Friday, May 29, 2015

Burgers, Casseroles, Breakfast, and Stir Fry (New Recipes of the Week ~6)

My daughter is home from a 3 week trip and back to typing for me. Her 50 wpm speed far surpasses my looking at the keys as I type pace! Therefore you can read the full and properly written recipes rather than my shortened versions in posts past.

Dilly Turkey Burgers
Flavored with garlic, oregano, lemon juice, and dill, these burgers are tasty, though not scrumptious. The turkey flavor just isn't the same as red meat hamburgers.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole
I thought this sounded so good combining jalapenos, cheese, and chicken with rice, but my family barely ate it! However, the leftovers were good with added salt and I had plenty to enjoy!

Scrambled Egg Brunch Braid
2 tubes (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
4 oz thinly sliced deli ham, diced
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. milk
8 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1/4 c. chopped sweet red pepper 
2 T. chopped green onion
1 tsp. butter
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Unroll each tube of crescent dough (do not separate rectangles). Place side by side on a greased baking sheet with long sides touching; seal seams and perforations. Arrange ham lengthwise down center third of rectangle. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and milk. Separate one egg; set egg white aside. Add the egg yolk, remaining eggs, salt and pepper to cream cheese mixture; mix well. Add red pepper and onion. In a large skillet, melt butter; add egg mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat just until set. Remove from the heat. Spoon scrambled eggs over ham. Sprinkle with cheese. On each long side of dough, cut 1-in. -wide strips to the center with 1/2 inch of filling. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Beat reserved egg white; brush over dough. Bake at 375* for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 6 servings

To simplify this recipe, I skipped filling crescent rolls, because we make ours from scratch, and omitted the ham. Instead, I cooked up the filling and served along side bread. Delicious creamy scrambled eggs sprinkled with peppers and onions! 

Crunchy Cashew Pork
Stir fry meals are some of my favorites! This sauce was a little too vinegary, so we will stick with our other stir fry favorites, like Flavorful Beef and Mongolian Beef.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
 1 1/2 c. lentils
 6 c. water or chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large or 2 medium celery ribs, chopped
1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 T. Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon or 4 teaspoons
1 tsp. ground cumin seed
1 T. butter optional
1/2 c. minced fresh parsley
grated cheddar, jack or Parmesan cheese, optional
Bring lentils, water or chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to a boil for 3 minutes, reduce heat and simmer at very gentle boil until lentils are tender, between 30-45 minutes. Blend in soy sauce, lemon juice, ground cumin seed, and butter and simmer 15 minutes longer. Add the parsley and cheese 5-10 minutes before serving. 10 oz chopped spinach is good added in.

In authentic Mid Eastern flavor, I served tomatoes, cucumber, and mint on the side. I love lentils!

Somehow I can't locate this particular recipe in the pictures. I have substituted with a recipe we really do like, though it has no rice as the photos show.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Broccoli, Wraps, Soups, and Pasta (New Recipes of the Week ~5)

Here's what's been cookin' at our house lately...

Broccoli Oriental
The directions call for steaming the broccoli and pouring a warm orange sauce over it, but knowing half of my family's aversion to cooked broccoli, I opted to to serve the sauce as a dip. I would not recommend that. That little silver container is still sitting in the fridge half-eaten 2 weeks later!

Wraps a la Mexicana

1/3 c. cream cheese
1/2 an avocado, mashed
2 Tbsp. sour cream
4 8 inch flour tortillas
4 pieces leaf lettuce
1/2 lb cooked/grilled chicken

Combine cream cheese, avocado, and sour cream in a small bowl. Spread onto each tortilla. Place a piece of lettuce over the bottom half of the tortillas. Top with 1/4 of the chicken strips or slices. Drizzle with salsa. Fold edges inward, roll up, and cut in half diagonally. We are loving the $.29 avocado sales in wraps such as these!

The little spirals are leftover hummus, cheese, and lettuce spread onto the last tortilla in the package.

Slow-Cooked Vegetable Soup

Though this is a Taste of Home recipe, it was a bit on the healthy-tasting side for us. Garbanzo beans are not a family favorite along with cooked broccoli, but oh so good for you!

Sausage Mushroom Manicotti

1 lb bulk Italian sausage, cooked (I seasoned my own ground venison.)
1/2 c diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. butter
9 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I cooked a white sauce instead.)
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz. manicotti shells, cooked
5 oz. milk
1 Tbsp minced fresh or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

Saute onions and garlic in butter until tender. Add mushrooms; heat through. Stir in soup, sour cream, pepper, milk, and parsley. Mix in cooked meat and pasta and cheese, reserving some to sprinkle on top. Heat through. (Or you can transfer to a baking dish, cover and bake 350* for 25 minutes.)

By the photos, I obviously did not use manicotti. I've never even made manicotti and have only eaten it once. That was at 11 o'clock at night and I was terribly hungry. Of course my hosts hadn't even gotten home from the grocery until 9pm and started dinner after that, hence I am convinced that stuffed manicotti can never be a fast family meal. However, pasta shells may be substituted for a quick version. We all heartily approved of this recipe, though I would call it stroganoff. 

Hamburger Vegetable Crock

Baking Day
Date Crumb Cake, Cinnamon Rolls, and little Sandwich Buns cut with a biscuit cutter.

A heavy sweet breakfast cake with dates and nuts. We replaced the dates with raisins and skipped the nuts. It is still tasty, especially with milk on top!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pasta, Quesadillas, Steaks, and Carrots (New Recipes of the Week ~4)

The recipes from this week were mostly keepers for us. Below you will find the recipes for the ones we like!

Cheddar Chicken Spirals
3 c. uncooked spiral pasta
1 c. mayonnaise
2/3 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
2 c. mixed vegetables
2 c. cooked chicken
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, salt, and basil. Stir in vegetables, chicken, and 1 c. cheese. Drain pasta. Stir in veggie mixture. Cover pan and cook on medium until hot, 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. (Or you can microwave on high 5-6 minutes.)
Everyone approved of this simple recipe. I would rate it well mostly because it is fast and filling.

Egg Scramble

Potatoes, eggs, sour cream, cheese, and seasonings make for a hearty breakfast, but the children prefer their scrambled eggs and fried taters separate.

Molasses Cookie Dough Balls

For the freezer. This way we can have fresh baked cookies in a snap if we have last minute company or need a finger food for a gathering.

Double Decker Quesadillas
1 package corn tortillas
white cheese
yellow cheese
4 oz. diced green chilies
1 bell pepper, cut in strips
1/2 c. black olives, sliced
1/2 c. onion, chopped
sour cream

Place the first tortilla on buttered griddle or skillet and sprinkle some bell pepper, onion, and yellow cheese on top. Place 2nd tortilla on top and sprinkle some olives, chilies, and white cheese on that. Place 3rd tortilla on top. Brown over medium heat until tortilla is golden brown and cheese is melted. Flip once. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve with sour cream and salsa. We used part flour tortillas as well.

Mm Mm Mexican. It's so yummy and so pretty! These quesadillas were a fun variation of the normal two tortilla griddle sandwich.

Pepper Steaks with Balsamic Onions
1 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 lbs. onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
freshly cracked peppercorns
4 boned steaks

Melt oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, and thyme. Cook until liquid has evaporated, 2 minutes longer. Serve over grilled meat with plenty of black pepper.

The sweet, crispy onion topping add delicious flavor to these pan fried/broiled steaks. I tried half venison and half beef...we liked the deer better! Next time we will grill the meat for extra yumminess.

Flavorful Carrots

If you like cooked carrots, you will love this side dish. My hubs even approved and he does not care for carrots -unless they're dunked in peanut butter. I have never considered a warm creamy mixture for carrots, but it's kind of like a dip, only hot. I suppose if you have a hankering for a cold veggie tray on a winter night but don't want to be chilled, these would be great!

5 c. sliced carrots
3 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp. pepper

Simmer carrots in 1 in. of water for 9 minutes until tender. Drain water. Stir in remaining ingredients. Warm through. We used canned carrots, which made it very fast.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What's Growing in the Kansas Garden in March and April


We originally planned to layer newspaper, and manure over the garden soil in the fall, but it is so hard for me to pull out any plant that's still producing just to work the ground. Unfortunately then cold weather set in and the garden lay bare until now.

We shoveled out several pick-up loads of cow manure from a neighbor. It was quite old and clumpy and I eventually had to garden rake out a lot of the chunks to actually plant seeds. Live and learn, but the soil is improved!

Also in March my sweet C helped me plant lettuce, cabbage, and tomatoes indoors...and some flowers for her. Our makeshift grow-light is perched on the hearth, which is no longer active this time of year, with potting soil filled strawberry boxes to put seeds in.  


Here are the lettuce containers almost ready to go in the garden! I set them outside in the shade of our front porch for a couple hours for a couple days to get used to the realities of outdoor life.

Poking up through the soil is mint, buried in a bucket to keep from spreading...

and strawberries. 
I received a few plants free with our tree row order last year and also dug some from a friend's patch that was getting crowded.

I saved seeds from heirloom tomatoes last year that were given to us by a friend. There were 10 or so different varieties, but I mixed them together in a my paper packet. This year's tomatoes will be a mystery! They sprouted well (ahem, 65 plants) under the flourescent light!

Near the end of April, we planted the baby tomato plants in the garden and put milk jugs over them like a mini greenhouse instead of hardening them off. A new experiment.

I didn't have quite enough jugs so used a gallon tin can to protect a couple plants.

The peas are beginning to sprout and grow. It seems like it took them an extra long time, however they are in a quite a bit of shade throughout the day. Dear S fastened an old gate in the garden for the peas to climb on.

The cool season seeds I planted are coming up too...
Turnips. Kale. Red Beets.

Sweet C and I planted 160 red onions from sets, plus a few Candy that didn't grow well last summer that over-wintered and were just a bit larger than the store-bought sets. We decided not to plant onions since I can buy them for $.33 a pound, but that sale is usually just for yellow onions, so hopefully we can enjoy some garden-fresh red slices on grilled burgers too.



This is one of the six potato rows planted with sprouted Russets from the store @ $.20 a pound. We weren't going to plant any of these as well, because of the sale price, but they were quite squishy and useless anyway. 5 pounds planted is supposed to yield 50-75 pounds. We shall see at harvest time!

The transplanted lettuce. 
It took a little while to get established. I have never started lettuce inside, but this year I tried it with seeds I saved from last year's bolted crop.

The strawberries are blooming and growing!

How does your garden grow?