We have been so busy lately, especially trying to get some things accomplished while the weather is pleasing and not so cold. We're enjoying having friends over for a club board meeting, dinner with friends and our weekly visit from our teenage grandchildren. All of these events keep me searching and trying out new recipes and repeating some of the "sure things."
I visited a big box store yesterday and was surprised to see the seeds arriving - bulbs, outdoor decorative cushions, flower pots and many specials on plant closeouts. The next few weeks will be a great time to purchase some outdoor items that will be harder to find in March and April.
Here's some recipes we have made and enjoyed sharing with friends:
Dee Dee's Special Meatloaf
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▪ 1 pound ground beef
▪ 1/4 pound pork sausage (regular or mild)
▪ 1/4 cup regular oatmeal
▪ 3 slices thin bread, that has been lightly toasted and broken up into small pieces
▪ 1 medium onion-chopped fine
▪ 1 medium bell pepper-chopped fine
▪ 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
▪ 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
▪ 1/2 teaspoon pepper
▪ 1 egg-beaten
▪ 1 regular sized (not the little can) tomato sauce (1/2 in meatloaf, 1/2 in the sauce)
1. Gently mix by hand all ingredients.
2. Over working the mixing will toughen a meatloaf.
3. Form into a loaf in a loaf pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
4. Remove from oven and spoon sauce on the top.
▪ 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
▪ 1/2 can tomato sauce
▪ 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
▪ 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
▪ 1 teaspoon mustard
▪ Pour over top and bake for 40-45 more minutes at 350 degrees.
We like to serve this dish with a small baked potato and a simple green salad. I will often mix all ingredients together the night before, refrigerate and cover in a bowl. Then the ingredients have a chance to merge and mellow and the dinner preparation goes faster.
Our Fast and Easy Broccoli and Rice Soup
▪ One (6 ounce) package chicken and wild rice mix
▪ One (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
▪ Two (10 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
▪ One (12 ounce) can chicken breast chunks
1. Combine rice mix, contents of the seasoning packet and five cups of water in a soup pot.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Slowly stir in the broccoli, chicken soup and chicken.
4. Cover and simmer for an additional five minutes.
Frozen veggies cook faster than fresh veggies so if you are in a hurry, add frozen ones. We like less salt/sodium so I usually buy soups that are either low sodium or Healthy Request. I taste before serving and can always add salt if needed.
This serves eight, and is good the next day for lunch.
Oh Those Apricot Squares
Here's an easy and fairly fast dessert that folks like, especially if you like the flavor of apricots. The use of preserves makes these beauties just shine on the serving plate!
▪ 1 cup butter (not margarine or unsalted butter)
▪ 1 cup white sugar
▪ 1 egg yolk
▪ 2 cups all-purpose flour
▪ 3/4 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
▪ One (18 ounce) jar of apricot jam or preserves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk and mix well.
3. Stir in the flour, add nuts and blend well. The dough will be soft.
4. Divide dough in half. Spread half the dough in a 9X13 inch baking dish. Cover with apricot jam.
5. Drop remaining dough by spoonfuls over jam, spreading evenly and carefully to the edges with a knife.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden.
7. Remove from oven, cool slightly and then cut into 1 and 1/2 inch squares.
Carefully toast the walnuts in a 250 degree oven for "about" five minutes. Keep an eye on these all the time. Burned walnuts don't taste too good. Roasting nuts allow the oils to surface and makes the nuts taste good, as well as crunchy.
I spray the 9 x 13 inch pan with Pam before I make these. And I like the bars larger, so I don't try and measure the squares.
This makes about 35 squares.
Let's hope for some rain soon. Everything is looking pretty dry at our house. Have another great week in Parker County.