Friday, February 10, 2012

Hello Everyone.........  Unfortunately, my blog wasn't able to keep up with my demand..............  Please check out the new blog......... It is full of some of the same and even more recipes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Braided Bread "It's semi homemade"

With all the cooking and baking that I do, you would think that I've made bread!  No, I have never made bread, but someday I will try it. I think I have a fear of the Yeast!   For now, this recipe works perfectly for my family.   It's so so easy, budget conscious, makes your kitchen smell fabulous and tastes great with almost any thing!

1 Tablespoon olive oil or oil of your choice
1 loaf white or wheat frozen bread dough
Sesame Seeds or dried herbs of your choice (Optional)

Rub the oil on the frozen bread and a cookie sheet.  Place the bread on the  cookie sheet on your kitchen counter.  Cover with a kitchen towel and forget about it for about 2 hours. After 2 hours, go back and cut the bread into 3 somewhat even strips. Be careful with the knife.  The dough will be partially frozen and partially thawed.  Braid the strips and tuck the ends under the bread. Top with the seeds or herbs (or not).  It is perfectly good without topping with anything!   Wait about another half hour. Slightly pull the bread dough on both ends, to elongate your bread.  Bake in a preheated 360 degree oven for about 30 to 40 minutes.  Everyone that has eaten at my kitchen table just loves this bread.  Who knew, it is semi homemade! Because of the braids, you can pull apart pieces of the bread.  No knife necessary.  That makes it even more fun!

Easy Clam Chowder and Meager Meals!

This recipe is for Lucas "Luke the Boy".  With the exception of maybe chicken soup, this is without a doubt Lucas' favorite soup.  During Lent, Concord Presbyterian Church in conjunction with Rehoboth Lutheran Church, here in Economy Borough, PA used to do a "Meager Meal" of Soup and Bread right after the Wednesday Service.  One week, the Rehoboth gang made the soups and hosted the meal in their kitchen.  The next week, the Concord Gang hosted the meal in their kitchen. There were always 4 or 5 different soups to sample and various breads. "Yummy" There was nothing Meager about this meal! There was a "bit" of competition among the two churches and that made it all the more fun! Every time, I was on soup duty, I made "Easy Clam Chowder".  The recipe below serves 4, so you gotta know that I made 3 or 4 times as much for the "Meager Meal" Celebration of soup and Bread!  

1 extra thick slice of bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped carrot
3 or 4 medium potatoes peeled and cut into bite size chunks
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half or Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 small cans of clams and clam juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
salt and pepper to taste (you will not need much or any salt)

In a large dutch oven, fry the bacon in the olive oil to a crisp.  Remove bacon and cool.  In the bacon drippings and olive oil, add the onion, celery carrots and potatoes.  Brown the vegetables (Stir often) Add the milk and half and half.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes  (Stir often to avoid scorching)  Ladle out about 2 cups of liquid and cool.  Add the flour to the cooled liquid and return to the soup.  Add Parmesan cheese and clams with juice.  Stir again and sprinkle with the parsley and serve.  This is a comfort food!

Serve with Braided Bread (see next blog post for Braided Bread)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nanny's No Bakes

Well, these are the absolute best cookies.  They are easily prepared, they are fast and are gone even faster!   I had a recipe I used a few times, but your Nanny's recipe is the best.  Only the best for my kids!  So hats off to Lynn Knechtel "Nanny's" No Bakes!

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup chopped nuts (Optional)

In very large sauce pan, melt butter, add sugar, cocoa, evaporated milk, salt and vanilla.  Bring to a rolling boil for a minute.  Turn off the heat and immediately add peanut butter and oats.  Mix quickly and spoon large tablespoons of batter onto waxed paper.  Enjoy!

If you want to kick this up a notch, replace the vanilla with Almond Extract and then top each cookie (while still warm) with 1/2 of a maraschino cherry!.............

Zucchini Fudge Cake

Ok, I'm on a zucchini roll here.  My friend Sue at the Nolfi Agency shared this recipe with me about 20 years ago!   I make this at least once a year.  Once,  I took it on a camping trip with friends and all of our kids.  I sat the cake on the picnic table.  No one told  the kids there was zucchini in this recipe.  When the adults came back from boating, over 1/2 of the cake was gone.  The sons and their friends ate 1/2 of cake.  They loved it and didn't realize it was full of zucchini! If you peel the zucchini, kids will eat it.......  I however, think it looks really cool with the green specks! This is a massive cake and don't forget the topping below.  Serves at least 16!

1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour milk  (use 1 teaspoon vinegar to do that job)
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated zucchini (Peeled or not)

Cream butter, sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs and sour milk.  In a separate bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt.  Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients.  Mix in Zucchini. Pour the batter into a 9 x 13 or larger casserole dish.  Spoon the topping on top of the cake. 

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 or more cups chopped nuts
1 cup or more (I prefer more, like 2 cups) chocolate chips. 

Mix the sugar, nuts and chips together and spoon on top of the cake.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for approximately 40 to 50 minutes.


Zucchini Nut Bread

I've used this recipe over and over again.  It is especially great in the summer, when zucchini is plentiful.  Sometimes those zucchini just get a little too big.  This is a perfect way to use those zucchini.  During the harvest season, I have also shredded and froze the zucchini in individual 1 1/2 cup bags of zucchini.  The recipe only calls for 1 cup of zucchini, but if you are using frozen zucchini, you will need to drained extremely well.  After the frozen zucchini is drained, you will have about 1 cup, just the perfect size for a zucchini bread!

1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg (or pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup shredded and drained zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Sift together all dry ingredients.   In a separate larger bowl, mix sugar, eggs, oil and lemon juice.  Add the dry ingredients.  Mix in the zucchini and then mix in the walnuts. 

Grease and Flour 3 miniature loaf pans.  Spoon 1/3 of mixture into each of the pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Insert a tooth pick to insure the loaves are not under cooked, but not too dry. There will be a bit of carry over baking here.  Rest the baked loaves about 5 minutes in their pans and then turn over and cook completely.  Serve 1 of the loaves immediately and freeze the other two for later use..............  So very Tasty! 


 I learned a new word today.  Locovors is the concept of buying food from Local Farmers instead of the local grocery store.  While doing some research for my blog, I've been trying to watch TV Shows about Nature, cooking, farming, etc.  Last year, Timmy and I purchased a half of a cow for our freezer.  When we had finished all of our Home Grown beef, we went back to the grocery store to purchase our beef.  The difference is amazing.  Local raised is healthier and certainly tastes much better.  Farmers Markets have grown in leaps and bounds over the years, here in Beaver County and all through out the country!   I really can't wait to start my garden in a couple more months!  I plan to grow many different vegetables this year, things I have never grown before.  I'm excited!