Thursday, January 1, 2009

Recent Cooking

Here are some of our favorite things that we have been eating lately.

Mandarin Salad
We eat a dinner salad at least 1 or 2 nights a week for dinner. We had this last week and this week and are really enjoying it! I've listed the recipe as I make it, but you can change the nuts to your favorite (i.e. almonds, pecans etc) and same with the cheese (blue cheese, gorgonzola, or none at all).
-1 bag of your favorite salad mix (for this I like romaine, red leaf or butter)
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes
-1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
-feta cheese, crumbled
-6 scallions, sliced
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup red wine vinegar
-1 tablespoon sugar
-fresh ground black pepper
-1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Combine first four ingredients and place in bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Toss dressing with salad and serve.
Devilled Eggs
These are Mom Mangerchine's devilled eggs that she made when she was here for Christmas. Jeremy and I eat these up in no time, they are great! They get their unique flavor from Grandma Lou's homemade pickles, with store bought I just don't know if they'd be the same.
-6 hard boiled eggs
-¼ teaspoon sugar
-salt and pepper to taste
-¼ cup grandma’s chopped pickles
-3 tablespoons mayo
Slice eggs in half, scoop yolks into mixing bowl and combine well with remaining ingredients. Spoon back into egg whites, and sprinkle with paprika if desired.
Cinnamon Sticks
These are cookies that we love that Mom Mangerchine made while she was in town.
-1 cup brown sugar
-1 cup white sugar
-¾ cup shortening
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
-2 eggs
-3 cups sifted flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup black walnuts, chopped
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream sugar and shortening; add beaten eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients sifted. Pack in a small bread tin. Place in refrigerator overnight. Slice and cut in strips. Bake about 10 minutes in moderate oven. Yields many cookies.
Marinara Sauce
This sauce can be used for spaghetti, manicotti, zitti, lasagna, chicken parmesan or your favorite Italian dish. As shown I combined it with ground beef and rotini pasta. Make a large batch and freeze in smaller bags to always have on hand and ready.
-1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
-1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tablespoon white sugar
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-2 teaspoons dried oregano
-1 pinch red pepper flakes
-2 teaspoons dried basil (or if I have fresh on hand I snip it and stir it in at the last minute instead)
In a large pot combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, garlic, sugar, vinegar, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Stir all together and simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Aunt Lois' Olive Dip
I made this for our Christmas Eve snack food buffet. My Aunt Lois has been making this dip since I was a little girl and I always associate it with the holidays because that's when I would see her, and because of the red and green color of the olives.
-1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
-1 (8 ounce) jar green olives, chopped
-1/2 cup mayo
-1/8 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 cup chopped pecans
-2 tablespoons olive brine, from jar
Combine all ingredients. Chill at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Serve with your favorite crackers.

I also made this dip for our Christmas Eve snack buffet. This is my very basic recipe for hummus. I like it because it doesn't have olive oil and therefore is less fatening than most recipes, and doesn't have tahini and therefore is cheaper than most other recipes. You can take this recipe and substitute white beans for a different dip (and maybe add some rosemary). You can also add different herbs and seasonings to make a flavored hummus, I like roasted red peppers, cilantro, jalepenos, cumin, and dill.
-1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans/ chick peas, drained with liquid reserved
-1/2 lemon, juiced
-1 large clove garlic (or 2 small)
-few dashes of hot sauce or cayene pepper
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2-4 tablespoons reserved bean liquid added until desired consistency is achieved
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Serve, or chill until serving. Serve with pita chips, pita bread wedges or veggies.

Grandma Judy's Breakfast Casserole... My way
Ever since I was a little girl my grandma has been making breakfast casserole and I have loved it. I have been making it for years, a slightly different way, and I even altered it again a little this year. As Jeremy said this year was the best yet, here is how I did it. This is our go to breakfast for Christmas morning because I can make it the night before and stick it in the refrigerator, then just pop in the oven while we all open present Christmas morning and by the time we're done the casserole is ready and the house smells great.
-1 package regular flavor turkey breakfast sausage
-10 eggs, lightly beaten
-3 cups milk
-2 teaspoons dry mustard
-1 teaspoon salt
-slices of whole wheat bread with crust removed
-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-1 large can mushrooms
-6 green onions, sliced
Preheat oven to 325 F. In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard and salt; stir well. Distribute half the bread evenly in a buttered, or sprayed 9" x 13" x 2" baking dish. Sprinkle with half the pepper, half the cheese, half the sausage and half of each the vegetables. Repeat layering using remaining bread, pepper, cheese, sausage and vegetables. Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes, or until eggs are set. Tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly. Note: May be assembled ahead and refrigerated up to 12 hours before baking (I usually assemble it the night before and bake in the morning).
Two more things that we enjoy eating just about every time the Mangerchines get together are Butter Beans and Corn and Banana Bread. We got to enjoy plenty of both of those last week as well! Now that we've stuffed ourselves full for a week and our family is gone it's back to work.
Grandma Lou's Butter Beans and Corn
This recipe was originally developed by Grandma Lou using the fresh vegetable from her or her relatives gardens, but here's the version for those of us who aren't so privileged.
-One bag frozen butter beans
-One bag frozen corn kernels
-One table sized package Sweet N Low (that’s how she makes it since Grandad is diabetic, but you could use any artificial sweetener or sugar)
-Grandma’s canned tomatoes (I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any on hand… from the looks of her consistency I would used crushed tomatoes to best duplicate her consistency)
-Cut up ham
Cook the butter beans and ham on the stove in water according to package directions. Add tomatoes, corn and sweetener. Simmer for at least 5 minutes or until serving.

Banana Bread
Mom Mangerchine makes the best banana bread that I've ever tried. This is the recipe she uses. If you really have a sweet tooth try adding chocolate chips to the batter, the result is divine!
-2 sticks oleo
-3 cups sugar
-4 eggs
-½ cup milk
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-6 large mashed bananas
-4 cups flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 cup chopped nuts
Cream oleo and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk, beating well. Alternately add mashed bananas and flour and baking soda. Stir in nuts. Pour thick batter into 3 greased and floured loaf pans and bake 50-60 minutes at 325 or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

What are your favorite holiday comfort foods?

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