Parmesan Oven Chicken

>> Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This recipe comes from a community cookbook (my favorite kind!) and it is yummy and really easy to make. The breading becomes lovely and crispy on top while it bakes. The crumbs will actually cover two more thighs and four more drumsticks nicely, you just can't see them because I baked them in another pan.

Parmesan Oven Chicken
2-3 lb. cut up fryer chicken (I used only legs and thighs)
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed fine (about 2 cups)
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese (the powdery kind like Kraft)
1/4 c. parsley flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cube butter or margarine, melted

Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towel.  Combine cracker crumbs, cheese, and seasonings.  Roll chicken pieces in melted butter, then in crumbs. Place in a greased 9x13 pan. Spoon any leftover crumbs over the top of the chicken, drizzle any remaining butter over the top.  Place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for an hour. Serve this with a yummy potato salad or baked potatoes and some rolls.

Notes: According to the recipe, this can also be baked for 3 hours at 250 degrees.  The advantage of a slow baking is a bit like a crock pot, set it early and forget it for a time.
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How to Cook a Wolf: MFK Fisher

>> Monday, June 23, 2014

I am reading a book called The Art of Eating, which is a compilation of several publications by MFK Fisher. I recently finished the part called How to Cook a Wolf and thought I would review it here.  This is a cookbook written at the time of rationing during World War II and although there are recipes in it, the main purpose of this book is to encourage people to live with dignity in whatever circumstances come. I really enjoyed it and found insight into homes and families in times of stress.

Between the pages are the effects of this war common to man: fuel shortages, blackouts and rationing, how to deal with a lack of personal hygiene products and pet food. But the ringing message of the book is that you cannot live constantly in a state of emergency in your mind. You must declare your mental independence and maintain whatever normal pursuits you can. This resonated with me because of our own  struggles during the recession. I came to similar conclusions working to keep my own table interesting and feeding our spirits as well as our stomachs.  I love this passage about cheese, which was almost impossible to obtain, so to be used with wisdom:

"Try it on a tired factory worker some day, or a nervous neighbor, with a glass of milk if possible or a cup of tea, and watch the unfolding of a lot of spiritual tendrils that were drawn up into a tight heedless tangle... I have seen it work miracles of restoration." (p. 341 italics added)

There is such power in food to comfort the wounded heart and mind. It encourages our bodies in the daily work they must do. Fuel, yes, but with thought and care it becomes more. It sustains physical and spiritual life. She writes at the end of the book:

"I cannot count the good people I know who, to my mind, would be even better if they bent their spirits to the study of their own hungers."(p.350)

"I believe that one of the most dignified ways we are capable of to assert and then reassert our dignity in the face of poverty and war's fears and pains is to nourish ourselves with all possible skill, delicacy and ever-increasing enjoyment.  And with our gastronomical growth will come, inevitably, knowledge and perception of a hundred other things, but mainly of ourselves.  Then Fate, even tangled as it is with cold wars as well as hot, cannot harm us." (p.350)

I am grateful for this book.  It has been affirming of my own path through troubles.  To her hearty voice and keep-up-the-good-work attitude, I say Amen.
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Raisin Nut Bars

>> Friday, June 13, 2014

My mother loves raisins and nuts in everything, so in some sympathetic eating, I decided to try these. They are good, I might be my mother's daughter! The recipe comes from a little pamphlet called Bar Cookie Bonanza.

Raisin Nut Bars
1 c. raisins
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped nuts

In a microwave safe mixing bowl, place raisins and water.  Microwave on high for 1-2 min, until fruit is warm and plump.  Add butter, egg and baking soda to raisins and water, stir together.  Add flour, sugar and spices and blend in nuts.  Mixture should be the consistency of cake batter.  Spread into bar pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min.  Cool.  Glaze.

Glaze:
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1-2 Tbsp. milk
Combine sugar and butter, add enough milk to make a very thin glaze.  Drizzle over cooled bars.  Let glaze set before cutting.
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Sausage and Rice Skillet

>> Wednesday, June 4, 2014

This recipe is easy and satisfying.  It comes from a book called the I Hate To Cook Book and in there, it goes by the name Dr. Martin's Mix.  My family loved it.  It is sure to become one of the Cheater Pants Meals in my arsenal.

Sausage and Rice Skillet
Crumble 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. sausage in a skillet and brown it.  Pour off a little of the fat and add:
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 c. chopped onion
2-3 celery sticks, chopped
2 c. raw rice
4 c. chicken broth (or water and bouillon cubes to make this amount)
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt

Turn vegetables and rice in the sausage drippings for a minute, then add the liquid.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min. or until rice is tender.

Notes: You don't see the green pepper in here, because I had a yellow one, and I neglected the celery and the children were happy about that, but don't count on it next time kids! (Depends on the number of distractions, as to how many mistakes I make in a recipe.  Frankly, its a miracle that anything turns out right around here ever.)
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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread

>> Saturday, May 31, 2014

This was inspired by the Grape Nuts Bread recipe when the author said she likes cream cheese on her bread.  I tried this for my Winter Squash Sourdough Bread and it was great.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-4 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
1-2 Tbsp. milk (opt.)

In a small, microwave safe bowl, place cream cheese and microwave on high 20 seconds and then in 10 second intervals until just soft enough to stir.  Add cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar and stir until mixed and sugar dissolves.  Refrigerate.  Spread on bread or bagels, or muffins.  You can add the milk to change the spreading consistency if desired.

Notes: Now I can't wait to try this on some other quick breads! I think it might be lovely on Carrot Bread, Bag End Brown Bread and A.M. Delight Muffins.
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Easy Brownies

>> Monday, May 26, 2014

Do you have a potluck for Memorial Day? Here is something people are always glad to see on the table. These are almost as fast as a mix. They will be darker or lighter depending on your cocoa.  If you would like other potluck ideas from this blog, check this post or click the Menu tab and scroll down.
Easy Brownies
2 c. sugar
1 c. flour
2/3 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp.vanilla
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
4 eggs
1/2 c. nuts (opt.)
1/2 c. chocolate chips (opt.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, vanilla, butter and eggs.  Add nuts and chocolate chips.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 30 min. Cool before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar if you like.
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Winter Squash Sourdough Bread

>> Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Every time I make this, I just love it. You can use any winter squash like banana or Hubbard, or if you don't have any of that, use canned pumpkin. The golden slices are slightly sweet. This recipe is from Pat's Sourdough and Favorite Recipes book.

Winter Squash Sourdough Bread
1 1/2 c. sourdough start
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. cooked, mashed winter squash
1/2 c. milk
7-8 c. flour

Add the melted butter to the sourdough start and mix. Add all other ingredients in order and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-8 min., adding a little more flour if necessary. (If you are using a mixer with kneading attachment, the dough will clean the sides of the bowl when there is enough flour.  If you are kneading by hand, work flour into dough until it is soft, but not sticky.) Set in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of dough and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise until double in size. Punch down. Make into 3 loaves and place in pans. Let rise until double in size.  Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 45 min.

Notes: If you need a sourdough start recipe, find one here. If you want to make a yeast bread like this without the sourdough, try Butternut Squash Bread.  You can substitute any winter squash you like in that too.
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If you are visiting, welcome! I am in the process of a Vulcan Mind Meld with my computer to put all of my right hand recipes for feeding my family on here as fast as possible. Please come back often and stay awhile. There are so many exciting things to come!

What this is:

A clearing house for all my favorite recipes. All my food musings. All my favorite cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. If you enjoy it here, and find it useful, welcome!