Monday, April 13, 2015

Chicken Potpie

Erika requested potpie for her birthday dinner. This was very good!  And honestly because I can freeze it, I think it is something I'll do again.  I have one in my freezer to see how that goes in awhile and I'll get back to you on that.

Chicken Potpie
Modified from Taste of Home

3 potatoes, peeled and diced (they had 2 cups...this was just under 3 cups for me)
1 cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup onion, diced
1 cup flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp pepper
4.5 cups chicken broth (I used bouillon cubes and hot water...the only had 3 here...I felt it needed more)
1.5 cups milk
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 bag (12 oz) frozen mixed vegetables (they did just peas and corns and cooked carrots with the potatoes...this was easier for me)
1 pkg (14.1 oz) refrigerated pie pastry
Preheat to 425.  Place potatoes in saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook, covered, for 8-10 minutes or until tender. 

Meanwhile, heat butter over medium high heat.  Add onion, cook and stir until tender.  Stir in flour and seasonings until blended.  Gradually stir in milk and broth.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in chicken, potatoes and vegetables.  Remove from heat. 

Put the mixture into pie plates (so they did a bottom crust, I didn't)...they got 2...I actually got three...but I had more liquid and more veggies.  I actually think I'm going to use a bigger pan next time, so this is deeper, so I might get back down to 2....I just froze the third one.  Top each with pastry.  Trim, seals and flute edges.  Cut slits in the top.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.  Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Makes 2 potpies (I got three), 8 servings each. 

Freezer option: Cover and freeze unused pie.  To use, remove from freezer 30 minutes before (do not thaw).  Preheat oven to 425.  Cover pies loosely with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven to 350.  Bake for 70-80 minutes longer or until crust is golden and interval temperature is 165. 

New Gift in a Jar

This is out of season, but I like to test all recipes before using, so I try to get "ahead" on testing!

These were really good. I did both the cranberry and cherry version I talk about. Without the walnuts (which I don't like) they are very moist and soft. I think the walnuts would help make them more "solid."  For gifts, I'd probably do some of each as many people are allergic. 

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie Mix
Modified from Country Woman
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped walnuts (or use more dried fruit, which is what I did as I don't like nuts, but since these will be gifts, I'll porbably do some each way)
1/2 cup shredded wheat, crushed
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or cherries...I tried this both ways....both were good...I like cherries better, so I liked that better, but cranberries are very seasonal)

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  In one quart jar, layer flour mixture, sugar, brown sugar, oats, walnuts, cereal and cranberries.  Attach cooking instructions.

Cooking Directions:
1 jar oatmeal cranberry cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 egg
 2 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat butter, egg, water and vanilla until well blended.  Add cookie mix and mix well.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cook for 1 minute before removing to wire racks for cooling. 
Makes about 2 dozen. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

BBQ Beef Pot Pie

This was yummy and VERY easy. Also a great use up for leftover stuffing!

BBQ Beef Pot Pie
Modified from Simple & Delicious

1 lb hamburger
1/3 cup onion, diced
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3 cups cooked cornbread stuffing (6 oz pkg)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shopped red pepper
In large skillet, cooked beef, onions and pepper until beef is no longer pink.  Meanwhile, cook stuffing (this is also a good use up for leftover stuffing).  Stir in mixed veggies, salsa and BBQ sauce.  Cook, covered, over medium low for 4-5 minutes or until heated through.  
Layer stuffing over beef.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cook, covered, for about 3-5 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Serves 4.

Sweet and Savory Pulled Beef

I made this awhile back with a moose roast and it was quite yummy.  I really liked the sweet and savory about it and I liked that it went well over noodles. It would also be fine as a sandwich to serve a crowd.

Sweet and Savory Pulled Beef
Modified from Country Woman

***Needs a Crock Pot***
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp barbecue seasoning
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 (3 lb) boneless roast
3 tbsp. oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
egg noodles, cooked
Combine first six ingredients.  Cut roast in half and rub seasonings on it.  In large skillet, brown beef in oil on all sides.  Transfer to a 4-5 quart crock pot.  Ton with onion and red pepper. 

In small bowl, combine the rest of ingredients up to the egg noodles.  Pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
Remove roast and cool slightly (they strained the sauce, that's up to you, I didn't bother). Shred beef and add back to the juices.  Serve over noodles (or on hamburger buns). 
Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Rhubarb-Raspberry Crumble

This was a new recipe for Easter. It was quite yummy. I don't like rhubarb in general and I liked this (I do like raspberry). Ray loves rhubarb, but not raspberry and he liked this as well, so a great compromise dessert. We served with ice cream and it tasted great (I did chocolate, he did vanilla).  We have several big rhubarb plants at our new house, so this is a great new use for it. 

Rhubarb-Raspberry Crumble
Modified from Eating Well

8 cups sliced rhubarb (I didn't end up having as much as I thought, so I was closer to 1:1, rhubarb to raspberry, but I liked the turnout, so next time, I might mix the complete total (which is about 9 1/2 cups fruit) in the fruit and do more raspberries, less rhubarb)
1 1/2 cups raspberries
2/3 cups sugar (I used Splenda here)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour (You can use 1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup rye if you want, I didn't)
6 tbsp packed brown sugar (I used the Splenda brown sugar blend)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (I just broke up in my hands)
Preheat oven to 375.  Coat a 9 by 13 pan with cooking spray. 
To make filling, combine all the ingredients in prepared baking dish.  Let stand you make the topping.
To make the topping, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut butter into the flour mixture until pea sized. Squeeze a handful of dough firmly in palm of your hand crumble coarsely over rhubarb mixture.  Continue until evenly covered.  Sprinkle with pecans....I didn't do this...I did it as served so people could choose nuts or nuts (I don't like nuts).

Bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 50 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

Serves 10.

Honey Oat Rolls

This was a new recipe for Easter. I think these could be really good....I think I did something wrong in the last step as it didn't rise enough so the rolls were fairly hard and small.  I need to work on it some more. I'd like to try to get this into my bread maker at least until the last step (divide into rolls).

Honey Oat Rolls
Modified from Country Woman
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 pkg (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
4 tbsp. butter
1 egg

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup flour, whole wheat flour, oats, yeast and salt.  In a small saucepan, heat water, honey and butter to between 120 to 130 degrees (I actually did this in the microwave and just checked the temperature before I dumped it in).  Add to the dry ingredients, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes (I used my dough hook here).  Add egg, beat 2 minutes longer.  Stir in enough of remaining flour (I used 2 1/2 cups total) to form a soft dough (will still be sticky).  Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes (I did most of this in the mixer, just doing the last minute or so by hand).  Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (they said about an hour, this took me more like 2). 

Punch dough down.  Turn dough into lightly floured surface.  Divide and shape into 24 rolls.  Place balls into a greased pan or muffin pan.  Cover with towel and let rise until doubled about 30 minutes (I let it go at least an hour and I don't think it rose enough...something went wrong here...this didn't rise enough for me...I need to work on it). 

Preheat oven to 375.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.  Can brush with butter. 
Makes 2 dozen. 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Beef, Rice & Pepper Skillet

I made this recipe and while I wasn't too enamored, Ray loved it. And Ray doesn't usually like rice dishes (which I love), so this is a great compromise dish for us when I want rice.

Beef, Rice & Pepper Skillet
Modified from Simple & Delicious

1 lb hamburger
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth (I used bouillon)
1 tbsp. chili powder (I thought this was really spicy...might tone it down next time because the kids really had a tough time with this spice I am thinking more like 1/2 tbsp)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 garlic powder
2 cups instant brown rice (I was skeptical, but they sell it here so it is common enough and it wasn't too bad)
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Colby Jack cheese (I thought this needed more...I actually added more to my serving on top)

Cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink.  Add tomatoes, broth, chili powder, salt and garlic.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in rice and peppers.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 8-10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand, covered, until cheese melts.
Makes 6 servings.
Freezer option: Cool before mixture before adding cheese and freeze.  To use, partially thaw overnight.  Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasioning and adding broth if necessary.  Sprinkle with cheese. 


I made this recipe for my brother and sister-in-law recently so they could eat it or freeze (they ate it). I only made half the recipe, so I got two entrees (we ate the other).  My biggest issue with manicotti is that I think the ricotta/cottage cheese is always too overpowering, so I "fixed" that here by fixing in meat. I really liked the result.  This was very simple and would freeze really well! 

Modified from Fix, Freeze and Feast
1 (24 oz) container of cottage cheese (3 cups)
2 lbs hamburger, cooked and crumbled (you can also use Italian sausage here...I used my father's Italian moose burger)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups shredded mozzarella (about 12 oz)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 (8 oz) boxes manicotti (12-14 shells per box), uncooked
12 cups Basic Red Sauce (I used the small batch)
Mix cottage cheese, cooked meat, eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Stuff into manicotti shells.  (I got slightly more filled manicotti than they did....I think the issues it that I halved the cottage cheese and replaced it with meat and the meat takes up more space). 
Spread 1/2 cup of red sauce in the bottom of each baking dish (you should have four, 8 by 8 each).  Place 6-7 (or 1/ I said, I had a few more) manicotti in each dish.  Divide the rest of the red sauce among the four dishes. 
Wrap in plastic wrap.  Top with foil and freeze.
To Cook Frozen Entrée
Thaw in refrigerator overnight or bake frozen (I'd be warned on frozen...the last time I tried to bake from frozen one of their dishes it took WAY longer than they by TWO HOURS).  Preheat oven to 350.  Remove plastic wrap and foil, then replace foil.  Bake for 45 minutes if thawed, 1 hour if frozen.  Bake until noodles are tender. 
Makes 4 entrees, 4 servings each. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Our Crazy Life

So as most of you know, Ray has been working on his Ph.D for quite awhile. He finally got his dissertation topic approved this fall (it was a long, very arduous process, not helped by moving and getting a new job in the midst!).  So this semester he is doing the research.  It is actually going pretty well, but it has meant a very rough term for him.  In addition, I started teaching face to face for the first time in a decade, at a new college.  To get "in the door," I had to take the classes already as scheduled....which meant I couldn't pick up the kids two days a week from school.  Luckily, my parents have filled in, picking up and keeping the kids two days a week until Ray manages to get home.  But this means the kids have late nights, we have late nights...just in general a lot on our plates. 

Adam has been playing hockey, which he has really enjoyed and I think we found a great league.  But, seriously, we started in October and we just NOW (like Saturday...the day before Easter....really?) finishing up. It has been a LONG season.  We are all ready for a change a break. It hasn't helped that the last month, tournament time for the "big" kids, has been crazy on practice schedule.  And they wonder why attendance is low.....

Both boys are doing okay in school, liking the new school (they'll switch again in the fall, so we get bussing...I definitely am looking forward to bussing!), but with Andrew going half days, it means two drop offs and then a pick up time.  Definitely hard on everyone! 

So we are all making it through, but we are looking forward to the end of spring term!  This will mean Ray's research is done, my schedule straightens out and the boys are almost done with school (we end mid May here).  After a crazy summer last year (moving just sucked up our entire summer), we are looking forward to a leisurely summer, which we are all hoping we get! Both Ray and I are teaching summer school, but we aren't on the same days (I'm MW, he's TR, so then the boys always have someone home), so hopefully each of us can really enjoy some time with the boys and get stuff done around the house as we didn't even get to touch the yard last year, moving in in October.