Welcome to our kitchen! Our goal is to create tasty kitchen concoctions and share them with friends and family. We hope you enjoy browsing through our favorite appetizers, breads, breakfasts, desserts, meals, and sides, as well as looking through general baking and cooking tips. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions of how to make these recipes even better. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Parmesan Herb Bread

My favorite way to jazz up a normal pasta dish is with this amazing bread!

Ingredients:
2 C warm water
1 package instant dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
6-6 1/2 C flour
1 egg white + 1 tsp water (for egg wash)

Directions:
1. Mix yeast, sugar, and salt into water.
2. Allow to rest 5 minutes.
3. Stir in 1 C flour.
4. Add oil, basil, oregano, black pepper, and cheese. Mix well.
5. Mix remaining 5-5 1/2 C flour.
6. Knead dough.
7. Cover dough and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
8. Split dough into 2 equal portions.
9. Roll each portion into a 16" long loaf.
10. Twist the loaf and place on greased baking sheet or baking stone covered in cornmeal.
11. Let rise 20 minutes longer.
12. Score the bread.
13. Beat egg whites with water.
14. Brush egg wash on bread.
15. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes and reapply egg wash.
16. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden.
17. Cool loaves and enjoy!

Makes 2 loaves.

Chex Mix

This is it - Traditional Chex Mix. Feel free to jazz it up with any creative add in snacks or spices!

Ingredients:
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 C dry roasted peanuts
1 C Cheerios
1 C pretzels
1 C corn Chex
1 C rice Chex
1 C wheat Chex
1 C Cheez-Its

Directions:
1. Mix butter, seasoned salt, and Worcestershire sauce in pan.
2. Heat on medium-low until butter is melted. Mix well.
3. Combine all other ingredients in 9"x13" pan.
4. Pour melted mixture over dry ingredients in pan.
5. Stir.
6. Bake at 250 F for 1 hour (stirring every 15 minutes).
7. Enjoy it fresh!
8. Store any leftovers in a sealed container.

Oreo Cheesecake

A very tasty recipe! This recipe is similar to our more traditional Cheesecake recipe. This recipe is from Dan & Laura's amazing cheesecake book with more than 100 different recipes!

Ingredients:
Crust:
16 Oreos (crush)
4 T butter (melted)

Filling:
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
1 C sugar
2 T flour
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/5 C heavy whipping cream
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (melted), optional
6 Oreos (coarsely crumbled)

Oreo Topping:
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 T sugar
6 Oreos (coarsely crumbled)

Directions:
1. In bowl, mix crust ingredients until they are well combined.
2. Press crust on bottom of 8.5" spring form pan.
3. In order to harden, refrigerate crust until needed.
4. Preheat oven to 500 F.
5. In large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar.
6. Beat with electric mixer until smooth.
7. Add flour, vanilla, eggs, egg yolks, cream, and melted chips.
8. Beat at high speed just to blend.
9. Fold in crumbled Oreos.
10. Pour mixture into spring form pan.
11. Bake 10 minutes at 500 F.
12. Reduce oven temperature to 250 F and bake about 50 minutes.
13. To reduce cracking on surface, cool in oven for one hour.
14. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
15. Chill at least 3 hours.
16. Immediately before serving, make Oreo Topping.
17. In small bowl, combine cream and sugar.
18. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.
19. Spread whipped cream over chilled cheesecake.
20. Sprinkle crumbled Oreos on top.

Serves 10-14.

Hot Fudge Sauce

This hot fudge is so good! We commonly use it on Cheesecake and ice cream. You can use anywhere between 1/4 to 3/4 C cocoa powder, depending upon your preference. The recipe calls for 3/4 C, but we normally use 1/2 C. I have used leftovers (refrigerated) from this recipe for up to 2-3 weeks following the initial making, and it still tastes great!

Ingredients:
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 C sugar
3 T butter (cut into small pieces)
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Stir together cocoa and sugar in small saucepan.
2. Add butter.
3. Heat on medium.
4. As soon as butter is melted, mix in cream.
5. Stir constantly.
6. Bring sauce to a boil.
7. Boil for 30 seconds while continuing constant stirring.
8. Remove from heat.
9. Stir in salt and vanilla.
10. Serve!
11. Store leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator.
12. Reheat sauce in microwave or over low heat.
13. Enjoy again and again!

Serves 12-18.

Cheesecake

We love cheesecake, and we really love this cheesecake! It is so good drizzled with Hot Fudge Sauce and strawberries. You can spread the crust over the bottom and sides of the spring form pan, but we find that just spreading it on the bottom is so much easier. When we have made this cheesecake, the cooking time has consistently been at least 1 hour and 20 minutes after reducing the temperature to 250 F. You can always tell that a cheesecake is finished when it no longer "jiggles" or when it passes the knife test.

For cheesecake with a twist, try our Oreo Cheesecake.

Ingredients:
(Crust:)
2 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C butter (softened)

(Filling:)
5 packages (8 oz. size) cream cheese (softened)
1 3/4 C sugar
3 T flour
1/4 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 C heavy whipping cream

Directions:
1. In bowl, mix crust ingredients until they are well combined.
2. Press crust on bottom and sides of 9" spring form pan.
3. In order to harden, refrigerate crust until needed.
4. Preheat oven to 500 F.
5. In large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar.
6. Beat with electric mixer until smooth.
7. Add flour, vanilla, eggs, egg yolks, and cream.
8. Beat at high speed just to blend.
9. Pour mixture into spring form pan.
10. Bake 10 minutes at 500 F.
11. Reduce oven temperature to 250 F and bake 1 hour longer.
12. To reduce cracking on surface, cool in oven for one hour.
13. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
14. Chill at least 3 hours before serving.

Serves 12-16.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

This is my mom's super-moist cinnamon roll recipe. It is easy to double or triple the recipe if you are baking for a large group. As mentioned in the recipe, you can prepare these cinnamon rolls the night before and allow to rise in the refrigerator overnight; however, the best cinnamon rolls are the ones that are started at 5AM (those type aren't made often at our place...we enjoy sleeping in too much).


Ingredients:
1/4 C milk
1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C shortening
1 package instant dry yeast
1/4 C warm water
2 eggs (beaten)
2 1/4 C flour
---------------------------
1/8 C cinnamon
1/8 C sugar
soft margarine
---------------------------
1 tsp milk
1/4 C powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Combine milk, sugar, salt, and shortening in saucepan.
2. Heat until shortening melts. Cool to lukewarm.
3. Combine yeast and warm water in another bowl.
4. Add eggs to water mixture.
5. Mix both bowls together.
6. Add flour and mix until smooth.
7. Knead dough.
8. Cover dough and allow to rise 30 minutes.
9. Mix cinnamon and sugar.
10. Roll dough into an 8" square.
11. Spread soft margarine over entire surface of dough.
12. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture on dough.
13. Roll dough "hot dog style" and pinch ends of dough.
14. Cut the dough in 6-10 slices (depending upon size and number desired).
15. Place the rolls in greased baking pan.
16. Allow to rise for 30 minutes (or overnight in refrigerator).
17. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
18. Prepare icing by mixing milk and powdered sugar.
19. Pour icing over baked cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

Serves 6-10.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sweet Sausage Meatballs

We liked this non-traditional meatball recipe from the first taste. The spinach adds a nice flavor.


Ingredients:
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
15 oz. fresh or frozen spinach
1/2 C ricotta cheese
1/2 C onion (finely chopped)
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 tsp oregano
2 T olive oil
16 oz. tomato sauce
cooked pasta

Directions:
1. Mix sausage, spinach, ricotta cheese, onion, egg, and oregano.
2. Shape into 1" balls.
3. Using hot olive oil, brown meatballs in large skillet.
4. Drain well.
5. Add tomato sauce.
6. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Serve on pasta.

Serves 6.

Pigs in a Blanket

We enjoy making pigs in a blanket. Mitch prefers them with mustard on the side; I like them when they are cheese-filled. They warm up well as leftovers. This bread recipe also tastes good as yeast rolls.


Ingredients:
1 package instant dry yeast
1/3 C + 1 tsp sugar (divided)
2/3 C warm milk
1/3 C warm water
1 egg (beaten)
2 1/2 T shortening (melted)
1 tsp salt
3 2/3 C flour
10 hot dogs
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Mix yeast, 1 tsp sugar, warm milk, and warm water.
2. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
3. Add in egg, shortening, 1/3 C sugar, and salt.
4. Mix in flour.
5. Knead dough.
6. Cover dough and allow to rise for 10-15 minutes.
7. Divide dough into 10 equal portions.
8. Roll section of dough into rectangle (5"x2 1/2").
9. Wrap dough around hot dog (and cheese, if desired).
10. Repeat with each piece of dough.
11. Allow "pigs" to rise on greased cookie sheet for 30 minutes.
12. Bake at 350 F for 15-18 minutes (or until golden brown).

Banana Bread

This recipe makes two wonderful tasting loaves or a dozen muffins. The bread/muffins keep well for a couple of days following the original bake. It's our favorite banana bread recipe! Thanks, Christina!


Ingredients:
1/2 C margarine
1 C sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp yogurt
3 bananas (mashed)
1 C flour
1 C oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. Stir together margarine, sugar, eggs, yogurt, and bananas.
2. Mix in dry ingredients.
3. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes (25 minutes for muffins).

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Basics of Bread Making

Bread making is a science. There are variables, such as temperature and humidity, that are out of our control. This means that we have to know our dough (and know what it likes) in order to have good bread.

I am by no means a professional baker, but I enjoy eating bread so much that I also enjoy experimenting with it. I'd like to share a few basics that I have learned about baking bread:

Yeast:
I have always used Fleischmann's Instant Dry Yeast (as opposed to active dry yeast, which requires proofing and takes about twice as long to rise). Some people say that when using instant yeast, warm water is not required to activate the yeast; however, I always use warm (100-115 F) water. Upon adding water, I mix the yeast and water vigorously until a bit frothy.
2 1/4 tsp = 1 package

Flour:
I normally use unbleached white flour as the main ingredient in my breads. I enjoy adding in a bit of wheat or rye flour for flavor. Many people say that using only bread flour is best. Some breads I have made use rice flour as their main component (these breads are very soft). I stick to my unbleached white flour, because that is what I like best.

Also very important to remember is that when you add flour to your dough, you should be watching the dough closer than you are watching the recipe. So many factors determine the amount of flour that your dough will need on the particular day that you are making it. Using the dough as your guide to how much flour to add is especially important while kneading the dough.

Rising:
After mixing and kneading the dough, only two steps remain: rising and baking. When using instant dry yeast, the dough is to "rest" 10 minutes after kneading. Then, it is to be formed into loaf, covered, and allowed rise until doubled (30-60 minutes). If making the dough into forms (rolls, doughnuts) other than a loaf, knead the dough, allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes as a whole, mold the dough into the desired shapes, and then allow to rise an additional 30 minutes. The dough should always rise in a warm, draft-free place. I find that on top of a preheating oven is a perfect place for it to rise. "Scoring" or slicing 1/4" deep slits into the bread prior to cooking allows the bread to rise further while cooking.

Baking:
Using a stone, covered in corn meal, is best for baking breads. Baking sheets also work fine. I have recently learned that bakery ovens have steamers inside them that continually spray the bread, giving it the hard crust and sealing in the moistness. I am told that these steamers can be simulated in a home oven by removing the bread from the oven and spraying it with water every 10 minutes while baking. I am still perfecting this technique.

Baked Doughnuts

These doughnuts (and doughnut holes) are amazing! They taste the best right out of the oven, so make them at a time when you will have lots of people to eat them up. Be sure to cut the middle holes large enough, or else you will have giant doughnut rolls.


Ingredients:
1 1/3 C warm milk (divided)
1 package instant dry yeast
2 Tbsp butter
2/3 C sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg
1 tsp salt
------------------------------------------------
1/2 C unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 C sugar

Directions:
1. Combine 1/3 C warm milk and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
2. Stir in butter, sugar, and remaining warm milk (1 C).
3. Stir in eggs, nutmeg, and salt.
4. Add in flour.
5. Knead dough, shape it into a ball, and cover.
6. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (30-60 minutes).
7. Roll dough 1/2" thick onto floured counter top.
8. Use a cookie cutter to stamp out 2-3" circles.
9. Transfer circles to greased baking sheet.
10. Stamp out inner circles using a smaller cookie cutter.
11. Cover and let rise another 45 minutes.
12. Bake at 375 F 8-10 minutes (until bottoms are golden).
13. Melt butter.
14. Combine cinnamon and sugar in separate bowl.
15. Remove doughnuts from oven. Let cool 1-2 minutes.
16. Dip each doughnut in butter and toss in cinnamon sugar.
17. Eat immediately.

Makes 1 1/2 - 2 dozen delicious doughnuts + doughnut holes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

White Chicken Chili

This meal is really easy to make for a large group of people. We normally error on the side of having way too much, because we love to eat white chicken chili as leftovers. It warms up great for days following the initial creation! Thanks, Sarah!


Ingredients:

2-3 chicken breasts, sliced into bite-size pieces
1 onion, diced
1 tall jar (16 oz) salsa
1 small bag (16 oz) frozen corn
1-2 cans (15.5 oz each) great northern beans
1 bag (12 oz) shredded colby-jack cheese
1 package McCormick's White Chicken Chili Seasoning

Directions:
1. Place sliced chicken and onion in large, heated pot.
2. Saute until chicken is browned.
3. Add in all other ingredients. Mix well.
4. Bring chili to a boil.
5. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until chili is desired thickness.
6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Serves 5-6.

Sausage Gravy

This gravy makes a wonderful meal with Angel Fluff Biscuits, potatoes, and/or scrambled eggs.

Ingredients:
½ lbs sausage
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter
3 C milk
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp pepper

Directions:
1. Brown sausage in pan. Drain grease from pan.
2. Mix in flour and butter.
3. Add milk and stir constantly.
4. Simmer on medium/high heat until gravy thickens as desired.
5. Stir in salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6.

Angel Fluff Biscuts

They are just as heavenly as their name makes them sound! They taste especially good smothered in our sausage gravy.


Ingredients:
1 C buttermilk (or 1 T lemon juice or vinegar + enough milk to make 1 C), warmed
1 package instant dry yeast
1/4 C shortening, melted and cooled
2 T sugar
1/2 C warm water
3 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.
3. Add warm buttermilk and Crisco.
4. Add in baking powder, salt, and soda. Mix well.
5. Add flour and mix thoroughly.
6. With floured hands, roll dough into 2" balls.
7. Place balls on greased cookie sheet.
8. Let rise for 30 minutes.
9. Bake at 400 degrees until slightly browned (approximately 5-10 minutes).

Serves 4-6.

Lemony Crisps

This is a tasty and easy recipe I found on the side of a cake box a few years ago. It's still one of our favorite cookies!


Ingredients:

1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 C vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 C sugar
----------------------
1 C powdered suger
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Mix together first set of ingredients (cookie dough).
3. Drop dough onto greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
5. Mix together second set of ingredients (icing).
6. When cooled, drizzle with icing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Yeast Rolls

We've tried several recipes for yeast rolls and have determined this one to be the best! I often replace 1 C of white flour with wheat flour for added nutrition and flavor.



Ingredients:
1 C hot water
1/4 C margarine
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 C cold water
1 package instant dry yeast
2 3/4 C flour
1 egg

Directions:
1. Melt margarine in hot water.
2. Add sugar and salt. Stir.
3. Add cold water and yeast to water. Stir.
4. Add 1 1/2 C flour. Mix.
5. Add egg and 1 - 1 1/2 C more flour.
6. Knead dough.
7. Cover dough and let rise until it doubles in size.
8. Make walnut size balls of dough. Let rise for 30 minutes.
9. Place balls about 2" apart in greased 9" x 13" pan.
10. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 30-40 minutes.
11. Brush top of rolls with margarine while hot.

Makes 2 dozen rolls.

Chewies

This recipe makes a delicious cookie bar. It is super-quick and easy to make! Thanks, Sarah!


Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 C chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Combine all ingredients.
3. Pour mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan.
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Do not overbake!

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