Monday, July 18, 2016

Braised Potatoes

I didn't realize braised potatoes was a thing that was kind of frustrating to get "just right" until I watched an episode about them on Americas Test Kitchen. Turns out the trick is to boil them with the butter, so when the water evaporates, the butter that's left will sizzle and brown the bottoms. I thought heck, might as well give it a try!

Who am I kidding, though. It's from America's Test Kitchen. As if they'd give me a recipe that wasn't tested a bajillion times with ensured quality. 

You must try these! They are extremely easy and actually cook up pretty fast. I especially like them in the summer time as opposed to roasted potatoes so I'm not turning on the oven. The bottoms of the potatoes can be a darker brown than this when they're done, but these were great for me! (There's also no chives in this picture so they don't look very pretty)

What you will need:
  • 12" non stick skillet (I've used non stick, giant pot and everything in between and it's all worked out great)
  • Baby red potatoes about 1-1/2" in size, halved
  • 2 C water (or enough to fill the skillet up until just the tippy tops of the potatoes are peeking out)
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (made them without as well. Still great!)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • Arrange potato halves with cut side down around in the non stick skillet
  • Add water and salt
  • Add butter
  • Add garlic cloves whole
  • Bring to simmer over medium-high heat
  • Once it's simmering, reduce heat to medium and cover with a lid
  • Let it simmer some more until it's just tender (about 15 minutes)
  • Remove lid and remove thyme and garlic to set aside
  • Keeping the lid off, allow the potatoes to continue simmering back at medium high heat, swirling pan occasionally until the water has evaporated and you can hear a "sizzle" sound from the butter started to work its magic (this will take about another 10 minutes)
  • When garlic has cooled, mince into a paste and mix with 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2 T chives (or you can use whatever seasonings you have around that you want to try out!)
  • Check the bottoms of the potatoes and when they're a deep golden brown color they're done! Toss them around with the garlic/lemon paste or whatever seasonings you've chosen

Monday, June 6, 2016

PMS Cookies

I spent a little while trying to figure out what to call these cookies. Double Chocolate Nutella....Nutella Chocolate....Chocolately Chocolate Chocolateness. Then I kind of just figured hey, I'll be honest. They're PMS cookies.

I spent a good 20 minutes scrolling through Pinterest trying to find a cookie recipe that I wanted to make after a day of raging irritation at every tiny noise and sight. After a day of feeling so tired and bloated and foggy. I just wanted chocolate. But I wanted nutella. But I wanted them both. But I didn't want any of the recipes I was seeing.

So I stood at my Kitchen-Aid and threw stuff in there. I know the basics of a cookie recipe so I just went for it and hoped it worked out. Oh gosh they freakin' hit the spot! I'm so glad they worked out. And I think my husband is too. Because I was nice again afterwards.

What you will need:
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c nutella (I feel like I could have gone up to 3/4 c to make them a bit more gooey)
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 375*
  • Mix butter, sugars and egg until light and fluffy
  • Add in the vanilla and nutella and mix in until well combined
  • Add in the cocoa powder and baking soda until well combined
  •  Add in the flour a little at a time until well combined
  • Toss in the chocolate chips and mix until just combined
  • Roll dough (it will be very thick) into balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes depending on your oven

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Banana Muffins

So these are preetttyy much exactly like my banana bread recipe. Except I've got this with a little less sugar, no cinnamon flavors and some baking powder thrown into the mix. I of course kept my brown sugar in there because once I started doing it that way I couldn't stop. :)

These are very frickin' delicious. I usually get around 14 muffins using a regular sized muffin tin. I've been reaching for this recipe more often than banana bread once my bananas are ready because they bake up in 15 minutes (13 minutes if it's my oven) instead of nearly an hour with the loaf of banana bread!

What you will need:
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed up
  • 1/3 c butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  •  Preheat oven to 350*
  • Spray a muffin pan, or place cupcake liners
  • Mix all wet ingredients together in a mixing bowl (mashed bananas, melted butter, egg and vanilla)
  • Add in the sugars and mix well
  • Add in the baking soda and baking powder and mix well
  • Add in the flour a little at a time mixing well between each addition
  • Scoop batter into each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full (I use a large cookie scoop which makes it go by really fast and no mess!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mini Pizza Pops

So these were originally Mini Deep Dish Pizza's using muffin tins, but I didn't love the idea of my kids biting into a cup of pizza sauce. So we made them like this and called them pizza pops cause they could just pop'em in their mouth.

Their texture is perfect! They crisp up nicely on the bottom and kind of curl up a tad around the edges. Needless to say my kids went crazy for them! Using just 1 tortilla, I got 12 mini's out of it so each of my girls got to make 6. It was the perfect after school snack. It actually filled them up enough and I didn't hear any requests for snacks before dinner! That's pretty darn huge ;).

What you will need: 
  • Tortilla's
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzerella cheese
  • Mini pepperoni's
  • Any other pizza toppings you like
  • Preheat oven to 425*
  • Cut circles out of a tortilla, whatever size you like, though the mini's are pretty darn cute
  • Add your pizza sauce, cheese and toppings
  • Lay mini's down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  • Bake for about 10 minutes 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

3 Ingredient Homemade Cheeze-Its

This week I decided not to refill the kids "snack box." They get to pick out one after school every day, but the choices were things like cookies, chips and, you guessed it, cheeze-its.

So I got all ambitious this week and was like hey, surely I can come up with snack box level deliciousness that won't cost my kids health quite so much. I stumbled on these homemade cheeze-its and thought well, at least these aren't going to be packed with over 20 crap ingredients.

The very best part about these? My kids LOVED them! My husband said they taste exactly like Cheeze It's....just....fresher. You're basically just eating baked cheese :). I call this a 3 ingredient recipe, but technically there's 4 if you count the 2 T I lied to you.

A few notes about this recipe:

On a scale of 1-10, the crunch/crispy factor was at about 7 with my first batch (I purposely baked small batches so I could do test runs first and not ruin them all at once). I made sure my cheese and butter were both room temperature so I thought about other ways to get them crispier. I tried rolling out the dough even thinner and baked them for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe says. (That was weird, considering that I usually have to cut my cooking time for most recipes with how my oven is). I also turned on the broiler for a minute at the end and I think that kicked up the score to a 9.

After using the 2 T of water like the recipe said, the mixture still looked dry and crumbly in the food processor. I decided to feel it and see how it was doing. It was PERFECT! So, make sure you feel the dough after the initial 2 T, you should be able to mold it all together into a smooth ball. It was a lot like play-dough. Hey.....a play dough recipe I won't panic if my 1 1/2 year old eats! Wahoo!

There was no specifics on how long to chill the dough. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes the first time (remember that was the batch that resulted in a 7 on the crispy scale). So I left the dough in the freezer about 20 minutes the next couple times around. I think that helped!

I added some kosher salt to the crackers right before I put them in the oven on my last two batches. the first batch wasn't salty enough for me even with the original recipe calling for 1 tsp. salt. So I would just skip that part and add crunchy salt to the tops instead (but I have an insane salt tooth so judge it for yourself!)

All in all, make sure you're rolling the dough out thin enough and chilling the dough long enough and these will be perfection!

What you will need:
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, room temp.
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 4 T butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 2 T ice water
  • Add grated cheese, flour, butter and optional salt into a food processor and pulse until it's blended into a fine crumbly mixture
  • Add in the water and blend until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the processor (will probably still look crumbly, but FEEL IT for a playdough-like consistency first before adding more water) 
  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Shape dough into a ball and chill in plastic wrap until dough is more firm (keeping mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes I think gave me the best results)
  • Roll the dough to 1/8" thick and slice with a pizza cutter into little squares
  • Use a toothhpick or skewer to poke holes into the middles
  • Add salt if desired
  • Bake for about 15 minutes and check every 5 minutes after that until they are desired crispiness

Saturday, May 21, 2016

German Chocolate Cake with German Chocolate Frosting

It's called a German Chocolate Cake, but zero German chocolate was used. So what does that make it? Really it's just a good ol' rich chocolate cake with that traditional coconut and pecan frosting. The frosting is CRAZY good. My 5 year old took a spoon to the pan and sat on a bucket in the kitchen scraping off the sides until there was absolutely no trace left.
So, legit German Cake or not, this recipe will be used and used again in our house! Hop over to A Dash of Sanity to check out the background on this amazing cake!

What you will need:
  • 2 C white sugar
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 C boiling water

  • 1 C evaporated milk
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 C chopped pecans
  • 1 C coconut
  • 1 T cornstarch

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Grease 2 9x9 round cake pans, 3 8x8 round cake pans, or 1 13x9 cake pan (I just made 2 9x9 cakes)
  • Add all dry cake ingredients into a mixing bowl or Kitchen-Aid and blend well
  • Add all wet ingredients except for boiling water one by one and blend well
  • Add in boiling water little by little until mixed in
  • Blend for about 1 minute after water has been mixed in
  • Pour even amount of cake batter into each cake pan
  • Bake about 30-35 minutes
  • Allow to cool completely

  • In a sauce pan, mix evaporated milk and sugar together
  • Add in cornstarch, mix well
  • Add sugar and eggs, blend well
  • Bring to a slow boil
  • Start stirring constantly for 12 minutes while it thickens
  • Add in vanilla and mix in
  • Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut
  • Let it cool before frosting

Monday, December 14, 2015

Raspberry Sauce

Well, this stuff was a goldmine to find at The Gunny Sack! I made it a few months ago for my daughters birthday because she wanted cake waffles? So I had to think up a few toppings to use for those. This was one of them and everyone loved it.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I tried to make a layered cake for my sons birthday. I made this sauce to layer between the cakes. The cake fell apart and I was left to just go buy a little cake for my son instead. I picked up a cheesecake for everyone else and....tuh duh! Still had some raspberry sauce I could use with it.

So, this stuff is basically a staple. Use it on ice cream! Cake! Cheesecake. Waffles. Pancakes. Whatever you want! It's so incredibly easy and just so darn delicious. My husband goes nuts over it.

What you will need:
  • 12 oz. raspberries
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T cold water
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • On medium heat, cook the raspberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan until the raspberries start to break down (about 5-7 minutes) 
  • Combine the cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the raspberry sauce
  • cook for about 30-60 seconds until the mixture is thickened
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt
  • Let the sauce cool and then store in a container in the fridge