Sunday, February 23, 2014

Peach Cobbler

I made this cobbler on a cold Winter's day just hoping for the warmer days of Summer.  The cobbler was so refreshing.  Delicious! 

1/2 cup sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches (thawed - no need to drain the juice)
1 tsp lemon juice
3 TBS shortening
1 cup flour
1 TBS sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix 1/2 cup sugar, the cornstarch and cinnamon in a 2 quart saucepan.  Stir in the peaches and lemon juice.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. You may need to add just a touch more cornstarch if it is not thickening up.  Pour into an ungreased 2 quart casserole; keep peach mixture hot in the oven.

Cut shortening into flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the baking powder and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in milk.  Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls onto hot peach mixture.

Bake until topping is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

You may top with whipped cream or serve with ice cream.

Serve 6

Source:  Betty Crocker's Cookbook


Taco Soup

After looking at so many taco soup recipes, I decided to combine some of each of the ingredients and I came up with my own creation.  This was good served with a warm piece of cornbread, drizzled with honey!

1 - 12 oz pkg Andouille sausage - remove casing and dice
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced small
2 cans Rotel tomatoes, hot or mild
2 cans creamed corn
2 cans black beans, rinsed
2 cans hominy, rinsed
1 packet taco seasoning, dry
1 packet ranch dressing, dry
3 cups chicken broth 

In a small fry pan, lightly brown the sausage.  In a separate large stock pot add olive oil, onions and garlic.  Cook until softened. Place remaining ingredients in the stock pot and add the sausage (no need to drain the sausage). Cover and bring the soup to a simmer.  Continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Serve this soup topped with any or all of the following ingredients:

sour cream
tortilla chips
lime juice
shredded cheese

Serves 8 - 12


Corn Bread

I like to serve cornbread with stew, chili and any Mexican meal. This went great with my Mom's Taco Soup.  Her Taco Soup recipe is also on this blog.  I like to serve Corn Bread warm with a little butter and a drizzle of honey.  Its even great for breakfast!

1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow corn meal (I use Quaker Corn Meal that comes in a small canister)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.  Combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden picked inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve warm.

Serve 9

Source:  Quaker


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Boule (Artisan Free-Form No-Knead Bread)

This bread dough does not require any kneading and will last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  Measuring and mixing the dough takes less than 15 minutes.  When you want to make a loaf, just cut off a hunk of dough, shape it and bake it.  It will take less than 5 minutes.  The longer this dough is stored in the refrigerator, the more it will take on the taste of a sourdough bread. This recipe makes four 1-pound loaves. However, I usually make two loaves out of the recipe because I like a larger loaf.  Lightly toast a piece of bread and drizzle with olive oil for the perfect accompaniment to a hot bowl of soup.  It is also great made into a Panini sandwich.  Don't let the length of my 'wordy' recipe scare you.  It's mostly explanation.  This bread will really be the easiest bread you have ever made! Really!

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 TBS granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 TBS kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
Cornmeal for dusting your pan

Warm the water slightly, to about 100 degrees.
Add the yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a large plastic food container.  Don't worry about getting all of the yeast and salt to dissolve.

Add all of the flour at one.  Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Mix until the mixture is uniform.  If mixing by hand and it is becoming too difficult, wet your hands first and just mix with your hands.  However, do not knead the bread.  Kneading is unnecessary.  You are done when everything is uniformly moist, without any dry patches.  This mixing process should only take a couple minutes.

Cover the bowl or container with a loose fitting lid. It should just sit on top.  It should not be air-tight.  Allow the bread to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.  Longer rising times, up to about 5 hours, will not harm the bread.  You can now use a portion of the dough after it has finished rising.  Or you may place the covered bowl in the refrigerator for when you are ready to make your bread.  It will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks.

When you are ready to make a loaf of bread, sprinkle the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour.  Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (about the size of a grapefruit) piece of dough, using a serrated knife.  Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands.  Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.  Most of the flour will fall off, that is o.k.  The flour doesn't need to be incorporated into the dough  The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten when you bake the bread.  The top of the bread ball should be fairly smooth. This entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.

When I make my bread, I use half of the dough recipe and I bake it in a 1 1/2 quart oval or round casserole dish.  You may also bake it directly on a cookie sheet, pizza stone or any size casserole dish depending how much dough you are using. You should first sprinkle your baking surface with a little cornmeal to prevent it from sticking.

Let the dough rest on your pan (or in your casserole dish) for about 40 minutes.  Depending on the age of your dough, you may not see much rising during this period.  That is o.k. as it will rise during baking.

About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Dust the top of the bread dough with flour and make a few 1/4 inch deep slash marks diagonally on top of the dough with a serrated knife.  Your oven may not be up to 450 degrees yet, but go ahead and place the bread dough in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust in nicely browned and firm to the touch.  I bake my bread for 20 minutes, gently remove it from the pan and bake directly on the oven rack for the remaining 10 minutes so the bottom of the loaf gets crusty as well.

Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack.

Store the remaining un-used dough in the refrigerator in your lidded (not air-tight) container and use it over the next 14 days.  You'll notice that even one day's storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread.  This maturation continues over the 14 day storage period.  When you have used up all your bread dough, you don't even need to wash your container.  Just mix up another batch of dough and you will have bread whenever you need it.

Variations:  You may add 1 tsp dried thyme (2 tsp fresh thyme leaves) or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves (1 tsp fresh) to the water mixture.  I think next time I might add some roasted garlic to my bread dough.  Yum!

Experiment with different size loaves and pans. You really can't mess up this bread...its so easy.  I sometimes pull and gently stretch my bread dough to make a long 12 to 14 inch loaf that is a couple inches in diameter.  Have fun with it!

Makes 4 one-pound loaves

Source:  Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day - Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois


Egg Drop Soup

This is the easiest soup you will ever make!  From start to finish in less than 15 minutes, this soup is not only easy and tasty but only 42 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving. What more could you ask for?  I was looking for something quick and light to go with my leftover Chinese food.  This was perfect.

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken stock
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped scallion tops

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat.  Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes to reduce the volume.

Add the egg whites all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until they're white and stringy.  Remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce and scallion tops.  (I didn't have any scallion so I just added a pinch of parsley flakes).

You may also add leftover pasta, rice, vegetables, fish or chicken to this recipe for a hearty main-course soup.

Serves 4

Source: Healthy Cooking For People Who Don't Have Time to Cook - Jeanne Jones


Make-Ahead Roasted Zucchini and Eggplant Lasagna

Whether you are looking for a recipe for a "Meatless Monday" or just want a healthier lasagna dish that is different from all the others, this is the perfect one to try.  You may also make this with all zucchini if you don't wish to use eggplant.  I like this recipe because you can make it the day before.  

1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes, do not drain
1 1/2 lbs zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 lbs eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 - 3 TBS chopped fresh basil
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
3 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups) **Use the real stuff...not the cheese in the green can!

To Finish and Serve:

4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)

To Prepare:

Refrigerate the diced tomatoes.  Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss zucchini and eggplant with 3 TBS oil two-thirds of garlic, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Spread vegetables over two greased rimmed baking sheets and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.  Make sure you scrape the bits of garlic off the bottom of the pan so they do not burn and get stuck to the pan.  You wouldn't want to lose their tasty goodness!

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 TBS oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook until the flavors blend, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat.  To cool, stir in chilled diced tomatoes and let sit until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  (You should have 7 cups sauce.  Add water as needed to reach 7 cups.)  Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Measure out 2 cups of the sauce to a storage container to be used later.  Place in the refrigerator. 

Spread 1 cup sauce evenly over bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Arrange 3 noodles in single layer on top of the sauce.  It's alright if the noodles don't fit perfectly in the pan.  I broke some of the noodles into pieces in order to fill in some of the gaps.  Sprinkle one-quarter of the vegetables evenly over the noodles, then spread 1 cup sauce evenly over the vegetables.  Sprinkle 2/3 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce.  Repeat layering noodles, vegetables, sauce and cheeses two more times.  For the final layer, arrange 3 remaining noodles on top, sprinkle with remaining vegetables and cover with the final 1 cup of sauce. 

To Store:

Wrap dish tightly with Saran Wrap and refrigerate lasagna and remaining sauce separately for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

To Finish and Serve:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.  Unwrap baking dish, spread reserved sauce evenly over top of lasagna and cover dish tightly with greased aluminum foil.  Bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges and lasagna is hot throughout, about 45 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan and continue to bake, uncovered, until cheese begins to brown, about 10 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

Serve with a salad and lightly toasted Italian bread drizzled with olive oil. 

Serves 8 - 10

Source:  America's Test Kitchen


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Crock-Pot Balsamic Roast Beef Dip Sandwiches

The original recipe for these sandwiches does not call for carrots and onions.  However, I figured, if you are going to put a roast in a crock-pot, you might as well add onions and carrots.  It adds flavor and give you a side to serve with your sandwiches.  Top with a little horseradish and enjoy!

1 3-4 pound boneless chuck roast beef
1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp dried rosemary
5-7 cloves of garlic, minced
I added:
1 large white onion, quartered
3 large carrots

Place the roast in a 6 quart crock pot.  If using, place the onion and carrots in the crock-pot.
In a small bowl mix the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine.  Pour liquid over the beef in the crock-pot.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on high.

To serve, remove the roast from the crock-pot with tongs and shred with the tines of two forks. Pour 1/2 of the pan juices over the shredded meat and serve the extra au jus as dip on the side for your sandwiches. Serve on crusty French roll buns or any bread of your choice.

 Serves 6



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Log Cabin Family Restaurant Italian Sausage Soup

Whenever we are in Baraboo, Wisconsin we always eat at the Log Cabin Family Restaurant.  This is their most popular soup.  It tastes like pizza in a bowl! 

16 oz ground Italian Sausage, broken into pieces (I buy the Jimmy Dean bulk sausage)
1/4 - 1/2 cup onions, diced
3 cups water
1 - 14 oz jar prepared pizza sauce
1 - 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, in juice (do not drain)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 - 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 oz package sliced button mushrooms (it may seem like a lot but they shrink down quite a bit)
12 oz cheese-filled tortellini (found in the refrigerator or freezer section of your grocery store)
Tomato juice or water to thin (optional)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot, brown sausage with onions.  When sausage is cooked through, drain off any excess grease, if there is any.  Add water, pizza sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic and mushrooms.  Turn up the heat to bring the soup to a boil then turn down the heat once boiling.  Simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes uncovered and an additional 10 minutes covered.  While the soup is simmering, cook the tortellini (according to package directions) in a separate pot - do not overcook.  Add the tortellini to the soup once it is finished simmering. If the soup is too thick, you may add tomato juice or water to thin to your liking.

Just before serving, place some mozzarella cheese in the bottom of the bowl.  Pour hot soup over the top and garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 8 - 10 cups

Source:  Log Cabin Family Restaurant, Baraboo, WI


Oatmeal Molasses Cookies

I wanted to bake something for my granddaughter to take back to college with her.  I found this recipe and knew she would absolutely love these because her two favorites are oatmeal cookies and molasses cookies.  She really enjoyed them. The molasses and oatmeal are a wonderful combination. 

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
2 cups Quick Cooking Oats
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins, optional
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

Drop cookies by rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned.

Makes 5 dozen

Source:  Taste of Home


Honey Sesame Crock Pot Chicken

When I served this dish, I placed brown rice on the dinner plate, topped it with steamed broccoli then topped with the chicken and sauce mixture.  I then sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.  I highly recommend using the hoisin sauce instead of the ketchup.  It give it so much flavor.  I served this with the Asian Salad and Asian Ginger Dressing that is also on this blog.  So good!

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
salt and pepper
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup ketchup or hoisin sauce (found in the Asian isle)
2 TBS sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

4 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 6 TBS water
sesame seeds
3 scallions, chopped

Lightly season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in a crock pot. 

In a medium bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup (or hoisin), oil, garlic and pepper flakes.  Pour this mixture over the chicken.  Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken from the crock pot, but reserve the sauce in the pot.  Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot.  Stir to combine with the sauce.  Replace the lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bite size pieces.  Add the chicken back to the crock pot and stir together with the sauce.

Serve the chicken over cooked rice. 

Serves 6

Source: Six Sister's Stuff


Asian Salad with Asian Ginger Dressing

After looking through many cookbooks trying to find an Asian salad and salad dressing that sounded good, I just decided to make my own.  I think it turned out pretty tasty!


Asian Ginger Dressing

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 TBS fresh ginger root, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup low-salt soy sauce
3 TBS honey, slightly warmed
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS toasted sesame seeds, optional

In a bowl combine all of the above ingredients.  Blend in a blender or use an immersion blender.


Mixed field greens
grape tomatoes
pea pods
shredded carrot
button mushrooms, sliced
mandarin oranges
Ramen noodles
scallions, chopped

Toss together all of the salad ingredients except the Ramen noodles and scallions.  Discard the seasoning packet from the Ramen noodles.  Break up the noodles into small pieces and toast in a fry pan on the stove top until lightly browned.  (The noodles will not be so hard if you toast them).

Sprinkle the toasted Ramen noodles and scallions on top of the salad.

Serve with the Asian Ginger Dressing.