Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Michelle's Molasses Crinkle Cookies

These cookies are SO good! Don't wait until Christmas to make them. A nice spicy cookie is great anytime.

Michelle Reitemeyer's Molasses Crinkle Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup light molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
granulated sugar

Heat oven to 350 deg. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, shortening, molasses and egg. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until set. Cool completely before storing. Freezes well. Makes 5 dozen.

source: rosetta stone

Visit the other participants in Tasty Tuesday!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Steak Sandwich Kabobs

Inspired by a recipe in Taste of Home Simple and Delicious.

1 recipe focaccia bread, cooled and cut in cubes (just make the bread--don't add the pizza toppings)
1 lb London broil steak, cubed
2 bell peppers, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 large sweet onion, cut in 1-inch chunks

Provolone Cheese Sauce (see below)

Thread steak, peppers, onion and focaccia onto skewers.
Grill 8 to 10 minutes until done, turning occasionally.
Serve with cheese sauce.

Provolone Cheese Sauce

1/8 cup butter (2 tbl)
1/8 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 cup milk, divided
5 slices provolone cheese, broken up

Melt butter. Stir in flour. Add salt and half the milk; when it starts to thicken add the rest of the milk. Add cheese a little at a time, stirring until well mixed.

Menu Plan Monday, June 25

Here's our menu plan for the week:

SUNDAY: Steak sandwich kabobs (we were supposed to have them Saturday last week but the plan changed)

MONDAY: Chicken tenders dipped in ranch dressing and seasoned breadcrumbs, then fried; French fries and raw vegetable platter

TUESDAY: Teriyaki pork, rice, green beans

WEDNESDAY: Taco skillet

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and Meatballs (It's Middle Sister Cooks Dinner night! I'll be in the kitchen to supervise. Basically we are starting with a container of sauce and meatballs that she will have to heat up, and she'll have to cook the pasta.)


SATURDAY: Sausage, pepper & onion sandwiches

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday for more menu ideas and great recipes!

Taco Skillet

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup Salsa
1/2 cup water
8 flour tortillas (6"), cut into 1" pieces
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Mix meat, tomato sauce, salsa, water, tortillas and half the cheese. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 min. or until hot. Top with remaining cheese.

Source: this is my adaptation of a Campbell's recipe. I'd add 1/2 cup of frozen corn if Big DS wasn't so against it!

DINNER KIT: This is a great recipe to make when you have 15 minutes or less to get dinner on the table. Just have the ground beef cooked and drained ahead of time. I brown 3 or 4 pounds at a time and freeze it in 2-cup bags; that amount is perfect for this recipe. Mix the ground beef with salsa, tomato sauce, water and 1/4 of the cheese. Refrigerate until needed. Also, cut up the tortillas ahead of time so they're ready to add in. When it's time to cook, just stir the tortillas into the meat mixture, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add remaining cheese and serve.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Roaster Ovens

I don't ordinarily use this space for product recommendations, but this one is worth it. And this is a totally unsolitited and unpaid opinion.

My favorite kitchen appliances are my Nesco roasters. I have collected a whole family of them. They are certainly workhorses in my kitchen, especially in the summertime.

Why are they so great in the summer? Because on a hot day like today, I can make a casserole without heating up my kitchen! I can take them out to the back porch and cook out there if I want to. I can make a batch of spaghetti sauce or chili and let it simmer all afternoon. I can roast a chicken, using the convection feature to get it nice and brown on the outside and juicy on the inside.

When we have parties or large family dinners, I use the Nescos to keep the food at a safe temperature without drying it out. They're great in a buffet line.

These roasters are well-made and the customer service from the manufacturer can't be beat. There's also a terrific Yahoo group dedicated to recipes and tips for these roaster ovens.

Visit the home of Works-for-Me Wednesday for more great tips!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tasty Tuesday: Honey-Wheat Bread

Because my bread machine is an old model (about 12 years old) and the paddle
will not come out of the pan, I basically use mine as a Dough Machine. This makes less mess than doing the whole recipe by hand, although I do enjoy doing that when I have the time!

Here is my favorite bread machine/oven bake recipe:

"Outback Steakhouse" honey wheat bread
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbl butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp caramel color (optional)
1 cup flour
a little less than 1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Add ingredients in the order your manufacturer recommends. Use dough cycle.
Shape finished dough into a loaf and place in a loaf pan sprinkled with
cornmeal. Let rise 1 hour in a warm place.
Probably it will look like the dough has not doubled; don't worry about it!
Bake it anyway! It will increase in height in the oven.
Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.

Check out the other recipes being shared by Tasty Tuesday participants!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, June 18

It's Monday, and you know what that means! It's my favorite day of the week, a fresh start, and time to get a look at the plan for the week ahead. Over 100 bloggers participate in Menu Plan Monday every week! Thanks to Laura for hosting.

SUNDAY: Father's Day dinner with my in-laws as guests. I served roasted filet mignon, baked potato/yam, mushrooms, raw vegetable platter, and honey-wheat bread.

MONDAY: Cashew chicken with rice.

TUESDAY: Leftover Smorgasbord. I intend to turn the last of the Tandoori chicken from last week into barbecue sandwiches. We've also got odds and ends of things, and it will just be me and the kids. Probably I'll make a list of the available items in the morning and let the kids "claim" them, then we will line up at the microwave and make dinner.

WEDNESDAY: Quick Chicken Divan I'm tempted to make this with Swiss cheese this time, just to try something different!

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs.

FRIDAY: Shrimp Fried Rice

SATURDAY: Steak Sandwich Kabobs from the July/August issue of Taste of Home Simple and Delicious

Visit the headquarters of Menu Plan Monday and find out what everyone else is having for dinner!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Smart Habits Saturday: June 16

It's time again for Smart Habits Saturday, hosted by the Lazy Organizer.

I didn't do too badly on last week's habit: keep the kitchen table clear. I put a tablecloth on the table to remind me that I'd like it to always look pretty.

As of yesterday all my children are done with school for the summer. So I want to start developing this habit: Capitalize on the morning!

Although I enjoy sleeping in, I really am a morning person. If I sleep too late then I use up my best time of day! My energy starts to wane at about 11 AM and it's all downhill from there.

I know that my best, most productive days are the ones where I've gotten a jump on things by getting up, getting moving, and getting things done. If I stay in bed until Little Brother comes in and asks for help getting some breakfast, I've wasted my best time of day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Clothespin Clips

The kitchen is where I need to keep a lot of information at hand: menu plan, school calendars, and things like that. But it gets messy fast if it's all hanging on the refrigerator door.

I glued a spring-type clothespin to the inside of each upper kitchen cabinet. This way I can hang a paper or 2 inside each one, and just open the door when I need to see the information.

Visit Works for Me Wednesday and find practical tips from other bloggers on just about any topic you can name!

Spanish Rice with Pork and Onion

1 pkg. Spanish rice mix
1 lb. boneless pork (any cut)
1 medium onion, diced

Prepare rice mix according to package directions. I use Rice-a-Roni so I also need a can of diced tomatoes. "Petite diced" work really well here.
In a skillet, brown the port and onion until pork is cooked through and onion is tender.
Add the prepared rice mix to the skillet and heat until well blended.
This makes a very easy, spicy casserole.

Source: MomsMenu

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Giant Peanut Butter Cookies for Tasty Tuesday 6/12

If you like peanut butter cookies, try these giant ones!

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and salt together in large bowl until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking soda. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture while beating.
4. Roll 3 tablespoon-size portions of the dough into a ball in your hands and press to 1/2-inch flat on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle a little extra sugar on top. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, or the cookies will not be chewy.
Makes 14 to 16 cookies.

Be sure to check out the other Tasty Tuesday participants!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, June 11

SUNDAY: grilled London broil, French fries, broccoli

MONDAY: hot dogs, pierogi (courtesy of Mrs. T), baked beans

TUESDAY: Spanish rice with pork

WEDNESDAY: Tandoori chicken, and no one ever cares about the "sides" when I make this. They're too busy scarfing down all the chicken.

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Shrimp creole (experiment #2 for the week, unless there's a softball game)

SATURDAY: we're visiting my parents--so it's up to my mom to cook the dinner!

Visit the headquarters of Menu Plan Monday to check out what everyone else is serving this week! Thanks, Laura, for being the hostess with the mostest!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

No-Knead Bread

No-Knead Bread: this is that recipe that was in the New York Times food section and then made the rounds of all the blogs. You need about 24 hours total to make this bread. You CANNOT rush the process here. (And the yeast quantity IS correct; only 1/4 teaspoon for a huge loaf.) I made mine in a giant Corning Ware with a lid and it worked out great.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1 1/2 cups water
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Smart Habit Saturday

This is my first time ever participating in Smart Habit Saturday. It's sponsored by the Lazy Organizer.

The habit I want to work on this week is dealing with the clutter that likes to accumulate on my kitchen table every time my back is turned. Since the kitchen is small, we can't seat our family of 5 in there to eat a meal. So the kitchen table has become a work table for me. I keep my bread-kneading board, my large recipe box/cookbook holder, a cup full of pens and a couple of other small items there. But other stuff keeps finding its way to the table: Star Wars figures, those little rings off the top of the milk jug, newspapers, books, food items that people didn't bother putting away--you know the drill, I'm sure. FlyLady would call this table a "hot spot."

Here's my table "in use" as it should be. I want to make sure I get to that table after each meal and clear it off. That's my habit to work on this week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Enter Danielle's Prolife Raffle!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Enter the raffle to benefit St. Gianna Maternity Home by visiting Danielle Bean's blog! 100% of your donation will go directly to help women and babies in need of your support.

Like many other bloggers and fans of Danielle Bean's work, I have sponsored a prize. All told there are 39 prizes including a Kitchen Madonna apron, subscriptions to Faith and Family magazine and National Catholic Register, books of all kinds, gift certificates to Aquinas and More, Amazon and Adoremus books, handmade rosaries, and lots of other wonderful prizes. But the best prize of all is helping those moms and babies who need a safe place to grow.

This raffle ends Tuesday, June 12.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Banana Bread Recipe for Tasty Tuesday

It's Tasty Tuesday and here's what I'll be baking today for an after-school treat for the kids. It freezes well and has been a family favorite for years. Plus--it's pretty healthy!

Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine these ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed (optional but it adds a great texture!)

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
Add 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes at 350. Check center of loaf to make sure it's fully done before removing from oven.
You can also make this into muffins or mini-muffins. Just pay attention to the bake time. When they're nicely brown on top, they're done.

Thanks, Angie, for hosting Tasty Tuesday!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Terri from In His Hands generously shared this easy and delicious way to make brussels sprouts.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise, removing any loose, outer leaves and trimming the bottom stems.
Toss sprouts in a little bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper, to taste.
Spread cut side up in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake 400F for 30-40 minutes, until browned.
Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for lunch the next day.

Menu Plan Monday, June 4

It's that time again...time to figure out What In The World To Serve For Dinner This Week! I have gotten out of the habit of planning by the month, and it shows in my apathy about all this. Then I get cranky because I don't know what to plan. It's a vicious cycle. Time to get off this merry-go-round and get back into the plan.

SUNDAY: cheese ravioli with marinara sauce, garlic bread

MONDAY through THURSDAY: I'm just going to throw 4 ideas out here. There's a funeral one day this week and I don't know when, so I'll need some flexibility about when I serve what. (NO, I didn't kill anybody....it's a friend's mom, and arrangements have not yet been made. Please remember "Nonna" in your prayers.)

1. Chicken pot pie
2. Roast turkey drumsticks and mac & cheese (for the kids) and tuna casserole (for me)
3. Spaghetti and meatballs
4. Ranch chicken tenders, tater tots, and vegetable

At some point I'll be roasting some brussels sprouts for myself. I got the recipe from Terri from In His Hands. Since she emailed it to me, I don't have the link to it on her blog so I'll post it here and credit her again :) I will probably enjoy my batch of brussels sprouts all week long!

FRIDAY: Spanish Garlic Shrimp, rice

SATURDAY: London broil on the grill, corn on the cob


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