Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti sauce is one of those things that I grabbed while I was grocery shopping, for years.  Until one day it dawned on me, I could just as easily make mine at home!  All you need is some tomato sauce, some herbs (dried and fresh, if you can!), and a protein of your choice, or just leave it as a meatless sauce, and that's just one step closer to goodness!  I also have a secret ingredient that is subtle, but will leave you scratching your head, going, "Well.....why didn't I think of that?"

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fresh pasta

Fresh pasta is a dish that you can easily entertain with.  If you tell someone you're having spaghetti for a special supper, they may think you're copping out, just opening a box of spaghetti and pouring some sauce over it....really?  But, when they hear that you're making a fresh spaghetti from scratch, all of sudden you're doing something really special, because it must be difficult and time consuming, right??  Wrong!  Fresh pasta is very easy, and can be done in a relatively short amount of time!  And, its cheap!  Like, super cheap!  What could be better?  An impressive dish (that could feed an army) for less than $5??  Bring it!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Caramel Ice Cream

As I have stated before (in my Brown Sugar Peach Ice Cream post), ice creams are something that I love to make in the summer.  Once you have learned the techniques, it is very easy, and usually, a lot better than the store bought stuff (which is saying bought ice creams have really come a long way!!).  Another really fun part of making ice cream at home, is you get to make whatever flavor you want!!  You can take a base flavor and add in different mix-ins, and have a whole new family favorite that you would never see in the store! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mushroom Risotto

For years, I was intimidated by the thought of making risotto.  I watch a lot of cooking TV (a lot of cooking TV...I think I may have an addiction...), and you always hear that risotto and souffles are the most difficult things to make.  Not true.  Yes, risottos require a little babysitting, but you don't have to hover over it every second or else the world will end.  And, it only takes about 30 minutes, so its really not that bad.  You can easily make this side dish with the rest of your supper, and impress others who watch the cooking TV shows that I watch, and buy into the preaching that it is super difficult to make!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pork Schnitzel

As much as I enjoy playing in the kitchen, I also really enjoy trying to cook foods from other countries.  The problem I have with that, is that I don't get to travel that much, so I don't know what these foods are supposed to taste like, or, in some cases, even look like!  This poses a slight problem, although, with food being a very popular subject on TV and in magazines (and online!  Ha!), the world is getting much smaller, and cultural foods are getting more popular!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I love making breads from scratch, it makes me feel very accomplished, and this is one of the easiest breads to make!  Aside from being easy (or, maybe because it is so easy!), cornbread is a southern staple.  This bread is a little bit sweet, and the corn taste really shines through, from the cornmeal.  Start to finish, it takes just under an hour to make a 12" skillet of bread.  I always make mine in a cast iron skillet, partly because its tradition, and partly because I have yet to find another baking dish that will develop a perfect crust on the bread.  And, its nonstick!  Let's get started!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Canned homemade tomato sauce

One thing I really wanted to tackle this year was making canned, homemade tomato sauce.  I even planted two tomato plants, in hopes of getting some for sauce (I knew I wouldn't get enough off of two plants to can, but I had hoped to toss one or two of my own in there!), alas, no luck.  My tomato plants look good, but I haven't gotten any tomatoes off of them.  Yet.  However, the local farm in my area is selling pecks of tomatoes for $10 each, so I took my daughter out to the farm, and we bought two pecks for this adventure!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Brown sugar peach ice cream

Ice cream is far and away my favorite treat, year round.  I don't care if it is 30 degrees outside, I'm going to be curled up on the sofa, with a bowl of ice cream.  However, every summer, I figure, "I have an ice cream maker, why buy it at the store??", and with all of the beautiful fresh produce in my area, seriously, why buy it at the store?  
My local farm stand sells what they call, "ice cream peaches"; basically peaches that are too ripe and need to be sold quickly.  Which works out beautifully for me!  They sell them for $1 per pound, and I swoop in, buy some, and make ice cream!  It's delicious!  The texture is smooth and creamy, and bursting with peach, but the brown sugar flavor really comes through, too.  This flavor may just be my new favorite!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Strawberry Jam

Every year, around summer time, my fingers start to get itchy for all of the amazing produce that I know is flooding the farm stand in my area.  They have a fairly large variety of fruits and vegetables, but one that almost always comes home with me is strawberries.  My daughter and husband will eat their weights in the berries, and I have to fight them off so I can have enough to make jam and can it!  I love, in the middle of fall or winter to just open up a jar and get all of the flavor of summer, without any heat or humidity!  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Patriotic Potato Salad

There are very few things that say "4th of July" more than potato salad.  To me, anyway, and I love themed foods, so if I'm going to make potato salad (my version of it, anyway), I'm going to make it as patriotic as possible!  I don't like mayonnaise, so I went for years not eating potato salad, which made me sad, because I love almost all variations of potatoes!  About eight years ago, I heard about doing potato salad a different way, with a vinaigrette base, in place of a mayonnaise base, which makes this perfect for all of those 4th of July BBQ's, and picnics!