Friday, December 31, 2010

Really Easy Potpie

I hate waste of any kind, especially food and with today's high cost of living, why throw anything away that could be recreated into another dish?  So what do you do with that leftover chicken, turkey, ham, or beef?  A wonderful idea is using them in homemade potpie!   

Those of you that say their family would never eat leftovers, then I dare you to fool those picky eaters with this recipe.  All those disbelievers will think you labored for hours cooking this fresh just for them.  

Another great thing is how versatile this filling for your potpie can be.  You can interchange the meats, vegetables, and spices to what your family enjoys the most.  I often add frozen chopped broccoli pieces or mixed vegetables instead of green beans.  Some fresh mushrooms cooked up are also wonderful to include in your pie.  You can even throw in some leftover mashed potatoes.  Just by adding the same amount of dried sage is a nice touch too.  Experiment with the ingredients that your family loves and see where it leads.  Now how can you go wrong?

Make my Oil Pie Crust from the last post before you begin.  (For potpie dough I usually substitute olive oil for the canola oil for an even flakier crust.  However, canola oil works well.)  Make two balls.  Take one ball and pat it into your greased nine-inch pie pan.  Take out a piece of wax paper long enough to roll the other ball to fit your top crust after you make the filling below.


Versatile Potpie Filling:

2 cups of your leftover turkey, chicken, or meat of choice (chopped into small pieces)
1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (the normal 10.5 oz. size)
2/3 cup of milk
2 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small onion)
1 can of green beans, drained (14.5 oz.-15 oz. size)
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice

Brown your chopped onion in two tablespoons of canola oil until lightly browned.  Add your 2 cups of chopped leftover turkey pieces or meat of choice, your can of cream of mushroom soup, 2/3 cup of milk, drained green beans and spices to warm through.  Pour into your greased, prepared pan with my oil pie crust dough.  Top with your shredded Cheddar cheese. 

Flip your wax paper carefully over your filled pie pan and fit your top crust over your potpie.  Crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers.  Put slits with a knife on the top crust to vent out the steam.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until lightly browned on top. 

A Thought for the New Year

Can you believe in a few short hours another year will be upon us?  Just when you got used to writing 2010 on everything it will be 2011!  Don't you wonder where the time seems to go?

Remember when you were a child and time seemed to crawl by on turtle speed?  Now time somehow races by once you're an adult.  

My grandmother used to tell me as a girl not to be in such a hurry to grow up.  I used to ask why?  She would smile and then tell me after you turn 16, the years go by more quickly so enjoy your youth.  I never knew what she meant until years later.   Now I understand perfectly and think of my wise grandmother's words with each new year as it approaches.  How do you feel about it?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Nuts About Cheap and Easy Recipes!

The recipes I'm going to share with you are far from gourmet dishes that call for expensive ingredients that you would have to drive all over creation just to find or mail away for.  Everything I cook is either in your pantry now or at the local grocery store--not a specialty shop.  So if truffles and birds' nest soup are what you crave, then you won't find it here--only basic, old-fashioned recipes made from scratch!

These are some of the recipes that I'm nuts about.  Hopefully you'll try a few out because I do think these are extra special. 

The first recipe that I want to tell you about came to me out of desperation.  It was apple season and we were lucky enough to have a bountiful apple harvest from the tree in our yard.  After hours of peeling and coring tons of apples for pie, I discovered I was out of shortening for my pies. 

The normal person would have jumped in their car to go get some shortening.  However, I was too tired after all that apple detail.  Instead, I went through tons of my cookbooks until I found this odd recipe for pie crust with oil.

Oil?  Now don't cringe at the thought.  You don't have to worry about screwing up the dough like when you use shortening and work it too much.  This oil crust is foolproof even if you never made a flaky pie before.  

This crust is the only one I still make.  It's healthier, tender and flaky consistently, much easier than traditional recipes, can be used for dessert pie, potpie, and a quiche crust.  But the only way you'll know for sure that I'm nuts about this is for you to try my crust yourself. 


Oil Pie Crust


1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt


Mix all the ingredients in your bowl until they form a greasy ball.  Divide the ball into two for the top and bottom crust.  Grease a 9-inch pie pan.  Roll out the first ball on a sheet of wax paper.  You can press it into your pan or save it for your top crust.  I pat the first ball into the pan, pour my filling, then roll the remaining top crust on the wax paper so it has a nicer appearance.  If it sticks to the paper, then sprinkle a little flour to make rolling easier.   Don't worry if your dough ball feels greasy because it is normal.  Once you have the crust in the shell, you can fill it with your favorite filling and bake as usual.

*All moms know how much their kids love to help them in the kitchen.   A great together activity is mom and child working side by side on this pie crust.  Allow your child to pat the bottom crust into your pie pan for you.  You'll be surprised at how efficient those small hands can be from working with their play dough.  Your child will delight in taking part in making something delicious for the family while learning by mom's example!

Next time, I'll give you a delicious way to use your leftovers and turn them into my Super Easy Potpie!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm Nuts Over a Cheap Fix for Static Cling!

It's that great time of the year when you'll find dresses or blouses clinging because of cold weather.  If you're like me, your first thought would be to reach for that can of spray to save yourself from embarrassment and unnecessary sparks of static electricity.  However, I learned about a cheap alternative from a former co-worker--hand lotion!

Believe it or not, ordinary hand lotion is a safer and less expensive alternative to its commercial counterpart.  Instead of inhaling all those fumes from a chemical spray, I just take out my hand lotion and rub a little along my slip, camisole, or pantyhose.  The dress that formerly was riding up your thighs will suddenly fall gracefully down.  Like magic, you'll see a difference.  You'll discover no more clinging problems while doing your part to smell more sweetly.  Just reapply every so often and your clothes will stay where they're supposed to while those overworked hands stay nicely moisturized.

Guys can take advantage of this cheap fix as well.  Just rub a little hand lotion on those thighs and calves before putting on pants will keep that static electricity at bay. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Have You Ever Heard of A Water-Powered Alarm Clock?



Bedol water-powered clock.jpeg
Bedol Water-Powered Alarm Clock
If you're like me, you may have been unaware there are environmentally friendly clocks that do run on water instead of batteries or electricity.  However,  I recently won a Bedol Water-Powered Alarm Clock.  I was skeptical at first about how well this clock would work until I gave it a try.  Now I am nuts about this clock.

All  I needed to do was unscrew the top and fill it up with water to the appropriate level.   A few more presses and I set the alarm, which in my three months of use, has never missed a beat and sounds off at the exact designated time I set.  This clock is fantastic because you never have to worry about replacing any battery or worrying about the correct time if you lose power.  

You do, however, need to change the water when the time begins to fade, usually after a few months.  My screen didn't fade; but, the water looked cloudy so I decided to clean it out according to the directions.  All I added was some white vinegar, then allow the inside container to dry before resetting it.  

My only complaint with this clock is the complicated set of directions themselves--not the clock itself!  Why companies fail to write simple instructions instead of assuming all customers have a technical background stumps me.  Anyone else feel the same way?