Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cranberry~Blueberry Bread

One of the best smells in the world is fresh baking bread.  I wanted to make a good sandwich and toast bread so I added some dried cranberries and blueberry infused cranberries to it.  I can highly recommend it for ham and turkey sandwiches.


 
Cranberry & Blueberry Bread
 
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil

3 tbsp nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup dried blueberries (or blueberry infused cranberries), chopped



Combine warm water, sugar and yeast and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Add in olive oil before adding to the dry ingredients in your mixer bowl.   Pour in yeast and water mixture and mix with your dough hook until it kneads for 4 minutes.

Place dough in a clean bowl with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil rubbed on all sides and allow to raise until it has doubled.  Lightly punch down and shape to fit into a greased bread pan.  Allow to rise again.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350°.  Remove from oven and brush on 1 tbsp of butter.  Return to oven for an additional 2 minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Orange Pizzelles

These Italian cookies are nice, crisp wafers that you can leave flat or roll up to use as a cannoli shell.  I flavored them with orange zest and extract.  Originally I was going to do lemon but I wanted to try orange for a change.  




Orange Pizzelles

3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp orange extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp Orange liqueur (optional)

Beat eggs until they are light.  Add in sugar, melted butter, orange zest and extract.  Fold in dry ingredients.  Drop by teaspoonfuls into the center of your heated pizzelle maker.  Close the lid for about 30 seconds.  Carefully remove the pizzelle and place on a wire rack.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Soup


It's that time of year for soup and the cold weather seems to have hit earlier than normal.  I was planning on another meal with chicken but decided to warm up with some creamy soup that comes together in less than an hour.



Cheesy Chicken Bacon Soup

1# chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
32 oz chicken stock
1 tbsp celery flakes
1 cup long grain & wild rice
1 cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven or soup pot.  Cut up chicken into bite size pieces and add into the heated oil.  Stir often so all sides cook.  While that's cooking, microwave the carrot slices for a couple minutes so they cook faster.  Add in the carrots, chicken stock and celery flakes and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the rice and cook for 12 minutes.  Add in the milk and cheese and cook until the cheese melts.  Serve with additional cheese and bacon on top.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Light and fluffy biscuits that are perfect with jam for breakfast or with a bowl of stew later on in the day.  You can whip with use in no time once your butter and cream cheese have softened.   I like making biscuits because it gives me an opportunity to use my grandmothers antique biscuit and cookie cutters that I have displayed in a clear glass cookie jar.




 
Cream Cheese Biscuits

3 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
In a medium bowl, sift together the following
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt

Cut in the softened butter and cream cheese.  When the mixture is crumbly, pour in 2/3 cup milk.  Stir until dough sticks together.  Knead on a floured surface until it’s no longer sticky.  Roll out to a ½” thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with milk and bake for 10 minutes at 450°.

Makes 14 biscuits.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus

A hint of lemon, Parmesan cheese and creamy garlic for a healthy dip for veggies or Pita chips.  This dip can be made within minutes (after you roast the garlic).  I happened to have Meyer lemons on hand so I used the zest and juice from one of those but put the measurements in the recipe for using a regular lemon.



Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus

6 cloves garlic (roasted for 1/2 hour at 350° wrapped in aluminum foil)
1 can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
zest from 1/2 of a lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp water
pinch of sea salt

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy.  Place in a serving dish and top with a tsp of extra virgin olive oil and some Parmesan flakes.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rocky Road Cookies

It's cookie baking season and I decided to try putting together a new cookie.  Who doesn't love chocolate, nuts and toasted marshmallows?  I took a generous cup of mini marshmallows leftover from another Christmas treat and put them in the freezer for a couple hours so they wouldn't melt as fast in the cookies and turned up the oven heat so they would bake faster (8 minutes - no longer or your cookies will burn and the marshmallows turn into liquid mess at the bottom of the pan).  Lost one pan experimenting.





Rocky Road Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 oz pecans, chopped or pieces
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 generous cup mini marshmallows, frozen

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.  Scoop out the cookie dough using a small cookie scoop and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Press a couple of the frozen marshmallows on top of the dough.  Bake for 8 minutes at 375°.  Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 48 cookies.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bacon & Cheese Muffins

Bacon and muffins - a great way to start the day especially when they are mixed together.  I normally make these using mild Italian sausage instead of bacon but sometimes you just have to use what is on hand and you end up with delicious results.



Bacon & Cheese Muffins

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" slices, cooked and drained
2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix together dry ingredients.  Gradually add in milk, butter and egg.  Add in cooled bacon and cheese.  Grease standard or large muffin pans and fill each cup 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown at 350°.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from cups.

Makes 12 regular size muffins.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pear Tart

Fall is a time for fresh pears of all kinds.  I picked up some to make a tart twice.  Sweet ripe pears are hard to resist eating on their own.  The tart dough is easy to make since it's all made in a food processor.



Pear Tart

Tart Shell ~
1 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup cold butter, sliced in small pieces
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla
Put all the dry ingredients in your food processor with the blade and pulse until combined.  Add in butter slices.  Pulse again until just combined so the butter doesn’t get too warm.  In a small dish, combine the milk, egg and vanilla.  Pour into the flour mixture and pulse until a dough forms.  Remove the dough from the processor and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for a half hour.  Remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes.  Roll out until the dough is ¼” thick.  Butter  the bottom only of your tart pan.  Place dough in pan.  Only lightly pressing down and on the sides.  Trim off any extra.  Return to refrigerator while your oven heats up to 350°.  Cover the bottom of the dough with aluminum foil and add pie weights.  When the oven is heated, bake for 30 minutes.

Let the tart cool for 15 minutes.  While that is going on, melt 1/2 cup butter and allow to cool slightly.
When cool, stir in ~
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Skin and slice three pears and lay in a circular pattern on your tart crust.  Pour butter mixture evenly over the top.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 50 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Sprinkle some powered sugar on top.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Cheese Dipping Sauce

Warm, creamy and a hint of heat combine to make this a wonderful dipping sauce for chips or crisp french fries.  It's a quick treat to make just minutes before the game starts so everyone can snack as they are rooting for their favorite team.  I combined pepperjack for a little heat and cheddar for a nice color. 



Cheese Dipping Sauce

4 oz pepperjack cheese, shredded
4 oz medium cheddar cheese, shredded
1 - 12 oz can evaporated milk
2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce
1 tbsp corn starch


In a medium sauce pan, combine the cheese and corn starch.  Stir in the evaporated milk and hot sauce.  Stir over medium heat until the cheese melts and thickens.  Pour into a serving dish and you are ready to enjoy the snacks and the game.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Italian Bread Bowls

Fun bread bowls for serving your favorite soup, stew or chili in.  They are sturdy enough so none of the liquid will seep out.


 
Italian Bread Bowls
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
3 cups bread flour
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
 

In a large measuring cup, mix together warm water, honey and yeast and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  In your large stand mixer bowl, combine bread flour and salt.  When the yeast mixture is ready, start the mixer with a dough hook on low and add in the liquid.  Slowly pour in the olive oil until the dough comes together.  Remove the dough from the bowl and pour in another tbsp. of olive oil.  Return the dough and turn so all sides are covered by the oil.  Cover the bowl and allow to sit in a warm place for an hour.  After an hour, remove the dough and cut into 3 equal pieces.  Shape into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Allow to rise again for an hour.  In a small bowl, mix together the egg white and water.  Cut two ¼” slices in the top of each dough ball and the brush the egg white mixture all over each bowl.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400.  Remove from oven and do another egg white wash on each bowl.  Return to the over for another 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool completely.  Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the center out of the bread bowl.  Fill with your favorite soup, stew or chili.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cheese Manicotti

All the delicious flavors of cheese-filled manicotti without the hassle of trying to stuff shells by making crepes to hold the creamy filling.


 
Cheese Manicotti

Crepes ~  make ahead and let sit for at least a half hour.  Perfect for getting the rest of your ingredients together

1 cup flour

1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier
2 large eggs
1 dash salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit until you are ready to cook.  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 the cheese filling in the center and flip the sides up burrito style.  Scoop up the crepe gently and place in a greased baking dish. 

Filling ~
16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded 6 Italian cheese mix
2 tbsp fresh Parsley, minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


Line up manicotti in your greased baking dish.  Top with 1 cup of your favorite red pasta sauce.  Sprinkle ½ cup of the shredded 6 Italian Cheese mix on top.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350°,

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Apple Strawberry Crisp

Nothing says fall like the aroma of apples and cinnamon coming from your oven.  I decided to mix things up and toss in some strawberries for a change.  I’ve made just strawberry crisps before and it turned out as did this combination. 
 


Apple Strawberry Crisp

4 apples, pared and diced

2 cups strawberries, top removed and sliced in half
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Topping
1/2 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and sliced thin

Mix together the apples and strawberries in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle the lemon juice over and add in white sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon.  In another medium sized bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt.  Gradually add in cold butter slices and mix by hand until crumbly.  In a greased 9 x 9 pan, add in the fruit mixture and then top it with the oat mixture.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Brown Butter Orzo & Parmesan Chicken

A delicious meal that is quick to fix on a busy work night.  All you need to add is a vegetable side and it’s complete.  The orzo takes on the rich, nutty flavor of the brown butter to make it so much tastier than just plain pasta.




Brown Butter Orzo & Parmesan Chicken

Heat in a large saucepan –
2 cups chicken stock
In a large frying pan –
Heat 2 tbsp butter, melt and let it heat until it turns a light brown color.  Add in 1 cup Orzo and cook for a couple minutes, stirring frequently.  Add in ¼ cup white wine and cook until it is absorbed and then add the orzo to the heated chicken stock.  Cook until all the stock is absorbed into the Orzo.  Stir in 2 tbsp parsley and 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan Chicken Tenders
14 oz chicken tenders
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp  Parmesan cheese
Mix all the flour, spices and Parmesan together in a bowl for a dredge for the tenders.  Cook in a large frying pan with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Cook until golden brown on both sides.  

Friday, October 28, 2016

Naan

My neighbor introduced me to Naan when I was home sick with a bad cold and she brought some over with a large pot of chicken soup (best neighbor in the world!)  I was making some soup to freeze to have on hand for days that you just don't want to cook after a long day at work or if you're not feeling well, and decided it was a good time to try making Naan myself.



Naan

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp honey

Combine in the bottom of your mixer (with the dough hook) and let sit for 10 minutes.  Mix in the following ~
3 tbsp milk
1 large egg
2 tsp salt 
3 1/2 cups bread flour

Blend until it forms a ball.  Remove from bowl and add in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil into the bowl.  Return the ball of dough and turn so all sides are oiled.  Cover the bowl and let sit until the dough has doubled in size.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 equal pieces.  Form into balls.  Roll out into circles with the dough 1/4" thick.  Place on a heated (and sprayed with cooking oil) cast iron frying pan.  Cook until a golden brown on one side and then flip and cook on the other.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken Tostadas

This is a perfect game day lunch or serve it with scoop chips for a warm snack.  It's a great way to sneak vegetables in to those are are a little fussy about eating them.  



Crock Pot Mexican Chicken Tostadas

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp taco seasoning (homemade recipe below)
1 - 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 - 14.5 can petite diced tomatoes
2 tbsp mild green chilies

Place all the chicken breasts in our crock pot.  Place all the other ingredients on top and stir.  Cook over medium over 4 hours.  Remove the chicken and fork shred.  Return the chicken.  Place on top and tostadas and sprinkle some Mexican cheese mix on top.

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp  oregano
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp salt

Place in a sealable plastic bag or container that's airtight and mix well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pumpkin Crepes

These crepes can be served for a Fall breakfast or as a dessert.  They are not overly sweet but you get a mild hint of pumpkin flavor in every bite.
 


 
Pumpkin Crepes
1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier

3 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
1 dash salt
Filling
½ cup whipping cream, whipped to firm peaks
8 oz mascarpone, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit for a half hour.

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.
 

In a small bowl, whip the cream.  Add in the mascarpone, brown sugar and cinnamon and whip until blended.

Place a crepe on a plate.  Place some whipped cream/pumpkin mixture and fold up the sides over it, burrito style.


Makes 8 crepes.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pumpkin Scones

Fall means pumpkin everything.  I’m not a coffee drinker so I can bypass the creamer commercials.  This is the first of a couple ways that I’m enjoying using pumpkin early in the morning. 


 
Pumpkin Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp milk
1 large egg

Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk

1 dash cinnamon

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Using a pastry cutter or fingers, cut in the butter until the dough turns into course crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together milk, pumpkin puree and the egg.  Add into the dry ingredients and stir until it's completely combined. Turn out on to a floured surface.  Pat into a circle that is approximately 1/2 - 3/4" thick.  Cut into 8 slices and put onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure they are spread out since the scores will spread slightly.  Brush 2 tbsp whipping cream on top of the scones.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400°.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then spoon glaze over the scones.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dinner Buns

When you make a big pot of soup it’s nice to have some fresh baked buns out of the oven to go along with it.  The smell of fresh baked bread is welcome any time of the year, especially in the Fall and Winter seasons.


 
Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm milk
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp instant active yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large eggs
2 ¾ cups bread flour


In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter (until melted).  Stir in the sugar and yeast.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  In your mixer, gently mix the egg and salt with the dough hook.  Blend in the milk mixture.  Gradually add in the flour until it forms a ball.  Remove from machine and cover the bowl for one hour.  Divide out the dough and roll into 12 balls.  Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Allow to rise.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Spread 1 tbsp of softened butter on top of the hot buns.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Italian Mac & Cheese Soup

Cooler temperatures bring the need for comforting soups, stews & chili.  I saw mac & cheese soup recipes popping up and thought I'd like to try it but using some of my favorite Italian cheeses.  I added in a shredded carrot just to add a vegetable in there and it adds a lovely color.



Italian Mac & Cheese Soup

1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups organic chicken stock
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 cups milk
8 oz Italian 5 cheese mix
4 oz Fontina cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cooked pancetta for topping

Melt 3 tbsp butter and stir in flour.  Gradually add in chicken stock, stirring frequently.  Add in the shredded carrot and cook for 20 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and milk.  Stir until completely melted.  Add in garlic powder, salt and pepper.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Monster Cookies

Soft cookies filled with peanut butter, M&M's and chocolate chips are a great snack for school, football watching or just snacking while they are still warm from the oven.  I used the Fall M&M's to give some as a neighbor gift but these are wonderful all year long





Fall Monster Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup M&M's

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars.  Add in egg and vanilla.  Gradually add in the flour and baking soda.  Fold in the oats, chocolate chips and M&M's.  Place in the refrigerator for a half hour.  Scoop out the dough in 2 tbsp measures.  Roll into a ball and then gently pat down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Top with 3-4 additional M&M's.  Bake for 9 minutes at 350°.  Allow to cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Three Cheese Au Gratin Potatoes

Cooler temperatures and not wanting to break down and turn the furnace on yet gives me lots of reasons to do some baking and making potatoes in the oven instead of the crock pot.  I decided to make a meatloaf and made these potatoes to go with them.





Three Cheese Au Gratin Potatoes

7 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
4 oz Monterey cheese, grated
4 oz Fontina cheese, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir in the flour and allow to cook for a couple minutes.  Stir in the garlic and onions and cook for another minute.  Gradually stir in milk, allowing to thicken and then stir some more in.  Add in spices and then the cheese and allow to melt completely.  In a greased casserole dish, layer the potatoes in 3 layers.  Pour cheese mixture over each layer of potatoes.  Place in the over for an hour (depending on the thickness of the potatoes at 350°.  Remove from the oven, top with an additional 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan and bake for another 10 minutes.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Applesauce Bread

What better way to warm your home than with the oven on with the scent of cinnamon surrounding it?  I had leftover applesauce so I decided it was time to make a quick bread which will be great for snacking or breakfast.



Applesauce Bread

1 1/4 cups applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Topping

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Cream together applesauce, sugar, eggs, oil and sour cream.  Mix in the dry ingredients and nuts (optional).  Place in a greased loaf pan.  Sprinkle topping evening over the top.  Bake for 1 hour at 350°.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Winter Squash Risotto

Rich and creamy, with a sweetness from the squash that makes this risotto a wonderful Fall side dish.  You do need a little patience stirring in the heated broth while the rice absorbs all the flavors.




Winter Squash Risotto

2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup winter squash, mashed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the bottom of a large saucepan.  Add in rice and garlic, stir and cook for a couple minutes.  Stir in the white wine.  Cook until the wine is absorbed.  Add in the additional 1/2 cup of heated broth.  Next continue adding in addtional broth in 1/2 cup measures, stirring and cooking until it's absorbed.  Add in the squash and spices.  Keep cooking until the rice is tender.  It will take about a half hour.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese before serving.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Applesauce Muffins

Apples and cinnamon is a wonderful aroma to have coming from your oven on a cool Fall day.  Soften your butter overnight and you’ll have a great start to your day.  I was extra happy that I got to use my acorn muffin pan that I only drag out of the cupboard every Fall.
 
 


Applesauce Muffins
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup applesauce (I used organic)
1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the eggs and applesauce.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.  Bake at 350°  for 15 minutes (for mini muffins)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Winter Squash Soup

Fall is officially here and it's time to start making comforting and warming foods.  Squash is my favorite vegetable and here's another way to enjoy it.  I know a lot of squash soups call for butternut squash but that's not my favorite by any means so I used an Kabocha that I baked and resisted eating right away. I topped the soup with some crumbled pancetta and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).



Winter Squash Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 1 /2 cups squash, cooked
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cream

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large sauce pan or dutch oven.  When heated, add in the onions and cook until they are translucent.  Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Add in the chicken stock and squash.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  Heat soup until it comes to a simmer stage.  Add in cream.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Peanut Butter Lover’s Snack Mix

Who doesn’t love the creamy taste of peanut butter? Imagine it now over salty treats and popcorn and you’ll be gathering all the ingredients to throw together for this easy to make treat for the family.



Peanut Butter Lover’s Snack Mix

¼ cup popcorn (unpopped measurement)  Be sure to remove all the unpopped kernels
½ cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ tsp salt

Combine all of the above ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Pour over the following and mix completely. 

Popped popcorn (see above)
2 cups mini pretzels
1 cup salted peanuts


Spread out to dry on wax paper lined pans.  After it has cooled, mix in 1 cup Reese’s Pieces

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Caramel Apple Bars

It’s that time of the year that all the fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready to be used, canned or frozen.  I decided to make a pan of bars using fresh apples and caramel and share them.
 


Caramel Apple Bars
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups quick oats

Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Gradually add in the salt, cinnamon and flour.  Stir in the quick oats.  Pat 2/3 of mixure in the bottom of a 9 x 13 greased pan.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
Top bottom crust with 3 apples that are peeled and diced that have 1 tbsp of lemon juice mixed in. 

Unwrap 1 10 oz bag of caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl.  Add 2 tbsp milk and microwave until melted.  Stir so milk and caramels are completely mixed.  Pour over the apples.  Sprinkle the remaining  crust evenly over the top.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Apple Butter

Mashed sweet potatoes with a hint of apples and cinnamon mixed in and it’s an easy side dish on a weeknight.  You can bake the sweet potatoes but I chose the microwave to have this meal ready within 10 minutes.  You can use apple sauce and just add in ¼ tsp of cinnamon.



 
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Apple Butter
3 medium sweet potatoes
1/3 cup apple butter (recipe below)
¼ tsp salt
Microwave the sweet potatoes (remember to prick with a fork a few times) per your microwaves instructions or button.  Allow to cool a couple minutes before scooping out into a bowl.  Stir in apple butter and salt.



Apple Butter

3 lbs apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

Put chopped apples into a crockpot with water and lemon juice.  Cook until apples are tender. Puree apples in a food mill or food processor.

Add sugar and bring to a low boil.  Add spices. 

Put into clean, dry jars leaving 1/2" head space.  Put into boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Parmesan Garlic Buns

Soft buns with a crunchy topping of Parmesan cheese and garlic flavor. I roasted my garlic for the topping but you can substitute in 1/2 tsp of garlic powder instead.



Parmesan Garlic Buns

1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 tbsp honey

Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl,

Beat 1 large egg and add in yeast mixture when it's ready using a bread hook.  
Add in -

1 cup warm milk with 2 tbsp butter melted in it (make sure it's not hot, just warm)
Gradually add in -
3 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp salt

When completely mixed.  Remove bowl from mixer and cover.  Allow the dough to double in size.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple minutes.  Cut into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls.  Place dough balls in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Allow to rise.  Preheat oven to 350°.  

In a small bowl, microwave 2 tbsp butter.  Mix in 3 cloves of garlic that are roasted and cooled (they should be so soft they are like paste).  Stir in 1 tbsp parsley.  Brush the top of the buns and then sprinkle 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese evenly over.  Back for 30 minutes.