Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cottage Cheese Crepes

I first found these at Perkins Family Restaurants back in the day.

I refuse to tell you WHAT DAY because that would be like Milliken offering insider trading info because there are only so many things a girl wants the entire world to know. Before I know it someone would use that info to blackmail me and reveal the secrets to my ever-younger looking skin.

(I have been accused of being delusional more than once, fyi)

Having said that, let me just say I've never forgotten those crepes and it took years before I had the brains to find a crepe recipe that rivaled the ones I had there.

And it's not at all difficult and can be filled with any delicious pie filling or meal you'd like and it tastes like haute cuisine. I do not know what haute cuisine is, but if I did, these crepes would fit the bill.

I promise.

(Lest you haven't figured it out, I'm somewhat loose with promises. Oops.)

The following crepe batter recipe is straight from the Betty Crocker New Cookbook Copyright 1996.


This cookbook has so many good recipes in it that I've made sure each of my six kids got a copy as they went off to college or their first job. Seriously great cookbook! Mine was the "cheaper" edition in a spiral bound soft-copy, but it's still hale and hearty today, 14 years later!


Crepe batter:


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

  • Directions:

  • 1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

    Stir in remaining ingredients.

    Beat with hand beater until smooth.

    2. Lightly butter 6- to 8-inch skillet. (I often use my larger skillet and make meal-sized crepes. My grown-up kids love 'em, but for parties I go with smaller ones.)

    Heat over medium heat until bubbly.

    3. For each crepe, pour scant 1/4 cup batter into skillet.

    Immediately rotate skillet until thin film covers bottom.

    Cook until light brown. (This does not take long... do not read the paper. Really.)

    Run wide spatula around edge to loosen; turn and cook other side until light brown.

    4. Stack crepes, placing waxed paper between each; keep covered.



    If desired, spread applesauce, sweetened strawberries, currant jelly or raspberry jam thinly over each warm crepe; roll up. (Be sure to fill crepes so the more attractive side is on the outside.)

    Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

    Now here's the cheese part and you can adjust this any way you like

    1 cup good quality cottage cheese drained and patted dry
    2 oz. +/- cream cheese, warmed slightly for mixing
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Warm together (after you've warmed the cream cheese once on it's own), then mix and pile onto 2 or 3 crepes, about 1/2 cup per crepe. Plop into middle, then gently fold crepe up around it. Flip and serve with whipped cream and additional cheese mix or fruit topping. 

    Amazingly delicious! And the cottage cheese makes me think it's almost good for me!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Favorite Friday! Corn on the Cob

Missy, here. Since I talked about favorite fruits recently, I thought I'd talk about one of my favorite vegetables today. Fresh corn on the cob.

I was recently with a friend, and she recommended microwaving the corn in the microwave for 3 minutes, then cutting the large end off. She said the corn will slide right out, clean of all the silks. Well, I decided to try that yesterday. I also decided to go ahead and cook it in the microwave to save time. I found this video to show me how.




Isn't he cute? :) And, yes, it was that easy! At least for one of my ears. One of them didn't come out, so I had to peel off the husk. It may have been because the silks at the top had been trimmed off at the grocery store, so it was difficult to have anything to grab on to. Plus, I had let it cool some (while cutting up the other vegetables), so maybe that made it more difficult. The one that worked, though, came out totally clean!

So I put two ears in the microwave on high for 6 minutes (my microwave is really high powered).




Trimmed off the end. It took two cuts to get the corn to start sliding out. I had to squeeze from the skinny end to get it to come out.


And voila!

Here's the one I struggled with. Had to peel it open. Silks came off easier than raw corn, though.


We also had some of my other favorite veggies roasted in the oven. I shared this cooking method before (click here). So a vegetarian dinner for the Tippens!





If you try this trick with the corn, let us know how it worked for you! Do you have any other tricks of the kitchen?


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pancake Heaven!

Here's an easy-peasy breakfast, lunch, supper or snack that SHOULD NOT BE TRIED BY ANYONE TRYING TO BEHAVE.

WARNING!!!!

THE SURGEON GENERAL HAS DETERMINED THAT EATING THESE DELICIOUS PANCAKES WILL RUIN ANY AND ALL THOUGHTS OF DIETING YOU MAY HAVE EVER ENTERTAINED. BEWARE!!!

Having said THAT, let me just show you a bit of quick kitchen deliciousness that keeps well, can be sliced for 'morsels' or snacks and is ten minutes, tops.

First, buy Bisquick. Every responsible person should have Bisquick in their cupboard because it makes a great "base" for so many things. Paula Deen uses Bisquick in some recipes, and I love me some Paula Deen!!!



Follow the Melt-in-your-mouth pancake recipe on the back of the box. It's amazing. Truly. You will never eat out for pancakes again because that would be just plain silly.


Here's your batter... Don't you love that big ladle???


Heat up your griddle, but not super hot. Just... regular hot. With a little oil on it. Just a smidge and a half.


Ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle. Sprinkle with chocolate and peanut butter chips. Cook until done on bottom side. You probably won't have the usual tiny-bubble-dots you normally get. But that's okay. I made this big one for fun, but you can make normal size cakes, too.
Flip over.



Cook until done on second side. Like you knew that already, didn't you?  But not too quick or hot... Just:  medium. 


Put on plate. Butter generously. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


And there you have it, a pancake meal or dessert that literally melts in your mouth with tender, cake-y, buttery, chocolatey-peanut-buttery goodness.

So YUM!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coffee Chat!



Missy, here. And it's time for our Wednesday coffee chat! Pull up a comfy chair and let's talk about...

MOVIES!

I talked about movies on the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog the other day and had a good time hearing from others. So I wanted to bring the conversation over here as well.


Missy Tippens, here. I thought we'd talk movies today.



On Sunday, I went with some friends to see Snow White and the Huntsman. Loved it! It was a little frightening, and a little violent. But so thrilling to see a heroine who was strong and did what she felt she had to do to save her people.


I'm really looking forward to going to see Disney's Brave for the same reason. A determined, spunky heroine! If y'all haven't seen the trailer for this one, you need to! (click here)



What movies have you seen lately that you loved? Or that you didn't love? And do you love movies where the heroine saves the day?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Down Home Done Light

Mindy here and last week I had two glorious days all to myself. My men were off to scout camp and my daughter was visiting friends. So what's a girl to do--especially one on Weight Watchers--when she starts craving fried chicken? And not just any fried chicken, but homemade fried chicken.

Well, one thing that really helps me on WW is knowing what I want and then figuring out how I can satisfy that desire without falling off the wagon. So I decided I was going to make my own version of oven-fried chicken, complete with my lite and creamy mashed potatoes.

First, the chicken.

I thawed out a boneless, skinless chicken breast, then soaked it in low-fat buttermilk for an hour. The acidity in buttermilk acts as a tenderizer and, I think, gives it a little extra moisture.

While it was soaking, I set up my prep area. I lined my baking pan with foil that I sprayed lightly with olive oil. Then, in a small bowl, I seasoned about a cup of flour (you could get away with less) with seasoned salt, salt, and pepper.


In another bowl, I poured about half a cup of egg beaters (you can also use and egg and milk mixture). Mind you, I'm only cooking for one this night.

In the next bowl, is the secret to making my chicken nice and crispy--Panko bread crumbs. These can be found with traditional bread crumbs or in the Asian section of your supermarket. I seasoned those the same way as the flour.

Now we're ready to go.

First, I dip my chicken, still wet with buttermilk, into the flour mixture.


Then it goes into the egg wash.


Then the Panko bread crumbs.

Next it goes onto my prepared pan, and I mist the top of the chicken with olive oil.



Then it goes into a 375 degree oven for approx. 30 minutes.

For the mashed potatoes, I boiled one large potato, skin on, until tender. Mashed it then added a tablespoon of light butter/margarine and approx. 1/3 cup of fat free half and half. Seasoned with salt and pepper and voila! Rich and creamy mashed potatoes without all the fat and calories.

Throw in some steamed broccoli and I was one happy camper.

I know this looks like a lot of food, which was exactly what I wanted to achieve when I used a salad plate. The chicken was crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside.

Of course, when my guys heard about my oven fried chicken, they wanted to try it too.


This was Sunday night's dinner. I skinned the drumsticks before soaking in the buttermilk. And it was more like two and a half cups of flour, a 16 oz container of egg beaters, and almost and entire bag of Panko bread crumbs. Then baked for about 40 minutes.

But it was SO good. And when losing weight, satisfaction is the name of the game.

How do you satisfy your cravings without breaking the calorie bank?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Peaches!

Missy, here. Peaches are probably my favorite fruit. A close second would be strawberries or blueberries.

It's been peach season recently. We had some friends who went to an orchard and brought us a big bag of peaches a couple of weeks ago. (Thank you Ron and Belinda!) I had planned to bake something like a cobbler (that I wouldn't ruin with the wrong flour this time!) that I could share with you. But the peaches were so good, that we ate them all in our cereal or by themselves! Amazing flavor!


This is a photo of the bottom of the bag after we'd had them a few days, so they're a little roughed up. But they're still beautiful!

I may see about heading to the orchard myself to get another bag! It's about an hour away, I think, but well worth the drive. Plus, I'll pass the outlet mall on the way! :) Fresh peaches and shopping. What could be better??

What's your favorite thing to make with peaches? Also, Georgia is known for its peaches. What produce/food is your area known for?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Simply Saturday Crock Pot Meatballs!

Did I forget it was Saturday again?

I should be tarred and feathered.

That would hurt. I checked on Google for pics, and eeeeuuuuuwwwww...

I am not posting those pics here. Really??? People did that?????

OUCH.

Okay, so what can we do for Simply Saturday?  Something simple, right?

Napping is boring but grievously underrated.

But, simple!

Hey, have we done the Meatballs yet? The buffet line ones that are amazing and easy? Must check.... (Ruthy bustles away, apron flapping, wondering why she didn't do this last night. She's such a dork...)

No! I don't see it unless I forgot to label it and if I did it's worth doing again because they're beyond yummy and it's as simple as opening four cans.

Now that's easy-peasy!

One large bag smallish meatballs (I get mine from Sam's Club and you can use the smaller grocery store bag but we only make these when there's a crowd coming.)


2 cans Hormel chili, no beans


2 cans Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (the kind that slurps out in the shape of a can....)



Open cans.

hahahahahahaha!

Pour into large slow-cooker. Stir. Add meatballs. (I thaw them so they heat faster because I'm always a little behind... like that's a surprise, right? But if they're frozen they're fine, just heat them a little longer.)

Heat on high for two hours (or five if you forget to turn them down, oops!) and then turn down to low and serve throughout the day.

Really, truly delicious sweet/savory sauce and everyone will ask you for your secret recipe. And you don't have to tell them, you can just Cheshire Cat smile and shrug like you're that cool.

Because clearly, you are.

We served these at a wedding reception (picnic style reception) last week and no one died.

Now, there's a ringing endorsement!  :)




Friday, June 22, 2012

Favorite Friday!

Missy, here. It's Favorite Friday, and I thought I'd share a quick lunch that I like to make when the cupboard is bare. Tunafish Salad!


I always keep tuna on hand. I like the little packets that are single servings.



Put tuna in a bowl.

Here's the very technical part:
Squirt in a blob of mayo. Dump in a bit of pickle relish (I use sweet). And stir. :)

For those who've never made it and want to know measurements, I'd guess I use about 2 tablespoons of mayo. And 2 teaspoons of relish. I usually also add chopped boiled egg. No time on this day.


Sometimes I serve it on toast. Or on bread (not toasted). The day I made this, I decided to serve with crackers.

Something else I also like to add is finely grated carrots and celery. I used to go to a sandwich shop that made it that way. They also put in a touch of mustard. Really good!

And since I like to make fun of my hubby's food choices on occasion, let me share his plate with you the day I had the tuna. He saw me taking photos and told me I needed to take a photo of his to show y'all what's REALLY good eatin'. :) I beg to differ (I told him it should be cat food!) LOL But here you have it, anyway. :)


Hubby's sardines with Frank's Red Hot Sauce served with sesame crackers.
Enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Refinancing our mortgage! Oy!

No baking this week, LOL! First, it's a bajillion degrees and Keebler cookies and Popsicles sound good to me, right????

AND....

We've applied for a new mortgage, to re-finance our sweet AGED farmhouse at 3.125% instead of its current 7%.

This will save me money. It will also cut off 7 years from our current loan. AND... it saves us over 90K in interest over the life of the loan.

Sweet. Sweet. Sweet.

But then there was this little thing about an APPRAISAL. An expert comes in and LOOKS AT YOUR HOUSE to decide its value.

Oy. Oy. Oy.

My house is not visitor-friendly without a week's notice and that's THE FIRST FLOOR. To be admitted to the second floor you either need to be a very close and understanding friend, a doctor or coroner.

I'm not kidding. The second floor is a THREE WEEK WARNING, minimal...

And the attic??????  I need a season, no lie. Spring, summer, fall, winter. A solid three months.

I got a week.

Seven days.

One stinkin', measly week.

We did our best, which clearly is not our best because if it was our best we wouldn't need months, right????

How 'bout you? Are you a casual housekeeper like me? Or are you a toilet-scrubbing-daily ball of household energy fire?

Because in my case, I'd rather write. Or snuggle babies. Both are preferable to housework.

Go ahead. Hit me with your best shot. Am I the anomaly among us?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coffee Chat!

Missy, here. Today's our regular chat day, and I thought I would make this really easy for you.

Another photo of my babies, my writing buddies! (old shot, no gray muzzles yet)


What do you most like to read?

See, I told you it was an easy question. Although, most of you are probably like me and will list three or more genres, so I'm making it a little tougher. You can only pick ONE genre. And you have to make it very specific. You can't just say mysteries or romance. :)

To be honest, that's really tough for me! I'm pretty sure I'll have to name at least two...or three. So I'll work on narrowing that down and let you know tomorrow (when the post goes up).

Okay, grab your coffee/tea/chocolate (have you had the frozen hot chocolate at Dairy Queen yet??!) and pull up a comfy cafe chair, and let's chat!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Fun with Basil

Mindy here, and my basil plant has been growing like crazy. So I asked myself, "What are you going to do with all that basil?" I mean, I can't eat bruschetta every day.

Or can I?

Hmm....

No, I can't. Too much bread.

So I'm at the grocery the other day, reaching for a jar of pesto when it hit me. I could make my own pesto.

I came home and harvested a good bunch of the leaves. I needed two "packed" cups. I soaked them in water for a few minutes to kill anything that might have decided to take up residence on the plant. Flash flood. They never knew what hit them.

Then I strained and rinsed a couple more times before throwing them into my salad spinner to eek out all the water. This worked wonderfully, I might add.

Now for the rest of the ingredients.

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (love these things)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor. Doesn't this look pretty?

Pulse until coarsely chopped.

Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I wish you could smell this.

Now if I were using this right away, I'd add the rest of the oil and 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesean cheese. But since this is for later, I put it into an air-tight container, drizzle the remaining oil over the top and put it in the freezer. It'll keep for up to three months. Great for those quickie meals. When I'm ready to use it, I simply thaw, stir in the freshly grated cheese, and toss with some warm pasta. Maybe top with some chicken breast or shrimp, tomatoes, a few capers....

Easy peasy.

And good for you, too.

Don't you just love summer and all the fresh fruits and veggies? I especially like when I can pick it right from my backyard. Which is limited, but farmer's markets are the next best thing.

What's your favorite way to use fresh basil?



Monday, June 18, 2012

In a Pinch Quick Meal

Missy, here. Two days until d-day. Book deadline day. So I'm still in my mad dash to the finish of the re-writes I'm doing post-critique.

Sooo, today, you're getting a quickie post because that's the kind of meal my family will get tonight!



I bought a nice chuck roast. I recently heard someone (maybe a chef on the Food Network) say that's the best cut for crockpot...or maybe it was for grilling. Anway, I agree with both. It has so much flavor and is usually a good price.

I sometimes add an onion while cooking.  If so, I slice in chunks and toss in the slow cooker. Then add the roast. Then I sprinkle on a packet of seasoning. Usually, I use Au Jus seasoning. But I'm out. I grabbed the mushroom gravy packet.

Turn on the slow cooker on high a couple of hours to get hot. Then set on low until dinnertime! Quick and tasty.

I also discovered a new side dish we're going to try this evening. Stouffer's Corn Souffle. And in honor of the fact it's a "side" dish, I put in a sideways photo. LOL No time for photo editing while book editing!


Last but not least, here's my trusty helper chef. He knows when I'm serving beef!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Simply Saturday Not So Simple!

The Yank here. We're helping prep for a wedding picnic today... I love weddings. I eat, breathe and sleep weddings when I get the chance because they are the piece d'resistance or however you spell it of throwing a great party.

With a fire-breathing dragon monster bride watching over your shoulder.

But brides LOOK PRETTY and it's their SPECIAL, SPECIAL DAY so we cut them some slack.

One of our chores today is/are brownie trays. So the first two trays are in the oven, the famous peanut butter chip/peanut butter/chocolate fudge brownies we had HERE:

And a new kid in town. Raspberry chocolate brownies.

Rule #1:  NEVER EXPERIMENT WITH A NEW RECIPE FOR A WEDDING.

Oops.

Because I love breaking rules, and let's say that's a very good rule of thumb because no one wants wedding day blues tragedy, right???  But the shindig isn't until tomorrow, so consider this my practice batch, LOL! We know the peanut butter brownies are to-die-for amazing, so let's play with the raspberry chocolate fudge idea:

1 bag frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup water





Thaw berries, mix with water. Mix cornstarch and sugar together thoroughly to avoid lumps. Heat raspberries. Stir in sugar/cornstarch mixture. Heat until boiling gently, stirring. Mixture will thicken once it boils. Remove from heat. Chill. This is basically raspberry pie filling and feel free to use any extra to top French Toast, pancakes, crepes, Angel food cake, etc.

Grease or spray bottom only of 13 x 9 baking pan.

Make single brownie mix for 13 X 9 pan according to directions. Spread about 1/2 of batter into your 13 x 9 pan.  Top with small spoons full of raspberry filling. Spread to coat bottom layer. Swirl Hershey's chocolate syrup over raspberries. Spread remaining batter over raspberries by dropping in spoons full and then spreading with knife. Be sure to lick knife. Delicious, right???





 Spread remaining batter over raspberries by dropping in spoons full and then spreading with knife. Be sure to lick knife. Delicious, right???  :)




Bake at 350 until done which is what I'm doing right now....

Oops, here they are!!!  Let's see what you think:



And then we're going to top them with raspberry buttercream icing. Now I'm not sure about that, I would have gone with chocolate fudge raspberry icing, but that's the chocoholic in me. Mandy voted pink buttercream (pink from the raspberry filling mixed in...) So we'll see. I set my timer for 28 minutes. They might need a little longer with the raspberry filling. Or I may burn them.

Which makes my day not so simple after all!!!

Oops, that upper left hand side is a little thin. If that corner is over-cooked, I cut it away and dispose of it by feeding it to small, unsuspecting children. They're short, and do not have anything akin to discriminating taste. Think "Homer Simpson"....

Okay, I'll pop back with a frosted pic later.

Here's the final pic of the raspberry frosted brownies... and oh my stars, they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious:


And here's a close-up of the frosting. I blended the raspberry pie filling with homemade fluffy buttercream icing to make the pink raspberry icing:

This is light, fluffy, sweet and pink! What a wonderful combination of factors!
The next batch I'm doubling up in a big pan, 1/2 straight brownie, 1/2 chocolate walnut brownie that will have broiled coconut frosting. I love broiled coconut frosting and I don't get too many chances to play with it, so I'm lovin' the thought of lickin' my fingers mid-day, LOL!  Ah... it's the little things in life, right????

And here's how they turned out:

Chocolate brownie with buttercream icing and cheerful sprinkles!

Chocolate brownie with coconut frosting. Caramelly-amazing-goodness!


Ruthy