Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving Prep.....

I have always wanted to make a corn casserole but have never tried it.  Today I thought I would do a trial run and see how it went and then if Hubby liked it, I could make one for Thanksgiving.  I had to do some work arounds but it came out pretty good.  Here's how it went together.

Corn Casserole
1 large package frozen whole kernel corn
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup milk (if you would like to more moist add 1/2 cup
1 package Jiffy Cornbread mix (8 ounces)
2 eggs
1 stick butter - melted
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese (Optional)

Note:  If you would like you can substitute a 15 ounce can of creamed corn for that part of the recipe.  I liked making the creamed corn and it was so yummy.

To start put the milk in a sauce pan along with 15 ounces of the corn and heat until thawed.  Add the cream cheese and melt.  I added salt and pepper to taste while this was heating.  If you would like the casserole a little more moist, add more milk at this point and continue to stir until creamy.

In a large bowl add the Jiffy mix, 15 ounces of corn, melted stick of butter, eggs and mix well with creamed corn mixture.  Add sour cream last and mix together well and pour into a greased casserole disk.  I used a large pie plate and it worked perfectly.  This is a fluffy creamy batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until golden brown and firm.  If you would like to add the cheese sprinkle on top and melt.  This makes a delicious casserole and makes a great side dish!

An easy to print copy is located here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Puttin Out the Leaves.....

I so love the holidays!!  It all begins with Halloween and then Thanksgiving along with Christmas and New Years!  I know there are others but this time of the year just seems so magical.  It seems that for weeks on end we get to be excited, full of Love and anticipation.  Everyone just seems to step a little livelier and have more Joy in their hearts.  I only wish I knew a better way to hold onto this all year long.

I am one of those people who is always working on one holiday about the time the other one shows up - I am still puttin out the leaves when I should be Christmas shopping and getting ready for the tree.  I think I am just trying to make it all last a little longer and of course I am just always behind and procrastinate.  But that's another story.

I know I am not alone - there are lots of blogs about enjoying the Fall season and then the Holidays.  We all try to grab all that we can from each day because it seems so far away before it comes again. 

Well here is my craft tip for today.  A good friend gave me this one and most may already know about it but here goes.  If you want free use clip art and images for scrapbooking and crafts, just go to and enter the subject.  For the one above I just entered thanksgiving images and tons popped up.  The click on the one you like and then left click to save as an image file.  There are so many uses for these and they are beautiful.  Just another way to Savor the Season!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Much Lime......

Okay - this all started out as Lemon Chicken - something I have never tried but always wanted to make.  I have been trying hard to cook again after years of working hard and not having the energy or brain power to do much more than microwave and make eggs.

Soooo I have a package of skinless boneless chicken breasts - what to do - what to make.  Only problem is there is no lemon juice and no lemons in the fridge and we are trying hard not to run out willy nilly just to pick up one or two things.  We are trying the use what you got theory and make it work.  Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes not so much.  So here is how I came to make Chicken Lo Mien.

I sauteed some onions and garlic in olive oil and Can't Believe It's Not Butter (my go to for butter substitutes) until they were soft.  I took them out of the pan and added the chicken and sauteed it until it was browned on the outside.  I sprayed a baking dish with olive oil spray and put the chicken, onions and garlic and leftover oil and butter mixture.   Here is where I made the fatal flaw - well not so fatal - I was able to save the chicken and not have it put to death by trash, but it was touch and go.  I added a whole lime that I had cut into chunks.  Yep - I said a whole lime......I did have a lime, just not a lemon.  The recipe said juice of two whole lemons so why not a lime.....right?????  An hour later when I took the chicken out of the oven it smelled divine.  It was juicy and tender but when I took bite it was so bitter I could barely swallow it.  Way too much lime - it may have been OK with the juice but using the whole lime made it way too strong.

So what to do to fix it...enters Hubby who is supposed to be the chef around here and of course he can't believe I put the whole thing in there.  We look it up and supposedly sugar will temper the taste.  He goes a little over board and adds sugar and syrup - yep I said syrup.  If you are making chicken and waffles this probably would have been ingenious but here not so much!  We muddled through and ate some of it with the potatoes I made that would have been good with lemon chicken but not with sweet chicken.

This is how it came to become Chicken Lo Mien and turns out it was delicious!!!  I love Lo Mien and never have made it.  Turns out you can make it somewhat healthy and it was delicious.  Side note - skip the step where you bake the chicken in the lime bath. 

Chicken Lo Mien
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tbs chopped garlic (I use the jarred kind)
1 tbs corn starch
4 boneless skinless split chicken breast cooked and chopped (I sauteed and baked mine until done)
2 cups thick spaghetti noodles cooked
1 small onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup frozen peas

Saute onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of butter or margarine of your choice and about 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add carrots and saute until all veggies are tender.  Throw the chicken in and stir and saute with the veggies just until warm.  In a saucepan, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic salt and simmer on low.  Add corn starch and mix well - I stir mine into some of the liquid or water and then add to the pot to avoid any lumps.  Simmer this until it thickens a bit and is completely mixed.

I then added my noodles to the pan and poured the sauce over that and simmered this way for about 10 minutes.  I then mixed well and let it heat through for about another 10 minutes.   You can spice this up or make it hot if you desire. 

I you have a teriyaki sauce that you like, you can use that in place of the sauce and it works well too.  This can be made with beef or just veggies of your choice.

It turned out wonderful using the chicken we almost thought was ruined because the sweet of the teriyaki fixed it.  It was Awesome!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Brunswick Stew - I think......

My Hubby is from North Carolina and evidently Brunswick Stew is big there.  He has always talked about how much he loved it and wanted us to make some.  Ugh.....chicken in a stew.....I imagine bones and nasty parts of the chicken in brown liquid.  I must admit I am a bit squeamish about chicken parts and or bones of any type, but I do love to eat and otherwise I am not very picky....just don't serve bones in liquid.  Growing up in South Carolina, bones were served up pretty regularly and hearing them crunch or finding them in your meal was normal.  There were bones in our fish, in salmon stew, salmon cakes, chicken stew and all kinds of chicken - no boneless chicken.

Now, having sad all that, I ran across a recipe for Southern Brunswick Stew last week and since I am on my new cooking quest, I decided to give it a shot.  Maybe...I dunno....could I make it palatable even for me and the Girlies in our family who also have an aversion to bones????  Doubtful, but why not give it a try for the Hubs.  So this is how I accomplished it with his help and if I do say so myself it was down right tasty and eatable.  Patience though - my methods are not exactly streamlined and fast.

Here's what I put in it:
1 whole chicken - about 3 pounds or so
1 large can tomato sauce
1 large can stewed tomatoes
1 large bag frozen baby Lima beans
1 large bag frozen okra
1 large bag frozen corn
2 cups chopped baby carrots
2 stalks chopped celery
1 large onion
2 tbs of crushed garlic (I use the jarred kind)
4 or 5 chopped potatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 large container of chicken stock
3 chicken bullion cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp celery salt
1 tbs garlic salt with parsley
3 tbls corn starch
1/2 cup water
3 tbs Worstershire sauce
1 1/2 stick of healthy margarine

For this to work for me the chicken had to be cooked before composing the stew - that way I can get all of the nasty stuff out of the way.  I researched lots of recipes and found lots of different ways to do the chicken including cooking it all together but that wasn't for me.  So I roasted it the day before hoping to get some flavor in the meat.  I cooked that fat boy at about 375 degrees for a little over and hour with Can't Believe It's Not Butter all over his rump and onions stuffed you know where.  I added some baby carrots in the pan and threw him in the oven uncovered.  When he was done and cooled a bit, I covered him tightly and put him in the fridge overnight.

Some of the recipes I found used several different kinds of meats like pork and beef along with the chicken, but since I was trying to make this somewhat healthy and not so full of calories, I just put in the bird.  Well if you have never pulled the meat off of a chicken, it is a nasty job, or maybe it's just me.  Hubby came home from work just in the nick of time to have that fun.  We only used pulled meat with no fat, skin or icky stuff.  Just so you don't think I waste nasty stuff, I freeze all of the ugh and I plan to make some dog food from that. 

Ok - drag out your biggest soup pot - this makes a lot of stew!  First I put in all of the tomatoes and frozen veggies and added the stock and 4 cups of water and the bullion.  I sauteed the celery, onion, garlic and carrots in a separate pan until they were tender.  I used the same margarine for this and a little olive oil.  I peeled and chopped the potatoes - since I am not so good with my hands, I just did a rough chop and added them to the soup pot along with the shredded chicken and sauteed veggies.  I then added the seasonings and another half stick of the Can't Believe It's Not Butter and the can of tomato sauce, Worstershire and stirred well.

We brought it to a full boil and stirred and let it roll for a little over 10 minutes.  After that I kept the pot on medium heat and stirred regularly scraping the bottom.  It took a couple of hours for everything to start getting tender and for the taste to develop. At this point I mixed about 1/2 cup water with 3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch and poured into the soup and stirred well.  This thickens it up a bit and makes a nice broth.  If you want it thicker, just add more corn starch.  Then I turned down the heat to low and just let it simmer until dinner time.  The chicken will mix well and breakdown into the stew and this makes each bite awesome. 

If you wanted to do this faster, you could use chicken breast or even canned chicken and canned veggies and it would cook up pretty quick.  The next day the stew is even better

Full disclosure - I did fry up some bacon and we chopped it for the guys to sprinkle over theirs and we put out all kind of hot sauces.  Apparently everything is better with these things!  If your family all like pork, you could add the bacon in to the stew.  Just make it your own!  Oh and cornbread is a natural with this.  If you would like an easy to print version of this recipe, you can find it here: