Saturday, March 31, 2007

Orange-Cranberry Scones

These are fabulous for breakfast, or anytime! They're even good without the frosting, if you can't wait for them to cool before eating.

Makes 8 servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter (cut into small pieces)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons orange rind
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in cranberries.

In small bowl, mix buttermilk and egg along with orange rind/zest. Add all at once to dry ingredients, mixing JUST until combined, no further. Turn out mixture on floured board and pat into a flat rectangular shape. Cut squares into triangles and arrange on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 15-25 minutes or until golden brown. Your nose will tell you when these are done!

For glaze, mix together powdered sugar and orange juice, for desired consistency (add juice slowly, as humidity will play a factor in how quickly it reaches drizzle stage). Drizzle over slightly cooled scones.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, March 26

SUNDAY: Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with sesame garlic sauce, rice

MONDAY: Leftover pot roast with onion gravy, noodles, vegetable

TUESDAY: Balsamic Chicken with Thyme, rice, vegetable


THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: French Toast and fruit

SATURDAY: Spanish Garlic Shrimp

Visit the hostess of Menu Plan Monday for more recipes and meal ideas!

Sesame Garlic Stir-Fry Sauce

Why use the bottled stuff when you can MAKE YOUR OWN?

My father-in-law bought a bottle of sesame garlic stir-fry sauce at a supermarket so he could make this recipe. It was really good but some would have preferred less spice. I looked at the ingredient list on the sauce bottle and figured it wouldn't be too hard to make at home.

Did you know that manufacturers must list ingredients in order of quantity? The first ingredients on the list are the major ingredients in a food. Keeping that in mind, here's how I wound up making the sauce:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbl EACH water and cornstarch (dissolve the cornstarch in water before adding to sauce)
1 tbl sesame seed
1 tsp garlic powder or minced garlic
1/4 tsp fresh-ground pepper blend
1/4 tsp ground ginger (not in the sauce but we like ginger in our stir-fry)

Stir to mix, and microwave for 1 minute before adding to the pan. Cook until sauce thickens a little.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, March 19

Sunday: We attended a birthday party for our little neighbor Cutie-Pie. (She's 3). Dinner was sandwiches and chili at the party.

Monday: Tandoori Chicken, rice, broccoli
KITCHEN HINT: The recipe calls for 1/3 cup plain yogurt. In a container you get 2/3 cup. I don't use plain yogurt for anything else, so I doubled this marinade and froze half of it for next time.

Tuesday: Barbecue pork sandwiches, french fries, salad, raw vegetable platter

Wednesday: Chicken pot pie

Thursday: Spaghetti and meatballs

Friday: homemade French Bread Pizza, salad

Saturday: Paula Deen's Sesame Chicken Strips This is a Tried & True recipe in our house. I freeze the chicken strips in the marinade (looks gross but it works out in the end) and follow the recipe from there.

Visit the hostess of Menu Plan Monday for lots more menu ideas and recipe links!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Granma's Irish Biscuits

These are a cross between a drop biscuit and a scone. I learned this recipe from my Granma (my Dad's mother) who was born in Co. Waterford, Ireland, in a little town called Kilmacthomas. Family members still live in the same house, today. The picture above is not that house, but it looks quite like it, and it's in the same county.

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick margarine, at room temperature (not melted)
raisins, to taste
1/2 cup milk*
1/2 tsp.  mace, optional (I added this ingredient. Granma never used it)

Mix all ingredients. Batter shouldn't stick to fingers (add more flour if necessary). For best results, mix by hand--I dump the semi-mixed dough onto a floured tabletop and knead it a bit--but only a few times.
Drop about 1/2-cup size balls onto floured cookie sheet, or pat into a rough circle and cut into wedges. Makes about 8.
Bake 20 minutes at 350.
*The quantity of milk is variable. Granma never used a measuring cup. If you accidentally put in too much milk, just add a little more flour. This is a "go by the feel of it" kind of recipe.

You may use butter instead of margarine, but Granma always told me that butter is "too extravagant." Dad says that this translates into "too expensive." These are a wonderful, quick breakfast item, and nice to serve guests at any time of day, with a good cup of tea.

Irish Soda Bread

Everyone thinks they have THE BEST recipe for Irish soda bread. This is the recipe my mom follows. She turns out over a dozen of these every St. Patrick's Day, to share with family, friends and neighbors.

Get the recipe at Cook and Count.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, March 12


MONDAY: Barbecued Chicken, Orzo, vegetable-to-be-named-later

TUESDAY: Pork Paprikas

WEDNESDAY: Hawaiian Chicken with rice and pineapple

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Homemade Potato and Cheese Pierogi (I know, Fridays are supposed to be a penitential meal. I'll do plenty of penance putting this together. It will take me most of the day.)

SATURDAY: undetermined. It will just be me, Middle Sister and Little Brother, as it's a Boy Scout camping weekend.

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday to get more recipes and menu ideas!

My Husband's Family's Pierogi Recipe

It's an old family recipe. This will make a LOT. Enough to feed about 60 people. The family gets together before Christmas Eve to prepare these for the holiday feast. Here it is, in my husband's cousin's words. All filling quantities are basically "eyeballed."

Before you start the pierogies you will have to melt salt pork with onions and make sure you do it in a slow flame otherwise it won't render the salt pork juice.

3 cups of flour
1/4 cup of Presto Cake flour
2 beaten eggs
pinch of salt
1 cup of water

Mix it all and if it is too dry take more water. Knead the dough until it is blended then put it into a bowl and plastic on top and put into the fridge. Let it set overnight.

15 lbs of yukon potatoes
5 tablespoons of melted salt pork
2 blocks of extra sharp cheddar cheese (grated)

After you skin the potatoes boil them and when it is done drain the potatoes then mash the potatoes with salt pork, cheddar cheese and your taste of pepper.

7 large cans of sauerkraut
3 tablespoons of salt pork
1 cup of plain bread crumbs

Drain the sauerkraut then put it into a large pan with the salt pork and your taste of pepper. Let that slow simmer until the sauerkraut is soft and darker. When it is done then you can put the bread crumbs in. If it is still very wet then put more bread crumbs.

My additions to the directions follow. Cousin S. wrote these down for us, and everyone knows how to do these steps:
After the filling is prepared, roll the dough and cut out circles. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in each circle, fold over and pinch closed. It's easier to do this if someone shows you how. Make sure it's COMPLETELY pinched so there are no "leakers." The only thing worse than "leakers" is when someone mixes up which pan has the potato pierogi and which pan has the sauerkraut!

Place the pinched pierogi on a table to dry. Flip them over to dry the other side. After they've dried, boil until they come to the top. You can freeze them with melted butter (wax paper between layers) at this point, or refrigerate.

To serve, fry in plenty of butter until they're browned on both sides.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala Recipe

4 boneless chicken breast halves without skin
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil, dried
3 tbsp butter or margarine
3 tbsp olive oil
4 to 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (1/2 to 1 cup sliced)
1/2 c Marsala wine

Pound chicken to 1/4" thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and basil; mix well. Heat oil and butter in a heavy non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour mixture.

Cook chicken until lightly browned on first side (about 2 minutes). Turn chicken and add mushrooms around the chicken pieces. Cook about 2 minutes more, until lightly browned; stir. Add Marsala wine to pan. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with hot cooked pasta or rice.

Best Barbecued Chicken

This recipe comes from the book The Convent Cook by Maria Tisdall. It became a family favorite the first time we tried it. I like to freeze chicken pieces in the marinade, and then when we want to grill some chicken we just defrost and cook!

Get the recipe with nutrition information at Cook and Count!

Menu Plan Monday, March 5

SUNDAY: Meatball subs, green salad

MONDAY: Goulash

TUESDAY: Little Brother's 5th Birthday! He wants chicken drumsticks for his dinner. I don't think he cares how I cook them as long as they "have that bone that sticks out." Maybe we'll have chicken on the grill.

WEDNESDAY: Chicken flautas

THURSDAY: Chick-Fil-A night for Middle Sister's school.

FRIDAY: Vegetable fried rice. This link takes you to a recipe containing shrimp but we're just using vegetables this time.

SATURDAY: Lemon Mushroom Herb Chicken

Be sure to stop at the home of Menu Plan Monday and check out all the great menu and recipe ideas!

(And I guess I should clear up some confusion here. "Little Brother" is not my brother. He is my younger son. The older one is known here as "Big Brother," and my daughter is "Middle Sister.")

Friday, March 02, 2007

Aircraft Carrier Birthday Cake

This is an upside-down post. It shows the finished cake, and then in reverse, the steps I took to get there. Not including baking and planning (the most important part) I probably spent under 2 hours doing the actual decorating.

The airplanes are the only non-edible part of the cake. Happy Birthday, Little Brother!

Here's the partially-iced cake.

This is the fully-iced cake without airplanes.

Here's how I started out. 2 cakes size 9X13 and 3 mini loaf cakes.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Baked Flounder

I want to think of a fancy, appetizing title for this fish dish. Don't have one yet though!!! This is how I make flounder or similar fish fillets (tilapia, sole, scrod) when I don't want to pan-fry. It's a very simple dish but extremely tasty.

Flounder fillets
Olive oil
Coarse Salt
Lemon-pepper seasoning

Use a Pyrex dish with a lid for this recipe, or plan to cover your dish with foil.

Brush a little olive oil on the bottom of the casserole dish (to prevent the fish from sticking)
Place fillets in single layer in the casserole dish.
Dot with butter.
Sprinkle a little coarse salt and lemon-pepper seasoning on top of the fish. Don't use too much--you don't want to overpower the fish.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 15 minutes.
The fish will be moist, tender and delicious.


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