31 October 2009

Happy Halloween!

After the kids carve the pumpkins...

(Left 4 Dead and Jack Skellington)

give the pumpkin guts to your chickens...

or your dog!

Have a safe and happy Halloween night!

29 October 2009

Recipe Cards

It has always bothered me that anyone who read my recipes and wanted to make them would have to write down the recipes or copy and paste them onto a Word Pad. So, from now on I will be adding recipe cards to all of my posts! You can print the recipe cards and get the recipe on one page (in most cases) without pictures. I will also slowly work my way through adding cards to recipes that have already been posted.

If you like the new recipe cards, let me know! If you hate them, well, let me know about that, too! I love hearing from my readers.

Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy

Out of budgetary necessity and owing to my marriage to the King of Carnivores, my family eats a whole lot of red meat. I try to keep it to only a couple of times a week, but it's so darn cheap that sometimes we eat it more often than that. I know-- the health issues, but I only buy the leanest of cuts and buy hormone-free. And it's still cheaper than chicken or fish. Anyway, this recipe for Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy is absolutely delicious. It's not fancy and the photos of it won't end up on foodgawker.com, but it's cheap, easy, and completely satisfying. One of my favorite dishes and there is never any leftovers.

You will need:

1.5 pounds lean ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1T oil
1 or 2 onions, sliced (I ended up only using one large onion)
for the gravy :

2T flour
1.5 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp seasoned salt

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce.

Form into 8-10 balls and flatten into patties.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (I used electric) over medium heat. Add the onions and patties. My electric skillet is kind of small, so I was only able to fit 7 of my 9 patties in at one time.

Cook for 4 minutes on each side.

Now remove just the patties from the skillet and place them on a plate under foil to keep warm.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and use a fork or whisk to stir it around. You want to get up all those tasty bits that are on the bottom of the pan.

Now add the beef broth and seasoned salt. (Go easy on the salt at first. You many need to add more, but better to add than have it be too salty.)

Simmer and stir over medium-low heat until the gravy thickens. About 2 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and return the patties to the gravy.

Cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes. About halfway through the time I turn over the patties, but you can omit that step if you like.

I'm not much of a red meat fan, but I loooove this dish! So tasty. It is also a nice break from meatloaf and hamburgers. I have not tried this recipe with ground turkey, but I bet it would be fabulous. The addition of green pepper and even broccoli (that's for you jellybeans) would also be delicious. And the gravy is killer on mashed potatoes.


My recipe card:

Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy

See Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy on Key Ingredient.

27 October 2009

Apple Cider Upside Down Cake

Usually I try to get in a few nutrition points when I bake, like switching out the white flour with wheat, sneaking in some wheat germ, or replacing oil with applesauce. Not this time, sorry. Unless you count the apples as healthy...but I don't think you can when they are drenched in butter and brown sugar. Oh, how you will love this recipe anyway. When I made my apple cider donuts I declared them the best thing I have ever baked. I take it back. I now think this cake is the best thing I have ever baked. (The kids cast their vote for the donuts, which is good because I used whole wheat in that recipe.) Please make this immediately and do NOT think about the extra minutes on the treadmill the next morning. Just relax and rejoice in the decadent deliciousness of this cake.

You will need:

2T plus 2 tsp butter (don't worry, it all works out without measuring)
1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1 medium apple
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (or white)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup cider
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut the stick of butter so that you have 1/3 cup. That will leave you with 2T plus 2 tsp. See, no measuring!

Melt 2T plus 2 tsp butter in a 9-inch cake pan. I just did it in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power.

Now sprinkle the 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the top of the butter.

Peel and slice the apple. I did thin, but not too thin slices. I wanted them to cook through, but not disintegrate. (About apple choice: I used Fuji. Granny Smith would be too juicy for this recipe and you may end up with a cake that won't bake. Gala would be another good choice.) Then layer the slices on top of the sugar/butter. I barely overlapped the apples.

Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Mix together and then add the butter, cider, vanilla, and egg.

Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Pour over the top of the apples/sugar/butter in the cake pan. No need to grease the sides at all.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. My cake needed the full 40, but I checked it after 35. Make sure a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let it cool for no more than 5 minutes and then invert the cake onto a serving plate or platter. Run a knife along the edges of the cake to loosen them. I put the plate on top of the cake pan and then flipped the whole thing over. (I was careful to use oven mitts on my hands so no caramelized sugar could drip out and burn me. Good thing I did because one of my oven mitts is covered in sugar.) It should pop out with ease.

Then dive in! This cake is best when still warm. We ate it without letting it cool at all.

The cake part is seriously good enough to eat alone with no apple/sugar/butter topping. The cinnamon couples with the apple cider flavor to knock you out of your socks!

Very moist, not at all heavy. Perfection.


(*note: don't forget to soak your pan after the cake is gone (and it will go FAST). The sugar and butter makes a caramel and you don't want that drying on your cake pan.)

My recipe card:

Apple Cider Upside Down Cake

See Apple Cider Upside Down Cake on Key Ingredient.

25 October 2009

Baked Whole Wheat Apple Cider Doughnuts

Changing leaves, pumpkins on porches, and hot apple cider. Is it any wonder that autumn is my favorite time of year? Now that the weather has cooled off I can get back into my routine of sleeping in on Sundays and then baking something more exciting than cinnamon rolls. During the summer there is just no way I can justify turning on the oven and heating up the whole house, but in the fall...it is on! I wake up on Sundays to the sound of Bubba mowing the lawn and I entice him back into the house with the smell of cinnamon. French toast, bread pudding, muffins, baked donuts, scones, whatever I choose he walks into the house with a huge smile on his face.

I adapted this recipe from a blogger in London. I used white whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour and I baked the donuts in mini bundt pans. (Dear Santa, I need a donut pan. I have been a very good girl this year. Love, Sunshine Mom)

You will need:

mini bundt pans or a donut pan (muffin pans will work in a pinch)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped apple
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (the real stuff!)
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
3T oil
cinnamon sugar

I keep my cinnamon sugar ready to go at a moment's notice. You never know when the urge to have a piece of whole wheat cinnamon toast will hit you. Also good for jazzing up the kids' natural applesauce in their lunches.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside.

Now for the apple. I used Fuji, but most any apple will do. Granny Smith would be fantastic. I would not recommend using Red Delicious as they can be kind of mealy. It does not matter at all if the apple turns brown, so don't sweat it. Peel...

then chop in medium size pieces.

Use a mini chopper or food processor to finely chop or even puree the apple. I like little bits of apple in the donuts, so I don't puree. I used a large apple so I ended up only using about 3/4 of it. Tink and I split the remaining pieces. (If you absolutely had to you could substitute applesauce, but try to get some of the excess moisture out of it first.)

In a large mixer bowl(I used my KitchenAid with the whisk attachment), whisk together the egg, brown sugar, apple, maple syrup, cider, yogurt, and oil. (*note: do not substitute butter for the oil. Using butter will cause the batter to create gluten and you will end up with a cakey donut. Oil keeps the donuts tender and airy like a fried donut.)

Switch to the paddle attachment or a large spoon and add half of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Then add the rest of the dry. Don't overmix!

Grease whatever pan you are using. I just used pan spray. Then coat with cinnamon sugar.

Spoon the donut dough into your selected pan. If you are using a mini bundt, be careful not to overfill. I filled my less than half full and made sure not to cover the middle separation so that I would get a real donut shape.

Bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes. My mini bundts needed the full 15 minutes. While they are baking, ready a small bowl with cinnamon sugar. (If you don't want to coat them in anything once they are baked, then omit the next few steps. You could also use icing like the original poster did.)

When they are done baking, loosen the edges with a knife and then turn out into your bowl of cinnamon sugar.

Completely coat all sides.

I do not miss the greasy fried donut when I eat these! And they are every bit as tender and light and even more flavorful. There is also a lot less guilt when you think about the yogurt and whole wheat. So eat two! I did...

Pour some apple cider into a champagne flute and treat yourself!


my recipe card:

Baked Whole Wheat Apple Cider Doughnuts

See Baked Whole Wheat Apple Cider Doughnuts on Key Ingredient.

22 October 2009

Vegetable Soup

The air conditioning is off, the windows are open, and for two days we walked around in sweatshirts and jeans. It's warmed back up into the 70's now, but for those two days nothing sounded better than a big pot of soup. I absolutely love this recipe for vegetable soup. (Thanks, Mom!) It shames that condensed junk in a can and (the best part for me) doesn't kick up my tomato allergy. Plus there is cabbage in it and I loooove cabbage!

Because of my allergy I don't add chopped tomatoes and use tomato sauce instead of paste. Something about how long the sauce is cooked makes it safe for me to eat. Feel free to add a big can of tomatoes or a few chopped fresh!

You will need:

2 pounds super trim beef for stew (optional)
one packet Lipton onion soup
5 cups water
2 small cans tomato sauce
2 chopped potatoes (medium to small size)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 medium chopped onions
6 beef bullion cubes
1/2 tsp celery salt
2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans green beans (with juice)
2 bay leaves
1 cup okra
1 can corn (with juice)
1 small head of cabbage, chopped

This recipe is great without meat, but if you want to add meat:

Add 2 pounds stew meat to crock pot and sprinkle Lipton soup on top.

Add enough water to cover (about 5 cups).

Cook on high for five hours or low for eight. Then transfer meat to a large pot on the stove. (If you don't use meat just add the Lipton to the 5 cups of water in a large pot on the stove. Bring to a boil.)

Gather your other ingredients.

Onions should be in the next picture. They hide in a different drawer from the rest of the veggies and I always forget to take them out until I am ready to chop them up.

Chop up carrots, potatoes, and celery.

Add to the pot along with the tomato sauce. (Do not add okra, corn, or cabbage yet.)

Then the bullion cubes...

and the green beans. Do not drain the beans.

Toss in the bay leaves, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for at least 3 hours. Stir every now and again. The longer you cook the better, as long as you aren't boiling the soup the whole time. You don't want the veggies to turn to mush.

One hour before you are ready to serve the soup, add the okra, corn,

and cabbage.

Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for a full hour.

Now you are ready to feast!

This soup is even better the next day and will keep for four days in the fridge. If you want to freeze it, pour into a freezer bag, seal, and lay the bag flat in the freezer. The soup freezes quickly that way and is easy to store. It will keep for a good six months that way.

*note: With the addition of the Worcestershire sauce, bullion, and canned veggies I do not add extra salt. Taste, taste, taste before adding any salt. If the idea of the sodium in bullion worries you, then add reduced or no-sodium canned veggies. But remember that fresh veggies (especially potatoes and tomatoes) soak up a lot of salt. You don't want bland vegetable soup.