Welcome to Simple Fare, Fairly Simple. This is a place for me to post recipes of all kinds...along with other miscellaneous fodder from my so-called life here in the south. Who knows what you will find here. Could be anything from my husband...known as IT Guy...to my kids and beautiful grandbabies that are growing up way too fast right before my eyes. But...mostly this will be a place for food. I hope you'll see something you like and if you decide to try something from the list...leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Roast, Potatoes and Gravy ~ Homestyle

I know I say on here about lots of recipes "this is IT Guy's favorite whatever",  but roast, potatoes and gravy ranks right up there in the top two, I'd say. When I make this and he walks in the door at the end of the day, he will almost always say something like "Ohhhh..it smells GOOD in here". And he's right. I think there's almost nothing as wonderful as a roast that's been cooking all day and the aroma that has permeated the whole house. The door to our house from the garage is right by the kitchen and this smell even takes over the garage. Cooking a roast in the crock pot is so easy and so nice to do on a hot summer day. No need to heat up the oven...just pop the roast and potatoes in the crock pot early in the morning and let it go. Whip up some gravy...and you're done! I use just a cheap chuck roast and it always come out fork tender. It's comfort food at its best!

Roast, Potatoes and Gravy ~ Homestyle

1 2-pound chuck roast
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
4 - 6 potatoes - peeled
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper
Kitchen Bouquet

Place roast in the crock pot. Pour in half cup water. This is where a lot of purists might disagree with me. Some cooks don't put a drop of water in with their roast...but I'm such a rebel. I've always done it this way. I feel like it makes more gravy. ( And if you knew IT Guy like I know IT Guy, the more gravy the better. In fact....I've got a funny story about IT Guy and gravy that I'll post at the end of this recipe.)

Sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over roast. Place peeled potatoes around the walls of the crock pot. After cooking all day, the sides of the potatoes that are touching the sides of the crock pot, will result in a golden brown almost-crust. SO good!

Place lid on crock pot and turn on low and allow to cook for 8 hours or so.

Remove roast and potatoes from crock pot and place on a plate into a warm oven.

Pour liquid from crock pot into a medium saucepan. In a small mixing bowl, mix cornstarch and 1/2 cup water together until smooth. Pour into saucepan and cook on medium until thick and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour in a tablespoon or so of Kitchen Bouquet. Stir to combine.

The best way to serve this is to shred the roast, chunk/mash the potatoes and pour gravy over the whole thing!

This is what you need. 
This is what you need.

Put the roast in your crock pot. You can even put it in frozen, did you know that? Same results. 
Put the roast in your crock pot. 
You can even put it in frozen, 
did you know that? Same results.

Nestle the potatoes in there so they are touching the sides of the crock pot. 
Nestle the potatoes in there so they 
are touching the sides of the crock pot.

Let 'er rip for about 8 hours or so. This is what you get! Dreamy, huh? 
Let 'er rip for about 8 hours or so. 
This is what you get! Dreamy, huh?

Here's the liquid from the roast that's been cooking all day. 
Here's the liquid from the roast 
that's been cooking all day.

And here's the ingredients for my gravy. Some people use flour which is fine. My MIL uses Wondra flour. Good stuff, right there. 
And here's the ingredients 
for my gravy. Some people 
use flour which is fine. My MIL 
uses Wondra flour. Good stuff, right there.

Mix up the cornstarch and water then pour into the drippings. 
Mix up the cornstarch and water 
then pour into the drippings.

Add the Kitchen Bouquet. Ever used it? Also...good stuff, right there. 
Add the Kitchen Bouquet. Ever used it? 
Also...good stuff, right there.

Mmmm...can you smell it yet? 
Mmmm...can you smell it yet?

I had a few pieces of roast leftover and IT Guy got it in some sandwiches for his lunch the next day. I dipped the sliced bread in some of the gravy...slapped the roast on there...added some cheese and voila! 
I had a few pieces of roast leftover 
and IT Guy got it in some sandwiches 
for his lunch the next day. I dipped 
the sliced bread in some of the gravy...
slapped the roast on there...added some cheese and voila!

Funny gravy story:

I met IT Guy when I was 16. He was 19. It was immediate infatuation for us both. He was a college student and I was in high school. He lived 120 miles from home and like any college student far from home, he craved home cooked meals. So one Sunday after church, I invited him over for a Sunday pot roast dinner.  A home cooked meal AND time with the new girlfriend?  He couldn't accept fast enough. My mom had made a roast dinner similar to this recipe, not knowing IT Guy was a gravy addict. Frankly, neither did I. But in his family, gravy was considered a beverage. After my mom had dinner on the table we all sat down to eat. With IT Guy being the guest, he was the first one served. Roast, mashed potatoes, a vegetable, some bread...it all came around the table. Then it was time for the gravy. IT Guy drowned his plate with the brown liquid gold and passed the gravy boat to my dad. My dad looked inside, then looked at IT Guy's plate and asked my mom for more gravy. She looked at my dad like he was from another planet and then informed him that what was in the gravy boat was all there was. I glanced at IT Guy and watched a look of horror cross his face. He was absolutely mortified. Here he was...a guest in our home....having dinner with us for the first time...and he had inadvertently taken all the gravy. Fortunately for IT Guy, my parents liked him well enough that they forgave him this small indiscretion and allowed him to marry me a year later. The lesson learned here is that the women in our family, now make LOTS of gravy when they know IT Guy is coming over for dinner.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This recipe has absolutely no redeeming quality or nutritional value whatsoever. It is not a masterpiece by any means. It only has two things. Well, three, if you count the bread. Okay...four including the butter. It's from my childhood and it tastes terrific. My mom used to make this for my brother and me when we were kids. I'm not sure why she used powdered sugar instead of granulated but she did. In fact, the first time I had cinnamon toast with granulated sugar, it kind of confused me. It still does. So I feel it is my mission in life to enlighten those of you who have never had cinnamon toast made with powdered sugar. You will love it. The end result is a crunchy topping caused by the butter oozing into the powdered sugar/cinnamon mixture creating a sweet crust that kind of snaps when you bite into it. Ahhh....you should really try this. It's great for a snack or for breakfast. IT Guy used to make this for our daughter when she was little. He would get creative with the toast and cut it all different ways. Our daughter's favorite was when he would cut the toast into two triangles with a little bit of the crust cut off each side then arrange it to look like a butterfly (see photo below). She's all grown up now but still remembers the "butterfly toast" her daddy made for her when she was three.

Cinnamon Toast 
from Back in the Day

6 – 8 pieces of plain ole white bread
6 – 8 tablespoon of butter – room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place bread on a large cookie sheet and butter each piece with 1 tablespoon of butter. Make sure you butter all the way to the edges!

In a medium sized bowl, combine powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Put two heaping teaspoonfuls on sugar/cinnamon mixture on each piece of buttered bread and spread it around - edge to edge. You want every part covered.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the bottom of the bread is golden brown and butter is melted and sugar/cinnamon mixture is melted and slightly crunchy.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before devouring.

Easy ingredients.

Lay your bread on a large cookie sheet. 
Butter each piece...edge to edge!

Combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Put some of the mixture on top of each piece of bread.

Spread it over the buttered bread...edge to edge!

Bake it for about 10 - 15 minutes 
until crusty and you can see it all melting together...and....

..it's golden brown on the bottom, like this.

Then you can make butterfly toast!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

This casserole reminds me of My Mom's Macaroni Casserole so I knew it would be a winner with my family. With the added green peppers it gave it a little different taste but it was still yummy. I knew mushrooms would be great in this but since my family members aren't huge fans of mushrooms, I went with the cream of mushroom soup instead. It made it extra creamy and really delicious. This made a good amount for us and it's an easy dish to throw together on a busy night.

Ziti Casserole

16 ounces ziti or other large tubular pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 clove garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jar (25 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or a combination of mozzarella and cheddar

Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta in boiling water following package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.

In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic until tender. Add the ground beef and cook until almost done. Add onion, green pepper and cook another 5 minutes or so.

Stir in the spaghetti sauce, cream of mushroom soup, and diced tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until hot. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread half of the pasta in the prepared baking dish. Spoon half of the sauce over the pasta, then top with half of the cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining pasta, sauce, and cheese.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Serves 8.

Here's what you need....

Saute the onion and garlic then add 
the ground beef and cook that. 
Throw in the green peppers.

Then add the CofM soup, spaghetti 
sauce and diced tomatoes.

Stir that up until nice and creamy and bubbly.

Then start layering with your cooked 
pasta, meat mixture and cheese.

You want to end with the cheese on top. 
I got two layers each of the pasta, 
meat mixture and cheese.

Bake it up and enjoy it!

Copyright © 2011 Simple Fare, Fairly Simple. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The first time I made this pound cake was probably 15 years ago. I made it for a big group of people for Sunday lunch one day. It was very good....I even had one of the guests ask me for the recipe. We all REALLY enjoyed it. So why, then...has it taken me THIS long to make it again? It's so easy....so good and really, I have no excuse. Well, now I have a reason to make it. My soon-to-be son-in-law is a pound cake lover!!! Yay! I think pound cakes are so versatile. Eat them plain....make shortcake...make a trifle. I think there's almost nothing better than a good pound cake. And this one fits the bill.

Brown Sugar Pecan Pound Cake

1 ½ cups butter – room temp
5 eggs – room temp
1 cup milk – room temp
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease a large bundt pan or two loaf pans VERY well. Two loaf pans work better. Use parchment paper in the bottom to ensure the pound cake will release. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on high for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat for 10 minutes until very light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, scraping bowl frequently.

Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter/sugar mixture beating on low speed after each addition, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.

Stir in pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 1 hour to 1 ¼ hours until cake is done. Cool cake in pan(s) on wire rack for about 10 minutes then remove cake from pan(s). Cool completely.

Serves 20

I guess we'll start here since I have no 
idea where my "ingredients picture" ran off to. 
But....start with creaming your butter.

Beat it well for about 10 minutes 
then add your sugars and vanilla.

Beat this really good for about 10 minutes.

Then add your eggs one at a time, 
beating well after each addition.

Then add the dry ingredients alternately 
with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry.

Stir in the pecans.

Then pour the batter into your prepared pans.

Bake it up and admire how beautiful it is.

Hey...look what I found!! Five days late...but 
I found the ingredients picture for this recipe!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What a fun surprise this turned out to be! If you like pizza, then you will love this! I had never cooked with orzo before this dish. It looks like rice, but it's really pasta! And talk about easy! It's one of those dishes that comes together in a flash and leaves you wondering why you've never made it before now! It was GREAT leftover! In fact, my daughter pulled it out of the fridge to have some for dinner last night and my son made sure she knew NOT to eat it all. Do grown kids ever stop policing one another? I guess I should take it as a compliment that they were fussing over my food, huh?

Italian Sausage 
with Peppers and Orzo

1 1-pound box orzo pasta
1 pound Italian sausage
1 sweet onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
32 ounces of chicken stock

Saute onion and garlic in a large skillet with some olive oil until tender.

Add Italian sausage and cook until almost done. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and diced peppers and cook until sausage is cooked through.

Cook orzo according to package directions except use chicken stock in place of SOME water.

Add cooked orzo to skillet with sausage mixture and heat through.

Here's all you need for this easy dish!

Saute the onions and garlic for a 
bit then add the italian sausage.

Cook that until crumbly then add 
in the peppers, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Cook the orzo....

...then add it to the skillet with 
the meat and peppers.

Give it a stir to heat through then serve!

Monday, June 20, 2011

We love potatoes here! Any form, any time. They are so versatile. Mashed, baked, fried, roasted. Dressed up or dressed down. You just can't go wrong with a potato. Yukon golds are my favorite because they are creamy and delicious but I'll take any variety. These wedges are made with plain ole russets. It's a great way to have chunky " fries " without the fried part.

Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges

4 large russet potatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Freshly cracked pepper

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise then cut into thirds. You want 6 wedges per potato.

Place all wedges onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasonings. With clean hands, mix potatoes and seasonings well, making sure all the wedges are covered with oil. Place each wedge on one cut side. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned, then turn to the other cut side and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until browned.

This is what you need to get going...
Slice your potatoes in half lengthwise. 
Then cut each half into thirds.
Put all the wedges on a large rimmed cookie 
sheet and drizzle with olive oil then dust 
with your seasonings.
Toss the wedges with your hands to make 
sure all is coated then arrange in a single layer.
Bake until golden on each side. Serve with 
ranch dressing, sour cream....
anything you can think of!!