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Monday, September 27, 2010

Cheesy Biscuits

I love cheesy biscuits. They remind me somewhat of Cheddar Bay biscuits at Red Lobster. Not quite the same, but it's getting there.
I love serving them with lasagna or spaghetti. Maybe even some seafood.
If you are serving Mexican, add a bit of cumin or chili powder to give it a little different taste.

You will need to baking sheet to bake the biscuits.
You will need a biscuit cutter.
A pastry brush is helpful here.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup(1 stick) butter- if you want to cut fat lower down to 1/3 cup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk

6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter til dough is crumbly.
Stir in the cheese.
Pour the milk into the center of the mixture and stir, just until moistened.
Turn out onto floured counter and knead about 10 times-just til dough comes together.
With your hands or a rolling pin,pat or roll the dough until it is about 1/2" thick.
With a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter cut out the dough.
You will have 8-10 biscuits depending on the size of the cut out biscuits and how thick you rolled them.
Put the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
The biscuits will be golden and when lightly touched, they will spring back.
While the biscuits are baking, melt the 6 Tablespoons butter and mix in the garlic powder and parsley flakes.
After removing biscuits from the oven, brush the garlic/butter mixture over the biscuits. Use all the butter up. The biscuits will soak it in.

Best served warm.

Yummy goodness!

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

What can you say about an oatmeal raisin cookie? They are hearty and super good. The raisins just add a little somethin', somethin' to the humble oatmeal cookie.

You will need 2 or 3 cookie sheets.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, baking soda,cinnamon, and cloves.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat in well.
Mix in the flour.
Add the oatmeal.
Stir in the raisins.
Drop cookies by scoop or spoon onto the cookie sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies start to brown around the edges.
Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on whether you use a small scoop or a medium scoop.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pear Crunch Pie

If you have never had pear pie before, you are in for a treat. It is similar to apple pie, but there is that subtle difference that says pear.

This version of pear pie has a streusel topping instead of a top crust.


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a 9" pie pan.

Ingredients:
single pastry crust for 9" pie

1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 cups peeled and sliced pears
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
7 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts-optional

Make pastry and put into pie pan.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Add the peeled and sliced pears.
Mix to combine and add them to the lined pie pan.
Dot with the 1 Tablespoon butter.
Sprinkle with the lemon juice.
Set aside.
In another bowl,Mix the 1 cup flour, brown sugar,1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the nutmeg.
Cut in the 7 Tablespoons butter until the mixture is crumbly.
Stir in the nuts if you are using.
Sprinkle this over the top of the pears.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 35-40 minutes until the pears are tender.

Serves 6-8.

Yummy!

Simple Pie Crust

This is a simple shortening pie crust. I make this one a lot. It is great when you don't have a lot of time to devote to make a crust made with butter.
You can make it and roll it out in about 5-10 minutes.

Another reason I make it a lot is that my daughter prefers this crust to a butter crust.

This recipe is for a 9" single crust pie shell.
If you need a double crust or a lattice crust, just double the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup solid shortening
2-3 Tablespoons cold water

With a fork, mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
Add the shortening and work it in with the fork or your hands.
The mixture should be somewhat crumbly.
The shortening should be worked through well and most of the it should be in tiny pieces, but leave a few a little bigger.
Add the water a tablespoon at a time and work it in with the fork.
The dough should just start coming together.
With your hands work the dough just until all the flour is incorporated and you can pat it into a ball.
Flatten and let rest while you flour a counter for rolling the crust out.
Roll out the dough until it is a little larger than the size of your pie pan. To test it, take your pie pan and turn it upside down over the dough.
If you have plenty of room around the pan, it is big enough.
Now carefully, roll the roll up- loosely- and transfer to the pie pan.
Trim the dough away from the edge of the pan. But leave about an inch overhang.
Fold the crust over around the edge and crimp to seal.
Make sure to leave a bit of an edge along the top of the pan.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Croutons

I love croutons on my salad. But, I never thought about buying them. One day, I just thought, I should make my own.
They are easy to make and don't take long at all.
You probably have everything you need to make some croutons right now in your kitchen.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a baking sheet.

Ingredients:

2 slices bread, any kind you want
butter
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese
Parsley flakes

Or try your own combination of seasonings.

Butter both sides of both slices of bread.
Sprinkle well with the garlic powder, Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes.
Stack the bread and with a knife, cube the bread and spread the pieces out on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crunchy.
Stir the cubes every 5 minutes.
At 15 minutes, check for crunchiness.
If not quite done, check again in just a few minutes.
Do not let them over brown or they will not taste very good.

You will get approximately 1-1/4 cups of croutons.

To store- put in an air tight container or a baggie.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taco Pizza

Who says you have to go out to eat to enjoy a taco pizza? You can make really great taco pizza at home. It's hot and fresh and oh so yummy.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a 11"x 15" greased pan.

Ingredients:

Pizza crust dough either homemade or buy a mix or premade.
3/4 cup refried beans
1 cup pizza sauce
1/2 lb cooked and crumbled ground beef, seasoned like taco meat
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese or cheddar/jack cheese, divided
2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped lettuce
1 medium ripe chopped tomato
handful of nacho cheese corn chips, crumbled

other optional toppings include:
chopped onion
sliced black olives

Pat the pizza crust dough into the pan.
Spread the refried beans over the crust.
Spread the pizza sauce over the beans.
Add the seasoned ground beef and the mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle with about half the cheddar cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is all melty and starting to brown.
Remove from oven and cut into serving sizes but leave in pan.
Put the lettuce on the pizza.
Add the tomato, some more cheddar cheese, and the nacho cheese chips.
Add other toppings if you like.

Serve with taco sauce and maybe some sour cream.

If you'd like to try a chicken taco pizza, use 2 cups seasoned, cubed chicken breast instead of the ground beef.

Pizza Crust

Great homemade pizza starts with a great crust. What I really love about this recipe is that it is the same for making thin crust, pan pizza, or even calzones.
If you want a crispier crust, prebake it. If you want a softer crust, add the toppings and than bake.

For thin crust preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
For pan pizzas and calzones your oven is set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
For tossed style crust preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pan sizes:

Grease whatever pans you are using.

Pan pizzas- two 11"x7", two 9" square, or two 9" round

Thin crust- two 12" pizza pans or baking sheets

Calzones- baking sheets

A tossed style crust like you'd get at a pizza place-11"x15"


Ingredients:

2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups flour
1 package dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil or any cooking oil

In a large bowl, combine 1-1/4 cups flour, yeast, and salt.
Add the water and the oil.
Beat well by hand or a mixer until everything is incorporated well.
Gradually add most of the rest of the flour and stir it in.
Turn the dough out onto floured counter and knead and work in enough flour to make the dough smooth and elastic.
If you are making the tossed style, leave it in one piece. Otherwise divide it in two.
Let the dough rest for ten minutes, covered.

For the pan pizzas, pat the dough into the pans and halfway up the sides.
Cover and let rise til double about 45 minutes.
For a crispier crust, bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes . Add the toppings and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.
For a softer crust don't bake the first time. Just add the toppings after it rises and bake for 15-20 minutes.

For the thin crust, add some cornmeal to the greased pans if you want.
Roll each portion into a 13" circle and transfer to pans. Build up the edges slightly.
For a crispier crust, put into a 425 degree oven for about 12 minutes until brown.
Add the toppings.
Bake for another 10-15 minutes until bubbly.
For a softer crust do not prebake before adding the toppings.

For calzones, roll each portion into 13" circles and transfer to baking sheets.
Add toppings to half of each crust. Moisten the edges and fold over to seal.
Prick tops of crust with a fork.
Brush tops with milk.
Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes til crusts are brown.

For tossed style crust, press the dough into the pan. Add the toppings and bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes til bubbly.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream


This is homemade chocolate ice cream that is so chocolaty, that it would be hard to find one that is quite so rich.
So, if you like an ice cream that slaps you in the mouth and says "Chocolate!" than this is for you.

This is Philadelphia- style ice cream. Meaning it is entirely cream based. It has no eggs in it.

You will need an ice cream freezer for this.

Ingredients:

1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or grated
2/3 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed

In a 3 quart saucepan heat the cream to boiling.
When it has reached the boiling point, turn the heat down to low.
Add the sugar, chocolate, and cocoa powder.
Stir constantly until everything is blended together and smooth.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Refrigerate for a few hours.
Pour into your ice cream freezer and freeze according to the directions.

Makes 1 quart of rich chocolate ice cream.

I love eating mine sprinkled with cashews.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

This cake is awesome. It is very moist. I love to serve this frosted with sour cream chocolate frosting.

This cake is so simple to put together. Just put everything in a bowl and beat it up.

You will need 2( 8" or 9") round cake pans or 1 (13"x9") cake pan, greased and floured.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup water
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Put everything into a mixing bowl and beat, with a mixer, on low speed for one minute.
Scrape down the sides.
Beat on high speed for three minutes.
Pour the batter into the pan or pans.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until cake tests done when checked with a toothpick.
Cool and frost.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting


I make this frosting to go on my sour cream chocolate cake.

I recommend you use a mixer to beat the frosting. You can do it by hand. However, using a mixer causes the frosting to be lighter and fluffier than it will if done by hand.

Ingredients:

8-1/3 Tablespoons butter, softened
9 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix the butter and the cocoa powder.
Add the powdered sugar and stir in.
Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
With a mixer, beat everything until it is smooth and spreadable.

This will frost a 13"x9" cake or will frost and fill a 8" or 9" double layer cake.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Saucy Chicken and Broccoli

Oh, I love this stuff. The picture shows the cheese in it's melting phase, just out of the oven.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
You need a greased 9" square pan, either with a cover or foil for covering.


Ingredients:

1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli- You may want to partially cook it so when finished the broccoli in the dish isn't too crunchy.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (10-3/4oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place the partially cooked broccoli in the greased baking pan.
In a skillet, brown the chicken breasts in the oil.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and lay over the broccoli.
Set aside.
In a bowl; mix the soup,mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry powder.
Pour over the chicken.
Cover and bake for 40 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Sprinkle with the cheese.
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

If you like asparagus, try making it with that as well.






Awesome Refried Beans


These are not just any refried beans. One taste and you won't want store bought anymore.
Most refried beans are some mashed beans and some whole beans. This version is all smooth beans.
These are very authentically Mexican. Thanks to Rick Bayless for showing me how tasty refried beans can be.

This recipe calls for bacon grease or lard.
This gives the best flavor, but you can use a vegetable oil to cut out the cholesterol.

You will need a food processor or blender.
You will also need a large skillet.

Ingredients:

4 cups undrained, cooked beans-whatever variety you want to try, Pinto is what I mostly use. Use canned or homemade, slightly warm.

1/2 cup lard, bacon grease, chorizo drippings, or vegetable oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

salt-to taste


Put the beans with some of the liquid into the container of a blender or food processor.
Heat the bacon grease in the skillet.
Add the onion and cook until it is golden, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn.
Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute.
With a slotted spoon scoop the onion and garlic in with the beans.
Puree the beans until smooth.
Keep the grease hot and add the puree.
Cook over medium low heat for about 20 minutes or til the beans are as thick as you want them. Stir frequently.
Taste test and add salt, if needed.
The beans should be quite thick and seem to have a soft mashed potato like consistency.
Remove from heat and serve.

Great by itself with maybe some cheese sprinkled on top.
You can also serve with chips or as an ingredient in another dish.

Serves 6 large portions or 3-1/2 cups

Super yummy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ground Turkey and Black Bean Chili

What could be better on a cool day than a bowl of chili? For chili lovers, not much.
I used to always make chili using store bought chili beans.
But, I would buy dry beans for this recipe or that and I had a lot of them so I decided to try using them in my chili.
And I am glad I did. Yummy!!!!

You will need a 3 quart or larger pan.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound dry black beans, you can also use 2 (15oz)cans black beans
1 medium onion
1 chili pepper
1 pound ground turkey
1(15oz) can chopped tomatoes
salt
pepper
chili powder
chipotle powder
1 potato chopped- optional

If using the dry beans, soak them out and cook.
When the beans are about halfway done, season with salt, pepper and about a 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.
Add some of the onion.
If using the canned beans, add the seasonings and onion to them and simmer together for 10-15 minutes.
Do not drain the beans.
Meanwhile, cook the ground turkey with the remaining onion and chili pepper. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Drain the meat and add to the beans.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Add the chopped potato now, if using.
Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
Add 1-2 teaspoons chili powder.
Add 1 teaspoon chipotle powder.
Taste and add more if you like.
Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat and put the cover on.
Stir occasionally.
Cook on low for 2 hours or until the chili is as thick as you would like.

Serves 4-5.
Serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese and maybe some crackers.

Homemade Applesauce


Making your own applesauce is a cinch. If you are lucky enough to have your own apple tree or have someone give you some, you really should try making it yourself.
If you have enough, you can can it or even freeze it. Or just make small amounts and store it in the refrigerator.

You will need a dutch oven or large saucepan.
If you are making a large batch get some canning jars and flats with rings or freezer containers ready.
If canning, get out your water bath canner or pressure canner.
You will also need a food processor, hand held blender, or potato masher.

Ingredients:

Apples- 3 pounds will make just over 1 quart of sauce

water or bottled apple juice-1 to 2 cups, depending on how many apples you have

Sugar to taste- optional


Peel, core, and chop the apples.
Put in the cooking pan.
Add enough water or juice to the apples so that the apples won't burn.
Cover the pan and turn on the heat.
Stir frequently.
When the liquid and apples come to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.
The apples will be very soft.
Stir frequently.

Now, you can get out your potato masher and mash them into sauce by hand. If the apples are soft enough, this is very simple.
You can also use a hand held blender or puree them in a food processor.
When all the apples are sauced, put them back into the pan.
Now, taste them and add some sugar to your liking. Just add a few tablespoons at a time and cook the sugar in.
Taste and if needed add a little more sugar.
When it is as sweet as you want, bring back to a simmer and cook to desired consistency.
Remove from heat and put in jar to can, freezer containers to freeze, or store in the refrigerator.

If canning, process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes- both for pints and quarts.

You can also pressure can it for 15 minutes under 5 pounds pressure.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Herbs: Fresh, Frozen, Or Dried

Obviously, the tasting herbs are fresh.
But, what happens when you don't have fresh herbs?
And how much should you use?

Some recipes call for fresh herbs, but many of us don't normally have them sitting around the house.
So, you have two options.
You either use frozen or dried.

After the fresh, frozen has more flavor than dried.
But, dried is easier.

Frozen herbs are best put into recipes that are to be cooked.

If you want to freeze you herbs, wash and dry them.
Next you can put them whole into bags and lay them flat in the freezer.
When you want some, just open the bag and take some out.

When they thaw they will be wet and hard to cut. And they will be limp, of course.
So, I just like to snip them with scissors.

Another way to freeze them is to wash, dry, and chop them. Than you put some in a ice cube tray. Add some water to fill and freeze.
When frozen pop them out and store in a freezer bag.

When you need them, just take a cube out and add it to the recipe.

Frozen amounts are pretty much equivalent to fresh.

Your next option is using dried herbs.
This is so easy.
You either dry your own herbs or just buy them from the store.

But, don't use the full amount of dried that you would fresh.
Use half the amount.
So, if it calls for 1 Tablespoon fresh, use 1/2 Tablespoon(1-1/2 teaspoon) dried.
But, if the recipe calls for leaves and you just have ground, use 1/3. That would be 1 teaspoon for every tablespoon that the recipe calls for.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

This quick bread is chock full of blueberries. It is also a very moist bread.
Not flavors you normally think of together. However, it works well.
Tastes great with fresh or frozen blueberries and zucchini.

You will need two 9"x5" greased loaf pans.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooking oil
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
3-1/2 to 4 cups blueberries

In a large bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar.
Mix in the zucchini.
Stir in the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
Fold in the blueberries.
Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
Bake for an hour until the bread tests done by inserting a toothpick in the middle.
Let the breads rest for 30 minutes in the pans before loosening and turning out. If you take it out too soon, the bread will fall apart.
Let cool on a wire rack.

Makes 2 loaves.

Scalloped Ham and Potatoes


Scalloped ham and potatoes is great comfort food. It is so perfect when the weather starts cooling down.
It is hearty and warms you up from the inside.

You will need a 2 quart casserole with a lid.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

5-6 medium sized potatoes
1 to 1-1/2 cups cubed ham
1/4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
salt
pepper

Peel and slice the potatoes.
Arrange the potato slices and ham cubes in the casserole dish so that they are distributed evenly.
Sprinkle the flour over the top of the potatoes and ham.
Cut the butter into cubes and put over the flour.
Pour the milk over all.
Sprinkle it all with salt and pepper.
Cover the casserole and bake in the preheated over for about an hour.
After 50 minutes, stir the ham and potatoes and check to see if the potatoes are done.
If it seems dry add a bit more milk.
Cover and put back into oven if needed.
Check in another 10-15 minutes.
When potatoes can be pierced with a knife or fork easily, the dish is done.

Serves 4-6.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chunky Salsa

This is my recipe for canned salsa. I make fresh salsa as along as I have tomatoes and peppers growing in the garden. But, when winter comes I need salsa in my pantry.
Ready 6 pint jars for canning. You can also get pint size freezer containers instead.
You will also need a water bath canner for canning.

Ingredients:

20 medium size tomatoes- or enough to get 14 cups, chopped
3-1/3 cups seeded and chopped peppers - a mix of jalapeno and bell or Anaheim
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley- you can also use 1/4 cup dried
1/2 cup vinegar
5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper


Peel and seed the tomatoes. Chop and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes to an hour.
Place the tomatoes in a dutch oven, probably about 5 quart size.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
Simmer, uncovered about an hour til thick and chunky. Stir frequently.
The juicier the tomatoes, the longer it will take to thicken up.
While, the tomatoes are cooking down, chop the onions, peppers, cilantro, and garlic.
Put that into a large bowl and add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
When the tomatoes are ready add the pepper mixture.
Return mixture to boiling.
Remove from heat and ladle into the prepared jars.
Seal.
Process in the water bath canner for 35 minutes.
If you prefer, ladle the salsa into freezer containers and freeze for up to a year.

You will get 5 or 6 pints.


If you want mild, use 3 cups bell or Anaheim and 1/3 cup jalapeno.
If you want medium, use half one kind and half the other.
If you want hot, use 3 cups jalapeno and 1/3 cup Anaheim.
Serranos are also good in this salsa.
 

Peeling Tomatoes



Peeling tomatoes is a pretty simple process.

First, you need a large pan full of water.
Bring it to a boil.

While the water comes to a boil, get your tomatoes ready.

Wash them and cut out the core and the blossom end.

With a knife, slash an X in the top and bottom of each tomato.
Doing this will help the skin come away from the flesh of the tomato.

Run some cold water into a large basin or sink.

When the water is boiling, lower 3 or 4 tomatoes into it.
Leave in for 1 minutes.
Quickly remove and put into the cold water.
The cold water will stop the tomatoes from cooking.

Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.

Many of the tomatoes will have skin that looks like it is already peeling away and that is good.

After letting the tomatoes cool for a few minutes, you can start peeling the tomatoes.

With a knife, peel the loosened skin away from the tomato.

That is all there is to it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cocoa Meringues


Cocoa meringues are a pretty delicate cookie. They are also gluten free and there is almost no fat in them.
The only fat is in the chocolate chips. If you want totally fat free leave them out and bake on a silicone pad or parchment paper.
If you love meringue, you are going to love these cookies.

A mixer is needed for this recipe.
Grease a cookie sheet. You can also line it with parchment paper.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar with a mixer until soft peaks form(tips curl).
Mix the cocoa powder and the sugar.
Add the cocoa powder/sugar to the egg whites 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating as you add it.
Beat until stiff peaks form(tips stand straight up).
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop mixture by teaspoon onto the cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes until the cookies are firm and the bottoms are lightly browned.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tips- make sure there is absolutely no yolk flecks in the egg whites or they will not beat into peaks.
Also do not add sugar too fast. That too will inhibit the beating of the egg whites.

Bacon Popper Mac and Cheese


This recipe is my own creation. I combined my love of bacon cheddar poppers with my love of mac and cheese.
If you have never had bacon cheddar poppers, they are jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheddar cheese and wrapped with bacon.
They are so good.
My daughter and I were looking forward to having them, but the garden didn't turn out too good. So, not enough hot peppers to make any.
I came up with this dish to give us the flavor.

You will need a 2 quart oven safe casserole dish.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked macaroni
4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 Serrano or jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried minced onion or 2 Tablespoons fresh onion
pinch dry mustard
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 dry bread crumbs

Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan.
Cook the macaroni about 8 minutes.
Drain.
Meanwhile, cook and crumble the bacon and seed and chop the peppers.
After draining the macaroni, put the pan back on the stove.
Over low heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour, salt, pepper, dry mustard and onion.
Stir in and raise the heat to medium.
Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to bubble.
Keep stirring and cooking for about a minute.
Take off heat and add the milk.
Put back on heat.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and bubbles.
Lower the heat to low.
Add 1 cup of the cheese and stir in until smooth and melted.
Repeat with the rest.
Transfer the macaroni, peppers, and most of the bacon to the casserole.
Pour the cheese sauce over the top and stir everything together.
Over the top, sprinkle the remaining bacon and bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the mac and cheese is all bubbly and hot.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fruit Coffee Cake

You can use many different fruits for this coffee cake. I used blueberries because I grow them and we had plenty.

You will need an 8" square pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups chopped, peeled apple, apricots, peaches or pineapple; you can also use 1-1/2 cups blueberries or raspberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons butter

In a saucepan, combine the fruit and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
Simmer for 5 minutes, unless you are using the raspberries. Do not simmer those-they fall apart.
Combine the 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch and stir into the fruit.
Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbly.
Cook and stir 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat.
In a bowl, combine the 1-1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
Cut in the butter til you have coarse crumbs.
Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
Add that mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.
Spread half the batter into baking pan.
Spread fruit mixture over that.
Drop remaining batter in mounds atop the fruit filling.
Mix together the remaining sugar and flour. Cut in the 2 Tablespoons butter til you have coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle that over the coffee cake.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden.

Serves 9.


Yellow Cupcakes


I love cupcakes. Who says they are just for kids? They are just fun. These cupcakes can be frosted with white or chocolate frosting.
These are very easy to put together. And ever so yummy!

You will need liners and pans for 12 regular size cupcakes,6 extra large cupcakes, or 42 mini cupcakes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg, yolk, and sugar til light colored and thickened. If using a mixer, this will take just a couple minutes.
Scrape down the bowl.
Mix in the oil and vanilla extract.
Add the sour cream and blend til no white streaks remain.
Add the flour mixture and beat until batter is smooth.
Divide the batter among the cupcake liners in whatever size you are using.

Bake for 18-23 minutes.
They are done when the tops spring back when lightly touched.
Turn out of the pans and let cool.

Eat or frost and eat. Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

100% Whole Wheat Honey Bread


This bread is made totally with wheat flour. Most wheat breads have a mix of white and wheat flours. Not this one. It is also flavored with honey instead of sugar.
If you thought that whole wheat flour bread dough will not rise like white flour bread dough, you will quickly realize that is not the case.

You will need three 8-1/2"x4-1/2" bread pans, greased

Ingredients:

Approximately 9-10 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons salt
4-1/2 teaspoons(2 packages) dry yeast
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
6 Tablespoons butter, plus more for brushing

In a very large mixing bowl, blend 3 cups of the flour, salt, and yeast.
Set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, combine the milk, water, honey, and butter.
When the mixture is warm, gradually add it to the flour mixture in the large bowl.
With a mixer, beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Scrape down the bowl and add an additional cup of flour.
Beat with the mixer at high speed for 3 minutes.
Add more flour and stir in with a spoon. When too thick to stir with a spoon, mix it in with your hands until a soft mass is formed.
Flour a counter.
Turn out the dough and cover it with the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
Knead the dough, adding flour as needed if the dough seems very moist.
Make sure to not add much more flour than the 10 cups called for.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This will take about 8 minutes.
Wash out your large bowl and grease it.
Drop the dough into it, turning over to grease it all over.
Cover with plastic wrap and put in warm place until the dough has doubled in size. This will take about an hour.
When the dough has risen, punch down the dough and turn it out unto your counter.
Divide into three equal pieces. Shape into leaves.
Put into loaf pans.
Cover pans with a towel and let rise until double.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake the loaves for about 40 minutes.
The loaves will be deep brown and when you tap them, they will have a hollow sound.
Remove from the oven and turn out of pans.
Brush each loaf with butter.

This bread is great served with honey or even to make sandwiches.



These are also great for dinner rolls. Roll some of the dough into balls and place in a greased pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

To Chop First Or Measure First


When a recipe tells you to slice or chop something how do you know whether you chop first and measure or measure first and than chop?

If you weigh everything, it doesn't really matter.

But, if you are using a measuring cup, it matters.

How you know is by looking for the comma.

If your recipe calls for 1 cup sliced mushrooms, you slice and than measure.
If it says 1 cup mushrooms, sliced you measure out the mushrooms and than you slice them.

When you cut and how you cut an ingredient can make a difference in how much ends up in the finished product.

Another example is if a recipes calls for 1 cup chopped onions.
If you chop them in coarse chop, you won't have nearly as many onions as you would if you finely chopped them.

It can affect the taste and texture of the dish.

Knowing when to cut your ingredients will help you make your dish turn out like it should.

Economy Beef Stroganoff


Beef stroganoff is great comfort food. It is great on a cool day or any day actually.
You don't need to buy expensive beef tenderloin for this meal. Use stew meat or even a roast instead.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds beef roast or stew meat sliced into 1-1/2"x1/2 inch pieces

2 Tablespoons butter

1-1/2 cups beef broth

2 Tablespoons ketchup

1 teaspoon salt

1 small clove garlic, chopped or 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped(1/2 cup)

3 Tablespoons flour

1 cup sour cream


16 oz noodles or 1 batch homemade noodles, cooked and drained

Melt the butter in a dutch oven over low heat.
Add the meat and cook and stir until browned.
Set aside 1/3 cup beef broth.
Pour the rest into the pan with the meat.
Add the ketchup, salt, and garlic.
Cover and simmer for an hour.
Stir in mushrooms and onion. Cook for 5 minutes until onion is tender.
Add the flour to the reserved broth and stir til smooth.
Stir into beef mixture and heat to boiling. Stir the whole time.
Boil and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in the sour cream.
Heat through.
Stir in the cooked noodles.

Serves 6-8.

If you want to use a tender cut of meat to save time, use beef tenderloin and simmer it with the broth, ketchup, garlic, and salt for only 10 minutes before finishing the dish.

Open Faced Blueberry Pie


This is my favorite type of blueberry pie. It is made with a prebaked pie crust filled with fresh berries in a syrup. It is super good.
I got this recipe from one of my Rose Levy Beranbaum cookbooks. She is one of my favorite cookbook authors.

Ingredients

9 " prebaked pie crust

2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Bake your pie crust as directed and set it to the side until ready to be filled.
Stir together 2 Tablespoons water and the cornstarch. Set aside.
Place 1 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan, cover and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. The blueberries will start to burst and the juices will start to thicken.
As you stir, add the cornstarch mixture, sugar, lemon juice, and salt.
Simmer for another minute until the mixture becomes translucent.
Remove from the heat and fold in the other 3 cups of blueberries.
Spoon the blueberries into the pie crust.
Let sit for 2 hours before serving so the pie will set up.
Serves 6-8.

You may keep this pie at room temperature for two days. No longer.
If you have some left after that time, store it in the fridge.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cutting In Butter Or Shortening

What does it mean when a recipe says to cut butter into a flour mixture?

It means breaking up the butter or shortening into the flour.

For pastry, you break up the butter/shortening into smaller pieces so that the flour gets coated with some fat and the flour won't absorb too much liquid.
For a struesel topping, you cut in butter to get a crunchy crumbly topping.

There are pastry cutters you can buy to cut in the butter/shortening.
You can also use a fork to just break it up.

What I prefer to do is to work the butter into the flour or sugar/flour mix with my hands.
To do this, just stick your hands into the bowl with the butter and just rub it into the flour.
Make sure you end up with coarse crumbs.

For pastry, leave some of the pieces of butter larger and some smaller.

For a struesel topping, all the butter should be uniform so all the crumbs are about the same size.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blueberry Buckle



Blueberry buckle is like a coffee cake with blueberries sprinkled over before baking. It is great made with fresh or frozen blueberries.

Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 8" or 9" square baking pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Combine the 2 cups flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In another bowl, pour your oil. Add the 3/4 cup sugar and blend well.
Beat in the egg.
Add the milk and flour mixture alternately. Make sure mixture is smooth after each addition before mixing more in.
Spoon that batter into the baking pan.
Sprinkle with the blueberries.
Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon.
Cut in the butter until it is crumbly.
Sprinkle the crumbles over the blueberries.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the buckle is golden.

Serves 9.


To make a raspberry buckle, just substitute raspberries for the blueberries. Do everything else the same.

Seafood Lasagna


Seafood lasagna is a nice change from your traditional Italian lasagna.
It is made with tiny shrimp and crab meat. Use imitation crab meat if you like. It is yummy that way as well.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need an ungreased 9"x13" pan.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
9 uncooked
lasagna noodles
1 cup cottage cheese
1 (7-1/2 oz) can crab meat
1 (4-1/2 oz) can tiny shrimp, drained or 4 oz frozen salad shrimp, thawed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic.
Stir in the flour and salt.
Cook until bubbly, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add the milk and chicken broth.
Put back on heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Boil and stir for a minute.
Add the onion, mozzarella cheese, basil, and pepper.
Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
Take off the heat.
Spread 1-1/2 cups of the cheese sauce in the bottom of the baking pan.
Lay three noodles over the sauce.
Spread the cottage cheese over the noodles in the pan.
Add another 1-1/2 cups cheese sauce.
Add three more noodles.
Add the crab meat(or imitation crab meat) and the shrimp.
Add another 1-1/2 cups cheese sauce.
Layer with the last three noodles and the last of the cheese sauce.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the noodles are done.
Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Serves 12.


Enjoy!