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, October 29, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup a showstopper

Butternut Squash Soup isn’t typical fall fare for us, but when we picked up some butternuts from our farm-stand stop, I immediately thought of a recipe I’d seen in a magazine. Once stirred up this fall soup was a showstopper for sure.

The peeled and cut squash, along with carrots, onion, and some other additions, cooked in a Dutch oven for about 20 minutes and then were processed in a blender until they were smooth. The one teaspoon of orange zest added to the mixture, plus the one tablespoon honey, sweetened it up.

“Don’t we have any more of this?” queried Hubby, as he warmed the last soup mug full of Butternut Squash Soup and downed it. Made me very glad I found this little gem of a recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (3-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon orange blossom honey (I used regular honey)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
garnish: smoked paprika, olive oil

Sauté carrots and onion in hot olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is lightly browned. Add squash, broth, and orange zest; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until squash is tender. Stir in cream and next 5 ingredients. Cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Use blender to process mixture until it is smooth. Garnish as desired (I sprinkled on the paprika). Serve warm. (Source: Southern Living September 2012)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

These “Better Nachos” were the absolute best!

So-o-o-o good! They were called “Better Nachos”—the “better” part of the title relating, I suppose, to the make-your-own chips, the fat-free refried beans, and the from-scratch taco seasoning.

But truthfully, I don’t know when I’ve dined on better nachos, even in some of my fave top-drawer Tex-Mex establishments. I even have a little bit of the bean layer left and keep using it as a dip with veggies, even though the chips are long gone.

The taco-seasoning mix itself (made from ingredients listed in the Better Nachos recipe) is a keeper. This recipe calls for 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mix; I have the rest preserved in a sealed bag for another time.

The end topping of the fresh mini tomatoes and lettuce, which I obtained from a roadside farm stand, added a healthy touch.

Better Nachos

6 corn tortillas
1 (15-ounce) can refried beans, fat-free
1 (4-ounce) can green chilies
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning, made from the following:
     1 teaspoon dried onion
     1 teaspoon chili powder
     1/2 teaspoon cumin
     1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
     1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
     1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
     1/4 teaspoon oregano
3/4 cup reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On each tortilla spray a small amount of vegetable oil cooking spray. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges (like a pizza). Place wedges on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Make the taco seasoning from the dried onion, chili and garlic powders, red pepper, cornstarch, and oregano. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of this mixture (keep the remainder of the seasoning in a sealed bag) to the refried beans and green chilies. Stir well. Spread a layer of bean mixture on each chip; sprinkle with cheese. Place chips on a baking sheet and in the oven to broil until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, tomato, and salsa if desired. Makes 4 servings of 12 chips each. (Source: Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin makes its way into a new “bottomless” pie recipe

Pumpkin rules and reigns this time of year. Over the years, what haven’t I made with pumpkin? My pumpkin recipe files are full indeed, but not long ago I did stumble on a new one.

To me, any recipe for a “bottomless” dessert (i.e., not requiring a crust) receives a shout-out. This Bottomless Pie, baked with fresh pumpkin and pecans, was simple and pulled together in a heartbeat (with all the heart-healthy substitutes, it was good for the heart as well.) 

Since Hubby adores pumpkin pie for breakfast, you can bet this food item went quickly since it became a breakfast, lunch, and dinner accompaniment. The pumpkin-pie-spice-flavored whipped topping was an extra little delight. 

Bottomless Pie

cooking spray
1 cup pumpkin, fresh purée or canned
1/2 cup bakery mix, low fat
1/2 cup sugar substitute
1 cup evaporated milk, fat free
1 tablespoon margarine
1 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
2 egg whites (or egg white substitute)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 1/2 cup whipped topping (lite or sugar-free)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray to spray a 9-inch pie plate. In a medium bowl stir until blended the pumpkin, bakery mix, sugar substitute, milk, margarine, 1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin-pie spice, vanilla, and eggs. Add pecans; pour into pie plate. Bake on bottom third of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour. In a small bowl mix whipped topping and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice. Garnish. Makes 8 servings. (Source: Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed-Zucchini Bread

Farm-stand find: fresh zucchini. Now for some creative way to use it. I remembered that Southern Living had featured a most enticing recipe for Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread. It was proposed as a food gift, since the mini loaves as suggested make such nice last-minute gifts: take-alongs for a hostess present or tuck-ins with a casserole for a recuperating friend.

I loved the idea of combining zucchini, poppy seeds, and lemon zest for a taste treat. Other than a few minutes to shred the zucchini, which I did in a blender, this mixture pulled together quickly. The mini loaves, baked in 5-inch-by-3-inch pans, were just darling. Hubby and I had trouble having any left over for gift-giving, however. They were easy to slice and tote as snacks for one of our road trips. Freezing some extras and thawing later were easy as well. Cute, cute, cute and a yummy change from traditional zucchini bread!

Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar (or sugar substitute)
3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup egg substitute)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. With a heavy-duty electric stand mixer beat butter at medium speed until butter is creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time; beat just until blended after each addition. Stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream. Begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until mixture is blended after each addition. Stir in zucchini and next 2 ingredients. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 5-inch-by-3-inch loaf pans (about 1 1/3 cups batter per pan). Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wood pick inserted into center emerges clean. Cook in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Makes 3 (5-inch-by-3-inch) loaves. (Source: Southern Living August 2012)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cinnamon Stewed Apples—will do these more often!

Want to get your fall groove on? This simple dish will do it for you.

Six apples (the recipe calls for Granny Smith, but I used whatever kind was in our most recent farmer’s market pickup) peeled and chopped with some spices, apple juice, and brown sugar simmered on the stove for 45 minutes. That’s all! The result smelled beautiful, looked great, and was a perfect side dish for whatever else I was serving. It accompanies pork, ham, chicken—or even chicken salad. Sounds like an odd combination, that latter item, but chicken salad is what was for dinner over the weekend. The stewed apples were just terrific with it. My bet is that they’d taste as good straight from the fridge as they do warmed on the stove.

Hubby’s query was, “Why don’t we do these more often?” Good question. The recipe can double easily and will keep in the refrigerator about a week. The sauce may appear thin when you remove the dish from the stovetop, but on standing it thickens nicely.

An apple a day (or a serving of these spicy stewed apples) keeps the what’s-for-dinner doldrums away. At least that’s my take on the old apple saw.

Cinnamon Stewed Apples

6 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (can use brown-sugar substitute)
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 45 minutes or until apple is tender. Stir occasionally. Let stand 5 minutes. Makes about 2 cups. (Source: www.myrecipes.com)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Good and Good for You in this nontraditional guacamole recipe

We walked into a food demo just as the goodies were being dished up for the audience. What luck! The demo item for the day was Good for You Guacamole, made with crumbled feta cheese instead of some of the traditional guacamole trappings such as mayo and sour cream.

The recipe also featured diced-up tomatoes and a tablespoon of lemon juice. I eagerly downed my sample and knew I had to seize this recipe and try it soon.

The next night for dinner I planned chicken fajitas and used this healthy guacamole as a topping for the chicken strips inside a tortilla. Hubby kept saying he couldn’t believe how much he liked this version of guacamole. I was certainly glad we had  wandered into the food demo the day before!

Good for You Guacamole

3 avocados, roughly chopped and mashed (1 1/2 cup mashed)
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)

Mash avocados in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate and serve with chips (or however you desire). Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings. (Source: Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spinach-Apple-Bacon Salad—a have-to-prepare

Beautiful, healthy, colorful salad—as basic as you can get, but we enjoyed the flavorful simplicity. Hints of fall weather, of course, make the apple everyone’s best friend in whatever menu item you might choose. So these lovely, crunchy apples were a natural ingredient for this dish.

The recipe arrived in my Kroger grocery circular. Spinach-Apple-Bacon Salad—It was a have-to-prepare. The honey/Dijon mustard dressing was delightful to toss around it.

Give it a try! It worked for us!

Spinach-Apple-Bacon Salad

1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Royal Gala or Granny Smith apple, cut lengthwise into 16 slices
8 cups baby spinach
sliced red onion
sliced button mushrooms
2 slices center-cut bacon, cooked until crispy (I used turkey bacon.)

In a small bowl combine first 6 ingredients (water through pepper). Stir with a whisk to make the dressing. Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons dressing over apples; toss to coat. Add spinach, mushrooms, onions, and remaining dressing. Toss to coat. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle over the top of the salad. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quite a breakfast gets jump-started with Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

When you have a little punkin in the house, the best thing to do is to stir up some Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Pancakes. At least that’s what we thought this past weekend when a little one was present for some grandparent fun time.

We also had some pumpkin puree, too, from a farmer’s-market find. Nothing to do but to get those pancakes quickly turning golden on the pancake grill.

I liked this recipe from the online site, acozykitchenprintablerecipes. It specified that you dot on the chocolate chips once the pancake batter was starting to cook on the griddle (instead of stirring the chips into the batter before scooping it on to cook). This made the chocolate chips more evenly spaced (and more decorative and apparent to the diners, especially the little one).  

We had ourselves quite a breakfast! I’m telling you, these were terrific.

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/2 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a measuring cup (or small bowl) measure out the buttermilk. Add the egg and lightly beat. Next mix in the pumpkin puree until it is completely blended. Pour in the slightly cooled melted butter; mix some more. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. The batter should have some small-to-medium lumps. Heat up your griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium low heat and brush with 1 tablespoon of butter. Scoop the batter, using a 1/4-cup measure, to the warm skillet. Top each pancake with desired amount of chocolate chips. Cook until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancake; then flip. Cool on opposite side for about 40 seconds or until golden brown. Transfer done pancakes to a baking sheet. Place them in oven to keep warm. Proceed with the rest of the pancakes until you’ve gone through all the batter. (Makes about 10 pancakes.) Serve with warm maple syrup. (Source: acozykitchenprintablerecipes)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Eggplant Chicken a sure winner

Still in the possession of some eggplant from our last farmer's market run, I found this delightful Eggplant Chicken recipe on cooks.com. 

The chicken breasts were o-so-tender after I had pounded them with a kitchen mallet so that they baked in a nice flat layer under the eggplant slices.

I made my own breadcrumbs by whisking some whole-wheat bread in the blender and adding some Italian seasoning.

I didn’t have the Provolone cheese as the recipe specified, so I used some grated Mozzarella instead. The casserole was terrific and extended itself for several night’s meals.

Eggplant Chicken

2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, halved, and flattened, with excess fat removed
1 small eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup flavored bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
4 slices Provolone cheese
1/4 cup grated cheese (I used Parmesan)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh parsley for garnish

Lay out chicken in prepared casserole dish. Dredge eggplant in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Top each chicken breast with eggplant slices. Top with tomato sauce, grated cheese, then Provolone cheese, and olive oil. Garnish with parsley. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 20 minutes (I left it in for 25 minutes for doneness.) Remove from casserole with spatula. Serve on heated plates. Makes 6-8 servings. (Source: cooks.com)

Monday, October 1, 2012

A day of being “walled about with apples” produced these apple-bran muffin beauties

I’ve always loved the expression “walled about with rain”, a line from one of my favorite historical novels, The Child from the Sea. On Saturday we were  “walled about with rain” from sunup to sundown. My planned day of gardening tasks had to be set aside, but who’s complaining? Our sun-parched land was so grateful for the soaking moisture.

Instead, I became “walled about with apples”. The drop in temps and the sure sign that fall was at hand got me grabbing up every apple I could find and stirring up apple goodies. How fall-ified the house smelled with apple things baking.

We loved these Apple Bran Cereal Muffins, the recipe having been procured from the Chickasaw Nutrition Services a few days before. Finely chopped apples and bran flakes were the key elements in these tasty gems. Interesting: the recipe called for 1/2 cup applesauce, which I didn’t have on hand. I merely inserted a diced, peeled apple into the blender and pureed it until the apple was a nice mush. I poured in a tablespoon of water, a sprinkle of sugar substitute, and dash of nutmeg. Instant applesauce to use as an ingredient! No emergency trips to the store; no opening a can. This helped make the muffins plenty moist; they turned out beautifully golden.

Pulling weeds could wait while we luxuriated in the smells and tastes of welcomed fall.

Apple Bran Cereal Muffins

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
2 cups bran flakes
1 cup skim milk
1 egg white (I used 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 cup apple, cored, finely chopped
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 muffin pan cups with cooking spray. In a large bowl mix flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl mix cereal and milk; let stand 3 minutes. To the cereal mixture add egg white, apple, applesauce, brown sugar, and margarine. Mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup; bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins. (Source: Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services)