Apple Crisp II

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Quick Post: I served this with vanilla ice cream and my new favorite – salted caramel! Next time I think I will use a variety of apples to change-up the flavor and textures because the Granny Smith apples became mushier than I would have liked. Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Apple Crisp – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned oats
  • 3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • lemon zest, optional
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions –

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut butter into flour, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare apples.

In another large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Oreo Brookies…or BrOreos?

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This insane dessert takes a little bit of planning, but it’s easy enough. Just don’t expect to be able to whip it up last minute because you need to allow the first layer to cool completely before you can continue with the other layers. My friend asked me if I could make her husband a special treat for his birthday – what a fun surprise! Of course I said yes. What better way to get the opportunity to make something so completely ridiculous and decadent? Birthdays are a great excuse to make something so butter, sugar, calorie and fat-filled and you don’t have to feel so bad about it cause, hey – we’re celebrating here! 😉

Verdict: Everyone loved these. They are so rich and gooey! I wasn’t a huge fan until the second day – wow…they reached another level of awesome! My health-nut friend thought she could get by on a tiny piece; but once she tried that she had to go back for more – something she rarely allows herself to do! I heard from more than one person that this was the best dessert they have ever eaten and have already received requests for this on their birthdays…so, yeah – this recipe is a keeper! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Oreo “Brookies” – adapted from Brown Sugar

For the Cookie Crust –

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups AP flour (281 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Brownie Layer –

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup AP flour (94 grams)
  • 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 12 whole Oreo cookies

Directions –

For the Cookie Dough: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13×9 inch baking dish.

In a mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending each one in before adding the next – periodically scrape the sides of the bowl down. Add vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, add all your dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add your dry ingredients to your butter/sugar mixture in three parts, scraping the sides of the mixer bowl if needed. Mix in your chocolate chips.

Place the finished dough in your baking dish and with a damp spatula (or your hand) pat the dough until flat and evenly distributed. Bake for 20-25 minutes, take out and allow to cool completely. (*I let it cool for an hour at room temp, and then I placed it in my fridge for another hour*)

For the Brownie: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a standing mixer bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add each egg to the mixer one at a time, being sure to mix in each addition before adding the next. Add in vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, flour and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture until blended. Fold in the melted chocolate until combined.

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Pour half of the brownie batter on top of the cookie crust, then evenly space out the Oreo cookies; then pour the rest of the brownie batter over all and spread evenly across the top of the Oreos. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Egg Bread

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This dough is rich and yeasty and will be the perfect bread to use for French toast. My kids and I are in for a treat this weekend 🙂

Verdict: I made the kid’s French toast sticks with this bread (a huge hit), and I’ve toasted this for a quick (ahem…lazy) breakfast. It became golden brown and even more delicious – my toaster rarely gets it right! All the egg and sugar helped with that I’m sure 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Homemade Egg Bread for Texas Toast – adapted from Just a Pinch

  • 6-7 cups AP flour (750g- 875g)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs

Directions –

1. In a large mixer bowl combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat milk, sugar,butter and salt until warm (115^)and butter is almost melted; stir constantly. Add to flour mixture; add eggs,one at a time. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for about 1/2 minute; scraping bowl.Beat 3 minutes at high speed. Stir in as much remaining flour as you can mix in with a spoon.

 2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a semi-stiff dough this is smooth and elastic about 6 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly buttered bowl; turn once to butter surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place till doubled,  about 1 1/4 hours.
3. Punch down; divide dough in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Shape into 2 loaves. Place in 2 sprayed 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Cover; let rise till nearly double about 35 minutes.

4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Re-Post: Pumpkin Bread

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It’s my favorite cooking and baking time of year again! I love the weather change, (which wont be happening here anytime soon), and all the comforting and hearty dishes that I wait all year to make. As soon as it cools down here, I want to make this chili,  arroz con leche, this pot roast, and of course – Thanksgiving dinner!

Anyone who loves pumpkin anything, really enjoys this bread. I have been making it for years, and in this re-post I have added all my modifications. Even my husband who isn’t at all a fan of pumpkin anything said that it tastes “okay” 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread – adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil or butter – I used 1/2 grapeseed, 1/2 unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (437 grams)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg – fresh is best
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Directions –

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare two 9×5 loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 60-70 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Parmesan Garlic Bread

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When in doubt – add more carbs and cheese, right? I wanted a quick garlic bread recipe to go along side this loaded potato soup for our dipping pleasure. The garlic/butter mixture added great flavor to this simple french loaf; and it’s less work that our favorite garlic bread recipe. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Parmesan Garlic Bread – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 loaf of Italian Bread (*I used a loaf of this bread*)
  • 4 TBSP Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  •  1 tablespoon Shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoons Parsley, minced (I used about 1 tsp of dried parsley)
  • Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your french bread in half and then take the two halves and split those down the middle lengthwise. Combine the garlic, shallots, parsley, salt, black pepper, softened butter, olive oil and Parmesan. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Slice the Italian loaf lengthwise and heavily smear half of the butter mixture on each of the halves. Bake for 7 minutes – take the bread out and sprinkle your grated cheese over top each piece. Place back in the oven until the cheese melts and is nicely browned – about 3-5 minutes. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

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My sister shared this simple and satisfying recipe while we were vacationing in California. We made four awesome pizzas together and this one was the standout! We used leftover pollo asada that Dad marinated and grilled the day before. Not even he knows what he threw together for it, so I improvised a super simple marinade for my chicken.  I will make this again next week for company – I hope they love it 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza – 

For Marinade –

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • grapseed oil
  • juice of one lemon

Mix all ingredients together and pour over chicken breast. Let marinade for at least 1 hour. Cook chicken using your preferred method – we grilled ours. This is more than enough chicken for one pizza. (I used the leftover chicken for buffalo chicken salad)

For Pizza – adapted from Punky Purls

  • 1 ball of pizza dough – at least 14 ounces
  • 1 1/2 cup of cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • blue cheese crumbles to taste
  • 2 – 3 TBSP Franks Red Hot
  • 2 TBSP butter

Directions – 

Preheat oven to 475 degrees and place a pizza stone on top of a rack set at the bottom of your oven.

Place a skillet over medium heat; add the butter and Frank’s Red Hot. Heat just until butter has melted, then add chicken and coat with buffalo sauce. Turn off heat and set aside. Press dough out into a pizza round about 13 inches in diameter and then dock center of pizza dough. With a slotted spoon remove chicken from skillet and place on pizza dough, making sure you don’t coat the bottom in a thick layer of sauce; unless you like soggy pizza 😉 Generously cover the chicken with your cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust and cheese are golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

Copycat Panera Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I haven’t had any cookies other than homemade for quite some time now, but I make the exception for Panera’s chocolate chip cookies. They are huge and too hard to pass up, especially when the kid at the register asks me if I would like to add one to my order for 99 cents! They are my weakness along with the adult grilled cheese sandwich and the creamy tomato soup!

What did we ever do before Pinterest?? Seriously, I have collected some gems in the past year that I would probably not find if not for the convenient and genius site that is Pinterest! I just stumbled upon this recipe last night and made them today. These are the biggest cookies I have made to date, but there is really no way around the 1/4 cup serving 😉

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(some complimentary cookie close-ups!)

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Verdict: Wow – perfection! I will make these again. I baked off six – for quality control sake, of course 😉 Slightly crispy edges and chewy middles with plenty of sticky, sweet flavor from the dark brown sugar. One is more than enough for this lady! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

*TIP: If you’re like me and you only buy light brown sugar, you can add one tablespoon of molasses per one cup of packed light brown sugar. Not to worry if you only have white sugar on hand; add 1/4 cup of molasses to one cup of white sugar.

*TIP: I use a disher to portion out the dough onto my cookie sheet, and then I use a fork to scrape the dome off the tops of each to flatten. They bake up as pictured – thanks to all the commenters! I hope this helps.

Copycat Panera Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from The Pinning Mama

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (541 grams)
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions –

  1. Mix butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  3. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt and mix together.
  4. Mix dry ingredients slowly into wet ingredients and blend well.
  5. If the dough is crumbly, stir in water 1 teaspoon at a time until it just holds together. The dough should not be sticky.
  6. Add in chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.
  7. Using ¼ cup measure, scoop out dough and form into a ball. Continue until all dough is balled. Approx 24 cookies.
  8. Place dough in the freezer for 2 hours or up to 3 months.
  9. Place frozen cookie onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 min.
  10. Let cool 2 minutes.

Buttermilk Pancakes II and Strawberry Sauce

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I wanted to try a new recipe for pancakes that didn’t require lots of ingredients or that made a huge batch, (like our favorite, go-to recipe). The pancakes are more dense than I prefer, but I’m sure pastry flour or even cake flour would take care of that issue. I also decided to make this simple strawberry sauce because I had less than a pint of strawberries left in the fridge that needed to be used up. The strawberry sauce is so easy to throw together and would taste great on top of waffles, ice cream, cheesecake, angel food, yogurt or you could stir it into milk, or lemonade! Thanks for reading, enjoy!
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Best Buttermilk Pancakes – adapted from Nummy Kitchen
  •  2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions –

Sift flour, soda, salt, and sugar into bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter, stirring only until flour is barely moistened.
Bake on hot, lightly greased griddle or electric skilled heated to 375 degrees. For uniform pancakes, use a 1/4 cup measure – or use a drip-cup pitcher and count 1-2-3 as you pour. Turn cakes when center springs back to touch, or when bubbles on surface break. Flip cakes only once. Makes about 1 and 1/2 dozen 4 inch cakes.

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Strawberry Sauce – adapted from Our Best Bites 

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/3 c. white sugar (*I used vanilla sugar, so I omit the extract*)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract or vanilla extract

Directions –

Wash strawberries and remove stems. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can roughly chop the berries, but I say you’re already feeling ambitious enough by making your own strawberry sauce. So don’t sweat it.

Combine berries, sugar, and extract in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for five minutes, stirring/breaking strawberries up with a wooden spoon constantly.

After five minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough, transfer mixture to blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup II (with Ham)

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Even before I baked ham the other day, I already had plans for the leftovers! I wanted to make ham and potato soup, but he had a different craving. M loves Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup – I like it too. That’s not the problem…when I have a plan, I’m not immediately flexible to accommodate different ideas! He doesn’t really like my version because it’s not as thick as Panera’s – but I have a feeling they accomplish this by adding processed cheese. After deciding to go ahead with his plan, I quickly looked for a recipe that called for the stuff, but I couldn’t find one. I was in the parking lot of the grocery store, using my slow phone and didn’t have a whole lot of time. This recipe makes a small batch of thick, rich soup – all that half and half kept the base nice and creamy. I usually double my go-to recipe and use whatever milk I have, so it’s much thinner.

Verdict: Okay…this recipe is better than the other one. It’s rich and creamy, thanks to all that half and half! Also, the addition of diced ham (from a new recipe I’ll share soon) was a tasty, meaty and a perfect complement. Everyone loved it and the rolls I paired with it. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup – adapted from Cookbook-Recipes

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ pound fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 heaping cup of diced ham, optional

Directions:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

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Just in case you didn’t think that macaroni and cheese could get any more decadent…you come across this gut busting concoction! Seriously though – it calls for four cups of cheese and four cups of heavy cream…in order to redeem this a tad, this Momma is going to use half and half instead of all cream. That’s how I roll, folks! 😉 I can’t justify it, even if it is a rare dish in this house. I learned something about myself while making this: handling lobster tails gives me the willies! This was my first time handling raw lobster and the shell grossed me out. My daughter thought the spots on the shell were its eyes! That was kind of funny, but she is always wary of trying new things. I told her lobster is like a huge shrimp, but tastes even better. She ended up eating her entire serving and proceeded to ask if she can take some leftovers to school 😉

Verdict: This came out good, but it could use some more spice. Make sure to season well and taste the sauce as you go. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Neely’s

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere
  • 2 (8-ounce) raw lobster tails, defrosted if frozen, meat removed from shell, chopped
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

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Directions –
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust racks to the middle. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with butter.

In a large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.

Add 4 tablespoons butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, add the shallots and garlic and saute until translucent. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the tomato paste and flour and stir to toast, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce, by half, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the cream, whisking well to remove any lumps. Add the paprika, cayenne, and bay leaf. Bring the cream up to a simmer and turn the heat to low. Let reduce until the cream is thick and can coat a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. When thickened, remove the bay leaves.

Stir in the grated cheeses, a handful at a time, combining well after each addition. Add the chopped lobster meat to the sauce and stir well. Add the pasta and stir. Add to the greased baking dish and sprinkle with the panko crumbs and parsley. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with parsley.