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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tangy BBQ Cocktail Smoked Sausages



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     Whenever we have a party or get together, we always serve these BBQ cocktail smoked sausages.  You can buy the name brand of these "Lil' Smokies".  That may be how you know what they are.  They are okay plain but when you dress them up like we do, it takes them to a whole other level.  These little appetizers are so yummy and super easy to make too.  They are great for tailgate parties or an appetizer anytime a few friends get together. 

BBQ Cocktail Smoked Sausages

14 oz. pkg. Lil' Smokies
1 1/2 c. BBQ (I used homemade BBQ Sauce)
1/2 c. crushed pineapples

      Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9"x13" cake pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

      In a bowl, measure out your crushed pineapples and place inside the bowl.

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     Stir in the BBQ sauce.  

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     Dump a few of the little sausages into the mixture at a time to be sure each is well coated and then place in the cake pan.  You can pour a bit more sauce over them if you like. 

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      Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove and enjoy.  We often will dip the sausages into the left over sauce.  MMMmmmm good!

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Pumpkin Sheet Cake



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      This Pumpkin Sheet Cake is super moist and is packed with yummy pumpkin goodness that is topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting that is simply divine!  This cake is right up my husband's alley.  If you could smell this cake right now, y'all would be begging for a slice!  Oh, by the way, did I mention that it takes less than one hour, start-to-finish, to make?!  It's true!

       Before we begin, you will need a HEAVY duty 13"x18" sheet pan for baking this cake in.

       Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your sheet pan with cooking spray and set aside.

      Pumpkin Sheet Cake

For the cake:
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 can (15 oz. can) canned pumpkin
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For the icing:
  • 2 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 T. milk
  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

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      In a large bowl, stir together the butter, milk and sugar from the cake mix ingredients.  Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla.  Once mixed together well, stir in the flour, baking soda, pumpkin, and spices.

       Pour the batter into a sheet pan and spread it out evenly.

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      Place into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until done.  Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center and if it comes out clean it is done.

30 minutes or less, cake, dessert, fall, holiday, pumpkin, Thanksgiving, sheet cake, easy Pumpkin Sheet cake recipe


     Prepare the icing by blending together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Once smooth, beat in the milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Finally, whisk in the powdered sugar.  

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Cinnamon  Cream Cheese Icing

       Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes and then ice it.  

30 minutes or less, cake, dessert, fall, holiday, pumpkin, Thanksgiving, sheet cake, easy Pumpkin Sheet cake recipe

       Goes great with a cup of coffee.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Easy Beef Stroganoff

      I have always loved Stroganoff but hate that it usually a pretty drawn out recipe.  Being a busy wife and mom, I don't always have time for a home cooked meal but that is what I prefer to serve my family.  This is a great compromise:  Easy Beef Stroganoff.  Simple & delicious!!!

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Easy Beef Stroganoff

1 c. sour cream
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 pkg. egg noodles
1 can beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of milk (use the soup can)
1/2 stick of butter
2 T. flour
salt & pepper to taste

      Prepare the egg noodles according to the package direction but add the can of beef broth to the water as you cook it.  It gives the egg noodles some extra flavor.  

      In a large skillet, cook the ground beef with the onions.  Once it is browned, do not drain.  Stir in the butter.  Once the butter is all melted, stir in the flour.  Now stir in the mushroom soup and the milk.  Add the beef mixture in with noodles.

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     Stir well.

      Allow the mixture to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, remove from heat and quickly stir in the sour cream.

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     Enjoy.  Makes a great meal that feels like home.

Follow the meal with some Homemade Pound Cake and your whole family will be content with a full belly and a smile on their faces.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Make Ahead Hamburger Patties



       Making hamburger patties ahead of time is an easy way to have the convenience of frozen patties ready for anytime you want to have it.  It is nice having more items I can just grab and go with and it adds to my list of freezer meals.  

       I usually freeze my patties plain and then season them once they are on the grill or on the stove so that allows me to decide what flavors I want to incorporate into them at the moment.  I also freeze them plain just in case I want to use the frozen patties to make Salisbury Steak or Swiss steak.  

      I use 80/20 ground beef which is 80% lean beef and 20% fat.  If you use less fat, your burgers may fall apart when you cook them.  The fat is what binds the meat together and adds flavor. 

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     Also, be sure to make all your patties as uniform in size as you can so they cook evenly.  I used a burger press but it is not necessary...just more convenient.

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      Also, be sure not to over form your patties.  Just like you can over handle bread dough, the same can be said with beef.  If you poke and prod the meat too much you will get a tough tasting burger.  

      I also place a "thumbprint" into the middle of each patty.

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        The reason that I put a thumbprint into the center of the patty is to ensure that the patty doesn't swell up in the middle when it cooks.  If you do not do this, the patty is curved over the center and to get it to cook all the way through, you end up with crispy edges.  With the thumbprint, you get a nice looking burger that is cooked evenly.  
       Okay, what I do first is line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

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       Now, take a handful of your ground beef into your hand.

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     Use your burger press or just use your hands and form the meat into a hamburger patty.

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     Place the formed patty onto the parchment paper lined pan.  Repeat until you have formed all your patties.

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         Place the pan full of burgers into the freezer and allow each patty to become frozen until solid, generally about 2-3 hours.  Once they are frozen, remove each patty from the cookie sheet and place each patty into a gallon freezer bag.  Separate each patty with a small piece of parchment paper to keep them from sticking to one another.  Be sure to get as much air as you can out of the bag before sealing them up to prevent freezer burn.  You can also wrap the burgers in cling wrap to prevent freezer burn or you can vacuum seal the bag, your choice.  


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       I can get 16 patties out of a 5 pound roll.  

      I hope you have found this post useful and while you are here, why don't you check out my recipe for Homemade Hamburger Buns and Sweet Pickle Relish.  Both are a great compliment to a burger!

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Homemade hamburger buns



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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

      As you know, my family and I love Tater Tots and we also love casseroles so we often mix the two together for a variety of Tater Tot casserole dishes.  Up until today, my favorite was the Pizza Tater Tot Casserole but this Sloppy Joe Tater Tot casserole definitely made the top of the list.  This is the perfect dish for those days you are pressed for time or just want something truly yummy and comforting.

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Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. hamburger meat
1 can Sloppy Joe sauce (Manwhich, etc.)
1 can corn, drained
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz. bag frozen tater tots

           Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a 9"x13" cake pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

      Cook your hamburger meat and onions in a pot or skillet until meat is evenly browned.  Drain.  

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      Stir in the Sloppy Joe sauce and corn.

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       Pour meat mixture into your prepared cake pan.  Top with cheese.

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     Top with the tater tots.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown. 

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       We serve this casserole with my Homemade Skillet Cornbread.  

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Homemade Skillet Cornbread

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dehydrating EggPlant

    Eggplant is really an amazing vegetable and I am embarrassed to admit, I had never had eggplant once in my 48 years until recently.  It was just not something my family ever served growing up so I never bought any as an adult either.  My son planted some this summer in our garden and since we had fresh eggplant, I sure wasn't going to waste it.  I actually liked it.

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    Eggplants are greatly desired for the "meaty"taste and vitamin content.  They are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B6, Niacin, Magnesium, Thiamin, and copper and are a good source of fiber too.
 
     Dehydrating eggplant does not change its vitamin content and is easy to do.  The eggplant once dehydrated can be used as you would in fresh eggplant and I use it in my casseroles, meatballs, and soups.

    To dehydrate the eggplant, you first need to peel each one and cut off both ends.  Then using a sharp knife or mandolin, cut them into 1/4"slices or you can cut them into small cubes.  I chose to cut mine into slices this time.

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     Place into your dehydrator and dehydrate for 12-14 hours at 135 degrees.  Remove when dried and store in a mason jar.

    To rehydrate, just place the eggplant slices in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  They will be ready to use after about 30 minutes.

I also dehydrate Radishes and Rutabagas.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Italian Cannolis

     I had never TRIED a cannoli before in my life.  I found out that they are super easy to make so I decided to have a go at it.  Wow, I had been missing out because they are so delicious and super simple to make.

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Italian Cannolis

6-8 Cannoli shells
16 oz. container Ricotta Cheese
1 c. powdered sugar (plus extra for sprinkling
3/4 c. chocolate chips (plus extra for the ends)

        Open up your ricotta cheese.  If there is any liquid on the top, drain it off.

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       Put the ricotta cheese into a medium sized bowl and stir in the powdered sugar and chocolate chips.  Remove the cannoli shells from the package and place them on a plate.

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      Spoon the filling into one end of each cannoli shell and then turn each around and add filling to the other end until they are full.  Sprinkle some chocolate chips onto each end and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.  They turn out amazing and Ron and the boys absolutely loved them.  None of them had ever tried a cannoli before either.   Being from SE Oklahoma, I can understand why but they are so good we will make them again sometime.

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Also check out my Death by Chocolate Cake and my Angel Food Frosting

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cauliflower Soup

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     Cauliflower soup is pure comfort food at its finest.  So good to curl up with a bowl on a cool evening and veg out reading a good book or watching your favorite TV program.  I made a pot of it last night and my son took it to church with him because they have a potluck every Wednesday before services and it was a big hit.  It is totally delicious and I hope you'll try it out soon.

Cauliflower Soup

5 c. water
2 c. milk
1/3 c. flour
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 stalk of celery
1 chicken bouillon
3 T. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper


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     In a large pot, break up the cauliflower into small, bite sized florets.

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      Cut up the carrot and add it to the pot.

how to make a rue, cauliflower soup, comfort food

    Now, cut up the celery and add it in too.

how to make a rue, cauliflower soup, comfort food


     Add in the water, bouillon, onions,  salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once it begins to boil, turn it down a bit and cook for 15 minutes. 
  
      
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    As the cauliflower is cooking, get out another pot and begin to make the rue that is needed.  To do so, add your butter to the new pot.  Turn your stove onto medium and melt your butter and let it get very hot to the point it is close to darkening.  Once it begins to darken, whisk in your flour.  Continue to whisk it until it is all mixed together and then whisk in the milk.  Cook and stir until it is thickened.  Once it is thickened stir it into your cauliflower mixture.  Stir well and then stir in the cheese.  

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Makes your whole kitchen smell so good!

Serve it along with some homemade fresh bread and your meal is complete!


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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Duritos (Or Mexican Wagon Wheels)

      I was at our local grocery store recently and seen some weird looking things in the produce section called "Duritos".

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Duritos, mexican pinwheels, Mexican wagon wheels, snack ideas

 I wasn't sure what they were but they were super cheap so I decided to buy some and bring them home and cook them.  I am glad I did because they are really pretty good.  

      Duritos are mainly carbs and are super easy to make.  You just deep fry them for a few seconds and they puff up.  It's kind of cool to watch them go from these super hard little things to puffed up pastries almost.  

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     After deep frying them we sprinkled them with powdered sugar and they tasted really good. 

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 We got a nice big bag full for less than one dollar so it makes a really frugal snack.  Next time you are at your local grocery store be sure to check the produce aisle or Mexican aisle and see if they carry them.  It is worth it.!

You could serve these as a side dish to my Mexican Tater Tot Casserole or my Mexican Chicken Casserole.


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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hot Fudge Cake

       This is a yummy cake that is not too sweet.  It is a perfect finish for an already good meal.  It pairs so well with a bowl of cold vanilla ice cream or a cup of coffee.

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Hot Fudge Cake

3 c. sugar
2 c. flour
6 eggs
3 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 c. cocoa powder, plus 1 T.
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

      Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9"x13"cake pan.  Set aside.
      In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Be sure to HAND MIX this recipe and do not be tempted to use a mixer.  Hand mixing it will allow the cake to remain gooey and not turn out all "cake like".  

      Add in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir and then add in the cocoa, salt, and flour.  Mix well.

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      Pour mixture into a cake pan and spread it out.

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  Bake for 33 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

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As you can tell, we often do not even frost this cake.  It's good enough on its own.  You can dust with powdered sugar if you like. 


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