Feb 02

HAM SALAD

Getting ready for the big game? You can whip this HAM SALAD  up a couple of days in advance and have it chilling in the fridge, ready to pull out for that munching group that will invade your living room on game day

To this day in my Mom and dad’s house there is always some type of snack sitting on the kitchen counter. She found that if there were cheese and crackers, pickled herring, shrimp cocktail or anything left in the fridge, and she put it on the counter, it wouldn’t be long before it would be gone and we wouldn’t be snacking on junk food. For some reason at 4:00 in the afternoon that leftover fried chicken from lunch would be sliced up with the salt and pepper shaker next to it, and every time we walked through the kitchen, we’d grab a slice and it was better than at lunch.

One of our very favorites was HAM SALAD, if mom had ring bologna left over she would use it instead of ham.  I think this was dad’s favorite way. You; however can use any kind of ham you want, deli, canned, baked doesn’t make a difference , even Spam if mood strikes you. We would have this HAM SALAD on crackers or as a sandwich in our lunch boxes. I don’t need anything, I’ll just eat it by the spoonful.

This just brings back one of those seemingly small things that has such a big memory.

HAM SALAD:

 

1 pound ham

1/4 small onion( optional )

1/4 cup Hellmans mayo, ( more if desired )

6 dill pickles

1 tsp Accent

Salt, fresh ground black pepper and  to taste

Run the ham, onions and dill pickles through a meat grinder.

In a medium bowl, mix the ham mixture and mayo adding more mayonnaise to desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours to allow flavors to meld.

Serve with crackers, chips or raw vegetables.

 

Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”

 

Jan 29

EASY ICE CREAM CAKE

Whether you want a dessert that looks sophisticated or something special for the kids that get great report cards, this EASY ICE CREAM CAKE fits the bill.

There is no end of ways you can make this quick and easy treat the one they all ask for. You can add nuts, candy, fruit, cookie pieces and any kind of ice cream that is a favorite in your house.  Try using two different flavors to keep more than one family member happy. The options are only limited by your imagination.

Make your own ice cream and it will be that much more special. The picture below is my own homemade Champagne ice cream with just a touch of orange…..VIOLA, Mimosa ICE CREAM CAKE!

EASY ICE CREAM CAKE:

1 Frozen pound cake, thawed

2 pints ice cream your choice, slightly thawed to a spreadable consistency

Fresh Fruit, candies, nuts, cookies etc. if desired

Remove thawed pound cake from foil pan, do not throw away pan or lid. Line pan with plastic wrap leaving enough wrap hanging over the sides so that you can loosely wrap the cake.

Slice cake lengthwise into 3 slices. Place the bottom slice of cake in the pan and spread 1 pint of ice cream evenly over it. Top with fruit, or other goodies if desired.

Place the middle slice of cake on top and repeat the layer of ice cream and toppings.

Top with remaining slice of cake and press slightly and loosely cover with the plastic wrap and put lid back on top.

Freeze 3-4 hours or until firm.

When ready to serve, remove and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to slightly thaw.

Drizzle chocolate or raspberry sauce on a plate and place slice of cake on top.

You can finish it off  with additional ice cream or whipped cream if you like.

This can be an elegant treat for afternoon coffee with the girls or let the kids get creative with a couple of them filled with gummy worms and malted milk balls for their own creation for a birthday party. Either way…..

Go Ahead….” Just Try It! ”

 

 

Jan 21

SCALLOPED POTATOES with HAM

You had a baked ham on Sunday and you’ve had ham sandwiches, ham omlettes, split pea soup, chefs salad and you still have meat left over, what do you do with it? SCALLOPED POTATOES w/HAM!

This dish is so easy to make when you get home from work, you will have it in the oven before the kids are done with their homework. It also makes such a  great leftover for your lunch at the office the next day that you will be asked for the recipe when your co-workers smell it warming in the microwave.

You can either bake this in the oven or use an electric skillet. If using the electric skillet, you just need to slice the potatoes a bit thicker so that they don’t break apart when you occasionally stir them.

SCALLOPED POTATOES with/HAM

 

6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cups cooked ham, cubed

1 medium onion, cut in half, thinly sliced and half rings separated

2 tsp each salt, fresh ground black pepper and Accent, divided

1/2 cup flour divided

1 cup half and half, more if needed

1 stick butter,  cubed and divided

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional

 

Preheat oven to 350

Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In bottom of baking dish, place a layer of potatoes and top with a layer of onions. Season with some of the salt, pepper and Accent. Sprinkle with half of the flour and top with half the ham and butter.

On top of ham, repeat the above the layering, depending upon the size of your potatoes, you may need to do a third layer, just adjust the dividing of the ingredients accordingly.

Pour half and half over all and cover tightly with foil.

Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours, checking after the first hour to see if potatoes are tender or if you need to add some more of the half and half.

Remove foil and top with cheese if using and let bake for 5 – 10 minutes  or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Add some warm crusty bread with lots of butter and a crisp green salad for a satisfying and warming dinner.

Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”

 

Dec 04

TWO BITE PEANUT BUTTER KISSES

It’s Christmas time and there are just some timeless classics that simply must be on the cookie platter. Whether on the mantle with a glass of milk for Santa, a cookie exchange or just on the table with all the other delectable goodies, the PEANUT BUTTER KISSES are the ones everyone from the littlest to the oldest look for; after the cut out sugar cookies.

My brother, Michael loved these as a kid, but then again; give him a jar of peanut butter and a spoon and he was as happy as can be. That kid would have peanut butter and the batter from ear to ear from licking the beaters and bowl. There always seemed to be so much left in that mixing bowl that we each had enough dough to share plus the beater. Mom always got the spatula and if I remember correctly, there was quite a bit on that as well.

She would sit us at the table with that dough and a cookie sheet in between us and we’d get to rolling, her eagle eyes were always watching and when one of those balls were too big, we had to take some of it off and re roll it.

Mike was always licking his fingers after each cookie was formed and then rolled in sugar, he’d finish one, lick his fingers and grab dough for another one. Good thing the health department wasn’t around to see that, but we all lived through his little brother germs. Luckily the ones we hand our hands in didn’t go for the cookie exchange.

We had a pretty good system down, we’d get one tray loaded up and mom would whisk it away into the oven and an empty cookie sheet was there for us to fill up again. She’d pull the done tray out, and set it to cool and stick another one in the oven. We must have had 3 or 4 sheet pans that we worked with to keep the momentum going.

She always let us put the kisses on top of the cookies, it never mattered if they were crooked, or pushed in too deep, or up side down, that never changed the taste.

I like to make these a bit smaller and add two miniature chocolate kisses, that way you can get the chocolate with the peanut butter in each of the ” Two Bites ”

Let the kids have some fun rolling and sticking the kisses on these yummy goodies, Christmas is supposed to be fun and what can be more fun that getting your hands dirty with cookie dough?

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

additional sugar

miniature chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl beat 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.

Add the baking powder and soda and slowly add the flour mixing well until dough forms.

Roll dough into into 1″ balls, or use a melon baller, then roll in additional sugar. Place dough on an UNGREASED cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately press 2 chocolate kisses candies into each cookie.

Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Go Ahead… “Just Try It!”

Dec 02

CABBAGE ROLL CASSEROLE

Your family loves CABBAGE ROLLS but you just don’t have the time to make them, who says you have to? This could not be simpler and once you brown off your ground beef, you can put everything in the slow cooker and walk away until dinner time.

It’s the holidays and we all want simple dishes that don’t take a lot time, there is shopping to do, presents to wrap, cards to send, tree and house to decorate and of course cookies and goodies to bake.

Put some hot rolls and a crisp green salad alongside this casserole and all you will have are smiles around the table and an empty casserole dish.

CABBAGE ROLL CASSEROLE

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 small head of cabbage, roughly chopped

2 15 1/2 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups uncooked rice

2 cups Clamato juice, more if necessary

salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

1 tsp Accent

In a large dutch oven break up and cook hamburger until no longer pink. Add onions and saute’ until translucent.

Add cabbage, tomatoes, rice, Clamato juice and Accent. Mix well, salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to slow cooker and cover tightly.

Cook 6-7 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.

Go Ahead… “Just Try It!”

Nov 22

PORK CHOP AND GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

There is no law you can only have green bean casserole during the holidays, although your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables may seem like something is missing if you don’t. And as far as I know there is nothing that says you have to two dirty baking dishes when you want said casserole and pork chops.

So lets make a one dish meal! There are many different recipes for this on the internet with ingredients ranging from apples to zucchini added in. My husband likes plain basic casseroles, nothing fancy. So that’s what I give him and he is as happy as can be.

You can make this in the crockpot if you like and if you don’t want to brown the chops, that’s okay. I like to brown mine if I have the time. I served this meal over rice, but if you want potatoes are pasta are great options as well.

PORK CHOP AND GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE:

4 pork chops, bone in or boneless

3 Tbl cooking oil

2 15 1/2 oz cans cut green beans, drained

2 15 3/4 oz cans cream of mushroom soup

1 large can evaporated milk

1 cup French’s Fried Onions, divided

1 tsp Accent

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, brown pork chops in 3 tablespoons oil, remove and set aside.

In same skillet, add the cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk, cook over low heat until well combined. Add green beans and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 of the fried onions. Remove from heat.

Pour bean mixture into prepared baking dish and top with pork chops. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour or until pork chops are tender.

****If using the crock pot; cook 5-6 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.****

Serve over rice or buttered noodles.

This is a great way to use left over green bean casserole from your Thanksgiving Dinner, just make an extra large batch and put some aside for the next day with the pork chops.

Go Ahead… “Just Try It!”

Nov 16

VANILLA SUGAR

It’s here the holidays are upon us and our baking is approaching quickly. VANILLA SUGAR is a must in your kitchen for so many things, a cup of coffee, warm bowl of oatmeal, cookies and cakes galore. It’s so simple to make and only takes a couple minutes to prepare.

While you are out shopping for your Thanksgiving baking supplies, be sure to stop by the spice rack and pick up a vanilla bean. You don’t need to buy an expensive one and that one bean will go a long way.

VANILLA SUGAR

Whole VANILLA BEAN

2 cups sugar

Split the VANILLA BEAN down the middle and scrape out the vanilla paste. Put paste in the bottom of a container with tight fitting lid.

Add 1 cup of the sugar and bury the VANILLA BEAN deep in and cover with remaining sugar. Cover tightly and set aside for two weeks to allow the vanilla to flavor the sugar.

Go Ahead… “Just Try It!”

Oct 30

SPOOKY GOBBLEDYGOOK BARS

Language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms; nonsense.
Synonyms: gibberish · claptrap · nonsense · rubbish · balderdash · blather · garbage · mumbo jumbo · drivel · tripe · hogwash · baloney · bilge · bull · bunk · guff · eyewash · piffle · twaddle · poppycock · phooey · hooey

In other words, just a mish-mash of nonsensical things. Yep that would be GOBBLEDYGOOK BARS for sure.

Mom would make these bars when she had a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the cupboard. She’d make a cookie dough and throw in whatever went good with whatever cookie base she made, press it into a baking dish and bake! These basically are a monster cookie in bar form.

There are times when you need a school snack, bake sale items, holiday trays or just because and these are perfect. I don’t always have the time to make cookies and these cookie bars are so easy it’s sinful. They look like you spent a lot of time on them but they take just minutes to whip up.

You can of course make the cookie dough and if you do, make a double or triple batch and freeze some for another day. Make any kind of base cookie that your family likes. My brother; Mike, was a peanut butter fan loaded with peanut butter chips and chocolate. I liked sugar cookie or an almond cookie with cranberries and white chips or toffee and chocolate chips.
Add any kind of ingredients you want, nuts, chips, toffee, candy canes or coconut, just remember to not go overboard. You don’t want to end up with more “fixins” than cookie. You also don’t want it to get to sweet, so be careful.

Once you take them out of the oven; while they are still warm, add any candy decorations you want. I made googly eyes on the peanut butter ones and my little taste tester said the eyes needed to be bloody because it was Halloween, so a tube of red decorating gel later, we had bloody eyes!

You can bake these up while the kids are out Trick or Treating and have a warm batch of bar cookies to go with a rich and creamy hot chocolate to get rid of the fall chill.

I like to use a package mix because there are only 2 of us and I can make the sugar cookie with craisins and white chips for my self and Bob likes peanut butter with Reese’s Pieces and chopped nuts.

GOBBLEDYGOOK BARS:

Cookie dough recipe if making from scratch
or
Package cookie mix if desired, following package mixing directions
Fixings of your choice:
Chocolate Chips
White Chips
Nuts
Coconut
Dried Fruit
Preheat Oven to 350.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray with flour in it, or flour your pan.
Mix cookie dough as directed and add in fixings.
Spread in baking dish and bake 16-18 minutes, turning halfway through.
Remove from oven and immediately place any candy decorations you may want, pressing them in slightly.
Let cool completely before removing from pan.

Go Ahead… “Just Try It!”

Oct 25

BEEF BARLEY STEW

Whether you put this in the oven, the crockpot or on the stove; nothing is like the warm, comforting taste of BEEF BARLEY STEW. Just brown off your beef and toss everything in the vessel of choice and forget about it.

The rich, brown gravy with the tender meat, vegetables and barley will make a party in your mouth! This is one of those dishes that you can add any kind of vegetables you have in your fridge or freezer that your family likes, it’s a great way to incorporate Brussel sprouts, kids won’t know they are eating them with all that luscious gravy they will be swimming in.

Enough talking, gather your ingredients and let’s get this party started!!

BEEF BARLEY STEW:

3 Tbl vegetable oil

1 1/2 – 2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1″ cubes

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1/4 – 1/3 cup flour

3- ribs celery, cut into 3/4″ pieces

2-3 carrots, cut into 3/4″ chunks

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 tsp Accent

1 Tbl Kitchen Bouquet

6 cups water, more if needed

1 – 1 1/2 cups barley ( medium or quick cooking )

Heat oil in a large dutch oven. Season meat with salt, pepper and Accent and brown on all sides. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Sprinkle flour over the meat and onion mixture and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

Add the water, celery, carrots, barley and kitchen bouquet. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until barley is cooked and meat and vegetables are tender. If using the oven, bake 1 1/2 – 2 hours until all is tender.

If using the crock pot, 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.

Add more water if needed if the stew is too thick. Barley will absorb a lot of water.

Go Ahead… “Just Try It!”

Oct 21

SUPER MOIST MEATLOAF

Meatloaf is one of those all purpose meals, you have it for dinner, the leftovers are great as a sandwich and if you are in my house, my husband likes it with a couple of fried eggs on it for a breakfast sandwich.

This meatloaf is so easy to make and takes literally no time to throw together when you get home from work late or double the recipe if  you suddenly find yourself with extra people for dinner. Pair it with mashed potato patties and dinner is ready is good to go.

SUPER MOIST MEATLOAF:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 eggs

1/3 cup bread/cracker crumbs

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp Accent

1 bottle chili sauce, divided

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, chopped onion, eggs, cracker/bread crumb, salt, pepper, accent and 1/4 cup of the chili sauce.

Gently mix until combined but do not over mix as meatloaf will toughen.

Place in a loaf pan or baking dish and spread approximately 1/4 cup of chili sauce on top.  Bake 35-45 minutes, basting with additional chili sauce as needed or desired, removing any liquid with a baster, that gathers in the bottom of the pan so that the meat doesn’t ” boil ”

When done, let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with mashed potato patties or baked potato and a crisp green salad.

Go Ahead… ”Just Try It! ”

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