Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Favorites

Every person, family has their own favorite dishes they look forward to each Thanksgiving. If you don't have turkey during the year, perhaps your favorite part of the meal is the turkey. Or maybe it is the yams. I personally love everything from the turkey & gravy to the dressing & yams. It is all good. Interestingly, I haven't always like dressing and yams. As a child my Mother made stuffing...the kind that goes into the bird. Blech ~ I never liked it. It was bland and mushy. I also don't care much for yams with marshmallows on top and crushed pineapple inside, again to mushy for me. I know many do like stuffing and the marshmallow topped yams. I just prefer something different.

Having seven children I dream of huge family gatherings when they are grown, married and having their own children. I know I may not have them all with me, each and every holiday and I am okay with that. Having half of them with their families will still give us a full house. A long time ago I came up with a plan that would help me to not stay stuck in the kitchen preparing our entire meal while everyone else was visiting. The plan: to teach each of my kids how to make one side dish for our Thanksgiving meal. Once all are grown I will have taught all of them one dish to bring and that will leave me with the turkey & gravy to make. Imagine how wonderful that will be for all of us! So far I've taught my three older children how to prepare one side dish to bring with them to my home for Thanksgiving, to their inlaws, friends home, or for their own meal at home. I will teach my younger four when they are old enough how to make a dish as well.

Having my children contribute to our meal has made each Thanksgiving special and they have really enjoyed making a yummy dish.

I've posted below two of our families favorite side dishes. Both are excellent to bring to someone else home and both get rave reviews!

Thanksgiving blessing to all of you.

Praline Yams
Serves 4-5 (I double this recipe for my family of 9)

29oz cut yams, drained
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbls. flour
3 Tbls. butter, melted
1/2 teas. vanilla
1/2 teas. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place drained yams in ungreased 1.5 quart baking dish. In small bowl combine remaining ingredients; blend well. Sprinkle over yams.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.


Canned Cranberries
By Paula Deen

1 (8oz) can whole cranberries (not jellied)
1 (6oz) can mandarin oranges
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans

In a medium size bowl, gently fold together the cranberries, mandarin oranges, walnuts, and pecans. Serve.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Whole Wheat Rolls

I love these whole wheat rolls. I got the recipe from a Fleischmann's website called Breadworld. They aren't difficult to do at all. Just make sure to plan your time accordingly because they take an hour to rise. Enjoy!

Best Whole Wheat Rolls
Recipe # 544

3-1 / 2 cups whole wheat flour
2 to 2-1 / 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 envelopes FLEISCHMANN’S RapidRise Yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 – 1 / 2 cups water
3 / 4 cup milk
1 / 4 cup molasses

1 / 4 cup butter or margarine

In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt. Heat water, milk, molasses, and butter until very warm (120 to 130F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 32 equal portions; shape each into smooth balls. Place in 2 greased 9-inch square pans. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Bake at 375oF for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Prepare for flu season by making Chicken Soup

My friend Chloe has this amazing soup and it does the job at making you feel better if you are sick. Enjoy and may this flu season pass you by uneventfully.


Chloe's Super Virus Busting Chicken Soup

One chicken
Appx 15-30 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Tbs salt
3-4 Thyme sprigs
Cayenne pepper (to taste. I use about a tsp)
Fresh Rosemary sprigs
Fresh ground pepper

Place chicken and other ingredients n a soup pot (I use my pressure cooker) and cover with water or chicken broth (I really like those boxes of organic chicken broth). Cook on stove top until chicken starts to fall apart. Remove from heat. Strain out chicken and stuff and set aside until cool enough to chop. Reserve broth for next step.

1 large onion (coarsely chopped or sliced)
1 fennel bulb (sliced thin)
1 leek (sliced thin)
4-6 stalks of celery (coarse chopped)
large red pepper (coarse chopped
1/2 lb. carrots (coarse chopped)
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 C good White Wine
salt and pepper

Place oil in bottom of large pot and heat. Add onion, fennel, celery, pepper and leek and saute until onion just transparent. Add wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Cover the vegetables with chicken broth from chicken--add more broth from can or box if you don't have enough broth from chicken and simmer veggies until just tender.

Frozen green beans
Frozen peas
flat leaf parsely (chopped)
1-2 cans chopped tomatoes with juice
salt and pepper to taste

Add these above ingredients and simmer until everything is tender. Add chopped chicken, salt and pepper to taste.

No virus can withstand this soup.

You can also add cabbage with the end ingredients if you like (I do!), or any other veggies your family likes. Sometimes I'll throw in whatever is in my veggie bin in addition to the above.

The next day add egg noodles and turn it into chicken noodle soup.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
1-2 fresh roasted green chiles, chopped (or 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles)
8 oz cream cheese, cut up and softened*
3-1/2 c cooked, chopped chicken
8-10 flour tortillas
1 1/2 c green chile enchilada sauce
1-2 c Cheddar & Monterrey Jack cheese, grated (as desired)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat: add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in green chiles, chicken & cream cheese. Stir constantly until cream cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Spoon approx 3-4 Tbsp chicken mixture down center of tortillas. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in lightly greased 13X9 baking dish. Repeat.

Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas & top with as much cheese as desired. Bake in 350 oven for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly & cheese is lightly browned.

(When I am short on tortillas, I will make this into a casserole by layer 3 tortillas on the bottom of my 11x13 casserole dish, pour the chicken mixture on them and they cover with 3 more tortillas. Pour sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese and place in the oven.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Old-Time Beef Stew (by Paula Deen)

I am a big Paula Deen fan. There hasn't been one dish of her's I didn't love. Most of the recipes are very easy and have basic ingredients so you'll see many of her recipes here. Here is on of my favorite Fall/Autumn recipes, that I serve with cornbread. I will double all the ingredients except the meat for my family of nine to stretch the meal. It is still wonderful and hearty. Enjoy!

Old-Time Beef Stew
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time:5 minInactive Prep Time:--Cook Time:2 hr 15 minLevel:
EasyServes:6 servings.


•2 pounds stew beef
•2 tablespoons vegetable oil
•2 cups water
•1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
•1 clove garlic, peeled
•1 or 2 bay leaves
•1 medium onion, sliced
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 teaspoon sugar
•1/2 teaspoon pepper
•1/2 teaspoon paprika
•Dash ground allspice or ground cloves (I use allspice)
•3 large carrots, sliced
•3 ribs celery, chopped
•2 tablespoons cornstarch


Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall is in the air...

I love fall. I love the smells that come from my kitchen during this season. Baked pumpkin bars, oatmeal bread, beef stew, shepherds pie and many other wonderful dishes.

I am going to be posting some of our families favorite fall/cold weather meals here and hope that you too will enjoy them as my family does.

Make sure to come back regularly to see what's new.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I like to have a ton of beans on hand. I store my dried beans in 5 gallon buckets. I also have a lot of canned beans on hand. Plus, beans are cheap, full of protien and yummy! Here are some of my favorite recipes involving beans.

Tig’s Black Bean Chili
(Incredible, low-fat, 1-hour chili)(From the Sonlight forum)

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1-lb ground turkey (I omit this and use extra beans, instead)
1 16-oz can chicken broth
1 T. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
¾ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 (15-oz) cans black beans (I use dried beans that I have soaked and cooked for 2 hours)
1 (10-oz) can chopped tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 (14-oz) can plain diced tomatoes
1 (15-oz) can Kidney beans (I use dried beans that I have soaked/cooked for 2 hours)
2 T. cornmeal, plus extra
6 T. chopped, fresh cilantro
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer Cabot’s Extra Sharp)

In a large soup pot, brown the ground turkey in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chopped onion and chopped bell pepper. Sauté and stir until the onions are clear. Add spices (except for fresh cilantro, which is an herb anyway), tomatoes, beans, and broth. Simmer covered for about 1 hour. Thicken by sprinkling and stirring in cornmeal. Add enough cornmeal to achieve desired thickness. It is not really necessary to measure; but, it will take at least 2 tablespoons to keep the base from being watery. When ready to serve, top each bowl with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and cheddar. Now, I prefer to add the cilantro directly to the pot and then to have extra for people to use in their bowls. We also like to provide lime or lemon slices for people to use if they wish to squirt some over their individual serving. A dollop of cream fraiche or sour cream is nice, too, on top of each serving (of course, that adds fat, which makes it no longer a low fat dish, as does the cheese).
I got this recipe from a forum I frequent...

1-Hour Ham and Bean Soup

2 Tbsp veg oil
1 C diced or sliced carrot
1 C diced celery
1 C chopped onion
2 C diced ham
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 1/2 C ham stock or chicken broth (water can be substituted)
2 (15 1/2 oz) cans great northern beans, not drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
pepper to taste

Heat oil in soup pot. Add carrots, celery and onion. Saute for about 4 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add ham, saute for 2 mins. Add garlic, saute one more minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a low boil, cover and simmer 30 mins stirring once or twice.
Another recipe for black beans. I use canned black beans and they work just fine in this recipe. It also takes less time to prepare as well. Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup from Dairy Hollow House Cookbook
(From my friend KayKay)

Bring to a boil 2 1/2 quarts water or vegetable stock (I use vegetable stock)

Stir into it:
2 cups black beans
2 bay leaves

Let simmer for a couple of hours until the beans start to get tender.

Heat 1/2 cup (you can use less) olive oil and cook in it until tender but not browned:
2 onions chopped
2 green peppers chopped (I use one red and one green)
1 fresh jalapeno pepper chopped (or more or none)
4-6 cloves garlic

Stir this mixture into the black beans and let cook until quite tender and flavorful. Add salt to taste at this point. If the soup is made a day ahead it is even better. We like to puree half of it and mix it all together. Serve over rice with a dollop of sourcream.

This freezes well, too.
Bethany’s Pinto Beans
(from the Sonlight Forum)

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 c. dried pinto beans
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 T. minced garlic
5 t. salt
1 3/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. cumin
9 c. water

Combine all ingredients in crockpot; stir. Cook on high for 8 hours. Strain, reserving liquid. Remove onion halves. Mash beans, adding reserved liquid to desired consistency.

Notes: Use this recipe as a starting point and tweak to your liking. It freezes well. I always double it, but make sure your crockpot is big enough first. There are several options with this dish. Beans - all pinto, half pinto & half black. Jalapenos - none, one, half diced & half intact, all diced. Water - all water, half water & half chicken or veggie broth (use less salt if you add broth!!). Onion - all diced, half diced & half intact. Cumin - as directed or way more. I don't measure the water either. Instead I just make sure the beans are submerged in liquid, adding more water if/when necessary. I also freeze the extra liquid and use it when making rice. If you choose to use it in rice, then add a little more water to your rice than normal because the bean liquid is partly solid.