Thursday, January 11, 2018

Baked Bean Medley

Received this recipe from Don's mom this past year. She won first place at a ward chili cook-off using this recipe many years ago when Don was growing up. Since then I've also had a sister-in-law also get first place at her ward chili cook-off too - so this is definitely an award winning recipe, twice over! We're still tweaking it a little to our taste but here are all the ingredients and the instructions for baking it in the oven from the original recipe. Last time we made it we just made it on the stove top and didn't bother putting it in the oven. I imagine you could also cook this in a slow cooker if you wanted to and it would be just as good.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3/4 lb bacon - cooked & diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 (31 oz) cans pork and beans 
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can red beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can lima beans
  • 1½ cups barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke, hickory (optional) 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • shredded cheese for topping
PREPARATION:
  1. Cook bacon. Either dice and cook or cook whole and crumble bacon into medium size chunks. Remove and set aside. 
  2. Cook ground beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender; drain fat
  3. In a colander drain only one of the cans of the pork and beans, the kidney beans, red beans, and lima beans.
  4. Add cooked bacon, all drained beans, the remaining whole can of pork and beans, all remaining ingredients to beef and onion mixture and mix well.
  5. Bake covered at 350° F for about 1 hour or until heated through.
  6. Serve with shredded cheese on top! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Cranberry Sauce

Testing...

INGREDIENTS:
  • 12 oz cranberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
PREPARATION:
  1. Over medium heat dissolve sugar in orange juice and bring to a boil. 
  2. Add cranberries and cook until they burst. Continue boiling for a few minutes and remove from heat. Sauce will thicken upon standing. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Perfect Family Favorite Pot Roast

Every now and then, usually late Saturday evening, I get a craving for pot roast on Sunday. The traditional come-home-after-church-and-the-house-smells-amazing pot roast. Ironically though, even though the house smelled amazing usually the pot roasts I had growing up were a little...dry? As for Don, he really didn't have pot roast growing up at all. I've tried various slow cooker recipes that have been hit and miss. Flavors were usually good but the meat wasn't usually consistent. Sometimes moist, and other times dry and tough- really dry and tough. Which is weird because it had just spent hours simmering in a bunch of liquid, right?

A couple of weeks ago the craving hit and I was determined to have the pot roast that I was envisioning - tender and moist. Something that lived up to expectations, ha! I did a search, looked over quite a few recipes, and landed on 2 that were incredibly similar from sources I trusted and that I've cooked from before, Pioneer Woman and A Bountiful Kitchen. 

So this recipe is a combination/adaptation of those 2 recipes, Perfect Pot Roast and Family Favorite Pot Roast. And, it truly is that, a Perfect Family Favorite Pot Roast. This 100% lived up to expectations, it was AMAZING! And it was one of those recipes where after tasting how it turned out I was actually 'proud' of the meal. Like, check this out, I've just created this from scratch and it tastes friggin' fantastic! :)  So, many thanks to both Pioneer Woman and A Bountiful Kitchen - I now know how to cook a wonderful pot roast! 

*Just a note about the pot roast - we've usually been getting a roast between 3-3.5  lbs for 2 of us and we usually have leftovers for 3-4 meals. For a larger roast the only thing that really changes is the amount of time you cook it for, you wouldn't necessarily need to add more of everything else, but you could if you wanted to. Also, I would highly recommend getting this from Costco, it was more affordable and they sell them in 2 separate portions so I can make this recipe twice :)

INGREDIENTS:
  • Chuck Roast - 3 - 3½ lbs (Try and find one with nice marbling) 
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges - ends up being about 2 cups precooked
  • 3 cups of carrots, cut into 2" chunks -  we usually peel our carrots, but you could also leave them unpeeled and scrub them
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire 
  • 2-3 cups beef broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh rosemary & fresh thyme (I tried this with dry and didn't love it because I couldn't just pull it out after. We ended up scraping quite a bit of it off and I was worried about it tasting strangely in the gravy we made from the drippings.)
PREPARATION:
  1. Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add olive oil. 
  2. When oil is hot add onion wedges. Brown on one side, turn, then add carrots and minced garlic. Continue cooking until carrots are lightly browned making sure you don't burn the garlic. Remove all veggies and set aside
  3. Preheat the oven to 275° F and move around racks if needed to accommodate pot/dutch oven
  4. Salt and pepper roast generously. Add more oil to pan if needed and then sear the roast on all sides. About 30-60 sec per side and remove roast from pan.
  5. Using about 1/2 up to a cup of broth, deglaze pot scraping up browned bits.
  6. Remove pot from heat and add roast back. Add onions and carrots to the sides around roast. 
  7. Sprinkle Worcestershire and balsamic on top of roast evenly. 
  8. Pour remaining broth around the edges over the onions and carrots until it reaches about half way up the sides of the roast. Try not to pour the broth on top of the roast so you don't wash away seasonings and sauces. 
  9. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top over the everything. 
  10. Cover tightly with foil or lid.
  11. Bake in oven for about 3½ hours. If time allows, let sit in turned off oven for an hour longer after cooking to tenderize. We usually use that time to make our mashed potatoes! :) 

FOR GRAVY:
  1. Use equal portions butter and flour to start a roux. I usually get about 3-4 cups of liquid, after separating out the fat, based on the pan we use so I usually use 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup of flour. Also depending on how salty your drippings are you may want to use plain beef broth to work your way up to 3-4 cups liquid instead of using all drippings. 
  2. Add half the onions to drippings and blend in blender until smooth. You definitely don't have to do this, but if you have the time and a blender, it makes for some pretty amazing gravy!   
  3. Melt butter in small pot or pan. Add flour ans whisk constantly until incorporated. Keep cooking over medium heat until mixture changes to golden color.
  4. Slowly whisk in liquids and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste. 
To troubleshoot your gravy Our Best Bites has a great recipe (that's where I grabbed my roux ratios from!) and some great tips and pictures to help you out.   

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Basic 'Swig' Sugar Cookie

I can't remember when I first heard about Swig - but it was definitely after the fact. As in everyone else knew about them and loved them. I heard about them when I started hearing about Dirty Coke's last year and then I heard about the cookies. 

By the time that I heard about them last year there were Swig locations outside of St. George so Don and I went and and got Dirty Coke's and the pink swig sugar cookies. They were good, huge, but good. Just in case you were confused by that last statement - this is goofy, but I like smaller cookies. I'd rather eat 2 smaller cookies than one large cookie, but that's just me, ha! :) Apparently the current version of cookies are different from when they originally started serving them in St. George. The one that everyone initially fell in love with. Not to say that people don't still love their cookies - they're just a different recipe now. All the pictures I had seen of them previously had cracked edges etc and when I went to Swig they were clean edges and I had read in a couple of places that they didn't taste like they did before. 

And that made me curious to try the 'original.' Or at least try a cookie recipe based off of the original. I looked up recipes for 'swig' cookies - and I found a TON. Like I said, late to the bandwagon.  I'm going to say this right off. I've never been the biggest fan of sugar cookies. Something about the texture? But I like 'swig' style sugar cookies. They're kind of like a cross between a sugar cookie and shortbread? But I'd say they're less finicky to make than shortbread cookies. I like them. 

I've seen quite a few adaptations that have made lemon or lime ones, even chocolate versions. I'm listing the version that I like that I found on Vintage Revivals, which is probably the most popular one out there. There is a note on the original recipe to link instead of copy - I'm all for that, I love her site. As a home decor junkie I'm a big fan. Here is the link

I am still going to copy out the recipe because there is an adaptation of adding a little vanilla, which I'll be honest I don't always add, but I like the reminder to maybe put it in. I also wanted to separate out the wet and dry ingredients. I accidentally added the powdered sugar with the dry ingredients once and it did not turn out as well as when you mix it with the wet - the dough was super crumbly. I just need the visual reminder to put it with dry ingredients. I ended up relisting out the ingredients in the order I like to add them as I'm putting everything together. As well, it's not listed (anywhere that I could find?) how many cookies the recipe makes. I don't have a cookie scoop, I'm making them by hand so it's helpful to know how many I'm making, also because I prefer smaller cookie portions. 

As I was looking around I also found this version by Garnish and Glaze which with the adaptation of the vanilla ends up being pretty much the same recipe. So here is a link to that recipe as well. She also mixes the dough the same way I do as well, butter and sugars first before adding the other wet ingredients. 

I did notice at the bottom of the Vintage Revivals recipe that there's was a link to another recipe it was adapted from. I checked it out and it was the same recipe for the cookie portion of it. I did want to mention that and link as well, just in case. I'm not listing a frosting recipe just yet and that's simply because I haven't found one that I'm in love with. I need to experiment with a few others before I commit to one. But FYI, the 'original' recipe calls for a sour cream frosting. 

INGREDIENTS:
Wet:
  • 1 cup butter - room temp, soft
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp water - on recipes with flavored variations I've seen this replaced with lemon or lime juice and then adding the zest of one lemon or lime
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Dry:
  • 5½ cups of flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt - sometimes I half this or leave it out because I use salted butter
PREPARATION:
  1. Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in eggs, oil and water. Add powdered sugar and  mix until smooth. 
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in another bowl and add a cup or so of dry ingredients at a time into the wet ingredients. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  4. Form into balls and flatten with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar (and a teensy bit of salt if you like - that's from Vintage Revivals, I don't always do it because of the whole salted butter thing)
  5. Bake for 7 - 12 min. This will vary depending on how chewy you want the inside of the cookie. The longer the bake time the dryer the cookie. 

NOTE: Makes 3 dozen cookies 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Drop Biscuits

This recipe is straight up from JOY of Cooking which is pretty much the encyclopedia of cooking. Seriously. When we first got this we played a game where we had to think of an ingredient or some crazy food we had heard of and then check to see if there was a recipe for it. And there was one every single time. It's a beast. There are no pictures but there is so much information that it's really helpful to have. We like these biscuits because we don't always have Bisquick and these are almost just as quick and we always have all the ingredients on hand. And every now and then we get cravings for biscuits and gravy and these are perfect for that. Also there is note that these can be bland on their own due to the fact they are made with oil instead of butter or shortening. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
PREPARATION:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F
  2. Sift the first 3 ingredients into a bowl. 
  3. Add wet all at once and stir with a fork until the dough readily leaves the sides of the bowl. 
  4. Drop dough in desired size onto ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 -12 minutes.
NOTE:  The original recipe states this makes 24, one and 1/2 inch biscuits. We like bigger biscuits so this makes 6 for us. You can double the recipe for a full dozen which works out well because we like cooking it in muffin tins. It just makes for consistent sizing and you get a nice outer crust.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Classic Waffles

So we got ourselves a Belgian waffle maker for Christmas this year, and it is fabulous!!! We love it! After we made our first ones we knew we'd be getting a LOT of use out of it. There was a recipe that was included in the instruction booklet for our Presto FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker (just in case you were wondering what waffle iron we had) that we've used every time and they turn out really really well. I think probably a little doughier than you'd get from a mix? But it's still definitely a batter. I used to prefer pancakes growing up, but after these, I don't think I'll ever want a pancake again! :) 

INGREDIENTS:

Dry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Wet:

  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
PREPARATION:
  1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk milk mixture into dry ingredients just until dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. 
  2. Preheat waffle maker. Pour 3/4 - 1 cup onto the center of bottom grid. Close top and flip waffle maker. Bake until brown, about 4 minutes. 

NOTE: Makes 4 Waffles

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

This is recipe is really nice coming into fall and winter. It's a comfort food that comes together pretty easily though there are quite a few steps involved. I've heard some people use instant mash potatoes to shorten prep time, but I've never tried it. Traditionally 'Sherpherd's Pie' is made with lamb, but that's not something we usually keep stocked... Someday we'd like to try it that way, but for now we just use ground beef. So I guess this is actually a recipe for 'Cottage Pie'?

This is an adaptation of a couple of different recipes that I think turned out really well. It was a combination of one recipe that fit in an 8x8, and another that fit in a 9x13. Our finished product fits somewhere in between those two, ha! You could put it in a 9x13 and it would be a little thin so you'd have to adjust the cooking time or add a little more of everything else. So this is just a starting place, easy to adjust for however much you want to end up with, just add more mashed potatoes, meat and vegetables. We ended up cooking this recipe in a 7x11 baking dish we had and it filled it completely. So Yummy!!!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2-3 cups potatoes 
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese - you could leave this out, but it does make the potatoes really thick and creamy, it's a nice touch if you've got it
  • 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese - half for mixing in potatoes, half for topping finished casserole
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables thawed in water from boiling potatoes - use a mix of whatever you have on hand, peas, carrots, corn
  • 1 1/2 tsp oil - you could use vegetable or oil, whatever you prefer
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 can of low sodium beef broth - We used Swanson's 14.5 oz can, you could use a smaller can, just adjust the flour accordingly. You could also use regular sodium, I've just found it's harder to plan for that as you're seasoning your meat and you don't want it too salty. 
PREPARATION:
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still a little firm. About 15 min. Drain but keep water in pot, and mash. Mix in butter, cream cheese and half shredded cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  2. Thaw frozen vegetables in potato water and set aside.
  3. Heat oil and butter in frying pan. Add onion and sweat until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until half way done. Add garlic, flour and cook until fragrant. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and beef broth and bring to a boil. Continue simmering until thick. 
  4. Remove from heat and mix in thawed vegetables.
  5. Spread ground beef mixture in an even layer in bottom of baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
  6. Bake in oven preheated to 375 for 20 min. or until golden brown.