Wednesday, February 29, 2012


On weekends I like to make fast and easy dinners.

Monte Cristo sandwiches are a favourite of ours (Blue Bayou - mmmm) so I put them on my menu for Friday.  The ingredients are simple.

An eggy bread is traditional (I bought "Great Grains Bakery SWEET HAWAIIAN bread at Winco.  It is under $1.50, easy to find and works great.)
eggs (I used 4)
milk (about cup)
2 table. biscuit mix
thinly sliced ham (lunch meat type)
thinly sliced turkey (")
sliced swiss cheese
melted butter

I made the basic sandwich earlier in the day.  (Layer slice of bread, slice of cheese, ham, slice of cheese, turkey, slice of cheese, bread.)  I flatten them just a bit and wrap up to use later.  (I got that idea from IKEA.) 

I cooked my Monti Cristo sandwiches on my Hamilton Beach (George Forman style) grill that is really my panini press.  (I love it.  A LOT)  I like this particular grill for several reasons. 
1. It is level (does not slant down).
2. REMOVABLE GRILL PLATES (Very easy to clean)
3. Reasonably small for storage.
4 Easy to find at thrift stores.

I set the timer for the grill to heat (5 mins.) and mix the eggs and milk.
I whisk in the biscuit mix and melt the butter in the microwave.
Using a silicone brush to almost generously brush both grill plates.
I quick dip the sandwich in the batter (both sides), put it on the grill and close it.
(It takes about 3-5 mins. per sandwich.)

I serve them with powdered sugar and jam on the side.  This weekend I served  Lingonberry jam that I picked up at Ikea this week. 
Closer that DISNEYLAND and cheaper than BLUE BAYOU.  (Missed the experience and the fireflies, though.)
(For a "closer to Disneyland", but less healthy and more time consuming, I use this recipe.)

(I don't know how to turn the pic.  Sorry.)

Friday, February 24, 2012


Last night as I was trying to fall asleep I had an idea.  It was too early for me to have fallen asleep (2:00 a.m.), but too late for me to try it (2:00).  So I made waffles for lunch.

(Obviously) I used my heart waffle iron to make a 4 leaf clover.  I used a box waffle mix, so it was an easy experiment.  I mixed my green food colouring and oil into the water I was adding so that the colour would mix evenly.  And so that I can mix it less.  Now I just need to come up with some plating ideas before the middle of March. (My sister's birthday is on March 17th.  What a fun breakfast :)

I have a few questions and recipe requests that I need to post.
Melissa asked how much liquid soap I put into my foaming Bath and Body Works bottle.  I put in about an inch of liquid soap.  Here is a trick.  Put the water in first so it won't foam before it is full of water.  I have had 66% success rate.  (One of my bottles only worked 1 time.  Two other bottles have worked a couple of times so far.)  Good Luck.

Next week I will post a requested corn bread recipe and a peach dessert recipe that I have had for 27 years.
(Monday update- No clue why this did not appear on my blog after I posted it.  Sorry.)

In other news at my house, we are a NIELSEN FAMILY!  It's a fun week for me, fan of tv that I am.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Trying New Recipes

I have tried about 15 new recipes in the last 3 weeks.  Only 1 was a keeper.  I have an idea about why so many were not keepers.  And I came up with a new criteria for trying a recipe.  QUIT TRYING RECIPES THAT I ALREADY HAVE A GREAT ONE OF!  (Seems obvious, huh?) 

Some of my failures were chocolate cake and frosting (Remember my crazy cake? mmm),  corn bread (I have a great sweet one and a great corn bready one.), Lemon cream cheese bars (Been there, have that)...

It's a new month and there are lots of new recipes to try.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Crock Pot Cooking...

We have had some really busy weeks.  Some things were planned.  Some were not.

With everything so busy, and a cold/sinus thing that has lingered over a month , I have been reading.  The "series" of books are clean and low key, with characters I like-more or less.  (They are murder mysteries, but are so easy going that I could put 1 down for a week with someone hiding under the bed when the owner comes in.) 
They are a series (Each book tells the complete story.  They are not a continuing story that that make you crazy waiting for the author to write/release the next one so you know what happens.) of culinary mysteries.  So far there are six with food (dessert) titles.  Josi S. Kilpack uses food and recipes as part of her character's personality in LEMON TART, DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE (my favourite so far), ENGLISH TRIFLE...

This week I unexpectedly hosted book club at my house due to illness somewhere else.  I decided to try recipes for lunch from the books I've been reading.  I tried 4.  (Pretty brave to serve untried recipes, huh?)  Two were o.k./fine.  One was definitely not a keeper.  One was a hit and will be made many times.

(SUBJECT CHANGE)  I love crock pot cooking.  I usually crock pot at least twice a week.  I crock pot on Cub Scout day and Sunday (sometimes 2 recipes on Sunday).   I try lots of new recipes (not just crock pot), and have had a lot of crock pot failures the last 3 weeks.  (Back to the recipe.)

For book club I made Southern BBQ Slow Cooked Chicken from KEY LIME PIE by Josi S. Kilpack.       It is shredded chicken that is Carolina style BBQ.  (My husband prefers the more tomato based style of Memphis style BBQ, so he was thumbs down.  He was the only one.

Book Club liked it.  I loved it.  My son came by and said "Primo" (while touching his fingers to his lips).  He later called to see if I would pack some for him to pick up for lunch the next day.
My daughter in law (from South Carolina) tasted it, loved it, and came back with my son and grandson for dinner :)
It was easy, cheap and I had everything for the recipe.
YEA!  Another crock pot recipe.

from Josi S. Kilpack in KEY LIME PIE (p.112)
I think this would also for pork or ribs :)

1 36 oz. bottle ketchup
6 table. brown sugar
2 table. Worcestershire sauce
2 table. soy sauce
2 table. cider vinegar
1-2 tea. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tea. garlic powder OR 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts  (I used 5 lbs. and it was great.)

Put all ingredients in sprayed crock pot and stir to coat.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours OR  high for 3-4 hours  (I did part high and part low.)
Serve over rice or on rolls.  (I did both.)
I simmered mine on low for an extra hour to reduce the sauce.
Serves plenty.

I saw the idea on Pinterest for shredding your crock pot meats in your stand mixer.  It seems like a good idea.
Then I realized that I would need to transfer the hot meat/liquid to the mixer, hope I did not get splashed, transfer it back. and then wash extra dishes.  I decided to use the usual 2 fork method.
Then I had the idea of trying my pastry blender.  (I like the sharp edges of my Pampered Chef one.).  It worked really well.   Then when I washed the crock pot, I saw scratches on the bottom of my crock pot.  Were they already there?  Who knows. ( Guess that will be one of the things that I will be "Pinbusting" (Hilary's word) next month?)
Don't try this if you are using a crock pot liner.

I think this will be a great summer recipe.  Let me know what you think if you try this.

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