Saturday, September 29, 2012

Simply Broccoli Casserole

The finished dinner in the Deep Covered Baker
We've all heard it since we were 3 years old..... "You are sitting at this table until you eat your vegetables, young one!"  I swore that I would never say it to my own 4 kids, and have probably said it about 1000 times.  Here is a delicious way to get dinner on the table in a blink AND have the kids eat every bite of veg!  Enjoy!~~Lydia

  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1 loaf fresh bread, cubed
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli spears
  • Deep Covered Baker or other oven safe casserole dish
  1.  Cube the cheeses and bread.
  2. Toss the cheeses, bread and broccoli until well mixed in casserole dish.
  3. Pour milk over top of the casserole.
  4. Bake for 60 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until cheese is melted and casserole is warmed completely through the center.
Serves 10 people amply, and pairs well with a frisky white wine, like Barefoot Chardonnay from California.  Buon Appetito!  Lydia


Monday, September 24, 2012

Simply Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Bomb Brownies

 This is a twist on the 8 Minute Brownie I had previously shared, but a twist this good needs its own posting.

The recipe is one that I found on the inside of the Baker's baking chocolate box, and played with until I perfected it for use in the Round Covered Baker to finish in the microwave.  If you would prefer to use a conventional oven, simply heat the oven to 400 degrees, and then bake the brownies for 30 to 35 minutes, or until moist crumbs cling to the knife when tested.  Buon Appetito!~~Lydia
  • 4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine
  • 1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  1. In microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the chocolate and butter.  Blend well.
  2. Fold in the peanut butter using spatula.  Add the eggs, sugar and flour and mix until well blended with no lumps of flour or sugar noted.
  3. Pour into the Round Covered Baker or your oven safe pan.
  4. Microwave on HIGH with cover on for 6 to 8 minutes, until brownies are cooked completely (Moist crumbs clinging to the knife when tested).
  5. Replace lid on the Baker and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving for best setup.
Fabulous with Jason's Peanut Butter Ice Cream or on their own with a tall glass of milk.  Serves 8.

Perfect Brownies are solid blocks of Fudge, not Cake-like

Simply Stroganoff

This hearty dinner in a dash really delivers on all counts--Full of Flavor, Easy to Make, and Delicious to Eat.  Try it tonight and have a hot meal that everyone will rave over on the table in less than 30 minutes!

What?  There's FOOD?  Where?!

Skillet Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 portabello mushroom caps
  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 can beer
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • Grated cheddar cheese for garnish
  1. In Large Skillet with Cover ( I LOVE the Pampered Chef Ceramic 11 inch), melt the butter.  Dice the onions, smash then mince the garlic, and cube the mushroom caps.  Add to melted butter and saute` until vegetables are soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the thawed stew meat and brown the meat with lid on for 5 minutes.  
  3. Add the cream of mushroom soup, beer and orzo to the skillet and stir until well blended.  Continue to simmer on medium heat with cover on for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve in generous bowls with freshly grated cheddar cheese on top.
Serves 8 to 10 comfortably

Step Three Beginning
Step Three in Progress

The Finished Dinner.....Yummm

To Order Your Skillet, Click on the Picture!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Simply Pie Crust

Refrigerator Pie Crust

Home made pie crust can take any good pie and make it great.  It doesn't take a lot of time but your family and friends will notice its not your frozen pie crust from the local grocery store

Here is what you will need

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lard or shortening
1 egg beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vinegar

  • First mix the flour and the shortening once evenly mixed combine in the rest of the ingredients, this recipe should make 6 small pie crusts and will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator, you can freeze to keep longer.

Simply Apple Pie !

Apple Pie - It's time for fall

Growing up in northern NY we would go apple picking at Behling's Orchard in Mexico NY, it was a fun family outing. We would pick apples by climbing the trees and get fresh apple cider that they made on site.  After that, we would come home and my mom would make apple pies. Here is my family recipe and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Here is what you will need:

1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs flour
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
dash of salt
6 medium tart apples sliced (we use granny smith)
1/4 cup butter melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flout

  • Blend together in a mixing bowl, sugar,1 tbs flour, cinnamon, and salt, toss lightly with sliced apples, Then place into a pie pan with pastry in the bottom.
  • Combine in a mixing bowl, butter, brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, mix evenly and sprinkle over the top of the apples.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 425F for 35-40 minutes

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Simply Sinful Little Dessert Bites

Melon Bowl From a Pro
**This technique is one that I first observed watching Iron Chef America (yeah yeah, laugh now thank me later).** 

The sous chef sliced a half inch off each end of a canteloupe, and then filleted the rind off with his massive knife.  The resulting skinned melon was then cored using an ice cream scoop to delve out the seeds, but the chef carefully left the base intact.  After the hulling was completed, he sliced off the top half of the melon, and cubed it.  He was left with a perfectly beautiful edible bowl, which he then filled with a fruit soup for an appetizer course. This example from a professional caterer's Flickr site shows how elegant they can be if you have the skill.  For myself, I will stick to just skinning the melon into interesting geometric patterns.

Some nights, you just want to tuck into an endless bowl of chowder in front of a crackling fire, and finish up with a huge wedge of fruited pie.  The change of season takes our mind from the light and fluffy salads of summer to hearty, fulfilling and warming stews, chilis and casseroles. 

Perhaps our bodies are responding to the unseen demands of homeostasis by carb loading, or perhaps our instinctive primal nature sucks us back to the caveman days where body fat meant the difference between surviving the winter or perishing.  Perhaps it is some of both.  But whatever the reason our fancy turns to heavier meals, at times it is nice to end a meal on a lighter note.

I loved the idea of the fruit bowl, so I made my own from an overripe honeydew in need of eating.  I filled it with some store bought Cream Cheese Fruit Dip, and placed it in the center of the platter before surrounding it with fresh grapes, apple wedges and the melon cubes.  Beautiful!

And just the thing to get a little color into our winter diets.  Hope you enjoy!~~Lydia

Monday, September 17, 2012

Simply Chicken Skillet

I have been having the best time playing with my brand new 11 inch covered skillet.  Just ask my husband, I was like a kid in the candy store with a charge card.  It is amazing, and the meals I have been throwing together in it are going over BIG at our place.

This one was a riff on my earlier goulash recipe, and would be delicious on Monday Night Football TV dinner nights.  A hearty crowd pleaser, this was done entirely in the skillet in 20 minutes start to finish, and even the 3 year old had seconds.  Now that is a Touchdown!  Enjoy!  Lydia

Chicken Skillet Dinner

 3  diced boneless skinless chicken breast
 1   28 oz can diced tomatoes with chilis
 2  large yellow onions, minced
 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni
 4  cups water
 1 jar salsa con queso
 1 jar salsa, heat index to taste (we used Medium)

  1. Add chicken, pasta, onion, tomatoes and water to the skillet.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through (chicken moist without pink spots, pasta al dente).
  2. Drain the cooking liquid, and add the salsas.
  3. Toss to coat and simmer another 5 minutes to warm the sauce through.
Serve hot with bread and butter and salad for side dishes.  Makes 10 generous servings.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Simply Sensational Cherry Bars

Hi lovelies!  I didn't abandon my postings here on Simply Tennesse.  I have been fighting with Blogger about my other musings on So Honey What's for Dinner....they had flagged it as a spam blog, and let me just say that Google puts the ARGGGGH in support ;-)  But, as Jason can vouch, I usually win, and my little foodie diary is now visible to the world once more.  So in the spirit of solidarity, feel free to wander over there and get an amazing Apple Pie recipe I adapted from my mother's bakery.  I would share it here too, but that is what got me imprisoned in the dungeon of Locked Blogs the last time :-(

After you have checked out Mom's sensational apple pie, you need to get right back to your kitchen and make up these little beauties!  I got the recipe from another Pampered Chef consultant, and they are to die for!  You will be the "mom of the year" at school birthday parties from now on, and they are SO Easy to put together! 

Brownie Pan Cherry Bars

Pampered Chef Brownie Pan #1544 $19 plus tax, S/H
  • 1 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 21 ounce can of Cherry Pie filling 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the pie filling using pastry blender.
  3. Spread 1 medium scoop (about 4 oz) of batter into each well of the brownie pan.
  4. Scoop pie filling on top.
  5. Drop the remaining batter on top of the pie filling and spread to cover completely.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  As your bars bake, they will rise over the rims of your pan, but they will stay together while baking.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on the side, if desired.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Simply Goulash

Goulash for 8 people

  • 12 oz elbow macaroni
  • 2 pounds stew beef
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 can beer
  • 1 cup water
  • Fresh grated parmesan for garnish
  1. In large stew pot, brown the beef in 2 tablespoons canola oil.  
  2. Add tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add macaroni, beer and water.  Bring to a boil and cover with a lid.  Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until noodles are cooked and meat is cooked well, but still chewy.
  4. Serve hot with freshly grated cheese, salad, bread and butter.
This simple family meal is perfect for school nights when the kids are cranky and tired, and you just want to fix it and walk away.  Guaranteed smiles follow every bowl.  Happy eating!  Lydia

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Simply Southern Comfort

Great Grits are a legendary Southern staple.  Family recipes are as prized and guarded closely as the new baby.  After a few years of trial and error, this unabashed Yankee found the right proportions with a LOT of help from my girl KellyAnn, a lab tech from Mississippi I worked with at the hospital in Carthage.  Just for the purposes of keeping her out of dutch with her mama, she didn't share every little secret! :D  I took her suggestions and made this my own!  Enjoy!


  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal, the finer the better
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 3 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • Slices of mozzarella cheese for garnish
In large saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil.  Add the cornmeal, milk and salt.  Stir constantly until the mixture thickens to a cereal consistency.  Scoop into bowls and top with mozzarella cheese.  Serve piping hot with coffee or tea.  Serves 6 comfortably.

When I was 14, my parents sent me on my first road trip.  I was a member of the Sackets Harbor Sentinels Marching Band and we had been invited to play in the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC.  So 85 students and 15 apprehensive chaperones boarded 2 large motor coaches in a frosty morning and began driving south.  We stopped for a break in Rockland N.C. and cranked up kids filed into the Waffle House just off I 95.  It was a truck stop full of grizzled long-haulers and tired waitresses.  As I was looking at the menu, the grits sounded interesting.  I had never had them before, and thought to myself "What is a trip to the south without some southern food?"

Our waitress wandered over, and I glanced at her name tag.  I nearly choked on my sweet tea as I read "Syphilis Jones".  Stealing a sideways look at my tablemates, I saw them giggling and snickering.  "Welcome to Waffl Howsse, ma name is Sie-Phyllis, and I will beah your servah." she greeted us in that slow Southern cadence.  We all placed our orders, and while the boys continued to jostle each other, I asked her where she had gotten her name.  She replied that her mother had been illiterate at the time she was conceived, and had seen the word Syphilis on a poster in her doctor's office.  When her mother had asked the nurse what the word meant, the nurse had chuckled and told her it was the price of glory.  Her teenage mother had carefully copied the word down on her appointment card, and after her baby was born, printed it again onto the birth certificate.  The waitress fingered her gold crucifix necklace, and freshened our drinks.  "So, I make the best of my name because to God is the glory."  She went onto serve her other tables, and the boys continued to snicker, but that story stayed with me all these years.

Our food arrived, steaming hot from the short order cook, and I looked at the bowl of cornmeal mash covered with American cheese and dripping in butter.  The waitress saw me looking at it, and chuckled.  "You just mix it all in child, and enjoy every bite.  Get a little Southern on you."  I did as she suggested, and fell instantly into comfort.  The simple homey taste and textures exploded on my tongue, and I finished every bite.  We boarded the bus and continued on to our final destination.  The rest of the trip was an experience as well, but on mornings when the fall bite is in the air and I need a little down home comfort, I make up a pot of grits for my family, and think of that waitress at the interstate truckstop.  I like to imagine her winning the lottery and getting to rest her tired feet and be served for a change.  Because to face snickering boys and rowdy truckers doesn't just take grits, it takes glory too.

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