Thursday, June 1, 2017

Blueberry Cake

Ah, the return of fresh blueberries! We go to pick your own places and buy at least 20 pounds. My kids will eat several pounds in a few minutes before I shoo them away. We freeze many of them to use the rest of the year but we bake several delicious goodies immediately. This cake is one of those lovely things that you must try. However, please go pick fresh berries and don't use those marbles that they call blueberries in the winter months.

Blueberry Cake
9 oz cake flour, approx 2 cups
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger, ground
2 oz unsalted butter, room temp
5 1/4 oz sugar (approx 3/4 cup)
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
15 oz (approx 3 cups) fresh blueberries
3 1/2 oz sugar (approx 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 oz cake flour, (approx 1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 oz unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Spray 9 oz glass baking dish with cooking spray. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and ginger, set aside. In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg and beat well .Add 1/3 flour mixture, beat on low speed just until mixed, then add 1/3 of milk and mix well. Repeat alternating additions until all combined. Gently stir in blueberries and pour into prepared dish. In small owl, combine sugar, flour and nutmeg. Add butter and work into the dry ingredients using a fork to combine. Continue until crumb like texture. Sprinkle over top of cake. Bake in middle rack of oven for 35 minutes until golden in color. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: Alton Brown's Good Eats TV show

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

Soccer season is coming again. We have soccer in the spring and fall here which means dinner on the run. Frequently this means how many different ways can I serve sandwiches? This is my version of a recipe I found on Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Sometimes I even assemble the wraps before the games. Usually however you'll find me with a cooler that contains the pieces, assembling this dinner on the sidelines of a soccer game.

Chicken Caesar  Salad Wraps
3 cups shredded/chopped cooked chicken breasts
2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce (about 1 head)
1/2 cup Cardini's Caesar Dressing
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
6 Whole wheat tortillas

Mix shredded chicken with Caesar dressing and Parmesan. Spoon about 1/2 cup of mixture into each tortilla. Add a handful of lettuce to each tortilla. Roll up and serve.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I use bottled Cardini's dressing (prefer the flavor and less work) and just cooked chicken breasts instead of rotisserie.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Dearest Jill, I miss cooking with you. Whenever we eat this delicious thai flavored soup, we all think of you and your lovely family and how much we miss hanging out at your house. You are such a good friend, it is horrible that we are separated by thousands of miles now! Love you bunches!

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

4 cups water
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 tsp red curry paste
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp  red pepper flakes
7 lime wedges

Bring water to boil. Add spinach and peas, cook for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon to another large bowl. Return water to a boil and add noodles, cook 3 minutes. Drain, and mix noodles with spinach mixture. Heat oil over medium high heat in separate pan. Add shallots and spices through garlic, saute 1 minute, stirring constantly .Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk and reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce, cook 2 minutes more. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Add cilantro and red pepper flakes. Serve with lime wedges.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Grandma's Granola

I'm not a new year dieter. I do set resolutions but they are adjusted year round. I don't believe in dieting though. I believe in healthy eating habits that include delicious treats. However, my mom brought us this granola last year and we love it. Granola is health food right? Well, whether or not you agree, try this recipe, we love it.

6 cups regular oats
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 bag coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup raisins or dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350. Mix oats with nuts, seeds, cinnamon, & coconut. Put on heavy baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are golden and toasted. (About 10 minutes) In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine oil, sugar and honey. Bring to a boil and stir until all melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over toasted oats and mix thoroughly. Return to baking sheet and spread out with spatula. Bake until fragrant and golden, 10-13 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 minutes, then break into smaller pieces before totally cool.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Chocolate Cake

Everyone needs a good chocolate cake recipe. This is mine. It is simple and fabulous. Confession time: sometimes I use AP flour and don't even sift.It is less tender of a crumb but the average child will not notice. The buttermilk is more important.

Chocolate Cake

4 oz squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Place chocolate in a double boiler, bring water in bottom to boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until chocolate melts. Beat shortening at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time beating after each addition. Add chocolate, mixing well. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to chocolate mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix at low speed after each addition until blended. Add water, mixing well. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean from center. Cool in pans 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Frost as desired. Serves 12.

Recipe Source: The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cheesy BBQ Sloppy Joes

Another Southern Living recipe that we love. Confession: I don't always serve this on the Texas toast. It is certainly more fun when I do! This recipe is also good with coleslaw served on top of the sloppy joe meat. These are open face sandwiches that we eat with a fork most of the time.
Cheesy BBQ Sloppy Joe Sandwiches
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (optional)
1 Tbsp liquid from pickled jalapeno peppers (optional)
1 11.25 oz package frozen garlic Texas toast
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pickled jalapeno pepper slices (optional)

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat until crumbled and no longer pink, drain fat. Return to skillet and add tomatoes, next three ingredients and jalapenos and liquid, if desired. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare Texas toast according to package directions. Serve beef mixture over Texas toast, sprinkle with cheese and pepper slices, if desired. Serve with coleslaw.

Recipe Source: Southern Living

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Creole Chicken with Succotash

This is a great simple dinner I got from a Southern Living cookbook I own. I always have to double it for my crew. It is great though to have a delicious dinner waiting in the slow cooker after a busy day!

You don't add any liquid to this recipe but the frozen vegetables and the chicken will provide plenty.

Creole Chicken with Field Pea Succotash
16 oz package frozen field peas with snaps
10 oz package frozen vegetable gumbo mix
16 oz package frozen corn
2 cubes of chicken bouillion
4 tsp Creole seasoning, divided
1 1/2 tsp paprika
6 skinned, bone-in chicken thighs

Mix  first four ingredients and 2 tsp of Creole seasoning in a lightly greased 6 qt oval shaped slow cooker. Combine paprika with remaining Creole seasoning and rub over chicken. Arrange chicken on top of vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours until done. Serves 4-6

Recipe Source: Southern Living   

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cranberry Apple Pie

Cranberry Season is drawing to a close which always makes me run to the store and buy a few extra bags. I love cranberries in everything. My son loves to make this pie and it is delicious!

Cranberry Apple Pie

Pastry for two pie crusts (pate brisee is my favourite)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
4 cups sliced tart apples
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 Tbsp butter

Heat oven to 425. Prepare pastry. Stir together sugar and flour. In pie pan, alternate layers of apples ,cranberries and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with apple layers. Dot top with butter. Cover with top crust and cut slits. Seal and flute edges. Cover edges with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 40-50 minutes until crust is brown. Cool. Serves 8.

Recipe Source: Slightly modified from my mom's old orange Betty Crocker cookbook

Friday, December 23, 2016

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal

This is the way I currently make oatmeal most of the time. It's easier than trying to cook it in the morning! 
Overnight Oatmeal
2 cups regular or steel cut oats
6-8 cups water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
1 apple, peeled, cored, diced
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray. Mix ingredients in crockpot. Turn on low heat for 8 hours and then stir when finished. If you use regular oats, it is a smoother porridge-like dish. If you use steel cut, it will have a nice chewy texture. 

Caution: The raisins will swell up and be very soft. I like them this way. You may not. 

Modified from Mels Kitchen Cafe. (Removed maple syrup & blueberries, added butter, apples & raisins, changed sugar, increased cinnamon)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Citrus Turkey Brine & Roast Turkey

It was not easy getting this recipe from my husband. He wrote it down and then I had to go over it with him several times before I think I got all of the details from him. He is complimented on his turkey every time he makes it!

Best Citrus Turkey Brine 

1 cup Kosher salt (or ½ cup regular salt)
½ cup brown sugar
2 Lemons, cut in wedges
2 oranges, cut in wedges
2 limes, cut in wedges
1 onion, cut in wedges
3 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried Thyme
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1-2 cups orange juice
½ gallon water
1 gallon of ice and water mixture, mostly ice, 1 lb ice equals 1 pint water
Additional ice
Turkey oven bag

Heat ½ gallon of water with other ingredients to mix everything together and dissolve salt. Remove from heat and add ice water mixture. Remove turkey innards and rinse turkey. Place turkey in oven bag inside cooler or pot. Add ice to bag on top of turkey. Carefully pour in brine. Cinch up bag and tie shut, making sure turkey is completely submerged in brine. Leave turkey in brine for 18-24 hours. Ice should be present the entire time the turkey is brining. (Turkey must remain cold!) After brining, remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly. Discard brine. Cook turkey using desired recipe.

Roast Turkey

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine. Optional: Put butter or bacon between skin and meat. Do not put seasoning on outside of bird, it will burn. Place turkey in pan big enough to hold it. Roast the turkey on lowest level oven rack at 500F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. Cover turkey breast with “turkey triangle” of foil. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require an additional 1 ½ to 2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl. Turkey needs to rest at least 15 minutes before carving.



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