Tuscan Beef Stew

1 can (10.75 oz) tomato soup
12 oz. beef broth
½ cup red wine (or more - you decide)
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes, if necessary
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian-style tomatoes
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, pinch red pepper flakes), crushed
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cans cannellini beans, drained

Mix all ingredients except beans in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8-9 hours, or on High for 4-5 hours until done. Stir in beans and turn heat to High. Cook for 10 minutes. Serves 8.

Laura

Buttermilk Biscuits

This recipe is originally from Mountain Measures but anyone who has cooked with me knows I like to take short cuts and find ways to create the least amount of dirty dishes possible. So I've adapted this to suit my cooking style. This method also requires less fancy cooking tools. 

¾ cup buttermilk
1 stick butter (or ½ cup shortening)
2 cups flour
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.

Put the buttermilk in the freezer while you are working with the other ingredients, but leave it there at least 10 minutes. Melt the butter in the microwave, setting it for a 20-30 seconds at a time.

Traditional: If you are using shortening, you can't do this shortcut and you'll have to do the normal cutting in with the dry ingredients and the shortening. Don't put the buttermilk in the freezer.

Mix the dry ingredients. Take the buttermilk out of the freezer. Using a fork or whisk, whip the melted butter into the partially frozen buttermilk until the butter makes tiny balls. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and combine all.

Traditional: If you are using shortening, cut in to the dry ingredients with a biscuit cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles small peas. Pour in the buttermilk and combine all.

Shape the dough into a ball and put on a floured board. Knead lightly. I don't roll mine out; I just flour my hands and pat it to the thickness I want. But you can roll it if you really want to, about ½ inch thickness. Use a floured biscuit cutter, or if you don't have one of those, flour a knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles.

Put on a greased baking sheet and brush the biscuit tops with melted butter.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Makes about 16-20 biscuits. Serve hot with butter, jam, or honey.

Laura

Kentucky Derby Pie Bars

Crust
 1 ½ cup flour
1 stick softened butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar

Beat with a mixer until crumbly. Press into a greased 9x13 pan, and bake at 350° F for 12-15 minutes. Take out of the oven.

Filling
3 beaten eggs
¾ cup light or dark corn syrup
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 ½ cup chopped pecans
12 oz. package chocolate chips


Whisk eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and bourbon until smooth. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips, and pour into the crust. Bake for another 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into tiny squares.

Sarah

Baja Light Fish Tacos

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½pounds boned skinne Pacific cod
1 tablespoon olive oil
12-14 corn tortillas (5-6 inches, warmed on grill or skillet)
Chipotle Tartar Sauce

1. Heat grill to high 450° to 550°F. Combine seasonings in a small bowl. Set fish on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub all over with oil, then sprinkle with seasonings. Oil cooking grate, using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels.
2. Grill fish, covered, turning once, until just cooked through, 4-6 minutes total. Break fish into large chunks. Fill tortillas with slaw and fish. Serve with chipotle tartar sauce.

Sarah and Jason

Cabbage & Cilantro Slaw

3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 bag (10 oz.) very finely shredded cabbage
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Put lime juice, vegetable oil, chile flakes, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Just before serving, toss with cabbage and cilantro. 

Sarah

Chipotle Tartar Sauce

2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles, seeded, deveined, and rinsed
8 ounces (1 cup) plain lowfat Greek yogurt
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
¼ cup chopped onion


Purée all ingredients in a blender. Chill until used.

Sarah

Grilled Chicken and Penne Salad

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound penne or other tubular pasta
2 large red bell peppers, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
2½ cups thinly sliced celery
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup walnut halves
1¼ cups pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
1/4 cup minced fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Oil a ridged grill pan and heat over moderately high heat or set an oiled rack 4-6 inches over glowing coals. Grill chicken breasts for 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until they are springy to the touch, and then transfer them to a dish. Sprinkle chicken with lemon juice and let it cool. Boil the pasta until it is tender; refresh under cold water in colander, and drain.

In a large bowl, toss pasta, bell peppers, celery, onion, walnuts, olives, and dill. Remove chicken from dish, reserving the juices, and slice it thin on the diagonal. Add it to the vegetables in the bowl. Pour the juices from the dish into a bowl or large cup, and then add vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture thoroughly, and then add the olive oil in a stream, whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Add dressing to salad and toss. Add more salt and pepper if needed.  Serve immediately at room temperature or chill for later use. Serves 8 to 10.

Laura

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

My family doesn't eat turkey skin or parts of the turkey other than breast meat. This is the perfect 'put it in the crock pot and forget it' way to cook a turkey breast. The end result is falling off the bones and hardly requires carving. The best thing is the gravy is made when the turkey is done and just requires a little thickening.  If you do like a crispy skin, I suggest taking it off and frying it in a skillet when you brown the vegetables.  Use a slow cooker liner to make this whole process even easier.

1½ tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth, low sodium if preferred
1 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoon fresh sage
2 bay leaves
4-5 pound whole turkey breast, or whatever size fits in your crock pot
salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrape any brown bits, smoothing out any lumps. Transfer to slow cooker.

Stir in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season turkey with salt and pepper, place skin side up in slow cooker. Cover and cook 5 to 7 hours, or until turkey reaches 165° F with a meat thermometer. If your turkey has a pop up indicator, it is done when the pin pops out.

Transfer turkey to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let it rest 20 minutes.  Let the braising liquid settle, then remove the fat from the surface. Strain braising liquid into a saucepan, discard celery and bay leaves. Let it simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Originally from SkinnyTaste.com, slightly modified.

Laura

Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1½ teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats, quick or old-fashioned, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine butter, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well-blended. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 36 cookies.

Mimi

Sauce Pan Brownies

1/3 cup shortening
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup sifted flour
3/4 cup chopped nuts

Melt shortening and chocolate in sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly. Beat in vanilla, sugar, and eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Add flour and salt, then nuts. Bake at 325° F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mimi

Table of Equivalents

Food Quantity Used Yield
apple 1 medium 1 cup sliced
bread crumbs 3-4 slices of bread, dried or toasted
1 slice bread
1 cup dry crumbs
3/4 cup soft crumbs
cheese 1/4 pound 1 cup shredded
cherries 1 quart 2 cups pitted
crackers, graham 15 1 cup fine crumbs
crackers, soda 16
22
1 cup coarse crumbs
1 cup fine crumbs
cream, whipping 1 cup 2 cups whipped
dried raisins 1 pound 3 cups
dates 1 pound 2½ cups, chopped
dry beans 1 cup 2½ cups, cooked
eggs 5 medium
8 medium egg whites
12-14 medium egg yolks
1 cup
1 cup
1 cup
lemon 1 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
spaghetti noodles 1/2 pound 4 cups cooked
peanuts 5 ounces 1 cup
pecans, chopped
pecans, halves
4¼ ounces
3¾ ounces
1 cup
1 cup
walnuts, chopped
walnuts, halves
4½ ounces
3½ ounces
1 cup
1 cup
onion 1 medium 1/2 cup chopped
orange 1 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice
rice 1 cup 3½ cups cooked

Martha

Harvest Popcorn

2½ cups popcorn
2 cans potato sticks
1 cup mixed nuts

Combine ingredients; spread on a jelly roll pan.

1 teaspoon dill seed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoon onion salt
1½ lemon pepper
1½ garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter

Combine ingredients, then drizzle over popcorn mixture. Heat in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes.

Gran Duddie

Scottish Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup other shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1½ teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1½ flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups raw quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup finely chopped nuts

Cream butter and shortening, gradually add white and brown sugar. Blend well.  Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time.  Beat well. Sift flour, measure and sift 3 times with soda and salt.

Turn mixer to low speed, adding sifted dry ingredients to butter mixture. Fold in oatmeal and chopped nuts. Shape into rolls about 2 inches in diameter and chill overnight.

Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° F for 12 minutes.

Alternate method is to drop a teaspoonful of the batter onto the cookie sheet - no chilling.

Gran Duddie

Kourabiedes

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoon brandy or orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup finely chopped nuts
whole cloves
sifted powdered sugar

Beat butter for 30 seconds. Add 2/3 cup powdered sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined. Beat in egg yolk, brandy, and vanilla until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour and nuts.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Insert stem of whole clove into the center of each cookie.

Bake at 325° F for 15 to 20 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes about 60.

Sarah

Spice Cookies

3/4 cup (1½ stick) butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 350º F and grease 2 large baking sheets. Beat butter and brown sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, beating until smooth. Mix flour, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, soda, and salt together. At low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until a soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake cookies until golden and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 2 dozen large cookies.

Note: this recipe has a much better texture when made with a stand mixer as opposed to a hand mixer. You may need to mix a long time to get the needed fluffiness with a hand mixer. 

Laura

Microwaving Sauces

When a recipe calls for you to make a roux (equal parts butter and flour), and then use milk or broth to thicken it, you can do this in the microwave instead of over the stove.  Standing by the stove and stirring your brains out for 20 minutes is no one's idea of fun.

For the roux – melt butter in a large Pyrex measuring cup (or something of similar strength) in the microwave. Go slowly so it doesn't pop – 15 seconds at a time. Add an equal amount of flour. Stir until both are well-blended.

Thickening liquid – these sauces will have a liquid that reacts with the butter and flour to produce the thick sauce, usually milk or broth of some sort. Add this liquid to your Pyrex cup. Place cup in microwave and set on high for one minute. Take it out and stir. You will probably need about 5 minutes total, but pull the sauce out and stir it every minute. When the sauce is at the desired thickness, you are done!

Example Recipes
These recipes have sauces that can be made using the microwave method:
Red Chocolate Cake
Chicken Tetrazzini
Macaroni and Cheese
Cream Sauces

Laura

Chocolate Town Cake

Cake
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1½ teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
2½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate mini chips

Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Stir in mini chips. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350º F for 60 to 70 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan and cool. Glaze.

Glaze
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup mini chips

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan; stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add mini chips, stirring until melted.

Patty