Corn Fritters

I must be feeling nostalgic lately because I am making so many recipes from my childhood recently.  Corn fritters were always a huge favorite for all seven of us kids growing up.  We often had them on Sunday nights for dinner after begging all day long for either these or my mom's sourdough scones.  Since the scones required a starter, these often won and were never a disappointment.

My kids love them just as much as I did way back in the day.  Their favorite way to eat them is rolled in cinnamon sugar or dipped in maple syrup.  I prefer the former or raspberry freezer jam.  I know most of you are appalled that I served these for dinner since they are anything but healthy but feel free to blame my mom.....
Corn Fritters
1 1/3 C flour
2 Tb sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
15 oz can of corn
2 eggs
2/3 C of milk
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp pepper

1.  Heat cooking oil or vegetable shortening in a deep pan to prepare for frying.
2.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add wet ingredients and mix with a whisk until well combined.
3.  Drop by tablespoon into hot oil and allow to get deep brown on one side before flipping to the second side to cook.  Drain cooked fritters on paper towels.  Serve immediately.

Potato Soup

Our family has a birthday tradition of picking whatever you want for dinner.  No rules or questions asked.  Over the years, I have prepared some pretty crazy and unhealthy meals but it's a birthday and all judgement goes out the door.  Usually, my kids want a batch of french bread to go with whatever else they have picked such as pizza, scones, nachos, stuffed potato skins, french fries, lasagna and corn.  My scrapbooks are filled with pictures of the birthday child and their crazy dinner spread before them so they can look back one day and remember all their favorite foods.

This birthday tradition was carried forward from my own mom when I was growing up.  We always got to pick our favorite main dish and the type of cake we wanted.  My mom had it pretty easy with me because every year I picked potato soup.  I don't know what it is about this soup, but I just love it loaded with tons of pepper and to eat it from the edges of the bowl where it has slightly cooled off.  Every time I eat it, it takes me back to the kitchen in our Kirtland, Ohio home.  Isn't that one of the best effects of food?  Taste can always take you back in your memories and put a smile on your face!
Potato Soup
5 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 C chicken stock
1 C low-fat sour cream
salt and pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
cheddar cheese, grated
bacon, crumbled
green onion, chopped

1.  Boil the potatoes in the chicken broth until very soft and falling apart.  Mash the potatoes in the broth until smooth (I use an immersion blender).  Add the sour cream and mix.  Add enough milk to make a smooth soup consistency.  The seasonings can be changed to your own taste, but you will need a lot of fresh ground black pepper.  Serve with the cheese, bacon and green onion sprinkled on top.
**To freeze, place in bag and freeze it flat on a cookie sheet.  To prepare, thaw and reheat, adding additional milk if needed to thin.

The Most Amazing Leftovers Ever!

Sometime last week, I was faced with making dinner for my family knowing my fridge was very bare since it had been ages since I had been shopping.  I can't stand it when all of a sudden it is 5:00 pm and I'm frantically trying to throw something edible together.  I am usually very well organized with my menu/shopping but have I mentioned how crazy life has been the past few weeks?  

I've been hesitant to post it on my blog, but no time like the present.  I am officially on the Marshall, Minnesota ballot on November 4th.  I am one of five people running for one open school board spot.  When a friend of mine saw me the other day, she told me that this only confirms that I am truly crazy.  Probably so, but public education has always been a passion of mine and so I went for it.  So now you can see my lawn signs around town, I'm in the homecoming parade next week, I've got a campaign website, I'm printing a ton of flyers and my children are embarrassed beyond belief.
My campaign has been completely engulfing my time and energy while my dinner table pays the price.  Even so, this pizza that was thrown together out of desperation one night was 100% completely amazing.  I couldn't stop eating it and wished I had more leftovers in my fridge to make a couple more as bedtime snacks!

Emptying My Fridge Pizza
makes 2 12" pizzas

1 lb grated mozzerella cheese
leftover grilled chicken
4 roma tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, diced
fresh basil, torn

1.  Follow the directions for the pizza dough and top with listed ingredients.  I bake mine on my stone sprinkled with some corn meal for a great crisp crust.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

So how does it feel to be neglected?  Sitting and waiting for some new recipe to share with those you love, only to be let down day after day when a certain blogger fails to post.  Well, maybe I'm overstating your disappointment due to not hearing from me for over a week, but I still feel just as guilty even if the above were true.

I can give you all the reasons for my bloglect (the neglect of one's blog) but I know each of you are just as busy as me so I won't waste my breath.  I am happy to report though that I am typing in a beautiful master bedroom now that my 1980's blue is officially history.  I still have a bit more work to do but it is wonderful to walk into my bedroom and feel like it is my room and not someone else's. 
Here is a classic recipe in our household and I know there are a million versions of this salad out there.  It is my hubby's favorite but he likes to add raisins as well.  In my opinion, raisins ruin a perfectly delicious salad.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
1 head broccoli, chopped small
1 head cauliflower, chopped small
1 small red onion, minced
1 package real bacon pieces
1/2-3/4 C sunflower seeds

1 C light mayo (not miracle whip!)
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C white vinegar
Ground pepper

1.  Combine dressing ingredients and pour over salad.  Mix to combine well.  Best if this salad sits overnight, but minimum of three hours.

Lion House Chicken Supreme

Over the last week, I've taken the opportunity to educate my children in a subject they will sadly never learn about in school.  It is topic close to my heart and one to which I am indebted to share my knowledge.  I hope to open your eyes as well to this sacred institution:  1980's music.

You see, this week I've been redecorating my bedroom and while working hard, I've had a favorite online radio station blaring.  All 80's, all the time.  To me, music is as powerful a memory as smell and taste.  Play me a song and I can relive where I was, who I was with, my emotions at the time, how big my bangs were and the color of my pants that were tucked into my socks.  Here are just of few of the songs that define those years for me so click and take a listen.  I would share the memories that go along with those songs, but I don't think my hubby would appreciate me reliving memories that don't include him :-)

Since I have been so completely involved in my bedroom redo all week (which coincidentally had been 80's slate blue), I've needed quick and easy meals.  This recipe is extremely quick and easy.  The chicken is moist, tender and very kid friendly.  The only downfall is the fact that it has to sit overnight in the marinade, but a bit of menu planning solves that in a pinch.

Lion House Chicken Supreme (serves 8)
from Lion House Lite Recipes
1 1/2 C plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 C Italian style bread crumbs

1.  Mix together first seven ingredients  in a closable plastic container.  Rinse off the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Put the chicken into the yogurt mixture and be sure each piece is covered and completely submerged.  Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
2.  Preheat oven to 350.  Remove chicken from yogurt and dredge in the bread crumbs.  Place on a greased pan and bake for 45 minutes, until juices run clear.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Shhhh....If you are really quiet, you can hear it.  Listen closely.  That wonderful sound you hear is the quiet of your home, neighborhood, grocery store, library and community center now that our milllions of children are back to school.  If your ears are really good, you might even hear one particular Mom from Minnesota who's heart and breathing patterns have been calmed by 3/5.   (Only three of my five are school-aged.)

Now I know most of you are probably much better parents than I am and you actually miss your kids when they go to school, but I savor every minute I have while they are gone.  Especially during the hours of 1-3 pm when my preschoolers are sleeping....complete heaven!
Since today was the first day of school and having my obsession with baking, I decided to make these cookies, all 120 of them, for the teachers.  I am the PTA VP so I made them on behalf of the PTA.  I will be straight with you.  The cookies themselves were a cinch to make and I use this recipe all the time....yummy!  The decorating on the other hand......

Let me remind you before you read these directions and look at my pics that this stuff relaxes me or I would never have put so much work into them.  If you enjoy it as much as I do, then give it a go and have a ball!  These were a three day project.

Day One:  We are the Marshall Tigers so I thought it would be cute to make paw prints on the cookies.  Since I can't draw worth anything, I used clip art and placed wax paper over the top.  Using melted chocolate bark, I traced the paw prints with a squeeze bottle and filled them with thinned royal icing I tinted orange.  These have to sit for at least 48 hours for the royal icing to completely harden so you can carefully peel them off.  Make extra because you will lose some to breakage!

Day Two:  Mix up your sugar cookies and let the dough get really firm overnight in the fridge.  

Day Three:  Bake your cookies and decorate.  I used the flooding method to frost these.  I used royal icing in a decorating bag with a #4 tip and traced along the outside of the cookie.  Once that had hardened, I filled a squeeze bottle with thinned royal icing and flooded the inside of the circle.  Don't completely fill in with the bottle.  Allow it to settle and level itself.  I used a toothpick to help move it around and fill in the empty spots as well.  I placed the paw prints on top when they were still wet and allowed the cookies to dry for about 4- 5 hours before I boxed them up for the schools.

Since I was short on paw prints I just drizzled my three colors over the tops of my extra cookies.  Next time I use this method, I will start with the darker colors and work to lighter

Debbie's Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies (makes 3 dozen)
1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 C sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder

1.  Beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.   Beat in the sugar, then the egg until well combined then add flavorings.  Add flour and baking powder to the bowl.  Slowly combine until flour is mixed in, then mix well.
2.  Wrap the dough completely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least two hours.  I like to chill it overnight.
3.  Divide the dough into smaller portions and roll out one portion 1/4 " thick.  Keep other portions in the fridge until ready to work with it.  Cut rolled dough into desired shape and bake on a parchment lined sheet for 8 minutes at 375 degrees.  Allow them to cool on the pan for about five minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.  Frost when completely cooled.

Royal Icing (makes 3 cups)
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tb meringue powder 
6 Tb water

1.  Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Keep tightly covered because icing dries quickly.  Can be kept in the fridge for a week.
2.  To thin icing for flooding, add one teaspoon of water at a time to icing until it is as thick as pancake syrup.