Friday, May 25, 2012


Welcome back to Free Recipe Friday everyone.
We're going to join in with the rest of America and celebrate
this holiday weekend by eating tons of food!?!
But we should not forget the true reason for our
awesome three day weekend.
As Ronald Reagan said in 1986
at Arlington National Cemetery. . .

"Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes
and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again.
It's a day of thanks for the valor of others,
a day to remember the splendor of America
and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others.
It's a day to be with the family and remember." 

I hope everyone will be able to do just that.
Spend time with family and remember.
As you spend time with your family this weekend,
you may very possibly be having Brisket.
Beef heavenly Brisket is our focus today as it probably will be
for the rest of America as well.
There are many different ways to cook it,
however, ours will only focus on indoor recipes.
If you wanna smoke or grill one, go. for. it.  
Our method will be the easy,
let it cook overnight while you're sleeping method.
Annnnd today, you will not only get one, but TWO
AMAZING ways to cook a brisket in your oven.
Dos recetas.
I believe we discovered this recipe several years ago
via 'the Paula Deen.'  LOVE it! TRY it!

-Brisket Number One-

Beef Brisket - an average size
which for most of us in Texas is about 8-11 lbs.

(vacuum packed in the leather like plastic)

Large size disposable Aluminum Pan
(optional, but you will thank me)

Aluminum Foil to cover pan

4 Tablespoons Chili Powder

4 Tablespoons Salt

2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder

2 Tablespoons Onion Powder

2 Tablespoons Black Pepper

2 Tablespoons Sugar

4 teaspoons Dry Mustard
(or substitute several tablespoons prepared mustard)

2 Bay Leaves/crushed

3 cups good quality Beef Broth


Place unwrapped brisket into foil pan or large roaster,
fatty side up.  Please do not remove any of the
hunks of fat before baking even though you may be tempted to.
In a separate small bowl,
combine all of the dry ingredients listed above.
Mix well.
Cover/rub the entire brisket with this dry rub mixture.
Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and
pour your beef broth around the brisket so that it
comes up the side of the pan to about 1/2 inch.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and return to oven.

Reduce oven heat to 300.
Continue cooking for about 4 hours.
To cook overnight, we usually reduce the heat a bit more
and put it in the oven around bedtime -
it's done about 7 or 8 hours later.
These times go for an average 8-11 lb. brisket
found in all supermarkets in East Texas.

Careeeeefully remove brisket from oven,
as the amount of liquid/fat in the pan has probably tripled
and is boiling hot.
Let it rest on a flat surface for an hour or so
right in the pan.
If you do not care for fatty pieces of meat,
the best way to remove the fat from a brisket
is to do so when it is still quite warm.
You can use a large spoon or spatula and
literally scrape off the layer of fat like butter!
Discard the fat via a trash can
or to your wild outdoor pets.

Then you can remove the brisket from the pan
and slice with an electric knife or other extremely sharp knife.
If you want to make this ahead, wrap the brisket very well
in some it's own juices and refrigerate overnight.
Remove brisket from juices, slice it cold
(which will actually be easier than slicing warm)
place back in it's pan and heat in a low oven.
The juices will keep the brisket moist.
It is a big fat YuMmO!

We discovered the recipe below by way of my sister-in-law.
It's the only way we ever had brisket
at James' family gatherings...unless you count the times
we had Sadler's pre-cooked and sliced brisket from Sam's.
DELICIOUS!!!!!  The recipe below makes more of a sweet
brisket, but it is OH SO good!
Don't let the sweet scare you.

-Brisket Number Two-

Beef Brisket - an average sizewhich for most of us in Texas is about 8-11 lbs.
(vacuum packed in the leather like plastic)

Large size disposable Aluminum Pan
(you will definitely thank me on this one)

Aluminum Foil to cover pan

1 bag Brown Sugar

appx. half a bottle of Liquid Smoke

1-2 cups of Water


Place unwrapped brisket into foil pan or large roaster.
  Please do not remove any of the
hunks of fat before baking even though you may be tempted to.
Completely cover the top of of the brisket with
pretty much the entire bag of sugar, 
Don't be scared.  I see you trembling.
Next, sprinkle the liquid smoke over most all of the meat.
Lastly, drizzle your water all around your brisket.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil
and bake at 225-250 appx. 8 hours or overnight.

Remove the brisket in the same way as the previous one.
Letting it rest, removing the fat, slicing, etc., etc., etc.

We truly love them both.
Not sure which is our favorite.
They will both be tender, moist and they won't last long!

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend...
be safe and give thanks for all of those fallen heroes
that gave their lives for our freedom!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Heart Pillsbury. . .There, I Said It!

FACT: Crescent Rolls + Anything = Awesomeness.

Yessss, I know that doesn't sound very 'homemade-ey,'
but those things are just so handy and good.
Crescent Rolls can be used in about
a bazillion different recipes. . .from
Taco Pie and Sopapilla Cheesecake,
to Pig In the Blankets and many Pampered Chef recipes.
Whoever invented the Pillsbury Crescent Roll
should definitely win a prize!

For this week's Free Recipe Friday,
we'll call our recipe Cream Cheese Rolls,
because I've never had to name them until now.
My family just calls them 'cream cheese things'. . . as in,
"Mom, can you make some of those cream cheese things?"

I made these beauties for the first time almost 10 years ago. EEK!
I am not even sure where I got the idea for this recipe,
maybe a spin-off of something I had seen on TV?!?
But I remember the exact weekend I made them at our house
(which involved Staci and a bunch of 8th grade girls
and would require a WHOLE other blog to tell the tales
of THAT weekend!!!!!)
but we haven't stopped making these rolls since!

Again, these little yummies are very easy to do
and require just a very few ingredients.

2 tubes/pkgs Crescent Rolls
2 - 8 oz pkgs Cream Cheese, softened
Powdered Sugar (appx 2 1/2 cups)
Milk (appx 2-3 Tablespoons)
Vanilla (appx 1/2 teaspoon)
Baking Sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray
Oven :)

Place your softened cream cheese blocks
in a medium size bowl.
Add 2-3 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
to the cream cheese and stir well.  Set aside.
(This is optional - sometimes we add the sugar,
sometimes we don't).

Open your crescent rolls, unroll and divide
each triangle and lay flat.
You can do this on a cutting board, a clean counter
or your sprayed baking sheet.
(Helpful hint, unroll one tube at a time as these
babies get pretty gooey once the chill is gone.)

Now, spread a heaping tablespoon of your
cream cheese mixture onto each triangle.
It doesn't have to be beautiful and perfect. . .
just goop it on there, spread it out and go to the next one.
Resist your OCD tendencies here.

Roll up each triangle into it's intended crescent shape.
Place on sprayed baking sheet and bake for 15 or so minutes.

While these heavenly bundles of goodness are baking,
whisk together appx. 2 cups of powdered sugar,
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 2-3 Tablespoons of milk.
You want a thick but pourable icing to drizzle onto the rolls.
 When you remove the crescents from the oven,
drizzle the icing on them while they are still hot
and after a few minutes of cooling, they are ready to eat!

Crescent Rolls are so versatile. . .
experiment with filling these with various cheeses
or even chocolate chips.

Happy Cooking!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Impress Your Guests with Fish & Paper!

Welcome back to Free Recipe Friday.
This week we are going to kick it up a notch.
Well, at least your guests will think you have.
It's fish, it's vegetables, it's healthy, it's delicious
and. . . . it's easy!  It really is.
It's a great meal done in your oven, the grill or the campfire.
It may look all froofy and fancy,
but it's all an illusion ;)
It's technical name is Fish en Papillote
(fish in parchment), so go ahead, impress your friends with that!
 Fish cooked en papillote is wrapped in parchment paper 
 and baked in a medium oven so it gently steams in its own juices.
  You may substitute aluminum foil for the paper, 
but Martha Stewart says if you do so, avoid using acidic ingredients 
like lemons, tomatoes, and white wine, 
which will react with the foil and cause an unpleasant taste. 
When the fish is done, the parchment will puff dramatically 
(if you use foil, the fish will cook more quickly 
and the foil will not puff up, so check it early).
There are tons of recipes out there suggesting
many different concoctions for your paper or foil packet.
Use whatever you have on hand, search the internet or get creative.
It's a wonderfully easy and healthy way to enjoy your fish.

This meal can easily be made for two or ten.
Just make enough for the amount of guests you have.
Or just make it for yourself!!!
We fed three, so we made three packets.

Fish - any kind and any quantity
Veggies - any of your fresh fav's,
about two cups of veggies per serving

Seasonings - salt, pepper, garlic, etc.
Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil 

We have used tilapia and flounder.
For our vegetables, we have used
the frozen veggie mix of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots.

Recently, we used baby pearl onions, zucchini
and an assortment of baby new potatoes.  

Would have been great with mushrooms as well.
The next time we make these, I'd like to try olives and artichokes!
The sky is really the limit - and with fresh summer garden veggies
on the verge of abundance, get creative!

Preheat your oven to 350.
Tear off sheets of parchment paper in 18 inch increments.
One sheet per serving.
Fold paper in half and cut an easy heart shape in the paper,

like you did in grade school, using the whole width 
of the paper.  Open heart up and brush the paper
with melted butter.  If you are using aluminum foil,
tear off 12-14 inch squares that will be folded up into pouches.

Lay your fish on your paper and season a bit.
Next, lay your assorted veggies on top of your fish,

some seasoning. . . and a slice or two of butter is also great.
Now fold up your pouches for baking.

The edges of the parchment paper
need to be folded over several times to seal the packet.
It is okay if your pouches have plenty of space
around the fish and veggies - - -

you want to leave plenty of room for them to breathe.
Place packets on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. 
Bake for appx. 30 minutes.
Cooking times will vary depending on your choice of veggies.

Enjoy your Fish en Papillote!
See you next week!