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, 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, 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 Baked goods, Baking, breakfast, Brunch, Cake

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

While the blistering summer temperatures have risen to well above 90 degrees, I’m itching for cooler weather. I couldn’t resist making this delicious fall coffee cake while the kids were home this weekend. K whipped up the recipe and we sliced into the warm cake during Sunday breakfast. So good!

Cake
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 package yellow cake mix
1 package instant Pumpkin Spice Pudding
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Crumble
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 to 3Tablespoons milk

Grease a 9×13” pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the topping: In a small bowl, toss together the topping ingredients until mixed well; set aside.
To make the cake: In another larger bowl, mix the eggs, water and cake mix together until blended and smooth.
Add the dry pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, oil, and sour cream; mix until combined.
Put half of the batter into the pan and then add half of the mixed topping. Carefully spread the rest of the batter on top and finish the cake off with the rest of the topping.
Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until the cake tests done with a toothpick inserted in the center. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
When the cake is no longer warm, mix up your glaze. Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Add two tablespoons of milk. Drizzle the glaze over cake.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Brunch, Cake, Chocolate, Desserts, Uncategorized

Hazelnut Dump Brownies

We had a very snowy 2021 Valentine’s Day. The light and fluffy flakes had been coming down for days and my yardstick inserted in the snow was clocking in at a whopping 17”. We had intended to go out for dinner but decided to settle in at home. I made a batch of these Hazelnut Dump Brownies to have with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.
Everything is basically dumped into a bowl, mixed together and tossed in a greased baking pan. Then, the mini chocolate chips are sprinkled over the top… easy enough! This is a super simple recipe with extraordinary results.
PS. It’s still snowing! ❄️❄️❄️

Hazelnut Dump Brownies

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix in the first 8 ingredients. Pour into a greased 13×9” baking pan. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  2. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, Brunch, Cake, Uncategorized

Sausage and Apple Breakfast Bake

This one our most flavorful breakfast casseroles. The mixture of apples and breakfast sausage, teamed up with a light batter and homemade maple syrup make this a winner in our household.

Sausage and Apple Breakfast Bake


1 or 2 pounds bulk pork sausage
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
1-1/3 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9” baking pan; set aside. In a large skillet, cook and crumble breakfast sausage until no longer pink; drain. In a medium mixing bowl, combine biscuit mix, milk, extracts, eggs and oil until blended; stir in cooked sausage. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. Transfer biscuit mixture to a greased 13×9” baking dish. Evenly top with apples; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until set, 30-40 minutes. Serve with syrup.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Food, Uncategorized

Easy Breakfast Sausage Balls

While looking through one of my older cookbooks last week, I stumbled across a recipe for a breakfast sausage ball that would make for a welcome addition to my brunch menu. I had the few required ingredients on hand and I was in the mood to try something new.
Talk about an easy recipe… 3 ingredients are combined with an optional dash of water to moisten the mix. Adding a side of scrambled eggs, coffee, orange juice and fresh fruit rounded out the meal. This is a plentiful recipe. If you make the full recipe, you’ll have extras to warm up for weekday quick fixes. I throw them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and they are ready to eat. They freeze well too. A win-win for my busy family!

I’ve include the original recipe link below… along with the adjusted recipe that I am using instead.

Easy Breakfast Sausage Balls

4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups baking mix
1 (1 lb) package ground sausage

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 °F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Mix well with your fingers. The mixture will be very crumbly.

Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together, then rolling it between the palms of your hands to form balls.

Place the balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. To prevent sticking, move the balls with a spatula halfway through cooking.

Adapted from: https://www.pauladeen.com/recipe/sausage-balls/

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

Creamy and Crunchy Mac and Cheese

Comfort food at its finest!

My daughter is a healthcare worker and was able to get a few days off this past week. She decided to come home to enjoy the peace and quiet of our tree-lined property. A brief get-away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded city…

While she was home, I decided to reorganize my pantry and she noticed a box of elbow noodles on the shelf. She remarked that a Mac and Cheese dinner would be a delicious treat. She said, “Mac and Cheese comforts my soul.” Naturally, I gathered the ingredients and I cooked up a huge baker filled with delicious cheesy goodness. I was sure to pack up the leftovers so she could take them back home with her and munch on them after a long night at work. I got a text shortly after she arrived home thanking me and letting me know how great it was to be back home. And, to reiterate her love for this Mac and Cheese recipe.

Layer in ingredients…
Top with breadcrumbs…
Bake until golden brown and bubbly…

Creamy and Crunchy Mac and Cheese

4 tablespoons butter

1 lb. (16 oz. box) elbow macaroni

2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk

1/3 cup milk

2 eggs

3 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Frank’s Hot Sauce)

2 teaspoons all purpose seasoning (I use Jack Stack Barbecue – Kansas City, all purpose seasoning)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated

16 ounces Mozzarella, grated

Topping

½ stick butter, melted

½ cup Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-x-13-inch glass baking dish; set aside. Cook macaroni according to package directions; until al dente. Drain well and return to pot. Add butter to noodles and toss until pasta is coated and butter has melted; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the  evaporated milk, whole milk, and eggs. Stir in the hot sauce,  all purpose seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine the cheeses; lightly toss and set aside.

For topping- In a small bowl, mix melted butter with breadcrumbs; set aside

Spread one third of the macaroni in an even layer in the prepared baking dish; cover evenly with one third of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining macaroni and shredded cheeses. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the contents of the baking dish, sprinkle with topping and bake until the top layer is lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, breakfast, Brunch, eggs, Uncategorized

Easy Ham and Cheese Quiche

I love using up ingredients from the fridge when pulling together a last minute breakfast. This quiche is one of my favorite go-to breakfast items because it’s so simple and delicious.
Actually, it a great lunch or dinner entree, as well. Just add a light salad and enjoy!

Easy Ham and Cheese Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust
7 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cooked ham chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll pie crust and press into a greased 9″ pie plate, crimping the top edges, if needed.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, hot sauce and pepper. Sprinkle ham, cheese, and (optional) green onions into the pie crust and pour the egg mixture over top. Bake for 40-43 minutes until the center is completely set. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.