Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

As I mentioned earlier, I found myself with a bag of fine-grind espresso this year and was looking for some recipes to use it. I found this one online, but now I can't find the link to it. The shortbread melts nicely in your mouth and the chocolate/espresso combination brings a great flavor to the shortbread.
Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
1 tbsp fine-grind espresso
1 tbsp boiling water
1 c butter, at room temperature
2/3 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
3/4 c mini chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water and set aside. Cream the butter and the powdered sugar together, until very smooth. Add the vanilla and espresso. Using a low speed, add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2" rectangle, 1/4" thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes. The cookies will be pale. If you’d like, dust the cookies with powdered sugar while they are still hot. Allow to cool on cooling racks.

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Snowdrop Cookies

Snowdrop cookies are a favorite of mine. There is just something so appealing about the texture and lightness of this cookie. It is versatile enough to be enjoyed year round, but the name certainly conjures up winter time.

I have had this recipe for years. The mom of the man that I dated for most of college shared this recipe with me - after I had enjoyed a good number of them at her house. Based on 3 dozen cookies, there are just 23 calories (and not much else) per cookie - at least that is what her recipe card says!

Snowdrop Cookies
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tarter (or 1 tsp white vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c mini chocolate chips

In mixer bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cream of tarter and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in Chocolate Chips. Drop onto ungreased, foil-lined cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated 250 oven for 25 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cookies in a closed oven for 30 minutes more.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Caramel Tassies

Growing up, I can always remember my mom making Pecan Tassies. I thought it was so cool that she was making these little pie cookies, but not being a nut eater, I wouldn't touch them. Then, one year, when I was living in Pittsburgh, I found a recipe in the newspaper that I knew that I needed to try. It was called Caramel Tassies. They were cute little caramel filled pies. I used these for cookie exchanges that first year and then made them as part of my regular rotation. I skipped them this year, but think I will make them again soon.

Caramel Tassies

1 c butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 c flour

Cream together the butter and cream cheeese. Add the flour to make a soft dough. Press on the bottom and up sides of a mini-muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes and remove tarts from pan. Set on a cooling rack to cool.

14 oz caramels
1/2c (4 oz) evaporated milk
1 tbsp whiskey

Mix above ingredients in a double boiler. Stir occasionally until mixture is melted and smooth. Place a teaspoonful of filling in each tart shell and allow filling to set for an hour.

1/2 c butter
1/2 c shortening
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c + 2 tbsp evaporated milk

Cream butter and shortening. Slowly add sugar and milk. Beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat for another few minutes. Using a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with a corner cut), pipe the topping on each tart.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Peppermint Meltaways

This cookie is actually not one that I have made yet, but one that I acquired at the cookie exchange that I participated in at work this year. As soon as I tasted them, I had to ask for the recipe. Since it is only a few ingredients, she was easily able to remember it and share it.

These cookies have a great flavor and texture and are definitely on my must make in the future list.

Peppermint Meltaways
1 c butter
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch

Cream butter, powdered sugar and peppermint extract. Add flour and cornstarch, mixing on low until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. Remove from refrigerator and roll into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until edges start to brown. Allow to sit for a minute, then move to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

For glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 to 2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food color
Candy canes or hard peppermint candy, crushed

Combine powdered sugar, butter, peppermint extract and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Stir in food color, if desired. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

As I mentioned before, each year it seems that I find an opportunity to try a new recipe or two. This year, I found myself with a bag of fine-grind espresso and went off looking for some recipes. Always a fan of chocolate, it was hard for me to pass on this recipe, which was originally shared by The Naptime Chef (great name! - how much of my cooking and baking used to be done while the children slept) on Food52.

I love how the espresso enhances the chocolate flavor. I learned in searching for recipes that the famous Neiman-Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe, that is part of urban legend that someone paid a ton of money for, uses coffee in it too. This cookie was such a hit at the office, I think I shared the recipe with 3 or 4 people (normally, people like cookies, but they don't ask for the recipe).

Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

1 1/8 c butter, softened (2 1/4 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
12 ounces chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then, add eggs one at time, mixing after each addition.

In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder. Mixing on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoon on a cookie sheet about 2" apart. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

I was able to get just over 5 dozen cookies from this recipe. They seem to be the right size cookie for me.


Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Fudge

When I was growing up, I remember Thanksgiving being the start of Fudge season (is there such a thing?). After Thanksgiving Day with my mom's family, we would head down to my dad's brother's house to enjoy the evening with them. The two things I remember most (at least from a food perspective) are fruit salad with Pomegranates and Fudge.

The recipe that I have for fudge is the one that my mom always has made. I think that it had it's origins on the back of a jar of Kraft Marshmallow Creme, but to me is simply my mom's recipe.
3/4 c Butter
3 c Sugar
2/3 c (5 oz can) Evaporated Milk
12 oz Chocolate Chip
7 oz Marshmallow Creme
1 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan and bring to a full, rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in chocolate chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour into greased pan. Cool at room temperatures.

Sure, you could add nuts, but you see, I don't eat nuts, so I don't normally think about "messing up" good chocolate by adding nuts. You would just mix them in, in the last step.

You want to select a saucepan that is big enough to accommodate all of the ingredients and some extra space for stirring when you first add the marshmallow and it hasn't started to melt in. I suppose you could change the flavor by changing your chips, but I am a chocolate purist, so I haven't tried that.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Lemon Cookies

One of my Christmas cookies each year is a lemon cookie. Normally, I make Lemon Bars, but this year I decided to go with Lemon Cookies.

The recipe for Lemon Cookies is so simple and yet the result is so easy. My childhood best friend was the source of this recipe. The recipe is appropriate year round (especially yummy cold in the summer) and I have tried it with Strawberry and other flavors of cake mix as well.
Lemon Cookies
1 - box Lemon Cake Mix
1 - egg
1 - tub Cool Whip

Mix to combine ingredients. Place mixing bowl in freezer for about 15 minutes (makes it easier to work with). Roll dough into balls and roll in powdered sugar. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on the pan and then transfer to cooling racks.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: 7 Layer Cookies

Many of the cookies that I make are cookies that I remember helping my mom make when I was a kid. One of those cookies is called 7 Layer Cookies. There are two thoughts I have about this cookie - first, I don't actually eat them because I don't like coconut or walnuts and second, there are also only 6 ingredients - so is my 7th layer the pan? I always wonder what I am missing. I am pretty sure that I copied the recipe just as my mom had it written. This year, I added some Butterscotch Chips (did 1 c chocolate/1 c butterscotch) - so I actually had 7 ingredients this year.

7 Layer Cookies
1 stick butter, melted
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1 c coconut
1 c chopped walnuts
1 pkg chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Combine butter and graham crackers and press into the bottom of an 8" square pan. Add each ingredient as a layer. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.


Friday, December 16, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Eggnog Cookies

Eggnog cookies were a new try for me this year. I was a little unsure of what recipe to try, so I tried two.

The first I had found in a local grocery ad. The cookies are chewy and perhaps a little doughy.

The second I had in my collection of to try someday recipes. The cookies are definitely more dense and snowball like.

Both cookies I topped with a powdered sugar glaze, that I enhanced by using eggnog instead of milk or water.

Eggnog Cookie #1
(not sure why this image rotated?)
1 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c eggnog
3 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar, until fluffy. Add egg and eggnog, mix. Add dry ingredients, stirring between additions. Using a spoon, drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

I got about 5 dozen cookies.

Eggnog Cookies #2
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup eggnog
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
7 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar, until fluffy. Add vanilla extract, milk, and eggs, mix to combine. When the mixture is smooth and consistent, add the baking powder and salt and the flour one cup at a time.

When the dough is no longer sticky (you may need a little more flour), roll into 3/4” balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are a light golden brown. Cool on cooling racks.

I got about 6 dozen cookies.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp eggnog
1 tsp corn syrup

Stir to combine. Add additional eggnog as needed for the right consistency.

Once I had removed my cookies from the pans, I topped them with a bit of glaze and some sugar sprinkles. Allow the glaze to dry before storing.

I like the result of both cookies, but for different reasons. I'm actually tempted to meet in the middle on the key ingredients and see what happens. (or maybe I will see if there are some recipes out there that are already in the middle)


Thursday, December 15, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Brown Sugar & Spice Cutout

When it comes to holiday cookies, for the most part I like to simple to simple cookies. Not necessarily simple in recipe, but simple in delivery. To me, the best cookies are ones that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. There are some cookies that I make for others, but there is one cookie that I make for myself, because I love them - Brown Sugar & Spice Cutouts. I'm not really sure where I found this recipe, but I know I tried it the first time because I like spice cookies (generally molasses based, but this one is not), but continue to make it every year because I enjoy the flavor.

Brown Sugar & Spice Cutouts
1 c light brown sugar
1/2c butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat brown sugar and butter in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until creamy. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Gradually add to the sugar mixture.

On a well floured surface, roll out half of the dough at a time to 1/8" thickness. Cut into shapes with floured cookie cutters. Bake 12-15 minutes.


Some thoughts...I tend to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out, probably because my regular cut out dough is supposed to be refrigerated, but also because I think it makes it easier to work with. Although they are delicious without any frosting, I usually frost at least half of them and when I do, I always add maple extract to my favorite frosting when decorating these cookies. (my frosting is a butter/powdered sugar frosting) I tend to use a smaller cookie cutter for these than for my regular cut out cookies.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Mint Chocolate Cookies

When I was first out of college, and had more time, I participated in a number of cookie exchanges and even cookie baking days with friends. One of my all-time favorite cookie recipes came from one of those exchanges. It is a simple three ingredient cookie, that is full of flavor and texture.

One of my favorite and super easy, super good anytime cookie recipes is for Mint Chocolate Cookies. They taste similar to Girl Scout Thin Mints and the best part is, since you make them, they are available year round. I use the bags of chocolate discs found at craft stores like Michael's. If they aren't on sale, they are usually what I use my weekly coupons on. For the sprinkles, colored sugar crystals do not work so well, they sort of melt into the chocolate and don't stand out well against the chocolate. The best ones to me are the little balls - generally multi-colored.
Mint Chocolate Cookies

2# Mint Flavored Chocolate
One box of Ritz Crackers

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Dip crackers in chocoate coating both sides. Place on wax paper to cool. Top with sprinkles before the chocolate sets. Once the chocolate is fully set, you can store them in a cool place.

Me, I can't ever wait for them to fully set at room temperature, so I use a cookie sheet which, once sprinkled, I can place in my freezer to finish setting. This lets me place them in my storage container sooner. Much like Thin Mints, these cookies are best eaten cold in my opinion. In the winter, I store the container (Tupperware) in the garage to keep them nice and cold.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Brutzel Bars

Many years ago, when I was first out of college, I participated in my first cookie exchange. Certainly, as expected I received some tasty cookies, but even more so, I received some new recipes that have become a permanent part of my holiday cookie baking.

What I love about this recipe is the simplicity - 4 simple ingredients, which I tend to have in my pantry and fridge at any given moment. Together, these create yummy, addictive cookies. There is just something about the way the butter and sugar caramelize combined with the salty crispy base and the milk chocolate top that keeps me wanting more.
Brutzel Bars
1 Sleeve Butter Crackers (Club)
1 cup Butter
1 cup Granulated Sugar
12 oz Milk Chocolate Chips

Line a 10x15 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Arrange crackers in a single layer over the foil.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and sugar. Bring to a boil. Boil for one minute and then, gently pour over the crackers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Wait 2 to 3 minutes, until chips begin to melt and then carefully spread melted chocolate over the top.

Cool and refrigerate for a few hours. Remove from refrigerator and break into bars following cracker lines as a guide.

I make these cookies at the holidays, but they really could be made anytime.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Italian Breadsticks

Ever since my husband accidentally bought bread flour last year, and I couldn't return it, knowing that the store would just throw it away, I have been on a bread kick. I have made cinnamon rolls, Ciabatta bread, white bread, Parmesan breadsticks and so much more. Most recently, we tried some Italian breadsticks.

Italian Breadsticks
1 c warm water
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 c bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) yeast
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp grated Parmesean cheese

Place the bread ingredients in your bread maker in the order suggested by your machine. Use the dough cycle to make the dough.
Remove dough from bread machine and divide into balls. Roll each one into a 4-6" length. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

When the breadsticks are finished, mix the butter and Parmesean and brush over the warm breadsticks.

Some thoughts...
This recipe confirmed my theory that I could improve on the Ciabatta bread recipe by adding spices. The Italian seasoning and garlic smelled almost over-powering when the dough was mixing and rising, but in the end, the flavor was just right.

Eat these breadsticks all at once. We had a few left, but they don't deliver as well when they are cold and warming them just made them chewy.

This recipe was found on Money Saving Mom.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Pasta

I love a challenge. When we go out to dinner and my husband tries a new dish that he enjoys, he is always asking me if I could make it at home.

So, I head to the kitchen to recreate the meal. Frequently, I am able to capture the essence of the dish, even if the delivery is slightly different. Such is the case with this recipe. When he had it at the restaurant, the sauce was thicker and creamier than what I produced, but still this dish was full of flavor. I loved the contrast of the sundried tomatoes and the lemon sauce. It just felt like such a fresh dish. (Of course, this was take two, as I managed to lose the recipe I jotted down last time I made it)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
3/4# Chicken Breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 c Lemon Juice
1 1/2 c Chicken Broth
1/2 c Sundried Tomatoes, reconstituted
1 can Artichoke Hearts, quartered
1/3 c White Wine
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
2 Tbsp Butter
1 # pasta, cooked

Saute the minced garlic in the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink in the middle. Add the Lemon Juice, Chicken Broth, Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts. Allow to simmer and the liquids to reduce. Combine the white wine and corn starch, whisk to combine. Reduce heat and add the wine and corn starch. Allow to simmer and the sauce to thicken. Remove from heat and add butter. Once incorporated, add the pasta. Serve, topped with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Sherbert

I am a big fan of pumpkin. In the fall, I make a variety of dishes using pumpkin (most of them desserts and snacks). I like to use the whole pumpkin - seeds and pulp.

The other day, a friend at work forwarded a recipe for Pumpkin Sherbert. I just knew that I had to try it. She had found it at, I tweaked it slightly.

2 1/4 c milk
2/3 c sugar
1 c pumpkin (canned or puree)
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
pinch of clove
pinch of salt

In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar and pumpkin. Heat over medium heat to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for a minute.

Remove from heat and add in vanilla and spices.

Allow it to cool and use an ice cream freezer - follow the instructions for your freezer.

I made mine in a bowl. I poured the mixture into a shallow bowl and placed it in the freezer. Every hour or two, I came back and stirred the mixture. It took about 8 hours to freeze to a sherbert consistency. This approach makes a more grainy sherbert, because of the way you disrupt the crystal structure at longer intervals and over more time, compared to the constant disruption in an ice cream freezer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ciabatta Bread

Lately, we have been striking out when it comes to buying bread. Last time my husband went to Panera to get bread, they were out. Not sure how a business seemingly based on bread runs out of bread hours before they close, but they did.

I have been talking about trying to make Ciabatta at home for some time. I did a quick search of the internet looking for recipes to try. Many of them involved a sponge, which, since I thought I was eating it for dinner on Sunday would not work, since it was already after noon.

I found a recipe here and read through all of the feedback, which resulted in a few tweaks to the recipe. There are a few more that I might try next time, like adding a little rosemary to the batch.

Ciabatta Bread
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
3 1/4 c bread flour
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Layer ingredients in pan of bread machine. Select dough cycle and start.

Remove dough from bread machine pan, it will be a little sticky, onto lightly floured surface. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into two pieces and shape into two ovals on a floured baking sheet. Dimple the surface and sprinkle with flour. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Dimple again.
Bake at 425 for 25 - 30 minutes. After 10 minutes, spritz dough with water for a crispier crust.
I was very pleased with the result of the bread. It wasn't as sour as a standard ciabatta, but still had the right amount of air pockets and a good crispy crust and chewy center. It was so yummy, enjoyed warm - we ate about half a loaf this way. The rest was enjoyed at dinner the next night, where we served it with olive oil and seasoning dip.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Banana Cherry Loaf

Banana bread has been a long time favorite of mine. I don't eat nuts, so my banana bread is typically simply banana bread. On occasion, I have been known to add chocolate chips to my banana bread, but not much else. Yesterday, I decided to add some cherries to the banana bread. I think the result was absolutely delicious. I think that next time, I might try this recipe with Blueberries.

Banana Cherry Loaf
1/2 c shortening
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 c flour, divided
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c cherries, pitted and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Cream shortening and sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time. Add the bananas and mix well. Add 1 1/4 c flour, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Add the 1/4 c flour to the cherries and gently toss to coat. Add to the batter and fold in.

Pour into pan and bake about 55 minutes, until the center is set.

Some notes:
I used a whisk, but you could use a mixer.
I sprinkled the top of the loaf with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar.
The cherries fell towards the bottom, I'm thinking that quartering them might leave them more dispersed in the loaf.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cole Slaw

When I was first married, we would buy Cole Slaw at the grocery store when we were having fish. Then, one day, when cabbage was on sale, I decided to give a try of making it on my own. It was surprisingly simple to make and I no longer have to worry about the celery seed that is in many varieties of cole slaw.

Getting a nice shred on the cabbage is something that is important to me. I cut in both directions to get nice small pieces of cabbage as my base.

Cole Slaw
Shredded Cabbage - about 16 oz
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour over the shredded cabbage and stir. Season to taste.

I find that it is best to make the slaw up the night before. It just gets to be creamier and more flavorful when it sits in the refrigerator over night.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak is one of those dishes that I have always enjoyed, but generally only ever have as part of a frozen meal. Looking for some new flavors to interject into our menu, I decided to try some Salisbury Steak for dinner. I had my ideas about how to make a Salisbury Steak and as I looked across various sites, discovered that I was headed in the right direction.

20 oz Ground Turkey (you could use beef)
1 can French Onion Soup
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
flour, for dredging
1/4 c white wine
1 small onion sliced
1/4 c ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 c water
brown gravy, packet prepared as directed or canned

In a bowl, combine the turkey, 1/2 the can of soup, the breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, salt and pepper. Shape into patties (I got about 8). Place flour on plate, dredge the patties in the flour.

Add a small amount of oil to a skillet. Add the patties and brown on both sides. Remove from pan.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Reduce heat to medium and add the onions and the remaining flour from the plate. Allow to saute for a couple of minutes.

Combine the remaining soup, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, water and gravy. Whisk together until smooth. Add to the pan.

Place the patties back into the pan and allow to cook for about five more minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.

I really enjoyed this dish, as did my kids. My husband was not a big fan. I should say that he doesn't like meatloaf and the gravy tasted very meatloaf like to me. I likely would omit the ketchup next time, in hopes that it would be more appealing to my husband.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blueberry Buckle

When my husband and I bought our first house, we became friends with our neighbors. They were older than us (their kids were older than us, if I recall correctly), but we would still get together with them from time to time, usually for dinner.

Shortly before we moved away, we had them over to dinner one last time. I made a salad and a chicken dish for dinner. It was summertime and blueberries were in season, so I found a recipe using blueberries for dessert. It turned out that it was very much like a coffee cake, but made in a springform pan. (of course, I had to replace my cheap springform pan after this dish because the blueberries affected the surface of the pan.)

Blueberry Buckle
1/2 c butter
2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
5 c blueberries
Streusal Topping (recipe below)

Heat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 10" springform pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low and add egg and vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Gently fold in the berries.

Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle streusal topping over cake. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the springform pan and allow to cool 15 more minutes before serving.

Streusal Topping
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c flour
6 tbsp butter

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until a fine crumbs form.

This post shared at Ultimate Recipe Swap Dessert Edition.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spiced Apples & Apple Enchiladas

Recently, we had the opportunity to participate in an Iron Chef Dinner Party, where one of the ingredients was apples. I bought a bag of apples at the local orchard and there were a lot more apples in the bag than I thought there were. I have been making other things using apple to use some of them up (we already had a bag of "eating" apples). When we go out to dinner, the kids always like to get spiced apples. I decided that would be a nice way to use up some apples. I figured, they can't be too difficult to make and so I set out to make them. I like how the brown sugar does a little bit of caramelizing when you cook it in the butter, giving the sauce a little something extra.

Spiced Apples
4 Apples
1/4 c Butter
1/4 c Brown Sugar
1/4 c Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Nutmeg
1 c Apple Juice (or water)
1 Tbsp Cornstarch

Cut the apples into chunks (I left the peel on, but you could peel the apples first). Melt butter in skillet. Add apples, stirring often. Allow the apples to soften. Add the sugar and cinnamon, continuing to stir. Cook for a few minutes.

Stir the cornstarch into the juice (or water). Add to the apples and bring to a boil, stirring often. When sauce thickens, remove from the heat.

Serve warm.

Then, the other day, we had a picnic with friends and I was looking to make a dessert. I decided on Apple Enchiladas and decided that the Spiced Apples would be a perfect fit for the dish.

Apple Enchiladas
Spiced Apples
5 - Burrito Size Flour Tortillas

Fill the tortillas with the spiced apples. Wrap like a burrito and place in a greased baking dish, seam side down. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

We cut them in half, getting 10 servings.


Chili Cheese Dip

I am a big fan of dips and of tortilla chips. I will dip tortillas in chip dip, salsa, hummus, and cheese dips.

I came across this recipe for Chili Ole Dip on the Hormel site, while looking for a recipe for a party. The flavors sounds like a great combination to me, but I was looking for something a little easier, so I modified and the result was rather tasty.

Chili Cheese Dip

1 - 8oz Cream Cheese, softened (used 1/3 less fat variety)
1 - cup sour cream (went with reduced fat variety)
1 - can Hormel Chili, no beans

Combine ingredients and place in small crock pot on low. Serve warm with chips.

My small crock pot only held about half of this dip at a time, so I put the leftovers in a covered bowl and refilled mid-evening.

I'm a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger. No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.



I created this blog a few months ago so that I could have a place to share recipes and other kitchen related posts. I never got around to making my first post, because well, life has been very busy.

I really enjoy cooking and baking. If money and time were not a factor (not sure what world that would be), I would love to go to culinary school. It would be great to actually have training to further enhance my skills.

When possible, I do like to attend cooking demonstrations and take cooking classes at local stores. I love learning new techniques and recipe ideas. Many years ago, we went on a cruise and the chef did a demonstration on crab cakes. It was there that I discovered how easy it was to make crab cakes. I find that many dishes seem like they might be difficult, until you see/try it.

My recipes come from many sources, many of them, I honestly don't know where they originally came from. I have been clipping recipes from magazines, papers and newsletters for years and they are just hanging out in a file, long removed from anything that I could cite as a source. If I know a source for a recipe, I will share it. Frequently, I start with a recipe and improvise and tweak as I go. If I had a recipe that was an inspiration (and know where it was from), I will share it. By not citing a source, I am not claiming any of the recipes to be my own (unless of course they are and I will say that).

Hope you enjoy the recipes and information that I share here.