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December 12, 2009

Sausage Rice Pilaf Recipe

Sausage Rice Pilaf Recipe

Sausage Rice Pilaf Recipe

When I was young, my mother and grandmother would can sausage. Some of you may not know what that means, but it is a way of preserving meat that few people do anymore. Just like canning vegetables and preserving fruits as jams and jellies, my family would can pork tenderloin and sage sausage. The meats were thoroughly cooked, processed in mason jars, and stored in the pantry. Because this meat was already cooked, sausage was the first meat I ever used in preparing supper for my family. I started cooking meals for my family when I was nine years old. I was so proud of myself for being able to prepare supper for my family. Using pre-cooked sausage made this easy for me. The easiest supper for me to make was Sausage Rice Pilaf. All the ingredients were readily available for me to assemble with only stove-top cooking. Now, I realize most of you do not have a supply of canned meat in your pantry, so I’ve re-written my original recipe to include cooking the sausage.

Sausage Rice Pilaf is a savory side dish that is easy to prepare, elegant to serve, and freezes beautifully. Plus, it’s made with rice, that pantry staple we always have on hand and often can be purchased for under .50¢ using the Real Advice Gal principles. Make this dish for your family and serve it with a green salad for an easy supper, or serve it as a side dish on your Christmas table.

Sausage Rice Pilaf

1 lb. Sage sausage or Italian sausage, casings intact
½ c. pecans, chopped
2 c. uncooked long-grain rice
1 T. Olive oil
2 (14.5-oz) cans chicken or vegetable broth
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
dash nutmeg
3 T. chopped fresh parsley

Sausage Rice Pilaf Recipe

In large heavy skillet over low heat, toast chopped pecans 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often; set aside. In same skillet, heat 1 T. Olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook sausage, stirring often until browned. Drain sausage, reserving 1 t. drippings. Keep sausage warm and return reserved 1 t. drippings to skillet. Over medium heat, saute rice, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Add broth and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes; remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in pecans, sausage, nutmeg, and parsley. Enjoy your Sausage Rice Pilaf!

December 10, 2009

Ask A Teacher: How do you keep a teen out of trouble?

The best way to keep any person out of trouble is to keep them busy. This does not mean drag them to every activity you want them to do. Rather it means help them find a passion. Then support this passion and enable your teenage to pursue their dreams. I came across this site that helps teens achieve their dreams.

The Do Something site provides grants $500 and up to student with innovative ideas.

I realize my high school years were filled with tons of fun but also coupled with a lot of community service. I was busy working, reading to under privileged children, visiting nursing homes, making changes in the school via student government, and studying. I had plenty of friends, did well in school and found the beach. What I didn’t find was trouble. I stayed away from the drugs and drinking because I didn’t need it to prove who I was. The strong sense of self was achieved by figuring out early what was important. I am not an angel nor have I ever been but my naughty events were very limited and the amount of good done was extensive. The obligations and sense of community I developed are still with me. I now teach my children compassion, understanding, and service by exposing them to experience and events that lead to understanding others. I hope it will allow them to stand by who they are and not fall for anything. What are some ideas you have for keeping teens out of trouble?

Amee

December 5, 2009

Cooking with Connie: Saturday Night Special

cooking with connie

The following recipe is brought to you by Connie! Make sure to check out additional recipes by Connie at her blog Cook With Connie.

This time of year is busy for everyone. Christmas parties, shopping, decorating, visiting…all in addition to the regularly scheduled chaos that is LIFE! Right now, I’m baking more than I usually do, so I want suppers that are quick, easy stovetop meals. “Saturday Night Special” is the ticket. When I was a kid, my mom used to make this dish. It’s a budget-friendly meal that can easily be thrown together with ingredients from your pantry. She always called it Saturday Night Special, but I honestly have no idea why. We ate it mostly on week nights since it’s so easy and quick to prepare.

The basic dish calls for only a few ingredients, but you can easily change the flavor by varying the tomatoes, corn, and baked beans. You can use tomatoes with green chiles for a little kick. Or use Mexicorn for a zesty Mexican flavor. There are numerous other canned tomatoes with added ingredients or spices, such as fire-roasted or garlic and herbs. And, baked beans come in many flavors, too. There’s anything from bold and spicy to maple bacon flavored. Cans of baked beans tend to go on sale during “cookout” season, so stock up then. Canned pork ‘n’ beans usually cost less than baked beans making them a thrifty choice. So, experiment and find your family’s favorite combination. While the basic recipe for Saturday Night Special is very simple, you can change the flavor every time you make it.

Saturday Night Special

Saturday Night Special

Saturday Night Special

1 lb ground beef (or ground venison if you are lucky enough to have some!)
½ c. onion, chopped
1 t. steak seasoning
28 oz baked beans
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
16 oz frozen corn, thawed (or 1 (14.75-oz) can, drained)
1/3 c. brown sugar

In a Dutch oven, brown ground beef over medium high heat. Drain and return beef to pot. Reduce heat; add remaining ingredients; and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over steamed rice or with tortilla chips to scoop. Optional toppings include: shredded spinach or kale, bacon crumbles, chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips.

December 3, 2009

Teaching your child what the holiday is about

This is a great one. What are some ways you teach your children to be part of the spirit and not get caught up in the “me” of the holiday? We start early every year we take five birthday gifts and put them away to give to children who do not have much for the holiday. We then have a budget for children in need. We put our coins in a jar. The coins are divided into thirds: 1/3 for our daughters bank account, 1/3 for our sons, and 1/3 for a child in need. My son even does chores to add to the jar. We take the 1/3 for the child and we try to buy as many toys as possible. We look for items we can use coupons for and we follow the sales flyer. We really try to stretch our buck and make every dollar count.

It was funny last year when we had .32¢ left! My son asked if he could use his money to get one more thing. This year to make room for new toys, we have given some of ours to friends to love. We also are attending the toy swap to get some new to us toys. It is important to us that we teach our children to recycle and give to others. We try to attend events that encourage giving. We make a point of making giving as exciting as receiving. Here is one event that is local to our area but I am sure there are many around.

Lauterbach Chiropractic in conjunction with C-villes Toy Lift Foundation is
sponsoring the sixth annual Live Toy Lift this Friday from 10 am until 7pm.
Located in front of Dr. Lauterbach’s office near Food Lion. This year’s event will be
serving 3,468 area children this year! Join Santa and the famous (aging) Dancing
elves! Bring your camera for Santa Pics. Hot cocoa & cookies provided.

Some of the most requested toys are: bikes, dolls & Barbies, cars &
trucks, remote control vehicles, board games, stuffed animals and arts
and crafts. Also, we always need items for middle school aged children
(jewelry, electronics, music, and sports equipment) Popular characters
this year are: Bakugan, Dora the Explorer, Hannah Montana, Moxie
Girls, Spiderman, Transformers & WWE Wrestlers

Thanks so much for your continued support. We will see you Friday. And
remember–
IT ONLY TAKES ONE…

November 28, 2009

Cooking with Connie: Cranberry Cornbread Pork Chops

cooking with connie

Thanksgiving is over, and we are all enjoying the smorgasbord that is Thanksgiving leftovers.  It is easy to figure out what to do with the juicy, delicious turkey…sandwiches, casseroles, soups, lots of possibilities.  But, what about those side dishes?  Sweet potatoes can become biscuits, waffles, pancakes, cornbread, pie and soup.  In our house, the pies are gobbled up; but most of the traditional pies freeze well for up to 1 month.  Pre-slice before freezing; wrap in waxed paper and store in a gallon or oversized freezer bag.  Then, just thaw a variety of pie slices and serve “dessert-cart style” with fresh brewed coffee, spiced tea, or eggnog.  Makes for easy entertaining when you have unexpected holiday guests. 

As for green bean casserole, freeze flat in quart-sized freezer bags and serve with week night suppers for a quick and easy side.  Or, if you have less than 4 cups, stir your leftover casserole into your veggie soup.  Your soup will become a little thicker and the crispy onions will soften adding yummy flavor to every spoonful.  Leftover mashed potatoes can become potato cakes or top your favorite shepherd’s pie.  Mashed potatoes are also wonderful as a thickening agent in chowders and stews (think clam chowder, beef stew, beans, & lentils).  Cornbread can be crumbled and used as a stuffing or even frozen and later used as a breader for chicken, fish, or pork. 

And, here’s my Leftover Makeover for cornbread and cranberry sauce.  This is a sweet dish and you can substitute chicken for the pork.  Remember…measurements are approximate since it’s a Leftover Makeover.  Use what you have if the measurements are close.  Enjoy!

Email me with any questions you may have about a Makeover for your Leftovers.

Cook with Connie e-mail: cookwithconnie at gmail dot com 

Cranberry Cornbread Pork Chops 

6 bone-in pork chops (about 3 ½ lbs)
1 1/2 – 2 c. whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 c. honey barbecue sauce
2 T brown sugar
2 c. cornbread, crumbled 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season pork chops with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 T. Olive oil n large skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown pork chops 4-5 minutes on each side.  Place browned pork chops in 9×13 dish.  Combine cranberry sauce and next 2 ingredients.  Fold in cornbread.  Divide cornbread mixture evenly on top each pork chop.  Bake 30 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

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November 26, 2009

Ask A Teacher: How do I teach my child to be thankful?

How do you teach children to be thankful?

The answer is simple, lead by example. We make a point of saying what we are thankful for each night. We remind our children that we are lucky to have the things we do and we need to appreciate what we have instead of always wanting new things.

Another way to teach thankfulness is to take things away when children do not appreciate them. I know it sounds harsh but, we often do not miss things unless we are without. I have to say, I take the fact that we have running water for granted. This was until we didn’t have waterlast week. It was only for a couple of hours while they repaired the water main break, but it felt like it was forever. When the water wasn’t on we talked about all of the things we use water for. We also talked about what it must have been like not to have water that comes to your house simply by turning on the faucet.

When you celebrate today with your family, think about the reason for your meal and be thankful. We go around the table and tell everyone why we are thankful. I think what I have to say this year will be a great gift to our family. If you are not having a feast, be thankful that you are alive and well. The world has so many people who have less and who do with less everyday. We must be mindful of how lucky we are even if sometimes we do not feel so lucky.