Creating memories in the kitchen...One meal at a time.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


We are proud to present a new element to our blog. We've been wanting to do this for awhile and are so excited to finally kick it off. We've added a new section to My Sister's Kitchen called The Fit Mamas. What better time than a new year to commit yourself to being fit and healthy in 2010?

Besides our passion for cooking and baking, both my sister and I love exercise and trying to stay fit and healthy. While we are not professionals I (Sallie) was a certified personal trainer for a year. Unfortunately, right now was not the right time (too busy with kids, etc.) but I am planning on going back to school, once all my kids are in school, and will hopefully be able to get degress in exercise and nutrtition. We've both done a lot of research, tried a diet or two, and bought programs and books. We'll share healthy recipes, exercise moves that work, fitness tips and much more.

To kick off this new section to our blog we're joining with Recipe Girl's 10 weeks to healthy in 2010. Go check out her site for the details. I hope you'll be joining us. Our goals?

Sallie's - to stay eating healthy and run the St. George Marathon in 2010.

Julia's- to be swim suit ready by July (she's currently 8+ months pregnant) and diversify her workout routine

Now it's official. We'd love to hear yours too!

Because we're not blogging experts (and this was the easiest way we knew how to do it), The Fit Mamas is actually a separate blog but will be linked to our cooking blog. If you'd like to go straight to the fitness blog the address is

Here's to a new year and a new and healthier you! Happy New Year!


The Fit Mama's
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Glazed Chocolate Cream Roll

This is another dessert we had for Christmas Eve. It was a major hit Christmas Eve and everyone loved it. It starts with a chocolate cake smeared with a creamy delicious filling and topped off with a divine chocolate glaze. I recommend doubling the filling.

Glazed Chocolate Cream Roll
America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Books

*Be sure to have the filling ready by the time the cake is finished baking;if the baked cake sits around for longer than 15 minutes before filling, it will become to stiff to roll.*


3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz.) all purpose flour

1/4 (3/4 oz.) dutch- processed cocoa

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

5 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz.) granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


*if you would like as much filling as pictured, double all ingredients for filling*

6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup (2 2/3 oz.) confectioners' sugar

1 1/4 cups marshmallow creme (recommended Jet Puff of Fluff brand)

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt


1/3 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp light corn syrup

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract.

Adjust the oven to the lower middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Grease an 18 x 13 in. rimmed baking sheet, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease the parchment. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whip the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed and gradually add the sugar and then the vanilla, about 1 minute. Continue to whip the mixture until very thick and voluminous, 4-8 minutes.

Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula until just incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking sheet and spread out to an even layer. Bake the cake until it feels firm and springs back when touched, 12-17 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, beat the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the marshmallow creme, vanilla and salt until incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven, run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, then flip the hot cake out onto a large sheet of greased parchment paper. Peel off and discard the parchment paper baked onto the cake. Starting from a short end of the cake, roll the cake and parchment snugly into a log and let cool for 15 minutes.

Gently unroll the cake. Spread the filling over the cake, leaving a 1/2 in. border at the edges. Reroll the cake gently but snugly around the filling, leaving the parchment behind as you roll. Trim the ends of the cake, then let it cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack set over a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Microwave all of the ingredients together, whisking often, until melted and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Pour the warm glaze evenly over the cake, letting it drip down the sides, and refrigerate until the glaze has set, about 1 hour. Transfer the cake to a cake platter before serving.

Posted by: Sallie
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Decadent Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

It was a close tie for me which I liked better, this or the pomegranate cheesecake. Both came from My Kitchen Cafe and both are new family favorites. This is super rich, creamy, and downright delicious. If you love the peanut butter and chocolate combo, you've got to try this!

Decadent Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Pie
My Kitchen Cafe

Graham Cracker Crust:
12 to 14 whole graham crackers, crushed (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Dark Chocolate Layer:
¾ cup heavy cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Peanut Butter Mousse Filling:
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
Topping and Decoration:
Sweetened whipped cream
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter, stir until well blended. Using the palm of your hand, press the moistened crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Bake in the center of the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the crust turns lightly golden. Set the pie crust on a wire rack to cool completely.Prepare the chocolate layer: In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust, smoothing it over the bottom and slightly up the sides. Freeze for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chocolate layer is firm.Prepare the mousse: In a heavy medium-size saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add ½ cup milk and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk constantly until the custard comes to a boil. Still whisking, boil for 1 minute until very thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peanut butter. Pour the mousse into the baked pie crust. Chill for 1 hour, or until firm. Before serving, decorate the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips, if desired.

Posted by: Sallie
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Brussel Sprouts Gratin With Caramelized Onions

When planning our Christmas Dinner, my sister and I both admitted we'd never tried brussels sprouts. They are infamous for being a nasty vegetable that no one wants to eat. We headed straight to Williams Sonoma's website and found this Brussels Sprout Gratin. It was delicious! The brussels sprouts reminded me of broccoli. Maybe it was all the delicious cream, butter and cheese, but I am now a fan of brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Caramelized Onions
Williams Sonoma

For the topping:
3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the gratin:
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste, plus 2 tsp.
2 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
8 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated
1/2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 jar (8 oz.) caramelized shallots, liquid strained off
Preheat an oven to 375°F. To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, butter, lemon zest, salt, pepper and parsley. Set aside. To make the gratin, grease a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick fry pan with the butter. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. In a bowl, stir together the flour, Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest, the 2 tsp. salt and the pepper. Stir in the cream, then the brussels sprouts and caramelized shallots. Transfer the mixture to the prepared fry pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly on top. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let the gratin rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Sauasge and Mushroom Stuffing

I love sausage with stuffing. Julia made this for Christmas and used it to stuff the cornish game hens and also made some as a side dish.

Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing
Williams Sonoma

2 oz. dried wild mushrooms
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
1-lb. loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 1/2 cups prepared French chestnuts, halved
12 oz. mild fresh Italian sausage, casings removed
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and hot broth and soak for 1 hour. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the broth. Roughly chop the mushrooms, transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a baking dish or small Dutch oven. In a bowl, combine the bread cubes and olive oil and stir to coat. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter. Add the onion and celery and saute, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread. Return the pan to medium heat and melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and crumbling with the back of a wooden spoon, until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl with the bread and stir in the parsley and sage. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the reserved broth. Add enough broth to the bread mixture so it is moist. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and bake until crispy and golden, about 1 hour, covering the dish with aluminum foil if the dressing gets too dark. Serves 8 to 10.Make-Ahead Tips: Assemble the dressing and place in the baking dish up to 1 day in advance, but do not bake. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.

Posted by: Julia
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Christmas Jello Salad

This is a fun and festive recipe given to me by my good friend Robyn. (Also the photographer for our family pictures). It's the perfect addition to your Christmas table with its layers of red, white and green. Don't be grossed out by the miracle whip. It adds creaminess but no taste. Everyone loved it and it's now a Christmas Eve tradition

Christmas Jello Salad
Robyn Lamoreaux

2 small or 1 large package lime jello

1 small package lemon jello

1/2 package mini marshamallows

1 large can crushed pineapple (drained, but save the juice)

1 cup whipped cream

1 large package red jello

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup miracle whip

Make lime jello according to package directions. Put in 9 x 13 pan. Let set. Mix lemon jello with 1 cup hot water and mini marshmallows. Let cool. Add 1 cup of the pineapple juice, cream cheese, miracle whip, 1 cup of the crushed pineapple and the whipped cream. Pour on top of green layer and let set. Make red jello according to package directions. Pour carefully on top of yellow layer. Let set completely.

Posted by: Sallie
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Pomegranate Cheesecake

This was the hit of Christmas dessert. I served this for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and everyone loved it. My husband demanded it be made every Christmas. A new family favorite.

Pomegranate Cheesecake
Better Homes and Gardens and My Kitchen Cafe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream (can use reduced fat)
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1 1/2 cups sour cream (again, reduced fat will work)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pomegranate Glaze:
1-16-ounce bottle pomegranate juice (usually found in the refrigerated section of juices)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
For the crust: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl beat butter on medium high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar. Beat until combined. Add egg; beat well. Beat in flour until combined. Divide dough in half. Cover one portion and set it aside.Remove the sides from a 10-inch springform pan and set aside. Spread first portion of dough on just the bottom of ungreased springform pan base, spreading dough to edges. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely. When cool, attach sides of pan. Press chilled dough onto the sides of the sprinform pan to a height of 1-3/4 inches, using a thin metal spatula, like an offset spatula, to spread dough.For the filling: reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. In an extra-large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the flour on low speed until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla all at once, beating on low speed just until combined. Mix in sour cream and lemon peel. Then, using a wooden spoon or a spatula, gently fold in pomegranate seeds (if you use the electric mixer for this part, the seeds will burst and stain the filling with the juice - and it won't look as pretty).Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 65 minutes or until edges are puffed and center jiggles slightly when gently shaken. Remove from oven. (It doesn't matter if the cheesecake cracks on top since it will have a sour cream topping.)For the topping: stir together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Spread sour cream mixture over top of baked cheesecake, spreading gently to the edges. Return to oven; bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen crust from sides of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan; cool completely. Cover; chill 4 hours or overnight.For pomegranate glaze: in a medium saucepan bring pomegranate juice to boiling; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, until reduced to 1 cup (12 to 15 minutes). In a separate bowl, stir together brown sugar and cornstarch. Add to juice. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Transfer to a medium bowl; cover surface with clear plastic wrap. Cool to room temperature. Store, covered, in refrigerator until serving time.When ready to serve, remove cheesecake and pomegranate glaze from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Spoon some sauce over top of cheesecake; pile remaining pomegranate seeds in center of cheesecake. To serve, slice cheesecake. Pass remaining sauce. Makes 16 servings.

Posted by: Sallie
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Eggnog Punch

This was a fun drink I served for Christmas Eve. Unfortuantely it was all gone before I had a chance to taste it. It must be great!

Eggnog Punch
Recipe Girl

1 gallon vanilla ice cream

½ gallon eggnog

1 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

1. Scoop ice cream into a punch bowl. Pour eggnog over ice cream; sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon; stir in whipped topping.
2. Serve immediately. Stir as needed.
Yield: 1 1/2 gallons

Posted by: Sallie
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Winter Spinach Salad

This was the delicious salad I served for Christmas Eve. Very festive with the maple flavoring and the green spinach and dried cranberries. I added some crumbled bacon to mine. Delish!

Winter Spinach Salad
slightly adapted from Leigh Anne

1 bunch baby spinach
1/2 C dried cherries or craisins
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, sliced
1 green apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 C seedless red grapes, cut in half
1/4 C sugared pecans
1/2 C crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Cook and prepare bacon. Combine spinach, cherries, green onions, apple slices, grapes and pecans. Add dressing and toss. Garnish with Gorgonzola cheese and bacon.

Maple Syrup Dressing
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C cider vinegar
2 Tbsp shallots minced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until evenly combined.

Posted by: Sallie
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Hot Chocolate

This was so easy and yummy, the whole family LOVED it!

Hot Chocolate
Leigh Anne

Nestle's Hot Cocoa Mix
Whole Milk
Whipped Cream
optional garnishes: mini chocolate chips, toffee chips, cocoa powder, candy canes, etc.

Make hot chocolate according to package directions (amount will depend on how many servings you want) using whole milk. To one gallon of cocoa, add 2 tsp. vanilla. Top with whipped cream and desired garnishes.

Posted by: Sallie

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Honey Fruit Salad

I always like to have some form of fruit for breakfast and this was perfect. Simple, beautiful and delicious. They honey and lemon juice brought out the flavor of the fruit and my whole family loved it. This will now be a delicious addition to my traditional Christmas Breakfast.

Honey Fruit Salad
from allrecipes and Leigh Anne

2 medium firm bananas, sliced
2 C fresh blueberries
2 C fresh raspberries
2 C fresh strawberries, sliced
5 Tbsp honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp poppy seeds

Combine fruit in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the honey, lemon juice and poppy seeds. Pour over fruit and toss to coat.

Posted by: Sallie
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French Toast Casserole

After having this again for Christmas Breakfast I think I can safely claim that for now this is my ultimate favorite breakfast. I don't know how to describe it except sweet, buttery, caramely, and nutty. It's to die for! One note, every time I have made this, it has needed to bake for longer than the recipe calls for. Just lift a top piece of the french toast and look underneath to make sure the bottom layer is done and not soggy.

French Toast Casserole
Paula Deen
1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup (I always use this buttermilk syrup instead)
Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Posted by: Sallie
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Christmas Meals

I know this is a little late for this year but I just couldn't resist posting some of the delicious food we had for Christmas.

Lets start with breakfast. After all the trying and testing, my husband said, let's just have the usual. As soon as I tasted it Christmas morning I decided right then and there, this is my tried and true, go to, never changing Christmas Breakfast. It was so delicious! I did try Paula Deen's recipe for the French Toast Casserole (I usually do this) and it was fabulous. Pretty much the same as I what I usually make. Without comparing them side by side I couldn't choose a favorite. The hashbrown omlet is always so yummy, my favorite part has got to be the cheese! We had a few new additions this year, both from Leigh Anne. A delicious fruit salad and some super easy, super delicious hot cocoa!

Christmas Breakfast

Onto the main meal. My sister hosted Christmas at her house this year.The meal was delicious. This is what we ate.

Cornish Game Hens

Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing

Aunt Jane's Mashed Potatoes

Brussells Sprout Gratin

Sweet Potato Bake

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

Red Velvet Bread Pudding (My sister and I both agreed this would be even better with some mini chocolate chips mixed in)

Hot Chocolate Bar

Christmas Eve was nice. I had my husbands family over and since I had to prepare food for Christmas Dinner the next day to take to my sister's I wanted something simple. I was able to make most of the dishes,the day before. The stew was prepared in the morning, that way when dinner time rolled around I had the oven free for a few delicious appetizers and had time to make the salad.

Eggnog Punch

Beef Stew

Lion House Rolls

Winter Spinach Salad

Christmas Jello

Glazed Chocolate Cream Roll

Pomegranate Cheesecake

Posted by: Sallie

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Year's Brunch- Lodge Style

I hope everyone had as great a Christmas as we did. It was so fun to see family, eat good food, and just have fun! Here is the delicious brunch recipe we promised. I think breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I just love all the different flavors and varieties and especially the sweet treats. We always have a family brunch on New Year's and watch the Rose Parade. I got this fabulous brunch menu last year from Better Homes and Gardens. The French Toast is so yummy with the crunch from the granola and the creamy cinnamon yogurt sauce. The Beef Hash is especially great for the men who want something filling and hearty. I love all the flavors from the orange and lime juices combined with the spice of the peppers! The warm citrus fruit is a great contrast with the tart fruit and sweet sugar and unique because you serve it warm. And last but not least, some delicious hot chocolate with toffee on top. I like to add a little vanill to mine. Save room because this is one delicious and hearty meal.

Granola Topped French Toast

Beef Hash with a Spicy Kick

Warm Citrus Fruit with Brown Sugar

Timberline (or other) hot chocolate

Granola Topped French Toast
Better Homes and Gardens
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 1/2-inch thick bias-slices baguette-style French bread
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup granola, coarsely crushed
1 recipe Cinnamon-Yogurt Sauce (see recipe below)
Maple syrup (optional)
Sifted powdered sugar (optional)
1. In a shallow bowl beat together eggs, milk, granulated sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the orange peel, vanilla, and cinnamon with a whisk. Dip bread slices into egg mixture, coating both sides.
2. In a skillet or on a griddle melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat; add half of the bread slices. Sprinkle some of the granola on top of each slice of bread in the skillet, pressing in gently with spatula so granola sticks.Flip each slice, pressing lightly with the spatula. Cook for 2 minutes more or until golden brown. When removing from pan, flip each slice so granola side is on top.
3. Repeat with remaining butter, bread slices, and granola. Serve with Cinnamon-Yogurt Sauce, remaining orange peel, and syrup. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 4 servings.
Cinnamon Yogurt Sauce
In a bowl combine one 8-ounce container plain low-fat yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Makes 3/4 cup.
Beef Hash with a Spicy Kick
Better Homes and Gardens
*Plan ahead. Needs to marinate for 30 minutes*

1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers)
1-1/4 pounds beef sirloin or top loin steak, finely chopped
2 large onions, diced (2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic or bottled minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1-1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes or red skinned potatoes, cooked* and diced
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
Salt and ground black pepper
Fried eggs (optional)
Fresh cilantro sprig (optional)
1. In a large plastic bag set in a bowl, combine orange juice, lime juice, and adobo sauce. Add meat, turning to coat. Close bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Drain and discard marinade. Pat meat dry with clean white paper towels. (Removing as much moisture as possible from the meat makes for a crispy hash.)
2. In a 12-inch heavy skillet cook the onion, garlic, and chili powder in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add meat to skillet; cook and stir about 2 minutes or until meat is browned. Stir in potatoes and chipotle peppers. Spread in an even layer in the skillet. Cook for 8 minutes more or until potatoes are golden brown, turning occasionally. Stir in tomatoes and snipped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fried eggs and fresh cilantro. Makes 6 servings.
*To Cook Potatoes: Remove eyes from potatoes. Cut potatoes into quarters. Cook, covered, in enough boiling lightly salted water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Warm Citrus Fruit With Brown Sugar
Better Homes and Gardens

2 medium red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned, or 1-1/2 cups refrigerated grapefruit sections, drained
2 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks or one 8-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1. In a medium bowl combine grapefruit, oranges, and pineapple. Transfer to four individual broiler-safe au gratin dishes or a 1-quart broiler-safe au gratin dish or casserole.
2. In a small bowl stir together brown sugar and butter until well mixed; sprinkle on fruit. Broil about 4 inches from the heat for 5 to 6 minutes until sugar is bubbly. Makes 4 servings.

Timberline Hot Chocolate
Sligtly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla to taste
1 recipe Schlag (see recipe below) (optional)
English toffee, crushed (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1. In a saucepan combine milk, water, and sugar. Stir over medium heat until mixture just comes to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate. Beat with an immersion blender, rotary mixer, or whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is frothy. Add vanilla.
2. To serve, pour hot chocolate into cups. If desired, top with Schlag, crushed English toffee, and cocoa powder. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Schlag: In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form (tips curl).

Posted by: Sallie & Julia

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Okay, I know we bombarded you with holiday recipes. We still have a fabulous New Year's up our sleeves plus something super exciting coming in January! We won't be posting much during the holidays so we'd like to leave you with a recipe to help you during this Christmas Crunch time. We hope you have a Happy Holiday and Wonderful New Year! Thanks for all the great comments and compliments we have received! Check back later for that New Year's Brunch!

Every year our Book Club has a fun Christmas Party. This year's theme was Italian. One of my favorites. Because it seemed like I had about 2 million other things going this same weekend I was on the look out for something I could prepare ahead and not be bothered with the day of the party. Cook's Country to the rescue. This is my new favorite marinara sauce! I love the flavor it gets from the meatballs which are cooked right in the sauce in your crockpot. You can make the sauce and meatballs ahead of time and keep them separated until ready to bake. One change I will make next time is to use spicy italian sausage for the meatballs. My husband and I love a little kick! The recipe says it serves 6 but I have made this twice and gotten over 20 meatballs each time. I would say serves 8.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cooks Country

Serves 6-8

Tip* Microwave the meatballs on a large plate or in a casserole dish to contain the rendering fat. You will need two 4.5-ounce tubes or one 6-ounce can of tomato paste. This recipe makes enough sauce to coat 1 1/2 pounds of pasta. Use a garlic press to mince the 8 cloves quickly.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
2/3 cup tomato paste (equivalent to one 6 oz can.)
8 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine (I used Marsala cooking wine)
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 pound Italian sausage , casings removed (spicy if you want a little kick)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, tomato paste, 6 garlic cloves, oregano, pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until golden, about 8 minutes.
2. Transfer half of onion mixture to large bowl; set aside. Add wine to pot with remaining onion mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, then transfer to slow cooker.
3. Add ½ cup Parmesan, mozzarella, sausage, eggs, ¾ teaspoon salt, and remaining garlic to bowl with reserved onion mixture. Mash with potato masher until smooth. Add beef and cream to bowl and knead with hands until well combined. Form mixture into twelve 2-inch meatballs.
4. Microwave meatballs on large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 4 to 7 minutes. Nestle meatballs in slow cooker, discarding rendered fat. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 hours. Skim fat. Stir in basil and remaining Parmesan. Season with salt. Serve over pasta.

MAKE AHEAD Raw meatballs and sauce can be refrigerated separately up to 24 hours in advance. When ready to cook, add sauce to slow cooker and microwave meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker. Continue with recipe as directed.

Posted by: Sallie and Julia
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Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I knew as soon as I saw this recipe in my Cook's Illustrated Magazine that I would be making it. Me and Cream Cheese Coffee Cake go way back. It has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. Growing up we frequently had the Entemann's Cream Cheese Crumb Coffee Cake for a special Sunday breakfast. Yum! This was slightly different in that it was coffee cake, not danish but I loved the beautiful lemon sugar almond topping. It looks beautiful, tastes delicious and would make a gorgeous Christmas Breakfast. Like most Cook's Illustrated recipes, the directions are pretty particular and usually require a little more time but I feel the outstanding results are always well worth the effort. This would need to be made a day ahead. Just refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes one 10-inch cake, serving 12 to 16.

*Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap. For optimal texture, allow the cake to return to room temperature before serving.*

Lemon Sugar-Almond Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 1/4
cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter , softened but still cool
1 cup plus 7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated zest plus 4 teaspoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
4 large eggs
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese , softened

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined and sugar is moistened. Stir in almonds; set aside.
2. FOR THE CAKE: Spray 10-inch tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 20 seconds, and scraping down beater and sides of bowl as necessary. Add 4 teaspoons vanilla and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add one-third flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream, mixing until incorporated after each addition, 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat, using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining sour cream. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.
3. Reserve 1¼ cups batter and set aside. Spoon remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Return now-empty bowl to mixer and beat cream cheese, remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, and remaining teaspoon vanilla on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened, about 1 minute. Add ¼ cup reserved batter and mix until incorporated. Spoon cheese filling mixture evenly over batter, keeping filling about 1 inch from edges of pan; smooth top. Spread remaining cup reserved batter over filling and smooth top. With butter knife or offset spatula, gently swirl filling into batter using figure-8 motion, being careful to not drag filling to bottom or edges of pan. Firmly tap pan on counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any bubbles. Sprinkle lemon sugar-almond topping evenly over batter and gently press into batter to adhere.
4. Bake until top is golden and just firm, and long skewer inserted into cake comes out clean (skewer will be wet if inserted into cheese filling), 45 to 50 minutes. Remove pan from oven and firmly tap on counter 2 or 3 times (top of cake may sink slightly). Cool cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Gently invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be topping-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and invert cake sugar-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 1½ hours. Cut into slices and serve.

Posted by: Sallie
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Holiday Morning Buns

I found this great KAF (King Arthur Flour) recipe via Melanie's blog. We actually had them for our Easter Brunch and they were delicious. Think cinnamon sugar topped biscuit. Really good, light and fluffy, slightly sweet biscuit. If you're looking for something that takes no effort except preheating the oven Christmas morning , this would be a great choice. The other thing I love about these is they are not too sweet. Perfect for Christmas morning when your little munchkins are probably already on sugar overload. One other thing I must mention--these can also be made well in advance and frozen, taking a little more stress out of your busy Christmas week.

Holiday Morning Buns

King Arthur Flour

3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) all-purpose Flour + 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar

2 to 2 1/4 cups heavy cream


7 tablespoons butter, melted, OR 2 5/8 ounces milk

Cinnamon and sugar for rolling (I just mixed my own together)

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, line with parchment, and grease the parchment. Parchment isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to get the bubbly, sugary buns out of the pan once they're baked.Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add 2 cups of the cream all at once, then toss and stir the mixture till the dough comes together. If necessary, add additional cream to make the dough cohesive. Gather the dough in your hands and knead it a few times to make sure there are no dry spots.Place the cinnamon sugar in a small, shallow bowl or pan; or in a plastic zip-top bag. Break off pieces of dough about the size of a ping pong ball, or about 1 1/8 ounces. Dip each piece in melted butter or milk, then roll or shake in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place the cinnamon-coated dough balls into the pan of your choice in a single layer; they'll be touching one another, which is just fine.Cover the pan with plastic, and place in the freezer overnight, or for up to a week or so. If freezing longer than overnight wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap, then in foil. Next day, remove the pan from the freezer, and let the buns rest at room temperature while you preheat your oven to 350°F. The buns don't need to thaw.If you're baking the buns immediately (not frozen), bake them for 45 to 50 minutes, till the buns in the center are cooked through. You can asses this by taking a toothpick and actually digging into the center bun to take a look; it should look totally baked, not doughy. If the buns have been frozen, bake them for 65 to 70 minutes, testing for doneness as instructed above. Tent them with aluminum foil after 45 minutes of baking.Remove from the oven, and serve immediately. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, right before serving.

Posted by: Sallie
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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

These might just be the prettiest cinnamon rolls I've ever made! The dough was so easy to work with and a new technique --pouring melted butter over the cinnamon rolls made for a beautiful presentation. The great thing about these cinnamon rolls is that you make them the night before, let them rest in the fridge, and then let them rise one final time in the morning. Just plan ahead about 2 hours because even though most of the work is done the night before they still need at least 1 hour to rise, 30 minutes to bake, 15 minutes to cool and then applying the icing. See additional notes at the bottom of my post.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Family Meals Cookbook
· 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
· ½ cup warm water
· 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
· 4 large eggs
· ¼ cup sugar
· 2 teaspoons kosher salt
· ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
· ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
· ½ cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon
To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the water, allow to bloom for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in ½ cup of the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm spot, about 30 minutes.
Add the eggs, sugar, salt, and the remaining 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and knead on medium speed until smooth, 3-4 minutes. Add the room temperature butter and continue to knead, adding a little flour to reduce stickiness if needed, until the dough is smooth, 10-12 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Roll out into a 15-by-10 inch rectangle. Brush the rectangle with half of the melted butter, leaving a 2 inch wide strip uncovered on one long side. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the butter. Starting at the long side covered with sugar, roll up the rectangle snugly and pinch the seam together. With the seam facing down, cut into 10 equal pieces. Place the pieces, cut side up, in the dish. Brush with the remaining butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and let rise until half again as high, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Spread glaze over the warm rolls and serve.
Vanilla Glaze
· 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
· ½ teaspoon kosher salt
· 2 tablespoons butter, melted
· 2 tablespoons whole milk
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, and vanilla and stir in the sugar to form a smooth paste.
Tips- My house was pretty cold so the rolls were taking a lot longer to rise. I just heated my oven to 400 degrees. Turned it off, then put a metal bowl filled with water in the bottom of my oven. After that I put the rolls in with a towel over the top. This worked great and they were done rising in about 20 minutes.
These make HUGE cinnamon rolls. I think I got about 15 out of my dough and they were still very good size.
If you prefer a cream cheese frosting I recommend extended the cooling time so it won't melt your frosting.
Posted by: Sallie

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Spiced Fig Cake

This would make a beautiful finish to any holiday celebration. Julia made it last year and took it to her husband's office. Everyone there loved it!

Spiced Fig Cake
From Better Homes and Gardens

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk, or sour milk
1 10 oz. jar fig preserves, large pieces cut up
Cream Cheese Frosting
Chopped dried figs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms and sides of two 9x1 1/2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; grease the paper. Lightly flour pans. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, salt and ginger; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in cooking oil. Add sugar; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Stir in fix preserves. Spread into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 40 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; remove parchment paper. Cool completely on wire racks.
4. To assemble, place one of the cake layers on a platter. Spread top with some of the Cream Cheese Frosting. Top with second cake layer and spread top with remaining frosting. Garnish with chopped figs.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat one 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened; 1/4 cup butter; and 1 tsp. vanilla with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until smooth.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Grilled Lamb Skewers with Feta Salsa

This recipe also comes from a Better Homes and Gardens special Holiday magazine. They are so delicious and work great as an entree or appetizers.

Grilled Lamb Skewers
From Better Homes and Gardens

12 4-to-5-inch long rosemary sprigs
1 lb. lean boneless leg of lamb, cut into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Feta Salsa

1. Remove all but the top inch of the rosemary leaves from the Rosemary branches. Cut off the leafless end of the branch at an angle with a sharp knife to make a point for skewering the lamb. Snip enough removed rosemary leaves to measure 1 tbsp.
2. Season lamb with the 1 tbsp. snipped rosemary, minced garlic, thyme, and cracked pepper. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Soak the rosemary branches in cold water for 1 to 2 hours before grilling; drain.
3. Skewer two pieces of lamb onto each rosemary sprig, making sure the lamb pieces on each skewer are similar thickness so they cook evenly. Brush the lamb with olive oil and season with salt and cracked pepper.
4. For a charcoal grill, grill skewers on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 6 to 8 minutes for medium doneness, rotating skewers a few times to cook lamb evenly. If desired, arrange arugula on a platter. Arrange lamb skewers atop greens and serve with Feta Salsa.

Feta Salsa

1 cup coarsely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
1 small clove garlic
1 tbsp. capers, drained
1 anchovy fillet
1/4 tsp. kosher salt or salt
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1. In a food processor, combine the parsley, mint, marjoram, garlic, capers, anchovy fillet, and salt. Cover and process until finely chopped, stopping and scraping sides as necessary. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue to process until smooth. Remove mixture from processor and stir in the feta cheese.

Posted by: Julia
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Basic Cheese Fondue

This is another great recipe from Julia that would be wonderful for Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve. Growing up we always had appetizers for our Christmas Eve feast and I still do that a lot of times now. It's fun to just nibble on finger foods and relax.

Basic Cheese Fondue
Carolyn Muse Grant

1 lb. Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
8 oz. Emmentaler cheese, coarsely grated
4 tsp cornstarch
Garlic clove – halved
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tsp. Lemon juice
1 ½ tbsp. Kirsch, if desired
Freshly gound pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, pinch

In large bowl, combine the cheeses and cornstarch and toss to coat.
Rub the inside of a heavy saucepan with the garlic and discard the garlic.
Add the wine and lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the cheese mixture gradually over moderate heat, stirring until smooth.
Stir in the kirsch, if desired. Season with pepper and nutmeg. Simmer mixture for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a fondue stand set over a low flame. Serve immediately, taking care to remember to continually stir the fondue to prevent it from separating.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Hashbrown Omlet

Lots of times around Christmas the women in our ward get together for a fun little breakfast. My friend Christy brought this a few years ago and it has been a Christmas morning staple in our house. It's got a little bit of everything, eggs, potatoes, cheese, bacon, and even onions and green peppers. You can make it on the stove top which is great if you've got something else baking in the oven or bake in a 9 x 13 pan.

Hashbrown Omlet
Christy Miller

8 slices bacon (usually I crumble this, but if I'm in a hurry I just put it on in slices)
4 cups shredded potatoes (they have these pre-made if you want to speed things up)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 slices of American Cheese

Cook bacon in a 10-12 in. skillet. Leave in drippings. Remove bacon and crumble. Mix next three ingredients and put into skillet with drippings. Cook over low heat until underside is brown. Blend eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes. Top with cheese and bacon. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until done. If you prefer to bake-350 degree oven. I would guess about 25-35 minutes. Just cook until eggs are set to your liking.
Note- I usually cook mine in a skillet that has a lid. That way if you are having trouble getting the top to set, you can just put the lid on for a few minutes. It also speeds up the cheese melting.
Posted by: Sallie
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa

Last year my Mom gave us two pages of different yummy hot cocoa recipes. This was one of them. Not overly sweet, but with definite peanut butter flavor! If you're in a hurry, use the cheater version.

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
From Allyson Washburn via LDS Living Magazine

4 squares baker’s chocolate (semi sweet, not unsweetened)
2 tbsp. Peanut butter
2 cups milk
Whipped Cream

Break chocolate into squares and melt in a saucepan with milk. Stir in peanut butter until mixture is smooth. Pour into mugs and garnish with marshmallows and whipped cream.

Cheater Version:

1 (1 ounce) envelope instant hot chocolate mix
2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
marshmallows or whipped cream for garnish.

In a mug, prepare chocolate mix as directed on package. Stir in 1 or 2 teaspoons peanut butter. top with marshmallows if desired.

Posted by: Julia
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No Fuss Overnight Coffee Cake

If you're looking for another quick and easy Christmas breakfast how about an overnight coffee cake. Whip up the batter the night before, cover it with plastic wrap and then pop it in the oven in the morning. This took under 20 minutes to make and my kids loved it. My littlest was so cute the way she was just gobbling it up and my son had a second helping. My kids don't like nuts so I substituted oats for the nuts. You can vary the different flavors of chips depending on what you like.

No Fuss Overnight Coffee Cake
King Arthur Flour

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon strong flavor, such as butter-rum, vanilla-butternut, etc.; or 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup sour cream or yogurt (low-fat is fine)

Streusel Topping
3/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chips (chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon, or cappuccino), optional

1) To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and flavor, mixing until smooth.
2) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour alternately with the sour cream or yogurt, stirring to combine.
3) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan.
4) To make the topping: Combine the brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and chips (if you're using them), stirring to combine.
5) Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
6) Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.
7) Next morning, take the cake out of the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, until it's golden brown on top. Remove it from the oven, and cool briefly before serving.

Posted by: Sallie
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paula Deen's Ultimatey easy Monkey Bread

Talk about easy and delicious. This Paula Deen recipe is a major winner! Even though Paula calls it her Ultimate Coffee Cake, it's really just monkey bread.If you're looking for a super easy, super delicious, and beautiful Christmas Breakfast look no further. Butter (of course, it's Paula) and butterscotch pudding mixed with pecans create a the yummiest, gooiest caramel topping over pre-made rolls.

Paula Deen's Ultimate Coffee Cake

Paula Deen

16 to 18 unbaked frozen dinner rolls
1 (3-ounce) package regular butterscotch pudding mix, not instant
1/2 cup brown sugar , packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

The night before place frozen rolls in well greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle dry pudding mix over rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar over pudding mix. Sprinkle chopped pecans over brown sugar. Pour melted butter over all. To prevent the dough from forming a hard crust while its rising overnight, cover with a damp towel or tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Let rise overnight at room temperature, about 8 to 10 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Turn pan over onto a serving platter to remove. Serve by pulling apart chunks with forks.

Pros- I think I already listed most of them but here they are again

1- This comes together in about 15 minutes tops!

2- minimal ingredients

3- can be made the night before

4- just bake the day of, no prep at all

5- beautiful and delicious

Cons- Are there any? The only one I can think of is you really don't want to let this rise more than 10 hours. Otherwise, it's going to rise right out of the pan. If you're planning on eating a later breakfast, you'll either have to bake early and reheat, or put together pretty late the night before.

Posted by: Sallie
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Hot Fennel and Blue Cheese Dip

Are you getting sick of seeing breakfast foods every day? I'm not, I think it might be my favorite meal of the day.

I feel like Christmas is coming faster than usual. Don't you? Over the next week we'll be posting 2 or 3 recipes a day just so you're covered and don't miss these delicious recipes for the holidays.

This first dip is a yummy appetizer. This came from a Better Homes and Garden's Special Holiday publication that my sister and I both bought last year. It has so many good recipes in it and this is one of our favorites. I love all the different flavors and textures--creamy from the cheese, mayo and sour cream (that's not unhealthy is it?) and the crunch from the crumbled bacon, blue cheese chunks and fennel. If you haven't tried fennel before go out on a limb and do it. One of my favorite salads (I'll post it later) has fennel in it.

The recipe calls for this dip to be served with endive leaves and radishes but it is equally delicious with crackers or some toasted bread.

Hot Fennel and Blue Cheese Dip
Better Homes and Gardens

4 slices bacon
3 medium fennel bulbs* (8 oz. each)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-ounce jar mayonnaise
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
1 4-ounce package crumbled blue cheese
20 dried whole black or pink peppercorns, crushed
finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 tablespoons)
fine dry bread crumbs (about 2 tablespoons)
Radishes and/or Belgian endive leaves or crackers and bread

1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. In a skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon; set aside.
2. To prepare fennel, cut off and discard upper stalks of fennel. Remove any wilted outer layers and cut a thin slice from the fennel base. Wash fennel and cut in half lengthwise; remove core. Cut crosswise into very thin slices.
3. Add fennel and garlic to drippings in skillet. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until fennel is just tender and begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese, bacon, and peppercorns to fennel; mix well. Divide mixture between two 16-ounce oven-proof crocks, souffle dishes, or other oven-proof dishes. In a small bowl combine Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs; top mixture in each crock with Parmesan mixture.
4. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes, or until just heated through and tops are light brown. Do not over bake. Serve with radishes and/or Belgian endive leaves. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

* Test Kitchen Tip: You may substitute 4-1/2 cups shredded cabbage or 3-1/2 cups chopped cauliflower for the fennel. Cook as directed.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Another delicious option for a nice holiday breakfast Raspberry or Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. In fact, you could use any flavor of jam that you prefer. I found this recipe on Leigh Anne's website. She used Raspberry jam in this picture but I prefer strawberry so that is what I used. Layers of delicious buttery pastry, divine sweetened cream cheese, yummy strawberry jam and a delicious almond crumb topping! My husband tasted it and said THIS IS THE ONE! I was rushing a little when I made this recipe and softened the cream cheese a little too much. That made it difficult to spread the jam. Next time I am going to microwave my jam for a few seconds to make the spreading easier and also double the jam because I thought it needed twice as much.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Leigh Anne

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup butter, chilled
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs, divided
1 tsp. almond extract

1 -8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4- 1 1/2 cups strawberry or raspberry jam (the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Grease and flour bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or fork and work into coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of crumb mixture.
Into remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, soda, salt, sour cream, 1 egg and almond extract. Blend well.
Spread batter over bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. Batter should be about 1/4 inch thick on sides.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, remaining sugar and 1 egg and blend well. Pour over batter in pan. Carefully spoon preserves evenly over cheese filling.
In a small bowl, combine the 1 cup reserved crumb mixture and sliced almonds. Sprinkle over the top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is golden brown. Mine took about an hour. Cool for 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Serve warm or cool, cut into wedges.

Pros-This is gorgeous! It would look so pretty served on a cake stand.
It came together fairly quickly. About half an hour.
This can be prepared the night before.
Really Delicious!

Cons- If you are making this the day of it will take close to 2 hours to prepare.
Posted by: Sallie
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Egg Nog French Toast

Here is another delicious option for Christmas breakfast. All of my kids go crazy over anything eggnog so when I spotted this recipe I knew I had to make it for them. This reminded me of a Monte Cristo (one of my favorite sandwiches) with the sweet, & rich & french toast , the crisp, salty bacon and the sweet confectioners sugar. You can easily leave out the bacon if that's not something you think you would like. I wanted to go all out so I made the eggnog bread . It was actually really easy.You can substitute Texas toast if you don't feel like making the bread. Don't let the long directions scare you. It actually comes together pretty easily.

Eggnog French Toast
King Arthur Flour

Eggnog Bread:
3 cups (12 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter
1/2 cup (4 ounces) eggnog
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon vanilla OR 1/4 teaspoon eggnog flavor (optional)

1 pound bacon, fried or oven-baked till crisp

3 1/2 cups (28 ounces) eggnog
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon eggnog flavor (optional)

Manual/Mixer Method: Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to form a cohesive mass. Knead the dough, by hand (on a lightly oiled work surface) or machine, for 5 to 8 minutes, until it's smooth and supple. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, or until it's puffy. Don’t worry about it doubling in bulk, because it probably won’t.

Bread machine method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 7 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, check the dough’s consistency; it should have formed a smooth ball. Adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Allow the machine to complete its cycle. Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into an 8-inch log. Nestle it into a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover it (with a proof cover or greased plastic wrap), and allow the loaf to rise for about 30 to 45 minutes, till it’s crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan. Note: This bread rises fairly slowly during its first rise, but seems to gather a head of steam and rise quickly once it’s in the pan.Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove it from the oven, allow it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan and cool it completely on a rack. Yield: 1 loaf, about 16 servings. Ideally, the bread for baked French toast should be a bit stale. Either make this bread a few days ahead and let it get stale naturally, or cut 1/2-inch slices early on the day you want to assemble the French toast, lay them on a baking sheet or other flat surface, and let them dry out a little, at room temperature, over the course of the day.

Assembly: The night before you want to serve the French toast, arrange six 1/2-inch slices of bread in a heavily buttered 9 x 13-inch pan. You’ll probably need to “cut and paste” here; it’s unlikely the slices will fit perfectly into the pan. The point is simply to line the bottom of the pan with half the bread. Layer the bacon atop the bread, then top with the remaining bread slices. Whisk together the eggnog, eggs, sugar, and flavoring (if you’re using it), then pour it evenly over the bread in the pan. Push the bread down into the custard. Cover the pan, and refrigerate overnight. Baking: Next day, remove the French toast from the refrigerator, and let it rest at room temperature while you preheat your oven to 350°F. Uncover it, and bake it for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and it’s set. Remove the French toast from the oven, allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then dust it heavily with confectioners’ sugar. Cut it into squares to serve.Yield: 6 to 10 servings

Pros- This came together really quickly. It would be even faster if you use the Texas Toast Bread. Also, the assembly is done the night before so all you have to do is bake the day you are serving it. It is really rich and makes a 9 x 13 pan so it would feed quite a few people.
Cons- If using, you'll need to either make the egg nog bread a couple of days ahead or make it the same day and stale it in the oven.
It really isn't very pretty looking right out of the pan. It does look nice when you top it with a generous amount of confectioners' sugar.

Posted by: Sallie
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Breakfast ---Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Buttery Pecan Struesel

Do you have a traditional Christmas Breakfast that you serve every year? We'd love to hear your ideas and recipes. Us? We have our old favorites but are always searching for delicious new recipes to try. I have made this out of this world, amazingly delicious Caramel Pecan French Toast, two years in a row but I wanted to try out some new recipes this year. I thought it would be easier but with all these delicious choices, I still can't decide. For your convenience I have made every recipe and will tell you the pros and cons (at the bottom of the post), in my opinion, of each recipe. Let's get started.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Buttery Pecan Struesel
Cook's Illustrated
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 2 pieces
1 cup pecans , chopped

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons softened butter for greasing pan
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt

1. For the streusel: In food processor, process flour, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined, about 15 seconds. Transfer 1 1/4 cups of flour/sugar mixture to small bowl; stir in remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and set aside to use for streusel filling. Add butter and pecans to mixture in food processor; pulse until nuts and butter resemble small pebbly pieces, about ten 1-second pulses. Set aside to use as streusel topping.
2. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10-inch tube pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Whisk eggs, 1 cup sour cream, and vanilla in medium bowl until combined.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add butter and remaining 1/2 cup sour cream; mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture resembles wet sand, with few large butter pieces remaining, about 1 1/2 minutes. Increase to medium speed and beat until batter comes together, about 10 seconds; scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each and scraping down sides of bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
4. Using rubber spatula, spread 2 cups batter in bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Repeat with another 2 cups batter and remaining 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Spread remaining batter over, then sprinkle with streusel topping (with butter and nuts).
5. Bake until cake feels firm to touch and long toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean (bits of sugar from streusel may cling to tester), 50 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be streusel-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and reinvert cake streusel-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve. (Cake can be wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

For a delicious Chocolate Chip Variation:

Add: 1 cup chocolate chips

Skip Step 4 in the above recipe and follow this step instead. The rest of the recipe is the same.

4. Using rubber spatula, spread 2 cups batter in bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface, and sprinkle 1/2 cup chocolate chips on top. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Repeat with another 2 cups batter, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, and remaining 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Spread remaining batter over, then sprinkle with streusel topping (with butter and nuts).

Pros- In the looks department, this cake is beautiful! I love all the different layers and textures and ribbons of strusel & It's REALLY good.

Cons- This is not a quick throw together recipe. It took me a good 1-1 1/2 hours just to put this cake together, then add another hour for baking and at least 2 more for cooling. If you plan on making this for Christmas breakfast you'll either have to get up super early or make it they day before.

Posted by: Sallie

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