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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peach sandwich: who knew the peach could be so clever?

What a cool little dinner! While others were grilling their hearts out during the weekend just past, we grilled a little, too—on a nonstick grill pan (we dined outdoors, however—on our new front porch). Those peaches from our trees found their way into a zany dish, Country Ham-and-Peach Panini.

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned more try-outs were down the road for the peach recipes I discovered in the newest Southern Living designed to help us further adore those jewels of the South. The panini (without ciabatta bread on hand I simply used some whole grain slices) features slices of ham and cheese with the trimmings of Dijon mustard, black pepper, and honey. I spread the exterior o the bread slices with olive oil and tossed the entire assembled sandwich onto my stovetop pan. Within minutes we were just in heaven as Hubby sat in his new front-porch rocker and I in my swing and had our dinner as we watched Memorial Day wind to a close in the cool of the evening.

The peaches softened as they grilled. Combined with the honey they were a sweet balance-off against the salty ham and mustard. Who knew the peach could find itself in such a clever presentation? 

Country Ham-and-Peach Panini

8 ciabatta bread slices (or any firm white bread)
4 teaspoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper
4 (1-ounce) fontina cheese slices
4 ounces thinly sliced country ham, prosciutto, or Serrano ham (I used low-sodium ham from the deli)
2 medium peaches (abut 3/4 pound) unpeeled and sliced (I went a little overboard and used 4 peaches, peeled and diced finely)
4 teaspoons honey (optional)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Spread each of 4 bread slices with 1 teaspoon mustard. Sprinkle with desired amount of freshly ground pepper. Layer with cheese, ham, peaches, and if desired, honey. Top with remaining bread slices. Press together gently. Brush sandwiches with olive oil. Cook sandwiches, in batches, in a preheated panini press 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted. (Or use a preheated nonstick grill pan and cook sandwiches over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side.) Serve immediately. Makes 4 sandwiches (I cut mine in half). (Source: Southern Living June 2012)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crepelike, fruity pancakes just peachy for our holiday morning

These actually turned out more like crepes than pancakes, but Hubby loved them—said the lightness (and thinness) of them made consumption seem less guilt-inducing than if he were ingesting a big ole thick flapjack.

Besides, tasting the flavorful chunks of peaches contained in the slim cake was easier that way.

This was our Memorial Day holiday morning breakfast—Sweet Peach Pancakes, inspired by a paen to peaches in the brand-new Southern Living issue. (Plenty of other gotta-try peach inspirations besides this one were contained therein. Expect to hear about them in future blogs.) This one contained a mixture of soft-wheat flour and cornmeal for the batter.

The peaches are hitting us so fast in our backyard orchard, I can hardly hatch up ideas fast enough. We’ve gifted sackloads of spare peaches to several friends, but the orange glow out my window from all those beautiful orbs still dangling from peach-tree branches is almost blinding. Beautiful peach crop this year!

Sweet Peach Pancakes

3/4 cup all-purpose soft-wheat flour
3/4 cup plain yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
butter for skillet or griddle 
canola oil for skillet or riddle 
3 medium peaches (about 1/4 pound) unpeeled and cut into 10 thin wedges (or 2 medium peaches, diced, may be substituted)
garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, syrup, fresh mint (I used diced peaches themselves)

In a large bowl sift together first 6 ingredients. In a medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; whisk just until combined. (If you are stirring in the diced peaches as a sub for the next step--placing sliced peaches on the griddle--add them at this time.) On a griddle or in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat melt a small amount of butter with oil. Place 3 peach wedges for each pancake on griddle; starting at outside edge of peach slices carefully pour 1/4 cup batter over each group of slices to form a circle. Cook pancakes 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked. Turn and cook other sides 2 to 3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a baking sheet; keep warm in a 300-degree oven. Repeat procedure with remaining peach slices and batter. Add more butter and oil to griddle as needed.  Makes 10 pancakes. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

A peach of a beverage, with basil sprigs as the crowning touch

The dream was realized—our front-porch reno was complete. A ho-hum entrance to our vintage home was spiffied up by an expansive area complete with decorative railings and gingerbread trim. And a front-porch swing! Hubby and I had in mind some relaxing evenings of watching the neighborhood go by while we sipped a cool beverage.

The first cool beverage to sip while we test-drove our new swing had to be something special. I had a recipe in reserve: Peach-Basil Iced Tea. Two of the major ingredients were from my garden: 3 cups of peach nectar (made by pureeing peaches from our trees) and 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves. How would this blend work? To my knowledge I’d never had basil in a glass of tea.

All I can say is, Hubby and I, with our chilled glasses in hand and the gentle breezes whistling by us, thought we were in heaven on our new front-porch perch. The knock-your-socks-off beverage was refreshing and delicious. Our place is now staked out to spend the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend!

Peach-Basil Iced Tea

2 family-sized tea bags
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed
2/3 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
3 cups peach nectar (this can be purchased on the grocery aisle, but I enjoyed using my own peaches
      that in my blender I puréed to a fine liquid)
crushed ice
garnish: fresh basil sprigs

In a large saucepan bring 8 cups water to a boil. In a pitcher pour boiling water over tea bags and basil. Cover and steep 6 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags and basil. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Stir in peach nectar. Serve over crushed ice. Makes about 3 quarts. (Source: Southern Living February 2011)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Those nostalgic lemon bar cookies morph into a coffee-cake recipe

I’ve been utterly agog over the fact that with my new mini herb garden installed, I can walk a short distance to my step-side flower bed and trim off fresh rosemary (and other herbs) for recipes.

Except for that, I probably wouldn’t have given a second glance to this recipe for Lemon-Rosemary Coffee Cake. When coffee cake is involved, I crave peaches or blueberries or nuts. My first thoughts don’t turn in the lemon direction.

But the magazine photo that accompanied the recipe looked lovely; Hubby’s birthday was being celebrated, and I needed to bake something for his birthday morning. Rosemary in my mini herb garden was readily available. 

Who knew that this was going to emerge tasting as though it was a coffee-cake version of those delicious baked lemon square bar-cookies my mother used to make? With powdered sugar for the topping? Yes—that’s what it was: lemon-bar cookies made into a coffee cake with rosemary woven into the mixture and with rosemary sprigs sprinkled over the cake.

For Hubby it made an amazing birthday breakfast. Since he had watched them grow from his very earth, he didn’t even blink at the fact that the coffee cake had green weedlike garnishes sprinkled on it. 

Lemon-Rosemary Coffee Cake

Parchment paper
3 large lemons
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 cup very cold butter, cubed
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk (Greek yogurt may be substituted)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 (10-ounce) jar lemon curd
powdered sugar
garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs, lemon slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Grate zest from lemons to equal 1 tablespoon. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice from lemons into a bowl to equal 5 tablespoons. Reserve zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of a food processor; pulse 3 to 4 times or until blended. Add butter; pulse 6 to 7 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup flour mixture. Transfer remaining flour  mixture to bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Add baking powder and baking soda; beat at low speed until well-blended. Add buttermilk, egg, and 1/4 cup lemon juice; beat at medium speed 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until batter is thoroughly blended. Stop to scrape bowl as needed. Stir in rosemary. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan. Whisk lemon curd in a small bowl about 1 minute or until loosened and smooth; carefully spread over batter in pan. Top with remaining half of batter. Stir together reserved lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 cup flour mixture; sprinkle lemon zest mixture over batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center emerges clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Gently run a sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen; remove sides of pan. Cool cake completely on wire rack (about 1 hour). Dust cake with powdered sugar just before serving. (You may sub a 9-inch round cake pan for the springform pan. Line bottom and sides of cake pan with aluminum foil. Allow 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; grease foil well. Proceed with recipe as directed through baking instructions. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Lift cake from pan; use foil sides as handles. Carefully remove foil. Cool and dust with powdered sugar as directed.) Makes 8-10 servings. (Source: Southern Living, February 2012)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spicy slaw and tangy chicken make a great summer kick-off

I’m not sure I recall a time in which I’ve cooked my way through an entire magazine, but for some reason each and every recipe in one recent issue has been a standout. I’d start to file it away in my plastic magazine-keeper, but then some lone, unprepared food item would call to me. I’d have to give in.

This is what happened with today’s featured item, Hot Sauce Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra Slaw. Not my kind of thing, I mused as I’d flip by it time after time on my way to look up another selection. Pretty soon, however, everything else in my February 2012 issue of Southern Living got crossed off the “been-there-cooked-that” list. I kept studying the picture of the crispy golden chicken with its colorful side. Well, I do love coleslaw, I finally reckoned. Adding sliced pickled okra to the chopped cabbage sounded as though it was the most novel of proposals.

Ultimately I gave in. I’ll have to say that, to begin with, this was just a superb way to prepare fried chicken. Rolling the chicken breast first in the seasoned flour, then in the egg/hot sauce mixture, and then in the crushed saltine crackers with baking powder added made for a wonderfully crunchy crust that really adhered to the chicken. This was absolutely delicious either warm or cold. The next day I yanked a piece straight from the fridge and didn’t even give the first thought about microwaving it. Great chicken.

The slaw with the pickled okra truly was unique; the spicy-ness of the okra paired well with the chicken’s (hot-sauce-induced) tangy crust.

Hot Sauce Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra Slaw

6 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (or salt substitute)
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
30 saltine crackers, crushed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/3 cup hot sauce
peanut oil
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 (16-ounce) package shredded coleslaw mix
1/2 cup sliced pickled okra
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento, drained

Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish. Stir together cracker crumbs, baking powder, and remaining 3/4 cup flour in a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish whisk together eggs and hot sauce. Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture. Press to adhere all to chicken. Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; heat to 360 degrees. Fry half of chicken 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and done. Repeat procedure with remaining half of chicken. Stir together sour cream, sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss together coleslaw mix, pickled okra, diced pimiento, and sour-cream mixture. As you serve, drizzle additional hot sauce around chicken and slaw. Makes 6 servings.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Simple Onion Soup heartwarming on summery as well as cold days

While I'm on the subject of onions (after yesterday's post about the homemade onion rings), I’ll go on and tell you about this wonderful onion soup I made from—guess what?—onions from my garden again.

Hubby and I have a terrific memory of dining on French Onion Soup during a winter picnic shortly after we were married. One Saturday, B.K. (before kids), we decided to chunk the usual weekend household chores and instead stuff a blanket in the car and head off on a winter outdoor outing. We found a picnic spot about 90 minutes from our home and enjoyed some heartwarming soup on a cold day.

In the (many) years since, French Onion Soup has always evoked a special recollection. When I saw this recipe for a similar dish, I decided the time had arrived to walk down memory lane (and use up those beautiful onions the Good Lord helped us grow).

Simple is the correct word for this terrific menu item. Brown the onions in butter, add broth (I subbed chicken broth for the beef), and pour over toasted whole-wheat bread, with cheese sprinkled on.

Our warming outdoor temps right now definitely do not bespeak of winter, but the enjoyment of this Simple Onion Soup certainly can span the seasons.

Simple Onion Soup

1 tablespoon margarine
3 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cups lower-sodium beef broth (I used chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
6 pieces, whole-wheat bread, toasted and cut into strips

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat margarine. Add onions; sauté until onions are caramelized (light golden brown). Stir in broth and pepper. Bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the soup to an oven-safe dish. Place bread in the soup. Top with cheese; broil until the cheese is melted. Makes 6 1-cup servings. (Recipe source: Chickasaw Nutrition Services)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dig up an onion, dip and dredge—healthy homemade onion rings

We thought this would be funner than fun—homemade onion rings prepared from the onions out of our own garden.

The inimitable cook Paula Deen helped with this endeavor—through her recipes featured in a recent edition of Prevention magazine. Deen has been “lightening up” because of her well-publicized  diabetes diagnosis, so many of her food preparations are makeovers—healthier ways to stir up classic (and often fat-laden) Southern meals.

In this one she took the onion ring to new heights, as far as I’m concerned. These are baked in the oven after being coated with a seasoned mix of flour and bread crumbs.

I liked these better than the heart-hampering ones you might get at the local greasy spoon. And the freshness of slicing up a just-picked onion from our own onion rows—priceless!

Crispy Creole Onion Rings

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
2 large egg whites (I used 1/2 cup egg substitute)
2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 large sweet onions, slice and separated into 1/2-inch-thick rings

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. In a small bowl whisk together flour and 1 teaspoon of the seasoning. In another small bowl lightly beat egg whites. In a third small bowl combine panko and remaining 1 teaspoon seasoning. Dredge onion rings in flour mixture. Gently shake off excess. Dip in egg; let excess drip off. Dredge in panko mixture to coat; place on prepared pans. Coat onion rings lightly with cooking spray. Bake 6 minutes. Turn onion rings and bake until they are lightly browned for 4 to 6 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shrimp, berries, mango slivers—a few of my favorite things

An afternoon with breezes straight off the water, a campfire in our pit for the first time this summer, dinner on our deck at our lake place—these were some happenings that made my Mother’s Day special.

Content to hatch up my own Mother’s Day meal (we had been out to dinner the Friday night before), I chose a menu that included blackened shrimp on skewers alongside mango slices and our own fresh blackberries. A mint-lime drizzle that used mint from our herb garden was the crowning touch.

How happy I was to be able to use our abundant blackberry crop for this unique purpose. The berries and mango formed a wonderful go-together with the shrimp. This recipe couldn’t have been easier, so toil over food preparation didn’t mar the holiday.

Love those blackberries with shrimp.

Grilled Blackened Shrimp Skewers

36 unpeeled, large raw Gulf shrimp (about 1 pound, 26/30 count)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoon Cajun blackened seasoning 18 (6-inch) wooden skewers
36 fresh blackberries
18 fresh mango slices

Mint-Lime Drizzle:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/8 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)

Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees (medium-high) heat. Peel shrimp; leave tails on; devein, if desired. Place shrimp in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoning; toss to coat. Grill shrimp, covered with grill lid, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Thread each skewer with 2 grilled shrimp, 2 blackberries, and 1 mango slice. Brush with Mint-Lime Drizzle, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living, May 2012)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Birthday cobbler even better gift since berries, peaches all from garden

"You fixed that last year,” Hubby instructed as I informed him that his birthday dessert for this year would be a Peach-Blackberry Cobbler.

He wasn't complaining; he just wanted to be sure I didn’t repeat a blog post in the process. He knew that would irk me.

I was happy to (cheerfully) prove him mistaken. He had been thinking of last year ’s Peach-BLUEberry Cobbler, which I didn’t even bake until well after his birthday. While a wonderful dish, it wouldn’t begin to compare with what I had planned for today—the anniversary of his birth. After all, every morsel of fresh peach and every plump fresh BLACKberry would spring from our trees and our vines in our own garden. What a gift!

Peaches are an annual thing for us (some years more than others), but this year's vines absolutely covered in blackberries are wonders of the world! The berries are almost two-inches long and so chubby, you can hardly get one in your mouth. I’ve never seen any growing thing so beautiful. Their juicy taste is beyond delicious. The green of the vines is almost obliterated by the purple of the berries, they are so profuse.

Stirring two cups of them up with chunks of peaches fresh from our trees (in our first peach dish of the season) was nothing short of heaven. An online recipe from foodnetwork.com helped me out with this mixture. A rolled topping that included brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg spread out on top of everything, and I was in business. The Birthday Boy would be lucky indeed!

Peach-Blackberry Cobbler

8 to 12 peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch salt (or salt substitute)
2 cups blackberries
topping (recipe follows)

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pinches mace or nutmeg
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar (or sugar substitute)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the peaches, cornstarch or flour, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Toss gently. Carefully fold in the blackberries; transfer the mixture to a greased 8-cup baking dish. Set aside. For topping, mix the flour, salt, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and mace or nutmeg. Add the butter; mix until coarse and crumbly. Add 3/4 cup milk; mix just until combined. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead a few times to smooth it out. Form into a ball; roll out into the shape and size of the baking dish—about 1/2-inch thick. Place the dough on top of the prepared fruit. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of milk; sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Place the cobbler on a sheet-pan to catch any juices that might boil over. Bake until the top is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings. (Source: www.footnetwork.com

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lemon-Basll Chicken Salad gets an herb-garden raid for its flavor

With a thatch of basil now growing in a little dedicated herb area just outside my back door, how could I pass up a chance to work this herb into a salad?

I saw this recipe for Lemon-Basil Chicken Salad and thought how amazing this would taste with the called-for 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil waiting for me just a few steps off the back porch. True that! This salad was absolutely delicious. I served it with some whole-grain flatbread. 

The recipe was included in the Southern Living section of chicken-salad lighten-ups which inspired my earlier blog about Mixed Fruit Chicken Salad. I pledged to try all four recipes included there, since chicken salad of any description is my absolute love. 

Well, two of these four makeovers down and two to go: this one with is fresh basil, baby spinach, fresh lemon zest, and sun-dried tomatoes couldn’t have been nicer.

Lemon-Basil Chicken Salad

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
4 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

Whisk together fresh basil, olive oil, mustard, garlic, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. In a large bowl combine chicken, spinach, and tomatoes. Drizzle with basil mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. (Source: Southern Living May 2012)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Way back in the Congressional Cookbook, a terrific Chicken Pie recipe

Recently as I thumbed through one of my mother’s cookbooks that she had used widely in my childhood, Hubby asked whether I remembered that we possessed his mother’s Congressional cookbook. How cool for us to prepare a recipe from it some time, Hubby commented.

I located it on another shelf and noted that one of his all-time favorite dishes (as I've mentioned many times in this blog), Chicken Pot Pie, was furnished to the cookbook by Mrs. Will Rogers, wife of the U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma and a friend of Louis' mom. Mrs. Rogers (whose husband was no relation to the legendary Oklahoma humorist Will Rogers) lived in Washington D.C. during the FDR era when Grandmother Moore lived there and was a stenographer for several government agencies. 

The Congressional Cookbook (circa 1933), compiled with recipes from the wives of governmental luminaries in that day, had yellowing pages and a frayed cover, but it was filled with wonderful vintage recipes that still make up into beautiful dishes. 

My biggest delight was walking to my backyard garden and pulling up the 12 small onions called for in this recipe. They were just the right size--small, gorgeous bulbs that I quickly steamed in the microwave and then laid on the bottom of the prepared casserole. Seasoning for the broth included fresh-cut parsley from my herb row by my back steps. Couldn't get better than this!

Grandmother Moore's cookbook and her friend's recipe sprang alive for this incredible meal.

Chicken Pot Pie

3 cups cooked chicken
12 small onions, cooked and diced
1 cup diced carrots, cooked
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth, seasoned to taste (I used pepper, salt substitute, and fresh parsley)
6 tablespoons water
biscuit dough (I used Bisquick low-fat baking mix to make dough)

Arrange the chicken, onions, and carrots in a greased 1 1/2-quart casserole; meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the chicken broth. Stir in flour that has been mixed to a smooth paste with the water; boil 5 minutes. Stir frequently until sauce is thickened. Pour this sauce over the chicken and vegeteables. Prepare the biscuit dough. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness; cut biscuits into rings; arrange on chicken. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fresh parsley from herb garden enlivens tomato sauce on fish

Nothing like fresh cut parsley straight from the little herb-growing area by my back porch to perk up a meal. A big, bushy head of parsley is thriving just by my back step. What a thrill to be able to step out and cut some of my own herbs instead of having to wag some home from the grocery! 

I was delighted to see that this recipe for Mediterranean Salmon included fresh parsley. Lately Hubby and I have managed to consume less fish than is optimum, so I’ve been back in a mode to pull out my fave salmon recipes as well as to scout out new ones. This suggestion was straight from a recent Kroger grocery flyer. I get the best ideas from these—one snail-mail circular I’m always happy to see.

The chunky tomato sauce to which I added the parsley was a wonderful topping for the flavorful sauteéd salmon. This meal assembled quickly and despite the recipe’s suggestion about refrigerating any left over, produced no leftovers. We consumed all rapidly.

Mediterranean Salmon

Salmon Sauté:
2 (4-ounce) fillets salmon
salt (or salt substitute) and fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Mediterranean Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 ripe plum tomatoes, minced
1/2 cup red Bell pepper, minced
2 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Season fish with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add fish and sear until well-browned on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish to a plate; tent with foil. Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add olive oil. Add remaining ingredients (tomatoes through pepper) to the hot oil. Stir constantly until heated through and sauce thickens a bit. Spoon onto sauteéd salmon; serve at once. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 2.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Way-cool fresh corn salad has cucumber addition

One main thing drew me to this “Chill-Out Corn Salad” recipe—the unusual combination of chopped cucumber with fresh corn. The fresh cuke would add to the “coolness” factor. It truly was a delightful flavor combination. 

If I’d had them on hand, I would have dumped in a small container of fresh pimientos or some chopped red Bell pepper, just because the bright red would have jazzed up the color. 

I can see this being a big covered-dish hit at a picnic—as a new take on the popular marinated vegetable salad covered-dish recipe. 

We thought it was plenty “cool”.

Chill-Out Corn Salad

1/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 ears fresh corn, steamed and cut from cob (or 2 15.25-ounce cans low-sodiium corn, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup chopped green Bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped onion
black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl whisk oil, sugar substitute, salt, and red wine vinegar. Add vegetables and toss. Chill in the refrigerator; then serve. Makes 9 1/2-cup servings. (Source: Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Makeover of chicken salad--fruit-filled version; love it!

Whoever thought about putting all these ingredients in chicken salad? Yet it was delicious beyond words. Hubby wanted to know when I would make this winner of a meal again. He knows that to keep up with my blog posts, we don’t dine on a lot of repeats. He wanted to be sure this got filed in my “favorite-est” section.

This novel idea was featured in a recent Southern Living article that gave four makeovers to the staple of chicken salad. I intend to prepare as many of these four as I can. 

This fruity version called for grapes, celery, orange segments, and fresh pineapple. The dressing consisted (oh joy!) of ingredients I already had on hand—orange marmalade, raspberry blush vinegar, cilantro, jalapeno, and olive oil. Toasted pecans went on top. 

The magazine pictured serving it over a bed of spinach, but I just dished it up plain. It didn’t last very long; that attests to its popularity.

Mixed Fruit Chicken Salad

1/4 cup chopped pecans
4 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
2 cups seedless red and green grapes, halved
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained (I used fresh orange segments)
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (or 1 8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 cup orange marmalade (I used sugar-free)
1/3 cup white balsamic-raspberry blush vinegar
1 medium-sized jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow pan bake pecans in a single layer for 6 to 7 minutes or until pecans are toasted and fragrant; stir halfway through. In a large bowl toss together chicken and next 5 ingredients. To make vinaigrette, combine the last five ingredients. Toss to coat salad. Sprinkle salad with pecans; serve immediately. Makes 7 1/2 cups salad. (Source: Southern Living May 2012)