Friday, October 29, 2010

Granola

Bedtime snack or breakfast cereal? Both!

I don't use shredded coconut for my granola. I like the look and texture of toasted chipped or flaked coconut in this. To toast coconut, spread the flakes on a baking sheet in a 300F oven. Stir every 5 minutes or so. When the coconut starts to get some brown around the edges, it's done.

My favorite nuts in this granola are a mix of sliced almonds and chopped macadamia nuts. It lends itself to endless variations.

I'm not a fan of raisins or other dried fruits, so I generally leave them out.


4 cups oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped or sliced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruits (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F and place rack in center of oven.
Line a good sized baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, nuts, and salt.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in the honey, syrup, and vanilla. Toss gently to make sure all dry ingredients are coated with the butter mixture.
Spread on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Do not overbake.
Spread on a fine mesh wire rack to cool. The granola will be sticky when it comes from the oven, but becomes crisp and dry as it cools.
When it is completely cooled, stir in your choice of dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spicy Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins

It is rare that I post a recipe I have not yet made or tasted, but these just sounded good. A friend here in Amarillo got the recipe from her daughter-in-law in Houston. She said these are really good with just a enough bite to makes your tongue tingle and taste kinda like it was made with red hots! I can't wait to make this and I want to make a second batch using gingerbread instead of white cake mix.


Mini Muffin pans
1 can (15oz) solid pumpkin
1 Box white cake mix
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350F. spray muffin tins with no-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine pumpkin, cake mix, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper in mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.

3. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of muffin batter into each cup. Bake on center rack for 15 min. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Almond Cookies

These are thin and crisp cookies with a strong almond flavor. I found the recipe as written allowed too much cooking time. The time shown here is shortened from the original. I suggest you start with the shorter time and check the cookies. If you need to bake them longer to suit you, then add time. Ya can't uncook 'em! Watch carefully as they bake, since these cookies can go from done to burned very quickly!

Mom used to make cookies with a similar taste, but she flattened the cookies and sprinkled them with sugar. I tried it with this recipe, but all I achieved was getting a wad of cookie dough stuck on the bottom of the glass.

These cookies have a really nice almond taste.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
8 oz. almond paste
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup nut meats, chopped fine (optional)

Cream the butter, sugar and egg.
Add the almond paste, flour, baking powder, baking soda and almond extract.
Beat until smooth.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Drop dough by teaspoon on parchment.
Bake at 350F for 9-11 minutes. Cool before taking off cookie sheet.

Dilled Potatoes

Recently I had dinner with friends; each of us brought a dish to contribute to the meal. Among the wonderful foods was dilled potatoes. With permission, I include the recipe. The gentleman who prepared these potatoes has a cooking blog and as a bonus, I link you to his blog, where this recipe can be found.

Ingredients:
2-4 Russet potatoes
Salt to taste
1/8th cup Onion, diced
Non Stick Spray
Dill

Pare and cut the potatoes into thick slices.
Add the salt, non stick spray and about 1/8th cup of diced onion. Not much onion is needed, but more can be added.
Place on a single layer on the baking pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 425F.
When tender, sprinkle with dill.

Be sure to visit Noms Cooking blog for this and other interesting and delicious recipes and tips, complete with pictures.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Butterscotch Cookies


I've been working hard at using up the "stuff" that has tucked itself into the freezer. Today I vowed to use up the cup of butterscotch chips that have hidden themselves under the coconut.

I had to modify a recipe since I had only one cup of the chips...not enough to substitute in a chocolate chip recipe. My measuring cup that measures in ounces came in handy for this.

They came out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Ingredients
3 oz granulated sugar (that's approximately 1/3 cup rounded)
3 oz brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
generous pinch of salt
1 cup butterscotch bits

Heat oven to 375 degrees
Mix sugars, flour, butter, egg, baking soda and salt in large bowl.mix in butterscotch chips.
Roll into 1" balls and place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet or stone.
Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft).
Cool slightly; remove from sheet and finish cooling on wire rack.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pizza dough


I was in the mood for pizza tonight AND I felt like making my own dough. Sometimes I want pizza and give in to laziness and call my local pizza parlor and order one. Ah, but not tonight. I wish I had green peppers on hand, or bacon, or mushrooms, or ... All I had was cheese, pepperoni and a little hamburger meat. It was still good.

Here's the dough recipe:

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oil, salt, sugar, and yeast mixture. Stir well to form a stiff dough. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Turn dough out onto a WELL floured surface. Be sure to flour your hands, too, because the dough will be soft and a bit sticky. Knead, allowing the dough to absorb enough flour to make it workable.

Spread the dough onto a pizza pan. Cover with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown (about 20 minutes).

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My sweet daughter introduced me to a brand of pizza sauce she uses. Unfortunately, it is not available here in Amarillo. I came home with 4 cans and tonight I opened the last can. We need this brand here. Oh, it is good. I guess it's time to go to NY again!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Grandma's Corn Casserole

I was craving corn casserole and I have no business fixing it just for myself. I would eat the whole thing! Fortunately, I got a call last week to come to supper and bring a dish. Ah, saved. I could feed my craving in a reasonable way and my friends, too.

5 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 cans cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn (frozen corn can be cooked and used)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter a large oblong glass pan
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs.
Add butter, sugar and milk. Stir.
Mix in cornstarch (small amount of liquid into cornstarch, stir smooth, add to rest of liquid in bowl.
Stir in the corn.
Pour mixture into baking dish.
Bake for 1 hour.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tiropitas and Burritopitas


Sarah makes tiropitas (little cheese pies) and spanakopita (cheese and spinach pies). These are Greek foods and I've discovered there are as many variations as there are stars in the sky. I think I will be experimenting with fillings for a while.


The constants:
Fillo (Phyllo) leaves
Feta cheese
Eggs
Butter



The variables:
Ricotta cheese
Cream cheese
Herbs
Other ingredients (mushrooms, parmeasan)

I used 8 oz Feta, 8 oz Ricotta, 4 oz cream cheese, 3 eggs, parsley, chervil, 1/2 lb butter, and one sleve of Fillo leaves. Sarah does not use cream cheese, but uses more Feta.

Melt two sticks of butter. Set it aside.
Mix Feta, other cheeses, herbs, and eggs (2-4). Set it aside.
Butter pans. Set aside.

Cut the Fillo leaves into strips. For meal size, cut into two strips. To make appetizer size, cut into three strips.

Cover the fillo strips with a damp towel.

Remove a strip of fillo, brush it with butter. Put another strip on top, brush with butter. Put on another and brush with butter.

Optional: you can work with 2 or 3 or even 4 layers of fillo. You can brush between each strip or put two or three strips down and brush only the top strip. How much flakey, buttery wrapping do you want?

Put a dab of cheese filling on the end of one strip and begin folding "flag style."

Keep folding until you have a triangle. Use butter to help the last layers of fillo stay folded up. Brush the top and bottom of the tiropita with butter and place in a buttered pan.

Make sure you have brushed the tops of all the tiropitas. Place them in the pan with a little space around each one.

Bake at 350 degrees until burowned.

Let cool! Even when the outside has cooled a bit, the cheese inside will be hot!

Burritopitas? I mixed some ground beef, shredded cheese, taco seasoning, rotel (tomatoes and chiles). I rolled uncut leaves up burrito style, sealing and coating with butter. Next time I will add some refried beans to the mixture.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sister Mary's Carrot Cake

I thought I had posted this recipe, but it doesn't seem that I did. So here it is!

2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups salad oil
4 large eggs
2 cups shredded carrots
1 8½ -ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 3½-ounce can flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, mix sugar, salad oil and eggs.
Add egg-sugar mix to the dry ingredients. Beat 1 minute after adding.
Stir in the carrots, pineapple, nuts and coconut.
Divide cake mix into pans.
Bake 40 minutes (or until tests done) in 350° oven.

Cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Remove and cool on racks.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. (Mix 1/2 cup butter, 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, creaming well. Gradually add 1 pound of confectioners sugar, beating well. If mixture is too thick to spread, stir in a small amount of milk.)

This cake benefits for being made a couple of days before you frost it. Put each layer in a plastic bag in the refrigerator after it is cool. The flavors will blend nicely.

The cake keeps well in the fridge...if it lasts.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caramelized Onion, Potato and Chicken Casserole

If you are one of the svelt, diet conscious, cholesterol fearing types, skip this recipe. It you need to feed a crowd, this will do.

3 lbs potatoes
2 cups caramelized onions
2 tbs butter
1/2 pound Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated
1 1/3 c heavy cream
1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken (cut in smallish pieces)

Simmer the potatoes until tender. Drain. Slice.
Mix the potatoes and the onions.
Put half the pototo and onion mixture in 2 buttered 9x13 dishes. Sprinkle with half the cheese.
Arrange the chicken over the cheese.
Place the rest of th epotato and onion mixture over the chicken.
Pour the cream over all.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Dot with butter.
Bake uncovered at 400 for 30 minutes or until cream thickens.
Remove from oven and run under the broiler until the top is golden and bubbly.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Caramelized Pecans

I'm unabashedly Southern. If a recipe doesn't call for bacon, then you have to put pecans in it! That's an unwritten law, isn't it? Yep.

2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup pecan halves

Cook sugar in a skillet over LOW heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts and turns light brown. Stir in pecan halves, coating well. Pour into buttered shallow pan. Cool, then break into pieces.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Easy Pumpkin Crumble

Easy Pumpkin Crumble

I like pumpkin. Normally I don't like sweetened condensed milk in desserts. I can taste it, and I just don't like it, but it works in this recipe. This is from Our Best Bites, one of my favorite websites.


1 boxed yellow or white cake mix
1-2 sticks butter
1 16 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t ginger
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/2 t additional cinnamon for topping

Preheat oven to 350.

Place 2 C of the cake mix in a bowl. Cut in 3 T chilled butter. Just use your fingers to crumble the butter until it's in small crumbly pieces. Place mixture in a 9x13 baking dish and press flat with your fingers.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices until smooth. Pour on top of the cake mixture in the pan.

Now take the rest of the dry cake mix and mix in 1/2 t cinnamon. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Use a measuring cup so you have a rough measurement of how much you're putting on. You’re going to do some simple math later, so do measure!

Next sprinkle on the chopped pecans. You'll have 3 distinct layers now:

Here's the math: For every 1 C of cake mix you sprinkled on top, you'll need 3 T of melted butter. Drizzle it right on top.

That butter is going to combine with the cake mix and make magic in the oven. Pop it in your 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or so. A knife should come out without globs of pumpkin on it and the topping should be nice and golden.

You can eat it warm, at room temp, or chilled! My favorite is actually at room temp. Put a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. It's also great with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Pie
I have to admit I haven't made this one. It's un-American, I know, but I don't like peanut butter—love peanuts, just can't eat peanut butter. I don't like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, PB&J sandwiches, and I don't put peanut butter and Karo syrup on my waffles (an East Texas thing). But I was talking with some co-workers about PB Pie and was informed that it is next to heaven. I'll take their word for it. So, here, untested, is PB Pie.

Filling ingredients:
2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cups of sugar
5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
¾ cup of peanut butter, unsweetened
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Meringue ingredients:
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar

Your favorite pie crust.

Poke holes in your pie crust with a fork and bake it at 350 until it’s brown, about 20 minutes.

In a pot, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, flour and salt. Cook on medium heat until it bubbles and thickens, about five to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne and peanut butter.

Beat your egg whites with salt and when they start to get fluffy add the sugar. Pour the peanut butter custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake pie until peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

You can use smooth or chunky peanut butter. If you use sweetened peanut butter, you may want to cut down on the sugar.

Serve with one of the following:
a sprinkling of peanuts
a dusting of cocoa powder
a dollop of whipped cream

Maybe some day I'll try this pie by mistake or out of politeness and discover I love it. Until then...I hope you enjoy.