Creamy Rice Pudding

Creamy Rice pudding

What do you do when you have leftover rice?  We eat a lot of rice and most of the time, we do not have any left over.  When we do it can be used in so many ways.  If there is only a little, I may eat it with a little warm milk and cinnamon with a sprinkle of sugar for breakfast (a dish my kids loved when they were little).  If there is a lot more, which happens every now and then, and I don’t want to make it into fried rice or add it to a soup, then I make Creamy Rice pudding.  There are so many different ways to make rice pudding.  I have a lot of different recipes, but this one is simple, quick and very creamy.  The taste can change with just a few simple ingredients.  I might add some chocolate to the pudding or after it is cooked, add a sprinkling of fresh berries, but most of the time, I just sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.  This is just a simple comfort food I remember from my childhood.  So next time you want something simple and delicious, don’t grab the box, make it from scratch.  It won’t take you any longer than the box, but will taste so much better. This makes a very large bowl.  If you have a smaller family or just yourself, the recipe can be cut in half and also this will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, so you can have a little every day.

2 cups cold, leftover rice

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

4 cups milk

6 egg yolks, beaten

4 tablespoons butter

2 tsp. vanilla

Cinnamon sugar, berries, nuts, whatever you want to sprinkle on the top.

Place sugar, salt, milk and cornstarch in a saucepan.  On medium heat, stir till mixture begins to boil.  Let boil 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the yolks to temper them.  Mix well.  Pour egg yolk mixture and rice into the hot pudding mixture in the saucepan and place back on stove and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.  Stir until butter is melted and vanilla is mixed in.  Pour into a bowl and allow to cool.  Then place in refrigerator and chill for a couple of hours.  Sprinkle with whatever you choose and enjoy.

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Banana Pudding

Banana pudding

Tommy and my kids love banana pudding, but not the out of the box kind.  The kind that has the homemade vanilla pudding and loaded with bananas and vanilla wafers.  This is so much better than the recipe you will find on the back of the banana pudding box and is not at hard to make.  I think once you try this, you will never go back to the box.

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/8 tsp. salt

2 3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 tsp. vanilla

4 bananas

1/2 box vanilla wafers

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Gradually stir in the milk until smooth.  Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook 1 minute until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.  Cool slightly.  Line the bottom of a dish with vanilla wafers and then stand a row of vanilla wafers on their sides all around the dish.  Put a layer of pudding, then a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat the layers, finishing with a layer of pudding. Arrange vanilla wafers around the top, along the sides (or cover top with vanilla wafers, like my mom did, if you want) Chill at least an hour before serving.

German Chocolate Pie

German Chocolate Pie

I love German chocolate cake.  It is one of my favorites and everyone who knows me, knows that there are not many cakes I like.  So it just makes sense to make a German chocolate pie.  I found a lot of recipes for German Chocolate pie and tried almost all of them.  They were too sweet or had too much coconut or not enough pecans.  I don’t know why I can’t just let things be. They just didn’t match up to my vision of what I wanted a German chocolate pie to be.  So I started playing and trying different things.  This is what resulted from that journey. I warn you, this is a very rich pie, so you want to serve smaller slices.

1 (4 ounce) package of German chocolate

1/4 cup butter

1 (14.5 ounce) can of evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons corn starch

1/8 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 unbaked 10 inch deep dish pie shell

1 1/3 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt chocolate with butter, over low heat, stirring until blended.  Remove from heat and gradually blend in the evaporated milk.  Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt thoroughly.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually blend in the cooled chocolate mixture.  Pour into the pie shell.  Combine the coconut and pecans and sprinkle over the filling.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Filling will be soft, but will set while it is cooling.  Do not overcook.  Cool at least 4 hours before cutting.

Buttermilk Pecan Pie

Buttermilk pecan pie

When Tommy first asked me about Buttermilk pie, my first thoughts were, “I don’t think so.”  Buttermilk in a pie?  Biscuits maybe, but how could that tart, slightly sour milk make a wonderful pie.  He got me to try it and I have to admit, it was pretty good.  So of course, I had to play with the various recipes that I found for it and now have come up with about 5 different versions of the buttermilk pie.  Some are simple and some just a little elevated.  This one is one of my favorites.  Just a little nutty crunch to the custardy, sweet filling.

1/2 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 9 inch unbaked pie shell (better if it is homemade, not frozen)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, adding 1/2 cup sugar at a time.  Add vanilla, then add eggs, one at a time. Combine flour and salt and add a small amount at a time.  Add buttermilk.  Sprinkle pecans over bottom of pie crust and pour the buttermilk custard over the pecans.  Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 300 degrees.  Pecans will rise to the top and lightly brown.  Best served at room temperature.

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

I love beef stroganoff and have a lot of different recipes for it.  Some are time-consuming, but the effort is worth it and others are good and easy. (I never keep a recipe that I don’t like.  I just start playing with it, till I get the outcome I want) You can make beef stroganoff with hamburger if you want or even stew meat, but I like the thinly sliced steak so much better.  This is a meal that my family likes in the fall and winter.  I serve it with a green vegetable or salad and hot rolls or garlic bread.  Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

1/2 cup butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound of mushrooms, sliced

4 tablespoons chopped green onion

2 pounds of lean steak, sliced thinly (I sliced it when it is still slightly frozen.  Makes it so much easier to slice)

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 sprig of fresh tarragon(pull leaves off of stem and discard stem)

1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced

1/2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced

2 cups sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add halt the oil.  Saute the mushrooms briefly.  Add green onion and salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, remove and reserve the mushrooms. Add the remaining butter and oil and cook the sliced meat a few pieces at a time, until browned.  Continue until all meat is cooked.  Remove meat and add broth and wine to the skillet.  Cook until the volume is reduced by half.  Add Worcestershire sauce and herbs.  Simmer for a few minutes and then add sour cream, beef, onions and mushrooms.  Cook over low heat

Chicken Spinach Casserole

Chicken spinach casserole

This dish is a good one to take to a potluck or to serve to company.  Easy to make.  Tastes wonderful.  What more could you ask?

 

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 box Orzo noodles

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

1 cup milk

2 cups sour cream

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 package (10 ounce) frozen spinach, cooked and drained

1 (8 ounce) package of slice mushrooms

1 (8 ounce) sliced water chestnuts, drained

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Cook chicken, reserving broth, and cut into bite sized pieces.  Cook Orzo and drain.  Melt butter and slowly stir in butter until blended.  Add milk and broth.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick.  Add all the rest of the ingredients except chicken, orzo and cheese.  Mix well.  Fold in orzo.  In large butter casserole dish layer 1/3 of vegetable/orzo mixture, then 1/2 chicken.  Repeat ending with remaining vegetable/orzo mixture.  Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Serves about 6-8.

Pecan Rice Pilaf

Pecan rice pilaf

We love rice in our house.  You can use it so many ways.  From simple cooked rice sprinkled with sugar for breakfast, one of my favorite breakfast dishes when I was a child, to broccoli cheese rice casserole, rice is always a winner.  Sometimes I just want to make a simple meat dish and have to look to my sides to make the dish special.  This is one of our favorites.  The toasted pecans just give it that step up.  Hope your family likes it as much as mine.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup each, diced – red and yellow bell peppers and onion

3 stalks celery, diced

1 medium carrot, diced into 1/4 inch pieces

1/2 cup wild rice

2 cups regular long grained rice

6 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Add peppers, onion, celery, carrot and wild rice.  Saute until soft.  Stir in long grain rice and then stir in stock and butter. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered, until the rice is done.  This should take about 15 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Stir in pecans and garnish with sliced green onions if you want.  Makes about 8-10 servings.