Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Strawberry 4 Layer Delite

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
It's Spring and everything is greening up, birds are chirping, and Asparagus and Strawberries are fresh and available everywhere. 

I had 3 quarts of Strawberries in my frig and I thought, come on girl, make a really good dessert!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Green Chile Spinach Frittata

This slightly spicy take on an Italian classic is a welcome breakfast, light lunch or dinner option. Gluten free and vegetarian, this is a filling, yet nutritious meal. Of course, meat can always be added and that is always another option in our home.
This is an excellent way to start the Cinco de Mayo celebration!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pot Roast Beef Dips

Sunday dinners are pretty classic for most Americans.

It's the one day set aside for devotion, family or just plain relaxation.

I always try to make something a little more substantial and special on Sunday.

Like a long, slow cooking Pot Roast. I know, I could make it during the week with my slow cooker, but I really like making the big frou-frou dinner (Roast, carrots, onion, mashed potatoes, big salad, toasted french bread), on the weekend.

The big bonus to this though is the leftover meat and drippings. The anticipation of having
Beef Dips is almost more than the initial roast dinner.

My stomach's growling.........

Friday, April 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Yaki-Teri Chicken

Sometimes kids say the funniest things......

My oldest child, my son, as a baby/toddler couldn't say kitty-cat. So cute, he came up with "diddle-dee, diddle-dee" instead. Sniff, sniff...he just turned 28! (I know, whoa! how the heck did that happen?)

My oldest daughter for the first 5 years of her life could not say washcloth. And oh we made her say it over and over again, because hearing her say "closh-closh" everytime warmed our hearts and just put a smile on our face.

Our second oldest daughter couldn't say her big brothers name and poor thing, he has grown up in our family since the age of 12 being called Ty-Roo. (He's a Tyler).

The baby girl in our family, who is 15, grew up with a big appetite. Playing all the sport she does, that has not in any way diminished. But her pronunciation issue was with food. She could not remember it was Teriyaki and has always referred to it a Yaki-teri.

Simple, but savory with a rich, thick sauce. This easy version of an American Chinese staple is ready to serve when you get home. Best served over simple white or brown rice.

So I give you, a favorite in our family.....

Foodie Friends Friday

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Short and Sweet

My son, who is in Graduate school in Massachusetts, loves that I blog but has encouraged me to shorten the name.

I have been thinking about it for sometime, and since he mentioned it today I decided to go with it. His reasoning is sound and he does have a BA in Advertising, sooooo.

the new name of this blog is....

You have to admit, Sourdoughnative Living In The Midwest is a mouthful and not conducive to committing to memory, even for me and I'm the author. ahem....

Thank you everyone for continuing to help build my little blog. I'm having a blast and I hope you are also every time you visit!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Midwest Swedish Meatballs

I know, you're probably thinking, what the heck does the Midwest have to do with Swedish Meatballs?

Well back here, almost 150-200 years ago, most of the immigrants/settlers came from the Scandinavian areas of Europe. In fact in the town I live in, in North Central Iowa, there is a monument memorializing/commemorating the Norwegian settlers of this area.
Uff Dah!!!

What gives this traditional recipe it's Midwestern edge is the use of a chicken gravy mix added to the bland white sauce. It adds an unctuousness (woo-wee!, did I really use that word?) that is not normally in the original recipe.

And back here they're all about things being really tasty!!!

Believe it or not I have made these with a bag of frozen meatballs.......I know, you're going, ewwwwww (Hello---Ikea anybody??).
But, actually after simmering in the sauce and depending upon which brand you buy, they are really quite unctuous tasty, not to mention faaaaassssttttt!!!!. I also have made them from scratch, preferring to use turkey or a mix of pork and turkey-that's a distinct nod to Iowa and it's pig farmers!

Midwest Swedish Meatballs

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Devil's Food Cake Mix Cookies

This is Prom weekend in our community and one of our daughters is attending all the festivities. 

She informed/asked me 2 nights ago that 12 other kids and their parents would be coming over to our house for pictures.....

Of course we were fine with it. We have a large covered porch, the length of our home with a wide open staircase descending, so of course it would accommodate all of them. 

I wanted to make sure that everyone had a little nibble and also a bottle of water. Thinking they were all going out to eat afterwards, I decided just to make a really good cookie. 

Simple is best when it comes to baking for me. Cooking I can do with one hand tied and 1 eye closed, baking....not so much. 

I had tried to make these in the past and they were kinda bleh. This time I opted for Chocolate with chocolate and BAM!!! there it is! 

A simple cookie that uses.......

wait for it......

Devil's Food CAKE MIX.

I know, you're like, say whaaaaat? But these are awesome. Crackly and bumpy on the outside and dreamy, chewy chocolatey-ness on the inside. 

And now for a close up of the ooey goodness in the center...


Friday, April 19, 2013

Baked Potatoes with Spinach Artichoke Sauce

Growing up in the Bay Area, artichokes are a way of life.

We had them steamed, grilled, fried, pureed and made into soups.

Then came the 90's fad of making a decadent, calorie ridden, but oh so yummy DIP. Ergo...Spinach Artichoke Dip.

Mostly served heated and you dip into it's gooey, cheesy goodness with bread, bagel or pita chips. So good, but an artery clogger for sure.

I grew up scraping my teeth on those petals and fighting over the heart (the tender part of the stem is delicious as well). And when I lived down in the Monterey area we were right in Artichoke Mecca. Our relatives welcomed our visits because we would come with bags of artichokes from Castroville. ( I like to think they enjoyed seeing US, but maybe it was just the artichokes??)

Skreeeech................fast forward to here in the Midwest. Most people here in the Heartland don't even know what an artichoke is??? (I know, say whaaaat?) Let alone how to prepare or eat it. Since California produces nearly 100% of the artichokes grown in the U.S., I guess that's pretty understandable.

Buying them fresh in the grocery store isn't a good alternative either. By the time they make it out here, they're no longer firm and fresh, plus they charge a small each fortune for each one.

But since I found a Trader Joe's an hour away, we make a concerted effort to stock up whenever we're there. One of their products that I love is Frozen artichoke hearts, so much better than canned.

Which leads me to tonight's dinner. In a nod to the Spinach Artichoke Dip craze I made....

Baked Potato with Spinach Artichoke Sauce

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Baked Enchiritos with Red Chile Papas

This is a non-traditional take on a Burrito-Enchilada. 

So easy to make, and delicious to serve on a week night. The Red Chile Papas is a recipe from my childhood. My grandmother, who was from New Mexico used to make these potatoes for us with breakfast, lunch and or dinner. 

They are a fried potato, that she then simmered in a red chile sauce. so flavorful, not spicy, just really good. They look dark, but that is because you fry them and then simmer them in a red chile sauce. Yum!

Drizzled with a sour cream crema (sour cream thinned with milk or half and half), they are to die for. 

I had small Yukon gold potatoes that I halved and fried and then made the red chile sauce in the pan. You could sub any potato and cube and do the same thing. 

The Enchirito is just a riff on a flour tortilla filled with ground beef, cooked and simmered with salsa and beans. Stuffed in a flour tortilla with cheese and covered with a homemade enchilada sauce with canned refried beans. 


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Famous Cowboy Casserole

I absolutely love a fresh tomato pie, made during the summer when tomatoes from our garden are at their peak. 


We may get another dusting of snow tomorrow. My oldest daughter says it's punishment for having so many "Gingers". 
I have 4 children and the oldest three are redheads. Not just red headed, but fiery red, red headed. 

Haha. It's made for an interesting parenthood, you get lots of comments with red heads. 

I hope having so many of them isn't the driving factor on our weather or my community may just ostracize me. gulp!

Seriously, I am still craving that tomato pie-but I found a great alternative surfing Pinterest and I decided to riff on that to satisfy my cravings. 

So I found a recipe that Mercedes of The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife called her John Wayne Casserole, that I adapted this recipe from. 

So my riff on this recipe I decided to call.....


And although the recipe isn't "famous" yet (hehe!!), the Cowboy it's named after most definitely is!  

The first layer is a whole grain baking mix-biscuit layer, then lean ground beef cooked with Taco seasoning (this dish can be made vegetarian by omitting the meat totally or subbing it with scrambled eggs, tofu or TVP). Next, fresh sliced tomatoes topped with sauteed onions, pepperoncini, and then the kicker---a cheesy-mayo-sour cream topping (Hello!!-Paula Deen fans!).  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Skinny Tuna Melt

Skinny Tuna Melt served with whole grain vegetable chips

Classic Diner food, but with a healthier twist.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

North Iowa, April 2013

This time last year in North Iowa we had a stellar Spring!

Grass is green, sun is shining, even the planters are overflowing with flowers.

Fast forward to Spring in 2013.....

This picture was taken this morning on the opposite side of the deck. You can see the trees in back and the fenced in garden area. But what the heck is all that white stuff doing here???

And how is your Spring?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Picadillo Stromboli Braid

Picadillo Stromboli Braid--who'd a thunk?

Quite the mish-mash of Ethnic dishes....

This is the second recipe in a series of two for uses of Pizza dough. If you read my previous post; I had pizza dough proofing in my frig that I HAD to use. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chicken Spinach Pizza with Garlic Cream Sauce

Yesterday we were able to get our first taste of 60 degree temperature, with the sun shining and birds chirping.


This morning we woke up to 37F, pouring rain and there is a possibility of 2-4" of snow being forecast for Wednesday into Thursday.
Say what.......?

Anyway, yesterday I was "inspired" to make a pizza. Only because on Sunday we were in Rochester, MN for a volleyball tournament with the youngest daughter, all day long.On a long break we stole off and I went shopping at a Trader Joe's (secretly, I could have been there for hours). I always make a point of buying their fresh refrigerated pizza dough. I actually throw them in the freezer and they come out great.

Well....this tournament started at 8am, at 7:30pm it finally ended with our daughter's team winning!!! Yay!

When I got home to unload groceries BOTH packages of pizza dough were double in size and almost fully proofed. YIKES!

So I threw them in the frig and then had to make pizza last night.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easy Picadillo with Lemon Parsley Couscous

This dish is a family favorite. It's origins are Latin and there are so many variations of it. 

I have made it with ground turkey and pork as well and it's delicious. This could easily become a Vegetarian dish by subbing TVP or crumbled tofu (I haven't tried that version yet...) and it's naturally Gluten free.  

It can be served over rice, but today I made a Lemon Parsley Couscous and it was a beautiful compliment to this flavorful dish.

This can also be used as a filling for Empanadas, or even tacos. 

Serve it over potatoes or noodles even. 

Say it, Picadillo, pee-ka-dee-yo. Say it really fast, 3 times, haha, it's fun.


Typically, this dish is made with ground meat, tomatoes, green olives and the Latin Sofrito-which is onions, green peppers and celery. I subbed carrots for the green peppers, cause that's what I had. 

That's what is so nice about this recipe, it can be made by whatever you have available. and that's why I threw in a handful of frozen peas at the end, so nice ( and another veggie to ramp up this meaty dish).

Friday, April 5, 2013

Scalloped Ham, Potato and Broccoli

The sun is shining, I saw a robin yesterday, yay!

Spring is finally in North Iowa!!
We still have tiny patches of snow dotted here and there, but it finally is warming up during the day (low 50's) and things are just barely starting to green up.

DH has started moving the outdoor furniture back onto the decks and is going through seed packets, getting ready to plant starters. (Hah!, no so fast there bucko. We've had a surprise snowstorm during April and May before!)

And we're moving on to the Ham that is still in my frig.

Okay....here is Ham plate number 2.

I know one of the best ways to use leftover ham is in the classic Scalloped Ham and Potatoes.

But I have been ramping up our veggie intake lately and decided to also include a layer of Broccoli.

Broccoli by itself....bleh.
Layered with tender gold potatoes, ham and a creamy sauce with cheese....

Winner, winner!

what i am eating

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ham & Noodle Sour Cream Hotdish

We all know that many families across the Nation were celebrating Easter with egg hunts, candy and most likely a traditional Easter Ham.

Our family did, although my 15 and 17 year old daughter balked at having an egg hunt.
Ahem...I don't blame them.

Of course, this means that we have plenty of leftover ham. First up--Ham & Noodle Sour Cream Hot dish (Casserole to non-mid westerners!)

This tasty dish makes using ham a real treat and everyone loves a creamy noodle dish!
Whoa...this is Pepper. This is my DH portion and he is a Pepper-man!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spicy Chicken, Spinach and Ranch Tortilla Pizza

I was home today, and at lunch time I started rooting around in my frig. 

Yes we, had plenty of leftover Ham, but after two days of it so far, I needed a change. 

I found a leftover roasted chicken breast and I thought, aha!! I can make chicken salad....

Nah, that didn't sound appealing for some odd reason. I was craving something spicy!

I got it! An easy, quick little pizza made from a flour tortilla and Chicken--yum!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Country Stuffing Casserole

This casserole will make you jump for joy and your family ask for more!
It can be made with leftover Ham, Turkey, Chicken, Beef. I have even made it with frozen chicken patties that I thawed and diced.

This dish is like your favorite green bean ccasserole on steroids, it's that tasty. By adding the layer of meat and then topping that with a simple stuffing, it makes this dish sing!

And don't leave out the French Fried onions, they really added that crunch that the dish needed.