Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Blondies

 The other day a recipe in the paper caught my eye.  It looked easy enough and looked yummy enough, I decided to give it a try. 

This is a miracle in itself because I often clip recipes then forget that I clipped them. 

Thankfully this one was fresh on my mind (and on my counter).

Today we went for a hike which meant I had a whole bunch of extra calories to enjoy. :)

So tonight after dinner, I threw these together and baked them.

Oh, yum.


Here is my version of the recipe. I followed it fairly closely though I adjusted the actual chocolate part.  The original recipe calls for 1 1/4 pounds of semisweet chocolate chunks. I used chocolate chips and only used about half that amount.  We agreed that any more than what I used would have been TOO much and too rich for us!

1 cup butter, room temperature (the original recipe calls for unsalted, I just had salted)
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg white, room temperature (I just put three eggs out when I put the butter out)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (I think I used only about 1 cup)
9-12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used about 9 oz which was plenty for me)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease/flour a 9 x 12 inch baking pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer.  Mix on high for 3 minutes.  It should be fairly light and fluffy.

With the mixer on low, add vanilla.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  Add the egg white.  Mix well, scraping the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, sift together (or just stir in my case :) the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low. 

Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Spread/spoon the batter into the pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (no batter).  Don't overbake. 

Cool completely before slicing.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

French Dip on Homemade Sub Rolls

The other day I really wanted to make French Dip. And that is fairly easy.  But the hard part for us is finding the rolls for sandwiches that don't contain a lot of things we avoid (like preservatives).

So I did a quick search via Internet and found this recipe It had great reviews.  And it didn't look too hard.

So one night, after a long day of school and parent/teacher conferences, I threw them together.

A little while later I had this most amazing scent coming from my kitchen.

Homemade rolls.

When I took them out of the oven, I just had to have a little nibble.


My teenager wandered in, ready to sample.  Or devour.  Whichever I would allow.

The next night we ate our French dips on these rolls.

And they were still delicious.

Here is the recipe for the rolls...
2 packages (or 5 tsp) active yeast (I use instant)

3 cups warm water (divided...1/2 cup and 2 1/2 cups)

2 Tbsp sugar divided (1 and 1)

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil (I used olive because I LOVE olive :)

1 Tbsp salt

5-9 cups all purpose flour (I think I used close to 8 but I lost track)

sesame seeds (optional)

 Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup water.  Add 1 Tbsp sugar.  Let it sit for about five minutes.  It should kind of "foam" up.

After a few minutes, add the remaining water and sugar.  Add in the oil and begin adding flour (about 4 cups).  Add in the salt.

Knead to make a soft dough, adding flour as needed until it is "not sticky", about 6-8 minutes.  Do NOT over-knead.

Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl (again, I used olive oil).

Cover and let rise, about 45 minutes.

Punch down the dough and divide the dough into small pieces.  The original recipe called for 18 pieces; I decided 16 was easier so my buns were just a bit bigger.  Shape the pieces into an oval.  I need to work on my shaping skills but thankfully that doesn't affect taste. :)  Place on a greased baking dish, about 2 inches apart.

Use scissors to cut a small slash across the top of the buns.

Cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Add sesame seeds if desired.

Bake for 12-18 minutes, until golden brown.


They were my favorite "sub" roll that I have made so far.  The original recipe is A LOT so if you don't want that many, I would just halve the recipe. I ended up freezing our leftovers for future meals.

Onto the French dip.

I had a recipe I liked for French dip but with changes in diet around here, I had to re-think some recipes. That was one.  Thankfully one day a good friend of mine posted this recipe.   Perfect!  All things I could use or improvise.

So, here is my version based on her version. :)

French dip
1 lb thin cut sirloin steak  (I actually use a bigger sirloin though I have never weighed it)
14 oz beef broth (though I add a whole container since I am using a bigger sirloin)
1 packet onion soup mix...this is where I have to improvise.  I make my own using the following recipe instead of using a packaged mix:
  8 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine soup mix and beef broth and pour over the sirloin in the crockpot.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred meat with a fork.

I had provolone cheese on hand for those who wanted cheese.

We then ate it on our buns (which we toasted slightly in the oven).

And of course, we used the "au jus" from the crockpot for the dipping part.


Easy and yum.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Baked Pork Tenderloin

I just can't take pork pictures.

I know what you are thinking.

I just can't take food pictures at all.

And that is true.

But I really can't take pork pictures.

They just don't do the food justice.

So go to the original recipe site and ooh and ahh over their pictures.

Though my pictures didn't turn out quite right, I will say that this was delicious.

My kids LOVED it. 

And they aren't typically big pork eaters.

Even I horded the ONE small leftover piece for my lunch a couple days later, threatening anybody who suggested eating it.

And though it takes a little bit to cook (around 45 minutes), it was easy to assemble.  And worth every bite.

1 package pork tenderloins (around 2 to 2 1/2 pounds).  I buy the Farmland which has two tenderloins together.

4 garlic cloves quartered/slivered/sliced

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp whole grain mustard (I used a spicy brown mustard because that is what I had...)

4 Tbsp honey (I HIGHLY recommend raw honey; I could eat it by the bowl full)

2 Tbsp fresh orange juice (with food sensitivities, we avoid orange so I used lemon juice)

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary or Herbs de Provence (I used rosemary)

3 Tbsp olive oil

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse and pat dry the pork tenderloins and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Use a paring knife to poke holes all over the pork.  Place the garlic slivers inside the holes.  I know, it looks funny but YUM, tastes really good.

Mix together the remaining ingredients for the marinade (add the olive oil last, whisking together). Pour over the top of the tenderloins.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.  Baste halfway through the baking process with the sauce.  I think I forgot that part.  Oops. :)

Let it rest about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Then enjoy.

The sauce/marinade is delicious.

We ate it with black eye peas, baked potato halves, and parkerhouse rolls.

Happy cooking!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Deep Dish Pizza

As you may or may not know, I LOVE Chicago pizza.  LOVE it.  Like we have it shipped to us on occasion. We made a special stop there on our way to Niagara to eat some.

So once in a while I will see a recipe for deep dish pizza on Pinterest.

And I usually pin them then put them to the side.

Mainly because I know that I am not going to make anything that tastes like Chicago pizza does.

At least I haven't.

Until tonight.

I decided to give this recipe a try.

I actually tripled the recipe and made three "pies".

And the verdict is...


Okay, it isn't Chicago pizza.

It can't be.

I don't live in Chicago.

But it is a really good deep dish pizza.

I wanted to eat the whole thing.

The only warning I have with it (other than it is a LOT of calories if you eat the whole thing) is that it is a bit time consuming due to the rising of the dough.  I did it on a Monday which was a bit of a challenge with school, homework, and kid activities.  Next time I will make this on a weekend...

Here is the recipe for the crust.

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/8 tsp yeast (I use instant)
5 oz warm water (or 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp  unsalted butter, softened

 Mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast together.

Add in the water and melted butter.

Mix together for about five minutes.  (You can use a mixer like in the original recipe; I usually just do it by hand)

Roll dough into a ball.  Place in a bowl with a little olive oil, coating the ball with the oil.  Cover and let rise until almost doubled (45-60 minutes).

After the dough has doubled, roll out into an 8 x 6 rectangle.

Spread the softened butter over the top of the dough (leaving a border around the edges).

Start at the short edge and roll up into a cylinder.  Flatten the cylinder (into another rectangle).

Fold the rectangle like a business letter, folding into thirds.  Form into a ball, pinching the seams.  Place back into the oiled bowl and let it rise again (about the same amount of time, until doubled).

Lightly oil a 9 inch pie plate/pan with olive oil.

Take dough and roll out into a 13 inch circle.

Place in the pie plate, pressing down on the bottom and up the sides.

Add cheese (I used about 8 oz of shredded mozzarella), the toppings (we had a cheese, a pepperoni, and a salami/sausage version), then top with sauce.  Add a little shredded Parmesan to the top.

Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Menus Galore

I am SOOO behind on my menus. How did that happen? 


End of summer, beginning of school. 

That explains a lot.

I don't know if anyone really cares if I post a menu.  Or even a recipe.

I will share anyway. :)

Here are the menus for July/August:

Week of July 7
Sunday: Korean Beef, basmati rice
Tuesday: Potato Casserole, Bacon, Toast
Wednesday:  OYO
Thursday:   Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, chips
Friday:  Pizza Rolls
Saturday:  Pork Chops/Potatoes

Week of July 14
Monday:  Waffles, Bacon
Wednesday: pizza/out
Thursday:   Fried Chicken, shoestring fries, buttermilk biscuits (canned)
Friday:  OYO (On your own)
Saturday:  grill/cook out (with friends)

Week of July 21
Sunday: grill/cook out (with friends...yes, again)
Monday:  Swai/angel hair pasta, "beer" bread (I used Sprite instead :)
Tuesday:  OYO (baseball game)
Wednesday:  Chicken Chimichangas, chips
Thursday:  Popcorn/Shakes
Saturday: Homemade pizza

Week of July 28
Sunday:  Grilled Steaks, baked potatoes, parker houserolls
Monday: OYO
Tuesday:  Chicken/dumplins
Wednesday:  Spaghetti Bread
Thursday:  Pancakes/bacon
Friday:  Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes
Saturday: Teriyaki Chicken, Rice

Week of August 4
Monday: Mellow Mushroom pizza
Tuesday:  OYO
Thursday: Pork chops, potatoes
Friday:  Spaghetti

Week of August 11
Sunday: Taco Pie
Monday: Breakfast burritos
Tuesday:  Hawaiian chicken, rice,
Wednesday: Pork Chops/potatoes
Thursday:  OYO
Friday:  Out for pizza
Saturday: Hamburgers, fries

Week of August 18
Sunday: Stuffed chicken shells, green beans
Monday: Swai, angel hair pasta, carrots/Ranch, rolls
Tuesday: Pancakes, bacon
Wednesday: OYO
Friday:  Shakes/Popcorn
Saturday: Marinated steak bites, Ranch potatoes, garlic bread toast, black eye peas

Week of August 25
Monday: Ham and cheese eggcups, toast, fruit
Tuesday: Hot Dog Dinner (from school)
Wednesday: OYO
Thursday:  Tacos, salsa, refried beans
Friday: Pizza (out)
Saturday: OYO

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chocolate Chess Pie

Last night we had company over.  I wanted to have some sort of dessert but couldn't decide what to have.  I checked out this recipe from my Pinterest Sweet Treat board and decided to give it a try since it was simple and I had all ingredients on hand.

I know, it is always a risk trying a new recipe with company coming over. BUT I figured with chocolate, how could I go wrong?

And the answer is...? You can't.  Not with this.  It is easy and delicious. Almost sinful.

1 sleeve graham crackers crushed (the original recipe used chocolate graham crackers but one of my kiddos can't do that so I used regular)
1 stick butter.  Yes, a whole stick.
1 Tbsp sugar

1 stick butter (yes, another stick)
1 oz unsweetened chocolate (or 3 Tbsp cocoa powder...I used the unsweetened chocolate square)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350. 

Melt the butter. I just stuck it in the microwave.  Mix with the sugar and graham cracker crumbs until well combined.  Press into a 9 inch pie pan (I did spray mine first), forming the bottom/sides of the pie.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Let it cool for a bit then chill for an hour or more.

When ready, preheat the oven to 325.  Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a sauce pan on the stove.  Stir.  Remove from heat and add sugar, again stirring until well-combined.  Next add the eggs, vanilla, and salt.  Again stir.

Pour into the now chilled pie crust.

Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on how gooey you want it.

Let it cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.

You can serve it warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.  However, I have to say that I have found that I like it best chilled from the fridge. Oh, yum.

Sinful.  Absolutely sinful.

And rich.

Oh, yum.