Saturday, February 28, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Baked Potato Casserole

Here's a recipe for a side dish. I don't often do recipes for sides, because I usually only eat plain old vegetables on the side. But, sometimes I need to change it up a bit and add something new.

I start with the basics: onion powder, garlic powder, chicken broth and soup base, add a sprinkle of dried chives.

Add to water, heat it a bit. Heating releases the flavors.

I stir in some fat-free sour cream,

the add a bit of corn starch. This will help thicken the sauce, so that every bite has a nice coating-yum, yum, yummy.

I had some small potatoes lurking in the shadows. Well ok, there was a shadow when I took the picture. I needed to use them or lose them, which is the reason I came up with the recipe to begin with.

I cut them up into bite sized pieces. Yes, I left the skins on. Adds flavor. There were gold ones, and red ones, and purple ones. And, they're still lurking in the shadows. I need to speak to my photographer.
 They all taste the same. I like variety.
I sprinkled with some low-fat shredded cheddar. All this low-fat and fat-free makes me believe that I'm eating healthy.
Humor me.

Mix in the sour-cream mixture, sprinkle on some bread crumbs(optional), stick the casserole in the oven, and let it bake.

A nice side to baked cod and a veggie.
It also went well with meatloaf.
And chicken.

Here's an up-close and personal look.
Can you smell it? Can you taste it?
You will, if you make it.
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Baked Potato Casserole

1/4 C water
1 Tsp chicken broth and soup powder
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp dried chives
1/8 Tsp garlic powder
1/8 Tsp onion powder
1/2 C reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream
1 Tsp corn starch
1/4 C reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
10-12 small potatoes
1 Tbsp bread crumbs-optional

Preheat oven to 325°. Spray 4 cup casserole with cooking spray, set aside. In glass measure, combine water, broth powder, salt, chives, garlic and onion powder. Heat in microwave 30 seconds. Add sour cream, stir until mixed. Add corn starch and stir to mix. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in prepared casserole. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Pour sauce over and stir to coat potatoes. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cover and bake 45 minutes, or until potatoes test done when poked with a fork. 3 servings

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From the Kitchen - The Empty Nest

Baked Beef Stew

I'm sharing another great recipe today. This is one of my comfort foods. It's hot, it's filling, it makes the place smell fantastic.

I start with beef broth and soup powder(from my local Amish store of course) and water.

Add the minced, dried garlic,

The bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

Diced tomatoes. Yummy. They add great flavor.

Corn starch helps thicken the gravy, because there's going to be plenty of moisture in this recipe.

Beef stew meat. For the hunters, try some cut-up venison. It'll work just as well.

Small potatoes, or a large potato, cut up(all the same)

onion, mini carrots,

celery. Mix it all,

cover, and bake. Go watch your favorite show, put your feet up, take a nap, whatever you need to do. The oven will do the magic.

Let me tell you, is it ever good.
Happy Tuesday.
Hah! I tricked you into thinking it was Saturday.

Baked Beef Stew
1 Tsp beef soup base
1/2 C warm water
1 C canned, diced tomatoes with juice
1-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 bay leaf
1/2 Tsp dried, minced garlic
3/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 small carrots
6-8 small potatoes
1 rib celery, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 onion, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 350°. Dissolve beef soup base in warm water. In a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, mix tomatoes, water/beef soup base, cornstarch, bay leaf, garlic, salt and pepper. Add beef, carrots, potato, celery and onion, stir. Cover and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. 2-3 servings

Saturday, February 21, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Brownie Waffles

It's time to get out that gizmo, aka waffle maker, and make something fancy, decadent, delicious, tantalizing.

It all starts with a basic box of brownie mix, prepared according to the directions on the box.

Heat up the waffle maker, and add the batter.
My waffle maker makes 2 waffles, 1/4 C batter each.

Viola, Brownie waffles.

Chocolaty goodness. A firm outside, tender inside kinda goodness.

Add cherries, and a dollop of cool whip, and oh, my, my, oh my, oh my.

Leftovers, if you have any, are great. They can easily be held in hand and nibbled on, one bite at a time.
Oh boy, Grandpa B, are they ever good.
Happy Saturday

Brownie Waffles

18.3 oz. brownie mix
1 Can cherry pie filling
Whipped Topping

Prepare brownie mix according to directions on package. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for waffle maker, spray with cooking spray and preheat. Add batter and bake Remove from machine and top with pie filling and whipped topping. Waffles can be cooled and stored in a closable plastic bag or container. 1/4 C of batter per waffle will make 11 waffles.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Her Birthday on My Wedding Day

A Lot to Ask

It was a lot to ask of my best friend.
I called on a Monday, told her I was getting married that week on Friday. Would she be my maid of honor?
She could have said no. After all, it was her birthday, and she had a big party planned.
But, even though I rained on her parade, she went along with it anyway,
and we all celebrated together.
That is what true friendship is all about.

I miss you, Karen, my friend.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Sister - My Friend

Gomer Sue
I've lost my life-long friend. MS has robbed her of life. She was my best friend, she was the sister I never had. She hated the name Gomer Sue, so I used it often to ruffle her feathers; all in good fun. I'm dedicating my blog to her today.

Karen (Gomer) Sue Gumaer-Martzke
11/25/54 - 02/12/15

Gomer Sue

I often wonder why.
Why did God bring us together
all those years ago.
What was there that drew us to each other,
to bond the way we did.
Perhaps because neither had a sister,
perhaps because life would present circumstances
that would require our support for each other.
We talked about our fears,
we shed a lot of tears.
There were few secrets between us.
You were my life line, just a phone call away.
I faced many difficulties, you listened well.
You faced your own circumstances,
I heard every word.
I prayed for you every day,
asking that you would be at peace and pain free.
The days suddenly dwindled,
the light began to dim.
Forty some years was suddenly way too short.
I longed to hear you tell me ‘I am fine’
just one more time.
I have so much gossip to share,
but now you aren’t here.
Rest in peace, my life-long friend,
For you’ll never hear this name again,
Gomer Sue

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

From the Kitchen - The Empty Nest

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce
I'm sharing another recipe from my cookbook, The Chickadee Cottage Empty Nest Cookbook.
The recipe is geared for two servings,
but it's so easy to increase it to more.

I start with the ground beef, or ground turkey. My meat of choice is the 93%-7% beef, meaning only 7% fat. There won't be any drippings to discard.

and add the chopped garlic.

A can of tomato sauce, the seasonings, give it a stir, let it simmer to flavor through.

 I simmered my on low for about an hour.

Serve it up on Whole Wheat thin spaghetti,
sprinkle on shredded Parmesan.
Oh man, this hits the spot, as in:
Is it ever good.
Happy Cooking

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce
1/4 Lb. ground beef or turkey
1/4 Tsp. refrigerated bottled minced garlic
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 Tsp. basil
1/2 Tsp. oregano
1/2 Tsp. parsley
1/2 Tsp. onion powder

Brown meat in small pan over medium heat, add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer on low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked pasta. 2-3 servings

Saturday, February 7, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Chicken Sliders
This is one of those recipes that works for a quick meal in the evening,a hot meal at noon, or a party, if you increase the amounts.
It packs easily in the lunch bag, heats quickly in the microwave, tastes better the 2nd day, and the 3rd day, and so on.
It freezes well, if there is extra.
And it cooks in the crockpot. I love the crockpot.

Start with water,

chicken soup base(I get mine at the local Amish grocery store),

onion and garlic powder,

bay leaf,

and skinless, boneless chicken breast.

Put it together, turn it on low, let it cook. In my 6 cup crockpot, it takes about 4-5 hours for a 1 lb. breast. Now that's a big chicken.

Simply remove the meat and shred it with 2 forks, then return it to the crockpot to heat through.
Done. There's not a lot of juice to this, but the meat is very moist.

I serve it on whole wheat dinner rolls, with a slice of mozzarella cheese.
Maybe a shot of hot sauce, and a crumble of blue cheese?
Or some BBQ sauce?
It's a simple recipe that can be doctored any way you like it.

A few veggie chips on the side, and my lunch is made.
Try it, you'll like it.
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday.

Chicken Sliders

1/2 C Water
! Tsp powdered chicken broth and soup base
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp onion powder
1 small bay leaf
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast
Sandwich buns of choice
Cheese slices, optional

Place water in 6-cup crockpot. Add soup base, garlic powder, onion powder and bay leaf. Add chicken breast. Cook 4-6 hours on low, until chicken is done and can be shredded easily with 2 forks. Remove chicken and shred, return to broth in crockpot. Serve on buns, topped with a slice of cheese.  6 servings

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Crock Pot Beef Roast

I've been a bit under the weather recently,
meaning that I wasn't able to be out and about.
So, what better time than to make a comfort food.

This isn't really a recipe, other than I use my own Onion Soup Mix, so I'll share that recipe today, along with step by step for a hot, tasty, stick to your ribs kinda meal. Ok, and a suggested recipe for the roast.

I start with sliced Eye of Round roast. I buy it whole and slice it into 1/2 inch slices, and then freeze the slices in sandwich bags. Then all I have to do is thaw out what I need and away I go.

I use my 6 cup crock pot, a handy little gizmo.
Add the water,

the carrots,


and the tasty goodness.

Let it crock, or cook, or whatever it does in a crock pot.
A hot, tasty meal in 4-5 hours.

Tatoes with gravy.
Was it ever good.

Onion Soup Mix

3/4 C dried minced onion   
1/3 C powdered beef broth and soup base
4 Tsp onion powder  
1 Tbsp dried minced garlic  
1/4 Tsp celery seed  
1/4 Tsp sugar  

Mix, store in container. 5 Tbsp=1.25 ounce package

Beef Roast

1/2 lb. Eye of Round beef roast
1 Tbsp Onion soup mix
2/3 C + ¼ C Water, divided
1 Tsp corn starch
Vegetables, such as mini carrots, potatoes

Place 2/3 C water in 6 cup crockpot. Add meat and vegetables. Sprinkle onion soup mix over top of meat. Cook on low 4-5 hours, until tender. Mix corn starch and 1/4 C water in cup. Remove meat and vegies from crockpot, stir corn starch mixture into juice in the crockpot. Add meat and vegies, cover and heat on high 10-20 minutes, until juices thicken. 2 servings