IN THE KITCHEN ◽ TIPS
I recently purchased a cast iron skillet cookbook. I use my skillet some, but not enough, and wanted some more ideas.  Several of the recipes in this book looked simple enough, and super tasty. 
 
Why not serve up some of these this summer for your family and friends?

Giant Cookie

  • 1 c softened butter

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 t vanilla

  • 1 t baking soda

  • 2 t hot water

  • ½ t salt

  • 2 ½ c flour

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips

  • Nuts (optional – I used pecans)

 

Preheat oven to 350 and heat the skillet in the oven while making the batter.  In a large bowl cream the sugars and the butter.  Add eggs, one at a time, combining each time before proceeding.  Stir in vanilla.

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to batter, along with salt.  Stir in the flour, chips and nuts.

Remove skillet from oven (it will be hot!) and put batter in, spreading with spatula.  Place in the oven and bake about 25 minutes (test to see if done in the center) til golden brown.  Serve with ice cream, if you desire!

Quinoa Casserole

  • 1 cup dry quinoa

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 ½ T olive oil

  • 1 ear of cooked corn kernels

  • ½ red bell pepper diced

  • ½ cup onion, chopped

  • 1 jalapeno seeded and sliced

  • ½ t salt

  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a small saucepan cook the quinoa in the broth, let it sit covered, to fully absorb the liquid.

Meanwhile, remove the corn from the cob and cook in the cast iron.  While that’s cooking, dice the other veggies.  Add them to the corn and cook til onion is soft and peppers start to brown. 

Stir in the quinoa, season with salt and combine all.  Keep skillet hot to lightly brown the quinoa, about another 10 minutes.

Stir in the cheese, remove from heat and serve.

Lemon Cake

  • ¾ c sugar

  • Zest of two lemons

  • 6 T butter cut into pieces

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 c flour

  • 1 t baking powder

  • ½ c milk

 

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a large bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest, working them together.  Add the butter, and cream til light.  Add the eggs one at a time, combining thoroughly after each.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE BURGER & DIP RECIPES. DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER TIPS STORIES.
Burgers & Dips
by Marcy Lytle
Summer Skillets
by Marcy Lytle
IN THE KITCHEN ◽ TIPS
Potato Bar
by Marcy Lytle

At the end of December, we had a potato bar with our extended family. We decided on this food option last Christmas and we liked it so much, we did it again!  It’s a great setup, as everything is served buffet-style, it’s kid-friendly because each person gets to choose their own toppings, and it’s a food spread that can be planned ahead of time, with each guest bringing something for the bar!

We thought it would be fun to share how to put the potato bar together, what items are tasty to serve, and inspire you to try it with your family this January, while the temps are cold outside, but it’s warm and cozy inside!

The potatoes:

Use your slow cooker to make the potatoes, and include a few sweet potatoes for those that might want them.

Prick each potato with a fork, rub with butter, and sprinkle with salt.  Place each one in aluminum foil and place in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours.  If you want the skin a bit crispy, remove after baking, unwrap and place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Here are some awesome toppings:

  • Chili (mix), pulled pork, or rotisserie chicken, or taco meat, pepperoni

  • Broccoli

  • All the usuals: butter, sour cream, chives, bacon 

  • Red onion

  • Jalapenos

  • Chopped tomatoes

  • Bacon

  • Cheese: goat, cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack

  • Sour cream, BBQ sauce, marinara, mojo

  • Avocado

  • Black beans

  • Salsa

  • Grilled corn

  • Roasted red peppers

  • Butter

  • Fresh basil, cilantro, or chives

  • Seasoning salt, cumin

 

You could even print out a sheet and have it on an easel or in a frame, so guests can see who to put different flavor profiles together for a tasty potato!  They can cut their potato in half and try two!  We’ve included one below!

Finally, the set up.  Our décor was Christmas, and since we had the event after Christmas, I was able to get fun black/white checkered trays and decorations on sale!  You can choose your own theme for your own taste!

Always add height, texture, color and lights to your table!

Height can be added with tiered trays or vases with greenery (just cut some branches off your own bushes or trees!)

Texture comes with layering the table with clothes or runners, and providing cloth napkins or even garland.

Color is provided by your food! But you can also add pretty plates and napkins that coordinate, as well perhaps pretty colorful nametags for your food!

Lights are always a welcome addition in the form of candles or twinkly lights. Or use the backdrop of your own fireplace.

Just pick a theme/color and go from there.  You could do black and white with just a few pops of color, you could choose all natural type décor including pinecones and twigs and branches and pieces of wood.  Maybe you like gray!  Make that your backdrop and add pops of gold and white for contrast.  Just have fun and do it!

Finally, our family did have so much fun trying new potatoes.  My niece’s husband cut a potato into fourths and topped each one with one of the choices in the frame – so fun!  Me – I opted for just picking and choosing from all the toppings. 

A potato bar is easy because you assign each person/family something to bring, and then just set it all out and enjoy!  The host usually provides the potatoes, and the guests all the rest.

WILL YOU TRY A POTATO BAR? CHECK OUT OUR OTHER TIPS STORIES.

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