Friday, January 30, 2009

Sausage Biscuits and Gravy - NEKAMO style!

What is NEKAMO style you ask? When I was a little girl I went away to our church camp. At the time I lived in Kansas and the summer camp was named NEKAMO because girls from Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri all came to this lovely place - thus camp NEKAMO. My mother would come and cook in the kitchen the weeks I went to camp. Not until I became an adult (and mother) did I truly understand this sacrifice. Who would want to spend ALL day in a 100 degree kitchen (on a good day) and cook 3 meals a day? Not me!!! Thank you mom.
We were Midwest folks and my mother and I had never heard of "Biscuits and Gravy". The morning she showed up for work and this was on the menu - she told me she felt so sad that the campers had to eat such a "Disgusting" looking dish. She was sure these little girls would not touch the stuff. You can imagine her surprise when the campers trailed in and cheered when they saw what they were having - and scarfed it all down! She went home and put this on our family's menu and it has been a staple ever since!

NEKAMO Biscuits and Gravy
1 package Pillsbury frozen biscuits ( Why make your own when these taste sooooo good)
1 16 oz package Jimmy Dean HOT sausage in tube in the refrigerator section
3 to 4 heaping Tablespoons flour
1 tsp. onion powder
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper

Make biscuits according to directions on bag.
Brown sausage in pan. Drain grease.
Mix flour and onion powder with cooked sausage. Stir.
Pour milk over sausage mixture. Stir until thick, about 8 minutes.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Pour sausage gravy over biscuits and prepare to be amazed! YUM!

I made wonderful memories at NEKAMO - and this breakfast was one of them!
I am glad this recipe delights my family. My Dad loves his sausage gravy on eggs and his biscuits are reserved for jam or jelly.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Roasted Snowman Noses - and other Vegetables!

This chilly weather outside has certainly made me want to warm my tummy inside. This is a lovely and simple dish that will warm your heart and cause snowmen all over the Northern states to become "Sinus Challenged"!

Basic Roasted Vagetables
Preheat oven to 425.
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup baby carrots
2 stalks celery, chopped (I omit because my gag reflex goes on overtime when I even hear the word Celery)
2 turnips, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
1 white onion, peeled and quartered
1 red pepper, halved and sliced
1 bulb fennel, washed and quartered

In a medium size bowl, stir together the melted butter, the minced garlic and herbs. Lightly coat the vegetables and place them in a large baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Enjoy this warm hearty dish with your favorite Chicken or Beef dish!

As you can see - I substituted some different veggies - I just used whatever I had in my veggie bin. Clean out your veggie bin today!

Trust me - Your snowman will feel honored to donate his nose to this worthy dish!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Praline Chex Mix - Always a Touchdown!

The host for a Super Bowl game needs lots of snacks for the guests.
I think you will find this treat special and there is still time to order the
Praline Mix from Savannah Cinnamon Company. Their web site is: Check them out HERE!

A small bottle of Praline Mix will make three batches of Savannah
Squares Praline Crunch. My mother knows. She received the Praline
Mix from a couple my dad plays golf with. She immediately ran to the
grocery store for the ingredients and made one recipe after another.
Along with the bottle, she also received a generous sample of Savannah
Squares Praline Crunch which they quickly devoured – she knew a trip
to the grocery store was imperative.

So, order the mix and have pecans, Chex cereal, butter, brown sugar and baking soda ready for the arrival of the Praline Mix. Thank you Fran Hess – you made a golfer and his wife’s day.

Savannah Squares Praline Crunch
Stir together 6 cups Chex cereal and 2 cups pecan halves in
A 13x9 pan. Melt ¼ cup butter and ½ cup brown sugar and
½ cup of Praline Mix. Bring to a boil. Gently cook for 2 minutes,
Stir in ½ tsp baking soda and stir until foamy. Pour over mixture
and stir to coat. Bake at 250 for 1 hour. Stir once during baking.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Midwest Chowder - A Real Man's Soup!

The big red cups are out again. Yup, another soup night but when it is cold you can't have too much soup. The recipe is Midwest Chowder.
Did I tell you that much of my life I spent in the Midwest? I was born in
Minnesota where my father worked and because we followed his paycheck we spent time in Omaha and Kansas City as well as Minnesota. When the wind comes whipping across the plains you do need a good soup recipe and this one was published years ago in "Country Woman Magazine".


2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup diced onions
1 tsp. salt
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
Black pepper to taste
2 cups milk
10 ounces cheddar cheese
2 cups corn

Cook potatoes, carrots, celery and onions in boiling water for 10 minutes. While vegetables cook, melt butter, stir in flour and pepper and cook for one minute. Gradually stir in milk; cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in corn. Heat through but do not boil. Add vegetables and liquid.

Although my dad likes this soup he loves this soup after he splashes in some Louisiana Hot Sauce. He loves everything just a wee bit hot. Good you're a wee bit "hot" mom!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Perfect Pancake Portion!

This entire week my youngest, Jensen, has been asking to make pancakes for breakfast. She doesn't love just any pancakes -she loves those little pancakes that are just the perfect size for dipping. In the past I have always used a measuring cup or a ladle to pour the pancake batter; however, it never fails to create a huge mess and pancakes of various sizes (mostly big ones because I can't control my pouring). I decided to try to find, among my 1073 kitchen gadgets, a perfect "Pitcher" to portion out my pancakes - and I DID! I opened up my silverware drawer and spotted these little spoons I got at IKEA for Noodle soup.
It worked great! Each pancake was just the size she wanted and the mess was kept to a minimum!

After completing the first couple of batches - I even let Jensen spoon the mixture onto the pans. So simple even a child can do it!

These were some of the finished "Dippers"! For another twist on pancakes - Try making your pancakes with Jiffy Corn Meal muffin mix. The recipe is on each box and they are so sweet - the kids will love them! Our other favorite pancake recipe comes from Big Red Kitchen. Check out how Robin Sue makes her pancakes HERE!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2 Cheap Chicks & a 20! Wegman's Style! Part 2

Oh - Just looking at this salad makes me want to make it again. I had clipped this recipe out of my Cooking Light magazine in March of 2003 - and this was the first time I tried it - but it won't be the last. My whole family loved it and gave it 2 thumbs up!

Spinach, White Bean, and Bacon Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing:
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (15 oz) can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained.
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 (7 oz) packages fresh baby spinach

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small microwave-safe bowl, stirring with a whisk; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until hot. Place beans in a 2 cup glass measure; microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until hot.
2. Combine onions, bell pepper, bacon and spinach in a large bowl. Add syrup mixture and beans; toss well to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 8

Baked Apples:
4 apples - your choice.
4 teaspoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons crushed walnuts
4 Tablespoons butter
Carmel Ice cream topping

Core apples. Place 1 teaspoon brown sugar in each apple. Place 1 teaspoon nuts in each apple. Place 1 Tablespoon butter on top of each apple. Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Let cool 10 mintues. When serving, drizzle with carmel ice cream topping.

Note to self: Kids do not accept this as dessert, but rather a tasty "Side".

Don't forget to take a look and see what Big Red Kitchen did with her 20 dollars!

Monday, January 19, 2009

2 Cheap Chicks & a 20! Wegman's Style!

Wegmans.....ahhhhhh. Need I say more. I had not been to our "Local" (and by local I mean half hour away) Wegmans store in quite a while. The minute I walked in and devoured the smells of the coffee shop and bakery - I knew I was in for a treat. Robin Sue and I decided to meet for lunch beforehand. We may be "2 Cheap Chics" but there is always money in the budget for a lunch with a good friend.

We bought our Asian style lunch and perched ourselves atop the main floor. This was our view from the deck. We strategized, ate, talked and of course people watched! We were sitting next to a Joe Biden look alike - and if any of you remember - Robin Sue is a spitting image of Sarah Palin. We were laughing at the pictures we could take if only we were brave enough to ask "Joe" for a photo. Neither of us were - so we just had to have fun chuckling to ourselves about Robin Sue jumping in "Biden's" lap and taking a photo for our blogs. Couldn't you see the headlines "Palin Pounces Biden - and he liked it"!

The challenge to make a meal on a 20 dollar bill was on and Robin and I went our separate ways. A little later we met up in the card department to calculate whether or not we had gone over our budget. Robin, unfortunately, needed to put a few things back - but I managed to stay under budget the first time around. Click HERE and see what Robin Sue did with her 20 bucks!

On the menu tonight:
Slow cooked Pork Chops
Brown Rice
Spinach, White Bean and Bacon Salad with Maple-Mustard dressing (Cooking Light March 2003)
Baked Apples

Slow Cooked Pork Chops:
Brown 4 or 5 pork chops in a skillet with some Worcestershire sauce and pepper (or any spices you prefer).
Slice half of a medium onion and put in crockpot. Put browned pork chops on top of onions.
Mix a can of Cream of Chicken soup with 1/2 can of water.
Pour soup onto pork chops, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Brown Rice:
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked rice
1 can beef broth
1 can beef consume

Saute rice in butter until lightly browned. Pour broth and consume and rice into a casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes.

The meal turned out to be wonderful! I have to admit my family thought the baked apples were NOT dessert - and your family might not either. I just told them "What do you expect for 20 bucks"! They proceeded to raid the pantry for Christmas chocolate gold coins! I guess they "Ate" their $20 bucks in chocolate after all!

Check back Wednesday for the recipes for the apples and salad! Don't forget to pop over to the Big Red Kitchen and see what Robin Sue did with her 20 dollars!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Peanut Butter Brownies!

The title of this blog should really be "Upgrade your Box Brownie Mix". This started with a 99 cent Box-O-Brownies and ends with "Pass me another one please and may I have this recipe" brownie!
I am a peanut butter lover. I got that love from my dad. I grew up in a house in which everything, and I mean everything, was eaten with peanut butter on it. We went through a jar a week. It was no little jar of Jiff either. This was a HUGE glass jar of SULTANA peanut butter. We still talk about the good old days when they made SULTANA peanut butter. We don't know where it went - but no peanut butter will ever taste as good to us. Ahh - the taste of childhood!
I for one, have no problem drowning my sorrows in peanut butter with this delicious recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.

Make a Box-O-Brownies in a 9 by 13 dish. Let cool.

For "Frosting":
3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. softened butter
3 oz. pkg. softened cream cheese
3 tbsp. milk

Optional Glaze:

1/4 c. semi-sweet choc. chips
1 tbsp. shortening

In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, cream cheese and milk; beat until light and fluffy. Spread evenly over brownies.
In small saucepan, combine chocolate chips and shortening. Cook over low heat to melt. Drizzle over frosting. Makes 36 bars.

What is a food you miss from your childhood?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sweet Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese

I imagine I either completely lost you with the title or completely sold you on this recipe. I don't think there is any middle ground when it comes to Blue Cheese. I personally, feel it should be a mandate at every meal. In fact, if this were the only cheese left on the face of the earth - It would be good! I take that back - It would be GREAT! Tony the Tiger GREAT! I LOVE blue cheese, my kids love blue cheese and I am fortunate enough to have married a man who adores it as well. I have a friend, on the other hand, and if you barely mention the name her gag reflex kicks in! If you are a "Lover" - put this side dish on your foods to try. It is amazing, and the perfect accompaniment to that Christmas ham I am trying to eat up!

Sweet Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese

4 Baking potatoes
4 large Sweet potatoes
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled Blue cheese
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup milk

Slice potatoes. In a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, make 3 layers as follows:
1/3 mixed potatoes slices
1/3 of the Cheddar cheese
1/3 of the Blue Cheese
Paprika (I used Smoked)
Salt and Pepper

Repeat 2 more times.

When ready to bake - dot top with butter and pour 1 cup milk (preferably whole) over top.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 oven for 1 1/2 hours.

The sweet and salty combination is perfect! Your taste buds will thank you - trust me!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bobi's Bites: Sausage and Sauerkraut Soup

I finished my chemo treatments this past June and feel great but am suffering from "Chemo Brain". This "Fog" has turned me into one of those people I really don't like. You know the type - you ask them a question and they say they'll have to check and get back to you - and they never do. I am now THAT friend. I hate it! I can't remember dates, times and many faces...but funny thing - when my mom sent me this blog I instantly remembered a poem I learned in 1st grade!
It was found in Father Fox's Pennyrhymes and it went....

The sky is dark, there blows a storm
Our cider is hot, the fire is warm
The snow is deep and the night is long:
Old Father Fox, will you sing us a song?

Mister Lister sassed his sister
Married his wife 'cause he couldn't resist her,
Three plus four times two he kissed her;
How many times is that , dear sister?

Knickerbocker Knockabout
Sausages and Sauerkraut
Run! Run! Run! The hogs are out!
Knickerbocker Knockabout.

I can't remember one of my best friends birthdays - but I can recite a poem I learned in 1st grade about Sausages and Sauerkraut.....that's just the kind of friend I am now!

Although I did not have this soup when I was a child it brings back childhood memories of that book I loved.

The recipe is one my mother received from our mutual friend Sally Issac who now resides in cold Minnesota. We have been loving it for years.

Sauerkraut & Sausage Soup

4 strips bacon, diced
1 medium onion diced
1 large clove garlic chopped
2 pounds polish kiebasa cut into chunks or circles
8 oz. package of sliced mushrooms
6 cups chicken stock or broth
1 bay leaf
3 medium carrots cut into penny shapes
2 ribs of celery sliced diagonally
4 new potatoes, quartered
1 pound sauerkraut, rinsed, and well drained
pepper to taste

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until half done, about five minutes. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until onions are softened, about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to high. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, about ten minutes stirring often.

Drain off fat from skillet. Add the contents of the skillet to broth along with the vegetables and sauerkraut. Cook partially covered in a large pot until vegetables are just tender. Add pepper to taste.

To thicken this soup I use one can of Campbell's potato soup and one can of Reed's German potato salad.

One wonderful piece of your favorite bread or crackers of your choice and your meal is complete.

Now go knock yourself out with some Sauerkraut Mr. Lister!

Friday, January 9, 2009

When the host tells you not to bring a thing!

With the party season behind us, it might be a little late for this tip but I thought it was worth the mention. I am the proud owner of these two carafes you see in the picture above. If you entertain at all you know how helpful these can be. I can boil my water for tea and make my coffee well ahead of when my guests arrive. I lend these out throughout the year for teachers functions, dinner parties and for anything else where they might be helpful. Lately, I have even been bringing these to dinner parties. Let me explain. You know, when you get that invitation and the host tells you not to bring a thing? I sometimes offer "The Coffee Bar". Usually the answer is an excited YES! It is always such an afterthought when I entertain - sometimes I even forget to make the coffee until I'm in a rush while another guest is serving the dessert.
When I bring these to a get-together I fill one with boiling water for tea and the other with a coffee selection. Do you like my little "Tea Tote"? I picked that clear tea case up at the Container Store for 14 dollars. It's a great way to transport a nice selection.

My mom finds many occasions to use her carafe as well. Something neat she does with hers is to convert those magnets you get in the mail to coffee labels. She just puts a name tag sticker over the magnet and it instantly becomes your carafe "Name tag". Wouldn't it be cute to put "Hello - my name is Joe" on this tall dark and handsome "Man".

Don't forget to bring some fun creamers and cute little sugar cubes. The host is always thankful and it adds a little panache to an often overlooked item.

What is the strangest thing you have ever offered to bring to a party?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cheese and Broccoli Soup

There is nothing better than a hot cup of soup on a cold day - and nothing brings back better memories than my mom making this soup on those cold winter days when I was growing up in Kansas City. I remember sledding all day and then coming in and making a fort under the kitchen desk. The desk just happened to have the hot air duct under it - and I would not come out until I was sweating! Ah - those were the days - when someone you loved CALLED you FOR dinner. Now I just get HOLLERED at TO MAKE dinner! ahhhh those were the days.
I made this soup for my "Healthy Hero" friend Cindy and she loved it. She has been asking for the recipe ever since but I hate to give it to her. She thinks it is full of this....

Broccoli - which it is. She has no idea it is also full of this....

a pound of Velveeta. Ahhhhh shelf stable cheese - I LOVE IT! Once she sees this recipe, I doubt she will make it, but it was fun watching her enjoy it while she was here. I bet you'll love this too! Go build a fort near the hot air duct and have a cup - no one is watching!

Cheese and Broccoli Soup

2 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cup minced onions
4 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
8 oz fine noodles
1 tsp. salt
2 (10 oz) frozen broccoli (or substitute fresh)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups milk
1 lb. Velveeta
pepper to taste

Saute onions in butter over low heat in heavy sauce pan. Add 3 Tablespoons of flour until smooth. Add water and bouillon cubes. Heat to boil. Gradually add noodles and salt. Cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Add garlic and broccoli and cook 1 minute. Add milk, cheese and pepper. May freeze.

Monday, January 5, 2009

"Barefoot" Baked Shrimp Scampi

This is my friend Amanda. She is a caterer. Everything she makes is amazing - and she finally told me her secret. Are you listening? Most of her recipes are "tweaked" recipes from the Barefoot Contessa. She made this recipe for a girls night out and it was AMAZING! Try it at your next get together.

Barefoot Contessa's Baked Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Check out Reviews of this dish at the Foodnetwork HERE.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Organization in the New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year! That is over now and perhaps you have been left with a huge mess. Perhaps you started with a huge mess (that is more the place I am in). Over Christmas break - my mother inspired me. She made me go down into that room that I try to avoid at all costs - my craft room. I was so excited when I moved into this house- primarily because I was going to have a designated "Craft Room". It didn't take long to realize that my craft room was reallly my CRAP room (pardon the french).

I took this picture when we were practically done with the room - you can imagine how messy it was to begin with!

This is the finished room (do I hear the choir playing in the background?)

The best part now, is that I know what is on each one of those shelves. You want clothes pins for a craft - I got 'em. You want bandanas for a western day - I got 'em. You want ribbons for a package - I got 'em - and check this out....

This is an organization tip for your craft room. Put all those rolls of ribbon on slacks hangers and hang them in a closet. It allows you to see your supply and lets you easily access it! Make sure you find a hanger with very small rods - or the holes in the ribbons won't fit. I love it!
Thanks mom for helping me turn this Crap room into this great CRAFT room!