Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey Injection

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year.  Should be a piece of cake, only 7 people, including us.  I'm not too terribly worried.  In fact, the whole purpose of this post is to save a recipe that I can't seem to pin on my Pinterest board because there are no images on the web page.  Down here we fry our turkeys.  Don't judge.  The Mr. is from Ohio and just LOVES everything Midwestern.  Honestly, he's the only reason I know what a crock pot is.  A product of a teacher and school superintendent he was raised on food that could be done by the time everyone got home from school/practice/meetings.  Low and slow.  Also, roasted turkey on Thanksgiving.  In the oven.  For hours on end.  Great, fine, whatever.  Then, he met Moi and BAM! Convert.  I'm pretty sure the only time he's ever hurt his mama's feelings was the Thanksgiving he demanded she have at least one fried turkey, made everyone at the table try it and NOT ONE person touched the bird from the oven after that.  Not.  One.  I'm not even kidding.  Fried turkey is where it's at.

So the trick (in my humble opinion) of a fried turkey is in the marinade and the rub.  And, in this case, by marinade I mean injection.  You got it, injection.  Ever watch QVC? HSN?  Know anyone that has?  One of the best laughs I've ever had was at the expense of my older brother when he announced he had been watching one home shopping channel or another and purchased the "Cajun Injector Set" at about 3am.  What?  Oh man, did we ever get a chuckle out of that.  What, pray tell, does one do with a Cajun Injector Set?  Shoot up your turkey, that's what! Actually, you could probably use it with any meat you're cooking.  I just prefer it in my turkey.  Yes.  Before you ask, I bought one too.  Now they sell it on the spice aisle of your local grocery store.  We are no longer required to watch bad TV during the wee hours to possess such a kitchen tool.  I bought one.  Used the mix that came with it a couple of times.  Pretty dadgum tasty.  But this year I wanted to try something different.  So, as would anyone in this day and age, I hit up the Internet.,  This is the recipe I came up with.  I plan on using any leftover for a rub.  If it tastes half as good as it smells it will be a smashing success.  I'll let you know next week!

Fried Turkey Injection
16 oz. Italian salad dressing
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. celery salt
2-3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 bottle paprika pepper
1/2 can of beer (optional)
3 heaping tsp. Poultry Magic seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 dashes Tabasco

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sticky Bun Ring

Did I tell you I was horrible about keeping up with a blog?  I did, didn't I?  Well, obviously, I wasn't kidding.  July, August, and apparently September, just got away from me in the blink of an eye.  Lucky for me they zoomed by because we were on vacations.  Family trips to the beach and two -yes TWO- weekends for Mommy.  I was able to spend some much needed QT with my amazing sister in Houston and my BFF in DC while Munchkin and Nugget got some alone time with Daddy. 

I really don't even have an excuse for September other than school, ballet, gymnastics, and speech therapy hitting me in the face every week.  Oh, and DISNEY!  Yes, the Holcombs hit Florida last week with some our dear neighbors to visit Mickey, Minnie, and all their pals.  Truly an amazing week for our family.  The littles will only appreciate the magic for so long and we're blessed to be able to share it with them!

Now to the food.  This has been a staple in this house all summer... easy peasy Saturday morning treat.  Anyone from my next of the woods is familiar with Dewey's Bakery.  If you're not, I'm sorry.  It is seriously an experience.  Pink Lemonade cake to die for.  And the Moravian Sugar cake.  Oh.  My.  Word.  This recipe comes so close to that flavor, it's like dessert for breakfast.  All you need is 5 simple ingredients.  I'd be willing to bet you already have them in your pantry and fridge right now.  Butter, brown sugar, pancake syrup, cinnamon, and refrigerated biscuits.  Seriously, that's it.

Mix 1/3C brown sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Melt 3 tbs of butter and mix in 1/2 C of pancake syrup

Spray a bunt pan with cooking spray and pour about half of the butter/syrup mixture into the bottom and sprinkle half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture on top.  Then layer the biscuits in there.  I kind of stand them up and lean them on one another to make it easier to pull them apart.  Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar mixture and empty the butter/syrup on top.

Throw that pan of deliciousness into the oven and restrain yourself for 20-25 minutes till it's golden brown.  Invert the pan onto a large plate and try not to scald your mouth and fingers by digging in too soon.

My kids love this, so do the grown-ups in this house. 
Sticky Bun Ring
1 tube refrigerator buttermilk biscuits (I use the Grands kind)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 C. pancake syrup
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mississippi Roast

I have a confession to make, I've never been much a crock pot fan.  Gasp!  I know.  I love the whole "roll up your sleeves and get dirty in the kitchen" aspect of cooking dinner.  Also, 90% of meals I've had out of a crock pot taste like nothing.  By nothing I mean it just tastes like mush, all the flavors combining into one non-existent flavor rather than having layers of differing yumminess.  Don't get me wrong, I love slow cooking things, but over all I've never been a gung ho crock pot slow cooker person.  My husband is from the mid-west and was raised on a crock pot.  My mother in law has some recipes that I've tried and thought were good.  One Mexican chicken thing I'll more than likely share on here at some point because it's pretty darn tasty.

Somehow my children's lives have taken over my schedule. How did that happen? I mean, they're only 3 and 4 for cryin' out loud. The Nugget still naps from 1:30-4 every afternoon and the Munchkin is required to have "quiet time" during that period as well.  So I usually start dinner about the time they wake up while they run in the yard, play together, fight, cry, whatever.  Ha!  Honestly, I spend about 15% of the time cooking and 85% of the time refereeing those two.  Which is why I have to start cooking so early in the evening.  Anyhoo... Because of the naps our "activity hours" are somewhat limited.  The Munhckin's ballet class was every Monday from 5:30-6:15 during the school year.  Home by 6:30 if we're lucky... dinner?  Yeah, right.  Now it's summer and we're spending out mornings at the pool.  In order to enjoy the pool the kids have to know how to swim, right? So now we're into swim lessons 2 nights a week, 5-5:30.  Twenty minutes to get home.  How can I possibly avoid a fast food drive through, start dinner and actually feed this crew before everyone (me and Hubs included) completely loses it from hunger? Crock pot.  Yes, I said it. 

Once again, I'll refer back to Pinterest.  Don't judge, it's a mild obsession for me.  Seriously, so many crock pot recipes to be found on there.  Including these geniuses who plan a whole month of freezer meals to be thrown into the crock pot or oven on a whim.  Say what?  It's true.  But that's not what I'm talking about today.  Today is about a roast.  A Mississippi roast.  Never heard of it? Neither had I.  But boy and I glad I stumbled upon it!! We've all had a pot roast at some point.  Dry onion soup mix, some water, some veggies, and some meat.  Tasty.  Nope.  Never again in this house.  Mississippi roast is the only one I'll ever serve again.  Flavor? Check.  Crunchy cooked outside? Check.  Fall apart tender inside? Check.  Healthy?  Ehhh... I'll worry about that later.  That stick of butter makes me nervous but it's not the end of the world.  So here it is, my pretties...

Grab your crock pot and throw in a roast.  I used a chuck roast because, I really don't know the difference and it was on sale at my grocery store.  This is about 4lbs.

Sprinkle on a packet of Ranch dressing dry mix.  The original recipe I found called for the dressing mix but I had the dip mix so I used it. How different can they be?  Maybe the dip has more cornstarch to thicken it up a bit more.

Then sprinkle on a packet of gravy mix.  I fudged it for convenience's sake again here.  The recipe called for an Au Jus mix but I had chicken gravy in my pantry.  I'm not a fan of spending an extra $2 if I've got a close substitute.

Ok friends... Now the yummy part.  Plop on a stick of butter and surround that puppy with some pepperoncini peppers right out of the jar. 

Looks good already, doesn't it? Pop the lid on and let it go on low for 8-10 hours.  No liquid necessary.  Come to think of it, that may be my problem with the crock pot in general... add too much liquid and the meat just boils.  No texture, no yummy brown bits.  You can see below (from the 2 bites that were leftover since my family got to eating before I could take a picture of the finished product) the brown goodness on top.  That is flavor right there, boys and girls!  Serve this up with some roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes and I guarantee you will have some happy tummies.

All kidding aside, we're gooing to have days that are packed to the gills.  And I know, as the littles get older the days will get fuller and I'll hit a period where cooking at "dinner" time will be nothing more than a day dream while sitting at a stop light between drop-offs.  Thank heavens for the crock pot for days like that. 

Mississippi Roast

1 chuck roast (4-5lbs)
1 packet ranch dressing/dip mix
1 packet gravy mix (chicken/brown/au jus)
1 stick butter
5-10 pepperoncini peppers

Put roast in crock pot.  Sprinkle ranch mix and gravy mix on top.  Add butter and place the peppers around it on top of the meat.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup S'Mores Bars

Holy smokes have I got a treat today!  I came across these beauties on Pinterest and after a bit of tweaking have discovered my go to "special" dessert for summer nights.  Or spring nights.  Or fall afternoons.  Or midnight snacks.  Y'all, these are so dang good!!  And pretty easy to make.  Most of this is stuff I always have in my house... I'll admit, I'm a long time fan of the fluffer-nutter sandwich.  Don't care how old you are, that stuff is tasty.  This time the only item I needed from the store was the Reese's Peanut Butter cups.  Here's what you need to get these delights in your house.

Brown sugar, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, 1 egg, vanilla extract, Fluff, baking powder, salt, graham cracker crumbs,and flour.  Easy, right?

Just cream the butter and sugars with a maixer thill it's fluffy and grogeous.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.  Turn that badboy down to low and add the rest of the dry ingredients till combined.  Take a little more than half of the dough and press it into a prepared 8x8 baking dish.  I lined mine with aluminum foil and sparyed it with some non-stick spray, but parchment paper would work too.  Just line it with something to make sure you can get it out of the dish, that fluff will stick like glue to EVERYTHING! Except your hands, I've got a trick for that coming up in a minute.  GENTLY press the peanut butter cups into the dough.  I say gently becase I really tried to get one down in there and accidentally pushed all the peanut butter filling out the sides.  Ooops.  The upside of that little blunder? I had a "very good reason" to eat one without feeling bad about it.  Ha! Right, 'cause I would have totally done that anyway but I enjoy rationalizing things to myself.

Now comes the fun part... FLUFF! Man, I love this gooey, sticky, sweet stuff.  I'm not a big fan of plain marshmallows unless they're toasted, but Fluff I can wat with a spoon right out of the tub.  It's a little sweeter than your average marshmallow out of a bag and the texture is much silkier.  So.  Good.  Anyway, just dollop some of it on top of your peanut butter cups.  I'd say I used about a cup and a half but I didn't measure it.  Just be sure to use enough to cover the whole thing.

That delcious-ness (is that even a word?) is really sticky but lucky for me (and you, now) I watch a lot of The Food Network.  By "a lot" I mean it's on a tv in my house pretty much any time the Munchkin and the Nugget haven't commandeered it for Strawberry Shortcake or Thomas the Tank Engine.  I'm not neccessarily "watching" it all day, but I pick up little tidbits of info just listening while I'm coloring with the kiddoes or folding laundry or whatever elase it is I do to fill my days.  Thanks to Ina Garten, I have learned that if you wet your fingers most sticky stuff won't stick too badly.  So just run your fingers under some water and smoosh that Fluff out to each corner of the dish.  You may have to wet them a couple of times.  You'll still get some on you but at least it won't be too difficult to get off.

Then take the rest of the dough in your bowl and dump in onto a non-stick surface.  I used my Silpat, beacuse I'm borderline obsessed with it.  Not really, but I have 2 and they are used almost every day in my house.  Now press that dough into an 8x8 square, or as close as you can get it. My sweet Munchkin had just woken up from her nap at this point and wanted to supervise my skills... judging by that precious smile I think she approves of my dough-shaping.

So close, we're so close to putting this in the oven!! You've just got to put the top on.  I picked up the whole silpat and inverted it on top of the layer of Fluff in my dish.  The dough was pretty thin so I wasn't sure I'd be able to pick it up in one piece.  And now, in the oven it goes.  Preheated to 350* for 30 -35 minutes.  The smell is heavenly.  At the time it seemed like the longes 35 minutes of my life because I wanted to tear into them so badly. 

Here is the finished product... looks rather un-impressive doesn't it? Just you wait my friends, just you wait.  Dig deep within yourself to find the will-power to let this sit out for an hour or two so the chocolate can reset then slice away.  I'm sure this would be lovely cut into bars but that's not how we roll in this house.  We just cut and eat as we go.  But look, just LOOK and how awesome this is!!

I promise, you will not regret making these.  And niether will the rest of your family!!

Peanut Butter Cup S'Mores Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
9 peanut butter cups, regular size
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff (give or take- just be sure to cover the peanut butter cups)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dishing with parchment paper; coat lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl of the bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Scrape down the sides. With the mixer on low, stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, and graham cracker crumbs until mixed.
  3. Spread a little more than hlaf of the dough on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lightly press the peanut butter cups into the dough, then spread marshmallow fluff on top. Press the remaining dough on a non-stick surface into the shape of an 8×8 square. Place the square on top of the fluff and press down lightly.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Allow to cool for at least two hours to give the bars a chance to set, then remove from the pan and cut into squares with a large, sharp knife.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Teacher Gifts

After some thought I decided that just cookies wasn't nearly enough to thank my kids AWESOME teachers so I took it one step further... A Summer Survival Kit

I found these super cute insulated totes on major sale at Swoozies  They're kind of an extra large lunch tote- one could easily fit lunch for 4 in it to take to the pool or park.  I planned on monogramming them when I got home but I couldn't flip the front pocket enough to fit inside my hoop.  Oh well, the bag itself is pretty darn cute!

Then I filled it with a magazine (People for Nugget's teacher's who are early 30's and Our State for Munchkin's who are somewhere over 50), Country time Lemondade, a Citronella candle and my homemade Strawberry Lemonade cookies.  Cute, right?  What more do you need for a nice early summer evening on the back deck??

Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cookies

The kitchen is my favorite room in my house. By far. I have tons of cabinet and counter space and (thanks to a busted pipe and State Farm) some killer appliances. One thing I have never loved is math. Numbers and I just do not get along, at all. Beacuse of this I've never been much for baking. All the precise measuring just doesn't ring my bell. So I look for shortcuts whenever possible.  A few years ago someone introduced me to cake mix cookies.  Yes.  You can make cookies from a box cake mix.  It's like angels singing from Heaven, it's so easy!

The end of the school year has snuck up on me... I can NOT believe this is the last week.  We are so fortunate to have a preschool with an amazing curriculum and teachers that are beyond fantastic, I feel the need to do a little something extra for Munchkin and Nugget's teachers to thank them for all their hard work this year. What to do for end of year teacher gifts? The options are endless but I've always felt a little homemade something means just a little bit more.  But what screams "summer time?"  Hmmmm.... beach balls, strawberries, ice cream, lemonade, sandcastles.  I could go on for days.  But what could I make to include some of those things?  Thanks to Pinterest I came across these little beauties...  Strawberry Lemonade Cookies!!
Pinterest linked me to Mothers Mementos for the recipe.  Ok, I love the sweet message in her blog post.  However, I refuse to acknowledge the fact that my sweet, 3 year old, Nugget will ever leave my house to be someone's husband so I won't wax poetic on all that right now.  More to the point, the cookies are delish! I changed it up a tad and left out the powdered sugar part because, let's be honest here... it's summer and we're all trying to get into bathing suits.  I think that any added calories at this point are unnescessary. 

All you need fote these cookies is a box of strawberry cake mix, a box of lemon cake mix, 4 eggs, 2/3 C vegetable oil (divided), and lemon extract.

Preheat your oven to 375* and pour each mix into separate bowls.  Add 2 eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 1 tsp lemon extract to each mix.  Stir to combine.

Take about 1 tbs lemon batter and roll into ball, then do the same with the strawberry.  Roll the two balls together to form one larger ball.  When it's all said and done they should look something like this.

Pop those bad boys into the oven for 11-14 minutes.  Prepare to delight your tastebuds.  Or your neighbors,  or friends, or postman, or whomever you deem worthy of these yummy treats.

Strawberry Lemonade Cookies
1 box Lemon cake mix
1 box Strawberry cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 C vegetable oil (divided)
2 tsp leamon extract (divided)

Preheat your oven to 375*.  Dump each mix into separate bowls.  Add 2 eggs, 1/3 C vegetable oil and 1 tsp lemon extract to each.  Stir to combine. Roll about 1 tbs lemond dough into a ball, do the same with the strawberry.  Roll the two balls into on larger ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 11-14 minutes.  Makes about 36 cookies.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blogging- Take 2...

So I've tried this before and quickly tired of it.  Perhaps that was because I felt "obligated" to keep people informed on a daily basis how and what my Munchkin and Nugget were doing (like anyone -outside of family- cared! Ha!), while at the same time chasing those two monsters around and changing a diaper every ten minutes.

So this will be a new beginning, a new Holcomb House blog.  I'd like to focus on food, as I love to cook.  Maybe I'll throw in some family ridiculousness every now and then, just for giggles.

So, without further ado.... here goes nothin'...

PS- That's a picture of my crazy crew.  With a 3 and 4 year old that's about as good a family shot as we get.  I'm ok with it.  We've got a "pick your battles" kind of vibe going.