 lb. mild sausage
1 medium onion finely chopped
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 15.5 oz white beans- rinsed and drained
2 boxes (32 oz each) chicken broth
9 oz. spinach chopped, if needed
Salt and pepper

In stock pot, heat oil on medium. Add sausage and brown w/ salt and pepper 3-4 minutes until brown. Drain fat, if necessary. Add garlic and onions. Saute 4-5 minutes until soft. Add beans, seasoning and broth (I usually use 1 1/2 boxes). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Add spinach. Cook 5 minutes until wilted.

Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Oct. 20, 2011

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Give Away Details

Here is your chance to enter and win! Comment on a recipe saying you have tried it, and how it turned out. Notify me either on Facebook or by email (krista@midwest-solutions.com) that you have commented. All names will be put into a drawing and one person will win a Paula Deen Recipe Organizer and matching recipe cards. Contest ends Jan 30th. So get cooking and commenting!!!

Easy Quick Breakfast

Or I guess it could be called Easy Quick After School Snack too. I love recipes that are so versatile that I immediately thing of multiple ways I can use them. This ones comes to me from my fellow foodie & blogger Real Mom's Kitchen as she is trying to offer up healthy recipes for 2011. Anything that can be cooked in the microwave is great w/ me! And I think this would make a great school day breakfast for Alex, or a super healthy after school snack for when he is simply starving when he gets home. I'm excited to try it, and I hope he is too!

Microwave Granola
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup bran flakes
1 cup peanuts or cashews
1 cup wheat germ (I might leave this out, simply b/c I don't have it on hand)
1 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup pecans
1 cup raisins, craisins or other dried fruit

Combine butter, sugar, honey, water, salt and cinnamon in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for 8 minutes, stirring half way through. Mix in remaining ingredients except dried fruit. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring half way through. Granola should be a golden color. Mix in dried fruit. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool stirring occasionally to break up large clumps.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Guilt Free Kid Food

How many times a week does your child ask for chicken nuggets? I know I am lucky that Alex will eat such a wide variety of foods, including ones that other kids would definitely turn their noses up at. But I also understand those moms out there that struggle w/ their kids every day to eat something other than chicken nuggets, hot dogs and pizza. So yesterday when I was prepping our Chicken Pot Pie supper I realized I was making something kids would love, and moms could feel a little better about giving them. Instead of processed, breaded, and fried chicken nuggets or tenders, how about fresh, roasted ones? It's how I prepare the chicken to use in our pot pie and I think a lot of kids would love its simplicity, but it is also a basic idea that you could add flavors to depending on your child's palette. Want a little spice? Add some chili powder. Want some Spanish flare? Sprinkle w/ paprika. Love garlic? Add freshly minced or some garlic powder. The choices are endless once the foundation is learned!

Roasted Chicken Tenders
1 package chicken tenders
olive oil
salt and pepper

Place chicken on a baking sheet. Drizzle liberally w/ olive oil and sprinkle w/ salt, pepper and other seasonings if desired. Mix well w/ hands making sure all chicken is coated. Bake in 400º oven for 30 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another Freebie

My fellow blogger Real Mom's Kitchen, just shared this so I thought I would pass it on :)


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Not A Wine Drinker But...

Yes, unlike many women out there, and men too I guess, I don't really enjoy wine. There are a few kinds I've tried and have enjoyed, but it's just not "my thing". However, I will cook w/ wine; and when I do I always make sure it's good wine. I've watched enough chefs on TV say over and over "only cook w/ wine you would drink" to know it's not a good idea to skimp on quality when you are going to concentrate the flavor. So even though "wine" was in the title of this recipe, it very much caught my attention, and I think it would make a great side dish, especially for a steak dinner. I actually found it in the container of mushrooms I was chopping up for supper, so thank you Kroger produce department for the idea :)

Red Wine Mushrooms
2 TBS butter
1 garlic clove crushed
1 8 oz package of mushrooms, cleaned & cut in half
2 TBS chopped onion
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped (I think I might omit this. Tarragon isn't one of my favorite herbs)
1/2 cup red wine

In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter. Saute garlic 30 seconds and stir in mushrooms, onion and tarragon. Season w/ salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms start to brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add red wine and reduce heat Simmer until wine is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.

*NOTE* Although this recipe says to, you should never salt mushrooms until they have already started to brown. Salt brings out moisture and if you add it too soon, the mushrooms will never brown. Something to think about when making this.

Give Away!!

Stay tuned, and keep reading/commenting for a chance to win an upcoming give away. I'm not sure yet what it will be, or the details of the contest, but when I figure it all out, I will let all of you know! Just my way of saying thanks for supporting me in this blogging adventure and being so kind w/ your comments, ideas and feedback. So, when I know more, you will :-)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


So the German Potato Salad turned out great, but not b/c I followed the recipe I posted earlier. It was a complete DISASTER!!!! It was awful, and if it wasn't for the internet and quick fixes, the whole thing would have been in the trash! But thankfully I did find this recipe, combined parts w/ what I had already done and was able to save it. Needless to say, the next time this is the recipe I will be following 100%. If anyone tried the earlier one, I apologize. I am hoping I am warning you before it's too late :-)

German Potato Salad
4 medium-large potatoes boiled, peeled and sliced
5 slices of bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
*NOTE* I didn't think this was enough dressing for the amount of potatoes I had so I doubled it

Fry the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often until almost crisp. Add chopped onion and continue stirring until onion is cooked and turns slightly golden brown. Add mixed dressing ingredients, heat and stir until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved. Add sliced potatoes, mixing everything together well. Season w/ salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for at least 10 minutes, or until the potatoes have absorbed all the liquid and are heated through. Continue heating and turning the mixture over for another 5-10 minutes. May allow to stand for additional 10-15 minutes to let flavors blend. If make ahead, reheat in microwave.

Growing Boy

Growth spurt. Yes, Alex is once again going through one. I swear, this boy is going to be 6 feet tall by the age of 10 if he keeps going. And one of surest ways we always know Alex is growing again is he craves carbs! Potatoes and bread---those are what he could live on if I let him. So here I go again, being a good Mommy and trying to find new things to do w/ potatoes to satisfy my little boy. Luckily though I've decided to make something that both Mommy and Daddy love too--German Potato Salad. I didn't have a recipe for it, and I've never made it before, but I have a favorite out there and it's at the St. James Restaurant in Avilla, Indiana. They specialize in German food, and I love the warm, bacon flavored, sweet and sour flavor of their potato salad. I went looking for a recipe I thought would recreate that and my mom helped me. We finally found one in The Grange Cookbook from Pennsylvania that she has had for I think 100 years. So it's on the menu tonight and I'm crossing my fingers!

German Potato Salad

4-5 potatoes diced and cooked until done (I actually boiled mine whole, will cool, peel and then slice b/c that is how SJ serves theirs)
1 onion finely diced
1/2 lb. bacon fried crisp
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Mix potatoes and onion in bowl. In skillet, remove bacon. In drippings, add sugar, water and vinegar and thicken w/ corn starch. Add crumbled bacon and pour over vegetables and mix.