Sunday, November 20, 2011

Flavored Butters

  • Avocado Butter
    6 ounces ripe avocado meat, approximately 2 small avocados
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Peel and pit the avocados. Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined. Place mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper and shape into a log. Place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Slice and serve with grilled fish or chicken.

Pumpkin Butter
Mash 1/4 c. canned pure pumpkin, 1 stick softened butter, 1/4 t. orange zest, 1/2 t. each suagr and pupmkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt. 

Bourbon-Raisin Butter
Microwave 1/2 c. raisins with 1 T. bourbon, covered, 45 seconds, let cool. Pulse in a food processor with 1 stick softened butter, 1 T. chopped chives and a pinch of salt. 

Citrus Herb Butter
1/2 lemon (juice of)
1/2 orange (juice of)
1/2 lime (juice of)
1 pound salted butter
1 tablespoon dried tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
In the bowl of a food processor or mixer, combine all ingredients. Beat until smooth, about 4 minutes. Add salt and sugar to taste. Pack into molds or a glass container with a lid, and refrigerate. Keeps up to 1 week.

Strawberry Butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
Blend 1/2 c. butter, 1/2 c. sliced strawberries and 2 t. grated orange peel in blender or food processor until smooth.

Cinnamon Butter
1/2 cup butter -- softened
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix ingredients in bowl until light and fluffy.

Garlic Black Pepper Butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper, cracked
4 ounces salted butter
In a small sauté pan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and oil for 3-4, or until the garlic is soft and golden brown. Add the fresh cracked black pepper. Reduce heat to low. Add the butter and cook until melted, being careful to now allow the butter to boil. Remove from heat and skim off the salt and butterfat. 
Can be used as a butter dip for seafoods, or chill and use as a spread on breads, or steaks etc.

Onion Parmesan Butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons sliced green onions
Stir together all ingredients until well mixed.

Shallot Thyme Butter
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Cool. Combine remaining 6 tablespoons butter and thyme in small bowl. Add shallot mixture and blend well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Orange Butter
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Combine butter, orange juice and orange peel; blend well. Serve with muffins or quick bread. 

Cranberry Butter
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup unsalted and softened butter
Mix cranberries and maple syrup with softened butter. Be sure not to over-mix or butter will turn pink. Place half the mixture in the butter crock and serve. Refrigerate remaining portion until ready to use. Scrumptious spread for warm waffles and pancakes.

Ginger Pecan Butter
3/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Pecans; finely ground
2 tablespoons Ground crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon Brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
Mix together and store in refrigerator.

Bacon Herb Butter
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
8 strips crisp crumbled bacon
Mix well. 
Use on: Corn, potatoes, red beets, tomato halves, zucchini, green beans. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Andy's Favorite Brownies

My dear friend Sarah gave me a set of her favorite to-go recipes as part of my wedding gift, almost 10 years ago! Most of them are now my go-to recipes as well. :) This is the recipe for her husband's favorite brownies. I have made them countless times - with or without the melted chocolate chips on top. They are no-fail and fabulous.

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips + more to melt on top, if desired

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.

Combine the ingredients in the order listed in a large bowl, beating after every addition. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the center is cooking or a toothpick comes out barely moist.

Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips for a really simple icing.

Cut into squares and serve warm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Healthy Deep Dish Cookie Pie

I recently stumbled across a new food blog called Chocolate-Covered Katie. She creates healthy dessert recipes, featuring chocolate! A lot of her recipes are also gluten-free and vegan. While those diet restrictions don't apply to our family, I have more and more friends who are moving to strict diets and it's nice to have some recipes that I know everyone will be able to enjoy.

This deep-dish cookie pie caught my eye and I made it yesterday. The girls DEVOURED it. They didn't know what was in it, they just saw it's gooey, chocolate-chip yumminess and gobbled it up. It is made with oatmeal and garbanzo beans. BEANS! My girls ate beans! And they LOVED it! :)  Doug also ate a piece without knowing and he liked it as well. He said it's texture was "different" but he had no clue it was made with beans.

If you have picky eaters, like I do, you have to check out her site. I can't wait to try her "ice cream" and fudge pie.

Check out Katie's site for the full cookie pie recipe.

I have also made her Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal for breakfast and it was delish!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beef and Barley Casserole

Last week I had a need to make something from what we had on hand in the house. This casserole fit the bill. Granted, I had to break up some frozen hamburger patties in lieu of the ground beef, but it worked! Found from

2/3 cup uncooked barley
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Soak the barley in warm water for 3 hours, then drain and set aside.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the ground beef and onion. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain and discard any excess grease, then stir in the carrots, soy sauce, molasses, drained barley, and 1 1/2 cups of water. Stir until the molasses has dissolved and the mixture has begun to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour into a lidded 2 quart casserole.
Bake, covered, in the preheated oven until the barley is tender and has absorbed the water, about 1 hour.

Serves: 4

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rather Rich Corn Muffins

Rather Rich Corn Muffins 

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 cups heavy whipping cream (or half and half)
3 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal plus extra to sprinkle over
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned corn, drained (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously grease 24 standard muffin cups of line them with disposable muffin wrappers.
Pour the butter, cream, and eggs into the large bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt on top. Mix at medium speed just until the ingredients are combined and not lumpy. Stir the corn into the batter
Using a medium-size ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full with the batter. Sprinkle cornmeal over the tops of the muffins. Bake the muffins for 12 to 15 minute, until lightly brown; they should spring back when you touch the tops lightly with your fingertips. They are best served warm, and are equally delicious roasted and if you dare, buttered.
*Instead of doing muffins you can also bake in a greased 9x13 baking pan for aprx. 15-20 minutes. 

Moroccan Chicken

I don't remember how I came across this Taste of Home recipe, but I'm glad I did! I've included my variations below. This is a perfect fall meal, warm and tasty. Moroccan comfort food!

4 medium carrots, sliced
2 large onions, halved and sliced
3 to 4 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon pepper
Hot cooked couscous (* 3 cups uncooked couscous)

Place carrots and onions in a greased 5-qt. slow cooker. (*The onions and carrots were barely cooked through. I will saute them a bit first next time before adding to slow cooker).

Sprinkle chicken with salt; add to slow cooker. Top with apricots and raisins. In a small bowl, combine flour and broth until smooth; whisk in the tomato paste, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and pepper.

Pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or until chicken is tender. Serve with couscous.

Yield: 6 servings.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Pop Tarts

The girls had gotten into a habit of having pop tarts for breakfast each morning. This was fine with me, as they are a fast and easy way to get them fed. However, after we started trying to eliminate food dye from Elise's diet  (for potty issues) the pop tarts were off-limits.  Then I found this recipe from smitten kitchen for homemade pop tarts. With a little frosting (powdered sugar and milk) on top, the girls ate them right up! A great healthier alternative to the store bought version. :) I made the Cinnamon Sugar version, but plan to try the jam filling soon.


2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling


To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.