March 24

Chinese Brown Rice Recipe

Chinese Brown Rice Recipe
Chinese Brown Rice with asparagus, onion, and red peppers

Ingredients:

Asparagus (3/4 lb or so) cut into small pieces about 1-2 inches
1 medium sized yellow onion
1/2 of a red pepper sliced thinly
Sriracha Sauce (to taste)
4 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
2 Teaspoons sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 heaping tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

Lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

(1) Cook the rice in a rice cooker.  If you have a steam tray, cook asparagus there at the same time.
(2) Saute onion and pepper in water in a large skillet.  If you didn’t pre-cook asparagus, throw that in the skillet too.  Cook until soft, adding water as needed to keep from sticking.
(3) In a saucepan, combine soy sauce, Sriracha Sauce (start with a few teaspoons), broth, molasses, sugar, ginger, and garlic.  Bring to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add arrowroot powder.  Allow to thicken slightly.  Turn off heat.
(4) Once veggies are softened, add rice to skillet then pour the brown sauce on top.
(5) Heat through and serve.   Additional Sriracha can be added if you prefer a little more kick.  A tablespoon or two of lemon juice can also be added for some zest.

Enjoy!

March 15

Country Ham Recipe

For many families it is tradition to bake ham for Easter so I thought I’d share the country ham recipe that I have used for many years.  It’s very simple and comes from a cookbook that was originally published in the 1920s and then updated in the 1950s.  Back then you could still buy a ham that was not fully cooked.  I think pretty much every ham you will see in the supermarket these days is already fully smoked and cooked and just requires reheating, however, I still follow this recipe as written because doing so brings down the saltiness of the meat.   We prefer it that way. Country Ham Recipe

First you’ll need to buy a ham.   And you may think they are all the same, but they are not.

Most meat distributors (I guess that’s what you’d call them) brine their hams by injecting them with a curing solution of water, salt, and sugar.  Most also contain phosphates and nitrites as well. Be aware if anyone in your dinner party has an allergy or sensitivity to those.

The amount of water that is in the ham determines its grade, and you’ll find the grade listed on the label.

If it just says “Ham,” it is the highest grade of ham available.  It will have the same texture and almost the same flavor as a pork chop. It’s not common to buy this kind of ham for a ham dinner so most supermarkets don’t even carry it.  It’s also very expensive.

If it says “Ham in natural juices,” it’s a bit of a lie.  Those juices are actually added water, which I guess is natural enough, just not natural to that ham. These hams are good and up there with the most popular.  They have a good taste and texture and that extra water that was added helps maintain the juiciness of the meat if you were to simply bake it.  We aren’t going to do that with this recipe though.

“Ham, water added” means that the percentage of added water in this grade will be stated on the label (usually in fine print). A ham that says “water added–15%” means it weighs 15% more than its raw weight because they’ve added that much water.

“Ham and water product” are the ones I would avoid.  If the amount of water exceeds 50%, the ham must be labeled “water and ham product,” since there is more water by weight than meat.  That means more than half of what you are paying for is just fluid that will drip away.  The price per pound is cheaper, yes, but you are not actually getting what you are paying for.   Go for the next grade up if you can.

I prefer to buy ham labeled ham in natural juices.  But any of these will work just fine.

You will also need a can of chunk or ringed pineapple in juice, some whole cloves, and brown sugar.

Instructions:

Optional:  Soak ham over night in cold water.   Drain, and rinse.  Then place in a stock pot of boiling water then lower to simmer and cook for 25 minutes per pound.  This is where you will reduce that saltiness.

Lift out of pot and remove the thick rind (but not all the fat beneath) that may remain on the ham.  Score the entire ham in a diagonal pattern.

Stud each diagonal with a clove.

Drain pineapple juice into a bowl and mix with brown sugar.   Pour over the ham.  Then sprinkle additional brown sugar all over the ham as well.

Optional:  Place pineapple rings all over ham before putting in the oven.  OR blend pineapple chunks with the brown sugar to make a thicker glaze.

Roast uncovered for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees F., basting as desired with the pan drippings.  It will turn a nice caramelized color and give a pleasant sweetness to the ham.  The cloves give it a bit of a counteracting bite.  Together it is pure gloriousness.

The tradition of serving ham with peas began because peas are typically planted in the ground as soon as you can move a bit of soil to bury the seed.  They grow even with snow still on the ground and often times were ready for picking right around the same time as Easter dinner prep.  Some years I grow mine.  Other years I don’t.  Either way, I still keep the peas with the dinner just because of the tradition of it.

This year I’ll be doing the same but I’m swapping out mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes.  We enjoy the flavor of the cauliflower more than plain potatoes.

Watch for my old-fashioned Easter post for more fun old-time recipes! And may all of you who celebrate Easter have a happy and blessed holiday.

March 7

Classic Corned Beef and Cabbage

If there is such a thing as classic corned beef and cabbage, this is it.  However, it turns out that what we here in America know as a dish straight from Ireland, Corned beef and cabbage is decidedly not.  Irish.  At all.  Cabbage and bacon stew?  yes.  Corned beef and cabbage, no.  Nevertheless it shall continue to be a St. Patrick’s day favorite, especially when enjoyed along with a nice dark beer or ale.   Here is the recipe I’ve been using for twenty-eight years.  Enjoy!Corned Beef and Cabbage

The 50sHousewife Corned Beef Brisket Recipe

3-5 lbs of corned beef (Point or Flat. We like point.  Flat is more even and less fatty which is great for serving, but point is more tender and flavorful.  Both need to be boiled for a long period of time to make them tender.)

7-8 garlic cloves
10-15 peppercorns
Thyme (4-5 sprigs fresh if you’ve got it)
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
18 ounces beef broth
water to cover
3 onions
5-6 carrots
5 potatoes
parsnips (optional)
1 head cabbage, quartered

Rinse meat and put in large dutch oven. Add minced garlic, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, broth, vinegar, and water to cover. IMG_2246Bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 40 minutes per pound of meat.

IMG_2248Add carrots, parsnips and onions. Simmer 30 minutes.

Add potatoes and cabbage. Simmer 20 minutes more.

IMG_2251 Serve meat sliced on top of a pile of veggies.

(Note:  Traditionally meat should be cut across the grain.  We never do that in our house though.  We like to cut with the grain like you would for shredded beef dishes.) IMG_2258

OPTIONAL: heat some butter in a frying pan. Add onions and cabbage (press the water out first), sliced thinly. Sauté until tender and slightly browned.
Serve with meat and other veggies piled on top.  Soooooo goooooooood.

March 6

A good, old-fashioned St. Patrick’s Day (recipes too)

 

61qDKw4JRWL._SY445_If you grew up in America, Canada or Australia, a good old-fashioned St. Patrick’s Day had a very different feel and meaning than it did for those who grew up in Ireland. In Ireland it is and always was a religious holiday.   In fact, up until the 1970’s pubs in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick’s day.  In America it has, for my entire lifetime, been a day of celebration of all things Irish (and even some things not-so-Irish but we credit to the Irish anyway.) I thought it might be fun to look back and see how we said “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!” back in vintage 1950’s style!

There were shamrocks galore!  Cards, trinkets, knickknacks, and more.

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slide_213585_775030_freeWhat better way to start the day than with a great Parade!  These little guys from 1951 were out bright and early to grab the best grandstand seats they could find for the great New York City parade.   (Photo credit to Roger Higgins.  World Telegram.)

Even today there are great parades all over the the globe.   Boston, New York, Chicago, Sydney, take a peek in your local advertisements and I’m sure you will find one near you.    Every child loves a parade!

Photo credit:  World Telegram 1953
Photo credit: World Telegram 1953
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Photo Credit: World Telegram 1950

Always a good reason for a party!

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Take advantage of holiday sales.

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People dressed for the occasion.
tumblr_n2h46jxYBl1qhmkoso1_500 398f9629a663b02d2cdd0dc3236f810f Vintage St. Patrick’s Day Fashion (2)

And we most definitely cooked for the occasion!

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One thing that hasn’t changed much at all is how we, in America, cook up some good ol’ corned beef and cabbage.   (Did you know they don’t make this dish in Ireland?)


 

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The 50sHousewife Corned Beef Brisket Recipe

3-5 lbs of corned beef (Point or Flat.  We like point.)
7-8 garlic cloves
10-15 peppercorns
Thyme (4-5 sprigs fresh if you’ve got it)
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
18 ounces beef broth
water to cover
3 onions
5-6 carrots
5 potatoes
parsnips (optional)
1 head cabbage, quartered

Rinse meat and put in large dutch oven.  Add minced garlic, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, broth, vinegar, and water to cover.   Bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 40 minutes per pound of meat.

Add carrots, parsnips and onions.  Simmer 30 minutes.
Add potatoes and cabbage.  Simmer 20 minutes more.

Serve meat sliced on top of a pile of veggies.

OPTIONAL:   heat some butter in a frying pan.  Add onions and cabbage (press the water out first), sliced thinly.  Sauté until tender and slightly browned.
Serve with meat and other veggies piled on top.


And, of course, a good Irish Soda bread.
Click the photo for a great recipe by Epicurious.com
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Ahhhh but no St. Patty’s day was (or is!) complete without a drink or two with friends.   Going out to dance was a popular thing to do!

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What about you and your family?  What will you do this St. Patrick’s day?

March 3

World’s Best Steak Tips Recipe

We eat a lot of vegan and vegetarian meals in our house.  A lot.  But there’s one thing I can never just walk away from in this lifetime–steak tips.  I didn’t name this post.  My family did.  Apparently I make good steak tips.  So here you go, the world’s best steak tips recipe.  Enjoy!Page_1

You will need:

1. A good quality steak tip.   Not too fatty, but with some fat (for flavor).
2. A-1 Steak Sauce
3. Chopped garlic.  A lot of it.  I used the jarred kind.
4. Hot sauce (just a dash or two of your favorite.)
5. Smoke seasoning (your choice as to which.  I like Stubbs and I use either Hickory or Mesquite.)

Okay here we go.  These are the easiest things in the world to make.   First you need to know how your people like to eat them.  Rare? Medium Rare? Well? Medium Well?   Find out.  It’s important.   And you need to know that first because you are going to cut your tips to size according to how people want them done so that they all come out at the same time.

IMG_2223Rare?  Make them huge–like kabob size.
Medium rare– still big but not kabob size
Medium– make them medium sized. 🙂
And so on and so on until you get to well done which should be small so they cook all the way through faster.  You get the idea.  No rocket science here.

Then throw all of them in a big bowl and coat them all in A-1.

Dump on a bunch of chopped garlic.  I use about 3-4 tablespoons on about 1.5 half pounds of tips.

Throw in 2-3 dashes of hot sauce.  Not too much. IMG_2224

And then add about 1-2 teaspoons of smoke seasoning.   You’ll learn to adjust this as you make them from time to time.  It’s a personal preference thing.   I use more rather than less.

Let them marinate anywhere from 20 minutes if you are in a rush to over night if you’ve got the time.   I usually set them up around lunch time for cooking that night.

You can cook these on the grill or under the broiler.  I usually do them under the broiler because I can control the cooking easier.  And if you have a nice blackened broiler pan, even better.  They won’t stick.  Put your rack as high as it will go near the broiler element.  Put a bit of water in the bottom of the pan to keep the smoke down to a minimum.  And listen up.  You don’t want to overcook these.   Don’t ever leave them.  Not even for a moment.  Watch them every second.

IMG_2225When they look slightly blackened on the tips, flip them over.  Then when they look like this on the other side, take them out.  They’re done.   It’s just minutes.   So, again, stay with them.

Serve them up just as is or with a little extra sauce available.   Perfection.

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July 17

Old-fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Old-fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe
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Ingredients:

top and bottom prepared crust (use your favorite crust recipe)

For the pie filling:
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb–the reddest ones you can find
2 1/2 cups strawberries–sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 stick butter–sliced
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Instructions:   Mix all pie filling ingredients then place in prepared crust.
You can use a solid top with slits for steam or make a pretty lattice top.  Either way, seal and crimp the edges to keep all the filling from spilling out.

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You will need to place a loose collar of foil around the edges of the crust to keep them from getting too dark. Be sure to grease or spray the foil so it doesn’t stick.  Remove it for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
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Grandma always told me to bake fruit pies in a high oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat.  So start this one at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce to 375 until it’s done (about 50 more minutes or so.)   It will be watery until it cools completely.

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We love it with some vanilla ice cream on top.

July 17

Vintage French Meat Pie Recipe

 

 

Vintage French Meat Pie Recipe
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In our house these are known as Memere’s Pork Pies.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

NOTE!  This recipe makes 3 pies

Ingredients for 3 pies:
2 lbs hamburger meat
1.5 lbs ground pork
Poultry seasoning. (I use the yellow box one)
Ground clove
Ritz crackers (2 of the sleeves that come in the box)
5 lbs potatoes
salt
pepper

Crusts for 3 pies (top and bottom)

Instructions:

Peel and boil the potatoes then drain, set aside.

Fry the hamburger meat and the ground pork, breaking into crumbles as you go then add salt and pepper, 1/2 box poultry seasoning, and clove–to taste (some like a lot.  Some like a little.)  Crush 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers and add to the pan.  Mix them in, adding water to keep the mixture moist but not soggy.

Mix in just under 5 lbs boiled potatoes.

Divide amongst the 3 crusts.  Place top crusts on, adding slits in the center for steam to escape and crimp the edges.

bake at 350 with each pie on a cookie sheet to catch drippings. (Drippings may smoke a bit during baking.  No worries!)

They are done when the crusts are nicely browned. (The contents are all pre-cooked so you are really just cooking the crusts.)

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Wonderful served hot with ketchup. 🙂

YOU CAN FREEZE PIES, BUT!!! To freeze–DO NOT BAKE FIRST!!!

 

April 15

Vegetarian (or Vegan) Chili even Meat-Eaters love. (I swear it!)

We eat a lot of chili at our house, and when we started eating vegan as often as possible, coming up with an alternate recipe was tops on my list.   This is my final version.   I actually have meat-eaters request this dish.  Vegetarian (or Vegan) Chili even Meat-Eaters love. (I swear it!) I promise it’s a keeper. 🙂
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Ingredients:

Water
2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 red or green pepper, chopped
1 or 2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds or chopped
1 large head cauliflower, chopped (Frozen is okay)
1/2 broccoli crown, chopped (Frozen is okay)
2 large tomatoes, chopped or 1 small can chopped tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce (I use canned)
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans OR 2 small cans
1 small can black beans (optional)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoons cumin
1 cup broth (I use beef, but you can use vegetable or chicken)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Garnish with sour cream (vegan is okay, so is Greek yogurt) and scallions

SUPER EASY DIRECTIONS:

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Gather you stuff.
Pre-cook the beans if you aren’t using canned.
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chop or slice onions, carrots, and garlic and add to pot.  Simmer in enough water to just barely cover.
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chop the broccoli, cauliflower, and pepper and add to the pot.  Add water to keep everything wet but maybe not the top stuff completely submerged.
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add tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and spices
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add your beans and simmer all of it for a while until everything is tender
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garnish with sour cream and scallions when ready to serve! (Vegan options or even Greek yogurt can be substituted as well.)

Viola. Enjoy!

 

January 2

Grammy Hutchinson’s Sausage Stuffing

This post is late.  We meant to put it up back in November, but it never got published.  I’m posting it now just to archive it, but we will re-blog it next year.     Page_1

Grammy Hutchinson’s amazing turkey stuffing is the one things I look forward to most every holiday season.   It’s got just the right amount of spice to balance out the sage.  And if you get to it quickly and are able to get a piece from the top part of it that has cooked to a crust on the outside of the bird (in the photo it’s a darker brown), it’s a treat to die for.   (In my house you will note that the outside crust of dressing steadily disappears during the last hour of turkey cooking.  I maintain my right to refuse to comment on where it might be disappearing to even though the occurrences coincide with my “basting” times.   )

Grammy Hutchinson is my husband’s grandmother, so I didn’t have this the entire time I was growing up, but he did.   I’m jealous.    When my mother-in-law first introduced this recipe to me many years ago we had to use an old-fashioned meat grinder to mince and grind all the ingredients.   Nowadays you can use any food processor to achieve the same results in a fraction of the time.   We also substitute Jimmy Dean sausage for the link sausage she used to use.  Call it a Modern Day Makeover for an amazing recipe.   It brings it from a 2-days-to-prepare recipe to something doable for all busy moms (or dads).  meat-grinder

We start this recipe the day before by pulling the giblets out of the bird and putting them in a sauce pan and covering them with water.   Boil then simmer for several hours, adding water as needed.  Reserve giblets and water in pan.  Allow to cool.   Later in the day proceed as follows:

Gather Ingredients

Giblets (prepared as stated above)
2 rolls Jimmy Dean regular sausage
1 roll Jimmy Dean Hot sausage
1 head celery (washed thoroughly to remove dirt)
4-5 large onions
1 bag bread stuffing
Poultry Seasoning (about 4-5 tablespoons)

Remove the meat from the cooked turkey neck, then place it in a very large bowl or half of a big roasting pan.  You’ll need lots of space for mixing.    Be careful not to get any bones in it.   Put the rest of the giblets in your food processor and process until minced.   Add those to the bowl.

Add the uncooked sausage rolls to the bowl.

Mince or shred (I mince) the head of celery in your food processor.  Add contents to the big bowl.

Mince or shred all the onions.  Add to the bowl.  Quickly cover them with the bag of bread stuffing (if it’s cubed, mince it in processor first).   Mix.  The faster you do this, the faster you will tame the onion fumes.

Add the poultry seasoning.  Mix thoroughly, adding 1/2 cup of juice from giblets or more as necessary to keep the stuffing very  moist.   Put it all into a big ziplock bag until the next morning when you are ready to stuff the bird.  Do not –I repeat, do not stuff the turkey the the evening before.   If you do, the juices from the bird can get into it and cause all kinds of problems like food poisoning.

The next morning, take out your bird and wash it thoroughly inside and out.   Pat it dry.  Stuff the neck cavity of the bird first, tucking the skin under to secure.   Then stuff the abdominal cavity until a neat little mound of stuffing protrudes.  It will swell with cooking so don’t do too much. (you can see in the photo above that some of the stuffing is darker than the rest.  That is the result of the swelling.  The darker patch is how much was exposed at the beginning to give you an idea how much we stuff.)  Put remaining stuffing in loaf pan and cook it in oven just like you would a meatloaf.  Cook your bird as usual being sure to following roasting charts for a stuffed bird.  It needs to be in a lower oven temperature for a longer period of time.

Enjoy!

December 23

Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

There’s nothing like a piece of spiced pumpkin bread on a cool fall or cold winter morning.  This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Grandma Sweetman.  Hence the name Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe. 🙂  For years she would give these as gifts and refuse to give the recipe.   If she were here now, she’d probably smack me upside the head for posting it, but post it I will.   You all just have to taste these.   The best there is.

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Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
one 15-ounce can of pumpkin
walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or use cooking spray to grease the inside of three metal coffee cans (washed well).

In large bowl, mix first 6 ingredients.  Add remaining ingredients except walnuts.  Mix until all dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in walnuts.  Save a few full walnut pieces for placing on the top of the loaves.

Fill each can with 1/3 of mixture.  Each can will be a little more than half full. Place walnut pieces on top of the batter (for decorative purposes).  Place the three cans on a baking sheet in center of the oven.

Bake about 60-70 minutes until a cake tester inserted in center comes out mostly clean.   Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from cans.  Then allow to cool a bit more.  Can be eaten warm, but best when cooled completely.

Wrap in plastic wrap.  Even better the 2nd day!  Freezes well.

Don’t forget to check out our other recipes. And like our Facebook page by clicking the link beside this article.   Enjoy!