Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan and Panko

Roasted green beans with Parmesan and Panko bread crumbs was a new recipe to me, but no more.  (I changed the recipe just a little from what I used in the photo.)  The absolute ease in preparing this delicious smelling and tasting side dish was so noticeable.  I had almost zero dishes to wash and I had everything in my fridge already.  The longest it took was to clean the beans, but having had that job since I was a kid, it hardly seems like a chore. Snap, toss in bin, snap, toss in bin, snap, toss...

The cast of characters.  Green beans, panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and a sheet pan with sides.  I purchased fresh green beans today and the remaining ingredients were already in the house.

I broke off the stem end of the green beans, no sense breaking off the other as it's just fine to eat that little tail.  I washed them thoroughly and laid them out on the sheet pan with a dishtowel over the top and dried them as best as I could.   Drying the green beans makes sure the beans roast and not steam.  It also helps the oil stick to them.

Here's my Parmesan Cheese, I always keep some handy as it's a versatile ingredient and it keeps such a long time in either the fridge or freezer. I have shredded, ground up (like above) and whole wedges.  A shape for any purpose!

 I recently purchased an Oskar chopper.  I used one when I lived with a boyfriend and when we went our separate ways, in 1994, he gave me Oskar.   When I separated from my husband in 2013 he asked for Oskar and I thought, Sure!  It's from an ex-boyfriend, I might as well have the soon-to-be ex-husband take it.  Maybe it will be good mojo to pass it along.

HOWEVER, I really, really missed him!  Oskar, that is.  I was really regretting giving him away.  When I started having to cook more and more at home I was almost in a panic that I didn't have the versatility of Oskar.  Since giving Oskar away I had used several different kinds of small electric choppers and for me, they didn't work like I wanted them to.  When I met Steve he had a Cuisinart Food Processor, the large one, the awesome one and I really enjoyed using it, but I really missed having a smaller version for smaller tasks.

I went on a mission.  I did a little research and you know what?  Those Sunbeam Oskars are very much sought after.  The Oskar hasn't been made in quite awhile probably because these devils don't die!  Seriously, how many appliances have you had for several decades? There's one on eBay that's over $300.  I certainly wasn't going to pay that price.  Searching wasn't too difficult as there were several online for sale, as well as a bunch of parts available to fix old ones.  When it was all said and done I paid about $60 for the whole shebang including shipping.

 All of this talk about Oskar was just to say - the Parmesan that's in the bowl was chopped in the Oskar.  I didn't do anything but chunk it up and put it in and whirl.  Small little pieces of parm, easy to use, store, refrigerate and freeze.

before roasting
after roasting

Back to the roasted green beans.  I roasted them and then  immediately plated them for us.  I wanted them right off the sheet pan.  No waiting.

The Panko was a little salty and crispy because the Parmesan melted right into it.  The green beans were still a bit crunchy and roasting always brings out such a different flavor than just plain boiling.  Roasted, rustic, nutty flavor with some crunch.

You have to try this.

Come back and let me know what you thought of it.

Roasted Green Beans
with Parmesan and Panko

1 lb fresh green beans, stemmed and washed
1 T olive oil
2 T grated  Parmesan Cheese
2 T Panko bread crumbs
½ t salt
½ t garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400° F

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl; toss to coat. If you need more olive oil, add in just enough.  You don't want the entire dish to be too oily.

Spread green beans on a large baking sheet with sides.

Roast for 15-20 minutes; turn the beans halfway through.

Eat as soon as possible, they cool off quickly but don't worry, they are good cooled off, too.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Individual Quiches made in a muffin tin.

It's Potluck Day! 

And I am making Individual Quiches that are made in a muffin tin.

I love our monthly potlucks and this month's theme is Appetizers. Mini foods and smaller portions so that more food can fit on your plate!  This happens to be one of our most anticipated theme months.  Appetizers seem easy or maybe just sound easy and everyone really enjoys all the different foods that show up.  

My quiche is becoming epic - if only in our own home - but it is so good!  I wrote about our quiche making project about 3 years ago.  If you are looking for a full sized deep dish 9" quiche, Click Here to see that post. 

I've made mini quiches before and then made even more and froze them.  Oh my goodness, 2 minutes in the microwave straight from frozen and they are nearly as fabulous as when they are pulled out of the oven.  Those frozen muffin sized quiches have been one of my favorite go to morning breakfasts.  

Now that I am having to eat real whole foods with very little if any additives, it's very nice to have something quick.  It's also pretty awesome that so many others like it as well.  That is why all of the recommended cheeses are white or are white in the photos.  No added colors to help keep me well. 

I have to admit, last month I brought the muffin sized quiche for potluck, but I wasn't feeling well, so I was only able to make 12.  Not too many people were able to try them and those that did loved them.  For this month's potluck I prepped everything the day before, so I just had to mix the liquids and fill the muffin pan.  

Now that I have made the mini quiches a few times I have learned a few tricks.  
1. Fill each of the muffin cups up to the top with ingredients.
2. Pour the liquid in slowly and stop just before overflowing.
3. Make sure you have the muffin pan on a level surface and then fill each muffin up to the very top.
4. If done correctly, a the liquid egg mixture should fill all 12 muffins to the very top. 
If everything is prepared in advance, it should only take about 15 minutes to fill the 12 muffin tins and get it into the oven.  They bake for 35 minutes and you can eat them right away.  

Here are the layers I used for this particular batch.  You can use any combination of items that you'd like.  I just sprinkle the portions into each well.

-chopped spinach and mushrooms on the bottom
-a layer of sharp cheddar cheese
-green onions and bacon
-monterey jack cheese - I put a good amount in there.
-Then mix up the liquid egg and cream and pour that in
-top each of the wells with shredded parmesan cheese
-pour remaining egg mixture to the very top of each well.

As you can see, I don't stuff the quiches with ingredients.  I like there to be a cheese layer between and I want to make sure that the egg mixture can really bind everything together.

I add in dried dill, some garlic powder and onion powder into the eggs.  A pinch or two of salt if you'd like as well.

This is the first pouring of the liquid and the topping of each one with parmesan.

 This is the final pour and I got every drop of the liquid into those muffin tins.

Right out of the oven those quiches are an inch or two above the muffin pan, but even just a few seconds later they have already deflated.  I tried to get a photo of them really tall, but they deflate quickly! 

In this batch of quiches I added more spinach to the top layer, just under the parmesan.  I had extra spinach, so I decided to use it up.  I think it made the quiche look a lot prettier.  

We took 23 quiches to the appetizer potluck tonight.  (We ate one as a tester!) 12 will fit in a 9x13 baking dish and ours has a lid, so I put that lid on right away - an hour later those quiche were still warm.  Now that's potluck GOLD to have warm food.  I have 2 of those 9x13 baking dishes, so I used both to transport the whole shebang.

I have an electric skillet that I could have used to keep these warm, but I didn't want to fuss with trying to plug it in at our venue.  The quiche are good both hot and cold.

We came home with 3.

Quiche - Muffin sized
yield: 12 quiches
350 degrees F
35 minutes

The Filling
- as many of these as you'd like
10 - 20 oz frozen spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed nearly dry
*fresh mushrooms, sliced, sauteed
*sliced green onions
*onion, sliced, sauteed
*sundried tomatoes, chopped and patted dry
*chopped fresh dill (or dried dill)
*minced garlic (or roasted garlic or garlic powder)
*bacon cooked and crumbled

The Liquid Mixture
10 large eggs
2 cups whole milk - (or Half and Half and 2% milk) (or heavy whipping cream and 2%) all of these are good combos.  
salt and pepper, to taste
the dried spices if you chose to go that route. 

The Cheeses
shredded cheese - Use 2 if you'd like  (Cheddar, Gouda, Mozzarella, Swiss, Moneterey Jack)
grated Parmesan cheese or Dubliner

Slice, dice, thaw, squeeze dry, grate and crumble everything that you want to go into the quiches.

Spray your muffin tin with a nonstick cooking spray.
Fill the tins, making sure to leave each layer airy so the liquid egg mixture can seep through everything.

I like to use a hardish cheese (sharp cheddar) near the bottom, put my melty cheese like Mozzarella or Monterrey Jack in the middle and then top with the hardest cheese, Parmesan on the top.

Fill each well with the liquid egg mixture and fill each one to the very top.  I found that my 12 pack of quiches bakes for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  I do not have a convection oven, so I do not know how they they would take in one of those fancy ovens.

Please be sure to read the step by step above with the photos.  It's easier to explain with pictures, but once you've done it once or twice you won't need anything but the numbers for the liquid egg mixture.  That's all I have on a sticky note on the inside of one of the cabinet doors.

That's all she wrote for tonight.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Faith in Humanity

Have you ever read or watched a video that started off with... this will restore your faith in humanity? That has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves, because you see no matter how bad it may seem on any given day or year, I have never lost faith in humanity.

Every day there are millions upon millions of people doing good in our world. From a baby kissing a kitty to people willing to help someone cross the street. Libraries being filled with donated books and people being given life saving blood by people willing to give of themselves, literally. Neighbors helping neighbors in times of need or writing a Thank You letter to someone.

 It all matters.

I love the idea of good vibes being sent out from me, making a ripple throughout the world.  What happens when my good vibes hit someone else's good vibes and someone else's?  A never ending vibration.  It's there, I just know it is.

I'm sure everyone in my life has been a volunteer at some point in their lives. More often than not, my friends, family and even acquaintances are regular volunteers. I see and hear about it all the time. You all coach soccer, drive half the neighborhood kids to their games, make costumes for the local theater, take people to the airport or just volunteer your time sitting with someone at a doctors appointment.

My faith in humanity is strengthened by just the nice things that people do on a daily basis. Simple things like smiling, holding the door or letting someone pull into traffic in front if you. I know many people who make food for a friend, if they find they aren't feeling well. I hear all the time about those that pay for the coffee for the person behind them at the drive thru, but just as often those that have received that random act of kindness.

I have not lost faith in humanity. I will not lose faith in us. We are the strong, the loving, the beautiful and the giving. We make this world a joy to behold and we make people laugh, smile and feel loved.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Give me your tired, your poor... election day.

On this day of our National election, it's good to look back on a bit of the inscription on pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, written by American poet Emma Lazarus

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Kristin and Steve
KNS Gear

Monday, November 05, 2018

Hungarian Potato Soup

Hungarian Potato Soup

This potato soup recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember.  I know that my Mom added the cauliflower to the soup, probably to make it a bit more healthy.  It may make it healthier but it gives the soup a great crunch.  I love it.  My husband wasn't too thrilled about having cauliflower in the soup, but he loved it too.  The soup doesn't taste like cauliflower, I promise.

 Here are most of the ingredients that you need for making the soup.  My goal in making food is to use ingredients that have as few additives as possible.  This is so I can minimize the free glutimate acid and MSG that is found in so many prepared or manufactured products.

The Daisy sour cream is made with one ingredient - cultured cream.  Compare that list to others and you will see a huge difference.  Fairlife 2% Milk also has very few ingredients and no thickeners.  Tabasco Sauce is made with peppers, vinegar and salt.
For having several manufactured products, it's a great soup for me.

The onions are being cooked in butter

This soup is as pure as it can be and still be more than just potatoes and water!   The photo below is the mixture of sour cream, paprika, salt, and flour.  I added the Tabasco in there as well because I knew I was going put it in and I wanted it to cook in a bit.  You can add it later or not at all, it's totally up to you.

Sour cream and the spices

I used flour in today's soup but when I take it to potluck, I always make it with corn starch to make it gluten free for those that may have a gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease.

This soup cooks up pretty quickly, doesn't need to simmer for very long at all before it's ready to eat.  It's just as good the day it's made as it is the next!

Hungarian Potato Soup
½ c onion
2 T butter
4 med potatoes, diced
½ t salt
1c water
¼c flour
1½ t paprika
1c sour cream
2½c milk
½ head of cauliflower, chunked into bite sized pieces
Add Tabasco and garlic powder as needed

Cook onion in butter until tender - add potatoes, salt and the water.
Cover and cook 15 minutes or until tender.
Blend four, paprika and sour cream until smooth.
Stir into potato mixture.
Add cauliflower and milk.
Heat to boiling while stirring.
Let simmer until cauliflower is tender.
Taste and add Tabasco sauce and garlic powder as needed.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of paprika on the top of the soup as garnish.


Have a great day!

Sunday, November 04, 2018

I Will Live Forever by Robert Test

I Will Live Forever
by Robert Test

The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital; busily occupied with the living and the dying. 

At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped. 

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine.  And don't call this my deathbed.  Let it be called the bed of life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead longer lives. 

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman. 

Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain. 

Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play. 

Give my kidneys to the one who depends on a machine to exist wee to week. 

Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk. 

Explore every corner of my brain. 

Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window. 

Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow. 

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weakness and all prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil.  Give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. 

Poem by Robert Test

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Little Cookbooks from the Michigan State University Library

Do you ever look for the original recipe or the old fashioned way of making something?  Sometimes recipes get so manufactured or low fatted, sugar freed and skinny that it in no way resembles the original dish. 

In my quest to become MSG free and eliminate nearly all processed foods, I am constantly looking at vintage recipes.  It's back before Cream of Mushroom soup that the cook in the house made everything from scratch.  (Obviously that's not entirely true, but it's certainly easier to find an entire cookbook with everything made from scratch from that era.)

For example, lately I've been looking for a cake recipe to take to one of my monthly potlucks.  Just a plain cake to add to make an "easy" dessert.  Those ubiquitous dump cake mixtures are pretty good, but I can't have the regular cake mixes anymore.  I have found plain cake recipes, that aren't vintage, but they aren't in the middle of an old cookbook.  I'm having more fun looking at the old photos, I bet. 

Front cover of Kate Smith's book

All the photos in this post are from the MSU Library - Kate Smith's Favorite Recipes.  It's one of the small cookbooks, just 48 pages long, from the Brocker Collection.  

Lately on Pinterest I have been finding a bunch of vintage cookbooks and many of them have linked back to Michigan State University.  MSU has an extensive digital library of cookbooks and I keep finding more and more of them.  The books have been scanned from the front cover to the back.  If the books aren't useful to you, they sure are an interesting look at life in that time period.  I've been entertained for several hours on the ins and outs of how to dig cellar and store crops for winter.  After reading that one, I know for sure that I wasn't cut out for that life! 

Back cover of Kate Smith's book

sponge cakes

Brownies, economical cupcakes and more

If you would like to see what other digital subjects are available at the MSU digital library, you can search here.

I haven't found the perfect cake mix yet, but I'm sure it won't be long.  I'll be sure and tell you all about it when I do.  For now, I keep all of my vintage handwritten recipes and vintage cookbooks on my Recipes board in my Pinterest.  You are more than welcome to peruse and pin at your leisure.  

If you have any leads on some awesome digital cookbooks let me know!  

Have a great day!