Friday, December 16, 2011

Treats for Teachers

I have such a hard time know if we need to give something to CJ's teachers for Christmas. He has, like, seven teachers. And, that's not including the librarian (who should count according to CJ). The last couple of years I've done cinnamon rolls for them, but this year, I did not start in time for that project. However, we've really been enjoying this cinnamon bread I found on Pinterest.

So, with CJ's approval, that's what his teachers are getting. (He really liked when I sent cinnamon rolls...he basks in the compliments...hopefully, they like the bread.)

Also...only his four main teachers are receiving loaves. Maybe the other three + the librarian will get one at Valentine's or something.

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

2 c. flour
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c. milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Combine 1/3 c. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and 1 c. sugar. In a separate bowl (or measuring cup), mix together egg, milk and vegetable oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined.

Put half of batter in loaf pan. Sprinkle reserved cinnamon sugar mixture on top (it will seem like a lot). Top with remaining batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack and let cool completely. Now, here's the hardest part...wrap the loaf in foil and let sit overnight. It will taste good if you eat it right away, but it will taste even better if you wait.

A couple tips -
-The recipe is easily doubled.
-It would be better to have a little more than half of the batter on the bottom as opposed to a little less. The last time (before today) that I made these, I didn't get quite enough on the bottom and the cinnamon layer leaked through and stuck to the pan. No problems with that today. Just be generous with the bottom layer.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More Soup - Super Easy & Delicious

It is soup season at our house. We easily eat soup at least once a least for now. In about a month or two, I'll be tired of all our soup recipes. But, my husband claims this soup is one he would happily eat once a week. It's so easy...I should take him up on it.

Stuffed Pepper Soup
barely adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen

1 lb ground beef, I use 93/7 beef
1/2 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 lb bell peppers (apprx. 3 large), diced - I use at least one green and one red. The third can be whatever you, yellow or another red/green
2 cloves garlic, minced
1(14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can low sodium beef broth (you could use more than this if you want more broth)
1 tbsp beef base (I use 3 beef bullion cubes)
salt and pepper
hot, cooked rice

In a large stock pot, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain and then add the vegetables. Heat over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 8-10 minutes.
Add tomatoes, beef broth, and beef base. Simmer 15 minutes or longer until ready to serve.
Taste and season generously with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Put a large scoop of rice in a bowl and ladle soup over the top. If you add the rice to the soup itself, it absorbs all the liquid.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winter Cabbage Stew

So, we are big fans of cabbage at our house. I don't think that's normal. But, I believe there may just be a few other people out there who like cabbage as well. So, if you do, make this soup. It's delicious. And, it's really only got three ingredients, so it's super frugal as well.

We had this earlier this week. It's definitely only a cold weather meal. And, we're all glad it's that time of year again.

Winter Cabbage Stew (from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook)
2 lbs. smoked link sausage
6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. celery seed (I use celery salt)

Cut sausage into 2-inch lengths. Put in a large soup pot with 3 cups of water. Cover, bring to a slow simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Add potatoes, another cup of water and seasonings. Cook uncovered an additional 15 minutes. Add cabbage and 2 more cups water. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes longer. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with buttered and broiled french bread, topped with strawberry jam. So yummy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zucchini Crisp

(photo from the blog I linked)

A year or two ago, I bookmarked this recipe on a blog I follow. It just sounded weird enough to try! I made the crisp for the first time tonight, and it is delicious!!!! It tastes very much like an apple crisp, only I think I liked it better. It has a nice crunchy top and the zucchini slices had a nice firmness to them, compared to how apples can get a little mushy. We ate it without ice cream and it was fine, I'm sure ice cream would be good with it too.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chicken Taco Bowls

Just tried a new crock pot recipe that will definitely become a regular in our family. You can find it on my blog.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mexican Corn Dip

Here's a quick & easy appetizer for your weekend. This recipe is originally from Rhonda Roth (via the River Community Church cookbook), but Les at It's a Wonderful Life introduced me to the deliciousness. I've made it twice this week alone.

A few suggestions:
1. Make the recipe as written. Don't leave out things you don't like. For example, I don't like olives and neither does Phil, but we LOVE this dip and it would not taste the same without them.
2, Drain the Rotel but not thoroughly. You need a little of the juice for flavor.
3. Also, use Original Rotel. The first time I made it I used mild and it was a little bland.
4. Well, I'm going to go back on my first suggestion...the last time I made it I used half Pepper Jack cheese and half Cheddar, because it's what we had. It was perfect!
5. Make it ahead of time so it can thicken.
6. Eat. For breakfast, lunch, dinner...whenever the mood strikes.

Mexican Corn Dip (although the original title was Awesome Mexican Cheese Dip)
1 can (10 oz) Rotel, drained...a little
1 can (15 oz) corn, drained...all the way
1 can (4 oz) chopped black olives (the recipe says to drain, but my cans have never had much liquid in them)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped finely

Mix it all together. Allow to set up in fridge at least one hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Try Something New Tuesdays

Well, I am trying something new this summer. In order to make my meal planning more organized (and fun), I've been working on coming up with "theme nights". So far, we've only got two. Mondays are Men's Choice and Tuesdays are Try Something New. If you've got other suggestions, I would love to hear them (and don't worry, they don't have to be alliterations).

So, for our first Try Something New Tuesday we had Taco Pizza (new), Guacamole & chips (not new, but very delicious...and prepared almost entirely by my 11-year old), Cantaloupe and Blueberry Lemonade Slushie (new).

I highly recommend giving this pizza a try. It was good! Even my bean-hating child really liked it. (I tried to be sneaky and sent him out to mow while I was assembling the pizza. I really didn't want him to see the beans ahead of time. Alas, nothing gets by him. He came in and said, "Yeah, I saw the beans". Nevertheless, it was a good attitude and he scarfed it right up. And didn't even object when I said I would be making it again. That's big, people.)

Read through the whole recipe in order to see some of my suggestions.

Taco Pizza
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1-½ cup Warm Water
Scant TB honey
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Olive Oil
1 can (14 Ounce) Black Beans
1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning (prepared, Or Make Your Own - we used this recipe)
4 whole Corn Tortillas, Sliced Into Thin Strips
½ cups Canola Oil, For Frying
1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar
1 cup Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
1 head Green Leaf Lettuce, Sliced/shredded Thin
2 whole Ripe Tomatoes, Diced
½ cups Cilantro Leaves
¼ cups Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce (or more to taste)

Make the pizza dough: Mix yeast with warm water and honey and set aside for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine. Stir in olive oil. Knead briefly and place in oiled mixing bowl. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours.

Pour black beans into a saucepan. Add seasonings to taste and heat up beans over medium-low heat. Use a potato masher to mash the beans to desired texture. Continue cooking/heating beans over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer runny (should be the texture of refried beans.) Set aside. (I cooked too much liquid out of my beans...they will firm up some as the cool).

In a small skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. When hot enough to fry, drop in the tortilla strips in batches, frying quickly and removing from oil with a fork when crisp–about 30 to 45 seconds per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside. (Do this step ahead of time)

Place oven rack in the bottom position in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Remove half the pizza dough from the bowl. Place remaining half in a large plastic bag and refrigerate, saving for another use. With hands, spread pizza dough on an oiled baking sheet, making sure it’s relatively thin (I filled my half sheet pan almost completely). Spread layer of refried beans all over pizza crust. Sprinkle mixed grated cheeses over the top. Place pan in the oven (in the bottom half of the oven) and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Watch it to make sure crust doesn’t burn.

Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle on shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cilantro leaves.

Mix together sour cream and hot sauce, adding enough hot sauce to make the mixture pourable. With a spoon (or you can put it in a pastry bag) drizzle mixture over finished pizza. (Do this ahead of time too...the mixing, and put it in the fridge).

Happy Eating!

PS - the leftovers might not be so good. Just go ahead and eat it all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mexican Chicken Wraps

Here's a great summer meal you'll love (that is if you don't hate cilantro. :) )

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fish Tacos with Cilantro-lime Crema

I just posted a recipe for our family's favorite fish tacos.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chocolate Cobbler...for real.

For Valentine's Day, I tried this delicious Chocolate Cobbler from the Savory Sweet Life blog. I can't help but share it here, because it was so very delicious. And, I'm not even a chocolate-lover. You can't serve this without ice cream though (my choice would be vanilla). It's rich, filling, warm, comforting. Today (rainy, cloudy) would be a perfect day to make it...hmmm, I wonder if I still have enough Nutella. :)

Nutella Chocolate Cobbler

*If you don't love chocolate, I would not necessarily suggest this, even though I liked it.
*I love recipes that don't require an electric mixer. This one comes together easily by hand.
*Do pay attention to the ingredients that are divided.

3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 TB cocoa powder, divided
1 c. sugar, divided
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. Nutella
6 TB butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. hot tap water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, 3 TB cocoa, 1/2 c. sugar. Stir in milk, Nutella, butter and vanilla. Mixture will be thick. Spread into ungreased 8-inch baking dish (I used a square one). In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 c. white sugar, brown sugar and remaining 3 TB cocoa powder. Sprinkle over the batter. Pour the hot water over everything and DO NOT STIR. Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is slightly firm. The bottom will be liquidy and bubbling up through the top. Spoon into bowls and serve with ice cream.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Perfect Bierocks

This recipe comes from one of my mom's good friends. Shortly after we moved to Wichita, I was reading an article about bierocks in the newspaper one morning. The article mentioned that this good friend of my mom had recently won a Cook's Country contest with this recipe. I had to have it. My mom emailed her friend and she sent the recipe. I'm so glad. These are delicious.


Bierocks (Runsas)

3/4 c. warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 TB sugar
1 large egg
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 packages rapid-rise or instant yeast
1 tsp. salt

3 TB butter (2 TB melted)
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped fine
1/2 small head cabbage, cored and chopped (about 3 cups)
Salt & pepper
8 slices deli American cheese (optional but really good with it)

For the dough:
Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Mix the water, condensed milk, oil, sugar, and egg in a large measuring cup. Mix the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the water mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 4-6 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured work surface, shape into a ball , and place in the greased bowl (you can also make the bowl by hand if you prefer). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

For the filling:
Melt 1 TB butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef adn cook until just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes, breaking up any large clumps. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 2 TB fat from the pan. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until just beginning to wilt, 2-4 minutes (I kind of think that this takes me a little longer than that...can't remember exactly though). Return beef to the pan and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble and bake:
Adjust two oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions (or I've just baked the two pans separately). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 7-inch circle (mine are never perfect). Top each dough circle with one slice of cheese and then 3/4 c. filling. Pinch the edges of the dough together to form a bun. Transfer the bun, seamside down, to the baking sheet. Cover the buns with plastic wrap and let rise until puffed, about 20 minutes.

Bake the buns until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Brush the hot buns with melted butter and serve.

Now I'm hungry. :)