Thursday, March 30, 2017

One Skillet Pierogie Reuben

We enjoy watching a Saturday morning show on the Food Network called The Kitchen and this idea was shared on the show by Jeff Mauro. We tried it on a Sunday afternoon and enjoyed it. It's easy to make with a frozen version of Polish Pierogies or you could make it with your own homemade Savory Wareneki/Vareniki. You can use corned beef or pastrami for this recipe. We used pastrami.

  • 12 frozen Polish cheese or potato Pierogies or homemade savory Wareniki/Vareniki
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
  • 2 or more cups grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 pound pastrami or corned beef cut in a 1/4 inch slice and then cut in bitesize cubes
  • Thousand Island Dressing to drizzle
  • 1/4 cup minced chives

  1. Par boil and simmer pierogie in a cast iron pan or oven safe pan until they are al dente in salted water, drain and shake off all excess water, wipe off pan and return to stove top.
  2. Turn on the oven broiler with the the rack set on the lowest level.
  3. In same pan melt butter and add the drained pierogie back to the pan.
  4. Brown on both sides, turn off heat.
  5. Add the onion evenly over the pierogie.
  6. Add the sauerkraut evenly over the onion and pierogie.
  7. Add the grated cheese evenly over the sauerkraut, onion and pierogie.
  8. Add the cubed pastrami or corned beef on top.
  9. Place the pan under the broiler on the lowest rack and watch carefully until the cheese melts and bubbles.
  10. Remove the pan and sprinkle the chives evenly on top.
  11. Serve with Thousand Island Dressing drizzled on top.
  12. Serves 4.
You can serve this with a salad or fresh veggies to round off your meal.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Taco Hand Pies

I made food for our grandson's road trip. He prefers hand held foods as they are not as messy. He likes tacos and so I thought taco hand pies would be just the thing! You can prepare the dough and the filling the day before which makes it easy peasy to make the pies the following day. I love recipes where you can do the prep work ahead of time. You could make them smaller to serve as an appetizer at a party. They freeze well, thaw and reheat in oven.

Rich and Flaky Dough:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, cold and cut in cubes
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten for brushing
  • 2 teaspoons water
  1. In food processor pulse flour and salt a few times, add butter and keep pulsing until butter is in small chunks. You still want pieces of butter to be visible.
  2. Add ice cold water slowly pulsing just until dough comes together.
  3. Dump out on slightly floured counter and gather dough together in a ball. Divide into 4 pieces and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight or at least for an hour.
  4. Remove from fridge, roll out each piece approx 1/8" thick and cut rounds using a 4" biscuit cutter.
  5. Brush edges of each round with beaten egg and water mixture, place a rounded tablespoon of taco filling mixture in the center and fold dough over to make a half moon. 
  6. Press edges closed with a flour dipped fork. 
  7. Once you have made all your pies, brush with remaining egg and water mixture and pierce tops 2 or 3 times with a fork.
  8. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 400º for 18 minutes until golden in color. 
Taco Filling Mixture:
  • 10 oz ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons taco powder
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1 roma tomato, cut up in small chunks
  • 1/2 cup green sweet pepper, cut up in small chunks
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  1. Fry ground beef until browned, breaking it up into small pieces while frying.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in taco powder, refried beans, tomato chunks, green pepper chunks, and shredded cheese until well combined.
  3. Yield: 44 hand held pies. They are good hot or at room temperature. Eat plain or dip in taco sauce or sriracha mayo. Taste great served with a salad.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Salted Caramel Budino

It was in spring a few years back, that eight of us gals from MGCC met up at the tulip fields of La Conner Washington. Once we were done trekking through the fields, we all went to Seeds Bistro for lunch. Though we had no intention of having dessert, the server talked us into sharing their specialty dessert that day...a salted caramel budino. One dessert.  Eight spoons.  We all had a taste.  I wrote down the name, one I had never heard of before.  Budino is the Italian word for custard or pudding.  Here is my attempt at replicating the 'sweet ending' we had in La Conner that day. 

Cookie Crust:
  • 1 cup finely ground chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix crumbs, butter and salt in small bowl.  Reserve two tablespoons of mixture for garnish. Press remaining cookie mixture into the bottom of  six to eight small dessert cups or Mason jars.

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 large egg plus two egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In large, heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, maple syrup and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in the half-and-half and whipping cream. Stir until smooth.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk the eggs and cornstarch until smooth.  Add to the brown sugar mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk unitl mixture thickens and is the consistency of pudding (about three minutes). 
  3. Divide among six to eight prepared dessert dishes.  
  4. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  5. Spoon one or two tablespoons of caramel sauce (recipe below) over each budino. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, whisking gently...until mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Add vanilla and cook for another minute.
  4. Cool to room temperature. (It can be made in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using or heat in microwave at 5 second intervals. Add a wee bit of cream if it is too thick.)
* Do not put the caramel sauce on until ready to serve, as it soaks into the custard.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Asian Slaw Salad

This is the time of year when the markets are beginning to show signs of spring while winter cabbage is still plentiful and the oranges seem to be sweeter than ever. Creative salad making is easy when there is so much to chose from. Don't get caught in the doldrums of boring salads. Explore the produce isles and get creative by adding some new fresh edibles to your menu. 
Fill a bowl with green and purple cabbage, kale, carrots, sweet peppers, green and red onions, peas, edamame beans, oranges. These are just my choices, but add or take away to suit your taste.
Try substituting mangos for the oranges, adding fresh avocado, or adding toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds. 

Dressing and salad toppings really make a salad.
This dressing is enough for 8-10 cups of vegetables.
  • 1/3 cup grape seed oil (or any light oil)
  • 1/3 cup liquid honey
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp powder mix from Ramen Noodle package (or add more to your liking)
  1. Place all ingredients into a small jar. Shake well and refrigerate until ready to use.
Crispy Ramen Noodle Salad Toppers:
  • 1 package Ramen dry Noodles (use part of the seasoning package in the dressing)
  1. Crumble noodles onto a baking sheet.
  2. Bake in 400º oven for approximately 5 minutes until golden and crispy. Watch them, as they can burn quickly. 
  3. Allow to cool and store in air tight container until ready to mix into salad. 
  4. When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad, toss. Add Crispy Noodles and toss again. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bread for the Journey

Our oldest Grandson, Evan, was baptized recently.
At the service his Dad presented him with a Tow Strap.

Now you need to understand my Son in law. He is a hands on guy and grew up in a hard working, God honouring family. He lives and breathes vehicles of all kinds and when he, my husband and our sons get together the conversation is sure to center on the latest vehicle project. In their town he is known as the person to go to when someone needs a hand or something needs fixing.
So when he came up to speak a blessing to his son, none of us were surprised
when he threw out a Tow Strap on the stage.
He used it as an object lesson the importance of knowing God's Word and in living the Christian life
He's graciously allowed me to share it with you.

The value of a tow strap is:
It can pull you out of tight spot - like a ditch, a snowbank or thick mud.
It can be used to help someone else out of a tight spot
The strap is stretchy and resilient but can only do its work  if you look after it and keep it clean.
You keep it clean by soaking it in warm water to release the dirt.

The parallels are pretty straightforward.

As a Christian, you will be slogged through the mud, yanked hard and stressed to the MAX.
Sometimes you will only need a gentle tug.
Sometimes you will be the one to help someone else in their spiritual walk
When you sin, or become muddy, stretched, yanked and tested, the best thing you can do is soak.
Soak in God's word, soak with other believers in Church.
God's Word is there to help you just like this tow strap.

As you can see from the pictures, Evan's Dad and Mom collected Scriptures from family and close friends and wrote them on the Tow Strap. After the service those who had a verse to give to Evan were invited to add them to the strap. He now has these verses to remind him of the support he has from his family and community.
Our prayer is that he will hide them in his heart and draw on them often.

This made me think of Psalm 119:9-12 and I have made it my prayer for Evan.

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your Word.
With my whole heart I have sought you;
Oh let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your Word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O LORD!
Teach me Your statutes.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen

For Saturday in my kitchen I wanted to share some kitchen items I've been using for 42 years now. We were married in December of 1974 and these were some shower and wedding gifts we received. They are still serving me well. These high quality stainless steel bowls have been used over and over again for mixing anything from cookies to cakes and brownies and for savory things like egg scrambles.
My tried and true stand mixer has been a faithful friend over all these years beating up ingredients for me and saving my hands and wrists and arms a lot of wear and tear.
My aluminum pans have made so many cakes, crumbles, breads, brownies, and other wonderful treats.

These last two I have used mostly for storage of leftovers and haven't baked anything in them. They have plastic tops that fit snugly on top and are very convenient for storage in the refrigerator and for reheating the leftovers.

Are you still using gifts from your wedding showers and wedding day?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Flash Back Friday ~ Self-Crust Coconut Pie..the easy way

For Flashback Friday I'm sharing this delicious coconut pie. If you don't have enough time to bake the usual coconut pie, this is the easy route to go. The filling is like a custard, add a bit of whipped cream and toasted coconut sprinkled on top and you will have a wonderful dessert to serve!

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk..I used skim and it turned out fine
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut..flaked is my favorite but shredded is fine.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine the ingredients in order given, whisking to combine thoroughly.
  2. Pour into a greased 10" pie pan, I used my glass pie pan.
  3. Bake at 350º for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. The center will still be a bit jiggly.
  4. Cool completely on a cooling rack. I couldn't wait and tasted it while still good.
  5. I served the pie with whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted coconut. 
  6. Serves: 8-10