Wednesday, October 31, 2012


 Oatmeal Raisin Bars with Cinnamon Ganache



 I often ask people this important question " Put these in order of most delicious: cake, cookies, and pie." People almost always say cookies. I would have to agree with them on that. Cookies are just so tasty and portable.

 Oatmeal raisin is one of my all time favorites, but this recipe uses a very special ingredient: cinnamon chips. I first heard of these when my dear friend Emily gave me a Hershey's dessert cookbook for Christmas. Hershey's made a thing of beauty with these little gems of cinnamon.

 I have had the best luck of finding the cinnamon chips at Albertson's stores, but I have seen them at other places as well. If you are unable to get your hands on some cinnamon chips, you can use white chocolate with a full teaspoon of cinnamon stirred in for the cinnamon ganache.



For this recipe you will need:

Bar ingredients
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of brown sugar*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup of raisins





Combine the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy.



Then combine the cinnamon, flour, baking powder, raisins, and salt.

Add this to the butter mixture in two parts. Mix just until it is combined.



Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and delicious.

Cinnamon Ganache

6 oz cinnamon chips
2 tbs milk

(you can just use white chocolate with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon if you are unable to locate the cinnamon chips)









Microwave the chips in 30 second increments until it is melted and drizzles easily



Pour the ganache over the bars and allow them to cool fully. You can serve these with the ganache all ooey gooey or let it set up depending on your preference. Cut and serve these to all your friends, they will love you for it!


* You will see in the picture showing all the ingredients that I have included molasses. I actually don't buy brown sugar, I just use white sugar and add molasses to it. It's essentially the same thing and less to store in my cupboards. I also have more control over if I want to have light or brown sugar in a recipe.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Soup



This is part two of my post on krautburgers from Thursday. You will most likely have leftover filling from the krautburgers and this is a great way to use it up in a different dish. If you did not want to make the krautburgers and just the soup, just follow the recipe until it instructs you to fill the rolled out biscuits.

I always think it would be a great idea to make stuffed cabbage rolls. It has quite a few things I love and it comes in a cute little package. However after I try to steam a few of the whole leaves I think to myself  "Oh yeah, this is why we don't do this." This soup is a great alternative to actually stuffing cabbage leaves. Its a very simple and quick way to get the same flavors and none of the fuss!

For this yummy soup you will need:
hamburger, cabbage and onion mixture from the krautburger post (at least 1 cup)
1 14 oz can of condensed tomato soup
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of cooked white rice

HEat up the canned soup and tomatoes in a small pot. Add the hamburger and cabbage filling. When this mixture is simmering add in the cooked rice. Let this simmer for about ten more minutes and add any additional seasonings you want. Serve with crusty bread and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 





Thursday, October 25, 2012


 Krautburgers


 I just can't quite pinpoint what it is I love so much about cabbage. Evey time I pass one in the produce section I think to myself "I'm pretty sure sure I could a whole one." I then pick out the biggest one and take it home to find out I indeed can't eat a whole cabbage. At least not in one sitting.

Krautburgers are a great way to use up the remaining cabbage. Some people call them runzas but regardless of what they are called they are an easy and delicious!

If you use just one can of biscuits, you will have enough leftover hamburger and cabbage mixture for my cabbage roll soup. Otherwise you can use half the recipe for one can of biscuits or use two cans to use up all the filling. 

For this recipe you will need:
1 lb of ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3/4 of one medium cabbage
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can of buttermilk biscuits (10)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (optional)





 Start by browning the ground beef and onions in a medium skillet until the beef is no longer pink.














Add in the chopped cabbage, garlic salt, and pepper. If you are using really lean beef you may have to add some vegetable oil.


It will seem like you added all the cabbage in the world to the pan, but it will cook down.

Cook the cabbage until it is super tender. So tender it couldn't even scream for help if it wanted to. 

Once the filling is cooked, let it cool until it's close to room temperature.




 While the filling cools off, take out all the biscuits. Roll them out until they are about 1/4 inch thick.


If you put the filling now, the biscuits will melt and turn into a very sad state of affairs. Don't do it!














Make them look like these.










Once the filling is cool, put about 1/4 cup of it in the center of half of the biscuits. Don't be tempted to fill them too much








 If you are adding the cheese, sprinkle a bit of it on now.


Put another rolled out biscuit on top and seal it shut with a fork. Repeat until you run out of biscuits.



The filling is delicious all on its own. If you do not want to make the soup with the leftovers, you will be perfectly content with just the filling. 



Bake the krautburgers at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until they are golden brown.













These are a delicious and easy dinner to have. Check back on Monday for a tasty cabbage roll soup!

Monday, October 22, 2012

 Sausage and Pepper Pasta



 My sweet parents grow all different kinds of peppers in their garden and they were kind enough to give me a whole bunch of them. One of my favorite ways of eating peppers is in a sausage and pepper sandwich. It's one of those foods that just gives me warm fuzzies. I remember my dad teaching me how to eat them on a trip to New York. You know, the stance where you stick your caboose out so the peppers don't fall on you. I still have yet to master it. Until then, I can easily eat the same tasty combination in this quick and delicious pasta.

For this recipe you will need:

1 lb of bulk Italian Sausage
2-3 large red and green bell peppers
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
 1 lb of pasta, cooked and drained







Start by browning the Italian Sausage over medium heat in a skillet that's a few inches deep. You'll be making the rest of the
 sauce in this so you don't want to be stirring it all over the stove.















Add the peppers and cook them until they are soft.


Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes.







 Add in the canned tomatoes and fill the can up with enough water to rinse out the can. It should be about 1/4 cup. This is when you should add the sugar and garlic salt.



Make sure the pasta is well drained and add to the sauce.


Cook the pasta and the sauce until the sauce is thickened.





Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and along side some garlic bread.



Thursday, October 18, 2012


 Pumpkin Crumb Cakes




Pumpkin season is upon us! It's one of my most favorite flavors and one I love year round. However, fall is the season most appropriate to share pumpkin flavored goodies with others. I am a teacher and I work with some great people who well deserved a treat during a meeting the other day. Trust me, meetings with cake are much better than those without. This cake is tender and has great fall flavor without being too complicated.

The ingredients for the cake are:
1 box of yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1/3 cup of water
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon  cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking powder

The crumb topping:
1/2 cup of flour
3 tablespoons of butter, melted
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The glaze (optional)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla


 

Mix the cake ingredients together until they are well combined. This was a bit stiffer than a typical cake batter, but no worries it's stinkin' good!






 



 

I poured my batter into two 9 inch cake pans but one 9 x13 or even a bundt pan would work well for this.




Then focus your attention on the delicious crumb topping..







Combine the crumb ingredients together. I made a 1 and 1/2 bath of the crumb topping since it is the best part.












 

Squish the topping together in your hands and sprinkle over the cakes. Make sure it's spread out evenly. 










Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out cleanly.



This cake is delicious warm out of the oven, but I found it is best at room temperature served with coffee or milk.


Happy pumpkining!

Monday, October 15, 2012

 Buffalo Chicken Pasta


 I just can't help but love Buffalo Wings. They are terrible for you. Eating them in public makes me look ridiculous. Regardless, they are so tasty. This delicious pasta combines all the great things about them while making them a bit healthier and much easier to eat. The creamy and spicy sauce will make this a great addition to your game day or any night of the week.

For this you will need:
1 pound chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 1/2 tbs ranch seasoning
1/4 cup of cayenne pepper sauce
1 lb short cut pasta, like penne or rigatoni cooked


Season the chicken and cook over medium heat until the center is done. Let them rest on a plate while you make the sauce. Add the can of evaporated milk to the pan. Make sure you are using evaporated milk and not sweetened condensed. It only takes on time of making this mistake to remember forever!






 Boil the evaporated milk until it reduces and becomes thick. It will collect all the yummy chicken bits from the bottom of the pan.



Then add the ranch seasoning and pepper sauce. If you like to have your sauce spicier you can add more of the sauce or actual cayenne pepper.



 The sauce should be thick and delicious at this point. If it is too thin, just keep boiling it. If it is too thick, you can add pasta water or milk.


 Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and continue to cook the sauce.


Add the pasta  and cook for a few minutes so the pasta soaks up a good bit of the sauce.


Remember, if the sauce is too thin, just cook it for a few minutes more. If it is too thick just add some milk or the cooking liquid from the pasta.



You could very easily add some blue cheese crumbles into this to make it more authentic (I probably would). However, my dear boyfriend of a taste tester is not a fan. Either way this is just delicious!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Magic Bread


 People often ask if I consider myself more of a baker or a cook. I would say baker if it weren't for one scary obstacle: yeast. It's never worked out well between yeast and I. My first disaster was an attempt to make St. Lucia Buns from my American Girl Cookbook. They tasted like rocks with a coating of sugar on top. 

Years have gone by and it's never gotten any better. I either get the water way too hot and kill the yeast or it sits there mocking me if the water is too cold.

That is why when I saw this recipe and and the claims of easy delicious bread I cried out "liar!" But I have to tell you my dear friends, it did indeed work and it's stupid easy. So easy...it's like magic.

Combine:
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
1 1/2 cups of water ( room temperature)


 



 Combine all of the ingredients until they are well combined. No seriously. Just mix everything together.

If you wanted to add flavorings like rosemary and garlic, here would be the time.


Then, cover it and let it sit for 12 to 18 hours. Do not put it in the fridge. I left mine just out on a counter.






 Turn the oven to 450 degrees and put a heavy pot that can handle the heat in it. The original post put their dough in an enameled cast iron pot. I used an old metal one. You do not need to grease the pan.








The dough should have doubled in size. Pour it onto a heavily floured surface. Knead just a few times until it isn't as sticky. Make a smooth ball and place it in the pot. 







It should look somewhat like this.

Bake at 450 with a lit on for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and bake for 15 more minutes.




"Seriously, it worked?"


That's what I said. 



Cut this with a serrated knife and enjoy. Trust me, you will enjoy it. A lot.


After all, it's magic.




If you wish to see the original post visit:
http://simplysogood.blogspot.com/2010/03/crusty-bread.html

Monday, October 8, 2012

 Easy Chicken Noodle Soup


 Fall is among us! This week we saw our first dusting of snow here in Denver and that means it is time for soup of all kinds. Chicken noodle just happens to be one of my favorites. It's so delicious and is a good cure all for whatever may ail you at the time. After recently moving back to Colorado from warm and sunny New Mexico, I would call coldness an ailment for sure. While this soup may not claim to cure or prevent any actual disease, it does make for a nice dinner. 

For this recipe you will need:
1 pound of raw chicken ( any parts are fine)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 boullion cubes
1 cup of uncooked pasta
2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables

  

Place the chicken, soup, and the bouillon cubes into a slow cooker. I used better than bouillon today, but I usually use just the cubes. You could also use canned chicken broth if you have that on hand.

Fill the can up with water and add to the slow cooker three times. Then add one cup of the pasta. I used whole wheat macaroni today, but your favorite kind will work as well.


Here is where you should make sure you are smarter than me and turn the slow cooker to low heat, not high. It made the macaroni mushy, but it still had a great flavor.

Let this cook on low for about 5 hours.

Take out the chicken and cut into smaller pieces. Mine usually just fall apart so it is very quick work.

Put the cut up chicken back in the slow cooker and add the frozen vegetables. Heat these through and serve.



 Come back on Wednesday to see the awesome bread recipie I made to go with this!

Thursday, October 4, 2012



Easy Honey Nut Oatmeal


 There are many people out there who can do just fine without breakfast. I am not one of them. No matter how busy or late I am in the morning breakfast is one of those things that must happen for everyone's safety. Otherwise I turn into a mean and scary monster who will only calm down once I have been fed. In order to not have that happen and leave for work on time an easy breakfast is essential. This is one of my favorite go to picks. It's easy and very tasty. You can even make it the night before and just throw it into the microwave before you leave.

To make this honey nut oatmeal you will need:
1/2 cup of oats
1/2 cup of milk (whatever you drink will work)
1/2 water
1 Tbs peanut butter (creamy or smooth is fine)
1/2 Tbs honey, agave nectar or maple syrup





Start with microwavable mug. You could use a bowl or a ceramic mug, but this one fits nicely in the cup holders in my car.











Throw in the oats,





                                                 and the milk


and the water. I don't use quite a full half cup as you can see here. If you like it a little thinner, add more water or milk.



Plop in a tablespoon or so of peanut butter. If you like extra crunch in your oatmeal chopped nuts would be great too. 



Drizzle in your honey or agave nectar here. If you put the peanut butter in first, the honey won't stick to the spoon as much.



If it's not sweet enough for you, just add a little more honey.










Microwave for around two minutes. If you have an insulated mug like this one you may have to watch for a boil over in the last minute.





There, just a little over two minutes to prevent a crazy I need food attack. Try this yourself!