Monday, May 28, 2012

Cheesy Onion Quick Bread

I can't believe the cold, rainy blustery weather we have had lately.... so much for planting my flowers in my pots and beds this weekend. But with the cold chilly weather came the desire to bake something warm and comforting. My hubby had surgery this last week, so I was off work helping him recover and wanted to make something yummy. I ran across this recipe while browsing the Internet one afternoon and had to give it a try. I apologize but I can't remember where I found it, that's the trouble with browsing recipes, some don't have print buttons and I have to copy them down ( I usually forget to write down the website). But this bread was delicious and pretty easy to make. I didn't change a thing about it but I might try adding just a pinch more salt next time I make it. I served this bread with my chicken and rice casserole one evening for dinner. The next day I toasted it to go along with soup for lunch! YUMMO!! You could always use a different cheese when making it, I used Colby Jack since that is what I had on hand, but a Pepper Jack would be really good as well for a little kick. Enjoy!
Cheesy Onion Quick Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese ( I grated mine in my food processor, then chopped it a bit for smaller pieces)
1/2 cup minced onion (again I minced mine in my food processor for a really fine chop)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, and buttermilk until combined. Add in flour mixture and stir until the dry ingredients is just incorporated. Add in the cheese and onion and mix until batter comes together.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf. The loaf should be a light golden color.
Turn out of the loaf pan and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
                                                   Enjoy!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tortelloni Bolognese

The weather has been really windy, chilly, and rainy here lately, which makes me hungry for pasta.... just a rainy day food I think. Have you eaten the Braised Beef and Tortelloni at Olive Garden??? it's YUMMO and I was craving something like that, so I looked on the Olive Garden Recipe site to see what they had there. No luck, that recipe wasn't on there, but this recipe was (Click here) and sounded like I should give it a try, so I did. I did tweak the recipe just a bit by adding bell peppers and a little more seasoning to  mine, and about 1/2 cup half n' half, I like my red sauces just a bit creamy. This was Yummo and just what I needed on a chilly rainy day. I served mine with steamed veggies, but it would also be good with a crispy garden salad and crusty french bread. YUM!

Tortelloni Bolognese

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour, 15 minutes
Serving Size:4

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ lb ground beef
6 oz HOT Italian  sausage, skinned
1 cup red wine ( I used a mixture of beef broth with about 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, and a teaspoon of sugar since I didn't have any wine on hand :)
18 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (1/2 tsp dry)
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped (1/2 tsp dry)
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped (1/2 tsp dry)
1/2 cup half n' half (optional)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 lbs Tortelloni (I buy the buitoni  3 cheeseTortelloni)
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions:
HEAT oil in a large pan. Add celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook about 5 minutes. Add meat and cook 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
DEGLAZE pan with wine (or beef broth mixture); let reduce. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer for about 1 hour.
When sauce is about done add the half n'half if you're using it and turn heat to low; cook Tortelloni's according to the package directions.
TOSS hot, drained pasta in sauce. Top with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peach and Strawberry Cobbler

Don't you love cobbler's? I do.... especially warm from the oven with a scoop of ice cream or a healthy squirt of Whipped cream... YUM! I ran across this recipe here and just had to try out the recipe. I made it for breakfast last Saturday...after all it had lots of fruit in it and both me and my hubby thought it was delicious. It's not too sweet and the mixture of peaches and strawberries is lovely and pretty to look at too! Reminds me of the pink and orange sunrise I saw the other morning with big pink and orange cotton candy clouds.... I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe, except next time I make it I might add 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar with the 1/3 cup of the flour mixture that you sprinkle on the fruit. I found some of the fruit a little tart... but then it was good that way with ice cream or whipped cream. Anyway you serve it, it was YUMMO!
Peach and Strawberry Cobbler
4-5 ripe, medium-sized peaches (or I used 1 bag of frozen peach slices that I let thaw out)
16-oz container  fresh strawberries (or you can use frozen, I used fresh)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, cold
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.
Slice peaches and remove pits (or use a bag of frozen sliced peaches, just thaw for a minute or two in the microwave). Hull strawberries and halve or quarter berries. Place a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Rub butter into flour mixture until it's the texture of coarse sand.
Remove 1/3 cup of the flour mixture and sprinkle over the sliced fruit. Toss fruit to coat, then pour into prepared baking dish.
Add milk and vanilla extract to the remaining flour mixture and stir until dough comes together. Breaking dough up into small pieces with your fingers, sprinkle evenly over the fruit.
Bake for about  35 to 40 minutes, until topping  is golden brown and fruit is  bubbling and tender.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream while still warm.... Enjoy!!
Serves 6.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love the recipe for Vanishing Oatmeal cookies that you find on the Quaker Oatmeal container, but instead of using Raisins I use Chocolate Chips. I have made that recipe quite often. But on Sunday, I was hungry for an Oatmeal Raisin cookie, but I don't like the cakey kind of cookies that have whole raisins in them. I kept thinking about my rasin filled cookies and wondered what would happen if I put the filling in cookie dough. So I started with that idea, but then when I got down to making them, the filling was too much work to make and then let cool. So I just chopped the raisins up in my food processor. Then I powderized some oatmeal like the Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. So far so good! I then added Milk Chocolate Chips and more Oatmeal that wasn't powderized.... and Viola!! YUMMO Cookies!!! they kind of taste like raisinets with the chocolate chips in them, but you can leave them out if you just want an oatmeal raisin cookie. I think chopping the raisins and powderizing some of the oatmeal makes for a chewy cookie! I like to sandwich a scoop of icecream inbetween 2 warm cookies.... that's the best way to eat them.:) Enjoy!

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla (yes that's a Tablespoon)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup  quick quaker oats, powderized (after measuring 1 cup, powderize it in a blender or food processor)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick Quaker Oats (NOT powderized)
2 cups raisins, chopped or minced in food processor
2 cups MILK chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper or spraying with a non- stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, 1 cup powderized oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Next, add in the flour mixture and mix well. Then add the chopped raisins and 2 cups regular oats; mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for about 1 minute on cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.
This recipe makes about 4 dozen! Enjoy!!

Herb Roasted Honey Mustard Game Hens

I used to roast Game Hens or Cornish Hens quite a few years ago with a yummy honey mustard sauce basted onto them. I love little Game hens... aren't they cute? Does anyone else make their chickens dance while preparing them for cooking? Anyway, I had some Game hens in my freezer that I needed to cook and I remembered this recipe, I tried to find the original but it was lost somewhere amongst all my different recipes so I thought I would 'wing' it! Since it was after work, I wanted them to cook faster than just leaving them whole, so I butterflied them. To do that you cut down the center of the breast bone, and open them up. I sprinkled on some herbs, and roasted in the oven while basting with my honey mustard sauce every 15 minutes. I served mine with steamed veggies! YUM! (I apologize for my picture... I know I won't win any awards for my beautiful food, but it's real and it tastes good! :)

Herb Roasted Honey Mustard Game Hens
2 Game hens, thawed (you could do 4 if you need to and double the sauce)
Poultry seasoning ( or a mixture of Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup honey
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
While the oven preheats, butterfly the game hens down the middle of the breast bone and open up. Sprinkle Salt, pepper and poultry seasoning lightly over both sides. Please game hens skin side up in a casserole pan or large cookie sheet. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until juices run clear and they reach 165 to 170 in the thickest part of the thigh.
Mix the honey and Dijon mustard together and baste the hens as they cook about every 15 minutes. I poured what was left of my sauce over the birds and let cook the last 15 minutes.
These were delicious! It was easy and the meat fell off the bone and had that mustard sweetness of the sauce and the seasoning of the herbs! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

These are the very delicious cupcakes I made for myself on my birthday!!  I found the recipe here but I used regular lemons since I didn't have Yuzu fruit at a store in my small town. I filled them with the lemon curd using the recipe I posted before this recipe, and the combination of the cake, lemon curd and buttercream frosting was heaven... almost like..... butter (for lack of a better word) in your mouth! yum!! I love using cake flour in cupcakes, I really see a difference in the texture. Also this recipe calls for coconut milk! LOVE it! I haven't had a more yummy textured cupcake than these! While the cake and frosting don't have a really strong lemon flavor, the lemon curd does, and there's just a slight hint of coconut from the the milk. I had to make a second batch to share with the ladies I work with they were so yummy.....Enjoy!

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1- 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp  lemon zest
1 cup coconut milk (found in the Asian section in the grocery store)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. (I got 15 cupcakes out of 1 batch)
In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest and rub together with your fingers until fragrant and the zest in well incorporated. Then add the butter and cream together until light and creamy, then beat in egg.

Stir in one third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk. Stir in another third of the flour, followed by the remaining milk. Stir in remaining flour, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Batter will be fairly fluid.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
When cupcakes are cool, you can scoop out a little with a spoon and then add the filling by putting in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with the corner snipped out and fill your cupcakes. No need to add the bit of cake back that you scooped out, unless you want to. I say eat it.

Vanilla Lemony Buttercream Frosting
 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Dash or two of salt
3- 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a large bowl, beat butter to soften. Beat in lemon juice, coconut milk, lemon zest, vanilla. coconut extract, salt and about two cups of confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gradually add remaining confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick and creamy. You may not need all of the sugar. When the frosting is a good consistency, whip on medium speed for about 2 minutes for a light fluffy frosting.
Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.


Lemon Curd (or we could call it Citrus Curd)

Did you miss me?? Can't believe how busy life has been lately... planting gardens, taking care of the yard, get-aways with my hubby, and get-aways with my daughter!! But I did find some time to make some Yummo cupcakes for my birthday!! I put this lemon curd in the middle of them. I had been wanting to make this recipe since I ran across it on the Internet... I actually found two different recipes and combined what I liked about both to get this recipe. It was delicious!!! You could fill cupcakes, or regular cakes with it or even make baby tarts with this in the middle with a fresh blackberry or raspberry on the top... how yummy would that be? Anyway, I made it with straight lemon juice the first time I made it, then the second time, I used a combo of lemons, limes, and an orange... I love anything citrus or lemon, don't you??

Lemon Curd
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar (may want to add about 1/4 cup more if using straight lemon juice, mine was quite tart)
Zest from 2 lemons (or lemon, lime, and orange, about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup lemon juice (or a mixture of lemon, lime, and orange)
8 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

In a medium size saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and zest for about 3 to 4 minutes until light in color. Next, whisk in the juice. Put the pot over medium/low heat and continue to whisk until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Start adding the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring while adding. When all the butter is incorporated, strain the lemon mixture through a mesh sieve to another container to cool. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down on the top of the curd, that way you won't form a skin on the top of it as it cools. Completely cool in the refrigerator.
Use as desired.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Flour Tortillas

I used to make flour tortillas all the time when I was first married, my husband comes from a Mexican background, and his Grandma Margie taught me how on one of her many visits with my mother-in-law when we lived in Bremerton, Washington. I remember going to about every yard sale we came across trying to find the perfect wooden rolling pin so she could show me how to make them. I haven't made them in a while I'll be honest, and when I did make them again this last winter they didn't turn out like they used to so I gave up and didn't try again. But last week I went to a kitchen meeting, (yes I get to be the kitchen specialist in my ward! ) and we had some Mexican ladies come and show us how to make different Mexican foods. They made flour tortilla's and I was amazed at the texture of the dough!! It wasn't at all what I remembered! So of course I had to give them a try, and my hubby LOVED them!! I think next time I make them I might add just a pinch more salt (like 1/4 teaspoon more maybe) but other than that they were perfect!! It was so fun to watch those ladies roll them out!! I thank towards the end of my batch I got the technique down! I made mine into chicken fajita's but they would make great burritos or just to eat along side some Chicken Enchilada soup! Remember, this Saturday is Cinco De Mayo, so try whipping up a batch! YUM!

Flour Tortillas
Makes about 18

Ingredients:
6 cups flour (just regular all purpose flour, or you could do half white and half wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2 1/4 cups HOT water (as hot as you can get it from the tap or microwaved, doesn't need to boil)

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Then add the shortening and blend in with a pastry blender or your fingers.
Then add the water a little at a time, and mix well with your hands.... that's how they did it! I keep adding water until all the flour is incorporated and you have a slightly sticky dough. Knead in the bowl until the dough is more smooth than lumpy (about 3 minutes).
Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes at least or up to an hour.
Form into balls(about golf ball size or a little bigger), roll each ball out into the size tortilla you want. Cook on hot grill or skillet. Cook for a minute or 2 until  the tortilla is opaque on the bottom and starting to bubble, flip over and cook until it turns opaque and you may have a few slightly browned bubbles.
Enjoy!
I found a video that might help to watch... Her recipe is slightly different but the technique is about the same as the ladies I watched (except she seems quite picky about rolling her dough into balls...) Click here for video.