Friday, December 26, 2014

BUTTER MELTAWAY COOKIES

BUTTER MELTAWAY COOKIES
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. all purpose flour
Beat together, make quarter sized balls or choose small cookie shooter disk
Ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
350 for 12 minutes. They will not be browned at all.

These cookies are super delicate and fragile. I prepare a sheet of parchment paper with a thick layer of powdered sugar sprinkled on it (I shake it from a large food strainer), then transfer the hot cookies onto the sugar bed, followed by a good sprinkling of more powdered sugar on top.  Once cooled, sprinkle again and place on plastic wrap in a cookie tin, with a sheet of plastic wrap between each layer of cookies.  Better double this recipe, they'll ask for more!
Makes about 3-4 dozen little cookies.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's Christmas Time!

Hi. Merry Christmas!
I have had a cold, but I sanitized myself and the kitchen to try some recipes today. I dragged myself into the kitchen, lugged the kitchenaid mixer up to the counter, and commenced to make a huge mess in my itsy bitsy kitchen.  Thank goodness for Mark, who is always at hand to help wash and dry when it's time for another round.  I have two friends that want to be a part of my cookies.  Kim, who begs for me to mail her some, and Patti who wants to come over and help.  It's always been just a Mark and Marty event, and the idea of mailing Kim cookies completely overwhelms me. I make exactly the amount of cookies I need to share with my two sisters and parents, plus my two sons and their wives and of course, Mark and me. Last year I threw out ALL my cookie tins. They were thirty years old, bent and maybe a bit rusted. How did I know that they aren't in every Dollar Store and Walmart anymore??  Rubbermaid has had to step in.  Eww. Not Christmasy to see what you're opening. I liked the mystery.

I made my old favorite, M&M Cookies, but after several months on low carb diet, ICKY SWEET with a strange mouth feel.  I only made 4 dozen. You can find a recipe here.  Next time I'm going to try the browned butter recipe that Pioneer Woman makes.  Everything she cooks is great!

Then I made one of my son's favorite, Butter Meltaway, which used to be labor intensive, making little balls, baking, very tenderly rolling in powdered sugar, then again after they've cooled.  Oh Hallelujah! Mark bought me a Kitchenaid cookie shooter at Costco the other day and I decided to make them like spritz cookies, shooting out little quads, then laying them ever so gently on a sheet covered with powdered sugar, then shaking more on top. Genious!  Here's the recipe.

My niece is having a cookie exchange next weekend, so I mixed up a triple batch of white and of green colored cookie dough, thanks to Martha Stewart's spritz dough recipe, and they are sitting in the fridge waiting to meet the oven.. I'll make green cookie shooter trees and white snowmen, another cookie shooter shape.  I need to bake them Friday night to be fresh for Saturday.

Because we've been low-carbing it, and all sugar and flour tastes/feels strange, I decided to whip up a batch of peppermint meringues using Splenda instead of sugar.  The only big cheat was, I crushed a peppermint stick to sprinkle a teeny bit on top before I baked.  They taste and smell terrific! I didn't add coloring, as the white with the delicate touch of red peppermint would look nice.

Leftover egg yolks?  CUSTARD! This is in the oven, Low Carb Custard sweetened with Splenda, and instead of milk, use heavy cream.  It smells heavenly.

I still have some other plans:
My favorite thing on earth is caramel.  I have never tried to make it.
Mark asked for iced Lofthouse Cookies like Costco and the grocery stores sell.
And because peanut butter and chocolate are a wonderful combo, some Buckeye Fudge.
It isn't Christmas without pound cake to share.  I usually make sour cream pound cake, but after reading this recipe, I am sure Cream Cheese Pound Cake will be a winner.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Candy

CROCKPOT CANDY
Great for gift giving, bake sales and more!
32 oz dry roasted peanuts
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
4 oz German sweet chocolate
32 oz white chocolate candy melts
Place ingredients in a crockpot as listed. Do not stir. Cook on low for 1 1/2 -2 hours - do not open the lid! After cooked, stir and drop by spoonfuls on a parchment paper. Allow to harden and store in a closed container.

Saw this recipe and will try it this Christmas.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Uncarved Pumpkin - Halloween Fail, Thanksgiving Gain!

I saw this and am going to give it a shot:
COOKING A WHOLE PUMPKIN

I'll also roast the seeds.

Okay this worked out great. Glad I lined my pan with thick tinfoil... No clean up!
Give it a try.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Low-Carb Popsicles

I made mine with a small pkt of sugar free Lemon Jello, a cup of store-brand diet ginger ale, (because it was leftover from last night and I probably wouldn't drink it in time to keep the bubbles), 2 cups of diet V-8 Fruit (Berry) Punch and 2 pkts of Splenda.

I chose to heat the ginger ale because it was already room temp. You can heat a cup of fruit punch if your soda is cold.  I poured this into a bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir very well, add 2 cups fruit punch and stir some more.  I tasted the liquid to make sure it was sweet enough.  Yes, it was.

This 3 cup mixture fills 6 big rectangular 4-oz popsicle molds.  Freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

Splenda, Jello and Diet Ginger Ale all contain zero carbs. Diet V-8 Fruit Punch (Berry) is 2 carbs per 8 oz, I used 16 oz, which is 4 carbs, Each popsicle contains .66 carb.

I have Tavoli rectangular popsicle molds, 4 oz each.  Below is a picture from the Tavoli website. My popsicles will be paler than the center picture, which is probably straight Welch's Grape Juice, which would be a billion carbs, don't even consider that!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mushel-Burgers

Yum Yum Yum
Yesss













It was 1959. Three little girls sat at the picnic table and our momma served us grape koolaid, mushel-burgers and potato chips on paper plates. Nothing brings me home like this backyard feast!

Here's the scoop:

Brown 1 lb good hamburger, drain fat, add 1-1/2 cup water, 1 packet onion soup mix, and 2 Tbsp corn starch. The good thing about corn starch is, it doesn't clump up when you add it to hot liquid. Stir, bring to a boil, turn down to low for about 15-20 minutes until thick.  Serve on soft white bread with mayo, mustard and dill pickle slices. Nothing's better!

MUSHEL-BURGERS ARE MY COMFORT FOOD!
Adding corn starch
Needs to cook down more

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hummingbird Cake

Our oldest son turned 30 on May 12th, but with Mother's Day on that same day, and living 5 hours away, I didn't get to bake a cake to celebrate.  Since the whole family is going to meet over the Memorial Day weekend at our Cocoa Beach timeshare, Robert asked for a cake, homemade and not vanilla and not chocolate...a SPECIAL cake. Read: the more difficult, the better!

I didn't want to shred carrots for carrot cake and he doesn't like the texture of coconut, so my choices were narrowed down a bit.  Then I came across Southern Living's Hummingbird Cake with Browned Butter Icing. Instead of putting coconut flakes in the mix, I substituted half the vegetable oil with coconut  for a very mild coconut flavor. I also chose to put 1/2 cup chopped pecans in the mix. I only had two bananas ( maybe a cup and a quarter) so I chose to use the whole 20 oz can of pineapple chunks, tossed with juice into the food processor with the bananas to make into crushed. Robert said that the pineapples were not big enough, so I will just pulse them a few times the next time I make this cake. The mix came out a bit runny, so I added another cup of flour, an egg, 1/2 cup sugar and a little more salt and baking soda.   The mix seemed more normal consistency and this too is why it took longer to bake. I baked in a sheet cake pan and it took about fifty minutes to bake. I just kept doing the toothpick test until it didn't come out wet.  The cake is big and beautiful, fragrant and heavy.  It has been cooling for over an hour and is still not cool enough for icing.

Here is the printed version from Southern Living:
Hummingbird Cake
Cake Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon table salt 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
2 cups diced ripe bananas (about 3 medium) 
large eggs, beaten 
1 cup chopped toasted pecans 
1 cup vegetable oil
(8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained


Cake Directions 
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in bananas and next 5 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into 4 greased and floured 9-inch square or round cake pans.
2. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).


Browned Butter Frosting

Ingredients

1 cup butter
(16-oz.) package powdered sugar 
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Preparation

    1. Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan immediately from heat, and pour butter into a small bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.
    2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with sugar. Beat at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.


    The icing seemed loose and so I added about a cup more powdered sugar.  Also, I didn't have milk and used half-and-half in its place. It tasted fabulous!

    I didn't want to add the cream cheese custard filling that is commonly used between layers of this cake because, first of all, mine is one layer, and secondly, I don't want to have to refrigerate it.  The cooling time for my big cake is long. It has been an hour and a half and I just flipped the cake over to cool the other side of this dense cake.  I hope it is good as it smells.

    Here is Southern Living's cream cheese custard filling that goes between the layers of the cake:
    Cream Cheese Custard Filling
    Ingredients
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
    large eggs
    1 1/2 cups milk
    (8-oz.) package cream cheese, cubed and softened
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Preparation
    Whisk together first 2 ingredients in a heavy saucepan; whisk in eggs and milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture reaches a chilled pudding-like thickness. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly; boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in cream cheese and vanilla until cheese melts. Cool to room temperature (about 1 hour). Place plastic wrap directly on mixture (to prevent a film from forming), and chill 6 to 24 hours.









    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Happy Mother's Day!

    What are you making today?  I am fixing dinner to bring to my mother and father.  Momma asked for a baked hen. I plan to stuff it with sliced lemon and fresh herbs, give it a rub down with butter, then pop it in a searing hot 450F oven for ten minutes to crispen the skin, lowering the temp to 365 for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the legs move easily.

    The starch is our old standby that's everyone's favorite, peeled and mashed yukon potatoes with homemade gravy.

    The vegetable will be mandolin sliced French concoction called ratatouille.  Here's a recipe with lots of pictures that is similar to mine. On the stove top, cook chopped onion and garlic in some butter/olive oil until caramelized, then add a small can of tomato paste, stir that around, sprinkle a little pepper and fresh thyme. Slice tomatoes, green and yellow squash, an eggplant, and a red bell pepper, alternating and spiraling the colorful vegetables into the pan. Add some more thyme (just a tiny bit - it will overwhelm!), salt and pepper, then drizzle on olive oil.  This bakes about 45 minutes, covered, then another 30 minutes uncovered.  Finally, a little vinaigrette sprinkle and under the broiler for a quick edge browning.
    For the vinaigrette: 1T olive oil, 1t. balsamic vinegar, a whisp of thyme, kosher salt & black pepper.

    My sweet husband Mark will make his famous (well, famous to us!) homemade biscuits, using Pioneer Brand Biscuit Mix from the grocery store.

    I baked TWO lemon supreme cakes this morning.  The first one STUCK LIKE GLUE to the prepared bundt pan. Failure! We enjoyed a piece with coffee while the other one baked. The second one slid from the pan like it was the law. The failure cake pan was prepared with my regular Crisco and flour, and in the second one I used Bakers Joy (an oil/flour spray) and had success. Go figure!
    Identical cakes, same recipe, same preparation.
    Flops sometimes just happen. 

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    AUNT LOUISE'S LEMON SUPREME CAKE - my favorite cake ever!

    Each time I am near a citrus tree in bloom, I can think of none other than Aunt Louise's Lemon Supreme Cake. I smell this cake and it brings me back to my newlywed days in Clearwater, Florida in the early 1980's, where when the orange trees were blossoming and the aroma in the air was mouthwateringly divine!

    This morning, while watering my plants, I noticed a pile of teeny pearl-sized lemons on my new Meyer Lemon Tree and thought of my aunt and her wonderful lemon cake. Aunt Louise used to bring a Lemon Supreme Cake to most family functions and coming from a large family, we had a lot of gatherings! Thank you, Aunt Louise, for sharing your recipe so many years ago.  It is my absolute favorite dessert of all time.

    AUNT LOUISE'S LEMON SUPREME CAKE

    Cake Ingredients
    1 package Duncan Heinz lemon supreme cake mix
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup water
    1 package lemon jello
    4 eggs, room temperature

    Beat eggs, add all remaining ingredients and beat smooth with mixer.
    Cook in prepared bundt or tube pan (I use Baker's Joy) at 350F for 45 minutes.
    Let sit in pan for five minutes, then invert onto a pretty plate.

    While cake is baking, prepare icing to pour on the cake while it is still hot.
    Icing - makes 1 cup
    1-1/2 cup confectioners sugar
    2 T soft butter
    4 T Real Lemon (bottled)
    Blend together icing ingredients.  Should be watery.
    Wait five minutes, then remove cake from pan, place on dish with a lip (some of the icing will run off the cake) and drizzle icing all over hot cake. Most of the icing absorbs into the cake and is so so good!
    Let cool and serve.  Inside is a pretty vibrant yellow color.  Yummm.

    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    Caramel Cake

    I want to try this, so let's keep this recipe handy!


    Classic Southern Caramel Cake

    1 cup butter (2 sticks)
    2 cups sugar
    4 eggs
    3 cups flour, self-rising
    1 cup buttermilk
    2 teaspoons vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by greasing them and adding optional parchment paper. Beat butter until light and fluffy and then add sugar and beat for about 5 more minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well after each. Add flour and buttermilk, alternately, beginning and ending with flour and mix well after each. Add vanilla and beat well. Divide among pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until set.

    Turn out of pans onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely. Prepare Southern Caramel Icing as cakes are cooling then frost the cake.

    Southern Caramel Frosting

    2 cups sugar
    1 cup buttermilk
    ½ cup Crisco
    ½ cup butter
    1 teaspoon baking soda

    Mix all ingredients in a 3-4 quart cast iron dutch oven.
    Swirl pan to keep ingredients moving in the pan. Cook to softball stage 235º – 245º on a candy thermometer or when tested in a cup of cold water. Remove from heat and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy and ready to spread.

    No thermometer? Do the cold water test:

    Take a some of the caramel and drop it into a bowl or cup of cold water. Give it a few seconds to cool. Fish around in the bowl or cup of cold water and try to retrieve the caramel and make a little ball with it.

    If you stick your fingers into the bowl, pull out a gooey mess and you can't do anything but smear the caramel, you need to boil the caramel some more. There is still too much water in your caramel and the concentration of sugar is too low. The caramel may even form little threads in the water, but if you cannot get the threads to form into a ball, you have some more boiling to do.

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Pork Chop Dinner

    First I mix up some stuffing.  Mine came from a bag I never opened, left over from (I'm ashamed to say it) Thanksgiving. I'd go for the simple box mix if I didn't have that one.  I fried some onion and celery, water, butter,  then once it was hot I tossed the stuffing in and took off the burner to sit covered until dinnertime.

    Open a can of french cut beans, pour out some of the liquid and add some butter, because those green beans are nasty without butter.  Mark likes them, not me.  I'll eat em, but you can't make me love them. Start the heat under the small covered pot of green beans and turn it off once it gets hot.  There, canned beans.  Bang.

    How do you tell someone how to make pork chops?
    I buy 3/4" thick boneless chops, usually 4 to a pack.
    Pour about 2/3 cup cornbread mix onto a plate and coat the pork chops on all sides.  Let this sit aside while you fix the two items above, then once the beans are on - -
    Pour about 1/2 cup olive oil in a stick free pan, bring the oil up to almost sizzling and lay chops into oil. Cook, covered until both sides are brown. If you cook too slow, the coating will sop up the oil and it'll be yucky.  If you cook too fast, the insides won't get done.  It's an art!

    Mark's plate has twice the food of a normal human being.



    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Strawberry Jam and Strawberry-Banana Jam

    Yep, it's Plant City, FL strawberry season, the BEST strawberries on earth. We happened upon a Farmer's Market in Tampa a week ago, and I bought three $8 flats (12 overfilled pint baskets =1 flat). Half a flat went to momma and daddy, the other half went to my sister Patty, and the other two flats took up occupancy in the fruit and the vegetable drawers of my fridge until the Easter holiday passed.
    I made a batch of strawberry jam, using this recipe by Pioneer WomanIt is a two-part directions, so you'll have to click for part two once you've completed the first steps.  Pioneer Woman is great! She does things simply and does them right. The only thing I do different is, I slosh in some vinegar (maybe a quarter cup) just before sitting the filled jars in to boil.  Doing this keeps the jars from getting a chalky residue from hard water, and this way, I don't have to wipe the jars off afterwards. I came out with six one-pint jars for this recipe.

    Because I like variety when I'm cooking a large batch of anything, I broke things up and whipped up this recipe for Strawberry-Banana Jam. We had bananas with spots and tons of strawberries, so why not give it a go? This recipe produced 7 & 1/2 eight ounce (half-pint) jars. Mark said it smells wonderful, but I have a cold and sadly, cannot taste nor smell any of these recipes. I smeared some on buttered bread, but could have been eating pond scum and wouldn't realize it. Ugh. I hate having a cold! Mark said it ta"interesting" with only a mild hint of banana. He was glad it didn't have that awful artificial banana taste.

    Still more strawberries. I made two more repeats of the original plain Strawberry Jam recipe by Pioneer Woman. I made this last year and I KNOW it's wonderful.  Better make a lot, as my friends and family have been begging for more after sampling last years' batch. I made two more batches with the strawberries (and jars) I had remaining. Total for 2 flats: 20 pints, using a mix of half-pint and pint jars.

    There is nothing more satisfying than the pop-pop-pop of lids as they seal!

    MUST BE JELLY, CUZ JAM DON'T SHAKE LIKE THAT!
    I made jam, not jelly, but isn't that a funny thing to say?

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Colored Deviled Eggs

    Saw this on Pinterest:
    CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME REALLY PRETTY AND COLORFUL DEVILED EGGS
    And said, HEY I CAN DO THAT.
    And so I did!
    Actually, I had a bunch of hard boiled eggs in cups with warm water, food coloring and apple cider vinegar to set the color.  I peeled half of the eggs without coloring of course, and decided to give this a shot.  Yep, dump the yolk into a bowl to mix up with mayo and all the rest, and dropped the white halves into the already used cups of color.  Did the trick, nice and vivid and, wow the green and yellow were best. Eighty-two year old momma refused to eat them.  Daddy is a year older, no qualms about what color his food is, as long as it tasted great.

    The recipe they offered in the link above is okay, but I want some onion powder instead of seasoned salt and sweet pickle relish juice (just a spoonful or so does the trick) makes a big difference to me Do what you want. It's your taste buds you need to please.

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole

    I made this casserole. Wish it included some vegetables.  In my book, potatoes are not a vegetable, just starch.  It wasn't anything memorable, but I think kids would like it.

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    Peanut Butter/Flax/Oatmeal Protein Balls

    Yes, I make these and I LIKE EM! 

    No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup oats
    • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • *1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/3 cup honey
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    1) Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.2) **Roll into balls and refrigerate.

    * I am not too crazy about cold chocolate chips.  Thinking walnuts, pecans, or coconut would be a nicer option. ** Try rolling balls in a mix of ground flax seed, cocoa powder, cinnamon and a shake of powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together.

    http://audreysapron.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/no-bake-peanut-butter-energy-balls/

    Cauliflower and Macaroni and Cheese

    Saw a Rachel Ray cooking episode with this being made on TV and it looked ohh so good, so I made it. The noodles I used were curly, tri-colored noodles that claim a serving of vegetables is in each helping.  Right...

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/mac-n-smoked-gouda-with-cauliflower-recipe.html

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

    Italian Wedding Soup

    This is my creamy Italian wedding soup. We love this soup and it's so so easy to make.

    I made Italian Wedding Soup again, but this time I didn't do the low-carb one.

    Ingredients:
    1 box (quart?) chicken broth
    1-1/2 pounds peeled, sliced baking potatoes
    1 pint heavy cream 
    3 strips bacon
    1 pound sweet italian sausage
    3 cloves garlic
    1 big onion
    a pot full of chopped curly kale
    water
    salt, pepper,  shake or two of red pepper, a gig or two of datil pepper sauce

    Here's what you do:
    * Cut up bacon into bits and fry until crisp. Drain and set aside  
    *chop onion and garlic, set aside.  Then chop the kale in big pieces like you'd cut romaine for a ceasar salad.  It may feel tough now, but it gets limp and is easy to spoon once cooked. 
    *Fry in big pot: peeled sausages, breaking up into large chunks.  Keep stirring so it doesn't stick and toss in a chopped onion and chopped garlic.  Once this is cooked, turn down to low.  Drain excess oil if necessary.
    *Peel and slice potatoes, throw this into the pot with the italian sausage.
    *Add box of chicken broth (or two cans) and add water to bring pot to 3/4 full. Bring to a boil. 
    *Add seasonings to taste.
    *Pack kale in until no more will fit in pot. It will cook down!  Cook on med heat until the potatoes start to fall apart and the kale is soft and cooked down into the liquid (maybe a half hour or more).
    *Turn off heat and add a pint of heavy cream.  Never allow any soup with milk product to boil!  It will turn grainy. 
    *Now serve!

    Monday, January 20, 2014

    Breakfast Bars - Fruit and Oatmeal

    Fruit and Oatmeal Breakfast Bars – Morning on the Go

    Prep time:  15 mins,   Cook time:  60 mins,  Total time:  1 hour 15 mins

    Ingredients
    ·         2½ cups rolled oats
    ·         1 apple, cored and relatively finely chopped
    ·         ½ cup brown sugar
    ·         ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    ·         ¾ cup mixed dried fruit (I use a combination of dried mangos, blueberries and cranberries they sell at Trader Joe’s)
    ·         ½ cup toasted slivered almonds
    ·         pinch salt
    ·         1 tsp. ground dried ginger
    ·         3 cups milk
    ·         2 eggs
    ·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ·         ½ teaspoon almond extract

    Instructions
    1.     Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 Baking Dish. (I use Baker’s Joy or Pam for Baking, which include flour)
    2.     Combine oats, apple, brown sugar, coconut, fruit, almonds, salt and ginger in a large bowl.
    3.     In a small bowl or measuring cup, beat together the milk, eggs and extracts.
    4.     Pour the milk mixture into the oat mixture and stir well to combine (It will look more like muesli in milk than anything like batter). Pour into the prepared pan.

    5.     Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Let cool, cut into bars, wrap and store.

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

    Honey Garlic Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe

    I was excited to buy two 1-1/2 pound packages of hormone free, all natural, never frozen chicken breasts from the new Freshfield Farms grocery store in Jacksonville, FL at a fabulous price, $2.50/lb. The following recipe is from the website Lovin From The Oven. Their recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts, but I am assuming they mean the great big chicken breasts that fill a man up with just one. Mine are dainty chicken breasts, not the pumped up with chicken breast-growing hormones type that look like an 8-wide tennis shoe. The ones I bought are baby ballet slippers. *smile*

    Not one to follow all directions like they're a personal message from God, I follow my heart and don't see why I can't put the meat and sauce altogether and freeze.  Do you?  I mixed up the recipe and was able to fit a package of six petite breasts each into two quart bag, added 1/2 cup of fabulous smelling sauce into each, burped the air out, squished the brown liquid all about, then popped those babies in the freezer.  Looks and smells good, even raw!
    Everything I used to make this simple recipe.
    Honey Garlic Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe
    • 4 chicken breasts
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1/3 cup honey
    1. Place the chicken into your cooker.
    2. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and evenly pour it on top of the chicken.
    3. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 (the time will be less if using a larger crockpot).
    "After "picture from Lovin in The Oven

    Smaller Crockpot Woes...or My Crockpot Is Too Big!

    My crockpot is really big and I have had an eye out to find a smaller one (on a great sale) since our son and his wife moved out and it is just two of us.  Then I saw this mentioned on one of the crockpot cooking sites I frequent:

    "You can put an oven-safe smaller vessel inside your crockpot..."

    Thank you, Melissa from http://melissafallistestkitchen.blogspot.com

    Genius!

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce

    Saw this recipe and want to try it.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce

    Ingredients:
    Beef for stew, large bunch of kale, Portobello mushrooms, pearl barley, yellow onion, garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Danish butter, dry red wine.

    Preparation:
    Soak barley at least 1 hour in water (overnight is best), Pat beef pieces as dry as possible and then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let this sit for an hour as well. In the meantime slice mushrooms, chop onion, kale, and garlic. In a 3 qt non stick sauce pan melt some butter. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to “sweat”. Drain barley and add to mushrooms. Add some red wine to mushrooms/barley and bring to a simmer. Add kale and bring back to simmer. Add rosemary and thyme. Keep simmering and adding more wine as liquid reduces. This should simmer at least 45 min (keep adding wine) until barley and kale are soft. Near the end of these 45 minutes you can start to prepare the beef. In a large stainless steel frying/sauté pan, melt some butter and olive oil. Fry meat on high heat until very well browned. If meat “sweats” pour off liquid and add it to mushrooms/kale/barley. You may need to add more olive oil to meat. You want a “fond” (brown coating on pan) to develop (that is why you are not using a non stick pan for this). Next add chopped onions, turn down heat, and sauté until onions are browned. Add the mushroom/kale/barley to the pan with the meat. Add more red wine if you need more liquid. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and add garlic. Cover pan and cook 20-30 minutes to deglaze pan (dissolve the fond) and to let flavors set.






    Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce
    Ingredients:
    Beef for stew, large bunch of kale, Portobello mushrooms, pearl barley, yellow onion, garlic,
    fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Danish butter, dry red wine.
    Preparation:
    Soak barley at least 1 hour in water (overnight is best), Pat beef pieces as dry as possible and
    then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let this sit for an hour as well. In the
    meantime slice mushrooms, chop onion, kale, and garlic. In a 3 qt non stick sauce pan melt some
    butter. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to “sweat”. Drain barley and add to mushrooms. Add
    some red wine to mushrooms/barley and bring to a simmer. Add kale and bring back to simmer.
    Add rosemary and thyme. Keep simmering and adding more wine as liquid reduces. This should
    simmer at least 45 min (keep adding wine) until barley and kale are soft. Near the end of these 45
    minutes you can start to prepare the beef. In a large stainless steel frying/sauté pan, melt some
    butter and olive oil. Fry meat on high heat until very well browned. If meat “sweats” pour off
    liquid and add it to mushrooms/kale/barley. You may need to add more olive oil to meat. You
    want a “fond” (brown coating on pan) to develop (that is why you are not using a non stick pan
    for this). Next add chopped onions, turn down heat, and sauté until onions are browned. Add the
    mushroom/kale/barley to the pan with the meat. Add more red wine if you need more liquid.
    Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and add garlic. Cover pan and cook 20-30
    minutes to deglaze pan (dissolve the fond) and to let flavors set.
    Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce
    Ingredients:
    Beef for stew, large bunch of kale, Portobello mushrooms, pearl barley, yellow onion, garlic,
    fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Danish butter, dry red wine.
    Preparation:
    Soak barley at least 1 hour in water (overnight is best), Pat beef pieces as dry as possible and
    then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let this sit for an hour as well. In the
    meantime slice mushrooms, chop onion, kale, and garlic. In a 3 qt non stick sauce pan melt some
    butter. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to “sweat”. Drain barley and add to mushrooms. Add
    some red wine to mushrooms/barley and bring to a simmer. Add kale and bring back to simmer.
    Add rosemary and thyme. Keep simmering and adding more wine as liquid reduces. This should
    simmer at least 45 min (keep adding wine) until barley and kale are soft. Near the end of these 45
    minutes you can start to prepare the beef. In a large stainless steel frying/sauté pan, melt some
    butter and olive oil. Fry meat on high heat until very well browned. If meat “sweats” pour off
    liquid and add it to mushrooms/kale/barley. You may need to add more olive oil to meat. You
    want a “fond” (brown coating on pan) to develop (that is why you are not using a non stick pan
    for this). Next add chopped onions, turn down heat, and sauté until onions are browned. Add the
    mushroom/kale/barley to the pan with the meat. Add more red wine if you need more liquid.
    Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and add garlic. Cover pan and cook 20-30
    minutes to deglaze pan (dissolve the fond) and to let flavors set.

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