Archive for September, 2011

Recipe: The weekend before Thanksgiving –

|September 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

just a typical weekend before –

 
It's like the calm before the storm.

Hurricane Mama!

This is the weekend before Thanksgiving and there is so much to do. Not just preparing a great meal – but at this time I'm doing curtains and windows so they will be done for the holidays. I am a clean freak – so scrubbing the house is just normally done in this house.

So today I've got the laundry going, so far I've got all the windows done and I've got to iron the last of the curtains and hang them. Just waiting for them to dry a bit more.

With that done – and I've danced around the house with the vacuum, doing all the baseboards and furniture as well, and I've polished the furniture and washed all the knick knacks and lamps. The doors and doorways are done, the cupboards are done. So I have a little time to breathe.

Then scrub the floors – and with that done – I get a break.

I've done all my shopping – so the only thing I'll need to get at the store is milk, lettuce and tomatoes. And believe me – I'll make sure I am the first in and out of the store when I do get them. I really do not like crowds.

With a ton of recipes I'd like to post to Recipes by Ingredient (one of my other blogs) I'd like to be able to collapse in front of my computer and share them all.

and on that note – I think I best get finished so I can play later…………..

Recipe: Bad turkeys

|September 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

This happened a few years back – and I thought it would give you a chuckle –

 

Well – it’s getting closer!

Thanksgiving that is.

In today’s paper there is an ad for Tops Turkeys at Tops Markets. They say 29 cents/pound with a $15.00 purchase.

Not too sure about that one. You see – a few years back they (Tops Markets) had this slam-bang deal on their store brand turkeys. Of course, being a turkey family I purchased 4 Tops brand and 1 Riverside brand; stuffed them in the freezers – one for Christmas and the others for anytime we wanted turkey.

This one particular year – we were going to do something different. Since it was going to be a very quiet day and it was going to be just us – and of course that year they were going to have the stores opened on Turkey Day so that we could get a jump on holiday shopping – we had this “brainstorm” of cooking the turkey the day before Thanksgiving.

So the day before was quite hectic with the baking, roasting the bird, etc. and we used the carcass to make soup/broth so we did that as well. For Thanksgiving we would still have a great meal – but hardly any mess with all the extra pans. So we had visions of having dinner at noon, hitting the stores and SHOPPING!

Pffft. Hell with that idea.

The turkey was bad. And I mean BAD! It had to be tossed. So was the big pan of broth made from it.

OMG! It’s Thanksgiving! NO TURKEY.

Quick – grab one out of the freezer – and freeze our hands off doing the quick thaw in the cold water routine. We worked that sucker for two hours – massaging, wrestling – anything – just to thaw his butt (which got cut off anyway) and cook him up.

So our noon meal consisted of the veggies, salad, bread. At dinnertime we would have turkey and gravy with leftover sweet potatoes and veggies.

NOT! Turkey #2 – in the garbage.

Grab Tops turkey #3 – by 8 PM he was in the oven. By 12:30 in the morning we are tasting another bad turkey. Toss it.

Now it’s tops turkey #4 – he went in the oven at 8 AM the day after Thanksgiving. Then he went in the garbage by 1 PM.

What I should have done was taken all 4 birds, wrapped them up with a bow, found out where the damn store manager lived, gone to his house and force-fed him those turkeys. And then stick the rest where the sun don’t shine.

But instead – I went to Walmart. The day after Thanksgiving with all the loonies that knock down people at 4 in the morning to get their sale items. Me? I was there for a turkey! That’s it. No other shopping – just give me a turkey! After all – food stores don’t open till 6 or 7 AM – and I needed a bird NOW! Walmart is open earlier.

I still had the Riverside turkey from Tops in the freezer – but I was afraid to roast it. Not after the last 4 birds.

So here I am – cart in hand – I run to the grocery department – which of course I had to myself because the loonies went the other way. Grabbed a couple birds and went home.

Two birds in the freezer – one for a quick thaw with the massaging and wrestling all over again. Hacked off his ass and in the oven he went.

Damn good turkey. Made damn good broth/soup. Did I do any shopping? Yeah – for 3 turkeys at Walmart – that was it.

After that – cook the bird on Thanksgiving and stay home. Forget all the hoopla about shopping. It’s not worth it. And most of the time the same items are the sale price anyway. And be careful when the stores offer you such a good deal! There is a method to their madness.

You may wonder about the Riverside turkey I got at Tops the same day I bought the others. I refused to make it for Christmas. I pushed him to one side of the freezer as if he had typhoid and was quarantined. I did end up roasting him on a non-holiday in January. He was good and made a good soup/broth.

So you see – just because Tops has turkeys for 29 cents/pound – I’m not jumping for it. I’d rather pay much more and have a good turkey on the table.

I realize that the more turkeys (or other food items) a chain purchases – the cheaper they get them. And they get to store them in their freezers until they need them. But these birds had to be 2 years old or more. And to think that Tops Markets donates their brand of turkeys to food banks by the truck load. Those poor people who got them. And that was the year they (Tops) showed their big trucks loaded with turkeys going to the food pantries. I should have saved all those turkeys and put it on television for all to see.

Aren’t you glad I shared that one with you? The Thanksgiving I cooked 5 turkeys – 4 for the garbage and 1 for us. I think if I would have had company that year I would have been mortified! Never have I ever had that happen to me in all the decades of cooking turkeys.

Recipe: Veterans’ Day – 2009

|September 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 

 
It's Veteran's Day – the day we honor our country's Veterans.

It's a beautiful day today – and like always, I was up early placing flags on the graves of my family's veterans. All the men, and a few women, in our family were veterans; my grandmother was a Gold Star Mother.

For some reason I'm not much in the mood today for cooking. But I will have a good hot meal on the table for dinner today.

Many times I over cook – as a matter of fact – I am so used to quantity cooking that I sometimes have a hard time making smaller meals. But that is fine – I freeze many things to make it easy for me to have a hot, good, and quick meal when I need one.

One thing I don't believe in, is leaving cooked foods in the freezer for a length of time. I feel the just don't taste the same, so I will rely on what is in the freezer today for dinner.

I've got half a turkey breast, pork chops, steak, roast beef, gravies and sauces that I can pick and choose from. I even have a lasagna in there. I'll just make a pot of mashed potatoes and a veggie to go with whatever meat we choose, and it will look as if I spent hours in the kitchen.

Sometimes, it's just nice to be able to cheat. This is what I called "pre-packaged convenience foods" – not that crappie junk you can buy in the supermarket. I know what is in my homemade convenience foods, I know how it was prepared, and I never have to worry about e coli, salmonella, etc.

If you haven't tried to freeze portions for future meals – you should really try it. While preparing a meal, it doesn't take any extra time to make more. Not only is it a timesaver – but it is a money saver as well.

Just remember, once cooked, refrigerate until COMPLETELY cold, portion and package using either freezer bags, freezer containers, or foil. Wrap tightly, label and date. I don't even keep these foods as long as a month – but they sure do come in handy. And you can do the same thing for your family.

Don't forget – you can easily make your own TV dinners as well. For those that use microwaves (which you all know I am dead-set against!) have it even easier for re-heating.

Never waste – create!

Also – say a prayer for our troops throughout the world – May God bless them and keep them safe.

Recipe: an incorrectly published pie recipe

|September 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I am posting this once again – for those that may be recipe hoarders and never really take the time to read the recipe through until it is time to make it –

 

Okay – it's Sunday morning and we all look forward to enjoying the Sunday paper, reading ads, looking at sale papers and at this time of the year, we check out the recipes that are including in the coupon sections that they hand out with the paper.

Of course I am drawn to the recipes –

sure as shootin'

take a look at this recipe:

Pumpkin Apple Pie

Yield:
8 servings Prep Time:
10 minutes Bake Time:
50-55 minutes Chill Time:
2 hours

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon Karo® Corn Syrup OR Karo® Lite Syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 can (5 fluid ounces) evaporated milk

1 can (21 ounces) Comstock® or Wilderness® Apple Pie Filling

1 (9-inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust

MIX sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Add egg and beat slightly. Add syrup, pumpkin and evaporated milk; blend well.

SPREAD apple pie filling in pie crust. Gently pour pumpkin filling over the apples.

BAKE in a 425°F preheated oven for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in pie center comes out clean.

CHILL a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

WHHHAAATTTTTT???

Am I THAT old that I don't understand this recipe?

Or do they need to find an editor that is not blind and knows something about baking pies?

Or is it me?

Did you read this recipe? Please take a look –

What am I looking at?

1/4 TEASPOON Karo syrup

????????????

If their Classic Pumpkin Pie has 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup Karo syrup in the ingredient list, why is this 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 TEASPOON Karo syrup – shouldn't it read 1/4 CUP???

To me – that cannot be right. So I called their customer service, which of course is closed today and I cannot call again until tomorrow – 9 to 4 Central time.

I honestly can't wait to hear their response on this one!

Do you realize – if this is incorrect – how many will follow that recipe because it is a Brand Name recipe and those that write them are supposed to put out correct recipes? Not only was it in the coupon section printed that way, but it is also on their site.

I know I am old(er), and I know I've been 'round the kitchen a few times (better than being 'round the block a few times!) but in all my years of baking – I have NEVER seen 1/4 TEASPOON of Karo in a pie recipe! Why use it to begin with at that measurement!!!!

Maybe it's me – but I will know tomorrow and I will edit this post and let you know what they say…………..

 

UPDATE –

I just got off the phone with customer service (they really appreciate me calling – NOT!) – the recipe was incorrectly printed in the paper and on their site. The customer service rep (what a way to start her day – with me – and thousands of other calls for the same reason) assured me that it WAS corrected on the site – as of our conversation – it wasn't – and I told her that it needed to be changed (she insisted it WAS corrected – until she checked and saw it for herself – but she was told they changed it). (Their proof-reader needs glasses!)

This is the correct recipe – and I was right – 1/4 cup not 1/4 teaspoon Karo syrup:

Pumpkin Apple Pie

Yield:
8 servings Prep Time:
10 minutes Bake Time:
50-55 minutes Chill Time:
2 hours

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1/4 cup Karo® Corn Syrup OR Karo® Lite Syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 can (5 fluid ounces) evaporated milk

1 can (21 ounces) Comstock® or Wilderness® Apple Pie Filling

1 (9-inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust

MIX sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Add egg and beat slightly. Add syrup, pumpkin and evaporated milk; blend well.

SPREAD apple pie filling in pie crust. Gently pour pumpkin filling over the apples.

BAKE in a 425°F preheated oven for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in pie center comes out clean.

CHILL a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

So the recipe is supposed to be corrected on their site – and for those that are going to follow the recipe from the newspaper – oh well – Karo is not reprinting it for them.

Recipe: Poultry Seasoning

|September 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Today I will be making chicken thighs for dinner – nothing fancy – just skillet fried chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and buttered corn.

After washing and patting dry, I place in a heavy skillet (you know the routine – heat the skillet, add a little olive oil to heat, then add chicken and fresh garlic cloves; season with a little salt and parsley and some poultry seasoning – which is running low in the pantry – time to make more.

I have several different recipes for poultry seasoning that I use – here is one of them:

Poultry Seasoning

1/4 cup Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon dried celery flakes**
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil

Combine; store air tight. Makes about 1/2 cup.

**Dry your own – so much cheaper – and it's hard to find dried celery leaves these days in the stores! Wash celery leaves and place on paper towels until completely dry; transfer to dehydrator or place on baking pan in 190* F. oven until dry. Remove to paper towels to cool completely before transferring to jar. Store airtight in pantry.

Recipe: Okay – back to the pantry – Making Brown Sugar!

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

As you read my recipes you find ** after the ingredients noting that you can save money and make this item yourself or when in a pinch and you've run out or if it is something you only use on occasion and wish not to purchase to waste the rest of it – which is very understandable with the price of everything today!

So it's time to get busy and make some of your own brown sugar.


There is really no effort involved – it's so easy.

 

Place 1 cup of granulated sugar into a bowl.

Measure in 1 tablespoon molasses.

Work the molasses into the sugar using a fork until thoroughly incorporated.


For making light brown sugar – use light molasses and
for making dark brown sugar – use dark molasses.  Don't want to buy dark brown molasses?  Add more light molasses to make dark brown sugar.


Make as much as you need – no waste for those that use it rarely.

Recipe: Creamed Spinach

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I've gotten some emails on this as to why I don't add some nutmeg to this recipe – and to be honest with you – I wouldn't.  I prefer my nutmeg (sparingly) in my baked goods – that is how we like it and that is how I do it.

If you want to add nutmeg – be my guest – many would like it – but it would never go over in my house.

Creamed Spinach

 
3 lbs. fresh spinach
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon grated onion
2 cups chicken stock or milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
hard-cooked eggs for garnish – optional

I am a fresh spinach person – and I do not believe in the pre-washed spinach in a bag. As a matter of fact – I refuse to buy any of those Dole salads in a bag because it boggles my mind and I can just imagine what they do to them.

Even these fast food places use these mixes – AND THEY TASTE TERRIBLE!

Think about it – you would purchase a head of iceberg lettuce and bring it home from the market, wash and use some for salad; the remaining went into the refrigerator. And if you didn't use it within the week it turned funny and it would start to get that stale taste.

Along comes Dole (and others) selling pre-packaged and ready-to-eat salad mixes. They are sitting on the produce shelves for how long???? With an expiration date of next month or so????? Sorry – we ingest enough additives, preservatives, and unwanted chemicals now as it is. I buy FRESH – and if it doesn't last for 4 to 6 weeks (which I would not expect it to) then it's my loss. I am much too fussy on what I buy, cook, serve and eat for this junk.

Wash spinach several times in cold water to remove all sand; cut off and discard any tough stems. Place spinach in pot with only water that clings to the leaves; cover. Cook until spinach is wilted, then drain well and chop very fine.

Heat butter in skillet. Add flour and onion and cook, stirring, until brown. Gradually add stock, stirring constantly until thickened and smooth.

Add spinach, salt and pepper to taste; simmer for several minutes. Garnish with chopped or sliced egg hard-cooked eggs, if desired.

 

Recipe: E-Z Gravy

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I don't believe in eating "dry" –

Adding gravy to an entree always makes it seem like a very special dish.

I cannot believe how many have trouble making gravies when it is so easy to do.

This recipe doesn't even call for pan drippings!

Make an easy and quick gravy: 2 bouillon cubes (or 2 t. instant bouillon) dissolved in 2 cups boiling water (or 3 and 3 or 4 and 4, etc. depending on how much gravy you want); bring to boil; dissolve your thickener (flour, cornstarch) in cold water and add slowly to boiling broth, stirring (using w wire whisk works great) until thickened. If desired, add browning sauce**.

*Stir your flour and cold water so that it is lump-free before adding.

**For thicker gravy you can add a bit of mashed potato flakes.

Recipe: Back to the pantry!

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Still checking out the pantry for the upcoming months!

Brownies are always good and I can't think of one person who does not enjoy them.

This is a mix, remember to label and date – store airtight in your pantry.

BROWNIE MIX

6 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder**
4 teaspoons salt
8 cups sugar
1 can (8 ounces) baking cocoa (use a good quality chocolate)
2 cups vegetable shortening

In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. With a pastry blender,
cut in shortening until evenly distributed. Store in a large airtight
container in cupboard. Keeps 10-12 weeks. Yield: about 17 cups of mix.

When it's time to make brownies:

2 1/2 cups brownie mix
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract**
1/2 cup chopped nuts optional
Confectioners' sugar, optional**

In a mixing bowl, combine first four ingredients. Beat with spoon until
smooth. Spread into a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350'F for
20-25 minutes or until top tests done. cut into squares while still
warm. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Yield: 9 brownies.

You can easily make mini-muffins or use as a base for a large brownie cookie by spreading thin in a pizza tin. The aluminum pizza tins are nice to use. Adjust cooking time.

Recipe: Now we’re talkin’………………

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I want to thank those that have e-mailed me with questions –

don't be afraid to ask a question; there is no such thing as a stupid question –

Q: "how can I stop chocolate chips, raisins, etc. from ending up in the bottom of my cakes when I bake them?"

A: Certain ingredients, such as chocolate chips, dried fruits, and even nuts will "sink" to the bottom of your batter. If you were to coat these ingredients with a bit of flour, tossing well, (please remember to leave excess flour behind – you don't need to add it!) before stirring into your batter you will have better results. The flour will absorb some of the surface oils/water that these ingredients emit during the baking process and will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Q: "I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it was lumpy – what did I do wrong?"

A: First of all – you all know that I do not believe in microwaves. I don't trust them for anything at all and I have no desire to use one in my kitchen. Next, I am a chocolate melter from way back – always in a double boiler. Which of course I don't even own one. I use a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stale chocolate will seize right up and has to be tossed. But for a small amount of chocolate with a bit of lumps, you can add a spoon of vegetable shortening or a tad of oil and that should do it for you – unless your chocolate is old. Then there isn't much you can do except buy fresh chocolate.

Q: "berries are so good fresh, but it's always too hot to bake in the summer months – how can I have fresh berries for baking during the off-season?"

A. Why not use frozen berries to bake? As long as they are whole berries that are not in syrup there is no problem. You do not need to thaw; but you may have to add an additional minute or two to your baking – depending on what it is you are making.

Q: "you have posted on your blog how to tell if your baking soda and baking powder are fresh – but what about yeast?"

A: Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on the packages of anything. And like I have said before – I don't care what the expiration date or use-by date is – once it is opened it is not going to last that long – regardless of what it is! I like to use bulk yeast in a bag. And it needs to be tested to make sure it is still active. The best way to do this is to test it by placing the yeast in the water as called for in the recipe, add no more than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar (the sugar is food for the yeast) and it should begin to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. No bubbles – no good – don't use it.

Q: "what is the easiest way to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?"

A: I don't believe in wrapping the bottom of the springform pan with foil and placing in another pan of water to bake. Most cheesecakes have a topping and the cracks do not even show or matter. If you want to prevent cracks – place a small pan of water next to you cheesecake in the oven; less mess; no danger when removing from the oven.