Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Raisin Bran and milk
Orange juice if you can find it.
(It’s a holiday, AND a day off from Nelli’s dayjob, so Nelli’s sleeping in)

Dinner: Pumpkin Soup
Brats & Kraut
Saltine and/or oyster crackers

Soup: Cut a nice pie pumpkin into eight wedges. Reserve seeds for roasting. Place cut side up on baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast at 400 until tender – 60-70 minutes. Scoop out the flesh and discard skin. In a stock pot or Dutch Oven, Saute ½ cup each chopped onion, celery and carrot. Add 2 cloves roasted garlic, minced. Add 4 cups chicken stock or broth and the pumpkin. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Process in batches in blender or processor until smooth. Return to pan and stir in ¾ cup heavy cream and salt & pepper to taste. Heat through, but do not boil.
Meanwhile, broil or grill brats and heat the sauerkraut on the stove.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve brats on the side on a bed of kraut.

Lunch: Mocha-Caramel-Coffee Shake
For each serving, use 2 scoops chocolate ice cream, a long squirt of chocolate syrup and ½ to 1 cup strong coffee, depending on how thick you like it. Blend until smooth. Pour into tall mug, swirl on whipped cream out of the can and drizzle with caramel topping. Serve with straw & long-handled spoon.

Supper: Homemade Pizza
Long Island Tea (Everybody’s a heathen on Halloween!)

Nelli and the gang are skipping church tonight to partake in their annual Halloween Homemade Pizza Drag Out The Old Costumes and Watch Spooky Movies Night. Something we’ve been doing since we all got too old to go Trick or Treat. Our favorite movie so far is “Gaslight” – an old Ingrid Bergman flick. “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” starring Audrey Hepburn is a close second.

Pizza Dough: Put 2 Tblsp yeast and 2 Tblsp sugar into 1 cup warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Sift 4 cups flour. Add ¼ cup olive oil to the yeast-water mixture and pour into the center of the flour. Add 2 cloves roasted garlic, 1 Tblsp oregano and ½ tsp basil. Stir until dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic – about 5 minutes. Let rise until double. Punch down and let rise again. Spread onto 2 pizza pans. Spread with sauce and your choice of toppings. Nelli’s Supreme includes country style sausage, ground beef, pepperoni, black olives, mushrooms and Mozzarella. Nelli’s Plain is Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon and Mozzarella. Don’t be skimpy on the cheese. Bake in 400 oven about 20 minutes, When all the cheese is melted, carefully lift up on one edge and look at the bottom of the crust. When the bottom is nicely browned all the way across, it’s all done.

Long Island Tea: Fill a tall glass with ice. Add ½ ounce each of tequila, rum, vodka, gin, triple-sec and 2 oz. sweet & sour mix. Top off with regular Coke. (So where's the tea? Nelli don't know - everything's a little weird in New York.)

Tuesday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Quiche
Slices of sweet apples

Quiche: Cook 1 cup minced onions in 2 Tblsp butter. Remove onions from skillet and add 2 sliced mild Italian sausages and brown them slightly. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 large eggs, ¾ cup milk, ¾ tsp dried sage and salt & pepper to taste. Place the cooked onions in an 8-inch baked pie shell. Pour egg mixture over onions. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Swiss cheese and arrange sausage slices on top. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Core and quarter the apples.

Dinner: White Chili
Tortilla chips & guacamole

White Chili: In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, saute together 1 each chopped onion, green pepper, red pepper, 2 jalopenos, 2 cloves garlic in ½ stick butter. Add 1 Tblsp cumin, 2-4 cups cubed cooked chicken, 1 can diced green chilies, 8 cups chicken stock or broth. Add any combination of the following: 1 can each navy beans, garbanzo beans, cannelloni beans, butter beans, lima beans and white kidney beans. Simmer 1 hour. Ladle into bowls and garnish with shredded Monterey jack cheese and sour cream.

Guacamole: Mash together (Nelli uses the electric mixer) 4 ripe avocados and 2 cloves roasted garlic. Stir in 1 Tblsp lime juice, a few drops Louisiana Hot Sauce and 1 finely chopped Roma tomato.

Lunch: Aunt Margie’s Cinnamon Rolls
Dissolve 2 Tblsp yeast and 2 tsp sugar in 1 cup warm water. Let stand 10-15 minutes.
Make a cinnamon-sugar mixture of 1 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tblsp cinnamon. Set aside. Sift 5-7 cups flour. Thoroughly stir together: ¼ cup scalded milk, 1 cup water, ½ stick butter, ½ Tblsp salt, 2 eggs and ¾ cup sugar. Stir yeast mixture into liquids. Add 3 cup sifted flour and stir until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Let rise until double – about 1 hour. Punch down and divide in two. Roll each half into a 9 x 13 rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up and slice into rolls. Place in 9 x 13 pan (this recipe makes two pans. It can be doubled.) and let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. While still warm, frost with 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 Tblsp softened butter and enough milk to make a thin frosting.

Supper: Smothered Chicken Breast
Stuffed Acorn Squash

Smothered Chicken Breast: Brown 4-6 boneless breasts in oil or bacon fat, OR grill over hot coals until juices run clear. Chop 4 slices bacon, ½ medium onion, 2 Tblsp green and/or red pepper and sauté all together until bacon is crisp. Place chicken breasts in casserole. Spread some of the bacon mixture over each one. Top with 3-4 slices mushrooms and sprinkle with shredded Monterey or Swiss cheese. Broil until cheese melts. Top with a thin slice of tomato.

Squash: Cut 2 Acorn squash in half and discard seeds. Cook 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced with 1 small diced onion, ¼ cup brown sugar, packed, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/9 tsp nutmeg in 2 Tblsp butter about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups cooked rice and mix well. Stuff mixture into squash halves and bake at 350 45 minutes to 1 hour until squash is tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Homestyle Skillet

Homestyle Skillet: Peel or scrub and thinly slice 3 medium potatoes. Pour oil into skillet to about ½ inch deep. Layer the potato slices. Sprinkle with ½ cup each finely chopped onion and crumbled bacon OR sliced link sausages. Cover tightly and simmer on low heat until potatoes are soft; about 45 minutes. Beat together 4 eggs and ½ cup milk. Pour over potatoes in skillet. Cover and cook another 15-20 minutes, until egg is set. Sprinkle with cheese if desired and cover until cheese is melted.

Dinner: Chilled Melon
Shepherd’s Pie (Ground Beef)
Keep melon chilled until serving time.
Shepherd’s Pie: Make 3 cups mashed potatoes. Brown 1 ½ pound ground beef with 2 cloves roasted garlic, minced and 1 small onion, chopped. Stir in 1 cup beef stock or broth and ½ tsp Kitchen Bouquet. Bring almost to a boil. Stir in thickener of 2 Tblsp corn starch mixed with 2 Tblsp water and a few drops Kitchen Bouquet. Stir until mixture thickens. Add 1 16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables. Pour into greased casserole and spread 3 cups mashed potatoes over top. Place in 350 oven 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are just starting to get a little brown.
Meanwhile, cut melon into wedges and discard seeds.
Serve with Anadama or French bread.

Lunch: Hot Chocolate
PB Rice Krispie Bars

PB Rice Krispie Bars: Melt ¼ cup butter in large pan over low heat. Add one 10 oz package mini marshmallows and stir until marshmallows are melted. Stir in ¼ cup smooth peanut butter and 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat and thoroughly stir in 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal. Press into buttered 9 x 13 pan. Let cool before cutting.

Hot Chocolate: Stir together ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup unsweetened coca in a medium saucepan. Add 1/3 cup HOT (not boiling) water. Stirring constantly, heat to boiling and boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add 4 cups milk and heat to serving temperature, whisking constantly. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream or miniature marshmallows.

Supper: Lettuce Salad
Cowboy Soup

Cowboy Soup: Brown 1 pound ground beef with ½ cup chopped onion in large stock pot. Add: one 16 oz can mixed vegetables, one 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes, one 13 oz can Spanish Rive, one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes and one 17 oz. can cream style corn. Cover and simmer about 1 hour.
Those new Kiebler Corn Bread crackers go real good with this.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Stuffed French Toast
Sausage links
Fry sausage links as directed on package.
French Toast: Batter: 1 egg beaten with 1 cup buttermilk and 1 tsp vanilla. For each serving, use a 1-1 ½ inch thick slice of French bread. Cut a slit in the side and shove in a slice of cream cheese. Dip in the batter and fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve with warm jam or syrup.

Dinner: Copper Penny Carrots
Fried Chicken
Scalloped Potatoes

Copper Penny Carrots: Peel and slice one pound carrots and cook for 5 minutes in boiling, salted water. They should be only partially cooked and remain firm rather than soft. Drain carrots and add 1 small chopped onion and 1 small chopped green pepper. In a saucepan, mix 1 can tomato soup, ½ cup oil, ¾ cup sugar, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp dry mustard. Pour over vegetables and chill. OR place in oven and heat through and serve hot.

Fried Chicken: Soak one cut up chicken in buttermilk 4-6 hours or overnight. Drain and discard buttermilk. In a bowl, beat together 2 eggs and 1 cup fresh buttermilk. In a flat bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, 2 Tblsp paprika, 1 tsp curry powder. Melt 1.4 cup oil or bacon fat in a heavy skillet. Dip chicken pieces in the batter, then in the flour, then in batter again and again in the flour. Brown in skillet on all sides. Cover and place in 350 oven for 20 minutes. Turn and return to oven, covered for 20 minutes. Remove cover and cook a while longer for coasting to crisp up.

Scalloped Potatoes: Peel and slice 4-5 medium potatoes. Chop 1 small onion. In a saucepan, whisk ½ cup flour into 1 stick melted butter. Whisk in 1 cup milk and ½ cup heavy cream. Stir until thick. In a greased casserole, spread a layer of potato slices and sprinkle with onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour ½ the sauce over potatoes and repeat layers, ending with sauce. Bake, covered in 350 oven 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 1 hour longer, or until potatoes are soft.

Lunch: Oatmeal Pie
Melt ½ cup butter. Cream it with ¼ cup packed brown sugar and 2 eggs. Add ¼ cup light corn syrup, ¼ cup rolled oats and ½ cup walnut pieces. Pour into unbaked 8-inch pie shell and bake for 1 hour until golden.

Supper: Chili Soup

Chili Soup: Brown 2 pounds ground venison (or ground beef) with 1 coarsely chopped onion and 2 chopped jalopenos (optional) in a Dutch oven. Drain, if necessary. Stir in one 28 oz can each diced and crushed tomatoes and one 8 oz. can tomato sauce. Stir in 2 Tblsp each paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, 1 tsp each cocoa and cumin, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt. Simmer 1 hour. Serve with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Save leftovers so you can have chili dogs while you watch Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Steel-cut Oats
Sliced Peaches
Heavy cream

Oatmeal: Cook according to package directions. (You might have to look for steel cut oats at the local health food or whole foods store. It’s worth the effort, even if you have to go out of your way. Very tasty!)
Peel & slice the peaches and keep chilled until serving time.
Pass the cream in a nice creamer.

Dinner: Jell-O Salad
Chicken Fried Steak
Mashed Potatoes
White Gravy
Green Beans

Jell-O Salad (Like Mom used to make)
Drain a can of fruit cocktail, reserving the juice. Dissolve one 3.5 ounce package cherry Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water. Add enough water to fruit cocktail juice to measure one cup and stir into Jell-O. Stir the fruit cocktail in and chill 3 hours.

Chicken Fried Steak: In a flat bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, 1 Tblsp paprika, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper and ¼ tsp garlic powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk and 2 beaten eggs. Pound 4 servings of round steak and sprinkle with tenderizer. Let rest about 5 minutes. Dip each steak into batter, then flour, then back in the batter and again in the flour. Brown both sides in ¾-1 inch melted bacon fat or vegetable oil. Cover and place in 350 oven for 20 minutes. Turn and cook another 10 minutes.

White Gravy: Melt ½ stick butter in saucepan. Stir in ¼ cup flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1 cup chicken stock or broth and ½ cup heavy cream. Stir until thickened and then stir in a generous amount of cracked pepper.

Warm the green beans (canned or frozen) in saucepan and serve hot.

Lunch: Caramel Apples

In top of double boiler, melt one 32 ounce package of caramels. Wash apples thoroughly and insert a stick at the blossom end. Dip apples in caramel and place on sheet of waxed paper. Serve when caramel coating is cooled and set.

Supper: Grilled Brats or Italian Sausage
Eggplant Parmesan
Anadama Bread

Anadama Bread: As soon as the dinner dishes are done, mix ½ cup yellow cornmeal with 1 cup water. Bring 1 cup water to boil and add cornmeal/water mixture to it. Boil, reduce heat and cook and stir until mixture is thick. Add 1 tsp salt, 4 Tblsp butter and ½ cup molasses. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, stir 2 Tblsp (1 package) yeast and 1 tsp sugar into ½ cup warm water. Let stand 10 minutes and stir into tepid cornmeal mixture. Stir in enough sifted flour to make a stiff dough – about 5 cups. Knead for 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until double. (Might take 2 hours) Punch down and divide into two pieces. Shape into nice round loaves and place on greased baking sheet. Cover, let rise until double; 30 minutes. Bake at 350 60 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when thumped. Immediately slather with butter if you want a soft crust.

Eggplant Parmesan: Sauce: Mix one 28 ounce can each diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes, one 8 ounce can tomato paste, 2 cloves mashed roasted garlic, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp thyme and a pinch of basil. Simmer 1 hour. Peel and slice fresh eggplant and cook slices in melted butter or bacon fat until soft. Place in greased casserole and cover with sauce. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Cook in 350 oven 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and broil until cheese is melted.

Cook brats or sausages on grill until well browned and cooked through.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wednesday Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Redneck Eggs Benedict

For each serving: toast one English muffin. Poach two eggs. Place slices of Canadian bacon (lightly fried in skillet, so it’s hot) on two muffin halves. Add a couple slices jalopeno pepper. Top with poached egg. Sprinkle with a shredded good 4-cheese mix and broil until cheeses melts.

Dinner: Parmesan Chicken
Marinated Cucumber & Onion Salad

Marinated Cucumber & Onion Salad (needs chilling time): Peel and slice 1 or 2 cucumbers into a bowl. Add 1 small or medium sliced onion and toss. In a saucepan, boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup cider vinegar and ¼ tsp celery seed. Pour over cukes & onions. Chill until serving time.

Parmesan Chicken: In a bowl, mix ½ cup parmesan cheese, ½ cup each breadcrumbs and Panko, ½ cup melted butter and 1 Tblsp garlic powder. Coat 4-6 boneless chicken breasts with this mixture and place in greased baking dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Lunch: Bread Pudding:

Break up 5-6 slices bread into chunks and spread in a greased casserole. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Beat together 6 eggs, ½ cup sugar and 3 cups half & half. Pour over bread pieces. Let stand 20 minutes. Bake at 325 about 1 hour. Glaze with a thin mixture of powdered sugar, softened butter and a little milk. Serve warm.

Church Night Supper: Mini Pizzas
(Let everyone fix up their own) Set out toasted English muffin halves, prepared, warmed pizza sauce, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, onions, peppers, mushrooms, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and whatever else you like on your pizza. When mini pizzas are assembled as desired, place in 400 degree oven until cheese melts.

Tuesday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: SPAMwiches
Fresh Pineapple Slices

Peel, core and slice the pineapple. Keep chilled until serving time.

SPAMwiches: For each serving: Fry two thin slices of SPAM. Fry one egg over hard, breaking the yolk. Toast two slices wheat bread. Mix 1 Tblsp salad dressing with 1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce. Build the sandwich with the egg on bottom, SPAM slices and dressing. Top with toast and cut in two. Serve hot. You can add a sprinkling of shredded cheese if you want to.

Dinner: Salisbury Steak
Salisbury Steak: In small cup, mix ¼ cup ketchup, 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce, ½ tsp mustard. Set aside. Mix 1 envelope onion soup mix with 2 cups boiling water. Set aside. Using your hands, thoroughly mix 1 pound ground beef with 1 egg, ¼ cup minced onion, ½ cup breadcrumbs. Shape meat into 4-6 oval patties and brown in hot skillet a few minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and set aside. Pour onion soup mix into skillet. Add ketchup mixture. Bring almost to boil Mix 2 tsblsp corn starch with 2 tblsp water and pour into almost boiling soup mixture. Cook and stir until gravy is thick. Put meat patties into gravy and heat through. Serve hot with gravy in a boat.
Mashed Potatoes

Lunch: Two-Tone Cake
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Place 1 yellow cake mix in bowl with 1 cup sour cream, ¾ cup vegetable oil, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp salt, and 4 large eggs. Beat on low 1 minute, scraping sides. Beat 2-3 minutes longer on medium to high speed until batter is thick and smooth, scraping if necessary, Pour half of batter into prepared Bundt pan. Add ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa to batter in bowl and beat until smooth. Spread over batter in Bundt pan. Bake 60-65 minutes until it springs back to t he touch. Cool 20 minutes, remove from pan and drizzle with a thin chocolate glaze of 2 oz melted chocolate, 2 tblsp milk,1 tblsp soft butter and powdered sugar.

Supper: Swedish Meatballs

Mix together 1 ½ pounds ground beef, ¼ cup finely chopped onion, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 egg, 2 tblsp ketchup. Shape into meatballs and brown in 350 oven for 20 minutes. In saucepan, heat 1 cup beef stock or broth. Stir together 2 Tblsp each corn starch and water. Whisk thickener into broth. Stir in 1 cup sour cream, whisking until smooth. Pour over meatballs and heat in oven. Serve over noodles.

Heat peas in saucepan. Serve hot.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Breakfast Quesadillas
Sliced oranges
For each serving: Soft Scramble 1 egg, finely chop 1 Tblsp each onion and green pepper, cook and crumble 2 slices bacon. Slather one side of a flour tortilla with butter. Place it on a hot griddle or skillet, spread egg and other filling ingredients on one half the tortilla. Sprinkle liberally with a good 4-cheese mix. Fold other half over filling and cook until bottom is browned. Turn and brown other side. A little refried bean around the inside edge of the tortilla helps keep it folded while cooking and turning. Serve hot with salsa.

Right after breakfast, start the Ham & Bean soup for supper: Quick soak 1 pound navy beans. Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer 45 minutes. Let stand 2 hours.

Dinner: Pickled Slaw (from Monday)
Yummasetti: Cook 6 cups egg noodles as directed on package or use homemade. Brown 1 ½ pound ground beef with 1 small chopped onion. In a casserole, layer the noodles, ground beef and 1 cup peas. In a bowl, thoroughly mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup with 1 can cream of chicken soup. Spread soup mixture over peas. Dollop ½ cup sour cream by spoonfuls over all and sprinkle with 1 cup plain bread crumbs. Bake, covered 50 minutes at 350. Remove cover, sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Right after dinner, drain and rinse the beans you quick-soaked this morning. In the pot, sauté 1 coarsely chopped onion in 1 Tblsp bacon fat. Add the beans, reserved ham bone OR 2-3 ham hocks. Cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 6-8 hours.

Lunch: Raisin Pudding Cake
Sift together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 tsl baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. Add ½ cup milk, 1 cup raisins, , ½ cup walnuts and mix with spoon. Spread in a greased 9-inch square pan. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup brown sugar with 1 ½ cup boiling water and 1 tblsp butter. Pour over batter but DO NOT STIR. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until cake tests done. Serve warm.

Supper: Ham & Bean Soup
To finish soup: when broth is thick and beans are soft, remove ham bone and get the meat off it. Return meat to pot and heat through. Serve hot with corn bread.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Redneck Yard Art

Not all Rednecks use their current classic automobile restoration project to decorate the front yards. Some of Nelli's neighbors are pretty creative, don't you think?

Thursday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
SAUCE: Melt 1 stick butter in pan. Saute 3 tblsp minced onion in butter. Stir in ½ cup flour and 1 tblsp cumin and whisk until smooth. Whisk in ½ cup milk and ½ cup chicken stock or broth, stir until thick. Soft scramble 10 eggs. For each serving, place 3-4 tblsp scrambled eggs down the center of a flour tortilla, sprinkle with crumbled bacon, Monterey Jack cheese and 2 tblsp sauce. Fold in ends and rollup. Place in lightly greased pan. Make 6-8 enchiladas. Pour remaining sauce over all. Sprinkle with Jack cheese and put in 350 oven until heated through and cheese is melted. (About 15 minutes).

Dinner: Scalloped Potato and Ham
Corn Muffins

Peel and slice 4 medium potatoes, dice up 2 cups of ham from yesterday (save the bone for Ham & Bean soup) and dice one small onion. Make sauce: melt 1 stick butter in pan and stir in ½ cup flour, whisking until smooth. Stir in 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream, stirring until thickened. Place a layer of potatoes into greased 8 x 11 casserole, sprinkle with onions and chunks of ham. Pour ½ the sauce over. Repeat layers, ending with sauce. Bake, tightly covered in 350 oven for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 1 hour.

Corn muffins: Stir together 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup sifted flour, 2 tblsp sugar, 4 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 1 cup milk , ¼ cup oil and 1 egg. Blend well. Pour into 12 paper lined muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes at 400.

Lunch: Banana Bread
Sift 2 cups flour with 1 tsp baking powder. Cream ½ cup soft butter with 1 cup sugar. Dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in 3 tblsp milk. Stir milk into 1 cup mashed bananas. Beat this with the butter-sugar mixture and mix into flour. Bake 50 minutes at 350.

Supper: Porcupines
Squash/Apple bake

Porcupines: Combine 1 ½ lb lean ground beef with 1 egg, 1 can tomato paste, 1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce, 3 tblsp chopped onion, and ¼ cup UNCOOKED rice. Mix with hands and shape into 6-8 large meatballs. Place in 8 inch square pan. Mix 8 oz can tomato sauce with 1 tsp Worcestershire, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tblsp each cider vinegar and brown sugar. Pour sauce over meatballs and bake at 350 for 1 hour. (Can serve over noodles, spaghetti, or mashed potatoes if desired.)

Squash/Apple Bake
Peel and cut 1 butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and fibers. Slice into ¾ inch slices. Peel and core 2 apples and slice into ½ inch rings. Combine ½ cup butter with ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tblsp flour and ½ tsp mace. Arrange squash and apple slices in 8 x 11 pan and pour sauce over. Bake at 350 about 1 hour, until squash is soft.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wednesday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Swedish Pancakes
Beat 4 large eggs. Add 1/3 cup sugar, beat well. Mix 1 ½ cup sifted flour with ½ tsp salt. Stir flour mixture into egg/sugar mixture alternately with 2 cups milk. Slowly incorporate ½ stick melted butter. Batter will be thin. Pour about ¼ cup batter into medium hot skillet and tip skillet so batter forms a nice circle. Cook until top is dull and bottom is lightly browned. Turn and cook a little longer. Remove from pan and spread with thick jam or preserves. Rollup and serve immediately. You can add a dollop of whipped cream or sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want.

Dinner: Ham Roast
Candied Yams
Green Bean Casserole

Choose a nice 3-5 pound bone-in ham roast from a meat market that specializes in smoked meats. Roast at 325 about 4 hours. Let stand about 10 minutes before slicing.

Candied Yams: Roast 4 medium yams on the oven rack alongside the ham about 1 ½ hours until soft, but slightly firm. When cool enough to handle, rub off skins and slice into lightly greased casserole dish. In a saucepan, melt 1 stick butter with ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar, stir until well mixed and smooth. Pour sauce over yams and return to oven for about 15 minutes. (For special occasions, sprinkle with miniature marshmallows and pecan chips.)

Green Bean Casserole: Drain 1 large can green beans. Stir in 1 can cream soup, a little minced onion, ¼ cup shredded cheese and 2 tblsp finely chopped pimento. Pour all into a casserole and bake in the oven 30 minutes. Sprinkle with ½ cup dried onion and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

Lunch: Sliced apples with dip
Dip: Beat together 1 cup packed brown sugar and 1 8 oz. package softened cream cheese.

Church Night Supper: Venison Stew
Cut 4 pounds venison into bite sized cubes. Melt ¼ cup reserved bacon fat or oil in skillet. Brown the venison well. Place meat in crock pot. In the same skillet, sauté 1 lb sliced mushrooms and 1 cup chopped onion. Put in crock pot with meat. Add 1 28 can diced tomatoes, undrained. Pour 8 cups beef stock or broth over all and stir. Cook on high for 3 hours and turn to low for 3 hours. Thicken with ¼ cup water mixed with 2 tblsp corn starch.
Make 1 tube refrigerator biscuits according to package directions.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tuesday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
Bacon or sausage on the side

Scrambled eggs: Use 2 eggs and ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving; Break eggs directly into medium warm skillet. With a wooden spoon, stir almost constantly until they are done as firmly as you want them to be. Remove from heat; sprinkle on cheese, cover and let stand until cheeses is melted. Serve with salsa.

Dinner: California BLT’s
Fried Green Tomatoes

BLT’s: build sandwiches on toast with bacon, lettuce, sliced ripe tomato and sliced avocado. Mayo or salad dressing to taste.

Fried green tomatoes: Slice green tomatoes. Dip slices in batter of 1 cup buttermilk and 2 beaten eggs. Coat with mixture of 1 cup flour mixed with 1 tblsp paprika and ½ tsp garlic powder. Dip again in batter and again in flour. Fry in hot oil until nicely browned on both sides.

Lunch: Apple Cranberry Dumplings: FILLING: Cook 1 cup cranberries with 1 cup water. Drain. Grate peeled and cored apples to make 4 cups (3 or so). Add ½ cup crumbled almonds or pecans or walnuts. Stir fruits and nuts together. Set aside. SYRUP: In a saucepan, combine 2 cups each water and sugar and bring to boil. Stir in ½ cup butter and ½ tsp almond extract. Keep warm. DOUGH: Sift, then measure 2 cups flour. Sift again with 1 tsp salt, 1 tblsp baking powder, 2 tblsp sugar. Cut ½ cup shortening into flour mixture, until it gets mealy. Stir in ¾ cup milk to make a soft dough. Roll it out into an 18 x 12 rectangle. Spread filling on dough and roll up like cinnamon rolls. Using thread, cut into 1-inch thick rolls. Place in greased 9 x 13 pan. Pour hot syrup over and bake at 425 for 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Supper: Reuben Meatball Casserole
Spread 1 16 ounce package country style meatballs in an 8 x 8 pan. Pour 32 oz jar of sauerkraut over meatballs. Sprinkle with 1-2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese and pour 1 can cream of mushroom soup over all. Bake 45 minutes at 350. Serve over noodles or rice.

Monday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Omelet
Sliced Tomato

Omelet: For each serving, beat 1 egg and pour it into an omelet pan, tilting so it spreads out into a nice circle. Sprinkle half with cheese, bacon crumbles, mushrooms, chopped onion & peppers or what ever you like. Cook until the egg starts to look dry, then carefully fold other half the egg over filling and cook another minute or so. Serve hot with sliced tomato and toast.

Dinner: Pickled Slaw (made Sunday night)
Meat Loaf
Corn Fritters
Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes: (Start these first and finish them up while meat loaf is cooking.) Scrub one large potato per serving. Roast in 350 oven for 1 hour until potato is done. Remove from oven and slice a lengthwise cap from each potato. Scoop out insides carefully, leaving a potato skin shell intact. Beat the scooped out potatoes with butter (1 tblsp each serving), milk (2 Tblsp/serving), sour cream (2 Tblsp per serving) and shredded cheese (2 tblsp per serving). Whip it up nice and fluffy and spoon it back into the shells. Sprinkle with more cheese and return to oven for about 15 minutes.

Meat Loaf: Mix 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef with 1 egg, ¼ cup ketchup, 1 tblsp Worcestershire, ¼ cup finely chopped onion and ¾ cup oatmeal. Squish it around with your hands until it’s well-mixed. Place in loaf pan and top with two strips bacon and cover with ketchup. Roast at 350 1 hour.

Corn Fritters: In a large bowl, stir together 2 cans corn, drained; ½ cup each chopped onion and green or red pepper and 1 egg. Set aside. Whisk together until smooth ½ cup flour and 1 cup milk. Stir milk/flour mixture into corn. Drop by heaping tablespoonsful into hot oil in heavy skillet. Brown a few minutes on both sides. Keep warm in oven until all is cooked. CORRECTION on the CORN FRITTERS: Batter mix is 1 cup flour whisked with 1 cup milk. (Sorry).

Lunch: Sis’s Peanut Butter Bars
Heat oven to 350. Cream 1 ½ cups brown sugar with 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter and ½ cup butter flavored shortening. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir together 1 ½ cup sifted flour and 1 ½ tsp baking powder. Add dry mixture to wet mixture alternately with ½ cup milk until all is well mixed. Spread in greased 9 x13 pan and bake 30 minutes. Frost with 1/3 cup peanut butter creamed with 2 tblsp softened butter and enough milk or cream to make spreading consistency.

Supper: Carnitas
Potato Casserole

Carnitas: Pour 1 jar green salsa over 4-5 pound pork loin roast. Sprinkle with chopped onion, 2 cloves minced roasted garlic and 2 chopped jalopenos. Cover with foil and roast at 300 4 ½ hours. Remove and shred with forks. Return to pan and heat through. Serve with flour tortillas or taco shells, guac, salsa, cheese, sour cream and sliced black olives.

Guacamole: Peel, pit and mash 3 ripe avocados. Stir in 1 tblsp finely chopped onion, 1 tblsp lime juice, 1 small diced tomato, 1 mashed clove roasted garlic. Whip with mixer until fluffy.

Potato Casserole: Scrub 3 large or 4 medium potatoes and cut into chunks. In a saucepan, melt ½ stick butter with 1 can cream of chicken soup. Whisk melted butter in until smooth and stir in ½ cup sour cream. In a greased 2 quart casserole, place a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with chopped onion, chopped green chilis and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Pour ½ the sauce over. Repeat layers ending with sauce. Cover and bake at 350 1 – 1 ½ hr until potatoes are soft.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Nelli’s is closed on Saturday and Sunday so Nelli can go horseback riding on Saturday and to church on Sunday. We have a few things to clean up out of the garden before the hard freeze. Here’s some good pickles to make from those cucumbers that got too big for anything else:

Red Hot Candy Pickles: Peel, seed and cut 2 gallons of cucumbers into sticks about 4-5 inches long and ½ inch wide. Mix 1 cup pickling lime with 8 quarts water and pour over pickle sticks in a non-reactive container. Let stand 24 hours. Drain and rinse. Let stand in cold water a few hours. Combine 1 cup cider vinegar, 1 tblsp alum, 1 bottle red food coloring, and enough water to cover pickle sticks in a pot. Simmer 2 hours and drain. Combine 3 cups cider vinegar, 11 cups sugar, 1 bag red hot candies, 3 cups water and ¼ tsp oil of cinnamon. Bring this mixture to boil and pour over sticks. Let stand 24 hours. Reheat brine and pour over sticks. Do this 3 days in a row. On day 3, pack pickle sticks into hot jars, cover with hot brine, secure lids and process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Makes about 10 pints.

Sunday evening: Start tomorrow’s Pickled Slaw: Mix 1 head cabbage, shredded with 1 finely chopped onion. Sprinkle 1 cup sugar over mixture. DO NOT STIR.
Bring 1 cup cider vinegar, ¾ cup oil, 1 tsp dry mustard and 1 tsp celery seed to boil. Pour over cabbage and sugar, but DO NOT STIR. Refrigerate overnight. Stir just before serving. Keeps a long time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Friday's Blue Plate Specials

Breakfast: Buttermilk Waffles
Bacon or sausage

Buttermilk Waffles: Beat 2 eggs. Add 2 cups buttermilk, 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ¼ cup oil. Bake in preheated waffle iron until steaming stops. (3-5 minutes) To add blueberries, sprinkle fresh blueberries over batter after it’s poured into waffle iron. Serve warm with syrup or whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

Dinner: Tossed lettuce salad with choice of dressing
Kentucky Hot Brown
Peaches and Cream

Kentucky Hot Brown: Heat ½ stick butter and ¼ cup flour until bubbly. Whisk in ¾ cup heavy cream and ¼ cup milk. When sauce has thickened, stir in 1 cup grated Swiss cheese. Simmer 15 minutes over very low heat. For each serving: Place 1 thick slice toasted French bread in oven safe dish. Top with 2-3 slices deli roast turkey and thinly sliced tomatoes. Pour sauce over open-faced sandwich. Bake 10 minutes at 400. Garnish with bacon crumbles.
Peaches: For easy peeling, dip peach briefly in boiling water; rub off skin. Cut in half around pit and twist to separate halves and remove pit. Slice into bowl, sprinkle with sugar if desired and pour heavy cream over peaches.

Lunch: Banana Bread
Banana Bread: Sift, then measure 2 cups flour. Add 1 tsp baking powder and sift again. Set aside. Mash very ripe bananas to measure 1 cup. In a separate bowl, cream together ½ cup softened butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat in two eggs. In a small cup, dissolve ½ tsp soda in 3 tblsp milk and add to mashed bananas. Add the banana mixture to the butter/egg/sugar. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Fold in ½ cup nut meats, if desired. Bake in greased loaf pan 50 minutes at 350.

Supper: La Sagne
Chilled Watermelon Wedges - if you have any leftover from Church night.
French bread

(This sauce is pretty much the same as the one we use for spaghetti.) In bowl of crock pot, mix together one 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, one 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, one 8 ounce can tomato paste, 1 tsp each basil and oregano, 2 cloves roasted garlic (see below), mashed and ½ cup sauteed onion. Add ½ pound browned ground beef and ½ pound browned Italian sausage. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Cook 6 lasagne noodles to al dente (yes, rednecks know what “al dente” means). In a 9 x 13 pan, spread half the meat sauce, top with 3 noodles. Stir 1 egg and ½ cup Parmesan cheese into 8 oz Ricotta cheese. Spread half this mixture over the noodles. Spread more meat sauce over the cheeses, reserving a bit for the very top. Put on 3 more noodles and the rest of the cheese. Top with remaining sauce. Bake, covered at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove cover and top with ¾ cup or so of shredded Mozarella cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Roasted garlic: Leave garlic in bunch; remove papery outer leaves. Trim off top until tip of each clove is exposed. Place on a square of foil and drizzle with oil. Roast in 325˚ oven 45 minutes to one hour. When cool enough to handle, separate the cloves and squeeze form bottom end. Cloves will pop out and are ready to eat or use in recipes. Don't forget how to do this. I use this ingredient in a lot of my recipes.

French Bread:
Mix 2 tblsp butter flavored shortening with 1 tsp salt and and 2 tblsp sugar in large bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over; stir until shortening is melted. Add 1 cup cold water. Stir in 2 tbslp (1 package) yeast. Add 2 ½ cups sifted flour and mix until no longer lumpy. Stir in enough remaining flour, 3-5 sifted cups to make a smooth dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Let rise until double – 1 ½ hours or so. Punch down and shape into two long loaves. Make a few diagonal slashes in each loaf. Let rise 1 hour. Bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until loaves sound hollow when thumped. Extra loaf can be frozen for future use.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Thursday's Menus

Breakfast: Cream of Wheat (farina) with sliced bananas
Apple-Cranberry Muffins

Apple Cranberry Muffins: Prepare muffin pans with cupcake papers for 36 muffins. Heat oven to 350. Stir together 5 ¼ cup flour, 6 tblsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt. Set aside. Stir together 3 eggs, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 cup apple sauce, 3 apples, peeled and finely chopped, 1 cup oil, 1 cup cranberries. Stir the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients, stir only until moistened. Fill papers 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

While the muffins are baking, cook cream of wheat according to package directions, using milk for the liquid. Keep the heat down a little to keep it from scorching. Serve with bananas, brown sugar and heavy cream.

Dinner: Polish Sausage and Kraut
Doctored Beans
Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad (Make this first – it needs to chill)
Cook 2 cups dry macaroni according to package directions. While it’s cooking, stir together ½ cup salad dressing, 1 tblsp prepared mustard and 2 tblsp sugar. When macaroni is done cooking, rinse under warm water and return to pan. Drizzle with a tblsp of oil and stir well. Add dressing, ¼ cup chopped onion and ½ cup End of Garden (or any sweet) relish. Optional: add 3 chopped hard boiled eggs. Stir and chill. Stir again just before serving.

Sausage and kraut: Place one 32 oz jar saur kraut in the bottom of a Dutch Oven. Place Polish Sausages on top and push them down into the liquid. Roast in oven at 375 20 -30 minutes until sausages are thoroughly cooked.

Doctored Beans:
To one can pork & beans add 2 tblsp brown sugar, 1 tblsp molasses, 1 tblsp ketchup, 1 tsp Worcestershire and a pinch each of garlic salt and onion salt. Simmer covered on stove while the rest of the stuff is cooking.

Lunch: Deviled Eggs
Apple Cranberry muffins left from breakfast with cream cheese.

Deviled eggs: Bring a saucepan of liberally salted water to boil. Carefully add eggs, one at a time. Boil 10 minutes, Run under cold water to cool. Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Put yolks in a bowl. Add 2 Tblsp mayonnaise, 1 tblsp prepared mustard, 1 tsp cider vinegar. (Depending on the size of your eggs, you may need more or less dressing ingredients.) Beat with electric mixer until fluffy. Spoon filling into egg whites, top each with a sliced green olive or a piece of pimento. Serve chilled.

Thursday Supper: Beef and Noodles
Use left over beef roast from last Friday. Cut into bite size pieces. Melt ½ stick butter in pan. Cook ½ cup chopped onion in butter until limp. Stir in beef pieces and heat through.
Noodles: Mix 3 eggs with a heaping cup of flour until a stiff dough forms. You can start stirring with a wooden spoon, but you’ll probably have to finish with your hands. Knead until smooth. Keep dough covered with a moist cloth while making noodles. We don’t’ use a lot of kitchen gadgets here at Nelli’s, but I do love my pasta maker. Cut off a piece of the noodle dough to equal about ¼ cup. Knead and flatten it twice through the machine at setting #1, twice at #2, twice at #3 and so on down to #5. Then lay it down, coat both side with flour and run it through the noodle cutter. Lay out noodles on a clean towel. When all dough is cut into noodles, bring 1 quart beef broth to boil and add noodles. Cook 15-20 minutes, until noodles are done.
While the noodles cook, make the mashed potatoes.
When the noodles are done, stir the beef/onion mixture into the noodles. Thicken with 2 tblsp corn starch mixed with 2 tblsp water. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Wednesday's Menus

Breakfast: Breakfast Pepper Rings (You really gotta try these)
For each serving, cut a nice fat green pepper crossways into two rings, reserve usable parts of stem end and bottom for another use. Boil rings in salted water for 5 minutes. Place in a greased baking dish and crack an egg into each one. Season egg with salt & pepper to taste. Pour 1 tblsp milk over egg. Cover with 1 tblsp Panko bread crumbs mixed with 1 tblsp melted butter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until set. A little Canadian Bacon on the side is nice.

Dinner: Chili Dogs on buns with Condiment Bar
Oven Fries
Zippy Creamed Corn
Leftover Orange Salad from last Friday

Chili Dogs: Use chili leftover from Cincinnati Five-Way we had last night. Grill or boil hot dogs. Put out plenty of condiments alongside the chili: ketchup, mustards, kraut, finely chopped onions, relishes, chopped jalopeno, etc.

Oven Fries: Scrub potatoes - one per serving. Peel them or not; cook's choice. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with seasoned salt - your favorite (We use Chuck’s X-Tra Touch at Nelli’s). Toss until potatoes are well coated. Place on baking sheet in one layer and roast at 400 for 20 minutes.

Zippy Creamed Corn: Heat 2 cans corn (not cream style) in another pan. Meanwhile, melt 2 tblsp butter in saucepan. Saute ¼ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup coarsely chopped mixture of green and red bell peppers. Cook until onion and pepper are soft. Drain the heated corn and stir the onion/pepper mixture into it. Add ½ cup milk and ½ cup heavy cream and heat almost to boiling. Mix 2 tbslp corn starch with 2 tblsp water and stir to thicken.

Lunch: Sweet Potato Pie
Pastry for 1-crust pie: Cut ½ cup butter flavored shortening into 1 cup flour mixed with ½ tsp salt. When mixture looks like corn meal, add 4 ½ to 5 tblsp cold water and mix until dough forms. Knead a little and then roll out for 9-inch pie.
Filling: Cook enough sweet potatoes to measure 1 ½ cups puree. (About 3 medium – puree measurement does not have to be exact. A little more or a little less is okay.) Add ½ cup sugar, ¼ tsp each ginger and cinnamon, 1 can evaporated milk, 2 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until center is set. Serve with whipped cream.

Wednesday (Church Night) Supper:
Super Sub
Chilled Watermelon Wedges

Super sub: Use one long loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise. On bottom half, lay some nice green Romaine lettuce leaves (washed of course). On top of lettuce, lay deli thin slices roast beef, roast turkey breast, smoked ham, Swiss cheese and Provolone. Add a few julienne strips or thin-sliced rings of green and red pepper and red onion. Put the top half back on and cut crossways into 4 pieces. Pass the condiments: mayo, salad dressing, vinegar/oil, mustards, pickles, etc.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tuesday's Menus

Breakfast: Fried Bread (Some people call it French Toast, but Mom always called it Fried Bread)
Bacon or sausage links, cooked the way you like it.

Fried Bread: Make batter of 2 well-beaten eggs, ½ cup buttermilk, ½ tsp vanilla. Dip slices of Texas toast style bread and fry on hot griddle until each side a browned. Serve with butter and syrup or powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar mixture.

Dinner: Grilled Hamburgers on toasted buns
Cowboy Cabbage
Dr. Pepper Salad
Good assortment of condiments

Dr. Pepper Salad: Right after breakfast, dissolve one 3 ounce package cherry flavored gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1 cup chilled Dr. Pepper and mix well. Stir in one 21 ounce can cherry pie filling and a scant ¼ tsp almond flavoring. Chill until set.

Cowboy Cabbage: Finely shred 1 small to medium head cabbage. Stir in ½ cup finely chopped onion and a little minced garlic. Melt 1 stick butter (or ½ cup reserved bacon fat) in a large skillet. Saute the cabbage-onion mixture until until it all starts to soften. Stir in ½ cup chicken stock or broth. Cover and simmer until well cooked and limp. Stir in ½ - 1 tsp dried jalopeno pepper (optional). Serve hot.

Grilled hamburgers: Use ¼ pound good beef per patty and cook thoroughly over hot coals. Butter the insides of the buns and toast on hot griddle until browned. Pass condiments such as Louisiana hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, dill slices, sweet pickles, Beet Relish and End of Garden Relish.

Lunch: Apple sauce left over from yesterday’s breakfast, chilled. Or Cocoa Applesauce muffins with vanilla ice cream.

Supper: Cincinnati Five-Way Chili
Brown 1 ½ pounds ground beef with 1 chopped onion and ½ tsp minced garlic. Stir in 8 oz tomato sauce, 1 cup water, 2 tblsp cider vinegar, 3 tblsp ketchup. Bring to a low boil. In a cup, measure 1 ½ tblsp each chili powder and paprika, 1 tblsp cocoa, 1 tsp each salt and pepper, 1 crumbled bay leaf, ½ tsp each cumin, turmeric, allspice, marjoram and ¼ tsp each nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, mace, cloves, and cinnamon. Simmer one hour. If it gets too dry, stir in tomato juice. While chili simmers; finely grate 1 pound cheddar cheese, finely chop one onion, warm one 16 oz can kidney beans and cook and drain one pound spaghetti.
To serve; layer on individual plates in this order:
Spaghetti, chili, onion, beans, cheese.
Reserve leftover chili for tomorrow’s chilidogs.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Monday's Menus

Monday needs a good breakfast to get the week off to a good start. Apples are fresh and plentiful this time of year.

Breakfast: Potato Pancakes
Link sausages
Home Made Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce
Peel, core and quarter 6 apples. Place in pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until apples are soft. Remove from heat and using a potato masher, break up the apples into sauce, leaving some chunks if you like. Add brown sugar to taste and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Stir and serve warm with potato pancakes, sausage links and sour cream.

In a small skillet, over medium low heat, brown the sausage links.

Potato Pancakes
Scrub, peel and grate 4 medium potatoes and mix with ½ cup finely chopped onion, 1 egg, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
Drop by ice cream scoops full onto hot griddle. Flatten slightly.
Cook until brown on bottom and turn and brown the other side.

Asparagus Soup
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Relish tray of dill and sweet pickles.

Asparagus Soup
Drain 2 cans asparagus. Bring 1 quart chicken stock or broth to boil. Add asparagus, 1 tblsp minced onion and 1 clove roasted garlic. When onion is tender, puree all in blender or food processor. Return to pan, add ½ cup heavy cream and heat through, but do not boil. Serve hot.

Chicken Salad
Dressing: Mix ½ cup sour cream, ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tblsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp dill weed. Stir dressing into a mixture of 2 cups leftover roast chicken with 5 halved grapes, 1 tblsp minced onion, a few sliced mushrooms. Finely chopped green or red pepper can also be added. Serve with sliced bread for sandwiches, or as a spread for crackers.

Lunch: Cocoa Applesauce Muffins
Preheat oven to 400˚. Prepare muffin tin with papers (makes 12 muffins).
Mix ¼ cup cocoa and ¼ cup oil until smooth. Add ¾ cup applesauce and 1 egg and blend well. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine 1 ¼ cup flour, ¾ cup sugar, ¾ tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp salt and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir into applesauce mixture just until moistened. Fill tins 2/3 full. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and remove to wire rack.

Supper: Roast Beef
Mashed Potatoes

Select a nice 3-4 pound beef chuck roast from a reliable butcher at a meat market. (If you don't know a reliable butcher, spend the rest of today finding one and go out for supper tonight.) Sprinkle all sides with a tenderizer. Rub all over with Kitchen Bouquet. Brown in a little oil in a heavy skillet. Place in Dutch oven or roasting pan. Surround with scrubbed potatoes and peeled carrots. Pour 1-1/2 cup beef broth over all. Roast in 325 oven for 4-5 hours. Remove roast from pan and cover with foil for 10 minutes before slicing. With tongs, separate the potatoes and carrots and mash the potatoes with a little milk and butter. Stir together 1/3 cup water, ¼ tsp Kitchen Bouquet and 2 tblsp corn starch. Bring pan drippings to boil and whisk in corn starch mixture to make gravy.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Friday's Menu

Breakfast: Pancakes
Cook the bacon the way you like it. Keep warm til serving time.
Pancakes: In a 4 or 8 cup bowl with a spout, mix 1 cup flour, 2 tblsp sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp each baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, mix 1 ¼ to 1 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1 egg, 1 tblsp oil. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour batter onto hot griddle, ½ cup or so at a time – depending on the size you like – and bake until top begins to bubble. Turn and finish baking until bottom is nicely brown. Serve warm with bacon, softened butter and syrup. Makes about twelve 4-5 inch pancakes.

Dinner: Creamed Dried Beef on Toast or Biscuits
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Bake 1 tube biscuits, if using, according to directions. Keep warm until serving time.

Peel, cook and mash the potatoes.

Heat canned or frozen green beans in covered pot. Keep warm until serving time.

In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tblsp butter over low to medium heat. Add ½ - ¾ cup chopped onion and cook until limp. Tear or coarsely chop 1 pound dried beef and add to sautéed onion. Stir-fry until beef turns a deep red. Pour in 2 cups milk and heat almost to boiling. While milk is heating, stir together 2 tblsp water with 2 tblsp corn starch. When milk is hot, stir corn starch mixture into it and cook and stir until thick. Serve over hot biscuits.

Lunch: Leftover biscuits, spread with softened cream cheese; add thinly sliced cucumber and sprinkle with dill weed. Add a few crumbles of bacon if there’s any left over from breakfast.

Orange Salad
Roast Chicken and vegetables

Orange Salad (Needs about 4 hours to chill and set):
Dissolve 2 boxes orange Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water. Add 2 cups cold water, one 8-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate (thawed), one 8 oz. can crushed pineapple and 1 or 2 cans mandarin oranges. Mix well and pour into pan to set firmly.
Topping: Beat one 8 oz package cream cheese, softened with ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup sugar. Beat together until smooth and spread on Jell-O when Jell-O is firm.

Roast Chicken & Veg:
Thoroughly rinse 1 whole chicken (fresh, never frozen, is best), inside and out. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with 1 quartered lemon, a tablespoon or so of chopped onion and 2 whole cloves garlic. Rub outside with oil. Place in roasting pan and surround with quartered and scrubbed potatoes, peeled carrots cut into 4-5 inch lengths, or other vegetables scrubbed and cut into desired lengths. Pour 1 cup chicken broth over all. Roast, uncovered in 400 degree oven until chicken joints are loose, juices run clear, and vegetables are soft; 1-1 ½ hour. Carve chicken, discarding bones, and arrange on serving platter, surrounding with vegetables. Keep warm until ready to serve. A garnish of parsley is nice, if company is coming.
Place the roasting pan on stove top burner on low heat. Pour in 1 cup chicken broth and scrape up any bits stuck to the pan (professional chefs call this ‘deglazing.’ They usually use wine. I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.) Serve this warm sauce in a gravy boat alongside the chicken & vegetables.
Pickled beets go well with this.

Weekend: Nelli’s is closed on Saturday and Sunday. However, we darn near had a frost a couple nights ago, so Saturday is probably a good time to clean out the garden and make a batch of End of the Garden Relish.

End of the Garden Relish: Grind together and place in a nonreactive container: 4 onions, 1 medium head cabbage, 12 green peppers, 6 red peppers (or any combination of peppers available),10 green tomatoes. Sprinkle ground vegetables with ½ cup caning salt and let stand overnight. Rinse thoroughly, transfer to large cooking pot and add: 6 cups sugar, 4 cups cider vinegar, 1 Tblsp celery seed, 2 cups water, 1 ½ tsp turmeric. Heat all to boiling and simmer 3 minutes. Fill hot jars, seal and process in water bath 10 minutes. Makes 8 pints. (Two batches is about a year’s supply for a family of 4.)

Here’s how we make our Beet Relish:

Combine 4 cups cooked beets, grated with 4 cups grated cabbage, ½ cup horseradish and 2 tsp canning salt. Bring 2 cups cider vinegar and 1 cup sugar to boil and add to beet/cabbage mixture. Cook over medium heat until cabbage is tender. Pack into hot pint jars and seal. Process 20 minutes in water bath. 5 pints.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thursday Menu

Huevos Rancheros
Slather one side of a flour tortilla with butter and the other side with refried beans (store-bought). Place on hot griddle and heat til buttered side is crisp. Meanwhile, cook two eggs sunny side up. When eggs are done and tortilla is crisp, put tortilla on plate. Top with eggs. Sprinkle with cheese and spread warm salsa to taste over all. This is wonderfully filling and you might not have to stop for dinner. Just work straight on through to lunch.

Dinner: Fried Spam…………… What?
Apple Sauce (store bought)
Home Made Macaroni & Cheese: (Or you can use the stuff in the blue box, but it won’t be as filling.)
Cook 2 cups macaroni according to package directions. Stir in 4 oz cream cheese, ½ stick butter, ¼ cup milk and ½ cup each of as many of your favorite cheeses as you have on hand. Stir until cheeses are melted. Put in casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs, dot with butter and bake at 325 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Lunch: Ginger snaps and apples - well there’s still some left, what’d you expect?

Supper: Salisbury Steak
Mashed potatoes

Salisbury Steak: In small cup, mix ¼ cup ketchup, 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce, ½ tsp mustard. Set aside. Mix 1 envelope onion soup mix with 2 cups boiling water. Set aside. Using your hands, thoroughly mix 1 pound ground beef with 1 egg, ¼ cup minced onion, ½ cup breadcrumbs. Shape meat into 4-6 oval patties and brown in hot skillet a few minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and set aside. Pour onion soup mix into skillet. Add ketchup mixture. Bring almost to boil Mix 2 tsblsp corn starch with 2 tblsp water and pour into almost boiling soup mixture. Cook and stir until gravy is thick. Put meat patties into gravy and heat through. Serve hot with gravy in a boat.

Mashed potatoes: If you need instructions for this, maybe you’d better just use the kind that comes out of a box.

Corn: If you were paying attention back in June, you should have a freezer full of quart bags or a basement full of quart jars of sweet corn. Open one up and heat in a saucepan.

If this don’t fill you up for the night, there’s probably still some Ginger Snaps and ice cream left.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Wednesday's Menu

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal with sliced peaches
Baked Oatmeal: Stir together 1 ½ cup quick cooking oats, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup milk, ¼ cup melted butter, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread in a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. While it’s baking, peel and slice the fresh peaches – or use canned if you like.

Dinner: Specialty Grilled Cheese (I hope you saved some of that French bread from yesterday)
Marinated Cuke & Onion (Needs time to chill)
Vanilla or Chocolate Ice Cream with peaches left over from breakfast, or your favorite syrup topping.

Marinated Cuke & Onion: Peel and slice a couple of cucumbers from the garden. Toss with ½ - 1 thinly sliced onion. In a small saucepan, boil 1 cup cider vinegar with 1 cup sugar and ¼ tsp celery seed (optional). As soon as it boils, pour over the cuke & onion mix. Chill 2 hours. Serve cold.

Specialty Grilled Cheese: For each sandwich, use two thick slices French bread, buttered on one side. On the unbuttered side of one slice bread, place a slice of Provolone cheese, thinly sliced tomato and a sprinkle of dill weed. Cover with the other slice, buttered side out. Toast on hot griddle a few minutes on each side until bread is brown and crsip and cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Lunch: Apples from the orchard over on Highway 91 and Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps: Sift together 4 cups flour, 2 tsp each baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, mace and ginger. Set aside. Cream 1 ½ cup shortening with 2 cups sugar. Beat in 2 eggs and add ½ cup molasses. If you want a soft cookie, put the mixer away now. With a wooden spoon, stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture until stiff dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, roll each ball in sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 9 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t overbake and burn on the bottom. Makes 5 dozen and they freeze well.

Supper: Soup from a mix – Bear Creek, any flavor you choose, tastes best and makes a nice big batch. Serve with saltines, biscuits or muffins leftover from earlier in the week and root beer floats.
Wednesday night is Church Night in Redneckland. Public Schools are not supposed to schedule events on Wednesdays. Youth groups, choir practice after school church programs like AWANA, and Bible Studies meet on Wednesdays. So we need to eat early and don’t want a big mess of dishes to clean up when we get home. (If you’re going to choir practice, just have plain root beer – ice cream clogs up a singer’s throat.)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tuesday's Menus

Rednecks eat big at this time of year. Harvest is underway and we don't have time to be hungry between meals. Skipping breakfast isn't even an option at Nelli's. Some mornings it's smaller than others, but during harvest, it gets big and filling.

Breakfast: Cheese & Bacon grits
Orange slices
Slice the oranges (one per serving) crosswise into rounds. It’s not necessary to peel it fist. The rind is quite edible and good for you! Keep chilled until serving time.
In a sauce pan, cook 3 slices bacon diced and 1 tbslp minced onion until bacon is crisp and onion is limp. Add 2 ¼ cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in ½ cup quick cooking grits. Cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes until thick. Stir in ½ cup cheddar cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Anything made out of squash in the fall will be fresh & delicious!
Dinner: Butternut Squash Bisque
Relish Plate

Muffins: Heat oven to 400. Prepare muffin pan for 12 muffins. (I use papers). Beat 1 egg with ½ cup milk and ¼ cup oil. Set aside. In separate bowl, stir together 1 ½ cup flour, ½ cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder ad ½ tsp salt. Stir the wet ingredients into dry just until moistened. Batter should remain lumpy. Add ¾ cup blueberries if desired. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes. Tops should be golden brown and spring back when touched lightly.

Butternut Squash Bisque: Melt 2 tbslp butter in large saucepan. Add 1 chopped onion and cook until soft. Add 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash, 4 cups chicken stock, 1 ½ cups cubed and peeled potatoes and 1 tsp paprika. *Simmer* until all vegetables are soft – about 30 minutes. Process in blender or food processor until smooth and thick. Return to sauce pan and stir in ¾ cup whipping cream. Heat through but don’t boil. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with saltines.

*While bisque is simmering, assemble relish plate of sweet gherkins, green olives, black olives, baby dills and beet pickles. Make an attractive arrangement of the relishes.

Lunch: Leftover muffins from dinner and orange slices from breakfast.

Supper: Lettuce salad with choice of dressing
Spaghetti w/crockpot sauce
French bread (store bought if you prefer)
In bowl of crock pot, mix together one 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, one 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, one 8 ounce can tomato paste, 1 tsp each basil and oregano, 2 cloves roasted garlic (see below), mashed and ½ cup sauteed onion. Can also add 1 pound browned ground beef or Italian sausage or a mixture of both if meat sauce is desired. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with cooked spaghetti and pass shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Any relish plate leftover from dinner goes good with this.
Roasted garlic: Leave garlic in bunch; remove papery outer leaves. Trim off top until tip of each clove is exposed. Place on a square of foil and drizzle with oil. Roast in 325˚ oven 45 minutes to one hour. When cool enough to handle, separate the cloves and squeeze form bottom end. Cloves will pop out and are ready to eat or use in recipes. Don't forget how to do this. i use this ingredient in a lot of my recipes.

French Bread:

Mix 2 tblsp butter flavored shortening with 1 tsp salt and and 2 tblsp sugar in large bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over; stir until shortening is melted. Add 1 cup cold water. Stir in 2 tbslp (1 package) yeast. Add 2 ½ cups sifted flour and mix until no longer lumpy. Stir in enough remaining flour, 3-5 sifted cups to make a smooth dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Let rise until double – 1 ½ hours or so. Punch down and shape into two long loaves. Make a few diagonal slashes in each loaf. Let rise 1 hour. Bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until loaves sound hollow when thumped. Extra loaf can be frozen for future use.