Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sandwich Bread Loaf

I already have a few bread recipes posted, but you can never have enough, at least that is what I honestly believe.

I've had this recipe sitting around for a while and honestly hadn't even given it a thought because my usual go to loaves are the Buttermilk ones.

But I wanted something different today, and this recipe looked easy enough to try.  What I wasn't counting on was the fact that it would turn out to be darn near perfect bread.

Now I've made many loaves through the years, some have been good, some not so great, but I've always gotten a pretty good rise out of the bread.  Or at least I thought, until these happened.

They started rising like crazy in the pan before even going in the oven, and by the time they were done, they had popped up and over.  I was actually shocked at how big they got.

I'm thinking, this may just be my new favorite go to bread recipe.  Super easy to make, perfect rise, perfect texture, and the best sandwich bread you'll find.

I got the recipe from Noreen, you can find her at her blog or on Youtube.

Noreen’s Sandwich Bread Loaf

4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Warm Water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant dry milk powder

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the dough hook. 

Allow ingredients to come together in the mixing bowl.  If dough seems too dry add a tablespoon of water at a time if it seems too wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough reaches the desired consistency. 

The dough should not be sticking to the bottom of the bowl.  It should move around the bowl and the hook freely.   Allow the dough to knead for 5 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and oil the bowl and return the dough and oil the dough as well.  

Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least 1 hour or until double in size. Deflate the dough gently and turn it out onto a board without additional flour.

Press into a rectangle that is slightly smaller on the short side than your bread pan.  Roll the dough into a log, keeping the spiral tight.

Pinch the seam together and push each end into itself and pull the bottom layer up over each end and pinch to close.

Place loaf into an oiled bread pan and cover. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Allow to rise for an additional 30 to 45 minutes until the dough has double and/or crowned to at least 1 inch above the rim of the pan,  or until browned and when tapped, the loaf sounds hollow inside.

Remove from oven and immediately remove bread from the pan. Allow to cool on a baking rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. 

Bread will slice much better once it has cooled completely.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Belgian Waffles

We all have waffle recipes, some we love more than others, some are plain and simple, others are more elaborate like Waffles with Vanilla Custard, or  Banana Nut Buttermilk Waffles.

But there are times when one wishes to try a good ol' Belgian Waffle.

This recipe is super simple to make, they taste pretty good and they also create a nice crispy edge, which personally I love.

April 28, 2016
Belgian Waffles

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1⁄2 cup oil
2 cups milk

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Separate the eggs.

In small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.

Mix together the egg yolks, milk and oil and stir slightly.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well.
Fold in beaten egg whites.

Use 1/4 cups mix per waffle in your hot waffle iron.

April 28, 2016

Pepperoni Rolls

Pepperoni Rolls

Hello everyone, I'm sure you're quite surprised to see a post from me.  It's been a while, a couple of months actually but I've missed this little corner of the web, and most of all I've missed having a place for my recipes.

I've often been trying to menu plan only to realize that I have nothing new on the blog to look back on, not even my menu plans.

So, I need to get that fixed and am planning to start up again posting recipes and doing my Monday Menu Plan.  I don't know how many of you are still around, hopefully there are a few left?  If so, leave me a quick comment below so I know you're still here :)

I thought my first recipe back would be these quick and easy Pepperoni Rolls.  I was going to make them for my daughter's birthday last week and ended up not getting around to them because I already had so much food.

These are quick to make, bake up beautifully and are tasty, kids especially will enjoy these.

Pepperoni Rolls
Pepperoni Rolls

Refrigerated Biscuits
Pepperoni Slices
Block of Cheese
Garlic powder, Italian Seasoning

Flatten the biscuits out, I like to use the palm of my hand for this.

Pepperoni Rolls

In the middle of each biscuit place a slice of pepperoni and a little square of cheese.  Just cut the cheese into slices and then into squares.  Season with garlic powder and italian seasoning, then gather up the edges of the biscuits into a little pouch.

Pepperoni Rolls

Place seam side down into a greased baking dish.

Sprinkle on some more garlic and italian seasoning, and last I like to sprinkle on grated parmesan cheese.

Pepperoni Rolls

Bake at 425 for 18 minutes.

Serve with Pizza sauce.  Enjoy!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hamburger Buns

January 22, 2016

I already have a recipe for homemade hamburger and hotdog buns, here on the blog, but this is a different one and I think I prefer this one for the hamburger buns, to be honest.

The other recipe is great for the hotdog buns though, so give that one a try.

Yesterday I was making sloppy joes for dinner and realized that I had completely forgotten to buy the bread.  Good thing about making your own is that you don't have to rush out to spend money, and they usually turn out better, cheaper and more delicious than store bought anyway.

These do take time to rise, but aside from that, they are easily one of the easiest bread recipes you'll find.

January 22, 2016

Hamburger Buns
Source:  Chef John

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (such as Fleischmann's ActiveDry Yeast(R))
1 pound all-purpose flour, or as needed - divided
1 cup warm water (105 degrees F/41 degrees C)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Place yeast into bowl of a large stand mixer; whisk in 1/2 cup flour and warm water until smooth. Let stand until mixture is foamy, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk 1 egg, melted butter, sugar, and salt thoroughly into yeast mixture. Add remaining flour (about 3 cups).

Fit a dough hook onto stand mixer and knead the dough on low speed until soft and sticky, 5 to 6 minutes. Scrape sides if needed. Poke and prod the dough with a silicone spatula; if large amounts of dough stick to the spatula, add a little more flour.

Transfer dough onto a floured work surface; dough will be sticky and elastic but not stick to your fingers. Form the dough lightly into a smooth, round shape, gently tucking loose ends underneath.
Wipe out stand mixer bowl, drizzle olive oil into the bowl, and turn dough over in the bowl several times to coat surface thinly with oil. Cover bowl with aluminum foil. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

January 22, 2016

Transfer dough to a floured work surface and pat to flatten bubbles and form into a slightly rounded rectangle of dough about 5x10 inches and about 1/2 inch thick. Dust dough lightly with flour if needed. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round shape, gently tucking ends underneath as before.

Use your hands to gently pat and stretch the dough rounds into flat disc shapes about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange buns about 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Dust buns very lightly with flour. Drape a piece of plastic wrap over the baking sheet (do not seal tightly). Let buns rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Beat 1 egg with milk in a small bowl, using a fork, until mixture is thoroughly combined. Very gently and lightly brush tops of buns with egg wash without deflating the risen dough.

Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned on top, 15 to 17 minutes. Buns will stick together slightly where they touch. Let cool completely, tear the buns apart, and slice in half crosswise to serve.

January 22, 2016

Pressure Cooker Beef Tips

Ok, so this is how this meal came about.  When I meal plan I usually will write the page number of the cookbook I'm using, or make a note that it is on my blog or online elsewhere etc.

Tonight I was supposed to make Beef Tips and forgot to write any notes down.  I searched the cookbooks I'm using this week, I looked online, I looked at my blog and nothing.  I don't know where I got the idea from, but low and behold, it was there and I had already bought the meat so had to wing it.

Good thing about loving to cook and knowing how to cook, is that you pretty much know what flavors work well with others and you're not scared of trying new things.

Since getting my Pressure Cooker, I've been using it a lot and trying out different recipes.  I have yet to find one that didn't turn out well, so I figured this would be the perfect time to try cooking up some stewing beef which is one of those beef cuts that need to cook for a very long time to get it nice and tender.

I didn't have a long time, it was 4pm and I needed to get dinner on the table by 5pm.

I threw in a bit of this and a cup of that and 25 minutes later had the most delicious tender beef tips.  I'm so excited with the pressure cooker that I just have to come and share this recipe, well that and the fact that I've been so bad about sharing recipes lately and need to get butt in gear.

Now I'm sure you could certainly adapt this recipe to make it in a slow cooker for a couple of hours, or even on the stove top for two or so hours, at a low heat to get them nice and tender, but this recipe is for the digital pressure cookers.  By the way, mine is a 4 quart Gourmia Smart Pot Electric Pressure Cooker.

Pressure Cooker Beef Tips

Pressure Cooker Beef Tips

2 pounds stewing beef
1 onion, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
2 tablespoons flour
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
olive oil
Half a bottle of Guinness Beer
1 envelope of Onion and Mushroom Soup
Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of water

In a ziploc bag, add the beef, flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion and mushroom soup.  Shake well to cover the meat.

January 20, 2016

Set your pressure cooker to Saute, add a little bit of olive oil to the bowl, dump in the onion and pepper and saute for a few minutes until onion is transparent.  Add in the meat mixture and brown.

January 20, 2016

Once the meat is brown, pour in the Guinness Beer, a few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce and the water.  Stir well.

Place the lid on and lock it.  Make sure the pressure release is set to airtight.  Cook on high for 25 minutes.  I actually used the Soup preset button which is exactly 25 minutes.  Walk away and let it do it's thing.

January 20, 2016

When the time is up, either let it release pressure on it's own, or use the quick release.  

25 minutes was enough time to make the beef tender and to create a nice thick sauce.

I served mine with rice.

Pressure Cooker Beef Tips

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Homemade Mincemeat Pies!!!

Homemade Mincemeat Pies

Mincemeat Pies, for me one of the staples of Christmas food.  For others, gag worthy.  Truly, I've met people who think they are absolutely vile to eat.  I however love them and grew up with them in South Africa, thing is, here in the States they are not very well known and you can't find them as easily available as back home, or in England for instance.

Another thing that seems to turn people off these little pies, is that they seem to think that they are very hard to make at home, but I'm here to tell you that it really is not and they taste so much better than store bought.

You can also make the filling at home, though I usually buy the big jar.  I'm pretty certain that homemade is way tastier too but I haven't had the chance to try that yet, maybe next year.

Anyway, I got the recipe for the pastry from one of my favorite Youtubers, Rebecca from Percy and Grace.  This is such a quick and easy recipe and the result is a buttery tasty flaky dough, perfect for these pies.

The recipe IS in grams and I'll see if I can convert it for you all, but I would highly suggest getting a kitchen scale that uses both grams/kilos and ounces/pounds, they are a life saver, really.

Homemade Mincemeat Pies

Homemade Mincemeat Pies
Source:  Percy and Grace

This recipe makes 12 mince pies but you could just increase or decrease the quantities to make more or less mince pies.

280g plain flour (about 2 and a 1/3 cups)
195g softened unsalted butter (about 3/4 cups)
95g caster sugar (white sugar)
2 medium eggs
1 large jar of mincemeat
Icing sugar for dusting (powdered sugar)

In a bowl, add the flour and the butter, mix with your fingertips or a knife to get a crumbly mixture. Add in one egg and mix well, dump onto a floured surface and fold the pasty dough over itself a few times, knead a little until it comes together well, try not to overmix though.

Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius/425 Farenheit.

Roll out your dough to about 3mm about an 1/8th of an inch. Using a big cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles. Butter a muffin pan, and pop one circle in each, then press and mold to size. Drop in 1 and a half tablespoons of mincemeat filling.

Beat the other egg, and using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the pies. Roll out the dough again, cut out another 12 circles, top each pie with a circle, pressing down to seal. Glaze with the rest of the egg, sprinkle on some sugar and make a cut in the middle of each pie.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until nice and golden. Let cool and then pop them out of the pan and dust with icing sugar.

To store, place them in an airtight container, they will keep for about a week, but you can also freeze them for up to 3 months.


Homemade Mincemeat Pies

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Old Fashioned Christmas by Ellen Stimson - TLC Book Tour

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (November 2, 2015)

With its snowy streets, pine forests, sleigh rides and woodsmoke curling from the chimneys, Vermont was practically invented for the Christmas postcard. And no one celebrates the season better than Ellen Stimson, author of the best-selling Mud Season, and now the author and home cook behind this cozy new collection of holiday magic.

From warm drinks for the first snowfall to treats for furry friends, from indulgent snacks for carolers to a traditional menu for Christmas day, An Old-Fashioned Christmas will keep you and your loved ones eating, drinking, laughing and baking all through the holiday season.

Anyone who loved Mud Season will remember Stimson’s hilarious and heartwarming stories of life in her small Vermont town—and An Old-Fashioned Christmas brings her trademark touch to holiday memories new and old. Readers will be inspired to begin their own family traditions like the Stimsons’ annual Christmas Adventure, the collection of nostalgic tree ornaments, and of course, the legendary Christmas party attended by friends and family from all over. This is a book you will return to year after year.

A guide to celebrating Christmas in proper Vermont style—from sleigh rides to country stores—rounds out this deeply personal and completely delicious collection. The 98 homey recipes in this book will soon become annual favorites for your family too, including:

Maple Pecan Cookies

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Maple, Fennel, Sausage and Cheddar Meatballs

Chestnut Mousse

About Ellen Stimson

Ellen Stimson is a bread-and-butter homecook…possibly more butter than bread. Her table is usually overflowing with friends, family, and folks who have come just to listen to her stories. Some of those tales made it into her bestselling memoir, Mud Season. She cooks and writes from a farmhouse in Vermont.

Connect with Ellen

My Thoughts

I am so beyond excited to tell you all about this cookbook.  If you've known me for years you know how much I love cooking and collecting cookbooks from all over the place.

This book combines stunning photography with delicious recipes and beautifully told stories that leave you wanting to turn the pages as fast as you can, and the best part?  It takes place in beautiful Vermont.

Ellen Stimson retells stories of her family's fondest traditions, Christmases past and in between shares recipes for good home cooked dishes that are sure to please your family too.

I got the book in the mail, paged through it really quickly and set it aside.  Not because I didn't want to read it, but because I wanted to indulge in it with a big mug of coffee and a cookie, a warm crochet blanket and a glowing fire.  And so I did, the day came and I settled in with the book, and before I knew it, I had been reading it for 2 hours and shushing anyone that tried to get my attention otherwise.

I don't think there is a single recipe on these pages that I will not try, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and hosting dinners at our house.  If one thing this book did for me was get me in the Christmas mood and now I am literally counting down the days.

So I tried to pick a recipe that I could make today, that would be easy and that would use ingredients I already had on hand, so I settled on the Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies, and oh my word, am I ever happy that I did.

These cookies don't take many ingredients, take only about 5 minutes to get together and then you can pop them in the fridge for 2 hours and go work on something else.  They bake up a dream and taste AMAZING.  My kiddos love them.

Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup powdered sugar, more for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Beat in the egg.  Mix in the rum extract and nutmeg.  Lastly, mix in the cake mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll the chilled batter into 1-inch-sized balls and then roll them in powdered sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake 12 minutes.  The cookies will remain soft and gooey.

Cool completely and sprinkle with more powdered sugar (more is always better).

This book would make a great Christmas gift, if you have a family member or friend who love cooking, or collecting cookbooks, then this is it.  I know that if I had received it as a gift, I would have been extremely happy :)

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Macho Nachos

Macho Nachos

Macho Nachos
Source:  I wash you dry

6-8 large handfuls of corn tortilla chips
1½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1½ cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 (15 oz) can of chili (your favorite brand works)
½ cup sliced black olives
½ cup sliced, pickled jalapeƱos
½ cup diced tomatoes
¾ cup sour cream
2 green onions, diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In an oven safe pan or baking sheet lay half of the chips, then top with half the can of chili, ½ of the cheddar cheese, and ½ of the pepper jack cheese. Repeat the layering; chips, chili, cheese.

Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and gooey.

Quickly top with the black olives, jalapeƱos, diced tomato, sour cream, and green onions. Serve hot with a side of salsa. Enjoy!

Macho Nachos

Monday, September 28, 2015

Panda Express Chow Mein

I just gave you the recipe for the Sweet Fire Chicken, but I didn't give you the recipe for the perfect side dish, which is of course, the Panda Express Chow Mein.

Also from Damn Delicious, and also a copycat recipe, and ALSO delicious.

But I'm not going to say anything else, other than, make yourself some chow mein, like nowwww.

I used purple cabbage because it's what I had on hand, but other than that followed the recipe exactly and it was phenomenal.

Panda Express Chow Mein

Panda Express Chow Mein

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
2 cups shredded cabbage

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
In a large pot of boiling water, add Yaki-Soba until loosened, about 1-2 minutes; drain well.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cabbage until heated through, about 1 minute.
Stir in Yaki-Soba and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken

Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken

If my family and I could eat at Panda Express every day, we probably would.

In a dream world of course, because in reality, there's just no way we could afford that, or my thighs could sustain it.  But once in a while, it's good to indulge and if when the craving strikes, I can make it at home?  Even better!!!

This recipe comes from one of the food blogs I most admire, Damn Delicious.  She is fantastic and has some of the best recipes out there, so when I saw this one, I knew I had to make it for the family.

The results?  Amazing!!!

My husband and children loved it, all had seconds, and my 12 year old boy even had thirds, he just couldn't get enough.

So here you go, a great copycat recipe for next time you crave Panda Express.

Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken

Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken
Source:  Damn Delicious

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups diced pineapple, fresh or canned
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce, or more, to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
For the chicken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Working one at a time, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in flour again, pressing to coat.

Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet, 3 or 4 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bell pepper and pineapple and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in chicken and Thai sweet chili sauce until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with green onions.

Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken

Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers

Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers

Yes, Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers.

My family and I love a good ol' Philly Steak and Cheese but it's not something I make very often, and even though I can make a good one, it's never really as yummy as the one you get elsewhere.  For us, it means Charley's Subs which we absolutely love.

On my last menu plan, I had put down oven burgers.  I didn't have a set plan in mind, or recipe, I just had an idea that I wanted some sort of smothered bunless burgers.

I had peppers and onions on hands and thought I could use those, honestly at first I was thinking some sort of creamy sauce to cook them in but as I started assembling them I noticed that the ingredients I was using were very reminiscent of a a Philly Cheesesteak and so these burgers came about.

My husband and kids love them, I did too.  I am sure you could slap these on a bun and have a typical burger but I kept them bunless, served up some simple white rice and mixed veggies.  Yummy!!!

Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers

Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers

2 lbs ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste
Mesquite Burger seasoning
Green pepper, sliced
Onions, sliced
Provolone or Mozzarella Cheese

Season the ground beef with the salt and pepper and mesquite burger seasoning.  Divide into 8 equal parts and shape into patties.

Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and place the patties in the pan.  Top each with sliced onion and green peppers.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until meat is cooked through.

Top each patty with a slice of provolone or mozzarella  and pop back in the oven until melted.

Super simple but really tasty.

Weekly Meals in Review and Menu Plan

Hello everyone, and welcome to another week of meals in review and this time, my menu plan for this week as well.

I wasn't going to include the menu plan because at first I wanted to keep it strictly to meals in review, but then I decided that it would actually be a good idea to do so, that way I don't have to put up two posts.

For now at least, I'll give it a try and see how it goes, I may eventually do different posts, but we'll see.

Skillet Pork Chops and Potatoes

Weekly meals

Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers

Weekly meals

Crockpot Chicken Stew

Weekly meals

Homemade Spaghetti Bolognese

Weekly meals

Marketside Pizza (hubby and I had to run to Walmart before dinner and just picked up Supreme for dinner)

Hubby and I had to run errands, and with everything going on with my grandmother being hospitalized he wanted to take me out of the house.  He took me to Denny's for a late lunch and I had the Grand Slamwich was soooo good, but extremely filling.

We had a super easy Sunday, no one really wanted big meals so we all decided to just do snacks and grazing all day long.  Sandwiches, chips and dip, fruit, ice cream, it was one of those days.


Copycat Panda Express Sweet Chili Fire Chicken and Chow Mein

Lemon Basil Chicken and roast potato wedges

Penne and Sausage Casserole

Beef baked with Yogurt and Black pepper, Rice

Pan Bagnat

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Best Chili Ever, Homemade Rolls, rice