Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cream Spinach Casserole

I love cream spinach and this is even better.  I always serve this for fancy dinner parties.

Recipe: preheat oven to 350 degrees 
Baked for 40 minutes or until golden. 
Butter a casserole pan ( I used corning ware )

2 packages frozen spinach
1 package cream cheese ( room temperature and very soft)
1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom (The original recipe says Cream of Mushroom, I had Cream of Chicken on Hand.) It worked out fabulous!
2 T. Parmesan grated cheese
1 egg
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
pinch salt
pinch pepper

1 large sweet vidalia onion sliced thin on mandolin
3 T. flour  
(Extra pinch of salt and pepper to season frizzled onion rings)
 2 T. more grated Parmesan cheese for top

I sliced my onion rings on the mandolin.  Seasoned with salt and pepper. Floured with 3T. flour and fried in hot oil.  Set aside on top of paper towels to remove excess oil. 

In a large bowl, add spinach, soup, egg, cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper and half the onions.  Mix with a big wooden spoon.  Put into buttered casserole pan, add remaining onions and grated cheese.  Bake and serve warm or at room temperature. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cranberry Crumble Bars

I got this recipe from Land O Lakes website.  It is super tasty, super easy to make and perfect for the holiday season when cranberries are abundant.  I love making bar cookies, they are easy to transport and great for bake sales.  This is a winner for Holiday bake sales.   Enjoy!

Crumble Top Cranberry Bars
From: Land O Lake Website


1 1/2 cups uncooked quick cooking oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter unsalted softened
1 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk only
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries


1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans


Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with no-stick cooking spray; set aside.
Combine oats, 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in bowl; stir until well mixed. Cut in butter and vanilla with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place 1 cup crust mixture into another bowl; set aside.
Press remaining crust mixture into prepared pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown.
Combine sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla in bowl; stir until well mixed. Stir in cranberries. Spread filling mixture over hot, partially baked crust.
Stir pecans into reserved crust mixture; sprinkle over cranberry mixture, lightly pressing down onto filling. Bake 35-40 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 30 minutes; refrigerate 2 hours. Cut into bars.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Simple Loaf Bread

This might be a simple basic recipe but the results are delicious and very comforting.  I think it makes the best sandwich bread ever!  I love slicing this bread and slathering on a thick coating of sweet butter and strawberry jam.  This bread slices beautifully because of the vital gluten.  It is fantastic for toasting or making grill cheese and paninis. I'm in heaven!  I almost make this bread every day.  Why buy bread when you can bake bread like this!  I have been making this bread for years and developed this recipe by trial and error.

Simple Loaf Bread Recipe
1 loaf (9x5)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp. of instant dry yeast
1 T.. of sugar

3 cups all- purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 T. vital wheat gluten (This is crucial do not omit)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup oil (extra for greasing pan and bowl to proof)

Turn your oven on to 375 degrees.

Place warm water in cup, it should be warm when you test with finger.  Not hot but comfortably warm.  Add sugar mix well.  Add yeast and mix well to dissolve.  Place on top of warm stove to get foaming, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in your mixing bowl add 3 cups flour,  sugar, vital wheat gluten and salt, whisk all four ingredients together.  Add oil and foamy yeast mixture.  Place your bowl on to your heavy duty Kitchen-Aid mixer with dough hook and knead until sides pull away and form a ball about 5 to 7 minutes.  If your dough is sticky and not forming a little ball at the bottom of hook, add a tablespoon at a time more flour.  It the dough is dry add literally a tsp. at a time warm water.  You will see the dough coming together.  At the bottom of the dough hook while mixer is running the bowl should be clean and even a double ball might form as the hook is gathering and working the dough.  Your done mixing at this point. 

Remove dough from mixer,  remove hook and grease bowl and top of dough.  Cover with plastic wrap let rise on top of warm oven until double in size, anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.  Punch down and squeeze dough to distribute gases through dough.  Do this gently.  Place on warm oven and let double again.

Grease baking loaf pan (9x5).  Take dough out of proofing bowl and flatten into an oval disk.  Roll it up like a tootsie roll shape, pinch seam and place seam side down into pan.  Cover loosely with cling wrap, until it is about 2 inches above the rim of the loaf pan, remove cling wrap and  place loaf in oven until golden brown about 40 minutes.  Remove from baking pan immediately and cool on wire rack, cool completely before slicing.  Cover left over bread with a Tea Towel and place in a bread box. I know you will love this bread.  If you do and are planning like making bread everyday like me and avoiding all those additives and chemicals in commercial bread invest in a good bread box.  It's worth it. 

Special Note:  Vital Wheat Gluten adds the perfect chew to your bread and just gives the bread a wonderful texture.  You will notice the difference.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tres Leche Cake

Sheet pan style
Layer cake style

This cake is light and has a pudding like texture from the overnight soaking of the three milks.  I love it served with fresh fruit.

5 extra large eggs, separated 
2 cups granulated sugar 
2 cups cake flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2  cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  

Milks for Soaking: 
1 14-ounce can evaporated milk 
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cups heavy cream + 3/4 cup half and half
1 T. dark rum 
Cream Topping: 
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract 

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and peak to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the half and half. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden, 25 minutes.To make the Soaking liquid: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, heavy cream + half and half, and rum blend on high speed.

Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the soaking mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  This step is the most important.  You need time for the milks to soak up into the cake.  The cake will become like a pudding texture.Topping:  Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, add powder sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.  Spread on top of cool cake.  Serve with fresh berries.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Apple Pie Crumb Bars

Apple Pie Crumb Bars

I love apple pie a lot but it can be a pain to make.  I actually think this version is easier and the results are fabulous!  Got this recipe from a pot luck and I can't stop making it.  This recipe is great during fall months when apples are in season and bountiful. Add caramel sauce for extra deliciousness  everyone knows apple and caramel are a match made in heaven.   Enjoy this with your friends and share with neighbors.  They will love you.   

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Line an 9 x 13 or 10 x 12 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.  Spray with Pam. Set aside. Using your favorite combination of pie making apples. 

Shortbread Crust
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup  granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely ground walnuts or pecans
pinch salt
2 cups all-purpose flour  

Apple Filling
4 large peeled slice thin apples
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup quick cooking oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 finely ground walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick  unsalted butter, cold and  cut up into cubes

Homemade Caramel Sauce recipe below


Crust:  In a bowl, add the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt mix with large spoon. Add the flour, ground nuts and mix to combine well. Press the mixture evenly as possible in the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes and prepare the other components. 

Apple Pie Filling: Mix the sliced apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a  bowl until all of the apples are evenly covered. Place on the side until ready to use.

Streusel Topping: Mix the oats, brown sugar, ground nuts, cinnamon, and flour together in a bowl. Cut in the cold butter with your fingers rubbing the butter into the oat/flour mixture until the mixture looks like  coarse crumbs. Set aside. 

Remove the baked crust from the oven.  In an even layer place the apples on top of the hot crust. It will look like a lot of  sliced apples, press down gently on apples to flatten.  Be gentle.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of apples and bake for 35 minutes or until the  golden brown.

Take out of oven and cool completely to room temperature.  Place in fridge for a few hours to chill completely.   Pull foil sides out and remove the entire apple pie bar pie out.  Slice into desired size pieces.  Drizzle with Caramel sauce or sprinkle some powder sugar on top.

Optional:  Homemade Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce
1 cup Brown Sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy creamy
pinch salt

Place all ingredients in sauce pan.  Over low to medium heat using a whisk cook slowly for 7 to 10 minutes until thick and caramel like.  If too thin cook longer and keep whisking.  Drizzle over bars and refrigerate left overs.  Reheat and pour over ice cream.  I place my leftover sauce in glass jar and gently microwave until it pours out easily over ice cream.  YUM!

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