Sunday, December 19, 2010

Treat #2

I ended up making Miniature Golden Fruitcakes for my book club cookie exchange. I had never attempted any type of fruitcake recipe before, and regardless of the bad rap fruitcake traditionally gets, this recipe looked good. And, to my surprise, it also tastes good. Give them a try...or just come over and try some of mine. The recipe was supposed to make 4 dozen but it made 6. I'll have fruitcake forever!

Miniature Golden Fruitcakes
From Everyday Food

6 c. finely dices mixed dried fruit, such as dried apples, pears, apricots and golden raisins (I used everything but pears)
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (5 1/2 oz)
1 3/4 c. brandy
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c. packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c. flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom (I didn't have this, was going to buy it, but ouch, it's expensive...substituted 1/4 tsp. ginger)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. apricot jam, warmed, for topping

In a large non-reactive bowl, combine dried fruit, walnuts and 1 1/4 c. brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 8 hours (or up to 1 day), stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs in two additions, scraping down bowl in between. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and spices. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in two additions, scraping down bowl in between. Fold fruit mixture into batter.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two mini muffin pans with paper liners. Fill each liner with about 1 TB of batter. Tap pans to settle batter (I couldn't get my batter to settle - I wet the tips of my fingers with water and pressed it down gently...not much though as they don't change shape really at all while baking).

Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and edges are light golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through.

Brush cakes immediately with 1/2 c. brandy; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Just before serving, brush with jam.

They will keep covered and in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Inspiration

I've been feeling a little humbug this year. I'm not sure why, since I love Christmas and all that it entails. In fact, one of my favorite things about Christmas is making different candies and goodies and sharing them with friends. But even thinking about that hasn't put me in the mood. Instead I'm feeling a bit "grinchy" about the whole thing.

Today I was thinking about what to do to get out of this funk. I've seen several blogs that have declared a "Cookie Week" or "12 Days of Cookies". And I think I need to get in on the action to get back the Christmas spirit. I've decided to put my own spin on it, though.

My goal is to do 12 Days of New Tasty Treats (don't really want to be limited to cookies). I've seen several new recipes I want to try and am hoping this is just the kick in the pants I need to get after it. And, I really need to come up with something to take to a cookie exchange next week.

So, tonight was the kick off. First up, Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch (sounds a little out there, doesn't it?) from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. I was intrigued by this recipe and had everything but the Lyle's Golden Syrup it calls for (and apparently, there is no good substition). Fortunately, Lyle's Golden Syrup, native to England, can be found at World Market...and I went there today. So, I threw these simple cookies together and put them in the oven while we ate dinner.

Delicious! They are not your typical cookie. It's a very thin shortbread, topped with a delicious icing with a hint of ginger. See Peabody's blog for her beautiful pictures.

Confession: my goal was to share some of these with my co-workers tomorrow. I don't know that there will be enough left to share. Oops.

If you want a tasty new treat to try, here's 1 of 12 that I hope to post here. (Of course, it may end up being the 3 Days of Tasty New Treats...we'll just see how things go). Hoping this brings back my Christmas mojo.

Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch
For the shortbread:
1 1/4 c. flour
3 TB sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the icing:
6 TB unsalted butter
1 TB Lyle's Golden Syrup (find it at World Market)
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. vanilla (I didn't realize I was out of vanilla, so mine were missing this.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch metal baking pan.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or your fingers, work it until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly in bottom of pan. It will be thin. Bake on the center rack until golden (but not browned) and crisp for 20-25 minutes.

Shortly before the shortbread is done, make the icing. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Heat to a boil and simmer, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Remove shortbread from oven and pour the topping over it, tilting pan to cover shortbread evenly. Cool in pan on a rack. Then, enjoy!

Please note: if you don't like a cookie that isn't gooey or chewy or super sweet, these aren't for you. In fact, I read that they are more of an adult cookie...but CJ gave them 2 thumbs up.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I make a pretty mean cheesecake. And, I mean the real deal New York Style...more packages of cream cheese than should be legal, the springform pan, the water bath, etc. Most of the time I can even manage to keep the top from cracking. And, it's delicious. And it's usually for my husband.

He LOVES cheesecake. And I like to make it for him. But, given its rather complicated nature, I don't do so nearly as often as he would like.

Well, yesterday was his birthday, and our weekend was just packed. I knew I wanted to make him a cheesecake, but I didn't have nearly enough time for the "real" version. I turned to my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and found a much quicker recipe, and I crossed my fingers and hoped it would be delicious. It went together in a matter of minutes (plus chilling the crust in the fridge briefly). It came out of the oven looking great. And, unfortunately, it had to chill overnight, so I couldn't yet determine how it tasted right away.

The verdict: it was fantastic. It wasn't so tall and pretty as the original. It didn't feed an army. But, it tasted good, and it's something I could throw together with ease most anytime. I guarantee my husband would take that anyday. (He's not big on complicated.)

I also put together a quick topping that was super yummy.

Here are both of those recipes:


Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 20 squares) - I might use a little less than this next time. The crust was fairly thick.
1/4 c. sugar
6 TB butter

Mix together crumbs, sugar and butter. Press firmly and evenly against the bottom and sides of an ungreased pie pan. Cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes or until firm.

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and spread evenly. Bake about 40 minutes or until filling is nearly set (It was just a bit jiggly in the center still). Place pan on cooling rack. Let cool 30 minutes. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Triple Berry Topping
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
1 pint strawberries, sliced - I didn't quite use the whole pint, but you could.
1 small container (6 oz, I think) raspberries
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients. Chill until ready to serve cheesecake. I would recommend making this the same day you plan on serving the cheesecake, so that the berries will still have the right texture and not water down the sauce.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Fall Favorite

Today's meal is not for everyone. In fact, you may have to have some German in your blood to enjoy. But, at our house, we're always excited when the weather cools off enough to enjoy this dish. Life as Mom is hosting a Fall Recipe swap today. Head over there to check out other fall favorites.

This meal doesn't require any recipe. It's just a combination of ingredients. The one requirement: you have to like sauerkraut. If it's not your thing, come back another time. :)

Sausage, Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes
1 lb. kielbasa sausage, sliced and browned
1 can sauerkraut, warmed on the stove
Some mashed potatoes, made just the way you like them.

Put a pile of mashed potatoes on your plate. If calories aren't a concern, add a nice-sized pat of butter. Top with hot sauerkraut. And top that with the sausage. Eat and enjoy. I have loved this meal for a long time. I was so glad when I married a man who liked it too. And to top it off CJ is a BIG fan (the kid loves anything with that weird or what?).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Super Yummy Get-well-soon Chicken Tortilla Soup

I just put this recipe on my blog. It's perfect for a cold fall night when you only have about 5 minutes to make dinner!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

May was my last post?

What is wrong with me? I can't believe that it's September and the last time I posted on here was May. I have made some things that were good to eat since then but obviously didn't record any of them here.

Most recently, we enjoyed Chaos in the Kitchen's Stuffed Pepper Soup, yummy, easy, and not too bad for you. We loved stuffed peppers and this had all the flavors and none of the hassle. Check it out.

Last night, we had an old standard and one that we didn't eat for about a year because CJ isn't a big fan of eggs. However, in the last few months, he has changed his mind about eggs in this dish...what we affectionately refer to as "Breakfast Scramble".

Breakfast Scramble - all amounts can be adapted to use what you have...I'll list what we used last night, which serves 3-4, especially if you serve something with it, muffins, pancakes, scones, etc.
1/2 lb breakfast sausage
Frozen hashbrowns
7 eggs, beaten with a little milk and salt and pepper
1 can Rotel, drained - you can use mild if spicy food isn't your thing
Shredded cheese - whatever you've got

Brown sausage in large skillet (non-stick makes clean up easier). Add a layer of hashbrowns. Cover and cook until just cooked through. (Stir occasionally so that the sausage doesn't burn). Push sausage and hashbrowns to one side. Add eggs to empy part of skillet and scramble. Gently mix with sausage and hashbrowns. Stir in Rotel. Heat through. Top with cheese, cover and let melt. Stir together and serve.

I even ate the leftovers for lunch today. Delicious, easy and fast.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anyone can do this

Not many things make our menu on a regular basis. Well, there are some exceptions to that. Since Phil and CJ cook on Monday nights, it's usually a rotation of spaghetti, breakfast for dinner or something else easy. So those things do make a regular appearance.

Most of the time, though, I enjoy trying out new recipes. Lately, though, we found one that is a "repeater". It's fast. It's easy. It's delicious. And it's cheap. You just can't beat that. And, it doesn't really even require a recipe. But, I'll give you one anyway, because I like recipes.

I first saw this recipe on Chaos in the Kitchen (make her chicken fajitas!) and then Dine and Dish posted about it as well. The recipe is so basic it sounded too good to be true. Let me tell you, it's good and that's true.

Baked Chicken Legs
4 lbs. chicken legs (about 20 legs, enough for 3-4 per person) - I use about half that, since there are just 3 of us and we eat about 2 legs a piece, if they're large
Salt, pepper, seasoned salt (or whatever seasonings you like - I used paprika, garlic powder and onion addition to salt and pepper)
2 TB olive oil
Hot sauce (like Frank's Red Hot), optional
Or, Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Dry chicken legs with paper towels. This helps the spices to stick. In a large plastic bag, toss chicken with salt, pepper and spices. Add oil and toss until well coated. Spread legs onto 2 (or 1 if you halve the recipe) baking sheets and place in oven. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, for 40 minutes or until meat easily separates from bone. Then, you can broil them briefly to crisp the skin, but I've never needed to. By the time they've cooked for 40 minutes, the skin has been pretty crispy. Remove from oven. If desired, brush with hot sauce OR sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (I don't think I'd do both.).

We've never tried the hot sauce, but they are delicious with Parmesan and without.

Serve with smashed potatoes or homemade Rice-a-roni (from the same site) and broccoli. Yum. Wish we had some right now.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday night dinner

After Chris's week of cooking, I was ready to get back to planning and cooking the meals this week.

We had a delicious dinner on Tuesday night but that post will wait for another time. Wednesday night was...ehhh, okay. But, tonight more than made up for it. We had Honey Chipotle Ribs, Iceberg Slaw and Sweet Potato Fries (normally I make these, but tonight we used a package from the freezer).

It was my first attempt at ribs, and they turned out even better than I expected. The slaw was another first time to use herbs out of my garden (parsley and dill). Iceberg gets a bad rap these days, but it sure is yummy with a fresh ranch dressing on top.

Honey Chipotle Ribs
from Everyday Food

1/4 c. minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. mustard powder
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 racks spare ribs (2 1/2 pounds each) - I used a 4 1/2 pound rack.
vegetable oil (for grill)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine chipotles, 1/4 c. honey, mustard powder, 3 TB salt (I might try a little less than this next time), and 2 tsp pepper.

Place a large double layer foil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place ribs on top and rub with chipotle mixture. Wrap ribs tightly in foil and bake on sheet until meat is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Heat grill to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grates. Remove ribs from foil adn let excess liquid drip off. Brush ribs with 1/4 c. honey adn grill until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cut between bones to separate. Serve (with lemon slices if you like).

Iceberg Slaw
Also from Everyday Food

In a large bowl, whisk together 3 TB buttermilk, 3 TB plain yogurt, 1 TB chopped fresh dill, 1 TB chopped fresh parsley, and 1/2 small shallot, minced; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Fold in 1 head of iceberg lettuce (about 1 pound), quartered and shredded. Taste and season.

Christopher said it was the best coleslaw he had ever tasted! (It was a little more like salad to me than slaw, but it was tasty!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chris Cooks Days 4 & 5

Chris really did finish his week of cooking...for the most part. I'm just a little slow posting about.

While he originally planned for 7 straight days of cooking, we decided to call it quits after 5. This was not by his choice but out of necessity for our schedule. The boys went camping Friday night, and Phil and I celebrated our anniversary Saturday, so those two days got scratched. Well, not completely, because Phil and CJ are making hamburgers tonight (on the menu for last Friday). And I'm sure we'll have Italian Beef sometime soon.

Enough about what we didn't cook and on to what we did...

Day 4 was Sloppy Joes, Carrot and Grapes. CJ's friend Tristan joined us for both the making and the eating again. The Sloppy Joes were from Paula Deen's My First Cookbook. If your kids are interested in being in the kitchen, I highly recommend this cookbook. The instructions are clear. On the left side of the page are pictures of all ingredients and equipment needed. And, CJ could pretty much cook without any help from me. Last week, he made milkshakes, cinnamon rolls and the sloppy joes, all from this cookbook.

His sloppy joes were delicious. (I don't think he even remembers that when he first moved in, he HATED sloppy the kid will eat almost anything.)

Day 5 was the recipe I was most impressed with his choosing. It was from Everyday Food, my go-to food magazine. And the recipe was for Pasta (Orecchiette) with Bacon and Tomato Sauce. This is one of those recipes that sounds good but tastes even better than you would expect. And, it was easy and called for everyday ingredients.

One of CJ's all-time favorite meals is something his family often made, called Mac and Tomatoes (shell pasta, a can of tomato juice, a stick of butter). It's also better than I would have expected. Well, he thought this recipe tasted like a little fancier Mac and Tomatoes...and that's high praise around our house.

One more thing: It. Is. Spicy. We love spicy, so it worked at our house. You, however, might want to go light on the red pepper flakes.

Here it is:

Orecchiette with Bacon & Tomato Sauce
From Everyday Food

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
• 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
• Grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, for serving

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add bacon and cook until browned and almost crisp, about 4 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package instructions. Reserve cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

Add sauce and pasta water to pasta and toss to combine; cook over medium-high until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate 3 cups pasta for a separate dish. Serve remaining pasta topped with Parmesan and parsley.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chris Cooks Days 2 & 3

On Monday nights, Phil and Chris are always in charge of dinner since I work late. They alternate between spaghetti, breakfast, hot ham sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. So, for Chris Cooks week, he planned breakfast for dinner.

Monday nights are busy for the boys as well. Chris has both Scouts and baseball practice now, so dinner has to be put on the table very quickly. As a result, Phil played a pretty major role in dinner prep.

Nevertheless, they enjoyed their waffles and bacon immensely.

On the menu tonight was "Oodles of Noodles Pasta Salad", Peaches and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. The pasta salad needed to chill, so we started preparing dinner as soon as he got off the bus. Both recipes tonight were perfect for him to prepare. I did very little to help.

We started with the cookies and worked on the pasta salad while the cookies were baking. Chris's friend Tristan joined in the fun tonight, too. Too bad I didn't take pictures. I was too busy managing the chaos.

While the pasta salad was chilling, Phil, Chris, Tristan and I made a quick trip to YMCA to work out for bit. We returned home and enjoyed our dinner outside.

Here's the recipe for the cookies. These are great for your kids to make...easy ingredients, measurements, mixing, etc.

Emeril's Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Everyday Food

1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients adn stir with a wooden spoon. Divide dough into 24 portions (I didn't get quite that many), about 1 heaping tablespoon each. Roll each piece between your hands to form a smooth ball. Place dough balls, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased baking sheets. Using a fork, press on dough in two directions to form crosshatch pattern.
Bake cookies until puffed and lightly golden, 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheets.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chris Cooks Day #1

Sunday morning dawned bright and early at our house. CJ was up before 7am to get breakfast in the oven. He made a great, simple recipe from Paula Dean's Kid's Cookbook. They were cinnamon rolls made with crescent rolls and marshmallows. He thought they were a disaster when some of the marshmallows exploded out of the crescent rolls, but they still tasted delicous. And, he made them almost entirely by himself.

Then, for dinner, he made cucumber of his FAVORITE things to eat (recipe follows) and chicken enchiladas. He also made chocolate milkshakes for dessert.

By the time we were nearly finished with the enchiladas, he was getting a little tired of cooking, I think. He really wanted to go out and check on what Phil was doing (he was outside doing some yard work). But, he stuck it out and even helped with some of the clean up. Hopefully this week doesn't ruin his love for cooking! :)

Cucumber Salad

3 English cucumbers (the ones wrapped in plastic at the grocery store), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 med. sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 c. fresh dill, coarsely chopped (we left this out tonight, but we usually add it)
3 TB olive oil
3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 TB white wine vinegar
coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large bowl, toss together cucumbers, onion, dill, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.

This can be made up to 3 hours ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

Chris Cooks Week Commences

About a week and a half ago CJ told me that he was wanting to do more cooking, and he didn't mean that he just wanted to help me cook dinner that night. He wanted to plan a week's worth of meals and prepare them.

I gave him an extra menu-planning worksheet I had on hand, and he grabbed his two cookbooks for kids. He sat down at the kitchen table, and looking an awfully lot like I do on Saturday mornings, set out to plan his menu for the week.

He used his cookbooks, some of my cooking magazines and a list of often-made meals I keep on hand to design his menu. He took great delight in planning dessert for most of the evenings as well. And, with a little prompting, he added either fruits, vegetables or both to his plan. And for the weekend, he planned breakfasts as well.

I already had meals planned for the following week, so he had to wait until to today to get started. I'll try to follow along throughout the week with updates and recipes. But, for now, here's his menu:

Sunday breakfast - Cinnamon rolls (from Paula Dean's kid's cookbook)
dinner - Chicken Enchiladas, Cucumber Salad, Chocolate Milkshakes
Monday - breakfast
Tuesday - Oodles of Noodles Pasta Salad, Peaches, Peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies
Wednesday - Sloppy Joes, Carrots, Grapes
Thursday - Pasta with Bacon and Tomato Sauce, Salad, Bread
Friday - Hamburgers, Chips, Smoothies, Pineapple
Saturday breakfast - French toast
dinner - Italian Beef, Carrots, Strawberry Cream Cupcake Dessert

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Use It Up

One morning I was at the YMCA. You see, a friend asked me to meet her there two mornings a week...early. If you know me, you know that getting up at 5:30am is no small feat. So, Tuesday and Friday mornings, I've been going to work out, groaning all the way there, and then feeling pretty good about myself all the way home.

One morning, my friend was a no-show and I was watching one of the many TVs. I have no idea what the program was (and I couldn't hear anything), but they were featuring a blogger, "The Frugal Girl". Her blog sounded interesting, so I checked it out later that day.

She has this very interesting feature that she hosts called "Food Waste Friday". Other bloggers link to it, showing what food they threw away as food waste that week. I was amazed at how little these people are throwing away each week. I feel like I always have some unused, sad-looking produce in the fridge along with a science experiment or two tucked away in the back. True confessions...hope you don't think less of me.

So, I've been thinking a lot about how to waste less food. I know that I could lower our grocery bill substantially by paying more attention to what I already have. One of the ways I'm working on this is by keeping a list on the side of the fridge of food in the refrigerator, pantry and freezer that needs used. (I need to go through the freezer and find out just what all is in there. So far, the only things on my list are the things on top). And then using that list as I plan meals. If you have other suggestions, by all means, send them my way!

Here's the menu for this week, along with what I'm trying to use up with the particular recipe:

Monday - Hot ham sandwiches (recipe below), coleslaw, orange slices (I had a block of swiss cheese that needed used, along with half a head of cabbage and some carrots)
Tuesday - Pot Roast, carrots, onions, and mashed potatoes, salad (We have quite a bit of beef in the freezer still, potatoes - I have a hard time using a 5-lb bag, carrots)
Wednesday - The boys will eat leftovers and I will have dinner with my group (I'm taking salad...using leftover lemons for the dressing, more of that swiss cheese and some bacon. On a regular basis, I end up throwing away part of a package of bacon.)
Thursday - Chicken and Celery Stir-Fry, fruit (I think at one point I had at least three partially used bunches of celery in the fridge)
Friday - Cincinnati-Style Chili (This one isn't really using anything up; it just sounded good!)

Hot Ham Sandwiches
I got this recipe from a friend this past summer and we just love them. This time we had them with coleslaw, but we also like them with sweet potato fries.

Potato Buns
Swiss Cheese

Spread (for about 1 pkg of buns, 1 lb of meat)
1/2 c. butter
1 T. mustard
1 tsp. dill
1/4 c. finely minced onion

Assemble sandwiches. Wrap in foil. Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes.

**I eyeball the ingredients for the spread. I probably use a little more dill. And, I cheat and used dried, minced onion, maybe 1 TB.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Great Easy Soup!

I posted a new recipe on my BLOG for crock pot white chicken chili. Check it out if you're wanting quick, easy and yummy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Good Pairing

I have not yet tried Les's breakfast casserole that she posted the link for last week (it's on my list), but I am pretty sure I have a great side to go with it.

I found these Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists on Money Saving Mom. She and Life as Mom do monthly freezer cooking days, and these were one of the recipes MSM shared as a good one to keep in the freezer. Oh boy, is she right.

I made these for my book club last week and forgot the glaze. This morning I pulled the rest of them out of the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast, and they are definitely better with the glaze.

These can be baked and frozen, frozen before baking or the mix can be made ahead and frozen. I prefer to freeze them just before baking. You can take them out of the freezer and put them right in the oven and they're ready in 12-14 minutes. Yum.

Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists

Biscuit dough:
3 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. shortening
1 c. milk
2 TB melted butter
4 TB brown sugar

Stir together dry ingredients. Cut in butter and shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add milk. Stir until just moistened. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and need 4-6 times.

Roll out dough into a large rectangle (apprx. 1/4 inch thick). Brush with 2 TB melted butter and sprinkle with 4 TB brown sugar. Fold rectangle in half (from long side). Cut into 1-inch strips (I used a pizza cutter). Twist strips and place on baking sheet.

At this point, you can flash freeze them on the baking sheet and then throw them in a freezer bag until you're ready to use them.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes (if not frozen) and 12-14 minutes if frozen.

While baking, mix together glaze of 1 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and a few teaspoons milk (just enough to make it the right consistency for drizzling).

Drizzle over twists when they come out of the oven and enjoy!

(If you want to see pictures of the process, click on the Money Saving Mom link above).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yummy Breakfast Casserole!!

I just posted a recipe on my family blog for a make ahead breakfast casserole. If you're interested, you can find it HERE.
Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Uninspired (recipe: Italian Wedding Soup)

I must have overdosed on the cooking in December, because I have not felt any urge or complusion to do any cooking since the holidays. This week, Phil made spaghetti for dinner on Monday (I work late), then last night he made breakfast for dinner (I have no excuse) and tonight, we're having Italian Wedding Soup at CJ's request. A boring week, to say the least, and I didn't plan or shop for any other meals, so who knows what Thursday and Friday will bring.

Normally, looking through cooking magazines, checking out my favorite blogs and thinking about trying new things is all it takes to get me excited to be in the kitchen. But, even those things are not doing the trick. I need something to get me out of this slump.

But, while I'm here, at least we'll eat something good tonight. We LOVE this Italian Wedding Soup and have it often. Its inspiration was the Mama's Italian Wedding Soup on, recommending to me by my friend Heather. Feel free to visit the link for the original recipe. We've made some changes, so I'll post the recipe as we like it. It's incredibly versatile, so feel free to play around.

I should also note that this is one of CJ's favorite meals and was what he requested for his birthday dinner.

Italian Wedding Soup
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup ditalini pasta
1 - 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
2 cups spinah, roughly chopped

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil and onion. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls and set aside. (Make the meatballs as small as you have the patience for). Brown meatballs in a large skillet.

In a large stockpot heat chicken broth to boiling; stir in the pasta, carrots and diced tomatoes. Return to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for 5 minutes or so. Add meatballs. Continue cooking until pasta is al dente. Add spinach just before serving and allow to wilt. (I have at times just added the spinach to the bottom of our bowls...I have a fear of slimy spinach in the leftovers). Serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

NOTE: If you prefer your soups thick and creamy, this one's not for you. It's a lighter, broth-based soup. Perhaps it will be just the thing to get me out of my cooking funk.

Italian Wedding Soup