Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend Baking

Blondies and Brownies

I had some helper's in the kitchen and we decided to make so blondies and brownies. These turned out to rave reviews. When deciding what to add to the blondies I asked "chocolate chips or M&M's" my 3 1/2 year old niece looked at me puzzled and then said "BOTH". So that is what we did. Dark Chocolate M&M's and Nestle Chocolate Chips. I used the basic blodie recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. Below is the recipe I used for the brownies. I didn't use nuts in this batch.

Baker's One Bowl Brownies

4 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup (1-1/2 stick s) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. va nilla
1 cup flour
1 cup coarsely chopped PLANTERS Pecans

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and pecans; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.

BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

Soup Soup

I again wanted to spend some time in the kitchen making some soup. I saw this tomato soup recipe and thought it sounded amazing. I had some red skins left from Thanksgiving so I did a little altering to my regular potato soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup

(From the "What's Cooking" Nest Website)

3 lbs ripe tomatoes cut in half
1/4 c. plus 2 T. olive oil
1 T. kosher salt
1.5 t. pepper
2 c. chopped onion
6 garlic cloves
2 T. butter
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
3 c. chopped (canned) tomatoes, with their juices
1 28 oz. can of peeled Plum Tomatoes with basil (I added this not on original recipe)
2 c. fresh basil leaves
1 t. fresh thyme leaves (I omitted and added some pasta seasoning in it's place)
4 c. chicken stock

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Toss tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes in 1 layer baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
3) In an 8 quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with 2 T. olive oil, butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes until the onions start to brown
4) Add the canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock.
5) Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 min.
6) Pass through food processor.

Red Skin Potato Cheddar Soup

8 slices of Bacon diced

1 C Onion diced

1 C Carrot diced

1 C Celery diced

5 Garlic Cloves

8 C Red Skin Potato (cut into chunks)

4 C Chicken Broth

2 C 2% Milk

¼ lb Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cook the diced bacon in large pot until crispy. Add onions, garlic and celery and cook until onions are slightly browned add carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and mix well. Add chicken broth and cook until potatoes are tender. Place mixture into food processor in batches. Add milk and cheese and heat until cheese is melted in.

Salt and Pepper to taste (will need quite a bit). Serve with shredded cheddar sprinkled on top.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Leftovers= Frittata

Turkey &Brie Frittata with Red Skin Hash Browns
All leftovers
1/2 Cup Finely diced red onion
1 Cup Finely diced leftover turkey
Sautee in Oven safe frying pan
Scramble 4 eggs with a little milk. Pour into the pan and allow to cook for a few minutes. When just about set add sliced brie to the top. Allow to set a little more. Place pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes until nicely browned.

In another frying pan add leftover mashed potatoes and flatten out and cook until crisp for hash browns.

Thanksgiving Dishes Part 3 THE TURKEY!

The Main Dish

So I started with a 19lbs butterball turkey. I decided to attempt a brine since I had brined a chicken a few weeks ago and the results were fabulous. I purchased Williams Sonoma Apple and Spices Turkey Brine and prepared per directions. Brining a 19lb bird is quite and undertaking. But I was up for the challenge. The turkey brined for about 20 hours overnight in the fridge. After brining rinse the turkey really well. I was cooking my turkey in a bag.
1. Pour some flour into the bag.
2. Place the turkey in the bag and fill both cavities with quartered oranges, onions and whole garlic cloves.
3. Rub the turkey with Mediterranean Medley Dry Rub (I received this in a gift package with some other ingredients, I have used on chicken before, it is outstanding. This is the link I found on google.
4. Drizzle honey all over the turkey.
5. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The temp needs to be checked regularly to make sure it isn't overcooked.

The reviews of the turkey were outstanding. I actually forgot to take any pictures of the turkey but I have one of my uncle slicing it so we will see if this shows the final product well enough.

The Gravy

Well I will not say that my gravy turned out great. But it was pretty impressive for the first attempt. Gravy is something that will need some more practice. I did learn some lessons in the process. They gravy is pretty good, but too thick because of too much flour. This is the basic process I started with.
1. Add 1 small jar of store bought turkey gravy.
2. Add 3 cups of chicken stock.
3. Gradually add flour to increase the consistency.
4. Add a slurry (corn starch and cold water) to thicken.
5. Add in some fresh turkey drippings.
6. Continue to heat stirring frequently.

My mistake was that I didn't realize how quickly the gravy would thicken as it cooled. The taste is good but it definitely needs some more liquid. I may try to "fix" the leftovers today just as a challenge. So I will give my self a B grade on my first gravy attempt.

Thanksgiving Dishes Part 2

Sweet Potato Side Dish
This was by far my favorite dish I made this year. I made it up as I went along and I am very impressed at how yummy this turned out.

6-7 Medium Sweet Potatoes

Poke each potato 4-5 times with a fork or knife bake in oven at 425 for about 1 hour (stick a fork in to make sure they are soft on the inside).

Once slightly cooled remove all the skins and place into large bowl.

¼ Cup Butter
1/3 Cup Honey
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
Mash all ingredients together.

Place into casserole dish. (I made this a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator)

1 Cup Crushed Pecans
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

Fork together the pecans and brown sugar and pour over the top of the sweet potatoes. Place in the oven to reheat and form a slight crust on the top. For me in was about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.


1 1/2 Cups chopped Celery

1 Cup diced onion

2 tsp dried sage

In a Dutch oven with preheated Olive Oil saute the above ingredients for a few minutes. Add in the following:

3 diced apples (golden delicious, small sized apples)

1 package of Pepperidge Farms Herb Stuffing Mix

Stir the above ingredients together. Then add

3 Cups Chicken Stock

2 Cups Apple juice

Keep stirring the mixture until you get your preferred consistency.

Add in the following

1 cup of toasted chopped almonds.

1/2 cup of raisins

Place the mixture in a baking dish and heat in the oven until slightly crispy on top. For me it was about 30 minutes in a 35o degree oven.

Garlic Mashed Redskins

Nothing too fancy here. Mashed potatoes are one of the easiest dishes to make. They are also pretty hard to screw up. For my Thanksgiving Mashed I boiled red skins with skin on until tender. I mashed with the typical butter, milk, salt and pepper. I also added in some fresh minced garlic.

Corn with a twist

To spice up frozen corn add finely diced red onion and red pepper. Salt & Pepper to taste. Place in baking dish add a little chunked butter and microwave for 5 minutes.

Cranberry Dressing with a Pop

1 can whole cranberry sauce

3 sliced and diced clementines

Allow to sit overnight to allow flavors to blend.

My Thanksgiving Dishes Part 1

Dale and I hosted Thanksgiving this year. I have made turkey's a couple times before, but never done the whole Thanksgiving meal myself. My Mom brought some green bean casserole and a pumpkin pie. But I handled the rest. I will go in order of preparation.

Apple Pie
I was going to make a Dutch Apple Pie, but half way through I decided to just to traditional. I used Pillsbury roll out pie crust for both pies.
5 1/2 cups of Golden Delicious Apples (peeled, sliced and diced)
3 TBS of Flour
1 Cup Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Mix all ingredients together and pour into 9" Pie shell.
2 TBS butter (in little chunks)
Dot with butter. Place second pie crust over the top and flute the edges. Cut in X in the top to allow for venting. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the apple mixture is bubbly inside.

Mixed Berry Pie
Costco sells a frozen mixed bag of berries. It has Raspberries, Blueberries and Marionberries.

4 Cups of berries
3 TBS Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 TBS Lemon Juice
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients together and allow to thaw for about 45 minutes.
Place 1 crust in a 9" pie plate. Pour the berry mixture in the pan dot the mixture with chunks of butter (1 TBS). Place the second crust over the top and flute the edges. Cut an X in the top to allow venting. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes in 450 degree oven. Reduce the temperature after 15 minutes to 350 and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned and the contents are bubbling. (This recipe was adapted slightly from "Applegate River Blackberry Pie" from "Retro Pies" Cookbook)

Dinner Rolls
This recipe was adapted from 2 recipes. It was from the Honey Whole Wheat Bread recipe I mentioned in a previous post and a classic roll recipe from a church camp I used to work at during the summers in college.

1 oz yeast
2 ½ Cups Warm Water (110 degrees)
1 Cup honey
2 tsp. salt
½ Cup melted butter
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
5 Cups AP Flour (may need a little less or little more depending on how it feels while kneading)

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add honey, salt and melted butter and mix well. Add whole wheat flour and blend until mixed well. Add in flour 1 cup at a time. Leave 1 cup aside for the kneading (dough should be sticky). Allow dough to rise (double in size). Knead the dough, adding flour as you go. The dough should not be sticky at this point. Form dough into balls to make rolls. Place on greased baking sheet less than an inch apart. Allow the rolls to rise for at least 1 hour. Can be left over night in the refrigerator.

Bake 350 for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned

Rub melted butter on the tops of the rolls with a pastry brush just after removing from the oven.

Makes about 40 rolls.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This recipe is originally from The original calls for 1/3 cup of honey. From suggestions given the honey should be increased so I use 2/3 cup. I have made this a few times and decided to again this past weekend. This is a really good and easy bread recipe. I have altered before into rolls and those turn out great too.


2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup honey

1/3 cup vegetable oil

5 cups all-purpose flour


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey, and stir well. Mix in whole wheat flour, salt, and vegetable oil. Work all-purpose flour in gradually. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a well oiled bowl. Turn it several times in the bowl to coat the surface of the dough, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Punch down the dough. Shape into two loaves, and place into two well greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise until dough is 1 to 1 1/2 inches above pans.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes.

Potato Soup

Potato Soup

8 slices of Bacon diced

1 medium Onion diced

1 C Carrot diced

1 C Celery diced

5 Garlic cloves minced

8 C Potato cut into small pieces (5-6 medium)

4 C Chicken Broth

2 C 2% Milk

1 ½ C Flour

Cook the diced bacon in large pot until crispy. Add Onions and allow to cook for a 2-3 minutes. Add Celery, Carrots and garlic. Sautee for 5 minutes. Add the Potato and Chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are tender (about an hour). Add Milk and Flour and blend with immersion blender (or hand mixer). Allow to cook for about 10 more minutes.

Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve with shredded cheddar sprinkled on top.

Chicken 5 Bean Chili

I have made this before with rotisserie chicken but never recorded the recipe. I used chicken breasts this time.

Chicken Chili
4 Chicken Breasts cut into bite sized pieces
(I sprinkled with 2 tsp of Emeril's Southwest seasoning to marinate)
Saute the chicken in some olive oil
After chicken is cooked add the following
1 can each chili beans in sauce & diced tomato "chili ready"
1 can each chili beans & Garbanzo beans
2 cans each diced tomato, tomato paste, black beans, red kidney beans & white beans
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp green pepper sauce
Simmer for 2 hours.

Squash &Zucchini Cakes

I bought yellow squash and zucchini and wasn't sure what I should do. I got some suggestions to do a fritter and then found this recipe. They were tasty, but I made them too large. I also cooked on a griddle with canola oil instead of butter. This recipe is from Paula Deen on the Food Network.

Paula Deen's Squash & Zucchini Cakes

Cream of Broccoli & Asparagus Soup

So I had some fresh broccoli and asparagus that I didn't think I would use before it went bad. So I got to thinking and thought that the combination would be good. This is the recipe.

Cream of Broccoli & Asparagus Soup

¾ cup diced red onion

1 cup diced celery

(sauté for a few minutes in butter and olive oil and salt & pepper)


4 cup broccoli pieces

2 ½ cup asparagus pieces

Cook for about 5-10 minutes


5 cups chicken broth

Simmer for about 30 minutes until the veggies are tender

Place all ingredients in blender (in batches)


2 cups milk

1/3 cup flour

Simmer for 10 minutes

Add some pepper to taste

Add ½ package of cream cheese