Family Favorites

The Shirbrouns love to cook .... well, lets say that I love to spend time in the kitchen cooking.  Sons #1 and #2 cook because I make them take Food and Nutrition as a 4H project area every year.  Son #3 really wants to learn how to cook - he doesn't consider making peanut butter sandwiches as cooking any more.  And Joe, well, he is along for the ride.

Here are some of our favorite recipes.


Apple Puff Pancake
     I found this recipe on the inside of a Land O'Lakes Sweet Cream Butter box.  This has become our Sunday Night meal.  It used to be regular pancakes but this is less labor intensive and I get to sit with the family and eat rather than slave over the stove while Joe and the boys devour pancakes. 
So, here is the recipe.
     4 Tbsp Butter
     1/2 cup Flour
     1/2 cup Milk
     2 Eggs
     1/2 cup Maple-flavored syrup
     1 medium apple, peeled, sliced
     2 Tbsp Brown sugar
     1/4 tsp Cinnamon
Heat oven to 425F.  Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a 9-inch glass pie plate in oven (4 to 5 minutes).  Brush melted butter over the bottom of pan.
Meanwhile, combine flour, milk and eggs in medium bowl; beat with whisk until well mixed.  Pour batter into hot pie plate. 

Bake for 14 to 17 minutes or until puffed and light golden brown. 

Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add syrup, apple slices, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Cook until apple is tender; keep warm.
Spoon apple mixture over puffed pancake; sprinkle with powedered sugar.  Serve immediately.  2 servings.

Ok, I have taken some creative licensing with this recipe.  Half the Shirbrouns like strawberries so I tweaked the recipe for strawberries.  When doing the berries I use regular white sugar in place of the brown sugar and I replace the maple syrup with light corn syrup.  For the five of us I usually make two or three of the pancakes.   Number 2 even likes this recipe and that doesn't happen very often!

French Toast Casserole
     3/4 cup Brown Sugar
     1 tsp. Cinnamon
     1/2 cup Butter (melted)
     12 slices Sandwich Bread
     2 cups Milk
     6 Eggs
Mix brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon and spread in a 9x13 cake pan.  Place on top of this mixture the 12 slices of bread (2 slices thick).  Beat together eggs and milk with whisk and pour over bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes uncovered.

I really like this recipe because it's fast and doesn't call for French bread.  I don't always have French bread on hand but I do have a loaf of sandwich bread in the pantry or in the freezer.  I used this recipe for #1's Confirmation brunch along with omelets and fruit.


Reuben Spread 
     8 oz Cream Cheese
     2 pkg Corned Beef
     8 oz Sour Cream
     14 oz can Franks Bavarian Sauerkraut
Blend all together.  Put in crackpot and heat until warmed through.  Takes about 1 hour.  Serve with rye bread.


Wild Rice Mushroom Soup
     1/3 cup Wild Rice
     1/4 cup Butter
     1 small Onion rough chopped
     12 -16 oz fresh Mushrooms sliced
     1/4 cup Flour
     2 cups Chicken broth
     2 cups Half & Half
Cook rice in broth until tender.  Melt butter in a sauce pan.  Stir in flour and Half & Half.  Stir constantly until thick.  Brown onion and sliced mushrooms in a frying pan.  Add to flour mixture.  Then add to cooked rice.  Great for cold fall and winter days.

Side Dishes

Taco Salad
My mom brought this salad recipe back from Arizona a couple of springs ago.

It has been a good stand by for me to take to picnics and church dinners.  I don't even know what the real name of it is but I do know that 4 out of 5 in my family like it. It's very simple.  Here are the ingredients:

Chop up 2 to 3 peppers.  I use red and green for color.  If I'm going for the Iowa State theme I use red and yellow peppers.  Chop 1/2 of a medium onion.  There again if you want more color go for a red onion.  Drain 2 cans of whole kernel sweetcorn.  Mix all the veggies in a bowl.  Next mix 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese with 2 cups of Miracle Whip.  MW works better than real mayo.  Mix the cheese mixture with the veggies.  Just before serving add in crushed Chili Cheese Fritos.  Enjoy!

Russell's Sweet Potato Pie
This is my cousin's recipe.  I have never known him to make it but my Aunt Judy does and it has become a family favorite. 
     3 cups mashed Sweet Potatoes (1 20oz can, drained)
     1/2 cup Sugar
     1 Egg
     1 1/2 tsp Vanilla or Bourbon
      1/4 cup melted Butter
Mix all of the above and put in buttered casserole dish or a deep dish pie plate.
      1/2 cup Brown sugar
      1/4 cup Flour
      1/2 cup chopped Pecans
      3 tblsp Butter
Mix and put on top of sweet potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Quick Breads

Corn Muffins
These are Son #2's blue ribbon muffins for the county fair 2011.
     2 cups all-purpose flour
     1 cup yellow cornmeal
     1 1/2 tsp baking powder
     1/2 tsp salt
     2 large eggs
     3/4 cup sugar
     1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
     3/4 cup sour cream
     1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Generously coat a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil. 
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Whisk eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl until combined.  Whisk in the melted butter, sour cream, and mild until smooth.  Gently fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture with spatula until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Use a large ice-cream scoop or measuring cup to divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Do not level or flatten the surface or the mounds.  Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 18 minutes. 
Let the muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes them flip onto a wire rack  and let cool a little before serving.  They're really good with butter and honey!


Cherry Pie
This is Son #1's Iowa State Fair blue ribbon winning pie.  We all really enjoyed the summer he spent practicing this recipe!

Flaky Pastry for 2-Crust Pie
     2 cups Flour
     1 tsp Salt
     2/3 cup Lard
     4 to 5 tblsp Cold Water

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Cut in lard with pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal or tiny peas.  Sprinkle on cold water, 1 tblsp at a time stirring with fork.  Add water each time to the driest part of mixture.  The dough should be moist enough to hold together when pressed gently with a fork.  It should not be sticky.  Shape dough in smooth ball with hands and roll.  If not ready to make the pie, wrap it in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to use.
Cherry Pie
      2 cans pitted Tart Cherries
      2 1/2 tblsp Quick-cooking Tapioca
      1/4 tsp Salt
      1/4 tsp Almond Extract
      1 tsp Lemon Juice
      4 drops Red Food Color
      1 1/4 cup Sugar
      1 tblsp Butter

Drain Cherries.  Measure 1/3 cup liquid into mixing bowl.  Add tapioca, salt, almond extract, lemon juice and food color, then cherries and 1 cup sugar.  Mix and let stand while making pastry.  Fit pastry into a 9" pie pan.  Fill with cherry mixture.  Dot with butter.  Sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Moisten rim with water.  Adjust top; flute edges.  Bake in hot oven (425 degrees) 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm with lots of icecream - yum!

Swedish Creme
This is one of my all time favorite dessert recipes.  This is one of my Aunt Judy's recipes.  I LOVE IT!
      2 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
      1 cup Sugar
      1 pkg Unflavored Gelatin
      2 cups Sour Cream
      1 tsp Vanilla
Combine cream, sugar and gelatin in saucepan.  Heat gently stirring over low heat for 5 minutes or until the gelatin has dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Cool until slightly thickened.  Fold in sour cream and vanilla.  Put in bowls or glasses and add fruit of choice.  For special occasions, I serve this in wine glasses or champagne flutes.  Any fruit works.  This family really likes raspberries and blue berries or fresh peaches.  Enjoy!

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