Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies.......She looks well to the ways of her household. Proverbs 31:10-27
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Family Favorites...Stuffed Chicken Thighs

I have to thank Esther Heithoff, Carroll, Iowa for contributing this recipe to “Holiday Delights 1992."
It is easier to make that I thought it would be, and more delicious.
The thighs boned easily with a small, sharp ‘Granny’ knife, and the amount of dressing was just right.  I used my muffin scoop, a size 24, to portion the dressing onto the thighs, and used my turkey skewers to close the thighs to hold in the dressing.  I used some leftover 3 grain dinner rolls and made them into crumbs in my food processor.  Do use the sherry if you have it, it added a lot to the bacon-flavored dressing.  The original recipe calls for 2 thighs per person, we think one was plenty.  I’ve made this several times now; a rack in a shallow pan is a good idea, as the skin drips fat into the pan.
Remember, this should be assembled just before baking; to prevent bacteria build-up.
What I especially liked about this recipe is that it bakes almost an hour, and you have plenty of time to prepare the rest of your meal.
                                Stuffed Chicken Thighs
     1/2 Cup  Celery -- finely chopped
     1/2 Cup  Onion -- finely chopped
  3        Tablespoons  Bacon Drippings
  2        Tablespoons  Dry Sherry
     1/4 Teaspoon  Poultry Seasoning
  2        Cups  Soft Bread Crumbs
  3        Slices  Bacon -- cooked and crumbled
  8        Each  Chicken Thighs -- boned, with skin
     1/2 Teaspoon  Garlic Salt

Cook bacon.  Sauté celery and onion in 2 tbsp. of the bacon drippings, until soft, about 4 minutes; remove from heat.  Add sherry, poultry seasoning and 1/4 tsp. pepper; mix well.  Add bread crumbs and bacon; mix well.
Place chicken thighs, skin side down, on flat surface.  Spread each thigh with 2 tbsp. of the bread mixture; roll up and fasten with wooden picks.
Place thighs, seam side down, in a single layer in a shallow baking dish.  (I think a shallow pan with a rack is a good idea).  Brush lightly with remaining 1 tbsp. of bacon drippings; sprinkle with garlic salt and remaining pepper.
Bake in preheated 450° oven, 7 minutes.  Reduce oven to 350° and bake 45 minutes longer.
Preparation time:  1 1/2 hours.
Serves 4-6
Per Serving: 196 Calories; 13g Fat (62.8% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 14mg Cholesterol; 521mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Make it Yourself...Hand Pie Fillings

This is an excellent filling for hand pies. The filling is cooked and chilled before using in the pies, which works very well because the small pies bake for just enough time to brown and bake the crust. Raw fillings don’t get done in that length of time.

  If using the filling with the hand pies from Midwest Living there will be some filling left over. Spooned over ice cream is a good way to use it up or spooned on plain cake with a little whipped cream or ice cream.
Chose one of the summer fruits for your filling. Each recipe makes a bit more than enough for a full batch of hands pies. 
Fruit Fillings
3 cups pitted fresh or thawed frozen unsweetened tart cherries (with their juices)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice

3 ½ cups blueberries
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon (optional)

Peach or Plum
3 ½ cups peeled, pitted and chopped peaches or plums (1 ½ pounds)
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

For all fillings
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients listed under the fruit you chose and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Set filling aside to cool or cover and chill about 2 hours or overnight.

Make it Yourself...Butter Pie Crusts

 There is another popular pie crust that is all butter. Sue and I make them on occasion, Sue does more than I do. They are easy to handle, the most you have to do is keep the dough chilled. It needs to be cold, but still easy to roll out. If it seems to be getting too warm, simply put back in the refrigerator to chill again. 
  Almost all of the recipes will call for you to cut the butter in using your hands. I have done this, but find that I can use the processor if I do not over pulse it. It should just come together and than gather it up into a disc and refrigerate it till cold. Either way, this will give you a nice flavored crust. Do not use margarine in place of the butter. You want the butter flavor or else I would just use a pie crust with lard or shortening.
  I prefer a crust with part butter and part shortening as the shortening will give you a flakey crust. The Barefoot Contessa and My Fanny Farmer Baking Book both do it this way. Here are two recipes for a butter crust one with shortening added and one with all butter. 
Sue likes this Land O Lakes recipe.
Land O Lakes Butter Pie Crust for 2 Crust Pie
2  Cups  Flour, All-purpose -- sifted
1/4  Teaspoon  Salt
2/3  Cup  Butter -- Cold
4 to 5 tablespoons Ice Water
Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in enough water with the form just until the flour is moistened.  Shape into a ball and flatten slightly.
Refrigerate, well wrapped, for an hour before rolling out.
Makes crust for 1 (8-9" double crust pie), 2 (8-9" pie shells), 8 (4" tart shells), 1 (9" or 10" lattice top pie)
For apple pie, add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg to flour.

BareFoot Contessa

Butter and Shortening Pie Crust
For 9 to 11 inch pan
12 Tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cold butter
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup cold shortening
½ cup ice water 
 Dice the butter in small pieces and return to refrigerator. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor with steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the very cold butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Add slowly as you might not need all the water. When the dough starts to form a ball dump out onto a floured board and roll into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
Cut dough in half, refrigerate the half you are not using so it stays cold. Roll each piece on a well-floured board turning and flouring the dough so it doesn’t stick. Fold the dough in half and ease into pan. Finish for what ever pie you are making. If you do not need the top crust, freeze it well wrapped for another time.
*You can store the prepared pie crust in the refrigerator for up to a day.

*Chilling the flour before making will help keep this cold also. Just put your flour in to chill the night before you are ready to use it.
*I keep my Crisco, the only shortening I will use in the refrigerator all the time. I find the cold shortening will make a flakier crust.

Make it Yourself...Hand Pies Crust Recipe

The recipe for hand pies in the August issue of Midwest Living is a very easy handling dough. It is necessary to chill the dough so do not skip this step. Any butter crust must be chilled and this handled so well when it was chilled over night.
The crust is tender and flakey and well worth the time involved. Try making the crust and filling one day and rolling out and baking the pies the next. Excellent pie crust and the blueberry filling, which is what I used, is also excellent. 
Fruit Hand Pies
PREP 30 minutes  FREEZE 30 minutes  CHILL 45 minutes  BAKE 16 minutes
½ cup butter cut into ½ inch pats
½ cup shortening, cut into ½ inch pats
½ cup sour cream
2 egg yolks lightly beaten
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg lightly beaten - 1 tablespoon water - 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
  Place butter and shortening on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and freeze for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, egg yolks and lemon juice; chill.
  In food processor with blade attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add butter and shortening. Pulse until butter bits are pea-size. Drop spoonfuls of the sour cream mixture over the flour mixture. Pulse until the pastry comes together but is still crumbly with visible butter bits. 
(Or cut in the butter and shortening by hand. Stir in sour cream mixture with a fork). 
Gently knead the dough into a ball using floured hands. Divide dough into four portions, pat each into a 4-inch square and wrap in plastic wrap; chill 45 minutes or overnight.
  When pastry is ready, combine egg and water in a small bowl for egg wash. On a lightly floured surface roll a dough portion to ⅛ inch thickness (hand pies need to be thicker than regular pie to hold in your hand). Keep remaining dough in refrigerator. Cut 4 4-inch circles using a 4 inch cookie cutter. For round pies, place 2 pastry circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoon of fruit filling onto center of each circle, leaving a ¾ inch border. Brush borders with egg wash. Prick remaining two circles a few times with a fork or cut a small shape out in the center. Place circles over filled circles, crimp edges to seal. For half moon shapes, fold circle over with one tablespoon of filling. Brush border with egg wash and crimp to seal and prick top with fork. 
  Repeat with remaining dough to make a total of eight round or 16 half moon pies. Scraps make be rerolled to make a few more pies. Brush pies with remaining egg wash; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake in a 375° oven for 16 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

Pork Chops Marsala

  The butcher at our local Fareway store picked out 3 center cut, bone in pork chops for me. I have quit fixing them, as we think they are tasteless and dry, but this recipe looked good, and the chops had some fat on them which helps with the taste.
  I did find that using the cooking time in the recipe worked well and they were very good. I will try making them again. I had fresh thyme from my pot of thyme, but you could use dried thyme also.
  The recipe is not from a cookbook, but rather from MyRecipes.com. I made a few simple changes, just to suit our families taste, but stayed fairly true to the recipe.
  I used Dry Sherry instead of Marsala wine as I always have that on hand. Also used regular sweet onion and fresh garlic instead of the bottled which I don’t use. Feel free to use either or change the recipe to suit your families taste. I don’t use cooking spray as I feel it leaves a aftertaste and a sticky residue in my pans, so used a very small amount of salad oil. Also floured the chops with Bisquick GF all purpose mix. I am going to give you the recipe with the changes I did, and hope you will like it as well as we did.
Pork Chops Marsala
Yield: 4 servings (1 pork chops and ½ cup sauce
6 tablespoons GF free baking mix divided
Small amount of salad oil
1 garlic clove minced
¼ cup minced onion
1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup chicken broth or stock
¼ cup dry sherry or Marsala wine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
  Heat a large non stick skillet over medium hot heat. Flour the chops with ¼ cup of the baking mix. Add oil to pan and brown the chops 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to pan; saute 3 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of the baking mix and thyme to pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. 
  Combine the chicken broth and sherry. Gradually add broth mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk bring to a boil, Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Return pork chops to pan, cook 2 minutes turning to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Nutritional Info: Calories; 242 Protein; 27g  Carbohydrate; 15.4g  Fiber; 1.1g Cholesterol; 67mg  Sodium 299mg  Calcium; 44mg

Christmas Cookies

Our mom was a prodigious baker – and she didn’t even know how to cook when she got married! For the holidays, she steadily filled big metal Old Dutch potato chip cans with cookies of all kinds, baking while we were in school, so we wouldn't eat them before she got them stashed away, and we kids were supposed to keep out of them until she needed them for entertaining, to take with us to dinners and coffee times, and to share at Ladies’ Aid meetings, for school and Sunday school parties and the like.  No separate freezers then, for storing the extras, as we do today.

The cookies we could eat, with permission, were kept in this Owl cookie jar, which was given as a Jewel Tea promotion in the forties. It matched her Forties kitchen, white cabinets with red and black linoleum floors and countertops, and white appliances.  I used to think that she might have painted the trim on the owl, until we found them, although infrequently, at yard sales and flea markets, painted the same way.
We hope you’ll bake a few cookies and make some memories for your family.

Family Favorites...Sock It To Me Cake

  This cake from the Duncan Hines Holiday Spectacular cook booklet is more of a coffee cake than a frosting type cake. I have not tried doing so, but I think it would work well as cupcakes. It uses a tube pan and will not rise a lot as a cake would. The thin glaze on top adds just a little extra to the flavor and finishes it off.     
  When I was working, this cake was a favorite of my fellow employees. Easy to make and another of those quick to fix recipes. Baking with a cake mix as the start will usually lead to a quick and easy recipe. 
Sock It To Me Cake
 Streusel Filling
2 tablespoons of your Golden or yellow cake mix 
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped nuts
4 eggs 
1 cup dairy sour cream
⅓ cup salad oil
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 cup confectioners sugar - 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (if you add a flavoring cut back on the liquid
  Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour 10 inch tube pan
For streusel filling, combine the 2 tablespoons of cake mix, brown sugar, cinnamon and the one cup of chopped nuts. Set aside.
  For cake, combine remaining cake mix, eggs, cour cream, oil, water and granulated sugar in large bow. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour two thirds of batter into pan. Sprinkle with streusel filling. (There is quite a bit of the filling so I would save a little more of the cake batter to put on top). Spoon remaining cake batter over the filling. Bake at 375° for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 25 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.
  For glaze, combine the confectioners sugar and milk in small bowl. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

  With four pork chops in the freezer and cold outside the choice for supper tonight was easy. I had been wanting to try the recipe for the chops with mushroom gravy from the Taste of Home Holiday Recipe Card Collection since I bought the magazine in 2002. 
  In the older recipes the times for pork are not accurate with today’s newer, leaner pork. A half hour in the oven was enough to bring it to the desired temperature of 145°.
  I used the recipe as printed but will make some changes the next time. First, I will do it on the stove top. Saute the pork chops 7 minutes on each side. Keep them warm, while you make the milk gravy. Also fresh mushrooms would be good.
  This was good cooked this way though, and both Lyle and Bettie are fans of milk gravy so that worked for us. I did cut the recipe in half for 4 pork chops. They were boneless inch thick chops. I will post the ½ recipe. Just double for 6 to 8 chops.
Chops with Mushroom Gravy
¼ cup all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
4 boneless loin pork chops, 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons butter
½ medium onion chopped
¼ cup of green pepper chopped
1 small can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
  In a plastic resealable bag, combine the flour and seasoning, save the flour. Add pork chops and toss to season. Brown the chops in the butter until golden brown. Set aside and saute the onion and pepper and mushrooms till the onion is soft. Stir in the reserved flour and slowly add the milk. Cook and stir until thickened. Off of the heat stir in the lemon juice. (I would not do this again as I felt it curdled the milk gravy. Instead add it just before you are ready to serve.) If you have used an oven proof saute pan return the chops to the pan, or place in a greased baking dish and place in a 350° for half hour or until the chops reach 140 to 145° with a meat thermometer. Remove chops, stir in the lemon juice and serve with mashed potatoes.