Wednesday, November 18, 2009

American Sandwich Bread

I've been trying my hand at bread making for the past year and a half.  Most of the recipes come out okay; that is, as long as they are toasted they are edible.  There has yet to be a bread that I will eat out of hand, as a sandwich, in other words untoasted.

That is, until yesterday.  This is the.most.amazing.bread you will ever make.  So yummy I scarfed down a piece or two while I was cutting it for future use.  My husband even texted me on his way to work: "this is the best bread."  In my book, that designates a winner.  Simple ingredients, quick assembly, and out of this world taste equal a bread I'm happy to make weekly or even, daily:)  For great pics of the finished product, head here!

American Sandwich Bread

(The New Best Recipe, pg. 725)

Time: About 2 hours (lots of inactive time)

Yield: One 9-inch loaf


3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (also called rapid rise)


Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.

Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid.

When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from the hook, if necessary, about ten minutes. (After five minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to 1/4 cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

Gently press the dough into an 8-inch square that measures 1 inch thick. Starting with the side farthest away from you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil 2 cups of water and pour into a baking pan, and place it on the bottom rack. If possible, put the loaf on a rack above the baking pan of water (my oven is much too small to have a loaf of bread on anything but the bottom rack) otherwise put the two pans side by side. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf reads 195 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Grilled Pepperoni Pizza

After we were first married, I was really excited to try and make everything from scratch.  The first thing on the list was pizza dough.  I have a favorite for regular, hand tossed style pizza and calzones and one for pizza on the grill, which is the one I’m talking about here.  I happened upon it in my cooking light one month and no, the recipe was not for pizza on the grill! 

When I was younger and we went camping pizza on the grill was what I looked forward to most and back then I think we just threw a frozen pizza on the grill!  But this one is easy to throw together, does not need a long rising, and is perfect for the grill.

The key to grilling pizza is to make sure you have everything ready before you start.  I like to roll out the dough and then place it on a cookie sheet that is covered with cornmeal.  It’s easier to get the dough onto the grill not to mention much easier for carrying it out TO the grill!

There’s no good way to describe pizza that has been cooked on the grill other than delicious and oh so good.  Try it, you’ll fall in love!

Grilled Pepperoni Pizza
(adapted from Cooking Light)


6 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


  • Sauce:
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1  (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh parsley (i either omit or use dried)

  • Crust:
  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  package quick-rise yeast
  • 1/2  cup  warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  teaspoons  cornmeal

  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 16  slices turkey pepperoni (such as Hormel) (we use regular pork pepperoni, and lots of it!)
  • 1 1/2  cups  (6 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (we also use lots of cheese!)
  • 2  tablespoons  grated Parmesan cheese


To prepare the sauce, place a small saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add the dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper, and tomato sauce; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, and keep warm.
To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes), and add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough. If indention remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface.

 (this is where the new instructions come in for baking pizza on the grill! ~ take pizza dough on a baking sheet out to the on grill and put the cover down.  After 5 or so minutes, flip the dough while first popping any bubbles that have crept up!  Once it is flipped arm yourself with your sauce, cheese and toppings and begin assembling as quickly as possible.  Put grill cover down and bake for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly!)

Place dough on a 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim. Cover and let rise 10 minutes.

Spread sauce over pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top with pepperoni. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until crust is puffy and lightly browned. Remove pizza to cutting board; cut into 6 slices.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Croque Monsieur...oui, oui!

Even though I lived in France for part of a summer I never had a croque monsieur.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  But when given the chance to go back, I ordered one within the first 24 hours.  There is something so utterly delicious and comforting about this meal.  It’s a little fussy…it’s French for goodness sakes, but take the time…the end result is so worth it. 

These didn’t stick around for long.  Great alone or paired with a green salad or some soup this sandwich is comforting, salty, gooey and like I said, oh so delicious!

Croque Monsieur

(borrowed from the Barefoot Contessa: Paris)


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

This is delicious.  Let me just put that out there before I even begin.  So easy, so simple and yet so utterly good.  Especially when someone cuts a corner and uses jarred pesto…I don’t know who you are talking about…:o  Sometimes on a weeknight, quick and easy is the best way.   Not only is it delicious but it’s fairly healthy as well, unless of course you eat far more than the portion served to you!

Try it, you’ll love it even if you don’t especially care for pesto.  I used the brand Classico and it’s sold at Target and probably every other grocery store and it was oh so good for only $2.99.  You can’t beat that.  And look forward to how I used the rest of the jar…it gets even better!  I changed some things from Ina's recipe, mostly because I just used what I had on hand and I also added some pan fried chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces for some protein.

Pasta, Pesto and Peas (recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa)


  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta (i just used bow tie)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto (packaged or see recipe below) bought
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry  didn't use
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise  did not use
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignoli, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.


  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignoli, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.
To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.
Yield: 4 cups

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cumin Spiced Chicken with Green Chile Sauce

Really Easy...Really Fast...Really Delicious!
There is not a whole lot to this one except the explosion of flavors when it hits your mouth:) In the mood for mexican food, I threw what we had in the pantry together to create this delighful dish. So feel free to substitute with what you have on hand or run to the store, everything in here is relatively cheap and easy to find! Enjoy!
Cumin Spiced Chicken with Green Chile Sauce
(inspired and created by...ME)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T ground Cumin
1/2 t ground adobo pepper seasoning (ground red pepper will also work)
a little olive oil, 1 T or so
salt and pepper
1/2 C fresh cilantro
1 can green chiles
1 clove garlic
1/2 t minced jalapeno
1/4 t salt
squeeze of lime
monterrey jack cheese
1. Preheat grill. Combine seasonings in a bowl (cumin, adobo, s&p). Rub chicken down with seasoning. Allow to sit and mellow in the seasoning up to 24 hours.
2. Put chicken on grill...cook until no longer pink, flipping accordingly. In a food processor or blender, mix together all of the sauce ingredients (cilantro through lime).
3. During last minutes of grilling, top with cheese and let melt. Grab off grill and bring inside. Pour sauce over the top. Enjoy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cashew Chicken

Cashew chicken is one of my all-time favorite meals to order from a chinese restaurant. Something about the savory asian flavors paired with the creaminess of the cashews, is well perfection in my opinion, and this meal delivered. Alex and I both loved the taste of this, very tasty brown sauce, not too spicy and not too sweet. It's great with whatever you want to throw in the wok, but this time I threw in some napa cabbage I needed to use up, celery, and some onion.

It was quick and easy and hit the spot...delish!

Cashew Chicken
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
~makes 4 servings ~


3 tablespoons. soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons corn or peanut oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup salted roasted cashews
Steamed rice for serving


Marinate the chicken -In a large bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. of the soy sauce, the wine and ginger. Stir in the chicken to coat evenly and set aside for 15 minutes.

Make the sauce - In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbs. water, the remaining 1 Tbs. soy sauce, the Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch, and stir to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch.

Stir-fry the chicken- Heat a wok or large fry pan over high heat until very hot and add 2 Tbs. of the corn oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, draining it well, and discard the marinade. Add the chicken to the wok and stir-fry until opaque, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Return the wok to medium heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. corn oil. Add the green onions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Return the chicken to the wok and add the cashews. Give the sauce a quick stir, add to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately with the steamed rice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, and Asparagus all I have to say for this one. It's so simple and so delicious. The best part, you can use the extra chicken all week long.

So roasted in the oven keeps the potatoes crisp and the chicken moist. Add some fresh crusty french bread to mop up the juices and dinner is set. Light enough for summer and spring and hearty enough for winter, just switch up the asparagus to something in season.

Try it, you'll like it...not only the food, but the savings that comes from using a whole chicken.
Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, and Asparagus (courtesy of Martha Stewart)


Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package cut-up whole chicken (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes and half the butter in a roasting pan; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until potatoes are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Place chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes; season with salt and pepper. Roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Scatter asparagus, lemon, remaining butter, and thyme around chicken. Roast until asparagus is tender and chicken is opaque throughout, 5 to 15 minutes. Serve chicken, vegetables, and lemon drizzled with pan juices.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

I like chocolate and I definately like chocolate cake. A couple of weeks ago, I was just in the mood for cake. I don't normally just bake a cake, especially if we do not have anywhere to take it. But the mood for cake won me over, as did the picture in Ina Garten's Cookbook. This cake was so...YUM! Add a tall glass of milk and savor every bite. Even my cake-hating husband LOVED this cake!

Beatty's Chocolate Cake (courtesy of Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chicken with Saffron Rice

A couple of weeks ago, I was raving over my Everyday Food and how much I look forward to the day it arrives in my mailbox.  Well there is another magazine I love to get, and this one happens to be free.  It's my Williams-Sonoma catalog that comes every month or so.  They happen to have some of the most delicious recipes inside, not only are they easy, I have yet to make one that does not taste good:)

A few months ago, I opened up the magazine and spotted this recipe.  I do not really enjoy olives, but for some reason lately the thought of them paired with other delicious flavors has been beyond appealing, I mean it's a little addicting.

So after paging through I ripped this recipe out and set to make it the next night.  We were blown away by this is so delicious, salty from the olive brine and sweet the red pepper, with a little heat to boot.  Don't delay in making this, it is perfect for any night of the week and tastes great the next day too!  

(For the record, I cut this in half and it was still plenty of food.)

Chicken with Saffron Rice


3 1/2 lb. chicken thighs and drumsticks

Salt, to taste, plus 1 1/4 tsp.

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/4 tsp. crumbled saffron

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry sherry

2 1/4 cups chicken broth

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices

3 cups medium-grain rice

1/2 cup green olives, pitted and halved

1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Discard the fat in the pot, then wipe out the pot with paper towels.

In the same pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, saffron and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the sherry and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the chicken, broth, tomatoes and their juices and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Stir in the rice, olives, the 1 1/4 tsp. salt and black pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. 

Remove the pot from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Zucchini Parmesan Loaf

When I was back visiting my mother, I spent hours paging through all of her old Everyday Food magazines...I mean it was really bad, they kept my attention for far longer than I would like to admit. Considering she still has the first magazine ever, that was um...about 5 years ago. Yeah, apparantly I have too much time on my hands:)

But the best thing about all that time spent, is that I now have a list of about 100 recipes that I would love to make and looked delicious. One in particular that looked good was this zucchini parmesan quick bread. I know it sounds a little odd, but the result is a tangy, savory, and delicious quick bread that pairs perfectly with soup, stew, and anything in which dipping is allowed!

I didn't need to change anything in the recipe, but feel free to add and subtract as you see fit~

Zucchini Parmesan Loaf

Serves 8

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound (about 1 medium) zucchini, coarsely grated


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (6-cup capacity) with oil; dust with flour, and tap out excess.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk oil, milk, and eggs. In a large bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix in zucchini, then egg mixture until just moistened (batter will be very thick, like biscuit dough).
  3. Transfer batter to prepared pan; press in gently. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes (tent with foil if loaf starts to brown too quickly). Cool 15 minutes in pan; turn out loaf onto a rack to cool completely.
(courtesy of Everyday Food)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Butterscotch Bark

Every month I look forward to all my food magazines to come in the mail. But there is one on my mind that always makes my heart skip a beat and that is Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. I have found that these recipes use ingredients we usually have in the pantry and take around 30 minutes, perfect for any weeknight!

We happen to love most things coconut, and especially seven layer bars. They are oh, so delicious, and usually do not stand a chance in being thrown out for remaining too long on the counter. That's right, most things if we don't eat them in a couple of days or so, either get tossed in the freezer or right into the trash. We are not stock-pilers:0 and besides, I probably would have given the thought to giving them away, but who in their right mind is going to enjoy a stale and more than day old treat...i mean that's just cruel:)

But these guys were delicious, especially with the addition of butterscotch chips. I wouldn't recommend making them without, because everything is better with a little more chip, and believe me not a chip found the garbage!

Butterscotch Bark

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 graham crackers
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans and coconut on baking sheet; bake until golden, 5 minutes. Cool; toss with chocolate chips.
  2. Line a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with foil. Break graham crackers in half; fit in pan in single layer.
  3. In saucepan, whisk butter and sugar over medium heat until smooth; spread over crackers.
  4. Bake until bubbly, 10 minutes. Sprinkle with nut topping; press gently. Cool; break into pieces.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Homemade French Fries

For some of you the thought of making french fries from scratch brings anticipation...for others, the slight cock of the head in pure wonder, I mean they sell french fries in the freezer section right?...and for the those others, there awaits the loud exclamation...umm, McDonald's is right next door!

Although all of these thoughts are possible and relatively okay in their simplicity, I happen to be one who is eager with anticipation and excitement, at well, let's be honest, almost anything I can make homemade.

I started making homemade fries right after we got married, because a big delicious burger among other things is not complete without fries. If anyone knows me, they also know that I did NOT frantically search the internet for instructions, I just gave it a fact I just cut potatoes and put them in the oven under very high heat, I mean who doesn't like crispy fries:)

We like them almost any way; cut thick like steak fries, very thin as in those seen with steak frites, and every way in between. We've drenched them in garlic butter and parsley (yum!), seasoned them with spice, and left them in their amazing naked state. But most of all, it's a great side for pennies on the dollar as potatoes, are well, cheap!

Homemade French Fries

1-4 medium potatoes (depending on number of people/we usually use 2 for the 2 of us)
1-3 T olive oil (again less for fewer potatoes, etc)
coarse ground salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Cut potatoes into thin slices, according to the size you are going for, and then into sticks
3. Place potatoes into a gallon ziplock bag, add oil to bag and shake until evenly coated
4. Pour fries onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt and pepper
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown/feel free to flip midway through

Monday, March 23, 2009

Farmhouse white bread

So today resumed my bread baking and boy what a treat this loaf was. It is quick to pull together and yields a delicious basic white bread. Much better than the first one I tried a couple of months ago. Perfect with butter or toasted for breakfast.

Here is the link to the recipe:

ps...I cut the recipe in half and I came out with one normal sized loaf and one a little smaller!

Monday, March 16, 2009

From our home to yours!

I'm back! Sorry for the hiatus, we've had our time filled with organizing, packing, and moving! Now that we are finally settled, the dinners, desserts, and dining can resume! With things put away and the kitchen clean, there is only one thing to do...step back, enjoy, and then get it dirty, baking and cooking up a storm.

Lately my hubby has been in the mood for some home our house that relates to "make some of the recipes my mom makes, the ones from my childhood!" Good thing that right after we were married I went to his mother with pen in hand to copy down all of the hubby's family favorites. On the top of his list...Barbecues.

What amazes me is that hubby and I grew up in regionally the same area of Wisconsin. We did not call this dish Barbecue, but instead sloppy joes. Unfortunately, no matter who makes them, sloppy joes are just one thing I don't like...ever...please don't serve one to me unless I have a large glass of water to help it down...but what does the hubs love...Barbeques, oh the irony.

So up today are Brogle Barbecues...Grandma Emma's served on the cheapest bun you can find (according to the hubs)

Barbecues (best part..just use what you have on hand, they're very adaptable)

1/2 onion diced
1 1/2 stalks of celery diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 green pepper diced
1 pound of ground beef
1-2 cups of Ketchup
dash of red pepper (cayenne)
dash of paprika

1. Brown onion in 1T butter.
2. Add hamburger and brown, season with salt and pepper
3. Add tomatoes, ketchup, celery and green pepper. (add more ketchup to desired consistency)
4. Sprinkle red pepepr and paprika on top, cover and let simmer of 1/2 hour to an hour.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

OMG...I love this stuff

What is it I love? I am so in love with Chobani greek yogurt. While the hubby was away a couple of weeks ago, I headed to Whole Foods to do some browsing. I picked up a couple of things I have never tried, including a container of Chobani. Now I like greek yogurt, but I have never had Chobani. Slightly less expensive than Fage, though still pricey for yogurt, making this great treat an occasional indulgence.

Until the other week. While browsing Costco, I found Chobani in a pack of 16. So delicious and now less than a dollar a carton, making this indulgence available a little more often.

Break out of the yogurt rut, and indulge in some greek yogurt. Not only is it better for you (mroe protein, less sugar) but now it is more affordable as well!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vacation Eats!

Every year we head down to Florida for a little vacation. We are so blessed to have lodging down there that is free for us to use. This year we stayed with Alex's parents for four days and then headed to my parent's condo near Tampa. While we are in Tampa we always head to the grocery store and buy food for all our meals but one. We head out to eat one night and the rest of our meals are made in the kitchenette. This year I went with a Ina theme, taking three recipes out of her cookbooks that seemed light and fresh and they were delicious!

The three recipes that graced our table were:

Also on our vacation menu were vanilla yogurt parfaits, roasted chicken (aka from the deli), frozen pizza, and Carrabba's for our dinner out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tasty Thai Slaw Salad

I am always in need of side dishes for meals that we have. I usually just look in the crisper and decide what would best suit the main entree. We always have romaine in the crisper, along with green onions and celery. In the past, I have made a pickled celery salad that we both really loved, so I expanded this recipe to include some other ingredients. So the other night when we had our Thai Chicken with Cashews, the perfect side dish was created, quickly and very easily. The salad tastes sweet and sour with just the right punch of spice. It's clean and delicious.

Thai Slaw Salad

1 C very thinly sliced romaine
1 T chopped scallions
1 stalk of celery, very thinly sliced
2 dry red thai chilis, thinly sliced
1 T sugar
2 T white vinegar
2 T rice wine vinegar
3 T chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients together and let sit as long as possible, an hour up to a day, to allow flavors to meld.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Peasant Pasta...for you and me

This was a delicious meal for a quick and easy, throw together under 30 minutes, dinner. Yum. I found this recipe a couple weeks ago on Good Eats'n Sweet Treats. This looked perfect. With our supply of meat in the freezer dwindling, and italian sausage still remaining, I knew we would have this for dinner.

The ingredients are very simple, versatile, and delicious. Paired with some bread and a caesar salad, dinner was on the table in 30 minutes flat and it was so yummy:)

Peasant Pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, available in bulk at butcher counter or, 2 links, casings removed
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, available in bulk at butcher counter or, 4 links, casings removed (I just used 1 lb. of hot italian sausage total)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped, optional
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 leaves fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente (I used rotini)
Grated Italian cheese, for passing
1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan. Add sausage meat. Crumble sausage meat as it browns. Add chopped garlic to the pan. When all of the crumbles have browned evenly, deglaze the pan drippings using chicken or vegetable broth.
2. Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring the sauce up to a bubble, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir cream into your sauce, this will blush the color and cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Stir peas and basil into your sauce to combine. Toss hot drained penne rigate in pan with the sauce, then transfer pasta to serving bowl.
Yield: 6 Servings.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Time for bread again!

So here it is Monday already! I love Mondays...I am off of work and it is my day to get everything situated around the house, bake, and clean! I love it. There is nothing more refreshing than a Monday evening, sitting down at night and admiring a job well done:)

So on Friday I mentioned having Mondays be my bread making day. I love this new resolution...fresh baked bread, the smell is amazing.

I always used to be one who thought that bread making must be difficult. But now that I have gotten the hang of letting the yeast bubble and utilizing my handy stand mixer, I think it may be one of the easier things I make!

So today in an attempt to bring some variety into the bread making, I chose to make a cinnamon swirl loaf and a garlic swirl loaf. Both were so delicious. I used the same base for both but chose to fill and shape them differently. They are so, so good and so easy!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread (adapted from Williams-Sonoma)
see adaptations at end for garlic swirl


1 Tbs. active dry yeast
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
3/4 cup golden raisins (i omitted we don't care for raisins)
3/4 cup dark raisins (i omitted)

For the filling:

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar mixed with 4 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
(i cut in half b/c only one loaf was cinnamon- 1/3 C with 2 1/4 t)


In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves.

For one garlic swirl loaf:

Swirl Ingredients:

4 T butter, softened
1 T garlic, minced
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Combine butter, garlic, parsley and oregano and spread evenly over top of dough, leaving 1/2" at end to help seal loaf. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of butter mixture. Tightly roll dough up into cylinder shape, pinching and tucking ends to form a tight seal and pinching seam to seal.

Bake as directed above.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fresh Bread right out of the Oven!

There is nothing like fresh bread right out of the oven. Yum! Just the smell, the's so good! I have decided in the new year I would like to make our bread as much as possible. We are not huge bread eaters, but what we do eat we enjoy thoroughly. I'd like to try all kinds of things...foccacia, bagels, english muffins, pretzels, etc. Those are more the things we love.

But to start out, I tried a recipe for white bread out of my KitchenAid stand mixer cookbook. It was good, not great, but good for a first timer. Fresh, smelled great, and tasted good as well. It was perfect under the broiler with butter alongside stew, okay for toast, and yummy right out of the oven. So every Monday or every other, depending on how long it lasts, I will be making bread. Next up...whole wheat!

Basic White Bread (KitchenAid Recipe book)

1/2 C low-fat milk
3 T sugar
2 t salt
3 T butter
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/2 C warm water
5-6 C all purpose flour

1. Place milk, sugar, salt and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Dissove yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 C flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer, turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.

3. Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 C at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.

4. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

5. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf (roll out dough to 9x13, roll up jelly roll style starting from shorter ends.) place each in a greased loaf pan. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour and until doubled in bulk.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Carmelitas...muy deliciosa!

I first tried a carmelita bar at my first christmas cookie exchange as an adult, three years ago. They were so delicious. Leaving the cookie exchange with the recipe in hand, I knew I would be making these again...soon! I've made them in the past and haven't blogged about them, but this time around I remembered my camera and quick took a pic.

I have seen other recipes for similar bars using caramel ice cream topping. I would think these would be great as well, but I love caramels, so we usually have a bag in the pantry and we luck out when we need to make carmelitas!

Here is the recipe I used...thanks to that mom who made them for the cookie exchange...they are amazing!

Oatmeal Carmelitas

32 kraft caramels, unwrapped
5 T of milk
1 C all purpose flour
1 C oatmeal, uncooked
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 C butter (melted)
1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Melt caramels and milk in the top of a double boiler. (i used the microwave in 45 sec. increments.) Stir until combined, set aside.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and caramels in a separate bowl. Stir until all butter is incorporated and mixture is crumbly.
3. Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of a 8" of 9" square pan (i line it with foil)
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, top with caramel mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top. Top with rest of oatmeal mixture, pressing firmly. Bake for another 12-15 minutes.
5. Let cool and when still warm cut into pieces.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

One weekend while passing through the Sur la Table here in the Twincities, my mom and I happened upon the cookbook bigfatcookies. My mom picked it up in an instant, buying it on sale. If there is one thing she can't resist, its baking cookies. As we looked through it we were hooked. There are so many delicious looking cookie recipes in that book, they all must be made:)

So when my mom suggested I take the book back to our house in MN, I jumped at the chance. The first recipe I chose was for Chocolate Chip-Stuffed Cookies. Basically you make a pretty simple chocolate chip cookie dough, make balls, squash them, fill with chips, and then top with another flattened disk. Bake and eat. These are so gooey in the inside, bursting with chocolaty goodness. So YUM!!
I can't wait to try out some more from the book. These did not disappoint.
Chocolate Chip-Stuffed Cookies (adapted from bigfatcookies by Elinor Klivans)

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened for about 30 minutes
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large cold eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. The mixture may look slightly curdled.

On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Mix in 2 cups (336g) of the chocolate chips.

Roll 2 tablespoons of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, flatten it slightly to make a 2-inch (5cm) disk and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat to make a total of 16 disks, placing 8 on each baking sheet and spacing them 4 inches (10cm) apart. Leaving a ¼-inch (6mm) plain edge, lightly press 1 tablespoon* of the remaining chocolate chips onto each disk. Using the remaining dough, make 16 more disks, placing one on top of each chocolate-chip-topped disk. Press the dough disks gently to cover any of the chocolate chip filling that shows around the edges.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned but the centers are still pale golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm (the filling will be soft and melted) or at room temperature.

The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A new year, a second chance

Last year I decided to tackle Baked Potato Soup. Well, it never made it in the blog, let alone a bowl. What I made ended up as pure wallpaper paste, inedible, and definitely a memorable experience.

So the other week when I received my Midwest Living magazine (a gift from my mom, thanks:)), I decided to give it another whirl. Armed with my trusty Le Crueset and some potatoes I was armed for success.

(note the lovely 70's orange...another gift from my mother, one she unearthed from her basement, a old gift from my dad to her...the thing is a relic)

Success it was, the result was a delicious Baked Potato Soup loaded with toppings...

Here is a link to the recipe: Baked Potato Soup

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well I hope the month long hiatus is history in this new year!

We've been so blessed this year beyond our wildest comprehension by an amazing God.

Hoping you and yours best wishes and great joy in the new year ahead.

As for things around here at Bliss Bounty, great things are in store with new recipes, great food, and an ambitious cook in the kitchen:)

from the both of us at Bliss Bounty:)