Monday, December 28, 2009

Turkey Soup

Turkey Soup

What better thing to do with your turkey carcase but to make turkey soup. This has go to be one of the easiest things to make, and since you are most likely using items in your kitchen, that makes this a Frugal Find also. This though does need some fore-thought after you have carved your turkey. Take the carcase and place it in a large stock pot and put it in a cold place till you can get to it (mine sat in my 3 season porch overnight, the coldest place in my house that night).
When you are ready to make the soup fill the stock pot 3/4 or more with tap water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for a good hour. The idea is for all the meat to fall off the bone. At this point there is no need for seasoning, for the turkey will do all the work (if there is any skin left over please add that to the pot, the flavor can boil out of it too and can be discarded later).
After the hour has passed you can de-bone the turkey. This is a bit of a tedious process, but well worth it in the end. This cavity of so you think tiny bits of meat and skin will not only give you amazing flavor on their own but they will give way more meat than you can imagine. The amount of meat you will get will make your soup into stew.
No is time to add the following
2 cups carrots chopped
2 large onion chopped
1 celery heart chopped
1 medium/large potato peeled and diced
salt n pepper to taste
(fresh cilantro or parsley can be added if you have them on hand in you fridge)

Put the stock pot back on the stove top and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and keep on low for at least another hour.
You can serve it now but since turkey has more fat than chicken it is a good idea to cool the soup in your fridge overnight so the fat can rise to the surface of the soup and can be skimmed off the top.
After skimming the fat reheat the soup and serve. The soup can also be put in freezer containers and saver for later meals.
A perfect dinner for those cold January nights, warm home-made soup!!! Yum!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sweet Crescent Rolls

This morning I was trying to figure out what can I make for breakfast that is not only easy but looks good too. Then it came to me ... I forgot to make the crescent rolls last night with dinner maybe I can use them to make some yummy pastry. That is just what I did, a Frugal Find for breakfast ... how sweet is that.

Sweet Crescent Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls

1 package of Crescent rolls

1 egg (for wash)

1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves

Preheat oven according to Crescent Roll package. Unroll the dough and tear accordingly to make 8 rolls. In a small bowl beat one egg to make an egg wash, then brush the egg over each of the triangles. In a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove (you can also use pumpkin pie spice in place of all of these). Once all the triangles have been egg washed sprinkle with the sugar mix. Roll into crescents. Egg was the finished crescent roll and sprinkle with sugar. This will give the outside a nice flaky top.

Bake accordingly.
Serve hot.


Raspberry Turnover Crescent Rolls

1 package of Crescent Rolls

4 tablespoons of raspberry jam*

1 egg (for wash)
pinch of sugar

Preheat oven according to Crescent Roll package. Unroll dough and tear accordingly to make 8 rolls. In a small bowl beat one egg to make an egg wash, set aside. At widest end of triangle dob 1/2 tablespoon of jam. Fold over the tips of triangle to form an enclosed turnover. Egg wash the finished turnover and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake accordingly.

Let cool a few minutes before serving for jam is very hot and can burn.


*In the case of the jam version, any jam will do. if you like another it can be used in place of the raspberry, the sky is the limit, or what you can find at the local market.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Upside down Apple Pecan Pie

I told you I like to make pies ... here is another one. Yes, this one like the last one has apples and pecans it also. But this one is very unique in that it looks like what would happen if an apple pie were to marry a pecan pie and they were to have a child ... it would be an Upside down Apple Pecan Pie. This pie is super easy to make and looks like you spent all day in the kitchen. But that can be our secret. Here we go ...

Upside down Apple Pecan Pie

1/2 cup seedless raisins
1 tablespoon bourbon/port/brandy
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup pecan halves (or whatever it will take to cover the bottom of a 9" pie pan. They also need to be perfect pecans, not broken)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 pie crusts

6 peeled, cored, sliced apples
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven 450 degrees

Mix raisins & alcohol and set aside

Spread butter onto bottom of 9" pie pan. Press pecans topside down into butter. Pat brown sugar evenly over pecans. Place one pie crust over pecans.
Drain raisins and discard liquid. Toss raisins with apples, sugar, lemon juice, flour, and cinnamon. spoon over crust in pie pan. Take second pie crust and cover. Crimp edges to seal being careful not to tuck any of the crust under the pan lip. Prick crust with fork to allow to vent.

Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake additional 45 minutes, or until top crust is lightly browned.

Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes or until pie stops bubbling. Place serving plate over pie bottom side up, and FLIP. Remove pie from pie pan and cool completely.

This pie is best if made the day before you want to eat it.

This pie needs to settle and the brown sugared pecans need to harden up.

Roasted Turkey & Stuffing with Pan Gravy

Turkey in my opinion is the epitome of comfort food and a meal that brings people together, and brining people together is what I love about food the most. Every year at this time my husband and I host our annual Turkey Dinner. A time when we can bring new and old friends together to eat and enjoy each others company. This started 4 years ago as a small dinner for 12 and has now evolved to buffet for 30. The nice thing about this dinner is that the entire meal is NOT all on my shoulders, everyone invited brings a dish weather it be an appetizer, a side dish, or dessert. This gives the meal another dimension and variety each year.

My part is the Turkey and all the fixings, I begin by brining the bird. Yes, I brine our bird each time we make it. When I first started roasting turkey's I had no idea what it meant to brine a bird and the thought of soaking it in salt water mix for 24 hours pretty much freaked me out. But someone old me to try it, so I did, and that was the start of the juiciest turkey's I have ever eaten ... even the white meat was juicy and full of flavor.

The key to brining a bird is the water to salt ratio.

1 gallon water : 1 cup of salt

As long as you have that ratio down you cannot go wrong. The best part about this ... is there is not one bit of salt flavor left on the bird, just juicy white and dark meat.

This is the brine we use

2 gallons of cold tap water
2 cups kosher salt
3-5 bay leaves
small container of whole allspice
small container of whole cloves
handful of dried thyme
handful of dried sage
handful of whole peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
small bottle of maple syrup

We have used many vessels to brine our turkey but believe it or not the best way we have found so far is a 5 gallon bucket you can get at Home Depot or your local hardware store with a plastic trash bag. Start by adding the water. After you have 2 gallons of water in the bucket put the thawed, cleaned, gizzards removed turkey in the water to verify the water will not over flow. Remove the turkey and add the salt, mix till dissolved. Some who make brines say you need to heat all this mixture up on you stove top ... we have done it both ways and every time it comes out good, so we take the easy way and add it all at once. Then we add the aromatics, the beer, maple syrup, and the brown sugar. Stir till the liquid is murky, then place the turkey in the brine. Close the bag and put in a cold place for 24 hours. I live in New England and in December the coldest place is usually on the back deck ... that is where it stays till we are ready to roast.

* Julius Echter beer -- is a German wheat ale with hits of cloves and other spices that pair nicely with the aromatics in the brine. This is one of my favorites for cooking with, marinating with and just plain using in the kitchen. The idea here is to find a beer that has rich flavors that can be paired with food. If wheat ale is not your favorite try a micro-brew and use the flavors in that as your aromatics.

Before taking the Turkey out of the brine it is a good idea to make the stuffing.

Now on to the stuffing, or as some call it the dressing to the turkey. This is one of those recipes that has evolved over the years and I believe we have reached our pinnacle this year. Part of reaching our peak is using more and more ingredients that are home made and not so manufactured. You may think I have no time for this ... but when you make turkey it takes nothing but time and since most of us do not leave our ovens on and go out, try a few more "from scratch" stuff and you will find it is just as easy.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were on vacation in Florida and came upon a spice and tea shop called Spice and Tea Exchange in John's Pass at Madeira Beach. While I was looking around at all the teas I found the spices in jar after jar and found the Herb Turkey ... it smelled so good I had to get it to replace my Bell's Turkey seasoning with it.

Lets make Stuffing

6 Hogie rolls

1 large onion chopped
1/2 bunch celery chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter*
1 tablespoon of Herb Turkey (or Bell's Seasoning for Poultry)
Salt n Pepper to taste
1/2 cup pecans crushed
1/2 cup crasins chopped
1/2 cup apple peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 quart chicken stock/broth

Cut up the bread into 1" or smaller cubes and toast on cookie sheets in 350 degree oven till dry.

Saute onion, celery, in butter over medium high heat. Add seasoning and salt n pepper till soft and brown.

Transfer bread from cookie sheets to large bowl. Pour saute mix over bread. Add pecans, apples and crasins. Toss to combine. Add Chicken stock one cup at a time to make moist. When you get your desired consistency set aside.

If you are going to stuff the bird make sure the stuffing is room temperature so it does not effect the roasting of the turkey. whatever does not fit into the Turkey put in a casserole dosh to cook in the oven after the turkey is finished roasting.

* You will find that in where ever the need for butter is I tend to use unsalted butter, for the reason that folks can add salt but you can NEVER take salt out of something if it is over salted. In time those you cook for will get adjusted to the lack of salt but the addition of other flavors and the need for salt is not there.

Now for the main event ... the Turkey.

Take the Turkey out of the brine and pat it dry with a paper towel. You may have to rinse out the cavity of the turkey for allspice, cloves and peppercorns can get stuck and are not quit so nice to eat in their whole state. Then place the turkey in a roasting pan. It is a good idea to keep the bird off the bottom of the pan either with a wire rack, or my favorite carrots split in half the longways.
The next step is stuff the bird. Who doesn't like juicy turkey flavored stuffing, the bird should be stuffed? After the bird is stuffed melt half a stick of unsalted butter. Brush the butter all over the turkey, and sprinkle with seasonings. This is something you can decide to do for yourself. I usually use fresh ground pepper and herb turkey (or Bells Seasoning), what it comes down to is the seasonings I use in the brine they are sprinkled over the turkey.
Before the Turkey goes in the oven it is a good idea to take the liver and the neck and place that at the bottom of the turkey pan ... not many of us eat the liver or the neck but it will aide in the flavor for the gravy. You may also want to add a cup to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Last of all cover the Turkey either with foil or if your roasting pan has a lid use that.
Now your Turkey is ready for roasting. Please consult of how long to roast your turkey. Please also DO NOT use those "pop-up" indicators, they are not as accurate as a simple meat thermometer. Poultry should be 180 degrees at its thickest part.
Now that's a Yummy Turkey!!!

After it rests for half hour to hour it can be carved. Keep in mind the carcase can be used for more meals (to be discussed later) and the pan drippings can make some of the best gravy you have ever tasted.

Pour the drippings in a sauce pan, and add 1/2 cup of white wine (preferably a white you are serving with dinner so it is easily accessible and most likely already open) over medium/high heat. In a small cup whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water, when cornstarch is dissolved add to the gravy and wine. Continue to whisk till gravy thickens.

Now sit down with your family and eat Turkey!!! Yum!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Crunchy Carmel Apple Pie

Aside from making breads and muffins I love to make pies also. Fruit pies that is. There are so many fruit pies out there to make that to decide which one to make first first is a bit of a challenge. Years ago as a kid I tried to make a pie ... a raisin pie, and it was a disaster. It took me many years to make another pie and this pie was one of the first pies I made a married woman. The best thing about this pie is it has all the ingredients we love in a dessert; apples, Carmel and pecans. Yummy!!!
Crunchy Carmel Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Need single pie crust for bottom of pie

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of salt
6 cups of thinly sliced apples
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup Carmel ice cream topping

Line pie crust with single pie crust and crimp edges as desired

To make crumb topping -- combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, oats, and cut in butter, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

In a large bowl stir together sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, cinnamon, salt and apple slices (I sometimes also add nutmeg and cloves for added flavor and dept). Gently toss till apples are coated. Transfer the apple mixture to the pie crust. Sprinkle the crumb topping over apples.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes covered with foil to prevent the crust from burning. Uncover and bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and drizzle the Carmel topping over the hot pie and sprinkle the chopped pecans.

Cool on rack.

This pie is best if made a day or two before you want to serve it, so it settles and becomes dense. I guarantee this will be a crowd favorite.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Auntie Barb's Chop Suey

Last week my husband and I spent the week visiting family in FL ... and as it turned out every night a different member of the family would make dinner for us. It was so nice to be all the Aunts and Uncles and eat what they eat. Which brings me to my next entry ... Chop Suey. Now I know what you are thinking, meat and elbow macaroni, this is NOT that.

Auntie Barb's Chop Suey

1 lb. ground beef (can also use ground veal, pork and sausage)
1 bunch of celery
1 lg chopped onion
1 can water chestnuts
1 lg can of bean sprouts
1 can of beef broth
low sodium soy sauce to taste (can also use tamari sauce)

Start by browning the meat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt n pepper in a large stock pot. Add the chopped onion. When all cooked add the water chestnuts, bean sprouts and broth. When mixed together add soy sauce to taste.

This can be served two different ways (1) on buttered hamburger rolls or (2) over chow mien crunchy noodles (this is the way I like it)

The reason this was one of the dishes made while we were visiting is because the Aunts are all on Weight Watchers now and found that this meal is a mere 5 points. The Aunts in FL all have a goal that by Spring Break they want to be svelte and partying like rock stars. In my opinion as long as they are all happy and enjoying themselves that in itself will be a good goal to have.
PS ... by the time I decided to add this to my blog we had eaten so much of it, this is what was left over in the pot. Give this dish a try it is so yummy and very happy Auntie Barb was able to share her recipe with me.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Guacamole is one of those "dips" you either love or you hate. I keep getting mixed reviews about it ... but one thing I know for sure is I Love it!!! (and if you like Guacamole like I do and if ever you travel to Cozumel, Mexico you need to Stop at Playa Bonita's for some Home-made Chips and Guacamole and an Ice cold Margarita. Did I also mention it is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to in the Caribbean). Well, Enough about the best ... lets talk about my Frugal Find.

The other day I was at Trader Joe's looking to pick up items that will go well for watching a Football Game . Low and behold i came across the coolest thing in the store ... well, the coolest thing in the produce section. The "Guacamole Kit." At first I passed right by it and went looking for avocados, tomatoes, limes, onions, etc. Then went back to find it was only $2.99 ... and it had it all for way less than I was paying for the items in my basket. I bought the "Kit" and the Guacamole was the best I have ever made.

This is the "Kit"

2 Avocados
2 Plum Tomatoes
1 Lime
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Onion
1 Jalapeño Pepper
Salt n Pepper to taste

Peel and dice the onion and garlic, dice the
jalapeño pepper, and Peel, Un-pit, and dice the avocado. Combine all this into a bowl and mash until it is to your desired consistency. Dice the tomatoes and add to the mixture. Add the juice of the lime and salt and pepper to taste. You may also want to add a few sprigs of fresh Cilantro to give it that straight from Mexico taste.

The best thing about this, is I know what was in it, all fresh ingredients, nothing processed and nothing from a can. It may take a few more minutes to prepare but when there is none left ... you don't feel guilty about eating any of it.

This is the first installment of Frugal Finds ... as I find more I will post them. Frugal Finds will be a section dedicated to finding things that are still home-made but seem to be Way Cheaper than buying store bought brands.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

The Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Living in New England has made that all the more easier to love with the leaves changing and all the great fruits and veggies that are in season. One of my favorites is Pumpkin. This year for the first time ever I hollowed out a pumpkin and made homemade Pumpkin Puree. It may take a few extra minutes to make but in a world where there is so much processed food in our diets this enables me to know what is in my puree as opposed to a can of puree you find in you local market. And that is the part I really like.

This was all fueled by this beautiful pumpkin I purchased a few weeks ago. Instead of giving the pumpkin to the Red Tail Hawk or Deer that lives in the backyard as dinner, I wanted to make something yummy. (And you will soon understand that I love to make breads) So why not make Pumpkin Bread!!! But since it is winter time, why can’t I spice it up a bit. I found this great recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Bread. Originally the recipe was for two loaves, but since this is a first… I cut the recipe in half and made one loaf.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
8-ounce can solid pack pumpkin or 1 cup of pumpkin puree*
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Before the bread goes in the oven sprinkle some nutmeg and cinnamon over the top. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaf. Turn loaf out onto racks and cool completely.

*I thought Pumpkin Puree was this very difficult thing to make till I thought about and realized how hard can it be pumpkin is only a large squash and squash is easy to make. I took my very large pumpkin and cut it up into slices (after removing all the "hairs" and seeds, the seeds were roasted in the oven with butter and sea salt) and put on a cookie sheet and in a 350 degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours, till fork tender. I let it cool completely and then removed the "dry" exterior and the skin from the bottom and put the soft pumpkin "meat" in a bowl. After it was all done I used a hand mixer to puree the pumpkin. Took what i needed for the bread and the remaining went in the freezer for later use.

PS ... Sorry there is no picture but we ate the bread way faster than I had time to post it ... that is how good it is. Enjoy!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cicken Pot Pie

This is one of those dishes that my Mom did not make for me as a kid, nor did I ever eat chicken Pot Pie as a kid. But after getting married my husband he asked me to make this for him. I pretty much had no idea what I was doing, and honestly the first one came out so awful that it took me about three years to try again. And try again is what I did. It came out so good the second time ... that whenever I have left-over chicken in the fridge it NEVER goes to waste a pot pie is made and put in the freezer for when unexpected guests happen to show up for dinner.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 med onion
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3 tbsp flour
1/2 can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth/stock
salt n pepper to taste
4 cups of cooked chicken
1 pie crust
1 egg for wash over crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (unless you are freezing for later use)
Cook chicken if not already ... cut up tenders and dredge in flour (additional flour) and saute with onions (additional onion) and seasonings, I use Pappy's_Choice Seasonings from CA, it is a good mix of seasonings all in one, I use this in place of salt n pepper. Saute onions, carrots, and potatoes in butter for 10 min, also add the mushrooms and peas 8 min into process. Add flour to saute mix ... one tablespoon at a time, mix and stir well. Combine broth and soup in a separate bowl, whisk until mixed well. Gradually stir into the veggies in the saute pan. cook until thick and bubbly. Add the chicken. Pout into pie pan and top with the crust. Since the crust will be bigger than the top of the pie I usually roll the edges (the crust is the the best part of the pie in some folks opinion so make sure every slice has a good amount of crust). Egg wash the top crust and cut slits in the top to vent. Bake 45 min or until golden brown. If it is coming from the freezer you will have to cook for 60 - 70 min.
Let rest (which is what the pie in the picture is doing) for 20 min before serving.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This weekend was a very rainy one here in MA and I needed to keep myself busy doing something so I thought why not make more muffins. You see muffin take the same amount of energy as bread to make but seem to be more fun to eat, and look so much better under the dome on my counter. And since Friday I spent the day at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods shopping for ingredients for the week of cooking, I found Lemons on sale and Blueberries not too expensive this seemed to be the opportunity to try this recipe.

This recipe came from an unlikely place. For all you out there who like Vera_Bradley purses, bags, and cute stuff, the latest catalog of seasonal items and new patterns came in the other day and for the first time there was a recipe ... this one.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp lemon zest (zest from one small lemon)
1 cup blueberries
2 tsp flour (toss w/blueberries)

1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons juice)

Combine the sugar and the lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat over med-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Stirring frequently.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease a loaf pan (but when I made them I made muffins). Combine four, baking powder, and salt in a bowl (since I did not have any unsalted butter I omitted the salt). In another bowl cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beat well after each addition. It is very important that you begin and end with the flour. Fold in the Lemon zest and the Blueberries (that have been tossed with flour). Pour into the loaf pan, or in my case the muffin pan. Bake in the oven 55-60 min, or for muffins 30-35 min.

When muffins or bread come out of oven pierce the top with a fork or a knife. Pour the Lemon Glaze over the top, and pour slowly so the juice gets absorbed in the bread/muffin.

Cool in the pan first for 30 min or longer before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

They are very light, fluffy, and full of juicy flavor between the lemon and the blueberry.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beef Sroganoff

Another GREAT small appliance I use a lot in my kitchen is my Crock-pot. When we first received the Crock-pot, I thought ... What in the world am i going to do with this? So I began to surf the Internet for something good to cook ... and low and behold I found so many yummy and easy meals. And the best part is ... start it before you leave for work and when you get home 8 hours later the smell in your house is so welcoming all you want to do is eat, and you CAN because dinner is ready.
Beef Strganoff has been a meal that i have been wanting to make for a few years now. But the only problem I have is my husband is Lactose Intolerant ... and since sour cream is in every beef stroganoff recipe out there that I looked at ... what was I going to do??? Well, I decided to make it anyway and omit the sour cream, my husband (my biggest critic) loved it and did not miss the sour cream one bit.

Here is what I did...

Lactose Free Beef Stroganoff

1 medium onion
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1-1 1/4lbs sirloin tips (cut into chunks)
5-6 medium button mushrooms sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
2 cloves of minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
can of beef broth
can of cream of mushroom soup
1 tbsp corn starch

6 cups (or more) of cooked egg noodles/no yolks
(cook according to package)

Start by cutting up the onion to caramelize.

Cook over medium heat in 3 tbsp of butter for 5 minutes stirring occasionally, in a covered sauce pan. Add 2 tbsp of sugar to the onions, stir and cover and let cook for another 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Then set aside the onions.

Cut up meat into cubes add dry seasonings to it (salt n pepper and if you have a favorite meat seasoning don't be afraid to add a little it will make this dish taste more like it came form your kitchen and not my kitchen). Brown meat in a skillet of garlic and olive oil.

Set Crock-pot to low (to cook for 8 hours or high to cook for 4 hours). Layer from bottom to top the pearl onions, beef, caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Whisk together the flour, beef broth and soup mix till four is completely combined. Add this to the Crock-pot and cover for 4 or 8 hours respectively.

Just before serving add 1 tbsp of corn starch to mix to thicken.
Serve on a bed of Egg noodles.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Bowl Banana Bread & The Mixer

One of the most important "small" appliances in my kitchen is my stand up Kitchen Aide mixer. As it turns out it was a Shower gift and is the BEST shower gift any new Bride could have asked for. It comes in handy more often than you think. My favorite thing to make with my mixer is Banana bread.

I seem to make Banana bread all the time ... not intentionally I have this "thing" about throwing food out. When the bananas in my house start to turn brown, they move from the counter to the freezer for later use. Sometimes they go in smoothies (will talk about making smoothies at a later time) and others for Banana bread. Keep in mind that when bananas are put in the freezer they turn brown and kind-of look not so good. While in the freezer the natural sugars of the bananas come out and they make a "oh so yummy bread.
This Recipe is a take on a Pampered Chief recipe for Banana Bread.
One Bowl Banana Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1/3 cup milk (any milk even lactose free)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup ripe bananas (two bananas)
1/4 tspn ground nutmeg
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray bottom of loaf pan w/non-stick cooking spray (butter flavor is best)
Mix everything together in one bowl (this is the best part ... less to clean)
Bake 60 minutes, or until tester is clean

You can also make muffins bake 30 - 35 minutes (approx 18) or mini muffins bake 18 - 21 minutes (approx 36) with the same recipe.

Hello World

Hello everyone! For the past 8 1/2 years I have been cooking and perfecting dishes that I never thought I would ever be able to make. You see when I was a girl, an only child, my mother did some cooking but not much, my father even took French cooking classes so he could pick up the slack. Our oven was used to store pots and pans, and the year we remodeled the kitchen was my mother's happiest. I can remember one day I was craving comfort food and what did my mom bring me ... Milk & Cookies ... how cute is she!
When I got married I thought it would be a good idea to start cooking ... so I did. My Husband, who has been my critic the entire time will tell you I was not really a good cook at all, but there was potential in what I was making, so he and his friends encouraged me to cook more and more. That is just what I did!!!
Today I thought why not start a bog about my cooking. A way to keep track of my recipies and share them with my friends as well. A good friend of mine has one thoughtful eating. It is an encouraging and motivating thing to see others ideas on existing recipes and their twist on them. It just goes to show that as many shades of white paint that are out there, you can find that many recipes of Chicken Marsala.
You must all be wondering why the name Savory Bites & Sweet Treats? Well, a few weeks ago my girlfriends and I had a tea party and invited 50 of our closest friends. We asked everyone to bring a dish and that is what they all did ... a dessert or an appetizer. They inspired the name. Even though this blog will be about dishes and deserts ... they all give you savory bites and sweet treats.
Please enjoy my cooking and hopefully you too will be able to try some of these recipes and share them with your friends and family.