Friday, February 27, 2009

I love Friday's. The weekend is but a clean slate in front of us. No major commitments, time to catch up and love life............
This Friday is especially good, a rainy day with a possibility of snow in the forecast.What more could we ask? Keep your fingers crossed!!

I am on a comfort food kick right now. I'm not sure if it is the cold weather or the economy, but either way, comfort has been on the menu more often than not at the Taylor house.
Back when I was first learning to cook, one of my "fancy" meals was beef stroganoff, from the handy dandy Betty Crocker cookbook. We reserved this for the days we didn't fix Hamburger Helper. I thought I was so sophisicated, (yeah, right, I am lucky to know how to spell that without spell check) ) after all, my parents never fixed beef stroganoff.

Do you remember an old country song from the 70s' called Luckenbach, Texas? Cahoots (the band Ronnie played in at the time) actually played that song.

"So baby let’s sell your diamond ring
Buy some boots and faded jeans and go away.
This coat and tie is choking me
In your high society you cry all day.
We’ve been so busy keeping up with the Jones
Four-car garage and we’re still building on.
Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of love."

I'm not interested in "keeping up with the Jones", and I most assuredly do not have a four car garage, but getting back to the basics seems important about now. Back to those days when I thought beef stroganoff was "fancy" instead of the comfort food I call it now........

So tonight looked something like this:

Classic Beef Stroganoff w/ Egg Noodles*
Sugar Glazed Carrots
Brussels Sprouts w/Bacon and Onions

Classic Beef Stroganoff
2 pounds beef sirloin, 1/2 inch thick, cut in 1/4 inch wide strips

1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 Tbsp. butter - divided
1 cup fresh mushrooms- thinly sliced
1 cup onions- chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cans beef consomme
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups sour cream (I like Daisy)
1 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet (optional, for a rich brown color to the sauce and a little added flavor)

Slice the sirloin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown in 2 tbsp. of butter about 5 minutes. Add remaining butter, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef consomme, brown sugar and Dijon mustard. Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and Kitchen Bouquet. Return to heat and cook 5 additional minutes being sure to keep the heat low as the sour cream could curdle if the heat is too high. Serve over wide egg noodles and garnish with dried parsley.

I had a little help with the dishes from Cagney tonight after supper.
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So, Until Tomorrow..............

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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Well, tonight I choose to blog instead of watch the President's speech. Irregardless of my politics I'm not sure what that says about me.................

Supper tonight was:

Baked Lemon Chicken*
Fried Rice
Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Baked Lemon Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - halved

2 eggs - slightly beaten
2 tsp. water
1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 tsp. - 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used 1 tsp., we like spicy)
4 Tbsp.melted butter

Chinese Lemon Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup (Karo)
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cold water

Cut each chicken breast half lengthwise. Mix eggs and water in a medium glass bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat both sides and let stand 10 minutes.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray pan with Pam. Mix flour, cornstarch and cayenne pepper in a large zip lock bag. Seal bag; shake to coat chicken. Place chicken in pan; drizzle with melted butter.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until chicken tests done.

Chinese Lemon Sauce
Heat all ingredients except cornstarch and cold water to boiling in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Mix cornstarch and cold water; stir into sauce. Cook and stir about 1 minute or until thickened. Spoon over chicken.

So, until tomorrow..............

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Fever and February Birthdays

I have spring fever in a big way. Even an unseasonably warm day would be welcome. I anxiously await the the first day of spring, March 20th. I promise no matter how hot it gets this summer you will NEVER hear me complain about the heat, just bring it on, baby.
OK, enough for my daily cold weather rant.

Some of the most important people in my life were born in February. I have already mentioned my Mother's birthday would have been on the 2nd. Our nephew, Ryan, was born on the 17th. My best friend in the world, Jan, was born on the 22nd. My cousin, Brently, was born on the 23rd. So, even though February is the coldest month, it warms my heart when I remember these very special people on their birthdays.

Have you noticed that I added labels to the right side of the page? I am hoping to make it easier for everyone to locate the recipes. I will eventually streamline it a bit so that it doesn't become cumbersome, but for now I hope it saves you some time.

With today being a true Monday, supper had to be easy.

Hot Dogs (has to be Hebrew National)
Cole Slaw
Aiken Pool Hall Chili*
Ranch Flavored Potato Wedges
Toasted Rolls

I love homemade chili. Aiken Pool Hall Chili recipe has been around for ages. I'm not even sure there is an Aiken Pool Hall in South Carolina anymore, but at one time the chili dogs were supposedly famous. I usually double the recipe and freeze it in small containers.

Aiken Pool Hall Chili

1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 cup cold water
2 large onions - diced
4 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
3 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp.chili powder
1 cup catsup
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup additional water

Place ground beef and onions in a 3 quart sauce pan add 1/2 cup cold water and stir well. Cook over medium high heat until beef is brown and water has evaporated.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer 45 minutes.

So, until tomorrow..............

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cagney's New Do

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Many thanks to Dorisann at Country Cottage Pet Grooming for the great job she did grooming our baby, Cagney (aka squirmmy worm), on Saturday!!


Poker Night

Poker night Saturday night, lots of fun and I didn't even win. Dean and Ronnie were the big winners.
Last Thursday we decided at the last minute to have a poker party. We have had informal games before but this was the first time we planned the party around poker, more accurately, Texas Hold Em.
Some simple furniture rearrangement, snacks, drinks, cards and chips were all we needed. We started with 9 at the table and 4 hours later it was down to head to head play. Snacks were simple standbys. The sausage pinwheels were a hit and so easy to make.

Seven Layer Taco Salad w/ Fritos Scoops
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Sausage Pinwheels*
Wasabi Almonds
Milk Chocolate Brownies w/ Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting
Several pitchers of Seabreeze

Sausage Pinwheels

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage
I used Jimmy Dean because it has the least fat content and you don't want these to be greasy.
1 package refrigerated crescent rolls

Take sausage out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before starting to assemble the pinwheels, it is much easier to spread.
Roll crescent rolls into squares. Press together seams. Spread the sausage thinly and evenly over rolls. Roll up jelly roll fashion and place in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes. (These may be frozen for several days at this point). After these have chilled slice into 1/4 inch slices.
Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake 20 minutes at 350 or until the bread is golden and the sausage is cooked through.
These are great for breakfast too.

So, until tomorrow..............

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thinking Spring

Do you raise a garden? Ronnie and I (mostly Ronnie) have had a small garden the last couple of years. We love to watch things grow. This year we are thinking about planting green beans, corn, squash, cucumbers, radishes, onions, lettuce, sweet peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and maybe some okra. We also have rosemary (my favorite herb), thyme, basil, parsley and mint.
Who knows, maybe I will even learn to can, something I have never done before.
Tell me what you plant, what varieties have been your favorites, and what you plan to plant in 2009.

Tonight we had some family commitments to take care of so we picked up take out from Nara Express. I am so happy they re-opened after a recent fire. We shared an order of shrimp and one of chicken, oh so good!!

So,until tomorrow..........

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Well, I'm back.............. again.
Got my wireless connection back up and going again.
I've got some catching up to do, so here we go.

Friday 2/13
Ronnie and I celebrated an early Valentines at Bonefish Grill at River Hills in Asheville. I have always loved this restaurant but tend to forget about it. I remember my friend Frances telling me a while back that you could sub the jerk chicken that comes on the Cobb salad with Bang Bang Shrimp. We always order the Bang Bang Shrimp as our appetizer so we decided to share the salad with the shrimp instead. It was terrific. In addition to the shrimp, it had mango, avocado, pine nuts, and bleu cheese all dressed in a light citrus vinaigrette. It was more than enough for both of us. Next time (soon I hope), we will order the salad and also split an entree.

Saturday 2/14
Ronnie ( played at the Marina on Lake James (Bullfrogs Bar and Grill) for their Valentines party. It was a fun evening with lots of great people and of course wonderful (I may be a bit prejudice, but I promise it really was wonderful) music. Especially fun for me was that I had the opportunity to visit with my cousin Catherine who recently moved back to the area. SideStreet will be back at the marina on March 7th, so I will see you there! (Be sure to try the fried green beans, they rock too!!)

Sunday 2/15
We had errands to run and groceries to shop for and a bit of catching up on my reading to do.
Supper was simple, breakfast for supper. French toast and bacon. Ironically, Ronnie eats his french toast with jelly, while I, the true sweet-a-holic, like mine plain, with salt and pepper.

Monday 2/16
Whirlwind of an exhausting day.

Tuesday 2/17
Happy Birthday, Ryan (my nephew), love you!!

Today at work was a struggle to create some routine, so tonight supper was something familiar.
Everybody I know has their mother's favorite meatloaf recipe. I do too, but, truthfully I never make it twice the same way. Mother always used oatmeal as the filler while I use whatever is handy, bread crumbs, toast..... anyway. I really would love for you to share you own (or your Mother's) meatloaf recipe. There are a million different versions and it would be fun to see how you make yours. Just click on the comment icon at the bottom of this post and go from there.

So, until tomorrow......

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Romantic Food and Drink

With all the talk about Valentines Day coming up on Saturday I was thinking about "sexy" foods.

There is a restaurant in Asheville that used to have a dish on the menu called sexy mashed potatoes. Of course they were popular because everyone (myself included) wanted to know what sexy mashed potatoes were. Turns out they were simply mashed potatoes, in fact they were mashed potatoes with the peels left on. A practice I detest, I think it is just a lazy way to make mashed potatoes. It takes a lot of butter and cream to even think about mashed potatoes being sexy.

Anyway, back to foods that signal romance. Think back to the classic spaghetti scene from "Lady and the Tramp". While I don't necessarily think of spaghetti in those terms, there are a few obvious items that come to mind.

Chateaubriand (medium rare)
Lobster (w/ clarified butter, naturally)
Champagne (pink, of course)
Chocolates (sweet milk chocolate)
Asparagus w/ Hollandaise Sauce

My personal "sexy food" favorite is
I know, I know, there is nothing sexy about pizza to most people.
Pizza always reminds me of our first date, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms on thin crust from Pizza Hut on Tunnel Road in Asheville . December 18th , 1976. Rod Stewart's Tonight's the Night playing over and over on the jukebox. I fell in love that very cold Saturday night.

Share your sexy food favorites, don't let me be the only one with a strange Valentines favorite.

Now on to the decidedly not sexy menu from the Taylor table tonight.

Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole
Corn Pudding*
Green Beans

Corn Pudding

1 can cream style corn (I prefer Del Monte)
1 tbsp. melted butter
2 eggs - slightly beaten
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients well and pour into a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish which has been sprayed with Pam.
Bake at 375* for approximately 30 minutes or until slightly brown on top.

So, until tomorrow..............

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Rainy Night on McCanless Creek

Things are finally starting to return to normal in the Taylor household, after a topsy turvy week. Sweet, sweet normalcy. Evenings with enough time to cook supper, time to watch American Idol and time to read my newspapers and my books, time to spend with Ronnie, Sissy (Chihuahua), and Cagney (Imperial Shih Tzu), and long, long bathes.

All that being said I am still in the comfort food phase of life. Soon I need to move to the healthy phase to keep balance, I suppose. Why is it that most comfort foods aren't good for us, chocolate cake, pizza, gravy, and potato soup to just to name a few........

Supper on this rainy Wednesday night looked like this.

Salisbury Steak with Tangy Gravy *

Creamed Potatoes

Honey Glazed Carrots

Tiny English Peas

Salisbury Steak with Tangy Gravy

1 - can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)

2 tsp. prepared horseradish sauce

2 tsp. worcherstershire sauce

2 tsp. whole grain mustard

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

Combine soup, mustard, worcestershire sauce and horseradish in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, mix together egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup soup mixture and the ground beef.
Form into 4-6 patties.
Brown patties in oil and drain off excess fat.
Combine rest of the soup mixture with the 1/2 cup water and pour over the patties.
Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes (or until done) Remove patties and spoon remaining sauce over top.


So, until tomorrow.................


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Tonight didn't exactly go exactly as planned. I got home around 8:30 p.m. this evening and it was just too late to start cooking. So, supper was one of my favorite "comfort meals", grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Have you ever made grilled cheese with mayonnaise instead of butter? It is really good. Just spread the bread (white, of course) with mayonnaise add American cheese and grill as usual.
Dip your sandwich in your soup and make believe you are ten again!!

So, tonight's menu is pushed to tomorrow night.

I am feeling guilty about not posting recipes lately. I have been slack in the cooking department since last week, so, I decided to post a recipe that my good friend and co-worker, Cyndi shared with me last summer.
It has a very unusual combination of ingredients but is truly the best hamburgers I have ever made. Let's grill out and pretend it is July.

Morning Glory Burgers

1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
10 crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce

1 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix lightly.
Grill, broil or pan fry until cooked through.
Serve on toasted rolls with you choice of toppings.

So, until tomorrow...............

Monday, February 9, 2009

Moondoggies Tonight

I am still on a down hill slide, so very tired. Supper tonight was at Moondoggies on the five lane.
I had to order a piece of their Coon Hunters Cake to go. I love that cake and haven't been successful in finding a similar recipe. It is a yellow cake sheet cake with an icing that has pineapple and pecans. Sounds simple enough but it eludes me somehow. Any ideas?

Work today was strange. Huge equipment was everywhere drying out the office. We tried to go through boxes and drawers that were stashed away quickly as the water poured on Friday. Computers will be delivered tomorrow and we can set up in our conference room which was not damaged. This will give us a chance to get back to some clients who are being incredibly patient right now.

I have a menu planned for tomorrow so barring some interruption I will be back with a supper post on Tuesday.

Enjoy these wonderfully mild days.

So, until tomorrow..............

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Well............., believe it or not, I did not fall off the face of the Earth. Just a lot going on right now.

My last post was talking about what a great day Wednesday was, well, it was down hill from there.
Thursday was one of those miserable days at work where we had no heat. I really wanted to leave and come home, but a 3:00 site visit was scheduled that I didn't want to miss. By the time I got home all I wanted was a hot bath and bed. Ronnie brought in pizza for supper and I ran my bath as hot as I could stand and then ran more hot water when that cooled.
I told Ronnie Friday morning that if we had no heat when I got to work I would be home by 10:00 am. I just can't handle the cold, forgive my whining. Anyway, Friday was warmer and I thought all was well. Until 12:30 pm when the ceiling started to pour water. I don't mean a little water I mean a river of water. Before we could save anything everything was soaked, files, computers, fax machine, desks, telephones, all of it.
The sprinkler system had frozen and when it warmed up, it burst. The entire sprinkler system for the Vanderbilt wing of the hotel dumped into our office.
Fast forward to 4:00 pm, the restoration company was there and began the work of tearing out the walls, the carpets, the ceilings, entirely gutting our office. They say we might be back in the office by April. So, everything is up in the air right now, we don't know where we will work or what the next few months will bring. We have the capability to work from home so certainly that is what I want. Still, we need an office to meet with clients on property. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

This week I hope to get back to cooking and posting so come back and visit on Monday.

So, Until Tomorrow...........

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday

Today was wonderful. Even though we didn't have any significant amount of snow, Asheville did.
Which meant that I worked from home. I love it. I got so much accomplished. In my dream world I would work from home 2 days a week. Not to mention that it was horrendously cold and windy today and I didn't have to bundle up in my coat, a blanket and "office gloves" (old gloves that I cut the fingertips out) to work at my desk.

While I worked I cooked soup beans for Ronnie. I think I mentioned this is his most favorite , so it turned out to be a pretty good day for him as well.

So tonight supper was the ultimate in cold weather comfort food:

Soup Beans (mixed dry beans)
Fried Potatoes
Cole Slaw

Post you comments and share your winter time comfort foods. We all need them this time of year!

So, Until Tomorrow..............

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fire and Ice

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We have SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Granted, it not much, yet....................... but by tomorrow you never know. We are thinking about getting in the hot tub, I have wanted to get in with it snowing for a while now, and I may not get another chance. We bought it last June and this is the first time we have had enough snow to matter.

So tonight's post is brief.

For supper we just had spaghetti and rolls with roasted garlic herb butter. No salad or anything else. I was too excited about snow to cook more!!

So, Until Tomorrow.............. Enjoy the snow!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Betty's Birthday

Today is Ground Hogs Day. I am so pleased the ground hog has a day. I am still waiting for Working Women's Day. At any rate apparently the ground hog has a knack for forecasting weather and according to the famous Phil in Pennsylvania we are looking at six more weeks of winter. Imagine that.

Truthfully, today would have been my Mother's 78th birthday. Sadly, she passed away March 5th, 2002. She lost her life to something much bigger than the little 90 pound woman she was, cigarettes. I hate tobacco in all forms. In a two month time period both Ronnie and I lost our Mothers, both due to smoking. Lacy lost both Grandmothers as a sophomore in college, first she came home for Christmas to a funeral and then spring break brought another funeral. Forgive my sadness, it overtakes every year on this day. I guess our generation will always struggle with mother/daughter relationships, even after they are gone.......................

Supper tonight was one of my favorite chicken dishes. A fairly quick dish if you use the thin chicken breast or the tenderloins.

The menu went something like this:

Crispy Baked Barbeque Chicken*

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Green Beans


Reese Cups (for me, because I needed them)

Crispy Baked Barbeque Chicken

4 - boneless skinless chicken breast (thin and fancy style)
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine all ingredients except chicken and melted butter in a plate or bag to shake. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Immerse chicken pieces in margarine, then roll or shake pieces to coat them. Arrange chicken and so pieces don't touch on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle with any remaining crumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 375* oven for about 50 minutes or until tender. DO NOT TURN.

**To give this more BBQ flavor and cut down on the fat you can dip chicken in BBQ sauce instead of butter. I have done this with John Boy Sauce (John Boy and Billy's Grilling Sauce). It is the right consistency.**

So, until tomorrow...........

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Sunday

Superbowl Sunday.................
Well, at least no one can say it was a boring game.
We went to Granite Falls this afternoon for a Superbowl party at Dean and Susan's. It was a great party with LOTS of good food and a chance to spend a beautiful day with friends.

Since we were leaving in the early afternoon for Caldwell County I decided to fix brunch late this morning. We had eggs benedict and grapefruit halves. Breakfast isn't my favorite meal and I don't want it often, but this was the perfect meal for today.
I know everyone already knows how to make eggs benedict but I thought I would share a slightly different version.

Southern Style Eggs Benedict

2 biscuits (your choice, I use the Pillsbury frozen ones)
4 slices bacon (I bake my bacon instead of frying, you can also use turkey bacon)
4 - eggs
4 cups of water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 - packet Knorr Hollandaise Sauce mix

Bake biscuits according to directions. Cook bacon. Prepare Hollandaise sauce as directed on package.
Poach eggs by dropping eggs into simmering water that you have added the salt and vinegar. Cook eggs 3-4 minutes covered, depending on the level of doneness you prefer.

Slice biscuits and arrange halves on plate. Break bacon in half and divide between the biscuits. Remove poached eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place over bacon. Spoon Hollandaise sauce over eggs and sprinkle with paprika.


So, Until Tomorrow...................