IT IS WHAT IT IS!

I’ve posted here regularly, but never felt as at home here as I have at my home blog 3 Sides of Crazy. This will be my last public post here as I integrate ALWAYS eat on the Good China with 3 Sides of Crazy. ALWAYS eat on the Good China will become my personal recipe box.I just have too many different blogs with too many different themes to get the same joy I once got from blogging. Social networking has become sooooooooo out of control! I ditched twitter way back, now it’s time to condense my blogs too. With the exception of OUR KrAZy kitchen, a multi-authored recipe blog that I host, I am combining all of my blogs into one. Simply, it’s time to simplify.

So join me over at the all new IT IS WHAT IT IS! formerly known as 3 Sides of Crazy. I’ll see you there ūüôā

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GLAZED STUFFED PORK CHOPS – the secret is in the sauce

Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops
4 VERY thick pork chops
8 slices oatnut bread
butter
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup apricot pineapple jam, room temperature**
1 tablespoon peach schnapps
1 large lemon, juiced

  • Preheat oven to 350¬į.
  • Slit each pork chop along 2 sides to create a large pocket.
  • *Toast each slice of bread well and then lightly butter.
  • Cut each piece into small squares.
  • Toss with thyme, garlic salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each pork chop with 1/3 cup of mixture.
  • Whisk together the jam, peach schnapps, red pepper flakes, ginger and lemon juice.
  • Place chops in a square greased baking dish.
  • Arrange remaining stuffing around the edges.
  • Glaze chops and stuffing tops.
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes.
  • Turn chops, glaze chops and stuffing again. Bake another 30 minutes.

*If you prefer, prepare 1 box of stove top stuffing instead.
**Tonight I used Lemon Curd and had a distinctively fresh flavor with the same consistency.  Use whatever flavor speaks to you.

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Cinnamon Chocolate Babka Muffins

Cinnamon Chocolate Babka Muffins

DOUGH
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed 110 degrees
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant rapid rise yeast
1 large egg at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

  • Using a stand mixer, use a paddle to combine the milk, sugar and yeast, stirring to blend.
  • Add the egg, flour and salt mixing on low until a sticky dough begins to form.
  • Mix in the butter until well blended with no remaining chunks.
  • Switch to a dough hook and knead on low for about 10 minutes. The dough will be loose and sticky.
  • Butter a large bowl.¬† Add dough, cover with tea towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place. This will take 1-2 hours.

FILLING
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

  • Chop chocolate pieces in a food processor until small coarse pieces.
  • Add brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and pulse until coarse crumbs.
  • Set aside.

EGG WASH
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream

  • Whisk together until well blended.

STREUSEL TOPPING
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

  • In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and flour.
  • Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Set Aside.

ASSEMBLY

  • VERY GENEROUSLY butter 12 muffin tins OR use muffin papers for easier clean up.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface.¬† Gently depress the center to deflate.¬† Let rest 5 minutes.
  • Roll the dough into a 12×20 rectangle.¬† (flour as needed to prevent sticking)
  • Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough.
  • Roll the dough into a tight log.
  • Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (HINT: I now use dental floss for all this type of cutting.¬† You get a good clean cut every time.)
  • Place each piece into you prepared tin or papers.
  • Cover with your tea towel and let rise 30 minutes or so.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • After 30 minutes, brush tops with the egg wash.
  • Sprinkle each with the streusel topping.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and brown around the edges.
  • Cool completely on wire racks in the tin. (I use the papers because I like them warm, but the come out of the tins better cool).

 

 

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Corn Moussaka

This is a delicious casserole. It is also different, with the flavors of corn, tomato and cinnamon coming together harmoniously. I spotted this recipe in a magazine (Sunset ?) over 25 years ago. I have been making it ever since, I think your family will enjoy it as well. The only liberty I have taken with the recipe is the type of corn used as well as the amount.

Corn Moussaka
adapted from: Sunset Magazine
350F

corn, 2 -3 c frozen corn OR 1 – 2 15 oz canned corn, drained very well
1 pound lean ground beef
1 T flour
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 c water
1/2 t garlic salt
1/4 t rounded top cinnamon – 1/4 t flat top is not enough, but 1/2 t is too much

2 eggs
1 16 oz carton cottage cheese
1/3 c parmesan cheese

Spread corn in a 1 1/2 qt flat bottom oven proof casserole.

Brown beef, drain excess fat. Sprinkle with the flour cook an addition minute. Add garlic salt, cinnamon,  tomato sauce and water. Stir well and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes, spread over corn.

The garlic, tomato and cinnamon are absolutely delicious together. 

Bake 20 minutes

 

Beat eggs well, stir in cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Spread over meat mixture.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until topping is cooked. If desire, broil a minute or two to brown.

Serves 6

For more great recipes and a story or two, visit MomsSundayCafe!

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Fried Mashed Potatoes, just like Grandma’s!

Thinking about my grandmother this morning, got me to remembering her frugal ways. So many of her ways are incorporated into my own life. Food was never wasted, period. One thing she would do for us when we stayed the night is make her mashed fried potatoes.

She called them “cakes” but the ingredients were simple, leftover mashed potatoes and an egg. The secret is in the cooking time, remember these are mashed potatoes and much stiffer when cold. It takes a while to brown up the cakes, so you must be patient…..we just happen to have some leftover potatoes from our pot roast dinner, so lets make some cakes for our breakfast.

Like so many delicious old fashioned food,  these are not pretty, only tasty!

My grandma’s potato cakes
by the seat of my pants
makes “a few!”

leftover mashed potatoes – about 1 1/2 cups
1 egg
salt and pepper

Place the potatoes in a bowl, add the egg and mix well. The easiest way to do this is with a potato masher.

Drop the potato mixture into a frying pan, gently flatten, season with salt and pepper.

Cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, gently turn and continue cooking until firm to the touch, you want the cakes to cook all the way through, there is raw egg in the middle otherwise.

Serve with eggs and toast with homemade jam for a delicious breakfast!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments.

For more great recipes and a story or two, visit MomsSundayCafe!

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Chimichurri Sauce, a spicy parsley sauce

Yep TWO parsley recipes in a row, I guess you could say I am a big fan of parsley. In my opinion, seriously undervalued. But maybe more recipes like this one and that could change…….

Parsley is one of those ingredients I have a fondness for. I even have a category/label for parsley. You can find a few recipes there, and now this one will be added.

Chimichurri sauce is delicious and more than a sauce for grilled meats, although it shines in that role. It is a condiment that knows only the boundaries of your own taste buds.

It is delicious over grilled meats, but it also is a colorful marinade before the grilling takes place.

For other uses beside grilling meats, you can stir some into sour cream for a delicious creamy sauce for fish, vegetables and to decorate a taco or two. It would make a zesty salad dressing, simply stir some into yogurt or mix it half and half with your favorite vinaigrette.

And now lets make Chimichurri.

Chimichurri
adapted from tasting spoons
make about 1 1/4 cups

3 cloves garlic
1/2 jalapano pepper – use a spoon to remove the ribs and seeds, not your hands…..
1 T chopped yellow onion or 1 green onion sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
1 bunch flat leaf parsley- remove and discard the bottom half of the stems
1 3/4 t dried oregano
1 lime, juiced
1/2 t salt
1/2 c olive oil

Combine the garlic, jalapeno and onion in a food processor, pulse about 6 times, scrapping the sides of the processor bowl once. Add remaining ingredients through salt and process until mixture is chopped. Add oil and continue processing until mixture is beginning to become smooth, but still has some texture.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

For more great recipes and a story or two, come visit Moms Sunday Cafe!

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Parsley Pesto with dried herbs, roasted garlic and toasted walnuts

I am a big fan of regular pesto, you know the one, with basil and pine nuts. But I am a big fan of parsley, with it’s vitamins C and A, and it is also loaded with frugal. I like that part too.

Parsley Pesto with dried herbs, roasted garlic and toasted walnuts
by the seat of my pants
makes about 2 cups

1 large bunch of parsley
large handful of walnuts, toast for added flavor
3-4 cloves garlic, roast until deep golden brown
1 t salt

1 – 1 1/2 t thyme leaves
1/2 – 3/4 t oregano leaves
1/2 – 3/4 t rosemary leaves
1/2 – 3/4 t marjoram leaves

1/2 c Parmesan cheese

1/2 – 1 c olive oil

Wash the parsley in cold water, lay out on toweling, roll the towel up gently and let the water drain into the toweling.

Crush the dried herbs with a pestle, until fine. Set aside. If you are a big fan of herbs, and want richer flavor use the larger amounts!

Remove leaves, leaving behind most of the stems, discard the stems.

the stems are ready for compost or the worm box.

Place parsley leaves in food processor, pulse until chopped. Add toasted walnuts, roasted garlic and dried herbs. Pulse to chop walnuts, do not over process.

Add cheese and some oil. Begin processing, adding oil as needed to produce pesto to your own personal liking.

Process only until the mixture comes together and has a fluid look to it. I prefer to keep my pesto in the freezer, so I use a glass jar for storage.

Tonight we had whole wheat pasta with pesto as a side dish. It is not necessarily pretty, but it is very tasty!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

For more great recipes and a story or two, come visit Moms Sunday Cafe!

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Our Macaroni Salad

Like most every other family, the macaroni salad we eat, has evolved. I prefer a light dressing, so that the individual components of the salad can shine through. This is basic and of course can (and should be!) be adapted for your own family. The last time I made this salad, I used dried tortellini for the pasta, it was delicious.

Macaroni Salad
by the seat of my pants
serves 6-8

3/4 c small shell macaroni or salad macaroni
OR
2 1/2 c dried tortellini
1 c frozen peas
4 green onions, thinly sliced or 1/2 c diced onion*
2 hard cook eggs, diced
2 stalks celery (try to use the inner stalks, they are tender and sweet)
1/3 c chopped “bread and butter” style pickles
1 tomato, diced
1/3 c sliced black olives, if desire

3/4 c mayonnaise
2 T dijon mustard
2 T sweet pickle juice
2 T milk
1/4 t garlic salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

When ready to drain pasta, add peas to the colander and if using regular onion, top the peas with the diced onions, drain pasta over the peas and onions. This will blanch the onion and thaw the peas. Let cool.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all ingredients for the dressing, mix until smooth.

Gently fold the dressing into the salad ingredients to combine well.

Refrigerate until serving time.

You may want to add in one or two of the following:

1/2 diced cheddar or other cheese desired
1/2 c diced ham
1 c “pulled” BBQ chicken
1/2 c crumbled smoked salmon or cooked shrimps

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

For more great recipes and a story or two, visit MomsSundayCafe.

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Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Min here, from The Bad Girl’s Kitchen.¬† Long time no see!¬† I was lured over here yesterday by Melynda’s Apricot Pie, if you must know.¬† Then I just had to come back over and share my new creation with you!!

This recipe came about when I received an email listing “summer salads.”¬† There was a link to a recipe someone had called “Loaded Baked Potato Salad,” which I thought sounded great…but when I read through the recipe, it was really a casserole…?!¬†

What do I mean by “casserole?”¬† It was a potato dish that was assembled and then BAKED in a 9×13 pan.¬† Sort of reminiscent of my Twice Baked Potato Casserole, actually.¬† Totally not a “salad” at all, (salad in my mind means “cold”), and certainly not a dish I would think about serving in the heat of summer.

I set out to create a true potato salad.

First, I used my grill to bake the potatoes.  I just clean them, rub them with olive oil, then grill on the top rack over medium-ish heat for about one hour, turning over halfway through.  You want them baked but not too soft, keep in mind your grill may cook differently than mine.  Remove potatoes from grill and let cool before chopping, of course. I found that using a serrated knife helps the potatoes hold together better, while keeping the skin pieces intact.

Once salad ingredients are prepped, it’s important not to mix it until you’ve added everything, because the potatoes are a bit fragile.¬† You want to gently fold the ingredients together.¬† I used a mixture of sour cream and real mayonnaise because that’s what I prefer.¬† The real mayo adds a bit of flavor you wouldn’t get with sour cream alone.¬† You need to put this salad together ahead of time, and I’d recommend chilling it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so if you have time.

I have to tell you, this is an amazing potato salad!  Make it for your next barbecue, and everyone will be impressed!  I think the baked potatoes add so much to the flavor compared to a traditional potato salad made with boiled potatoes, that I may actually try to bake all my potatoes for salads from now on.

My family and I loved this potato salad; in fact my oldest son H-Bomb even asked for seconds although he’s not a huge potato fan.¬† It’s my new favorite, and I’m going to make more today!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 
Serves 6 to 8 

6 baked potatoes, skin on
1/2 pound bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp, then drained and cooled on paper towels
3 – 4 scallions, chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Reserve a few pieces bacon, some green onions and cheese to use as garnish. 

Use a serrated knife to gently chop potatoes, leaving skin on.  I cut each potato in quarters lengthwise, before chopping in pieces.  Add to large mixing bowl.

Add bacon, onions and cheese; do not mix. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix sour cream and mayo.  Add to potato mixture and mix gently with a rubber spatula.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Before serving, garnish with reserved cheese, bacon and green onions.

Don’t forget to visit me at The Bad Girl’s Kitchen for more fabulous recipes!

I also host the fun monthly food blog event, Taste & Create!  Please join us!

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Apricot Pie

This is my first Apricot Pie, I have made many apricot cobblers and crisps, but never a pie. While marketing yesterday I came across these beautiful apricots and knew the time was right. And this pie did not disappoint, it is delicious with sweetness and a bit of tart as apricots are known to offer.

Apricot Pie
adapted from:  The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
6 Р8 servings/pieces 

4 c apricot halves – I cut my fruit into quarters, thinking the pie will be easier to cut and serve. (2-21/2 pounds fruit).
1 c sugar
2 T tapioca
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 t cardamom (my addition, Fannie called for no spice in her pie)
2 T butter
double crust pie dough

Wash and cut fruit,

add sugar, tapioca, spice and lemon juice. Stir to combine.

Place bottom crust dough into pie pan, easing into pan to avoid stretching. Add fruit mixture, dot with butter.

I usually do not use the butter listed in a pie recipe…but added it this time for richness.

Cover with top crust, crimp edges.

Bake 400 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 35-40 minutes or until done in your oven.

Serve with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

For more great recipes visit Moms Sunday Cafe, you might also enjoy a story or 2!

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