Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rindy's Radar: EAT!'s Chicken Nuggets

Which came first- The chicken or the egg? This is how I served the chicken nuggets, on my deviled egg plate and an Easter ramekin to hold the sauce. I laughed - my children didn't. Oh how we mom's entertain ourselves!
Once in a while a recipe you read on someone's blog will get your attention. That is exactly what happened when I read EAT!'s Chicken Nuggets blog! I could not get those things out of my head. I knew it was a meal my kids would love - but those tasty little morsels looked like I would love them too! I am not a big "fryer" girl. I can't usually work up the muster to make my kitchen into a disaster area (look at pictures below) for the sake of one meal; let alone the smell that lingers through the day whenever you fry something. Those darn chicken nuggets kept "Chirping" in my brain. One rainy day - I decided - today is the day. I have nothing on the calendar and nuggets on the brain, so I decided to make my kitchen a disaster area and my family one happy flock!!!

EAT!'s Chicken Nuggets:
I did not have Penzey's Chicago Steak Seasoning so I bought Sylvia's chicken coating in the store and it was very yummy. The package said it would make Col Sanders cry - so you have to try a product that can even make a dead guy cry - right?

Remove the nuggets from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with honey mustard, barbecue sauce or EAT!'s Dill Sauce.

EAT!'s Dill Sauce:

I added a teaspoon of lemon juice and made it more into a dill tarter sauce - yummy both ways!

My kids opted for the honey mustard route: 2 Tablespoons honey to 1 teaspoon yellow mustard.
More Mayo for me - Yeah! Can you really ever get enough of that "White Butter"?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Perfect Hot and Sweet Pickles

These are not your grandma's pickles! They are the perfect addition to spice up that tuna sandwich and add a little sweetness to any meal. Don't be intimidated by the size and amount of ingredients. These pickles won't last long. They make great gifts when divided into smaller jars!

1 gallon jar dill pickles (sliced). I try to get the thin sandwich slices.
Mix Together:
1 (5 lb) bag sugar
1/2 cup garlic flakes (or 8 oz jar minced garlic in juice)
1 small bottle Tabasco

Drain pickle jar in strainer overnight. You will be shocked how much liquid comes out of that baby!

In the morning, remove pickles from jar. Put pickles back in jar, layering with sugar mixture. Use entire 5lb bag of sugar. Believe it or not, all ingredients fit back in jar.

Fasten lid tightly. Turn bottle upside down, once a day for 5 days.

After day 5 - Enjoy, Share, and Devour!!! No need to refrigerate - so don't worry about having room in the fridge!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gumpa's Chili Choice

When my mom and dad come for a visit the ladies oft times have many errands and lots of shopping to do. We need to accomplish this during school hours which leaves my dad to fend for himself. It is NOT a problem. Direct him to the Hormel Chili - No beans and a box of cheese crackers and he is one happy camper. Of course, he needs to be near a computer too, but at least lunch is covered!

We either have it over angel hair pasta topped with shredded cheddar or straight up with Cheez It crackers. I usually ask him "Would you like a little chili with your Cheez Its? The best part of the meal is him just being here!

Long live canned meat!!!! What is your favorite FAST lunch?

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Toothpick" Dinner

When my girls have friends over, many times they will request a "Toothpick" dinner. Ok - even when they don't have a friend over they request this meal. Most of the time it consists of their favorite "Chicken Apple Sausages" from Trader Joes, green beans or broccoli, and any fruit I have in the house. The concept is that the entire meal can be eaten with a fun toothpick.

The middle section of our glass T.V. tray is a cheese sauce for dipping their broccoli and sausage! Sometimes I put cheese cubes in this spot. The crescent rolls are smaller then usual. I divide each canned roll in half to make a smaller bite.

What would you serve for a toothpick dinner?

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Pink Princess Dressing"

Green Goddess - move over - There's a new kid in town - Pink Princess! My hubby and I met in Wheaton, IL in 1992. One of our favorite places to go for a date was the Wheaton Cafe. I only ordered one thing from them - Turkey Pita with their version of Thousand Island. This Thousand Island wasn't any ordinary Thousand Island - It was pink and perfect! I have tried and tried to recreate that taste "fit for a queen" and I think I have come up with something pretty darn close. I call it Pink Princess Dressing!

This is a bit on the sweet side - which I love!

1 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
3 Tablespoons Sweet pickle relish
8 slices canned beets
2 Tablespoons beet juice from the can - may add more for thinner dressing - so save it

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse. Continue to add beet juice to reach desired consistency.

Perfect Princess Dressing!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tip of the Day - How to "Beat" a Lemon!

I own 1067 kitchen gadgets - I take that back. I thought I owned 1067 kitchen gadgets. I am down to 1066 gadgets. In the process of our move I misplaced my juicer. I needed it the other day to make a citrus vinaigrette and looked high and low for that thing. Before I spent too much time looking for it, I rooted around for some other way to get that golden juice from its comfy home. Ah ha! I saw my beater in the drawer and thought I would give it a try.

A few twists of the hand and that baby was empty! It worked so well - I decided I will stay with my current collection of 1066 gadgets. I won't be replacing the juicer!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Chocolate Chip Cookie - Upscale!

My mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the whole wide world. I have sampled crispy ones, chewy ones, small ones, fat ones, ones with white chips, ones with nuts and every other kind, and I have come to the conclusion that my mom still makes the best chocolate chip cookies. I have tried to improve on these perfect morsels of goodness to no avail! They are simply the best. I figured the only way to improve them - Is to serve them with the dignity they deserve.

Bobi's Tollhouse Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups uncooked oatmeal (quick oats)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding
Mix together and set aside

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter (I always use butter)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat in 2 room temperature eggs.

Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips. I always add a little more. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes then move to cooling rack.

Enjoy! To use as decoration on a glass, cut slit in cookies right when they come out of the oven - then cool for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Skewered Ginger Beef

This recipe came from my sister-in-law Jillieta. My hubby is the oldest of 6 kids and when all of his family gets together - it's a crowd. Each family takes turns doing a meal for the entire clan - and when it is Aunt Jillieta's turn - we all ask for this delectable treat! It has become my daughter Jensen's favorite dinner.

1 cup sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. pepper
2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/4 inch strips

In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine the first 8 ingredients; add steak. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and discard marinade. Thread steak onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 15 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness, turning occasionally. I serve this over rice and with a green salad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Jello bowl

My cupboards are filled with bowls. In fact, you might say I have a bowl and dish obsession. I love perusing flea markets and antique stores for those beautiful pieces you just can't find in department stores. I must have 30 bowls in my cabinet right now - but this one is our Jello bowl. My kids LOVE jello - almost as much as I love dishes. When it is time to make a new batch - it has to be in the Jello bowl. Now mind you, I have never told them it has to be in this bowl - they just expect that their favorite snack will inevitably be made in the blue flowered dish. I never really thought about it until the other day when my daughter Logan went to make it and told me she couldn't because she couldn't find the bowl. Excuse me? The other 29 bowls won't do? Perhaps it is me that doesn't understand. Maybe those three blue flowers on the front of the dish are hieroglyphics for Jello. Silly Me.
Then I got to thinking. Maybe I have instilled the "One pot for every dish" rule unknowingly. It's me who makes their favorite Mac and Cheese in the same pot every time. It's me who serves them their orange juice in the same Ikea cup every morning and it is me who 'nukes' their green beans in the same container time after time. It makes me wonder- what else is she watching me do? Just a little food-for-thought or should I say bowl-for-jello moment! Man I love those girls.

Logan and Jensen's favorite Jello recipe
1 pakage any flavor Jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup apple sauce

Mix jello and boiling water until jello is dissolved. Add 1 cup any flavored apple sauce and chill. Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

What is your Favorite Spice?

Do you have a favorite spice? You know when your spice cabinet is closed - there are hundreds of little conversations taking place. Can't you picture Oregano (in his Soprano-ish voice) saying "I'll bet onion powder is going to get picked next - and I'll take that bet for $400". The chicken bouillon is probably aggravating all of them by continually repeating "the cabinet is falling , the cabinet is falling", the lemon peel is wondering how she lost her clothes and the poppy seed container is spacing out in the corner. Mr. Oregano is right - chances are if I open my cabinet I am reaching for my onion powder, dill weed, or this little gem.

This is a Seasoned Salt that my girlfriend Lori introduced to me. I saw this little bottle sitting on her counter one day and she told me, "It is AMAZING" - she was right. Everything I put it on instantly turns into something scrumptious. The ingredient list on the back says it contains:
sea salt, fresh garlic, fresh basil, black pepper, fresh parsley, fresh rosemary, fresh nutmeg, fresh lemon peel.
With a list like that - you know it must be the most hated spice in the cabinet. Can't you hear them now - "Mother loves you best!" (They're right!)
What is your favorite spice?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Roasted New Potato Salad

You know those days that you just get caught up being a wife, mommy, coach, referee, maid.... the list is endless? Then out of the blue - you go to the mail box and YEAH - your favorite magazine is waiting for you. It sits in your mailbox patiently waiting like a mini surprise party just for you - just because! That is how I feel about my Southern Living subscription. No matter how hard a day has been, when I get that little gift in the mail - I know it is going to be a great night.
I snuggle up in bed and peruse the pages. I put sticky notes on the pages of the recipes I intend to try. Half the time I never make it back to try those scrumptious treats - but this potato salad recipe was different. The minute I saw it - I knew I had to make it - and SOON! This comes out of my April 2004 Southern Living. At this point, my copy of the recipe looks like it has been to the front lines of battle - but it is always victorious!

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Pounds small red potatoes, diced
1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 to 10 cooked crisp bacon slices, crumbled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Place oil in a 15 x 10 inch jellyroll pan; add potatoes and the next 4 ingredients, tossing to coat. Arrange potato mixture in a single layer.
Bake at 425 for 30 to 35 minutes (if you like your potatoes crispier, bake about 10 minutes longer, stirring once). Transfer to a large bowl.
Toss together potatoes, bacon, green onions, and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.

If I am serving a steak dinner - sometimes I will substitute Blue cheese dressing in place of the Ranch - And lets face it - can you ever really have enough Blue Cheese?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rindy's Chicken Salad

Even your carrot sticks will stand at attention when you introduce them to this Chicken Salad!
Over the years I have had my fair share of chicken salad. You've got your salad with celery, with water chestnuts, and with a dozen of wonderful ingredients - but I have never found one I like more then this one. Whenever I make this luncheon treat, I always get asked "What is that taste"? My recipe has the certain ingredient that people can't put their finger on - but they love it! Here's the secret.....Sesame Oil! Try out this summer creation and see if your vegetables don't take notice.

2 cups Rotisserie chicken, cut off and chopped to desired size
1 scallion
1/2 cup green or red grapes, cut into thirds
1/4 cup almond slices
1/3 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1 tsp. Sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together and serve on croissant, toast, lettuce salad or even wonton wrapper - see below.
If making a day ahead, leave almonds out until ready to serve.

Place wonton wrappers in greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 8 minutes. Let cool and store in an air tight container. You can make 1 to 2 days ahead of time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monte Cristo

Ok, Ok - I promise (well maybe) that this is the last recipe I will post that you can use a canned meat product.
I also make this after I have baked a big ham. I'll grind the left over meat and make this and some Ham "Sally" (When you consume the quantities I do - you're on a first name basis). This was our breakfast on those special occasions (Christmas, Easter, and just because I love you morning).

Grind equal parts of ham and cheddar cheese and one medium onion(I substitute onion powder - about 1 tsp.) together for sandwich filling. Remove crusts from 14 to 16 pieces of white bread. Butter an 8 x 13 inch baking dish. Place slices of bread in dish, add generous portions of ham and cheese mixture. Top with remaining slices of buttered bread. Beat 4 eggs and 2 1/2 cups of milk, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over sandwiches. Let sit at least 2 hours - or overnight. When ready to use- Bake at 325 for 1 hour.
I use deviled ham and 8 oz of cheddar cheese - Don't gag until you try it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Movie Munch

My friend Karen gave me this recipe and it is perfect for a summertime treat. No oven required!
It seems like taking your family to the movies requires you to take out a second mortgage on your home these days. This recipe can help you solve that problem. Tell the kids you're going to rent a movie but the concessions are going to be out of this world!

1 bag microwave buttered popcorn
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1 (12 oz) pkg. white choclate morsels
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal (I substitiute Coco Krispies, Cheerios, or any other cereal)
1/2 cup M&M's (you can put any candy you love into these - I'm sure my kids would even love a little Mike & Ike action in the corn!)

Microwave the bag of buttered popcorn - set aside. In a bowl, microwave the peanut butter and package of white chocolate morsels until smooth (in 30 second increments). Take popcorn out of bag by hand, so you don't get any unpopped kernels, and put in a large mixing bowl. The bigger the bowl the better! Add Rice Krispies to popcorn and mix. Slowly pour in the melted morsels - mix into the bowl and be sure to coat everything. When throughly mixed - add M&M's or candy of choice. Spread mixture onto waxed paper on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for about an hour. Break popcorn up into clusters and serve in a big bowl or movie popcorn bag! Stay home and enjoy! I love this recipe because I always have the ingredients on hand. Try semi-sweet morsels or milk chocolate morsels for a change. Make both batches and mix together after they are chilled.

This snack is sure to get two thumbs up!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rindy's Inverse Rule of Desirability

Once a year my family heads up to the Catskill Mountains to stay with my folks. They own a cabin on White Lake N.Y. The big claim to fame in that area is 5 minutes down the road. Bethel N.Y. is the home of the original Woodstock Festival. For our family the claim to fame is a few towns over in Kohlertown, N.Y., Sal's Pizzeria! This is where "Rindy's Inverse Rule of Desirability" comes into play. This Theorem states that the further away you are from your favorite food - the more you desire it. I am away from what I feel is the best pizza on the face of the planet, 347 days a year. I long for this pizza. I try to duplicate this pizza. I dream about this pizza - and before I know it - I am back at the Cabin making a mad dash for my holy grail!

You would think by the way I am talking about it - reaching my destination would be like entering the Pearly Gates. That is true if heaven is paved with orange formica and a homemade sign greets you upon entering. I have to say though - if this sign is what I see when I take my last breath - I am RUNNING towards the light!!!!!

Thank you for making your pizza a little slice of heaven!

Friday, July 11, 2008

"Devilish" Eggs

Here is the scenairo: You have promised your best girlfriend that you would bring the deviled eggs to the picnic. You strategically plan your day around making your speciality. You give yourself a 2 hour window (10 minutes to bring eggs to boil, 20 minutes to hang out in water, 30 minutes to cool, 10 minutes to take the shells off, 20 minutes to assemble, and 30 minutes to chill again).
You are so proud of yourself and your ability to time manage when.....

...your eggs start coming out of the shell looking like this!!!! This, my friend, does not fit into your egg strategy! Never fear - turn those hard-to-peel eggs into - "Devilish" eggs.

6 hard boiled eggs
3 or more bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. minced onions (you can substitute onion powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. horseradish - or to taste
1 1/2 cups cheddar or jack cheese - shredded

Mash hard boiled eggs. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Shape mixture into balls and roll them in cheese.

Most importantly - act like you planned it all along!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Coff" Pop

Like a "cough drop" - this frozen treat will soothe your needs on a summer day. I cannot trace when my addiction to coffee started but I am still on friendly terms with my "drug" dealer - my mother. Some of our favorite alone time has been spent sipping iced coffees and getting energized in preparation for a full day of shopping. This recipe originated when my "dealer" was helping me get my afternoon fix. My sweet mother had spied a full pot of left over coffee and knew that "black gold" shouldn't go to waste. She quickly made my coffee the way I love it - lot's of cream and sugar- and poured it into these neat popsicle holders. It was a good thing we were at her house - because my freezer is more like a complex jigsaw puzzle and there is no way that popsicle contraption would have fit!
I will be making more of these at my home, but will be using a small plastic Dixie cup with cling wrap over the top to hold the popsicle stick in place. I might have just enough room in my freezer for a few of them.

My kids LOVED these as well - I guess I've followed in my mothers footsteps! The "Business" lives on!

Vintage Table Cloths

In this generation of disposable tablecloths, napkins, cups, and cutlery I am fortunate to have a mother who is a hoarder! Now mind you, I have ridiculed her many times for accumulating clutter, but this day was different. Knowing that I have started to blog, my mother went up in her attic and found her treasured tablecloth collection. By the smell of things I knew these had been her treasures for quite some time. The aroma of the cedar chest was very apparent so we decided to air them out on her line.
As we hung them, my mother shared the history each one had to tell. One had been passed down from her mother. One had been her Grandmother's. One was a wedding gift and some were even purchased with the intent to make little dresses for her grand babies. Many of the linens were stained, but even those had stories to tell. My mother remembered when Uncle Charlie's gravy made a mark, and when Grandpa Kortright's blueberry pie didn't want to leave the scene of the crime.

Some told of vacations taken while others told of a different era. Most were just beautiful everyday linens that had been loved for years.

As I looked at the clothes line, I wondered what my children would find in my attic? Dixie cups and paper plates?
Maybe my mother's hoarding wasn't such a bad thing after all! Thank you mom - I love you!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Baked Eggs in Maple Toast Cups

I'm laughing right now as I begin to write this blog - thinking of what my neighbor Jennifer would say about my use of canned deviled ham in this recipe.  She has an automatic gag reflex when anyone mentions meat from a can.   Since a main staple in my diet growing up was Vienna Sausages - I have no aversion to using meat from a can.  I must admit, though,  I haven't had the desire to grace my palate with one of those in a long while.  This recipe is a throw back to the 1950's with a little Rindy tweak.
1 can (4.25 oz) deviled ham
6 slices white bread
6 eggs
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons butter

Combine syrup and butter in saucepan.  Heat just until butter is melted and blend with the syrup.  Remove crusts from bread slices.  Press out slice with a rolling pin.  Brush with syrup mixture.  Press slices down into buttered muffin tins.  Put small amount of deviled ham into bottom of each cup.  Break a small egg into each cup.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in a hot oven (400) for 15 minutes, or until eggs are set.  Serve with additional maple butter blend.  If you have a strong aversion to "meat-in-a-can" you can always substitute chopped ham or bacon!