Croutons

Croutons are the easiest and most often used condiment in our kitchen. We use it in salads. stuffing and believe it to top off soups. Yup to make the stuffing for the holiday and everyday. Here you really need to remember there is no such thing as left over bread. Not in this home!

Take any bread and cube it. Let it sit over night this will let it get a bit stale. This is good. Now grab you ingredients

Once the bread is dried this may take a couple of days. They can be put in the oven over night without the oven on. Keep them on a large cookie sheet to dry not stacked in a bowl. The bowl below is full with dried cubes.

Once they have dried put them into a large bowl and coat with olive oil and seasoning. You can keep them plain if you want. I drizzle with olive oil and coat with salt, pepper and nothing more because I never know what I am going to use them for. I may be wanting to add herb when I know that it is for a particular dish.

Once they are seasoned to your taste put them into an oven set at 350 and cook for about 10 minutes then turn them over and continue until they are golden brown. Take them out of the oven and let them cool. I keep them in a large mason jar but a zip lock bag keeps them good for about a week.  They never last longer in our home. Hubby eats them as a snack.

 

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Mustard Crusted Whole Chicken

Mustard Crusted Whole Chicken

1  whole chicken
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
¼ cup prepared mustard
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbs chopped parsley
1 apple

Clean your chicken save the gut’s for your chicken stock
Stuff an apple in its ass. I love putting a fruit in the cavity of chickens it really bring a slight yet delicious flavor to any chicken recipe.

I do all the work in the stock pot where the chicken will cook. Put your chicken into the pot you plan on cooking it in yes I use my large iron pot.

Now in a small bowl whisk the egg then add the mustard, honey, parsley  and salt and pepper to taste mix this up well. It should be a moist paste. Now you can coat you chicken with the crusty paste.

Complete cover the top of the chicken and as much of the sides as you can. Set your oven to 375 degree’s cook your chicken until the internal temperature is 175. Take your chicken out and let it cool for approximately 20 minutes.

Once cooled carefully take the chicken out of the pot and cut and serve.

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Broccoli Frittata for dinner

Frittata is an Italian dish did you know that? Making a frittata is so simple and can be as plain or creative as you like. I always like to find out what a food is prior to cooking it I did not get all brainyack on it just general information. Original recipes cook the eggs prior to baking and then add the ingredient’s and finish it off in the oven. I mix all the ingredients together and bake it in the oven till done. Well here is the recipe.

Ingredients

4 cups chopped steamed broccoli
3 scallion onion chopped
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
8 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Steam your broccoli. Steam it to the texture you like I am a crunch head so I like mine a bit firm and knowing it will cook more in the oven it is steamed just so slightly. I then pan fry the broccoli and onion to just brown. Once cooked set aside you want it to cool slightly never add hot ingredients to raw eggs it will cook them. Pop it in the refrigerator while you mix the other ingredients.

Alright while that cools let’s get our wet ingredient’s together. In a large mixing bowl add your eggs, milk, water and seasoning. Whisk them together until well mixed. Now add you broccoli and onion and cheese. Once this is all mixed up pour it into your pan. Spray or grease your pan. You can use a round cake pan, oven safe skillet or what I like to use an iron skillet.

Cook this in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Increase the temperature to 400 for the next 15 minutes to brown the top and when a fork comes out clean it is done. Remove from the oven and let it cool down for about 20 minutes and serve.

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Grama’s Cranberry Sauce

This cranberry sauce has been made by my Mama for years. Ok truth be told I do not like cranberry sauce. Unless it is a chutney or jam. There now you know. But everyone besides me loves it. The grand ole’ Turkey Fry is always at our house. I like it a bit on the tangy side as they do in Europe here in the good ole USofA we sweeten everything. Making this please suit yourself and your guest’s taste.

This is a very simple recipe as they all are for cranberry sauce.

Ingredients

4 cups of fresh cranberries or 1 bag of cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
one orange
zest from the one orange
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg

Cooking cranberry sauce is probably the easiest thing to do during the holiday’s. You simply drop all the ingredients into a sauce pot and let it simmer till the little red cranberries pop open and all the flavors get together and thickens. Cranberry sauce has so many delightful uses during the holidays. From the usual Turkey garnish to cookies cakes and biscuits it is one of those great seasonal fruit’s. There is an endless list of things you can add to your cranberry sauce to personalize it. People add wine, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, maple syrup. Have fun

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Dad’s Banana Bread

Baking Banana Bread was something my Daddy did very well. I have finally gotten him to give me the recipe and I made little loaf’s for the Holiday gift giving. I have this notion that our parents make things and we think they are the best in the world. Truth be told it is just the love and time they put into it that makes us love it so much. I looked at other recipes for banana bread and the results were rally almost identical. Love family and baking and cooking.

When ever a banana starts to get over ripe I bag it and put it in the freezer for baking

Banana Bread Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
    2/3 cup of sugar
    2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup mashed banana – - good and ripe
    1/3 cup of shortening
    2 tbs whole milk
    2 large eggs
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Daddy’s Banana Bread

In a large bowl sift all your dry ingredients and set aside.

With an electric mixer beat the banana, shortening, and milk

Add the eggs (one at a time)  mix completely prior to adding the second egg

Add the flour mixture slowly mixing while adding

Add your walnuts

Grease and flour you baking pans. Pour your batter into your baking pan or pans.

Bake your banana breads accordingly. This mean the oven is at 350 degrees. If it is a regular loaf pan cook for approximately 45 to 60 minutes. I baked mine for 45 but kept an eye on it because they are in smaller pans. Look when it starts to get a beautiful brown top put a toothpick through the top and if it comes out clean you are good to take them out. Let them cool on a wire rack.

 

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Nanny Lilly’s Brisket

Here are some of the tips for your brisket. One is the size and that depends on the amount of people you have. I can feed about 10 people with a 4 pound brisket sliced thin. But at Hanukkah we do have a lot of food. So my advice is think shrink. The brisket will shrink about half the size. All the ingredients are flexible so you are cooking to taste. If you do not have a lot of cooking experience do not fret tatala,  it all works out in the end. Even if your Au Jus is weak or strong it just takes more water or more seasonings. All good.

Ingredients

One 4- 5 pd brisket  (remember it shrinks to half the size)
1 large onion
2-3  garlic cloves not chopped
4 cups of beef stock or 2  au jus packet’s
6 carrots
6 baking potatoes
vegetable oil

Beef Broth 4 cups (enough to just come to the top but not cover  the brisket) If you get Au Jus  packets it makes about 3 to 4 cups of juice .

Do everything in the pot you will use to cook your brisket.

I use an iron kettle. Put some oil in the pan and brown your onions in the pan. This will make flavor in the pan for the au jus. Once browned remove your onions the pan should be greasy and yummy with all that flavored stuff in the bottom of your pot.

Now add a little more oil and put the brisket in it when it is HOT with the fat side down and brown the brisket on both sides.

You want a nice crust but not burnt this will hold the juices in when you cook it in the oven.  Oh go now and set the oven to 375 degrees.

Once it is browned add the liquid and the onions, potatoes and carrots all around it. (I know the carrot and potatoes are not in my pot)  You can season it with pepper I do not add salt there is enough in the au jus mix.

 

Cook your brisket covered for about 4 hours till you can stick a fork in it and it is soft. Cook it the day before you want to serve it that way the day you cut it it is easier to cut when it is cold.

Then put it sliced back in the pan with the au jus and warm it all up. Put your potatoes and carrots in a separate pan.

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Split Pea Soup by Nanny Lilly

This Split Pea soup I adore and who would have thought that I would. Nanny Lilly use to make this soup and she won my palate over. I have such fond memories of this woman and with my cooking there is not a day that I cook do I not think of her and the incredible meals she would create.

No matter when you went to her home she always had food waiting or she would grab it out of the freezer and that was it. I know she is watching me and is proud!

One ham bone from the holiday dinner with ham still ham scraps
2 bags of split peas – 16 oz each
8 + Quarts chicken broth/stock
2 tablespoon onion granules Or (one finely chopped white onion)
2 table spoon garlic granules Or 2 finely chopped garlic cloves)
6 carrots chopped and finely diced
2 bay leafs

Put your pea’s in a strainer and clean and then a large bowl and let them soak for at least three hours

Place your ham bone and ham pieces in a large stock pot and cook on simmer for three hours. I take my time with this soup the longer it cooks the better the taste.

Once the stock is cooked I take my bone out and scrap the meat off and chop it up fine. Removing any skin or grit or fat remaining.

I then replace the bone and the meat into the stock. I will then add my seasoning.

I see a lot of recipes that call out for chopped onions and garlic. I like my soup thick and clean no bit’s except for my ham and carrot.

Alrighty than now add your carrot. Simmer your soup until it is the consistency you like. I keep an extra bag of pea’s just in case I want it thicker. This soup will thicken up with time.

I use my immersion blender to blend the soup.

I let my soup sit overnight (once cooled refrigerated)and start my pressure canning the next morning.

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Twinkies

Well I have wanted to make these for the longest time and today with the rain and the cool weather why not? So I gathered all the ingredients. I got my recipe from the Chew show. They made them the other day. I had to make the little molds to put them in it was daunting but ok.

I also put some into cupcake molds to see if that will work after all it is just a shape. Wrong the cupcakes were to brown on the bottom and not as fluffy. So no go with the cupcake tray.

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk, preferably whole
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature (separated)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

Filling Ingredients below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Use aluminum foil to make molds or use mini loaf pans. I made the molds . There are a lot of ways to make the molds here is a link or two if you want to get industrious.

Make you Twinkies

Whisk the flour , baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside

Heat the milk and butter in a small sauce pan over low heat until the butter melts.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
Let it sit
Put the egg whites in your mixer and beat till you have them just foamy

Now add 6 tablespoons of the sugar and the cream of tarter continue to beat till you get the nice soft peaks. Put this in a bowl and set aside

Now put your yolks into the mixer (Same bowl no need to clean it) and mix them with the rest of the sugar on medium high speed until it is thick and well blended. This take 4 to 6 minutes.
Turn off the mixer add about a ¼ of the egg whites and incorporate them

Now add the rest of  egg whites but do not mix it yet

Grab the flour and sprinkle it on top of the mixture turn on your blender  mix on low just until blended but not completely combined count to 10 and stop

Ok grab your butter mixture and make a well in the center of the egg mixture and pour the butter in

No more mixing fold this all together until the mixture is combined evenly

This is crazy cool it get’s like bread starter and is bubbly and light. Truly Twinkie magic. Fill the little molds about half way full.

Bake until the cakes are just light brown and they spring back

Ingredients for the Filling

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 ½ cups of confectioner sugar (Powdered Sugar)
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup of marshmallow fluff
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons condensed milk

I

In a bowl with a mixer beat the butter, confectioner sugar,vanilla extract ,salt and marshmallow fluff until blended. Add the cream and condensed milk and beat till just smooth. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch round tip. Or use a plastic bag with one corner cut out. Pipe frosting into three spots on the underside of the Twinkies, careful not to over fill . You think no stuff is going in but if you watch really carefully you will see the Twinkies expand slightly with the filling. Very Exciting.

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Pioneer Vinegar Pie

This Vinegar Pie was so delightful and I changed the recipe just a bit, not much just a tweak-y. So I can get pretty burnt out on the whole pumpkin thing during the month of November. This year I am turning it around and baking a different desert. This day it is a recipe I found in Martha Stewart Living and it is a Pioneer Vinegar Pie and yes I tweaked it to make it easier . What I did was not put a top on it. This way it is looking more like a pumpkin pie and I used only the bottom crust. It is less filling and looks good to.

Ingredients

Standard Pie Crust (Do you have a recipe ok no time just buy one boxed or frozen it works)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for the counter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon water divided
3 large eggs divided

Roll out your pie crust. Fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. trim the edges of the dough to fit the pan. Bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Punch little holes with a fork into the bottom of the crust prior to cooking so it does not loose its shape.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, remove this from the heat and whisk in the brown sugar, flour, spices, salt, vinegar and 1 cup of the water. Lightly beat the eggs, and whisk then into the mixture. Return the bowl on to the stove top and simmer until thickened. until the liquid coats the back of a spoon. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes stir it often.

Remove from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Stir it occasionally.

Once cooled pour the filling into the cooled crust.

Cook in the oven until the center is still soft not to jiggly.

You can serve it warm with Vanilla ice cream. We cooled it down and served it with fresh whipped cream. Delightful!

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Meatball Soup

Well this is a soup I have wanted to cook for a long time. Every time I go to our local restaurant I get the Albondigas soup. I had some leftover wild rice and tomato paste in the freezer. I made beef stock the day prior to the actual soup. Pa said it was the best soup I ever made. That seems to always happen things we do not plan and just throw together seem to be the best. Most of my soups come from standing in front of the refrigerator and or freezer looking in blindly for leftovers to add to beef or chicken stock.

Ingredients

8 to 10 cups of beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 bag of frozen spinach or fresh 2 cups chopped or not
1 small can of tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion chopped
1/2 cup of any tiny pasta
1/4 cup parsley chopped

Meatballs

2 cups of wild rice cooled
1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of ground turkey
1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 egg
some of that parsley , salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese to top it when you serve it

I like to prep stuff prior to cooking. The more you can have ready the easier it is to cook. And god knows we all want to enjoy the kitchen. I made my meatball’s with some of the ground beef I had left and added some ground turkey. I also put in the mix one egg, 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs, 2 cups of wild rice (cooked) , some fo the parsley and a little salt and pepper to taste. I combined all the ingredients together and made little meatballs they are about 1″ round. I like to bake them in the oven. I come out with about 25 little balls and I use half for my soup and freeze the others for another experiment day. Bake the little balls in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes they will be tender delicious.  The little trick I learned from my Grama is that if you put rice in your meatball’s for soup the rice will soak up the flavor of the broth and make the meatballs juicy delicious. Cool Grammz

Ok let us get our stock started actually you should start this first. Take your beef broth and add one small can of tomato paste, 1 chopped onion , 1 bay leaf and your bag of frozen spinach. Let this simmer for at least one hour . Mine sits on the stove all day. I start it in the morning and it get’s tested at lunch and served for dinner. Once all these ingredients are together the tomato paste is broken down and the onions are beginning to soften add your little meatballs. Let this all simmer for enough time that it taste the way you want it.

Now I added the baby pasta to my soup about 20 minutes prior to serving it. See the little o’z.

Note to self if you plan on freezing the soup make the pasta separate or add it when you plan on eating it all. Pasta is a bitch to freeze it comes out mushy and make the soup to thick.

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