Monday, December 3, 2012

Venison or Beef Stew

What's that story in the Bible about someone giving up their birthright for a stew?

Yep, men LOVE's just in them, I think from the beginning.

In the beginning, men loved stew.

I'll teach you how my mama taught me.

STEP ONE:  Flour, seasoned salt and plenty o' peppa.  Coarsely ground peppa. (When you are done dipping, keep the extra cuz you'll need some of this for the roux for the gravy.)

First, get your beef or venison stew meat thawed, and then several hours before you want to eat, get your meat ready to brown.  This is the messiest part, but I believe it makes the stew worth the while.

So do the men.

When you are browning this up, just hope no men are home, because it always brings the men into the kitchen to ask "What are you cooking?" and then the inevitable:  "Can I have some now?"  For that reason, I always get at least two packs of our venison stew meat from the freezer....

STEP TWO:  Rollllll 'em, dip 'em and slap 'em in the pan (that has a little oil in it that's hot 'n ready...) leaving a little room between each piece for excellent browning.

Sizzle....sizzle....snap!  OUCH!!

Keep on going until all those little individual tasty venison nuggets are done!  

(My youngest would be the happiest with a plate of this, forget the veggies.)

STEP THREE:  Drain on paper towels.

STEP FOUR:  Salivate. (Not really.)

STEP FOUR:  Make a roux for the graaaaavy....first though, drain off most of the extra oil you browned the meat in. 

Whip that leftover seasoned flour into the pan while you stir, stir, stir and get all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan.  

You know the deal with a roux, get the flour nice 'n browned, then you pour in water all the while you are still whipping the roux....stir until you get a look of good stew gravy.

STEP FIVE:  Prepare those root vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes, all the goodies here came from our garden.  Add celery, if you want for flavor.  

I only wash carrots and cut them roughly in irregular sizes for a good primitive look.  Isn't that how stew should look, not all uniform and perfect?

For our stew, I like to go to our potato bin and get all the oddball ones from that year's crop and use the tiny or misshapen ugly potatoes for stew.  

I wash them well, but I leave the peelings on, especially these red ones.  Some will need to but cut up, and some left whole, but I do like a rough-looking stew, it's STEW, man!

STEP SIX:  Throw a bouillon or two into the gravy pan.  Why?  Because the potatoes and the carrots will cook and need to absorb some of the salt or your stew will be bland, baby. 

No bland stew.  No no no.

STEP SEVEN:  Get your old turkey roaster out (this gives the best finish, best flavor to the stew, but that's just my opinion, you just use your favorite oven pan...).  

Add all the meat, vegetables, and your excellent roux gravy.

(I leave my celery and onion whole because one of my guys don't like that in their stew, but I like the flavor it gives.  When the pan is done, I can remove the whole onion and the celery pieces before serving.).

STEP EIGHT:  Bake in a 300 degree oven for several hours until it looks right, and all the vegetables are soft.  Make sure from time to time it's not drying up, you may need to add a bit of water and stir here and there.  Remember you need enough liquid for the potatoes and carrots to absorb before you bake.  When it's done and it's still not dinnertime, turn the oven down low to keep it warm and then serve.

And there you go.  

Something delish and filling on a cold night--something that one man sold his birthright for.

(By the way, I don't require that of my boys.)

Beef or venison stew:

1.  Make a flour and seasoned salt/pepper mixture
2.  Dip pieces of stew meat to cover each one
3.  Brown each piece individually in a hot pan with a little oil
4.  Make a roux using leftover flour, to make the gravy with pan drippings
5.  Wash and prepare the vegetables you want to use and chop them roughly
6.  Add the gravy with some extra water and some beef bouillon.
7.  Add all the meat and veggies to a roaster 
8.  Bake several hours at 300.

Serve warm right from the pan and add cornbread or a salad for an excellent winter meal! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Summer Pasta Salad

When summer draws to a close, thoughts of missing all the good stuff a garden brings makes me want to take advantage of it while I can.

Even though the garden right now looks like a tangled riot of weeds and just a regular old's still got goodies to glean.

(Our pumpkins have OVERTAKEN our whole garden with all the rain we've had in the last month!)

Here is a good recipe to use for a great salad for lunch or dinner, I loved it and wanted to share.  It is easily adaptable to whatever you have coming in the garden right now.

Smoked Ham & Veggie Salad

1 pound box of bow-tie pasta
1-2 C. smoked ham, diced
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1 C. frozen peas
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1-2 C. grape tomatoes or a regular tomato seeded and chopped
1 C. buttermilk dressing
*I added about 1/4 C. bacon bits 

Keeps up to three days in the fridge, and tastes better with a little chillin'! 


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Farmhouse French Toast

Girlfriends, I found the very BEST French toast recipe and I just have to share it with you.  

This is a restaurant-quality recipe and of course, we enjoy having breakfast for supper about once a week at least.

Served with a slice or two of good butcher-shop bacon, it's sweet with garden-fresh strawberries and some confectioner's sugar.   

I can't wait to try this again, with some new variations...for one, I am going to trade out the white sugar for brown, and I also want to add nutmeg to it. 

This is a custard-like dip for your french toast with a nice substance and a good finish and feel.  The difference in this recipe that is something I never had done before is the flour in the recipe.  It coats the bread in a substantial way and prevents sogginess.  

See what you think!  

Farmhouse French Toast
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 eggs
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 T. white sugar
12 slices of thick bread

1.  Measure flour into a large bowl or into the mixer bowl on your Kitchen-aid.  
2.  Whisk in the salt, milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth.
3.  Lightly oil a griddle or frypan over medium heat.
4.  SOAK bread slices on each side and then fry until golden brown.

SERVE your way!  ENJOY! 

Do you enjoy a breakfast for dinner every now and then?  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Potato Packets or Hobo Pies

This weekend, in addition to celebrating freedom by remembering those who have served our country, is also considered the "official start of summer"...and summer means grilling season, for many.   
A lot of us use our grills all year through and have our favorite go-to recipes, and this is one of mine.

It's versatile, and this can be made with any vegetable you have around the house that's suitable for cooking and eating--and when I do this it's called a Potato Packet because it's always a basic with potatoes as the main ingredient.  

It's also versatile for the reason that it can be a complete meal if you had some ground chuck to the packet, it cooks in with the veggies and the burger gives the flavor to the meal; and that's when it's called a Hobo Pie...

My basic recipe is with carrots, potatoes, and onion.  When I have them, we use in season goodies from the garden like zucchini and summer squash and have also used broccoli and any other number of good things that taste wonderful roasted.

Potato Packets or Hobo Pies

You will need: 

Fresh zucchini or summer squash                 
Butter pats, about a Tablespoon for each packet
Foil for grill
Morton's "Nature's Seasons" or similar seasoning
*Ground chuck, if desired, for a full meal in one packet

Clean and slice your vegetables and slice them to get ready to go.  I slice the potatoes into slices an inch or less, same with carrots.  The onion is used mainly for flavoring and is best in a larger chunk.  Or, if you like, rings if you want to eat them rather than only use them for flavor.

Your foil should be just under the size of a cookie sheet because you will need room to wrap and fold over the ends and top of the packet to hold in the heat to roast your veggies, yet not have the leaking that can cause grill fires.  

Spray Pam on a sheet of foil.  Pile a single serving amount of each of the kinds of veggies, starting with the potatoes on the bottom.  On top of your little mound of goodies, place the butter and then the onion(s).  

***If you are using ground chuck, do not use the butter: instead place the ground chuck, in little chunks on the top of the stack, the steam will cook it, and the amount of fat in the ground chuck eliminates the need for the butter on your pile.

Season the whole pile with Morton's Nature's Seasoning or your own favorite.

Fold up the top, and then each end to seal the packet.

Place on the top shelf of the grill on medium heat for at least twenty minutes, perhaps more depending on the size of your packet and the thickness of your veggies.  You can test one packet with a fork, but don't poke through the bottom of the packet!

I usually place these on the grill before the meat if the meat is a twenty-minute or less job.  

 Four packets, all ready to go.  If there are leftovers, they are WONDERFUL!  

This savory seasoning is the perfect compliment to the veggies and with enough flavor infused so that the potatoes don't come out bland and tasteless.

If using butter for the flavor, your stack will look like this.  This stack is ready to seal up and cook.

This is exactly the beauty I am going for in placing my potatoes at the bottom of the stack.  

My whole family loves this entree in the summer with their grilled chicken, fish or beef.  I hope that you enjoy it, too, and feel free to leave your way of making Hobo Pies or Potato Packets and your variations used....we all love to hear other versions of what is called by the same name!

Enjoy grilling and bring on summer!  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chicken for a Great Sandwich

I cook by the seat of my pants and I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and made it within minutes of finding it, so needless to say, I was missing a few of the ingredients.  It was Friday night and I needed something fairly simple and good for dinner that night.  I had thawed some chicken breasts, and was browsing Pinterest to find something new.  

But hey, this recipe was so good with my substitutions that I may just keep on making it "wrong"!  

I didn't photograph each step of the recipe, it's fairly simple and straightforward, I recommend a Ziploc bag rather than their recommendation of two pieces of Saran Wrap, because when I pound something with a mallet, it tends to send icky stuff flying everywhere, so I saved myself the mess and used the bag.  It worked great.

The way this turned out, my boys wouldn't mind if this was my stand-by "fried chicken" instead of my old recipe.  I tend to agree!

Why the difference?  

I honestly think it's the powdered sugar in the recipe, it gives the coating a dryness needed to be on the sandwich, and it's just PERFECT.  Who would've thought?  I substituted cornmeal for whole wheat flour and that was great, too.  I may try it next time with the whole wheat just to make sure that cornmeal is my favorite way.

Imitation "Chick-Fil-A" Sandwiches!

2 chicken breasts
Peanut oil for frying
(I didn't have peanut oil, so used corn oil instead in my cast iron dutch oven which seems to work best for fried chicken!)
Kosher salt
1 t. paprika
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
(I assumed the whole wheat was for crunch, and didn't have any, so I substituted cornmeal.)
1 T. dry milk
2 T. water
1 T. powdered sugar
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. dry mustard
(I substituted soul food seasoning and Morton's "HOT" salt for all the seasonings, except for the Kosher salt and the pepper and just loved it.)

Cut breasts into four pieces, slicing horizontally.  Place the chicken in a gallon Ziploc and pound them into submission, excuse me, I mean flat pieces without breaking them.

Salt and pepper them.
Mix egg, water, milk, in a bowl.
Mix flours, dry milk, powdered sugar, soda and dry mustard in another.

Dip the chicken in the milk, then in the egg wash.

Fry in hot oil.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with a slice dill pickle on a toasted bun.  YUM!!

**I doubled this recipe, the leftovers would be great again in a sandwich, OR, sliced into a Cobb Salad!**

This was dinner, just the sandwich, with my sun dills sliced into planks on top of the chicken, no condiments, nothing else.  It was awesome!  

Have you ever heard of powdered sugar in fried chicken before?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heavenly Potatoes!

I bet you all have had and enjoyed the hash brown casserole from Cracker Barrel, right?

And you love it! can make it at home!  

It's a great side dish for company or Sunday dinner.

And...when you make this, you cannot be worried about calories,  oh no,
just taste!!

These are delicious and beautiful once they come out of the oven all browned up and crispy on top.


Heavenly Potatoes

1 onion, finely chopped 
(could substitute onion powder for the taste.)
2 T. butter 
24 oz. package shredded hash browns, thawed
2 C. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
2 c. sour cream
(Or if you're like me and get caught without sour cream, you use ranch flavor chip dip in its place. GOOD!)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Saute onion in butter until tender, combine with remaining ingredients.  Pour into 2 quart casserole dish sprayed with PAM, and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Serves 8-10
(This would also be great made into individual casseroles for each place setting.)

Enjoy~and I'm serious about the chip dip, it tasted great!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beer Can Chicken


We grill all year through....but some, grilling season is just beginning.  And it's one of the best times of the year.

This is one of the easiest and most delicious things to grill and I thought I'd share how I make something called "Drunk Chicken" by some, Beer Can Chicken by others, and just plain old GOOD EATIN' to me!

When you do this, you may want to make two--and use the chicken to freeze or shred to use in meals coming up in the week.

When you do this, you may want to use a turkey breast, for the same reason.

When you do this, you can even do so with a whole turkey if you are having a large crowd or if you have a sizable family!

One of these contraptions called a "Poultry Pal" is helpful, but not necessary.  We got ours at the local hardware store, it works perfectly.  I've seen other contraptions for the same purpose. (Click the link to see all the kinds of these that carries.)

The chicken CAN BE put right over the beer can once it's open, and then placed in some sort of a pan or tray with depth to catch all the drippings:  make sure it's something that you don't care to keep or care to keep nice.  This can get messy.

Use an aluminum foil (disposable) pan, or an old layer cake pan that you don't care about...

First, you will need a can or bottle.  

Pour into the pan...

Open the chicken, remove giblets, and wash the chicken thoroughly.

All chickens like a bath.  Heh.

Give your bird a nice massage with some olive oil....


Such a relaxed bird.

Then season with your favorite seasoning, or use something like this....I use this and add Kosher salt as well as coarsely-ground pepper.

All ready to go into the .... tanning bed?  Err...grill.

The chicken cooks with the moisture and steam from the beer, making the chicken moist, tender and delicious.  Each bite is perfect and tasty.  Our bird took about an hour and twenty minutes, and this roaster had a timer, that is a handy feature when grilling a chicken.

Time to eat!  Come 'n get it!  

If you like the chicken, skin on, this skin is crispy, tasty...perfect.

Enjoy!  If you have any questions, please ask in the comments section!