Jul 24, 2013

A Shower Essential

In my lifetime, I have thrown a lot of baby showers.  And wedding showers.  But mainly baby showers.

Some of the hostesses and a very pregnant me at my shower here.

There is a constant at every shower I attend here in town.  When I am feeling a bit lackluster or antisocial, I can count on asparagus rolls to get me to that shower.  I have never had these wonders outside of Knoxville, so I might be introducing you to a treat which changes the way you look at baby showers forever.

I made asparagus rolls last week for Leigh's shower.  Normally, I might have been lazy and ordered a batch from the country club, but I was feeling industrious and gave them a whirl.  Super easy, these do take a chunk of time.  However, they are ideal to prepare in advance and have in the freezer.

From the Knoxville Junior League cookbook, Tennessee Tables, please enjoy Mrs. Walter D. Fain's Bleu Cheese Asparagus Rolls (with some minor updates).

Asparagus Rolls

2 loaves white bread (Pepperidge Farm)
1 8 oz package cream cheese (room temperature)
1 4 oz package of blue cheese
2 eggs
1 package of frozen artichoke spears (steamed)
1/2 cup melted butter

Trim the crust from the bread and roll flat with a rolling pin
Combine the cheeses and the eggs, blending well.
Spread the mixture on bread.
Place on asparagus spear to one side of bread and roll up.
Dip the rolls in melted butter and freeze.
To serve, slice in half and bake 45-60 minutes at 350.

This will give you about 15 servings.  I doubled it, and made 30 servings for Leigh's shower.

Is there a traditional food in your neck of the woods at showers?

Jul 18, 2013

Dinner from the Freezer

Yesterday was one of those days when I ran around all afternoon, Targeting and hitting up Trader Joe's with a toddler demanding every sort of food we passed (on the upside?  I forgot how wonderfully salty Target popcorn is).  It was also about three thousand degrees outside.

So we return, a tad disgruntled, newly poor and sweaty.  I get Miss Priss settled, then unload my bags of groceries and various other necessities, only to realize, "Hot damn, I have nothing to eat for supper."

Don't you hate that?  You've just spent a kajillion dollars at the grocery store, but the only readily available foodstuff is squeeze applesauce, string cheese or mandarin oranges (unsurprisingly, this comprised the first half of my cranky toddler's dinner).

However, feeling very Suzy Homemaker indeed, I raided my freezer. Ha!  A pan of "Anytime Chicken and Dressing" modified from Southern Living's "Fix It & Freeze It & Heat It & Eat It" (a rather unwieldy name, for a cookbook which is nothing but wieldy).  I set it in the oven for an hour, chopped an onion and sauteed it with a little country ham, added frozen green beans and chicken broth, and dinner was ready shortly after Miss Priss got out of the bath. Frozen green beans made me hang my head in shame, as pole beans and stringers are overflowing locally, but sometimes you just can't muster the energy to string a bean.  Or hell, go to the grocery store one more time.

This dinner is not fancy.  It is simple and good.  Dell Harper sat with me, and enjoyed her second dinner immensely.  Morgan loves when I pull a pan of this casserole out of the freezer.

Anytime Chicken and Dressing
Makes Six (large) Servings

1/4 cup butter
10 green onions (roughly a bunch of green onions), chopped
5 celery ribs, chopped
10 cornbread muffins, crumbled (I made mine from a mix, just make sure the mix does not have sugar*)      
                     (about 3.5 cups)
1/2 (16 oz) package herb-seasoned stuffing mix
5 cups chicken broth
1.5 cups cooked chicken (I used an entire rotisserie chicken)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions and celery and sauté about 5 minutes until tender.
2.  Combine the cornbread and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl; add the sauteed vegetables, stirring well.  Spoon the dressing into 2 lightly greased 8x8 baking dishes.  Each will be about 4 generous servings.

To freeze:  cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil, and cook at 350 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes.

To eat right then- bake uncovered at 350 for 55 minutes or until lightly browned.

*Sweet cornbread is an abomination and all who eat it should feel hot shame.  Much like I feel, eating frozen green beans in July.

Comfort food at its finest.

Jul 17, 2013

Back on the Wagon

You know when you quit doing something, like working out, or making your bed, or, ahem, blogging, and then starting back up just seems like an overwhelming task?

That's what happened to me.

At night I compose brilliant, witty posts in my head before going to sleep.  Then in the morning, life takes over, and I hustle around with my toddler, then try to get my actual work done, then hustle around some more.  The more I put off opening Blogger, the more my procrastination becomes completely ingrained.

But I like blogging!  It's not a chore.  So, time to get back on the blogging bandwagon.  I can't wait to catch up with all of you, and see how everyone's summers have been progressing.  Probably heatedly, like mine.

So expect and excuse some paltry posts as I attempt to get back in the habit.  We're back in our house, and besides some minor details, it is done!  I can't wait to take some pictures, and show y'all!

Sooner rather than later this time.