Friday, May 31, 2019

Quick and Easy Dog Treats

I ran across this recipe recently and made it for my Labs, Morgan and Bailey.  They loved it. . . but I must be honest!  There aren't many things my two won't eat!

2 cups oats
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet.

Process the oats in a food processor until a powder mixture.

Combine all three ingredients and mix well.  Form into balls or small patties and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until hard.

Cool before serving.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Potato Salad

My daughter-in-law always said I made the best potato salad and asked for the recipe.  Well, there was no recipe!  I could tell her what was in the potato salad but I never measured the ingredients!  Often, at a family gathering, I would mix it together and then have one of my boys taste it.  "Just right", "You need more salt", "More pickles". . . were common responses!

As much as I think my "recipe" is the best, this one is even better!  It comes from one of my many Southern Living cookbooks.

4 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
3 hard cooked eggs, peeled and grated
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover, about 40 minutes, or till tender.  Drain and cool for 15 minutes.  Peel potatoes and cut into one inch cubes.

Combine potatoes and eggs

Stir together mayonnaise and next 7 ingredients.  Gently stir into potato mixture.  Serve immediately or chill 12 hours.

And for a really special presentation, sprinkle crumbled bacon over the salad just before serving.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Here is a salad that I like and make often, especially in the summer.  It is full of flavor and nutrition.

2 15 oz. cans corn
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 large tomato chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

Note:  I use cherry tomatoes, cut in half and prefer using dried black beans, rather than canned

Whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper and set aside.

Combine all other ingredients and then mix well with the lime juice mixture.  Refrigerate till ready to serve.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Smoked Chicken

You don't have to be around me long to discover I LOVE smoking meat.  Today I will talk about smoking a whole chicken.

I use a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker with charcoal for fuel.  I think this is the very best smoker on the market in terms of ease of use, reliability, and it is easy to clean.

The night before, or very early on the morning you are smoking it, soak the chicken in a brine.  Make enough of the brine to completely cover the chicken.  There are numerous recipes out there for brine, but this is the one I use:

1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups water

I usually have to triple this recipe to make enough.

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator after soaking in the brine and let it sit at room temperature.  Rinse well and blot with paper towels.  Rub generously with a good quality rub.  There are many recipes available for rubs and also store bought varieties.  Actually, I have never used a rub I didn't like!  The very basic one is:


While this is sitting, prepare the smoker.  Fill the bottom of the smoker with cold charcoal.  In a chimney, heat charcoal till most of it is grey.  Pour this hot charcoal in the center of the unheated charcoal in the smoker, along with three chunks of apple wood.

I buy my wood chunks online from  Their wood is stored indoors, thus protecting it from bugs and other undesirable "stuff!"

Fill the water pan, which goes above the charcoal.

When the smoker is heated, place the chicken on the rack, close the lid, adjust the vents at the bottom to maintain a temperature of 225 or 250.

Sit back with a glass of wine, enjoying the warm sunshine and the wonderful aroma coming from your smoker.

My chickens are smaller than most you find in the stores, since they have not been injected with hormones to make them bigger.  I get all my meat from a local farmer. It takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours for mine to be done.  The internal temperature should be 165.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Best Peach Cobbler

There is a funny reason why I'm posting this recipe!  In recent days on facebook, two of my friends, who have never met and live over 1000 miles apart, have brought up a discussion of peach cobbler.  In one of them, Clara, said her grandmother made the best peach cobbler.  To which I replied, "No, No!  I have the market cornered in that regard!"  Clara has accused me, on more than one occasion, of being outspoken and opinionated. . . guilty as charged!

At any rate, here is my recipe that I have had for 50 years or more.  I have no idea where it originated.  But I guarantee you will love this one.  It has a sweet, crusty top with down home Southern goodness baked in.  Enjoy!

Combine:  2 cups fresh, sliced peaches and one cup sugar.  Set aside.

Melt one stick of butter (butter, not margarine!) in a 2 qt casserole.

1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk

Mix together dry ingredients.  Beat in milk until lumps are gone.  Pour batter over melted butter.  Do Not Stir!  Spoon peaches over batter.  Do Not Stir!  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

As the cobbler bakes, the batter rises to the top and covers the peaches.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Energy Bars

This is a tasty, nutritious snack that I found recently.  And it is quick to put together.

Preheat oven to 325 and prepare an 8 inch square pan.

In small bowl, combine:
1 cup oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a larger bowl, combine:
1/2 cup raw honey
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Pour the contents of the small bowl into the large bowl and mix well.  Add the walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

This recipe lends itself to adding your own ingredients, such as chopped dried fruit, coconut, or ground flax seed.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Best Chicken and Dumplings

Who doesn't love great tasting Chicken and Dumplings?  I've used various recipes over the years but I really like this one.  I found it in one of my Southern Living cookbooks.  If you are an avid cook, you really should check out the Southern Living cookbooks. . . a treasure trove of great recipes!

1 whole chicken
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 quarts water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for work surface)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons Crisco
3/4 cup buttermilk
chopped fresh chives

Place chicken, celery, and carrots in a Dutch oven, add water and 2 teaspoons of the salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about an hour.  Remove chicken from broth and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.  Remove and discard skin and bone from the chicken and cut/tear meat into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, combine, flour, baking soda and remaining1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.  Cut in the Crisco with a pastry blender.  Add buttermilk, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened.  Turn dough onto well floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times.

Pat dough to 1/2 inch thickness.  Pinch or cut dough in 1 1/2 inch pieces and drop into boiling broth.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally until desired consistency, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in chicken.  Garnish serving with chives.

Note:  While the recipe calls for "shortening", I am a true believer in Crisco!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Salsa time!

Yes, salsa is good any time of the year.  But somehow I think of it as a summertime food. . . don't know why!  Here is one that is especially good.  This brief (36 hours according to the weatherman) respite from the winter has got my mind thinking of firing up the Weber smoker out back!

2 cups black beans
1 papaya, chopped
1 mango, chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped with the juice
juice of 4 limes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Great tasting pot roast

I found this on the internet and have made it twice.  Just fantastic!

Start with a good quality roast of beef that is completely thawed.  Rub all sides with a mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Preheat oven to 550 - yes, you read that right!  Except my oven only goes to 500!

Place prepared roast in an open baking dish.  Bake at:

5 minutes per pound for rare or 6 minutes per pound for medium (pink center)

Turn the oven off but don't open the door for 2 hours.  Actually, I left it closed for an hour and 45 minutes.

The rub makes a fine crust that is delicious.  I prefer a pink center.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Greek Vegetable Pie

I tend to eat more vegetarian meals in the winter time, saving meat for the warmer months when I can smoke and grill outside.  Here is one I especially like.  It is from my Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health Cookbook. I was attracted to it first by the ingredients for the crust and then the filling mixture really caught my eye.  I wasn't disappointed!  If you aren't familiar with the Moosewood Restaurant in upstate New York and their numerous cookbooks, you don't know what you are missing!

For the Crust:

2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

For the Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 cup diced red bell pepper
3 ounces neufchatel cheese
1 cup grated or crumbled feta cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
pinch or ground black pepper

In a food processor, pulse the crust ingredients until crumbly.  Set aside

Warm the oil in a skillet or saucepan on medium heat.  Add the asparagus and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the leeks and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the bell pepper, cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Place the neufschatel on top of the vegetables, cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for several minutes to soften.

Meanwhile, press the crust mixture into a lightly oiled 9 inched pie plate.

Stir the neufschatel  throughout the vegetables.  Add 1/4 cup of the feta cheese and the eggs, dill, and black pepper to the skillet and mix well.  Spread the filling in the pie crust and top with remaining feta.

Bake in preheated 350 oven until the filling is set and golden, about 35 minutes.

Variations:  Add 2 or 3 chopped, softened sundried tomatoes in place of the olives in the crust.

Use broccoli instead of asparagus in the filling.