Friday, January 29, 2016

Creamy Mac 'n Cheese

*****I will add photos as soon as I have them *****

Major comfort food here!  My mom made this when I was little and when I started cooking, she pointed me to this cookbook and said "Learn!"  So I did.

This is my all time, favorite American Food cookbook, James Beard's American Cookery.  It isn't the junk side of American cooking but the homemade, melding of traditions cooking.  I love it.  And... as a kid learning to cook, I loved that he always told you where the dish came from and listed historical facts.

My favorite recipe from this book is the Macaroni and Cheese recipe.  Apparently at one time it was called Macaroni pudding.

So Here goes the Creamiest Macaroni and Cheese as adapted from the James Beard cookbook.

1 pound macaroni
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
2 dashes Sriracha sauce
3 cups shredded cheese
Buttered Bread Crumbs

Boil the macaroni in salted water till just tender.  Drain well.
Prepare white sauce -  melt butter in a heavy saucepan, blend with the flour, and cook several minutes over medium heat.  Heat the milk to the boiling point, stir into the flour-butter mixture, and continue stirring till it thickens.  Add the seasonings and simmer 4 to 5 minutes.
Butter a 4 quart baking dish or casserole.
Arrange alternate layers of macaroni, sauce, and cheese, ending with the cheese.  Cover the top with the buttered crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the sauce is bubbly. Serve at once.

I used to mix the cheese into the sauce and melt it and I have also used prepared mustard instead of the dry mustard... I like it both ways BUT this way is creamier and I think tastes better.  My kids agree.  I have found that when you melt the cheese in the sauce it can go grainy... not good eats for a texture issues child.  So... This way wins now and is much easier.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Beans and Peaches

Tonight's dinner is the cheapest yet.  Beans!

I think I spent less than 2 dollars on the beans we cooked up tonight.  I keep dry beans on hand all the time.  They make for a fairly quick, filling meal.
I got this recipe for my friend's blog.  You can get the recipe here.
I have been making it for several years now.  It is so simple and so good.  All my kids like it and eat it up.  It has no meat in it.  It can be added if you want but it isn't required.  We pair the beans with fresh bread or corn bread to complete the protein.  We also had home bottled peaches for desert.  We haven't had them for so long.  It was a great year for peaches in Missouri this year.  We were lucky and got more than 60 quarts bottled up.

They are a real treat.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Spicy Tomato Soup

This is another recipe we have been making for more than 25 years.  I got the recipe from my sister-in-law, Lee.  It is my favorite and I crave it.  It reminds me of my brother and his home and that always makes me happy.  I always use home bottled tomatoes for this recipe.  If you don't have that, look for a large can of stewed tomatoes.  A bottle of tomatoes is about 32 oz. so look for something comparable.  This recipe also calls for cloves and nutmeg.  They may sound a little weird at first but they give this soup it's signature flavor.  The whole house is filling with the smell of this spicy soup..... Oh and hot fresh bread.  My daughter made some to go with the soup.  Again... we are on budget and all this food came from the pantry.

Spicy Tomato Soup


1 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 quart of bottled tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth (if you make your own bone broth... it makes the soup even better)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp pepper
salt to taste

Melt the butter in a stock pot.
Add the onions and saute until limp.
Add the bottle of tomatoes and the broth.
Add the herbs and spices.
Bring to a soft boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Serve with fresh bread or yummy cheese sandwiches.

My sister-in-law is a talented artist.  She also makes the most amazing salve, Mom's Stuff.

She has been making this stuff for years.  We love it.  One of the key ingredients is pinion pine pitch.  It smells so lovely and reminds me of home.  We use it for dry skin on hands, feet, and face.  We use it for cuts and scrapes.  My son uses it on our farm animals to help heal up minor cuts and scrapes.  It is a must around here, especially in the winter.  You should really give it a try.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016


These are the Japanese version of the Steamed Pork Bun.  We love them.  My sister-in-law from Osaka taught us how to make these.  They are comfort food for my kids now.  I am sure you will love them too.

Miyuki's Butaman

Ingredients for filling:
2 pounds ground pork
1 8 oz can bamboo shoots, minced
6 shiitake mushrooms, minced after hydrating
2 tsp fresh ginger grated or ground
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp miso paste
4 tsp sugar
pinch of black pepper
4 tsp corn starch
1 onion, minced
2 tsp salt
1 green onion chopped
2 Tbsp sesame oil

Brown 1 pound pork with the bamboo, mushrooms, and ginger.
Mix the soy sauce, miso, sugar, and pepper.
Mix into the pork.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Coat the onions with the corn starch.
Mix with the raw ground pork, salt, green onion, and sesame oil.
Add to the cooked pork and mix well.  Set aside to cool.
(I have added other vegetables to this part of the mix... shredded cabbage, grated carrots, etc. My kids like it with more veggies.)

Ingredients for the Buns:

Mix A:
3 1/3 cups flour
2 cups Warm water
4 tsp sugar
4 tsp yeast
Mix well and set aside to proof for 30 minutes.

Mix B
10 Tbsp evaporated milk
2/3 tsp salt (ish... 3/4 is ok)
6 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp butter
Combine and warm in a sauce pan.  Be careful not get it too hot.  Add to Mix A after it is done rising.

Mix C
3 1/3 C flour
4 tsp baking powder
Mix and add to Mix A & B.  Kneed until smooth.  Divide in 32 equal pieces.

Divide your cooled filling into 32 equal portions.
Roll a ball of dough, place a portion of the filling in the center and pinch the dough up around the filling, forming a little bundle.  Place the little bundle on a small square of parchment or waxed paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.  The parchment paper keeps the dough from sticking to the pan when cooking and to the counter when making the bundles.
Steam the buns on high heat for 10 minutes.
Serve with soy sauce.  We like it with a mix of mustard and soy sauce.
To steam them we boil 2-3 inches of water in a large stock pot that has a steamer basket and lid.  My sister uses a bamboo steaming basket.  There are may other options.  If you are worried that they aren't cooked through... check one.  We have found that 10 minutes on high heat works for us.
I am sorry there aren't any more pictures... we had company tonight and we were in a rush and almost didn't get a picture at all.  The sad little but we did get a picture was the very last one... they snaffed them all.  This made enough for 9 people with each person getting at least 2 buns.  The finished buns are very large... about 3 1/2" wide and about 3" high.

We are still on budget.  This dinner came from shopping at home.  The pork came from our own pigs we had processed this past year.  Everything else came from the fridge or pantry.
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