Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

One afternoon, a friend brought a granola bar to my house to share.  I was so grateful that she was willing to share the recipe because these granola bars are really tasty!  My family loves them (including me) and they even ate them all up (with the help of the neighbor kids) when I forgot to put in the oats (it's a long story)! 

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup rice crispy cereal
2 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I am a semi-sweet girl)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Add the peanut butter, honey, corn syrup, and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until well blended.  Firmly press mixture onto a sprayed or parchment lined baking sheet (jelly roll pan).

Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.  If you like them really soft and chewy, pull them out early.  Don't over bake or they will be hard and crunchy and we are going for soft and chewy.  Allow them to cool completely before cutting into bars.

*I love to freeze the granola bars and pull them out for lunches or afterschool snacks.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Brown Butter Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a couple of chocolate chip cookie recipes that are my go to recipes and so I wasn't sure that I needed to try another one.  But how can one resist trying a cookie recipe with words like brown butter, toasted coconut and dark chocolate.  When my ten year old tasted the dough, he looked at me and asked, "Do these have brown butter in them?"  His words confirmed that I have been browning butter a lot, or at least enough for him to recognize the flavor.  Straight out of the oven, these cookies are divine (I think I ate 5 last night)!

Brown Butter Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, melted and browned
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (start with 2 1/4)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper, spread out shredded coconut.  Toast coconut in oven for about 6 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and place in a small bowl, set aside.

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.  Stir frequently, scraping up any bits form the bottom as you do.  Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns.  Once butter is browned, place in a small bowl.  Allow the butter to cool for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, measure sugar and brown sugar.  Add the brown butter and beat together, on medium speed, for about 2 minutes.  The sugar may still look grainy.  Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  The mixture should become smooth.  Add vanilla extract and beat.

With mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients. Beat until just incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the toasted coconut and chocolate chips.  Dough will be thick.

Cookies can be baked immediately, or the dough can be left in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Spoon balls by the tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 10 to12 minutes, until golden brown but still slightly soft in the center.  Remove from the oven.  Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.  Eat while warm, sooo good!

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Huevos Rancheros

This is so delicious!  The Ranchero sauce is so bright and flavorful.  This has quickly become a family favorite! 

Huevos Rancheros

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno, seeded if you want less heat
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes and their juices
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons cilantro
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 corn tortillas
1/2-1 cup warm refried beans
6 Eggs
Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
Sliced avocados or guacamole

To make the Ranchero Sauce:  In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and bell peppers, cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Add the cumin, salt, cayenne, jalapeno, and garlic, cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and puree in a blender until smooth.  Stir in cilantro and adjust the seasonings to taste.  Cover and keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tortilla and cook until warmed through and just starting to brown, about 30 seconds.  Turn and cook on the second side.  Remove, cover to keep warm and repeat with remaining oil and tortillas.

In a medium nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter, over medium high heat. Break two to four eggs (depending on the size of your skillet) and fry until beginning to set, about 1 minute.  Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese and cover to finish cooking, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Repeat with remaining eggs.

Place 1 warm tortilla on each plate and spread each with 2 tablespoons of warm refried beans.  Place an egg on top of each tortilla and top with warm Ranchero Sauce.  Serve immediately.  Serve with sliced avocados or guacamole.

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Monday, September 19, 2011

Waffle French Toast

Tonight we had waffle French toast for dinner.  It tasted like French toast, but a bit crispier.  It also had perfect square indentions where the butter pooled; it made little pockets of melted butter and powdered sugar deliciousness.  My little ones thought it was pretty cool that French toast could look like a waffle.  I thought it was a fun spin on a classic breakfast (or in this case, dinner)!

Waffle French Toast

6 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
8 slices brioche

Preheat waffle maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  Spray surface with nonstick cooking spray or brush with melted butter.

In a bowl, whisk eggs until frothy.  Add half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar; whisk until blended.

Dip bread slices into egg mixture; soak, turning once, 30 seconds per side.  Place bread on preheated waffle maker, close lid and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. 

I found this recipe online, but now I can't remember where I found it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

BYU "Blue" Dinner

Tonight BYU played UTAH (actually they are playing UTAH; the game is currently in the 4th quarter)!  To be honest, I am not much of a football fan.  The only football I really enjoy watching is the football scenes from movies like Remember the Titans and The Blind side (I know, I'm lame).  This year, at least for this game, I made an effort to embrace the spirit of game day.  I may not love football, but I do love food and so I made a BYU "blue" dinner.  It wasn't fancy, but it was great football food!

Blueberry Lemonade

3 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups cold water

Puree blueberries and sugar in a blender.  Mix lemon juice and water in pitcher.  Place mesh strainer over pitcher and strain pureed blueberries.  Stir well and pour into ice filled glasses.  Garnish with Lemon slices and frozen blueberries.

*Next time I would use 1 cup of sugar, it was a bit tart.

Recipe from Bobby Flay

"Blue" Super Nachos


Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Beef and Bean Topping:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon Cholula hot sauce
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, chopped

Cheese Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups pepper jack cheese
Diced roasted jalapenos (optional)
Salt and pepper

Additional toppings:

Pico de Gallo
Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Sliced Roasted jalapenos

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add oil, garlic, onion and peppers to the pan and sauté 2 minutes, then add meat and crumble with wooden spoon.  Season meat with salt, chili powder, cumin and Cholula.  Cook meat until browned, stir in beans and chopped tomato and reduce heat to low. 

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and add flour to it.  Cook flour and butter 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat, then whisk in milk.  When milk comes to a bubble, stir in cheese with a wooden spoon.  Remove cheese sauce from the heat and salt and pepper to taste.

Top chips with beef and bean mixture, cheese sauce and your choice of toppings.  Eat immediately and enjoy!

Adapted from Rachael Ray's Super Nachos recipe

M & M Peanut Butter Bars

2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup peanuts, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted

Mix above ingredients with a fork.  Press half of mixture into a jelly roll pan.

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cups creamy peanut butter

Mix and pour over oat layer.

Top with remaining oat mixture and sprinkle with a large bag of M&M's.  Press down with hands.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Drink with milk!

This recipe came from my Aunt Traci (I use a little more salt than her recipe calls for).  The original name for this sweet treat is Christy's Totally Gnarly Peanut Butter Bars.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Flour Tortillas

I make these tortillas a lot and for how often I have made them, you would think I would be a pro at rolling them into nice round circles.  Well, I am no where near a pro (that would be my sister Stephanie) and in fact I'm really quite bad.  I rarely get a nice round tortilla, but no matter the shape, they are still delicious and definitely worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make them!

Flour tortillas

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup very hot water

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer combine flour and salt.  Add shortening and mix until well combined.  Add hot water and mix until dough comes together.

Remove dough from mixing bowl and divide into portions.  The portion of dough depends on the size you want your tortillas.  Shape portions into round balls.

Preheat a non-stick or cast iron skillet to medium low heat.  If necessary, spray your work surface with non-stick cooking spray; you may not need to because the dough isn't particularly sticky, but it may be and you also don't want to add any more flour to your dough.  Press your palm against the surface of the dough ball, trying to maintain as much of a round shape as possible (this is where I begin to struggle a bit).  Place rolling pin in middle of flattened dough ball and roll to desired thickness, shaping in a circle as you go.

Place raw tortillas on preheated skillet. forewarned, the first one may not work out great.  You are going to be watching for bubbles.  If you get little blistery bubbles, your skillet is too hot and you need to reduce the heat.  You're looking for big, fat, slow-bubbling bubbles.

When you start to see them, flip the tortilla and cook for another 30-45 second (I like mine to stay very soft and so I will only cook the tortillas long enough to have very light colored marks and sometimes no marks at all).

If you are cooking these quickly, you can just stack them on top of each other cover with a clean dish cloth and they will stay warm.  You can also wrap them in a damp paper towel and then wrap them in foil and keep them in a warm oven (170) until ready to use.

*I always use a little flour when I am rolling the tortillas out and have never noticed that they seem more tough because I do.

* To cook the tortillas, I use my electric skillet that I use for french toast because I can cook a few tortillas at the same time.

*Any extra cooked tortillas I have, I freeze and just pop them out of the freezer whenever I need them.

This recipe comes from

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

My neighbor gave me a bunch of tomatillos from her garden and they made their appearance at our dinner table in the form of salsa.  It was fresh and delicious! 

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

1 pound tomatillos (4-5 tomatillos), husks removed and washed
1 jalapeno pepper
1 Serrano pepper
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup diced white onion
1/3 cup cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place tomatillos, peppers and unpeeled garlic cloves on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil over tomatillos, peppers and garlic, lightly toss to coat.  Roast in oven for 20-30 minutes until peppers are slightly charred on all sides.  Remove pan from oven and place peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, let the peppers steam for 15 minutes.  Peel and stem the peppers.  If you want the salsa hot, leave the seeds.  If you want it milder, seed the pepper.

Add the tomatillos, peppers, garlic and remaining ingredients to the bowl of food processor.  Pulse the food processor until the salsa comes together. 

*Play around with this recipe (I did).  If you want more lime flavor, add more lime juice.  Not a big onion fan, add less onion.  This is definitely a recipe you can play with!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza

1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 can (14 ounce) black beans
1 teaspoon taco seasoning (prepared, or make your own)
salt to taste
4 whole corn tortillas, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup canola oil, for frying
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced/shredded thin
2 whole ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoon hot sauce

Make the pizza dough: Mix yeast with warm water and set aside for 8 to 10 minutes.  Mix flour, salt, and olive oil in a mixing bowl.  With speed on low, drizzle in yeast/water mixture.  Allow to mix until combined.  Cover bowl with a towel and set bowl in a warm, draft-free place.  Allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Pour black beans into a saucepan.  Add taco seasoning and salt to taste and heat up beans over medium-low heat.  Use a potato masher to mash the beans to desired texture.  Continue cooking/heating beans, stirring occasionally, until no longer runny (should be the texture of refried beans.  Set aside.

In a small skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat.  When hot enough to fry, drop in the tortilla strips in batches, frying quickly and removing from oil with a fork when crisp-about 30-45 seconds per batch.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and lightly salt.  Set aside.

Mix together sour cream and hot sauce, adding enough hot sauce to make the mixture pourable.  Set aside.

Place oven rack in the bottom position in the oven.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Remove half the pizza dough from the bowl.  Place remaining half in a large plastic bag and refrigerate, saving for another use.  With hands, spread pizza dough on an oiled baking sheet, making sure it's relatively thin.  Spread a layer of beans all over the pizza crust.  Sprinkle grated cheeses over the top.  Place pan in the oven (in the bottom half of the oven) and bake for 9-12 minutes or until crust is golden.

Remove pizza from oven.  Sprinkle with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cilantro leaves.  With a spoon (or you can use a pastry bag) drizzle sour cream/hot sauce mixture over finished pizza.  Sprinkle with tortilla strips.  Cut into squares and serve immediately with good quality salsa. 

*I think this pizza would be delicious with sliced avocados or guacamole, but my avocado could have been used in place of a baseball (it was that hard).

Adapted slightly from Pioneer Women Cooks

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Peach Shortbread

It's glorious peach season and although I don't think there is a better way to eat a perfectly ripe peach than straight off the tree, thin slices of peaches sandwiched between a buttery shortbread and a crumble is definitely not a bad thing.

Peach Shortbread

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.  Stir frequently, scraping up any bits form the bottom as you do.  Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns.  Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes). 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a 9x13 pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray.  In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk.  Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture.  It will be crumbly.  Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly.  Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer.  Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges.  Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares. 

*The recipe says to cut the peaches 1/8-1/4-inch thick.  Next time, I would cut the peaches thicker so that I could taste the peach a bit more.

Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

I love butter, I really do!  In the past few weeks, I have used an alarming amount of butter and this crazy butter consumption has been brought on by my new obsession, browned butter.  This obsession has caused me to consume browned butter rice krispie treats, browned butter brownies, browned butter sauce with sage, and browned butter ice cream.  To be honest, it is getting a little out of control, but wait until you smell butter that has been melted and starts to brown, it smells nutty and delicious.  It is mouthwatering.  These muffins have taken their place in this browned butter craze of mine and although I have already posted a blueberry muffin recipe, I think this is my new favorite.  My only suggestion is to eat them while warm with you guessed it, butter!

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

7 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries

For the Topping

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter.  Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan.  The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that.  Keep a close eye.  Remove from heat.

Whisk milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add the brown butter and stir to combine.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Add milk and butter mixture all at once and stir gently to combine.  Gently but thoroughly fold in blueberries.

Divide the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from the pan.  Serve warm.

Adapted from Joy the Baker