Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Favorite recipes from 2013

I’m always a little surprised when I read back over a year’s worth of food columns. 
There are always recipes I have forgotten, such as a white pizza that my husband and I loved so much this past spring and Resurrection, or empty tomb, rolls that I wrote about at Easter. So many of you told me how much you enjoyed the very simple Resurrection rolls, that symbolize the empty tomb of Christ. Some said they made the rolls as a project with church youth groups.
Those two recipes are among my favorites of 2013, but there are a few more I want to remind you about as well.
Remember the baked mozzarella sticks from January? There are so easy to make. Just roll egg roll wrappers around a mozzarella cheese stick and bake. 
The sweet and sour meatballs that cook in the slow cooker were easy as well.
I have made the simple strawberry cake from May several times at my family’s request. That cake was also a reader favorite, so was the revival of Alma Barnes’ banana cake recipe and taco soup. I lost count of how many people stopped me at the grocery store or emailed me to say they had made that cake and easy soup!
I have made overnight oatmeal from Jamie Deen’s new cookbook many times since I did that food column in September. It’s a favorite of mine. I prepared it Monday night so I could have hot oatmeal on a very cold Tuesday morning.
The brisket recipe from my brother-in-law’s mother from this year has also become a favorite at my house. I’m no longer intimidated by that recipe.
And I was delighted with the response to my recipe for cheese biscuits. Mama would be so pleased to know that so many of you have tried her recipe, which has been a favorite of mine since childhood.  
So here are a few of my favorite recipes from 2013. I need to get busy cooking so I can fill my Wednesday pages in 2014 with yummy recipes as well!
lisa@wilsontimes.com | 265-7810

Elaine’s Brisket 
Beef brisket (3 to 5 pounds)
3 medium onions, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt or about half that amount of table salt
1 to 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
Pepper to taste
2 cups beef broth
3 carrots, sliced into large pieces
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
In a large pot, cook the onions in oil until soft, adding garlic towards the end. 
Trim fat from brisket. Cut into two pieces if too large to braise. Rub the meat with the combined salt, pepper and paprika and brown on all sides in a frying pan. Put meat into pot with onions and garlic. Add broth and carrots. Simmer, covered, over low flame for 2 hours or until meat is tender, turning meat once during cooking.
Remove the meat and allow to get cool enough to handle. Slice on the bias, or across the grain, trimming remaining fat.
Arrange meat in a baking dish (the deeper the better).
Before making the gravy, take out some of the carrots to serve with the beef. Blend together the gravy, onions and remaining carrots with the tomato sauce. (Immersion blender works well for this.)
Cover meat and carrots with the gravy, making sure all of the meat is covered.
Preferably, refrigerate overnight before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
If desired, parboil cut potatoes for 15 minutes and add to the meat and carrots for the final baking.
Elaine Hoffman
Notes: My brisket was a little larger than 5 pounds, and I did not alter the other ingredients. I cut some of the fat off before browning, but not very much because it’s very thick. I trimmed what was left as I sliced the beef. I used 2 to 3 cups of baby carrots and low-sodium beef broth. I have made the recipe several times. The first times I refrigerated several hours before baking; the last time I refrigerated overnight. I had excellent results both ways.

Night Before Steel-Cut Oatmeal
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups steel-cut oats
7 cups water
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt*
1 cup whole milk*
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the oats and toast them, while stirring, until they smell nice and nutty, about 3 minutes. Stir in 6 cups water and your salt and bring the oats to a boil. Once they’ve reached a boil, turn off the heat, give a final stir, cover with a lid and call it a night.
The next morning at breakfast time, remove the lid, stir in the milk and remaining cup of water and slowly bring the oats back up to a simmer, stirring well. Serve the oatmeal hot with whatever toppings you like. Cool down and wrap up any remaining oats in a covered container and place in your refrigerator. Reheat the oats in a saucepan or microwave (adding in a little milk if you’d like) for breakfast through the week.
“Good Food” 
*Notes: I used 1⁄4 teaspoon table salt and skim milk.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks
1 package Mozzarella string cheese (I will use 2 percent next time)
1 package egg roll wrappers (found in produce section)*
Olive oil
Marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place one egg roll wrapper on cookie sheet (line with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup). Position the wrapper so it looks like a diamond or kite. Brush a little water over wrapper.
Place cheese at the bottom point and roll to the halfway mark. Fold in corners and continue rolling. Brush olive oil over the wrapped cheese.
Repeat with remaining wrappers and cheese.
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes; turn after 5 minutes to brown on both sides.
Serve with marinara sauce.
*You can also use wonton wrappers, cutting cheese to fit.

Empty Tomb Rolls
Marshmallows (not miniature)
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar (I didn’t measure)
1 tube of refrigerated crescent rolls
Set out two small bowls. Place melted butter in one and cinnamon sugar in the other.
Dip a marshmallow in the melted butter then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat. Unroll a crescent roll. Place marshmallow on roll and bring up sides to cover. Pinch seams to seal, making sure no marshmallow is showing. Lightly pat the roll in your hands to form a ball and place in muffin cup of a muffin tin. Repeat with remaining rolls. I added a little cinnamon sugar on top of the rolls.
Bake according to instructions on crescent roll package.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs
24 to 28 ounces of frozen meatballs (I use turkey meatballs)
1⁄3 cup vinegar
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup brown sugar (I used 1⁄2 cup but will add a little more next time)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (or to taste)
1 16 oz. can pineapple chunks in natural syrup, undrained
1 large or 2 medium green peppers, cut in bite-size chunks
Pour meatballs into slow cooker (I use a liner.) No need to defrost.
In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch and soy sauce until smooth. Add in pineapple juice drained from can of pineapple (reserving the pineapple) and whisk until incorporated.
Add green pepper and pineapple chunks to slow cooker, then pour pineapple juice mixture over top.
Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.

Anna Banana  Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box banana cream instant pudding mix
2 mashed (very ripe) bananas
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄3 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour tube or Bundt cake pan. (I used Baker’s Joy spray instead.)
Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat 4 minutes on medium mixer speed.
Pour into prepared pan. Smooth in pan with spatula. Bake 50 minutes to one hour.*
Cool 15 minutes on cake rack before removing from pan.
Alma Barnes
*The late Alma Barnes called this cake Easy Banana Cake, but we renamed it Anna Banana Cake. My cake, cooked in a dark Bundt pan, was ready in about 50 minutes.

Mama’s cheese biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour
1⁄3 cup shortening
3⁄4 to 1 cup buttermilk
Cheddar cheese cut in chunks about the size of a peach seed or a little bigger
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine flour and shortening with pastry blender or by other means. (I use the same chopper that I use for green beans.) Add buttermilk, starting with 3⁄4 cup; mix with spoon or hands until dough forms in a ball. Knead a few times until smooth, adding buttermilk or flour if needed. Don’t overwork dough.
Scoop up dough about the size of a small peach. Flatten a little bit in your hand and place a chunk of cheese in the middle. Bring dough up over cheese to cover. Roll dough into a smooth ball. (Again, don’t overwork.) Flatten a little bit on one end and place on cookie sheet prepared with baking spray. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place pan in oven on one of the higher racks. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned. I usually turn on the broiler for about 30 seconds at the end of baking time for biscuits to brown, but watch carefully if you do this.
Makes 5 to 6 biscuits.

Simple Strawberry Cake
1 box yellow cake mix (and additional ingredients as required by directions)
1 quart strawberries, sliced
3⁄4 cup of sugar*
1 can cream cheese frosting
1 medium-size tub whipped topping
Cook cake in rectangular pan as directed on box.
When cake is done and cooled slightly, punch holes in it with a fork.
Combine strawberries and sugar and let sit until juice is formed. Pour the strawberry mixture over cake.
Mix cream cheese frosting and whipped topping. Spread on top of strawberries and cooled cake.
Rudd Strawberry Farm
* I only used about 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup sugar. My berries were at room temperature (picked about 30 minutes earlier) and made plenty of juice with that amount of sugar.

Taco Soup
1.3 pounds ground turkey (this is the weight on the brand I purchase; could vary either way)
1 small to medium onion, chopped
1 envelope taco seasoning (I use reduced sodium)
2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 14.5-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel mild)
1 14- to 15-ounce can corn (undrained)
Grated cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips
In large soup pot or Dutch oven, brown turkey with onion. About halfway through cook time, add in taco seasoning. Cook until turkey is cooked through.
Add in other ingredients and simmer for about an hour. If you want your soup thicker, cook longer or add in tomato sauce.
To serve, provide sour cream, grated cheese and tortilla chips for garnish.

White Pizza
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1⁄4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 (1-pound) Italian cheese-flavored pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced shallots*
1⁄2 cup finely chopped spinach
1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup thinly sliced plum tomatoes
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread cheese mixture over pizza crust, leaving a 1⁄2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle with basil and next 6 ingredients (basil through garlic powder). Arrange plum tomato slices in a single layer on top. Place pizza on baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes.
“My Recipes: America’s Favorite Food”
Originally from Cooking Light
*When I made the pizza, I omitted shallots, spinach, red pepper and garlic powder because I didn’t have them on hand and didn’t want to purchase anything else. I also used freshly grated parmesan cheese, which I already had. Next time, I will cut back on the black pepper.

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