Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Cook Connor prepares BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

My grandson Connor made these at home yesterday. The Original Recipe is here.
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (Connor used ground chicken, which he had to cook)
  • 6 hamburger buns, split and toasted


  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion, celery and garlic in butter until tender.

  • Stir in the salsa, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper.

  • Stir in chicken. Bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve about 1/3 cup chicken mixture on each bun. Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup (Crockpot)

Chicken Noodle Soup (Crockpot)

Amish style noodles (Or wide egg noodles)
"Better Than Bullion Chicken Soup Base"
Onion, chopped
Garlic, minced
Celery, chopped (I used frozen celery tops and leaves saved from making celery sticks)
Peas and Carrots (I use frozen)
sage (Or poultry seasoning)
bay leaf

Fill the crockpot just over half full of hot water.
Make sure the crockpot is plugged in! (How many times have I forgotten to do this?!!!)
Turn to "High"
Add your chicken. Mine was frozen, and in whole pieces. I used three breast halves.
Add the chopped onions, garlic, celery, bay leaf, sage, turmeric.
Cover. Allow to cook several hours.
After about 2 1/2 hours, we removed the chicken from the broth and chopped it up. Remove the bones if you used bone-in chicken.
Return the chicken to the broth.
Add the frozen peas and carrots. (I used about a cup and a half of frozen mixed peas and carrots)
Turn crock pot down to low, if it is going to be awhile until you eat.
Cover, allow to continue to cook.
Depending on the noodles, you will want to turn the crock pot back up and add the noodles 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours before you plan to serve. (I added two good handfuls of noodles, about 1 1/4 cups of the wide Amish style noodles. These are thick and hearty, and take quite awhile to cook.)

Thanks to my mother in law Arlene, Tom was raised believing that you have mashed potatoes  when you have chicken noodle soup. My kids love it their noodle soup served over the top of mashed potatoes... which is why I don't add potatoes to the soup. As starch heavy as this manner of serving the soup is, it is completely delicious.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spinach and Mushroom Salad

This salad is a wonderful winter salad, when fresh salad vegetables are scarce. It is also VERY simple!  My friend Angie Brown taught me how to make this salad. It has been one of my favorites from my first bite!

Spinach and Mushroom Salad

Fresh Spinach, cleaned and torn into bite sized pieces
Sweet Onion, diced (purple/red onion also works well)
Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Toss together in a large bowl. (Hold the bacon until just before serving.)
Cover and refrigerate undressed leftover salad.

3/4 Cup REAL mayonnaise (NOT miracle whip)
1/4 Cup milk
1 tablespoon bacon drippings (fat from cooking bacon)
2 Tablespoons bacon crumbles
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Make ahead and refrigerate. Stir before serving, thin with additional milk if necessary. Dress salad just prior to serving. Will keep in refrigerator 3 or 4 days.

One really nice way to brighten this salad is with a can of drained mandarin orange sections. Add a teaspoon of the orange juice packing to the dressing!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Lewis and Clark" Hominy

A couple of years ago, we did a unit study of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with the boys in our homeschool. We checked out a book from the library that had recipes of the types of foods eaten on this expedition to explore a great expanse of the uncharted western area that was to become part of the United States. This recipe is one we added to our family favorites!

Lewis and Clark Hominy
Hominy (I use canned, drained)
Bacon, chopped
Onion, chopped
Cayenne pepper (ground red pepper)

Fry bacon crisp in a heavy skillet. Remove from skillet.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
Add chopped onion and saute until soft.
Add the drained hominy, and the cooked bacon. Cook until hominy is heated through.
Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Fiesta Corn

Fiesta Corn

Frozen whole kernel corn

I dressed up our common vegetable side dish of corn by simply adding some chopped roasted peppers (The roasted peppers were one of the first recipes on this blog.)
Pour the amount of (frozen) corn you wish to use into a microwave safe bowl. add a bit of butter, and a few chopped roasted peppers.
Cover loosely (wax paper works well) and microwave until the corn is hot, stirring one or more times.

You can also use drained canned corn in this recipe. You could make it on the stove top as well, adding a small amount of water to the corn as you heat it over medium low heat. (Do not drain all the liquid from the corn if you are using canned corn on the stove top.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches (French Dip)

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches (French Dip)
Roast beef, sliced as you like
Hard rolls (I like a whole wheat bolilio)
dry Onion Soup mix
Swiss cheese
Onion, halved then sliced into thin slices (I prefer sweet onions)
Portobello mushrooms, if desired, (Sliced)
Olive Oil

(I usually use the Crock Pot for the meat/ broth, but it is easily done in any pot.)
Place the  sliced roast beef into a pot. (a covered one is nice but not essential.)
Sprinkle with one envelope of dry onion soup mix.
Add hot water... half  to 3/4 the amount the onion soup directions call for.
Simmer over low heat.

In a heavy skillet, cook the onion slices in a small amount of olive oil, separating them as you go. I like to cook them until they are brown and caramelized.
(You may add the mushrooms a few moments before the onions are done. I like to drizzle them in olive oil and let them soak it up before cooking them!)
Slide the onions (and mushrooms!) to one side of the skillet, and grill the bread halves in the olive oil.
Place the bottom half of the grilled bread on the plate, top with steaming hot roast beef, onions,  (mushrooms if you made them!) and cheese. I like to pour a few spoonfuls of the onion soup broth over all of this.The grilled bread "top" comes next, of course.  I have a small bowl of the onion soup broth on the side for dipping the sandwich into.

Easy Baked Italian Chicken

Baked Italian Chicken
Chicken, cut up, or your favorite cuts (can be Boneless, skinless, or neither)
 Italian salad dressing (NOT creamy!) (Your favorite brand. I like Marzetti.)

Place the chicken in a casserole dish.
Pour bottled Italian dressing over the chicken. You want the chicken well coated, as well as some in the casserole dish. Be generous.

Cover (with foil if you do not have a lid)

Bake at 350* for 25 minutes.
Remove foil, turn chicken. Return to oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes (or longer). You want the chicken to be done, but not dry. The cooking uncovered allows chicken with skin on it to crisp up a bit. Allow to sit for just a few moments before serving.

I like to serve this with a green salad, or even cut up IN a green salad. Also great served over cooked rice.

Notes and Hints

This is a list that will be updated as I think of things to add!

I want to let everyone know that, as a rule, I don't add extra salt as I am cooking. Some dishes DO need salt added to them to taste "right". So feel free to salt any of the recipes that I have left salt out of.

Most of my recipes are very "open ended". I specify ingredients, but most of the time, no amounts or quantities. I grew up in a big family- six kids, and there were almost always neighbor kids eating with us. I raised seven kids myself. I am learning how to cook for two and four people these days. So, here are some of my rules for estimating how much to cook:

Potatoes- Count on one potato per person, plus "one for the pot" for every four people. (1.25 potatoes per person)

Carrots- one and a half carrots per person

Pasta- one regular "handful" (about 1/2 cup) per person, plus an extra handful for those you know will eat a lot... (i.e. teen boys, husbands) and of course, "one for the pot" for every 4 people. (4 people will use 2 1/2 cups dry pasta, most varieties)

Ratios... my "rules of  estimating" (above) are my own ratios, that I have worked from for the last 40 or so years. Other helpful ratios are:
Rice: 1 part rice to 2 parts water.
Oatmeal (rolled oats) 1 part Oats to 3 parts water

One of my favorite truisms: Baking is Science, Cooking is Art. This means you follow the recipe in baking, or you will more than likely end up with a failed outcome. With cooking, you can pretty much do anything you like. I have yet to come across a recipe that I didn't "tweak" in some manner while preparing it.

*To keep rice from being sticky, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the water it is cooked in.

*When cleaning up anything flour based, be sure to use COLD water. Using hot water turns the flour to paste, but cold water lets it rinse off.

*Use COLD liquid to dissolve cornstarch before adding it to sauces as a thickener. Using hot liquid causes lumps. Cornstarch needs to cook for at least one minute after adding in order to thicken.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Italian Chicken in the Slow Cooker / Crock Pot

Italian Chicken (Crock Pot)
Chicken Breasts (I used boneless/ skinless)
Canned tomatoes (I used stewed and petite diced)
tomato paste
Garlic (I used minced from a jar)
Onion, chopped
Italian seasoning blend
Basil (I used both dried, and fresh because I had it on hand)
Salt to taste

Cooked pasta or rice

I started with chopping an onion. Put it in the crock of the slow cooker.
Add a generous amount (I used about a tablespoon) of minced garlic. (Hey, we LIKE garlic!)
I then added boneless skinless chicken breasts. These were frozen when I put them in, since I never think to start meals soon enough.
Next I dumped a can (14.5 oz) each of  diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes.
I added a can (6 oz) of tomato paste later, when I saw this was not going to be as thick as I like it.
(One can of each because I am only cooking for TWO today! If the kids were home, I would probably have either used larger cans of tomatoes, or more cans)
Sprinkle a light amount of Italian seasoning, and basil, over the top.
This should take about four hours on "High" in the slow cooker, six to eight hours on low... depending on several factors: Thawed or frozen chicken, how hot the slow cooker gets, how many pieces of chicken are in the pot... etc...

Serve over prepared pasta or rice, garnish with fresh basil if you have it!

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burritos

Eggs- beaten
Potatoes (Home fried potatoes, or cooked "tater tots")
Flour Tortillas, warmed)

Brown sausage in a skillet, crumbling it as you go.
Drain fat.
Leaving the sausage in the skillet, add the beaten eggs, and cook over medium heat, "scrambling" the eggs into the sausage as you go.
When the eggs are done, turn off the heat.

Assemble the burritos by placing a (warmed) flour tortilla on a plate.
 Add a fair sized scoop of the sausage and egg mixture, then a sprinkling of fried potatoes (or "tater tots"). Top with salsa and cheese.
You may have noticed that these pictures are NOT of breakfast Burritos, but the filling and rolling of them is the same as in these pictures.
Leftovers should be made into "extra" burritos. These may be wrapped in waxed paper and plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. They re-heat beautifully in a microwave for a take along breakfast when you are in a hurry!

"Skillet Stroganoff"

Skillet Stroganoff
Ground beef
Chopped onion
Pasta (I use "bow tie", or mini bow tie, or extra wide egg noodles)
dry onion soup mix
Garlic (I use the pre- minced from the jar)
 "Better Than Bullion" beef soup base
corn starch
Sour cream

In a deep heavy skillet, brown the ground beef. You may add the onions along with the beef and cook them at the same time.
When the beef is cooked, drain off the fat.
Add the garlic, a tablespoon (or more) of beef soup base, and at least one packet of onion soup mix. (Two packets or more if cooking for more than 4 people)
Add hot water, at a ratio of 2 1/2 cups hot water per cup of pasta (for most pastas).
Bring to a boil.
Stir in the uncooked pasta. Try to submerge all of the pasta in the boiling liquid.
Allow to cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is as tender as you like it. this takes longer than the cooking directions on the package indicate. If you cannot keep the pasta (or most of it) submerged, add more hot (BOILING) water. Add no more than a cup of hot water at a time.

Once the pasta is tender, you may want to thicken the sauce. I add 2 tablespoons of corn starch to 1/2 cup COLD water. Stir until dissolved, then stir into the simmering pasta mixture. Allow to cook another minute or two, for the sauce to thicken some.
Turn off heat.
Stir sour cream into the mixture.
Ready to serve!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



ground or coarsely chopped meat (beef, venison, what have you)

chopped onion

tomatoes (I usually use canned crushed tomatoes AND petite diced, but fresh will work)

Rotel tomatoes (this is a name brand of hot spiced canned tomatoes)

Cooked beans if desired (I use Ranch Style brand (pinto) beans, and black beans. I have used kidney beans, and I have also left beans out. Home cooked beans are fine.)

Chili powder


 Jalapeno peppers if desired


I start the meat cooking in a very large, heavy pot. (I make a huge amount at a time, so I use 2-3 lbs of meat.)  I add the chopped onions even before the meat is browned.  (Dear Husband tells me this is the wrong way to do it.)
Once the meat is cooked, I drain off the fat.
I add the canned tomatoes... Usually the equivalent of 84 combined oz. of crushed and diced tomato product... not counting the Rotel. I add one or two cans of Rotel.

Drain the beans, add them. (I rinse black beans before adding, just because I do not like their "sauce".)

Add the fresh jalapeno and garlic now. (If you use either fresh.)

Cook, covered,  for 1/2 hour on a very low temperature.

Add desired amount of  Chili powder. This will depend on the brand you use and the spiciness you want. I usually use 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Start with a couple of tablespoons, and taste test for yourself!

Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar. Salt to taste.
The ginger adds a mild warmth while helping prevent indigestion. The sugar helps counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. (DH says it is wrong to add either sugar or ginger, but usually praises my finished chili when he doesn't know these have been added.)

Continue cooking 20 minutes to infinity longer. OK, so you cannot cook it to infinity. I like the chili to slow simmer for at least 2 hours from the first sign of simmer, before serving.

I serve with tortilla chips and cheese. Some people like it with crackers. Some even add sour cream.
Refrigerate leftovers. Freeze leftover leftovers within 3 days.

***Warning*** Do Not serve the day before long trips where you will be in a confined place, unless you can have the windows open.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saucy Little Meatloaves

Saucy Little Meatloaves
My version, rewarmed the next day!
I decided to make the delicious "Saucy Little Meatloaves" from page 19 of my "Food For Fellowship" cookbook that I compiled back in 1989 (or thereabouts) for the members of the church we attended, the now defunct Rose Of Sharon, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The meatloaf recipe was sent in by my Aunt Jean Callahan, but it was my cousin Jeanie's recipe. I looked it up yesterday, and then made small meatloaves without following the recipe at all. I will share both here- Jeanie's is excellent, and mine was pretty good as well.

Jeanie's Original recipe:
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. uncooked oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
Mix together and form into 6 small loaves.

mix together:

 1/3 c. catsup
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. mustard (prepared yellow mustard)

Spread on loaves.
Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes, until done.

Tammy's Original Recipe:
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. crushed Ritz (type) crackers. (I used Keebler Town House Toppers)
1 egg, beaten
1 small can tomato paste
1 Tbs. whatsthishere sauce (Worcestershire, for those of you unrelated)
1/4 c. chopped onion (I was out of onion, used 1 TBS dried minced onion)

Mix together and form into 4 loaves. Place in greased baking pan. (I used a cast iron skillet that I had cooked bacon in earlier, and drained off the grease. A two-fer use before washing!)

Top each raw loaf with bottled BBQ sauce- about a tablespoon each. (I used Sweet Baby Ray's because I had it on hand, and happened to find it before I found the mustard to make Jeanie's topping.)

Bake at 350* for 25-35 minutes, until done.

I did find mine a little dry, so next time I will try it with at least 1/4 cup of milk.) I didn't add salt and pepper to mine before cooking, preferring to allow "salt to taste" on each person's plate.