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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My New Mixer

I've had a trusty white KitchenAid mixer that I have used for 15 years.  It has been faithful and hard working.  But, all good things end and my mixer died.

I have a very generous mother and as an early Birthday/Christmas present, she gave me this brand new KitchenAid Professional 600.  It's a gorgeous tangerine orange and I smile every time I walk into my kitchen and see it.

I love it.  It's sassy, just like me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pressure Canning Broth

I love to can and each year I usually do several kinds of jam, salsa and tomatoes.  This year, my mom brought me a pressure canner because I've been wanting to branch out with my food preservation and storage.

I've always made my own chicken, turkey and beef broth, but I just freeze it flat, in plastic bags.  It works ok, but I always forget to take it out ahead of time and then need to thaw it when I'm cooking.  I came across a post at Simply Canning about canning your own broth and I thought, "Cool!".

I followed her directions, boiled up the turkey carcass with some additional seasoning, celery, carrots, onion and garlic and figured out my pressure canner and, "Voila!"

9 pints of turkey broth.  I am thrilled at how easy it was and now I can free up some freezer space.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

Forgive the picture quality.  I just snapped it, I didn't have time for presentation!  

I think I like Thanksgiving Shepherd's pie better than regular Shepherd's Pie.  Even if we have Thanksgiving at someone else's home, I make a turkey with all the fixings for us, just so we can have Thanskgiving Shepherd's Pie.  (Of course, having all that shredded turkey in the freezer is good too...)

This time around, I simply took some turkey, most of the leftover stuffing, and all the leftover corn.  I didn't have quite enough gravy, but simply took what I had, heated it on the stove and added more water and seasonings and a bit of cornstarch/cold water for thickening.  Mixed it into the turkey mixture, dumped it in a pan and spread the leftover mashed potatoes over the top.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes and it's dinner!

This post has been shared at Weekend Potluck, Beautifully Creative, Front Porch Friday, Pin Me Link Party,  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cloverleaf Rolls

Printable Recipe

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Additional butter, melted

Directions: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, egg, sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and divide in half. Divide each half into 36 pieces and shape into balls. Place three balls each in greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Brush with additional butter.

Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 2 dozen.

Holly's Note:
I decided to try a new roll recipe for Thanksgiving and these were fantastic.  I found the original recipe in the Taste of Home Cooking School Cookbook and you can find it here.  This recipe was super easy and fast and the rolls were absolutely delicious.  I have a new go to recipe.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Stuffing in a Crockpot

Basically, put your prepared stuffing in your crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours. Take the top off for the last 30 minutes to let it get a little crusty.

I am a stuffing traditionalist.  I don't like it stuffed inside the turkey.  I like it cooked in a pan.  Stove-Top is not real stuffing.  I like traditional stuffing with bread cubes, butter, celery, onions, sage and poultry seasoning.  I don't add apples or sausage or cornbread. I know it's called "dressing" if it's not cooked inside the bird, but I have always called it stuffing and I will continue to do so!

I also prepare my stuffing the night before and let it sit covered overnight in the fridge, if there is room, or covered in my cold garage if there's not.

Cooking the stuffing in a crockpot is awesome and it frees up the oven that is too small anyway!  I've prepared my stuffing this way for the last 4 years and I can't see myself doing it any differently unless I get blessed with more than one oven in my kitchen at some future point!

This post was shared at Fall into the Holidays, Happy Holidays Link Party, Weekend PotluckBeautifully CreativeFarmgirl FridayFridays Five, Pin Me Link Party, No Rules Blog PartyWhat to do Weekends,Food on Friday

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks for visiting 2 Kids and Tired Cooks this year.  May you have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes...Review

Real recipes from real home cooks—they’re what make Taste of Home one of America’s most popular—and most trusted—names in home cooking. Over the years, we’ve featured tens of thousands of recipes in our magazines and websites. But what makes this book so special is that it features not just great recipes. Not just award-winning recipes.

These are our best-loved recipes: The ones that conjure up heavenly aromas, that bring you back to Sunday dinner tables, summer picnics and holiday parties, that call vividly to mind the special cooks who made them. The ones that make you close your eyes, smile and say, “Mmmmm!” They’re all here—cook-off winners and bake-sale favorites, must-have comfort foods and secret family recipes, regional specialties packed with flavor and style.

This collection contains 1,485 of the most requested, most beloved dishes, all submitted by Taste of Home readers. Recipes for all occasions are included from Blueberry Cheesecake Flapjacks to Caramel Apple Bread Pudding, mouthwatering main dishes from Creamy Seafood-Stuffed Shells to Chicken with Rosemary Butter Sauce, and delicious dessert recipes from Magnolia Dream Cheesecake to Chocolate Ganache Tarts. Here’s what else is included:

Top 100 favorites recipes
Prep/Cook Times
Recipe comments from our web community
Everyday ingredients
Easy-to-follow directions
How-to photos
Cooking tips
26 chapters
20 photo sections with 400 full-color photos

The most cherished magazine features are included: Mom Made it Best, Our Favorite Contributor’s Meals, Mealtime Express, Cooking for One or Two, Grand-Prize Winners and Potluck Picks. Besides special features, the remaining chapters cover everything from appetizers and beverages to entrees and sides and breads and desserts.

This is a big cookbook and it's bulky.  It took several evenings for me to look through the entire thing and mark recipes I wanted to try and there were a lot.  One cold evening, however, I remembered a soup recipe I'd seen and I found it easily in the Index.  And, like you've come to expect from Taste of Home recipes, I had all the necessary ingredients on hand which was nice.

One thing I have always loved about the Taste of Home magazines is the photos.  Nearly every recipe in a magazine will have a photo.  Here, there are about 400 photos for 1485 recipes and those photos are bunched together in sections.  Not my favorite structure.  I prefer photos with the recipes.

The Mealtime Express section is cool, with the whole menu planned by theme: Mexican, Sandwiches, etc.  The Index is good and something that will be well used, as it's the quickest way to find a particular recipe and you can search by alphabet or main ingredient or recipe type.  There's also an index where you can search by year, but I'm not sure why you would. I also liked that there were suggestions from people who had commented online after preparing some of the recipes.

One of the recipes I've prepared is Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder and it was a hit.  You can see the recipe here.  It will go into our soup rotation.

Overall, this is a cookbook I like.  It's one that I know will get a lot of use.

Thanks to Leyane at FSB Associates for the opportunity to review this book.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 11/12

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

Printable Recipe

1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces (or about 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup hot water
2 t. chicken bouillon granules
1 t. ground cumin
2 t. homemade taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
~2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (14-3/4 ounces) corn, undrained
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained

In skillet or soup pot, brown chicken and onion in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the water, bouillon, cumin and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. If you're using cooked chicken, add it now. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the cream, cheese, corn, and chilies. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted.  Serve with a loaf of crusty bread.

Serves 4-5.

Holly's Notes:
The original recipe came from the Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes cookbook, but can also be found at the Taste of Home website.  This is my version, because I rarely prepare a recipe as it's written.  The original recipe called for hot pepper sauce and a tomato, I left those out.  Also, I used leftover chicken and just added it when I added the water, bouillon and spices.  I also don't like cumin by itself, so I added 2 teaspoons of my amazing taco seasoning and it was fantastic.  Just the right amount of smoky spice.  This was easy and oh so yummy on a cold evening.  My family declared it a keeper.

This post was shared at Carole's Chatter.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cornish Pasties

Printable Recipe

For the pastry:
3 3/4 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
sea salt
8 oz. cold unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup water

For the filling:
12 oz skirt steak
1 onion, peeled
1 potato, peeled
1 small carrot, peeled
1 or two small root vegetables of your choice, peeled
olive oil
2 T cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Pour the flour into a bowl, season it with a pinch of salt, then use your thumbs and forefingers to rub in the butter.  Add 3/4 cup water and use your hands to quickly mix it up.  As it comes together, squeeze, hug and pat it together crudely and imperfectly as Jamie says.  Add a splash more water here if need be, but please don't overwork it or it won't be flaky.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the steak and vegetables into 1/3 inch dice, then put into a bowl.  Season as you wish.  I have a favorite bbq seasoning that I use on meat, but you can use anything you want for any flavor you want: southwestern, cajun, simple salt and pepper, whatever you desire.  Mix the cornstarch and water together and pour over the filling mixture, mixing it together so it will form a bit of gravy, but not be soupy.

Cut the pastry into 6 equal pieces and roll each one into a ball.  Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour, then pat and roll each piece of pastry out to the thickness of a quarter, dusting and turning as you go. Repeat until you have 6 rounds of roughly 8 inches in diameter.  Get a little filling, compact it into your hand, and place it in the middle of one of the pastry rounds, leaving a border around the edge.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, then brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg and fold the pastry over the filling mixture to make a semicircle.   Place pasties on a greased baking tray.  Pasties don't need to be smooth and perfect. Personally, I prefer the rustic look!

Brush the pasties all over with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for around 30-35 minutes or until golden.

Serves 6.

Holly's Note:
This is my version of Jamie Oliver's original Early Autumn Cornish Pasties recipe in Jamie Oliver's Great Britain. The nice thing about a recipe like this is that you can change the vegetables and flavors to suit your own tastes or season.  The original recipe called for butternut squash and zucchini, which I didn't have on hand, but might put in, if I did.  My husband loves parsnips and I despise them, but I would add parsnips to a couple of these pasties for him.  If I had a sweet potato on hand, I would put that in.  Asparagus or peas would be nice in the spring or summer.

These are also good if you have a leftover stew or meat dish.  Wrap it up in a pastry and voila, a new yummy dinner.

The original pasties were a bit dry, and so I added the water and cornstarch mixture to thicken up the natural juices and make a bit of gravy.  It's also important to dice the vegetables and meat fairly small, to make it all blend together well.

I actually prefer to make pasties with my own pie crust, rather than this version.  Since I always have pie crusts in the freezer, it's really easy to put together pasties when we have leftovers.