Saturday, April 21, 2012

Eclair Pie

                                                          Eclair Pie

Whomever created this dish, Thank You! This is one of my favorites.
I discovered it, only a few years ago, when a co-worker brought it to a potluck.
I had never heard of it then, but I see the same recipe all over the internet now. Just in case you missed it, here it is again.

2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
3cups milk
1-8oz. container cool whip-thawed
1 can of chocolate frosting
1 box graham crackers

Whisk together the milk and pudding, and refrigerate about 30 minutes to set.
Fold in the cool whip.
Place a layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a baking dish, I use a lasagna pan.
Spread half of the pudding over the crackers
Place another layer of crackers.
Spread on the rest of the pudding.
Top with another layer of crackers.
Warm the frosting just a bit, in the microwave, to make it easier to spread.
Spread it onto the top layer of crackers.
I don't use the entire container of frosting, but the recipe does call for it.
Refrigerate overnight, to allow the crackers to soften.


    DAAAY-O! - OK  not so pretty, but it really makes up for it in taste. It was supposed to have a layered look but... the best laid plans of mice and grandmas.

My grandkids love The Banana Boat Song. I get a real kick out of watching them sing and dance to it. During a sleepover at grandma's, I was making them a tropical dinner. So I decided to create a tropical dessert  just for them.

                               Harry Belafonte singing with the Muppets

1-3oz. box vanilla -cook and serve pudding
1-3oz box lemon- cook and serve pudding
1-3oz. box banana cream -cook and serve pudding
1-3.4oz. box coconut cream- instant pudding
4 bananas
1 can crushed pineapple- drained
2Tbl. yogurt
1 box graham crackers
 6 cups of milk for the puddings

Place a layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a baking dish. (like a lasagna pan)
Slice one banana and arrange them on the crackers.
Cook vanilla pudding according to box directions, and pour the warm pudding over the bananas.
Add another layer of crackers and banana.
Don't make the lemon pudding according to the box. Instead only use the 2 cups of milk.
Pour over the bananas.
Place another layer of crackers and banana.
Cook the banana pudding according to box directions, pour over bananas.
Allow to cool completely.
After it has cooled Add a layer of bananas.
In a bowl, add instant coconut pudding, drained pineapple and yogurt.
Mix well and spread over cooled desert.
Refrigerated overnight to soften the graham crackers.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pizza Sandwiches - Cooking with the Grandkids

                        Child sized and, they had a great time making them.

My grandmother used to make the best pizza sandwiches on sliced Italian Roma buns, in her restaurant.
I still use her recipe to this day. If it ain't broke don't fix it.They have a fresher taste than using prepared pizza sauce. True Italian restaurant flavor. The use of garlic spread really makes them fantastic.
I had a lot of fun making these as a little girl, and thought it would be a great way to introduce cooking to my grandchildren. I use all types of breads, Italian, French, fresh baked white loaves. Hot dogs buns work surprisingly well to make smaller kid size sandwiches.

This recipe is for ham and mushroom  (and) sausage and mushroom. It makes about 40 small sandwiches, so you'll have to downsize if you're not feeding a large brood. These are so simple that you really don't need a recipe.

3 packages hot dog buns- separated -
1 recipe Easy garlic butter
2lbs. mild sausage- I use Bob Evans country mild
1lb. cooked ham slices  -
1tsp. garlic powder
1-29oz. can tomato sauce
2-16oz. cans of  mushrooms
2lbs shredded mozzarella

Fry the sausage with the garlic powder. Drain the fat, and allow to cool.
Spread the bun halves with thin layer of  garlic butter.
Then spread about 1Tbl. of tomato sauce.
Add whatever toppings you like.
Top with shredded mozzarella, and bake until the cheese just begins to brown.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Arap Pilavi - Bulgar with Nuts and Dates

                                    Arap Pilavi - Bulgar with Nuts and Dates

 If you like dates you must try this lovely Turkish dish.
Delicately sweet, with a buttery toasted nut  flavor.
Traditionally you should prepare this with bulgar, but I think It's great with couscous too.

3cups prepared bulgar or couscous
2Tbl. real butter
1/4cup chopped pistachios
1/4cup slivered almonds
1cup chopped dates
2tbl. water

Prepare bulgar or couscous according to package directions.
In a large skillet, melt butter.
Stir in the nuts and stirfry until they just begin to toast.
Add the dates and water.
Quickly stir until the dates have absorbed the water.
Add the bulgar.
Mix well, long enough to heat through, while trying to keep the bulgar from sticking to the pan.
Remove from heat. Cover and allow to stand 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
Serve hot.

                                Melt the butter and lightly toast the nuts.

    Stir in the dates and water. Stir fry until the dates absorb most of the water. Fold in the bulgar, mix well and serve.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura

                                      Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura
This is almost the same recipe I use to make Beer Batter Cod Fillets.
Except I use plain carbonated water, they both work equally well.
You can use any vegetables you like, but if you haven't had batter fried cauliflower, your missing out.
Even people who don't like cauliflower, tear into these.
You can find lots of recipes for dipping sauce out there,but I prefer to serve this with Ranch dressing and Cocktail Sauce


For the batter:
2-1/2cups flour
1/2tsp. garlic powder
1/2tsp. celery salt
1/2tsp. pepper
1Tbl. chicken base
1cup carbonated water

You will also need:
12oz. frozen raw shrimp- peeled and De-veined
2cups fresh cauliflower- broken into small florets
12oz. fresh mushrooms- cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion- julienne sliced and broken apart
 oil for deep frying

Whisk together all ingredients for the batter except carbonated water.
Then add carbonated water. Mix only long enough to absorb all the dry mix.
Add the shrimp and vegetables. Toss to coat.
Allow excess to drip, before adding it to the hot oil
Drop clusters into a deep fryer. and fry until golden.
Shrimp cooks very fast, by the time the batter browns, they will be cooked through.

Cocktail Sauce

 I really don't care for the bottled cocktail sauces. This tastes much fresher, and so simple, it would just be a waste of money.

1cup ketchup
1-3 Tbl. prepared horseradish-(to taste)
Mix to blend, and serve.

Instant Choclate Mousse

                The kids liked this frozen, they said it tastes like fudge bars.
                      I have also filled cream puffs and cakes with this.

2 envelopes instant chocolate pudding
1-8oz. container frozen whipped topping -thawed

Mix the pudding according to box directions and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fold in the whipped topping until well blended. serve as is, or garnish with chocolate shavings.

Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu

                                  Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu
After running across the recipe for  Parmesan Crusted Chicken.
It got the wheels turning.
I love Chicken Cordon Bleu, but once again fried foods are so unhealthy.
I've made a few attempts to lighten it up, but... so-so.
But this is really close. Very easy and only the oil in the salad dressing.

Butterfly- 4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbl. honey mustard salad dressing -I use Ken's steakhouse honey mustard
6-8 thin sliced smoked ham
4-6 slices Swiss cheese

In a bowl mix the sour cream and honey mustard until blended.
Place the chicken in a baking pan.

Spread 1/2 the sour cream mixture onto the chicken.
Layer with ham and cheese.
Followed by the remaining sour cream mixture.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over all.
Bake at 375* until chicken is cooked through and golden.

Pumpkin Dip with Cinnamon Chips

                                        Pumpkin Dip with Cinnamon Chips
In the middle of a hot summer, I had a craving for pumpkin pie.
Too hot to bake, I threw this together and was really surprised, it tastes exactly like it. It's also a fun way to add vitamins to your kid's diet. Give the kid's something they can dip, and I swear they will eat anything.
11% fiber, 8% iron, 4% calcium, 19% vitamin C,  245% vitamin A, and 2g protein.


For the dip:
1 can solid pumpkin
1/4cup sugar

For the cinnamon chips:
tortillas cut into wedges
4Tbl. sugar
1tsp. cinnamon
Oil for deep frying

In a bowl, mix together all dip ingredients. Chill.
For the chips. Mix together cinnamon and sugar.
I keep a large old spice container full of cinnamon and sugar mixture, for these and cinnamon toast.
Fry the wedges until lightly browned, less than a minute.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture, or toss them in a bowl of the cinnamon mixture while they are still warm.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chin Chin- Caraway Twists

                                                     Chin Chin

I found this little gem in an International cookbook, years ago.
I would never have considered using caraway in something sweet, but it meshes perfectly with the citrus.
This is a street food sold by vendors in Nigeria. Crisp, lightly sweet and very good.
You could also add 1/2 tsp. orange extract to make it even more citrusy. Or add more sugar if you like it sweeter.

1cup flour
pinch of salt
2Tbl. sugar
1tsp. grated orange zest
2tsp. caraway seeds
2tbl. cold butter
1 beaten egg
oil for deep frying

Whisk together the flour and salt.
Cut in the butter, using a fork or pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the caraway, sugar and zest, mix well.
Mix in the beaten egg.
It will be a very firm dough, if you can't mix in all the flour, add a few drops of water.
Knead about 2 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch.
Cut the dough into 1inch strips, then cut across the dough to make them about 6inches long.
Cut a slit into one end of the strip, and pull the other end through the slit to make a bow.
Fry about 1 minute or until lightly golden. Serve hot. Makes 12

Whisk together flour and salt, then cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. If you are using real butter, you may have to rub it in.

                                The dough will be very firm, like pie crust.

Roll the dough to about 12"x6" Cut into1"strips, then cut across the strips to make roughly 1"x6" strips. Cut a slit in the cut end and pull the other end through to make a loose knot or bow. Fry until lightly browned.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

French Onion Burgers

                                               French Onion Burger
There is a tiny little restaurant in my town, Maid Rite that has been around since 1926 .
I've seen a lot lot of restaurants come and go, but this one's still around and busy as ever . Their claim to fame is loose meat sandwiches, Served on slices of sandwich bread.
 The Maid Rite Sandwich Shop, when I was a little girl, I though this was a houseboat, LOL.

This is a really good loose meat sandwich recipe ( Not Maid Rite's recipe) that even the kids love. Quick and easy too.

2lbs. ground chuck
1 can of french onion soup

Brown and chop the the beef
Drain the fat and return it to the pan, add the soup and simmer until the soup has nearly evaporated.
Serve on white bread slices or buns.
Another variation I have used is to add a 4oz. can of mushrooms- chopped, and top it with a slice of Swiss cheese.

 I use an old wire potato masher to chop the beef, It breaks it up into very fine pieces, The waffle shaped ones don't work well, but these accordion folded ones are perfect.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

                                         Parmesan Crusted Chicken
I ran across an amazing chicken recipe yesterday.  I can't wait to share. I just happened to be thawing chicken breast for dinner last night. So I decided to give it a try. It looks like the recipe originated at   The Enchanted Cook-blog
Someone made a suggestion to use yogurt or sour cream, instead of mayo. I decided to try the sour cream.
Wow this is REALLY amazing, and easy. I didn't use any measurements. I'll be making this often.

Chicken breast
Sour cream
Parmesan cheese
Plain breadcrumbs

Place the chicken in a baking dish.
Spread a thin layer of sour cream onto the chicken.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Top with bread crumbs, I added a pretty heavy layer of breadcrumbs.
Bake at 375* until cooked through, and golden.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beef and Gravy With Whole Potatoes

Beef and Gravy With Whole Potatoes - Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

I make this just for the "Brown Potatoes" as my kids would call it. They are the star of this dish. No need for seasonings or butter for this simple, homey meal.
I have tried cutting the steak into individual portion before cooking, but it seems to fall apart that way.
I really love the way the steak and potatoes absorb the gravy instead of being smothered in it.

1 whole roundsteak
whole potatoes (1 for each person)
3 envelopes of brown gravy mix

In a  4 quart stock pan, add the whole steak and about 2quarts of water.
Boil until the steak is fork tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hrs. adding more water when necessary.
Peel and boil the potatoes in another pan, until they are tender, but firm.
Then place the pan in the sink, and allow cold water to run over them until completely cool.
Allow the potatoes to stand in the cold water.
Back to the steak...
Once the steak is tender, remove it from the pot and set aside.
Mix the brown gravy envelopes with 2 cups of water. set aside.
Reduce the broth to about 2 inches, add the brown gravy and whisk while bringing to a boil.
The gravy should be very thin at this point, if not add a little more water. If it's too thick it can't be absorbed by the potatoes.
Place the steak into the pot.
Drain the potatoes and add them to the pot.
Reduce heat and simmer about 15-30 minutes (depending on the amount of water used) or until the gravy thickens slightly.

Remove the steak and potatoes from the gravy and serve. You can top them with more gravy if you like, but it doesn't really need it.
Serve alone or with fresh baked bread and a vegetable.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Swiss Steak

                                  Swiss Steak with peppers and tomatoes

I love just about anything with peppers and tomatoes. As a matter of fact these two consume most of my garden space.
This is how my Mom made this dish, but I'm sure there are other variations. This is a good way to use round steak, it becomes very tender this way. If you really want to smother it in veggies, use 2 peppers and a 29 oz. can of tomatoes.

1whole lean steak (I use roundsteak or sirloin)
1 green bell pepper- cut into rings or strips
1- 15oz can of whole tomatoes- crushed
1- 15oz can of tomato sauce
salt and pepper if you like, but I don't use any for this.

To a 4qt stockpot, add the whole steak and about 2qts. of water. Adding more when necessary.
Boil for about 1 to 1-1/2 hrs. or until the steak becomes fork tender, but not falling apart.
When there is only about 2 inches of broth left in the pot, add the sliced peppers.
Boil for another 10 minutes to cook the peppers.
Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Cook just long enough to thicken the sauce a bit, about 10- 15 min.
Serve over rice or with mashed potatoes.

                             Parboil the steak until it becomes fork tender.

When there is only 2 inches of broth in the pot, add the bell pepper slices. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, and cook a bit longer just to slightly thicken.

Morasa' Polow - Jewelled Rice

                                        Morasa' Polow - Jewelled  Rice

I love this dish from Iran. Lightly sweet with a hint of citrus. Traditionally it should be prepared with dried barberries, sour cherries and Seville orange peel. Due to the lack of finding ingredient, I use substitutions.

3 cups cooked rice
1cup dried currants
1cup dried cherries or cranberries- chopped
 2Tbl. orange peel- slivered
2tbl. olive oil
1tsp. butter
A few saffron threads
1/4cup golden raisins
1/4cup dried apricots -slivered
1/2cup slivered almonds
1/2cup slivered or chopped pistachios
pinch of salt

Place all dried fruit in a bowl and pour in a little boiling water.
Place the orange peel into another bowl and add a little boiling water.
Allow to stand 10 minutes.
Drain the water from the fruit, but don't drain the water from the orange peel.
In a large skillet or heavy stock pan, heat butter and oil.
Stir in the saffron.
Add the rice, salt and fruit.
Mix very well, to allow the saffron to be blended throughout.
Add all other ingredients (including the water from the orange peel)
Mix well. Cover and allow to stand at least 10 minutes to steam and allow the flavors to blend.
Serve hot or room temp.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cake Mix Cookies

                          Lemon Pretzel and Fudge Mint - Cake Mix Cookies

We all prefer to make cookies from scratch. But I really like the soft texture of cookies made this way.
They are super quick to throw together. Both of these variations are family favorites.

Cake mix cookies, no matter what variation you come up with, are always made with the same 3 ingredients:
Any cake mix
1 stick of butter- softened 
2 eggs

350* oven
A greased cookie sheet
Whip butter, beat in the eggs, stir in the cake mix, followed by whatever ingredients you may like to add.
Bake until the cookies are just set, then allow them to cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet to finish setting up.

For the lemon pretzel cookies I used a lemon cake mix and 1/4 cup finely crushed pretzels.
For the fudge mint, use a fudge or dark chocolate mix and Nestle's dark chocolate mint morsels.

                                        This makes dense chewy cookies.