Hash Browns For Hubby

As a new bride nearly 23 years ago, I learned very quickly that there were favorite dishes my husband enjoyed that I had either never heard of or that I had just never made.  Potatoes and onions cooked together is just one of these dishes.  My husband grew up in a pastor’s family of 6 children, 5 of whom were boys born within 6 years!  While feeding this crew was a challenge, there was always an abundance of potatoes and onions.  Tim grew up with fried potatoes and onions; onions and hash browns; mashed potatoes, and cheesy potato soup.  For me, mashed, boiled, or scalloped potatoes were the extent of potato dishes!  Here is how I make hash browns to help keep the hubby happy. It is a great way to use any left over baked potatoes from dinner the night before.

3 medium baked potatoes and completely cooled

1/2 medium onion, diced

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

salt; pepper; ground red pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet.  Add diced onions and saute until tender but not brown.  Grate the potatoes and add to the onions.   Heat through and gently brown the potatoes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and peppers to taste.  Serve hot with sunny-side up eggs and toast!   Makes about 2 servings.

Variation:  use finely chopped hot pepper in place of ground red pepper,  cooking the hot pepper with the onion.

Thanksgiving Desserts!

Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cranberries. . .the menu items at our Thanksgiving Day dinner remain the same from year to year.  Yours probably do as well!  We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day this year with Tim’s brother and his family for the first time in 8 years!  With four parents, 8 kids ages 12-21, and one girlfriend, we knew we needed plenty of food. . .and plenty of food we had!  Two turkeys, two types of cranberries, and two types of dressing, plus lots and lots of other side dishes and desserts made for quite a feast.   Here are a few recipes for desserts that we enjoyed this  year.

PECAN PIE  This is my mom’s recipe with just one tweek. . .chocolate chips!

1 c. light corn syrup

3 eggs

2/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. chopped pecans

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 (9-inch) pie shell

Preheat oven to 350. Combine corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl; mix well.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips; pour into pie shell.  Place pie on baking sheet. Bake 50-55 minutes or until filling is set about 3 inches from the edge.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Serve each piece topped with whipped cream.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

5 large apples, peeled and sliced

2 c. fresh cranberries

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 c water

3/4 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick butter, softened

Spray bottom/sides of 13×9 pan.  Layer apple slices, cranberries, and pecans in pan.  Pour water over all.  Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs.  Spread over fruits and nuts.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is browned.

Love Thy Mother

Many appologies for the lack of posts! Clearly we are off to a slow start with this project, thanks to exams and graduation for Barbi and a house full of company for Jan. Hopefully life will slow down in the next few weeks if we’re lucky.

In the midst of all the end-of-school-year craziness, Mother’s Day kinda snuck up on me (I know.. world’s worst daughter). I managed to grab a sweet gift (monogramed note cards from Minted.com), but the guys had a little trouble. Noticing the absense of gift-wrapping requests or flower advice, I sent out a text message enquiry around 10:30 Saturday night. Mass panic followed, as I suspected, but a midnight Walmart run successfully solved the near disaster and I earned a renewed big-sister respect.  We’ll see how long THAT lasts.. 

Anyway, this cake was not originally intended to celebrate Mother’s Day, but I added the chocolate chips when she wasn’t looking. Sometimes a sneaky nature comes in handy.   What are your Mother’s Day stories?

Coco-Pecan Cake

1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. water
1/4 c. baking cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda

In a saucepan, bring butter, water, and cocoa to a boil; whisk until smooth.  Cool to room temperature.  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Add cocoa mixture; beat on low speed just until combined.  Add sour cream, eggs, and baking soda; blend until smooth.  Pour into a greased 13×9 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.

Frost with prepared coconut-pecan frosting (yes, we cheated).

Managed to snap one pic before the hordes descended

Tricky Tuesday

Tuesday is usually the one night of the week when everyone is at the table for dinner. With exams throwing the college kids into a frenzy (hence the lack of posts), I thought at least 3/4 of the family would be eating dinner at home.  Being the thoughtful mom I am, I searched the cookbook for a main dish which would be fun and easy to make, using what was already on hand.  I rarely follow any recipe exactly, but making an extra trip out to the grocery store was out of the question.  I came across  this great chicken with fettuccine recipe which not only sounded delicious, but also included ingredients that I either had or could substitute. Bingo!

Knowing that the boys would have to leave for work shortly after dinner, I planned to have the meal a little early.  I was feeling rather pleased with myself for my resourcefulness and hard work on this meal, when son #1 walked in the kitchen and said, “Bye Mom!”

“Where are you going?” I asked, confused…

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?  I have to go back to campus tonight.”  

OK, well that still leaves half of us, I thought. This incredible culinary achievement would not be entirely wasted..

Around 5:45, son #2 came into the kitchen.  “Bye, Mom, see ya later.”

“And where are YOU going?” I asked, seeing the ratio of family enjoyment to awesome meal quickly shrinking.

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?  I have to go in to work early tonight. Sam is, too.   We’re  meeting Ed by 6:00.”

Time to get my Mom face on.

 “No,” I told him,” can’t you call Ed and change it to 6:30?  I haven’t spent time on this meal for none of you to be here to eat it.”   After a little bit of persuasion, he managed to change the work time and he was glad he did (not just for the sake of his well-being either..)!

Chicken With Fettuccine

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup minced fresh basil or 1 tbsp. dried basil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

3/4 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. whipping cream or half and half

2 tbsp. dried parsley

2 large tomatoes, diced

1 lb. fettuccine

Flatten chicken to 1/2-inch thickness.  In a skillet, brown chicken on both sides in butter and oil; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute onion until tender.  Add basil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in broth, cream, parsley, and tomatoes.  Return chicken to pan.  Cover and simmer until tender.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Place pasta on large serving platter.  Arrange chicken over top of pasta; pour sauce over all.  Serve with garden salad  and enjoy!

My substitutions:  I used about 2 tsp. powdered garlic for the fresh garlic;  1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes; and egg noodles instead of fettuccine.  I also thickened the sauce with cornstarch before pouring it over the chicken.