Susan recently asked a few questions about cooking styles, and I thought this might be fun to explore. Feel free to answer these questions also, either here or on your own blog.
So what kind of cook are you? Meat-and-potatoes? Gourmet? Or somewhere in between?
More “meat and potatoes” than gourmet, though my family likes a lot of casseroles, too. My husband and I have commented that the more “gourmet” a meal is at a restaurant or banquet, the more the salad looks like someone went out into the back yard and picked weeds. 🙂
What’s your favorite cookbook/cooking magazine?
Some of my favorite cookbooks are ones put together by churches or groups — real tried and true recipes from people I know. I’ve worn out my 1979 edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook. I’ve thought about replacing it, but I don’t know if the newer versions would have the recipes I most use. I guess I could cut them out of the old one, though. I also loved Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step By Step Cookbook. It was a lifesaver those early years — had pictures and explanations for the basic steps for several techniques and procedures.
I love Taste of Home magazine and it’s spin-offs: Cooking for 2 (I started getting this when my older kids started being away so much with youth group and work and then college. My husband and I found ourselves alone for dinner except for Jesse, who doesn’t eat much at one sitting, and I had forgotten how to cook for just two or three) and Simple and Delicious (used to be called Quick Cooking — I liked that better).
What is usually in your pantry, your staple ingredients that you can’t do without?
Well, all the usuals: flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda and powder, vanilla, cinnamon and other baking spices, oregano, basil, minced onion, garlic powder, chili powder, Pam spray, tomato sauce, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, ramen noodles, tomato and other soups, canned green beans, Veg-all, canned spaghetti and meatballs (I often have that for a quick lunch if we don’t have any left-overs that I like), canned chili, tuna, “lite” canned peaches and pears, oatmeal, cream of wheat, granola bars, Corn Chex (my cereal) and Reese’s Peanut Butter cereal (Jim’s), decaf tea bags, coffee, boxed mac and cheese, Rice-a-roni (I could do without the last two, but they do come in handy for quick side dishes). In the frig: milk, OJ, apple juice, margarine, cinnamon butter, Miracle Whip, honey mustard, sliced ham, various cheeses (we’re a cheesy family 😀 ), ranch dressing (Jesse lives on this stuff — uses it on most everything, even scrambled eggs), Catalina, Thousand Island, and Italian salad dressings, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, eggs, fruits and veggies, hot dogs. In the freezer: ground turkey, chicken, frozen corn, Hot Pocket subs (kids like those for Saturday lunches or Sunday evenings), ice cream, hash browns.
What is your favorite type of dish to cook: main dish, sides, breads, desserts?
It kind of depends on the day and event, but probably mostly desserts.
Do you have a signature recipe, one that everyone knows you for?
Probably Veggie Pizza (an appetizer or munchie, not really a meal pizza) or Pudding Chip cookies or Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies. I bring these most often to pot-lucks or get-togethers. I’ve posted the Pudding Chip recipe before, but it is buried at the end of a longer post, so I’ll put it and the other two at the end.
What’s your favorite appliance or gadget that you couldn’t get along without?
Probably my microwave. I depend on it a lot. I’m also partial to my little hand mixer and Salad Shooter.
And finally, what is your husband’s favorite recipe that you fix? You know, the one that says “I love you – this is especially for you!”
I just asked him. 🙂 He said spaghetti, homemade lasagna, and hamburger stroganoff. Over all he’s pretty easy to please. He likes a lot of things and is just as happy with tuna sandwiches and soup (last night’s meal) as something fancier. Sometimes I feel like I am cheating or wimping out or failing my family when I just throw together sandwiches for dinner, and I’m surprised when they walk in and say, “Oh, sandwiches! Good!” I do know that, though he appreciates my efforts at fancy or specialized meals, he’d rather have something simple and good than something that’s going to leave me stressed and frazzled and wiped out.
Here are those recipes:
Pudding Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pkg. (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine butter, sugars, pudding mix, and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs. Mix flour with baking soda. and gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chips. Drop from teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes (mine usually take 10-12 minutes). I used to add chocolate chunks or miniature Hershey’s kisses just for something different, but I haven’t been able to find those lately.
Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
I kind of adapted this when I was trying to find a recipe that came close to the peanut butter cookies at the Great American Cookie Company place at the mall. This is basically a peanut butter cookie recipe, but it’s not mashed down with a fork and it has peanut butter chips added. Because I love chocolate and peanut butter together, I also added chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. margarine, softened
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. or more semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup or more peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 375. Mix flour and baking soda. Beat margarine and peanut butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well-blended. On low speed or by hand gradually add flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Add chips and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until browned. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute before removing to cool completely.
2 8-oz. packages refrigerated crescent rolls
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. minced onion
1 1/2 c. each fresh chopped cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots
1 1/2 c. grated mild cheddar cheese
Roll out crescents rolls onto a 15 x 10 inch baking sheet; seal seams. Bake 15 minutes at 375 or until browned. Cool. Mix cream cheese, mayo or Miracle Whip, dill, garlic powder, onion. Spread over crust; sprinkle with vegetables and cheese and press down slightly. Refrigerate for two hours before serving. Cut into small squares.
The vegetables listed are my favorites to use, but others could be substituted or added, such as sprouts, celery, radishes, peas, etc.