Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Dinner


I am not a fan of turkey and Christmas is to close to Thanksgiving to have turkey again. I really like pork roast ( and it was on sale) so that is what I fixed. I like a dry roast rub, I  am not a fan of  Crockpot pork roast.  It is really good done in a cast iron skillet, then it gets nice and brown on the bottom and the juice  makes a great pan sauce.


Pork Roast with Greek dry rub


The rub

4  large garlic cloves chopped fine

2  Tblsp fresh rosemary chopped fine

3  Tblsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp fresh oregano chopped

1 tsp lemon zest 


You can use this on pork, chicken or beef.

1 6 lbs pork roast (not loin)

I like  to rub the meat down with some olive oil,then with the rub,on a cookie sheet spread some of the rub in the bottom and roll the roast around on it . Put more rub as needed to thoroughly cat all sides of roast.  Save the left over rub if any in a jar with a good sealing lid and put it the freezer.

I like to use a deep cast iron skilletimages

This one also has ridges, so it will keep the meat out of the grease.

Place the pork roast in skillet after you have rubbed it down and place it fat side up.


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Set oven to  *325 and roast for 20 to 30 minutes per pound or until juices run clear, but don’t over cook.

Take roast out and cover with foil to rest.

images (31) I like to serve this with the juice from the pan. When you remove the meat from the pan, place pan on med. heat. Add about 1 to 2 cups water(I use the water that I discarded from potatoes) and simmer,use a whisk to get bits up off the bottom of the pan. If you like you may add abit a thickener (1 Tblsp cornstarch in a little water and add to pan) Taste for seasoning and adjust. I can not convey to you how good this is!  As you slice this you will have to restrain yourself to keep from just nibbling it all away!

I served the Pork with cheesy mashed potatoes. This is a recipe I made up and we really like it especially if I am not serving gravy. You can make this with leftover mashed potatoes, but who has leftover mashed potatoes??

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

4 large  potatoes (chopped)you may leave skins on if you like,I have done it both ways.

2 large cloves of garlic (whole and pealed)

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese

1/2 to 1 cup cream

1/4 stick of (real butter)

salt to taste 

1 tsp fresh cracked pepper




Place potatoes and garlic (whole and pealed) in large pan and enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil until potatoes are fork tender,drain off water (save water for pan sauce ), make sure you don’t discard garlic.

Pre heat oven to *350

Mash the potatoes and garlic, salt and pepper. Add the  sour cream and 1/2 cup cheddar and the parmesan cheese. Mix in thoroughly, slowly add the cream until mashed potato consistency, taste for seasoning.  In a buttered casserole dish 13x9, put the potato mixture in dish and top with remaining shredded cheese, bake till cheese lightly browns and melts and potatoes are hot thru.

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You will notice that this dish is not low fat! You are not going to eat this everyday ! It is a holiday, you can work out twice the next day! 

I served Sautéed Garlic Green  Beans as another side.images (34)

These are so good and easy to fix. I just open a quart of green beans, drain or 2 cans, 1 garlic clove chopped. In non-stick skillet melt a bit of butter over medium heat, add garlic and stir, cook till softened. Add green beans and salt and pepper. I like to cook the beans until they get a bit of color on them.

These are some of my favorite recipes!  The pork roast is so easy and leftovers are great!!! How can you go wrong with cheese and potatoes??? 

I hope you try some of these recipes, you won’t regret it!


Until next time!


Nana Nita






Saturday, December 18, 2010

Comfort Food



It is not yet Winter, but Fall does not know that. It has snowed, iced, the wind has blown, it has been below freezing more often than not!  So, we need some warmth,some comfort. What has more comfort that soup? Creamy, warm, filling goodness. 

As a child, anytime I was sick Mom would fix me Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup with toast . I did not like the chunks of chicken in it and she would take them out. :) It always made me feel better.  I still love Cream of Chicken soup but, I don’t like it from the can, I like a bit more in it now, even chunks of chicken!

This is my version of the soup:


Lanita’s Cream Of Chicken Soup


This is for a smaller Crockpot.


2 chicken thighs

2 cans chicken broth

2 large carrots, chopped

1 small onion chopped

1 stalk of celery,chopped (with some of the leaves)

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 potatoes peeled and chopped

salt and pepper

1 cup cream

2 Tblsp cornstarch

You can add any vegetable you would like, but I like it kind of plain, not a lot of stuff.


Cook on high for 6 hours(if your chicken is frozen) or until chicken is tender.

Take chicken out of Crockpot and let cool.  Take a potato masher and slightly mash the potatoes to give creamier texture. I had about a cup and a half of leftover white gravy from last nights fried chicken, I added that to make “cream” part of chicken. If you don’t have any white gravy hanging around, use 1 cup heavy cream, stir in cornstarch into cream to make slurry and pour into soup. Cover and let it cook on high for 30 more minutes. While that cooks debone chicken and tear into small bite sized pieces and add back into soup. Check for seasoning and thickness, if it is not thick enough you can use about 1/4 cup water and 1 Tblsp cornstarch add to soup to thicken,cook abit longer.


This is a satisfying, comforting wonderful bowl of soup. I served this with  Cheese biscuits,yum! good-biscuit-1

I have a confession, I can not make biscuits!! I have tried and I just can’t !  They always turn out like hockey pucks!!!They are not bad tasting ,just crunchy!  I think you should  cut some slack here, I make homemade bread, pastry, and all kinds of other stuff, I just can’t produce a fluffy biscuit!

So…… I came across the most wonderful thing, Southern  Biscuit mix Formula L! All you do is mix it with buttermilk. images (28)

You can’t mess these up! Just follow the recipe for cheese biscuits on the back of the bag.   You could add Jalapeños or onions, garlic. The possibilities are endless!

   The left over soup can be turned into chicken pot pie. Add abit more chicken and thickening, heat through and put in casserole dish and top with raw biscuits and bake till bubbly.


If you don’t have enough soup leftover for a big casserole then aren’t these individual one cute?images (29)


Enjoy!  Until next time !


Nana Nita

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Let The Baking Begin!!



Usually by now I have just about every kind of cookie imaginable made and in my freezer. I just have not been in the mood to bake this year …I don’t know why.  But Thursday morning I got the bug…the baking bug! I saw the recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies and I thought I have to make theses and that led to the day of baking!


Mexican Wedding Cookies!



You can make these cookies with wild black walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, hickory or butternuts -- all will work fine.

  • 1 cup all-purpose or cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 pound butter (at room temperature)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar, to coat (about 1 cup)

1 Preheat the oven to 300°F and prepare a large cookie sheet.

2 Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, walnuts, salt, sugar) in a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract. Add the butter in little pieces, and combine everything together with your (clean!) hands until the mixture looks like a coarse meal with nut bits in it. Form the dough into small balls no larger than a walnut and place on the cookie sheet, spaced at least an inch apart from each other.

3 Bake for 35 minutes. When they are still warm, but cool enough to touch, roll the cookies in some powdered sugar.

This recipe doubles or triples very well and you can freeze them after they have been rolled in sugar.

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Set aside on a rack to cool completely. When cool, dust again in powdered sugar.

Makes about 20 cookies.

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These are crispy and light and yummy!!

If you leave these out for Santa (wink, wink) He will be most happy! But everyone will know if you sneak a cookie, because of the powdered sugar!!! So wipe your mouth!  :)


Last year I made Apple Braids and they were a big hit. I thought I would change it up a bit this time. Everyone has left over cranberries sauce from Thanksgiving, right? …Or in my case I forgot to serve it!!! Oh well….Now I can add it to the BRAIDS and change it up a bit.


Cranberry Apple Braid

  • 6 1/2 - 7 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
Apple Filling
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, finely chopped apple
  • 1 cup Cranberry Relish (See prior post for recipe)
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (opt.)
  1. In large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast.
  2. In 4 cup glass measuring cup, microwave milk and butter until milk is warm and butter has begun to melt. (or warm it in a saucepan on the stove)
  3. Add warm milk to mixing bowl and mix on low
  4. Add slightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until well moistened.
  5. Mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Change to dough hook and then add remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
  7. Continue to mix or knead by hand for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  8. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  9. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size. (I usually do this in the oven which I have warmed to 170 degrees and then turned off.)
  10. Line 2 cookie sheets (with edges) with parchment paper.
  11. Prepare Apple Cranberry: In saucepan, combine all filling ingredients except pecans. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently or until it thickens somewhat. Cool
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  13. Punch down dough and divide in half. (or into 3 sections) I have also made 6 small braids, they freeze well after baking. Just thaw and warm in oven @250 covered in foil and then put on glaze.
  14. Roll each section into a rectangle and place on cookie sheet.
  15. Spread centre third of each rectangle with Raisin Apple Filling (see picture below).
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  17. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough diagonally at 1 inch intervals on both sides of filling.
  18. Fold opposite strips of dough over filling, crossing in centre. (see picture below)
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  20. Seal ends of each braid.
  21. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size.
  22. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  23. Remove to racks and cool.
  24. Ice and decorate as desired.
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  26. You could fill these with just about any fruit filling. I have put sweetened cream cheese and then topped with different jams. They are great this way! Cheese Danish!

Enjoy with coffee for breakfast or and afternoon delight!


I made sweet rolls next! These are to die for, ooey, gooey, goodness!


Sweet Rolls

This recipe will make 40 to 50 rolls, I halved the recipe and had no problems.

  • 1 quart Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast
  • 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
  • Plenty Of Melted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar ( you can use brown sugar as well)
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • (optional: nuts, raisins)
  • _____
  • 1 bag Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cups Milk
  • ¼ cups Melted Butter
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt
Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point).

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Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape.


Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.cinnamonswirltutorial3

Make sure you get the cinnamon and sugar all the way to the edge,not like I have done here.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

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Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

images (26)

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough.

(At this point you can cover with foil and put in freezer. When ready to bake set out in refrigerator the day before to thaw.In the morning set on counter and let rise for 3o minutes, then follow baking instructions. )

Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees (see note below) until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

(You can let cool and freeze them and set out and heat at @250 till warm.

Note: My rolls don’t work for me at 400 degrees anymore. I now bake them at 375 degrees.

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Theses are the best rolls I have ever made!

Maybe I can have another day of baking and I’ll share it with you.

What treat do you like to have for Christmas that you can’t do with out? Leave a comment and let me know!



Nana Nita!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Came Early On The Farm ….

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I love my husband!!!

We decided that since we knew what we got each other for Christmas, we would go ahead and open them and use them! I mean, it is just stupid to wrap and open a gift when you know what is in it!

Here is what He got me:


Paula Deen Cookware in Red!!

This is a wonderful set of pans! Nothing sticks to them!!

I do have to wash them by hand, but I usually do wash my pans by

hand anyway!


011W445486240001 I got a set of 4  Country Living salad plates. I love them, they are Red and Roosters, so what could be wrong about them?

images (24) This set of Jaclyn Smith dishes! Oh, they are just lovely!! Now imagine if you will one of the Rooster plates setting on  the big white ones, just gorgeous!

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Now with all these new pans and dishes lets cook something!



Green Chili Enchiladas


4 chicken thighs

1 can chicken broth

1 garlic clove crushed

1 small jar of  Salsa Verdi ( I had home canned but you can buy it about 1 cup of it)

salt and pepper

10 to 12 flour tortillas

3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 small onion chopped

1 small can chopped green chilies

Cook chicken in broth and salsa verdi , add enough water come up over the top of chicken. Add garlic, salt & pepper.

Cook until chicken is tender and falling off bone. ( you can do this in a slow cooker)

Take chicken out of broth and let cool until you can handle the chicken to debone. Shred meat.

Reserve broth


White sauce

3 Tblsp butter

2 Tblsp  flour

1 tsp cumin

1 cup  milk

some of the reserved chicken broth

salt & pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheese

In sauce pan melt butter and add flour and whisk  and cook for about a minute to cook off raw flour taste.

Slowly whisk in milk and cook on medium heat until thickened. Add chicken broth until the sauce is the right consistency ( not runny but like gravy) Add cheese, cumin and salt and pepper. Add about 2 Tblsp green chilies. taste for seasoning. Set aside


For chicken filling;

Put chicken in bowl and add sour cream, onion, 1 cup of cheese, remaining green chilies,salt & pepper ( taste to make sure of seasoning and adjust as needed)

To assemble:

Spray dish with non-stick spray

Put some sauce in bottom of 13x9 casserole dish, about 2 spoonfuls

In center of tortilla put about 2 TBLsp filling down  and roll, put seam side down in pan with so you can put two rows of 6. .  Top with sauce and then remaining cheese, cover with foil  and bake @ 350 * for 20  then take foil off from remaining time, about 10 to 15 more minutes ,till bubbly .  These are so good!

If you would like more heat you can add chopped jalapeños to the filling.


Here is a bonus ! tortilla soup

Tortilla Soup!

I take the left over broth from cooking the chicken and make Tortilla soup . You are already half way there! All of the seasonings are in there. I always have some filling left over, so I add that back to the broth. Now at this point it is up to you what you put in. I don’t like to put corn or alot of other stuff ,but this is YOUR choice. I put in some black beans and thicken it a bit with some cornstarch . Taste for salt, and you might want to add some more garlic and chopped onion,cook until vegetables are tender. I serve with a dollop of sour cream, chopped avocado and  shredded cheese and crushed chips.

This is so good! It is different from other tortilla soup because it does not have any tomatoes in it. It is just some creamy spicy goodness!

Until Next Time!

Nana Nita