Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cauliflower Ham Bake

This is from Better Homes and Gardens 
ALL-Time Favorite Casserole recipes (1977)

1 large head cauliflower
2 T butter or margarine
2 T all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 4oz can mushrooms stems & pieces, drained
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 T butter or margarine melted

Break cauliflower into flowerets (should have about 5 cups); cook in boiling salted water till tender,
about 10 mins. Drain thoroughly, set aside.

In saucepan melt 2 T butter or margarine. Stir in flour; add milk all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Add cheese and stir till melted. Stir in cookedcauliflower, ham, and mushrooms. Turn into 2 qt casserole. Combine crumbs and melted butter; sprinkle over top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 till heated through, 30-35 mins.

Makes 6 servings

This is tonight's adventure. We've had this several times. One of the family's favorites!! The only "MIS" in this adventure would be the size casserole dish they say to turn it into. I use a 2.5qt dish and be sure to mix the ingredients before turning it into the dish.  Also, Frequently I just sprinkle the bread crumbs on top (not mixing with butter...) or skip the crumbs on top altogether. They've never missed them and it's a few less fat and calories that I don't need.  (((HUGS)))   ;D

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ham and Broccoli Bake MMMmmm...

Last night was Ham and Broccoli Bake with salad left from the night before. ;p   I HAVE made this before and we LOVE it! I've also made variations of it when I didn't have ham and not enough broccoli. So that the great thing about many casseroles... You can substitute ingredients and it still comes out YUMMY! On that occasion I used lean ground beef in place of the ham and broccoli and cauliflower for the veges.   ;D

This recipe is in the Casseroles for a Crowd section of the Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Casserole recipes. This will make 2 large casseroles to serve 20. I, however, have to do things my own way. YOU CAN 1/2 the recipe and only make one. BUT I figure if I'm going to the work of putting it ALL together... make the WHOLE SHEBANG and get use out of it other nights!    =D 


Ham and Broccoli Bake for a Crowd (BH&G)
2  20oz packages frozen cut broccoli *(or FRESH)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2  10 3/4 oz cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
2  10 3/4 oz cans condensed cream of celery soup
2 soup cans milk
2 cups shredded sharp American cheese *(cheddar)
6 cups cubed fully cooked ham
4 cups quick-cooking rice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Cook broccoli till tender; drain well. In saucepan cook onion in butter till tender but not brown.

In a large mixing bowl stir together soups, milk, and cheese. Add drained broccoli, cooked onion ham, uncooked rice, and Worcestershire sauce; mix well. Divide mixture between two 2 1/2 qt casseroles.

Bake, covered at 350 till rice is done, 45-50 minutes.
* my adjustments 
I actually cooked it uncovered and it was still GREAT!  ;D

Makes 20 servings


In all honesty... divide into whatever SIZE works for YOUR needs!! Pyrex has some great dishes with lids that go nicely in the freezer. I happened to divide this one into 2 baking dishes and a small Pyrex container that I'll be bringing to a sweet lady that will be coming home from rehab following knee surgery soon. So our family gets 2 meals and one for her, too! If you were just a couple, you could divide it up into several! Follow the cooking directions for the one you're going to eat only.

FREEZING:  Make sure the dish you are using to freeze in will seal properly and that there is enough room at the top for expansion. Plan to use within 2-3 months for best results. When you are going to cook it, let it thaw completely and then bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes (until rice is done).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easy Cassoulet, served with Tossed Salad & Cornbread Muffins

We won't talk about the corn-dogs on Monday...  ;p  *sigh*

SO... TODAY was an adventure in the kitchen. 

Easy Cassoulet
1/2 lb bulk pork sausage
1 small onion, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
* small can mushrooms
1 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
2 Tablespoons snipped parsley
1 bay leaf
2 15-oz cans navy beans [UNDRAINED]
     *(If you missed this, add another 1/2 cup apple juice and  1/4 cup water)
1/4 cup dry white wine *[apple juice]
Dash ground cloves
* mozzerella cheese

In skillet cook sausage, onion, *(mushrooms) and garlic till meat is lightly browned and onion is tender; drain off fat. Add  ham parsley, and bay leaf; Mix well. Stir in UNDRAINED beans, wine *(apple juice), and cloves. Turn into casserole dish. Bake, covered at 325 for 45 minutes. Uncover, *[This is when I removed the bay leaf, stirred, and topped with mozzarella cheese]  and bake 40-45 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. 

Makes 6 servings

*my adjustments

So I messed up a little with the ORIGINAL recipe of the cassoulet. Yep, first time making this one. Maybe I should pay more attention to the recipe steps BEFORE DOING!  So I learned a while back... when I was trying to eat healthier... to RINSE beans before using them to reduce all the sodium. So I glance at the next item on the list and proceed. THEN I SEE it!! "Stir in UNDRAINED BEANS" GAH! Why couldn't it state UNDRAINED in the ingredients list? Mind you, the recipe calls for WHITE WINE... I substitute Apple juice in this circumstance.  ;p  So I added extra apple juice and a bit of water to replace the liquid.  I also used White Northern Beans instead of Navy Beans... They're pretty interchangeable... Right? ;D  Now I'm ALL about making minor adjustments to my liking... Well, we LIKE mushrooms & CHEESE! [I'm NOT being good right now... So YES! CHEESE! ;p ]  I added a small can of mushrooms and when it was time to remove the lid, I removed bay leaf THEN, stirred topped it with mozzarella cheese. 

I DO have a question about technique!!! After cooking the pork sausage, onion & garlic, the recipe says "Add ham, parsley, and bay leaf; mix well. Stir in UNDRAINED beans, wine (substituted apple juice), and cloves...  Turn into casserole dish... bake covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 40-45 minutes... stirring occasionally..."

SO... HOW do you MIX well... STIR in more stuff... bake... STIR OCCASIONALLY then REMOVE the BAY LEAF???? So I lightly stirred in the leaf after everything was mixed together before baking. I covered the dish then removed it, stirred and topped with mozzarella and returned it to the oven for the final baking time.

I chopped up some veges and made a tossed salad (Yeah... I didn't use the HEALTHIER lettuce...) and cornbread to serve with it. We had apple juice to drink with it and hubby and I agree that it TOTALLY enhanced it!! Even though I had some mishaps in the process, it was DELICIOUS!! 11 yr old and hubby thoroughly enjoyed it.  YAY!! So, 12 year old refused to even try it "I don't LIKE BEANS!"... I managed to get him to take a bite before all was said and done and he had a sheepish grin and admitted it was good.  STINKER!  ;p
I'll call tonight's adventure a "Blundering SUCCESS" HAH!!  =D

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm no Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, Julia Child...

So my adventures in the kitchen have been somewhat sporadic. I went through a depression for quite a while and hardly COOKED at ALL. It was so frustrating trying to please everyone and get the whiny complaints. Do YOU ever get to the point that you feel like, "WHY BOTHER??" Well, I got to that point several times... and then proceeded NOT to BOTHER! *sigh* I'm NOT saying that's a good thing. And thank goodness for the family, hubby stepped up to the plate. (He's a VERY PATIENT MAN!) Yes, there was still complaints, but they didn't STARVE!!

OK, so it wasn't quite that cut and dried of a situation. It started when I was working 24-7 on my modest dress shop in CA. It took EVERYTHING out of me! It's a common thing for bipolar... However, I DID NOT KNOW that about me back then. HUBBY surely would have held me back if he'd realized how overboard I could go. I'd have probably let him if I was aware, or even restrained myself somewhat... I was frequently staying late for customers, then having to steam gowns and clean before coming home, then working on the images, ads, & books through the nights. Sleeping a few hours before starting it all over again. Most people really have NO IDEA how much of my heart, sweat, and soul I put into that place. Leaving it and moving back to UT was HARD! ...and yet, such a blessing. Later, having the people I sold it to default on the loan we carried for them without warning and WALKING AWAY from it TRULY BROKE my heart! *sniff*

Since moving, hubby and I took turns with dinner, winged it, ordered out, and occasionally worked at it together. Sometimes the boys would even get involved with a little persuasion. A little over a year ago, I practically quit! I was working hard trying to eat healthier and they didn't want what I needed. It became a couple times a week thing instead of the norm. I have to admit, Hubby  has gotten pretty darn good! ;D  Well he got me some Corelle & Pyrex dishes I wanted. (Of course he made the joke if they were for further cluttering the cabinets or for HIM?  ;p  Ha ha ha...) I searched for my long time favorite cookbook. The one that my mom gave me when I moved out. The one that I've tried to replace because it's so unsightly and abused now... but it's out of print.  :`(   The vintage site had it for $35!! ??? I'll stick with my mutilated book, thanks... it still works... just embarrassing. LOL! ;p I loved that book since childhood!!

So one of my New  Year's resolution was to get back on track cooking better for my family. I've done it... for the most part, but occasionally start to slip again. I thought if I had this to report things to, maybe I'd stay on task BETTER... 

My daughter-in-law, who IS AMAZING in the kitchen... made me a book of some of her favorites. I've made a lot of those recipes and they've all been great so far! She typed them out and organized them in a binder and put pictures of her and their 2 adorable kids cooking together in the kitchen. Yeah, that was Christmas 2008! I had made a few of the recipes and FEW times last year... but remember? I was on a mini strike! So I've done even MORE now! YUMMERS!! ;p

Now that I have those AMAZING dishes (yeah... I got some things from Pampered Chef, too... How SPOILED am I??? He must have thought it would be worth it if it got me in the kitchen again...) I am doing a LOT of casseroles! I had pulled out all these old recipe books and there was one I came across that had belonged to hubby's first wife & mother of his first 6 children... she passed away from brain cancer...  :`(   It's Better Homes and Gardens ALL-TIME FAVORITE Casseroles Recipes. So... WHAT'S the DEAL that people don't LOVE casseroles, anymore??? We LOVE them!!

So now you know my FAVORITE books for recipes so far... I also get a LOT online! I will share those sites on the sidebar.  ;D  I guess the ADVENTURE of SHARING begins!! Perhaps I'll even start taking some pictures. Mind you, we do NOT set the table with fine china a crystal goblets... We RARELY even MATCH! If we do, it MUST be a SPECIAL occasion. OH NO!! We are simple folk! =D