Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower

We love balsamic vinegar, so when I saw this, I knew we would try it.  We really liked the flavor the vinegar added!
Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, chopped
2 TBSP coconut oil or olive oil
4 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425.

Spread chopped cauliflower onto a baking sheet.

Mix the oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl

Pour the mixture onto the cauliflower and stir to coat well

Roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Turn every 15 minutes so that it is golden brown all over.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake


I made this for Jenna and me last week.  Since it was just the two of us, I halved the recipe and made it in a 9 x 9 pan.  This was very good.  See my changes in bold.
Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake
adapted from

20 oz bag of refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes Beth used frozen, thawed
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup chopped onion
1/3 cup diced bell pepper
1 lb uncooked lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Cajun or blackened seasoning
3 tablespoons butter, sliced
3 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups skim milk
8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded Beth used slices and just tore them up

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Lightly mist a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Place the shredded potatoes in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the salt and pepper and stir together until ingredients are well mixed. Transfer the potatoes to the baking dish and press them down across the surface of the dish and partially up the sides to form a “crust” along the bottom of the pan. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

While the potatoes are baking, bring the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan until melted. Add the flour a little at a time, whisking it into the butter until combined. Add the milk a little bit at a time, whisking it into the flour mixture until smooth and well combined. Turn the heat up to medium for a few minutes until the milk is warmed. Add the shredded cheese to the mixture and whisk the mixture together. Continue to heat for another 3-5 minutes, whisking periodically, until the cheese is melted into the sauce. Set aside to thicken .

Pour the remaining teaspoon of oil into a skillet and bring over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes until both are softened. Add the ground beef and continue to cook, breaking the beef up into small pieces with a cooking spoon until the beef is cooked through. Add the Cajun or blackened seasoning and stir together until well combined.

When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven (edges will be starting to brown). Pour the meat mixture into the potato crust and spread across the surface. Pour the cheese sauce over top of the meat and return the dish to the oven to bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Campfire Potatoes

Kathleen wanted these for her birthday dinner and made them herself.  They were very good and fed 6 of us with leftovers!  We did cook them in the oven.
Campfire Potatoes

Taste of Home June/July 1994

5 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste and seasoning sald
1/3 cup chicken broth

Place the potatoes and onion on a large piece of heavy-duty foil (about 20 in. x 20 in.); dot with butter. Combine the cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; sprinkle over potatoes.
Fold foil up around potatoes and add broth. Seal the edges of foil well. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Yield: 4-6 servings.

We cooked at 450 for ~1 hour, stirring several times covered with foil.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pull Apart Oat Rolls

These were the rolls I made for Kathleen's birthday dinner. They were light and airy--even with the whole wheat flour and the oats. Very tasty!

Pull Apart Oat Rolls

2 ¼ cups hot water
3 Tablespoons butter, cubed
2 Tablespoons honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups quick oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 packages instant active yeast (1 ½ Tablespoons)
Melted butter for tops of baked rolls

Combine all ingredients in a 2-lb bread machine in the order listed. Run the dough cycle (if your machine has an option of dough cycles, choose the “short” one).

Roll into 24 balls (if dough is too sticky, flour your hands and/or add extra flour as needed) and place in a greased 9″x13″ pan. Let rise 30-45 minutes.

Bake 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown (cover with foil if necessary the last few minutes to prevent overbrowning).Brush tops of warm rolls with melted butter immediately. Serve warm with butter.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Best Ever BBQ Chicken

This was the main dish for Kathleen's birthday meal.  We all liked it.

Best Ever BBQ Chicken

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup Heinz ketchup (a must for us)
1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2-3⁄4 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 dashes hot pepper sauce
8 large chicken breast halves, bone-in with skin Beth used butterflied breasts

In a saucepan, saute the garlic in butter until tender.
Add the next 8 ingredients.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and set aside.

Grill the chicken, covered over medium heat until almost done.turning occasionally.
Baste with sauce.

Continue basting and turning during the last minutes of cooking.

Serve with any extra sauce you set aside for dipping.
(The sauce is just that delicious!).

Friday, August 28, 2015

White Chocolate Churro Crackers

Addiction alert! These are so very easy to make and taste great. Just make sure you have others in the house to share these with, or else have great will power!

White Chocolate Churro Crackers

30 Club Crackers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate candy melts, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place crackers onto parchment paper side by side, row by row. Drizzle crackers evenly with melted butter then top with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake for 12 minutest. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
Place melted white chocolate into a ziplock bag and snip a bottom corner, drizzle chocolate over crackers and let set up. Serve room temperature.

Makes 30 Servings

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Kathleen wanted a cream cheese frosting and this was a bit different than the usual.  We all liked it and next time I will NOT frost the cake a day ahead.  The red velvet bled through.  Still tasted great!
Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: enough to frost a 2 layer 9" cake or 24 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream or heavy cream, cold
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, cold (you can use Neufchatel)
1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup if you prefer it less sweet)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract Beth used clear vanilla

In a large bowl, whip cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks.

In another bowl, use a hand mixer to soften the cream cheese, about 30 seconds.

Add sugar, salt and vanilla to the cream cheese and whip until fully combined and creamy. Check a small bit between your fingers to insure sugar crystals have "melted" into the mixture so there is no grittiness.

Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture then use mixer until it's fully combined and fluffy.
Use immediately for frosting, piping or filling. Store leftovers and whatever you've frosted or filled in the refrigerator.

Notes(from original author)

*I've always used the full cup of sugar, but yesterday I tried reducing it to 3/4 cup and I liked it better with less. Either way, it's delicious.

*I have a stand mixer and a hand mixer, so to save time, I usually let my stand mixer whip the cream while I mix the cream cheese mixture with my hand mixer.

*You want to work quickly and keep everything cold for best results when piping or frosting. If I have leftovers, I usually leave them in the piping bag and place the piping bag in a Ziploc and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days. It still pipes beautifully one day after storing, however, I've only used that option for leftovers.

*If I have leftover cake that has this frosting on it, I slice individual pieces, wrap in wax paper and place the wrapped pieces in a freezer Ziploc bag. I either thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or allow to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or very carefully use the microwave on a 50% power setting. You want to thaw the cake without melting the frosting.