7/2/09

For the Love of Cookbooks and Meal Plan for July 6th - 12th

I truly only have two hobbies. Y’all know that one, of course, is cooking! But, I don’t sew, knit, paint, scrapbook, or weave baskets. So, in the hobby department, other than cooking, I read. That’s it. I so strongly identify with the slogan you see printed on book bags and mugs at Barnes and Noble - “So many books, so little time!” I'm sure there are many other activities I would enjoy, but I've never been willing to give up reading time to pursue any of them. So, I read - and cook!

One of my favorite kind of books to read is cookbooks! I can spend hours leafing through a cookbook’s pages, dreaming of all the great meals I’m going to prepare for my family, thinking of which recipes will be well-liked by each family member.

Cookbook reading is a love I learned from my mother-in-law. When a new cookbook came to her attention, she’d pick up a copy for herself - and one for me, too! I fondly recall many sweet times of sitting with my mother-in-law in her den, perusing recipes and talking about how delicious each dish sounded. My mother-in-law wasn’t a big cook herself. She was perfectly capable. She was a very talented and intelligent lady. She just didn’t have the love for cooking that many people, like me, do. As I look back on it, I realize how wise she was to show an interest in something she knew I liked. Because food and cooking are endless subjects, we always had something to talk about.

My mother-in-law taught me many things through the years. Only now that I am a mother of an older son myself, can I begin to appreciate how she so graciously "stepped aside," allowing me to take over most of the duties with Larry that had before been hers. I'm sure she had plenty of concerns over leaving her child in the hands of such a naive, young lady, but she never let it show. Of all the things I learned from her, the most important thing was how to be a wonderful mother-in-law. I will be doing very well, if I am half as successful at it with Logan’s wife, as she was with me.

It has been a great month for a cookbook-lover like me. Different members of my family have given me five new cookbooks in the last few weeks! I told you all about the three cookbooks Larry got for me - the one from Priester’s Pecans, the Baptist Memorial Hospital’s Relay for Life Cookbook, and Robert St. John and Wyatt Water's
Southern Seasons. I also told you about the great new First United Methodist Building Fund Cookbook Aunt Jean gave me. But, I haven’t told you about the lovely cookbook Leigh Ann and Brendan gave me for my birthday, Come to the Table - Food, Fellowship, and a Celebration of God’s Bounty. Isn’t that a great title?! It’s an absolutely gorgeous coffee table-sized cookbook. The photography is outstanding. The recipes are delicious, and the Christian spirit, with which all this is presented, just flows off its pages. I highly recommend that you get yourself one of these. It would make a lovely gift for a new bride, too! Leigh and Brendan always give me the perfect gift! Thanks, Y’all!!

This week I thought I’d allow all these new cookbooks to be my inspiration for my meal planning. I hope you’ll find a few dishes to add to your own meal plan, as well.

Don't forget to tidy your refrigerator,
and
sort through your coupons this week!!!


Monday - Garlic Shrimp over Angel Hair Pasta, Quick and Easy Caesar Salad and Garlic Bread

Garlic Shrimp inspired by Robert St. John and Wyatt Water’s
Southern Seasons. This book is available locally at:

Reed’s Bookstore

It is also available on-line through Barnes and Noble:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Southern-Seasons/Robert-St-John/e/9780972197236



Garlic Shrimp Over Angel Hair Pasta


2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning*
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
¾ cup chicken broth, divided
1 cup bottled Wishbone Italian dressing
½ stick cubed butter

Season the shrimp with the salt, seasoning, and pepper.

Prepare enough angel hair pasta for your family.

While the pasta is cooking, pour olive oil into a large heavy sauté pan. Place on high heat. When oil begins to smoke, carefully add the shrimp to the pan. Do not stir shrimp for about 3- 4 minutes. After this time has pasted, stir shrimp and add the garlic. Cook about 3 more minutes. Add ¼ cup of chicken broth. Allow this to almost completely cook away. Add the remain chicken broth and Italian dressing. Allow sauce to reach a simmer. Cook about 3 more minutes in the
simmering sauce. Add cubes of butter. Stir. Remove from the heat and add parsley. Serve immediately over hot pasta.

*Creole Season available at:
http://www.robertstjohn.com/store/13-robert-st-johns-creole-seasoning/

OR

Mix together:

½ cup Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (Larry is big on Lawry’s Seasoned Salt! He thinks it goes on everything!)
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Quick and Easy Caesar Salad


1 bag Romaine lettuce
1 bottle Caesar salad dressing
1 box of Caesar salad croutons
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse, and dry lettuce. Toss with desired amount of dressing, croutons (reserve a few for garnish) and half of Parmesan cheese. Place in salad bowls and garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese and a few croutons.
Serve immediately. (Croutons will get soggy.)


Garlic Bread - We like New York Lite Texas Toast.




Tuesday - Pizza Casserole, simple green salad, and Sour Cream Rolls


Casserole and rolls inspired by First Methodist Church’s Building Fund Cookbook, Nourishing Body and Soul. Copies are available at the church office. Their phone number is 489-3076. Some members and local businesses also have copies available.

Pizza Casserole

6 oz. fettuccine, broken
1 (3 ½ ounce package) sliced pepperoni, cut in half
1 (15 ½ oz.) jar pizza sauce
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1(2 ¼ oz.) can sliced black olives, drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to pan. Add pepperoni, pizza sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and olives to noodles. Pour into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until hot.

Sour Cream Rolls

2 sticks melted butter
2 cups sour cream
2 heaping cups self-rising flour
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and spray muffin pans.

Combine all ingredients and drop into greased muffin pans. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes.



Wednesday - Chicken-N-Skillet, Corn Salad, and Corn Bread Muffins

Recipes inspired by BMH- Relay for Life Cookbook,
Temptations Tried and True. My understanding is that this cookbook is sold-out. Be sure to register for the one we’re giving away!!

Chicken-N-Skillet

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
6 - 8 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
1 ½ soup cans of water

Lightly brown chicken in a large skillet. Remove chicken.
Mix together soup and water. Pour into skillet. Add potatoes and onions. Top with chicken. Cook, covered, over medium heat, until potatoes are done, 1 - 1 ½ hours. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Corn Salad

2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 tomato, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
Mayonnaise, to moisten
Celery seeds, optional

Mix all ingredients with enough mayonnaise to moisten all ingredients. Do not make it soupy. Sprinkle in celery seeds, if using.

Corn Bread Muffins

2 cups self-rising corn meal
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream-style corn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together all the ingredients, and spoon into muffin pan. Bake until golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes.



Thursday - Fantastic Fajitas and Mexican Salad


Fajita recipe inspired by Priester’s Presents Dining on the Victorian Veranda by Gene Westbrook. Get your copy by calling: 1-800-277-3226. Better yet, stop by Priester's Pecan if you're going through Ft. Deposit, AL!

Fantastic Fajitas

Marinade ingredients:

¼ cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Meat and veggies:

2 lbs. sirloin steak, sliced into long strips OR 2 lbs. chicken breasts, sliced into long strips Or a combination of steak and chicken
1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large onion, sliced into rings

Medium-sized flour tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste

Filling choices:

Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Re-fried beans, heated
Chopped tomatoes
Guacamole
Slice jalapeño peppers

In a large bowl, mix together marinade ingredients. Add meat and vegetables, tossing well to coat. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight. Try to stir a couple of times during marinating.

When it’s time to cook you fajitas, turn your oven on to about 250 degrees. Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in a warm oven for about 30 minutes.

Prepare filling ingredients and place in serving bowls.

When it’s time to cook the fajitas, pour the meat mixture into a colander and drain. Heat a heavy skillet, a cast iron one works well, until very hot, but not quite smoking. Test to see if skillet is ready by gently dropping a piece of beef into the skillet. The meat should sizzle. Add all the meat mixture, and stir-fry until the meat is done and the veggies are crisp-tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place mixture on a warm plate to serve. Allow each person to assemble their own fajitas!

To assemble:

Spoon a small amount of meat mixture down the center of each tortilla. Add filling ingredients of choice. Roll and eat!

Mexican Salad

1/2 head lettuce
1 cup shredded Co-jack cheese
1 med. onion, diced - optional
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can Mexican-style corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup crushed corn chips or tortilla chips
*Bottled ranch dressing to taste Combine all ingredients and toss. Serve immediately.
*Can use Catalina or Italian dressing, if you prefer.


Friday - Eat Out!!!


Saturday - Ham and Noodle Casserole, Sunshine Salad, and Cheesy Chive Muffins

Ham and Noodle Casserole and Sunshine Salad inspired by
Come to the Table - Food, Fellowship, and the Celebration of the Lord’s Bounty by Benita Long. This book is available locally at:

Reed’s Bookstore

It is available on-line from:

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Come-Table-Fellowship-Celebration-Bounty/dp/1401603858

Barnes and Noble:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=come+to+the+table+food+fellowship+and+a+celebration&box=Come%20to%20the%20Tabl&pos=0


Ham and Noodle Casserole


2 lbs. asparagus
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
1 ½ cups milk
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon of grated onion, or a bit of onion powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or dried flakes
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
4 cups chopped cubed ham (I will probably use 3 -4 of those tuna-sized cans of Hormel ham.)
8 ounces linguini, fettuccini, or egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
Paprika for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the asparagus into a boiler, cover with water, and add about a teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes or so. Pour into a colander and drain. Then, plunge into a bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking and helps retain the pretty green coloring of the asparagus.

In a sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir. Add grated onion. Cook for a couple of minutes, or so. Slowly add the half-and-half and chicken broth. Stir to blend well. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened. Add half of the cheddar and half of the Parmesan cheeses. Stir to blend and until cheeses are melted. Add lemon juice, mustard, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir well.

In a large bowl, combine cooked noodles, ham and sauce.

Spray a 9x13 with cooking spray. Place half the noodle mixture in bottom of baking dish. Top with cooked asparagus. Place remaining noodles on top of asparagus. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove from oven and top with remaining cheeses. Return to oven long enough to melt cheese.

Sunshine Salad

Dressing Ingredients:

1 cup corn oil
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

2 lb. bag of mixed salad greens which includes spinach
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
1 (14oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 bunch green onion, chopped

For dressing, whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For salad, gently toss all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing, and toss.

Cheesy Chive Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 cups self-rising flour
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fresh, or dried, chives
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
6 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled

Blend flour, cheese, and chives in a large mixing bowl.

Blend together eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter.

Make a well in the flour mixture. Add egg mixture. Blend just until everything is moist. Don’t over mix.

Spoon into muffin pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake until golden brown, 10 - 15 minutes.

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