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Friday, February 24, 2012

Cheesy Baked Potato Soup

This is good comfort food. Potatoes, bacon, cheese in soup- what more could you ask for?
It's thick and filling. Just perfect for a cool night.


4 large potatoes
12 oz. bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups sour cream
9 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
5 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Bake the potatoes. Let them cool, peel and chop them. Set aside.
Add the chopped onion to the potatoes.
Fry the bacon. Drain. Crumble the slices. Set aside, but not with the potatoes.
In a large pan or Dutch oven, melt the butter.
Add the flour and stir well.
Pour in the milk and let it thicken slightly, stirring constantly.
Add the potatoes and onions.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the bacon crumbles.
Stir in the sour cream.
Add the cheddar cheese, a little at a time and stirring until it is melted throughout.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Serve and enjoy.

Serves 8.

Monday, February 20, 2012

English Muffins

English muffins are great. Eat them toasted with butter and jam, make mini pizzas, or use them for breakfast sandwiches.
They are pretty easy to make. If you have never used yeast before, go here  for some tips.

This recipe will make 1-2 dozen English muffins. The amount varies due to the size biscuit cutter you use.
Traditionally, they are made with 4" cutters. That will yield 1 dozen. But, most home toaster slots aren't large enough to accommodate them. So, unless you have a toaster oven, you will need to cut them smaller. I just use a regular size biscuit cutter, which is about 2-1/2 ".

You will need an electric skillet or a few skillets to cook them on the stove.
You will need a rolling pin and a biscuit cutter 2-1/2" to 4 " in diameter.


5-1/4 to 5-3/4 cups flour
2 packages(4-1/2 teaspoons) dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, shortening, or oil
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

cornmeal for coating the muffins

In a large bowl, mix the yeast and 2 cups flour.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, butter,sugar, and salt to warm.
Add the milk to flour mixture and beat well.
Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Grease the bowl.
Put the dough back into the bowl and turn it over so the top is greased.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise for about an hour.
Punch down and let it rest while you get out the cornmeal, rolling pin and  biscuit cutter.
Pour a small amount of cornmeal into a bowl.
Set aside.
Flour your work surface.
Roll the dough out about 1/2 " thick.

Cut out the biscuits.
Coat each side with cornmeal. If the corn meal won't stick, brush the muffins with water.
Lay on pans or counter to rise for about 30 minutes. Cover with towel.
 Get out your electric skillet and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Or put your skillets on the stove and turn heat into low.
Do NOT grease pans!
Add the muffins to your pan. Make sure they are not crowded.
Cook for 25-30 minutes til golden. Turn every five minutes.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Caramel-Oat Bars

These bars are quite tasty. In my old Betty Crocker cookbook, they are classified as a cookie bar. But, they are ooey gooey and definitely could also fit into the candy category.
They are very rich, so you may want to cut your bars somewhat small.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a greased 9" square pan.


1/2 cup(1 stick) butter, melted
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt( if the butter is salted, do not use)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large pan, melt the butter. Remove from heat and mix in the oatmeal, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt-if using.
Spread in the square baking pan.
Bake for 6-8 minutes or until bubbly.
Take out of oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top- right away.
Let soften for about 5 minutes and with a knife, spread the chips.
Put it in the refrigerator for about an hour or maybe a little longer. This makes it a whole lot easier to cut and get out of the pan.

After cutting, store them in the fridge.
Cutting them into 2"x1" bars will give you 36 pieces.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Apple-Cinnamon Filled Oatmeal Bars

These bars are a nice treat. They are simple and delicious.

You will need a 9"x13" baking pan.
The oven temperature is 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Crust and topping-
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal( either quick cook or regular)
1-1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup(2 sticks) butter

3-4 medium size apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves( or, if you prefer, nutmeg)

In a large bowl, mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda.
Cut the butter in the flour mixture until everything is crumbly.
To cut in, use a fork, pastry blender, or work it in with your hands.
Remove 1 cup of the mixture and set aside.
Press the rest into the bottom of the cake pan.
Start preheating the oven.
In a medium saucepan, combine the filling ingredients.
Bring it to a boil.
Turn the heat down and cover.
Let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are tender.
Take off the heat and spread the apples over the crust.
Sprinkle the reserved flour mixture over the top of the filling.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Let cool to slightly warm before cutting.

If you want a small pan, halve the recipe and use a 9" square pan.