Easy Apple Cake

So, the boys are at another house for their football worship.  Yay!!!!  But my husband begged me to pleasepleaseplease fix something he could take because the lady of that house is not known for her hospitality.  Big screen TV and lots of places to sit and be comfy, but that’s it.

I fixed the sausage balls I have earlier posted under football food and this apple cake.  Again, it is Saturday.  It is Keep it simple and easy day.  It uses a boxed mix and canned pie filling – the only time I use those items are for this cake.  The recipe was given to my grandma Ninny and it has been eaten many times, through the years.  Moist, spicy, easy, good snack cake, excellent gamer food or to take to munch on when you go Autumn Leaf Watching…a keeper.

どうぞめしあがれ  douzo meshiagare y’all!

Easy Apple Cake
1 box spice cake mix
1 21 oz. can apple pie filling
2 eggs or, equivalent in egg substitute
3 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat eggs well. Add apple pie mix and stir. Add spice cake mix and nuts and gently stir until well mixed. In 9×13 greased baking dish, spoon in half of mixture. Top with half of sugar/cinnamon mixture. Spoon rest of cake mixture over and then top with rest of sugar/cinnamon. Bake for 32 – 40 minutes, until done – a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cook and cut into squares. if you like, you can mix up a bit of frosting made with confectioner’s sugar, butter, and cinnamon and drizzle on top. Good, but not needed.

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Miso Soup – 味噌汁 – Japanese Soul Food

 Miso soup is truly Japanese soul food.  it is eaten any time of day, any season of the year.  It can be delicate and simple or, hearty, as you choose.  To it can be added meats, vegetables, seafood, tofu. It is up to you.

I make a vegetable version which I have listed below. You can use dashi in place of the water.  Dashi is easy to make.  Four cups of water and two handfuls (four small packs) of dried bonita flakes. Add the bonita to the boiling water and simmer for about three minutes. Strain. Some people add some shredded kombu (dried seaweed). The taste will be different with either just water or with dashi.

There are different kinds of miso paste. I prefer the white (shiromiso) to the red (akamiso) or mixed (awase). You can also purchase miso granules or even, dashi granules. Be aware that sometimes, these “instant” varieties can be high in sodium and/or contain MSG.  Ingredients can usually be purchased at any Asian food store or even, in regular groceries.

Ingredients added to miso soup tend to be seasonal. Usually, you have heavier ingredients that sink, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, tofu, meat and an ingredient that floats – sliced scallions, mushrooms, seaweed, slivered kale, etc. My favorite is with potatoes and onions but I also like the version below with tofu and scallions.

Simmer your veggies or meat in the dashi/broth and remove from the heat. I use a tea strainer to incorporate the miso into the broth. I immerse the strainer and add the miso to the strainer. Using a wooden spoon, I mix the miso around until it is all dissolved into the broth. I briefly reheat and add the floating ingredient. Tofu is delicate and does not need to be simmered, just heated through. Do not boil or overheat the miso. It will change the flavor and also, some of the benefits of the miso will be destroyed.

Miso Soup
4 cups water
1/3 cup miso
2 green onions (scallions) chopped
1 tbs. shredded nor or wakame seaweed
1/2 block silken tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
dash soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
bit of finely grated fresh ginger (optional)

Preparation:  Bring water to a slow simmer and add seaweed. Allow to simmer at least 5-6 minutes. The longer you simmer the seaweed, the less of a salty fishy flavor it will have.  (I omit as I do not care for the fishy taste.)  Reduce heat to very low and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until miso is well dissolved. Makes 4 servings.

Variation:  Peel and chop two potatoes and 1 small onion. Add to water and simmer until tender. Add the miso and scallion.

Miso Soup

Miso Soup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sunday Supper – Okonomiyaki

This is one of my favorite easy Japanese meals. Okonomiyaki means, as you like it. Truly, except for cabbage, the ingredients are what you like. I eat mine with just veggies. Hubby-san likes it with either bacon or shrimp. You can use cabbage, green onion, shredded carrots, squash, shredded kale, shrimp. cooked chicken, shrimp, eel, chopped ham…

Sometimes you will hear this dish called “Japanese Pancakes” or “Japanese Pizza” over here. Call it by its traditional name: Okonomiyaki – it’s fun to say.  It is easy and forgiving. If you don’t want to use dashi, use vegetable broth or water. It will not have the same depth of flavoring, but will still be good. One of the ingredients (I am giving you a warning on this), Nagaimo, can be found in many Asian food stores. I have a sensitivity to the raw yam so I make sure I keep plastic wrap on it while I grate it. Also, it turns to pure slime. Ugly stuff but it is great in this recipe – holds the batter together and tastes good.

You can make the batter into two 8 inch pancakes or several smaller ones. “As you like it!”. I use an electric griddle on the table to prepare and to even, eat it on. In restaurants in Japan, you will find the hot plates in the tables for this purpose.

Douzo meshiagare, y’al

lIngredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Dashi (fish broth)
1 egg
3-4 Tbsp Nagaimo (long yam), grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cabbage (about 12oz), chopped fine
3-4 green onions, chopped fine
2-3 Tbsp pickled red ginger (Benishouga, not sushi ginger), chopped fine
1 Tbsp oil
6 pieces thinly sliced bacon
Okonomiyaki sauce or Tonkatsu sauce (I mix Worcestershire, ketchup and bit of sugar)
mayonnaise (I use Kewpie)
dried bonito flakes (Options)
dried green seaweed (Aonori) (Optional)

Instructions
1.In a big bowl, slowly stir together, to avoid lumping,flour and Dashi together until smooth. Stir egg and yam to flour mixture. beating well at this point. Season it with salt and soy sauce.
2.Add cabbage, onions, and ginger to the batter and mix. Also other veggies, chicken, seafood, if you like.
3.Heat oil in a skillet, pour half of the pancake batter into an 8″ circle, and lay 3 pieces of bacon on it. Fry at medium heat until the bottom becomes golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
4.Flip to fry the other side until the bacon becomes crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
5.Flip one more time, bacon side up, and spread Okonomiyaki sauce and mayo on the pancake.
6.Sprinkle dried green seaweed, then dried bonito flakes over the pancake. Serve hot. I top ours with finely chopped green onion and sesame seeds, omitting the bonita flakes.

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Saturday Walk in the Woods

Homemade chili, self made

Homemade chili, self made (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No football today – hooray!!! The boys are at another house. My husband has called to tell me the food isn’t as good as mine and the guys are ribbing the host because of the food put out by his wife. Chips, microwave popcorn, sodas….the number to the local pizza delivery place.  I said, oh well – I’ve paid my football dues.

I am taking today to be by myself – fix the apple pie I posted earlier today and before I leave on a walk in the woods, I’m putting the fixings for vegetarian chili into the crockpot to simmer while I wander.

I am going to several spots I know to pick up hickory nuts for drying for later and pine cones to put in the big basket by the fireplace for adding to the fire on cool nights.  I love autumn – the smell in the air of crisp pine, leaves mellowing before they explode into color and drop to the ground, the cold water of the spring.

I’ll post this when I get back – chili for supper, apple pie for dessert, the jalapeno cornbread I posted on another post about football food.

The walk was lovely and soothing.  A small spritz of rain started and softly pattered on the leaves.  The smell of earth, rain, and leaves was the ultimate in aroma therapy.  Nature always trumps human created scents.  When I opened the door to the kitchen, the smell of the chili made me start drooling.  I may not wait for hubby to come home.  I think I’m going to have some NOW!

Vegetarian Chili

3 cans beans (pinto, kidney, chickpea, black, cannelloni)
1 can corn kernels undrained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (mild or spicy)
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
1 bell pepper chopped
1 small onion diced
several cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried cilantro

Saute veggies. Put all ingredients in the crock pot, stir and cook on low for 5 hours (3 on high should be fine.)
This can be made as spicy or mild as you choose. I make it mild and then add some Crystal hot sauce afterwards.

If you eat as it, it is vegan. I like to top with low fat sour cream and some chopped green onion.

I hate football but love to cook….

Last Saturday was the saga of how the pantry saved me from my husband’s last minute football extravaganza. This Saturday, I had plenty of notice, since the game is at 1:30 and he told me yesterday afternoon.  As we speak, the house is filled with the aroma of slow cooker “Asian” chicken for pulled chicken sammies.  Slaw was made last night. A punch bowl of mixed snack food and M&M’s are centered on the coffee table in front of the couch. On the kitchen counter are a plate with hand sized watermelon wedges and chocolate chip cookies.  A plate of assorted pickles are also good. Kosher dill slices, hot pickled okra (I’m Southern, remember?), bread and butter chips, assorted olives –  It’s up to you and what you have on hand.  If they’re still hungry, they’ll have to go out in the backyard and bag some squirrels during halftime.

When folks visit, I send them home sober.  Soft drinks, sweet tea and lemonade are in the fridge.  Strong paper plates, heavy duty plastic cutlery, and a couple of rolls of paper towels for wiping mouths and hands stand at the ready.  Are you ready for some football??? Heck no. I’m ready for a nap.

どうぞめしあがれ douzo meshiagare y’all!

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Asian Pulled Chicken Sammies
6 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup lite soy sauce
1 – 2 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1 – 2 tsp. minced garlic
1 – 2 sriracha sauce (optional)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 can (16 oz.) tomato sauce

Preparation:
Wash chicken; pat dry. Place chicken pieces in a crockpot. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and tomato sauce. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is tender and juices run clear. Take chicken from sauce and use two forks to shred. Return meat to sauce and mix well. Have buns and slaw ready for them to assemble. Serves 6.

Easy Vinegar Coleslaw
14-oz bag store-bought cole slaw mix, rinse in cold water and drained
several scallions, sliced, to taste
1/4 cup chopped red or green pepper
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1 – 3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
Juice of 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine last five ingredients and whisk together.  Stir in the veggies, and toss well to combine.  Let the slaw sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then toss again.  Refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to two days.  Use a slotted spoon to serve the cole slaw, as quite a bit of liquid will collect in the bowl as the slaw sits in the refrigerator.  Or to make it easy for guys, drain and place slaw in a bowl for them.

Punchbowl Munchie Mix
The ingredients are up to you. This mix will be: Cheetos, bbq corn chips, cocktail peanuts, pretzels, wavy potato chips, large bag of peanut M%Ms. The object is to fill the bowl. Mine belonged to my great-grandmother and is large enough to use to bathe a toddler – just the right size for four guys.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
I make the standard Tollhouse cookie recipe. During holidays or bake sale times, I quadruple the recipe. I make rolls of the cookies from one recipe, wrap well and freeze. On occasions like this or just because, I bring out a couple of rolls, thaw, slice, and bake. You can also purchase the rolls or tubs of cookie dough. Quick and easy.

Saved by Pantry – again. Football: Bah humbug.

Okay, so sometimes my husband has the brain of a gnat. I still love him but at noon today, he tells me he has invited several of his friends to come watch VA Tech and Alabama play football at……5:30. First game of the season and Hokie that my husband is, he has been marking off this day on the calendar with alternating burgundy and orange X’s.

After I landed back on the floor after shooting up to the ceiling, I made an immediate survey of my pantry and freezer. Times like this make me glad I am obsessive-compulsive about always being prepared to feed a horde of hungry gamers, not to mention several guys stoked for the first football game of the season.

So the menu is:  Calico Beans, salsa and chips, sausage and cheese balls, Dump Cake, Jalapeno Cornbread. Easy and I have everything on hand. Several pitchers of lemonade, sweet tea, and cans of cold sodas will keep them hydrated. The pantry saved my husband – this time.  Payback will occur when it is basketball season and Duke is running wild.   どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare) Y’all!

 

calico beans

 

Calico Beans
•4 ounces bacon, about 10 to 12 slices (jar of bacon pieces)
•1 pound lean ground beef
•1 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
•1 tbsp. dry mustard
• 2 cans pork and beans
• 1 can lima beans or black beans, drained
•1 can kidney beans, drained
•1/2 cup ketchup
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. vinegar
Dashes of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.

Preparation:
Brown bacon, ground beef, and chopped onions. Combine drained ground beef mixture in slow cooker with remaining ingredients; cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours.

Sausage and Cheese Balls
2 pounds pork sausage (hot or mild) or turkey sausage
1 1/2 c. buttermilk baking mix
16 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions
Let ingredients come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Combine the sausage, baking mix, cheddar cheese, onion, and garlic powder. Mix well and form into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. I use baking parchment to line baking pan.

 

 

dump cake

Dump Cake
•1 (20 ounces) can crushed pineapple, undrained
•1 (21 ounces) can prepared more fruit cherry pie filling
•1 (18.25 ounces) box yellow cake mix
•2 sticks (1 cup or 16 Tablespoons) of butter or margarine, each cut into 12 slices
•1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, etc., your choice)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for glass baking dish). Have a 9 by 13-inch baking pan ready.
Dump undrained pineapple baking dish or pan and spread it out evenly.
Using a spoon, dump globs of cherry pie filling evenly on top of the pineapple.

Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the cherry and pineapple layers. Cut butter into slices with a butter knife and place slices evenly over cake mix. Sprinkle nuts on top if you’re using them.

Bake for one hour. Use heavy oven mitts to remove the dump cake. To serve, scoop cake out with a large spoon like a cobbler, and dump it on a nice plate. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is delicious with dump cake. Serve warm or cold.
I used vanilla cake mix and added some fresh blueberries I had on hand. This is my favorite go-to and to eat dessert.

 

 

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Jalapeno Cornbread

1 cup buttermilk (or milk)
1/4 cup oil or butter
2 eggs
1 cup cornmeal (I use a local yellow stoneground)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced

Directions
Mix the buttermilk, oil and eggs. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients in to the wet and then mix in the jalapeno peppers. Pour the Mixture into a grease 9×5 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick pushed in the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.  if you have them on hand, some chopped green scallions add an extra pop to this.

Simple Sunday Supper: Mini Meatloaves with Sauce

 

meatloaf

Today after church, I asked my husband what he would like for supper. He hung his head and began a plaintive mooing. “What?” I asked. He said, “I am a ruminant, moooooooo.” This was his guy way of saying he was tired of salady stuff and felt like he had been grazing all week. I rolled my eyes, gestured to the temperature gauge in my car registering 99 outside degrees. Again with the plaintive mooing.

My go to meal for quick, easy, minimal oven heating is what I call Mini Meatloaves with Sauce. Some folks would call them Salisbury Steaks. My husband calls them yummy. You can serve these with rice, mashed potatoes, biscuits, rolls, veggies on the side….whatever. Tonight we are having steamed yellow squash with Vidalia onions, little buttered new potatoes, sliced tomatoes, and for dessert, some of the chess pie I bought Friday.

Here is the recipe. It is quick and easy and makes six smaller or four larger “loaves”. I use ground round. A market nearby frequently puts it on sale and I prefer it to lean hamburger or ground chuck – less fat and more flavor.

Mini-Meatloaves
1 +/- pound ground round (ground beef or ground chuck)
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 egg white
A couple of squirts of ketchup
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 TBS. dry Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 can Campbell’s golden mushroom soup or jar of brown gravy

Mix together ingredients. Form into loaves. Place into skillet on medium heat. After about three minutes, turn over and brown other side. Reduce heat to low and cover with pan lid. After about 15 minutes, add soup diluted with 1/2 can water and stir around in pan. Add skillet top and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. if you have to, add more liquid if necessary. Serve.

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