Monday, June 23, 2014

Wendy's Oatmeal Cookies

I like my oatmeal cookies chewy and without raisins. These have no spices and no nuts. They are simple and delicious. Consider making a double batch so that you have plenty to share. By the way, I use insulated baking sheets, so, if you don't, you may have to reduce the baking time by a minute.

Wendy’s  Oatmeal  Cookies
Makes 3 dozen

1 cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1            1.  Cream butter in medium-large mixing bowl.
2            2.   Gradually stir in granulated sugar and then brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
3            3.   Add egg and beat well.
4            4.   Beat in baking soda, salt, and vanilla.
              5. Stir in flour just until it can’t be seen.
              6. Stir in oatmeal, one-half at a time.
              7. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on an ungreased baking sheet, flattening dough 
                  blobs slightly with palm of hand.
8            8.   Bake in 375°F. oven for 9 minutes. Leave cookies on baking sheet for 1 minute before
                   removing to wire rack to cool. Store cookies tightly sealed.

NOTE: Try substituting 2 tablespoons or more whole-wheat flour for an equal amount of the  
              all-purpose flour.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

This soup is super easy and has become a family favorite!  It's a recipe I got from my neighbor/best friend, with whom I've been meal planning, cooking and eating for several months now.  All the kids love it, which is a challenge when you're feeding two families including five kids of varying ages and tastes.  This one is a winner!

(picture soon!)

Taco Soup
(double if serving more than 4-6 people)

1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning

2 cans tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 can black olives, drained

tortilla chips

sour cream
grated cheese
diced tomatoes
diced onions

Brown ground beef, stir in taco seasoning and place in slow cooker.  Add tomatoes, beans & olives, stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours, until heated through.  While soup is cooking, prep toppings as desired.

Stir again before serving.

To serve:  Crush tortilla chips in a bowl.  Top with taco soup, and any toppings you wish.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Roasted Marinara

This is easy and quick to make, requiring no seeding or fine chopping. Use sauce for lasagna or other pasta. May want to make a double batch, using two baking sheets.

Roasted  Marinara

12 to 15 Roma tomatoes, quartered
Half head of garlic
1 sweet yellow onion, cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dried basil, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly, coarsely ground pepper, to taste

1.    Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and then coat the foil with a light layer of olive oil.

2.    Place the quartered tomatoes and the chunks of onion on the foil.

3.    Place individual cloves of garlic on the baking sheet. Do NOT remove skin from garlic cloves.

4.    Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables on the baking sheet.

5.    Sprinkle basil, oregano, sea salt, and pepper over top.

6.    Place in 375°F. oven and roast for about 40 minutes or until vegetables are really soft and the tomatoes are still juicy.

7.    Peel the skin from the cloves of garlic and discard.

8.    Place roasted vegetables and juices into a bowl or pan.

9.    Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables until smooth. Or puree with a traditional blender.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blueberry Streusel Cake

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Anne-Marie of This Mama Cooks!

I was intrigued by her Avocado Ricotta Pound Cake, and totally have her Mexican Breakfast Casserole on my list, but ended up choosing this Blueberry Streusel Cake

It was easy to put together.  I did make a few changes, and if there is a next time I will make more changes. To me, in the morning, even with coffee, the cinnamon in the streusel is overpowering, as is the sheer amount of streusel.  I thought about leaving some off as I was dumping it over the batter, but I didn't.  Next time I will, and I'll probably also cut back on the dry ingredients and increase the butter.  But maybe that's just me.

I had to bake this cake almost double the suggested time--15 additional minutes!  At 20 minutes it was still raw (I know this because my pan is clear (see below) AND the toothpick came up with batter on it.  In the end it turned out fine, but if you have somewhere to be, maybe choose a quicker recipe.

H-Bomb likes this cake a lot, and ate two pieces for breakfast!  Sawed Off is refusing to try it (nothing new) and Number One said he'll have some later. 

So, it's a good cake and we'll probably eat it all, but to be honest it makes me long for my mom's amazing Blueberry Tea Cake.  I wish that is the cake I'd made.  I'll have to get that recipe from her and share it soon.

Blueberry Muffin Streusel Cake
Adapted from This Mama Cooks via a friend via Holly Clegg?  
(I'm not sure where the recipe originally came from, but I found it at This Mama Cooks!
Makes 12 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup fresh blueberries

Streusel Topping (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Coat a 9x9x2-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

In bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, egg and vanilla.

Stir in oil and blueberries, only until mixed.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup reserved Streusel Topping (recipe below) on bottom of pan. Carefully spread cake mixture on top. Cover with remaining reserved Streusel Pecan Topping.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out dry.

Streusel Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In small bowl, mix together sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
Cut in vanilla and butter using pastry blender or fork.
Reserve 1/2 cup topping and add pecans to remaining topping.

Secret Recipe Club

Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops

Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops
4 VERY thick pork chops
8 slices oatnut bread
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup apricot pineapple jam, room temperature**
1 tablespoon peach schnapps
1 large lemon, juiced
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Slit each pork chop along 2 sides to create a large pocket.
  • *Toast each slice of bread well and then lightly butter.
  • Cut each piece into small squares.
  • Toss with thyme, garlic salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each pork chop with 1/3 cup of mixture.
  • Whisk together the jam, peach schnapps, red pepper flakes, ginger and lemon juice.
  • Place chops in a square greased baking dish.
  • Arrange remaining stuffing around the edges.
  • Glaze chops and stuffing tops.
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes.
  • Turn chops, glaze chops and stuffing again. Bake another 30 minutes.

*If you prefer, prepare 1 box of stove top stuffing instead.
**Tonight I used Lemon Curd and had a distinctively fresh flavor with the same consistency.  Use whatever flavor speaks to you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Slow-Cooked Kalua Pork

Once you taste this pork, you will never believe it has only three ingredients!  It is succulent and flavorful and simply amazing.  We plan to make it again and again.  We made two batches of this to feed two families totaling 10 people (5 adults and 5 kids).  We ended up stirring the two slow cookers into one after the meat was shredded.  I don't have a picture because we proceeded to eat a TON of pork sandwiches.  We'll be making it again soon though, so stay tuned!!

The recipe comes from January 2014 The Costco Connection, attributed to Michelle Tam.  I used Red Hawaiian Sea Salt from Frontier for the recipe. (follow the link to purchase--I am glad I bought a pound of red salt as this recipe is a keeper!)  The only thing we changed was adding more bacon and slow-cooking the meat overnight, then we shredded it and reheated before dinner.  The salt colors the outside of the meat a deep, beautiful red, and any crunchy outside bits are the best!  We served ours on rolls with coleslaw (on top or on the side).  It makes a lot.  Buy the best pork roast you can find and make this recipe!

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
Serves a lot.

3 bacon slices (we used 1/2 package of bacon per slow cooker)
5-pound Boston butt pork roast (bone in or boneless)
1-1/2 tablespoons coarse (or 1 tablespoon fine) Red Hawaiian Sea Salt
toasted rolls, for serving
coleslaw, for serving

Line the bottom of the slow cooker with strips of bacon.  Evenly salt the pork with the red Hawaiian sea salt.  Place the roast in the slow cooker on top of the bacon, skin side up.

Cook the roast on low for 16 hours.
Shred the meat with a couple forks, discarding any excess fat chunks.  You can either do this right in the slow cooker, or by taking the meat out, shredding it on a pan, then mixing it back in with the liquid in the slow cooker.  This reheats beautifully, so if you don't want to get up at 1 or 2:am to turn on your slow cooker, it's not a big deal to cook it when it's more convenient.  Just be sure you allow 16 hours for cooking!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Quick Cherry Cobbler

***Taste & Create is a fabulous monthly blog event 
in which participants are randomly paired off 
to choose and prepare a dish from their partner's blog. 
 If you'd like to join us, please email me at 
cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com for more information!  
We'd love to have you.**

For February's Taste & Create, I was paired with Carol from No Reason Needed.  Carol is a long-time T&C participant, so we've been paired up before.  I always enjoy seeing what's new and perusing her blog until something catches my eye.

This time I chose a recent recipe, her Cherry Cobbler.  It was super easy to put together, but only half of my family liked it.  I use "country style" cherry pie filling, which isn't as sickly sweet as regular cherry pie filling.  I debated leaving out the lemon juice for this reason, but didn't.  I wonder if leaving out the cinnamon would have made the other two like the cobbler more?  I do like that this recipe uses less sugar, and it tasted great to me and my oldest son.  But sadly I can't make it a go-to recipe if my husband and other son don't love it...perhaps I'll try it again with no cinnamon and see what happens...

If you try it, let me know what your family thinks!


Cherry Cobbler
via No Reason Needed

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk

1 can of cherry pie filling (I prefer country style)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Mix together all the filling ingredients, let the cherry mixture sit while you make the batter.

In a separate bowl mix batter ingredients with a fork, and pour into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Carefully spoon the cherry pie filling over the batter evenly. Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees F, then turn heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.  The batter will rise over the top of the filling.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Orange-Ginger Carrots

These are fast, easy, and delicious. Am convinced they should be on every Thanksgiving table, but try them now and you surely will want to have them more than once a year.


2 pounds carrots
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice (juice of 1 large orange)
¼ cup grated fresh ginger
Grated rind of one orange
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup bourbon

1.    Peel carrots and slice on an angle into ¼-inch-thick slices and place in a 2-quart saucepan.

2.    Cover carrots with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and simmer carrots until tender to the touch of a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain.

3.    In a large sauté pan, add butter and brown sugar. Over medium-high heat, stir for about 3 minutes.

4.    Add orange juice, ginger, and grated orange rind. Simmer about 5 minutes or until liquid thickens and becomes a glaze.

5.    Stir in salt and bourbon and simmer until alcohol evaporates.

6.    Gently stir in carrots and simmer until carrots are hot, about 1 minute.

NOTE: I used the same saucepan in which I boiled the carrots to make the glaze to save washing another pan. However, the extra surface area of a sauté pan might have been advantageous.

I used less ginger and less bourbon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese
Serves 8

1 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 pound white Cheddar, shredded
4 ounces Asiago, shredded
4 ounces Romano, shredded
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs

  1. In 7- or 8-quart pot filled with 5 quarts boiling salted water, cook macaroni until barely al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

  1. In same pan dried, melt 6 tablespoons butter.

  1. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking to form roux.

  1. Add cold milk gradually, whisking vigorously until white sauce is smooth.

  1. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly, whisking occasionally.

  1. Whisk in cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  1. Stir in Cheddar, Asiago, and Romano. Cook over medium heat until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon.

  1. Stir in cooked and drained macaroni.

  1. Place in lightly buttered 13x9-inch baking dish.

10.  In 1-quart saucepan over the stove or in 1-quart bowl in microwave, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

11.  Add breadcrumbs to melted butter and mix well to make topping.

12.  Sprinkle topping over macaroni and cheese.

13.  Bake in 325°F oven for about 15 minutes.

14.  Then place pan under broiler until breadcrumbs turn golden brown.

NOTE: Experiment adding some depth to this recipe by taking half a peeled onion and sticking a few cloves of garlic and a bay leaf in natural or knife-made slits in onion. Add this onion to the white sauce between steps 4 and 5 and then remove it before adding the cream, between steps 5 and 6. Discard onion.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread

You probably know I regularly participate in a couple monthly blog events.  Both of these events expose me to new food blogs, and who doesn't enjoy perusing new blogs?  ;-)

Taste & Create is a fun one, (created by my friend Nicole who passed the torch to me when she opened her own bakery/cafe in Germany), in which participants are randomly partnered up and tasked with creating a recipe from each other's blog.  (click the link above and email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you'd like to join us!)

The Secret Recipe Club is interesting too, participants are assigned blogs and make recipes, but there are no partners, everyone is in sort of a daisy-chain of food.  (click on the logo at the bottom of this post to get on the list for this one)

This month, the blog I was assigned for Secret Recipe Club was:

It didn't take long to decide on one of Jeanie's Pull-Apart Breads!  The hard part was deciding whether to make Orange or Coconut Lime!!  A quick question to Number One, and Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread was the winner.

This bread goes together easily, rises beautifully and isn't too hard to put together, if a bit messy!

The results are so good that we'll be making this again, in Orange, Cinnamon, and whatever other flavor we can think of!

Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread, before glazing

Coconut Lime Pull Apart Bread
 Adapted from The Tasty Cheapskate
Makes 1 loaf 
Prep time: 20 minutes
Rise time: 1 1/2 hours
Cook time: 30 minutes

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (added by the cup)


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Grated zest of 2 limes (reserve about a teaspoon or so for topping)
1/2 cup coconut (I prefer dried raw, unsweetened)

Heat milk and butter until butter melts (Jeanie does this in the microwave, so I did too). Add cool water, so that the mixture is warm to the touch, but not hot (about 110 degrees). Stir in yeast and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

To this, add 1 cup of flour and mix. Then add another cup of flour and mix. It should be about ready to turn out to knead. (If not, add another 1/2 cup flour). Turn it out to knead adding remaining flour as it gets sticky. I actually ended up using 3 cups of flour total, including what I put on the pastry sheet and kneaded in. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.  It is a nice, substantial dough.

Place dough in a bowl, cover with a lint-free towel and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 12 x 20 inches, about 1/4 inch thick, on a well-floured surface.

Melt butter for filling and drizzle it on, spreading around with a pastry brush so it covers the entire surface area.

Mix sugar, lime zest and coconut well.  Sprinkle evenly over dough.

Cut the dough short-ways into 5 (12x4") strips.  Stack the strips on top of each other. I scooped up the sugar, zest and coconut that fell off and sprinkled it back on the layers.

Cut this long stack into 6 rectangles that are roughly 2 inches wide. Carefully stack them cut side up in a well-greased loaf pan.  Scoop up any sugar mixture that's fallen off and sprinkle it on top.

Cover and let the loaf rise again.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes. 

Jeanie says:  "The top will get a little crusty and you'll worry you might be cooking it too long, but don't worry, that's just caramel-y sugar forming on top. Remove from oven, let it cool slightly, and then take it out of the pan and, yup, tear it apart." 

Unless you want some glaze, in which case, continue on:

Coconut Lime Glaze

4 tablespoons coconut milk
1- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice from one lime
reserved lime zest for looks

Mix together and pour over bread while it's still warm.
THEN tear it apart and enjoy!!

Secret Recipe Club

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