Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chicken Thighs

Photo from @Witty in the City Blog
These chicken thighs that I completely robbed from Witty in the City on Pinterest really are ALL THAT. This will be in heavy rotation at the Playford home from here on out. I'm looking to cut cost any way I can and one is grocery shopping...chicken thighs are WAY cheaper than the breast...and honestly taste better. So I bought the thighs then searched for a dish. The same recipe kept popping up and the reviews were pretty convincing so I thought I would give it a shot....winner, winner, chicken 35 minutes!

Dijon/Maple Chicken Thighs
1 pkg boneless chicken thighs (1-1/2 - 2 lbs)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Put chicken in foil lined baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Mix syrup, mustard and vinegar in a bowl and pour over chicken coating generously. Bake for 30 minutes and baste 1/2 way through cooking. Turn on the broiler for 3-5 minutes to get the tops of the chicken brown. Serve with chopped rosemary and devour.

Thank you new best friend.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The New Year was a Ball

Kandi Playford Sausage and Sauerkraut Stuffed Balls
Rich and I rang in the New Year with "The Kandi Playfords". Kandi and I...sister-in-laws through marriage...have married these Playford men and are now part of a big family that has so many different traditions. The Playfords are military, Air Force to be exact, so home is literally where the heart is.

The heart was in Memphis for the beginning of 2013 when Kandi and I were trying to come up with a menu that suited all traditions. I wanted black eyed peas, Kandi wanted pork and kraut. You know, I thought everyone ate black eyed peas on new years...shows you how clueless...and Southern I am.

I made Penny's Chicken Chili (substituted black eyed peas for a can of beans) and Kandi created something that was so delicious...Sausage and Sauerkraut Stuffed Balls/Rolls...out of this world. They are so good, that I can't wait to eat them every New Years and many more times in between.

Kandi's New Years Balls
1 lb ground sausage
1 lb ground hamburger
1-1/2 packages of Lipton Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
8-12 oz sauerkraut, drained
1 package frozen yeast rolls, unrisen
Red pepper flakes to taste

Get the yeast rolls out of the freezer and let them sit out to thaw and to rise (use directions on package).

Crumble sausage and hamburger meat in skillet and cook on medium-high until no longer pink, breaking up any large pieces of meat with a wooden spoon. Drain fat then stir in the spices (soup mix). Add sauerkraut and cook until soft.

After the dough has risen, take a ball of dough and pat it out into a flat circle. Add a generous tablespoon of filling to the middle of the dough and gather the edges up around the filling, pinching to seal and fully enclose the dough. Turn the stuffed ball of dough over and gently roll it under your palm to smooth it out. Transfer the stuffed dough to an oiled baking sheet (or pan lined with oiled parchment paper). Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Cover the tray with a towel and leave the stuffed dough to rest for another 15 to 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Bake rolls for about 20 minutes, or until medium golden brown. Remove from the oven, brush the tops of the rolls with butter and transfer to a rack. Cover loosely with a towel and allow to cool 5 minutes...if you can wait that long.

I want to try this with everything. Ham and Cheese. Cheeseburger rolls. Olive and cheese. The possibilities are endless. And there's nothing better than a yeast roll to hold all this goodness. Thank you Kandi for introducing me to another...more interesting...Playford tradition. Cheers to 2013!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Brother's Fire & Ice Pickles

Brother's Fire & Ice Pickles
Webster Made 100 Jars of Fire & Ice Pickles for My Wedding...if I didn't tell you then, I'm telling you now... THANK YOU BROTHER! Lots of work for your little sis. All out of town guests were able to have a little taste of the Delta with some homemade goodies. These were a favorite by many and the D'Agostino's still ask for them.
I've decided to make the pickles for the holidays...just like my brother.
...Here's the recipe Katie... 

Brother's Fire & Ice Pickles 
(Recipe for 1 Gallon Jar)

1 gallon kosher whole dill pickles
4 cups sugar
4 tablespoons hot sauce (Louisianne)
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red cayenne pepper

Take all pickles out of the jar. Add sugar and spice to the juice left in the jar, put the top on and shake, shake, shake until sugar dissolves. Remove the butts of the pickles and discard then cut pickles into chunks. (I cut horizontally twice to get 4 spears, then chunk.) Cram pickles back in fire and ice juice. There will be at least one whole pickle that won't fit in the jar, so go ahead and eat that one. Tighten the lid, turn it upside down and leave out on the counter for a day then put in the icebox and let sit for 7 days. After a week have a taste...add more hot sauce if needed. Transfer pickles to smaller sized jars and fill with juice. Create a gift card and give them as gifts. Your friends will wonder when the next time you'll make them.

NOTE: I couldn't find the 1 gallon jars of pickles so I got (4) 2.5 quart jars...still big...I just adjusted the sugar and spice amounts. This made (5) 32oz (1 quart) jars and (12) 8oz jars. Not bad for a first run.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Laundry Detergent

 Laundry Detergent Ingredients

I made my own laundry detergent…aka…I want a Subaru and I'm obsessed with Pinterest.
On an effort to cutback on some of the grocery bills in order to purchase the dream car…the Outback…I was looking for the more "doable" ways to cut costs. Scouring Pinterest and with the nudge of my husband's brother's wife…detergent sounded like a good place to start. I mean…spend $25 for a year supply and if it doesn't work just throw it out, right? So far, this stuff is great. I am not a homemaker and I'm not a hippie but this just makes good sense.

The Recipe
4 lb box of Borax
4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
3 lb 7 oz box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
3 bars of Ivory Soap
3 lb container of Oxi Clean
1 container Purex Crystals

Grate Ivory soap on the smallest grate size. Dump everything into a big container (I used the orange Home Depot 5lb bucket, and it was about 1/2 full when done). I used the Purex bottle to fill with homemade detergent that is now in the cabinet over the washing machine. Use the caps middle line as your measuring device. 2 Tablespoons per load. SIMPLE.

Original recipe that I pinned came from this website (much better photos and descriptions here):

Kandi's Liquid Detergent
What really got me started thinking about detergent was from Kandi (my husband's brother's sister-in-law). She started making her own because she found her children's skin was sensitive to the "store-bought" detergent and with 4 boys (3 children, 1 husband) she does a LOT of laundry!

The Recipe
Grate 1 bar of Ivory soap or Fels Naptha soup
Melt in water in medium saucepan.
Once dissolved, add to 5 gallon bucket.
Add 1 cup borax
Add 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

Mix and fill 5 gallon bucket rest of the way with hot water. Put in laundry jugs when hot.
Add 5 – 10 drops essential oil per laundry jug (optional).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Penny's Chicken Chili

This is one you have to try. It's just good...and perfect for the fall weather we are having. My sister-in-law Penny served this one weekend and I couldn't stop thinking about how good it was so I had to steal her recipe! Thanks Penny...even Rich eats it!

Penny's Chicken Chili

Penny's Chicken Chili
2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 can kidney beans
1 can white northern beans
1 can black eyed peas
8 oz Velveeta
Spices to taste: cumin, red pepper flakes, chipotle chile pepper, salt and pepper

I use a big skillet/pot to make this, so choose a good one dish pot to start. Cook chicken breasts in oil until cooked through. I like to get the chicken really brown to add extra flavor. Remove chicken and add onions and garlic to saute. Scrape the brown bits from the skillet. Just before the garlic starts to burn, add a cup of water and boil to make sure the onions cook through. (THE RICH NOTE: Since Rich doesn't eat onions...ever...until now...I make sure that onions are completely cooked and I use my emulsifier to liquify them). Dump three cans of beans in now onion broth, chunk chicken, add spices and simmer on low. Once you think it's done and ready to serve, stir in velveeta until completely melted. It's ready and delicious.

I've used all kinds of beans, so pick what you like. Any combo will work. I've used Hot Chili beans, Ranch Style Beans, Kidney, Northern, Black and Black eyed peas. It's the velveeta and chipotle seasoning that make this amazing to me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Guts, No Glory!

I'm making guts! My friend Sara calls the stuffing in a stuffed bell pepper GUTS and now I'm hooked on the name. Is it a Southern thing? Stuffed Bell Peppers?

I seriously haven't had a stuffed bell pepper since my brother was regularly sitting at the dining room table. I'm guessing 1984ish. Anyway...I can't reach my mother to get "the family recipe", so I am winging it and not really trying to get that version now...mainly because Mama would kill me if I called it GUTS, so I might as well make something different or I will hear about it for sure! And until I get the Lott recipe there is no point in me trying to recreate it...because that recipe is the best. You know how you taste something once and love it, then any other doesn't taste as good even if it really is better. That's how this is. Mama makes the best Stuffed Bell Peppers hands down and no one will convince me otherwise. 

Another phone call to Mama but still no is cocktail hour, probably on the porch with the paper by now. I'm on my own. Scary! Now, mouth watering I think of what Mama's pepper holds. I'm guessing the basics are hamburger meat, onion, bell pepper and rice with a tomato base of either paste or sauce. Hmm, gotta make it different so I'm not too disappointed it's not the real deal.

My attempt at something called Guts:
Sauté onions (very obvious rich is not touching this) and bell pepper in olive oil. I had half of a squash and zucchini so I threw that in there too. The plan was hamburger meat except I had left over ground sausage from weekend brunch. Now it's definitely different. The guts are all in the pan sautéing but all looks a little dry. tomato paste or sauce (which is rare). I do have cherry tomatoes, but they don't have enough juice..hmm. AHA! ZingZang! Decided...cherry tomatoes and ZingZang equals a damn fine tomato paste/sauce, right?

I cook my cored bell peppers in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350º to get them started. When sauteing is done, I stuff it and top with cheese and cross my fingers. Hello! It's actually good! A total gamble paid off. It is nothing like the original but it's quite tasty. Am sorta glad I didn't have Mama's recipe holding me down. Proves I can do a few things on my own.


I'm still going to get Mama's recipe and then maybe I'll remember to take a photo!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Soup

Fat Flush Soup to Go

Man my house sure smells good! 

It's that time of year...AGAIN! Summer is coming to an end and the office has posted The Biggest Loser signs. Thank goodness for The Soup recipe! It's what makes the competition tolerable. A Fat Flush Soup recipe was printed in October 2011 of  Women's World and we ALL copied it and we ALL made it and we ALL lost weight...the first week at least!.

Everyone has a different twist to theirs. Celene adds 5-6 jalapenos, Sara omits the cilantro, I add rutabaga, etc... Good news is, it is a great tasting soup that truly fills you up. Diet or no diet. This is the soup you'll fix year round. So I say customize it and see if we can't shed some pounds...the first week at least. Bring on the scales!



Fat Flush Soup from Women's World By Anne Louise

2 tsp. Olive Oil
1 1/4 lbs. Lean Ground Beef, Turkey, or Shredded Chicken
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
8 oz. Mushrooms, chopped
1 (14oz) can Crushed Tomatoes
1 (32oz.) bottle reduced sodium tomato or vegetable Cocktail Juice
1 (14oz) can Beans rinsed and drained.
1 Tbs.Ground Cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
1/4 cup each fresh Cilantro and Parsley, chopped

In a stockpot, heat Olive Oil over Medium-high setting. Saute meat/ poultry until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Saute Onions, Garlic, Peppers, and Mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients, except Cilantro and Parsley. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in Cilantro and Parsley. Cover and simmer 10 minutes longer. Store soup in refrigerator up to 5 days. Freezes well. Makes 12 cups.

1 serving = 3 cups
Calories 315 Fat 9g cholesterol 65.8mg Protein 31g Carbs.30g Sodium1185mg. Fiber 8g.

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