Thursday, October 13, 2016

Scalloped Potaotes

 
Growing up my Mother made the best scalloped potatoes, they are one of my greatest comfort foods.  Basic but so yummy.  One of the best things about the potatoes, if there were any left from the meal, was breakfast the next morning.  She would warm them in a frying pan and they got a little crispy and so delightful.  This to me is great comfort food.  Missing both Mom and Dad a lot right now and the weather has turned cooler so for dinner and breakfast I turned to comfort food.
 
Mom's Scalloped Potatoes
 
4-5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly (I use my food processor)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cube butter, cut into pieces
flour
salt
milk
 
Butter a casserole dish or a 9x13 pan and dust with flour.  Layer potatoes, onion, butter pieces, sprinkle salt and flour (about 1 to 1 1/2  T. flour per layer)  repeat until the potatoes are all layered leave about 3/4 inch to the top of the pan.  Cover with milk until all of the flour is mixed covered.  Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. The milk on top should be golden brown when baking is completed.
 
Hint I usually start them in the microwave for about 10 mins to reduce the cooking time.  AND I place the casserole or baking pan on  a foil lined cooking sheet in the oven to prevent the milk bubbling over and making a mess. 
 
Variations
Some people put cheddar cheese in the layering as well but this was something we have never done. This was a recipe that was a staple for her family as they lived through very hard times.  They used the basics.  I don't change the goodness she made.  I often doubled the recipe for my family to ensure that we had enough for breakfast and we now like to put an over easy egg and bacon  to the side, we don't make them often but they are a treat when we do.


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The Pantry

The pantry can be a life saver if it is well stocked and can help when you just don't know what to fix for dinner.

As I have made meals over the years I have stocked up on things that are common in my recipes so all I have to do is shop from my shelves. It is easy to come up with things quickly when you have supplies on hand. It may seem like a lot to have on hand but these are some of my pantry/storage staples and if you build slowly it isn't oppresive to purchase. Watch the ads and sales in your local stores.

Canned/Storage:
Tomato Sauce
Tomato Paste
chicken broth
beef broth
tuna
chicken
corn
olives
beans- kidney. canellini, black, refried
dried beans, red, white, pinto, split peas
creamed soups, mushroom. chicken. celery
tomato soup
bean with bacon soup
rice
flour
sugar
favorite spices
variety of pasta's
peanut butter

Freezer:
chicken breasts
bone in hams
chuck roasts pork roasts
pork chops
lean ground beef
ground turkey
Itailian sausage
vegetables

Refrigerator:
milk
eggs
butter
Tillamook cheddar cheese
Lowfat mozerella cheese
sour cream
cream cheese
mayonnaise
miracle whip
ketchup
mustard
half and half
cucumber
lettuce
celery
carrots
apples
limes

Pantry Shelf:
onions
avocados
tomatoes
garlic
potatoes, red and Idaho russet

Home Canned Items: (I love to can!)
tomatoes
chicken breasts
green beans
salsa
chile sauce

Favorite From the Pantry Recipes



Lauri's Italian Sauce

3 bottles whole tomatoes (4cans approx. 1 lb size)
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
3 8 oz. cans mushrooms

3 T. dried Oregano
3 T. dried Marjoram
3 T. dried Basil
1 ½ T. dried Thyme
T. Fennel (optional)
dried onion or two chopped fresh onions
2 T. minced dried garlic or 5 cloves fresh garlic minced (if using fresh onion and garlic sauté them in olive oil until transparent and then add the remaining ingredients)

Combine all of the above ingredients and bring to a boil, simmer on low heat until thickened. (I usually simmer it for several hours)

Meat Sauce

4 lbs, lean ground beef
2 chopped onions
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Brown the meat and add the onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add to the marinara sauce and simmer.

Sour Cream Enchilladas


Mix
4 lb. hamburger
2 onions, chopped
6 carrots, grated or chopped
1 or 2 green pepper chopped
2 T. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. garlic salt

Brown beef and drain, add prepared vegetables. Cook until tender and drain, cool.*

Add to hamburger mixture
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 oz. can green chili's chopped (more if you want a little more spice)
1 c. sour cream
1 c. milk
Monterey jack and cheddar cheese grated (to your taste)
corn tortillas

Fill corn tortillas with meat mixture. Place seam down in a 9x13 baking pan. Layer with sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 mins. This can also be served lasagna style in a casserole dish. This saves time rolling the enchiladas. It just depends on how you want the dish to look on the plates.

*This meat mixture is great to use for other things as well, it can be used to make sloppy joes, tacos, or with other ground beef recipes. It is a great way to add more vegetables to meals with out children or picky eaters even knowing. Just freeze into portions in a zippered bag and thaw when you need a quick meal.

Tips

Always fill your sink with hot soapy water and wash as you go. This helps to keep the mess under control. (I love to cook to I really hate to clean up after!)

When you fix rice for a meal make extra and freeze some of it in a zipper bag. With this premeasured rice it is easy to do a quick thaw and serve or add to other ingredients for a quick and easy meal.

Post a shopping list where you can find it, when you run out of something simply write it down and teach your family to do the same. You are less likely to be caught off guard when you are making your favorite dish.

Make a menu and include your shopping list. You spend less time in the store when you have a plan. When you make more trips to the store you simply spend more money. Having worked with a large grocery chain I learned some of the tricks used to get you to buy more. Be prepared when you go!

Shop the Ads. Make your menu out with the ad and use the shopping list. Most people don't have time to run from store to store getting the best deal on just a few things. When you compare and find the best prices it saves you time, money, and gas.

When making dishes like lasagna, manicotti, chicken pot pie, and many casseroles make two at the same time and freeze the second one for rainy day or a sick friend. It takes little effort to make the extra and it can be a big bonus in your freezer.

Tomatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator but on your counter top. The cold causes them to break down and turn mushy.

If you need to ripen your avacados faster place them in a small paper bag with a banana or apple. The gas that they put off causes the avacado to ripen faster.

Don't store onion and garlic together because the garlic goes bad faster from the gas emitted from the onions,

Applesauce Spice Cake

2 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
2 c. thick unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
2 t. cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. allspice
1 t. salt
8 t. baking powder (that's right)
3 c. flour
1 c. nuts chopped (optional)

Cream together shortening and sugar, add eggs. Mix dry ingredients and combine both mixes. Spread on to a sheet cake pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Frosting:

½ c. plus 2 T. butter
5 c. powdered sugar
2½ t. Mapleline flavoring
3 T. milk

Soften butter and combine with remaining ingredients, spread on top of cake.

This is good to take to Pot Luck dinners or large gatherings. I would also freeze leftover cake in individual servings for my kids after school or when they needed a quick, small snack.

Zucchini Blues

Took it for granted
When it was planted
That I had just enough

Now during my days
I'm trying new ways
To use up all this stuff

My basement is crammed
It's been jellied and jammed
Make into bread and cake

It's been chopped and sliced
And grated and diced...
There's nothing else to make!

I've baked it and planned it
Boiled and canned it
And frozen all I need

I have had my fill
There's too much... and still
It's growing like a weed.

(After going away for a week I came home to find six zucchini that were bat size in the garden. Seems like the kids didn't look as hard as they said they did! So I thought of this poem. Anyone need some Zucchini?)

Tablescapes
My blog is being extended to my family. My girls are so creative in some of the things they are doing and I am always asking them to send me the recipes and pictures. I decided to make them co-authors to save a step or two. Of course the "Gourmet Guy" is a great cook and so he is also on board. So if you see the names, Jessica, Natalie, Rachel, Cydney, Rebecca, or Kerry (the Gourmet Guy) you know who they are!