Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's my Party!

So yesterday was my birthday, 35, I know I don't look a day over 34! Gordon had a little get together for me with friends and family. He prepared his famous meatball subs that I LOVE. As promised I am going to post his recipe. As well as the recipe for the cake he and Olivia made for me. The cake is not a family recipe. They made it from my Taste of Home recipe collection. That is one of my favorite cooking magazines to subscribe to. I forgot to take pictures of the meatballs but did get some shots of the cake before it was devoured!

Gordon's Grubbing Meatball Subs

2 lbs leanest ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
1/4 green bell pepper chopped fine
1 tbsp minced garlic or to your taste(we like alot)
2 eggs
Italian seasoned bread crumbs (enough to help meat mixture stick together)
French Bread Sandwich rolls (enough to feed your guests)
Provolone Cheese (enough for 1 slice ea sandwich roll)
Jar Plain Marinara sauce (we use Newman's Own)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first six ingredients together well. Place in skillet coated with olive oil to brown on all sides. The best method is to steam the meatballs for about 20 minutes. If you don't have a way to steam you can bake them as well, this may dry them out unless you cover them with foil while baking.

While the meatballs are cooking slice the sandwich rolls if they aren't presliced and heat the marinara in a sauce pan on medium low heat.

Once the meatballs are done, place 2-3 in a sandwich roll, top with desired amount marinara then 1 slice provolone folded in two.

Place in oven and heat until cheese is melted and bubbly. This is a knife and fork sandwich for sure! Enjoy!

Cookies-and-Cream Cake

1 package (18-1/4 oz) white cake mix
1-1/4 cups water
1/3 cup veg oil
3 egg whites
1 cup coarsely crushed Oreo Cookies (about 8)

4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 milk
1 tsp vanilla
Additioanl Oreas halved for toppping and crushed for sides (Gordon didn't do this step)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, water, oil, & egg whites. Beat on low until moist; beat on high for 2 minutes. Gently fold in crushed cookies.

Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 in round baking pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, beat the sugar, shortening, milk, & vanilla in another large bowl until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. If desired, decorate top with cookie halves and sides with crushed cookies.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting Organized!

My cookbooks and cooking magazins are every where. I can never find the recipe I want when I want it. So Olivia and went to Office Depot today to get some organizational tools for my cookbook collections. You know, that new year's resolution thing. I am excited at the prospect of being able to find what I need at my finger tips instead of searching in frustration every time I want to pass on a recipe, as is often requested of me.

Please check back for the photo of my finished project in a day or two!

Tomorrow is my birthday and Gordon is having a little get together for me. He is actually cooking this meal! My favorite that he does is meatball subs. He doesn't really have a recipe but I will do my best to write it down tomorrow night as he cooks then post it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Some Family Favorites

I can't even remember where I got this recipe but I've made it so much now that I know it by heart. I have many requests for it from friends and family.

Cream Cheese Potato Soup

*4 cups chicken broth
*2 cups water
*2-8 oz bricks cream cheese
*1/2 medium white onion chopped
*Enough green onions to use for topping for the whole pot-about 12-16-chopped
*1/4 tsp black pepper
*1/2 tsp dill (McCormick's w/the red top is the best)
*Cubed ham to your liking (My husband likes a lot so when I make it for us I put in more than when I make it for other people)
*Shredded sharp cheddar cheese for topping
*30 oz bag frozen cubed hash brown potatoes

In large stock pot heat broth and water to boil. While liquid is heating up cube cream cheese. Once liquid is to almost a rolling boil add black pepper, dill, and cream cheese. Stirring often heat until cream cheese is completely melted. Add onion, ham, and hash browns. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with warm french bread and topped with shredded cheese and green onions.

Swiss Steak
This was handed down to me from my mom. She would make this on Sundays because she could pop it in the crock pot before church and it would be ready when we got home.

1 package round steak or enough to feed your family cut into serving sizes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion sliced lengthwise
1 package sliced baby portabello mushrooms
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper

Turn crock pot on high while preparing food. Mix all ingredients together except meat. It will be chunky but will thin as it cooks. Layer meat and sauce until all are added to crock. Turn crock to low and cook for 6-8 hours depending on the quantity of meat in crock. If your family likes a lot of sauce you can add another can of cream of mushroom and tomatoes.

Serve with Yukon gold mashed potatoes.

Painted Pork Chops

Funny Story! When my brother was just a toddler my step mom was making these pork chops that you brush mustard onto. My little brother happens into the kitchen and says, "Painted Pork Chops!" So the name stuck, he is now 21. We still make Painted Pork Chops and love to tell the story.

*Enough pork chops to serve your family, you can use boneless or bone in, I use medium thickness boneless
*Mix regular yellow mustard and dijon mustard half and half to fill to 1/4 cup
*Bread crumbs with seasoning or corn flake crumbs to coat pork chops

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the two mustards well then coat the chops, don't overcoat however. Coat with crumbs. Bake at least 30 minutes or until coating is crispy and pork is done in center.

Well, that's all for tonight. I'm tired. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have.

Starting something new.

This seems to be my theme the past few months. My daughter, Olivia started all day kindergarten in September. At the same time I went back to college full time to finish up my prerequisites to get into the nursing program at a local college. Now I'm blogging about my life and most especially my favorite domestic duty, cooking. I will share some recipes that have been my family's favorites and as I try new ones that are a hit I'll pass those on as well.

Tonight we had a family favorite, chicken and dumplings, but I changed it up a little and it was a huge success! Enjoy!

Homestyle Chunky Chicken & Dumplings

*1 Whole Chicken w/skin

*1 Whole medium white onion cut in two

*1/2 lb carrots peeled and sliced into bite size chunks

*1 carton sliced portabello mushrooms (optional) this was my new feature

*4 stalks celery cut down middle then sliced up coarsely

*2-3 gloves garlic, crushed

*2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped

*2 bay leaves

*1/2 tsp onion powder

*1/2 tsp black pepper (I used a 1/4 tsp and did not feel it was enough.)

*At least 2 qts chicken broth (you will need enough to cover the chicken once you put it in your stock pot, you could make up difference with water)

*3 cans store bought refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, qaurtered (You can make your own biscuit dough but that is way too much work for me!) Keep refrigerated until just ready for this step.

Add chicken broth to stock pot large enough to hold whole chicken. Bring liquid to boil while washing chicken inside and out. Remember to remove innards and discard. Place chicken in hot liquid adding more liquid to cover if needed. Add bay leaves, parsley, black pepper, onion halves, onion powder, and crushed garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat immediately to medium; simmer for 1 hour.

Remove chicken from the broth and set aside to cool. Add carrots and celery to broth and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully skin and debone chicken in large bite size chunks and set aside.

Once the carrots are tendder it's time to add the dumplings. Get one can of biscuits at a time from the fridge. Cut each biscuit into four pieces. Once you have cut all the biscuits from all the cans start adding them to your pot. This is a delicate process. Add 3 or 4 at a time and keep moving them around, pushing them under the liquid until they are all added. They will really puff up at first and you will think there is not enough room but they will cook down and it will be fine, just be patient.

Now add the chicken back in and the mushrooms and cook for an additional 10 minutes. This is a great hearty meal for cold winter months!