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!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Mint Chocolate Crinkle Top Cookies

These cookies are the perfect melt-in-your-mouth fudgey consistancy. They are one of Mitch's favorites from childhood. I slightly modified the recipe and added peppermint extract - it was the perfect touch, but I can imagine they are also good without the peppermint. I made them for the first time this week for a group of friends, and they were quickly eaten up. These are going to be a new regular in our house!

2 C chocolate chips, divided
1 C sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C powdered sugar (for rolling)

1.) In a small bowl, microwave 1 C chocolate chips until smooth (about 1 minute) - it is very important to stir every 10-15 seconds to prevent burning.
2.) In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter.
3.) Beat vanilla and peppermint extract into butter mixture.
4.) Beat melted chocolate and eggs into butter mixture.
5.) Mix in dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt).
6.) Add remaining 1 C chocolate chips. Stir.
7.) Chill dough until firm (about 30 minutes).
8.) Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls.
9.) Cover balls with powdered sugar.
10.) Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.
11.) Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cheese Swirl Bread

I had some time this weekend, so I decided to be adventuresome and try a new bread. This one was tasty, but a little dry. I think I will add more butter and more cheese next time. I think I would also add some herbs (perhaps basil or Italian seasoning) next time. I modified the original recipe, which was a ham and cheese bread with Boursin cheese. Below is the recipe, as I modified it. For step-by-step directions (with pictures) on how to make the bread into this beautiful shape, see cookingbread.com. Next time I make cinnamon rolls, I may use this fancy shape, rather than individual rolls.

1 C scalded milk
3 tsp yeast
4 C flour
1/4 C butter
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 C mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 C cheddar cheese, shredded

1.) Scald milk (do not let boil) and cool to about 105F.
2.) Add in 1 C flour and mix until smooth.
3.) Add in yeast and 1 C flour. Mix well.
4.) Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
5.) Meanwhile, mix butter, sugar, salt, and eggs until blended.
6.) Add the butter mixture into the dough and mix until smooth.
7.) Add in another 1 C flour and mix.
8.) Knead dough, adding flour as needed.
9.) Cover dough and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
10.) Punch down dough onto a floured counter top.
11.) Roll the dough into an 18" circle.
12.) Follow directions here for forming dough into a fancy shape (stuffing mozzarella cheese into dough while twisting it).
13.) Transfer dough onto cookie sheet.
14.) Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of dough.
15.) Cover dough and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
16.) Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 10 large rolls.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beef Barley Stew

We made a huge Crockpot of this stew yesterday, and we will be enjoying it during lunchtime for days to come. If you're not familiar, beef barley stew is basically a beef stew that substitutes potatoes for barley. In the grocery store, you can find the barley in the aisle with dried beans. It's perfect on these blustery cold days we've been having!

2 lbs. beef round, diced into 1" cubes
6 carrots, cut into coin slices
1 large onion, diced
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 C frozen corn
1 green pepper, diced
1 C dried barley
2 cubes beef bullion, dissolved in 2 C water
1 1/2 Tbsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley

1.) Prepare all ingredients.
2.) Place meat on the bottom of large Crockpot.
3.) Add all other ingredients (except dried herbs) into Crockpot.
4.) Cook on high for 5 hours. (Add basil and parsley during last hour of cooking.)

Makes 10-12 servings.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

This time of year gives me plenty of excuses to eat lots of pumpkin yummies. Here is another favorite. It makes a TON, so be prepared to gift some to the luckiest of your friends!

15 oz pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 C canola oil
2/3 C water
2 C sugar
3 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

1.) In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar.
2.) Separately mix dry ingredients together.
3.) Combine dry ingredients into first mixture and stir just until blended.
4.) Pour dough into greased bread pans and/or muffin tins.
5.) Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes (muffins) or 50 minutes (bread).

Makes 3 loaves or 36 muffins.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Scrumptious - especially in the fall time! The pumpkin in these cookies gives them more of a fluffy texture than regular chocolate chip cookies. I also like to think they are healthier this way :)

2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz chocolate chips

1.) Combine ingredients.
2.) Place dough in cookie form on a baking sheet.
3.) Bake at 350 F for 12-14 minutes

Makes about 3 dozen large cookies.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apple Crisp

The only thing that beats picking apples from the orchard is eating apple crisp for weeks after the trip! After much experimenting during the past two weeks, this is my favorite combination. It's not too sweet and has the perfect ratio of apples to crisp. With my new apple peeler-corer-slicer, the dessert is super-quick to make!

6 medium sized apples
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
1/2 C oats
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C oat bran
1/8 C flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter

1.) Peel, core, and slice apples.
2.) Place apples pieces in a pan.
3.) Mix lemon juice and spice into apples.
4.) Combine second set of ingredients and cut in butter.
5.) Sprinkle crumble on top of apples.
6.) Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender.
7.) Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 4-6.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Taco Noodle Salad

Unfortunately, garden season is coming to an end. This recipe was one of our favorites this summer with vegetables fresh from the garden. It's great because you can use just about any combination of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. You can also add cheese, mixed in or sprinkled on top, but I prefer it without cheese. This dish can be served hot or cold; I prefer hot.

14 oz pasta
1 lb chicken breast (sliced) or ground beef
3-5 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 bell pepper
1 hot pepper
1 package taco seasoning
1/2-3/4 C creamy French dressing (Ken's Steakhouse)

1.) Cook pasta and drain.
2.) Meanwhile, cook meat and drain excess grease.
3.) Dice vegetables.
4.) Mix taco seasoning and French dressing.
5.) Combine all prepared ingredients.
6.) Heat or chill to desired temperature.

Serves 4-6.

Sauteed Sweet Potatoes

Until this recipe came along, Mitch had never enjoyed eating sweet potatoes (one of my all-time favorite foods). Now he loves them! Needless to say, now we are both happy.

2 large, whole sweet potatoes
1/2 sweet onion
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 C hot water
salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Wash sweet potatoes (do not peel).
2.) Cut sweet potatoes into 1/4" slices.
3.) Chop onion.
4.) Heat skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat.
5.) Add onions and saute until tender.
6.) Use additional olive oil and salt and pepper, as desired.
7.) Add sweet potatoes and saute until beginning to brown.
8.) Add hot water and cover.
9.) Stir occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender.

Serves 4.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Finding a good sugar cookie recipe is such a challenge! I have to say I was initially not going to post this recipe (Martha Stewart's), because we were not thrilled with the cookies last night when I made them. They seemed a bit dry and too crispy. However, today the cookies taste wonderful! They are moist and have good flavor. So, my recommendation is to make them a day ahead of when you want to eat them. The Butter Cream Frosting is perfect on top! Pictured below is my Valentine's Day version.

1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
2 T brandy or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1.) Cream butter and sugar.
2.) Add in beaten egg, brandy or milk, and vanilla.
3.) Stir in dry ingredients. Mix well with electric mixer.
4.) Separate dough into two equal portions.
5.) Refrigerate dough for at least one hour.
6.) On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8" thickness.
7.) Cut into desired shapes and place on greased cookie sheet.
8.) Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake!
9.) Allow to cool on wire rack.
10.) Decorate as desired.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Butter Cream Frosting

A perfect compliment to Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. This recipe also makes a good chocolate butter cream frosting by adding 1/3-3/4 C cocoa powder.

6 T butter, softened
2 2/3 C powdered sugar
1/3 C milk
1 tsp vanilla

1.) Cream butter.
2.) Alternately add in powdered sugar and milk.
3.) Mix until frosting is smooth.
4.) Add in vanilla and food coloring (if desired).

Makes enough for 3-4 dozen cookies or 1 cake.