Small Recipes...Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

My husband couldn’t be happier that the recipes I have been making lately for the blog have been “keepers”; and this is one of them.   This was delicious on a cooler day, and I had all of the ingredients on hand; in fact, I had some corn I needed to use from a recipe yesterday, and this recipe was so different, it wasn’t like a rerun at all. 
I buy frozen Southern Hash Brown Potatoes, which are cubed potatoes without any added fat, that work anywhere I would peel and use potatoes.  When I don’t have any potatoes on hand, these are my go-to; just shake out what I need from the bag and return to bag to the freezer for next time.  I used canned corn today, but frozen corn is just like the potatoes; just use what you need.  I always have home-canned chicken, but Myrna buys a rotisserie chicken, and freezes some of it in meal-size portions to use in recipes like this. 
This recipe from Taste of Home Down Home Cooking for 1 or 2" was just the right size, I didn’t change a thing.              
            Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder
  1            cup  chicken broth
     2/3     cup  potato -- cubed, peeled
     1/2     cup  frozen corn
     1/4      teaspoon  minced garlic
     1/8      teaspoon  dried marjoram
     1/8      teaspoon  dried thyme
     1/8      teaspoon  pepper
  2            tablespoons  all-purpose flour
     2/3     cup  milk
  2            ounces  Velveeta -- cubed
     2/3     cup  chicken breast -- cubed, cooked
In a large saucepan, combine the broth, potato, corn, garlic, marjoram, thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.
Combine flour and milk until smooth; gradually add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add the chicken; heat through.

Sunday in Iowa...

Pelicans and geese at Lake Red Rock Dam outflow   
Between Knoxville and Pella, Iowa   
There were many more birds floating in the Des Moines River directly below the dam on a chilly April day.  They were all facing the current and managing to stay in place; this is a popular place for bird watching and fishing

Small Recipes... Lemon Pudding for One

Half of the recipe, as I shared
       Today’s recipe was made for several reason’s. I like that it is for one person. I have tried several recipes from this cookbook (Betty Crocker’s Cooking for One) and have been pleased with the results. 
  • I had the ingredients on hand, Lemon juice in the freezer and the rest in my pantry. 
  • It is simple to make and while it needs to be chilled it can then be eaten the same day. Cornstarch puddings don’t hold up too well so it really will be best eaten the same day or the next. 
  • It is Gluten Free so those who are Celiac or Gluten Sensitive can eat this. I don’t think I would try any more than doubling it, but feel free to try.  
  • I did add about teaspoon of Lemon Extract from Pensey's Spice Company as I shared this with Sue who likes Lemon pie or pudding if it is tart. 
Lemon Pudding
½ cup sugar
1 slightly rounded tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup water
1 egg slightly beaten (Use fork in a small bowl)
1 Tablespoon
½ teaspoon lemon peel
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
Mix sugar and cornstarch in a 1 gt. saucepan: slowly stir in the ½ cup water. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute more.
Slowly stir about half of the hot mixture into the slightly beaten egg yolk. Then stir the egg mixture into the hot mixture left in the saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute till thickened. Keep in mind that you are going to be adding lemon juice so it will loosen up. 
Remove from heat, add butter and when it melts add the lemon juice. Refrigerate until chilled.

Baking with Yeast...Easy Snowflake Rolls like Grandma's

 Here are the snowflake rolls that we had regularly at our Grandmother’s house, especially in the summers, served with main dish salads and cold cuts (an old-fashioned word for Deli meats and cheeses) on Sunday evenings.  These are nice light rolls.
The best thing is that these are a refrigerator dough so you can shape them on the morning you want to bake them, but not have any mixing time or cleanup then.  
                   Easy Snowflake Rolls like Grandma's
  10         ounces  flour, all-purpose (2 cups)
     1/2    tablespoon  Instant Yeast
  2           Tablespoons  potato flakes
  7           Ounces  water -- 120°-125°
  2           Tablespoons  salad oil
  2           Tablespoons  sugar
     1/2    teaspoon  salt
  1. Heat water to 120°.  Add to dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Beat until combined.  Mix 4 minutes more on medium high.  Cover dough with saran wrap and chill at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.  **
  2. Stir down, cover and let rest 10 minutes.   Preheat oven to 400°. 
  3. Shape into 12 rolls in greased 9" round or 8" square pan.  
  4. (Arrange 8 rolls around the outside, 4 rolls in the middle) or make 9 rolls in an 8" square pan.
  5. Dust lightly with flour; a flour sifter or wire strainer works well.  Let rise 30 minutes in a warm place or until doubled.  Dust again with flour before right before baking.
  6.  Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Immediately lift buns from pan .  Serve warm.
**You can let rise the dough rise immediately for 30 minutes and then proceed with the recipe if you want to bake them the same day.
Or substitute 12 frozen rolls from a 3# bag.  Place in pan to let rise.  Decorate tops.  Let bake 25-30 minutes at 350°.

Small Recipes...Trout Baked in Cream

 Fish works well to fix for one or two people. I do get a little tired of it so I am always ready to try a different way to fix it. This recipe has a couple of things going for it. It is not breaded, the bread crumbs are sprinkled on top and the seasoning is quite good. 
 I really couldn’t tell that the cream made any difference but it came out well so will do it again. I would guess it helps hold the  bread crumbs on the fish. The recipe calls for trout but I just used a firm fish and that worked well.
 This recipe was in a Taste of Home cookbook, Contest Winners. I had not seen it before which is unusual for their cookbooks as they tend to repeat many recipes in many of their cookbooks. It is also available on their web site. Look for it by name.
Trout Baked In Cream
2 servings
3 fish filets ( about 3 ounces apiece)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon dill weed (about, adjust to the size of your fish)
¼ teaspoon salt
1/16 teaspoon pepper
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon seasoned bread crumbs (I used crumbs made from a slice of GF bread)
Place fish in a greased baking dish. 
Sprinkle with lemon juice, dill weed, salt and pepper. 

Pour cream over all. Bake, uncovered, ay 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Sunday in Iowa...


Restored Neon Sign in Smokey Row in Oskaloosa, Iowa

We were sharing coffeetime with our son in Smokey Row when he commented that he remembered us buying him a bike at White's Bike Shop when he was in grade school back in the 1970's.  He had to get a photo of this restored neon sign from that now defunct bike shop that's been installed above the Soda fountain in the popular coffee shop.

Saturday Thoughts...3 Pounds of Onions on Sale

 The grocery ad had nice yellow onions for 3 pounds for $1.88.  The regular price was $3.19.  How can I use up 3 pounds of onions when I’m only cooking for 2?  I freeze ‘em.
I have two methods of preserving those onions…freezing them raw or making caramelized onions and freezing those to use in recipes and garnishes.  Both methods have the big advantage of making the mess just once and being able to use the finished product for months.

Frozen fresh onions can be cooked from partially frozen…
they brown up perfectly just like you chopped them today, or add to soups, stews, etc.  I thaw and drain them for things like chicken salad sandwich filling.  I just break off what I need and return the rest to the freezer.  I can keep them up to a year in my not frost free big freezer.  
I got 8 baggies of frozen onions...about 2 3/4 pounds of chopped onions for 23 1/2¢ each bag.
I chop my onions by hand…French slicing them first and then chopping the slices…I get the size I like for most recipes, and I usually freeze some slices too, for stir fries, etc.  You can do this in the processor, but it really only takes a half hour or less to make and package the prepared onions.  I put one onion per bag, and then put the bags, flat, inside a gallon bag to help keep down odors in the freezer.  Fold the top down to the outside of the baggie and place it open in a measuring cup to make an easy way to fill the bag; a flexible plastic cutting board can make a good funnel, and can go in the dishwasher.  Try using plastic gloves...keep that onion smell off your hands!  My excellent knives are from Rada, an Iowa manufacturer.

We like caramelized onions…very handy to have in the freezer, ready to use. 
A crock pot is certainly the easiest way to prepare them, if you can stand all that delicious smell all day!  I froze mine in quart freezer bags, dividing them into two sections so I could easily remove half a bag if needed.  I use them to garnish vegetables, soups, meats, in hot sandwiches...delicious!                   
                  Caramelized Onions in the Slow Cooker
  3         pounds  yellow onions 
  3         tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter
     1/2   teaspoon  salt
  3      tablespoons sherry (or balsamic or red wine vinegar)
  4         quart  to 6-quart slow cooker (spritz with cooking spray or oil the sides and bottom of the crock)

Thinly slice all the onions: Peel and thinly slice all of the onions into half-moons. Transfer all the onions to the slow cooker - the slow cooker should be half to three-quarters full.
Toss onions with the olive oil: Drizzle the olive oil or melted butter and the salt, if using, over the top of the onions. Toss to evenly coat all the onions with a thin glaze of oil.
Cook for 10 hours on LOW: Cover the slow cooker and cook for 10 hours on LOW. If you're around while the onions are cooking, stir them occasionally - this will help them cook more evenly, but isn't strictly necessary.
After 5 hours, I poured 3 tablespoons of sherry over the onions, stirred them and continued cooking.
After 10 hours, the onions will be golden-brown and soft, and they will have released a lot of liquid. If you like them as they are now, stop cooking and pack them up.  If not, leave the lid ajar and continue cooking another hour or 2 for thicker onions.
Refrigerate or freeze the onions: Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and transfer them to refrigerator or freezer containers. If any liquid remains in the slow cooker, transfer the liquid to a separate container - this can be used as cooking broth in another recipe. Onions will keep in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for at least 3 months.
You can use your slow cooker function on your instant pot for this recipe as well.

Yeast Facts and History

History of Yeast
Yeast can be considered man’s oldest industrial microorganism. It’s likely that man used yeast before the development of a written language. Hieroglyphics suggest that the ancient Egyptian civilizations were using yeast and the process of fermentation to produce alcoholic beverages and to leaven bread over 5,000 years ago.
 Leaven, mentioned in the Bible, was a soft, dough-type medium kept from one bread baking session to another. A small portion of this dough was used to start or leaven each new lot of bread dough. What we call sourdough today.
Yeast Today
With the invention of the microscope, followed by the pioneering scientific work of Louis Pasteur in the late 1860’s, yeast was identified as a living organism and the agent responsible for alcoholic fermentation and dough leavening. The stage was set for commercial production of baker’s yeast that began around the turn of the 20th century.
 The Fleischmann brothers built a yeast plant in Cincinnati, Ohio,  Here they produced and patented a compressed yeast cake that revolutionized home and commercial baking in the United States. That cake type of yeast was what I grew up using. The yeasts of today are so much better! The cakes were touchy to activate and you could easily kill the yeast. They also took longer to activate. You can still buy them in some specialty shops but as they need to be refrigerated most chain markets don’t have it in stock. Amazon does carry it a pack of eight 2 ounce cakes for $50.25.
  Later, when America entered World War II, Fleischmann Laboratories developed and manufactured Active Dry Yeast®, specifically to ensure GIs could enjoy home-baked bread. Unlike their original compressed yeast cake, the new Fleischmann’s® Yeast did not require refrigeration and was activated quickly with warm water.
Sue loves the newer instant yeasts: instant, rapidmix and bread machine yeasts...they can be mixed right into the dry ingredients, don't need proofing, and have a good yeasty flavor too.