Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vegetable Tian

...'Twas the night before Christmas...
This is about the third recipe that I was convinced was perfect for my contribution and thankfully it turned out pretty darn amazing!
The first was a delicious Barley Turkey Meatball soup - which I highly recommend ( Throw a little roasted jalapeno in the meatballs and serve with cilantro, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream on top - Yum! (We called it Chile Butterball soup!)
The second was an amazing tasting coffee fudge which still remains this taffy consistency blob in the refrigerator - going to try to use it for hot chocolate instead!
Now - for the Vegetable Tian - its a great lighter side dish, which is exactly what I was looking for for Christmas...something that wasn't full of cream, cheese, and heaviness.
Vegetable Tian
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 large sweet yellow onion (chopped)
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
2 russet potatoes, unpeeled
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
3 Roma Tomatoes
Salt, Pepper, Thyme
Grated Parmesan cheese (I recommend the fresher kind)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet cook onion with 1 Tbsp olive oil until soft, then add garlic for about 1 minute, or until aromatic. Pour the contents of the skillet into the bottom of the baking dish and spread out evenly.
Slice potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash into 1/4" slices and layer in baking dish. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and Tyme to taste.
Bake, covered, for about 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered about another 25-30 minutes until all vegetables are tender and cheese is browned.
Unfortunately I didn't even think about a photo until all the compliments and fully bellies rolled in after Christmas dinner - so what you see is the left overs. It was extremely easy to throw together and a great alternative to heavy sides without losing all the flavor!
I REALLY cannot wait to make this during harvest when all the goodies are garden fresh!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday S'Mores

I recently went to a Christmas party with our "adopted family" and found myself in baking heaven with soooo many new cookies, candies and sweets to put myself into a diabetic coma for a week! After completing the difficult task of taste testing each item (someone had to complete this difficult task!!!!), I found my new favorite cookie/bar of the holiday season to be the holiday s'mores! Being a new mom and a wife who is working extra hours, I found this recipe even more satisfying when I was told the recipe and realized just how simple, quick and tasty it was. 
So - stop at the grocery store on your way home and have fun baking these treats tonight! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!!!!!!

Merry Christmas and Thank You to Holly for including me as part of her 12 Christmas Bloggers!!!

Holiday S'mores
(Makes 36 bars)

12 Chocolate graham crackers(or enough to cover entire bottom of pan)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup  candy coated milk chocolate pieces (like M & M's - Christmas colors are a nice touch)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 15 x 10 x 1" jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil leaving 1" overhang
on ends: spray foil with no-stick cooking spray. Place graham crackers onto foil so sides touch.

Melt butter and brown sugar in 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth
and mixture just comes to a boil (4 - 6 minutes). Pour evenly over the graham crackers. Bake for
5 - 6 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven; sprinkle with marshmallows. Continue baking until 
marshmallows begin to soften (2 - 3 minutes). Sprinkle with candy. Cool completely. Lift from pan 
using foil as a handle. Cut into bars.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caramel Bars

1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix like pie crust and pat in 8 x 10 inch pan. Save 1 cup for topping. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

35 caramels
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed nuts

Melt caramels w/ 5 tablespoons of milk or cream.

Put 1 cup chocolate chips on crust, then caramel, and then add nuts. Finally, add the extra cup of crust to the top. I've found it best to let it cool in the refrigerator.

Special thank you to my Grandma Carol and my mom for this recipe. Wish you could still be with us Grandma. Also, thanks to Holly for inviting me to post on this blog, and to my beautiful 6-year old daughter Aubrey for unwrapping the caramels for me! Merry Christmas!

Dark Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies

It's your basic chocolate chip cookie, but with a twist for Christmas!

Dark chocolate chip candy cane cookies

(adapted from the Nestle Toll House dark chocolate morsels package)

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks butter), softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp mint extract

2 large eggs

1 2/3 cup (10 oz package) dark chocolate chips

8-10 crushed up candy canes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together above ingrediants and drop by tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet (or parchment paper for easy clean up!). Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for a couple minutes and move to baking racks to cool completely.

Have a Minty Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies.

The biggest battle for my taste buds play around Christmas is the whole peppermint thing. You may or may not remember from last Christmas that I am generally NOT a peppermint person. Read: no candy canes, mint chocolate, no peppermint bark, etc. BUT every now and then I change my mind. Like when I bought some candy cane kisses at Target the other day…and then I got home and had no idea what I was going to do with them. Thankfully Recipe Girl came through for me!

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
(Recipe Slightly Adapted from Recipe Girl)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups butter
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup Candy Cane flavored Hershey's Kisses (finely chopped)
Granulated sugar
30ish Candy Cane Kisses (unwrapped)

Place powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg in mixer. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy. Slowly add in flour and baking powder; mix until well blended. Stir in chopped Kisses. Shape dough into balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until set. Upon removing from the oven, place a candy cane kiss in the center of each cookie. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then swirl the kiss to flatten. Allow to cool and store in a covered container.

Yum. And now I want to make peanutbutter kiss cookies. Off to the store I go!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Parmesan Chicken and Rice Casserole... Plus Dessert!

On the first blog of Christmas, Holly gave to me... a chance to share a rec-i-pe!! This is one of my favorites and my husband loves it too. It calls for just 3 Tbsp of heavy whipping cream though, and it's kind of hard to use the rest. The answer: shortcakes for dessert!!

Parmesan and Chicken Rice Casserole
(Recipe Adapted from Cooking Light March 2008)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (3-1/2 oz) bags boil-in-bag rice (white or brown)
1/3 cup white wine (whatever you have left in the fridge, not required if you drank it all!)
approx 1 lb chicken (I use chicken breast tenders, any chicken will work though)
thyme for sprinkling (I use dried thyme leaves, but fresh or ground work too)
2 cups chicken broth (Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken broth is delish!)
3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (never actually measured this, I just sprinkle it on top)

Preheat oven to 450F. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Saute garlic approximately 30 seconds. Remove rice from bags and add to pan, saute 30 seconds. Stir in wine and cook until almost all liquid evaporates. Spread rice mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray. Arrange chicken in a single layer over rice and sprinkle with thyme. Mix together broth and cream and pour oven chicken and rice mixture. (Don't worry, it's not too much liquid!) Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is done and cheese is browned.

Dig in!!

Now, to take of the rest of that whipping cream (assuming you bought a half pint like I did)...

Shortcakes (with fruit)
(A recipe loosely based on several recipes from The Joy of Cooking)
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 (heaping) Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp butter or shortening (I always use butter-flavored Crisco, best of both worlds!)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (this is basically EXACTLY what you'll have leftover)
berries of choice with some sugar
whip cream or cool whip to top

Leave the oven set to 450F. Stir dry ingredients together in large bowl. Cut shortening in using a pastry cutter or two knives (but seriously, you should get a pastry cutter, so much easier). Make a well in the center and add cream. Stir just until the dough comes away from the edge of the bowl, turn onto a floured surface and knead gently and quickly 8 - 10 times. Roll out to approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness and cut biscuit with a biscuit cutter. (I don't have a biscuit cutter, I almost always use a glass. Or a heart-shaped cookie cutter.) Place shortcakes on ungreased cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned, 8 - 10 minutes.

Tonight we had some raspberries in the house, so that's what I topped the shortcakes with. Obviously, sugared strawberries are the classic choice, but any berries work well. I mixed a handful of raspberries with about a teaspoon of sugar, put those inside a split shortcake (still warm!), and topped with whip cream... my husband says it tasted great!!

Merry Christmas! Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Holly!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Part 3.

If you follow us on Facebook you were looking for a special announcement's a day late, but here it is:

This holiday season we bring you The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Part 3!!

In the coming weeks, twelve fans/friends/family will take over the blog to share a recipe with us.  I'm super excited to see and try the recipes they share!  Join us in welcoming them and be sure to leave them a comment when they post!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Asparagus Gratin.

Today I wish it was spring.  Reason being?  I would have fresh asparagus and could make this side dish over and over again.  But, since we're heading into winter I'll just have to wait for asparagus to go on sale at the grocery store.

This was my contribution to Thanksgiving.  It went over well.  I suspect I will make it for many upcoming holiday gatherings.  

Asparagus Gratin.
(Recipe Adapted from Apron Appeal)
2 bunches of asparagus (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups parmesan (shredded)
1 cup monetary jack (shredded)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add asparagus (with ends snipped) to the boiling water.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Remove asparagus and place in a broiler-safe baking dish.  Discard all but 1 cup of the water.  Set water aside.  Melt butter in the pot.  Add flour and stir until the mixture turns light brown (about 1 minute).  Add reserved water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and continue cooking until mixture has thickened.  Remove from heat, add half of the parmesan cheese and all of the monetary jack cheese, and stir until cheese is melted into mixture.  Pour mixture over the center of asparagus, sprinkle with remaining parmesan and broil in the oven for about 10 minutes.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crab Rangoon Dip.

Happy Thanksgiving...and happy snacking!!
Hopefully on this Crab Rangoon Dip.  Because, who doesn't love Crab Rangoons?  And with many more holiday celebrations to come this is the perfect time for a quick dip recipe that is made easy with a slowcooker!!  The most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping the green onions (easy, right?)

Crab Rangoon Dip.
(Recipe Adapted from Reckless Abandon)
2 cans crab meat (drained)
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place all ingredients in an small slow cooker and cook on low heat for about 3 hours.  Serve warm with fried wonton or other chips or crackers.
This stuff is good.  And can be made with less fat and fewer calories by using non-fat or reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream!! 

Enjoy and know I am thankful for all my readers.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nutella Ice Cream.

I've found my favorite homemade ice cream base.  This stuff is sooooo good.  This past summer my mom asked my husband if he would make her some ice cream she saw on Sugar Plum's Blog...of course he agreed and since then we've made this a few more times and enjoy it more and more each time!  Sugar Plum called it gelato, but we aren't that fancy here, so we'll stick to ice cream!

Nutella Ice Cream.
(Recipe Adapted from Sugar Plum)
4 cups half & half
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 cup rice krispies
1/2 cup nutella
dash of salt

Place half & half and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Whisk until dissolved.  Add corn starch, vanilla, and a dash of salt.  Bring to a boil - while whisking frequently.  Remove from heat, allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.  Place cold mixture into your ice cream maker and follow machine's direction.  While ice cream is processing, mix together rice krispies, nutella, and a dash of salt.  Fold nutella mixture into ice cream.  Freeze until desired consistency and enjoy!!

As I said, this is easily our favorite base.  I foresee adding chunks of Twix candy bar and swirling caramel into the base in the very near future!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pizza Casserole.

I have casually mentioned this recipe to my husband several times over the past month, but never had the right opportunity to make it.  I finally got around to making it recently.  His response: "I don't know why you waited so long."  And he's right!  You'll want to get this on your menu for the coming week.  In fact, you may even want to put it together today so that tomorrow when you get home from work or school you can toss it in the oven and have a hearty and delicious meal ready in less than an hour.

Really, what's not to love about italian sausage, canadian bacon, pepperoni, lots of cheese, tomato sauce and pasta?  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Pizza Casserole.
(Recipe Adapted from Cully's Kitchen)
1 pound italian sausage
1 pound canadian bacon
1/2 package turkey pepperoni
1 medium onion (diced)
1 small can mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 26-ounce cans of spaghetti sauce
2 15-ounce cans of pizza sauce
6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (equally divided)
3 cups shredded parmesan cheese (equally divided)
1 pound medium sized pasta of your choice

Cook sausage, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and oregano until onions turn soft and sausage is cooked through.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Mix spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce together - placing a thin layer on the bottom of a deep 9x13 baking dish.  Add ingredients in the following order: 1/3 pasta, 1/3 sauce, sausage/onion/mushroom mixture, 1/3 cheeses, 1/3 pasta, 1/3 sauce, canadian bacon, 1/3 cheeses, remaining pasta, remaining sauce, remaining cheeses, pepperoni.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Allow to set for 10-15 minutes before serving.

I'm fairly certain that this recipe will replace traditional pizza in our house many times in the future.  Not completely, but it is a great substitute for those days we want pizza, but don't want to wait an hour and a half to make dough for the crust!!  And as with "real pizza" you can use your favorite pizza toppings within the casserole.  Green peppers - add 'em!  All pepperoni - it'll work!  Vegetarian - no problem!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Peanut Butter & Nutella Cookies.

I'm beginning to test new cookies recipes that I'm interested in added to my Christmas baking list....a list I have a strong urge to actually get started on right now.  I usually wait until after Thanksgiving.  But I do have some cookies that freeze really well and would allow me to get a head start without losing quality.  And I'll start gifting them in only 5-6 weeks.  And I'll easily make at least 15 different cookies/candies.  I'm starting to feel  pressure!!  Maybe I can wait at least another week!

 So back to the most recent test addition to my baking list.
Peanut butter + Nutella = DELICIOUSNESS.  Seriously.

Peanut Butter & Nutella Cookies
(Recipe Adapted from Deligtful Bitefuls)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 up nutella

Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing until combined.  Mix in flour and baking soda.  Swirl nutella thru dough using a butter knife.  Chill dough for 10-5 minutes.  Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet.  Use a fork and press down the balls in both directions to lightly flatten.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until edges are just starting to brown (about 8 minutes).  Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Although the Nutella flavor is not overwhelming, it's there and it makes these cookies.  Go ahead.  Make them.  Try to eat just one.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Two Cheese & Butternut Squash Pasta.

There are few foods as comforting as macaroni and cheese. There's just something about cheese and pasta baked together that warms the heart. 

And for those of us me who have has an abundance of winter squash this classic dish offers the opportunity to mix the two creating a dish that tastes like fall and comfort in one.  I originally planned on serving this dish sans meat, buuut the hubby won and I added some ground pork sausage.  Next time I make this I'll add some grilled chicken breast instead.

Two Cheese & Butternut Squash Pasta.
Recipe by Me.
1 regular sized box of pasta
2 cups roasted butternut squash (peeled and seeded)
1 pint half & half
1 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 lb ground pork sausage (prepared) or grilled chicken breast (cut into bite-sized pieces) or no meat
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Place squash in a food processor or blender and slowly add half & half until squash is smooth and blended with half & half.  In a large bowl, mix together prepared pasta, squash mixture, cheeses, meat, basil, garlic, pepper, and salt.  Place in a baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Enjoy.  Especially on a cold fall or winter day.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies.

When Heidi asked if I wanted to have a baking party I happily agreed since her and I have not baked together is so long.  Then she told me about the candy corn sugar cookies she wanted to make and I was more excited.  They turned out super cute!!  She always comes up with creative holiday cookies (see reindeer cookies aka most viewed post of all time!!)  They tasted good too!

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies
(Recipe by Heidi)
1 batch sugar cookie dough tinted orange with food coloring (use your favorite recipe...or this one)
1/3 package white chocolate candy melts
1 package milk chocolate candy melts

Prepare cookie dough using your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  If you don't have a favorite yet, use our favorite one!  Tint the dough orange.  Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut out triangles with a cookie cutter or knife.  Bake according to sugar cookie recipe and allow cookies to cool.  Dip the tip of one angle into white chocolate and the bottom in milk chocolate to create "candy corn" cookies.  Allow chocolate to set up and serve.

These would be perfect for a school snack or to hand out to trick-or-treaters!  They come together fairly quickly so you still have time!  Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

I was so excited to make this soup after reading about the amazing smell coming from the kitchen of Raissa on facebook.  Plus this was an opportunity to use up another butternut squash and an opportunity to use my immersion blender.

No butternut squash?  Pick one up!  No immersion blender?  Consider getting one, but you'd be OK with a regular blender too.  P.S. The immersion blender will come in hardy for this delightful soup as well!!

Butternut Squash Soup
(Recipe Adapted Ever So Slightly from Raissa)

1 medium butternut squash
1 medium potato
1 medium carrot
1 small onion
3 tablespoons butter
6 cups chicken broth (divided)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Roast squash whole in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool so that you can handle.  Cut lengthwise, peel, and scoop out seeds.  Dice squash, potato, carrot, and onion.  Place vegetables in a stock pot with butter.  Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables begin to caramelize.  Add just enough chicken broth to cover the veggies (about 2 cups).  Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and simmer for 40 minutes.  Blend until smooth using an immersion blender (or transfer the soup to a blender or food processor).  Add 2 additional cups chicken broth (more or less based on your desired consistency).  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and pepper.  Serve and enjoy.

I need you to know that this soup was so good that my picky-eater-in-law brother-in-law ate a bowl and my sister-in-law offered to keep some of the leftovers.  That being the case, I had exactly enough left over for three lunches - two of which I shared.  And it wasn't until after all the soup was eaten that I thought about capturing a picture.  So with that, make this soup to eliminate the need for a picture!!  :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats.

Who doesn't love Rice Krispie treats!?  They are one of the easiest treats to make and I'm sure one of the most popular desserts for kids and adults alike.

Now think browned butter and pumpkin pie spice.  Rice Krispies taken to another level.  One that I liked.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats.
(Recipe from Cookies & Cups)
1/4 cup butter
1 regular sized package of marshallows (large or mini)
6 cups rice krispies
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Grease 9x13 dish.  Melt butter slowly in saucepan.  Once melted continue heating until it becomes brown.  Be careful not to burn.  Add marshmallows and pumpkin pie spice to saucepan and melt/combine with butter.  Pour mixture over rice krisipies and mix until rice krisipies are coated.  Pat into prepared dish.  Cover and allow to set up.  Serve same day or next day.

These taste much better and are much easier to make than they are to photograph!  They are the perfect treat for your next get together this season!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Grilled Butternut Squash Pizza.

Our garden produced lots and lots of butternut squash this past growing season.  So many, in fact, that they killed off my pepper and pea plants, smoothered my cucumbers, and threatened the basil.  Fast forward to the actual harvest season...turns out there was even more squash that I could see previously.  That means way too much butternut squash.

And now I'm faced with using all that squash.  And, really, what better way to use some than on pizza!?  Not only did I get to take advantage of using a squash with this recipe, but I also grilled a pizza.  This is something that I've had on my "do to" list for way too long.

Grilled Butternut Squash Pizza.
(Recipe Adapted from The Kitchen Illiterate)
1 pizza crust (I made my own)
1/2 butternut squash (peeled and cut into small squares...I ended up with 3 cups)
1 tablespoon garlic infusion grape seed oil (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 1/2 cup mozzarella (shredded)
1 lb onions (caramelized - following a recipe such as this)
4 slices bacon (prepared)

Toss squash with oil and seasonings.  Roast in a 550 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, and mash with a fork.  Evenly spread the squash oven pizza crust and then cover with 1 cup cheese.  Distribute onions and bacon evenly on top of that.  Finally sprinkle remaining cheese and cook on a charcoal grill.

Soooo...I'm not an expert nor do I really even know how to grill a pizza.  For best results you may want to google it and secure a gas grill.  We used charcoal and the crust burnt to a crisp.  So much so that I peeled the bottom of some of the pieces :)

In my case I had my husband grill both sides of the crust...just a couple minutes on each side and then I prepared the pizza and we returned it to the grill for about 7 minutes...the cheese did not melt as much as I would have liked...but it was still melty and delicious!  (This may not be an issue with a gas grill...remember my crust was black and crispy in less than 7 minutes!!)

And if you are not up for grilling a pizza, I recommend making this pizza in the oven!  And I know that it turned out good because my husband had seconds.  He only does this with things he really likes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Like" Mom Taught Us on Facebook.

If you haven't already, head over to facebook and "like" Mom Taught Us!

With the holiday baking season quickly approaching you'll want to be the first to get in on the new recipes so that you can create platters of baked goods for the loved ones in your life!

Thank you all for your support!  I look forward to spending more time in the kitchen during the winter months and sharing new recipes with you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

King Arthur's Now & Later Pizza Crust.

This is easily my favorite pizza crust recipe....though I'm sure I say that about all of the pizza crusts that I post.  Maybe it's just that I like pizza!

King Arthur’s Now & Later Pizza Crust.
(Recipe from King Arthur Flour.  Method Adapted by Me.)
1 ¼ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ cups semolina flour (you can use all purpose flour instead if you desire)
1 teaspoon yeast

Pour water and olive oil into bread machine bowl.  Add salt then flours.  Place yeast on top so that it does not come in contact with the liquids.  Select dough setting on your bread machine and walk away until done.

Remove dough from machine and place in a large container.  Refrigerate dough for 4-36 hours (where it will rise again).  After refrigeration, divide dough into 2 equal parts.  Work the dough into desired pizza size and thickness.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise for about an hour.  Bake crust in a 450 degree oven for about 7 minutes.  Keep an eye on the crust as you make need to open the oven and use a fork to pop any air bubbles.

To eat the crust right away: top as desired and return to oven for about 10 minutes.

To eat later: cool the crust(s) and store at room temperature for 2-3 days, refrigerate for 5 days, or freeze for a month.

I love that:
One batch makes two crusts: one for now and one for later.
The later crust freezes wonderfully.
It bakes up crispy yet chewy
It can be made with all-purpose flour when you don't have any semolina.
Minimal time is spent actually making this.

With that…try this crust!!  I have a batch going as I type…hoping to grill a butternut squash topped pizza tonight!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread [w/ Cream Cheese Frosting]

My husband loves cinnamon bread.  During fall/winter/spring I usually make him some every other week.  It's easy enough to make, but I haven't conquered rolling the dough up so that there is a nice swirl of cinnamon/sugar throughout the entire loaf.  My husband's ok with that, but I'm always disappointed...

Then Joy the Baker blogged about Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread.  I figured there was no way to be disappointed for a couple reasons: if Joy posts it - it'll be phenomenal and if it contains cinnamon & sugar & butter dough smothered in cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and butter it's bound to have good taste throughout!

And, really, good doesn't even begin to describe how tasty this was warm from the oven and smothered with cream cheese frosting!  I consider this cinnamon bread meets cinnamon roll.  Mmmmm.

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread [w/ Cream Cheese Frosting]
(Bread Recipe Adapted from Joy the Baker)

1/3 cup milk (2%)
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place ingredients in a bread machine in the order listed.  Turn machine on dough setting and walk away until the dough is done.  If you so desire you can head over to Joy's blog for instructions on how to accomplish this task by hand...though I love using the bread machine as it allows me to work on other things for an hour and a half while my dough is made!

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
3 tablespoons melted butter

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Cream Cheese Frosting (makes way more than enough to top your in the refrigerator for your next batch of cinnamon pull apart bread or use for pumpkin bars, carrot cake, etc):
1/2 cup butter
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1 lb powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese until light.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

Now to actually prepare the bread for baking:

Roll dough out into large rectangle on a floured surface.  Pour melted butter on top of the dough.  Use a pastry brush or your fingers to distribute evenly over the surface.  Top evenly with sugar mixture.  Slice into six long strips of equal size.  Stack into two piles.  Cut each stack to create equal sized squares.  Place squares in baking pan on their side (so it looks like the pages of a book).  Cover with a towel and allow to rise until nearly doubled.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  While still warm, pop bread out of baking pan.  Allow to cool slightly (though in my case that only meant about two minutes)!!  Eat as is or top each piece with cream cheese frosting.  Bread tastes just as delicious the second day if you heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apple Pie Flavored Apple Sauce.

There are few things better than the smell of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and the like filling the air in your house during fall.  I really love all seasons except winter, but I think I like I love fall the most.  It's cozy, comfy, and the start of comfort cooking!

With that, I bring you a super easy recipe for chunky apple sauce that freezes wonderfully so that you are able to enjoy "fresh" sauce year-round.

Apple Pie Flavored Apple Sauce.
(Recipe by Me)
8 cups apples (peeled, cored, and cut into slices)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Heat under apples are tender - about 30 minutes.  Using a potato masher, mash apples under they are broken into bite size pieces.  Allow to cool and place in freezer containers.  Freeze for no longer than 1 year.  And, if you are like me and have an abundance of can easily double or triple this recipe and cook in a nesco.  

I seriously love this stuff.  Our most common methods of eating this chunky apple sauce include: ice cream topping (along with a little caramel syrup!), mixed into pancake batter, and baked with pork chops.  Head out to your local orchard and get yourself some apples!!  Make this!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

No Bake Raspberry Cheesecake Trifle.


My inlaws planted raspberry bushes last year.  They didn't expect much of a harvest as the plants usually need some time to establish...turns out they established in no time at all and they had a bumper crop.  Fast forward to this year: same story!!  So, when I was "on vacation" from work last and my mother-in-law asked if I wanted to pick and keep some berries, I jumped at the opportunity!

Of course I froze most of them, but also wanted to try a new recipe that I'd saved to my Food/Recipe Board on Pinterest recently.  Two words: smart move.

No Bake Raspberry Cheesecake Trifle.
(Adpated from My Baking Addition)
1 package/sleeve graham crackers (broken or processed into crumbs)
2 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 packages cream cheese (softened)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 8-ounce containers cool whip (thawed)
2 cups fresh raspberries (crushed)

Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and butter.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Set aside.  Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in remaining sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Once combined fold in cool whip and raspberries by hand.  Pour cheesecake mixture over the top of the crust.  Top with fresh raspberries if desired.

This stuff is so good and pretty (who doesn't love a pretty looking trifle!)  I liked that the cheesecake portion was super light.  It's a great way to enjoy  "cheesecake" without feeling weighed down from the "real" stuff!

My Baking Addition suggests preparing with blueberries or strawberries as well.  I can tell you right now that another one of these are in my near future and will involve blueberries!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup.

I know that it isn't September yet and I am enjoying every ounce of summer that's left, buuuut I'm also looking forward to fall. I love fall in Wisconsin. Love, love, love it! So, when one of my besties saw a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Syrup that claimed to be better than the ones you can buy at chain coffee shops I jumped at the opportunity to indulge in a little autumn ahead of schedule!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup.
(Adapted from Cooking Like a Champion)

1 1/2 cups water
 1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

Dissolve sugar in water in a small pan over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and allow to cook for about 7 minutes. Stir frequently and do not boil. Remove from stove, pour into bottle and store in the refrigerator.

To make a latte, use about 2 tablespoons of syrup for each shot of espresso. And if you do not have an espresso machine or are looking for a speedy alternative…you could use instant coffee and use 2 tablespoons of syrup for each heaping tablespoon of instant coffee. Add hot, frothed, or cold milk/ice and you’ll have yourself a delicious hot or ice latte.

Happy latte making!! And, yes, I’m off to make myself one right now…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nutella Brownies with Cheesecake Topping.

Nutella.  I almost guarantee that a.) you've never heard of it or b.) you've heard of it and love it.  True?

Let me clear the air though...  I do not fall into either of these categories.  I've know about Nutella and purchased it on occasion for many years.  But guess what - I don't love it.  (Gasp!)  It's true.  I like it just fine, but it is hardly anything that I would gush about.  (At least until this recipe).

My mom on the other hand...she loves it!  Recently she saw an ice cream recipe and asked if we could make it for her since she does not have an ice cream maker.  We agreed.  When my husband (previously falling to the "a" category above) went about making the ice cream, he too, fell in love with Nutella (category "b").  And now my husband can't get enough Nutella.

This is where the Nutella Brownies with Cheesecake Topping come into play.  I set out to find deliciousness involving Nutella.  And I found it.  These brownies have leaning towards the Nutella lover side of things.

Nutella Brownies with Cheesecake Topping.
(Recipe from Babble via Pinterest; Method Adapted by Me)

4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cocoa powder
1/2 cup nutella
1/3 cup flour

Cheesecake Topping:
8 ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup nutella
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs

Beat all of the brownie ingredients together.  Pour evenly into a greased 9x13 baking pan.  Using the same bowl, beat all of the cheesecake ingredients.  Carefully pour and evenly spread the cheesecake mixture over the brownie mixture.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.  This is necessary for the cheesecake to set.  Once cool: enjoy!!  Refrigerate any uneven brownies.

Sounds heavenly, right?  They are.  Oh, and did you notice how simple the recipe is?  And how few dishes will need to be washed?  I LOVE this recipe!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

S'Mores Pie.

I must prefix this post with a warning.  This pie is dangerous.  Maybe even lethal.  That is, if you are: trying to lose weight, trying not to eat sweets, home alone for any extended period of time...the list goes on and on.

That being said, make this pie!!

You may remember my love of all things s'mores with the exception of a "true" s'more.  Add this to the list!  This dessert is similar to the s'mores cookie bars, but in the shape of a pie.  Genius!  (As is pinterest which led me to this gold mine!

S'mores Pie.
(Recipe Adapted from Cookies & Cups)

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Beat butter and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla beating until combined.  Slowly add in dry ingredients - beating  until combined.  Press half of the crust into the bottom and sides of a greased 9-inch pie plate.  Save remaining crust for the top.

1 container marshmallow creme (7 ounce)
5 Hershey's chocolate bars (broken into small pieces)

Evenly spread marshmallow creme on top of the pie crust.  Top with chocolate pieces.  Pat top crust into sections covering the top of the pie and pressing any seams together as you go.  Bake for 20 minutes in a oven heated to 350 degrees.

Allow to cool and serve!

Really, I can't imagine a more tasty pie.  I just can't decide if I prefer the pie room temperature or before the pie has cooled completely and the chocolate is still a little melty....