Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chewy Molasses Cookies

Sparkling Chewy Molasses Cookies
2 c. plain flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter (1-1/2 sticks)
1 egg
 1/4 c.molasses, I use blackstrap
 1/2 c. chunky sanding sugar

Add butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer
Add remaining dry ingredients (whisk first)
Beat in the egg, and then the molasses until just combined. 
Put mixer on low and slowly add the flour mixture just until dough forms.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into a ball, then roll in sanding sugar to cover all sides.
Place on cookie sheets spaced three inches apart.

Bake at 350 for around 11 minutes.
Makes 3 dozen.

Spritz Cookies

I have an electric cookie gun, love it.  Spritz work well in it.

1 c. shortening
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2-1/4 c. plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Shoot onto ungreashed cookie sheet, add colored sprinkles.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes

Wedding Cookies

Cathy Kersten's mom's recipe:

1 c. butter
1/4 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 c. plain flour
1 c. chopped pecans
Form small balls
Ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 300 for 20 minutes.
Roll in confectioner's sugar while still hot, then again after they've cooled.
Makes 3 doz.

M & M Cookies

I found this very worn recipe in my mother-in-law's recipe file.  She died when Mark was 17, but he remembered how wonderful this recipe was and encouraged me to make them.  These are a Christmas staple for David.

1/2 c. Crisco shortening
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar

Mix, then add:
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. water
1 egg

Sift, then add:
1 c. & 2 T. plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Stir in 3/4 cup M&M candies by hand (or they'll break)

Drop overflowing tablespoon portions on ungreased cookie sheet for palm-sized cookies.
Bake 375  for 10-12 minutes.

Butter Melt Away Cookies

These very delicate cookies are terrific either rolled in powdered sugar or iced.

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. plain flour
Beat together, drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.  I shoot for quarter sized dollops.
Bake 350 for 12 minutes.

Gently roll balls in powdered sugar while hot, then again after they've cooled.
If you are planning to icing them, press the cookies flat with a fork (like you would for peanut butter cookies).

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 - 3 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat together until smooth and frost cooled cookies.

These are my son Robert's Christmas cookie requirement.  They are very delicate and will crumble into a puff all over your shirt if you try to bite into one, so be sure to make them in small bite sized portions.  I've made them both ways, but for unknown reasons, I always roll them in powdered sugar.  Maybe I'll do both this year for comparison's sake.  I think these would taste wonderful with lime zest/juice added.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sausage Chowder

1 pkg smoked sausage
1 small onion, chopped
3 potatoes, peeled, diced large
2 c. half and half
1 c. milk
1 c. chicken broth
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
dash cayenne pepper
dash nutmeg
1 T parsley flakes
1 T dried garlic (Penzey's Spices are the BEST)
2 T corn starch
1 drained can crisp yellow corn

Saute sliced smoked sausage with onion in butter/olive oil until clear, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Place potatoes in pot of cold salted water, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are firm/soft.  Drain.
Blend corn starch into cold chicken broth.
Add the meat/onion to the potatoes, all the liquids (should just cover the potatoes) and spices.
Heat until almost boiling (you don't want to scald the milk) to allow corn starch to thicken a tiny bit.  
Add can of corn.

This was good with grocery store bakery's crusty French bread.

Present: Mark, David and Marty.  We all liked it.  It would have been nice if it was cold outside.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One Wingy Dingy...Two Wingy Dingies...

The phone was ringing and we didn't answer!  We were too busy eating yummy Buffalo chicken wings, dripping with sauce, plus celery sticks and blue cheese dip.

Here's how I cooked the wings:  Bake defrosted chicken wings in a large stick-free pan at 375F for 30 minutes, drain juices, turn over, douse with half a bottle of wing sauce bake another 10 minutes, turn over, add a bit more sauce if desired.  We like Moore's Buffalo Wing Sauce, medium heat.  It's bottle of orange-colored medium/mild goodness.  It's so much better than the greasy fried rings from restaurants.

What!?  No margarita mix?  No problemo, amigo!  Winn Dixie's copy of Fresca or Squirt is Diet Freshy (my fav).  Mix Freshy with a squirt of lime and a splash of tequila and you have a Freshy-Rita!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cabbage and Sausage

Our oldest son moved home after graduating law school in mid-May to study and take the bar exam in late July.  Now that this is behind him, it's a waiting game before he can get a bona fide lawyer job.  He's a picky carbs except sweet potatoes and brown rice to maintain his slender muscle-man physique.  Our younger son, David, is 24 and has never lived anywhere but here, is a spaghetti eating, cake loving, waffle craving, skinny guy that can eat like there's no tomorrow.  The kitchen has been a more difficult navigation with Robert home, but has really opened our eyes to all our sins.

I would normally take a head of cabbage and make Mark's favorite, Balcan Supper, a greasy kielbasa, fried cabbage, wide noodle, brown sugar, carraway seed and apple vinegar dish.  That wouldn't fly with Robert, so I adjusted and made the following delicious meal in a pan.

Lay six low fat, mild Italian sausages in the pan, add a quarter cup of water and steam to get them partially cooked.  Remove, cut into fourths (at an angle to be pretty), drain off the greasy water, lay the meat back into the pan, add a half cup of water and a half cup white wine, then top with a large chopped onion and a head of cabbage, cut into big pieces.  Drizzle about 4 Tablespoons of datil pepper sauce on top, add some pepper, push the cabbage around to bury the red datil sauce, then mash the lid on tight.  Simmer/steam for about 15 minutes, making sure not to run out of liquid.  

That's it.  NO salt, NO noodles, NO potatoes.  Was it good?  There is NO food left!  (meow meow)
It was greener when I first made it.
This was what was left an hour later.
David wouldn't touch it. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken, Mushrooms, Noodles w/Veg and Cheese Sauce

Oh how I love the Monterey Mushroom Farm in Zellwood!  Today I bought two bags of sliced white mushrooms for $2 each.  These bags rock!  They're bigger than a lunch sack and filled to the brim with clean fresh white mushies, cold in the fridge.  A lady sits in the guard house at the gate of the farm and besides controlling the ins and outs of giant trucks, she sells to the locals.  I guess this smooths over the neighbors for the sometimes awful smell.  I live about 6 miles away and never smell anything offensive from that direction.  I love this place!  Our older son Mark Jr. is engaged to a non-mushroom eater, so I have to alter my cooking a bit, but we still find a way to include a family favorite in our meals.
Tonight I took a giant pan, poured a double swirl of olive oil and equal part of balsamic vinegar. as this heated, I tossed in 4 chopped garlic cloves and a large chopped vidalia onion.  I added chopped parsley, a quarter stick of butter, salt and pepper. A cup of dry white wine (I used Toasted Head chardonnay) and one of the bags of mushrooms went in.  It was piled high but I knew it'd cook down.  I covered the pan with tin foil and balanced the lid on top.  Oh it smelled wonderful!  I stirred (more like folded) the mushrooms every now and then.  Finally, about 10 minutes in, when it was cooking down good, I ladled out enough juice to the pan of chicken tenderloins to cover them half way.  Covered that in the tin foil that was on the mushrooms and let the shrooms and juice cook down uncovered.
Boiled some quinoa shell/noodles and just before it was ready, I tossed in a cup and a half (because that's what I had) of frozen mixed vegetables.  While that drained, I poured a cup and a half of milk and a half cup of heavy cream (because I ran out of milk and had cream) into a pan.  Into that I added 3 T flour, a few shakes of dry mustard, red cayenne pepper, and a pinch or two of nutmeg.  Stir/cook that until thick. While that's going on, I put the noodles and veggies into a baking dish, stirred in 4 oz. cheddar cheese, then poured the thickened milk on top, stirred that in, topped with the remaining 4 oz. shredded cheddar and topped that with a small sprinkle of red cayenne pepper and paprika.  Into the oven with the chicken.  Uncovered the chicken, sprinkled paprika and cooked both for 15 more minutes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


  • Roast beef, pan seared, then dumped a big can of tomato with basil and a quarter can of water on top, added a bay leaf, lowered the temp to simmer and closed the lid for a couple of hours.
  • Frozen green beans, steamed
  • Quinoa  (a nutritional super-food, protein packed, versatile and crunchy/soft) cooked with onion and garlic.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yes, we have been eating dinner...

  • cabbage, steamed with sweet Italian sausage laying on top (and steam cooked too)
  • buffalo chicken legs, romaine salad, celery sticks and onion dip
  • black eyed peas cooked with 3 leftover buffalo chicken legs and onions thrown in, green beans
  • pan cooked chicken breasts with juice from an orange added at the end and cooked down OMG, steamed zuchhini, canned corn
  • big salad with leftover chicken sliced and pan browned, olives, tomato, feta, Greek dressing

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Navy Bean Soup

Navy Bean Soup - Crockpot
A bag (2 cups?) of dry navy beans
6 cups water
2-3 T McCormick's Real Chicken Base (it's salty)
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 pork chops - bone in, excess fat removed

Rinse navy beans and put all ingredients in crockpot and cook on high for six to eight hours.  Stir occasionally. I added 3 more cups of water because my glass top crockpot allows evaporation.  Remove bay leaf and continue cooking on low for the rest of the afternoon.  Add water to make it the soupiness you desire.

I'm not a fan of pre cooking dried beans.  This is so easy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicken and Root Veggie Curry Stew

Chicken and Root Vegetable Curry Stew

I love winter cooking and decided a good curry stew would suit me just fine.  Don't you just love it when you create something and you can't wait for dinner because you KNOW it's going to be incredible?  This picture is just after I chopped everything up, and if I think of it, I'll take a pic of the finished product.  Here's the scoop:

  • 2 c. lowfat chicken broth
  • 3 T curry powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t. turmeric
  • 1/2 t. ginger powder
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 can chopped fire grilled tomatoes
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, cubed up, but if I had a can of chickpeas I would have used that
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 parsnips, sliced
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • about 8 oz. frozen green beans
  • 3/4 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped in large pieces
  • 1 big fragrant bay leaf
  • and because my family are natives of St. Augustine, Floridia,  I had to add 3 T of the datil pepper sauce I made last month.
Toss all in a crockpot on high for 6 hours.  
Remove the bay leaf and add a handful of frozen peas and a cup of light coconut milk 15 minutes before serving.  That's about a half can of milk.  When I use an unusual (for me) ingredient that will have leftovers, I pour the rest into a ziploc baggie, wash out the can, put the baggie of milk into the open can and stick it all in the freezer.  Otherwise it will be lost forever.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oatmeal Cookies!

We left on Christmas Day for NC and when we got home ten days later, well, there were no cookies left.  David got hungry and won't cook...  So to satisfy Mark's (and my) cookie sweet tooth, I passed up an oatmeal breakfast and instead made oatmeal cookies!  Follow directions?  Nevah!!

Recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter, but I only had one, so I added one stick butter and the remainder in Crisco. 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed), uh-oh, only light brown - so I used the light brown and added a bloop (2-3 tablespoons?) of dark molasses. 1/2 cup white sugar. 2 eggs. 1 T vanilla. ... I am mixing as I add.

The dry ingredients in a separate (larger) bowl: 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 cups oats (uncooked).  Because they were left over from Christmas baking and the baggie was handy, I threw in probably 1/2-2/3 cup of chopped pecans too.

Hmmm, the recipe asks for a cup of raisins, but I only have a larger lunch size box of pitiful dried up raisins, so I followed my friend's suggestion and plumped them in rum for about five minutes.  That worked!  I scooped the moistened raisins out, drank that darkened shot of rum, then stirred the raisins into the wet mix.  Mixed the wet to the dry and started baking in a 350F preheated oven. I could have tossed the rum in too, as the mix was a little dry.

I made balls a little smaller than my palm and squished them before putting them on the ungreased cookie sheet.  As the first batch of 12 cookies were baking (about 14-16 minutes), I got a genius idea and stirred in about 2/3 cup peanut butter because David likes pb cookies.  The cookies came out nice sized and soft/chewy in the middle, crisp on the edges (Crisco makes a crisp cookie), just how I like em!  This recipe made 3 dozen medium/large cookies, delicious with a cup of coffee for breakfast!

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