Friday, July 29, 2011

Working in the house!

You might have found my post called "Bye-Bye Wallpaper" a little off especially for a Country Cookin' Blog. With this said I think I'm going to to have to change the title to "Country Livin'". The next six weeks are going to be busy making changes to the farm house we are going to be calling home. I like to think I'm pretty good at decorating but always love hearing about cool things people see and or do to freshen their homes.

First off, I am happy to say that my extended family own "Hague's Paint and Decorating", in Newton, Kansas! Yay. I absolutely love looking at the websites they share on Facebook!  Click here to be directed to their fan page on Facebook and while you are there..."Like" them and you'll find awesome tips, trends, etc in your newsfeed!


I can normally find one paint color I like but struggle finding what is going to look good with it. With that said they referred me to this website (Benjamin Moore Color Guide) to help me decide on colors.  How awesome is it that I can click on a color I like and it displays that color along with two other colors that look great with it! Awesome, I know.
This website is cleary my new best friend!
Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Aunt Kelly's Pork & Potato Dish

How to feed a hungry man with 5 ingredients or less:

With summer upon us, it's all about cool salads, sandwiches and refreshing drinks. My guys still enjoy a good hearty hot meal every once in awhile....short on ingredients try this:

Aunt Kelly's Pork & Potato Dish
1 1/2 pounds breakfast pork sausage
1 large can sauerkraut
5 pounds potatoes
salt & pepper - to taste

Brown sausage in pan. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off. Stir in drained kraut. Peel and boil potatoes, mash as you usually would. In large roaster, place sausage/kraut mixture on bottom of greased roaster. Then, smear the mashed potatoes over the top.

Place in oven on 350 degrees, uncovered until potatoes are golden brown on top. Make sure you don't leave it in too long.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Winner

If you follow the my blog you are probably waiting to hear the winner of last weeks contest!! To enter you all you had to do was answer this question: 

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

Well...enough waiting let's get to it. All entries were put into a mixing bowl and one lucky name has been drawn......and the winner is:
BLou said...
"Slap n Chop" dealy bob from Pampered Chef.

Congratulation BLou you will be receiving a PC Mix N Chop in your mailbox very soon:
Thank you for participating. Be looking for more fun contests in the future!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glazed Carrots

Orange Glazed Carrots
Sliced carrots
3 tablespoons Honey
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Butter
2 teaspoons orange juice or lemon juice

We get lots of hunny every year from those friendly bee people in turn for providing a spot for their bee box things. With that said I've been making different dishes to utilize honey.

In a sauce pan boil carrots until tender. Strain the water off, and add remaining ingredients. Simmer for several minutes and serve.

I paired these with chuck roast, baked potatoes, and fresh cantaloupe for supper, yummy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bye-Bye Wallpaper

After mowing the lawn Saturday it was time to work in the house. Since I'll be moving to the farm in September we've been working in the house as much as we can before I move in! Nothing is worse than painting around extra furniture.

One of my favorite things about the house we will be living in is: It's not a "cookie cutter" home it is older and has a lot of character. It is going to take some time and effort but we are excited to make some changes to make it feel more like "our home!" Today's project was removing wallpaper in the dining room. 
I peeled the top layer off which left paper backing and glue stuck to the wall. I figured paper should absorb water right? and eventually pull off...WRONG! Well maybe it does but I did'nt have the patience to sit and wait. So...I set to the shop in seach for window washer fluid......we were out, that's when I found my wallpaper destroying friend: Windex. I absolutely couldn't believe how easy taking wallpaper off could be without buying a steamer or special products for removal.

Here is what I did: Peal top layer of wallpaper off. Spray windex on generously, let set for a few minutes or until you see the paper bubbling. It completely releases the paper and nearly melts the glue right off. Once all the paper was removed wash the wall with warm water to get any extra glue cleaned off. The wall is now ready for to be painted! This worked wonders for me!
These pictures show how the wallpaper released in large sheets!

Ta-da...this picture doesn't show the color too well but under that wallpaper was a trendy light green color that has been hidden for years it went out of style and is back in style!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Birthday Cake

Last night I spent the evening making a birthday cake for a friend who loves Elmo as much as I love baking!!! I thought I'd share a picture with you all. I thoroughly enjoy baking & decorating cakes/cupcakes. I will admit the most challenging part for me is writing free hand.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

What is your favorite kitchen gadget? I'm going to be giving away one of my favorite tools.

On July 27th I will be announcing one lucky winner! Yay!

Rules: To enter comment on this post and tell me "What is your favorite gadget/thing/tool in the kitchen?"

 I invite you to share the contest if your friends and family. You must be a "follower" to enter. If you are the lucky winner you will be contacted for your mailing address to receive a special package from "Country Cookin!"

**Recruit more followers-send me a message with who you recruited and you will receive an extra entry in the drawing!

Good luck everyone!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rhubarb Pie

With five plants, we have rhubarb galore! One thing you will find with rhubard is people either like it or they don't. I grew up pulling a stick of rhubard from the garden, rinsing it off with the garden hose and dipping into a little sugar. YUM!...Healthy?...... well with sugar probably not. Rhubard is great for baking pies, crisps, jelly, and so forth.

This recipe is borrowed from my beautiful sister, Brandee. We knew she mastered it when dad told her it taste just like grandma's used to.

Rhubarb Pie
2 1/2 cups rhubarb cut up
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1 cup sugar

Makes 1 - deep 9 inch pie. Mix well, pour into crust and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until center is set and top is golden. Cool.
Although I have a recipe for a wonderful pie crust, I like to use store bought in a disposable pie plates when I'm sharing pies with friends and family.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dorito Supreme

It has been super hot the past couple days, leaving me not so hungry. Of course hot or not everyone has to eat something, I created this for lunch:

Dorito Supreme
1 1/2 pounds taco meat
1 can fat free refried beans
shredded cheese
lettuce, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, taco sauce

Layer chips on the bottom of a 9x13 pan, spread taco meat evenly across the chips, smear beans on top, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browning.

Serve with your favorite taco toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, olives, taco sauce, sour cream.
You will be happy to find the chips keep their crunch!!

It isn't the measurements of recipes as much as it is the idea and the fun way to adjust it to your liking. Here is an idea for you so personalize it fit your family!


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Ice Cream Monster

A Weekend Full of Fun

In response to some messages from my dedicated followers I thought I should fill everyone in on our exciting weekend. We had company!!! Yes that's right, the Ice Cream Monster (also known as Grady, our nephew/Godchild) spent the weekend playing with John Deere tractors and clanging pots and pans.

 We took a little road trip Saturday night to a little diner for broasted chicken and ice cream! Of course we enjoyed the chicken and our guest of honor enjoyed the ice cream. This is a picture of him sitting in an antique highchair...(yes these metal tray highchairs still exist at fun little places) he is ready for another bite of ice cream.

While I was busy cooking my little helper was busy is a shot of him in action!

Recipes from the weekend are coming soon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Best EVER Caramel Balls

No matter how careful I am to make sure there are no old maids in my popcorn balls, people always bite with caution! It's time to get rid of the yellow tape, and throw out the thought of getting popcorn stuck in your teeth by trying this 4 ingredient recipe. If you have ever ate puffed corn you already know just how "kid friendly" these little treats are.

Best EVER Caramel Balls
1 - stick real butter
1 -14 ounce bag Kraft caramels
1 -10 ounce bag marshmallows
1 -4.5 ounce bag butter flavor "puffed" corn

Melt first 3 ingredients very slowly in pot on stove. Pour over puffed corn in a very large bowl.

Mix well. Will be gooey. Don't get discouraged, it will take a minute or two to cool a bit and be easier to work with. Form into balls. Wrap each ball tightly with Press and Seal or plastic wrap!

I'm sure a lot of you are already familiar with Kraft's Caramel Bits! I wanted to note how much I love the convenience of not having to unwrap those little caramel squares anymore! I've seen amazing things made with these on FoodNetwork and will be posting them in the future. As for now everyone have a wonderful weekend. Those of you in the Dakota's try to stay cool, it's going to be a hot weekend.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwich

Sandwich anyone? How about a hot sandwich ready in minutes? If you are still reading this I'm sure you are wondering how a sandwich that looks like good can be ready in minutes. Get ready because I'm about to tell you!

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwich
1 can Campbells French Onion Soup Mix (*or mix together your own onion soup mix as directed)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 pound sliced roast beef
2 hoagie rolls with sesame seeds
4 slices provolone cheese, cut in half

Directions: In a saucepan on the stove mix soup with 1 can of water, add worcestershire and sliced roast beef. Heat until nearly boiling. Using tongs tranfer dripping meat onto your bun. Top with cheese.

Put in the pizza ovenand toast until melted. Toaster ovens and stove ovens work as well. I just like the convenience of a pizza oven! Once toasted to your liking serve them with a small dish soup for dipping.

I wanted to take a minute to remind my viewers of the somewhat "forgotten" program Campbells does for schools. On the back of Campbell cans you will find a little coupon looking bar like this:

I always....always clip these off and save them. Once I have a small baggy of them I donate them to a local school. Schools and teachers are most appreciative for them as they are able to earn stuff! Click on Campbell's Labels for Education to learn more about it. It only take a couple seconds to save these.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bouquet'd Potatoes

Wondering what bouquet is? Kitchen Bouquet is a browning/seasoning that has been around for many...many moons! You can find it near the steak sauce in the grocery store. Bouquet'd Potatoes are great served with steak, hamburgers, and so on. Go ahead give it a try!

Bouquet's Potatoes
potatoes - cut into wedges
1 stick butter - melted
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
2 teaspoons ranch powder - optional

Directions: Stir melted butter, Kitchen Bouquet and ranch together. Dip potatoes into mixture until coated and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle parsey over potatoes...generously! Bake at 350 for about a half hour or until potatoes are tender. Baking time will depend on the size of your potatoes.

*I didn't get a picture of them after taking them out of the oven but imagine those potatoes with a nice dark almost caramelized look.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oven Fried Chicken

My aunt introduced me to oven fried chicken when I was a little girl. It was one of my favorite meals at her house. She had many, many good recipes that I'm sure I'll be sharing! I have adjusted this recipe to cut the calories but it has proved to be successful when I see people licking the crumbs off their plates!

Southern Style Oven Fried Chicken
1/3 cup flour
Non-fat cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 ounces buttermilk
1/2 cup cornflakes - crushed finely
1 pound thawed bonless/skinless chicken breast - cut into 4 oz pieces
       *chicken wings and dumsticks work too just be sure to remove the skin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat your baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine flour, salt, peper, onion powder and cayenne pepper together in a medium sized dish. Place buttermilk in a bowl of it's own and crushed cornflakes in another dish.

Roll chicken in flour until covered, then dunk it into the butter milk, and lastly roll it in the crushed cornflakes.

Place on you baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes.

NOTE: You do not have to flip the chicken while baking!!

Each 4 oz piece of chicken = 4 Weight Watcher Points


Monday, July 11, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes

Weekday mornings consist of quick grabs for breakfast like: cereal, pop tarts, toast, etc. On the weekends I like to prepare a breakfast to eat together, such as these Buttermilk Pancakes. My Fiance knew I loved cooking/baking so for our first Christmas he gave me their family cookbook, and I love it! This recipe is borrowed from the "Preszler Family Treasures" cookbook shared by his dad.

Buttermilk Pancakes
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 1/2 cup flour

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together. Fry on a hot griddle.

Q:  Do you know when it's time to flip a pancake?
A:   When the pancake has lots of bubbles like on the picture below it is ready to flip!

Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup of batter per pancake = 5 uniform pancakes

That is exactly what I did they were deee-licious! Pancakes can be a fun flavor blasted breakfast meal. I like to add fresh berries to the batter, top them with your favorite jelly, sprinkle powdered sugar on top with slices of bananas, or my Fiance likes sliced cheese on his.
Yes that's right....sliced cheese. I had never heard of it until I met him but it really is quite tasty!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

 I have a serious love for baking and cupcakes! I wasn't sure if I wanted to share cupcake recipes on my blog just in case I could someday have a cupcake business of my own! A girl can dream....right! My coworker's daughter is celebrating her 17th birthday this week and she was looking for some red velvet cupcakes. Of course I was more than happy to whip some up for her.  Since I have not developed my own recipe for "Red Velvet" yet I borrowed this recipe from allrecipes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

1 (1 ounce) bottle McCormick Red Food Color
 2 teaspoons vanilla

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (16 ounce) bag powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in stand mixer on a medium speed for 5 minutes or until fluffy. Eat in eggs one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture while mixing on a low speed just until it's blended. Do not over beat. 

Spoon batter into cupcake liners, 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack completely prior to frosting.

Frosting Directions: Beat softened cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth. You are ready to frost your cupcakes!

I piped frosting onto some of the cupcakes and added red glitter sprinkles. For her 17th birthday I want to do something a little different.... I (for the 1st time) melted milk chocolate chips in a piping bag and wrote "17" on a piece of wax paper over...and over...and over! Once they dried I was able to pick them up and stick them on top of the cupcakes! I am impressed with out easy this is and will be using it more.

After looking at my first sheet of 17's I learned a little trick to make letters/numbers/shapes more consistant. Print them out on a computer or write them on paper, then place the wax paper on top of the sheet and go with it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weight Watcher - Chicken Enchilada's

I had a request for some healthier recipes yesterday so here it is! Chicken Enchilada's have been one of my favorite Weight Watcher recipe's for years. It is easy to make and quite tasty. You don't have to be on a diet to eat healthy dishes like this this one.

Chicken Enchalida's
10 ounces cooked chicken - shredded
2 cups scallions - finely chopped
2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
6 inch prepared corn tortillas
1 1/2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese - grated

Directions: Stir chicken, scallions, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce together in a bowl.  Soften the corn tortillas in the microwave (5 seconds per if you have 4 in the microwave that would be 20 seconds).

(Another must have from Pampered Chef...small sheet pan. It's one of my favorites, I use this pan a lot: baking potatoes, fish, veggies, etc.)

Pour 1 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Fill tortillas with 1/4 cups of the mixture. Roll and place them seam side down on the sauce in the baking dish.

Top with the remainder of the enchilada sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes.

This recipe yields eight servings. A serving = 3 WW points

Serve with your favorite taco trimmings.
Add: mushrooms, peppers etc from the zero point list to add more color and flavor!
Pictured with Romaine lettuce with a 1/2 teaspoon dollop of fat free sour cream.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cucumber Salad

This is another family favorite using garden fresh cucumbers!
Cucumber Salad
5-6      large slicing cucumbers - sliced very thin
1         large yellow onion - sliced thin
1 1/2  c. mayonnaise (not miracle whip)
1/4     c. vinegar
1/2     c. sugar

Slice and mix cukes and onions together. (Yes!! That is the Pampered Chef  Ultimate Slice &'s a must have!)

Then blend mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar together. Pour over vegetables. Chill and enjoy! This dressing keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. When you start running low on cucumbers or onions simply slice more and stir them in!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vegetable Dip

Nothing says summer like fresh garden veggies, this is an easy way to use some of them up. We always had a large garden growing up, Mom did a lot of canning and freezing but we always had fresh vegetables in the fridge with this awsome dip to snack on! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Vegetable Dip
24 oz container cottage cheese
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
2 small packets of Hidden Valley Ranch mix for Buttermilk

Mix all ingredients together and chill. Serve with fresh vegetables. This is also a great after school snack.

I always use Miracle Whip light in an attempt to cut some of the calories out of recipes. It tastes the same as normal Miracle Whip and no one ever notices! Not sure what Hidden Valley Ranch for Buttermilk Recipe is? See the picture below. It is found in the salad dressing aisle!