Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ambers Scalloped Potatoes

This dish originates from Williams and Sonoma. Amber found the recipe, made a few modifications, and I made a few more. It is a great recipe for leftover holiday ham.

1 lb chopped ham (we used spiral cut ham this time, it is also delicious with diced ham steak)
3 1/2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin, this is what the mandolin is made for.
3 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
6 T flour
4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz smoked cheddar cheese
2 T Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9x13 baking dish, layer the ham and sliced potatoes.  (Really I just put the ham on top of the potatoes and mix it a bit - it really will be fine.)  In a sauce pan, melt butter, add flour, cook for a minute or two, then add the milk.  Stir and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until thick.  Remove from heat and add cheeses, mustard, and cayenne pepper.  Stir over low heat just until the cheese melts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper - don't forget the ham is usually pretty salty, so don't over salt!  Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and ham.  Bake, uncovered until the top is crusty and brown, and potatoes are tender - this usually takes 90 minutes. Once or twice during baking, if needed, gently stir the top of the potatoes so they do not become too brown.  And yes, this recipe could be made lower fat, but it is a comfort food and is best made the "real" way for a tasty occasional dinner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

TWD Brownie Buttons--Rewind

Why did I rewind Brownie Buttons?
-- I love chocolate and orange, it is a great flavor combination.
--This recipe can be made in one pan, very easy.
--You can have 16 mini brownies ready in about 30 minutes.
--Brownie Buttons are delicious.
--Complete recipe can be found on Two Scientists Blog.
--Brownie Buttons will be a frequent treat at our house.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Treats

Just a few of my favorite Christmas Treats. A wonderful day visiting with family and celebrating the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oven Chili

I found this recipe in a Pampered Chef Stoneware Cookbook. I like the flavor of chili but have never been a bean lover. This recipe is full of onions, tomatoes, peppers and lean beef. Just one can of beans to serve 10 people. I knew it would be a winner. It was and continues to be a family favorite. I have had requests to add more beans. Sometimes I do. 

2½ Pound boneless beef rump roast—trimmed of excess fat and cut in ½ inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1½ teaspoons dried oregano leaves
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoons black pepper
2 cups onions, coarsely chopped
2 cups green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 cans (14½ ounces each) diced tomatoes, I give them a spin with my Immersion Blender
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1-2 cans (15.5 ounces) pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed

Sprinkle garlic and seasonings over beef cubes; stir to coat meat. Add vegetables and beans. Put in stoneware baker or heavy pan. Cover and bake at 350 for 2½-3 hours until meat is tender. Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sliced olives, chopped green onions and sour cream. Serves 10
This can also be cooked in a large crock pot on high 4-6 hours or until meat is tender.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wedding Cookies

I volunteered to make six dozen Wedding Cookies for a church party. I've tasted these buttery, sandy cookies but have never made them. This is one of those recipes that seems to get pushed to the back of the recipe box. The cookies came together quickly in my Kitchenaid. I used my small Pampered Chef cookie scoop to portion the dough. Rolled the dough in cute balls and they were ready to bake. Rolling the warm cookie in powdered sugar was messy and took time. But when you make 6 dozen of anything it takes time!
This was a tasty cookie, melt in your mouth goodness.

Wedding Cookies
1 cup butter, soft
1/2  cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
powdered sugar for rolling
Cream together butter, sugar and flavorings. Mix in salt, flour and nuts. Use small cookie scoop and form into balls. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool cookies for a few minutes and roll in powdered sugar. Makes 3 dozen.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Bites

We had just moved into our new home. We also had a new born (why do moves and newborns seem to go together?) There was a knock on our door one winter morning in 1978. Three sweet ladies were on our doorstep. They wanted to welcome us to the neighborhood and get to know our little family. We had a nice chat, details have long been forgotten. But they left the best treat--Baked Apple Donuts. Not really a donut but a muffin. So light and delicious. They were happy to share their recipe, I have been making them for 32 years. I have updated the recipe and bake them in mini muffin tins. These are always a hit!

1 ½ cup flour
1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
½ cup sugar
Buzz together in Food Processor about 20 seconds.
Add 1/3 cup cold butter process a few seconds

Mix together:
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
½ cup grated apple
Add to food processor and just buzz a few seconds. Please don't over mix.

Lightly spray  a 24 mini muffin pan—use small scoop of rounded batter in each cup. Bake 350 degrees for about 12-13 minutes. While warm dip muffin top in melted butter and then in cinnamon sugar mixture (1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Advent Calendar

When the Harris Girls are not cooking or going to lunch we just might be crafting! We had a few kid free moments after Thanksgiving so we made these cute Advent Calendars. I saw them on Miranda's blog and quickly ordered the supplies. They are made with 'watchmaker cases', super strong magnets, vinyl numbers, cute paper and plenty of bling. They are filled with small treats and family activities. I think the Grandkids will love them!

I did a simple version of an Advent Calendar with my sweet nieces. We decorated small bags with vinyl numbers, stamps and some colored paper. We put a few pieces of candy in each bag, attached the bag to a clothesline with a clothes pin. They happily went home with their very own Advent Calendar. Their colorful bags looked fun hanging all in a row! We had a magical evening.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chicken a la King

I first tasted Chicken a la King in 1977. I was a busy young mother and so enjoyed our weekly Relief Society Meeting. Every Tuesday morning the women in our church would meet and have a lesson. We taught one another Spiritual Living, Homemaking and Cultural Refinement lessons. There was also a nursery for our children, we each took a turn being Nursery Leader. Once a month we had a luncheon, this is where I met Chicken a la King.
My mother often made Creamed Tuna on Toast, a simple, comforting, weeknight meal.  Once I tasted Chicken a  la King I found my new comfort food. It was Creamed Tuna on steroids.
 This recipe comes from the Lion House Classics Cookbook. This is a great recipe to use leftover turkey or chicken. I made it with a rotisserie chicken--yummy. Enjoy my updated recipe.

 Chicken a la King
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 tablespoons flour
1 can chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 small bottle chopped pimientos
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in large dutch oven: add onions and mushrooms and cooked till lightly browned. Add flour, stir to blend. Add stock and milk, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Fold in remaining ingredients. Serve over toast points, rice, noodles, mashed potatoes or puff pastry.
Serves 6

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I was in the mood for pumpkin--love it! I looked at several recipes for Pumpkin Bread. I wanted to include plenty of chocolate, nuts and spices. I started with a recipe on Prudence Pennywise, made minor changes and was happy with the results. 
Because this recipe has plenty of chocolate chips it just might stick. Pam alone will not do the trick (how do I know??). So grease and flour your loaf pans. I didn't have any Pam with Flour, I'm sure that would work. Next time I make this recipe (later today) I will use Mini Chocolate Chips from KAF. This recipe was a hit, even in it's imperfect condition. I also found out that friends would rather get an imperfect loaf of Pumpkin Bread than no Pumpkin Bread!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
2 cups solid pack pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 and 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

 In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, sugar, water and eggs, mixing well. Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and salt. Very gently, stir in flour until just combined. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.
Fill greased and floured loaf tins 2/3 full. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Large loaves take about an hour smaller ones 45-50 minutes. This recipe makes a lot. I got 2 large loaves and 2 medium size loaves. Let cool on a rack for ten minutes before removing from pan.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Candise's Cherry Comfort Bars

These bars were a hit in the 80's, with a little updating the recipe works today. It is a yummy bar cookie that can be dressed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. I like them with blueberry filling or apple pie filling, so many yummy options.

Candise's Cherry Comfort Bars
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 can cherry pie filling
Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and eggs. Combine flour and baking powder and add to creamed mixture. Mix gently. Spread 2/3 of batter in a greased and floured bar pan. Spread pie filling on top. Drop remaining batter by teaspoonfuls on top.
Bake 350 for 35-45 minutes. Cool and drizzle with glaze. Top with 1/2 cup sliced almonds.
1 1/2 cup powered sugar
3 tablespoons milk or cream
3/4 teaspoons almond flavoring
Linked to Everyday Sisters Sharing Sundays

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food Processor Cookies

I can have these cookies ready to bake in the time it takes the oven to preheat. Made completely in the Food Processor (one of my favorite kitchen power tools) this cookie is delicious and quick. I change the kind of nuts and chocolate, it is always a hit. It makes 2-3 dozen depending on the size. Just enough to share.

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter (softened and cut into 8 pieces)
1 T vanilla (yes, this is a tablespoon, not a teaspoon.  Use real vanilla, of course, not imitation.)
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup oatmeal (regular, not instant)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Buzz first 5 ingredients in processor 30 seconds.  Scrape down and buzz 5-7 seconds more.  Distribute flour, salt and baking soda over mixture in processor.  Scatter nuts, oats and chips on top of that.  Buzz on/off 10 times.  Don't over mix.  Just give a swipe with a spatula to any flour that looks unmixed (it really will be okay).

Drop by teaspoonful 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.

Let stand 1 minute on sheet.  Remove and cool on wire racks.  That's it.  Really easy and really good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

TWD Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake

What a fun cake to make! Cranberries, sugar and orange bubbling away to a gooey, thick, tart jam. I had some on an English Muffin for breakfast, it was quite tasty. The jam can be made up to two weeks in advance but it may disappear...That is why I made just half the shortbread recipe and baked it in a cute six inch springform pan.

The smaller circle of dough was easy to work with. I rolled it between two layers of plastic wrap and placed it right in the pan. I spread 1 cup of my yummy jam over the bottom layer and topped it with another circle of shortbread dough. Very easy.

The small spring form pan baked 35 minutes. I let it cool for 20 minutes and removed the sides of the pan. I had a festive looking dessert that served at least 5. It was delicious. Yes, I will make it again.
I can tell I need to plan better, with the time change I was out of light by about 5. Check Jessica's blog 'A Singleton in the Kitchen' for the complete recipe. As always there are many great TWD bakers, see what they did with this yummy recipe.

Friday, November 5, 2010

French Dip Sandwiches

I was introduced to French Dip Sandwiches at a local diner 40+ years ago. Tender roast beef  piled on a toasted bun is good , but add provolone cheese and dip it in a little cup of aujus and it almost feels gourmet!
This dish is always a welcome dinner entree. For years I made it with left over roast beef and a packet of au jus mix, it was good.
I found a winning recipe on Our Best Bites. Now French Dip Sandwiches are not a 'leftover' but a meal fit for company.

French Dip Sandwiches
1 2.5-3 lb beef roast
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
2 1-ounce packages onion soup mix (there are generally 2 packages in a box)
2 cups water
2 cans beef broth
6-8 large buns (these are generous servings)
Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper roast.

When hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear all sides. You are not cooking the meat, just browning it quickly on each side to add flavor and seal in the juices.  After it is browned place the roast in a crock pot and cover with both packages of onion soup mix.  Add water and beef broth.  Cook 8-10 hours on low, or 4-5 on high and another 3-4 on low.  You can't make a mistake with this part!  Basically the longer it cooks the more tender it will be.  You will know the meat is done when it easily pulls apart with a fork.  When the meat is done remove from crock pot and shred into chunks with a fork.

Place meat on crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil just until cheese is melted.  Don't answer the phone or try to load a few dishes in the dishwasher.  The rolls and cheese will not be tasty when burnt black! Serve with au jus on the side.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TWD Peanuttiest Blondies

'Cool completely before cutting.' Am I the only TWD baker that struggles with this concept? Do people really wait for baked goods to cool? I am not a patient person and daylight was fading. So I did cut before cool resulting in ragged edges. But those ragged edges are delicious!  I'm not sure about the cinnamon so I ate another ragged edge. I might delete it next time.
So my Blondie's are cool, they do cut much easier. This is a wonderful mix of peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate. The complete recipe can be found on Nichi's blog Bakeologie. I think this is one you will want to make.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Black Forest Brownies

Today is my birthday! To celebrate I make my favorite treat, Black Forest Brownies. With chocolate, cherries and pecans it has to be good. I clipped this recipe from a Taste of Home Magazine it was submitted by Toni Reeves from Medicine Hat, Alberta. Thank you Toni, we have enjoyed this recipe for years.

Black Forest Brownies
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup cocoa
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained
1/2 cup nuts

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Combine flour , baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large saucepan melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa until smooth. Blend in eggs, sugar and extracts. Gently stir in flour mixture, cherries and nuts. Pour in greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. For icing blend all ingredients until smooth; spread over hot brownies. Cool.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

I think we may as well continue with pumpkin recipes--I do love pumpkin! I almost feel like I'm eating something healthy when a treat contains pumpkin. These muffins though far from healthy were delicious, near perfect was hubby's comment.
My girls all came to town so I was able to share the goods. I have to share my treats because I have no self-control especially when a treat is this yummy. Variations of this recipe are all over blog land, I saw it first on Ezra Pound Cake. Here is my version.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix together till smooth. Form the mixture into a log on a piece of plastic wrap, wrap  it and freeze for an hour. Don't cheat on this step!

1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Pumpkin Batter:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
3 eggs lightly beaten
1/3 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl lightly beat the pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the well and gently mix with a fork just till moistened.
Remove the cream cheese from the freezer and cut it into 18 slices. Evenly divide half of the muffin batter among 18 greased muffin cups. Place a slice of cream cheese in the center of each muffin, press gently into the batter without submerging it. Fill cups with remaining batter. Sprinkle pecan streusel on top of each muffin.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 18 delicious muffins

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TWD Caramel Pumpkin Pie

For 34 years my sweet hubby has been asking when I would be old enough to make pie. I would smile and sweetly say 'in 10 years'. Well Greg, the wait is over!
Thanks to Dorie's Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough I did it. I read the directions over several times and was ready to tackle it. Jill was here to help, she wanted to learn this skill also. Dorie is an excellent teacher, we followed every step. We are happy to say that pie crust in many forms will be on our future menus.

The Caramel Pumpkin filling was excellent too. This tasty pie was chosen by Janell, check her blog for the complete recipe. The caramel was made by almost burning sugar. Our first attempt was burnt but we would succeed. We reread the directions and were happy with our second attempt. The cool caramel was mixed with pumpkin, spices and eggs. The filling was poured in our partially baked crust and baked some more. We enjoyed the pie warm and cold. Both were great, and the crust was flaky. I'm ready for Apple Pie next week. There are many great TWD bakers, see what they did with this delicious pie.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome Delaney

We have spent the last few days in the Great Northwest getting to know Miss Delaney. Isn't she a doll!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

This cookie is full of soft, chewy fall! Pumpkin mixed with oats, walnuts and Burgundy Chocolate Chunks. Pure wonderful! The chocolate chunks are made by Peters and can be purchased at King Arthur Flour.
This recipe comes from My Baking Addiction a great blog!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. ginger, 1/8 t. allspice or cloves, 1/8 t.nutmeg)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips (I used Peters Burgundy Chocolate Chunks)
1 cup dried cherries; roughly chopped (I used chopped walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy.
3. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips and dried cherries/nuts.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. I used a medium Pampered Chef Scoop and got 4 dozen cookies.
5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.