Friday, December 27, 2013

Thailand Chicken--Just a Few Ingredients, but Oh, So Delicious!

During the holidays, we tend to cook and bake more than usual, so I thought I'd share this easy, tasty recipe with you as a sort of antidote to the excess of the season. An added bonus is that kids generally like this recipe. And it only uses three main ingredients! Really can't beat that.

My grandfather (Boppa to us) made this frequently when we kids would visit him on the weekends. It was always a hit with us, and I've continued to make it throughout the years. To me it tastes like comfort and love because I always think of my dear grandfather. Now before I share the recipe with you, I must confess that we never actually measure our ingredients when we make Thailand Chicken. But to give you a starting point, I made a batch several days ago and wrote down what I used. Still, you can always use more or less of any of the ingredients in order to fine tune the taste to suit your family.

Thailand Chicken

(enough to serve 4 people)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced thin
small amount of olive or vegetable oil
garlic powder and onion powder (optional, but highly recommended)
4 cups cooked egg noodles, (make sure they are still very hot)
1/8 - 1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce (although I usually use more)

In a heavy skillet or large saucepan, heat the oil and then add the chicken pieces. Sprinkle a small amount of garlic powder and onion powder over the chicken pieces and sauté chicken until thoroughly cooked.

Remove from heat and add the hot cooked noodles; add the soy sauce and stir gently. Now add the lettuce and stir just until wilted. Serve with extra soy sauce on the side if anyone wants more. The reason why iceberg lettuce is so good in this recipe is because it retains a bit of crunch even when wilted by the heat.

That's it. Like I said, it's very easy to make and the ingredients are minimal. And it's really good! I've also had great success using a pint jar of my home canned chicken. I simply heat the meat and continue with the recipe. I can then have dinner on the table in as long as it takes to cook the noodles. Just about like fast food...only better.

I hope the holidays have been joyful for you and your loved ones. Savor the time spent with family and friends!

May God's richest blessings be yours,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Shoo-Fly Pie

Shoo-Fly Pie is an old-fashioned recipe that uses molasses as its main flavoring. For Shoo-Fly Pie, you want to use regular (sometimes called "light") molasses versus dark or blackstrap (these are too bitter). It's what you'll usually find on grocery store shelves.

The recipe I'm sharing with you today comes from my cookbook The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook. You can get it on Amazon as well as on other sites. It has lots of good old-fashioned recipes in it!

Unbaked Shoo-Fly Pie

Shoo-Fly Pie

1 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar (be heavy handed)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup hot water
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in the hot water
2 8-inch unbaked pie crusts (these are the smaller pie plates)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (be heavy handed)
1/3 cup cold butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Mix the first five ingredients thoroughly together to make a syrup. Divide the mixture in half and pour into the two unbaked pie shells.

Thoroughly mix together the rest of the ingredients for a crumb topping. I usually use my hands and rub the mixture repeatedly using my palms. It works for me. Divide and sprinkle crumb topping onto the two pies.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until done, about another 30 minutes. Cool completely before slicing as it will continue to set up a bit.

The pie will have the crumbs on top, but some of them will have mixed with the syrup part and the pie itself should be sort of cake-like and hold its shaped when cut. It's really good with some sweetened whipped cream, which I highly recommend. Just a note here: You really must like the taste of molasses (think gingerbread) in order to fully appreciate this old-time recipe.

Baked Shoo-Fly Pie

Enjoy trying what is possibly a new-to-you, old-time favorite!

May you and your loved ones find the true blessings in this holiday season, and may your memories be sweet ones.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

English Muffins Recipe

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are just beginning to dig out of a snow storm, which for us is quite unusual and puts us all in a dither. Practically no one is out driving today, and in fact, the authorities have said to stay off the streets unless you absolutely must go out.

Well, this morning I had a yen for an English muffin with a sausage patty and egg "sandwich" for breakfast. Sausage and eggs proved to be no problem, but I didn't have any English muffins and a trip to the store seemed like a bad idea given the road conditions. guessed it!...I decided to make my own.

Then I got to thinking, how many of you have never had the pleasure of making English muffins? Because they use yeast for the leaven they take a bit of time, but they are so, so delicious that it's worth learning to make them. And, like so many of my recipes, they are really quite simple. So here today I give you the recipe for...

Plain English Muffins

In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons warm water and 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast. Let the yeast dissolve in the water--about 5 minutes should do it.

In a large mixing bowl and using a large wooden spoon, stir together the following ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup room temperature milk (Since I rarely want to take the time to get the milk to room temperature, I usually use quite hot water and then pour the milk into it so everything comes out warm.)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Now, stir in the dissolved yeast/water mixture. Then, gradually beat in (still using your wooden spoon, although you can use an electric mixer if you desire) 2 cups flour. Do a good job of mixing everything together so there are no lumps of flour. I usually give things an industrious stirring for several minutes. Cover this bowl with a clean towel and let the sponge rise on your kitchen counter (about 70-75 degrees is ideal) for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours; the sponge will gradually begin to bubble and then bubble quite actively, finally collapsing back on itself into the bowl. This is what you want to have happen.

Now beat in (again using your large wooden spoon or an electric mixer) 3 tablespoons very soft butter and about 2 more cups of flour. Toward the end of adding these last 2 cups of flour, I will often gently knead the dough on a clean and floured countertop until all the flour is incorporated. The dough is going to be very soft and a bit sticky, but read on.

Grease a cookie sheet and set aside. Flour your countertop (or you can use cornmeal if you prefer) or a bread board and pat out the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter (a 3-inch size seems to work well), cut out the English muffins and gently place them on the greased cookie sheet. I use a greased spatula for this because the dough is soft and sticky. Don't fret if they aren't perfect. This is, after all, homemade. Cover the English muffins with a clean towel and let them rise until about double or a little less than double.

Now you need a heavy cast iron or other heavy pan or griddle (I use an enamel coated cast iron fry pan). Put in plenty of butter and melt it. I use about a tablespoon or a bit more for each batch of four muffins at a time. Be patient until the pan is hot, but keep the heat low enough that the butter doesn't get too brown when you add it. Now carefully use your greased or buttered spatula to scoop up the English muffins and place them in the pan. After a few minutes, check the underside and see if they look light brown and crisp; then flip them over and cook the second side. When I flip them to the second side I take my spatula and very gently push on them so they aren't too thick because I think it cooks the middle better, but suit yourself.

Cool the finished English muffins on a rack and continue with the next batch. You'll get approximately 16-18 English muffins, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter. Also, if you notice that your melted butter is getting too brown, turn down the heat slightly and wipe out the browned butter so you start fresh with each new batch.

These taste great straight from the fry pan, but of course they are even better if you split them, toast them, and then slather them with butter. And they freeze well so you can make a great eat-on-the-run breakfast anytime you want. In fact, I cook up sausages patties and freeze those as well. Then, on those mornings when the time has gotten away from me (happens pretty regularly!) I can simply grab a bag with an English muffin, a bag with a cooked sausage patty, and when I get to work I toast the muffin, microwave the cooked sausage patty, and breakfast is served. Yum!

I hope that you are finding joy in this holiday season. Stay warm and happy!

May abundant blessings be yours,

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Your Turkey Carcass Is Pure Gold! -- Plus Some Quick Recipes

Thanksgiving is over for most of us, and you've probably got the carcass sitting in the fridge with the last bits of meat still to use. Well, think about canning what's left...It's easy!

Place your carcass in a large pot and add water to cover. If desired, add some celery, onion, or carrots (in big pieces so you can fish them out later). Additionally, add some salt, pepper, and any seasonings that catch your fancy: thyme is always good. Don't use sage, however, because it tends to get bitter during the canning process. But also, don't worry if you've got some on already. Maybe just discard the skin if it's clinging to it.

Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to a good simmer, and cover the pot. Let the carcass simmer for several hours, adding water as needed to keep the bones covered.

Remove the carcass from the pot and allow it to cool enough to handle; pick the meat off the bones. In the meantime, cool broth and skim off the fat as it appears on top. Strain the broth and put it back into the pot. Return the bits of turkey to the broth and reheat to boiling.

Fill pint or quart jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add salt if desired (taste to see if it needs it), using 1/2 teaspoon per pint and 1 teaspoon per quart. Remember to wipe the rims before screwing on the lids and rims.

Following safe pressure canning instructions (you can find good ones in my book The Amish Canning Cookbook,, process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, adjusting the psi as necessary for your altitude as follows: Up to 1,000 feet, process at 10 pounds pressure; above 1,000 feet, process at 15 pounds pressure. If you don't know what the altitude is where you live, you can go to and find your location anywhere in the world.

There are many uses for jars of turkey and broth. You can thicken it with flour or cornstarch, add some cooked vegetables, and bake it in a pie crust (top and bottom crust, or just a top crust); you can throw in about 1/2 cup of rice and make turkey rice soup; or thicken slightly (using cornstarch is best in this instance), throw in some veggies, and bake with biscuits on top.

Turkey is still a fairly inexpensive cut of meat, and if you take the extra time to can your broth and leftover bits of meat, it becomes one of the cheapest protein sources around. I love that!

May you and yours be blessed this holiday season!

Simply yours,