Monday, August 31, 2015

The Best Hot Chocolate!

 Think Johnny Depp in Chocolat. 
This is real Columbian hot chocolate made  
 the traditional way in an aluminum pitcher,
called a chocolaterawith real
 Columbian Corona chocolate.
It's made on the stove top using a very 
special wooden whisk. 
 A molinillo  is a traditional turned wooden whisk
 used in Columbia and Mexico in the preparation
 of hot beverages. The molinillo is held between 
the palms and rotated by rubbing the palms together.
 This rotation creates a froth in the drink. 
You can find the pitcher and the chocolate at 
Walmart, but the molinillo is harder to find.
The ratio is: 1 chocolate log to 1 C milk.
Use whatever milk you like, but whole milk
will give it a smoother and richer taste.
The secret is whisking. 
The magic is letting it come to a foamy boil 3 times. 
Now you know how to make authentic
 Columbian hot chocolate.

4 C milk
4 logs Corona chocolate
pinch salt
Combine in a aluminum pitcher
Whisk over medium heat until the 
chocolate melts. Let it come to boil
and rise to a foam. Remove from heat
until it subsides. Return to the heat and 
while whisking let is rise to a foamy
boil again, remove from heat briefly to
let the foam subside. Repeat once more,
for a total of 3 times. Whisk vigorously
to foam and pour into 4 cups.
serves 4 


*you could use a regular whisk
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Plum Skillet Cake

It's time for a little coffeecake. 
I love using my cast iron skillet for everything.
Baking in it just seems so rustic country cozy.
I've make a great chocolate skillet cake and
of course it's perfect for corn bread.
This plum cake is just right for a little Sunday
afternoon kaffee und kuchen time.
 Add flour to a greased cast iron skillet. 
 Toss and tap out excess.
 Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
 Beat in egg.
 Add flour mixture, alternately 
with buttermilk.
 The batter will be light and fluffy.
 Spread batter into pan and top with plums.
Other fruit is good too, see variations.
Bake @375º until golden, about 30 minutes. 

Plum Skillet Cake
4T butter, room temperature, 
plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 C sugar plus 2T
1 egg
 1 C flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 baking soda
dash salt
1/2 C buttermilk
2 ripe plums thinly sliced
Butter a 9" skillet or cake pan. 
Dust with flour, tapping out excess.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, 
baking powder, and salt. Beat butter
and 3/4 C flour until fluffy. Beat in egg.
Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating
with buttermilk. Pour batter into prepared 
pan. Fan plums on top and sprinkle with 2T
sugar. Bake @375º until golden brown and 
toothpick inserted into the center comes out
clean, 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly. 

Apple Skillet Cake
Variations: 1 large apple, thinly sliced, 
tossed with 1 t lemon juice, then top with
2 T brown sugar and 1/4-1/2 t cinnamon.
Sprinkle on top of apples.
Buttermilk substitute: 1 T lemon juice
plus milk to = 1/2 C. Let sit 5 minutes.

Links: Between Naps On The Porch,
The Charm of Home, Common Ground,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Blueberry Croissant Puff

Croissants, cream cheese, and blueberries 
are a good combo on their own. So good when
combined to make this rich bread-pudding- 
oven-french-toast-like breakfast bake. 
I like that I can make it the night before.
Then whoever is up first in the morning
can take it out of the fridge and the just
pop it into the oven for 35 minutes. 
Tear up the croissants and place into 9" dish.
Sprinkle on the blueberries, fresh or frozen.
No need to thaw the frozen blueberries.
I was just shy of 1 cup of blueberries so I 
added a few raspberries too. You can use 
any combo of berries. 
Have the cream cheese at room temp,
or soften  in the microwave.  
Mix up the batter. 
Pour the batter evenly over the croissants.
 Don't worry if there are flecks of cream cheese. 
They will dissolve when baked. Now cover and
 put in the fridge. If you want to bake it right
away, just let it soak for about 20 minutes.
Bake @350º for about 35-40 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar.
We had leftovers so we can warm them in the 
microwave during the week. Remember this
 one for Mother's Day, Christmas morning, 
or Easter brunch. 
It's elegant but easy.

Blueberry Croissant Puff
3 large croissants, torn (5-5-1/2C)
1 C blueberries
3/4 pkg cream cheese (6 oz), softened
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C milk
1t vanilla
Tear the croissants into pieces. 3 large
or 5-6 small ones will yield 5 to 5-1/2C.
Place in a 9" square pan and sprinkle on
blueberries. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and
 eggs until creamy. Beat in milk and vanilla.
 Pour evenly over croissant pieces. Let 
stand 20 minutes or cover and refrigerate
 overnight. Bake @350º for 35-40 minutes,
 until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm
 sprinkled with powdered sugar. 
Variations: Double the recipe and put in a 
9"x13" casserole, then bake 45-50 minutes.
Bake in 10 individual 1/2C ramekins, dividing
the ingredients evenly. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Flavor Variation: Try raspberries and 
mini chocolate chips. Yum!


adapted from  Kraft.

Links: Between Naps On The Porch, Facebook,
Coastal Charm, Dwellings

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cheesy Beef Noodle Bake

This is a comfort-food casserole that's a
cross between baked spaghetti and lasagna, 
only much easier. A good family night recipe 
when you don't want to do a lot of prep. 
If you don't have green onions or have
picky "what's the green stuff?" eaters,
just leave them out. 
Serve with a salad and crusty bread. 

Cheesy Beef Noodle Bake
1 lb ground chuck
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t pepper
12 oz bag flat noodles
16 oz container cottage cheese
3/4 C sour cream
4 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
2 C grated cheese, cheddar or Colby Jack 
Brown the ground beef and drain off the
excess fat. Add the tomato sauce, and
seasonings. Simmer on low while you boil the
 noodles for 6 minutes. Drain the noodles and
 return to the pot. Add the cottage cheese,
sour cream, and green onions, if using.
Stir to combine. In a sprayed 9x13 casserole 
layer half the noodles, top with half the meat
sauce, and half the shredded cheese. Repeat
 with remaining noodles, then remaining meat
 sauce, then remaining cheese. Bake @ 350º
 for 20-25 minutes. Longer if it's been
refrigerated. Makes good leftovers. 
serves 6-8


Monday, August 17, 2015

Ritz-Topped Swiss Chicken

Since this recipe doesn't use canned cream-of
something soup, I can easily just make 2 
breasts and cut all the ingredients in half.
Swiss cheese, sour cream, a little chicken broth
and crushed Ritz crackers make this a tasty,
no-fuss, oven ready dinner for busy nights.
 I usually have all these ingredients in
the house, so It's a nice back-up anytime
I want dinner going in 5 minutes.
Season chicken breasts and put into a greased dish.
Lay on slices of Swiss cheese.
 Spread on a layer of sour cream.
 Sprinkle the top with crushed Ritz crackers.
Drizzle the broth over the crumbs.
I use 1/2t chicken bullion in 1/2 C hot water.
Dot the top with butter.
Bake @350º for about 40 minutes.
I like this with herbed rice and a
green vegetable. 

Ritz-Topped Swiss Chicken
4 boneless chicken breasts
4 slices of Swiss cheese
8 oz sour cream
16 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 C chicken broth
1/2 C (1 stick) butter or margarine
Use some of the butter to grease a 9"x13" baking
dish. Arrange chicken in pan so that they cover
 the entire bottom of the dish. Season with salt
 and pepper to taste. Lay a slice of Swiss cheese
 to cover each breast. Spread sour cream on top.
 Sprinkle top with crushed crackers.
Drizzle the broth over the crumbs to moisten.
Dot the top with pieces of the butter.
Bake @350º for about 40 minutes
or until the crumbs are golden.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rita's Stuffed Peppers

The farmers market had peppers which 
naturally made me think about this recipe. 
 I've had it for years.
You can also use red, yellow and orange peppers.
 Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove
 the seeds and membranes. 
 Chop the onion and garlic.
 Start browning the beef. I like to put it in a 
hot pan and let it sear for a few minutes before
 I turn it, let it sear again, then break it up and
 brown. This method really improved the flavor
 of the ground beef. You'll notice a better
 "grilled" hamburger aroma.
 Mix in the chopped onion and garlic and continue
to break up and cook. Drain any excess fat.
 Stir in the seasonings.
 Stir in the rice and tomato sauce.
Option: If you don't have leftover cooked rice
you can add 1/2 C raw rice plus 1 C water to
the mixture, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
 until the rice is tender. Fill peppers. 
 Have the peppers ready in a 9x13 pan.
 Fill with the ground beef mixture.
 If you like extra sauce use an additional 
can of tomato sauce. I usually do this. 
Spoon the tomato sauce on the filled peppers
 and sprinkle with a little Italian herb seasoning.
 Cover until ready to bake. Then pop into a 350º 
oven for 45 minutes.
 Remove the foil and sprinkle with cheese.
 Bake, uncovered an additional 15 minutes until
the cheese is bubbly.
Corn is always a good side to serve with this: 
either my corn pudding, corn bread, muffins, 
or my easy corn on the cob. All good combos.
Lucky you if you have leftovers.

Stuffed Peppers
4 green peppers
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
1 C cooked rice
1 C tomato sauce from
28 oz can, reserve 
remaining for the top
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t chili powder
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
For The Top
Remaining tomato sauce
(Optional: Add additional 
1/2 t Italian seasoning 
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and
remove the seeds and membranes. 
Set into a 9x13 casserole.
Brown the ground beef, onion , and 
garlic, breaking up until cooked. 
Add the salt, pepper, chili powder.
Stir to combine. Add a couple of shots
of the W-sauce. Add the cooked rice 
and 1 C of tomato sauce. Let simmer a
few minutes. Divide the filling among the
pepper halves. Pour over the remaining
sauce and sprinkle with Italian
seasonings. Cover with foil and bake
@350º for 45 min. Remove the foil,
sprinkle with cheese and bake another
15 min. until the cheese is bubbly.
serves 4
Option: If you don't have leftover cooked rice
you can add 1/2 C raw rice plus 1 C water to 
the mixture, cover and simmer for 20 minutes

 until the rice is tender. Fill peppers.