Pickled Beets

tasty, colorful, they add some zing, good for every day, every meal

This is a simple recipe for pickled beets. It is easy and fast and adds something special to any meal. They will keep well in the refrigerator for a week, if you can stay out of them~I  can’t think of any dinner meal that they wouldn’t make more special.

Pickled Beets

2 cans whole or cut beets (drain but save
1/2 c. of the juice)
3/4 c. vinegar
3/4 c sugar

Put beets, vinegar, saved
beet juice and sugar in saucepan,
bring to a full boil. Let cool and store
in refrigerator until ready to use.

Chinese Chicken Shun-Goi

 
This is a recipe you should try.  It is absolutely my favorite Chinese dish of all of the wonderful ones out there. It has a little sour-sweet flavor, crunchy cashew nuts, dredged and fried chicken pieces, and all the vegetables are still crisp . Served on steamed rice, it will be one you will remember ~and the chopsticks are not just for decorations, that is what I use and never drop a bite in my lap!

chop sticks add a lot of fun to this meal, offer them to everyone, and also a fork for those who are in a big hurry to eat~.

This is a wonderful Chinese dinner, perfect for company, everyone will love it. Any left overs can be put on  plates for the freezer to be enjoyed later.  It is colorful and simply delicious. My favorite Chinese Food.
Grocery list:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
2 bell peppers
celery
water chestnuts
onion
large can pineapple chunks
3 Roma tomatoes
cashew nuts
6 cups chicken broth
Soy Sauce
~
Chicken Shun-Goi

Sauce   ( you can make this ahead of time)

1/2 c soy sauce
4 heaping T. corn starch
2 c chicken broth ( I make my own any time I am boiling chicken, then freeze it)
1/2 c vinegar
3 T sugar
Pineapple juice from drained chunks
Stir (constantly) together and cook until thickened, it is slightly thinner than gravy

Fried chicken breast chunks  (this can be done an hour or so before dinner, like before church)

Cut breasts into small cubes (the size of pineapple chunks)
1 egg & 1/2 c. water  Mix together in med size bowl)
2 c flour seasoned with salt and pepper and put in large mixing bowl
Dip chicken cubes in egg mixture, then into  flour and coat completely, only do about 1/4th at a time so they will be well covered.
Heat 2 c. corn oil hot in wok or skillet, drop in chicken and stir while it fries until done, it only takes a few minutes . Put on paper towels and get all the grease off. Then do the rest of the chicken the same way until it is all cooked.

Rice
2 c rice
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 c chicken broth
Put it all in a large pant, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat and cook 25 minutes or until tender. (you can do this before church too)

Cut up vegetables, even the day before is fine
Stir fry in hot wok or big skillet with 1/4 c. corn oil:
2 bell peppers (big chunks)
1 onion, quartered and separated
4 stalks celery cut into 1/2 in. chunks
(Only cook for a few minutes!  you want them crunchy)

Add drained pineapple chunks,
can of water chestnuts drained
Roma tomatoes, (quartered)
cashew nuts
fried chicken chunks

toss together with vegetables and sauce on heat for
about 30 seconds more.
Serve the Shun-Goi on rice in each individual plate, this recipe is generous for 6 people~

This is such an easy recipe, it sounds complicated but once you make it, you will see
it is fast and simple. When I cut up the vegetables, I put each in a plastic bag and don’t
mix them until I cook them.
It is one, two, three, four:
1. fry the chicken chunks
2. make the rice
3. stir fry the vegetables~ and 4. make the sauce

Texas Pecan Pralines

This is a recipe you will want to make often, these pralines will melt in your mouth. (there is another recipe for the creamy, chewy kind that I will post later) The secret to making wonderful pralines is to toast the pecans first. I always toast pecans that are going into any candy recipe. This was my Grandmother Montgomery’s favorite candy to cook~

                        PECAN   PRALINES
1-Cup Sugar
½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Light Karo
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
Pinch of Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter
3 to 4 Cups toasted pecans
(toast pecans in  microwave for about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes
two cups at a time. Stir every 30 seconds so they
don’t overcook.) Generiously butter a cookie sheet.
Combine the sugars, water, Karo, salt, and vinegar. Stir to mix well.  Wipe
down the sides of the pan with moist paper towel to prevent sugar crystals
from forming.  Cook to 234 degrees on candy thermometer.
Remove from stove, add butter and nuts and beat until the mixture starts
to thicken and loose its shine. Quickly drop from spoon to the buttered cookie sheet, using
a second spoon to scrape it off. If it should get too thick and sugary, just add a
few drops of water and beat. Cool, and wrap in wax paper, store for any length of time.
As with any candy, don’t double recipe and cook in a very heavy pan.
Makes about 20 pralines.

Hot Chicken Salad

This is Pat Pfluger’s recipe, it is a great meal for company, they will remember it~I know I did!

Hot Chicken Salad is a main course meal, all you need to add is a fresh vegetable salad  or fruit salad and hot rolls for a fantastic company dinner. It is one of Pat Pfluger’s great recipes, and she has many. It can be put together the day before and then topped with the cheese and potato chips just before heating. Talking about potato chips, one bag is almost $5. The world has gone crazy. I can buy a whole chicken for less than that. Or I can buy a pound of fat hamburger meat for $7. Recently I saw cows tongues  in the market for a whopping $32 each, that is the trash meat that the butcher used to give away for nothing. I like the old days best~

Hot Chicken Salad
2 c. cubed chicken cooked
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1 can water chestnuts
1 small jar pimentos
1/2 c. real mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
1/2 c. slivered almonds
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Mix together in casserole.
Then top with:
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese 
2 c. potato chips (or more)
Heat in 350 degree oven uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot
(you can make this ahead of time~then when ready to heat,
add the cheese and potato chips) This recipe can be doubled
or tripled.

Old Fashioned Potato Soup

this is a satisfying meal, beautiful to look at and delicious, I use low fat milk and it is still creamy tasting~

This is a summer meal my mother fixed sometimes for supper. We all liked it, even Daddy enjoyed it although he was steak and potatoes man.  It made a pretty table with all the colorful vegetable. A sip of soup, a bite of radish, then a sip of soup and a bite of cheese~ on and on. The summer sausage was extra good with it.  I serve it every so often when the kids come on Sundays, it is easy to have after church since it can all be ready in advance, I just have to heat up the soup. The vegetable platter has pickled okra, black and green olives, cheese cubes, radishes, green onions, cherry tomatoes, green and colored peppers, carrots, and cucumbers. You can just put together any vegetables you like. I also serve it with little whole grain crackers. Don’t forget to ask the blessing, we all have so much to be thankful for. 

Irish Potato Soup
3 T real butter
1/2 c chopped onion
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 c water
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 c hot milk
1/2 c cold milk
1 egg yolk
crisp fried bacon and cilantro for garish
Melt butter in heavy pan, add onions and cook a few minutes
until tender. Add potatoes, water and salt, cover with lid and 
cook just until tender. (Take out 1 cup of the cooked potatoes
and save to add to the soup before serving). Mash the rest of the potatoes in the liquid, add hot milk and stir well. Combine half cup of
cold milk and beaten egg yolk, mix well, and slowly add to the warm soup,stirring constantly. Reheat soup but don’t let it boil. (at this point add  the cup of potatoes that you saved back) Pour into bowls,
top with crisp bacon, course ground pepper and a sprig of
cilantro. This recipe makes 6 or 8 servings~

Homemade Rice Krispies Treats

Everyone likes these crunchy treats. If you have ever been so desperate that you grab for a package of ready made bars, stop right there, Hold Your Horses!

A cup of coffee, a glass of cold milk or just enjoy one by itself~or maybe two or three.

A cup of coffee, a glass of cold milk or just enjoy one by itself~or maybe two or three.

 Instead get a box of Rice Krispies cereal and a package of marshmallows. It only takes a few minutes to make your own and there is no comparison. It makes a big batch. I will share my recipe with you even though the cereal box usually has one printed on it. Add two more ingredients and you have a gourmet version. You will need a 10 oz. package of large marshmallows, a box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, white raisins and pecans.

 

A close up shot, you can see the chunks of pecans and the raisins make it sweet and chewy.

A close up shot, you can see the chunks of pecans and the raisins make it sweet and chewy.

Gourmet Homemade Rice Krispies Treats

6 c. rice krispies

10 oz. bag of large marshmallows

3 T. real butter

1/2 c. white raisins

1 c. coarse chopped toasted pecans. (put pecans in microwave for 1 min. stir and then cook another minute)

First, lay a piece of wax paper on a large cookie sheet and grease with some butter~

In a large heavy pan, melt butter and add marshmallows. On med. heat melt marshmallows completely, keep stirring so it won’t brown on bottom. Add the pecans and raisins and mix well, then add the 6 cups of rice krispies, and mix completely. Dump out onto the wax paper and with buttered hands form it into an oblong layer, about 2 inches thick and square up the edges. Pack it pretty firmly and let it sit a few minutes. Then cut into what ever size bars you like. I use a big knife, put it across the top and press down. Wrap in wax paper and put in a big plastic bag. They will keep well, but probably won’t last long. They are delicious~

Chicken Fried Steak

Some people who check my blog every few days complain when I post a recipe, they accuse me of slacking or goofing off. They may be right but today I started out with thunder and lightning and two scared dogs. Jitter was digging in my pillow and walking all over me. Then I checked the live trap to see if I had a coon that had been getting into my almost ready apricots, and there was the pasture cat that has been bothering my two house cats. I called the animal control to see if they could come and relocate this cat and waited  and no one came, there had been a water main break in town and those men were all working on that. Finally I called back at 3:00 and was told that I should go check the trap. Sure enough the trap was gone and the cat was gone. Now I have to try to get my trap back so I can set it. You can see that I didn’t have time to post a new blog today. I am fixing to goof off and go to bed.

this was a colorful meal and everyone liked it~

Chicken fried steak is a great once in a while meal. If you cook it at home, you can make it healthy. It goes good with fresh vegetables and salads, a nice summer time treat. I served it to my visiting family after church a while back. (I had prepared it all before church and had it in the warming oven, I only had to bake the biscuits.) Mashed potatoes,  green beans, and scraped corn casserole, a big salad and cantaloupe. Cantaloupe makes any meal better.

Chicken Fried Steak
Thin cut round steak cutlets
Seasoned flour (1 1/2 c. flour, 1 tsp salt, some garlic powder and pepper.)
Canola oil
Each cutlet is about the size of a slice of bread, it has been run
through a machine that scores it and makes it tender, you will need
one for each serving. Wet the meat, dredge it in the seasoned flour,
wet it again and then into the flour again.Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in
large skillet until it is medium hot. Lay each piece in hot oil. Don’t crowd
them. Cook each cutlet for  three or four minutes on each side.
Drain on several paper towels that are laying on folded newspaper. Pat the tops
with more paper towels to get the grease out.  Keep them warm as
you cook the rest of them.
For cream gravy, pour off all but about 3 T grease, add 3 T flour and cook
for a minute, then add enough milk to make it the thickness you like. Season
salt and pepper. 

Peanut Butter Cookies

these are good with milk or coffee, and great to take in the car with a sack of cut up apples. Peanut butter and oatmeal cookies are my favorites~

Peanut butter cookies are easy to make, you can double the recipe and share them or put them the freezer. I used to take these to the Road Lizard Races, no one wanted to eat before a race but were needing food afterwards. That was a time to visit and cool down, and of course eat cookies.  They are good to take on a trip, better than filling up with junk food when you stop to get gas. I always have them with sliced apples, they go great together. I make mine with Jif Chunky Peanut Butter.

We are fixing to have over 300 young people and sponsors early this summer come and do work projects and Bible Study. They are called M Pact. We will be needing lots of food. I am on the cookie list so have already started baking. Mine will be mostly Peanut Butter Cookies ~ easy, delicious and everyone likes them. Two recipes a day and I can have 50 dozen in no time. 

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c chunky peanut butter
1/2 c shortening
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 c flour
2 tsp soda
Cream peanut butter and shortening together,
Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add beaten eggs. Sift flour and soda together,
add to mixture and mix well. Take a heaping
teaspoon full of dough, form a ball, lay on cookie
sheet and press top down with a fork, twice to make a “#”
Makes about 4 dozen.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 325 degrees, don’t
over bake them, you want them chewy. Remove
with spatula and let cool on counter. 

Mexican Cornbread Recipe

this was a meal for one and then left overs for later. You could make more servings by cutting up another tomato and cooking the whole bag of okra. Bertha Lux gows good okra~

I have been cleaning paintings and repairing frames for a couple of days. When I am busy and it is time to eat, I may go have a spoon full of peanut butter and a glass of milk but today, I had Jimmy Dean sasage cooked and in the freezer, a tomato from Anna’s greenhouse and Mexican cornbread only takes a few minutes to make so everything was ready in 25 minutes, I even had time to run to town and get the mail while it baked. I like okra, any way you fix it, today I boiled it for 10 minutes. I love Mexican corn bread. It is good to have for supper too, and always with a glass of cold buttermilk. Here is a recipe for the corn bread.

 
Mexican Corn Bread
1 c shredded Velveeta Cheese
1 can corn, drained
1 sm. can chopped green chilies
1 nice size onion chopped
1 egg
4 T oil
1 c buttermilk
Mix this all together and then add:
1 c corn meal
1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
Stir everything together and mix well.
Have oven heated to 400 degrees, put a little oil in a skillet and
get it hot, then pour batter in  and bake for about 25 minutes or until done and starting to brown on top. You can keep leftovers in the refrigerator for several days.

Homemade Corn Tortillas

You make the balls of dough the size of golf balls, don’t worry if they are a little ragged on the edges, they are home made, not machine stamped~

Home made corn tortillas are not necessary for good Mexican Food but they are delicious and fun to make. They have a real corn flavor, more like the ones you get in Old Mexico. The masa is pure ground corn flour, that’s it.

press it flat, you will learn how hard to press after a couple of times

I have had a tortilla press forever, I have bought them in Mexico for other family members and friends. You can find them on e-bay, priced $8.00 and up. You want a cast iron press, 7 inch size. Or you can roll your tortillas out with a rolling pin. Put the ball of dough between two one gallon size plastic bags, roll it thin, then peel the plastic back and lay it in the skillet.

it is ready to lay into med. hot skillet, 30 seconds on each side, then stack and keep covered

I realize not everyone has as much spare time to do these things but for those who do, it is worth it. (Now the press isn’t for flour tortillas, you need to roll those with a rolling pin). I just finished eating six tortillas, I have certainly enjoyed making this blog~

at this point, they are like store bought ones, they are not ready to eat. Never just  heat in a microwave, you need to soft fry them, that is the secret of great tortillas and great Mexican Food, remember, to soft fry first!

     Corn Tortillas
2 c Masa Harina  or Corn Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/8 c water
Mix flour, salt and most of the water for about 3 minutes. Add more water a little a time until it is firm but not sticky. Unlike pie dough, you can’t hurt it by overworking.
Divide into 16 pieces, form each piece into a ball, golf ball size and lay on wax paper.
Flatten slightly with hand and using a tortilla press. place between two heavy pieces of plastic. (I use two gallon size bags). A little dusting of the flour helps keep them from sticking) If you don’t have a press, you can use a rolling pin. Carefully peel off top plastic, lay tortilla in your hand and peel off the bottom piece of plastic. Flip out of your hand into the med hot ungreased cast iron skillet and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Continue until all are cooked. These should now be soft fried. To soft fry. put a small amount of oil in skillet, med hot for, about 6 seconds on each side. Pat grease off on paper towels. These are better than any corn tortillas you can buy, they have a real corn flavor because you use fresh masa. You can hard fry them by using more oil and cooking longer. I don’t hard fry mime, there are so many good corn chips out there, I use those for my nachos etc.

Apricot Cake

Burst of flavor, big surprise

Years ago a good  friend introduced me to this delightful cake  She was a great cook and  had many old recipes. She said this recipe made “one to eat, one to share, and one to keep for later”.  Dan and I spent great times with the Mann’s, they were an older couple who liked to ride more than drive. We made lots of day trips to the Hill Country.  Mr. Bart and Dan both smoked a  pipe and were happy to sit on the benches outside while Mrs. Mann and I shopped in the antique stores. She liked water tumblers and I liked everything. If you try this recipe, you will be surprised. It is wonderful!

APRICOT LOAF CAKE

11 oz.package of dried apricots (cut up and soak in warm water for 30 minutes,drain)

2 cups sugar
4 T. Shortening
2 eggs
½ cup water
1 cup orange juice
4 cups  flour, sift before measuring
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Cream shortening and sugar, then beat in eggs. Mix dry ingredients together and add to the batter alternately with the water/orange juice, ending with flour. Blend in nuts and apricots.

Line bottoms of 3 loaf pans with wax paper, spray with Pam, and pour in cake batter. Bake 55 minutes at 350 degrees or until done. Cool slightly, remove wax paper and put cakes back in pans. Dribble a mixture of  3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup of orange juice over tops of warm cakes.

 

 

Supper Time Hash

Homemade, hearty and delicious meal from left over roast~

Hash is one of my favorite comfort foods. You can make it using left over roast cut in bite size pieces,  and adding onions and potatoes. Put a little oil in a sauce pan and  cook the onions until they are golden. Now  add the potatoes, meat, and any left over gravy with enough water to make a cup of liquid. Cook until the potatoes are done. Season to taste. Sometimes I make a big pot of hash and put it in individual bowls for the freezer, then take one out at a time for supper when I am starving. This is great meal with cornbread.