Monday, January 31, 2011

Mini Meatloaves

Meatloaf can be a time consuming dish to make. You can cut down on the cooking time by making individual meatloaves in a muffin tin. Use your favorite meatloaf recipe, or try mine. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Mini Meatloaves
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2/3 cup quick oats OR 1 c fine bread crumbs
1/2 cup onion finely chopped OR 1 TBSP dried minced onion
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt 1/8 tsp pepper
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsp mustard (optional)

1. Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
2. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.
3. Divide meat mixture evenly among 12 muffin cups. Spread glaze evenly over top of meat loaves (I use a muffin scoop for this).
4. Place muffin tray on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and drain.
Serve with mashed potatoes. Makes 12 mini loaves.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Raspberry Puree

Happy 1 year anniversary! Here's to another year of favorite recipes!

I've never made a sponge cake before but have always wanted to try. I found this online while looking for Valentine's Day dessert ideas. It has very few ingredients, but takes a little work. It turned out beautiful! It's very light and fluffy, almost mousse like. It's very impressive looking and tastes good too. Don't forget the raspberry sauce!

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Raspberry Puree
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSPs sugar
6 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 TBSP sugar
Raspberry Puree
1 bag (12oz) frozen raspberries(unsweetened)
1/4 cup sugar

Chocolate Sponge Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, or spray with Pam, a 17 inch by 12 inch jelly roll pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and then butter and flour the paper (or spray with Baker's Joy). Set aside.
2. While the eggs are still cold, separate the eggs, placing the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Cover with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature before using (takes about 30 minutes).
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) place the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until this mixture is light and fluffy (about five minutes).(When you slowly raise the beaters, the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and beat only to combine. Set aside while you beat the egg whites.
4. In a clean mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form.
5. Gently fold a small amount of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture using a rubber spatula or whisk to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated. Don't over mix or the batter will deflate.
6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan with an offset spatula. Bake until the cake is puffed, has lost its shine, and springs back when gently pressed, about 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cover the cake with a clean, slightly damp towel.

Whipped Cream:
In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.
Once the cake has cooled, spread with the whipped cream and gently roll the cake, peeling off the parchment paper as you roll. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Raspberry Puree:
Thaw the unsweetened frozen raspberries in a large fine meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl. (This may take a few hours.) Once the berries have completely thawed, force the juice from the berries by gently pressing the berries with the back of a large spoon. All that should remain in the strainer is the raspberry seeds. Throw away the raspberry seeds. Stir the sugar into the strained juice (add more if needed). Store covered in the refrigerator up to a week, or freeze up to a year. Drizzle over cake when serving.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Glorious Breadsticks

This is my friend Glory's recipe. I tried them a couple of weeks ago and they are so yummy! I've made them twice since. They are the best right out of the oven, and only take about 45 minutes to make. She has always just eyeballed the topping. I measured out what I thought was about right and added the measurements to the recipe, you can adjust it as you like. When you take the dough out of the bowl to spread it out on the pan, keep some extra flour handy to prevent it from sticking to your hands.

Glorious Breadsticks
adapted from a Glory Watts recipe
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet of yeast (or 2 1/4 tsps)
2 TBSPs sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBSPs melted butter
3 TBSPs grated Parmesan cheese (the powdered kind)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1. In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, add water, sugar, and yeast. Whisk to combine. Let sit 10 minutes until frothy.
2. In mixing bowl add flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and yeast mixture. Mix with dough hook for 3 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes in the bowl.
3. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray (I use a 10 x 15.5 inch stoneware baking pan). Spread dough out onto baking sheet pressing out to the edges with your hands. Let rise 15 minutes.
4. Brush melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, and garlic powder. Cut into strips with a pizza cutter.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until light golden. Makes about 20.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Taco Soup

If you can brown ground beef and open a can then you can make this soup! This recipe got tons of 5 star ratings on the food network website. I really loved it. It's more like a chili than a soup. My only issue was that it makes a lot and you can't really half it without having left over cans of stuff. So, my extra is just going in the freezer.

Taco Soup
Paula Deen
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Measuring Cups and Spoons

My husband gave me a Williams-Sonoma gift card for Christmas and I bought these All-Clad measuring cups and spoons. I love them! Somehow they make cooking much more exciting. :) They are like little pans and sooo heavy duty. I also got the off size set that has the 2/3 and 3/4 cups which you don't see very often anymore. They have a lifetime warranty so they have become a family heirloom that I will pass down to my daughter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

My mom bought me a cookbook for Christmas. It's called, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks". She wanted it for herself, but gave it to me. I think she wants me to try the recipes and let her know which ones are good. So, here's the first winner, Mom. I've made it twice, both with frozen fruit (since now is not the best time for berries). I put the fruit in straight from the freezer. It's so so easy and was a perfect combination with ice cream. A nice and warm winter dessert.
*Update 08/13 - This is also a fabulous summer dessert especially with berries you pick yourself! We picked some blackberries and blueberries and I made this cobbler with good! If you don't have self rising flour you can substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour plus 1-1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. I added a new pic too. :)

Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler
Pioneer Woman Cooks
1 1/4 cups plus 2 TBSPs sugar, divided
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (or blueberries, peaches, raspberries and so on)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 3 quart baking dish (I used a 8x12in. pan).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup of sugar with the flour and milk. Whisk in melted butter. Pour batter into baking dish and sprinkle the blackberries evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the blackberries.
3. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbly. When 10 minutes of cooking time remain, sprinkle the remaining 2 TBSPs of sugar over the top. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cheeseburger Chowder

My husband is not a soup fan, but there are some days that just feels like soup days. Yesterday was a soup day, and I wondered how this one would fare. After tasting it, he said this was a soup he could see himself eating in his mountain lodge while sitting next to the fire (all fictional of course). This means it passed the manly test. It's hearty and not too thin. I like to substitute ground turkey to make it a little healthier sometimes.

Cheeseburger Chowder
1 pound lean ground beef
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed, about 2 cups
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 TBSPs chopped green pepper
1 TBSP beef bouillon granules or beef base
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups milk
3 TBSPs flour
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

In a 3 to 4-quart saucepan brown beef. Drain off excess fat. Stir in cubed potatoes, chopped celery, chopped onion, chopped green pepper, bouillon or base, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Blend flour with 1/2 cup of milk. Add to saucepan along with the remaining 2 cups of milk. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese is melted.
Serves 6 to 8.