Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

One of our favorite muffins...adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients:
 1 cup granulated sugar
 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
 1 cup vegetable oil or (1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup half applesauce)
 3 large eggs
 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (can use 1 cup white whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cup all-purpose)
 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon baking soda
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 2 cups finely grated zucchini
 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray muffin pan wells with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners. 

Grate zucchini fine with a box grater.  Put grated zucchini in a tea towel and wring out excess moisture.   Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the sugars, oil (applesauce), eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in zucchini until it is evenly distributed into the batter. Stir in chocolate chips. Use a cookie scoop to distribute batter amongst the prepared muffin wells. If desired, sprinkle additional mini chocolate chips onto the top of each muffin.

 Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes for mini muffins, 18-22 minutes for full-size.

Notes: Muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, and they freeze well.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wisconsin-Style Potato and Cheddar Soup

Adapted from a blue apron recipe, this has become one of our favorite spring soups perfect for fresh sugar snap peas.

Ingredients
3 T butter
1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes (about 4)--peeled and medium diced
1 leek--trimmed and small diced
1 1/1 t smoked paprika
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried thyme
salt
pepper
2 T flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 3/4 cup water
6 ounces yellow cheddar cheese
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and chopped to 1/2 pieces
1 bunch of chives, chopped

1.  Peel and cut the potatoes.  Then cut off and scared the root ends and upper dark-green leaves of the leek.  Talk it lengthwise and rinse thoroughly in between the layers with cold water.  Dice the leek into small pieces.
2.  In a large pot, melt the butter on medium-high heat until hot.  Add the potatoes, leek and spices.  Season with salt and pepper.   Cook, stirring occasionally, 4-6 minutes or until the leek is softened and fragrant.
3.  Meanwhile grate the cheese.
4.  While the vegetables continue to roast, add the flour to the pot and cook stirring constantly 30-45 seconds or until well combined.  Add the water and heavy cream.  Use the liquid to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.  Stir about 1 minute or until well-combined, season with salt and pepper.  Heat to boiling on high.  Once boiling, lower the temperature to medium-high and simmer 11-13 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a paring knife or fork.
5.  While the potatoes cook, cut off and discard the ends of each sugar snap peas.  (Optional: pull off and discard the tough string that runs along the length of the pod.)  Cut the sugar snap peas into 1/2-inch pieces.
6.  When the potatoes are done, turn the heat off.  Then using a fork, mash half of the potatoes against the side of the pot.  Stir to combine.  Turn heat back on and cook on medium-high for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally or until slightly thickened.  Season to taste.
7.  Add the cheese and sugar snap peas to the pot; stir until thoroughly combined.  Garnish with chives.
 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Quick Creamed Corn

Makes about the same amount as 2 cans of creamed corn that I use in this favorite soup recipe.

32 ounces frozen whole kernel corn (2-16 ounce packages or 4-6 cups of frozen corn)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar salt and pepper to taste

1. Place butter in large skillet over medium heat to melt.
2. Add frozen corn.
3. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat for a few minutes, until mostly thawed.
4. Add in whipping cream and sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent cream from scorching, for ten to fifteen minutes, until corn is cooked through and sauce is thick.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Rice Krispie Treats, with brown butter and vanilla

This our family's favorite rice krispie treat recipe. Browning the butter and adding the vanilla makes them have a little extra je ne sais quoi that makes them irresistible.  Adapted slightly from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

INGREDIENTS
 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
16 ounces large marshmallows or 6 1/4 cup mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch coarse, kosher salt or sea salt
9 cups crisp rice cereal (i.e. Rice Krispies)
Sprinkles (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Butter or spray the bottom and sides of a 9X13-inch pan. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter on low heat and let it cook until the solids start to turn golden brown and it smells caramelly and fragrant.

Add the marshmallows and cook on low, stirring constantly until essentially all melted.  Add the vanilla and salt and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat.  In a large bowl put half the rice krispies, then scrap in the marshmallow butter mixture, and then add the other half of the cereal.   Stir until evenly combined. Scrape the mixture into the 9x13 pan and using lightly greased spatula, lightly press the mixture into the pan (mashing them too hard and you'll end up with very firm rice krispie treats - so use a gentle hand if you want them chewy).  Add sprinkles on top if desired.  Let cool before slicing into squares.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Classic Brownies

After an extensive side-by-side comparison, this classic brownie was the unanimous favorite brownie for our family.  From Smitten Kitchen, Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.  Be sure to test for doneness before removing the brownies from the oven. If underbaked (the toothpick has batter clinging to it) the texture of the brownies will be dense and gummy. If overbaked (the toothpick comes out completely clean), the brownies will be dry and cakey.   (Note: this recipe from Smitten Kitchen is amazing and a bit simpler or even try it in mini brownie bites).

1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine 12 tablespoons
(1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 9x13 baking dish carefully with aluminum foil, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges.  Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 minute, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.)

When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla.

Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter.

Bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or in the freezer).

Kale Salad with Pecan Parmesan Topping and Lemon Vinaigrette

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.   Ideally the massaged kale and dressing sit for an hour or so, so plan ahead.  But if you make all the dressing and pecan parmesan topping ahead of time it comes together quickly at the end.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:
12-14 ounces kale (about 2 bunches), stemmed and finely shredded or choppedPinch of sea salt or coarse kosher salt1/4-1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries3-4 slices cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)

Dressing: 


3 tablespoons olive oil3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juicePinch coarse black pepperPinch of coarse kosher salt1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey

Pecan Parmesan Topping: 
1/2 cup pecan halves, lightly toasted2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese1 tablespoon olive oil1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

DIRECTIONS For the salad, place the chopped kale in a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Rub the salt into the kale for 2-3 minutes. You'll notice the kale starting to soften and darken in color.

For the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients until well-combined. Pour over the salad and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour (you can serve it right away but I think it tastes best if the kale and dressing have time to sit for an hour).

For the pecan parmesan topping, pulse the pecans in a blender or food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the Parmesan, olive oil and salt and continue to pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs but not totally smushed.

Add the craisins and bacon to the salad and toss.  Sprinkle the pecan topping over the salad. Serve immediately.

Massaged Kale and Craisin Salad with Feta Cheese

This is a favorite salad adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  The first time massaging Kale was a bit unusual, but it makes all the difference.

INGREDIENTS
6-10oz bag of kale greens, pre-trimmed*
pinch of salt
1/4 cup finely diced red onion, optional
1/4-1/3 cup dried cranberries/craisins (the cherry flavored ones our my favorite)
3/4 cup small-diced apple
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese

DIRECTIONS
 Place the kale in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt over the top and massage it into the kale with your hands for two minutes. You’ll notice the kale start to turn a darker green and the texture of the kale will begin to soften. Toss in the red onions if using, craisins, apples, sunflower seeds, and feta.

Notes:  I love this salad without dressing.  But it's also great with a store-bought white or red vineagreete or make your own.  In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

*If you don't buy pre-trimmed and washed Kale you can prep it the following way for this salad:
 Wash the kale and pat it dry. Slice off the stiff stems below the leaves and continue slicing the stem away from the leaf until you have cut a thin v-shape into the kale leaf and removed the tough stem all the way up. Stack the kale leaves two or three at a time, roll them up, and slice the leaves into thin ribbons.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Snickerdoodles

These are from my mom's cookbook and my friend Miquelle.  They are the best sugar cookies and soft!

Cookie Dough:
1 c. shortening (I like to use half cup shortening and half cup butter)
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:
1/4 sugar
2 T cinnamon


Cream shortening (and butter) with sugar.  Add eggs.  In a separate bowl mix flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.  Combine.  

Cover and chill dough at least 1 hour (optional, but if you don't, your dough will be sticky and the cookies will be flatter).

In a small bowl mix 1/4 sugar and 2 T cinnamon.   Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. **Take care to not over bake the cookies. They will not be brown but will still be gooey when you pull them out of the oven, let them sit on the pan for 1-2 minutes then place on cooling rack. They cook a little more as they cool.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Monkey Bread, Overnight Version

We love the Cook's Country recipe for monkey bread, but wanted an overnight version especially since we usually on make this for Christmas morning.  I found this version that gives instructions for an overnight rise in the fridge--and it was perfect!


Dough
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees, a bit warmer than body temperature)
  • ⅓ cup water, warm (about 110 degrees, a bit warmer than body temperature)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface* (begin with 2½ c flour, and add up to 3¼c)
Brown Sugar Coating
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Prepare a bundt pan by generously coating with softened butter.

Warm milk and water to about 110 degrees - a bit warmer than body temperature.  Add 2 tablespoons of melted butter, sugar, and salt to milk/water mixture. Stir to dissolve.  

In a stand mixer with a flat beater blade, add flour and yeast.  On the mixer's lowest setting, slowly add liquid mixture to flour until combined.  Turn off mixer and switch to dough hook. Slowly increase the speed and gradually add the remaining flour. (May take more or less) The dough should cling to the hook, and clean the sides of the mixing bowl.  Knead dough in mixer for 6-7 minutes until shiny and smooth, but slightly sticky.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in a smooth ball.  Coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and place ball of dough in bowl, turn to coat with cook spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place until dough roughly doubles in size (about 50-60 minutes).

Just before dough finishes its first rise, mix brown sugar and cinnamon in one small bowl. Put the 8 tablespoons of melted butter into a second bowl.  Remove dough from bowl and pat into a 8 inch by 8 inch square. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the square into 4 large pieces, then cut each of those quarters into about 16 pieces.  Gently roll each piece of dough into a ball.  Use one hand to dip the dough pieces into the butter, and allow excess butter to drip off, then place in the sugar mixture. Pick up the sugared pieces with other hand and layer in pan while staggering the seams.  

Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

Next morning, remove pan from refrigerator about one hour before baking. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap and bake about 30-35 minutes. The top should be brown, and edges will begin to bubble. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, and turn out on a large platter. Cool about 10 minutes, before glazing.

As bread cools, whisk together confectioner's sugar and milk in a small bowl until lumps disappear. Drizzle glaze over top of warm bread, and let it run down sides.  Serve warm, enjoy!  Excellent hardy breakfast with eggs and sausage/bacon and orange juice.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gingerbread with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

From Mel's Kitchen cafe who adapted it slightly from Lion House Recipes

INGREDIENTS
Gingerbread:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup very hot water

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs and molasses and blend again. Sift the dry ingredients together in a mesh strainer directly into the molasses/butter/sugar mixture and mix. Add the hot water and beat until the batter is smooth. It will be fairly thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake or the gingerbread will be dry. Serve the gingerbread warm or cold with cinnamon whipped cream (and sliced bananas, if desired).

For the cinnamon whipped cream: In a medium bowl, begin beating the whipped cream. After it starts to just slightly thicken, add the sugar and cinnamon and beat until medium-stiff peaks form.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Easy Chicken Crescent Rolls

This is a quick dinner that uses up leftover turkey or chicken.  From my mom.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 2-3 T milk
  • 1 T chopped chives (or a bit of onion seasoning and dried parsley)
  • 2 cans crescent rolls
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 2 T seasoned bread crumbs
DIRECTIONS
1.  Blend cream cheese and butter in a large bowl.
2.  Add chicken, salt, pepper, milk and chives.  Mix well.
3.  Separate crescents into triangles, spoon chicken mixture at base of each triangle and roll up.
4.  Brush the top of each crescent with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
5.  Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (egg-free) & Cookies

This is Curly's favorite!  She loves to make and eat cookie dough and she loves that I let her with this egg free recipe.  These make great cookie dough balls for chocolate fondue too!  Just make them extra small and freeze them ideally for at least an hour before dipping.  Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe: Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies {Egg-Free} YIELD: MAKES 2-3 DOZEN COOKIES

INGREDIENTS
 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
If you're making cookies and not just dough, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment or silpat liners.

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, melted butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until mostly incorporated by a few dry streaks remain. Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined and no dry streaks remain. Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand (just barely press, you don't need to flatten it all the way).

Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until the edges are just barely golden brown. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

If you just want cookie dough bites to eat, use your cookie scoop to measure onto a baking sheet.  Smooth dough into balls by rolling with your hands.  Then press slightly so they are like little disks.  Freeze for about an hour before removing form baking sheet and putting in a freezer safe container.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Sausage Cornbread Dressing

This recipe has become a tradition with the East Coast Bylund Thanksgivings...I look forward to it more then anything else (besides pie of course!)  Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites.



Ingredients:9×13″ pan of regular cornbread (I usually make this buttermilk cornbread recipe 3 days beforehand.
16-19 ounces Italian sausage, sweet or mild
1 large onion, finely chopped4 stalks celery, finely chopped1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped 3/4 c. chicken broth1/4 c. melted salted butterSage (2 teaspoons rubbed sage or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage)Rosemary (1/2 teaspoon dry or  1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary leaves)Thyme (1/2 teaspoon dry or 1 teaspoon thyme leaves stripped from the woody stems) 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more if necessary)Tabasco sauce to taste

Instructions:Make the cornbread, 2-3 days beforehand, and leave on the counter to dry out.

Preheat oven to 375.

Crumble the pan of cornbread into a  very large bowl. Set aside.

*(Note this step can be done 1-2 days ahead of time and then just refrigerate the pre-cooked sausage and the onion/celery/apple mixture).  Crumble the Italian sausage into a hot skillet and brown it over medium heat. Transfer the crumbled sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.  If there are 2 tablespoons of rendered sausage drippings in the pan, add the chopped celery, apples, and onions. If not, add enough olive oil to have around 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan and add the chopped ingredients when the oil is hot. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and fragrant. 

Add the onion/celery/apple mixture to the crumbled cornbread. Add the sausage and chopped herbs and toss until combined. Add the chicken broth and melted butter and toss to combine well. Season with salt and Tabasco to taste.

Press the cornbread mixture into a 9×13″ pan and bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven or until the top is golden brown. Serves about 12.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia

I got this recipe from my friend's blog: My Predilections who adapted it from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food.  It's a keeper!  We've made this several times--it's my new go to recipe for fish and a quick healthy delicious dinner.  The Tilapia is a great mild fish.  With this recipe even my pickiest eaters eat it and the rest of us are vying for seconds.

2 pounds tilapia, fresh or thawed from frozen
2/3 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons paprika (I've also subbed chili powder or chipotle powder in a pinch but used less since they're both spicier).
salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp kosher salt and about 1/4 tsp pepper) 
4-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided.

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large 12 inch skillet heat 2-3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat.
2.  In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal, paprika, salt and pepper with a fork or whisk until blended.
3.  Coat each side of the fish fillet in the cornmeal and place in the hot frying pan. (I fit 3-4 at once without crowding). Cook for three minutes. Flip. Cook for three minutes more or until golden brown and crispy. The texture should be firm and will flake a little when you cut into it. Remove to a warm plate.
4.  Repeat with second batch of fish. This recipe makes 8-10 fish fillets.

Quick Black Beans

A quick and tasty way to serve black beans!  From My Predilections.

1 can black beans rinse and drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon olive oil generous
dash of cumin (to taste)
red pepper flakes (optional)

 Place the beans in a small bowl. Microwave on high for one to two minutes or until heated through (microwave times vary). Stir in the garlic salt, olive oil and cumin (and optional red pepper flakes).