Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffins

My son told me about his dream from last night.  In short, there was a hole in our back yard, and the kids heard a growl.  My son said it was a tiger, and my oldest daughter didn't believe him.  Sure enough, a tiger pops out of the hole, and I beat it with a rake and shoo it back into the ground.  Take that tiger!!  Aren't dreams awesome?!  

Now you can awake from your awesome dreams and make these delicious muffins for breakfast.  They are tender, delicious, and all that a muffin should be!  Enjoy!

Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffins
source: livingbettertogether.com

1/4 c softened butter
3/4 c white sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c milk or buttermilk
1 1/2 c fresh strawberries, diced small

1/4 c butter, cold
1/2 c flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar

Preheat the oven to 375.

Line a muffin pan with liners.

Cream butter and sugars in a mixing bowl for two minutes or until the mixture is light in color and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla.  Mix well.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Add this to the mixing bowl alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Gently toss in the strawberries.

Divide evenly among 12 muffin cups.

In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and sugar.  Using a fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle this over the raw muffin batter.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Grilled Molasses Flank Steak with Watermelon Salsa

Being that I'm a mom of three, I don't really get much time for naps.  When the kids were preoccupied earlier this week, I tried to lie down on the couch for a quick shut-eye.  The kids' mom-is-trying-to-nap-so-let's-be-crazy internal alarm went off in full mode.  They started arguing.  They started building and destroying Lincoln Log buildings.  They started watching random Youtube videos.  Sigh.  I opened my eyes and pleaded with every shred of desperation I could muster that they could try to be quiet for just 15 minutes.  They were.  I slowly started to drift off into the blissful land of afternoon power nap.  Before lying down, I tucked my phone under my arm since my youngest has a bad habit of snagging my phone when I'm not looking to go onto Kids' Youtube.  I had been asleep for only a few minutes when I felt a tiny little hand slowly reach over my arm and ever-so-slowly start to pull my phone out.  Stinker!  I opened my eyes, and she smiled at me.  I asked what she was doing.  She said, "Hi Mom.  I'm just getting your phone so I could watch some videos real quick."  I gave her the phone in the hopes that I could doze off again, only to have my husband yell a question to me from the other room.  *Sigh*  Why do I even bother?

Now for this recipe.  I was really nervous making a fruit salsa to go over meat.  My husband can be a bit picky when fruit comes into play.  Fruit in muffins?  Nope.  Fruit in pies?  Nope.  Fruit in salsa?  Nope.  Not usually.  He tried this stuff and said that it was great.  He ate it over the perfectly tender steak and loved every bite.  I don't usually buy flank steak because it can be really tough.  Not this stuff!  It melted in my mouth even though it was a tad bit overdone for my taste.   When it's 110 outside, the grill tends to get a little hotter than other places.  Even if this recipe is not something that sounds good to you, give it a shot!  If nothing else, use the marinade on the flank steak and leave off the salsa.  It won't disappoint!
Grilled Molasses Flank Steak with Watermelon Salsa Recipe

Grilled Molasses Flank Steak with Watermelon Salsa
photo source: Jennifer Davick; Food Styling: Amy Wilson 

source: Grill Nation, by David Guas, pg. 176


3/4 c molasses
1/3 c soy sauce
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c lemon juice
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T fresh grated ginger (or 2 t dried)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried crushed red pepper

1 2-lb flank steak

Watermelon Salsa:
1 c diced, unpeeled nectarine
2 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I cut this way down since no one in my family likes heat)
1 T sugar
3 T fresh lime juice
2 t orange zest
2 t fresh ginger (or 1/2 t dried)
2 c seeded and diced watermelon
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/3 c diced red onion

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a baking dish.  Stir to combine.  Add the flank steak.  Cover it, and chill in the fridge for 4-12 hours.  

Prepare the watermelon salsa just before grilling the steak.  Combine the first six ingredients.  Stir to mix well.  Add the watermelon, cilantro, and red onion.  Gently toss.  Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Remove steak from the marinade.  Discard the marinade.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (400-450 degrees).  Grill the steak for 9 minutes on each side.  Remove and let it rest of 10 minutes.  Slice thinly across the grain.  Serve with the watermelon salsa.

I'm telling you!  This steak turns out fabulous!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chili Colorado Burritos

My three year old is quite the little chatterbox in and out of sleep.  She goes on and on during the day, and when she's sleeping at night, she just can't stop.  Just this week, she cried out, "No!!  Not there!" and "Just go away!" all while she was out cold.  

Then, she was crying last night, and I go in there to check on her.  She looks at me with glazed-over, half-open eyes and said, "Why did you put my granola bar on the book shelf?!"  

Being that I was a bit out of it myself since it was 2:00 a.m., it took me a minute to realize that she had been dreaming.  I finally said, "Scarlet, I didn't put a granola bar anywhere.  I think you were dreaming."  

She responded, "uuuughhh" and went back to sleep. Kids.  They crack me up.

Now, onto these burritos.  If you're gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, lactose-intolerant, or on a diet, I'm sorry for tempting you with such gloriousness.  Good.  Grief....  These burritos are fabulous.  I didn't put a whole Anaheim chili in or any of the diced green chilies to keep the heat level down for my kids and acid reflux- cursed husband.  Even without those, there was enough heat from the adobo sauce and enchilada sauce.  These burritos are every bit as good as they look, and they come together in just 30 minutes!  The two times that I've made them, my husband salivated for a good two minutes before he snapped out of the tasty-food-alert-coma.  

You could use re-fried beans, add rice, use chicken or make any other modifications.  Anything would be delicious with this sauce.  

Chili Colorado Burritos
source: http://lecremedelacrumb.com/2014/11/smothered-chile-colorado-burritos.html

2 lbs flank steak, or similar, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 10-ounce cans red mild or medium enchilada sauce
2 T adobo sauce
1 anaheim pepper, diced
1 15-ounce diced green chilies (I omitted this to keep the heat down for the kids)
2 t minced garlic
1 1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cumin
1 T cold water + 2 T corn starch
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 burrito-sized flour tortillas
1 c shredded Mexican-style cheese

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the steak and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the next 8 ingredients into the pan.  Stir.  In a small bowl, combine the cold water and corn starch.  Stir until the corn starch is dissolved.  Pour the corn starch/water mixture into the skillet with everything else.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  

Pre-heat the over to 400.  

Down the center of the tortilla, put some black beans and a generous amount of the beef mixture.  I added a little cheese to this as well because you can never have too much cheese.  Roll up the tortilla and place it seam-side down in a 9x13 pan.  Top it off with any remaining sauce.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  

Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Giant Sunday Pancakes

'Cause sometimes you just need giant pancakes.  These turned out giant- as big as my three year old's noggin, and they were tasty.  The flavor was great, and no buttermilk was required if you're ever craving delicious pancakes and don't have buttermilk on hand.

Giant Sunday Pancakes
source: Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild pg. 36

3 large eggs
1/4 - 1/2 c sugar (the original called for 1/2 but I thought it was far too sweet)
6 T melted butter
1 1/2 c flour
1 c milk
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
Blueberries (optional)
Whipped cream (optional, but seriously... who doesn't like whipped cream?)

Butter for greasing the griddle

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and melted butter until blended.

Add the flour and milk, alternately, in three additions.  A bit of flour, a bit of milk, a bit of flour, a bit of milk, the rest of the flour, the rest of the milk.  Whisk after each addition.  Finally, whisk in the baking powder and salt.

Brush some butter onto the griddle.  Heat the griddle over medium heat.  Once the butter starts to sizzle add 3/4 c of batter onto the griddle.  Use a spoon to spread it a bit or tilt the griddle until it's about 6 inches in diameter.  If using, add the blueberries.  Just sprinkle them on top of the pancake batter.Cook for two minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned and bubbles are popping on the surface.  Carefully flip the pancake and cook for another two minutes.

Put the pancake into the pre-heated oven while you cook the others.

Top the pancakes with syrup or whipped cream.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Outrageous Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

On Mother's Day, my husband told me that he was going to cook all three meals for me.  *gasp!*  Unspeakable!  I was thrilled to have a day off from cooking, even though I love it.  I was relaxing upstairs when my husband brought me lunch.  He went back downstairs to make lunch for the kids as well.  All of the sudden I heard a loud gasp followed by an, "Oh. my gosh!  That's really, really bad!!  Callie!"  I rushed downstairs, and my poor husband had his bleeding hand under running water.  While slicing an avocado, the knife ended up slicing his hand pretty deep.  Needless to say, I was in charge of the rest of lunch and dinner.  And my husband's hand survived the ordeal, although he'll always have a nasty scar.

Come Father's Day, he requested turkey dinner.  I was happy to oblige because he deserves an awesome dinner on Father's Day.  On Saturday night, I made the pumpkin chiffon pie, cranberry chutney, and prepared the bread and vegetables for stuffing.  On Sunday morning, I make the bread for the rolls.  After a couple hours of rising, I was ready to put them in the oven.  I preheated the oven and went to relax for a few minutes (or try to).  About twenty minutes later, I noticed that my oven still said "pre" and didn't beep.  Upon further investigation, my oven decided to bite the dust.  It wouldn't heat up.  it's kind of hard to cook a turkey dinner in a cold oven.  We ended up having fried chicken instead.  Father's Day fail.  I felt terrible!  At least he got to have some pie that night.

The night before Father's Day, I baked these cookies.  I had pinned this recipe on pinterest a long time ago but finally tried them.  Good grief.  They are fabulous.  Ever get in that mood where you think, "hmm... should I make oatmeal cookies?  Peanut butter cookies?  Or how about chocolate chip?"  Well, my friends, these delicious cookies combine all three.  They are a delight.  I was pleasantly surprised the next day when they were still really soft.  Many cookies get stale after a day ,but these were just as tasty as day one.  These may be a new family favorite.  We loved them... a lot.

Outrageous Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
source: Allrecipes.com

1/2 c butter
1/2 c white sugar
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
1 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c rolled oats
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed for two minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla.  Mix until incorporated.  Turn off the mixer.  Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and oats.  Mix on low until well-combined.  Add the chocolate chips.

Use a cookie scoop to put the dough on the cookie sheets.  I got 1 1/2 dozen out of the recipe, but I'm notorious for making big cookies.  I'd imagine the regular recipe is two dozen.

Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Do not over-bake!  They will set up as they cool.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cinnamon Scones

This was my first attempt at making scones, and my family asked why in the world I had never made them before.  It's basically a thick, cinnamon-glazed covered pie crust.  Sweet mercy.  It was tasty,  Next time, I'm going to add blueberries or chocolate chips.  It'll be fantastic!  

Cinnamon Scones
source: http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/01/glazed-cinnamon-scones-recipe.html

Yield: 1 8-inch pie/scone/breakfast torte thing

2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 c butter
1 egg, separated
3 T honey
1/3 c buttermilk (or 1/3 c milk mixed with 2 t lemon juice)

Crumb Topping:
1-2 T sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 - 1 c powdered sugar
1-3 t milk
1/2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk together.  Cut in the butter with a fork until crumbly.

Separate the egg.  Set the egg white aside.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolk, honey, and buttermilk.  Add the the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Flour a surface and plop the dough out.  Shape it into a ball then pat it into into a 1/2 inch thick 8 inch round.  Using a pizza cutter, cut it into 8 pieces just like a pizza.  Transfer it to a greased cookie sheet.  Whisk the reserved egg white until frothy.  Brush it onto the tops of the scones.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

While it's baking, combine the glaze ingredients.

When the scones come out, drizzle them with the glaze and serve warm.

Bistro Mac'N'Cheese

This recipe doesn't have bacon, but this made me laugh pretty hard.  My youngest daughter requested breakfast for dinner tonight, so I was frying up some bacon.  My 7 year old son wanders up, looks in the pan, and says, "Mom, I love to watch the bacon dance."

"The bacon dance, hih?  What exactly does that look like?"

He plops down on the ground face-first with his arms to the side and starts shaking and twitching like a worm trying to escape rain.

There you have it folks... the bacon dance.  It's a thing.  Bacon would be an excellent addition to this tasty dish, although I didn't add any in.  This stuff is pure gold on its own.  My husband took a bite and told me that he was having a love affair with it.  I've been demoted.  The Gargonzola has a very strong flavor, so if you don't like the taste of it, leave it out!  You can just add more mozzarella or cheddar.  More cheese, please!

Enjoy this quick, tasty dish.  I've made it three times already since I first  found the recipe, and that it saying something!  You'll love it!

Bistro Mac & Cheese Recipe
Bistro Mac'n'cheese
Recipe and photo source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/bistro-mac---cheese

8 servings
Time: 25 minutes

16 oz. elbow macaroni
5 T butter, divided
3 T flour
2 1/2 c milk
1 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/2 c crumbled Gargonzola (omit if you don't like the flavor of this cheese)
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs

Cook the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 3 T butter over low heat.  Stir in flour until it's smooth.  Slowly whisk in the milk and seasonings.  Bring this to a boil.  You may need to increase the heat to medium but no higher.  Once boiling, cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened.

Turn heat to low.  Add the mozzarella, Gargonzola, and cream cheese.  Stir until melted.  Stir in the sour cream.  Add the drained pasta and toss to coat.


In a small pan, melt remaining 2 T of butter over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs, cook, and stir until golden brown.  Take off of heat.

Pour the macaroni and cheese into a serving dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.