Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
I had half of a Sam's Club roasted chicken that I need to use for dinner last night, so I looked up "chicken and rice soup" recipes and I landed on a on Taste of Home. I changed it up a little bit because I had leftover white rice from White Chicken Chili the other day, and then I cooked up some wild rice too to make it a little more interesting. (The original recipe calls for uncooked rice.) I was pleased with the resulting soup, but I can't say it knocked my socks off. It's a good, hearty soup, but it needs a little something more. Perhaps I'll try it again sometime, but now that I think of it, I think what it might need is just a little more salt, which is something I need to avoid, so... we'll see.
At any rate, if you have leftover rice and chicken, this is a quick, tasty meal. There you go.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
     --adapted from Taste of Home

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used Better Batter Gluten Free Flour)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (not like Rice-A-Roni, but just the wild rice)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • salt to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil and saute onion, carrot, and celery until tender. Add garlic, pepper, and basil, and cook another minute. Add flour and cook another minute, stirring constantly. 
Pour chicken broth in slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer and add cooked rices, half and half, and chicken. Bring to a simmer again and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add salt if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. You might need to add some milk when enjoying the leftovers.
P.S. The green garnish in the photo is just julienned spinach leaves. I didn't have anything else to garnish it with, and I needed something to brighten it up.

Makes about 5 servings.

Gluten Free Raised Donuts

Gluten Free Raised Donuts
These turned out a little dense. I think I'll let them rise longer next time.
Cute gf donut holes.
Snoooooow day! I was very skeptical of our chances of having a snow day today. I mean, after living in Iowa for almost 8 years, I've learned that it takes a LOT to call school off. I think there may be 4-5 inches of snow out there ready for us to shovel after eating these donuts, but that usually does not stop school. At any rate, yes, it was the perfect opportunity to try these out. My now gluten-limited son love, love, loves glazed donuts--almost as much as he loves cheese bagels. Having found a recipe for cheese bagels that he likes, it was time to try the donuts. He ate a bunch of the donut holes and he ate a whole donut in about two minutes. Suffice it to say, he likes them. Yay! 
I enjoy these as well, but I did find a problem with them. Well, probably more with how I did it. I didn't let them rise quite long enough. Gluten Free on a Shoestring said to let them rise to 150% of their original size, but I'm a terrible judge of how much dough has risen. I need time. I let about 45 minutes pass, but these donuts were a little too dense. Not inedible, but not as light as I'd wanted them. So, I'm recommending in the recipe below that you let them rise about an hour. That's what I'll do next time, but for now, I'm still calling these a success.

Gluten Free Raised Donuts
     --Adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

  • 2 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg plus one large egg white, beaten together
  • 9 ounces milk (I used 1%)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • canola oil for frying
  • a few scraps of gluten free bread
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place flour, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, sugar, yeast, and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk to combine.
In a microwave-proof cup/bowl, place 9 oz. milk and butter. Microwave on high for about 50 seconds. Stir until butter is completely melted. If butter doesn't seem to melt much, microwave another 20 seconds or so and stir some more.
Add egg and vinegar to the dry ingredients and mix on low to combine. With mixer on low, add melted butter and milk mixture in a slow stream until liquid is absorbed. Dough will be super sticky, but you can add 1-2 tablespoons of flour, one tablespoon at a time, to firm it up a bit.
Place a sheet of parchment onto a flat surface and sprinkle with a little flour. Scrape dough onto parchment and sprinkle with a little more flour. Cover with another sheet of parchment and roll dough to a half-inch thickness.
Cut donuts and holes and place cut pieces onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to rise. Gather scraps, roll, and cut more donuts and holes. 
Cover donuts and holes and allow to rise about an hour, or until donuts are 50% puffier.
When donuts have risen, place 2 inches of canola oil in a heavy stock pot or dutch oven and heat on medium to almost medium high heat until it reaches about 350 degrees fahrenheit, or a piece of bread placed in bubbles and fries immediately.
Place a wire rack into a rimmed baking sheet and line the top with two layers of paper towels. Set aside, ready to take the fried donuts.
Prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Cover and set aside.
Fry a few pieces of old gluten free bread (or pretzel nuggets--they taste really good after being fried by the way) and remove fried bread (Gluten-Free on a Shoestring has this step in her recipe and says it helps donuts turn "golden brown and delicious.")
Fry scraps and donut holes until deep golden brown, turning frequently with a slotted metal spoon or spider to brown them evenly. Remove to the paper towel lined baking rack. 
Start frying the donuts, 3 or 4 at a time, turning when they are well-browned on one side. If they seem to be browning too quickly, turn the heat down. While these donuts fry, place donut holes in the glaze, turning to coat. Place on another plate or cooling rack to set.
Remove fried donuts to paper towels, cool slightly, and coat in glaze. Set on cooling rack or plate to set.

Makes about 10 donuts and 15 donut holes, depending on the size of your cutter.

GF Donuts set to rise

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles

Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles

I like puffy snickerdoodles. I will eat the flat ones, but they're not my preference. I had some cream cheese to use up, so I put some in my favorite snickerdoodle recipe, and hey, they turned out even better than usual. These cookies are soft, thick, and every bit the perfect snickerdoodle. 
I also made some of Jaques Torres's chocolate chip cookies with cream cheese, and they are fabulous as well. Cream cheese: it's not just for bagels any more.

Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles
     --Adapted from

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½  teaspoon salt

  • 2 ¾ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • ½ cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar till smooth, then add the eggs, again beating till smooth. Beat in the vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, then add the flour, mixing slowly till combined. (Don’t overbeat.  And for the record, be sure to NEVER overbeat cookie dough.) Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.*
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Once dough is chilled, roll tablespoon-sized balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture in a shallow pan or bowl. You can coat 3-5 balls at a time.  Gently shake the pan/bowl to coat the dough balls with sugar. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 ½" between them.
Bake the cookies at 400°F for 10 to 11 minutes, or until puffed and browned around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven, cool on the pan for about 3-5 minutes, and then cool them on a rack.
*At this point I also like to form the balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  I freeze them on the pan, and once frozen, I transfer the frozen dough balls to a zip-top bag.  I roll the frozen dough balls in cinnamon sugar before baking the same way I bake them after being chilled.

Really Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Really Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
I recently made and posted about Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe. They were fabulous, the secret to them being the mixture of cake flour and all-purpose (or bread for the original recipe) flour. Well, I had some cream cheese fixing to expire in my basement refrigerator (never got around to baking that Christmas cheesecake), so last week I made some snickerdoodles using half cream cheese, half butter. That produced nice puffy snickerdoodles, just the way I like them.
I was left with the other half of the cream cheese brick, so I decided I needed to try the Jacques Torres cookies with some cream cheese. They turned out even better than the original. They're super chewy, even the next day. Everyone I gave them to at work raved about them, so I think I can comfortably say they're awesome. I have a couple more bricks of cream cheese in the fridge, so I think I'm going to have to try a couple more cookies with cream cheese.

Really Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
       --adapted from For Me-For You who in a roundabout way got it from Jacques Torres

  • 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. cake flour 
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour)
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda

  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder

  • 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.  granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs
 (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 20 oz. good quality semi sweet chocolate chips/chunks/discs (I used two 9.5 oz bags of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped an chopped into large chunks.)
Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Put dry ingredients through a sieve to sift them together. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low/stir; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chunks, and mix briefly to incorporate. Place in an airtight plastic container, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Once chilled, you can bake or scoop dough balls to freeze for later baking.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
Now here is where you have to decide what size to make the cookies (unless you made the balls earlier for freezing). I used a medium sized Pampered Chef cookie scoop, which is probably about 3 tablespoons. Bigger is probably better with these cookies. (For Me-For You used a 1/3 measuring cup for hers.) Place scoops onto parchment lined cookie sheets and leave about 2 inches between cookies. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes or until puffed and browned at the edges. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more. 
Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk. Mmmm...

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jolly Rancher Sours

Jolly Rancher Sours
Every once in a while I'll blog about some food I purchased. These Jolly Rancher Sours are something I have to tell you about because they are so, so good. I love most things with Jolly Rancher flavors. There's just something unique about those flavors that take me back to my childhood, eating Apple Stix, Cherry Stix, Watermelon Stix, and Fire Stix at my brother's baseball games. The flavors haven't changed, but the forms they come in have. The most recent incarnation of Jolly Rancher flavors is in the form of heart-shaped sour sugar coated gum drops. There are only four flavors in the bag: orange, watermelon, cherry, and apple. All of them delicious and sour. My mouth is watering just talking about it. I really purchased the first bag for my husband, but I think I ate most of that first bag all by myself. In two days. I'm on the second bag now, and I had to stop myself at six hearts after dinner tonight. They'll still be here tomorrow, but I'm a little concerned these are only a Valentine's thing. Wait, it's probably better that way.
So, if you too are a fan of Jolly Ranchers, even if you don't normall eat sour things, give these a try. I'm warning you, though, you just might get hooked.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Coconut Chocolate Chip Croq-Tele (TV Snacks)

Coconut Chocolate Chip Croq-Tele
Coconut Croq-Tele
I made a bunch of croq-tele (TV Snacks) when my family was out here for Thanksgiving, and I've been wanting to make more. I got distracted, though, by making Dutch Letters for Christmas. Now I'm getting around to making them again. I thought it would be fun to try some mini chocolate chips in them. And then I saw the coconut in my baking basket and decided to try that too. My husband likes the ones with the chocolate chips, but I prefer the plain and the coconut ones. The chocolate is too overwhelming, even in its small amount, as far as I'm concerned.
Just like the original croq-tele, these are simple sweet, salty, buttery deliciousness. 

Coconut Chocolate Chip Croq-Tele (TV Snacks)
     --adapted from At the Baker's Bench who adapted it from Field Guide to Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place coconut in a metal pie pan or other small metal baking pan, and toast in the oven for about 6-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before using.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir almond flour, sugar, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat flour and cold butter until mixture turns sandy in texture. Add almond/sugar/salt mixture and beat until small clumps form. (I had to turn off my stand mixer and scrape the sides to see that it was clumping.)
Crumble the toasted coconut as you add it to the dough. Mix a little more to incorporate the coconut. Stir chocolate chips in with a spoon if you're using chocolate chips.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out small balls of dough. Pinch the dough in your hand until it holds together. Place on prepared cookie sheet about an inch apart. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-16 minutes, or until tips/edges are browned.
Cool cookies on pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
Store in an airtight container or freeze for later consumption.

Makes 2-3 dozen little cookies.

Chile Colorado Quesadilla

Chile Colorado Quesadilla
Last night we had chile colorado burritos for dinner. I see so many people pinning it on Pinterest and I realized that I hadn't made it in a while, so that's what we had--Dutch oven style. We had a ton leftover because I used the whole 4 pound package of meat from Sam's Club (normally I only use half). So for lunch today I didn't feel like having a burrito and going to the trouble of broiling the cheese on top and all that. I thought I'd try a quesadilla using one of my homemade tortillas, and I figured I'd make the quesadilla like my mom used to--with butter.  Mmmmm... If you decide to make this, though, feel free to omit the butter step. It's just decadent and it makes the quesadilla a little crisper and buttery. 
Overall, I'd say this is a good way to enjoy your leftover chile colorado meat, especially if you were left with very little of the sauce to spoon over the top. If you've already tried the chile colorado, then you can pretty much guess how this tastes. It's just a good way to enjoy the leftovers. Since I only made one for myself (that I ended up sharing with my husband), that's the recipe you see below. It's easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc.

Chile Colorado Quesadilla

  • 1/2 cup leftover chile colorado meat
  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • 1teaspoon softened butter (optional)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • sliced green onions as an optional garnish
Place cold chile colorado meat in a microwave proof bowl, cover, and microwave on high for 40-50 seconds. Stir and break up large chunks into smaller ones, or sort of shred the meat.
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, spread butter all over one side of the tortilla. Place tortilla buttered side down onto the hot skillet. 
Spread cheese over one half of the tortilla in the pan and fold the naked half over onto the cheesy half. Cook on one side for about 2 minutes and then use a spatula to flip it, and cook for about 2 minutes on the other side, or until it starts to brown and cheese starts to melt.
Carefully (with tongs if you have to) open up the quesadilla. The melted cheese should be on both sides now. Spread meat evenly over one half of the quesadilla and then fold back into position. 
Cook another minute or so on each side, or until it's as brown as you like it.
Remove with a spatula to a cutting surface and cut into thirds or fourths. Sprinkle with chopped green onions, if desired. Serve hot.

Makes 1 serving

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chili from Leftover Roast Beef

This bowl is for my picky son. Therefore, no toppings.

Last night we had basic chuck roast for dinner with potatoes and carrots. It was yummy. We had a decent amount of roast left over, so I thought I would make some taquitos with the leftovers for our Sunday lunch. Well, I didn't really have enough corn tortillas for that, so I got to thinking that I should make some chili with it. Ruby's Diner in California makes their chili using shredded beef, and I'm surprised I've never tried it at home before. Today was my day, and I have to tell you, it was a great success. I've eaten way more than I should have, and I think my husband now regrets selecting a Totino's pizza for his lunch before I got home. 
I used Williams Original Chili Seasoning Mix because it's just what I use. You could use your own favorite chili mix or recipe; just replace the browned ground beef with the leftover roast. It's a quick, hearty, delicious way to enjoy day old roast beef.

Chili from Leftover Roast Beef

  • 2-3 cups leftover chuck roast in chunks (not yet shredded)
  • 1/2 to 1 package Williams Original Chili Seasoning Mix
  • 3 oz. tomato paste (about half a can)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (approx.)
  • 1 beef bullion cube
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup masa flour mixed with about 1/2 cup warm water (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • grated cheddar cheese, salsa, green onions, or other desired topping/garnish
  • Homemade Tortilla Chips or Homemade French Fries
In a medium sized heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm up the leftover roast and 1/2 cup water. Once the water starts to simmer, add 6 to 8 teaspoons of the chili seasoning mix (amount depends on how much roast you have). Add the tomato paste, beef bullion, and 1 more cup water and stir. Break up larger chunks of meat as you stir. If you want a thicker, tighter chili, pour in the masa/water mixture while stirring rapidly until incorporated. Add the tablespoon of butter. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes on low, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste.
Top servings with your favorite chili toppings. Serve with Homemade Tortilla Chips or Homemade French Fries.
Makes 4-5 servings.

Gluten Free Baking

I'm only now really getting into gluten free baking, after several years of fits and starts of getting my son onto a gluten free (really, gluten limited) diet. If you would like to know details of our story, feel free to email me, and I'll be happy to tell you all about it. For his sake, I don't feel it's appropriate to blog about for all the world to read. I'm a pretty open person, but this is where I decide to honor my kid as an individual because my hope is that he will grow up into a responsible adult with his own life and his own reputation to make and uphold.
That being said, I will tell you that we have found that our son's emotional and mental state are negatively affected by gluten. He's a much better him when he's NOT had gluten. Now that he's 12, and the stakes are so much higher (in my former-middle-school-teacher opinion), I'm being more aggressive about keeping him away from gluten and part of that is making some gluten free baked goods myself, because much of what I've seen out there is either gross or creepy (gf bagels that smell and taste like feet, and shelf-stable gf breads--weird). I clearly like to bake, and I've finally discovered a gluten free flour that makes delicious baked goods: Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. I don't write this because they're a sponsor and they're giving me money or products. I buy it just like everyone else...because it's awesome. Go to their website to read about Naomi Poe's story of how she came up with this flour blend.
I don't have a ton of gf recipes yet, but in the coming months (now that I've purchased my 25 pound bag of Better Batter) I hope to add several more. If you're looking for a large amount and variety of gf recipes, start at the Better Batter website and then also go to Gluten Free On a Shoestring. She's got a ton of great recipes too.
Again, if you have any questions about what I know about gf baking, or about my kid's condition, please feel free to email me.
P.S. Because I started my gluten free label for my posts before I started baking much, you might find some non-baking recipes in this section. The misnomer frustrates me a little, but I'm going to leave it as is out of laziness and the hope that maybe some gluten free recipe seeker will like it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Bun after the collapse.
Bun before the collapse. So puffy.
The interior looks like the regular bread I know.
Now that I'm determined to keep my son's gluten intake almost non-existent, I've been buying lots of Better Batter Gluten Free Flour and trolling for recipes. This one looked interesting, and turned out even MORE interesting. The whole beating the batter for 10 minutes was weird. And four eggs? After reading the recipes and reviews, I decided they'd probably turn out like cream puff shells, but I'd try them anyway.
First of all, once beaten, the batter/dough felt so cool! I mean, I wanted to keep some and play with it a little bit. It felt like marshmallow fluff, but not sticky. When I smoothed the tops with the water, I was afraid they'd collapse because there seemed to be so much air incorporated into the batter, but they didn't. And they puffed up beautifully in the oven and they look great. My picky gf son even liked eating them plain.
Oh, one more note: the recipe on calls for 1/3 cup sugar, and I made mine with a scant 1/3 cup. I thought they were too sweet, so I reduced the amount to 1/4 cup below. So, if you like a sweeter burger bun, use the 1/3 cup. If you like it more savory, I would even try cutting back a little more. I'm just not sure if that will affect the finished product though.

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange your oven racks to accommodate two pans. Get out two sheets of parchment paper and trace six evenly spaced 3.5 to 4 inch circles on each, in pencil. Invert paper onto baking sheets so that the pencil is on the underside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Beat the eggs and milk into the dry ingredients on high speed for 7-10 minutes. While batter is being beaten, place a gallon size zip-top bag into a large plastic cup, ready to fill with the batter when it's done.
After 7-10 minutes, your batter should become a thick fluffy mass that seems very wet. Naomi at described it as "a consistency between soft butter-cream and cookie dough."
Working quickly, scoop/scrape the batter into the prepared zip top bag. Twist the opening of the bag and snip one inch of a corner. Pipe batter into the circle shapes, the way you would frost a cupcake with a piping bag of frosting. Circles should be about 1/2 inch thick. Do not let the buns touch.
Still working quickly, dip your fingers into water and smooth over the tops of the batter circles to make smooth, shiny tops. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or onions, if desired.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15- 20 minutes, switching buns from one shelf to the other at about 13-14 minutes. Bake until tops are well browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool COMPLETELY before slicing. They will deflate a bit.
Freeze unused buns and pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, or in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes when ready to use.

Makes 12 grocery store brand sized hamburger buns

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Croissant Breakfast Sandwich ala Shorehouse Cafe

Croissant Breakfast Sandwich
with eggs, sausage, cheese, and french fried onions.
What a bummer! I just tried to look up the Shorehouse Cafe in Long Beach, CA, where I got the idea for this tasty breakfast/brunch item, and I see that it's CLOSED! Such a bummer. Well, I guess I won't feel too bad for stealing their idea then. Sigh.
At any rate, it WAS at the Shorehouse Cafe on Second Street in Long Beach, California, where I used to eat this breakfast/brunch somewhat regularly. I went there with friends, boyfriends, and then my husband. It was one of those places where we'd say, "Remember that time here when..." only to realize it was some OTHER person we'd dated whom we were with at the Shorehouse Cafe at the time. 
That was many moons ago, though, and today, as I was putting together Sunday afternoon lunches for my kids, I remembered this breakfast sandwich that I loved so much. It's a pretty basic thing that you can mix up and add any ingredients you'd like. Today, for me, it was eggs, breakfast sausage, cheddar cheese, and French's French Fried Onions. The onions were an afterthought, but they really were the "icing" on this sandwich. Glad I never did put those things away (and that I didn't snack them all away) after making green bean casserole on Christmas.
The recipe below is simply what I did, but again, this sandwich is wide open to interpretation. I really just wanted to take a pic of the delicious thing and post it on my blog here. Cheers!

Croissant Breakfast Sandwich ala Shorehouse Cafe

  • 1 large croissant
  • 1 breakfast sausage link
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons half and half (plain milk is fine too)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup or so shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons French's French Fried Onions
Slice the croissant horizontally. In a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, heat the croissant (closed) until crisp on the outside and warm on the interior, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, over medium heat in an omelette pan, cook/heat the sausage until well browned. (I only used one, but two probably would have been better. Trying not to go crazy with the sodium.) 
While the sausage cooks, beat the eggs with the half and half (or milk) until thoroughly blended and bubbly. 
When sausage is cooked, cut it into half to quarter inch size pieces while still in the pan. You should have a little bit of grease left in the pan with the sausage. (If you're using a low fat sausage, you might want to make sure you do this in a non-stick pan, but don't cut the sausage in the non-stick pan--cut it on the side and return it to the pan.) 
Add the beaten eggs to the pan that is still over medium heat, cook and stir gently with a silicone spatula until eggs are just set and have no visibly wet/shiny bits. Salt and pepper to taste.
Place the croissant open faced on a baking sheet, place eggs/sausage on one side, sprinkle eggs with cheese and onions. Close sandwich and return to oven for 2-3 minutes to make sure the cheese gets melted.
Serve hot with a knife and fork.
Makes 1 generous serving.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chocolate Wafer & Whipped Cream Sandwiches

Chocolate Wafer & Whipped Cream Sandwiches

This evening, our family has been invited to dinner at our friends' house. I get to bring dessert, so I decided to make some simple Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies. Well, my husband really does NOT like almond flour chocolate chip cookies. I was vaguely aware of this when I made them, but I love them so much that I figured he would taste one again and realize how fantastic they really are. So much for that. He didn't like them.
Soooo...I decided to take along another offering for dessert: Chocolate Wafer and Whipped Cream Sandwiches, because they too are super delicious and I never did use the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers I bought over the holidays. 
I have made a version of these before with mascarpone frosting instead of plain whipped cream. These are "the original," the way a parent at my school makes them, except I don't know if she/he used stabilized whipped cream like I am. I'm hoping the stabilization of the whipped cream doesn't mess it up. Now I'm second guessing my choice, but it's too late now. I'm also hoping that in three hours the wafers will be soft because that's how they're supposed to be when you eat them. They end up tasting like soft, delicate little ice cream sandwiches. I'll be sure to update the post when I know these details.
*Update: The stabilized whipped cream worked great, but I don't really think it's necessary to use in this recipe. Just regular whipped cream would be fine. They were in the fridge about 5 hours before we ate them, and the wafers were plenty soft. So, so good. Now I need to check the local grocery stores to see if they still have some of these left after the holidays.

Chocolate Wafer and Whipped Cream Sandwiches

  • 1 box Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or sub one batch of stabilized whipped cream for the cream and sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until relatively firm peaks form. Scoop whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star or round tip--or you can just use a gallon sized zip-top bag and then snip off about a half inch of one corner.
On a cookie sheet (that you can line with wax paper, if desired), lay out 12 of the wafers (you might be able to get more than 12 finished sandwiches, but sometimes the wafers break).
Pipe a layer of whipped cream, about 3/8 of an inch thick, onto each wafer. Top with another wafer. Pipe another layer of whipped cream onto wafer #2 and top with a third wafer. If you want to, you can pipe on a little topper, but it's not necessary.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving so the wafers have time to soften.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve, and cover and refrigerate leftovers.
Makes 12-15 sandwiches.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Green Salad with Craisins, Gorgonzola, Pecans, Red Onion and Vinaigrette

I forgot to add the onion before taking this pic.

Most of the ingredients for the salad. Just left the bag of lettuces out of the pic.
I'm starting off the new year with a healthy salad recipe. I don't even know how to name this salad. It's just the salad that I've gotten my last two visits to Zombie Burger. I know, I know, why would someone go to a place called "Zombie Burger" and not eat a burger? Normally I do, but I also really enjoy their chili cheese fries, which come in a basket larger than my head. If I get the salad, then I can eat more chili cheese fries. Plus, the salad is super yummy. Make sense now? 
Zombie burger makes their "Zombie Salad" with all of these ingredients, except they use a raspberry vinaigrette, and I'm using Panera's bottled Balsamic Vinaigrette because I've experimented with raspberry vinaigrettes, and I have yet to find one that pleases me. I know I like the Panera vinaigrette, so I went with it, and it is delicious.
I'm honestly not much of a salad eater. If you look around on this blog, you'll see that I have one other salad recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad (and it's great, by the way). Sometime in my early adulthood I went from non-salad eater, to eater of salad in social situations (like at wedding receptions and on dates where I didn't think it was appropriate to reject the compulsory salad course), to an actual salad eater, someone who enjoys salads even as a main meal. (I still need to figure out the dressing that Ruby's uses on their Chinese Chicken Salad....) It so happens that I met my husband in my social-salad-eater phase, and he is also a picky eater. He eats no salad. EVER. Therefore, I don't make salads very much. I enjoy them when I eat out, which is not very often. Perhaps I should make it my new year's resolution to take more salads to work to eat for lunch.
At any rate, this is a really tasty salad that is relatively easy to make, and I think I will be making it more often. Next time I might even use baby spinach like Trader Joe's does in one of their bagged salads. 
If you make this, of course feel free to adjust the amounts of individual ingredients to suit your taste. This is how I enjoyed it.
Happy New Year!

Green Salad with Craisins, Gorgonzola, Pecans, Red Onion and Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 bag Dole Sweet Baby Lettuces (or baby spinach)
  • 2 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted pecans
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2-3 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing (I used Panera's Balsamic Vinaigrette today)
Empty the half bag of baby greens into a large-ish bowl. Sprinkle lettuces with Gorgonzola, Craisins, pecans, and onions. Pour dressing all over the salad. Lightly toss with a fork and spoon. Enjoy.

Makes 1-2 servings, depending on whether it's a side or a main dish for you.

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