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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Comfort food indeed—Creamy Chicken Stew

Everybody raved about this Creamy Chicken Stew. We poured it into soup bowls and dined away, although it just as easily could have been served over toast as though it were chicken a la king. Can’t think of a better dish for a cold January night with the wind howling riotously outside our windows.

Comfort food, indeed! Hubby and I were just back from a long road trip and needed something soothing to help us ease back into the routine. I loved the addition of the fat-free zesty Italian dressing; it provided all the seasoning needed. 

Creamy Chicken Stew

3/4 pound small red potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons water
cooking spray
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-sodium, reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup fat-free zesty Italian dressing
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese

Place potatoes and water in microwaveable bowl with a lid. Microwave on high for 7 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Spray large skillet with nonstick spray. Sauté chicken on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes or until chicken is brown. Stir occasionally. To saucepan add cooked potatoes, soup, dressing, broth, and vegetables. Bring to boil; cover, Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are heated through. Stir in cream cheese. Cook 1 minute or until cheese is blended in. Makes 6 (1-cup) servings. (Source: Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chocolate-chip morsels, pumpkin, spices mix up to make some pretty good waffles

These waffles made for a wonderful breakfast-for-dinner event at our house recently. Hubby said he’d really like waffles for the evening meal. Some chocolate chips on hand and fresh pumpkin puree combined to make Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Waffles. I’ve had this recipe for ages and can’t possibly remember the source, but I certainly am indebted to the person who first put this idea together.

The merger of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves brought a very special spicy aroma while these were baking in the waffle grill. We poured sugar-free maple syrup on top and had ourselves a breakfast-for-dinner feast!

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Waffles

2 1/2 cups flour (combine all-purpose and wheat flours)
1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash cloves
2 eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin (I used fresh pumpkin puree)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Whisk together dry ingredients. Fold them into wet ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake on prepared waffle grill. Makes 6 waffles.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fresher-than-fresh orange juice adds to divine, Sunshine Carrot glaze

I’ve prepared this recipe for years. In fact, in our early days of marriage it was my go-to, impressive veggie side any time we had company. The gingered-honey glaze on the carrot dish always made the steamed carrots look spectacular. Even with reluctant kiddos this method was a good way to be sure carrots were downed.

But I never had had the opportunity to stir up the glaze with absolutely fresh-off-the-tree oranges squeezed into my measuring cup for the orange-juice addition. I’ve blogged about how our trip West gave us the rare treat of toting home oranges grown on our very own tree and picked in the peak of citrus season. So when I thought of what were the most delectable ways to use my fresh-squeezed orange juice, this time-honored recipe of course sprang to mind.

Sunshine Carrots appeared in my first cookbook, Way Back in the Country; I had gleaned it from my  staple Better Homes & Gardens recipe album that I received as a wedding gift more than four decades ago. Steamed, sliced carrots are topped with golden sauce for a masterful side. Pouring in orange juice from the store jugs is, of course, a totally acceptable addition, but when the chance arises to use oranges that are fresher than the morning dew, do plunge right in!

Sunshine Carrots

5 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons margarine

Cook carrots until tender; drain. In small saucepan combine next four ingredients Add orange juice; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Add margarine. Stir well. Pour over carrots. Toss to coat. Serves 4.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pumpkin and oatmeal combine for an on-the-go breakfast bar

I liked this recipe because the reviews said it made a great breakfast-on-the-go item that contained the nutritious additions of oats and fresh pumpkin. Although the bars also could be served for dessert, we enjoyed them alongside our dry cereal as a little breakfast extra—or as a breakfast in themselves if we were in a hurry and needed to grab something to eat in the car.

They also would be ideal for road trips. The recipe originator described them as appealing to picky eaters. Neither Hubby nor I fit into that category, but we know a few eaters who employ “discernment”. I can see why these spice-laden bars would be popular with just about anyone. As a dessert we topped them with a little sugar-free whipped topping. Great!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Breakfast Bars

4 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups milk (I use skim)
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (15-ounce) canned pumpkin (I substituted 15 ounces puree from fresh pumpkin)
1/4 cup brown sugar (for top)
whipped topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees for glass pan). Grease 13-inch-by-9-inch pan. In large bowl mix all ingredients except 1/4 cup brown sugar. Spread mixture into pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool thoroughly; cut into bars. Makes 18 servings. (Source: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sweet potatoes, chicken and dumplings—a happy combination

Hubby loves nothing than better than chicken and dumplings, unless we’re talking sweet potatoes. Those are all his faves. So when I saw a recipe for Sweet Potato Chicken and Dumplings, I knew Hubby would do triple back-flips over such a dish.

The recipe was featured in a magazine article on lightened-up comfort foods—ways to rework hearty old standbys into more healthy entrees. In this dish the dumplings were created from a combination of sweet and white potatoes mixed with Parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary. The recipe called for less flour than the typical chicken-and-dumplings offering; it also featured a light, flavorful chicken broth instead of the usual heavy gravy.

My dumplings didn’t have the rosy coloration that the magazine photo showed because the day of my marketing, my grocery didn’t carry any of the standard golden sweet potatoes and instead had white sweet potatoes for sale. But the sweet-potato flavor was the same as if I’d use the golden variety.

The magazine described the sweet-potato dumplings as pillowy and gnocci-like. Couldn’t ask for a more perfect January meal. And yes, Hubby was more than excited about this combination of his besties.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Dumplings

1 (3 3/4-pound) whole chicken
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
Sweet Potato Dumplings (recipe follows)
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Flat-leaf parsley leaves

Bring chicken, next 7 ingredients and water to cover to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour. Remove chicken, reserving broth in Dutch oven. Cool chicken 30 minutes. Meanwhile cook reserved broth in Dutch oven over low heat 30 minutes. Skin, bone, and shred chicken; reserve bones. Place bones in broth. Cover and chill shredded chicken until it is ready to use.  Continue cooking broth, uncovered, over low heat for 1 hour or until it is reduced by one-third. Pour broth through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Wipe Dutch oven clean; pour broth back into Dutch oven. Skim fat from broth. Add thinly sliced onion and next 2 ingredients to broth; cook over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally, 20 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender. Add shredded chicken; return to a simmer. Add Sweet Potato Dumplings to soup. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley. 

Sweet Potato Dumplings

2 medium-sized baking potatoes (about 3/4 pound)
1 large sweet potato (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick all potatoes with a fork. Bake potatoes on a jelly-roll pan 1 hour. (I baked mine on the microwave oven setting for potatoes.) Cool potatoes 20 minutes. Peel and mash until potatoes are smooth. Add cheese and next 4 ingredients. Stir until smooth. Fold in flour just until blended. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; dust with flour. Roll each into a 3/4-inch-diameter rope on a well-floured surface. Cut into 1-inch pieces; place dumplings on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cook dumplings, 10 to 12 at a time, in 3 quarts of boiling water over medium-high heat, 3 minutes. remove with a slotted spoon. Makes 8 servings. (Source: Southern Living, January 2013)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baked Fish Tacos--orange we glad we waited!

When is an orange not just any old orange? When it springs from an orange tree in your own back yard!

In the Western part of these United States, where we have a little “grandparent house” that shelters us when we visit some special little people, has grown an orange tree—planted quite a few years ago on the same week our first grandchild was born. Year after year we’ve wondered whether we’d ever see any of the luxurious citrus like that on our neighbors’ trees. This year was our lucky year! Gorgeous golden orbs finally emerged from those branches at our place. Just had to find a special recipe that would feature oranges aplenty.

About the same time, the Kroger grocery circular appeared in our mailbox. It featured a recipe for Baked Fish Tacos that had oranges as a main ingredient. Segments from our yield of oranges were quickly removed and readied for this healthy and yummy entree.

We’ve heard about farmers who are reluctant to butcher a cow they’ve cared for from birth. We had no such sentimental ties to the yield of an orange tree we once planted at knee-height. We enjoyed this orange-studded menu item to the fullest!

Baked Fish Tacos

1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander (I substituted parsley flakes)
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 tilapia fillets, cut in half lengthwise
salt (or salt substitute) and pepper
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 to 2 chipotle peppers, minced (or a pinch or two of cayenne pepper)
2 oranges
1 bunch cilantro
8 soft flour tortillas
1 lime quartered, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Place the fish on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet; season fish with salt and pepper. Top each fillet generously with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake the fish for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fish is firm, opaque, and has reached a safe internal temperature of 145 degrees. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the yogurt and chipotle peppers. Transfer to a small bowl; keep refrigerated until you are ready to eat. Prep the rest of the ingredients: Peel the oranges, separate into segments, and remove any seeds. Clean the cilantro; remove the stems. To assemble tacos place 1/8 of the fish in the center of a tortilla. Smear some of the chipotle yogurt on the tortilla. To each add 2 orange segments and some fresh cilantro. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 8 tacos. (Source: Kroger grocery MyMagazine)

Monday, January 7, 2013

A sweet start to the new year—Sweet Potato Soup

A heartwarming first course for any meal—or a meal in itself, as it was for Hubby and me—that’s our appraisal of Sweet Potato Soup. Golden, smooth, and comforting, this dish truly bowled us over, just as the recipe in the magazine stated it would for diners.

A couple of large sweet potatoes, some chopped onion, and a cup of apple cider, along with reduced-sodium chicken broth, formed the basis of this creamy soup. Some sour cream with fresh lime juice added were swirled into the soup for a finishing touch.

Hubby adores anything featuring even a hint of sweet potato, so when I told him this dish was about to be placed in front of him, his anticipation of dinner got kicked up significantly. We served it with crescent rolls spread with cranberry butter, a past creation. All this made for a great early January dinner.

Sweet Potato Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 1/2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
2 pounds (about 2 large) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup apple cider (I used light apple juice)
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat-free sour cream)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Stir in broth and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Process mixture with a handheld lender until smooth. (If you don’t have a handheld blender, cool mixture 10 minutes and process, in batches, in a regular blender until mixture is smooth. Return to saucepan and proceed with next step.) Cook potato mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice. Whisk together sour cream and 2 teaspoons lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle each serving with sour cream mixture. (I added a sprinkle of crushed red pepper as a garnish.) Makes 8 cups. (Source: Southern Living December 2012)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Those New Year's black-eyes are stars in this hearty dish

Never has a new year been ushered in with such a grand serving of black-eyes. The black-eyed pea addition to this sumptuous dish, Southern Italian Chicken Soup, helped give it Hubby’s vote for our best New Year’s Day menu ever.

The black-eyes had plenty of good, healthy company: chicken chunks, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, fresh okra (that garden okra stowed away in the deep-freeze finally can get its winter chance to shine), and cheese-filled tortellini were other components to this hearty winter soup that made 8 servings.

Best of all it was quick: no slow-cooker, no dreary hours of toiling in the kitchen. Southern Living magazine’s December issue recommended this dish for a laid-back holiday get-together that would be minus the fuss. Definitely company-worthy, or, as in our case, for just the two of us—Southern Italian Chicken Soup will be a favorite from now on.

Southern Italian Chicken Soup

1 large onion, diced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 cups chicken broth
1 (15.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinned and boned chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups sliced fresh okra
1 (15.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté first 4 ingredients in 2 tablespoons hot oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until ingredients are tender. Stir in broth and next 3 ingredients; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Meanwhile sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Cook in remaining 1 tablespoon hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Cool slightly (about 5 minutes); cut into 1-inch pieces. Add okra, black-eyed peas, and chicken to Dutch oven. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until okra is tender. Add tortellini and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until tortellini is done. Serve with Parmesan. Makes 8 servings. (Source: Southern Living December 2012)