Wednesday, June 30, 2021

OLD FASHIONED ICE CREAM TOPPINGS !!!

It's barbecue season!! So, why not finish off your cookout with a good old-fashioned classic banana split or ice cream sundae... complete with home made toppings? Your family will love them!!




Below you will find the recipes for three excellent ice cream toppings. They last up to a week in the fridge.


FUDGE TOPPING

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 2/3 cups white sugar
1 and 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the cocoa, sugar and milk. Bring it to a boil (stirring) and let it boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Tastes good warm or cold.

STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR


FRESH STRAWBERRY TOPPING

1 pound ripe strawberries (washed and hulled)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chop the strawberries into medium size pieces (I use the food processor) and cook them in a heavy bottomed sauce pan with the water and sugar until it gets nice and thick. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and chill.  
STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR


PRALINE TOPPING
This one is sinfully delicious!!

1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar (packed)
16 large marshmallows
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
dash of salt
1 cup of evaporated (canned) milk
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the sugar, marshmallows, syrup and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Simmer gently for one minute. Remove from heat and cool for five minutes. Stir in evaporated milk, nuts and vanilla, mix well. This is good warm or cold.  

STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR


ENJOY !!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

CLASSIC SPLIT PEA SOUP

I use my Crockpot a lot, in the summer, when it is too hot to cook indoors, and homemade soup works perfectly to provide that "light dinner" you are looking for.

This is a great classic recipe for split pea soup; it is  quick, easy, packed with flavor and one of our favorite soups.


1/2 pound smoked ham, cubed
1 cup onion chopped (I like Vidalia or sweet onions)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 pound dried split peas (rinsed)
2 quarts chicken stock*
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped small
2 teaspoons salt (see important note below)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cream (or half and half)


In a large stock pot, saute onion, celery and carrots together in a tablespoon of vegetable oil for a few minutes (they don't have to be cooked all the way through...it just makes the veggies a little sweeter).

Add the split peas, chicken stock, potatoes, ham, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer slowly (covered) for about an hour or until the peas are very soft (stir occasionally).


Now you have to process the soup in a food processor or blender (stick blenders don't work very well for this for some reason), so work in small batches, processing the soup until very smooth and thick.

Return the soup to the stock pot and add the cream (or half and half). Stir well and slowly reheat , but don't boil.  

When you serve it, top it with some crisp fried bacon (optional). I like to decorate each bowl with a rolled up slice of bacon (looks like a "bacon rose")

A NOTE ABOUT THE SALT: Do not automatically add the 2 teaspoons of salt before you consider the following:  If you are using home made chicken stock that has not been salted, go ahead and use the 2 teaspoons of salt.


If you are using a soup base, like McCormicks soup base (a fantastic product), remember, it has salt in it (but not as much salt as bullion).


If you use this, I would use only 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt.  If you are using regular bullion, leave the salt out all together and taste the soup just before serving to check for salt content.

ENJOY !!!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

EASY OVEN BROWN RICE

We've been trying to eat healthier lately, and "nutrition empty" white rice has been replaced by brown rice at our house.

Before now, I have only had moderate luck making brown rice. Not only do you have to babysit brown rice on a burner for 40-ish minutes, but the end result can be a little crunchy, (or worse yet), it can be gummy and sticky. Then, of course, there is the dreaded layer of rice that always cements itself to the  bottom of the pan (insert frown here).... that's no fun!!

Well, your brown rice "issues" are over!! This super easy method will give you fluffy brown rice every time (with every grain cooked) and NOTHING sticks to the pan.... it is super easy!!


 
This recipe makes three cups of cooked rice, which is a lot of rice for us empty nesters. So, I divide the leftovers into 1 cup portions and I freeze it. This way you can have brown rice ready in a flash for a weeknight meal (or add it to soups, etc.)

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups boiling water (or no-salt chicken broth)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375° and spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with vegetable spray.

Put the dry rice in the prepared baking pan.  Heat the water, butter and salt until it just comes to a boil, then pour over the rice and stir everything, just enough to get the rice to an even level in the pan. Then cover the pan with aluminum foil.

COVER PAN TIGHTLY

I use heavy duty aluminum foil and crimp the edges tight on all four sides. It is important that you trap the steam in the pan. If I use a baking dish that has a lid, I still use the foil under the lid.

Bake at 375° for one hour. After an hour, remove the pan from the oven and take off the foil. Fluff the rice with a fork and that's it!!
 

 
If you aren't going to eat the rice as soon as it comes out of the oven, make sure you still remove the foil so that the condensation doesn't drip back into the rice.

ENJOY !!