Sunday, December 31, 2017

Quick and Easy Sweet Potato Dish

This is something I thought up in one of my idle moments.  Actually, it turned out great!

You should know by now, if you are a regular follower of my blog, that a lot of my cooking does not have specific amounts.  So here goes!

1 or 2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
brown sugar
nutmeg and cinnamon

In a medium hot skillet, melt a half stick of butter.

Toss in the sweet potato chunks and stir.  After a couple of minutes, sprinkle with brown sugar and the nutmeg and cinnamon.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until done.  I like mine tender, but not mushy!

Let me know what you think of this Sherry Bennett Original!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Crock Pot Lasagna

This is an easier way to make lasagna without sacrificing the flavor of my favorite Italian dish.  Be careful that the noodles do not touch the sides or bottom of your  crockpot as they will burn.  As I often do, this recipe has no real amounts for each ingredient.  Depending on the size of your crock pot (I use an oval shaped) you will adjust the amount of your ingredients.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 large can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
chopped onion
chopped garlic
salt and pepper
basil and oregano

uncooked lasagna noodles (I like the whole wheat noodles)

ricotta or cottage cheese

shredded mozzarella
about half cup parmesan

Begin by browning the beef in a skillet with onion and garlic.  Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and sprinkle with spices.  Stir to combine.

Place one layer of the sauce on the bottom of the crock pot, followed by a double layer of noodles, breaking the noodles to fit all around.

Spoon a layer of ricotta or cottage cheese over this.

Repeat till sauce and noodles are used.  Top with the mozzarella and parmesan.

Cook on low for 4 or 5 hours.  Mine is always ready in just under 4 hours.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Absolutely the BEST cornbread recipe!

My old cornbread recipe - decades old! - is "good."  Then I found another one in recent years that was even better.  It included whole kernels of corn in the recipe.  But, hold on! - Southern Living's 2016 Annual Recipes cookbook, on page 260, has the very best you will ever find!  The secret?  There are two ultimatums if you want superior cornbread:  a sizzling hot cast iron skillet to pour in the mixture and stoneground cornmeal.  This recipe produces a crusty outside and soft inside - positively the best cornbread you will ever eat.

I'm fortunate to have found a grist mill in the Midwest that "sometimes" has enough from their store sales to mail order.  They are only open from about April through late summer.  Bob's Red Mill corn meal is a very close second.

So here is the recipe.

1 1/2 cups stone ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons salted butter

Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven, and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Heat skillet about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir together the buttermilk and eggs in a medium bowl.

Add butter to hot skillet, and return it to oven for about a minute, being careful not to let it burn.  Stir buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined.  Pour melted butter from the hot skillet into cornmeal mixture and immediately place in oven.

Bake  until golden brown and cornbread pulls away from sides of skillet - about 18 to 20 minutes.  Remove from skillet (it actually slides out so be careful not to let it go beyond your cooling rack!)  Cool slightly before serving.

The cornbread dressing I made with this recipe was the best I have ever made.  Here is the recipe for that.  You will note there are not amounts given for each ingredient!  Southern cooks just "know" how much to add!

one recipe of the cornbread above
4 or 5 hardboiled eggs, coarsely chopped
4 or 5 pieces of toast made from whole wheat bread, coarsely chopped
cooked, chopped onion and celery that has been through a food processor (or  finely chopped )
a little of the water from cooking the onion and celery
chicken broth
salt and pepper

With your hands, break apart the cornbread into reasonably large chunks.  Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix everything together.   It should be moist, but not mushy.  Bake in an oblong baking dish at 350 for about 20 - 30 minutes.

I want to put in a good word for the Southern Living magazine/cookbook folks.  Admittedly, I don't care for the magazine - like many other periodicals today, it is overloaded - in my opinion - with ads and articles that I don't really care for.  But their cookbooks are top notch.  Each year, they print an annual cookbook containing all the recipes that were in the magazine for that year.  Now those are excellent cookbooks to own!  I probably have a dozen of their other cookbooks and I highly recommend them all.  Search Amazon for their titles.

Most of you know, I was born and raised in the South.  I moved to New York State in the early 70's.  In all these years, I just could never learn to like what I call "Northern dressing"!  True Northerners will correct you and tell you the proper term is "stuffing"!  Whatever. . . there is just nothing to compare to good old Southern dressing!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quick and delicious ways with veggies

Has it really been this far into the month of November without me posting on my blog?  Where does the time go?

Are you looking for a way to get more vegetables in your meal planning and actually enjoy them?  This is a trick I discovered several years ago and I use it almost everyday.

Combine extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk.  Pour over vegetables in a hot skillet and stir to combine.  Use your own preferences to decide how much of each ingredient.  Generally, I use approximately 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice and then salt.  After you use this method awhile, you will find how much of each is right for your tastes.  It also depends on how many vegetables you are cooking. . . enough for one or for a crowd!

I use this on my favorite stir fry:  multiple vegetables of your choice and strips of chicken breast.  I also use it on individual veggies. . . broccoli, Brussel sprouts, fresh spinach, the list is endless.

Quick story!  I was in Wegmans about 5 years ago.  At that time, I wouldn't bring Brussel sprouts into my house if you paid me.  There was a woman near me putting a large bag of them in her cart.  "What do you do with those?" I asked her.

"Oh, they are so good!  You can roast them with olive oil and a hint of nutmeg. . ."  She definitely was a fan of these things!

So I bought a handful and brought them home.  I soon discovered they are much more than the mushy, smelly, tasteless garbage I remembered from long ago!

I will never give up my love of meat.  But more and more I find myself eating vegetarian and loving it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Spinach Balls

These are great to have when company comes.  They are delicious!

2 (10 oz) packages frozen, chopped spinach
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese
6 eggs
pinch of salt and pepper

Cook spinach and drain.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Form into teaspoon size balls and place on greased baking sheet.  Place in freezer.  When ready to serve, remove from freezer but DO NOT defrost!  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Confetti Chowder. . . but first!

Here is my new bookcase in my kitchen, custom built to my specifications by a neighbor that is very good with woodworking tools!  The old cabinet that was there when I moved in 20 years ago, just didn't serve my needs.  After all, my cookbook "collection/addiction" numbers well into the 3 figures!

Even with 9 linear feet of cookbooks here, this probably barely scratches the surface of my collection!  These are among my favorites and the ones I use most often.

Okay Show and Tell time is over.  My recipe posting today is one I'm sure you will like.  Confetti Chowder is in my copy of 10,000 Tastes of Minnesota, published by the Women's Club of Minneapolis in 1990.  I've never tried any of the recipes in this book that I didn't like.

Let me know how you like this one.  One quick note:  the recipe calls for "Mexicorn."  I've always used Green Giant canned corn.

3 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1  10 oz. pkg frozen peas
2  11 oz. cans Mexicorn
3 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook and stir the cabbage, carrots, celery and onion in butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven until crisp-tender.  Add peas, Mexicorn, milk and seasonings.  Simmer over low heat about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  In blender or food processor, blend about 2 cups of hot milk and cheese until smooth.  Return to saucepan; mix well.  Adjust seasonings.  Heat thoroughly but do not boil.

6 servings

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pumpkin Soup

When summer is over and the weather turns cool, I like a bowl of hot soup.  And I have dozens of great recipes for soup!  Here is one that is very good.  It is from "Recipes Worth Sharing", copyright 2008.  Enjoy!

1/2 stick of butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1  29 oz. can pumpkin
1  12 oz. can evaporated milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar (optional)
Sour cream for garnish
chopped chives for garnish

Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic.  Saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is tender.  Stir in the curry powder, salt, coriander, and red pepper.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add the broth and bring to a gentle boil.  Boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the pumpkin and evaporated milk.  Mix in the brown sugar for a sweeter flavor and cook for 5 minutes.  Cool slightly; pour into a blender and process until creamy.  Ladle the warm soup into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream and chives.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Barbecued Beef Strips

A great way to use leftover roast beef.  This one comes from my Hearts and Flour cookbook, copyright 1988, published by the Women's Club of Pittsford.  Pittsford is a suburb of Rochester.

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups cooked beef, cut in thin strips
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes, or until hot and bubbly, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve on sandwich buns.

This one is sure to please!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cheddar Puffs

This is another of my old recipes that I got from a friend many years ago.  Make this the next time you have company.

1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream together the butter and cheese.

Blend flour and salt and combine with the cheese mixture.  Knead to form a soft dough, if necessary, add milk or water, a little at a time, to get the right consistency.

Form into balls and bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden.

Yield:  about 30 small balls.

Balls may be refrigerated before baking.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A healthy and tasty snack

I enjoy having an avocado snack that I make and spread on Wegman's Marathon Organic Bread.  The bread is a small loaf and contains lots of good, nutritious "stuff."  Among the ingredients are carrots, pumpkin seeds, and several whole grains.

I peel and cut up an avocado and put it in the small bowl of my food processor.  Process for a few seconds.  Then add hot sauce and salt - both to your individual taste.  Process again until it is of spreading consistency.  If you don't have a food processor, you could use a pastry blender or potato masher.

Cut the bread slices into halves and spread the avocado mixture.  It really is delicious and nutritious!