Saturday, February 27, 2010

Roast and Dinner Rolls

I made the roast tonight and only made one change.  I added potatoes.  Roast is my husbands favorite meal, and if I attempted to not have potatoes in there....well it would not have been pretty. :)
Knowing my husband is not a fan of rosemary I decided to add it in and not tell him...He actually loved this!  He was surprised by the rosemary and said that he thought it gave it a nice different flavor.  He voted this his favorite.  So yes, we'll be making this again!!!

I also found a recipe on PW's blog for dinner rolls and made those.  They were pretty easy to make (yay!) and sweet.  The one thing about them is the bottoms cooked a bit more than I would have liked.  I might cook them for a shorter amount of time next time and also use a different pan. 
Mine also were not as pretty as PW's.  I am not sure what happened....she says the dough is slightly sticky but that you should be able to roll the dough in your hands.  She even shows this in her blog but for me that didn't work.  The dough was crazy sticky so I used my cookie scoop (a mini ice cream scoop) so they weren't nearly as good looking but still tasty!
I also halfed this recipe and got 15 huge rolls!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Janice's Biscuits

After reading the reviews of PW's biscuits, I decided to skip her recipe and go straight to Janice's. And I'm so glad I did! They were yummy, easy to make, light and fluffy...really good biscuits! Thanks Janice for sharing your recipe with us!!

Pico de Gallo and Guacamole

Last week Morgan brought these to smallgroup and they were so tasty that I had to try them myself. I used a half of a red onion, 3 avocados, and 2 finely diced roma tomatos. We really liked both of these recipes, even though they really aren’t that different.

Mac and Cheese (with Veggies!)

I made a modified version of this recipe. My granddaughter, Evelyn, is spending the week with me...and not eating any of her I added the steamed broccoli and cauliflower she had rejected the past couple days! I figured both of those veggies go well with a cheese sauce.
It is impossible to cook without Evelyn pulling up her stool and insisting on cooking too! This is one cooking girl, believe me! She can hear things happening in the kitchen from across the house, and she comes running to "help cook!"
When it came time to eat though, the enthusiasm just was not there...
She did take a bite--ONE bite!
Grandpops and Grandmother loved the dish! And I thought the veggies were great in with the mac and cheese!
But baby bear's mac and cheese with veggies remained untouched after the first tester bite....Oh well, Mom, sorry-- I give it my best try to feed your daughter!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cowboy Calzone

What a better way to start off the week than cooking my first dish from the newest cookbook, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks". I decided to cook the Cowboy Calzone for dinner and it was very good! In my opinion, this dish would also make an excellent breakfast dish. To help save some time, I made the cheese mixture earlier in the day and just left it in the refrigerator till I started cooking. I did add a little extra of both shredded cheeses than what the recipe calls for because my son loves cheese. Also, as I was cooking the meat mixture, I added a little garlic powder too. Our family thinks garlic makes everything better. :) After making the eight calzones, there was still a lot of the meat mixture left. So I made some more crust (self-rising flour, salt, water) while the calzones were cooking and created a casserole with the left- over meat. Then while we ate, I cooked the casserole. After it cooled, I refrigerated it. We had this for dinner the following night. I topped off the casserole with marina sauce and served it with a salad. One recipe turned into two yummy meals. Now that is my kind of cooking! My husband and son liked both versions of the dish, so I will definitely be making it again.

Iny's Prune Cake with Buttermilk Icing

This cake is delicious! The caramel icing is awesome and the cake is really moist just like PW says! I have no objection to prunes, in fact, I actually like them! I had bigger chunks of prunes in the cake which didn't bother me but if you are trying to hide the fact that they are in there, mash/chop them finely and no one will ever know!

I made the mistake of leaving the cookbook open on the counter so when my 13 year old saw what was in the cake she wasn't very interested in trying a piece. Had a small bite and said it was okay but I suspect if she hadn't known what was in the cake she would have really liked it!

I'll hide the cookbook and give it the husband test tonight!

Macaroni and Cheese

I thought this was yummy and easy but heavy on the mustard taste. I did what the directions said and added 2 heaping teaspoons of dry mustard - that is a lot of mustard! I used a new jar so it must have been extra fresh and strong!! Would definitely use less next time and I like mustard!

My daughter liked the dish but was too mustardy for her as well. My son did not like this dish! He prefers the kraft macaroni and cheese from the box - the kind with the fake orange cheese (a color not found in nature!). Where did I go wrong??

Beans and Cornbread

Husband is out of town so I could do a meatless meal!

The beans are very easy but definitely need seasoning. I added onion, garlic, can of chopped tomatoes and lots of cilantro - going for charro bean taste. Was yummy especially with the cornbread. Mine looks a little brown but it was really moist on the inside and nice and crunchy on the outside. I confess I usually make Jiffy cornbread - it is more cake-like and sweeter but I definitely liked this cornbread.

Rib-Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce

We made this for dinner the other night and it as always the recipe did not fail! This was not a recipe that I had marked to make first just because I love steak on the grill so I thought it wouldn't be that good on the stove and I didn't think we had whiskey. But I'm so glad I read Shannon's post about it and her giving it good comments because it was yummy. As I was reading her post I got to thinking 'didn't dad buy whiskey when he was down that time to make is Kentucky Race Horse pie' and sure enough we had a full bottle (b/c the pie didn't take much). The sauce is what I think makes it so yummy. If anyone else makes it and posts about it please let me know how your sauce turns out....ours was not anywhere as thick as her pic made it look. I even added extra cream?? But the flavor was still there so that was all that mattered but I would like it a little thicker.

We gave it a 9! It was very easy too b/c the steak cooks in 5 min! Can't beat that! recipes

Here are the other two things I made for small groups! They are both very yummy! Check them out.

Under Appetizers on her blog.....
Mushroom Phyllo Bundles (in cake pan)
Yummy Mystery Rolls (in bowl)

French Breakfast Puffs

Yesterday I had snack duty for small groups and the main thing I was going to make I couldn't b/c the dough has to sit over night and I didn't realize that until 9.30 the night before and I was to tired to do it so that then left me with only two snacks for small groups...and I like to have at least three for variety! So I was thumbing through the cookbook trying to figure out what I could make with what I had so I saw the list for these and was like 'good I have everything!' and they were on my list that I wanted to try sooner rather than later! Well as I'm getting everything out of my pantry I realize the shortening I thought I had was a year old and no good so I was like oh no. But the internet was to the rescue so I looked to see what substitutions I could use and everyone said butter so I went with it just hoping it would turn out good....and they did! Darby had made them before and she said there wasn't any difference that she could tell with the butter. Which is worse of the two butter or shortening???:)

We gave them a 10 and they were actually very easy to make! I will say though they are sugary but you can control that with the coating. I did a lot b/c the coating made A LOT and I hate to waste so instead of wasting more than I did I'll just give everyone cavities!

My suggestions for the coating:
1 stick of butter (I used 1stick +3-4tbsp and that was to much)
3/4c of sugar (1 1/2 was just way to much.....I had to trhow some away b/c obviously I didn't use that much)
2tsp of cinnamon (just for the fact that the sugar is being cut down)

Just as pretty as hers....maybe not presentation but hey they were yummy!

Simple, Perfect Chili

It was cold and rainy last night and this was the perfect thing to warm us up. I have a chili recipe that I actually love, so I was not going in expecting to like hers, but it was very good. I added an extra can of tomato sauce, seemed a little thick before I even added her masa flour. Now the corn flour did add a nice background flavor, but was it enough to make it worth buying a whole bag of it? Not sure.....Guess I can try my hand at making corn tortillas, that was the only recipe on the back of the bag! We are going on a camping trip in a few days and the rest of this will be perfect for over the campfire! Oh, I did use her suggestion about adding one can of diced tomatoes, and one can of beans. All the seasonings were perfect I thought.

Skillet Cornbread

This was really good! It was moist, but firm enough to spread butter on without crumbling everywhere. I will definitely make this again. Only change I made was to add 2 pinches of sugar, although I couldn't really taste it in the end. The husband gave it two thumbs up also. We loved the crunchy edges the best. I used a small skillet that is 9 inches across the bottom, I have a large and a small, she doesn't state the size, just thought I'd pass that on. -Carissa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fried chicken, twice-baked potatoes, and buttermilk biscuits with honey butter

This was the first time I made fried-chicken and didn’t burn the first piece! I was so proud of myself! A tip for the chicken: do not underestimate the amount of flour that you will need. For the potatoes, I was trying to be conservative with the amount of oil I used on the outside of the potato and apparently I was too conservative. Because there wasn’t enough oil the skin didn’t become shell-like and I could only salvage the inner portion of the potato (arguably the best part of a twice-baked potato!) I wasn’t a big fan of the buttermilk biscuits (most-likely because I forgot I put them in the oven and they baked too long), but I did like the honey butter.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Perfect Pot Roast and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Sorry for the lack of photos - we were experiencing technical difficulties with our camera when I made the last few recipes, but those have been resolved, so I should have attachments in the future. :) Anyway, the Pioneer Woman's "perfect" pot roast was aptly named - my husband said it was the best pot roast I have ever made. I did make a couple of changes to the recipe - I used a lot more beef stock than she recommended (around 5-6 cups), and I added a bottle of Shiner Bock (adding a beer is a little trick I learned from my sister- and brother-in-law Julia and Ben - who have always made delicious pot roasts!). I loved the use of the rosemary and thyme...our house smelled so yummy! As for the creamy mashed potatoes, they did not go over so well - but I think that's more because my husband doesn't like really creamy things than that the recipe isn't good. I personally thought they were delicious! I did cut down A LOT on the butter and cream cheese, and it didn't seem to hurt the potatoes at all. Finally, I love that you can make these in advance and heat them up 1-2 days later (which I suppose is true of any mashed potatoes, but it never occurred to me to do it before...).

Beans (without the cornbread)

This was a yummy, fairly easy recipe. Initially, I covered the beans with too much water, so I had to scoop some of it out at the end. In the future, I will only cover the beans by about 1 inch instead of 2. I also added a teaspoon of chicken-flavored Better than Bouillon - my mom says that the stuff just makes everything taste better, and it definitely improved the flavor of the beans (which I thought needed a little something extra even after I added the salt and pepper to the mix). I ended up fishing out the bacon once the beans were done. I guess I don't like bacon that isn't crispy, and it just didn't look appetizing to me. I might still use bacon the next time I make this recipe, but maybe I'll just throw in a couple of whole pieces so that they can flavor the beans, but still be easy to remove from the pot once I'm ready to serve them. Once the beans were fully cooked, I added in some chopped up sausage that I had fried up in a skillet and the combination was very good. I served it over rice with sour cream, cheese, chopped onions, and Tabasco sauce. I did serve it with cornbread, but I cheated and used a mix, so I'll have to test out the cornbread recipe another time...

"Killer" Chicken Pot Pie

I'm a pie baker. I love making pies. And I can tell you, this crust is excellent. It was very flaky and easy as pie to make. ;-) ... As for the chicken pot pie itself, this will kill you. Maybe even tonight, so beware. It's made with heavy cream and lots and lots of butter. Though, my family loved it. Who wouldn't?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

PW's Cinnamon Rolls

Oh my! These are happy.... Look closely to at this picture and you'll see why. Can you see the butter about to drip off my kitchen counter? I actually had to construct a little dough dam to keep it from pouring onto the floor....

Here they are in the pans. I made a half recipe and froze 2 out of the 3. Make sure to leave space in the pan for them to rise some more....

This is after they rose for a bit under a towel, and just before baking. While baking, I put the coffee in the icing and thought it was fabulous. I also used maple syrup instead of extract. Worked great.

Speaking of icing, here they are... Yum! I plan on baking another pan in a few weeks. Need to space out the calories.

Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler

This was like a big muffin. It's good, but not cobbler-like. The amount of sugar in it will downright make you giggle. I just kept shaking it in there thinking, "Seriously?!," while checking the recipe over again. When I saw that it was right, I immediately flipped through the book to check the size of PW's rear-end. It seemed reasonable, so I went with it.

Breakfast Burritos

My 5 year old said they were "better than IHOP!"- the highest compliment in his repertoire. I'd definitely make these again. Don't be afraid to turn up the spice. - Jenny

Friday, February 19, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits--but not PW's--sorry...

I was not happy with PW's biscuits, and determined the ones I make that I replicated from my Granny's much loved biscuits, are still the best. So since LouAnn asked for my recipe, I am putting it here on cookabook.  If you would like to see all the pictures of the process, you can go to my other blog at

My daughter, Carissa, and I wrote a cookbook (What We Cook) of all our recipes we both cook, and this is our cookbook blog. Here is the biscuit recipe from our cookbook:
Janices' Buttermilk Biscuits~
Homemade biscuits are a favorite of mine, something that always reminds me of breakfast at my Granny’s house when I was a little girl. I have tried many recipes over the years...and finally developed a combination of ingredients and techniques that come close to the biscuits of my childhood. I like to make these up, barely brown them in the oven, then cool and freeze. When I want biscuits, I leave them out to thaw on the counter for about 30 minutes, then pop them in a 350 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes to heat through and finish browning. They are just as good as fresh made!

2 cups all-purpose flour (if desired, you may substitute ¼ cup whole wheat flour for equal
        amount of all-purpose flour, for more of a wheat taste)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into ½-inch cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
¾ cup cold buttermilk
2 tablespoons milk, if needed
2 tablespoons additional butter, melted (for brushing tops, if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pulse first 6 ingredients in a food processor, or in a large bowl cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients till mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps.

2. Transfer mixture from food processor to a large bowl. Stir in butter milk with a fork until dough forms into a soft, slightly sticky ball. (Add the milk only if dough is too dry.) Turn out onto a generously floured board or counter and turn once to flour surface of dough.

3. Gently pat dough into a ½-inch thick square. With a sharp biscuit cutter, cut biscuits close together to generate as few scraps as possible. Push scraps of dough together to make 1 or 2 more biscuits, handling dough as little as possible.

4. Place dough rounds on an ungreased baking sheet; brush tops with additional melted butter if desired. (May be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 hours.) Bake until biscuits are very lightly golden, about 9 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

YUMMY!  But, not the best I have had- I think Ina's peach and raspberry crisp was yummier. 

I didn't have a pastry blender, so used a fork until my hands got tired, and then just used my hands to crumble it together- worked pretty well. 

I used frozen peaches instead of fresh- about 1 bag, so I did half the crumb recipe and put it in a 8x8 square pan.

The maple cream sauce was delicious!  But, Danny and I both felt that it didn't add much to the peach crisp because the crumble was already sweet. 

Creamy Rosemary Potatoes

Again, this is usually a dish we only make for holiday's- but I thought I would give it a try with PW's Perfect Roast.  I only did half the recipe and it made a 8x8 square dish- plenty for about 6 servings. I also used fat free cream cheese and all half and half instead of the heavy cream.

I didn't cook it long enough, so our potatoes were a little crunchy, but reheated the next day, they were perfect.  I loved that her recipe didn't have too many real cheese, but the cream cheese was yummy!  The fresh rosemary made all the difference. 

We will make this one again!

Perfect Pot Roast

While I was at Bed Bath and Beyond, going to suck it up and buy a new dutch oven, I found out that I already had one with my Calphalon pans I got for Christmas last year!  Thank goodness, because they are expensive.

I love pot roast and usually always cook it in the crock pot- Danny does not "prefer" the recipe I usually use.  He LOVED this one!

I saw a clip of Rachel Ray last week where she talked about browning your meat and veggies before putting them in- so when I saw that Ree says to do that, I knew it would help.  And it did! 

It was also strange to not put potatoes in the pot, but I went with it and I liked it better- I just made her Creamy Rosemary Potatoes with the roast.  We will definetly make this one again!

Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese- the real kind- is a BIG treat in our house, usually only at holiday's.  I was intrigued to try her recipe- because my favorite is made with 4 different types of cheeses. 

I cut everything in half and it made a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish worth- plenty for the 3 of us and leftovers.  I also always use the big macaroni and enjoy it more.  The small macaroni noodles seem to get mushier faster.

I made this the day ahead and it dried out a bit too much- I would put it together and cook right away. 

The one mistake I made was I didn't measure the dry mustard- and it had too much in it! But, the taste of the dry mustard was a nice addition.  I also added paprika, just cause we love it.

We will make this one again!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cowboy Calzone

I had some leftover vegetables this week, so I added green peppers and jalapenos to this calzone. This was not my favorite recipe by the PW. There wasn’t anything really that I could pinpoint that I didn’t like about it, I just think that I am used to Italian calzones so I had different expectations. This recipe wasn’t bad, just not my favorite.
Cowboy Calzones page 114

Cinnamon Rolls

Even though I made these last week it's taken me this long just to come off the sugar high long enough to post to the blog! I made half a batch last Wednesday and took PW's advice in the column and froze the rest for breakfast Saturday. I took them to MOPS Thursday, to a few friends and still had more than we could eat on Saturday and Sunday for breakfast and dessert. (Read...this makes a ton, unless you are feeding a small army, make half)
I would suggest using 1/4 less butter and less sugar. It was just a bit much! I'm not exactly sure why my rolls didn't look pretty like hers. I for some reason wasn't able to roll them as tight. Any suggestions on this? Do you cool the dough before you start? Otherwise they were amazing. Oh, almost forgot, the icing! Loved the icing but I didn't put coffee in it. I hate coffee so wasn't going to take a chance on it, even if "you can't taste it," which is what everyone that likes coffee always replies. I also used maple syrup instead of maple flavoring. I had a little pure maple syrup left over from Ina's Maple Oatmeal Scones.
I will definitely make this again using less butter, less sugar and I'll half the recipe.

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno poppers was the first recipe that Phil and I were introduced to when we moved to Texas and it has become a favorite of ours. When I first got the cookbook and I noticed that this was the very first recipe in the PW’s collection, I knew this was going to be a good cookbook. In the past, Phil and I have made our poppers more plain (i.e. just cream cheese for the filling and no BBQ sauce), so we were nervous to break out of our mold. But boy, are we sure glad that we did! I think next time I will go a little lighter on the shredded cheese and a little heavier on the green onions. I cut each bacon strip in half so that each popper only had half a strip of bacon. I used a hickory smoke flavor for the BBQ sauce, and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Next time I think I will borrow the PW’s tip from the meatloaf recipe and cook the poppers on a broiler pan so as to reduce the grease.
We made half with the BBQ sauce and half without. The BBQ poppers definitely went faster. BBQ Jalapeno Poppers page 14

Patsy’s Blackberry Cobbler- with blue berries and raspberries

This recipe was so easy I thought I must’ve been doing something wrong. It was easier than baking from a box; there were even fewer dishes to clean-up after! Phil and I decided to make it a mixed berry cobbler instead of just a blueberry cobbler and it was very tasty. We served it at bible study with some Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream and it was a hit.
Blueberry Cobbler page 212

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PW's Cornbread

I have been using the same cornbread recipe for 37 years. I tried a few new ones here and there and always came back to my orginal one.  So I didn't mind trying PW's cornbread, but I didn't really expect much, and I certianlly didn't expect to LOVE it!  The proportions are different than my old recipe, and the way to mix it is different.

 I did change one thing. PW calls for 1 teaspoon of salt, but in my experince, I felt that was too much salt, so I bumped it down to 1/2 teaspoon. I was glad that I did. Another change I made, was that I no longer have a cast iron skillet--I passed it to my daughter-in-law, Julia, a few years back, since I was not using it much. So my skillet substitute was my Pampered Chef stoneware pie pan. It worked great! I could not heat it on the stovetop,so I preheated it in the oven with about a tablespoon of canola oil.

And I used canola oil in the recipe instead of the solid shortening called for. Pouring the batter into the hot dish ove the hot oil made a nice sizzle and immediately formed a nice crispy edge. I baked it at 425 instead of 450, because my oven tends to cook hot.
My husband asked if I put something really moist into the cornbread--but I think it is just the large proportion of liquid to dry that this recipe calls for. It made the cornbread very moist. We both just went to town on this cornbread, and ate more than half of it between us! This recipe is definately in a dead heat with my old one...