Gardening is something you learn by doing---and by making mistakes....
Like Cooking, Gardening is a constant process of experimentation, repeating the successes and throwing out the failures.
Carol Stocker

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beefy Sour Cream Noodle Casserole

This is a quick and easy dish.  Just throw it together, goes well with garlic bread. 

Beefy Sour Cream Noodle Casserole

 Beef Layer
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
1 small can Tomato Sauce
1 16oz can Diced Tomatoes
Salt/Pepper/Garlic Powder to taste

Noodle Layer
1 package Egg Noodles
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup Green Onions, sliced (more or less to taste)
Salt/Pepper to taste

1 cup grated Cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F

Brown ground beef until no longer pink.  Drain grease if necessary.   Add seasonings, tomato sauce and dices tomatoes.  Simmer until ready to use.

Meanwhile, boil noodles until al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.

In a large bowl combine sour cream and cottage cheese then add the green onions.  Season and add the cooked noodles, mix well.

Put half of the noodle mixture in a casserole dish, followed by half of the ground beef mixture. Top with a 1/2 cup cheese.  Repeat layers.

Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.

Ground Beef Mixture
Noodle Mixture

Start of First Layer
First Layer Complete

Ready for the Oven
Out of the Oven

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Basket Cupcakes With Lainie

Lainie and I made some cupcakes for Easter.  We probably should have waited to do this closer to Easter because they are gone already!

Lainie likes to cook, her favorite part is cracking the eggs!

Easter Basket Cupcakes
1 box of cake mix, your choice

Make cupcakes according to package directions.
Cool cupcakes completely and decorate

Dry Ingredients
Wet Ingredients

Cracking Eggs
Ready for Oven


Ryan decorated this one

 The Decorations

Handle- 2 pipe cleaners twisted together and a bow for accent
Grass- Coconut with a few drops of green food coloring
Icing- We used the canned icing that comes with different attachments
Candy eggs and jelly beans for the basket

I wish I had taken more pictures, the kids did great and had some very interesting baskets!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sour Cream Sugar Twists

I tried this recipe because it sounded different.  This is the recipe for the Twisted Adventure that I wrote about in an earlier post.  I had a heck of a time, but not because the recipe wast too difficult, I was just having an off day.

Sour Cream Sugar Twists
1 package Dry Active Yeast (1/4 ounce)
1/4 cup Warm Water, 110° to 115°F
3 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup slightly soft Butter
1/2 cup Shortening
1 Egg, whole
2 Egg yolks
3/4 cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups Sugar, divided (approximately)
Cinnamon, optional

4 cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup milk
Cinnamon, optional

Mix yeast and warm water in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 tbs of sugar, let dissolve.
In another bowl combine flour, salt.  Cut in butter and shortening until mixture is crumbly.
Beat in  eggs, sour cream and yeast mixture until dough is formed.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on your work surface.  Roll half of the dough on sugared surface into a 12x8 rectangle.(refrigerate remaining dough till ready to use) Sprinkle rectangle with 3 tbs sugar(may also sprinkle a little cinnamon over the sugar) then fold into thirds.  Give dough a quarter turn, roll, sugar and fold 2 more times.

End with a 12x8 in rectangle, cut the dough into 12 one inch strips.  Give each strip a couple of twists and place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool on wire wrack.

Repeat steps with remaining dough.

For Icing:  Mix powdered sugar and milk (you may also add a couple sprinkles of cinnamon if desired).  Drizzle over cooled twists.

Yeast and dough
Read to Refrigerate

Roll on sugared suface
Fold into thirds

Sugared surface
12 one inch strips

Finished Twists

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Low Sugar Banana Bread

Since most of my co-workers watching their figures, I thought I'd make a low sugar banana bread.  I used Splenda Brown Sugar in place of regular sugar.  Although Splenda Brown Sugar isn't totally sugar free, it does have half the sugar.  I took it to work for a taste test and it passed with flying colors!

Low Sugar Banana Bread
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup Butter, softened (may replace with 1/4 cup butter & 1/4 cup applesauce )
2 eggs (may use 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Bananas, mashed (about a cup)
1/2 cup Sour Cream (may use light)
1/2 cup Walnuts or Pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F, spray loaf pan with PAM

Cream Splenda Brown Sugar and butter.  Add eggs and mix well.
Add Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, mix well.
Add Bananas, Sour Cream and walnuts.  Stir until well combined.
Bake in loaf pan at 350°F for 50-60 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes then remove from loaf pan, cool on wire wrack.

The Mix

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Twisted Adventure

I tried a recipe for Sour Cream Sugar Twists because it sounded interesting and fairly easy.  You make the dough, refrigerate overnight and roll & bake the next hard could that be?

Well.....anything that could go wrong, did!  On first batch I misread and cut the dough totally wrong.  The twists untwisted themselves because they were too short and fat.  The second batch looked gorgeous, I was so proud!  I put them in the oven, set the timer and waited....and waited....checked, and waited some more.  Why weren't the twists cooking?  It takes only 15 minutes to cook and it had been 25..30..!  Well, I soon realized not much will cook in an oven that has been turned OFF!

I turned the oven back on, set the timer again and waited sceptically.  The twists looked great, but I didn't know how the texture would be,  I guessed tough and chewy.  And yes, my dear sweet taste testing friends at work, you will be sampling get the bad as well as the good. ;)

Much to my surprise the twists turned out wonderful!  I will post the recipe on my next entry....I need some time to recover, it's been a stressful afternoon, to say the least.

Sour Cream Sugar Twists

Monday, April 11, 2011

Strawberry Scones

Why is it that whenever I give the kitchen a good cleaning I have the uncontrollable urge to bake something and mess it up again?....I'm pretty sure it's pathological!  Well, at least I got some tasty scones out of it.

Strawberry Scones
1 cup Strawberries, cut up in small pieces
2 cups Flour
3 tbs Sugar, plus 1 tsp
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
6 tbs Butter, slightly softened
3/4 cup Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F, lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

Wash and cut strawberries into small pieces.  Add 1 tsp Sugar and stir, set aside.
In a bowl combine flour, 3 tbp sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the butter, cut with a pastry knife or two knives until dough is crumbly.  Stir in strawberries and add buttermilk, gently mix until dough holds together.
Turn dough onto a floured surface.  Gently knead until all dry ingredients are incorporated, do not over work the dough.  Add flour if dough gets sticky.
Form dough into a round shape about 3/4 of an inch thick.  Cut dough into 6 to 8 wedges.
Transfer wedges onto prepared cookie sheet, place at least a 1/2 inch apart.
Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle each wedge with a little sugar and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool on wire wrack.

Ready to mix
Add Strawberries

Adding Buttermilk
Pat to 3/4 inch thick

Ready for Oven

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I love comfort food, and Chicken Pot Pie is very comfy!  It's also a great way to use up leftover chicken and veggies....or even better, make it fresh with your garden veggies.    I usually use a Bisquick topping, but I sometimes use pie crust.  This is the Bisquick version....very easy!

Chicken Pot Pie with Bisquick 
2 cups cooked Chicken, chopped or shredded...I use Crock Pot Chicken
1 can Mixed Vegetables  (or Frozen Mixed Veggies, thawed)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup shredded Cheese, optional
1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup Milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400°F

Stir chicken, vegetables and soup in and ungreased 2qt casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
Stir Bisquick, egg and milk until blended.  Pour over chicken mixture.
Bake uncovered about 30 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sour Cream Peach Bread

I walked into the pantry and spotted a can of peaches...they were calling my name, so I decided to make some peach bread with sour cream.  It's moist and peachy...

Sour Cream Peach Bread
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 can Peaches, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F, grease a loaf pan, dust with 2 tbs sugar

In a bowl cream butter and sugar, add eggs and mix well.
Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and mix well.
Next add the peaches, sour cream and nuts, stir until combined, don't over mix.
Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes, until an inserted tooth pic comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes,  Remove from pan and cool on a wire wrack.

Diced Peaches

Out of the Oven

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken

I don't like using canned chicken for recipes...yuk! (except for my grandma's canned chicken!).  Boiling is good in a pinch, but if I have time I prefer to cook it the crock pot.  After 5-6 hours you will have tender chicken ready to chunk up or shred for your recipe.

Use this chicken for pot pie, enchiladas, quesadillas, chicken salad or on a salad....any recipe that calls for chicken. 

Crock Pot Chicken
4 Frozen Chicken Breasts
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Garlic & Herb Marinade (or any flavor you like)
(be creative with the seasoning, or just use salt and pepper)

Put chicken breasts in the crock pot, pour in water and marinade.  Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours, depending on desired tenderness.

Ready to Cook

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cocoa Biscotti

What goes with a cup of coffee better than a Biscotti?

Cocoa Biscotti
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
6 tbs Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
Optional add ins: 1 cup Almonds, Walnuts or Pecans
                             3/4 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
                             2 tbs Strong Coffee, cold

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour cookie sheet or use Parchment Paper

In a bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl cream butter and sugar, add eggs and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  The dough will be stiff.
At this time mix in your optional add ins.
Divide dough into 2 slightly flattened logs and put on a prepared cookie sheet. I like the logs to be about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.
Bake 350°F for 35 minutes or until the logs are firm to the touch.
Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Cut crosswise,  about 3/4 of an inch thick.  Lay on cookie sheet cut side up and return to oven for another 10 minutes.
Cool on wire wrack.

Ready for Oven

Out of Oven

Ready for second baking

Decorate with white chocolate if desired


Cutting Silage at Berry Creek