Hi! How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun, and by fun I mean did you stay home almost all weekend and lay around like I did?
I got out for like 2.5 seconds on Saturday to hit up some estate sales. You should see the look on my husband’s face when we walk into a basement or garage that’s full of Halloween and Christmas decorations. The face he makes is priceless and I wish I could capture a photo of it. I can see the beads of sweat forming on his forehead as he silently prays that I won’t find anything. And I laugh and laugh as I walk out to the car, arms loaded down with holiday decor.
On the way home we grabbed Chipotle for dinner and we stopped to rent some movies. We watched “Unbroken” and then I forced my poor husband to watch “Peggy Sue Got Married”. Lucky guy!
Yesterday he went fishing and I putzed around the house all morning with the dogs. I painted a couple of eggs to add to my Easter egg tree, Jack and Sally of course, because every holiday should have a little Halloween. And after that I got in the mood to bake. I started with some bread dough and ended up with two loaves that I’m really happy about. I’ll get them up soon.
But that wasn’t enough.
I wanted something sweet. Which is weird, because I rarely crave sweets.
So I grabbed a bowl and started randomly grabbing ingredients that I had on hand.
I crossed my fingers.
And then this…
The base reminds me of a shortbread crust, but it’s still a little soft. Some melted chocolate and chopped pecans top it off. This will become your new go to when company drops by unexpectedly or when you need something quick for a school bake sale, get together, or party. I will be forever handing these out as gifts. Forget cookies, you’re going to adore these!
Million Dollar Bars
- 2 C flour
- 1 C brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 C butter, softened
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 C chopped pecans
- 6 oz. milk chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- In a mixing bowl cream together butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and egg yolk. Mix flour and salt in well. You will have a very crumbly mixture.
- Press crumbs evenly into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Crust will be soft.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle top of crust with chocolate chips, place a baking sheet over the top for a few minutes to melt the chocolate. Use a large soup spoon to spread the melted chocolate over the crust. Sprinkle with pecans. Cut and serve.
Remember when I wrote about huevos rancheros and how late I was to board that bandwagon? Well, I’m back to do it again with migas. Migas are a tex-mex dish consisting of eggs, fried tortillas, vegetables, and cheese. Everyone seems to have their own preference for what exactly goes into it, but the basic ingredients don’t change. I have heard that migas are the best hangover cure and after eating them I can see why. After cooking migas, you top them with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and obviously more cheese. There’s always room for more cheese. Don’t be turned off by the appearance, it looks like slop, I know. I got worried the longer I cooked my migas, it was looking pretty ugly. At one point I thought “Buzz, your girlfriend, WOOF!”. As I took my first bite, I realized that I had nothing to worry about. Migas are a really good example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 6 corn tortillas
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 12 eggs
- 1/4 C half and half
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 6 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. green onion
- 2 C monterey jack cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetable oil
- Fry corn tortillas in vegetable oil, set aside to drain on paper towels, then chop up.
- In a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat melt butter, saute onion and red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add jalapeno and cook for 1 minute more.
- Whisk eggs and half and half and pour into pan on top of onion and peppers, add corn tortillas, tomatoes, and cheese. Gently fold over with a spatula to gently scramble the eggs. Once eggs begin to set up add cilantro, green onion, salt, and pepper. Keep cooking until eggs are cooked through, but not dry.
- Serve with sour cream, guacamole, extra cheese, and salsa.
I have a deep love and affection for homemade bread. Especially when it’s crusty on the outside, slightly sweet, and ridiculously soft on the inside. The smell of baking bread has always had a special place in my heart. My mom has told me stories about how when I was a toddler and we would drive past the local bread factory, I would inhale deeply and say “ahhhh bakin’ bread!”. Apparently I did this every single time. I have no idea how she had restraint and didn’t turn around to yell “you sound like a broken record!”.For some reason she found this to be endearing. Weird. That’s why moms are the greatest. I find the smell of freshly baked bread to be intoxicating. In fact I’m going to use that as my excuse for eating half the loaf when it comes out of the oven. This bread is the new favorite in my house, it has everything I want in a loaf of bread. My husband really loves this bread too and he tends to like the “healthier” breads. You know, the ones with nuts and seeds and whole grains or wheat. In other words, bird food. I’m a white bread kind of person, you can keep the seeds, thank you very much. So for this bread to completely satisfy us both was a surprise to me, I’m not going to think too much about it, i’m just going to eat it.
Honey Oatmeal Bread
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 2 1/2-3 C flour
- 1 C plus 2 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 C quick oats
- 1/4 C molasses
- 1/2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. honey
- In a large bowl, combine yeast, salt, and 1 C flour.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, mix water, oats, molasses, and butter. Heat until a thermometer registers 120º to 130º.
- With mixer at low speed, gradually beat liquid ingredients into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in 1/4 C flour to make a thick batter. Continue beating for an additional 2 minutes. Add flour in 1/2 C intervals until you have a stiff dough that leaves side of bowl. I added 1 1/2 C flour additionally.
- Cover bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
- Stir dough down and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with towel and set aside to rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Bake 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from loaf pan immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Here’s a winner for meatless Monday, mock crab cakes made from zucchini. I have tried to make meatless Monday a thing in my house for the last two years. I have finally given up. If it happens, it happens, but if my husband has any say, it won’t happen regularly. I don’t even really care, I love meat just as much as a t-rex, but I was curious about the money saving benefits. I have read that going meatless 4 times a month can save you quite a bit of money. But i’ll probably never know, so if you do it, does it save you a significant amount of money?
I first came up with this recipe when my husband brought home 3 zucchini’s the size of large newborn babies, no joke! he got them for 25 cents each. Let me add that he had also brought home 10 pounds of zucchini that week from an Amish auction. I had zucchini everywhere and had already made 3 batches of zucchini bars and we had eaten baked zucchini sticks every night that week.
These zucchini cakes are a snap to make and they’re really freaking good. Like so good, my husband doesn’t even complain like a toddler when I serve these.
I took them to a food swap this month and they were pretty popular. In fact, one woman forced her husband to swap his super popular pepperoni with me just so she could get some zucchini cakes. He did not want the zucchini cakes I might add, but like any good husband who doesn’t feel like sleeping on the couch, he did as he was told.
I like to eat these with homemade tartar sauce, but they’re great on a bun too.
- 3 C shredded zucchini
- 1 C Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp. Old Bay
- 1/4 C white onion, diced
- 1/4 C red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 C sweet corn kernels
- 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- Vegetable oil
- Mix all ingredients except oil in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Shape mixture into small patties with your hands and set aside on a plate.
- Heat 2 tsp. oil in a frying pan oven medium-high heat. When oil is hot add patties and brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.
When the weather starts to warm up, burgers become a staple in our house. My husband is a burger man for sure. I love them too, but sometimes I need to change it up. Enter gyro burgers. They’re made of lamb and they’re sandwiched in a pita pocket doused in tzatziki sauce, I am all about these burgers! We had one warm day this past week and I was itching for some grilled meat. No worries, we’re back to 38º weather, so back to soups and comfort food it is. Does spring even exist? I feel like we don’t get a spring where I live. Whatever, I’m just waiting for fall anyway. I’m forever waiting for fall. Yeah, I know, insert basic bitch comment here. But I digress, back to these killer burgers. I posted a recipe for my tzatziki sauce and pita bread this week, just so you could make these burgers. You’re welcome. If you don’t feel like making your own pita bread, you can use store bought. The same goes for the tzatziki, but I highly suggest going the homemade route.
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 1 tsp. rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/4 tsp. marjoram
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 Tbsp. dried minced onion
- pita bread
- tzatziki sauce
- feta cheese
- white onion, sliced
- In a medium bowl, combine lamb and next ten ingredients. Mix well and shape into 4 rectangular patties. Grill meat or cook on a grill pan.
- To assemble burgers, cut half of a pita open and place burger on top. Top with onion slices, tzatziki sauce, and feta cheese. These would also be great with tomato slices and lettuce, if that’s your kind of thing. It’s not mine, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
I needed pita bread to go along with the tzatziki dip I made the other night. Store bought will do in a pinch, but just like any bread, nothing beats homemade. I already have a love/hate relationship with the pita I buy at the grocery store. I hate how hard it is, but putting it in the microwave softens it and I love it…but then if I don’t eat it fast enough it gets hard again and I hate it! And it’s hard to find a pita bread that is nice and soft on the inside. A lot of times when I open it up to make a pocket, it’s all stale and thin. Thankfully I have started making my own pita bread and let me tell you, this pita is a little crispy on the outside and super fluffy inside. It’s so good. I make a double batch and freeze it so that I always have some on hand.
- 3 1/2 C flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 pkg. active dry yeast
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/3 C water
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 1/2 C flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and oil until very warm, about 120º-130º F.
- With mixer at low speed pour water/oil into flour mixture. Beat until just mixed. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Stir in additional 2 C flour to make a soft dough. Chance the attachment to your dough hook and knead the bread at medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning over to grease top of bread as well. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
- Punch dough down and turn on to a floured surface. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly sprinkle 3 ungreased cookie sheets with cornmeal.
- On lightly floured surface roll each piece of dough into a 7 inch circle.
- Place 2 pita circles on each cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in height.
- Preheat oven to 475º and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Tzatziki is one of my favorite sauces. Whenever I get a gyro I always ask for extra tzatziki. I just basically need my gyro meat to be served to me swimming in that simple, yet delicious sauce. Sometimes I will make a batch and take it to work along with some pita bread for lunch or an afternoon snack. It also makes a great dip for carrots, but since I use non fat Greek yogurt, I can just eat the extra calories in my pita bread. Make sense to you too? Cool, you get me! I have two upcoming recipes that will be using this tzatziki, so make a double batch.
- 1 1/2 C non-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium cucumber
- 3 tsp. dill weed
- salt to taste
- Cut a medium cucumber in half and peel the half you will be using. Cut it open and run a spoon down the middle to remove the seeds. Dice the cucumber.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well. Serve with pita and cut veggies.
Top ‘o the morning to ya! Don’t punch me. Guys, it’s St. Patty’s day and that means I can start drinking at 5 a.m. and wake up in a gutter by noon. Just kidding, I’ll be at work! Ahhh to be 18 again. Kidding mom, I never did ANY of that…as far as you’re concerned anyway. For all of you who will be out day drinking, I will be with you in spirit. For those of you who will be stuck at work all day, well I have just the thing for you to make when you get home. I feel weird even putting this on the blog, because it has two ingredients. But it’s so good. And I just couldn’t live with myself knowing that there are people out in the world who would possibly go their whole lives without getting to drink this delicious concoction. I’m having one right now and I plan on having a lot more tomorrow night after I get off of work. I hope you all have a whale of a time! Seriously, don’t punch me.
Ok, so start with this:
Then grab a bottle of this:
Pour cold Guinness into a pint glass until it is a little more than half full. Then top it off with cold Framboise. Enjoy. Then repeat…over and over again!
My husband’s birthday was this past weekend and I wanted to make something amazing to satisfy his sweet tooth. He loves Oreos and Reese’s equally…actually he just loves sugar in general! I was originally planning on making some kind of Oreo cake for him, but the longer I thought about it, the more I started thinking maybe I should go with a chocolate/peanut butter combo. Anytime we go out to eat or hit one of our local bakeries, he usually finds some kind of disgustingly rich chocolate cake to indulge in. Every time he has one that has a chocolate ganache filling, he asks me what it is, as he declares his love for it. As that thought crossed my mind I had an epiphany. Chocolate cake, chocolate peanut butter ganache between the layers, chocolate buttercream frosting, topped with crushed Reese’s peanut butter cups! Yesssss! Even better, I don’t really like chocolate cake, so I certainly would not be tempted to eat the whole thing. I’ll leave that task to my husband! He loved the cake and since I made it I figured I should at least take one bite…good Lord, talk about kick you in the teeth sweet. This is a really decadent and rich cake. Sugar lovers rejoice, you’re going to be all over this one.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake
For the cake
- 2 C flour
- 1 3/4 C sugar
- 3/4 C cocoa
- 1 1/4 C milk
- 3/4 C shortening
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
For the ganache filling
- 5 oz. dark chocolate, such as Lindt
- 3/4 C smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 16 oz. confectioners sugar
- 1/2 C butter, softened
- 3-4 Tbsp. half and half
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 egg yolks
You will also need 8 peanut butter cups for the topping.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- In a large bowl, add all cake ingredients and mix with an electric mixer at low speed until well mixed, beat on high for 5 minutes. Pour into two greased 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from cake pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.
- In a small bowl add peanut butter and dark chocolate, set aside. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream and vanilla extract over medium heat until simmering. Pour over peanut butter/chocolate and stir well, until thoroughly mixed. Place bowl in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
- Melt 3 squares of bakers chocolate in a small pan, allow to cool. In a large bowl add all ingredients for frosting, except the chocolate and egg yolks. Beat ingredients on low speed until things are just mixed together. Add cooled chocolate and egg yolks and beat until frosting is very smooth and creamy, adding more half and half if needed.
- Spread ganache over the top of one layer of cake. Place other layer on top and press down very gently. Frost cake and top with crushed Reese’s peanut butter cups.
Happy Friday! Friday’s make me so ridiculously happy. Even though Saturday’s are great, Friday’s are just full of promise. Sometimes I make all kinds of elaborate weekend plans and other times I promise myself a lazy weekend full of naps with my dogs. No matter what I have planned, laziness, naps, and cuddling with dogs usually wins out. By the time I leave work on Friday, I am so ready to relax. I want something quick to make for dinner, so my husband and I can start binge watching shows on Netflix. These salmon steaks are ridiculously easy to make, they come together quickly, and there is very little hands on time. Who needs a night out on the town? Throw these into the oven, grab a bottle of wine, and settle in with something awesome on Netflix. May I suggest a little “Breaking Bad”?
Lemon Herb Salmon Steaks
- 2 Salmon steaks
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
- 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- In a small bowl mix together butter, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, parsley, and salt.
- Place salmon steaks in a small baking dish. Pour equal amounts of butter mixture over each steak. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. When done, spoon sauce and juices from bottom of dish over each steak before serving.