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Seven Layer Salad

seven-layer-salad

Seven Layer Salad 

In a 9 x 13 dish place the following: 

  • 1 head chopped iceberg lettuce (1st layer) 

Combine:

  • ½ cup chopped celery (2nd layer)
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper (2nd layer)
  • ½ cup chopped green onion (2nd layer) 
  • 1 package frozen green peas, thawed (3th layer) 
  • ¾ cup sour cream mixed with ¾ cup mayonnaise (4th layer) 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (5th layer) 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (6th layer) 
  • 8 slices crumbled bacon – optional (7th layer) 

In the photo of my salad, I tired to get all fancy and place the salad in my trifle dish.  It turned out pretty, but I think the ingredients are more evenly placed in the 9 x 13 dish the original recipe instructs.   

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fried-chicken

Fried Chicken Tenders

You will need:

  • 2 pounds fresh chicken tenders
  • Salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ cups Ritz cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons Lowry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun spice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

Fried chicken is better when made from fresh, not frozen chicken. Remove fresh chicken tenders from package (I’ve also used the chicken breast and cut my own tenders). Rinse chicken and place in a bowl of water along with 2-3 Tablespoons salt. Soak chicken 30-60 minutes. Pour water off chicken and rinse again. Return chicken to bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let chicken soak in buttermilk at least 30 minutes. Place chicken in refrigerator while soaking in salt water and buttermilk.

While chicken soaks, prepare the breading. Crush the crackers, and then add the flour, all the seasonings, mixing well. Sometimes, I will place the breading in a zip-lock bag to coat the chicken. Sometimes I simply toss chicken with the breading in a large bowl. Either way, the some of the buttermilk needs to be drained off the chicken before the breading takes place. Also, place only 4-6 tenders at a time in the breading. Too many tenders at once are harder to coat. I like to lay the breaded tenders on paper towels as I continue breading and begin frying.

I use a fryer that has a metal basket, along with a thermostat. I fill the fryer up to the maximum oil line. Then I preheat the fryer to 400 degrees. When oil is hot, I add 4-6 tenders to the basket and fry for about 6 minutes, or until the breading is golden brown, but not overdone. If the tenders are very thick, I like to cut into the thickest ones to test for doneness. Sometimes the tenders must be fried a little longer. Remember, pink chicken is not very healthy.

Remove cooked tenders from fryer basket and drain/cool them on clean paper towels. Transfer to your favorite platter when all tenders are ready to serve. See this platter – it belonged to my husband’s grandmother. My mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas this year. This was the first meal served on it in our home.

Our children love all types of dipping sauces. These tenders are excellent served with Jezebel sauce. Other favorites are honey mustard dressing, ranch dressing, and barbeque sauce.

You will make many friends when you serve these tenders.

jezebel-sauce1

Jezebel Sauce

What in the world is Jezebel sauce? Well- its zippy, its zesty, and its zingy! And it peps up a lot of fried meats and boring dried beans.

Mix together and store in Rubbermaid or Tupperware bowl:

  • 1 pint apple jelly
  • 1 pint pineapple or peach preserves
  • ¼ cup horseradish
  • ½ cup mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

Mix well, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve as a dipping sauce for fried chicken, shrimp, or fish. This sauce is also tasty served with pinto beans, navy beans, crowder peas, or black eyed peas. Keeps up to 4 weeks in refrigerator.

Stromboli

stromboli3

Stromboli

It’s almost time to ring in a new year. I don’t know about you, but we’ve all had our fill of the traditional dishes like turkey and dressing, ham, rolls, heavy casseroles, and numerous desserts that now hang on our hips and thighs. We will be hosting a New Year’s Eve party at our home for our oldest son and his friends this year. This week, I will be sharing some recipes for our New Year’s Eve menu. Today, I give you the Stromboli.

This is so quick and easy and yet it’s one of those dishes your guests will think you spent a lot of time preparing. The first time I had this dish was at our church life group meeting. I still refer to it as Gina’s Stromboli, since this was her treat for our group to enjoy.

What you will need:

  • 1 tube Pillsbury French Loaf dough
  • 2 cups of shredded Italian or Mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ pound thin sliced deli pepperoni or salami
  • ½ pound thin sliced deli smoked turkey
  • ½ pound thin sliced deli ham
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or baking pan.

Open tube and remove dough, handling carefully. Find seam in dough and gently unroll the loaf of French dough on the greased pan. The dough should cover about a 12×8 area once it is unrolled.

Take slices of turkey and cover the entire surface of the dough. Repeat with the ham slices. Place pepperoni mainly in the middle area of the rectangle. If you really love pepperoni cover the entire rectangle.

Cover meats with the shredded Italian cheese.

Sprinkle 1-2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning (Oregano/Basil blend)

Starting on the long edge of dough, carefully begin rolling the dough toward opposite long edge. Pinch ends of dough together. Cut 3-4 slits on top of the Stromboli roll with a sharp knife.  (In the photo below, I formed a circle with the rolled up Stromboli to resemble a wreath for Christmas).

Place Stromboli in preheated oven. Cook until crust is golden brown, but not over done. This takes about 20 minutes in my oven, but ovens do vary a bit.stromboli

When Stromboli is brown, remove from oven and garnish top with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Let cool slightly. Transfer to your favorite serving platter. Cut into 1” slices to serve.

Variations:

Use other combinations of meats and cheese. My sons like double ham with cheddar cheese. We’ve also used Boar’s Head Salsalita Chicken with Montery Jack cheese and a dash of chili powder. This could easily become a vegetarian dish made with cheeses and veggies like spinach, mushrooms, onions, red and green peppers, black olives, or even zucchini

How to Brine a Turkey

How to Brine a Turkey 
 

This is my first year to brine a turkey.  I used the largest pot I have – it probably holds at least 3 gallons of water.  You can buy the brining bags at the grocery during the holiday season.  Since I think it’s ridiculous to pay the price Kroger was asking for theirs, I simply let my turkey soak in that huge pot that I used to make the brine.  

In huge pot add: turkey-brine-2

  • 2 gallons water (I filtered mine – but I’m an O/C type)
  • Zest of one orange + slices of remaining orange
  • Zest of one lemon + slices of remaining lemon
  • 1 package fresh rosemary (from Kroger produce section)
  • 1 package fresh thyme (from Kroger produce section)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 apple cut and diced
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups of salt
  • Toss in a few peppercorns if you have them
  • 4-5 bay leaves 

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat immediately, cover, and allow mixture to come to room temperature. Cool mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to brine (I’m always in a hurry and added some ice to the brine).

To brine the turkey, remove turkey from wrapper, remove gross bags, and rinse thoroughly under cool water. Place the turkey into a plastic brining bag OR a very large pot. Pour cool brine mixture over the top, adding extra cold water if you need more to cover. Seal bag or cover pot and allow turkey to brine in refrigerator for 8 to 18 hours before roasting.

Before roasting, remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry. Discard brine.

When you brine your turkey, the drippings are quite salty. For this reason, it is VERY important that you use a no-sodium (or low-sodium) chicken broth when you make the turkey gravy.

Many frozen turkeys are injected with a sodium solution—it’s best NOT to brine these turkeys! Brining fresh turkeys for best results

Mother-In-Law’s Boiled Custard

boiled-custard

Mother-In-Law’s Boiled Custard 

What’s the difference between egg nog and boiled custard??  I’ve often thought of egg nog as a northern drink, and of boiled custard being the southern choice.  I’ve been told that egg nog is the “spirited” drink.  After researching this topic I’ve found that both these holiday drinks are frequently spiked. 

Here’s what Yahoo Answers has to say about the difference between egg nog and boiled custard- for what it’s worth:

Traditionally egg nog is raw and not cooked at all! Custard also has a thicker consistency and the eggs have been tempered and slightly cooked. Traditional egg nog is very fluffy due to the beaten egg whites and the folding of cream. So to sum it up-the differences are texture and one is not cooked and the other is. Plus one will get you drunk faster. 

I’d also like to set the record straight – my mother-in-law never spiked her boiled custard! Also, I don’t really care for boiled custard at all.  I have bad memories of bad custard days of my youth – custard too thick to choke down, full of lumps and bumps.  However, if I’d been started young on my mother-in-law’s custard – I think I could have been won over to this southern tradition.  Hers is the best I’ve ever tasted – not too sweet, not too thick, and never, ever lumpy.  Finally the taste of orange tickles the tongue, complimenting the sweetness.  Are you ready to make some real stuff?? 

You will need: 

  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt
  • Rind of one orange
  • Double boiler
  • Whipped cream
  • Nutmeg or Cinnamon 

In large bowl combine milk and sugar, whisking to blend.

In small bowl, beat 3 eggs until fluffy.  Strain beaten eggs in a mesh strainer, set aside. 

Heat water in bottom pan to a double boiler until it begins to boil.  Then put the milk and sugar mixture into the top pan of the double boiler.  Stir frequently until milk mixture is pretty warm – but not boiling.  Then add the strained eggs to the heated milk and sugar.  Add the rind of one orange.  Continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken slightly.  When mixture coats a silver spoon – remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Add a dash of salt to the boiled custard.  Taste the custard.  Remove the orange rind. When boiled custard has cooled, place in refrigerator.  Serve chilled in pretty glass.  Garnish with whipped cream, and nutmeg or cinnamon.

hashbrown-and-pie

Christmas Country Breakfast Pie 

1 deep dish pie crust – unbaked 

Place the following in unbaked pie crustbreakfast-pie

  • 1 pound pork sausage – crumbled, browned, and drained
  • ¼ cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup light cream 

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and set.

 

Hashbrown Casserole

Place in a 9×13 greased baking dish:

  • 1 bag Ore Ida frozen shredded hash brown potatoes hashbrown-casserole

In large bowl mix:

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • ½ stick melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons minced dried onion flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese 

Pour liquid/cheese mixture over hash browns.  Stir slightly.  Place in preheated 400 degree oven.  Bake about 45 minutes, or until top of casserole is golden brown. 

This make a lot and can be easily divided and placed into 2 9×9 dishes.  One can be frozen and thawed later for cooking.

sticky-buns

If you don’t have time to make Better Cinnamon Rolls, this recipe is the next best thing to serve on Christmas morning.  I got this recipe a long time ago from my dear friend Betsy.  Hi Betsy!  Although there are no pictures to post yet, I wanted to give the recipe so you could get all the ingredients when you make that last grocery store run.  Sometimes the Cook N Serve Butterscotch Jello Pudding is hard to find close to Christmas. 

1 pkg. frozen dough balls (15 count)sticky-buns-before-cooking
1 pkg, butterscotch pudding, NOT instant
1 stick real butter
¾ cup brown sugar
cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
On Christmas Eve:
Butter a bundt pan
Layer One: Sprinkle cinnamon in bottom of pan
Layer Two: Add chopped pecans
Layer Three: Add Dough Balls
Layer Four: Sprinkle dry pudding mix over dough
Layer Five: Melt butter and sugar. Pour over top.
Let prepared dough set out all night uncovered. Christmas morning bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, placing a plate or round serving platter on top of bundt pan.  Flip pan to release sticky buns. Caution – it’s hot and sticky.  Serve while warm.  Faint and repeat.