Friday, December 28, 2007

Molasses Sugar Cookies

One more favorite cookie from my husband's childhood. These are some of my very favorites because I really like molasses. I'm not sure of the amount this makes.

3/4 cup shortening; melt over low heat and cool slightly

Add and beat well:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Chill the dough. Form into 1" balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Mann's Cookies

This recipe comes from my mother-in-law. It was a childhood favorite of my husband, so he called and the recipe was given over the phone. We immediately made a batch and they are still a special treat for Dave, because I don't bake often. These cookies are very rich and delicious. I can't remember how many they make, but its a normal sized cookie recipe. 3 dozen?

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sifted flour(?!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix all together, adding oats, nuts, and coconut last. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Cookies will firm up as they cool.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Green Chili, Chicken, and Corn Soup

The other day I got an idea to make this soup. I had made something similar before, but this time I didn’t look up a recipe and just winged it. This is what I did and it came out really tasty. This amount made 6-8 large bowls of soup.

1 roast chicken – pull white meat off both sides of the entire chicken breast and shred with your fingers. Use the rest of the bird for a chicken salad.
2 stalks celery, diced
5 scallions, diced
½ red bell pepper, chopped
15 oz can corn (with juice), or frozen, or fresh corn
15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with juice), or other diced tomato product
7 oz can of mild diced green chilies
2 dashes of Worcestershire
2 Tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup of green or red salsa, or both
2 chicken bullion cubes- or boxed broth
Water to cover over about an inch
Any leftover beans you might have. I threw in half a can of ranch style beans. Black beans would be good, but not too many.

Sauté the celery, onions, and pepper in a little olive oil. Start adding chicken and all other ingredients but the water or broth. Now I add: a palmful (About a large Tablespoon) of cumin, chili powder, dried parsley and oregano. A teaspoon of garlic powder, dash of cayenne, a teaspoon of seasoning salt, black pepper, shot of any Mexican hot sauce, a palmful of dried cilantro, or you could chop fresh, and a few shakes of Mrs. Dash Spicy. You can use any or all of these spices according to your tastes. After all that is simmering well, add your liquid and bring back to a nice simmer. Taste for seasoning. Adjust if needed at this time. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Ladle into bowls for a perfect meal.

We served ours with an onion - faccacia bread. I know; that’s Italian. But it was very good to go along with the slightly spicy soup. Cornbread would also go very well on the side.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Old Fashioned Pear Spice Cake

The perfect cake for a Holiday meal, or any other time of the year. My mother-in-law gave me this recipe and it is wonderful. She lives in Arizona, and is a really good cook. It's a great use of the winter pears we see in the stores now, during December.

1-1/2 cup each sugar and oil
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
4 eggs
3 medium 'firm-ripe' pears
1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts

Combine sugar, oil, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and flour. Beat on med-hi speed with mixer for 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Peel and core pears and cut into 1/2" chunks. Fold pears and nuts into batter. Pour into an ungreased 9"x13" glass baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until a pick in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. (follows) Serves 12.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/4 cup butter
1 3oz package of cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients until smooth. Beat in 2-1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar. Spread on cooled Pear Spice Cake.


My friend Yvonne served us this dish once and I just loved the smooth texture and great base it made for spaghetti sauce, or any other savory sauce. It is really easy and done in the microwave! This amount serves 4-6.

1/4 cup cornmeal, or polenta
1 cup water or chicken stock(vegetable stock would also do)
Mozzarella cheese chunks, 2 string cheese packs, or chunks of Monterey Jack cheese

Place cornmeal and liquid in a medium microwavable bowl. Add chunks of cheese on top. Microwave on high for 8-9 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Cook to desired consistency, and it will thicken as it cools.

Serve scoops covered with a nice marinara sauce, and a side salad for a light meal. Don't forget the wine!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christopher Walken Cooking Chicken with Pears

I found this video on YouTube and thought it was great.

It makes me want to roast a chicken along with some of those winter pears I've seen in the stores. Christopher Walken seems like such a nice guy, and he also has a cat!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Favorite Cranberry Sauce

This one comes from a book called, "Cranberries and..." by Anita L. Almich. She is a local of Bandon, Oregon, the Cranberry Capitol of the Pacific. I've made this recipe for several years at Thanksgiving and I can never get enough. Double the recipe for 2 bags of cranberries. Makes about 6 servings-12 if you double it.

1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon(less is best)
1/8 teaspoon cloves, or nutmeg(less is best)
2 cups (1 bag) fresh cranberries
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all but the cranberries and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cranberries and simmer until the skins pop. I like to smash mine a little so the berries are all collapsed. Add a little water if it gets too thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Granny Vick's Apricot Nectar Cake

This recipe came from my GrannyVick, who lived in Eastern North Carolina all her life. I only saw her a handful of times in my life, because we lived in Northern California. When we visited she would always cook up lemon pies, fried chicken, fried dried apple pies(recipe to come later) and this cake. The food was always good, but different than what I was used to eating at home.
Use a tube, or angel food cake pan.

1 yellow cake mix
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
3/4 cup apricot nectar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix all together (I use a mixer) and pour into a well greased tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove cake from the pan.

For Glaze: Combine 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar

Pour over hot cake. It helps to poke a few tiny holes in the cake so the glaze can soak down into the cake.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Little Meat Loaves

I wrote down this recipe in the '70s and have made it many times. Kids love it because they are individual size meat loaves. You can make them any size, but all should be the same so they will cook uniformly. I made 6 out of the recipe; they took a little longer to cook. This is my first photo blog post, so here goes:

1-1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg
1 cup soft bread crumbs
8 oz. can of tomato sauce ( or half of a 15 oz. can)
1/4 of a large onion, finely chopped
dash of Worcestershire Sauce

Combine all ingredients as for meat loaf, then shape into 8 oval loaves and place in a shallow baking dish.

Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 to 25 minutes. Spoon off excess grease.


8 oz. can of tomato sauce, or other half of 15 oz. can
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons parsely flakes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Combine and pour over cooked meat loaves.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes longer.

Serve with mashed potatoes and fresh brussel sprouts, for instance.

Broccoli Casserole

I've had this recipe since I worked at a Levi's plant in Tennessee. The lady who worked in personnel (that is what they called human resources back in the '70s) made this dish for a potluck at work. It was delicious. I always modify the recipe one way or another....I use fresh, steamed broccoli, I've used various cheeses, you can try different creamed soups, you can add a small can of mushrooms, drained. The recipe makes an 8" x 8" casserole. I usually double it to make more.

1 box Frozen Broccoli Cuts
1 Egg (beaten)
1/2 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
2 teaspoons Chopped Onion
2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
10 crushed Ritz crackers (for topping)

Cook the broccoli until tender. Drain the excess liquid. Mix together all ingredients except crackers, and a small amount of cheese to garnish the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.

Tennessee Corn Dish

I found this dish on a few years ago. It is a recipe from Dolly Pardon's family. It is really tasty and an easy side dish to make a little ahead. Using fresh corn is best, but it works to use canned tiny niblets size corn. The recipe makes 8 servings. It's also easy to increase the recipe for a larger group.

3 eggs
2 cups whole kernel corn, fresh
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup fine saltine crumbs for topping

Beat the eggs. Combine with corn, butter, milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour into a buttered 8" x 8" pan; sprinkle the top with bell pepper and cracker crumbs. Dot with butter. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Why I Love Food & The Foodie Blogroll

Some of my earliest memories are of food. I remember a lovely 2-layer homemade chocolate cake that my mother made for my 4th birthday. It had circus animals on the top. For my 5th birthday I was asked to decide my favorite meal, and mother would make it for me. Since beef steak was a rare treat in our home, I asked for Sirloin steak, mashed potatoes, and frozen peas. I was very specific. She made it and I still remember the meal, many eons ago.

My dad was born in North Carolina, and we lived in Northern California. So every 4 or 5 years while I was growing up, we would take a car trip across the US. I can still remember a small town in the Midwest, where I ordered a chicken fried steak. Out came a steak the size of the dinner plate, crispy chicken fried and pounded nice and thin. It was draped over mashed potatoes and smothered with home-made gravy. I was in heaven, and had never tasted anything so wonderful. Again, the memory is still very fresh.

I come by the love of food naturally. My mother can still recite what she ordered to eat in each town as we traveled across country, and can remember which trip and what year it was. We talk food a lot when we call each other on the phone.

I didn’t cook much growing up, since mother was a great cook in a small kitchen. She preferred to just get the meal on the table…..

I got married, and my mother-in-law was from Arkansas. From her I got some really great recipes that I was not familiar with growing up. Eventually there was another marriage, this time my mother-in-law was in Tennessee. I watched her cook many batches of biscuits, made from scratch in a big tub, mixing gently with her fingers. I learned to cook various East Tennessee staples and local delicacies. I still cook with this kind of style…’s very ‘country’. (not like Britney Spears)

I’m yet on my final marriage, and my mother-in-law is in Arizona. I don’t see her much, but on the Holidays I watch and help her make gravy and all the traditional fare. Through my husband I have learned to make lots of spicy Mexican dishes which are some of our favorites.

This is why I have decided to feed my passion, as well as others like me. The recipes speak for themselves, and may eventually have a few photos to go along. I keep forgetting to take a picture until after we have delved into the meal……..oops.

I have discovered many new food and cooking related websites lately, which are fascinating and entertaining. I have joined the Foodie Blogroll which is a feature of The Leftover Queen website. It is a fun, humorous, and motivating website about food. Joining the Foodie Blogroll is free, and there is lots of linky love happening if you do. There are hundreds of food related blogs to check out too. I know it will keep me busy, and Biker Chickz Recipes is on the list.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Machaca Beef

I've been making this recipe for years and it always comes out tasting good. It is made in the slow cooker and takes 10-12 hours on low. The meat is good to fill burritos, tacos, chalupas, quesadillas, for chili, on a baked potato, or anything else you can think of. Makes 10-12 servings

1-1/2 lbs. beef roast (chuck or round)
1 large onion, sliced
4 oz. can diced green chilis
2 beef bouillon cubes
1-1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup salsa

Combine all ingredients except salsa in a slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover. Cover the cooker and cook on low 10-12 hours, or until beef is tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
Shred the beef using 2 forks to pull it apart. It should come apart easily. Combine beef, salsa, and enough of the reserved liquid to make of desired consistency.

I sometimes use the excess liquid in my next pot of soup or chili. It adds a lot of flavor.