Bread, Breakfast, Dessert

Apple Pecan Scones

PANA9600.I think I might have a problem.  A scone problem. Currently there are 7 different types of scones in my freezer, and I have variety to satisfy any particular craving on any particular day. The thing I like about them is how well they reheat. It takes away all of the worry about trying to finish them before they go bad because you can just individually wrap them and store them in the freezer. This latest recipe filled a niche I didn’t have yet, and that is the pecans. It adds an earthiness that I enjoy and it pairs really nicely with the apple. I toasted my pecans before mixing them into the batch but that is an entirely optional step.

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 large apple, pealed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped, toasted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Grate your frozen butter with a box cheese grater, then mix into the dry ingredients. Add the chopped apples and pecans, stir. Pour in the heavy cream, and stir until incorporated. Once the dough comes together, form into a circle, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then cut into 8 pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned. If you want,  you can mix together half a cup of powdered sugar with two tablespoons of milk to form a glaze and drizzle over the cooked scones.

Bread, Breakfast, Dessert

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones

IMG_20200812_095234_01With fall right around the corner I knew I would need to find a pumpkin scone recipe to indulge in. The first place I checked was my go-to site, cookiesandcups.com.  Of course she had a fabulous scone recipe, but I took mine down a slightly different path and added cinnamon chips to it; as well as left off the icing. I have explained on previous recipes that I like to store my scones in the freezer and that doesn’t lend itself to icing. I judge every recipe on here as if it didn’t have the frosting and it absolutely has to taste yummy without it. The cinnamon chips in this scone just reinforce the fall flavors and add that little bit of sweetness without being too much.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold, salted butter, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips, (I found mine at Walmart)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside. Grate the frozen butter on a box cheese grater, then mix into your dry ingredients. Add in the cinnamon chips. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/2 cup heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix the dough together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It should have a slightly dry texture and hold together, but not be crumbly. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of cream if the dough seems too dry. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a circle about 1 1/2- inches thick. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the lightly golden.

Appetizer

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Roasted-Tomato-Salsa-7This summer we tried our hand at gardening and on a whim I bought three tomato plants. They took root much better than I planned and I ended up with a wonderful tomato harvest. I have one other salsa recipe but it uses canned tomatoes so I knew I would need something different for fresh tomatoes. I first tried roasting the vegetables over direct flame, but I really didn’t like the way it turned out, so the second time I tried under a broiler in the oven and it worked beautifully. This recipe was so so good.

  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 chiles, I used Anaheim, seeded and halved
  • 1 large white onion, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • large handful of cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat your broiler to high. Place all your veggies and the unpeeled garlic skin side up on a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until the tomatoes and chiles have blistered and blackened pretty thoroughly on top. Remove pan from the oven, and peel and discard the skin from the garlic cloves.  Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, onion and chiles to the bowl of a food processor or blender.  At this point (if you’re feeling impatient and hungry), you can either go ahead and add in the remaining ingredients and puree the salsa until it’s smooth while it’s warm.  Or you can transfer the roasted veggies to the refrigerator and let them chill until cooled, then proceed with adding in the remaining ingredients and pureeing the salsa until smooth. Taste, and season with extra salt or lime juice if needed.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Snack

Fruit and Peanut Butter Protein Bars

pbproteinbars-2My husband’s preferred snack is a homemade protein bar, so I’m constantly on the lookout for a good one. I found this on Pinterest and it is so versatile. You can add any kind of dried fruit you want, even chocolate chips or nuts. The chocolate topping is totally optional, and my husband actually prefers it without.

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit of your choice
  • 1/3 cup dessicated or shredded coconut, optional
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon coconut oil, optional

In a sauce pan, combine the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil. Heat until thoroughly mixed and smooth, then remove from heat and add in the vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter mixture and the protein powder until smooth. Then add the oats, chia seeds, dried fruit and coconut if using. Once the mixture is fully combined, press into a lined 8×4 loaf pan and refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut into bars and store tightly sealed in the fridge.

Side Item

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

20190626-IMG_0028-2Growing up my mom’s idea of cooking vegetables was to open a can, put in a pan on the stove and cook with a strip of uncooked bacon. While this wasn’t a terrible way to cook vegetables, it was often rather boring. I have come to realize that I have the same tendency, although instead of opening a can of vegetables, I roast everything with olive oil, salt and pepper. So far it has worked for me to get my kids to eat more vegetables, and with this recipe I was even more daring and added Panko bread crumbs and parmesan. My youngest son said he didn’t know broccoli could taste so good!

  • 1 pound fresh broccoli washed and trimmed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place broccoli in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on garlic powder, salt, cheese and bread crumbs. Toss until fully coated. Roast for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness.

 

 

Entree, Gluten-Free

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 11.58.40 AMWe have been trying to cut back on the amount of bread and pasta we eat, so when I was looking for a way to use up rotisserie chicken that didn’t use those things I, of course, turned to Pinterest. I found this chicken bake and man was it good. I halved the recipe the first time to make sure we liked it, and it was so good, so flavorful that I didn’t even miss the pasta. Recipe and photo courtesy of afamilyfeast.com.

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup avocado mayonnaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 store bought rotisserie chicken, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, reserving 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and set aside. While the bacon is cooking, in a medium sauce pan, place cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, avocado mayonnaise, heavy cream, hot sauce, mustard, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Crumble bacon and add to the cream mixture. Clean skillet and add two tablespoons of the bacon fat and saute onions over medium high heat for three minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of bacon fat and add the mushrooms and saute for five minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and toss to coat the spinach and cook until wilted, about two minutes. Add the cream mixture and cooked chicken and heat then pour into an 8X12 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle on the two cups of mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Place under the broiler and brown, 1-2 minutes. Let sit ten minutes to set up. There will be a little liquid on the bottom which will eventually absorb into the mixture. We spooned a little over each portion. Serve with a salad or your favorite vegetables.

Bread, Breakfast, Dessert

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

IMG_20200513_174044 (1)This scone recipe is another winner if you want a delicious scone that has lots of flavor, but isn’t dry. It comes from my favorite food blogger cookiesandcups.com and once again she doesn’t disappoint. The recipe recommends adding a drizzle to the scones, but because I freeze mine individually I leave it off. I will include it here in case you want to try it, but I personally don’t think they need it. Also, because I live at altitude I had about 2 more tablespoons than the recipe calls for in order to get everything to hold together.

Scone:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1 medium banana, mashed (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for garnish

Drizzle:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture using a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture resembles very coarse sand. Don’t worry if you have butter the size of peas throughout the mixture, this is fine. Mix in the chocolate chips. In a medium bowl mix together 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and banana. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix the dough together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will be slightly dry, but will hold together. Don’t over-mix. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a disk about 1 1/2 – 2- inches thick. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 6 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15- 20 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

For the icing drizzle, whisk together the butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and milk until smooth. Drizzle the icing onto the scones and allow it to set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*I like to use mini chips instead of full sized semi-sweet. I also sometimes sub in 1/2 cup of toffee bits for some of the chocolate chips and it is so so good.

Snack

Caramel Corn

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 8.12.09 AMThis recipe is another gem we found on the Centr app. The first time I read the ingredients I was very interested/perplexed to see how maple syrup, peanut butter and coconut milk would taste like caramel but it really does. This snack is incredibly addicting; I suggest making multiple batches at a time. (But make this exact recipe multiple times, for some reason when I’ve tried to double it it hasn’t turned out as well.)

  • 3 ounces (1/3 cup) popping corn
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk, canned

Preheat the oven to 250 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pop your corn kernels, either in a stock pot on the stove or in something like this super cool microwave container (I bought this after burning a couple of batches on the stove and it is so awesome). Put your popped corn in a large bowl and set aside. Heat peanut butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to boil. Stir through coconut milk and continue to simmer for 5 minutes until golden and thickened. Pour caramel over popcorn and toss well to coat. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing the batch to cook it evenly after 15 minutes. Serve once cooled.

This stuff does not last long in my house, maybe a couple of days so store in an airtight container.

Entree, Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup a la Chili’s

chilis-chicken-enchilada-soup-horizontal-1526596329Growing up my friends and I went to Chili’s at least once a week and I would either get Chicken Crispers or Chicken Enchilada Soup and salad.  We haven’t been able to go to Chili’s for a while so I got the on the good ole Interwebs to see what I could find. I found this copycat recipe at delish.com and with a few additions it was a dead ringer for my favorite soup. The recipe makes a ton, so be prepared to make it for a crowd or freeze half.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 16 oz Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

     

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack, for garnish
  • tortilla strips, for garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 5 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups chicken broth, masa harina and spices until smooth. Add to pot, whisking constantly until no lumps remain. Add enchilada sauce and Velveeta and cook, stirring often, until melted. Stir in chicken. Garnish with cheeses and tortilla strips before serving.

Bread, Breakfast, Dessert

Kolaches!

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200426113858822_COVERMy husband’s family is Czech and as such he has a huge love of kolaches. We’re talking the fruit-filled pastries, not the savory roll with sausage inside. Since I’ve been having success with my baking experiments this month I found a recipe and tried making them from scratch. They were delicious! I was so so pleased with how they turned out and start to finish they only took about two hours.

For the Dough:

  • 2/3 cup milk (2% or higher is best)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, or instant
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • thick fruit preserve of your choice, I had strawberry

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted

Warm the milk in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds until lukewarm. The target temperature is 110 degrees. Once it’s at precisely 110, add the yeast, sugar and 2/3 cup of the flour. Mix together well and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. (Because I used instant yeast I mixed this together while I got the rest of the ingredients together, but didn’t wait for it to double.) In another bowl, add the melted butter. Let cool briefly before stirring in the egg yolk. Add this to the yeast mixture and mix well. Add the remaining flour, salt, and mix very well well. Next, knead the dough for 10 minutes, making sure to lightly flour the board and your hands as you go. At the end of 10 minutes, the dough will be soft, supple, and not sticky at all. Grease a bowl with cooking spray and add the dough. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. (At the end of this rise, you could cover it and put it in the fridge to use the following day. It will deflate, but it’s okay).

Next, you want to evenly divide the dough into 12 equal portions. I do this by weighing the dough, and dividing it by 12. Roll each dough ball into a perfect circle (see photo). Line a 9″ pie plate with parchment paper, and arrange the dough balls in it. At this point, I press gently on the dough to make a slightly oblong shape instead of a perfect circle. Let the dough rise until doubled in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 375. Once the dough balls have doubled in size, use your fingers to make deep indentations for the fillings. Divide the fillings between the kolaches, I did 4 cream cheese, 4 strawberry and 4 strawberry cream cheese, but do what makes you happy.

Bake the kolaches for 18-21 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Use a toothpick inserted into the center kolache to ensure the rolls are done. Let cool slightly, and then tear apart and serve.