Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I have to be quick today. I have so much to do before going to my mom's for a family cookout. I talked last time about how I like to actually make something for my family rather than taking shortcuts like popping open a can and heat it up. Today, I am going to go back on that statement for one dish, fresh strawberry pie. I could go all Betty Crocker on here, but I confess I buy strawberry glaze instead of making it. However, if I should come into possession of a quart of strawberries and want to make a pie, I have a recipe for the glaze so I don't have to rush to the store. Of course, that assuming I have all the ingredients to make the glaze.

Before posting the recipe, I do want to take the time to wish everyone a safe Memorial Day. Please remember those servicemen and women who have served and are currently serving. They keep us safe by protecting our freedom. Thank you.


Fresh Strawberry Pie Glaze
1 lg. package Strawberry Jello
1/2 C. corn syrup
1 C. sugar
2 C. water
1 T. red food coloring
1/4 C. corn starch

Combine the cornstarch and 1/2 C. water to dissolve. Add that, along with the rest of the ingredients to a sauce pan and bring to boil. As it thickens, it will turn clearer. Cool and add the berries. Place mixture in a baked, but cooled pie shell. Cool in a refrigerator for at least an hour. Add whipped topping, if desired and serve.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It's supposed to be 90 degrees today, but I am freezing this morning. We left our air conditioner on all night and the main floor of our house is so cold. Obviously, I have it turned off right now, but I can't wait for it to get warmer today.

I was hoping to plant the rest of our garden this weekend, but it rained all week and even with the warm temps we had yesterday, it's still too wet to plant. Hopefully, the hot sunny weather we are supposed to have today will help dry it out and I can get the plants and seeds in the ground before the next round of rain hits.

Today's recipe is for Homemade Dumplings. Now I know what you are all thinking, it's easier to use a can of biscuits or even buy a can of Chicken and Dumplings rather than make them from scratch. I agree completely. Many times I do just that and opt to go with something canned, frozen or pre-made, but sometimes making something from scratch just makes it taste better and then there's that wonderful self-satisfaction knowing that you took the time to make something special for your family. The recipe that I have included is an heirloom recipe from one of my aunts. She made the best dumplings, usually with chicken, but sometimes with squirrel during hunting season. I was thrilled when she actually shared her recipe with me years ago. She was a wonderful cook.

Homemade Dumplings
2 C. Bisquick Baking Mix
48 oz. carton of chicken broth
1/2 pint Half & Half

Bring the chicken broth to a boil on top of the stove*. To the Baking Mix, add enough hot broth to make a thick stiff dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough out as thin as possible. Then, cut it into squares and drop them into the boiling broth. Keep separated with fork as much as possible. Cover, and boil slowly for about 10 minutes. Then, pour in the Half & Half stirring well. Turn off the heat and let simmer on it's own for a few more minutes and serve.

*When I make this I add cooked shredded chicken in with the boiling broth.

Can you tell I am a big fan of Chicken and Dumplings, this is my second recipe for them. The first was making them in a slow cooker.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Beer Bread

It's raining today. I had hoped to finish planting my garden this weekend, but it wasn't meant to be. I already have onions and radishes sprouted and should be ready for eating soon. Yesterday, it was a race between the rain and I to see who would win. I'm going to call it a draw. I got 4 tomato plants in the ground right before the rain started. I still have beans, cucumber, zucchini, more onions, and I'd like to make one more trip back to the nearby nursery to see what else they have that I want. Hopefully, the ground will be dried out enough by next weekend to finish my planting.

Today, I want to share two recipes for the same item. I'm addicted to bread. Some of the old prison movies talk about being put on bread and water for punishment. That would definitely not be punishment for me. I could easily live on bread. This evening, to go with our supper, I am making Beer Bread. I usually bake it in the oven, but have found out that it works really well in a bread machine, too. There is one main difference, in the bread machine you need to use yeast instead of baking powder. I have included recipes for both baking options.

This is a great bread to serve with chili or any kind of soup, but it's also great to use with dips, or just plain toasted with butter. You can bake this in a round dish and then hollow out the middle to make a bread bowl. There is a restaurant near me that serves a chicken pot pie in a bread bowl and it is wonderful. Tonight, I am serving it with oven-baked chicken and baked potatoes.

It doesn't matter what kind of beer you use, but it should be room temperature. Last night, when I asked my husband for a can of his favorite beer, I felt like I was being interrogated by him. LOL After I explained what I was going to make, he released control of one can of beer. What is it with men and their beer? If you don't want to use a can of beer (or you can't get one from your husband), you can substitute ginger ale, or any type of lemon-lime soda.


Beer Bread
3 C. all-purpose flour*
3 t. baking powder*
3 T. sugar
12 oz. beer, room temperature
1 stick butter, melted

By hand, stir together the dry ingredients and add the beer. Mix well, the batter will be lumpy. Pour the mixture into a greased 4x8 inch loaf pan and pour about 1/3 of the butter over the top of the mixture. Bake in a preheated oven to 375° f. for about 40 minutes. After the 40 minutes, pour half of the remaining melted butter on top of the bread and bake for 10 more minutes. Then, pour the rest of the melted butter on top of bread again and bake for the final 10 minutes.

*You can substitute 3 C. of self-rising flour for the all-purpose flour and baking powder, if you prefer.

Beer Bread for a Bread Machine

12 oz. can of beer, room temperature
2 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
2 T. brown sugar
3 C. all-purpose flour
1 packet active dry yeast

Add all of the ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed above. Set the machine on the Basic or White Bread cycle and push Start.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I want to wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day. Sorry, but no recipe this weekend. My daughter and her husband are visiting from Mississippi and I will be spending time with them.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mint Julip

Today is the 136st running of the Kentucky Derby. I live about an hour away from Louisville and although I have never been to the Derby, I have been to Churchill Downs. Today's Derby will be a mess. It's already rained at least an inch with more coming later today. But, that did not deter those crazy infield people. It's gets a little while in the infield and with lots of puddles around today, I can foresee lots of slipping and sliding by those that partake in the trademark drink of the day. What is that drink of the Kentucky Derby? It's the Mint Julep.

If you go to the Derby, you have to drink a Mint Julep in one of the Derby's collector glasses. Each year they have a new glass and many people collect those glasses. The recipe calls for Kentucky whiskey, but any will do. At Churchill Downs, I believe they make theirs with Early Times® whiskey, but really any bourbon will work.

So, while watching the Derby today at 6:25 pm EDT, you might want to sit back and enjoy a Mint Julep like the rest of the folks around Louisville. I'll be sitting right there with you cheering for my horse, which I haven't even chosen yet.


Mint Julep

2 fluid ounces of bourbon
1 T. simple syrup (see below)
Mint springs
Crushed ice

Simple Syrup
1 C. water
1 C. sugar
Fresh Mint sprigs

To make the Simple Syrup, Combine the sugar and water and boiling for about 5 minutes without stirring. Pour the syrup over a handfull of mint leaves and gently crush the mint with a spoon. Refrigerate for several hours in a closed jar until cold. Remove the mint leaves and continue to refrigerate. The syrup will be good for several weeks.

To mix the drink, crush a few mint leaves in the bottom of an 8 oz. glass, then fill it to the top with crushed ice. Add 1 t. of the syrup, 1 T. of water, and 2 oz of bourbon. Stir gently and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.

Please remember to drink responsively.