Sunday, January 24, 2010

Combing Through the Past

This past weekend my Aunt and I started combing through my Nana's home. My grandmother is no longer able to live on her own and so we are in the process of getting her house ready to sell. In the process of doing this, I have found some old cookbookd from the 50s-the 70s. My Nana was an amazing cook. she was a depression baby, so, everything she made was really simple but delicious. I wish I as able to learn more from her, see more of her recipes. Ironically, my Nana was meticulous about documenting everything. All her cards, gifts, books, ect.. have the date they were received and from whom she received them. Yet, she did not document many of her own personal recipes. Alzheimers has wreached havoc on her memory, so, I am left combing through these old cookbooks searching for her handwritten notes. I will say it is interesting how many jello molds or salads include marshellows and nuts and how many casseroles incluse meat, cream soup and veggies!

Here are a few I have found:

Dixies (similar to a Blondie)
5c brown sugar
6 oz melted butter
5 eggs
1 1/2 t salt
5 c flour
2 1/2 c chopped pecans
2 1/2 t Vanilla
1 1/2 t baking powder

Mix butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Sift in Salt and flour. Add vanilla and pecans. Grease and flour pan, bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
**This makes a HUGE serving, but they were my uncles favorite and served a family of 7 with leftovers!

Green Salad ( a family favorite served at every holiday meal)
1 small container cottage cheese (small curd)
1 pkg lime jello
1 pkg lemon jello
2 c hot water
1 c half and half
1 c mayo
1 small can pinapple bits
Combine jellos and 2 cups hot water (or drain pineapple juice into measure cup then fill with hot water to 2 cups). Pour into bowl and allow to start to set up. You want a soft set, if you allow to set up to long it will have chunks of jello...not desired!
Once set, mix in remaining ingredients and refridge for a few hous or over night.

Sprinkle Salad
1 c coconut
1 c pineapple
1 c mandarin oranges
1 c marshmellows
1 c sourcream
1 c fruit coctail *optional
Combine and serve. Similar to an ambrosia.

Peanut Blossoms
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2c firmly packed brown sugar
1 t soda
1/2 c shortening
3/4+ c peanut butter
1 egg
2T milk
1 t vanilla
48 Hershey's kisses
Combine everything in a bown except kisses. Blend and shape into balls. Roll in a bit of extra sugar. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and top immediately will kisses.

Apricot Bars
1 1/2 flour
1 t baking powder
1 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c quick oats
3/4 c butter
1 c apricot jam

Mix flour, Baking powder, sugar and oats. Cut butter in until crumbly. Pat 2/3 of mixture into a 13x9 pan. Spread with jam. Cover with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool and cut.

 3/4 c pearl tapioca
3 1/2 c milk
2 eggs
1/3 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
 Soak in crockpot overnight. In the morning turn pot on low and cook for about 3 1/2 hrs. Stir occassionally. Add lightly beaten eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Cook 15 minutes then turn off and serve.

Chocolate Cherry Bars
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 cherry pie filling
2 eggs
1 t almond extract
Mix just until blended. Spread into a cookie sheet  and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool.
Frosting:Combine 1 1/2c sugar, 6 T milk, 6T butter. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Take off heat and add another 1/2c milk and 1 c chocolate chips. Mix until melted and then spread over chocolate cherry bars.

Jello cake
1 pkg jello (dissolved in 1 c hot water)
1 pkg cake mix
3/4c  oil
4 eggs
Let jello sit until it starts to set. Then in a seperate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Beat in well, and jello and mix again. Makes large layer cakes. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minues.

Molasses Cake
1 c sugar
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs
2 T molasses
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 c buttermilk
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
Combine all ingredients and pour in a loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

Caramel Custard
1/2 c sugar
3 T boiling water
 2 c milk
3 eggs
1/2 t vanilla
Melt sugar in the pa until clear and golden brown. Add water and cook until sugar is dissolved. Add milk, vanilla and slightly beaten eggs then pour into custard cups. Set in a pan of water and bake at 325 degree for 45 minutes.

Mocha Custard
2 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c cream
1/4 t vanilla
1 1/2 c strong coffee
Beat yolks slightly. Add sugar, coffee, cream, and vanilla. Pour into baking dish and set dish in a water bath. Bake at 325 degrees until firm (about 40-45 minutes).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken and Gravy Dinner with Homemade Noodles

This is an awesome recipe. I made a huge helping of it! I took some over to my in-laws, some to a sick friend and still had enough for dinner AND a freezer meal! This is a great simple freezer meal. You do not have to go through all the effort to make the homemade noodles, but it is def. worth the extra work. If you do not make the fresh pasta and decide to freeze...I would recommend freeze without pasta. Make fresh before serving.

Easy Veggie Beef and Barley Soup

This was a really hearty soup. The great thing about this soup is you can use any cut of beef. I would recommend browning the beef first to keep the meat juicy and then cook until tender. I had enough left to freeze for another day! Great meal for a cool night!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Easy Italian Skillet

This is a super simple recipe. It calls for Hamburger meat, but you can use any kind you would like. I decided to make spicy sausage meatballs this time. I used spicy sausage and mixed with breadcrumbs and an egg. I also used Rigatoni. That seems to be the only pasta Ante will eat. (I used some of the left over Ricotta to make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes the next morning!)

Here is my recipe card: (You can click on the card for a full view)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January's Menu

I love meal planning and I do it virtually every week. On the weeks where I don't have a concrete menu or during the holidays, I feel completed disorganized and struggle with menu ideas from night to night. I also tend to go to the store and buy a bunch of stuff...which ends up costing more than when I do a prescribed menu.

The other complication I find with weekly menu planning is time. Sunday should be a nice relaxed day, the perfect day for menu planning..right!?! By the time everyone get's up...namely my late rising husband -Sunday is his sleep in day...and I make a big, yummy breakfast, it is usually 11 or so. By this time Ante is ready for some real entertainment... playing by himself is no longer cutting it! So, this is usually when we take a walk up to the newspaper box. That's the easy part...then the charade usually begins.

When we get back, my husband gets ready while I try to quickly finish up the menu for the week, clip the coupons and match them to the sale items at the store. This usally takes me about an hour...between looking up new recipes, getting a list together, looking up ads and combing through coupons...the time can quickly get away from me! Oh, and I still have to get myself and the baby ready!

Now, don't think I do not enjoy doing this because I do probably too much. When mu hubbie sees me on the computer he always chuckles and asks...are you working or looking at food porn again! I can get consumed and before I know it the day can easily slip by...and I still have to get to the store...before naptime. You think we would have learned by now that taking a hungry, cranky 1 yo to the grocery store is not a good plan!

So, long story short, I decided to try a monthly plan. Now, I know this is adventurous for several reasons. 1. I am on vacation from work right now, so, I had plenty of time to work on it THIS month. 2. My weekly plan is pretty fluid, so it will be interetsing to see how fluid a month is, but it can't hurt...are ya with me! 3. I usually plan my meals based on the sales, so, a monthly plan might impede on that. Yet, I also think by having a monthly plan I can stock up on things as they go on sale. I am not limited to buying only this weeks necessities. I like being able to plan ahead although my weekly budget will not change. I stay firm on spending between $60-80 a week depending on what needs stocking.

Drum roll please...

***I will add some of the recipes from this meal plan as we go through the month, but I can't promise anything!