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

Apricot-Oatmeal Bars

I have a fabulous cookbook that highlights favorite recipes from bed and breakfast inns across the country. This week I found a recipe for apricot chicken breasts that called for a portion of a jar of apricot preserves to top the breasts while baking. I thumbed through the cookbook shortly thereafter and found a recipe for these apricot and oatmeal bars. What a great way to use up the balance of my preserves. This turned out to be a delicious treat as my family raved over these simple bars.

Apricot-Oatmeal Bars

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 – 12 ounce apricot jam/preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients to form a crumb mixture.
Pat 1/2 of crumbs into a greased 11x7x1 1/2” or a 9×9” pan.
Spread the entire surface with apricot jam. Top with remaining crumbs.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the surface is golden bown.
Cool before cutting.

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.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch

No-Knead Artisan Bread

My daughter K kept asking about various bread machines and wanted to know if it was worth purchasing one to make an occasional loaf of homemade bread. I suggested she try this easy bread making method that turns out a delicious, crusty and flavorful loaf. Knowing that we had all of the ingredients on hand, we quickly stirred together the bread, yeast, salt, and water. We popped the shaggy dough into a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap. Then, we headed out the door for holiday shopping. When we returned home, it was time to pop it in the oven. This is a great recipe!

No-Knead Artisan Bread

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast, active dry or instant
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups hot water, about 125-130° F
2 Tablespoons, extra flour for bench

Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir in water until it’s well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, transfer dough to a well-floured surface and sprinkle with a little more flour. Using a bench scraper, fold dough over 5-10 times to shape into a rough ball.
Tear off a sheet of parchment paper large enough the fit in and up the sides of your Dutch oven. Place dough in a parchment paper-lined bowl and cover with a towel. Let stand on counter top for about 35 minutes.


Meanwhile, place Dutch oven with lid in a cold oven and preheat to 450° F. When oven reaches 450° carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Carefully, lift the parchment paper with the dough from the bowl and place gently into the hot pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.


After 30 minutes, remove lid and parchment paper. Return dough to pot and place uncovered, back in the oven. Bake 7-10 more minutes. Let it cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

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

Easy Cinnamon Crumble Coffee Cake

If you are looking for an easy coffee cake recipe that you can get to the table in no time at all, this is it! The base of the batter uses a boxed baking mix to add to the ease to which this coffee cake comes together. Great for the holiday season as you might have a few early morning guests in the house. It’s a winner!

Easy Cinnamon Crumble Coffee Cake


Cake:
2 cups baking mix
⅔ cup milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 egg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
⅔ cup baking mix
⅔ cup brown sugar 4 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a deep 9-inch pie pan. Combine baking mix, milk, sugar, egg, cinnamon, and vanilla in bowl; mix well. Spread into the bottom of the prepared pan.
For topping, in a medium sized bowl, combine baking mix, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and walnuts. Using a fork or pastry blender until crumbly. Spread topping mix over cake batter.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. (Optional: Drizzle with powdered sugar/water glaze.

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

County Fair Orange Cake

While rummaging through some piles of paper last week, I found a county fair cookbook that I had purchased many years ago. One of the dog-eared pages held this delicious recipe for County Fair Orange Cake. Looking further, I realized it was a cake that I had entered into the fair that year. While It didn’t receive the top prize, it’s always held a blue ribbon in my book. It’s incredibly easy to make and my family loves the bright citrus flavor of the orange juice, pudding mix and glaze. Yep, it’s a winner!

County Fair Orange Cake

1 (15.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.5-ounce) package lemon instant pudding mix
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest


Orange Glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon orange zest plus more for garnishing


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Add the orange juice, oil, eggs and orange zest; beat with a mixer at low speed to combine. Beat an additional 4 minutes with mixer on medium speed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter and poke holes all over with a skewer. Carefully, pour warm orange glaze over the cake. Garnish with more orange zest for serving.


For the Orange Glaze: Cook the sugar, orange juice, and butter in a saucepan over medium, stirring, until the butter is melted. Cook 2 more minutes and remove from the heat; stir in the orange zest.

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, Cake, Uncategorized

Georgia Fresh Apple Cake

Last weekend, we donned our masks and headed to the local apple orchard. It was a beautiful day and we were able to pick a variety of apples. After arriving home, I scrolled through a few YouTube videos to find new and unique apple recipes that I hadn’t tried before. I stumbled across this video and realized that I had the cookbook with the exact recipe on my kitchen shelf. I had purchased the cookbook many years ago when visiting Georgia. We had just eaten in Paula Deen’s restaurant and I picked up the cookbook in the souvenir shop on my way out of the building.
I hadn’t tried this recipe until I watched Paula pull all of the ingredients together to make a dense, moist, scrumptious looking cake.
Wow, this cake does not disappoint! I’ll be making it all season long!

In fact, I took the opportunity to bake it again for a birthday celebration. This cake travels well. I packed it up in a cake carrier and I’ll sprinkle it with extra powdered sugar before serving.

Scrumptious, moist, and full of apples, pecans, and coconuts… Then, soaked in a buttery sauce.
All packed up and ready to travel…
The original recipe from my Paula Deen Cookbook

Here’s the link for the Paula Deen recipe.

You’ve got to try it!

Georgia Fresh Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups divided sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 
  • 1/4 cup orange juice 
  • 3 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons divided baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 3 cups peeled and finely chopped apples 
  • 1 cup shredded coconut 
  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Generously grease a tube pan. 

For the cake: in a large bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, eggs, oil, orange juice, flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract; and mix well. Fold apples, coconut and pecans into batter. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. 

Shortly before the cake is done, make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in 1 cup sugar, buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and bring to a good rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the hot cake in the pan as soon as you remove it from the oven. Let stand 1 hour, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch, Cake, Desserts, Uncategorized

Easy Blueberry Coffee Cake

I have been without a proper kitchen for a number of months as the Corona Virus has ushered in a major kitchen appliance shortage in the US. We started a home remodel in May and everything is complete with the exception of a fridge, wall oven, cooktop, microwave and dishwasher. Ugh, this has been a bit of a pain.
Full disclosure, I have a second kitchen in my home and I’ve been using it to make quick and easy recipes. Most have a shortcut that I use so that I don’t have to pull out too many ingredients (many ingredients have been packed away in boxes from the original kitchen demo.)
I have to credit https://vintagerecipetin.com/blueberry-coffee-cake/ for this adapted recipe as I wanted to make a Sunday morning coffee cake with ingredients that I had on hand. This one included simple ingredients that made for a moist and delicious breakfast cake. I made a few changes to make the process even easier and to add a bit more flavor. I set up a small coffee bar and let everyone dig in while I pulled the rest of the meal together.

Easy Blueberry Coffee Cake

For the streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

For the batter:
15.25 oz. white or yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup oil
3 cups blueberries

Optional drizzle:
1 cup powdered sugar combined with 1 tablespoon of milk. Thin with extra milk, if needed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13” pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl add the streusel ingredients. Mix with a fork until combined; set aside.
In a larger bowl add the cake mix, cream cheese, eggs, water, extracts and oil. Mix together with a hand mixer until smooth; fold in blueberries. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter.
Place in the oven on the center rack. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake. Place on a cooling rack; cool. Drizzle with powdered sugar and water mixture. Serve warm or room temperature.

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

Glazed Pear Cake

I recently purchased a bag of pears, brought them home and placed them in the fruit bowl on my kitchen table. Those pears sat there all week as the family seemed to choose every other fruit in the bowl when snacking. I watched as the pears began to get overly ripe. Not wanting to waste the fruit, I remembered an apple cake recipe that I frequently make during the fall months. I thought I could easily substitute the pears into the apple recipe. So, I peeled and chopped the remaining pears and tossed them in. I was making a Father’s Day meal and thought this would be a lovely dessert.

Well, I was right… this cake was super moist, and tasted delicious pared with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I’ll definitely be making this one again!

Glazed Pear Cake

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup oil

2 teaspoons  vanilla

3 cups  flour

1 teaspoon  salt

1 teaspoon  baking soda

2 teaspoons  cinnamon

4 cups pears, peeled and diced (apples work well too)

1 cup chopped walnuts

TOPPING:

1⁄2 cup  brown sugar

1⁄4 cup  milk

1 stick of  butter

Cake:

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9X13” baking pan.   Mix all cake ingredients by hand in order the  listed. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes; remove.

Topping:

In small saucepan mix topping ingredients; bring to a slow boil for 3 minutes.

Pour over hot cake and return to oven for 4 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

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.