Monday, April 29, 2019

Kiwi & Yogurt Recipe

Fresh fruit and yogurt go well together in my latest recipe video,  Kiwi and Yogurt.

Pre-mixed yogurt with fruit is too sweet for me. It is easy enough to slice and peel kiwi to mix into yogurt. You can even leave the fuzzy kiwi skin on if you like. It takes some getting used to, but it's not bad, really.

Anytime I find fruit on sale at my local 99c only Store, I immediately think of a light breakfast. My most common homemade yogurt with fruit uses: strawberries, pineapple, mango, blackberries or blueberries.

As for yogurt I just use plain. Vanilla and other flavors are usually too strong and often have sugar too. But if you like a certain type on sale then use it.

Sometime an unusual brand will show up like this creamy French-style yogurt called "oui" made by Yoplait. It was so good I got half a dozen jars. They also had a lemon-flavored that held up well with the addition of sliced kiwi.

As with any new find at a 99c only Store, I will try it in the car parking lot, and if it's good then I will go back and get a whole bunch more. I've learned you gotta be impulsive there or it may be gone an hour later -- snooze you lose!

So do check out my latest stop-motion animated video. There's really nothing to this recipe and anyone can make it. Sometimes less is more, for a perfectly delicious recipe.

Kiwi & Yogurt - Video

Play it here. video runs 49 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Mom's Cherry Pie Recipe with the Swamp Chef

How do you take the Swamp Chef out of the swamp? Just set out a big slice of Mom's Homemade Cherry Pie!

This is one of my Mom's favorite pies and it's a 2 crust pie, so if you like flakey crust then this pie is for you.

Mom makes her pie crust from scratch, but if you like, you can use premade flour dough crust from your local grocery store -- if they stock any.

As for the cherry pie filling, it's from a can that you can get from Dollar Tree of 99c only Stores. Dang, this recipe is cheap! Mom uses one 20 ounce can of cherry pie filling, but it's easy and cheap enough to add another can for an extra juicy pie filling. I've also seen 15-ounce cans, so then you will need 2 cans of cherry pie filling.

Click on any photo to see larger.

You will learn how Mom creates a lattice-style top crust, and it's easy to do really. You will have a bit of dusty flour to clean up, but the extra pie crust work is worth it.

Nothing beats Mom's Homemade Cherry Pie. And it's so good even a bunch of my Cajun family show up. Just hang out to the end of the video to see how quick a Cherry Pie vanishes!
Mom's Homemade Cherry Pie Recipe - Video
Play it here, the video runs 9 minutes 50 seconds.

 My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

  • 1 can Cherry Pie Filling - 20-ounce can. Okay to add more filling with another can - hey, why not, it's cheap enough.
  • 9-inch Pie Pan - glass or metal pan.
  • 2 cups Flour - for 2 pie crusts. Mom uses all-purpose flour.
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 cup Shortening - okay to substitute shortening with real butter, or even margarine.
  • 6 tablespoons Ice Water - just regular water with ice cubes to keep it cold.
  • Extra Flour - have it on hand as you will sprinkle flour on a rolling pin and rolling surface, so the dough doesn't stick to everything. Adding extra flour is fine as it will absorb into the pie crust as you work with it.
  • 2-4 tablespoons Milk - brush on top of assembled pie crust.
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar - sprinkle on top of the pie after it is assembled. Mix and sugar will make a light glaze on the pie as it bakes.

For the cherry pie filling, all you do is open the can!

The pie crust starts with 2 cups of flour in a large bowl.

Scoop in the shortening, butter or margarine -- or a combination of. Mom uses shortening only.

If you use margarine or butter make sure they are cold. Mom doesn't refrigerate her shortening, because room temperature shortening is still semi-solid. Butter or margarine will be too mushy at room temperature.

Mix shortening into flour and break apart large clumps. You want small pea-size flour balls or crumbs. This will take a few minutes of mixing and chopping to get there. Mom used a pasty cutter, but you can use a large fork to mix flour and shortening.

Now you will press and form a pie crust dough ball by adding 6 tablespoons of icy water. Mix in a couple tablespoons at a time then press dough together. Okay to sprinkle on a little dusty flour to make handling easy.

Once the water is added and the dough is mixed well you should have enough dough to form 2 balls. Divide the dough in half and form the 2 balls to use as a bottom and top crust.

Now dust your flat working surface with flour and add one dough ball. Also, add flour to your rolling pin, so the pie crust doesn't stick and split apart as you work with the dough.

Make a 9-inch round of pie crust to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Once you start rolling out the dough it warms up and becomes softer to handle - after a couple of minutes, you can even press out the dough with your fingers, to cover the pie pan.

To make the pie crust round, you roll out the dough ball in all directions. That is, start top to bottom for a couple of rolls, then switch left to right and roll out a couple more times. Keep repeating this, adjusting the direction of rolling a little at a time to form a circle of dough.

The end result will be a thin layer of dough about 1/8 of an inch thick. Don't worry about it being too thin, as the dough will thicken during baking. It just needs to be thick enough to be able to handle it without breaking apart. Sometimes you will have a thin crust and sometimes a thick's all good, and tasty.

It doesn't have to be a perfect circle. You work the dough until it becomes soft like play dough, and when to cover the pie pan you can still reshape and push the dough around to fit the pan. Mom used a knife (spatula) to lift the pie dough from the work surface.

 You can also fix any tears or holes with extra dough strips that you will be making in the next step.

Once the bottom pie pan is fitted with the pie crust move on the second ball of pie dough.

Add flour if needed to the rolling surface and roll out the dough ball. This time the pie crust does not have to be round, as you will be slicing it up for the pie crust topping.

Roll out the dough, square, or semi-round. You just need the dough to be 9 inches long in one direction. Again sprinkle on flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to the rolling surface.

Now slice the dough with a knife into strips, about a 1/2 inch wide, or so. It doesn't have to be exact every time.

Now time to bring it all together. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Add a 20-ounce can of cherry pie filling. Okay to add another half or full can for a thicker cherry pie.

Now add lattice top crust. Lay down one crust strip at a time. Start in the middle and work to the outer edges of the pie pan, shortening or pinching off extra pie crust strip ends, to fit the top of the pie.

Now repeat, but this time lay pie topping strips in the opposite direction until the top of the pie looks like a grid. You can space out the strips as wide or close as you like.

If you have leftover dough strips it's okay to add them to the outer crust edge so the crust is extra thick and crunchy, yum!

You can make the pie perfect or keep it rustic. Don't worry how it looks really, hey it will taste just fine.

Of course, if you like a solid top crust then just lay the whole rolled-out dough over the filling and press the top edges to seal the pie. But do make sure to make a few air hole slits into the top crust or the cherry filling may overflow too easily.

You can google "pie crust designs" and pick out the one you like. Click here for some designs that are complex, but with a couple of simple ones, too.

When the pie crust is assembled it's time to bake it at 425 degrees for half an hour. Check on the baking pie during the last 10 minutes. Once the pie crust edges are brown the pie is ready. Baking time will vary by five minutes or so, according to how hot your oven operates.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Allow the pie to cool down and the cherry filling will return to a pudding-like texture. Of course, you can serve the pie hot or cold, and with ice cream or whipped cream topping - Mom's Homemade Cherry Pie is so good the Swamp Chef eats it all by itself ! No pie topping for the Swamp Chef is needed.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Easter Egg Recipes - Leftovers Series

For some, it's all about eggs for Easter this Sunday and I have a basketful of recipes for leftover ovums the kids can't finish. So read on for using up eggs that are hard-boiled, because there is no way youngsters can put away that many. And be sure to set aside a few raw eggs for some of my recipes listed below (click on any recipe name to see the original blog post.)

Eggs are still a great deal. Lately, I get my eggs from a local Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar for half a dozen medium eggs, and sometimes they even carry a dozen for a dollar.

The easiest leftover use of eggs is a simply delish Egg Salad. It's the quickest and easiest way to use up leftover boiled eggs.

Half a dozen cooked and peeled Easter eggs mixed with a little mayo and some chopped celery will yield a bowlful of creamy deliciousness that can go between 2 toasted slices of bread, as a topping for your favorite salad, or serve spread on your favorite crackers as appetizers.

Ingredients (about 3 sandwiches)
  • 6 eggs - I used small eggs. Boiled, peeled and chopped. about 2 cups total after chopped.
  • 1/4 cup mayo - I used light mayo. Okay to add more. Add an extra teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess. Large eggs will need more mayo.
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped - including leaves on the stalk -- if it comes with them. About 1/2 cup total after chopped.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Water to boil eggs.
*Many recipes call for mustard, I like it without. But you can add it - try a teaspoon Dijon or regular mustard. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder.

In a pot add eggs and cover with an inch of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Just when eggs start to boil, turn off the heat completely and cover the pot with a lid (or plate.) Let sit for 15 minutes. Eggs will continue to cook in the hot water. (Okay to use any favorite boiled egg recipe you may already have.)

Meanwhile chop one stalk of celery, including leaves. Chop finely.

After 15 minutes, remove eggs and rinse off in cold water, so you can peel them without burning your fingers. You can also let them sit in a bowl of cool water with some ice cubes for about 5 minutes.

Now time to bring it all together. Peel, discard shells and chop the eggs. You can add them as you chop to a large bowl. I usually chop the eggs in half, then place them yolk side down on chopping board and finish slicing.

Add all the chopped eggs to a bowl. Mix in the chopped celery. Finally, scoop in 1/4 cup of mayo. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Try out a small spoonful of Egg Salad. At this point you can add more mayo if you like, a teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess.

I find less mayo and mustard (optional) the better, as they easily overpower the mild egg flavor.

A scoop of Egg Salad goes well with your favorite vegetable salad. Egg Salad is a tasty party dip on your favorite chips or crunchy veggie slices. Also, try a spoonful on an avocado half. But I like an Egg Salad Sandwich the best.

This recipe is easy to double using a dozen eggs -- just add another 1/4 cup of mayo and another rib of chopped celery. Keep finished Egg Salad covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Okay, let's take an ovum break -- for kids there is a lot of chocolate on the scene like this.

Another early recipe of mine is a silly Devilish Deviled Eggs I made one Halloween. Fun and tasty. Of course, leave out the spicy chili peppers for kid-friendly bites. And you can find all the yummy recipe details from my food blog by clicking on any recipe name.

For extra eggs you haven't boiled yet (or set aside,) there are a lot of my cheap$kate recipes to choose from, like a filling Pasta alla Carbonara with egg yolk and crumbled browned bacon over spaghetti; or a baked omelet-like Frittata with pasilla chili, chorizo, potato and cheese.

Scrambled eggs come in many variations. Jewish delis have a couple of good ones that I've adapted. I get corned beef on sale during St. Patrick's Day, so it's only natural to have some of it sauteed with eggs (even better is pastrami made from corned beef - my recipe is here.

Small packages and cans of salmon come cheaply and I like to add it to my Jewish Breakfast Scramble. And add a dollop of cream cheese and you have a lighter substitution for Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel. Try it sometime, I know you will like it, too.

Booze and eggs go together, especially if you're making my Homemade Eggnog. This video recipe is one of my holiday favorites. You won't believe your eyes when you see my intoxicated antics after imbibing on one Eggnog too many. Be sure to watch this recipe video all the way to the end!

One of my earliest published recipes is also one of the quickest and easy to make: Scrambled Eggs and Sundried Tomatoes. I like to keep a jar of pungent dried tomatoes in herbs and oil in the refrigerator, right next to my carton of eggs. For a non-oil, lighter version, use plain dried tomatoes in a plastic pouch, too (this is what my wife uses.)

Eggs make a great binder for my sister Denise's Veggie Eggplant Burgers. (You should make sure to check out the video we made that features a wacky shopping spree in my local 99c only Store.) And you want to add a scrambled egg or two when you make my cheap$kate version of Chinese Fried Rice.

Ever make Crepes Suzette? There's not much to it really, just eggs, flour, milk and to quote Julia Child's nephew: "lots of butter." And who's the famed chef's nephew anyway?

Well, just watch the video to see this outrageous character shopping in the Hollywood Farmer's Market -- then moving on to the kitchen to show you how to make a tender and delicate pancake-like dessert.

 Do you have a package of frozen veggies in the freezer accumulating frost, and a crisper drawer full of veggies that are close to being thrown out? Well, just rinse off the frozen veggies and slice off the brown spots from the bell pepper and onion to make my colorful Veggie Frittata. For this photo story recipe I ran out of eggs, but my neighbor Nuno was kind enough to lend me a few. (How's that for a cheap$kate move, free eggs!)

If you have a small patio garden then I have a couple of nutritious recipes to use the freshly picked bounty. An easy veggie to grow is bright green Swiss Chard. Just saute it for a couple of minutes and add it to your favorite omelet recipe, my recipe is here.

Every time I change out the dirt from my teeny garden, seeds sprout willy-nlly. Often it's some kind of squash, that never bears fruit. Oh well, that's okay because the flowers make a great Squash Blossom Omelet.

I grew up in the South and was raised on Mexican food for a while. Almost everyone in Texas has tried Migas, which are tortilla pieces scrambled in eggs. And, you can't get simpler than having Refried Beans and Eggs. I didn't think I would like this meal at first, but learned that scrambled eggs elevate any humble ingredient!

Refried Pinto Beans & Scrambled Eggs

I get all types of Mexican chorizo at my local 99c only Store, including beef, pork, and soy (vegetarian.) Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo, mainly it's the texture. Spanish chorizo is hard like salami and Mexican chorizo is soft like ground meat. It's a pungent and flavorful protein that mixes well for Chorizo and Scrambled Eggs. And use it to stuff a Breakfast Taco or Breakfast Burrito.

Click to magnify.

Huevos Rancheros are the Eggs Benedict of Mexican cuisine. A corn tortilla with refried beans and a fried egg that's topped with crumbled queso fresco (cheese,) and your favorite salsa, is a decadent and filling way to start the day. Make a batch of this your family sometime, it's quite easy to do when you follow this cheap$kate's recipe.

You can top any of my Mexican breakfast entrees with a favorite jarred salsa or go here to see my list of Homemade Salsa Recipes, with links, that include:  Roasted Salsa Verde (tomatillo,) Red Chili (2 dried types - but the same recipe,) Pico de Gallo and Mango.

Click on any photo to see larger.

Looking to impress an overnight guest, then serve them my recipe for Eggs Florentine for breakfast. This creamy spinach and egg dish will keep any afterglow going. And if that doesn't work then I have a sensuous Fried Egg on Breadcrumbs with Asparagus.

I like a challenge. A favorite breakfast fast food is the classic Egg McMuffin. It's not as cheap as it used to be, so I figured out how to make my own cheaper version. And I share it with you in this homemade video recipe.

And for an extra hardy breakfast be sure to add my Old School Hash Browns to the menu.

If you are flush with cash and your ship has come in, then make like a bonus bloated Wall Street con artist and serve up my Billionaire's Crab Omelet. (I even give you a cheap$kate shortcut, just in case the stock market crashes, your government bailout  is rejected, and all your chips have been cashed in.)

And for my latest egg recipe video, I made a classic French-style Cheese Omelette. What's the difference between it and the ones you get at a typical American diner? Well, it all about technique, mainly you just soft scramble the eggs in butter, add the cheese and gently roll the egg to close up the omelette. Most American-style omelets are cooked dry, while a French omelette is slightly moist in the middle. It's a different way to cook an omelette, but I've grown to like it.

Eggs for dinner? Heck yeah, especially when pizza is on the menu. Break an egg on your favorite homemade or store-bought pizza during the last 10 minutes of oven baking. A mix of creamy yolk is a sumptuous topping, so be sure to try my Pizza with Egg recipe.

And finally, if you're looking for a bit of levity, well, I have an early morning fried egg comedy video to brighten your day, here.

Whew, that's a lot of ovum riffing, I'm exhausted. You've just scrolled through over 10 years of recipes from my food blog.

And if you want even more egg pictorial poetics then click here to view a fun video.

Cooking with eggs is cheap. While not as inexpensive as they used to be, it's still affordable, especially when you use any of my creative and tasty recipes listed above.

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