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Tag: Recipes (Page 1 of 2)

Homemade Sausage with Fennel

Pappy on the Penarve is at it again….this time making homemade sausage with fennel….AH…MAZING!!!!!  He has been perfecting this recipe for quite some time, and the end result is worth all of the work.  Let me tell you, there are quite a few steps to the end result…but oh is it worth it!!  That being said, it would be a great idea to purchase quite a bit of meat to work with so you can store some for later!  By doing this, it makes the time spent making this delicious sausage even more worthwhile!

In our recipe a KitchenAid mixer with the meat grinder attachment is used.  I absolutely love my KitchenAid and use it for so many different recipes.  Check out the Black Storm KitchenAid Professional Series Mixer ~ it is a FANTASTIC addition to any kitchen!

There are, of course, other great meat grinder options:

This electric meat grinder gets great reviews…check it out here!

This manual meat grinder has a suction base and gets great reviews…check it out here!

These grinders work for so much more than just making sausage.  I grew up with my mom making homemade ham salad.  We still put in requests for her secret recipe to this day!  Yes, I said secret!  And yes, that recipe will be coming soon so stay tuned!

Back to the Homemade Sausage with Fennel ~

As stated earlier, buy the pork shoulder butt in bulk.  When we find it on sale, we go hog wild….yes, pun intended! 🤣  The savings you will notice will astound you!

What you will need ~

  • The fattest pork shoulder/butt you can find…seriously buy that fatty stuff!
  • Fennel seed – if you are like Brad (Pappy), you will want an abundance of this!
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • Red Wine or cooking wine (we used a nice Cab)
Step 1 ~

Cut the pork shoulder/butt into chunks for grinding and place in a disposable foil pan.

Step 2 ~

Cover the meat with foil and move to the freezer to get to a cold state.  This helps the grinding process go much smoother.  Brad kept it in the freezer for about 1 hour.

Step 3 ~

Grind the meat chunks.

Step 4 ~

Generously season the ground pork shoulder/butt.

Step 5 ~

*After completely blending, make 1 or 2 small patties.  Fry these patties for tasting.  This is an important step before moving on!  This will enable you to decide if it is seasoned to your liking.  If you are preparing meat to store for later use, you will want to be sure you are happy with the flavor.

Step 6 ~

Add additional seasoning if you prefer.  Cover ground meat and place back in freezer for about an hour.

Step 7 ~

Remove from freezer and prepare your mixer for the final prep stage of your homemade sausage with fennel.  *If you don’t have a mixer with sausage stuffer capabilities, you can make it into patties.  We actually prefer to make different types of sausages for various serving options.  When using the sausage stuffer, it is helpful to watch videos first to aid in the process.  I have provided a link from KitchenAid.com right here ~  Use this handy link from KitchenAid to view how to use the sausage stuffer attachment!

If you are making into patties, there are many options on that process.  I prefer rolling the sausage out and using a glass or biscuit cutter to be the best option for more uniform patties.  However, sometimes we just form them with our hands as we did in the picture above.  If you choose to roll out it, there are different methods, I like the method that HappyMoneySaver.com uses here ~  Happy Money Saver describes the rolling out and cutting process in detail here!

 

Freezing Homemade Sausage with Fennel ~

We love the Food Saver Vacuum Sealer for so many freezer foods.  It does such a great job protecting food from air and freezer burn.  It is also ideal for food prep.  You can double so many of your recipes and save half of them for later, making busy nights or lunch time woes a cinch!    Get your own Food Saver Vacuum Sealer here…you will love it!

Like so many kitchen gadgets, you may ask yourself, “Will I really use this?”  From experience, this is one gadget we are very happy to have and we find ourselves using it often.

We will use this sausage for breakfast and dinner ideas.  Our favorite is grilled sausage with peppers and onion served with a side of rice.  However, we will definitely be looking for new fun ideas to use this yummy sausage as well.

 

Meal prep has become widely popular for busy families and lunch preparation.  This homemade sausage with fennel is an ideal recipe for just that!  Not to mention the savings you will see.  For this recipe we bought almost 10 pounds of pork for $9.  Seriously $9!  The amount of sausage links it yields (depending on how big you choose to make each one) is phenomenal!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!  Let us know in the comments below!  Also, follow MimiBlog with the link and you can stay up to date with all the great recipes!

Have a great week!

 

Smoked Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

Several years ago while vacationing down south, I discovered the delicious dish called burnt ends.  I honestly don’t remember what type of meat they were made from, I just remember LOVING them.  Since then, Brad has made several attempts (all of which were delicious!) to recreate the exact dish that I enjoyed so much.  Just recently, we have discovered Smoked Poor Man’s Burnt Ends…and WOW!!!

Burnt ends traditionally are made from beef brisket.  It is indeed a very delicious meal, but is a more expensive cut of meat.  Thankfully, we can still get that AMAZING flavor with chuck roast.  While the cost is less for this cut of meat, the resulting flavor of smoked poor man’s burnt ends is seriously out of this world!!!

Yes folks, Pappy on the Penarve is at it again!  This recipe was a definite WIN!!!  The end result was a very tender piece of beef with a full-bodied and sticky BBQ flavor.  The crispy burnt edges complete the perfect flavor!  You MUST try this recipe…soon!

Steps ~

For this recipe, we used two nice cuts of chuck roast, each weighing about 3 1/2 pounds.  Generously season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper.  Preheat smoker to 275 degrees.  We used hickory chips to smoke the chuck roast.  Place your seasoned meat on the grill and plan on total smoking time to be about 5 hours.

After smoking for 4.25 hours, remove roast from grill and wrap in foil.  Below is a picture of how the meat should “look” when removing it to wrap.

Return to grill and continue smoking an additional 45 minutes.  Remove from grill and let wrapped meat rest for 15-20 minutes.  After resting, hold wrapped meat over disposable foil pan to unwrap, letting the juices flow into the pan.  Set cooked meat on cutting board.  Slice and then cut each roast into 3/4-inch chunks.  Place cut chunks in disposable foil pan.

Mix 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup BBQ sauce in small bowl until thoroughly combined.  Pour BBQ mixture over burnt ends.  Stir meat until completely covered in the BBQ mixture.  Place pan of meat back on grill, uncovered, and smoke for an additional 20 minutes.

Serving Smoked Poor Man’s Burnt Ends ~

As anyone who has tasted Pappy’s recipes knows, everything he makes is made to perfection.  I will say, this recipe is now at the top of my list of favorites.  It is truly finger-licking good.  Therefore, I now have to find the perfect serving platter and accessories, right?  So I have set out on my small business shopping…

This BBQ tray from Etsy will be a perfect fit for this dish (even though the meat is beef 🤣)  This is manly enough for Pappy to use for his grilling yet cute enough for me to use at the table setting.  LOVE!

This Personalized Grill Master Platter would be perfect too!  I LOVE that you can personalize this and it still looks “woodsy.”  This will look perfect with Pappy, The Grill Master…don’t you agree?  What would you personalize it with?

BBQ journal is perfect for logging notes or any changes made while grilling!

I have always believed that cooking and grilling good home cooked meals keeps the family coming back.  What we have discovered is not only do we get to share a lot of time with our grown children over prepared meals, but we have been lucky enough to share many meals with all of their friends as well.  Let’s not forget the gatherings with neighbors too!  Food and drink are the basics for all of the good times!

Don’t forget to add this one to your list of recipes….you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

Caramelized Onions and Provolone Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

It’s December and it’s cold outside so I ask you, “Do you still grill during the winter months?”  We do!  Brad is an avid grill master all…year…long!  I love that he enjoys grilling so much!  However, whether you grill in the cold or you prefer to cook inside when it’s cold, everyone can enjoy this wonderful recipe of caramelized onions and provolone cheese stuffed chicken breasts.

Bone In or Boneless??? ~

We used bone in chicken breasts, however, I believe the process of assembling is easier if you use the boneless chicken breasts.   Brad prefers to grill meats with bone in to enhance the flavor.  I do not disagree.  However, with the robust flavor of the caramelized onions, it will taste just as wonderful using boneless for this recipe.

Begin with preparing the onions.  To create the rich flavor needed, this process will take 30 to 45 minutes.  The full recipe for caramelized onions and provolone cheese stuffed chicken breasts is included below, but I have also included some tips.

Caramelizing Onions ~

Oh how I love the smell of onions cooking.  The wonderful aroma conjures up good memories of family gatherings and food being prepared in the kitchen.  Caramelized onions are so easy to make.  The trick is to cook them slow and on low heat.  You will be rewarded with a robust flavor that enhances the flavor of so many dishes.

Slice the onions thin and set aside.  Heat your skillet with butter or oil.  The amount of oil you will use depends upon the number of onions you are caramelizing.  The general rule is one tablespoon per one medium onion.  Once your oil is heated, add the onions and stir until they are completely coated.  Add a pinch of salt and stir every 3 to 4 minutes.  Add a couple of tablespoons of broth (chicken, beef or vegetable) or water as you are cooking to deglaze the pan and rehydrate the onions.   Continue this process for 30 to 45 minutes, depending upon the amount of browning you prefer.

Many recipes call for a small amount of sugar, however, you do not need to add sugar if you follow the method above.  They will sweeten naturally as they cook.

Preparing Chicken Breasts ~

Cut chicken breasts lengthwise almost completely through to the other side.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, thyme and parsley flakes.  Layer inside of chicken with your choice of cheese, a layer of caramelized onions and top with another layer of cheese.

I prefer to use different cheeses for each layer, creating a an array of flavors, however, it is just as wonderful using the same type of cheese for each layer.  If you are baking the chicken, you can then secure it with toothpicks.  When grilling, Brad prefers to use cooking twine to better hold the stuffed meat together.  This is a grilling must in his book!

Use this link to order twine for cooking:  Stock up on twine for all of your cooking needs here!

Caramelized Onion Broth ~

After you have stuffed the chicken breasts and started the cooking process, place the remaining onions on the stove and add beef broth, extra parsley flakes and thyme.  Cook on low heat until thickened.  When the meat is fully cooked, use this broth to spoon over the top of the chicken.  Of course, take this opportunity to add a little extra cheese on top….both for presentation and to enhance the flavor.

Stuffed chicken breasts are a delicious and appealing recipe when looking for “that special recipe to impress.”  The addition of fragrant and delicious caramelized onions is the perfect choice for a wonderful meal.  There is no doubt that you won’t LOVE these caramelized onions and provolone cheese stuffed chicken breasts!

A Perfect Dessert Pairing ~

Looking for a great dessert recipe to compliment this amazing chicken?  Look no further….this decadent apple strudel recipe pairs wonderfully with your meal.

You can find this amazing recipe in my link here:  Get the recipe for a DELICIOUS apple strudel here!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Making Memories With Christmas Cookies

Christmas traditions are a very important part of the spirit of Christmas!  This year has made us all look back at years past and re-evaluate what truly is important.  It also has urged us to look forward, past 2020, and decide what we wish to carry with us for the coming years.  Spending time with loved ones is something I believe we can all agree is at top of the list.  How amazing is it that a small little cookie, decorated with sprinkles and festive colors can do just that?  Making memories with Christmas cookies is a tradition my mom started with us years ago.

We would sit in our cozy little kitchen at a fold up card table.  There was one gingerbread cookie sheet that was the moldable type.  I can still see my pudgy little fingers molding the soft cookie dough into the form until it was just right.  Mom would pop them in the oven and it didn’t take long for the sweet smell to fill the small kitchen.  Anticipation is what comes to mind!

Bowls of colorful icing would be brought to the table in preparation for the next step.  Once those cookies were done, we got the wonderful job of icing each gingerbread man and woman in an attempt to make the prettiest one.  Corn cob butter brushes were converted to paint brushes for the icing.  My heart still warms as I think back to these sweet memories.

Carrying On The Tradition ~

Fast forward to the 1990’s.  It was now time for me to start making memories with Christmas cookies with my own small children.  The cookie shapes and icing methods have changed a bit, but the family fun remains the same.  We switched to cookie cutters and small kid’s paint brushes for the icing.  (only because the corn cob butter brushes have become next to impossible to find!)

As the years progressed, the kids would each start inviting a couple of friends for the annual Christmas cookie decorating event.  The cookies were made ahead of time, which left the icing fun to them.  Back then we would add extra Christmas festivities to the day with Christmas Bingo and Christmas Scavenger Hunts.  It became a day they looked forward to each year.  Thus the Christmas tradition lives on.

Making Memories With Christmas Cookies~

Fast forward to 2020…the tradition lives on!  We just celebrated Year 15 with the same girls….and my son joins in each year to help with one or two.  These girls are now in their 20’s and 30’s and somehow we all manage to find one day each year for Christmas cookie fun!!!   We have also happily added my precious grandchildren.  Isn’t this what Christmas is all about?  Making memories with those that you hold dear to your heart!

Making memories with Christmas cookies is so much more than just decorating cookies.  It’s sharing stories and laughter while you all create your works of art.  It’s laughing and reminiscing about the year’s past.  It sharing dreams of the future.  It’s watching your children’s friends treat the new kiddos at the table with love.  It’s a whole lot of love wrapped up into one short night!

We have tried different cookie recipes and various icing recipes as well.  We have come to the conclusion that these are our favorites!  In fact, we love them so much that we can’t seem to get the cookies all decorated before we start enjoying our works of art.

Recipes ~

Perfect Printable Roll Out Cookie Recipe – No Need To Chill!

The BEST but oh so easy Cookie Icing Recipe can be printed right here!

Of course, I have to share with you some quick links to get you started on your Christmas cookie adventures.  We have found that we tend to add one or more new shapes each year, however, there are several that tend to be the tried and true favorites.  You have to have a good Santa, Christmas Tree, Reindeer and Candy Cane.  Get Christmas Tree, Reindeer, Santa and Candy Cane cookie cutters in one grouping!

We also have come to love the cute little penguin.  He is so fun to decorate!  You will definitely want to add the penguin cookie cutter to your collection!

Another favorite is the snow globe…this one has created a lot of imagination over the years!  The snow globe cookie cutter is a definite favorite of the whole cookie crew!

It is my biggest wish that each of these girls (and my son) carry this tradition on with their families.  That they too can have their hearts filled with happiness as mine is each year we all gather.  We continue to add new “things”  to our group each year…sometimes its gifts, aprons and ornaments we share with each other and other times it is even better because its a new “crew member.”  And just like that….we continue making memories with Christmas cookies!

Spooky Stuffed Pepper Pumpkins

Have you planned your Halloween night family dinner?  I mean, you still have a couple of days to figure it out, right?  Well, if you are still searching, I have a great idea for you.  Spooky stuffed pepper pumpkins were on our menu last night and wow!  Seriously, the whole family loved them!  And, if that sounds good, let me fill you in on the rest of the kid-friendly Halloween menu!

Kid’s In The Kitchen ~

   

What I love most about this menu is that the kids were able to get involved.  Aprons were thrown on (I think this is pretty important for these recipes I’m about to share) and the fun began!  I should mention, however, that a little prep was done before the kids arrived.  We were packing a lot of stuff into one night so that was a huge help!

Stuffed Pepper Recipe ~

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO PRINTABLE VERSION OF STUFFED PEPPER RECIPE!

As mentioned earlier, some steps were done before the kids arrived.  It is important to get some of the cooking done ahead to make it easier for them to participate!  Otherwise, they will quickly lose  interest.  Here is what I did earlier in the day:

EARLY PREPARATIONS ~
  • Slice tops off of bell peppers
  • Cut jack-o-lantern faces in the peppers
  • Boil peppers
  • Cook meat mixture

The kids were very excited to stuff the peppers, add the cheese on top and find the right bell pepper top to fit on each one.  Finding the tops were somewhat like a puzzle which makes it even more fun!  I then placed them in the oven to start cooking and make room for the snake breadsticks!

SNAKE BREADSTICKS ~

We followed a festive breadstick recipe that we found on Pinterest from Flawlessfood.co.uk.  They give very detailed instructions to make this delightful Halloween side dish.  It is a perfect accompaniment to the spooky stuffed pepper pumpkins.  Follow this link for Snake Breadsticks from Flawless Food!

Our breadsticks did not turn out as professional as the ones  from Flawless Food, however, the kids had a blast making them.  If you prefer a deeper color, please follow their directions and paint the wash on for the last 5 minutes of baking.    This being said, I wanted the kids to be able to complete this step, so to keep any burns from occurring, I had them paint the breadsticks before baking.  They still turned out adorable and the kids were delighted when they came out of the oven.

OREO TRUFFLE BATS ~

Many of us have already discovered this sinful dessert of Oreo truffles.  What is even more amazing is while they are always such a HUGE hit, they are truly so EASY to make.  We went a step further for our Halloween themed dinner and made them into bats.  This was achieved with a little help from One Sweet Appetite.  YOU ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO WANT TO PIN THIS BAT OREO TRUFFLE RECIPE FROM ONE SWEET APPETITE!!

Below you see Addi’s  Oreo truffle bats!  *We have officially lost Max’s attention at this point!  😂 Please note that if you are making these for something other than a Hallowhttps://mimiblog.org/aob6een family dinner, you may want to do these on your own. 😁

She truly had so much fun with every step of this recipe, from crushing the oreos and rolling the dough into balls to adding the finishing touches.  We had bats with different eyes, bats with 1 eye, and bats with 3 eyes.  Much laughter was heard while creating these masterpieces.  Since we had such a packed evening, we tried to concoct our own method of attaching the bat wings.  Next time I will definitely follow the instructions from One Sweet Appetite.

Addi was so perplexed on how we were going to make the bat wings.  I pulled out the wax paper and she started laughing.  “Mimi, we can’t eat paper!”  I then drew bat wings on the wax paper.  My little princess was understandably still confused.  It was when I taught her how to cover the bat wing stencils with melted chocolate that it started to make sense.   She was amazed that we could create our own chocolate images this way.  Once again, follow the link above for more detailed instructions on this fun step!

Needless to say, we had a VERY busy night filled with festive Halloween recipes!  We topped it off with the annual pumpkin carving.  The kids went home with full bellies and carved jack-o-lanterns.  More importantly, we created another fantastic evening of wonderful family memories!

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Fun Halloween Dinner Ideas

It’s very important fill those bellies of your little ghosts and goblins before they head out trick or treating.  However, those kiddos are usually so excited about filling those goodie bags that they would prefer to skip the healthy meal part.  Parents can alleviate this issue  by preparing a spooky dinner to entice them.  Make Halloween fun before the haunting begins by making some of these fun Halloween dinner ideas!

Feet Loaf ~

Do you have a favorite meatloaf recipe your family already loves?  You can still follow that recipe, however, once your ingredients are all mixed up, you will shape the meat into feet.

Shaping the feet:

Shape the feet, bringing the back up to form the top of the ankle.  Then snip small sections to create toes and spread them out a bit to keep them separated while baking.  Hollow out the top of the ankle and place half of an onion in the hollowed area to keep ankle formed.  This also adds extra flavor from the juices of the onion as well.  Cut 10 small sections of onion to create toenails and place one on each toe.  Drizzle some ketchup around the ankle where you have placed the onion.

Bake at 350 for about an hour or until cooked through and browned.

Frankenstein Corn Dogs ~

This simple recipe uses frozen corn dogs.  Make a simple egg wash of 1 egg and 2 Tablespoons of water.  Mix in green food coloring until you get a nice dark green  color.  Cover the entire corn dog with the green egg wash and bake as normal.  Lightly coat the top of the corn dog in honey and then roll in crushed black tortilla chips to create the hair.  Push pretzel pieces in the sides of corndog for arms.  Use candy eyeballs and either black olives or more black tortilla chips to create the mouths.

Make an easy side dish of green beans and corn.  Top with a couple of plastic eyeballs for a spooky finish.

   ⬅Don’t have plastic eyeballs???  These are so realistic and eerie!

Breadstick Spider Bowl ~

Use a loaf of frozen bread dough for this eerie delight.  Follow directions on package to thaw out dough.  Divide the dough into 8 smaller balls, 1 medium sized ball and 1 larger ball.

Roll out the 8 smaller sections of the dough into long breadstick shapes.  Then fold in half to form the legs and place on greased baking sheet.  Let rise according to directions on package.  If you desire, season with garlic powder, grated parmesan cheese, seasoned salt and red paprika.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Using the remaining dough, form 2 balls, one larger one for the body and a smaller one for the head.  Let rise according to directions on package.  If you desire, season as stated above.  Bake according to package directions until they are a light golden brown.

Let legs and body cool.  Place 2 black olives in the head for eyes.  Cut 8 small incisions along the side of the body to anchor the legs.  Cut out a small circle in the body make room for bowl of nacho cheese sauce.

Monsterghetti ~

Make spaghetti as you normally would, with the exception of dying the noodles to the color of your choosing for noodles to soak in.  Once noodles are prepared, place a heaping spoonful on plate, top with meaty spaghetti sauce and 2 olives for the eyes and voila, you have monsterghetti!!!

Festive Halloween Serving Ware ~

Of course, you have to finish off your fun Halloween dinner ideas with a cool serving platter.  There are so many to choose from, whether you want simple or fancy.  Here are some great deals below:

Make the rest of this month fun celebrating Halloween in every way you can.  Make these fun Halloween dinner ideas leading up to Halloween as well as Halloween night!  Make memories with your ghosts and goblins!

Happy Haunting!

 

 

Grilled Caramelized Onion, Apple and Canadian Bacon Flatbread

When it comes to pizza and flatbread, Pappy and I definitely have different opinions on which ingredients make a great pizza.  Traditional toppings are wonderful, but sometimes I like to get adventurous.  Sunday was a perfect day for grilling pizzas with Pappy on the Penarve.  The weather was crisp, the tv was roaring with football games and fun ideas were rolling through our heads of our upcoming creations.  My final outcome was grilled caramelized onion, apple and Canadian bacon flatbread…..AHHHmazing!!!!

The wonderful thing about flatbread pizza is that everyone can create their own masterpiece.  They are just the right size for one…or two if you decide to share.  However, the only one I was sharing my grilled caramelized onion flatbread with was a nice glass of Chardonnay!

THIS RECIPE IS SO VERSATILE!!!

Caramelizing onions is a must for this yummy recipe.  However, you may wish to alter the recipe a bit after you prepare the onions.  Maybe you wish to use only onions and no fruit.  Apples were used in this recipe, but peaches or pears would be just as delicious.  The trick is that whatever you choose to add in, you must cook them over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes to get the caramelizing to take place.

The flavors mixed very well with Canadian bacon, but maybe you prefer no meat….it would still be fantastic!

While the onion mixture is cooking, you will need to prepare your flatbread. Brush it with a thin layer of olive oil then layer fig spread over the top of the oil.  Add the caramelized onion mixture on top of the fig glaze.  Top with fresh spinach or other greens of your choice.  Next will be your choice of cheese.  We prepared this with blue cheese.  Goat cheese, brie or feta would work wonderfully as well.  Lastly, top it off with some toasted walnuts and dried cherries.

IT’S TIME TO GRILL ~

Slide a pizza board or pizza peel under the flatbread to transfer to the grill.  If you do not have a pizza peel, it’s a good idea to add it to your cooking arsenal….once you taste these babies you are definitely going to be making more.  Here is a link to one of my favorites.   I absolutely love this pizza peel with a foldable handle for easy storage!

Once you have transferred the flatbread to the grill, close the cover and grill for 8 to 10 minutes.  Check on it after 5 minutes to decide the correct amount of time for the level of crispiness you prefer.  Then top it off with balsamic glaze….perfection!

KID FRIENDLY~

Now you are looking at me like I am crazy!  Kid friendly you ask?  What child likes blue cheese?  Well, I know there are some kids out there that do eat different cheeses, but if they don’t, substitute mozzarella.  Easy peasy!

The really cool thing about flatbread pizzas, is you can have a small layout of different toppings and let everyone make their own.  Psst…..kids are more apt to eat their dinner when they take part in the process of preparation.  So let them dig in and have fun!!!!

 

Flank Steak With Pappy on the Penarve

The time is here folks!!!  Pappy on the Penarve, with his AMAZING grilling tips and techniques, will be rolling out new recipes on the reg. (lol, do you like my attempt at sound young and hip??  🤣)  We are starting out with a recipe that Pappy has become very famous for among our family and friends.  So read on for this awesome recipe for Flank Steak with Pappy on the Penarve.

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Veggie Filled Stuffed Peppers

As a child, when I would ask, “What’s for dinner mom?”  and I would receive the answer, “stuffed peppers,” I was a happy girl.  Stuffed bell peppers were considered a “comfort food” in my household.  (Although mom referred to bell peppers used any other way as mangos…did anyone else’s parents call them mangos??   I think it is a definite Midwest thing.)   My mom made them quite regularly following the traditional recipe with ground beef and tomatoes.

However, in our household now, Pappy usually prepares the meat on the grill while I cook side dishes to complement.

This past weekend, I wanted to create something new.  Something different.  Something fun!  This is what I came up with and they were delicious!

Veggie Filled Stuffed Peppers~

Dice all of your vegetables.  You are going to want to dice them pretty small.

Sautee your vegetables in olive oil.  Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Add your chopped spinach in and cook until wilted.

Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.

While both of these are cooking, slice your bell peppers in half and remove the seeds

Place the bell pepper halves on a foil lined cooking sheet (I did not line my cooking sheet with foil and regretted it).   Add one slice of monterey jack cheese to the bottom of each pepper.

Add cooked veggies and rice together in mixing bowl.  Add shredded parmesan cheese and mix well.

Fill each pepper with the vegetable and cheese mixture.  Top with shaved parmesan.

Cook at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until browned.

Definitely a different twist on the traditional bell peppers, however, still a “comfort” food!  Enjoy!

 

 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake – Family Recipe

 

I am sharing with you our family recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  It’s not much different than many recipes I have seen over the years.  However, there are a couple of different ingredients that make this cake FANTASTIC!  Seriously, loved by everyone who eats it!  My own son always states, “How is it that I don’t really care for pineapple, yet I LOVE this cake?!”

Step by Step Instructions~With pictures:

The directions in recipe format are included below, but I wanted to share step by step pictures.  I think making a pineapple upside down cake for the first time (or if you don’t make it very often) can be a very intimidating recipe.  It actually is much easier than most people think!

Start out preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Put a stick of butter in your 9 X 13 pan.  Put in oven (you can do this while preheating) to melt.

While the butter is melting, I open the can of pineapple slices and strain over a bowl to reserve the juice for later.  Let that sit while you are completing the next steps so it has time to drain sufficiently.

When the butter is completely melted, remove it from the oven.

Next, pour the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter.  The recipe calls for about 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar.  I play with this a little.  I tend to use a bit more to make a thicker topping.

                                                                                                       

Now you will add the pineapple slices on top of the brown sugar mixture.  If you want the cake to look more uniform, I would suggest using six pineapple slices.  When making it just for my family I go ahead and cut the other slices in half to add them to the cake as well (this just doesn’t look as pretty if you do this, but gives your more pineapple.)

After placing the pineapple rings on the mixture, open the can of crushed pineapples and strain them over the same bowl.  Once again, you are reserving this juice for later in the recipe.

While the crushed pineapple is draining, you will want to place cherries in the middle of the rings.  ***Remember to place the cherries upside down so that when you turn the cake over it will look prettier to see the tops of the cherries.

Now it is time to add the crushed pineapple in all of the areas that are still exposed with the brown sugar and butter mixture.

Next you will blend the cake mix.  (you can start this step earlier if you wish to have it blending while you are working on the topping.  This will just depend on what method you use for mixing.)  When I first started making this recipe (which was handed down by mom–which was handed down by her mom….you get the picture), I did not have a mixer.  Thus, when I first began I followed the recipe directions in this order.

I use a yellow cake mix.  You can make it from scratch, but seriously, you do not need to.  If you follow these next steps, you will have a very moist cake that tastes delicious!

Follow the instructions on the back of the cake box  ***EXCEPT***, substitute the reserved pineapple juice in place of the water.  I laugh at this point, because my first time making pineapple upside down cake was a disaster.  My mother told me to substitute the pineapple juice … so I did.  However, I substituted it for the oil….not a good turnout!   You still need oil!!!

                                                                             

After blending according to the directions on the box, you will layer the cake mix over the topping mixture.

Once you have poured all of the cake batter over the topping, you will bake at 350 degrees for 35-50 minutes.  I understand that this is a very large amount of a time gap for baking.  I initially set the timer for 35 minutes.  This cake always takes longer than a simple cake mix.  I then check it at 35 minutes (with the toothpick test) and then reset the timer at 5 minute intervals.  PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO SET YOUR TIME EACH TIME YOU RESET!  You have put a lot of work into this cake, so be careful to continue setting the timer.

Once the cake is done baking, remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.  While it is cooling, you need to get a long cake plate, cookie sheet or large tray in which to invert the cake on.  In my example today, I covered mine in foil, as I was traveling with it and wanted to be able to secure it well for travel.  I prefer to not use a foil liner as it is not as pretty.

When you are ready to turn the cake over, place your large tray over the top of the cake.

Carefully turn the cake over, while holding on to the tray underneath to flip.

 

Next, you will carefully lift the cake dish from the top of the cake  You may need to let it sit for a minute for all of the topping to drop from the cake pan to the serving dish.  I then use a butter knife to place gently under one edge of the cake pan to help lift the cake pan up and away from the cake.

                                         

And there you have it!!!  A wonderful cake that has been a family favorite for years.  It even makes it onto the birthday list many times!

Once you have tried this recipe, let me know how yours turns out!

 

 

 

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