Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gingerbread Bread

Bake-a-palooza is just around the corner, but some things - like holiday baking - just can't wait. 
Today's snow storm provided the perfect excuse to stay inside and bake.

Taken from The Secret Recipe Blog
Makes three mini loaves or a 9 x 9 pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract, optional
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan or three small loaf pans

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in orange extract. Mix baking soda into applesauce and stir into creamed butter mixture.

Add flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan (s).

Bake the 9 x 9 pan at 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Bake the three small loaf pans at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and orange extract. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar.
Once the cake has cooled, evenly spread the frosting on top.  Decorate with chopped candied orange peel or candied ginger .

My Notes:
Delicious! I was originally thinking this would make a great holiday gift. I'm not so sure about that, though, because of the frosting. I guess I will just have to eat them all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Because I could go on and on with pumpkin recipes.
Because I didn't refill my plate yesterday and only ate two servings of dessert.
Because I'm just not ready to part with pumpkin.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting 
Taken from the completely brilliant Ina Garten

Makes 10 cupcakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes

1 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 C canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 C vegetable oil
Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 10 paper liners.

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.

Maple Frosting

6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp Maple Flavor
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 C sifted confectioners' sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
 And, a few pictures of my very helpful cupcake co-bakers.

My Notes:
Seriously delicious. The only problem? The recipe only made 10 cupcakes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

These were our Halloween morning breakfast - enjoyed by Em, Justin, Miri, and me.

And, friends. Do not forget to buy the ingredients for the honey nutmeg butter. Believe me. You do not want to miss this part.

Pumpkin Pancakes
taken from Big Girls, Small Kitchen

1 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 C pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
about 1/2 C mini chocolate chips

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar in a medium bowl.

In a separate small bowl, combine the pumpkin and the egg and whisk to combine. Add the milk, vanilla, and cooled melted butter, and whisk again to make a smooth mixture.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and fold until they are only just combined--a few lumps remaining are fine.

Heat a cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Pour about 1/4 C of batter on a griddle per pancake. Sprinkle chocolate chips (to your heart's desire) in the raw batter. Cook until golden brown (about 2 - 3 minute), flip and continue cooking (about an additioanl 2 -3 minutes).

Remove to a plate and serve immediately with Honey-Nutmeg Butter and maple syrup.
Honey-Nutmeg Butter
Makes 1/2 cup

1 stick butter, softened
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

Cream the butter with the honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon until slightly fluffy and even. Scrape into a small bowl and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before you're ready to use. Then, let it soften slightly.

My Notes:
Again - do not skip the honey nutmeg butter.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Pumpkin. Yum. Tiramisu. Yum.
Why in the world would I not make this recipe?

Pumpkin-Chocolate Tiramisu
from Everyday Food, November 2010 (p. 118)

Servings: 8
Active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chilling Time: minimum of 3 hours

1 C mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 C heavy cream, cold
3/4 C powdered sugar
5 Tbsp amaretto (such as Disaronno
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
2 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp unsweetedn cocoa powder (plus 1 1/2 tsp for dusting)
27 to 30 ladyfingers (from a 14.2 oz package)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, for dusting

Whisk mascarpone until smooth. Add 1 C cream, powdreed sugar, and 2 Tbsp amaretto; whisk until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). Fold in pumpkin puree until co mpletely incorporated.

Combine chocolate and 1/4 C cream. Microwave in short increments (about 20 seconds each), stirring each time, until chocolate is just melted. Stir mixture until smooth.

Transfer one-third of the pumpkin mixture to another bowl and fold in chocolate mixture until combined.

In another bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp cocoa into 1/3 C hot water; add 3 Tbsp amaretto.

Cover bottom on 8" square baking dish with ladyfingers. Liberally brush with cocoa mixture and top with half the pumpkin mixture. Add anotherl ayer of ladyfingers, brush with cocoa mixture, and top with all the pumpkin-chocolate mixture. Add a third layer of ladyfingers, brush with cocoa mixture, and top with remaining pumpin mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours (or up to 3 days). To serve, dust with 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

My Notes:
First, I tried this recipe out on some of my most discerning taste-testers. Believe me, they have very refined palettes. It passed their high standards.  Although, most of Dorothy's serving had to be scrubbed from her hair in the bath tub.

Next time, I would change the cocoa mixture that the ladyfingers are coated with slightly. I would mix only 1 Tbsp cocoa powder with 1/3 C hot coffee (instead of hot water). I was sort of missing the coffee taste that is in traditional tiramisu. 

Also, I would add additional chopped semisweet chocolate. Chopped chocolate sandwiched in each layer would have added some much-needed texture.

I am certainly not going to give up my pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin pie to serve this at Thanksgiving, but I'm glad I tried it and will add it to my list of possible fall desserts in future years.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Granola

I have only tried to make my own granola one other time. I liked it, so I thought I'd try again with the additional of pumpkin.

Adapted from Annie's Eats

3 1/2 C rolled oats
2 1/2 C puffed rice cereal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C pumpkin puree
1/4 C applesauce
1/4 C maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
up to 1 1/2 C chopped nuts
up to 1 C dried fruit
up to 1 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats and puffed rice cereal.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Whisk until very smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until the oat mixture is evenly coated.  Spread on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Then turn over the granola using a large, wide spatula.  Sprinkle the nuts onto the granola and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola and let the rest cook until done, 10-15 more minutes.  

Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack.

Break up granola as desired and toss with dried fruit and chocolate chips.  Store in an airtight container.

My Notes:
This took forever to bake! Next time, I will spread it between two cookie sheets. I think spreading it out would make it cook far faster.

And, about the puffed rice cereal - I used a Kashi puffed rice cereal. It was a great addition.

And, my dried fruit of choice was cherries. Although, cranberries would work great - if you like that sort of thing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Week

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, this seems like the last week that I can legitimately put my love of all things pumpkin out there for the world to see.

So, this week I will share all the pumpkin recipes I've tried in recent weeks.

Oh, how I wish I had made this bit of pumpkin deliciousness. I didn't make it; I did eat it.

Meanwhile, a few pumpkin recipes I tried last fall:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mexi-Feast: Tres Leche Cake

This was the dessert for our Mexi-feast. I couldn't have asked for a better choice.

The other contenders were. . . 

Tres Leche Cake 
Taken from All Recipes

1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C unsalted butter
1 C white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

2 C whole milk
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid oz) can evaporated milk

1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan. 

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. 

Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork. 

Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake. Leave plenty of time for the mixture to absorb, moving it around with a knife as needed.

Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Dust with cocoa powder.

Keep the cake refrigerated.

My Notes:
This was an incredibly moist and sweet cake. The fact that it was cold, though, actually made it feel more refreshing than overwhelming. I would definitely make it again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mexi-feast: Side Dishes

We (Angie and me) struck out on the side dishes for the Mexi-feast in a couple of ways.
1. We didn't take any pictures of them.
2. They weren't very good.

We were searching for one starchy side dish and one vegetable side dish.

The contenders for side dish were. . .
Mexican Cornbread
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
Mexican Rice
Zucchini Oven Fries
Mexican Zucchini
Spicy Mexican Salad (includes Fritos)

And, we ended up with. . .

Mexican Cornbread
Taken from Ezra Pound Cake who took it from The Nashville Cookbook

Serves 8

1 1/2  C self-rising cornmeal
1 C buttermilk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp chopped green bell pepper
1 C cream-style corn
2 Tbsp finely chopped jalapenos
1 1/2 C grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 C cooking oil or bacon drippings (!!!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs, bell pepper, corn, and jalapenos.

Heat oil in 8" cast-iron skillet for about 7 minutes.

Pour oil from skillet into batter. Stir lightly, and pour half of the mixture into the hot skillet. Sprinkle half the cheese on the mixture in the skillet, then pour the remaining cornmeal mixture over this. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot.

My Notes:
This didn't have a lot of flavor and was really oily. I will not make it again.

Mexican Zucchini 
Taken from CD Kitchen

Makes 6 servings
Ready in less than 30 minutes

1 lb zucchini
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 ears corn
1 red bell pepper
1 small onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Trim the zucchini and cut it into discs about 1/2" thick. Heat the olive oil in a wide, deep skillet set on medium-high heat. Put the zucchini discs in the skillet and cook them until they become a deep brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a dish.

While the zucchini cooks, slice the corn off the cob. Remove and discard stem and seeds from red pepper (or a mildly hot chili pepper), and mince the pepper. Mince the onion.

Add the corn, pepper, and onion to the skillet and cook over fairly high heat to soften the onion. Add chili powder, salt, pepper, and zucchini to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook to heat through, about a minute.

My Notes:
This wasn't all that great, either. Maybe it was because corn and zucchini weren't in season when we made it. It was bland and watery.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mexi-feast: White Chicken Enchiladas

And, today - the main course of the Mexi-feast.

Here were the contenders for main dish. . .
White Chicken Enchiladas
Enchiladas Verdes
Sourcream Chicken Enchiladas

In the end it was Pioneer Woman's white chicken enchiladas that won out.

White Chicken Enchiladas
Taken from Pioneer Woman

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

2 1/2C cooked, shredded chicken
2 C chicken broth
3 Tbsp canola oil
12 whole corn tortillas
1 whole large onion, diced
3 cans (4 oz each) whole green chilies, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 C heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 C sour cream
2 1/2 C Monterey jack cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
    Heat 2 Tbsp canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas for no longer than 20 seconds, just to soften (do not allow to become crisp.) Place tortillas on a large towel or stack of paper towels to drain.

    Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in separate skillet over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for 1 minute. Add chicken, half of the green chilies, and 1/2 tsp paprika. Stir together. Add 1/2 C chicken broth and stir. Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to bubble and get hot. Turn off heat and set aside.

    In a separate large skillet, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for one minute. Pour in 1 1/2 C chicken broth. Whisk together and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the other half of the chilies. Reduce heat, then stir in sour cream. Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 tsp paprika. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

    To assemble, spoon chicken mixture on top of tortillas, one by one. Top with plenty of cheese and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

    Pour cheese mixture all over the top of the tortillas. Top with extra cheese if you’d like, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    My notes:
    Delicious! I'm not a huge fan of corn tortillas, though. Next time, I will just use flour tortillas. That will save me a step and a frying pan.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Mexi-feast: Mexican Layer Dip

    The appetizer for the Mexi-feast. . .

    Mexican Layer Dip
    Taken from Pioneer Woman

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Servings: 8

    1 can refried beans
    Tabasco sauce, to taste
    1 small can diced green chilies, undrained
    Ground Cumin, to taste
    3/4 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
    1 C sour cream
    1 cup guacamole
    3/4 C Monterey jack cheese
    1 can black olives, sliced
    Green olives, two handfuls, chopped
    1 C Pico de gallo
    Tortilla chips
      Heat the refried beans in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add Tabasco to taste and the can of diced green chilies. Stir well. Next, sprinkle a little bit of ground cumin.

      Spread the beans on the bottom of a glass bowl or high-sided dish. Sprinkle on sharp cheddar. Add sour cream and spread into a single layer, being careful to leave cheese undisturbed.

      Spread guacamole over sour cream. Add Monterey jack and chopped olives. Top with pico de gallo.

      My Notes:
      Future feasts will not involve an appetizer. We get distracted making it and eating it. But, I sure am glad we tried this one. It will make a nice alternative to taco dip at future parties and get-togethers.

      Monday, November 15, 2010

      Mexi-feast: Introduction Post

      Two girls.
      Two sidekicks.
      5 recipes.
      7 bags of groceries.
      1 kitchen.

      The ingredients for our (Angie and me) latest feast. It actually happened awhile ago (think September), and I'm just getting to posting the recipes, photos, and reviews now.

      You missed out big time, but stay tuned for the recipes (and more photos) all this week.

      Appetizer: Mexican Layer Dip
      Main Course: White Chicken Enchiladas
      Side Dishes: Mexican Zucchini and Mexican Cornbread
      Dessert: Tres Leches Cake


      Wednesday, November 10, 2010

      Baba Ghanoush

      About the only eggplant recipe I am confident I like is eggplant parmesan. I've been looking for other ways to use eggplant. There was the ratatouille and now the baba ghanoush. 

      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 30 minutes
      Makes 10 servings


      3 whole medium eggplants
      4 Tbsp Tahini
      4 cloves garlic, finely minced
      1/4 C lemon juice
      3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
      1/3 C fresh parsley, minced

      Prick the surface of each eggplant several times with the tines of a fork.

      Under the broiler (set to high), blacken / char the eggplant for 25 minutes. The skin will be shriveled and dark, and the eggplant will be almost fall-apart tender.

      Set the eggplants aside to cool slightly.

      When cool, peel off the skin enough to get a spoon into each eggplant and scrape out the flesh into a bowl. Get as much eggplant as you can; it will be a messy process.

      Mash eggplant with a fork until it is a smooth texture without being totally pureed.

      Add other ingredients, stirring, and tasting before adjusting seasonings or other ingredients.

      Serve with pita triangles, baguette slices, chips, or crusty French bread.

      My Notes:
      This was delicious and very easy to make. I did have a tough time finding the Tahini. It ended up being on the bottom shelf in the organic / health food section. It was about $6 for a large bottle.

      Monday, November 8, 2010

      Twice Baked Potato

      I'm not all that great at side dishes. I tend to make the same simple things again and again. This happens to be one of those stand-by recipes. What I really like about this recipe is that it is easy enough to make for a quick weeknight dinner but also fancy enough to impress company. I made it for Christmas one year. My dad is still talking about it.

      Stuffed Potatoes
      from Rachael Ray

      4 slices bacon, chopped
      2 baking potatoes
      1/2 C sour cream
      2 green onions, finely chopped
      Salt and pepper, to taste
      1 C shredded cheddar cheese

      Bake potatoes in microwave until soft.

      Cook bacon until crisp. Drain and set aside.

      Preheat broiler.

      Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop inside into bowl. Reserve skins.
      Combine potatoes with sour cream, green onions, salt, pepper, cheese, and bacon.

      Scoop filling back into skins.

      Place under broiler to brown tops.

      My Notes:
      These freeze really well. I usually make a double batch and stash a few in the freezer.

      Monday, November 1, 2010

      Candy Bark

      . . . or what to do with your left-over Halloween candy.

      In case you are not already in a candy coma or in case you just don't have the energy to make dinner tonight or in case you have lots of extra Halloween candy - I insist you try this.

      Halloween Candy Bark 
      Makes 1 cookie sheet

      Original Source: October 2010 Bon Appetit

      Prep time: 15 minutes, plus an additional 10 minutes
      Cooling time: 30 minutes, plus an additional 30 minutes

      1 lb bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
      3 Butterfinger candy bars (or 8 fun size bars), roughly chopped
      3 toffee candy bars (or 6 fun size bars), roughly chopped
      8 Reese cups, cut into wedges
      1/4 C up honey roasted peanuts
      3 oz yellow, orange, and red peanut M&Ms, coarsely chopped
      3 oz good quality white chocolate, finely chopped

      Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

      Place the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Pour the chocolate over the foil and smooth into a thin layer with a spatula.

      Evenly sprinkle the melted chocolate with chopped candy bars, Reese cups, honey roasted peanuts, and peanut M&Ms.  Press gently to adhere the candy to the melted chocolate.  Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

      Melt the white chocolate, again using the double boiler method, until smooth.  Drizzle over the chilled candy bark.  Return to the refrigerator and let chill again until the white chocolate is set, 30 minutes more.

      Peel the sheet of chocolate away from the foil and break into irregular pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every second in between.

      My Notes:
      Next time, I will use regular chocolate instead of bittersweet.
      Next time, I will use peanut butter M&Ms instead of peanut.
      Next time, I will buy the honey roasted peanuts instead of the unsalted.
      Next time, I might add some crumbled up pretzels.

      Sunday, October 31, 2010


      Brad loves to make yogurt, granola, and fruit parfaits for breakfast. Good granola is really expensive and always seems to have some ingredient I don't like the taste of. I was excited to find this recipe. I was even more excited to try it and find out that it was easy to make and tasted great.

      The only downfall was the cost of the ingredients. The agave nectar and coconut oil weren't things I had in my pantry. They were hard to find in the store (finally found in the organic food section) and were expensive - $10 total, I think. I did end up with enough agave nectar for a few more batches of granola; there was lots and lots and lots of coconut oil left, too.

      Recipe taken from mcoleman at Tasty Kitchen

      Prep time: 5 minutes
      Cook time: 15 minutes
      10 servings

      1 C sliced almonds
      1/2 C agave nectar
      2 Tbsp coconut oil
      1 tsp sea salt
      1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
      1 C dried cherries
      1/2 C chocolate chips
      2 tsp cinnamon
      1 tsp vanilla

      Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

      Toss oats, almonds, agave nectar, coconut oil, and salt in a large bowl. (Do not add dried fruit or chocolate yet.)

      Bake for 5 minutes. Pull out of the oven and toss. Put back in the oven and bake for 5 more minutes. Bake until it's just beginning to turn golden but not burned - about 15 minutes total.

      Add dried fruit and chocolate chips. Mix and let it cool.

      Doesn't it look cute?

      Note: Brad and I ate about three-quarters of the batch in a week.

      Wednesday, October 13, 2010

      Fancied-Up BLTs

       I am a little notorious for not liking sandwiches; I don't eat lunch meat of any type, really. But, I do love BLTs. Enter Everyday Food, October 2010, p. 49.

      Fancied-Up BLTs
      (aka Chicken, Avocado, and Bacon Sandwich)

      Makes 2 sandwiches

      4 slices of bacon
      1/3 C shredded chicken, cooked
      Salt and pepper, to taste
      1 Tbsp mayonnaise
      1 clove garlic, minced
      4 slices bread, toasted
      Tomato slices
      1 avocado, sliced

      Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and toss shredded chicken in bacon drippings. Season with salt and pepper.

      Mix minced garlic into mayonnaise.

      Assemble sandwiches. Spread mayonnaise on toasted bread, fill with bacon, chicken, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Slice. Enjoy.

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010

      Sloppy Joes

      Sloppy Joes of my childhood always had crunched potato chips on top. Sloppy Joes of my recent life are always made with ground turkey. I picked this just because I was looking for something different.

      Taken from Pioneer Woman Cooks

      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 20 minutes
      Servings: 4

      1 Tbsp butter
      1 lb ground beef
      1/4 whole large onion, diced
      1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
      3 cloves garlic minced
      3/4 C ketchup
      1/2 C water
      1 Tbsp brown sugar
      1 tsp chili powder
      1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
      Worcestershire sauce, to taste
      1 Tbsp tomato paste
      Salt and ground papper, to taste
      Rolls, for serving

      Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

      Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.

      Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste and Worcestershire. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

      Spoon meat mixture over the rolls.

      My Notes:
      These were really delicious and easy to make. They actually tasted really similar to Manwhich.

      Friday, October 8, 2010

      Amish Bread

      Every now and then a few bags of a strange, creamy liquid will show up in our faculty work room. Each one has a recipe attached to it. 
      It is starter for Amish Friendship Bread, and I always look forward to its unexpected appearance.

      Until I realized I could just make it myself.

      Recipe taken from Jules - a woman Brad works with
      Makes 2 loaves and 4 starters
      Prep Time: less than 5 minutes per day for 10 days
      Prep Time: 20 minutes on Day 10
      Bake time: 60 minutes on Day 10

      1 C flour
      1 C sugar
      1 C milk

      Day 1: Mix starter ingredients (listed above) together into a quart size zip-lock bag.
      Day 2: Mush bag together to mix contents together twice today.
      Day 3: Mush bag together to mix contents together twice today.
      Day 4: Mush bag together to mix contents together twice today.
      Day 5: Mush bag together to mix contents together twice today.

      Day 6:
      Add 1 C flour, 1 C sugar, and 1 C milk. Seal bag. Let as much air out as possible. Mush thoroughly.

      Day 7: Mush bag together and let air out twice today.
      Day 8: Mush bag together and let air out twice today.
      Day 9: Mush bag together and let air out twice today.

      Day 10:
      Squeeze contents out of the bag and into a large bowl. Add 1 C flour, 1 C sugar, and 1 C milk. Stir thoroughly. Measure out into 4 zip-loc bags (about 3/4 to 1 C into each bag). Give these bags to friends and family along with the instructions or freeze extra bags and take out to make the recipe below when needed.

      Starter left in bowl
      1 C oil
      1/2 C milk
      3 eggs
      1 tsp vanilla
      2 C flour
      1 C sugar
      1 1/2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/2 tsp baking soda
      1 large box (5.4 oz) instant pudding or 2 small boxes
      Nuts (optional)

      To small amount of starter left in bowl (about 3/4 to 1 C) add the oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pudding and mix well. Spray two large loaf pans and sprinkle generously with sugar. Pour batter into the pans and sinrkle tops with sugar. Bake at 325 degree F oven for one hour or until knife comes out clean.

      Use pistachio pudding and top with sugar.
      Use chocolate pudding and add chocolate chips, sprinkle with sugar.
      Use vanilla pudding. Add 1 tsp cinnamon, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on bottom of pan and on top.
      Use lemon pudding and add poppy seeds and spinkle with sugar.
      Use butterscotch pudding and add butterscotch chips.

      You can use a bundt pan, muffin tins (regular or mini), or mini loaf pans. Baking time will need to be adjusted accordingly.

      Tuesday, September 28, 2010

      Short Rib Pasta Sauce

      I love pasta. Sigh.  I prefer my pasta with meat sauce. As much as I love any one of my favorite bolognese sauces and as much as I don't mind browning some ground beef and adding it to a jar of sauce, I do get tired of the same thing again and again. That's what attracted me to this recipe. I was looking for something different to pour over my carbs.


      Short Rib Pasta Sauce

      Makes 4 to 6 servings
      Prep time: less than 20 minutes
      Cook time: 3 hours

      3 Tbsp olive oil
      2 oz chopped pancetta or bacon (about 1/2 C)
      2 1/2 lb beef short ribs
      Salt and pepper, to taste
      1/4 C flour
      1 medium onion, chopped
      1 carrot, chopped
      1/2 C fresh parsley leaves, chopped
      2 cloves garlic, chopped
      1 (14 oz) can tomatoes (whole or diced)
      1 Tbsp tomato paste
      1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
      1/2 tsp dried thyme
      1/2 tsp dried oregano
      3 bay leaves
      2 1/2 C beef broth
      3/4 C red wine
      1 pound fresh pasta (linguine or fettuccine)
      4 to 6 tsp shaved bittersweet chocolate

      Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes.

      Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour.

      Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside.

      Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total.

      Meanwhile, combine the onion, carrot, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and pulse.

      Once the short ribs are browned, carefully add the mixture from the food processor to the pot. Return the pancetta to the pot and stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, beef broth, and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil.

      Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

      Remove the lid and simmer for another hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

      Remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the bones. Shred the meat and return it to the pot.

      Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

      Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to moisten the pasta.

      Transfer to serving bowls, top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.

      My Notes:
      I made this the first time last fall. It took me forever and a consultation with the butcher to figure out that short ribs were, in fact, beef and not pork. Brad and I both liked it last fall and we liked it again this fall.

      Thursday, September 23, 2010

      Sweet Potato Fries

      I'm always looking for fun side dishes. Knowing how well the roasted sweet potatoes went over, I decided to try another sweet potato recipe.

      From Tasty Kitchen

      Active prep: 10 minutes
      Inactive prep: 1 hour
      Baking time: 35 minutes

      2 whole large sweet potatoes
      3 tsp salt
      1 tsp black pepper
      Olive oil cooking spray

      Cut the sweet potatoes into small fries, about 1/4 of an inch thick. When they are all cut, place them in a bowl with warm water and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Fill the bowl with more water, so that all the fries are covered. Leave them to soak for  an hour. The soaking is important because it makes the fries crispy.

      Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

      Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining kosher salt and black pepper onto the pan. Drain the water from your bowl of fries and spread them out evenly on the baking sheet. Top with the remaining salt and pepper and spray the fries with a little more cooking spray.

      Place them in the oven and bake for about 30-45 minutes, until the fries are crispy and browned. Flip the fries at least once during baking. If the fries are cooked, but not crispy, place them under the broiler for about a minute.

       My Notes:
      I am, apparently, not very good at baking fries. They always come out a little brown. There is always smoke billowing out of the oven, and the smoke alarm goes off every time. Brad really liked these, though.

      Tuesday, September 21, 2010

      Hawaiian Burgers

      It was hot today - like Indian Summer hot. It wasn't sunshiney or bright blue - just hot. A day like today calls for something that tastes like summer.

      1 can (20 oz) unsweetened crushed pineapple
      1 tsp pepper
      1/4 tsp salt
      1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
      1/4 C reduced sodium soy sauce
      2 Tbsp ketchup
      1 Tbsp white vinegar
      2 tsp garlic powder
      1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
      18 miniature whole wheat bungs
      Baby spinach leaves
      3 center-cut bacon strips, cooks and crumbled
      Swiss cheese, 6 slices

      Drain pineapple, reserving juice and 1 1/2C pineapple. In a large bowl, combine 3/4 C reserve crushed pineapple, pepper, and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 18 patties; place in two 11 x 7" dishes.

      In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, pepper flakes, and reserved pineapple juice. Pour half of marinade into each dish; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning once.

      Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Drain and discard marinade. Grill patties, covered, over medium heat for 4 - 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F and juices run clear. Melt small amount of cheese on top of each burger.

      Grill buns, uncovered for 1- 2 minutes or until toasted. Serve burgers on buns with spinach, pineapple, and bacon.

      My Notes:
      These were good, but a lot of work. Next time, I might use the same recipe to make regular burgers. I'm a little hesitant, though, because I'm not sure they would stay together. The addition of the pineapple made the small burgers crumbly; I'm not sure what effect it would have on regular burgers.

      Saturday, September 18, 2010

      Blueberry Muffins

      The meal at a recent book club meeting was breakfast. I was in charge of dessert and wanted to make something that wouldn't need to bake there. That's how I ended up with blueberry muffins.

      Blueberries are a little scary this time of year, but I still gave it a try.
      Coffee Cake Blueberry Muffins
      Taken from Ina Garten

      Makes 16 muffins
      Prep time: 15 minutes
      Cook time: 25 minutes


      12 Tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
      1 1/2 C sugar
      3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
      1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      8 oz (about 1 C) sour cream
      1/4 C milk
      2-1/2 C all-purpose flour
      2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp baking soda
      1/2 tsp salt
      2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.

      In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk.

      In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

      With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

      Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

      My Notes:
      These were okay. Really? I wanted them to taste more like the Bette Crocker blueberry muffins that come in a box. You know - the ones with the little can of blueberries inside. My main problem was that the blueberries clumped together in the bottom of the muffins.

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      Chicken Provencal Soup

      Fall = Soup. This recipe from Beth seemed perfect.

      Adapted from Chicken Provencal Stoup
      by Rachael Ray

      Prep time: less than 10 minutes
      Cook time: 20 minutes
      Makes 4 servings

       2 medium carrots, peeled and diced in 1/4"
      2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      2 Tbsp olive oil
      2 medium zucchinis, halved and sliced
      1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced in 1/4"
      1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
      Salt and pepper
      1 tsp dried sage
      1 tsp dried rosemary
      1 tsp dried thyme
      1 1/2 lb small red skinned potatoes, cut in thin wedges
      1 C dry white wine
      1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
      1 qt + 1C chicken stock
      1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced

      2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
      1 small jar olive tapenade (4 oz)
      Crusty bread

      Heat medium soup pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, carrots, garlic, zucchini, pepper, and onion. Season with salt and pepper and sage, rosemary, and thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes.

      Add wine to vegetables and reduce for about one minute.

      Add tomatoes, potatoes, and stock to the pot. Cover and raise heat to high. Bring to a boil.

      Add chicken and simmer 8 to 10 minutes until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked.

      Serve in shallow bowls topped with olive tapenade and parsley. Pass bread around at table.

      My Notes:
      I channeled my inner Rachael Ray when I made this and gathered all the ingredients first. It was quite the pile; there's lots of stuff in this soup! It tasted great, though. I was thinking that it would end up being more of a stew than a soup. It was definitely a soup, though. It's something I would make again.

      Monday, September 13, 2010

      Zucchini Slop

      This one-pot side dish is exactly what summer tasted like in my childhood. I have no idea how my mom came up with the recipe or when she started making it. I just know that I love it.

      So, I am sharing it with you so you can enjoy the last of the zucchinis and keep a little taste of summer in your fall.

      Mama Sue's Zucchini Slop
      Makes 4-6 servings
      Prep Time: 20 minutes of chopping
      Cook time: About 50 minutes

      4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
      1 medium onion, diced
      3 cloves garlic, minced
      4 Tbsp butter (additional butter to taste)
      1 green pepper, cored and seeded, roughly diced
      1 large or 2 medium zucchini, peeled, quarter, and sliced
      Salt and pepper to taste

      Place potatoes, onion, garlic, and butter in a large pot. Barely cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until potatoes begin to soften, about 25 to 30 minutes.

      Add green pepper and zucchini. Continue cooking over medium heat (uncovered) until all ingredients begin to turn to soften and turn to slop, about 15 to 20 minutes. It is important to stir often.

      Also, you might need to add water or milk to reach desired consistency. I prefer a thick consistency, like a stew. Add salt, pepper, and additional butter to taste.


      Saturday, September 4, 2010

      Index (as of 9/1/10)

      Pork and Chive Pot Stickers
      BBQ Meatballs
      Spicy Caramel Popcorn

      Pumpkin Spice Lattes

      Brown Sugar Bacon
      Pumpkin Waffles with Maple Walnut Apples
      Breakfast Burritos
      Overnight Sticky Buns

      Leek and Potato Soup 
      Broccoli Leek Soup
      One Pot Chili
      Minestrone Soup
      Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
      Pasta Fagioli Soup
      Corn and Chicken Chowder

      Caeser Club Sandwich

      Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
      Chopped Salad (from Buca's)
      Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
      Gorgonzola and Bacon Dressing
      Greek Panzanella

      Macaroni and Cheese (Barefoot Contessa)
      Fancy Mac and Cheese (Pioneer Woman)
      Macaroni and Cheese (Pioneer Woman)
      Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
      Shrimp, Feta, and Herb Mac and Cheese
      Taco Mac

      PASTA - Vegetarian
      Apple Walnut Ravioli
      Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese
      Zucchini, Tomato, and Ricotta Pasta

      PASTA - with Chicken
      Chicken and Bacon Pasta
      Spaghetti with Sauteed Chicken and Tomatoes
      Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Chicken and Artichokes
      Loaded White Cheddar, Garlic, and Chicken Pasta

      PASTA - Other
      Spaghetti Puttanesca 
      Artichoke and Sausage Pasta
      Spaghetti and Meatballs

      PASTA - Sauces
      Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
      Classic Bolognese Sauce
      Spaghetti Bolognese (from Pioneer Woman)

      PASTA - Lasagna
      Lasagna with Turkey Sausage
      Nicky's Lasagna

      PASTA - Shrimp Scampi
      Linguini with Shrimp Scampi
      Baked Shrimp Scampi
      Shrimp Scampi

      Creamy Rice with Roasted Shrimp 
      Cauliflower, Brie, and Almond Risotto
      Butternut Squash Risotto with Shrimp
      WI Risotto
      Risotto with Chicken, Spinach, Lemon, Leeks, and Garlic
      Sun-dried Tomato Risotto
      Spring Couscous
      Green Risotto

      Pizza Dough
      BBQ Chicken Pizza
      Chicken Alfredo Pizza
      Antipasto Calzone

      BEEF - Ground Beef
      Hearty Salisbury Steak
      Beef Enchiladas 
      Hamburger Helper Stroganoff 
      Stuffed Green Peppers
      BBQ Meatballs
      Shepherd's Pie
      Stuffed Zucchini
      Garlic Butter Burgers
      Beef Burgers with Mushrooms and Aioli

      BEEF - Roasts and Steaks
      Stracotto (Italian Beef Roast)
      Beef Stew
      Crockpot Beef Roast
      Shredded BBQ Beef (for sandwiches)
      Shredded Italian Beef (for sandwiches)
      Shredded Beef Tacos
      Beef Tenderloin (oven-baked)
      Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin

      Cashew Chicken
      Chicken with Olives and Artichokes
      Crockpot Asian Barbeque Chicken
      Thai-style Chicken with Basil
      Southeast Asian Fried Rice
      Tequila Lime Chicken
      Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
      Chicken Enchiladas

      Pork with Brussels Sprouts
      Pork Tenderloin
      Asian Marinated Pork
      Pulled Pork Sandwiches

      Herb-Roasted Lamb

      SHRIMP and FISH
      Creamy Rice with Roasted Shrimp 
      Butternut Squash Risotto with Shrimp
      Shrimp, Feta, and Herb Mac and Cheese
      Shrimp and Sausage Skewers
      Shrimp Stirfry
      Linguini with Shrimp Scampi
      Baked Shrimp Scampi
      Shrimp Scampi
      Trout and Veggie Packets


      Crockpot Asian Barbeque Chicken
      Shredded BBQ Beef (for sandwiches)
      Shredded Italian Beef (for sandwiches) 
      Shredded Beef Tacos
      Crockpot Beef Roast
      Pulled Pork

      Mustard Horseradish Sauce (for steak)
      Asian Marinade (for pork)
      Tequila Lime (for chicken)
      Fajita Marinade (for chicken, beef, or shrimp)

      Lemony Green Beans
      Green Bean Casserole
      Greek Panzanella

      Two Potato Gratin
      Potatoes au Gratin
      EVOO Garlic Mashed Potatoes 
      Mashed Potatoes
      Roasted Sweet Potatoes
      Roasted Potato Wedges
      Grilled Potatoes

      Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Raisins
      Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples

      BREADS and ROLLS
      Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
      Garlic Cheese Bread
      Garlic Cheese Bread (with green onions)

      BREADS - Sweet
      Bourbon Pumpkin Pecan Bread
      Famous Banana Bread

      DESSERTS - Nutella
      Chocolate Torte with Nutella Mousse 
      Chocolate Nutella Lava Cakes
      Heart Sandwich Cookies (Valentine's Day) 

      DESSERTS - Holiday
      Heart Sandwich Cookies (Valentine's Day)
      Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting (St. Patty's Day)
      Candy Corn Kiss Cookies (Halloween)
      Pumpkin Pie Bites (Halloween)

      DESSERTS - Cookies
      Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
      Loaded Oatmeal Cookies
      Cookie Bars

      DESSERTS -Cupcakes
      Little French Fudgecakes
      Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish cream Frosting
      Chocolate Cupcakes with PB Frosting
      Cherry Coke Cupcakes
      Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcakes
      Margarita Cupcakes

      DESSERTS - Other
      Mocha Silk Pie
      French Silk Pie
      Carrot Cake
      PB Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
      Chewy Chocolate Brownies
      Snickers Bars
      Chocolate Cobbler
      Berry - Marshmallow Trifle
      Chocolate PB Whoopie Pies