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Country Kitchen

Country Kitchen

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Favorites

Here is a list of my go to Christmas Recipes from earlier blog posts




Sweet Sweets: Christmas Candy Classics
Learn to make Fudge, Divinity and Microwave Peanut Brittle
See post link here


Holly Jolly Hot Chocolate 
Learn to make dry powdered hot chocolate mix and stove top hot chocolate 
See post link here


Sweet Sweets: World's Best Sugar Cookies
Christmas Cookies are a staple around here.  See my favorite sugar cookie and two styles of icing recipes here



Sweet Sweets: Russian Tea Cookies 
This cookie is a Christmas Tradition in my family.  They are so easy to make and so delicious
See blog post link here



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sweet Sweets- Tequila Key Lime Pie







Ingredients 
1 graham cracker crust
1/3 cup sour cream
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp lime zest
1 shot (1 1/2 oz) tequila

Directions
1. Mix sour cream, condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest until well combine
2. Add tequila and stir again
3. Pour into graham cracker crust and smooth out with a spoon
4. Bake for 5-8 min at 350 degree (until tiny pin bubbles form on the surface but don't burst)
5. Chill for several hours or overnight
6. Slice and serve.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Now That's a Party! - My Little Pony Party

For Themed Party planning details and Formula:  see link below
http://countrykitchenapproved.blogspot.com/p/now-thats-party.html

I Have boy/girl twins who both love MLP. So I wanted to make their party as gender neutral as I could.  I got several ideas from Pinterest and I made up several of my own.

My Little Pony Party

The Formula
Step 1. My Little Pony Theme

Step 2. Small group of my twins Friends and Parents

Step 3. The Framework
We had the party at our house

I used a Facebook event for the Invitation

Step 4. The Inner workings



We had a great time! An absolutely fabulous was to celebrate a 4th birthday!
Now that's a Party!

To see all pictures and ideas click here

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Criss Cross Applesauce: Homemade Applesauce 4 ways


Apple Pie Applesauce

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.  
2. Add 2 cups of Apple Cider, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the apples get cooked.
4. Puree apples in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1/2 cup sugar (1/4 cup brown, 1/4 cup white) 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir .
6. Taste and make adjustments (ex. more sugar, more cider)
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

Wassail Applesauce 

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add 2 cups of Orange Juice, 1 can crushed pineapple, pinch of ground cloves, 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the apples get cooked. (Make sure to remove the cinnamon stick)
4. Puree apples in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1/2 cup sugar (1/4 cup brown, 1/4 cup white) 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir .
6. Taste and make adjustments (ex. more sugar, more cider)
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

Very Berry Applesauce

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add 2 cups of Berry Flavored Juice, 1 pint blueberries, and 1 lb strawberries
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the fruit gets cooked.
4. Puree fruit in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir.
6. Add 1 jar of seedless raspberry jam and 1 jar of seedless blackberry jam instead of sugar
7. Blend in blender for smoother texture
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

Grapple (Grape Apple) Applesauce

1. Wash, peel, core and cut 6 lbs of apples and place them in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add 2 cups of grape juice and three different types of grapes (about a cup each)
3. Boil until soft (about 20-30 min) Stirring to make sure all the fruit get cooked.
4. Puree fruit in a food processor and put back in the pot.
5. Add 1 tsp butter and a pinch of salt, stir .
6. Add 1 jar of grape jelly instead of sugar
7. Blend in blender for smoother texture
Store in refrigerator or can for later.  (See the "I Think I Can, Canning" episode for canning instructions)

 **Canning video found here http://countrykitchenapproved.blogspot.com/p/i-think-i-can-canning.html 



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pasta La Vista, Baby! Mac-n-cheese 3 ways

Who doesn't love Mac-n-cheese?  This is a great recipe that is smooth and creamy, with variations.  Sure to be a crowd pleaser. 

Creamy Classic

1. In a saucepan over medium heat melt 1/2 stick of butter. 
2. Add 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese and stir until melted and gooey
3. Add 1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.
4. Stir until creamy smooth and set aside
** This makes 2 small 8x8 pans or 1 large 9x13 (I freezes well, so you can save the other half for later)

5. Prepare your favorite pasta to al dente and place in you baking dish
6. Pour on the cheese mixture and stir well
7. Crush some cracker crumbs and sprinkle over the top, drizzle with melted butter 
8. Bake at 350 for 30 min. 

BBQ Chicken

1. Using a smoked whole chicken: remove skin, remove meat from bones and chop up. 
2. Place the meat in a bowl mix with your favorite BBQ sauce
3. Stir into the creamy classic recipe, top with cracker crumbs and butter and bake 





Seafood Medley

1. Prepare you seafood of choice (I used lobster tail and canned crab meat, but you could use shrimp or scallops or whatever you like)
2. In the cheese mixture I used gouda cheese instead of cheddar but that is optional
3. Mix together, top with cracker crumbs and butter and bake. 








Thursday, August 4, 2016

Healthy (er) Options

In this post I'm sharing several recipes that I would consider healthy options.  I like my food to taste good though, so hopefully you will see a healthy balance (pun intended) of both with these recipes.


Mango Flounder


1. Salt and pepper each side of your flounder fillets and lightly dredge (cover) with flour, fry in a small amount of hot oil on each side until lightly crisp and flaky.
2. For the Mango Salsa: dice sweet pepper (or jalapeno if you like a kick), onion, mango and cilantro. Combine in a bowl with lime juice and salt to taste.

Cilantro Lime Couscous
1. Make couscous according to package instructions
2. Add lime zest, lime juice and chopped cilantro
3. Stir to combine



Raspberry Pork 
1. Salt and pepper both sides of each pork chop and saute in a skillet until lightly browned.
2. Allow pork chops to rest 10 min before serving
3. For raspberry sauce: in a saucepan place 1 package of fresh or frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1 tsp sage.  Turn on medium and allow to simmer until reduced to a thick syrup
4. Strain seeds and pour over pork chops
**Substitute fresh raspberries for seedless raspberry jam to avoid straining seeds

Lemon Rosemary Quinoa
1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions
2. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and rosemary
3. Stir to combine

Bakes Zucchini and Tomatoes
1. Thinly slice zucchini, tomatoes and onions
2. Place in an oiled baking dish with lemon zest, lemon juice and salt
3. Bake at 350 for 30 min. (if you prefer roasted bake at 425 for 20 min)

What the Kale Salad
1. Rinse and remove kale leaves from center stem, shop into bite size pieces and add to bowl
2. Rinse and chop romaine lettuce and add to bowl
3. Add: chopped broccoli, broccoli slaw, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries
4 For dressing combine the following ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 sec.
       1/4 cup water
       1/4 cup white vinegar
       3/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
       1 tsp garlic powder
       1 tsp salt
       1/4 tsp pepper
       1 tsp celery seed
       1/2 tsp celery salt
       (pinch of onion powder for added flavor)
       2/3 cup sugar
       2 tsp horseradish

Pearled Couscous salad
1. Make basil and herb pearled couscous according to package instructions
2. Saute diced zucchini and onions until tender
3. Add to couscous and refrigerate until chilled
4. Add diced cherry tomatoes and Italian salad dressing
5. Stir and serve chilled












Friday, May 27, 2016

Kids in the Kitchen: Baking

This is another video I did for Twiniversity Magazine.  The original article can be found at the link below. 

My kids have grown quite a bit since I made this video! 


I have great memories growing up being in the kitchen with my mom. I love to share that time with my kids as well. Being a former Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, I know the importance of teaching your kids to know their way around the kitchen. There are many skills that can be learned from cooking, such as reading, math skills, science principles, and so much more. Spending time with your kids is the best part, but there are also educational opportunities if you look for them. 



Russian Tea Cookies
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream together ¾ cup shortening, ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar
  2. Add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and ¼ tsp almond extract and mix
  3. Sift in 1 ¾ cup flour, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp baking powder and mix
  4. Add ½ cup chopped pecans and mix again
  5. Roll a small amount of dough into a ball and place a chocolate kiss in the middle. Form the dough around the kiss and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-12 min in a 350 degree oven
  7. Let cool completely, then roll in powdered sugar

bakingS’mores Cookie Bars

  1. Cream ½ cup of softened butter and ¾ cup granulated sugar
  2. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix
  3. Sift in 1 1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and ¼ tsp salt and mix
  4. Crush a package of graham crackers into crumbs and add ¾ cup to the bowl and mix
  5. Take ½ of the dough and flatten into the bottom of a greased 8×8 baking dish
  6. Break apart 4 Hershey chocolate bars and place over the dough
  7. Place a layer of marshmallows over the chocolate
  8. Spread out some of the remaining graham cracker crumbs and roll out the remainder of the dough. Carefully place it on top of the marshmallows.
  9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 mins or until lightly brown. Let cool and cut into bars.

bakingSugar Cookie Pizza

  1. Bake refrigerated sugar cookie dough according to the package instructions (or make your own)
  2. Mix together 1 package of softened cream cheese and 1 container of marshmallow cream and spread over your cookies like frosting
  3. Dice up a variety of fruits (bananas, blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, mandarin oranges, etc.) and decorate your cookie pizzas with them

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Now That's A Party - The formula for throwing an amazing themed Party


I'm starting a new subsection of my blog devoted to throwing an amazing party.  I love themed parties and I'm sharing my foolproof formula with you.  After this first introductory post, I'll be using the formula to show you specific themed party ideas, but for now here are the basics.


The Formula (see video above for details)
Step 1. Choosing a Theme
Step 2. Determining the Audience
Step 3. The Framework
Step 4. The Inner workings
Step 5. Capturing memories 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cherry Almond Scones



1. Sift together 2 cup flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.
2. Cut 6 Tbsp of cold butter into slices and add to the mixing bowl
3. Using the paddle attachment mix until the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients (it will still be powdery)
4. Add 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk to the mixing bowl and mix until well combined
5. Lastly add 1 package of sweet dark cherries (canned or thawed frozen is fine) and 1/4 cup sliced almonds and mix a final time.
6. Spread a healthy amount of flour onto your counter and turn out the dough.
7. Using more flour on top lightly shape into a thick disk and transfer to a greased baking sheet
8. Cut into slices with a pizza cutter.
9. Bake at 400 degrees for 22 mins
10. Recut the grooves and allow to cool.
11. To make the glaze melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Stir in 2 Tbsp cream and drizzle over scones.
12. While the glaze is still wet sprinkle some sliced almonds on top of each scone.
13.  Allow glaze to cool and serve




Saturday, March 19, 2016

Easter Favorites: A collection of my Favorite Easter Recipes





Deviled Eggs
1.     Steam 6 eggs for 12 min. then cool in a bowl of ice water
2.     Cut eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks into a bowl
3.     Mash the yolks with a fork and add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp dry mustard, 3 Tbsp miracle whip and 1 Tbsp vinegar
4.     Mix until well combined
5.     Scoop some filling into each egg and sprinkle with paprika.


Ham and Gravy
1.     Preheat oven to between 275 (I know the video says 325 but I'd go a little lower to prevent the ham from drying out)
2.     Place ham in roaster pan with 1 cup water
3.     Cover with lid or foil and bake 15 min per lb.
4.     Pour drippings into a skillet
5.     Remove a small amount of the hot liquid and mix together with 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Add mixture back to the skillet and whisk
6.     Add 1 tsp kitchen bouquet for color
7.     Allow to boil until it gets thick

Mashed potatoes
1.     Peel and dice 4-5 potatoes
2.     Boil until fork tender, drain and place in a mixing bowl
3.     Add 2 Tbsp milk, ¼ cup butter and salt to taste

4.     Whip until smooth

Country Style Green Beans
1. Clean green beans and break off the ends.  Put them in a stock pot with; 
chopped red onion, bacon bits, 1-2 Tbsp bacon grease, and 1tsp salt
2. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (1/2 a cup or so) and boil until soft (20-30 or more mins)
3. Drain water and add more salt to taste
**Another great reason to never throw away bacon grease (just put it on a cup or jar and store in the fridge for various uses)


Cheese Green Beans



1. Preheat oven to 350 degree
2. In a saucepan combine 1 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat until smooth to create a rue. 
3. Add 1 cup milk and ½ tsp of salt, stir to combine
4. Add 6 oz. of finely chopped Velveeta cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce has become thick and creamy. 
5. Add ¼ tsp chili powder and stir
6. Cook 1 large bag of French cut frozen green beans according to the package instructions and place in a glass baking dish
7. Pour on ½ of the cheese sauce and stir to combine
**You can either make double beans for freeze the extra sauce and have more later**
8. Sprinkle with French fried onions and top with foil
9. Bake for 15 min, remove foil and bake for an additional 15 min. 

for video see http://countrykitchenapproved.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-lunch-bunch.html
Classic Beef Roast




Your favorite beef roast cut (or which ever is on sale ;0)
Salt and pepper
Several carrots
Several potatoes
1 onion
2 cups water
2 beef bullion cubes
1 tsp kitchen bouquet
2 Tbsp cornstarch

1.     Preheat oven to 275 degrees
2.     Peel and cut carrots potatoes and onions
3.     Put some oil into Dutch oven or skillet and turn heat to medium high
4.     Put salt and pepper on the roast and rub into the meat
5.     Sear both sides of the roast for a couple of min.
6.     Add your vegetables and bullion cubes
7.     Pour in 2 cups water
8.     Cover and place in oven for 3 hours
9.     Half way through check to make sure you have enough liquid, add more water if needed. 
10. Transfer your drippings to a skillet
11. Remove a small amount of the hot liquid and mix together with a couple of Tbsp of cornstarch.  Add that mixture back into the skillet and stir
12. Add 1 tsp kitchen bouquet, gravy will boil and thicken
13. Serve with bread and butter and enjoy!


**This could easily be cooked in a crockpot.  Just make sure to sear your meat and then cook low and slow all day.


Peach Pie

2 pie crusts
1-2 packages thawed peach slices
2/3 cup sugar
2-3 Tbsp flour
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine sugar, peaches, flour and spices in a bowl
  3. Pour into bottom crust
  4. Dot with butter
  5. Add top crust
  6. Bake 40-50 min

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp shortening 

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with fork
  2. Add cold water (up to 5 Tbsp), mix until loosely combined
  3. Form into a ball with hands
  4. Spank to combine
  5. Flatten and form into crust
Makes 2 crusts

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cornedbeef and Brussel Sprouts


1. In a dutch oven place corned beef roast with spices and 1-2 cups water (depending on size of roast)
2. Roast in a 225 degree oven for a total of 6 hours.
3. Rinse mini potatoes and sprouts (and remove a few of the outer leaves).
4. Add to the dutch oven about 3-4 hours into the cooking process (depending on the size of potatoes they need to cook 2-3 hours)
5. Remove from juices and serve with Guinness mustard sauce

**Could also be cooked in a crockpot on low for 8 hours.

**Speed Method 
I forgot to put mine in at noon, so I bumped up the temp to 275 degree for 4 hours and it was still very tender.  Put the potatoes and sprouts in for around 2 hours for small or the full 4 for large.




Guinness Mustard Sauce
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark Guinness Beer
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1-2 Tbsp cornstarch

1. In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter
2. Add brown sugar, mustard, dry mustard, vinegar and beer
3. Whisk until combine and sugar is dissolved.
4. Whisk in cornstarch and allow sauce to thicken.

**This would be great on bratwurst or soft pretzels.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Back to School - Snack Recipes

Here is a post I did for http://twiniversity.com/


Oh Wow, already time to go back to school! Here are some healthy (ish) and yummy snack recipes to send your kids back to school with energy and full tummies.   I hope you and your kids enjoy them.  





Cherry Chocolate Energy Bars
  • In a mixing bowl mix 1 stick of softened butter ½ agave nectar or honey and ½ cup of natural peanut butter (make sure to mix the PB well before adding)
  • Add 1 egg, ½ cup packed brown sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix
  • In a separate bowl combine ½ cup whole wheat flour, 4 ½ cup of rolled oats, 1 tsp baking soda and a dash of salt
  • Carefully add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and combine
  • Chop up 1 cup of dried cherries and add them to the mixing bowl
  • Add 1 cup of mini chocolate chip and mix a final time
  • Grease an oblong baking dish and turn out the dough, flatten with a spatula and more with your grease hands
  • Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 min
  • Allow to cool and cut into bars 
  • Store in the refrigerator. 


Fruit Roll-ups 
I originally got this recipe from ourbestbites.com but I adapted to my own preferences. http://ourbestbites.com/2011/09/how-to-make-homemade-fruit-roll-ups/

  • Add 3 cups of fresh fruit (any combination) and 3 Tbsp agave nectar or honey to a blender or food processor. Blend into a puree
  • Cover a baking sheet with freezer paper (shiny side up) and spray with cooking spray
  • Pour puree over the paper and flatten and even out with a spatula
  • Bake in a 170 degree oven for 6-8 hours, until completely dried out
  • Cut into strips and roll up.  Secure with a piece of double sided tape at the top
  • Store in an air tight container


Jazzed Up Chex Mix 

  • Melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave and add 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder (if you like a stronger flavor your can add 2 tsp of onion and garlic powder), stir to combine. 
  • In a very large bowl add 1 box of the corn chex, 1 box of rice chex, 1 box of golden grahams, 1 bag of plain goldfish crackers, 1 bag of cheddar goldfish crackers and 1 bag of pretzel goldfish crackers. Stir to mix up
  • Pour the sauce over the crackers and stir to evenly coat
  • Pour out on 2 baking sheets and bake in a degree oven for 25 (stiring every 8 min to prevent burning
  • Turn out on a paper sack and let cool
  • Add a bag of banana chips and stir to mix. 
  • Store in zip lock bags. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Take the Cake Tips and Tricks



See Kristi's Facebook page for ordering info

And Follow her on Instagram @cakesbykristi_stl

Basic Buttercream Frosting
*Cut recipe in half for sugar cookies
*Make full recipe for cupcakes & cake

½ stick softened butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
up to ¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract, clear
food coloring

1.     Mix butter, vanilla and powdered sugar in mixer with whisk attachment
2.     Add small amounts of water until you reach desired consistency

3.     Add color and mix until dispersed

Chocolate Frosting 
1. Melt 1 stick butter and stir in 2/3 cup cocoa powder

2. Transfer to mixing bowl
3. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla
4. Mix in up to 1/3 cup milk little bits at a time until you reach the desired 
texture. 




Marshmallow Fondant
1. Place 1 bag mini marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl with 1-2 tbsp water
2. Microwave for 30 sec. at time and stir until the marshmallows are mostly melted
3. With a spoon or your stand mixer and a dough hook beat in up to 1 lb of powdered sugar 

a cup at a time until it starts to come away from the sides of the bowl
4. Turn out onto counter and knead until smooth and springy, 
using powdered sugar if it starts to stick 
5. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside overnight
6. Knead in desired color and roll out to about 1/8 in thickness