Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Baking, Food

Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts

As the summer garden begins to flourish, I find myself trimming down my rosemary plants a little too quickly these days. You see my family is addicted to this recipe for party nuts. The aroma and flavor of rosemary mixed with the kick of cayenne pepper makes for an irresistible treat. Buy canned mixed nuts when they are on sale because these are gone shortly after they come out of the oven. You’ll find yourself making a new batch quite frequently.

The original recipe developed by The Union Square Cafe’ in New York can be found here.

Union Square Cafe (Big Batch) Bar Nuts

4 cups lightly salted mixed nuts (2-8 oz. cans)
2 Tbsp butter, melted
4 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toast nuts on baking sheet until lightly golden, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine melted butter, chopped rosemary, cayenne pepper and brown sugar; stir until thoroughly combined.
In a large bowl, toss hot nuts with butter and spice mixture. Make sure to do this right away while nuts are hot. Season with salt and toss to coat thoroughly.

Posted in Casserole, Dinner, Food, side dishes, Soup

Easy Spaetzle

While recently visiting family in Ohio, I purchased a few pounds of Spaetzle at a local specialty store. The price was quite expensive so I thought I might try to make them myself. After reviewing a few recipes on-line, I came up with this simple basic recipe. I now freeze batches of this dumpling-like egg noodle for soups, stews, and casserole dishes so we can inexpensively enjoy them year-round.

Easy Spaetzle

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup evaporated skim milk

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Mix in eggs and milk. Stir until the batter is well combined and develops bubbles. Let the loose batter sit for 5-10 min. Stir again.
  • Bring a large pot of water over high heat to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water; reduce temperature to a simmer. Next, place a colander into a bowl to drain the cooked speatzle.
  • Press the batter through a spaetzle maker into the simmering water.
  • Working in batches, after using about 1/3 of the batter, let spaetzle cook until they float to the top. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the post. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the spaetzle to the colander so that excess water can drip off.
  • Serve the spaetzle immediately or saute them in butter to crisp. If you don’t serve or saute them right away, add 1 or 2 Tbsp of butter to the hot spaetzle to prevent them from sticking together.If desired, freeze in quart-sized freezer bags for later use.
Flour, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk
Prepare a loose batter.
Use a Spaetzle maker working in batches.
Stir in a pat of butter to prevent sticking.
Freeze in quart-sized freezer bags.
Enjoy in your favorite noodle dishes.
Posted in Baked goods, Baking, breakfast, Brunch, cookies, Food, Gifts, holiday, holidays

Easy Cookie Lollipops

These cookies are super cute and quite tasty. I used the Wilton Easy Cut-Out Cookie recipe to make quick work of this project. Just make the dough, pinch off a small ball, form it around the treat stick, and place your cookie cut-out on top. I used three chocolate chips to top the cookie and then popped them in the oven. Here’s the video for the Wilton recipe.

Wrap them up in a bit of cellophane and you have a lovely gift from the kitchen…
Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Cake, Food

Yummy Cake Mix Banana Muffins

Freeze your overly ripe bananas and pull them out for this delicious recipe!

Yummy Cake Mix Banana Muffins

3 overripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 (15 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with muffins liners (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the bananas, eggs and oil/butter until mixture is smooth. Add the cake mix and gently mix until combined. DO NOT over mix. Optional: fold in chopped nuts
Scoop batter into the muffin pan filling the cups 3/4 of the way full (use an ice cream scoop for ease). Top each with a sprinkle of streusel crumble and tap lightly into batter.
Bake for 18 – 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Streusel topping –
1 ¼ cup
½ cup light brown sugar tightly packed
⅓ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 Tbls.cold butter, cubed

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk or stir together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Use a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients to make course crumbs. Scatter evenly over muffins, pie, or coffee cake before baking. Store left-over streusel in fridge or freezer for future baking projects.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Cake, cookies, Food

Gooey Bars

Here’s a traditional gooey bar that uses a cake mix for its base. I’ve added pecans to the cake mix layer as I love the texture of cheese cake with an added crunch.

Gooey Bars

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 eggs. Pat into a 9×13-inch pan. Evenly press chopped pecans into batter.

In a clean bowl, mix cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar. Pour over cake layer.

Bake 35-40 minutes; cool completely before cutting.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Cake, cookies, Desserts, Food

Chewy Cake Mix Brownies

Even though I have plenty of made-from-scratch brownie recipes, this is my “go to” for a quick, easy, and tasty bar. It’s a jiffy of a recipe and one of my favorites.

Chewy Cake Mix Brownies

1 (15 oz) box chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 7×11” baking pan. Combine cake mix, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl; mix until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Transfer the batter to a greased 7×11” or 8 X 8” baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, cookies, Food

Ranger Cookies

This is a great alternative to the Cowboy Cookie recipe that I’ve made for years. The addition of coconut adds moisture and a unique flavor to the batter.

Ranger Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste
2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla; continue to mix until eggs are fully incorporated.
In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the mixer and blend until smooth.
Fold in oats, rice cereal, coconut, and chocolate chips. Use a round ice cream scoop to drop round mounds balls on a cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with clean, damp fingers. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Cool slightly and move to cookie rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Casserole, Casseroles, Dinner, Food

Spicy Cabbage Roll Casserole

Whenever I make traditional cabbage rolls, I feel that they are too bland. I changed up my original recipe by adding zesty bulk sausage and red pepper flakes. I especially like this deconstructed version as it’s so easy to pull together for a comforting meal.

Spicy Cabbage Roll Casserole with Rice

1 head cabbage, cut, cooked & drained
1 pound zesty bulk sausage, browned & drained
32 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar (or, sweetener)
1/2 crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together, except 1 cup of the cheese. Pour into a greased 13″x9″ baking dish. Top with the remaining cup of cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve over plain white or beef flavored rice.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Food, Gardening, Salad, salads

Fresh Broccoli Salad

Looking over the side items in the deli case this week, I spied a tasty looking broccoli salad that I’d never purchased before. Although, I had tasted a similar salad during the county fair a few years ago. I had judged the 4-H home food preservation project and a kind group of volunteers had brought lunch in for those of us judging throughout the day. I told one of the volunteers that the broccoli salad was delicious and she replied, “It’s from Walmart, the best!”
This Father’s Day, I’m making my own version of this salad as all of the kids are home to celebrate and the steamy hot temperatures remind me to fill the table with cold salads, fresh fruit, grilled chicken, and icy beverages.
Happy Father’s Day to my sweet hubby, J. A wonderful father to our 3 children…

Fresh Broccoli Salad

For the salad: 6 cups broccoli florets
⅔ cup raisins
½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon
½ cup sunflower seeds
⅓ cup onion, diced finely 1 cup bow tie pasta, cooked, rinsed and cooled 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded thick


For the dressing:
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ Tablespoon vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


In a large bowl, combine broccoli florets, raisins, bacon, sunflower seeds, onion, pasta, and shredded cheese. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until well combined. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and toss well. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Food, holiday, Soup, Uncategorized

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

During the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the weather turned cold. I had an idea to cook up a large pot of hearty soup; a comfort food that is always a good idea during the Midwestern winter months. I had plenty of leftover vegetables that I’d purchased to make stuffing and to season other dishes. So, Friday morning I threw a few chicken breasts into a pot of simmering water and set out to make a soup for those looking for a comforting bowl of deliciousness during the weekend.

While I could have used my leftover turkey for this recipe, I chose to leave it for sandwiches as the family likes to pile turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on a hearty wheat bread for traditional turkey leftover sandwiches. I did, however, toast some super thin Pepperidge Farm’s bread to act as a crispy accent to the smooth and creamy soup. I hope you try this delicious soup as this one warms the soul…

Note: I keep chicken stock base in my pantry for times when I don’t have chicken broth on the shelf. Follow the directions on the side of the container to substitute this base for the canned broth.

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

1 tablespoon oil
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup long grain rice, uncooked
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and cubed


In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; sauté carrot, celery and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook until vegetables are translucent. Stir in rice, seasonings and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered about 15 minutes, until the rice is tender. In a small bowl, mix flour and evaporated milk until smooth; stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken and heat through.