Friday, March 20, 2015

Italian Ground Beef Soup

I'm loving this Italian Ground Beef Soup!  It's a fairly simple and basic soup, but the way it all comes together with the spices is wonderful.  It reheats well and the leftovers get fought over.  And who fights over leftovers?!?

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced
1 1/2 cups celery, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme 
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley

Combine ground beef, onion and garlic in a large pot and cook over medium heat until the ground beef is cooked through (If you like to cook your meat with oil, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of oil.  I never use oil when I cook ground beef).  Once the ground beef is cooked, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Art and the Kitchen.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Amish White Bread

I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  I'm fascinated with the Amish way of life!  I am 95% sure I could live the lifestyle without any problem.  I love the simplicity of their lifestyle and if a recipe has the word "Amish" in it, I'm more likely than not to try it out.  I guess that makes me a bit of a sucker. :)

I honestly haven't a clue if this is an authentic Amish recipe, but regardless, it's fantastic!  I've made 2 batches in the last 2 weeks and they haven't lasted long.  I made my girls sandwiches for their school lunches with this Amish White Bread and when I asked them how their sandwiches were, they had no clue the bread was homemade.  They both told me it tasted just like the kind of bread I buy.  Personally, I think this bread is better than store bought bread.  At least now I know it is a great sandwich bread!

1 cup warm water 
1 cup warm milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (with a dough hook), pour warm milk and water (I heat them together in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring after each 30 seconds.  I like it to be warm enough that I can stick my finger in it without it being uncomfortable.)  Sprinkle with yeast and sugar, then mix just enough to make sure all the yeast is wet, instead of sitting on the top of the liquid.  Let the yeast sit to proof (get foamy); about 5 minutes.  Add in salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and mix well.  Slowly add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is soft and not very sticky.  Let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elasticy (when you poke it with your finger the indentation doesn't remain).  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled; about 1 hour.  Dump the dough out onto the counter (I spray my counter with non-stick cooking spray) and divide into 2 equal parts.  Shape each part into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan.  Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise again until the dough is about 1-inch above the top of the pans; 30 to 60 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top of the loaves are nicely browned and the loaves sound hollow when you tap them. Remove the loaves from the pans and place on a cooling rack.  If desired, brush the top of the loaves with melted butter.

Recipe adapted from Bakerette.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hot Reuben Dip

My husband's favorite sandwich is a Reuben.  I have to admit, although I originally turned my nose up at them, they are pretty tasty.  For the Superbowl (I know, it was for-ev-er ago!) I decided to make him his favorite sandwich.  In a dip.

This hot Reuben Dip tastes just like the sandwich.  The leftovers were even the filling for a grilled sandwich. YUM!

If you love Reuben sandwiches, you'll love this dip!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (pretty sure most good dips start out this way)
1/3 cup thousand island salad dressing
1/2 pound pastrami, deli sliced and then chopped into about 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup sauerkraut
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

Combine cream cheese and thousand island dressing and mix until smooth.  Add pastrami, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese and mix until combined.  Pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until hot.

Recipe adapted from Will Cook for Smiles.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I love Jalapeno Poppers, so when I figured out they could be made into a dip, I was excited!  The kids weren't excited though.  When I told them I was making a dip they thought I was talking about a bean dip.  Like my Hot Cheesy Bean Dip or my Layered Bean Dip.  When they found out I was making Jalapeno Popper Dip instead, they were a little disappointed, to say the least.  And then they tried it.  No more unhappy kids!!  This stuff is good!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapenos
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko bread crumbs because that's what I had on hand)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley

Combine the melted butter, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley in a small bowl.  Mix until combined and set aside.  Combine the cream cheese and sour cream and mix until smooth.  Add cheddar cheese and jalapenos and mix until combined.  Pour into a 2-quart baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until hot.

Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Red Velvet Cake

One of my little princesses just turned 9 on Saturday.  I can't believe how fast time flies!  She requested a Red Velvet Cake for her birthday.  Say what?!?!  Am I the only person in the world who has never made a red velvet cake?  I don't think I've even eaten Red Velvet Cake more than 2 times.  Ever!  So when she let me know she wanted a Red Velvet Cake, I almost panicked and bought a mix at the store.  I didn't panic and this cake was awesome!  It was moist, just a little chocolaty, and everyone loved it!

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (1 ounce) bottle red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350.  Add lemon juice to milk and set aside.  Combine butter and sugar and mix well.  Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla, sour cream, milk, and food coloring and mix until combined.  Add salt, baking soda, cocoa powder and flour and mix until combined.  Pour into 3 (8-inch) round cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

I frosted it with my favorite frosting, Coconut Buttercream Frosting, but it would also be amazing with my Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Coconut and Pecan Pralines

I'm all about easy.  But only if delicious is also in the description.  These little Coconut and Pecan Pralines are both.  No baking or thermometer needed!

Since I knew it would be dangerous to keep these little bits of sugary goodness in the house too long, I decided to share them.  They received rave reviews!  Not 5 minutes after I dropped some of to a friend, I got this lovely text.

"Holy Hannah!
De-freaking-licious treats.
Worth every calorie in them. Thanks lady!!"

They really are that good!

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups shredded coconut

In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, corn syrup and sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans and coconut.  Stir for 4 minutes (the mixture with thicken a bit).  Drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper.  Let sit to harden - about 1 hour.

Recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

Monday, December 22, 2014

No Fail 7 Minute Microwave Caramels

When I say "No Fail," I seriously mean it!  This is the third batch of caramels I made in about 3 days.  The first 2 were on the stove top and were complete and total FAILS!  I couldn't get either of them to get up to temperature, and then they were both hard as a rock.  After the second batch I decided that it was my thermometer that was the issue, not so much the cook.  Thank goodness!

I didn't feel quite brave enough to try another stove top batch of caramels and so I decided to give these a try.  They were amazing!  Quick, easy and they worked!!

We ate about half of them plain and I dipped the other half in milk chocolate and sprinkled them with a little sea salt.  Oh. My. Heavenly!  If you are a chocolate dipper, try it!  You can thank me later.  Or not, when you can't stop eating them.  Thank goodness there are so many mouths around here to help devour the holiday temptations!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large microwave safe bowl and cook until melted.  Add corn syrup, white and brown sugars and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well until everything is smooth.  Return to the microwave and cook for 7 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and stir in vanilla.  Pour into a buttered 8x8-inch baking dish and let cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.
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