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Flash Back Friday ~ Molasses Kissed Pumpkin Pie




I first posted this Pumpkin Pie in 2013.  It's still our favourite and I think you will find it easy to put together for your family too! 

There is no need to buy pumpkin pies from a bakery when they are really so simple to make.
If you don't have time to make your own pastry, purchase a package with two frozen deep dish shells and use one of the shells to cut out little leaves with the thawed pastry for garnish.

  • 1 9 inch deep dish pie shell or make your own  (this can be done ahead of time)
  • 1 3/4 cups pure pumpkin puree (about 1 -  15 ounce /398 ml can)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk  (can sizes vary between US and Canada)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger*
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves*
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Adjust oven rack to second lowest level. Line a 9 inch deep pie plate with pastry. Decorate edge with leaf cutouts or crimp with your fingers or 
  2. Whisk together the pumpkin with the remaining ingredients until smooth. If you have a blender, put all the filling ingredients in there and process until smooth.
  3. Pour carefully into the pastry crust.  To prevent the crust edges from becoming too dark, use kitchen shears to cut out the inside of an aluminum pie plate and cover the pie as shown in the photo.  
  4. Bake at 425 F. for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F and bake an additional 35 minutes.  Test by putting a sharp knife an inch from the edge. It should be clean.
  5. Cool on rack.  Only refrigerate the pie if it is not being served the same day it is baked.  Serve with sweetened whipped cream.  Refrigerate leftovers. 
*if the cinnamon, ginger and cloves are not spices you use often, purchase pumpkin pie spice and use 2 teaspoons. 

School Lunches from the Kitchen


September is here with all of its joy of new school clothes and school supplies for the kids, while parents make renewed resolutions for organization toward a healthy and happy family lifestyle. I am a Grammy now, with all of that behind me, but still so clear in my memory. In fact, I have vivid memories of the lunches my mom packed for me and today, when I have thermos tea along with a ham, lettuce and mayo sandwich on a bun, my mind goes right back to my school desk at Sir James Douglas Elementary. The sandwich was always neatly wrapped in wax paper with a unique fold on top. If lunches can have such a lasting impact on a person, I like to think that it's food, not only for the body, but for the mind and soul. Maybe this is why I still like to help out my kids with a bag of pizza buns or pinwheels to put into the freezer, knowing that moms just get way too busy to keep up . . . and again, it's toward more than food for the body.


A variety of homemade buns, rolls, cookies and  muffins will take a few hours of focused time to prepare but will go a long way toward stress free lunch packing for the next month. All of the suggested recipes freeze well and are ready to pack into a lunch bag along with some veggies, yogurt, cheese and fruit.

With this post I just want to share a few favorite ideas. I'll add the links and more suggestions.



The pizza buns are made with a quick French bread dough, pizza sauce, cheese and bacon bits. One recipe makes about 30 buns. The banana chocolate chip muffins make a nice treat in miniature size for younger kids.


These sausage rolls are posted as a recipe on my personal blog, but I will give you the method here quick. You will need half of a skinny farmer sausage, quartered lengthwise, so that you have four long strips of sausage. Then, using 3 cups of the  the Basic Large Biscuit Mix, mix in 1 egg and 1 cup buttermilk. Roll it out to about 16 X 12 inches and divide it into four strips to roll the sausage up in. Cut these long rolled up sausage strips into small segments to make two dozen sausage rolls. Bake at 400 F about 15 minutes or until golden. The treat in this lunch is a mini chocolate zucchini muffin.


Cheese stuffed breadsticks are also made with French Bread dough. I made these with half whole wheat, half unbleached white flour. The recipe makes 24 to 32 bread sticks.



Maybe you have someone who prefers salads to sandwiches. A favorite pasta salad is a great idea. I added some left over rotisserie chicken into this lunch and some raisin oatmeal cookies which I have not posted, but there are a lot of cookies on this site to choose from. Plain mini meatballs (without the glaze or sauce) are also good in a lunch.



I was sure I had posted this quiche, but found out it's one I can still do in the future. A friend of mine told me her grandchildren love taking quiche in their lunch. They are easy to prepare. You can use frozen pastry tarts and simply fill them about 3/4 full with your choice of quiche filling. Bake at 400 F about 20 minutes.



Bev's Ham and cheese pinwheels have become a favorite just in this past year. If you love to roll out pastry and play with it, this is for you. These treats are a bit of work but very rewarding as the recipe makes about 60 pinwheels. Pop them frozen into a lunch bag and they will be good at noon. I use the cooked ham that comes cut square (375 g package) and quarter each slice for the perfect size on each pinwheel square. You can use only cheese if you like. If your school is not a peanut free zone, try the rice crispy chocolate rolls for a treat. Dried mango or apple slices might be something your kids like.



Biscuits, along with a few favorite things to nibble on may be a nice change for some. Split them to add butter or jam.


And last but not least, an old family stand by, are plain or whole wheat buns for sandwiches. Shape them large for bigger sandwiches or small, almost touching when you put them on the pan, so that they turn out more like a soft roll. Some kids love the "no crust" feel. Slice them before freezing, so that they can be filled on the day of, while frozen. If you want to minimize processed meats, use egg or tuna salad, homemade roast beef, chicken or ham. Home cooked meat is easiest to slice thinly once cooled.

I hope that lunch making can be an enjoyable time for whoever prepares it. Sometimes parents need for their kids to prepare their own lunch but again, to eliminate stress, prepare or delegate someone to peel and chop vegetables once a week and keep them in sealed containers with a bit of water. Ripen fruit on the counter, then wash and put in fridge when good to go. Have sandwich options and snacks readily available. If you pack a lunch and find out it does not get eaten, find out what needs changing. Sometimes younger children just feel like they do not have enough time to eat. Some like to know what is in their lunch in order to look forward to it. Some like a surprise. Know your own child to work toward a happy lunch experience. One day this too will only be a memory.

For more ideas, try a search of cheese straws, muffins, pizza muffins, vegetable muffins,wiener rolls, meat buns, baked oatmeal, cookies or school lunches in the recipe search window near the top of the sidebar.



Orange Peach Jam


Combine this jam, slightly runny and rich in citrus flavor, with cream cheese on a bagel OR with a barbecue sauce to use as a glaze on baked meatballs. I have given quite exact numbers when it comes to the fruit, but it does depend on size of fruit.

Ingredients for one batch:
(the goal is approximately 7 cups raw fruit blended before adding sugar, equaling 8 cups cooked, for one batch. I recommend doubling the amounts and cooking two batches)
  • 9 ripe peaches
  • 3 seedless oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons Certo Light or 1 pkg regular pectin

 Method:
  1. Wash jars and lids. Place clean jars in 225° F oven to keep hot. Place lids in small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and turn off element, covering pot to keep lids hot.
  2. Peel peaches, quartering them to remove pit. In blender, blend only for a few seconds until barely smooth. Can have a few tiny chunks. Pour into large bowl. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Peel oranges with potato peeler. Remove pith (white part) and discard. Blend orange segments with the orange rind until thick and smooth, for about 1 minute.
  4. Combine blended oranges and peaches. Measure out 7 cups (or at least 6) to pour into large stainless steel pot.
  5. Measure 1/4 cup of the sugar, blend with pectin and stir into fruit. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, bring to boil on high heat.
  6. Add 4 1/4 cups sugar all at once and continue stirring until it comes to a full boil once more.
  7. The whole top layer should be bubbling before setting the timer. Boil for three minutes, while stirring and making sure it cooks hard the whole time. If it splatters quite a bit, turn down the heat just a tad.
  8. Using a canning funnel, ladle hot jam into jars and cover with lids to seal. Repeat process if cooking more batches.
  9. Cool sealed jars at room temp before storing. Jam thickens as it cools.
I prefer storing jam in the fridge or freezer, so that it keeps fresh tasting, but you do not have to if it is sealed. You can tell if it's sealed if the center of the lid is slightly inverted rather than rounded. Do not push it in by hand.

Blueberry Lemon Loaf


This bread will have you thinking of coffee time, but not only that.  Serve it warm with ice cream for dessert or leave it out for breakfast. It's not very sweet, yet filled with lots of lemon and blueberry flavor. Switch it up with orange rind, if you like.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • rind (grated) from one large lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (I use 7% fat)
  • 1/4 cups oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups blueberries. (fresh or frozen)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease or line with parchment paper, one 5x9 inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix dry ingredients along with rind. 
  3. In separate small bowl, mix wet ingredients and add to dry along with blueberries.
  4. Stir until just combined and spread into loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 60 - 70 minutes, until cake tests done with pick. Leave in pan for 10 minutes before removing.
  6. If desired, drizzle with a mix of 3/4 cup icing (confectioners) sugar and juice of about 1/2 lemon. 


Alvina's Cinnamon Twists


For this Flashback I want to remind you of these sweet little twists I first sampled in Alvina's kitchen many years ago. Alvina is my cousin by marriage and lives about 1500 miles from us, but the visits we’ve had as families have been the best! Besides being an excellent cook and home-maker, Alvina has a wonderful warm personality and the best laugh!. I love reminders of our times together and when I make these I wish that the distance between our houses would not be so far.




More recently, this recipe came up when MGCC were invited to do a cooking class in Shipshewana, IN, and we demonstrated this simple biscuit pastry to be used plain, with a savory or a sweet filling.

Ingredients:

Your favorite biscuit or scone pastry. I use:
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp butter, room temp.
  • 1 c buttermilk or milk
filling and icing:
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 c icing (confectioner's) sugar

Method:
 
  1. In medium sized bowl, mix dry ingredients, then cut in butter with pastry blender. 
  2. Add buttermilk, stirring with fork until dough holds together. Shape into a ball.
  3. Pat into a rectangular shape on lightly floured surface and roll out to a 6 x 24 inch strip.
  4. Spread with melted butter, then with sugar/cinnamon/flour (mixed)
  5. Starting from long side, fold over twice, so that you have a 2 inch strip that has 3 layers.
  6. Cut into 3/4 inch slices and twist each slice so that it looks like the figure 8. (right hand twists away from you and left hand toward you)
  7. Place on greased and floured (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 400F until golden. About 12 - 14 minutes. Yield: approx. 30 mini twists
Icing:

Fill a 1 c measuring cup 3/4 full of icing sugar. Stir while adding a little water at a time, until it has an easy spreading consistency. Drizzle or brush over warm twists. (If you did not use
parchment paper, remove twists from sheet with lifter before sugar, that has run out, hardens.)


Rollkuchen Meatpockets




I remember the years when I was a teenager, we lived close to the church and my parents would often invite company home for lunch. My mom usually had a pot of soup ready and quickly made Rollkuchen to go along with the soup. It was pretty much the same, Sunday after Sunday, but she never stressed and everyone loved the meal. This recipe yields about 24 meatpockets or regular Rollkuchen ... you may want to double it. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ c milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups flour - could be more
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 generous teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 - 4 cups oil for frying
Filling:
  • 1 - 2 cups left over sloppy joe sauce or chili



Method:
  1. In a small bowl, mix eggs with fork and then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients.
  2. In another larger bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder, make a well and add the wet ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon, adding in the dry, until all ingredients are mixed well.
  3. Dust with flour and knead slightly jsut to gather and smooth. Add flour as needed so it is not sticky. (Can be wrapped and refrigerated at this time to roll and fry later.) Roll out quite thin on floured board or counter. 
  4. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling about one to one and half inches apart in a row, along one end.
  5. Fold dough over top of filling and press with a cup (dipped in flour) to form a perogie like crescent. No need to pinch. Lay on floured cookie sheet until all done before proceeding to fry. (If making regular Rollkuchen, simply cut into two inch strips and cut five inch lengths.  Cut a slit and flip one end through it to make a bow tie)
  6. Heat oil – test with a little dough to make sure it fries quickly, or throw in a few kernels of popcorn. Oil is ready when they pop. The trick to not have deep fried food soak up too much oil is to fry quickly in very hot fat. A cast iron works great. Use 2 forks or tongs and have a paper towel lined pan ready.




Jam Rolls (Rollchen)

I didn't realize until I was finished preparing this recipe that it is actually very much like Julie's Authentic Schnetki that she posted quite a while ago. You can find some nice variations there. For one reason or another, my family made them with jam and they have always been one of my hubby's favorite snack. Usually they just appear at our house with my Mom, who makes them regularly. The pastry can also be used for (fruit filled) Perishky.

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 c flour plus some for shaping and rolling out
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour cream)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups thick jam (we prefer plum or guava)

Method:
  1. Cut shortening and butter into dry ingredients with pastry blender.
  2. Add combined beaten egg and liquids. Stir with fork until everything is moist.
  3. Sprinkle with a little more flour, kneading gently and shape into log. Can chill at this time.
  4. Divide log into four parts. Set aside three.
  5. Roll a quarter of the dough out - rolling it up gently with the rolling pin (or flipping) to add more flour underneath. Roll sideways and up and down to achieve desired size - about 16 x 10 inches.
  6. Divide into four rectangular strips, each about 4 x 10 inches.
  7. Along one long side of each strip, spread about 1 - 2 Tbsp thick jam.
  8. Roll up like jelly rolls, pinching ends. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Can freeze at this time to bake fresh when needed.
  9. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 375° F for 30 - 35 min.
Some jam most always runs out - hence the parchment paper for easy clean up. This is why it is best to use thick jam, preferably cooked without pectin.


Rhubarb Meringue Torte



Here is a springtime favorite...with a press-in-the-pan shortbread crust that makes this dessert 'easier than pie'! 

Crust:
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  1. Combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.
  2. Pat into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan, and bake in 350 F oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Cool slightly.
Custard:
  • 6 egg yolk
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5-6 cups rhubarb, cut into small pieces
  1. Beat egg yolks, cream, sugar, flour and salt together.
  2. Fold in rhubarb and pour over baked crust.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes (until custard is set).
Meringue:
  • 6 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Beat egg whites with salt and vanilla until foamy.
  2. Add sugar gradually, and beat until stiff.
  3. Spread over custard and bake at 350° F until golden (about 10 minutes).

Serves 12-15

*This is a large recipe...can be halved and made in an 8 inch square pan.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas


I recently discovered this quick and easy method for preparing chicken fajitas.  The seasoned chicken and veggies are roasted in one pan in the oven.  While they are cooking, there is time to prepare the guacamole and other fixin's.

  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 pound), thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion,  halved and then cut in slices
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • fajita seasoning (recipe below) or 2 tablespoons of packaged taco seasoning mix
  • 6 - 8" tortillas 
  • Avocado, salsa, sour cream, cheese for toppings.

 Fajita Seasoning:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder  
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper  

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
  3. Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Distribute the veggies and chicken pieces evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Toss to coat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.  
  6. Stir and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and veggies are tender.
  7. Serve hot from the oven on warm tortillas with optional toppings, as desired.


Paska


















There is no other recipe that has found me more friends than this one. Most of the girls who share this blog with me. ..found my personal blog by "googling Paska". The recipe originated with my husband's Grandmother .. .but I made it simpler by utilizing my blender and thin peeling my citrus.

The aroma just amazing .. from the time you blend the citrus until the last loaf has cooled.
You will need 4 or 5 loaf pans or you can free form little twists or use muffin tins just adjust your baking time, and watch the oven closely.


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl, put your yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit 10 minutes. 
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 medium orange
  1. Take your citrus and peel it very thin. I use a vegetable peeler. You don't want to use any of the white parts of the peel. Put the thinly sliced peel in the blender.
  2. Once you have removed and discarded the white pith of the citrus. Chop your lemon and orange, removing all the seeds. Add the chopped lemon and orange to the blender.
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of real butter
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts or do it in a saucepan on the stove.
  2. Once it is melted add it to the blender. Start the blender .. and begin to puree.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Start the blender on high and allow the citrus, peel and milk, butter mixture to run for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, sugar, and salt.
  3. Continue to run the blender for another minute or two until very smooth.
  4. Measure the milk/citrus and sugar mixture it should be about 4 1/2 cups. If you have a bit more or less that is fine. .you will just adjust the flour likewise.
  5. Pour the mixture, along with the yeast mixture into a large bowl .. or the bowl of your kitchen machine, which has a dough hook.
  6. Add flour one cup at a time until you have a smooth soft dough it will be sticky. I think about 7 cups of flour should be right. . but it will depend on the size of your eggs and the size of your lemon and orange. With a plastic bowl, it is easy to tell when the dough has enough flour because it will stop sticking to the side of the bowl but with a metal bowl you really do need to stop the mixer often and touch your dough before adding additional flour. It really is best to stop the machine once it is getting close. . and knead the last bit of flour by hand. . .a little at a time until it is smooth. Do not add more than 7 1/2 cups flour allow it to remain sticky. If you measured the milk mixture and had 4 1/2 cups 7 cups of flour will be enough sticky but enough.
  7. The amount of flour is a guide. .if your dough is still super sticky add a little more flour a dusting at a time. Look at the picture in the collage of my dough .. .that is how it should look. It should be able to hold its shape. There will be several factors in how your dough could be different than mine, the flour you purchase or how you fill your cup of flour.  (I scoop and shake to level). It could be that you have slightly more liquid. Don't despair if you think it is still too sticky, slowly add a dusting more, turn the dough on the counter and knead until you are out of flour again and then give it another dusting and continue this way until it looks silky and is elastic.  (like mine in the picture).
  8. After kneading it by hand or with the machine for about 8 - 10 minutes, transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled. This should take about an hour. .to an hour and a half.
  9. At this point, give it a bit of a punch down and let rest at least 10 minutes or up to another hour.
  10. During this time prepare your pans. I spray mine with Pam. Make loaves and let rise until doubled in bulk .. .or about an hour to an hour and a half.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 F. If you have a convection oven, set it at 325 F. Bake the loaves approximately 20 - 30 minutes depending on the size of your pans.
  12. Gently remove from pans and place on cooling racks.  Once they are completely cool,  put them in the freezer unless you are eating them the same day. 
Paska Icing
  • 1 cup of soft real butter
  • 4 pasteurized egg whites (young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should avoid raw egg whites)  I often use egg white powder and water.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • enough icing sugar to make a soft icing. It will harden again in the fridge.
  1. Beat all together until light and smooth....and spread on each slice .. .and sprinkle with colored sugar.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

 
My niece, Carolyn is known for bringing these squares to family gatherings and one is lucky to get a piece, because they go fast! An oatmeal bar with a fudge filling that is hard to resist.
Ingredients:
chocolate fudge
  • 1 can (10 oz / 300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
cake
  • I cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups rolled oats
Method:
  1. On medium/low heat, melt fudge ingredients, stirring as needed, until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl of mixer, cream together butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs.
  3. Gradually, stir in flour, baking soda and rolled oats. This will end up resembling a stiff cookie dough. For easier mixing you can use a hook attachment on the machine if you have it ... but it works fine by hand too.
  4. Using a wet spatula or wet hands,  press 2/3 of the dough into a 9x13 inch greased pan. Glass or light colored aluminum is good. Keep 1/3 for top layer.
  5. Spread with fudge filling.
  6. Randomly scoop spoon fulls of the left over dough all over the top - like islands - allowing spots of the filling to show. (I add a few tablespoons of milk to this part of the dough to have an easier consistency to work with)
  7. Bake at 350° F for 25 - 30 minutes. (Do not over bake - may appear a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven) Let cool. Cut into 36 - 48 bars. Keeps well for days, refrigerated. Freezes well.

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Hawaiin Style Farmer Sausage

Since I saw this recipe featured on Winkler Meats Instagram page this week, it seemed like a good time to dust it off and re-publish it.


We rather like farmer sausage around here and always have some on hand.  Farmer sausage is a smoked pork sausage; the smoky flavour is a great addition to soups and casseroles.  But if you aren't familiar with this particular sausage, I'm sure your favorite sausage would work with this dish as well.
  • 1 ring farmer sausage (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (796 ml / 28 oz)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits (398 ml / 14 oz), drain and reserve juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1.  Stir fry farmer sausage for several minutes.
  2.  Add celery, onions, and peppers and cook until tendercrisp.
  3. Add tomatoes, pineapple, seasonings, sugar and soy sauce.  Simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Blend cornstarch with reserved pineapple juice. Add to simmering sausage dish and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Serve on a bed of rice.

Serves 6.

Porridge Pancakes


This family sized recipe makes about 16 hearty, oat filled pancakes named for their moist porridge texture within a pancake. We love them with cinnamon steamed apples on the side. This recipe works best if mixed the night before and refrigerated to cook in the morning, or mix during the day to cook for supper.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups (quick cooking) rolled oats
  • 3 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk and 1 cup yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Steamed apples
  • 2 Gala apples, unpeeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Method:
  1. Combine oats and buttermilk. Stir in oil and beaten eggs. 
  2. Add combined dry ingredients. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
  3. Cook on non-stick griddle between low and med heat. Adjust heat setting so that the pancakes do not brown too quickly. Cook first side for about 2-3 minutes, until tiny bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. * 
  4. In the meantime, in medium pot, cook apple slices in butter until tender. A few minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and keep hot on low heat. 
* tips: a square (stove top) griddle/and a scratch proof flipper is a great investment for cooking pancakes/hot cakes. Keep cooked pancakes warm on an oven proof serving plate in 200 F oven. Serve with butter, maple syrup and cinnamon apples.
Left over pancakes can be stored in sealed bag (refrigerator or freezer) and toasted.


Cast Iron Pizza

Who doesn't like pizza! This pizza can be bakes on a very hot BBQ or in the oven. We have a Big Green Egg grill which really bakes up a pizza like a wood oven, but I've tried this in my kitchen oven and it turns out nicely. This is a deep dish thicker crust pizza. Baking it in a cast skillet gives the pizza a perfectly crispy crust. Because it's a deep dish crust it's important to follow the method below to insure it cooks through.

Crust:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  1. In bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, water and oil. Stir to combine. Gradually add more flour kneading with your hands until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
  2. Form dough into a ball. Rub lightly with a bit more olive oil and place in a bowl and cover with lid or plastic wrap. Allow to rise on counter for at least an hour. I find that pizza dough is best made a day or two before hand. Once mixed place in refrigerator covered. Take out and let rise on counter one hour before using. 

Topping: ( personalize your pizza by omitting or adding your own favourite toppings.
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce ( I like to add a bit of oregano, garlic and onion powder, Italian spice...any of these or a mixture to spice up the sauce)
  • 4 strips bacon, fried to lightly crisp, crumble
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped deli ham
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, raw
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup pineapple tidbits, or fresh pineapple

Making and baking the pizza:

You can heat your cast iron in the oven or on your BBQ. Place cold cast iron pan in a cold oven or BBQ. You want to preheat your cooking method along with the pan to a temperature of 450-500º.

Remember that cast iron gets very hot, you will need a good oven mitt to handle your pan and a good surface to remove it to....don't set a hot cast on your counter top!

  1. Once pan and oven/BBQ are up to temperature, working quickly, remove cast and quickly spray it with cooking spray and give it a sprinkle of corn meal. (this will add a nice crunch to your crust)
  2. Take your risen pizza dough, and working quickly pull or roll your dough to the size of your pan and without touching the hot cast lay the dough in the pan carefully working the crust into the pan and up it's sides. The dough should be about 1/2" thick.
  3. Place the cast with just the dough back into the oven or BBQ. Allow to bake (this is called blind baking) for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove pan, spread sauce over partially baked dough, add 1/3 of the cheese, all of the meats, onions, olives and pineapple. Top with remaining cheeses and bake for another 15-20 minutes until done. 
  5. Allow pizza to rest in cast for 2-3 minutes, then slide it onto a cutting board. Pizza will slide out of the pan really easily...just don't burn your hands on the cast. 

German Pancakes


In our home, growing up, Pfannkuchen, were a lunch treat made by my Oma (we called her Omi) ... and the tradition continues, the only difference being that we clarify them as being the European version by calling them German pancakes. My grandchildren have simply dubbed them  sugar-roll-up pancakes. This recipe is slightly larger than the one in our original cookbook.

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
Method:
  1. Using a whisk or hand mixer, beat eggs well with just 1 cup of the milk. 
  2. Add flour and salt. Beat until smooth before adding the rest of the milk. Let rest for a few minutes.
  3. Heat medium sized non-stick skillet to just below medium heat. Brush with a dab of butter.
  4. Lift hot skillet with left hand, slightly tilting it toward you. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the top half, allowing the batter to spread while rotating the skillet. ( A slight rotation of the wrist) 
  5. Set the skillet back on the heat, cooking until the pancake is set. (wet look has disappeared) 
  6. Using a small thin lifter or spatula, gently flip to cook second side, which will go quick.
  7. Repeat, using a dab of butter as needed, stacking pancakes on a dinner plate. Yields approximately 18
Tips and Variations:

Batter should be smooth, thin enough to coat the pan easily when tilted. If it does not run easily, add more milk. If there are a few tiny lumps, don't be concerned. 
The traditional way to have these is to sprinkle the open pancake with sugar, fold in half and roll up from the short end - making it easy for younger children to eat by hand.
However, the options are limitless, including cottage cheese with canned peaches, nutella and sliced bananas or strawberries and whipped cream. 
I use the same recipe (half size) for savory fillings, using a smaller skillet.

Portzelky with Dried Cranberries Happy New Year

Happy New Year Friends! 

The calendar page is opened to a fresh new start. Hello 2016! Whether you have stopped by for the first time or are a long time friend of ours here at MGCC we want to thank you for visiting our blog. Many of you have supported our projects this past year by purchasing our cookbooks. We are grateful for our sponsors (visit them on our sidebar) who play a vital part through their generous giving. We look forward to what God has in store for us as we journey together in 2016.

We want to start out the first weekend of this new year with food for thought followed by a traditional recipe for New Years Cookies, better known in our Mennonite circles as Portzelky.

Each year when we gather around the Christmas table my husband Scot has something to encourage and challenge us with for the coming year. In light of giving, he found a list of 5 gifts that don't cost, but may require personal sacrifice. From youngest to oldest this list spurred on some good suggestions of how we can be generous givers of these free gifts. Join us as we seek to make a difference.

Food for Thought
  1. Giving others the Benefit of the doubt. Not everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, but in love we can extend grace. (1Cor. 13:7)
  2. A Second Chance. Hurt is real. Consider forgiveness towards those who have hurt you. Freedom comes when we forgive. (Matt. 18:21-22)
  3. Encouragement. Seize the opportunity to reach out to others with words of affirmation, and acts of kindness. 1 Thess. 5:14 includes a challenge. "...encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 
  4. Give a listening ear. "Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak...." Those wise words come from James 1:19. Heeding them can provide an incredible gift.
  5. Time. 1Peter 4:10-11 encourages us to use our God given gifts, ultimately that God may be glorified. Everything we do requires time. Whether serving your family a meal, helping with homework, cleaning, repairs, caring for the sick or the elderly. Make these a positive investment of your time. They may be life changing times for others and for you. 
May we all be encouraged in this new year to look beyond ourselves, extend grace, forgive, encourage,
listen and be generous and cheerful givers. 

New Years Cookies


I'll be making a few batches of Portzelky over the weekend to serve and deliver...fresh and warm.
Typically these have raisins in them but for a change I've used dried cranberries. Before adding the cranberries I divided the dough into two bowls, added the cranberries to one and left the other plain....some like these little fritters better without the fruit. 
(yields approximately 3 dozen)

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg white, beaten together well
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (sometimes called quick rise)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, or raisins (optional)
  • additional granulated and/or powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Place milk, water and butter in a microwave bowl and heat until very warm.
  2. Beat eggs and egg white together until frothy.
  3. Stirring continually pour very warm milk mixture over eggs until combined.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, salt, baking powder, yeast and 2 1/2 cups flour.
  5. Stir with a wooden spoon. Adding remaining 1 cup of flour. The dough will be a bit sticky, or 'shaggy'. 
  6. Stir in fruit if using.
  7. Set aside and cover with a lint free towel to rise for 45 minutes or until double in bulk.
  8. Heat oil in deep fryer or on stove top to 375º. Always stay near hot oil on stove!
  9. Drop teaspoons of risen dough into hot oil. As the portselky cook they will usually flip over when cooked through on one side. You may have to turn them with a spoon. 
  10. Remove with deep fryer basket or slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined baking sheet. 
  11. If wanting to dust with sugar put choice of sugar in a large bowl and add portzelky and shake to coat. Or, place bowls of sugar on table for everyone to dust their own.