Broccoli-Cheddar Oven Risotto

Broccoli-Cheddar Oven Risotto

Broccoli-Cheddar Oven Risotto

Risotto is one of those old-time comfort foods that I grew up on.  It was prepared by my Northern Italian grandfather who was so fussy about how it was made that he didn’t trust anyone to get it right except himself.  My mother’s sister, my aunt, watched him carefully as he made the risotto in a big copper kettle, and after my grandfather passed on, she was the keeper of the “secret” of how to make a good risotto. And she was the one who continued the tradition of making it for us.

By watching my aunt make this simple rice dish I too learned how to make a “good” risotto.  Without a lot of details here, let me just say it required lots of stirring, and adding the hot chicken broth in small amounts until it was absorbed, then adding a little more, and so on…. Risotto also needed to be flavored with saffron which gave the rice a light yellow color, and enticing aroma and flavor.

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Although we all loved risotto, it was not made frequently, because it was labor intensive beginning with stewing a whole chicken to get the rich broth needed to cook the rice.  All the meat was saved and stirred into the rice at the end of its cooking time, making this dish very filling and hearty.   My Dad particularly loved my aunt’s rice,  rather unusual for a Swede, but you can’t account for a person’s taste, and like him, I love it too.

With this back story in mind, you can imagine my delight when I came across this recipe for risotto, baked in the oven, and no lengthy stirring required.  Well, I was all over that recipe like flies on a dead pig!!

I made it for the first time this week.   Mr. D. thought it was marvelous and I thought it was great, too.  The addition of broccoli that is roasted in the oven while the rice bakes, then added in at the end with cheddar cheese, produces a tasty, cheesy and filling main dish. I treated it as a side dish, and served it with sliced ham.   Not quite the same as the risotto I remember, but certainly a rendition that I plan to make again.

Baked risotto with ham.

Baked risotto with ham.

Times and cooking methods change.  More and more of the old ethnic dishes are being modernized and fused with new ingredients, so that what was once old is new again.  I, for one, like this trend.

BROCCOLI-CHEDDAR OVEN RISOTTO

Yield:    Serves 4

Ingredients:

Use Arborio rice which produces a very creamy risotto.

Use Arborio rice which produces a very creamy risotto.

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz.)

Directions:

1.  Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 425*F.    Bring chicken broth to a low simmer in a saucepan.

Warm the chicken broth.

Warm the chicken broth.

Toss the broccoli with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet.

Prepare the broccoli for roasting.

Prepare the broccoli for roasting.

2.  Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

Sauté onions in butter.

Sauté onions in butter.

Add the rice and stir to coat.

Add the rice to butter and onions and stir to coat.

Add the rice to butter and onions and stir to coat.

Pour in the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute.  Add the hot both, 3/4 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste;  bring to a boil.

Add the wine and chicken broth all at once.

Add the chicken broth all at once.

3.  Cover the pot and set on the bottom oven rack.  Place the broccoli on the upper rack.  Bake, stirring the rice and broccoli once halfway through cooking, until most of the liquid has been absorbed in the rice and the broccoli is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

4.  Remove the rice and broccoli from the oven.  Add 3/4 cup hot water, the remaining 1 Tbsp. butter, and the cheese to the rice and stir until creamy (add a little more hot water to loosen, if necessary).  Stir in the broccoli.

Add cheese to baked rice.

Add cheese to baked rice.

Stir in roast broccoli.

Stir in roast broccoli.

Incredibly good served with ham.

Incredibly good served with ham.

SOURCE:    Cooking Light

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French Dip Sandwiches

Once you’ve eaten your fill of the pot roast what do you do with the leftovers?  Reheating the meat in its juices can be boring, but if you use the leftovers and transform them into this tasty French dip sandwich, you may wish you had more for a second time around.

French Dip Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwiches

I made these sandwiches just recently and with the addition of some chips or salad they become a complete meal.  Just layer thinly sliced roast beef or pot roast with grilled onions and cheese into buttered sub rolls, broil, and you’ve got a satisfying quick meal.  The most important element here is the jus, which is used to moisten the beef and is served with the sandwich for dipping.

FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1  tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced then
  • 4  (6-inch) sub rolls
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leftover pot roast or roast beef
  • 1 cup jus, heated in a small saucepan
  • 4 slices provolone cheese, cut in half (Swiss cheese works here, too)

Directions:

1.  Position oven rack 6 inches below heating element and preheat the broiler.  Heat oil in small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 7 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, slice rolls in half lengthwise and spread interior of both sides with butter.  Place on baking sheet, butter sides up, and broil until golden, 1 to 3 minutes.  Remove top half of each roll.

Layer thinly sliced beef on toasted sub rolls.

Layer thinly sliced beef on toasted sub rolls.

3.  Using tongs, dip beef slices into hot jus and place about 4 slices beef on bottom half of each roll.

Spoon onions over beef…….

Spoon grilled onions over beef.

Spoon grilled onions over beef.

arrange provolone on top…..

Top with sliced provolone.

Top with sliced provolone.

Broil until cheese has melted.  Set top half of each roll in place and serve with extra jus for dipping.

So sorry folks, but just at this point when I wanted to take a photo of this gorgeous sandwich to tempt you, my camera became ornery, and wouldn’t take the picture.   Dang!!     Guess you will need to use your imagination here.  😦

SOURCE:   Cook’s Country

Brown Sugar Toffee Bars

You know those hard little nuggets of sugar you sometimes get in a bag of brown sugar?   Ya know what I do with them?  I eat them!!   Yup!  In fact whenever I open a new bag of brown sugar I look for them first, so I can give myself a little treat.  Around here I do all the cooking and baking so a girl’s got to reward herself once in a while.

Brown Sugar Toffee Bars

Brown Sugar Toffee Bars

Today I was wishing for something made with brown sugar so I came up with  this idea for brown sugar bars with toffee bits mixed in.  Thus….. Brown Sugar Toffee Bars.  These bars are so simple really, but they have flavors that are so outstanding.  Chewy, buttery, and rich.  They are deceptively delicious.

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The Leaning Tower of Toffee Bars 😀

If you’re not as nuts-o for dark brown sugar as I am then by all means use light brown sugar, you’ll get a somewhat milder flavor, and lighter colored bar.  All the other usual pals go into these bars like butter, eggs, vanilla, etc, but you’ll also need a bag of toffee bits.  I wanted to use the kind that are covered in milk chocolate but didn’t have any on hand.  Went to my grocery store but they didn’t have them so I used the plain toffee bits, and added about 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  You can use  the plain toffee bits, chocolate covered bits, or add chocolate chips as I did.  It’s totally up to you.

This is what I used.

This is what I used.

The batter mixes up quickly, stir in the toffee, spread in a baking pan and pop into the oven.  Before long your tummy will be thanking you in a big way.

Here’s what your bars will look like……

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BROWN SUGAR TOFFEE BARS

Yield:  Makes approximately 30 bars

All this good stuff goes into these fab bars.

All this good stuff goes into these fab bars.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter ( 2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2  1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 (8oz)bag of Toffee Bits (Heath Toffee Bits, with or without chocolate covering)

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray.

2.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together, about 2 minutes on medium speed until combined and fluffy…..

Cream together the brown sugar and butter.

Cream together the brown sugar and butter.

Add in eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated.

3.  Turn mixer to low speed and add in baking soda, salt and flour, mixing until incorporated.

4.  Pour in the toffee bits and stir until evenly combined…..

Add in all those yummy toffee bits and chocolate chips.

Add in all those yummy toffee bits and chocolate chips.

5.  Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and center is just set.  Don’t over bake.

6.  Cool pan on wire rack and cut into squares when ready to serve.

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SOURCE:   A major adaptation of a recipe for Toffee Squares from Taste of Home Baking Book

Irish Nachos

Irish Nachos

Irish Nachos

Sometimes on a Friday evening a group of us from the dance studio go out for a bite to eat after a practice session.  Nearby is a pub that serves Irish Nachos that we all love.  We usually order two platters of them and we can devour them in very short  order.  The platter of these nachos comes with a mixture of  waffle fries piled high with seasoned ground beef, onions, peppers, jalepeños and melted cheese. Sour cream, salsa and guacamole are served on the side.  Everyone just digs in and they disappear in no time flat!!

Well, I got the idea that I would like to make a similar dish at home.  First of all, if you’re not familiar with Irish Nachos, you use potato in place of corn chips, but otherwise they are pretty much like regular nachos but so much better, because you can pile on all the ingredients that you like.  They are totally delicious and a great crowd pleaser, not to mention extremely budget friendly.

Add your favorite toppings and dig in!

Add your favorite toppings and dig in!

You start with a big pan of thinly sliced roasted potatoes. Waffle cut french fries work well, too.

Roast sliced potatoes in a heavy oven-ready pan.

Roast sliced potatoes in a heavy oven-ready pan.

Next you pile on some sautéed vegetables….

Pile on sautéed peppers and onions.

Pile on sautéed peppers and onions, diced tomatoes and scallions.

Then, layer on some seasoned cooked meat.  Ground beef or ground turkey are both really good, but you could also use shredded beef or shredded pork….whatever!!   It’s all going to be so delicious.  The version I made here was meatless. Along with this I served turkey burgers minus the bun.

Top with shredded cheese.

Top with shredded cheese.

Add on some diced tomatoes, and chopped scallions, then a big handful of cheese.   Put it back into the oven to melt the cheese.

Hot and melty, so good!!

Hot and melty, so good!!

Once its out of the oven for the final time, serve while hot with sour cream, salsa and guacamole and call it a meal.

Add your favorite toppings and dig in!

Add your favorite toppings and dig in!

These make a wonderful snack or meal on game day when everyone wants to be in front of the TV.

IRISH NACHOS

Yield:    Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 large red skinned potatoes, scrubbed and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey or beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese ( I like a Mexican Blend )
  • sour cream, salsa and avocado or guacamole to serve on the side

Directions:

1.  In a large wrought iron skillet or tart pan, layer the sliced potatoes in circles, making sure to cover as much of the bottom of the pan as possible.  Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the paprika and garlic powder.  Drizzle with the olive oil and bake at 350* F. for about 35 minutes.

2.  While potatoes are baking,  cut up peppers and onion.  In a medium skillet drizzle olive oil to coat the pan and bring to medium high heat.  Add the peppers and onions and sauté for 5 minutes.  Remove to a dish to keep warm.  Next add the beef or turkey and sprinkle with the chili powder.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté  until meat is fully cooked.

3.  When potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven and layer the vegetables mixture over the top.  Then transfer the meat mixture to the pan over the vegetables.  Sprinkle with diced tomatoes and scallions.  Then top with shredded cheese.

4.  Put back into the oven for about 5 – 7 minutes until the cheese has melted.

5.  Once out of the oven, serve immediately with sides of sour cream, salsa, and chopped avocado or guacamole.

SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Originals

Autumn Pot Roast

This is one of my all-time favorite ways to cook pot roast.  I use my slow-cooker and start it in the morning.  When the weather is chilly, I am comforted by the aroma coming from my kitchen, especially if I have been out all day.   A home cooked meal without a lot of fuss.

Autumn Pot Roast

Autumn Pot Roast

AUTUMN POT ROAST

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 pounds)IMG_5583
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch  pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can (14.5oz.) reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine or additional reduced-sodium beef broth

Directions:

1.  Sprinkle roast with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.   In a large skillet heat olive oil.  Add beef and brown well on all sides. Remove from skillet to a platter.

2.  In same skillet, add onions, and other vegetables.  Sauté lightly just to get them browned.  Transfer to the bottom of the slow cooker.  In the same skillet, pour in about 1/2 cup beef broth.  Heat and scrape up any browned bits from the pan.  Pour into the slow cooker.

3.  Place meat on top of vegetables.   Combine remaining beef broth with the red wine, dried thyme, bay leaf, minced garlic and remaining salt and pepper.  Pour over meat and vegetables.

4.  Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Skim off fat.  Discard bay leaves.  If desired, thicken cooking juices, or serve along side meat and vegetables as “au jus”.

Mashed potatoes served with this meal make this about the most comforting “comfort” food that I know of.  The meat will be falling-apart tender, and the vegetables are tender with a deep rich flavor from the beef broth and wine jus.

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SOURCE:    TASTE OF HOME

Fresh Cranberry and Oat Scones

Once daylight savings time is over and we’re back to Standard time, the days seem shorter with darkness coming before dinner time.  Whose idea was this any way?  I don’t really need the sun shining in my eyes, waking me up at 6am., nor do I appreciate it when it starts getting dark when I want it to stay light outside. Where’s all the day light we’ve been “saving”?   This whole time change thing makes me grouchy.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

To get me over this hissy-fit I needed something good to eat.  Something baked, delicate and crumbly.  Something sweet, but not too sweet, with good-for-me-and-you ingredients.   Into my laboratory/kitchen I went and in about 45 minutes we were having these scones with a cup of coffee.  They didn’t bring back more day light but they did help me to get over the “grouchies”.  If you’re having a “mood” these scones just might help you too.

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CRANBERRY AND OAT SCONES

Yield:    Makes 10 scones

Ingredients:

  • 10 Tbsp. frozen butter

    A variety of "healthy" ingredients.

    A variety of “healthy” ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup milk (regular, almond, coconut are all OK)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped in a processor
  • 2  2/3 cup flour ( or flour and oats combination)**
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 large eggs

**  In place of regular flour I made up this combination:  1 cup whole wheat flour, 2/3 cups oats, 2/3 cups oat flour, 1/3 cup potato flour.  Also I used almond milk instead of regular milk soured with lemon juice.  Either works just fine.  You could also use buttermilk and omit the lemon juice.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 *F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.

2.  Mix milk with lemon juice, and keep in refrigerator to chill

3. Coarsely chop cranberries in a food processor and reserve.

Chop 1 cup fresh cranberries.

Chop 1 cup fresh cranberries.

I have a small 2-cup processor that works great for small amounts like this and saves getting out the big processor.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour (s), baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest…..

Mix zest of 1 orange into the dry ingredients.

Mix zest of 1 orange into the dry ingredients.

Grate butter on the large holes of a box grater.  Add to flour and toss gently to integrate.

Use a box grater to add small bits of frozen butter to the dry ingredients.

Use a box grater to add small bits of frozen butter to the dry ingredients.

5.  Whisk 1 large egg into the chilled milk and fold into the flour mixture.  Fold in cranberries.

6.  On a floured surface, knead the dough a few times till it just comes together.  Do not over work it.  Form into a disc.  Roll out to 3/4 – inch thickness.  Cut with a 2-inch round cutter.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Reroll scraps and repeat.

Roll out dough and cut with 2-inch cutter.

Roll out dough and cut with 2-inch cutter.

7.  Brush tops with remaining egg and sprinkle with oat flakes and natural sugar.

Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and  oats.

Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and oats.

8.  Bake till golden, about 18 minutes.  Watch carefully, they brown up quickly.  These freeze well.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

SOURCE:   Adapted from Everyday Foods

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs and Sauce

Roast spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara sauce.

Roast spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara sauce.

Roasted spaghetti squash topped with a simple fresh-tasting tomato sauce and Italian-style meatballs.  I’m getting hungry all over again just thinking and writing about it.  This dish is so darn good you won’t even miss the pasta, and think of all the calories you’ll be saving.

This recipe can be reinvented in different ways.  For instance, instead of meatballs,  brown up ground beef ( or turkey) and add it directly to the sauce for a meat sauce.  Cook up some pasta for anyone who won’t eat meatballs and sauce without it, while you enjoy the squash.  This is a meal that will make the whole family happy.  It is low-carb, gluten-free, and paleo friendly.

A large spaghetti squash provides enough “Noodle-strands” for four generous servings.  It can be cooked in the microwave as a time saver instead of roasting it.  The sauce can be frozen and reheated for a busy night.

Serve strands of squash with sauce and meatballs.

Serve strands of squash with sauce and meatballs.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH MEATBALLS AND SAUCE

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup white wine, or chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1  lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. flavored fine bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil for browning meatballs

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 *F.  Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane.  Season with salt and bake about 1 hour, or longer if needed in a shallow baking dish.  It should pierce easily with a sharp knife when done.

Roast the spaghetti squash.

Roast the spaghetti squash.

If you prefer the microwave, prepare squash as directed above, place in a microwave-safe  dish and cover.  Microwave for 8 – 9   minutes or until soft and pierces easily.

2.  In a large deep sauté pan, melt butter and add oil.  Add onions, celery and carrots and sauté on medium-low heat for about 3 – 4 minutes, until soft.

Sauté celery, onions, and carrot till soft.

Sauté celery, onions, and carrot till soft.

Add the wine, tomatoes and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.  Let mixture come to a simmer while you make the meatballs.

Add in crushed tomatoes, wine, and seasonings.

Add in crushed tomatoes, wine, and seasonings.

3.  In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and egg.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Blend well.  Form into meatballs (I like mine medium sized).

4.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, and in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides.  Add them to the tomato sauce and let them finish cooking in the sauce.  Simmer the sauce with meatballs for about an hour.

5.  When squash is cooked, let it cool for about 10 minutes.  When cool, use a fork to remove the spaghetti-like strands.  Keep covered and set aside to keep warm until sauce is ready.  Serve topped with sauce and meatballs, and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Top each serving with grated cheese if desired.

Top each serving with grated cheese if desired.

SOURCE:    Martha Stewart

Swedish Apple Pie

Swedish Apple Pie

Swedish Apple Pie

This past weekend I made some time for a fall activity I particularly enjoy–apple picking.  Many of the nearby orchards offer “pick-your-own” and it’s become somewhat of a tradition.  There’s something so satisfying about going into the orchard, and plucking those rosy, beautiful apples right off the tree and into your basket.  My problem is that I don’t seem to know when to stop.  I plan to pick a few, primarily for eating, ( lunches, ect.), and to bake a pie, or other dessert,  but somehow when I get home I have way more than I planned on.  Fortunately my unheated sunroom turns into “cold storage” room during cold weather, so apples keep quite well out there.

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Apple Pie is always on the agenda of what to make with the apples.  But this recipe, though called Apple Pie,  is out of the ordinary in that there is no bottom crust, and what looks like a crust on top is more like a big sugar cookie.  This recipe is one that I tend to forget about until something reminds me of it.  It originally came to my attention when it was included in a cookbook put together by the ladies of my church several years ago.  I really don’t know its history, or why its called “Swedish Apple Pie”, but being half Swedish myself I decided to claim it, make it and share it with you. If anyone out there knows its history please let me know.IMG_5547

Any firm, tart apple can be used, so that the acidity stands up to the rich batter.  The orchard I visited had Macouns and Cortlands available for picking, and I got some of each.  I used three Cortlands for this pie, but I really don’t think it matters what kind of apple you use.  You really can’t go wrong with apple pie.IMG_5548

Swedish Apple Pie is very easy to make.  Basically you slice the apples into a pie dish, sprinkle them with a sugar-cinnamon mixture, mix up the batter and spread it over the apples.  Bake till nice and brown.  The crust is very much like a sweet, chewy cookie,  somewhat like an apple crisp, but not quite.  Start to finish it takes about an hour to make, and soon after that you’ll be spooning up a warm apple dessert that is particularly good served with a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese, another New England tradition not to miss.  It is also very nice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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SWEDISH APPLE PIE

Servings:   6 – 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 large, or 4 medium firm-tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons plus  2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease a 9 – inch pie plate.

2.  Place the sliced apples into the pie plate, arranging them to fit.  The pie plate will be nearly full.

3.  In a small bowl, mix together the 1 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the apples.

Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the apples in a pie dish.

Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the apples in a pie dish.

4.  In a large bowl,  whisk together the 1 cup flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the beaten egg, and melted butter. Stir just to mix well.  Spoon over the apples and spread to cover as well as possible.  I just “plop” it all over the top, and then with a spatula spread it out as much as possible.  It may not cover completely.

"Plop" spoonfuls of dough over the apples.

“Plop” spoonfuls of dough over the apples.

Spread dough out to cover apples as much as you can.

Spread dough out to cover apples as much as you can.

5.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Bake till brown on top.

Bake till golden brown on top.

Serve with a wedge of cheddar cheese or a scoop of ice cream.

Serve with a wedge of cheddar cheese or a scoop of ice cream.

SOURCE:   First Church cookbook:  “Home Cooking”

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

This is one of my favorite salads to bring to a pot-luck meal.  I always come home with an empty bowl, and get lots of requests for the recipe.  I have been making this salad for a long time and don’t remember where I learned to make it. These days I pretty much make it from memory.  It’s that easy.

Basically it consists of raw broccoli and sliced celery combined with green grapes, and golden raisins.  I also like to add some salted sunflower seeds for additional texture.  The dressing is made up of mayonnaise and yogurt, or sour cream, with some sugar added and white vinegar.  As you can imagine there’s lots of “crunch” to it provided by the broccoli and celery, and that is off-set by the sweetness and juiciness of grapes and raisins.

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Everyone seems to love it, even children.  Probably because of the sweetness.  So for anyone needing a way to introduce more vegetables into their diet, this salad, I believe, is a good place to start.

In my experience I find that the flavors blend better if you make the salad and refrigerate it at least an hour before you want to serve it.  It keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator if you should happen to have any left over. The amount of the individual ingredients is flexible, so  you can put in as much  of any ingredient as suits your taste.

BROCCOLI SALAD

Yield:   Servings:  8

All the ingredients you need.

All the ingredients you need.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1  1/2 cups seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar

Directions:

1.  Combine the first 5 ingredients  in a large bowl.

2.  Combine mayonnaise, and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk.  Pour dressing over broccoli mixture, and toss well.  Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Mixing up the dressing.

Mixing up the dressing.

Toss salad and dressing and chill for at least an hour.

Toss salad and dressing and chill for at least an hour.

IMG_5536

P.S.  If I’m really feeling “devil-ish”,  I cook up 3 – 4 slices of bacon, and crumble it into the salad as well.    Oh, Yeah!!

Anytime Frosted Sugar Cookies

Anytime frosted sugar cookies.

Anytime frosted sugar cookies.

Psssst—-Gather ’round everyone, I have a secret to tell you.   You know those soft, frosted sugar cookies that you see in those plastic containers at the grocery store?  The ones that have changing color schemes depending on the season and upcoming holiday?    Well, you can make them at home,  only BETTER!     I don’t buy them myself, but if someone offered me one, I guess I’d have a hard time saying,  ” no, thanks.”   They’re nicely decorated, make you feel festive, and it’s so easy to buy a package and put them out on a plate,  what’s the harm?    Artificial ingredients, that’s what.

I’ve found a recipe for a homemade version that blows the competition right out of the water.    These taste buttery and delicious because, well, they’re made with real butter, with real vanilla, and real eggs.  Real beats artificial every time.  These are easy to make and they can be customized to the season or holiday just by tinting either the cookie dough or the frosting with food coloring and sprinkling on some decorative sugars or jimmies.  The only problem once you make these is that they taste so much better than the store-bought, you won’t want to stop at having just one.  So having a batch of these around is kind of a problem, but at least it’s a good problem to have. 😀

ANYTIME FROSTED SUGAR COOKIES

Yield:  2 – 3 dozen large cookies

Change colors to suit the occasion or holiday.

Change colors to suit the occasion or holiday.

Ingredients:

  • 4  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1  1/2 cups ( 3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly.

2.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk together to blend.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.

4.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.  Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

5.  When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of cough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2 – 3 inches apart.  Bake about 10 – 12 minutes or just until set.  (Do not over bake.)  The edges should be only very lightly browned if at all.  Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting:IMG_5546

  • 4 – 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup  ( 5  1/3 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 7 – 8 Tbsp. milk, plus more as needed
  • food coloring, optional
  • sprinkles and colored sugars, optional

To frost the cookies:

1.  Place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Tint with food coloring if desired.  Use an offset spatula or knife to frost the cooled cookies.  Top with sprinkles as desired.   Store in an air-tight container.

Let frosting dry before storing in air tight container.

Let frosting dry before storing in air tight container.

SOURCE:    Martha Stewart