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Friday, September 23, 2011

Elvis and the Breadmachine

 Okay, we all know I really love my bread machine and I do enjoy an Elvis tune now and then, but while looking over my past postings, I noticed that I do tend to focus on bread recipes. Does this fascination warrant a name change of my blog? Possibly changing the whole focus of my blog? Is homemade bread a "Cents-able Dining" choice? Will I ever get to the point of this post and what do Elvis and bread machines have in common?
  Well, bread-making hits that mark of  "Cents-able Dining" on several points. With a 5-pound bag of King Arthur flour purchased at Wal-mart for $3.58, I can make at least 6 to 8 loaves of bread per month. Not only can I make a crusty white bread that holds up to any soups or stews that I make, I can also make sweet treats that allow me to monitor that amount of sugars that go into the bread or cake rather than some sugar-laden box mix. Even if I choose, I can replace the sugar with Splenda or natural honey. The options are limitless.
  So I began searching the net, looking at one recipe after the other, trying to find the perfect sweet treat. I tried several recipes, but nothing pleased my pallet. I was beginning to get the "Princess and the Pea" feeling. This loaf was too sweet, this loaf was not sweet enough, and this loaf was just plain bad. Well, last week while perusing the shelves at our local library, I found a real gem of a cookbook. This little treasure is called  "The Big Book of Bread Machine Recipes" by Donna Rathmell German.
  This cookbook has every kind of bread, cake and roll that one would ever want or need to try. The author has also taken time in the forward to explain different issues that can arise when making bread: which flours are best to use, and what one can do with rarer types of flours not found at your local grocery store.
  But, by far, my favorite recipe has to be the Peanut Butter Banana Bread. After eating a slice of this, I can now see why Elvis was so very fond of Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches. You too will be crooning "Love me Tender" after one taste. The bread is just sweet enough to curb any sugar craving but, not so sweet to leave you in a diabetic coma. The mashed bananas not only add moisture but also give the bread a lovely aroma. For breakfast, I sliced two nice pieces of bread and placed a little smear of cream cheese that had a little touch of honey in it. Let's just say I was "All Shook Up" after one taste !
  So "Don't be Cruel" to your friends and family, stir up a loaf of this yummy bread.
Peanut Butter Banana Bread
3 Ripe bananas mashed
1/2 cups peanut butter
1 egg
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons yeast
Follow your manufacturer's directions for placing ingredients in bread pan. If dough is a little dry during the mixing process add warm water a tablespoon at a time (added 4 tablespoons). Check after the kneading cycle to see if bread is too wet or dry, make any needed changes.

Sorry that there are no pictures to share but, the bread disappeared that fast !
As always my fork is at the ready,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Menu Plan

Hold on tight kids ! I have another great menu planned for the upcoming week. Also, along with this plan I have included the dinner recipes. I figure that a little temptation never hurt anyone.

Breakfast- Egg Cups and mixed fruit
Lunch- Turkey ham sandwiches and baked chips
Dinner- Chicken Tetrazzini
             1 16oz thin pasta
             1/2 cup chicken broth
             4 cups cooked chicken, chopped
             1 10 oz can cream chicken soup
             1 10 oz can cream mushroom soup
             1 10 oz can cream celery soup
             1 8 oz sour cream
             1 6 oz can mushrooms, drained
            1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
            1 teaspoon pepper
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
            Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 2 (2 quart) casseroles with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package, return to sauce pan. Add chicken broth, toss to coat. In a large bowl, stir remaining ingredients, except for cheddar cheese. Add pasta toss well. Divide mixture between two casserole dishes. Sprinkle with  cheddar cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is bubbly. Enjoy, you also have a casserole to freeze for future dinners !

Breakfast-Baked rice pudding and turkey sausage links
Lunch- Tuna melts
Dinner- Sausage skillet dinner with mushroom pinwheels
            4 medium potatoes
            1 14 to 16 oz low fat skinless smoked sausage, cut into bite size pieces
            2 15 oz cans french style green beans, undrained
            1 medium onion, chopped
            2 tablespoons butter buds
            1 teaspoon garlic salt
            pepper to taste
           Pierce the potatoes several times with fork and microwave them for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. When cool, cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Brown sausages in the skillet. Add the green beans, onions, butter buds, garlic salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes longer.
            Mushroom Pinwheel Biscuits
           1 10 oz Pillsbury pizza dough
           1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
           3/4 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
           1 Tablespoon dried parsley
           Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Roll pizza dough out and press into edges of the cookie sheet. Sprinkle cheese, mushrooms, and parsley over dough. Roll the dough up jelly roll style. Pinch dough at the edge to seal long seam. With a very sharp knife carefully cut into 12 slices. Place pinwheels on cookie sheet.  Pretty side up. Arrange so they do not touch bake for 8 minuets or until tops are golden brown.
Breakfast- Coconut Oatmeal
Lunch- Sweet and sour wieners with mac and cheese
Dinner- Sloppy Joe's, French fries and Zesty corn
Okay, really all I will do is open a can of Manwich, stir in ground turkey and open the frozen fries and bake according to directions. Real labor intensive cooking.
              Zesty Corn
           1 16 oz can cream style corn
           1 16 oz  can yellow sweet corn, drained
           1 cup of your favorite salsa
         Over medium heat stir all indigents together until mixed. Bring to boil. Serve warm.
Breakfast- Scrambled eggs and Toast
Lunch- Mushroom, Onion, Bacon green bean casserole
Dinner- AuGrautian casserole dinner with Spiced Apples
           1 5.5 oz box au gratin potatoes- dry
           1 12 oz can evaporated milk
           1 1/2 cup hot water
           12 oz package turkey ham chunks
           1 16 oz bag frozen broccoli
          In a 2 quart microwave dish, mix dry au gratuin potatoes and seasoning packet with milk and water until powdered cheese is dissolved. Stir in ham. Cover with wax paper. Cook on high for 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli. Cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove wax paper. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes prior to serving.
            Spiced Apples
           4 Jonathan apples-unpeeled, sliced into 1/8 inch slices
           2 Tablespoons butter buds
           1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
           1/4 cup brown sugar
          Toss all ingredients together until well mixed. Put in a microwave 1 quart dish. Cover with wax paper and cook in high for 4 minutes.
Breakfast- Homemade waffles with sausage links
Lunch- Loaded bake potato with tossed salad
Dinner- Stuffed bread bowl
            2 cans french bread loaf (Pillsbury if fine)
            1 tablespoon olive oil
            2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
            1/4 cup chopped red onion
            1 bell pepper, chopped
            1 can chili beans, drained
            1 can sweet corn
            1 10 oz jar enchilada sauce
            3/4 cup sour cream
            1/2 cup ketchup
            1 package taco seasonings
            1 tablespoon parsley
            1 teaspoon dried basil
           Shredded cheddar cheese and additional sour cream if desired.
          Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Remove dough from cans. Cut into each loaf making three dough balls. Place cut seam down on cookie sheet. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile heat oil in pan cook chicken, onions, and bell pepper for 5 to 7 minuets. Stir in remaining ingredients. Except cheese and additional sour cream. Heat until boiling, reduce heat. Simmer for 7 minutes. With sharp knife, remove a small portion of the top of bread bowl. Lightly press center of bread bowl down (can be done with back of soup spoon) Fill with 1 cup chicken mix, top with cheese and sour cream.
Breakfast- Monkey Bread
Lunch- Black bean nachos
Dinner- French onion soup and Zesty Sausage sandwiches
             2 quarts water
             2 tablespoons sugar
             1/4 cup flour
             2 tablespoons butter buds
             6 cups onions (3 medium ) slice thin
             8 beef bouillon cubes
             1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
            In a crock pot using whisk, stir together water, sugar, flour and butter buds. Add in onions, bouillon cubes. Cover Cook for 9 to 10 hours on low heat. Put soup in bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and add croutons or cubed rye bread.
            Zesty Sausage sandwiches
           1 14 oz. package fat free smoked sausage
           8 Tablespoons favorite B.B.Q. sauce
           8  Tablespoons mozzarella cheese
           Hot dog buns
         Cut each sausage in half, total of four sausages, then cut lengthwise in half so you now have 8 total. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Meanwhile mix B.B.Q sauce with 1 tablespoon honey. Spread mixture on hot dog buns. sprinkle mozzarella cheese in buns, place warmed sausage in bun. Return to microwave for 1 minutes until cheese melts.
Brunch- Quiche and Spinach Salad
Dinner- Pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans.
            Once again no real recipe here, I just dredge in flour mix with spices of my choosing. Then brown in olive oil until done. I mash the potatoes with a little low fat sour cream for additional flavor and the gravy i make with a little chicken stock and leftover pan drippings from the pork chops.

Now for my favorite Desserts
Fruit Cocktail Cake
4 cups a.p. flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 30 oz can fruit cocktail, do not drain
Mix all ingredients with a spoon. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees.
Fruit Cocktail Cake Frosting
1 cup sugar
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cook all ingredients over medium heat until thick. Spread over warm cake.

Apple- Carrot Cake
1 box carrot cake mix
2/3 cup veg. oil
3 eggs
1 cup applesauce
Combine mix, oil, and eggs. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Add applesauce and beat 1 minute. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
Apple- Carrot Glaze
1 4 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and lemon juice beat until smooth. Spread over warm cake.

Praline shortbread cookies
1 cup butter, soft
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup a.p. flour
1/2 ground pecans ( I grind mine in my coffee grinder)
Cream butter, add sugar. Beat at medium speed until light and fliffy. Stir in flour and pecans. Dough will be very stiff. Press onto bottom of a greased and floured 15*10*1 inch jelly roll pan. Score into 2 inch squares. Bake for 20 minutes. Break in squares.

Enjoy !

My fork is at the ready,


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another quick tip to share !

  Tammy over at Tammy's Recipes has made every Tuesday "Tip Day." I love reading and learning from all of the great tips she and her readers have to share.
  So once again I sat with my thinking cap in place and remembered another time saver that I use and love. My bread machine is my new best friend as many of you know but, sometimes I don't think about making bread until it is too late or dinner is ready.
  Well, I came up with the idea of making my own bread mixes and having them ready to go at a moment's notice. I measure all the dry ingredients in a Ziploc bag, then label it with the bread name and cookbook page number. I then only have to add the yeast when I am ready to make the bread. I store the mixes in my freezer until needed.
  This is really a time saver in the morning. I can toss a bag mix in the machine and then when I get home from work a nice warm loaf of bread is ready and waiting.

As always my fork is at the ready,

What to do....What to do !!!

  I sat down, pen in hand, and made my grocery list. I checked it twice, removing all things naughty and replacing them with everything nice. I hurried to the store, brought my treasures home and stowed them away, knowing that my family would shriek in delight with the choices that I had made.
Then  IT happened !!!! I looked at my menu plan and thought YUCK, whose idea was all of this? As I looked at the choices again and then outside to the wet, chilly weather we are having, I wanted warm. yummy soups and stews. Not salads, hot dogs and sandwiches that would help me kiss the last of summer goodbye.
Mother's Potato Soup
  So I buckled down, looked at the plan and what I had in my pantry. After looking, I found several great ideas to stave off the damp weather.
  First up was a big yummy bowl of old fashioned potato soup. The smells and taste of the warm potatoes, celery and onions mixing together took me right back to my mother's kitchen. She would make potato soup when our budget was tight, not that I ever knew that was the cause for such a delicious treat.  The secret that she used to seal in that great potato flavor was to save part of the water that you boil the potato chunks in first. Then she would add the milk, potato water and potatoes, celery and onions all back to a heavy bottomed pan that would allow the flavors to marry but keep the milk from scalding. All I can say is MMMM !!
  To add my own little twist on her perfection, I added a few seasoned oyster crackers and once again, another loaf of bread made in my BFF bread machine.

  This evening we had breakfast for dinner. Puffy scrambled eggs with cinnamon glazed smoked sausage, and lemon breakfast bake. It always amazes me how sometimes breakfast tastes so good at dinner. Although I am left to wonder, does this mean we will have to eat pork chops and stuffing for breakfast ?

  So I encourage you to look at your pantry and your current menu plan and see if you are up for the challenge of a change.

As always my fork it at the ready,

Cinnamon Glazed Smokes Sausage
1 14 ounce skinless smoked sausage ( I use turkey smoked sausage,cheap and healthy)
1/2 cup pancake syrup (sugar free or reduced sugar is fine)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat non stick skillet over medium heat. While pan is heating slice sausage on the angle into bite size pieces. Brown sausages, with lid on. Stir together syrup and cinnamon in a measuring cup. Reduce heat to low and mix syrup in with the browned sausages. Cover and cook on low for additional 3 to 4 minutes.

Lemon Breakfast Bake
1 7.5 ounce can biscuits
1 8 ounce package fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar ( I use Splenda)
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 pan with non fat cooking spray. Flatten out biscuits in pan, until they cover entire dish. Place cream cheese, egg whites, sugar and lemon extract in mixer, blend until smooth. Spoon over biscuits bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Good warm or cold the next day !


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Turnip Greens ! What a Diva !

Smoked Sausage, Potatoes & Sauerkraut with Turnip Greens
with Ham and Apple and Dill Corn Bread Biscuits
   Dinner was finished and Hubby was taking my parents their dinner. I thought to myself that I needed to share a picture of this yummy repast.

  But, did you ever try to take a picture of food?Honestly, no matter how I moved the plate, which lights I turned off and on, the turnip greens just laid there. I knew that asking them to smile a little more was out of the question. They are a very independent vegetable.

  So I held my breath and snapped the picture. Not so bad but, dear readers. I do think I will spend a little time tonight searching the net looking for suggestions for photographing food !

I will tell you that the dinner was really very good, along with being healthy and low in fat. In the end, I won the battle with the turnip greens.....I ate them all !

My fork is at the ready,

Drum Roll, Please !

  Okay here we go with your very first menu plan..........Yeah !!!!

Breakfast- Sunshine in a Pond and Baked Oranges
Lunch- Girlie Girl Salad
Dinner- Smoked sausage, Potatoes with Sauerkraut , Dill Corn Bread Biscuits and Turnip Greens with Ham

Breakfast- "Everything" breakfast bake and fruit medley
Lunch- Corn Chowder and seasoned oyster crackers
Dinner-Mandarin & Oriental Veggie's with Chicken, Whole grain brown rice

Breakfast- Custard Bake
Lunch- B.L.T salad
Dinner- Ham Steaks with Fried cabbage, Cheesy Ranch Biscuits and Spiced Applesauce

Breakfast- Scrambled Eggs, fruit and cinnamon rolls
Lunch- Grilled cheese and baked french fries
Dinner- Pizza (homemade)

Breakfast- Coconut Oatmeal and grapefruit
Lunch- Pimiento cheese on rye bread with baked chips
Dinner- Pork chops with apple dressing, Savory peach chutney and Gala apple tossed salad

Breakfast-Banana Crepes and Cinnamon glazed sausages
Lunch -Egg Salad on rye bread with cucumbers, tomato toss
Dinner- Creamed chicken, country green beans and biscuits

Brunch- Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Frittata with Cherry Crumb Cake
Dinner- Turkey Dogs with sauce, macaroni salad and deviled eggs (Labor Day)

Desserts- Carmel Apple Cake (box mix)
                Butter Pecan Cookies

  Okay, now I need your help would you rather I post all the recipes for the week with the list or do you want to email me and I will send them to you via email ? Let me know kek5772@att.net

My fork is at the ready,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hot tips ! Get your Hot Tips Here !!

     I know that we all have a favorite blog or two that, at the end of busy day, you sit back and read. Well, one of my personal favorites is www.tammysrecipes.com Not only can you learn from the wealth of information that Tammy shares with her readers but, after awhile, you even feel like a member of the family:

   So this evening when I returned home from grocery shopping (more on that later) and read that Tammy was looking for kitchen tips to share, I just knew that I could come up with something.....okay, you know how it goes when you try to think, your mind draws a blank. At one point I sat with my mouth open staring at the wall, to which my husband walked by asking me if everything was okay. Maybe it was the look of a "deer caught in headlights" that worried him or the quite mutterings of "think, think, think."

   I thought that if I got up and walked away from the computer, an idea would come to me. So I began my ritual of putting the groceries away. Ritual? you ask, what's so hard about putting groceries away and why do you need a "ritual?" Well ,like any good supermarket, I keep a running inventory of what I have on hand and what I just purchased.

  My inventory hangs on my fridge door, on it I have a listing of all the frozen items (meats, chicken and treats), canned goods, dry goods (pastas and beans) and household items. Each time I use something, I make a check on the list and then I know exactly what I have on hand in my pantry at all times. It allows you to shop from your pantry when your budget gets tight right before payday. This also speeds up the whole grocery making list process, and if you are using coupons. you can check your list with what will be on sale.

  So there it was kids, right in front of me the whole time. I hope that my little tip helps your kitchen run a little smoother and happier.

  Be sure to tune in tomorrow for our first meal plan to be posted. I have some great meals planned for us to share and enjoy.

My fork is at the ready,