Rice Casserole

Broth, Consommé or Stock?

Here is an interesting cooking question I had as I prepared this recipe that called for consommé-  is there any difference between broth, consommé or stock? I have become an indiscriminant cook who uses these interchangeably.

Stock is the basis of many dishes – soups, stews, sauces, and gravies. Broth and consommé are both types of soup.  According to ochef.com, Consommé is the most refined soup made from stock. The stock is reduced. Then ground beef or chicken, additional aromatic vegetables, and frothy egg whites are added to the boiling stock. The egg whites coagulate on top, acting as a filter that collects impurities in the stock during 45 minutes to an hour of simmering. The consommé is strained through a towel, and, often, Madeira or sherry are added.

Rice Casserole

Well, unfortunately, I read this important piece of information about consommé vs. broth after I put the rice casserole in the oven.  This casserole would be a great and easy addition to serve with chicken, turkey or fish brought to us by Lynda M, who also contributed similar recipe for flavored rice.  I found this on page 56 with the Main Dishes, but in my mind it belongs with the side dishes.  The preparation for this dish was minimal… Lynda suggested canned mushroom, but I used some dried ones, and frozen diced onions and peppers  To keep the sodium content down, I used a low salt broth I found recently from Jewel.

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I love the brick containers with easy pour spout, great for storing leftover broth in the fridge.

Here is the rice casserole after it came out of the oven.  A nice accompaniment to rotisserie chicken we were having for dinner.  Thanks Lynda!

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Taffy Apple Salad

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Happy Halloween! In lieu of costume for school, here is a robotic shirt/sweatshirt

It’s a little belated, but hoping you had a wonderful holiday season, which always starts with Halloween at our house! This was the first year for no party or costumes at school.   I surprised them with Halloween shirts/sweatshirts to wear during school.

 

I’m not sure, but I bet it was colder on Halloween than Christmas thanks to the famous Polar vortex we were living through again this Fall.  Look how the retailers are trying to cash in on this weather phenomena.

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Taffy Apple Salad

When Julie and I met to review recipes left to make from the cookbook, I thought this looked like a neat recipe with lots of things my family loves- pineapple, apples, nuts, and yes, marshmallows and sugar!!  Taffy apples represent Fall/Halloween, so this was a great opportunity to make this delicious salad from page 17. Luckily, Queen Elsa (from Frozen, in case you missed this epic Disney phenomena) agreed to assist me with preparing the salad.

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Queen Elsa is an old fashioned monarch.  Luckily, she chose to wear an undergarment beneath her royal gown to prevent potential wardrobe malfunctions.  The Queen Mum searched high and low, but could only find the a suitable garment on a clearance rack in a much larger size than her majesty currently wears.   Queen Elsa also prefers beating her eggs the “old fashioned way”- with a wisk vs. an electric mixer. The eggs were mixed with pineapple juice, flour, sugar, and vinegar, then were poured into a small sauce pan.  After the mixture thickened, I put it our on the porch (in lieu of the refrigerator) to chill.

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In this picture, her Highness is mixing cool whip, pineapple tidbits and chopped apples with the egg/juice/sugar/flour mixture.

Because I was concerned about a potential egg allergy with friends we were going to share this with,  I nixed adding the chopped dry roasted peanuts.   It was a fun addition to a Halloween gathering we co-hosted with our next door neighbors.  We were thrilled to share the warmth of their garage as kids were trick or treating and checking out the club house.

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Dreamsicle Punch

I had the pleasure of making this delicious punch for our welcome back reception on Thanksgiving Eve last month.  Before kids (BK, as I like to refer to it!), I was the “cookie party lady”.  Yes, a strange title for a Registered Dietitian!   I was in charge of reception after the children’s Christmas program each December.  I wish I had this fabulous punch recipe from page 105, given to us by the lovely Sheree G… much better than the punch I made from Southern Home Living magazine for years!

Being the cookie party lady, I was in charge of assembling trays of cookies donated by our Sunday school families, making punch and of course, decaffeinated coffee for the adults.  Truthfully, the most challenging part of my duties was making sure that the kids didn’t sneak any cookies before the program!  I came up with a mantra I now use during my PK (post kids) era quite often:

  1. You must take the one you touch
  2. You must take the one you licked
  3. I will serve no cookie (or anything else) before its time

Dreamsicle Punch

I purchased the ingredients for the punch and kept all items except the soda in freezer, ready to go in 1 bag.  I stealthfully left the service after the sermon and went to the lower level kitchen, where I had stashed my supplies.  It was super easy to dump the frozen orange juice and lemonade, which were slightly thawed by this time, and easy to remove from the can.  Then, I scooped out the sherbet, carried the punch bowl to Ascension room and emptied contents of the cream soda bottles into the punch.

Here are the lovely Melanie and Kiana enjoying the punch at the reception.

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Pepperoni Roll Appetizers

Here is a great recipe brought to us by the lovely Julie W, found on page 5 of the cookbook.  For anyone hosting a post holiday get together, this is an easy and fun recipe to serve your guests!

Here in the Quinn household, there was some improvisation that took place on this tasty appetizer and am sure that using Asiago cheese and pepperoni, as well as chilling as suggested, would yield even better results!

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I had been wanting to make this delicious appetizer for a while and had the Pepperidge farm pastry sheets in my freezer.  Nancy O and Julie had both offered to take this off my list but given its similarity and popularity of my mom’s Stromboli recipe, I wanted to give it a try.

I decided, with my husband’s input, to improvise using leftover Summer Beer sausage instead of Pepperoni.  Apologies to the readers of German/Italian descent!!  Also, I had some shredded Swiss/Gruyere cheese from Trader Joe’s we used instead of Asiago cheese.  If I had to make this again (and my husband hopes so), I would use the pepperoni, shredded Asiago and chill (or freeze/thaw) prior to baking at 400.

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Since I am not a huge fan of processed meat and had spinach mixture ready to make for another Spanikopita recipe, I decided to try that rolled up in the pastry roll for a change with the Swiss/Gruyere cheese sprinkled on top before I rolled it up.

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My husband and son enjoyed leftovers of this tonight during Packer vs. Lion’s game 😉  NO need to discuss who they were routing for!!

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Buttermilk Bars

 

Kelly Here:
These delicious bars from page 92 were a contribution from Joanne H.  Joanne H. was kind enough to give me some pointers on the recipe over the phone on the crust for the recipe. Two cups of flour were missing from the recipe in the cookbook- I was so glad to know this before I had another dietary disaster on my hands!  I actually needed closer to 2.5 cups to make the dough stiff enough to form for the crust.

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Joanne H. was kind enough to pose with us during the fellowship hour in the summer… miss wearing those sundresses now!

 

We had a lot of fun making this recipe.  Similar to the scalloped salmon preparation, I put the pecans in a plastic bag and let the kids crush them with their fists.  A great way to get frustrations out over the return of the Polar Vortex, the day we made these it was 15 degrees with below zero wind chill!

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Here is the crust before I poured the buttermilk/egg/cinnamon mixture over top to bake in oven.

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Here it is in the oven.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, that I sprinkled with powdered sugar.  They were delicious and liked the crunchy crust with the nuts!

 

Orange Kiss Me Cake

Kelly Here:

I’m starting to realize that if Julie calls herself a “reluctant cook”, I could be called a “distracted cook”! That might be why I have 5 recipes to write about at present, including one that I made almost a month ago!  More on my distraction later in the post.

This recipe is one my mother has made for dessert during our visits in Pennsylvania. I’ve enjoyed it, but have not been there to see the process.  The recipe from our cookbook was contributed by Bill and Judy E, it looks like it originated from Judy’s mom. I had such good memories of this cake, I eagerly volunteered to make it for Redeemer’s Oktoberfest Cake Walk.  It was exciting to hear the Oktoberfest was a good fundraiser for the youth group.  My children reported reselling the baked goods they won to keep the cake “walk/run” going.  I’m not sure how or if that helped cause, but a wonderful time was had by all!

Orange Kiss Me Cake

This cake is aptly named, as most of an orange, aside from its skin, was ground and reserved for use in topping the cake.  The ground orange mixture is combined with raisins and walnuts and set aside.

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At Jewel getting oranges and a few other things needed for our big baking project!

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While the boys were coming in and out of house from there clubhouse project, Betty Crocker Jr. and I were busy making the cakes for the Oktoberfest. After my bad experience with the Bundt pan, I decided to put the cake mix into disposable cake pans and then cut them in half after cooling. As I was doing this, I realized the orange/nut mixture that should’ve gone into that smooth batter pictured above!

The orange "kisses" are on outside of this cake... distracted cook forgot to add to batter

The orange “kisses” are on outside of this cake… distracted cook forgot to add to batter

I decided to just “garnish” the cakes with the forgotten ingredients and call it a day.  Hoping the family who won these in the cake walk enjoyed them

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Black Russian Cake

Kelly Here:
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A few fun pictures from last month.  We celebrated our 20th Anniversary October 8.  One of things I love about my husband is his dry sense of humor.   When the special day arrived, a surprise appeared at the door with the following noteThe traditional gift for 20 years, china- in the form of a coffee mugs made in China.  I’d been joking that I wasn’t sure if he was planning on “renewing the contract”, but the gift note says it has been renewed indefinitely.  I especially enjoyed the mug that said, “7,305 days together… but who’s counting?”  Apparently my engineer/mathematician husband is!

Black Russian Cake, page 75

I actually made this cake twice, not just because it was so delicious but I was unable to eject it from the Bundt pan intact.   Probably just spraying the pan with non stick spray was not enough to prevent this dietary disaster!  I guess the blog is teaching me to have a sense of humor about my baking skills! I must admit the finished product, despite its deformed appearance, was absolutely delicious and very  moist, thanks to the pudding in the mix.  Great sadness, I had to toss it to avoid further temptation!

My second attempt at this recipe was an improvisation of the original recipe, which called for a separate packet of pudding mix.  I found a box of black forest cake mix with “pudding in the mix” on my garage pantry shelves.  I think I purchased the mix  with the better than anything cake in mind, but Julie was able to tackle that recipe before I got to it.

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Here is the batter after being mixed for 5 minutes, lovely bubbles from lots of air incorporated into batter.  The simplicity of this recipe’s instructions- mix all the cake ingredients together for 5 minutes and spoon batter into pan, makes this recipe a keeper!

I decided against taking chances with the evil Bundt pan again and using a large disposable cake pan.  This made 4 lovely smaller cakes for the cake walk.

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Each cake was glazed with a combination of powdered sugar and Kahlua… absolutely heavenly!  I was thinking we should have carded the winners of this cake as it had vodka and Kahlua in mix and Kahlua in glaze!  Thanks again to Shirley Z for another fantastic recipe that I can’t wait to make again for the next event I host or attend sans children!

Chocolate Dream Bars

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Kelly Here:
I’m overdue to post some recipes for the blog… so impressed with our Redeemer ladies helping with the baking, photography, etc! Still getting caught up from our trip to Northeastern Pennsylvania earlier this month and lots of Halloween activities.   So happy for my brother and new sister-in-law, who now has my maiden name, Kelly Moran!

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Here is another fantastic recipe that one of our Bible study sisters, Barb S, made for us to enjoy a few weeks ago. I can only take credit for the photo and consuming it, and can attest to its deliciousness!  Jeanne D, a very talented lady from our congregation who is our First Steps program webmaster, who also donates her time helping seniors with their taxes, notes that despite the meringue topping, this desserts freezes very well.  I am doubtful there was any left to freeze and was glad Barb brought it home to share with her family after our Bible study that day!

The Bread of Life… Hot Herbed Bread

Kelly here:

As I was starting to write this last week, we were on the wedding countdown in PA and were praising God that today was not “the day”.  It rained all day and flash floods in this formally parched area are wrecking havoc. Some roads are closed, emergency broadcasting system is sending us scary texts, ceilings/basements are springing leaks.  My Uncle Billy, who is well into his seventies and still running his own excavation business, is “drowning” in emergency calls on his cell.  The Quinn family is no stranger to these weather conditions, having lived in the Elmhurst and having witnessed numerous “hundred year” floods.  I keep reminding the kids that we are on High Street, on top of the hill, not “Fairlake Avenue”, as I nicknamed our block during one of those wet mornings when we needed a boat to get to school.

Another sad thing about the heavy amount of rain is the early demise of the Fall foliage.  It appeared the trees were close to the peak last weekend.   My husband and I had a little get away earlier this week to celebrate our 20th anniversary in the nearby Poconos, and really enjoyed the spectacular colors.

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Hot Herbed Bread

I can’t take the credit for this recipe, unless taking a picture and consuming it counts!  As usual, our friend Naomi P, always finds wonderful fresh baked recipes for us to enjoy.  She was apologetic for this recipe as its originator suggested heating store bought bread and adding butter and fresh herbs on top.  Store bought or not, it was delicious… thanks for this yummy bread recipe found on bottom of page 9, Charlene G.  Charlene is a spunky lady and another water aerobics friend.  I can always count on you to tell it like it is Charlene!

 

IMG_1293We managed to pose the bread with Naomi’s study bible/study guide.  This picture brought to mind lyrics from a favorite hymn of funeral fame

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“I am the bread of life, you who come to me shall not hunger, you who believe in me shall never thirst.  No one can come to me unless the Father beckons”

 

Ratatouille

I am in Northeastern Pennsylvania this week as we prepare for my brother’s wedding.  One of the few perks about 13 long hours of driving with two young kids was the ability to bring more stuff, like my laptop!

We survived the many hours in the car together with many books, DVD’s and Nooks from the library providing distraction from the question on everyone’s lips: “How much longer until we get there?!”

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It’s been 16 years since I made the cross country trip (that time heading west), traveling with my dad, who he is an excellent driver.  I sent this text to family and friends on the last leg of the journey-
” I forgot how long this trip takes, just like I have (almost) forgotten how painful childbirth was!”

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Ratatouille

Before we left, I was in a cooking frenzy, trying to use up the perishables.  2 friends had given me the ratatouille’s main ingredients for this delicious stew from their gardens, zucchini and eggplant.  I couldn’t let them deteriorate without taking the opportunity to make this fabulous recipe.

I had used up the last of my tomatoes earlier that week, and found that the grape tomatoes I use to make salads worked well for this dish.

The most difficult part of making this recipe was cutting the vegetables and waiting for them to simmer on the cooktop!

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Zucchini and eggplant were cooked separately, eggplant with some sea salt to blanch out potential bitterness

photo 2I  served the “rat” as my husband likes to refer to this recipe with hearty whole grain bread and sprinkled parmesan cheese.  It was our main meal despite being listed as a vegetable side dish.