Sunday, June 29, 2014

Great Grains Mini Muffin

I love muffins for breakfast/brunch, they are just a good thing to wake up to. But often muffins are frosted or glazed and really just shout 'dessert', this is fine by me. Occasionally I want something a bit more 'healthy'. Now these probably don't count as health food but they do have whole grains, dried fruit, nuts and yes butter. These 'better for you muffins' are delicious.
The recipe comes from my favorite cookbook,  Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I have made over 60 recipes from this cookbook and only had one failure--and that was my error. This is a great basic cookbook--Dorie is a wonderful teacher.
My favorite dried fruit mix comes from King Arthur Flour. It is their 'fruitcake mix', don't let the word fruitcake scare you. I like it because the dried fruit is chopped so you get little bits of goodness in every bite. It is delicious in cookies, granola, breads and yes, fruitcake. I also like a Berries and Cherries mix sold in the grocery store. But you have to cut the fruit and dried fruit is difficult to chop! Now you know way to much about dried fruit!

Great Grains Mini Muffins
1 cup flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 stick butter, 8 tablespoons, melted and cooled
3/4 cup dried fruit
3/4 cup chopped nuts
In a large bowl whisk together the first 8 ingredients. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, syrup, eggs and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix quickly but gently with a rubber scraper. Batter may be a bit lumpy, please never over mix muffins.Stir in the dried fruit and nuts. Using a small scoop fill mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 400 degrees for about 13 minutes. Makes about 36 mini muffins. Twelve regular size muffins bake for 18-20 minutes.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Queso Dip

We had dinner last night with my brother and his 5 growing children, it was the perfect opportunity to make a batch of Queso. I had a Costco size bag of chips and everything in the fridge to make this easy dip. The 5 children and numerous adults deemed this amazing.
Best served from a Crock Pot on a warm setting. I used yellow American Cheese (I didn't want to go to multiple stores looking for white) although I have found it in the Deli at Walmart. I didn't use the cilantro or tomato (picky eaters). If making it for myself I would use plenty of both cilantro and tomato!

Queso Dip
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1 medium jalapeno, finely diced
1 caned green chile, finely diced
10 ounces white American cheese, shredded  (purchase at deli counter)
6 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/2-3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 Roma tomato, seeds removed, finely diced

Heat oil in a medium pan. Cook the onion and Jalapeno pepper until soft. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in the green chile, add the cheese and milk. Stir until mostly melted. Stir in the cilantro and tomato. Serve warm with chips.
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Adapted from a recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cinnamon Orange Monkey Bread

We had 16 for breakfast today, yes it seems like a lot but it is only half of our family! I love to have an excuse to make food that is impractical for empty-nesters. Today was the day to make Cinnamon Orange Monkey Bread. It feeds a crowd and is delicious. This recipe has been around for years. It came from Pampered Chef--probably with their Stoneware Bundt Pan. I purchased it years ago, it was the beginning of my Bundt Pan addiction. I have decided that one can never have enough Bundt Pans!

Cinnamon Orange Monkey Bread
1 orange
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus
5 tablespoons melted butter
18 frozen bread dough rolls, thawed
1/3 cup pancake syrup
Spray a Bundt Pan (or 2 loaf pans) with Pam. Zest orange. Combine zest and sugar, rub between your fingers until mixed--it will smell amazing. Add cinnamon. Cut each thawed roll in half using a sharp knife of kitchen shears. Dip each half in melted butter and roll in sugar mixture. Arrange half of the rolls in pan, drizzle with half of the syrup, repeat. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until about double in size. My oven has a 'dough proofing' setting, it works.
Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Carefully invert on a serving platter. Serve warm.
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These two don't eat much--yet!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

BBQ Chicken Salad

This tasty salad comes together quickly. The dressing uses ingredients you probably have on hand. It is a simple salad with a delicious flavor. If you can get hold of garden fresh corn and tomatoes this will be awesome (if not your local market will have what you need year round, still yummy).  Grill your chicken and it will smell like you spent hours on dinner! This is one amazing summer meal.
This could be a 30 minute meal with a little advance prep and a sous chef!!

BBQ Chicken Salad
BBQ Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup BBQ Sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.  The dressing was quite thick, feel free to thin it with a bit of additional buttermilk, milk, or water.

Salad Ingredients
Chopped Romaine
1 diced cucumber
1 cup corn--if you are grilling your chicken it would be great to grill an ear of corn or two, Yummy!
1 fresh tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1 carrot julienne strips
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese
1-2 cups grilled chicken, thinly sliced
Frito's, crushed tortilla chips or cute colored corn strips--it is the crunch you are after.
Printable Recipe

 I can't remember where I found this Dressing Recipe--when I do I will give credit. The salad is pretty much what I had in the house the day I made it. It was a great combo!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mini Meat Loaves

Occasionally I will make a meal that will surprise even me! Now I am not a meatloaf lover, I don't really love meat. But..I have made Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf  with success. However--a big meatloaf is just too much for two and Greg didn't like the bacon on it (really)? So I tried a recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe for mini meat loaves and liked the concept. Now this is what is fun about cooking; I took what I liked about each recipe and came up with one incredible dish! I guess the moral of the story is, use excellent resources and you are bound to get a winner.
Why do I like this recipe? It is quick enough for a week night meal. It feeds our smaller family with leftovers for lunch (the leftovers were excellent I might add). Double it for a larger family. I like the crispy ends of meatloaf--this is almost all crispy ends, but there is plenty of tender burger in the middle. It is portion controlled--portion control is always a good thing, especially when something is so tasty that overeating would be easy!

Mini Meat Loaves
2-3 slices white bread
1/2 cup milk
1 pound lean ground meat (I did half ground beef and half ground pork)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
2 eggs, beaten
Tear bread in large bowl, pour milk over it and let sit for a few minutes. Add cheese, seasonings and eggs. Mix well. Add meat and mix together. Shape into 5 mini loaves. In a nonstick skillet heat 2 teaspoons of oil until shimmering. Carefully place mini loaves in hot pan. Cook 3-4 minutes until nice and brown, turn and cook another couple of minutes. Remove loaves and place on a foil lined sheet pan. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes until cooked through or 160 degrees on a quick read thermometer.
While baking glaze meat with the following mixture:
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Serve meat with leftover sauce.
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