Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Pecan Cookies

I took this batch of cookies to a mom's night out ages ago. Even recently I've had people ask for the recipe!

1 1/2c white sugar
1c butter
1/2T baking soda
2 eggs
1 pint strawberries, pureed
3c flour
1t salt
3/4c pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or line cookie sheets.
Cream together butter and sugar then mix in eggs and strawberry puree until just blended. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets and back for 8-10 minutes.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

1c butter softened
1 1/2c white sugar
2 eggs
2t vanilla
2 3/4c flour
2t cream of tartar
1t baking soda
1/4t salt
2T white sugar
2t ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. In a separate ball mix together 2T sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets. Remove from sheets immediately.

Roasted Duck

We made this for a holiday dinner several years ago and it turned out really well.

2t salt
2t paprika
1t black pepper
1 5lb whole duck
1/2c melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub spices into skin and place in roasting pan.
Roast duck for 1 hour. Spoon 1/4c melted butter over bird then cook for another 45 minutes. Spoon remaining 1/4c butter over the duck and cook for another 15 minutes until golden brown.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stuffed Shells

1 box pasta shells
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 container ricotta cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 medium grated zucchini
1t minced garlic
1c or so grated mozzarella

Boil shells according to package directions.Fry up ground beef. At the end add zucchini and garlic. Allow to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add remaining ingredients (except for sauce and cheese.) Fill shells with a spoon and place in a greased pan. Pour sauce over shells and cover with mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my new go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies. This makes a big batch so I either halve the recipe or wrap half in saran wrap and foil then freeze it until we want more.

4c flour
1t baking powder
1t baking soda
1 1/2c butter, softened
1 1/4c sugar
1 1/4c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1T vanilla extract
2 1/2c chocolate chips (I sometimes mix and match, other times just use one kind)
1c chopped nuts (optional. We don't use this... sometimes I just add more chocolate instead ;))

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients in a seperate bowl. In your mixer bowl beat butter until fluffy. Add sugars and rest of wet ingredients.
Gradually add the dry mixture. Mix in chocolate and nuts. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes (or more if you made jumbo cookies. Sometimes the mood hits, you know?)
Cool on sheets for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

My Favorite Chocolate Cake

The original copy of this recipe is a "mocha" cake but you can't really taste the mocha. It's just a delicious chocolate cake. The best I've ever had.

2c flour
2c white sugar
2/3c cocoa powder
2t baking soda
1t baking powder
1/2t salt
1T instant coffee powder
1/2c oil
2 eggs
1c buttermilk
1c hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Into a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Incorporate the wet ingredients (minus the last) one at a time until a thick batter has been made. Pour hot water over the thick batter and stir until uniform.
Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
I use chocolate buttercream on this cake and it's decadent and delicious!

Buttermilk Pie Crust

This is a nice and easy pie crust, though not as pretty as a traditional recipe.

2 sticks cold unsalted butter
2 1/2c flour
1T sugar
1t salt
1/2c buttermilk
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients then mix in buttermilk. Divide into to even balls. Press into your pie plate and chill until ready to use.

Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard

A random recipe I found on a card years ago that is definitely a family favorite!

For honey mustard:
1/2c honey
1/4c dijon mustard
Mix together. Set aside to dip in later.

For chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1c flour
1/2t salt
1/4t pepper
3/4c milk
1c oil for frying
Cut chicken into 1/2 inch by 2 inch strips.
Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dip chicken into milk then foll in flour mixture to coat well. Place chicken on waxed paper.
Pour 1/4 inch of oil into a large heavy skillet. Heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.
Divide chicken into batches and place in an even layer in hot oil. Fry, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sauce.

David's Grandma's Pecan Pie

I have to attribute this recipe to Patty Vail. Back when I first started collecting recipes this one was given to me as a Grandma's Pecan Pie recipe. It's delicious and always the recipe I use!

For the pie crusts: (makes 2. Halve if you only want the one)
2 1/2c flour
1c crisco (I use butter)
1t salt
1/2c water
Mix flour, shortening and salt. Add water.

For filling:
3 eggs
2/3c sugar
1/2t salt
1/3c butter (melted)
1c dark corn syrup
Beat above together with rotary beater.
Add 1c pecan halves.
Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until set and pastry is nicely browned. Cool and serve with a dollup of whipped cream.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I'm not a huge fan of "recipes" that involve a mix in the ingredients, preferring to make as much from scratch as I'm able but this one will be an exception for now. I've only made this pie once but I should make it more often. It was a huge hit!

1 1/2 c milk
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2c peanut butter
1 graham cracker crust

Chocolate layer:
1 1/2c milk
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1c whipped topping

Add vanilla mix into the first amount of milk. Beat for a minute or two then add peanut butter. Beat for another 30 seconds or so then pour into crust.
Beat chocolate mix into the second amount of milk for 2 minutes. Carefully spread over peanut butter layer and chill for at least 2 hours.
Top with whipped topping and garnish as desired.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

A little while back I was made aware of just how much filler was in the taco seasoning mix we use on a regular basis. I don't think I even finished the can of it that was in our cupboard! This is the new recipe I use. It's super easy and tastes so much better than the can or packet variety!

2T chili powder
1/2t salt
2t cumin
1/2t garlic powder
1/2t onion powder
2t oregano

Add to cooked ground meat with a little water and cook until water evaporates.

Pizza Dough

This is the pizza dough we use when we make our pizza from home. With 3 boys at home we make pizza a lot! I actually have this recipe on a post it on the inside of my cabinet because I use it so often.

1t sugar
1 1/2c warm water
2 1/2 t yeast
2T olive oil
2t salt
3 1/2-4c flour

Mix sugar into warm water and add in yeast. Let it sit until foamy then add in olive oil, salt and slowly add in the flour. I use my kitchenaid with the dough hook, though you can do this by hand. Knead until it's a smooth dough.
Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
Divide into 2 pieces. Shape your pizzas and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Top with whatever you would like. I use a homemade red pizza sauce, bbq sauce or ranch mixed with some chopped garlic.
Bake for 15 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it and make sure it's solid all the way through the bottom.
We also use this recipe for pizza on the grill which has an even better flavor!

Oatmeal Banana Bread

An alternative banana bread that I really enjoyed. A bit heartier than our usual variety.

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the banana and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat into creamed mixture. Stir in oats and nuts. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Perfect Oven Roast

  • I've tried many kinds of pot roasts in the slow cooker and the oven and this one was the most delicious one I've ever made! I used a 3 pound roast so I did a little math to adjust the times appropriately.

  • 1 (5 pound) standing beef rib roast (I used a regular roast and it turned out great!)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

    Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Combine the salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small cup. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan so that the fatty side is up and the rib side is on the bottom. Rub the seasoning onto the roast.
    Roast for 1 hour in the preheated oven. Turn the oven off and leave the roast inside. Do not open the door. Leave it in there for 3 hours. 30 to 40 minutes before serving, turn the oven back on at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) to reheat the roast. The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees F (62 degrees C). Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving into servings.

Chewy Nutella Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup Nutella
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
Cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg, vanilla, and Nutella.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
Drop the dough by tablespoons onto baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes.

Go-to Pancakes

I had thought I found the perfect pancake recipe a while back. It was good the first few times I made it but for some reason, after a while, every time I made them they were too thick and hard to eat without a gallon of syrup. So I went looking for a new recipe. I've now made this one a few dozen times (we have pancakes almost every Saturday morning). I can vouch for it's consistent perfection.

1 1/2 c milk
1/4c vinegar
2c flour
1/4c sugar
2t baking powder
1t baking soda
1t salt
2 eggs
1/4c butter
1t vanilla

Mix milk and vinegar in a measuring cup. Set aside to let "curdle."
In a larger mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients.
Stir in milk mixture and other wet ingredients.
Pour onto greased griddle for desired size. Flip over once they start looking cooked on the bottom size.
If you're making a large batch put on a cookie sheet in the oven at the lowest setting your oven has.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

For the meat mixture:
1 1/2 lbs lamb or beef (cubed or ground is fine)
1 container mushrooms
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
5 tbsp flour
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried sage
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
salt and pepper
For the potatoes:2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal sized pieces
4 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup chives, chopped
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350. 
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain well and return to pot to remove any excess moisture.
Meanwhile, brown beef or lamb in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Drain off any excess fat.  Add onions, carrots and garlic, and sauté until softened.  Add butter, stir until melted.  Sprinkle flour over meat and veggies, stirring to coat.  Cook 1 minute.  Deglaze pan with Guinness, red wine, and beef broth.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low.  Add Worcestershire sauce and spices, simmer about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  Add peas, and season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer until mixture has thickened.
Once potatoes are drained, stir in butter and milk and mash until consistency is smooth (add a little more milk if necessary).  Stir in cheese, parsley and chives.  Season with salt and pepper. 
Pour thickened meat mixture into greased casserole dish (I used an oval one, smaller than a 9×13).  Spoon potatoes gently over the top of the meat mixture, making irregular peaks with the back of your spoon.  Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and edges are bubbly.