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.

Family Favorites Raspberry Cheesecake

  This is my favorite recipe from the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks that I own.
It never fails, always draws compliments and you can vary it with any topping you like.  It is so creamy and I have never had it crack. I have made the full recipe, but it is very large and you need a large springform pan. I have made it using half the recipe and that is what I am going to give you. If you want it larger just double it and use at least a 10 inch pan. I did make the full amount of the topping, but the amount below is for the half of a recipe.
  I had some lovely red raspberries and some Chambord Liqueur so did a little changing by adding the Liqueur to the topping and in the cheesecake.  It makes a impressive cheesecake and I used a nut crust, which would make it gluten free. Hope you enjoy it.
  This takes awhile to make mainly because of the baking and cooling times, but is very easy to make and so good. It will make your reputation as a baker.

Raspberry Cheesecake
For The Crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
For The Filling
1 ¼ pounds cream cheese at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ large eggs (5.62 to 6 ounces)
1 extra large egg yolk
⅛ cup sour cream
½ tablespoon grated lemon zest
¾ teaspoons pure vanilla ( I used the Chambord liqueur instead)
 For the topping (optional)
1/2 cup red jelly (not jam) such as current, raspberry or strawberry
1 1/2 half pints fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon Chambord

Preheat the oven to 350°
To make the crust, combine the crackers, sugar and melted butter until moisten ed,. Pour into a 9 inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Coo to room temperature.
Raise the oven temperature to 450F.
To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and the sugar in the bowl of electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater often. With mixer on low speed, add the sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla (or Chambord). Mix thoroughly and pour into cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225° and bake for another hour and 15 minutes. (check at one hour) The cake should not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temp. for 2 to 3 hours. Wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
  To serve remove the sides and slice in thin slices. If using the topping and the Chambord, stir it in to the jelly and gently stir into the raspberries. If not using the Chambord, heat the jelly over low heat just until warm and then stir in the raspberries.

Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-fry

 Using the fresh pineapple I bought already prepped from our local store, I made a shrimp and fresh pineapple stir-fry for Bettie and my daughter. They are the only two who really care for shrimp and this looked so good. It called for Jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk, but I served it on plain cooked rice and had no complaints. 
 This was very easy to fix with using the already prepped pineapple (I think you could use canned in juice, just as well) and I used frozen shrimp because I did not want to peel and devein them. Use which ever one you prefer, I am sure if I lived in Shrimp country I would go for the fresh. Do use the rum and lime juice as both of them thought it was what made this dish special. Remember you can always buy the small sample bottles so you do not need to have a lot on hand. 
  If you want to try the Jasmine rice, it called for ¾ cup of unsweetened coconut milk, 2 cups of water, ¾ tsp. of salt.  Cook using cooking directions on the rice package.
Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-fry
⅓ cup golden rum
⅓ cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp. Cornstarch
Ground black pepper
1 ¼ pounds shrimp (21 to 25 per pound)
2 Tbs vegetable oil
4  ⅓-inch thick pineapple rounds each cut into 8 wedges 
 In a small bowl, whisk the rum lime juice, cornstarch, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper until the cornstarch dissolves.
 Pat the shrimp dry and season with ¼ tsp. Salt and ¼ tsp. Pepper.
 Heat the oil in a wok or a 12 inch non stick skillet over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until partially cooked about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple and continue to stir-fry until heated through, about 1 minute. Whisk the sauce add it to the skillet and stir until the shrimp are just opaque in the center and coated with the thickened sauce, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. 
 Fluff the rice with a fork, spoon on plate and top with stir fry. Serves 4 generous servings.

Convenience Canning

Clockwise from top left: Ham, black beans and split pea soup,
beef stew, beef cubes, plum jam, turkey, Alberta peaches,
home grown pears, corn relish;
Center: beef burgundy and beef strogonoff
This year, when we give some canning recipes, we are going to spend some time giving recipes that use what we can.  We don't think that canning is productive if you don't use what you can.
We like the convenience of having some of our preparation already done when we start a meal.
I have started to look at canning as something of a hobby, not just a “get-out-of-my-way, I’m going to make a mess” sort of big project, under pressure because we have too much ready in the garden. I now can all year round – especially in the spring, after the holidays, but before it gets too hot. That’s when I can most of my “convenience” foods. If you are going to have a hobby, why not let it be one that saves money and is good for you.
Some of the convenience items we can are potatoes for frying, mashed, etc., canned turkey, ham, chicken, beef stroganoff, beef burgundy, beef stew, meatballs, split pea soup, navy bean soup, black beans, canned soup vegetables (onion, carrot and celery and sometimes green beans), spaghetti sauce, extra broth, corn relish, bean salad, fruits, etc., etc.
To use my canned convenience items, I can combine a jar of meat, soup veggies, some extra broth and heat together with frozen homemade noodles, quick barley, or brown rice,  and have a variety of soups quickly. I can thicken the broth on meatballs, stew, chicken, beef burgundy or stroganoff and serve them with potatoes, noodles, rice, biscuits or cornbread, etc. etc. Beef and pork can be served with BBQ sauce in sandwiches. I heat the bean soups and serve with cornbread, biscuits, or  homemade bread. Chicken, turkey, ham, beef and beans can be used in many casserole recipes, pot pies, even cold salads or sandwich fillings too, any recipe that calls for cooked meat or beans. If I don't use the broth from the jar, I save it and add it to the next soup or gravy.
Canned fruit can be quickly made into crisps, pies, cobblers, etc., besides serving with just a cookie for dessert. Keep a few jars in the refrigerator, always cold and ready to serve.  We love Elberta peaches for canning, you can only rarely buy these commercially canned; they are so flavorful compared to cling peaches. We wait for them to “come in” at our local grocery. Of course, canned vegetables are always easy to use, I especially like mixed combinations, and add them to stews, soups and casseroles and salads.
For summer canning, Myrna cans pickles, and we both put up relishes, jams, marmalades and jellies – the items that help ‘fill out’ a meal. We never turn down produce from folks who have too much – neither of us have big gardens anymore – but it’s surprising how much I still can.  We can any vegetables we grow or are given, like green beans, carrots, potatoes, and all kinds of tomato products.
The best thing about canned products is I don't need to thaw them to have a meal in minutes. My grown son calls me the "twenty-minute cook". When I was a kid I admired some farm wife friends of ours who could seem to wander into their kitchens and produce a meal for drop-in guests without much fuss, I just didn't realize then how much they relied on their canned goods to fill out a meal - including pickles, jams and jellies, and fruit "sauce".
We have a few examples of recipes to try using home-canned foods.

Rhubarb Pineapple Crisp

 I had rhubarb in the freezer and canned pineapple on hand so this was a easy recipe to make. The recipe, from Taste of Home said it would not be too sweet and they were right. The pineapple was good with the rhubarb, not a combo I would have thought of, but I will make this again when I want rhubarb but not a pie. The tidbits are large enough to hold their shape in this crisp. 
Rhubarb-Pineapple Crisp
2 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb (thawed and drained if frozen)
1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
¼ cup sugar, divided
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
⅓ cup quick cook oats (not instant)
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup all purpose flour
¾ tsp. Ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp salt
¼ cup cold butter
 In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, pineapple, ¼ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. Flour. Transfer to a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray.
 In a small bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt, sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. 
Sprinkle over fruit in pie plate. 
Bake uncovered, at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown.  Cool for at least 5 minutes and serve warm with heavy or whipped cream.
NOTE: If using frozen rhubarb measure before thawing. Drain in a colander, but do not press out liquid.

Pineapple Waldorf Salad with Old Fashioned Dressing

This is an old-fashioned, “waste not” recipe for fruit salad.   The juice from the pineapple is used to make the delicious dressing.  I usually make the dressing a day ahead, or early in the morning, so it has time to chill.  It only takes less than 5 minutes to cook the dressing.  The rest of the salad can be quickly assembled right before serving.
I have good luck making the dressing either with flour or with cook-type clear jel (which I starting using so celiacs like Myrna could enjoy a taste too.)
With apples, canned pineapple and celery often on sale, and the simple, low calorie homemade dressing, this salad is easy on the budget and waistline, and suitable for almost any time of the year.               

Pineapple Waldorf Salad with Old Fashioned Dressing
  1           can  unsweetened pineapple tidbits -- (20 ounces)
  6           cups  Chopped Red Apples
  1 1/2    cups  chopped celery
     1/2    cup  golden raisins --or regular raisins or cut-up dates
     1/4    cup  Pecans -- or walnuts or dry-roasted sunflower kernels
                        Cooked Dressing for Fruit Salad
  4 1/2    tablespoons  Sugar
  3           tablespoons  Flour -- or cook-type clear jel
  3           large  Egg Yolk -- lightly beaten
     3/4    cup  Unsweetened Pineapple Juice -- from canned pineapple
     3/8    cup  Orange Juice
  6           tablespoons  Apple Cider Vinegar
  3           tablespoons  Butter
A day or several hours ahead:
Drain pineapple reserving 3/4 cup juice for dressing (save remaining juice for another use). Refrigerate opened pineapple in covered dish.  Prepare cooked dressing and chill for several hours or overnight.
Prepare cooked dressing:
In top of double boiler or in a heat proof bowl that will fit over your saucepan, mix dry ingredients.  Add egg yolks and juices gradually; cook over hot (not boiling) water until thick, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
Add vinegar and butter; mix well and continue cooking until thick.  Store in a glass dish, covered, with a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface, to prevent a skin forming.  Refrigerate until ready for use.
Prepare Salad:
In a bowl, combine the pineapple, apples, celery, raisins or dates and nuts or sunflower kernels. Pour dressing over fruit mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.
Yield:  "12 Servings"

Per Serving: 117 Calories; 6g Fat (42.4% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 61mg Cholesterol; 45mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Family Favorites Oven Fried Chicken

  The picture of the chicken in the Barefoot Contessa’s Family Style looked so good that I just had to try it. I think one of the things I really like the most about her cookbooks, besides recipes that really work are the photos. Marvelous pictures on glossy paper makes reading and looking a real pleasure.
  The chicken turned out just as great as the photo and will be on my rotation list from now on. It is more of a method than a recipe and was fairly easy to prepare, I did take her tip and browned it in a high sided pot instead of a skillet, a lot less mess. I could not find a three pound chicken. Mine was about 5 pounds, left some nice leftovers and I used the back to make some stock for gravy with the meal.
Oven Fried Chicken
2 chickens (3 pounds each) 
1 quart buttermilk ( just to cover well)
1 ½ to 2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I used about ½)
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil or shortening
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Take chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large high sided pan to about 1 inch.*  Heat to 360°. Adding chicken, do not crowd, brown on both sides about 3 minutes on each side. They will continue browning in the oven. Remove to a wire rack set on a sheet pan. Making sure the oil is hot, brown all the pieces. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot and crispy.
*A skillet works, but it is messier, on the stove and on you.