Thursday, December 18, 2008

Buttermilk Pie

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 exgra-large eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell*

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, and flour. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add buttermilk, vanilla, and salt. Mix just until blended. Do not overmix. Pour into pie crust. (I always use my favorite pie crust recipe.)

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Do not overbake.

My note: I love buttermilk pie, but some of them are so sweet they make your teeth ache. And some are kind of bland. It took a lot of searching to find a recipe that suited me. This one is from the Luby's Cafeteria 50th Anniversary Recipe Collection. As Goldilocks says, "This one is just right."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Split Pea Soup

2 ½ cups split peas
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 to 1 cup ham pieces (I used ends and bone)
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth (reduced sodium)
2 cups water

1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream

In a large pot, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, and ham to pot and saute for a few minutes till onions are translucent. Rinse split peas, and add to pot. Add chicken broth and water, as well as salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour and a half stirring occasionally.

At end of cooking time, remove ham bone (if used) and remove any meat from bone. Add meat back to pot. Stir in 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream. Taste for seasonings, and adjust as needed.

Serve with a crusty bread.

My note: This was my first time to make (or for that matter to even eat) split pea soup. I read several recipes, and none of them seemed to be exactly what I wanted, so I just decided to wing it. Turned out great!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pasta E Fagioli soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
4 carrots, slivered
3 ribs celery, diced
1 24 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can drained red kidney beans
6 cups beef stock
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 tsp. parsley
3/4 tsp. tobasco sauce
3 cups spaghetti sauce (any brand)
4 oz. ditalini pasta, cooked and drained

(Ditalini, or "little thimbles" is a small tubular pasta like a very short macaroni. If you can't find it in your store, macaroni can be used.)

Directions: Brown the ground beef in the oil in a soup pot. Drain if needed. Stir in carrots, onions, celery, and undrained tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain the kidney beans, then stir into the beef mixture. Stir in stock, oregano, pepper, parsley, and tabasco sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes until celery and carrots are tender. Stir in the spaghetti sauce and pasta.
My note: I found this recipe on PamperingBeki while surfing blogs the other day. Made it tonight for the guys, and it was a hit. Really easy too. Because I hate dirtying an extra pan unless absolutely necessary, near the end of the cooking time I just put the dried pasta into the soup, then when it was tender, I added the spaghetti sauce last. Oh, and I had some baby spinach, so I tossed that in at the end too. Even though I'm still full, I'm already looking forward to leftovers! :)
And check out Beki's blog. Today she had some awesome pictures of ornaments from her Etsy shop.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Egg Salad Whimsy

8 eggs
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 avocado

Place eggs in a small saucepan, cover with water, and add a little salt. Cover pan and bring to a boil, then immediately turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes or more. Drain hot water from pan, then run cold water over eggs. Drain that water off, then put cover back on pan, and holding the cover on the pan, shake vigorously to thoroughly crack all egg shells. Peel eggs immediately under cold running water. This method almost always makes getting the shells off a breeze. Place peeled eggs on a paper towel to remove excess water.

Chop eggs into a bowl. Add remaining ingredients except for the avocado. Stir just until mixed well. Top with sliced avocado right before serving. Serve with toast points or crackers, or as a sandwich filling.
My note: I'm enjoying a newly completed porch and beautiful mild weather, so I decided to have a tea party. Some iced Red Zinger tea was perfect with the salad.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monster Cookies

12 eggs, beaten thoroughly
2 pounds brown sugar
4 cups white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon syrup
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 pound butter
3 pounds peanut butter
18 cups oatmeal (42 ounce box)
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 pound m&m candies


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Using a very large bowl, mix the first nine ingredients in the order they are listed.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and m&m candies.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, drop six (6) scoops of dough per cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until done.
  • Dough can be refrigerated and baked in batches at your convenience.

My note: This is a recipe I cut out of the newspaper years ago. It takes a HUGE bowl to mix together. I used to take my two biggest bowls, and kinda sorta mix part in one and part in the other...I finally bought a great big stainless steel bowl at a restaurant supply company just for this recipe. It makes LOTS of BIG cookies, and they are SO yummy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bread Pudding with Irish Mist Sauce

The bread pudding is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1981). One of my three most used cookbooks. The Irish Mist Sauce is my own.

Bread Pudding
Beat together 4 eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place 2 1/2 cups dry bread cubes (3 1/2 slices) in an 8 x 1 1/2 inch round baking dish. Sprinkle 1/3 cup raisins over bread. Pour egg mixture over all. Bake in a 325 degree F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool slightly. Makes 6 servings.

Irish Mist Sauce
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 Tablespoons Irish Mist Liqueur

Mix together the cornstarch and sugar. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the sugar and cornstarch into the butter. Pour in the milk, and cook stirring frequently until the mixture begins to boil. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat, and stir in the Irish Mist. Serve warm over bread pudding.

My note: I used Irish Mist, because it struck my fancy. You could substitute any hard liquor...bourbon, whiskey, rum.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stuffed Bell Pepper

1 pound lean ground beef
1 box Spanish Rice-a-Roni
2 cups of water (as called for in package directions)
1 15.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
4 to 6 green bell peppers
shredded cheddar cheese

Over medium high heat, brown meat in a skillet. Push meat to one side of pan, and if the meat is very lean add about 1/2 Tablespoon of butter to the empty side of the pan (if there is a little drippings in the bottom of the pan, omit the butter; if there's a lot of grease in the pan, drain it off). Pour the rice/vermicelli mix to the empty side of the pan, and leave for a few minutes stirring to even the browning. Add the seasoning packet to the pan, and stir together with rice and meat. Add the diced tomatoes, the 2 cups of water, and the raisins, stirring to mix. Cover pan and cook for about twenty minutes.

In the mean time, wash the peppers, cut their tops off, and remove the seeds and membranes. Also preheat oven to 35o degrees F.

After the rice is cooked, stir a cup of shredded cheddar cheese into the rice. Spoon the rice into the peppers, and place in a casserole dish. Place a small amount of water in the bottom of the dish. Cover, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Top with a little more cheese, and return to oven just until melted.
My note: You can leave the raisins out if you like, or rather if you don't like, but I love them included.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dump Cake

1 can blueberry pie filling
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter or margarine
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

In ungreased 9 x 13 inch cake pan, spread pie filling, then spoon in pineapple (trying not to mix the two). Sprinkle cake mix over pineapple. Pour melted butter evenly over cake mix, then spread coconut over, and lastly pecans. Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees F.
My note: This is such an easy recipe (with such an unfortunate name...I'm sure because you basically just dump everything in). I think the recipe has been included in every church or organization cookbook I've ever owned. You can use other fruit pie fillings as well...cherry is nice with a splash of almond extract added to it. Even better served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Drew's Kick-Ass Beans

This recipe was shared with me by Drew D., aka (affectionately known as) the Crazy Cat Lady. The title refers to the awesome flavor, not digestive repercussions. :)

3 cups dried pinto beans
8 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut into about 1inch pieces
1 onion, cut into large chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 beer
salt to taste

Rinse the beans and pick out any stones or bad beans. Place in large pot, and add 10 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and cover pot. Let sit for one hour. Add remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, or enough to maintain a slow boil. Continue cooking for several hours until beans are tender. During the cooking time, add water to the pot as needed.

Beans cooked covered, low, and slow will have a thinner broth. I like to uncover them, and let the broth reduce so it's thick and hearty.

My note: Don't be timid with substitutions. You can use sausage or ham instead of the bacon. Today I don't have a green bell pepper, so that will have to be left out. No beer in the house today, but I had a bottle of wine in the fridge, so I used about a third of it. If you don't drink, leave it out.

I serve with a fresh-baked pan of cornbread. Any cornbread that is left over, I put in a big zip lock freezer bag and throw in the freezer. I make a fresh batch of cornbread each time we have soup in the fall, by adding all the leftovers to the freezer bag, when Thanksgiving rolls around, I have plenty of cornbread for the dressing. One less thing to do for the busy holiday preparations.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Filling Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup cream (or milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
grated or sliced cheese (swiss, provolone, cheddar, whatever you like)
crumbled sausage, bacon, or finely diced ham
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust (see my favorite pie crust)

-- Brown the ham, sausage, or bacon.
-- Saute the onion and green pepper.
-- Mix the eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
-- Spread the cheese over the bottom of the pie crust.
-- Sprinkle meat over cheese.
-- Spread onion and bell pepper over meat.
-- Pour egg mixture evenly over all.
-- Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
My note: This is SO simple, and really hard to mess up. Be creative and substitute ingredients you have on hand (I've even made it with salmon.) Serve with a big salad or a vegetable.

My Favorite Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup minus 1 Tablespoon oil
1/4 cup water
dash of salt

Put all ingredients in a 9 inch glass pie plate. Mix it up with your hands just till blended, and form to fit pie plate. Crimp edges if desired.

My note: I learned how to make this pie crust from my mother. It is the only pie crust I ever use for single crust pies when recipe calls for unbaked pie crust--no cutting in, no rolling out, EASY! The secret is that it MUST be a glass pie plate.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Easy Enchilada Casserole

I believe this recipe originally came from I don't know the author.
1 lb ground beef
1 (15 oz) can ranch-style beans
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 (12 oz) package corn tortillas
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

- Preheat oven to 350.

- Brown ground beef. Add chili powder, beans, tomatoes and soup; mix well and heat thoroughly.
- Line 13"x9" dish with tortillas. Then make a layer with the meat mixture. Layer some cheese on top of that. Repeat layers ending with cheese.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
my note: This is the lazy girls' enchiladas. Incredibly quick and easy. I've spent way more time and effort trying to make traditional enchiladas, and been unhappy with the result every time. I'll never bother again, because this is IT!