Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bread Machine Breadsticks

These breadsticks couldn't be yummier or easier to make, since the dough is made in the bread machine. The recipe is from the blog Memories on Clover Lane and it's great! I made it to go with Tortellini Sausage Soup and it was a great fall meal. BTW, I am constantly amazed by how my kids gobble down the shredded zucchini in that soup, normally they loathe zucchini in all forms. It's like a culinary miracle.:) These bread sticks would go great with any soup, stew, or chili or as a compliment to any Italian main dish.

Bread Machine Breadsticks

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups flour (white bread flour, or a mixture of whole wheat and white flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Set to dough setting and let run.

Once dough is finished roll out into a rectangle almost as big as a 10x12 rimmed cookie sheet (I used my stoneware jelly roll pan). Place on greased cookie sheet and roll/press the dough out to reach the edges as much as possible. Cut the dough with a pizza cutter into 24 slices, by cutting in half lengthwise and then cutting 12 slices heightwise. Cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Once risen, bake at 375 degrees for 15 - 30 minutes or until golden on top and bottom, for me this was 30 minutes, but it would probably be less time is I used a normal metal cookie sheet. As soon as you pull the breadsticks out of the oven brush with melted butter.*

*For garlic bread sticks: remove breadsticks from oven about 5 minutes before they are done. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan, return to oven for 5 minutes or until golden.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole (Freezer Meal)

This is a lovely chicken casserole freezer meal. It's creamy with a nice crunchy top. It actually tastes a bit like chicken pot pie. It makes 2, 9x13 pans so you can either freeze them both or cook one the night you make them and freeze the second for another day. It's definitely a family pleasing meal and I'm so glad to have another good chicken freezer meal recipe. This can also be made with leftover cubed turkey.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole (Freezer Meal)

8 oz package wide egg noodles
4 cups cooked and cubed chicken (or turkey)
16 oz package frozen peas and carrots
2 cups milk
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (freeze separately with meal)
2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed, divided (freeze separately with meal)
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, divided (freeze separately with meal)

Assembly Directions:
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile in a very large bowl, combine chicken, frozen peas and carrots, milk, soups, chopped onion, melted butter, salt, and pepper. Add cooked and drained noodles and stir until combines. Transfer mixture into 2, 9x13 baking pans (disposable foil pans work great). Cover with plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze each meal with: a bag with 1 cup shredded cheddar, a bag with 1 sleeve crushed Ritz crackers, and a bag with 1/4 cup or half a stick of butter - these will all be used at time of cooking.

Thawing and Heating Directions:
Thaw casserole for about 2 days in refrigerator. Remove foil and plastic wrap from casserole. Cover top of casserole with 1 cup shredded cheddar. In a small bowl microwave 1/4 cup butter, add crushed Ritz crackers and mix. Spread cracker crumbs mixture over the shredded cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Apple Crisp

Mmmm, hot apple crisp and vanilla ice cream! It is the perfect fall treat. I love this recipe. The topping is crunchy, crumbly, and buttery and the apples are divinely sweet. Be sure to slice the apples very thin so that they cook through. I got the recipe from Mommy's Kitchen and modified it slightly. This dessert was a hit with my whole family and especially my husband who had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning - I guess it does have some oatmeal in it.:)

Apple Crisp

5-6 apples, peeled and sliced thin (I used honey crisp)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup quick oats
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter or margarine, cut up into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl mix the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon together. Spread a single layer of cinnamon sugar directly into a 9x9 baking dish. Layer thinly sliced apples into the baking dish, sprinkling cinnamon sugar to cover each layer of apples. Once apples are to the top of the pan, cover with a final layer of remaining cinnamon sugar. In a bowl or measuring cup mix together apple cider and vanilla. Drizzle apple cider mixture evenly over the apples.

In a food processor (or you can use a pastry cutter or fork) combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup quick oats, 1 cup sugar, and 1 stick of butter cut into pieces. Pulse until fine crumbs form and mixture sticks together when you pinch it between your fingers. Cover the apples with this topping mixture. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Serve hot or warm with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Coca-Cola Crock Pot Roast

I seem to always be in the search of that perfect crockpot roast recipe. A roast that turns out tender and moist with the least amount of effort possible. Well this recipe really fits the bill. The meat did turn out lovely and tender and the vegetables stewed all day in the sweet sauce were so tasty and on top of that it couldn't be easier to put together. I think I might have found the perfect crockpot roast recipe! Yay! I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course :)), with the original post from the You're Too Crafty blog. I served it with mashed potatoes and brown gravy, but you could throw in red potatoes with the carrots and onions if you'd like a complete meal cooked in the slow cooker.

Coca-Cola Crock Pot Roast

McCormick Slow Cooker Savory Pot Roast seasoning packet
McCormick Au Jus seasoning packet
16 oz or 1 can Coke
4 - 5 lb roast
3 large onions, cut into large chunks
2 lb carrots, cut into chunks or baby carrots

Place onion chunks and carrots in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place roast on top of vegetables. In a bowl combine Coke and seasoning packets. Pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove roast from slowcooker and cut against the grain or pull apart in chunks and place on a serving platter. Ladle some of the juices from the slow cooker over the roast to make nice and moist. Remove onions and carrots from slow cooker and serve with roast.

*If desired you can strain out the juices from the slow cooker to serve over the meat and vegetables. You can also make a gravy by adding a little cornstarch mixed with water to the strained juices and bringing to a boil. Once thickened serve over roast and vegetables.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crock Pot Hot Cocoa

This is a great hot cocoa recipe if you want to serve a group of people all at once, because it's so much easier than cooking homemade hot cocoa on the stove and of course it tastes much better than the packets. I made it recently for a book club I hosted. This is also a fun thing to make if you are having breakfast for dinner. My kids love having hot cocoa with breakfast for dinner meals. Oh, and one other great thing about this recipe - it is a great food storage recipe as it calls for ingredients you probably have on hand in your pantry. Yay for a great all around recipe!

Crock Pot Hot Cocoa

1, 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons powdered sugar (or more to desired sweetness)
marshmallows or whipped cream for serving

In a slow cooker combine sweetened condensed milk, salt, water, and vanilla. Whisk in cocoa powder and powdered sugar until completely combined. Heat on low for about 3 hours or until very hot. Serve with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Easy Caramel Toffee Dip

This dip is perfect for the Fall apple season. It is so yummy!! It tastes kind of like eating caramel apples without all the work. It really is so easy to make and is a great Fall appetizer.

Easy Caramel Toffee Dip

1, 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup Heath chocolate toffee bits, plus more for topping

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, combine cream cheese and brown sugar. Beat until smooth. Add vanilla and mix in well. Add toffee bits and mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with additional chocolate toffee bits and serve with cup up apples or graham cracker sticks.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Basic White Bread

I absolutely love homemade white bread, which is why I don't make it very often - it's just too tempting. Seriously, there is nothing better than a thick slice of homemade bread with butter and jam. YUM. It's so comforting and homey. I love this particular recipe because it's easy and the bread is delicious with just the right homemade bread texture - not too fluffy, but not too dense. My whole family loves this bread.

Basic White Bread

2 cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
5-7 cup white bread flour
1 tablespoon shortening
1 tablespoon butter, melted (to brush on finished loaves)

Place yeast and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in a 4-cup measuring cup or a medium bowl. Pour warm water over the yeast mixture and let sit for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (I use a Bosch), combine melted butter, salt, sugar, and evaporated milk. Mix together. When yeast mixture has sat for 15-20 minutes add to the mixer bowl. Add in 3 cups of flour and mix with dough hook. Add in 1 cup of flour at time and mix. When you get to 5 cups of flour in the mixer bowl, add in 1/2 cup more of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl (for me it was 6 cups of flour total, though it will vary according to your climate). You'll know it's ready when the dough is no longer sticky. Knead dough with dough hook on high for 5 minutes. 

Cover the sides of a large bowl with the tablespoon of shortening. Remove dough from mixer and form into a ball. Place dough ball into the greased bowl, turning to cover all sides of dough with grease. Cover with a warm towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and set in a warm place to rise. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

When dough has risen punch down and place on a floured surface. Knead dough for about 2 minutes to remove air bubbles as much as possible. Cut dough in 2 equal pieces. Take one piece and roll out into a small rectangle. Roll dough into a loaf, starting with the short end. Tuck under ends, pinching in the seams to form a nice loaf. Place into a greased bread pan. Repeat with other half of dough. Cover formed loaves loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.

Let loaves rise again, until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. They should look almost like a loaf of bread in height when they are risen enough. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden browned on top. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter. Remove from bread pans and place on a rack to cool.