Tag Archives: recipes

mamma’s best

People.  Have you seen this genius-ness: tea towels with recipes printed on them?  Oh my word. Brilliant.

There are few things I love more than visiting the Mother Land and having my mom cook my favorite meals for the 2 or 3 nights I’m home.  I saw a recipe on Pinterest this weekend called “Mom’s Chicken Gloria” (or near there) and it made me think of all those meals I make but have not cracked the code. The meals that Mom does her way, the best way. The meals I wait all year for, really… that are best served around the table you grew up setting.

I nearly bought a plane ticket home to Texas immediately… Curt IS gone for the next 2 weeks! But I didn’t. This week, though? This week I will be making Mom’s Chicken Schnitzel, Mom’s Chicken and Dumplings, and Mom’s Cabbage and Noodles.

I’m headed somewhere with all of this.

Promise.Mamma's best

Here’s what I’m thinkin’:

In honor of the Mom’s and Momma’s and Ma’s and Gramma’s out there, let’s gather up their best and put it together in a sweet lil’ pdf file. It  will give all of us some new casseroles, and (selfishly) it will get me moving on my Mother’s Day gifting.

Wanna play?

Dig through those recipes. Email me or scan… I think scanning will work… up to 5 of your favorite family recipes. I want the ones you ask for when you go home for Sunday dinner, the ones you make when you’re homesick, the ones that have been made in your home for generations. I’ll gather them into one file and then each participant will get a copy. Simple.

I’ll take contributions until next Friday.

Giddy up.

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yums

Oh, man… are you gonna lu-huv me or WHAT after today!  Somehow, in the dead of winter, while we were chili-ed and stew-ed and casserole-d OUT, I stumbled across some major winners and it’s only fair to share. You never know who’s life you’ll change with a good avocado sauce.

Here you go. Nothing fancy, nothing skilled, nothing photoshopped. In fact, no photos at all… I’m a terrible food photographer. Just the basics, Folks! Tried and true.

cilantro-lime-avocado sauce

[from HERE]

2 T butter

2 T flour

2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 t. cumin

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/4 t. pepper

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 avocados

1 lime, juiced

  • Melt the butter and then whisk in the flour.  Let this thicken for a couple minutes while you stir, and then add in the chicken broth.
  • Bring broth, butter, and flour to a bubbly simmer and let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally while you blend the remaining ingredients (sour cream, spices, cilantro, avocados, and lime juice) in a blender.
  • Carefully add the butter/flour/broth mixture to the blender and purée.  Be sure to pulse and then let the steam out of the top, pulse again, and let it breathe. The heat will need somewhere to go, so be mindful.

That’s your sauce. Put it in your enchiladas with chicken and cheese, put it on top of your enchiladas, use it with quesadillas, dip tortilla chips in it, use it as a dressing on your turkey wrap or scrambled egg soft taco.  I did all of these things. I ate the sauce every day for a week- often twice in one day. It’s cool and creamy and very, very happy.

peanut sauce

[I have no clue where I found this, but it’s been taped to the inside of my cabinet for more than 2 months now and I’ve used it A LOT.]

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 T rice vinegar

1/2 T chili-garlic sauce

  • whisk all ingredients together and add it to about 12oz. of cooked noodles
  • add 1/2 cup onion, 1 cup carrot slices, 2 cups extra veggies, 3 T fresh garlic, and 1/2 t. ground ginger for a whole stir fry meal

Big winner with the kids. BIG. WINNER. I had them at “PEANUT BUTTER NOODLES.”

mustard chicken

[from HERE]

1.5 to 2# boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken thighs

1/2 cup Dijon mustard (I used spicy brown mustard… still lovely)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (truly)

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tbsp. cornstarch or flour

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a 8×8″ pan with 2 layers of tin foil
  • In small bowl, whisk together mustard, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken thighs in the foil layered pan then pour the mixture on top of it. Turn the chicken around in the sauce to coat everything well.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. [If you are using a dryer cut of meat- chicken breasts, for example- you can cut the time by about 10 minutes but check to be sure the meat is done and the juices run clear.]
  • Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate. Do NOT discard the liquid- we’re going to use it to make a quick sauce.
  • Immediately after removing the chicken, whisk in the 1 tbsp. of cornstarch or flour into the liquid in the pan. You’ll create a nice, thick sauce to drizzle over your chicken. Do this immediately because the liquid needs to be hot in order for it to thicken properly. If it’s still not thickening after mixing in 1T, you can add a little more.

I served this over rice and happily ate leftovers all week. Even Gus Man ate this one, which is bold praise since his mantra lately is, “No Like It” if it looks like anything other than a sammich.

Carry on, Friends!

I’m in the processing of wrapping and mailing out your TXN sweatshirts. It’s taking longer than I hoped to get them out the door. I completely overestimated my ability to work with tape while having a 15-month old, a 3-year old, and a 6-year old monitor my every step.  I’ve gone through 6 rolls of tape. If you’re having 2nd thoughts about not ordering OR need to request a different size for whatever reason, these are the extras I have:

  • (1) L green hoody ($20)
  • (1) XL green hoody ($20)
  • (1) 2XL green hoody ($25)
  • (1) L grey crewneck ($29)
  • (1) L green crewneck ($31)

the other 2

This week has been a breath of fresh air.  Tuesday’s launch of the special-needs group I’m co-hosting with Kaylee was/is unbelievable.  The response and community already forged is simply, well, simply a God-send.  Thank you for cheering us on!  I consider you here my anchors, and it means the world to me that you yell and scream and cry and laugh… or just sit… when I need it most.  Thank you.

Now that Ry is away from home at Big School every day, I’ve had a little more time to be with the young’ins.  Oh, man… they are cute.   It has been strange to do half-days and full-days without Ry shadowing our every move, but it has been such a blessing to get to know these kids better.  We are still trying to find a rhythm between errands and naps and food, but things are beginning to fall in place.

Here’s Abby at 9.5 months and 17 pounds of sweet.  She likes to dig in Rylie’s kitchen while Big Sister is away.  Abby is crawling like a maniac and singing to beat the band.  This child, she is going to be our heartbreaker.   She is completely different in temperament and personality from the other two.  God is so creative.

 

And, here’s Gus Gus at 2.5 years, 32 pounds of brute.  Gideon’s life right now is about trucks, B (the bear), AND HARRY the barn cat who is not allowed inside… do you see the guilt on that face? Lawd, I could just eat him. Harry puts up with a lot from Gus, as you can tell.

  

Sometimes, we even find time to clean off the counter top and make cookies.  This summer, Rylie’s day camp had a cooking class came home with this recipe.  It’s hands-down the best thing I’ve tried in ages… and I’m not even a cookie fan.  It must be the shortening.  I don’t know.  They’re incredible   I can’t tell where the recipe originated, but the nuns use it every year, so I’m calling them Blessed Cookies 🙂 Gideon likes to have them with a side of blocks and trucks.

Bless-ed Cookies

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup nuts

Preheat oven to 375 °.

Cream shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla.  Sift dry ingredients together and then add to creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Add chocolate chips and nuts.

Baked on a greased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes.

Have a great weekend, Folks!

We love you here at TexasNorth.


enchiladas

Yesterday was a rough day.

And I sat down to start today’s post, which has been brewing for some time now, but I realized it was going to take me somewhere I wasn’t ready to go after a day like today.  So, we’ll save it for Monday.

Instead, we’re going to go with enchiladas.  The best enchiladas you’ve ever had.  Truly.  Go to the store, buy the ingredients- even the weird ones– and make it.  This is the meal that taught me about tomatillos and how to buy hot peppers… neither of which I was ever confident enough to do before. It’s also a Big Girl recipe… with multiple steps and more than 5 ingredients.  This takes me out of 95% of my comfort zone.  Add in things like tomatillos and fresh herbs and this Polish girl is panicking.  I know.  But it will be ok, I promise you.  Let’s grow together, shall we?

My sister-in-law Sarah (also known as the nicest person I’ve ever met) made this for me years ago in Montana and I have never looked back.  Megan asked for it last week saying she couldn’t find it on the blog and I was stunned I’d never put it out there before.  I’ve been holding out on you and I AM SORRY.

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

(from Sarah…out of Texas Monthly)

salsa verde:

2 #s tomatillos, dehusked and washed (Don’t be afraid.  They’re sticky under the husk, but they’ll look just like little green tomatoes after to peel the husk off and rinse them.)

1 medium yellow onion

6 serrano peppers or 3 jalapenos (I use 4 serranos, personally.)

2 T. canola oil

¾ cup fresh cilantro

salt to taste

Place tomatillos, onion, & peppers in a skillet and drizzle with 1 T. of canola oil.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Add skillet mixture to blender with cilantro & salt.  Heat remaining 1 T. of canola oil in the skillet.  Add blender sauce to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.  Set aside.

chicken enchiladas:

2 ½ #s chicken

¼ cup butter

1/3 cup diced green pepper

1 1/3 cup diced yellow onion

¾ cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 t. minced garlic

1 t. salt

1 t. pepper

1 ½ t. cumin

¾ t. oregano

¾ cup whole tomatoes, pureed with juice

¾ cup canola oil

16-20 white corn tortillas (6” round)

1 # Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°.  Boil chicken and shred.  In a 2 qt. pot, melt butter.  Add bell pepper, onion, and diced fresh tomatoes.  Cook until soft.

To pot, add shredded chicken, spice mixture (in italics above), and pureed tomatoes.  Cook for 15 minutes.

In a skillet, heat canola oil.  Using tongs, place tortillas in one at a time and cook until soft.  Stack on a plate with a paper towel in between each one.

Assemble enchiladas.  Pour salsa verde and shredded cheese on top.  Bake until cheese melts.

Sure, you can make it with flour tortillas and freeze it- just make the salsa verde the day you’re going to eat it.

Go for it.

Enjoy.

Meet me back here Monday, ok?

Gracias.


resolution and a recipe

Next week, our little family will head to the Detroit area to visit with Nancy Kaufman, an expert in Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  I think of it like this: school speech therapists handle  every problem in the speech disorder spectrum, like a coach that teaches every sport.  Nancy, however, knows apraxia.  She only coaches Rylie’s kind of kids.  We have 4 days of 2-hour therapy with her and are hoping to leave with a better understanding of what Rylie’s future holds. 

Friday, Ry’s school therapists suggested we consider taking Ry to a genetic counselor.  When she was 2 years old, we took her to the children’s hospital to be evaluated, and it was decided that there was nothing ‘deeper’ going on besides idiopathic apraxia and all the motor-planning issues that commonly accompany it.  Now that it’s been 2 years, it may be a good time to have some medical testing done to see if anything shows up.  We’ll ask Nancy if she agrees.

The suggestion did not go over well with me.  It made me tired.  And, truthfully, sad.  I think I’ve been secretly hoping (and expecting) that with much effort would come much progress… and yet, we still find ourselves on the ‘we’re not sure what’s going on’ side of things. 

Some specific prayers, if your gate swings that way:

• that our visit with Nancy would give us some realistic expectations and renewed motivation to press on. This is a marathon, not a sprint. 

• that Rylie and I would find some balance in our daily life.  I have not been handling my role as a parent well lately.  Our last few months have been an incredible battle of (freakishly similar) wills.  I have expected Rylie to grow faster than she can, to understand more than she is able, to be patient even where I am not.  I forget she is four.

• that Winter would not suffocate me.  I have been lazy with my work as a parent and wife as the temperatures drop.  I want to be better with my time.    Plan dinner, be on time to appointments, get dressed before noon.  Hello.  Be an adult 🙂

Here’s to a better (and more realistic) tomorrow.  Cheers. 

The recipe below breaks no culinary boundaries, but it’s comforting.  It’s heavy and warm and perfect with bread.  Sometimes at the end of a rough Winter day, that’s exactly what you need.

Baked Potatoes and Stew

  • 1 potato for each person, scrubbed clean and rubbed in olive oil and salt AND pricked with a fork 
  • 1 pound of stew meat, dredged in flour and browned in a splash of oil 
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, chopped 
  • 1/2 of a Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 16 oz. of beef broth
  • butter, sour cream and cheese for serving, if desired

Stew usually has pieces of potato in it… but pouring the stew over a baked potato allows you to freeze any leftovers.  Potatoes don’t freeze well.  Meat and broth and vegetables?  They freeze fabulously.

Turn your oven on to 375°.   Put your potatoes in (no need to preheat) and check after 45 minutes.  Extra large ones may take an hour.  The oil and salt on the skins make them nice and crispy.

Once you get your potatoes in: brown your meat, add your vegetables and stir until the onions are translucent.  Now add your broth (and maybe a little leftover beer? hello.) and turn your heat down as low as it will go.  Leave it here to simmer while the potatoes finish cooking.

Break open a potato in each person’s bowl.  Add butter and cheese to melt, and then pour a ladle of stew over the whole deal.  A helping of sour cream on top, a chunk of bread, and you are all set.  Dig in.

Serves 2.5 with leftovers.


a rave, a rant, and a recipe

rave • We’re in Potty Training Land.  The land where little buns run around in little undies and make the world a cuter place.  It’s our second major ‘go’ at it, and there is no turning back now.  I am under no illusions of speed or genius here.  We are not a ‘trained in 2 days’ kind of team.  But, Ry is getting it.  She is starting to understand the mysterious ‘feeling’ that comes before you have to go.  How the heck do you explain that to a three year-old?  Truthfully, I admit I doubted her abilities.  I thought with all her motor issues that the Potty and Undies were not in our immediate semi-normal future.  I was/am wrong.  Again.  Way to go, Kid.  We are so ridiculously proud of you for starting this step in your life.  We have a long way to go, but Girl, you can make a gray sky blue. [This is our potty.  We love it.]

rant • I’m mad at Martha Stewart.  I actually feel contempt towards her, which is extremely sad. I know.  It all started when I saw her guest-judge a bunch of Kid Cooks.  One girl made Sloppy Joes and offered Martha a taste. “Oh, I don’t eat that kind of food,” she replied.  Then, on another episode, she took a bowl out of a child’s hand and emptied the contents herself because he was trying to ‘make it pretty’ and she said, “It’s all going to be stirred together.  It doesn’t matter.  And then, THEN PEOPLE!  She was talking about invitations and how she was going to something special and blah blah blah… and her guest said, “Yes!  Didn’t you see that at the bottom?  You’re supposed to wear blue.” Or something to that effect… and Martha said, “Oh, that.  I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. I just write down the event and time.”  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  How rude and snotty can you possibly be? That is absolutely unacceptable behavior.  Time. Out.  I like her ‘stuff’ so much… all her crafty gadgets and dishes and sheets.  I really do.  I suppose that’s a credit to her Craft Team, essentially.  But I don’t like her.  I just needed to get that out there so you know where I stand.  I hope we can still be friends.

recipe • Oh man, is this gonna rock your socks off.  It’s just stew.  Your basic meat and carrots and broth stew… but there are these potato dumplings.  The dumplings, people… they may change your life.

from: Taste of Home, page 121

[Obviously, you can use your normal stew recipe, but here’s the whole deal if you like.]

STEW

Dust 2 pounds of stew meat with salt/pepper and flour (Thank you, Skeeter, for making this meal possible).

Dice 2 medium onions and saute in a dutch oven/heavy pot with 2T of oil.  Add the dredged meat and cook until meat is browned and onions are beginning to soften.

To the meat and onions, add 21ounces (or close) of beef broth, 3/4 cup water (skipped), 1T red wine vinegar (I skipped this.), 6 peeled and chopped carrots, 2 bay leaves (I used one.), 1t. dried thyme, and 1/4t. garlic powder (skipped).

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat.  Simmer covered for 1.5 hours or until meat is almost tender.  Discard the bay leaf.

DUMPLINGS

In a large bowl, beat one egg (thank you, chickens for making this meal possible).  Add 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, 1T flour, 1T minced parsley, 1T minced onion, 1/2t. dried thyme, 1/2t. salt, 1/2t. pepper.  (I forgot the onion and thyme.  I’m pregnant.) 

Stir in 2.5 cups of finely shredded potatoes.

Turn the heat up on your stew again so it starts boiling.  Flour your hands and make little dumpling balls out of the mixture.  Then roll each ball in a pile of flour and shake off before setting in the stew.  Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.  No peeking!  The dumplings have to cook.

I also added a small can of peas at the very end.  In my house, stew is not stew without carrots and peas. It’s the only time I eat those vegetables, and the meal is incomplete in their absence. 

So say-eth Katie Mulder.  Amen.

Be warm and happy this weekend.  Love to you all!


But, what about…

• Let’s clear a few things off the ‘what about’ list, shall we? •

Copy of bale feeder 001What about Bonnie, the prize longhorn that didn’t get pregnant this summer?  Well, after returning to the dating pasture for an extra month, she came home last night with a positive pregnancy test.  Releasing her from milking her calf really helped.  All four mammas are now back home and with-calf.  They are starting to get furry-er for Winter.

What about Winter?  Many of you have asked what will happen to our girls when the snow flies.  I love you.  God made longhorns able to survive in some really wicked conditions- low feed, brutal weather, family members with horns.  They take Winter up here in stride, with no barn necessary.  All they need are some tall trees for a break from the wind and food.  We lose our grass up here in Michigan around November, which puts a damper on the whole ‘grazing’ thing.  So, they feed on alfalfa grass that’s been baled into huge rolls.  The rolls are set in the field in a round-bale feeder, like the red one below.  Bregular feederecause of a longhorn’s horns, we had two feeders made special for our cows.  Our version allows the bale to be contained (so they don’t pull it all out and lay in it) while still allowing them to stick their heads and horns inside to eat.  There’s your farming lesson for the day, Folks.  Walk tall and proud.

The feeders also make fantastic playpens.  Rylie and Kendall were smitten for a good half hour,  pretending and running and climbing and laughing.  Perhaps we should have bought an extra. [aside: Is it me, or is Scooter the Kitten always in the ‘acidentally’ in the shot?]

MREWhat’s our next game?  Here are my thoughts.  I am trying to be a better woman.  I have no trouble admitting that I need your help.  Winter is approaching for most of us, and meal planning will be changing.  I’d love to do a re-mix of the Keeper’s Recipe Swap.  Lots of readers have come and gone since November 2007, so I think we’d get a great new mix.  It would go like this:

  • Players would comment or email that they’d like to play.
  • Players would come up with 5 main entrees they serve regularly. Recipes should be varied, ie: you can’t contribute 5 chicken dishes.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to open this booklet on a Sunday night and say, “Ok.  I’m cooking Becky’s menu this week.  What do I need to buy?”  All planned, all there, low level of brain stress.
  • Players would email me those meals and recipes. If you want to include sides and desserts for each entree, that’s your call but PS you’re awesome. 
  • I would compile the emails and make another e-booklet of the recipes.
  • I would pair up each player with a partner.  Partners would swap a magnet and an oven mitt, just for fun.  Any kind of magnet and oven mitt you want… they’re prolly on the same aisle in the grocery store, and they’ll both easily fit in a small envelope.  Easy, right?
  • Once players have received their gifts, I would email the e-booklet with menus galore.  If your partner doesn’t receive the magnet/oven mitt combo, you don’t get your recipes.  Mwa-ha-haaaaa!  [That’s evil I-figured-out-a-way-to-make-you-play-nice laughter.]
  • For example: If three of us play, our e-booklet would contain three weeks of menus, or 15 recipes.  At noon:  we’re already up to 10 folks playing!  At least weeks of menus coming!

Yes?  Minimal effort, major help in the meal-planning department, and we all become better people.  Yes.  How ’bout, lemme know by November 1st by simply emailing me your recipes.  That’s your EMAIL RECIPES TO ME deadline: November 1st.  I’ll get your swap partner to you November 2nd.  Your MAIL YOUR SWAP GIFT deadline will be December 1st.  Recipes can be tried and true from magazines, websites, etc… just be sure to credit the source.  Gracias!

Help with a name for this round, please and thank you?