Cast Iron Chicken Piccata

Isn’t this time of year so awesome when we sit and go through old magazines because well, its just one of those things that Fall gets us in the mood to do. Look through recipes to see what we want to make for friends/family. This is one of those foods that I tend to order quite a lot when we are out eating Italian. When I saw this it showed me how easy it is to make and now I don’t need to wait until I am at Vito’s or Maggianos to have chicken piccata.

Taken from Southern Living magazine April 2016 (yes, I tend to hoard my SL magazines and don’t throw them away until Mr. We Don’t Have Room For ALL These Magazines, makes me get rid of them)

4 (5-6 oz) chicken cutlets
1/2 cup (2 oz) flour
1 1/2 teas kosher salt
1/4 teas black pepper
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
6 tables salted butter, divided
2 tables olive oil, divided
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tables brined capers, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Hot cooked pasta

Place each chicken cutlet between two sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4″ thickness, using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet. Stir together flour, salt and pepper. Dip each cutlet in egg white and dredge in flour mixture.
Melt 2 tables butter with 1 tables olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 cutlets, and cook until golden brown, 2-3 min on each side. Transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet clean and repeat process with 2 tables butter and 1 tables olive oil and remaining 2 cutlets. Discard drippings; but do not wipe skillet clean.
Add broth, lemon juice and capers to skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally for 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve over pasta.

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

We are so excited to have friends coming in from California who have become like family. When we began to plan when they could come, I immediately knew what we would be having for dinner their first night here….chicken fried steak! So after deciding on the main course, and knowing the only things you MUST have with the steak is mashed potatoes, black eyed peas/green beans, we didn’t spend too much time on the side dishes. Looking through different recipes, I remembered that not only is German Chocolate cake is Randy’s favorite cake, it is also one of theirs. So I decided to make one. This one is a little different from the original. Because the homemade cake is so light, it doesn’t hold up well to what I wanted to do, so I used the Betty Crocker, pudding included German Chocolate cake mix and made it in a glass pyrex 9×13. When it was baked and still warm, I poked holes with the handle of a large wooden spoon so the homemade German Chocolate frosting could seep into the cake. This gives the cake such a gooey-gooey texture and allows for the coconut-pecan mixture to ooze through out the entire cake. Then, of course to cover up the holes, what does one do? Well, one makes homemake chocolate frosting to drizzle over the top of that. And to top it off, we will have a side dish of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, sitting ever so lovely beside it.

Directions:

Bake a Betty Crocker German Chocolate Cake according to instructions on box. While cake is still warm, poke homes and pour the homemade frosting over the top. Then drizzle the chocolate over entire cake.

Frosting:

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1 cup evaporated milk (not Eagle Brand)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/3 cup coconut flakes
1 teas vanilla
1 cup crushed pecans

In a medium size saucepan, combine the butter, egg yolks, milk and brown sugar. Stir continually until mixture is beginning to thicken. (about 7-9 minutes).
Remove from heat and add the vanilla, coconut and pecans. Stir until mixture has thickened a little more and then pour over the baked cake.

Chocolate drizzle:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tables white Karo syrup
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk or half & half
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teas vanilla

Melt butter, cocoa, syrup together in microwave bowl. When butter is melted, stir until cocoa is dissolved in the butter. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, stirring until lumps are gone and it is well combined. Add the vanilla.
Drizzle over the cake. If chocolate mixture is a little thick, you can thin with a little extra milk and/or place in microwave for about 15 seconds to get it easy to drizzle over the cake.

Rebuilding Our Home

Today I was searching through FaceBook to see if there were any good recipes when I came across this poem by Jodi Dupree. Yes, I am her mom and yes, I could not be more proud to be her mom, but when I read this, I cried. Jodi has a blog titled To Dance With You, which is a blog of poetry. But this poem, this poem, has a special meaning to anyone who has ever tried to build a home on anything but God. He is our Solid Rock and the foundation of any relationship that is built on anything else lacks the peace and fulfillment of what God intended to give us. As you read this blog, may your eyes be turned to the One who can give us that foundation. He is the perfect Carpenter….
Asa 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”

I saw gaping holes in the walls of my home.
Where wind and water came through
The wind would howl, the curtains blow,
Yet there was nothing I could do.
My hands were not skilled for this

The damages beyond my scope
If left to fix this on my own
I’d have no reason to hope
Still, I worked day and night

Patching where I could
Eliciting help from others
From anyone who would
But the storms kept coming

Faster than the repairs were made
Ready to give up
I called it a day
Then my Father showed up

Ah, yes, the Carpenter
He said, “move aside dear,
I’ll take it from here.”
His hands began working

With such skill and ease
I knew He was the expert
Of whom we had need.
He first revealed the patches
That were causing the harm

He saw the break in the foundation
And faulty wiring in our alarm.
Yes, this job was way too big for me

His expertise far surpassed my own
And here He was now helping us
and would not stop till He rebuilt our home.

Fettuccine Alfredo With Asparagus

This has been such a great week. Not only did I find a great new series on Netflix called The Paradise about a turn of the century shopping store, we have had so much rain. Rain always makes me want to live in the kitchen because of the coolness in the air and the black clouds which (apparently I must be half witch because I love dark clouds and rain) always brings out my baking mood. Because we are going to the evening church service instead of our normal “get up and git to church” routine, we were able to make taquitos for breakfast and homemade cinnamon rolls, which just came out of the oven. We have a friend going with us to church and back here for dinner tonight, so of course, there is now a pork roast in the crockpot.

Sundays are the perfect day for baking, before or after going to worship. When I saw this recipe in an old Southern Living magazine, I realized that the only thing that needed to be purchased before making it was the asparagus. So this will be our new recipe for this week. I’m trying to decide if I will post the recipe for the cinnamon rolls and the pork roast. If I can stay out of the kitchen long enough to blog, I will post pictures of the rolls and the roast and will probably post the recipes. In the meantime, as you begin to think and plan this weeks menu, put this recipe on your list. You will be glad you did.

8 oz uncooked fettuccine
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
3/4 teas kosher salt, divided
1/2 teas ground black pepper, divided
1 teas lemon zest
2 teas fresh lemon juice
1 tables butter
1 tables vodka or water
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup milk (I use half & half)
6 tables grated Parmesan cheese
1 tables chopped fresh chives

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a large bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat. Add asparagus,1/4 teas salt and 1/4 teas of the pepper. Sauce until tender crips, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lemon zest and juice; toss. Keep warm.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add vodka (or water) and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add team cheese, stirring until smooth. Stir in milk, Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/2 teas salt and 1/4 teas pepper. Stir in reserved cooking water pasta and asparagus. Toss. Sprinkle with chives

Italian Meatball Munchies

Last night we had spaghetti & meatballs for some friends. Since we had some sauce and meatballs left over, I decided to use them in a new way this evening. Using slices of baguette, we sliced a couple of the meatballs and made our own little munchies. As we were eating them, it dawned on me how great these would be for a party appetizer. Perfect little snack when you are wanting a light meal, but want something with lots of flavor. *recipe for spaghetti & meatballs are on blog

1 baguette, sliced thin

Left over spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
meatballs, sliced thin

Olive oil
butter
garlic powder

Use as many baguette slices as you need. Using equal amounts of butter and olive oil, melt together and add garlic powder to taste. Using a pastry brush, spread the garlic-olive oil-butter mixture onto one side of each bread slice. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and place in oven and broil until slices are lightly toasted.
Remove from oven and turn slices over. Spoon some of the sauce onto each slice and then place a slice of meatball on each piece. Sprinkle cheese over the top and place back in oven and broil until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Serve immediately.

Kentucky Blessings Cake

Happy Fall Y’all! Temperatures are falling, as they know they should since it is officially Fall and the oven is on. The new owners who bought our home are coming for coffee/dessert this afternoon. When I was trying to decide what to bake for them, this cake came to mind. It was posted last year on the blog and the real name is Kentucky Butter Cake (so that is what you would put in the search bar) but seeing how God has answered so many of our prayers regarding this move and His provision, today it is being called Kentucky Blessing Cake as we celebrate the blessings of this season which have come to us by our Loving Heavenly Father. Of course, we all know that our lives have seasons when we don’t feel like our prayers are going beyond the walls of our homes. There are days, sometimes, months, maybe even years when we feel like God has turned His back on us. It is during those times when we have to trust His heart when we are not seeing His Hand. We just have seasons when He is trying to grow us spiritually and show us that He is always there, no matter if we feel His presence or not. But when it is a season of blessing and seeing prayers answered, should we not give Him the glory and thanks? His Word tells us in Psalm 103:1-5 “Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, I tell myself; and never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”

As we should always be so grateful for the seasons of blessings, may we never forget to thank Him for all He has done and continues to do to bring us closer to Him as He gives us good things to show His love toward us.

Sometime this Fall, look up Kentucky Butter Cake (it is a one bowl easy and quick recipe), bake it, and as you serve it, use it to tell your family/friends that you are serving them a Kentucky Blessing Cake and be ready to share God’s Love with them! Bake and use it for His glory.

Desert Dreams

We have lived in Arizona for a little over 2 years, moving here from Texas. We arrived here thinking that we were where we would live out the rest of our days, hoping that those days would certainly turn into many years. It has been a time of growth, both spiritually and emotionally. We have fallen in love with the beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the people who have befriended us in this short time.

While we were here, it became evident that we had moved here thinking that we would just stay here since one of our daughter’s and her family were here and could help us as we grew older. It was with this mindset that both of us realized that we weren’t ready to “get old” yet. We missed the adventure that we were use to living. We have been so fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit with Randy’s job the past 20 years and have seen so many different places that we began to dream again, once again, about hitting the open road.

When we truly sat down one day to talk this out, we realized that we weren’t ready to just sit here and live with a certain routine. We have never had the opportunity to live by our daughter which lives in Florida. We had always dreamed about staying in Italy for a while and live like a local. Being our age, we have been very blessed with great health and decided to live our dream. We put our house on the market and it sold in 6 days. A sweet friend has given us use of her condo in Florida for a couple of months and we are thrilled to be able to begin planning our trip to Italy.

We began with these plans by asking the Lord to guide us and to either open or shut the door of this opportunity. We have gone ahead of Him before (doing our will, not His) and do not want to do that again. We don’t want to make our plans and ask Him to bless them, but to give Him our desires and then surrender our will to His. We aren’t saying that there might not be bends in the road, or maybe He will shut the door on us going to Italy. We don’t know but we do know that we can always trust Him for his faithfulness and goodness. He does know the desires of our hearts so He will either bless those or show us some other plan that is best. Either way, we are fine. Some of the lessons we feel that we were to learn during our time here are very simple in words, but so hard to actually live.
Be content with where you are and with what you have.
Leaving behind people and memories which have greatly impacted our lives have been hard to adjust to. I remember hearing a lady back in Dallas whose husband had been transferred many many times was once ask which place that she had lived was her favorite. Her response every time was this: “the place where we are now”. Those words have stayed with me and have played an important part of this season. We can always find negatives anywhere we go, but the challenge is to find as many positives and dwell on those. It has taken me a couple of years here to truly do just that. I’m not proud of that, but that is reality. We have found a group of people who we truly love and enjoy “doing life” with. We have found our new normal of not always being on the go and being so involved with activities that we barely had time to breathe. But in the process, we found that we do miss some of the life that we left behind. We do not know where we will settle after Italy, but our prayer is that God will let us finish strong and fulfill our purpose, wherever and whatever that may be.

Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way,but the Lord establishes his steps” We know that to be true.

When we signed the contract last week for this house, we still had so many concerns such as where will we go for the months of Nov and December? Will we have to move to an apartment for a couple of months? The Lord took care of that also. The new owners were thrilled to have us rent back from them until December 31st. That took a huge concern from us. We don’t pretend to know exactly what the next few months hold for us. We understand that things could arise that are not expected, or our plans to go to Italy might or might not come to fruition. As I read this devotion this morning by Elizabeth Elliot, it says so beautifully what I am trying to say.

FAITH IS HOLDING OUT YOUR HAND

“SOMETIMES WHEN I WAS A CHILD, MY MOTHER OR FATHER WOULD SAY, “SHUT YOUR EYES AND HOLD OUT YOUR HAND.” THAT WAS THE PROMISE OF SOME LOVELY SURPRISE. I TRUSTED THEM. SO I SHUT MY EYES AND IMMEDIATELY HELD OUT MY HAND. WHATEVER THEY WERE GOING TO GIVE ME I WAS READY TO TAKE. SO IT SHOULD BE IN OUR TRUST OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. FAITH IS THE WILLINGNESS TO RECEIVE WHATEVER HE WANTS TO GIVE, OR THE WILLINGNESS NOT TO HAVE WHAT HE DOES NOT WANT TO GIVE.
FROM THE GREATEST OF ALL GIFTS, SALVATION IN CHRIST, TO THE MATERIAL BLESSINGS OF ANY ORDINARY DAY (HOT WATER, A PAIR OF LEGS THAT WORK, A CUP OF COFFEE, A JOB TO DO AND STRENGTH TO DO IT), EVERY GOOD GIFT COMES DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHTS. EVERY ONE OF THEM IS TO BE RECEIVED GLADLY AND LIKE GIFTS PEOPLE GIVE US, WITH THANKS.
SOMETIMES WE WANT THINGS WE WERE NOT MEANT TO HAVE. BECAUSE HE LOVES US, THE FATHER SAYS NO. FAITH TRUSTS THAT “NO”. FAITH IS WILLING NOT TO HAVE WHAT GOD IS NOT WILLING TO GIVE. FURTHERMORE, FAITH DOES NOT INSIST UPON AN EXPLANATION. IT IS ENOUGH TO KNOW HIS PROMISE TO GIVE WHAT IS GOOD-HE KNOWS SO MUCH MORE ABOUT THAN WE DO.”

TAKEN FROM A LAMP FOR MY FEET…ELIZABETH ELLIOT

Hebrews 11:8 “it was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.”

Following God is always an adventure! sometimes not easy, but ultimately grows our faith and dependence on Him. Thanks be to God for His goodness and blessings.

Stuffed Like a Squash?

Legally it is Fall. That means that I can crave cornbread dressing from this point on without the guilt. In summer, I feel so guilty telling people that I just have to have some dressing, when everyone is walking around with an ice cream cone in their hands or nibbling on crisp lettuce. But now….now, I can stand up and announce, “hi, my name is Trudy and I am a dressingaholic”. I think I could eat it every other day, in-between the hamburgers and pizza that I crave.
This morning after making sugar cookies while stuffing movie bags with Hersheys Chocolate bars and M&M’s to take to the movies with 8 of our closet friends this evening, dressing would not leave my mind. So luckily I had a zucchini still in the fridge. AND…a box of Stove Top Cornbread Dressing. I never use it during the holidays, (as nothing can take the place of homemade dressing)just when I am binge dressing eating during the summer or pre holiday. It satisfies my craving for dressing and makes an excellent side dish to go with the chicken fried steak we are having for lunch. Normally, this would be a meal for dinner, but since we will be gone watching “God Bless the Open Road tonight, our dinner will consist of popcorn, cookies and candy.
Yep, gotta have a good healthy meal before eating all the junk. So broccoli with butter and cheese, stuffed zucchini with the dressing with chicken fried steak and gravy. Then we don’t have to feel guilty for all the junk food we will consume tonight. Nothing says healthy eating like chicken fried steak and gravy!

1 large zucchini, washed, cut in half horizontally
1 box of Stove Top Cornbread Dressing (made according to directions on side of box, except that i added about a teas of sage to the boiling water before adding the dry dressing. I was going to tell you to place the leftover dressing that you don’t use in a ziplock bag and pace in freezer for stuffing mushrooms or a chicken breast or more squash, That was my plan until I stood at the stove and “snacked” on the leftover dressing. Not too much to freeze for a later use now.

Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Scrape the middle of the squash out, either with a scoop or spoon, reserving or discarding. Be careful not to cut the outside of the squash, allowing it to be a “boat” for the dressing.
Using a pastry brush, apply a very thin coat of olive oil to the inside of the raw squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a large tablespoon, fill the zucchini with about a 1/2 cup of the prepared dressing to each half of the squash. Bake in preheated 400 oven until squash is tender. About 20 minutes. If dressing begins to dry out, cover with foil.

Brown Sugar Streusel Pumpkin Muffins

It is still 100 outside, but I cannot wait any longer to begin making pumpkin everything. So today I went looking for a new different recipe for some pumpkin bread and found this one. It sounded so good with the brown sugar streusel that I began to read her blog and knew that this one would be a winner. Since I’m making it for some ladies who I sit with on Tuesday mornings at church, what better way to study Genesis that with a pumpkin muffin? You would love the aroma that is coming out of our kitchen right now. You might just forget that it is hot outside for a few minutes when you smell the pumpkin, cinnamon and cloves drawing you in the door. Taken from the blog called, Friends.Food.Famiy

Streusel

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teas salt

Stir flour with both sugars and salt. Add cooled melted butter to mixture and stir until crumbly. Set aside

Pumpkin Bread

1 cup oil
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas nutmeg
1/4 teas cloves
1/4 teas ginger
1 teas salt
2 teas baking soda
3 1/2 cups flour
2 cups (15 oz can) of pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water (I used 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup coffee left over from this morning)

Preheat oven to 350. Place oil and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Using electric mixer, mix the oil with the sugars until well combined. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time to the pumpkin mixture.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, salt and baking soda.

Alternately add the flour and water (coffee) mixture to the pumpkin mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour into prepared (greased or liners) muffin tins, loaf pans or aluminum foil disposable pans. Divide the streusel topping among the cakes, sprinkling over the tops before baking.
Bake until cakes test done. Time will depend upon the size of container you are baking in.

*Taken from the blog Friends.Food.Family, November 2012

Chocolate Almond Pie

Several years ago, I posted this pie after making it and realizing that it would become a favorite of our family. My oldest son, Jason, isn’t much of a dessert person. He likes two things, Texas sheet cake and this almond pie. It is a great pie to make and keep in the freezer for when friends or family drop by. It is very simple but very rich. I made it last night for dinner with friends this evening. They have never tasted its before so will be fun to see their reaction.

Ingredients:
1 chocolate cookie pie shell
15 regular sized marshmallows
6 regular sized Hershey Bars with almonds
1 teas almond extract
2 & 1/2 cups whipping cream (divided)

In heavy saucepan, melt the candy bars with the 1/2 cup whipping cream and marshmallows until all are melted and combined. Add the almond extract and stir until mixed in. Set aside to cool for about an hour.

After mixture is cool, whip one cup of the whipping cream until stiff peaks form and hold well and then add the cooled chocolate mixture and stir in altogether. Pour into the chocolate crust. Let sit at least 4 hours or you can cover the pie with Press & Seal and freeze until ready to serve.

Before serving, allow pie to sit in fridge for at least 4-6 hours. (If pie has been frozen, this will allow it to thaw enough to serve)

Whip the remaining 1 cup of whipping cream with 1/3 cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Top the chocolate pie with whipping cream and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.