Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PW's Easy Potatoes Au Gratin

  • 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.
Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.
In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.
Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yellow Split Pea Soup

 Zachary made this project for his 100th day of school.  Each of the 10 characters has 10 of a different type of dried bean or pea, so that when you count by 10's they add up to 100.  We went to the bulk bins at Winco to get a small sample of each type of bean.  Most of them I have eaten before, but I'd never tried yellow split peas, so we bought extra and I made some soup.  (The yellow peas are on the 2nd '0'.)  The resulting soup had such a mild and yummy flavor.  I've made it several times since.  I didn't take a picture, though, as it looks like a bowl of yellow sludgy soup, and I'd rather look at that cute little face any time!

2 Tbl butter
1 onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
8 cups chicken stock (Make your own!)
2 cups dried yellow split peas
1 ham hock (Instead I bought a bone-in ham steak.  I cut off all the meat for another meal, and used the bone and the rough edge around the steak.).

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot.  Cook onion, celery, carrots, and S+P until onion is soft, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the turmeric, stock, peas, potatoes and pork.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer, covered, about 1 hour, or until peas are soft.  Remove the pork pieces.  Puree.  (I have an immersion blender that works perfectly, but you could also do it in batches in the blender.)  Adjust S+P to taste.

Banana "ice cream"

I read about making banana "ice cream" several places in a week, and wanted to try it out.  The only ingredient is ripened bananas, which you need to freeze.  So week after week I bought double batches of bananas, hoping to freeze 3 or 4 when they got ripe.  And week after week they all got eaten before they made it to the freezer.  I suppose there are worse things than banana lovin' kids.  So one week I bought three bunches of bananas, and finally got 4 into the freezer.

So all you need are frozen bananas.  You want them a tiny bit thawed, though, so either pull them out 15 minutes or so beforehand, or microwave them a tiny bit.  Then just break them into 2" chunks (or so) and put them in the food processor and blend, blend, blend.  They turn mushy, then suddenly transform into a creamy ice cream texture.  It was a huge hit with all the kids.  We just topped them with a few M&M's, but it would be good with peanut butter, or Quik powder, or caramel sauce, or ......

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast

  • 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Onions
  • 6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste
  • 1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
  • 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Preparation Instructions

First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 3/4 cups Butter
  • 1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half
  • 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Black Pepper

Preparation Instructions

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.
Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.

Crispy Chicken Burritos

 In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cooked white rice, 1 cup shredded cooked chicken, 1 can rinsed black beans (optional), 1/2 cup finely diced onion, 1/2 cup finely diced red peppers, 1 chopped avocado, 1 t chili power, 1 t cumin, 1 t garlic powder, chopped cilantro to taste.
 One by one, spread a thin layer of sour cream on a large tortilla, followed by shredded cheese.  Place a large scoop of the filling inside and wrap tightly.  Then in a large skillet, brown all sides of burrito in 2 T of cooking oil.  Bake in the oven for 15 min at 350 until hot throughout.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simple Berry Cobbler

I love it when I try a new recipe and know it is going to be a new staple in our household. This cobbler was so simple to throw together and so delicious with vanilla ice cream and whipped topping!

1 stick melted butter
1 - 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bisquick
1 cup milk
1-2 cups berries

Preparation Instructions

Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.
Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

Crock Pot Clam Chowder

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and diced

1 (6.5-ounce) can minced clams, drained

5 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 cup sliced celery

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups half-and-half (or you could use heavy cream)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (to add later)


Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Brown the bacon on the stovetop, and drain the accumulated grease (I saved bacon from breakfast-- about 6 4 slices (I accidentally ate a few...)

Put the bacon into your crockpot, and add clams. Add all the vegetables and spices and pour in the broth. Cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the onion is translucent and the potatoes squish easily with a fork.

Use a hand-held stick blender and pulse a few times to naturally thicken the soup. Stir in half and half and shredded cheese. Ladle into wide-mouthed bowls or bread bowls.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Steak Sandwiches


  • 1 whole Large (or 2 Small) Onions
  • 2 sticks Butter (lots And Lots Of Butter)
  • 2 pounds (to 3 Pounds) Cube Steak (tenderized Round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or Similar Seasoned Salt)
  • 1/2 cup (approximately) Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco Sauce, To Taste
  • 4 whole French/deli Rolls

Preparation Instructions

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.
Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides.
Add 1/2 cup (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 tablespoons butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.
Butter halved French rolls and brown in skillet.
To assemble, lay bottom half of French roll on plate. Place meat mixture, followed by a spoonful of juice from the pan. Top with other half of roll, cut in half, and devour!