Saturday, March 24, 2012

Balls of Meat. Really, that's what they are.

We are literal folk.

A couple weeks ago we made P-Dub's Comfort Meatballs (p. 172). Sometimes meatball recipes can be quite involved, but this recipe is rather simple and produces very tasty results.

We combined ground beef, oats, milk, salt and garlic powder. Ree's recipe called for minced onion, which we did not have on hand, and garlic powder is our go-to substitute. Out of celery seed? Try garlic powder. Out of seasoning salt? Try garlic powder. Out of sugar? Try garlic powder. It's like magic, really. Did we mention we're a literal folk?

Next we rolled the meat mixture into small balls, placing them onto a baking sheet. We put this into the refrigerator to chill. The chilling helps the meatballs hold their shape for the upcoming steps.

Later, we dredged them in flour and placed them in a large skillet to brown. At this point, you do not have to cook them all the way through, as they'll finish the cooking process in the oven.

These were transferred into a large baking dish.

Next we mixed together our special sauce which included ketchup, sugar, more garlic powder, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and several dashes of Tabasco. And, really, we did use sugar and garlic powder. Again, substituting garlic powder for minced onion.

The sauce was spooned over the waiting meatballs. The dish was put into the oven at 350-degrees for 45 minutes.

We highly recommend this recipe. It definitely lives up to its name for comfort food.

Happily full,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Humble...We mean, Crumble Pie

Many moons ago, we made Ree's Flat Apple Pie (p. 216). We are just now getting around to telling you about this delicious concoction. If you have her book, and you compare her photos to ours...oh my. You will find that our crust is much more crumbly than hers. Thankfully, it tasted very good.

We started by rolling out a frozen pie crust. This crust was the remaining half from Ree's Perfect Pie Crust, which we somehow made quite imperfectly.

Next, Uncle He-Man impressed us with his manly apple-peeling skills.

The apples were diced into smaller pieces.

They were mixed with lemon juice, flour, white and brown sugars and salt.

We then attempted (used very loosely) to fold the edges of the crust up and around the apple mixture. Instead of neat folds, it looked more like a tiny bulldozer had moved miniature boulders to create tiny piles of dough and apple. The perfectionists in us were absolutely miserable, but it was so ridiculous-looking, we had to laugh.

Our Quasimodo was placed in the oven at 375-degrees for approximately 30 minutes. While our little hunchback isn't a beauty, he still tasted good. He was just rustic, and just right.

Happily full,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Funeral Food

Well, in all seriousness, this recipe really was prepared to accommodate our relatives following a family funeral. We just could not think of a better title.

Our dear Papa Bob passed away unexpectedly in January. We spent several extra days after the funeral baking and cooking for the relatives living in his hometown. We relished the time we were able to spend with our family by relaxing and helping through our cooking.

We decided Ree's Chicken Spaghetti (p. 130) would be the perfect comfort food to prepare. We had been busy cooking all day, so this dish had to wait until about 10:00 p.m. We'll just say that's the reason we didn't use a whole was late...not that we're squeamish about handling a whole chicken. It was late. Got that? Good.

We began by dicing very un-threatening chicken breasts, and sauteing the meat in a skillet.

Next we diced green pepper, a small onion and added a small jar of pimentos to the mix.

We prepared our pasta.

Once the pasta was done, we placed it in a dish and mixed it with two cans of cream of mushroom soup and a whole lotta cheddar cheese. That's how much: a whole lotta.

See the red spoon in the above photo? Yeah, we broke it. How? Well, it was just a left-over large, plastic spoon you might use at a picnic. We are starting a "Replace Queenie's Spoon Fund" if you would care to donate. Queenie is Jo's mother. And we love her dearly. She is an incredibly organized and put-together woman, yet she doesn't care a lick about cooking. She does a fine job at cooking; she simply doesn't care about replacing a plastic, red spoon.

Next we added our veggies to the pasta mix. Also added was the cooked chicken and chicken broth.

The entire dish was seasoned with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning. Ree's recipe calls for cayenne pepper, of which we did not have on hand, so Old Bay came to the rescue. This was stirred together, and we oohed and ahhed over the pretty colors. Maybe we were just a little delirious from being tired, but it really is a colorful dish.

All of this was poured into a rectangular baking dish and topped with more cheddar cheese. This baked at 350-degrees for approximately 40 minutes. We highly recommend trying this dish, whether you use a whole chicken or wimpy chicken breasts, like we did. And, boy, did it make for a really nice snack at 11:00 p.m.

Happily full,