November – Gratitude – Recipe

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The original of this recipe was as a pie, directly from a colleague who was born and raised in New Orleans. Sweet Potato Pie is a traditional Southern dessert, very similar to pumpkin pie, although I think a little bit sweeter. I was on a trip to Virginia a couple of years ago, and was ecstatic to find a sweet potato pie in the local McDonald’s alongside their apple pies. It was amazing! Even years later, I miss it in my northeast home.

My mother could not grasp the idea that this pie was dessert or that it is typically eaten chilled. For her, it was a side dish and that’s what it became in our house for Thanksgiving.

Over the years I’ve changed it, and sometimes when I can’t find the extra large Keebler graham cracker crust I will make it as a casserole. That is the recipe that I’m going to share with you this November.

I know that this is a fall type food, but I will eat this all year round.

​Sweet Potato Casserole

This started out as a pie, but then I got a little lazy, and it became a casserole. It is still pretty awesome!

Ingredients:

1 lg can of yams or sweet potatoes

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 bag of mini marshmallows

Directions:

1. Cook the yams on the stovetop. When hot, drain and return the yams to the saucepan and mash.

2. Add the stick of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and mix thoroughly either by hand or with a mixer.

3. Transfer the smooth yams to a casserole dish. Cover with the marshmallows.

4. Bake in an oven at 350° for thirty-five minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.

5. Serve as a side dish. Yummy.

October – Fall into Halloween – Recipe – Quiche

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Apart from a hearty soup or stew, chicken or turkey pot pie, or creamy mac & cheese, I find quiche to be a really great, warm, easy to eat, easy to make comfort food. I think the common link of comfort foods is softness. Something you can savor and hold on your tongue without changing the consistency or the taste. Quiche is like that.

I’ve adapted this over the years, but the original recipe that I started with came from The Kitchen Survival Guide by Lora Brody. We bought this book when we first got married, and it was wonderful for teaching all the kitchen basics that neither of us knew anything about.

After putting either a non-stick spray or greasing the (8×8 or 9×9 square glass) pan with butter, there are different bases that can go on the bottom of the quiche. The original recipe called for bread. During Passover, I’ve used two layers of matzo, and just last week, I used two layers of Ritz crackers. So be creative, and use what you and your family enjoy.

I’ve also mixed all the ingredients and poured them over the base and I’ve layered each ingredient and then poured the egg mixture over. I think I prefer the layered version.

Put diced or chunked onions on the base. (1 onion)

Cover the onions with the cheese. I like cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, mozarella. Any of those individually or any of them mixed with each other. (Use about 8oz. of cheese or how much you like.)

Put spinach over the cheese. If you use the frozen box of spinach, drain it well. You can use the whole box.

Combine 8 eggs (the original recipe called for six), 2 cups milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1 TB pepper. (You can add 2 tsp. garlic powder if you like that extra flavor and/or 1 TB dill weed).

Mix with a fork or whisk.

Pour over the layers.

Put the quiche in the refrigerator for one hour.

After one hour, put into an oven preheated to 325° and bake for 40 minutes. If you like the top a little more well done, you can leave it in for another five minutes or so.

Serve hot with salad or biscuits (or any bread/roll that you prefer.)

July: Sum Sum Summer: Recipe

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Homemade Popsicles. (c)2018

One way to have fun and beat the heat is to make homemade popsicles. We tried this earlier in the week, and it was fun as well as refreshing.

I bought the popsicle makers for 99¢ at Wal-Mart. I’m going back for another one, maybe two. They’re an easy to use contraption. You could also use ice cube trays or silicone ice trays in different shapes. We found mini watermelon shapes in the dollar section at Target.

The flavors we used were Simply Lemonade with Raspberry, and Hawaiian Punch Fruit Punch. The latter is a favorite of mine from childhood. I almost never drink it because it’s just too sweet, but it has the perfect fruit punch taste, and it reminds me of being a kid in the summer heat.

What fruit juices or drinks do you recommend for freezing into popsicles?

June: School’s Out: Recipe

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​For the past several summers, my kids have enjoyed taste testing. They’ve already asked about it this year, and school isn’t quite finished yet. I would go to the supermarket and pick out three to five new foods to try, usually exotic fruits that they didn’t typically get on a regular basis. I’d only get one of each and cut them into pieces for each of us to have a taste. If we really liked something, we’d go back to the store for more.

This is truly a great summer activity. Try new foods, offer healthy choices, add to our vocabulary, increase kitchen skills, and tick another day off the countdown back to school. At this age, the kids join me about halfway through wanting to return to their friends and schedules.

Not everything will go over well. My son desperately wanted anchovies. We ordered a pizza with two slices only with anchovies. The picture of his face is priceless and still makes me laugh. Just mentioning the word anchovy makes his whole face scrunch up. He did not like them at all.

Here is a list (below the cut) of some of the things we’ve tried, some we’re still thinking about fot this year, and suggestions for your own taste test day.

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May: Flowers, Birds, Dances: Recipe

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I found the most delicious curry chicken salad at The Fresh Market. Unfortunately, The Fresh Market isn’t convenient for me to get to as often as I’d like, so I deconstructed the salad, and devised my own recipe. I share it with you here:

Curry Chicken Salad
Ingredients:

1 cup Mayo

1 TB + 1 tsp. Sweet Curry Powder

Scallions, 1-2 stalks

1 small box Golden Raisins, about 1/4cup

2 TB Mango Chutney

2 1/2tsp. Chopped Pecans

Fresh ground pepper (I did five turns with a pepper mill)

Chicken, cooked, cut into cubes (in the picture that goes with this, the chicken is cut much smaller than I would have liked) – about 2 cups is what I used; with cubed it may come out to more if you’re actually measuring it.

Water chestnuts, drained – about 1/8-1/4cup (I just grabbed a handful and diced them)
Mix 1 cup of Mayonnaise and 1 TB + 1 tsp. Sweet Curry Powder and set aside.

Most of the rest is to taste.

Cut up chicken and put into a separate bowl.

Add diced scallions, chopped water chestnuts, a handful of golden raisins, 2 TB of mango chutney, about 1 tsp. of pepper (put in however much you like for your own tastes), 2 1/2tsp. pecans.

Mix with a fork.

Add in the mayo mixture and mix again, then add more until you have the desired consistency. If it’s too wet, add more chicken or solids like the scallions and water chestnuts, etc. If it’s too dry, add more of the mayo mixture (you should have a little left over.)

March: Blustery, Green, Wet: Recipe

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One of my favorite comfort foods, and perfect for the cold, unpredictable days of March is Sherpherd’s Pie. I have always called it Shepherd’s Pie as has my mother-in-law who is actually from Ireland, but alas over the years I have been informed (many times) that what I make is not Shepherd’s Pie. The last time, in fact, was when I was in Northern Ireland and our cousin, Christine, made this for us one night for tea. Shepherd’s Pie is made from mutton, or sheep. What I make, and what she made for us is better known as Cottage Pie, which is basically the same thing except substituting beef in the place of mutton.

I used to make this with ground beef, but after seeing my mother-in-law in the kitchen, I began to use leftover roast beef, which is traditionally how it is made.

It is a great leftover dish, both made from leftovers and to eat as a leftover, but I’ve yet to have it last more than a meal and a half.

The ingredients I use are:

Leftover roast beef, cut into small chunks or diced. Uniformity is not necessary.

Leftover gravy, 2 TB Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup HP sauce (found in the international aisle of your supermarket) or you can use ketchup.

Leftover sliced carrots, peas, anything really. If you have no leftover vegetables, use half a bag of frozen peas and carrots.

Mashed potatoes.

Cover with cheddar cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs, although the bread crumbs are optional.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Scoop and eat. It goes well with dinner rolls, Yorkshire pudding, salad.

It is delicious and filling.

January: New Year, New Beginnings: Recipe

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This past holiday season I went through all of those pinned posts, saved Tasty videos on Facebook, and thought that I would try one or three new recipes out. As it turned out, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I tried out eight new recipes, some from the internet (Facebook and Pinterest) and a couple that I created on my own. Others I combined elements from more than one source.
If I do say so myself, they were phenomenal! I would make almost all of them again.

Even though the New Year’s parties are over, some of us are still eating appetizers for dinner, and the Super Bowl is not that far off. I thought I’d share this first experiment that my family absolutely loved!

I got the idea from a Tasty video for stuffed meatballs as well as my love for Cornish pasties that I developed a taste for on my first trip to England.

I let an 8oz. block of cream cheese soften. (I actually didn’t use a full block; this one had been started but it was mostly all there)

I then added in 1/2 a bag of frozen chopped spinach, 1/2 teaspoon (or your preference) of garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese (again, use your preferred cheese).

Mix well.

I then took a box of Pillsbury pie crusts and rolled them out one at a time. I used a 1 cup measuring cup to cut the dough into circles, then balled the dough and did it all over again until there was no dough left, only a pile of circles.

I placed a small spoonful of the spinach mixture in each circle, covered it with another circle, pressed it closed with a fork, and brushed them with an egg wash. (Another option is to put less mixture and fold the circle over into a halfmoon shape, sealing and brushing it in the same way. This will give you twice as many hand pies if you’re serving several small items).

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until a golden color.

My family couldn’t get enough of them.
Ingredient List

1 box Pillsbury (or preferred brand) pie crusts

1 8oz. brick of cream cheese (I use Philadelphia brand)

1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 cup cheddar (or preferred) cheese

1 egg (for egg wash)

Follow the directions as outlined above.