Proud of Myself

It’s been a pretty good week. And a great cooking week.
My back and body hurt but I have no complaints. I feel accomplished and proud of myself.

This week we celebrate(d) two birthdays: P’s (hubby) and Little Miss (our daughter).

Both days I made special breakfasts. Wednesday we had Creamed Eggs on Toast. This morning I made French Toast, with a side of home fries, and their choice of bacon, sausage, or scrapple. (Sorry no recipes tonight, but maybe some other time). But what I’m most proud of is the cake I made for dessert tonight.

I haven’t done any baking in the last several years. I haven’t been able to–no oven, (screams), until…
Just before Thanksgiving we ordered a toaster oven. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, it just makes toast. But really they’ve come a long way. They make some models now where you can toast, bake, and broil. Unfortunately ours isn’t big enough to cook even a small turkey, but it works pretty well for pork loin, beef roast, individual pizzas, cookies, cupcakes/muffins, CAKE, and of course, toast.

Ok, so, back to the cake…
I haven’t baked a cake in at least a decade. And I hate to admit it, but I have never made one from scratch. (I make most everything else from scratch, so cut me some slack here).

I used a white cake mix, and baked two 8″ cakes, one at a time and cooled them as directed.
I had an almost full can of butter cream frosting or 2 cans of chocolate frosting to choose from. I used butter cream between the layers and topped it with chocolate (hubby’s fave). I decorated the sides with shredded sweetened coconut. Our son and I used plain M&Ms, coconut, rainbow sprinkles, and leftover cookie icing to decorate the top.

It may not look like something you’d order from a Cake Shop but this is the best looking cake I’ve ever made. In previous tries I hadn’t let the cake cool long enough and it was crumbling and blended with the frosting, which also melted and looked like… well… to put it nicely, a MESS.

So without further ado…

Top of Cake

Side of Cake

Creamed Eggs

It was my husband’s birthday a few days ago and I got the idea to make this for the family for brunch. It’s a recipe my mom used to make on occasion, when I was growing up. And I haven’t made it in several years; not since my son was an infant or toddler and he’s almost 10 now.

This is a great recipe. The sauce can be made for several different recipes.

Creamed Eggs on Toast              Serves 6

Creamed Eggs on Toast

1 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
salt & pepper to taste
6 eggs, hard cooked, diced (perfect recipe to follow)
2-3 slices of bread per person, toasted

In a 2-quart saucepan, on medium heat, melt butter. Cook until bubbly and beginning to brown.
Add flour, whisk together with the butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown.
Whisk in milk, and turn heat up slightly. Keep whisking, it will start to thicken, DO NOT STOP whisking; turn down heat to medium.
Add in diced, cooked eggs. Add salt & pepper to taste and remove from heat.
Serve over toast or over toast that’s been torn into small pieces.

VARIATIONS: For Chipped Beef sauce, omit eggs and replace with 2 packages of chopped dried beef (also known as chipped beef–see photo below). You will also want to omit the salt as the beef is salty.

Dried Beef aka Chipped Beef

For Biscuits and Gravy sauce: omit eggs and replace with 1 pound bulk sausage cooked, drained, crumbled. Again, omitting salt as sausage is salty. Serve over warm biscuits.

The ‘recipe’ for Hard Cooked Eggs comes straight from America’s Test Kitchen.

Hard Cooked Eggs

Eggs
Water

Place 6-8 eggs in a 2-quart saucepan. Fill pan with cold water until eggs are covered.
Bring water to a boil; remove from heat and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

*Note from ATK: “We finally got our foolproof boiled egg recipe by tinkering just a little with a technique recommended by the American Egg Board: Start the eggs in cold water, bring the water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs sit for 15 minutes. Our tests showed that 10 minutes of sitting time was enough; our tasters agreed that these were perfectly cooked eggs.”

Momma’s Kickin’ Chicken Noodles

My kids have named some of my recipes, this being one of them.

DawnsKickinChickenNoodles

12 oz bag of egg noodles
8 chicken cutlets, cooked, cut into chunks
2 (14.5 oz) cans Cream of Mushroom OR Cream of Chicken Soup
1 1/2 can (use empty soup can) milk
1/3 (use empty soup can) water
6 dashes low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp celery salt
black pepper. to taste
1 (14.5 oz) can cut green beans, drained
3 or 4 oz. Utz RED HOT flavored potato chips, crumbled

Cook noodles as directed on package; drain & set aside.
Meanwhile cook chicken until cooked through; set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, on medium heat, add soup, milk, water; mix well. Add spices and soy sauce; stir to mix.
Add green beans, chicken & noodles, stirring well to coat. Add crumbled chips, stir and heat through. Serve warm.

Variation: Cook a large onion & 3 diced celery stalks in butter, add to sauce with the green beans, and meat. Finally add the crumbled chips.

Creamy Cheesy Mexican Chicken w/ Onions & Peppers over Rice

I like to experiment in the kitchen. This recipe was an instant hit with my family.
It’s yummy and filling.

 

4 bone/skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cubed
1 to 2 cups of white rice, cooked
2 (14.75 oz/418g) cans cream of chicken soup
water (2 1/2 cups–I filled an empty soup can about 1 1/2 times)
4 oz. sour cream
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 cup Mild Taco Sauce (may use medium/hot if desired–use more or less to suit your taste)
1 (14 oz/397 g) pkg. peppers & onion stir-fry veggies

Cook rice as directed; cover & set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, cook chicken til no longer pink; drain & set aside.
In skillet, on medium-low heat, heat veggies through; remove & set aside.
In same skillet, add soup and water; mix well. Add taco sauce, sour cream, & cheese; stir until cheese is melted into the sauce. Re-add veggies and chicken pieces; heat through.
Serve chicken mixture over warm cooked rice.

Homemade Lasagna Skillet

An easy variation of an unhealthy, processed food, boxed meal. No “Helper” needed!
My kids LOVED this!!

Homemade Lasagna Skillet
1 lb. pkg Wide Egg Noodles OR Mafalda/Mafalde Pasta
1 lb. ground beef (85/15 lean)
1 (24oz) can Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp Chili powder
1/2 of a (24 oz) carton cottage cheese (4% milk fat)
1 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Garlic powder, Salt, & Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta as directed; drain & set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, cook ground beef; drain & set aside.
In same skillet on medium-low heat, add sauce, water, chili powder, & spices; stir to blend.
Add cottage cheese; stir to mix.
Add cooked ground beef and cooked pasta; mix well.
Add shredded mozzarella and milk. Stir and heat through until cheese is nicely melted. (It will be stringy)

Variation: Cook & drain 1 lb. ground bulk sausage. Mix sausage and ground beef together. Add to sauce and follow rest of the recipe.

“Taste of the Orient” Soup

A lot of my recipes are made as I go. I don’t usually measure things out when I cook–so measurements are guess-timated. I go by flavor & texture. I only measure when I bake. So my advice to you is go with your taste buds. If you like Chinese cashew chicken/pork/beef, you’ll like this.

 

6 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
3 stalks celery, sliced (if large, slice lengthwise & chop)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (you may use creamy–it’s just to add flavor)
3 dashes low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup mild chunky salsa
Leftover “Spicy Curry Rice” (recipe here)
1/2 to 2/3 cup long grain white rice, uncooked (depends how much rice you want in your soup)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a 2-qt saucepan (med-high heat) bring water, bouillon, oil, & celery to boil; reduce to medium heat.
Add celery & peanut butter stirring to blend & melt peanut butter.
Add soy sauce & salsa.
Add leftover curry rice & uncooked rice and bring soup back to a boil to cook rice & celery.
Stir in poultry seasoning & black pepper.
Serve.

Spicy Curry Rice

I don’t usually measure my rice (sorry), but here’s the recipe anyway.

 

Using a 2-qt saucepan:

4-6 cups of water
1 1/3 cups long grain white rice (4 cups cooked–estimated from 1/2 pan full)
8-10 dashes McCormick (non-spicy) Curry powder
1/2 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, partially drained
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook rice as directed making sure it’s not totally dry, but not too wet. (Water should be mostly absorbed into rice).
Add curry powder and stir well; rice will turn yellow.
Add tomatoes & mix well. Add salt & pepper to taste.
NOTE: This recipe is used in another recipe I made.