Friday, April 1, 2016

A Simple Salad

Here is a very simple salad is is a perfect side dish or light lunch.   The ingredients are variable and you add what you have or like and in whatever amounts you like.   Feel free to experiment.   Very simple, equal amounts of any or all of these, diced in the roughly the same sized pieces.

cucumber, peeled or not as you wish
sweet peppers
green onions

I then dress it with a good olive oil and a couple grindings of salt and black pepper.   Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. 

Don's Mushroom Lasagna

A very and decadent meatless meal here.   If you are a fan of mushrooms, you will love this delicious meal.

For mushrooms:
2 lbs. mixed mushrooms, chopped
2 oz. dried mushrooms, rinsed and then covered with 1 cup, cooked in the microwave for three minutes, then allowed to soak another 10 minutes  (optional)
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp. butter & 3 tbsp. olive oil

Drain the soaked mushrooms, reserving the broth and chop the mushrooms then adding to the raw ones.  In a large Dutch oven heat the oil and butter, add the mushrooms and onion and fry on medium heat until well browned, stirring often.  When slightly browned, add the garlic and keep cooking.   Remove from heat and remove mushrooms to a bowl.

Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
mushroom soaking liquid and enjoy milk to make 5 cups.   Heat the butter in the Dutch oven you fried the mushrooms in.   Add the flour and, stirring constantly, lightly brown the flour in the butter, slowly stir in the milk/broth mixture and continue stirring until it is thickened.  Simmer about 2 minutes.    Remove from heat and cool.

Assembling the lasagna:

4 cups mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese, mixed with an egg and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper
9 lasagna noodles,  cooked,  drained, rinsed and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan.   Spread a thin layer of of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Place three noodles in the bottom of the pan.  spread with some of the sauce, then sprinkle half the ricotta over the sauce, then half of the mushrooms and a thin layer of the grated cheeses.   Repeat.  Place the last three noodles over the top of the second layer.  Spread with the remainder of the sauce and then the remaining grated cheeses.   Bake in the preheated oven about 45 minutes or until bubbling and the top of the cheese is lightly browned.   Remove from the oven and allow to sit and cool about 15-20 minutes before serving.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

I love a good cinnamon roll, but sometimes you want one and don't have or want to take the time to make one with a yeast dough.  You want it now!   I had heard of using a biscuit dough to make them, but never tried until recently.  They turned out very darned good too!   You want to use a biscuit dough that is a bit richer than usual, and you can also add some sugar to the dough and even a bit of vanilla as well.   Here is the dough I used and how I did it.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter cut into pieces
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.  salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp. sugar (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Grease/butter a 8x8 inche bake pan.    Mix all the dry ingredients together and then cut the butter into until it is like pea sized bits.   Make a well in the center and quickly stir in the sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla if using.    Stir until most of the flour is moistened, then knead in the bowl until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.   Flour a board or counter top and place the dough there and roll out about 1/2 inch thick.   Spread the top with melted butter, then heavily sprinkle with dark brown sugar and then sprinkle heavily with cinnamon.   Roll up and cut into 12 slices.   Place in the prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes, until risen and the top is nicely browned.   Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes, then spread with the glaze.    Allow to cool another 15-20 minutes before eating.   These are addicting!

Glaze:   about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and enough real maple syrup until you have a thick glaze.  Spread over the hot rolls.   Use cream or milk if you don't care for maple.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

English Muffin Toasting Bread

I love a crusty toasted English Muffin and have tried making them at home, but they just aren't quite right.  However, this bread will certainly be quite right!   It has a very good texture and crunch when toasted and the flavor is incredible.   I took a loaf to Judy and Gary and they both went nuts over it.  Definitely a keeper! 

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. Sugar
1 tbsp. Yeast
¼ tsp. Baking soda
3 tbsp. Oil or melted butter
2 cups hot milk
corn meal for dusting bread pan (optional)

Grease a bread pan and sprinkle with corn meal if using, set aside. Put dry ingredients in a mixer bowl and then add melted butter and milk. Mix with paddle until you have a very very soft dough. Scoop into the greased pan and with wet hands, press down and smooth out top. Cover and put in a warm place to rise about 45-60 minutes. You want the risen dough to come just barely above the top of the pan. After dough has risen 15-20 minutes, preheat oven to 400 degrees. When dough has risen, bake for about 30 minutes until well browned and it sound hollow when tapped (temp will be 190 if you use a thermometer). Allow to cool in pan about 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Do not slice until completely cooled. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ultimate Lemon Cake

1 box lemon cake mix
1 box instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup warm water or lemon juice

Mix all together in a mixer on low for about 2 minutes, scrape bowl and then mix a other 3 minutes at medium speed.  Spoon into a greased and floured 9x13 inch cake pan or 3 8-inch round pans.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes for the round pans and 45 minutes for the sheet pan.   When done the edges of the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick will come out clean when stuck in the center.   Remove from the oven and cool in the pans about 10-15 mintutes, the round cakes can be removed from the pans and allowed to cool on a rack until completely cool.   The sheet cake can be allowed to remain in the pan.  

Make a glaze from the strained juice of one lemon and the grated rind, with enough powdered sugar to make a drizzle.  Poke hole in the cake with a toothpick, then drizzle the glaze over the top.  

If you wish to top this with a frosting mix an 8-oz bowl of mascarpone cheese in a bowl, with the strained juice and grated rind of one lemon, as well as about 2-3 cups of powdered sugar.  Whip until smooth and thick enough to spread over the cake.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Creamsickle Cake

I have friends who have diabetes and am always looking for a good dessert to feed them, but also one that won't put them in a coma or worse.   I came across this recipe online and decided to try it.   Turned out pretty good.   The original recipe called for a standard cake mix, but I switched it for a Pillsbury Sugar Free cake mix.   Instead of plain orange juice I used a orange-pineapple-banana juice mix, instead of plain yogurt I used a sugar free tropical fruit flavored one and a few drops of pineapple extract.   Sure turned out good too!  And since there were no eggs in it, I could lick the batter off the bowl!  That was tasty too.  Hope you enjoy!

1 box (15.25 oz) Pillsbury Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix
1 container (6 oz) non-fat Greek yogurt, plain or flavored
1 cup orange juice (any other juice would work)
1/2 tsp pineapple extract, no reason you couldn't use other flavoring that suit the juice you are using
powdered sugar, optional

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, Greek yogurt, extract or other flavoring and juice.  Pour batter into a greased 8 x8 inch square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-33 minutes.  Slice into 9 pieces.  Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.

If you want to do it using a regular cake mix, then the skies the limit for flavors!   Chocolate cake mix with cherry juice and cherry yogurt.   Spice cake mix with apple juice and cheesecake yogurt.  Lemon cake mix with lemon yogurt and lemonade.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pineapple Sugar Cookies

I love pineapple and wanted a sugar cookie type cookie with a pineapple flavor.  All the pineapple cookie recipes I have found were more like a cake style cookie and that wasn't what I wanted.  They also tended not to have much of a pineapple flavor.  So I did some experimenting and came up with the perfect recipe.  It uses dried pineapple juice powder, but not sure if it really adds that much to it.  So feel free to leave it out if you can't find it.

1 cup softened butter
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. pure pineapple extract
2 eggs
2 tbsp. milk
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup died pineapple juice powder (leave out if you can't find it)
1/2 cup or more finely diced dried pineapple

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.   Then beat in the egg, milk and flavorings.  Mix all the dry ingredients together and mix into the butter and egg mixture.    Blend well, then cover and chill for a couple of hours.    When well chilled, form into balls using about 2 tbsp. of dough.  Place a few inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.   The bottoms of the cookies should just barely start to brown.   Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove to a rack to continue cooling.   Makes about 3 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.  

If you want a crunchy sugar coating, mix some white sugar with some of the pineapple juice powder and a couple drops of the pineapple extract and mix well, before baking roll each of the dough balls in the sugar mixture and bake as usual. 

Enjoy, I know I do!