Friday, November 29, 2013

Butternut Squash for the Holidays! A Nanny Cookie Experiment

New turkey platter from Hobby Lobby

Butternut Squash for the Holidays!

1 large butternut squash
2 medium vidalia onions
1 cup craisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup English walnuts
1 apple
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 packet Bacon & Chive roasting powder for potatoes


Pre-heat oven to 400*
Cut butternut squash in 1/2.
Scoop out the seeds
Peel and dice squash into 2 inch cubes
Peel and slice onions into thick ringlets
core apple and chop into 2 inch cubes
Place squash, onions, apple, into a large bowl.
Toss with olive oil
Toss with seasoning
Toss with bread crumbs
Add nuts and craisins and toss one final time.

Spread onto 13x 9x 1 cookie sheet and bake in 400* oven for 30 minutes

Serve warm as a side dish.

 This was one of my Kooky ideas or experiments. I'm known for cooking some crazy idea recipes and then not knowing what to call it.  This was one that turned out to be wonderful! It was a hit with even the members of the family who are not known to eat veggies!  This will be appearing on my table again!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

2/3 Cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
 4 eggs
 16 oz. can pumpkin
 2/3 cup water
 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons baking soda
 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1 teaspoon ground cloves
 2/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts
2/3 cup raisins
***See substitutions and additions at the bottom of this page*** Directions:
Heat oven to 350*
 Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans
 *This recipe may be made in a clean metal coffee can to bake round pumpkin bread slices
, but grease entire inside of can lightly and only fill can 2/3 full to allow for expansion of bread*
I baked one round and one regular this time. Use 9x5x3" size for rectangular loaves
 Mix shortening, sugar, pumpkin, eggs and water in one large bowl.
I mix together all my dry, powdered ingredients with a sifter.
Then blend them into the wet ingredients Last stir in the nuts and raisins.
 Pour into pans and bake for 1 hr 10 min or until a butter knife inserted into loaf comes out clean.
 Allow to cool completely before slicing. Wrap & Refrigerate to store for up to 10 days.

11/1/13** Substitutions and Additions***
Today when I made this recipe I lacked the ground cloves.
I had whole cloves so I put them through the coffee mill to make my own.
I still lacked 1/2 tsp. 
I added what I had to the dry ingredients.
Then I put about 1 tablespoon of crystallized ginger in the coffee mill.
I added that to the dry ingredients.
I added a dash of nutmeg . This helped make up for the spicey flavor which would have been lacking without the rest of the cloves.

I also added about 1/2 cup sourcream and substituted buttermilk for the water.
Makes for moist, flavorful and more nutritious bread. I look for any opportunity to
include buttermilk in recipes since it is full of probiotics.

Sore Throat and Cough Remedy

This recipe I found on Facebook.  It helps in dealing with cold weather problems
like colds, coughs, and sore throats.

wash fresh ginger bulb and slice into small pieces
Wash and slice lemon
Raw local honey is best

Place layers of ginger and lemon slices into a jar or container with a tight seal.
Pour honey over these.
Place lids on tight and put in refrigerator for a week or so.
This makes a liquid cough syrup that is all natural.
It tastes good too.

Make a tea with a cup of hot water and a tablespoon of this.
Sip it for relief.

It tastes so good it is good in tea just as a flavoring.
The nice thing is that if it doesn't help it won't harm you.
It doesn't cost a lot to make!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hill Country Pot Roast

Geranium in my kitchen.
 The weather has turned cool. Time for some comfort food.

Hill Country Pot Roast 


1 eye of round roast beef 
1 recipe of Hill Country Rub*
Large Dutch Oven
Cast Iron Skillet
Olive Oil
1 large onion
5 carrots peeled and chopped in half
8 potatoes
1 envelope Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
Directions for making Hill Country Rub

Combine in a bowl:
1 1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/4 black pepper
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

til mixed well and use to coat the outside completely of a roast beef

Package up any remaining and put aside in an airtight container.

Here is how my hill country rub came out looking. I canned up the left overs.
This is a Texas specialty and Texans know how to prepare beef! 

Once the roast beef is coated brown the outside to sear it in a hot cast iron skillet
with olive oil in the bottom coating it.  This can be done in your Dutch Oven but I do NOT recommend it. It nearbout ruined my Dutch Oven.  This time I took it out on the
grill and used the side burner and the iron skillet and kept the mess to a minimum!
Works better and faster.

Once that roast beef is seared on all sides place it in the Dutch Oven.
Pour the pan drippings over it.

Add the veggies peeled and chopped around it.
Add one envelope Lipton beefy onion soup mix
Add a kettle full of water.

Add to an oven preheated to 400 degrees.
Allow to roast for 1 1/2 hrs then reduce heat.
Simmer for additional hour or so until tender.

Makes a wonderful pan gravy.

This is my families favorite way for me to fix a pot roast.
It is savory and every morsel gets eaten!

***Cleaning Tip***
The time before when I nearly ruined my Dutch Oven enamel...
I learned that Polident denture tablets make short work of cleaning a mess off enameled cookware!  I cleaned this thing in 5 minutes flat after soaking it with four polident tablets
hot water and a drop of Dawn dish liquid. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chessie's Veggie Pasta Variations

Cleopatra the man-eating plant.  She's on the porch.
Eat up or she may eat you AND your dinner.

Chessie's Veggie Pasta--Variations on a Theme
One of our favorite restaurants in Virginia is The Depot Grille in Staunton.
They have a dish I love called Veggie Chessie Pasta er sumptin' like dat.
The last time I ordered it .. it was not as good. It was very very greasy.
It was flavorless.  I knew I could learn to make it myself at home and improve it.
And I did!
Great Success!


3 large uncooked chicken breasts
1 bottle Newman's Own Balsamic Vinagrette Salad Dressing
meat mallet
plastic wrap
cutting board or butcher block
one can shoepeg corn
1 medium tomato--diced
1 jar capers-drained
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 packet Knorr Parma Rosa Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups milk
olive oil
Sicilian Herb seasoning
Parmesan cheese grated not powdered
1/3 cup Pinola nuts
2 cups basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
pinch of fresh rosemary leaves
pinch of fresh lemon thyme leaves 

Place each chicken breast in between layers of plastic wrap
Pound on board with meat mallet until flattened and tenderized
on both sides.
Place in glass baking dish and marinate coating well
with balsamic vinagrette dressing. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrig.

Homemade Basil Recipe:
 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves minced
salt and pepper to taste
* optional .. add two sprigs fresh rosemary
and two sprigs fresh lemon thyme 

Puree basil and herbs in food processor
Add other ingredients and puree together.

 Pre-heat your grill
Turn on your water to boil for pasta
I used the side burner on my grill to saute' the veggie mixture since I needed to
watch the chicken closer than I needed to watch the boiling pasta.

Boil your pasta til al dente' and drain. Set aside over steam to keep hot.
Grill chicken breasts til browned. Hot all the way through and juices are completely clear.
Takes 10 minutes or less over high heat since you've pounded the chicken flat.

Grilled Balsamic chicken

Veggie  Mixture:
 1 small can shoepeg corn--vacuum packed with little juice or drained.
1 drained can capers
1 medium tomato diced and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons pesto

Saute' in skillet over high heat corn, tomatos, capers.
Add pesto.
Do not add a single bit of extra salt! Capers are extremely salty.
Their tangy, salty taste is wonderful, but you don't need any extra.

Veggie Mixture

Parma Rosa Sauce:
Take the envelope of Knorr Parma Rosa Sauce
and follow the directions on the back. At my age they are tiny and hard to read.
Here is how it goes.
Place 1 1/4 cups milk in a non-stick sauce pan with contents of sauce mix envelope.
Whisk together well over high heat.
Add 1 Tbsp butter
Whisk continually until the sauce comes to a rolling boil and thickens.
Takes about 3 minutes.

Slice the grilled chicken into strips and plate up your dish in one of a couple ways.

Grilled Chicken Parma Rosa--Kenny's favorite. Vegetables are against this man's religion.

Chessie's Veggie Pasta--vegan style!

Chessie Veggie Pasta with Grilled Chicken--This was very flavorful and satisfying!

White Wine pairing for this meal, but I think its too sweet.
I'd prefer a Pinot grigio or a Cavit Moscato which is not as sweet.

Sitting on the porch having a good after dinner conversation with Kenny ... and this appears. FIRES!  Our fire bug neighbor Tim was out there burning stumps in the dark.
He saved them til dark so it would be prettier! We're a cultured bunch of hillbillys!
Thanks for the after dinner entertainment Tim! :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chicken and Veggies Provencal

Herbs de Provence
This particular batch contained 
basil, oregano, thyme, savory, & lemon zest.

Herb Thursday Recipe--Chicken & Veggies Provencal

    I am a big fan of herb gardening and cooking with herbs.  I have a wonderful mother who I helped plant an herb garden when I was a child. It was right outside my bedroom window and was beautiful to see, delightful to smell, and handy to use. It was close to the kitchen. It was lined with antique bricks and I enjoyed tending it.   I now have a kitchen herb garden of my own that is ever expanding.  I have found that TJ Maxx is a great place to bargain shop for gourmet herb concotions at a far better price than in grocery stores!
I check all those bargain outlets for these goodies now!  I plan on learning to make my own provincial herb mixtures. I will be sure to post the recipe and results here.

 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
Herbs de Provence
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 vidalia onion
3 carrots
4 medium red potatoes
1 large sweet potato
2 ribs celery
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Non stick cooking spray such as Pam

aluminum foil


 Preheat oven to 400*
Line a 13x9 cookie sheet with foil
Spray with non stick cooking spray

Wash veggies. Peel and cube sweet potato coarsely.
Cube red potatoes with skin on.
Chop celery coarsely
Peel onion and slice into large rings.
Peel and coarsely chop carrots.
Put all veggies in large bowl.
Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil
Add approx. 2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
Add 1/4 tsp salt
Add approx. 1/4 cup  Italian bread crumbs.

Toss mixture well til coated.

Pour out and spread evenly on foil lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 min. in oven. 

While veggies are baking
 Combine 1/4 cup Italian Bread crumbs, 2 tsp Herbs de Provence,
and 1 cup flour
Dredge chicken breasts in this mixture to coat.

In large skillet sautee chicken breasts in 2 Tbsp olive oil and 3 Tbsp butter
Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper

Sautee til golden brown on all sides.

Set aside under a skillet lid to keep warm and moist.

Place chicken breasts in casserole dish
Surround with veggies.

Serves 4.




Chicken and Veggies Provencal

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pasta e Fagioli

Gourmet Spice Blend I used in making this soup recipe.

Pasta e Fagioli 


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 4  slivered carrots
  • 3 ribs diced celery
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 2 cans light red kidney beans
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
  • 15 ounces beef stock
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • 2  teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  •  1 jar spaghetti sauce
  •  1 cup dry pasta shell macaroni 


Brown ground beef in skillet til done.  Drain excess grease.
Place browned beef in large kettle.
Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet
Sautee' diced onion, peppers, carrots, and celery for 10 minutes stirring frequently.
Place sauteed veggies in kettle.
Add cans of beans, diced tomatoes, spices, salt, spaghetti sauce, beef broth to kettle
Stir well.
Add dry pasta last  and bring to boil for 10 minutes.
Allow to simmer for another 30 minutes til pasta is tender.

Serves 12

Pasta e Fagioli soup in the kettle

Yummy! Ladling up the finished product.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lena Mae's Chicken

Lena Mae's Chicken

   This recipe is a concoction by my mother-in-law, Lena Mae.
She is an excellent cook and homemaker.  She cooked for her spouse, four sons, and a houseful of farm hands each day. Later in life she worked for many years in the food service industry as a restaurant manager and in the catering business. 
 She was inspired to come up with this by Outback Steak House
"Alice Springs Chicken", but this is decidedly American and I like it better!
Thanks Ma!  

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb bacon
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's original barbeque sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
rectangular baking dish
Cajun seasoning or Season All
2 Tbsp olive oil
Plastic wrap
meat mallet
cutting board

Pre-heat oven to 400*
Fry bacon until limp placing on a plate covered with paper towel to drain
Place chicken breasts wrapped in plastic wrap on cutting board and pound
with meat mallet until flattened and tenderized.
Remove and discard plastic wrap.  Cut each portion  of tenderized chicken breast 
to about the size of a deck of cards.

In a large skillet add olive oil and place chicken breast portions. Heat to high
Shake on salt, pepper, and Cajun spice. 
Sautee' chicken until breast portions are golden brown on each side.

Place dollops of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce in bottom of baking dish
Add chicken breast portions. Slather each generously with barbeque sauce to cover.
Add bacon strips over each piece of chicken.

Bake in 400* oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and add shredded cheddar cheese to each portion to top.
Place back in oven and bake for additional 5 minutes.

Serves 6