Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Brunch

I had a busy morning with worship practice today, so by the time I got home and got our meal ready, it was actually noon :0) We went ahead with breakfast food, though...b/c I LOVE breakfast food!! (technically, there's not much food that I don't love, but that's beside the point). We had pancakes and cheesy scrambled eggs.

Fanny Farmer Pancakes
2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 egg
2 c milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients. Add egg and milk and stir well. Add butter. Fry 1/4 c of batter (or desired amount) on hot griddle. Serve with favorite toppings. (Mine happens to be the Cinnamon Syrup I listed last week...yummo!)

The story behind these pancakes being named "Fanny Farmer" is that a couple of years ago, Reagan brought home a book from the Hutch Library and had this recipe in it. I've loved it ever since. It's basic, easy, but yummy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Burger Night

Tonight is Burger Night and since I have the freedom to make burgers how I want, I used my Burger Bun recipe to actually make Beef Hot Pockets and Pizza Hot Pockets :0)

Burger Buns
4 1/2 c flour
2 pkgs yeast
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c butter or margarine
1 egg
1 c milk
1/2 c water

Mix 1 1/2 c flour, yeast, and sugar in mixer. Heat milk, water, and margarine in microwave for 1 minute or warm to wrist (not hot). Add to first mixture and let mix for about 5 minutes. Add egg and salt and mix well. Add enough extra flour to make firm dough. Beat for about 5 minutesor until smooth. Let rise for 30 minutes. Form into hamburger buns or hotpockets. Let rise again for another 30 minutes on greased cookie sheets. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

I used up some of the leftover roast beef from earlier this week with some shredded cheese to make the beef ones. I used about a tsp of spaghetti sauce, some shredded cheese and mini pepperonies to make the pizza ones.

Here's what the pizza ones look like in the making process:

Here they are rising.

And here's the final product:

I really, really like this bread recipe. It's my favorite and I use it for several different recipes (hamburger buns, hotdog buns, hotpockets, Bacon Bread,  and Monkey Bread). However, if you are not a homemade bread maker, you can always use frozen bread dough. You'll just have to follow the directions on the package for the rising process. Oh, and I'll be posting those other recipes in the future :0)

P.S. For all of you who sent me sweet messages of encouragement, I deeply appreciate it. It's odd how the smallest of things can trigger depression. I recently switched meds, and it's helped tremendously. This time around it only lasted a couple of days instead of weeks. I know that your prayers for me were heard, too, b/c I felt them.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's Pizza Night!!

Well, we've made it to the kid's official favorite night of the week. They actually get up on Thursday mornings and announce that it's Pizza Night. On the menu tonight: Cheese Pizza, Pepperoni Pizza, and Sausage/Bacon/Mushroom.

As a disclaimer, I want to point out that I deal with depression, and have for 4 years this month. It's particularly difficult during this time of the year....when it's so cold all the time, when the days are so dark, when the kids can't go outside, when the hoopla of the holidays are over, etc. It's because of the depression that I quit doing my last blog. However, it's because of the depression that I've started this one. I need something to keep me busy, something to look forward to, an outlet, a hobby. This all brings me to the last couple of days. It's been tough. Feelings of worthlessness, of doubt; struggling abnormally with my weight; being overly angry at the kids; wanting to just sleep all day; crying over stupid stuff. They usually just creep up on me.

So even though I LOVE TO BAKE (and I especially enjoy making homemade pizza), today was just not one of those normal days. So I'm glad I have a hubby who's willing to do this for me:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Parent's Choice Night

Since Mike and I get to choose tonight's dinner, we chose a sandwich. Roast Beef to be exact. And for the record, I chose it last night :0) I made 3 Packet Roast Beef in the crockpot and served it on some of my leftover Oregano French Bread, toasted, of course. My personal preference is to add a little cheese and some pickled banana peppers (but you won't find anyone else in the fam adding the peppers).

3 Packet Roast Beef
2-3 lb favorite cut of roast (I used tri-tip this time around, b/c it's what I had)
1 pkt Au Jus dry mix
1 pkt Italian dressing dry mix
1 pkt Mesquite Seasoning dry mix
3 c water

This is really difficult, so follow along closely: Take meat out of package and place in crockpot. Open all three packages of dry mix and sprinkle over meat. Add water. Place lid on crockpot. Set on low for 6-8 hours.

I personally like to shred the meat once it's finished, and since the flavor is so intense, I usually add more water to make the meat extra juicy :0) Makes for great dipping sauce!

Since I slaved over dinner all day, I thought I'd throw in an over-the-top dessert too. How about some cookies.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup quick-cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees . In a large bowl, cream together shortening, margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the oats until just combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or light brown. Don't over-bake. Cool and store in an airtight container.

However, don't do this....

When I took out my first pan of cookies they looked like this:
I couldn't figure out what I did I went back through the recipe and realized I had forgotten the flour...oops!

These look a lot better, at least Clark thinks so :0)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Meals Made Simple

Last fall I became very frustrated with trying to come up with a variety of meals for my very plane-jane family. I wanted to be creative with my cooking - but they weren't too interested. So, I came with this idea:

Sunday Lunch - Eat Out
Sunday Dinner - leftovers, popcorn, nachos or cereal
Monday - Mexican
Tuesday - Italian
Wednesday - Parent's Choice or we eat at church during our Wed's @ CCC
Thursday - Pizza
Friday - Hamburgers
Saturday - Brunch and/or Brinner (breakfast/dinner)

This has made my life sooooo much more simple. I have the freedom to make my variations with knowing that my family will eat it!!!

Anyhoooo....I'll be giving you an example of this concept this week. To catch us up, this week's Mexican Night was Chicken Enchiladas and Italian Night was Bacon Spaghetti.

Chicken Enchiladas
1/2 c bell peppers, chopped
1 c onions, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 4oz can chopped green chilies
2 c cooked chicken, shredded
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Flour tortillas

3 Tbsp butter
1/4 c flour
1 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 c chicken broth
8oz sour cream
1/2 c Monterey Jack cheese

Cook bell peppers, onions, and butter until tender. Then add green chilies and chicken. Add 1/2 c of the following sauce.

Sauce: Melt butter in pan. Add flour, coriander and salt. Stir well for about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, sour cream, and 1/2 c monterey jack cheese.

Add some chicken mixture and some extra monterey jack cheese to each flour tortilla. Roll up and place in greased 9x13 pan. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas. Bake in 350 degree oven till heated through and cheese is melted (about 30 minutes).

Bacon Spaghetti

1 lb bacon, fried & crumbled
1 lb cooked spaghetti
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Combine garlic and Parmesan cheese with olive oil. Toss cooked spaghetti with bacon and garlic/cheese/olive oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I made the French Bread recipe to go with this....MMM! I dressed up my French Bread by adding oregano to the dough and topped the rustic loaves with butter, sea salt, and more oregano.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Good Intentions

So, I come here in the kitchen, fix me a cup of hot tea (Celestial Seasonings Wild Berry Zinger is my choice this afternoon - w/ a bit of vanilla creamer...mmmm) and get ready to make up some warm yummy bread. I look in the fridge for my yeast only to discover: I'm all out. Drat..... I hate it when this happens!! So much for making the bread and posting the pics today. I will go ahead and post the recipe I was going to make. This is one of my favorite, easy, go-to bread recipes. It's actually one of the very first breads I made when I first started out baking. So even if you are afraid to use yeast....give this recipe a try!!

French Bread
1 pkg yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 c very warm water
4-5 c all purpose flour

Mix one cup of flour with yeast and sugar in your mixer. Add in water and mix for about 3 minutes. Add salt. Next, gradually add in rest of flour, 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms (may not take all 5 cups). Knead in mixer for about 5 minutes (dough should look smooth). Let rise for 45 minutes. Shape into 3 medium loaves or 2 large loaves and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise again for another 45 minutes. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. For "crusty" bread, brush tops with egg white mixture (1 egg white mixed with 2 Tbsp water). Return to oven for another 2-4 minutes.

This is a great bread to go with pasta or soup.