Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Old Betty Crocker

Have I ever mentioned what my favorite cookbook is? My favorite cookbook is this:I have no idea if the original "Big Red Cookbook" is exactly the same, but this edition has to be my favorite. My mother-in-law gave this book to me on my wedding day. I think she wanted to make sure her son was well fed. From the start, this has been my go to book when I need to learn how to make something. When Jason suggested that "we" needed to learn how to make mashed potatoes, I used this book. From it I learned that once you drain the cooked potatoes, you should return them to the pot on the stove to steam off any excess water so that your potatoes are nice and fluffy. This book includes pictures and helpful hits if your food doesn't end up exactly the way it is supposed to. I have cooked many things from this book. If there is ever something seemingly basic (like biscuits or mashed potatoes) that I don't know how to cook, I can be assured that this trusty cookbook will have it in it.

Well, now you know my little secret. I follow directions really well and if you have ever had my chili, the base of it comes from this cookbook. I just tend to add some other stuff in. :)

If you know someone getting married soon, definitely try to pick this one up. Unfortunately, I don't think it is in print anymore, but you can get it on Amazon for less than $10.

Without further ado, a couple recipes that I have made recently. (all from Betty Crocker)

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBS sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

1. heat oven to 450 degrees
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender or two knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs (Jason edit: make sure all of the dry ingredients are mixed well before adding the shortening) Stir in milk until dough leaves side of the bowl. (dough will be soft and sticky)
3. place dough on lightly floured surface. (I more than lightly floured mine, because the dough was so sticky, I'm not sure what Jason does) Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 to 2 1/4 inch round cutter (we use one of our juice glasses). Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, touching for soft sides.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (longer if you are using stoneware) or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

*note on making biscuits. This is something I learned this week, because I made these for the first time. Jason usually makes our biscuits. Jason says that you want to roll out the dough to the thickness that you want the biscuits to be. They don't rise a whole lot. This may be something everyone else knows, but I didn't, so I made very thin little biscuits. We used them as the tops and bottoms of our breakfast sandwiches.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I used 1/8 tsp, because my nuts were salted and I didn't want my cookies to be too salty)
1 pkg (6 oz) white baking bars cut into 1/4 to 1/2 in chunks (I used white chocolate chips)
1 jar (3 1/2 oz) macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped (I had a bag of the nuts, so I measured about 4 oz in a measuring cup and then chopped those up. It seemed like enough)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. beat sugars, butter, shortening, vanilla, and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff.) Stir in white chocolate and nuts.
3. drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
4. bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool 1 to 2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Jason said these tasted like they should be in a bakery or that you could sell them. They really are good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Spaghetti I Actually Liked!

So, I have never really liked spaghetti. I like pasta and tomato sauce is okay, but I have never really liked the whole spaghetti combination together. Poor Jason does like spaghetti and I won't make it for him. Well, since I have been able to be at home in the evenings and I have been cooking dinner almost every night I have been trying to come up with new things to make. Well, I found a recipe for creamy chicken spaghetti. I decided to try it. Good news for Jason is that I actually liked what I made.

Here it is from my head:

1 lb. chicken diced
1/4 c. Italian dressing
2 c. pasta sauce
1/2 block low fat cream cheese
spaghetti (I used wheat pasta and I couldn't tell a difference)

1. Cook the spaghetti
2. In a pan heat the Italian dressing.
3. Add the chicken.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, add the pasta sauce and cream cheese.
5. Cook until cheese is melted.
6. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top

I think I liked this better because it was creamy. I really like any kind of cheese too, so that probably made it better to me.

Last night we also had strawberry cake. I will have to post that recipe another time, because I don't want to get up and get it. Just know that it is one of Jason's favorite desserts and it is super easy and yummy.