Monday, August 22, 2016

Zucchini Muffins

So this is a triple batch because I wanted to be able to use an entire package of chocolate chips and I like to freeze muffins, so I like big batches.  It should have made 3 dozen, but I didn't get that many. 
 
Modified from Taste of Home

4 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon (Ray thought this was too much, I might try leaving it out next time)
 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups oil
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tsp vanilla
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (they said mini, which I didn't have, but I plan to do that in the future as I think it will be a better ratio)
1 cup chopped nuts (if you want...I left out for most of them but put in some macadamia nuts I was trying to use up I the last batch.....the recipe said walnuts)

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Beat the egg, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla separately.  Stir into the dry ingredients until moistened.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips (and nuts if using them).  Fill muffin pans 2/3 full. 

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. 

Makes 2-3 dozen. 

Artichoke and Lemon Pasta

So I tried this with just artichokes, but that was too much artichoke for Ray (not me), so I mixed in green beans.  I also had to play with the cheese to get rid of the goat cheese we don't like, but in the end this is a nice light supper.  You can add chicken if you want meat. 
 
Modified from Taste of Home

1/2 lb green beans (fresh would be best, you can also use frozen...they used asparagus, which I hate)
4 cups uncooked pasta
3 tbsp oil
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts (they say water packed quartered...I can only ever find it in brine so I rinse mine)
2 garlic cloves
2/3  cup asiago cheese (they used goat cheese)
2 tsp parsley
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
 
Cook green beans.  Cook pasta.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 
 
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil.  Add artichoke hearts and brown.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add to pasta.  Add green beans, cheese, parsley, lemon, salt and pepper to taste and remained oil.  Toss to combine, adding enough reserved pasta water to coat.  Heat through.  Serve with more Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Peanut Butter Biscotti

I wanted to expand my biscotti flavors and this recipe worked well.  Pretty standard and has a nice flavor (at least, Ray, Dad and Andrew liked it...I personally hate PB so I don't really have an opinion here). I doubled their original recipe so I could use the entire package of chocolate chips. 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscotti
Modified from Food Network

1 1/4 cup butter (this is 2 sticks plus 4 tbsp., which is half a stick more...this is listed as unsalted, which I did use this time as I had it...if I didn't, I'd just adjust)
5 cups flour
5 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 eggs (they said large, I used extra large)
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
1 pkg (10 oz) dark chocolate chips (they said 12 oz or 2 1/2 cups, but this is the typical package and just what I used here)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Melt butter over medium heat.  (This says to brown butter, I did let it cook a bit, but that was it).  Let cool slightly.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Beat eggs in mixer until light and pale yellow.  Add in sugar while beating.  Then slowly add in cooled butter and vanilla until evenly mixed.  Add in peanut butter and mix until combined.

While mixing slowly, add the dry ingredients in several parts to wet until just absorbed.  Fold in peanuts and dark chocolate chips.

Divide dough into 6 sections.  Shape the dough with slightly wet hands into logs about 2 inches wide and 15 inches long.  Bake until set and brown around the edges, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool for about 10 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 325.  Carefully transfer to the log to a cutting board.  Cut logs with a serrated knife into 1/2 inch thick cookies.  Place cookies side down on the baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Flip the cookies over and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes more.  Cool biscotti on the baking sheet. 

Makes about 10 dozen cookies. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Jenn Faulk

I found a new author that I really enjoy.  I didn't realize that this was a larger series until a couple of books into this.  I had a bit of an issue when I first did this because I read Just Friends first and then found the earlier ones, which I'd assumed were set about 30-40 years ago...nope, they are all contemporary.  So most of the series is really in the future....it is probably just me (the crazy historian) who is bothered by this.  Reading it in order, it doesn't bother me as much.  Anyway, I've really enjoyed this entire series, despite this little hiccup.  When I realized the size of this series, I found this page and this one that put her books in publication order...which really isn't actual order.  So I've reordered them for everyone...because, well, I care.  I've also listed main characters of each book.


First Generation:

Resolutions Emily Fisher and Josh Morales
Different Stars Sara Wright and Daniel Boyd
Best Day Ever Chloe Thibideaux and Stephen Hayes
Ready or Not Sophie Thibideaux and Willem Kotze

(Middle)

A Little Faith Faith Hayes (8)
A Big Summer Faith Hayes (10)

Second Generation:

Even Still Abby and Stuart Huntington   
Promises Kept  Chelsea Moore and Seth Huntington
Beyond the Game Sadie Morales and Trent Patterson
Just Friends Rachel Finn and Micah Johnson (Natalie Morales Johnson - Debbie and Mike)
A New Tune Marie Boyd and Scott Huntington
Pure Fiction Grant Finn and Madison Smith
Home to You Faith Hayes and Sam Huntington
Something Better Savannah Huntington and Hendrik Botha
From Here on Out Kaitlyn Smith and Pieter Botha
Just Breathe Kenji Fisher and Tara Blair
Anywhere Gracie Hayes and Jacob Morales
Happily Ever After Cammie Evans and David Connor
Perfectly Pretend Hope Connor and Craig Lucas
Take Heart Aaron Lucas and Libby Phelps
So Like Us Charity (Connor) and John Pearson
Tis the Season Piper Witt and Chad Harper****
The Plan Eli Lucas and Charlotte Jackson
Taking Chances Jill Walker and Mark Jackson
Christmas Surprises Rachel (Finn) and Micah Johnson; Natalie Morales Johnson and Brian Kirkland; Madison (Smith) and Grant Finn; Gracie (Hayes) and Jacob Morales****

****These really could be anywhere in this bottom section.  Tis the Season has to be after Something Better, but exactly where beyond that is a little debatable.  Christmas Surprises is after Anywhere by about 5 years, but the other books don't really date themselves with it exactly, so again this could be anywhere after Anywhere


Third Generation:

Destination Wedding Adam Pearson and Eve Miller; Amelia Pearson and Caleb  Miller, Charlie and Erin Miller








Onion Pie

We all LOVE onions.  My father-in-law had always talked about the onion pie they used to eat as kids. So I decided to try my hand at one.   This was pretty good for something very different and a first try!  Even the kids ate a little bit of it, Andrew saying it was good (Andrew will eat anything) while Adam said no. 

Onion Pie
Modified from Paula Deen

3-4 sweet onions, thinly sliced (so this said 3 cups, which I didn't feel was enough in the bottom of the pie dish after it cooked down, so I'd probably double what I did and I used 2 small onions)
3 tbsp butter (I actually just used leftover bacon grease from cooking the bacon in this recipe)
1 (9 inch) prebaked pie shell (this said deep dish, I just used one of the refrigerated pie shells in a regular pie dish and then prebaked it myself)
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup sour cream (I felt there was too much sour cream, I might use more milk next time, less sour cream)
1 tsp salt
4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 325.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter (or use the pan with some grease from cooking the bacon) and add the onions.  Sauté until lightly browned. 

Put pie plate on a cookie sheet and put cooked onions in the bottom of the prebaked pie shell.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs and flour together to combine.  Add milk, sour cream and salt. Mix well and pour over onions.  Garnish with bacon.  Bake until firm in the center, about 30 minute (this took me more like 45 minutes). 

Serves 8.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Rhubarb Custard Pie

I haven't actually made this one, but a friend brought it over and it was quite the hit with Ray so I will be trying it soon myself!

Rhubarb Custard Pie
Modified from Amish 365

1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced
2 tbsp flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cream
pie shell

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except rhubarb.  Put rhubarb in unbaked pie shell  and pour mixture over the rhubarb.  Bake for 45-60 minutes or until set.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies aka Andrea's Birthday Cookies

I made these for Andrea's birthday, per her request.  They were quite the hit with everyone!

Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies
Modified from Back for Seconds

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup macadamia cups (they had chocolate chips here, I switched to nuts per request)
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat to 350.  In large bowl, cream butter, sugars and cocoa powder until fluffy.  Mix in eggs one at a time.  Gradually add in salt, baking soda, cornstarch and flour into well combined.  Stir in chips and nuts. 

Drop by spoonful onto baking sheets.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Allow to site for 2 minutes on a baking sheet before moving to racks to cool. 

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

Lemon Biscotti

I was looking for a non-chocolate biscotti recipe and this turned out really well!
 
Modified from My Recipes
 
2 3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp lemon extract
1 tbsp oil
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Combine lemon zest and juice, extract, oil and eggs.  Add to flour mixture, stirring until well blended (dough will be dry).  Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly for 7-8 minutes.  Divide into two parts.  Shape each portion into an 8 inch roll.  Place rolls on baking sheet, coated with cooking spray.  Flatten to 1 inch thickness.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove and cool for 10 minutes.  Cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Place slices, cut side down, back onto a baking sheet.  Reduce oven to 325, baking for 10 minutes.  Turn over and bake for 10 more minutes.  Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.   

They did have a drizzle recipe on the website, but I didn't use it because since I freeze them, it is pretty useless to me. 

Chocolate Banana Bread

This was pretty good.  I don't adore banana bread, but I do like options for old bananas!  Andrew likes bananas, but it always seems I have one or two leftover that get too ripe so banana bread is a key staple for me.

Chocolate Banana Bread
Modified from Crowded Earth

4 bananas (very ripe)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 small (3.9 oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1/4 cup milk

Grease two loaf pans.  Preheat oven to 375. 

Mash bananas. Add in eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well.

Stir in chocolate pudding, baking powder, salt and flour.

Add milk, a little at a time, until mixture spreads easily. 

Spread batter into loaf pans.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.

Cool on wire rack.

Cream of Chicken and Rice

A nice simple soup!

Cream of Chicken and Rice
Modified from Skinny Ms.

1/2 cup brown rice
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large potato, diced
1 tbsp celery flakes (they used real, but I never have it, so this is what I used)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flake
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp thyme
1 lb chicken, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cornstarch

Add all ingredients except the milk and cornstarch to crock pot and stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is cooked and rice and carrots are tender.

Mix the milk and cornstarch.  Before turning off crock pot, add in milk mixture and stir to combine.  Cook about 10 more minutes. 

Serves 8.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Wild Rice Soup (Crock Pot)

This took a few tries as they used way too much sour cream and not enough rice, but this worked much better now! I wanted a crock pot recipe of this for convenience and this is nice and easy. 

Wild Rice Soup (Crock Pot)
Modified from Land of Lakes

1 cup uncooked wild rice
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
4 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
1 lb chicken, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp celery flakes (they used real celery, but I never keep that at home)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup milk (or extra cream)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup heavy cream

Stir together except the sour cream, flour and cream in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken and rice are tender. 

Combine milk, sour cream and flour until smooth.  Stir in some broth to temper.  Add all back into soup and increase heat to high.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened and creamy.

Serves 8. 

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I've been working on this for awhile and my last iteration was really yummy.  A good use for those stems that I don't like eating plain. 

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Modified from Cozy Country Living

Large head of broccoli, chopped (so we freeze ours in gallon bags and I used two bags, one of stems, one of florets)
Large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups grated carrots
5 cups chicken stock (they said vegetable, you need a meat broth here I feel to get enough flavor)
2 cups milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp flour
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated 

Place all ingredients into slow cooker.  Cook on lower for 8 hours.  Remove the lid and use an immersion blender to puree the soup to desired texture.  Top with more cheese.
Serves 6. 

Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Dip

I made this for a game night and it was really well received!

Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Dip
Modified from Skinnytaste

8 oz chicken (diced or thinly sliced), seasoned
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz provolone, shredded
 
Cook chicken (they grilled it....I just used leftover chicken).  Sauté onion and green pepper until soft.  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl an then transfer to a casserole dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until hot and cheese is melted.
 
Serve with bread or chips. 

Molasses Crinkles

I made these for Vincent as he had said they were a favorite.  Erika (my sister-in-law) has also declared these as her new favorite. 

Molasses Crinkles
Modified from Betty Crocker

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp taking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
granulated sugar

Mix shortening, brown sugar, molasses and egg thoroughly.  Stir in rest of ingredients except the extra sugar.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375.  Shape dough into balls and dip tops into the extra granulated sugar.  Place balls, sugared sides up on cooking sheet.  (Sprinkle with water....I tried this, but couldn't see that this made that much of a difference.)

Bake 10-12 minutes or until set, but not hard.  Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 4 dozen cookies (I didn't get quite this much, but then I tend to make big cookies). 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Camping Mac n' Cheese

We took these to the mine this year and this worked really well.  My main "fix" for next year is that I need to actually find the right pans.

Camping Mac n' Cheese
Modified from Lauren's Latest

3 cups dry pasta (they said elbow, I used rotini)
1 jar (15 oz) Alfredo sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 to 1 cup milk (they said half and half or whole milk, I actually just used 2%)
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse in cold water.

Stir in Alfredo sauce with three cheeses and enough milk to keep things a little loose (you are just trying to keep it from drying out).  Stir in salt and pepper.  Divide between mini alumni pie tins, sprayed with cooking spray (so I couldn't find these and used mini loaf pans....don't do it....you want the thinner spread that you will get with a pie tin as it will cook better on your campfire).  Spray one side of aluminum foil with more cooking spray and cover each portion. Seal well and place into cooler until ready to cook.

Place on a cooking rack over hot coals (2-3 inches or so above....anyone whose cooked over a campfire will know what to do here).  Cook about 8-10 minutes or until hot.  This heated up fine, but because we used the loaf pans, the edges were boiling and the middle was still cold.  So definitely use the pie tins!! We actually cooked hot dogs at the same time and then mixed them into the mac n' cheese. 
 
Serves 8. 

Maple-Stout Bread

I made this last week and it turned out excellently.  I really liked it even thought I don't like stout beer (and I tried some while I was making this to just see again).

Maple-Stout Bread
Modified from Cooking Light
 
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar [Don't have this?  See how to make it out of brown!]
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup stout beer (so like Guinness)
1/2 cup sour cream (fat free)
1/4 cup maple syrup
baking spray

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Place butter and brown sugar in large mixing bowl and beat until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Combine beer, sour cream and syrup, stirring well with a whisk.  Beating on low speed, add flour mixture and beer mixture alternatively to butter mixture until just combined. 

Put into a loaf pan (9 by 5) coated with baking spray.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.  Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.  Remove from pan, cool completely on wire rack.

They had instructions for a glazy which I completely ignored.