Monday, January 30, 2012

Meatballs and Gravy

I've been thinking about several "Comfort Foods" I might share with you and my sister asks for this meal a lot. She thinks it's wonderful and I think it's plain but I will share it because it consists of something most everyone has in their pantry and freezer. When we were young our Mother was a widow and she had very little money. She had a good job during the day and worked some at night typing for several different Escrow firms. We had this meal a lot and I don't really know what to call it, so I'll just wing it.


  • 1 lb. Ground Chuck [more if you have several hungry guys to feed]
  • 1 lg. onion [chopped well]
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix the above and work all the onion into the meat. It won't want to be there but make it. Form into large [soft ball size] balls. In our case it makes three big ones]

**Prepare your Iron Skillet [9 "or 10"] with just a very little Canola Oil [1 tbs.] Get the skillet real hot [not smoking] and put the balls in. Flatten them a bit so they aren't too thick. Sear them on both sides. They shouldn't sick but if they do carefully get them up and turn them over. Make sure they are real brown on both sides.

Turn the pan down and add enough cold water to come up to the sides of the meat balls. Cover the skillet and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

During this time I usually have my potatoes boiling on the stove along with a Veg. [green] and a salad ready to put out. When juices run clear, spoon them out into a deep bowl and set the pan off the heat. If there isn't a lot of liquid left add a little more water and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the brown onions and meat off. [as Ann Burell says "Brown is good"]. Make a flour and water thickening -1/3 C flour and enough water to make it a pourable thickener. Add some to the liquid in the pan and return to the heat. Stir like mad so it won't lump.  [if it does cheat and strain it, who will know?] Pour over the meat balls and serve with whipped potatoes, green beans, and a cottage cheese and pear, peach or some kind of fruit salad.

**A note on how to season Iron Skillets
  • 1 tbs. of Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbs. oil
With a good paper towel that won't tear apart, rub the salt into the pan, scrubbing it well to get all residue off. You will have to use some elbow grease here besides the oil. When you feel you have gotten all the yuck off the bottom and sides of the pan, carefully get all the salt out and throw away. Add 1 cup of oil to the pan and place into a 200 degree oven for an hour. When the time is up, pour off the oil [I put mine in a jar and reuse it again to season other skillets] and wipe clean.  If you haven't seasoned your pan before it will take a few times to get it to not stick but it will eventually work and you will be able to fry an egg in it and it won't stick. After you cooked with your pan, just use hot water and a brush and it will come clean. I always use a dab of oil on a paper towel to wipe it out. Hope this helps someone.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Old Fashioned EASY Custard

As I was thinking about what to add next to this blog I thought of about 6 different things. Then I asked the Lord what HE thought and didn't hear anything at the time. Swell! Then working in the kitchen my Mother's Custard came to me. We always had it in the winter. Now I gave this recipe to All Recipes and had several folks say they liked it so I thought I would put it on here for you. This is so simple. There is really nothing to making custard. This recipe can be doubled if you want to make a big one but I would suggest you make a small one and see how you do. Don't want to waste your eggs and milk.So here ya go........................


Old Fashioned Custard   Oven 325

  • 2 C Milk, scalded NOT boiled. It will bubble on just the edges of the pan. Set aside to cool a little. Sometimes I use half and half or 1 C 1% and 1C Cream, or a good caned milk Pet, Milnot, really whatever you have.
  •  In separate bowl beat 3 Eggs [you can add more if you want it richer] Always crack eggs in a separate dish, one at a time, before putting into the bowl you are going to whisk in. An eggshell in the Custard is a yucky"Crunch"
  • ¼ cup Sugar [or more if you like it sweeter]
  • ½ tsp Vanilla [real if you have it, if not no big deal]
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Extract [will make a big difference]
  • Dash of Salt
  • Nutmeg
  • Beat eggs well, then add sugar and salt. Whisk.  
Slowly add scalded milk whisking like mad as you add [no scrambled eggs here] Add the Vanilla and Lemon Extract and whisk. Pour into a 1 qt. ovenproof dish. [It will come to the top] Sprinkle Nutmeg on top. Set the dish in an 8” pan of boiling water, pouring enough in to just about half up the side of the 1 qt. dish.  Don’t get any in the custard.  I do the pouring when the pan and dish are in the oven.

Bake in a 325 oven for about 45 minutes. I have a hot oven and it took 45 so start testing it at 30. When a table knife comes out clean it’s done.


**Bread Pudding
  • 2 slices of white or wheat bread, torn up
  • 1/3 C Raisins [optional but I like them] 
Put the bread and Raisins in the bottom of the dish and pour the egg mixture over them.
Sprinkle Cinnamon or Nutmeg


**Rice Pudding
  • 1/2 C COOKED Rice
  • 1/3 C Raisins [optional]
  • Sprinkle Cinnamon or Nutmeg

Instead of making a pudding with it you can pour it warm into an 8” unbaked pie shell. Don’t fiddle getting it into a 350 oven, as the custard is hot and will soak your bottom crust if you don’t hurry. Set on a cookie sheet and when knife comes out clean it’s done. This will take a little longer because you want your piecrust to be done. This should take about 40 to 45 minutes to cook. Try the knife after 30 and see what you think. Be sure to cool on a rack. Serve warm with fresh Whipped Cream or Cool Whip.

Note: My Mother gave me this recipe in 1961 the year I was married. Some people think making Custard is hard. Wrong!! Just try it and see. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Momma's Beef Stew & Biscuits

I've been thinking about what to post that would be good and filling for the husband and kids that are gone all day working or in school. Something comforting, hearty and just plain good. As you will see from my blogs, I'm a very plain cook. I'm going to write a couple of recipes because they go together.


My Mommas Beef Stew

  • 1 - 2 lb. pkg. of Beef Stew Meat [I used to get a small Chuck Roast and cut it up, but good night they are so expensive that I've had to resort to buying it already cut up] Look the meat over and if there are any pieces that are really large cut them smaller so they will all get done at once.
  • 2 C Flour,
  • Salt and Pepper
In a Zip-loc bag or whatever you use, shake the meat in the bag and be sure it is completely coated.
In a stock pot,Iron pot or a heavy bottom dutch oven add a small amount of oil to cover the bottom completely. Get it hot but not smoking. [you don't want to burn down the house] Slowly add the coated stew beef browning on all sides. Don't over load the pan. You will have to do this a couple of times taking out the browned meat and adding a bit more oil and then the rest of the coated beef. Try and shake any excess flour off the beef before you drop it into the pan.  OK....NOW

Add all the beef back to the pot and add enough water [cold] to cover the meat well.
  • 1 LARGE onion sliced thin
  • 4 or 5 ribs of DARK green Celery, cut into bite size pieces. [not tiny]
  • 4 or 5 Carrots, cut into bite size pieces [fattest ones are best]
  • 4 or 5 RED Potatoes, cut into bite size pieces.  [if you have Russet they will mush as they have lots of starch, Reds will hold their shape]
  • 2 large Bay Leaves
If there is not enough water to cover the vegetables add more.

Bring this to a boil and then turn way down and simmer an hour or so until the meat is tender.
Remove the meat and veggies with a slotted spoon leaving the liquid. [be sure and get the Bay Leaves out. They are not chewable] Your liquid should be brown but if it isn't as brown as you would like it add a few sprinkles of Been Bouillon. [a few and just don't tell] Remove from heat.

Whisk 1/2 C flour and enough water to make it thick but not standing up. You have to be able to pour it in the liquid. SLOWLY pour into liquid and make the gravy. Put it back on the heat and cook for a few minutes. Hopefully it will be thick enough. If not make some more thickening, take it off the heat and add some more to it. When it is thick enough add back the veggies. and meat, warm a few minutes.

Now is the time to add the Peas or Green Beans.
  • 1/2 package frozed Peas [cooked briefly to unthaw them] or
  • 1/2 package frozen Green Beans [cooked briefly to unthaw them]
I always served this in the pot I cooked it in and there was never any left.[well, hardly any] It is real colorful because of the green, orange and the red potatoes.

Beef Stew Biscuits 
  • 2 C Self-Rising Flour
  • 5 T cold butter [cut it up small]
Cut the butter into the flour. I always use a fork until it is blended and resembles peas.[not green tho]
Milk [enough to hold together] I always use my hands. Just dip your hands in flour and then fold dough into itself. Flour a board, counter top, pastry sheet or I use a pastry cloth. Pat out the dough with your hands. You don't want to roll it. Cut about 8 or so and place them in a buttered pie plate. If you don't have a biscuit cutter use a glass. Dot each biscuit with 1tsp. butter and bake at about 400 until they look brown and have raised.

These are so good sopped up in the gravy and they aren't bad with Jam or Honey. Now I will caution you that these are not light and fluffy biscuits. They are old time farm biscuits that my Mother-in-law made for almost every breakfast she made. She used meat grease on top but I never did. I always used butter.
I hope this recipe turns out for you. My family always liked it and it is really good on cold winter days.

Happy cooking and if you have questions please ask me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Simple Tasty Roast Chicken

This morning as I was reading the scriptures I felt the Lord impressing me that there are so many young women today that don't know about the old time comfort foods. Yes they know about all the pasta foods and fancy stuff but do they know any of the old time recipes that are and were a comfort to many. I first and foremost want to be a blessing to someone each and every day and as I was saying this to the Lord this Blog idea came to me. I'm not a writer like my sister and cousin, don't pretend to be, but I do know good comfort food. I learned from my Mother-in-law so many things that I have used throughout the years cooking for kids and adults alike. This recipe today is from my Aunt Marie who had 6 boys and I'm sure cooked 4 or 5 at a time. [Chickens, that is] I remember her Chicken and Gravy. So delicious.
Today I want to start with a simple Roast Chicken. I know, I've heard all the screams about handling raw Chicken. Be brave and just wash your hands real well after handling it. Ready??

Simple Tasty Roast Chicken - Oven 350

  • 1 Whole Chicken about 3 or 4 pounds
Open the package [I know but some people don't know this].   In the main cavity there will be a little pouch. Pull out the little pouch of "innards"[you can do it] and set aside. Wash the chicken in just cold water [no soap] and pat dry with a paper towel. Spray the bottom of a small roasting pan with Pam or whatever you use. Put the Chicken in the pan and sprinkle the Chicken with Onion Salt, Garlic Salt and some flaked Parsley if you have it. Put several teaspoons of Butter on the Chicken [about 5] Put in a preheated oven for about an hour.

Now the innards...Open the pouch they are in and place in a sauce pan of cold water. Sprinkle Garlic and Onion Salt in the water and bring to a boil. It will boil over if you don't watch it. Turn down and cook on low with a lid. Sometime during the cooking of the Chicken [about 30 minutes in] Add a little of the water from the pan on the stove. This will keep the chicken juices from burning on the bottom.  You will know when the Chicken is done when there will be no red juices coming from it and also the thigh will be soft to the touch. [just pinch it a little.]

Remove Chicken from pan to a plate and cover with foil for a few moments so it won't be dry.[and it won't be] Strain the water left in the innards on the stove and add to the pan you cooked the Chicken in. In a bowl, make a thickening of flour and water. I start with about a half cup flour and enough water to make a thick pourable liquid. Use a whisk to get the lumps out. SLOWLY add this thickening to the liquid in the pan, stirring constantly. Turn the burner on medium when you do this. Depending on how thick you want this gravy will depend on how much thickening you add. Taste it and add pepper or whatever you like.  If it's not thick enough take it off the heat and add more thickening to it. Put back on the heat , stirring constantly and bring to a boil so the flour cooks.  If the gravy is lumpy strain it through a sieve. Who will know? You will get the hang of it. Be positive.

If you have any questions please ask. I hope you like this Real Comfort food from my Aunt Marie.