Sunday, February 15, 2015

We call it Filling!

It's probably a locational thing. Some call it stuffing, some call it dressing. I come from Spring Grove, Pennsylvania of mostly German descent! We call it filling or occasionally stuffing! It doesn't matter if we stuff it into a turkey, it's still filling. Perhaps because it will fill up your belly! I was an adult before I had heard the word "dressing" to describe the side dish that we serve with a home cooked Sunday dinner!

Ours contains some very basic ingredients but it doesn't lack in flavor. Because it represents home, love and happiness, I can't remember when I learned to make this dish. I've just always known how! Is it an Emig or Dinges dish? I don't really know! Maybe it's a Spring Grove country living dish! 

1 loaf of bread
1 stick of butter
1 medium onion
1-2 stalks of celery
2 big pinches of parsley
Salt & pepper
1 egg
Parsley for garnish

I buy a loaf of the most inexpensive sandwich bread available. If it's a new loaf, I'll let the slices sit out to dry a little before tearing the whole loaf into small pieces.  This is a good kiddo or husband project!

Finely chop the onion and celery, equal parts of each. I use a food chopper to get them really small. Add the butter, onion, celery and two large pinches of dried parsley to a sauté pan. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are tender. If the butter cooks away, add a splash of water or chicken stock.

Sprinkle half of the cooked veggie mixture over the torn bread. Mix it together. Add the rest of the veggies and stir to evenly coat the bread.

Spray a 2 quart baking dish with oil to avoid sticking. Add the filling to the dish and bake in a 350* oven for 35-45 minutes. The top should be golden brown! 

You could instead stuff it into a turkey or chicken at this point, but you're on your own! I don't care for it "in the bird" as we call it. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pierogi Soup (with cabbage and sausage)

As promised, I have explored my tastebuds' imagination and invented a Pierogi Soup!  It's really like runny buttery mashed potatoes with cabbage and sausage.  How can that be wrong?  Maybe someday I'll actually make my own pasta but in the meantime, this was pretty awesome.  I used campanella pasta, which looks like baby conch shells.  I have declared this soup the "Best thing I've ever made"!  I won't make you wait...

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 Tbsp Butter (1 stick)

2 Medium Sweet Onions, diced

1 Small Cabbage, diced

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

6 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 Lb Sweet Italian Sausage

1 Carton Chicken Stock

1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Cups dry Campanella pasta
2 Cups Kale, diced

Salt and Pepper

Remove the sausage from the casings.  Smash flat on a baking dish and sprinkle with garlic salt and cayenne pepper.  Bake at 375* for 30 minutes.

Sauté the onions in olive oil and 2-4 Tbsp of butter (adding more if needed) in a medium stock pot until caramelized.  Add the diced cabbage.  Cook for a few minutes.  Add the minced garlic and sauté briefly, it must not burn!  Add the potatoes (I used a few gold and a few red).  Add the chicken stock plus enough water to cover.  Bring to a slow boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the remainder of the butter.  Using a handheld potato masher, slowly mash the potatoes while slowly pouring in the heavy cream.  Leave the soup as chunky as you prefer, I mashed about half of mine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the sausage from the oven and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Add the sausage to the soup.  Add the pasta.  Last but not least, add my favorite soup ingredient...the kale.  Make sure to wash it good.  You don't want any bugs in your heavenly mashed potato soup.  Reduce heat and simmer on low until pasta is soft or you are ready to serve!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Potato Cakes

Most things I think I don't like to eat, if I try again, chances are I'll become obsessed with it!  Kind of like, most things I worry about never happen anyway!

The lesson here?  If at first you don't succeed, try and try again!  Potato cakes are one of those foods.  When I was a kid, I didn't turn my nose up to much.  My parents passed onto me a love of food.  

Even still, I would turn my nose up to potato cakes.  Mashed potatoes mixed with other yummy goodness and fried.  I was young.  I was stupid.  Now, my husband and I get excited about a meal if there's a chance of leftover mash taties because we know there are potato cakes in our future!

Mom gave me the basic recipe.  It's hard to mess these up!  You can add or take away to your preference, the base is always the same.  Leftover mashed potatoes, flour and egg.

2 Cups Leftover Mashed Potatoes
1 Egg
1/2 Medium Onion (diced small)
2 Tbsp (heaping) Flour
Salt and Pepper
Oil for frying

I store my leftover mash taties in a plastic container larger than needed and mix the cakes right in there.     To the cold potatoes, add the egg, onion, flour, big pinch of parsley, salt and pepper.  I've also added garlic powder or ranch seasoning.  The combinations are endless!  A co-worker told me the other day that she adds her leftover corn.  Whatever floats yer boat!

Mix all ingredients.  It should not be runny, it won't hold up while frying.  If it's runny, add more flour.  If it's dry (like cookie dough), you can add a splash of milk.

My parents make these pretty big, about the size of your fist.  I've been making them smaller, bite sized.  It's all about preference.  I think the small ones stay together better and are easier to turn. 

Heat oil in a frying pan.  Drop by spoonfuls into the grease.  Fry to a golden brown before turning.  Continue frying both sides until they are nice and golden brown!  Enjoy another taste of my childhood (that I didn't know I was missing)!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Spaghetti Soup

I grew up eating this soup! It reminds me of my childhood.  It's one of Grandma Emig's recipes that Dad often made.  I know that it makes my big sister Buffy smile too.  I don't make it exactly like Dad. He doesn't add onions, and he adds the hamburger to the liquid after cooking the potatoes and cabbage. Plus, I add beef or chicken stock to EVERYTHING, so I added some beef stock.

I'm a firm believer that cabbage makes everything better. This soup is no exception and never disappoints! Unfortunately I lost my mind this time and took no pictures! Next time I make it, I'll add pics!  Promise!

Lb Ground Beef
½ Medium Onion (Diced)
½ Head of Cabbage (Chopped)
3 Cups Potatoes (Diced)
1 Carton Beef Stock plus Water
1 Qt. Tomato Juice
14.5 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
½ Lb Thin Spaghetti
Salt and Pepper

Sauté the ground beef and onions in a large stock pot, breaking the meat up into bite sized pieces.  Do not fry it brown.  Add the cabbage, potatoes and beef stock.  Refill the stock carton with water and add it to the pot, as many times as it takes to cover the cabbage and potatoes.  Add the tomato products. Simmer until the cabbage and potatoes are tender. Add the spaghetti (broken into smaller sections).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to simmer until the spaghetti is soft (the longer the better).  The sugar is by preference and will depend on how tart the tomato products are.  I don't think Dad adds sugar but I felt it needed some in my last batch!

I hope you enjoy this family favorite as much as we do!

Updated photo!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Unstuffed Stuff Soup

Here we are.  It's been 10 months since my last recipe post!  It's amazing how fast that happens.  I've been a little busy with health issues, but I'm hoping that will all soon be behind me.

My great uncle Stan turned 75 this year!  He was married to my great aunt Ruth.  Stop me if you've heard this before.  She died young, but not before having two amazing daughters who I love.  Uncle Stan has 4 daughters who all held a birthday party for him this weekend.  It was a beautiful day full of family, friends and food!  He was happy!

Food is good.  It elicits comforting memories and helps to form new ones!  Before the lids were off of the crock pots, Stan's grandson Nate had a full plate of kielbasi...the good stuff, the real stuff.  Homemade.  So good, you can't say kielbasa.  It's kielbasi.  I noticed Nate's sister Emily had a pile of them too!  Their mom, my mom's cousin Lorrie, made her famous halupkies, known to most as stuffed cabbage.  They are amazing.
And someone made pierogi casserole.  There was pierogi casserole.  If you've never had a homemade pierogi, you must.  And it was in a casserole.  I'll let you process that...
I must locate this recipe.  Mashed potatoes, dough and fried onions?  If it's wrong, I don't wanna be right!


Why are we here?
Right.  I made something too!  I learned a long time ago from Rachel Ray, you can make almost anything into a soup.  I often envision making casseroles or other difficult dishes into a soup, because I'm lazy, and Rachel Ray is a pioneer.  I have no desire to blanch and stuff a cabbage leaf, but I'll chop it into a pot for soup.  Gasp ~ I should make Pierogi Soup!

Last week I decided to unstuff a pepper instead!  I had some cabbage too, so I unstuffed that.  It was beautiful and colorful.  I shall call this Unstuffed Stuff Soup!  I should mention that my great aunt Grace adds sausage to her stuffed peppers.  I stole that piece from her.  Her stuffed peppers are so amazing.  I have never liked stuffed peppers, until I tried hers!  Now I crave them.  Her stuffed cabbage is pretty banging too.  Not like Lorrie's halupkies because the Lazusky's come from a different county, but both are phenomenal!  I don't know how you all can keep up with this rambling.  I'm losing myself!

Unstuffed Stuff Soup

8 Cups Sweet Peppers (red, yellow, green), approx. 6 large diced
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Sweet Onion diced
2 Cups Cabbage, diced
1 Lb Ground Beef
1 Lb Johnsonville Breakfast Pork Sausage Patties (Original flavor)
1 28 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes (Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil flavor)
2 Cups Rice

Salt and Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp Dried Parsley
¼ Cup Brown Sugar

Mix the ground beef and sausage together, then sauté in a medium stock pot until cooked through.  Add the diced onion and peppers.  Continue to sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the diced cabbage.  Add the tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, garlic powder, parsley and brown sugar to taste.  The amount of brown sugar will depend on the tomatoes and your preference.  I think the salt is important if you choose to add cabbage.  Bring to a slow boil.  Add rice, stirring often until soft.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for at least one hour or in a crock pot for several hours.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Aunt Romaine's Pumpkin Rolls

Many, many years ago, I decided that I'd be ambitious and make a pumpkin roll.  This was before the days of smart phones...and the internet wasn't all it is now.  I needed a recipe.  What to do?  I called Mom.

Mom remembered that Aunt Romaine and Dorty make pumpkin rolls so good that people buy them!  So I called.  Dorty and Romaine rattled off their recipe without hesitation.  They had made so many, they knew it by heart. 

Aunt Romaine said to use fresh pumpkin.  How do I do that?  Next stop, a call to Gramma.  Cut a long neck pumpkin into 4 pieces, she said.  Remove the seeds.  Place in a baking dish with a little water.  Bake until soft at 250 or 300.  I remember like it was yesterday, she said "bake it til it's soft, but not too long, just till it’s soft when you stick it!"  Scoop the pumpkin out of the shell.

I've made so many pumpkin rolls since that day, I can't count!  It is a Thanksgiving tradition, and my Aunt Rosie buys one every year.  No matter how much I protest, she crams that money into my pocket or purse.  I owe Aunt Romaine and Dorty royalties!

Thanksgiving Eve is often a late night, so I've added some shortcuts throughout the years.  If you plan to make several, measure once!  I measure one set of dry ingredients into a bowl, the rest into individual baggies.  As the rolls are finished baking, I can move on to the next more quickly!  Confession:  this year I used canned pumpkin.  They were good, and I don't think anyone knew the difference.  I knew!

3 Eggs                                                     1 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Pumpkin                                       ¾ Cup Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda                                     1 Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Ginger (Optional)
     or Pinch All Spice (this is my change)
Preheat oven to 350*.  Mix all ingredients just until combined.  Spray an edged cookie sheet with cooking spray (I use a Pampered Chef bar pan).  Lay wax paper over cookie sheet, molding to fit.  Spread the batter evenly onto the wax paper.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until just golden brown.  If you make several, the times will shorten as the pan is hotter.  I use two pans, one is going into the oven as another is coming out.

Lift the cake filled waxed paper from the cookie sheet to a flat surface.  Cover with another sheet of waxed paper.  Then cover with a tea towel.  Flip it all over so that the tea towel is on the bottom and the cake is protected on the top and bottom by waxed paper.  Roll it up.  Once cooled, unroll and remove the top waxed paper.  Evenly spread the filling (recipe below).  Re-roll in the same direction.  Wrap in waxed paper.  Keep refrigerated.

Pumpkin Roll Filling 
8 Oz Cream Cheese
1 Cup Confectioners Sugar (10x)
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Container Cool Whip (Thawed)
½ Tsp Vanilla Extract

Place the cream cheese, butter and confectioners sugar into a bowl.  Microwave for 45 seconds.  Stir until all three ingredients are combined.  Add the vanilla and stir.  When ready to frost the Pumpkin Roll, add the cold Cool Whip to the mixture and stir.  Spread the filling evenly over the cake and re-roll.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tomato and Sweet Peppers Gazebo Room Bites

I've shared my love for Gazebo Room Dressing before.  If you missed it, check it,

There's more.  I neglected to mention the obsession I eat several times per week.  All. Summer. Long.

These little beauties are grape tomatoes.  Halved and seeded, just because I'm 12 years old and don't like seeds.  Keep them if you're a grownup!  They're just not my thing.  Actually scooping them out with a strawberry huller makes a yummy little cavern for the Gazebo Room Dressing to nestle into.  See?

Give the Gazebo Room a good shake, all the happy bits sink to the bottom when you're not looking!  You can use Balsamic or Greek, both are wonderful.  Squirt a little all over your tomato caverns. 
Grab a few basil leaves out of your garden.  Please tell me you have basil in your garden!  Rinse the leaves and stack them.  Slice into thin ribbons and sprinkle them about so there's a ribbon or two on each tomato!

Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you like.  I like!
Bake at 350* until the cheese is melted!

Since we have been very successful in our sweet pepper production these last few years, I've adapted this snack to include peppers!  Same deal, halved (or quartered) and seeded.  We pick them young so they'll cook quickly.  Then a squirt of Gazebo Room and some basil ribbons.  The only difference is the cheese.  I prefer a yellow cheese.  Mozzarella just doesn't seem to "go".  I use Monterey Jack.  For some reason I don't use shredded cheese on these, just tear the sliced cheese into small pieces.  I have never claimed to make sense!

p.s. if you're grilling, just toss them on some aluminum foil a few minutes before the rest of your food is ready.  If they're melty, they're ready!