Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Barbeque Sauce

 I used the Neely's recipe for BBQ sauce on the Food Network site because I thought it would be a guaranteed good recipe. I'm not a huge fan, honestly. I'm not won over to making it myself from scratch like I expected. I can say I've done it, though!
2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

English Muffins

  • Phil is out of town for a little bit so I have some extra time to fill. That's exactly how these came to be. I did not dust them with cornmeal and mine, substituted about half the flour with whole wheat flour and didn't take nearly this long to cook. If I would have left them they would have been charcoal muffins. Overall they're pretty good. They don't nearly have the big nooks and crannies, though. We used these for dinner tonight to put BLT's on. 

1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
    cornmeal for dusting

  • Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
    In a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise.
    Punch down. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tuna can. Sprinkle waxed paper with cornmeal and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
    Heat greased griddle. Cook muffins on griddle about 5 minutes on each side on medium heat. Keep baked muffins in a warm oven until all have been cooked. Allow to cool and place in plastic bags for storage. To use, split and toast.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baked Donuts

I finally found a baked donut recipe I liked. I tweaked it a little. I will probably continue to tweak it as I use it. This time I tossed in some chocolate chips to fulfill my "chocolate chip bake donuts" on my list. I frosted them with a thin ganache. If I were to make these again I would leave out the spices if I were using chocolate with it. The spices were good but it was too much with the chocolate. A powdered sugar glaze would be great on donuts with the spices included. I could also see substituting some of the milk with pumpkin in the fall. Yum!  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon oil

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a doughnut pan.
    In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in milk, eggs, vanilla and shortening. Beat together until well blended.
    Fill each doughnut cup approximately 3/4 full. Bake 15 or so minutes in the preheated oven, until doughnuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Olive Bread

When we lived in Italy Phil used to eat olives like nobody's business. His favorite calzone that we would go to a specific restaurant to get was jam-packed full of them! When I ran across this recipe in Baking at Home I knew someday I wanted to make it for Phil.
I will warn you, this bread took pretty much all day to make.

1/2c pitted dry-cured olives, chopped
Cool water as needed
1 2/3 c bread flour plus extra as needed
1/2t sugar
1 1/2 t active dry yeast
3/4c room temperature water
1/4t salt
vegetable oil for greasing

Soak the olives in cool water to cover for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour to remove excess salt. Drain and blot dry before adding them to the dough.
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and the sugar. Add the yeast, water and sale and mix on low speed until the dough becomes smooth, elastic and very springy, 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Add olives to the bowl. Fold the dough over on itself, pressing gently to release the gas, and repeat the folding until the olives are evenly distributed. Cover the dough and let rest until relaxed, about 30 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and round it into a smooth ball, pulling the outer layer taut and pinching the excess dough together at the base of the ball. Leave the dough seam side down on the floured work surface, cover it with a cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.
To finish shaping the dough, turn it seam side up and stretch it into a square. Fold the square in half from top to bottom, pressing lightly with your fingertips to tighten the outer layer of the dough. Fold the dough in half again, this time from side to side, and seal the 2 edges together. Round the dough, forming a taut outer surface, and place seam side up in a bowl or round basket lined with a floured clean, flat-weave cloth. Cover loosely.
Let the dough rise until it has nearly doubled in side and the dough springs back slowly to the touch but does not collapse, 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush or mist the bread lightly with water. Cut a shallow X into the top of the loaf. Bake until the crust is crisp and well browned and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

At a friends recommendation, I put this on my list over there on the right. I had some leftover sweet potato in the fridge so I gave these a try yesterday for a snack. 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening until pieces of shortening are pea-sized or smaller. Mix in the sweet potatoes, and enough of the milk to make a soft dough.
    Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and roll or pat out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass. Place biscuits 1 inch apart onto a greased baking sheet.
    Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Strawberry Strawberry Cheesecake

I found this recipe here. I've made a no-bake strawberry cheesecake before but wasn't a big fan. I had been looking for a recipe that was a strawberry cheesecake. This one was pretty good but next time I would probably  use a recipe I liked already and incorporate strawberry into that one. Overall, though, this was a pretty yummy cheesecake with the fresh strawberries on top!
For the crust:1 and 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:10 ounces frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed, juices reserved
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the topping:1/3 cup strawberry jelly
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced lengthwise (I only used about half of this)
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch spring-form pan by buttering the bottom and sides generously, set aside.
Crush graham crackers until they are coarse crumbs.
Add the butter and process until the crumbs resemble sand.
Using your fingers, evenly press the crumbs in the bottom and up the sides (about 1 inch) of the spring-form pan.
Bake the crust for 8 minutes, set aside.
For the filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar in your stand mixer until smooth.
Blend in the flour.
Add the eggs until smooth.
Add sliced strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, and mix until well-blended.
Pour the filling evenly into the spring-form pan.
Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the sides are slightly puffed and cracked.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven, let cool slightly, and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
For the topping:  In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the jelly until smooth (do not boil).
Spread the jelly evenly over the top of the chilled cheesecake.
Decorate the top of the cheesecake with your sliced strawberries, and enjoy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Boston Cream Pie

I'm starting to lose faith in Allrecipes.com. I haven't lost it altogether but this is yet another recipe that was well reviewed but not reviewed based on the actual recipe. Why do people do that? If you don't use the recipe as it's written, please don't review it saying it's awesome... especially if you use yellow cake mix instead. I used this recipe here, but I would definitely not recommend the cake part of the recipe. It was much too dry and I won't be using it again (so I won't even bother posting that part on here. The cream and chocolate were pretty good, though!
I made this for some friends who came over this weekend. Their middle daughter was so cute asking to pose with the cake.

  • Filling:
    1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

    To Make The Filling: Combine the 1/2 cup light cream with 1/4 cup of the milk and cook over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Immediately add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt, stirring until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch and whisk to remove lumps. Whisk in the 2 eggs. Add the hot cream mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return to the mixture to the saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and is smooth (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and allow to cool to room temperature.

  • To Make The Chocolate Frosting: In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir the chocolate pieces until completely melted. Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, add the 1/4 cup light cream in a thin steady stream. When mixture is smooth, stir in the confectioners' sugar and beat vigorously. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

  • To Assemble Cake: Spread the cooled filling over one the cooled cakes and place the second cake on top. Pour the chocolate frosting evenly over the top allowing it to spill down the sides.

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies- Star Wars Edition

It happened. I guess I should have known it eventually would.
We bought the ridiculously expensive Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma. As much as I don't want to, I love this store! I have to admit, the cookies turned out awesome from our cutters. Much better than any regular shape cutter would have done! Here's the recipe I used and here's where I got it from.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup cocoa powder 

Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. 
Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add the dry flour mixture into the wet mixture. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Roll out the cookie dough on floured counter. Use cookie dough cutters to cut into desired shapes.Bake on a lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Red Enchilada Sauce

This is my sister-in-law's recipe given to me through my Mom. I waited for a long time to try it, for whatever reason. I should have tried it earlier. I LOVE it! I don't buy canned sauce anymore. This tastes so much better! I usually double this recipe for the right amount for our family.

2T flour
1/2t. salt
2t or more chile powder
Mix together dry ingredients
stir in 2T Melted Shortening or oil
add 1 1/2 cup water
Boil sauce 10 minutes

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Lately I have had a thing for fresh out of the oven chocolate chips. Eat at Home put this recipe on facebook and I tried it... almost immediately! It was delicious! The muffin is crumbly and delicious with the melty chocolate chips throughout. I'm so glad I tried it!
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Stir the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
Mix together butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, vanilla and milk and mix until well blended.
Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a spoon.  Stir gently, just until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Fill greased muffin pan with the batter and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies

I saw this recipe here and I knew I had to make these for Phil. He's a fan of most things "cookies and cream". Unfortunately, my cookies didn't really turn out anything like hers. I tried the dough warm and cold out of the fridge. I baked them longer and shorter and increased the temperature. No luck. My only other thought was I could have added more flour to try and firm them up but by then I was out of dough. Here's what I did anyway. They were pretty yummy even though they weren't as pretty and felt a little like there was something missing.

1 cup butter, at room temperature1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.Fold in chocolate chips and crushed oreos. Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours (or more). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, roll into balls or scoop with an ice cream scooper and set on baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely.

Chicken and Dumplings -from scratch-

Phillipp loves chicken and dumplings and requests I make it often. When someone recommended I make it completely from scratch, I thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea. I found this recipe to try and it turned out pretty good! Phil preferred the biscuits from this one, so it was good I tried something new!

3 quarts water 
1 3-4 pound chicken cut up 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1 small onion sliced 
2 stalks celery, chopped 
1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered 
1 bay leaf 
4-6 whole parsley leaves 
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 

2 cups all purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk 

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley to the pot. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the chicken, uncovered, for 2 hours. The liquid will reduce by about one third. 

2. When the chicken has cooked, remove it from the pot and set it aside. 

3. Pour 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of the stock back into the pot (keep the leftover stock, if any, for another recipe-it can be frozen). You may also want to use a smaller pot or a large saucepan for this. Add coarsely ground pepper, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the lemon juice, then reheat the stock over medium heat while preparing the dumplings. 

4. For dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and milk in a medium bowl. Stir well until smooth, then let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about a 1/2 inch thickness. 

5. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch squares and drop each square into the simmering stock. Use all of the dough. The dumplings will first swell and then slowly shrink as they partially dissolve to thicken the stock into a white gravy. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until thick. Stir often. 

6. While the stock is thickening, the chicken will have become cool enough to handle. Tear all the meat from the bones and remove the skin. Cut the chicken meat into bite-size or a little bigger than bite-size pieces and drop them into the pot. Discard the skin and bones. Continue to simmer the chicken and dumplings for another 5-10 minutes, but don't stir too vigorously or the chicken will shred and fall apart. You want big chunks of chicken in the end. 

7. When the gravy has reached the desired consistency, ladle four portions onto plates and serve hot. Serve with your choice of steamed vegetables, if desired