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Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

This week’s new recipes


We tried a couple of new recipes this weekend. Both originally came from on-line.

Sunday morning Rob made these delicious Sour Cream Cherry Scones that I found on a Land O'Lakes website some time ago. They were delicious and very attractive. Keep this one in mind if you need something different for brunch or for a morning bridal shower, etc.

picture of Cherry Almond Scone

Sunday for lunch we made Brushchetta Chicken. DD Megan has made this recipe for me for the last two years for my birthday, but we had never made it before. Megan is a scrapbooker and she found this recipe on a site by Becky Higgins who is the author of many books about scrapbooking.She has a section for recipes on her blog. (If you go to the link scroll down the page. It is the second recipe pictured.) It worked well for after church on Sunday. Rob grilled the chicken while I prepared the side dishes.

Here's the recipe for those who can't get to her blog:

GRILLED CHICKEN BRUSCHETTA

Sundried tomato salad dressing
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (I used less)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small pkg. fresh basil, chopped (I used dried Italian Seasoning)

Marinate chicken in sundried tomato dressing ahead of time. Place large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of grill grate; preheat grill to medium heat. Grill chicken on uncovered side of grill about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil and dressing (as much as you desire; I did about 1/3 cup). Back to the grill - Turn chicken over; place on the foil-covered part of the grill, cooked-side up. Top evenly with tomato mixture. Close lid. Grill an additional 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

I pounded the chicken breasts to make sure they were all about the same thickness. The trick in the recipe for grilling the chicken first on the grill grate and then flipping it over onto foil works really well.

picture of Bruschetta Chicken

I often find recipes on-line and print them out. Unfortunately I sometimes have a hard time locating the recipe when I want to make it. Recently I have come up with a new system that has been working well. After I print out the recipe I place it in a notebook that I have prepared with dividers for different categories of foods. When I try the recipe I note any changes, comments, etc. If I want to prepare it again I copy the recipe onto a recipe card and put it into my recipe file for future reference. (I still have a couple of files of recipe booklets, pages from magazines, etc. that I need to cull through, but this is helping me keep organized with the new recipes I come across.)

picture of Recipe File

Do you try very many recipes that you find on-line? What are some of your favorite recipe websites?

Becka


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Cake Mix Doctor


Several years ago I saw a Cake Mix Doctor book at a local bookstore and perused it. I later checked it out of the library for some in-depth study. After this I decided to purchase a copy of my own. I have since also bought the Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor and another book by this author called the What Can I Bring Cookbook.

picture of Cake Doctor Books

The author, Anne Byrn had a cooking column in a newspaper in Tennessee and in one column she asked readers to submit their best recipes for things made from cake mixes. Thus began the idea for the cake books.

My daughter Megan's friend, Kristen, bakes cakes for birthdays at her husband's office and she often uses recipes from the Cake Doctor books. She tried a number of the cakes and both she and Megan really like one called the Lethal Peppermint Cake. Here's a picture of the cake:

picture of Lethal Peppermint Cake

This cake is oft requested in our family for birthdays and I also made large two layer sheet cake versions of it for the groom's cake at both DD, Meg and DS-in-law Jim's wedding and at DS, Mark and DD-in-law Katie's weddings. Here's a picture of one of the groom's cakes:

picture of Groom's Cake

The cake itself is a deep, moist chocolate cake filled with a peppermint buttercream and then frosted with a chocolate ganache icing. This picture shows the peppermint filling:

picture of Peppermint Filling

If you like chocolate and mint you will probably like this cake.

I have tried a number of other recipes from these books and there are several that we really like. The author also has a web-site set up like a newsletter with recipes that are not in the books. One recipe that I found on the web-site that is one of my favorites is the Orange Marmalade Cake. If you have read any of the Jan Karon books you are probably familiar with Esther Bolick's famous Orange Marmalade Cakes (scroll down to the recipe--it's in the newsletter titled 4th slice, from 2006 under the heading Recipe Swap ). I tried several recipes for Orange Marmalade Cakes that I found in magazines that I did not care for, but this one is very, very good.

The first Cake Doctor book has a wide variety of recipes for white, yellow, and spice cakes, fruit flavored cakes, chocolate cakes, bars, cookies, etc. The second book has some of the recipes from the first book but nearly all the recipes contain chocolate or white chocolate. In the second book she has revised some of her recipes just a bit. At the front of both books there are small color plates which picture every recipe in the book. I find this to be very helpful.

So, if you like to bake or need ideas for an upcoming birthday or other celebration cake I would definitely recommend that you check out these books.

Becka


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My favorite muffins


Believe it or not, this is what we saw outside our window early Sunday morning. It was pretty well gone by the time church was over and then this afternoon turned out to be beautiful and sunny. It was quite a day of contrasting weather.

picture of snow

You probably do not know that every Sunday morning my DH, IV man, bakes something for our breakfast. Rob was a baker all four years while he was in college, so he has plenty of baking experience.

One of my favorite things that he bakes are these apricot muffins. I found the recipe at a site for recipes from Bed and Breakfasts several years ago. You can find the recipe here

Don't leave the orange rind out - it really adds great flavor to the muffins. We like to grate the rind off of each orange we eat and keep it in the freezer for the next batch of muffins.

picture of Orange rind

Rob does not generally soak the apricots in the boiling water if they are soft to begin with. If the apricots you are using are sort of dried out, you might want to soak them, but otherwise it's not really necessary. He just snips them into pieces with scissors.

picture of snipping apricots

He also usually makes 18 muffins from this amount of batter rather than just twelve like the recipe states. Here he is using Pan spread to grease the muffin tin.

picture of greasing pan

I hope that you will give them a try when you want something really good for breakfast. Here's a picture of the finished muffins.

picture of Apricot muffins

How about you - do any of the men in your family do any cooking or baking?
Becka


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Easy Winter Fruit Salad


Sometimes you just need a little something to round out a meal. This salad is one of my favorites for fall and winter when there aren't a lot of good fruits available for a pretty fruit salad.

picture of fruit salad

Winter Fruit Salad
2 medium red apples (my favorite is Gala)
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup vanilla yogurt

Core and chop apples into bite-size pieces. Combine with the grapes, mandarin oranges, and yogurt. Stir gently. Makes 5-6 servings.

All the amounts are approximate. Just use what you have. If I'm serving this on Sunday I often prepare the grapes and oranges ahead of time and then add the apple and yogurt just before the meal. Leftovers do hold up pretty well for a day or two - just stir to recombine the yogurt.

Enjoy!

Becka


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Have you heard of Spry?


I'm not asking if you are spry.

picture of Spry cookbooks

Spry was a brand of shortening that is no longer sold, but I do remember my mom using it when I was a child. I'm pretty sure that one of these little booklets was hers and I purchased the other one at an estate sale. I love to find these old recipe booklets.

I got an idea from one of these booklets to make this pan spread years and years ago. It is something that I keep on hand and that we use all the time. Pan spread is the fore-runner of pan spray that most of us use in some form or another today. Pan spread is used to grease and flour baking pans all in one step.

picture of pan spread

To make pan spread all you have to do is mix together equal amounts of vegetable oil, solid shortening (such as Crisco), and flour. I generally use 1/2 cup of each. I mix it up in my mixer to get it nice and smooth, but you could use a wire whisk if you desire. I usually mix up a batch right before I bake a cake or something and then just scrape out the bowl and reuse it to mix the cake. I store the pan spread in this little Tupperware container in the refrigerator where it waits all ready for the next time I need it. It works great for any baked product that you would normally grease and flour the pan before adding the batter. I use the commercial sprays for other things when the pan just needs greasing.

Don't you just love the little label that DH made me with his label maker?

By the way, did you know that shortening got its name because it "shortens" gluten strands in baking and helps tenderize cakes and quick breads?

This is one of my favorite kitchen tips. You can find more tips like this on Tuesdays over at Tammy's Recipes.

Becka


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