Holidays are the times that I feel most nostalgic. At Thanksgiving that means I like to see certain dishes on the table. Turkey, of course, with dressing and cranberries in some form, sweet potato casserole, and always a broccoli casserole! Until recently it was about the only time of the year that I made casseroles.
As a young cook I always made a broccoli casserole to take to family dinners. Broccoli casseroles and Five Cup Salads were my specialities back then.
Many broccoli casseroles call for frozen broccoli. I prefer fresh broccoli. Don’t cook the broccoli to mushy, but cook it slightly past tender crisp. I always tend to be heavy handed on the cheese, and the end result is delicious!
- 1 lb. fresh broccoli florets
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 1 small onion, finely minced
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
- ¼ c. butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 325℉. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Chop broccoli into large bite-size pieces. Steam broccoli to just past tender-crisp, set aside.
- Combine the mayonnaise, onion, mushroom soup, and eggs until blended. Stir in the broccoli and cheese and pour into prepared baking dish.
- Mix crushed crackers with melted butter. Sprinkle over the casserole.
- Bake at 325℉ for 30 minutes or until brown.
My cousins were my first friends and the ones I call now with good or bad news. They are the people I want to celebrate holidays, weddings, and births. They are the ones that help me get through hard times. Branches from the same tree, our roots run deep. They are also the ones I turn to when I need a new recipe.
With a blog and weekly newspaper article, sometimes I struggle for a new recipe. There are weeks when every new recipe I test is horrible! Then some weeks are just crazy busy when I do not touch a pot or pan for days! That’s when my cousins come through for me and give me a recipe that I have completely forgotten about or that they have made over and over and I trust will be wonderful.
This weeks recipe is compliments of my cousin, Nancy, who got the recipe from my cousin, Lori. This Butter Pecan cake was incredibly easy and delicious. This cake begins with a cake mix and with the addition of pecan coconut frosting, and a few other ingredients, the cake is super moist. This recipe makes two loaves, and they freeze well.
Butter Pecan Cake
- 1 box Butter Pecan cake mix
- 1 container Pecan Coconut Frosting
- 4 lg. eggs
- 1 c. milk
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- ¼ c. chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour two loaf pans, set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on low, combine the cake mix, frosting, egg, milk, and oil until blended. Add the pecans and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
While traveling in Florida recently, Greg and I discovered the lovely little town of Venice. We enjoyed great restaurants and friendly people. One little French cafe in the downtown area was so charming that I would make the drive again just to go there.
The pastries were divine, and we ended up splitting a few things so that we could try more. While there we had a delicious puff pastry quiche that I had to recreate when we returned home. It is a simple quiche made with prosciutto and Swiss cheese, and the crust was a delicious, flaky puff pastry.
When we returned home, I had to try to recreate the amazing quiche. I would prefer homemade puff pastry crust, but the purchased frozen puff pastry that I used was a good substitute. Feel free to substitute a regular pie crust.
Puff Pastry Quiche Lorraine
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 oz. to 4 oz. prosciutto, cut into strips
- ¼ c. finely diced onion
- 6 lg. eggs
- 1½ c. whole milk or half and half
- 2 c. grated Swiss cheese
- pinch cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Thaw puff pastry in refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425℉.
- Sprinkle a board with flour and roll out puff pastry to fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fit pastry in pie plate and refrigerate until ready to fill.
- Melt butter in a skillet. Cook prosciutto quickly, in batches, in butter, until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- Saute onion in skillet, until tender, adding more butter if needed.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs and milk until well blended. Add prosciutto, onion, cayenne, salt, and pepper and stir to blend.
- Remove pastry from refrigerator and put egg mixture into crust.
- Bake at 425℉ oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325℉ and continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
I have a question for the ladies out there. Do you ever take your purse and dump it out? Dump every little coin, paperclip, hair tie and piece of trash out of it? Then pick through the contents, get rid of those things that are cluttering it up and placing your necessities neatly back inside your purse.
With the painter almost finished here at our house I have been thinking about what I have that is really necessary and what can be considered clutter. It’s as if I have “dumped” it out and I am starting over. Just thinking about the purge makes me feel invigorated. Imagine if you will, how much better our lives would be if we applied “dumping the unnecessary” to ourselves. How much better would we feel to get rid of the negative thoughts that are cluttering our minds every day?
These muffins are wonderfully moist and delicious. The finishing touches are not necessary, but I love the added crunch on top. I promised easy recipes, and that is still my goal. This week’s recipe is easy, but I’m not sure how many of you will have almond paste lying around. These muffins are well worth the trip to the grocery store though. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks. One that is well worn with plenty of vanilla splashes and creased pages. Almond Poppy Seed Muffins is from Marcy Goldman’s The New Best of Better Baking.com. You may add one teaspoon of lemon extract and a little lemon juice for a fantastic lemon poppy seed muffins.
Almond Poppy Seed Muffins
- 1 c. sugar
- 4-oz. almond paste, minced
- ½ c. finely ground almonds
- ½ c. (4-oz.) unsalted butter
- ¼ c. canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. sour cream
- ⅓ c. milk
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2¾ c. all-purpose flour
- 2½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
- FINISHING TOUCHES
- Slivered almonds
- Coarse Sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the sugar and almond paste together well, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ground almonds, butter, and oil and blend well. Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds and blend, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally to ensure nothing gets stuck in the well of the mixing bowl. If the mixture seems too loose, add a touch more flour. It should be the consistency of thick cake batter.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top each muffin with some slivered almonds and sugar. Place the muffin cups on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until the muffins are nicely browned and spring back when lightly touched. Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.
Sometimes things happens that awakens an interest that you never imagined having. This particular thing has happened to me, as of late. I find myself wanting to learn as much about beekeeping as I possibly can.
A couple of years ago Greg and I came home, after being out of town for several days, to find hundreds of dead or almost dead honeybees in our living room floor. At the time I wanted nothing to do with them and contacted several beekeepers to rid myself of them. I thought that they were in the walls of our house and not being very fond of bee stings; I could not imagine coexisting with them in the same house.
Now I know that they were swarming and simply looking for a place to start a new hive. As it turned out, they were not in the walls of the house. They had, however, moved into a vacant camper behind the barn. Last year a local beekeeper, Michael, caught a couple of swarms here on the farm. The bees stayed in the camper for a while, but it was evident several weeks ago that they no longer occupied the camper.
I have bought two books but admittedly have only read parts of them. Greg and I will be going to the beach soon, and they are my intended reading material. In the meantime Michael has another nuc here on the farm and is going to help me set up a hive. I am still not too keen on the stings, but I’m excited about this new hobby of ours. If you are a beekeeper yourself, I would appreciate any information that you are willing to share! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today’s recipe has all the goodness of peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. These Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies are delicious, and this recipe makes 10 to 11 dozen cookies. You can freeze a portion of the cookie dough if you do not care to bake so many at one time.
Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 c. rolled oats
- 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 c. butter, softened
- 1 c. chunky peanut butter
- 1½ c. granulated sugar
- 1½ c. packed brown sugar
- 3 egg, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 c. semisweet chocolate chips (or 2 c. semisweet chocolate chips plus 1 c. peanut butter chips)
- in a large bowl stir together flour, oats, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a very large bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture. Stir in chips.
- Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and set. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.