Yum

Monday, December 28, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

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It's a little late, since I didn't really have a plan until now. With the holidays I haven't been on top of my game, but think I have a plan for this week. We are having a 2nd Christmas on the 29th, which also happens to be my birthday. Hubby will be preparing a smorgasbord of my favorite foods, which we will be enjoying with some of his family. The rest of the week will be devoted to returning the house to normal, with the removal of our dying Christmas tree and decorations. So here is the plan for this week.

Mon- Pasta Fagioli soup
Tues- Bday dinner: BBQ ribs, homemade Ravioli, Chicken and Dumplings and chocolate cake
Wed- Leftovers
Thur- Leftovers
Fri- Tuna with Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (new recipe)
Sat- Breakfast
Sun- Braised Beef with noodles

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a happy and safe New Year!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A few of my favorite things....

Well, it's that time of year, where we start the inevitable binge on Christmas desserts. Thankfully we are celebrating Christmas at my parent's house this year, so I don't have to make as much as I normally do. I still got requests though, from my Mother in Law on her favorites, when she comes after Christmas. So I've started baking, storing my completed creations in coolers in the garage. That's one of the things I love about living in Ontario, it's cold enough to freeze things outside, LOL. Comes in handy since we've still yet to buy a freezer.

So far my list is half completed. I've made Chow Mein Noodle Cookies and Knock You Naked Brownies, which you can find on previous posts. The recipes I'd like to share with you today are Lemon Graham Squares and Roll Out Sugar Cookies. I first made the lemon squares last Christmas. I normally make lemon squares with a shortbread crust, so thought I'd see what this recipe was like. Hubby and I love lemon, so I knew they wouldn't be wasted. I have to say I prefer these to my original lemon bars. I find they taste tangier and the brown sugar in the crust add a deep, warm and comforting feel to them. These are super easy to make and taste amazing.


When Mr.B was 2, I had a vision in my head of the perfect Christmas, complete with us decorating sugar cookies, as a family. My vision didn't turn out the way I had wanted it too, but the cookies were divine. I've been making them every Christmas since. And the vision of the perfect Christmas is also improving with every passing year, now that Mr.B is getting older and more patient.


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Queenie sat on the sidelines for these, and was the sprinkle Quality Control Girl, LOL.

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I let Mr.B roll, cut out and decorate 1/3 of the dough. I kept the rest for me to roll and frost with a really great frosting I found on Cooking for your Family. It was a nice evening with the kids, who enjoyed sampling one of Mr.B's creations, before bed.

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Rolled Sugar Cookies
Submitted by Maureen via Pillsbury

1 Cup sugar
1 Cup margarine or butter
3 TBS milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Heat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, margarine, milk, vanilla and egg; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.
On lightly floured surface, roll out 1/3 of dough at a time to 1/8 in. thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place one inch apart on ungreased cookies sheet.
Bake 5-9 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets


Sugar Cookie Icing
Submitted by Kris, adapted from allrecipes

1 C powdered sugar
1 heaping, slightly overflowing T of milk
1 level T of light corn syrup
1/8 tsp of almond extract*
choice of food coloring

Mix all ingredients together well. Seperate in small bowls and tint with food coloring. If you're adding sprinkles to the cookies, add them quickly, before this icing hardens on the cookie. If the icing has sat, untouched, for a while, you may need to stir it to soften it up again. This recipe needs to be doubled in order to have enough to frost all the cookies from Maureen's recipe. I just divided it into different bowls to make all the different colors I wanted.


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Lemon Graham Squares
Submitted by: ~Mommy2Jeremy&Tyler~

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice; mix well and set aside. In another bowl, combine cracker crumbs, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in butter until crumbly. Press half of the crumb mixture into a greased 9 inch square baking dish. Pour lemon mixture over crust; sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into squares. (Makes 3 dozen)
This post linked to

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie with Homemade Biscuit Crust

I know this wasn't on my Meal Plan, but after going out in the -6 degree weather ( that's 20 degrees F), I just wanted something hot and comforting for dinner. I really love this recipe, since the filling is creamy and the biscuit topping is tender and soft. I love to spread butter on the hot biscuit topping and then mix everything together. SIGH....

This is a pretty quick recipe, using canned cream soup and frozen vegetables. It is quite similar to the Bisquick Pot Pie, except I use my Mom's Baking Powder Biscuit recipe to put on top. It just makes it feel more like home. I think it was just what we needed tonight, since we all ate with much enthusiasm, LOL. Great comfort food, for those cold winter nights.



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Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Crust


1 2/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can of milk
2 C flour
1/3 C shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs baking powder
3/4 C milk (more if too thick)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together the milk and soup, until smooth. Add in vegetables and chicken and mix well. Pour into a 9 inch pie plate. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk and mix well, adding additional milk if needed. The batter should be thinner than a biscuit batter, almost like a super thick pancake batter. Evenly spoon batter onto the soup mixture, trying to smooth is out, as much as possible. Bake uncovered, for 45 minutes, until bubbling and crust is golden brown.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

We volunteered to make treats, for Mr.B's Christmas party, tomorrow. I first made these cookies 3 yrs ago, for a cookie swap party. I thought the kids in Mr.B's class would get a kick out of them, and that he would love helping me make them. He was super excited and had to try real hard not to eat the candy, LOL. He was in charge of eyes and antlers and I think he did a fabulous job. I had originally bought M&Ms for the eyes and nose, but remembered that the school is peanut free. I had to quickly come up with an alternative. I rummaged through our remaining Halloween candy ( yes we still have some) and found a bunch of candy necklaces. I figured they would make great eyes. I cut the strings and we went to town. I used some red frosting for the noses. Since I only needed 2 dozen for school, we had a dozen left over, so we used the M&Ms on those. These cookies are crispy around the edges, but soft in the middle. They really aren't that sweet, so I figured that was a bonus for the kiddos.



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Chocolate Reindeer

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Refrigerate: 3 hours
Cook Time: 7 minutes per batch
Makes 3 dozen or 36 (1 cookie) servings.

3 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons McCormick® Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
72 small pretzel twists
72 candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
36 small red gumdrops

1. Mix, flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture until well mixed. Divide dough into 6 portions. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a 6-inch circle. Using a knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place wedges about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4. For antlers, lightly press pretzels into the upper corners of each triangle. Press in chocolate pieces for eyes. For a nose, press a red gumdrop about 1/2 inch from the point.
5. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are firm. Do not overbake. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Recipes tested and approved for McCormick by the Better Homes and Gardens® Test Kitchen.


This post linked to

Saturday Night Special
Recipe of the Week

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meal Plan Monday~ Dec 14th

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Good morning everyone! This upcoming week will be a busy and eventful one for us. It's Mr.B's last week of school before Christmas Holidays. He will also be performing in his first Christmas concert at school. I'm so excited to go see my little boy sing on stage with his class! We still need to finish Christmas shopping and start wrapping gifts. I'm also starting my baking this week, with Mr.B helping me make Reindeer Cookies for his class party. Keep an eye out for those in the next few days..... Here is what's on the menu this week. I just hope I have enough energy at the end of the day to follow through with it, LOL.


Once again Thanks to the Organizing Junkie for hosting Meal Plan Mondays. Head on over to check out tons of other great meal plans!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New England Baked Beans

One of my favorite and most special dishes my Mom would make, while growing up, was Baked Beans with homemade bread. I remember coming home from school, to the wonderful smell of rising bread and I would be so excited. There was just something so comforting about this dinner. Over the years I've really missed my Mom's baked beans. She makes them in the pressure cooker, so I've always been hesitant of making any in the crock pot or the oven. I took the plunge last night and it was very interesting, LOL. First of all, once I put the soaking liquid back into the pot, with the beans and condiments, the beans started floating, so I really couldn't tell if I had enough water. I added more, which was my first mistake. 5 hrs later and the beans were still swimming in liquid. I drained the liquid into a pot and reduced to until super thick. Then I poured it back into the beans. The second mistake was, I did not put the partridge in at the beginning. I was afraid that it would over cook and be tough. Well, I put it in 45 minutes before the beans were done and it came out super tough. (Partridge tastes like dark chicken meat, times five). None the less we ate it and mixed in with the beans it wasn't so bad, LOL. Not quite like what Mom use to make, but pretty darn good if you ask me.


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New England Baked Beans
Adapted from Cooks.com

1 pound dry navy beans (or other small white bean)
1 1/4 C. brown sugar
1 C. ketchup (may sub chili sauce for more kick)
1/2 C. dark molasses
2 T. your favorite mustard
2 T. vinegar
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
salt to taste

Sort and rinse beans, then place in a large pot and cover with water plus 3 inches. Let beans soak 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse then add fresh water to cover. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid. Place beans and all remaining ingredients in a 6 quart pot. Mix well. Add enough of the cooking water to cover plus about 1/2 inch above. Cover tightly and place in preheated 325 degree oven. Bake for 4-5 hours, stirring a couple times, and adding liquid if they start to get dry.

Cindy's notes: I like to add partridge or chicken breast to my beans. They soak up the sweet molasses taste and it's heavenly. If you decide to do this, add the meat before baking the beans in the oven.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Corn Dogs

Corn Dogs or POGOs, as us Canadians like to call them, was some of my favorite food, growing up. My Mom use to buy some POGO mix, in a box, and I remember fighting with the rest of the family over who would get the last one. Well, they've stopped making the mix, so I've been searching everywhere for a homemade corn dog batter. I found a recipe a few years back and tried it. It was good, but not as good as I remembered. It must have been the hot dogs, since I made them a few nights ago, and they were awesome! (Nobody believes me that food tastes differently in the U.S. than it does in Canada...). These are super simple to make. The batter is pretty thick, which ensures a nice coating on the hot dog. The kids loved them, as did Hubby. It's a shame they are deep fried, since I could eat these once a week, LOL.




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Corndogs

8-10 Hot dogs
1 cup Cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t Chili powder
1 t salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup Oil
Oil for frying

Impale the hot dogs on skewers, popsicle sticks or trimmed twigs. Dry the dogs well and set aside. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat milk, eggs and oil in another bowl. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients just until the batter comes together. Heat about 1" of oil in a skillet till just shimmering, about 360°. Pour batter into a tall glass. Dip the dog in the batter to cover. Fry dog in hot oil on both sides till browned (about 2-3 minutes). Remove to paper towels. Continue as above with the rest of the dogs till all done.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

3 Cheese and Bacon Macaroni

I made this this past weekend, since I had some leftover cheese sauce, from a previous meal. I jazzed it up by adding 2 different kinds of cheese, to my cheddar cheese sauce. Mr.B loves bacon, so I knew that would be a great way to get him to eat homemade mac'n'cheese. He seems to prefer the blue box, to homemade. It turned out really good. Salty and smoky from the bacon, with a nice crispy buttery cheesy crust. YUM-O!!! The kids loved it and Hubby polished it off when he got home from work.





3 Cheese and Bacon Macaroni

4 cups dried macaroni
1/2 lb of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 C Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 Ritz crackers, finely crushed
1/2C cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni until al dente and drain. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for three minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn. Pour in milk and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low. Add in cheeses and stir to melt. Add salt and pepper and taste to see if you need to adjust seasonings. Add in bacon and cooked macaroni. Spoon into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Mix cracker crumbs and 1/2 C of cheese together. Sprinkle evenly onto macaroni. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until to is golden brown.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

It's the 2nd week of December and I can't help but feel like I'm so far behind. We've yet to start our Christmas shopping and still haven't gotten our tree. I did finally get the decorations up, in the house, simply because I was tired of seeing the storage bins on the landing, LOL. This year is just flying by and I hope we can get our act together and get everything done on time. This week my plan is quick meals, so I can have more time to do what needs to be done. I still do need to start my Christmas baking, so keep an eye out for that too.


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In no particular order:



Once again I'm participating in Meal Plan Mondays over at The Orginazation Junkie. Head on over to find tons of meals plans from busy Moms, getting ready for the Holidays.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Praline Sweet Potatoes

I've probably mentioned, in previous posts, that I don't really like sweet potatoes. I really don't know why, since I love sweets. I just can't seem to get the feel for these sweet potatoes. Regardless, I keep buying them and trying them again. Mainly because Hubby and my nephew like them so much. One of my fellow group owners on CFYF also has a blog, which I follow. I love her blog, Ms.enPlace, because she's from Louisiana and she has a wonderful personality. I also like to see what Cajun dish she is cooking and what spin she puts on dishes. So, I saw this recipe for sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving time, and thought, maybe this would finally be a way of me liking them. I mean how can you not like something covered with brown sugar, nuts and butter??? So I gave it a try. I used fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned, because well frankly I don't even think we carry canned yams here, in Southern Ontario. We probably do, I've just never looked for them, LOL.

These were really good. I especially like the contrast between the crunchy topping and soft sweet potatoes. The kids are still unconvinced that sweet potatoes are good, so they turned their noses up at it, after the one bite rule. Hubby and my nephew must have liked them, since there is only a tiny bit left this morning. This would be a really great alternative to sweet potato casserole, for Thanksgiving. Thanks MM for sharing your awesome recipe with us.


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Praline Yams
Ms. EnPlace, adapted from Sugary Sam's Sweet Potatoes

1 40 oz can cut sweet potatoes, drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350. Place drained yams in an ungreased 2 qt casserole or baking dish. (Note: I like to spread the yams out even more in a larger dish so that the topping is more evenly distributed) If some pieces are too large, cut them to the size you'd like. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; blend well. Sprinkle over yams. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly.

Cindy's notes: I used fresh sweet potatoes that I boiled until fork tender, then sliced about 1/4 inch thick.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Homemade Pizza and Deep Fried Veggies

Sometimes I'm just in the mood for good ole bar food. As was the case Tuesday night. Hubby was off, so we had planned to make homemade pizza. I on the other hand was craving zucchini sticks with ranch dressing. I knew the guys would never just agree to zucchini, so I also made battered mushrooms and homemade onion rings. Everything tasted wonderful! Sure we probably clogged our arteries up real good, with our double cheese, pepperoni, mushroom pizza and deep fried veggies, but I always say it's OK to indulge once in a while. Hubby mentioned that we need to tweak the batter recipe to add a few more spices to it, so we'll work on that next time we have deep fried veggies ( which really only happens once or twice a year, LOL). Notice the part of the pizza without toppings?? That was Mr.B's piece. He use to eat toppings, but this past year he has become a cheese pizza fan. No big deal, I just leave a corner of the pizza plain. I've yet to unpack all my cookbooks, so I've been trying out new pizza dough recipes. This is my favorite so far. I only have a picture of the onion rings, since my camera died and I lost a few pictures in the process.



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Master Pizza Dough
Submitted by Amy

Makes 1 (14-inch) thick-crust pizza or 2 (12-inch) thin-crust pizzas.

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130F)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Cornmeal

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt. Stir very warm water and olive oil into dry ingredients. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface10 minutes. Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s).** Sprinkle with cornmeal. Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). Bake in preheated hot oven (450)for about 10-15 minutes.

Amy’s Notes: Honestly, I think this recipe is so easy, I just mix it with a spoon at first and then switch to using my hands. I only knead until it is smooth --probably about 4 or 5 minutes. test it after a few minutes to see if you can pull a piece of the dough into a thin, tight membrane that you can see light through. If it breaks before you can get it there, knead some more

TO FREEZE: Just put the dough into a ball, put a very light coat of olive oil on it, then place it in two plastic bags, tied tightly. It will keep in the freezer for about 3 months. When you need to use it, simply take it out and thaw.


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Deep Fried Vegetables
Adapted from Cooks.com

1 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. oil
1 lb of veggies such as zucchini ( cut into 3-4 inch sticks), mushrooms, onions (sliced into rings), cauliflower (cut into florets) or dill pickle (sliced).
Additional flour (optional)
Oil for deep frying

Heat oil to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add egg and milk and whisk until smooth. Toss the veggies with flour, then dip into the batter. Gently drop battered veggies into the oil, making sure to not over crowd the fryer, since they will stick together. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve veggies with your choice of Ranch dressing, Ketchup or marinara sauce for dipping.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken Parmesan with Pasta Primavera

Last night's dinner was a bit of a challenge. It started off with Queenie being super crabby and clingy. Then to top it all off, I was out of bread crumbs!! Hubby had used them up making meatballs, a few weeks ago and forgot to mention we were out. I found out this little fact after I had pounded out the chicken, made the egg wash and seasoned the flour. So basically there was no going back. I looked in the cupboard to see what I could substitute and decided to go with Ritz crackers. I was a bit skeptical about the outcome, but was pleasantly pleased. I don't make chicken Parm very often, since I find it very time consuming, but I only had 3 chicken breast to work with, so figured this would be a good way to make them seem like there was more.

The first time I made Pasta Primavera was at my sister's house, many years ago. I was visiting for a few weeks and was making dinner for her and her family, to give her a break after work. I found the recipe in a Canadian Living cookbook. It was so simple to make that the recipe has stuck in my head this whole time. I like it because it's a great way to get a lot of veggies in, while enjoying one of my favorite foods; Pasta.


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Chicken Parmesan

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 C flour
salt and pepper
1 egg
2 Tbs water
1/2 C seasoned bread crumbs
1/4C Parmesan
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
oil for frying

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large Ziploc bag, pound out chicken to 1/2 an inch thick. Place flour in a shallow dish or pie plate. Season with salt and pepper. In a second shallow dish whisk together the egg and water. In a third shallow dish mix together the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add enough oil, to a large fry pan, to coat the bottom. Heat oil, over medium heat. Once oil is hot, take 1 chicken breast and dredge in flour. Then in the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat with each remaining chicken breast. Place in hot oil and cook on both sides until golden brown, 3-5 minutes each side. Once browned place chicken breast in a baking dish and cover with pasta sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake, covered, for 30-45 minutes; until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Pasta Primavera
Adapted from Canadian Living Cookbook

2/3 box spaghetti
2Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
1 med zucchini, cut into thin strips
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
1 rib celery, chopped
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 C chicken broth
salt and pepper
2 Tbs butter
1/2 C Parmesan cheese

In a large pot of boiling water, cook spaghetti. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat oil and butter, over medium heat. Once butter starts to bubble add in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, then add vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and onion powder. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, but slightly crisp, 5-10 minutes. Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Add butter to hot pasta and toss to coat. Once vegetables are tender, add spaghetti to the skillet, along with the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve.

Cindy's notes: I used Penne pasta, since that's what I was in the mood for. I also omitted the red pepper, since we didn't have any.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meal Plan Monday: Week of Nov 30th

Thanks to Lori I've decided to join meal Plan Mondays over at Organizing Junkie . Here is my meal plan for the week. Some of the dishes are repeats from last week that I wasn't able to make. It's always subject to change, depending on moods and last minute guests. I'll add links to previously made meals. In no particular order......



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  • Chicken Parmesan with Pasta Primavera
  • Homemade Pizza with Fried Zuchinni and a salad
  • Porcupine balls with peas
  • Pierogies with Ham and peas
  • Saucy Mozzarella Patties with pasta
  • Pork Tenderloin with Praline Yams and broccoli
  • Leftovers

Head on over to The Organizing Junkie for tons of great menu plans! A great way to save time, money and become a bit more organized with your meals.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pumpkin pie and an extra little treat

Well we've had a few stressful days. With Thanksgiving in the U.S. we were suppose to entertain my Mother in Law and Hubby's cousin, who decided they'd like to come celebrate with us. Only one problem..... we now live in Canada and celebrated Thanksgiving last month. Hubby explained that to his mom and told them not to expect your traditional turkey, since we hadn't planned on celebrating a 2nd time. I felt guilty and decided to make a pie, to help it seem more like a holiday. I made the pie, only for our plans to change once again. We didn't have any company on November 26th, just yummy pie, LOL.

I attempted making a pumpkin pie, last month, for our Turkey Day. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. Hubby came home with sweetened condensed milk, rather than evaporated milk. I had already added the sugar to my pumpkin, so I couldn't use the condensed milk. I subbed half and half, but it just didn't turn out right. Since it was last minute and I really didn't feel like going to the store to buy evap milk, this time I searched for a recipe using the condensed milk. I found a super easy one and it was a great success. It will be my go to pumpkin pie, from now on. Creamy, not too sweet and not too many spices. Perfect with whipped cream.



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PUMPKIN PIE FOR BEGINNERS
Adapted from startcooking.com blog

1 can of pumpkin (15 ounces)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
2 eggs
3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1- 9 inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth. Pour into unbaked crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil.

REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 350 and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish with whip cream. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Cindy's notes: I used pumpkin puree, which I had made a few months ago and put in the freezer.



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Oh, and I wanted to share an extra little treat. You know that leftover dough you get when you trim the edges off your pie crust??? Well all my life, my Mom would take that dough, roll it out thinly, slather with butter, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon, roll it up like a cigar and pinch the ends. Then she'd place it, seem down, in a crescent shape in a pie plate and bake it along with our pies (until golden brown). The result is a sweet cinnamony delight. I call them poor man cinnamon rolls. A neat way to not waste a bit of dough!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who doesn't love a good cookie??

My mom was here for a week or so, taking care of the kids, while I had the flu. Thankfully it was not the swine flu, but it was just bad enough for me to be unable to do much of anything. By Thursday of last week my appetite had returned and I wasn't coughing nearly as much as I had been. While watching Food Network, I saw a guy make these amazing looking Oatmeal cookies and top them with ice cream. I immediately asked my Mom to make me some. After a quick on line search for the recipe, she got to work. She made them smaller than the recipe stated and we ended up with about 26 or so cookies. These are so soft and chewy. The tiny bit of cinnamon adds a comforting warmth to them too. In the recipe it didn't specify how much cinnamon to use, so we went with 1/2 a tsp. The perfect amount in my opinion.

Before leaving my Mom also notice I had the ingredients to make her favorite Skor Toffee cookies ( Skor is a chocolate bar similar to Heath. Look for Toffee bits in your baking isle, by the chocolate chips). She couldn't pass up the opportunity, so she made up a batch of those as well. These are really good. Chewy and buttery. The kids were turned off by the buttery toffee flavor, but Hubby and I sure like them. Thanks Mom for coming to the rescue and spoiling us the way you do!!!



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Soft Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Ricardo and Friends (Foodnetwork Canada)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 x egg
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
Vanilla ice cream

With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer. Add the egg and beat until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture. Stir in the rolled oats using a wooden spoon. With lightly floured hands, shape 75 ml (1/3 cup) of the dough into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, arranging 6 balls on each sheet. Press the balls until they are about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Bake 1 sheet at a time for about 13 minutes; the centre of the cookie should still be soft. Let cool slightly. Using a spatula, gently transfer the cookies to serving plates. Garnish each with a scoop of ice cream.

Cindy's notes: we made these smaller dropping batter by Tbs onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, for smaller cookies.

Skor Toffee Cookies
Lori (my sister in law)

1 box Butter Pecan cake mix
1 egg
1/2 C butter, melted
1 C Skor Toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine cake mix with the egg and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Add in toffee bits and drop by Tbs onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges start to brown.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meal Plan Mondays

Well, I've decided to start sharing my meal plan with you. I usually plan our dinners every 2 weeks, since we get paid bi-weekly. I like to meal plan because it saves us from over spending on our groceries, when we shop. It cuts down on buying items we already have and stops me from procrastinating until 4pm, trying to think of what to make for dinner. I don't assign the dishes to specific days. I just write them on a paper, tack the paper to the fridge door and choose what appeals to me in the morning. I try to incorporate meals I know everyone likes, with meals I've never made. So here is what is on the menu this week. I'll include links to previously posted recipes.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Midnight Mashed Potatoes

A Great way to jazz up mashed potatoes. Sometimes I just get bored with ole mashed potatoes, so I thought I'd give these a try. The recipe uses ingredients I usually always have on hand, so it's a great alternative to plain mashers. I found this recipe in the Cooking for your Family recipe box. The kids enjoyed them, so that is always a plus in my book. Slightly tart from the sour cream and Parmesan. Creamy and salty too. I didn't use the chives since I knew Mr.B wouldn't even think of touching them, if there were green bits throughout. They would taste even better with them in, I think. I didn't bake mine, since I was in a hurry, but am sure the crisp brown crust would taste wonderful!!



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Midnight Mashed
Adapted by Katie from Quick Cooking

6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute the garlic in butter. Drain potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic; beat until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients; mix well. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

With my parents coming for the weekend, I wanted to make a dessert. I had some pumpkin and cranberries in the freezer, so I did an Internet search for recipes containing the two. It was a toss up between cranberry pumpkin bars, or muffins. The muffins won out, simply because I did not have any cream cheese to make frosting for the bars, LOL. I'm glad I did choose the muffins though, because they are AWESOME!! They are so moist and soft, yet they aren't crumbly. It's like eating a really moist cake. The hints of tart cranberries in every bite really help with the sweetness of the muffin. They are pretty sweet, so next time I make them, I'll reduce the sugar by half a cup, to see what that gives. These will definitely become a Fall favorite, since there is only one muffin left, out of the 18 I made on Friday. :o)



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Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar; add the pumpkin and oil and mix well. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the cranberries. Fill foil-or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Cindy's notes: I subbed 1/2C of brown sugar for the white, since I like the flavor with the pumpkin

This post linked to

This Week's Craving

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ham and Cheese Cannelloni with Italian Bread

This Cannelloni recipe was quite different than what we are used to. I thought it was good, but it didn't knock our socks off. It had a unique flavor, of tangy cheese and salty ham. This had been a Meal of the Week recipe (on CFYF) a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd give it a try, since we usually have most of the ingredients on hand. The ham smelled really good once you added in the Worcestershire sauce. The kids had mixed reactions about these; Queenie couldn't get enough of the ham filling, while Mr.B wouldn't even touch it. Hubby said it was good, but would be better if there was bacon added to it. It's a neat twist on a meal that could be altered in many ways. I served it with Hubby's favorite bread. I originally wanted to make Artisan bread, but Hubby requested Italian. So I got the bright idea of baking it like Artisan bread. It didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, since the dough spread out a bit too much. It also didn't crisp up as well as it usually does, which is a big reason for Hubby loving this bread. It was still good regardless, but next time I won't mess with a good thing, LOL.


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Ham & Cheese Cannelloni
AdriaNAlly

Box of oven ready cannelloni
4 cans of flaked ham
6 cans of Campbells cheddar soup
milk
2 or 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
butter or margarine
Worcestershire sauce to taste

Preheat oven for 400F. Saute onions, celery and margarine (use enough to make them soft and keep them moist...I don't know exact amount LOL)once onions/celery are soft, add flaked ham and mash down so no big chunks. Simmer on low, adding Worcestershire sauce, to your desired taste. Turn off, uncover and let cool down enough that you can stuff the cannelloni with your fingers.

While this is cooling, in a pot heat on low to medium heat the cheddar soup, adding milk until cheese is smooth, but not too thick or thin. *(I use a whisk for this to help loosen up lumps). In a long baking pan (I use cooking spray first to help from sticking), put enough cheese sauce to cover the bottom. Start stuffing cannelloni and putting them in the pan. This usually makes about 12 or more. If there is some meat left over, that's ok, keep it aside for now. Pour warm cheese sauce over top of cannelloni, making sure to get in between each one too. Sprinkle any left over meat on top.

Put in oven and bake for about 30mins, pull out and use a spatula to turn cannelloni over in the pan, try to make sure cheese sauce covers completely. Put back in oven for another 20mins then check with a butter knife or fork to make sure cannelloni is soft. Pull out and let sit for about 10mins.

Cindy's notes: I transformed these into stuffed shells, instead of Cannelloni. I also only used 2 cans of Cheddar soup and that was plenty of sauce.



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Italian Bread - Bread Machine
Sandy

1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast

Layer in bread machine pan according to manufacturers recommendation. Bake on the basic cycle. Makes a large loaf (2 lbs).Add a tablespoon or two of water if the machine sounds like it is struggling (dough may be dry).

Sandy’s Notes: Sub’d 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of white bread flour, added about 3 T vital wheat gluten. Baked on the Rapid Whole Wheat cycle - awesome!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Honestly......

I've been sent another award!!! I knew my slaving away in the kitchen would come to some good, LOL.

Thanks so much to Judy over at The Bashas, for giving my blog some props and a shout out. The award is the Honest Scrap award and the rules state that I must share 10 honest things about myself and pass the love around. So here goes....

  1. I often wonder what ever possessed me to become a mother.
  2. If I didn't have kids right now, I'd be having cereal for dinner.
  3. I look forward to the days that Mr.B is in school, so I can have some alone time, while Queenie is sleeping.
  4. I tell myself everyday that I should exercise, but I'm just too darn lazy.
  5. I purposefully forget to buy new batteries for the kids toys.
  6. I'm really craving a huge slice of chocolate cake right now.
  7. I sometimes regret moving back to Canada.
  8. I'm secretly hoping Queenie has a high spirited child, so she can know what it was like to raise her.
  9. I want to go back to school and maybe become a hairdresser/ make up artist.
  10. I really need to work on my patience and temper.

Here are the rules

Say thank you and give a link to the presenter of the award.

Share “10 Honest Things” about yourself.

Present the award to 10* other bloggers whose blogs you find brilliant in
content and/or design or to those who have encouraged you.

Be sure to tell the 10* bloggers chosen that you are giving them the Honest Scrap award and provide the guidelines for them.

*Or a number that you can reasonably accomplish in whatever mental/physical state you're in.

My Shout outs

Ms. en Place http://msenplace.blogspot.com/ ( love to see what new Cajun foods she'll cook up next)

My Kinda Rain http://txmykindarain.blogspot.com/ ( she always has the inside scoop on coupons and giveaways)

I'm the Mama! http://namolloht.blogspot.com/ ( we need more updates on you guys and C!!!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter

I finally got around to roasting my other sugar pumpkin the other night. It had been sitting outside for about a month, so I figured I should get to it. There had been a pumpkin recipe posted on this round of the Meal of the Week, on CFYF, so I was jazzed about being able to try them. I have this odd obsession with scones. For one, I think they are delicious and second, they make me feel all sophisticated when I make them, LOL. So I made these for breakfast yesterday. They are really good. Fluffy and soft inside. I would have liked a bit more sweetness and spice, but they are good non the less. The butter adds a nice tart saltiness to the sweet pumpkin. I didn't have dry cranberries, so I threw a handful of frozen berries in a sauce pan, with about 2 Tbs of sugar. I cooked them down until they had popped, then mushed them up and reduced until they were thick. I let that cool and mixed it with the butter. At first I forgot to add the powdered sugar to the butter, but after realizing it, I threw some in. It didn't make much of a difference, just made it smoother, LOL.



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Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter
Adapted from Taste of Home

BERRY BUTTER:

2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

DOUGH:

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, optional

Place cranberries in a small bowl; add boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain and chop. In a small bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and cranberries; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pie spice, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, pumpkin and milk; add to crumb mixture just until moistened. Stir in pecans if desired.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Pat into an 8-in. circle. Cut into eight wedges; separate wedges and place on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with berry butter. Yield: 8 scones (about 1/2 cup butter).

This post is linked to

Tasty Tuesdays

Monday, November 2, 2009

Roast Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Apples

I've been trying to get into the Autumn mood by cooking with more seasonal ingredients. I knew my nephew likes sweet potatoes, so I thought this would be a great recipe to try. It was really quite simple to put together and I like that you cook it all in the same pot. The pork came out tender and paired wonderfully with the sweet potatoes and apples. The kids aren't really crazy about sweet potatoes ( neither am I really), but I'm hoping that by cooking with them more often, we will come to love them. They are so full of nutrients that it's a shame not to take advantage of them. I used a mixture of McIntosh, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples. I really loved the flavor of the GD apples with the pork. Macs however are not a great choice, since they pretty much turned to mush. This is a great and hearty Fall weather meal.



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Roast Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Adapted from About.com

1 boneless pork loin roast, 3 to 4 pounds, fat trimmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
3 large sweet potatoes, quartered
3 large apples, cored and quartered

Preparation:Preheat the oven to 375°. Coat a large ovenproof Dutch oven with vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat. When very hot, add the pork roast. Cook, turning, until all sides are browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the honey, orange juice, apple juice concentrate, pepper, and brown sugar. Spoon over the pork roast. Place the sweet potatoes around the pork. Cover and bake for 2 hours. Pork should register about 150 ° on an instant read thermometer.

Place the apple quarters around the pork. Bake, uncovered, basting frequently, for 20 minutes, or until the apples are just tender. Let the pork stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve pork roast sliced, with the sweet potatoes and apples.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples

I had some frozen pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving ( Canadians celebrate Turkey day in October) and I decided to try to make waffles with it. I knew for sure I would love them, since I LOVE pumpkin pie. I used my regular waffle recipe, substituting extra brown sugar, for the white and adding 3/4 C of pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice. The flavor was really great, but I would have liked the waffles to be a bit more crisp. They were almost creamy, which isn't a bad thing, but crispy is better. I served them with apples that I simmered with brown sugar and cinnamon. Perfect Fall flavors!


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Pumpkin Waffles

4 Tbs butter, melted
2 eggs
3/4 C pumpkin puree
1 3/4C milk
1/4 C brown sugar
2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat waffle iron. Mix together the eggs, pumpkin and sugar, adding the melted butter and mixing well. Add dry ingredients and milk. Whisk well, to ensure no lumps. Pour batter from cup or pitcher onto center of hot waffle iron. Bake until steaming stops, about 5 minutes. Remove waffle carefully.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples

3 large apples, chopped ( I like a mixture of MacIntosh and Granny Smith)
1 Tbs butter
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until apples are tender, about 5-8 minutes.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooky Brownies!!!

Happy Halloween all !!! To celebrate I made these brownies for the kids. My original plan was to make them for Mr.B's school party, but he's been home all week with a cold/flu. I knew I wanted to make today special, just in case his sniffles stopped him from enjoying his Trick or Treat fun, tonight. One of the fellow group owners on Cooking for your Family, had made these last year and I could pass up the chance to try my hand at them. I used my go to Fudgy Brownie recipe and piped red hair on Frankenstein, rather than use fruit leather. They are a bit time consuming, but the cuteness factor overuled the time spent frosting the darn marshmallows, LOL. Mr.B was over the moon when he saw them this morning and is anxiously eating his breakfast, so he can sample a Franken Brownie.

I also wanted to wish everyone a safe night of Trick or Treating tonight !!!!



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Spooky Brownies
Submitted by Michelle via Betty Crocker

Spooktacular fun and scrumptious eating are coming your way! Gather your goblins to share lots of baking tricks and treats.


1 box Betty Crocker® Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch) Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for in brownie mix directions

1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy creamy white frosting
Neon green, pink and blue food colors
24 large marshmallows
Miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
Betty Crocker® black decorating gel (from 0.68-oz tube)
1 roll Betty Crocker® Fruit Roll-Ups® chewy fruit snack (any red variety) Gummy worms candies

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Make and bake brownies in 13x9-inch pan as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows, making 24 brownies.

2. Divide frosting among 3 small microwavable bowls. Heat frosting as needed: microwave 1 bowl uncovered on High about 10 to 15 seconds until frosting can be stirred smooth. If frosting becomes too firm while decorating, microwave on High an additional 5 seconds; stir.

3. Decorate as directed below, using 8 brownies for each bowl of frosting.

Franken-Brownies Add 5 drops green food color to frosting in 1 bowl; mix well. Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Spoon 1 tablespoon green frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Decorate with green baking bits for eyes and ears. Use black gel for mouths and centers of eyes. Cut fruit snack to use for hair.

Boo-Brownies Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Spoon 1 tablespoon white frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Use black gel for eyes and mouths.

Spider Brownies Add 5 drops pink food color and 3 drops blue food color to frosting in 1 bowl; mix well. Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Tuck gummy worms candies under each marshmallow for legs. Spoon 1 tablespoon purple frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Use orange baking bits for eyes. Use black gel for mouths, centers of eyes and eyebrows.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude brownie mix directions.
This post linked to

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chicken Divan

I saw Paula Dean make a version of this dish a while back, and wondered where it originated from. The original dish takes its name from the Divan Parisienne (restaurant) in New York. The restaurant no longer exists, but this dish lives on to please families everywhere.

I had a ton of broccoli that I needed to use and wanted something creamy and ooey good, so I was happy to find this recipe. Once again good ole Cooking for your Family came to the rescue. I always have all these ingredients on hand, so it's a great go to meal. The only thing I will do differently next time is use Mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip. I grabbed the MW out of the fridge, without giving it a second thought, since I prefer it to Hellmans. I found it made the dish slightly too sweet and that resulted in the children picking out the broccoli and chicken. I was certain the remaining 3/4 of the dish would sit in the fridge for a week, until I threw it out. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Hubby and my nephew had happily eaten the remainder, once they had gotten home from work.


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Here is what it looked like on the plate


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Chicken Divan
Submitted by Rachel

2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup mayo
1 can cream of "fill in the blank" soup*
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp. butter, melted
cheddar cheese, shredded
9 oz. frozen broccoli florets, cooked

Arrange broccoli in a 9 inch pie plate, salt and pepper to taste. Combine chicken, soup, mayo,lemon juice and curry. Spread over broccoli. Sprinkle cheese over top. Mix melted butter and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve over rice.
Rachel's notes* I like to use cheddar cheese soup, but you can use broccoli, chicken or whatever you like.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soft Baked Pretzels

I grabbed this recipe online quite a while back, intending to make these for a movie night. Well I never got around to it until now. My nephew was talking about getting a soft pretzel at the movies the other night and that sparked the craving. These are so easy to make!! The kneading is the hardest part, LOL. They are soft, chewy and oh so delicious. I served ours with mustard and salsa for dipping. You could even get adventurous and brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan or cinnamon sugar. It's a perfect snack, or pair them with soup or sandwiches for a twist on lunch.


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Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast (or 1 Tb)
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour

Add sugar to warm water then sprinkle yeast on top. Let float for a minute then stir to dissolve the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes as yeast activates and starts to foam. Add salt and flour and knead 5-10 minutes; adding more flour as needed to reduce stickiness. Divide dough in to 12 pieces and roll each piece into a long rope. Twist into pretzel shape and place on nonstick baking sheet. Make an egg wash with one egg and a Tb of water, lightly beaten together. Brush pretzels with egg wash then sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Orange Glazed Pork Chops with Quinoa Pilaf

Well, this dinner was a hit and miss. I'm pretty sure it's partly my fault, for not rinsing the Quinoa properly. I forgot to rinse it until the water ran clear and just did a quick rinse. The result was a huge bitter mess. The Pilaf was virtually inedible. I thought adding salt to my serving would improve the taste, but it didn't. Mr.B and Queenie took one bite and refused to eat anymore, LOL. My nephew ( the sweet heart) choked down his first serving with soy sauce and attempted a second serving with Ketchup. He said it's quite bad when even Ketchup won't help, LOL. I'm very tempted to make this again, but am certain no one will want to try it.

The pork chops were great! I really enjoyed the way the savory Rosemary paired with the sweetness of the orange juice and the tangy saltiness of the mustard. We don't use mustard powder, so I simply replaced it for 1 tsp of yellow mustard. The chops came out sweet, tender and juicy. The pan was a bit difficult to clean, due to the sugar, but quite worth the effort.


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Quinoa Pilaf
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add carrot, and cook 3 minutes more. Stir in quinoa and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and fluffy. In a bowl, toss quinoa together with walnuts and parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.


ORANGE GLAZED PORK CHOPS
Adapted from Cooks.com

6 pork chops
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. rosemary

Place pork chops in 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix other ingredients, except rosemary and pour over chops. Sprinkle with rosemary. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on thickness.

Classic Cream Scones, with Strawberry Preserves

The last strawberries of the season were on sale last week, so we bought quite a few. I noticed yesterday morning, that the last few cups were about to go bad, so I decided to make my Mom's strawberry preserves. Mom usually makes these at Christmas time and turns the preserves into these delicious strawberry tarts. We all fight over the tarts, but it's the preserves we love best. So once I made the preserves, I wondered what to do with them. I decided they would pair nicely with a sweet scone or biscuit. So when I woke up this morning and the kids were still sleeping, I took the opportunity to search some of my favorite sites for a scone recipe. I knew I wanted to pair the preserves with a vanilla flavor, so I was happy to find this recipe. These were easy to put together and taste great. The vanilla flavoring is just right and compliments the slight sweetness of the preserves. The scones are light, fluffy and smell divine!








CLASSIC CREAM SCONES
Adapted from Cooks.com

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 c. unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 lg. egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. currants, optional
1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. water for glaze, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly butter baking sheet. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute them over flour mixture. Mix with pastry blender or two knives used in scissors fashion. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.In a small bowl stir together the cream, egg and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in currants, if desired.
With lightly floured hands, pat dough into 1/2-inch thickness on lightly floured cutting board. Using a floured 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter or the top of a tumbler, cut out rounds from the dough and place them on prepared baking sheet.

Gather the scraps together and repeat until all dough is used. Lightly brush the tops of scones with egg mixture, if desired. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove sheet to wire racks, cool 5 minutes. Remove scones to rack to continue cooling. Serve warm or cool. Makes 14 scones.

Cindy's notes: I made a half inch thick round and cut the dough into triangles, using a pizza wheel. I also omitted the currants, subbed half-and-half for the cream and sprinkled the scones with sugar, before baking.

Strawberry Preserves

2 C strawberries, chopped
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C water

In a small pot bring all ingredients to a boil. Simmer for about 1-2 hrs, until strawberries have broken down and liquid has thicken and almost reduced to nothing. Keep refridgerated for up to 2 weeks.

Cindy's notes: My Mom also uses these to make strawberry tarts at Christmas time. Simply fill your tart shells 2/3 full with preserves and bake at 350, until tart shells start to brown.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Meatballs!!

I'm not a big ground beef fan, so when Mr.B requests spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, when Hubby is working, I cringe a little inside. Tonight was the case. We've been eating a lot of different foods lately and Mr.B hasn't been a big fan of them, so I wanted to make something he wanted for a change. I browsed meatball recipes on line and tried to recall what Hubby puts in his and I came up with a pretty good recipe, I think. The meatballs were seasoned just right, tender and juicy. I actually ate 3 without wanting to gag, so that must account for something, LOL. Mr.B cleaned his plate ( the first itme in weeks) and said they were the best meatballs ever. He says that about many of my dinners, but then proceeds to not eat what's on his plate, so I never know if I should take his comments at face value. Queenie and my nephew also ate with much gusto and I'm proud to report only 4 meatballs are left. If they make it until lunch tomorrow, we'll see if they meet Hubby's approval too.



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Meatballs

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 C Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Try to make sure all is combined, without working the meat too much. Form into meatballs, about the size of a golf ball. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a large skillet or soup pot. Brown meatballs on both sides, making sure not to break any. Remove meatballs from pot and drain any remaining oil. Pour in 1 bottle of your favorite pasta sauce, making sure to scrape up any yummy brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Gently return meatballs to the pot and simmer in the sauce for 1 hr. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.
Crock pot: Form and brown meatballs as above. Place meatballs in crock pot and cover with sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hubby's Chicken and Dumplings and Cranberry Orange Loaf

Hubby makes the most amazing Chicken and Dumplings. The first time he made it for me, was about 9 yrs ago, when I was having a Crohn's flare up. To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with the dish and hardly ate any of it, LOL. I found it had too many herbs in it and thought it tasted weird. Now this was after living most of my life eating food seasoned with only salt and pepper. So any foreign herbs and spices threw me for a loop. Despite my initial reaction to the dish, I kept trying it, every time Hubby would make it. It is now one of my favorite cold weather dishes he makes. The tender noodles paired with the savory chicken and vegetables, blend so well with the fluffy dumplings. Hubby has made this for several of my family members and it has now become one of his most requested dishes.



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Hubby's Chicken and Dumplings

1 lb chicken thighs ( with bones and skin)
2 C carrots, chopped
1 C celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 C chicken stock
2 tsp thyme
2-3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/2- 1 bag medium egg noodles (depending on size of pot)

Dumplings

1 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C milk ( may need more if too dry)

In a large soup pot heat oil and brown chicken thighs on every side, until golden brown. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 1 hr. Remove chicken thighs. Remove meat from skin and bones and chop to bite size pieces. Return to pot also adding egg noodles. Cook until noodles are just shy of aldente. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk and stir until well combined, adding more milk if needed, to make a thick batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls into pot and cook another 20-30 minutes, until dumplings are cooked through.


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One of the poster's on Cooking for your Family had posted about free downloadable Taste of Home Magazines. I browsed them to see if I could find anything that caught my attention. My Mom had brought a bag of fresh cranberries, in hopes that I could use them up, before they went bad, so I was pleased when I found a recipe for Orange Cranberry Loaf. This turned out wonderfully. It has a slight sweetness that compliments the tart cranberries perfectly. The hint of caramel from the topping added a nice warmth to it all. We all enjoyed it and my Mom requested the recipe. I'm fixin' to make up another batch in the next few days, since I have more cranberries in the freezer.



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Kelsey's Favorite Cranberry Bread
Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

2 C flour
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 C cold butter
1 egg
3/4 C orange juice
2 tsp orange peel
1 C chopped cranberries
1/2 C golden raisins

Streusel:

1/3 C brown sugar
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs butter

Glaze:

1/2 C powdered sugar
2 tsp orange juice

In a large bowl combine first 5 ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl whisk egg, orange juice and peel. Stir into ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Pour into a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan.

Combine brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For glaze combine powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over bread.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheddar Baked Chicken

My Mom is visiting for a week or so, so when I planned dinner, I knew I didn't want to make just any ordinary meal. She lives a life of plain ole cooking, so when she comes to visit, I like to treat her to the flavors she loves but lives without. I searched the Cooking for your Family Recipe Box, for a chicken recipe, that would be easy, delicious and different. This recipe was right up my alley, since I love cheese. It came together quickly and tasted wonderful. I used bone in, skinless breasts of chicken. The chicken was juicy, the breading crunchy and salty. Everyone enjoyed the chicken and voiced that they would have loved if I had made more, LOL.


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Cheddar Baked Chicken
Amy via All Recipes
Yields: 6 servings

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup crispy rice cereal
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut in half
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a medium baking dish with 1/4 cup melted butter. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and milk. In a third bowl, mix the cheese, bread crumbs, cereal. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture, dip in the egg mixture, then press in the breadcrumb mixture to coat. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons butter evenly over chicken. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until coating is golden brown and chicken juices run clear.

Cindy's notes: It didn't specify if the rice cereal should be crushed or not, so I crushed it and mixed it with the bread crumbs and cheese.

Friday, October 9, 2009

White Chili with Turkey and Applesauce Banana Loaf

I made these recipes yesterday. I had cooked a huge 17 lb turkey, a few weeks ago, so I have a ton of leftover meat in the freezer. I saw this chili recipe in the Family Fun Magazine, that I'm subscribed to. I have never had white chili, so I decided to try this one, since I had all ingredients on hand. I made some homemade turkey stock and used it for the chili as well. It came together quickly, which is always a bonus. The chili was slightly spicy, but not too spicy, since I only used 4oz of green chilies. The kids loved the creamy beans and sweet corn. It was a big hit at home, we cleaned the pot, LOL.


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White Chili with ChickenAdapted from Family Fun Magazine

3 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2(15 ounce) cans white kidney or navy beans
3-4 C diced cooked chicken
1 C frozen corn
1 (7 ounce) can green chilies
2 C chicken broth, plus more for thinning if desired
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter, softened
1 1/2 Tb flour
pepper
3-4 Tbs half and half or light cream (optional)
Grated Cheddar or Monterrey Jack

Warm the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring often, for 7 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and saute for another minute. Stir in the white beans, chicken, corn, green chilies, chicken broth and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow it to continue simmering partially covered for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, blend the butter and the flour. Add the mixture to the chili and stir until it thickens, about a minute. Add more salt and pepper to taste. If you like, add more broth to thin the chili or 3-4 Tbs of half and half or light cream to thicken it. Serve topped with cheese if desired.

Cindy's notes: I used homemade turkey stock, cooked turkey and a 4 oz can of green chilies. I also subbed some curry powder for the cumin, since we don't have any.


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I saw the recipe for the banana loaf on the Recipe Review thread on Cooking for your Family. I liked how it was reviewed to be a very moist sweet bread. My banana bread always dries out, before we can finish it all ( unless it's the double chocolate kind, LOL). So I thought I'd give this one a try, since I had 4 bananas I was about to throw into the freezer. The review was right and it is very moist. You can't really tell that there is applesauce in it, but it does have a slight different taste to it. The kids love it, so I guess that's all that counts.



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Applesauce Banana Bread
Katie- adapted from Recipezaar

4 bananas, ripe
1 c sugar
1/2 c applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 c flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place bananas in large bowl and mash with electric mixer. Stir in sugar and let stand 15 minutes. Add applesauce, eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients, add to banana mixture and mix well. Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before removing from pan, cool on wire rack.

Cindy's notes: I used half a cup of brown sugar, for the white, since we were low on sugar.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Indian Tacos

Indian Tacos you ask? When most people here me talk about these, they think East Indian, when it's really Native American Indian. It starts out with Indian Scone or Fry Bread, depending on which part of the world you are from. I first had these at my mother in laws house. DH is Native American Mohawk and scone or fry bread is one of my favorite ethnic foods he makes. You can eat these in so many ways, with soup, PB&J, with fried ham or of course as Tacos. The scone are chewy and lend a new and interesting flavor to the taco fixins. I prefer these tacos to Mexican tacos. I'd have to say this is one of my favorite dinners we make in this house.

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Indian Scone or Fry Bread

3 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water
vegetable oil, for frying

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add warm water in small amounts and knead dough until soft but not sticky. Sometimes more flour or water will be needed. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut with a large round cookie cutter. In a heavy skillet fry (deep fry) rounds in lard or other oil (just enough to cover the bottom) until bubbles appear on dough, turn over and fry on other side until golden.

INDIAN TACO is made by covering the fry bread with layers of fried taco meat, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, chopped onions and diced tomatoes. Cover the top with red or green chili sauce/salsa and sour cream, according to taste.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beef with Broccoli

We had a cookout with family this past weekend, which left us with a pretty good amount of top sirloin steak. It was cooked medium rare, which I can not stomach, so I took the opportunity to use it up in a new dish, that would allow me to cook it fully. The kids are always fond of broccoli, so I figured I pair the 2, aiming for something similar to what you find at a Chinese restaurant. I browsed online to get the basic concept of how to recreate the meal and came up with a pretty tasty dish. It got rave reviews from the kids and Hubby. Mr.B came running into the kitchen exclaiming that whatever I was cooking sure smelled delicious. My only thought was " yeah, I hope you eat it too", LOL. Everyone cleaned their plates so I was happy. The beef was tender with a nice garlicky Asian flavor. I served it over plain Ramen noodles, but it would be equally good over plain rice.

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Beef with Broccoli

3 C top sirloin steak, thinly sliced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 C broccoli , cut into small spears
1 can mushroom soup
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1/4 C water
pepper

In a large fry pan heat oil. Add garlic and ginger; toss to coat. Add steak and cook for 3 minutes, until no longer pink. Add broccoli, toss to coat and cook 2 minutes. Meanwhile mix the mushroom soup with the water, soy sauce, worcestershire and some pepper, to taste. Add to the pan, bring to a boil and simmer until broccoli is tender crisp and the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve over hot plain Ramen Noodles or rice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baked Potato Soup and Fresh Bread

The weather is starting to cool off, here in Southern Ontario. Flu and cold season is also upon us and we've been afflicted by the first cold of the season. When I'm feeling sniffly and achy, all I want to eat is something warm and comforting. Soup and fresh bread top the list of comfort foods in our house. Though the kids are resistant at times, I've found a few soup recipes that they will eat. This recipe was once again posted on Cooking for your Family. It really is a great place to find recipes and the women there are so friendly and helpful. But I digress.... I had some baked potatoes leftover from the other night, so thought this recipe was a perfect way to use them up. The soup is rich and creamy, with a slight saltiness from the bacon and tanginess from the sour cream. We love bacon, so I always use 1/2 a pound in this recipe, LOL. It was just what we needed last night and ate every last drop.


When I think soup, the first thing that comes to mind is nice warm bread. I have a huge file of bread recipes. Though I have my favorites, I try to make new recipes here and there. I really can't remember if I tried this recipe before. I must not have, because I would be making it once a week if I did. This bread is exactly like what you would find in your local bakery. The inside was light, fluffy and cottony soft. This would make excellent sandwich bread. This recipe reminds me of the bread my mom use to make for use, while growing up.



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Baked Potato Soup
Submitted by mommy92005 (adapted from pampered chef cook book)

4 med. Baked potatoes
2 slices bacon
½ cup celery
1 can chicken broth
1 ½ cups milk1 garlic clove
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup light sour cream
½ cup cheddar

Remove skins from potatoes (baked) and mash them Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel, crumble and set aside. Keep the drippings in the pan (1/2 tbsp) Chop celery in the food processor Add chicken broth, milk, potatoes, celery, garlic, salt and pepper to drippings in pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 min. Stir in sour cream and reserved bacon. Add cheddar to top. Serve

Cindy's notes: I used 1/2 a pound of bacon, since we love bacon. I also threw in some cubed raw potato, since I like chunks of potato in my soup. I probably used more liquid than specified, since I was feeding 2 grown men, LOL.

Ultimate White Bread - Bread Machine
submitted by Sandy

3/4 cup water
2 1/2 T margarine or butter
1 egg
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Layer in bread machine per manufacturer's instructions. Makes 1 1/2 pound loaf.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pierogi Chicken Lasagna- Quick and easy weeknight dinner.

After 2 days of school, Mr.B came home with a cold. In the matter of days, we all had it, though it seems to have hit me the hardest. Hubby, Mr.B and I had to attend a teacher's night at his school, so I was looking for something easy to make, for my mother in law and Queenie. With a bad back, I knew that my mother in law could not stand at the stove and cook, so I needed something that was quick to put together and easy to cook. I had seen someone mention this recipe on Cooking for your Family and thought it was right up my alley. I was super psyched that it only took 5 minutes to throw together. The most time consuming part was chopping the chicken. The house smelled great when we returned home, Queenie had devoured her dinner and the boys had no problem finishing off the dish. I only tried a bite, since my throat felt like I had swallowed nails. Despite the excrutiating pain, it was delicious, LOL. The creaminess of the pierogies went well with the pasta sauce and cheese. I'm definately keeping this one in my what should I make when I'm not feeling well file.




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Pierogi Chicken Lasagna
Sandy

1 lb pierogies, frozen
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 (18 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
4 grilled chicken breasts, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Pour half of the sauce into a 9"x 9" casserole dish.
3. Layer pierogies over sauce and top with sliced chicken breast.
4. Pour remaining sauce over casserole and sprinkle with cheese.
5. Cover with sprayed foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin was on sale a few weeks back, so we picked up a few packages. There is 2 tenderloins per package, so I knew I'd get 2 dinners out of them. I browsed on line for new ideas to prepare them. I decided to combine a few ideas I had seen. I combined some of my favorite BBQ rub with some spicy brown mustard and marinated the tenderloins for a few hours. It turned out wonderfully! The tenderloins were so flavorful and moist. I added some potatoes to the roasting pan, about 30 minutes before the meat was done. The potatoes took on the flavor of the marinade and tasted awesome. Mr.B and Queenie gobbled down their dinners and my Mother in law was quite impressed. I'm keeping this in my marinade file for sure.


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Spicy Mustard Marinaded Pork Tenderloins

4 Tbs BBQ rub ( recipe below)
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 C spicy brown mustard
2 Tbs water
2 lbs pork tenderloins

In a large Ziploc bag combine the BBQ rub, thyme, mustard and water. Place in tenderloins and zip up, making sure to squeeze out any air. Smush the tenderloins around so the ingredients get all incorporated and the tenderloins are covered with sauce. Let sit in refrigerator at least 3 hrs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tenderloins in a roasting pan with about 1/2 C water. Cook for 1 hr. At this point you may add potatoes to the roasting pan and cook everything until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove tenderloins and let rest 20 minutes before slicing. Take any remaining pan drippings to make gravy for the potatoes, by thickening with 1 Tbs cornstarch to 2 Tbs water.

Barbeque Rub
Sandy

2 cups sugar (I use superfine)
1/4 cup paprika
2 t chili powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 cup salt
2 t black pepper
1 t garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and use as a rub for any barbeque meat. Yields about 3 cups.
Sandy's notes: Rub this into chicken, ribs, fish, or pork chops before grilling, broiling or pan frying. I sprinkle it on beef brisket and cook in the crock pot all day... OK, this rates at the very top for my favorite seasoning!