Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lion House Whole Wheat Bread

I love homemade bread and especially homemade wheat bread. I got this recipe from the new fantastic Lion House Bakery cookbook. I was so happy with how easy it was to make (it takes a while, but each step is easy) and how satisfying and delicious it was with the hamburger soup we had last night. Of course this bread is even better with a shmeer of butter and jam.

Lion House Whole Wheat Bread

1 tablespoon yeast (the recipe calls for 1 package of yeast, but I find at the high altitude that I live at adding a little more yeast works better)
3 cups lukewarm water
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup molasses (or honey if you don't have molasses)
6 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
6 tablespoons shortening
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 cups all purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer soften the yeast in the 3 cups of water. Add remaining ingredients in order listed and beat with dough hooks until dough forms a ball and leaves the sides of the bowl, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Oil a large bowl and place dough in bowl, turning to coat dough with oil. Cover loosely and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.*

Punch down dough and shape into 2 equal loaves. Place in 2 well greased loaf pans; cover with a clean towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until loaves are a rich golden brown color. Turn loaves out onto a wire rack and cool. Brush tops with melted butter.

*A good place to let bread rise is in your oven. I preheat my oven to its lowest temp. (170 degrees) turn it off and then set the dough in the oven to rise with the door to the off left open a crack.

Hamburger Soup (Freezer Meal and Crockpot Meal)

Thanks to M. in my freezer meal group for this super yummy soup and recipe! I cooked it in my crockpot all day and it turned out great. I did end up adding a few things that my family likes to the soup like the diced tomatoes just for fun and served it with Lion House whole wheat bread. It was a wonderful and hearty soup for a cold winter night.

Hamburger Soup

1 lb hamburger
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots (or as many as you'd like)
4 cups water
4 teaspoons beef bouillon granuales
1 can cut green beans, drained
1 can corn, undrained
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic pepper blend

Freezer Meal:
Brown hamburger and onion with salt and pepper and drain. In a stockpot add the drained hamburger onion mixture, water, bouillon, potatoes, and carrots and cook until potatoes are almost done. Then add the green beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. Add ketchup and remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool and freeze. To serve thaw the soup and then heat in a pot or add to a crockpot partially frozen and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Crockpot Meal Directions:
Brown hamburger with onion and salt and pepper, drain. Add hamburger mixture and other ingredients to a crockpot and heat all day on low.

America's Test Kitchen Omelet

I watched the omelet episode of America's Test Kitchen and wanted to make breakfast for dinner right away. So we had these omelets and blueberry muffins the day after I watched the show and wow how good these omelets were (and the muffins!). It is a fussy recipe. But. The omelet turns out so rich and creamy that it's worth the fuss.

America's Test Kitchen Omelet

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1 teaspoon oil

toppings of choice: I used 2 tablespoon shredded Swiss cheese, 1/2 tablespoon sliced green onions, some chopped deli ham

  1. Take the tablespoon of butter and cut it in half. Set half of it out at room temp and cut the other half into little pieces and freeze for 10 minutes.
  2. While butter pieces are freezing, pour 1 teaspoon of oil into an omelet pan and heat on low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Once butter has froze for 10 minutes and pan has heated combine eggs and egg yolk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Beat with a fork for 80 stroked (I know it sounds OCD but it works). Add frozen butter pieces to the eggs.
  4. Wipe oil out of the pan with a wad of paper towel leaving a thin film, then add the 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan and allow to melt. Add beaten egg mixture to the pan.
  5. With 2 chopsticks mix around the egg mixture until it begins to solidify (about 1 minute).
  6. Remove from heat and smooth out the eggs to an even layer in the pan with a spatula. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit off the heat for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Place toppings of choice on the eggs and place on low heat until cheese melts (about a minute).
  8. Roll omelet onto a plate and serve. Voila! A wonderfully creamy omelet!

America's Test Kitchen Best Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are simply wonderful. They have a great muffiny crumb rather than tasting like cupcakes with blueberries added. And they are not hard to make at all. I used frozen blueberries because that is what I had on hand. I also made a couple other alterations, the original recipe has a lemon sugar topping and I left that out because I'm not a fan of crunchy sugar on my muffins (personal preference). The recipe makes 12 muffins.

America's Test Kitchen Best Blueberry Muffins

2 cups frozen blueberries, divided (can use fresh of course)
1 1/8 cups sugar (8 oz) + 1 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup oil (I used a canola oil blend)
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 T. vinegar + enough milk to equal 1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 and spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

Bring 1 cup of blueberries and 1 teaspoon of sugar to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with a spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to about 1/4 a cup - about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature for 15 minutes.

Rinse the remaining cup of frozen blueberries under water and then dry the berries with paper towels and allow them to sit on a layer of paper towels.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl whisk together 1 1/8 cups sugar (that's 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar) and eggs until thick and creamy - about 45 seconds of good whisking. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined.

Put the 1 cup of whole dried blueberries into the flour mixture and toss to coat them well with the flour. With a rubber spatula gently add the wet mixture to the flour mixture folding until just moistened with a few small spots of dry flour (you don't want to overmix).

Scoop muffin batter evenly into muffin tin cups - a ice cream scoop works great. Muffin tins should be almost full to the top. Take 1 teaspoon of the cooked and cooled blueberry compote and place in the center of each muffin cup of batter. Take a skewer and gently swirl the compote into the batter in a figure 8 motion. Bake for 16 - 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking to ensure even baking. Finished muffins should be golden and just firm. Cool muffins in the muffin tins for 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire racks and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Seasoned Fries

I got this recipe from Real Mom Kitchen and it was a great accompaniment to the patty melt sandwiches I made the other night (patty melts = skillet cooked hamburger patties, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese slices, all grilled on rye bread - YUM!). This is a nice way to add flavor to frozen fries.

Seasoned Fries

1, 28 oz bag frozen steak fries or other frozen fries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fajita seasoning (I used McCormick Fajita Seasonin)

Take frozen fries from the bag they are in and put in a gallon size ziplock. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over fries and shake, drizzle remaining tablespoon of oil over fries and shake. Add 1 teaspoon of fajita seasoning and shake, add last teaspoon of fajita seasoning and shake. Spread onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, stirring fries halfway through cooking time.

Crockpot Sloppy Chicken Sandwiches (Freezer Meal)

This was a great freezer meal crockpot kit from my friend Stacey. We had them on homemade wheat rolls with my sisters famous strawberry jello salad and chips and guac. It was a delicious dinner that the whole family loved.

Crockpot Sloppy Chicken Sandwiches (Freezer Meal)

6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (less if you don't want it spicy)
3 cups ketchup
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Put all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken with a spatula in the crockpot and stir well in the sauce. Serve on split rolls or hamburger buns.
Freezer Meal Assembly:
Combine garlic, red pepper flakes, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and cider vinegar. Put chicken into a ziplock bag, pour sauce over and freeze.

Cooking instructions:
Thaw (does not have to thaw all the way) and dump in crockpot. Heat on low all day and shred chicken in crockpot, stir into sauce. Serve on split rolls or hamburger buns.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crockpot Meat Sauce for Spaghetti

This is a great crockpot spaghetti sauce. It tastes like a great traditional meat sauce. I might even add a little cream next time I make it just to switch it up a little. I got this great recipe from Real Mom Kitchen (it's her "Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce"). It made the house smell so good as it was cooking!

Crockpot Meat Sauce for Spaghetti

2 pounds ground beef (could use 1 1/2 lbs beef and 1/2 lb Italian sausage)
1 cup chopped onion
8 cloves garlic, minced
3, 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, drained (reserve tomato juices to thin sauce if necessary before serving)
2, 14 oz cans tomato sauce
2, 6 oz cans tomato paste
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Brown beef in a large skillet until browned. Transfer to crockpot and combine with other ingredients, mix well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (stirring occasionally through out the day). Add reserved tomato juices from diced tomatoes to thin sauce if desired. Serve over spaghetti or other pasta with grated parmesan cheese on individual servings. I saved half of the sauce and froze it for another dinner.

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

These are quite yummy. I was a little disappointed by how thin the bars turned out, but no one else complained. My hubby took them to work and all his co-workers loved them. The frosting is just awesome!

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until a firm dough is formed. Press batter into a jelly roll pan. Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes. The bars should be barely golden. If you overcook they could come out dry. Let the bars cool. Then prepare fudge frosting and spread over peanut butter bars. Allow to cool again before cutting into bars.

Fudge Frosting

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini marshmallows

Place the sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat, add chocolate chips and stir until melted, add marshmallows and stir until melted. Spread onto cooled bars.

Pineapple Carrot Bread

I really like this quick bread. Its different from your standard banana or zucchini bread and the sweetness of the pineapple gives it a great flavor. I got the recipe from Eat at Home.

Pineapple Carrot Bread

2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup oil (I used canola)
1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained and chopped up more in a blender
1 cup grated carrots (about 3 carrots)
2 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of a mixer combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix a little. Add other ingredients in the order listed, mixing between each addition. Pour into 2 loaf pans that have been greased and floured very well (you can also spray the pans really well with Baker's Joy Spray with flour). Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Remove from pans immediately to cool on wire racks.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mmm. Mmm. I loved these muffins. So did my kids - they had them for breakfast and lunch the day I made them. Not that that was the healthiest choice, but they had them with yogurt so that's okay right? I got this recipe from The Kitchen Aid Baking Companion cookbook.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour (plus 2 tablespoons for high altitude)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp ginger)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
6 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper muffin cups. Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, eggs and butter in a medium bowl until well blended. Add pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips to the flour mixture in the mixer. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds or just until moistened. Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full - I used a large cookie scoop to keep the muffins uniform.

Bake 15 - 17 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Ooh ooh this was such a good freezer meal from my friend Stacey. I loved the subtle pistachio taste to the pesto and my kids did not mind eating green pasta. How cool is that? I'm actually making this again later this month because we loved it so much.

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
16 oz penne pasta

Place all ingredients (except pasta of course) in a food processor or blender. Boil pasta. Combine pasta and pesto. Add extra parmesan cheese on top to garnish.

For Freezer Meal:
Make the pesto and put in a ziplock and freeze.

Heating Directions:
Thaw pesto by kneading under running hot water. Pour into a bowl and microwave until hot. Cook pasta and toss with pesto. Add more parmesan on top to garnish.

Strawberry Fluff

This may be a ubiquitous jello salad, but darn if it ain't good. This salad it best the day you make it as it tend to get more liquidy over time.

Strawberry Fluff

1 large strawberry jello, made ahead of time according to package directions
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
8 oz tub Cool Whip, thawed
16 oz container sliced and sweetened strawberries, thawed and drained (and chopped if desired)

Beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add Cool Whip and beat until combined. Break jello up with a wire whisk till its in small bits. Add jello and strawberries to the Cool Whip mixture and beat till just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Ooey Gooey Caramel Popcorn

I got this recipe from my friend Jann who got it from my friend Cami and now I'm throwing it out there into the ether for you because it is just so darn yummy. The original recipe had just brown sugar, but I added some corn syrup because I like the smoothness it gives the caramel. Also I added a little cream because well why not? If you are going to mix butter and sugar and corn syrup well then you must add cream... This caramel popcorn was just so darn good and my whole family couldn't get enough of it.

Ooey Gooey Caramel Popcorn

2 regular size bags microwave popcorn, popped
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Put popped popcorn into a large bowl or paper bag. Melt butter in a saucepan, add brown sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Add heavy cream to taste and heat through. Drizzle over popcorn and toss to coat evenly or shake well in a paper bag. Serve.*

*If you'd like a less gooey caramel popcorn then bake the caramel coated popcorn on a greased cookie sheet at 325 stirring every 5 or so minutes for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Potato Bundles

This is another one of Pioneer Woman's fantastic recipes! I loved these potatoes! These are such a great side for steak or pork and a nice change from a regular old baked potato.

Potato Bundles

6 whole russet baking potatoes (scrubbed and diced)
green onions, sliced
1 stick of butter, cut into tablespoon size pats
heavy cream
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley, minced

Tear off 6 squares of foil (equal length and width). In the middle of each square of foil pile 1 heaping cup of diced potatoes, 1 tablespoon sliced green onions, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, dash kosher salt, dash of paprika, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh minced parsley. Wrap bundles tightly and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Scoop potatoes out of bundles and serve or serve straight from foil.

Olive Cheese Bread

This is a recipe from Pioneer Woman and it is not for the faint of heart. It is delicious! SO delicious! But, all that cheese, butter, and mayo is so not good for you. And my hubby couldn't stop eating it, so I think this might be a very occasional side dish for spaghetti and meatballs.

Olive Cheese Bread

1 loaf store bought French bread, cut in half lengthwise
6 oz pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained
6 oz black olives, drained
2 stalks green onions, sliced
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 lb monterey jack cheese, or other cheese, shredded (I used colby-jack)

Roughly chop green olives and black olives. In a bowl combine butter, mayo, cheese, olives, green onions. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture onto French bread halves. Set on a foil lined sheet pan. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning. Mixture is also great as a dip with crackers.

Walnut pie

This was one of the pies that we had for Christmas Eve dinner and it was so good! It tasted like a snickers bars! Mmm. I got the recipe from my friend Nicole - thanks!!

Walnut Pie

1, 9 inch pie crust, unbaked
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
2/3 cups walnuts (I used pieces because that's what I had, but halves would be prettier)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together eggs, salt, vanilla, sugar, and corn syrup. Add melted butter after it cools for a bit so it doesn't cook eggs. Add walnuts and chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and no longer fluid. It will rise and crack on the top when done.

Sorry for the blurry picture!

Chicken a la King over Toast Crowns

We had chicken a la king over toast crowns for our Christmas Eve dinner. It was so yummy and very easy to make. Our full Christmas Eve dinner was: chicken a la king, toast crowns, quick carrots, jello jigglers, wheat rolls, raspberry pie, and walnut pie. We were stuffed after all that food!
My Chicken a la King

1, 4.5 oz can mushrooms, drained with juices reserved
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules, or 2 cubed (crushed)
1, 12 oz can evaporated milk (or 1 1/2 cups milk for a thinner sauce)
1 can chicken broth
4 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1, 4 oz jar pimentos, drained
1 cup frozen peas

Cook and stir drained mushrooms and green pepper (if desired) in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Blend in flour, salt, pepper and cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in bouillon, milk, chicken broth, and reserved mushroom juices. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, pimentos, and peas. Heat through. Serve over toast crowns or rice or noodles.

Toast Crowns

1 loaf of thin wheat bread (I used a loaf of cheapo wheat sandwich bread - not whole wheat)

Take 1 slice of bread, press the middle lightly into a muffin tin. Pull up the 4 corners of the bread and press down the middle of the edges of the bread - this will make the crown shape. Bake at 350 until bread is toasted and holds the crown shape. I don't remember how long it took, but it was somewhere from 5-10 minutes.

Jello Jigglers

You probably already know this one, but I'm writing it down because I always forget the water measurement. I made my jigglers in a cute little holiday mold I got at the grocery store next to the Jello packages.

Jello Jigglers

1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 pkgs (3 oz each) Jello

Add boiling water to Jello powder in a bowl and stir for 3 minutes, until completely dissolved. Pour into a pan to set up or molds that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Cut into squares if using a pan. To unmold from a mold dip the bottom of mold in hot water for about 15 seconds then invert onto a plate.