Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Black Bottom Coconut Bars

Thanks to Cookie Carnival for making this the challenge for September, these were fabulous! What's funny is that Staci sent me an email with the link to the recipe and told me I should make these. So it seems I was destined to make these delectable treats. Martha never leads me astray, I knew I would love these. If you like coconut, you'll love these. If you like brownies, you'll love these. And, a side note, I enjoyed watching the tutorial video on her website. It made it all the easier to follow the directions. I made these for a bake-sale last weekend and they were snatched right up. Make your day coco-choco-liscious!


Makes 24

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 package sweetened shredded coconut (7 ounces), 1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling


  1. For chocolate base: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a slight overhang; butter bottom and sides of foil (not overhang).
  2. Place butter in a large microwave-safe bowl; melt in microwave. Add sugar and salt; whisk to combine. Whisk in egg, then cocoa and flour until smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  3. Bake just until sides begin to pull away from edges of pan, 10 to 15 minutes (do not overbake). Let cool slightly while preparing coconut topping. Keep oven on for topping.
  4. For coconut topping: In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with sugar and vanilla. Gently mix in flour and coconut (except 1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling).
  5. Drop mounds of mixture over chocolate base; spread and pat in gently and evenly with moistened fingers. Sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup coconut.
  6. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Lift cake from pan, peel off foil, and cut into 24 bars. Store in an airtight container 3 to 4 days.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Whole wheat pancakes

Who doesn't need something new to try in the mornings? It seems like there's always a plethora of breakfast recipes floating around and I love trying each and everyone. This recipe is actually Staci's and I love using whole wheat that I ground myself. These pancakes are great, perfect consistency to soak up the syrup. And that whole wheat makes you feel all the better about getting your day off to a healthy (and tasty) start. Yum!

2/3 cup whole wheat
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
2/3 cup milk
4 tsp oil

Mix all together with a whisk until blended, do not over mix. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Cook pancakes on hot griddle, turning once when bubbles form around the edges but bubbles do not burst. Makes 12 regular sized pancakes.

PS- leftovers keep great in the fridge for several days, just pop in the ol' microwave and voila breakfast is served!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Penuche Icing

Cake makes me happy. Fat and happy. Is that so wrong? Home-made cake and homemade frosting makes me really happy. And for the record, I do not equate home-made with made from scratch. There is a difference. Moving on, this frosting is simply fabulous. All that brown sugar gives it such a butter-scotchy feel, its delightful on yellow cake. Thanks to my mother-in-law for sharing the recipe! Feel free to pair it with different flavored cakes, let your taste-buds guide you. I've included one of my favorite doctored up cake mixes from the lovely "Hello Cupcake" cookbook. Happy cake making to you!

Easy Penuche Icing:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 to 2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Boil and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm, approx 120 degrees on a candy thermometer. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Place saucepan in a bowl full of ice water and stir with a wooden spoon until thick enough to spread. If its too thick, add milk by the tablespoon. If its not thick enough, add powdered sugar by the tablespoon until icing reaches desired spreading consistency. Makes enough for 2 9" layers or 9x13 oblong.

Doctored Yellow Cake Mix:

(will work with French Vanilla, Devil's Food or Yellow cake mixes)

1 box cake mix (I use Duncan Hines exclusively)
1 cup buttermilk (in place of the water called for on the box)
vegetable oil (the amount on the box)
4 large eggs (in place of the # called for on the box)

Make cake as per instructions on back of box. Frost with icing when cake has cooled.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

French Bread Pizza

This is E-A-S-Y! In fact, I debated not even posting it because its so un-glamorous, but then I thought, the name of this blog isn't Gourmet Today, its called Good Eats and well folks, french bread pizza fits the bill. This is the way my dad has been making it for years and years. We eat this about once a month, throw some veggies on the side, some ice cold root beer and there you have it!

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 tbsp Italian herb blend (if you don't have a blend, throw together equal parts dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, etc.)
1 tsp fresh garlic (we like a heaping teaspoon)

In a small pot over low heat, stir ingredients together, just heating through and keeping warm until you spread it over the bread.

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Take one regular size french bread, slice it once the long way in half, and then I usually get 4 pieces out of each half.
Spread sauce liberally over each piece. One batch of sauce should be the perfect amount, you won't run out and you won't have any left over.
Sprinkle generous quantities of mozzarella cheese and top with your choice of toppings.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
Eat immediately!

*a note. You can save left-overs, I just wrap them up in tin foil but microwaving really makes them soggy, I suggest re-heating in the oven or (shameful admittance,) eating it cold.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Cornbread and honeybutter

Here is The Cornbread and honeybutter recipe of the century. Yes, that's why its called "The" cornbread. Because it beats other cornbreads with a sharp stick and reigns supreme over all. It will forever hold this title because its is *that* good. Everything I love about a cornbread (and you should too) is here, its cakey, moist and the perfect corn flavor, very mellow not too over powering. I've made it twice, both times doubling the recipe and making it in the 9x13. A huge shout-out to Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe for introducing this to me and also to Sallie who posted it on her blog as well and inspired me to wait no longer, make it today!

and PS- the honeybutter is celestial, I'm just saying . . .

½ cup cornmeal

1 ½ cup flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup oil

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 ¼ cup milk

Add dry ingredients, make a well and add oil, butter, eggs, and milk into the center.

Stir until just mixed (batter will be runny).

Bake in an 8” square pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

This doubles perfectly for a 9X13-inch pan.

Honey Butter:2 sticks butter, softened1/2 cup honey1/2 cup marshmallow fluff.

Whip all together with an electric mixer and serve at room temperature (can be refrigerated and softened).

*a note. Use the toothpick test when making the 9x13 because it will have to bake a little longer than the time for the 8x8, but not much. Test it at 35 minutes, if not clean on the toothpick, set timer for 2 more minutes and check again, so on until done.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I could never be on a no-carb or even low-carb diet. I love bread. In all its many splendid shapes and beautiful varieties. Cinnamon Swirl Bread happens to be a family favorite. And if we somehow manage to have any left-over, the next day I make french toast with it. MMMmmmm, that's some good stuff, I'm telling you! Thanks to Annette Winslow who is famous for her bread and made hand-outs with her recipes for everyone in our ward (church congregation.) I have made this many times.


1/2 cup warm water
2 packages (or 2 tbsp) rapid rise yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp salt
5-7 cups flour ( I have used both bread flour and regular All-Purpose, both work well)

Dissolve yeast in warm water, let it get foamy, set aside. Heat milk but do not boil (this is called scalding.) When milk cools to lukewarm, pour into large mixing bowl and add butter and egg. Then add yeast mixture, sugar and salt. Mix well. Add flour one cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is easy to handle. Knead dough for 10 minutes. Let rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch the dough down and let rise for another hour. Knead for another 5 minutes.

Here's where you make it cinnamon-y swirl-y wonderful. Or you can skip the cinnamon/sugar and just make plain ol' white bread which is always a treat too.

Divide dough in half, roll out each part into a small rectangle. Spread 2 tbsp butter over the dough and sprinkle 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 sugar over the buttered dough. Roll back up, place seam side down in a greased loaf pan.

Let rise for another 20-30 minutes before baking at 350 for 30 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Today, I am channeling Pioneer Woman because I have multiple, step by step photos! This recipe is bits and pieces from other recipes and more "I know enough about how this should all work, let me try putting this and this together." Make sense? All I know is, I love Mexican food and this meal is hot and tasty in under 30 minutes.

Let's start by making the fajita part:

1-2 lbs chicken (or meat of your choosing) cut into 2 in pieces
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
A generous handful of sliced, chopped fresh mushrooms
1/2 packet Fajita seasoning mix
1 tbsp canola oil

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add oil, wait a minute, and add your chicken pieces and veggies. Saute for 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/2 a packet of the Fajita Seasoning Mix over the chicken and veggies. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the onion is translucent. Remove from heat.

Now for the quesadilla part:(this is how it should look right before placing the other tortilla on top)

Pre-heat oven to 400.
Have 4 large flour tortillas and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese ready. Place 2 tortillas on a cookie sheet (I put tin foil down so I wouldn't have to scrub baked cheese off my cookie sheet.) Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese onto each tortilla, then distribute 1/2 the chicken/veggie fajita mixture onto each tortilla. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup cheese over each chicken/veggie filling and end by placing another tortilla over top. Pop in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melty.

Remove from oven, and with pizza slicer, cut each tortilla into 6 wedges. Serve loaded with salsa, sour cream and guacamole, with black beans on the side. Dig in! Serves 4.

*a note. The beauty of this recipe, is you can adjust it to feed more people OH SO EASILY! If you're using more than 2 lbs of meat, use the full fajita seasoning packet and up the amount of veggies. Don't like mushrooms but love green peppers? Fix it the way you like your fajitas. Its more of a method than a recipe. Grill meat and veggies, bake with cheese on a tortilla and serve with toppings! Ta Da!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lemon Pudding Fruit Salad

The picture really doesn't do it justice, because it was very, very tasty. Love that lemony flavor with all the other fruit, and the creamy texture. Another hit from the "Essential Mormon Cookbook!" Make it in the earlier in the day so it has at least 3-4 hours to chill before serving. We served this alongside BBQ and beans and it was a great pairing, the spicy/hot with the lemony cool.

1 large (20 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained with juice reserved
1 (3 oz) package lemon jell-o
1 (3 oz) package lemon pudding (NOT instant)
1 (8 oz) tub frozen whipped topping (read cool whip)
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup miniature marshmallows

In a large measuring glass, combine reserved fruit juice and enough water to make 3 cups liquid. Pour into a large saucepan and bring liquid to a boil. Mix in jell-o and pudding mix. Cook and stir until thickened. (Use your whisk to break up the clumps, you want a smooth texture) Cool. Stir in whipped topping, fruit, and marshmallows. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (should be more like 3-4 hrs) Serve the same day. Makes about 12 servings.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

Apple and caramel, a match made in heaven! I have been jonesing for an autumn-y treat for quite some time now. Thanks to google for helping me find this gem. Here is the link to the recipe, its from Jamie at Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats, and the original comes from one of my favorite magazines, Real Simple. And I love how Jamie wrote that what attracted her to this recipe was all the butter! My kinda gal!

As I was chopping the apples, a tedious task for certain, I thought to myself, this better be worth all the work! One bite. That is all it took to convince me, it was well worth the work. The only thing that I might alter is that I would double the glaze, because it is not possible to have too much caramel with apples.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the dish
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the dish
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I omitted this, not a nutmeg fan)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans (left these out)
2 1/4 tsp vanilla

Caramel Glaze, recipe below (optional)

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Heat oven to 325° F.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the butter and the granulated and brown sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. The batter should be very thick. Stir in the apples, pecans, and vanilla. Scrape the batter into a buttered and floured 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes while you make the Caramel Glaze, if using. (If using, ha!!!)

Caramel Glaze

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the granulated and brown sugars and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Yield: Makes 16 servings

*notes. Jamie mentioned she had to bake her cake 65 minutes, so don't automatically pull your cake out at 60 minutes and assume its done. The toothpick test is vital with this recipe. This cake was fabulous warm, room temperature and for breakfast the next morning!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

JJ's whole wheat bread

As you can tell by the photo, I got a little carried away with the flour dusting before baking. Wanting to give it a nice "artisan" look, but went a tad overboard. Oh well, tasted great anyway. This recipe hails from my mother-in-law, Janet. She is a fantastic cook and is health conscious to boot. Who knew that was even possible? But I digress. This makes one loaf and I prefer to make it the old fashioned way, read no mixer, kneading the bread with my own 2 hands. Its very rewarding, an excellent stress reliever. Feel free to whip it up in your bread machine, (on quick cycle) or kitchen aide or bosch. Whatever floats your boat. This makes your whole house smell yummy, tastes super AND is good for you, a winning combo. Thanks JJ!

2 cup whole wheat flour (if you grind your own wheat, that's 1 cup kernels)
1 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup wheat bran (I buy in bulk at a health food store)
1/4 cup gluten (again, bulk )
1 tbsp yeast (my M-I-L recommends SAF brand)
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tbsp warm water

Dissolve yeast in warm water, let it sit approx 5 minutes until foamy. Mix whole wheat flour, bread flour, wheat bran, and gluten together in a large bowl. Add foamy yeast, oil and honey. Mix well, knead for approx 10 minutes. I spray plastic wrap with PAM, cover the bowl and let it rise until double. Must be because of the whole wheat and bran, (makes a denser bread) but it takes more than hour to double. Punch down, place in greased loaf pan. Let rise again, until 2 inches higher than top of pan. Bake @350 for 30 minutes. Cool in pan for a few minutes, than let cool completely on a rack.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone has one, a chocolate chip cookie recipe that is their tried and true. The one they turn to when they want that homey comfort food. And this is mine. I dressed them up a bit and threw in white chocolate chips as well. The recipe comes from my "Just a Matter of Thyme" cookbook. I have the recipe memorized and this is my kids' favorite cookie, hands down. My husband insists I save some dough for him a baggie in the fridge for him to eat when he gets home from work. In short, these are one of my favoritest cookies ever ever ever.
(Tina, these are the ones I brought to Relief Society, this post is for you!)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 shortening (I use Crisco butter sticks)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 (12oz) package chocolate chips (I use Hershey's milk chocolate)

Blend together softened butter and shortening until smooth. Cream with sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well (5 MINUTES!) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed ingredients and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. Do not crowd- allow at least 2 inches between each cookie. Bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes. It is very important not to overbake! The cookies should be lightly golden brown, but not shiny on top. This dough will keep nicely in the fridge for several weeks enabling you to make just one dozen at a time if you like. Makes approx 3 dozen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bruschetta Salad

MMMmmmmm. I can still taste it. So summery. So flavorful. So simple. Once you are comfortable with the recipe, its easy to adjust it to make a little or a whole lot, depending on how much you need. What a way to use up those garden tomatoes! And to boot, Staci used fresh basil from her garden. Can you say "FANTASTIC?" Thanks to Sarah for introducing me to this a few years back, its now a staple in my house.

6-8 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped, (could also use cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 loaf crusty, artisan bread, cubed and toasted (I use the rosemary/olive oil or the garlic artisan bread from Costco)
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, (they come in a 2 pack at Costco, just use one cheese and save the other one for the next time you make this salad, they keep quite a while in the fridge)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
6 tbsp EVOO
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 scant teaspoon fresh garlic (if using a garlic-y crusty bread, scale down or omit)
salt and pepper to taste

I toast my bread on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 for 10-15 minutes, watch closely, don't let it brown too much.
Meanwhile, prep your cheese, tomatoes, and basil, put them in a very large bowl.
Whisk your EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper together.
Toss the bread with everything in the bowl.
Drizzle the dressing on, toss until thoroughly combined and dig in! This serves a crowd but eat it right away, the bread gets a tad soggy the next day and its not as nearly enjoyable. Bon Appetite!

Shredded BBQ beef

I've been a bad recipe blogger because I have been forgetting to take pictures! I guess I could post without photos, but it just seems so plain and boring. Don't we all love a picture to go with the recipe? Anyway, thanks to google for providing this one. Its pretty darn exact, in my opinion. This recipe hails from Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 7, and I love that its a crock pot recipe. I simply adore them. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of just plain roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, that whole spread. But . . . I do like to do something else with all those roasts in my freezers every once in a while. Enter BBQ beef sandwiches! Its a family favorite round these parts. Just the right mix of sweet and spicy.

2 -3 lbs beef chuck roast ( I buy whatever beef roast is on sale. I figure its gonna get cooked to bits so who cares who fancy it is?)
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp brown sugar, packed and divided
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
7 oz bottle ketchup (basically one cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
pepper to taste

1. Place roast in your crock pot, add enough water to cover. Top with sliced onion, heat on high for one hour. Reduce to low and continue cooking for 7 hours.

2.When its all done in the crock pot, remove and with 2 forks, shred the meat.

3.Place in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar; heat until liquid evaporates.

4.Combine remaining ingredients with remaining brown sugar in a mixing bowl, pour over beef in skillet. Heat until warmed through. Serve with buns or eat by itself, serves 6.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rice Pudding

Firstly, I totally ripped this picture off the net, thank you google! And that is because we snarfed it all, no leftovers, didn't even have time to get the ol' camera out. Secondly, if you are not a rice pudding fan, I ask you, why not? It has everything a homey, old fashioned dessert should have; milk, cinnamon and sugar. Well, and the rice too, of course. But seriously, its so cinnamony-sugary fantastic. Perhaps a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side for those not counting calories. MMMMMmmmm, it truly is comfort food at its best.

3/4 cup rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (could use nutmeg instead, I'm much more a cinnamon kinda gal)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
5 cups milk (my guilty secret? I use whole milk)

Mix all ingredients together. Bake 1-1/2 hours in a 2 qrt baking dish at 375. Let cool slightly and serve.

Creme Brulee

This is the very best creme brulee I've ever had. Ever. Beats any restaurant. And that includes the one I had in Paris. As in Paris, France, the home of amazing confections. The creme brulee in Paris was served cold, and that really is not the very best way to serve it. According to Chef Peon, (the fantastic pastry chef who's notes on this recipe from made ALL the difference in the world) part of the tastiness of creme brulee comes from the contrast of the cold creme and the hot, crunchy sugar crust. If you re-chill it after you torch the top, the top will soften again as it chills. So the very best way to serve it is immediately after caramelizing the sugar on top, to contrast the hot and the cold, the smooth and the crunchy. There's my discourse on dessert. Thanks to Cookalot who submitted this recipe on, its never failed me yet.
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Beat egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately
  4. After pouring a little of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture and whisking briskly, pour the cream/yolk mixture into the rest of the cream and whisk. There will be a lot of foam on the top. Skim this off with a strainer and throw away.
  5. Pour the hot mixture into individual serving dishes or ramekins and place in a baking dish. Set the dish with the ramekins in it on your oven shelf, then pour hot water in the dish so the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  6. Bake at 375 anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. They are done when you shake the dish gently and the brulees jiggle just slightly in the middle. The jiggle shouldn't be a liquid jiggle, but more of a gelatin-like jiggle.
  7. Remove from oven and let the brulees cool in the water bath for about 15 minutes, then remove and put the brulees in the refrigerator to chill completely.
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle the tops with white granulated sugar and shake off the excess. Place under broiler til caramelized or use a propane torch to burn the tops. Serve immediately.
*a note. This serves 5. If you want to adjust it for different amounts, say you want to make 8, you can go to, find the original recipe and there is a feature that allows you to change servings. It will adjust the amount of ingredients, but not the directions. And I've incorporated Chef Peon's comments into my directions here so they are not identical to the directions you will read there. So be careful of that. Also, I have made this a day ahead, I stick them in the freezer, I pull them out about 10 minutes before I want to broil the top and I've never had a problem.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Banana Muffins

I'm not gonna lie. Sometimes, I get sick of banana bread. So, I needed something to do with those bananas that have the lovely brown spots and voila! A banana muffin is the answer! Thanks to my trusty Better Homes and Gardens versatile muffin recipe, see notes about variations.

1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup mashed bananas

1. Line a 12 cup muffin tin. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture, set aside.
2. In another bowl, combine egg, milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Add the mashed banana and any nuts (optional) to the dry mixture with the egg mixture.
3. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack for 5 minutes.

*a note. Variations include:

blueberry: prepare muffins except fold 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and increase milk to 3/4 cup.

oatmeal: reduce flour to 1 1/3 cups, increase milk to 3/4 cups and add 3/4 cup rolled oats to dry mixture.

poppy seed: increase sugar to 1/2 cup, increase milk to 3/4 cup, add 1 tbsp poppy seed to dry mixture.

cranberry muffins: combine 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries, increase milk to 3/4 cup, and 2 tbsp additional sugar, fold into batter.

cheese muffins: stir 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese into dry mixture, increase milk to 3/4 cup.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ranch-style Beans

My family loves beans, its something all of us enjoy eating. So I love recipes that add a little spice and pizazz, like this one, instead of boring from the can beans. I hope you like it too! Thanks to my Essential Mormon Celebrations cookbook for another winner. Fix these at your next BBQ!

1 lb bacon, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 red or green pepper, chopped (I used red)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
2 tbsp mustard
2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) can white or pinto beans, drained (I used pinto)
1 (16oz) can lima or butter beans, drained (I used butter beans)
1 (16oz) can red kidney beans, drained
2 (16 oz) cans pork and beans, UNdrained

Fry bacon in a large skillet until cooked but not crisp. Add onion and chopped pepper and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain off bacon grease and discard or save for another use. In a large baking dish, combine all other ingredients. Stir in bacon, onion, and pepper mixture. Bake at 325 for about 1 hour. Makes 12 servings.

*notes. In an effort to use my oven less and my crock-pot more, I put these in my crock-pot on low for about 3 hours and they were gggggreat!

Fresh Wheat Bread

Thanks to Brittany at Sisters' Cafe for sharing this recipe! I ground my own wheat and thought this bread was fantastic. The recipe is designed for a kitchen aide so don't worry if you're not all cool and fancy with your bosch (cough, cough, Staci). I loved her tips at the bottom, very helpful. Happy bread making!

2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
4 to 5 cups bread flour, sifted
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1½ tsp salt
1 Tbs yeast (a rounded Tablespoon)
2 ounces honey (1/4 cup)
1 2/3 cups water
2/3 cup milk
½ stick butter (1/4 cup)

1. In a large mixer bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, salt and yeast.
2. In a medium bowl, combine honey, milk, water and butter, and heat to 105 degrees in the microwave. (About 60 seconds - I used a candy thermometer. It worked great.)
3. Stir liquids to melt the butter and add, all at once, to the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl.
4. With the dough hook installed on your stand mixer, mix dough. Add more flour by the Tablespoon, as needed, until the dough comes together and clears the bowl. Mix for 8-10 minutes with the dough hook until no longer sticky, adding flour as necessary.
6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Remove from bowl and divide dough in half. Make each half into a 10 x 12 rectangle and roll each up from short end. Pinch the seams. Roll on the countertop to make a uniform log and place in an oiled breadpan seam-side up. Shake the roll to oil the bottom, turn the pan over, catch the dough and reinsert it into the pan, seam-side-down. (or just spray your plastic wrap with oil before covering so it doesn't stick. I don't like to use a towel to cover because it can dry out the dough.)
7. Return to warm place and let rise an additional 30 minutes or until at least 1 inch above the pan top. Bake in a preheated 400°F. oven for 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on rack.

Yield: 2 loaves

Cooking Tips
*To create a nice, warm place for your loaves to rise, turn on oven for 60 seconds and then turn it off. Turn the oven light on too. The temperature should be just about right for your loaves to rise nicely. (don't forget to turn off the oven!)
*If you do not plan to eat both loaves right away, they freeze beautifully. Wrap loaf with foil as soon as it comes out of the oven- just foil, nothing else- the wrapping-while-hot trick retains the moisture so when thawed it's very fresh tasting.

Baked Oatmeal

From Melanie's Kitchen Cafe, this recipe was oh so oaty delish! I love loved it! A great way to have oatmeal and yet its also a treat. Thanks for sharing!

PS- I halved it in an 8x8, perfect for me and Travis, and it heated up well the next day.

6 cups oatmeal (you can use quick or rolled, I used quick, per Melanie's suggestion)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups milk
4 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased 9X13-inch baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I enjoyed mine with some milk poured in the bowl and some cut-up fruit on top.