Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kielbasa Stir Fry

Here is a real easy and filling recipe that is even better when you just don’t have time.  The leftovers are also good for a second meal or lunch.  Don’t have a Wok?  Not a problem, just use a large pan.


·   3 Tbl       Butter
·   1/4 cup   chopped onions
·   1             Green pepper
·   2 cups     fresh broccoli
·   Garlic powder to taste
·   Oregano to taste
·   1 lb         Kielbasa
·   ½ cup     Parmesan

1.      Chop the onions and put aside in something like a soup bowl
2.      Cut up the pepper and add it to the onions.  Don’t use the seeds or white membrane
3.      Cut the Kielbasa into 1 or 1 ½ inch lengths.  Put this on the side but not in the bowl with the onions
4.      Melt the butter in the Wok
5.      Add the onions and green pepper and let them cook for a couple minutes
6.      Stir in the broccoli and let that cook for a minute or so
7.      Sprinkle in the garlic and oregano and stir
8.      Toss in Kielbasa and heat through (Kielbasa is normally pre-cooked so you are just heating it up.  If it is real fresh you will want to cook it some more.
9.      Add the parmesan cheese, stir and cook for 30 seconds or more depending on how you want the cheese.

You can serve this with rice, potatoes, beans, on a slice of bread or hot dog roll, or as is.  I gave you something real easy so you  have to make this decision.

Potato Soup

Want to really impress someone?  How about homemade soup?  It isn’t as hard as you think and there are alternate methods that you can use to make it even easier.  It also stores well in the freezer.

·         3 cups        Diced raw potatoes
·         ½ cup        Finely chopped celery
·         ½ cup        Finely chopped onion
·         3 cups        Water
·         2 cups        Milk
·         2 cubes      Chicken bullion
·         3 Tbl          Butter
·         1 cup         Sour cream
·         2 tsp          Salt
·         1/8 tsp       Pepper

1.            Dice the potatoes and put in a medium or large sized container
2.            Chop the celery very small and add to the potatoes
3.            Chop the onion into small bits and add to the potatoes (There is a real easy way to do this by first cutting parallel to the board then vertical, then slicing.  You can probably find it on the internet or somewhere in my blog)
4.            Pour the water into a sauce pan that has a cover
5.            Add the potato/celery/onion mixture to the water, cover, and cook until tender
6.            Take the vegetables out of the water with a slotted spoon and put them in that container you used in step #1.  Don’t drain the water as you still need it and it contains much of the nutrients.  Don’t worry if you miss some as it just adds to the texture
7.            You can push the potato/celery/onion mixture through a sieve, dicer, or run it all through a blender.  I don’t like the blender idea though as you lose the vegetable pieces.  I guess you could crush them with the back of a fork though if you don’t have a sieve or dicer.  Put the end results back into the container
8.            Add the milk, bullion cubes and butter to the water
9.            Add the sour cream and flower and stir until smooth
10.        Pour everything into the saucepan containing the water
11.        Cook over medium heat and stir constantly until everything has thickened and the bullion cubes have completely dissolved
12.        Stir in the salt and pepper and cook a minute

You now have about 6 servings of soup that will impress your guests and can be used later.  Freeze the leftovers and nuke them when needed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Veggie Casserole From Leftovers

So, you are looking through the fridge and find all these small containers with remnants of former meals.  You are probably in a hurry, that is why you are scavenging.  Some broccoli, a few peas, quarter cup of carrots, and fresh mushrooms that were on sale but you didn’t need them all.  Tonight’s dinner is almost done, you just don’t realize it yet.  It is even closer if you have some rice so look a little harder.  Rice is usually in two or more containers, from the Chinese dinner you brought home and some from the meal you made last Tuesday.

I’m going to give you the recipe as if it was from scratch because I don’t know what you have left over.  Your job is to make the substitutions.  For instance my recipe calls for a bag of frozen vegetables.  See what you already have and make the adjustment.  Since this is a casserole you can often put in some vegetables that you don’t normally like because they will be covered by the rest of the meal or hidden in someone else’s serving.

As for the rice, depending on how you cook it, 1 cup of uncooked rice will produce about 3 cups of cooked rice.  See what you have and cook up the rest.  I like to use a broth instead of water, or maybe half broth to half water for a little different taste.  I tried beer once but it didn’t do any good.

·   2 cups           Uncooked rice
·   1 can             Cream of Mushroom soup (don’t make the soup, just use the concentrate)
·   1 small jar    Cheese Wiz
·   1 bag            Vegetables like broccoli or mixed
·   Fresh mushrooms (canned if you have to)
·   Salt and Pepper to taste

1.            Cook up the rice
2.            About the time the rice is finished preheat the oven to 350
3.            Pour the cooked rice into a casserole
4.            Add the remaining ingredients to the casserole
5.            Stir everything together
6.            Bake for 40 minutes

Nice meal, easy to prepare in a short time, stores well for later, good for Lent.  Cooking is easier than you thought.

Buckeye Candy

Here is something even a Michigan State fan will like.

For a little background, the Buckeye tree is a species that grows very well in the North, especially in Ohio.  In fact there is an Ohio Buckeye tree.  Because of the very dense and strong fibers which prevent it from splitting, doctors have used the wood for prosthesis’ for years.  Now that different metals are used, the Buckeye is best know as the mascot of THE Ohio State University and the candy I am going to give you the recipe for is made in the form of the one-of-a-kind seed that falls from the tree.

Enough of that, my mouth is already watering.  I’m just putting the basics here but don’t limit yourself to that.  Use your favorite peanut butter, dark chocolate, and maybe vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract.

A little hint.  You want to melt the chocolate in a double boiler but not everyone owns one.  If you are part of that majority, make one.  Use a sauce pan filled half way with water and bring it to a boil.  Then put a glass bowl, that is larger than the sauce pan, on top of the sauce pan making sure that it does not touch the water.  Put the chocolate in the bowl and it will melt.  You can use this method for other recipes calling for a double boiler.

·   1 stick        Butter
·   1 lb            Confectioners sugar
·   2 ½ cups    Creamy peanut butter
·   2 tsp          Vanilla extract
·   1 lb            Dark chocolate
·   Toothpicks

1.      Cream everything, except the chocolate, together
2.      Butter a cookie sheet
3.      Take out about a teaspoon of the creamed mixture, roll it into a ball, and place it on the cookie sheet
4.      Keep doing this, maintaining about a half inch to an inch of space between each one
5.      Refrigerate for 2 hours
6.      After the 2 hours begin to melt the chocolate
7.      Stick a toothpick into the peanut butter ball and dip the ball into the chocolate.  Make sure to cover only about 3/4ths of the ball because a buckeye is only 3/4ths dark brown and 1/4th light brown
8.      Put the buckeye back onto the cookie sheet, smooth out the toothpick hole with a damp finger, and let cool

My Wife and Daughter have been making this for years, since Kristen was little.  It is a great recipe to make with little children, just keep them away from the boiling water as the steam can burn if they take the bowl off.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Scones – Fruit

Here is another idea for scones that you can make one day and enjoy all week long.  These are also good if you are expecting friends to come over for a day or two.  Serve them some delicious scones or take them with you while showing off your location.   Just a thought.

Remember what I said about the bacon scones earlier.  Keep the butter real cold and sift the dry ingredients.  This really makes a big difference in the ultimate taste.

As I told you before, scone recipes are all over the place and very similar.  One day I was watching Alton Brown on the Food Network and he really gave me confidence in making scones.  I’m not sure if it was his recipe or additional information, like the cold butter.  This may or may not be close to his recipe but he was my inspiration.  Or was it Elton John?  No, I believe it was Alton Brown.


·   2 cups     Flour
·   4 tsp       Baking powder
·   ¾ tsp      Salt
·   1/3 cup   Sugar
·   4 Tbl       Cold butter
·   2 Tbl       Shortening
·   1             Egg
·   ¾ cup     Cream or buttermilk
·   Handful of dried fruit.  Raisins are good but I like dried cherries better.  Cranberries would work also.  I think bananas would have to be revived a bit, maybe by soaking for a while in rum or banana liquor

1.            Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl
2.            Heat the oven to 375 degrees
3.            Chop the butter into small pieces but don’t overwork.  Put into a small bowl
4.            Mix in the butter and shortening
5.            Crack the egg into the bowl that held the butter and beat it normally.
6.            Add the cream/buttermilk to the egg and mix
7.            Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir
8.            Add the fruit and combine.
9.            Pour the dough onto a floured surface
10.        Roll the dough to about an inch thick
11.        You can either cut the dough with a biscuit cutter or roll it out into a rectangle and cut that in half and then into triangles.
12.        Spray a banking sheet lightly put the scones on it and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Your going to love it.  One time I cut a few apples up and used them in place of the dried fruit.  I also reduced the buttermilk some and substituted apple butter.  Unfortunately I didn’t measure the changes so I can’t give you the recipe.

Scones – Bacon, cheese, and green onions

If you are like me breakfast is your favorite meal but it comes so early in the day.  I would like to have something good but then I would like to sleep even more.  Maybe one of those breakfast bar things I can grab and eat in the car with a travel cup of coffee.  Maybe not.  I can always to get near work and pick-up something at the local coffee shop.  Well here is a compromise.

Before I share the recipe with you let me say that these can be made days before.  Maybe make a large batch to surprise the family on Saturday morning with enough left over for the week.  Just refrigerate in a plastic storage bag and pull one out on the way to the car on Monday.

These are really pretty easy and cost a lot less than at the coffee shop.  The biggest secrets ared to have the butter frozen and sift the dry ingredients.  The butter will heat in the scone and burst with flavor and the flour wont clump.

Oh, where did I get this recipe?  I don’t really know.  I have tried many variations from the internet and found that they are all about the same.  So I guess this is my version of what you will find almost anywhere.  Just remember that butter trick and yours will taste better than anyone else’s.


·   4 to 6 slices  Bacon
·   1 ½ cup        Sharp cheddar cheese
·   ½ cup           Green Onions
·   ½ tsp            Pepper
·   3 cups           All-purpose flour
·   1 Tbl             Baking powder
·   1 Tbl             Sugar
·   1 ½ tsp         salt
·   1 stick           Frozen butter
·   1 cup            Buttermilk or cream
·   1 cup            Shredded Parmigianino (optional)

1.            Cook the bacon.  When done, drain on a paper towel.
2.            Shred the cheddar cheese and put into a bowl
3.            Cut the green onions up into small pieces and put in the bowl with the cheese.  Some people say to only use the green part but I use the entire thing.  Well, except for the roots and very top. 
4.            Add the pepper to the bowl.
5.            Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.
6.            Take the butter out of the freezer and cut into small pieces.  Not so small that the melt, just small enough to blend with everything.
7.            Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
8.            Mix the butter and the onion bowl with the dry ingredients until you see some lumps.  Don’t over process.  You can use a pastry blender but I use a fork.
9.            Add the bacon to the mixture.
10.        Add the buttermilk/cream and work it in.  You should have a sticky dough and still be able to see chunks of butter.
11.        Throw some flour on a flat surface and pour the dough on to it.  Don’t use too much flour, not even enough to cover, just to influence. 
12.        Form the dough into 2 rectangles about 4 inches wide and 1 inch high.
13.        Cut the rectangles from one point to the opposite point making 4 triangles.  You can also use a muffing/biscuit cutter if you would rather.
14.        Spray a making sheet lightly and put the wedges on it about an inch or half inch apart.
15.        If you would like, shave or sprinkle the Parmigianino over the top of each wedge.
16.        Bake for about 22 minutes or until golden brown.
17.        Let the scones cool on the baking sheet and eat warm or cool.

You can actually make this a bacon and egg scone if you want,  There are several variations for this but I just scramble up two eggs and add them to the batter with everything else, around step #10.