Ham And Pasta Supper!

I like meals that use only a few pans and are quick to put together. Ham and pasta go together well, and by adding a few veggies you get a complete meal. This one is popular at my house.

Cook 2C spiral pasta according to package directions, and drain well. In a large skillet, saute 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper, cut in thin strips, in 1T olive oil. Cook til tender-crisp. Add 3 medium diced tomatoes and 1-1/2C diced cooked ham. Stir and cook til well heated. Add drained pasta and 1/4C chopped parsley, 1/2t salt, 1/2t pepper, 1/2t basil, 1/2t oregano, 1/4t cayenne pepper, and 1/2C grated Parmesan cheese. Stir well to combine. Serve hot with extra cheese.

My family loves cheese. When the boys visit they usually clean me out of it! So they love any meals with cheese, especially when they can add more at the table.

Enjoy this easy dinner!

Love, Grammy ❤

Fudgy, Moist, Outrageously Delicious Chocolate Brownies!

I think most people like brownies. If you do, you will love these. Heavy on the chocolate and butter, this makes a 15 x 10 pan of amazing. It’s easy, so brownie mixes can become a thing of your past. Perfect size for parties, cook outs, bring alongs. Even people who don’t care for brownies like these. Prepare to amaze and impress!

Put 2 sticks butter and 6 squares unsweetened baking chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl and melt over 5 to 6 minutes, stirring after each minute. Or do it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring as it melts. Let it cool a bit.

Beat the heck out of 6 eggs, for 5 to 6 minutes, until really thick and lemony colored. Continue beating as you gradually add 3C sugar. Continue beating as you gradually add in the chocolate/butter mixture. Mix away as you add 3/4C milk and 3T vanilla. Sift 2C flour with 1-1/2t salt. Add this to the batter a scoop at a time, beating well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Now, you weird nut lovers can stir in 1-1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans at this point. I don’t. I like nuts, just not in things like brownies or fudge. But that’s just me.

Grease or spray a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan and pour batter into pan. Spread to sides and corners of pan. Bake in 350 F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, til a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack, and cut into squares or bars. Keep in an airtight container. Not that they will last any length of time!

So, today’s lesson is homemade brownies are easy, delightful, and light years better than a mix!

Dee-damn-lish!

Love, Grammy ❤

Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

Oh. My. Goodness. I love these cookies. They are so easy to make and everyone loves them. I get asked to bring these to a lot of gatherings, and everyone always wants the recipe. So, for public consumption of exquisite deliciousness, here it is!

Mix 3C flour, 2T baking soda, and 1/2t salt. In a small pan, melt 1-1/2 sticks butter with 1-1/2C brown sugar and 2T water. When melted, add 2C semisweet chocolate chips and stir til melted. Cool it a bit and beat in 2 eggs. Stir in the flour mixture. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Cool on racks.

For the filling, beat 1/3C softened butter with 3C confectioners sugar, 1/2t peppermint extract, and 1/4 C milk.

Now, spread a heaping teaspoon of filling on the bottom of one cookie. Put a second cookie on top. Fill all the cookies.

These keep very well in an airtight container. But they usually don’t last anytime at all!

Enjoy the cookies!

Love, Grammy ❤

How Hot Is Too Hot? Massively Spicy Hot Wings!

I am not a hot & spicy food kind of girl, but I have been working on hot & spicy for my stepson Shane. The hotter something is, the better he likes it. He buys sauces with warnings on the label. He uses cayenne pepper like some people use a salt shaker. He enters hot wing contests….. and wins! I fear for the condition of his esophagus and stomach lining when he is my age. These concerns don’t stop me from trying out my versions of hot and spicy on him, however!

This year I have both serrano and poblano peppers in my garden, so I decided to start there. Then I read through several recipes, picking out the ingredients most common to all sauces of this type. Then I threw in a few extras. I added a beer at the end because there was one in the fridge, and because I needed more liquid to mix with the peppers. It wasn’t like I could taste it myself, but the scent made my eyes water so I figured I was on the right track.

You will need either a food processor or a blender for this. Please use care in handling the peppers. This is very strong stuff!

First, get 3-4 lbs chicken wings. Cut in thirds and discard the tips.

In a blender or the bowl of a food processor, put 6 whole serrano peppers, 6 whole poblano peppers, 4 whole jalapeno peppers, and 1 red bell pepper (cut and seed bell pepper). Pulse several times to finely chop. Add 1 small bottle tobasco sauce, 1/2 of a 12 oz bottle Worcestershire sauce, 1C Sriracha hot pepper sauce, 1/2C red wine vinegar, 3T cayenne pepper, 1T each kosher salt and black pepper. Pulse several times. Slowly pour in 1- 12 oz bottle beer and blend thoroughly.

Place wings in a non-reactive bowl and pour sauce over them. Gently toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight in the fridge.

Heat oil in Dutch oven 2-3 inches deep (or use a fryer) to 350 F. Remove wings from bowl and drop gently in oil. Cook in batches, don’t crowd. Cook about 10 minutes, drain on paper towels. Heat sauce in pan to boiling. Cook 2 minutes. Put wings in a clean bowl, pour sauce over them, stir to coat.

These are powerfully hot wings! They are awesome if you like things this hot and spicy!

CONSUME WITH CAUTION!

Love, Grammy ❤

Light and Creamy Boston Creme Cake!

Being a Bostonian in the South, I take a certain delight in making anything with the name “Boston” in it for my family of Southerners. And having them like it!

Now for me, I’m not crazy about custard-y things. So I realized if I wanted to make this dessert and have everyone love it, I needed a rich vanilla cake, a light and creamy filling, and the perfect chocolate topping. So here it is. Funny, even my failures tasted pretty good… they just weren’t perfect. Now I think this is the perfect combination.

Make your filling first!

Beat 4 egg yolks lightly and set aside. In a large saucepan, gently whisk 3/4C sugar and 4T cornstarch. Slowly pour in 2C milk, whisking til smooth. Set over medium heat, cooking and stirring til thick and bubbly. Simmer and stir 2 min and take off heat. Temper the yolks by pouring a bit of the hot milk into the yolks, whisking well. Then pour it all back into the hot milk and whisk smooth. Back on medium heat, bring to a gentle boil. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 2T butter and 2t vanilla. Beat well til smooth. Scrape into a bowl, and press a sheet of plastic wrap to the surface of the filling so a skin won’t form. Stick that baby in the fridge to chill.

Make your Cake next!

Sift together 2-1/2C flour, 4t baking powder, and 1/2t salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your mixer, put 3/4C softened unsalted butter, 1-1/2C sugar, and 3T vegetable oil. Beat on medium at least 4 minutes, til light and very fluffy. Add 4 large eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1T vanilla. Beat well. Add half of flour mixture, beat well to thoroughly combine. Add milk, beat well. Add last of flour, beat well.

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 2-9 inch layer cake pans with cooking spray. Cut and fit a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of each pan. Spray again. Divide batter between the two pans. Bake 22 to 25 minutes til done. Cool 5 minutes on racks in pans, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Make the Topping!

Heat 1/2C heavy cream in a saucepan til it just comes to the boil. Put 1C semi sweet chocolate chips in a bowl with 2T corn syrup. Pour hot cream over top. Let sit a few minutes, then whisk til smooth.

Make the Dessert!

Trim the domes off cake layers so they are flat. Place first layer cut side down on a plate. Smooth all the luscious creme over the layer. Top with the second layer, cut side down. Pour the chocolate onto the center of the cake. Smooth to edges and let it drip down the sides.

Ah such delicious, creamy, decadent dessert! Stick that puppy in the fridge and chill chill chill!

This is a light, creamy creme filling, less custard-y than most. It comes together perfectly! My Southern family loves my Boston Creme Cake!

Enjoy! Love, Grammy ❤

Fast, Easy, Amazing Japanese-Style Fried Rice!

The next time you cook long grain white rice, make double… and put half in the fridge so you can make this amazing fried rice the next day!

While it is possible to boil the rice, cool it a bit, and use it right away, I don’t think it tastes the same… and it sure doesn’t act the same. It is easier to handle after a day in the fridge, breaking up clumps is easier, as is the act of stir frying it. Just trust me here!

There are only a few ingredients to delicious fried rice, but the addition of vegetables really makes it for me. You always put onions in it, but grated carrots and peas are my favorite. Small broccoli florets or chopped zucchini or yellow squash are good too. Cook “wet” veggies like mushrooms by themselves before adding or your rice can be watery.

I made this last night and everyone loved it. Even the dog. Seriously. The dog is the world’s pickiest eater, so that is saying something.

So, pull your 3C day old cooked long grain white rice out of the fridge. Thaw 1/2C frozen peas. Peel and shred 1 large carrot. Peel and finely dice 1 large yellow onion. Scramble 2 eggs in a bit of butter. Chop and let cool.

Heat 1T vegetable oil and 3T butter over medium high heat til melted and hot. Use a really big skillet. Throw the rice in, and stir and cook and turn continuously. Add onions, peas, and carrots and keep it all moving. Add 2t sesame oil. While you keep it moving, monitor for dryness, and add butter by the tablespoonful as needed. Butter is a food group in my house. Be generous, the rice likes it! As it cooks and browns a bit, add the eggs. Now, add 3T soy sauce, cooking, stirring, turning. Taste it. Add soy sauce by the tablespoonful until you like the taste. You may not need to add extra. I always do.

Serve it up hot! We had it with shrimp cooked in lemon garlic butter. What a great meal! Leftovers tonight my friends!

Love, Grammy ❤

This Blueberry Cake Won A Blue Ribbon For Grammy!

My Blueberry Cake won a blue ribbon for me at a country festival, and it is my most often asked for cake by family and friends. An 8 oz block of cream cheese and a stick of butter…. how can you go wrong? I made it today for our 4th of July dessert, and even gave out the recipe to one of our guests! It is moist, fresh, delicious, and easy to make. A true winner!

Set out 1- 8oz package of cream cheese to soften. When soft, beat with a mixer til light and fluffy, then beat in 1-3/4C sugar. Add 1 stick of melted butter, 2 eggs, and 2t vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together 2C flour, 2t baking powder, and 1/2t salt. Add to cream cheese mixture and beat well. Fold in 2C fresh blueberries. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle top with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake in 350F oven for about an hour, til top golden brown and springs back when touched. Cool in pan on rack, and serve from pan. This cake serves twelve, but eight people demolished it today!

This is a really special cake, excellent for breakfast or brunch as a coffee cake, or as a dessert like we had tonight. Enjoy it at your next party, bring it to a gathering, or have it for breakfast tomorrow!

Happy Independence Day!

Love, Grammy ❤

Happy 4th of July! Breakfast: Eggs in a Basket!

Ok, if I say so myself, I made an amazing 4th of July breakfast for my family. Last night I made a fresh loaf of sandwich bread in my Sunbeam bread machine. (See earlier post.) This morning I cooked a pound of fresh bacon we got from our friend Rick at the Farmer’s Market. He raises grain fed lamb and pork, and it is the best I’ve ever tasted. Then I made Eggs in a Basket with the fresh bread and lots of butter. Rounded out with fresh squeezed tangerine juice and coffee, and it was an amazing holiday breakfast.

Here is my easy recipe for Eggs in a Basket. Take 4 slices of bread and use a drinking glass to cut a hole out of the center of each slice. Fresh bread is best. Melt 3-4T butter in a large skillet. When heated, put 2 slices of the bread in the pan, and turn the pan so the bread soaks up the butter. Let it toast a few minutes and crack one egg in each hole. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cook 2-3 minutes to set the eggs and carefully turn each piece. Cook to desired doneness of eggs. Move to plate and repeat entire process with (including butter!) with next two bread slices and 2 more eggs.

Oh. My. Goodness. This was the freshest, most delicious breakfast ever. It’s easy, and it’s even fun to eat! I hope you enjoy Eggs in a Basket. Remember, the fresher the ingredients, the better the meal.

Love, Grammy ❤

A Lazy Light Summer Brunch….

I have a very favorite brunch. It’s light, easy, and delicious. You can make it for a few, you can make it for a crowd. My ideal brunch is scones and fresh fruit, with coffee, tea, and fruit juice as well. My basic scone recipe is easy, and while they are awesome plain, they also lend themselves easily to the addition of dried fruits. I like cherry the best, but cranberries or chopped apricots are great too.

The cutting in of the cold butter into the flour mixture can be done with two butter knives or a pastry blender, but I use my Kitchen Aid food processor. You get very uniform sized pieces that way.

Simply sift together 4C flour, 2/3C sugar, 2T baking powder, and 1t salt. Pour into bowl of food processor with blade attached. Cube 1C very cold butter and add to bowl of processor. Pulse several times to get pea sized crumbles. Add 1-3/4C heavy cream and pulse just enough to moisten everything. Turn out onto waxed paper. Quickly knead in any dried fruit you want, if you want, about 3/4C worth. Divide dough in half, and gently press and pat each half into an 8 inch round. It will be kind of crumbly.

Cut each into 8 wedges and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray. Brush tops with a bit of cream just to moisten. Bake at 450F for 12-15 minutes until golden.

Serve warm with lots of butter, a bowl of fresh fruit that contains lots of berries, and beverages of your choice. Leftovers freeze very well when tightly wrapped.

Ahhh…. lazy, light, pleasing brunch! Be sure to invite me!

Love, Grammy ❤

The Pound Cake ….

The pound cake traveled very well on the motorcycle! In a metal cake carrier to help it stay cool, nestled in the tour pack with rolled towels holding it in place, it was perfectly safe. It had just thawed when we arrived, didn’t budge during the ride, and was very well received by everyone who tried it. So yes, it can be done!

Love, Grammy ❤