OATMEAL CREAM PIES ~ BLOG 366.51

OATMEAL CREAM PIES
Soft and chewy oatmeal cookies sandwiched together with a delicious orange vanilla buttercream to create the perfect dessert.

COOKIES
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup PACKED light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 LARGE eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick or old fashioned oatmeal

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream together butter and sugars 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs and vanilla, mixing until well combined.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until JUST combined.
  • Add in oats and mix until incorporated.
  • Use a large cookie scoop (about 3 tablespoons) to drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown, turning baking trays half way through.
  • Allow cookies to sit on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

CREAM FILLING
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 tablespoon WHOLE milk

  • Beat butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Turn the speed down to low and gradually add in the powdered sugar. Continue mixing on low speed until the powdered sugar is completely incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla extract and milk and mix until well combined.
  • Turn mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for an additional 3-5 minutes. If needed, add in a little more cream 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

ASSEMBLY

To assemble the cookies, pipe or spread the cream filling on the flat side of half of the cookies and put the remaining cookies on top.

NOTE: To makes small cookies, use a medium cookie scoop (about 1.5 tablespoons) of dough per cookie and bake for 10-12 minutes.

CREAMY MAC & CHEESE ~ BLOG 366.47

CREAMY MAC & CHEESE
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 cup half and half
1 cup WHOLE milk
4 ounces Velveeta
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups medium sharp cheddar, divided 1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Lightly grease baking dish or individual ramekins.
  • Prepare macaroni per package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Gradually whisk in flour until smooth for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
  • Gradually together the half and half with the milk.
  • Whisk milk mixture into the flour mixture.
  • Cook, whisking constantly 8-10 minutes until thickened.
  • Stir in Velveeta until smooth.
  • Stir in Swiss cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the medium sharp cheese until smooth.
  • Remove from heat and fold in macaroni.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 20-35 minutes. The longer you bake it, the crustier the top gets.

GREAT GRANS CHICKEN & NOODLES ~ BLOG 366.46

This is an old family recipe that was extremely common in the midwest amongst many a farmer’s wife back in the day. My great grans even made her own noodles and would drape them all over the dining room to dry. She also started with a chicken from the yard as well as veggies from her garden.This was a family favorite long before supermarkets.

I never thought to ask, just accepted that it was that way, but this dish was always served in our house over fluffy mashed potatoes with homemade butter, which is A LOT of carbs! But, I can’t think of serving it any other way! I admit I buy packaged noodles and butter, but the rest is all scratch made.

GREAT GRANS CHICKEN & NOODLES
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
2 carrots, rustic chopped
2 stalks celery, rustic chopped
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, quartered
3-4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 + 1/4 cup FRESH chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 pound wide egg noodles
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 LARGE shallot, chopped
Fluffy mashed potatoes

  • Place chicken pieces, 2 rustic chopped carrots, 2 rustic chopped celery stalks, 1/4 cup parsley and onion pieces into 4 quarts of salted water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Strain through a colander and reserve broth.
  • Pick the chicken pieces, discarding the debris.
  • In the reserved broth add the sliced carrots and celery with the diced shallot and remaining parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes until veggies are tender.
  • Increase heat slightly and add noodles and chicken pieces, simmer 10 minutes until noodles are done.
  • Whisk the flour into 1/2 cup water until well blended. Add to simmering broth, stirring to combine and simmer 5-10 minutes until broth thickens.
  • Season to taste and serve over fluffy mashed potatoes.

GREAT GRANS BEEF & NOODLES

Substitute chuck roast for chicken.

SWEET LEMON GLAZED MEATBALLS ~ BLOG 366.44

LEMON GLAZED MEATBALLS
MEATBALLS
1/2 cup FINELY chopped green onion
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup beaten eggs (about 2 LARGE)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound QUALITY ground beef

  • In a large bowl combine green onions, oats, eggs, red pepper, salt and pepper along with 2/3 of the lemon zest.
  • Add ground beef and mix well.
  • Form into 1 inch meatballs.
  • Lightly coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray or avocado oiland heat over medium high heat.
  • Brown meatballs on all sides, turning occasionally.

GLAZE
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup homemade chicken broth
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
Juice of 2 Meyer Lemons
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Combine the jam, chicken broth, liquid aminos and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Season to taste.
  • Bring to a simmer, cooking until slightly reduced and beginning to thicken.
  • Toss meatballs in glaze and serve over rice or pasta.

CHICKEN FLORENTINE aka STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS ~ BLOG 366.40

If you are anything like me, you have a drawer or a box full of recipes from newspapers, magazines, old maiden aunts, grandmothers, friends and every potluck you ever went to and said I have to have that recipe! I remember one potluck at church several years back that I asked for a recipe and she instantly pulled it out of her pocket. Obviously I wasn’t the first to ask! Those are the recipes I like, the ones that bring a memory to mind like Lonnie handing me that recipe card.

Now while I kept her combination of spices and seasonings intact I did make changes that made it more palatable to my family. For example hubby doesn’t like cooked mushrooms so I either have to eliminate them or substitute for something else. but sometimes I’m a little sneaky and they’re in there, but just not so he can tell. One son doesn’t like tomato pieces, but loves tomato sauce, his old girlfriend won’t eat cooked carrots, and on and on! So I always keep a list of likes, dislikes and allergies and am constantly altering recipes to fly by the seat of my pants.

This recipe has been floating around so long in the box of scraps that I have no idea where it originated which based on all my changes doesn’t matter, but reminds me to keep that box. Some days I feel like an archaeologist, but come up with oldies that were favorites and will now be revived.


CHICKEN FLORENTINE aka STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS
FILLING
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper*
1/3 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 1/4 cup fresh baby spinach leaves**
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 bunch green onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, softened or 2 ounces grated mozzarella
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
CHICKEN
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-3 slices sourdough bread, staled and crumbled
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1+1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg white, beaten

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter add 1 teaspoon olive oil in skillet.
  • Saute’ garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in spinach and cooked until spinach is completely wilted. If using frozen stir until well blended.
  • Drain well.
  • Combine cream cheese, flour and spinach mix until well blended and set aside.
  • Between 2 sheets of wax paper flatten each chicken breast to 1/4 inch and set aside.
  • Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and mix until crumbly.
  • Divide the spinach mixture equally between the chicken breasts.
  • Carefully roll each chicken breast.
  • Using a pastry brush coat each chicken bundle with the beaten egg and then roll in coating mixture.
  • Place seam side down on a small baking sheet or stoneware pan (I prefer the stoneware pan for a crisper, non-greasy chicken)
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown in color and juices are clear.

NOTES:

  • I like to make this recipe back to back on my weekly menu with Twisted Pepper Steak to make the red pepper usage more efficient, use jar (olive oil soaked) red peppers or I substitute a jar of pimentos in a pinch.
  • You can use frozen chopped spinach, but it must be drained well and then drained a few more times until dry!!

ORIGINALLY POSTED 2-5-2010

GLUTEN FREE VANILLA CUPCAKES ~ BLOG 366.39

I have a friend with Celiac’s disease so I make quite a few things gluten free when she is involved. She always let’s not get crazy, just gluten free. 😀

GLUTEN FREE VANILLA CUPCAKES
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 LARGE eggs
1/3 cup avocado oil
1/3 cup QUALITY honey or 1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line muffin tins with liners or grease well and then flour.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, honey or nectar and vanilla extract.
  • Blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a mixer until well blended and thoroughly combined.
  • Add 1/4 cup of batter to each muffin cup.
  • Bake 18-22 minutes until cooked through until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool in pan 1 hour before frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup agave nectar

  • In a mixing bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
  • In a separate bowl, whip together the cream cheese and agave nectar until smooth.
  • Gently fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a spatula.

NOTE: Add 1/4 cup cocoa for a chocolate version.

“MOCK” KENTUCKY HOT BROWN SLIDERS ~ BLOG 366.37

This sandwich was created in 1926 in Louisville Kentucky by Fred Schmidt of the Brown hotel as an alternative to ham and egg sandwiches for late night diners. It became their second signature sandwich. I’ve only ever heard it called as a Kentucky Hot Brown, but I have read that it is also known as a Louisville Hot Brown.

Traditionally this is served hot and open faced on a thick white bread toast and has turkey breast, bacon and creamy mornay sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Originally it was not served with the bacon, but added soon after. Variations can include ham, pimientos and tomatoes. It is then broiled a few minutes until the toast is crisp and sauce is bubbly and browning.

The Kentucky Hot Brown became a favorite choice of 95% of the Brown Hotel’s restaurant customers. It became a Louisville area specialty favorite sandwich and is popular throughout Kentucky as a whole long after the hotel shut its doors in 1971. The hotel reopened in 1985.

This sandwich was featured on a 2013 episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he actually lost, but barely. 😀 Bobby competed against Joe and John Castro, brother chefs at the Brown Hotel.

There are also a few “oddball” variations out there. For a while there was a “cold brown” that was either sliced chicken or turkey with hard boiled egg, lettuce and tomato served open face on rye bread covered in thousand island dressing.

There are 2 other versions one being the Prosperity sandwich with origins in St. Louis at the Mayfair hotel also in the 1920’s and still served in the area today as well as the Turkey Devonshire served in the Pittsburg Pennsylvania area in the 1930’s.

I started making Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches about 20 years ago, but had no idea of the extensive history at that time. Now fast forward to a magazine I found recently trying to update this to a slider version using King’s Hawaiian rolls. I have to admit I wasn’t sure about this recipe, but decided to try it anyway.

The recipe I found was okay, but I have to agree to disagree on these being a version of the original Hot Brown because the recipe used the sweet brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and butter topping that just didn’t taste anywhere close to what this sandwich is about.

I have renamed this recipe AND adjusted the ingredients to try and keep them more traditional, ut yet an actual sandwich. The author used a “slice of cheese” to replace the Mornay sauce and there just isn’t any comparison to me.

“MOCK” KENTUCKY HOT BROWN SLIDERS
1 tray King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
6-8 slices thick sliced deli turkey
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
6-8 slices Gruyere or Baby Swiss cheese, optional
1/4 cup FINELY grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to broil.
  • Slice entire package of rolls in half horizontally. Do not individually slice rolls.
  • Arrange bottom half in a baking dish LIGHTY sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Spread mayonnaise on roll bottoms.
  • Arrange turkey on top evenly.
  • Arrange bacon slices on top of the turkey evenly.
  • Arrange a single layer of thick cut tomatoes on top of the bacon.
  • Arrange cheese slices next OR a layer of Mornay sauce.
  • Broil 2-3 minutes until toasted and cheese is bubbly.
  • Top if desired with sweet roll tops and eat as a messy sandwich or eat as intended with a knife and fork.

MORNAY SAUCE
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 ½ cups WHOLE milk
pinch FRESH ground nutmeg
FRESH ground salt and black pepper, to taste
2 ounces of a hard cheese, grated (Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar, Parmesan)

  • Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Melt butter.
  • Whisk in flour until golden.
  • Slowly add the milk while constantly whisking.
  • Bring the sauce to a SLOW boil and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the sauce burn by whisking frequently.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper, stirring well. At this point you have a Bechamel sauce. Once you add the cheese it becomes your Mornay sauce.
  • Still off heat, add the grated cheese, whisking until all the cheese melts into the sauce making it thick and smooth.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.

After all of this my favorite version is the casserole version I adapted from Damaris Phillips a few years ago.

FARM APPLE aka DANISH SLAB PIE ~ BLOG 366.32

FARM APPLE aka DANISH SLAB PIE
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup COLD butter, cut into cubes
1 LARGE egg, separated
2/3 cup COLD water
1 cup cornflakes
8 LARGE apples, peeled cored and sliced (10 cups) (see note)
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground nutmeg

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Stir together flour and salt in a large bowl.
  • With a pastry blender cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs.
  • Beat egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Set aside.
  • Beat egg yolk in another small bowl. Add water whisking to blend.
  • Gradually add egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture until dough can be packed into a ball.
  • Divide ball into halves.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll half the dough into a 10-14 rectangle.
  • Transfer dough to a shallow 9×13 baking sheet, pressing into shape.
  • Sprinkle cornflakes evenly over crust.
  • Toss apples with lemon juice and then drain well.
  • Toss apples with sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Scatter apples evenly over cornflakes.
  • Roll remaining dough into a similar rectangle and lay over top of apples, tucking in the edges to seal.
  • Brush top with beaten egg white.
  • Bake 1 hour until golden brown and apples are tender.

GLAZE
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon WHOLE milk
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla or almond extract

  • Whisk ingredients together until smooth.
  • Brush over warm crust.
  • Cool COMPLETELY in pan on wire rack before cutting into pieces.

NOTE:

  • If using frozen apples, thaw and drain well. Toss with 4 tablespoons of flour before adding the cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • You can easily substitute quick cooking oats for the cornflakes.
  • You can heat each slice for a few seconds in the microwave and add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for a treat.

WALNUT SNICKERDOODLES ~ BLOG 366.30

WALNUT SNICKERDOODLES
1 1/2 cups roasted walnuts, divided in half
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon WHOLE milk
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1 1/2 cups AP flour

  • Process 3/4 cup of walnuts in food processor until JUST FINELY ground. Set aside.
  • Beat butter until creamy in a large bowl.
  • Add powdered sugar, beating until incorporated.
  • Add milk, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, mixing to combine.
  • Add flour and combine well.
  • Fold in ALL the nuts until well combined.
  • Roll and wrap dough in waxed paper.
  • Chill 1 hour.

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  • Shape dough into 2 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mix.
  • Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Flatten balls slightly with the bottom of a drinking glass.
  • Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over the cookies.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until bottoms are slightly brown.
  • Cool 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

NOTE:

  • BE SURE AND ROAST THE WALNUTS! Toasting the nuts deepens their flavor. The same is true of all nuts and coconut too.
  • For the espresso version I added espresso chocolate chips.

COOKING THURSDAY ~ CHICKEN CHILES RELLENOS STRATA BREAD PUDDING STYLE ~ BLOG 366.25

We LOVE a versatile bake/casserole that uses up leftovers and can be served as an entree for an easy weeknight family meal or a brunch item or even a potluck dish, but looks and tastes like you spent a lot of time on it.

CHICKEN CHILES RELLENOS STRATA ~ BREAD PUDDING STYLE

3-4 cups cubed French bread
1 can Rotel ORIGINAL tomatoes & chiles, drained WELL
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained WELL
1 1/2 cup shredded chicken rotisserie pieces
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 LARGE eggs
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 cup WHOLE milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
FRESH ground black pepper
Salsa for garnish
Sour cream for garnish
1 green onion, minced for garnish

  • Grease 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.
  • In a large bowl combine bread cubes, chicken pieces, tomatoes, half the chiles, shallot pieces and half of both cheeses tossing well.
  • Whisk together the milk, eggs, baking powder, garlic salt and pepper.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and gently toss together.
  • Pour into the baking dish and top with remaining cheese and chiles.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight or 6-8 hours before preparing.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Remove casserole from refrigerator and bring to room temperature while oven is heating.
  • Uncover and bake 35-40 minutes until edges are golden and cooked through in the center.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with sour cream, salsa and green onions as desired.

FONDANT POTATOES aka MELTING POTATOES ~ BLOG 366.23

FONDANT POTATOES aka MELTING POTATOES

Think scallops of the potato world – perfectly seared tops and golden bottoms on the outside and melting tender flesh on the inside, infused with intense flavor from roasting in a buttery stock.

4- 8 russet potatoes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons avocado or (neutral) oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
6 thyme sprigs
1 cup homemade chicken bone broth

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Carve cut each potato into cylindrical rounds of even size so you have short scallop sized pieces.
  • Pat potatoes dry.
  • Place in a large bowl and toss with half the oil plus all the salt and pepper.
In an ovenproof heavy
  • based skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the potatoes and sear each side for 5-7 minutes until golden.
Add butter and thyme.
  • Once butter is melted, spoon the butter over the potato to baste.
  • Add stock, bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender, basting half way or as needed. Your stock will be absorbed by the potato making your potatoes tender and fluffy.

  • Baste one last time then serve immediately!

COOKING THURSDAY ~ SNICKERDOODLE CHEESECAKE BARS ~ BLOG 366.18

For years many trusted name brands featured recipes on the labels – Bisquick, Campbell’s Soup, Quaker Oats, Nestles, Philadelphia Cream Cheese… These days the recipes are fewer and farther between. I did decide to try a recent Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe and found it exceptionally flavorless. A few tweaks later and we love the recipe.

SNICKERDOODLE CHEESECAKE BARS
CRUST

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon
3/4 cup COLD butter

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Line 8 inch baking pan with foil so that it overlaps to create handles.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
  • Use a cheese grate and grate cold butter into bowl. Use a pastry blender or your gloved hands to cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Reserve 1/3 of the mixture to use as topping.
  • Press remaining dough into baking pan.
  • Bake 20 minutes until lightly browned.

FILLING
1/2 cup sugar
16 ounces QUALITY cream cheese
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla
Seeds from one vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon PURE almond paste
1/4 cup sour cream
2 LARGE eggs

  • While crust is baking prepare the filling.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, vanilla seeds and almond paste together until well blended.
  • Add sour cream and eggs one at a time, mixing on low JUST until blended.
  • Set aside until crust is done baking.

TOPPING
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon.

  • Mix sugar and cinnamon together.

ASSEMBLY

  • When crust is out of the oven pour the filling into crust.
  • Top with reserved crumb topping.
  • Top with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes until center of cheesecake is almost set.
  • Cool COMPLETELY.
  • Refrigerate for 4-5 hours before cutting and serving.