Monday, September 29, 2014

Cinnamon Spice Scones


Scones have been on the list of things I've been itching to make since receiving my handy food processor. The time just didn't feel right over the summer. Not to say that scones taste bad in warm weather, but they do go so nicely with a warm beverage like coffee or tea.

Scones are the delicious meeting point between pie crust, muffins and biscuits. It's really all about the butter. Just like pie crust, the butter imbeds itself in between the layers of flour. This makes the scones super flaky, crumby and just plain yummy.

I came across this simple recipe from moneysavingmom.com and decided it was time to try it out. They were indeed very easy and they came out perfect.

 Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of butter, chopped into small cubes
1 egg, separated
3 Tablespoons honey 
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling over the top (optional)


In a food processor or large bowl, add the flour, baking soda and power, along with the salt, cinnamon, and butter. Then pulse until the butter is the size of small peas and is evenly distributed throughout the dry ingredients. 

If you are not working with a food processor, use either a sturdy fork or a pastry cutter to do the same thing. It should look like the photo above.


 Combine just the egg yolk, honey, vanilla and milk. Then add this to the mixture. The mixture looked a little dry for me, so I added another few Tablespoons of milk. Make sure you save the egg white to brush over the tops of the scones.


Squish all the dough together and place this on a well floured counter top. Roll this into a circle like shape that is 1/4 inch thick. Then cut this like you would a pizza. I made 8 scones from this.
 

Place the unbaked scones onto a greased cookie sheet. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar if you are using it. 
 

Bake the scones at 400 degrees for about ten minutes. These little beauties should be golden brown on the top and should be firm, not squishy when gently pressed.


Let the scones cool for about 15 minutes before eating them. Not only will they be far too hot, they will crumble really easily. I drizzled a glaze made with powdered sugar and vanilla over the top before we enjoyed them.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fresh Apple Cake


Colorado has some crazy weather. This year my classroom is outside in a mobile and I am even more aware of the changing forecast. With 35 creatures who are eager to announce the current weather conditions it is hard to miss. Not to mention the four minute passing period I am outside. 

Last week we experienced a cold front that brought snow to parts of the Mile High City. I decided my grocery list should be only pumpkin, apple and fall tasting things. Things to make apple cake, pumpkin parfaits and soup.

 The high for today was 85 degrees. 

Oops. 

Regardless, this cake is amazing. My lady friends who sampled it gave it "10 out of 10!" Not to mention, my husband says it is the best cake I have ever made. The cake itself is insanely moist with chunks of tasty apple all throughout. The frosting is almost caramel in flavor while the texture is similar to a German Chocolate Cake frosting but without the coconut.

Essentially this is like eating a nutty caramel apple inside a cake. You will love it regardless of the weather.

Ingredients

Cake
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 apples, peeled and chopped

Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped almonds


 Combine the oil, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add in the eggs one at a time and stir until well mixed.


 Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in three increments alternating with one of the chopped apples. Essentially 1 cup dry ingredients, 1 chopped apple. Then repeat until you are finished. 


Pour this thick batter into a well greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake this off at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out almost clean.
 

Let the cake cool for at least 2 hours. 

For the frosting:
Cook the butter, sugar, and milk until it boils. Let this boil for about two minutes keeping a close eye on it. After two minutes take this off the heat and add the vanilla. Put the pan directly into a bowl of ice water to chill for about 5 minutes. Then whip this for about 3 minutes with an electric mixer. 

The frosting won't be super thick, but it will thicken as it cools and after you whip it a bit. Once the cake is cooled and the frosting is ready, spread this delicious layer of nutty sweetness over the cake.
 

 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Homemade Pizza


 

 Pizza is one of my very favorite foods. Hot, cold, the toppings make no difference, pizza is just delicious. I even love making my own pizza. It honestly takes about the same amount of time to make and bake as it would to order it from somewhere. 

 This recipe starts with my magic bread recipe that can be transformed into anything you like. Add some sauce, cheese and some toppings and you are ready for a delicious, ooey gooey pie. This pizza in particular is my husband's favorite. Topped with pepperoni, chicken and green chile this pizza is super tasty with a side of ranch dressing.

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
toppings of your choice



 
 First, combine the flour, salt, yeast and water in a large bowl.  This will look like a shaggy mess. Trust me, it will work. Cover the dough with plastic wrap overnight or at least for 12 hours. This is what the dough will look like.



Preheat your oven to 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes before you put the pizza in to create a nice and crispy crust.

 Sprinkle about 1/4 cup extra flour onto the counter and your rolling pin. Roll and stretch the dough until it is 1/4 inch thin and just barely fits onto a square cookie sheet. If you only have a rectangular cookie sheet, just shape it to fit the pan.


Spread the marinara sauce over the doughy crust.


Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce. 


Add any toppings you like. If you are adding sliced veggies, make sure they are not too thin as they will get too toasty in the hot oven.


Bake the pizza for 20 to 30 minutes. The baking time will depend on how thin you roll the dough. Just check to see that the cheese is nicely golden brown and the crust should be completely solid on the bottom. 
 

Let the pizza cool for about 10 minutes before trying to cut it. The cheese will rip right off the pizza and you will most likely burn yourself. There's no need for such things during pizza time.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Green Chile Cheese Dog


First and foremost, I apologize for the gross looking pictures. I debating on posting any pictures at all and just telling you how to make this, but it seemed weird.  Just know that this is really, really, good. 

Seriously good.

My husband and I were going to the grocery store one Sunday afternoon and we saw a familiar and endearing sign beckoning "Roasted Hatch Green Chile." We had to stop and get some of the good stuff.

Both of us attended New Mexico State University and love green chile. A lot. We combed our persons and car for as much cash as we could find and threw it on the table underneath the roasting tent. The kind lady selling the chile told us she didn't quite have enough bags ready for that amount. She wondered if we would take a bushel instead.

Not thinking of our tiny freezer we rapidly agreed on the trade. Once we got home we were just thrilled with our small trash bag sized amount of roasted chile. We were planning on having hot dogs for dinner and they were quickly transformed into green chile cheese dogs.

Let me tell you, these are just wonderful. A delicious grilled hot dog with spicy cheese sauce and a special kick from the whole green chile. It's a fabulous kind of messy you won't be sorry about. 

Ingredients
4 all beef hot dogs
4 hot dog buns
1/2 cup queso cheese sauce, heated
2 whole green chiles


 Grill the hot dogs until the outside has a nice char on the outside. Toast the buns over a cooler spot on the grill as the hot dogs are finishing up.

Place the hot dogs inside the buns. Split the green chilies so each hot dog has a half of a chile on it. We used mediums that had the seeds taken out. Then distribute the cheese sauce among the hot dogs.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies



 

Chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite. That being said, they can't just be any type of chocolate chip cookie. They have to be crispy on the edges, chewy and soft in the center. There is no room for store bought chocolate chip cookies in my heart. They are just weird and dusty tasting.

So I would naturally have a perfect recipe I make all the time, right? Don't be silly.

I have been on the hunt for the perfect recipe for years. In high school I used my beloved Martha Stewart recipe for chocolate chip cookies all the time. Upon moving to New Mexico for college it all resulted in great tragedy. My recipe would not work. Not even a little bit. The altitude of the desert just made it terrible.The cookies were just rock hard and needed to be soaked in milk for a long time. If the makers of Jolly Ranchers ever need a cookie flavored candy I would be a good person to call.

After moving back to Denver I tried the old recipe, but I felt like something better was out there. I am glad I kept searching and tried every Martha Stewart recipe imaginable. This is it! Chewy and soft, chocolaty and crispy edged, these cookies are amazing. Martha continues to be the convict I trust most.

 Ingredients

2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounce bag of semi sweet chocolate chips



First, combine the butter and sugars until the whole thing is fluffy and light yellow in color. This does two things: puts air into the batter and ensures the butter is really room temperature.


Next, add in the vanilla extract and eggs. Mix this on medium high speed for about one minute. It may seem like a while just to add eggs, but the batter should almost double in size after the addition of the eggs. 


After the one minute of mixing, add in the flour and baking soda in three increments. This is where I stop using the mixer and combine by hand. If the flour is stirred too much, the cookies become tough and bread like instead of tender and chewy. Along with the last bit of flour, add in the chocolate chips and mix well.


Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. It may seem annoying, but it really makes a difference. Eat a piece of the dough, it will make you smile until you really have a cookie.


I like to use a cookie scoop to make two tablespoon sized balls out of the batter. After the dough has chilled, place the balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Then bake for 8 to 10 minutes. If you gently poke the top of them, they should be doughy, but not fully set in the middle. Once they have completely cooled, store these in an airtight container. It should give you about 2 to 3 dozen cookies total.


Enjoy these with a tall glass of milk or a steamy mug of coffee. You will love them!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top 10 of Gingerlocks' Kitchen

 

Happy birthday to Gingerlock's Kitchen! This silly little blog is officially two years old. In many ways it feels like I have been writing a blog forever, and yet it still feels like I am very new at this. 145 posts later and I still have many things to cook and share. There have certainly been times when I have slacked off and thought about quiting altogether, but I have powered through and continued writing silly descriptions of food. 

In honor of this minor celebration I have tallied the views of each post to share with you the most popular posts of Gingerlocks' Kitchen. Well, almost all of them are decided by view tally. There was one score fudged by my husband and his preference for lemony chicken. He eats all the food that isn't good enough to be on the blog, it is only fair. 

Would I say that these are my very best recipes? No. These are all really good, but I would not pick most of them as my favorite. There may have to be a separate grouping for the less publicly loved posts. Most of these have been viewed by the readers multiple times for different reasons. Some because they are original, some because they have been posted on other sites and some even for the pictures.

On the subject of pictures. I know I am not that great at taking pictures of food, but I am trying to get better. It is defiantly not a strength of mine, but I do understand the need for better pictures. Thank you for continuing to read and look at this silly blog even if the pictures are bad.

 

10. Greek Chicken Sandwiches

Speaking of bad pictures, this is really bad.  This picture was taken during a dinner party two days before my wedding. Of all the excuses I have ever given for bad pictures, that is the most valid. As for the taste, it is my husband's favorite. This has not attracted as many views as other posts, but it is a very popular and frequently requested dinner in our house. The chicken is so tender, juicy and flavorful. It's one of those meals you feel like a bath is needed after because they are so deliciously messy.

 

9. Italian Chili

I do really love chili and Italian food so this is an easy win for me. This soup is warm, hearty and really good with some crusty bread. Italian Chili is a great change up for any winter soup you love to eat. It's also great to make for a large group of people. 

 

8. Pineapple Cobbler

I am especially proud of this recipe since it has gotten some special attention. Rakinginthesavings.com named this as the dessert recipe for their weekly meal plan. It is a really cool site with a lot of great suggestions. As for this cobbler, it really is so buttery and rich. I feel like it is a more fruit filled pineapple upside down cake with a bit of extra sauce. 

 

7. Sausage Alfredo

This is seriously so good! The sauce is spicy and creamy with delicious sausage in every bite. This may be my favorite pasta sauce of all time.

 

6. Fried Corn Salad

This delightful summer side comes from my mom who made this pretty frequently for potlucks. Everyone loves corn. That's probably why my grandma used to say "There's a reason why they fatten the hogs with it." Maybe pigs just have good taste. I doubt they would put bacon in their corn, though.

 

5. Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a really good recipe.This is not a good picture. I love chicken tortilla soup, especially with all the yummy fixings for the top. This recipe is also super, super easy. Even the most novice cook can make this with very little effort.

 

4. Italian Shells

This is another fabulous recipe of my mom's. This meaty and cheesy casserole just tastes like home. You and I will make it pretty well, but it will never be as good as my mom's. The filling for the shells can easily be used in manicotti or lasagna if you wanted to mix this one up. 

 

3. Creamsicle Poke Cake

This is a really, really good cake. It's a little bit tart, but nicely sweet. Overall it just tastes like childhood. I love to make this cake any time, but the summer really calls for a delicious vanilla and orange filled cake. You will love, love this cake.

 

2. Apple Cobbler

This is another crazy delicious dessert. I love cobblers of any sort and this is a really tasty one. Honestly, this was a last minute "Oh, I need to post something" recipe that I didn't think was anything special. However it has had a ton of views and I am glad people have enjoyed it!

 

1. Garlic Bubble Bread


With nearly 2,000 views, this recipe barely beats out the apple cobbler for the top number of views. I have only made this twice, but it was well received by my guests. This is great to serve with any Italian food or soups you serve. This is an easy recipe that is truly beautiful. 

Come back every Monday and Thursday for even more new recipes from Gingerlocks' Kitchen!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Creamy Spinach Pasta





The crisp feeling of fall is almost upon us! Not as upon us as many corporations like Starbucks would like us to believe. I had the option to order a Pumpkin Spice Latte the other day, and it just felt wrong. I like these delightful treats as much, if not more than the average person. But it's just not time. It's just not. Simply because it is not obscenely hot anymore does not mean we need to throw on sweatshirts and knit mittens.

However it can be time for a deliciously creamy and cozy pasta. Our kitchens have cooled enough to make that a comfortable reality. I whipped up this super creamy and delicious pasta one day for lunch and it was terribly easy. It has a nice garlicky flavor and has great texture; almost like spinach artichoke dip with fewer chunks. I highly recommend this pasta as a dinner or lunch, you will love it!

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 box of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound of short cut pasta, cooked
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded



In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream cheese and garlic over low heat until the cheese softens. Add in the spinach, milk and chicken and turn the heat up to medium. Let this cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce comes together and thickens. It should be gently bubbling. 


 When the sauce has thickened, take out the garlic cloves if you are not a huge fan of its pungency. It is a good idea to take it out now since it will be much harder to find once you add the pasta.


Add the cooked pasta and mozzarella cheese. Cook all together for another 5 minutes or so. This way the sauce really adheres to the pasta.


This pasta really is really luxurious and creamy. If you feel the need, add some extra cheese over the top and serve with a nice salad.