Sunday, February 5, 2017

Recipes that Define Our Marriage: Taco Dip

Also called Tex-Mex Dip and 7-Layer Dip  

On the occasion of our wedding anniversary, my husband and I were discussing which recipes we feel define our short 37-year marriage. We were in agreement about most of them!

We first enjoyed this dip during the summer of 1981 when we lived at the foot of Main Street in Ft. Pierre, from the Family Circle magazine. We have it for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, so it's tied into many, many fond memories.  One year at Christmas-time (in the 1980s) I took it to our church's progressive dinner which wasn't the best idea because our humble town didn't reliably have ripe avocadoes. I also made it for Dennis and Suzy Betsinger when we hosted them for a movie back in the 90s when we lived on South Van Buren in Pierre. Fun Times!     
Prep time: 30 minutes                                  
  • 3 medium ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) sour cream
  • 12 cup mayonnaise (usually skip this)
  • 1 (1/4-1 1/8 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans bean dip
  • 1 bunch green onions with top, chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored, halved, seeded and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 (3 1/2 ounce) cans pitted ripe olives, drained, coarsely chopped (usually skip these)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Seafood Saturday! (also not a Columbia Classic :( )

During November, Lunch Bunch Book Club was hosted at 'Kennyhannas of Ft. Pierre' for an Asian-style steak house dinner which provided a great experience and great inspiration for home cooking. Thank you, Kennyhannas!

At home I've begun a regimen called 'seafood Saturday'. So far we've had fried walleye, coconut shrimp (twice), and oyster stew (also twice), with appropriate accompaniments such as popovers, vegetables, desserts.
Tonight's dinner took a leaf from Kennyhannas (stir-fried, large shrimp) with fried rice (and salmon dip with crackers, our own addition).

Every dinner needs atmosphere, right? It's already snowed here... Somewhere It's Snowing. 
The shrimp (fried in a cast iron grill pan with olive oil), was served with chili sauce and hoisin sauce (a Chinese barbecue-like sauce) on the side. Fried rice was direct from the Sun-bird seasoning packet (using brown rice), with the addition of water chestnuts. In our view,  the fried rice needed a little more salt or additional soy sauce, to be seasoned correctly.
The work New Year's Day potluck included salmon dip, thus it has been on my list of dishes to prepare, and was a hit. Apparently the Amish (re 'Amish Cooking' book) do not prepare appetizers, and the Columbia Classics major on shrimp dip, but Google is my friend.  I also had to work around the personal preferences - one hates pimientos, the other can't eat pepper or anything spicy.
Salmon Dip
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped pimento peppers (left out)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parlsley
1 teaspoon grated onion (minced, not grated; doubled or tripled the amount of onion)
1 (7 oz) can salmon, drained, bones and skin removed (mistakenly purchased a 14 oz can so used it all - just the right amount)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed (substituted 1 squeeze of dill paste)
1.       In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, [pimentos], parsley and onion; beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in the salmon and dill. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Chinese Ringnecked Pheasant in South Dakota snow

Saturday, January 2, 2016

It's a New Year! 2016 and Peach Kuchen

January 2 has been declared (by my dear spouse) a Day for Peach Kuchen!

Atmospheric 80s music: you know, Girls Just Want to Have Fun .

After I found my recipe (in the 1991 Emley Family Reunion cookbook), I realized it wasn't complete so had to review a few recipes online to make sure I added the right amount of sugar to the dough. The results looked almost exactly like this, and tasted divine:

Peach Kuchen

1/2 c. shortening
1 tsp salt
1 c. milk, scalded
¼ c. sugar
1 pkg yeast
1 whole egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
3 cups sifted flour

1.      Scald milk (heat on low fire until there are bubbles on the edge and a film rises to the top); add to shortening and salt in a large bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
2.      Mix yeast and sugar into the milk/shortening, let stand 5 minutes.  Add eggs. Add flour, mix thoroughly (may need a little more flour).
3.      Knead into a smooth dough; place in greased bowl and let raise 1 hour.
4.      Split dough into thirds , pat into the bottom and up on the sides of 3 pans (9” round, square or pie pans); let rest in a warm place until the custard is done.

1 pint whipping cream
2/3 c. sugar
3 eggs
5.      Cook custard over a low/medium burner, stirring until it begins to coat the spoon. Set aside.

1 ½ large can sliced peaches or plums

6.      Pat the dough down in the bottom and up the sides of the pans.
7.      Spread fruit on top of the dough
8.      Pour custard over the fruit
9.      Sprinkle with cinnamon.
10.   Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (custard is soft, crust is slightly brown).
11.   Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

This recipe brings back happy memories of my sister-in-law Alice Hilmoe teaching me to bake Kuchen in our first home. Also many memories of baking and eating it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Herbed Chicken and Vegetables - not a Columbia Classic

I've been missing this cooking blog after my long absence. Of course, I have been cooking and enjoying it, but also really enjoy writing about cooking, so here goes!

Our New Year's Eve dinner was Herbed Chicken and Vegetables from a cookbook that was a Christmas gift - Amish Cooking.  I have some doubts that it is truly Amish - there are quite a few convenience foods included - but the recipes look good and I will intersperse them with Columbia Classics in this season.

Another writer included the actual recipe in her blog, in case you would like to try it. Did you know you can also find Amish Music on a blog?

I doubled the recipe and used 4 chicken hindquarters, and about six potatoes plus two quartered onions, since we had no carrots. (I think you would need to parboil the carrots first, if you were using them, because I'm not sure they would get done enough.)

The chicken roasted at 425 degrees for about 35 minutes, and then we took it down to 350 degrees and put in some 'Grands' biscuits for 15 minutes. The chicken, potatoes and onions were roasted to perfection when the biscuits were done.

I believe it's time to make the kuchen! I made peach kuchen a couple of months ago for a breakfast potluck at work, and it will be my next post! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Actually, We Like Sour Cream Enchiladas Better

Page 74 in 'Trophy Recipes from the Columbia Classics Car Club" opens with 'Chili Chicken', a Mexican-style casserole which is fairly quick to prepare (after the chicken is cooked or you've picked up a pre-cooked one), and takes about an hour to bake. I couldn't find a similar recipe online, so here it is:

1 whole chicken
12 corn tortillas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 can green salsa sauce
1 can chili (no beans)
1 chopped onion
1/2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese

Simmer chicken in water until tender. Bone & cut into large bite sized pieces. Lay chicken in a large 3 Qt. casserole dish. Ter and place the 12 corn tortillas over the chicken. Mix together soup, broth, salsa sauce, chili and onions. Pour over chicken & tortillas.  Shred cheeses and spread on top of casserole.  Bake 15 minutes covered, 30-40 minutes uncovered at 350 degrees.  Yields 8-10 servings. - Paula Stands

This is a fine casserole - but my husband and I thought it needed something else, maybe a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilis? It reminded us of the Sour Cream Enchilada casserole that we really like, so I made that the next day (after we the Chili Chicken was gone). 


1 c. cultured sour cream (fat free is fine)
1 can cream of chicken soup (ditto)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (ditto)
2 small cans green chilies, chopped
1 tsp. diced jalapeno (freeze the rest of the can for later use)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. hamburger
1 ½ c. grated cheddar cheese
10 flour or corn tortillas

Brown hamburger and onion, set aside.  Combine sour cream, soup, chilies and tsp. jalapenos.  Save out 2 cups of this sauce.  Add burger and onions to remaining sauce.  Put a scoop of burger mixture on each tortilla, roll, and put in casserole dish (10 tortillas fit in a 13 x 9 pan – 8 lined up and 2 on the side).

Pour the two cups reserved sauce over the top of tortillas, and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

[You can use two cans of cream of chicken and mushroom soup instead, if you like; with this small amount of jalapeno, it’s very ‘mild’. We usually use flour tortillas. Merlyn puts more sour cream and picante on his but I eat mine plain.]

Monday, April 30, 2012

Always with the Appetizers!

I must admit that I really do like appetizers, as a snack or as a meal.  I have a new favorite from a Saturday evening gathering - it's called "Flaky Tomato and Mozzarella Tart".  I discoveredt in
an older issue of the "Real Simple" magazine, and the recipe is found here.

Be warned, however, that (even though it's easy) it will more time than you think.  The first time I tried to make it, I had time for the puff pastry to thaw (40 minutes) but had not allowed for the 30 minutes necessary for the dough to 'rest' after being rolled out.  So, my guests were arriving as I was taking it to the downstairs refrigerator, and I never did get back to finish and bake it (20 -25 minutes).

Saturday evening when I made it, I started too late again (!) but was able to shave 5 minutes off each of the thawing tie and resting time in order to offer it to our guests about 10 minutes after they arrived.

1 piece of puff pastry (1/2 of a box) makes two tarts, which provided about 2 appetizers each for 10 people.

Last Sunday I was out of town attending the Enoch Farm Spring Meeting (which was very anointed), leaving Merlyn home to process the DVD and photos he had taken at the Hosanna Dance recital, The Lion's Roar . (The production will be danced again December 14 and 15, 2012, at Riggs High Theater in Pierre, if you missed it.) 

Back to the story: Merlyn was planning to attend the potlunch and pie auction for the benefit of New Life Assembly's Nicaragua Team and their July missions trip.  He was distracted by a "quick" visit to First Baptist Church, where he is assisting them to evaluate their current sound system and needs, and as a result, returned to the church to find the potlunch over, the pies all purchased, and only a few friends left there.  Two of those wonderful friends, Kent and Sandy Bowers, gave Merlyn the rest of the Shepherd's Pie they had brought to the dinner, which  he took home and ate.  Another pair of wonderful friends, Tim and Melanie Stampe, called to say they had purchased a pie for him at the auction, and would drop it by for him.

The pie was the most delicious Key Lime Pie either one of us had ever eaten.  We were so blessed to enjoy it, especially since we hadn't even made it to the pie auction.  The following Sunday, Karen Helke came to me to say how disappointed she was Merlyn hadn't been at the pie auction, as she had made a Key Lime Pie just for him. 

Through the intervention of God and His helpers, Merlyn got to not only enjoy his favorite kind of pie, but to enjoy the best example of that favorite either of us have ever eaten.  And now he knows where to get another one!! 

Thank You, God!!! Thank you, friends!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grape Chutney, a new favorite

This recipe is from a different source, but just as good.  We ate it over whipped cream cheese spread on toasted Italian bread on Friday evening, and almost didn't get to our main course (baked potatoes with butter and sour cream).  The potatoes were raised by our friends Betsy and Layne Moeller near Rosholt, SD.
From Cuisine at Home, Issue 77, October 2009
Spread chevre or any soft cream cheese over toasted bread, then top with a spoonful of this sweet-hot chutney.
Makes 1 ½ cups; Total time: 45 minutes
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup minced shallots (2 shallots)
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tsp cumin seed

1 cup each red and green seedless grapes (11 oz. total)
1 cup diced red bell pepper (1 large)
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ c. cider vinegar
1 jalapeno chile pepper, minced (3 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp minced fresh gingerroot
¼ cup grape juice (white or red – chutney made with white will have a brighter color)
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add shallots, garlic, and cumin seed; sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Keep stirring so the shallots don’t brown.

Add grapes, bell pepper, raisins, vinegar, jalapeno and gingerroot.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover skillet and let chutney simmer for 15 minutes. 

Remove lid; stir in grape juice and brown sugar. As the grapes cook down, crush them with a spoon. Continue to simmer mixture, stirring often, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes.  Remove chutney from heat and stir in salt; let cool.

Serve chutney over cheese and crackers, or as a condiment for chicken, pork, lamb or beef. 
Per Tbsp: 37 cal, 1 gram total fat; 21 mg sodium; 6 g carb;