Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Food: Pennsylvania Dutch Corn and Chicken Soup

This recipe is a quick and tastier alternative to canned soup. It's great on a cold winter afternoon (hopefully we won't have many more of these this year!) and should have the health giving properties of any other chicken soup. The recipe is from Cook's Country magazine, which tests their recipes repeatedly to come up with the best flavors, ingredients, and textures. It's a magazine worth checking out if you haven't.

Pennsylvania Dutch Corn and Chicken Soup

1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn, thawed
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 celery rib, sliced thin
salt and pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 12 oz), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 cups egg noodles

Combine 2 cups corn and 2 cups broth in blender and puree until smooth. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion, celery, remaining corn, and 1/2 tsp salt until softened. 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in remaining broth, chicken, noodles, and pureed corn mixture. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until noodles are tender and chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Food: Spaghetti Squash Casserole

If you've never tried spaghetti squash, it's an interesting and easy-to-fix vegetable that you can use to sneak more healthy stuff into a veggie-hater's meal. It is exactly what it says it is - a squash that forms spaghetti-like strands when cooked. It's easy to prepare and has a slightly sweet taste. Try it! See what you think!

This recipe comes from an old Taste of Home magazine and is basically a baked spaghetti casserole using squash instead of pasta.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 small spaghetti squash (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
1/2 cup water
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (8 oz) diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Place with cut side down in a baking dish. Add water. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until it is easily pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, scoop out squash, separating strands with a fork.
In a skillet, cook beef, onion, red pepper, and garlic until meat is browned and the vegetables are tender. Drain. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and squash. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to an ungreased 1-1/2 quart baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese; let stand a few minutes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Food: Brown Sugar Applesauce Cookies

These were hands down my favorite cookies from my Christmas cooking spree. They're spicy with a browned butter frosting on top. Mmmm... I ended up making several batches of these because I gave them all away before packing up the cookies for my family. I'll definitely be making them again. The recipe is from a Penzey Spice catalog.

Brown Sugar Applesauce Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Beat together the brown sugar, shortening, applesauce, and egg. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drop the dough by rounded spoonful about 2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes until browned. Immediately remove from cookie sheets. Cool, then spread with frosting.


1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp milk

Heat the butter over medium heat until delicate brown, usually 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat in the milk until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies.

Yield: 3-4 dozen depending on the size of your spoonful.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Cat Butt"

You really have to think outside of the box when choosing keywords for items in an Etsy shop. I'm pretty sure I was running out of ideas when I tagged the linocut below with "cat butt", but you know what? People actually search for that. Makes you wonder what they're really looking for, doesn't it?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Food: Dipped Ritz

As always, I made lots of cookies this past Christmas - over 500 to be exact. I remembered to photograph some of them, so that's where I'll start with the resurrection of Friday Food. Dipped Ritz was one of my mother-in-law's recipes that my husband and his sister always loved. She was a big baker, so I knew that some of her recipes would need to find their way into my Christmas baking this year. I asked my husband to be chief dipper for these to give him that connection to his mom. Tasty and therapeutic cookies - what more could you want?

Dipped Ritz

48 Ritz crackers
Peanut butter
6 blocks of almond bark or Borden's white chocolate candy coating
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 Tbsp Crisco (not butter)

Spread peanut butter between 2 Ritz crackers to make a sandwich. Set aside.
Melt chocolate with butterscotch chips over low heat in double boiler on stove, stirring as it melts to keep it from sticking to bottom of pan.
Dip peanut butter crackers in melted chocolate mixture using tongs. Set on waxed paper to harden.
Makes about 24 confections.

Note: Use only dry utensils for melting or stirring as a drop or two of moisture could cause the coating to solidify or separate. To thin for dipping, add a little more Crisco and stir until smooth. DO NOT add water, milk, oil, margarine, or butter to thin.

Another note: Miniature Ritz Bits sandwiches can be used instead of the larger crackers.