Monthly Archives: March 2013

Grandma’s Easter Morning Shoo-Fly Cake

P1030112Among the Easter festivities I remember as a little girl, one was this Shoo-Fly Cake that my Grandma Laury always made for Easter morning breakfast. I’m not sure how she came to always bake up this old-fashioned cake for Easter- I wish I knew if there was a story behind that tradition that the different branches of my family (my mom, sister, myself) still keep alive each Easter.

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Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream (No eggs)

P1020687Confession: Ice cream is my downfall. I love, love, love it. My favorite way to end the day is to sit down on the sofa, cuddled in a blanket and a big bowl of ice cream in hand. I blame my father for this habit as he modeled this very routine to us children in our growing up years, night after night, bowl after bowl. And now, I (and my younger brother, too) are ice cream addicts- no small bowl will do- it must be large- a freezer with no ice cream in it is a very sad sight, indeed.

So- now that you now I am an ice cream addict, let’s move on and get to the point of this post!

I didn’t want to look at the ingredients of ice cream at the store. I just preferred to not KNOW what junk was in my ice cream. But, I did it anyway- and wasn’t really surprised when i saw the long list of weird and un-pronounceable ingredients. **sigh**.

So, I have begun to experiment with some different homemade ice cream recipes. I want to find several “go-to” recipes that I can use on a regular basis. And really- if the thought of homemade ice cream seems too involved, try to scratch that thought. It really is easy and does not take much time. All you have to do it mix up the ingredients, pour it in the ice cream maker’s canister. Then pour in ice and rock salt around it, plug it in, and the machine does the rest of the work. Your prep time for this recipe is 10 minutes maybe?

Also, this recipe does not have a custard base. I do want to try some of those in the near future, but this one is simply, cream, milk, sugar, cocoa. So, no cooking is involved, no tempering eggs. It’s quick, creamy, and delicious! You can clearly taste the creamy base. I also have not had a problem with this recipe becoming rock-hard in the freezer. Some homemade ice creams will do that. But this one has remained soft enough to scoop right out. The flavor reminds me a little bit of the taste of a Wendy’s frosty- in that it is not a real deep chocolate, but a lighter chocolate taste. We have loved it! And, of course, I have eaten more than I should! Don’t be like me!

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Sausage Rice and Bean Soup

P1030031It snowed here on Sunday- almost 6 inches. That’s quite a big snow for us around here…and in the middle of March! Ack!

Monday was still slushy and cold, and nothing seems to fit better on days like that, then a good soup to warm thing up! So, last night we enjoyed this soup that is hearty, healthy, and tasty!

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Chocolate Chip Pie Bars

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What do you get when you cross chocolate chip cookies with Pie? Did I hear  someone say ‘Bliss’? ‘Perfection’?

Well, let me tell you- you’ll get flaky pie crust, gooey chocolate and a golden ‘cookie-like’ top that begs to be topped with vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Chip pies are somewhat of a classic. Many people might associate them with the Kentucky Derby under the name of “Derby Pie“, which usually adds nuts. My first introduction to the pie was through my in-laws, using a Toll House version.

But, get ready…we’re switching it up again. My version is not a pie- We’ re making Bars! (and now we have a cookie turned pie turned bar!)

I actually prefer this bar version because it makes them easy to cut up into smaller pieces, they’re easier to pack up for lunches or snacks, and I could easily make a bigger batch for parties or family get-togethers and bake it all in a big baking dish, instead of needing multiple pie plates to shuffle around.

We liked them a lot! And so- here is my own version of this wonderful sweet treat!

Pie Crust: (this is my very favorite pie crust. I will have to post it separately sometime!)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbs. milk

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start with the crust. 

In a 9 in square baking pan, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.

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In a small bowl, combine the oil and milk and mix it really well with a fork.

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Pour the oil/milk into the flour mixture.

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Using the fork, work to combine it. I usually end up getting my hands in there to finish working the flour into the wet mixture.

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Now press all of this into the pan bottom and just a little bit up the sides (not even half-way)

That’s all for the crust.

For the filling:

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Beat the eggs in a mixer until they begin to become foamy. (I would say about 2 minutes on a high speed)

Add the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Mix well

Add the softened butter. Beat until all combined and the butter is incorporated pretty well. (but don’t be surprised if you still see some little small chunks of butter)

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And finally, dump in the chocolate chips and give a little stir.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean. (some chocolate will probably stick to the knife and the knife might seem kind of ‘oily’, but that is fine)

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Allow this to cool a bit before slicing into it. (I would give it a half hour)

You can serve this warm with vanilla ice cream on top. But I think it is also equally as good at room temperature.

I’ll let you decide which is better!

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Steak and Cheese Calzones

P1020991I Love a good Steak and Cheese sandwich. Yum, Yum! So, this dish gives the popular steak and cheese a different twist…it becomes a calzone!

A homemade (very easy) dough that always turns out beautifully is rolled out thin and then filled with sirloin steak, peppers, onions, and mozzarella cheese. Then you wrap the dough back over and seal it shut. Bake it up- and when it’s done- the dough is golden, flaky, and the filling is hot, gooey, and full of flavor! 

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Eggs over Fried Onions and Potatoes (sweet potato and white)

P1020901We love to have Breakfast for Dinner around here! We raise chickens, so we have the wonderful benefit of always having fresh eggs available. (so nice!) And so I like to make use of this great commodity by preparing Breakfast for Dinner on a regular basis.  It’s a great way to incorporate a meatless dish into your menu and it’s also budget-friendly.

This recipe includes three separate features, put together to create a pleasing blend of flavors and textures. On the bottom is sweet potatoes and russet potatoes, baked until tender and simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Right there you already have some sweet and savory flavors going on.  The next layer is fried onions. I think these are what really make the dish, because they have such natural sweetness that really brings everything together and really compliments the eggs. And then, the top layer is a fried egg that breaks open to cover everything with it’s delicious yolk.

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Oatmeal-Raisin-Chocolate Chip-Almond Cookies

P1020868I love a good oatmeal cookie! And yesterday after lunch, I found myself really craving a good oatmeal cookie.

You know- one that is just taken from the oven… all warm and soft, with the chocolate chips still oozing and the raisins still plump. That is dangerous, let me tell you!

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Garlic, Chive, and Cheddar Biscuits

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Earlier this week, I made these biscuits. And- Wow- they were yummy. In the words of my daughter (age 8)…”Those biscuits were AWESOME!”. 

We ate every crumb! I used to make a similar recipe to these in the past, but it used a packaged biscuit mix, parsley, and more butter. So, I played with it a bit- and this homemade version was created!

A simple drop biscuit is the foundation. Now, first of all- if you don’t know the difference of a drop biscuit and a traditional biscuit, here it is: most biscuits are slightly kneaded, rolled and cut out. But Drop biscuits are mixed together, and then simply “dropped” by the spoonful on the baking sheet. (funny story: when I was little, my mom made drop biscuits for dinner….when she took them out of the oven, the pan slipped out of her hand and to the floor! We still chuckle that she “dropped” the “drop” biscuits!)

But more than a difference in preparation- Drop Biscuits also bake into a biscuit with a wonderfully crispy top and bottom, while remaining soft and tender inside.

So- add to the wonderful taste and texture of the Drop Biscuit, the flavors of garlic, chives, and cheddar cheese! Then on top, you brush on melted garlic butter. This creates a savory and flavorful biscuit that will knock your socks off! I bet your family will eat every crumb, too!

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Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

P1020783Smoothies are cool and refreshing, and a great way to get a lot of goodness in just one glass!

When my son, Adam, was a toddler, I had a hard time getting him to eat well. He was so picky! Fruits were something I definitely could not get him to eat. That is when I started to make smoothies on a regular basis. He loved them, and I loved that he was getting the nutrition from the fruit and protein from the yogurt.

Smoothies make a great breakfast, snack, or even lunch- which is when we usually enjoy them. Paired with something salty like cheese, or something with peanut butter, it makes a nice lunch.

Of course there are limitless varieties of smoothies. This one is pretty basic with fruit and yogurt, but it’s one that we like the best.

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt (I use Dannon Natural since it does not have a lot of extra ingredients)
  • 2 whole bananas, peeled
  • 1 1/2- 2 cups frozen tropical fruit (a frozen tropical blend of: strawberries, pineapple, and mango chunks)  or frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup 100% orange juice
  • 1/2 cup milk 

Place the ingredients in the blender in the order listed above. Blend until smooth. Add more juice or milk if needed.

Makes 4- 5, 1-cup servings

Baked Chicken and Cream

P1020708This chicken is AMAZINGLY Delicious!

I was introduced to this dish by my in-laws many years ago when Tim and I were first dating. I fell in love with it.

Generally it was served on special occasions- like birthdays. I asked for the recipe, and began to make my own version for my side of the family- And my younger brother and sister also fell in love with it. Whenever I mention making it- their eyes close, mouths water, big smiles, and they let out an “Ohhhhh- that stuff is soooo good!”

Now, let me tell you- This chicken is very creamy. This chicken is very dreamy. This chicken is rich. This chicken will probably add a pound or two to your weight. But, my goodness, is it ever good. And that is the reason this is perfect for special occasions when you want something extra-special.

Not only is the chicken awesome, but the cream turns out thick and mixes with the wheat germ on top, and creates a delicious sauce. You can spoon all this over something like Baked Brown Rice or a Baked potato.

  • 2- 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( 4-5 breasts) (*NOTE: you could also use boneless, skinless tenderloins- just decrease the baking time to 30-35 minutes)
  • 1 cup. flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2- 2 1/2 cups whipping cream

Coating

  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 cup wheat germ (this mimics bread crumbs- but very good for you!)

Prepare a shallow bowl or pan with the flour and spices.

Melt the butter and pour that into another shallow bowl or pan

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Rinse the chicken and cut the breasts into 2 or 3 long strips

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Now coat a piece with flour

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Dip the coated piece into the butter mixture

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Place all of these in a lightly- greased baking dish (at least a 9×13 size)

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When you have coated all the chicken with the flour and butter, measure out the whipping cream and pour all of it over the chicken. (this is the really good stuff!!)

Bake this, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes at 375. (Be sure the chicken tests done)

Sprinkle with a little salt

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Melt 2 Tbs  butter and mix with the wheat germ. Sprinkle all of this over the chicken and bake for about 8 more minutes.

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The chicken is now done!

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I serve this over Baked Brown Rice and Carrots on the side.

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