SANDRA'S ARTISTRY ALASKA [retail online store items for purchase]

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SANDRA'S CHEESY HASH BROWN CASSEROLE


Delicious sides dish that's a 'crowd pleaser' 
when the recipe is doubled,
or for a smaller family (as in recipe shown below) it's just as great too!

After all, you can't go wrong with potatoes and cheese...
(Serves 2 to 4)
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 30 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

1-1/4 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese, divided
1-1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted cold butter, divided
1/4 cup low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 ozs. (about 2 cups) frozen hash browns (do not thaw) 
~ I make my own freezer hash browns using russet potatoes

METHOD

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray, with butter spray, a 6x6" casserole dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses to combine; set aside separately 1/2 cup of cheese mixture for the final topping.

Divide the cold butter in half (2-teaspoon-portions each). Melt half the butter; set both cold and melted butter aside.

To the cheese mixture in the medium bowl, add the reserved melted butter, beef broth, dried minced onion, granulated garlic and black pepper; mix to combine.  Gently fold in frozen hash browns (do not over mix).

Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat; add the reserved cold butter. Once the butter is melted, gently add the hash brown mixture to the skillet (do not pack down) and heat mixture just until cheese melts, while occasionally stirring very gently (do not break up hash browns), about 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and top with reserved 1/2 cup of cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, just until the top turns a deep golden brown.

Let casserole stand for 5 minutes before serving. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip:


If you wish to double the recipe, it's easily done by using a larger 8x8" casserole and increasing the baking time (but at the same temperature above) to 50 minutes, which will provide 6 to 8 servings.


SANDRA'S BEST ALASKAN SALMON DIP/SPREAD

A go-to appetizer that is a family favorite
which you are able to use with salmon (as I did here),
or sub the salmon for cooked halibut, crab, or minced clams...



Yield: (1-1/2 cups)
Prep: 10 mins.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (about 2 fillets) prepared cooked, regular or smoked salmon, flaked (no bones or skin)
--do not use lox--
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon old bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
Pinch of ground cayenne
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Serving options:
--crackers
--whole wheat bread slices quartered
--cucumber slices
--celery stocks
--toasted baguette slices

Garnish options:
--Green onion (green parts only), finely sliced
--Paprika

METHOD

Combine all the above ingredients in a small bowl, using a dinner fork. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve with your favorite snacking options (a few suggestions are listed above), then top with finely sliced green onions and a light sprinkle of paprika. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip:
Also great to make halibut, crab, or clam dip, simply substitute the 1 cup of cooked salmon for cooked halibut, crab, or minced clams, respectively.


SANDRA'S HOMEMADE LIME SHERBET (No-cook--Eggless--Lactose Free)

I've created this recipe for many of  my friends,
a lot of whom are lactose intolerant,
even so, those who do not suffer from this are still able to enjoy
this incredible dessert just the same... 



Yields: (1 qt)
Prep: 10 Mins.
Ice Cream Maker - Churning: 30 Mins.

Pre-prep:
Chill paddle and ice cream maker in freezer
for a minimum of 2 days (24 hours) beforehand
~~~
I simply store my clean maker with its paddle in my freezer at all times,
this way it's ready to use when the whim hits me for frozen delectable desserts...

-- Special Equipment:
            Kitchen Aid (which I use), or another type of ice cream maker (see note above)
            Plastic quart container with lid

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium-size limes; zest, plus their juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups 2% lactose free milk

METHOD:

In a 4-cup glass measure, add the lime zest and juice and whisk until sugar has fully dissolved (about 3-5 minutes).  Gently whisk in the milk.

Place your fully frozen (important) ice cream maker with paddle insert onto kitchen aid mixer, including its specified attachment.

Pour in the sherbet mixture into the ice cream maker, and lock stand mixer into place. Set at #2 (stir) and let it churn for 30 minutes. You will notice that the sherbet will increase by volume (almost double) as the churning takes place.

Scrape and remove paddle, then spoon sherbet into a quart container, (placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of exposed sorbet to minimize the formation of ice crystals and prevent loss of texture); place lid on container, then freeze for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 6 hours before serving. ~ Enjoy!

The sherbet will store in the freezer for up to 1 month.


SANDRA'S ALASKAN RUSTIC CABIN VENISON CHILI with TOPPINGS

A tasty and quick 30-minute meal that is delicious and hearty
on a rainy Alaskan summer day as we've had today...


Servings: (4-6)
Prep: 10 Mins.
Cook: 20 Mins.

INGREDIENTS:

Chili:
1 lb. lean ground venison (moose, caribou, elk, beef, or poultry)
1/2 sweet white onion, diced
1 carrot, scrubbed and finely diced
1 (15-oz. can) tomato sauce
1 (15-oz. can) low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Summer Ale - Alaskan Brewery (save remainder to have with dinner ;)
1 (15-oz. can) Cannellini Beans (I used Bush's), rinsed and drained
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoon(s) chili powder (more or less to your desired spiciness; we use 2 TBs!)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Toppings:
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Diced white sweet onions (soaked in cold water for 5 mins., then drained-keeps 'em mild yet crispy)
- Fresh tomato, finely diced

METHOD:

Heat a medium-size 4-qt. heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat and brown the ground venison. Add all the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Bring chili to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes, while occasionally stirring.  Serve immediately into individual bowls while topping with the remaining ingredients, as listed. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip:

A nice quick addition I added is fresh crispy french bread (cut into 1" slices on the diagonal and placed on a baking sheet after brushing with melted garlic butter) and baked at 375 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on your desired crispiness. This I did while the chili was simmering.


SANDRA'S HOT ALASKAN MOOSE TACO DIP and MINI-BISCUIT APPETIZER

I created this recipe after being inspired by several variations that I've had in the past.

Here's my 'Alaska Spin' on this delightful appetizer
--------
You are able to make it to your exact spiciness level versus my medium version ~
simply substitute milder salsa for a lighter dip
or hotter salsa for a dip with more zest...



Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Prep: 15 Mins.
Bake 23-25 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Dip:
1 lb extra-lean moose burger
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
1 pkg. dry cheesy taco seasoning mix
2 cups medium salsa (from Costco)
1 cup Mexican-blend shredded cheese
1 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
1 (4 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed at room temperature
--2 green onions (both white and green parts), sliced

Atop dip/mini-biscuits:
1 pkg. Grand Biscuits, quartered and formed into balls
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dry cilantro
Paprika

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, while placing rack on lower 2/3'rds of oven, including placing a medium-size pan on the rack (you'll later be placing the cast iron skillet on this to catch potential drips).

Heat a seasoned, 10" medium-size cast iron skillet to medium high heat on the stovetop, then brown the burger with 1/4 teaspoon each of granulated garlic and granulated onion. After about 5 minutes of browning, add the cheesy taco seasoning and salsa, stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and fold in the three cheeses, just until melted and combined. Sprinkle top-center of mixture with green onions.

While reserving 9, place remaining biscuit balls around the perimeter. Place the reserved 9; one in center, and other 8 around it (see above photo).

Melt in the microwave the butter in a ramekin with 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic for 30 seconds. Using a pastry brush to combine. Brush the butter mixture gently over all biscuit balls. Sprinkle biscuit balls with 1 teaspoon dry cilantro and some paprika.


Place cast iron skillet in the preheated oven atop the hot pizza pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, until all biscuits are golden brown. Let hot dip cool 5 minutes (so you don't burn yourself), then serve immediately family style. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S ICE BOX STRAWBERRY POKE CAKE

A perfectly delightful and flavorful cake that's incredibly scrumptious!

This dessert can easily be made a day ahead of when you plan to serve it
or deliver to your favorite function...


Servings (12)
Prep: 20 Mins.
Bake: 30 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Jello
1 (3-oz. pkg. - small box) Sugar Free Strawberry Jello
1 cup boiling water

Cake
2 large eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup Mazola oil
1 (5.3-oz. container) Strawberry Chobani Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15.25 oz. box) Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix

Strawberry Frosting
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup Yakutat Wild Alaska Strawberry Jam
2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons water (or enough until your desired consistency is reached)
Optional: Red organic food coloring gel

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13" glass baking dish; set aside.

In a glass 2-cup measure, pour 1 cup of boiling water, add jello and stir to dissolve; set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add the water, oil, yogurt and vanilla extract and beat (using a hand mixer) to combine. Add the dry cake mix and beat to combine, for 2 minutes. Pour batter evenly into prepared baking dish, and gently tap to release air bubbles and assist to level cake.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning half way through, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place cake, while in baking dish, onto a baking rack to cool completely. 

Once cooled, poke the cake using a wooden skewer about 1/2" apart from top to bottom. Give the jello a final stir and slowly pour over cake surface (avoid the edges of cake).  Place the cake in the refrigerator to solidify the jello for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by sifting the confectioners' sugar in a sieve placed over a medium bowl. Add the butter, vanilla extract, strawberry jam, sour cream and water. Use a hand mixer to combine, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until your desired consistency is reached.  Add a few squirts of red organic food coloring gel, if desired.

Frost cake surface, while in baking dish, cover, and return to refrigerator after serving to store remaining cake. ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA'S LAYERED CARROT CAKE with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING from SCRATCH

An updated classic cake from scratch
that's super delicious and fun to take to any
potluck, picnic, or party...


Servings: (12)
Prep: 30 Mins.
Bake: 30-35 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Wet:
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sift dry:
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Cake additions:
1 (8-oz. can) crushed pineapple, undrained (retain juice)
2 cups grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 (8-oz. pkg) cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk (to achieve desired consistency)

Topping:
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using baking spray, spray two 9" round cake pans; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the wet ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients (using a sieve placed over mixing bowl of wet ingredients); mix to combine. Add the crushed pineapple and its juices, including the grated carrots; mix to combine, while scraping sides of mixing bowl. Pour batter equally and evenly into both prepared cake pans, then tap pans gently on countertop to release potential air bubbles.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean (do not over bake). Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, flipping right-side-up, to cool completely (about 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, prepare the candied pecans by stirring the pecans and sugar in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat until sugar melts and starts to caramelize and pecans are toasted and fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape hot candied pecans into a heatproof bowl to cool.

Also, prepare the frosting in a medium bowl, using a hand mixer to combine softened butter and cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and milk (1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached). Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Frost the cooled cake, then top cake with cooled candied pecans, breaking them apart as you do so. ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA'S ALASKAN-BLUEBERRY and PEACH COBBLER

A wonderful method in which to prepare your Alaskan summer-harvested blueberries
that have been frozen, and its combination with peaches to form this decadent
cobbles is nothing short of amazing...



Servings: (12)
Prep: 25 mins.
Bake: A total of 30 mins.
--(At two temperatures: 350 degrees for 15 mins, then 450 degrees for the final 15 mins)

INGREDIENTS:

Fruit and berries:
1 (24-oz. jar) Costco peaches, drained
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

--2 cups frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use, do not add to above heated mixture)

Cobbler dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cube cold, unsalted butter, cut in 12 small cubes
3/4 cups cold milk, mixed with 2 teaspoons lemon juice (let set 5 minutes to activate)

--Topping:
--1 tablespoon granulated sugar
--1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

METHOD:

In a medium skillet melt 3 tablespoons butter, add sugar, cinnamon, and peaches.  Mix to combine, while bringing to a low simmer. Let filling gently simmer, while occasionally stirring, for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Note: Will increase oven temp mid way through baking to 450 degrees).

Meanwhile, prepare cobbler dough, by adding to a medium bowl the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Whisk dry ingredients so they are evenly combined.  Using a pastry cutter to work in the cold, cubed butter, until course mixture resembles the size of peas. In a 2-cup glass-measuring cup, add 1-1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, then let stand for 5 minutes to activate.  Pour this liquid mixture into dry ingredients, and use a fork to combine (do not over mix).

Pour hot peach mixture in a single layer into a 9x13" baking dish (or other 3-qt. size), sprinkle 2 cups of frozen blueberries evenly over the top of the hot peaches. Use 2 forks to dollop the cobbler dough over the fruit and berries, while leaving spaces for filling to steam through.

Combine topping of cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over top of dough.

Place baking dish atop a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch potential spill over), then bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, increase heat to 450 and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cobbler dough comes out clean.

When cobbler has finished baking, let cool for 15 minutes prior to serving. If desired, serve warm with French vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S BANANA-PINEAPPLE-LEMON BARS

The most succulent dessert bars you'll ever have
with a tropical flair that's simply decadent...


Servings: (12)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Bake: 35-40 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Wet:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry (sift):
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour

Add:
2 medium, ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 (8-oz. can) crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 teaspoon finely grated, lemon zest

Topping:
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with baking spray a dark 9 x 9 square pan with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to combine melted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar. Add beaten egg and vanilla extract; mix to combine (while scraping sides of bowl) until light and fluffy.

Place a sieve over wet ingredients and sift cinnamon, salt, baking powder and soda, and flour over dry ingredients.

Do not mix further until you add the mashed bananas, drained pineapple and grated lemon zest.  Using a wooden spoon, mix batter just until these ingredients are incorporated.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan, gently tap to release air bubbles.

In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over top of batter mixture.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, just until cake tester comes out clean (do not over bake or bars will be dry).

Remove pan from oven onto a baking rack and allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes. Carefully cut into 12 even bars and place onto a serving platter. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA'S FINEST BANANA BUNDT CAKE EVER

What a fabulous dessert that's awesome the day it's baked,
and even more scrumptious the following day...
Servings: 12
Prep: 20 Mins.
Bake: 45-55 Mins.

INGREDIENTS:

1st Wet:
3 (medium) ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

2nd Wet:
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cup 2% milk

Beat:
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

3rd Wet:
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry (sift)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with baking spray; set aside.

In a small bowl, add the bananas with 1 TB lemon juice, and mash until combined; set aside.

In a 2-cup-glass-measuring-cup, add 1-1/2 cup milk and then 1 TB lemon juice (let activate for 5 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with both sugars for 3 minutes.  Add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract; mix to combine for 2 more minutes.

Stop mixer, and place a sieve over wet ingredients in mixing bowl. Add all the dry ingredients to sieve and sift over wet ingredients.

Restart mixer very slow and gently pulsing mix in, while pouring, the milk/lemon juice mixture. Add the banana/lemon juice mixture and then mix gently just until combined.

Use a spatula to scrape sides and bottom of bowl, folding to combine cake batter a few times by hand. Pour cake batter evenly into the prepared bundt pan.  Tap pan to remove air bubbles.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, turning bundt pant half way through baking, just until a toothpick inserted in center of bundt ring comes out clean (do not over bake or cake will become dry).

Let cake cool in bundt pan for 5 minutes on baking rack, then flip using baking rack and let rest on rack then dust while hot with powdered sugar (I place tin foil underneath baking rack to ease with clean up).  Let cake cool completely on baking rack before transferring to a covered cake pedestal/plate.


Serve with whipped cream, if desired. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S CURRIED ALASKAN HALIBUT SKEWERS

A very quick and easy recipe to prepare that's 
very decadent and incredibly delicious!

(Note: The recipe makes 4 skewers-worth, 
even though only 2 are shown above)...
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 Mins.
Marinate: 1 Hr.
Broil: 4 to 5 Mins.

Equipment:
--4 (12") stainless-steel skewers
--Broiler pan
--High-heat cooking spray

INGREDIENTS

Fish:
1 lb. fresh, boneless-skinless halibut, cut into 1" cubes

Marinade:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Finishing:
--Ground paprika

METHOD

In a medium glass bowl, add the marinade ingredients; mix to combine. Add the cubed halibut, and gently toss until all pieces are completely coated. Cover bowl and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.

Preheat oven to broil, ensuring rack is placed in highest position (about 4-5" from element).

Generously spray the broiler pan with high-heat cooking spray.

Skewer, un-touching, the halibut cubes and place onto prepared broiler pan. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Broil skewers, with oven door closed, for 4 to 5 minutes, turning pan half way through broiling to ensure even cooking. Be sure to use oven mitts, skewers will be very hot, when removing halibut pieces. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip:

If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak in water a minimum of 30 minutes beforehand to prevent them from burning.


SANDRA'S CHRISTMASTIME SPRITZ COOKIES

A tradition that's going to take place every year during Christmastime
from now on, they're beautiful and a buttery scrumptiousness...
Yield: Appx. 7 Doz. (depending upon disc sizes used)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Bake: 8-12 Mins. (Per batch, depending upon disc sizes used)

INGREDIENTS

3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
--(depending upon humidity, adding 1 TB at a time to reach desired consistency)
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2  teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)
2 tablespoons milk

--Assorted colored decorating sugar crystals

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Set aside silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheets.

In medium bowl, sift flour and baking powder and soda; set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add beaten egg, almond and vanilla extracts, nutmeg, salt and milk; mix to combine. Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture, while gently mixing just until combined.

[Do not chill cookie dough.]

Fill cookie press with dough and desired disc (alternate disc to a new one when desired), press cookies onto lined baking sheets about 1" apart.
Generously sprinkle with your favorite decorating sugar crystal color(s).


In batches, bake 8-12 minutes (depending on size of selected discs), just until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack. Store, once completely cooled, in an airtight cookie jar. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S PEANUT BUTTER-MINI CHOCOLATE CHIP-CINNAMON COOKIES

A light, buttery cookie that enhances in flavor over time,
they're delectable and deliciously addicting!


Yields: About 42 cookies
Prep 15 mins
Bake: 10-12 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

--Sugar (1/2 cup) for rolling balls, and dipping fork to form criss-cross texture on cookie tops

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets topped with silpat liners or parchment paper; set aside.

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the peanut butter, butter, white sugar, and brown sugar for 5 minutes, until light and creamy. Add the beaten egg and vanilla, mixing to combine. Place a sieve over the wet ingredients in the stand mixer bowl and sift flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt; mix to combine. Add the mini chocolate chips, mix just to combine (do not over mix).

Place 1/2 cup sugar into a small bowl; set aside.

Roll mini scoop full of dough into balls. Roll each ball in sugar, and place cookies 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Press each ball twice with fork tines to form a criss-cross pattern (dip fork into sugar it does not stick while doing so). Be sure not to flatten the cookies too much when doing so, or they will not bake properly.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container. ~ Enjoy!


SANDRA'S HOMEMADE PIZZAS from SCRATCH

A fantastic recipe for two 14" pizzas you are able to prepare
from beginning to end in 1-1/2 hours,
although an hour of that time is kicking back while the dough proofs...


Yield:2 (14-inch) pizzas
Prep: 20 min
Proof/Rest: 1st Proof = 1 Hr -- 2nd Rest = 10 Mins.
Bake: 12-14 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

Crust (makes two 14" pizzas):
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 envelope instant/rapid dry yeast = 2-1/4 tsps. (no need to pre-proof)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 cups water, 110 degrees
2 tablespoons olive oil
--Plus spray to oil bowl and top of ball, plus rolling surface/board

Toppings (divide each topping ingredient in 1/2 for each pizza):
1 (14-oz. jar) prepared Classico Pizza Sauce, divided
4 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella, divided; plus more for sprinkling on top
1 (5-oz. pkg.) Applegate Naturals uncured pepperoni (3" rounds), cut into quarters, divided

METHOD

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. Add more flour if too wet or more water if too dry, but only 1 teaspoon increments at a time. Let machine knead dough ball around hook for 2 minutes.

Scrape dough into a large sprayed bowl. Knead a few times and form into a ball. Flip ball over, spray top of dough, including underside of bowl lid. Cover bowl, place in oven (with no heat) turning on just the appliance light. Let proof for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Remove proofed dough from oven.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees, placing rack 1 level up from bottom rung. Spray and sprinkle two 14" round pizza pans lightly with corn meal; set aside.

Turn dough out onto a lightly sprayed surface (with oil), and divide into 2 equal sections. Cover balls of dough by turning the same empty bowl upside down over them, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each ball out into two separate 14" crusts, place each on prepared pizza pan.

Top each crust with 1/2 pizza sauce, 1/2 shredded cheese, 1/2 of the quartered pepperoni, and finishing light sprinkling of more mozzarella cheese.

Bake, one at a time, in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, letting each pizza rest 5 minutes prior to serving. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip:

These are the topping ingredients I had on hand, but a multitude of other options would be tasty too, i.e., Canadian Bacon and Pineapple vs the Pepperoni, etc.

SANDRA'S SAVORY CURRIED PUMPKIN SOUP

OMGoodness!! My favorite soup creation to date!

A culmination of ingredients I had on hand today,
and usually do most days,
so I'll be able to remake this delectable delight quite often...


Prep: 15 Mins.
Cook: 30 Mins.
Servings: (4)

INGREDIENTS

1 slice center-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces (or 1 TB olive oil)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup sliced celery
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (15-oz can) pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix),,,(or 2 cups pureed squash, just puree 1st)
1 (14-oz can) fat-free low-sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth)
1 cup filtered water (or more to reach your desired soup consistency)...or 1 cup quality white wine)
2 teaspoons fireweed honey
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

--2 cups baby spinach leaves, obvious stems removed, roughly chopped
--1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter, cut into quarters

METHOD

In 3-quart saucepan, heat over medium-high heat, add the bacon and brown until crispy (do not drain drippings or remove bacon). Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, while sautéing.

Stir in all remaining ingredients, except fresh baby spinach and cold butter. Heat soup to boiling; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add chopped spinach, stir to incorporate and cook, covered, for 3 minutes. ~ Remove saucepan from heat; fold in cold butter cubes, and gently stir just until incorporated. 


Serve with toasted, warm homemade bread slices. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S ANYTIME SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE


I microwave the sweet potatoes with 1 TB of water
so as to retain their utmost flavor
versus boiling them in the traditional fashion.

This makes for a phenomenal sweet potato casserole...


Servings: (6)
Par-Cook: 7-10 Mins.
Bake: 30 to 35 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

4 (about 1 lb.) of regular-size sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons real maple syrup (more or less, to your desired sweetness)
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
--2 cups miniature marshmallows

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside an 8x8" casserole dish.

Place sweet potatoes in a medium glass bowl with 1 tablespoon water, cover with a large microwaveable plate, and cook in microwave on high for 7 minutes. Stir, recover, and microwave in for 1 minute -- 3 times; for a total of 10 minutes, just until sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Using mitts, as bowl will be hot, remove from microwave (do not drain). Add butter, maple syrup, orange juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg; toss to combine just until butter has melted. Spread evenly into prepared baking dish. Top with miniature marshmallows.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven, until marshmallows are puffy, golden brown and crispy. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tip:

If you prefer a fluffy and smooth sweet potato casserole, simply use a hand mixer to beat the mashed sweet potatoes and other ingredients (except marshmallows), then top with marshmallows before baking.

SANDRA'S WILD ALASKA BLUEBERRY STREUSEL MUFFINS from SCRATCH

While recently picking my first batch of Wild Alaska Blueberries from my front yard,
I decided to come up with a muffin recipe from scratch.

End result...these streusel topped muffins turned out absolutely fabulous!


Yields: (12)
Prep: 15 Mins.
Bake: 30-35 Mins.


INGREDIENTS

Berries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups fresh wild Alaska blueberries

Wet
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon powder (or zest)
1/2 cup 2% milk

Dry
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Streusel
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 paper liners in regular-size muffin tin slots, then spray liners with baking spray; set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over blueberries, and swirl bowl to coat; set aside.

In a stand mixer bowl, beat 1/2 cups softened butter with 3/4 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and milk. Sift 2 cups flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt through a sieve over bowl of wet ingredients; mix on low just until combined. Remove bowl from mixer, and gently fold, using a spatula, the blueberries (shaking off excess flour beforehand), do not stir or over mix. Use an ice cream scoop to equally proportion batter into prepared muffin liners. Use the back of a spoon to even out tops.

Combine 2 tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons cold butter with fork until mixture resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle equally on top of batter in muffin liners.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, turning pan half way through baking, just until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack, just until cool enough to transfer to a serving platter.  ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tip:

If using a large 6-cup muffin tin, be sure to increase baking time accordingly.

SANDRA'S 3-BANANA BUNDT CAKE from SCRATCH

Unbelievable how quick and easy this flavor-packed cake
is to prepare, yet so rewarding in under an hour...


Servings: 10 to 12
Prep: 10 Mins.
Bake: 45 to 50 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar, slightly packed
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups (3 medium) ripe bananas, mashed
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of table salt

ICING:
1 (small 4 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted through a sieve
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons water (approximate, to your desired consistency)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with Bakers Joy; set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, bananas and vanilla, and mix until creamy. Sift through a sieve over bowl the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; gently mix on low into creamed mixture just until blended. 

Transfer mixture to prepared bundt pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in bundt pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, then drape with a clean kitchen towel to cool. 

Meanwhile, for the icing in a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Sift, then add the confectioners' sugar.  Add vanilla and a little bit of water in increments, and beat until smooth, just until desired icing consistency is reached. 

Spread the icing on bundt cake and let it set for 2 hours before covering. ~ Enjoy!

SANDRA'S HOMEMADE FRENCH BREAD

Its crisp-crunchy crust, perfect center and phenomenal flavor
makes this French Bread the only recipe you'll ever end up using!

That glistening crust is from the egg whites, not oil = healthier bonus...
Yields: (1 Loaf)
Prep 20 Mins.
1st Rise Dough: 30 Mins.
Rolling: 10 Mins.
2nd Rise Loaf: 40 Mins.
Bake 40 Mins.
Cool Loaf: 20 Mins.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1/2 teaspoon more for oiling bowl
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
--1 large egg, white only

METHOD

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let proof/bloom for 10 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, flour and salt, and use the dough hook on low speed to beat until well blended. Increase the speed to medium, the let the stand mixer knead the dough about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Wipe a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, place dough in the bowl, and turn once to ensure dough is completely but lightly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.



Place a silpat liner or parchment paper on a baking sheet; set aside.



Punch dough down and place onto working surface. DO NOT re-knead. Use a rolling pin to roll into a large rectangle (I DO NOT add flour, as the outer olive oil prevents sticking to the working surface and rolling pin)



Using fingers in a typewriter-fashion to roll into rectangle loaf, starting from a long side working to the opposite long end. Pinch to seal seam. Tuck tapered ends under.



Place loaf seam side down on prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white, the brush on top of loaf (reserve remainder for a second basting through mid-baking time). 



Cover loaf with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.

About 30 minutes into last rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees.


With a very sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4" deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. 



Brush again with egg white mixture, rotate baking sheet for even baking. 

Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. Remove loaf from baking sheet, and cool a minimum of 20 minutes on a wire rack covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel. 



When loaf is rested, cut into 1/2" crosswise slices using a serrated knife. ~ Enjoy!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Try my French Bread recipe in
Sandra's Oven-Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
[Click here for recipe...]

Sandra's Oven-Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

SANDRA'S OVEN-ROASTED TOMATO BRUSCHETTA


The mouth-watering scents while roasting are second to none,
which provides for a super flavorful appetizer
served hot, room temperature or cold...

Yields: (Appx. 1-1/2 cups)
Serves: 10-12 (i.e., 2/person)
Prep: 5 Mins.
Roast: 1-1/2 Hrs.

INGREDIENTS

Sandra's Homemade French Bread Recipe
[Click here...]
2 (14.5-oz cans) organic stewed tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Finishing addition:
--1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, to finish topping
--Shredded Parmesan, for serving garnish

-- Prepared toasted baguette slices (See 'Tip' below)
            [Click here for Sandra's Homemade French Bread recipe]


METHOD

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with cooking spray.

Place drained tomatoes in a large bowl (you'll end up with about 1-1/2 cups drained liquid when sufficiently drained); add onion, basil, oregano, oil, garlic, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet in an even layer.

Prior to oven-roasting...
Bake 1-1/2 hours, stirring tomato mixture half way through, plus rotate baking sheet for even roasting.

Post oven-roasting...
Using care, roughly chop the roasted tomatoes, while on baking sheet, to bite-size pieces.

Using a spatula, place hot chopped roasted tomatoes into a bowl, and add 1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar; cool mixture to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the toasted baguette slices. (See instructions below)

Serve bruschetta in a decorative serving bowl placed in center of a platter with toast slices alongside. ~ Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tip:

To make toast, slice a French baguette and brush one side of each slice lightly with olive oil. Place bread, oil-side up, on baking sheet. Bake in 350-degree oven 7 to 10 minutes, or until toasted and crisp to your liking.

Also, if you prefer to serve this as a hot appetizer, simply place the bruschetta topped with parmesan under the broiler a minute or two, just until cheese is melted.

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