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Archive for April, 2011

If you have never had homemade drop biscuits, you truly are missing out.  The flavor is amazing, not to mention they are about the most simple biscuits to make.  With no rolling of dough, kneading or need for mixer anyone can make them.

As earlier this week I whipped up a huge batch of baked beans, these biscuits are what I often serve along with the “slop” or leftover juices once you ate the beans.  I’ve actually been known to fish out the beans from juices with a slotted spoon, just to have the broth left over for a meal with these biscuits later in week. My kids often think I’m crazy, but are first to belly up to the table when it’s dinner time. They also are delicious served with honey butter (son’s favorite) or maple syrup (daughter’s favorite).

Cornmeal Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt (optional, I omit this)

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp dried basil  (or oregano, sage, thyme to your choosing)

1 cup milk (whole, 2 %, 1 %)

Grease cookie sheets and set to side,  pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients, add butter and stir in cheese.  Add milk until just moistened.   Drop onto cookie sheet in 1/4 cup portions (I just use a large tablespoon from silverware which is heaping, works fine with no measuring fuss.).  Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 10-12 biscuits.

Variations:  Add any of the following, bacon, pepperoni, jalapenos, sundried tomatoes, green chile’s, green & red diced peppers or corn.

 

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Isn’t this the most beautiful sight? No? Well to me it is.  This jar means lots of breads, rolls, biscuits, waffles and pancakes to be eaten.  This is my wheat sourdough starter.  This starter is older then my daughter and almost as old as my son who is now 10.  I’ve nurtured it assuring its kept warm in winter, and not to hot in summer. Even protected it during hurricanes.  So long as I feed it properly, and keep it warm it’s been perfectly happy with me.

I’ll admit, starter and I did not have a pleasant beginning.  It intimidated me.  Thankfully this starter recipe has been very forgiving to me and we have become …on a bread level…best friends.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 1/2 tsp active yeast

Combine in glass jar or bowl.  Cover with loose lid or saran wrap with holes poked in to let gas escape.  Place in warm location and let culture for at least 18 hours.  Stir several times a day, or whenever you go into kitchen for coffee or kids requests.  To “feed” your starter, after using replace with 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, stir and let culture 24 hours again before using.

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I purchased 60 lbs of potatoes the other day.  Half of these went to making hashbrowns, the other half went into making Country fries, or American fries.  These are basically just diced potatoes fried brown like a hashbrown.

To make these I used the same method for making hashbrowns. Peel and boil the potatoes to near done and put in refrigerator until cool or overnight. Next day cut into cubes and fry in oil on stove.

These are excellent freezer staples and are wonderful reheated. Just refry in pan, or put in oven to reheat.  They can even be microwaved.

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30 pounds of potatoes. Turned into delicious, crispy hash-browns frozen for meals.  We, being my family and I, do not need the sodium, additives, preservatives, fats and fillers found in bags of frozen hash browns from stores.  When we want hash-browns we would like crispy potato strings with a little pepper, slather some homemade ketchup on top and good to go. Nothing fancy, but oh so tasty.

Price? Well for 30 lbs of potatoes, it cost me $5.00. This made 10 Ziploc baggies of 4 – 1 cup servings.  You do the math.

I never had much luck with grating a uncooked potato and stopping them from turning a rather ugly grey color before getting them cooked.  I finally found the secret.  Prior to grating, pre-boil the potato until near done but still “firm” enough to grate.  Put in refrigerator overnight to cool and grate the next day.

At this point you can freeze them in baggies “raw” or fry them and freeze them.  I’ve done both methods, but usually just fry first then freeze.  To re-heat either return to pan, put in oven, or microwave.  Quick, simple and budget saving.

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As said in a earlier post, beans are a meat substitute in this household.  Refried beans are simple to make, inexpensive, and taste great with so many dishes, or just on their own. They also freeze well and can be canned making them an added blessing.

Refried Beans

2 cups pinto beans

1/2 cup bacon drippings

1/2 tsp garlic powder

7 cups water

salt to taste

Place beans in large pot with 7 cups water.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer, simmer 2 hours. Add more water if water level gets low.

When beans are extremely soft, prepare large skillet by heating drippings on medium heat.  Using potato masher, mash beans then add to the drippings, stir in garlic powder and salt to taste.

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Baked beans are a weekly meat substitute in this household.  The children love them and even after the beans have been eaten, the broth makes a wonderful sop for biscuits.  I stumbled upon this recipe a year ago and loved it. I can’t say it is exactly Bush’s, but it’s pretty close if not better in flavor.  Times I want to alter the flavor a bit for variety, I will add a cup of barbeque sauce or some liquid smoke but never steer away from the basic recipe base.

I often make a large roaster pan or two full.  Then freeze (family size servings), or can.

Copycat Bush’s Baked Beans

Link

* 1 package great northern bean
* 4 chicken bouillon cubes or beef bouillon cubes
* 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/4 cup onion
* 1/4 cup garlic powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
* 4 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
* 1/2 package hickory smoked thick cut bacon, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips

* 5 cups water, plus 5 cups for second bake

Directions
In a very large sauce pan cover the beans and bouillon cubes in 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and let sit for 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain and pour beans into a 9’x11′ pan.

Combine the remaining ingredients, pour over beans, stir, and bake until all the water has evaporated, about 3 hours. Remove from oven, cover, and let sit overnight.

Next day, Add the next 5 cups of water to the beans, place in oven at 350F and bake until all the water has evaporated, about 3 hours.

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When I said I wanted to drink my breakfast, this was not exactly what I had in mind.  Yet, being not given option for my original desires, this is a good substitute.  For this I used a whey protein substitute fortified with iron as I have a condition in which proteins and irons are rapidly consumed by my system and if I don’t consume enough to counter things go south real fast. You could just as well use Carnation style instant breakfast if you desired.

To make is exceptionally simple. (For single serving):  1 banana, 1 slice mango, 1 scoop protein mix or 1 packet instant breakfast (Flavor of choice), 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp wheat germ.

Place in blender (I use a rocket blender but any would work),  and pulse until liquefied.  Serve immediately.

A simple breakfast or mid-morning, afternoon snack that is tasty, holds you over and is healthy for you too.   These are excellent for children with the Instant breakfasts to help get nutrition into the more picky eaters, as well as for elderly.  These shakes (minus the honey) were one of the first foods I used while transitioning them into solids.

Cheers!

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We all seen them in the store, and odds are we all have at some time purchased them also, especially if we have children.  French Toast sticks are so easy to make and freeze it is outlandish the prices they ask for a box of them.  To make them at home is super easy, all you need is to make french toast and cut it into sticks, flash freeze, then bag up.  When ready to use them, take a few out, put them in oven, toaster oven, microwave or even toaster and you have yourself a breakfast or snack.  I truly hope that rather then spend money on additives, preservatives and useless filler sugars and starches, you will stock your freezer with some healthy and homemade foods for you and yours.

Freezer French Toast Sticks.

8 slices bread (Texas, French, White, Wheat)

1/4 cup melted butter

4 eggs

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup milk

3/4 tsp vanilla

Heat skillet on stove top, prepare with PAM cooking spray or a small pat of butter.

In bowl mix together butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and milk.  Beat well to combine.

Dip bread slices into milk/egg mixture (do NOT do more then 2 at time or the rest will get soggy).

Lay slices two at time in skillet and fry golden on one side, then flip and do same on other. Set on cookie sheet side by side.

Do remaining slices in same fashion.

Let cool roughly five minutes before cutting.  Cut each piece into 3 pieces to create 3 sticks.

Place cookie sheet in freezer to flash freeze, then bag or put in Glad style container.  Pull out as many pieces as you need and simply reheat to serve.   Serve with honey, syrup or fruit syrup of choice.

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This week is time to replenish the freezer breakfast meals. Earlier this week I made a double batch of bread just for this occasion as French Toast Sticks and French Toast Bars were first on the order.   These are so simple to make and so easy to reheat in microwave.  They freeze nicely but also are delicious fresh from oven.  I’ve taken them to brunches, used them for desert dishes as well as for quick breakfasts around there.  They are not overly sweet, the sweetness is given from the bites of fruit more then from sugars and additives. You can choose to serve them as are, using powdered sugar, maple syrup or a fruit sauce poured over top.  These particular ones are blueberry and cream cheese, but you might also choose peaches, apricots, pears, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, insertion of coconut or nuts.  Again options truly are endless so long as you know the basic construction.

Fruited French Toast Bars

9×9 cake pan

2 cups bread, cubed  (You can remove crust if you want, I don’t.)

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

4 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 bar cream cheese, softened and cubed

1 cup fruit of choice

1/2 cup additions (nuts, coconut)

Prepare your pan, you can choose to butter it (what I do) or use Pam style cooking spray.

Put your bread cubes in a bowl, add the cream cheese cubes and stir to combine.  In a second bowl add your eggs, beat well.  Then milk, maple syrup and spices.  Stir well and pour over the bread cubes.  Let bread sit in the liquid for 15 -30 minutes to absorb.

Pour the entire contents into your prepared pan.  Sprinkle/or lay pieces of your fruit of choice on top, same with your additions.  Bake  uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes or until it no longer wiggles in center.

Remove and let sit for 10 minutes to set before cutting and serving.

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