How many times do I hear myself say, "where is that big orange binder?" or "has anyone seen that big orange binder?" The big orange binder has been accumulating recipes, kinspiration & original recipe cards tucked into plastic sleeves for my entire-almost-forty year existence. "The Big Orange Binder" is an organization attempt. It's a recipe with a story neatly packaged in a place where I'll always be able to find the ever-elusive . . . Big Orange Binder.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wilted Spinach Salad

Makes: 4 servings

8 cups lightly packed spinach leaves, torn into bite size pieces
3 small red potatoes, unpeeled, cooked and sliced
½ cup sliced mushrooms
2 slices bacon
¼ cup finely chopped red onion (I omit)
½ tsp corn starch
¼ cup apple juice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
½ tsp equal for recipes (or 2 packets)
1-2 hard cooked eggs, chopped or quartered
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine spinach, potatoes, and mushrooms in a large bowl.

Cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain.  Crumble and set aside.

Discard all but 1 tsp of bacon fat.  Cook onion in the fat until tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix cornstarch, apple juice and vinegar; add to the skillet and heat to boiling.  Boil, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Stir in Equal.

Pour hot dressing over the spinach mixture and toss.  Add hard boiled eggs and reserved bacon. Toss. Season w/ salt and pepper.   Serve immediately.

Extra yummy w/ mandarin oranges or pomegranate arils on top!

Oriental Cabbage Salad

1 lg head cabbage
2 bunch of green onions
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup of sunflower seeds
½ cup slivered almonds
1 pkg uncooked chicken flavored ramen noodles
½ cup vegetable oil 
½ cup vinegar
½ cup sugar
black pepper, as desired. 

Chop cabbage as desired, as for slaw (usually thin ribbons).  Add chopped onion, celery, sunflower seeds, almonds and noodles.  Smash the noodles in the package so they are in bits. 

Put oil, vinegar and sugar into the blender.  Add the chicken seasoning from the ramen noodles and season w/ black pepper.  Blend well.  Pour over the salad and toss together. Chill.  Best when made ahead of time so that the dressing sits on the cabbage. 

Mandarin Orange Spinach Salad

*Always a hit at baby showers or woman-gatherings . . .  

You need:
1 ½ cup olive oil
¾ c. vinegar
¾ c. orange juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
11 oz can of mandarin oranges
Toasted, sliced almonds
Baby spinach leaves

Whisk together:  olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, red wine vinegar, and both sugars.  In a serving bowl, combine the oranges (drained), spinach leaves (rinsed & dry)  and almonds.  Pour vinaigrette dressing over the salad & toss well (works best JUST before serving!!)

For an awesome protein addition – add rotisserie chicken or cold mandarin orange chicken (See: things to do with a chicken.)

Sesame Green Beans

¾ lb fresh green beans
½ cup water
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame seeds

Steam beans or cook until crisp-tender.  Drain.  Add butter, soy sauce & sesame seeds.  Toss to coat.  Serve.   

Parmesan Green Beans


Serves 4.

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb. fresh green beans, washed & ends removed
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add green beans, and cook until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain and return to pot.  Add butter, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining Parmesan.


Green Bean Casserole

The Holiday Classic . . . .

Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes

2 cans (10 ¾ oz) Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup milk
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp ground black pepper
8 cups cooked cut green beans
1 can (6 oz) French Fried onions

1.  Stir soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper and beans and 1 ⅓ cups onions in a 3 quart casserole.
2.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until hot.  Stir.
4.  Top with remaining onions and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Makes: 12 servings

Acorn Squash

Cut squash in half. Remove seeds & strings.
Place upside down in shallow pan with ¼ inch of water.
Preheat oven to 400. 
Bake 35 minutes.
Turn squash over.  Sprinkle with salt and add butter OR marmalade.

Place under broiler for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  

Basic White Scratch Bread

Mom’s note:  I think this is an old Betty Crocker recipe.  I remember typing it out onto a note card using an old electric typewriter one winter break, while I was home from college.  My mom had an old, spiral bound classic red and white checked Betty Crocker cookbook . . . and I’m certain that’s the book that originally held this recipe.

2 pkg active dry yeast
½ c. warm water
1 ¾ c lukewarm milk
7-7 ½ c gold medal flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp soft shortening

In bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  Add milk, half the flour, sugar, salt & shortening to yeast.  Beat until smooth and the batter sheets off the spoon.  With hand, mix in enough flour so that dough cleans the bowl.  Turn onto lightly floured board.  Cover. Let rise 10-15 minutes.  Knead 10 minutes.  Place in greased bowl.  Bring greased side up.  Cover with cloth & allow to rise until double (approx 1-2 hrs).  Punch down.  Cover & let rise again until almost double (approx 45 min).   Divide into two parts.  Roundup & let rise 10-15 minutes.  Shape into loaves.  Place into greased loaf pans.  Grease top of loaf.  Cover with cloth and allow to rise until dough reaches the top of the pan (approx 50-60 min).  Heat oven to 425.  Place loaves in center of oven.  Bake 24-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Immediately remove from pans and place on a wire rack to cool.  Do not place in direct draft.