From My Mom’s Kitchen

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The weekend after Thanksgiving found us in my parent’s home for a two and half day visit.  Spite the fact that I urged my mom not to fuss in the kitchen, she told me she was fixing a meal for Saturday evening that would not keep her in the kitchen for long.

When her meal began roasting in the oven, the smells made me even hungrier, and anxious for a peek at what she was cooking!  What she had prepared was a Pork Chop Casserole that made up pretty much the whole meal.  It had Pork chops, sweet potatoes, and apples layered inside the baking dish.  What a great combination of flavors!  It served up beautifully as she slid the spatula under each pork chop “stack” and placed it on our plates.

It was really delicious!!

She added a salad and bread to round out the meal.  There was no need for snacking that night!

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With the busy Christmas season upon us, we might be tempted to go out for dinner after busy days of shopping, wrapping, and a long list of holiday events, but with recipes like these, there’s no need!  This simple recipe would be a perfect prep-ahead dish so your family can eat a scrumptious meal at home.  I’ve renamed it from simply Pork Chop Casserole to Busy Day Pork Chop Casserole.  Here’s the recipe:

Pork Chop Casserole

6 Pork chops
4 Sweet potatoes
4 Tart apples
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1/8 tsp sage

Directions:

Peel and slice potatoes.  Without peeling, cut apples into thick slices.  Place the potatoes in a  greased baking dish and sprinkle with salt.  Add the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Arrange the pork chops on the apples and season with remaining ingredients.  Add 1/4 cup hot water and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until pork chops are well done.

My mom always sets a gorgeous table.

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It was delicious.  It was lovely.  It was typical of my mom’s kitchen.

She’s a great cook and a gracious hostess.

I hope you’ll put this dish on your busy calendar/menu!  The flavors are perfect and you’ll have it ready for the oven in minutes!

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An Old Favorite Main Dish

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Recently I went to the kitchen to fix supper and I suddenly thought about an old favorite recipe, and the craving for it caused me to immediately change my menu for the night! It’s one of those comfort-food kind-of-dishes that is delicious, easy and filling, yet so simple that I had everything for it on hand already! It’s also ready in under 30 minutes!!

What did I make?  Salisbury steak.!  If you’re thinking about the frozen dinner variety, think again.  This is meaty, plump and bursting with flavor as well as plenty of gravy to cover the meat and/or any potato you might eat with it.

My recipe came from the Betty Crocker American Country Cooking Cookbook.  It has some fantastic recipes in it but the Salisbury Steak is probably my favorite!  If you’re wondering what to have for supper this week, this could be your next family favorite!

Salisbury steak 1

Salisbury Steak

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (any flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Mix beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and egg. Shape into 4 oval patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Cook patties in 10-inch skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown; drain. Add onion, broth and mushrooms. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until beef is done.
  • Remove patties; keep warm. Heat onion mixture to boiling. Mix water and cornstarch; stir into onion mixture. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve over patties.

     

    salisbury steak 2a

What dish do you sometimes crave?

With love from my country kitchen,

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Roll Call of Fall Favorite Foods

I’m not sure what it is about fall and winter that bring a variety of foods to our mind, but aren’t we all thinking about comforting casseroles, warm soups, and pumpkin everything?  I thought I’d gather together some of my favorites in those categories and highlight them all in one post for you today!  My recipe index here on my blog could be overwhelming, so maybe this list of a few favorites will help your October to be delicious!

meat loaf meal
I’m not a mac and cheese fan, but this recipe is fabulous!!!  I’d eat it every day if I could!

Casseroles
Mexican Chicken Casserole
Countryside Chicken Bake
The Best Ever Mac and Cheese
Taco Casserole
Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese

Breads
Nutty Orange Coffee Cake – Perfect for breakfast or brunch!
French Breakfast Puffs – Breakfast or brunch
Butter Dips – Delicious with supper!
Low-Fat Baking Powder Biscuits – Any time you need a biscuit – breakfast or supper!

Soups
Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder
Sausage Corn Chowder
Butternut Squash Soup – I made this again last week.  It’s heavenly!
Taco Soup
Baked Potato Soup

Oh, this cake!!!!  Love it.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin Muffins – Great addition to breakfast or a fall supper!
Pumpkin Roll Step by step instructions in my post!  You can make this!
Pumpkin Crunch Cake – Fast and incredible!
Pumpkin Bread – Make small loaves to share.
Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter – Oh my goodness, these are fantastic!!

Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter Recipe
Picture credit:  Taste of Home

 

If you’ll be hosting any fall event, having guests over, or cooking supper for your own family and want to try something new and delicious, here’s a great list to pull from!  These are some of my favorite fall foods that are tried and true!

If you need suggestions for other categories – salad, easy bread, breakfast, etc.) just leave a comment.  I’ll be happy to help you!

With love from my country kitchen,

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When Gluten-Free Meets Delicious

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No one in my family is Gluten-Free, but I have friends who are, so I’ve been pinning GF recipes on Pinterest.  Some recipes are just plain strange, but when I found this White Chicken Chili, I knew it would be good!  It was so delicious and had NO SPECIAL INGREDIENTS in it.  You simply substitute coconut milk for the regular milk and corn starch for flour.  This is so good with the thighs, too, but of course, you could use white meat.  I will make this again, not just for my GF friends, but for anyone who wants a delicious bowl of hearty, tasty soup!

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Here’s the simple recipe:

Slow Cooker Gluten-Free White Chicken Chili

  • 2.5 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 3 cans Great Northern beans
  • 2 8 oz Cans Diced Green Chilies
  • 1 Very large Yellow Onion diced
  • 1 Tbl Garlic minced
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp White Pepper
  • 1 Tbl Coarse Real Salt
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Starch or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
  1. Place the chicken thighs, beans, chilies, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt, chicken broth, and coconut milk in a crock pot. Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or until chicken is very tender.
  2. Remove the chicken and place in a bowl. Lightly shred with a fork.
  3. Place the arrowroot starch in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the 1/2 C. water to make a smooth, lump-free mixture. Stir the mixture into the chili in the crock pot.
  4. Add the chicken back into the chili and stir to distribute. Let cook for another 30 minutes. Soup should thicken up.
  5. Add the cilantro to the soup just before serving and check the seasonings, adding more salt or pepper if desired. If you want the soup to be a little thinner, add more chicken broth or coconut milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Top with a squeeze of lime juice.

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Now how about a tasty little sweet ending for this meal or a nice snack that’s also Gluten-Free?  This tastes like real food !  We loved these, and they whip up in minutes!

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Cashew-Coconut Bites

Ingredients

1 Cup Cashew – salted
1 Cup dates
1 Cup unsweetened Coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbl Almond Butter

Instructions

  1. Process dates in a food processor fit with “S” blade until crumbly.
  2. Add coconut, cashews, vanilla and salt and process until well blended and fine.
  3. Add almond butter and process until mixture starts balling up or sticking together.
  4. Roll into balls, 1-2 TBS at a time.
  5. Enjoy! Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Do you make any Gluten-Free recipes you love?  

With love from my country kitchen,

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Friday Favorites

This has been another busy week, full of helping with a move, entertaining our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons for two nights (who were the ones moving), church, cooking, cleaning, and lots of baby snuggles.  Those are some of my favorite things from this week, but there’s more, and they’re on my camera, so let’s let the pictures roll…

Liza jane
Sweet Liza Jane…she’s just irresistible! And yes, she’s spoiled!!

 

chalkboard art
This new chalkboard drawing sums up our mornings!
Katie brown chikcen collage
This week on a busy day, I popped a roasting hen in the oven to have for dinner.  This Katie Brown Chicken recipe is so savory and delicious!  It makes the BEST gravy, too!  

Whenever my husband has to be away, he tucks notes around the house for me to find.  It absolutely melts my heart to think he goes to so much trouble to show his love!  I found these and other notes this week while he had to be gone.

Dale collage

I am honestly the most blessed woman to be married to someone so thoughtful and loving.  He is my favorite of all favorites!!! I don’t take him for granted – he’s a gift from God that I am more grateful for him with each passing day!!

I trust you had a some highlights in your week, even if you’re going through some hard things, and I know so many people are right now!  Sometimes we have to choose to look for the little blessings God allows and focus on those in the midst of the difficulties.

What is a highlight from your week?  Have you tried the Katie Brown Chicken?  

Refresh yourself this weekend,

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When My Obedience Looked Like Disobedience

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Every week for over a year, I have met with a small group of women  from my church for a time of prayer.   On a week morning we gathered together in our church’s counseling room, chair bumping into chair, and we shared one another’s burdens and we prayed for our church. We prayed for the lost. We praised our God.  We wept together.  We rejoiced when the pleas to God had been answered.  It has been a huge blessing in my life.

But then I had to stop going.

The Lord began tugging at my heart with a burden for the shut-in of our church, for the sick, for the stragglers who visited, then were missing.  I wanted to do something for them that would be helpful and practical.  The Lord brought to my mind the thought of cooking or baking for these folks and periodically taking meals or treats for them to enjoy.  But with an already full schedule,  each day obligated to this or that, how would I ever accomplish this?  I began to pray and seek God’s direction.

One day my husband and I went on a little afternoon excursion away from home.  We had time to sit and talk and share our hearts.  I poured out to him the burden God had given me, and the frustration of not knowing how I could serve others from my home and my kitchen when every day was so full.  God gave him such wisdom and it was so clear to him as he said,

God has given you a burden to use your home to serve Him.  You need to focus your ministry out of our house.  You can pray in our home as well as at church.  Ask others to join you, if they’d like.  You all could pray and then cook together.  It’s what you love to do, and God is the One who has placed that burden on your heart.  Do it!

I felt as though a burden had been lifted off of me, and I knew at that moment that this was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do.  But that meant that I could no longer attend the morning prayer meeting at church.  My next thought was, “What will my friends think?  It looks so unspiritual to stop going to prayer meeting!”  But I knew that my not going to this morning prayer time was in obedience to what God was asking me to do.  When I shared this with my prayer group, they rejoiced with me, as I should have known they would!

It’s so easy to think that I have to do it all. It’s easy to put the guilt on myself and worry about what others will think if my obedience looks like disobedience.  But God’s Word says~

The fear of man brings a snare. Proverbs 29:25

I could’ve let my fear keep me at our weekly prayer time (not a bad thing) but I would have missed out on the blessing that this step of obedience has brought!  From the very first morning when I began this new cooking ministry, I had absolute peace that I was obeying God!  My heart was filled with the joy God gives AFTER we obey.  We want it before the obedience, don’t we? After all, it would make it a little easier!  But no, we obey, then God gives joy!

It was truly hard to say “No” to that weekly prayer time in order that I could say “Yes” to this burden of baking, cooking and visiting our church folk. Another wonderful thing is that some of the ladies have been able to join me.  We stop and pray for each person we’re taking a meal to.  We cook and stir up delicious food, and then we deliver it.  It has been wonderful…even if it did start out looking like disobedience!

Do you ever feel like you’re responsible for doing it all?  There’s freedom in listening to God’s directives and obeying Him.  He gave us gifts to use that will never be contrary to His Word.  Are you serving Him in obedience?  There’s no greater joy!

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Meal Planning for Family Vacation

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For a fantastic ending to a great summer, we enjoyed our first Family Vacation!  We were blessed to have our daughters, sons-in-law, and grandsons all join us for a two and half day get-away!  Let me just start by sharing a few of the highlights:

  • Coming up with our hashtag for the time away!  We wanted pics to remember this event by, so we needed a hashtag for Instagram!  We settled on #hamfamvacay2017.  Some of the other running options were – #picvacay2017 #hammingitup2017
  • Having time to just be together. When you have babies in the group, it’s just easier not to be running all over, and we were happy with that!  We gladly opted to just stay near the condo and only go out one time.  We truly just wanted to be able to visit and be together.
  • Having time in the Word as a family. My husband gathered everyone together on the patio and we opened God’s Word to read a chapter and share our “Ah ha” verses.  How thankful I am that we could all contribute and share from the riches of the Bible.  I do not take for granted having a family filled with believers!
  • Meal time!  What’s better than home-cooked food, enjoyed at “home” with those you love?

It can be a little tricky feeding lots of people, but we came up with a plan that made it doable. Today I’m linking up with my daughter, Whitney to share how we managed six meals for six people, adding in the complications of two who were dieting, one who had a birthday, and one (kind of) picky eater!

Because we were staying at a Wyndham resort, we had cooking capabilities and decided we would eat all our meals “at home” rather than eating out.  Aside from being a money saver, it’s also so much easier to visit in the quiet of the resort, than at a restaurant.  But how do you bring enough food and give what everyone likes when there are six adults eating six meals?   Here’s what we did:

  1. I offered to make supper for both nights, knowing that they would be the more costly meals.
  2. I suggested that the girls either:
    ~each take a day and make both breakfast and lunch on their day,
    ~one take lunches for both days and the other the breakfasts for both days.  They chose the latter.

Another component in cooking for a crowd is dietary restrictions, or even likes/dislikes.  One of the couples was on a diet that restricted grains, dairy, sugar, and several other things.  One in our group isn’t too adventurous with foods.  We decided that we would do our best to provide a main meat that everyone could have, and then let them fill the gaps with what they could/would eat.  It can be nearly impossible to please everyone – right?  This way, the options was theirs to eat what the cook provided, or add their own items to the meal.

We were glad to be able to cook, but no one wanted to be spending lots of time preparing the food.  For my supper meals, I opted to do a grilled meat one night and an oven-prepared meal the next night.  Here were my supper menus:

Night One:

Grilled Steaks
(Adding only grill seasoning and no marinade, due to the dieters)
Baked potatoes (done in the oven)
Corn on the cob
French Bread
Cupcakes

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Excuse the poor picture, but the picture taking was low on the list at the moment! =)

For that first supper, everyone ate the steaks and potatoes, but the dieters didn’t have corn, bread or cupcakes.  We were celebrating a birthday that night, so I got creative with what I had and made a slice of a diet friendly birthday “cake” which also fell on the day of  the eclipse!

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My Eclipse “Cake!”

Night Two:

Oven-Baked Chicken Fajitas –
(Everyone could add or leave off what they didn’t like)
Spanish Rice – (The dieters fixed Sweet Potato fries)
Refried Beans
Fresh Fruit

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After everyone else left, my husband and I had the blessing of finishing out the week at the resort, so we needed breakfast and lunch meals for those days as well.  To keep things easy, I tried to get double use out of items I brought.  For example:

  • Bacon – Used for breakfast or BLT’s for lunch
  • Bread – Toasted  for Steak night, Toast and jelly for breakfast
  • Leftover fajitas for lunch
  • Fresh tomatoes and fruit – salad, dessert and snacks!

Mealtimes were a huge success!  There was no flurry of wondering where we would go or what we were going to eat.  It was laid out simply and everyone had plenty of good food!

You can go here and check out Whitney’s post to see what she and her sister fixed for the other meals!

What does your  family do to make mealtime happen on vacation?

With love from my country kitchen,