Fall Favorite #4

Growing up in Tennessee, family gatherings were not sparse. We got together for any occasion and then just to get together. With sixteen, grandchildren I can only imagine the chaos we caused my grandmother.

My Aunt Sue always had a Christmas morning breakfast. It wasn't just family, it was neighbors and friends gathering to celebrate the holiday. As kids that was the best morning. We opened presents, then got dressed to head to her house for the most amazing breakfast.

She has gorgeous Christmas china. I have had a fascination with it ever sense. Maybe that's why I now have not one set, but three. She had powdered donuts on the tiered platters. I know it doesn't seem that special, but when those little white rings are on Christmas china, they look pretty darn good.

One thing she always had was sausage balls. My mom didn't like them, so she never made them. Aunt Sue always had them. She would make them ahead of time and freeze them. So they are ready in a jiffy.

This is one of those foods that bring back memories, smells, and feelings of Christmas morning at her house. Try them today

You can find a ton of different recipes for sausage balls on the web. The pioneer woman has a spicy variety that is delicious. This time I just made the basic. To be honest, I don't measure. I just dump it in. Here is my best guess.

Sausage Balls
1 of of sausage
1 -1.5 cups bisquick
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all in a large bowl. Using a cookie scoop to make them the same size, scoop out a ball and roll with your hands.

Bake at 375 until brown and the sausage is cooked.

Enjoy!

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Hot and Creamy Jalapeño Dip

I found a recipe Saturday morning to take to a little party friends where having. It was a jalapeño Dip that was served warm with bread.

Having never made it before, I had no idea what to expect. It was okay! Nothing great, not really terrible, but not what I wanted.

Today I made it again and added all the things that I thought would amp it up and make it an amazing Dip.

It turned out perfectly spicy and delicious. I put it on allrecipes as my first submission. Check it out.


http://allrecipes.com/personal-recipe/64660174/hot-and-creamy-jalapeno-dip/

Enjoy!

Fall Favorites #2

The air is cooler, the grass is getting crunchy, and the leaves are turning. That can only mean fall is here!

In Wyoming fall isn't only cooler, sometimes it is downright cold. There has been rain and drizzle for three days. So there is only one thing to do, make soup!

I love making soup. Any kind will do. There is something about chopping and mixing that creates a soulful concoction.

Today it was chicken noodle. This is the easiest soup to whip up in no time at all.

Ingredients:
Chicken
Frozen peas
Carrots
Frozen noodles
Watkins chicken broth mix
Celery

I don't really measure this out. It's more of a toss and see what it looks and tastes like.

In a large pot mix the chicken mix and water. Add the mix according to the package directions for the amount of water you added.

Let it come to a boil. At this point add the chicken. You can use any kind you like. I sometimes you leftover rotisserie chicken shredded. If using fresh, you can chop and sauté in a pan, boil in water then shred, or bake breasts in the oven sprinkles with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Either way works, just chop or shred and add to the broth.

Next add the carrots and peas. I use dehydrated carrots. They are one of my top pantry items. Just drop a handful or two into the pot. They will plump up to perfect pieces. If using raw dice to bitesize pieces and add. Also add peas to your desired tastes.

Finally add the frozen noodles. Let them thaw on the counter until they are soft. I sometimes put them in the microwave for 25 second bursts. Drop one at a time into the soup. It is time consuming, but if you drop the whole thing it will be one big lump.

Let cook for 20-25 minutes at a simmer. When the noodles are plump and thick, taste the broth. Watkins contains no salt. So you will need to adjust to taste with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Fall Must Haves #1

If you know me even just a little, you are overly aware of my fascination with fall. I just love everything it brings.

September – January, I consider to be a magical time. It just oozes family, cooking, and magic is in the air.

One of my favorite things to do is celebrate fall. As soon as it starts getting cooler, I feel the need to begin baking. I simply can't hold out. Now pumpkin spice everything is not what I'm talking about here. I'm meaning applesauce, pumpkin roll, and anything that smells of cloves and cinnamon.

Last year when I went up to New York for the yarn festival at Rheinbeck, I had the most glorious apple cider. It was different from anything I had every tasted. It was sweet and fresh! Not like the other stuff typically found.

After getting back to Wyoming, I knew I needed to share this great with my family. I began the search. I found it on Amazon. Well of course I did, I think you can find anything on there.

This stuff is magical. It arrives frozen or in some form of cold. Slushy is fabulous. I always order two, one in the fridge and the other goes into the freezer to save for the holidays.

Drink it cold or drink it warm, either way you will not be disappointed!

You can also order it from Their website at
http://kauffmansfruitfarm.com

Enjoy!

Lamb Gyros! My New go to Meal!

We have been buying a lamb at our local 4H sale for quite a few years. If you haven’t had lamb, you are missing out. If you had lamb and didn’t enjoy it, the chef or restaurant had no idea how to cook it properly.  Lamb is absolutely delicious.

The other day my cowboy cooked up a lamb roast on the traeger. It was delicious. The next day we were going to be heading to town and would be  in and out from the ranch. I knew we would not have a chance to eat up the leftovers. I remembered the Gyros I had eaten in New York at the Sheep and Wool festival. I sliced the meat very thinly and froze it in baggies. That way each biggie was enough for Gyros for our family of four.

Today I grabbed the rest of the ingredients from the store and made our meal. They were everything I remembered. The taztziki sauce was simply delicious.

Head out this week and buy yourself a lamb roast. Look for one that is grown in America.(It’s important to support our farmers and ranchers!)
Lamb Gyros

Start with a lamb roast. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Nothing fancy. Place on a rack in a roasting pan. Cook on your traeger or in the oven until done to your liking. Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans, and mint jelly.

The next day slice the meat very thinly.

Gyros

Taztziki sauce

1/2 cup cucumber peeled, seeded, and shredded. Then squeezed through a towel to remove excess water

2 cups Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 tsp salt

1tbsp olive oil

Mix all together and let sit in the fridge for several hours
In a pan or griddle sauté the sliced lamb with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I also add a little garlic powder.  In another pan or at the end of the griddle heat up one piece of pita bread turn it occasionally to keep it from burning.


When all is cooked and warm build your pita. Add a good amount of the sauce to the pita, then pile with meat and your favorite fixings.

Sliced olives, lettuce, tomato, sliced red onion, oregano, mint, and the sauce all combine to make a great gyro.
Enjoy

Conquering Cheesecake 

Cheesecake is one of those oh no items that many of us fear to make. I can say with all honesty I use to feel that way. Then in 2012, I decided to tackle it head on.

I attempted several recipes before I found one that I felt was good.  Then I read pages of tips to baking it correctly. After several attempts I finally got it down.

Amazingly it turns out almost every time. I think it has cracked twice. But both times I overfilled the pan.

So here is to conquering the scary cheesecake.

It’s Not a Krystal’s Burger, but It’ll do!

Where I grew up we have the best little fast food place, it’s called Krystals. I know it is just fast food, but when you move away and can no longer consume grease covered fries and small fist sized burgers, you get a craving. It’s crazy but true. When I go home to Tennessee there are a few musts on my list that I make sure to cross off every time.

1. Eat at Krystals
2. Eat at Chick-fi-la
3. Go to Grandmother’s
4. Eat at the Great Wall
5. Well eat anywhere else

Do you see a theme? Yes, eating is number one. You see in my small little town in Wyoming. We have Arby’s, McDonalds, Taco John’s, and Pizza Hut.  We don’t eat out very much, but then again you see our choices. So when I cross the Mississippi River I get down to business. There used to be Sonic and Cracker Barrel but those have moved west and I can enjoy them when I go to the big towns.

Back to the Krystals burgers. Well I found a recipe that is very similar to the taste of those little burgers. They are so good, that I think they are better. Well they are better because I can have them whenever I want. HAHA

Now there is a weird ingredient in this recipe. I was skeptical at first, but do it, just throw it in there. You won’t even know it exists. Trust me. I make these all the time in large batches. Then I wrap them in foil and throw them in the freezer. They are awesome to heat up in the oven. It is a great little thing to have on hand because you never know when someone will stop by and you need lunch or a snack for them. These work wonders. Plus I can throw them in the freezer at the cabin or wherever I am going for an emergency dinner if needed.

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Little Krystal Knockoff Burgers

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1.5-2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter
½ cup milk
1 pkg slider burger buns or small rolls sliced in half
1 pkg American Cheese Slices,thick sliced

1. In a large bowl mix burger, soup mix, peanut butter, and milk. Spread the meat mixture on a cookie sheet with lip. Use a cup or rolling pin to roll over the meat to smooth it out. Put it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. The meat will shrink. Take it out of the oven and put the diced onions all around the edges to flavor the meat. Place back into the oven for about 15 minutes.

2. Take it out of the oven. Spread out the onions and add the cheese slices. Put it back in the oven for several minutes or until the cheese is melted. Add the tops of the rolls and place back into the oven. for a few minutes to steam and warm the buns.

3. Take it out of the oven. Slice the meat with a pizza cutter and pick up the sliders and place back on the corresponding bottom or the roll.

4. Let cool and what you do not consume immediately, wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. Serve with pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Yummm.

Enjoy!

Don’t tell me I like Wassail!

In the South during the holidays there is a certain smell that lingers in stores and homes almost everywhere. It is detested by children but loved by adults. It brings the holiday atmosphere to peak performance. There is just something about Wassail that says, “Home.”  It has a very distinctive aroma that can be singled out in a room full of goodies.

As most children will say Wassail is the most disgusting drink ever dreamed up by mean adults. It is worse than apple cider. I was one of these small children and even young adults who kept good and clear of this potion. When we would visit our local Civil War Mansion called Glenmore, I would hate the smells from the brewing pots of apple cider and Wassail. It just tasted like adults and the weird drinks that they are always fussing over. Oh, it tastes so good.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

Then I became one of the adults. It was on a trip to Biltmore Estates with my Mother, my Aunt Jo, and my cousin Julie when I decided this is the best drink in the world. My mother is constantly buying Wassail mixes. She will then bring you a glass and say “Oh, try this it is so good,” and then she starts the MMMM, MMMM, MMMM. As her child, I must try what she brings me. So I do. Well at Biltmore they had some made and I tried it. I don’t know why, I have always hated this nasty stuff.  How was today going to be any different from the countless other times she asked me to try this drink.

I let the warm liquid slide down my throat and I waited for the Yuck factor to begin. I waited, I waited. It was delightful. It was good. Well that it, I have officially crossed over. I am old, I am a true adult. I am one of the ones that makes the food at holidays. I am no longer the younger generation. So it is only befitting that the enjoyment of Wassail has begun.

Oh dear, what next! How in all my 35 years have I let this drink go to the wayside. Why did I not enjoy it. Well, I’m not sure, but it is delicious. I have made it countless times since that trip. It reminds me of my mom, of holidays past. I reminds me of loved ones who are gone and it brings the holidays into my home no matter what time of year.  The smell alone can make me curl up on the couch with my mug, and close my eyes to feel those memories.

Now I have taken to making my children try it. Let me say, they hate it. Of course they would, it is something you must grow into. But the smell, will be engrained in their minds. Then that one day when they are older, with their own children sitting around the fire, they will make Wassail and cherish the taste and memories it brings.

Please give this a try. It is such a part of the South and a part of the holidays. It is a drink to share with friends, family, and for children to grimace at. Look at that pot. It makes me want to make some right now, and I can’t. I don’t have any of the ingredients and I am 33 miles from the nearest store.  I am in the worst dilemma. Someone make this for me, and bring it to me!!!

Southern Wassail

  • Servings: 12-15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 2 quarts Apple Cider
  • 2 cups Orange Juice
  • 1 can (46 oz) pineapple juice
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1/3 cup Honey

In a large pot combine all the ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a crockpot or beverage warmer to serve.  Serve warm.

Enjoy!!