Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Baked Scalloped Sweet Potatoes au gratin

Yummy sweet potatoes with cheese in sweet cream. You can't do much better for a great side dish for any occasion. 

In intend on making this for my Easter brunch potato entree.

2 lbs. sweet potatoes peeled, washed and cut thin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 to 2 cloves minced garlic(depends on taste)
1 tsp. dried thyme or a little less
salt and pepper
2 Cups Gruyere cheese grated(this cheese is pricy but a delicious addition)

Clean potatoes and cut with a sharp knife into thin to medium slices. Place in cold water and rinse thoroughly. Drain and pat dry.

Place garlic in small pan on low heat.  Add heavy cream and simmer slightly stirring occasionally until warm. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium size casserole dish butter generously.  Layer one layer of potatoes, salt, pepper, cheese  and thyme. Add a little of warmed cream and continue to do so in every layer until all potatoes and cheese are used.  Any remaining cheese add to last layer.   Make sure potatoes are pretty well covered with garlic sauce.  Turn oven to 400 degrees.  When oven has reached 400 degrees cover casserole with foil and place in center of oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and place casserole up to next rack and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until slightly browned.  If not browned enough you can broil on high for a few minutes but watch carefully as not to burn.

Remove from oven and allow to set for 20 minutes.  It will thicken perfectly.  I had pan fried thin pork chops and applesauce with this.  Delicious!

adapted from Pinch my salt

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chicken Surprise

It seems like chicken has gotten to be a staple in our house and chicken breasts seem to be my go to for most recipes.  I use parts of the chicken for soup but mainly boneless breasts for other dishes. I know my mom loved dark meat and couldn't understand how I only used the breast of the chicken.  She loved the dark meat and said breasts were dry. lol

So in my quest to change up and create as well as use a cheese my hubby enjoys I used Muenster cheese.  Hubby really loves muenster cheese and melts it on bread when he toasts it so this was a great cheese to use in this recipe.  Surprisingly it melts perfectly and stays in place.  Much better than mozzarella cheese.

**First I would like to say you can easily double this recipe or triple it to your needs.

My boneless chicken breasts were larger than I usually use so when sauteing /frying them you just need to brown them on both sides as when they go in the oven for baking and they will cook tender.

Chicken Surprise recipe: 

3/4 lb. boneless chicken breast

1 egg
salt and pepper

In a large size bowl place egg, salt and pepper and a little water. Whisk. Dip chicken first in egg and then in breadcrumbs.   In a large skillet that you have added about 2 T oil, heat to medium and add breaded chicken. Cook until browned on both sides.  Remove and place in a medium to large baking dish.

3/4 lb. boneless chicken breasts1 clove minced garlic2 to 3 green (scallions)onions chopped ( use green too)
2 T butter
1/2 tsp. dried basil  (Fresh basil chopped can be used)
3/4 cup chicken broth
*1/2 cup white wine if desired
*1 cup sliced mushrooms if desired
1/4 lb. Muenster cheese sliced

In a medium size pot place butter and allow to melt. Add chopped scallions, garlic and basil.  Saute slowly until scallions are translucent.  Add chicken broth and allow to cook down slightly. If using wine it will reduce quicker.

*Note:  I did not use wine or mushrooms because I intend on making this recipe again later and one of our guests is sensitive to both .  I think both would really add to the dish so don't hesitate to use them.

In a deep baking dish place cooked chicken cutlets.  Add liquid and allow to sit for 1/2 to 1 hour to marinate. 

  Set oven to 350 degrees.  After about 1 hour place muenster cheese on top of chicken and place in oven uncovered.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve over rice for with a salad.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pear / Cranberry upside down cake!

I keep buying more and more fruit.   Just can't resist the summer selections.  Sure love to bake so  here goes a new recipe that  I tried using pears. I have made pineapple upside down cakes in the past(my hubby's favorite) but since I had 3 pears I decided to try my hand at a pear cake with some dried cranberries..I'm thinking this may be a keeper for the holidays..Here goes:

I served it warm with some vanilla ice cream..

Pear/ Cranberry  upside down cake

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 firm but ripe pears, such as Anjou
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature


1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar in a medium skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until melted and thoroughly combined, about 6 minutes. Pour into a 10-by-2-inch  round cake pan.
2.      Peel pears, core, and slice into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Coat with lemon juice, and arrange on top of brown-sugar mixture in a spiral pattern around edge of pan. Fan out slices in center.(I've got to work on this aspect of artful design) Sprinkle 1/2 cup cranberries over pears, and set aside.
3.      Sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger together in a medium bowl, and set aside. Combine remaining 6 tablespoons of butter with remaining cup brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add milk alternately with flour mixture, beginning and ending with four; beat until smooth. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup cranberries; pour over fruit in pan. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes to 50 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around ends and invert onto a serving platter. A nice touch is to serve it warm with  ice cream..  I'm bringing this dessert to a friends home tonight so I'll let you know how they liked it.    Note: Delicious..only addition I'd make is that I would add some cranberries to batter..I forgot to do that!  The cake was moist, sweet and had just the hint of spice that brought out the fruit..It will be a holiday must!  You may want to bookmark this recipe..

Happy Baking from my kitchen to yours,


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Crusty No-Knead- Bread! Artisan Bread

I had never ever made homemade bread until I came across this recipe.  I figured I'd try it and if I was lucky it may give me a reason to make bread.  Wow better than I expected!  Delicious.  Easy peasy and I don't say that unless it is.  Enjoy!

 It has been a long time goal of mine to make bread.  Good, crusty and light.That's what I was looking for and this is what I totally received. Delicious!

  From my previous encounters with a bread machine I totally gave up and because I thought it would be too difficult I put bread making aside and figured it just wasn't going to happen.  I have lots of patience but figuring my end result would be awful I put this bread making on my back burner to speak.  Well thanks to the Kitchen Whisperer I know now I CAN make a wonderful loaf of bread! 

We've already had several slices with butter while warm.  My only suggestion is wait if possible(use a serrated bread knife to cut) until the bread is 3/4 cooled before you slice.  I was inpatient wanting to taste as well as see how the inside texture turned out.  Success!!!!!   

***Note:  Don't be frightened by the length of the recipe it is NOT involved just wordy.  Try it!  I am sure you'll love it as we did.

Note:  I have made this bread using dried cranberries also.  I did add 1/4 cup of sugar and a 1/2 cranberries to the recipe with the above ingredients and below is a photo of the results.

*** 1/2 cup cranberries were added to the dough and I worked them in as best as I could.

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 1/2-3/4 cups water (room temp) I made mine slightly warm from the tap
  • Lidded cast iron dutch oven or clay dutch oven/pot – see note if you do not have one of these!
  • Any add-ins you want (nuts, dried fruits, cheese, spices etc…)
In a large bowl add the flour, yeast and salt** If you are making a fruit bread you can use 1/4 cup of sugar if you would like but it is not necessary.
  1.  You need to make sure the bowl is at least 2 times the size as this will easily double in volume.
  2. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add in the warm water and mix with a wooden spoon – do NOT use a stand mixer.
  4. Mix it until it’s combined and forms a ‘shaggy’ dough. Just make sure that all the flour is incorporated. It will not be a smooth dough – that’s how it’s supposed to be.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place overnight for at least 12 hours but no more than 24.
  6. When you’re ready to bake, put the rack in the middle and preheat to 450F.
  7. When the oven reaches temp, put your dutch oven pot (cast iron or heavy ceramic {check to see that your ceramic can handle 450F temp first!}) in the oven WITH THE LID on.
  8. Let it heat up for 30 minutes.
  9. While that’s heating up, use a dough scraper and scrape your dough onto a heavily floured surface (or you can flour parchment paper and put it on there). *See note
  10. Shape into a ball, tucking the sides under. It will be sticky but that’s good.
  11. Cover lightly with plastic until the 30 minutes is up.
  12. Remove the pot from the oven and plop the ball down in. Or if you transferred it to a floured parchment paper, you can place the whole thing inside (try to remove the excess flour).
  13. Replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes. No peaking!
  14. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.
  15. Remove from the oven and using tongs remove the bread and cool on cooling rack.
If you’re not comfortable with shaping the dough, when you remove the pot from the oven after 30 minutes you can carefully just pour the dough into the pot. It won’t be a perfectly round bread loaf but that’s okay – it’s just rustic. If you do pour it in, just jostle the pan around to kind of even out the dough before putting the lid on. But practice with shaping the dough. You can’t screw it up.
Don’t have a dutch oven or clay pot? Never fear! Grab your cast iron pan instead!
1. Take a 12 round cast iron pan (with preferably a 2-3 side wall) and place that into your 450F degree oven (just like the directions on the site). This pan will go on the middle rack.
2. WHILE you are heating that up, place a metal pan on the lowest shelf/rung in the oven at the same time. I just use an old cake pan that has seen better days.
3. When you remove the VERY HOT skillet from the oven and put your dough in it (have the dough resting on parchment paper so the bottom doesn’t get that ‘black’ color from the pan).
4. AND as soon as you put it in the oven put about 3 cups of ice cubes in the hot baking pan. DO THIS FAST as you want to trap the steam in the oven!
5. This will create steam (just like a dutch oven).
6. After 30-35 minutes check the bread. It should be done but if it’s not cook for 10-15 min more. If at 30 minutes it’s getting dark but not done (will sound hollow when tapped), just tent some foil over top for about 10 minutes.
7. Cool as normal.

Easy Baking from my kitchen to yours,

repost 2/13/2018
5/11/13 original

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Doughnut muffins

I was so craving doughnuts and I had to make these doughnut muffins!! So yummy! A before lent treat... reminded me of the days gone by.  It’s the hint of nutmeg and vanilla that reminded me of store bought doughnuts.

I didn't change a thing with this recipe.  It's so yummy!

Doughnut" Muffins 
3/4 c sugar 
1 large egg 
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking power 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 c vegetable oil 
3/4 c milk 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 Tbsp butter, melted 

1/2 c sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon whisked together for rolling the warm doughnuts.

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease muffin tin. Note: I used muffin liners not to mess my muffin pans but next time will place the batter directly into muffin tins.

 Beat sugar and egg until light.

 In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour in oil, milk and vanilla. The batter will be very thin.

 Pour into 10 muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Melt butter and brush warm muffins with butter, remove from the pan and roll in sugar. Cool on rack.

I don't know where this recipe originated but kudo's to the original post.