Sunday in Iowa...

Barn at the "Yankee" Robinson Farm

Built in 1909

On the "Lacey Road" near Lacey, Iowa
The soybeans in front are about ready for harvest

Cookbook Reviews...Gifts from the Kitchen

Betty Crocker and Pillsbury are now owned by the same company and the small size cookbooks you can buy in the grocery store aisles are now put out with both names on them. This book Betty Crocker  Gifts from the Kitchen was printed and displayed till the end of Dec. 2011. These types of books (food gifts to make) are among some of my favorites. I like making food gifts, though often they don’t make it out of the house. Now several years later I am still using recipes from this book.
  Sue and I both found things to make. The Caramel Sauce Sue made and shared with us was excellent and we were really pleased that the Triple Cheese Log was so good. We gave one away and ate the rest. Cheese logs are one of my weaknesses. 
  I made the Billionaires for Bettie’s daughter and she hid them as she did not want to share. If you find a copy of this book, I would surely recommend you buy it. Great recipes and good ideas for food gifts.

Smoked Almond Triple Cheese Logs

Chocolate Billionaires

Divine Caramel Sauce

Citrus Curd

Family Favorites...Chuckwagon Deli Sandwich

There’s a popular sandwich that’s sold in vending machines where I used to work that we still like, but with our own twist.  We use homemade buns and, of course, the sandwiches haven’t been sitting around for who knows how long.  Try Multigrain Buns or my personal favorite Whole Wheat Mustard Buns.   This is a good meal from the freezer - I always keep both baked buns and Freezer Coleslaw on hand.  No need for purchased fast food on a busy day.

 Chuckwagon Deli Sandwich
  1              Large  Hamburger Bun
  1              Slice  Cotto Salami
  1              Slice  Ham
  1              Slice  American Cheese
  1              Slice  Swiss Cheese
                  Mustard and/or Mayonnaise -- to taste

Wrap assembled sandwich in a paper towel and microwave 30-60 seconds until cheese melts.

Creamy Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine meatballs were popular in the 50’s. I remember it being served for company at the home of school friends, and really liked it. A lot of recipes call for a pressure cooker, which I usually use, but many of you may not have one. There are many recipes for it made with purchased tomato soup, but my husband likes cream soup better.
This recipe using cream soup is from a Mennonite cookbook Our Daily Bread. We really liked this recipe – the timing was perfect – plenty of time to do something else while it bakes unattended – Bake potatoes on the side?  Sunday dinner?  My covered pink pyrex casserole was made for recipes like this. We even enjoyed the leftovers the next day.
I recently made this using Myrna's Mushroom Soup worked perfectly!

Creamy Porcupine Meatballs
1 Pound Ground Beef -- lean
1/2 Cup Rice -- uncooked long grain
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Onion – finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup or Myrna's Mushroom Soup Mix
1/2-3/4 cup water
Heat oven to 375°. In medium bowl, lightly mix together all meatball ingredients. Form mixture into 12 meatballs. I used my muffin scoop, a size 24.
Place in 11 x 7" baking dish.
In medium bowl, stir together all sauce ingredients; pour over meatballs. Cover; bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
4 -6 servings. $ 3.40 or 85¢ per serving.
Per Serving: 461 Calories; 30g Fat (59.9% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 96mg Cholesterol; 728mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 4 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

From the Garden...Green and Gold Salad or Pea and Cheese Salad

Myrna doesn’t like this salad…we won’t tell her what she is missing!  We love it…pretty, tasty, and extra special with homemade cooked dressing.  My husband likes Colby Longhorn cheese, so that’s what I used here.  We enjoyed it with salmon cakes and fruit for dessert.
Don’t miss this oldie but goodie salad!                     
Green and Gold Salad
  1 1/2   cups  frozen peas – thawed  (or fresh)
     1/3   cup  cheddar cheese -- diced
  2          tablespoons  minced onion
     1/4   cup  cooked dressing -- or mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  1          tablespoon  prepared mustard (optional)
Drain peas well.  Stir mayonnaise and mustard together.  Mix in remaining ingredients and chill.

Serves 4

I make my salad dressing a day ahead, so the flavors meld.  Use any leftovers to make chicken or tuna salad, or on sandwiches.  It keeps about a week.                           
Cooked Dressing
  1        tablespoons  Sugar
  1        tablespoons  Flour, All-purpose or Cook-type Clear Jel
  ½       teaspoon  Salt
  ½       teaspoon  Dry Mustard
 1         large  Egg Yolk -- slightly beaten
 3         ounces  Milk (I have used skim milk, whole milk and it’s really good with half and half)
  2        tablespoons  Vinegar – mild (we like cider vinegar)
   ½      Tablespoon  Butter 
Mix dry ingredients; gradually add egg yolk and milk (I use a wire whip); cook over hot (not boiling) water until thick, stirring constantly, only about 3-4 minutes.  Add vinegar and butter; mix well and cook until thick.  Cover with plastic wrap right on the top of the mixture while cooling it.  Chill; stir before using.
67¢ per cup   Only 25 Calories per tablespoon
  "Betty Crocker Good and Easy 1954 or Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book 1946 and 1968"

Mushroom Soup Mix Chicken and Rice Bake

To use your frozen homemade cream of mushroom soup try this version of a old Campbell’s chicken and rice dish. You need to thaw the cream of mushroom soup in the refrigerator overnight. I used fresh thyme but dried thyme or another herb will work just fine. If you wish to omit the cream sherry just leave out. We like the flavor the sherry gives the rice and chicken, but it is fine without it. Since I froze mine in smaller amounts I used two containers of soup for this recipe. A total of 1 1/4 cups or 10 ounces. A good one dish meal served with your favorite vegetable or salad.
Chicken and Rice Mushroom Bake
1 container of Frozen cream of mushroom soup (1 ¼ cups) or 1 can of Campbell’s condensed mushroom soup 
1 cup chicken broth or water (1 ⅓ for creamier rice)
¾ cup uncooked long grain white rice
¼ teaspoon paprika (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves about 4 ounces apiece
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup toasted pecans
2 sprigs of thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried herb of your choice
salt, pepper and paprika for chicken pieces
 Heat oven to 375°. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper and paprika and brown in small amount of oil. 
Stir the soup, sherry, chicken broth, rice, pepper and paprika if using, toasted pecan pieces and celery in a 11x8x2 inch baking dish. Top with the chicken. Cover pan with foil and  bake at 375°F for 45 to 50 minutes until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender. Check near end and if rice is too dry add some more broth or water. 
 Stir the rice before serving and remove thyme sprigs.

Use It Up...Mushroom Soup to Freeze

 The Southern Living 2014 Annual cookbook has a recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup which can be used instead of the red and white can we are all so familiar with.
It needs to be kept frozen and thawed to use. There is flour in the recipe and of course it is thick so it can not be canned.
 After reading the recipe I decided to try it. It is easy to do, has no preservatives, and with cream, butter, cream cheese and mushrooms how could you go wrong. It does use the concentrated chicken stock in the tubs or sticks. I use Knorr Brand because we like the flavor. Do not use liquid stock or it will dilute the soup too much.
  My Grandson and Bettie liked it made into soup, use like the can and add a equal amount of milk and heat. You can use this in any recipe calling for condensed cream of mushroom soup. 1 and ¼ cups is equal to each can called for in your recipe.
  I froze ours in 5 ounce amounts (by weight) to equal a ½ can as we like to make a smaller amount of most casseroles. You can always thaw two or more as needed. We like it so well that I am going to see if I can make a version of cream of celery. 
Sue made this after I did and froze hers in flat freezer bags Makes amount equal to 4 cans 
Cream of Mushroom Soup
½ cup butter divided
24 ounces fresh mushrooms (3-8oz. containers)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whipping cream
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese softened
2 (1 ounce) containers concentrated chicken stock (from a 4.66-oz. package)
Clean and chop mushrooms.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat; add chopped mushrooms and sauté 10 to 12 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated. Transfer to a bowl. 
 Lower heat to medium. Melt remaining butter in dutch oven you used for mushrooms. Whisk in flour until smooth; whisk one minute more. Gradually whisk in cream and than cream cheese and concentrated chicken stock. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in cooked mushrooms.
 Use immediately, or cool completely.  Freeze in 1 ¼ cup portions in plastic freezer bags or containers. Thaw before using.
To use for soup add an equal amount of milk and heat.
Use in any hot dish the same as any condensed soup called for.