Sunday, August 30, 2009

Overnight Coffee Cake

This morning I was surprised to find that I haven't posted this coffee cake recipe yet. I've made it a handful of times, and each time Peter and I think it's really good. The recipe calls for it to sit overnight, but if you decide to make it last minute you can skip that step. I often do. Also I have substituted oil for the melted butter and rice milk with 1 T of lemon juice for the buttermilk. It still tastes great. Who wouldn't love to wake up, stick a pan in the oven, and have a warm homemade coffee cake early in the morning without all the work and clean up?!

Overnight Coffee Cake
from Gooseberry Patch Sweet and Simple
by Cathy Lemoyne of Ontario, Canada

1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar, divided
2 t cinnamon, divided
1 c buttermilk
2/3 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted (or not)

Combine first 5 ingredients, 1/2 c bornw sugar and one teaspoon cinnamon in a large mixing bowl; add buttermilk, butter, and eggs. Blend on low speed until moistened; increase speed to medium and blend 3 more minutes. Spoon battter into a greased and floured 13x9 baking pan; set aside. Mix remaining brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan togethers; sprinkle over batter. Cover; refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 12 servings.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Joe, Crystal and Miss Austin are due in town tomorrow. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it so I headed to the kitchen to make something special for them. It's a recipe I've been sitting on waiting to use it for the right occasion. Dan tried one for me and said it was good. Opa!

1 lb Filo (thaw at room temp.)
1 lb walnuts, chopped fine
½ to 1 cup sugar (I used ½)
½ to 1 lb butter (the more, the better), melted
½ to 1 tsp cinnamon

Mix together nuts, cinnamon and sugar. Grease pan or line with parchment paper (I used a large cookie sheet). Lay 6 sheets of filo – butter between each layer. Spread a thin layer of nut mixture on top of 6th layer. Repeat using one sheet at a time, buttering each of the following sheets before spreading the nut mixture on it. Do this until the nut mixture is gone.

Be sure to reserve 6 sheets for the top, buttering between each of those as well. Cut into diamond shaped pieces ( I cut into squares), placing a clove in the middle of each. Pour any remaining butter over the top layer.

Bake 1 ½ to 2 hours at 300 degrees until nicely browned*. Remove from oven and pour hot syrup over immediately.

2 cups sugar, ¾ TBSP honey and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes only.

*Watch very closely, it’s very easy to over or undercook. Look at top, bottom and middle to assure proper cooking.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

No-Bake Cookies

Here's your post Anne! The trick to making good No-Bake's is to start timing when the mixture reaches a full rolling boil. If you boil too long the cookies will be dry and crumbly. If you don't boil long enough, the cookies won't form properly.

1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I use smooth)
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops

I made these for dinner last night. I don't usually think of making pork; unless it's BBQ in the crockpot. My attempts in the past of making pork chops gave me tough, chewy, not-very-appetizing results. But this recipe isn't bad. I made a little pan gravy with the juices in the skillet, and poured it over the pork chops and some mashed potatoes.

It was so yummy, I almost didn't even notice the three crying children in the background. Almost.

Stuffed Pork Chops

3-4 thick-cut pork chops

for the stuffing:
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. white sugar
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp. dried parsley
4 tbsp. melted butter

1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp. butter

Combine stuffing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Cut slits in the side of the pork chops to make a pocket. Stuff the pork chops and use a toothpick as a skewer to keep closed.

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a skillet. Brown chops at med. heat for 5-6 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Add the beef broth, turn heat to med-low and simmer for 30 minutes, turning them once.

When the pork chops are cooked through, remove from the skillet.

Pan gravy:
1 packet of McCormicks pork gravy mix
1 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
pan juices

Pour pan juices into a pyrex mixing cup to allow the fats to rise to the top. Once they do, use a spoon to skim off the fat and leave the good stuff behind. Turn heat to med. and melt 2 tbsp. of butter in the skillet. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, thoroughly dissolve the pork gravy mix with the cup of water. Pour gravy mix into the skillet, whisking constantly. When the gravy starts to boil, reduce to a simmer and slowly pour the juices into the gravy, whisking all the while.

Serve over pork chops and yummy mashed potatoes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tamale Pie

My husband had a tradition in his house that all the kids had a special meal that they made for the family, and they would make them once or twice a month. Well, this is my husbands meal. He's adapted it so far off the original, that it's a recipe of it's own. The only thing that stuck was the name, tamale pie. Funny thing is, there are no tamales and it's not pie shaped - I really have no idea why it was called this. But what I do know, is that it's a favorite of this new family. I probably crave it more than my husband. :) I hope it becomes a family favorite for you as well.

Note: I know a lot of you ladies have little ones, so this may be too spicy for them. So if you want to substitute canned diced tomatoes (with onion and garlic) for the Rotel, it will be just fine. But I definitely recommend the Rotel, it adds so much flavor.

2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion or 2 teaspoons minced onion
28 oz. Rotel original
5 or 6 flour tortillas
4 cups shredded Monterrey and Colby Jack Cheese blend
2 small cans of sliced black olives, drained


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet; Drain. Add the garlic powder, chili powder, salt, black pepper, onion, and Rotel. Mix together and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
2. Meanwhile, spray a 9 x 13 baking pan liberally with non stick spray. Place one layer of flour tortillas in the bottom, being sure to go up the edge of the pan as well.
3. Place half the meat & tomato mixture (and the juice) on top of the tortillas. Layer about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese next.
4. Place another layer of tortillas, the rest of the meat & tomato mixture, and the rest of the cheese.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Top with black olives and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

The leftovers are delicious as well!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pineapple Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

We made this about a week ago and just couldn't get enough of it. The whole mustard/pineapple combination was great and complimented the pork perfectly. You can make as many pork chops as you like, but there is enough sauce and pineapple rings to do 8 chops. We made all 8 and had 3 meals and a couple lunches out of it.

Makes 8 pork chops

8 medium sized pork chops, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1 (20oz.) can pineapple rings, drained (reserve juice)
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
enough water to bring reserved juice to 1 cup

1. Drain pineapple and reserve juice. Sal and pepper pork chops to taste.
2. In a small sauce pan, combined pineapple juice, water brown sugar and mustard and bring to a light boil.
3. Reduce heat ans stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 3 minutes until thick, stirring constantly.
4. Brush sauce on pork chops and place on a prepared grill. Brown chops for 2 minutes on each side, brush on more sauce and top with the pineapple rings. Cook for 2 more minutes and turn so pineapple rings are on the grill surface and get the nice grill marks and cook for 2 more minutes.
5. Flip once more, baste with sauce. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Get-You-a-Husband Apple Pie"

We love this pie. The cookbook was a gift from my dear friend Linda, Memories of a Midwestern Farmer. The author states:

“The two most common mistakes people make with apple pie are using too much sugar and overwhelming the subtle flavor of the apples with spices. A dash of lemon juice helps to eliminate the syrupy taste that ruins a pie. As much as I like sweet spices, nutmeg, clove, and allspice have no place in an apple pie. Cinnamon is enough. Taste your filling as you are making it – apples vary in sweetness. Skinny pies always look sad to me, so I pour the apples into the crust and use my hands to gently pile up as much fruit as I can”

Double-Crust (I use the crust recipe from BH&G)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
8-11 tbls cold water

1. Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea-size.

2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Divide in half. Form each half into a ball. (I skip the last two parts because I do a crumb topping and Dan likes his crust thick)

3. On lightly floured surface, flatten dough ball. Roll from center to edges into 12-inch circle.

4. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Transfer filling to pastry-lined pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate

Peel and core 7 medium apples, each cut into eighths. Add 1 cup of sugar, 3 rounded tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Toss to miss well. Line the bottom of a deep dish 9-inch pie pan with an unbaked pie crust.

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 flour
3 tbls butter
Cut in butter until it's mixed well and butter is pea-size. Pour on top of filling

Bake at 400 degree for 1 hour. Put aluminum foil around the edges during the first 40minutes.

It's the best pie I've ever had. Try it! And I recommend the cookbook too. I'm pretty sure with the link above you can browse through the entire book.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Grilled Flank Steak with a Red Wine Sauce

Normally when we marinade/season meat for the grill, I can faintly taste it's flavor. Well, not with this recipe. I love the taste of this marinade and the herbs really (surprisingly) stuck through the grilling process. And the sauce is amazing! It compliments the steak perfectly. It's pretty simple as well - we only had to buy 2 of the ingredients and the meat!

One of the great things about this recipe is you could buy a large about of flank steak or a little. It works great for any family.


Flank steak
Soy sauce
Fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 1/4 cup red wine
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Brush flank steak with soy sauce and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste, and the thyme. Let stand for 1 hour.
2. Brush again with soy sauce; grill for 3 - 4 minutes per side. Carve thin slices on the diagonal.

Sauce: Combine green onions and wine. Bring just to a boiling. Add butter; stir until melted. Add parsley. Spoon sauce over steak slices.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You Don't Know It Yet... but you can't live without this soup!

AnnLaura's Carrot Soup

Shared with thoughts of my sister-in-law who gave me the recipe, who just gave birth a few hours ago to her second baby boy!

*note: all measurements are approximate

6 carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 an onion
1tsp garlic
2 celery stalks, chopped (I don't usually put this in because I don't often have it on hand)
7c chicken broth
3 potatoes, peeled, chopped
1 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Sautee the onion, garlic and carrots in some oil or butter until carrots are tender and onions are transluscent.

2. Add celery and chicken broth. Bring to a rolling boil.

3. Add potatoes. Boil until potatoes are soft.

4. Put everything into a food processor or a blender, or use your hand blender. (*I don't do any of this. I use my potato masher and mash it all up by hand.)

5. Simmer for awhile. Let cool for awhile. When it's time to eat it, warm it back up and add the milk.

And that's it!! It's that easy!! The last time I made this soup I ate the entire pot by myself. I shared a little bit with Anja, but she doesn't eat much.... and Martin doesn't like it because he's a nerd.... so over 3 days I ate an entire pot of soup by myself. Also, it's advertised to be a yummy chilled soup, though I have never tried it that way.

Oh, and it's recommended that you read The Tawny Scrawny Lion at some point during production or consumption of this soup.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tortilla Soup

This is from California Herb Cookery, which is the cookbook put out by The Ranch House in Ojai, CA. My husband worked there for a time, and it remains one of our favorite restaurants.

He's been missing this soup ever since we moved away, and although we've been back often, they never seem to be serving the soup on the evening we're having dinner there! So I've decided to finally give it a try, and surprise, surprise, it was easier than I'd feared. I assembled the soup during Eddie's morning nap, and, since he is afraid of the blender, I will have to blend it after Matt gets home and can play with the baby while I'm making horrifying noises in the kitchen. :)

Saute until clear:

2 onions, chopped fine
4 ounces butter
2 teaspoons garlic, minced.

In a separate pan, simmer until tender, not mushy:
6 zucchini, coarsely chopped
2 quarts chicken broth

Then add:
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
10 corn tortillas

Combine all the above ingredients and blend until smooth, adding:
Salt to taste
Hot sauce to desired zip.

Serve hot with;
Chopped tomatoes
Sour cream
Crushed tortilla chips

And it's a GREAT use for ALL. THAT. ZUCCHINI that people are giving away these days! :P

Saturday, August 1, 2009


This month's issue of Real Simple has a great dip recipe on its back page. I cut it out and promptly lost it, but I was able to recreate it from memory: it's THAT easy!

Peel, slice and dice one whole biggish cucumber
Open and drain one (12 oz) can of corn kernels
Mince several stalks of fresh mint
Open and crumble one 8 oz package of goat cheese

Mix together, et voila!

The recipe they had called for pre-spooning this mixture into Tortilla brand Scoops! chips, but I saved myself that aggravation by just serving the bowl of Scoops! next to the bowl of "dip". :P

A very big hit at our last barbecue!!