Family Favorites · My Roots

Crunchy Potato Casserole, aka Wedding Potatoes

Crunchy Potato Casserole is a yummy side dish and family favorite.  It has become tradition served with Christmas and Easter ham.  I typically make the casserole the day before.  Simple to make and bake.  To make it easy on myself, I typically make the casserole the day before, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Many folks refer to this dish as ‘wedding potatoes’, since it is often served as part of wedding feasts.

CRUNCHY POTATO CASSEROLE

1 large bag frozen hash browns partially thawed
1/4 cup butter melted
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/4 cup butter, melted
crushed corn flakes (or seasoned bread crumbs)
parsley flakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients together, except for 1/4 cup butter and crushed corn flakes.
  • Place mixture in lightly buttered 9″ x 13″ pan.
  • Sprinkle crushed corn flakes (or bread crumbs) over the potato mixture and top with remaining 1/4 cup melted butter.
  • Sprinkle with parsley flakes.

  • Bake for 50 minutes (or until hot in the center).
Family Favorites · Holidays · New Traditions

Baked Ham…Crockpot Style

Easter and Christmas holidays call for a baked ham.  Easy-peasy recipes allow the host/hostess to enjoy their family and friends and this recipe, coupled with the crunchy potato casserole (March 29, 2013 post), make preparation easy.

My family doesn’t enjoy spiral sliced hams, honey-baked hams, but they LOVE this recipe.  The leftover ham makes wonderful sandwiches, too.  Typically I purchase a Butt Portion Ham, often available for $.99-$1.39 a pound, a true friend of the family budget.

BAKED HAM CROCKPOT STYLE

Pour 1/2 up water in Crock Pot. Wrap precooked 3-4 pound ham in foil; place in Crock Pot. Cover and cook on High 1 hour then turn to low for 6-7 hours or until ham is hot. If cooking a larger ham, cook 1 hour on high and 8-10 hours on low.

Cathy’s method: I follow the instructions above put typically have to cut a few slices off the ham to make it fit in the Crock Pot and . I start the process about an hour before bedtime and then turn to low and cook 12-14 hours. The ham is juicy, tender and delicious.

Adapted from Rival Crock Pot Cooking

New Favorite

Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Our baby shower treats of last Saturday focused on baby-sized treats, including Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.  Who doesn’t love a Snickerdoodle cookie…so why not a cupcake?  They could easily be adapted to a full-size cupcake without a problem.  They are yummy, yummy in the tummy as I will soon say to my first Grandbaby.

Mini Snickerdoodle Muffins

MINI SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKES

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

Cinnamon Frosting

6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons milk (or more to achieve desired consistency)

Garnish

2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Makes 98+ mini muffins.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
  • Divide butter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.
  • Bake rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about (10-15 minutes). (Cathy’s Note: Each oven varies greatly with mini cupcakes, so do a test run.)
  • Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.
  • Frost mini cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  • Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted.  Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Cupcake recipe adapted from:  Martha Stewart
Icing recipe from:  Betty Crocker

New Favorite

Mini Corn Dog Muffins…addictive finger food

This past weekend my older daughter, Megan, and I hosted a baby shower for younger daughter, Sarah, due April 27.  Megan did all of the planning and the food was to be ‘baby size’.  One of the recipes that we chose was Mini Corn Dog Muffins.   Served with mustard and ketchup they were a big hit for the little ones and grown-ups alike.  Let me warn you…they are addictive!

MINI CORN DOG MUFFINS

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal (yellow)
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8-10 all-beef hot dogs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add eggs and whisk to incorporate.  Add buttermilk and whisk again.
  • In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, cornmeal, flour and salt.  Stir to combine. Whisk into wet ingredients.
  • Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray.  Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup.  Place one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup.
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes (oven temperatures may vary) or until cornbread is golden brown.  Cool in mini muffin tin for 5 minutes before removing and serving. I found using a small bamboo skewer was the perfect way to loosen the edges of the muffins to remove from the muffin tin.
  • Serve with sides of mustard and ketchup.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator and re-heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Adapted recipe from Iowagirleats.com

For Snickerdoodle mini-cupcakes, see post Friday, March 22.

Family Favorites · Holidays · My Roots

Irish Soda Bread…St. Paddy’s Day Tradition

Let me just say that I will eat almost any ethnic food any time, any where.  While I’m not truly Irish, my family would say that we are part ‘Scotch-Irish‘.  Like every good American, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day eating the traditional corned beef, cabbage and Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Soda Bread is tasty and simple.  The key is to make sure the bread is cooked through by testing with the ‘hollow sound’.  It’s delectable served warm with butter, but I love a piece drizzled in honey.

This St. Patrick’s Day:

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
–Irish blessing

IRISH SODA BREAD

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet.
  • In large bowl, combine flour with soda, sugar, salt and cream of tartar, mix well.
  • Add buttermilk; with fork, stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn out dough only lightly floured board. Knead lightly until smooth, about 1 minute.

  • Shape dough into a ball; place on cookie sheet. With hands, flatten into a 7″ circle. With sharp knife, cutting 1/4 inch deep, mark into quarters.

  • Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden-brown and loaf sounds hollow when rapped with knuckle.
  • Remove loaf to wire rack. Brush top with butter; cool completely.

Yield: 1 loaf

New Favorite · Skinny · Vegetarian

Asparagus with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

My first recollection of asparagus was slimy canned asparagus served with school lunches.  Yuck!  My Mother would occasionally gather wild asparagus in the spring, but it was not a regular visitor to our home dinner table.

As an adult, I’ve learned to love asparagus and the many ways it can be prepared. I ran across this recipe AND I had all of the ingredients.  This recipe is so simple and quite elegant.  Tonight I paired it with salmon, always a wonderful combination.

Next time I try this recipe, I may use chopped pecans for a little different twist.

ASPARAUS WITH CRAISINS AND PINE NUTS

1 bunch asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 up dried cranberries (Craisins)
pinch of salt

  • Break off or trim the woody ends from the asparagus and discard. Set the spears aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Stir in the pine nuts, cranberries, and salt.
  • Cook and stir until the pine nuts start to look translucent, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the asparagus spears to the skillet and cook, adding a little more olive oil if needed, until stalks are bright green and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Serve on a platter and top with the cranberries and pine nut mixture.

Adapated from allrecipes.com, Asparagus with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

 

Czech Heritage · Family Favorites

Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Cheater Dumplings

I love sauerkraut and who doesn’t love dumplings? This Pork Chop with Sauerkraut and Dumpling recipe was something I created many years ago, probably when I was in a panic to cook something after a long day at the office.  Before kids, I made this recipe a lot but the kids weren’t fond of sauerkraut as children, but as adults they love it!

It was time to give this recipe a whirl again.  I enjoyed it thoroughly but daughter Sarah and I both thought we would enjoy just the sauerkraut and dumplings alone just as much as with the pork chops.

PORK CHOPS WITH SAUERKRAUT AND CHEATER DUMPLINGS

4 to 6 pork chops
1 can sauerkraut with caraway seeds (or add your own caraway)
1 tube refrigerated biscuits

  • Brown pork chops in large skillet. Salt and pepper.
  • Add undrained sauerkraut and additional water to cover pork chops.
  • Simmer until pork chops are tender and cooked through.
  • Add water to cover pork chops, again and place biscuits on top of sauerkraut.

  • Cover and cook over medium heat until biscuits are cooked.

 

 

New Favorite

DUMP CAKE…decadent and sinfully simple

Dump Cake is NOT a low cal dessert but it is easy and delicious. My buddy, Jan, again shared this recipe with me. Somehow this recipe escaped me all these years and I wanted to research it’s origin. Research points to the original Heloise for this recipe, although I couldn’t confirm nor deny this fact.

What I can confirm…this is a decadent pleasure to enjoy ‘once in a blue moon.’

DUMP CAKE

1 can (21 ounce) cherry pie billing (or apple)
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine
1 cup chopped pecans
whipped cream

  • Place pie filling and pineapple in 9×13″ cake pan.
  • Sprinkle on top 1 box yellow cake mix.
  • Slice 1 stick margarine and place over cake mix.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup chopped pecans over the top.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  • Serve with whipped cream and enjoy every bite!

 

New Favorite

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms…Filet Mignon of Mushrooms

Portobello Mushrooms are an adult favorite. I enjoyed button mushrooms and morels growing up but the Portobello Mushroom is my Filet Mignon of mushrooms. They are so hearty and delicious I use them as my entrée. This is just one of many ways to cook them. Experiment with your favorite ingredients!

STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS

4 large portobello mushroom caps
Baby Spinach
Grated/crumbled goat cheese
Garlic Salt
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-2 tablespoon olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Rinse mushroom caps under cold water and pat dry.
  • Brush mushroom caps lightly with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet cap side down. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
  • Put crumbled goat cheese in mushroom cap.  Top with a handful of baby spinach.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until the mushroom is cooked, cheese has melted, and the spinach is wilted.