Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Peaches, Butter, and Brown Sugar - Oh My!

Growing up my mom made a cake we all loved - it was called Dump Cake. Basically, you dump in a can of peach pie filling, crushed pineapple, top with a boxed yellow cake mix, and a melted stick of butter. Bake and enjoy. We even sent all the ingredients down to Florida to my brother when he was going to school there to bake his own birthday cake.
These days the pineapple is a deal breaker for me - stupid allergies. I found this recipe for Peach Crisp and not only is something I can have - it's delicious. I like that it uses canned peaches in juice and adds some extra crisp on top with the brown sugar and chopped nuts on top. Warm with Vanilla Ice Cream on top? Oh, that would be perfect. Let's make it again but let's have ice cream with it. Ice Cream is always good, why wait for the cake! Oh, wait...

Peach Crunch Cake
24.5 oz jar of sliced peaches in light syrup
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 16 pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer ingredients in a 13 X 9 dish, in order starting with the peaches.
Bake for about 40 minutes.
Serve warm or cold… with or without ice cream.

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Bean that is Black

One of the reasons I love my kids going to daycare is they get to try all sorts of food we don't have at home. One of those foods is black beans. They eat them at school and love them. Me? Um... nope - hard pass. Until... I found this Taco Casserole recipe, it called for all sorts of good things - but oh those black beans...

I opened the can and oh... that black goo that poured out when I rinsed them. Blech!! I put the casserole together a few days ahead - because if there's something I love other than my family - it's a make-ahead meal.

I read that this casserole can be eaten by itself - or as a dip for tortilla chips. When we sat to eat - I took a small amount - not sure about it. Added some salt - picked up a chip - winner. Yes. SO good. I even ate this several times as leftovers. Add tons of chopped tomatoes and green onions. Very good, even those crazy black beans. Perhaps - just perhaps I will try them in other things now that I've someone gotten over my fear of the black bean. Maybe.... not...

Taco Casserole
1 lb ground chicken breast or turkey
1/2 diced white onion
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can black beans
1 tbsp taco seasoning
2 tbsp taco sauce
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1/3 cup green onions
Saute meat, beans, onions, taco seasoning, sauce, and corn on medium-high heat until meat is browned (or soy crumbles are thoroughly cooked).
Spoon half your meat mixture into your casserole dish in an even layer, top with a thin layer of sour cream, then sprinkle with some cheese.
Repeat. Cover with cheese.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then serve topped with diced tomatoes and green onions.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cookies = Happiness

Cookies are happiness, at least in our house they are. The mixing, the baking, and the eating. All around happiness in a round buttery treat. Bronwyn was having a rough Sunday for some reason - mean mom made her read her book instead of watching her tablet - come on... it was only for 30 minutes... but still!!
How do I bring a smile? "Wanna bake cookies?!" "YES!!!" Huge smile! I win! I pulled up a recipe that a coworker and I both found and decided would be delicious. It had sprinkles and chocolate chips - win win - until I read two things "butter and eggs are room temp" and "refrigerate for a minimum of two hours" - um... no. Hard pass. When you have a grumpy girl turned happy - you don't wait to soften butter or refrigerate anything. Instead - you put the cold butter in the mixer and beat the crap out of it. It works - I promise... the cold egg worked too. Our cookies maybe spread more than the original recipe - but I think they look pretty amazing - they taste amazing too!
That coworker? I brought in a few for him and he decided he needed the rest of the batch to make sure they were good.

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1 and 1/4 cup  yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (180g) chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup of white and 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup (80g) sprinkles

Directions:
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2 hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may also freeze the balls at this point for up to 3 months. (Then bake as directed adding 1 minute to the bake time without thawing.)
Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (always recommended for cookies).
Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. Shape your cookie dough balls to be "taller" than they are wide, as pictured above. Press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the cookie dough balls, if desired. That makes a pretty cookie. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Mine take 10 minutes exactly. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. You can also press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will melt down and stick from the warm cookies).
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, June 14, 2019

When all the seasonings are happy together...

In search of new and fun things to make with self-rising flour - bagels. What? Bagels that aren't complicated and ready pretty quick. Again this one is with greek yogurt and self-rising floor - this one gives the addition of Trader Joe's Everything Bagel Seasoning. I've seen this all over social media - people proclaiming their love. I thought "how silly - I could make that!" Then I realized I didn't have poppy seeds or a few other things, then I found myself there buying flowers and basil - so guess what jumped into my basket? Oh, I'm glad I did - it's awesome. I'm not sure what else it will get sprinkled on - but something for sure!
Similar to the pizza crust I made - it's equal amounts greek yogurt and self-rising flour, form a ring, egg wash it - then sprinkle the goodness.
Even Andy was impressed - I underbaked them - but imagine if I hadn't? Imagine if they were baked to perfection, I'd probably love them even more!
Let's see what else I can do with self-rising flour!

2 Ingredient Bagels

Ingredients
To make 1 cup self rising flour sift together the follow:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

To make bagels:
1 cup of self rising flour
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 Egg for egg wash
Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel seasoning

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine 1 cup of self rising flour and 1 cup of Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt in a bowl until a dough starts to form.
Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and brush your hands with a bit of flour.
Knead and divide into 4 parts.
Roll out each dough ball to form a rope and pinch the ends of each rope together to make a circle. You will have four bagels.
Beat one egg and brush over the bagels and sprinkle with Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning.
Bake at 350 degrees on a pan sprayed with cooking spray for 23 minutes and 500 degrees for 2 minutes so the tops can brown.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I am no "One Hit Wonder"

Let it be known that I am no "One Hit Wonder" - I'm an equal opportunity baker of muffins. Banana Bread Muffins are not my only strength! Andy's work wouldn't know that - all they get are banana muffins. I'm always in search of new and delicious things to bake - this time Apple Muffins. It was supposed to be bread - but hey... muffins are portable, easy to eat and share - muffins it is!
I had the day off because I was having a tooth pulled. Yes - worst day ever, well... it ranks up there anyway. I was trying to pass the time and think happy baking thoughts before the inevitable yanking, pulling, and crunching occurred. Oh man, I'm having PTSD right now. Gah! Anyway... Muffins, think about the muffins!
These muffins have apples, applesauce, and lots of warm yummy spices that remind me of fall (not of spring/summer) but mmm so very tasty and delicious.
So don't be a one hit wonder. Have some variety in your baking or don't. If you do one thing and do it well - works for me. I never tire of Chocolate Chip Cookies... and I never say never... or ever... or...well.. ok I guess I did.

Apple Muffins

Ingredients
2 cups peeled & chopped apple
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter (melted and cooled)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pans with liners (24 muffins).
In a small mixing bowl add the eggs, vanilla extract, melted butter and applesauce. Stir until completely combined. Mix in the sugars. Stir until combined.
In a large mixing bowl add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir with a fork to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add in the chopped apple and stir.
Scoop dough into liners Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, top will be golden brown. Check that it’s cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center, once it’s done cooking the toothpick will come out clean, no dough will be stuck on it.
Store covered at room temperature for 3-4 days.
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