January 27, 2016

Raspberry and Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies


Wow!  These cookies are delicious!!  I grabbed this recipe from Land O Lakes.

I have never made shortbread cookies before, and I really like them.

I changed the recipe up just a tiny bit.  I added a 60% cocoa chocolate chip to the center and let it melt into the raspberry jam.  I also used vanilla extract, as I didn't have any almond extract.  

You have to follow the directions to this recipe and chill your dough in the refrigerator, or your cookies will spread.  My first batch did spread, even though Cudjoe and I both thought they actually tasted better!!


These cookies would be perfect for Valentine's Day.  You could package them up and give them to family and friends!!


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January 25, 2016

A Three-Tiered Layer Cake



It's a cold, snowy day here in the Midwest, and what better way to spend the day than to bake?  

These are the very best baking days.  And this cake with its rainbow sprinkles is very cheerful indeed.

I had in mind to make a Neopolitan Cake with a chocolate layer, vanilla layer, and strawberry layer, but decided to do a raspberry layer and dark chocolate layer; just to change it up a bit.

I used a "doctored" cake mix.   If you want something a bit easier and more likely to turn out perfect every, single time, this is the way to go.  The cake was very moist and was really quite delicious.

I buy the Pillsbury cake mix with pudding in the mix.  I substitute butter for the oil and milk for the water and then just follow the directions on the box.  I can always count on the cake turning out perfectly.  That's not always true for my cakes baked "from scratch".

For the raspberry layer, I added in three heaping tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam to the white cake batter.

These are 8-inch cakes.  I used half of the white cake mix batter for one cake, the other half of the white cake mix batter with raspberry seedless jam for the second cake, and half of the dark chocolate cake mix for the third cake.  

I frosted the cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and used a frosting comb to make the lines on the sides of the cake and added the rainbow sprinkles.  And there you have it.  

With candles on top, wouldn't it make the perfect birthday cake?

For the chocolate buttercream frosting, I used one and one-half sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature, six cups of sifted powdered sugar, four heaping tablespoons of Hershey's cocoa powder, one teaspoon of vanilla, and approximately six tablespoons of half and half to desired consistency. 




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January 19, 2016

Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots




Roast, potatoes, and carrots, an old stand-by, traditional Sunday dinner, and that's just what we had last Sunday for dinner, after returning home from mass.

This one is an easy one and perfect for a busy family.   This "recipe" is from my mother.  This is how she always cooks roast, potatoes, and carrots,

Cudjoe loves beef; so this meal makes him happy.


I did mine in a roaster in the oven, but it could easily be done in a slow cooker.  No sweat.  A perfect meal for a cold, winter day.

Here's how I do it:

Ingredients:

3 pound chuck roast
1 can French Onion Soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Package of Au Jus Mix
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 bag of baby carrots
1 to 2 cups of water or enough to cover roast
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chuck roast into roasting pan, and place potatoes and carrots around roast.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Open soups and pour over top of roast.  Sprinkle package of Au Jus Mix on top of roast.  Add enough water to cover roast.  Cover the pan with a lid.  Cook in a 350-degree oven for 3 hours.

Serve to family, friends, and appreciative husbands!!
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January 16, 2016

Roasted Chicken Provencal


This recipe is from the New York Times Best Recipes for 2015.   And I have a freezer full of frozen chicken breasts; so I made this for supper this week.  It was delicious.  It's what I call "a keeper"; "good enough to serve to company".  Some recipes I try from the internet don't always turn out so well, or some I throw together myself are not worthy of a repeat.

You can read all about it here.  I served it with rice.  All I can say is WOW.  Very good.  And did I mention it was easy?  You can definitely serve this at a dinner party and impress your friends!


Roasted Chicken Provencal 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - butterflied

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons herbes de Provence

1 lemon, quartered

2 heaping teaspoons of minced garlic

1/2 onion, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of Chardonnay

1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Lightly dredge the chicken in the all-purpose flour.

Pour the oil into the bottom of a roasting pan.  Place the floured chicken in the pan spreading the oil to cover bottom of the roasting pan.  Sprinkle the herbs de Provence over each chicken breast.  Arrange the lemon, minced garlic and onions around and on top of the chicken.  Add the Chardonnay and chicken broth to the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.   Baste the chicken with the pan juices and roast another 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 

I served the chicken on a large, white plate.  Serve to family and friends!!

Adapted from the New York Times Best Recipes for 2015
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January 13, 2016

Brookies


I saw Brookies on a blog I regularly read, a friend to knit with, some time ago, and made them this week.  

I googled brookies, and the recipe I used was here.

If you like chocolate chip cookies, and if you like brownies, you have the best of both worlds!!

However, I will say this:  All brownie recipes aren't created equally, and I (gasp) like boxed brownies just as well, if not better than, brownies made from scratch. 

When or if I make these again, I will use a brownie mix.  No worries.



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January 12, 2016

Chocolate Almond Braid


I saw this Chocolate Almond Braid on my Newsfeed on Facebook. I now see Facebook pages that my friends are liking that are videos of recipes, only they are in "double speed".  I love that.

Most of these recipes look fairly simple.  I think quick and easy is great for busy, working people.  Don't you?

  
It was pretty tasty, and if you want to try it, here's the link to YouTube.  Just search Chocolate Almond Braid.

Easy and delicious.  What more can you ask for??
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January 5, 2016

Swedish Meatball Soup


I made this soup yesterday for our supper, and I just want to tell you that it is delicious!!  We had it left over for lunch today.  Still delicious!!

I made the meatballs from scratch.  I contemplated buying them already made, but they were $7.99 for a bag, and since I am practicing "frugal January" after the great expense of "Christmas 2015", I decided I could make my own for a little less.  Besides, they were better.  Trust me on this.

I got my inspiration for this soup from lifeingraceblog.com.  She has some fabulous soup recipes. 

I love soup.  And this one will certainly go into my rotation of soup recipes.

Here's how I did it:

Swedish Meatballs

1 pound of ground beef
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/2 onion, chopped or diced
1 tablespoon of parsley
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 egg
2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of bread crumbs

In a skillet, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cooked the onions until they were translucent. 

I mixed the ground beef, cooked onions and all the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and you can either stir with a spoon or mix with your hands.   I used a cookie scoop, and scooped the meatball mixture out and rolled it into a ball (approximately 1-1/2 inches).

I added two to three more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and browned the meatballs on all sides.  I did this in two batches.  I honestly don't remember how many meatballs this made, but it made plenty for a pot of soup.

I removed the meatballs to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain excess grease.

Do not discard drippings that are left in  the skillet.

For the Soup

3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
5 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
3 cups of no-yolk egg noodles
salt and freshly ground pepper

I poured the drippings from the skillet into a dutch oven and melted the butter with these drippings.  I added three tablespoons of butter, the chicken broth, half and half, milk and cooked until it thickened slightly.  I then added the egg noodles and meatballs, salt and pepper.  I let it cook on low for quite awhile.  Since I made it early in the day, at some point, I covered it and turned the heat off.  I reheated it when we were ready to eat, and I added a cup of water to it at that point to thin it out a bit.

It is delicious and certainly worthy to serve to family and friends!!



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