10/31/10

Homemade Chicken and Noodles

Boiling the noodles...
Caught in mid-boil with a flash.

Flash ruins photos so it's not as yummy looking as it really was!

Not a soup, but a nice thick bowl of homemade noodles in a thick chicken broth. If it were more liquid with a bit of parsley it could be a soup but what I wanted was a nice big bowl of warm, comforting old fashioned chicken and noodles.

This original recipe is from the turn of the century... 1900, not 2000. It is one all of our great-great grandmothers made I'm sure and no none actually used a 'recipe' for.

I took a lot of liberties with it. I was craving this recipe myself because it is getting cold out and my body loves homemade noodles when it's Autumn. However, I also made it because my 14 year old daughter has a terrible cold this week and I knew homemade chicken and noodles would help. Lastly, I always (always!) believe in making 2 meals out of one if at all possible and I had a half chicken to use up! Frugality should be a way of life and you should never throw out leftover food, but instead, find another way to use it in a fresh, new way.

Changes to the 'old' recipe I made: Earlier this week we had a roasted chicken for dinner; we only ate a little over 1/2 of it so instead of fresh chickens I used the whole chicken carcass I still had with a whole side breast still on it. Another difference is using modern convenience; I use a food processor with an 'S' blade to mix my noodle dough and then use a hand crank pasta machine to roll the dough instead of rolling it out and flattening it 8 times with a rolling pin. I also use what I have on hand to make the broth and hope you will to. No carrots? No problem. I didn't use any either. I also didn't have celery this time around. This meal was so warm, hearty and filling not only did my family rave about it, but I can't wait to take some to work with me to day for lunch; my mouth is watering at the thought! Play with this 'recipe' and use what you have on hand and what you like!

Homemade Chicken and Noodles

2 (5 lb.) chickens, cut in quarters (I only use one chicken)
6 c water
1 carrot, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 c celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 T flour
1 T black pepper

4 eggs
2 c flour
1 T canola oil
pepper
salt

Simmer the chicken with celery, onions, carrots and garlic in a pan on the stove. Skim off the scum. Don't let it boil - keep it at a simmer. Remove the chicken, strain the broth through a sieve, discarding the vegetables and returning the broth to the pan. Remove and pull the meat off the bones and add to the broth. Thicken it by mixing 2 T flour and about 1/3 - 1/2 c water together and whisking it into the broth. Bring to a brief boil, reduce heat and season with the salt and pepper.

Mix the eggs with flour, oil, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process with an 'S' blade, adding just a touch of oil or a teaspoon of water if it's too dry. As soon as the dough comes together to a ball stop and remove it. Let it rest for a few minutes. You can use a hand crank pasta machine if you have one to thin and roll the dough and cut into noodles. If you don't have one, roll and stretch the dough about 8 times until very thin. Hang over a line or waxed paper or foil and dry for 30 minutes. Don't let it become brittle. Roll it and cut it into thin noodles. Cook them in boiling water 10 minutes then drain and add to the chicken sauce. Serve.
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10/30/10

Cute Cupcakes or Brownies in Chocolate Cups

Halloween and Thanksgiving - both use orange and brown in their decorating so when I saw this photo of a yummy scrumptious little brownie cupcake in a chocolate cup I knew it would be perfect for October or November! Of course with a dessert like this you have to take one of two paths... you take a little more time to make it all from scratch, including the chocolate cups or you cheat a little and buy premade chocolate cups and improvise a little to same time.

If you want to make the cups from scratch they really aren't hard to do at all - and only take about 30 minutes from start to finish. Make them similar to how I showed you I make my chocolate leaves.

The difference is that you use 2 cupcake liners (to make it more sturdy) and you 'paint' the inside of the cup with a thin layer of melted chocolate.

Refrigerate for about 5 minutes to set your chocolate up and then paint another thin later - refrigerate - and repeat. You'll want about 4-5 thin layers to make a nice thick cup - which will make it easier to remove the paper liner later on.

 Thin cups break easily. I would only caution you to make at least 2 'extra' cups to allow for breakage. After your final 'chill' you remove the 2nd liner and then carefully start to tear away the cupcake liner from the chocolate from the top down. Continue and then finally, pull it away from the bottom. Try not to touch the chocolate as it will melt quickly if your hands are warm and you will leave fingerprints.

You can make chocolate cups ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the rest of the dessert as well. If you are like me you may be able to carve out 30 minutes here and another 40 minutes there, but never 3 hours all at once!

And if you don't want to make cups from scratch you don't have to! You can buy them! I did a quick search and found Dark Chocolate Dessert Cups, Milk Chocolate Dessert Cups and for the extra fancy desserts? Try Belgian Large Chocolate Cups.

Now you can either make the cupcake or brownie from scratch or use a store bought mix. Make according to directions. When cool, refrigerate them so they are completely cold or they will melt your chocolate! To fit them into the cupake liners you'll need to 'trim' them with a knife so remove the paper from your cupcakes or brownies and trim the bottoms and sides to make them just a hair smaller so they will drop into your chocolate liners without breaking the cups. Don't trim the tops if you can help it as this makes them stay 'pretty' on top. But if you have really thick chocolate cups and you do have to trim the tops as well it won't matter because you can cover it up with the frosting or whipped cream!

Take your 'naked' brownie or cupcake and get busy with the frosting! This is the FUN part!

Using frosting you've tinted orange or a nice thick whipped cream you've tinted, add the toppings to your dessert with a decorating bag and frosting tip to form the swirl. Finish off your creation with holiday sprinkles, jimmies, chocolate curls or mini chocolate chips.
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10/28/10

A Crazy EASY spiced Mayo for Shrimp and Salmon (and Shrimp Burgers!)

I'm a big fan of Old Bay Seasoning... I even partnered with them last summer to bring you (my readers) a contest in which one of you won a large beach bag filled with Old Bay goodies like a beach towel, lots of Old Bay Seasoning, beverage opener and other items needed to host a great Old Bay Beach party or backyard BBQ.

I'm always on the lookout for more recipes to use some of my (3) cans of various flavors of Old Bay Seasoning. When I saw this one for shrimp burgers I immediately was drawn to it because of my love for seafood but also for the spiced mayo it offered as well. What SIMPLE and yummy mayo idea!

Last night we had salmon burgers for dinner and this mayo was the perfect condiment to serve with them! I also served plain mayo next to it as a choice but the flavor of this Old Bay Mayo added just the right touch to the salmon. I haven't made these shrimp burgers yet but jot this recipe down if only for the mayo to serve with your salmon!

Shrimp Burgers with Old Bay Mayo


1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup canola oil
4 Brioche Buns, lightly toasted
Sliced Tomato
Lettuce
Sliced Avocado

For the mayo:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning


Coarsely chop half of the shrimp. Put the remaining shrimp in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Combine both shrimp in a large bowl with egg, bread crumbs, scallions, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and mix. Refrigerate 10 minutes, and then form into four patties.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook burgers about 3 minutes per side.

For the mayo, combine mayonnaise and old bay seasoning.

Spread bun with mayo and top burger with tomato, avocado, and lettuce.
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10/26/10

Seafood Lasagna with Alfredo Sauce

It's cold and rainy today and Fall is on her way out to make room for winter. Brrr! It's the time of year when my body starts to crave more filling foods, but I cannot get away from my bodies love of seafood!

I dug this recipe out of my files and couldn't wait to get it posted as I usually prop my laptop up on the kitchen counter and bring up the days recipe and proceed to make it in my kitchen from my own website (thus, how this site was started back in 2006! A place to store my collected recipes!).


Seafood Lasagna

1 lb. light cream cheese
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 C. milk
2 tsp. Old Bay or Creole seasoning
2 red bell peppers, finely diced
2 boxes (10 oz each) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed & squeezed dry
3/4 lb. imitation crabmeat, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 jar (1 lb.) alfredo pasta sauce
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13x2 baking dish.

Stir cream cheese, scallions, milk & Old Bay seasoning in large bowl until smooth. Stir in peppers, reserving about a half cup. Add broccoli, reserving a half cup. Add crabmeat, 1 egg, salt & pepper. Whisk remaining egg into alfredo sauce.

Spread about 1/3 cup alfredo sauce into prepared baking dish. Top with 3 noodles & 1/3 crab mixture. Repeat, layering twice with noodles, crabmeat, noodles, crabmeat, noodles, crabmeat. Top with 3 noodles; sprinkle with reserved red pepper & broccoli. Pour on remaining alfredo sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake, covered, in 350 oven 30 minutes. Uncover & bake 20-25 minutes, until browned & bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. About 12 servings.
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10/23/10

Stopping in for a Quick Recall Notice - Beef Sticks

It's a busy weekend in this American Housewife's family (as usual!) but I popped online to read the headlines and saw a beef stick recall;

A Milwaukee sausage company is issuing a national recall of beef sticks because they may contain foreign material.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service says Klement Sausage Co. Inc. is recalling nearly 2,800 pounds of beef stick products.

They are the 8-ounce packages of "Market Pantry Beef Sticks, Original" and have a "use by" date of March 1, 2012.

The USDA reports that the problem was discovered after a retail chain reported consumer complaints about finding hard plastic and pieces of glass in the meat. It has so far not received any reports of injury.

If I'm not mistaken, the Market Pantry brand is a Target store brand so heads up! If any of you bought this product be sure to return it.

My bigger concern? Sooo many of these have been bought recently to send in packages to our troops overseas! If you know someone who may have bought them to package in mailings for our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, make sure they know to pull the beef sticks out and check the brand and use by date!!!


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10/21/10

Sugarless Apple Spice Cake with Whole Wheat Flour

About 10 years ago I discovered Splenda sweetener and it's been a staple in our home ever since. None of us are Diabetic or use it for medical reasons so we have regular white and brown sugar in our household as well but I love cooking and baking sugar-free or lower sugar when I can so Brown Sugar Twin and Splenda as well as a handful of other sweeteners are on hand too. Another plus to this recipe I found thru Splenda is the use of whole wheat flour. I think Autumn recipes and whole wheat flour go hand in hand! There is some natural sugar in this recipe from the apple juice and apple slices, but there is no white sugar in it.




Apple Spice Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup canola oil
¾ cup Splenda
½ cup 1% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon apple juice or apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups chopped apple
½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup Splenda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9-inch baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine flours, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Combine egg, canola oil, milk, juice, vanilla, and SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener in a small mixing bowl. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in apples and walnuts. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.

Combine flour, SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, cinnamon, and baking powder. Add oil stirring until blended. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle topping over the batter.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
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10/18/10

Jalapeno Poppers (with Wonton Skins)

About fifteen years ago I tried my first jalapeno popper from a restaurant. At the time they were 'new' on the scene and this particular restaurant served them in a 6-pack egg carton for display. I wasn't sure I would like them but ohhhh how I liked them. I loved them. I've been hooked ever since!

Although I've made them from scratch many times, they are a pain to make and messy too. I hate to make any dipped and breaded appetizers or foods. I don't like the mess, I don't like how it coats my fingers and frankly I get bored in the process. When I found this recipe using wontons I couldn't wait to make it. But... as with many of the recipes I gather, time gets in the way. I've held on to this recipe for about 3 or 4 years now and forgot all about it. That's what happens when work, kids and school and sports schedules get in the way.

Now I stumbled upon it again and I'm putting it front and center - just in time for a Football Sunday appetizer day!!!


Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers

wonton skins
fresh jalapenos, seeded and sliced
8 oz. package cream cheese

Lay wonton skins on a clean, dry surface so that each skin is in the shape of a diamond. At the bottom corner of each skin place a teaspoon of cream cheese. Place 2-3 slices of jalapeno on each.

Fold the wontons like an envelope, first fold over the part with the jalapeno/cheese mixture, then the two sides and finally, the top. Seal with a finger dipped in water or egg white. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve.
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10/13/10

Adding Severed Fingers Made a Regular Layer Cake into a Halloween Cake!


Over the years our family Halloween decorations have gone from simple smiling paper pumpkins in the windows and adorable little pumpkin cookies when the children were little to a more gory, adult themed decor style as the kids became teenagers and started to accompany me to the party and Halloween stores.

Considering I don't particularly care for or about Halloween, it's really for them that our house is decorated and I make Halloween themed cakes and cookies.

This year a simple addition of a package of realistic looking bloody severed fingers was the perfect addition I needed to pull off a great cake.



Adding the fingers to the top of a homemade layer cake
and throwing in a couple black plastic spiders we already owned
we had a really cool Halloween dessert!


The fingers are plastic - not candles
so they can be washed and reused next year!


What a fun dessert for a party for older teens or adults!

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10/6/10

Easy Zucchini Casserole


This summer I did not put in a garden (for a couple different reasons) so I've not been bombarded with the kazillion zucchini's that many of my readers are probably currently dealing with. As a matter of fact, my next door neighbor did not put in a garden this summer either and my best friend did not plant zucchini... so if I want this versatile vegetable I'm finding that I have to actually buy it at the store!

This little guy however, was a freebie. Left an orphan at the office with a sign that asked someone to please take him home, I was more than happy to oblige. And last night I finished off the last of a very tasty, very homey, grandmother-like comfort food.

Easy Zucchini Casserole

1 fairly large zucchini - to make about 6 cups shredded or diced
1 large onion, chopped
4 T butter
1/2 cup sour cream
salt to taste (about a teaspoon)
1/2 t Garlic/Pepper seasoning (or use garlic powder and regular black pepper)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed (about a cup)

Cook the zucchini in a pan on the stove over medium high heat. The zucchini will release a lot of liquid. Drain it off, return it to the stove and continue cooking until the zucchini is tender. Make an opening in the center of the pan and add the butter and onions to saute golden and add flavor. (About 5 minutes). Mix the zucchini and onion with the rest of the ingredients except the crackers. Place it in a greased or foil lined casserole dish or pan. Top with the Ritz or other buttery crackers. Bake in the oven at 350-375 for 20-30 minutes until completely warmed through and crisp on top.
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10/4/10

Packaging Failure! (Funny!)

I bought this at the grocery store a few days ago
for my teenage son who likes these as a snack or quick lunch....
but never read the packaging until my daughter
showed it to me yesterday.

Epic Fail Mr. Chef Boyardee!


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10/3/10

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip for Crackers

I've made some fabulous meals this week but they haven't shown up on the website so you might think I've not been cooking anything... I have! It's just the life keeps me so busy that I often times click a photo of the dish I want to share with my readers but I don't get time to actually post it. My files are filled with random images of foods from the kitchen that make it to the pages of An American Housewife.

The night before last I whipped up an impromptu pork chop meal that was quite delicious but I neglected to write down what all I was adding or how much. Typical of me. LOL. I browned the pork chop in a bit of olive oil. I added minced garlic and sliced onions and sauteed them in the pan with the pork chops. I used a Bavarian Spice from Penzey's and some salt and pepper to season. I removed the chops to a plate and deglazed the pan with some left over red wine on the counter. I poured that over the chops and then placed all in the oven, covered, and baked at 375 for about 20 minutes until they were tender.

Today I'm pulling a photo from my file of a spinach dip I made earlier this week - an old standby for our family as it's a favorite. You can mix this up a little and use or omit what you like - it's still going to be good.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1 1/2 t minced garlic
1 1o oz. package chopped spinach
1 14 oz. can artichokes - chopped

Mix all and place in greased casserole dish. Bake 20 minutes at 325 or microwave.

Less garlic, more garlic, omit artichokes, add a bit of onion - it's all up to you. Play with your food!
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10/2/10

Grilled Zucchini with Cheese

Two of my favorite foods together; zucchini and cheese - yum! Right now I have zucchini I'm trying to find my top two favorite recipes to use for. I didn't put a garden in this summer and I'm MISSING MY ZUCCHINI! People always make jokes about having too much with no one to give it away to - but I've not found anyone offering it this summer! I really hate to pay the high prices in our local grocery store for them... so I'm treating this little gem like gold.

Grilled Zucchini with Cheese

2 t butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1/2 c shredded Monterey Jack


While the grill preheats, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, but don't brown it or burn it or it will be bitter. Add the zucchini halves in the mixture and coat well by stirring and flipping. Lay the halves flat side down on the grill.

Grill halves for about 5 minutes. Flip over, and add cheese equally across the length of zucchini. Grill until tender and cheese is melted.
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