Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cooking with Alicia & Annie: Asiago Cheese Bread

Today I made the Asiago Cheese Bread from Alicia's Recipes. I am addicted to the Asiago Cheese Bagels at Panera, so I was hoping that I could learn to make some Asiago bread at home. Even with the pricey cheese, it's easier on the budget to make my own.

Find my version of the recipe along with photo and nutrition information at Cook and Count.

Joy's Sugar Cookies

I got this recipe about 15 years ago from a cyber-buddy named Joy, and these have been a staple in my home ever since. These cookies are super-easy and really delicious!

You'll find this recipe at my new website, Cook and Count!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole

Get this recipe with nutrition facts and photo at Cook and Count!

Monday Menu, October 27, 2008

SUNDAY: Mark's Pot Roast (that's definitely a "keeper"--it's a great way to make a cheap cut of meat taste expensive!), noodles, gravy, mixed vegetables, Outback Steakhouse bread

MONDAY: ranch-breaded chicken tenders, hash-brown casserole, salad, peas rustica

TUESDAY: Teriyaki pork, brown rice, green beans

WEDNESDAY: roast chicken, stove-top stuffing, vegetables

THURSDAY: spaghetti and meatballs

HALLOWEEN: hot dogs and mac & cheese, Chicken Fajita Soup (We usually have at least one extra child and one extra grownup, so it will be sort of a "buffet" thing here.

SATURDAY: I have an SFO meeting all day. Looks like it might be a pizza day.

Looking ahead to Sunday: a request has been made for a Loaded Baked Potato Bar. Sunday might be a good day for that!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sunday breakfast and dinner recipes

I bought a chuck roast the other day intending to cube it up for stew. But I decided to look around for other ways to use the chuck roast. This recipe for Slow Cooker Beef with Root Vegetables looks good! This might be our Sunday dinner along with some Portuguese Easter bread. Or maybe this version of pot roast!

3 lb. chuck roast
Olive oil as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pint beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
2 bay leaves
Chopped thyme, rosemary and parsley to taste
4-5 red potatoes
4 large carrots
20 pearl onions or 2 medium Spanish onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped

Take the widest covered pot you have and place it on the stove on high heat. Brush the roast with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to the pot, wait till it starts to smoke and sear the roast on each side until browned. Remove the roast, add the wine and deglaze the pot, scraping the browned bits off the bottom, as the wine comes to a boil. Add the stock and tomato paste, return it to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Add the meat back into the pot and cover. Place the pot in a 350 degree oven or maintain it at a very gentle simmer on the stovetop for two hours. Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a bowl of water to prevent them from browning. Cut the carrots into large chunks. Peel the pearl onions and leave them whole or peel and quarter the Spanish onions. At the 90 minute point add all of the vegetables and garlic. Cook for another half hour or until the vegetables are tender. If it takes a little longer than two total hours that's fine. A little extra cooking time will not harm the meat. Add the chopped parsley just before service.

Deborah just posted these Cinnamon French Toast Cups over at her food blog! I HAVE to try these. I've been meaning to do the French Toast Cups anyway, and this cinnamon can you miss?

Cinnamon French Toast Cups

(makes 8)

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 fl. oz / 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 slices bread, cubed

Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F

Whisk the eggs with all the ingredients except bread. Once well combined add the bread and toss to coat. All the liquid should be soaked up.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or butter 8 holes. Spoon the bread mixture into each muffin hole.

Bake for ten minutes until cooked through and slightly crispy on top. Glaze and serve.

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered/icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp milk

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour over toast cups.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Citrus Chicken with Carrots

I used to make this ALL the time when Big Brother was a little kid. It's great with rice. I can't even think of how long it's been since we've had this, and I don't know that my younger 2 kids have ever eaten it! I'm glad I still had the recipe.

Get the recipe, with photos and nutrition information, at Cook and Count.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cooking with Alicia & Annie: Amish Cornbread

Tonight I thought cornbread would be a nice addition to the Taco Skillet we were having for dinner. I'm a fan of corn muffins, and am always in search of the Perfect Corn Muffin. But sometimes muffins are a pain. You have to have the little Muffin Papers, and there are always drips on the muffin pan. Cornbread is just like a big muffin without the hassle.

I found a recipe for Amish Cornbread at Alicia's Recipes.

1 c. sifted flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 egg, well beaten
1 c. milk
5 tbsp. shortening, melted and cooled

Sift first 4 ingredients. Mix in cornmeal. Blend egg, milk, shortening until mixed. Add to dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Use greased (bottom only) 8x8x2 pan. Bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

The only change I made to this recipe was to use an 8-inch round pan rather than square, because my square pans have gone, full of treats, to a friend's house.

I had a little technical difficulty when I poured the melted shortening, which was, I guess, not cool enough, into the cold milk and beaten-egg mixture. That was a mess. The shortening immediately solidified in little pieces. So I put the whole bowl into the microwave to warm it up and stirred it until it was smooth(er).

The texture if this cornbread was very cake-like. It was a moist, smooth texture with a fine crumb. But the cornbread itself seemed to be "missing something." I think it might be good with butter instead of shortening--so I'll try this again.

This post is an entry in the Amanda's Cookin' "Cooking with Alicia & Annie" Contest.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan October 20, 2008

SUNDAY: Dinner at a ceremony for an Eagle Scout from our troop

MONDAY: Barbara's Crunchy Chicken & Rice Casserole (I have lots of leftover rice and some leftover crunchy noodles from Saturday night's Chinese-food run...this will be a great way to use those up. I'll be using the Cream of Whatever soup mix as the base for this.

TUESDAY: Taco Skillet, corn

WEDNESDAY: Hawaiian Chicken, rice, green beans

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Homemade pizza OR Shrimp & Scallop Creole; if I skip the sausage I can have a meatless Friday dinner....

SATURDAY: Burgers with pepper-jack cheese; tater tots

Friday, October 17, 2008

Note to Self: Ideas for Next Week's Dinners

Barbara's Crunchy Chicken & Rice Casserole

Spaghetti on Thursday, of course, because it gets UGLY around here if I deviate from that routine!

Hawaiian Chicken & rice

Easy dinner with easy cleanup needed Tuesday since Cub Scouts come here at 7

Do we need a dinner plan Sunday?

We have Tater Tots! They would be a good side burgers on Saturday.

Skillet Taco

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cream of Whatever Soup Mix

2 C powdered milk
3/4 C cornstarch
1/4 C instant chicken bouillon granules
2 t dried onion flakes
1 t crushed dried thyme
1 t basil - crushed dried
1/2 t pepper

1/3 cup mix and 1 1/4 cup water


Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan October 13, 2008

SUNDAY: We had dinner at my parents' house: pot roast with potatoes and onions.

MONDAY: Pork with Onion, Garlic and Fennel; saffron rice; vegetables.

TUESDAY: Chicken piccata; rice; vegetables.

WEDNESDAY: I'm considering the Dinosaur BBQ Mac & Cheese Shepherd's Pie, but that could change....

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Chick-Fil-A for Big Brother's Habitat for Humanity trip to Gulfport, MS

SATURDAY: Something on the grill, maybe burgers with pepper-jack cheese!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cooking with Alicia & Annie: Apple Muffins

Apple Muffins

I made this recipe for the Cooking with Alicia & Annie contest. Here's the original recipe:

Wet Mix
2 cups grated raw apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Dry Mix
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, prepare pans. Thoroughly combine the wet mix ingredients. Combine the dry mix ingredients and mix thoroughly into the wet mix. Spoon into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12. Nice sprinkled with equal parts degrees F brown sugar and spice. These are lovely moist muffins and hardly need to be buttered. They will keep will, but are best kept refrigerated and then warmed before eating. Variations: Apple Raisin and Nut: Add 1/2 cup chopped raisins, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp grated lemon or orange rind to the wet mix. Apple and Date: Add 3/4 cup of finely copped dates and 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind to the wet mix. Apple and Bran: Substitute the wholemeal and self-raising flour with 1 cup of flaky bran and 1-1/2 cups degrees F self-raising flour.

Changes I made: I used regular all-purpose flour since I did not have self-rising flour. I added 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/9 tsp salt to make up for that. I also added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the wet mix.

My review of the recipe: As I was mixing this up, the batter seemed REALLY thick. Too thick! It was more the consistency of chocolate-chip cookie dough than muffin batter. I had to actually use 2 spoons to get it into the muffin cups. I looked at some other muffin recipes that I have used in the past and noticed that all of them contained between 2/3 and 3/4 cup milk for every 2 cups flour.

The batter TASTED fabulous and I was so optimistic that I had found the recipe for the delicious apple-nut muffins that were sold at the bakery where I worked in high school. But the finished product was too dry. I'm attributing this to the lack of milk in the recipe.

I will definitely make this recipe again, adding the milk that I think is missing.

Meanwhile, I think I'll make a little bread pudding or something with the muffins that didn't quite work. There's no sense letting all those good ingredients go to waste!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saving Money on Food

Casual Kitchen has a ton of links in this post: A Recession-Proof Guide to Saving Money on Food.

I've also recently picked up this book: The Frugal Family's Kitchen Book by Mary Webber. What an excellent book! It's more than a cookbook, which is why it's called a kitchen book. It deals with all kinds of money-saving strategies. If you know a young person or young couple just starting out on their own, this book would be an excellent gift!

Cousin Sharon's Chicken & Biscuit Stew

Get the recipe and photo at!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Menu Plan week of October 5

SUNDAY: Heather's Tandoori Chicken (I forgot to skin the chicken first, and it was just as great WITH the skin, maybe even better!!), brown rice, green beans

MONDAY: Homemade pizza (everything's in the freezer and ready to go!)

TUESDAY: Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY: Pork ribs with barbecue sauce, roasted potatoes, vegetables

THURSDAY: Chicken Divan with noodles

FRIDAY: Linguine with Shrimp and Scallops

SATURDAY: Mexican steak on the grill, corn on the cob, baked potatoes

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kitchen Tip-O-Rama!!

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer hosts Works-for-Me Wednesday, and this week there's a theme: Kitchen Organization.

How could I resist? As of this writing, 263 bloggers have contributed links to their posts with favorite kitchen tips.

I've already put one of them to good use and I'm sure to find others. It's worth a little time to check out these tried and true tips.

My name is Barb, and I'm a tip-o-holic. Just try and stop me.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Menu Plan week of September 28

SUNDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs (brought this to Grandma & Grandpop's house)

MONDAY: Beef Paysanne with noodles

TUESDAY: eat out (Chili's)

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Fajita Soup, Chicken Lo Mein (I had leftover chicken to use up, and I wanted soup. I also had leftover spaghetti to use up, and knew Little Brother would not deal with the spice in the soup!)

THURSDAY: Barbara's Braised & Barbecued Chicken, mac & cheese, green beans

FRIDAY: Baked flounder, rice, mixed vegetables

SATURDAY: Maybe I'll actually get around to making those beef fajitas I keep thinking about!

Chicken Fajita Soup (Slow Cooker)

This recipe is my version of Mexican Chicken Soup.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled, cut up (or 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken)
1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw!)
16-oz jar salsa (medium)
46-oz can V-8 (store brand works)
1 can small red beans, drained (14 oz)
1 can black beans, drained (14 oz)
1 can pinto beans, drained (14 oz)
1 packet fajita seasoning (because I had it in the pantry; I will make my own next time--see below for recipe)
1 tbl chili powder (in addition to what's in the fajita mix)
1/2 small onion, chopped fine

Combine in slow cooker and cook on low 3 to 4 hours.
Serve with tortilla chips and shredded sharp Cheddar cheese.

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp EACH: garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper

VARIATION:  This is also a great soup to make "meatless."  Just omit the chicken; you can add even more beans if desired.

I shared this recipe at Lynn's Cooking Adventures!  Check out all the great soup recipes you'll find in her link party.


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