Friday, March 22, 2019

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup II


Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (What you see pictured is less than half of what this recipe makes)

My sister-in-law makes this soup, and every time she does I eat more than is sensible. It's a perfect soup, though, creamy, salty, flavorful, thick, and just tasty. I've made some changes from the original version which called for 3/4 cup butter and 3 cups of light cream. This version isn't exactly "light," but it's got less fat than the original. Good enough for me.
Rather than blather on about my thoughts and feelings about this recipe, I'm going to stop and let you check this out. Hope you like it as much as I do.
  
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup II
     —adapted from PaneraSoupRecipes.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 half chicken breasts (you know, two pieces), cooked and shredded 
  • 1 large box Rice-a-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice (or two small boxes)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery 
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups milk (Original recipe calls for “light cream;” I used 2% Fair Life milk.)

Instructions:
  • Bring broth and chicken to a boil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add just the rice from the box, setting the seasoning packet aside. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and set aside. 
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter and then sauté the onions, celery, and carrots until soft. 
  • Add the seasoning packet from the rice (If using a large box, use half to all of the packet. If using two small boxes, I recommend using only one seasoning packet, unless you and those eating the soup have no worries about blood pressure.) Stir to incorporate the seasoning. 
  • Add the pepper and flour. Cool for another 2-3 minutes, stirring somewhat constantly. 
  • Gradually whisk in the milk, trying to keep it as smooth as possible. 
  • Reduce heat to medium low and cook milk and veggie mixture until thickened. Then stir it into the broth, rice, and chicken pot. 
  • Reduce heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes stirring frequently, until thick and delicious. 
Makes about 10-12 servings

Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Almond Flour Chocolate Muffins (Gluten Free)



Almond Flour Chocolate Muffin

Based on my Almond Flour Cinnamon Muffins, these muffins here are chocolatey and satisfying. That's all I have to say right now because I don't feel like going into it. These muffins feed my tummy and my soul.

Almond Flour Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups almond flour (made from blanched almonds)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (preferably room temperature)
  • 1 large egg (preferably room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place cupcake liners into 11 cups of a muffin pan.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the almond flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda with a wire whisk.
  • In a small bowl or a measuring cup, mix the buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla extract with a fork.
  • Thoroughly combine the wet and dry ingredients, and then mix in the chocolate chips, reserving a few to sprinkle on top, if desired.
  • Evenly divide the batter into the 11 cups (I used a large cookie scoop) and sprinkle with a few chocolate chips, if desired.
  • Bake a 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • Store uneaten muffins in an airtight container and eat within 3 days or freeze.

Makes 11 muffins










A little crumbly, but still moist, chocolatey, and delicious.







Sunday, October 7, 2018

Roast Beef Hash

Salty, beefy, and crisp roast beef hash

My mom is a great cook. Not a healthy cook, but a GREAT cook. One of the things she fed my brother and me when we were young was Libby's Corned Beef Hash from a can. She would refrigerate the can, open both ends, push the contents out one end, and slice off disks of hash. Then she would fry them in a pan until they were brown and crispy. Mmm. Such a fabulous food memory. 
Well, as an adult, I've looked at the nutrition information on that can, and holy smokes! I have NO business eating that stuff any more. I pretty much have no business eating what I'm telling you about now either, but I did it. I won't do it every day or anything, but in case you want to make it too, the recipe is below.
Now, this is not an exact recipe. It's what I did today with what I had leftover from dinner the night before, although I did bake up the potatoes to cube and add to the mix, since I didn't want the beef to get lost in the mashed potatoes. 
I got the idea because this is actually made from leftover leftovers. I reheated the roast in a pan, and all of the moisture evaporated, and some of the roast beef got crisp on the bottom of the pan. Of course I had to taste it as I was putting it away, and oh my goodness! It took me back to the 70s when my mom fed us the Libby's corned beef hash! So salty, crispy and beefy. (Cue the drooling.)
So, today after church, this is what I mixed up for our lunch, and wow! It turned out even better than I'd imagined. Even sent a pic to my brother to make him drool. I imagine the next time they have roast at their house, he'll be making some of this the next day.
There you go. Roast beef hash--now one of my favorite ways to enjoy leftover chuck roast.

Roast Beef Hash

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium baked potatoes, cooled, peeled, and cubed
  • 3/4 cup mashed potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chuck roast, preferably leftover and well seasoned
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
  • Chop the roast into smaller bits.
  • Place the cubed potatoes, roast, mashed potatoes, onion, one tablespoon of butter, one tablespoon canola oil and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix thoroughly to incorporate.
  • Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon or two of canola oil. Tilt pan to coat it with butter & oil.
  • Scoop out about a 1/2-cup portion of hash mixture and form into a ball, and then flatten into a disk about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
  • Carefully place disk into the pan. 
  • Repeat making disks until the pan is full, leaving about 1 inch between disks. 
  • Fry until crisp and browned on one side (about 3-5 minutes), and then carefully flip. Some pieces may break off, but just smoosh it back together. This is hash, after all, and it's not going to be terribly neat. If the pan looks dry, add a little more oil before (or as) you fry on the second side.
  • Continue to fry until both sides are browned and crisp.
  • When the first batch is done, remove hash to a serving plate.
  • Scrape the pan and remove leftover bits. 
  • Add another tablespoon of butter and more canola oil and continue to fry up the hash until it's all cooked.
  • Sprinkle with chopped or dried parsley, if desired.
Serves about 4 (although I ate way more than my share) 







Saturday, October 6, 2018

(Gluten Free) Croq Tele

Buttery, sweet & salty croq tele (gluten free today)


These unassuming little sweet & salty buttery nuggets are addicting. At least they are to me. 
They're just a really great shortbread cookie, and although I already have them here on this blog, today I made them gluten free. 
I had my doubts that they would turn out as delicious as the wheat version, and I was pleasantly surprised. Like I said, sweet, a little salty, and gorgeously buttery--especially if you bake them to the point where the butter in them browns a bit. Mm. So good.
I'm going to have to give some of these away before I eat them all myself.

Croq Tele (TV Snacks)

Ingredients:
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix the almond flour, sugar and salt. 
  • In the bowl of standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, mix the gluten free flour and the butter until it is sandy in appearance (see pic below).
  • Add the almond flour, sugar, and salt mixture to the butter & flour mixture and mix until completely incorporated and the dough gets a bit clumpy. It will not become a cohesive mass.
  • Using a half teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop up a packed level half teaspoon of the mixture. Scrape it out into the palm of your hand and pinch the dough with the fingers of your other hand to create a tight little lump that holds together.
  • Place on the baking sheet and continue to form the cookies until the pan is full. Cookies should be placed about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 16-20 minutes. I like mine browned pretty well, so I bake them closer to the 20 minutes mark.
Makes about 9 to 10 dozen little nuggets


This is what the butter and flour mixture looks like right before you add the other ingredients.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Gluten Free)




Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


I remembered these long-forgotten cookies when I was wanting to make a breakfast type cookie yesterday. They're special because they're very moist, soft, and chewy, because the recipe calls for you to puree some of the raisins.
These cookies are super satisfying, perfectly spiced, and have just enough butter to flavor them. Mmm. I'm already making a second batch because the first batch went so quickly.
The original recipe with regular flour can be found here. I made these gluten free because, why not?
If you like your oatmeal cookies crisp at all, this recipe is not for you. These are very soft, very chewy, and go great with a tall glass of cold milk.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Gluten Free)
      --Adapted from Topsecretrecipes.com

Ingredients
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  •  3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar (or 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon molasses)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 ¼ cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup raisins and/or 1 cup chopped pecans, if desired
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine ½ cup raisins with hot water in a food processor and blend on high speed for about 1 minute or until very smooth.
3. Combine raisin puree with the vegetable shortening, butter, egg, brown sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the Better Batter flour and almond flour with the oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour dry mixture into the wet and mix just until combined.  Stir in the other ½ cup of raisins and/or pecans.
5. Use a large cookie scoop or with a spoon scoop about 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie. Evenly space about 6 cookies per sheet pan.
6. Bake at 275°F for 18-25 minutes or until cookies are set and not doughy on top. Cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Store in an airtight container.
 
Makes about 3 dozen cookies





Saturday, July 21, 2018

Puffy Cheese Crackers (gluten free, but not necessarily)


Delicious Puffy Cheese Cracker
I found this recipe from Chef In Training via Pinterest. Not that I need another cheese cracker recipe in my life, but I have been craving Cheeze Crackers ala Marilyn. Cheapskate me, though, didn't want to spend the $2.99 on a jar of Kraft Old English processed cheese
This recipe is great because it's basically my mom's cheese cracker recipe, but with real cheddar cheese, which costs about $2.50 less than the jar of Old English. Score.
I made these gluten free because I am still attempting to limit my gluten. With all of the butter and cheese, though, you can't really tell the flour is not made with wheat.
These tasty little treats are salty, cheesy, warm, and absolutely satisfying. The dough freezes perfectly for baking up just a few at a time, or if you just want to plan ahead.
 
Puffy Cheese Crackers
    --Adapted from Chef In Training

Ingredients:
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Get out your food processor and put in the grater attachment. Grate the cheese and the butter.
  • Transfer the grated cheese and butter to a medium mixing bowl and then replace the grater attachment in your food processor to the blade attachment.
  • Add the grated butter and cheese back into the food processor (fitted with the blade now). Mix until the butter and cheese are completely incorporated.
  • Add the flour and salt. Mix until a dough forms and creates a cohesive ball (or other solid shape--mine looked like a fat sausage).
  • Transfer dough to the bowl you used for the butter and cheese earlier.
  • Scoop about two teaspoons of dough out and roll into a ball. Place ball on prepared baking sheet and gently press on the top, just enough so that the ball won't roll off the pan.
  • Place additional balls onto the pan, leaving about 1 1/2 to 2 inches between balls of dough.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and possibly browning on the edges just slightly.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Remove to a serving plate and enjoy, taking care not to burn yourself.
  • Continue to roll and bake the remaining dough.
* If you would like to freeze some to bake off later, line with wax paper a small pan that will fit into your freezer. Form the balls and press to keep from rolling. Freeze formed balls until firm and then transfer to a zip top freezer bag. When ready to bake, put the dough balls on the pan while the oven preheats, and bake as directed above.
  • Makes about 1 1/2 to 3 dozen puffy cheese crackers

Cheese and butter all mixed (well, mostly)
The completed dough
Dough balls formed for freezing -- each is about 1 1/2 cm in diameter.
Ready to go into the oven
Baked, puffed, and done






Thursday, July 19, 2018

Brownie Cookies (Gluten Free--but they don't have to be)

Brownie Cookies
Summer break means I have tons of time on my hands, and although I've been trying to bake (and eat) fewer breads and cookies, today I had to make these after seeing them on Instagram. Smittenkitchen.com calls them the Browniest Cookies. What they remind me of sort of are Grandma's Chocolate Brownie Cookies --you know, the big ones in the red package. 
These aren't as sweet as Grandma's, but that could probably be remedied by changing the 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate to dark chocolate, which I may try next time. 
Suffice it to say, though, these are what they are called: the browniest cookies. Very chocolately. Very satisfying. Just make sure you have enough milk on hand to drink alongside these guys.
Also, I used gluten free flour because I'm attempting to reduce the gluten in my diet, but the original recipe just calls for the same amount of regular all purpose flour. I use Better Batter because it's what works for me. I think this recipe could handle any cup-for-cup gf flour you might like to use.


Brownie Cookies
     --adapted from Smittenkitchen.com

Ingredients:
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped/broken into pieces
  • 1 stick butter (cut into tablespoon chunks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (or other AP flour)
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
Instructions:
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt unsweetened chocolate and butter on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat microwaving at 50% power at 20-30 second intervals until the chocolate is almost melted completely. Continue stirring to completely melt and combine chocolate and butter. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the chocolate butter mixture and the brown and white sugars.
  • Whisk in the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated. 
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Stir in baking soda and salt. 
  • Add the cocoa powder and flour, putting it through a sieve/sifter if either is lumpy. Stir to incorporate cocoa and flour.
  • Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts if you want them within the cookies).
  • Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.

At this point you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit OR you can get ready to form the dough into a log to freeze, and bake later.

Bake now: 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Scoop about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of dough onto lines cookie sheet leaving 1 1/2 inches or so between cookies. These don't spread much. 
  • If you want nuts, but did not stir them in, you can roll prepared mounds of dough in the nuts and return to the baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Be careful not to over bake these. They're better if they're slightly under baked.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet before removing with a spatula to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Bake later: 
  • Tear off a sheet of parchment paper that will accommodate making a dough log.
  • Scoop out the chilled dough onto the sheet, and with clean or food-gloved hands, form the dough into a rough log.
  • When you have a rough log, fold over the parchment and use the edge of a cookie sheet to sort of push and squeeze the dough into a smoother log shape. (If you can't imagine what I'm talking about, watch this short video about shaping compound butter.)
  • The log should end up about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches in diameter. 
  • Place the dough in the freezer until it's frozen solid.
  • When frozen, you can cut the log so that the dough fits well into a zip top freezer bag.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, line a cookie sheet with parchment, and cut 1/2 inch thick circles from the frozen log. 
  • Place dough circles onto the baking sheet (and press into chopped nuts if you want those on top--but you may need to wait a few minutes for the dough to soften slightly if you're doing this).
  • Bake cookies at 350 for 8-9 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet before removing with a spatula to a cooling rack to cool completely.

 
Frozen and cut cookie dough
Dough rolled and ready to be wrapped and frozen
This cookie was formed with a scoop. Just wanted you to see the inside.
These cookies were formed with a scoop.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Peanut Butter Granola


Perfect Peanut Butter Granola
Summer break. Every teacher's goal for 9 months of the year. I made it.
Honestly, though, I do love my job, and for perhaps the first time in my working history, I have not counted down impatiently for summer to come. I am blessed to have a job I love AND to get a loooong summer break as well.
Summer, to me, means that I get to cook and blog to my heart's content. Unfortunately, though, my oven is in need of repair, and I must endure another week or so of not having a working oven.
I do have a wonderful sister-in-law, though, who lives just down the street, so I baked up this tasty granola in her oven this afternoon.
If you've ever had Nature Valley Peanut Butter Granola Bars then you know what this granola tastes like. It is crunchy, toasty, and full of peanut butter goodness. It's very easy to make and it's much less expensive than buying ready-made granola. 
Seriously, so easy. You really must try making it on your own.


Peanut Butter Granola

Ingredients:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium or large bowl, completely mix the egg whites, corn syrup (or honey), vegetable oil, brown sugar, peanut butter, kosher salt, and vanilla.
  • Stir in the rolled oats until everything is incorporated.
  • Spread mixture evenly over the prepared pan.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the granola in there for another 15 minutes. 
  • Then remove from the oven and stir. Allow to cool completely before eating or placing in a gallon sized zip top bag.
  • Try to enjoy it within two weeks for best flavor.

Makes about 5 cups of granola.



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