Wednesday, November 14, 2012

guest post - Six Simple Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Six Simple Side Dishes for Thanksgiving
By Suzanne Purewal

Thanksgiving is upon us. It is the time of year we gather together and remind ourselves how blessed we are and give thanks. But let’s face it – it is the food holiday.
This year will be my nineteenth year hosting Thanksgiving dinner. In the beginning, I made everything from scratch, just like my grandmother. I prepared and cooked for two days. I crafted stuffing from stale bread. I peeled, boiled and mashed Idaho® potatoes. I added enough dark brown sugar and butter to the yams to choke a horse. And then, I baked pies. On the big day, I cooked the turkey in a huge roasting pan, basting religiously every thirty minutes, and added or removed aluminum foil as needed.
Then finally the moment would arrive when we sat around the table as a family, with the television and phones off. I would breathe a sigh of relief after we finished praying. The work was done, and it was time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Then I watched as my happy and thankful loved ones would devour the feast in twenty minutes flat. I always thought the length of time to eat the meal should be somewhat proportionate to the time and energy it took me to prepare it.
Alas, I could not force them to eat slower. So, now, I have someone bring the potatoes. I buy the pumpkin and apple pies. The turkey is cooked in a Reynolds® Turkey Size Oven Bag, and it bastes itself. And I do not feel guilty at all. Instead, I concentrate on whipping up different side dishes.
The six side dishes I am offering are simple to make. I have included three traditional choices — stuffed mushrooms, broccoli casserole and sweet potato casserole — as well as three healthier alternatives – sautéed mushrooms, roasted broccoli and baked sweet potatoes.
The stuffed mushrooms are perfect as a side dish or as an appetizer for any occasion. You can even make them a day in advance. I have been asked if extra virgin olive oil can be substituted for the vegetable oil. Yes, but it will totally change the taste of the mushrooms. So you might want to experiment ahead of time to see which you prefer.
The broccoli casserole is a variation of the green bean casserole recipe found on the side of French’s® French Fried Onions packages. I love broccoli. So one day I used that instead of the beans. I have not eaten a green bean casserole since.
I borrowed the sweet potato casserole recipe from a friend. If you do not want to spend the time peeling, cutting and cooking the sweet potatoes, you can replace them with Bruce’s® Yams (canned) and cook and mash them for the recipe.
You might be wondering why I included the healthier options. I was recently informed that the typical American consumes 3,500 calories during Thanksgiving dinner. That statistic served as my inspiration. However, if you do not want to rock the boat on Thanksgiving Day for fear of mutiny, these are quick and simple dishes to enjoy year round.

Broccoli Casserole

1 can (10 ¾ oz.) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 (9 oz.) pkgs frozen broccoli, thawed
1⅓ cups French’s® French Fried Onions

Mix soup and milk, then add broccoli, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and ⅔ cup onions in a 1½ qt. casserole.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. Remove from oven. Stir mixture. Sprinkle with remaining onions.

Return to oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown.

Roasted Broccoli

1½ lbs. fresh broccoli
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut broccoli into florets. In a bowl, toss broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread florets out on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are crispy.

Stuffed Mushrooms

3 lbs. whole white mushrooms, small or medium
1 cup Progresso® Seasoned Bread Crumbs
½ cup grated Romano cheese
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Wesson® Vegetable Oil to drizzle over mushrooms
Water to cover bottom of pan

Mix bread crumbs, cheese, pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.

Remove and discard mushroom stems and wash mushrooms. Make sure you trim the cap so there is a well for the mixture. Place mushrooms in two (2) 9x12 glass baking dishes. Pour enough water in the dishes to cover bottoms.

Use a teaspoon (or small measuring spoon) to fill mushrooms with mixture. Make sure the mixture is slightly heaping. Drizzle oil over mushrooms. Check water level in the pan. Add more water if the bottom is not completely covered.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. The mushrooms will shrink during the baking process. If the mushrooms appear dry, baste them.

Sautéed Mushrooms

1 Tbs. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1½ lbs. mushrooms, sliced
Black pepper (to taste)

Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

Stir in mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes. Add black pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.

Sweet Potato Casserole
4½ cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup butter, melted
⅓ cup milk
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening to grease dish

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans  

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x12 glass baking dish.

Mix sweet potatoes, butter, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs in a large bowl. Spread mixture into the greased baking dish.

Mix brown sugar and flour in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Baked Sweet Potatoes
4 sweet potatoes (one per person)
4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400° F. Pierce each potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until tender.

Make a slit in the top of each sweet potato. Top each potato with 1 Tbs. of butter and 1 Tbs. cinnamon.

Jt's cranberry chutney

Here's a delightful holiday recipe for you all from an author friend of mine.  He is Jt Sather, and he is the author of the book:

How to survive when the bottom drops out

And here is the recipe that he shared with us:

Jt's Cranberry Chutney

Here's one of my favorites for thanksgiving!  Eat, then cry for not having had it sooner.

3 cups cranberries
1 cup raisins
1 T fresh grated ginger
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers

Drop three cups of cranberries and one cup of raisins into a pot of boiling water. Next add a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger, two cups sugar, and a teaspoon of crushed red peppers.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often until thick.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Treating Dinner like a Dessert

We have a treat for you, a guest recipe post by
Genevieve Scholl
To find out more about Genevieve, check out her author's page on facebook:


Combine dinner and dessert to create one delicious meal with my creation called Apple Pie Chicken Dinner.   I tried it as a pot pie and it was delicious!

Apple Pie Chicken Dinner

1 Chicken Breast- Chopped into Chunks
Sprinkle of Nutmeg
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Dash of Sugar
One Whole Red Apple Chopped
Cup of Chopped Onions

The directions are easy. Throw all of the ingredients into a frying pan and sear until chicken is no longer pink. Goes very well with honey biscuits.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Murray's Cheese of New York comes to Louisville, Kentucky

Newsflash!  Fresh from my email!

Below is the copied press release from Deena Siegelbaum, the Marketing Director for Murray's Cheese of 254 Bleecker Street, in New York, NY.  If you're in or around the Louisville area, you might want to check this out.



Louisville, KY. –Delicate, spreadable, velvety, tangy, how do you like your cheese? Whichever you prefer, chances are Murray’s Cheese has it! You can now purchase your favorite stinky cheese at the Hubbards Lane Kroger store! Through an exclusive partnership with Murray’s Cheese, Kroger is preparing to open the first Murray’s Cheese shop in the Louisville area. The shop is being added inside Kroger’s St. Matthew’s store, located at 291 North Hubbards Lane, Louisville, KY.

Murray’s and Kroger are hosting a grand opening celebration for the public this Sunday, October 7 from 1-4PM at Hubbard’s Lane Kroger, featuring cheese and beer pairings put together by Murray’s experts.
“Louisville is known as afoodie town and we are eager share this unique shopping experience with our customers and educate them on the best cheese for parties, snacking and trays,” said Murray’s Cheese Specialist, Vickie Oliver. “We are excited to offer our customers the chance to try new cheeses they will love and better versions of their favorites.”

Whether you are a cheese newbie or a connoisseur, we have the cheese for you. Try our selection of more than 175 cheeses from around the world, plus a wide selection of specialty items including crackers, dried fruit, and an olive and antipasto bar. Equally impressive is the staff of experts who have recently returned from their training at Murray’s New York City facility. They’ll happily offer samples and recommendations to help shoppers find just the right one for cooking or snacking at their next get-together.

“Murray’s is all about discovering cheese, we want to make cheese approachable to Kroger shoppers,” said Rob Kaufelt, proprietor of Murray’s Cheese and author of the Murray’s Cheese Handbook. “We know the people of Louisville love great food, so we are looking forward to introducing them to some of our favorite cheeses.”

The second Murray’s Cheese shop will open in the Highland’s Kroger, located at 2440 Bardstown Rd; on October 21st.

ABOUT MURRAY’S CHEESE:Founded in 1940 in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, Murray’s Cheese began as a humble wholesaler of butter and eggs, but has evolved into a New York institution and what Forbes calls “The world’s best cheese shop.” Murray’s mission is to bring the best cheese selection to America.What is the Murray’s experience? It’s about sharing the cheeses (more than 150 varieties!) and many other artisan-made goods they find across the world. It’s about teaching customer’s cheese through tasting and introducing them to their cheese maker. The company is also one of the country’s top wholesale supplying fine restaurants, hotels and caterers. For more information about Murray’s please

ABOUT KROGER:Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 339,000 associates who serve customers in 2,425 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 788 convenience stores, 342 fine jewelry stores, 1,124 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America; Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations in the communities it serves. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 160 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. For more information please Kroger’s Mid South Division is based in Louisville and it includes 162 stores in Kentucky, Tennessee, S. Indiana and S Illinois.
# # #

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Salad dressing - for more than just salads

We all know that salad dressing is good on salads.  And just a browse down the salad dressing aisle in any store today will show you what nice variety of salad dressings there are.  But also on those shelves, there are specialized bottles and jars of dipping sauces and sandwich sauces.  I say, why buy those extra bottles of dipping and sandwich sauces, when your salad dressing will do the job fine.  Here are some examples of what else you can do with your salad dressings:

Sandwich sauce
Yes, salad dressing can make a great sandwich sauce.  My favorite is thousand island dressing on my hamburger.  It gives it that big mac taste.

Dipping sauce
I have grown to love salad dressings as dipping sauces.  There's such a wide variety of flavors out there to choose from.  And instead of tartar sauce for your fish, next time try your favorite creamy salad dressing.

Dip mix
The next time you are in a dip mood, take some plain yogurt or sour cream, and add some of your favorite creamy salad dressing to it.  And you have dip in your favorite salad dressing flavor.

Add to other salads
Now we all know about adding salad dressings to lettuce salads, but how about using it in tuna salad or pasta salad or a rice salad?  It would be a great way to add flavor to these other salads as well.  Just mix the mayo and dressing to add an extra zip to your other salads as well.

My favorite dressings:

  • thousand island dressing - I keep this for my burgers to give them that big mac flavor
  • Hidden Valley Bacon Ranch dressing - this makes a great dipping sauce for fries or fish fillets or chicken nuggets or etc.
  • Kraft Creamy Italian dressing - this also makes a great dipping sauce as well. 
Good eating,
-- jd --

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New recipe concoction of mine - Beefy potatoes

My husband and I had bought a 5 pound bag of potatoes on a recent trip to the store, and had intended to bake them; but we didn't get around to doing anything with them right away.  Just the other night, I was looking at them and noticing that some had started to mold; and not wanting them to ruin, I quickly concocted a recipe to use them in.

I had on hand a couple of cans of Campbell's Beefy Mushroom soup:

Beefy Mushroom soup

And I also had a foil roasting pan.

So, a recipe idea was born.  And it turned out so good that I just wanted to share the recipe with all of you, so here it is:

JD'S Beefy potatoes

1 large baking pan that will hold 5 pounds of diced potatoes
canola oil
5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and diced into small-medium cubes
salt and pepper
2 cans of Campbell's Beefy Mushroom soup
foil to cover pan

Take your baking pan, and give it a light coat of canola oil.  I prefer using a foil roasting pan as it gives you plenty of room, and can be thrown away when you are done.  Place a layer of diced potatoes in pan.  Salt and pepper them, then add 1/2 can of soup.  Add another layer of potatoes, and add the rest of the can of soup.  Then add remaining potatoes.  Salt and pepper them, then add the second can of soup.  (If using a foil pan, place it on a baking sheet for easier handling.)  Cover baking pan snugly with foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, till potatoes are done.  Serve.

I would share a picture, but we were too hungry and I didn't take a picture.  This makes a large dish, and would be good for occasions where you have to take a dish.  It tastes really good, makes a large amount, and is easy to make.

For those cooking for 1 or two, don't let the size of the dish scare you off of making it.  Just freeze it up in meal size portions.

Happy cooking and yummy eating,
-- jd --

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hot and spicy salsa recipe from an author friend

Hey there guys!
Do you like hot and spicy salsa?
Well if you do, then I have the recipe for you.  An author friend of mine shared the recipe with me, and now I am sharing the recipe with you.

If you want to check out her writing, here is a link to her website:

Patricia T. Macias

And here is a link to her Amazon author's page, where you can buy her books:

Patricia T. Macias Amazon author page

And now, here is her recipe for:

Hot & Spicy salsa recipe

You will need:

8- Jose Enrique's hot green jalapeno peppers
2-Jessica red tomatoes or you can use one 8oz can of tomato sauce
1-Mexican cartel white onion
1-De La Cruz familia cilantro (bundle)
1-teaspoon salt
Optional garlic to your Hot & Spicy taste

You will need to boil Jose Enrique's hot green jalapeno peppers and Jessica's red tomatoes until soft and cooked.

Take the Mexican cartel cilantro bundle and rinse.  Then cut off the stems, only use the leaf.

You then throw Jose Enrique's hot jalapeno peppers (without stems), Jessica's red tomatoes (skinned), 1/2 of the Mexican cartel white onion, the De La Cruz cilantro, and salt into blender.

You blend to the Hot & Spicy desired consistency that you love.  If you want it even hotter you need to use additional Jose Enrique’s hot green jalapeno peppers or use some serrano peppers.

Now you have your very own Jose Enrique's Hot & Spicy salsa!


-- Hope you enjoy the recipe,
-- jd --

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe share - Yummy Zucchini Bread

Hey there!  Have a recipe for you, shared by one of our facebook friends, Annette Packer.  Today she shares with us her favorite recipe for zucchini bread:

Yummy Zucchini Bread

2 cups grated zucchini ( 2 med usually good)
3 cups  flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
2 cups sugar ( if diabetic NO sugar)
3 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
* for chocolate lovers add 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Grease 2 medium loaf pans or 3 small (not real small) ones.  Grate zucchini then set aside, DON’T DRAIN.  Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Then beat eggs, oil, vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar together until creamy; then add sifted dry ingredients into bowl.  Beat well, then add zucchini and walnuts.  And of course don’t forget the chocolate chips if desired.  Fill pans three-quarters of the way full, and  bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.  Let cool about 10 to 15 minutes.  Cream cheese is also yummy on it .. ENJOY !!

*** Have a recipe you would like to share?  Just drop me an email at:
-- jd --

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sherrie Collis's recipe for Vienna Bread

Hi all!  Here is a recipe shared with us by one of our facebook buddies, Sherrie Collis.  It is her recipe for Vienna Bread.  Sounds yummy!  French bread and mozzarella cheese?  Are you kidding me!  That is always good!  So enough with the chit-chat, and on to the recipe.  Enjoy!


1 loaf uncut French Bread
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
1 TB poppy seeds
2 TB chopped onions
1 TB dry mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Lawrey's seasoned salt
8 oz. Sliced Swiss cheese, or use sliced Mozarella or Provolone (I use more & usually Mozarella)

Cut loaf in criss cross #### atop loaf about 1 inch apart, but not clear through to the bottom. Sit on foil, I use extra wide heavy duty, then a sheet of release foil that I sit the bread on. Melt oleo & mix with all BUT the cheese in sauce pan. Stuff parts of the sliced cheese in slits of bread. I fold the cheese in half tear apart, then in half again & stuff into the bread. Pour sauce over bread. Wrap in foil & bake 35 minutes at 350. Reheats well.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Product Review - Lentil and Hummus Chips by Simply 7 Snacks

The company:  Simply 7 Snacks

Their facebook page:
Their website:

According to their website, their family has been in the food industry for generations.  They are out to provide people with healthy snacks that not only are good for you, but are really good too.  This brings us to . . .

The product:  Simply 7 hummus chips and lentil chips


Now I can't remember how I found my way to Simply 7's facebook page.  Probably thru a side ad maybe.  I love facebook side ads.  But I am really glad I did.

I found my way to their website and offered to do a product review here in my blog of their products.  They emailed me back and said that yes, they were interested.  And so they sent me a case of their hummus and lentil chips to try out.

Now they are offering consumers something different in the way of chips.  These chips are made out of lentils and chickpeas.  Traditionally chips have been made out of corn or potatoes.  But why not beans?

Behind their new chip concept are their 7 core standards:

1. 0 Grams Trans Fat and No Cholesterol
2. No Artificial Colors or Flavors
3. No Additives or Preservatives
4. Gluten Free Ingredients
5. All Natural Recipes
6. Simple Ingredients
7. Simply Delicious

Sounding good so far, right?  They have 6 varieties of their chips:
  • sea salt hummus chips
  • sea salt lentil chips
  • tomato basil hummus chips
  • spicy chili pepper hummus chips
  • creamy dill lentil chips
  • bruschetta lentil chips
But the proof is in the tasting, and I have been tasting.  The first thing you may be wondering is:  what is the difference between lentil chips and hummus chips?  Well, there is a difference in the shape and texture of the two chips, and in the taste.  I don't know quite how to describe the difference in taste between the two, but I like them both.  As for texture, the hummus chips seem to have a crunchier and lighter texture than the lentil chips.  What I like about both chips is they are bite size.  And here is one thing that I love about both chips:

They are perfectly designed to hold dips and salsa.  These are a couple of the sea salt hummus chips, and one has dip in it; while the other has salsa in it.  Now dip will usually hold onto a traditional potato chip.  But when was the last time you ran across a bowl shaped chip that basically worked as an edible spoon?  They are particularly great for salsa.  With most chips,  the liquid part of salsa will hold onto the chip; but the good chunky parts will usually try to fall off.  These chips don't let that happen, and are especially great for eating with salsa.  I am really enjoying them for that purpose, and so is my hubby.

Another thing that I really like about these chips, and I just realized this today, is that they don't have that chip greasiness that you get sometimes.  They have a wonderfully light, non-greasy taste.  Now on to the individual flavors:

Sea salt lentil chips

Sea salt hummus chips

Now here you can see the difference between the hummus and the lentil chips.  Both are of the sea salt flavor.  There is a difference in shape, and a difference in texture, and difference in flavor.  If I had to compare them to something on the market (and this is a stretch because there is nothing else quite like them), I would compare the texture of the hummus chips to that of Munchos chips; but much better.  The flavor on the other hand is uniquely different from munchos.  With the lentil chips, I would have to use the following comparison:  if a cracker and a chip had a baby, it would be the lentil chip.  But very light and with a flavor all its own.

Bruschetta lentil chips

These chips have a flavor that, upon first taste, is almost a barbecue type taste.  But then as you eat more, you get a fresh tomato flavor too; combined with the taste of a good Italian tomato sauce.  A very delightful combination of seasonings.

Creamy dill lentil chips

Have you ever had sour cream and chive potato chips?  But what if you don't like chives, yet like the sour cream part?  Well here's your chip.  This creamy dill flavor has the wonderful creamy flavor, with the lively dill flavor mixed in.  Now I am a big pickle lover, and I really like this flavor.  And the dill flavor isn't an overpowering one, but it is a very nice subtle one.  And it tastes really good with salsa too.

Tomato basil hummus chips

Now upon first impression, some might tend to think that the bruschetta flavor and this one would be very similar, since both involve tomatoes.  But they are very different flavors indeed.  For one thing, one flavor is a lentil chip, and these are hummus chips.  Another clue in the difference in flavors is the look.  The flavor of these chips put me in mind of my mom's stewed tomatoes.  If you took the flavor of stewed tomatoes, and turned it into a chip, it would be this chip.  The tomato flavor is much milder and less pronounced.  But it is a delicious chip, and a delicious flavor.  I have a curry dip recipe that I bet these would be great with.

Spicy chili pepper hummus chips

Well for those of you who like a little heat, here is your chip.  But it's not a strong, overpowering heat either.  These have a nice chili flavor, but not a tomatoey flavor.  Now I'm not a person who goes in for anything hot, but these aren't bad.  Pair these up with your favorite hot salsa, and all you heat seekers out there will be set.  Remember, all those nice chunks won't fall off of these.  You can take these babies and scoop the goodness up.

In conclusion . . .
  • Did I like the chips?  A definite resounding yes.
  • If these chips were available where I shop, would I buy them on a regular basis?  Again a resounding yes.
  • What were my favorite flavors?  The sea salt, the tomato basil, the creamy dill, and the bruschetta.
  • Which do I like best, the lentil or the hummus chips?  Well, since I love garbanzo beans, I like the hummus chips best.  They seem to have a slightly crunchier texture that I like.
  • What do I like them best with?  Salsa.
  • Do I have any flavor addition suggestions for Simply 7?  Yes - ranch, barbecue, and cheese.  I think these flavors would taste great on their chips.
  • With no preservatives, do they keep well after opening?  Yes, they keep just fine.  I have had several bags open doing tasting for this post.  I fold the top over and use a plastic clothes pin to hold it closed.  They hold their taste and crispness just fine.
Simply 7 is forging new ground in the chip/snack industry by creating a light and crunchy snack chip made from beans.  And they aren't at all greasy either.  I would compare them to air-popped popcorn, only no husks.  If you get the chance to try these, I would encourage you to do so.  I think you will really like them.  One thing I have thought of is how great these would be used in recipes.  You know how many casserole recipes call for a cracker or chip topping?  I bet these would be really good as a casserole topping.  Another place they would be good would be to use them in place of tortilla chips in a taco salad.  And of course they are just great for snacking.  They aren't the same old potato chip.  Far from it.  They are a new breed of chip for a new century.

Happy snacking!
-- jd --
the cook behind it all

Copyright April 13th, 2012 by Jacqueline Driggers.

Monday, April 2, 2012

JD'S Oven baked french toast

Just finished up a food experiment that was an unqualified success.  Sorry, but no pictures to share; as it was yummy and we were hungry.  Will be making this for hubby and I again.

This recipe springs from my mom's way of making french toast.  She would prepare eggs as she would for scrambling, then she would soak a piece of bread in it and fry it in the skillet.  Here is my oven baked version:

JD's oven baked french toast

salt and pepper
Reynolds Non-Stick foil (

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Then take a paper bowl, and break an egg in it.  Add about 1 T. of water (I use bottled spring water in all my cooking).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Beat well with a fork.  Next take a paper plate with a rim on it, or a pie plate, and put a piece of bread on it.  I use Dixie brand plates which work beautifully (  Then pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Let the egg soak into one side then gently turn the bread and get it soaked into the other side.

Next take a piece of the non-stick foil big enough to hold the piece of bread and be folded over to make a packet.  Fold up the ends and sides of the foil a bit so your egg won't all run off, then place the soaked piece of bread on the foil.  Pour any excess egg mixture onto the piece of bread, and fold the foil over making a packet (  Then place the packet on a cookie sheet.

Repeat the process for as many pieces of french toast as you want to make.  Then bake them for 20-30 minutes.  I baked mine for 30 minutes, but I think 25 might have been a bit better.

So now you have a simple, no-mess way to make french toast any time you want it.    This worked really well!  Hubby and I loved it.  The bottom of the toast got nice and brown, but the inside was nice and fluffy; and it tasted wonderful.  You could use any bread that you like best.  I used just regular wheat bread.  Using the non-stick foil ensures that the bread doesn't stick, and allows you to cook it oil-free.  Plus this recipe is milk-free, as you only use water.

Happy cooking and delightful eating!
-- jd --

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How I make beef stew

How I make my beef stew --

- the meat - What cut of meat I buy varies.  Sometimes I buy beef stew meat.  Sometimes I will buy a roast and cut it up.  Or maybe a nice tenderized steak.  The last time I made beef stew, I bought tenderized beef stew meat from my local IGA.

- the veggies - I use potatoes and carrots.  No onions or garlic, as we just don't like those.

And now for the recipe, which has a tendency to change every time I make beef stew.

-- JD's beef stew --

1-1/2 to 2 pounds of beef, cut into bite size cubes
potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb. bag of baby carrots (the already peeled and ready to eat kind)
1 can of diced tomatoes
canola oil
2 packets of Swanson Flavor Boost chicken concentrated broth
malt vinegar
curry powder
salt and pepper
bottled spring water

Take a large stock pot and put it on the stove.  Put some canola oil in the bottom, but not too much; and turn it on low heat.  Add the beef, and cook till beef has changed color from pink.  Then add about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of flour, and stir until flour has mixed in with beef and juices to make a thick gravy like sauce with the beef.

Then add the can of diced tomatoes, juice and all.  Then add the carrots and potatoes.  Add as many in whatever proportions that you like.  We like the potatoes more than the carrots, so I add more potatoes.  I like using the bags of baby carrots because they are already peeled and ready to dump in the pot.  They also seem to cook up with a very good flavor.

Next add your 2 packets of the concentrated broth.  If you can't find this, just use a can of your favorite chicken broth, and just add less extra water later.  Next come the seasonings.  I use whatever strikes me to use.  I most always use curry powder, and turmeric, and salt and pepper.  You can use liquid seasonings like:  different kinds of vinegars (just don't add too much), mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, barbecue sauce, etc.  Sometimes I have added a bit of ground sage.  It varies from time to time.  Think about what seasonings that you like best and use those.  But season in moderation!  It is very easy to add a bit more.  But when you have added too much, there is no way to take it out.  With my dry seasonings, I only use 1/8 to1/4 a teaspoon at a time; just a dash, but I hardly ever measure.  With my liquid seasonings, I hardly ever measure those either; but I will usually use between 1 teaspoon to 2-3 tablespoons, depending on what it is.

Now comes the water.  When I cook, I use the same bottled spring water that I buy to drink.  I have discovered that the bottled spring water gives my food a much fresher, better flavor than tap water does.  Never cook with tap water!  Sometimes my tap water smells like it was dipped out of a swimming pool.  And who wants their food to taste like a swimming pool?  Both purified water and spring water can be easily found, and is relatively inexpensive; and using it will make your food taste so much better.  You see, I grew up using well water, rather than city water as we call it.  I have recently learned what a difference the water you use makes in the food that you cook.

Add only as much water as you need to cover the potatoes.  You don't want to thin down the broth too much.  Now simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are done.

Serve it up with some nice baked biscuits or hot, toasted bread or rolls.   I made this stew for Christmas for us, and I got some store brand brown and serve rolls.  I spread a little margarine on top of them before I baked them, and they were great with the stew.  So your hot bread doesn't have to be fancy.

Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Happy cooking and delightful eating!

-- jd --