Monday, July 29, 2013

Mama's "Blonde Brownies"

When I think of my mama's cooking there are a few dishes that come to mind immediately, things she often took to potlucks or just family favorites. Today's recipe is one of those. I cannot count how many batches of these brownies she baked over the years! I have tried to make them a couple of times since she passed and though they turn out quite tasty, they still don't taste exactly like hers. Maybe she just put a little extra "Mama love " in when she baked them. That being said, I hope you enjoy this one and it becomes a classic favorite for you as well!

1 box light brown sugar
2 sticks butter
3 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 c. chopped pecans
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 c. self-rising flour

Melt butter.
Add box of brown sugar. Let cool for 30 minutes*.
Add eggs, one at a time, stirring in completely.
Add pecans and chocolate chips.
Gradually add flour.
Pour into 13 x 9" ungreased baking dish.
Put into cold oven**.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake 20 minutes more.

* There's a note on Mama's recipe that says "It is very important to let the butter and brown sugar set for the full 30 minutes." - I guess she learned from experience what would happen if you don't!
** If you are like me, when you read the directions for baking something, the first thing you do is look at the oven temperature and preheat your oven, even if the directions don't tell you to do so. Well, DON'T do that with this recipe! I remember Mama drilling that into me many times when she made these - they have to start in a cold oven! :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

I am a huge fan of "Chopped" on Food Network. The creativity of those chefs and their ability to create amazing dishes with the strangest combination of ingredients is just amazing to me! Though I will never reach that level of culinary skill I decided to raid my cabinets the other day and see what kind of dish I could create, only allowing myself to use ingredients that I already had on hand. This is what I came up with and it turned out very well - my "resident chef" approved and that means a lot! Hope you enjoy!

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 10 3/4-oz. can beef broth
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce (optional)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can Leseur small English peas
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1 packet instant mashed potatoes, prepared according to package directions (you could also make mashed potatoes from scratch if you prefer, but remember I only allowed myself to use ingredients that I already had on hand)
Salt, to taste

Melt butter in large skillet. Add flour and stir until lightly browned. This makes a roux, the thickening agent for your sauce.

Add a little bit of beef broth, then stir in onion soup mix and ketchup.

Add more beef broth, then stir in corn and peas.

Add remaining beef broth, Kitchen Bouquet, garlic powder and salt. Stir.

Stir in browned ground beef. Let this mixture simmer for a bit until it thickens slightly.

Pour this mixture into a 3-qt. casserole dish. Spoon prepared mashed potatoes over beef mixture.

Sprinkle shredded cheddar over top of potatoes.

Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cabbage Stew with Smoked Sausage

I apologize for not blogging in a while.... Extra hours at work followed by having houseguests and being laid up for a week with a bad back kinda put me behind! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday with friends and family! Today's recipe is one that I discovered a while back but didn't make a note of WHERE I found it so I can give proper credit. All I can tell you is that it is SUPER simple to make and super delicious! Serve it with cornbread and you have a simple yet very tasty meal. Hope you enjoy.

1 stick butter
1 large head of cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. Hillshire Farm smoked beef sausage, sliced into round pieces
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp. salt

Melt butter in large skillet.
Add cabbage and onion and cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring to keep from sticking to pan.
Add remaining ingredients; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

See, I told you it was simple! It was a hit at my house and hopefully it will be at yours as well!