Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cheesy Mac

Cheesy Mac, Farmers Wife Original Recipe

I don't know about you all but in my house Mac and Cheese is a go to meal, and loved by both my son and hubby. Typically we're a blue box kinda family, though I've tried making different versions over the years, they were never enjoyed as much as this beloved blue box. Until this recipe I made just last week. It was one of those days where I didn't really feel like cooking, wanted something easy and was really in the mood for pasta. So I went searching through my fridge and pantry and found all of the ingredients listed below and started cooking, and man am I glad I did!!! I've never seen my son eat Mac and Cheese the way he did that night, and the next day for lunch, and the next day after that... It was a little bit crazy!

I think if we're all honest with ourselves, we each have a little kid in us buried deep down that still wants that good ole' comfort food. And I love being able to pass those favorites of mine down to my son. I hope that this will bring back some cheesy memories for you all, and also have to say this would be a pretty awesome side dish on Christmas! ;-)

1 lbs. Ditalini Pasta (or your pasta of choice)
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1 1/2 Cups Mild Cheddar, Shredded
1 Cup Velveeta, cubed
Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot cook your pasta til Al Dente' or preferred doneness. In a medium pot, heat your cream, cheeses and pepper until smooth and bubbly, stirring frequently. Once your pasta is done, drain and pour back into the pot. Then pour all the cheese mixture on top and stir until evenly coated, serve warm.

This was surprisingly good to be honest. I've made homemade mac and cheese before and it was not loved by my boys, but they both devoured this batch and asked for more! I'd give this 4.5 stars!

Happy Cooking, and Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookie Swap Party!!!

Hey y'all!! I thought we'd have a little bit of fun today! Ever been to a cookie swap party?!? I remember going all the time with my mom back in the day. But now I thought we should have a fun "virtual" cookie swap! I hope y'all will join in the fun, and let all your friends know! I'll get us started by posting my favorite cookie recipes for y'all to check out!

First up is my creation from last Christmas, possibly my favorite cookie ever!! 

Next is a new twist on the classic Peanut Butter Blossoms, with the Hershey's Kiss in the middle... Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies:

Third would have to be the family recipe we just can't live without, especially at the Holidays...

And last, but certainly not least is my Grandma's classic...

Here are the rules for this Linky!:

1. Link up to your exact post, not the main page of your site.

2. Please link back to this Cookie Swap somewhere on your blog, you can use this code to link back to this page: http://www.the-farmers-wife.net/2011/12/cookie-swap-party.html

3. Have fun and link up as many cookie recipes as you want, and check out all the ones you want to make this year! Let get started!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Easy Cheesy Hasherole

Easy Cheesy Hasherole, Farmers Wife Original Recipe

It's hard to believe we're already into December! This last year has totally flown by so fast, I think I got whiplash... lol! It's so unbelievable to me how far this blog has come in the last year, if it weren't for all of you I know The Farmers Wife wouldn't be where it is today, and I probably would've run out of recipe ideas a long time ago if y'all didn't challenge me! I just love all of my fans!

Anyway, you came here for a recipe, not my emotional diatribe. Well it will come as no surprise that this is another breakfast recipe. I think I'm just a bit obsessed with breakfast foods. Not entirely sure why to be honest, something about it is comforting to me. Something y'all probably don't know though is I frequently try to create homemade "Skillet" dishes to please my picky boys. I grew up loving these dishes filled with eggs, veggies, cheese, meat and maybe some potatoes served with toast. Such a simple idea yet very filling and full of flavor. I've been working on a recipe for a long time that was pleasing to all of us, and last night I finally achieved this goal! I wish I could say this came as some sort of epiphany, or anything special. It was more like "I have this leftover, and some of this... Sounds like a skillet to me!" haha! But when my hubby took his first bite and actually said "Mmmm..." I was shocked! He said that because I used less veggies and added the hash browns it was perfect guy food. So if you have a picky guy you're trying to feed breakfast this weekend, I hope you'll give this a try! It's kid and guy approved!

4 Hash brown Patties
8 Eggs
4 Slices Canadian Bacon, diced (or ham would work too)
1/2 Cup Diced Tomatoes
2 Green Onions, diced
1 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheddar
Pepper to taste

Cook your hash browns according to package directions, until crispy. Then chop into bite sized pieces and set aside. In a skillet cook your Canadian bacon, tomatoes and onion until heated through and the bacon is slightly browned, scoop into a bowl and set aside. Clean our your skillet and spray with cooking spray, then scramble the eggs with a dash of pepper. Once the eggs are cooked add back in the bacon and veggie mixture, and the hash browns. Heat through, then add the cheese and mix on low heat until cheese is completely melted. Serve warm.

This dish was so simple, it really came together pretty fast as I was able to cook the veggies and eggs while the hash browns were baking and the whole thing took only about half an hour. Which is my kind of meal! With my boys giving it 2 thumbs up I have to say this gets a 5 star rating! This would be fantastic for a Christmas morning breakfast alongside some toast, or cinnamon rolls... Yum!

Happy Cooking!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

French Bread Bowls

French Bread Bowls, Adapted from Bread Machine Magic

Wow, it feels so good to be back to posting! I've really missed y'all the last week and a half, I'm so sorry about the sudden lack of posting, but the last couple weeks have been utterly insane for me and my family! Between celebrating our Anniversary, and then my Sister In Law's Birthday and Thanksgiving all in a space of 3 days... Was a little bit exhausting! Don't get me wrong it was a lot of fun too, but this Momma was just plain worn out, then to top it off we had our wonderful family staying with us (Which was a blast!) and then my Hubby and Son both got sick. :-( I needed to take a break from here in order to survive. I missed y'all, and I'm hoping to really get back into the swing of things!

Now on to the recipe! I've long been playing around with making Bread Bowl as I just ADORE them! And then a few of you requested a recipe for them, and suddenly the wheels got turning in my head. I have to admit, my favorite bread bowls are made with sourdough not french bread. But when you have limited time and a craving, you just figure something out. haha! These were actually quite easy, and really fabulous!

With my boys sick I've been making soup like crazy, and finally we just needed to finish up the leftovers but I was getting really tired of soup. So I thought making some bread bowls would change it up just enough that I could stomach another bowl of soup. haha! And you know it actually worked?!? The bread itself was just perfect, crusty outside and soft and chewy inside. A great flavor... Ok I'm totally drooling now. I did make these using a bread machine for the dough, didn't have the energy for anything else... hehe! But you can totally make this without a bread machine!

Filled with Hamburger Barley Vegetable Soup

Ingredients: yields 4 bread bowls
1 1/4 Cups Water
2 teaspoons Salt
4 Cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
Cornmeal as needed

Place all ingredients (minus the cornmeal) in your bread machine in the order listed, or according to your manufacturers directions. Select the Dough setting and press Start. Once the dough is done, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Then roll into an even log, and with a sharp knife cut 4 even sections. Form each one into a large ball, and using your knife cut an X across the top of each about 1/2 inch down. Then take a cookie sheet and cover with cornmeal, and place the bowls on the sheet. Dust the tops with a little flour, then cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. *Tip: Turn your oven on to 200F degrees for 1-2 minutes then shut off and place the pan in the oven to rise. Don't forget to remove pan before preheating the oven!* Once risen to double the size, pre-heat the oven to 450F degrees. Bake about 15 minutes or until crust is golden and and crisp. To serve, cut a circle in the top and using your hand scoop out the inner bread (saving to use for dipping!) leaving about a 1/2-1 inch lining of bread to soak up the soup. Fill with your favorite soup and serve with the innerds alongside!

I have to say I was really happy with how these turned out! They were remarkably easy, and full of flavor. You could leave out the garlic if you wanted to, or add in some other spices to give it more flair. I hope you'll give these a try with your next pot of soup! 4.5 stars.

Happy Cooking!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes ~ and Anniversary Post!

Our Wedding Day 5 years ago!
This last week has gone by SO fast, I can hardly believe it's already Friday... But you know what else has gone by fast? The last 5 years! 5 years ago today I married my best friend, the man of my dreams, and my soul mate, Jeremy! It's hard to believe it's been half a decade since we said "I do" sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday and other times it's hard to remember a time when we weren't!

For those of you who may not know, Jeremy and I didn't exactly have the most conventional dating relationship... lol! We met online via a mutual friend, I know, I know... He's lucky I wasn't some lunatic ;-). We spent so many hours on the phone, video chatting and eventually meeting in person. Somewhere in all of that we fell madly in love. And as unusual as our relationship may have started out, when he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife I responded in the way all women do... "Is this for real?!?!?" Ok... so maybe not EVERYONE reacts like that, but I was floored, happy, but he really surprised me. (I said yes by the way!) After what seemed like an eternity we finally said our vows to each other in a very intimate and personal ceremony with our closest friends and family there. As crazy as it sounds I can still close my eyes and remember every detail of that day. The look on his face when he first saw me in my dress, when our pastor goofed up our vows causing Jeremy to stumble and everyone cracking up laughing, my cheeks shaking from smiling so much but I just couldn't stop, and most of all I remember walking down the aisle to this wonderful man. I couldn't tell you if the congregation stood up as I walked past them on my Father's arm, or if every candle was lit like I wanted, all I saw was my future standing before me. It was like a dream... a dream come true!

Now you may be asking what all this has to do with a post about Carrot Cake... Well... My wonderful Hubby isn't a huge cake fan, however he LOVES carrot cake. So on our wedding day I surprised him with a Carrot Cake Grooms Cake. I couldn't honestly tell you if he remembers that detail or not but I'll never forget it. He freaked out at first thinking it was a mistake (which cracked me up!) and then was really surprised when I said it was for him. So for our 5th anniversary I thought it would be fun to surprise him again with his favorite cake, this time in cupcake form. I really hope he enjoys them, and they will also be gracing our Thanksgiving Dessert table this year!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes, My Grandmother's Recipe

Ingredients: yields 1 13x9 pan or 24 cupcakes
2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 Eggs
2 Cups Shredded Carrots
8 oz. Can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

8 oz. Package Softened Cream Cheese
6 Tablespoons Softened Margarine or Butter
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans (optional)

For cake:
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk together; set aside. In your mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs. Beat well, then slowly add in the flour mixture and mix well. Add in the carrots, pineapple, raisins and pecans. Pour into a greased and floured pan, or using an ice cream scoop, scoop into lined muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. For a 13x9 pan bake for 50-60 minutes, for cupcakes bake for about 20 minutes rotating halfway through. Cake is done with toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

For Frosting:
Combine the cream cheese, margarine, sugar and vanilla in your mixer, beat until smooth. For cupcakes you can then spread or pipe onto the cake and then sprinkle with more nuts. For a cake you can spread the frosting on smooth and sprinkle the cake with the nuts or you can add the nuts to the frosting before spreading.

These are just beyond delicious! I doubled the recipe this year since I am making them for Thanksgiving too (which we're celebrating this Sunday) and they smelled fantastic baking and totally hit the spot for breakfast... haha! The bonus is un-frosted this cake is completely dairy free! So if you're looking for an easy Dairy free dessert this year I promise this will wow! 5 stars.

Happy Baking!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes ~ Guest Post!

 Hey y'all!! I'm SO excited about today's guest post! Today a very good and "old" friend of mine, Samantha, has agreed to share her famous recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with y'all! When I say old I don't mean so much in years, but Samantha and I have been friends since we were in Jr. High, and though we've lost touch at times over the years, you really wouldn't know it by the relationship we have now. I am so blessed to have her as a friend and I am SO honored that she's sharing this recipe with us today! She's a busy Momma herself to a sweet little boy, and I appreciate her taking the time to write up this post! Now without further ado I turn this post over to you Sam!

I make these every year for Thanksgiving and my family goes crazy. I have to hide them so they don't get eaten before dinner. I constantly get requests to make more and more each year. This will make about 2 dozen cupcakes, last year I doubled the recipe to make sure everyone had enough, and most likely will again this year. It's a great treat for after Thanksgiving dinner, if you can wait that long. I hope you guys enjoy them as much as my family does! Happy Thanksgiving.

*This picture does not do these cupcakes justice, my son helped me with the icing so they aren't as pretty as you can make them!

What you will need:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 cup mashed cooked or canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk

In medium sized bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in mashed or canned pumpkin. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition. Spoon batter into baking cups (I usually find ones with pumpkins on the bottom for the holiday).  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until a wooden tooth pick comes out clean. Let them cool and then I frost them with cream cheese frosting and top with a little pumpkin decoration.

Don't those just sound amazing y'all?!? If I can find the extra time I might just whip some up for Thanksgiving this year! Thank you Sam SO much for this post! I love ya girl! 

Samantha and I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Maple Glazed Carrots

Maple Glazed Carrots, Farmers Wife Original
With the holidays fast approaching, I've been going back over some recipes I've never blogged about this year. Believe it or not at any given time I have a back log of recipes that have yet to make it onto the site. Sometimes it's nice to be able to not worry about cooking something new for a week and just post recipes that I haven't taken the time to post yet. And other times I get struck dumb at how long it's been since I made a particular recipe and it's not made it's way to y'all yet! This is one such recipe... I made this earlier this year... for Easter. HAHA! I honestly don't know why it's taken me so long to post this recipe, other than to say I forgot about it and replaced it with what I would probably deem more impressive meals. But the truth is no meal is complete without at least 1 delicious side right?

Now I'm weird about carrots, I do love them. But I hate them raw, even with ranch I'm not overly fond of them. But cooked in a stir fry, or with a sweet glaze and I think these little babies become like a piece of heaven on my plate! I've made these a few times over the years, tweaking the recipe just a bit each time til it was just right, and this time I just fell in love. My little Sous Chef went nuts about these, which really surprised me! As a baby carrots were one of his least favorite foods, and he's never eaten them since, until I made these at Easter. I think he ate more of them than my Hubby and I combined... So if you're looking for a kid friendly veggie side for this holiday season I hope you'll give these a whirl!

1 Bag of Baby Carrots
1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt

In a medium saucepan combine the syrup, sugar, cinnamon and salt on low-medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved add in the carrots and mix to evenly coat them all. Cover and let come to a low boil, stirring frequently so the sugar doesn't burn. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until carrots are fork tender. Serve warm.

These carrots are so very simple, yet full of delicious flavor. They are a great side dish especially with so many saltier sides like Mashed Taters and Green Bean Casserole that most of us make this time of year. My little Sous Chef gives these a 4 star rating!

Happy Holiday Cooking!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Turkey Tetrizinni

My Grandmothers recipe, with some slight changes by The Farmers Wife

Today's recipe is coming to you from my archives. Sometimes when an old recipe didn't get the attention it deserved I'll redo it and re-post it for y'all! This particular recipe is an oldie but goodie, and the wonderful thing about this recipe is it is great for that leftover chicken/turkey you have around after the holidays! This classic dish is a great leftover re-purpose type of meal! One of the things I love about re-purposing leftovers is not only is it great on a budget, but because you're completely changing the way you're using something it tastes completely different from the original recipe and for those who hate to eat leftovers, this is a great trick to get them to eat those leftovers they'd normally try to avoid that end up in the trash. This Turkey (or Chicken) Tetrizinni is something I have to admit I refused to eat as a child. For no reason other than I thought it looked kinda funny and given the choice between that and eating a meal of holiday leftovers, well in my mind there was no contest! As an adult I have found that I love this recipe, and oddly enough have actually gotten my Little Sous Chef to eat it too (guess he's not as picky as his Mom was!) and the Farming Hubby really enjoys it as well. This recipe is wonderful for a crowd as the original recipe fills both a 9x13 and a 8x8 pan FULL! (I have started halving this to feed just us and still put some in the freezer) One of my favorite things about this meal is not only is it budget friendly, you get to re-purpose your leftovers, but it also freezes beautifully, so you can get 3, yes I said 3 meals out of that holiday turkey you made!! You can make this anytime of the year, just buy a whole chicken, and boil it and shred the meat, but using the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving is my favorite way to make this delicious meal.

3-4 Cups Cut up (or shredded) cooked Turkey or Chicken
1 lbs. Angel Hair Pasta
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Chopped Onion
1 Chopped Green Pepper
7 Tablespoons Flour
3 Cups Chicken or Turkey Broth (or make stock using bouillon)
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 lbs. Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 Small can of Diced Black Olives
1 Small jar of Diced Pimentos

Cook angel hair in water, add approximately 1 chicken bouillon cube for every 2 cups of water. Cook angel hair for 8 minutes, drain. In a medium sauce pan (or just use the stock pot you used for the pasta) melt the butter, and saute the onion and pepper until tender. Blend in the flour, forming a roux. Add the broth and cream until incorporated. Then add in the Velveeta and stir until smooth and melted. In your stock pot add back in the pasta, the cooked Turkey, olives and pimentos and pour the sauce over it all. Mix gently, and then pour into an oblong (or 9x13 and 8x8 pans) and heat in oven for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees. When casserole is bubbling in the middle, it's done. This can also be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.

We really enjoy this dish, it's creamy and delightful. With the pimentos it has a bit of a kick to it, which is really nice. It is a pretty easy meal to make, which is wonderful when you're tired from the holiday, but are sick of eating leftovers. If you're like our family and have veggie trays, you are likely to have leftover green pepper to use, and chicken or turkey broth as well from making gravy. This is also great if you have a lot of family in town for the holidays and need something large and filling to feed a crowd, you could even make this before the holiday, freeze it and then defrost and re-heat until warmed through and serve! 4 stars.

Happy Cooking!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Farmers Wife Original

I don't know about y'all but once the weather starts to drop I immediately think SOUP! I love my thick and creamy soups with a nice hard roll (or bread bowl) when the weather starts to change. It's something that I have grown to look forward to as an adult, and something my hubby has quickly adapted to. haha! I will say there are some soups he's not a huge fan of that I just could not live without, like my Broccoli Cheese Soup... I couldn't stand a world without this amazing soup, but I've never gotten him to even taste it! (which is kind of ok since that means I get the whole pot mostly to myself! hehe!) However my little Sous Chef seems to have his Mommy's love of creamy soups as he will eat a giant bowl of whatever soup I make faster than you can say "whoopdedoodle" ok... maybe not but, c'mon it was funny!

This particular recipe is an oldie but goodie. I've been making it for years, but recently I changed it a little and found my boys and I liked it even better and decided it was worth re-posting! You may not know this about me but I ADORE loaded baked potatoes... They are full of carbs and bad things for you but taste so darn good (don't worry I only indulge about twice a year). But after making this soup sometimes I have a hard time deciding which one to make when I get those carbolicious cravings... In fact I'm struggling with this dilemma for dinner tonight. haha! So what do y'all think? Soup or Potato? Which should come first this fall? ;-)

2 Lbs. Russet Potatoes, Peeled and chopped to 1 in. pieces
1 medium Onion Diced
1 Cup Chopped Carrots
1 Cup Diced Celery
3 Cups Chicken Broth (I used bouillon)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Pepper
6 Slices of Bacon, cooked and diced (I used Turkey Bacon)
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream, I used Fat Free

Peel and chop the potatoes, place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the Onion, Carrots, Celery, Broth and salt. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Then add in Milk, Pepper and Bacon, and cook on high for another 30 minutes. Then add in the cheese, stir. Serve with green onion, crumbled bacon and a dollop of sour cream on top *optional is only a garnish*.

This was incredible easy, and delicious. Smelled fantastic while cooking, and reheats really well too, and freezes beautifully!! I recommend this for a cold night when you want a baked potato, but want to try something new too! Tasted like a loaded baked potato, but in soup form! Yum! 4 Stars

Happy Cooking!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Donuts, and Holiday Traditions

Pumpkin Spice Donuts, Farmers Wife Original

It's Friday, Friday... Yup Rebecca Black your song hits me every Friday Morning when I wake up... I don't think I should be thanking you for this, but hey it gets me going! haha! Good Morning Friends! I know y'all have been asking when this recipe was going up, and it's been driving me crazy wanting to share this yummy goodness with you! Finally this morning my Internet it working (for the moment) so here we go!

I don't know about y'all but when I think of the Fall/Holiday Season I think Pumpkin. I kind of go on Pumpkin overload too, why you may ask... Well I blame my Dad haha! Growing up, as soon as that first snap of cold hit, you could find my Dad in the kitchen whipping up something delicious and filled with pumpkin flavors. (In fact he still does this as he sent me a message with a picture of his latest fall creation a couple days ago!) And this continued all the way through New Years in my house, not a holiday went by that my dad didn't go bake crazy, and having something like Pumpkin Donuts is something my Dad would've happily made back in the day for those family days, if only we had Donuts Pan like we do now.

One of my favorite family Holiday Traditions I remember, is when we would set up the Christmas Decorations. Every year, pretty much without fail we would put ours up the day after Thanksgiving. I remember waking up to the smells of something amazing baking in the kitchen for breakfast as my parents got the decorations out of the garage. My brother and I would tumble out of bed (me for coffee) and sit down and devour my Dad's latest creation before tackling the tree. And in my family everyone had a "zone" that they were best at, my dad was the master of the tree and the lights. My Mom always got the ornaments ready to go with hooks and made sure they were clean/not broken. And my Brother and I would hang the ornaments and place various other decorations throughout the house and then we got to decorate our own rooms. Though perhaps some of my favorite times were when we would go to the store to get whatever Christmas decorations my Dad wanted new that year, like the year I convinced him to get the flashing M&M lights, or the year Dad came home with the blow up Santa and Frosty for the yard... Oh I remember the looks of "delight" on my Mom's face when we'd come traipsing home from those trips... haha! But even though my Dad would go a little overboard with the decorations (much to the delight of his children) he could always redeem himself with Mom if he baked her up something yummy and delicious. Something just like these Donuts.

When I was making these, the whole time I was remembering that tradition I had growing up (which by the way my hubby and I have adopted in our family as well) and thinking my Dad would be so jealous if he knew I was making these, because it's something he would've thought of back in the day! haha! Thanks Dad for sharing your love of baking with me, and your love of Christmas. They are both things I have carried on into my adult life!

So what are y'alls favorite family Holiday recipes/traditions? I'd would LOVE to hear what everyone does, this is my favorite time of year! Happy *almost* Holidays! ;-)

Ingredients: yields 12-14 donuts
2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Pumpkin Butter
1/3 cup Half & Half
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons Butter, melted

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cinnamon (more if desired)

Preheat your oven to 425F degrees, and spray your donut pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and whisk together. In a medium bowl combine the wet ingredients and then add to the dry. Whisk until just combined, the dough should be thick almost like frosting. If it's too thin add a bit more flour. Then fill each donut well about 2/3 full. *Tip* I used a pastry bag and coupler, and piped the filling into each well, it was SO easy and you got the perfect donut shape that way.* Bake about 7-9 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden and spring back when touched. Let cool in the pan a couple minutes, then remove and repeat with remaining dough. Once the donuts are cooled, combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon in plastic bag or bowl, and coat the donuts.

I have to admit this was my first time using my new donut pan, but we just loved them! They were so light, and full of that pumpkin flavor we all adore! If you don't have pumpkin butter you can used canned pumpkin, just add extra spices and sugar to the dough. Our whole family gives these 5 stars!

Happy Baking!

*I created this post as part of Frigidaire's Talk Turkey Campaign. Share your own recipes and tips at Frigidaire's Make Time for Change site. For every recipe or tip that's shared, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save The Children's U.S. Programs, which creates lasting change for children in need .*

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter, Farmers Wife Original

Hi y'all!! Wow I can't believe it's been almost a week since I posted last... I can honestly say that I did miss y'all and typing up these recipes, however it was a much needed break to take care of my sick boys (and the big one was monopolizing the computer while he was home sick anyway... haha!) and to take care of myself so that I wouldn't get sick. And believe it or not, I never did catch it! I had a few days of horrible allergies after being out on the farm, but that's normal for me!! YAY!!!

Now, on to the recipe. I've been toying with the idea of making Pumpkin Butter for about a year. I thought about it last Holiday Season, but ran out of time and energy. This year I decided to go nuts, in 2 days time I made a giant batch of this stuff, a batch of Cran-Apple Butter and 2 homemade loaves of bread... Yeah I went a little crazy... haha! This recipe will fill 6 16 oz. containers... I know I know.... That's a little much. But I gave most of this away, and that is my plan for the future to make this for holiday gatherings, or to just give away to friends and family! Plus this amazing butter can be used for baking too, and I'll be sharing my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Donuts later this week!

I confess I'm doing something I rarely do right now... I'm posting the recipe to make the big batch. Why you might ask? Because I want to, lol! And because if it was me, all the ingredients for this are really reasonable so why not share with those you love? (Plus you can't use it in baking if you don't make more than you need.... haha!) I hope y'all love this, it really makes your house smell like fall!

3 29 oz. Cans of Pumpkin Puree (NOT Pumpkin Pie Mix)
1 Cup Apple Juice or Cider
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Cup Sugar (or Splenda)
3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger

In a large stock pot, combine all the ingredients. Cook on medium-low heat stirring often for about 30 minutes. To let all the flavors combine. Then using a Potato Masher or Whisk, mix together on low heat until completely smooth and the right texture. Should be thick and easy to spread. Taste and add more sugar/spices if you want. Allow to cool, and then place in resealable containers. This stays fresh for up to a month in the fridge, or 4 months in the freezer. *Do not can Pumpkin Butter*

This was amazingly simple and took very little time, and yet it tastes like a pumpkin pie spread on your favorite bread... It's amazing! I give this 4.5 stars.

Happy Baking!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Farmers Wife Original
Hey y'all! I can't believe it's October already, man this year has just flown by. It's hard to believe that a year ago very few people ever read this blog, I had never done a giveaway, and I was just starting my journey with Foodbuzz. This year has been so amazing! And to top it off, this year included me experimenting with possibly my new favorite soup. Chicken Tortilla Soup!

I've made a few versions of this soup over the last year all were good... But none were great until this one! And would you know, this is the first one I completely created on my own. I've been working on this recipe for awhile because I knew what I was wanting it to taste like, just not entirely sure how to create this. Finally a few days ago I got it just right!

Some of you who follow me on Facebook may already know that my family has been hit by this cold going around. And let me tell you it has not been fun. My poor little sous chef got hit with it so fast I was blindsided, and was pretty miserable for a couple of days. He is finally on the mend, but now my wonderful Hubby has caught it, think there's a chance I will escape this? I'm doubtful but one can still hope! Anyway, this soup has been fantastic to us with sinus problems, it's just spicy enough to get everything flowing, but not too spicy that my little guy wouldn't eat it. And I'm so glad for that, he slept so wonderful the night I made this and woke up feeling so much better! Ah the wonders of Jalapeno... haha! I hope y'all will give this easy soup a try, it really is wonderful for this cold and flu season!

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Cups Water
1/3 Onion, diced
1 15 oz. Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1 15 oz. Can Regular Diced Tomatoes
1-2 15oz. Cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed (based on your preference of beans, I used only 1 but would've liked to have more)
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Hot Sauce
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
8 Corn Tortilla's, cut into small strips
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)

Toppings: optional
Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream
Diced Jalapeno's
Tortilla Chips (or Tortilla Strips, I used these)

Spray a large slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the bottom of the pot, and add the broth and water. Then add the chopped onion, and the cans of tomatoes (if you can't find Fire Roasted Tomatoes, get a can of regular tomatoes and add 1-2 jalapenos diced, a small can of green chili's, diced and up the spices a bit.). Then drain and rinse the black beans, and add into the pot along with the spices and hot sauce. Cook on high for 6 hours. Once the chicken is fully cooked, take the chicken out of the pot and shred it, then add it back in. Then slice the corn tortilla's into strips about the size of noodles, and add to the soup. Stir well, this will help thicken the soup. At this point taste and see if you want/need any more spice. Then add in the cup of cheese, stir and serve warm with your choice of toppings.

I must admit I LOVED this soup, so did my whole family! In fact I had a second serving as a snack later that night as it is pretty low in fat and calories and it was just so darn yummy! lol! I will be making this often! 5 stars.

Happy Cooking!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

AMEX Dinner@6 Winner!

Good Morning y'all!! Today I'm am SO thrilled to announce the winner of the $100 American Express Gift Card, drumroll please....

And the winner is: Comment #54 Tracy R said... My favorite is a Bisquick one:

Congratulations Tracy!! You will be receiving an email from me shortly, to get your contact information which will be forwarded to FoodBuzz who will be sending out your prize! I want to note that according to the rules provided by FoodBuzz and American Express the winner will only have 48 hours to respond, if they don't I will choose another winner. 

Thank you so much everyone for commenting and your willingness to share your 6 ingredient recipes with me! I have so enjoyed reading each and every comment and checking out those fabulous recipes! Y'all are awesome! Keep up the cooking!

Happy Cooking!

*This giveaway is sponsored by Foodbuzz along with American Express. The winner was chosen via a Random Number Generator*
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Korean Beef

Korean Beef, Family Recipe

Y'all know I like to make some of my childhood favorites, and sometimes even re-create them. Korean Beef is a dish my Mom used to make when we were kids, in fact I think she still makes it to this day. Don't ask me where this recipe originated, as I have NO idea, lol! However, this is one of very few dishes that I have not made any changes too. There's just something so delicious about this simple meal, that I just can't change a thing. As you know this is a rare thing for me, and at times I've actually had to battle that little voice in my head saying "play with it, you know you wanna!". But every time I sink my teeth into a big ole' bite of this I know I made the right decision to leave well enough alone!

Words alone really can't describe this dish, it is most likely different from anything you've had before. If you're thinking this is going to taste like Beef and Broccoli, you would be very wrong. You can add broccoli to this, or even snow peas (do those still exist? I haven't seen them in YEARS!) but we like it best with just the carrots, and let me tell you what... My boys ADORE those carrots! I've even started adding extra because we end up fighting over who got more carrots... haha! The recipe listed below is actually for double the sauce of the original recipe, because we love this sauce so much. If you're not a sauce person feel free to cut it in half, but in my house we are saucy... BAHAHA!! Sorry I just couldn't resist! ;-)

1 lb. boneless beef top loin or sirlion steak (I buy the pre-sliced stir fry steak for this)
1/2 c. soy sauce
6 T. sugar (or Splenda)
4 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. pepper
3-4 green onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
Cornstarch Slurry:
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Water

Trim fat from beef; cut beef diagonally across grain into 1/8 inch slices (for ease in cutting, freeze partially for 1 1/2 hours).  Mix remaining ingredients; stir in beef and carrots until well coated. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Cook the meat and carrots in 10 inch skillet or wok over medium heat until beef is cooked through and the carrots are soft. In a small container combine the cornstarch and water until it forms a white paste, add to the pan and let boil for a few minutes, this will thicken up the sauce. Serve beef with hot cooked rice. Serves 4.

Review: This is a very simple and yet utterly delicious meal! It's been a long time favorite in my family, and now I make it for my hubby and son and they love it just as much as I did growing up! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 5 Stars.

Happy Cooking!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!! It's ends tonight at 11:59pm, so enter while you still can!
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Waffles

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Waffles, Farmers Wife Original

It probably won't come as much of a shock to you that I created yet another breakfast recipe... lol! I'm just a little bit obsessed with breakfast foods, and it's the one thing I can be completely creative with and have no fear of how my boys will react. For awhile now I've been toying around with the idea of a Pumpkin Spice Waffle, but I wanted to add something to make it stand out just a little bit. Then a couple weeks back I received the most fantastic package in the mail...

Thanks to the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program I received a box FULL of Ghiradelli Chocolates to try! I was so excited I started bouncing off the walls... No seriously I did. Then I opened the packages... Yeah... Getting chocolates in the mail in the middle of our AZ heat didn't work out too well, lol! They did have a completely melted ice pack in there in the attempt to keep the chocolates from melting, unfortunately that didn't work. These were SO melted, they haven't really recovered even being stored in the fridge. Once chocolate melts, it changes the texture completely, and I learned this lesson the hard way. Now don't get me wrong it tastes fantastic still, but to eat it as normal chocolate is impossible, since as soon as I remove it from the packaging it starts to melt again. It is however great for baking! So instead of pairing it with some fruit or beverage, I paired my chocolates with Pumpkin and baked it into waffles... Oh yeah baby! They were AWESOME! I can't believe how much we enjoyed these, in fact we even ate these cold as midnight snacks... haha!

These waffles came together SO fast, the longest part was honestly just the baking, in other words, waiting for the darn waffle iron to cook each one... haha! But it was worth the wait, served up with some warm maple syrup, these are such a wonderful treat full of fall flavor!

Ingredients: (yield about 12 waffles)
2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/4 Cups Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Milk (I used 1%)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
1 Bar Ghiradelli's 72% Twilight Delight Dark Chocolate

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices. Whisk together until fully combined. Then in a medium bowl combine the vanilla, pumpkin, milk, oil and eggs. Whisk those together until full combined, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined and the batter should be thick. Next coarsely chop the chocolate, and using a spoon fold into the waffle batter. Heat your waffle iron, and spray with cooking spray. Using a measuring cup, measure out the amount of batter needed to fill your waffle iron, for my round one that was about 1/2 cup. Spread out slightly, and lower the top of the iron and let it cook until golden and slightly crispy. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with your favorite syrup.

These were just outstanding, they were fantastic fresh out of the iron (because you know it's torture to wait for them all to finish baking!), and were delicious smothered in syrup too! The addition of the dark chocolate was out of this world, it took an already delicious waffle and made it spectacular! My Little Sous Chef devoured these, and then asked for more, so I'd give them a 4.5 star rating!

Happy Baking!

P.S. Don't forget about the Giveaway going on until this Thursday, Sept. 29th for a $100 American Express Gift card!! There's still time to enter!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spicy Mayo

Spicy Mayo, Farmers Wife Original

Hey y'all!! I am SO sorry it's been almost a week since I posted last... This whole week has been NUTS! I fell and twisted my ankle earlier this week and have been running around shopping, and then regretting it and laying down icing my foot for the better part of this week! With everything going on my brain has been way too fried to write up a post, however I have been cooking and baking up a storm! My house smells like fall today, and I'm loving it! But today's post is about something different!

We've all been to those upscale sandwich shops at one point or another, and most of us have favorites that we order ever single time we go. Well I remember one such place when I was living back East, that had the world's most amazing Turkey Sandwich, full of flavor and the most delicious spicy mayo. That was the only "wet" portion of the sandwich but it was enough, and I've long wanted to replicate that sandwich. I finally got as close as I could with this delicious mayo recipe, and some amazing onion poppy seed ciabatta bread. I made this for dinner one night last week, and then again for lunch the next day. hehe! If you love a flavorful sandwich, and want to replicate your favorite deli shop's specialty sandwich's, I hope you'll give this a try! And I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

1/2 cup Mayo (I like the Olive Oil based ones)
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Paprika
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1-2 Green Onions, finely diced

Combine the mayo and spices in a bowl and whisk together. Taste test and if you want it spicier add more spices. Then add the diced onion and mix, spread on your bread of choice for a delicious sandwich. Cover and keep in the fridge.

I have to say I really, really love this stuff! I not only enjoyed my replica sandwich, but I also used this to make a BLT the other day on a delicious Everything Bagel, and I will never go back to plain ole' mayo on a BLT again! I hope you give this easy and delicious mayo a try soon! 5 stars

Happy Cooking!

P.S. Don't forget about the Giveaway going on until the 29th for a $100 American Express Giftcard!! There's still time to enter!
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple Bars

Apple Bars, My Grandma's Recipe
 Hey y'all! Well it seems that fall is here, the temperature has dropped even here in AZ to the 90's! WAHOO!! haha! I know, I know that's not really cool, but when you go from 115+ everyday it feels like a drastic drop to us. And because of that I'm really in the fall mood, dying to bake and use all those beautiful apples that are showing up in my stores and pumpkin... I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! I don't know about y'all but this is my favorite Food time of the year, all the warm flavors and cinnamony goodness, just makes my soul sing.

I'm actually pulling this recipe from the archives and updating it. Believe it or not this blog was not always popular... Lol! I started it back in the spring of 2009 and the only person who read it was me. And there's quite a few posts that never got the attention they deserved, or good pictures either. So I'm going through and updating some of them, and in this case actually changing the recipe a bit. Not a lot really, but I did a few things. First off though I adore the original of this, what I really wanted was a thicker crust, because well... I LOVE this crust! I could eat just that and be happy. (I'm weird, but we've already established my insanity.) And I used less butter than the original called for, and upped the spices just a tad. Otherwise it is exactly the way Grandma made it! The weird thing is I don't remember this recipe from my childhood. There's very few of Grandma's recipes I don't remember, but this is one of them. Why that is, I don't know, and it seems a tragedy because they are AWESOME! In fact I'm thinking these need to make an appearance to the dessert table this Thanksgiving instead of the typical Apple Pie! Oh yeah... ;-)

2-3 Apples (I like gala or granny smith), peeled and thinly sliced

2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Oatmeal
1 cup Brown Sugar (or Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
1/2 cup Melted Margarine

1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar (or Splenda)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

Peel and slice the apples, and set aside in a little bit of lemon juice. Mix together the crust ingredients and reserve 1 cup of mixture for the top and pat the rest into a 8x8 pan. Cover with the sliced apples. In a medium saucepan boil the sauce ingredients for 5 minutes. Should be thick and bubbly. Pour over apples and cover with reserved crust mixture. Bake for 45 minutes at 350F degrees. Best if served warm (but is also delicious cold), may be topped with ice cream or whipped cream.

This is a very loved recipe in my house. I made it a few years ago for my Sister In Law's birthday and it's since become my easy fall back dessert that impresses and is like comfort food! My Little Sous Chef thinks it's the most yummy "cookie" and loves the cinnamon apples. Be sure to give this a try for the holidays, a wonderful substitution to the typical apple pie! 5 Stars.

Happy Baking!

P.S. Don't forget about the Giveaway going on until the 29th for a $100 American Express Giftcard!! There's still time to enter!
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not Your Momma's Ravioli Lasagna - AMEX 6 Ingredient Challenge and Giveaway

Ravioli Lasagna, Farmers Wife Original

Hey y'all! If you're a Facebook fan, you know I've been working on some really special posts, that I've been DYING to share with you... Well here it is! I was chosen, along with 19 other fabulous bloggers, to be a part of the AMEX Dinner@6 Challenge by FoodBuzz's Tastemaker Program along with American Express to create a dinner with only 6 ingredients!!! I have to admit when I first got the email that I was chosen for this challenge, my emotions went haywire! I very quickly went from stunned, to ecstatic, to downright worried lol! This really was a challenge for me. I've made a few recipes in the past that were 6 ingredients or less, but never as a requirement (though I was relieved when I read the rules that water, oil, salt and pepper didn't count as one of the six so I could use them to my heart's desire! hehe!). So after spending a few days marinating ideas in my food obsessed brain, finally this one came to me at 2 am... Yeah... I told you before I dream in food. ;-) Ravioli Lasagna... Or as I like to call it "Not Your Momma's Ravioli Lasagna" this is unlike any traditional lasagna you've ever had, trust me on this!

For this challenge I had my own criteria on top of the 6 ingredients or less, it had to be easy, full of flavor and kid friendly. Because that's what this Momma needs at the end of the day. Though I have to be honest... I am surprised at how good this turned out. I know, I should wow you and say I knew it would be awesome and blah blah blah... But the truth is I was scared to make this. I've never really had luck with a lasagna before, and this is so NOT traditional lasagna. But then I served it up to my *picky* Little Sous Chef, and after he took his first bite, he closed his eyes... After a somewhat awkward pause... lol! The following conversation ensued:

Me: "So........ How is it?"
LSC: *Stuffs his mouth and says:* "It's so nummy... You're a nice cooker Mommy!!"
Me: "Really?!? Are you sure?"
LSC: "Yup! I'm not allowed to lie remember Mommy?"

Lol!! He cracks me up sometimes, but when a 3 year old pays you such a high compliment it must be taken into consideration. And to my surprise this lasagna really was full of flavor even with such few ingredients, and it held up so beautifully... This is truly the best and easiest lasagna I've ever made and the best part is it came together in under an hour, including bake time! Serve this alongside a salad and some delicious garlic bread, and this dinner would impress even the pickiest eater, or at least it did in my house as my son even asked for seconds... You read that right, SECONDS! Yum....

16 oz. Ravioli, any filling you like I had Cheese on hand
1 lbs. Italian Turkey Sausage (or 3 links *optional, leave out to make this vegetarian*)
3 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3 Roasted Red Peppers
1 15 oz. Can Italian Diced Tomatoes
3 cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot boil 6 cups of water, and cook the ravioli about 7 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Remove the sausage from the casing then add to the pan, and cook until browned. Meanwhile in a blender puree the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and remaining oil and puree until desired consistency (I like some small chunks). Pour the sauce into the pan with the meat and heat through, once hot add about 1/4 cup of cheese to the sauce and let melt. In a greased 8x8 pan place a small amount of sauce in the bottom, then add a layer of the ravioli, top with more sauce, and a layer of cheese. Repeat layers using all of the ravioli and sauce, ending with cheese on top. Place in a 350F degrees pre-heated oven, bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Once done, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

*Don't leave!!! I have something special for you!!!* 

Along with creating this recipe, and as part of the Dinner@6 contest sponsored by Blue Cash PreferredSM, American Express has also provided me with $100 gift card to give to one of YOU!!! How awesome is that y'all? Thank you American Express and Foodbuzz for sponsoring this giveaway for my fantastic fans! But as with EVERY good giveaway there a few rules...

1. This Giveaway will run until September 29th, 2011 at 11:59 PM ET. I will announce the winner Friday September 30th, 2011. The winner will be chosen via a Random Number Generator, and the winner will only have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen. I will contact you VIA email to receive your mailing info which will be passed on to Foodbuzz who will be sending out the gift-card.

2. Comments must be made on THIS BLOG POST. Comments on Facebook or Twitter will not be counted as entries. 

3. Leave a comment letting me know what your favorite 6 ingredient dinner is, and your name and email address! Only ONE comment per person will be counted.

4. Share this post along with the link on your Twitter/Facebook Accounts saying "I have entered to win a $100 American Express Gift-card on The Farmers Wife, and you can enter too!"

As always Good Luck! I look forward to reading what you like to make with 6 ingredients or less!

Happy Cooking!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sargento Cheese Taster - and Honey Apple Sandwich's

I love cheese... I have to be honest here, I really do. Not all cheese's, but there are certain kinds that I just adore. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss, Pepper Jack, just to name a few! But I've never considered myself much of a cheese snob until I met my Hubby.

I will never ever forget the first Christmas I spent with my In Law family, not only was it my first time meeting them, so there was that awkward factor, but it was my first time spending Christmas away from my family. I remember that Christmas Eve so well... We spent the day just relaxing with his family, getting to know each other, and then going to the church's Christmas Eve service that night. Which was incredibly nerve wracking for me, meeting the congregation, and extended family... Let's just say before the service I was so nervous I felt sick. Everything went fine, at least for the most part. But afterward when we finally headed back to my In Laws I was finally famished! I hadn't eaten in hours because of my stomach and was ready for some serious grub. But to my surprise I find out his family has no real intentions of eating dinner, because they all ate such a big lunch. So when they pulled out different cheeses and crackers for everyone to munch on, I was floored. lol! This was the first time I experienced the art of eating cheese and crackers as a real "meal" and the tastes to look for in different cheese's.

I have since grown to love this tradition and it's something my Hubby and I do on occasion. In fact almost every year for Christmas I will fill his stocking with different summer sausages, mustard's, and crackers for us to munch on for dinner after the heavy holiday meals. So when FoodBuzz contacted me asking if I'd like to sample Sargento's Natural Blend of cheeses I jumped at the opportunity! I mean we love cheese, and crackers, and just about any pairing that goes with them, so why not? We had so much fun with this y'all!! So here's the details and a special recipe I came up with! ;-)

Plate of Cheese's and pairings. The Sargento is the "marbled" looking one!

As some of you know I'm a part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program, which is totally awesome! As a part of this program I received a $25 American Express Gift card to try my choice of Sargento's Natural Cheese, a processed cheese of my choice and the pairings of my choice (crackers, fruit, etc.). I have to admit there wasn't a huge selection at our store of Sargento's cheese, but after a while of hemming and hawing I decided to try one of their blends, so we got the Cheddar Mozzarella Blend... Oh my word y'all! I've never had a blended cheese quite like this before it was delicious!! I got a pairing of Summer Sausage, Apples and my favorite Crackers to go along with this tasting, (and of course the processed cheese). There was a pretty large difference between the Sargento and the Processed Cheese. The taste of Sargento, especially when paired up was exceptional. The processed was well... Processed. Not great but not completely awful either. They have a very different texture and taste from each other, and I have to say the Sargento was strong on both the Cheddar and Mozzarella in this blend, a great mixture of salty and almost fruity tastes. I would highly recommend giving the Sargento Cheese's a try, especially the blends... They really are delicious, however they do melt REALLY easy... So don't eat them in a room that is over 80 degrees, we found out (we live in AZ folks, it gets hot here!) or it starts to get gooey really fast. However this is GREAT for the recipe I am about to share with y'all!

Honey Apple Sandwich's

Today my Little Sous Chef and I are stuck home in some nasty weather, so we decided to have some fun with lunch. We took a few simple things we had on hand, rolls, ham, cheese, honey mustard sauce and apples and made ourselves some sandwiches. I was a bit skeptical of his idea, but it did smell awfully good... Who knew he would hit it out of the park with this?!? I have to say I just loved this, and the cheese brings everything together because it's subtle enough to let the other flavors shine, but you can still pick it out of the line up!

8 Potato Rolls, sliced in half lengthwise
4 Slices Sargento Cheddar Mozzarella Natural Blend Cheese
8 Slices of Honey Ham
1 Apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Honey Mustard Sauce:
2 Tablespoons Mayo
1 1/2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
2 Tablespoons Honey

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Using a serrated knife, slowly slice through the rolls lengthwise (place the rolls on a flat surface, and holding the top in place slice through the entire "tray" of rolls so they are like one long flat surface). In a small bowl combine the mayo, mustard and honey with whisk until smooth. Then spread about 1 teaspoon of sauce over the top and bottom halves of the rolls. Place 2 slices of apple on the bottom half of each roll, then top with the ham and cheese. Place the top half back on, and wrap the entire thing in foil. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is warmed through. Serve warm.

I have to say not only did I love the cheese by itself, but in this little sandwich is was amazing! These were so easy, and would be exceptional for parties! 5 stars.

Happy Cooking!

*This post was sponsored by FoodBuzz's Tastemaker Program along with Sargento Cheese's.*
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Buttermilk Chicken and a Tribute to my Grandma

Buttermilk Chicken, served on my Grandmother's China

Y'all know how I love to make/recreate some of the classic recipes I grew up with from my Grandmother. Some of them just out of nostalgia, and some because I want to try to lighten them up. But this is one recipe I just can't change. Buttermilk Chicken... My Grandma knew what she was doing with this baby. If you're looking for a quick, lowfat dinner, then I suggest you look at another recipe right now, because this isn't it. But this recipe is so very near and dear to my heart and brings back all sorts of memories for me. 

As a kid this was the coveted dinner, the one and only dinner you looked forward to as soon as you knew it was going to be made. Everyone in our family felt that way about this meal, everyone who's ever had it loves it. I remember almost every single time we had company coming over (unless it was last minute) my Mom and Dad would make this up along with mashed potatoes and of course some sort of vegetable and dessert. But this was the star of the meal, the recipe everyone asked for, ate seconds of, and there was almost never leftovers (much to my disappointment... lol!). We had this for holidays, birthdays, you name it and this was usually the meal that was asked for. 

As an adult I don't make this very often. It is kind of heavy, takes more time and energy and planning than I really have to put into a meal, and bakes for so long that some times of the year I honestly can't justify having the oven on for 1 hour. But there is one thing that never fails. Every single year my Hubby and I have been married, I make this for Christmas Eve. And we devour it, my Little Sous Chef could get lost in that gravy (and the first year he had it I'm pretty sure he did... haha!) and for that one night we indulge. 

The picture you see here is particularly special to me, as it is served on my Grandmother's China. As you have probably guessed by now I have always been incredibly close to my Grandparents, in many ways I would say they have been unsung hero's in my life. As a child they were so much fun and spoiled me like crazy (I admit I had them wrapped around my fingers...), and even took me on trips with them to see my Great-Grandmother, though heaven knows why they put up with me on those road trips and my annoying tape recorder where I made them do "talk shows" with me... haha! And as a teen they were an escape from my crazy life. They let me sleep in without bothering me, and there was always fresh coffee waiting when I got up. And no matter what age I've always been able to sit down and have a serious discussion with them. My Grandparents are the couple who will have been married for 57 years this November, and are such a wonderful example to us. I see a lot of my Geeky Farmer and myself when I watch my Grandparents together. They still tease each other, exchange hidden messages with their eyes, and are so in love it makes you smile. So when I got married and my Grandma offered me this china which was theirs, I'm pretty sure I cried. It means so much to me to have this, and I only bring it out when we have Buttermilk Chicken on Christmas Eve. So Grandma if you're reading this (and yes folks she really does read my blog!) know that you are so loved, and thank you for the recipes that have warmed my soul and my stomach all my life, and for the shining example you and Grandpa are! I love you!

1 Stick of Margarine
1 Quart Buttermilk
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (I use lowfat)
4-6 Chicken Breasts (I use boneless, skinless)
1 Cup Flour
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Mix together breading ingredients, and set aside. Melt butter and pour into a foil lined (for easier clean-up) shallow baking dish. A 13x9 pan works great. Dip chicken in buttermilk; then roll in breading mixture. Place in the baking pan. Bake on bottom rack in a 425F degrees oven for 20 minutes, then turn chicken. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until chicken is done and slightly browned. Mix the Cream of Chicken Soup with 1 can of Buttermilk; pour over chicken. Return to oven and heat until gravy is hot, about 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite recipe for mashed potatoes and use the gravy on those as well as the chicken.

This meal is fantastic! We just love it, it's kid friendly and will wow your dinner guests! It does take some planning ahead, but it is well worth the splurge! 5 stars

Happy Cooking!

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