Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Peach Bars

I was torn on how to label this peach dessert.  The texture is almost like a cake but you can cut and serve it like a bar.  I recommend serving it warm with a dollop of whipped cream.  I used frozen peach slices.  I allowed them to thaw and then opened the package and added the corn starch right in the bag so I did not have to dirty another dish.






Peach Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour


Combine together ~
1 10 oz package frozen peach slices, thawed
1 tbsp. corn starch

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Add in baking powder, salt.  Alternate adding the flour and milk in 1/2 cup portions.  Fold in the oats.  Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan.  Place 3/4 of the batter in the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly.  Top with peach slices.  Dot the remaining batter on top of the peaches.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie Crepes

The sun shown brightly yesterday and you could tell by the brightness that Spring is indeed returning.  The wind made it chilly but that didn't matter to my cat who returned to his favorite sleeping spot on top of the couch, in the sunshine, after hibernating next to the heating register for that last 3 months.  It was a nice day to relax with crafting and making a somewhat labor intensive meal.  It was worth it.  Plus I made it with a lot of veggies, so it had to be healthy, right?





Chicken Pot Pie Crepes 

Crepes ~  make ahead and let sit for at least a half hour.  Perfect for getting the chicken pot pie made

1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 dash salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit until you are ready to cook.

Chicken Pot Pie Mixture ~

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup peas
1 tbsp celery flakes
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and allow it to cook for a minute before gradually stirring in the chicken stock and milk.  Allow to heat and thicken for about 10 minutes before adding in the vegetables and shredded chicken.  Continue cooking until it completes thickening.  If it gets too thick, add in some more milk.

Heat a 10" non-stick frying pan.  I sprayed a coating of cooking spray as it was heating.  Add in 1/4 cup of crepe mixture and tilt the pan until the batter is evenly spread.  Cook of medium heat until the edges start to turn brown.  Use a spatula to gently flip the crepe over.  Cook for another minute or two until the 2nd side is done.  Place on a plate.  Insert a piece of wax paper between all the crepes so they do not stick.

Place a crepe on a plate.  Place some chicken pot pie mixture down the middle and fold up the sides over it, burrito style.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hazelnut Icebox Cake

It turned out so I will share the recipe.  I'm referring to what I made with the Hazelnut Cookie recipe that I posted yesterday.  This cake is decadent so I will advise serving small slices but it's oh so good.  The cookies soften as they are nestled in the whipping cream mixture overnight.  Look at the bottom to see how I lined the cookies in the pan and cut a few into 6 pieces to fill in the open spots.  






Hazelnut Icebox Cake

Hazelnut cookies to fill 3 layers
8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup Nutella
2 tbsp Frangelico
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Toasted hazelnuts to decorate the top.

In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, whipping cream and Nutella.  Whip until it thickens.  Stir in Frangelico and powdered sugar. Line cookies in a layer at the bottom of a  9" springform pan.  Place 1/3 of the cream mixture evenly on top.  Repeat for 2 more layers.  Sprinkle hazelnuts on top and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hazelnut Cookies

Everyone needs an easy chocolate cookie recipe and this is super easy to make.  I made these for another recipe, which I'll post tomorrow but a couple might have been eaten before it was done.







Hazelnut Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1 /3 cups flour

Cream together butter, Nutella, egg, vanilla and both sugars.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before baking.  Place 12 balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Gently press down the tops.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°Leave on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing. 

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Parmesan Polenta

I always enjoy an easy side that only requires an occasional stir as I'm working on the rest of the meal.  I had never made polenta before so I was very happy with the great flavor and ease or preparation.  I wanted to add in one of my favorite cheeses so I grated some Parmesan to stir in and a little extra to sprinkle on top with a bit of freshly ground pepper and parsley.




Parmesan Polenta

2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup polenta
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese

Bring the chicken broth to a boil.  Whisk in the polenta and turn down the heat to medium low.  Add in sea salt and pepper and stir (with a wooden spoon now).  Continue to stir frequently as it cooks and thickens.  This will take about a half hour.  When it has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the butter, mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses.  


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Crock Pot Beef Tips & Gravy

It's cold.  Darn cold.  The high today is -7.  It wouldn't be bad if that was Celsius but unfortunately it's Fahrenheit.  For me, it meant putting in some kitchen and crafting time since it's too cold to venture out.  That's not all bad either.  One of the first things I made was cookies (recipe coming later this week) and then I put these beef tips in the crock pot to slowly tenderize and cook all day.  Great for serving over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.





Crock Pot Beef Tips & Gravy

1# sirloin steak (mine was 1.3#)
extra virgin olive oil

Dredge ~
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.  Cube the steak while you are waiting for the oil and pan to heat.  Combine all the ingredients and roll the steak cubes in the mixture before placing into the hot pan.  Lightly brown on all sides before placing in the crock pot.  Add more olive oil as needed.  In the last batch, add in 1 small onion that is minced.  Place the remaining beef and onions in the crock pot and deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup burgundy.  Add in 2 1/2 cups beef broth and place the crock pot on medium heat.  Cook for at least 4 hours.  A half hour before serving, mix together 2 tbsp. corn starch and 1/4 cup cold water and stir into the crock pot gravy to thicken.  Turn up the heat a notch and allow it to thicken.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Buckwheat Pancakes

I've watched the temperature drop 12 degrees since I've been awake.  It's now at an even 0 outside.  I decided to make one of my comfort breakfasts that makes me think about my dad.  As a child, we would take trips to my grandparents farm in Sebeka, Minnesota.  It's a small town and might be hard to find on the map.  We'd get up early and start the trip which went through Wadena.  Wadena had a cafe where I was introduced to buckwheat pancakes.  Dad and I would order them every time we stopped there.  I recently came across some buckwheat flour so I made my own pancake mix this morning.




Buckwheat Pancakes

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 dash cinnamon
1 tbsp melted butter
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk

Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl to combine.  Stir in melted butter, egg and milk.  Let mixture sit for 10 minutes before making pancakes.  Heat an oiled griddle and pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  Lightly brown both sides.  I recommend serving with warmed maple syrup.

Makes 8 pancakes.