Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cheese Stuffed Shells

Here is a tasty variation on my recipe for Stuffed Manicotti.
Cook Large Shell pasta (25)
or 14 pieces of Manicotti
about 10 minutes in boiling salted water.
Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl mix;
1 15oz. tub Ricotta Cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan Cheese
2 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Large Egg, beaten
2 T. chopped fresh parsley (I didn't have any today)

You can use
3 C. Spaghetti Sauce
or "doctor" it up like I do; here's how.
In a pan, fry 1 lb. ground beef
(I use ground venison because Gentleman Farmer hunts and that's what we have in the freezer.)
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
When browned, add your favorite jar sauce and 2 T. brown sugar
Simmer for a bit.
Spread thin layer of sauce on bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.
(I used a round one ~ I rarely follow the rules!)
Fill shell pasta with cheese mixture and nestle into sauce in dish.
Filling pasta can be messy, but I use my handy small ice cream/cookie dough scoop.
Makes filling go fast.
Manicotti, on the other hand, is always a challenge. I fill a heavy duty zip lock bag with cheese and snip off a corner. Squeeze into Manicotti. Makes filling the tubes easier!

Top with remaining sauce.
Cover with foil and bake 375* for 35 minutes
(Because I'm a little O.C.D. - see post at The Parables - I don't want foil to come into contact with my food so I always cover with parchment before using foil.)

This can be topped with more shredded cheese of your choice. I chose not to use any because we don't need it.
Serve with a nice salad and a vegetable and garlic bread!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bread in a Flower Pot!

Country White Bread in a Flower Pot!
3 T. yeast
2 C. warm water (110* - 115*)
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. Sea Salt
1/4 C. powdered milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 C. vegetable oil
6-7 cups bread flour
Dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, salt, eggs and oil.
Add in yeast/water and 3 cups of the flour and powdered milk.
Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough.
(I added 1 cup White Whole Wheat as part of the flour.)
turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise until double~about 1 hour.
(I preheat my oven to 200* and then turn off and let dough rise in there.)
Punch down dough. Divide in half and shape into loaves if using regular loaf pans (greased) or
fill well seasoned terra cotta pots 1/2 full.
NOTE: Use only unglazed terra cotta pots to avoid lead poisoning!
Also, regular pots need to be seasoned with oil in a warm oven.
I cut waxed paper to fit in my large pot just to make sure it wouldn't stick. (greased)
You can check the internet for directions for baking in terra cotta pots.
(My pots were made for baking in. But I got them so long ago, I can't remember where.)
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, again about 1 hour.
Bake at 375* for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from pans/pots to cool on wire rack.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Farmhouse Calico Beans

Tonight just seemed like a 'Bean Night'. Gentleman Farmer agreed.
Here's the recipe.
In a deep pot, brown 1 lb. Hamburger (ground turkey, or 1 cup. cubed ham can be subtituted. Tonight, I used ground venison breakfast sausage.)
along with 4 strips bacon and 1/2 large onion, chopped.

When meat is cooked through, add
1 can pork and beans ( I used Bushe's Maple Cured Bacon)
1 can kidney beans, with liquid
1 can black beans, with liquid
1 can Butter beans (or any white bean you prefer)
1/2 C. ketchup (I use 1 can stewed tomatoes)
1/3 C. brown sugar
2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 t. dry mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Stir and simmer about 1 hour.
Be careful, this will scorch on the bottom if not stirred now and then.

Serve with piping hot buttered corn bread. Enjoy!

This will be even better the next night!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pasta and Cheese

Greenhouse Pasta and Cheese

(I don't use a recipe with this, just add stuff 'til it's right, the way Gram did. So I'm making some estimates here.)

I love all the many different pasta shapes; pretty much anything you like will work ~ macaroni, fusilli, penne like I used today...

Cook your pasta according to the package directions.

In another saucepan, melt about 4 tablespoons of butter and stir in about 4 tablespoons of flour. Make a roux (paste, another thing from Gram). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in about 4 cups of milk ~ we like whole. =) Then start adding your cheese. We use whatever cheese is hanging out in the fridge, so tonight it was some tangy Mexican queso and some shredded cheddar. Mr. Browning likes the sauce thinner, so maybe 2 cups of cheese altogether. Save some to sprinkle on the top when you pour the sauce over the pasta.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350* until it's bubbling and thickened and you just can't stand it any longer! Dig in!

I've heard of an infinite number of things to add like bacon, chives, bread crumbs...egg (if you're like our favorite president Reagan.) The possibilities are endless. Toss in whatever sounds good to you at the moment.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Peanut butter cookies with a twist

I started mixing up a batch of peanut butter cookies a few days ago and then realized that I had plum run out of vanilla. I searched through my spice drawer and found some almond extract; would that work as a substitute? I took the risk and now this recipe is a weekly request. My husband (who doesn't expound normally) said that they are the best cookies he's ever eaten! My heart swells.

Go try them out!

Greenhouse Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter (do you like crunchy or creamy?)

1/2 cup sugar (go with the real stuff here, no faux)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg (guess which egg we used today)

drum roll, please...1/4 teaspoon almond extract (this stuff is strong!)

1 1/4 cup flour

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the sugars, soda, and the baking powder. Beat in the egg and almond extract. Stir in the flour. Shape dough into 1 inch balls; make cross~marks with the tines of a fork. Bake for about 7 minutes at 375*. A baking stone makes great cookies, if you have one!

~I revised a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book~

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Curry Turkey Meatballs

Sometimes I just crave curry! I only have two recipes with curry and this is one of my favorites! ;~}
In a large bowl, mix
1 pound ground turkey
1 large egg
1/4 c. dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
until well blended.
I use my (very clean) hands, just like Grandma used to do.
Shape into small balls

I double these ingredients and use half for turkey loaves
(makes great sandwiches).
In a frying pan, over medium heat, stir
1 c. chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tablespoon oil
until onion is soft, about 5 minutes
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
(more if you like things hotter)
Stir about 1 minute until spices are fragrant.
3 c. chicken broth
and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Drop meatballs into boiling broth.
Cover and simmer over low heat until center is no longer pink,
about 8-10 minutes.
In a small bowl or measuring cup
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 c. chicken broth
Add to pan, stirring until sauce boils.
Salt to taste.

Serve over steaming hot rice!

I have served these on toothpicks as appetizers with great response.
I hope you enjoy them, too!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Starting with the basics

What better recipe to start off with than everybody's favorite
Chocolate Chip Cookies!
This particular version is the favorite here at The Farm.
Soft, chewy and milk chocolatey good!
Begin by preheating the oven to 350*
In a small bowl, combine
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
with a wire whisk.
Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer
or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter (the real thing)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
until creamy about 3-5 minutes (I never used to think this mattered. They are only cookies, right? Take the extra couple of minutes to get this creamy ~ it does make a difference.)
Beat in
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Gradually stir in flour mixture (I do this part by hand with a wooden spoon)
Stir in
6 oz. Milk Chocolate Chips
(Note: As far as I am concerned, this recipe is finished! I eat the cookie dough raw! You may prefer to continue on ....
and drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Again, I use a small scoop and bake on a Pampered Chef
Bake 8 - 10 minutes.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely
or whenever cool enough to get from fingers to mouth! :~P

Enjoy with a friend and a cold glass of milk!

This recipe only makes 1 1/2 - 2 doz. cookies. I like to double it and freeze half
in wax paper rolls for just baked cookies on a whim. Actually, these take no time to mix up, but frozen, they are nice to give to busy mommies to fix for cookie hungry daddies and kiddies!