Honey Oat Bread

I love bread! This one is a little sweet, buttery, moist and delicious. It makes perfect toast because all that buttery, sweet, oaty-ness is turned up. The recipe is for a pullman pan, but offers the conversion for a large, 9×5 loaf pan. It just takes longer to bake, about 40 minutes. Be sure to check its temperature before de-panning. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Honey Oat Bread – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water*
  • *Use the smaller amount in the summer, or in a humid climate; the larger in winter, or in a drier climate.

1) Combine all of the ingredients, and mix until cohesive. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, to give the oats a chance to absorb some of the liquid. Then knead — by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, soft, elastic dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or in an 8-cup measure (so you can track its progress as it rises), and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it’s risen noticeably. It won’t necessarily double in bulk.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it to fit into a 9×5 loaf pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until the loaf crests over the pan by one inch. Preheat your oven to 350 during the last 15 to 20 minutes of the rise time.

4) Remove the plastic and place in the center of the oven, bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center registers at least 190 degrees F.

7) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Run a stick of butter over the top, if desired; this will yield a soft, buttery crust. Cool completely before cutting; wrap airtight and store for several days at room temperature.

Yield: 1 standard loaf.

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Parker House Rolls

Quick Post: These are soft, buttery and perfect accompaniment to any soup. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Parker House Rolls – adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup potato flour or 3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons butter, melted; for brushing on rolls

1) In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients (except the 3 tablespoons melted butter at the end), mixing to form a shaggy dough. Note: to speed the rising process, whisk together the milk and egg, and heat gently just enough to remove the refrigerator chill; then add to the remaining ingredients.

2) Knead the dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (7 to 8 minutes) until it’s smooth.

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or 8-cup measure (so you can track its rising progress). Allow it to rise for 90 minutes; it’ll become quite puffy, though it probably won’t double in bulk. Note that the dough takes quite awhile to get going; after 1 hour, it may seem like it’s barely expanded at all. But during the last half hour, it rises more quickly.

4) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. Divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, roll or pat the dough into an 8″ x 12″ rectangle.

5) Brush the dough all over with a light coating of the melted butter. You’ll have melted butter left over; save it to brush on top of the baked rolls.

6) Cut the dough in half lengthwise, to make two 4″ x 12″ rectangles. Working with one rectangle at a time, fold it lengthwise to about 1/2″ of the other edge, so the bottom edge sticks out about 1/2″ beyond the top edge. You’ll now have a rectangle that’s about 2 1/4″ x 12″. Repeat with the other piece of dough.

7) Cut each of the rectangles crosswise into four 3″ pieces, making a total of 8 rolls, each about 2 1/4″ x 3″. Place the rolls, smooth side up, in a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, making 16 rolls in all. You’ll arrange 4 rows of 4 in the pan, with the longer side of the rolls going down the longer side of the pan. Gently flatten the rolls to pretty much cover the bottom of the pan.

8) Cover the pan, and let the rolls rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they’re puffy but definitely not doubled. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

9) Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re golden brown and feel set.

10) Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. Pull them apart to serve.

Triple.Chocolate.Cookie.CAKE.

My husband wont believe this when he sees it. I picked the most decadent cookie recipe I could find without his input! 😉 Yesterday, I cleaned up my pantries – big time! So, now it’s all pretty and organized; and I made sure that he got a peek before it became a mess again. He noticed that I had lots of chocolate chips that needed to be used up…so today I gave in to the peer pressure! It didn’t help that Publix had a decent sale on ice cream, either 😉 Milk and cookies is great, but cookies and ice cream? Forget about it!

This is obviously a great idea for a party or an excuse to have the neighbors over to help you eat it. We enjoy having friends over and food is always involved. I love that I’m comfortable with it, because years ago I had anxiety over the very idea of “entertaining” guests. I felt a lot of pressure while cleaning, and cooking – I wanted to impress everyone. I’m over that now, thankfully and I have become much more confident in my cooking and baking.  I know it’s good, my family agrees and all my friends do – all those people wouldn’t lie to me 😉

This was so good, and anytime I showed someone the picture on my phone – they swoon! 😉 It was perfect with the vanilla ice cream on top and if you’re feeling extra dangerous, you can add our favorite homemade hot fudge sauce over top! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake – adapted from Food Network

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Special equipment – 12 to 14 inch round baking dish

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, beating well after the addition of each.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix with a whisk. Add to the butter mixture, mixing to incorporate, and add the vanilla extract. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread across the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until the edges are golden and the cookie is set but the center is still slightly soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Penne and Shrimp with Vodka Cream Sauce

Quick Post: This is quick, easy and it makes a lot of food, so it’s perfect for company.  I used this recipe, but I didn’t have white wine but I did have vodka. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Penne and Shrimp with Vodka Cream Sauce – adapted from The Pioneer Woman
  • 3/4 pounds Penne Pasta (I used a pound)
  • 1 pound Shrimp (I used 1.5 pounds, we love shrimp)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion (small)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup vodka (or white wine)
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste
  • lots of Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, if you have it

Preparation Instructions

Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.

Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.

Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your vodka or white wine. Let the vodka or wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use alcohol, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).

Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.

Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.

Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

Sometimes I base my dinner choices on what the weather will be like at night. We finally got our first cold snap here, and I was more than willing to take advantage of it. I love hearty soups and comforting main dishes like roasted chicken, pot pies and pot roasts on nights like these. What better way to warm your tummy than with something spicy, but not too heavy. I paired the soup with Parker House rolls for dipping, but a nice green salad would be a great accompaniment, too – but I was going for comfort here 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup –
  • 1 pound lentils, picked through and rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (I used 2 links hot, 2 links mild)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 stalks diced celery
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (because I had some left over, you can use all stock or broth, if you’d prefer)
  • hot water if needed
  • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • grated Parmesan

Directions –

In a 6 quart dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add in the Italian sausage. Brown the sausage until it is cooked through. Drain and set aside. In the same pot, add in the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs and spices, cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken stock, vegetable stock, water (if needed), canned tomatoes, sausage, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to adjust the consistency of the soup. Check the seasonings – add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Chocolate Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Cookies

Quick Post: It’s that time of year when if my husband asks for cookies, he’ll get them. I’m much less enthusiastic about making sweets during any other time of year. These are really good, and how can you go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter – a match made in heaven, right? 😉 Well, the hubbs wanted some white chocolate, so he got that too. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies – adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa or Dutch process cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups mini peanut butter cups (*I used half Reese’s chips and half white chocolate chips*)

Directions –

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

3) In another bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.

4) Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

5) Stir in the chips.

6) Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick.

7) Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Sandwiches

Quick Post:  This was amazing! Panera Bread has nothing on homemade! This is so much cheaper than eating there, too 🙂 I will make this again and again. The baked ham and cheese sandwiches are a must for dipping. I used multi grain ciabatta bread, honey ham and baby swiss. Wrap each sandwich in foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. My picky daughter loved the simple sandwiches, but turned down the soup – more for me 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup – adapted from Simply Scratch
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted Butter, divided
  • 1 small Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 medium Carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups Half-and-Half
  • 2 cups Vegetable Stock, plus more if needed
  • 1 bunch {12 ounces} Fresh Broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/8 teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg, or more to taste
  • 8 ounces Good Sharp Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Black Pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop the broccoli florets into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the broccoli and place it into a large bowl of ice water. Once cooled, drain the broccoli and set aside.

Sauté the onions and carrots in two tablespoons of butter until soft but still firm. Remove and set aside.

Add the 1/4 cup of melted butter to the same pan. Add in the flour, stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. 

Slowly pour half-and-half and then the vegetable stock while still whisking. Add in nutmeg and stir. Cover and simmer {over medium-low} for 20 minutes.

Next, reduce heat to low and add in the onions, carrots and broccoli. Add more vegetable stock if you feel the soup is too thick. Stir and cover to simmer for another 20-25 minutes.

Lastly, use a potato masher to break up the broccoli florets to desired size. Add in half of the cheddar cheese. Season generously {to taste} with kosher salt and black pepper. 

Serve immediately with additional cheddar cheese.