Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Favorite Broccoli Cheese Soup

I love this recipe because I have made adaptations with the ingredients I have on hand, and it has always turned out yum-o.  The kids all love it, too.

Favorite Broccoli Cheese Soup
Recipe adapted from here

1 medium onion, chopped (can use dried onion)
4 Tbs. butter
6 Tbs. flour
4 cups milk
2-3 cups broccoli, steamed and chopped
1 can chicken broth (or 4 tsp. chicken bouillon + 1-1/2 cups water)
Pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. garlic salt
4 cups cheddar cheese, grated

In large pot, saute onion in butter until tender (if using dried, add with liquid ingredients).  Stir flour into butter until smooth.  Let cook until flour is lightly brown, stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk and chicken broth (or bouillon and water).  Cook and stir until thickened.  Add pepper, garlic salt, and cheese.  Heat through.  Stir in cooked broccoli and serve.  Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Bread Bowls

This was my first attempt EVER at making bread bowls.  They turned out so awesome, I will never purchase them again.  Unless I don't have the time to make them ;-)  Recipe adapted from here.

Bread Bowls

2 (.25 oz) pkgs. active dry yeast (I buy in bulk, so I used a kitchen scale to measure)
2-1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
7 cups flour (I used a little less)
1 Tbs. cornmeal
1 egg white
1 Tbs. water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.  Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well.  Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time.  When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes.  *Note: I mixed and kneaded using my Bosch mixer.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (my oven has a Proof setting - love it), about 40 minutes.

Punch dough down, and divide into 8 equal portions.   Shape each portion into a 4" round loaf.  Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.  *Note: I doubled the batch, then measured my dough into 8 oz. portions (larger than what is suggested here).  A double batch made 12 large bread bowls and one small.  I baked 4 bowls per sheet, and fit the small bowl on the final sheet with the 4 larger bowls.

Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 Tbs. water;  lightly brush loaves with egg wash, then bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes (I baked them 20 minutes for their larger size).  Brush with remaining egg wash and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, or until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped.  Cool on wire racks.

To make bowls, cut a 1/2" slice from the top of the loaf; scoop out centers (nothing fancy, just use your fingers), leaving 3/4" thick shells.  Fill bread bowls with hot soup and serve immediately.  YUM!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

My mom made meatloaf occasionally while I was growing up.  I always thought it was a tasty meal, and especially loved the ketchup sauce she put on top.  Whatever her recipe was, I remember that it had oatmeal in it.  I thought that was an unusual ingredient to put with hamburger, but I was not a complainer.  Seriously, I ate about everything (except breakfast, which I didn't care for until I was considerably older).

My family, on the other hand, has NOT been meatloaf fans of any sort.  I have tried at least a half-dozen recipes over the years, and finally resigned myself to the idea that I may not make another meatloaf until every last child has left my nest.  (I'm not even sure if Bill is a fan.)  Regardless, it is a dish I have craved on occasion, and, after perusing my long-ago-purchased-but-never-used Pioneer Woman cookbook, decided that I simply must try again.

May I just say, "Meatloaf success."

I think Mar and Shi found it palatable, and even finished off their entire servings.  That is saying a boatload. Bill called it a "gourmet meal."  (I know... meatloaf... gourmet?  But I'll take it!  I think the "Bacon-Wrapped" part is what got him.)

You can find the original recipe here, but I made a few teeny tiny changes, so I'll go ahead and post my updated recipe.  And my very own unprofessional pictures.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf (more descriptive than plain ol' "Meatloaf" I think)

1 cup milk
6 bread slices (food process until crumbs - which I didn't do and didn't care for visible bread chunks in my finished meatloaf)
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (don't use Parmesan/Romano blend; plain ol' Parmesan is the best.  Kraft is probably just dandy.)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley (I didn't have it, and Walmart didn't have it, so I skipped it, which was probably best so the kids didn't see green things.)
4 eggs, beaten
8 slices bacon (I used a thick-cut because that's what I had, I would recommend regular thin slices to get them crispier.)

Ketchup Sauce (YUM) - btw, I halved the sauce recipe*
1-1/2 cups ketchup
6 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
Dash or two of hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, pour the milk over the bread crumbs and allow to soak for several minutes.  Add the ground beef, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley (if using).  Pour in beaten eggs.  With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.  Form into a loaf on a broiler pan lined with foil (best tip ever!)

*NOTE: This makes quite a large meatloaf, and since my family is ever-decreasing in size, I made TWO loaves from a single recipe, wrapped up one in Saran and foil, and popped that baby in the freezer for a rainy day.  

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking the ends underneath the meatloaf.

For the Ketchup Sauce, put all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.  I used a little more than a dash or two of hot sauce - like a glug or two - and thought it had the perfect amount of heat.  By glug I mean a forceful shake of the bottle while it's turned completely upside down.  Not a glug like from a gallon of milk.  Just to be clear.

Pour 1/3 of the Ketchup Sauce over the meatloaf and spread evenly.  Bake for 45 minutes, then spread on another 1/3 of the sauce.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.  NOTE: I thought that since I was only cooking half of the meatloaf that it wouldn't require as much time.  I kept checking it and found that it took pretty much the full time.  I even meat-thermometered it, just to make sure it was good and done.

Serve with the remaining Ketchup Sauce.  And a side of mashed potatoes.  Real or instant, we're not picky here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Best Ever Banana Muffins - And Healthy, Too!

If you have some of those nasty {looking} {smelling} {tasting} overripe bananas lying around (or some of those even nastier {looking} frozen bananas (I usually pop them in the freezer - peel and all - when they arrive at the aforementioned state and I don't have time to whip up some of these delectable babies), this is the recipe for you.

My family loves them.  

The initial recipe was full of all kinds of white flour, white sugar, and BUTTER (but still oh-so-yummy), so I have modified it a bit to make them Breakfast I'm-a-good-mom-for-feeding-my-family-so-healthy worthy. The great thing is, my family doesn't even notice (until I point it out to them that I am such a good mom for feeding them so healthy).


6 lg. bananas
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Splenda (or other sugar substitute)
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup coconut oil, liquified (zap for a few seconds in the micro)

Mash bananas.  Add sugar(s) and slightly beaten eggs.  Add the coconut oil.  Add the dry ingredients.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Adjust your temp (350) and time (15-20 mins) if using dark pans.  {Smiley face} Makes 2 dozen. (I always make this large of a batch, since these muffins are great to freeze and pull out on a busy day.  If you only want a dozen muffins, by all means, halve the recipe.)


Zucchini Muffins - Third Time's A Charm

Since I am using this blog as a collection place for my favorite recipes, and I don't really care if anyone else refers to it other than myself (although I'm selfishly thinking it may save me some time in the long run when someone asks me for a recipe), I am going to post a recipe that I recently found I had posted TWICE on my family blog (here and here).  Obviously a favorite.

The original recipe is called Ian's Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes, but since I don't know Ian, AND I think these make much better muffins (with a few slight adjustments to the recipe, which technically makes them mine, right?), I just call them

Best Ever Zucchini Muffins
If you are luckier than I and have a plethora of zucchini, you will thank me for this.
And, if you want to slap some cream cheese frosting on them, you can call them cupcakes.

1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups packed brown sugar (could be why they were originally called cupcakes)
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
3 cups coarsely grated zucchini
2/3 cup vegetable oil coconut oil (quick zap in the microwave to liquify)

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

(NEW NOTE:  I have read recently about the benefits of coconut oil (organic extra virgin - Costco is now carrying it) - confirmed as Dr. Oz referred to it as one of his top 5 "superfoods."  From henceforth I will be substituting it for vegetable oil and/or butter in all my quick bread/muffins recipes.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using dark pans).  Line cups of 2 standard muffin tins with paper or foil liners.  In a large bowl, mix together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix in nuts, if using.

In another bowl combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Divide batter evenly among cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn muffins out and let cool completely.  Makes 24 muffins.

See?  The third time's a charm... with some new, healthier, useful information. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quick Mixer Bread

I thought I had lost this recipe the last time I wanted to make bread, so I figured I would get it posted, just in case I am ever in such a panic again.  This is a staple around here, not only for yummy home-made white bread, but for cinnamon rolls and scones.  I've only made it in a Bosch mixer (a very OLD Bosch mixer - but I'm not complaining!).  Mi mamita showed me how to make it years ago - I can't thank her enough.

(I was looking through my files for a picture of this delicious bread, and then noticed that it's on the blog header... along with the cinnamon rolls AND scones... all of which are made from this very recipe.  Check them out there!)


Put into mixer:
7 cups flour
1 cup non-instant powdered milk (good use of food storage)
1 cube butter or margarine (I prefer butter), softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 to 1-1/2 Tbs. salt
2 Tbs. instant yeast (I have used regular yeast and it works great too)

Blend with whips in mixer.  Add six cups of warm water and two eggs all at once before turning on whips again.  Whip until batter is smooth.  Put in bread hook and turn on mixer again.  Add more flour until you have a good bread texture (9 to 10 cups).  Mix for 10 minutes.  Turn off mixer and cover for 15 minutes.  Put butter on counter (because I have tile countertops, I use a large plastic cutting board with a damp towel underneath) and divide dough into loaves and roll out with a rolling pin.  (I roll into a rectangle, then tightly roll up, pinch and tuck ends, and pinch the end of the roll, placing it on the bottom of the pan.)  You can cook two loaves in a cake pan (I use bread pans, and have discovered that glass pans work best).  Let raise for about an hour or until double in bulk.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Funeral Sandwiches

I tried these for the first time yesterday for our semi-annual General Conference luncheon.  I had found several recipes online and read many rave reviews, so I figured I would give them a try.  They were a huge hit.  I combined, then modified two different recipes, so I guess the end-result would be MINE.

Funeral Sandwiches
(I might need to find another name)

Dinner rolls*
24+ slices Black Forest Ham (I used Castlewood brand from Sam's, deli ham would be great too)
24 slices Swiss Cheese (I used the pre-sliced Tillamook, and cut the slices into smaller squares, then also used the edge pieces, 2 edge slices per sandwich)

Slice rolls, if needed.  Squeeze 24 rolls on an 11x15 inch sheet pan (it's okay if they are touching).  Place one slice of ham (some of my slices were super thin, so I added another half slice with those) and one slice of cheese on the bottom half of each roll, then replace tops.

*Most recipes I found called for King's Hawaiian Rolls.  I am not a fan of their texture and sweetness, so I opted to go for the dinner rolls from Sam's Club.  They were perfectly chewy (not spongey) and perfectly sweet with the following sauce.

Sauce of yumminess:
1 cube butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. poppy seeds (I used slightly less - they are mostly for aesthetics, I think)
1 tsp. onion powder

Mix together with a small whisk.  Brush tops of ham and cheese rolls liberally with sauce, then pour remaining sauce over all.  Cover pan with foil and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls, covered, for 10 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Since I was making these for a crowd, here are the quantities I used:

3 bags of Sam's dinner rolls (I think there are 36 rolls per bag)
3 pkgs. of Castlewood thinly sliced Black Forest Ham (Sam's)
1-1/2 pkgs. of Tillamook pre-sliced Swiss cheese (Sam's)

That made 4 sheet pans of rolls (96 total), with a few plain rolls left over, which was perfect for guests who may not want/like ham and cheese (only my cute 4 yr. old neighbor friend preferred a pb&j).


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sugar Cookie Crust Peaches and Cream Pie

(Adapted from the More from Magnolia Cookbook)


1/2 cup butter, softened
3 Tbs. sugar
1 large egg yolk, room temp
3 Tbs. heavy cream
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt


2 (8oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla


2-1/2 cups peeled, thinly sliced ripe peaches

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  For the crust, in a large bowl on low speed of an electric mixer (I use the paddle attachment on my stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until smooth.  Add the egg yolk and cream and mix well.  Add the flour and salt, and beat until just combined.  Gather the dough into a ball and roll out on a lightly floured surface to fit into a 9" glass pie dish. (Note:  my dough was too sticky to use this method, so after my first failed attempt, I just put the dough in the dish and used my fingers to distribute it evenly.  You could always try refrigerating your dough for a bit before rolling out to make it less sticky.)  

Fold the edges under all around the rim and crimp.  Prick the bottom and sides all over with a fork.  Cover the edge with aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove the foil and continue baking 20 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and golden.  (Note:  I panicked a bit when the crust was looking past "golden" after about 15 minutes, so I pulled it out of the oven immediately.  I believe it may have burned had I left it in the full 20 minutes.)  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

For the filling, in a large bowl on medium speed (using the paddle attachment again), beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue to beat on med/low speed until well combined (can switch to whisk attachment).  Refrigerate the filling while the crust is cooling.

When the crust is completely cooled, spread the filling evenly in the crust with a rubber spatula.  Arrange the peach slices on top of the filling in a decorative manner.  (Note:  I would wait to put the peaches on until right before serving, as mine turned a little brown-ish.)  Refrigerate the pie for at least 8 hours or overnight to ensure the filling sets.