Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Monday.....Chopped Steak with Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms!

Happy Monday everyone!  It was a very busy weekend for us, but very much enjoyable!  We ran around almost all day on Saturday, going here and there, even Saturday night was busy!  Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful church service, and then we were invited to our friends house for Sunday dinner.  What a treat, a good time was had by all!

Tonight I am cooking Chopped Steak with Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms!  You all know that Chopped Steak is just big hamburger, right?  I don't know if you make your Chopped Steak any differently than a hamburger, but I usually make it the same way, but then I saute some onions and mushrooms to go on top, and usually make a GRAVY!  My son loves GRAVY!

Here's the recipe....Enjoy!

Chopped Steak with Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms

2 lbs 85% Ground Beef - makes about 4 burgers

In a greased frying pan, or if your lucky, cast-iron skillet, heat on high. Form the Chopped Steaks into oval shaped patties, make an indent in the middle so the "steaks" don't puff. Put them in the hot GREASED pan, salt the "steaks" on the top side, and fry for about 3 minutes, you want a beautiful brown color on the bottom before you flip. Flip the "steaks" and salt again. Wait for another 3 mins, and remove the "steaks" onto a plate. Drain all the fat, and lower the heat to med-low, put the "steaks" back into the pan, cook COVERED for another 7 minutes if you want a WELL-DONE burger like I do, or another 4 minutes if you want MED-WELL, or if you want it "MOOING"....about 2 more mins.

Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups FRESH and wiped clean with a damp paper towel.... Mushrooms chopped
1 TBS butter
1 TBS oil (I use Canola)
salt & pepper
In a frying pan, heat on med-high, add the butter and oil, then add the chopped onions, salt, pepper, and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the Mushrooms, stir. Lower the heat to med-low and cook the onions & mushrooms SLOWLY, stirring occasionally. You want this to cook slowly, they will cook down and turn a light brown caramel color, about 20 mins or so. Serve immediately.....YUMMO!


1 TBS Flour
2 Cups Beef Bouillon or Beef Stock
salt and pepper to taste
extra water if needed

If you want now you can make a gravy for the Chopped Steak, take the chopped steaks out of the frying pan, heat it up again to Medium, there will be bits of goodness in the bottom and some grease leftover in the frying pan, that's good, you want that, add 1 TBS flour, and whisk it into the bits and grease for 1 minute, then add  2 cups of beef stock or bouillon, I use bouillon, quickly whisk them together, will get thickened.  Taste it, what does it need...salt, pepper?  Is it too salty, add 1/4 cup water, if it's too thick add a little more water.  Taste it again, it's all part of cooking really delicious food, you need to taste as you go.  Bring to a boil, keep whisking, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve with buttered egg noodles, or mashed potatoes....YUMMO!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oven Baked Meatballs! Yes they really are Delicious!

Well, I tried it again, I was too lazy to fry my Meatballs yesterday, so I put them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 375 oven, and baked them!  I know, now don't faint!  Now let me tell you, I have always fried my meatballs, just like my Mom.  Once I baked them, but they didn't have that flavor, you know of being fried in a little oil on the stove...YUMMO!  Can I tell you how much easier it was, and so delicious! I then took them out and immediately put them into my homemade sauce, and they cooked in there for about 4 hours, and they were tender and perfect!  I asked my Hubby if he liked them, and he said, "Yes, but what's different?" I told him, and he said that he actually liked them better.....who would have known.

Here's the recipe, for my Homemade Meatballs, but now they are baked!  You try them, and let me know what YOU think!

Homemade Meatballs

2 pounds chop meat (85% lean would do)
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
3 TBS fresh parsley
1 TBS fresh basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4; cup Parm cheese

Mix together with your HANDS......YES... you need to do this with your hands!!! Roll into medium size balls.  Line a cookie sheet with foil, and grease with cooking spray, cause they will stick. Put the meatballs on the tray and BAKE in a 375 oven 5 minutes on each side, turn them don't let them burn... they won't be cooked through, and if your not dropping them into sauce, cook them a little longer.  Transfer to the big pot of simmering sauce. Cook for 3 hours on simmer, or all day if you have that time.....uncovered.....yes uncovered, or if the tiny spattering of sauce on your stove bothers you, then put the lid on, but not all the way, you need the sauce to thicken and with the lid on, it will not thicken!   YUMMO!!!!

Hint - I'm always thinking ahead so it seems, so not all of the meatballs were cooked yesterday.  I made tiny ones for my Italian Wedding Soup, that I'm going to make next week.  I just rolled them into tiny balls, put them on a cookie sheet, put them in the freezer.  Today when they were frozen, I put them into a ziplock bag, back into the freezer for next that's thinking ahead!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Apple Turnovers!

I've always wanted to make Apple Turnovers, or "turnover" anything, and I never have....until last week.  And wow how easy, and oh so pretty were they!  I just used my "Pie Crust", which is the easiest to work with, you will never have a problem with it falling apart.  I didn't follow a recipe, I just used my imagination, and they came out beautiful, and were so delicious!  I can't wait to make a "meat turnover" filled with my Sloppy Joe Recipe, or something like that.  Give it a try, you will love them! 

Apple Turnovers

1 Recipe of my Pie Crust Recipe or go ahead if you HAVE to and buy the stuff from the grocery store :)
4 Apples peeled, cored, and cut up into little piece (you are making little apple turnovers, not an apple pie so no slices or big chunks please)
1/2 cup crasins
3 TBS Sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg with 1 tsp water for egg wash
 water for sealing

Combined the apple pieces with the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon, mix well.

Now the Pie Crust, take the round of pie crust and cut it into 8 even pieces.  Take one piece and roll it out into a small round, but not too thick, then take like a cereal bowl or a tart cutter, and put it on the pastry and with a knife cut out the perfect circle.
Roll out dough and cut a circle out with whatever you have! easy!

Take about 2 TBS of the apple mixture, and put it on one side of the circle of pie crust, with your finger, put some water on the edges of the circle, this is like the glue! 
Fill them up!
Fold it over to make a half circle, sealing the edges, and then using a floured fork seal the edges of the turnover.....
Seal the edges with a fork!
Pick it up carefully, and put them on a parchment lined (better than foil for this recipe, but you could use foil too) cookie sheet.  Chill in the frig for 10 minutes, then brush the turnover with the egg wash, and then cut 1 slash on the top of the turnover for an air pocket.  Sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar then bake in a 350 oven until gold brown.

HINT - I don't usually use the leftover dough, it doesn't roll out right, so when you're done rolling one Apple Turnover out, put the leftover dough to the side.  Now you'll have a bunch of pieces of the leftover dough, simply put them on lined cookie sheet, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 375 for about 20 will have the perfect snack!  YUMMO

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do You Like My New Look?

Well, I finally took the Christmas background off.  I love this new background of my blog, and sure hope you do too.  Just wanted to show you all the new features I added, some are  really cool that I never knew existed.  One new feature is  "Label's" where you can now find a recipe by category, and another "Popular Posts" showing some of my popular recipes....still can't believe that Corn Casserole is the number one most popular recipe!  All of this will make it easier for you all to find that recipe you've been looking for. 

I really enjoy blogging about my cooking, and life, and hope you do too....but please I know I get a nice amount of visitors everyday, would you all please take a moment and comment, I would really like to know what you all think. 

I have a new facebook page, it's called "A day in the life of Liz in the kitchen" find me and become my friend, I would love to be yours!  Thanks for stopping by, I'll have a new recipe up tomorrow.....  YUMMO!

A Recipe Revisited.....Jewish Coffee Cake...The best Coffee Cake in the World!

A happy Tuesday morning to you all.  It's so warm here today, and all the snow has melted, it actually feels like Spring, but I'm NOT READY for SPRING!!!  I have a busy day going on here, and I'm going to one of my friends house for lunch along with other friends, and it's going to be a wonderful day, getting out and chatting with them all!

I'm bringing this cake to my friends house today, it's called Jewish Coffee Cake, I don't know why it's called Jewish Coffee Cake, perhaps it's the layering of the nuts and chocolate chips, with cinnamon and sugar?  I've been baking it for YEARS, and it's sure is delicious!  My good friend Cheryl gave this recipe to me long ago, and I've been making it ever since.  Try it, you will love it, and remember, don't eat the whole cake, one piece will do ya! 

Jewish Coffee Cake

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking power
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter at room temp
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs (farm fresh of course)
1 8 oz container sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds or whatever nut you like
3 TBS sugar
1 TBS cinnamon

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, mix well. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and mix well.

Rest of chocolate chips
3 TBS sugar and 1 TBS cinnamon mixed
Mix the chocolate chips, almonds, cinnamon and sugar together
Pour half the butter into a well buttered and floured bundt cake pan, Add half of the topping, pour the rest of the batter on top. Top with rest of the topping, cover every bit of batter, will look so pretty. Bake at 350 for 1 hour until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool. Invert on a cake platter so the topping is upright on the platter, it's so pretty. You can dust with powder sugar if desired......ENJOY!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NACHOS for the GAME!

What a beautiful Sunday we are having today.  I am loving the snow outside, everything looks so pretty covered in a blanket of white.  I am getting ready for the big game this afternoon.  Giants vs. 49'ers... And you would be so surprised, and don't send me any hate mail, but my Hubby doesn't want the Giants to win!  Yes, I know we live in New Jersey, and we were born and raised in New York City, but my Hubby does not like the Giants!  He's a JETS fan.....I know, I know, what can I say, but he's my Hubby and I love him, so I want whoever he wants to go 49'ers!

Nachos, we love Nachos in this house.  I make them often, especially on Sunday's during football season, because my Hubby loves football, and loves my Nachos! They are perfect for the big game, so comforting, so delicious, and best of all.....EASY!

1 big bag of Tortilla chips (whatever kind you want)
1 lb ground beef
1 can refried beans
1 can black or red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 packet taco seasoning
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup water
1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
1 jar salsa, whatever you kind you like
Sour Cream for topping
Scallions for topping
Sliced Black Olives for topping
Sliced Jalapeno Peppers for topping

In a skillet, brown the ground beef until no longer pink.  Add the refried beans, black or kidney beans, seasoning pack, cumin, and water, bring to a light boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes covered. 

Line a large cookie sheet with foil, spray it with cooking spray, or a casserole dish.  Arrange the Tortilla chips on the cookie sheet or casserole dish and then generously top the chips with the beef and bean mixture.  Top with the cheddar cheese.  Bake in a 375 oven for 20 minutes or so until the cheese is all bubbly and lightly brown.  Top with sour cream, salsa, sliced olives, jalapenos, scallions, and enjoy!  So YUMMO!!!

I like to top my Nachos with a salad, made from greens, tomato's, cucumbers, and olives, and top it with a light Italian salad dressing.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Comfort Food - A Recipe Revisited.....Lentil Soup!

It's finally snowing today here in New Jersey.  Everyone is excited, it's really the first snowstorm of the Winter season here, we will forget about the Halloween Blizzard we had some months ago.  The kids are excited and want to go out in it already, but it's very cold, so I said to wait some.

Here is a great recipe for Lentil Soup.  I posted it back in September, but it's really a comfort food, that is much needed on a very cold and snowy day like today.  I am making it for tonight's dinner, along with a hearty loaf of homemade bread!  YUMMO!

Have you ever tried Lentil Soup? It may sound not very appetizing, but really is one of the most delicious soups, especially on a day like today. My mom made the best Lentil Soup when I was growing up, it was delicious. I usually start the soup in the morning, so it can simmer on the stove just about all day. I have even made it in the crock pot on days when I'm not home, so easy! The dried lentils are easy, you don't have to soak them overnight, like most dried beans, just rinse them and they are good to go. I use kielbasi in my lentil soup, makes it nice and hearty, and my hubby is happy, cause it's not dinner if there's no meat! Serve over brown rice, it's a hearty and delicious meal, and don't forget the homemade bread.....homemade bread, look for that recipe soon. Enjoy!

Lentil Soup

1 bag green lentils
1 large onion diced
2 starks celery diced
1 large carrot diced
1 whole (Hillshire Farm) link of kielbasi cut in small pieces
garlic minced - about 1 clove
salt and pepper to taste (we like it very well seasoned)
1 bay leaf
3 tsp. beef bouillon
1/2 small can tomato paste
About 5 cups of water

Rinse the lentils you don't have to soak them overnight. In a large pot saute the onions, celery, onions and garlic until soft, add salt and pepper. Add the kielbasi and then the lentils. Saute for about 3 more minutes. Add the water, beef bouillon, bay leaf, and tomato paste. Stir and cook over low heat for about 5 hours or so...or after sauteing the veggies add everything to a crock pot and cook on high for 5 hours or so.. Serve over cooked brown or white rice - Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's the Fuss with Paula Deen......

So we all heard that Paula Deen has Diabetes this week.  I am very sad to hear about this.  Now everyone is talking about her, and how she should have come out and told everyone about her disease years ago when she was diagnosed.  Yes, I agree that she should have come "clean" when she first found out about the disease, but then how could she carry out her "food kingdom".......

If you know Paula's story, you would know that she was very poor after her hubby left her years ago, and had to make ends meet for her two boys and herself.  Paula started a business, with her cooking, she made lunches for the business men of Savannah, GA, and her then little boys went around town selling them.  Sure enough she made enough money and opened up her restaurant, "The Lady & Sons".....never been there, but I would love to one day.  She did a good thing, she took care of her little boys, and may say someone else would have gone on welfare, and mooch off the government, like so many people do, but she chose not to.  Then a great opportunity for her to have her own cooking show, wow, what a dream come true!!!!

You know it's very hard for one to share about a disease, especially Diabetes, it's a disease related to "what you eat, when you eat, and the worst.....what not to eat!"  And if you love food, like me, it's very hard to share that you have Diabetes

I have Diabetes, I have had it now for years, and like Paula, I love food, I love to cook for my family, friends, to share my recipes, it makes me happy.  So, am I to stop cooking, baking, and loving food?  Am I a hypocrite like people are calling Paula Deen?

I have shared my recipes with you all over the past several months, yes, some are high in calories, like the desserts that I make, but I don't eat the whole cake, pie or tart, even though sometimes I may want to.... some humor is needed right now.  I cook everyday meals for my family, and yes on occasion I will cook a fatty meal, or dessert, and I will enjoy it.

I have to say when I was diagnosed years ago, I was very upset, cried for days.  My father had the disease and was very sick with it, I felt for him, and wished I didn't have to "inherit" his disease.  But I did.  My doctor told me to get moving, lose weight, and I sure did.  I lost a lot of weight, and have kept it off now for almost 4 years!  Being a diabetic you have to eat....not skip meals.  Eating a snack before bed is encouraged, so how on earth are we suppose to lose weight by eating before bed?  It's very hard to keep it all level....and you have to eat food to keep your blood sugar level, and at times it can be so frustrating.  Sometimes I don't want to eat before going to 8:15 am early church service, I'm not hungry, but I know if I don't eat, my blood sugar will drop, and I will feel awful.  Stress brings on the disease, it elevates your blood sugar levels, and I do get stressed out often, hey I'm a Mom of a teenager! 

What I'm trying to say is, someone like Paula, someone like me, who has this disease can still cook, can still eat foods made out of sugar, and butter, but we have to eat them in MODERATION....we can still enjoy them, but not every day.  On the weekends, have a piece of cake, then go for a long walk afterwards, so your blood sugar remains level.  Yes, I love salad, and love veggies, and if you know me, we have fresh veggies with every meal.  I choose whole wheat bread over white, and I choose regular whole wheat breads over rolls....I make the rolls and bread for my family, life still goes on, just because I can't eat them doesn't mean my family can't.   And when I make my homemade pizza, I always serve and EAT a big salad to go with it.  I like to balance our meals, and you know that's how I kept the weight off too.  Sure I want to lose more, but then I'll have to buy a whole new wardrobe AGAIN and I got some GREAT CLOTHES!

Paula, you go girl, ignore all the negativity, continue cooking, perhaps calm it down some with all the butter and sugar, and let me tell you those artificial sweeteners taste awful, been there..... done that with making desserts with artificial sweeteners, big waste of time, and they taste nasty!

So, perhaps you are reading my blog and think I'm a hypocrite?  No, I'm just a lover of food, and I want to encourage you all to cook for your loved ones, and yes I live with a bad disease, and I'm trying to enjoy life and food....all in MODERATION! 

Beef Enchiladas!

It was 8 degrees this morning when I drove Becca to the bus stop, but still no snow!  We are suppose to get some snow this weekend, really hoping over here.  I am really enjoying the chilly days here in New Jersey, we have the pellet stove on, and our house is so cozy, just the way I love it.  I hope you all are enjoying your Winter too!

I've been cooking Beef Enchiladas now for years.  They are easy, and so delicious.  They remind me of a Mexican Lasagna.  Yes, now don't faint..... I use the canned refried beans, canned enchiladas sauce, and even packet of taco seasoning mix, they are so helpful, easy for a busy mom like me, and for a very busy week here at home. To make this all taste so delicious and "fresh" I do use fresh Cilantro.  I love fresh Cilantro, I even grew it with my herbs this past Summer, it makes all mexican dishes taste so "fresh", even if you are using canned ingredients like beans.  Make this recipe, so delicious, so satisfying!  YUMMO!

Beef Enchiladas

2 pounds Ground Beef, 85% lean
1 can Refried Beans
1 can Black Beans (drain, and rinsed from their liquid)
1 large can Enchiladas Sauce (red or green, the green is delicious!)
1 packet Taco seasoning mix
2 TBS of fresh Cilantro reserve 1 TBS for garnish
1/4 cup water
1 package of shredded Cheddar Cheese, about 12 oz
1 package of the medium Flour Tortilla's, about 10 in a pkg
1 small can of chili's only if you like it hot...I tend to leave this out because my kids won't like it

Garnish - Sour Cream, Salsa, and a sprinkling of fresh Cilantro!

In a skillet brown the meat and then drain all the fat, I drain the meat using a colander. Then return the meat back to the skillet.  Add the water, taco seasoning mix, refried beans, rinsed black beans, chilis and cook for another 5 minutes and mix it really good to combine.

In a 9x13 greased casserole dish, put about 1/2 cup of the Enchiladas Sauce, then take the Floured Tortilla's and spread about 2 TBS of the beef mixture in the middle of each tortilla, and then top it with a sprinkling of cheese, but save about 1 cup of the cheese for the topping at the end. Roll them up, and put them in ONE LAYER in the casserole dish on top of the enchiladas sauce.  Continue doing this until all the beef mixture is gone, and the floured tortillas are used up, you will have about 10, squeeze them in the casserole dish again, only one layer.  Top with the remaining enchiladas sauce, and cheese.  Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 1/2 hour.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh Cilantro on top!
I usually make a Spanish rice dish with this and top it with a most delicious salad with Italian dressing, not too heavy!  Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stuffed Peppers!

Have you ever made Stuffed Peppers?  They are so delicious!  My mom use to make them for us while we were growing up, and I remembered how much I love them.  I make them for my family, and my Hubby loves them, and the kids do like them too, just not the pepper part. 

All it is my Meatball recipe, cut the top off of a green or red pepper, remove the stems and seeds and you have a nice "container". You simply stuff it with the meatball mix. Then top it off with tomato sauce, homemade would be great, but there are times when I used Jar Sauce, now again, don't faint! YUMMO!

Stuffed Peppers

4 large Green or Red Peppers tops cut off seeds removed
3 cups  Homemade Tomato Sauce or Jar Sauce
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
4 TBS Parmesan Cheese
Cut tops off of pepper!
Helpful Tip - sometimes the peppers will wobble or fall over in the casserole dish, because their bottoms aren't level, so I trim just a tiny bit of the flesh off the bottom of the pepper to make it level, and they stand up straight! EASY!
Remove Seeds, and trim bottoms!

Meatball Mix for the Stuffing of Peppers
2 pounds chop meat (85% lean would do)
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
3 TBS fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried
1 TBS fresh basil or 2 tsp dried
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup Parm cheese

Mix together with your HANDS......YES... you need to do this with your hands!!!  Stuff each Pepper with about 1 handful of Meatball mix.

Put the Peppers in a square casserole dish and top with the sauce and then top again with the Mozzarella Cheese and  Parm cheese. Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hour until the meatball mixture is cooked well.  Serve over pasta!  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baby it's cold outside.....Homemade Sandwich Rolls!

Happy Sunday, it was 9 degrees outside today when we left this morning for church!  It was COLD!  I am loving the cold, but again, wish we had some snow. 

I made Homemade Sandwich Rolls last week, and they were really delicious!  It was the same recipe as my dinner rolls, just made them bigger for a sandwich.  My Hubby and Becca really enjoyed them, and I will make them again this week.  If you haven't tried baking bread yet, this recipe is really one to try, and it's so easy, especially if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer.  If you don't have one, you can always do it all by hand, just follow my simple steps. Do not let "yeast" scare you, it's simple and so rewarding, and there's nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread!

Homemade Sandwich Rolls

1 1/4 cup warm water from the tap (WARM, NOT HOT, COOL TO YOUR WRIST)
3 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 TBS sugar

In a bowl, add the water, then the yeast, and the sugar. Stir with a fork, set aside for about 5 mins until bubbles and foamy, if it doesn't get foamy, the yeast must be dead, buy new yeast and start over!

Getting all bubbly - that's good Yeast, and it's proofing!

TIP: Yeast can be expensive, I buy a huge package at COSTCO for only $4.00. If you buy it in the grocery store, it's a small bottle and like $6.00, or the envelopes are like $2.99 each. Yeast is something I would always buy in bulk, and I always store it in the frig!

In a Kitchen Aid Mixer bowl, add the following:
4 1/2 cup Bread Flour (you can use All-Purpose, but Bread Flour really is BEST for baking bread)
1/4 cup oil (I use Canola)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar

In my Kitchen Aid Mixer - My Favorite appliance!!!

If you don't have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, by all means make your bread by hand....using the same method here, but instead of the mixer kneading your dough, you will have to by hand. Combine it all in a large bowl, and with a wooden spoon first get it all mixed, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead that dough  for about 10 minutes or so....add some flour if it gets sticky, pushing the dough to and away from you.  You will know it's done when it's not VERY STICKY and you form a ball, and is smooth to the touch like a baby's bottom..... :)

Back to the Kitchen Aid Mixer Method
1. When the yeast is all foamy, (if the yeast doesn't turn foamy after about 5-10 minutes, your yeast must not be "alive" look at the expiration date, throw out and go buy new yeast, I usually store yeast in the frig) add it to the mixer bowl with the flour and other ingredients. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low. Now is the dough coming together, forming a ball, or does it look like a batter? If it looks like a batter you need more flour, add about 1/4 cup, now it should be coming together starting to form a ball around the dough hook, make sure you scrape the sides down, it may still be sticky, take the remaining dough off the hook and with floured hands combine all the dough forming it into a nice smooth ball.
See my hand working the dough into a nice ball!
2. Grease a large bowl with about 2 TBS of oil, put the dough in the bowl, turning it to make sure both sides are oiled. Cover with a kitchen towel or foil. Let sit on a warm surface, I usually put the bowl on the stove, for one hour until doubled in size, about 2 hours or so.

All risen and doubled in size!
3. When the dough is done rising and doubled, punch the dough down getting all the air bubbles out, it will feel elastic, cut the dough into 8 even pieces and form into little balls, about the size of a golf ball. Or with floured hands, roll each piece into a thick rope, and tie into a knot, tuck the tail under so it looks like a round ball.
Tie into a knot, then tuck the tail under, put on a cookie sheet for it's second rising!

4. Grease a cookie sheet, put each roll on. Now you have to let it rise again forming the rolls, cover with a kitchen towel, or I use a piece of GREASED wax paper, and let them rise for 1/2 hour until doubled.
Rising for the Oven, sorry these were my whole wheat rolls, don't have a picture of white rolls rising!
5. If you wish, you can brush the rolls very lightly, you don't want to deflate the rolls, with an egg wash, 1 egg with 2 tsp water mixed, and sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds on top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes until lightly brown. Cook on a rack!

Cooling on a rack....YUMMO!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Recipe Revisited....Stuffed Porkchops!

What a CRAZY Winter we are having here in New Jersey!  We had this big storm last night, and not even a dusting of snow....all RAIN!  It's just not Winter without any snow!  This can be frustrating to me, because I love the snow, the new blanket of white covering the ground, my kids want snow, and the animals love it, too! 

Here's another recipe I posted months ago, Stuffed Pork Chops!  We love pork in our household, and this dish is perfect for a cold Winter day night!  Enjoy!

I'm making Pork Chops today for my family, but one of their favorite's is STUFFED! I use a BOXED, (please don't faint!) STUFFING, only on busy weeknights, but on special occasions, like Thanksgiving, I do make my homemade Cornbread Sausage Stuffing.  But because I'm trying to make easy weeknight dishes, and we do have very busy lives, we are using the BOXED STUFFING in this recipe....whew, feeling better now!

I like to buy the thick pork chops when I stuff them, of course they are easier to make that little pocket with a knife, but when buying pork chops, I do recommend you buy them on the thicker side, and with the bone, because they do dry out quickly, and the thicker, the tender and juicer. Try this recipe, you will love it!

Stuffed Pork Chops
4 thick bone-in pork chops
1 box stuffing mix (I use Stove Top)
2 TBS oil (I use Canola)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a frying pan, heat on high with 2 TBS oil. Mix the stuffing to the box stuffing the bird directions, and on a MEAT cutting board (the one you don't cut your veggies on) take your pork chop and lay it down, and with a very sharp knife, with your hand flat down on the pork chop, butterfly a nice slice into it, that is your pocket for the stuffing, do not slice too deep, just big enough for a a nice amount of stuffing. Pack the stuffing into that pocket and brown in the frying pan for 2 minutes each side, salt and pepper each side. Do the same with the remaining pork chops. When done browning, put the pork chops into a greased casserole dish. Cover, and bake in the oven for about 1/2 hour.

Of course you need Homemade Apple Sauce wish this dish.....they just go perfectly together! YUMMO!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For Dinner Tonight....Smothered Chicken!!!

It's been a beautiful morning here in New Jersey!  I love cold mornings, but really wish it would snow.  The forecast shows SNOW for Sunday, so I'm hoping! Everything is back to normal around here, the kids are back in school now for the second week, and I'm trying to get things done, like usual.  I'm making one of my family's favorites tonight, it's Smothered Chicken, such an easy dish made with a white wine sauce, it is similar to Chicken Piccata, but my gravy is thicker, and we just love it.  Try it you will love it!  YUMMO!

Smothered Chicken

6 -8 chicken cutlets sliced thin (or pounded whatever you prefer)
2 TBS canola oil
1 cup flour for dredging
2 cups water
2 TBS chicken bouillon
1 tsp. powdered garlic
2 tsp. fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried
1 cup White Wine, or if you prefer Cooking Wine
1 TBS lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 small Jar with 2 tsp flour and 1/2 cup cold water (to thicken the GRAVY)

Slice the cutlets thin or pound them out, whatever you prefer. Heat a skillet, or if your lucky like me, a Cast Iron Skillet, with the 2 TBS Canola Oil. Dredge the chicken in the flour shake off any existing flour, put in the hot oiled pan, and cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown, do not let them burn....salt and pepper each side. Continue frying all the cutlets, you may have to do this in batches, and add more oil to the pan after each batch. You are just browning the cutlets, they will still be pink inside. Put the cutlets on a dish, and now make your GRAVY!!!!

To the hot pan add the 2 cups water with chicken bouillon, and whisk, add the WINE, and whisk really well, add the garlic powder and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, for 1 minute. Lower heat to med-low and put the chicken back into the pan making sure the gravy is covering each cutlet and cover, cook for 1/2 hour on med-low.

Now to thicken the GRAVY, just like I always thicken my gravy's, in a jar with a lid, put 2 tsp flour in the jar and 1/2 cup cold water, shake, and slowly add to the gravy, you may want to take the cutlets out to do this, to really whisk the gravy and get it all thick and delicious! You don't want it too thick, just thick enough to coat the chicken. Put the cutlets back in and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Top with minced parsley, and SERVE over rice, egg noodles, or even mashed potatoes! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Making Fresh Homemade Pasta!

I hope you all are enjoying this wonderful Sunday.  We sure are, love going to church in the morning, and we go to the early service, 8:15, then Sunday school, and we get home by 11:30 a.m. Nice and early!  I usually come home and make breakfast for my family, it's easy and fast, and we are all starving anyway.

For Christmas this year, my Hubby gave me a Pasta Maker, among some other great gifts.  I especially love the "diamond open heart with a key necklace", yes I was totally surprised.  Back to the Pasta Maker......I've always wanted one. So one day during the break I made a batch of homemade pasta, so very easy, especially since I can use my Kitchen Aid Mixer with the dough hook!  The dough came together, you have to let it rest for about 20 minutes, and it becomes very elastic. Using the Pasta Maker was easy, and we had  homemade fresh egg noodles for dinner that night! YUMMO!

Yes these are Homemade Fresh Egg Noodles!!!

Today, if I get some energy, I will make a batch of Ravioli.  I will let you know how they turn out!

Homemade Pasta

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs


Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated. 

Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Or dump all the ingredients in your Kitchen Aid Mixer, and let the mixer do all your work! 

Then you have to cut a piece of dough off the ball, and feed into the Pasta Maker.....starting with the thickest setting, keep feeding the dough through, each time lowering the setting, until finally the dough is thin and ready to cut into your desired noodle.
Hubby and Davey making Pasta!

Cutting them into NOODLES!
 We tried to dry the noodles, but honestly just couldn't wait to boil them and EAT THEM!  They were so fresh.  They only took a couple of minute to boil, so fresh, so HOMEMADE!!!  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chocolate Rolled Crescents........YUMMO!

Well, today is the day, we are finally saying goodbye to Christmas!  It takes days for me to decorate my house for Christmas, but hopefully only one day for me to say goodbye!  It's a lot of work, but glad to be getting it all done today!  The tree is so dead, needles everywhere....but it was a wonderful Christmas Season, and I am truly grateful!

Making a delicious snack for my family today, Chocolate Rolled Crescents.  I tried this recipe about three years ago, and it was a big hit with my family.  This snack is so easy, using those Pillsbury Crescents Rolls, and chocolate chips, so easy, and YUMMO! 

Chocolate Rolled Crescents

1 roll of Pillsbury (or store-brand) Crescent Rolls
About 1 cup Chocolate Chip Morsels (or mix peanut butter, white chocolate, or butterscotch morels with the chocolate, NUTS, go for it, be creative!)
2 TBS Sugar
1 TBS Cinnamon

Unroll the the crescents into individual triangles, put about 1 tsp of the chips on the widest part of the crescent, and starting with that wide end, start rolling up forming a crescent.

Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Put them on a greased foil or parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for 10 - 13 minutes until golden brown.  Take out and cool, and Enjoy! 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread! YUMMO!

It's been so cold these past two days, went down to 7 degrees the other night! I really enjoy the cold weather, when it's WINTER, and I really enjoy the hot weather when it's SUMMER....just wish we had some snow.

I went food shopping today, and there were great sales, saved so much in coupons, and planning out the sales, with my coupons.  I got everything I needed, and spent half what I usually spend!  I needed to buy bread, we always eat Whole Wheat Bread, it can't be the store brand, it has to be a name brand Whole Wheat Bread, yes I am picky!  But today I passed up the Whole Wheat Bread, and decided to make homemade instead. 

Now I make homemade bread often, when making soups, and want bread to go with the soup, but really hardly ever for sandwiches, and that means for my little boys sandwiches.  So I made the bread, as I always do, and it came out terrific, and so easy to slice for a nice peanut butter and jelly or Nutella sandwich for Davey.  This Whole Wheat Bread is so easy, and as I have said before, if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, better yet!  Once you get the handle on bread making with your Kitchen Aid Mixer, or even by hand, and with my helpful tips, you will want to try making different homemade breads. It's so easy, so rewarding I think, and so SIMPLE!  Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Bread

In a bowl add 1 1/2 cups warm (not HOT, but warm to your wrist) water
Add 2 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 TBS Sugar
Mix all this with a fork, and let sit for 5 minutes until all foamy.....HINT, if this does not get a little foamy, your yeast is dead, buy new yeast and do it again!

This is what the yeast should look like after a couple of minutes!

 In a separate bowl, I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer bowl, add the following:
4 Cups Whole Wheat Bread
1 egg
1/4 cup oil (I use Canola)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 TBS Vital Wheat Gluten (you need this to make Whole Wheat Bread, now don't let this strange powder scare you, it is easily found in the baking isle, by the specialty bread mixes)
A must for the perfect Whole Wheat Bread!!

When the yeast is all foamy this means it's "proofed", now add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and turn on the mixer on low, using the dough hook, knead the bread.  This will take a couple of minutes.  Now look into the bowl, what is happening, you may have to scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber scraper, turn the mixer back on low, what does the dough look like....if it looks like a cake batter, you need to add a bit more flour, like 1/4 cup, or if the dough looks dry, you may have to add a little more water, 1 tsp at a time... turn the mixer back on and the dough should be forming a ball around the dough hook, and won't be too sticky, but sticky, at this point I like to flour my hands, I don't know something about sticky dough. These are the steps to making bread in your Kitchen Aid Mixer, the dough hook does all the kneading for you, so easy! 

Dough pulled away from sides of bowl, and forming a ball around dough hook!
Now if you don't have a Kitchen Aid mixer, you may do this all by hand, the same way!

When it is all kneaded spray a large bowl with cooking spray, add the dough to the bowl, and turn over coating both sides. Cover with foil, let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.  I usually turn the oven on to 350 for like 2 minutes and shut it off, and then put the bowl of dough in the oven to rise.

Remember to shut the oven off, you don't want to bake your dough's not READY, and don't let the oven get TOO HOT, you don't want to kill the yeast, that's why I say 2 minutes!!!!

Dough doubled in size all risen

When the dough is all risen, and doubled in size, punch down the dough getting rid of all the air bubbles, spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, shape the dough easily into a football looking form, and put in loaf pan.  Cover lightly with a piece of greased wax paper, or foil, I mean just lay the foil over, do not wrap....and let rise again for the second rise in the oven, again turn on the oven on to 350 for 2 minutes, shut off, and put the loaf pan in the oven and let rise for 20 minutes or so until the loaf has risen nice and high.  Again, do not let the oven get too hot, it's not ready to be baked yet.....2 minutes!!!!
Dough rising in pans....nice and high and ready for the oven!
Now we are ready to BAKE, turn the oven on 350 and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on.  Cool on a rack, and enjoy with BUTTER or make a P&J sandwich for your little boy or girl! Remember use a serrated knife to slice the bread, slice back and forth, that's the way to do it!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's All Over! Chicken Tortellini Soup...........So YUMMO!

Well Christmas is over, New Years is over!  We still have our Christmas Tree up, only until this weekend.  I have enjoyed the season so, but I am happy it's over, and ready for life to get back to normal.  Life here has been busy, the kids are back to school, and Becca made the high school play, and she is so very excited, but that means staying after school until 5:30 every evening, busy times! 

We had no snow at all this Christmas Season, and it hasn't been very cold either.  Yesterday we woke up to a pretty dusting of snow on the ground, and very COLD temps, only in the 20's all day yesterday, and this morning it was only 7 degrees!!!!  CHILLY! 

With all the heavy eating the past two months, and the very cold weather, last night I made a delicious Chicken Tortellini Soup.  It was light and fresh tasting, and so easy, my family loved it!  I started the soup just like I would a regular Chicken Noodle Soup, but added the Tortellini instead of the egg noodles at the end.  Here's the recipe!  YUMMO!

Chicken Tortellini Soup

3 chicken breasts uncooked chopped into small pieces
2 TBS Canola Oil
1 large onion minced
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
4 chicken bouillon cubes or more to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic power
chopped fresh parsley about 3 TBS or more if you like
1 TBS fresh chopped basil
3 TBS corn starch mixed with 1 cup of COLD WATER (for a slight thickening)
7 Cups water

In a large stock pot, add about 2 TBS oil and cook the chicken for about 5 mins until no longer pink.  Add the onions, celery, and carrots, add about 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, stir and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the water, chicken bouillon, garlic powder, chopped fresh parsley, and basil, stir and bring to a a boil for 1 minute, then cover and lower to a simmer.  Cook on the stove on low for 3 hours.  Taste the soup, what do you need, more salt, pepper, another bouillon cube?  I like my soups well seasoned, so I usually add more salt and pepper at this point.  Add the 3 TBS corn starch to the one cup of  COLD water, and mix with a fork, add to the soup, and stir very well until incorporated.  This will slightly thicken the soup.  Cover and cook for another 20 minutes.  Cook the Tortellini in a large pot of boiling water until tender, drain the water and add them to the Soup, stir and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.  Enjoy!