Desserts, Uncategorized

Nestle Toll House Cookies (Stein Style)

Especially toward the end of her time with us, LaVerne would begin to worry about what to serve as soon as she knew folks were coming to visit, but she could relax as soon as I told her we’d either bake these cookies before a visit, or pull some out of the freezer. Many batches of cookies have passed through Stein ovens, but this is probably the recipe that has been baked most.

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Many thanks to Barbara for supporting my fundraising effort in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. You can support my walk here.

Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened. The Stein family recipe replaces with shortening, as in the original Nestlé recipe
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
One 12 oz. package Nestlé Toll House semi sweet chocolate morsels (2 cups)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate morsels and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto on greased cookie sheets. Bake: at 375°F 9 to 11 minutes. Makes: about five dozen 2 1/4 inch cookies.
Pan cookie variation: prepared though as directed. Spread into greased 15.5 x 10.5 by 1 inch baking pan. Bake: at 375°F. 20 to 25 minutes. Cool; cut into 35 2 inch squares.

Notes

I put a note about shortening into the actual recipe above because the Steins are so opinionated about that difference, and we wouldn’t want you to get your butter ready in vain.

Our recipe card is simply the recipe from a bag of chocolate chips taped to an index card and family lore says that there is a very old card made the same way showing the shortening as an ingredient, but I am unable to provide photo evidence.

The Steins use pecans when they feel like using nuts as there is walnut allergy in the family.

What is your favorite cookie?

PS I hope this isn’t a repeat post! My records show that I have recorded the recipe but had not yet shared it with you. My apologies if I have – but you know, it’s always good to make a good cookie time and time again.

Do you have a  favorite cookie?

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Side Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Onion Roasted Potatoes (AKA Case-Hardened Potatoes)

My apologies for not having a photo of the finished recipe. We photographed as we cooked and ate through these recipes the past year, but toward the end of our time at Mom’s house, it was not an organized effort to match photo to recipe we were capturing, as we were taking more care of the mother than the project.

Many thanks to Trudi for your support for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This one’s for you!

If you, too, would like to support my fundraising efforts for the Walk on October 1, you can donate to my page here.

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Onion Roasted Potatoes “AKA Case Hardened Potatoes”

Preheat oven to 450°F

Ingredients
One envelope onion soup mix
Half cup olive or vegetable oil
Quarter cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Quarter teaspoon pepper
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, cut into quarters

Steps

Blend ingredients (except potatoes) in a roasting pan.
Add potatoes, turn to coat thoroughly.
Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley.
Makes about eight servings.
Notes: Original recipe says 60 minutes. This is crossed out, replaced with 35, as you can see in the photograph of LaVerne’s copy in her recipe journal, seen above.

Notes

This recipe also works quite well in a cast iron skillet. It is one of those recipes that makes everyone in each family generation smile, I think, whenever we mention it. There was a time when LaVerne bought Lipton’s onion soup mix by the case. We make our own blend with bouillon granules, garlic powder, ground black pepper and dehydrated onion now.

What is a recipe that makes you smile?

 

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Side Dishes, Uncategorized

Fresno Potato Casserole- and Some News About Mom

Below is a post I started some months ago – maybe it’s even a year now.  Much has changed in the year since I cooked with LaVerne in her own kitchen. A year ago this month, we moved her into our home. Three months ago, we moved her into a memory care facility. She has settled well there, enjoying her routine and her friends and activities. She feels safe and loved and cared for. We could not ask for better! When we visit, our beloved Mother is still in there, but it is only her essence that remains, and we lose more parts of her with each visit.  

The original intent of this blog was to cook through the traditional Stein family recipes we’ve all loved from Mom’s kitchen over the years. Here is the last post I was writing as things began to spiral farther down the path we have been following. I couldn’t bear to post it then without some editorial comment, but I couldn’t bear to share the immensity of what we were going through.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s one of those diseases, are terrible robbers of loved ones. These diseases burden caregivers and bank accounts. They steal years and moments from all those connected with a loved one suffering from a disease of the brain resulting in memory loss. Inspired by my friend Kevan, whose wife is nearing the end of her journey down this cruel road, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and work to raise funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (our walk is October 1st this year).  As a thank you to each person who donates, I have promised to post a new recipe or poem here on the blog – to share our story and to spread the word. Here is my fundraising page.  If you donate, I’ll add a post for you, too. Here’s last year’s recipe, as thank you to Kevan.

LaVerne is now becoming less and less able to function in the kitchen on her own, and re-visiting her recipes with her is real joy for both of us, so that is what we’re doing.

Finding and recreating these beloved recipes is so gratifying, but it’s also had another delightful result. As we poke through Mom’s favorite cookbooks, sift through recipe boxes, and wander together through our memories, we are finding new recipes in old books. Sometimes they look so good we just have to try them.

The first of these deviations was Chocolate Zucchini Cake, which is getting rave reviews from all over. This time, it’s a creamy, flavorful potato recipe, again from Sunset’s Favorite Recipes II Cookbook. Fresno Potato Casserole caught LaVerne’s eye one evening as we were deciding what to make for dinner, and we just kept going back to it. It was clear that we had to make it when we found all the ingredients in the larder.Here is a rare photo of my mother-in-law LaVerne in action. It’s not been common for anyone to catch her at work in the kitchen, though she’s spent about sixty years in charge of one.

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You’ll have to take my word for it that the dish itself was lovely. We were too busy enjoying making and eating it to capture any pictures except this one of LaVerne slicing the potatoes.

Fresno Potato Casserole

2-1/2 to 3 pounds thin-skinned potatoes

4 strips bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled

4 green onions, thinly sliced (including tops)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 pint (1 cup) sour cream

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

3/4 cup seasoned croutons, purchased or homemade (page 25), slightly crushed

3 T butter or margarine, melted

Pour water into a 3-qt pan to a depth of 1 inch. Add potatoes, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender when pierce (about 25 minutes). Drain well, peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Arrange half the slices in a greased shallow 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Top with half the bacon and half the onions. In a small bowl, combine milk and sour cream; spread half the milk mixture over onions, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat layers. Sprinkle croutons on top and drizzle with butter.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

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Main Dishes

Cheese and Chili Burgers

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Cheese and Chili Burger
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons salad oil
2 pounds ground beef
Sautée above ingredients together until browned, then stir in:

18 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Half teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
Simmer 10 minutes
Spoon meat onto bottom half of 10 hamburger buns laid out on a cookie sheet; top with grated cheese. Close with top bun.
Bake 350° 20 minutes or less (serves 10-ish)

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**Notes
As I’ve said before, we don’t use salad oil to sauté ground beef, and we prefer to cook the meat first. Otherwise, we made this recipe exactly as directed. This one serves a loarge group, and can be suplemented with numerous side dishes.
Do you have a favorite recipe that serves a crowd at your house?

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Desserts

Millionaire Cookies

I haven’t gotten any input from the boys, so I’ll ask here if anyone can clear up a memory: was this Grandma Marie’s recipe, which is what I remember, of was your Mom the first to make these? They were a part of Stein family gatherings, Christmas in particular, for years, I do know that much.

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Millionaire Cookies

1 cup white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup nuts
Mix together and form into 2 long round logs.
Let stand overnight or freeze.
Slice thin and bake in 375° oven.
Brown and white sugar amounts may be interchanged.
Makes 13 dozen 2 inch cookies

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** Notes
This is a HUGE recipe. Making a half recipe seemed more trouble than it was worth, though, so we went for the whole thing. We made the dough into two logs, reserving one in the refrigerator to bake the next day as instructed, and the other in the freezer to bake on my next visit. What a brilliant move. I’m going to try preparing more cookie dough of various kinds to bake at a moment’s notice this way. Mom enjoyed helping when we needed something to do of an afternoon.
We made about 12 1/2 dozen cookies total, and the frozen cookies were only slightly drier than the ones we made first.

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Do you have a favorite family cookie recipe? Please share!

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Main Dishes

Tamale Pie

Speak the words “Mom’s Tamale Pie” around the Stein boys, and to a man their eyes light up. The reminiscent sigh that follows is the same.

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This is one of those recipes – fragrant, flavorful and satisfying, and I always think of how those hungry boys must have filled up on it when it comes to mind.

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Tamale Pie

Meat mixture:
1-1/2 pounds ground lean beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
1/4 cup shortening or salad oil
1 can (about 15 ounce) tomatoes
1 can (12 ounce) whole kernel corn
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 6 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup water
1 cup pitted black olives

Topping:
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

Note: while this mixture is cooking, make the topping (see below).

Sauté meat, onion, green pepper and garlic together in heated shortening until onions are golden, about 10 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, corn, salt, chili powder, and pepper; cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in the cornmeal blended with the water; simmer 10 minutes more.
Add olives and turn mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking dish.

Spread topping over meat. Bake uncovered in a 375° oven for 40 minutes.

To cook cornmeal topping:
Scald 1 1/2 cups milk with half teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons butter. Gradually add 1/2 cup cornmeal and cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in 2 beaten eggs and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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Notes
**We don’t sauté ground beef in oil, nor cook the onions and the raw meat together anymore. You can follow the kitchen guidelines and routines you’re most comfortable with.

**This seems like an awful lot of salt, and I reduced the total by a generous 1/2 teaspoon. Taste the meat mixture after it has the other seasonings, then salt to taste.

**We use frozen sweet corn at our house.

**We used 1 pound of leanest ground beef for this recipe and it was really great.

**We bake the finished product right in the frying pan nstead of a separate 9×13 dish.

**We served this dish with a salad. Three of us (Mom was visiting again!) had two dinners and there was still another small meal plus some lunch sized portions for the freezer. In other words, it made a LOT. The fragrance as this dish cooked was so delightful!

** When I was getting ready to cook this dish, I found my own grandmother’s recipe for Tamale Pie as well. That one (pictured above with Mom’s recipe card) includes raisins. Ew.

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Is there a filling, flavor packed meal you enjoy cooking for your family?

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Breads, Desserts

Dad’s Sweet Rolls

My husband’s Dad and I used to joke that he was the Lady of the house, because my mom taught me the etymology of the word lady, which means, “Baker of the bread.”
James’ Dad was the bread guy, the grill guy, and the supreme scrambled egg guy.
He taught me everything I know about amazing, fluffy scrambled eggs, and we lovingly critiqued each other’s bread textures over the years. What an honor to have him compliment my efforts!

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Everyone loved Mike’s sweet rolls, and he would often make some when a crowd was set to descend upon the house for a weekend. He shared that recipe in a handwritten letter, in his own sort of shorthand, so this is not exactly taken from a cookbook.

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He said, “The recipe for these sweet rolls basically comes from the Fleischmann’s New Treasury of Yeast Baking of about 1968. It’s been modified slightly. Good luck with it.
Practice at least once before we next come up then allow me to critique your product.”

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Dad’s Sweet Rolls

Dough
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 packages yeast (1 tablespoon +1-1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 stick margarine or butter
2 room temperature eggs

Liquids and margarine – warm together
Mix sugar, salt and yeast, and 1 cup flour together. Add liquids in, beat for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and 1 more cup flour. Beat at speed 2 in the mixer 2 minutes.
Put on the dough hook add enough flour to produce dough.
Raise until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and divide into two halves.
Roll each half into long rectangle. Roll thin, 18″ x 9″. The dough will probably be half inch or less in thickness.
Brush with melted butter or margarine-will probably require about half stick. Leave one long edge of dough uncoated
Spread dough with one half of filling.
Roll out the dough toward unbuttered edge. Seal edge.
Cut roll every inch or so. Place cut rolls in greased pan. Don’t crowd them too much. Allow them to raise until they look about right.
Bake in 350° oven for 25 minutes. Cool and frost with mixture of confectioners’ sugar and milk or orange juice.

Fillings:
For Cinnamon Rolls
1-1/2 cups of sugar (I use half and half white and brown)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cups raisins
I also add chopped nuts if available

For Orange Rolls
1-1/2 cups of sugar
Grated rind of a large orange
Raisins
Chopped nuts

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***Notes
From Dad: The original recipe called for 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. I don’t like that much so cut it and see no affect but flavor on the product. You may find you can get by with a bit less oleo to grease the dough and or a bit less filling (sugar component). I use it all and what leaks out when I cut the rolls gets thrown in the pan wherever it hits.

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From us: Mike preferred the orange rolls. I prefer the cinnamon rolls, so that’s what we’ve typically made over the years. Watch how much flour you use rolling out the dough. A little sticky is okay it will be easier to get at the size you want if it’s not too elastic.

The steps given here assume the use of the Kitchenaid mixer we all have in our kitchens thanks to James’ folks. Use whatever tools you have to get the job done – but this is easy and fast with the dough hook.

Roll the log even tighter than you think you should. Stretch the outer layer around the roll to capture everything tightly. When it says “don’t crowd too much,” really, don’t. This batch came out tiny on one end of the pan because they didn’t have quite enough room to rise. Tiny just meant a person could eat two, but the texture of the bigger ones was nicer.
What sweet treat do you favor?

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