Saturday, March 28, 2009

Unexpected and Delicious - By Ann

Several days ago, I cooked a turkey breast in my crockpot. It turned out pretty good. Not the best I've had, but it served the purpose. I had tons of left over meat, though. I've been thinking that I wanted to make a turkey pot pie. But - I don't always like it when I cut into a whole pie and the filling spills out and you don't get equal and uniform pieces. I have a DeMarle brioche pan (shown below). It's silicone. I decided to try making small, individual pies. After reading two or three different recipes, I decided to just throw something together.

This is what I did.

Mini Turkey Pot Pies


1-2 cups chopped, cooked turkey
1/2 c diced carrot
1/2 c diced celery
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 c butter
Salt and Pepper
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 to 3/4 c milk

To speed things up, I placed the carrot, celery and onion in a bowl with about 1/2 cup of water. I covered it and cooked it for about 2-3 minutes in the microwave. Until crisp tender. I then drained off the water and sauted it in a sauce pan in the butter on the stove for just a couple of minutes. I added salt and pepper and then the can of soup. Using the milk, I thinned out the mixture a little. I then stirred in the turkey and more milk to reach the consistency I wanted. I turned off the heat and moved on to the pie crust.

Pie Crust:

1 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c shortening
3 T very cold water

Place flour and salt in a bowl with shortening. Cut the shortening in with a pastry cutter until well blended at crumbly. Add the water and gently combine. It may seem dry, but it will come together. It makes a very light and flaky crust. One batch is enough for the bottom of one pie pan. If you wish to cover the top of your pie as well, you will need to double this recipe. In the case of these little pot pies, I had to double it. I rolled the dough out thin, cut it into circles and carefully lined each of the cups. I scooped the filling in to each one and then covered them with another circle of pie crust dough, and cut a small slit in the top with a knife. The little pies baked at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Here is the finished product. Each little pie is the size of a muffin.

What I would do differently? I'd roll the crust as thin as I could possibly get it (while still being able to handle it, of course). I would also make the filling a little bit more soupy. It needed just a tad more juice. I think I might bake them closer to 40-45 minutes. Some more crisp on the dough would have been great.

My son said he wanted a big bowl of the filling. It was very tasty, and such a very simple recipe. Don't you love it when things like that just come together?

Marry Me, Meatball!

I tried another one of Pioneer Woman's recipes tonight...and it was fabulous! She wasn't kidding when she said they will smell so good you'll want to marry them. I especially felt this way after eating them! So here it goes...BBQ Meatballs accompanied by Delicious Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

BBQ Meatballs - Comfort Food to the Max


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
plenty of ground black pepper


1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
4 to 6 tablespoons onion
Dash of Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.
Remove from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.
Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.
Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty french bread.

Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) Butter
1 8-ounce pkg. (softened) Cream Cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup Half & Half
1/2 to 1 tsp. Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. Black Pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30-35 minutes. When they're cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost-but not totally-fall apart.

Drain the potatoes in a large colander. when the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add the butter, cream cheese, and half & half. Mash to your heart's content. Then, add the Lawry's and pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium sized baking dish and top of with a few pats of butter. Place in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Beautiful Bacon

I thought it would be fun to share how I like to cook bacon. My sister Sara actually told me about this a few years ago after finding it in a Taste of Home magazine. I like this method because it is so much cleaner and easier than the traditional frying.

First I line a cookie sheet with foil and then the bacon. It can overlap a little because bacon always shrinks when it cooks. I put it in a preheated 400 degree oven and cook for about 10 minutes. I then like to turn the bacon and put back in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes (or longer, depending on how crispy you want the bacon). After it is done "baking" I take it out and put it on a paper towel lined plate. If you like to use bacon drippings, then just pour them into the container of your choice. Cleanup is easy, just throw away the foil and that's it! Here are before and after pictures.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apple Dumplings

Here is a recipe I just tried on Monday night. I got it from the pioneer woman's blog...if you have not heard of her I feel sorry for you. My mom told me about her a couple months ago and I've already tried a number of her recipes. So, you can be sure to see more on here from her. I highly recommend you check out her blog I am here merely to reaffirm how wonderful her recipes are! So on to the dumplings...

Here are the ingredients you will need, minus the cinnamon because I forgot to get that out until the end.

2 Granny Smith Apples
2 Cans Crescent Rolls
2 Sticks Butter
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Small Can of Mt. Dew or about 8 oz

Peel and core apples, cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll and place in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Melt butter, add in sugar and barely stir. Then add in the vanilla and stir a little more but not enough to completely mix the ingredients. Pour mixture over the dumplings. Pour the Mt. Dew around the edges of the pan and in between the two rows of dumplings. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and bake in 350 degree preheated oven for about 40 minutes. You want the dumplings nice and golden brown. Serve the dumplings warm with ice cream and make sure to spoon some of the sauce on top.

Here is the finished The Pioneer Woman says...These are beyond imaginable!

Basic Waffles

This recipe comes from the The All New Joy of Cooking cookbook. My husband always makes these. They come out fabulous. It's one of our favorite 'Breakfast for Dinner' menu items. The recipe gives you the option of using anywhere from 4-16 tablespoons of butter. They say, 4 T for a reduced-fat waffle, 8 T for classic light and fluffy, or 16 T for the "crunchiest most delicious waffle imaginable."
Basic Waffles

Whisk together:
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Whisk together in another bowl:
3 large eggs, well beaten
4-16 T unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 c milk


Is your waffle iron getting hot? Turn that on. We haven't ever made these with unsalted butter, because I don't ever buy it, except at Christmas time for my most special Christmas cookies. Whole milk will give you the best result, but all others, even skim, work just fine.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and gently whisk together in a very few strokes. The batter should have a pebbled look, similar to a muffin batter. You do not have to mix it until it's all smooth. Don't worry. Those lumps will work themselves out. If you wish you may fold in one or more of the following:

1/2 c raisins or finely diced soft dried fruit, fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries, finely chopped/toasted nuts, thinly sliced banana, crumpled cooked bacon, shredded cheese, or 1/4 sweetened dried coconut, or grated semisweet or milk chocolate.

We have never mixed anything additional into our batter, but the book offered those suggestions.

Spoon 1/2 c batter (or the amount recommended by your waffle iron) onto the hot iron. Spread the batter to within 1/4 inch of the edge, close the lid and bake to golden brown. Serve immediately. Or, keep warm in a single layer on a rack in a 200 degree oven while you finish cooking the rest. Serve with maple syrup, butter (yes more butter), jam, fresh fruit, homemade syrup, whipped cream, etc. Oh, did I say homemade syrup? Why...yes I did. Hmmmmm. Do you want that recipe too?

Btw, I love these waffles the next day just toasted in the toaster, buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I eat them like toast. Of course, all slathered in yumminess is great too!

Buttermilk Syrup

1 c sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 butter
1 tsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, milk, butter and corn syrup in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda.


I got the homemade syrup recipe from one of my sisters, Sara. Thank you Sara. This syrup tastes kind of like melted caramel. You need to make sure you use a pan with plenty of room. The baking soda stirred into the syrup when it's so hot causes a lovely puffing up reaction. I love that part. My kids love that part. It's pretty cool, actually. One other thing...why just 1 tsp corn syrup, you might ask? Especially when you're measuring out 1 tsp of corn syrup. I heard on FoodTV that adding a touch of CS to a recipe like this cushions the granulated sugar just enough that it won't re-crystalize in the recipe. Awesome, huh? Don't leave it out, even though that tiny bit might seem insignificant.

Another easy topping, which I did recently -

Wash and hull fresh strawberries. Cut into bite-size pieces. Stir in some powdered sugar until dissolved. It will create a yummy syrup over your strawberries. Add a squeeze of some citrus. Lemon juice, orange, juice, etc. It helps soften up the strawberries. Also called:

Maceration, also known as macerating in food preparation refers to softening or breaking into pieces with liquid.
Raw, dried or preserved fruit or vegetables are soaked in liquid to soften and to absorb the flavor of the liquid.[1] In the case of fruit, they are often just sprinkled with sugar, then left to sit and release their own juices. This process makes the food more flavorful and easier to chew and digest.
Maceration is often confused with marination (also known as marinating), which is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. (compliments of Wikipedia)

Anyway, I squeezed a couple of clementines over my strawberries and served them on the waffles, along with freshly whipped cream. Heaven.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We're on??? This is fantabulogisuticituic! Lol! Ann, you pretty much said everything I would have so I guess I just need to tell a little about me...
I am a single-working-studying mom who's trying to get into dental hygiene school at Sheridan College in little 'ole Sheridan, Wyoming. My boys are 6 and 3 and to be honest, are dreadful to cook for, can you say easy mac and pb&js!? But oh well, I love to eat so it doesn't stop me from cooking! I'm not sure when I really started cooking, a few years ago. I fell in love with Paula Deen and it was all downhill from there. I've had no formal training and 99% of the recipes I try are not mine but someone else's. I love challenging myself in the kitchen also and trying new and fun recipes.
I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as we will posting for you.
Bon Apetit!


Oh my gosh! Hooray!

Martha called me and asked me if I wanted to do a recipe blog with her and I was completely all over it! I've revealed some of my kitchen gadget obsession on my personal blog and got a little bit of flack from my friends (love you gize!). So, at least since this blog in entirely devoted to all things recipes/cooking/baking/kitchen-y stuff, I can just be consistent with the required material. Right?

First of all, we are savory sisters. Savory, because we really aren't that sweet. :) Ha can laugh. I'm not saying we're brats or anything,
maybe a little, but you won't find any gushy, bubblegum-y, overly cutsie stuff here. I think that's right. Martha?

Secondly, we want to offer other things, along with a plethora of fantabulosomagistic recipes. (my version of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious) We both love to cook, love to challege ourselves in the kitchen, love to try out new things and we'd love to share it with you. Tell your friends. Anyway...we would also like to offer cooking tips, substitutions, measurement conversions, and other sorts of things. Perhaps a guest contributor from time to time. If you are someone with awesome things you do in your kitchen, let us know! We'd love to hear about it and will probably want you to either write a guest entry or let us write one about you.

So I am the sister Ann. I am a stay-at-home mom. I have three children, 9, 7 and 3. They are SO fun to cook for (not) because they will eat everything I fix for them (uh...not!). Ok, not so much, but my husband is really receptive to new recipes and new things. I've never taken any classes (other than Home-Ick in middle school), but I've spent a lot of time teaching myself how to do things, watching how things are done on FoodTV and even finding my hands doing things naturally, just because I'd watched my mom doing the same stuff. I love it when that happens, btw.

Yeah - so, Welcome!!! Enjoy!!!! Martha? You're on.