HOMEMADE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

During this isolation time, I’m returning to more and more scratch cooking – even more than I normally do 😀 I wanted to make some of my homemade COWBOY BROWNIES, but they called for sweetened condensed milk and I didn’t have any and was NOT going out to get any so decided to dig out the recipe to make my own.

HOMEMADE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK – Makes 1 1/4 cups.
This Homemade version of sweetened Condensed Milk recipe makes a super delicious, made from scratch version of sweetened condensed milk for baking. It also makes a GREAT coffee mate or protein drink additive 😀

2 cups WHOLE milk
3/4 cup sugar, honey, or maple syrup (depending on the flavor you’re looking for)
4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract

  • Whisk together milk and sugar, honey or syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Whisking often, bring to a low simmer and whisking often, simmer until milk has reduced by half, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Once reduced, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
  • Allow to cool COMPLETELY!
  • Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

CREAMY FRENCH ONION ARTICHOKE DIP

CREAMY FRENCH ONION ARTICHOKE DIP
The original recipe called for:
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
15.5 ounce container of french dip
15.5 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon scallions
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Whisk cream cheese until fluffy.
  • Stir in dip and artichoke hearts, cheese, 1/4 cup green onions, parsley, garlic powder and pepper.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.
My version calls for:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
16 ounces sour cream
KNORR French onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • In a small food processor pulse artichoke hearts, garlic, green onions and Parmesan cheese until smooth.
  • In a small mixing bowl blend together the sour cream, Knorr mix and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add artichoke mixture and blend well.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

BUTTERMILK CHICKEN FRIED STEAK & PEPPERED COUNTRY GRAVY

BUTTERMILK CHICKEN FRIED STEAK
2 cups buttermilk
2 LARGE eggs, beaten
4 pork cube steaks
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/3 cup WONDRA flour
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • Place steaks in a single layer in a shallow dish.
  • Pour buttermilk over steaks and chill 1-2 hours.
  • Heat oil and butter in large skillet.
  • Combine flour and bread crumbs in shallow bowl.
  • Add beaten egg to another shallow bowl.
  • Season pork cube steaks with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge steaks through eggs and then flour before adding to hot oil.
  • Sear until golden, flip and sear other side.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes and peppered gravy.

PEPPERED GRAVY
3 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper + (to taste)

  • Melt butter into bottom of pan you just cooked the chicken in.
  • Scrape up any of the chicken pieces and mix into new butter.
  • Add flour slowly, stirring until absorbed by butter and golden brown.
  • Slowly add first the milk and then the cream.
  • Stir constantly until thickens.
  • If necessary sprinkle in more Wondra until desired thickness is reached.
  • Serve over chicken and mashed potatoes.

SUN-DRIED TOMATO BASIL VINAIGRETTE

SUN-DRIED TOMATO BASIL VINAIGRETTE
4 ounces sun dried tomatoes with herb in oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup avocado oil (see notes)

  • Blend together the tomatoes and vinegar until desired consistency.
  • Slowly add oil until emulsified.
  • Chill.

NOTES: I often use a flavored oil (mushroom olive) as an alternative.

WILTED GREENS with HOT BACON DRESSING

This recipe has changed for us A LOT over the years so I’m going to give you both my original recipe AND my revised version!

HOT WILTED GREENS (original)
1 head green leaf lettuce, washed and shredded
1 large bunch green onion, sliced thin, tops too
1/2 pound bacon, browned and crumbled (save 1/2 cup bacon grease)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
2 Worcestershire sauce

  • Toss together the shredded lettuce, green onion slices and crumbled bacon in a large salad bowl and set aside.
  • In a saucepan bring the remaining ingredients to a boil.
  • Just before serving pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
  • Serve immediately.

HOT WILTED GREENS (REVISED)

3 cups torn green leaf lettuce, washed
3 cups FRESH spinach, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1 large bunch green onions, sliced thin, tops too
2 stalks celery, washed, halved and sliced thin
4 slices bacon, browned and crumbled (save 3 tablespoons bacon grease)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 Worcestershire sauce
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 cup chopped Plum tomatoes, garnish
Hard boiled egg, garnish

  • Toss together the shredded lettuce, spinach, chopped red onions, celery, green onion slices and crumbled bacon in a large salad bowl and set aside.
  • In a saucepan bring the remaining ingredients to a boil.
  • Just before serving pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
  • Garnish with tomatoes and eggs.
  • Serve immediately.

WILTED GREENS with BACON DRESSING serves 4 (SECOND REVISED VERSION)
6 cups torn lettuce and/or spinach of choice
2 stalks celery, halved and sliced
1/3 cup minced red onion
3 slices bacon, diced
1 SMALL egg
1/3 cup water
SCANT 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Toss lettuce, red onion and celery pieces in a large salad bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cook bacon until JUST crisp. Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon to drain on paper toweling. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the water and egg until well blended. Whisk into bacon drippings.
  • Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Add to the drippings also, whisking to blend. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Pour over salad.
  • Add bacon pieces and toss well.
  • Serve immediately.

ORANGE LIME VINAIGRETTE

ORANGE LIME VINAIGRETTE
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 SMALL shallot. FINELY minced
1 tablespoon minced FRESH cilantro
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons avocado oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper, to taste

  • Shake together in dressing bottle.
  • Chill before dressing salad.

NOTE:

  • I sometimes substitute a frozen ALL fruit bar (Pineapple or Pomegranate) for the orange juice to change up the flavor.
  • This is another recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cook’s Science cook book.

HERBED RED WINE VINAIGRETTE

I make this is small batches – just enough for that night’s meals because we prefer the fresh aspect.

HERBED RED WINE VINAIGRETTE
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • In the base of your cruet add the shallot pieces.
  • Sprinkle with the FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Top with avocado oil. Let sit 15 minutes to macerate the shallots.
  • After 15 minutes add the minced garlic, Italian herbs, lemon juice, sugar and red wine vinegar.
  • Shake to combine.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour before dressing salad and serving.

PORK LOIN in HERBED WINE SAUCE

This sauce is GREAT on pork as well as chicken. In fact, it’s so flavorful that it’s GREAT on pasta as just a vegetarian dish.

PORK LOIN CHOPS in HERBED WINE SAUCE
4 boneless pork loin chops
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic oil (olive oil or avocado oil work great too)
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red mini pepper, diced
1 small yellow mini pepper, diced
1 tablespoon Garden Gourmet Italian Herbs
1/4 cup pink Moscato or white wine
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
3/4 cup LITEHOUSE Spiced Fig vinaigrette **(SEE NOTE)

  • Pound pork loin chops to 1/2 inch or less.
  • Generously season chops with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter to cast iron pan.
  • Add cast iron pan to oven.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter and oil in another skillet over medium heat.
  • Add pork chops and sear 3 minutes on each side. After second side, add chops to pan in oven.
  • Add the shallots to the stove top pan, stirring a moment or two until translucent.
  • Add garlic, peppers and Italian herbs to pan, stirring to combine and cooking a couple minutes until peppers soften.
  • Add Moscato, sauteing until almost evaporated.
  • Add Spiced Fig vinaigrette and honey, sauteing 3-4 minutes until sauce is blended and thickens.
  • Remove pork loin chops from the oven and plate.
  • Serve over pork loin and pasta or mashed potatoes.

NOTEANY flavor could be substituted here and work well.  It really is up to you and your flavor palette.  If I’m out of vinaigrette I have used plain chicken broth and it still tastes GREAT.

MUSHROOM CREAM CHICKEN

This recipe originally called for bone-in chicken and was for a slow cooker, but we MUCH prefer not to deal with bones and I wanted it to be a week night easy recipe, so we I have adjusted it to a boneless version. Plus hubby doesn’t care for mushrooms so it makes it easy to serve this way and I get ALL the mushrooms. 😀

MUSHROOM CREAM CHICKEN serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8-10 tenders
1 ½ teaspoons herbs de Provence
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
¼ cup WONDRA flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 leek, halved lengthwise and chopped
½ cup heavy cream

  • Generously salt and pepper each chicken breast.
  • Combine flour and herbs de Provence.
  • Dredge chicken in Wondra flour mixture.
  • Heat butter and avocado oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Sear chicken pieces 4-5 minutes on each side until golden.
  • Remove chicken pieces and keep warm.
  • Add leek pieces and mushrooms to skillet and sauté’ until golden.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove onions and mushrooms to the platter with the chicken.
  • Whisk together the chicken broth, white wine and 2 tablespoon of flour.
  • Add to skillet and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Add heavy cream and whisk until well blended and you reach desired consistency.
  • Return chicken, leeks and mushrooms to pan and turn to coat with sauce.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta.

CREAMY GARLIC & HERB BONELESS PORK CHOPS

I adapted the delicious boneless Pork Chops in a Creamy Garlic & Herb Wine Sauce from Olga at What’s In The Pan.  This a superb One pan dish is so easy to prepare and actually ready in less than 30 minutes! It is made with a dry white wine, the juice of a fresh lemon, FRESH minced garlic and FRESH thyme making these pork chops are packed with flavor and so juicy!

CREAMY GARLIC & HERB BONELESS PORK CHOPS
4 boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup WONDRA flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Whisk together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning.
  • Generously season pork chops with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge pork chops thoroughly in flour mixture.
  • Reserve dredge for next stop.
  • Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • 
Add pork chops and sear them by cooking for 3-4 minutes per side, reducing heat to medium on second side.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.
  • Cover to keep warm.

CREAMY HERB & WINE SAUCE
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of the dredging mixture
½ cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 sprigs FRESH thyme, leaves only, minced
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Italian Parsley

  • Return skillet to heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  • Add minced garlic and cooking for 1-2 minutes on medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour and blend well.
  • Add in wine while constantly whisking for 1 minute.
  • Add chicken stock and heavy cream, whisking to blend well.
  • Add lemon juice, fresh thyme and Italian seasoning.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

TO SERVE

  • Reduce heat to low and return pork chops to pan.
  • Turn to coat well simmering JUST until heated through.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes, prepared pasta or rice pilaf.

COUNTRY CHICKEN & GRAVY

COUNTRY CHICKEN & GRAVY

1/2 cup all purpose flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup baby carrots
3 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup heavy cream
chopped Italian Parsley for garnish
Prepared mashed potatoes

  • Combine flour, salt, paprika and pepper in a large Ziploc bag.
  • Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture and reserve flour mixture for later.
  • In a deep skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned.
  • Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Add onion and celery to pan, sautéing 2 minutes.
  • Add remaining flour to pan and whisk until all flour is absorbed.
  • Add chicken broth, stirring well.
  • Add chicken, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until cooked through and fragrant.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Stir in cream and cook 2 minutes.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes.
  • Garnish with parsley.

TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

1 cup tarragon vinegar
1 cup avocado oil
1 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon FRESH minced thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons FRESH minced tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sugar

  • Combine ALL ingredients and blend well.
  • Refrigerate.
  • Shake well before using.