Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 31--The Finale

Halloweenies and Halloween Fiesta
The perfect combination!

Chili (for the Chili Dogs)

1 lb. hamburger

1-2 cans of Brooks Chili Beans, mild or hot

1 can Ro-tel, original

1 can fire-roasted tomatoes

½ package of chili seasoning

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 to 2 cups of tomato juice

Brown hamburger. Add remaining ingredients and simmer. Serve with shredded cheese and Fritos. You may also serve this over hotdogs.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 30

Blue Charm Dinnerware

My jadite collection is ever-expanding; I am obsessed with the opaque green dinnerware. I love the Jadite Charm pieces, which are square. They are hard to come by because apparently everyone else is in love with them, too. When I do find them, they are pretty costly. Recently, I went to a flea mart and found these BLUE CHARM pieces. I am not sure of the maker, but they were such a good price (a few dollars), I couldn't resist them. I got five salad plates, two cups and two saucers. I have seen the cups and saucers regularly in antique stores, so I know they are more plentiful. I can't decide whether I will sell them in my antique booth or hang on to them. Only time will tell.

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 29

Okay, yesterday I completely forgot to post. Today, I am posting twice to make up for it because I will have 31 posts by the end of October. The finish line is in sight.



1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Quaker enriched corn meal

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 cup skim milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten


Heat oven to 400 F. Grease 8 or 9 inch pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

The above recipe was from the back of the cornmeal container. I altered it slightly by adding a little more sugar because I like a sweeter cornbread, and I cooked it in a cast iron skillet.

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 28

Homemade Chicken Soup

1 small bag carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 whole chicken, cut up
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup long grain rice

Saute the vegetables and spices in the olive oil. Add chicken pieces and fill soup pot with water (at least 3/4 full of water). Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for an hour. Remove chicken and debone. Add rice to soup pan. Dice chicken and place back in pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with cornbread.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 27

Feature Blog

Occasionally, I find blogs that I love to return to again and again. I like the little blogs who are run by dedicated bloggers, and I love a good theme. The following blog is a cooking blog. I often find tasty recipes here. The feature post on today's blog at Life as a Lofthouse is Pumpkin Twinkie Dessert.

How can you not like a dessert made with Twinkies for heaven's sake???
Visit this website soon, and let me know what great recipes you find to cook.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 days in the Kitchen--Day 26


One of my favorite cookbook purchases ever is this little gem from Loretta Lynn. She has a recipe for possum in the book. Now, I do not ever intend to make possum, but there is just something so odd and cool about a possum recipe, that I love this cookbook. I think my new obsession has to be collecting cookbooks by country and western singers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 days in the Kitchen--Day 25

Kitchen Tips

So, I didn't have a picture to go with this post, so I will post a picture from two years ago of Traci from Disney World--she was a terrific and funny waitress. I am not sure if she has any kitchen tips, but she will bring you the largest glass of ice tea you have ever seen. I miss Disney World and Traci. Say hello if you go there and see her.

The Kitchen Tips:

A dampened paper towel or terry cloth brushed downward on a cob of corn will remove every strand of corn silk.

A few drops of lemon juice added to simmering rice will keep the grains separate.

A jar lid or a couple of marbles in the bottom half of a double-boiler will rattle when the water gets low and warn you to add more before the pan scorches or burns.

A low-calorie solution for high-fat frying of corn tortillas is to place them in the oven, directly on the rack. Bake at 350 F, to desired crispness. The tortillas will automatically fold over into taco shell form with just a little postioning help.

A lump of butter or a few teaspoons of cooking oil added to water when boiling rice, noodles, macaroni, or spaghetti will prevent boiling over.

A roast with the bone in it will cook faster than a boneless roast - the bone carries the heat to the inside of the roast quicker.

A slice of soft bread placed in the package of hardened brown sugar will soften it again in a couple of hours.

Add a small amount of lemon juice to the artichoke cooking water to retain the color of the artichoke.

Buy several small spray bottles to use in the kitchen, for tasks like moistening pie dough, coating oil on pans, misting salad dressing on delicate greens, or other purposes you might think of.

Check cookies at minimum baking time.

Cookie dough can be frozen up to three months in an airtight container or refrigerated three to four days.

Cookies will spread if your dough is too pliable by allowing butter to get too soft. If your cookies are spreading too much, try refrigerating the dough for a couple of hours before baking.

Don't waste pie pastry scraps ... sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake like cookies.

Don't throw out all that leftover wine ... freeze it into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Drain deep fried foods on brown paper grocery bags as opposed to paper towels to retain crispness.

Egg shells can be easily removed from hard-boiled eggs if they are boiled in salty water and quickly rinsed in cold water.

For the perfect boiled egg, cover eggs with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cover. Let the eggs sit for 8-9 minutes. Drain the water and place the eggs in ice water to cool and stop the cooking process.

Freeze tomato paste in the can. Open both ends and punch out the paste. Wrap the frozen paste in foil and freeze, then slice off what you need as you need it.

If you have a problem opening jars ... Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a on-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

If you need only 1/2 an onion, save the root half. It will last longer.

I found these tips HERE. Click for more tips. I haven't tried all of these, but will soon. Feel free to share your favorite kitchen tips.

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 days in the Kitchen--Day 24

The Most Useful Kitchen Tool I Own

I use the KitchenAid Cook's Series Silicone Tipped Tongs in Red more than any other kitchen utensil. I especially love that I can use these with my non-stick pans.

You can check them out and purchase your own set HERE!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 days in the Kitchen--Day 23

Why didn't I think of that?

Oh, how many times in my life have I wished I could just each the marshmallow charms out of a box of Lucky Charms. Then, while surfing through, I come upon this little gem by the folks at This is genius! I love it.

Check out the Lucky Charms Cereal Sifter HERE.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 days in the Kitchen--Day 22

Two New Fiesta Pitchers

These are the two additions to my Fiesta collection.

I am trying to get every color of Fiesta Pitcher. Mark two more off the list.

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 21

What to do with all those end of the season tomatoes!

My favorite thing in the summer is homegrown tomatoes. I have such good memories of my grandparents and their garden. I remember my Papa would bring in the fresh vegetables, and my Granny would then start whipping up some absolutely delicious recipe, usually from memory--you know, a little of this and a little of that. Tomatoes, okra, green beans, cucumbers, onions, peppers and black-eyed peas were staples in the summer, for both cooking and canning. But tomatoes were my favorite, right out of the garden with a little salt and pepper.

This summer a co-worker brought me some tomatoes from his farm. After devouring many of them, I looked online and found a recipe that is going to become a staple for me. Click the link below for the recipe.

This recipe was surprisingly delicious and oh so easy. Try it next time you have a surplus of tomatoes that you need to use before they go bad.

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 20


Yesterday was rough! Last day of parent-teacher conferences, so I worked late and didn't get to post. I am making up for it today by posting twice. So here is the deal, I could not live without my dishwasher. Yeah, yeah, I know I could do them by hand, and I have done that many times in my life, and during those times I longed for a dishwasher. Now, I am pretty sure I would sacrifice eating to get one if I needed it.

Among the myriad of conversations I have at work with the secretaries, one of the most educational was about dishwashers. Who knew? Sue, the Dishwasher Queen, gave us all a tip that I had never heard. She said you should always let your water run through your faucet on hot so that when your dishwasher starts, it will be using hot water, instead of working to heat up the water. Very useful, and it makes a lot of sense to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 19

This is the one thing I want for Christmas for my kitchen. I must have it.

Click the following link for the coolest Utensil Holder EVER!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 18

A Recipe for Fun

So, the One Dish Dude needs time out of the kitchen occasionally. This is best accomplished by entertainment and dining out. It reviews my spirit, and it gives me ideas for recipes that I could make in the future. The following pictures are from the Renaissance Festival. This annual event in Bonner Springs, KS is a month long festival, filled with costumed characters, crafts, and Elizabethan parades featuring a King and Queen.

Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 17

Rich Chocolate Layer Cake from Country Living

I am in Sandra Lee--Semi-homemade mode. This recipe from uses some premade ingredients and mixes in some additional ingredients to make a richer recipe.


1 box(es) Devil's Food Cake Mix, Such As Betty Crocker

1/4 cup(s) Unsweetened Cocoa

1 cup(s) Mayonnaise, such as Hellmann's

3 large Eggs

1 cup(s) Water

2 container(s) (16 ounces each) Chocolate Frosting

1/4 cup(s) Sour Cream

2 teaspoon(s) Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup(s) Chopped Almonds, toasted

1 cup(s) Sweetened Flaked Coconut, toasted


Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat two 8-inch cake pans with softened butter. Cut two 8-inch circles out of parchment paper and fit them into the bottom of the cake pans. Lightly coat the paper circles with butter. Lightly flour both pans, shake out excess flour and set aside. Beat the cake mix, cocoa, mayonnaise, eggs, and water in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on low speed. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 more minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean -- about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and return to the wire racks until completely cool.

Make the filling: Whisk the frosting, sour cream, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of frosting to a medium bowl and stir in the almonds and the toasted coconut. Set aside.

Assemble the cake: Split both layers and brush away any excess crumbs. Place one split layer on a cake plate. Tuck strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake to protect the plate. Spread 1/3 of the filling over the layer. Top with the next layer and spread another 1/3 of the filling over the top. Repeat with the third cake layer and remaining filling and top with the final cake layer. Spread the frosting over the top of cake smoothing out to the edges. Spread the remaining frosting around the sides and serve or store covered for up to 4 days.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 16

Garlic, anyone?

I found this video revealing a secret of professional chefs. This is the neatest garlic peeling trick ever. Just click the link below to see something amazing. Enjoy!

How to peel a head of garlic in less than 10 seconds.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 15

A Flop

Not every recipe turns out the way I want. Take this Swiss Steak. I have had this twice at my friend Brian's house, and both times it was phenomenal. THE BEST. SWISS. STEAK. EVER. Well, I called my friend Brian, and asked for the recipe. Apparently, I do not have the skill that Brian does. He must have the magic touch. Mine did not turn out like his. (Note to self: Show up at Brian's the next time he mentions making Swiss Steak.) So, I went online to search out other recipes. I plan to make Alton Brown's version next time.

Swiss Steak

Recipe from Brian B.


2 packages of Round Steak, tenderized to ½ to ¼ inch

2 Carrots, diced

2 Celery stalks, diced

4 cans crushed tomatoes


2 Tablespoons Oil



Tenderize round steak. Flour and pepper the steak. Heat oil in pan. Add round steak. Fry until not quite done, then transfer to baking dish. Add carrots and celery. Pour crushed tomatoes over steak. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 4-5 hours.

Swiss Steak by Alton Brown


2 pounds beef bottom round, trimmed of excess fat

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon drippings

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 cups beef broth


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cut the meat with the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices and season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour into a pie pan. Dredge the pieces of meat on both sides in the flour mixture. Tenderize the meat using a needling device, until each slice is 1/4-inch thick. Dredge the slices on both sides once more and set aside.

Add enough of the bacon drippings or vegetable oil to just cover the bottom of a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the steaks to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook until golden brown on both sides, approximately 2 minutes per side. Remove the steaks to a plate and repeat until all of the steaks have been browned.

Remove the last steaks from the pot and add the onions, garlic, and celery. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Next add the tomatoes, paprika, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth and stir to combine. Return the meat to the pot, submerging it in the liquid. Cover the pot and place it in the oven on the middle rack. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 14


When I make spaghetti sauce, I rarely make it from scratch. I usually take a jar of prepared sauce and doctor it up.

For this recipe, I took one jar of sauce--Ragu is what I had on hand, but I usually buy the sale brand, even if it is the store brand. I add 1 clove minced garlic, 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, 1 cup of Original Ro-tel, and about 1/2 a cup of tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup diced tomatoes. I often have frozen leftover Ro-tel, tomato sauce, or tomatoes because I usually only use a partial can for whatever recipe I am making. I will say that I could use Ro-tel in every dish I make and be perfectly happy. I like it spicy people, don't hate me!

I mixed the cooked spaghetti into the sauce to thoroughly coat all of the noodles. Then, I top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 13

Time to Dine
You might be wondering what I eat all these wonderful meals on? Well, for Fall, I like to set a seasonal table. I use my chocolate Fiesta and mix it with other dishes. My favorite fall plates are my Pottery Barn pheasant plates that I bought a couple of years ago. I also mix the Fiesta with vintage depression glassware. The combination of modern and vintage works because of the color scheme. It creates a warm and inviting table through Thanksgiving.

How fantastic are the owl salt and pepper shakers?

I liked this plate picture so much I decided to put it on twice. Not really, I just couldn't figure out how to delete just one of them, so you get them both. Double the fun, double the pleasure.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 12


Small Flour Tortillas
Chicken tenders. cooked and cubed
Cheese, I like a cheddar mix
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Onions, diced and sauteed (optional)
Green Bell Pepper, diced and sauteed (optional)
Cilantro (optional)
Non-stick cooking spray

My quesadillas are never the same. Sometimes I use just chicken and cheese, but my favorite is to add bacon. Bacon makes everything better. Just ask me, and I will tell you. I start by spraying the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then, I place a tortilla in the pan, add cheese, chicken, bacon, cilantro, peppers and onions. Place a tortilla on top and then cook over medium heat until the bottom starts to brown just a little. Flip the tortilla and cook until it browns the other side. Once done, slice it into quarters and top with salsa, or guacamole, or sour cream.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 11

Lasagna--Garfield Style

Garfield the Cat's favorite meal is lasagna, you know!

This recipe is similar to the one on the American Beauty box of lasagna noodles.

1 pounds ground beef

1 box lasagna noodles ~ cooked

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 small carton of ricotta cheese

3 cups mozzarella cheese ~ divided (1 1/2 cup and 1 1/2 cup)

1 egg

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

  • Heat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, brown beef. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Cook pasta according to box and lay flat on foil to cool. In large bowl, add ricotta cheese, egg, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper.

  • Layers in 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan:

  • 1/3 cup meat sauce, 4 pieces lasagna, 1/3 of cheese mix. Repeat twice. For third repeat use remaining meat sauce and lasagna.

  • Top with 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

  • Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

  • Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 10

Okay, so I was gone for a day. Day 10 kicked my patootie with the flu. Fortunately, I had a few items in the files that I can post. On the up side, I am feeling better, but not 100%. Almost there!

Mashed Potatoes


6-8 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/4 cup of mayonnaise

4 Tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup of milk

Salt and pepper


Boil potatoes and garlic in salted water for 25-30 minutes. Drain. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and mayonnaise. Mash with beaters before you start mixing. Add milk. Mix until fluffy. If it seems a bit dry, add more milk. Season with salt and pepper. You can add a few more pats of butter before serving if you like.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 9

Spinach, Bacon, and Cheddar Omelettes

2 eggs
2 Slices of Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Cheddar Cheese
Fresh Spinach
Onion and Green Pepper, diced & sauteed (optional)
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in pan. Beat eggs and add milk, salt, pepper. Pour eggs in pan and add bacon, spinach, onions, peppers, and cheese. Ingredients amounts for each item are not specific--use as much as you like. You can use more eggs if you want a bigger omelette. I like to start on the top of the stove and then move the omelette into the oven to cook the top, as I do not like runny omelettes, and I am not very good at flipping them over.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen--Day 8

Chicken Spaghetti

This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. I love her, I love her new show, and I love that she is from my home state of Oklahoma. This recipe is so delicious.


2 cups Cooked Chicken

3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces

2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup

2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

¼ cups Finely Diced Green Pepper

¼ cups Finely Diced Onion

1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained

2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot

1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt

⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper

Salt And Pepper, to taste

1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions:

Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for35 to 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).