Monday, November 28, 2016

Sandra's Broccoli Cheese Casserole

This Broccoli Cheese Casserole is THE favorite family recipe. This casserole is requested at every gathering & is always the first to disappear. I don't know anyone who doesn't love it. Everything Sandra made was delicious but this one just has that something special to make it a favorite.


2 (10 oz) packages of broccoli flowerettes
1 tablespoon mayo (NOT Miracle Whip)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (grated is easiest)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken & mushroom soup)
2 eggs, beaten
Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 & spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Boil and drain broccoli according to directions in a large pot. As soon as you drain the broccoli, put it back into the pot and add the cheese so the cheese melts thoroughly.
Add in the soup, mayo, eggs, salt & pepper & mix thoroughly.
Pour into the greased baking dish & bake for approximately 45 minutes or until browned.

*If doubling the recipe, which you should unless you're cooking for 4 or less people, bake for about an hour - an hour & 15 minutes. You'll just have to watch it to time it with your oven.

*You can prepare this a day in advance & bake it the day of with the same results. Just set it out of the fridge at least an hour in advance to bring it to room temp before placing in the oven.

*This would be fantastic with a Ritz Cracker crust. After pouring into baking dish, top with 2 cups of crushed Ritz crackers & drizzle with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake as usual.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Apple Pie

This homemade apple pie was my own first attempt at making an apple pie from scratch and it quickly became my favorite. It's one of those foods that reminds you of childhood happiness and days long passed.


1 9 inch double crust pie shell
1 Pillsbury pie crust (the kind in a box that you can roll out & cut)
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored & sliced


Preheat oven to 425. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste.
Add water, white sugar, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil.
Reduce temperature and let simmer.
Fill pie crust with apples, mounding high. Cover with a lattice work crust.
Gently pour hot liquid over crust, ouring slowly so it does not run off.
Bake for 15 minutes & then reduce temperature to 350 & continue baking for 45 minutes or until apples are soft.

*If you're as convinced as I was that there is no way the liquid will soak in between the lattice pieces, you can mound the apples, pour 3/4ths of the liquid over them, top with lattice & drizzle the rest of the liquid on top to soak the lattice with the liquid.

*You can peel the apples before you start & soak them in cold water to prevent browning,

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ham & Potato Bake

This is another comfort food from long ago that I just love. It also came from an old cookbook given to me by my grandmother, Eunice. She was an amazing country cook & I wish I had more of her recipes. That is why I started this blog. So one day, my girls & their children will have all of our family favorites, and the memories that go along with them, in one place.

This recipe is great with leftover ham. I always double it & add lots of extra cheese.


4 cups sliced & boiled potatoes
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 1/2 cups fully cooked ham, cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or celery soup)
1 cup sharp American cheese, shredded (divided in half)
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs (1 slice)
1 tablespoon butter (melted)


Layer half the potatoes & half the carrots in a 2qt baking dish.
Stir together ham, mushroom soup, 1/2 cup of cheese, milk & pepper.
Pour half of the mixture over the potatoes & carrots.
Repeat layers.
Combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of cheese, & butter. Sprinkle over casserole.
Bake uncovered at 350 until heated through, about 45 minutes.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Biscuit Topped Stew

I found this recipe in an old cookbook my grandmother, Eunice, had given me & it quickly became a much loved family favorite. It's makes a delicious yet simple comfort food that is perfect for those chilly fall nights & can even be made ahead of time to toss in the oven after a long day.


1 packaged biscuit mix
1/4 cups milk
1/4 cups chopped onion (optional)
1/4 cups green pepper
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1 16oz canned tomatoes (chopped)
2 cups cubed and cooked beef
2 cups cooked vegetables (mixed, stew veggies, or whatever floats your boat)
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Mix biscuit mix as directed, roll out & cut into wedges. Set aside.
In saucepan cook onion & green peppers until tender, add garlic & cook until slightly browned.
Stir in flour, sugar, salt, pepper, & basil.
Blend in undrained tomatoes, meat, vegetables, bouillon, and Worcestershire sauce.
Cook & stir until think and bubbly.
Turn boiling mixture into a 1 1/2- quart casserole.
Immediately top with biscuit wedges.
Bake uncovered at 400 till biscuits are golden. (approx 18-2- minutes)
Makes 4-6 servings

Add dry mustard, swiss or cheddar cheese to the biscuit mix.
Add chicken or turkey instead of beef with a little sage.

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 Minute Artisan Bread

There is something to be said about homemade bread. The smells & the flavors awaken memories of childhood & long summer days. Memories of my mom's sourdough bread, dripping with butter filled my mind as I ran across this recipe in a group discussion online. I thought, it can't be that simple but I decided to give it a whirl. Kelsey put it together as I was cooking dinner & we stashed it in the fridge overnight with hopes of fresh bread for breakfast. By morning, we had forgotten all about the stash of dough in the fridge and it wasn't until evening that we took out the bowl of swollen dough, pulled out a large chuck, manipulated it into something resembling a ball & set it to rest on the pizza stone. I was still skeptical that this blob was going to live up to my memories but as the scent of baking bread filled the house, my hopes began to rise. As I sliced into the beautiful golden loaf, piping hot from the oven, I fell in love. I have always been slightly intimidated by sourdough bread but this recipe is fantastically simple & oh so delicious! 


3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2  tablespoons granulated yeast or 2 (7 1/4 g) packets granulated yeast
1 1/2  tablespoons kosher salt or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted unbleached all-purpose flour


~ Preparing Dough for Storage~.
Warm the water slightly. It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature. Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. With cold water it will need 3-4 hours.

Add the yeast to the water in a 5 quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.

Mix in the flour and salt - kneading is unnecessary. 

Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up the flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula. Don't press down into the flour as you scoop or you'll throw off the measurement. 

Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) fitted with the dough attachment, or a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the mixture is uniform. If you're hand mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. 

*Don't knead, it isn't necessary. 

You're finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. It takes a few minutes, and will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.

~Allow to rise~
Cover with lid (not airtight or it could explode the lid off). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approx 2 hours, depending on room temperature, and initial water temperature. Longer rising times, up to 5 hours, won't harm the result. Store the dough in the fridge in your lidded container. 

You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Fully refrigerated dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature. 

~On Baking Day~
Prepare your loaf tin, stone, or whatever you're baking it in/on. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut of a grapefruit-size piece of dough (c 1 lb), using a serrated knife.

Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all 4 sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off - that's fine, it isn't meant to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will sort itself out during resting and baking.

The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 - 60 seconds.

Rest the loaf and let it rise in the pan you will bake in, for about 40 minutes Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period. That's fine, more rising will occur during baking.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

Dust and Slash. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a quarter inch deep cross, diagonal lines, or tic-tac-toe pattern on top using a serrated knife.

After a 20 min preheat you're ready to bake, even though the oven thermometer won't be at full temperature yet. Put your loaf in the oven. Pour about 1 cup of hot water (from the tap) into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch.

Store the rest of the dough in the fridge in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days. The flavor and texture improves, becoming like sourdough. Even 24 hours of storage improves the flavor.