Thursday, September 24, 2015

One Pan Pasta Meal


One pan, pot, skillet, or slow-cooker is all you need to prepare this no-fuss family dinner. It comes from Martha Stewart and it actually works. I am all for quick, easy, no kitchen clean-up dinners.
Discovered by the Martha Stewart team in a tiny restaurant in the Puglia region of Italy, where the chef placed dried pasta in a skillet with water, tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil, and then cooked everything together. Once the water has boiled away, you are left with perfectly al dente pasta in a creamy sauce that coats every strand.

Ingredients :

12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
*This is a basic dish so feel free to add a few extra herbs or ingredients

Directions :

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.

Mangia! Mangia!


4 c. sugar
1 T. flour
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 stick butter
1 t. salt
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large jar JET PUFFED ONLY Marshmallow Creme
4 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped walnuts
(Variation) -- make it peanut butter fudge
1 c. peanut butter

Put sugar, butter, milk, and flour into large pot and cook on medium or slightly higher, stirring briskly and constantly. Once mixture reaches a boil, cook approximately 10-15 minutes until it reaches the soft ball stage. Remove from heat and quickly add remaining ingredients. Beat together quickly ( Get your hubby or a helper to beat the crap out of the mixture ), pour into lightly buttered dish and cool.

- Prepare all ingredients in advance and scoop out marshmallow creme onto buttered plate in advance.
- Never attempt to make this alone. Get a helper with a strong mixing arm
- Don't be a cheapo. Buy the good stuff only: Jet Puffed Marshmallow Creme.
- Gritty fudge is due to either under cooking the sugar, overcooking the sugar, or not using a stabilizing ingredient such as corn syrup or--in this recipe's case--marshmallow creme!

Pure, heavenly decadence. Cut into small pieces, then you can eat more. You deserve this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

O.M.G. Coffee Cake

Prep Time:15 Minutes
Time:45 Minutes
Servings:16 Servings


1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
2 cups (scant) Sugar
3 cups Flour, Sifted
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1-1/4 cup Whole Milk
3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff

1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
3/4 cups Flour
1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1-1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don't overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 (or LARGER!) baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.

In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Serve warm---delicious! Don't worry about carbs.... It's only a treat.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Food for Thought : Breakfast

Are you one of the millions of people who skip breakfast on a regular basic ? According to one survey , about 10 percent of Americans (31 million people people) skip breakfast every day .
There are a lot of good excuses for skipping breakfast . Most of us state that we skip breakfast either because we are not hungry or there isn't enough time to prepare a meal . Making sure that you get a good  breakfast that includes enough energy and protein does not mean that you have to cook a big meal . Here are a few tips to help you get a quality breakfast .

1 .  You  must do a little planning :
Having healthy foods on-hand is essential to a speedy breakfast . Think about your schedule for the week . Is one day more hectic than the other ? Are there mornings where you typically have a little more time to prepare the food ? Being honest and realistic in the planning stages will help set you up for success .

2 .  Think protein :
Many items you can prepare early in the week and keep on hand for several days . Cook hard-boiled eggs or cuts of lean breakfast meats.ahead of time . Purchase individual servings of Greek yogurt . A handful of nuts or seeds is also a great protein source if you are in a rush .

3 .   Prepare your breakfast and lunch before :
This will help save you some time in the morning . Make a peanut butter sandwich  and grab a banana to go with it . Scramble some eggs with vegetables and cheese , re-heat in the microwave and use as a filling for a breakfast burrito or taco the next morning .
                                   Whole-Wheat Pancakes
Homemade pancake mix is cheaper per pancake than the store-bought stuff, plus you can use whole-grain flour to boost the nutrition factor. Make your own mix in advance, and then it's a breeze to serve your kids a hot breakfast off the griddle in the morning. All-natural maple syrup is a delicious, low-calorie sweetener. (And don't confuse it with factory-made "pancake syrup!")

1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, or oat flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked quinoa 
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons oil

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together quinoa, milk, egg, agave nectar, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined.

2. Heat butter or oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. For each pancake, pour batter onto the butter or oil, and heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pancake, pop, and then don’t fill in with more batter. Flip, and cook for about 20 seconds more. Repeat with remaining pancakes.

Words of Wisdom :
All of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to receive help from other people.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

A proud Grand-poppa           G.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Chicken Taco Pie

Prep 20 minutes              Bake : 30  minutes

1             tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
1             pound ground chicken
1            envelope taco seasoning
1            can (4 ounces) chopped green chilles
1/2         cup water
1/2         cup salsa
1            cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1            small sweet red pepper, chopped
1            medium tomato , seeded and chopped
1            green onion , thinly sliced
2            tablespoons pickled jalapeno slices 
Sour cream and additional salsa 

1 .     Preheat oven to 350°. Unroll crescent dough and separate into triangles. Press onto bottom of a greased 9-in. pie plate to form a crust, sealing seams well. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
2 .    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook chicken over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in taco seasoning, green chilies, water and salsa; bring to a boil.
3 .   Spoon into crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Top with lettuce, peppers, tomato, green onion and pickled jalapeno. Serve with sour cream and additional salsa. 

Heart  healthy   

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ian B. --- Peanut Butter Cookers

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 15 min./batch 
MAKES: 48 cookies

1         cup butter, softened 
1         cup creamy peanut butter 

1         cup sugar 
1         cup packed brown sugar 
2         large eggs 
1         teaspoon vanilla extract 
2-1/4    cups all-purpose flour 
2          teaspoons baking soda 
1/4       teaspoon salt 
1          package (11 ounces) peanut butter and milk chocolate chips 

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chips. 

2. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. 

Ian B.  ,          Hickman , Nebraska
These cookies are deliciously good  ...takes less than an hour from start to finish...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Food for Thought : Weekend Camping

When was the last time you went to a local park, campground or National park for the day or over the weekend? Camping, hiking and spending time outdoors is a great way to get some quality family time without breaking the budget. It can also be a healthy way to get active and get some exercise as a family. This is the perfect time of the year to share in the creation of many memories. The weather is cooler, but the hustle of fall activities and the holiday season is not quite upon us. Whether you plan to sleep in a tent, you rent a cabin or just go on a day trip, there are several places in this area easily within driving distance. Here are a few tips to help you and your family have a healthy and active trip to a local park:

1 .   Come prepared. Know exactly where you are going and what activities you plan to partake in before you leave home, as well as predicted weather conditions. Having the right equipment for activities helps reduce the risk of injuries and illness. Make sure to pack a first aid kit.
2 .   Plan your meals and snacks. Know which foods need to be refrigerated and pack a cooler if necessary. Plan at least one extra snack per person per day if you are going to be engaging in excessive amounts of physical activity.
3 .   Pack non-perishable foods when you can. Trail mix made of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and granola makes a wonderful addition to any hiking or biking trip. If you are cooking your meals, make sure you follow all food safety rules and bring plenty of anti-bacterial wipes for your hands and equipment.
4 .   If you are planning to take raw meats to cook on the campfire, make sure you pack them in a separate cooler. If you plan to fish, make sure you have a separate cooler to store your day’s catch.
                                                       Pan-Fried Fish:
1       pint homogenized milk
6-8    ounces beer
1       egg, beaten well
2       tablespoons  prepared mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Creole Seasoning, to taste
10-12    catfish or trout  filets
2/3        cup cornmeal
1/3        cup flour
Salt & cayenne pepper, to taste
Creole seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder, to taste
¼ cup extra light virgin olive oil
¼ cup butter
Mix well the first seven ingredients; add fish filets and marinate at least 4 hours. Drain filets in a colander. Mix cornmeal, flour, and seasonings. Dip fish filets in cornmeal mixture and fry on medium heat, adding more oil as needed. Drain well and drizzle with lemon juice. Makes 4-6 servings.
         Zesty Tartar Sauce:
1½    cups mayonnaise
1       pickled jalapeno, diced
3       tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2       tablespoons green onion tops, chopped fine
1       tablespoon celery, chopped fine
1      tablespoon capers
1      teaspoon dried dill, optional
Mix together all ingredients; chill.
                                                                   Simple Slaw:
1      (l pound) bag shredded slaw mix
3      hard-boiled eggs, chopped
3-4   stalks green onion tops, chopped
¾     cup mayonnaise
¼     cup bottled Ranch dressing
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Crispy, fried bacon, crumbled, (optional)
Combine slaw mix with hard-boiled eggs and green onion tops. Mix mayonnaise and Ranch dressing; toss with slaw mix. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Blend in crumbled bacon, if using. Makes 6 servings.
Note: For a change of flavor, substitute Italian dressing for the Ranch.
                  Tomato Pie:
5 or 6     tomatoes, peeled and sliced
Salt, to taste
10          fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2        cup chopped green onion
1           (9-inch) deep dish pie shell, baked
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1       cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1       cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese
1       cup mayonnaise
Place tomatoes in a colander in the sink in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes. (If tomatoes are still juicy, place them between layers of paper towels to absorb remaining moisture.) Layer tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine grated cheeses and mayonnaise; stir. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes. Garnish top with additional chopped green onion and basil, if desired. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes 8-10 servings
Vegetable oil for frying
2         cups yellow cornmeal
1-1/2   cups flour
3         teaspoons baking powder
1         teaspoon salt
1         teaspoon sugar
1         teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper and Cajun or Creole seasoning to taste
1         egg
1         (15-ounce) can cream-style corn
1/2      cup finely chopped onions
Hot pepper sauce to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Heat vegetable oil in large frying skillet. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Mix together the wet ingredients in a small bowl; blend until well mixed. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. (If consistency is too thick, add milk, a little at a time) Form batter into small balls and drop into hot oil. Cook until lightly brown. Serve with your favorite fish and fries.
                   Sausage Biscuits:
1      pound bulk pork sausage
2      cups  biscuit  baking mix
1      teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1      egg, beaten
1/2   cup water
Make sausage into patties , fry in non-stick skillet  about 3-4 minutes each side , remove to paper towel to drain.
Mix all ingredients; drop by spoonfuls on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven until brown, approximately 25 minutes. These will keep well in a sealed container for several days.
Note:1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese may be added.

Words of Wisdom :

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.

Have a great weekend camping outing , be prepared .

A proud grand-poppa                G.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ellen --- Egg Omelet with Cheese -Ham & Fixin'

I like omelets but don't always have time to stand by the stove. That's why I favor this oven-baked variety that I can quickly pop into the oven at a moment's notice. 
My family frequently wants omelets  for Sunday brunch. This was a winner with both young and old ......

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min. MAKES: 4-6 servings
8 eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup finely chopped fully cooked ham
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and cream. Stir in the cheese, ham, green pepper and onion. Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking dish.
Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Ellen Bower   , Taneytown , Maryland

Ellen , the family found this dish quite delicious .