Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Oregon Coast Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder photo 573EC628-B652-434D-8C3B-5C376D6B3C72_zps8gosx7cq.jpgWhere I live on the Oregon Coast, folks exchange information on where to get a great bowl of clam chowder. The best places are known to locals, and there's often chowder cook-off contests by local chefs and annual seafood festivals.

My Illinois grandmother often made it when I was growing up, as she lived on a river.  Part of my summer fun involved diving for river clams so she could make her chowder. 

I used her recipe for many years, and it's close to this one, except over the many years living here, I've come to enjoy a creamier, thicker version served at local restaurants.  A cook at a local restaurant told me her secret was to use cream instead of milk, a bit of dried dill, and also use a dab of "clam base," which is a bouillon paste often used by chefs.

Many cooks use it as a secret ingredient for extra flavor in seafood sauces or soups. It costs about $5 for jar, but a little goes a long way.  I keep my jar in the freezer and it lasts me well over a year or more.  It's very concentrated.

Chowder served with crusty white bread, or corn bread is a meal by itself. Most often I serve it with crusty bread and a salad.  Some local restaurants serve it in round "bread bowls," or offer it as the soup of the day or an appetizer.

Fresh clams are seasonal here, so most often I use canned chopped clams.  By the way, this recipe can be used to make other chowders, too.  Just substitute shrimp or other firm fish for a seafood chowder.

Oregon Coast Clam Chowder
Clam Chowder photo 223D4361-77D6-4374-932A-E8687CAE74C3_zpsb7bz3iwq.jpg4-6 slices chopped bacon
1 diced onion
3, 6 oz. cans chopped clams with juice
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed, about a 1/2 inch in size
4 Tabs. flour, or more
salt and pepper
3 tsps. dried parsley
4 cups whole milk, half and half, or cream
1-1/2 cups water

1 tsp. clam base (optional)
2 Tabs. of butter
Garnishes: Paprika, chopped chives, or dried dill and/or a dollop of butter

Clam Chowder photo A355484A-9D30-43B3-ACD5-EA85DFBC0531_zps556rexle.jpgIn a large pot, brown chopped bacon until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside. In the bacon grease, saute onions with a pinch of salt and cook until soft.  In a small cup mix water into the flour until well blended, then add mixture and potatoes to the onions. Cook for about 10-12 minutes until the potatoes start to soften and mixture thickens. Season potatoes with salt, pepper and parsley. 
Clam Chowder photo A482D541-1FD4-4985-9D57-23D3A97B9473_zpsvqrfnah1.jpg
Add cooked bacon, milk or cream, clams and juice, butter, and clam base. Simmer on medium high but do not boil.  Turn heat down and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are softened.  If too thick, add more water or cream and if not thick enough mix a little more flour with water and add to mixture, stir and heat until it thickens more.

Pour into bowls and serve with a dollop of butter and/or sprinkle of paprika, chopped chives or dried dill. Serves 8.

Estimated cost: $6.00 or less; .75 cents a serving or less.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Braiding and Shaping Fancy Breads, Buns, and Rolls



 photo 21B143D3-C29A-40C2-80BD-740D02E2FEF1_zpsb7ktt1sw.jpgI love making fresh bread and rolls, and have posted many kinds made over the years. A bread machine makes it extra easy for preparing dough.

I recently came across some Mideastern videos (posted below) showing bakers magically shaping, braiding, and rolling out gorgeous buns and dinner rolls.  Of course I had to try some of the methods. 
 photo CE2AFD42-E331-4F4E-8CB9-ED6960C7EFAB_zps6tszqays.jpg
My basic white bread recipe was used on the dough cycle for the first rise, then I took out the dough, shaped creations and let them rise a second time before baking at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on sizes.
 photo C5463F77-7E73-498C-B1D2-86C151E9912F_zpsw8z79cyt.jpg

I was experimenting, and had so much fun! I plan to perfect some of my creations for holiday meals and also make a gift basket of goodies for family and friends at Christmas time.  Some I brushed with beaten egg, some with butter when done, and for others, I also sprinkled with poppy or sesame seeds.  Extras freeze well.

Here's link to most of the bread and rolls or bun recipes I've posted:
http://gooddealmeals.blogspot.com/search?q=bread

Watch the videos and I bet you'll be inspired to experiment and try some of these shapes on your own.





If you have Facebook, here's a link to another video showing various ways to roll and shape dough: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=866443860034223


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dutch Baby, German Pancake

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
This dish offers a"wow factor."  It's like a large thick puffy crepe. The first time I encountered one was in the late '70s in Portland, Oregon at a German restaurant.

They served it rolled up on an oval platter with a tray of assorted toppings to make it your own way, and so huge several people could share a slice.

I've made small, thin crepes before, a special breakfast my grandmother made, and though the taste is similar, this style has a different ratio of eggs, flour and milk, and bakes up to serve 4-6 people. Now I impress my grand kids when they visit!

  • Dutch Baby, German Pancake 
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • eggs
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 Tabs. butter

Preheat oven to 425.  Put butter in a 10-12 inch oven proof round skillet or pan and place in oven for about 8 minutes.
Note: A 10 vs.12-inch pan varies the thickness of the pancake and cooking time. 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMeanwhile in 2-quart bowl combine flour and salt.  In a smaller bowl beat or whisk eggs, milk and powered sugar until smooth, then mix in and blend with flour.  


Carefully take hot skillet out of oven. Tilt and rotate to make sure bottom is coated with butter.  Pour batter into hot pan, tilting to distribute evenly, then return to oven.  

Bake until puffy and golden brown about 12-15 minutes. A larger pan bakes closer to 12 minutes, as batter is slightly thinner. 

Cut in wedges and serve with jams, syrup, berries, or powdered sugar. Serve 4-6. 

(I've seen these made with an added 1/4 cup of cocoa blended into the batter, but haven't tried, yet.)
Estimated cost $1.50 or less; .35 cents a serving or less.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Turkey Ruben Sandwich

PhotobucketThere's nothing like a good corned beef Ruben sandwich, which is the one I most often order when eating out or have after St. Patrick's Day.  But I stopped at deli several years ago which offered a Turkey Ruben, and it was delightfully tasty!  

Like I often do when eating out and discovering something new, I began making them at home.

 I seldom have corn beef on hand, so when craving a Ruben, this satisfies for the taste. Chicken works well, too.  Try it, you'll like it.  And less calories than beef!

I make Black Russian Rye in my bread machine. We often have a half sandwich with soup for dinner or lunch.  Sometimes I serve with a side salad, cole slaw or homemade potato chips.


I'm always stocked up on jars or cans of sauerkraut for making pork chops once or twice a month, or we like it on hot dog nights.

Turkey Ruben Sandwich
Rye Bread: Dark Russian, or Deli Rye 
Thousand Island dressing (ketchup mixed with mayo)
Drained sauerkraut
3 or 4 oz. of turkey or cooked chicken meat per sandwich
Swiss, Provolone or cheese of choice
Horseradish (optional) added to the dressing

Butter both sides of bread.  Spread dressing on each inside slice of bread.
Layer cheese, sauerkraut, turkey or chicken and more cheese.
Grill on medium heat in a pan, turning once to crisp bread on each side, press down while grilling; or use a Panini type grill until crisp, heated through and cheese melts.

Estimated cost of a whole sandwich: $1.00 or less.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mexican Rice


The neighbor who showed me how to make Chili Rellenos also shared her Mexican Rice recipe over 30 years ago and it never fails to please. Frying the rice first, helps it absorb all the spices and liquids for great taste and texture.

 I usually double the recipe then freeze in meal size portions as a time saver for future use or in other recipes like stuffed green peppers or as a side with rellenos, tacos, tamales or enchiladas.

Mexican Rice
1 cup white rice
 2 or  3 tablespoons of bacon grease
1 small grated carrot,
small pinch of red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup grated onion (or more to taste)
1 minced clove of garlic
1/4 cup dried parsley
8 oz. can of tomato sauce - or tomato paste diluted with water, or a can of diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken or beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste.
Can also put in grated green pepper and hot sauce to taste.


Fry dry rice in bacon grease in 12-inch skillet until rice starts to pop and turns light brown. (About 5 minutes) Turn heat to medium.

Stir in and pour in all other ingredients. Simmer until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.  While simmering, occasionally stir. Serves 6-8.

For those with rice cookers, brown the rice, then add all to the cooker and follow machine instructions.

Estimated cost: $2 or less; .30 cents a serving or less.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Savory Liver and Onions

Never ever liked liver growing up, but family lore demanded you had to eat it once a month, or so I was told,  for "iron."  


After marrying, I discovered my husband loved liver and onions, often ordering it in restaurants if on the menu when we ate out or were traveling.

Finally found this recipe which we both enjoy.  I serve it a few times a year which he considers a "treat." 
  
The sauce has a distinctive taste that compliments the meat and goes well with a side of dumplings, egg noodles or biscuits for "sopping up" the gravy.  


Beef liver is a very inexpensive beef dish. I know "beef liver" is not on everyone's "must buy" grocery lists, but I could actually get my kids to eat this dish while younger.


Savory Liver and Onions
1 pound beef liver
1 onion sliced
1 Tab. butter
3/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
3 Tabs. vinegar
2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 Tabs. flour
2 or more tablespoons of parsley flakes

In a skillet, cook onion in butter until tender, but not brown.  Remove onion and add 4 slices of lightly floured liver. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat about 3 minutes on each side.  Return onion.

Mix flour with broth by putting some broth into flour to make a smooth paste, then slowly blend in the rest of the broth; add vinegar and parsley.  Stir well to blend, then pour over liver and onions.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until sauce thickens.  Serve with dumplings, spaetzles, egg noodles or biscuits.
Serves 4.

Estimated cost for liver: $3 a pound or less.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Oriental Stir Fry

I never make this the same way twice, as it's one of those meals I make when wanting a quick, tasty, colorful meal in one pan but without following an exact recipe. Other veggies or meats can be used, but I usually have inexpensive pork on hand in freezer.  Boneless country ribs frequently can be found on two for one, or regular sales and are good for stir fry or BBQ pork.


Stir Fry for Two
1 cup cubed pork, chicken or shrimp
1/2 cup sliced green peppers
1/2 of medium onion sliced thinly in half rings
1 cup of broccoli flowerettes ( I always have frozen on hand)
1 medium carrot sliced thinly on the slant
1 small can of slice mushrooms drained
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
 2 Tabs. corn starch
 2 cups cooked rice
salt and pepper to taste
Optional:  bamboo shoots, slice water chestnuts, cabbage slices, green beans can be added or substituted.  All veggie quanities don't have to be precise; sometimes I add more broccoli or green peppers.  Depends on one's taste and what's on hand.

Use 10-12 inch fry pan or wok. Season pork with salt and pepper and fry in hot oil until seared on outside, then add prepared veggies and seasonings. Save the corn starch for use later.

Stir to mix, continuing frying stirring every few minutes for about 3 minutes.  Pour in soy sauce and stir one more time to combine all flavors. Turn heat down to low-medium; cover and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, add about 1/3 cup water to cornstarch and mix well. then pour over ingredients and stir again to coat all so that corn starch combines with the juices and soy sauce. The sauce will quickly start to thicken and give a glazed looked to the veggies.

 Serve over cooked rice.  This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled depending on how many you plan to serve, or if wanting to make a big batch to freeze for later meals.

Estimated cost per serving: $1.00 or less

Friday, September 25, 2015

Broccoli Quiche, Crust-less

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI make quiches several times a month, crust-less ones, because I'm always watching the carbs, and because they're so easy, healthy, and economical.  


Quiches are basically 2 cups of anything (veggies and/or meat or seafood) milk, cheese, eggs and seasoning baked in a pie shell or crust-less by using a 1/2 cup of Bisquick in the mixture. This is a tasty vegetable pie.


Quiche makes a good breakfast, lunch or dinner and easily feeds 4-6.  I keep fresh or frozen broccoli on hand at all times for a side veggie, broccoli soup, or for this quiche.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Broccoli Quiche, Crust-less
2 cups chopped broccoli (or cauliflower works well, too)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped bell peppers, green or red
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, 4 oz.
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppHeat oven to 400. Spray or butter 9-inch pie plate.
Cook frozen or fresh broccoli until tender, in steamer or in boiling water and drain (about 5 minutes).

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMix broccoli, cheese, peppers, and onions in bottom of pie plate.  Mix and blend remaining ingredients then pour into pie plate.  Bake 30-35 minutes uncovered until golden brown and "set." Test by inserting knife or toothpick in center until it comes out clean.  Let rest 5 minutes and serve. Serves 4 - 6

Estimated Cost:: $3.20;  .80 cents a serving or less.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spinach Bacon Quiche

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Here's another delightful crustless quiche, although it can just as easily be made in a pie crust. A stash of frozen chopped spinach is great to have on hand for many recipes such as quiches or Italian dishes. Freshly cooked and chopped spinach can also be used. 

I also keep pre-cooked bacon slices in the freezer.  About once a month or so, I fry or bake a pound or two then store in a freezer bag.  It saves time for breakfast and preparing many dishes calling for cooked bacon.


Quiches are delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  I make them two or three times a month for dinner, then leftovers provide another day or two of breakfasts or lunches.  And they freeze and/or reheat easily.


Add a "decked out" salad for a delightful meal!

Spinach and Bacon Quiche, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Spinach Bacon Quiche
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup biscuit mix
6 oz. or more of shredded cheddar cheese, 2 cups
1/4 cup diced onion
1, 10  oz. pkg. drained frozen spinach
1, 4 oz. can drained mushroom slices
1/2 cup diced cooked bacon

Spray a 9-inch deep pie pan. Preheat oven to 350.

In a 2-quart bowl beat eggs, add milk, biscuit mix, salt, and baking powder, mixing well. Add cheese, spinach, onions, bacon and mushrooms. Mix and combine all. Pour into 9-inch pie dish and bake for 40-45 minutes until set and golden on top. An inserted knife in center should come out out clean. Serves 6-8.

Estimated cost: $4.25 or less; .70 cents a serving or less.

My other posted quiches:
Artichoke and Crab Quiche
Broccoli Quiche
Bacon Quiche
Hamburger Pie
Overnight Breakfast Brunch Casserole

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tomato Jam

Photobucket
Years ago on a trip up the coast, we stopped for breakfast at an Oregon restaurant that had a jar of homemade tomato jam on every table.  I adored it!  Thanks to Melissa's ChinDeep blog, I tried this recipe.

Fall harvest time is the best time to find tomatoes on sale at farmers markets, or use from the garden to make all kinds of jams, sauces, soups.

My new raised garden is abundant with tomatoes this year, so I've been blanching freezing, making sauces and jam.


Tomato jam












It's spicy and sweet with a peppery kick to it, -- delicious on morning toast. I used diced up jarred jalapeno peppers

Tomato jam
Tomato Jam
1 - 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, sliced or rough chopped, skins and all
1 cup sugar
2 Tab. lemon juice
1  tsp. ground ginger powder
1  tsp. ground cumin
1/2  tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup seeded jalapeno pepper, chopped fine. fresh, jarred or canned
1 to 2 tsp. corn starch for desired thickness


Tomato jamCombine all ingredients in a saucepan except corn starch.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often. Simmer for an hour and 15 minutes. 

During the last five minutes, add cornstarch. Stir, mash down and combine. Continue cooking until thickened. 


Pour into sterilized jars and cover tightly. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use, or freeze. Makes about 3 - 4  cups.


Estimated cost: Under a $1 with homegrown tomatoes, otherwise $2.50 or less

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Marie's Olive Salad

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
When gathering recipes for a family cook book in the 1990s, my Aunt Marie sent this one.  I've it taken to potlucks, picnics, and kept on hand at home for a nice side with sandwiches for lunch or supper. 

It's attractive looking, bursts with many flavors, and so easy.  With summer approaching, it's a perfect salad for outdoor eating as there's no mayonnaise to worry about keeping chilled. 


It can easily be doubled or tripled for a large gathering.  At home I serve on a small bed of lettuce.


Marie's Olive Salad
  • In a bowl, add equal amounts of stuffed green olives and black pitted olives, 1 cup each.
  • Add an equal amount of halved cherry tomatoes, or chopped tomatoes, 1 cup.
  • Add thin halved slices of white or red onion, about a half cup, or chopped green onions.
  • Add 3 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Add parsley and oregano leaves, I used fresh, about 2 Tablespoons each, but dried works, just use less
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour in a 1/2 cup of Italian dressing, bottled or homemade, mixing well to coat ingredients.
  • Refrigerated at least 4 hours to marinate and let flavors blend.
  • Optional: chopped green peppers can be added.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Served with a BLT
         Serve 4-6
         Estimated cost:  $2.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Broccoli Blue Cheese Soup

Photobucket
Broccoli and cheese compliment each other. Over the years I've made steamed broccoli with a mustard-Cheddar cheese sauce (also good on steamed cauliflower).  I've often made Broccoli soup with Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

But several years ago at a new local eatery, the soup of the day was Broccoli Gorgonzola Soup.  Naive me, I had to ask what that was!  It's now my favorite way to enjoy broccoli soup.

It can be made with fresh or frozen broccoli. Try it for a nice first course or appetizer, or a meal by itself with a salad or sandwich.

I buy broccoli when in season or on sale then blanch and freeze, or look for sales on frozen bags of chopped broccoli. It's handy to have on hand for a side veggie, a quiche, or a stir fry.

Photobucket
Broccoli Blue Cheese Soup
3 Tabs. butter
2 pounds broccoli florets roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsps. minced garlic
1-1/2 tsps. dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 - 4 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
4 - 5 ounces of crumbled blue cheese, or more to taste
1/2 to 3/4 cup of heavy cream
pepper to taste
Garnish with croutons and/or grated Parmesan or blue cheese crumbles
Photobucket
Heat butter in large soup pan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and salt. Cook about 10 minutes. Add 3 cups water and 2 cups of broth, stir then cover and simmer until broccoli is soft, about 30 minutes. 

In batches process soup in a blender or use an immersion wand to process until smooth. Return to pot and simmer adding cream and cheese stirring until melted and smooth.  Adjust desired thickness of soup with up to 1 more cup of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with garnish of croutons and more cheese. Makes 2 quarts,  6 - 8 servings.


Estimated cost $5 or less; $2.40 or less a quart; .40 cents a serving or less.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Twice Baked Potatoes

These are a real treat for family or guests and worth the effort especially, if making a big batch to have on hand in the freezer.  It's just as easy to make many at one time, and enjoy more often without all the clean up.  When sacks of potatoes go on sale this recipe really delivers bangs for the bucks.

Steak Dinner and Twice Bake Potato
Twice Baked Potatoes
4 or more medium to large baking potatoes
Recipe is for 4 potatoes, 8 halves prepared, but can be doubled or tripled if making a larger quantity to freeze for future meals or make for a large gathering.

Tablespoon or 2 of oil to rub 4 washed potatoes
1 stick of butter cut into pats
1/2 cup cooked diced bacon (or bacon bits)
1/2 cup sour cream, or ranch dressing
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, or cheese of choice
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt  (can be seasoned salt of choice)
pepper to taste
(optional chives or chopped green onions)

400 degree oven.
Rub washed potatoes with oil and bake until done, approximately an hour.  Meanwhile, in large bowl add butter, bacon, sour cream.

Ready to Freeze
Cut each baked potato in half scooping insides into the bowl. Don't scrape too thin; leave enough in shell so it's firm for refilling. Lay empty shell halves on baking sheet for refilling.

Smash and mix potatoes in bowl with butter, bacon and sour cream, adding cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Mix well until blended.

Fill shells abundantly with mixture and if serving immediately, top with more cheese, then garnish with chives or chopped green onions.  Place in oven again until heated through and cheese melts and top crisps up, about 10 minutes.


* If preparing for freezer don't add garnishes until ready to re-bake in the future. I let filled potatoes cool down, then freeze on baking sheets.  Once frozen half-wrap in foil and place in freezer bags.

To use from freezer, defrost with foil on, put on extra cheese and chives, and re-bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes; or take off foil and microwave;  if using frozen, keep foil on and bake at 375 for 30 minutes until heated through, adding garnish near the end.

* Times may vary depending on size of potatoes.
Makes 8 servings
Estimated cost: $2.80 or less; .35 cents a serving or less.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Zucchini Fritters

 photo null_zpsa695f003.jpgMy small garden ( five, 3 ft. x 5 ft. raised beds) provide plenty of  vegetables for our summer time needs. I only planted two zucchini plants, but they produce so many zucchinis I'm always looking for recipes to use them.

My tried and true cookbook, "The Lilly Wallace New American Cook Book," with over 3,000 recipes was wedding present in 1965. 

First published in 1941, it was reprinted through the 1940s to 60s. Recipes come from the days before boxed or processed foods -- all basic from scratch, good old-fashioned recipes. 

So I looked up "fritters," and tweaked this one to make zucchini fritters. I serve these as a side dish with fish or chicken.

Click link to my other zucchini recipes. Bread, fries, relish or a ribbon salad.

Zucchini Fritters:
1 1/2 pounds grated zucchini (about 3 medium)
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
3 Tabs. finely chopped chives or green onions
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 Tab, diced green chili pepper or more to taste
1 Tab. cornstarch
ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
dipping sauce/s of choice: chili, soy, salsa
Cook Book, 1963 photo null_zps53116990.jpg
Grate zucchini and toss with salt in a colander or strainer.  Let stand 10 minutes, then press zucchini dry to drain as much liquid as you can.  Place zucchini in a bowl and mix in egg, flour, chives, peppers, garlic and cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper. 

In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil and drop 1/4 cupfuls of mixture into the skillet, frying in batches, slightly flattening and cooking until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with dipping sauces. Makes 8 patties. Serves 4 - 6.

Estimated cost if buying zucchini: $2.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.  If you grow your own zucchini or a gardener gives you some, the cost is next to nothing for this nice side dish.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fried Pickle Chips

Fried Pickles, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI had to try fried pickle chips after seeing them featured so many times on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network.  It seemed like such a novelty!

I keep of list of "things" I want to try and make and this one is now crossed off.  A reader suggested the Come Back Sauce posted earlier  in this blog, would be good for fried pickles, so that spurred me to make them.  Oh my goodness, what a treat!


My husband is up to trying anything and he was delighted with them.  I'd already made an egg mixture and coating mixture to make pork chops, so thought I'd do fried pickles for a side dish and use up the rest of the batter.


My coating mixture is Panko crumbs,  flour and sesame seeds, but regular bread crumbs would work, too.


It couldn't be easier.  I don't have a deep fryer, so use a deep 3 quart pot putting in 2-3 inches of oil and heat to 350 for frying.  A cast iron skillet with an inch of oil would work, too.  I save my oil, refrigerate and reuse.  After using, I strain it and put in ajar and reuse about 3 or 4 times. 


Tip: oil is ready when small bubbles rise around a wooden spoon handle inserted into oil. 


Fried Pickle Chips
1 to 2 cups of oil or more as needed for frying
drained dill pickle slices, about 2 cups
flour for dusting
1 beaten egg, with a shell of water
1- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
dipping sauces: Come Back Sauce, Ranch Dressing, Blue Cheese

Heat oil over medium heat to 350.  Test by dropping a crumb into oil to see if it "sizzles."; or test with a wooden spoon handle.
Pat pickles slices dry on a paper towel, dust both sides with flour.
Dip slices into egg, then into crumb mixture.
Fry several at a time, until golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes, turning once.
Drain on a paper towel, then serve with sauce/sauces.
Serves 4 - 6.

Estimated cost: $1.50 or less

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    Fruit Crisp

    PhotobucketI keep a bag of this fruit crisp topping in the freezer for a quick dessert.  The recipe will cover a  9x13 dish of fruit, but more often I only need to make 2 to 4 servings.  

    So I use a smaller dish or individual ramekins and sprinkle mixture over the fruit, bake, then serve with a whipped topping or ice cream.


    We have apples, blackberries and blueberries in our yard which I pick and freeze for cobblers, pies and crisps, but I've also used it on sliced canned peaches. 

    As a carb watcher I've learned to use Splenda in many recipes calling for white sugar, and it works well in this recipe if you're watching calories or white carbs.


    PhotobucketFruit Crisp
    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
    1 cup quick oats
    1 Tab. cinnamon
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 stick melted butter
    3 cups of fruit for a 9x11 dish
    Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended into a crumbly mixture, then put in a quart-size freezer bag and freeze. 
    Photobucket Arrange chosen fruit in a sprayed dish or pan, and sprinkle desired amount of mixture over the top.  Bake in a 350° oven for 30-40 minutes until top is golden and crispy. 
    Makes one 9 x 13 inch size dessert or 6-8 individual desserts. Use fruit of choice:  berries, cherries, sliced peaches, or apples.  Eat fruit crisp dessert as is, or top with a whipped topping or ice cream.

    Estimated cost of topping: $1.80 or less; .30 cents a serving or less. 

    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Parmesan Zucchini Fries

    PhotobucketLooking for another way to use the abundance of zucchini from your or your neighbor's garden?   Try zucchini fries. 

    If you've never used Panko crumbs, try them!
    They provide the best crunch for all kinds of oven baked or deep fried dishes.

    Zucchini is a mild tasting firm squash-type vegetable that's easy to grow and just one or two plants produce many pounds for breads, relishes, an addition to soups or stews, or use as a side dish.  Grocery stores sell zucchini for around $2.50 or less per pound.

    I grew two plants this year and besides my own use, gave several pounds away to family or friends. I recently made steak and "fries" using zucchini and this recipe makes them very crispy and crunchy!

    Zucchini Fries

    Parmesan Zucchini Fries
    1 pound of zucchini cut into french fry sticks about 3 inches long.
    1/3 cup  flour
    1 tsp. salt, divided
    1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
    2 eggs beaten with a shell of water
    3/4 cups panko or plain bread crumbs
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tsp. Old Bay or Taco seasoning
    1 Tab. chopped dill (optional)


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange oven rack in the center. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray the pan.  Arrange 3 bowls or pie plates for coating fries. In the first, stir together flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, water 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. In the third bowl, combine Panko, Parmesan, dill (if using), and 1 tsp. Old Bay or Taco seasoning. 
    \
    Wash and cut zucchini into sticks, unpeeled.  Then in batches, dip into flour, shaking off excess; then dip into egg mixture until coated and drain off; then toss into Panko mixture to coat all sides. 

    Arrange without crowding in a single layer on prepared pan. Bake 20 - 25 minutes  until Panko coating is golden and crisp.  Serve with dipping sauces of choice. Serves 4-6.


    Estimated cost for coating under a $1.00.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

    Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

    Dy's Greek Lemon Chicken Soup


    Lemon and chicken go together!  I often stuff a roast chicken with lemons, and also cook chicken with lemon pepper seasoning.  

    For chicken soup, in addition to old-fashioned chicken soup, I've learned to enjoy Greek Lemon Chicken Soup two ways.  My way, and my sister Dyanne's way.


    Mine offers a clearer broth with ribbons of cooked egg, while hers has a creamier, thicker taste and texture.


    Either way, both are terrific.  Sometimes I combine the two, leaving out the spinach in mine but adding shredded carrots, or adding less eggs to her version.  It depends on what I have on hand. 


    Both versions make about 2-1/2 quarts (10 cups). But to be truthful, I really do like her version the best!


    Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
    6 boneless skinless cooked chicken breasts, diced or shredded, about 3 - 4 cups
    1 medium onion, diced
    1 cup fresh spinach
    6 cups chicken stock
    2 Tabs. grated lemon rind
    1/2 cup uncooked rice
    4-6 Tab. lemon juice
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    1 tsp. ground pepper
    1 Tab. chopped fresh mint, basil or thyme ( 1 tsp. of using dry herbs)
    2 beaten eggs. (optional)
    Garnish with parsley, thyme or chives

    Add all ingredients bring to boil then turn down & simmer covered until rice is done, about 30-40 minutes. When done, slowly drizzle beaten eggs into hot soup, while stirring with a large spoon. Rice can be cooked ahead of time, (cup and a half of cooked rice) and added to soup near end of simmering time.


    Dy's Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
    8 cups chicken broth
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    1/2 cup shredded carrots
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    6 Tabs. chicken soup base
    1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
    1/4 cup margarine
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup cooked white rice
    3 - 4 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
    lemon slices for garnish, optional
    8 egg yolks
    Garnish with parsley, thyme or chives

    In a large pot, combine chicken broth, lemon juice, carrots, onions, celery, soup base, and white pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Blend butter and flour. Gradually add it to soup mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until smooth and light in color. Temper eggs by slowly adding and stirring some of the hot soup to the egg yolk. Return egg mixture to soup pot and heat through. Add the rice and chicken.

    Estimated cost: $5.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.
    Entered in Food of the Month Club: Soups: #12 http://www.lacocinadeleslie.com/2013/01/january-food-of-the-month-club-soup-linky.html

    Sunday, July 12, 2015

    Plum Pie Filling for Small or Large Pies

    Plum Pie photo null_zps83006c35.jpgI recently purchased a Pie and Pastry Baker which makes two individual pot pies, fruit pie, or quiches. Since we had an abundant crop of plums this year, I first used it to make plum pies.  But I've also made mini apple and peach pies and freeze them to have on hand for desserts.

    Individual pies finish in about 15 minutes or less.  It's handy to have pie dough on hand in the freezer or refrigerator so pies can be made easily for a quick dessert or to use leftovers for pot pies or quiches.

    For pie crust, here's my recipe which I use for pot pies, fruit pies and quiches:

    Plum Pie photo null_zps99999107.jpg
    Plum Pie Filling
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
    2 Tabs. cornstarch
    2 Tabs. flour
    3 tsps. lemon juice
    1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    1/8 tsp. ground cloves
    1/4 tsp.salt
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 1/2 pounds plums, halved, pitted, each half cut into 4 wedges

     photo null_zpse4ba1583.jpgIn a bowl, combine cut plums with remaining ingredients and stir well. For a mini-pie maker, cook pie filling on medium heat for 15 minutes until plums soften, then use in pie maker according to manufactures directions. This recipe makes about 4 mini-pies.
    Pie Dough photo null_zps147cceb4.jpg
    For a larger pie, fill prepared pie crust and bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees, and bake 25 minutes longer or until plums are tender and the is crust golden brown.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    "Greens" with Bacon: Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards

    kale and bacon
    Kale, Swiss Chard, and Collard Greens all taste delightful to me, with slightly differing tastes and textures, but tasting like something from the broccoli, cabbage or Brussel sprout family of flavors. They can be used interchangeably in this recipe

    They all cook down (wilt) like spinach, so a pound yields several cups of cooked greens.

    I like "greens" as a side dish with pork, chicken or fish.  A bunch of kale is especially bulky, and also can be used raw for salads or cooked in a quiche, like a spinach quiche.  It also keeps longer in the refrigerator than lettuce or spinach, so cuts down on waste.


    "Greens" with Bacon: Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards
    1 bunch of kale, leaves removed and chopped about 6 cups
    kale1/2 cup diced onions
    3 - 4 slices of chopped bacon
    3 or four cloves of minced garlic
    splash of Balsamic vinegar 
    salt and pepper

    chopped stems optional or save for soups

    Wash greens and pat dry.  Remove leaves by cutting or stripping off stems by hand and tear into pieces.

    In large pan, on medium heat saute bacon and onion until translucent, add garlic, then greens, salt and pepper, and stir to mix.  Turn down heat and cover, letting greens steam and cook down.  When soft and tender, about 15 minutes, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar. Serves 4.

    Estimated cost: 2.50 or less;  50 cents a serving or less.