Monday, February 28, 2011

Peach Clafouti

I adapted Pioneer Woman's blackberry cobbler recipe to make this peach clafouti. It is extremely easy!

Peach Clafouti
1 stick of butter melted
1 c. of self rising flour
1 c. of sugar and 2 T. sugar
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. frozen peaches

Mix the butter, flour, sugar, milk and vanilla. Pour into a greased 11 x 7 pan. Carefully place the peaches on the batter so that they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle with 2 T. of sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas and (gluten free) Flourless Chocolate Cake

I love this recipe for chicken enchiladas. I prefer enchiladas with corn tortillas. When you use corn tortillas you have to be careful that they don't get hard or chewy. With this recipe you lightly fry the tortilla and then dip it in sauce before you roll it to keep them soft.

Chicken Enchiladas (with corn tortillas)
1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded (any chicken will work, just equal to this amount- about 2 cups cooked)
3 c. shredded sharp cheddar
corn tortillas
large can of enchilada sauce
1/4 c. chicken broth

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam. In a bowl big enough to put a tortilla in, mix about a 1/3 of the enchilada sauce and the chicken broth. In a small frying pan, fry the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side in a couple of tablespoons of oil. Remove from pan and put on a paper towel. One at a time, dip the fried tortilla into the broth/sauce mix. Then transfer to a plate and sprinkle chicken and cheese on the tortilla and roll it up. Put the enchilada seam side down in the baking pan. Repeat until the pan is full. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top. Sprinkle the leftover cheese on top. Cook covered in foil for about 20 minutes, then remove the foil and cook until the cheese is fully melted. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

The chicken enchiladas with corn tortilla are the best, but not everyone likes corn tortillas. If you prefer flour, this recipe is pretty good. (It is also easier!)

Chicken Enchiladas (with flour tortillas)
1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded (any chicken will work, just equal to this amount- about 2 cups cooked)
3 c. shredded sharp cheddar
large flour tortillas
large can of enchilada sauce

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Place one tortilla on a plate. Sprinkle chicken and cheese on the tortilla and roll it up. Put the enchilada seam side down in the baking pan. Repeat until the pan is full. Pour the can of the enchilada sauce over the top. Spread the sauce around so that all surfaces are covered. Sprinkle the leftover cheese on top. Cook covered in foil for about 20 minutes, then remove the foil and cook until the cheese is fully melted. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

This is an excellent flourless chocolate cake.  It is so rich that you can only have sliver. If you love chocolate, you will love this cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
1 c. (or half a bag) semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 t. almond extract
3 large eggs
1/2 c. dutch process cocoa powder

Lightly grease an 8" round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan. Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat till the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and almond extract. Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges of the pan with a knife, and turn it out onto a serving plate. The edges will crumble a bit. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

For the Glaze:  Mix 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for about 1 minute 30 seconds. Whisk together. Pour over the cake.  Then sprinkle 1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds on the top.

Monday, February 21, 2011


This recipe is really good. It is one of those that everyone in our house likes. (Which is rare!) We first had this when my sister-in-law made it, and I had to re-create the recipe because it was that good. You can adapt this recipe to suit your family's taste. For example, you could add in green pepper or chopped onions. You can adjust the amount of sausage v. hamburger or you can change the cheese to Romano. Enjoy!

4 c. of medium sized pasta (like large shells, radiatori, bow ties, spiral, etc.)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (or homemade equivalent)
1 T. of minced garlic
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (I cut open the links and fry it that way)
1/2 lb. hamburger
1 package pepperonis chopped
1 can of mushrooms (drained)
3 c. mixed Italian cheeses

Cook the pasta and drain. Brown the meat and drain. Spray a 9 x 13 dish with Pam. After I drain the pasta, I put it back in the pot I cooked it in. Then I add in everything but the cheese and mix well. Then add in half of the cheese and mix. Pour into the 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is fully melted.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

This is a yummy cake. Very Spring/Summer. It does take some work to make it, but it is well worth it. It took me about an hour from start to finish.  Note this recipe makes 3 layers. You only see 2 in the picture because I made us a 2 layer cake and made work a 1 layer cake.

Lemon Chiffon Cake
8 eggs, separated
1/4 c. oil
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T. lemon zest
1/3 c. water
1/2 t. of cream of tartar
1 1/2 c. of sugar
1 3/4 c. of cake flour
1/2 t. of baking soda
1/2 t. of salt

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch round pans with parchment paper but do not butter or grease the pans.

In a med-large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium speed until light and frothy. Slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

Sift the flour, remaining sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk gently to combine.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the egg yolk mixture and mix to create
a smooth paste. Add one-fourth of the egg whites and fold in to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining egg whites and divide the batter among the three pans.

Bake for about 16 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks to cool in the pans.
Once cool run a knife around the cake to in order to un-mold the cakes. Carefully pull off the parchment paper from the bottoms of the cakes.

1 can of lemon pie filling (or your favorite recipe for lemon pie filling)

Lemon Cream Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
milk as needed
4 c. powdered sugar

In large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth. Increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add in milk by tablespoon to adjust consistency. 

After the cakes are cool, place one layer down on a cake plate. Top with lemon pie filling. Repeat with the next layer. Then frost the outside of the cake. Use the remainder of the lemon pie filling to decorate the outside of the cake. You can put it in a Ziploc bag and cut off the tip of it to make dots or to draw lines.

Italian Breadsticks and a Savory Braid

Earlier this week we had these crunchy bread sticks. Using the same dough we had pizza last night and tonight we had a savory braid that was similar to the danish I made a couple of weeks ago, but with a meat and cheese filling.

Italian Dough:
2 3/4 c. lukewarm water
1 1/2 T. granulated yeast
1 1/2 T. salt
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
Mix everything but the flour. Then add in the flour. Let the dough rest on the counter for 2 hours before using then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks in a covered container. Don't make the container air tight.

The bread sticks I made with the dough above would be perfect with soup or salad.

Bread Sticks
1 orange-sized blob of the above dough
After your dough is ready to use, take a orange-sized blob of it and put it on a floured surface. Roll it out fairly thin using more flour as needed. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 1/2 inch strips. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet twist the strips of dough. Brush the dough with an egg wash (one egg mixed with 1 T. of water). Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or so, until lightly browned.

Savory Braid
1 grapefruit-sized blob of the above dough.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a big rectangle. Put whatever filling you want to use down the center in a 2-3 inch channel.  Then cut 1/4 inch strips along the sides. Fold the strips into the middle to make a braided look. Press the strips together so they will hold. Brush with an egg wash (1 egg and 1 T. water mixed together).  Then bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (around 30 minutes). Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so before cutting. This is really versatile. You could change the filling to pizza stuff, ham and cheese, or whatever you think of. If you don't want to make dough from scratch you could use a thawed loaf of frozen bread dough or a can or two of pizza dough.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Dinner: chicken strips, macaroni and cheese and chocolate cake

Instead of buying my husband a present for Valentine's Day, I decided to cook his favorite meal. He normally only gets this on his birthday, because together these dishes are time consuming, so he was pretty excited.

First, the chicken strips. The recipe I use is a combination of a few different ones that I've combined and adapted over the years to get to chicken perfection. You can also use this recipe for pieces of bone-in chicken, you just have to either fry the chicken longer, or finish the cooking up in the oven.

Chicken Strips
1 package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 c. flour
2 1/2 T. Lawry's seasoning salt
1 1/2 t. thyme
1 1/2 t. pepper
1 1/2 t. paprika
1 t. poultry seasoning
1 t. cayenne pepper
First, slice up the chicken into strips. Then soak the chicken in buttermilk for a few hours. (I made this for dinner, so I put the chicken in to soak when I woke up in the morning.) When you are ready to cook the chicken, mix the flour and seasonings together in a bowl. Then get out your bowl of chicken. Put your frying pan with oil on to heat. Take your bowl of flour and seasonings and add a few tablespoons of buttermilk and whisk it all together. Then when the oil is ready, take a wet piece of chicken and dip it in the flour mix, coating it all over. Then drop it in the oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides. I usually cut into the first one just to make sure there is no pink. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

The macaroni and cheese is Pioneer Woman's recipe. It is awesome. If you decide to make this, you should take out everything you are going to need before you get started because you are tied to the stove stirring for a good portion of the time it takes to make it.

The chocolate cake I made is my chocolate sheet cake recipe, but I used a 9 x 13 pan, so it is a little thicker. The recipe is here: I like to make the cake at the same time as the chicken strips because they both use buttermilk. I don't have that many recipes that call for buttermilk.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cream Cheese Danish

We have snow AGAIN. I didn't have to be at work this morning until 10 because of the snow, so I thought I'd try out this danish. It's sooooo good. Worth the effort. I pulled it out of the oven a minute before I had to leave for work, so I didn't have time to do a glaze. Next time I will use the glaze and sprinkle slivered almonds on top. If you don't like almonds or almond flavoring, you could use vanilla here or orange. You could also substitute the cream cheese for a fruit filling (like apricot preserves). I think it would be good with cream cheese and raspberry preserves together.

Also, this is the same dough I made the other day as rolls. You can make a batch and leave it in your refrigerator (which is what I did) and use it when you are ready. Sorry I don't have a better picture, I had to take it at work with my cell phone camera. 

Cream Cheese Danish Braid
3/4 c. lukewarm water
3/4 T. yeast
3/4 T. kosher salt
4 eggs
1/4 c. honey
3/4 c. of butter melted (1 and 1/2 sticks)
3 3/4 c. flour
1 block of cream cheese
1 egg
1 t. almond extract
scant 1/2 c. of powdered sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
1 c. powdered sugar
milk, cream or half and half
1/2 c. slivered almonds
Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 T. water

Mix all the dough ingredients except the flour first. Then add in the flour. Let it set on the counter for 2 hours (until it rises and then falls). Put in the refrigerator until chilled (can set in the refrigerator for a week or more). When you are ready, roll out the dough into a large rectangle using plenty of flour to keep it from sticking. Leave it alone for a minute to make your filling.

Mix all the filling ingredients together until smooth. Then eyeball a two inch or so path down the center of your dough long-ways. Spread the cream cheese on the path. Using a pizza cutter, slice 1/2 inch pieces down both sides of the cream cheese. Using an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 T. of water) brush the sides of the dough. Then alternating sides, bring each piece in like a braid. Stick the pieces together in the middle so they don't fall apart. After you have it all braided, let it rest for 40 minutes covered in saran wrap. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Before putting it in the oven brush the top with the egg wash. I baked mine on a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

After it cools a little, sprinkle the glaze on top. For the glaze, first mix the sugar and the extract. Gradually add in milk until it gets to a drippy consistency. Drizzle over the braid. Top with *toasted slivered almonds.
*To Toast Slivered Almonds:  On a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven toast almonds for 7 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Watch carefully. You want to take them out when they start to smell good.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Taco Dip

In honor of the super bowl, here is a taco dip we had tonight.

Taco Dip
1/2 pound sausage, browned
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 c. enchilada sauce
1/2 c. salsa
Mix everything together and cook in a little crock pot.

Sunday Dinner: Pot Roast, Hot Rolls and Blackberry "Cobbler"

Nothing like a nice leisurely Sunday dinner to make me happy. We had a pot roast, carrots, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls and blackberry cobbler with real whipped cream for dessert. Yum!

Three Packet Roast
1 chuck roast
1 onion quartered
1 packet dry hidden valley ranch dressing
1 packet dry Italian dressing
1 packet dry brown gravy
1 can beef broth
Put it all in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. I don't like to add potatoes because they get weird, but I do add baby carrots about half-way through.

Hot Rolls
3/4 c. lukewarm water
3/4 T. yeast
3/4 T. kosher salt
4 eggs
1/4 c. honey
3/4 c. of butter melted (1 and 1/2 sticks)
3 3/4 c. flour
Mix everything but the flour first. Then add in the flour. Let it set on the counter for 2 hours (until it rises and then falls). Put in the refrigerator until chilled (can set in the refrigerator for a week or more). When you are ready, butter a 9 x 9 pan. Separate the dough into plum size balls. Put in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an hour. Brush the tops of the rolls with an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 T. of water). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After removing from the oven, baste with butter.

For dessert we had a yummy, Pioneer Woman Blackberry Cobbler:

I have made this several times. It is so good and it only takes a few minutes to throw together. It is not really a cobbler though, it is a clafouti- more cakey than a cobbler.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Zuppa Toscana and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I made my favorite Olive Garden soup.
Zuppa Toscana
1 lb. Italian Sausage
4 slices of bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 T. garlic minced
5 cans of chicken broth (or homemade equivilant)
1 T. chicken noodle base
2 large potatoes, sliced thinly
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 of a bunch of kale
Brown the meats. Reserve a little of the grease. Using the grease, in a dutch oven, cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add in the chicken broth and chicken noodle base. Bring to boil. Add in the potatoes and cook on medium for 20 minutes. Add in heavy cream. Then add sausage and kale and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

I also made the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

I love this recipe. I make these all the time and they are always awesome.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Red and White Lasagna and Garlic Bread

This is what happens when we get snowed in. I can't stop cooking. I am already out of parchment paper and heavy whipping cream. If this lasts much longer, I will have to get to the store.

Today I've made a very good oatmeal raisin cookie. These are not crispy and they are not overly spicy.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. Crisco
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pumpkin pie seasoning
3 c. quick cook oats
1 c. raisins
Cream the butter, Crisco and sugars. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in everything else but the oats and raisins. Last, add in the oats and raisins. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.

I also made my standard lasagna. I can't make lasagna like normal people because my husband doesn't like ricotta cheese. So I substitute Alfredo sauce. It ends up being a red and white lasagna. Very good.

Red and White Lasagna
box of Lasagna noodles
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1/2 pound hamburger
1 t. chopped garlic
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 container of refrigerated Alfredo sauce
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1 c. fresh grated Parmesan
Cook the noodles, drain. Brown the meat with the garlic, drain. Mix the marinara sauce with the meat reserving a 1/2 a cup. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Pour the reserved sauce in the bottom. Put a layer of noodles down. Top with a  layer of meat sauce. Lightly sprinkle mozzarella on top. Layer noodles on top. Top noodles with a layer of Alfredo sauce. Sprinkle all the Parmesan on top of the Alfredo. Top with noodles, then top with meat sauce and mozzarella. Top with noodles. Spread a layer of sauce on the top, then finish with the rest of the mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes.

This goes well with my favorite way to make garlic bread.

Garlic Bread
real butter
minced garlic (I like the jar kind because it is so easy)
French or Italian bread
In a large frying pan, melt some butter, add in a spoonful of garlic. (Don't burn the garlic!) Rub the bread in the pan until it is toasted. If you want to go a step further, after toasting the bread you can place the bread on a cookie sheet and cover with shredded mozzarella cheese. Then bake in the oven until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

This easy recipe is based on a Paula Deen one. You can make it in a crock pot or you can cook it in the oven. My favorite mac and cheese recipe is Pioneer Woman's ( but it requires you stand over the stove for awhile and is a lot of work. This one I am posting today is easier, but it still has that homemade taste. It is rare that I make something that everyone in the house really likes. This is one of those recipes. To make this taste best:  shred your own cheese, use real butter and use whole milk.

Macaroni and Cheese
2 cups macaroni
2 1/2 c. shredded cheddar 
1/4 c. butter
3 eggs
1 can cheddar soup
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. milk
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Cook the macaroni for 7 minutes in boiling water. Drain. Melt butter and cheese in the microwave in a mixing bowl (or if your microwave is not that big, transfer to a mixing bowl after melted). Whisk in cheddar soup and sour cream until incorporated. Whisk in the 3 eggs, milk and seasoning. Add in the macaroni and stir until it is covered with cheesy sauce. At this point either put it in a crock pot (sprayed with Pam) and cook on low for 3 hours, or put it in a 9 x 13 pan (sprayed with Pam) and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.