Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sauceless Pizza

I hate marinara sauce!  Plain and simple, I can do without it and so can my husband.  So, years ago I came up with an alternative.  Sauceless pizza!  And we love it.  My sister asked for the recipe, and here it goes:

Sauceless Pizza

1 pizza crust of your choice - I bake it for about 3 to 5 minutes and remove it.  Just enough to get it started so that it isn't soggy when you add the tomatoes.  Let cool slightly.

2 whole tomatoes, sliced very, very thinly
2 Tbsp. minced garlic  (ok sis you can leave this off since you are allergic)
     (ranch dressing can be used for a nice twist.  Add about 3 Tbsps. and spread.
2 Tbsp. softened butter
2 Tbsp. Basil and 2 Tbsp. Oregano (or use 3 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings)

Spread the butter and garlic on the pizza crust.  Sprinkle with seasonings.  Layer with tomato slices until the entire crust is covered, clear to the edge.

Next I add a light layer of mozzarella cheese.  Then layer with any of these toppings you like or more:

Mushrooms               Onions               Pepperoni               Diced Bell Peppers
Jalapenos                   Cilantro             Bacon                     Green Chiles
and the list goes on and on

Then I top it with a layer of mild cheddar cheese and then another generous layer of mozzarella cheese.  I press the ingredients down lightly with my hands and bake at 375 degrees until top is bubbly and crust is lightly browned. 

My mouth is watering!  I love this stuff!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

So Tomorrow will be.....wait for it....wait for it...

At the request of my Sister, tomorrow I will post my recipe for Sauceless Pizza (see picture at the bottom of this blog.

Fresh Wild Mushrooms

Mmmmm I love this time of year.  Fresh wild mushrooms!   I haven't found any this year, but my wonderful mother sent me home a "mess" of them last night.  I do not like store bought mushrooms at all, but those fresh ones are just yummy.  Here is my recipe for fresh mushrooms.

Fried Fresh Mushrooms

About 10 or 12 fresh mushrooms
    (soak the mushrooms in salt water for at least an hour.  Generally about 1 tsp. of salt to each quart of water rinse well and I like to slice them into smaller pieces)

In a deep bowl mix:  2 cups of flour, 1 tsp. ground pepper and 1 tsp. salt.  Toss in the sliced mushrooms and toss around gently to coat them well with the flour mixture.

In a deep skillet, mix 1/4 c olive oil and 4 Tbsp. real butter (not margarine).  Over medium heat, fry the coated mushrooms turning just once when browned.  Immediately remove to a paper towel to drain. 

The butter makes the difference.  The grease will look horrible and turn all brown, but never fear, the taste will be fabulous.  I like to cook mine until they are a little crispy, that's why I slice them a little thinner than most people.

Easy, but yummy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe EVER

OK, so I'm not just bragging when I say I make fabulous chicken salad.  I get good reviews from my husband and others that they love my chicken salad.  You can make it two ways, the long way, or the short cut way.  So, I will give you both options.

The Best Chicken Salad Ever

2 to 3 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks and sauté in a skillet in butter, salt and pepper until they are cooked through -

or for the cheat version, which is just as good, go to the local deli at Walmart, Kroger or some other place and buy one of those ready-made chickens.  They are already seasoned and you just have to skin them and cut the meat up into chunks.  Of course, my dogs like this version because they get some of the tasty skin.

To the chicken add:
1/4 small onion, diced finely
1/2 stick of celery, diced finely
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 to 3/4 c. Miracle Whip (enough to make it creamy)
2 tsp. Dijonnaise mayo/mustard blend
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 boiled eggs, cooled and chopped (optional)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Make sure that you add enough Miracle Whip to make it creamy.  If it gets a little thick after being in the refrigerator, just add a couple of Tbsp. of milk to thin it out.  Serve on Croissants or with Ritz Crackers.

Monday, April 27, 2015

BBQ Meatballs

Summer is approaching and we will all have those pitch-ins, picnics, reunions and get-togethers to go to.  What to take?  Well, I have a great recipe for BBQ Meatballs.  I have tasted many recipes for these little wonders over the years.  Some I have liked and some not-so-much.  I love homemade BBQ Sauce and never buy store-bought because it is just so easy to make.  Not only do I use this BBQ Sauce recipe on my meatballs, but on chicken, pork, or whatever I want to BBQ.  It is a staple at my house.  You can even make it up, put it in a squeeze bottle and have it in the fridge available at any time.

BBQ Meatballs

In a bowl mix:

3 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup crushed Ritz Crackers
1 egg
1/2 cup Salsa (I use my homemade - will post in the near future)
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

Mix together well and roll into balls.  Place on a cookie sheet and brown in the oven on 375 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes or until done.

In a crock pot mix:

1 large jar of tomato juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 jar Rotel tomatoes, do not drain

Remove meatballs from oven onto a paper towel to drain grease.  Drop into sauce.  Simmer in crockpot on medium for several hours.  Stir occasionally so they do not stick. 

There are never any of these left when I take them to pitch-ins.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

Well, it has been a busy weekend.  I sponsored a Writer's Conference on Saturday and was busy all day.  We were famished when we got home and the only thing I had thawed out was some shrimp.  So, I threw together some Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo.  Most people buy canned Alfredo sauce, but I just don't like it.  I make it from scratch, so here it is.

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

1/4 small box of Fettuccini noodles
3 Tbsp. Real Butter
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
3/4 can of Evaporated milk

1/4 cup water mixed with 1 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch  (do not stir together until just before you need it) 

Boil Fettuccini noodles in salted water until noodles are tender, but not over-done.  Drain.

In a skillet, melt butter.  Add lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  Sauté 2 or 3 minutes and then pour in the Evaporated milk.  Stir constantly.  Once it comes to a boil, add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickens slightly.  Toss in the boiled and drained noodles. 

* NOTE:  If you are allergic to seafood / shrimp, you can substitute chicken and it is just as fabulous.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Quickie Chicken and Dumplings

OK, so it is still cold outside.  Last night we ended up getting home late, so I threw together my quick version of Chicken and Dumplings.  I say quick because it takes less than 30 minutes.  Who doesn't like Chicken and Dumplings especially when we can fix it fast?

Quickie Chicken and Dumplings

2 cans Chicken Breast (it takes more time, but you can cut up your own chicken or sometimes I use one of those ready-made chickens from a Deli)
1 can chicken broth
1 can of water
1 can of Cream of Chicken
2 Tbsp. Pepper

* for a healthier version, use fat free chicken broth and the reduced fat cream of  chicken.  You can even leave the Cream of Chicken out and just use 2 cans of broth, but it will be more of a soup consistency.

You don't need salt because it will already be salty enough

Easy Dumpling Mix

2 cups Biscuit Mix (like Jiffy or Bisquick)
2 Tbsp. cold butter cut up into the biscuit mix until it is crumbly
4 to 6 Tbsp. evaporated milk.  (this may be more or less, but you want it so the mix stands together - but not like you are rolling out a biscuit.  It should be sticky)

* for a lighter version of the dumplings, use 1% skim milk instead of evaporated milk.

Put all into a large pan (dutch oven style) and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and start dropping very small bits of the Dumpling Mix into the hot broth.  They will expand quite a bit, so I do mean small bits, maybe the size of a nickel.

Don't stir too much, this will cause your dumplings to break apart.  Once they start setting up, you can toss them lightly with a wooden spoon. 

Let them cook for about 20 minutes, stir often so that they don't stick.  Serve like a soup or you can make mashed potatoes to serve along with them. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

French Onion Soup

Well, readers, just a few days ago it was 75 degrees outside.  This morning when I got up it was 32....that's Indiana weather for you!  So, I decided today to share my French Onion Soup recipe with you.  I absolutely love French Onion soup, but could never find it exactly to my liking in most restaurants.  Either it was too strong, not enough cheese, or something that made me wonder why I even liked the stuff!

So, I worked and worked and finally created my own recipe and I absolutely love this stuff.  My husband, who said he never really liked French Onion soup, loves mine.  Now that's an accomplishment.  Here goes:

French Onion Soup

2 whole onions, thinly sliced
1 piece of garlic, smashed (1/2 tsp. more or less)
3 Tbsp. Real Butter (unsalted is best)
4 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. Soy Sauce

Sauté' onions and garlic in butter, Soy and Worcestershire until onions are translucent.  Add:

1 can of Beef Broth
1 can of Chicken Broth
1 can of water
1/2 tsp. of sugar
2 Tbsp. Ground Pepper
1/2 tsp. Basil

Boil over medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Check often, because it may reduce and may require that you add more water.  Remove from heat.  Pour into Microwave proof bowls.  Toss about 6 or 8 of your favorite Croutons on top (or your favorite crusty bread).  Top with 2 to 3 slices of Provolone cheese, draping it slightly over the sides of the cup/bowl (depending on how cheesy you like it).  Pop into the microwave and heat just long enough that the cheese starts melting over the sides.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cold Crab Salad

Good morning readers!  Man I love me some cold seafood salad.  I used to go buy it at the local grocery store in the deli section and one day I thought, hey I bet I could make this!  So I tried and it turned out fabulous.  I always make my own now.  If you use the imitation crab (which is actually fish flavored like crab), it is good.  Nothing like a cold seafood salad on a croissant! 

Cold Crab Salad

1 pkg. fresh or imitation crab meat (I use imitation because it's cheap)
1/4 finely diced onion
1/4 of a stalk of celery, finely diced
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional or can use a dash of hot sauce)
1/2 c. to 1 c. Miracle Whip
1 tsp. Yum-Yum sauce (Japanese dipping sauce, you can buy at the grocery)
Salt and Pepper to taste

*Optional:  I have, on occasion, added a small can of Tiny Shrimp to this salad and it is really good that way too.  Adds a little something different to it.

Imitation crab meat has a red-type coating on part of it.  You can peel this off, but it really doesn't hurt anything and gives your salad color.  Up to you!  Using your fingers, pull the crab meat apart and place I large bowl that you can cover with a lid.

Add diced onion, celery, celery seed, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Stir.   Add 1 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. Yum Yum sauce, depending on how sweet you like it.  I don't add much because the crab meat is already sweet enough.  Finish off with enough Miracle Whip to make it creamy. 

Chill for at least an hour and then serve with crackers or on top of a Croissant.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tater Soup Warms The Soul

Hello Cooks! 

Today I brought my "world famous" as my granddaughter calls it, Potato Soup for lunch.  I must admit, I do get rants and raves over my potato soup....or Tater Soup as many of us call it!  So, I'm here sharing my recipe with you today.  I think I could eat Tater Soup, and probably do, eat it at least once a week.  It is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.

Share with me some of your favorite foods, or foods you wish you could cook a little better, and we will see what we can work on together.   I'd love to have some questions about cooking and add some recipes that have been specifically requested by you, my readers!

Tater Soup

6 large taters, peeled, washed well and cut into home fry sized cubes
1/2 small onion, diced finely
1 stalk celery, diced finely
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 stick Real Butter (of course)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 c water + 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch (wait until the very end to mix and add this)

Boil taters, onions and celery in just enough water to cover them until they are fork tender, but not squishy!  DO NOT DRAIN THE WATER!

Add butter, salt and pepper.  Once the butter has melted, add 1 can of Evaporated Milk.
Stir to mix.  Over medium heat, bring back up to almost boiling and turn off.  Beat together with a fork the 14 c water and 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch and immediately stir into the soup.  This mixture will make a smooth, silky and thick tater soup.

So, you are probably asking why I don't drain the water, right?  Well, all the nutrients from the tater is in that water so why drain it.  You washed the taters right?  Well, then they are clean.  Why drain that water....take my word for it, you will love this recipe.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Molten Brownie Lava Cakes

Good morning readers.  Had a minor surgery on my leg Friday so just sitting around.  Have been searching Pinterest and looking at great recipes.  I always get great ideas. Want to share with you these fabulous Molten Lava Brownies I made on Wednesday. They turned  out great and were so easy..

Molten Brownie Lava Cakes

1box fudgy brownie mix made according to directions on box
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Jar of caramel ice cream topping

Make bownies according to instructions on box. Add nuts of your choice. Make sure the mix is really thick, so a spoon will stand up in the mix.

Spray large muffin or popover pan with Pam spray.  Spoon brownie mix into muffin pan, but only fill 1/2 way up.  Using the back of spoon, make a well in center of each and add 1 tsp of caramel into the well.  Cover tops with remaining brownie mix.  Try to make sure caramel is completely sealed in.

Bake as directed on box.  Cool to warm and spoon out to eat.  When you cut into them the caramel will run yum yum!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Well, the weekend is almost upon us.  What should we cook?  Meatloaf sounds good, but I hate those really Catsupy Meatloaves.  Not a big Catsup lover…..Yuck!  Hmmmm how about my Cheeseburger Meatloaf (pictured at the bottom of this blog).

This recipe is one of my very favorites.  It is melt-in-your-mouth good!

             Cheeseburger Meatloaf
2 lbs lean ground beef
½ medium onion, finely diced
¼ bell pepper, finely diced
¼ cup catsup
10 Ritz Crackers – finely crushed (I use my food processor)
1 egg
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Pepper (I like pepper)
1 tsp. Basil
2 cups of cubed Velveeta Cheese

4 thin slices of Velveeta Cheese for top

In large bowl, mix ground beef and all other ingredients, adding the Velveeta Cheese cubes last.  Mix well and place into a meatloaf pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 1 hour or until no longer pink in the middle when you check with a fork.
Drain as much grease off as you can.  Top with Velveeta Cheese slices and cook another two minutes or so, just long enough to barely melt the cheese on top. 

Serve with Mashed Potatoes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Restaurant Review: Flemings Steakhouse

Restaurant Review:  Flemings Steakhouse              
On occasion, I might review a restaurant on this blog that has either had exceptional or inadequate service/food.

Today I would love to talk about my experience at Flemings Steakhouse.  My husband and I were in Florida last Dec/Jan and we had previously won a gift certificate to Flemings at my office Christmas Party before we left Indiana for vacation.  I found out there was a Flemings near where we were staying, so our last night in Florida, we had reservations for a nice evening out.

I will say that Flemings (and there is one in Indianapolis too), is one of the best meals I have had that I didn't cook myself.  The service was fantastic.  The food was impeccably cooked.  My husband had a huge steak that was cooked to perfection.  I had lamb that melted in your mouth.  I would give Flemings a 5 star rating and look forward to returning.  Although next time, we may go to Indianapolis.  It's a little closer.

As for cost, well Flemings is a little pricey.  With valet parking, meal and tip, it cost us about $145.  But believe me, it is a fantastic experience, meal and would make that special someone in your life very happy for an Anniversary, Birthday or other celebration. 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Utensils & Kluski Noodle Casserole

Ahhh, we women love our kitchen utensils.  At least those of us who love to cook.  So, I just bought a new utensil last week from Pampered Chef.  It is a long-handled item that is used to break up hamburger in the pan.  How ingenious!   I am planning on using that bad boy tonight. 

What is your favorite Kitchen Utensil?  Share...  Oh, and here's my favorite one pot ground beef meal:

Kluski Noodle One-Pot Casserole

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 small onion, diced finely
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. butter

1/2 bag Kluski Noodles (these are a particular brand that are similar to homemade)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 soup cans of water
1 Tbsp. Basil
1 tsp. Oregano

In bottom of Dutch Oven, sauté onion in butter until translucent.  Add ground beef, salt and pepper.  Saute' breaking up hamburger until cooked through.  Remove from heat and drain.  Reserve

Rinse out same pot and add 2 cups of water bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and add Kluski Noodles and 1 tsp salt.  Boil until noodles are tender.  Drain.  Put back in pot and add hamburger, soup, 2 cans of water, Basil and Oregano.  Stir occasionally over medium heat until heated through.  2 to 3 minutes is all it will take!

This is fantastic served with mashed potatoes.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Let's Make Brisket!

I love to make Brisket for my husband because he makes these mmmmm noises and I can tell his tummy is in a happy place.  He loves my Brisket!  What can I say.  So, I figure I'll share my recipe with you so that you can put your "Person's" tummy in a happy place.

Brisket To Die For!

1 Beef Brisket
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 stick of Real Butter (not margarine)
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 bag mini carrots

Hint:  Don't add salt because Brisket is already salty and the Worcestershire is too.  Adding salt will make it entirely too salty.

Put roast in crock pot on low heat.  Add remaining ingredients and fill with water to just about 1" below the top of the Brisket.  Cook for a minimum of 8 hours.

During the last 1 1/2 to 2 hours of cooking you can add small red potatoes and you have a one-pot meal! 

Gravy:  Optional if you want to make a gravy:  I take about 2 cups of the broth off and put it over a medium heat until it comes to a light boil.  Turn off heat and immediately add:  In a small cup I mix 1/4 c water with 2 heaping Tbsp of cornstarch.  Beat together and pour into broth and stir immediately and quickly until gravy forms.

NOTE:  The Real Butter is the key so do not skimp!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Welcome to Recipes From a Country Cook

Welcome to Recipes From a Country Cook.  For anyone who loves to cook, as I do, this blog I going to be fun!  We will share recipes, information about food, food events, and talk about cooking!

If you are a country-style cook, you will especially love this blog.  I cook the old-fashioned way my grandma and mom taught me; lots of butter (real butter), mayonnaise, and love!

You can ask me any cooking questions you might have by emailing me at  I would love to hear from you.

I published my cookbook Recipes From a Country Cook several years ago and it has been a big hit.  I am looking to revise and update it by adding new recipe creations I have discovered through trial and error.  Am hoping to have out a bigger and better version in the next 12 months.

Now, let's get started! (or should I say cookin')