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Friday, February 22, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


This is a classic cookie that is oh-so-satisfying for oatmeal cookie lovers and chocolate fans.  It is very simple to replace the chocolate chips with raisins for the traditional oatmeal raisin cookies, but if you are like us and want to have some chocolate with your oatmeal, this is one cookie recipe you will want to keep handy! 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup chocolate chips (the best kind to use are Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed in electric mixer until creamy.
Add egg and vanilla; beat well.
Add combined flour, bakng soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. 
Add oats and raisins.; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Store tightly covered.

Happy munching!

Basic Chocolate Icing

As far as chocolate icings go, this is the best we've ever tasted. It is wonderfully basic and perfctly smooth. It is a great recipe to have on hand.

INGREDIENTS

1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T. heavy whipping cream
4 c. confectioners' sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in cocoa and cream until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla.


Happy Munching!



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas


Roll tortillas filled with chicken and a creamy filling for a simple and delicious meal!  

INGREDIENTS

5 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 (8 oz block) cream cheese
1 (4 oz) can green chiles
1 large onion
1/2 pint half and half
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese
8 10-inch tortillas

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13 pan.
Chop onion and saute in a skillet with a bit of butter.
Add cream cheese, chicken, and chiles.
Place 1/4 cup filling in the center of tortilla and fold tortilla over filling.  Place seam side down in pan.
After filling all the tortillas and placing them in the pan, sprinkle cheese over top of tortillas.
Pour half and half over all.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tops are brown and cheese is bubbly.

Serve with homemade guacamole or salsa, cilantro, sour cream, or any topping of your choosing.

Happy munching!




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chickpea Salad


This light and easy salad will bring the taste of spring into your home!  The rosemary is delicious and the red pepper flakes add a little extra kick.  A healthy, colorful, tasty side for almost any main dish!

INGREDIENTS

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
A few ribs celery and leafy tops, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine chick peas with onions, peppers, celery, garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary in a medium bowl. 
Dress salad with vinegar and oil, salt and pepper.

Happy munching!

Coconut Cake

 
Use a simple butter cake mix and homemade coconut icing to create this moist, layered, yummy cake!  The sour cream-based icing pairs well with the nutty coconut flavor.  Not only is it delectable, but it gives a pretty presentation when you cut it!  It takes a few days to make and set, so plan ahead if you want to take this cake to a dinner or get-together.

INGREDIENTS

1 (16 oz) carton sour cream
1 (12 oz) pkg. coconut
2 cups sugar
1 butter cake mix
1 (9 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
** Be sure to use full-fat ingredients for the sour cream and Cool Whip.  The fat will make the icing thick instead of runny.

DIRECTIONS

Mix sour cream, coconut, and sugar and let set in refrigerator for 24 hours.  
Make cake mix according to directions on package for a two layer cake.  Pour the mix into two 8- or 9-inch pans and bake according to directions.
Let cakes cool and, if desired, split into four layers.  You may also leave the cake as just two layers.  Wrap layers in plastic wrap and freeze before icing.** 
Set aside 1/2 cup coconut mixture, and spread the rest over cake layers.
Mix the reserved 1/2 cup of coconut mixture with whipped topping and spread over top of cake and around sides.
Press additional coconut around sides and top of cake for decoration.
Refrigerate for at least three days before cutting.
Keep in refrigerator.




**Key to icing your cake:  After the cake is cooled split into four layers, wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap.  Place the layers in the freezer until frozen.  When you are ready to icing the layers, take each cake layer out one-by-one to spread the icing on top as instructed.  This will keep the icing from sticking to your cake and peeling the top layer of cake off as you work with the icing.

Happy munching!

 


Overnight French Toast Casserole



Since it can be prepared ahead and frozen, this sweet breakfast casserole is perfect for company. It is goes beautifully with a fresh fruit salad or one of our other breakfast casseroles. {See Rise n' Shine}

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 loaf of french bread sliced into 1 1/2 inch thickness
8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup whole milk (skim or 2% works fine as well)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup pecans, measured then chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
(optional) maple syrup and powdered sugar for topping

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish overlapping if necessary.
Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.
Sprinkle chopped pecans over bread slices.
Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If top starts browning too quickly place a foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. You want it to cook long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked but don't dry it out completely.
Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Mmmmmm.... We hope you enjoy this as much as our family has!


Happy Munching!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Oatmeal Pan Bread

Warm, crusty, and savory bread-perfect to go alongside almost any meal. This delicious bread is sure to become a favorite at your house. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Bread
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
 1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Topping 
 1/4 cup of butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, combine boiling water and oats; cool to 110°-115°. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, butter, salt, egg, oat mixture and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Punch dough down and press evenly into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. With very sharp knife, cut diagonal lines 1-1/2 in. apart completely through dough. Repeat in opposite direction, creating a diamond patter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Redefine pattern by gently poking along cut lines with a knife tip. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano and garlic powder. Brush bread with remaining butter; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake for 5 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake 5 minutes longer. Serve warm. Yield: 8-10 servings.





Happy Munching!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Spinach Salad with Basil Vinaigrette



Colorful, healthful, and super easy!


Ingredients

Salad
8 slices thick-cut bacon (optional)
1 red onion
8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
4 hard-boiled eggs
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried

Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons diced Vidalia onion
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

To make the dressing, blend the vinegar, garlic, onion, dry mustard, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, sugar, basil, salt, and pepper in a food processor.
With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is thoroughly blended. 
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.

To assemble the salad, fry the bacon (if using) until slightly crisp.  Drain the bacon on paper towels, then chop up the bacon and set it aside.  
Cook the sliced onion in a little bit of olive oil until it is golden brown.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Next, saute the mushrooms over medium-low heat in the same skillet until golden brown.  Set aside.
Peel and slice the hard-boiled eggs.
Rinse the spinach and put on individual plates.  Top with bacon (if using), caramelized onion, mushrooms, and sliced eggs.
Drizzle dressing on top and enjoy!


Happy munching!


Cinnamon Roll Pancakes



Butter.  Cinnamon.  Brown sugar.  Homemade pancakes.  Yum, yum, yum!

NOTE:  Those of you who are trying to lose weight, eat natural foods, consume less sugar, or limit carbs in your diet... you should probably stop reading right now.  If you continue, you will feel compelled to make these delicious, unhealthy, and marvelously sugar-filled pancakes.  And then there's no turning back!

Enjoy these as a special morning treat.  You might not even need syrup!

Ingredients

Cinnamon filling
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

  Directions

Cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside.


Pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray.  Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. 
Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. 
 Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. 
Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). 
Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. 
Slide a thin, wide spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. 
Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. 
When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. 
Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. 
 Serve warm.  

Happy munching!



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lemon Poppyseed Bread

This is a wonderful bread that can also be considered a dessert. The tangy lemon taste with the sweet bread taste makes a perfect combination. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

1 box of yellow cake mix (butter recipe)
1 pkg. of instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of poppyseeds
1 cup boiling water

Mix ingredients in order given. Pour into 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Happy Munching!

Mushroom Bread

This easy-to-make bread will easily become a favorite. Its buttery crust topped with rich parmesan cheese and savory mushrooms is just the perfect thing to go with a salad.

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg. (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent roll dough
2 cups of fresh mushrooms, coarsley chopped
2 T. butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll crescent dough and place on 9x13 cookie sheet or baking stone. Using lightly floured pizza roller, roll dough to cover pan. Toss mushrooms into melted butter to coat. Arrange mushrooms on top of dough.
Sprinkle with cheese and herbs. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares and serve warm.


Happy Munching!

Caramel Apple Cake

This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen's "The Lady and Sons" cookbook, and it is a tried and true dessert for a potluck, get-together, or after-dinner treat!  Apple cake is delicious, but the caramel makes it so rich and gives it warm, gooey goodness.

Ingredients

Apple Cake
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (we omitted)
2 1/2 cups apples, canned or fresh (diced)

 Caramel Topping
  3 sticks of butter
  2 cups of brown sugar
1/4 cup of milk
(This is the full topping recipe.  When we made this cake, we cut the topping recipe in half so there would not be so much sugar and butter, and it turned out fine.  It depends on your taste!)  

Directions

Apple Cake
Preheat oven 350 degrees.  
Cream together sugar, eggs, and oil.  
Add flour; mix together until well blended.  
Add vanilla, nuts, and diced apples.  
Spread into a lightly greased and floured 13 x 9-inch baking dish; bake for 45 to 60 minutes.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  
When cake is done, punch holes in it with a knife and pour topping over. 

Caramel Topping
Heat all topping ingredients together over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Let boil for about 2 minutes.  Pour over warm cake. 

 
Happy munching!
 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

French Dip Sandwiches

This is a quick and easy crockpot meal.  It is filling, savory, and sure to please everyone you serve it to!  The sauce from the crockpot, called Au jus sauce, (pronounced "ahhh-jew") is great for dipping the sandwiches in.  The crockpot cooks the meat to the perfect tenderness, and the combination of soy sauce, rosemary, and thyme gives the sauce just the right flavor.  C'est si bon!

Ingredients

1 (4 pound) boneless beef round
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 beef bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
3 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Hoagie buns (6-8)

Directions 

Remove and discard all visible fat from the roast. Place trimmed roast in a slow cooker. 
In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, bouillon, bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder. 
Pour mixture over roast, and add enough water to almost cover roast. 
Cover, and cook on low heat for 10 to 12 hours, or until meat is very tender. 
Remove meat from broth, reserving broth. Shred meat with a fork, and distribute on bread for sandwiches. 
Use reserved broth for dipping.


Happy munching!


Sausage Balls

These little balls of cheese and sausage are hard to resist.  Bet you can't eat just two...or three...or seven...

Great for showers, parties, wedding receptions, or holiday get-togethers!

Ingredients

1 pound ground pork sausage (mild or hot)
2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
In a large bowl, combine sausage, biscuit baking mix and cheese.  You may have to use your hands and knead it like bread dough.  Add some water if needed to make the mixture stick together.
Form into walnut size balls and place on baking sheets. 
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and sausage is cooked through.
 

Happy munching!