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Country Kitchen

Thursday, December 28, 2017

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sweet Sweets: Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake

I love to bake all the time, but especially at Christmas.  I have a whole roster of things I make each year, but I can't eat it all myself so I enjoy sharing it with family, friends and neighbors.  This recipe is perfect for sharing.  It's like my version of fruit cake that actually tastes good.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake

1. Mix together 1 cup oil, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 egg
2. Mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp almond extract, 1 tsp salt, 
1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder 
3. Mix in 2 cups flour (can use glutten free flour)
4. Throughly mix in 3/4 cup milk)
5. Chop a 10 oz jar of maraschino cherries and mix in
6. Add 1 (or more) cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir a final time. 
7. Grease 4 mini loaf pans and divide the batter between them (about 1 cup in each)
8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 min (until a toothpick comes our clean)

The Glaze
1. In a bowl combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract and 2 tbsp water
2. Stir until smooth
3. Drizzle over cooled cakes 
4. Enjoy, share or freeze. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sweet Sweets - Russian Tea Cookies

It wouldn't be Christmas time without some of these! My mom used to make them every year and now I make them with my kids. I love passing down traditions like this. This is the very first video I ever did (7 years ago), so please be kind.  It was before I had a nice camera and learned how to use iMovie so it's pretty rough but still informative Enjoy!

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Hershey's Kisses
Powdered sugar (For rolling)

1. Cream together shortening, white sugar and brown sugar.
2. Beat in egg, vanilla extract and almond extract.
3. Sift in flour, salt and baking powder and mix
4. Mix in pecans
5. Take a small amount of dough and roll it around a hershey kiss and place on a cookie sheet.  Repeat with all the dough.
6. Bake for 12 min at 350 (they will not turn brown so don't over bake)
7. Let cool completely and roll in powdered sugar
**Best when warm, can warm in the microwave for about 10 sec.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Holly Jolly Hot Chocolate

Instant Hot Chocolate Mix

In a large bowl mix 
    1 lb powdered sugar
    1 large box of dry Nestle Quick
    8 qt. box of powdered milk
    1 lb container powdered coffee creamer
    1/2 cup or more cocoa powder 
Store in an air tight container

Stovetop Hot Chocolate
(Makes 4 servings)

1. In a saucepan melt 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips over medium heat. 
2. Add 4 cups milk and 1/4 cup sugar
3. Heat milk to scalding but not boiling. 
4. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla 
5. Serve hot and enjoy!

Friday, November 24, 2017

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 10, 2017

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

Monday, October 2, 2017

Smashing Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

1. In a mixing bowl place 1 cup pumpkin, 1 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar and mix
2. Add one egg and 1 tsp vanilla and mix again
3. Sift in 2 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 tsp ginger and mix a final time
4. Spoon cookies onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 min.
5. For the frosting, melt 3 Tbsp brown sugar in a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup milk, stir until sugar is dissolved.
6. Place in your mixing bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla and about 3 cups of powdered sugar, mix until smooth.
Frost cookies and enjoy!
Makes about 2 dozen cookies. 

Pumpkin Apple Bread with Streusel Topping

1. In a mixing bowl place 1 can of pumpkin, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, and 4 eggs and mix
2.  Add 3 cup flour, 2 Tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix again
3. Peel, core and dice 2 tart apples and fold into the batter
4. spray loaf pans and evenly divide the batter between them.
5. To make streusel topping in a bowl combine 2 Tsp flour, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsp softened butter. Mix with a fork until crumbly. Spread over each loaf.
6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 min (until a toothpick comes out clean)
Makes 7 mini loaves for 2 large loaves.

Pumpkin Popcorn

1. Pop 1/2 cup popcorn kernels or use a bag of microwave popcorn.
2. While it is still hot pour into a paper bag with 1/2 cup pumpkin chips and shake, shake, shake. (if the pumpkin chips aren't melting, you can microwave the paper bag for a 20 or so sec until they melt)
3. rip open the bag and allow the pumpkin to cool and harden a bit and serve.

Pumpkin Juice

1. In a blender pour 3 cup apple cider, 1 - 6 oz can pineapple juice, 1 cup pumpkin, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1 cup orange juice (you can sweeten with some agave nectar or honey)
2. Blend for 30 sec.
3. Store in a pitcher in the fridge. The pumpkin will settle to the bottom so stir before serving.

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting. 

(This was a Martha Stewart recipe that I adapted and changed a little.  Here is a link to the original recipe )

1. In a mixer place 1 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and mix
2. Then add 1 egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla and mix again
3. Sift in 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 Tbsp ginger, 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice and mix a final time
4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and put batter into a prepare piping bag
5. Pipe out an even number of cookies (for sandwiches) and bake at 350 for 7-8 min. Allow to cool completely.
6. For frosting place in a mixing bowl 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 oz softened cream cheese, 3 tbsp softened butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla. mix until smooth
7. place frosting in anther prepared piping bag and place a dollop of frosting on 1/2 of the cookies. Top with other cookie to make the whoopie pies. Make about 3 dozen mini pies.
Store in the fridge in an air tight container with parchment paper as a liner for layers.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apple of My Eye - Apple Recipes

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)

Apple Butter

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 apple cider and boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the apples get cooked.
3. Puree apples in a food processor and put back in the pot.
4. Add 2 cups of orange juice, a pinch of allspice, a pinch of cinnamon and stir
5. Cover and Bring back to a boil, cook until the mixture is thick and a dark brown color.  Stir often to prevent burning.  You know it is done when the butter sits on the back of a wooden spoon without running off the sides.
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

Apple Fritter Donut Holes

1. Cut biscuits into 4ths
2. Deep fry until golden brown 
3. Roll in cinnamon/sugar
4.Chop up 1 tart apple into small pieces and saute in 1 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp sugar until soft
5.Pour over the donut holes and toss to coat
Serve hot and enjoy!

Apple Pie

2 pie crusts
6 tart apples (peeled, cored & thinly sliced)
3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup white, 1/4 cup brown)
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine sugar, apples, flour and spices in a bowl
  3. Pour into bottom crust
  4. Dot with butter
  5. Add top crust
  6. Bake 40-50 min

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Finger Lickin Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken
1. Thaw chicken breasts, butterfly and cut into smaller pieces
2.  Flour chicken pieces in ½ cup flour mixed with ½ Tbsp seasoned salt
3. Dip pieces in milk then back in the flour
4. Place the pieces in a frying pan with ¼ in oil heated to medium heat
5. Leave pieces undisturbed for several min.
6. Turn pieces when bottom edges turn golden brown
7. Fry on the other side for same amount of time
8. Remove chicken pieces and place on a paper towel to absorb extra oil

  1. Add 1 tablespoon flour to the oil in the pan and stir to make a rue
  2. Add 2 ½ cups milk and whisk
  3. When bubbles occur add salt, pepper and chicken bullion crumbles to taste
  4. Allow to boil until desired thickness is reached

German Cole Slaw
  1. Shred ½ head of cabbage
  2. Mix together in a lidded container ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 6 Tbsp white vinegar, ¼ cup oil.
  3. Pour dressing over slaw and toss
  4. Chill slaw for several hours before serving

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day Dishes and Treats

This week on my Facebook page I'll be featuring a 4th of July favorite of mine (see link on right hand side for Facebook page link)

You can also follow me on Instagram @countrykitchenapproved and on Twitter @courtneyhill05

Baked Beans and Deviled Eggs can be found on my "Scrumptious Sides" page

Red, White and Blue Salad can be found on my "Lettuce Eat Salad" page

Star Spangled Ice Cream Sandwich Cake can be found on my "Sweet Sweets" page

As American as Apple Pie can be found on my "Perfect Pies" page

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cinco De Mayo Favorites

Here is a collection of my Cinco De Mayo favorites.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

1. Boil 2-3 chicken breasts in water with season salt and chili powder for 30 min or until tender. Allow to cool and chop.
2.  Saute 1/2 stick butter, 1 cup sliced mushrooms and 1/4 minced onion until tender (set aside)
3. Saute chopped red sweet peppers until tender 
4. In a mixing bowl add 1 can cream of chicken soup, 2 cups sour cream, 1 tbsp chili powder, onions and mushrooms and chopped chicken (Mix together)
5. Mix 1 package of enchilada seasoning mix with 8 oz tomato sauce and 1 can of water
6. Coat 8 large tortilla in sauce, spoon in chicken mixture, roll and place in a 9x13 glass baking dish
7. Pour remaining sauce over rolled tortilla. 
8. Top with grated cheddar cheese and bake for 30 min at 350. 

Easy Chicken Fajitas 

1. thinly slice 2-3 chicken breasts
2. thinly slice 1 onion and 1 pepper
3. In a skillet heat 1-3 tablespoons of oil over high heat (7-8)
4. Add onions and pepper and 1 tsp chili powder, saute until tender (set aside)
5. Add another tbsp of oil and saute chicken until cooked through, season with salt and chili powder
6. Close to the end of cooking add peppers and onions back in along with sliced tomatoes
Serve on tortillas with your favorite fixings.

6 Layer Bean Dip
1. Mix together 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup Miracle Whip and 1/2 packet taco seasoning and set aside
2. On a platter layer the following:
1 can Frito bean dip
Sour Cream Mixture
Chopped black olives
Chopped tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheddar cheese.


1. Chop 6 cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 slices of onion, 1-2 Tbsp cilantro and place in a bowl
sprinkle with 2-3 Tbsp lime juice and let soak for an hour or so
2. Mash 2 ripe avocados and add to the vegetables. 
3. Mix and add salt to taste

Pork-N-Pineapple Tacos
click here for recipe and how to video 

Margars (Margaritas) 
This recipe is from the hubs and it's the best! We lovingly refer to them as Mar-Gars

2 oz tequila
1 1/2 oz of Grand Marnier or orange liquor
1 1/2 oz simple syrup *
1 oz of a mixture of fresh squeezed lime, lemon and orange juice. 
Shake together and serve on the rock with a salt rim!

* To make simple syrup heat equal parts sugar and water, until the sugar dissolves. 

Tequila Key Lime Pie

1. In a bowl combine 2 cans sweetened condensed milk, 2/3 cup key lime (or lime juice), 1 Tbsp lime zest and 1/3 cup sour cream. 
2. Add 1 shot (1.5oz) of tequila and mix until smooth
3. Pour into a graham cracker  crust and bake at 350 for 5-8 min (or until tiny bubble form in the surface of the pie but don't pop. 
4. Chill over night or for several hours, top with whipped cream and lime slices and enjoy!