Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I've been making this for about a year now which means I haven't bought those little packets in about a year!  It feels good knowing that my little family is getting a few less preservatives in their tummies!

1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix all the ingredients above in a small bowl.  Keep fresh in an air tight container for up to 6 months.
Double or triple recipe as needed. 

To use:  substitute 2 rounded Tablespoons for 1 packet of taco seasoning. 

**You can also kick up the heat a notch by adding in 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes!!**

Recipe courtesy of Smashed Peas and Carrots
(the picture is too until I get my camera fixed!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

(Ssshhhh....Zucchini) Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

So I'm pretty sure that my oldest daughter could win the award for "pickiest palate."  I mean really, I'm pretty sure I can count on two hands all of the things she will eat. 

One of them is chocolate chip muffins and she has been begging me to make them for her for breakfast.  I have a bit of a hard time with this.  How is this appropriate for breakfast?  It's basically a cupcake with no icing!  

So...I did some "doctoring" without her knowing and I feel much better about her consuming these before school.  She doesn't even realize there is zucchini in them because they are SO yummy!  

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp.milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peeled and shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (can also use miniature or semi-sweet)

In large bowl stir together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl combine the liquid ingredients: egg, oil, milk, and vanilla and mix well.  Add to dry ingredients.

Mix only until moistened. Gently fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.  Fill greased or paper-lined mini-muffin cups two-thirds full. You can also make 12 (or more) regular sized muffins instead.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes for mini-muffins and 20 to25 minutes for regular sized muffins or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Doughnut Muffins

These little muffins taste just like a cakey doughnut!  You can even fib to yourself and say that they are good for you because they aren't fried like a doughnut. :)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup milk

4 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. If using paper muffin cups, spray the cups with cooking spray to ensure that they peel off the muffins easily. 

In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs and beat to combine. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla. 

Starting and ending with the flour, alternately stir the flour and milk into the butter mixture. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full. 

Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean. Remove them from the oven and, using a fork, tip the muffins sideways in the pan to keep the bottoms from steaming. 
Let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. 

While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping. Dip the top of each muffin in the melted butter and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature. 

Makes 12 muffins.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Divine Breadsticks

Hello.  My name is Angela and I have a yeast bread phobia.  I was never a good science student and cooking with yeast just seems way too much like science.  Ironically enough, bread is my all-time favorite food.  I would skip dessert to have another soft yeast roll or a chewy baguette.

However, to grow as a person I know that I need to branch out and become comfortable with the little yeast packets.  This recipe helped me do just that.  I have tried other yeast breads in the past and they have failed miserably.  But this one WORKED!  And it was YUMMY!  My family loves it when I make these and I bet yours will too.  Don't be scared!

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted (for the baking sheet)
Mix all ingredients (except melted butter) in a stand mixer with the dough hook, adding flour until all of the dough clings to the hook and leaves the sides of the bowl.  Let the mixer knead the dough (on the low setting) for three minutes. 

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread melted butter onto an 11X17-inch baking sheet (I just put the butter on the baking sheet while the oven is preheating and it melts itself). Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. 

Twist slightly, if desired, and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, herbs of choice and/or parmesan cheese. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.  Remove plastic wrap and bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.

This recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and she says: *Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mashed Potato Soup

I am not a fan of leftovers.  And leftover mashed potatoes??? Well....double yuck.  But it always seems that when I whip up a pot of potatoes, I make too much.  Which is why I was very excited when I stumbled across this recipe!

This soup is really yummy.  I can imagine that this will REALLY hit the spot when the temps start dropping.

Drizzle of olive oil (optional)
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
8 ounces shredded yellow cheddar cheese
Chopped chives, for garnish (I left this out because, well....I didn't have any!)
    In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve. (I skip the oil and just cook the bacon plain.) 
    Drain off excess bacon fat from the pot and add butter. When it is melted, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour into the pot and cook with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a bubble. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
    Whisk in mashed potatoes, then stir in the cheddar cheese with a wooden spoon and cook until the potatoes are hot and the cheese is melted.
    Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the reserved bacon and chopped chives.

    Recipe from Rachael Ray