Saturday, March 29, 2014

Snack Dinner

Some nights I don't bother to cook at all. Everyone at our house rejoices when I announce their favorite meal: snacks. Usually it is a some variation of fruit and cheese served with nice bread, toast, or a medley of crackers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Raisin Spice Drop Cookies

These toothsome treats are a family legend. My great-grandmother brought them to my parents' wedding picnic in 1974. I made them this afternoon while the kids were in school and my carpets were being cleaned.

Melt-in-your-mouth cookies have their place but these are more like little cakes. And they're hearty enough to keep you going when lunch is a distant memory and supper is too far in the future. I usually use walnuts, but today I had pecans so I used them instead.

Raisin Spice Cookies

  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup water

Bring to a boil in small saucepan. Cover, and set aside to cool.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together.

  • 4 cups flour (I used half whole wheat, but I like them chewy)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

Combine dry ingredients and add them to creamed mixture, alternating with the liquid from the raisins to keep it moist. Stir in raisins and:

  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Using a tablespoon, drop scoops of dough onto ungreased cookie trays, about two inches apart.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 F.

Cool on wire rack and dust with confectioner's sugar. Store in air-tight container.

Crepes (French Pancakes)

This dish is pretty much the opposite of a Puff Pancake: thin, delicate, small, and soft. It's hard to believe they use nearly all the same ingredients.

I didn't make any fancy crepe fillings this time. We just sprinkled them with powdered sugar or slathered them with butter before folding them up and devouring them. (I doubled this recipe to feed the five of us on a Saturday morning.)

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
Sift if you're a perfectionist; whisk together if you're not. 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla (or lemon zest)
Beat into dry ingredients. Or mix everything in the blender till there are no lumps.

Fry crepes one at a time in a lightly-greased non-stick skillet: 
1. Pour 1/3 cup batter into the center of hot skillet and swirl gently to spread batter evenly outward.
2. Cook over medium heat till edges start to crisp.
3. Gently flip over (a large turner helps!) and cook other side till it starts to freckle.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stuffed Pork Loin

This spiral entree's impressive looks belie its humble origins. The men at my house are especially fond of it!

Stuffed Pork Loin

  • pork loin (about 3 pounds)
  • 3 cups of your favorite stuffing (I use a box of Stovetop's "Savory Herb" variety, prepared according to the package directions)

Starting at 1/3 of the thickness of the roast, make a cut through it, stopping about one inch from the other side. Opening the pieces like a book, keep cutting through the thick side, stopping short of the edge again. Now you can lay the whole piece out flat.

Spread the prepared stuffing evenly over the meat.

Roll up the meat back into its original shape and secure with string or kitchen twine.

Place roast in baking pan, lean side down.

Bake at 325 F for 90 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 150 F.

Um, so my pan was too small. But the meat was in there, and I didn't want to wash another one. 

Let the roast rest a few minutes before slicing into thin spirals. We ate the tender stuffed pork with cranberry sauce, beets, and green beans.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tamale Pie

It may seem as if we've been starving for the last month or so, but I assure you that is not the case!

There have just been too many other important things on my plate to get recipes written down. Important things like Valentine's Day, taking my daughter to gymnastics, volunteering in her classroom, chewing out school administrators, research for my other blog, attending my kids' school concerts, reading for my book club, reading stories people send me (I am truly honored!), walking out stress, and building snowmen.

Still, we've been eating well! This is one of my favorite eat-of-the-pantry one-dish meals. It is especially wonderful on a cold day. The recipe is very adaptable. If I have taco meat in the freezer, I use that. I use different kinds of beans, switch up the turkey for beef, or make it vegetarian. And the seasoning can be altered to taste. You can leave out the green chilies, or use seasoned beans, or taco seasoning, or taco sauce, or salsa or a can of Ro-tel tomatoes. If it turns out too spicy for me, I just load on more cheese and sour cream. The cornbread does tone it down some, and the corn sweetens it all, so keep that in mind.

Jerusha's Tamale Pie

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. frozen or canned corn, drained
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1/3 c. chopped green pepper (I use the frozen kind)
  • generous sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey seasoned for tacos

Step 1: Mix all of the above and bake, covered, in a 2-qt. baking dish for 45-60 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and stir. Turn oven up to 400 F.

  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 T. water

Step 2: Whisk above ingredients in a small bowl. Pour cornbread batter evenly over the hot chili in the casserole pan. Return to oven and bake 20 minutes at 400 F.

Scoop casserole into shallow bowls and garnish as desired with shredded cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, or guacamole.