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Five Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce

5 MINUTE NACHO CHEESE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 2 ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 16 oz medium cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add the butter and flour to a small sauce pot.  Heat and whisk the butter and flour together until they become bubbly and foamy.  Continue to cook and whisk the bubbly mixture for about 60 seconds.

Whisk the milk into the flour and butter mixture.  Turn the heat up slightly and allow the milk to come to a simmer whilst whisking.  When it reaches a simmer, the mixture will thicken.  Once it’s thick enough to coat a spoon, turn off the heat.

Stir in the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, until melted into the sauce.  If needed, lace the pan over a low flame to help the cheese melt.  Do not overheat the cheese sauce.

Once all the cheese is melted into the sauce, stir in the salt and chili powder.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.  If the sauce becomes too thick, simply whisk in an additional splash of milk.

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Enjoy this nacho cheese plain…..
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or add a bit of red pepper, garlic, or whatever your fancy!

Philadelphia Scrapple – My Version

Philadelphia Scrapple

Philadelphia Scrapple

Cooking time: about 4 hours   Servings: 12-24 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 lbs stewing hen (you’ll need about 6 cups of ground meat)
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Slow cook stewing hen until tender.  Remove meat from skin and bones and cut meat into pieces.  Place meat back into cooking water with sage and cayenne pepper and simmer 2 to 3 hours.  Drain and reserve stock.

Chop meat with a knife or food processor, being careful not to grind it too fine. Set aside.

(Note that i had already done all the above and just froze ground meat separately from plain chicken stock – i only add spices when ready to make this recipe)

Measure 5 cups of stock and return to pot.  Bring to a simmer, add meat, cornmeal, salt, and peppers, then stir constantly until thick and smooth – about 15 to 30 minutes.

Pour mixture into 2 loaf pans and refrigerate until completely chilled.  Un-mold scrapple.  Slice and fry until golden brown and crispy on both sides.

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Whilst stirring, you may need to break up clumps of corn meal
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Whilst stirring, you may need to break up any clumps of corn meal.
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The mixture needs to be thick to hold together once you’ve removed from pan.
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Refrigerate or cool outside like i did here since it’s colder outside than in the frig anyway!

 

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No need to grease or butter the loaf pan, but definitely sliding a knife around the edge to loosen really helps it ease out of the pan.
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I’m using beef fat here for frying, but butter or olive oil works just as well.

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Fry on low-medium heat, then carefully flip to reveal this crispy brown side, fry the other side, then ready to serve.
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Philadelphia Scrapple with egg – this is just a terrible photo, but you get the idea.  Notice the pale yolk on our farm egg – that’s a winter egg.  No green grass out there now.
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Despite the savory aspect of scrapple, you may enjoy just a smidgen of syrup on this.  Try it on just a corner.  We are so fortunate to buy pure maple syrup from our neighbor – Coyote Orchard, Purdin, Missouri.
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Almost all gone! Yum!

Toad-In-A-Hole

I hadn’t made this favorite of my children in several years, but since there was an opened package of beef hot dogs which needed using, i decided on a trial to see if they would be acceptable substitute for sausages. It worked out great and was a hit with my 93 year old father-in-law and husband’s 100 year old aunt this past Sunday lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef or lamb sausage links (or beef hot dogs)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Drizzle olive oil in an 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 inch baking dish and place sausages/hot dogs in baking dish and bake at 400ºF  for 10 minutes.  Whilst those are baking, mix the remaining ingredients until smooth.  Remove baking dish from oven and pour batter over links/dogs.  Pop dish back into the 400ºF oven uncovered for about 30 minutes until golden.  Cut into squares.

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Here’s a photo of the traditional appearance of Toad-In-A-Hole.  The links are left intact.  
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Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil into an 11 x 7 x 1 ½ inch baking dish.

 

 

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Feel free to leave the sausages (or hot dogs in this case) whole.  I sliced mine since i felt they’d be easier for my guests of advanced age to eat.
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Place in oiled pan.
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Bake in 400ºF oven for 10 minutes.

 

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While the sausage/hot dogs are cooking, mix up the batter until smooth.
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Remove the baking dish from oven and pour batter over top of sausages/hot dogs.

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Bake at 400ºF uncovered for about 30 minutes.

 

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Cut into pieces and serve.  Enjoy!

 

 

Comfort Food

Wowzer!  the wind has been blowing like a banshee all day and temps dropped from 75  to 45 in about 2 hours this afternoon.  Will spring ever arrive in earnest?!  Vina’s Brownies to the rescue.

VINA’S BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Cream together the softened butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time.  Continue mixing and add remaining ingredients then bake in a greased 9×13 inch pan.  Bake about 40 minutes at 350°F oven.

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I sprinkled some dark chocolate Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking chips on top this before baking.  Turned out pretty good!  Chips available at many venues, i got mine online at Wal-Mart.

 

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Mixed Grain Bread – Scottish

I have discovered my favourite bread to make!

MIXED GRAIN BREAD – SCOTLAND

Modified from Scottish Cookery Cookbook, 2010

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 oz (about 3 cups) strong white flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) whole wheat flour
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) Einkorn flour
  • 1 oz butter, diced
  • 2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 oz (1/3 cup) rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ¾ pint warm water
  • 1 medium egg

DIRECTIONS:

Sift white flour and salt into a large bowl.  Stir in the wheat and Einkorn flours then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir in the yeast, oats, and seeds then make a well in the centre.

Stir the molasses into the warm water until dissolved.  Add the molasses water to the dry ingredients.  Mix to a soft dough. (I used paddle hook on KitchenAid mixer)

Using a dough hook, knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Put in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, or until double in size.

Preheat the oven to 425°F, 15 minutes before baking.  (I start the oven now, then do the below and leave the loaf and pan on top the stove – the warmth from the oven helps with rising, especially in winter.)

Using dough hook, knead again for a minute or two to knock out the air.  Shape into an oval loaf about 12 inches long and place on a well-oiled baking sheet.  Cover with oiled (important) plastic wrap and leave to rise for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

Brush the loaf with beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven 35-45 minutes (mine was 35 minutes) or until the bread is well risen, browned, and sounds hollow when the base is tapped.  Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe - Mixed Grain Bread

Flour Tortilla – Mexican Style

Oi!  Finally found a flat tortilla recipe that works for me!  I use freshly ground red wheat berries.  Granted, the experts recommend white wheat, but i just grabbed the red and proceeded.  Figured if it would work with that, it’ll work with any.

Recipe – Mexican Flour Tortillas

Flour Tortillas – Mexican Style

Takes about 25 minutes to mix all together and allow dough to rest.  Cooking is about 20 minutes.  This recipe yields 15 tortillas rolled to about 10 inch diameter, but I halved it and it worked great.

Ingredients:

3 cups flour (white wheat is better for tortillas, but this even works pretty good using red)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 to 6 tablespoons butter

1 ¼ cups warm water (approximately but you may need more if using whole wheat flours)

Directions:

Mix the dry ingredients; then drop in the butter.  I squish it round in the dry ingredients with my fingers until the mix resembles coarse crumbles.  Add the warm water and mix.  I prefer using my Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer with the dough hook and let it do the work.  Cover the dough and let rest for about 10 minutes.  Knead a time or two, then tear off about 15 pieces of dough and roll into balls.  I throw the balls back into the mixer bowl, but just put them somewhere and cover – let rest for 10 minutes more.  Now they are ready to roll out.  Dust a bit of flour on your surface.

Cook in a dry heavy flat bottom skillet like a cast iron one for about 30 seconds each side on medium heat or less.

Keep warm or use them immediately for enchiladas or another favorite Mexican dish.

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Beef Sausage Lasagne

Recipe – Beef Sausage Lasagne    (Click on the link for a printable version of my personal recipe.)

I’ve been using this recipe for over 30 years and it never fails to please!  Since i don’t eat pork, i use our home raised ground beef which i’ve turned into beef sausage and using these same spices, it turns out awesome.  Make your own egg noodles and simple cut them about 1 1/2 inches wide and whatever length you like (they’ll get wider and longer when you boil them).  I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta and i often buy full fat mozzarella and shred it myself.  Usually have my own tomatoes to chop and cook down.

Here’s the original recipe printed in Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook circa 1980.  Great cookbook and you can see that page 159 has been open quite a lot! The cookbook must be out of print, but there are several vendors offering it at deep discount, but i’m not parting with my copy!!

Recipe - Lasagne beef