Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dinner When No One Is Home

Dinner When No One Is Home

Often in our house, no one is home at dinner time,  it's sad really, but we're doing our best.  I use to leave a pot of soup on the stove, or something in the fridge, but it never got eaten!  If it isn't in front of their faces, they don't realize it's there!  So these are meals that I make earlier in the day and then I set them on a tray out on the counter and the kids warm them up at their convenience.  It's usually when I'm running a carpool or at a bball game and some kids have to stay behind for homework or dance class.  It has turned out to be a beautiful thing.

Ciabatta Rolls
(Or any combination of fun sandwich fixings)
Assemble sandwich so there is cheese on both sides of bread and some in the middle to keep it together. Grill in a panini press.

Bagel Breakfast Sandwiches
(Or any combination of breakfast foods)
Break egg in a bowl, about the size of the bagel, lightly scramble and cook a few seconds at a time in the microwave.  Assemble sandwiches as desired.

Grilled Burritos
Shredded Chicken (Don't tell the kids, but I have totally used canned chicken out of the food storage and NO ONE has noticed, even my food snobs! It seriously gives me great delight! I mix it with the salsa to get rid of the canned flavor.)
(Or any combination of fun burrito foods)
Place in tortilla and grill in pan until crispy and will stay closed!

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream

Place cookies in a zip lock and place in freezer.  When cookies are hard and firm, get ice cream and cookies out of the freezer.  Scoop ice cream onto cookie and press with top cookie, working quickly.  Wrap in tin foil and place in the freezer immediately. Enjoy a little later.

**When I was little, my mom made a bunch of these sandwiches with ginger snaps, and I remember them in the freezer stacked in nice silver tin foil towers.  I mean really, who would eat a fat boy when you can have a homemade one that is soooo much better!
**Any cookies will work as long as they are frozen first, but through my experience, Breyers natural vanilla ice cream is the best! 
**I'm obsessed with the spicy molasses cookie ice cream sandwiches at the moment...this ice cream was a tad thick, a little too hard to eat, but man was it the best "fat boy" I've ever seen!  I made mini ones at this exact same time....1 1/2 inches wide....really tiny, but the kids love them!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup
 3-4 C chicken, cubed
8 C broth
½ t salt                     
¼ t pepper                  
½ t basil
1 t parsley                  
1 1/2 C carrots
1 1/2 C celery
Add pam or oil to large soup pot and cook chicken until no longer pink.  Add broth, salt, pepper, basil and parsley.  Bring to a boil, add carrots and celery, continue cooking for 10 minutes.  While soup is cooking prepare egg noodles.

Egg Noodles
1 beaten egg                  
½ t salt
2 T milk                  
1 C flour (maybe a touch less depending if you aren't using a lg egg)
Mix and roll out as thin as you can, let stand for 5 minutes, cut into small squares using a pizza cutter and add to boiling soup.  Cook and additional 15 minutes.

**This is an awesome soup that everyone enjoys. The little square noodles are so fun and a little thicker than normal noodles.  It's also a great soup to take to a sick friend...right Kathy? :)
**If you don't want to bother with the noodles, just add 2 C cubed potatoes when adding the carrots and celery, and cook until tender!

Spicy Molasses Cookie

Spicy Molasses Cookies

2 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces) 
1 t baking soda  
2 t ground cinnamon  
2 t ground ginger  
3/4 t ground cloves  
1/4 + 1/8 t ground allspice  
1/4 t ground black pepper  
3/4 t table salt (I actually like a bit more...1 t)
12 T unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool 
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C packed dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces) 
1 large egg yolk  
1 t vanilla   
1/2 C molasses (about 6 ounces), light or dark
1/2 C sugar for rolling cookies
 Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for dipping in a bowl.  Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.
 Using 1/4 C measuring cup (we like big cookies around here), scoop dough and roll between palms into a ball; drop ball into cake pan with sugar and repeat to form about 4 balls. Toss balls in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, press down slightly with a flat surface (I use the bottom of a glass) spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. 
Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 10 minutes. Do not overbake.
Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack; cool cookies to room temperature and serve. (Can be stored at room temperature in airtight container or zipper-lock plastic bag up to 5 days.)
 **Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen. I added a lot more spice, it's how we like them.  
**1 T cookie dough balls bake for 6 minutes.  Makes 32. Awesome for ice cream sandwiches.  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pecan Wedges

Pecan Wedges

1 C flour
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C pecans, toasted and chopped coarse
1 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
6 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled

Pecan Filling:
1/2 C brown sugar
1/3 C light corn syrup
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T dark rum (optional)
2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 egg
2 C pecans, toasted and chopped coarse

Crust: Line a 9 inch square pan with foil, allowing extra foil to hang over allowing for ease in removing from pan.  Spray foil with pam. Place flour, sugar, pecans, salt and baing powder in food processor and pulse until resembles coarse cornmeal, about 5 pulses.  Add butter and pulse about 8 more times until mixture resembles course sand.  Pat mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake at 350 until crust is light brown and springs back when touched, about 20 minutes.
Filling: While crust bakes, whisk sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, rum, vanilla, and salt together.  Whisk in egg until incorporated.  Pour filling on top of hot crust and sprinkle pecans evenly over top.  Bake until top is brown 22-25 minutes. (Original recipe said bake until cracks start to form...I never saw any cracks.) Let cool to room temperature on wire rack, 1-2 hours.  Use foil sling to remove from baking pan and use sharp knife to cut into wedges (to feel more like a piece of pie) or bars.  Amazing on their own, but great served as a dessert with whipped cream.

**These were insane! If you like pecan pie, you'll love these.  I made these for our Thanksgiving (Wednesday night) because I was taking 2 pecan pies to our real Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and just wanted to switch things up.  My Mom and I couldn't get enough!
**I am dying to know how they would taste different if you mixed the pecans in the filling instead of pressing them on top. Hmm, might try it next time just to see.

Pumpkin Pie Cake Crumble

Pumpkin Pie Cake Crumble

2 packages (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 C butter, chilled
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Whipped cream for garnish

Spray a 9x13 with pam. Measure out 1 cup of the cake mix from the 1st cake mix and reserve for the topping.  Place the remaining cake mix (from the first box), the butter, and 1 egg in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 1 minute. Using your fingertips, press the batter over the bottom of the prepared pan so that it reaches the sides of the pan. Set the pan aside. For the filling, place the pumpkin, evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 eggs, and cinnamon, blend on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture lightens in color and texture, 1 to 2 minutes more.  Pour the filling over the crust in the pan, spreading to the sides of the pan with a rubber spatula. Set the pan aside.  For the topping, place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the  1/2 C chilled butter, and the reserved 1 C cake mix, plus 1 more Cup from 2nd box of cake mix,  in a food processor.  Pulse until just combined and crumbly. Stop the machine and pour in the pecans, pulse 2 or 3 more times to mix in pecans. Distribute the topping evenly over the filling mixture. Bake the cake at 350 until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the pan and the pecans on top have browned, 70 to 75 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack, 20 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature, but whipped cream is a must!

**If you are wondering why the wasted 2nd cake mix...it's because the crumble topping NEEDED to be doubled.  I've made it both ways and doubled it is way better! Promise.  You'll use the unused portion when you make it again in a few weeks.
**Hans thinks this name is hilarious and that we should add cobbler to the end of it, then it will hit every dessert avenue....except cookie.
**A huge hit for Thanksgiving...kids love it much more than pumpkin pie.

Creamed Corn

Creamed Corn

6 C frozen sweet white corn (from Costco)
1/2 C whipping cream
1 C milk (whole is best)
1 1/2 t salt
1/8 C sugar
pepper to taste
¼ c. melted butter
¼ c. flour

Mix corn, cream, milk, salt, sugar, pepper in pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.  In a separate saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add to corn, mixing thoroughly.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.

**So when I went to Austin a few months ago, I sat next to a guy named Nick....a fellow foodie.  We talked food the entire flight, driving our fellow passengers crazy.  We were heading to the BBQ and smoked meat capital of the world....Nick's heaven, he's a smoker...of meats that is.  He was kind enough to share some family recipes with me and since then I've have been in touch with his darling wife talking food and running. Story continues....I was asking Breanna the other day what the biggest hit at the Thanksgiving table is at her house....creamed corn....her recipe was almost exactly the same as Nick's "sugar corn."  So I made a few adjustments...a little less cream than Nick's, a little more corn than Breanna's, and now it is a Magleby favorite....Grayson had four huge helpings on Thanksgiving!  Thanks Nick and Breanna!

**For Thanksgiving dinner, I made it earlier in the day and put it in a crock pot.  I put it on warm about an hour before we ate and it was perfect for the huge crowd.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

baked pie crust (see below)
1 C sugar               
1/4 C cornstarch
1 1/2 C whole milk           
1 1/2 C half and half
3 squares (ounces) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 eggs yolks
1 T butter               
 2 t vanilla

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.  Gradually stir in milk and half and half.  Add chocolate.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Beat egg yolks lightly with a fork.  Gradually stir about 1 C of the hot filling into yolks.  Return all to saucepan; bring to a gentel boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Pour the hot filling into pie crust.  Cover filling with plastic wrap (to prevent film from setting on top) and place in fridge for a minimum of 5 hours.  Serve with Stabilized Whipped Cream or top with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream (below), which is our preference.

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
1 C sugar
1 8oz cream cheese
2 C whip cream
Cream sugar and cream cheese together beating well so sugar dissolves.  Whip cream and at very end, add cream cheese and sugar mixture.  Put on top of pie.  It is a lot of topping, I usually don’t use all of it, but it is fun to have a really tall pie. (Hans likes a higher chocolate ratio to cream.)

Monette’s Pie Crust - Baked Crust
2 1/4 C flour
1 C butter flavored Crisco
½ t salt
cut in
1/3 C cold water (refrigerated -   super cold)
Cut Crisco into flour and salt until  resembles coarse meal.  (I usually use my hands) Sprinkle a tablespoon of cold water at a time over flour mixture and let sit for 5 minutes once all of the water has been added.  Mix with fork and work as little as possible. Dived in half and roll out.  (Best if you use a pastry cloth for rolling out.) Place in a pie plate, finishing edges as desired. Poke dough with fork several times around pie to prevent crust from bubbling up.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

** I had a chocolate cream pie when I was pregnant with Truman in Vermont.  It is so memorable as one of the best things I've ever eaten.  This pie is it. My favorite over banana cream any day!

Banana Cream Pie

 Banana Cream Pie

3/4 C sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
1 1/2 C whole milk
1 1/2 C half and half
4 egg yolks
1 T butter
1 1/2 t vanilla
baked pie crust
2 1/2 C sliced bananas (about 3 medium bananas)

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in milk and half and half.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat.  Beat egg yolk lightly with a fork.  Gradually stir about 1 C of the hot filling into the yolks. Return all to saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, cooking a stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Pour 1 C of hot filling into baked pie crust. Layer sliced bananas on top of filling.  Pour the rest of the filling on top of bananas.  Gently shake to help custard move down in between banana slices. Place plastic wrap right on top of custard to prevent film from forming.  Refrigerate at least 5 hours.  Top with Stabilized Whipped Cream up to several hours before serving.

Monette’s Pie Crust - Baked Crust

2 1/4 C flour
1 C butter flavored Crisco
½ t salt
cut in
1/3 C cold water (refrigerated -   super cold)
Cut Crisco into flour and salt until  resembles coarse meal.  (I usually use my hands) Sprinkle a tablespoon of cold water at a time over flour mixture and let sit for 5 minutes once all of the water has been added.  Mix with fork and work as little as possible. Dived in half and roll out.  (Best if you use a pastry cloth for rolling out.) Place in a pie plate, finishing edges as desired. Poke dough with fork several times around pie to prevent crust from bubbling up.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

**The MOST requested dessert in our house. Have yet to get a good picture of a single slice.

Stabalized Whipped Cream

Stabilized Whipped Cream

1 envelope (1 T) unflavored gelatin
1/4 C cold water
3 C Heavy Cream
1 C powdered sugar
2 t vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine gelatin with water, let stand for a 2 minutes.  Over low heat, stir constantly just until dissolved.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly but do not allow to thicken.  In mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form, add sugar and vanilla. Mix. On low speed, gradually add gelatin, then beat on high until cream is thick.

**They say, that this whipped cream will hold up for 4-5 days without separating. Our pies never last that long, but it does allow me to have them all decorated several hours in advance.
**From Lion House Classics

Raspberry Yogurt Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

This cake has a story. A compilation of foodie friends! First, I made these cookies (Frosted Oatmeal Cookies) on advice from my nieces Stephanie & Breanna. I took some to friends and they all were dying over the frosting.  I mentioned to my friend Heather that we needed to find a cake for that frosting.  She proceeded to make me two different cakes, but I think this one is the winner, because it was her creation, adapting a recipe from one of our favorite books...A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.  I served it this week a long with several other desserts and it was a surprising favorite. Hooray for 4 foodie friends contributing to something so great! Thanks ladies!

Raspberry Yogurt Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

1/2 C plain whole fat yogurt
1 C sugar
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 C  flour
2 t baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 C canola oil
2 C raspberries (I used frozen, and I thawed them.)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a round 9 inch cake pan, line with parchment and grease parchment.  In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like a horrible, oily mess, but keep stirring, and it will come together into a smooth batter. Pour 1/2 of batter in prepared cake pan. Drop raspberries all around cake batter trying to evenly space. Top with remaining batter.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. (This was tricky because the moisture in the thawed raspberries caused the cooking time to increase, so just keep checking with a toothpick. I think I went to almost 50 minutes.) Try not to overbake.  Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.  When the cake is thoroughly cooled frost with Browned Butter Frosting.

Browned Butter Frosting:
1/3 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

Brown butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Cool to lukewarm.  Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth.
** Heather, you really were the genius mastermind behind this...thank you!

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake

1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C butter
1 egg
1 C molasses
1/2 C pumpkin
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
2 t ginger
1 t cloves
3/4 t salt
1 C hot water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

**Delish served with Buttermilk Syrup, bananas and whipped cream.
**Seriously simple dessert that can be thrown together in a few minutes and then the whole house smells amazing. Christmas in a smell!
**I added pumpkin just to improve the moisture quality of the cake. Applesauce would work well too.

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bars

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bars

1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs 
1-1/3 cups sugar, divided 
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 
5 eggs 
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
1/2 cup milk 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 envelope unflavored gelatin 
1/4 cup cold water 

Line 9 x 13 pan with tin foil that hangs over edge for ease in removing bars and cutting.  Spray with pam.  In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and 1/3 cup sugar; stir in butter. Press into prepared pan.  In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, separate remaining eggs and set whites aside. In a large saucepan, combine the yolks, pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, salt and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until mixture is thickened and reaches 160°. Remove from the heat.
In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into pumpkin mixture; set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine reserved egg whites and remaining sugar. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating over low heat until mixture reaches 160°, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; beat until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold into pumpkin mixture; spread evenly over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. When ready to cut, remove by lifting out with tin foil.  cut with sharp knife on cutting board. If served as a big dessert (4 x 4 inches), serve with whipped cream. But as a little bite, it was great without cream.

**This was a bit labor intensive, and I wasn't sure it was worth it, but the finished product was so yummy! I might try to simplify the pumpkin layer.

Key Lime Cheesecake

Key Lime Cheesecake

Ginger Crust:
1 1/2 C ginger snaps crushed finely       
4 T unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix cookies and butter, press in a 9 inch spring form pan, place pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool. When completely cooled, butter the sides of the pan.

2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar                           
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour      
5 eggs
2 egg yolks                  
1/2 cup sour cream

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees F.  With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and beat until light and creamy. Add the flour, then the eggs and yolks 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200  and bake for 1 hour more. Transfer cake to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate cake overnight before serving.

Key Lime Pie Custard:
4 eggs                      
1 1/2 C sugar
3/4 C key lime juice             
1 t finely chopped lime zest
8 T unsalted butter (1 stick)

 Fill a med saucepan 1/2 full of water and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile in med stainless steel bowl whisk eggs and sugar until smooth. Stir in lime juice and zest.  Cook over boiling water until thick, then wisk in butter.  (Usually turns out yellow, more authentic that way.)  When cooking don’t allow water to touch bowl, just steam.  Spread on top of cheesecake, warm or cool.  Let cool for a few minutes then spread plastic wrap right on key lime custard to prevent hard film from forming. Place in fridge a minimum of 5 hours.  Over night is best. To serve, slice with a knife dipped in hot water and wiped with a clean cloth.

**This is Hans' most requested birthday dessert! He created this recipe after having a key lime pie and loving the flavor but felt it was too intense and needed something to mellow it out, like cheesecake.  This was back in 1999. So he may have created it, but I believe I'm the only one who has ever made it! It's worth it! The gingersnap crust takes it to a whole new level.
**Some day I will figure out the cheesecake, but as for now, mine always has huge cracks and looks crazy, but I don't usually care because I top it with the key lime.  Someday!
**I also had plans to take a picture of a separate piece in daylight, but when I went to get it from the fridge just now, some little person ate it with a fork and messed up any chances of a pretty pic. Oh well, another time.

Spiced Nuts

Spiced Nuts

1 lg egg white
1 T water
1 t salt
1 lb unsalted raw nuts
1/2 C sugar
2 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 t coriander

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.  Whisk together egg white, water and salt in a large bowl.  Add nuts and toss to coat.  Let nuts drain thoroughly in colander, 4-5 minutes.  Mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger and coriander in large bowl.  Add drained nuts and toss to coat with sugar and spice mixture.  Spread nuts evenly onto prepared baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, 40 - 45 minutes, rotating sheet halfway though.  Cool nuts completely then break apart and serve.

**We were given these awesome nuts as a Christmas gift years ago, from our friends the Whites.   I've been making them ever since.  Recently I found that this recipe is from America's Test Kitchen...I seriously think that would be my dream job!
**It makes a huge batch. So if I'm organized, I do one sheet of whole pecans, and one sheet of chopped pecans for salads.  If you chop them after, the sugar flakes off. They keep perfectly in zip locks in the fridge.
**Amazing in Lisa's Holiday Salad.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dad's Oatmeal Pecan Raisin Cookies

Dad's Oatmeal Pecan Raisin Cookies

1 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t salt
3 C oats (old fashioned)
1 C raisins
1 C pecans (I like them toasted)

Beat together butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla. Mix. Add in flour, soda, cinnamon and salt.  Mix.  Add in oats, nuts and raisins, mixing until just combined.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

**Whenever I ask my Dad what kind of treat I can bring him, he says oatmeal raisin cookies. He doesn't like the nuts toasted, but I do. Either way, it is one of the most satisfying cookies I make. Love it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coconut Chicken Curry Soup


Coconut Chicken Curry Soup 

olive oil
4-5 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 T grated fresh ginger
3 C chicken broth
2 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
4 t curry powder
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced (more if you like it spicy)
4 T lime juice
2 small yellow, orange or red bell pepper, sliced thin and halved, (I used yellow)
1 C chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 cups freshly cooked jasmine rice (Optional...the kids have white rice, I prefer none.)

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken to the oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through and golden. Remove chicken and set aside. Sauté the onion, adding more oil if necessary, until tender.  Return the chicken to the pot with the onions. Add the ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, curry powder and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add bell pepper and cilantro and simmer an additional 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a scoop of rice in bowl and ladle soup over or just the soup alone.

**I made this at 8:30am (like I do most of my soups because it is a "soup" day...time issues) and it sat in the pot at room temp and then I re-heated it at 5:30.  Perfect!
**If you have the time, serve with Naan! So yummy dipped in the soup! Then you can have cinnamon sugar ones for dessert!
**Adapted from cookingforseven.com

Oatmeal Muffin

Oatmeal Muffin

Pam or paper muffin liners
2 1/3 C oats
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C white flour
1/2 C (packed) brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
2 T natural oat bran
2 T wheat germ
2 T ground flax seed
2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup browned butter (allowed to cool a bit so it doesn't cook the egg)
1 large egg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup boiling water

 Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 18 muffin cups with nonstick spray, (1/4-cup capacity) or 12 muffin cups lined with a tall liner (1/3-cup capacity). Note: I baked these muffins in tall paper-liners using 1/3 C, but when I didn't have a liner, the batter overflowed. So 1/4 C worked beautifully. But the tall ones were more fun!) Whisk oats and next 9 ingredients in large bowl. Add buttermilk, browned butter, egg, and vanilla; whisk to blend. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and let stand 5 minutes. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Top with 1 T sugar per muffin to create a nice crust.  Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 17-18 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins out onto rack; cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

**I've also added more cinnamon (3t) and nutmeg (1/2 t) just to change it up.  And for another variation I added1 T molasses, 1/2 t ginger, 1/2 t cloves and 1/2 t allspice to make it a gingerbread muffin and my Mom loved it.
**If you don't use a paper liner, sprinkle sugar in the muffin tin before too for a nice crust all around.
**Adapted from alexandracooks.com
**I LOVE muffins at this time of year along side a great bowl of soup.  Perfect meal in my book.
**Little disclaimer, my kids don't love these, so I may try grinding up the oatmeal a bit so they are less chunky.....hmmm. Little buggers. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Naan & Peshawari Naan


1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 T instant yeast

1/4 cup butter, melted

In large bowl of mixer, pour in water, sugar, milk, egg, salt, and 1 C of flour. Start mixing with dough hook.  Add yeast and remainder of flour to make a soft dough.  Mix with dough hook for 6 to 8 minutes,  until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume. Punch down dough. Cut dough into 16 equal portions. Roll into balls, and place on a greased tray. Cover with same wet towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. During the second rising, preheat griddle to high heat.  Roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle.  Place dough on lightly oiled griddle, and cook for 30 seconds to one minute, or until puffy and lightly browned, turn over. Cook just until done, not doughy, but not tough. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared. Finish as desired...brush with butter, brush with garlic infused butter or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. It's all good.  Best if served immediately.
** I learned through trial and error that the warmer the rising temp is, the better.  My house was cold the other day, so I turned my oven on for a minute and then off and left the light on.  It stayed about 90 degrees and the finished product was so much better. 
**I also stand at the griddle and cook these a couple at a time, they are best that way. When I make a few ahead of time and put them in a warm oven, they get tough. 
 Peshwari Naan

1 recipe Naan
1 1/2 C shredded coconut
3/4 C raw almonds
3/4 C pistachios (best if roasted and salted, but raw works)
1/2 C raisins
3 T sugar
1 t ground cardamom ( a little less if you aren't a fan, maybe 3/4 t)
1/3 C coconut milk (depending on thickness, might need a touch more)

Prepare naan as directed.  Place all other ingredients in a food processor and process until a chunky paste. Set aside.  Roll out naan until as thin as possible.  Take 1 T of peshawari mixture and spread on half of naan.  Fold naan over and roll over a few times with rolling pin, spreading out filling.  Cook on grill as directed in naan recipe.

**Oh my, I am in love. Hans and I have been in love with Indian food forever.  This naan may not be as good as when I don't have to make it and it is served to me, but it is pretty dang close!  The peshawari naan is like a dessert!  Both are heaven along side the Coconut Chicken Curry Soup.
** I've changed both recipes so much, I don't dare sight the recipes out of fear the authors would be saddened. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Dinner 2010

 Forked Eyeballs
(pumpkin cake bites dipped in white chocolate)
 Snaggle Tooth Monster Mouth
(apple wedge with slivered almonds)
 The Scientist's Beaker 
(tapioca pearls dyed green -added ginger ale - not worth the time:)
 The Mummy
(hot dog and crescent roll dough)
Candy Corn
(boboli pizza crust with cheddar, marinara and provolone)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bloomin' Onion Bread

Bloomin' Onion Bread

1 loaf sour dough bread (best if round)
1 lb jack cheese sliced
1/2 C sliced green onions
1/4 C melted butter

Slice bread in a crisscross pattern leaving about and inch to an inch and a half between slices.  Place bread on tin foil on cookie sheet.  Stuff slices of cheese between every bread slice, getting it in deep. Topping it with the onions and stuffing them down deep also.  Drizzle the melted butter over top of the cheese and onions.  Wrap in tin foil and bake at 400 until cheese is melted and bread is warm through. Approximately 15-20 minutes.

**My friend Suzette made this for me and I was in love. Thanks Suz!
**This pic is obviously before it was baked.  I couldn't stop eating it long enough to get a picture after the cheese was melted.
**Great to accompany any meal, especially soups!



1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
2 C chocolate chips

Cream together sugars, butter, and shortening.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Add baking soda, salt, and vanilla.  Add flour and mix until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips. Make golf ball size balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze solid. Once solid, they can be stored in a zip lock baggie.

When ready to bake, line a muffin tin with paper liners. Place frozen cookie balls in muffin tin and bake at 350 for 15 min or so until golden on the outside and ooey gooey in the middle. Immediately take paper liner off and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

**This is Breanna's famous chocolate chip/m&m cookie recipe! When Josie requested a cookie pie for her birthday dinner, I recalled Breanna telling me about her Cazookie.  I was doing it for Josie and wasn't at all excited about the dessert. HOLY COW! So dang good!  Now I have 20 frozen cookie balls in my freezer, ready for when I need a Cazookie!
**Also, to make serving quick and easy, I pre-froze scoops of ice cream in a muffin tin and then we just popped them out.  It was awesome!
**The picture doesn't do it justice at all, next time I'll cut into it so you can see. Mmm!

**New Huge Version:
4 inch ramekins
1/2 C cookie dough balls frozen
Bake at 350 for 27 minutes
Serve with ice cream on the side.

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Sandwiches

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Sandwiches


1 cup butter, softened 
1 and 1/2 c sugar 
2 eggs 
1 t vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla but any kind will work) 
2 and 3/4 c flour 
2 t cream of tartar 
1 t baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt 
t cinnamon and 3 T sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Stir dry ingredients together in separate bowl and add to creamed mixture. Chill for 20-30 min. Roll into Tablespoon size balls and then toss in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, coating the dough evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned but soft.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin  
1/4 c brown sugar 
1/2 c powdered sugar 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Adjust powdered sugar to taste and texture. (It is kind of nice when it isn't too sweet, so you can taste the pumpkin better!)  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Remove from fridge, spoon about 1 T of cream cheese onto the flat side of the cookie. Press another cookie onto the cream cheese to make a sandwich.  Put in a container to store in the refrigerator.  For some reason they are better a bit chilled!

** This is the same as my other Snickerdoodle recipe, but when I do the sandwiches I cut back on the flour a bit so they are chewier, but not as pretty!
**We also like making really small sandwiches, about a teaspoon of dough per cookie. Super cute and tiny!
**Adapted from The Stirring Place

Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins 
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces) 
1 cup fine-ground, whole-grain yellow cornmeal (4 1/2 ounces) 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  
1 teaspoon baking soda  
1/2 teaspoon table salt  
2 large eggs  
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces) 
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted 
3/4 cup sour cream  
1/2 cup milk
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl until well combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping it to form mound. Do not level or flatten surface of mounds.  Sprinkle with sugar for a crunchy top. About a Tablespoon per muffin!

Bake until muffins are light golden brown and skewer inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tin 5 minutes; invert muffins onto wire rack, stand muffins upright, cool 5 minutes longer, and serve warm. With Honey Butter!

**Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
** I feel like 18 minutes is too long and dries them out.  15-16 minutes in my oven is just perfect!
**Perfect combo with any chili or fall soup!

Pea Pot Pie

Pea Pot Pie

Monette's Pie Crust
1 C diced, sauteed onions
1 C diced, cooked carrots
1 C frozen peas, thawed
1 C frozen corn (petite, white), thawed
2 C diced, cooked potatoes
3 C cooked, diced chicken
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 t chicken bouillon granules
2 C milk

Prepare vegetables and place in a large bowl or pot.  Melt butter in saucepan and whisk in flour.  Cook for 1 minutes.  Add bouillon granules and milk (or half and half if you like it really creamy), cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Pour over vegetables and stir to mix sauce in.  Place in a 9 x 13 pan or other casserole dish that can fit all the vegetables.  Roll out pie crust recipe and top pan. Cutting vents for steam.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until crust is golden.

**My kids love this, and it's called Pea Pot Pie because that is what Grayson called it when he was 2 and it stuck.  They always wish there was more crust, but I'm trying to keep it a bit healthy and the crust is the unhealthy part.  You can take out or add any vegetables you like, keeping the quantity around 8-9 C before the sauce goes in.
**I have only made it when the filling is warm, so there isn't much cooking or warming up of the inside, just the crust.  So if you prepare it before hand, take that into consideration when calculating your bake time.
**When I cook the vegetables, I use one pot.  I saute the onions and take them out.  Fill it with hot water and add the potatoes and carrots (that are cut to similar size), when they are close to done, I throw in the peas and corn.  After a minute I pour the whole pot into a strainer, then return the vegetables to the pot and add the chicken.
**I've never decorate it the same, I used a heart cookie cutter around valentines and layered the hearts, I've cut out an "M" for Magleby and a lot of other fun things.  Be creative for your family!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Dinner 2011

Each year I do a fun Halloween dinner.  A great tradition that my Mom started and it is constantly changing and morphing to accommodate my fam, but it happens! It always happens!  I pin some sheets up in the kitchen so they can't see what I'm making and then I deliver it to them while speaking in a british witchy voice...kind of lame and kind of funny all at the same time.
"Now eat this up you little twit!"

I come up with a menu, it started out as completely normal food with funny names (like spaghetti was worms with bloody mummy grime) and then they got to order and they never knew what was coming first....maybe dessert or maybe a salad.  Soon my kids were guessing what dinner was and so I decided to switch it up each year.  They put what order they want the items in...1-5.  I've only documented the last two.  So here's this years and I'll get last years up soon.
 Mini Pumpkin Vomit
(Chili with corn for added affect!)
 Spider in a Web
(Corn muffin with honey butter spider web.)
 Pumpkin Guts
 Bathroom Garbage
(Q-tips - marshmallows in melted butterscotch chips.)
(Band aids - graham crackers with white frosting and red gel frosting.)
 Goblin Grins
(Snow pea pods with slivered almonds and a pepperoni.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greek Style Yogurt

Greek Style Yogurt

1 gallon skim milk,  plus 1 cup (less or more)
1/3 C plain greek yogurt
1 t vanilla

Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pot (that has a lid), slowly to 180 degrees to prevent scorching. Use a candy thermometer.  Once at 180, turn off the heat and let milk cool to 110 degrees.  Stir in the yogurt. Put lid on pot and place somewhere a temp of 100 degrees can be maintained. (I have an oven that if I heat for a minute or so and then put on the oven light, my temp stays between 100 and 110... I used a meat thermometer to keep it in check.)  Let sit for 6-8 hours or until yogurt is set and yellowish liquid is on top.  Remove yogurt, scooping with a large spoon and place in a cheese cloth (4 layers) lined strainer sitting in a bowl.  The bowl should be pretty big, a lot of liquid comes off. Wrap up cheesecloth on top, spinning together.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning, remove yogurt from cheese cloth and place in a bowl, using a hand mixer, mix in enough milk to reach desired consistency.  Mix in vanilla. If you want it sweetened, add agave to taste.  Place in tupperwares in the fridge.  My batch makes between 6 and 9 cups of yogurt. 

**So Breanna makes incredible whole milk yogurt that is to die for HERE, but I am in love with non fat Greek yogurt and didn't have great success with it the couple times I followed recipes.  That was until....I saw Bre's mom Lisa at a fruit stand and she told me a couple secrets....First,  after straining, most recipes say to stir in some of the strained off liquid to soften the consistency.  That left me with an incredibly sour yogurt.  Lisa told me to stir in more skim milk.  Wow, did that ever change it.  It was creamier with a way better flavor!  Second, other recipes use a cup of yogurt, but the 1/3 cup does what it needs to and doesn't overwhelm with a strong flavor.
**I know my picture looks like there are chunks, but I have never noticed anything but creamy, tart goodness.  However, I usually am eating this with fruit and granola.
** I did a little calculation, my last batch had 21 grams of protein per cup. Booya!
**No one eats this but me. Oh well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

 Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs

For the sugar coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups (I use Pam Baking Spray). Make batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture, and beat to combine.
Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

**These are so yummy.  Big muffins or small mini muffins, a true fall treat.
**marthastewart.com  recipe

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nutella Crepe Cake

Nutella Crepe Cake

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus melted for pan
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Ghirardelli semisweet baking bars)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Bring 1/4 cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Lightly coat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove pan from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into pan, swirling to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook, flipping once, until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.

Slide crepe onto a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed. Crepes can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day. (It is nice during assembly if the crepes are cold.)

Place a crepe on desired cake plate. Spread with about 3 tablespoons hazelnut filling. Top with another crepe. Continue layering with hazelnut filling and crepes, using about 32 crepes and ending with a crepe on top. (I ended up only using 22, the filling ran out...but still was beautiful and delish.) Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Spoon 1/2 cup glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely. Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 60 minutes, or overnight was better!  Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

Hazelnut Cream

2/3 cup heavy cream
6 large egg whites
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup hazelnut cream
Pinch of salt (I used a bit more, maybe 1/4 t)
Put cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Whisk egg whites and sugar in the clean bowl of mixer set over a pan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and mixture registers 160 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes. (I didn't measure temp, I just slowly heated until the sugar was dissolved. My egg whites didn't beat up to stiff peaks, but the cake went together flawlessly.)

Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment; beat on high speed until slightly cooled and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Fit mixer with paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter, several pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added). Add vanilla, hazelnut cream, and salt; mix until mixture comes together, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Use immediately.

Chocolate Glaze

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Ghirardelli semisweet baking bars)

Bring cream, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a medium-heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; swirl pan to cover completely with cream. Let stand about 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
**Adapted ever so slightly from Martha Stewart
**This cake was a definite time commitment and labor of love, but so worth it! It was delicious and super fun! Fancy, tasty, fun to talk about and was better on the 2nd and third days! When it was well refrigerated, the slices came out perfect, even if it was only 1/2 inch thick. I will make this again if anyone requests it, otherwise it might be what I make myself for my 40th next year! :)
**I made this again and made 1/2 of the batter for crepes and it worked out perfect. Keep the cream and the glaze the same.  About 20 crepes and still just as beautiful, just a lot less time over the stove making crepes!