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Country Kitchen

Country Kitchen

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Favorites

Here is a list of my go to Christmas Recipes from earlier blog posts

Sweet Sweets: Christmas Candy Classics
Learn to make Fudge, Divinity and Microwave Peanut Brittle
See post link here

Holly Jolly Hot Chocolate 
Learn to make dry powdered hot chocolate mix and stove top hot chocolate 
See post link here

Sweet Sweets: World's Best Sugar Cookies
Christmas Cookies are a staple around here.  See my favorite sugar cookie and two styles of icing recipes here

Sweet Sweets: Russian Tea Cookies 
This cookie is a Christmas Tradition in my family.  They are so easy to make and so delicious
See blog post link here

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sweet Sweets: Christmas Candy Classics

I have many great memories of being in the kitchen with my mom and eating her yummy food and goodies.  Around Christmas each year she would make fudge and divinity just like her mother and grandmother before her.  The tradition will some day be passed on to me.  I loved having her as a guest host in this episode to show us how to make these delectable holiday candies.  Candy making can be tricky but knowing a few secrets can help.  We hope you try making these recipes with your loved ones and make unforgettable memories in the process. 

Chocolate Fantasy Fudge

3/4 cup butter
3 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 oz jar marshmallow cream
1 cup chopped pecans

1. In a saucepan melt butter, sugar and evaporated milk over medium hight heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  Once the mixture starts to boil reduce heat to medium.
2. Still stirring, bring to a full rolling boil for 4 min. or until candy thermometer reads 234 degrees.
3. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips stir until melted and combined
4. Add vanilla and marshmallow cream. Stir, stir and stir some more until it becomes smooth and glossy.
5. Add pecans and stir again. Stir until the mixture has cooled a little
6. Line a pan with foil and press the fudge evenly into the pan with a spatula
7 Allow to cool and cut into cubes. Store in a foil lined tin.

Microwave Peanut Brittle

           1 1/2 c Spanish peanuts
           1 c sugar
           pinch of salt
           1/2 c corn syrup
           1 tsp butter
           1 tsp vanilla extract
           1 tsp baking soda

1. In a glass bowl add 1 1/2 cup Spanish peanuts, 1 cup sugar, a pinch of salt (or use salted nuts) and 1/2 cup corn syrup. Stir to combine.
2. Microwave for 4 min at 80% power, remove and stir, then microwave again for 4 min at 80% power.
3. Remove and stir in 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla and microwave a final time for 2 min at 80% power.
4. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
5. Add 1 tsp baking soda and stir until light and foamy and immediately turn out onto the grease pan, spreading as thinly as possible.
6. Allow to cool and break into pieces.

           1/2 c water
           2 c sugar
           1/2 c corn syrup
           pinch of salt
           2 egg whites
           1 c chopped pecans
           1 tsp vanilla extract
           2 Tbsp powered sugar

1. In a saucepan over medium high heat combine 1/2 cup water, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup corn syrup, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil the reduce the heat to medium (the syrup should continue to boil)
2. Meanwhile, beat 2 egg whites to stiff peaks
3. Bring to syrup to soft ball stage, using a candy thermometer. (10 min or so)
4. Slowly beat 1/2 of the syrup mixture into the egg whites.
5. Put the remaining half of the syrup back on the stove and bring to soft crack stag
6. Slowly beat the rest of the syrup into the egg whites
7. Add 1 cup chopped pecans and 1 tsp vanilla and continue to beat.
8. Add 2 Tbsp powered sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is no longer glossy.
9. Spoon onto wax paper and allow to cool. Store in a tin.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Cranberry Dreams

The Folks at Cape Code Select challenged me to come up with some recipes using their Premium Frozen Cranberries and here is what I came up with.

Thanksgiving Pot Pie
(Recipe makes 3 individual pot pies) 

1- two crust package of pie crust
1 cup diced cooked turkey
1/2 cup Cape Code Select Premium Frozen Cranberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup Country Green Beans (See recipe (here )
1 cup dry stuffing mix
1 1/2 cup Turkey Gravy 

* In a saucepan saute cranberries and sugar
*Roll out 1 pie crust and use a shape to cut 2 circles big enough to fit in the ramekins, combine scraps and roll out again to cut 1 more bottom crust for a total of 3 
*In a bowl combine turkey, cranberries, dry stuffing, green beans and gravy and mix well
*Distribute filling among ramekins
*Roll out the other crust and cut 3 circle tops
*Roll edges of each crust under and flute. 
*Brush with an egg wash. (optional: add decoration from pie crust scrapes on top)
*Bake at 350 for 30 min (If crust is not done bump temp up to 425 for 10 min or so) 

Cranberry Orange Scones with Grand Marnier Glaze

2 cups Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
6 Tbsp cold butter cut into slices
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
The zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cup Cape Code Select Premium Frozen Cranberries 
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
the zest and juice of 1 orange
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier
2 Tbsp heavy cream

*In a saucepan combine cranberries, 1/4 cup sugar and Grand Marnier, bring to a boil and let the liquid reduce
*In a mixer combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder
*Add the butter and mix until incorporated (into pea sized lumps)
*Add milk and cream and mix
*Add the orange juice and zest and mix
*Add cranberries and mix a final time
*Grease and flour a baking sheet and turn out dough
*Place flour on top and flatten with your hands
*Cut into 8 slices using a pizza cutter
*Bake at 400 for 22 min
*Re-slice the scones and put on wax paper to cool
*Meanwhile to make the glaze in a pot combine butter, brown sugar and orange zest and juice
*Stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. 
*Add Grand Marnier and Cream, allow to boil and reduce to a syrup consistency, constantly stirring to prevent burning
*Drizzle the glaze over each scone and enjoy 

Cranberry Orange Tazo Tea
*Brew some Wild Orange Tazo Tea according to the package directions
*In a pot combine 1/2 cup Cape Code Select Premium Frozen Cranberries, 1/4 cup sugar and
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier
*Boil and reduce to a paste consistency 
*Sweeten tea according to your preference
*Add 1 or 2 Tbsp Cranberry Paste
*Optional- garnish with whole cranberries and orange peel
*Optional- Spiked- add more Grand Marnier

Find out more about Cape Code Select Premium Frozen Cranberries here

       Store locater

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sweet Sweets- Tequila Key Lime Pie

1 graham cracker crust
1/3 cup sour cream
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp lime zest
1 shot (1 1/2 oz) tequila

1. Mix sour cream, condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest until well combine
2. Add tequila and stir again
3. Pour into graham cracker crust and smooth out with a spoon
4. Bake for 5-8 min at 350 degree (until tiny pin bubbles form on the surface but don't burst)
5. Chill for several hours or overnight
6. Slice and serve.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Now That's a Party! - My Little Pony Party

For Themed Party planning details and Formula:  see link below

I Have boy/girl twins who both love MLP. So I wanted to make their party as gender neutral as I could.  I got several ideas from Pinterest and I made up several of my own.

My Little Pony Party

The Formula
Step 1. My Little Pony Theme

Step 2. Small group of my twins Friends and Parents

Step 3. The Framework
We had the party at our house

I used a Facebook event for the Invitation

Step 4. The Inner workings

We had a great time! An absolutely fabulous was to celebrate a 4th birthday!
Now that's a Party!

To see all pictures and ideas click here

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Criss Cross Applesauce: Homemade Applesauce 4 ways

Apple Pie Applesauce

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.  
2. Add 2 cups of Apple Cider, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the apples get cooked.
4. Puree apples in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1/2 cup sugar (1/4 cup brown, 1/4 cup white) 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir .
6. Taste and make adjustments (ex. more sugar, more cider)
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

Wassail Applesauce 

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add 2 cups of Orange Juice, 1 can crushed pineapple, pinch of ground cloves, 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the apples get cooked. (Make sure to remove the cinnamon stick)
4. Puree apples in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1/2 cup sugar (1/4 cup brown, 1/4 cup white) 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir .
6. Taste and make adjustments (ex. more sugar, more cider)
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

Very Berry Applesauce

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add 2 cups of Berry Flavored Juice, 1 pint blueberries, and 1 lb strawberries
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the fruit gets cooked.
4. Puree fruit in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir.
6. Add 1 jar of seedless raspberry jam and 1 jar of seedless blackberry jam instead of sugar
7. Blend in blender for smoother texture
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

Grapple (Grape Apple) Applesauce

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add 2 cups of grape juice and three different types of grapes (about a cup each)
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the fruit get cooked.
4. Puree fruit in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir .
6. Add 1 jar of grape jelly instead of sugar
7. Blend in blender for smoother texture
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

 **Canning video found here 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pasta La Vista, Baby! Mac-n-cheese 3 ways

Who doesn't love Mac-n-cheese?  This is a great recipe that is smooth and creamy, with variations.  Sure to be a crowd pleaser. 

Creamy Classic

1. In a saucepan over medium heat melt 1/2 stick of butter. 
2. Add 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese and stir until melted and gooey
3. Add 1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.
4. Stir until creamy smooth and set aside
** This makes 2 small 8x8 pans or 1 large 9x13 (I freezes well, so you can save the other half for later)

5. Prepare your favorite pasta to al dente and place in you baking dish
6. Pour on the cheese mixture and stir well
7. Crush some cracker crumbs and sprinkle over the top, drizzle with melted butter 
8. Bake at 350 for 30 min. 

BBQ Chicken

1. Using a smoked whole chicken: remove skin, remove meat from bones and chop up. 
2. Place the meat in a bowl mix with your favorite BBQ sauce
3. Stir into the creamy classic recipe, top with cracker crumbs and butter and bake 

Seafood Medley

1. Prepare you seafood of choice (I used lobster tail and canned crab meat, but you could use shrimp or scallops or whatever you like)
2. In the cheese mixture I used gouda cheese instead of cheddar but that is optional
3. Mix together, top with cracker crumbs and butter and bake. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Healthy (er) Options

In this post I'm sharing several recipes that I would consider healthy options.  I like my food to taste good though, so hopefully you will see a healthy balance (pun intended) of both with these recipes.

Mango Flounder

1. Salt and pepper each side of your flounder fillets and lightly dredge (cover) with flour, fry in a small amount of hot oil on each side until lightly crisp and flaky.
2. For the Mango Salsa: dice sweet pepper (or jalapeno if you like a kick), onion, mango and cilantro. Combine in a bowl with lime juice and salt to taste.

Cilantro Lime Couscous
1. Make couscous according to package instructions
2. Add lime zest, lime juice and chopped cilantro
3. Stir to combine

Raspberry Pork 
1. Salt and pepper both sides of each pork chop and saute in a skillet until lightly browned.
2. Allow pork chops to rest 10 min before serving
3. For raspberry sauce: in a saucepan place 1 package of fresh or frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1 tsp sage.  Turn on medium and allow to simmer until reduced to a thick syrup
4. Strain seeds and pour over pork chops
**Substitute fresh raspberries for seedless raspberry jam to avoid straining seeds

Lemon Rosemary Quinoa
1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions
2. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and rosemary
3. Stir to combine

Bakes Zucchini and Tomatoes
1. Thinly slice zucchini, tomatoes and onions
2. Place in an oiled baking dish with lemon zest, lemon juice and salt
3. Bake at 350 for 30 min. (if you prefer roasted bake at 425 for 20 min)

What the Kale Salad
1. Rinse and remove kale leaves from center stem, shop into bite size pieces and add to bowl
2. Rinse and chop romaine lettuce and add to bowl
3. Add: chopped broccoli, broccoli slaw, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries
4 For dressing combine the following ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 sec.
       1/4 cup water
       1/4 cup white vinegar
       3/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
       1 tsp garlic powder
       1 tsp salt
       1/4 tsp pepper
       1 tsp celery seed
       1/2 tsp celery salt
       (pinch of onion powder for added flavor)
       2/3 cup sugar
       2 tsp horseradish

Pearled Couscous salad
1. Make basil and herb pearled couscous according to package instructions
2. Saute diced zucchini and onions until tender
3. Add to couscous and refrigerate until chilled
4. Add diced cherry tomatoes and Italian salad dressing
5. Stir and serve chilled

Friday, May 27, 2016

Kids in the Kitchen: Baking

This is another video I did for Twiniversity Magazine.  The original article can be found at the link below. 

My kids have grown quite a bit since I made this video! 

I have great memories growing up being in the kitchen with my mom. I love to share that time with my kids as well. Being a former Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, I know the importance of teaching your kids to know their way around the kitchen. There are many skills that can be learned from cooking, such as reading, math skills, science principles, and so much more. Spending time with your kids is the best part, but there are also educational opportunities if you look for them. 

Russian Tea Cookies
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream together ¾ cup shortening, ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar
  2. Add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and ¼ tsp almond extract and mix
  3. Sift in 1 ¾ cup flour, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp baking powder and mix
  4. Add ½ cup chopped pecans and mix again
  5. Roll a small amount of dough into a ball and place a chocolate kiss in the middle. Form the dough around the kiss and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-12 min in a 350 degree oven
  7. Let cool completely, then roll in powdered sugar

bakingS’mores Cookie Bars

  1. Cream ½ cup of softened butter and ¾ cup granulated sugar
  2. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix
  3. Sift in 1 1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and ¼ tsp salt and mix
  4. Crush a package of graham crackers into crumbs and add ¾ cup to the bowl and mix
  5. Take ½ of the dough and flatten into the bottom of a greased 8×8 baking dish
  6. Break apart 4 Hershey chocolate bars and place over the dough
  7. Place a layer of marshmallows over the chocolate
  8. Spread out some of the remaining graham cracker crumbs and roll out the remainder of the dough. Carefully place it on top of the marshmallows.
  9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 mins or until lightly brown. Let cool and cut into bars.

bakingSugar Cookie Pizza

  1. Bake refrigerated sugar cookie dough according to the package instructions (or make your own)
  2. Mix together 1 package of softened cream cheese and 1 container of marshmallow cream and spread over your cookies like frosting
  3. Dice up a variety of fruits (bananas, blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, mandarin oranges, etc.) and decorate your cookie pizzas with them

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Now That's A Party - The formula for throwing an amazing themed Party

I'm starting a new subsection of my blog devoted to throwing an amazing party.  I love themed parties and I'm sharing my foolproof formula with you.  After this first introductory post, I'll be using the formula to show you specific themed party ideas, but for now here are the basics.

The Formula (see video above for details)
Step 1. Choosing a Theme
Step 2. Determining the Audience
Step 3. The Framework
Step 4. The Inner workings
Step 5. Capturing memories 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cherry Almond Scones

1. Sift together 2 cup flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.
2. Cut 6 Tbsp of cold butter into slices and add to the mixing bowl
3. Using the paddle attachment mix until the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients (it will still be powdery)
4. Add 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk to the mixing bowl and mix until well combined
5. Lastly add 1 package of sweet dark cherries (canned or thawed frozen is fine) and 1/4 cup sliced almonds and mix a final time.
6. Spread a healthy amount of flour onto your counter and turn out the dough.
7. Using more flour on top lightly shape into a thick disk and transfer to a greased baking sheet
8. Cut into slices with a pizza cutter.
9. Bake at 400 degrees for 22 mins
10. Recut the grooves and allow to cool.
11. To make the glaze melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Stir in 2 Tbsp cream and drizzle over scones.
12. While the glaze is still wet sprinkle some sliced almonds on top of each scone.
13.  Allow glaze to cool and serve

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Easter Favorites: A collection of my Favorite Easter Recipes

Deviled Eggs
1.     Steam 6 eggs for 12 min. then cool in a bowl of ice water
2.     Cut eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks into a bowl
3.     Mash the yolks with a fork and add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp dry mustard, 3 Tbsp miracle whip and 1 Tbsp vinegar
4.     Mix until well combined
5.     Scoop some filling into each egg and sprinkle with paprika.

Ham and Gravy
1.     Preheat oven to between 275 (I know the video says 325 but I'd go a little lower to prevent the ham from drying out)
2.     Place ham in roaster pan with 1 cup water
3.     Cover with lid or foil and bake 15 min per lb.
4.     Pour drippings into a skillet
5.     Remove a small amount of the hot liquid and mix together with 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Add mixture back to the skillet and whisk
6.     Add 1 tsp kitchen bouquet for color
7.     Allow to boil until it gets thick

Mashed potatoes
1.     Peel and dice 4-5 potatoes
2.     Boil until fork tender, drain and place in a mixing bowl
3.     Add 2 Tbsp milk, ¼ cup butter and salt to taste

4.     Whip until smooth

Country Style Green Beans
1. Clean green beans and break off the ends.  Put them in a stock pot with; 
chopped red onion, bacon bits, 1-2 Tbsp bacon grease, and 1tsp salt
2. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (1/2 a cup or so) and boil until soft (20-30 or more mins)
3. Drain water and add more salt to taste
**Another great reason to never throw away bacon grease (just put it on a cup or jar and store in the fridge for various uses)

Cheese Green Beans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree
2. In a saucepan combine 1 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat until smooth to create a rue. 
3. Add 1 cup milk and ½ tsp of salt, stir to combine
4. Add 6 oz. of finely chopped Velveeta cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce has become thick and creamy. 
5. Add ¼ tsp chili powder and stir
6. Cook 1 large bag of French cut frozen green beans according to the package instructions and place in a glass baking dish
7. Pour on ½ of the cheese sauce and stir to combine
**You can either make double beans for freeze the extra sauce and have more later**
8. Sprinkle with French fried onions and top with foil
9. Bake for 15 min, remove foil and bake for an additional 15 min. 

for video see
Classic Beef Roast

Your favorite beef roast cut (or which ever is on sale ;0)
Salt and pepper
Several carrots
Several potatoes
1 onion
2 cups water
2 beef bullion cubes
1 tsp kitchen bouquet
2 Tbsp cornstarch

1.     Preheat oven to 275 degrees
2.     Peel and cut carrots potatoes and onions
3.     Put some oil into Dutch oven or skillet and turn heat to medium high
4.     Put salt and pepper on the roast and rub into the meat
5.     Sear both sides of the roast for a couple of min.
6.     Add your vegetables and bullion cubes
7.     Pour in 2 cups water
8.     Cover and place in oven for 3 hours
9.     Half way through check to make sure you have enough liquid, add more water if needed. 
10. Transfer your drippings to a skillet
11. Remove a small amount of the hot liquid and mix together with a couple of Tbsp of cornstarch.  Add that mixture back into the skillet and stir
12. Add 1 tsp kitchen bouquet, gravy will boil and thicken
13. Serve with bread and butter and enjoy!

**This could easily be cooked in a crockpot.  Just make sure to sear your meat and then cook low and slow all day.

Peach Pie

2 pie crusts
1-2 packages thawed peach slices
2/3 cup sugar
2-3 Tbsp flour
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine sugar, peaches, flour and spices in a bowl
  3. Pour into bottom crust
  4. Dot with butter
  5. Add top crust
  6. Bake 40-50 min

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp shortening 

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with fork
  2. Add cold water (up to 5 Tbsp), mix until loosely combined
  3. Form into a ball with hands
  4. Spank to combine
  5. Flatten and form into crust
Makes 2 crusts