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Flaming Cabbage.

Have you ever been invited to a potluck and didn’t know what you should take?  Well, this recipe I am about to share with you will solve that problem for you forever; because one of two things will happen.  Either you won’t be invited to another potluck or everyone will love your flaming cabbage so much that they will ask you to make it every time.

My mother called me and asked, “How do you keep a straight face when you’re playing a joke on someone?”  I answered back, “Well that’s usually pretty easy since my jokes aren’t very funny.  What are you going to do?”

Well, she found this flaming cabbage recipe (well I don’t know if it’s technically a recipe – you just hollow out a cabbage and put Sterno in it) in a retro cookbook and she took it to her book club and told them that they were supposed to use it to roast cocktail weenies.

The only problem was that everyone thought it was a great idea!  And no one laughed.

I probably wouldn’t laugh either if someone brought me a flaming cabbage and told me to roast cocktail weenies on it.  There’s nothing funny about cocktail weenies.

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New Recipes – Week 3

Okay, so far, my new weekly recipes have caused violent reactions from my fearless readers.  Apparently, Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee bring out the homicidal tendencies in many of you.  How do you feel about Campbell’s Soup and Betty Crocker?

As I said in my Vintage Thingies Thursday post, I can’t seem to get a good picture of the cookbook.  So I will save the picture for another day.  My mom got me a Campbell’s Cooking With Soup Cookbook circa 1968.  There were several recipes that looked quite delicious!  I tried Glori-Fried Chicken for this week’s recipe.

GLORI-FRIED CHICKEN!!!

2 pounds chicken parts (I used drumsticks)
2 tablespoons shortening (don’t see that much anymore!)
1 can condensed Cheddar cheese, cream of celery, chicken, or mushroom soup (I used reduced fat cream of chicken to try to mitigate the damage from frying drumsticks in Crisco)

In skillet, brown chicken in shortening.  Pour off fat.  Stir in soup.  Cover; cook over low heat 45 minutes or until tender.  Stir now and then.  Uncover; cook until desired consistency.  4 servings.

This came out extremely moist and tender.  I also added a little bit of McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning so it wouldn’t be bland.  I think I’ll make this again – but not often as it’s awfully fatty.  One note: I did not know what consistency I was supposed to desire, so I only cooked it uncovered for a couple minutes.

Since I’m on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet kick this week (can’t you tell?), I am also bringing you a recipe that I made from www.bettycrocker.com.  (It’s a cool site, if you haven’t been there, you should go.)

I even took a picture of it and, unlike all my other food pictures, it turned out really good!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CANDY PIZZA!!!!

PIZZA:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Spanish peanuts
1 bag M&M’s
1 package Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (I used the king size package), cut up
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled (I used milk chocolate chips)

PEANUT BUTTER SAUCE:
1 bag peanut butter chips (1 2/3 cups)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Heat oven to 350.  In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, and egg.  Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Pat dough in ungreased 12″ pizza pan.

Bake pizza 10 to 12 minutes or until edge is set.  Cool at least 30 minutes.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat all peanut butter sauce ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth.  Spread over cookie pizza.  Top with peanuts and candies.  Drizzle with melted chocolate chips.

Note:  The actual recipe did not call for M&M’s and Reese’s cups by name.  Instead, the recipe described those candies.  It took me about 5 minutes to figure out what the heck it was saying, so I just called them by what they are for you.  Aren’t I sweet?  Yes.  Yes I am.

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New Recipes – Week 2

Bear with me.  I know my faithful readers come here for more than just recipes.  I know it’s been nearly a week since I blogged and I know this will be 2 recipe posts in a row.  But don’t worry; I will make it up to you!  Tonight, I plan to do 2 posts.  Just for you, my faithful readers.  Because I love you and all that stuff.

This week, I tried a main course and a dessert.  I also started my cake decorating class, so I’m going to need to increase the old exercise it looks like!

The first recipe is from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking Made Light cookbook.  I think Sandra is great.  She’s very realistic in what people will do and in the ingredients she uses.  You should really check out her new magazine; it’s awesome.  Anyway, I made Southwest Chicken Pizza and it was awesome!

Here’s a picture of the cookbook:

SOUTHWEST CHICKEN PIZZA:

olive oil cooking spray
1 package (6.5 oz) pizza crust mix
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed, drained, and smashed
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup tequila and lime flavored salsa by Newman’s Own (I just used my regular salsa)
1/2 cup Mexicorn, drained (I never knew this existed before – I totally heart it!)
1/4 cup shredded fat-free Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
2 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1 cup premium chunk chicken breast, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (I left this out since my salsa has cilantro in it already)
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine pizza crust mix and beans.  Stir in hot water until mixture is well moistened.  Beat 20 times to form dough.  Cover and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Using floured fingers, press dough into a 12 inch circle on prepared baking sheet.  Spread salsa evenly over dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Top with Mexicorn, Monterey Jack cheese, Mexican cheese blend, chicken, cilantro, and onion.

Bake pizza in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

I got the dessert from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Desserts cookbook.  Because chocolate covered Macadamia nuts are one of my very favorite candies, I tried the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark.  It is super-good but also super-rich.  A little piece goes a loooooong way.

WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA NUT BARK:

2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels (I used milk chocolate)
2 cups white vanilla milk chips (I used white chocolate)
2/3 cup Macadamia nuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Line 9×13 cookie sheet with waxed paper, allowing 2 inches of paper to hang over sides.  Melt 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate morsels in microwave on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until smooth.  Pour melted semisweet chocolate onto prepared sheet and spread to cover entire surface to form 1 even layer.

Melt 1 3/4 cups of white chips in microwave on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until smooth.  Drizzle melted white chips over semisweet chocolate layer.  Using toothpick or skewer, swirl melted chocolates together, creating a marbled effect.  Sprinkle with nuts and remaining semisweet chocolate and white chips.  Gently press toppings into melted chocolate.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm.  Remove waxed paper from chocolate.  Cut or break chocolate into bite-size pieces.

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Week 1 of New Recipes.

Remember my new resolution to try a new recipe every week?  Well, so far week one has gone great!  Last night I made Chicken-Not-Pot-Pie from Rachael Ray’s cookbook 30 Minute Meals.

I’ll be quite honest with you, I like Rachael Ray, but I rarely make her recipes.  The biggest reason for that is that she uses a lot of “weird” ingredients – not items that I typically have in my pantry.  And they tend to be on the pricey side.  I really hate to buy a whole jar of roasted red peppers for 3 bucks just to use 2 for this recipe.  I tend toward recipes where I only need to buy one or two items to complete it.  However, when I can figure out what all the ingredients are, I really like the taste of her meals.

Chicken – Not – Pot – Pie

4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 branches fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stem and chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste, or crushed red pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar rubbed into chicken to tenderize
1 large, round loaf crusty peasant bread, top cut off and inside scooped out
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained
2 whole roasted red bell peppers, jarred, drained
1/4 medium Spanish onion, sliced thin
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1/4 pound provolone, smoked provolone, or rustico with red pepper cheese
A handful of pepper salad, pepperocini, or pepper rings
Baby greens or baby spinach
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat a griddle pan over high heat.  Cook chicken, coated with rosemary, pepper, and balsamic vinegar for 5 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat.

Place the chicken in the bottom of the hollowed-out loaf of bread.  Pile any antipasto combination you like on top – artichokes, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, pepper salad, greens, etc.  Drizzle olive oil down through the pie.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper or crushed red pepper, to taste.  Place the lid back on the bread.  Cut into wedges and serve.  Feeds up to 12 as an appetizer, 4 as dinner.

How I changed it a bit:  I marinated boneless, skinless chicken tenders in the the balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper for one hour before cooking.  I do not care for rosemary, so I left that out.  After I cooked the chicken, I chopped it up.  I also did not put cheese on my sandwich.  I did not know what peasant bread and Spanish onions were so I used Italian bread and a red onion.

This was really good.  And I used the leftovers to make a super delicious chicken salad for lunch today.  There were so many flavors and marinades working that I didn’t even need salad dressing.

 

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I don’t know what it is about Easter, but I love it so much.  I mean it makes sense since it is the day upon which the entire Christian faith is based … Plus, Easter candy is the best kind of candy.  Especially those Cadbury Eggs.  Yum.  (Cadbury, if you’re listening, I’d be more than willing to do a review of your eggs on my blog.  Hint hint hint.)

Anyway, a few years ago, I discovered that it was a load of fun to microwave Peeps.  I can’t remember how I discovered this or why I was microwaving Peeps.  I might have been under the influence of mind-altering beverages.  Who knows?  So, as it turns out, by investing only a few seconds with your microwave, you can turn regular every day run of the mill Peeps into giant mutant take over the planet Peeps.

Exhibit A:  Peeps-Pre-Nuked

Exhibit B:  Peeps After 10 Seconds of Nuked-ness

Exhibit C:  Peeps After 20 Seconds of Nuked-ness

There is one item to note: Peeps are not immune to the Law of Diminishing Returns.  You can microwave them longer than 20 seconds, but they don’t really gain any girth after that.  At about 30 seconds, they start to re-deflate.  Also, please note: I had to use 2 Peeps for my exhibit to lend stability to the experiment.  They grow larger when you only use one, but they tend to lose their balance.

This is a great Science experiment for 13 year old boys.  It’s an excellent demonstration of PV=nRT.

On to the brisket recipe … I was trying to contain the clutter in my kitchen when I realized that I had hundreds – nay, thousands! of recipes which I have never tried.  Some are in the several cookbooks I own, some I clipped from magazines, some I printed off the internet, etc.  But I always come back to the same handful of recipes.  So last night I decided to go all Super-Mom and resolved that I will try one new recipe each week.

This week’s recipe was for brisket.  Yes, I have made brisket before, just not in this way.  And I know that a brisket isn’t really venturing out from my circle of comfort, but baby steps.  Baby steps.

I tried to take pictures, but I am seriously not a food photographer and I just know you all would see my pictures and run screaming in horror shouting, “No way!  I’m not feeding my family that!”  Therefore, you will just have to be surprised by the end result.

I got this recipe from the Girls’ Hoedown episode of Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee (would not recommend the potato salad).  I love Sandra Lee.  You gotta love a woman who isn’t ashamed to use frozen burritos in a recipe.

With no further ado (adieu?), I present …

BRISKET!!!

You will need:

6# brisket (corn-fed Midwest beef is best, but if you are unfortunate enough to live in a place without Midwest beef, well I just wouldn’t bother)

2 cups apple cider

1 bottle of beer (domestic, obviously – remember, if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)

2 packets of meatloaf seasoning

1 bottle of BBQ sauce (preferably of Kansas City origins, preferably Zarda or Jack Stack)

aluminum foil (very important or you will have to ask my your neighbor for some)

First you place the brisket in a large baking pan.  Sprinkle the seasoning packets on top of the meat.  Pour the cider and beer around the meat.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 3 hours.  After 3 hours, remove the meat from the baking pan and transfer to a foil lined baking sheet (the foil lining is very important as I discovered, otherwise, your pan will be a pain to clean).  Baste the top of the meat with the BBQ sauce.  Bake for another 45 minutes at 375, turning and basting with BBQ sauce every 15 minutes.  Sandra Lee didn’t use a foil tent for her BBQ basting step, but I did.  I would recommend using it.  Remove from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes.  Slice across the grain and enjoy!

**Things I learned: 6 pounds of corn-fed Midwestern beef is a heck of a lot of beef.  I thought the meat would cook down more than it did, but it was pretty lean and didn’t cook down much.  I froze about 3 pounds after it was all cooked.  Next time, I’ll use less.  That’s all I learned.

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I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries as to my whereabouts the last 2 weeks.  That is, if you count my mother as a lot of people.  Which I definitely do.  The truth is, I was spending the time getting ready for the April cover of Maxim, on which I’ll be featured.

Or was that Pathological Liars Monthly?  Details, details.

In all seriousness though, we had a carbon monoxide scare at my house and I just flat hadn’t felt like blogging.  But everything is good, we’re all safe – Thank God – and I’m ready to blog again.  Special thanks to my furnace repairman, DJ, who followed a gut feeling and came out when I called him, for saving our lives.

The week before last (the day before we got CO poisoning), I received this RAK from Colleen over at Not Quite Vintage  http://www.notquitevintage.typepad.com/.  (Grrrr.  It really upsets me that I can’t get a link to post in here.)  It’s a cool little roll to hold my crochet hooks and I heart it.  Thank you, Colleen!

Here’s the package it came in, it was so cute that I almost didn’t want to open it!  Almost.

A few days ago, Shelby and I made cake.  She was my big girl helper.  Isn’t she cute in her little apron?  She did an excellent job stirring the batter for me.

 

This cake is really good.  I got the “recipe” from Hungry Girl (www.hungrygirl.com); I have been making it for a few months and love it.  The only ingredients are a cake mix and a diet coke.  Any flavor of each will work.  My favorites are strawberry cake with diet strawberry coke and chocolate cake with diet creme soda.

I’ve found that it’s best if you put the coke in the bowl and let the fizz go down before adding the mix.  Then just stir it up good and bake according the the instructions on the box.

There are many low-cal ways to ice it (although this tends to be pretty moist, so you can forgo the icing if you want).  My favorite icing is just some marshmallow Fluff – which is what I put on the strawberry cake.  Another good way to ice it is to mix some Jello sugar free pudding (or the fat free 100 calorie packs) with fat free Cool Whip.

Here’s the final product of Shelby’s cake.  It had a brownie-like consistency so I didn’t ice it.

Here’s the strawberry one I made and iced with Marshmallow Fluff.

Have a great Valentine’s Day, everyone!  As for me and my family, we’re going to have TACOS!

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Over at The American Homemaker, she thought it would be fun to share our favorite holiday traditions every Tuesday.  To see a lot of neat traditions (and recipes to make you fat!  haha) check out her blog at:  http://theamericanhomemaker.blogspot.com/

For my tradition today, I am going to share with you RUM CAKE!  This is probably my favorite food on the planet (depending on the day because, as it turns out, I love food – a LOT).  I only make it during the fall and winter because it just doesn’t taste the same in spring and summer.

Here’s a picture of it, please notice how I got all artistic and artistically placed floral pics around the cake.  This was the one I made for Thanksgiving so the fall floral pics make sense.

Doesn’t that look delicious?  I used walnuts because I apparently had a brain freeze and picked up walnuts instead of pecans and didn’t realize it until Thursday morning.  I like it much better with pecans, but the walnuts didn’t hurt it at all!

And to prove just how artsy fartsy I am, I’m also going to share with you the page from my recipe book that features my Rum Cake recipe.

I know my friends at The American Homemaker are crazy for cake mix recipes, so I trust they’ll all like this one.

RUM CAKE

1 cup chopped pecans

1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup rum

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

1/2 cup oil

4 eggs

For Glaze

1/4 pound butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup rum

Put the pecans in the bottom of your bundt pan (if you substitute walnuts like I did, decrease the amount to about 1/2 cup).  Mix the remaining cake ingredients.  Bake at 325 for about 1 hour, until done.  Cool for 20 minutes and invert on serving plate (because the glaze makes a mess – well I make a mess because I’m a slob – I glaze the cake on a regular plate then transfer it to my cake stand after the glaze sets up).  For glaze: Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in water and sugar.  Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  (Hint: you might not need to go the full 5 minutes – once the mix starts pulling from the sides you can go on to the next step.  Don’t boil too long or you will get hard candy.)  Remove the glaze from the heat (that’s very important) and stir in the rum.  Prick the top and sides of the cake and spoon & brush glaze over it.

 

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