Category Archives: Midwestern

Fried Ice Cream For A Crowd

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Fried ice cream - layers of sweet, fried Corn Flakes and cinnamon-Cool-Whip ice cream

Fried ice cream – layers of sweet, fried Corn Flakes and cinnamon-Cool-Whip ice cream

I am still here!  I have had to take a break between selling our house and being pregnant, but I’m back!

The recipe I have today is totally worth the wait! Fried ice cream is a fantastic mix of vanilla ice cream mixed with Cool Whip and cinnamon layered with a sweet, fried Corn Flake mixture. Together, they create perfection.  This recipe came to me through a friend of a friend who brought this to a party.  It is soooooooooooo yum!!!!!

The larger version uses a bucket of ice cream

The larger version uses a bucket of ice cream

This recipe you make ahead for a crowd, making it ideal for parties.  And I also figured out how to scale it down for a more manageable quantity.   I brought the huge version to a chili cook-off and it was almost all gone by the end of the night.  Then I made the smaller version for a dinner party (5 adults, 2 kids) and there was none left.  It is popular.  And regardless of which one you go with, it really doesn’t take too much to make it.  You spend more time waiting for the ice cream to get melty than anything else.

The party-sized version uses a big bucket of ice cream.  The upside is that if you are planning on taking this to a party and are torn about leaving the rest of it for your hostess and keeping some for yourself, you get to do both!  The final product takes up 1 ice cream bucket plus 1 cool whip container.  So everyone wins!

The smaller version uses a 1.5 quart container of ice cream, which you can put into a ton of different containers around your kitchen.  Just make sure they are freezer-safe.

The smaller version uses a regular-sized ice cream

The smaller version uses a regular-sized ice cream

Here are the quantities:

Party-sized
1 c butter (2 sticks)
2 c sugar
8 c Corn Flakes
1 gallon of vanilla ice cream, thawed to a workable consistency.  The big one from your childhood.
20 oz Cool Whip, thawed (that is one big and one small container)
1 T cinnamon

Smaller-sized
6 T butter (3/4 stick)
1/2 c sugar
3-1/2 c Corn Flakes
1.5 quart of vanilla ice cream, thawed to a workable consistency.  Go for the one with real vanilla in it
8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Thaw the ice cream and cool whip ahead of time.  You need to be able to get a mixer in there.

Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat.  Mix in the sugar to combine and then add in the corn flakes.  When the corn flakes start to look a little darker, turn the heat off and continue to stir them occasionally while they cool.

While the Corn Flakes cool a little bit (and don’t stress over how much, a few minutes is fine), work on the ice cream.

Be sure to put the extra in your Cool Whip container for some to enjoy after the party

Be sure to put the extra in your Cool Whip container for some to enjoy after the party

Party-Sized directions:
If you are doing the party-sized version, you’ll want to get a huge bowl and split the ice cream between the original container and the big bowl.  I used an enormous salad bowl.  Eyeball about the right ratios of Cool Whip and cinnamon into each container.  Again, no stressing over this.  Just guess.  Using a mixer, mix up each one until combined.

Layer the Corn Flakes and the ice cream mixture in the ice cream bucket.  This might mean dumping everything in your other bowl for a minute.  I do about 3 layers of Corn Flakes in one bucket, if that helps. And try to end with Corn Flakes so people at the party know it isn’t just ice cream.  But do what feels best for you. With the remaining Corn Flakes and ice cream, layer them in one of the Cool Whip containers.  Put everything in the freezer overnight.  Take the big one to the party and know you have the small one at home for you.

Smaller-sized directions:
In a large mixing bowl, add ice cream, Cool Whip and cinnamon.  Using a mixer, combine well.

In a freezer-safe bowl or dish, layer the Corn Flakes and ice cream.  I end with Corn Flakes so it looks nice.  Cover and put in the freezer overnight.

 

 

You will be amazed at how quickly this disappears!

You will be amazed at how quickly this disappears!

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My Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

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Stuffing with roasted chicken and squash

Stuffing with roasted chicken and squash

I know, I know, I’m a little late here.  I actually took notes this year on my mom’s stuffing and am getting this on the internet before I forget.  Her stuffing isn’t crazy or wild or terribly gourmet.  But it is delicious, amazing, traditional and worthy of fighting over.  Every year someone says we should mix up our usual recipes and try something new, but yet, no matter what changes on the table, this stuffing is there.  Even edging out whatever the latest “gourmet” stuffing might be tried out.

You can make it 100% vegetarian, or you can go a little more traditional by using turkey giblets.  I’m adding them in below separate from the recipe, so just keep an eye out for that.

I also made this recipe on a random week night.  It was insanely easy and would be perfect for company since you could get it ready the day before or morning of and just refrigerate it.  And because let’s face it, who will ever be disappointed that  you served homemade stuffing?!

My Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

The onion-celery-buttery goodness.  You don't want to brown them, just make them soft.

The onion-celery-buttery goodness. You don’t want to brown them, just make them soft.

Prepared giblets*, optional 1 stick of butter (or vegan replacement if wanted)
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 celery stalks
1 bag Pepperidge Farm Cubed Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix (I prefer cubed -in the bag with red lettering, but the tradional, non-cubed one with blue trim works just as well)
1/2 c milk
Most of a 32oz tetrapak chicken stock (use vegetable stock if making vegetarian)

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare the giblets if you are using them. Spray a large casserole pan with non-stick spray.

Melt butter in a large saute/frying pan.  Add in the onion and celery and cook until the veggies are nice and soft.  Mix the onion and celery in a large bowl with the stuffing mix.  Add in a splash of milk (if you don’t feel like measuring but throwing caution to the wind – go for it).  Add in about half of the chicken broth and mix very well.  If the bread is still dry, slowly add more broth and mix until the whole thing is nice and moist.  But there shouldn’t be liquid sitting in the bottom of the bowl.

The stuffing right before it goes in the oven - moist but not soaking wet.

The stuffing right before it goes in the oven – moist but not soaking wet.

Transfer to the prepared pan.  If you want to make this ahead of time, get to here, cover it with foil and set aside until you’re going to make it.  If you do this, you may want to splash some more broth on it before adding to the oven because it will dry out a bit as it sits there.

Cover with foil tightly.  Bake for 45 min or until nice and hot.  Serve while warm.

 

Preparing giblets

So the giblets are the extra turkey bits you get in your turkey.  If you’ve ever made a turkey, when the moment comes to reach inside, you sometimes are unpleasantly surprised with a bag of goodies.  Those goodies are the giblets. Sometimes the neck is in there too.  Here’s what you do with them.

1 set of giblets
Chicken broth

Put the giblets in a small pot just big enough to hold them.  Cover with chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for at least 20 min, or until they seem to be cooked through.  Drain, reserving the broth to use in the stuffing (because it will be the tastiest broth).  Then put the giblets in a food processor or finely cut them up.  If you have the neck, see if you can pull anything off of it, but don’t feel bad if you just chuck that.  The liver and whatnots are the best flavoring.

Leftovers reheated the next night - stuffing and chicken together. Just as delicious.  (And it is on a clear table, not the floor)

Leftovers reheated the next night – stuffing and chicken together. Just as delicious. (And it is on a clear table, not the floor)

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

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Chicken Broccoli Casserole is classic Midwestern cooking

Chicken Broccoli Casserole is classic Midwestern cooking

Chicken broccoli casserole only has easy ingredients

Chicken broccoli casserole only has easy ingredients

This is a recipe my mom used to make ALL THE TIME when I was a kid.  It is a great casserole that hits all of my favorite casserole features – one-dish meal, veggies and meat all in one, cream of chicken soup and cheese.  Seriously, could you ask for more?  It is great on a cold day to warm you up from the inside and make you happy.

My mom always served it with crescent rolls, a rare treat for us.  I still always grab a tube when I make this.  And if you want to be totally Wisconsin, have some bars for dessert.  7-layer bars would do nicely.

In this day and age of easy prep, you can get pre-cooked chicken in the freezer section if you want to skip over that.  I see no reason why that would be any different than baking up some chicken the night before you make it.

And if you are from Minnesota, please read the title of this dish as Chicken Broccoli Hotdish.

Layer the chicken, then broccoli, then the sauce and then cheese

Layer the chicken, then broccoli, then the sauce and then cheese

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked* and cut up
1 bag frozen broccoli, thawed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 big scoop of mayonnaise
1/2 tsp curry
1 tsp lemon juice
cheddar cheese

*Cook chicken at 350 for 30 min (can be done the night before).  I usually just leave it completely plain or sprinkle a little curry on it.  It’s going in a casserole, this is not a time to be fancy.  Cut up.

Place chicken in the bottom of a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle broccoli over chicken.  In a separate bowl, mix soup, mayo, curry and lemon juice.  Spoon over broccoli.  Top with cheddar.  Bake at 350 for 45 min or until bubbly.

Before it goes in the oven - all layered goodness

Before it goes in the oven – all layered goodness

Sorry that I have shadows of my head in all the pictures.

Grandma’s Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

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Rhubarb upside down browns on top, but creamy and sweet on the bottom

Rhubarb upside down browns on top, but creamy and sweet on the bottom

Growing up in Wisconsin, I thought that rhubarb was just one of those plants that everyone had in the yard, like grass.  We had a huge rhubarb plant, as did my grandma.  Both my mom and my grandma used to make this cake in the summer to take advantage of the fresh rhubarb.  And then we would cut up and freeze rhubarb in 2c baggies so we could have it all winter.  Everyone loves it.  Everyone.  This is quite possibly the moistest cake ever.  And the other perfect part – it is crazy easy.  It really is in my head as a list of ingredients, not as a recipe at all.

The rhubarb, sugar and cream make a sweet layer that will end up on the bottom of the cake

The rhubarb, sugar and cream make a sweet layer that will end up on the bottom of the cake

 

I have used it as a go-to for entertaining since it is summery and looks light, although it is rich and very satisfying.  Arvind loves this cake.  And he definitely a chocolate guy.  The first time I made this, I don’t think he walked through the kitchen without taking a few bites.   The poor guy has been traveling for work a lot and we’re visiting friends this weekend, so I decided to pull a little rhubarb out of the freezer to make him this treat.  So, I know it isn’t prime rhubarb season, you still can get a few stalks out of your garden.  And if you have a few extra, cut them up for the middle of the winter as well!

Grandma’s Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

2 c sliced rhubarb
2 c sugar
2 c heavy cream (the one pint sized container)
1 yellow cake mix

The additional ingredients listed on the yellow cake mix (eggs, oil, water, etc)

Mix the rhubarb, sugar and cream together.  In a separate bowl, mix the cake according to the package.  Pour cake batter into a greased 13 x 9.  Stir up the rhubarb mixture and pour over the batter.  Ease the rhubarb into the corners of batter (it will fall through to the bottom).  Bake according to the package, until done.  I usually have to add 10-15 extra min to get it to be done.  To serve, flip pieces to be rhubarb-side up.

The rhubarb mixture will fall through the cake batter as it cooks.  Just try to make sure the rhubarb spread out throughout the pan

The rhubarb mixture will fall through the cake batter as it cooks. Just try to make sure the rhubarb spread out throughout the pan