Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

While it does involve a little more measuring and grating some cheese, this is just as fast as Kraft Dinner.  From the time you first think about having this meal until it is making your mouth happy is less than 15 minutes. 

Alton Brown’s Stove Top Mac & Cheese

½ lb. elbow macaroni
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 T butter (1/2 stick)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
¾ tsp. dry mustard
6 oz. evaporated milk
10 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
½ tsp. hot sauce

Boil salted water and add macaroni.  While the macaroni is cooking, grate the cheese and whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard.  Drain the macaroni when it is al dente and return to pot.  Melt in the butter and toss to coat.  Mix in the milk mixture, then add the cheese.  Stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until creamy.

Notes: You can't buy 6 oz. cans of evaporated milk.  I just use the five ounce can and dollop a little whole milk in.  Evan prefers this with a mixture of monterey jack and cheddar, although I love I with just cheddar.  I use Frank's Red Hot for the hot sauce, but next time I want to try Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce.

Doubled recipe:

1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 tsp. kosher salt
8 T butter (1 stick)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
1 ½ tsp. dry mustard
12 oz. evaporated milk
20 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
1 tsp. hot sauce

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken Curry

This recipe sounds slightly exotic, but it's the height of comfort food, and my kids love it.  Bethaney just called to get the recipe, such as it is, for the second time, so I decided to type it out while I still had the card out.  This is a Rosemary recipe-- Rosemary often made it for us while she was at our house.  She got the recipe from a man in Bermuda.  There are few measurements here-- use what you have!  I would say it's around 1 1/2 pounds chicken, 1 small onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, and maybe a half teaspoon of cornstarch if needed.  I like the taste of the green curry powder, but red curry is an option.  I have used curry paste, too, with fine results.

Chicken Curry

Chicken, cut into chunks
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 T curry powder
1/3 cup hot water
1 tsp. chili powder
1 can coconut milk
Onion, minced
Garlic, minced

Mix chicken with curry and chili powders.  Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add chicken and cook until brown.  Dissolve the bouillon cubes in the hot water and add to the cooking chicken.  Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through.  Add one can of coconut milk and let simmer for a minute.  If you want a thicker sauce, sprinkle some cornstarch in and mix in.  Serve with rice (Jasmine rice is best!).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bacon Scrapple

This recipe is from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham.  There are lots of breakfast recipes in that book that will make you hungry no matter what time of day it is.  I took this up to Vaughans' this weekend and it disappeared like snow in a ditch.  Crispy on the outside, tender in the inside, and SO GOOD!

Bacon Scrapple

½ pound sliced bacon
1 ¼ tsp. salt
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
½ tsp. coarse-ground pepper
1 cup cold water
1 bay leaf, crumbled
3 cups boiling water
Reserved bacon fat

Fry the bacon until crisp, pat dry of excess fat and chop into small pieces.  Reserve the fat from the pan.  Stir the cornmeal into the cold water (always stir cornmeal into cold liquid before adding it to boiling liquid to prevent lumps).  Boil 3 cups water.  Stir in salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Stir in the cornmeal and ¼ cup bacon fat, lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring often.  (Cornmeal will sputter, so be careful).  Cook for about 20 minutes, until mixture is no longer runny and plops off spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in bacon pieces.  Press mixture into greased bread pan and chill for at least 4 hours.  Cut into thin slices, and fry in bacon fat until brown and crisp around the edges.  Serve hot.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I made these about a month ago, and it's kind of ridiculous that I haven't made them again. They are so yummy, and not that much work.

Our fancy-dancy popsicle molds.

The tongue is getting ready to taste.

In the heat, the best place to enjoy a popsicle.

This recipe is from the book On a Stick! by Matt Armendariz.  I found the recipe when Smitten Kitchen featured it.  (I doubled the recipe because... four kids in summer, duh! so if you want a single recipe, Smitten Kitchen's got it up here.)  I'd like to try other recipes from the book.  They look like a lot of fun, plus Evan bought 1000 Popsicle sticks in a crafting moment this spring.  They are going to be hanging around here until I am a grandmother if we don't get creative.


1.5 ounces (1/4 cup) choc. chips
2 ½ cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Large pinch of salt
2 T cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T unsalted butter

In the bottom of a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate chips over very low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.  Stir in sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, milk and salt and raise heat to medium.  Cook mixture, stirring frequently until it thickens, between 5 to 10 minutes (Smitten Kitchen said it took her five minutes-- I used all ten minutes, maybe because it's a doubled recipe).  Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter and stir until combined.

Set aside to cool slightly then pour into popsicle molds or Dixie cups.  Freeze 30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks.  Freeze the rest of the way (several hours).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Strawberry Jam

This is what Cheyenne's teacher and bus driver ended up getting for end-of-year presents.  I didn't remember about needing presents until 8:30 last night, so I ran to Wal-Mart and bought two lunch bag cooler and two cold packs.  Then, this morning, I wrote a card for them, stuck it in a ziploc bag so it wouldn't get wet from the condensation off the jam, and gave them each a jar of the freezer jam.  I didn't think it was half-bad for completely last minute panic!


Strawberry Freezer Jam

2 pts. Strawberries (about 3 cups)
1 pkg. Sure-Jell
4 cups sugar
¾ cup water

Crush the strawberries and measure exactly 2 cups of crushed berries.  Mix the 4 cups of sugar thoroughly into the berries.  Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir ¾ cup water and the Sure-Jell together in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir pectin mixture into berry/sugar mixture.  Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about three minutes.

Pour into prepared containers (1 to 2 cup plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids), leaving ½ inch space at the top for expansion during freezing.  Cover.  Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours, until set.  Refrigerate for 3 weeks, or store in freezer for up to 1 year.  Thaw in refrigerator.

I won't buy jam from the store anymore-- this is way too easy, and way too yummy, to eat anything else.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chicken and Stuff

I have a messy pile of recipes sitting beside my computer, waiting for me to type them up. So I grabbed three that might sort of go together as a meal.  And that's about as thought-out as this post is.  Although it's taken me a month to get this all typed up, which is really pathetic.  I typed up most of it one night, but the computer shut down and lost it, and then it's just sat there, this forlorn little tab I never close.

This, however, is worth waiting for. This is my favorite marinade recipe for chicken. It comes from my mother-in-law's family, so I guess I could call it Pikcilingis Chicken. Usually we just refer to it as The Really Good Chicken.

Really Good Chicken
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten (for any size recipe-- do not double this part)
Mix all ingredients together and marinate chicken breasts for 30 min. to overnight to 2-3 days (I know you're not supposed to leave meat in marinade that long, but it really does get excellent, without that mushy texture they always warn you about when they talk about over-marinating.  Four days gets a little dicey and vinegar-y.).  Grill (preferred) or bake.  Serve with jasmine rice, Rice-A-Roni, potatoes, whatever your little heart desires.

Creamy Buttermilk Coleslaw (from Cooks Country)
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and shredded (I use my salsa chopper)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 8 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Toss shredded cabbage and carrots with 1 tsp. salt in colander set over bowl.  Let stand until wilted, about 1 hour.  (It's amazing how much liquid comes out of there!)  Rinse cabbage and carrots under cold water, drain, and dry with paper towels.  Transfer to large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients, plus salt to taste.  (I have been lazy and not bothered with rinsing, draining and drying the cabbage after the salting, and it was fine.  I figure a lot of the salt ends up in the exuded liquid.  Refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.

I was never much of a coleslaw fan, but I could eat this stuff like candy!  Evan, who is a bit more of a connoisseur, says it's some of the best coleslaw he's ever eaten.  Cooks Country knows whereof they speak.

Raisin Bars

  • 2 ½ cups raisins
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup coconut
  • ¾ cup butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, heat raisins and water to boiling; simmer 15 minutes, then drain. Stir in applesauce, lemon juice and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press 2 ½ cups of the crumbs into a 13x9 ungreased pan. Spread raisin mixture over the crumbs. Sprinkle on remaining crumbs and press in lightly. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.

I made these one time right before we went on a trip with the Cottens, and they didn't last long around the kids.  I was looking for this recipe the other day, and couldn't find it anywhere-- only to find it days later, neatly typed up on my computer.  Disconcerting!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Honey Peanut Chicken with Sesame Noodles

This recipe somewhat mimics a dish that Evan ordered the one time we went to Cheesecake Factory.  Except I think this version is better!  This recipe is from the Tasty Kitchen blog.  I had been wanting to try the Sesame Noodles from Pioneer Woman, and they match nicely.

Thai Honey Peanut Chicken
  • 2 lbs. chicken, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (maybe start with a little less; Evan felt it was too salty this last time)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and marinate chicken 2-3 hours.  Cook chicken in the sauce over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes or until chicken is done.  Reduce heat to medium low and add pre-cooked veggies if desired.  Serve with sesame seeds. 

Sesame Noodles
  • 12 ounces thin noodles, cooked and drained (I cook a 16 oz. package of angel hair pasta, and give the kids the other four ounces with butter)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 T sugar
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 to 3 T pure sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. hot chile oil (I use the Sriracha, not sure if that's what this is calling for, but it works!)
  • 4 to 5 T canola oil
  • 2 T hot water (this seems pointless, I've never added this)
  • 3 to 4 green onions, sliced thin
Whisk together all ingredients (except noodles and green onions).  Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with green onions and toss again.

I had this recipe printed out forever before I actually made it.  It looked yummy, but it required me to to go out and buy three specific ingredients.  I try not to make things that require more than two novel ingredients.  However, the sesame oil and the rice vinegar keep well in the cupboard, and I have seen them in other recipes.  They might be handy to have on hand. These noodles are yummy enough I am glad I bought the exotic ingredients!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Breakfast: It's What's for Supper

I have had busy Wednesdays the last two weeks, so I made this both Wednesday nights. Lincoln thoughtfully tore the recipe into about eight pieces, so I decided to type this recipe up before I lose too many crucial pieces. I already lost an important piece after the first week, but it turned out fine the second time, so I must have remembered it correctly!

(I do not know Diane-- this recipe was in our paper with this title. "Breakfast Casserole" seemed a little vague, so I'm keeping the "Diane". Hi, Diane Van Der Woude of Central New York!)

Diane's Breakfast Casserole
  • 1 package (16 oz.) frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1 cup cooked, cubed ham
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5-7 eggs, beaten (recipe called for 5, I had seven left in the carton, it worked beautifully!)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T dry mustard
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion (preferably green onion)
  • Paprika, to taste
Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 13x9 pan. Spread defrosted hash browns in bottom of pan. Sprinkle ham over potatoes, then sprinkle cheese. Beat together milk, eggs, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Gently stir in green onions, and pour over cheese, ham and potatoes. Sprinkle generously with paprika. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Before cooking. It looks like there are WAY too few eggs in there...

But it bakes right up over all the chunky ingredients.

This recipe is very easy to make ahead of time, and is a delicious one-dish meal.

Another popular "Breakfast for Supper" around here is Baked Oatmeal from the Tidy Mom website. My kids love to sprinkle mini chocolate chips and heavy cream on it, or maple cream.

Baked Oatmeal with Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats (I always use old-fashioned, they work fine)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 13x9 pan. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread in pan and bake 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Serve with milk, cream, raisins, chocolate chips, fresh fruit, maple syrup, maple cream-- use your imagination!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pretzel Chicken with Mustard Dill Dipping Sauce

This is Cheyenne's favorite chicken recipe, she informs me. We've been having this fairly frequently; the dipping sauce is good as a salad dressing, too!

Pretzel Chicken
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups pretzels (NOT low sodium!)
  • 1 1/2 lbs chickens (I like using tenders)
  • Black pepper
If using large chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces. Crush the pretzels in the food processor until a coarse flour forms. (I like it still having largish chunks of pretzel.) Whisk the eggs with the Dijon mustard. Put the flour in a large shallow bowl, then the egg/mustard mixture in a second bowl, then the pretzel flour in a third bowl. Sprinkle chicken lightly with pepper, then dredge in the flour, then the egg mixture, then the pretzel mixture. Heat half a cup of oil (what the recipe calls for, I think I usually glug in more than that) in a skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking-- drop a little pretzel chunk in and it should immediately sizzle. (I have finally figured out how to fry things-- it takes the oil a long time to get up to heat, but it has to be truly hot for the frying to work. I generally start the oil heating before I start breading the chicken.) Cook on the first side until the pretzel coating is dark brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side about another two minutes. Serve with the mustard-dill sauce (essential!)

Mustard-Dill Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dried dill)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
Mix all together.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raisin Bars

The other day, I found of can of raisins that had been lurking in the back of the pantry until it was mighty near its expiration date. I knew I had made raisin bars one time that were a hit with the kids, but as much as I racked my brain, I could not think where I had found that recipe. Now, a week after making a ginormous batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, I found the recipe-- actually typed into my computer and ready to print. This only stiffened my resolve to try to actually get more recipes typed up and PRINTED OUT! And, hopefully, some up on here.

Raisin Bars


  • 2 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 3/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, heat raisins and water to boiling; simmer 15 minutes, then drain. Stir in applesauce, lemon juice and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press 2 ½ cups of the crumbs into a 13x9 ungreased pan. Spread raisin mixture over the crumbs. Sprinkle on remaining crumbs and press in lightly. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.

And, the oatmeal raisins cookies weren't a bad way to use raisins, either. And it's hard to improve upon the taste of this cookie dough. This is the recipe that is printed under the lid of the Quaker Oats cylinder.

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350°. Beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on sheet 1 minute; transfer to rack.