Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Best Creamed Corn

Source: All Recipes

We celebrated Thanksgiving the Saturday after with J's family at his mom's house. His brother's wife made the best creamed corn which prompted me to find this recipe on - where else - All Recipes. This is not exactly her recipe but very very close. I can't wait to make this on Christmas. Very very good.

2 (20 ounce) packages frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup whipping cream *she used half and half*
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon monosodium glutamate (MSG, or Accent flavor enhancer) *she used season salt*
2 tablespoons sugar
white or cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons flour *she used Bisquick*
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Place corn kernels, whipping cream, milk, salt, flavor enhancer, sugar, and white or cayenne pepper in a large stockpot. Bring to a slow, low boil beginning on medium heat, stirring frequently. Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.
Melt butter in the microwave, or in a small saucepan on low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Stir into the corn until well blended. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Aunt Donna's Sweet Potatoes

Every year for Thanksgiving we make my Aunt Donna's Sweet Potato recipe. This is the one thing I can eat and not get sick of. It's the first on my plate and the first to be eaten.


5 good size sweet potatoes or yams (cleaned, peeled and cut into 1 - 2 inch rounds)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of water
2 tbls of butter

Arrange the potatoes/yams in a skillet - cover with brown sugar and butter. Pour water over everything. Cover and simmer until soft (not mushy). This is usually about 30 - 45 minutes. I always double the sauce because it is so yummy!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sugar Cookies

My son was in the mood for some dessert but I really wasn't in the mood to make something that would take a lot of time or energy. Sugar Cookies was exactly what I was looking for.

All Recipes

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

*I sprinkled a little sugar on the cookies while they were still hot*

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chinese Take Out - Made at Home

Sunday night I made some wonderful Chinese dishes. Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken and Fried Rice. It was labor intensive but oh so well worth the time and effort. Earlier in the day I made the rice for the fried rice (it has to be cold) and marinated the chicken for the Kung Pao.

Unfortunately the lighting was awful so I have no pictures of my own.

Source: About.com


1 - 2 green onions, as desired
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
4 cups cold cooked rice
1 - 2 tablespoons light soy sauce or oyster sauce, as desired
Preparation:Wash and finely chop the green onion. Lightly beat the eggs with the salt and pepper.Heat a wok or frying pan and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the eggs. Cook, stirring, until they are lightly scrambled but not too dry. Remove the eggs and clean out the pan.Add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the rice. Stir-fry for a few minutes, using chopsticks or a wooden spoon to break it apart. Stir in the soy sauce or oyster sauce as desired.When the rice is heated through, add the scrambled egg back into the pan. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the green onion. Serve hot.
Source - All Recipes

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 ounce hot chile paste
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts
4 ounces chopped peanuts

To Make Marinade: Combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
To Make Sauce: In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.
Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.

*Recommend a few alterations though, which I find absolutely crucial: Double the marinade and the sauce, add lots and lots of water as the mixture cooks - otherwise it gets really pasty. I would say throughout the cooking process I end up adding at least a cup of water.

Orange Chicken - Panda Express

Source: Recipezaar.com

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
white pepper
oil (for frying)
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili peppers
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Orange Sauce for Stir Fry
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar
1 orange, zest of

Place chicken pieces in large bowl.
Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well.
Stir cornstarch and flour together.
Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat.
Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.
Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp.
(Do not overcook chicken).
Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.
Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat.
Add 1 tablespoon oil.
Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds.
Add and stir-fry crushed chiles and green onions.
Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds.
Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil.
Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed.
Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and add to chicken.
Heat until sauce is thickened.
Stir in sesame oil and orange zest if desired.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pumpkin Bread

Source: All Recipes

My mom makes the absolute best pumpkin bread ever! So when I decided to tackle making pumpkin bread I was a bit nervous. I found this recipe and decided to go for it. Surprisingly, my first attempt was really good. Next time I'll reduce the cooking time by just a bit - the sides got a little over done. But other than that - it was very good.

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups white sugar
2/3 cup water
4 eggs

Grease and flour three 7 x 3 inch pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Measure flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl. Stir to blend. Add pumpkin, water, salad oil, eggs, and nuts. Beat until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for approximately 1 hour.


Source: All Recipes

Sunday morning I was in the mood for crepes. I found this recipe was was so happy with the outcome. I would have loved to have had fresh strawberries - but settled for blueberry syrup. Delicious!
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been in the mood to make home made chocolate chip cookies. My family is so used to the "break and bake" they were all amazed when I broke out the mixer for cookies. "Mom, you are making home made cookies???" I've had my eye on this recipe from this blog and this blog for a couple days. So I was excited to try them. They did not disappoint!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips *I used milk chocolate chips*

Preheat oven to 325°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter & sugars until thoroughly combined.
Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients & beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips.
Roll scant 1/2 cup dough into ball (I cute this in half for my second batch). Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. .
Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft & puffy. *This took about 15 minutes in MY oven but start at 10 minutes and check from there. Do NOT over bake!
Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.
A cold glass of milk + one of these cookies = Yummy Goodness!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sauteed Garlic Asparagus

Source: All Recipes

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 bunch fresh asparagus
3 cloves garlic, chopped

**I added a few sprinkles of Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs**

Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and asparagus spears; cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until asparagus is tender. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Twist on Tacos

I'm big on tradition so when my husband once told me that Taco Mondays were he and his late father's tradition I've wanted to keep that going. They would make tacos and watch Monday night football. I've done pretty well finding "creative" ways to keep this tradition - tacos, taco soup, taco casserole, etc. Yesterday I came across a recipe that gave me my inspiration for last night's Taco Ring.

1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 package McCormick® Cheesy Taco Seasoning Mix
3/4 cup milk
Shredded cheese
Sour cream (garnish)
*black olives, onions, green chiles would all be good to add into the mix* But for this time I kept it pretty simple.

1. BROWN ground beef or turkey in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat.
2. STIR in Seasoning Mix and milk.
3. BRING to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Arrange crescent rolls on a 13-in. round pizza pan, forming a ring with wide ends overlapping and pointed ends facing the outer edge of pan. Spoon filling over wide ends of rolls, sprinkle on cheese. Fold points of rolls over filling and tuck under wide ends at center (filling with be visible). Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with sour cream.

(This is not my picture - but a great way to serve the taco ring)

I'm always on the search for my next Taco Monday recipe - I think I've found next week's here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Banana Banana Bread

This weekend I was in the mood to bake. I had a bunch of bananas that were just about ready to be trashed so I decided to try some banana bread. Let me first say that my mom makes AWESOME breads. Pumpkin, banana, zucchini, you name it. She makes wonderful, moist, perfectly baked bread. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and it turned out good - despite a few mistakes I made. I think next time it will be much much better if I actually follow the recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (5 - 7 bananas)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

I made the mistake of not creaming the butter and sugar together first and just mixed everything together which made it brown up too much on the outside. The inside was really good and had a great flavor. I also made this in my Pampered Chef loaf pan (first time to use) so I'm not sure if it cooks differently.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Weekend Baking Plans

I've been reading so many blogs this week - I have several recipes printed out and ready to cook/bake!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup - oh this looks so good!
Black bean and Salsa Soup - Perfect for chilly weather

Pumpkin cookies - these look very addictive.
Chocolate Chip Cookies - Buddy has been wanting to make cookies so these look like they will be great!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Yummy Spinach Dip

Yesterday our office had a potluck and a co-worker brought in the BEST spinach dip. I'm usually not a huge fan of spinach dip but this one had me going back for seconds and thirds.

The recipe is very easy
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 envelope Mrs. Grass dry vegetable soup mix **this is what makes it so yummy**
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

In a medium bowl, mix together spinach, sour cream, dry vegetable soup mix, and water chestnuts. Cover and chill in the refrigerator approximately 2 hours before serving.

**This is the secret to the dip**