Monday, February 5, 2018

Basic Meatloaf

Meatloaf—nothing special-just yummy and easy

This is one of my favorite meals because it is simple and easy.  Just pop the meatloaf into the oven along with potatoes, and in an hour, dinner is ready!  And in the meantime, you have a load of laundry folded, helped someone with a school project, or you have the living room cleaned.  Add a simple salad or some cut fruit, and everyone is happy.

1 pound hamburger (the leaner, the better)
½ cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 egg
2 TBL prepared mustard (like you put on hotdogs)
1 cup tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
½ cup finely diced onions
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Mix everything together and bake in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for an hour.

This recipe doubles if you need more than 6 generous servings.  If you double the recipe, I would recommend dividing the meatloaf between two loaf pans.  Leftover meatloaf makes a yummy sandwich for your lunch the next day.

Basic Noodles

Noodles – plain and very simple

As I reflect on this noodle recipe, I can remember rolling them out on the kitchen table with my Mom.  It is such a simple memory of a simple treat.  I am also reminded of how important those simple lessons were from women who had survived the Depression by serving simple noodles when there were eggs and flour + water lump gravy when there were no eggs.  These noodles do not require a pasta machine-just your table or counter and a rolling pin

In a bowl:
Mix 1 cup flour and ½ tsp salt.  (You can add such dried herbs as basil, oregano, etc if you would like to flavor the noodles)
Make a well in the flour and crack an egg and pour it into the well.
Add one ½ shell of water (about 1 TBL if using the cracked eggshell as a measuring tool makes you nervous.
Using a fork, mix until the dough comes together.  Turn out onto the counter or table and knead until elastic.  The dough will start out much like a piece of new gum in your mouth.   The dough will come together as you knead it much like gum will come together as you chew it)

Let rest for 15-20 minutes (or longer if you need to stop to care for a child)
Sprinkle flour to cover about a 20 inch circle.  You may need to add more flour as you roll the noodles out with a rolling pin.  You can have the noodles be as thin or as thick as desired – whatever you like.  Cut them into thin strips with the sharpest knife you have.  Don't worry if they are even as that is part of the look of homemade noodles! 

Cook the noodles in broth or water for 5 – 6 minutes.  If you do not want to cook the noodles right away, let them dry for a couple of hours, put them in a bag, and freeze until you want to use them.

This recipe doubles easily but does not triple easily.  I often made a double batch and froze the extras.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Chicken noodle soup

Chicken broth
The day before you want to actually make the soupJ - or you can freeze the broth.
I usually use 2 chickens to make sure I have enough meat and enough broth.  I cut the chickens into pieces - legs, thighs, halve the breasts, wings, back, and neck.  You can pull the skin off - I usually do. 
Put the chicken in the crock pot and cover with water (I use filtered) plus 1-2 inches.  I cut up all the veggies I am going to use for the soup, put the soup veggies in a bag, and put the rest of what you usually throw away into the crock pot.  (I do the same thing when I make beef stew).  I then add lots of herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley (the song is a good way to remember what I put into the broth), and a bay leaf or two.  Let all of this cook over night and try not to dream of yummy soupJ
Whenever you are ready to make the soup, just strain everything.  Pull the meat off the bones and put in broth.  You are now ready to make the soup.

Sauté 2 medium, chopped onions in a couple TBL of olive oil until just starting to take color.  Add bite-sized pieces of carrots and celery - you will probably need 2 cups of each, but you can add more if you want a soup with more veggies.  Sauté everything until celery is just taking a little color.  Add more sage, parsley, rosemary, and thyme - I usually just smell and add whatever I think it needs.  I like lots of herbsJ  Sauté that for a few minutes and then add the broth and chicken pieces.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked.  Add noodles and let simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.  Adjust herbs and add salt and pepper as desired.


Mix one cup flour with 1 tsp of salt.  Make a well and add one egg and 1/2 shell of water.  Mix well - the food processor is a good friend for this.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Let rest for 20 min and then roll thin and cut.  You can make the noodles as thick or thin as you like.  This doubles easily, and you can freeze whatever noodles you are not using immediately.  They freeze well for a month.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Cookie Recipe Everyone Should Have :)

Cowboy Cookies 

This recipe comes from a cookbook I received as a wedding shower gift a long time ago.  It is the St. Elizabeth and St. Helena Circles Sacred Heart Church in Oxford Junction, IA cookbook.  The cookbook is one of those cookbook that contains simple recipes for simple, wonderful dishes; there are no ingredients such as imported chocolate, fancy mushrooms, or other exotic ingredients requiring exotic equipment and procedures.  These recipes are tried and true by women who worked hard, loved much, and took great pride in serving family and friends the best these women had to offer from their gardens and simple pantries.

I am not sure where the name of the cookies originated, but it is what the kids' Grandma Brunscheen called them :)

This recipe has been prepared hundreds of times as it was a favorite of the kids and their friends.  I would often bake a batch and take the cookies to wherever they were gathered as the cookies came out of the oven.  It was years later that Stacy figured out that I brought out the cookies one pan full at a time because it allowed me to interact with them and their friends in a very positive way.  Who does not welcome someone bearing a plate full of hot chocolate chip cookies - even if it is your mom?

Here is the basic recipe with variations though beware of baking the raisin version as it may cause trust issues:

Cream together until light and fluffy:
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter

Beat in until light and fluffy:
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp soda
2 tsp vanilla

Stir in:
2 cups flour
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz package)

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 13 minutes.

These are streamlined directions designed to enable you to have the dough mixed together before the oven has finished preheating :)


Chocolate Chips cookies:
Eliminate the oatmeal and increase the flour to 3 - 3 1/4 cups flour

Sugar cookies:
Eliminate the brown sugar and increase sugar to 2 cups, add 2 tsp cream of tartar, and eliminate the oatmeal and increase the flour to 3 - 3 1/4 cups flour.  Let the dough cool for a couple of hours, so you can shape the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll those in sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 11 - 12 minutes or as long as it takes for them to start to brown on the edges.  They will puff up in the oven and then settle as they cool.  They are best when they have been slightly under baked.  They freeze very well--if they make it that far :)

Oatmeal Raisin cookies:
Eliminate the chocolate chips and add 2 cups raisins.  You can add 1 tsp to the flour mixture if you would like - that is how my Dad likes them.  You can also add 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups raisins, but my kids will tell you it will create trust issues.  They do not like raisins and do not like to be disappointed when they think they are eating a chocolate chip cookie only to discover there are raisins in the cookies :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Crackle top Ginger Cookies

Crackle Top Ginger Cookies

 These will always be one of my favorite ways to welcome my favorite season - Fall :)

1 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 - 1 cup sorghum or molasses (I used sorghum most often because it is not as strong and only used 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
1 - 2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon (opt) I usually put that in because I love cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
4 - 4 1/2 cup flour.  The dough will be sticky until you cool it for a couple of hours.

Roll into balls and roll in sugar.  Slightly flatten before baking or they will not flatten out like they should.
Bake at 350° F just until set; these freeze well - if they make it that long :)

Chocolate Sauce that will permanently change your life

Chocolate Fudge Sauce
¼ cup cocoa
1-cup sugar
½ cup whipping cream (I use the whole Half pint)
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla
Measure cocoa, sugar, cream, syrup, butter and salt into a heavy saucepan, about 1 ½ quart size. Stir until blended. Bring to a boil over moderate high heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla.



In a pan (if using the stove) or a microwave safe bowl, mix:
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
3 Tablespoons of corn starch
1/2 tea salt

Stove: stir constantly over medium heat until mixture starts to bubble

Microwave - cook on high for 4 minutes; take out and stir and cook another 4

Remove from microwave or stove and add:
1 egg that has been mixed with 1/2 cup milk or half and half

Stir and:

Stove - stir over medium heat until mixture starts to bubble

Microwave - cook on high for 2 minutes

Remove from stove or microwave and add:
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 tea vanilla

Banana - You can take out the cocoa and add a sliced banana when you add the butter and vanilla.

Butterscotch - add brown sugar instead of sugar and cook over low heat

Vanilla - take out the cocoa and add 2 tea vanilla