Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Candied Pretzels

Here is the perfect munchie for Halloween night to keep you from eating all the candy you are passing out to the Trick or Treaters! Even I am guilty of swiping all the grape candies from the candy bowl. But I make these to keep the rest of the family away from the chocolate candy bars! Make these in the morning. It takes minutes. Let them sit on the counter all day and harden. Hide them once the family gets home or they will disappear!

Halloween Candied Pretzels

3 cups of Pretzels

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup Reese's Pieces

1 cup Halloween M&Ms (or just the orange and brown ones)

Line a cookie sweet with Foil. I like to spray with cooking spray and then take a paper towel and wipe it away so it isn't greasy but the chocolate wont stick. Technically you don't need to but it's one of my many compulsions.

Line tray with pretzels. I like this brand because they are whole wheat and I can tell myself it's "healthy!"

In a microwave proof bowl, put one of the varieties of chocolate chips in and microwave for a minute and half on 60% power. It will look not completely melted. Stir and you will see it is perfect.

Drizzle with a spoon over the pretzels. Take half the candy and sprinkle over the first layer of drizzled chocolate.

Now melt the other variety and repeat the process. I like to really cover this last layer of chocolate with lots of candy.

Let cool at least two hours. Break apart and enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Another Potato Salad

"what's for dinner tonight?" I hear it every night. I usually in some boring manner spit out what I am cooking. Tonight I am making Just another Potato Salad. I can call it that because it is different every time I make it, no matter if one child requests it to be a certain way. It just depends on what I have on hand. If I am low on Mayo, it will be a Sour Cream Potato Salad (which is really tasty) no mayo at all, then German Potato Salad (which takes me back to a deli when I was a child. Add onions, olives and eggs and its The Fireman's Granny's Potatoes Salad (haven't made that one for you yet) and the possibilities are endless. I am a potato addict. I am easy to please as long as it is a potato. My family, not so easy to please.

Just Another Potato Salad

10 potatoes peeled, cubed
1/2 cup light mayo
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 hard boiled eggs diced
2 dill pickle spears diced (or 1 TB relish)
1 TB sweet pickle relish
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB yellow mustard
1 stalk celery diced
1 green onion diced
1/2 cup red onion diced
salt and pepper to taste

boil your potatoes in SALTY water until fork tender
in a very large bowl start mixing the rest of the ingredients. Mayo
Notice I am using light may hoping that the calories will make a difference for the mound of potatoes that will end up on my plate. Somehow I will make an excuse "how did I scoop so much?"
Light sour cream, again, same excuse...
really after all the STUFF I put in this potato salad you really do not notice that you used light products though
Three eggs. This is a science after all and two eggs would be too little and four eggs too much.
There is no pretty way to cut up eggs. I have tried every way possible. It is ugly.
Into the party bowl
I like the chunks of the dill pickle as opposed to the relish. But only for the dill.
This doesnt hold true for the sweet relish. But I need both. Dont ask why.
The Tortured Teenager likes potato salad with yellow mustard. So yellow mustard she will have.
She doesnt know that I will have Grey Poupon too. I feel snobby saying it.
And because I for some reason have celery in my frig, we will have some in this salad. It makes The Fireman happy.
I have found the key to really good potato salad is HOT potatoes. When I younger trying to learn my way around the kitchen I thought you needed to let them cool off (mayo...eggs...make you sick....) anyways the hot potatoes and the sauce mixes and it does something magical. It makes me all mushy or maybe that is just my stomach growling. Mix it all right away
Oops red onion. I forgot the red onion!!! Dice some up. You only need 1/2 cup

ya baby!!!
taste it!!!! quality control.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beef Stew Over Mashed Potatoes

Yes...Stew over mashed potatoes. My kids don't really like the way potatoes taste when they have been cooking all day in a crock pot. I love it but the kids...not so much and especially The Ballplayer. Since The Ballplayer is the only child at home right now (The Tortured Teenager is off at college and when she hears I made my mashed potatoes I might get in trouble) and he is the pickiest of eaters. I feel the need to keep the boy nourished. And to be honest who doesn't like creamy potatoes with stew over them?

I grew up eating stew. Although I am not entirely sure my grandmother ever put alcohol in it. She may...or not. I never paid attention. I just ate it. But anyways, stews were something we ate because it was cheap. They fed an army. And my family was an army. There was always uncles and cousins and great aunts over. More importantly there was always dessert. But now I have gotten off topic. My family does that to me.

Even better is that this meal is a two for one. I have enclosed a leftover soup meal.

Beef Stew Over Mashed Potatoes

1 pound stew meat
1 bottle dark beer (honestly I grabbed so I dont even know what I have)
1 carton beef stock
2 TB thick Worcestershire sauce (only because The Fireman grabbed the thick-reg works)
3 ribs of celery (halved)
3 carrots (halved)
1 onion quartered
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2-1 cup flour
2-3 TB oil
salt and pepper
lawrys season salt

Mashed Potatoes
10 potatoes peeled and chopped
1 cube light cream cheese
1/2 cup light butter
1 cup milk
salt and pepper

I always start with 1/2 cup of flour and if I need more then I will go for more. There are only three of us eating so about a pound of meat is fine. If there were five to six of us I would get to pounds and double everything.
I use an old cake pan. Season the flour with about a tsp seasoned salt and same of pepper. Stir it up with a fork.
I quartered the onions but left the ends on and then took the paper off. This will help them stay together in the crockpot. If your kids dont dig the onions this is how you keep them happy and keep the adults happy.
Look Ma! No papers!!
We are going to do a quick dusting of the flour and dump it into a HOT pan that has a couple TB of oil heated up
Put some of the meat and a couple of the onions in the pan. Do not put all the meat in the pan. Over crowding is bad even for food.
Flip when you get this brown crusty yummy good stuff.
Make sure you do that to all the sides of the meat and onions
Just stack on a plate and keep cooking

Dont wash this pan! This is flavor!!!
Now add the veggies. I halved the veggies so we dont get mushy veggies.
Salt and pepper the veggies. You'll thank me later. Cook just until they get some flavor on them. Really they are not getting soft. They are HUGE.
Add them to the pile with the meat.
I sometimes crave chopping garlic. I know, it's a little weird.
Add the garlic to the pan. Let it cook just a minute
Then add the Beer and since it is just barely noon resist the urge to drink it even though it is 5:00 some where ;)
It will smell good. Garlic and alcohol always does.
Add the Worcestershire Sauces. Now it really smells good
And Thyme. I need some time...I mean thyme..I am such a dork somethymes (and I crack myself up)
Smell it. Ok enough. Into the pot!!!
Everybody into the jacuzzi!! I mean crock pot!
Add the beef stock just until you cover the meat. You are not looking for soup.
Little more...
That looks better! Cover and cook on low for a good four hours. The flour you used to fry the meat will make a nice gravy.
Now for The Tortured Teenager's favorite part...Mashed Potatoes. You may not want to know what I really put in my mashed potatoes. I mean this really is not good for any diet so if you are dieting now is when you advert your eyes.

Mashed Potatoes
10 potatoes peeled and chopped
1 cube light cream cheese
1/2 cup light butter
1 cup milk
salt and pepper

In salted (really salted) water boil ten potatoes until they are FORK tender.
Add one block of LIGHT (hey I am trying to lose weight here) cream cheese
1/2 cup LIGHT margarine
mash until smooth and add 1 cup of milk
Season with salt and pepper
Now look at this stew! The veggies are not mush!
Serve on a heap of mashed potatoes and with plenty of gravy


Beef Noodle Vegetable Soup

This is all that was left from last night's stew. There might be three or four pieces of meat and carrots but what I can tell you is this is the making of a really good soup.

Yank out all the carrots and meat. Everything else is done and dismissed.
In a pan add some celery (I am just cooking for two) and the meat
Add whatever stock you have. I have 1/2 carton from last night and 1/2 carton from another night.Bring to a boil and add egg noodles

About a cup
Once tender add the carrots back to the pan. They are cooked, they just need to warm up. and add frozen cornJust let it all simmer a couple minutes and serve. We got distracted with Miss Emma. It was her last night with us. I sure do miss her. You can see her still sprinkled throughout the blogs posts.

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