Sunday, April 29, 2012

Slippery Pot Pie

  This has been a family favorite for generations.  My mother made it.  My mother-in-law made, as well as her mother and her mother's mother and so on.  Some of our ancestors were from Germany and some settled in Pennsylvania; hence, Pennsylvania Dutch. 
    You can buy a whole chicken for this or you can do as I do and use the chicken parts that your family don't like such as necks, wings, back bones and giblets.  I save them in a large ziploc bag in the freezer until I have enough.  If your chicken was previously frozen, then cook off the parts and freeze the broth and chicken for another time.  It will keep well in your freezer for about 6 weeks.  
    This is what the recipe calls for.
1 large chicken
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (I don't always put them in, because I don't need the extra carbs)
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
Cover chicken with water and cook in large pot, until tender.  
Remove chicken from broth and set aside to cool and debone.  ( if you refridgerate broth for several hours or over night, fat will rise to the top and is easy to remove.)
Add vegetables to broth with salt and pepper.  When the broth is boiling, add the pot pie dough.
Pot Pie Dough
4 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups milk (This is where you can get rid of some milk that might be out of date by a few days)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 beaten egg
Mix ingredients and knead into a firm mixture.  divide in half and using a rolling pin roll first half out on lightly floured surface.  Cut dough into squares 1 1/2 inches or smaller.  Drop squares into boiling broth, repeat with rest of dough.  Cook until dough is puffed and tender.  It is served as a stew. 
Vegetables that go well with this is cole slaw, pepper slaw, peas, carrots, broccoli, or Salad. I sometimes add carrots or peas to the pot pie when cooking.  My children don't like peas very much, so if they are here for dinner, I won't.
My husband, children and grandchildren say the best part is the dough.  I will admit that the dough is delicious, but I love all of it equally.
If you don't like chicken, beef is good as well.  I heard stories of my grandfather-in-law (Brant) hunting for squirrels or rabbits for pot pie.  I have also had ham and bean pot pie at the fire hall.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Polynesian Sausage Dish

Friday, April 13, 2012

Texas Toast French Toast

This is a delicious family loved recipe.  It's a break from the normal Saturday morning pancakes.
8 eggs
12 oz canned milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 slices Texas toast
Whisk eggs well.  Add the rest of ingredients and whisk until well blended, making sure that sugar and salt dissolve.  Pour egg mixture into a sheet cake pan.  Place Texas toast slices in egg mixture, rotating to coat well until all liquid is soaked up.  Sprinkle each side with cinnamon.  Bake on a lightly greased griddle at 350 until golden brown on the outside and puffy in the middle. Serves 6.
Serve with lots of butter and maple syrup.  Jellies or honey are also good.  Perhaps some slice fruit with yogurt for a healthy breakfast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cooking like Grandma

Cooking can be fun and relaxing. Recipes can come from a book or from the imagination of the cook. When creating a new dish, my family will ask, “What is it?” It is simply, “Mother’s or Grandmother’s imagination!” This is the way my grandmother cooked all the time and if you asked what was in the dish, it was ‘a pinch of this and a dash of that…...’ I never saw a cookbook or even a loose recipe at Grandma’s house. I spent my summers with Grandma and even stayed a whole school year. I do tell the ingredients in my dish, but usually after everyone has tried it, in the event I put something in that they are not fond of. This is a way of getting them to like something they never liked before. Another way of cooking is to start with a recipe and make it your own by adding or subtracting ingredients or simply adjusting the ingredients to our liking. Some recipes are changed because of being too fattening or contains an ingredient someone can’t have or simply to please the taste buds.
I especially like to use ‘Grandmother’s imagination’ when I run short on meat. Making a one dish meal is a way of stretching 2 servings of meat to feed 3-4 people or 4 servings to feed 6-8. Cooking like this does not take a lot of time. I can usually have something like this ready well within the hour. I pull out my favorite pan, called an ‘every day pan’ because you can use it pretty much every day. If I only had one pan in my kitchen, this would be the one. However, a skillet or a Dutch oven will work as well. I put just a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the pan and sauté meat that has been cut into strips or bites or ground or chopped and then add what I might compliment the dish that day; which could be onions, peppers (yellow, red, orange or green) and garlic. Often, I put celery, carrots and potatoes. If the mood strikes I might deglaze the pan with red or white wine, mostly, it’s either water or chicken broth and the amount is based upon whether I want to make a soup or a stew or just a main dish meal. I might add some rice or pasta to the dish to thicken it or to make it go further if it seems a little small for the amount of people. Adding one or two cans of beans, like cannellini, great northern, pinto or kidney will make a more nutritious dish as you add more fiber. Most recipes call for the beans to be drained of all liquid, I just dump the whole can into the pan. I always add the beans last and heat them through. I don’t like mushy beans.
Sometimes I add spices to this kind of a dish.  If I want Italian, add Italian spices and a can of diced or crushed tomatoes.  Mexican you would add taco seasoning and serve with cheese and sour cream.  To become Cajun, add Cajun spices and the meat would be sausage.
Sides are not a problem with these dishes as they can be very simple since you already have a lot of vegetables in the main dish. Buttered bread (store bought or homemade) is the simplest. My family love corn bread. A side salad will go nicely or Cole slaw. For dessert, if you have room, ice cream or simply pound cake.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sausage and Steamed Vegetables

Last night was one of those last minute 'What to Fix for Dinner' kind of days.  Breakfast sausage won out over all the other things in my freezer.  Besides, my family loves sausage of most any kind.

6-8 small carrots
1 small yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
olive oil or butter
fresh ground pepper
basil (my seasoning of choice when it comes to carrots)
12 little links or breakfast sausage (3 for each person)
1 leftover baked potato (since the little ones aren't fond of fried potatoes)
sliced onions and sliced peppers

Peel carrots and sliced them about 1/4 inch thick and place them in the bottom of the steamer pan.  Then wash and slice squash about 1/4 inch thick and lay them over the carrots.  Wash and clean red bell pepper and slice 1/4 inch thick and layer them over the squash.  Place steamer pan over boiling water, cover and adjust heat to med-high.  Steam until desired tenderness.  Place steam vegetables in serving dish, season as desired, (this is when I use the olive oil, salt, pepper and basil).  Cover to keep warm until serving.
Cook the sausage in a pan or skillet (I used my every day pan) over med heat.  I had one leftover baked potato, so I cut it into small cubes and browned it with some onion and peppers in the every day pan after the sausage was cooked.  Simply move the sausage to the edge of the pan to stay warm and put the potatoes, onion and peppers in the middle, then season with salt and pepper.

I was really looking for something low-calorie and lots of vegetables. Dinner was very colorful.  Since my husband does not particularly like squash, I didn't know how the steamed vegetables would work.  However, he told me it was a nice mix of vegetables and they went well with the sausage.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Warmer weather means Deviled Eggs

My husband loves deviled eggs, more than that, he loves my deviled eggs.  I use very little mayonnaise and plenty of yellow mustard.  Over the years I have made deviled eggs for friends and church groups and even in our restaurant. These are the ingredients I use:

9 eggs that are not too fresh
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
yellow mustard (French's is the one I prefer)
fresh ground pepper

I don't use really fresh eggs as they don't peel very well after cooking.  Then your eggs look like the dibbets on a golf ball.  Place older eggs in a pan of cold water covering the eggs by an inch, place over medium high heat and bring to a simmer.  Turn the heat off and cover with a lid for 15 minutes.  Drain the water, cool down with cold water and peel the eggs.
Cut eggs in half so they will be oval in shape.  Remove the yolks to a small bowl, using a fork, mash with to taste salt, add the mayonnaise, fresh ground pepper, and enough mustard to make it the consistency you desire.  Fill the hollows of the egg whites with the yolk mixture.  Sprinkle with paprika, chill and serve.

You can vary the proportions to your own taste.  If I am serving them today, I use less mustard.  If I am serving them tomorrow, I use more mustard.  Good deviled eggs don't need pickles and relish.  I save those for the hot dogs and hamburgers.