Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Monday, January 30, 2012

These colorful salad cups dazzle the eyes (and taste buds)

Seldom have I prepared a dish so colorful. These Colorful Turkey Salad Cups were just filled with good, healthy little bites that made a beautiful dish as well.

Who could argue with ingredients such as mango, avocado, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, and toasted pecans, all tossed with a light dressing of a cranberry sauce/sugar-free orange marmalade mixture? Truly healthy; truly attention-grabbing. Hubby kept asking, “Nothing unhealthy about this, right?” (I think he just wanted permission to have another serving.)

Again, without chopped cooked turkey on hand, I subbed cooked chicken for it. The recipe called for hoisin sauce, to be purchased in the Oriental section of a traditional grocery, but I skipped this step (didn’t have this ingredient) and instead subbed about 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce. One more sub: spinach leaves for Bibb lettuce. Any time I can work a little spinach, because of its health benefits, into a recipe, I try to do so.

This was a goodie for us! We cleaned up the last morsel yesterday after several days of storing the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator—a wonderful salad that (like the rest of us!) only improves with age.

Colorful Turkey Salad Cups

1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons orange marmalade (I used sugar-free.)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (I used soy sauce.)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups cubed cooked turkey (I subbed cooked chicken.)
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1 medium mango, peeled and chopped
1 medium avocado, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
12 Bibb lettuce leaves (I subbed fresh spinach leaves)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

In a small saucepan combine the cranberry sauce, marmalade, hoisin sauce, and pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until blended. Stir occasionally. Cool. In a large bowl combine the turkey, red pepper, onion, cucumber, mango, avocado, pecans, ginger, and cranberry mixture. Spoon onto lettuce leaves; sprinkle with mint and basil. Refrigerate until you serve. Makes 6 servings. (Courtesy Tasteofhome.com).

Friday, January 27, 2012

The things I learned about pomegranate while tossing this Pear Harvest Salad

We fell in love with this Pear Harvest Salad, although the addition of pomegranate seeds in the recipe at first gave me pause. Hubby helped me remove the seeds from the pomegranate. I know pomegranate is BIG right now; it’s said to have antioxidant health benefits and be effective against heart disease and hypertension. I surely didn’t want to leave it out and miss those possible plusses.

I simply couldn’t see how those seeds were going to work in a salad. They looked as if they were the sort of things that would immediately get stuck in your teeth and detract.

When I tossed them in—reluctantly—and bit into my first seed as part of the mix, it unleashed a tiny burst of pomegranate juice that was the perfect tart/sweet addition to the salad. The seed casing then seemed to dissolve in my mouth. I’m pleased to report that not one seed got stuck. I don’t think this salad would be nearly as delicious without it. (Plus the skin from the seeds is thought to add fiber to the diet.)

The recipe called for 4 cups cubed turkey breast, but as I do with many recipes, I subbed cooked chicken breast, which I’m more likely to have on hand. We loved the pear/avocado combo and the topping of blue cheese and honey-roasted sliced almonds. The cider vinegar/honey/Dijon mustard dressing was wonderful.

This would be a scene-stealer salad at a bring-a-dish event or merely one your family will enjoy down to the last morsel in the bowl.

Pear Harvest Salad

2 packages (5-ounces each) spring mix salad greens
4 cups cubed cooked turkey breast (I used chicken breast)
2 medium pears, sliced
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

6 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup honey-roasted sliced almonds

Divide spring mix among six plates. (I merely put my spring mix in a big salad bowl and tossed all ingredients together instead of dividing the mix.) Layer with turkey, pears, avocado, pomegranate seeds, and onion. Whisk the dressing ingredients; drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with cheese and almonds. Makes 6 servings. (Recipe source: Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baked Potato Soup--love it for winter evenings

What could be more cozy than a steaming dish of Baked Potato Soup? I had some soon-to-be-over-the-hill white potatoes in my veggie bin and a Southern Living November 2011 recipe for this comfort-food classic. It was a no-brainer for a winter evening meal.

This recipe called for a 24-ounce package of frozen steam-and-mash potatoes, but I simply peeled, boiled, and mashed four medium-to-large white potatoes and measured out 24 ounces of them once they were mashed. (OK, Hubby did the peeling and mashing. I need to be truthful here, because he proofreads my blog and will certainly call this omission to my attention.)

Nothing to the prep time: cooking the onion and garlic in melted butter, stirring in flour, the bouillon cube, and 3 cups water and cooking for 10 minutes; and then stirring in potatoes, milk, and pepper to simmer for about 10 more minutes. Done!

Of course the toppings are what turn this dish into a soup-like baked potato. I piled on turkey bacon bits, shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, and chives. It was a winner of a dinner!

Baked Potato Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large chicken bouillon cube (can use the lower-sodium variety)
3 cups water
1 (24-ounce) package frozen steam-and-mash potatoes (I used regular potatoes that had been
peeled, and mashed, and measured out to equal 24 ounces)
2 cups milk (I used skim)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, 5 to 10 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle onion mixture with flour and stir until coated. Stir in bouillon cube and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat; stir often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Meanwhile microwave potatoes according to package directions. (Do not add butter or milk.) Stir potatoes, milk, and pepper into onion mixture. Cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally, 10 minutes, or until mixture is thickened. Serve with desired toppings, such as bacon, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, and/or chives. Makes 8 cups.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Fun-Fetti" should be the name of this great salad mix of turkey, rice, and veggies

I’m drawn to anything that has “Texas” in the title, so I loved finding this recipe for Texas Confetti Rice Salad. The flavors were South-of-the-Border; the cook who submitted the recipe to the cookbook hailed from the Lone Star; and the salad was as colorful and diverse as is our great state, so guess that explains the name.

The recipe was designed as a way to use leftover turkey (I subbed chicken); its other contents were a healthy combo—fresh tomatoes, fresh corn, green pepper, red onion, cilantro, avocado. And so pretty in the bowl! This would be a knockout on a buffet table, for sure.

Other than the time required for chopping all those ingredients, this is a quick-fix side dish that you’ll rave about for many a day!

Texas Confetti Rice Salad

2 cans (14 1/2-ounces each) chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup water
4 cups cubed cooked turkey (or chicken)
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium-ripe avocado, peeled and cubed

In a large saucepan bring the broth, rice, and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Transfer to a large bowl; cool completely. Stir in turkey, tomatoes, corn, green pepper, and onion. In a small bowl whisk the oil, cilantro, green chilies, vinegar, lime juice, mustard, cumin, garlic powder, and pepper flakes. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Chill until you serve. Just before you serve, stir in the avocado. Makes 12 servings. (Recipe courtesy Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hooray for Brulée, especially the pumpkin variety

The notation by the recipe card in my source summed up everything correctly: “I’ve never met a creme brulée that I didn’t like!” My sentiments exactly. On my birthday several months back, the restaurant brought me a creme brulée as a complimentary birthday dessert. A treat indeed!

So when I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Creme Brulée, my heart did a somersault. Of course I had to try it, especially since I had some fresh pumpkin on hand. I loved the fact that I could bake this dessert in individual ramekins. The recipe called for heavy whipping cream, but I used whole milk instead. I usually have some leftover whole milk around since I use it in the sippy cups of the grandmunchkin when he visits, but I often have a lot of the milk container remaining.

The custards have to be broiled in the oven for from 4-7 minutes until the sugar is caramelized.
(Creme brulée means “burnt cream”. It has a custard base with a topping of caramel that has been broiled until it is deep butterscotch brown. Often the broiled caramel forms a hard layer. Sometimes cooks use small cooking torches instead of the oven broiler to brown the top portion.) Watch the process carefully while the custards are oven-broiling so they will not burn or get overly toasty. Chilled after cooking, these desserts may be served with or without whipped topping. I think I like creme brulée because it resembles Mexican flan, one of my food weaknesses.

This makes an impressive, delicious dessert that you don’t have to work very arduously to create. Best of all is digging past the hard, glazed layer to spoon out the smooth, spicy underside.

Pumpkin Creme Brulée

8 egg yolks (I used 2 cups of egg substitute)
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided (can use sugar substitute)
3 cups heavy whipping cream (I used whole milk)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (can use fresh)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves

In a small bowl whisk egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar. In a small saucepan heat cream over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan. Remove from the heat; stir a small amount of hot cream into egg yolk mixture. Return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Stir in the pumpkin, vanilla, and spices. Transfer to eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Place ramekins in a baking pan; add 1 inch of boiling water to pan. Bake uncovered, at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until centers are just set (mixture will jiggle). Remove ramekins from water bath; cool for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you use a creme brulée torch, sprinkle top of desserts with remaining sugar. Heat sugar with the torch until the sugar is caramelized. Serve immediately. If broiling the custards, place ramekins on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Broil 8 inches from the heat for 4-7 minutes or until sugar on top is caramelized. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm. Makes 8 servings. (Source: Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A hint of spring in those Blueberry Muffins with the lemony topping? If so, we're ready.

They were featured in a magazine article on Christmas-morning breakfast goodies, but when I baked them and dined on them, I was certain a touch of spring breezed through. (Our unusual springlike weather in mid-January may have contributed to that.)

I’m a blueberry muffin adorer and preparer from way back, but I’ve never topped them with with anything like this Lemon-Cream Cheese Glaze. The fluffy lemony topping brings out the flavor of the blueberries amazingly. I used frozen blueberries in my mixture, but fresh blueberries, of course, are ideal if you can encounter some.

Christmas morning (as the Southern Living December 2011 issue suggested), Easter morning, or just plain ole Saturday morning (the time when ours were enjoyed), these gorgeous muffins are winners.

Blueberry Muffins with Lemon-Cream Cheese Glaze

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or salt substitute)
3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup egg substitute)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups frozen (or fresh) blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Whisk together eggs and next 2 ingredients; add to flour mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour; gently fold into batter. Spoon mixture into 1 1/2 lightly greased 12-cup muffin pans. Fill muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 450 degrees for 14 to 15 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pans to wire racks. Let cool 10 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 dozen muffins.

Lemon-Cream Cheese Glaze

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat cream cheese)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add lemon zest and next 2 ingredients; beat until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Frost muffins.

Monday, January 16, 2012

These Mason jars hold pure delight: BLT Turkey Salad

I thought it was just the cutest idea ever—serving a salad in Mason jars. That’s how the colorful recipe card depicted it. Then I read that the menu item would appeal to the pickiest of eaters. I know a few of those. So I had to get busy and round up the ingredients to see how this all worked out.

The recipe was intended to use turkey (BLT Turkey Salad was its name), but I subbed cubed cooked chicken. Typically I would have subbed the darker leafy spinach for the called-for romaine lettuce, but then it wouldn’t have been a BLT! Lettuce, tomato, and bacon were joined by healthy green pepper, cucumber, and red onion. I suppose if I had had leftover avocado, green onion, or black olives, I could have tossed those in as well. The dressing was amazing and tied everything together. My recipe card suggests pairing the salad with a slice of garlic bread.

This was an absolutely darling salad that Hubby and I devoured down to the last piece of shredded cheese.

BLT Turkey Salad

6 cups torn romaine or leaf lettuce
4 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (I used turkey bacon)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped cucumber

1 cup (8 ounces) plain yogurt
1 cup mayonnaise (I used lite mayo)
1/4 cup sugar (I used sugar substitute)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large salad bowl combine the first nine ingredients. Just before serving whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing mixture over turkey mixture; toss to coat. Makes 12 servings. (Recipe courtesy Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy that this fresh guacamole is so healthy; orange you?

I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed any guacamole recipe any more than I did this Fresh Orange Guacamole. It was thick, chunky, and indulgent.

Only problem was, that hint of orange that drew me to preparing this dish was nowhere around.

Perhaps another cook would achieve a different outcome. But, to me, the recommended addition of 1 large navel orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus the 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice didn’t have a great deal of impact on the flavor. My taste buds are a wee bit dulled from sustaining an upper-respiratory infection since the first of the year, so, thinking I might not be the best judge, I asked Hubby for his take on it. He wasn’t picking up an orange taste either. Bummer.

On the other hand, this dip was absolutely amazing when you consider the content—no mayo, no sour cream, nothing to add unnecessary calories. With the mashed avocados, chopped red onion, jalapeno pepper, and seasonings, plus the orange additions, it needed nothing else in terms of ingredients. Low-calorie, healthy—and the orange, while it didn’t bowl you over with flavor, sure couldn’t hurt in terms of healthy composition.

We served with fresh chips, although the source (Southern Living December 2011 issue) mentioned that Fresh Orange Guacamole would be a wonderful addition to a buffet spread of taco-makings.

Orange we glad we tried it?

Fresh Orange Guacamole

4 medium-sized ripe avocados, halved
1 large navel orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
3/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
tortilla chips
garnish: fresh pomegranate seeds

Scoop avocado pulp into a bowl; mash pulp with a fork just until chunky. Stir in orange and next 5 ingredients. Cover and chill 1 to 4 hours. Serve with tortilla chips. Garnish, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce great January-blahs buster

Unlike with yesterday’s recipe, from the start I expected to be wowed by this dish; it even exceeded my expectations. But how can anything with apple as its main element be far from spectacular?

This Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce was just way terrific—easy to make, with lots of chunky, fresh apples. It baked in an 8-inch square pan and cut into nice-sized squares. Atop it went a thick caramel sauce. You could serve the cake either warm or cold as long as the caramel sauce was a warm top layer. Splendid! People normally think fall or Christmas when apples are mentioned, but to me this dessert was a great January-blahs buster.

Interestingly my sauce turned out to look nothing like the sauce in the photo of the recipe. Mine was decadent and creamy; the recipe photo had sauce resembling pancake syrup—clear and much thinner than mine. Yet I checked the recipe carefully and determined I hadn’t missed a step. Either way seemed as though it would be tasty.

Hubby enjoyed a tablespoon of sugar-free whipped topping on top of the caramel sauce on top of the cake. He really got into this dessert! And while it lasted, which for us wasn’t long, Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce was a terrific end-of-meal treat to anticipate.

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1 egg lightly beaten (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)

In a small bowl cream butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in apples and pecans. Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center emerges clean. Meanwhile for caramel sauce combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve cake warm or cold with warm caramel sauce. Makes 9 servings. (Recipe courtesy Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards).

Monday, January 9, 2012

(Amended post from earlier) A dash of apple, a dash of bacon—this red-cabbage side really sings

(See amended ingredients below. Original post left out amount of red cabbage.)

Ever cooked something when you didn’t have very high expectations? I was intrigued by the recipe for Red Cabbage with Apple—I thought it looked pretty in the bowl. Quite frankly, it wasn’t something I expected to see recommended for a holiday table (in my little Taste of Home holiday recipe cards book I’ve been using), except that its ruby-red color seemed festive. But I had some leftover turkey bacon and thought I’d make smart use of it by trying out this cabbage dish.

How nice to be pleasantly surprised! Hubby, too—he kept remarking, “Wow, I REALLY like this red cabbage dish.” With his emphasis and intonations on the word REALLY, I knew what he probably was thinking was, “And I didn’t expect to be.” Me, too!

The tangy tartness with the hint of bacon mixes with the sweetness of the apple to create a wonderful flavor. We used this dish as a side with broiled salmon filets, but I can imagine it being great with turkey or chicken as well.

How nice to start the new year off with a good surprise—even one of the food variety!

Red Cabbage with Apple

3 bacon strips, diced (I used turkey bacon)
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small head of red cabbage, chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (I used sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)

In a large saucepan cook the bacon over medium heat until it is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels to drain. In the drippings sauté onion and apple until they are tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Stir in reserved bacon. Makes 6 servings. (Courtesy Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mini-morsels of healthy goodness in these Broccoli Cornbread Muffins

Some fresh broccoli in the veggie bin of my fridge was giving me a guilt trip. I had purchased it on Christmas week to use some in the festivities, but by now the little green tree-like spikes were turning yellow around the gills. I needed to cook them in something quickly. What would be a good use?

Dinner was a big pot of our Easy Vegetable Soup, which has been covered in previous blogs (and springs from my cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden). It needed a cornbread accompaniment to make things just perfect. I surfed the Internet for a broccoli cornbread recipe and immediately found something on www.myrecipes.com

This recipe (originally from April 2003 Southern Living) was for mini-muffins—all the better. Hubby and I could have that “just a bite” without feeling overloaded. The recipe said it yielded two dozen muffins, but I was able to get about 30 from the ample amount I stirred up. The fresh broccoli (subbed for the package of frozen broccoli called for) made the Broccoli Cornbread Muffins extremely tasty. The broccoli, onion, and cheddar cheese mixture was power-packed in these little gems. With the homemade veggie soup they were perfect. Wish I could say “perfect on a cold night”. In our part of Texas this winter we haven’t had too many of those yet. But it was perfect for the balmy January night that was an ideal clime outdoors for getting Christmas yard decorations removed, packaged, and put away.

I was thankful that I had saved that broccoli from extinction and made it into some darling muffins that we will enjoy for many days. And of course accolades for the little green veggie continue to pour in; an online list just yesterday commended broccoli once again as being a top cancer-fighting food.

Broccoli Cornbread Muffins

1 (8 1/2-ounce) package corn muffin mix
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed (I used 10 ounces of fresh broccoli)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 small onion, chopped
2 large eggs (I used egg substitute)
1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Stir together eggs and butter. Blend well. Add to broccoli mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into lightly greased mini-muffin pans. Fill three-fourths full. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before you remove muffins from pans. (Makes 24 to 30 muffins.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cashews give crunch to this veggie-laden Turkey with Curried Cream Sauce

Soothing, healthy, colorful, good re-use of leftovers. I got all those qualities and more more in this Turkey with Curried Cream Sauce dish. My recipe book billed it as a great way with holiday turkey leftovers, but I enjoyed it so much, I’d find some fresh turkey breast to fix (you probably also could use some chicken, such as a chicken breast) just to make it happen.

One cut-up yellow squash and one cut-up zucchini, along with chopped onion (I also added a few red bell pepper strips that I had on hand), are cooked until tender in the curried gravy. Add turkey and lemon peel.

This recipe assembles quickly and disappears just as fast—a great idea for these first-of-the-year meals when everyone is hastening to get “normal” restored to their lives. I love that the recipe called for sprinkling cashews (my fave nuts!) on the top. It suggests serving this sauce over rice, but I had some biscuits that needed to be devoured, so I served this wonderful creamed dish over them and just loved it.

Foodwise (thanks to Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards for this one), our new year has gotten off to a delicious start.

Turkey with Curried Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup chicken broth (I used low-sodium)
1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
12 small onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups cubed cooked turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
hot cooked rice
3 tablespoons chopped cashews

In a small saucepan melt butter; stir in flour and curry until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened; remove from the heat; set aside. In large skillet saute the squash, zucchini, and onion in oil until all are tender. Add the turkey, lemon peel, and reserved sauce; heat through. Serve with rice. Sprinkle each serving with cashews. Makes 4 servings.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Black-Eyed Pea Salad—what could bring better luck in the new year?

They were a “must” to be prepared, of course—the requisite black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day. I had saved a Southern Living recipe from last year and thought it was just perfect for getting the deed accomplished in a tasty way.

Assembling it was no trouble, but rounding up one of the ingredients involved a small marathon. Red-pepper jelly was one of the main parts of the marinade; our standby Kroger didn’t seem to have it. Hubby pawed around in the traditional jams-and-jellies aisle, the international foods aisle, and the health-foods aisle. He called over the manager, which he never hesitates to do when he needs help. He even encountered a neighbor who makes delicious jalapeno salsa with some of the peppers from our garden. No one seemed to know where to get red-pepper or even jalapeno jelly.

Thankfully the good ole Internet let our fingers do the walking. Hubby tippy-typed a question about where to purchase red-pepper jelly in our area. He was directed to the Wal-Mart that was on our way to pick up our grandbaby who was our New Year’s Eve charge. Hubby walked into the store and immediately spotted the red-pepper jelly—tons of it—on the jams-and-jellies aisle. He didn’t even have to scour the store. What a nod to technology!

The recipe itself was immensely simple and merely involved marinating cooked black-eyes, red onions, cilantro, red bell pepper (although I used yellow bell pepper since I had it on hand), red-pepper jelly, red-wine vinegar, and cut-up jalapeno for about eight hours and then tossing in two diced peaches and some shredded spinach just before serving. The salad recipe definitely was a suggestion worth saving for an entire year. Sweet, tangy, and unusual, this pea salad was a great way to take care of that New Year’s tradition. Even little grandboy ate a morsel—a lucky 2012 is guaranteed for him!

I may not wait until New Year’s 2013 to prepare Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad again. This is a great salad side for any important occasion.

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad

1 (16-ounce) package frozen black-eyed peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup red-pepper jelly
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced
2 cups torn watercress (I subbed shredded spinach, which I had on hand)

Prepare peas according to package direction. Simmer them only until tender; drain and let cool 1 hour. Whisk together cilantro and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked black-eyed peas, bell pepper, and onion, tossing to coat, and cover and chill for 8 hours. Stir peaches and watercress (or spinach) into pea mixture just before you serve. Makes 6 servings.