Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sour Cream Biscuits

I've seen several recipes floating around the internet for biscutis using sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream. I already have a biscuit recipe that I adore; but since I had scant amounts of all three of those ingredients in the fridge, I figured I'd use them to make some biscuits. They had excellent flavor and were very tender.

2 cups of AP flour
3 TBS Corn Starch
3 TBS Baking Poder
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream
2 TBS melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a whisk to combine. Mix the cream cheese and sour cream, and 1/4 cup of the cream together, add to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, adding more cream as needed for the dough to come toghether. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutters or a glass. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.

 These were delicious topped with scrambled eggs with green chiles.

We also LOVED them topped with my homemade Apple Butter!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Roasted Turkey

This turkey is easy and comes out deliciously moist and succulent. Start it today and have it ready to go in the oven Thursday morning.

1 turkey
Kosher Salt
2 tsp Seasoning Salt

1 stick Softened Butter
Optional: 1 TBS Finely chopped herbs such as sage, thyme, marjoram, etc. You could also add lemon zest or minced garlic, if you won't be using the dripping to make gravy, or if you don't mind the flavors in the gravy. I wouldn't mind a hint of garlic in the gravy, but I don't think I would enjoy the lemon.

Remove giblets and neck bone, set aside. Rinse the turkey inside and out and dry with paper towels. Set it in a roasting pan or on a large rimmed baking sheet. Loosen the skin on the turkey and sprinkle the meat and inside cavity with 2 teaspoons of seasoning salt. Sprinkle kosher salt on the outside of the turkey. Cover the roasting pan with a large bag such as an oven bag or large shopping bag. Place it in the fridge.

The night before you will be serving the turkey remove the bag, and allow the turkey to sit uncovered in the fridge. Just move produce away from it. This will help to dry out the skin, which will make it nice and crisp.

An hour and a half hours before your turkey needs to be in the oven, remove it from the refrigerator. Rinse it with cold water to remove some of the salt, and dry it with paper towels. Place it in a roasting pan and allow it to sit at room temperature, so the skin wont burn before the meat is warm enough.

At this time or right before going into the oven, mix the butter and the herbs, if you are using them. Rub half the mixture all over the turkey, and up under the skin. I use a combination of sage and thyme and it is delicious.

Preheat the oven to 425. Place the turkey in the oven. Roast for 45 minutes.

Baste with the pan juices and a little of the remaining butter/herb mixture.
Turn the temperature down to 325 and roast until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.

Baste with the pan juices every 30 minutes. The last 45 minutes, baste every 15 minutes with the butter mixture and pan juices.
Cooking time after the initial high heat roast took about 2.5 hours for my turkey, but please gauge doneness by the temperature, not the time.

 Seriously, how gorgeous is this turkey?

Let it rest, tesnted with foil for at least 30 minutes before carving.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cabbage Rolls

These are so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening. This is the kind of meal my Mom would say "sticks to your ribs". Cabbage Rolls are simple food. They're made from easily found ingredients, and they're inexpensive. They do require a little bit of work, but it's actually not much. My favorite Cabbage Rolls are the Romanian kind, which are made with sour cabbage, but it is difficult to find anything that "exotic" in my small town. I plan to try to locate sour cabbage, or make my own so that I can make them and share them here. I also plan on making German Cabbage Rolls this winter and sharing them here.

1 head of Cabbage
3 TBS Salt

1 cup uncooked White Rice
1 lb Ground Beef (or turkey, pork, veal, etc)
1/2 an Onion, diced small
1 Carrot, grated
1 Garlic clove, grated or minced tiny
3 dashes of ground Cloves
1 TBS Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

1 28 oz can of tomato sauce
1 TBS Paprika
1 tsp Pepper
1 small can of Sauerkraut

Rinse cabbage and remove 4 outermost layers, set aside. Chop off the stem of the cabbage, and use a knife to remove the core. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, return to a boil, add cabbage. Reduce to medium-high heat and cook 10-15 minutes, until the leaves begin to separate.

While the cabbage is boiling, prepare the filling, chop the onion and garlic pretty small, so the filling isn't chunky. You want it to be homogenous. Just combine all of the ingrentients in a large bowl. I use my hands. If you're averse to touching raw meat, you can do it the hard way and, use a spoon.

When the cabbage is nice and tender, remove it from the water and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully remove the leaves. I've found that using a pair of kitchen shears to cut the stem of the leaf helps to remove them without breaking them. ------------------->

Now, get yourself set up somewhere comfortable. I actually sit at my kitchen table to roll the cabbage rolls, since I usually make more than one batch. I know a lot of people have trouble folding the cabbage so the rolls don't fall apart, so I prepared a little photo tutorial. Please excuse my grody nail polish.

Hold the leaf in one hand and add a spoonful of filling to the center. Fold the bottom up, fold the side over, then fold the other side over, nice and snug but not too tight, since the rice will exand during cooking. Repeat. I get about 20 rolls from 1 head of lettuce and this amount of filling. If Ihave leftover filling, I just add it to th sauce. The rolls will be different sizes since the leaves get smaller as you work your way inward. It's no big deal. Look at all of these beautiful cabbage rolls, time to get them cooking!

Tear the outer layers that you set aside earlier into pieces. Put them in the bottom of the pot and cover with the sauerkraut. Put half of the cabbage rolls on top of the sauerfraut. Top that with half of the sauce. Add remaining cabbage rolls, top with the rest of the sauce. Add water until you see it on the sides of the rolls. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for two hours. I like to physically turn the pot a quarter turn every 20 minutes, so the cabbage leaves on the bottom don't burn. Make sure the liquid remains simmering, add more if it evaporates. After two hours, check for tenderness and enjoy.

 Cabbage rolls really don't have much going for them in the looks department, so it's a darn good thing they taste so good. They are hard to photograph in a flattering light, but don't let that keep you from trying them.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

It got chilly here this past week! I roasted a chicken earlier in the week, and I had some leftovers, so I used them to make a delicious soup to warm us up. It did the trick. My son and I had been sick for a few days, and chicken soup is so good when you're sick. My Hubbie is not usually a fan of brothy soups, but he loved this. Also, this soup is a nice option to serve if you or someone you're feeding is ding the gluten-free thing. You can also substitute leftover Thanksgiving Turkey for the chicken to use up some leftovers.


8 cups of chicken stock (I used homemade, and you can find my recipe here)
1 cup of uncooked brown rice
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
2 carrots, sliced into coins
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
Salt, to taste. If you're using canned broth or bouillon cubes, you won't need to add much, if any. Since my homemade stock doesn't contain salt, I added nearly 2 teaspoons.
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Bring the stock and bay leaves to a low boil in a large pot, add brown rice and continue to simmer. I like to get this going and then start chopping the veggies. Once the veggies are chopped, add them to the pot, and return to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook for 20 minutes. After minutes, add the chicken and simmer 10 minutes. Check the carrots and rice to ensure that they are tender. Add seasonings and optional parsley, tasting as you go to make sure it is seasoned enough.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I prepared these to go with a roasted chicken for dinner the other night, it was already dark, and the lighting in my kitchen is not good, so please excuse the funky pictures.
I've been trying to develop side dishes for Thanksgiving that are just a little bit different. I like to take a classic dish or ingredient and give it a little twist. I make a mean sweet potato casserole, but I prefer to enjoy them adorned with savory seasonings. My husband is not a big fan of sweet potatoes, but he gobbled these up and asked for more. They were so simple to make, and delicious. I plan on bringing them to my family's Thanksgiving dinner as a lighter option. (I'll also make a traditional sweet potato casserole, of course).

2 Sweet Potatoes, chopped
1 Onion, diced
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 TBS Chili Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp gound Cumin
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper, only if you like spicy food

Preheat oven to 400. Combine chopped sweet potato and diced onion in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices. Toss to combine. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes. Flip them about halfway through cooking.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Best Marriage Advice I've Ever Received

People love to give marriage advice, don't they? We've heard it all before. "Don't go to bed angry", "Always be the first one to say sorry". There's several pearls of wisdom floating around that may or may not be helpful. I'm going to share a piece of truly sage advice that I often think of in the midst of a rough day or season in my marriage. I can't say that I've always followed it, but I can say that when I decide to hold my tongue, or repay hurt with grace and kindness, it makes dealing with the situation a whole lot easier. It keeps me from making it worse, and it speaks more to my husband than an hour of angry yelling ever could.

The best marriage advice I've ever received came from my Father-In-Law, before we were ever married. My In-Laws will be celebrating 34 years of marriage in a couple of weeks, and they still like each other quite a bit, so I think he's pretty qualified to offer advice. He told us "I've learned that I can't control the way Mom treats me or talks to me, all I can control is how I respond and how I treat her". Though I've never seen them fight, I know they must have disagreements, so I assume this has worked well for him.

I can think of so man times in my marriage when showing this grace would have been so helpful. I can think of so many hurtful things I have said that could have been avoided by holding my tongue or thinking for a minute to find a way to voice my grievance without shouting, or using hurtful words. This applies to all relationships, but I think it is exceptionally important in marriage.

I would like to challenge everyone who reads this to try it with their spouse the next time they have a disagreement or your spouse does something that hurts you. Show grace when they mess up. It won't be easy, and it is not a fix-all, but I have experienced the blessings it can bring.

Please note, I am NOT advocating that anyone who is being abused in ANY way not seek help or remove themselves from the situation. If you or your children are being abused in ANY way it is not ok, please seek help. It is available.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stabilized Whipped Cream

This was the first time I had made the stabilized whipped cream, so I wasn't sure how it would work or if it would make it taste different. I am happy to say it worked great and there was no difference in flavor. I intended to take pictures of it, but I dropped the dish of whipped cream I had set aside before I could. However, I did have a slice of pie left over, and 24 hours later, my dollop was still perfectly shaped, there was no weeping or melting of the cream, and it still tasted great.

The season of pie is upon us! I adore pie, this time of year, pumpkin is my favorite. I recently posted a recipe for a delicious Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie, which I think should be on every Thanksgiving table this year. No custard based pie is complete without whipped cream, and let's face it, even fruit pies are only enhanced by its presence. I'll be the first to admit that I will shamelessly top my pie with the stuff from the can, if that's all that is available. I just think homemade is sooo much better, and it is sooo simple to make. Also, you can customize it. You can add various extracts or even booze to create a custom whipped cream to compliment your dish.

Most of my desserts are made for church potlucks, and my whipped might be used to top desserts other than the one I brought, so I usually just stick to adding a little vanilla, since its flavor won't adversely affect any dessert. Also, our potlucks are after church service is over, so in that in addition to our 30 minute commute, means my whipped cream is sitting for at least 3 hours, and that's if I make it immediately before leaving my house. Sure, whipped cream that has lost a little of its volume still tastes good, but I wanted it to still look good. I searched the internet and found several methods, but this one seemed to be the most popular, so I tried it. Most of the methods didn't contain recipes for the whipped cream itself, so I'll include my recipe and the method.

I sweeten my whipped cream, but I've noticed a lot of people don't, so feel free to leave the sugar out if that's your thing. Just warn me before I eat it. When we traveled to Germany in 10h grade, my friend and I went to Starbucks and ordered our usual drinks with extra whipped cream, we were unpleasantly surprised to discover it was unsweetened.

This recipe yields about 2 cups of whipped cream.


1 cup of heavy cream, very cold
4 TBS powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
The above ingredients are for the whipped cream, and are all you need if you don't want to stabilize it.
1 tsp unflavored plain gelatin powder
1TBS water

Pace your mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for 5 minutes prior to making your whipped cream. 
I make whipped cream in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It can be done with a hand mixer or even a whisk and some elbow grease, if you're into that sort of thing

Place gelatin powder in a small microwavable bowl, add water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Microwave for 10 seconds and allow to come to room temperature, about 5 minutes.

Mix the cream, sugar, and vanilla together and pour into the chilled mixing bowl. Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form, this takes about 2-3 minutes in the KA on speed 4. If you are adding the stabilizer, turn the speed down to 2 and slowly drizzle in the gelatin mixture, then kick it back up to 4 for a minute or two until you have medium-stiff peaks. If you are just making plain whipped cream, don't turn it down, just let it go on 4 until you have stiff peaks.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Orzo in Asiago Cream Sauce

I made this for lunch, and it was delicious. If I were serving it for dinner or for company I would add things like sauteed mushrooms, pancetta/ham/bacon, caramelized onion, and a crumb topping. This is a great base recipe that I will definitely use to create more elaborate dishes in the future. You can use any type of pasta you like, I had orzo and lasagna noodles on hand, so I went with orzo. Farfalle (bow ties) would be my first choice.

1 lb dry Pasta, prepared al dente.
1/2 TBS Olive Oil
1 Garlic clove
2 tsp Italian herbs
1 1/2 cups Cream
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
Salt to taste

Optional Baked Topping:
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 Cup shredded Asiago cheese

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, chop of grate garlic on zester and add to oil. When the garlic in fragrant, add the herbs. When the garlic is lightly golden, add the cream. Heat through and add the pepper and nutmeg. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Asiago cheese. Taste and add salt accordingly. Serve as is or put it in a casserole dish, combine the Parmesan and Asiago cheeses, sprinkle over the pasta, and pop under the broiler until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. (Am I the only one who picture Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias during the Cuppa Cuppa Cake scene when I read the words "golden brown and bubbly"?) Enjoy! I served mine over steamed broccoli in an attempt to feel better about eating pasta, cream, and cheese for lunch.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

I love Pumpkin Pie! I made one a few years ago following the recipe on the Libby's can, and it was good, but it wasn't as good as Costco's, so I never made one again. I've seen a couple of recipes floating around for Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie, but all of them called for evaporated milk, and I wanted to try something completely from scratch. I kept the recipes in mind, and last Friday when I decided to make homemade apple butter for the first time, I decided I would make an Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie for a church potluck on Sunday. I thought about making the pumpkin puree myself, since it is so easy, but I couldn't find any decent pie pumpkins. So, I used a can. It's even easier, and their is less water content than if you make it yourself, so it takes some of the guesswork out of the process. No worrying about a pie that won't set, or soggy crust. I got a lot of compliments on this pie. We did have 2 pieces left over, and they were even better the next day. I think this pie would make an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving table. It's also easy enough to be a special treat weeknight Fall dessert for your family.

1 - 9 inch pie crust
1/4 cup white sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup of canned pumpkin
1 cup of apple butter
1/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of milk
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the pie crust dough into your pie dish and prick several holes with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. This is called blind baking and it helps to keep the crust from getting soggy. Remove the crust from the oven.

To make the filling, place the white sugar, cornstarch, and spices in a large bowl, stir to combine. When making liquid fillings like this, combining the spices with the sugar before adding the wet ingredients helps ensure that the pieces get dispersed throughout and that they don't clump together.

Add the the pumpkin and apple butter to the sugar and spice mixture, stir to combine. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk into the milk. Add this to the rest of the filling and stir until smooth. The extra egg yolk helps keep the filling from cracking.

Pour the filling into the pie crust. Place the pie onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Though I've never had it happen with a pumpkin pie, pie fillings can sometimes bubble up and over, and I hate cleaning my oven, it's much easier to clean a baking sheet.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes. The filling should be set and no longer jiggly in the middle. Let it cool on the counter for an hour or so, and then place it in the fridge to cool completely. No pumpkin pie is complete without some whipped cream!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Back From a Break

I've hardly blogged at all the last 3 months or so. Life has been busy, I've been feeling inadequate, so many things going on. I love blogging, I love to cook and share my recipes and ideas with the world. I find it therapeutic. You see, acts of service is my love language, and cooking is one of the main "services" I like to show my love for my family through. I'm disappointed I let negative feelings keep me from sharing my recieps here for the last few months, because I have discovered and prepared so many delicious meals during this time.
So, I'm back from my break, ready to share my recipes, but I also feel that God is leading me to share other things. My story, His work in my life, encouragement for other women. So, I will be sharing more personal posts in the future. I am nervous, because so much of my past is not anything to be proud of, but it speaks to God's amazing grace and forgiveness. If I can help or inspire even one other woman, the temporary uncomfortable feeling will be worth it.

God Bless,