all sorts of recipes, from me to you

all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mom's Shrimp-stuffed Mushrooms

 


I have had my fair share of stuffed mushrooms and these are some of the best!  There is no party food quite like stuffed mushrooms.  Even those who aren’t mushroom aficionados are surprised how good they are when they try a stuffed mushroom cap at a party.  They are always a huge hit at parties and with the Super Bowl being a week from today, they would be just perfect. 

This is another of Mom’s great recipes.  Mushrooms were one of her favorite foods, right up there with strawberries and we were served mushrooms of different versions often.  These mushroom caps are stuffed with a heavenly mixture of shrimp and cheese, and then baked until they are a sizzling, golden color.  They are easy to make too!

Shrimp-stuffed Mushrooms are a great tasty morsel that would be perfect for almost any occasion.  OK, maybe not breakfast, but they would fill the bill at brunch, as an appetizer before a formal dinner or a cook-out in your back yard.  I bet you won’t be able to eat just one!



Shrimp-stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1½ tablespoon finely minced onion
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely chopped shrimp
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
3 tablespoons sherry, divided
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
Dash salt
12 large mushrooms
Small shrimp

Method:

Wipe mushrooms with paper towel and remove stems.
In medium skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender.
Remove from heat, stir in shrimp, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, crumbs, 2 tablespoons sherry, parsley and salt.
Stuff mushrooms caps with shrimp mixture.
Place on baking sheet.
Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sherry 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
Broil 5”–6” from heat source for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve hot, garnished with shrimp and parsley.
 

Just pop ‘em in your mouth and swoon!  Yum!


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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mom’s Scrambled Grits

Mom's recipe card
(I love her shorthand for "enough"!) 
 
You know how to tell a Yankee down South?  He’s the one at breakfast staring at the grits on his plate along side the bacon and eggs and trying not to gag.  Grits is considered standard fare down South and you get it whether you order it or not.  Northerners just don’t “get” grits.  It goes together with breakfast like peanut butter goes with jelly or cookies go with milk
I can eat them plain, with just a little butter and salt and pepper; however, there is a little more with this recipe.  This is Mom’s recipe for Scrambled Grits.  It’s very plain and simple, just another good “comfort food” dish! 


Mom’s Scrambled Grits

Ingredients:

2½ cups cold, cooked stone-ground grits*
2 eggs, beaten
Bacon drippings

Method:

Place grits in medium bowl, break into pieces with fork.
Gently stir in eggs.
Melt enough bacon drippings to cover bottom of skillet.
Spread grits mixture evenly in skillet.
Cook until brown on bottom and is consistency of scrambled eggs.
Place in a bowl and serve.



Yum! 



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Friday, January 29, 2010

Nippy Bourbon Smokies

 


It is winter and that means it’s almost time for the main event:  The Big Game!  It does not make any difference if you’re a die-hard football fan or just want to check out all the pricey commercials, food is the big attraction also.   With the Super Bowl parties being just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about some great appetizers to go with the big event. 

These bourbon smokies are sure to be as big a hit as the game itself.  When I take them to a party, they are one of the fastest going appetizers.  It is the combination of the brown sugar and bourbon that gives the smokies all the flavor.  Actually, you could make meatballs with the sauce and have the same results. 

The great thing is that they are quick and easy to make.  I add just a splash more of bourbon than is in the recipe and at the party; the aroma leads everyone right to the dish.  Serve them with colorful toothpicks and let the game begin! 

Nippy Bourbon Smokies

Ingredients:

1 large package of Little Smokies
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup catsup
½ cup bourbon whiskey
¼ cup onion, grated

Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, catsup, whiskey and onion.  Bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat to a simmer and add the Little Smokies.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until the smokies look plump and the sauce thickens.
Serve in a bowl with colorful toothpicks.

Delicious nippy appetizer!


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tangy Cube Steak



How about a satisfying, enticing entrée for your family’s dinner tonight?  Cube steaks are a great change of pace and the price is right for families in the present economy with sales of cube steak being up 10%, making it one of the hottest cuts of beef in the country right now. 

I just really love them and was happy when Mom cooked them as I was growing up; a fast good dinner.  Years later, I sautéed them in a little butter or olive oil, added some salt and pepper and dinner was ready. It is kind of like hamburger that is kicked up a notch.  But, the great news is that I have got a delightful amazing ingredient that will put some zing into your cube steak.  It will not be just any ordinary cube steak for you and your family!

Remember when I told you about the delicious Meijer’s Gold Garlic Parmesan Spread on January 18th?  There are close to 100 products in the Meijer Gold line and all of the products have a distinctive story to tell regarding origin, such as the cream pasta sauces that are sourced from legendary Chicago restaurateurs, the Mugnolo family.   The products are made with the finest ingredients at affordable prices and you should try them.  It’s a wonderful thing!

And, who doesn’t love Vidalia onions?  Meijer’s has done it perfectly:  they’ve combined red ripe tomatoes and select spices with Vidalia onions and came up with another tasty product, Meijer Gold Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce!  The exclusive sauce is created by their chef and a renowned, family-owned Texas company to add a tangy flavor to your steak, stews, gravies or sautés.  This is the amazingly delicious ingredient in my cube steaks.  The Meijer Gold Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce adds a zing to cube steak that will knock your socks off!  You will love it!  Please give it a try!


Tangy Cube Steak

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons, olive oil, divided
4 beef cube steaks (about 2 pounds total)
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
½ each, green and red bell peppers
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup water
½ cup red wine
1/3  cup Meijer Gold Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Method:

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Place cube steaks in skillet, sprinkle salt and pepper and sear until they have a nice crust on the outside, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Remove from skillet and set aside, keeping warm.
Add one tablespoon olive oil to skillet.
Sauté mushrooms for 4 minutes until they start to turn golden.
Place peppers, shallots, garlic and water in skillet, cook until tender and water has evaporated.
In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard, wine and Meijer Gold Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce.  Pour into skillet and mix well with other ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper.
Return cube steak to skillet with sauce.
Cook down until the liquid reduces by half, a minute or two.
Transfer cube steaks to a serving platter.
Spoon the sauce over the cube steak and serve with rice and a green salad.

Incredibly delicious and a dish you will love!!!



P. S. Just look at this hamburger and imagine the great taste!










Pam’s note:  Not only does the Meijer Gold Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce taste amazing on cube steak, it jazzes up hamburgers to the max!  Ummm!  Ummm!


Disclaimer:  This product was provided in a gift basket from Meijer Stores for my utilization.  Thanks again to Meijer’s!!!




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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Blueberry-Banana Muffins, the Low-Fat, Low-Sugar Way



Ummm, love freshly baked muffins and I am always on the quest for a great low-fat, low-sugar muffin.  These muffins are some of the best I’ve found.  They have less than 1 gram of fat and less than 9 grams of sugar with 20 grams of carbohydrates at 94 calories each.  Sometimes the healthier versions of baked goods are not as delicious and attractive as their sugary fat-filled, frosted or sugar streusel-topped relatives; however, that may not be true in this case. 

When you eat these blueberry-banana muffins, you may not even realize that they are low-fat.  The flavored yogurt adds greatly to the taste of them and I generally use Dannon Light and Fit with one of my favorite flavors being their Toasted Coconut Vanilla.  I think it would work great with this recipe.   

The muffins are even better the next day as the addition of the fruit makes them bake up very moist and light.  This is a great way to use up over-ripe bananas.  Make them with the combination of fruits that you like, chopped strawberries would work well also.  This recipe could be made even healthier by using whole wheat flour and as the fruit makes them quite sweet, you may not want to add as much Splenda.   

Dispensing with the paper liners and spraying with a no-stick cooking spray would make them not quite as moist and add a crispier edging to them, if that is to your liking.  If you want to bake more of these muffins at one time, do not double the recipe; make them in 2 separate batches.   For low-fat, low-sugar muffins, they pack a lot of flavor! 

Blueberry-Banana Muffins, the Low-Fat, Low-Sugar Way

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 ¼ cups mashed bananas
1/3 cup Splenda
¼ cup fat-free flavored yogurt or non-fat sour cream (I used blueberry yogurt)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Method:

Set oven at 350 degrees.
Spray 12 regular muffin cups with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
In a large bow, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and blueberries.
In another bowl, beat bananas, Splenda, yogurt, egg and vanilla until just blended.  Stir into the dry blueberry mixture until combined.
Divide the mixture into muffin tins.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Serve when cool.

They’re fruity good and easy to whip up!

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower




Whenever I ask Bill what vegetable he would like for dinner, I really know without asking what the answer will be ~ cauliflower!  He loves it and for that matter, I do also.

Have you ever tried roasting your cauliflower?  I generally steam it but, it makes perfect sense to roast it.  First of all, it’s easy.  Second, it is nutritionally good and not calorie laden.  Third, it is delicious; almost addictive.  This recipe is delectable with the rich, nutty flavor of the Parmesan complementing the cauliflower beautifully. 

Thanks to cooking the cauliflower in a very hot oven, the florets are not at all mushy.  But, before putting it in the oven, it is necessary to stir the ingredients thoroughly, covering the cauliflower with the olive oil and seasonings well. By slicing the florets before roasting, it creates more of a flat surface to aid them in caramelizing and turning a golden brown.  Simply delicious!



Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower 

Ingredients:

1 large head fresh cauliflower or frozen and thawed (about 6 cups)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly or minced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano suggested  

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse cauliflower, core and slice florets into bite-size pieces.
Dry the cauliflower well by patting it with paper towels. 
In a baking dish or on a cookie sheet, toss cauliflower florets thoroughly with all seasonings, except Parmesan cheese.
Spread in a single layer in a baking dish.
Bake cauliflower 25-45 minutes, turning every 10 minutes until cauliflower is browned on edges or caramelized and tender.  Fork tines should easily pierce the cauliflower. 
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; bake 1-2 minutes more.
Toss to mix and serve. 




Who knew that cauliflower could taste so delectably good!


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fudgy Brownies



Here is how to please that chocolate lover in your house! 

This recipe is from Carolyn, a friend in Louisville who I worked with years ago.  The brownies are unbelievably good!  They are thick and decadent; worth every single calorie and after hearing about the recipe you will know why.   

I know, I said on yesterday’s post that I would rather have cheese than a piece of chocolate.  But, every once in a great while it is just what’s needed and besides, Bill is a huge chocolate lover and these make him one happy man.  Since you may not have eaten this brownie, I must tell you that the whole experience is heavenly; intense chewy brownies that are packed full of sumptuous chocolate and nuts.  This is definitely not a healthy brownie!

The hardest part about baking brownies is waiting for them to cool before cutting.  The smell will be amazing and it will take all of your will power not to slice into them.  They will crumble to pieces if cut warm, so you must wait until they are fairly cool to get a nice brownie square!

These brownies are fast, easy and great for whoever needs a chocolate fix.   They have a great chewy texture and go wonderfully with a strong cup of coffee!  They’re just too good to not share with you!  Rich and chocolaty to the max!

Fudgy Brownies

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
4 – 1 ounce squares unsweetened dark chocolate, melted
1 cup sifted flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Method:

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla.
Beat in eggs.
Blend in chocolate.
Stir in flour and nuts.
Spread in 8” x 8” baking pan.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.
Let cool, slice and serve.

Pam’s note:  to make them yet more decadent, Carolyn slathered dark chocolate frosting over the brownies. 


An irresistibly chocolaty treat that will knock your socks off!



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Friday, January 22, 2010

Home-made Cheese Straws


I love cheese and would take that over a piece of chocolate any day!  If you are a big fan of cheese like I am, you will love these cheese straws!  Should you have some leftover hard cheese in your refrigerator, this is a great way to put that cheese to good use.  I like sharp cheddar or Parmesan myself but, it really does not matter what type of cheese you use; any variety works well.  You can make them for a fraction of the price of store-bought, which are usually stale or have broken into pieces by the time you get them home. 

This is an easy recipe that young and old alike will savor.  The buttery dough filled with cheese and red pepper comes together easily with several methods of finishing them.  Some cooks pipe the cheese straws from a pastry bag, some use a cookie press with the star or serrated ribbon disc and still others roll the dough out and cut it into strips.  Then, just pop them in the oven!  They can be stored in an airtight container; actually, they improve in flavor when they are made the day before being served.  Cheese straws can also be frozen until you’re ready to enjoy them.

They are a staple in most southern homes and that is yet another reason why I love the South so much!  Cheese straws make a great appetizer and are so scrumptious with soups and salads or as a late night snack, just trot them out anytime you feel like it!  And with Super Bowl parties just around the corner, they would be perfect!

Home-made Cheese Straws

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened
2 cups, flour sifted
½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
 teaspoon salt
2 cups Parmesan or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Method:

In a bowl, cream butter well. 
Add sifted flour, salt and spices. Blend together.
Add cheese and combine thoroughly.
Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
Place cheese mixture into a cookie press with the serrated ribbon disk or star disk. 
Press dough onto cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Pam’s note:  If you wish, instead of a cookie press:  Divide dough into 4 portions.  Shape each into a ball and roll out in a 7” x 5” rectangle.  Cut into 5” x 1/2” strips and bake.



There you have the temptation of crispy, salty, buttery, cheesy Cheese Straws!  They should have an addiction warning label!  Yum!

 

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bubba’s Citrus Tilapia

Catch from his first fishing trip, 1975



Bubba's all grown up now, but when he has the appetite for a light seafood dinner, he turns to tilapia.  It is the perfect fish that you can dress up or down, depending upon your taste buds and the occasion. It can even convert that non-seafood lover you know. 

Tilapia recipes vary from spicy to mild; remember, he loves spicy and hot as in his chili (see Nov. 21st post) and enchilada (see Jan. 12th post) dishes.  This one falls close to the middle.  It is a hugely popular fish and due to its mildness, it needs extra help.  Bubb is a lover of seafood and fish and he knew just how to help this tilapia out with a wonderful citrus flavor combining orange juice with lemon and a little added tang with the ginger.  If you like more of a kick, add a little more ginger and garlic. 

Tilapia is very adaptable and any number of combinations works with it; base it on what is on your cabinet shelf and in the refrigerator, even adding chopped pecans for a unique twist.  It also has the added bonus of being a healthy, good protein, low-calorie fish.   And, last but not least, it is absolutely delicious!   This is a very easy and delicious creation!


Bubba’s Citrus Tilapia



Ingredients:

1 pound tilapia (2 fillets)
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 - 3/4 cup orange juice
1 lemon, quartered
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
  
Method:

Quarter the lemon.
Place olive oil and butter in skillet on medium heat.
On a plate, dredge tilapia in flour.
When the oil & butter have melted, add tilapia to skillet.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook about three minutes each side until golden.
Remove fish, add orange juice and ginger to skillet.
Squeeze lemon quarters into skillet.
Turn heat up and stir until it starts to thicken (2-3 minutes.)
Return the tilapia back to skillet, cook for a couple of minutes on each side.
Place on platter and serve.


It is a guiltless feast!


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cuban-Style Picadillo




Have you ever eaten Cuban Picadillo? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat!  Picadillo, also known as Cuban meat sauce, is a thick, stew-like dish of ground beef, tomato sauce, garlic, raisins and capers that is simmered over low heat to combine the flavors.  Serve it over rice or even corn bread, with black beans on the side.  It isn’t a fancy company dish but, it is great for a week night dinner and it will make your mouth water as it is cooking and fills your house with a fragrant aroma. 

This dish is eaten in many Latin countries but, the Cuban and Puerto Rican versions contain olives.  The briny, salty taste of the olives and capers is mellowed out with the sweetness of the raisins.  If you like, you could add chopped apples to the mixture also. 

Cuban-Style Picadillo is not spicy and other than the chopping of vegetables, it can pretty much take care of itself once you start it cooking.  It can set until you are ready to eat and in fact, is better if allowed to set for a few minutes. 

It can be on your table in half an hour!  Comfort food all the way!




Cuban-Style Picadillo

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 to 6 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ green bell pepper
1/3 cup olives, sliced in half
¼ cup red wine, optional
2 tablespoons raisins, depending on taste
Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Brown meat, onions and garlic.
Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 20 minutes, till mixture is moist but, liquid has evaporated.
It should be on the dry side, not saucy, soupy or “ tomatoey” at all.

Serve on top of rice, cornbread or black beans along with a salad dressed in vinegar and oil and you’re ready to eat! 


Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Alice’s Broccoli Rice Casserole

Alice, in 1986
 



This creamy casserole will persuade you to eat your vegetables! I love broccoli and rice also, so combining them is the best. 

Alice, my mother-in-law loved this recipe and she had a good reason for that, because it is delicious.  It is so very easy and tastes great.  Broccoli Rice Casserole makes an excellent side dish; however, by adding a couple of sautéed cut-up chicken breasts to it, you’ll have an entrée.  Or, adding salmon or tuna would work well also.  That would make a full meal!

It’s a great winter casserole and that is just what we need right now.  By the way, it is just as good leftover!

Alice’s Broccoli Rice Casserole
 
Ingredients:

2 – 8 ounce packages frozen broccoli
1 onion, chopped
1 cup water
8 ounces cheese whiz
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
1 cup minute rice

Method:

In saucepan, add broccoli, onion and water.
Cook al dente, not soft.  Do not drain.
Add cheese.
Mix well,
Add soup, milk and rice. Mix well.
Pour into greased casserole dish.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Pam’s note:  I updated the recipe by replacing the cheese whiz with 1 ½ cups Tillamook shredded sharp cheddar cheese and adding 1 can of mushrooms, well drained.

Great tasty dish!


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Monday, January 18, 2010

Bill’s Garlic Parmesan Turkey Sandwich



I want to tell you about something I recently discovered, the new line launched at Meijer Stores ~ Meijer Gold.  With nearly 100 products at budget-friendly prices, Meijer Gold has something to offer everyone, and yes, that even includes those with “finicky” appetites! 

What makes Meijer Gold unique is its collection of original recipe ingredients that are either made by a local company within the Meijer structure or by a family-owned business.  The line also features interesting foods indigenous to a specific area.  All the products have a story behind them; such as the Meijer Gold mustard that is prepared from an age-old German recipe by a long-time Midwest company.  And I love one product in particular, which I will tell you about. 

Bill put together a great turkey sandwich yesterday!  He piled layers of fresh sliced turkey, Swiss cheese, tomato, red onion, and lettuce on a great crusty French bread; but, the star of the sandwich was the Meijer Gold Garlic Parmesan Spread!  It has a tangy taste that complemented the sandwich perfectly. 

I read on the label that the Gold Garlic Parmesan Spread was created by a chef with a renowned, family-owned Texas company.  It combines Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and select spices to deliver an amazingly seasoned ingredient to sandwiches, cold salads or dips.  It goes above and beyond the call of duty, delivering with taste and style!  You have to give it a try!



Bill’s Garlic Parmesan Turkey Sandwich




Ingredients:

Rustic Italian bread
Roasted deli turkey breast, sliced thin
Swiss cheese
Lettuce
Tomato
Red onion
Meijer Gold Garlic Parmesan Spread

Spread both slices of bread generously with Meijer Gold Garlic Parmesan Spread.
Layer all of the ingredients on bread, making a sandwich.







Delicious!!!



DISCLAIMER:   The Garlic Parmesan .Spread was provided by Meijer Stores as part of a small gift basket. 






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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Grandma’s Fried Corn

Grandma and Melody, around 4 years old
Great pose, Melody!


Melody, my great cousin back in Pickerington, Ohio, was looking for Grandma’s recipe for fried corn and here it is for her and you also.  Have you ever eaten fried corn?  It is good when it is cut fresh off the cob, fried in butter or bacon grease.  That’s not the way Grandma did it though!

I'm guessing that Grandma’s fried corn was so delicious, because she fried it in lard; her shortening of choice.  She used it when frying and baking as well.  She made her pie crusts and biscuits - all baked goods - using lard, which resulted in moist and flaky finished products. 

Lard is pig fat and is used in many cuisines today.  It has a wonderful aroma when in the skillet and gives the food a unique taste which is not like pork at all.  It also gives the food great texture and structure. 

Here is the best and surprising thing about lard; it is not bad for you!  It has less saturated (bad fat) fat than butter and more than twice the amount of monosaturated (good fat) than found in butter.  There are no nasty trans fats in it, unless it has been hydrogenated, which is the type of lard found in the grocery store today.   It is hydrogenated today to enable the lard a longer shelf life.  That is the problem.  So, the way to combat that folks is to render your own lard!  I am amazed to read that many cooks do just that.  It is supposedly very easy to do.  



There is nothing that compares to the flavor of fresh corn, shucked, cut off the cob and fried in the skillet.  When I grew up on the farm, I walked out to the field with Mom and picked the corn for a meal.  I’d love to be able to do that now; just go right outside the back door to the corn field ~ pick, shuck and cook!  If you’ve never eaten fried corn, you must try it!  Delectable and I wish I had a plate of it right now!

Grandma’s Fried Corn

Ingredients:

8 ears fresh corn
A smidgeon of sugar
Salt and pepper
Milk or water
Lard

Method:

With a sharp knife, run it down the cob to remove the corn.
Use the back of the knife and scrape the whole ear again to remove the milk.
Add lard to the skillet and heat well.
Add corn, sugar, salt and pepper.
Stir well and often as it can burn easily.
As it gets too thick, add a little milk or water.
Cook about 20-25 minutes. 

Ummm!!!  Good! A meal unto itself!



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