Sunday, March 31, 2013

Strawberry Pie


Happy Easter, everyone!

This recipe for Strawberry Pie comes from my husband's family.  It's so refreshing and very, very berry tasting! 

This week while I was shopping at Aldi I noticed they had Plant City strawberries!  I couldn't resist.  Plant City is in Florida and home to the Strawberry Festival.  I haven't experienced the Plant City Strawberry Festival in years but Plant City Strawberries are ready in early spring for the majority of the United States.  Perfect for Easter!

When I was growing up in Florida, we often went to Plant City, .. but not just for the strawberries.  My granny had siblings who lived in Plant City.  It's in the Tampa vicinity and as a child I never thought a thing about the peanut fields, strawberry fields, and roads "graveled" with crushed shells.  That's just the way things were in Plant City.  Now, that I live in Missouri I realize what a unique and special place it was.  I realize that not every farm has driveways made of crushed shells and that not everyone has fig and kumkuat trees growing in their yard. What I wouldn't give to go back to those moments in the hot, summer sun searching for shells with my little brother in our Aunt Valley's driveway.  My granny's sister "Valley" and her husband "Cliff" had a peanut farm and they grew these humongous peanuts..  (seriously... he was "Cliff" and she was "Valley"... cool, huh?)... 
but I digress.... back to the strawberries.

The strawberries I saw at Aldi were stickered from Plant City so lots of memories of being in Plant City came flooding back  to me of big, juicy strawberries that we picked in the long rows of strawberry plants.  Yum!

My college daughter requested this pie so I sent her home with four big, huge slices. 

You can spread a layer of softened cream cheese (plain) on the crust first, before you dump on the jello/berry filling and its super delicious, but my daughter requested just a plain strawberry pie so that's the way I made it today.

Ask my sweet girl and you shall receive.

Here's how I make Strawberry Pie AT HOME MY WAY:

 
Strawberry Pie
 
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries (I used 1 quart of berries, sliced)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 3-ounce package strawberry gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon butter/margarine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions:
 
Bake unfilled pie crust and let cool.
 
Slice 2 cups of the berries and set aside. 
 
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. 
 
Chop and mash remaining 1 cup of berries in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Add enough COLD water to mashed berries to make 2 cups of this water/crushed berry mixture.  Dump this into the sugar/cornstarch mixture in the saucepan.  Cook and stir until it starts to bubble.  Cook 2 minutes after the bubbling starts  (STIR often - I use a whisk while cooking)  After the 2 minutes, remove from heat.  Add gelatin, butter, and lemon juice.  Stir until gelatin dissolves.  Chill in the refrigerator approximately 45 minutes.
 
After this 45 minute chill time, add remaining sliced berries to this mixture and then dump into a prebaked, unfilled pie crust. 
 
Refrigerate for 6-8 hours (overnight is best) before slicing to all it to "jell" well.
 
Serve with or without whipped topping.
 
Cover leftovers.
 
 
I have also made this same recipe with fresh, summer peaches and peach gelatin.   It's really, really good!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Casserole Carrier -


My daughter, Rebecca, and I spent the day before Winter Storm Virgil sewing.  It was so much fun!  I never expected this child to be interested in sewing.  She and I haven't always had so much in common (she tends to act, eat, and want to do everything just like her father-sigh!... but I guess I picked him out, right?  ). These days (and thankfully for the most part due to Pinterest), I still get to sew FOR her and even better, AFTER I sewed something FOR Rebecca's birthday, she wanted to learn how to make it herself!  We have made fairly simple baby quilts together and she took Home Economics in high school so she has some basic knowledge in using a sewing machine, but I was surprised at how eager she was to take on this project.

Rebecca turned 25 this month and for her birthday I wanted to make something special.  She loves to cook (well... I guess we have that in common now don't we LOL?) and now that she works in an office and gets to experience "goody days" and potlucks, I knew she would love this gift.

I found this terrific idea on Pinterest here!  It's a casserole carrier and even though the process was a little tedious, there was nothing hard about it.  My sewing skills were back in the depths of my brain save for a few straight seamed quilts, so this required my old pea brain to think and my old sewing machine to "chug" but, it turned out terrific!  In fact, it turned out so great that we made two more for gifts.

Here is the one I made for Rebecca:

 
 
Notice the spoon holder!  How handy is that?  Usually I forget to bring my spoon back home!
 
 
 
 
I even put a cutesy little tag inside that said "Made with Mom's Love!"  (This might or might not have gotten an eye roll by the birthday girl.. but I couldn't resist since I used to use tags like this when I made outfits for her when she was little.)
 
 




I found the link to the instructions on a blog called "Taylor Made" and the original pattern and instructions are found at a blog called "Two Little Houligans".  The pattern is easy and the instructions are great!  I made Rebecca's carrier with the handles of fabric, but since I made that one, we have been able to find the belt product for using as handles and we liked that alot as well!

I made my second carrier for my sister-in-law's 50th birthday.

Oh the fabric choices.  Here are some that I considered:



 
 
Here are our finished carriers!  Rebecca made hers to use for tailgating for her favorite team, our Missouri "MU" Tigers!
 
 
 
 

 

See the insides of our carriers?  I love the fabrics we chose!



These will be perfect for gifts.  The author of these patterns asks that you only make these for your own personal use - no selling - and if you link to her tutorial, please let her know and give credit where credit is due..

I love them!  I think I'll try making some smaller ones for smaller casserole dishes.  I already have requests from my mother-in-law, my husband's aunt, my nieces... we better get busy!


Gina

Monday, March 25, 2013

French Toast - Making Freezer Favorites


This weekend I was home alone for a couple of mornings as my husband was out of town at a bowling tournament.  I took the opportunity to make one of my favorite breakfasts - French Toast.

Who doesn't have a half loaf or few slices of stale bread in their freezer or pantry?  My husband loves really soft, commercially baked grocery-store bread (ugh... LOL) and so I bought him a fresh loaf at Aldi on Thursday.  Saturday it occurred to me that with that fresh, soft loaf sitting in the pantry, he was no longer going to eat any of the not-so-fresh bread that was left from the week previous.

My sister-in-law and brother keep me in fresh eggs since they have their own chickens so I decided that french toast was what I was having. Here's a picture of their rooster, "Ringo."  I'm sure he likes eating beetles instead of being a beetle LOL!  My brother says he is a really good rooster and doesn't freak out the hens much. LOL.  However, he does freak me out since I have the bird phobia thing really bad!



It's hard to make just a couple of pieces of french toast.  You have the egg/milk mixture already there and so I decided to make some up to stick in the freezer - for popping in the toaster for busy weekday mornings.  My tightwad ways just wouldn't allow me to throw away that little dabble of milk/eggs left from making just a couple of pieces for me when I had stale bread languishing in the pantry for heaven's sake!  I had never put homemade french toast in the freezer and popped it in the toaster but it was time I did. It was a "score" by using up the stale bread and using the remaining eggs/milk/vanilla left from making my breakfast.

I made my french toast, used bread slices and kept making french toast until I had sopped up all of the goodness from the eggs/milk (& I add vanilla).  I placed these cooked french toast slices on my cookie cooling racks and placed them in the freezer for flash freezing and then bagged them up for the freezer.

Sunday morning, I woke up to Winter Storm "Virgil":


 I wasn't going anywhere LOL so I popped a couple of pieces of my freezer french toast in the toaster!  Wow!  It's wonderful.  I actually prefer it toasted in the toaster.  It's crispier and just really perfect!  Talk about a money saver, the bread was headed for the trashcan!  I can add this to the list of breakfasts I eat instead of buying anything boxed or premade (if I can help it).

Here's how I made French Toast - Freezer Favorite AT HOME MY WAY:

French Toast
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6-8 slices of stale bread (bread heels are great)
  • Butter/margarine for frying the toast in
Directions:
 
Whisk/whip with a fork or wire whisk until eggs/milk & vanilla are blended well making sure the eggs are completely incorporated into the milk.  Place this mixture in a pie plate.
 
Heat the griddle.  Spread butter/margarine over to coat the griddle.
 
Lay pieces of stale bread in the milk/eggs/vanilla mixture, flipping for both sides, and giving a few seconds for each side of the bread to soak up the goodness.
 
Cook on medium temp buttered griddle/skillet, flipping when the down-side is browned and crispy.  You may have to re-butter when adding more slices.
 
Freezer instructions:  Once the pieces are completely cool, lay on a rack/tray and freeze separately (not touching).  Then, when frozen, bag them up (I used my bread bag). 
 
 
Ready for the freezer!
 
 
 
 
Ready to bag up!
 
To reheat frozen french toast- place in the toaster on the setting of your choice.
 
I serve mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, and real maple syrup (a gift).  I just use an old spice container that I will recognize as cinnamon/sugar (also I write on it and cross out the previous spice's name) and add some white sugar with a few good shakes of cinnamon, and give it a "shaky" to combine.  (I've had this same container forever and just keep adding to it.  I use it for making french toast, cinnamon toast, donuts, baked pie crust crisps, baked tortilla chips, etc.
 
 
 
I also like mine served with powdered sugar and real maple syrup.
 
 
 
I know.. that's lots of sweet, but that's just the way I like it!
 
 
Enjoy!
 
Gina
 
 
 
Lay pieces of bread

Sunday, March 24, 2013

French Bread ...and Preparing for the Storm



This weekened there were rumblings of another winter storm.  Who could believe it though?  It's spring break around here and that just couldn't be true!  It was forecast for Saturday evening and Sunday. 

Saturday, it was rainy and a perfect day for making a fire and baking some bread.  Naw.. that snow wasn't coming..

I found two new blogs that I absolutely love!  One is called Hickery Holler Farm.  I love this blog!  You can learn about everything from gardening..to canning...to homemade bread.  This blog is a complete wealth of information for people like me.  I always love her posts!  I always especially love posts about homemade bread,  not just the kind that you eat as a treat but the bread that people make to eat every day.  I also loved that this blogger bakes all of her own bread.  She has a unique way of using her freezer, canning, dehydrating, and cooking ahead to make most of their meals from stuff she has right there on the farm.  The post that caught my eye yesterday was that she makes french bread, slices it, and puts those slices in the freezer for making garlic toast rounds for serving with soups, spaghetti, or other pasta dishes. 

We are all about garlic bread here at my house.  I tend to use up all form of hotdog and  hamburger buns for garlic toasts but I had never thought of intentionally freezing homemade french bread slices for this purpose.  I had to try it!

This french bread recipe made two huge loaves.  I think the Canned Quilter (at Hickery Holler Farm) makes one small sandwich loaf and two loaves of french bread all from this recipe.  The recipe comes originally from another terrific blog.  It's called Chickens in the Road and I expect to spend lots of time exploring this well written, entertaining, and super informative blog!  There's just tons on there.  The bread recipe is called "Grandmother Bread" and you can read all about why this heirloom recipe is called Grandmother's Bread here.  What a heartwarming story!  It will make all of us want to start making homemade bread so that we can have a "keeper of the bread" in our own families.

This bread uses super frugal and simple ingredients, flour, water, salt, yeast & sugar.  You can't get much more frugal than that.  The loaf if soft and delicious!  It's a winner in my book!

Here's how I made "Grandmother Bread" as French Bread AT HOME MY WAY:

French Bread
 
 
Two-loaf standard recipe (there is a one-loaf recipe here)

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions:

Measure 3 cups warm/hot water (hot but not hurt like hot bath water), add yeast and sugar.  Let "proof" (let it sit for about 5 minutes until foamy).

Dump proofed yeast/water/sugar in a large bowl.  Add 2 cups of flour.  Stir til mostly smooth.  Sprinkle with the salt.  Add 2 more cups of flour and stir.  Add remaining 3 cups of flour and stir as much as you can to blend (I use a wooden spoon).  At this point, LIGHTLY flour your hands and start bringing all of this dough together, forming into a ball, folding the dough over on itself.  (Good idea to take your rings off at this point.)  You need to knead for 6 minutes (I set a timer.)  I found this dough very sticky but using lots of flour produced a heavy, dense loaf, so I tried to knead with the backs of my fingers cupped together to push and fold the dough, kneading.  I kept lightly flouring my hands and eventually picked the dough ball up and used my palms to push the dough and fold it until it became springy (a fingertip pushed in the loaf leaves a mark but quickly fills itself back in).

Place dough in oiled bowl to rise turning once to moisten the dough ball.  Place in non-drafty place to rise.  (I use my microwave.)

Once the dough had risen double in size (approximately 1 hour at least), divide the dough in half and roll to 1/2 inch or so.  Then roll the dough up like for cinnamon rolls, and place both loaves on a sprayed cookie sheet.  I rolled a long cylinder of foil to place between the loaves so that they didn't spread into one another and become one huge loaf.  (Make sure to spray the foil roll heavily).

Put the loaves in a non-drafty place to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how warm your kitchen is.

Slice the loaves quickly with 1/4 inch cuts (this allows expansion of the loaves during baking). 

Brush egg wash on the loaves: 1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water - mixed.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until brown.  (I would remove the foil roll between the loaves after a crust forms on the loaves because it reflected heat causing those sections of the loaves not to brown as well.)




Excellent tasting bread with great crumb and chewy texture!  It's perfect french bread and should also make perfect sandwich bread!

My daughter and I had lots of laughs sewing!  I'll post about that project this week.  Here's what we made:

 
 
 
 
 
We worked on our projects until late Saturday night, roasted some hot dogs over the fire, admired the bread (not sure why we didn't eat any yesterday), and still didn't think this storm was really coming!
 
This morning?  It's here!  Yep, by 9:30 AM I had 7.5 inches of snow outside!  Good grief! And it's still coming down!
 

 

 





Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cream of Chicken Soup - Homemade




This morning I wanted to put one of our favorite meals in the crockpot, Crockpot Chicken & Biscuits.  Wouldn't you know it, I was out of canned Cream of Chicken Soup!

No worries, I knew I had seen several recipes and posts for homemade cream of chicken soup.  Google to the rescue!

I had some homemade chicken stock in my freezer so I stuck that in the microwave to thaw while I was getting out my crockpot.  This recipe is simple, smells yummy cooking, and was a breeze to make.  I put the entire recipe together in about 10 minutes which included thawing the chicken stock, all before I jumped in the shower to get ready for work.

This cream of chicken soup is condensed so if you want to use it for regular soup-eating, then add equal parts soup and milk.  I will probably only use it for casseroles and crockpot recipes.  I dumped half of it over my chicken in the crockpot for today's meal and put the rest in a jar (with plenty of head space) for the freezer.

Here's how I made Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup AT HOME MY WAY:

Homemade - Cream of Chicken Soup
 
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less; taste to test)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
Directions:
1. In smallish/medium saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings for 2 minutes.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of COLD milk and flour.
3. Add the flour/milk mixture to the broth mixture. Continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.

TA-DA!  You're done!








Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easy Cole Slaw



We celebrate birthdays with a potluck luncheon once a month at my office.  I never know what to make.  As much as I love to cook, I have a hard time deciding what to bring.  We usually have tons of desserts (which I LOVE) so I try to bring something other than sweets.  We also eat the leftovers at work until every last morsel is gone so we like something that is good the next day.

I decided to bring Easy Cole Slaw for today's meal.  Since I get home from work at nearly 6PM every night and have to leave the house by 7AM, I find very little prep time for making a potluck dish so this Easy Cole Slaw was perfectly easy, simple, and frugal.  I mixed the dressing last night in mere seconds and this morning dumped my cole slaw mix in a bowl, chopped some onion, and stirred it together.

I think this will be a perfect recipe to have handy these last days during Lent.  Our town is predominantly Catholic and there are lots of fish fries this time of year.  This slaw would be great for fish night at your house.  Try my Baked "Fried" Fish as a healthier option for eating your favorite fish, make some Easy Cole Slaw, and you have a feast!

(I have posted this recipe before but it deserves reposting - with a picture this time!  Keep in mind that my house is dark when I leave for work so the lighting is a little pitiful in this picture... ;)  )

Here's how I make Easy Cole Slaw AT HOME MY WAY:

Easy Cole Slaw
Ingredients:

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1 cup mayo/Miracle Whip (I had generic mayo this morning.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons white/cider vinegar (I had cider vinegar)
Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1 bag cole slaw mix or about 6 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 of a white/yellow/purple onion, chopped fine
Directions:

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. 

Pour the cole slaw cabbage mix into a medium bowl.  Add chopped onion.  Stir.  Pour over the dressing.  Stir well.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.  The slaw will compact as the vegetables soften with the dressing.




 



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

No Knead Crusty Bread -



Crusty Homemade Bread
 
 
I would say that the single recipe that most revolutionized my cooking style and changed what I put out for my family to eat was this recipe.  When I'm squeaking out the last days of meals until payday, I can count on this dough to get me through.  It uses simple and few ingredients - flour, salt, yeast, and water.  That's it!  And yet with that simple batch of dough, stirred up with a wooden spoon in a large bowl in a matter of seconds (I estimate about 30 seconds), my options for breakfasts, lunches, and suppers, increases many times.  I first found the instructions and recipe for this dough at the website for Mother Earth News HERE.  This recipe comes from a terrific book called ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY by Jeff Hertsberg and Zoe Francois.  (They also have a terrific blog where they answer questions, post recipes, etc. HERE.)  
 
Breakfasts:  From one bowl of this simple, frugal dough I make breakfasts like:
 
 
 
 
 
I make breakfast hot pocket sandwiches using eggs, cheese, meats, or fruits like apples, peaches, berries, even peanut butter, etc.  These freeze wonderfully and we thaw/warm them wrapped in a paper towel in the microwave.
 
Lunches:  For lunches from this dough, I make:
 
 
 
 
or pockets filled with lunch meats w/ cheese, vegetables & cheese, or even peanut butter & jelly
 
or
 
 
 
 

 
 

You could even roll up some pigs in a blanket (hot dogs wrapped in dough) for a great, fast lunch.
 
 
Any of these lunches would be great for suppers but the dough makes great crusty bread or small fry breads (patties of dough fried in a little butter/margarine) to serve with soup, salads, or pasta, etc.  You could even make little bread bowls for soup with this dough!
 
But the loaves of bread?  The bread is to die for!  It's delicious slathered warm with butter but also makes great sandwiches.Your options are endless with a little flour, salt, water & yeast!
 
This is how I make Bread in 5 Minutes - AT HOME MY WAY:
 
No-Knead Dough
(This dough can be stored in the fridge for about 10 days.  Just sprinkle the dough with flour before taking some out of the bowl.)

  • 3 cups very warm water (NOT luke warm) (think “hot but no hurt” - like hot bath water)
  • 2 teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 6 ½ cups all purpose flour (fluff your flour first so that it's not compacted from the bag)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt (the authors recommend 1 1/2 Tablespoon but they use "kosher" salt and I use table salt so I find that 1 Tablespoon of salt is just perfect!)

Instructions:
 
Measure 3 cups of very warm water(should feel hot to your hand but you can hold your hand under there without wanting to remove it - I say like hot bath water). Gently stir in the yeast until mostly all dissolved. Let it sit while you measure the flour and salt.

In a very large mixing bowl put the 6 ½ cups of all purpose  flour. Add 1 Tablespoon salt and stir well to combine.

Let the water/yeast sit for about 5 minutes so that it becomes bubbly and frothy.

Pour into the bowl of flour/salt mixture. Stir (a wooden spoon works great) as much as you can. It will be very shaggy. Just stir as much as you can, pushing the dough over on itself with the spoon to incorporate all together. It will not be a ball or anything, just a big bowl of shaggy dough. Cover with plastic wrap (I use a plastic grocery bag) and let sit on the counter 2 hours (if you will be home).  If you are scatting out the door like I usually am, just cover the dough with the plastic wrap / plastic bag and stick the bowl of dough in the fridge.  If it can sit in there all day, it does not need to rise on the counter for the 2 hours mentioned previously but if you do let it rise 2 hours, then you definitely have to put it in the fridge to get COLD before you can handle it.)  After the 2 hours on the counter + time in the fridge (or the full day in the fridge with no time on the counter), the dough will have risen and flattened to pretty much fill the bowl. 
 
 
You need the dough to be risen and then COLD to be able to properly handle it. 
 
Any time you remove dough from the bowl, sprinkle it first with flour.   Just a good sprinkle. This feeds the yeast and also keeps it from sticking to you.

To make the Round Loaf above:

1.  Sprinkle the cold bowl of dough with about 1/4 cup flour.

2.  Remove a hunk of dough about the size of a grapefruit.  I usually try to take about 1/4 of the bowl of dough.  Cover the bowl of remaining dough and continue to refrigerate for storing up to 10 days.  (On the 10th day, I tend to just make pizza as it will have lost some of its oomph, but still makes terrific hot pockets or pizza.)

3.  Form the dough into a ball by stretching the top over and underneath (think a mushroom top - going over and underneath, tucking the dough edges underneath the ball.  Don't squish the ball, just try to make the dough round.
 
4.  Let the dough ball rest on a floured plate while preheating your oven (which is REQUIRED)!
 
5.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  If using a stone, place the stone in the cold oven to preheat with the oven.
 
6.  Let the dough ball rest - coming up to room temp - for about 20-30 minutes before baking.
 
7.  Slash cuts in the dough - 3 or 4 of them - about 1/2 inch deep.  Just like stripes about 1 1/2 inch apart on the surface of the dough ball.
 
8.  Place the dough in a hot oven on a baking stone (or on a cookie sheet sprayed and dusted with cornmeal.)
 
9.  Bake a full 30 minutes or until dough is browning nicely.
 
10.  Let cool for about 10 or 15 minutes before slicing.  As with all breads, an electric knife works best for slicing the bread.
 
MMmmmmmm!
 
*This bowl of dough makes about  four 1 pound loaves of bread or any combination of the other items listed here.
 
 
 
 
 

 
Enjoy!
 
Gina

 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

PI Day! 3.14 - 2013

Happy PI Day!  Ha!  Whatever that is..

Loving the sitcom, Big Bang Theory like I do, it is only appropriate that I celebrate PI Day here!  Happy Pi Day!

My favorite way to celebrate Pi Day would of course be to make and eat some pie!

Here are a couple of my favorite ways to make and eat pie AT HOME MY WAY:




 
 

Pumpkin Pie with homemade Whipped Cream
 
 
Another of my favorite pies is this little Oatmeal Pie recipe found:
 
 
 
It's like pecan pie but without pecans (lots more frugal and just as delicious!)
 
 
 
What about savory pies?  I would consider these hand pies - Empanadas - a terrific way to celebrate Pi Day!
 
 

 
 
 
And... last, but not least, probably the most popular pie in our Country - Pizza Pie!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sounds like tonight will be a good reason to watch my favorite physicists on The Big Bang Theory and eat some Pie! 
 
Happy Pi Day!
 
 
 
Enjoy!
 
Gina



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Homemade Whipped Cream




Some Fridays my husband and I go out for dinner.  This past Friday we stayed in and I made supper (Hamburgers, Potatoes & Onions in Foil) and a delicious pumpkin pie.  We both love pumpkin pie and that is the one pie that I can make than never goes to waste.  We eat every last crumb! 

My pumpkin pie recipe is here. 

I can never have pumpkin pie without wanting whipped topping.  Normally I would buy a bowl of that frozen non dairy topping in the grocery store, but true to form... I didn't want to GO TO THE STORE!  (What else is new?)  I also remembered that I had a carton of whipping cream left from making my Ditch the Box Cheesecake.  I haven't made homemade whipped cream a whole lot but I didn't remember there being very much to it.

I didn't really use a recipe.  I whipped some cream, added a couple of small spoons of sugar, enough vanilla to fill the lid from the vanilla bottle, and called her good!  Wow!  Talk about things I will never buy again!  Whipped cream is now added to the list.  This stuff is so delicious you could eat it by the spoonful!  You could probably decrease the amount of sugar you use.  Certainly I don't think it needs much.  What better way to top fruit, homemade pudding, or perfect pancakes than real cream sweetened a bit and whipped to fluffiness!

Here's my basic recipe for making Homemade Whipped Cream AT HOME MY WAY: 

Homemade Whipped Cream
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (I used less)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Directions:
 
Using a mixer, whip the cream, adding the sugar one spoonful at a time, and vanilla, until peaks form, and the cream holds it shape.
 
Store in the refrigerator, covered.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hamburgers, Potatoes & Onions IN Foil! (Hobo packets)



One of the meals I most remember growing up is this one.  We called it, "Hamburgers, Potatoes & Onions in Foil" but I believe some people call these "Hobo Packets." 

No matter what you choose to call it, this is a great, easy, simple supper that pretty much everyone likes at my house.  You can tweek it a little like I did for myself by adding the onions and some carrots I had languishing in the fridge to my packet.  My husband is a flat out meat and potatoes man, so for his packet I just included the hamburger patty, sliced potatoes, salt, pepper & some onion POWDER (because he doesn't like real onions).  The potatoes cook perfectly soft and we like to bake ours a full hour and a half to crisp the bottom of the burger.  You eat this like a hamburger steak - without a bun.

Make sure to use a fairly lean cut of ground beef.  That does make a huge difference in the finished product.  A higher fat content makes the finished burger pretty shrunken. 

Here's how we make Hamburgers, Potatoes, Onions IN Foil - Hobo Packets - AT HOME MY WAY:


Hamburgers, Potatoes & Onions IN Foil
Hobo Packets
 
 
Ingredients:
  •  Ground Beef (lean) - to make fairly large patties
  • Potatoes-I usually peel and slice two per packet
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Sliced Onion or Onion Powder
  • Other vegetables like zucchini, squash, peppers, carrots (optional)
  • Foil
  • Cookie Sheet

Directions:
 
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Tear off a large piece of foil (app. 14" long) for each packet.
Form the ground beef into large patties.  Place in the center of the foil.  Flatten a little (we like ours thin).  Salt & pepper the patty.
 
Peel and slice (lengthwise) the potatoes.  Top with other vegetables, or just onion powder, salt & pepper.
  
Fold the sides of the rectangle of foil over and flap to seal.  Fold each end, flapping over well to seal.
 
Place the packets in a cookie sheet and bake 1 1/2 hour.  (If you like your burger juicier and less "well done", bake 1 hour.)
  
Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.  BE CAREFUL when opening the packets.  The steam will burn you!
 
 
Start out with your patty first.
 
 
This is Doug's packet - No onions, just onion POWDER, salt & pepper.
 
 
 
Here's mine.  I love the onions baked and the carrots were great!
 
 

 
Fold over and seal the narrow sides first.
 
 

 
 
Make sure to fold over to seal the ends and fold up to the top
(so nothing leaks out).
 
 
If you aren't going to eat all of yours -
I know someone who wants a bite!
 
 
 
Enjoy!
 
Gina
 
 


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