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
We're sisters who like to cook and bake, talk cooking and baking, and share recipes and kitchen wisdom.

Classic Rich Bread

I bake bread regularly, and this is an old recipe from the "Red Star Yeast Centennial Bread Sampler 1981" that I have been making probably since the book came out.  It makes a nice, golden, fine-grained sandwich loaf that’s perfect for toast.  It's really just a "good white bread".  
When you can get farm eggs, like we do from my husband’s brother and sister-in-law Don and Bonnie, this bread is even better.   The directions for mixing are mine, not the original recipe.  If you use regular dry yeast, rising times are longer.  
Classic Rich Bread
  5 1/2    Cups  Bread Flour
  3           Teaspoons  Instant Yeast
     1/2    cup  Sugar
  1           Teaspoon  Salt
  1           cup  Whole Milk
     1/2    Cup  Water
     1/2    cup  Butter
  2           Large  Eggs
Heat water to 120°-125° (I use my microwave).  Place flour (minus 1 cup), butter, sugar, salt, and yeast in mixer bowl.  Using paddle attachment, turn on mixer to slow and add water.   Let mix 2 minutes.  Change to dough hook, add remaining flour and knead 6 minutes or knead by hand 8 minutes.  Let rise in warm place in covered mixer bowl 20 minutes.  Shape into 2 loaves, about 1# 13 oz. each, let rise in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" pans until center of loaf rounds above the rim of the pan about 1 inch, while preheating oven to 375 °.  Bake 25-30 minutes.
2014 Cost: $1.81 for the recipe or 91¢ per loaf

Chicken Imperial

I love the photo index in the "Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook" – the recipe photo for this recipe caught my eye.  It’s beautiful, delicious and oh so tender.  I flatten my chicken breasts a little, and then the cooking time is about 10 minutes total.  This is a great dish for Sunday dinner.
                             Chicken Imperial
  8         Chicken Breast Halves -- boneless, skinless
     1/4   Cup  Flour, All-purpose -- for dredging
     1/2   Cup  Butter
  1         Pound  Mushrooms -- quartered
  1         Tablespoon  Onion -- minced
  1         Cup  Heavy Cream
     1/4   Cup  Dry Sherry
  1 1/2   Teaspoons  Salt
     1/8   Teaspoon  Pepper
  1         Tablespoon  Flour, All-purpose
  2         Tablespoons  Water
On waxed paper, coat chicken breasts with flour, shake off excess.  In 12 inch skillet over medium heat, in hot butter, cook chicken, a few pieces at a time, until lightly browned on all sides.  Set aside.
In drippings in skillet over medium heat, cook mushrooms and onion 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in cream, sherry, salt and pepper and stir to blend well.  Return chicken to skillet.
Reduce heat to low; cover skillet and simmer 10-15 minutes or until chicken is fork tender.  Remove to a warm platter and keep warm.
In a cup, blend 1 tablespoon flour with water.  Gradually add to pan liquid, stirring constantly.
To serve, spoon sauce over chicken.
8 Servings
Per Serving: 494 Calories; 36g Fat (67.1% calories from fat); 33g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 165mg Cholesterol; 623mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 4 1/2 Fat.

Flemish Carbonade

  This is a version of Flemish Carbonade.  Several years ago, our older sister Kay who lived most of her married life in Texas, gave me some Texas cookbooks. In one of them was a very simple version of Flemish Carbonade. While I am sure that American Test Kitchen has a different and more complicated version, this works quite well for us.
  Serve it with a lot of mashed potatoes or rice or noodles. I seem to do it more with the mashed potatoes. So here is my version of Inez’s Flemish Carbonade. Not fast, but easy to get together and will cook with out a lot of attention.
Inez’s Flemish Carbonade
1 pound of round steak (our butcher tenderized it)
3 medium onions sliced in rings
1 can or bottle dark beer
1 teaspoon butter
Salt and Pepper
Brown sugar to taste
  Cut round steak in 3 inch pieces. Brown in a small amount of oil. Remove the meat and add onions, stirring to brown. Remove and off of the heat, pour in the can of beer, stirring in the drippings from the pan. Add butter to beer mixture.
Put meat and onions in a casserole dish pour the beer mixture over. Add 1 or 2 bay leaves and a teaspoon dried thyme leaves. Cover and bake in a slow oven, 325° for 2 to 3 hours or until tender. About an hour before it is done, add a tablespoon or less of brown sugar. You want a sweet sour flavor.
  Served over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles, great cold weather food.

Sunday in Iowa

These barns and windmill are near Joetown, Iowa
Notice the barn quilt on the right

Family Favorites....Cherry-Streusel Muffins

I made these today as I had a jar of Maraschino Cherries to use. They are not regular muffins, but what I would call a coffee house muffin. More of a sweet treat. Very good however and quite easy to make. The cherries cut up well if you use a scissors instead of trying to chop them with a knife. Also be sure to put them on paper towels after they are chopped so they drain a little more. Too much liquid will spoil the recipe.
Cherry-Streusel Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped sliced almonds
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons firm butter
1 jar (10oz) maraschino cherries, drained ¼ cup juice reserved
1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
⅔ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
Heat oven to 400° F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups.
  In medium bowl, mix all topping ingredients, cut in the butter, using pastry blender, or two knives until crumbly. Set aside.
  Chop cherries; set aside on paper towel. (scissors work well.)
  In large bowl mix 1 ⅓ cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. In small bowl, beat oil, reserved cherry juice, almond and vanilla extracts and eggs with a fork until blended. Stir the liquids into the flour mixture just until flour is moistened. Fold in cherries and almonds. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle each with about 1 tablespoon of topping.
  Bake 19 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
Betty Crocker Soups and Breads

Cornmeal Biscuits

I've made regular biscuits for years, and my husband loves lard biscuits for their crisp crust and tender insides; but this is the first cornmeal biscuit recipe I've tried.  You’ll want to be sure you don’t get too much flour or they will be crumbly.  Measure by the stir, spoon lightly and level method if you don’t weigh.  My husband still thought lard would have made them better, and I may try that next time.  I don’t buy hydrogenated lard in the grocery, but from our local meat locker, for the real thing.  
These were delicious, and we used them for sausage gravy – a perfect match. 
Cornmeal Biscuits
     ½      Cup  Firm Butter
  1 ½      Cups  Flour, All-purpose (6 3/4 ounces)
     ½      Cup  Yellow Cornmeal (2 1/4 ounces)
  3          Teaspoons  Baking Powder
  2          Teaspoons  Sugar
     ½      Teaspoon  Salt
     ¾      Cup  Milk
              Yellow Cornmeal
Heat oven to 450°.  Cut butter into flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Stir in milk until dough leaves the sides of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky).  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.  Knead lightly 10 times.
Roll or pat dough 1/2" thick.  Cut with a floured 2 1/2" round cutter.  Place on ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet about 1" apart for crusty sides; touching for soft sides.  Sprinkle cornmeal lightly over biscuits.
Bake 12-14 minutes at 450° or until golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheet immediately.
12 Biscuits
  "Better Crocker Old-Fashioned Cookbook"
Per Serving: 91 Calories; 1g Fat (7.6% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 219mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); 0 Non-Fat Milk; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Bacon and Baked Potato Soup

Here’s real Midwestern comfort food…it’s often on restaurant menus around here.  This is actually easy to make, and we also tried microwaving our potatoes the second time and we honestly couldn’t tell the difference.  That really speeds up the dish.  We enjoyed ours with side salads and Cornmeal Batter Rolls.
 Bacon and Baked Potato Soup
  2            6-8 Ounce  Baking Potatoes
     1/2     Cup  Onion -- chopped
     1/4     Cup  Celery -- chopped
  3            Tablespoons  Butter
  3            Tablespoons  Flour, All-purpose
     1/2     Teaspoon  Dried Thyme -- crushed
     1/4     Teaspoon  Salt
     1/8     Teaspoon  Black Pepper
  4            Cups  Half and Half -- or whole milk
  1 1/4     Cups  American Cheese – shredded, divided
  1            Cup  Chicken Broth
  8            Slices  Bacon -- cooked and crumbled
  2            Tablespoons  Green Onion -- thinly sliced
     1/4     Cup  Sour Cream
Scrub potatoes; pat dry.  Prick with a fork.  Bake in a 425° oven for 40-60 minutes or until tender.  Cool.  Peel if desired.  Chop, set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, cook onion and celery in melted butter over medium heat about 5 minutes.  Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper.  Add half and half all at once.  Cook and stir for 5-6 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.  Add potatoes, 1 cup of cheese and the broth; stir until cheese melts.  Slightly mash potatoes with the back of a spoon.
For the topping reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon.  Stir remaining bacon and one tablespoon of the green onion into the soup.  Heat through.
To serve, top each serving with some of the reserved bacon, cheese, green onions and the sour cream.
6 Servings    Yield:  "6 Cups"
  "Midwest Living Comfort Food”

Angel Chicken

With Angel Hair Pasta
  Midwest Comfort Foods has some entrees that are good looking. Among them was this recipe for Chicken with Angel hair pasta.     Now, it calls for cooking in a slow cooker, but since I don’t own one, I did it in the oven. If you are going to use your slow cooker the time is 4 to 5 hours on low.
  Beside altering to using the oven, I ended up using less mushrooms than called for, mainly because we aren’t big mushroom eaters. I did have to add about ⅔ cups of the pasta water as it got too thick. Bettie was late for supper and it sat keeping warm too long,     I still would add more liquid I believe because we thought the sauce was quite thick and liked it better thinned out. If you save your hot pasta cooking liquid, you can thin it out to your own families preference.  The recipe suggests serving it on angel hair pasta or rice. I had a small amount of leftover rice so used it for mine.
Angel Chicken
4 chicken breasts or thighs (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoon oil to brown chicken with
16 ounces of various mushrooms sliced or quartered
⅛ cup butter (could easily be omitted)
With Rice
1 0.7 package dry Italian dressing mix
1 10 ¾ ounce can condensed Golden mushroom soup
½ cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
4 ounces (½ tub) cream cheese spread with chives and onion
Hot cooked rice or angel hair pasta
  In a large skillet, brown chicken on both sides. Remove chicken to a plate and saute mushrooms. In a medium saucepan; melt butter if using, stir in mushroom soup, white wine, cream cheese spread and Italian dressing mix. Stir until cheese is melted.
  Add chicken back to the pan with the mushrooms, pour the sauce around chicken and bake in 325° for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours. Chicken should read 165° on an instant read thermometer. Serve over the rice or pasta.
4 Servings: Per Serving: 602 cal., 25 g fat, 162 mg chol., 1.944 mg sodium, 41 g carbs,
2 g fiber, 47 g protein