Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe in the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and it has become the only sugar cookie recipe I use anymore. I've frosted them with different kinds of frosting over the years. Martha suggests a royal icing, which is good but not a favorite of mine. My favorite frosting on these sugar cookies has been a cream cheese frosting. This year I was lazy and asked my sister for the leftover frosting she had from Cutler's for my cookies. These cookies are really good without frosting too. These cookies do take time to make but they are so worth it. Much better than any sugar cookie mix or the refrigerator cookies.

4 sticks (1 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt; mix on medium high speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour in two batches, mixing just until incorporated.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and pat into flattened rectangles; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one rectangle of dough to a scant 1/4 inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Using a small offset spatula, transfer shapes to prepared sheets, placing about 2 inches apart. Chill in freezer or refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes. Set scraps aside. Repeat process with remaining rectangle of dough. Gather all scraps, and roll out again. Chill 15 minutes; cut out more shapes, and place on sheets.

Decorate cookies with sanding sugar or sprinkles, if using, before baking. Bake, rotate sheets halfway through, until cookies are golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with frosting, if using. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed or parchment paper, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Family Pleasin’ Shepherd's Pie

I saw this recipe on a blog and just had to make it that night for dinner. It was very good. I really liked the mashed potatoes on top. The mashed potatoes were done a little different then any other recipe I've tried on the top of shepard's pie and its for sure the way I'd make the potatoes for shepard's pie in the future. I did leave the cumin out because its not really a flavor I like. Everyone but the kids like the dish.
I found the recipe here:
Mashed Potato Topping
4 lbs peeled cubed potatoes
½ Cup butter, 1 stick
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ teaspoon cumin
¾ Cup warm milk
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon garlic salt, Lawry’s
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Meat and Vegetable Layer
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic salt, Lawry’s
1 15 oz can green beans, drained
1 15 oz can mixed veggis, drained
26 oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes, pureed in food processor or blender
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Place potatoes in a large pot of water and boil for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain then place into a stand or electric mixer. Beat until well mashed then add remaining potato ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef, salt, pepper and garlic salt; cook until browned and crumbled. Stir in beans, vegetables and pureed tomatoes. Pour meat mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish or individual size baking dishes. Top with mashed potatoes then sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. For crispy cheese topping bake uncovered, for oozing cheese, cover with foil after 15 minutes of baking. Enjoy!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lemon Raspberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Sorry the picture is really bad on this one. I tried over 30 pictures of these muffins and couldn't get a decent picture. I would have tried again in the morning but every muffin was gone by morning. This muffin was very good. I'll be making it again soon. The lemon and raspberry flavors together were tasty and the topping really helped to make the muffin. I found the recipe here:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup of milk
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Zest from 1 lemon, chopped finely
8 oz fresh raspberries (frozen would work too)

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup of white sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cold butter, chopped into pieces
Combine all ingredients with fingers until flaky and crumbly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; blend well. In another bowl, combine melted butter, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and eggs; mix thoroughly. Slowly stir egg mixture into the flour mixture until well blended. Add the raspberries and mix slowly and carefully. Spoon batter evenly into greased muffin tins. Top each muffin with streusel topping. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until lightly browned (don't over bake).

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love these cookies. I discovered the recipe last year after receiving about 3 pie pumpkins from our csa. These cookies are not the bright orange color as you see at the store but they taste so much better. I found the recipe here:
The recipe mentions keeping the cookies cold. While it might not be necessary I find they taste better when cold. However others in my family do not agree. I use 1 cup fresh roasted pie pumpkin for the canned pumpkin.
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beef with noodles and gravy

This is a made up as I went recipe that ended up being so good. Seriously, even my pickest eater went back for thirds on this dish. Sadly I didn't make alot of it and there was no leftovers. Things I would do differently, I think I'd add some sliced onions to the meat when it is thrown into the crockpot and maybe some mushrooms too. And as usual garlic. I love garlic and why I didn't think of adding any I don't know. This was simple and so easy.
2 lbs tenderized round steak, cut into 2 inch pieces
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
Mix the flour and seasonings. Coat the steak pieces with the flour. Cook in a hot pan with a swirl of oil until brown. Place the steak in a crockpot with about 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Add 2 packets of gravy mix (or you can use homemade gravy), brown, onion, mushroom, or beef flavored.
Add the water for the gravy mix.
Stir into crockpot and cook until thick.
Meanwhile, cook some noodles. I used Country Pasta noodle but the frozen Grandmother kind would be great too. Or even homemade egg noodles. I didn't measure how much noodles I cooked so just decide how much your family may eat.
Now you can serve in one of two ways:
1. Place noodles on plate and add the gravy and meat to the top.
2. Mix the noodles with the gravy and meat. The serve on the plate.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

Another fall and that means more pie pumpkins from my CSA. Canned pumpkin does not match the taste of fresh roasted pumpkin. Roasting the pumpkin doesn't take much time and I promise you the taste is much better than the canned squash they pass off as pumpkin in the cans. I did change on thing in the recipe, I used one can of sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. The pies my mom made when I was growing up were made with the sweetened condensed milk and I don't like pies made anyother way. I found the recipe here, this is a different recipe than I posted last year:

1 sugar pumpkin
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
2 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Cool until just warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Either mash, or puree in small batches in a blender. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.)
In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Add brown sugar, flour, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and evaporated milk. Stir well after each addition.
Pour mixture into the unbaked pastry shell. Place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust to prevent over browning.
Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the strip of foil about 20 minutes before the pie is done so that the edge of the crust will be a light golden brown. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes

My sister decided that she had to have the red velvet cake I made for the 4th of July at our family activity this past week. However instead of cake she wanted cupcakes. Honestly, although I only tried one since she swiped all the cupcakes, I think I prefer the cupcakes over the cake. These would be really fun for Halloween if you decorated it for the holiday but I'm thinking they would make a fun dessert for Christmas.
Here's the link to the cake recipe. I followed it exactly except I cooked the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, you will need to start checking them at around 15 minutes, please don't take the time it took mine to cook as a set in stone cooking time. The cake recipe made 24 cupcakes and I halfed the frosting recipe.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Lima Bean and Ham Soup

This is another one of those recipes that somewhere I probably had a recipe for but over the years I've just adapted it to our family and tastes. Its simple and easy to make and can even be done in the crockpot if you want. Even the kids will eat this. The longer you let it simmer the more flavor the soup gets.
1 lb dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight and drained
4 carrots chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 ham hock, I prefer ham hocks but you can do this with ham pieces
seasonings to taste, I use salt, pepper, bay leaves, and tabasco sauce
Place all ingredient, except water and seasonings in a large stock pot (or crock pot), add water to cover (use a little less if using the crockpot). Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 2 hours keeping an eye on the water, add more if needed. Also add 2 bay leaves. If your doing this in a crockpot place on high for 6 hours. After the two hours remove the ham hock (if using) and shred. Return meat to soup. Taste and adjust seasonings. Simmer until thick or to the consistency you prefer. Add more water as necessary. Serve
I do not add salt and pepper until near the end. Salt seems to make my beans tough so I prefer to have them soft before I add any salt. Also if your using ham or ham hocks it does add some sodium to the soup so always taste before adding the salt.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, October 10, 2008

Butternut Squash Cake

Sorry the picture isn't great however I can't get another picture because all the cake is gone. I had my doubts if the kids would eat it but they ate one piece and kept coming back for more. This cake smelled delicious cooking and was simple and easy to make. Overall it was a winner in this house. I also think making a cream cheese frosting would be a great way to serve this cake. I found the recipe in the Land O Lakes harvest baking magazine.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup peeled shredded butternut squash
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ginger puree or finely grated fresh gingerroot (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 8 inch square baking pan, set aside. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine squash, brown sugar, butter, egg, ginger, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Beat until well mixed.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken #2

I love sweet and sour chicken. I have to force myself not to make it and eat it on a regular basis. I few months back I posted a sweet and sour chicken wing recipe that I've eaten all my life. My mom received the recipe from a family friend in New Mexico and its a favorite in our family. Back when we were growing up we made it with the wings all the time because wings were cheap meat back then but now that chicken wings have become a favorite they are a little pricey. Yet I still have cravings for the dish so I've come up with a great way to enjoy the food without the price of chicken wings. I use breaded uncooked chicken tenders, which I can usually find at a local store called Winegar's mismarked for $1.49 for a 20 lb box. Here's the originial recipe calling for wings but without a picture:

For the dish I made tonight I just fry the breaded chicken on the stove top just until crispy and brown. Then I make the sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons ketchup
Mix sauce, heating until sugar dissolves.
I then place the chicken tenders on a cookie sheet and cover them with sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until cooked, turning chicken over every five minutes.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Black Forest Brussels Sprouts

I like brussels sprouts. No one else in my family does but I really like them. Over the weekend I bought a huge bag of fresh brussels sprouts at Costco and was going to steam them and add butter and garlic like usual. Lucky for me the November issue of Rachel Ray's magazine arrived in the mailbox. I have to say I loved this recipe. The sprouts lost a little of their bitter flavor and turned a not really sweet but different flavor. I tried my hardest to get others in the family to try them but no takers. They really don't know what they missed out on.

3 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the brussels sprouts for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes; drain, reserving the bacon fat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, then stir in the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add the brussels sprouts and cook, tossing, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the onions and half the bacon; season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining bacon.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Taco Pasta Bowl

I noticed this recipe in the local newspaper, the Standard Examiner, and thought it was something we'd like. I guess its suppose to be like the bowls that Taco Bell is selling only a healthy take on it. Overall it was pretty good and given the fact the kids actually ate some makes it a winner in my book. I changed a few things from the original recipe. I added onions and garlic to the ground beef while it was cooking. I also, by mistake as I usually don't buy canned enchilada sauce, added way too much sauce. Next time I'd for sure add alot less enchilada sauce, probably the amount called for, and make my own sauce the next time. I find canned enchilada sauce to be bitter. I also served the dish with fresh cut onion on top because I just really like onions. This was a quick and easy meal to make.
1/2 lb ground round or turkey or chicken
15 1/2 ounce can chili beans (do not drain)
10 ounce can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 ounces chopped green chilies
10 ounce can enchilada sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups cooked pasta shells
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Cook ground round in a large skillet over medium high heat, stirring to crumble; drain. Stir in chili beans, tomatoes, green chilies, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Add pasta to mixture and heat 3 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted and well blended. Serve in bowls. Serves 6.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CrockPot Country Style Ribs

So I had some boneless country style pork ribs that needed to be cooked. I also wanted to cook them in the crock pot instead of via any of my normal ways. I ended up making up a recipe by combining several recipes into one.
I had 1 1/2 lbs boneless ribs and I browned them in a skillet with some oil.
I then placed them in the crock pot and cooked on low heat for 6 hours.
I drained the liquid from the ribs and mixed the following items together and added it to the crock pot and the ribs:
1 cup ketchup
1 cup bbq sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion
4 dashes of Tabasco
2 Tbsp. Prepared mustard
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
I then cooked the ribs for another 2 hours on low heat and served them over rice.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Green Beans similar to Golden Corral

I love the green beans they serve at Golden Corral. I try not to eat at Golden Corral anymore so I've been trying to find the perfect recipe to duplicate their green beans. While this one is not it, it did taste really good. Bonus being my three little boys at the beans. I think if you add some butter after its done cooking and right before you serve it then it would more closely match the Golden Corral green beans.
1 lb green beans, trimmed and snapped into 2 or 3 pieces
1 medium or large onion, chopped
1 ham steak or ham slice, trimmed and cut into very small pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced and made into a paste
about 1 cup of water, although you may need to add more water
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper
Heat the oil and add onion. Cook only until the onion starts to soften. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer until beans are soft and the water evaporates. You will need to use a lid on your pot.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, October 6, 2008

Garlic Chicken Faralle

Okay this was a dish loved by everyone in the house. I'm posting the recipe with the original recipe however when I made it I left the chicken out of the dish. I still served it as a main dish but I left the chicken out. The flavors were good. The chicken probably would have made my husband not like the dish. Very easy to make and it was eaten by everyone. I found the recipe here:


16 oz. Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 c. heavy whipping cream
3-4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed OR garlic salt
1 Tbsp. pepper (I just sprinkle in son pepper 1 Tbsp seemed way to much)
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. bacon, crumbled
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (12 oz) Lawry’s mesquite marinade with lime juice
In the crock pot cool chicken and bottle of marinade on low for 6-8 hours. Pull marinated chicken out of the juices, allow to cool a little bit, and shred (it just falls apart). Set this aside. About a half-hour before serving, boil the pasta. In a small saucepan, melt butter, add garlic, whipping cream, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and crumpled bacon. Whisk together on low heat for 3-4 minutes. In a large bowl, pour over cooked, drained pasta, add chicken and stir through. Sprinkle a little bit more shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

Stumble Upon Toolbar