3/28/12

3 Quick Bacon and Egg Biscuit


Good morning!

If you are reading this post in the wee hours of the morning, you won't find me here.  I'll be tucked away in the warm coziness of my bed, sleeping away.  Mornings and I don't get along and that is the way it will always be.

You will never find me awake and functioning at the break of dawn, not even to make breakfast.  However, that doesn't mean don't enjoy breakfast food.


It doesn't take long to make this bacon and egg biscuit.  The flaky layered biscuits were made the day before and the cooked bacon was pulled from the freezer.  Wrap a piece of bacon in a paper napkin, zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds, and it is ready...


All I had to do was butter up an non-stick omelet pan, pour in a beaten egg and cook it.

While the egg was cooking, I pulled out a slice of provolone cheese and cut it with my biscuit cutter.


Within minutes, I had the best breakfast....


Here's to lazy mornings and a good breakfast!

3/26/12

2 All Day Beef Stew = 90 Min. Beef Stew


I tried this recipe on the same day as the Grammy's Texas Sheet cake and immediately had to find the recipe.  Rich, creamy, and full of flavor, it paired perfectly with my Italian bread bowls that day and couldn't get enough of this stew.

The weather here in Utah has been crazy.  One day it feels like spring, the next day, we are getting wet snow showers. What do you do when family members are sick and you don't feel like cooking?

You find an EASY recipe.  This one is it ~ all you have to do is brown your meat, peel and chop an onion, a couple of carrots and potatoes and dump some ingredients into a crock pot, wait 8-10 hours and you are done. 

Well, we were tired.  Starving.  Sick.  We needed an easy dinner in less than 2 hours.   Take out was not an option.


Why not try the pressure cooker? I thought to myself...

The recipe link at the bottom of the post includes directions for the oven, crock pot and pressure cooker.

I used a inexpensive chuck roast, cut it up and browned it in my pressure cooker.  I really like this feature.  See how the onions are picking up the flavorful, crusty, brown bits?


Add your soups.  Cream of Tomato, Cream of Celery and Golden Mushroom, only if you are using a crock pot.  If you are using a pressure cooker, only add one of these soups, with a 1/2 cup of water.

This pressure cooker has a safety feature:  if it is too full or has too much liquid, it will shut down (go to the warming feature). 






Pressure cook the meat and soup on High for 10 min. Quick release the pressure with a pair of tongs.


Add the veggies to the meat and pressure cook on High for 6 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.

This is where my pressure cooker came to a full pressure and immediately went to the warming feature.  I left it alone until the pressure came down naturally on its own in about 20 minutes.


Add the last can(s) of soup, dry onion soup mix and any additional water, if necessary.


I am sure the crock pot method is easier, but I was thrilled to have a hot dinner on the table in under two hours.  The veggies were soft, not mushy, and the meat was very tender.  A very nice, last minute meal was enjoyed by everyone, including my sick hubby.


All Day Beef Stew
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)

3/23/12

77 Oxo Digital Scale Giveaway! **CLOSED**

Because it's officially spring and it's Friday, I want to have a giveaway.

I love having a digital kitchen scale, and want YOU to have one too!

When my kitchen scale dies, this Oxo digital scale will be its replacement.

Why?

Because it this nifty pull out display.


No more peeking under the bowl or large plate to read the weight!

Trust Oxo to design a product that is easy to use!

Are you ready to enter?

Since Blogger has taken away my numbered comments, I am trying Rafflecopter for the first time.

It is simple and easy to use! If you are viewing this post in your RSS feed, click on the post title to jump over to my blog to enter ...


Good luck!





Giveaway is sponsored by Frieda of Frieda Loves Bread, who just happens to love OXO products!
Open to US readers only.
Random.org will select the winning entry and I will verify said entry.  If you clicked "enter" without completing your entry with additional info, it will be void.


3/21/12

3 Van de Kamp's New Parchment Bakes!

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, along with Van de Kamp's, I was selected to try their new Parchment Bakes.

Baking in parchment is not a new thing in the professional chef world or popular restaurants, but it is in the frozen seafood department.  Baking in parchment paper  ensures a moist and fully flavored dish.

Parchment Bakes come in four flavors:  Classic Grilled, Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, and Roasted Garlic.  I opted to try the Classic Grilled as it looked like it was the mildest flavor.  I was able to find this and the other flavors at my local Walmart for under $4.

The box opens from the front and you will find two individual servings encased in heavy duty parchment paper.


It does not include microwave instructions, only baking instructions.

Put the parchment packets seam side up onto a baking sheet. 


Twenty-two minutes later, this is what I pull out of the oven ... a puffed up parchment pocket!


I used scissors to cut the parchment open and grabbed a fork to test for doneness.  Stick a fork in the middle and give it a slight twist.  The fish should look opaque and flake easily.  You can see how easily it flakes on this corner ...  looks like it is done!


Okay...you know how cooked frozen food NEVER looks as good as the picture on the box?  Well, I think this actually looks BETTER than the picture on the box!

I paired this with some rice and sat down with hubby for a taste test.

Oh my.  This is good.  I mean, really good!  The sauce is not sweet, more savory with mild spices (I detected a hint of cajun and paprika), with a kick of pepper.  Plenty of sauce and the tilapia was very moist. 


This is a great way to have more fish in our diet, and at 80 calories per serving, we will definitely stock up!  Hubby loved it ~ too bad it is not microwaveable ... but ... he can cook it at home and warm it up in the microwave, right?

Want to try this? I bet you do.

For a limited time, you can click HERE for a special Buy One, Get One Free coupon!

Thanks, Foodbuzz and Van de Kamp's!



I received a coupon from Foodbuzz and Van de Kamp's to try this product with no monetary compensation.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

3/19/12

2 Springtime Southwest Couscous Salad


Spring time is just around the corner!

It's time to pull myself out of hibernation, go outside, feel the warm breezes and smell the fragrant flowers!


What foods make you think of spring?

Fresh veggies?  Sunny citrus fruits?   Bright, crisp colors?

If you said, "Yes," to all three, you are in luck!

I have a light and refreshing couscous salad that will tingle your taste buds and make your mouth happy!


Couscous, a light, and fluffy miniature pasta, is mixed in with my favorite springtime flavors: ripe tomatoes, black beans, sweet roasted corn, and tossed in a lime - cumin infused vinaigrette and topped with creamy diced avocados.


This recipe comes together quickly, easily, and tastes even better the next day, when the flavors have had the opportunity to mingle, creating a burst of flavors in each bite. 


Once you make this, you will find that even more of your favorite spring time foods will go well with this recipe.  Think of roasted red peppers, garlic, black olives, feta cheese ... and if you like "heat,"  try some jalapeno peppers.



You know what else will make you feel springtime good?

When you check out Suzanne Goin's springtime recipes at www.maketimeforchange.com, between now and 4/15/12, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children's U.S. programsPlus, you'll be entered for a chance to win the new Frigidaire Range with Symmetry™Double Ovens - featuring two large ovens (that can each fit up to a 28 pound turkey!), providing the flexibility to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures, so you can get more on the table at the same time.  No purchase or donation necessary to enter or win.  This post was sponsored by Frigidaire.

How cool is that?

Southwest Couscous Salad
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)
 

Frigidaire on Face Book

3/16/12

1 Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls


For St. Patrick's Day, not everything has to be green, right?

These cloverleaf rolls are made with my Feather Wheat Rolls recipe.  Fluffy, soft, and touched with honey, they will complement any dinner meal.  They don't look like whole wheat, do they?  That's one reason I love baking with hard white wheat, ground into a fine flour.

If white rolls are up your alley, you will love my Best Ever Dinner Rolls recipe. 

I love this roll shape because I can easily break them apart and slather butter on each piece.


Happy Baking!

3/14/12

1 Happy 3.14 Day!

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie

Yes, it's PIE day!  It's a good day to bake up a pie, so take a look and see if you can find any of your favorites ...  if you are new to pie making, you can check out Perfect Single Pie Crust 101, Double Pie Crust 101, Pre-baked Pie Crust, and a new favorite Pie Crust Recipe.

Mini Cherry Pie

Dazzleberry Pie
German Chocolate Cream Pie
Pumpkin Pie


 Not all pies have to be sweet ...

Quiche Lorraine
Chicken Pot Pie

Remember, pizza is a pie, too!

Boboli Pizza Crust


Buffalo Chicken Pizza

 Happy Baking!

3/12/12

10 Make Ahead Bacon, Anytime!


I love the thick sliced Wright's Maple Bacon at Sam's Club.  Unfortunately, we are basically empty nesters while son #2 is away at college.  I had to find a way to make a large package of bacon last for just the two of us.

Raw bacon only lasts about a week in the fridge, so it is best to cook it all at once. Once cooked, it will last 5-7 days in the fridge.  You can freeze raw bacon, but I have found that after a few months, I have noticed a lack of flavor. 

I have kept the original vacuumed sealed package of bacon in the freezer and cut the frozen package in half.  I would cook up half and put the other half in the freezer.  This worked okay, but I still had to thaw out the bacon and had more bacon on hand than I wanted.

This is what I do now:  I cook up ALL the bacon (only one day of my house smelling like bacon!) using the method shown in this post.  I have thought about cooking bacon in my oven, but the thought of grease spattering and burning in my oven and the smell getting into some of my baked goods (bacon infused sugar cookies, anyone?) just didn't seem right.

I put my cooked and cooled bacon in a freezer Ziploc baggie and toss it in the freezer.  Now I can take out a slice or two at a time, wrap it in a paper napkin, zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds for a sandwich, breakfast, or cut it up for a salad or omelet. 


Cooked bacon can last up to six weeks or more in the freezer.  If you have a FoodSaver, you can make it last even longer, 3-4 months.

I love having cooked bacon, ready any time!



Source:  About.com Home Cooking

3/9/12

5 Candy Making 101: Chocolate Mint Sandwiches

When I saw these little chocolate chocolate and mint flavored discs at Orson Gygi, I knew what I needed to make!

These little discs are Compound Coatings and are also known as: 

Chocolate Melties
Chocolate Snaps
Milk Chocolate Wafers
Almond Bark
Molding Chocolate
Summer Coating
Bon Bon Coating
Rainbow Wafers
Smooth-n-Melty
Pastels
Ice Caps
A'Peels (Guittard Green Mint A'Peels is what I used for this recipe)



What is the difference between chocolate and compound coating?

Chocolate is made with cocoa butter and compound coatings are made with vegetable oil.  They are less expensive than chocolate, melt at a lower temperature, are easier to work with, and will set up more readily.

I have used the white chocolate melties (found at Winco) for a caramelized white chocolate sauce, which is excellent as a topping or used in making White Chocolate Ice Cream.  I also used these white chocolate discs for molding my Caramel Nut White Chocolate Squares.

I am learning that making candies are a lot like making bread.  You have to try, make notes, try again, consult the Internet, make more notes, observations, and repeat the process until you have perfected the product.

Don't be afraid.  Don't be nervous.  Go for it!

Here is my first attempt.  Sad, isn't it?



Observation #1:  Chocolate was difficult to cut.  It basically broke into shards.  Tasted just fine.  It will be great as a topping on a bowl of ice cream or tossed into a milkshake!

Lesson Learned:  Don't wait 3 hours for chocolate to set into a solid block.

This is what I was able to salvage.



Observation #2:  White, grainy film on top of chocolate.  Info on the Internet tells me that it is called "bloom."  Because this is a compound chocolate, it is more specifically called, "sugar bloom."  What caused it?  One reason is dampness or condensation.  I put this tray of chocolate in the microwave to keep it away from my cat, who will eat anything.  I am sure that the warmth in a closed environment caused condensation to form on the top layer. 

Lesson learned:  keep all forms of moisture away from chocolate.  That means water, steam, and condensation! 

Here is my second attempt and how I did it, step by step.

Measure your chocolate.  I used 60 wafers for each layer, which is a heaping cup, or around 5 ounces.  I don't have a double boiler, so I used DRY microwave safe bowls that fit nicely into a small sauce pan.


When you put water into your saucepan, make sure it doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl.

Bring the water to a boil, and REMOVE THE PAN FROM THE STOVE.


Place the bowl of chocolate onto the pan and stir until the chocolate is almost dissolved.  If using a spatula, make sure it is DRY and heat resistant.

Make sure that NO STEAM escapes from the saucepan, as it will enter your chocolate and cause it to streak or seize.

It only takes about 2 minutes to melt ...


Melt all the bowls of chocolate and put them onto an absorbent kitchen towel to mop up any steam that may be on the bottom of the bowls.


I have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and an offset spatula ready.  The slight "bend" in the spatula make it easier to spread.  If you don't have one, try a small pancake turner or even a rubber spatula like my red one, above.


Pour the melted chocolate into the middle of the parchment paper.  Spread to a 1/8" thickness, or about a 10"x7" rectangle.


You will know the chocolate is "set" when it has an almost matte (non-shiny) finish.  Don't wait too long, or else the next layer won't adhere to the chocolate...


Pour the mint layer on next, spread to the edges, and let it set to an almost matte finish.

Repeat with the next layer of chocolate.


When the top layer has a matte finish, move the chocolate onto a flat surface for cutting.

Using a thin, sharp knife, make your cut.  I began cutting too soon, as the chocolate stuck to my knife and began to pull ... telling me it needs a few more minutes to set.


How long does it take to set?  It depends on how thick your layers are.

Don't wait three hours like I did ~  Here is a perfect cut!


Not too shabby, huh?

Chocolate Mint Sandwiches
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)
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